Letters to the Editor (8-29-18)

Handling of MCCEDC is a joke

The handling of the Marion County Community Economic Development Corporation (MCCEDC) by the Marion County Commission would be laughable were it not yet another vicious hoax perpetrated on the tax payers of Marion County.

Although the group of volunteers were well intentioned in their efforts to organize an effective economic development function at the county level it stood little chance from the beginning because of the dysfunction of the county commission.

Just when we need a countywide director the most, and after coming so far, we are met with more confusion, conflict, exclusivity, and outright ignorance at the commission level. It’s no wonder the communities are pulling their financial support.

The entire effort to create MCCEDC is a colossal failure of county governance and it’s difficult to imagine that the concept could be resurrected in the future.

Marion County has descended the economic ladder for many year, passing through critical years that could be characterized as a slide through Holub’s hell and into Dallke’s desert where we now roam aimlessly about.

The outflow of population, business and services continues because there are no jobs and taxes are out of control. This leads to other devastating realities as home values plummet and services cease.

Other counties in Kansas recognized the need for a coordinating function at the county level years ago. They paid the price for a coordinator, got a board behind the effort and got busy working on ways to attract business, capitalizing on the broader networking with other counties and developing a strategic plan to provide a blueprint for growing beyond their stagnated economies.

We need a county director to begin the long arduous process of coordinating development programs with the communities and to giving people a reason to live in Marion County again.

Stan Thiessen

Hillsboro

Hall defends Hillsboro events

My name is Lena Hall, and I am the Office Manager for the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce and the Farmers’ Market Manager. I would like to take a moment to offer some personal thoughts on the farmers market in response to the letter in last week’s issue of the Hillsboro Free Press.

I took over the Market in 2014 from Joni Calam who started the Market in Hillsboro, so I had big shoes to fill! Yes, over the years our vendors have done a yo-yo effect; some weeks we have 4-5 vendors, some weeks we have 1-2. When we took over the Market, even up to mid-year last year, the criteria to be a market vendor included that items be handmade, homemade (baked goods) or homegrown. The last Thursday of the month was “Sell Anything Night” or a Garage Sale Night.

We were down to having 1 vendor a week, so last year we decided to open it up to be “Sell Anything” every week. Not only did it gain us a few more vendors, it also gained us more PEOPLE down at Market to see what was there. Early in the season this year we didn’t have any produce, which a lot of people were looking for. In the past month we’ve had cooler weather and rain, and since then we’ve had several vendors that have had everything from squash to cantaloupe. A few weeks ago we even had someone giving away FREE cucumbers!We do not charge a fee to vendors nor do we require vendors to tell us in advance if they will be at Market. For me personally it is always fun to see who comes, and to meet new Vendors. We even had a vendor this year from McPherson with fresh cracked Pecans! I bought some and they were SO GOOD!

In Regards to the Meal; The Hillsboro Community Foundation planned and served 150 Meals. That is AMAZING for a Farmers’ Market Meal, especially on the first day of school. When people ask me what to plan for, I tell them to estimate between 150-200 meals. We have some weeks where the meal vendors plan for and serve over 200! There have also been times when less than 100 meals are served. No one wants to run out of food, but the problem goes both ways. You either sell out early OR you have a rain storm or the weather is too hot, so people don’t come and in those cases you are taking food BACK to your group. What people may not realize is that all of these groups selling meals are fundraising for SOMETHING. We run the gamut from the Senior Center to Church Groups to Mission Trip Fundraisers.

To conclude my letter, to those of you who come out EACH WEEK to the Market – I want to say “Thank You” for your continued support of the Hillsboro Farmers’ Market.

To those of you who haven’t been to Market in awhile – I encourage you to come to Market this week – Grace Community Church is serving Nacho Supreme for our final Market for the Season. We have vendors ranging from Baked Goods to Used Books to Home Based Businesses and I am excited to see who will be there this week!

I also encourage groups who are in need of a fundraiser to come up with a project and sell it down at Market and I want to stress again that there is NO FEE to be a vendor at Farmers’ Market.

The Meal each week is posted under the Community Events in the Hillsboro Free Press, as well as posted on our facebook page (Find us by searching “Hillsboro Farmers’ Market, Kansas”) – AND FYI – All meals are able to be taken “to go” – don’t feel that you have to eat in the park.

The Hillsboro Farmers’ Market runs Memorial Day to Labor Day in Memorial Park on Thursdays from 5PM-7PM. (Please do note that if the Hillsboro Senior Center is serving the meal, the meal will be AT the Senior Center.) I look forward to seeing you there!

Verlenia Hall

Chamber Office Manager Hillsboro Farmers’ Market Manager