Archive for Wednesday, January 9, 2008

2007 included THS feats, Pleasant St. fix

January 9, 2008

Editor's note: This is the second in a series that takes a look back at important events in 2007, as reported in The Mirror.


The Good Shepherd Thrift Shop and Food Bank celebrated its 20th anniversary in early May. To celebrate the occasion, many volunteers and former managers from the past two decades came to the Scared Hearth Catholic Church for an appreciation lunch. The shop originally began in March 15, of 1987.

Two new granite signs welcoming travelers along U.S. Highway 24-40 to the city were installed. The signs replaced two old wooden signs located on the southern and eastern borders of the city. The $15,200 signs are in the shape of Kansas and have the year the city was founded carved into it. The sign also has a red star marking the location of Tonganoxie relative to the state, but the star's location would put Tonganoxie west of Topeka.

McLouth chainsaw artist Russell Ehart used his time and talent to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network of Greater St. Louis. The carving competition in Pacific, Mo., raised $56,000. Half of the money went to charity and the other half went to the individual artists.

The Tonganoxie School Board approved the hiring of three new administrators. During special meetings the board hired Jamie Carlisle, principal at Baxter Springs High School in southeast Kansas to be principal at THS. The board also hired Jill Dickerson, assistant principal at Andover Middle School to be the new principal at TMS. Finally the board hired Ty Poel, elementary principal at Eureka to be assistant principal at TES.

Large amounts of rain in early May forced county officials to close some roads and bridges in the county as they watched the water levels of Stranger Creek and the Missouri River. The Missouri River crested near 26 feet. Flood stage for that river is 20 feet. The large amounts of rain also overwhelmed the pumps at the city's water treatment plant, causing the water to overflow.

The Kansas City Star named Ali Pistora its female scholar athlete of the year. Accompanying the honor was a $2,000 scholarship, a banquet in Arrowhead Stadium and the opportunity to throw the first pitch at the June 15 Kansas City Royal's game. Besides her athletic awards, Pistora was also ranked top in her class academically with a 4.0 grade-point average.

The Tonganoxie City Council delayed signing a contract with Sullivan Palmer Architects for construction of the new Tonganoxie pool until the firm could answer some of its questions. Among the questions were: What was the breakdown and scope for additional engineers and consultants included in the contract? How much time will the designers spend at the site? And why were some people unsatisfied with their work on the McPherson pool?

The Tonganoxie Recreation Commission celebrated its 40th anniversary in Chieftain Park as part of its summer kick-off. To celebrate the milestone, members of the commission dedicated a wall of fame plaque to honor past board members or people who played and important role in the commission's development.

Tonganoxie High School invited past and presents students to participate in the 72nd annual THS Alumni Banquet. Around 190 people (90 alumni) attended the banquet run by the class of 1982.

The Eudora Cardinals defeated the Chieftains girls softball team 5-3 in the first round Class 4A ending their chance for a return trip to state.

Tonganoxie High School graduated 113 students during the annual THS graduation ceremony. McLouth graduated 45.

A manhunt for a 40-year-old Topeka man started May 25in Tonganoxie, and ended July 24 in Springfield Ill. Erol Mustaffa Sutton was taken into custody after being wanted for raping and beating a disabled Topeka woman and then stealing her car. The stolen car was found abandoned in the Sonic Drive-in parking lot in the early morning.

Christy Weller, Andie Jeannin, Katie Chenoweth, Megan Puhr, Ali Pistora, Roni Grizzle and Roxie Grizzle qualified to go to Wichita for state track and field competitions. On the boy's side, Jeff Hughes, Zeb Kissinger, Travis Guthrie, Kendrick Whittington and John Davis qualified for state. Miranda McGlaughlin was the only McLouth track and field athlete to qualify.

Grizzle took first place at the state tournament with a javelin toss of 151 feet, 9 inches. Pistora took second place with a throw of 141 feet 3 inches. Overall the Tonganoxie girls took fourth place at state. The Tonganoxie boys took seventh. Later that week Pistora signed a letter of intent to throw javelin for Kansas State University.

A moratorium put in place by the Leavenworth County Commissioners on land development along County Road 1took the Tonganoxie Mayor Mike Vestal and other city officials by surprise. The six-month moratorium butts up against the city's southern border on 14th Street instead of going to Kansas Avenue like the city expected. Mike Yanez, city administrator was upset that the county had failed to notify them of the change to 14th Street.

The Abdallah Shriners had their first Rodeo at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds bringing hundreds of people to Tonganoxie over the Memorial Day weekend. Chris Muro, chief rabban for the Shriners thinks this year's rodeo went pretty well even though attendance usually drops the first year the rodeo moves. The Shriners plan on having the rodeo at the fairgrounds next year.


The Leavenworth County Commission and Tonganoxie City Council were in disagreement on a moratorium on development for a prime area of real estate south of Tonganoxie. Tonganoxie officials said the moratorium leaves the city landlocked.

Maggie Gratny, a 2006 THS graduate, helped the Texas A&M University equestrian team to an NCAA national championship.

The 22nd annual Tonganoxie Days had something the past two installments lacked - clear skies. Rain had been a factor the past two years, but the conditions for the 2007 edition seemed almost perfect: Sunny and 80 degrees. As part of the festivities, winners were crowned in the annual Miss Tonganoxie pageant. Rachel Wood was crowned Miss Tonganoxie, Kaitlyn Newman was Junior Miss, Bailey Bradley was Petite Miss and Addison Goebel was crowned Tiny Miss Tonganoxie.

A swarm of about 15,000 bees settled on a small dogwood tree in the backyard of Paul Mast's property on Deerview Terrace in Tonganoxie. Tonganoxie beekeeper Kevin Freeman and his daughter, Makayla, captured the bees.

A temporary fix on the Pleasant Street bridge will allow emergency medical vehicles to use the bridge while buying the city time to apply for funding for a long-term solution. A recent inspection led city officials to place a 5-ton weight limit on the bridge.

State, county and city representatives are working together in an effort to lure a bioscience business to Tonganoxie.

A walking bridge connecting VFW Park to the VFW Post Home grounds will be named after Lucas Frantz, who was killed in 2005 while serving in Iraq.

Tonganoxie's Cameron Adcox, who was entering his senior season at THS in the fall, participated in the King Kamehameha Pigskin Classic football games in Hawaii.

Dennis and Denise Bixby and their supporters wore buttons with a photo of their daughter, Amanda, to court appearances by Ricardo Flores, whose vehicle struck one vehicle and then Amanda's Ford Taurus, killing her in Valentine's Day accident near Basehor.

Brothers John and Daniel Volk signed letters of intent to play baseball at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Turner High School in Kansas City, Kan., will join the Kaw Valley League in 2008-2009, league officials announced.


The U.S. Census Bureau released its 2006 population estimates, which showed Tonganoxie's population at 4,101. That figure was a 9.19 percent increase from the previous year and the biggest increase the city has seen since the 2000 census. The 9.19 percent was the third-highest growth rate in Kansas, behind Westmoreland and Maize. Tonganoxie is the 68th most populous city in Kansas.

Tonganoxie High junior Roxi Grizzle became the first THS track athlete ever to win the Gatorade Kansas Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Grizzle was the Class 4A state champion in the javelin with a toss of 151 feet, 9 inches. She also holds the THS record in the javelin at 160-2. Grizzle will throw the javelin for the University of Nebraska next year.

A petition calling for a referendum on the city of Tonganoxie funding $1 million of improvements toward County Road 1 was ruled invalid, according to a Leavenworth County District judge. More than 300 individuals signed the petition. Judge David King's ruling meant that Tonganoxie could move forward with its proposed $1 million contribution to the County Road 1 interchange.

Mike Graveman became mayor of McLouth when Gary Royer stepped down for job-related purposes. Graveman had served on the McLouth City Council for nine months before accepting the position.

Tonganoxie Superintendent Richard Erickson asked for about a 4-mill increase for the 2007-2008 school year at a July school board meeting. Erickson proposed a levy of 54.696 mills for 2007-2008, up from 50.669 for 2006-2007. In addition, City Administrator Mike Yanez proposed a 2008 city budget that would increase the levy 2 mills from 32.648 to 34.724.

A revolving loan available from the state and tightening in each of the city's departments didn't raise property taxes as much as city officials initially expected. The proposed 2008 city budget would raise the mill levy by about 1 mill, instead of 2.07. The result is a proposed 2008 city budget with a property tax of 33.7 mills, up about 1.05 mills from last year.

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., announced that the federal government has earmarked $500,000 in the 2008 budget to help fund the County Road 1 renovation project. The project carries a $12.9 million price tag.


Don Pelzl, owner of Pelzl's Do-It Best Hardware and V and S Variety Store, announced he was closing the shop in the coming months. Pelzl said sales had been flat the past three years. He attributed the Super Wal-Mart in Bonner Springs as a possible reason for the loss in business.

Meadows Construction crews finished deck-replacement work on the Pleasant Street Bridge. The emergency repair was spurred after recent inspections revealed the bridge could only handle a 5-ton weight limit. City Administrator Mike Yanez said the bridge deck should buy the city five to seven years of use. The plan is to replace the entire bridge in 2010.

The 81st annual Leavenworth County Fair started with the downtown parade on Aug. 8. The theme in 2007 was "Celebrating Leavenworth County Communities." Big events from the week included the rodeo, the 42nd annual 4-H club/National FFA Organization's livestock auction and the demolition derby.

City Administrator Mike Yanez received an e-mail from the Western Facilities Service Office that said the post office will be relocated to the southeast corner of Laming Road and Woodfield Drive.


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