Coffey County schools lose 29 students

BURLINGTON — Enrollment numbers are looking up at LeRoy-Gridley USD 245 and Burlington USD 244. As of Sept. 20, the official date for reporting school enrollment in Kansas, LeRoy- Gridley USD 245 gained 18 students and Burlington USD 244 gained 2.
The news for Burlington wasn’t as good as last year, when the district gained 11 students. However, LeRoy- Gridley USD 245 gained back all but one of the 19 students they lost last year.

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Governer appoints Witteman to Fourth Judicial District Court bench

TOPEKA — Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, Wednesday, announced the appointment of Douglas P. Witteman to the Fourth District Court of the State of Kansas. Witteman will fill a vacancy on the court created by the retirement of Judge Thomas H. Sachse.
Witteman resides in LeRoy and currently serves as the Coffey County Attorney, a position he has held since January 1997. He also serves as attorney for the cities of New Strawn, Waverly and Gridley.
“Douglas brings both a breadth and depth of legal knowledge and experience that will make him a strong asset to the Fourth District Court,” said Governor Brownback. “I am confident that he will serve the community well.”

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Celebrate Harvest Day with 'American Pride'

HARTFORD — Hartford will be bustling with activity all day Saturday, as the town celebrates its 24th annual Harvest Day. The event promises fun, food and activities for all ages. This year’s theme is “American Pride.”
New events for 2014 include a tour of St. Mary’s Church and parsonage at 1 p.m. and a feature event, the Hartford High School Jaguars’ Hook ‘N’ Cook Smokeoff. The Hook ‘N’ Cook Smokeoff will be held Friday and Saturday. It will be a meat and fish ‘stravaganza. Registration will be Friday, and the competition is limited to 30 teams. Competition will feature several categories, including chicken, pork rib, pork butt, brisket and fish. Entry fees will be assessed per category or per four, five or six categories. For participating teams, standard lots will be 20-by-20 lots without electricity. Electricity is available for a fee, as are additional 20-by-20 lots. For more information about the Hook ‘N’ Cook Smokeoff, contact Lewis Whitson or Aaric Davis at (620) 392-5515.

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Ceremony honors Civil War hero

BIG CREEK CEMETERY — A local Civil War hero was remembered Saturday at Big Creek Cemetery, southwest of Burlington. Those attending the morning ceremony gathered around James S. Cunningham’s gravesite for a service conducted by the Emporia chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution.
Chapter Regent Martha Hager led the service honoring Cunningham, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his distinguished gallantry in action on May 22, 1863 at Vicksburg, Miss. The Medal of Honor certificate recognizes Cunningham as a member of “a volunteer storming party that made a most gallant assault upon the enemy’s works.”

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'Catfish Capital' trophy to be part of display

BURLINGTON — Once tucked away in the City of Burlington’s vault for safekeeping, a trophy designed for the winner of the “Catfish Capital of the World” contest between Burlington and Chetopa will eventually be displayed at the Burlington Branch of the Coffey County Library.
A story in the Dec. 13, 1966, issue of The Daily Republican (reprinted below) tells about the trophy being “lost, strayed or stolen!” The trophy, with the inscription “Catfish Capital Burlington, Ks.,” surfaced last Monday on the desk of Coffey County Library Administrator Brandon Hines. The trophy was left anonymously, while Hines was out of town the prior week.

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Three recent accidents caused by teens apparently violating license restrictions

BURLINGTON — Even the most experienced drivers have an accident once in a while, but there are good reasons the State of Kansas has enacted graduated driver license requirements for inexperienced teen drivers. On Aug. 16, Sept. 4 and Sept. 7, three separate accidents occurred in Coffey County by teens apparently driving in violation of their license restrictions.
The first accident occurred at 11:10 p.m. Aug. 16 when a 14-year-old Burlington boy, driving on a farm permit (14- and 15-year-old drivers), said he swerved to miss a deer and lost control of his vehicle, which rolled. He had five passengers in his car; all of them were 14- and 15-year-old friends. Farm permits require the driver to only drive to or from farm jobs, employment or other farm-related work, to or from school, or anytime and anywhere with a licensed adult. The driver may not transport any non-sibling minor passengers. He and his mother were issued citations.

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Parade includes 12-foot catfish; Burlington takes lead in catfish derby

BURLINGTON — In 1966, Burlington’s newspaper, The Daily Republican, featured a number of photographs and stories about a battle between the towns of Burlington and Chetopa to claim the claim the title, “Catfish Capital of the World.”
Both towns are located on the Neosho River. Burlington is located several miles downstream from John Redmond Dam and Reservoir, which was dedicated in 1965. Chetopa is located several miles from the Kansas-Oklahoma border.

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Taxpayers to pay slightly more next year

BURLINGTON — Taxpayers in the Burlington USD 244 school district will pay slightly more on the school portion of their tax bill next year, as reflected in the budget passed last month by the Burlington USD 244 Board of Education.
At its Aug. 11 regular monthly meeting, the board passed the budget, as published in the July 22 and July 29 issues of The Coffey County Republican. In addition, the board unanimously voted to establish the 2014-15 supplemental general fund at 30 percent of the general fund budget and, also, to establish the 2014-15 capital outlay fund at 4.0 mills.

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Weekend event promises lots of family fun

BURLINGTON — The Coffey County OK Kids event will be the place to be this weekend, Sept. 6-7. The family-oriented event, centered at John Redmond Reservoir’s Riverside West, promises a rain or shine good time and will include fishing, canoeing, archery, horse rides, trap shooting, boat rides, music, magic, food, hayrack rides and much more. And best of all, it is free and open to anyone, thanks to the monetary donations and volunteer hours given by individuals, organizations and businesses.
Coffey County has participated in the statewide event every year since the Kansas Wildscape Foundation started it in 2001, with help from local recreation departments and state parks. The goal of OK Kids, or Outdoor Kansas for Kids, is to help show Kansas children the beauty of nature, an appreciation for nature and a desire to seek out more nature in their lives.

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LeRoy teen ejected in rollover

LeROY — A 14-year-old LeRoy teen, Chance Yoho, was taken by air ambulance to The University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City Wednesday morning after he was ejected in a rollover accident. The incident occurred at 7:08 a.m. on 12th Road, ½ mile west of Wayside Road. As of Thursday morning, Chance was in critical condition at the hospital.
According to the accident report, Tyler Shane Yoho, 18, LeRoy, was westbound on 12th Road in a 1996 Jeep, registered to Corrine Sue Adcock, Burlington. Tyler said he swerved to miss an animal crossing the road and lost control of the vehicle. The Jeep left the road to the left and went airborne, rolling several times over a distance of 207 feet. The vehicle came to rest in the south ditch. Chance, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was ejected, landing 76 feet beyond the vehicle in the north ditch.

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Governor to choose between Witteman, Jones

TOPEKA — The 4th Judicial District Nominating Commission sent the names of two candidates for district court judge to Gov. Sam Brownback, who has 60 days to decide who will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of District Court Judge Thomas H. Sachse.
The two candidates are Douglas Paul Witteman and Brandon Lance Jones.

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'Pink It Out' raising awareness for all types of cancer

BURLINGTON — What began as a breast cancer awareness event, held in conjunction with Burlington’s Taste of Fall Festival in 2013, has been expanded as its own event to raise awareness for all types of cancer.
Pink It Out, a 5K and one-mile run/walk, will be held Saturday morning, Sept. 27, in the municipal parking lot east of the Burlington Fire Station. Registration and packet pick up will begin at 8 a.m., followed by a best-dressed contest at 8:30 and a survivor ceremony at 8:45. The race will start at 9. At 10:30, awards will be presented and the event will conclude with the release of balloons at 10:45.

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New teachers settle into classrooms

Area students and staff returning to school will find several newly hired teachers and other certified staff members. LeRoy-Gridley USD 245 and Southern Lyon County USD 252 students and staff returned to school last week. Three new teachers and a school social worker have joined the staffs in LeRoy and Gridley, while Hartford High School welcomes a new Spanish teacher.
New certified staff at Burlington, Lebo and Waverly will be introduced in a future edition of The Republican. Burlington schools will open for the 2014-15 school year on Aug. 20, and Lebo and Waverly schools will be back in session Aug. 22.

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New area administrators taking helm

Not only are students facing new and unfamiliar territory in the next few days, four principals are ready to face unique challenges each school poses. The new administrators are Richard Burkdoll, K-12 principal at Lebo; Don Hilliard, principal at Burlington High School; Darla Long, principal at Burlington Elementary School; and Russell Mildward, K-12 principal at LeRoy and Gridley schools.

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Council adopts $10.7 million budget

BURLINGTON — The Burlington City Council adopted the city’s 2015 budget following a two-minute public hearing held during the regular city council meeting Wednesday night.
The 2015 budget, totaling $10.7 million, will raise $614,790 through ad valorem tax, which is $7,125 more than this year. The owner of a $100,000 home will pay $440.11 for the city portion of their tax bill in 2015, which will amount to 38.270 mills, an increase from 36.899 mills. The mill levy could increase or decrease slightly when final valuation figures are determined by Nov. 1.

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'Fiber to the Home' coming to Burlington

BURLINGTON — Many Burlington residents will soon be saying, “Sign me up!” when they hear about a new fiber optic service that will soon be available. Beginning in the fall, MT Networks, Madison, will offer Internet speeds starting at 30 Mbps and ranging up to 100 Mbps. They will also offer television and telephone through a fiber optic network.
“Fiber optic cable requires less maintenance than metallic cable,” said Operations Manager Rob McDonald. “We plan to bury our cable in the ground, so regardless of the weather, your service will not be affected. We will literally be delivering all our services at the speed of light. We can provide a superior service at a competitive price. We will be giving people what they need and want.”

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School district budget hearings begin Monday

Taxpayers in two area school districts will see the school district portion of their tax bill increase for the 2014-15 school year, while two school districts will see their taxes decrease.
The biggest decrease, at 3.560 mills, will be in Southern Lyon County USD 252, followed by a 1.039 mill decrease in Lebo-Waverly USD 243.
Taxpayers in Burlington USD 244 will see a slight 0.108 mill increase, while taxpayers in LeRoy-Gridley USD 245 will see a 1.987 mill increase.
School boards for the three districts in Coffey County will hold budget hearings Monday, Aug. 11, which is their normal meeting night. The Southern Lyon County USD 252 school board will hold a budget hearing on Aug. 18.
Proposed budgets for Coffey County, area cities and school districts covered by The Republican were published in recent issues of the newspaper. A story summarizing the county budget and city budgets appeared in Friday’s edition of The Republican.

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Slight mill levy increase proposed for 2015 budget

BURLINGTON — Coffey County Commissioners set 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 11, as the public hearing for the county’s proposed 2015 budget. The hearing will be held in the County Commission Chambers, Room 201, in the Coffey County Courthouse.
The budget is published in today’s public notices section.

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School board reorganizes, hires band teachers

WAVERLY — The Lebo-Waverly USD 243 Board of Education met in regular session on Monday, July 21 and completed business in preparation for the coming school year.
The board hired Brad Harzman as Lebo K-12 music teacher and Nancy Rice as Waverly K-12 music teacher. They accepted the resignation of Steve Lamer as a para and assistant Lebo junior high basketball coach. Cammy Onek, who was hired last month as Lebo Student Support Services person, was approved as Lebo athletic director. These decisions came after the board met for 15 minutes in executive session to discuss personnel matters of nonelected personnel, with Superintendent Ted Vannocker present.

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Newspaper to deactivate Burlington carrier routes

BURLINGTON — A Tonganoxie competition barbecue team preparing for this weekend’s Sam’s Club National BBQ won the 10th annual WildBlue BBQ, held Friday and Saturday at Kelley Park.
Truebud BBQ was named grand champion after placing first in chicken and brisket, third in pork ribs and 16th in pork. Pellet Envy received reserve grand champion and 777 BBQ placed third. Forty-one teams competed in the event, which is organized annually by Lyon-Coffey Electric Cooperative staff and volunteers.

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Truebud BBQ wins 10th annual WildBlue BBQ

BURLINGTON — A Tonganoxie competition barbecue team preparing for this weekend’s Sam’s Club National BBQ won the 10th annual WildBlue BBQ, held Friday and Saturday at Kelley Park.
Truebud BBQ was named grand champion after placing first in chicken and brisket, third in pork ribs and 16th in pork. Pellet Envy received reserve grand champion and 777 BBQ placed third. Forty-one teams competed in the event, which is organized annually by Lyon-Coffey Electric Cooperative staff and volunteers.

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Dole visits Burlington on homecoming tour

BURLINGTON — Bob Dole did not require an introduction when he visited the Burlington Branch of the Coffey County Library Tuesday afternoon.
Dole has scheduled town hall meetings throughout the state to show his appreciation to the Kansans who elected him repeatedly to represent them in Washington, D.C.

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$25,000 to be awarded at WildBlue BBQ

BURLINGTON — Celebrating 10 years of food and fun, this year's WildBlue BBQ organizers will award $10,000 to competitors in the barbecue cook-off Saturday, and will give $15,000 in scholarships to 2014 Coffey County graduates who are continuing their education. Both dollar amounts are the largest in event history.
The public is invited to the 10th Annual WildBlue BBQ and Expo Friday and Saturday at Kelley Park. Friday afternoon, the fun begins with a craft fair and vendor expo. Booths will be set up in the 4-H Building. As competition barbecue teams begin setting up Friday, snow cones will be sold by the Southern Coffey County Cheerleaders.

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County Fair to kick off July 24

BURLINGTON — The 134th Coffey County Fair is just over one week away. The longest consecutively held fair in Kansas will begin a five-day run on Wednesday, when a flurry of entries and judging will take place in the morning.
This year’s fair will feature several exciting, new events as well as several returning events and scheduling changes for a few of the traditional events.

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118th annual Ohio Days begins Friday

WAVERLY — The 118th annual Ohio Days begins Friday and will feature five days of activities, kicking off with a softball tournament. Ottaway Amusement Company
will offer rides and fun activities Monday and Tuesday, with wristbands available both nights.
The Ohio Days 2K-5K run/ walk is Saturday morning. Registration begins at 7 a.m. and the race begins at 8. Register online at http://goo.gl/ LWh8p or contact Darren or
Dana Kistner, (785) 733-2867, to take part in the run/walk. A dance will be held 9 p.m. to midnight in the city park, with Stan Milliken serving as DJ.

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Area public fireworks displays planned

Three cities in Coffey County will have public fireworks displays to celebrate Independence Day. One display will be held on Friday, July 4, and two displays will be held on Saturday, July 5.
In Lebo, Rainbow Fireworks will present a public fireworks display Saturday at dusk at Ye Olde Park at the west end of the city. The fireworks display will follow a parade slated for 8 p.m. in downtown Lebo. Double Take Productions will provide entertainment at the west park shelter house, from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. Lebo’s three-day Stars and Stripes Extravaganza will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A schedule of events appears in today’s issue of The Republican.

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Cities have rules about shooting fireworks

Area fireworks stands opened for business today, the first day fireworks can legally be sold in Kansas. Fireworks can legally be sold in Kansas through July 5.
While fireworks are popular in celebrating Independence Day, users should be aware of certain state and city laws. Fireworks users should take precautions and avoid fire hazards when shooting fireworks.

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Walmart Express planned for Burlington

BURLINGTON — A Walmart spokesperson has confirmed the retail giant has plans to build a scaled-down version of the store in Burlington.
“We’re pleased to announce that we are planning a Walmart Express in Burlington to better serve our area customers,” said Delia Garcia, Walmart director of communications. “The Walmart Express complements the services provided by the Supercenter and Neighborhood Market and gives us an opportunity to serve our
customers closer to home.”

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NRC meeting about Wolf Creek performance

NEW STRAWN — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will meet with Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corp. (WCNOC) officials on June 24 to discuss the agency’s annual review of safety performance at the Wolf Creek nuclear plant.
The public meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the New Strawn Community Center, 319 West Getz, New Strawn. In addition to the plant’s annual review, NRC officials have asked for an update of WCNOC’s efforts to address long-standing issues with the cooling water system.

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Vannocker hired to lead district

WAVERLY — The Lebo-Waverly USD 243 Board of Education ended their search for a new superintendent when they met June 9 in regular session. The board approved a three-year contract with former superintendent Ted Vannocker. It is hoped that Vannocker, who has been retired, can solve the district’s financial
woes.
The board met in special session on May 12, 14, 15 and 21 for interviews and to discuss nonelected personnel. The Kansas Association of School Boards led the search for a new superintendent and received 40 applications for the position. The school board interviewed four applicants on May 12 and 14. Vannocker
was interviewed on May 21.

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Skillman Construction receives regional award for service

BURLINGTON — Kansas Department of Commerce has recognized Skillman Construction as one of 24 Regional Business Excellence Award winners as part of Business Appreciation Month, the Department’s annual celebration of Kansas businesses and their contributions to their communities and the state economy.
The Coffey County Board of Commissioners recognized Mike and Jo Skillman with a plaque presentation Monday morning. Also participating in the presentation were Kansas Department of Commerce Southeast Regional Project Manager Craig VanWey and Coffey County Economic Development Director Kelli Higgins, who nominated Skillman Construction for the award.

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Kick off summer with a day of fun activities

NEW STRAWN – Strawnfest, an annual daylong event, will feature fishing, food, a tractor drive, a car show, entertainment and much more Saturday, June 14, in New Strawn.
New for 2014 are the Strawnfest 5K, 97.7 The Dawg remote broadcast, Skillman Construction’s 25th anniversary open house, Skillman Construction Headquarter’s ribbon cutting, chicken drop bingo and several children’s activities.

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Petition seeks vote on more USD 244 taxing authority

BURLINGTON — A Burlington man is circulating a petition opposing last month's action by the Burlington USD 244 Board of Education to double its taxing authority for the district's capital outlay fund.
The board has been levying 4 mills annually through a resolution that is renewed every five years. At its May 12 meeting, the board voted to increase its taxing authority to 8 mills — permanently.

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Franchise agreement approved

BURLINGTON — The Burlington City Council recently approved a franchise agreement with a new telecommunications local exchange service. The council also received an update from the city’s engineer about the delay in getting a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system operating properly. The system is part of the new sewer system improvements.
Governing body present for the regular May 21 meeting were Mayor Gene Merry and council members Bill Scott, Stan Luke, Lewis Lenard, Forrest Rhodes and Jerilyn Curtiss. Council member Jane Griffith was not present.

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Burlington consumers under water warning

BURLINGTON — The Kansas Water Office has directed the City of Burlington to declare a water emergency warning and to take necessary action as required by the city’s Water Emergency Operation/Supply and Drought Contingency Plan.
City officials declared a water emergency warning on Wednesday.

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Memorial Day observed at Lincoln Cemetery

LEBO — The 26th annual Memorial Day ceremony in Lincoln Cemetery was held on Monday, May 26, by the Lebo American Legion Post No. 323 and the Legion Auxiliary.
Ed Fisher led the ceremony. Ed VanVickle placed the poppy wreath on the grave of Lebo’s Unknown Soldier.
This year’s color guard included Terry Thomas, Ron Baker, Brian Smith, Phil George, who carried the United States flag, J.B. McCreary, who carried the Kansas flag and Martin Jones, who carried the Legion Post flag and prayed the Memorial Day prayer.

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Graduates told to 'believe in yourself and enjoy the journey'

LEBO — The Lebo High School Class of 2014 graduated 29 seniors and promoted 19 eighth-graders into high school on Sunday afternoon, May 18.
Shelby Holmes, Haley Harrison and Whitney Sloan, the three valedictorians, stood on the stage together and gave the valedictorian address, in which they thanked teachers, family, friends and the community for the help they received through the years. Holmes talked about the past and shared a few highlights of their years as students at Lebo.

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Speakers share class memories, look to the future

BURLINGTON — Fourteen members of the Southern Coffey County High School Class of 2014 received their diplomas during commencement Saturday in the SCC Gymnasium. The special occasion was a chance for the class to remember their time together, thank those who positively influenced their lives and prepare for the next chapter of their lives. A number of scholarships were also presented.
Principal Thad Thurston introduced valedictorians Aaron True and Miranda Alumbaugh and salutatorians Breanna Isch and Chenae Newkirk, who prepared speeches for the occasion.

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Board wants to increase its taxing authority

BURLINGTON — The Burlington USD 244 Board of Education on Monday adopted a resolution that will double its taxing authority for capital outlay funds. The resolution, printed in the public notices section on page 10, authorizes the board to “make a continuous and permanent annual tax levy in an amount not to exceed 8 mills.”
Capital outlay funds are typically used for such expenditures as construction, remodeling projects, replacement of boilers and the purchase of buses and vehicles.

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'Hard work, dedication' led to Class of '14 commencement

BURLINGTON — Fifty-four members of the Burlington High School Class of 2014 wrote the final sentences to a big chapter in their life, during a commencement ceremony held Saturday in the BHS gymnasium.
“Today, you also begin writing the next chapter, and it will be even bigger,” BHS Principal Shawn Thomas told the class. “I am sure it will see as much success and achievement as the one before.”

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Plan, or no plan, top seniors reminded about simple things

LeROY — Many Coffey County seniors who were honored Wednesday night at a Senior Honors Banquet have a plan, once they graduate from high school. Some do not have a plan. Others may think they have a plan.
“If you don’t have a plan, that is really OK,” said Jenny Nash, a 2014 Kansas Regional Teacher of the Year who spoke at the banquet held at the LeRoy Community Building. The Coffey County Chamber of Commerce hosts the annual event that recognizes Coffey County seniors who maintain at least a 3.5 grade point average for seven consecutive semesters.

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Waverly wind farm constuction slated to begin by end of year

BURLINGTON — Construction of a 200 megawatt wind farm in northeastern Coffey County should be in full swing, this time next year. Electricity is expected to be flowing to customers in 2016.
Josh Bohach, project manager for EDP Renewables North America, spoke last week to more than 20 members of the Coffey County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) about the construction timeline and potential health and safety issues posed by the wind farm.

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Board commits to long-term care

BURLINGTON — Long-term care will remain a part of Coffey Health System. The CHS Board of Trustees made the decision to stay in the long-term care business during a special meeting Tuesday night, following more than an hour of discussion.
Long-term care has been a much-talked about agenda item at board meetings, ever since the board decided in November 2012 to get out of the long-term care business in three to five years.

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NRC to discuss apparent Wolf Creek violation

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will meet with officials from Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corp. April 30 to discuss a preliminary inspection finding associated with emergency preparedness at the Wolf Creek nuclear plant.
The 2 p.m. meeting at the NRC’s Region IV office at 1600 E. Lamar Blvd, Arlington, Texas, is open to the public. NRC officials will answer questions from the public after the business portion of the conference. A telephone bridge will be available for the meeting by calling 1-888-324-3612 and entering passcode 1383890.

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Veterans embark on flight of honor to Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Twenty-four veterans, 24 guardians, the trip coordinator, assistant coordinator, one doctor, four adult guardians and a press representative all took in a journey of honor that began April 17 and stretched into the early hours of April 19. That journey was the eighth organized Southern Coffey County High School Honor Flight.
The overnight trip began shortly before 2:30 a.m. April 17, when the bus departed from SCC High School. Along the way to the airport, stops were made in Burlington to pick up the doctor and a few veterans. Another stop for veterans was made at BETO Junction. A patriot guard and several other guests embraced
the bus and veterans, waving flags into the chilly night.

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Veteran's Memorial Bass Tournament is Saturday

BURLINGTON — The 10th annual Kansas Veteran’s Memorial Bass Tournament, in memory of fallen Kansas Guard members, will take place Saturday, April 26, at Coffey County Lake, south of Wolf Creek Generating Station.
The boat-fishing bass tournament, sponsored by the Kansas National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 130th Field Artillery Family Support Group, celebrates the freedom and pursuit of happiness that Americans enjoy.

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Honoring the 'unsung heroes' of public safety

BURLINGTON — While offensive linemen keep quarterbacks safe while going largely unrecognized themselves, so do police dispatchers, the behind-the-scenes players who ensure law enforcement’s safety.
This week, April 13-19, is National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, a week designated to honor those who perform dispatching duties for law enforcement. The week is sponsored by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International (APCO). Celebrated annually, the week honors the thousands of men and women who answer emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance to the world’s citizens.

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Board hires BES principal, band teacher

BURLINGTON — The Burlington USD 244 Board of Education hired a principal and a band director, while making a number of other personnel decisions last night.
Present for the regular monthly meeting were board members Jeff Finlayson, president, Shane Fejfar, Dale Williams, Monique Hart, George Smith and Seth Bell. Board member Lance Link was absent.

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Students learn from mock accident, crash victim

BURLINGTON — Coffey County junior and senior high school students learned an important life lesson Wednesday morning, in preparation for upcoming proms. They attended a mock car crash assembly at Memorial Stadium in Kelley Park.
The mock disaster is held every two years prior to prom to remind students about real consequences of drinking and driving and other poor decisions. Juniors and seniors from all four Coffey County high schools are invited to attend. Students from Burlington, Waverly and Southern Coffey County high schools attended this year.

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Otto abandons Republican Party

BURLINGTON — Bill Otto, LeRoy, a lifelong Republican and four-term Kansas House of Representatives member, changed his political affiliation to Independent on Friday, April 4, while declaring his intention to become a candidate in the race for 76th district state representative.
“The last straw was HB 2210 that does not allow anyone to vote in a primary, unless they were a member of that party on the candidate filing deadline (in June),” Otto said. “I strongly feel the goal of this law is to make sure that the current hard right people who control the Republican Party in Kansas will continue to pick their people. This is the problem with the two-party system, where people like Rep. Peggy Mast just ‘follow leadership’ and make no attempt to actually represent their district.”

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Payroll adjustments, road materials OK'd

BURLINGTON — On Monday, Coffey County Commissioners adopted Resolution No. 772G, which establishes the pay scale and classification for Coffey County employees. Commissioners also approved the revised CP-4U chart, which incorporates the payroll changes.
The county will pay approximately $327,665.63 more in wages and salaries to its 167 employees after approving a 2.4 percent cost of living increase to all employees and step increases to any eligible employees.

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BHS to stage high-energy 'Seussical'

BURLINGTON — The Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz and a host of other Dr. Seuss characters will be on stage the next two weekends as Burlington High School drama students and Burlington Middle School students present the musical, “Seussical.”
Six productions will be held in the Burlington High School auditorium. Show times are April 4, 7 p.m.; April 5, 7 p.m.; April 6, 2 p.m. with a meal at 12:30 p.m.; April 11, 7 p.m.; April 12, 7 p.m.; and April 13, 2 p.m. Tickets are available at the door.
“I think the kids love the choice,” said Michael Vander Linden, who is directing the play. “It’s the first play since ‘Wizard of Oz,’ which was done three years ago, that is a show for kids. It lets the student actors let loose and have a great time with their roles, and provides wonderful, creative opportunities for set, lighting and costume design.”

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Filing deadline for candidates is June 2

BURLINGTON — Three seats on the Board of Coffey County Commissioners will be up for election in the Nov. 4 general election, as well as other state and national offices.
Also on the county level, precinct committeemen and committeewomen will be elected at the primary election. Township clerk candidates will be elected at the general election.

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Bids sought for new building

BURLINGTON — The City of Burlington police department may have a new home by the end of the year, if all goes as planned.
The city’s public safety committee is seeking bids to construct a new 40-foot by 73-foot building with 2,200 square feet on the main floor and another 2,200 square feet in a full basement. The building, which will be constructed on the northwest corner of Third and Alleghany streets, will also have a 444 square foot garage located on the south side of the building, facing Alleghany Street.

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Oak Park getting fitness equipment

BURLINGTON — The Burlington City Council approved spending money on several park improvements when the council met Wednesday night.
Governing body present for the regular meeting were Mayor Gene Merry and council members Bill Scott, Stan Luke, Lewis Lenard, Jane Griffith, Forrest Rhodes and Jerilyn Curtiss.

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Board offers CEO contract

BURLINGTON — The Coffey Health System Board of directors Monday night offered a one-year contract to a Troy, Ind., health care executive to be the next chief operating officer at CHS.
After meeting in two executive sessions, totaling 25 minutes, to discuss nonelected personnel, the board allowed Dr. John Shell, acting CEO, to negotiate a contract to offer candidate No. 3 a one-year contract as CEO.

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Spark from power line blamed for fire

BURLINGTON — Another grass fire was the last thing Coffey County firefighters needed Tuesday afternoon. Dry conditions and winds of 10-15 mph were bad enough, but about 5 p.m., a cold front moved through the area. Winds picked up considerably, gusting to nearly 50 mph.
Burlington, LeRoy and New Strawn firefighters were called to a grass fire at 2:37 p.m. that afternoon at the intersection of 11th Road and Reaper Road, where they found several large hay bales, a large pile of ensilage and grass on fire. Bill Fry is the landowner.

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Fundraiser planned for LED sign

GRIDLEY — Funds to purchase a new LED sign to advertise community events in Gridley are still short by about $5,000. The Gridley City Council has approved the purchase of the sign, if enough money can be raised. A fundraiser breakfast will be held 7-11 a.m. Saturday, March 29, at the community building. The menu includes pancakes, sausage, coffee and orange juice.
Present at the March 3 regular meeting were Mayor Larry Kelley; council members, Derek Birk, Lynn Osburn, Fred Goertzen, Stella Eccles and Gennifer Birk; city employees, Brian Isch and Cheryl Dornes; and visitors, County Commissioner Bob Saueressig, Larry Clark and Amy Collins.

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Swimming pool bond issue passes

BURLINGTON — Registered voters residing in Burlington USD 244 on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a $4.285 million general bond issue to finance the construction of a new outdoor swimming pool in Burlington.
The question passed on a 410-78 vote. Nine provisional ballots were cast and three undervotes were recorded, bringing the total people who went to the polls to 500 voters.

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Robotics Olympics: Students put creations to the test

BURLINGTON — One hundred thirty-three area students, including students from Burlington, Lebo, Waverly, Hartford, Madison and Neosho Rapids, competed in the seventh annual Robotics Olympics Feb. 26 in the Burlington Middle School gymnasium. Students in grades 3-8 from 21 schools competed in five individual and two tournament events; 88 teams competed. The students programmed the robots, which were built from Lego kits, to perform the necessary maneuvers for each event.
Local students competing were Kurt Keegan, Madison Hawley, Dan Dorathy, Wyatt Wilson and Adelina Sapargaliyeva, Burlington Elementary School; Jace Watkins, John Partridge, Jacob Dugar, Logan Herrman and Sarah Unruh, Burlington Middle School; Tristan Kelley and Clayton Carter, Lebo Elementary School; Krista Charboneau, Lebo Junior High School; Chaska Lacey, Waverly Junior High School; Erika Holmes and Tyler Rhoads, Neosho Rapids Junior High School; Bailey Darbyshire and Betty Barnes, Neosho Rapids Elementary School.

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Future of outdoor pool to be decided Tuesday

BURLINGTON — Registered voters residing in the Burlington USD 244 school district will go to the polls Tuesday to decide the future of an outdoor pool in Burlington.
Two polling places will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday for the special election: Kelley Hall, at 625 Third Street, Burlington, and the New Strawn Community Center, 319 W. Getz, New Strawn.

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Dream granted for Burlington boy

BURLINGTON — Nine-year-old Jacob Elam, Burlington, will be living his dream next month as he and his family take a trip to Disneyland. The Dream Factory of Greater Kansas City is footing the bill.
“When Jacob, who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, and his parents filled out the dream request last fall, Jacob said his first dream was to cure diabetes,” Dream Manager Ralph Turec said. “His second wish was to go to Disneyland in California. Of course we couldn’t grant his first wish, so we are happy to be able to make his second wish come true.”

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Commissioners purchase tires, conduct evaluations

BURLINGTON — Coffey County Commissioners purchased tires, allowed additional engineering work to be done on a new cell at the landfill and conducted three performance evaluations when they met Tuesday for their regular weekly meeting.
Present at the meeting, held one day later than normal due to the Presidents Day holiday, were Commissioners Kenneth Combes, chairman, Arlin Meats, Kimberly Skillman-Robrahn, Bob Saueressig and Fred Rowley, County Clerk Angie Kirchner, County Attorney Doug Witteman and Administrative Assistant Donna Berland.

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Public tour Saturday at Arvonia

LEBO — A bare bones tour of the former home of Lewis H. and Elva Leonard Jones Humphreys in Arvonia will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22. Also on the tour will be the Arvonia church, school and township hall. Tour tickets are reasonably priced and may be purchased at the door.
The church and school has been awarded a $90,000 Heritage Trust Fund (HTF) grant, pending availability of funds by the current legislature. The HTF is a state program that provides matching funds for the preservation of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places or the Register of Historic Kansas Places. Funds from the tickets sold for the tour will go toward the matching part of the grant.

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Hospital loan, matching grant for airport OK'd

BURLINGTON — Coffey County Commissioners on Monday finalized a $1.4 million loan to Coffey Health System and approved a match for an airport grant application.
The $1.4 million loan – a 10-year term at zero percent interest - fulfills a request made by CHS acting CEO John Shell, M.D., who briefed commissioners last week about the hospital’s financial woes, resulting from a combination of federal health care changes, capital projects and outstanding accounts receivable.

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Chaska Lacey making return trip to spelling bee

LEBO — Chaska Lacey, a seventh-grader at Waverly Junior High School, attributes his spelling skills to his parents. “I was given good genes from my mother and father,” he said after winning the Coffey County Spelling Bee Friday.
Chaska will now compete at the Topeka Capital-Journal Regional Spelling Bee for the second time, the first being two years ago as a fifth-grader.
“I heard the words at our school spelling bee were going to be easy, so I didn’t study much,” Chaska said. “I studied with my brother the day before the school bee.”

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Snow, arctic cold impact county

The first major winter storm of 2014 arrived in the wee hours of the morning Tuesday, bringing heavy snow and a hard freeze to Coffey County.
A winter storm watch was issued by the National Weather Service early Sunday in advance of the storm system. A high probability for heavy snow associated with the system prompted the NWS to upgrade the watch to a winter storm warning early Monday. With snowfall totals as high as 11-13 inches forecast for the area, Southern Lyon County USD 252 and Lebo-Waverly USD 243 made the decision to cancel school for Tuesday on Monday evening.

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Coffey Health System having cash crunch

BURLINGTON — In a one-hour special meeting Monday night, the Coffey Health System Board of Trustees gave its approval to ask the Board of Coffey County Commissioners for $1.4 million to help the health care organization through a cash shortfall.
The CHS Board specifically authorized and directed acting CEO John Shell, M.D. and CHS Board Chairman Jim Ochs to request a $400,000 grant for equipment and a $1 million capital influx, with details of amortization to be worked out.

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Body Venture visits BES

BURLINGTON — Body Venture, an exciting educational exhibit for elementary school students, visited Burlington Elementary School Tuesday.
Burlington students in kindergarten through fifth grades attended the exhibit, where they took a journey through the human body with Power Panther, the mascot of the Body Venture exhibit, as their guide.

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Board hires new superintendent

LeROY — The LeRoy-Gridley USD 245 Board of Education named Dr. Bobbi Williams as the district’s new superintendent. She will supersede Superintendent Mike Kastle, who is retiring at the end of the school year. Supt. Kastle announced the selection yesterday morning at the district office.

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Coffey Health System invests in state-of-the-art CT

BURLINGTON — Patients in the region can now access the latest diagnostic imaging technology at Coffey County Hospital. The new Philips Brilliance CT (computed tomography) scanner produces crisp, detailed images of the body in just seconds. Coffey County Hospital is the first hospital in Kansas to receive this new technology and among the few in the United States to have it.
This advanced imaging tool provides doctors with clear images that lead to fast, more accurate diagnoses. This enables physicians to detect and treat conditions like heart disease, cancer, stroke, and lung disease at an earlier stage. Quicker scan times also mean a faster, and more pleasant patient experience.

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WCNOC names Heflin CEO, CNO

BURLINGTON — Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation on Friday announced the appointment of Adam Heflin as its new chief executive officer and chief nuclear officer. Heflin will be responsible for leading improvements in the efficiency and reliability of operations at Wolf Creek Generating Station while maintaining the plant’s strong safety record.
Heflin will succeed Matt Sunseri, who announced his retirement last year.

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Board grants Dr. Shell CEO powers

BURLINGTON — For the second time in five days, the Coffey Health System Board of Trustees met in a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday to discuss the chief executive officer position.
When the board met Wednesday, Jan. 8, it formally accepted the resignation of CEO Karen Smith, effective Jan. 24, who served two years as CEO and previously as chief financial officer for three years. The board also appointed Chief of Staff John Shell, M.D., to chair an interim leadership committee to oversee the operation of CHS from the time Smith leaves until an interim CEO is hired.

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LeRoy Community Building dedicated

LeROY — Former Mayor Bill Freeman’s longtime vision for a community building in LeRoy culminated in a dedication held Friday morning at the city’s new 5,500 square foot community building, located at 713 California Street. The cost of the building is $585,000, with the initial funding of $105,454.14 made by Freeman.
Freeman did not attend the dedication, due to health reasons, but his family was present to see his dream realized. Freeman, who resigned during his fourth term as mayor, began discussing the idea to build a community center in LeRoy about 12 years ago. His initial offering was the first deposit made into the building fund. Other funding came from a community development block grant, a USDA Rural Development grant, Coffey County Citizens State Bank and the City of LeRoy.

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Board accepts CEO's resignation

BURLINGTON — The Coffey Health System Board of Trustees met in special session Wednesday to formally accept the resignation of Chief Executive Officer Karen Smith. Her final day is Friday, Jan. 24.
Smith served as CEO for two years, after having been chief financial officer for three years. She has accepted a position elsewhere.
“The board deeply appreciates the accomplishments CHS has attained under Karen’s leadership, and we wish her well,” said acting board chairman Jim Ochs.

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'Loss of pressure' results in boil water advisory

BURLINGTON — Human error is to blame for an oversight that resulted in Burlington water customers being placed in a boil water advisory Sunday. The advisory remained in effect at press time Monday evening.
Burlington Water Superintendent Danny Hawkins consulted Kansas Department of Health and Environment officials, shortly after learning the city’s water system lost pressure for about 21 minutes, about 7 a.m. Sunday.

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Hospital Board gets three new members

BURLINGTON — Coffey County Commissioners appointed three new members to the Coffey County Hospital Board when they met Monday. Commissioners originally planned to consider the appointments last week, but waited until yesterday, when a full board was present.
Present for the regular weekly meeting were Commissioners Kenneth Combes, chairman, Arlin Meats, Kimberly Skillman-Robrahn, Fred Rowley and Bob Saueressig, County Payroll Clerk Denise Humlicek, County Attorney Doug Witteman and Administrative Assistant Donna Berland.

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Appointments, road positions top agenda

BURLINGTON — Coffey County Commissioners on Monday reappointed Kerry Trostle as a member of the Coffey County Fire Board. They also continued discussion about economic development candidates and decided to wait another week before making appointments to the Coffey Health System Board of Trustees.
Present for the meeting were Commissioners Kenneth Combes, chairman, Arlin Meats, Kimberly Skillman-Robrahn and Bob Saueressig, County Clerk Angie Kirchner, County Attorney Doug Witteman and Administrative Assistant Donna Berland. Commissioner Fred Rowley was absent.

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Hochs hold lucky $1,000 grand prize tickets

BURLINGTON — Mike and Barb Hoch, Burlington, came to Wednesday night’s Christmas on Us grand prize drawing with a large baggie containing more than 600 Christmas on Us tickets, collected from sponsors over the past four weeks. They left with $3,050.

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Christmas on Us drawing is Wednesday

BURLINGTON — Up to $2,800 will be given away Wednesday night during the Christmas on Us grand prize drawing. The contest finale will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Burlington Fire Station.
The holders of winning ticket numbers must be present to win.

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Teens celebrating unusual birthday event

BURLINGTON — For most of us, today’s date is just another square on the calendar. If you’re a superstitious person, you might even consider today a very unlucky day.
But Kassi Coons, Alli Blaufuss, Carson Beyer and Cisco Hernandez see things a bit differently. All four Burlington Middle School seventh-graders are celebrating their lucky 13th birthdays today, Dec. 13, 2013, which happened to land on Friday the 13th.

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Care packages sent to Kansas troops

BURLINGTON — Imagine that you are serving your country overseas.
Imagine the holidays are approaching and you are missing your family and friends.
Imagine it has been weeks or maybe even months since you’ve gotten anything in the mail. Today however, your name is called at mail call. Upon opening this unexpected package you find your “Kansas family” has mailed you a box of goodies. Much more than that, they have sent you the shot in the arm you’ve been needing — morale from home for your holidays.

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Area homes open for holiday tour

BURLINGTON — The Coffey County Council for the Arts, Burlington Promotions Committee and Burlington Recreation Center will host the 2013 Holiday Homes Tour from 1-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. Four homes are included on this year’s tour, along with an open house at the Burlington Senior Center.

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Instant prizes unclaimed in first week

BURLINGTON — The extended deadline passed Monday morning, but no one claimed any of the four $50 instant prizes offered during the first week of the Christmas on Us promotion.
The instant prizes are $50 in scrip money that allows the recipient to spend it at any of the 32 participating Christmas on Us businesses.

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Bergstrom named ADA honorary member

NEW ORLEANS — Bruce Bergstrom couldn’t be happier that the America’s Dentists Care Foundation (ADCF) has made a difference in providing dental care to many people who cannot afford it. He is ecstatic that the American Dental Association recognized the foundation’s efforts by presenting him an honorary membership in the American Dental Association, earlier this month.

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Gaddis named ‘Health Care Worker of the Year’

BURLINGTON — Waverly resident Vickie Gaddis was named Kansas Health Care Worker of the Year by the Kansas Hospital Association at a ceremony on Nov. 14. For 31 years, Gaddis has dedicated her life to the residents and staff of Sunset Manor, the long-term care unit of Coffey County Hospital.

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Christmas on Us kicks off Friday

BURLINGTON — As many as 14 Coffey County shoppers will be rewarded for shopping locally over the next four weeks.
Area businesses are joining The Coffey County Republican to sponsor Christmas on Us, an exciting promotion that will award prizes totaling up to $3,000 to people who shop locally at participating businesses. This is the 12th year for the promotion, which kicks off Friday.

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Financial advisor hired for pool bonds

BURLINGTON — On a 5-1 vote, the Burlington USD 244 Board of Education approved hiring Cooper Malone McClain, Inc. to provide financial advisory services for an anticipated general obligation bond issue to fund a proposed new swimming pool in Burlington.
The district will not have to pay the firm, unless voters pass a bond question, which has not been determined, at a special election, which has not been set, yet.
Board member George Smith opposed the motion, while Jeff Finlayson, Shane Fejfar, Dale Williams, Monique Hart and Lance Link voted in favor. Board member Seth Bell was absent.

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Haight recalls parent's World War II service

In the fall of 1940, young Joyce Wilson arrived in Burlington to teach at Burlington High School. She had just graduated from Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison - now known as Benedictine College - and her piano teacher, Sister Karlene Hoffmans, suggested she board with her three sisters at 500 North Second Street (the present home of Dan and Linda Allen).
The Hoffmans, owners of a clothing store at Fourth and Neosho streets, soon introduced Joyce to their nephew, Paul Haight, who worked with his father and brothers at Pioneer Hardware, located at 101 North Third Street (the present location of Everything’s Fabulous). Paul, 31, a shortstop on the local baseball team, soon began coming over for dinner and courting Joyce.
Then came Pearl Harbor.

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Concrete slab tied to local World War II hero

LEBO — A piece of history was recently found with connections to Sergeant Harold A. Spatz, a 1939 Lebo High School graduate. Spatz entered the Army Air Corps in November of that year and became one of the 80 airmen who, under the leadership of Jimmy Doolittle, flew from the U.S.S. Hornet in the first bombing raid over Tokyo in World War II. During the raid, Spatz was captured by the Japanese and held as a prisoner of war until Oct. 15, 1942, when he was executed.

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Long recognized as a distinguished principal

LEBO — The Kansas Association of Elementary School Principals (KAESP) recognized Darla Long, a K-12 principal at Lebo schools, as its District 3 National Distinguished Principal honoree. Long was honored for her accomplishments last night at the KAESP Fall Conference held at the DoubleTree in Wichita.
KAESP is an organization of more than 300 elementary school principals from across the state of Kansas. Long was nominated and selected by peer principals. Candidates are evaluated on their school leadership, school improvement, dedication, professionalism and service to students.

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Mattox now centenarian +5

BURLINGTON — Sunday, Martha Mattox, a resident of Life Care Center of Burlington, celebrated her 105th birthday with friends and family. She was born Oct. 28, 1908, near Carlton.
Mattox, who is in good health and takes no medicine, has outlived most of her family. She has three granddaughters, three great-grandchildren, three stepdaughters and many step grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

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Diabetic alert dog gives Lankton family peace of mind

LeROY — Korey and Lacy Lankton are hoping their new two-year-old female yellow Labrador, Arley, will be more than a companion to their 7-year-old daughter, Kyla.
Kyla, a second-grader at LeRoy Elementary School, was diagnosed more than a year ago with Type 1 diabetes, and the Lanktons have been on watch ever since.
The Lanktons learned through the CARES program there are dogs specifically trained to detect early warning signs of extremely high or low blood sugar. Due to Kyla’s young age, they felt she would benefit tremendously from such an animal. She was put on a waiting list and was notified this summer that she had been accepted. Earlier this month, the Lankton family traveled to Concordia, where they spent an entire week undergoing intense training and bonding with the dog. Arley was selected for Kyla’s specific needs.

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Nepotism policy does not apply to sheriff

BURLINGTON — Although Coffey County has a nepotism policy, Coffey County Sheriff Randy Rogers does not have to follow the policy within his department, according to Kansas law.
The nepotism policy became an issue on Oct. 14 when Rogers hired his son, Zack Rogers, to fill a vacant deputy position. As is the custom, all department heads prepare payroll notices related to employees within their department, which are presented to commissioners for approval.

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New pickup times start Saturday

BURLINGTON — Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 3. However, before you think about falling back an hour, you need to think about springing forward as much as two hours, if you plan to mail a letter the same day at your local post office.
Starting Saturday, mail pickup times will be earlier at many area post offices. According to Brian Sperry, regional spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, the change is designed to address people’s mailing habits and make up for billions of dollars in lost revenue.

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Traffic increases at God's Storehouse

BURLINGTON — Pastor Don Haselhuhn, who has helped oversee God’s Storehouse for many years, has never seen a busier summer and early fall than in 2013.
“Even with the purchasing agent buying every other week or more, the shelves are getting bare, with this volume of people,” Haselhuhn said.
Haselhuhn said 54 families had used the food pantry by Oct. 8, which includes 170 people. He has asked other Coffey County pastors to pray for food and reminded them to ask their congregations to give as they are able.
From June through September, an average of more than 120 families, including 390 people, relied on God’s Storehouse for food.

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Waverly family wants to keep pit bull, ordinance says 'no'

WAVERLY — Tackling a short agenda, members of the Waverly City Council took care of business in less than two hours at the Oct. 7 regular meeting.
Waverly residents Cody Yeo and Teresa McGuire appeared before the council to discuss an issue that has come up regarding the family dog and the city’s animal ordinance.

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Fence bid, extraterritorial request OK'd

BURLINGTON — A light agenda resulted in a relatively short Coffey County Commission meeting Monday morning. Action taken by the commission included accepting a bid for fence construction, giving conditional approval to extend New Strawn’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, and extending the work hours of a recycling department employee.
Present Monday were Commissioners Kenneth Combes, chairman, Arlin Meats, Kimberly Skillman-Robrahn, Bob Saueressig and Fred Rowley, County Clerk Angie Kirchner, County Attorney Doug Witteman and Administrative Assistant Donna Berland.

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Fall Cleanup Week is Oct. 14-19

Coffey County residents have the opportunity to clean up their property and dispose of a wide variety of unwanted items at no cost during the week of Oct. 14-19.
Coffey County Commissioners have proclaimed Oct. 14-19 as “Cleanup Week” in Coffey County. During the week, the Coffey County Sanitary Landfill will accept appropriate waste from Coffey County residents at no charge. Commercial haulers will be charged the normal rates.
Household trash and loose paper must be bagged or it could be refused at the landfill. Any items deemed hazardous must be disposed at the Household Hazardous Waste building. Tires will be accepted at the landfill for a fee.

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Burlington couple headed south on a mission

BURLINGTON — Jim and Anna Decker, of Burlington, are gearing up to head south for the winter. The Deckers, however, will not just vacation, but plan to spend most of the winter participating in a mission project to build houses across the border in Mexico.
This will be the second winter the Deckers have traveled to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Last year, while living at Canyon Lake RV Park in Mission, Texas, the couple became a part of Mabel’s Building Mission, which builds houses in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico for those in need.
Using his talent as a contractor and carpenter, Jim Decker said, last winter, he helped build 14 houses (out of 18 that were built) in Nuevo Progreso.

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Festival offers entertainment, activities

BURLINGTON — The Taste of Fall Festival will offer something for everyone this weekend. The annual event will feature a variety of entertainment on the main stage, located at Third and Neosho, as well as a variety of activities for all ages.
One of the first events of the day will be the new Catbacker Classic Golf Tournament, which is being held in conjunction with the festival. The tournament will begin at 7 a.m. at Prairie Winds Golf Course in New Strawn and will be an 18-hole four-person scramble with guaranteed money back to winners, as well as prizes for longest drive, longest putt and closest to pin. There will be a registration fee assessed per team. Lunch will be provided.

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Economic development director resigns

BURLINGTON — Coffey County Commissioners met in six executive sessions totaling 80 minutes Monday, presumably all related to the economic development director position. The purpose of the six executive sessions was to discuss personnel matters of nonelected personnel.
After 65 minutes of meeting behind closed doors, Commissioner Bob Saueressig moved, in regular session, to accept the resignation of Sandra Allison as full-time Coffey County Economic Development Director. Commissioner Fred Rowley seconded the motion and Commissioners Kenneth Combes, Arlin Meats and Kimberly Skillman-Robrahn joined in casting a unanimous vote.

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Hartford plans 'Super Hero Harvest' Saturday

HARTFORD — Hartford will be bustling with activity all day Saturday, as the town celebrates its 23rd annual Harvest Day. The event promises fun, food and activities for all ages. This year’s theme is “Super Hero Harvest.”
Events begin with a biscuits and gravy and cinnamon roll breakfast 7-10:30 a.m. at the Methodist church. Registration for the 5K Fun Run/Walk will begin at 7 a.m. in front of the fire station, with the run/walk beginning at 8 a.m.

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Lebo-Waverly schools welcome German exchange students

WAVERLY — The Lebo-Waverly schools hosted several students from Germany earlier this month. The students were participants in the German American Partnership Program (GAPP), a non-profit high school exchange program between schools in the United States and Germany. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the German Foreign Office.
The students returned to Germany on Tuesday.

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Student loan repayment program discussed

BURLINGTON — Coffey County Commissioners on Monday continued discussion about possibly partnering with the state in a student loan repayment program that could entice college graduates to settle in Coffey County.
Monday’s discussion came just days after the Kansas Department of Commerce announced that eight additional counties certified by the Kansas Legislature to participate in the Rural Opportunity Zones (ROZ) program have decided to partner with the state in the student loan repayment program. Doniphan, Haskell, Meade, Morris, Nemaha, Ottawa, Rice and Stevens counties have voted to opt in to this portion of the ROZ program.

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AC issue shuts down Wolf Creek

BURLINGTON — Late Wednesday, Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation personnel commenced a plant shut down to repair one of the station’s air conditioning units that provides cooling to electrical equipment located inside of the plant.
An air conditioning unit was declared nonfunctional, due to a possible failed compressor cylinder, and the process to shut down the plant commenced at 5:31 p.m.

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Agreement gives state more water storage in John Redmond Reservoir

EMPORIA — Gov. Sam Brownback and representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Kansas Water Office, last Thursday, signed a water supply contract allowing the state more water storage at John Redmond Reservoir in Coffey County. The signing took place during the noon hour at the Bowyer Community Center in Emporia where a reservoir advisory meeting was being held.

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Decisions made about trees, sidewalks at short meeting

BURLINGTON — The Burlington City Council accepted a bid to remove seven additional hazardous trees when the council met for a 22-minute meeting Wednesday night.
At $1,000, Trenary’s Tree Care had the lowest of three quotes to remove the seven trees, which are located in city right of way. Other quotes were for $1,175 and $1,200.
Governing body present for the regular meeting were Mayor Gene Merry and council members Stan Luke, Lewis Lenard, Jane Griffith, Forrest Rhodes and Jerilyn Curtiss. Council member Bill Scott was absent.

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Small-town tradition welcomes back alumni, residents

LeROY — This weekend, you won’t want to miss the events planned for the 65th annual LeRoy Homecoming. This year’s theme is “There’s No Place Like Home.” Most of the events will be held in Homecoming Park, the LeRoy Community Center and along Main Street in LeRoy.
A number of activities are back by popular demand – Homecoming Hustle, quilt show, pie auctioning, greased pig contest and baby contest, to name a few. Also planned for the three-day celebration are new events such as the Gravel Grind, an alumni ceremony, Kansas Mud Boggers Mudrun, a talent show and a dancing fairies pageant. The featured event is the parade on Saturday.

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'Bucks for Buckles' held at BHS

BURLINGTON — Yesterday morning, students and staff arriving at Burlington High School were rewarded for doing the right thing – buckling up.
State Farm insurance, Safe Kids Kansas and Kansas Department of Transportation have partnered to promote seat belt awareness. The “Bucks for Buckles” is an awareness campaign that began in 2004 and is held annually to bring awareness about safe driving. This year, the campaign began Aug. 25 and will be held through Sept. 7 in 37 cities across Kansas.

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Outdoor pool: 'Let's plan for long term'

BURLINGTON — The 21-year-old outdoor pool serving Burlington and surrounding communities has been limping along with water loss issues for years. The USD 244 Recreation Commission voted unanimously to retain the services of Kevin McElyea, engineer with Aquatic Design Consultants, Inc., when they met with him Thursday to learn about findings of his visit to the pool the week prior. Present for the special meeting were board members Mike Skillman, Christi Norman, Judy Gaut, Brad Caldwell and Scott Nordstedt, Rec Director Scot Jeffers and outdoor pool manager Susan Flannigan.
“My visit to your outdoor swimming pool … was informative and revealing,” he wrote in a seven-page report reviewed by the commission prior to the special meeting. “Based on the amount of water your pool has been losing through piping and the concrete structure over the years, I would rate the pool’s overall condition as poor to critical.”

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Renovations could top $2.5 million

BURLINGTON — The cost to renovate Sunset Manor and correct general maintenance deficiencies is estimated to cost more than $2.5 million, while the cost to build a new 42-bed long-term care facility is estimated to cost about $3.6 million.
Coffey County Commissioner Arlin Meats presented the cost bid estimates, prepared by KBS Constructors, Inc., at an Aug. 12 county commission meeting attended by six members of the Coffey Health System Board of Trustees.

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Leaks may sink outdoor pool

BURLINGTON — For the last seven or eight years, the Burlington outdoor pool has been leaking, but the underground drain system has been able to keep up with the leaks, recycling the water back into the pool.
This summer, the leaks have increased to the tune of losing 7-8 inches of water depth in the pool over a two-day period. The drain system can no longer keep up with the leaks and at the end of the pool season, a substantial amount of city water had to be added to keep the pool full. An aquatic design engineer has been called in to evaluate the situation.

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Wolf Creek plans new emergency facility

BURLINGTON — Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation (WCNOC) has plans to build a new emergency operation facility near Beto Junction. The proposed facility is part of Wolf Creek’s response for complying with new requirements implemented by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for emergency preparedness at all nuclear power plants.

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Property owners to see mill levy drop

BURLINGTON — The Burlington City Council adopted a budget that will raise an additional $13,302 in property taxes, while the mill levy will drop an estimated .057 mills.
The council approved the budget at its regular meeting Wednesday night, following a one-minute public budget hearing. No one from the public attended the hearing to make comments or ask questions.

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Volunteers eager to help undersheriff

BURLINGTON — Ken Roney has touched a number of lives in a law enforcement career that has spanned more than 28 years – the last 16 as Coffey County undersheriff. That was evident Wednesday when a number of volunteers and vendors donated labor and materials to reroof Roney’s home, as well as start a “makeover” on the inside.

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School district budget hearing set for Monday

Taxpayers in Lebo-Waverly USD 243 will see the school district portion of their tax bill increase by 3.911 mills for the 2013-14 school year, while taxpayers in USD 245 LeRoy-Gridley will see a 0.674 increase. Taxpayers in USD 244 Burlington will notice a decrease of 0.668 mills.

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Area city, county budget hearing scheduled

Property tax rates in the seven cities in The Republican’s coverage area will remain largely unchanged in 2014, if city councils adopt budgets published in recent weeks. Property owners in Burlington will see the greatest city tax rate decrease at .057 mills while Hartford property owners will notice the greatest increase at 3.336 mills.
The average city mill levy in Coffey County will be 38.446 in 2014.

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County pursuing ED director candidate

BURLINGTON — Following 85 minutes in executive session, Coffey County Commissioners on Thursday decided to negotiate conditional terms of employment with one of the three candidates interviewed for the economic development director position.
The position has been vacant since the beginning of the year, when Jon Hotaling retired.

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Proposed budget maintains mill levy

BURLINGTON — Coffey County Commissioners finished work on the county’s 2014 budget when they met for a regular meeting Monday. Following an afternoon budget work session with auditor Harley Schlotterbeck, commissioners proposed a budget that holds the mill levy steady.
The 2014 Coffey County budget will be published in Tuesday’s edition of The Republican. The budget levies $20.7 million in 2013 ad valorem tax, which is an increase from $19.3 million this year. However, the estimated tax rate is 47.181 mills, which is slightly less than the 47.183 mills this year. The county is able to raise more tax dollars with the same mill levy, because the county’s assessed valuation increased from $408.1 million to $439.7 million.

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Little Pig Town Wins

BURLINGTON — Third time’s a charm for an Owasso, Okla., family who competed in the ninth annual WildBlue BBQ.
Little Pig Town won the $2,000 grand prize Saturday, their third grand champion title of the year. The team – Scot and Rocky Kee and their daughter Bailey – finished sixth in the WildBlue BBQ last year and fifth in 2011.

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4-h'ers involved in Statehouse project

The five Coffey County 4-H clubs are holding a “Kiss a Pig” contest to raise funds for Coffey County’s tile in the Kansas floor map in the Kansas Statehouse.
The Kansas Statehouse is nearing completion after 10 years of restoration. One of the final projects associated with the restoration is the construction of a new visitor’s center on the north end of the building. Upon completion of the project, all visitors to the Kansas Statehouse will enter through the new visitor’s center to access other areas of the building.

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'Glow show' coming to Wild Blue BBQ

BURLINGTON — Hot air balloons, a pedal power tractor pull and a community barbecue are a few of the attractions planned for the general public at the 9th Annual Wild Blue BBQ and Expo, which will be held Friday and Saturday at Kelley Park.
Competition barbecue teams from Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas will compete for the $2,000 grand prize and a number of cash prizes. Because the Wild Blue BBQ is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, the winner qualifies for the national championship American Royal Invitational contest in Kansas City, or the Jack Daniel World Championship Invitational contest in Lynchburg, Tenn.

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Ohio Days starts this weekend

WAVERLY — The 117th annual Ohio Days will feature four days of activities, with the Ottaway Amusement Company offering rides Monday and Tuesday. A special ride offered by Ottaway this year is a large Ferris wheel.
Ohio Days will kick off with a 2K-5K run/walk Saturday morning. Registration begins at 7 a.m. and the race begins at 8. Register online at http://goo.gl/LWh8p or contact Darren or Dana Kistner, (785) 733-2867, to take part in the run/walk. A dance will be held 9 p.m. to midnight in the city park, with Stan Milliken serving as DJ.

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Gridley City Lake dedication draws hundreds

GRIDLEY — Hundreds of Gridley and other area residents celebrated new renovations at Gridley City Lake with a barbecue and entertainment July 4 at the lake. The weather was perfect – much better than the snowy weather the area received in early May, when the original celebration was planned.
The evening began with an old-fashioned barbecue meal of hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, baked beans and ice cream. Friends, neighbors and families brought lawn chairs and spent the evening visiting while children played on the new play equipment and the more energetic crowd enjoyed several games of volleyball on the new court. A few camped overnight and some fished. Following the meal, the crowd was entertained by JJ Edwards, Katie Rich and Johnny Freeman, who sang classic and contemporary country favorites.

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American Pickers search for 'rusty gold' in Lebo

LEBO — “I’m Mike Wolfe. And I’m Frank Fritz. And we’re pickers. We travel the back roads of America looking to buy rusty gold.”
Those back roads traveled by American Pickers, a reality television series, brought them to Lebo on Sunday. The show, which premiered in January, 2010, on the History Channel, came to see the Don Oliver collection of “rusty gold.” The antiques and collectibles have been housed in the yellow shed at the crossroads, south of Lebo.

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Gridley, Lebo plan public fireworks displays

Only two cities in Coffey County will have public fireworks displays to celebrate Independence Day, and both displays will be held on Saturday, July 6.
In Lebo, Rainbow Fireworks will present a public fireworks display Saturday at dusk at Ye Olde Park at the west end of the city. The fireworks display will follow a parade slated for 8 p.m. in downtown Lebo. Double Take Production will provide entertainment at the west park shelter house, from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. Lebo’s three-day Stars and Stripes Extravaganza will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A schedule of events appeared in the June 28 edition of The Republican.

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Hospital budget request surprises board

BURLINGTON — Coffey County Commissioners and Coffey Health System CEO Karen Smith finally got on the same page about a half hour into an hour-long discussion Monday morning regarding tax support for Coffey County Hospital.
Each year, Coffey County Commissioners provide tax support for the hospital and Coffey County Emergency Medical Services. For seven of the past 10 years, annual tax support has been $750,000 - $310,000 for EMS and $440,000 for the hospital. Commissioners provided an additional $300,000 in tax support in 2005, 2008 and $100,000 in 2012 to help purchase new equipment.

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Boy Scouts evacuate camp as wildfire threatens

WALSENBURG, Colo. — A week of Scouting, fun and camping for Burlington Boy Scout Troop 139 was abruptly cut short by a wildfire on Wednesday, June 19.
Troop 139 arrived at Spanish Peaks Scout Ranch Sunday, June 16. The ranch, which borders the Spanish Peaks Wilderness, is approximately 17 miles outside the city of Walsenburg in Huerfano County, Colo. Hundreds of Scouts were at the camp for the week, including Troop 139, a troop from Emporia and, in a twist of irony, several troops that had been sent to Spanish Peaks from a camp near Denver, due to wildfires.

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New signs welcome travelers to Burlington

BURLINGTON — Two Burlington men have combined their distinctively different talents to create unique, one-of-a-kind art pieces that welcome visitors to Burlington.
For several years, the city has had “Welcome to Burlington” signs at the north and south entrances to the city. Last year, a committee was formed, led by Burlington city council members Bill Scott and Jerilyn Curtiss, to come up with new signs for the east and west entrances and to update the existing signs at the north and south entrances.

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First Christian Church celebrating 150th anniversary

LeROY — The congregation at First Christian Church of LeRoy will celebrate the church’s 150th anniversary Sunday. A worship service will be held at 10:45 a.m., which includes a DVD presentation of the church’s history. A fellowship dinner and celebration will follow the morning service. Sunday evening, The Victorymen, from Oronogo, Mo., will perform Southern Gospel music at a special service at 6:30 p.m., followed by refreshments and fellowship.
“It’s amazing to think that when the church first started, the Civil War was just ending,” said Pastor Eric Koenig. “The same God the congregation served back in the 1800s is the same God we serve today. The grace that God has shown us allows us to still have our church here in Coffey County. We are so thankful that God continues to work in it.”

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Appraiser reappointed for four years

BURLINGTON — Coffey County Commissioners on Monday received a couple of 2014 budget requests and took action related to a patio project planned at the front entrance of the courthouse.
Present for the regular weekly meeting were Commissioners Kenneth Combes, chairman, Arlin Meats, Kimberly Skillman-Robrahn, Bob Saueressig and Fred Rowley, County Clerk Angie Kirchner, County Attorney Doug Witteman and Administrative Assistant Donna Berland.

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Day of activities to kick off summer

NEW STRAWN — Strawnfest, an annual daylong event, will feature fishing, food, a tractor drive, a car show, garage sales, entertainment and so much more Saturday, June 15, in New Strawn.
New for 2013 are the Children’s Olympics and box turtle races sponsored by Lamont Wesleyan Church and an open house sponsored by Brett Skillman Insurance. The Children’s Olympics and box turtle races will begin at 10:45 a.m. at New Strawn City Park.

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Summer technology projects OK'd by board

BURLINGTON — The technology staff at the Burlington schools will have no problem keeping busy this summer. The Burlington USD 244 Board of Education approved expenditures that will fund projects beyond the normal $250,000 annual technology improvements.
The board approved spending $41,606 to replace an outdated sound system in the high school auditorium and another $90,000 to replace a digital phone system that has seen better days.

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Brayden Hugunin named 'Most Inspiriational Athlete'

WICHITA — Brayden Hugunin had reason to celebrate, after raking in four gold medals and one silver medal this weekend at the Special Olympics Kansas Summer Games. However, the 11-year-old Burlington boy received an even bigger reason to celebrate when he was selected as the Most Inspirational Athlete, from nearly 1,400 athletes.
“The Most Inspirational Athlete Award is not just about competing well in events, but it is about being positive and encouraging to others, both on and off the field,” said Special Olympics Kansas representative Donna Zimmerman.

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Special Olympics torch passes through Coffey County

BETO JUNCTION — The “Flame of Hope” passed through Coffey County Wednesday afternoon, on its way to the Special Olympics Summer Games, which will be held this weekend in Wichita.
More than 950 officers from approximately 88 agencies carried the “Flame of Hope” through 29 counties in Kansas as they traveled to Wichita as part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR). The Torch Run is a series of statewide runs covering approximately 1,500 miles throughout the state.

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Lebo celebrates Memorial Day

LEBO — The 25th Annual Memorial Day Ceremony in Lincoln Cemetery was held Monday, May 27, by the Lebo American Legion Post 323 and the Lebo American Legion Auxiliary.
Ed Fisher opened the ceremony by mentioning the heroic dead who had served our country to give us freedom and the purpose of Memorial Day.

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Frye wins state poster contest

BURLINGTON — For the fourth year in a row, a fifth-grader from Coffey County has won the state Missing Children’s Day poster contest. Christina Frye, a fifth-grader at Burlington, is this year’s winner. Her poster was selected from several submitted by fifth-graders across Kansas.
“This is the fourth year that I have had the Coffey County schools involved in this poster contest, and we have turned out a winner every year,” Coffey County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Lind.

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OSHA rules in favor of Wolf Creek whistleblower

BURLINGTON — Enercon Services Inc. has been ordered to pay $261,152.69 in back wages, compensatory damages and interest, plus attorney’s fees, to a senior engineer following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which found that the company violated the whistle-blower provisions of the Energy Reorganization Act.
An investigation conducted by OSHA staff in Kansas City, Mo., found that Enercon wrongfully terminated a senior engineer for raising safety concerns during construction projects Enercon Services was part of at the Wolf Creek Generating Station, a licensee of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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Board selects Jackson as superintendent

WAVERLY — The Lebo-Waverly USD 243 Board of Education selected David Jackson, Sedan, to succeed Dr. Patti Bishop as superintendent of the school district.
The board made the decision Monday night, following the interview of four candidates last week. The board offered Jackson a two-year contract, beginning July 1.

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Class of 2013 ready to write next chapter of their lives

BURLINGTON — Sixty-four members of the Burlington High School Class of 2013 are starting to write the next chapter of their lives, after receiving their high school diploma during a commencement ceremony Saturday afternoon in the BHS gymnasium.
The 1½-hour ceremony included a celebration of their successes, presentation of local scholarships and one last lesson from a former teacher.

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AC issue shuts down Wolf Creek

BURLINGTON — A concern with one of the air conditioning units at Wolf Creek Generating Station resulted in station operators taking the plant offline Monday evening.
The plant had been producing electricity for four days, following a brief shutdown last week to repair a water leak not associated with any safety systems.

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'The Convincer' makes a case for seat belts

BURLINGTON — Students at Southern Coffey County High School received a jarring lesson on seat belt safety Tuesday afternoon.
Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Rick Wingate and Coffey County Sheriff’s Officer Jeremy Lind arranged the presentation, complete with a big silver carnival-ride contraption. Most of the students were brave enough to be strapped into the padded seat of the device, known as a seat belt convincer.

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Benefit provides AC for animal shelter

BURLINGTON — With summertime temperatures right around the corner, air conditioning at animal shelters is a hot topic.
At the Burlington Animal Shelter, corner fans circulating lukewarm air through cages that cats and dogs call home for the time being will be replaced with central air conditioning, thanks to the help of 100-plus local residents. More than $1,660 was raised last weekend at a new event in Coffey County called “Give the Dog a Home.”

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Brooklyn's dream comes true at Disney World

BURLINGTON — Thanks to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, four-year-old Brooklyn K. Barrett’s dream of going to Disney World was recently fulfilled.
Brooklyn’s doctor, Maria Ibarra, nominated Brooklyn’s story (see 3-on-3 tournament story below) to the Foundation and Brooklyn was granted her wish. Brooklyn was chosen to travel with her parents and two-year-old brother, Brendan, to Disney World in Orlando, Fla., earlier this month.

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Children sell toys for handicapped classmate

WAVERLY — When a brother and sister’s hearts were touched by the plight of a handicapped classmate, the two children sold their own toys to earn money to help their friend.
Alex Griffith, 6, and his sister, Isabel Griffith, 8, attend Waverly Elementary School. Alex, a first-grader in Candice Seaman’s class, took a special liking to classmate Summer Davis, who suffers from a traumatic brain injury and has a visual impairment. The brother-sister duo came up with an idea recently to sell their toys and give the money to the school to help her with special needs. Summer is the daughter of Jennifer Dawson, Waverly.

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NRC: Wolf Creek operated safely in 2012

NEW STRAWN — Wolf Creek Generating Station operated safely in 2012, however the Nuclear Regulatory Commission continues to conduct additional oversight at the nuclear plant, because of an incident that occurred more than a year ago.
The NRC found that Wolf Creek’s staff failed to provide adequate oversight of contractors while they performed work on the startup transformer in April 2011. NRC reported, “As a result, your staff failed to identify that electrical maintenance contractors had not installed insulating sleeves on wires that affected the differential current protection circuit, contrary to work order instructions. This allowed an electrical short to prevent transfer of power to the startup transformer during a plant trip on Jan. 13, 2012, resulting in a prolonged loss of offsite power.”

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Veterans visit war memorials

LeROY — Twenty-four area veterans have many new memories to share about their recent two-day Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C.
The Honor Flight, sponsored by Southern Coffey County High School, took seven World War II veterans and 17 Korean War veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit war memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifice. Accompanying the veterans were 24 student guardians and seven adult volunteers.

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Wolf Creek back online

BURLINGTON — Yesterday, Wolf Creek Generating Station operators connected the generator to the electrical system, which means it is back online and producing electricity. Operators closed the output breaker shortly before 12:30 p.m. The plant had been offline since early February for its 19th scheduled maintenance and refueling outage.
“We accomplished a tremendous amount of work during Refuel 19, and our workforce performed activities safely and to a high standard,” said Matt Sunseri, Wolf Creek president and chief executive officer. “The results of our hard work are a freshly fueled reactor, increased safety margin and improved long-term station reliability.”

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Fire destroys Waverly business

WAVERLY — A fire in a downtown Waverly business early Saturday morning is being investigated by the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s office as possible arson, according to Coffey County Fire Administrator Randall Brown.
Whitey’s, a restaurant and bar located at 401 Pearson Avenue, was totally gutted. The building had formerly housed Garvey’s Mercantile and Grocery; Waverly Food Mart, owned by Ted and Millie Milburn; Ken’s IGA, owned by Ken Kistner; and Waverly Market, which was owned

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Voters decide eight contested races

BURLINGTON — The voter turnout for Tuesday’s city/school general election was light, with only 17 percent of the registered voters in Coffey County going to the polls, according to Coffey County Elections Officer Angie Kirchner.
While registered voters living within cities were guaranteed a ballot for city candidates, that was not the case for all rural voters. Registered voters residing within the Lebo-Waverly USD 243 and LeRoy-Gridley USD 245 school district voted for all school board seats, but in Burlington USD 244, only voters residing within individual districts for positions 4, 5 and 6 received a ballot for their respective school board position. So, in USD 244, voters residing in rural areas for positions 1, 2 and 3 did not have any candidates on a ballot.

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City/School Election
Unofficial results from April 2, 2013 election


Trustees hire new library administrator

BURLINGTON — The Coffey County Library Board of Trustees announced Friday that Brandon Hines, Hays, has been hired as the library administrator, effective May 28. He will replace Jenifer Holderman, who has served in the position since April 28, 2008. Holderman is retiring, but will assist Hines through the transition. She expects to leave sometime in June.
“We are thrilled to have Brandon join us,” said Janet Lewis, trustee and head of the search committee. “His enthusiasm for creating value in public libraries and his desire to collaborate with the community became very evident in his experience and through our interviews with him. We look forward to his leadership in taking Coffey County Library to the next level.”

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New Pizza Hut planned for Burlington

BURLINGTON — By summer, patrons will be dining in a new Pizza Hut restaurant in Burlington, complete with flat screen TVs, new décor and additional menu items. The new hometown restaurant will feature a fresh and modern design, as well as the addition of WingStreet Wings to the menu.
Built in 1980, the old Pizza Hut, located at 901 N. Fourth Street in Burlington, will be demolished and replaced by a Pizza Hut WingStreet. The new building will be located on the same lot, but will be set back farther from Fourth Street. The building will be about 33 percent larger than the present Pizza Hut and seat 86 people; Burlington’s Pizza Hut now seats 60. It will also feature a drive-thru window.

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City candidates respond

The Coffey County Republican asked candidates for area city and school board positions to answer four questions, so their answers could be shared with our readers.
Candidates were asked:
1) What makes you a good candidate for this position?
2) What would you like to accomplish during your term, if elected?
3) What do you see as the top issues, specific to your school or city?
4) Provide any personal information you want to share with our readers.
Responses from area school board candidates were featured in Friday’s newspaper. Candidates for city offices are featured in today’s newspaper. Out of 20 candidates in Coffey County races, six did not return questionnaires.

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School board candidates respond

The Coffey County Republican asked candidates for area city and school board positions to answer four questions, so their answers could be shared with our readers.
Candidates were asked:
1) What makes you a good candidate for this position?
2) What would you like to accomplish during your term, if elected?
3) What do you see as the top issues, specific to your school or city?
4) Provide any personal information you want to share with our readers.
All the school board candidates in USDs 243, 244 and 245 responded to the questions. Only one of the four candidates in USD 252 responded.

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Grieving father publishes book to help others

COFFEY COUNTY — Not a day goes by that former Coffey Countian Von Kopfman doesn’t think of the son he lost in a tragic accident about 1½ years ago. Kopfman, however, found a way to help himself, his family and others through the grieving process that follows the loss of a child.
Kopfman has written and published a book called, “Letters for Healing: The Therapeutic Power of Writing to a Lost Loved One.” A CD, “Songs for Healing” is included with the purchase of the book. The CD features 15 songs that are based upon letters in the book. The book made its debut on Friday, March 15, and can be found in area bookstores and at Office Supplies Today, 324 Hudson, in Burlington.

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Board OKs classroom configuration change

LeROY — The LeRoy-Gridley USD 245 Board of Education, which met for more than two hours Monday night, made a number of decisions that will positively affect its district during the 2013-14 school year. Monday night’s topics included classroom configurations, hiring a new principal and going forward with a major energy project at the elementary schools.
A full board was present at the meeting, including President Randall Storrer, Vice President David Kraft, Greg Yotz, Damon Birk, Kevin Ohl, Jennifer Nauertc and Charlie Patterson. Also attending were Superintendent Michael Kastle, Principal J.J. Edwards, board clerk Roxi Newkirk and 10 visitors.

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Lady Wildcats beat Garden Plain, 52-42, in 3A title game

HUTCHINSON — The Burlington Lady Wildcats would not be denied a state title in this year’s 3A State Basketball Tournament. After losing last year’s title game to Silver Lake in overtime, the Lady Cats made sure to finish strong as they defeated the Garden Plain Owls, 52-42.
“They’ve been kind of on a mission all year long to get back (to the state tournament) and when we got here, it was to win,” BHS Coach Doug Stewart said.
Mission accomplished.

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Birk pleads guilty to vehicular homicide

BURLINGTON — Nearly two years after Kathryn M. Gant, Burlington, was killed in a head-on collision south of Burlington, Justin Birk, 22, Burlington, who was driving the other vehicle, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and was sentenced to serve 90 days in Coffey County Jail.
In a deal worked out between both sides, Birk’s original charge of involuntary manslaughter, which is a severity level 5 person felony, was downgraded to vehicular homicide, a class A person misdemeanor.

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School schedules adjusted for snow days

Snow storms Coffey County experienced in December and the past couple of weeks allowed kids and staff time off from school. Now, school officials and boards are looking at the effect this will have on make-up days so they will still meet the state’s minimum requirement of instruction during the school year. Under state law, school districts are required to provide at least 186 days of class for grades K-11 and at least 181 days for grade 12. The law gives districts flexibility to adjust, as long as a total of 1,116 hours of instruction is provided.

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Wolf Creek outage impacts area economy

BURLINGTON — Typically, once every 18 months, hundreds of additional workers support Wolf Creek Generating Station for its scheduled maintenance and refueling outage. Refueling outages are an opportunity for plant personnel to complete activities that they are unable to perform while the plant is online and generating electricity. It also is a significant boost to the area’s economy.
The primary purpose of a refueling outage is to make the necessary maintenance to provide for long-term safe and reliable plant operation and perform refueling activities. In turn, this supports the plant’s top priority of protecting the health and safety of the public.

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Winter storm Rocky slams county with snow, wind

After being buried under more than eight inches of snow by Winter Storm Q last week, Coffey Countians spent the weekend preparing for even more snow Monday and Tuesday.
A new storm system, called Winter Storm Rocky, began moving into the area on Monday. When the storm began to develop, the National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch on Saturday. Some uncertainty remained as to the storm’s track, but the watch was upgraded to a winter storm warning early Sunday morning. The probability for heavy snow and near-whiteout conditions prompted the upgrade.

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Winter storm brings thundersnow to county

The season’s first winter storm finally arrived early Thursday morning, bringing heavy snow to Coffey County.
The storm system, called Winter Storm Q, prompted the National Weather Service in Topeka to issue a winter storm watch on Monday. The watch was upgraded to a winter storm warning on Tuesday evening. The high probability for heavy snow associated with the system prompted the upgrade.

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Beto Junction sold to TravelCenters of America

BURLINGTON — Beto Junction Travel Plaza, a long-time highway oasis and Coffey County landmark, has been sold to TravelCenters of America. The sale became final today.
Beto Junction Owner, Teri Roe Williams, in a telephone interview on Sunday, told The Coffey County Republican that Beto Junction has been a TA franchise since 1994. Williams and her husband, Kirk, own Beto, Inc., (the truck plaza), and the Regency Restaurant Group, which owns Wendy's.

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Two teachers, BMS principal to retire

BURLINGTON — The Burlington USD 244 Board of Education accepted retirement resignations from two teachers and a principal, and extended administrative contracts when they met Monday.
The board accepted, with regret, the retirement request of Burlington Middle School Principal Dallas Scothorn, effective June 1. Scothorn has spent 33 years in education, including the past two years as middle school principal and 14 years as high school assistant principal and athletic director. He also spent four years as K-8 principal at Burlington, one year as assistant principal/athletic director at Raton, N.M., 10 years at Mission Valley Middle School and two years at Healy as a P.E. and social studies teacher. Scothorn said he plans to continue his career in some aspect of education for a few more years.

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Meader wins Coffey County Spelling Bee in 11th round

BURLINGTON — When Waverly eighth-grader, Payton Meader, woke up Friday morning, she had no idea she would be competing in the Coffey County Spelling Bee, let alone win it.
Payton, who placed as an alternate in her school’s spelling bee, learned when she arrived at school that one of her school’s top three spellers was sick, which sent her to the county bee.

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Dredging proposed at reservoir

BURLINGTON — John Redmond Reservoir has a sedimentation problem so severe the reservoir is referred to as the “poster child” for sedimentation in Kansas.
Susan Metzger, policy and planning director at the Kansas Water Office (KWO), made the reference during a public scoping meeting held Tuesday morning at the Coffey County Courthouse. The KWO is proposing to dredge John Redmond Reservoir to restore water supply lost to sedimentation. About 100 people attended the meeting, which sought comments and concerns that should be addressed in an environmental impact statement.

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Wolf Creek's maintenance and refueling outage under way

BURLINGTON — Yesterday, Wolf Creek Generating Station’s 19th maintenance and refueling outage got under way. The major activities scheduled for this outage support overall improved plant safety and compliance with industry standards associated with the post-Fukushima recommendations.
Last March, Wolf Creek Generating Station officials announced their decision to move the outage to February 2013. The outage was originally scheduled to start in September 2012. However, because of maintenance issues in early 2012, the plant was off-line longer than originally planned for this operating cycle. An evaluation of the operating cycle determined there were benefits to moving the start date for the outage.

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Six conservation awards to be presented Wednesday

BURLINGTON — Six Coffey County landowners will receive conservation awards Wednesday night at the Coffey County Conservation District’s 72nd annual meeting and banquet.
A meal, sponsored by the Coffey County Bankers Association, will be served at 6 p.m. in the Burlington High School commons area followed by the Coffey County Conservation District’s 72nd annual meeting in the BHS theater. More than 250 Coffey County residents and landowners attend the meeting each year.

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Burlington Rotarian helps with polio immunizations in Nigeria

BURLINGTON — Ken Hughes took his membership in the Burlington Rotary Club to a new level last month when he traveled to Nigeria, Africa to take part in National Immunization Days. He participated in a group that immunized children against the polio virus in one of three countries in the world where the crippling childhood virus remains.
Hughes worked at Wolf Creek Generating Station when he became a member of the Burlington Rotary Club about six years ago. “I really knew nothing about Rotary, except they sponsored a Little League baseball team I played on 60 years ago,” he said. “Once I got involved, I really liked what Rotary does.”

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Hours cut at LeRoy, Gridley post offices

Because the United States Postal Service is nearing its own fiscal cliff and has already reached its $15 billion debt limit, it is taking drastic measures to stay in business.
Part of the problem hit home Tuesday afternoon when Mike Monnington, manager of Post Office Operations, held separate informational town meetings in LeRoy and Gridley to share plans with patrons regarding the future of their post offices.

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Coffey County Museum's annual fundraiser is Saturday

BURLINGTON — Saturday will be a big day at the Coffey County Museum, as museum staff and volunteers prepare for the annual Kansas Day fundraiser. Activities scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. include a chili feed, bake sale, silent auction and live auction.
The train set will be running in the Asbury Gallery and visitors will be able to view exhibits in the museum.

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Former clerk sentenced for misuse of public funds

BURLINGTON — Sarena Storrer, 43, LeRoy, will serve 10 days in the Coffey County Jail and repay more than $15,000 she stole from LeRoy-Gridley USD 245.
Storrer, a former school board clerk for the district, was found guilty Nov. 7, 2012, of misusing public funds. An annual financial audit conducted last summer revealed discrepancies in the district’s bookkeeping records. As a result of an investigation, Storrer admitted issuing herself extra paychecks and was asked to resign.

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Kansas court orders lawmakers to find $400 million more for schools

OSAWATOMIE — While state lawmakers, officials and educators are still reeling from Friday’s court ruling on Kansas’ latest school funding lawsuit, one thing is clear.
This fight isn’t even close to over.
A panel of three Shawnee County District Court judges ruled the state’s current school funding formula unconstitutional Friday, prompting praise and criticism from education officials and legislators. The panel, led by Judge Franklin Theis, ruled that state lawmakers cannot reduce the school funding rate below $4,492 per pupil. The current funding rate is $3,838 per pupil.

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Devening, Laib inducted into Burlington Wrestling Hall of Fame

BURLINGTON — The Burlington Wrestling Foundation inducted Mike Devening, a former Burlington High School wrestler, and Bart Laib, a wrestling coach, into the Burlington Wrestling Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony took place prior to the championship round of the BHS Wrestling Invitational on Saturday.
Devening is one of the first freshmen who joined the Wildcat wrestling team under first-year head coach Doug Vander Linden back in November of 1990. Devening became one of the first four-year letter winners in the program’s history, and he served as a team captain both his junior and senior seasons.

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Coffey Health System welcomes First Baby of 2013

BURLINGTON — The first baby born in 2013 at Coffey Health System made her appearance at 9:40 a.m., Jan. 2. Hope Selena Rose Garrett weighed in at 6 pounds, 12 ounces and was 20 inches long.
Her arrival so early in the New Year was somewhat surprising to her parents. Rose Pope and JJ Garrett, Burlington, had initially expected the birth of their daughter to happen closer to her due date on Jan. 15. However, as early as Christmas day the couple noted indications that the baby may come early.

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2013 Election
City, school candidates must file by Jan. 22

BURLINGTON - Seats will be up for election on area city councils and school boards. Interested candidates have less than three weeks to declare their candidacy.
School board candidates must file at the Coffey County Clerk's Office (county election office), 110 S. Sixth, Burlington. Candidates for Burlington City Council must file at Burlington City Hall, 301 Neosho. However, candidates for city positions in LeRoy, Gridley, New Strawn, Waverly, Lebo or Hartford have the option of filing at either their town's city hall or the county clerk's office (Lyon County Election Office for Hartford), during regular business hours.

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Board agrees to give long-term care 3-5 years

BURLINGTON - The Coffey Health System Board of Trustees unanimously voted to set the timline at three to five years for Coffey Health System to be fully out of the long-term care business.
The decision, made at the board's Dec. 17 regular meeting, is subject to a quarterly review of the political environment regarding reimbursement and government regulations as well as unforeseen circumstances with the Waverly building (Sunset Manor) or the financial picture of CHS.

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Season's first storm brings rain, snow

The first winter storm of the season brought rain and snow to the area Wednesday night into early Thursday morning.
Prior to the storm’s arrival, the National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory that included Coffey County. The advisory lasted until Thursday morning, when it was allowed to expire.

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Christmas on Us drawing is Wednesday

BURLINGTON — At least $2,550 will be given away Wednesday night during the Christmas on Us grand prize drawing. The contest finale will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Burlington Fire Station.
The holders of winning ticket numbers must be present to win.

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CHS board meets with county commissioners

BURLINGTON — A November decision made by the Coffey Health System Board of Trustees, to get out of the long-term care business, directly affects the future of Sunset Manor in Waverly and its 55 to 60 employees.
On Monday, Coffey County Commissioners learned why the CHS board made the decision, as the two boards met for a joint meeting with more than 100 onlookers present.

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Lighted Christmas parade is Thursday

BURLINGTON — Burlington’s annual Christmas Parade of Lights will be held 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13. The parade starts at Second and Neosho streets and heads west to Sixth and Neosho streets.
Prior to the parade, members of the Christian Church will be serving free hot chocolate at the red caboose.

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Bids approved for county shop addition

BURLINGTON — Coffey County Commissioners on Monday approved four bids totaling $177,446.76 to construct an office addition to the Coffey County Shop, 1510 S. Sixth Street, Burlington. Once completed, the engineer's office will be moved from the Coffey County Courthouse to the county shop.

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Residents deck their halls for holiday homes tour

BURLINGTON — The Coffey County Council for the Arts, Burlington Promotions Committee and Burlington Recreation Center will host the 2012 Holiday Homes Tour from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8. Four homes are included on this year’s tour.

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CHS to 'get out of long-term care business'

BURLINGTON — The Coffey Health System Board of Trustees voted at its Nov. 19 meeting to discontinue its nursing home services. A motion by Jim Ochs, Gridley, to "get out of the long-term care business" was seconded by Gene Merry, Burlington, and passed by a 4-2 margin.
"We cannot stress enough that there will be no immediate action affecting Sunset Manor in Waverly," said CHS Chief Executve Officer Karen Smith.

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Three instant prizes claimed in first week

BURLINGTON — Three readers of The Coffey County Republican wasted no time in claiming $50 instant prizes in the Christmas on Us promotion. Connie Gilmore, Burlington, brought her winning ticket to The Republican office Wednesday. Mary Freeman, Burlington, and Naomi Weiss, Lebo, claimed their prizes Monday morning. All three were given $50 in scrip money to be spent at any of the 30 participating Christmas on Us businesses.

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County canvasses, considers ED position

BURLINGTON — Ballots from the Nov. 6 General Election were canvassed when Coffey County Commissioners met Nov. 15. Present to canvass were vice chairman Kenneth Combes, and Commissioners Bob Saueressig and Fred Rowley. Also present were County Clerk/Election Officer Angie Kirchner, Count Payroll Clerk Denise Humlicek and County Attorney Doug Witteman. Commissioners Kimberly Skillman-Robrahn and Larry Crotts were absent.
Fifty-five provisional ballots were accepted, and 25 were rejected, consistent with state statutes, and provisional vote totals were added to the appropriate races.

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Christmas on Us begins 11th year

BURLINGTON — As many as 14 Coffey County shoppers will be rewarded for shopping locally over the next four weeks.
Area businesses are joining The Coffey County Republican to sponsor Christmas on Us, an exciting promotion that will award prizes totaling up to $3,000 to people who shop locally at participating businesses. This is the 11th year for the promotion, which kicks off today.

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Annual craft festival is Saturday

BURLINGTON — Crafters will be back in a big way this year to help you kick off your Christmas shopping. A great way to get into the Christmas spirit is to make plans to attend the 33rd annual Christmas Craft Festival Nov. 17 in Burlington. The event is one of the largest craft festivals in the area.

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Witteman, Rowley re-elected in local races

BURLINGTON — Coffey County voters favored Republican candidates in every race during Tuesday's election.
Only two county races were contested. Doug Witteman, LeRoy, won re-election to a fifth term as Coffey County Attorney. He defeated a Libertarian challenger, Frederick Campbell, Garnett, 2,758-922.

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2012 General Election Unofficial Results for Coffey County

Nov. 6, 2012

President
Romney (R)  2,860
Obama (D)   884
Johnson (L) 76
Baldwin (Ref)     19

U.S. Representative
Dist. 2

Lynn Jenkins (R)  2,741
Tobias Schlingensiepen (D)    900
Dennis Hawver (L) 174
(Districtwide results: Jenkins - 157,450, Schlingensiepen - 108,936, Hawver - 11,730)

State Senate
Dist. 14
Forrest Knox (R)  2,901
Eden Fuson (D)    780
(Districtwide results: Knox - 19,179, Fuson - 7,358)

State Representative
Dist. 76

Peggy Mast (R)    2,572
Janet Lewis (D)   1,230
(Districtwide results: Mast - 5,641, Lewis - 3,213)

County Commission
Dist. 2

Arlin Meats (R)   690

County Commission
Dist. 3

Fred Rowley Jr. (R)     524
Keith Hoffman (I) 253

County Clerk
Angie Kirchner (R)      3,543

County Treasurer
Brenda Cherry (R) 3,554

Register of Deeds
Gwen Birk (R)     3,545

County Attorney
Doug Witteman (R) 2,752
Frederick Campbell (L)  920

County Sheriff
Randy Rogers (R)  3,402

Lebo 1% City Sales Tax
Yes   290
No    79

USD 243 District Election Method Change
Yes   690
No    294

Constitutional Amendment
Yes   1,812
No    1,722

Township Trustee
Uncontested Winners: Roger Douglass (R), Burlington Twp.; Daryl Knight (D), Key West Twp.; Jerry Murray (R), LeRoy Twp.; Irene Kennard (R), Neosho Twp.; Carl Sherman (R), Ottumwa Twp.; Terry Emmons (D), Pleasant Twp.; Kent Stukey (R), Pottawatomie Twp.; Dale Hinderliter (D), Rock Creek Twp.; Wilfred Lehmann (R), Spring Creek Twp.

Township Treasurer
Uncontested Winners: Warren Bell (R), Burlington Twp.; Wayne Bolen (R), LeRoy Twp.; Bill Schrader (R), Lincoln Twp.; Lyle Fischer (R), Neosho Twp.


Retiring firefighters receive warm send off

BURLINGTON — After many years of service to Coffey County, three firefighters were honored for their selfless gifts to the community at a reception Nov. 1 at the Burlington Fire Station. Friends, fellow firefighters, wives and other family members took the opportunity to recognize Jerry Sowder and Alan Barrett, who retired Sept. 30, and Sam Somerhalder, who will retire Dec. 15. All together, the men have more than 95 years of service to Coffey County Fire District No. 1. They were presented with plaques and a retirement cake.

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Vietnam Veteran license plate originates in Coffey County

BURLINGTON — Two years after the fall of Saigon, Bob Saueressig noticed a license plate dedicated to Vietnam veterans, while driving in Arkansas.
“Man, if Arkansas can do this, why can’t Kansas,” Saueressig, a Vietnam veteran, thought to himself.
That was in 1977. Now, 35 years later, Kansas finally has a distinctive license plate available to Vietnam veterans, and just in time for Veterans Day. But, it took a cooperative effort of four locally elected officials cutting through state bureaucracy to make the license plate a reality.

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Lawmakers propose lid on property taxes

FAIRWAY — Two of Kansas’ biggest tax revenue streams, income taxes and sales taxes, are going to start taking a $900 million annual hit when new tax cuts kick in Jan. 1.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and some fellow Republicans are proposing to cap property taxes on homes and businesses that generate nearly a third of the state’s general fund revenue each year.

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Students get a lesson in flag etiquette

GRIDLEY — Southern Coffey County Middle School and High School students will look at the American flag a little differently after receiving a lesson on U.S. flag etiquette Wednesday.
Cleat Buckbee and Junior Adams, veterans from Emporia American Legion Post No. 5, gave the students a 30-minute presentation that also included a history lesson on flags. They talked with the middle school students in the morning and the high school students in the afternoon.

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Outdoor pool life questionable

BURLINGTON — Clark Waage, vice president of Continental Pool, Inc., Gardner, told the Burlington USD 244 Recreation Commission at its Oct. 12 meeting they need to decide if it is fiscally responsible to invest money into a leaky bucket. Waage was referring to Burlington’s outdoor swimming pool.
The $2½ million aging outdoor pool has a number of problems that were discovered by Waage while inspecting the pool and described to the commission in a written report. Waage did not charge the commission for the report. He said immediate needs include removing and sealing the pool lights inside the outdoor pool, caulking the expansion joints in the floor and walls and painting the pool. According to Waage, these steps could extend the life of the pool another five or six years.

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Shopko announces start of store conversion

Shopko announced Friday that the liquidation sale has ended and the store conversion process to Shopko Hometown will begin Sunday, Oct. 21 at the Burlington Pamida store. The store will be closed for one week until the first department, consumables, is converted. The entire conversion process will last 5–6 weeks.
The conversion to Shopko Hometown will include new interior and exterior signage, updated and supplemental fixtures and a new easy to shop store layout. Each of the store’s three primary departments will be converted one department at a time with each department opening to shoppers as soon as it’s complete.

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Renewed insurance policy reflects 11.5% hike

BURLINGTON — While the Burlington USD 244 Board of Education spend three-fourths of its meeting Monday night behind closed doors discussing personnel matters, the board did take action to renew its insurance for another year.
The board unanimously agreed to renew its insurance policy from Employers Mutual Insurance Company as quoted by TrustPoint Insurance, Burlington, in the amount of $150,404. The policy, effective Nov. 1, includes coverage for property, liability, crime, inland marine, linebacker, vehicles and workers comp.

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Voter registration deadline is Tuesday

The general election is less than a month away. Any citizen who needs to register to vote must do so by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16.
A citizen of the United States who is 18 years of age or older, or will have attained the age of 18 years at the next election, must register before he or she can vote.

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Coffey County - Commissioners hear economic development update

BURLINGTON — Aside from approving two payroll changes, Coffey County Commissioners didn't take any action when they met Monday for their regular weekly meeting.
Commissioners present were Kimberly Skillman-Robrahn, chairman, Larry Crotts, Kenneth Combes, Bob Saueressig and Fred Rowley, County Payroll Clerk Denise Humlicek, County Attorney Doug Witteman and Administrative Assitant Donna Berland.

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Enrollment drops in two area school districts

BURLINGTON – The numbers are in. Burlington USD 244 officially lost 20 students compared to the last school year. LeRoy-Gridley USD 245 gained eight students, while Southern Lyon County USD 252 gained one student and Lebo-Waverly USD 243 dropped two students.
The comparisons are based on enrollment as of Sept. 20, which is the official cutoff date for reporting school enrollment in Kansas.

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NRC increasing Wolf Creek oversight

BURLINGTON — Wolf Creek Generating Station will face additional inspections and oversight by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, due to the evaluation of a Jan. 13 incident that resulted in a loss of off-site power.
The NRC on Friday determined the event has substantial safety significance and labeled the event “yellow,” which is a step below the category of highest safety concern.

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Rotarians build flagpole monument

BURLINGTON — Burlington Rotarians celebrated their club’s 75th anniversary by officially dedicating a new flagpole in Kelley Park to the veterans and youth in Coffey County. The flagpole is located just west of Kelley Hall.
Burlington Rotary Club President James Higgins led the ceremony, which was held on Patriot Day, Sept. 11. Nearly all of the club’s 36 members were present, as well as District Governor Kevin Tubbesing, of the Shawnee Rotary Club.

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A 'Storybook Harvest' planned Saturday

HARTFORD — Hartford will be bustling with activity all day Saturday, as the town celebrates its 22nd annual Harvest Day. The event promises fun, food and activities for all ages. This year’s theme is “Storybook Harvest.”
Events begin with a biscuits and gravy breakfast 6-10:30 a.m. at the Methodist church. Registration for the 5K Fun Run/Walk will begin at 7 a.m. in front of the fire station, with the run/walk starting at 8 a.m.

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Parker honored as semifinalist

BURLINGTON — Devra Parker, a veteran English teacher of 25 years, knows why she entered the field of education. She wasn’t looking for a job that begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m., she knows the three best things about teaching are not June, July and August, and she didn’t enter the career for the paycheck.
For the past eight years, Parker has been a favorite teacher among students and staff at Burlington High School, and Sunday she received recognition for her dedication to education and her students. She was named one of three secondary education semifinalists for Kansas Teacher of the Year at the Kansas Region 2 Teacher of the Year Awards Banquet held at Capitol Plaza Hotel.

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Two sentenced for felony crimes in Waverly

BURLINGTON — A Wichita man and a Williamsburg man were sentenced Aug. 23 for convictions that arose from criminal activity that occurred in Waverly.
District Court Judge Phillip M Fromme sentenced Stephen J. Fagan, 29, Wichita, to 10 months in prison. The sentence was the result of Fagan’s July conviction for criminal possession of a firearm by a felon, a severity level 8, nonperson felony. Consistent with the requirements of the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines, Fagan was granted supervised probation for a period of 18 months.

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OK Kids: Outdoor family fun planned for weekend

BURLINGTON — The Coffey County OK Kids event will be the place to be this weekend, Sept. 8-9. The family-oriented event, centered at John Redmond Reservoir’s Riverside West, will include fishing, canoeing, archery, horse rides, trap shooting, boat rides, music, magic, food, hayrack rides and much more. And best of all, it is free and open to anyone, thanks to the monetary donations and volunteer hours given by individuals, organizations and businesses.

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Countywide burn ban continues

BURLINGTON — Even though Coffey County received rain during the weekend, Coffey County Commissioners took action yesterday to extend a countywide burn ban another week.
Rain amounts reported on The Republican’s Facebook page ranged from .7 inches near Lebo to 1.6 inches in LeRoy. New Strawn had just over an inch.
Coffey County Commission Chairman Kimberly Skillman-Robrahn signed a proclamation, printed on page 10, prohibiting all open burning in Coffey County until Sept. 3, when commissioners will re-evaluate the status of the burn ban.

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Whooping cough confirmed in Coffey Co.

BURLINGTON — Coffey County Health Nurse Lindsay Payer received, this week, confirmation of one case of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, in Coffey County. She said the surrounding counties of Osage, Anderson, Franklin have had several cases reported.
“In cases like this, the health department must investigate contacts or potential contacts to verify the person’s immunization status and to determine if they have any symptoms,” Payer said. “This is a vaccine-preventable disease and can be treated with antibiotics. However, it can be fatal to infants, and that’s why we try to be aggressive in our investigations.”

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LeRoy Homecoming on tap for weekend

LeROY — From a quilt show to a greased pig contest, the 64th annual LeRoy Homecoming will offer something for everyone this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This year’s parade them is “Back Where I Come From.”
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, quilts may be dropped off at Sticks and Weeds for the quilt show. The kids will enjoy inflatables and mechanical rides 5-9 p.m. at Jones Park. A dodgeball tournament, with proceeds going to Honor Flight, will begin at 7 p.m. During a break in the dodgeball tournament at 8 p.m., Little Kings and Queens will be announced at the park pavilion. Containers are available throughout LeRoy for your votes.

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Burlington USD 244
New teachers, administrators ready for school

BURLINGTON — Burlington USD 244 students and staff returned to school yesterday. Among last year’s familiar faces, they also found seven new teachers and two new administrators.
Amanda Allen, who previously taught language arts to sixth graders at Burlington Middle School, returns this year as a seventh-grade special education teacher at BMS. She has also taught third- and fourth-grade students at St. Rose School in Garnett.

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Water watch continues in Coffey County

BURLINGTON — A water watch remains in effect for water customers who get their water from the cities of Burlington, LeRoy, Gridley and New Strawn or Coffey County Rural Water Districts No. 2 and No. 3.
A water watch is also in effect for customers of Public Wholesale Water Supply District No. 12, which includes Lebo and Waverly water customers.
The water watch, which calls for water customers to voluntarily conserve water in an attempt to limit or eliminate nonessential water use, took effect in Burlington on July 27 when worsening drought conditions and an increase in water consumption triggered the action.

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2012 Primary Election
Rogers wins sheriff’s race; Knox, Mast advance

BURLINGTON — Voter turnout for Tuesday’s primary election in Coffey County exceeded the statewide average. A contested primary race for county sheriff and a county commission seat, and contested races for state House and Senate seats drew Coffey County voters to the polls.
Statewide voter turnout was 22.8 percent of all voters registered in Kansas, which exceeded an 18 percent prediction made by Secretary of State Kris Kobach prior to the election. A total 392,142 Kansans cast ballots.

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Unofficial primary election results

County Commission District 2
R - Arlin Meats - 296
R - Renee L. Trimble - 112
R - David Lehman - 36

County Commission District 3
R - Fred T. Rowley Jr. - 277

County Clerk
R - Angie Kirchner - 1,703

Register of Deeds
R - Gwen R. Birk - 1,780

County Attorney
R - Doug Witteman - 1,648

County Sheriff
R - Randy Rogers - 1,347
R - Riley Morgan - 626

County Treasurer
R - Brenda Cherry - 1,754

Kansas Senate – District 14
(151 of 151 precincts)
R - John C. Grange – 5,157
R - Forrest J. Knox – 7,293

Kansas House of Representatives – 76th District
(42 of 42 precincts)
R - Peggy Mast – 1,699
R - Bill Otto – 1,209
R - Willie Prescott - 723

U.S. House – 2nd District
(895 of 895 precincts)
D - Scott Barnhart – 7,528
D - Robert V. Eye – 10,153
Tobias Schlingensiepen – 11,561

 

Area budget hearings set

Property tax rates in the seven cities in The Republican’s coverage area will remain largely unchanged in 2013, if city councils adopt budgets published in recent weeks. Property owners in LeRoy will see the greatest city tax rate decrease at 1.395 mills while Waverly property owners will notice the greatest increase at 1.14 mills.
The average city mill levy in Coffey County will be just under 40 mills in 2013.
Coffey County shaved off .450 mills from the 2012 tax rate.

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Birk charged with involuntary manslaughter

BURLINGTON — More than a year has passed since Kathryn M. Gant, 31, Burlington, was killed in a head-on collision south of Burlington. Last week, a charge of involuntary manslaughter was filed against Justin Birk, Burlington, who was driving the other vehicle.
On June 10, 2011, Gant was driving a 2007 GMC Acadia eastbound on K-58 Hwy. and Birk was driving a 2007 Cadillac Escalade westbound. A Kansas Highway Patrol accident report indicated Birk’s vehicle went left of center for an unknown reason and struck Gant’s vehicle head-on at milepost 27.1, which is just east of U.S. 75. The drivers were the sole occupants in each vehicle.

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Burn ban declared in Coffey County

BURLINGTON — All open burning is prohibited in Coffey County, following the signing of a proclamation Monday morning by Coffey County Commission Chairman Kimberly Skillman-Robrahn.
The proclamation, printed on page 9 of today’s newspaper, declares a state of local disaster emergency for Coffey County due to drought.
It’s been 12 days since the last rainfall -- .51 inches -- was recorded at John Redmond Dam. Over the last 39 days, only .82 inches of rain fell at the dam.

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Caught on camera - Burglar sentenced to prison

BURLINGTON — A Mound City man, who was caught on camera burglarizing a Coffey County residence, was recently ordered to serve a prison sentence.
On Thursday, July 12, District Court Judge Phillip M Fromme sentenced Richard L. Jones, 56, to a controlling term of 15 months in the custody of the Kansas Secretary of Corrections as a result of his conviction for attempted burglary of a dwelling , a severity level 9, person felony. He was also sentenced to six months on a misdemeanor criminal damage to property charge. Coffey County Attorney Doug Witteman said Jones had a history of several theft and burglary convictions in Linn, Franklin, Nemaha and Miami counties. He also indicated he had a prior burglary conviction in Coffey County in 1995.

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Coffey County Fair kicks off Wednesday

BURLINGTON — Kelley Park will be bustling with activity all day Wednesday as the 132nd Coffey County Fair officially begins. Events are scheduled throughout the day, including the dog, cat and hand pet show and the Rusty Rierson country music show in the evening.
Open class and 4-H exhibitors will be entering their non-livestock entries from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Kelley Hall and the 4-H Building, and judging of the 4-H arts and crafts and foods exhibits will begin at 9 a.m. At 10 a.m., conference judging of 4-H photography and woodworking entries begins, and the open class exhibit buildings will close for judging at 1 p.m.

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Museum director charged with theft

BURLINGTON — Deborah Stinson Kennamore, who has served as Coffey County Historical Society and Museum’s director for more than 13 years, is facing five counts of theft against the museum. Coffey County Attorney Doug Witteman filed the complaint in the Coffey County District Court late Wednesday afternoon.
“These charges are the result of an investigation that was initiated on June 27 by Coffey County Sheriff Randy Rogers after specific concerns were brought to his attention,” Witteman said. “Detective Tom Johnson handled the investigation, which proceeded in a timely manner and was concluded on Monday, July 16. Reports were provided to my office on Tuesday, July 17.”

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Republicans debate
toward August primary

A Republican candidate forum was held Thursday, July 12, at the Coffey County Library Burlington Branch to a standing room only crowd. A story appeared in the July 17 edition of The Republican, and audio files from the debate have been made available below (click to listen).

Commissioners Race - 11:16, 10.8MB

Sheriff's Race - 38-21, 36.8MB (approx. 15 minutes missing at end due to technical error.)

Legislative Races - 1:38:31 - 94.6MB

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Wild Blue serves up BBQ, more

BURLINGTON — Kelley Park will be filled with kids' activities and delicious barbecue during the 8th Annual Wild Blue BBQ and Expo July 20 and 21 in Burlington.
Festivities will officially begin Friday afternoon with the craft and business vendor expo, while Saturday's schedule includes the KCBS-sanctioned cookoff, a pedal power tractor pull and a variety of kids' games and activities.

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County declared disaster due to drought

TOPEKA — Coffey County is among 82 Kansas counties declared federal disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), making agricultural producers eligible for disaster assistance programs.
The designation makes farmers and ranchers eligible for Farm Service Agency (FSA) low interest emergency loans. Specifically, 66 Kansas counties will be declared as primary disaster areas and 16 contiguous counties will also receive disaster designations.

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Bailey gets 161 months for baby's death

BURLINGTON — Karen Marie Bailey, 23, LeRoy, received a 161-month prison sentence for the death of her newborn infant, Benjamin Edward Riggs-Geisler.
District Court Judge Phillip Fromme imposed the sentence Thursday in Coffey County District Court. He concurred with a plea agreement worked out between Bailey’s court-appointed attorney, Forrest Lowry, and Coffey County Attorney Doug Witteman and Assistant Attorney General Lee Davidson in which Bailey pleaded no contest to two charges.
Judge Fromme sentenced her to 154 months in prison for the first charge of second-degree unintentional murder of her newborn son and seven months for the second charge of aggravated endangerment of a child. The sentences are to be served consecutively.

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Coffey County placed in drought warning

TOPEKA — Drought conditions continue to intensify for Kansas which led Governor Sam Brownback to update the Drought Declaration for Kansas counties with an Executive Order 12-08 Tuesday. The update includes all 105 counties either in an emergency, warning or watch status.

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New state agencies focus on protecting Kansans

TOPEKA — Kansans from across the state joined Gov. Sam Brownback and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, M.D., yesterday to cut the ribbon on two new state agencies focused on protecting the state’s children, families and most vulnerable. Created by Executive Reorganization Order No. 41, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) are part of the Brownback Administration’s ongoing reorganization efforts to increase efficiency among state agencies and improve services and programs.

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Burlington community makes
a dream come true

BURLINGTON — The folks in Burlington are pulling together as a community and are accomplishing an amazing feat. With help from all facets of the community, a new handicapped-accessible home is under construction for Loran Martin, a life-long resident of Burlington and Coffey County.
Martin was diagnosed five years ago with Friedreich’s Ataxia. FA, a form of muscular dystrophy, is a debilitating and progressive disease that affects the limbs, heart and speech.

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Floyd H. Robinson Vietnam MIA
Memorial Highway dedicated

BURLINGTON — A dedication ceremony Saturday afternoon recognized the service and ultimate sacrifice of a Burlington soldier by naming the 27-mile stretch of U.S. 75 in Coffey County as the Floyd H. Robinson Vietnam MIA Memorial Highway.
Approximately 200 people attended the ceremony and paid tribute to Sgt. Robinson, who was reported missing in action on March 12, 1969, while on a reconnaissance mission in South Vietnam.

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Burlington USD 244
Board OKs personnel, rec appointment

BURLINGTON — The Burlington USD 244 Board of Education approved a number of personnel items and appointed a new member of the USD 244 Recreation Commission when the school board met June 11.
Board members present for the regular monthly meeting were President Jeff Finlayson, Beth Sloyer, Dale Williams, George Smith, Doug Jones and Seth Bell. Board member Brian Masters was absent.

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Ceremony to dedicate Floyd H.
Robinson Memorial Highway

Forty-three years after Sergeant Floyd Henry Robinson went missing in Vietnam, a 27-mile stretch of U.S. 75 will be dedicated to his memory.
A dedication ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Veterans Park, located at Fourth and Neosho streets. The 300 block of Neosho will be blocked off for the ceremony, which is being organized by the members of the Congdon-Kepler American Legion Post No. 38 in Burlington. Sgt. Robinson’s family has been invited to attend the ceremony.

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Board OKs ballistic vests

Coffey County Commissioners received four more requests for funds related to the 2013 budget when they met Monday.
Present for the regular weekly meeting were Commissioners Kimberly Skillman-Robrahn, chairman, Larry Crotts, Kenneth Combes, Bob Saueressig and Fred Rowley, County Clerk Angie Kirchner, County Attorney Doug Witteman and Administrative Assistant Donna Berland.

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Senate, House districts change in county

Redistricting has reshaped the political boundaries in Coffey County, particularly in the county’s representation in the Kansas House of Representatives and Kansas Senate.
The Kansas Legislature failed at the task of redrawing the political boundaries, so three federal judges went to work and released the new boundaries late Thursday. The legislative maps are redrawn every 10 years so the population in each district is as even as possible.

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School fortunes riding on funding trial outcome

TOPEKA — Cynthia Lane wants her students in Unified School District 500 to succeed.
But the odds, well, they aren’t exactly in her favor. The Kansas City, Kan., schools superintendent said as much before a packed Topeka courtroom Monday.
Lane was the first of 44 witnesses scheduled to appear in the second major school funding lawsuit in six years to hit Kansas courts. Fifty-four school districts are suing Kansas to recover school-aid money legislators chose not to budget during the 2008 financial crisis.

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Bailey found guilty in newborn's death

BURLINGTON — There will be no jury trial surrounding the death of a newborn infant by his mother on April 2, 2011. A jury trial to hear the case had previously been scheduled to begin June 25.
LeRoy resident, Karen Marie Bailey, 23, pleaded no contest to murder in the second degree and aggravated endangerment of a child Friday in the Fourth Judicial District Court of Coffey County. The victim of the crime is her son, Benjamin Edward Riggs-Geisler, who died about 12 hours after his birth.

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Sheriff discovers statute, reimburses county

BURLINGTON — Coffey County received a reimbursement check in the amount of $503.44 from A Lasting Impression after Coffey County Sheriff Randy Rogers learned about a state statute that governs contracts made by public officers and employees.
Sheriff Rogers discussed the situation with Coffey County Commissioners when they met Tuesday morning for their regular weekly meeting. Rogers said the statute, KSA 75-4304, might be interpreted or construed that an elected official is not allowed to authorize and purchase any goods from a personal business.

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Survey shows patron satisfaction with library

BURLINGTON — A little feedback on how your business is doing can go a long way in improving your service. Coffey County Library staff is using results from a patron survey taken April 2-20 to do just that.

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Four valedictorians address Lebo grads

LEBO — The Lebo High School Class of 2012, on Sunday afternoon, May 20, had 27 students graduate from high school and 24 eighth graders promoted into high school. The event took place in the large school gym before a standing room only crowd.

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Twin sisters open Barbie doll museum in LeRoy

LeROY — Twin sisters, Wilda and Wilma Williams, plan to celebrate their 80th birthday by hosting a grand opening of the Barbie and More Museum in downtown LeRoy.
Located next door to the Pizza Parlor, the Barbie and More Museum features hundreds of Barbie dolls, as well as many other dolls and stuffed animals.

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USD 244 BOE
Thomas named BHS principal

BURLINGTON — The hiring of a new high school principal topped a long list of personnel-related items handled by the Burlington USD 244 Board of Education Monday night.
All members of the school board were present for the meeting, Jeff Finlayson, Beth Sloyer, Dale Williams, George Smith, Doug Jones and Seth Bell. Brian Masters arrived at 7:35 p.m. Superintendent Cliff Williams was also present.

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BHS GRADUATES 57
Class of 2012 ready to race into huge world

BURLINGTON — Fifty-seven members of the Class of 2012 joined the ranks of Burlington High School alumni following commencement held Saturday afternoon in the BHS Gymnasium.
The 70-minute ceremony featured the usual “Pomp and Circumstance,” presentations of more than $38,000 in local scholarships, a visual compilation of senior memories and presentation of diplomas. However, this year’s senior address had a new twist as the entire class stood at designated points in the speech and recited select lines of popular songs that corresponded with the speech.

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TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK
Kelley is enriching classrooms nationwide

LEBO — Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-11, is an opportunity to let students show their gratitude to their teachers. Many students use the opportunity to thank teachers in person, with a card, small gift or phone call. Even businesses observe the week.
Behind the scenes, one can find teachers being thanked by other educators. One such teacher who receives thanks from ppers is Sheila Kelley, a first-grade teacher at Lebo Elementary School. Kelley has, for 19 years, touched lives of students in her classroom and at the same time provided ideas for teachers across the nation.

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Area students named Governor's Scholars

TOPEKA — Five area students, along with numerous other Kansas students, were honored Sunday at the 29th annual Governor’s Scholars Award Program in Topeka, on the campus of Washburn University.
The event, hosted by Gov. Sam Brownback and the Kansas State Department of Education, recognized the top 1 percent of each school’s senior class.

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Students taught lesson about failure

BURLINGTON — Coffey County seniors and their families attending a Senior Honors Banquet Wednesday night heard 2012 Kansas Teacher of the Year Tiffany Richard deliver a message about failure.
It probably wasn’t the topic many of the seniors had been expecting. After all, they had to maintain a 3.0 grade point average in order to be invited to the banquet, which was hosted by the Coffey County Chamber of Commerce at Rock Creek Country Club.

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Burlington girl continues health battle

BURLINGTON — A 3-on-3 basketball tournament scheduled Saturday will benefit Brooklyn Kay Barrett while raising awareness for Kabuki Syndrome and Juvenile Arthritis. A breakfast is also planned in conjunction with the tournament.
The tournament has become an annual event for Brooklyn, a three-year-old girl who has faced numerous obstacles since birth. This spring was particularly challenging for Brooklyn and her parents, Matt and Nikki Barrett, Burlington , and Brooklyn’s
brother, Brendan, 2.

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Refinancing could save city $428,000

BURLINGTON — The City of Burlington could save approximately $428,000 over the next 13 years by refinancing three outstanding state loans.
David Arteberry, a representative of George K. Baum and Company, summarized the savings for the Burlington City Council when the council met April 18. Arteberry has been working with the city to determine the feasibility of refinancing city debt. He outlined steps the city must take to successfully refinance the debt.

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Rogers files for re-election as sheriff

BURLINGTON — Coffey County Sheriff Randy Rogers joins four other county elected officials in filing for re-election. Rogers, a Gridley Republican, filed Friday by submitting a petition to the Coffey County Elections Officer, which is located in the county clerk’s office. The other four incumbents, all Republicans, also filed by petition.

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Spring cleanup in Burlington

Seven City of Burlington employees and Mayor Gene Merry were out in force Monday morning picking up everything from lumber and bagged trash to furniture and appliances from city residents. As of this morning, truckloads of items have already been taken to the landfill.

The workers are expected to finish the spring cleanup project by late afternoon today. If you forgot to set your trash out Monday morning, you can still take it to the landfill this week and dispose of it at no cost.

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Court closings to affect Coffey County

BURLINGTON — The Fourth Judicial District Court in Burlington will be forced to close April 13, April 27, May 11, May 25 and June 8 due to an unexpected decrease in court case filings in fiscal year 2012. Revenue losses for the judicial branch left the Kansas judicial branch with a shortfall of $1.4 million. The money is included in a $14 billion state budget that stalled in the Legislature because of an unrelated dispute over school funding.

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Native plants provide a
‘Taste of the Tall Grass Prairie’

LeROY — A book inspired George Arnold to put together a native plant bundle that includes plants that are not only pleasing to the eye, but more importantly will attract pollinators, which are beneficial to flower and vegetable gardens.

Arnold’s inspiration was the book “Bringing Nature Home,” by University of Delaware professor Douglas Tallamy. The book tells how you can sustain wildlife with native plants.

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Wolf Creek resumes
power production

BURLINGTON — Wolf Creek Generating Station operators returned the plant to service Tuesday morning following a maintenance outage to repair equipment needed to transfer power to and from the plant. On Jan. 13, Wolf Creek Generating Station automatically shut down because the plant had a fault in its electrical distribution system. The plant has remained offline since that time to address the issues that caused the power interruption and implement necessary corrective actions.

“We have an outstanding team of employees who have worked safely to bring the plant back online, and I appreciate their efforts,” said Matt Sunseri, president and chief executive officer. “Safety is our highest priority at Wolf Creek, and the actions we have taken reflect that commitment to our- selves and those who live in the community.”

Early Thursday morning, the plant returned to 100 percent power.

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Lebo man sent to prison
after probation violation

BURLINGTON — A Lebo man’s probation was revoked March 15 following a lengthy hearing in the Coffey County District Court. As a result, he was ordered to serve time in prison.

District Judge Phillip M. Fromme ordered Anthony R. Chenoweth, 24, to serve 19 months in the custody of the Kansas Secretary of Corrections as a result of violating the terms of his probation that was imposed at his original sentencing on Sept. 23, 2010. He had originally been sentenced following his August 2010 convictions for nonresidential burglary, a severity level 7 nonperson felony and possession of marijuana, a severity level 4 drug felony.

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Mayor participates in
'March for Meals'

BURLINGTON — Burlington Mayor Gene Merry, who is no stranger to community service, got an up-close look at the local Meals on Wheels program Wednesday. The mayor, along with Lynn Osburn, who usually delivers the hot meals, delivered 16 meals to homebound seniors around Burlington. Mayors or county commissioners have been a part of the program for the last 10 years.

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SCC prepares for honor flight

LeROY — The Southern Coffey County High School Honor Flight will take wing on April 5-6 with 24 World War II and Korean War veterans, 21 SCCHS students, three Wes ern Plains students and seven support personnel making their sixth trip to Washington, D.C.

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Source of Lebo odor unknown

LEBO — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment absorbed most of the cost to find the “fresh gasoline smell” experienced in downtown Lebo during January and early February. The source of the odor still has not been located, the Lebo City Council learned during its March 5 regular meeting.

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NRC discusses inspection,
recent Wolf Creek event

NEW STRAWN — Officials from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation met Tuesday night to discuss the findings of an augmented inspection team. Nearly 100 people attended the public meeting held at the New Strawn Community Building.

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Library launches e-book service

The Coffey County Library has launched a new e-book service for its patrons. With this new service, people can check out e-books on their computers, e-readers, and other compatible devices, and all they need is a library card.

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Severe weather
season starts early

Thunderstorms rolled through the area Tuesday night, prompting the first severe weather warnings of the spring storm season.

A tornado watch was issued at 8:10 p.m. for Coffey County, as well as neighboring counties. At 9:58 p.m., an approaching thunderstorm with strong winds prompted meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Topeka to issue a severe thunderstorm warning that included the cities of LeRoy, Burlington, New Strawn and Waverly.

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Refueling outage move
under evaluation

BURLINGTON — Personnel at Wolf Creek Generating Station have repaired electrical equipment that caused the Jan. 13 automatic shut down and loss of off-site power.

“We have taken the time needed to understand what happened and are implementing corrective actions,” said Steve Hedges, Wolf Creek site vice president.

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Committee recommends
MacBooks, iPads for students

HARTFORD — The One-to-One Initiatives Committee, comprised of a group of staff members, board members and parents, presented its proposal regarding individual student learning using technology at the Southern Lyon County USD 252 Board of Edu- cation meeting held Feb. 8.

The committee has been meeting since November and has visited a number of other school districts to examine one-to-one initiatives and/or innovative technology programs to see what types of technology might work best to promote student learning for USD 252 students.

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Unique haltime performance
'hard to beat'

BURLINGTON — Armed with sticks and homemade instruments, 21 members of the Burlington High School Wildcat Band gave a “booming” performance at halftime of the boys’ basketball game Friday evening against the Caney Valley Bulldogs.

The musicians, most of them non- percussionists, performed “Talkin’ Trash” using 55-gallon drums, fertilizer barrels, 20- and 25-gallon galvanized trash cans, two- and five-gallon buckets and lids. The result was a unique, rhythmic routine, complete with student-choreography, decorated instruments and costumes.

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County’s top spellers face off

Myers takes top prize with ‘cellophane’

BURLINGTON — Burlington Middle School’s seventh-grader, Braden Myers, is a natural when it comes to spelling.

“I didn’t study until last night,” he admitted shortly after he won the Coffey County Spelling Bee Tuesday afternoon in the Waverly High School gymnasium. “My dad went over the words with me and I only missed three. He said he thought I was ready.” Braden said he is an avid reader, which is common among spelling champs.

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Board discuss indigent
deaths, landfill fees

BURLINGTON — Coffey County Commissioners discussed indigent deaths, waiving landfill fees and upgrading dispatch equipment among a host of other business when they met Monday.

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Council OKs street
improvement, tree removal

BURLINGTON — The Burlington City Council on Wednesday passed a resolution to make street improvements to one block in the southwest part of the city, hired a full-time Parks Department employee and accepted a quote from a Pomona tree care service to remove five hazardous trees.

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Williams recognized
for service to fire district

BURLINGTON — Chairman Lyle Williams, who stepped down as a trustee on the Coffey County Fire District No. 1 board, received two plaques at the board’s Jan. 17 meeting for his continued support and dedication to the district for the past 13 years.

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Five landowners to receive
soil conservation awards

BURLINGTON — Five Coffey County landowners will receive conservation awards Wednesday night at the Coffey County Conservation District’s 71st annual meeting and banquet.

A meal, sponsored by the Coffey County Bankers Association, will be served at 6 p.m. in the Burlington High School commons area followed by the Coffey County Conservation District’s 71st annual meeting in the BHS theater. More than 150 Coffey County residents and landowners at- tend the meeting each year.

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Local, state officials investigate
odd smell in Lebo

TOPEKA — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), along with Coffey County Fire District No. 1 and Coffey County Emergency Management, has noted and is investigating a strong gasoline odor in Lebo. Experts stress that the odor has shown no health concerns.

The smell was first reported on Thursday, Jan. 26, by Lebo’s city superintendent. Since then, KDHE and local partners have been working to discover the cause. It is believed that the pathway for the odors to reach the buildings is an old sewer line. Officials are still investigating the location of the source of the odors.

“KDHE and their local partners plan to cap off the line this week,” explained Randy Carlson, storage tanks section chief for KDHE’s Bureau of Environmental Remediation. “We’re hoping to have this corrected soon, but want to emphasis that citizens’ health is not at risk.”

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Wolf Creak remains
offline for repairs

BURLINGTON — Plant personnel at Wolf Creek Generating Station are continuing to investigate the cause for a failed circuit breaker that caused an automatic shut down and loss of off-site power on Friday, Jan. 13. The plant remains offline.

“We take our responsibility to maintain nuclear safety seriously. That is why it is so important that we clearly understand what caused the event and determine the actions that are needed to address the cause. We are making progress,” said Steve Hedges, site vice president.

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NRC sending inspection
team to Wolf Creak

BURLINGTON — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has announced it send an Augmented Inspection Team (AIT) to the Wolf Creek Nuclear Generating Station to review the circumstances surrounding an automatic reactor trip and loss of offsite power that occurred there on Jan. 13.

Just after 2 p.m. on Jan. 13, officials at the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Co., declared a Notice of Unusual Event after the failure of a main generator electrical breaker, followed by an unexplained loss of power to an electrical transformer. This caused the switchyard to become de-energized, which removed the plant’s connection to the electrical power grid. The emergency diesel generators automatically started and powered safety-related equipment.

An Unusual Event is the lowest of four NRC emergency categories.

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County rejects bids
for shop addition

Commissioners on Monday rejected all bids received for the county shop office addition because all bids exceeded the engineer’s estimate.

Once the addition is built, the county engineer’s office will be moved from the courthouse basement to the new addition.

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Couple to move, transform
church into home

BURLINGTON — Leon Sink and his wife, Tiffany, are unveiling their plans for a local historic church they’ve purchased.

Noting that folks in and around Burlington have heard about the purchase and have been curious, the Sinks talked it over and decided perhaps the time had come for them to let the cat out of the bag, so to speak.

The Burlington couple purchased the 15,000-square-foot church, which is located just across the street from the Coffey County Courthouse, more than a year ago. The church, which was once a Christian church, has sat empty for more than three years.

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GOP Caucus slated for March 10

BURLINGTON — A Republican caucus will be held in Kansas on Saturday, March 10. In Coffey County, a caucus will be held starting at 10 a.m. at Burlington High School. Registration will begin at 9 a.m.

Coffey County residents, registered as a Republican by Feb. 17, will be able to vote at any one caucus in the Second District, until 1 p.m. Caucus locations are printed on the Kansas Republican Party website at www.ksgop.org, click on “Caucus: March 10” found on the top banner bar.

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Fair continues search for
carnival, input sought

BURLINGTON — In its 132nd year, the Coffey County Fair continues to be the oldest consecutively held county fair in Kansas. Despite the long history, the Coffey County Fair has struggled in recent years to secure an amusement carnival, with patrons asking “why?”

“People want to know, why is it so hard to get a carnival at the fair?” said Vickie Wolford, Fair Board Secretary.

“There are obstacles we are up against in getting a long term car- nival agreement, including budget, travel routes, long term agreements, liability issues, fair size and date scheduling,” she said.

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