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Marion High alums return to raise funds for their school


A group of recent Marion High School graduates, home for the holidays, performed three one-act plays earlier this month?not only for everyone?s enjoyment, but because they understand the importance of giving back to their community.

Some 75 people attended the show Jan. 9 with money from the $2 admission going toward the purchase of new microphones, said Jan Killough, MHS theater director.

?I am so proud of these students for giving up their Christmas break (to help their high school),? she said. ?Their recent performance was delightful, and they had so much fun making it happen.?

Area districts fight cuts in various ways


Changes in school finance at the state level have been happening so quickly that area school districts barely find time to adapt to the reductions before the next wave of cuts are announced.

Shortening the number of school days, freezing salaries or cutting staff are only some of the tough choices area school districts are making to deal with the state?s ongoing economic crisis and resulting shortfalls in school finance.

The most recent hit came in November when Gov. Mark Parkinson announced the minimum basic state aid per pupil would drop to $4,012 because state revenue fell short of projections.

Long ride may be over for a fair carnival, planners say


Without a generous outside benefactor, don?t expect to see a carnival at the Marion County Fair this summer?or perhaps ever again.

After talking to carnival owners at the annual Kansas State Fairs and Festivals Association gathering earlier this month, local fair officials are convinced that attracting a carnival in the foreseeable future is as likely as harvesting wheat in January.

?We talked to four companies, and the combination of things we are up against are just overwhelming,? said Chuck McLinden, president of the Marion County Fair Board.

The reasons are almost as plentiful as the floating yellow ducks at one of those carnival games.

But it boils down to money.

Student artist wins Junction City competition


Tabor College senior Emily Railsback recently won the 2010 Premier Artist Award determined each year by the Junction City Art Council.

The contest is open to any college senior from Kansas who is planning to pursue a career in art.

As the winner, chosen by a panel of established artists and art professionals, Railsback will have her art featured at the art council?s annual Premier Ball.


Schools prepared to fight for funding


If the Kansas Legislature continues on its projected funding track through 2012, the state?s public school system as we know it will collapse.

That?s the grim assessment of USD 410 superintendent Steve Noble in response to a projected reduction in state aid for 2012 that is 22 percent below the amount passed into law in 2008 as the state?s minimum responsibility.

?There are districts that are shutting things down, going bare minimum of hours, going bare minimum on facilities, maintenance and grounds, and districts asking for state dollars to get through a pay period,? Noble said.

?Those things are becoming reality and if we continue on that (path), the system will implode.?


Creativity needed for budget solutions, Brookens says


It?s no surprise that Bob Brookens sees the state budget as the high-profile issue during the 2010 legislative session, which started Monday.

But the 70th District?s representative from Marion, now in his second year in Topeka, said he is hopeful this year?s House of Representatives can be more efficient in dealing with the state?s budget woes than it was last year.

Brookens said he gives ?high marks? to Gov. Mark Parkin?son for the unilateral budget cuts he made in late November in response to what was then the state?s latest projection of a revenue shortfall.

A year ago, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius left it up to the legislators to make those tough cuts. The process absorbed the energy of lawmakers the full first two months of the session.

Brookens knows Parkinson?s cuts don?t mean legislators will a have free pass this session.

Revenue projections last week indicate the state budget still will be in the red by almost $359 million this year. Since spring 2008, lawmakers and the governor have already cut nearly $1 billion from a state budget that once stood at $6.2 billion.

City waits on KBI lab for rape evidence


While some people are able to close the book on 2009 and focus their attention on the new year, authorities at the Hillsboro Police Department won?t be doing that just yet.

With five open rape cases, one dating back to December 2008, Hillsboro Police Chief Dan Kinning said his office is committed to following all leads and exhausting all possibilities in examining and testing forensic evidence.

?None of the five cases involve the same person,? Kinning said, ?but in each case the victim knew the assailant.?

Witnesses, in each case, have been interviewed, forensic examinations completed and search warrants, when necessary, carried out. But lab results are still pending.

The primary holdup involves getting results from the Kansas Bureau of Investi?gation, he said.

Hillsboro, along with most towns in Kansas except for larger metropolitan areas, rely on Topeka?s KBI crime lab for analysis of DNA and other evidence collected at the scenes.

?The problem is the KBI crime lab is backlogged by more than 800 cases,? Kinning said.

Firefighters battle sub-zero weather to save homes from flames


A fire in the early hours of Thursday morning severely damaged a house at 602 S. Lincoln in Hillsboro.

The owners and residents, Timothy and Asia Frye and their 18-month-old daughter, escaped without injury after being awaken by smoke alarms.

The call to the Hillsboro Fire Depart?ment came in at 1:36 a.m. HFD volunteers arrived on the scene within two minutes and found the garage fully engulfed, according to Chief Ben Steketee, who was first on the scene. He said by the time he arrived neighbors were already coming to the aid of the Fryes.

?This was an extreme situation,? Steketee said. ?Not only do you have the extreme cold, but you have a fire on top of it and a family with a youngster. All the neighbors were banding together to help out. I was really impressed by that.?

Weibert enjoying being at the center of KSU action


Wade Weibert has been living a dream.

The 2006 Hillsboro High School grad?s football skills have provided for his education in business management at Kansas State University.

And they?ve unfolded a wide range of opportunities: to learn from a legendary coach, to compete against players of the highest calibre and to visit places many of us recognize only by television.

Weibert first played at Butler Community College, where helped contributed to the Grizzlies? co-national championship in December 2007. He transferred to KSU the following spring, then was red-shirted for the 2008 season under coach Ron Prince.