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New Ellis County administrator readies for 2017 budget work

Friday marks the first full month on the job for the new Ellis County Administrator. After spending 15 years working in California – the past six as the Humboldt County Chief Administrative Officer – Phillip Smith-Hanes began working in Ellis County on March 1st. The Marion, Kan., native says getting …

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Hutchinson landlords protest city rental inspection program

Several landlords in Hutchinson who registered their rental units under a new city program did so under protest because they believe the program is unconstitutional. The registration process started in January but landlords were given until Thursday to pay a $25 annual fee for rental units. The city plans to …

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Shawnee County judge tosses southeast Kansas casino lawsuit

The lead investor in a proposed southeast Kansas casino Friday praised a Shawnee County District Court judge’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a rival casino bidder and Cherokee County to block the development project. Bruce Christenson, a key financial player in the Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel, said …

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Recording policy on Parsons slate

Parsons city commissioners on Monday likely will adopt a policy concerning the broadcasting of their meetings. At the direction of the commission, the city staff recently began video recording meetings for live broadcast on Cable One’s Channel 5 and streaming on livestream.com. The policy city staff created for Monday’s possible …

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Lansing split on tobacco age limit

Lansing City Council members were split Thursday as to whether they want to implement a 21-year-old age limit for buying tobacco. Council members didn’t vote Thursday since it was a work session, but Mayor Gene Kirby said the discussion indicated a 4-4 split. They will act on it at the …

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Neosho County discusses need for blasting

Neosho County’s supply of rock is running out, and county commissioners met Friday with the quarry foreman about blasting for more. Quarry foreman Chris Hoagland requested authority and funding to blast at the Neely quarry. Hoagland said the county last blasted in November and he has enough rock for 50 …

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Barton County attorney rejects school board recall petition

Barton County Attorney Doug Matthews late Friday afternoon rejected the petition filed to recall all the members of the USD 428 School Board, noting problems with the filing itself and because the allegations made were legally insufficient to warrant such action. Matthews made his opinion known in a letter to …

Mock disaster tests emergency workers

Emergency and medical workers from four counties joined in conducting a disaster preparedness drill Thursday at Labette Community College’s gymnasium. The drill involved setting up a shelter and medical care areas in the gym for Parsons residents affected by power outages from an ice storm. To complicate matters — other …

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Erie grants incentive extension to store

The grocery store in Erie will get an extension on the economic development incentives it received from the city when it opened. The Erie City Council on Monday approved a four-year extension on an electrical utility discount for Stub’s Market, 525 W. State St. The discount will continue until May …

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Barber poles could get reprieve under Merriam sign code changes

Barber poles could soon be legal in Merriam. Among other restrictions in the city’s sign sign ordinance, barber poles are included in the list of items that are considered “attention-attracting devices,” along with beacons, strobe lights, banners, streamers, pennants, strings of balloons and a long list of other devices. The …

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Mayor urges Wichitans to take action on ozone

With the annual ozone season starting on Friday, Mayor Jeff Longwell said new federal guidelines designed to protect air quality will require citizens and businesses to work together to develop action plans, reduce emissions, and avoid millions in federal penalties. … “It’s important for citizens to help reduce emissions and …

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Five weeks later, town is still “HesstonStrong”

It was five weeks ago Thursday that tragedy stuck Hesston, Kansas. The shootings at the Excel plant, and leading up to them the shootings in Newton, changed the small Kansas community. Soon after, however, the focus changed from the Hesston tragedy to “Hesston Strong,” as residents would continue to prove …

City extends repayment of loan for Kansas Aviation Museum

The Kansas Aviation Museum has received a temporary reprieve from the city of Wichita. The museum has until Feb. 1, 2020, to pay about $180,000 to the city for a Capital Improvement Program loan, which added heating and air conditioning to the building and made it handicap-compliant, city and museum …

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McPherson initiates housing rehabilitation plan

According to City Administrator Nick Gregory, the city was required to select a geographical target area that consisted of 250 to 300 structures. “We selected the area bounded by Elizabeth Street on the north, Avenue A on the south, Fisher Street on the east and both sides of Main Street …

Hospital boards discuss rural healthcare challenges

Hospital boards and staffs across the area gathered Wednesday night at the Clarion Inn in Garden City for the Pioneer Health Network’s 2016 Conference for Hospital Boards to look at challenges and the solutions for rural healthcare in southwest Kansas. Sister Mary Jean Ryan, former CEO and board chair of …

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Derby animal code clears up definition of ‘chicken’

Since 2012, Derby residents have been allowed to keep up to six chickens within any zoning district of the city. While the code was only meant to allow hens, which are more commonly kept for their production of fresh eggs, some Derby neighbors have recently issued complaints regarding early-morning crows …