From smaller wheat harvests and larger fall harvests, to businesses opening, closing and coming, 2014 proved to be an eventful economic year for Marion County.
Officials with Mid Kan?sas Cooperative Association said the year-long project to build a high-speed loading facility west of Canton along U.S. High?way 56 could be completed by the end of August. The grain shuttle will be able to load 110-car trains in less than 12 hours, said MKC officials.
After several months of public speculation about the future of Vogts HomeTown Market in Hillsboro, a spokesperson for Heartland Foods said its purchase of the store would become official Feb. 3. The Vogt family owned and operated the local grocery business for 89 years.
Marci Penner, executive director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, was guest speaker at the third annual Hillsboro and Marion joint chambers of commerce dinner meeting Jan. 27. More than 150 people attended.
A Subway restaurant will open in Marion this spring, according to Greg Carlson, one of the partners. The other partners are Jessica Laurin, Mitch Carlson and Linda Carlson. Mitch?s son, Chase, will be the restaurant manager.
Physician Greg Erb began seeing patients at Hillsboro Community Hospital Feb. 10, filling the hole created by the departure of physician Shauna Kern a few days earlier.
Rickey Roberts, Marion County Extension agent, said the harsh sub-zero arctic fronts that came through this winter may have killed some patches of wheat, or at least have taken a toll on potential yield.
More than 40 people attended the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce luncheon March 11 to recognize the Vogt family for 89 years of service in the grocery business, and to welcome the new owners of the store in Hillsboro Heights.
The Hillsboro Free Press, and the company that publishes it, had a new majority owner as of April 1. Joey and Lindsey Young, owners and publishers of newspapers that serve the Andale area and Maize, acquired the portion of Kansas Publish?ing Ventures owned by founding publisher Joel Klaassen. The purchase agreement has Klaassen continuing with the business as an employee for three years before his plan?ned retirement.
MB Foundation, based in Hillsboro, finished the 2013 fiscal year with an increase in several financial categories. Total assets increased by 10 percent to a 2013 total of $153.4 million. Ten years ago, total assets were $47.3 million, representing growth of more than 220 percent during that time.
Marion County moved closer to a major economic development with the unanimous approval by county commissioners May 12 to issue a conditional-use permit for a wind turbines electrical generation farm. Rex, Carolyn and Randy Savage were on hand for the land?owners? Windborn Energy company.
Jost Welding, a fixture at 118 S. Main St. since 1919, is finding a new niche through its business relationship with the AGCO manufacturing plant in Hesston. The Hillsboro business has been building iron racks, dollies and carts that are being used for parts storage at the Hesston plant. ?It?s been a real godsend,? owner Todd Jost said.
Marion County com?missioners gave the go-ahead for Lyle Leppke, Hills?boro auctioneer, to proceed with a July 8 auction of the vacant motel along U.S. Highway 56 near Florence. The motel is regarded by the county to be in a state of partial deterioration, but restorable.
Around 60 wheat producers turned out for Coopera?tive Grain & Supply?s annual wheat plot tour May 15. Gary Shoup, Kansas State Univer?sity agronomist, told producers what they already knew: No bumper crop this year because of the drought.
Roger Schroeder, marketing director at St. Luke Hospital and Living Center, announced that St. Luke Physician Clinic and Marion Family Physicians will be merging June 2.
The outlook for Marion County crops this year after two weeks of abundant rains is looking much better, according to extension agent Rickey Roberts. He added that fall crops?corn, soybeans and milo?are showing potential for unexpected abundance.
As of June 10, Jessica and Scott Winter are the new owners of Hillsboro Animal Clinic, the veterinary operation launched by Norman ?Doc? and Connie Galle 40 years earlier. Winter said she?s not planning major changes at the clinic, but hopes to expand in the area of small-animal medicine.
The 2014 wheat harvest was in high gear with most local producers entering their fields June 17 and 18. Dick Tippin, grain coordinator at Cooperative Grain & Supply, estimated the harvest was ?probably a little over half? compete when the rain hit. Tippin characterized the harvest as ?pretty fair,? with yield reports ranging from 15 bushels an acre to as high as 50 bushels.
Todd Heit?schmidt, president of Cen?tral National Bank in Marion, presented a check for $5,000 to kick-start a new micro-loan program that benefits participants in Marion County Circles, a program for people seeking to move out of poverty. CNB developed the loan program and will maintain it under the umbrella of Family And Com?munities Together Inc.
Two Hillsboro businesses were recognized for their economic and civic contributions to the community during the July Cham?ber of Com?merce luncheon. Wheat?belt Inc., owned by Roger Hofer, and the Real Estate Center, owned by Delores Dalke, each received a Merit Award from the Kansas Department of Com?merce as part of its ?Business Appre?ci?ation Month.?
Final reports indicated wide variation in Marion County wheat yields this summer. In the north, where rainfall was sparse, the harvest was described by Stan Utting of Agri Pro?ducers Inc. in Tampa, as ?pretty bad, yields very poor, less than half of normal.? Toward the center of the county, with more rain, the situation was better. Dick Tippin of CG&S said the yield was about 60 percent of normal with weight at 60 pounds per bushel, then 56 to 58 pounds following a period of rain.
In a recent assessment conducted by Kansas State University and Kansas Department of Aging & Disability Services, Salem Home in Hillsboro consistently exceeded state averages in the effort to create a quality living experience for its residents.
The Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce members hosted a ribbon-cutting at the new production home for Gran?nie?s Mustard, located at 301 N. Birch. Lydia Hein and her late husband, Emice, began the business on the family farm north of Hillsboro in 1990. Son Eugene took over in 2010, assisted by wife Rita. The company has grown to produce eight flavors of mustard.
A recent study conducted by the Kansas Independent College Association found that Tabor College generated $7.5 million in income to the Marion County economy during the 2012-13 fiscal year. The revenue equaled about 2.8 percent of the county?s gross regional product.
As the corn harvest began, observers said Marion County may have a record corn crop for modern times this year. Or it may be a non-record, but still a very good corn crop.
Hillsboro Ford Inc. celebrated 50 years of ownership under the Hagen family this year. The local dealership received the 50th Year Con?tinual Family Owned Dealer?ship award from Ford Motor Co. in July.
St. Luke Hospital and Living Center was designated as a Level IV trauma center by the Kansas Depart?ment of Health and Environ?ment. Hospitals that achieve Level IV trauma center designation have demonstrated a commitment to providing optimal care for those who have been seriously injured.
The corporate announcement Sept. 11 that Wal-Mart plans to build a Neigh?bor?hood Market in Hillsboro generated continuing conversation via traditional and social media. The 12,000-foot store, to be located at 605 Orchard Drive in Hillsboro Heights, is expected to open in spring 2015 and will sell primarily groceries and pharmaceuticals.
A new 40-feet by 40-feet concrete dry fertilizer bin will add 650 tons of storage to an existing building complex at Cooperative Grain & Supply?s site in the Hillsboro Industrial Park. The project should be completed in mid-Novem?ber.
Hillsboro Development Corp. and the Hillsboro Chamber of Com?merce presented general manager Cora Friesen and her family a plaque recognizing the business?s 28 years of ?outstanding service to the Hills?boro community? through Quick Flick/Radio Shack, which closed in fall.
Central National Bank President Mike Padgett presented a $20,000 donation to representatives from Tabor College Monday in the Wohl?gemuth Music Education Center on campus. ?We look forward to the completion of the Center for the Arts,? Padgett said. ?It will be a great venue for both the school and the larger community.?
Alco headquarters announced that all of its stores, including the one in Hills?boro and 21 other communities across Kansas, will be closing. Alco opened its store in Hillsboro in 1994. The closing date was not announced.
About one year after opening the Medical Plaza of Hillsboro, Newton Medical Center will close its satellite clinic at 122 N. Main St. Steve Kelly, NMC chief executive officer, said NMC decided in 2013 to open a clinic in Hillsboro not to compete with Hillsboro Community Hos?pital, but to be in a position to provide medical services to the community if HCH could not continue operating.
An hour after Laura Lachman stepped into her office as the new chief executive officer at Salem Home in Hillsboro, a team of state surveyors stepped in, too. ?I knew Salem Home was in the survey window for state surveyors,? said an upbeat Lach?man, who started Nov. 3. ?They don?t announce when they?re coming, they just walk in the door.?
Cooperative Grain & Supply and the Ampride stores in Hillsboro and Marion distributed checks Friday totaling $5,444 to four food banks in the CG&S service area.
December rains have given Marion County and area wheat producers a shot at a more abundant winter wheat crop next summer. After dry weather stressed crops with consequently lowered yields in recent years, there is a greatly improved chance of a good wheat crop harvest next summer.
Less than a year after acquiring the former Vogts HomeTown Market in Hillsboro, Heartland Foods co-owner Paul Barnes confirmed the store will close its doors Dec. 31.
Co-sponsors Marion County Economic Develop?ment and the Hillsboro Free Press announced details of a ?Thinking Outside the Big Box? free program intended to help local businesses ?enhance your small-business and compete with the 800-pound gorilla.? The Jan. 8 event will feature both an afternoon program and an evening program in the Wohlgemuth Music Educa?tion Center on the Tabor College campus.