Archive for Wednesday, December 27, 2006

2006 an eventful year for Tonganoxie area

December 27, 2006

January

January started out with Leavenworth County commissioners settling on a route to access a proposed turnpike interchange, which Kansas Turnpike Authority had expressed interest in building. However, that hinged on the county improving the access road, County Road 1. While county commissioners and Tonganoxie's city government voiced their favor of the plan, area residents, primarily those who live near the site of the proposed turnpike interchange, protested.

As residents turned the calendar from December to January, it was noted that Tonganoxie's building permit reached record numbers in 2005. The city of Tonganoxie issued 128 building permits in 2005.

Through action by Basehor's library board, a Feb. 28 election was set for Basehor voters to determine whether to approve plans for a $2.9 million library construction bond.

Also in Basehor, the parents of a firefighter killed in December 2004 while enroute to a vehicle accident, filed a $4 million lawsuit against Leavenworth County.

Four wrestlers on the Tonganoxie Junior High School wrestling team -- Zach Langston, Jeremy Maus, Zach Kaigain and Tyler McCutchen -- finished the season undefeated.

As the city of Tonganoxie began the new year, a little squabble was taking place in city hall. At the Jan. 9 city council meeting, council members debated whether the mayor or city administrator was responsible for personnel.

On the athletic front, Tonganoxie High School senior Kent Fleming was selected to play in the annual Shrine Bowl. In his last high school football season, Fleming was the anchor of the defense line.

The THS girls basketball team defeated Mill Valley, bringing the Chieftains winning record to 6-0 overall.

U.S. Congressman Jim Ryun presented a flag to Kelly Frantz at a high school assembly. Frantz's husband, Cpl. Lucas Frantz, was killed in October 2005, in Iraq.

At the site of the new middle school, construction was under way. About 60 percent of the structural steel had been installed, as well as about half of the load-bearing masonry.

Nancy Milleret, the 2002 THS valedictorian who was a senior at Kansas State University's Salina College of Technology and Aviation, would track millionaire pilot Steve Fossett's flight in which he would attempt to top the world's longest nonstop flight distance record in the Virgin Atlantic's GlobalFlyer.

On behalf of Leavenworth County, attorney Dave Van Parys submitted a written argument to the Kansas Supreme Court, asking the court to uphold a district judge's ruling that a group home established to house violent sexual predators could not be established in the county. In the focus of the debate was LeRoy Hendricks, who had a 50-year history of molesting children. Hendricks had lived in the group home in southern Leavenworth County for a few days in the spring, before the county issued an injunction against operation of the facility.

The annual banker's conservation awards went to Nancy Pearce, Tonganoxie, Loretta and William Kimball, Leavenworth, and Don Tallman, Bonner Springs.

By a slim majority, Tonganoxie city council members voted to support the concept of contributing up to $2.8 million to improve County Road 1 for the turnpike interchange.

At the Tonganoxie Invitational Tournament, Tonganoxie girls placed second and the boys placed eighth. Meanwhile, THS wrestlers finished seventh in the Holton Invitational.

The Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce named Danielle Boatwright as citizen of the year and presented her with a key to the city. Boatwright, the winner of the CBS reality show "Survivor: Guatemala," spoke to a crowd in the high school auditorium.

Members of the Tonganoxie school board chose Diane Truesdell to fill a vacancy on the seven-member board.

February

In Linwood, Steven and Ann Hertzog and their son, Sam, took up residence in the historic Harris House, where they planned to set up a photography studio.

THS senior wrestler Jeff Frank placed third in the 275-pound division at the Baldwin Invitational.

Trumpeter swans made a return visit to Bear Lake, just west of Bonner Springs.

Tonganoxie seventh-grader Elliott Brest won the Leavenworth County Spelling Bee and was headed to the state spelling bee, set for March 25.

Leavenworth County commissioners approved the purchase of electronic voting machines, which would be used for the first time in the August primary election.

A group of area officials traveled to Washington, D.C., to lobby for federal dollars to fund improvements to County Road 1 for the proposed turnpike interchange.

Tonganoxie police were on the lookout for a suspect in a Feb. 12 robbery at the Subway restaurant.

At Lansing Correctional Facility, Toby Young, a female dog trainer volunteer, escaped with inmate John Manard, who was concealed in an animal cage in the back of a van. Authorities located their getaway van in a Bonner Springs storage unit. A nationwide hunt for Young and Manard was under way.

Four THS seniors -- Jeff Frank, Thomas Hopkins, Aaron Adcox and Kent Fleming -- signed letters of intent to play collegiate football.

Kent Quarles, the 68-year-old owner of Quarles Trash Service, said he had no plans for retirement. "I can't quit," Quarles said. "If I quit I'd be lost. I bet I'd go down right quick if I quit now."

THS wrestler Kevin Hamm qualified for the Class 4A state wrestling tournament.

March

Kansas Turnpike Authority announced plans to "proceed with building a new $7 million turnpike interchange" at County Road 1. In turn, KTA asked the county to improve County Road 1.

Property values in Tonganoxie and Leavenworth County were soaring. Tonganoxie's value of residential property shot up 17.6 percent from the previous year.

The Mirror newspaper was named the nation's best non-daily newspaper in its category -- for the fourth time in six years -- by Inland Press Association, which is based in Chicago.

THS grad Shadoe Barton was in critical condition after a car accident on U.S. Highway 24-40 near Reno.

After a 12-day manhunt, authorities captured fugitives Toby Young and John Manard in Tennessee. The couple had been living in a cabin-resort and were spotted by officers outside a Chattanooga mall more than 90 miles south of their cabin.

Near Linwood, Sherman Township firefighters broke ground for a new fire station east of Linwood.

"Taz-mania" described the wild side of THS girls basketball player Tracie Hileman on the basketball court. A sophomore, Hileman's nickname referred to the Tazmanian Devil cartoon character.

The THS boys basketball team notched its second straight victory after a 54-49 win against Basehor-Linwood.

Meanwhile, the Tonganoxie girls advanced at substate, where they won over Piper in the first round of the Class 4A tournament.

At the state wrestling tournament in Salina, THS wrestler Kevin Hamm was eliminated. He finished his freshman season with a 19-23 record.

THS baseball player Daniel Volk found a wallet lost by area resident Loretta Cowan. By the time he found the wallet along the side of the road, it had been missing for months. Cowan was thrilled with its return and impressed by Volk's honesty.

The THS dance team, Chieftain Stars performed during the halftime of a game at the Class 4A state championship tournament in Salina.

Tonganoxie third-graders campaigned to name the bluegill as the state's official fish. The children drafted a letter to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who wrote a reply. And they wrote Rep. Kenny Wilk, R-Lansing, who visited the class and told them how best to proceed with their project.

The THS girls basketball team ended their season at state when the team faced a heartbreaking loss to Sumner, 53-52. Although the team didn't win a substate title, it did win the Kaw Valley League crown for the third consecutive year.

The Chieftain boys also lost to Sumner at substate. Sumner won the game in a 75-45 victory.

Spring's first storm blasted through Leavenworth County. The Linwood area took the brunt of the storm. Trees were toppled and at least one barn was destroyed.

Attorneys argued before the Kansas Supreme Court. The case centered on whether the county had to allow a group home for violent sexual predators that had been set up in southern Leavenworth County. The owners, who had not obtained a special use permit, had planned to house 71-year-old LeRoy Hendricks -- under 24-hour supervision -- at the house, which was in a rural neighborhood. Hendricks, who had a 50-year history of molesting children, was working his way through the state's sexual predator treatment program.

Kelly Frantz, widow of Cpl. Lucas Frantz, who was killed in October 2005, in Iraq, testified before a House committee. She asked lawmakers to approve legislation that would keep 300 feet of distance between mourners and the Rev. Fred Phelps and his followers, who picket military funerals.

Tonganoxie school board members gave a nod of approval to start a girls soccer team. The THS girls team will kick off in fall 2007.

Three THS girls basketball players landed spots on the All-Kaw Valley League girls basketball team. The players include Rachel Bogard, Ali Pistora and Elizabeth Baska.

In Basehor, the Basehor-Linwood school board renewed contracts of two principals, and, in essence, cast no-confidence votes against the superintendent, Jill Hackett.

Tonganoxie area residents turned out in force to participate in, or watch, the annual St. Patrick's Day parade. Ronnie Conrad was named the 2006 grand leprechaun.

The THS Chieftain Singers were readying for a trip to New York City, with chaperones, as well as their vocal music teacher, Joyce Steeby, and her assistant, Carolyn Day.

TJHS teachers John and Cindy Korb racked up thousands of miles on their car in recent months. The couple has taken trips to Northfield, Minn., and other Great Lakes region destinations, to see their youngest daughter, Andrea, play basketball for Carleton College.

As part of the district's construction project, workers removed the THS gymnasium floor. The gym floor would be lengthened to regulation size during the school's construction project.

THS seniors Micah Titterington, Zack Pistora and Kevin Stewart were named finalists for the Lawrence Journal-World's all-star team.

John Lenahan, owner of Lenahan's Hardware, announced he would close the store in the summer. The 83-year-old Lenahan is a lifetime Tonganoxie resident and one of the oldest businessmen in the city. He had owned the hardware store for 35 years.

Tonganoxie American Legion members worked hard -- and achieved desired results. They set out to gain a Purple Heart award for fellow member Terry Brown, who never had been able, on his own, to obtain the medal. American Legion member Jim Rogers persevered through the red tape. As a result, Brown, who carries shrapnel near his heart from a Vietnam War injury, received a Purple Heart.

About 30 Leavenworth County residents met in Topeka with Kansas Turnpike Authority board of directors. Some of the area residents addressed safety concerns for those who live along County Road 1 if it's used as an access road for the proposed turnpike interchange.

THS athletic standout Ali Pistora won the 2006 Lawrence Journal-World All-Area Girls Basketball Player of the Year award.

A monster truck owned by Jimmy and Dawn Cretin made a cameo appearance in the television sitcom, "Scrubs."

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