Archive for Wednesday, December 27, 2006

YEAR in review

December 27, 2006

Former Basehor-Linwood school Superintendent Jill Hackett officially left her employment with the district June 30.

The superintendent was at the center of a storm, during which staff members met with school board members behind closed doors.

The board actually had terminated Hackett's contract, but then rescinded that vote -- and then accepted her resignation on April 15. She had been on administrative leave from March 15 through June 30.

Hackett's recommendation that the board not renew contracts for two principals -- Steve Blankenship of Basehor-Linwood High School and Teri Holmes of Basehor Elementary School -- brought opposition from the public and some staff members.

The board then began to take a closer look at the performances of all three of the district employees.

And board members decided to retain the principals, but oust the superintendent.

One board member, Danny Dearinger, quit the board, after other members voted to oust Hackett.

Robert Albers was hired to replace Hackett on May 1and began work in the district on July 1.

He boasts 45 years of experience in public education in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska including 25 years experience as a superintendent.

City OKs rezoning for funeral home

A proposal for a funeral home and crematorium in Basehor caused an outcry from citizens living near the proposed site at the 1600 block of North 155th Street.

Licensed funeral director Jason Gorup strongly defended his business after residents made accusations that such an establishment would hurt the city's water supply, cause a decrease in property values and cause an increase in traffic on 155th Street.

The Planning Commission denied a change of zoning to allow the funeral home and crematorium to build in that location, but the city council approved it, stating that it would be a welcomed addition to the city.

Gorup hopes to open for business in spring 2007.

Meanwhile, Tonganoxie funeral director Calvin Quisenberry purchased a former home along U.S. Highway 24-40 between Basehor and Tonganoxie, where he plans to conduct funeral services. Quisenberry currently is renovating the home, which also will be expanded to accommodate the business.

Council hires new city administrator

Carl Slaugh was hired as the Basehor City Administrator in late January. The search for a candidate to fill the position began when Basehor's first ever City Administrator, David Fuqua, resigned his position in December 2004, after just 10 months in office. Previously, Slaugh was the city administrator for the city of Hiawatha and the community development director for the city of Merriam before that.

Bond issue approved for new library

In late February, Basehor residents approved a $2.99 million bond issue to help construct a new home for the Basehor Community Library.

The library board of directors and several members of the community attended a ground-breaking ceremony for the new library Oct. 14.

The new building, at 158th Street and Garden Parkway, will have a 4,400-square-foot basement, a 13,600-square-foot main level, the latest technology, a fireplace and a drive up book drop.

It is expected to be complete by early 2008.

Community bids farewell

Basehor citizens said farewell to Robert D. Wiley, who died Nov. 16 at the age of 81. The war veteran, longtime Basehor resident and active community member was honored by the Fairmont Township volunteer fire department, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, friends and family with a funeral procession and full military honors. An estimated 600 people attended Mr. Wiley's visitation at Basehor United Methodist Church.

Stephen Brock, 21, died Sept. 22, when his vehicle rolled several times as he was exiting off Interstate 70 onto southbound Interstate 635. The young man, described as a happy, all-around jokester, was the third Basehor-Linwood graduate to die in a car accident within a year.

Convenience store, post office move to new quarters

Basehor's only gasoline station and the Basehor post office underwent dramatic changes in 2006. Casey's General Store picked up and moved from downtown Basehor on March 14 and reopened its doors bright and early March 15 at its new location at 155th Street and U.S. Highway 24-40.

It became the first building in Wolf Creek Junction, a 41-acre development on the northeast corner of 155th Street and 24-40.

Since the convenience store's move, manager Donna Dornbrack said, the store has seen three times the business it had in downtown.

The Basehor post office also packed up and moved to a new location.

This move, however, was to gain additional space for postal workers. The new 5,000-square-foot post office at 155th and Elm streets opened June 26.

Postmaster Jo Rundus said the new building was quite a change from the old 1,000-square-foot building because it offers more modern conveniences for customers and additional room for postal workers to sort mail for the growing population of Basehor.

Inaugural Dairy Days festival a success

The inaugural Dairy Days festival in early June centered on Basehor's rich dairy history. And organizers say they believe the event was a real success.

The daylong event featured dancers from local studios, vendors from all over Leavenworth County, games, food, a dairy farmers luncheon, music, a 5K run, "Basehor: A Musical," a beard-growing contest to honor the city's founders, Reuben and Ephraim Basehor and much more.

Dairy Days coordinator Debbie Breuer said she was pleased with how well the first festival was received by the community and surrounding area.

It attracted 400 to 500 people.

Residential property values soar in Basehor

Residential property values in Basehor shot up 21.6 percent in 2006 from $181 million in 2005 to $220 million.

"Just parcels -- not new-home starts -- we had 114 residential parcels in Basehor," said Donna Graf, county appraiser. "That's a lot in one year. The biggest was Tonganoxie, but Basehor was hanging right in there."

Commercial property was up 4.6 percent from last year.

Graf said property values were up countywide because of low interest rates and more expensive homes being built. Residential values in Leavenworth County were up 12.3 percent from 2005.

And Graf said she sees no indications the upward climb in values will stop anytime soon.

"Interest rates are low, and you've got the influx coming in from other counties. We're getting higher- and higher-dollar homes being built. You're seeing large homes -- half-million dollars, three-quarters of a million dollars. We used to not have any."

Developers unveil grocery plans

After more than two years of trying to entice a grocery store to set up shop in Wolf Creek Junction in Basehor, Ed McIntosh and his partner John Bell of Benchmark Management took matters into their own hands.

The duo announced Oct. 30 that they would team up with Affiliated Foods Midwest to build and own a supermarket in Basehor.

The 50,000-square-foot store, Wolf Creek Marketplace, is expected to employ 75 to 100 people and will boast a pharmacy, deli, ethnic foods section, floral department, bakery, full-service meat department, fresh produce and a full line of natural and organic foods.

The $7 million dollar project is set to open for business at the end of summer 2007 east of the intersection of 155th Street and U.S. Highway 24-40.

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