Archive for Wednesday, December 27, 2000

Y2K: A year of change for the area

December 27, 2000

Editor's note: As the year 2000 draws to a close, The Mirror's news editor, Lisa Scheller, took the opportunity to review the major news stories of the past 12 months. Here is her report.


As the year began, housing starts continued to climb. New land annexed into Tonganoxie during 1999 covered 254 acres zoned for housing and development. At the Eagle Valley subdivision, all but seven of 43 lots had been sold and builders were putting up dozens of houses.

The look of Tonganoxie's downtown continued to change as construction workers replaced sidewalks, lampposts and pavement on Fourth Street.

Local physicians reported influenza was in full swing and advised preventative measures.

Work progressed on Basehor-Linwood's elementary school, Glenwood Ridge, slated to open in mid-February and located two miles south of U.S. Highway 24-40 on 158th Street.

Meanwhile, in Leavenworth, a shortage of applicants for jail guards concerned sheriff's department officials. More officers would be needed when the jail moved into the Justice Center, scheduled for a springtime completion.

The city planners debated and approved an application for a special use permit for a concrete batching plant.

Tonganoxie High School prepared for its 41st annual invitational basketball tournament.

Winners of the Soil Conservation and windbreak awards were Calvin Chambers and Bruce Chambers, Carl Langley, and Richard and Mary VanTuyl.

Work progressed on construction of a new bridge at the Tonganoxie Cliffs northeast of the city.

Sarah Gripka was crowned queen of the Tonganoxie Invitational Basketball Tournament.

Kenny Carpenter, 53, was sworn in as Tonganoxie's new police chief, Continued from page 1A

replacing Bill Adkins, whose resignation was effective on Jan. 1.

Paul Davis purchased the Fourth Street Cafrom Jim and Connie Branham.


A Lansing bank robbery resulted in a high-speed chase through Tonganoxie as the suspect fled the area.

Jenny Stark, 19, continued her plans to be a professional racecar driver. She had been racing cars since the age of 14.

Local law enforcement officers and school officials expressed concern about the volume and speed of traffic along U.S. Highway 24-40 near city schools.

Members of the Tonganoxie Historical Society put their efforts into renovating the dairy barn at the site, located north of Evans Road, west of Highway 24-40.

Brewer's Price Chopper opened its doors in Bonner Springs, replacing the Country Mart grocery store, owned by the same owners.

Lida Bailey and Alvin Anders were crowned Valentine's queen and king at Tonganoxie Nursing Center.

The Ice Cream Parlor, owned by Jess and Diana Smith, closed.

Tonganoxie planning commissioners unanimously denied a request for a special-use permit for a concrete batching plant. Meier Ready Mix, Topeka, had requested the permit to build a batching plant on the west side of Leavenworth County Road 5, immediately south of the U.S. Highway 24-40 overpass.

WorldNet LLC, owned by brothers Dolph Simons III and Dan Simons, entered into an agreement with Galaxy Telecom LP to purchase cable television operations that serve about 1,400 customers in Basehor, Linwood, Tonganoxie and rural Leavenworth County.

About half of Tonganoxie downtown's new lampposts were in place along Fourth Street.

A highway traffic accident southwest of Tonganoxie on U.S. Highway 24-40 claimed the life of 41-year-old Jim Walker, Tonganoxie.

Gasoline prices began to rise, hovering around the $1.36 marker, up about 15 cents from two weeks earlier.


The Tonganoxie High School marching band learned they had been one of 20 bands in the nation selected to participate in the Dec. 31 Cotton Bowl parade.

The Christian Church, under the leadership of Rev. Ben Saathoff, finalized plans for a new addition to the church.

Steve Woelk, a survivor of the 1968 USS Pueblo capture, received two Navy Commendation medals, two Purple Hearts, the POW medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary medal, the Combat Action ribbon and the National Defense medals in a Fort Leavenworth ceremony.

Representatives of Lawrence Memorial Hospital expressed an interest in setting up a clinic in the Tonganoxie area.

Nancy Smith, a Linwood writer and gardener who publishes a newsletter about old-fashioned ornamental plants, was featured in Midwest Living magazine.

Leavenworth County Sheriff Herb Nye said that difficulty in attracting new staff members would likely postpone the jail's move into the new Justice Center.

Members of the Tonganoxie City Council added the position of deputy police chief to the police department and promoted Sgt. Mark Williams to fill the position.

Tonganoxie city administrator Chris Eppley was offered a job in Keizer, Ore. The city began a search for a new city administrator to replace him.

Glenwood Ridge Elementary School, part of the Basehor-Linwood school district, officially opened.


Volunteers continued work on construction of a new press box at the Tonganoxie High School athletic complex.

A $1 million traffic grant from Kansas Department of Transportation would put four more sheriff's patrol officers on Leavenworth County roads.

Bonner Springs residents debated whether there's a need for a new Wal-Mart Super Center.

Wendy Altman, a Tonganoxie High School senior, learned she had been accepted to the University of Missouri at Kansas City Medical School.

The Tonganoxie City Council gave the OK for the second phase of development of the Eagle Valley subdivision.

Tonganoxie school board members reworked the plans for the multi-purpose facility so the cost of construction would be contained to about $500,000.

Matt Bichelmeyer's new restaurant, Bichelmeyer's Steakhouse, opened in the 100-year-old former Zoellner's Mercantile location.

Burdel and Cynthia Welsh requested that the Leavenworth County Planning Commission rezone land east of Tonganoxie on U.S. Highway 24-40 about a half-mile west of 166th Street so that they could operate a recreational vehicle park at the location.

Tonganoxie began looking for a new city clerk after Mayor John Franiuk did not reappoint Linda Lewis to the position.


Quisenberry Funeral Home, owned by Calvin and Susan Quisenberry, received an award from the Kansas Funeral Home Association, for 100 years in service.

Midwest Athletic Club, and exercise and fitness center, opened in the former location of Palace Bowl.

Neil Bitler announced that his restaurant, Bitler's Barbecue, would close May 15.

Jack Cronemeyer and his son, Jack Cronemeyer, began hauling in large rocks at the 3.2 acre site where Rock Ridge Apartments would be built on Ridge Street.

About three dozen home-schooled students sang songs at the May meeting of the Tonganoxie Historical Society.

Don Waterman and his son, Brian Waterman, teamed up to sell real estate through Re/Max All American in Basehor.

Bob Adams, an incumbent Republican, and Jack Wolfe, a Democrat, filed for county commission seats in Leavenworth County.

Mark Elston was hired as Tonganoxie High School's football coach.

Race car driver Tom Charles won his 300th career feature win in modified racing at the Lakeside racetrack. Charles has raced for 22 years.

At 9:55 p.m. Thursday, May 11, a tornado blasted through Tonganoxie. It destroyed structures on the west side of Hubbel Hill, ripped apart buildings at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds, and damaged homes and buildings across town. The Assembly of God church was totally destroyed. The storm tore the roof off the elementary school and demolished trees throughout the city. A child, Kaela Humburg, 4, Lawrence, was injured May 12 during the cleanup and died later that day.

Tornado damage to Tonganoxie schools topped the $300,000 mark, and students returned to school on May 15, some studying in makeshift classrooms through the last week of school.

Tornado damage throughout Tonganoxie was estimated at $1.5 million.

One hundred fourteen students graduated from Tonganoxie High School.

At a Memorial Day weekend speech and debate tournament held in Rochester, N.Y., six Tonganoxie High School debaters competed. Two of the teams competed in the final round of competition, taking 13th and 16th places.


Tonganoxie's downtown renovation project, which had begun in September 1999, was finished. The project included new sidewalks, streets and lampposts along Fourth Street from Green Street to one-half block east of Pleasant Street.

At Leavenworth, the county's new Justice Center officially opened. The center included space for the county jail, in addition to Leavenworth police and county sheriffs departments and courtrooms.

Winners smoked out trophies at the annual McLouth barbecue competition.

The tornado cleanup and downtown renovation was completed just in time for the annual Tonganoxie Days.

Five Democrats and three Republicans filed to represent Third District voters on the Leavenworth County Commission.

Bryan Ross, a Leavenworth County teen-ager, raised nearly $3,000 to help pay for the county's new canine unit.

The Relay for Life, a fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society, raised more than $19,000.

Gasoline prices took a hike, climbing from $1.29 to $1.79 a gallon in the past several months.

Edna Wilper, a resident of Tonganoxie Nursing Center, celebrated her 100th birthday.

Chris Clark, Wellesley, Mass., was named as Tonganoxie's new city administrator.


The new multipurpose facility at the Tonganoxie High School athletic complex was under construction.

A high-speed chase that followed an attempted burglary in the county flew through Tonganoxie and then stopped in Basehor where the vehicle being chased landed in a ditch.

The William T. Kemper Foundation donated $25,000 to the Leavenworth County Fair Board. The funds were earmarked to help rebuild the fairgrounds.

Russell Ehart, McLouth, was becoming known as a chainsaw artist after he had been hired to carve four statues out of tree trunks. Some of the trees had been destroyed by the May 11 tornado.

The city of Tonganoxie searched for a new water source for the city, and council members were looking at a 50-acre tract of land near the Kansas River south of Linwood.

Sandy Bichelmeyer announced plans to open by Sept. 1 a flower shop in the former office of The Tonganoxie Mirror.

Kay Soetart, owner of Legal Printing and Powerhouse Graphics, sold her business to Russell and Nai-Ying Wesley, Stanley.

Everlasting Specialties moved into their new headquarters in Tonganoxie's Urban Hess industrial park.


Kansas Bureau of Investigation opened a new crime lab on the campus of Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Tailgate Ranch played host to the Kansas Livestock Association, Kansas State University Ranch Management Field Day.

In the primary election, commissioners Wayne Eldridge, Basehor, and Bob Adams, Leavenworth, were victorious.

Many attended the 43rd annual McLouth Steam Engine Show and Threshing Bee.

High winds on Aug. 7 snapped limbs and branches from trees in the area.

Leavenworth County Sheriff Herb Nye said commissioners had voted to let county voters decide if the sheriff's department retirement plan could switch from the Kansas Employees Retirement System to a plan sponsored by the Kansas Police and Fire.

The state of Kansas announced plans to give a grant of $75,000 to the Leavenworth County Fair Board to use in rebuilding the fairgrounds.

Members of the Tonganoxie Tree Board planted a red oak tree at the fairgrounds.

Officers at the Leavenworth County Jail moved inmates to the new jail in the Justice Center.

Members of the Bonner Springs City Council approved zoning for a Wal-Mart super center to be located at Kansas Highway 7 and Kansas Avenue.

Tonganoxie's new park, located south of U.S. Highway 24-40 on Main Street, was given the name of "Chieftain Park."

While it appeared that Leavenworth County would have a good corn crop, the area soybeans were drying on the vine as the area suffered high temperatures and a lack of August rainfall.

A 122-year-old house owned by Jeff Denholm was moved to a new location about a mile away.


A new 40-foot tall carillon would be constructed at the Leavenworth National Cemetery, Leavenworth.

The multipurpose building at the Tonganoxie High School athletic complex was dedicated and opened for use.

John Pfannenstiel, mayor of Basehor, faced felony charges of illegal sexual relations with inmates at Lansing Correctional Facility, where he worked.

New benches at the Tonganoxie High School athletic complex were dedicated in memory of Jim Walker, who

died February in a vehicle accident. A tree carving of a chieftain head near the football field was also done in memory of Walker.

The city of Tonganoxie agreed to reduce assessments to property owners along Fourth Street where the downtown renovation took place.

Pavement of driving lanes at Kansas Speedway was well under way.

The members of the Tonganoxie Historical Society announced plans to renovate the brick silo on the site where the schoolhouse and church are located.

Hunter education kicked off at Tonganoxie Junior High where eighth-grade students learn hunter safety in school.

Enrollment numbers at Tonganoxie schools continued a five-year downward trend and wound up having 130 fewer students than five years earlier.

A 73-year-old Jarbalo man, John Brezgiel, was reported missing. He was reportedly last seen Sept. 20 at the Leavenworth Plaza.


A new eastern turnpike toll plaza opened. The toll plaza was moved from Bonner Springs to milepost 217 to help accommodate traffic during race days at Kansas Speedway.

Jimmy Walker and Becca Mills were crowned Tonganoxie High School's homecoming king and queen.

Tonganoxie businesses reported difficulty in finding people to work for them.

Marilee Drennan entered the world of e-commerce, setting up her business, Yoyobarn Productions, in which she would assist people in selling items on the Internet.

The YouthFriends program, which pairs adults with school children, started up at Basehor-Linwood.

Two Tonganoxie Girl Scouts, Paula Prosser, Paige Robinson, would be featured on the 2001 Girl Scout cookie boxes. Moreover, Prosser and Elizabeth Higbee would be featured on the 2001 Girl Scout calendar.

Tonganoxie football coach Mark Elston was named the Kansas City Chiefs coach of the week.

Tonganoxie High School's debate team started out another winning season, sweeping up awards in their first tournaments of the year.

A high-speed chase in a vehicle stolen in Lawrence ended up high-tech. The vehicle was equipped with a satellite tracking system, which allowed law enforcement officers to locate the car. A driver ditched the vehicle in a farmpond, walked away and stole another car nearby, escaping the area.

Fire destroyed a mobile home at Paradise Trailer Park.

Tonganoxie named a new city clerk, Kathy Bard, formerly an assistant city clerk in DeSoto.

Tonganoxie High School Chieftains closed their football season with five wins.


Tonganoxie Elementary School's new Reading Recover program was in the beginning stages, taught by Deniece Wakeman.

A film crew descended on Tonganoxie's Sunset Motel for an afternoon of filming for a film, "The Painting."

Volunteers would help rebuild the Assembly of God Church, which was destroyed by the May 11 tornado.

Growth prompted the decision to build a new Church of the Nazarene in McLouth.

The Sacred Heart Catholic Church was looking at plans for a new building to be located on an 11-acre tract on the west side of U.S. Highway 24-40.

Danny Mathia was flying high in his hot-air balloon.

The Tonganoxie planning commission gave its OK for plans for Steve Sturgeon's planned mobile home park.

Leavenworth County voters approved Bob Adams and Joe Daniels for two county commission seats. Voters also approved the sheriff department's plans for a change in retirement compensation.

Penny Concrete Company, Lawrence, submitted a request to start up a sand-removal operation near the Kansas River, south of Linwood.

Members of VFW Post 9271 held a ground-breaking ceremony to mark the beginning of construction of a post home, located at Reusch Memorial VFW Park.

Work began on a 12,000-square-foot addition to B&J Apple Market.

A construction crew was in the process of adding a two-story 26,000-square-foot addition to the Tonganoxie Christian Church.


The Rev. Rick Lamb, pastor of West Haven Baptist Church, received a grant from the Lily Endowment Inc. to pay for a three-week trip to Israel for Lamb and his wife, Becky, and a trip for Lamb to a theological seminar in Southern California.

As an incentive to attract new employees, the County Infirmary offered $50 bonus to workers who recruit new employees.

The city of Tonganoxie looked at how to best proceed on improving the city's sewer system.

Officials from the National Weather Service recognized Tom Norman for continuing his family's 40-year history of keeping weather statistics for the NWS.

After being closed for construction for two years, State Avenue, from Interstate 435 to 118th Street, reopened.

A winter storm iced the area, causing school to be dismissed for four consecutive days. On the fifth day, Friday, Dec. 15, classes resumed, but another snowstorm resulted in the canceling of classes at 12:30 p.m. More snow hit the city on Dec. 20, sending some motorists sliding into one another or into ditches.

The Tonganoxie City Council approved a sewer, water and trash rate increase.

Mike and Becky Derzinski and daughter Maggie were in the throes of a busy Christmas season with triplet sons Joe, Jake and Jon.

Matt Bicheymeyer's restaurant, Bichelmeyer's Steakhouse, qualified for a low-interest loan established to encourage downtown business owners to refurbish building facades.

The sheriff's department ended up the year in the red, for the first time in eight years. The cause, said Sheriff Herb Nye, was the transition into the new jail, housed in the Justice Center.

The search continued for John Brezgiel, 73, Jarbalo, who had been missing since Sept. 20. Neither Brezgiel nor his car had been found.

The city of Tonganoxie was considering the purchase of the former Community Bank building at Fourth and Delaware streets to accommodate future growth.

Jake McGhee, a Tonganoxie eighth-grade student, earned a junior black belt in karate.

Lydia Neu, Lawrence, opened a satellite physical therapy office at Midwest Health Center.

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