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Cause still unknown for Cedar Street fire

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Two investigators with the Kansas State Fire Marshal?s office were unable to determine the cause of an early morning shed fire Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 309 S. Cedar, Hillsboro.

Based on this new information, Hillsboro Police Chief Dan Kinning said Thursday that his office will be assisting state and local fire officials in determining the ?exact? cause of the blaze, and whether it should be ruled accidental or suspicious.

With four structural fires in about six weeks, Hillsboro Fire Chief Ben Steketee said it was a good idea to call in the experts.

?We are not suspecting foul play,? he said. ?It?s more of a precaution.?

HHS night to recognize wrestlers of all ages

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Local wrestling fans are in for an unprecedented treat next Thursday, Feb. 11, when the Hillsboro High School, Hills?boro Middle School and Kids Club wrestling programs will host ?Trojan Wrestling: Past, Present and Future? at Brown Gymnasium.

The event will combine home duals for both the high school and middle school wrestling teams, with programs to honor people involved with Hillsboro wrestling since its inception.

With the HHS squad hosting only one varsity event this season, head coach Scott O?Hare saw the unique scheduling as an opportunity.

Letting kids get a feel for history

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It was all smiles at Peabody-Burns Elementary School last Friday as students got a hands-on history lesson from Pioneer Living.

Pioneer Living is a traveling history exhibit for children that travels to more than 200 schools each year. The exhibit, which has been traveling the circuit for about 15 years now, teaches children about activities at the time of the pioneers, such as baking and washing clothes.

?The big point is to let the kids learn about history in a very hands-on way,? said Tammy Hess, owner and sole host of the exhibit.

County waits for funding ruling by AG

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In the next few days, the Marion County commissioners could have an answer from the state on whether their latest plan to pay for a new jail will be approved.

The funding proposal is before the Kansas Attorney General; if it is ruled to be constitutional, every property-tax payer in the county could pay a $10 fee per month for the next 10 years, including commercial, agricultural and residential entities, according to Commissioner Dan Holub.

Fire destroys Lehigh house

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Faulty wiring was blamed for the destruction of a house at 211 N. Prospect in Lehigh during the early morning hours Thursday. The owners, Rick and Gina Mounts, were grateful to have escaped with their lives.

Fortunately, the couple?s four children were spending the night with other family members.

Lehigh Fire Chief Brian Unrau said that within minutes of the smoke alarm going off, the entire main floor of the house was fully engulfed in flames.

?A neighbor called in the fire about 3:20 a.m.,? he said, ?and minutes later flames were billowing out from the east end of the house.?

Marion High alums return to raise funds for their school

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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

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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

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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.