These are challenging times for rural communities in Kansas, and perhaps nationwide. Certainly, the rural vs. urban battle is real in Topeka, and as our rural population continues to dwindle as people migrate to the urban centers, the legislative disparity will only get worse.

In that context, we’re proud to produce our Annual Report for the city of Hillsboro in our Feb. 7 issue, and now our State of the City insert for Marion in this current issue. The articles feature the work and accomplishments of city government, local school districts and colleges and offers information and insight about the achievements of these two small towns in a county of smaller towns.

Please don’t ignore the roster of business capsules that you’ll find in these publications. The roster of local business profiles isn’t complete—although we wish it was, and it is always our goal. By reviewing the capsules from participating businesses, you get a feel for the economic lifeblood that keeps our communities alive and prospering—if not always financially, then in a deeply held determination to serve their neighbors with the goods and services they need. In turn, our patronage of these business helps to ensure that our communities will have the revenue to provide for the public good into the future. —DR