Letters (February 7, 2018)

Handling of funds questioned

I would like to educate the community as to how commissioners Randy Dallke and Kent Becker think it is OK to hand over $120,000 to the economic development committee treasurer, Mike Beneke, to hire a new director for the EDC. They will get another $40,000 later.

Treasurer Mike Beneke has control over all this money until a director is hired; he was handed all this money solely on trust. How many banks do you suppose give out money on trust alone?

Commissioner Novak thought the money should have been held in an account, not handed over to Mr. Beneke. When I asked about it, I was told by Com­missioner Dallke that we have to trust our Marion County people, which really isn’t a very good answer.

Commissioner Novak tried to stop this action until there was some accountability, contracts, or any kind of plan, before this money was handed over with no strings attached.

I am appalled that this was allowed to go on. No other citizen or board in this county is handed that kind of money with no regard for how it is going to be handled or spent.

Why is a volunteer board allowed to hire a director for our county? Shouldn’t this person have to go through the same hiring process as any other department head?

Hiring a county administrator was placed on the ballot this fall and probably didn’t pass because it would have cost so much to pay for said administrator.

Mike Beneke talked about paying this person $80,000 per year and getting an office to put them in. They also want to hire a part-time director. Seriously!

I just don’t get the idea that it is OK for a volunteer board to hire a director, make all these decisions about pay, a place to put them, and all that comes with setting up a new office. I would rather have spent the money for a county administrator who would have been able to work with all the boards of volunteers and oversee the work being done.

This director will only work on economic development. We sure aren’t going to get as much from an economic development director as we would have for an administrator.

I appreciate Commis­sioner Novak trying so hard to stop this from happening without any kind of plans, accountability or anything else—just a good ole boy handshake once again.

I would like to ask you, as a citizens, to start coming to the commission meetings, watching it on YouTube, the local channel on Eagle.com or you can go to mctv20.com and watch it there. It is much easier to find on mctv20.com.

If you would get involved and see our commission at work, you would see how our money is just thrown around without much planning, forethought or accountability before being handed over to any committee or citizen.

The motto for Marion County should be, “Throw money at it, that will fix it.”

Thank-you from a concerned citizen.

Yvonne Cushenbery

Tampa

New basketball courts in the park

On behalf of the Hills­boro Outdoor Basketball Courts Committee, we would like to thank the Hillsboro Community Foundation for its grant of $2,500 and additional support.

This money will go toward our goal to raise $35,000 to pour two 40-foot by 60-foot concrete basketball courts with four adjustable goals. We also plan to put up lighting for the courts, and have painted lines on the courts.

If we can reach our financial goal by the end of May, we hope to see community members “shooting hoops” on these new courts by late spring or early summer of this year.

Anyone who would like to contribute toward this project can make a tax-deduct­ible gift to the Hillsboro Community Foundation, earmarked “Outdoor Basketball Courts.” This can be sent to Cynthia Fleming, HCF director, at P.O. Box 273, Hillsboro KS 67063.

Thanks for helping make Hillsboro a more fun and enjoyable place to live.

Doug Sisk

Hillsboro Rec Commission

Glen Ratzlaff

Courts Committee chair

Wind farm would

undermine refuge

As a visitor of Maxwell Wildlife Refuge, how would you feel about your experience on our prairie with 400-foot wind turbines looming in the background? From the top of our rolling hills, you can easily see 10 to 15 miles in all directions.

Recently, a 13-tower wind farm located six miles northeast of Maxwell was approved by McPherson County commissioners. We have been told the energy company is preparing for additional towers within three miles of our northwest boundary.

Not only would (the towers) be imposing, but the whole purpose of the Max­well family donating the property to Kansas Wildlife and Parks to manage, was to preserve a piece of Kansas prairie so future generations would experience what a natural Kansas landscape was like prior to white settlement.

The whole premise of wind turbine development runs entirely counter to that purpose.

Wind farms all over the world have been shown to cause bird mortality. Birds are killed by collision with the towers’ moving rotors. Studies show the prairie chicken are disturbed enough that they abandon the area for other often lower quality habitat.

The economic and tourism benefits of Maxwell Wildlife Refuge brings to McPherson county thousands of visitors annually, enjoying activities that help keep or citizens familiar with and tied to the landscape and history of their forefathers.

We have been told by the McPherson Convention and Visitor Bureau that Maxwell is the No. 1 draw for McPher­son County.

We are asking for your support by writing to the McPherson County commissioners and energy companies listed below, with your thoughts and concern as a visitor or friend of Maxwell Wildlife Refuge.

Feel free to contact The Friends of Maxwell at 620-628-4455 if you have questions, ideas or concerns.

You can email your comments to Friendsofmax­well@yahoo.com.

You can contact the McPherson County commissioners by email as well:

◼ Linus Linaweaver, Linus@McPhersoncounty.ks.us

◼ Keith Becker, KBeck@McPhersoncounty.ks.us

◼ Ron Loomis, rloomis@McPhersoncounty.ks.us

The energy companies are NextEra Energy Inc., 700 Universe Blvd., Juno Beach, FL 33408; and Trade Wind Energy, 16105 W. 113th, Lenexa, KS 66219

If do not wish to take the time and expense of mailing your letter, please mail it to our physical address or email one copy to: friendsofmaxwell@yahoo.com. We will make sure it gets to all of the above.

Thanking you in advance.

Betty Schmidt, president

The Friends of Maxwell

Maxwell Wildlife Refuge

2565 Pueblo Road

Canton, KS 67428

620-628-4455