Arts and Crafts Fair highlights weekend

How great was that!

What a great weekend for our annual Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Fair! While it was hot in the afternoon, it seemed like we had people shopping well up to 4:00 PM. With 269 vendor booths and 24 concession stands, a lot of business took place in a short period of time. According to fair manager Brenda Hiebert-Walls “…I think it may have been bigger this year than before.” If that holds up, then over 40,000 people will have visited our “fair” city (pun intended). That is a lot of good exposure for a town our size. I want to personally thank Brenda and her team for putting on a great fair and being positive ambassadors for Hillsboro!

I would also like to thank our City Staff for the work they do to get Hillsboro ready for the fair. There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to get things ready for the fair and then put things back in place when it’s all over. To be honest, I had concerns about how the construction on D Street might affect the event, and I am proud to say that our city street crew and our contractor, Pearson Construction, did a great job in getting most of the cones out of the way so that traffic could flow. Thanks to you all for helping Hillsboro look and be our best for our guests!

Power on

Several of our City Council members and I were able to attend the KPP (Kansas Power Pool) Fall Planning Retreat on Friday the 14th and Saturday the 15th. You may not be aware, but our City Administrator, Larry Paine, is serving as President of KPP this year. Larry and the KPP staff put on a great retreat and topics discussed included; State of the Industry, Commercial Solar, Electric Vehicles, Future Power Systems and other topics related to electric power generation. As I hope most of you know, Hillsboro is a member of KPP, and as such, purchases our electric power through the buying power of this group of Kansas cities.

I was amazed at how far renewable energy sources (wind and solar) have come relative to the mix of power options we have available. It won’t be long until we have enough power to generate all of our current needs through these sources… but, because the sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow, we cannot (and may never) fully depend on them. We learned about “bridge” generation that can be provided by instant on, instant off generators that can be fueled from multiple sources (natural gas, ethanol or diesel). Also interesting is how many options there are for electric vehicles; HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicle), PHEV (Pluggable Hybrid Electric Vehicle) – these both combine electric and internal combustion technology, and then there is 100% pure electric vehicles (EV) that run entirely on electric power (mostly utilizing power stored in batteries).

For cars that require an electric plug to provide a charge, there may be opportunities for communities like Hillsboro to become part of the “electric network” that allows travelers to cross the country using their 100% electric cars.

I can tell you there was a lot of information presented and a lot for us to think about as we move forward. I know there will be challenges, but even more I am excited about the opportunities!

Slow down

I mentioned the D Street project earlier, but I want to wrap up this week’s column with a request. Please, please use extra caution when driving through our construction areas. I witnessed someone blow through the 4-way stop at D & Ash Saturday night. We have construction workers, children, Tabor students, and others that need to cross the street. Please slow down and pay extra attention while we get this project completed!