Recent News

Heading 6

JUNE - Marshall County WINS CDBG-Covid Block Grant.

Marshall County Partnership 4 Growth is PROACTIVE. When we heard there was a new Community Development Block Grant, we not only applied on behalf of the county, but encouraged our larger towns to apply as well. Marysville, Blue Rapids and Frankfort did as well. If any town would win an award, they would be able to spend the money on their town. When the county wins the award, it can go to any area that did not win an award.


The great news is the COUNTY WON THE AWARD! Well, not quite the $300k we applied for -- because so many applied, they halved the money -- but we GOT IN, which is amazing. We can certainly use $132,000 for our businesses to retain and strengthen them! The towns may hopefully qualify later when they open a second round.


This was a very competitive grant with 105 applicants and was based on when it was received, (which was based on when you could publish for a hearing and then wait for the hearing to take place), so it was important that we try to get in line as soon as possible. The time deadline caused me some sleepness nights, and the race to get a good application in is always stressful, so getting awarded is a beautiful thing! Marshall County P4G thanks all the businesses that called in to share their situation with us. That helped us with an eligibility survey and to qualify 23 businesses in the County.


That 3-day survey showed that the county has an eligibility need for about $820 thousand dollars. That strong show of need was a plus in our favor, as well as beating other applicants to the end of the money pool. As it is, from what the administrators said, I understand that the commissioners will be allowed to split up the awarded funds as would help the most businesses that qualify with low to moderate income employees. MCP4G will be administering the grant for the county. We will start that verification process with the businesses and inform the commissioners as to their status as the county is awarded the money in the next weeks to come.

Director's Highlights

  • What a month! So much accomplished and so much left to do!  The highlights were the rush to get the CDBG-CV grant approved by the commissioners the first week of June, inform our towns they could also apply, get the public hearing announcement in, do a 3 day county survey of eligible businesses, write it myself, and then meet the deadline in hopes of being one of the first to apply. We did it!  


  • It was exciting to find out we were awarded. Unfortunately, only the county got in at the 132k amount, and our towns did not get in at all, but there may be a second granting and so a second chance. I continue to hear there will be a second round.


  • Meanwhile I was working on the Marshall County Stronger Grant Award, and getting that up online with an application.  We did match it with another 1k from NextEra, so I accepted a number of requests for awards that were decided upon at the Board meeting.


  • The third important item was led by Frank Shoemaker and assisted by myself to get the permission of the Commissioners for a 25k Revolving Loan Fund at 0% interest the first year, 5% the second.  They voted to fund it this week, and our meeting will request final approval for the application to be placed on our website next week.


  • A large consideration this month is the NextEra Wind Farm issues as protests have motivated mayor Brian

Smith in Frankfort to try to limit the number of turbines within a 3 mile radius of the city’s limits. They have retained an attorney to help in these matters.  My conversation with Dan Scheffler and Verizon was to request they work together to provide a land location and rental negotiation for a much needed communication tower for the area. Strong cell signals are key to emergency situations, the police department and education. The area has long suffered from inadequate cell coverage. I have turned this started project over to Cole Younger and the mayor to work on with NextEra and Verizon.


  • Meanwhile, I’ve taken some time out to work with NCRPC matters. As Board Chair, I am being called on to lead in some internal matters that affect our 12-county region. I also had over 100 forms to sign for Home Land Security property transfers that built up over the covid separation.


  • I did a radio spot with KNDY on the grant, and our jobsite, and I did Face Book and newspaper press releases on the block grant and how people can apply.The past couple of weeks I have been trying to learn how to administer this grant for the $132k to the county, send in the signed documents, update the players involved as to what is expected of us, and meet the new deadlines. 


  • I put the Dept of Commerce application for the businesses on our site, and now am accepting them and tracking the eligibility requirements.  I expect this grant to take several months to work through. The commissioners are allowing until July 10 for applications at which time they will be evaluated.  

May Director's Highlights

  • I finished out April still working to keep the public updated on the latest with Covid info and stimulus plans per our website and Face Book page. 

  • I did a second interview with KNDY on the latest helps we had available and they ran that for the next week. 

  • I did the yearly tax filing for the Secretary of State ($40.00 fee) and the N990.

  • I visited the Transition Plus site at the school and saw the school upgrades and made suggestions for the cleaning room for ease of working with the plants. The next rooms (Art and Band) are being prepared for towers. They are hoping to double production in the next few weeks. We are still in need of volunteers. They want to rent out the empty classrooms for controlled air storage. 

  • I was working on a Food Grant for Summerfield’s project when the CDBG-Covid county grant came out on May 11, so I left that one to Gary Smith, and asked the commissioners if they wanted me to pursue the CDBG-CV. They had to call an urgent meeting and place it on Face Book, but it was key to the timing of the grant submission. With a yes from the commissioners, and the regional commission being overwhelmed by the number that wanted to apply, they thought I should go ahead and write it.  I worked on that non-stop and conducted a 3-day survey of businesses. I had good participation from all over the county, and talked to scores of businesses. I also shared findings with Marysville in order for them to speed their application. Blue Rapids had done a lot of their own survey through their mayor. Frankfort and Blue Rapids applied through NCRPC for their towns and so had help there.

  • There were Hearing Notices to prepare, and affidavits of the hearing publication, and about 9 documents to upload for this grant. 4 were dependent on the commissioners, so I met with them on the 27th for the final signings, so I could upload them afterward. The other documents verified our survey.

  • I am glad I worked personally to write this grant because it has given me a much better grasp of how the county is faring and which businesses need help. The survey was huge in this process. This will also be useful for our Marshall County Stronger Grant.

  • Waterville wants to make their small lake area into a park again. I talked with several sources on how to do that. Provided info to their council.

  • Met Zoom on the 15th with the Executive Committee to figure out how to start up the donation/gift we were given as a County Grant Fund. Decided to call it Marshall County Stronger. Set some parameters and was given insight on how to make a web page. Set that up the next few days to get it going.  Wrote our members first and requested they donate. Wrote the Wind farm groups in Marshall County and requested too.  Put a press release in the paper about it and Face Book ad and promoted it for a week at $15.00.

  • Did a Zoom meeting with Transition Plus to meet a Vista volunteers we are hiring this year for the summer for $400.00.  Another one is just a volunteer.  Still hoping to get a full-time Vista.

  • Transition Plus Board Meeting on the 19th.

  • Had another Executive council Meeting with P4G on the 22nd regarding new revolving loan that Frank Shoemaker our Treasurer with Citizen's Bank, is setting up for the Board to approve this Board meeting and get feedback and approval from the Commissioners on the 1st of June. 

  • On the 28th, participated in the NCRPC Zoom Board Meeting. Patty Clark, Deputy Secretary with the Department of Commerce was the guest presenter.

  • Promoted our Business Property to an interested party.

  • Wrote press releases regarding the CDBG-CV grant and the new Marshall County Stronger Fund.

Director's Highlights April 2020

  • After MCP4G was tasked with being a business information hub, there was a lot of time working on the updating of the government programs, loans and grants as they came out. The roll out was rough, so the information released was often choppy. It was key that our county applied quickly before the money ran out. The key was disseminating to the right people, and talking to businesses that called and needed answers. I made many, many personal phone calls, starting with our smallest towns and covering the county's businesses, visiting with restaurants and motels first, as they are the most vulnerable. Those mayors and clerks who were able to help me get the word out had the best results. Team efforts are key in a situation like this!

  • Others ways MCP4G reached out to the public were through newspaper members, the Advocate and the Frankfort Area News. We paid for Face Book Ads to alert people of aid, new grants, and their opening dates. I also sent out email blasts, besides making phone calls.

  • Our information website was visited by 1,130 visits the past 4 weeks. According to our analytics, our boosted FB posts reached almost 3,000 people per time and had lots of interest and shares.  

  • The KS Main Street Survey cited to our members shows that the greatest need businesses had during the Covid-19 issues was getting access to the needed information. I feel like we met a great need for the businesses in having the site updated daily with this key financial, business, and community help. 

  • I was able to see that many accessed info on the 5k grant the Chamber of Commerce offered Kansans as well. This went quickly (a couple of days,) but I think we were one of the first to get the word out. I know this grant was applied for in Marysville.

  • I feel like the majority of our businesses are doing okay because they responded right away. They were able to get the government loans and access the Payroll Protection or Unemployment. Our banks and tax accountants did a great job working with the public.

  • Those that applied for the HIRE program got money immediately. Other money has come much slower. As the Main Street Survey showed, the remainder result of that slow money is to be seen -- can we open soon enough in the next couple of weeks so that the businesses don't fail?

  • There was a small group of businesses that we could not help in Marysville as some people are not US citizens and could not apply for any help for their business. Those businesses closed pretty quickly.

  • The NCCC Americorp contract for a group of 9-11 young people to come in April/May to help with the Transition Plus project, is still on! The dates will look different, but we are working out how the new plan will look.

  • I had 3 Board Meetings online this month, and we managed the "Zoom Etiquette" which can take some getting used to! I spent extra time working on NCRPC business and Transition Plus planning.

  • I spoke to the director of the Marysville Food Pantry, Helping Hands, on several conversations and emailed her on how to access information on state monies. 

  • I also visited with her on providing our excess produce to the food pantry from Better Produce, the Transition Plus project sponsored by the Partnership in Summerfield. The project has started to sell 2 types of lettuce to our local independent grocery stores in the county. Fresh produce is harder to get for food banks, and we want our most vulnerable families to get fresh food as well. Helping Hands, Marysville was the first one to get donated fresh produce this week! 

  • I had several conversations with with Dr. Kurt Olson, the new eye doctor taking over Stan Nelson's business downtown. He was interested in downtown incentives so that he can renovate his building. We worked on the Downtown Redevelopment Act, but due to being unable to communicate for a month, that was hard to set up at this time. I directed him to the NRP, and the Main Street Loan Program. We welcome him to Marysville Downtown!

  • I sent our major manufacturers and Marysville businesses that are still working, as well as our hospital, information from Roger Marshall's office on how to obtain more Personal Protective Equipment if they were still lacking, as I heard they might be. When I learned that even orders that are already made will take 4-6 weeks to get here, I asked the women in town that are making masks if they were willing to provide sewn masks for local businesses here, and they were. They are providing for Frankfort Care Home first. Thank you, Advocate for letting us know about them, and thanks to sewing team for their willingness to help others!

Director's Highlights March 2020

  • Before the announcement of an official pandemic, (is this how we will define our lives in the future?!) I attended Summerfield's Council Meeting to discuss the demo project, and update them on the Transition Plus school renovation.

  • I accepted the NCCC Americorp contract for a group of 9-11 young people to come in April/May to help with the Transition Plus project. We had a workplan approved and the housing was set up. That has since been delayed.

  • I attended a Commissioner's Meeting and updated them on a grant.

  • I attended Frankfort's Council Meeting and we discussed Wind Farm issues and future grants for the city.

  • I attended Blue Rapids Community Action meeting with the mayor and PRIDE committee, and was able to follow up on some important situations they discussed.

  • I met with member Ann Walter who is working on some grants for the Waterville community.

  • I met with a couple who are working toward a grant to help with local housing.

  • After the pandemic announcemennt, MCP4G was tagged by Bill Schwindamann of the Emergency Management in Marshall County to be the organization who will make sure our local businesses stay in business. We met (as the last in-person meeting now for a long time) with many of the county's mayors and Commissioner Keith Bramhall to discuss the situation. I presented a plan to the group which the Executive Committee came up with on how we could reach the businesses and public with the needed information. A large communication key will be the mayors and city clerks who help me to identify at risk businesses and who will help pass information on. Since then, all my meetings, from the NCRPC to Board meetings with Transition Plus and MCP4G have been online. All others were cancelled.

  • I work hard daily to keep the site with the latest information in the ever changing news cycle on the government stimulus. I have fielded a lot of questions on the info, and guided businesses every day on how they can stay afloat.

  • The Board has okayed advertising dollars to get the news out to the public through Face Book, newspaper, radio and Blue Valley's TV station that there is business help out there and we don't want to let one business in Marshall County fail!

February Director's Highlights

  • I’ve shared grants through MCP4G's new grant subscription site with the Blue Rapids/Frankfort Police Dept. through Ryan Woodyard at his request, and several library grants to Jerry Zayas for the Blue Rapids efforts. Searched nursing home grants for Frankfort, but there was nothing.


  • I met with Krista Mann and Patrick Caldwell on the Invenergy Wind Route and found they want an office in this area. Put her in touch with two of our members to pursue the idea.


  • Went to the Marysville council meeting about membership and they came in at $2,500, a new Silver Investor.


  • I updated the Advocate with Blue Rapids Brownfield’s progress and that was published as well along with our Board’s new 2020 Leadership, and the article I wrote on Lessons from the Super Bowl. I am so grateful we have such a true "Advocate" for economic development with the local press!


  • I attended and led the NCRPC Board meeting on the 30th of Jan.  Emily Benedick will be the new Director after Doug McKinney retires. Amanda Horn will become the new Administrative Assistant to help with grants, etc.


  • Got Tax Credits Certificates out to Donors for this year's tax deadline.


  • Spoke at the Marysville and Blue Rapids Legions about our Transition Plus Project. 


  • Submitted finalized NCCC grant for a group of Americorp to come to Summerfield this summer to help with renovations of the school.


  • Attended the FCCH Board meeting on Wed. p.m. about the financial crisis the Home is in. Told new President Micah Kee I would help with the marketing committee being set up. Later, a group was formed, and since they are an investor, I said I would set up a new Wix Website for them.  We had 2 meetings since and I got content and a plan for them to move ahead for better marketing/google exposure. Spent time building their site and with their support with pictures and testimonials, it will be neat!

  • Attended Blue Rapids 6:15/7:00 meeting on the Feb 6 with the Mayor Zayas and a possible developer for Blue Rapids from Junction City, and the Brownfields/TAB people, Mettling and Martin to discuss the 7 properties that were assessed. Nothing toxic, but all 6 buildings downtown need Phase 2 to determine if okay for residential on that land or not. 


  • Worked on the P4G website and updated with new investors and 2020 changes.


  • Did Face Book job post for investor Marshall County.


  • Spoke on the 10th at Rotary in Marysville for Ryan Smith. Updated on our projects and Transition Plus progress via Power Point.


  • Zayas and Woodyard are on the Transition Plus Board and worked with their school so that 3 Towers are being bought for the VH School district to use for ag and science. The Transition Plus Board added a sixth member, Dick Brumbaugh from Kansas City as having shared Treasurer duties especially with taxes and future payroll.


  • Worked with Cara Baker at Highland Community College for a Partnership between the College and Transition Plus. The people who come to live and learn at the Summerfield Transition Project can also easily access the HCC Educational Side. Construction Arts and Diesel, Welding and all sorts of Tech can be accessed with the GI bill, and the college has experience with that. It is just 20 min. from Summerfield. We can promote their programs as well.


  • Worked with Katie Sawyer in Roger Marshall’s office to help the FCCH situation.  She gave us some good steps to look into. Met with her at Wagon Wheel as well to discuss county issues for help. 


  • Transition Plus Board Meeting on the 18th. We are going to prioritize getting the water lines tested in the school building next. The State requires water cleaning stations, cold storage and sewage storage for Food Inspection to pass. The sewage seems fine, but the water is not yet turned on due to the weather. Will air test the lines first. 


  • Visited Dan Hargrave at his office to discuss jail build and our property opportunity. 


  • On the 24th, Frank Popejoy, Rob Peschel and I met with the commissioners to formally offer the property to them as a way to move the jail project forward and see that land eventually used as the first in business growth in that area.

January Director's Highlights

  • NCRPC – As Board Chair right now I’ve been involved with advising on the new hire for the replacement of Doug McKinney. We did an interview with a great prospect, but in the end they did not take the job. It was decided to pursue Emily Benedick and so she was interviewed and passed with flying colors.  I felt very honored that the Board voted me to be Chair to finish out the former Chair's term.


  • I’ve had 2 calls with a SCORE mentor, which is a business mentor with the state to help with marketing ideas for Transition Plus. 


  • I’ve set up to help develop the partnership of Beekeeping with the Manhattan SAVE Farm with the Transition Plus group. Transition Plus would partner for training with SAVE and the veterans can sell their bee products back to SAVE for profit.


  • I've been working a lot with Cindy Lavelle to finish a State Farm grant request for Transition Plus. We are also working on getting an Americorp group here to help set up the towers, paint, and renovate the school. 


  • We are also working on a VISTA volunteer who would help the Transition Plus Chair with Project Development and Admin.  My learning this process can help me apply for a VISTA to help with our county’s grant writing in the future.


  • Met with a local person to discuss ideas of a start up he would like to do. He was really appreciative and felt it was helpful.


  • Attended Rotary as a guest of Alan Feldhausen. The KS Treasury visited and informed the public about unclaimed monies.


  • Talked with KSWorks about workforce training for pay. Currently their grant does not extend to Marshall County.


  • Wrote 5k grant to NCRPC for a Blue Rapids City pass-through for the renovation of the building for the Riverside Market building to be converted to a grocery store. The Commission said it will go most likely go through. (It did and NCRPC gave the grant check to the city for Riverside Market's building upgrade to the grocery store.)


  • Visited with Bruce Mitchell about demo building needs. Called NCRPC and they put me onto Brad Smith with experience to pull something like that down. Bruce also asked me to talk with Commissioners about it.


  • Turned in check to Riverside Market for the signage from the $2,500 Guise Weber grant we requested for them.


  • Attended Blue Rapid’s City Council Meeting and reported on Brownfield’s options and next steps.


  •  With Summerfield's mayoral approval, set up appt. with Brad Smith Construction to estimate the demo of the Summerfield site. Highly insured. 


  • Contacted all investors that had not yet paid their dues. Most responded. 


  • Had a call with Gladys Godinez about attracting the Latino base here to work.  Main obstruction is if we have enough social services covering our schools with the language barrier, medical help and affordable housing. It appears our county is tight in these areas, so it would be hard to promote a minority group here.


  • Attended Waterville City Council to confirm membership, get possible Water and Sewer CDBG started, and confirm 5k to grocery store for plumbing renovation. I set up with Nori the Clerk and Emily at NCRPC to start survey for LMI to see if Waterville can qualify for a CDBG.


  • Met with Brownfields owners in BR, mayor and 2 council members to ask owners what report showed and how they may want to move forward with Phase 2. 


  • Marketed produce food option with Transition Plus to a local pet food manufacturer. They will get back to me.


  • I requested same grant from NCRPC for a VISTA for TPlus to help Gary Smith for a year with Operations. They liked it and granted us, if we can hire one, we ask NCRPC to pay Washburn's program for the administration of that grant.


  • Caught up on press releases:  5k Grant from Waterville to store, and NCRPC 5k Grant to store.  Blue Rapids Brownfields meeting for public and latest developments.


  • The 20th and 21st I was in Summerfield all day. The days entailed planning meetings for the arrival of Americorp volunteers, Tower Farm discussion with an Advisor from Lincoln, and Board meetings. We also gave SAVE Farm representative and CEO a tour of campus, and we had the presentation of the NextEra 6k Grant to Gary Smith of Transition Plus. The majority of this grant will pay for the insurance needed on the building in order to start work in there.

Director’s Highlights  Nov/December 2019

  • Spent so much time on the membership drive, I combined November and December's newsletter and highlights. Thank you to those who already sent in a check!  All investor board members will need to have their membership in by Jan. 10 for board seats.

  • We did not get awarded the MIH grant for the Frankfort Senior Housing this year. There were 2x the number of applicants for the available money, and they felt it should go first to new communities. Our application was good. We can reapply next year.

  • November saw the final document that Transition Plus negotiated with the city of Summerfield for use the of the former school building. One of the last needs was for proof of working and building insurance.

  • I worked on a 5k grant for the grocery store that would be for economic development through the NCRPC office. I will apply for the store manager through the city of Blue Rapids.

  • I attended the Small Business Administration's workshop in Manhattan for best Veteran Programs for the Transition Plus Project.

  • The Marysville Chamber and Main Street are going to vote at their next board meeting to combine those 2 offices, and hire a person who will be more economic developmentally- minded for the downtown.  Rob Peschel and I attended the meeting where they updated the community.  I brought up that we need to work with the local groups to get a Network KS designation. 

  • We were informed that the $2,500. that we requested for the new store going into Blue Rapids from the Guise-Weber Foundation for store signage was awarded to MCP4G for that project.

  • I met with the United Way leadership at MHS along with many other non-profit groups. They want us to help them fundraise, but the consensus was that they need to provide more services in Marshall County for that to happen.

  • Worked on grant requirements with 2 local businesses that would like support.

  • Set up meetings to plan for the new year's budget and provided needed information.

  • Attended the meeting with Invenergy regarding the Transmission Line coming in under the Grainbelt Express name. Later shared maps with local farmers with questions.

  • On Dec. 5th, I attended the NCRPC Board meeting and became the interim Chair for the North Central Regional Planning Commission due to the loss of our Chair needing to leave his mayoral job. We are working to elect a new chair in the next meeting. We have also been working to hire a new Director for the Commission, and were able to vote to extend an offer to a qualified candidate for this upcoming new year as we see Doug McKinney retire after a great job of many years of oversight with the organization.

  • On Dec. 9, Nic and I met with commissioners and the offices that have overseen the Neighborhood Revitalization Program the past 3 years. We talked about how it may be improved and Nic provided the information that explained what other cities used and how it was successful for both the taxpayer and the county in Topeka, according to its records.

  • On the 17th of December, Jim Swim, member of MCP4G will be helping head up a campaign at MHS to inform students and the public about the upcoming census and its local impact. He has asked me to speak to the assembly 9-12 and provide information about how those dollars benefit us locally.

  • Will attend the Transition Plus Board Meeting 12.16.19.  SAVE farm is interested in expanding their honey training and production to our Summerfield site.  This could be a fantastic partnership.  I have a phone meeting this week with the CEO. 

Director’s Highlights Oct 2019

The last week and a half in September was filled with details to get the store grant moved to the local bank and talking with the administrators about their concerns that the store get a solid start.  It was determined that they would also provide a grant for a small store consultant.  I researched with them, and then we all had 3 interviews with the consultants to see who would be a best fit.  In the end, they allowed Jan and I to choose Joseph Welch.  

4th – Summerfield Council Meeting – Met to confirm the negotiations between the city and Transition Plus that will use the former school house.   Work was done last week with determining the necessary insurance the city needs and how we could go about and get it.  We left with a signed agreement so TP is ready to start some building renovations.

5th – Confirmed with Frontier Credit the 10k grant for TP could be delivered as our fundraising goal was received at a 25% or higher level.  Finished draft of membership letter and asked for input from several on the Executive Board. 

6th – Attended the Marysville Downtown Vision Planning Meeting.  Worked to set up an Executive meeting for a Proposed Budget for the new year, especially since our financials have changed.  They plan to meet on the 18th.  They will present a new budget to the Board at our next regular meeting. 

7th – Signed contract with Welch for store consulting. 

8th - Welch came this Thurs and Fri to visit the store and I visited with him today for several hours. He examined the store, and all competition, and visited with different people who gave him vital information.  He will work with us through April 30 for advice.   He will turn in his findings in 2 weeks or so.

11-15th – First week of membership letter campaign.   NextEra Foundation had leftover 2019 charity money and wanted to see if we had a 501c3 it could go to within the day.  Since we did not qualify with our c6, but our Transition Plus project did, the executive council let me apply for it for that project.  It will help immensely as it is “unattached” grant money. 

18-20th  -   A lot going on with the wind farm situation regarding NextEra's desire to build in the southern part of the county.  Blue Rapids and Waterville have put zoning recommendations for setbacks of 3 miles to protect their cities.  I will attend the Blue Rapids public meeting.

         A public meeting at 10 at Landoll Lanes on the 19th will host the Clean Line Transmission group, a separate wind farm company that will not be connecting to any other line in state, and has already been approved to move through the entire state of KS.  The line will run 1-2 miles South of 36 across the county.  

Director’s Highlights September 2019

  • Worked on letters to the donors of the Transition Plus Summerfield tax credits for how to set up the donation and receive the tax certification for the donation. 

  • A reoccurring theme this month is that I had the month end deadline to turn in the Moderate Income Housing Grant.  This is for the housing project in Frankfort with JD Construction building the Frankfort Community Cottages, i.e. senior independent living duplexes.  So there were constant emails between so many parties for items of documentation for this huge effort.  The city is the applicant or pass-through for the money, and the Care Home the non-profit housing owner.  There was great cooperation for what I needed, and I was able to complete the grant and turn it in this week. This was an effort actually over several months, but the largest push was this last 4 weeks.   We should know in November if we are selected for an award. 

  • I did more work with the Commercial Rehab Grant and the Downtown Development Act Application as there are opportunities in Blue Rapids for using these programs now. 

  • Worked with a Habitat housing situation to help a local person get into a new home.

  • Spoke with a new business that is interested in locating in the county.

  • On the 11th of September, due to the work of MCP4G on developing expanding 2 businesses and opening a grocery store, the BR Council voted to sign the contract to purchase the Mustang Motors Building as the grocery store building and lease it to a local manager. 

  • Met with the Executive Committee.

  • The grantors of the KS Healthy Food Initiative asked us to match their 50k grant since we are going to use a private bank.  Met with member Phil Osborne to work out our donations and getting them asked for and documented. 

  • Met with commissioners about MCP4G’s funding for the future. 

Director’s Highlights  August 2019
  • On the 5th, Nic Stoll and I drove Luke Mahin and his housing intern, Bailey around to see Nic’s housing, and the various housing Marysville has done over the past 10 years.  Had lunch with Rob Peschel, Frank Popejoy and Mary Kueny joining.  Some of our conversation about the city stock was reported in the Advocate.

  • Worked on tax credit financing with investors for the Transition Plus Project.

  • Received the Frontier Farm Credit 10k grant for Transition Plus Greenhouse!!!  Can collect when we get matching tax credit monies in.

  • Helped someone apply for Habitat Housing for more stable residency.

  • Worked with IFF and KS Healthy Food Initiative about the loan and grant for the Grocery Store in Blue Rapids.

  • Discussed the Cash Basis Law with local attorneys for the Grocery Store Project.

  • Worked with Frankfort volunteer to ask for donations for the Senior Housing Build over several times this month.

  • Worked to provide some Inspection Companies to Blue Rapids clerk for store issue.

  • On the 12th met with commissioners with Nic Stoll to discuss support of MCP4G at a higher level.  They were leaning toward a higher amount.  I also wrote them an email outlining grant input into the county since I started.  $670,000k to date and if we get the additional Senior Housing MIH grant in Frankfort, it will put us over a million dollars.

  • Attended Waterville Council Meeting and went over the 2 grants they are interested in.  They may pursue the Water and Sewer grant for next year. Gave them steps to proceed.

  • Attended Bloom Town in Inman, KS which is supposed to be a gateway for funding the Summerfield project.  We have to wait until January to compete in Wichita.

  • Worked with a local business person on financing options. 

  • Attended the Blue Rapids Council Meeting where we discussed the CDBG Commercial Rehab Grant that could be used to fix up the former Home Town Foods Building.  The council accepted the KHFI grant for 50k for the grocery store.

  • Worked on Support Letters for the Moderate Income Housing Grant. 

  • Had a 2 ½ hour Transitions Plus Board Meeting on the 16th.  We are discussing the tax credit award, and start up of the business/projects.

  • Went for Tax Credit Training in Topeka with Gary Smith on the 21st.  We were told we were in the top 10 for the points!

  • Called into NCRPC for Board and legislative meeting. 

  • Corresponded with a volunteer who will write grants for Summerfield. Trying to locate the right opportunity.

  • On the 23rd, had lunch with our housing committee and discussed lots of themes from manufactured/modular housing to individual investors doing infill in Blue Rapids. 

  • 26th, Researching RHID which allows cities to incentivize housing through abatements toward their infrastructure. 

  • Also researched Commercial Rehab for our cities.  Need to consider for business owners.

  • Attended the Manhattan Governor’s Ag Summit on Thursday the 29th. 

Director’s Highlights  July 2019
  • Attended the Summerfield Council Meeting to confirm relationship with city and Transition Plus for the use of the former school building.  Saw the damaged storm building across from city hall, and made several calls and emails in order to see if I could uncover any help with debris removal.  Due to a shared side/beam with a historic building, no one can move it yet.

  • On the 8th, I had both the Marysville Council meeting for the Business Park property and the Waterville Council meeting to attend.  I spoke on the idea of keeping business on the highway and not more in our residential area around the Landoll plants along North Street.  A business park there would greatly increase residential traffic and it’s already difficult.  Instead, I proposed more senior housing along North street rather than business.  With the infill there, housing would be less costly, the seniors would be near the hospital and the assisted living Country Place.

  • On the 9th, the Business Park/Building Committee met with key players regarding building at the P4G business park site.

  • As a follow up,  I provided Waterville’s mayor with CDBG options to move forward with this year.

  • Worked with John McNish regarding how to move forward with the pending grocery store.

  • Worked with Jen Keller to start her new business Serve 323 for non-medical elder care in the county.

  • Worked on fundraising concerns over the grocery store and multiple issues to stand up the grocery store.

  • On the 17th I had the council meeting with Blue Rapids regarding the Grant which was just verbally awarded.  No terms yet.  The city voted to accept the plan and application form I made up in compliance with the Downtown Redevelopment Act.  Received loan terms and disseminated.

  • 19th – Had a meeting in Blue Rapids with operator on how they wanted to move forward on the store.     Then drove to Frankfort for a meeting on the MIH grant with the Frankfort Community Care Home.  They accepted my plan to build 2 duplexes and will present to their board on Wed.    Then returned to BR to discuss how to fundraise and move forward on the grocery initiative.

  • On the 24th, there was a large community meeting called for a special meeting on the grocery.  Received grant terms and explained.  The owner of the Home Town Foods gave me a deadline for signatures and the council needed to make some decisions since the store building was damaged in the high wind storm a few days ago.

  • Learned from Gary Smith that our tax credits application was ACCEPTED at the full amount of $300,000!!!  It was awarded to us fully as well.  That means we get a tower farm for produce in Summerfield!

  • On the 25th, Cara Baker and I discussed a partnership with Highland Construction Class and the build on the Frankfort duplexes.  

  • Attended the NCRPC Board meeting in Miltonvale. 



Director’s Highlights   June 2019


  • Had a great Community Meeting with BR on visioning their downtown.   The PRIDE group is going to work on the ideas to put them into practice now, and not wait for later, especially with the entrance to the square.   Right now, it’s through an alley.  They would move it to the S side of Casey’s and work with the crosswalk area highlighting it all around. 

  • The last week in May I was working all week to find banks and business interested in buying tax credits for the Summerfield Project.   By the end of the week, I had all $300k pledged. The application was turned in and we wait a month. 

  • On the 30th, I attended the NCRPC Board Meeting.  The K-State students are doing amazing things with digital 3-D printing -  building submarines, car and plane parts.  I included some pics from that in our newsletter.

  • With all the activity we are trying to start up in Summerfield with the Transition Plus Project, we had 3-4 Board meetings in order to be ready for items on the tax credit and loan applications.   We are adding new Board members this next month.  One is Jerry Zayas, former veteran, from Blue Rapids, and the other a Farm Bureau member.  Pastor McNeil of the Summerfield area is a former vet and a mental health specialist and will be available for the veteran residents as a board member too.

  • On the 3rd of June, Frank and others of you shared with the commissioners our need for a budget increase.  They asked for a county average, and that document changed the game.  I did a lot of work organizing it and making it clear to show what the commissioners requested.    It shows us way underbudgeted compared to the rest of the closer counties.  An average is 84k for smaller counties, and as we are considered a large county, it would be 96k.  That became our new focus on the 24th when I presented. 

  • The final financial needs for the start up for the  BR Grocery were due in this month so I spent a lot of time talking with the different parties.  Attended the BR City Council Meeting on the 12th and updated them on the progress of the Application.   Should know grant/loan details by the 5th of July. 

  • Submitted “Project Blush” to recruit a business to downtown Marysville and promoted the Sunflower Bank building.

  • Worked on Incentives List for Marysville, and the County and a list on How to Grow Marysville for the city’s Finance Committee Meeting.  We met for about an hour and 40 minutes and Mayor Grund invited me to speak to the council on the 24th regarding the growth ideas and our next year’s budget. 

  • Since Gary Smith and I have written the first grant for Summerfield through the tax credits application, I am able to copy and paste into some other smaller grants for a greenhouse/renovation/etc. ideas.  All are due at the end of the month.

  • The MIH Grant for Frankfort has been funded and reopened, so I will be reapplying for it in the next couple of months. 

Director’s Highlights May 2019

  • I received notice from our application to NetWork Kansas that we had not been chosen this year for an interview to be an e-community.  They had a record number apply, for a few spots, and many cities and counties were much larger than we were and won out.  However, they were impressed with the application and asked us to reapply next year.

  • I received ideas to improve our website from the K-state group who do the WIX sites for businesses.  I worked on several areas and pages using their suggestions. 

  • Communicated with the attorney and appropriate parties to develop the  MOU/Resolution materials between the city and the Manager of the new grocery store we are starting in Blue Rapids.  It was passed successfully on the 8th, along with a support letter from the council to the Loan group.

  • Made up a list of what every group and passed it to them needed to turn into the loan group in order to stay on time with the Grocery Store effort. 

  • Met with Commissioners on the 6th to talk to them about the Downtown Redevelopment Act.  They asked me for more information and to come back next week.  I did, and after more discussion, they passed it for the county with the assurance that I would make sure all the parties involved in the taxation realm would be able to discuss if they wanted to participate. 

  • Transition Plus Veteran Project - Had multiple phone calls with Gary Smith and the other Board members as we are setting up the 501 c3 – just received, the By-Laws, and preparing for the tax credit application.   We have been in contact with the administrator of the tax credits in order to figure out how best to apply.  We may apply directly now, and have the Wamego Rural Community Foundation and MCP4G as a fundraising resource.  On the 16th, Gary and I wrote a letter sent to 33 possible interests regarding who may want to apply for them.

  • On the 13th, I attended and participated as part of the Board for the Marysville High School Business Intership/Mentoring Program.  20 students participated this semester and are doing a great job.  (Emma Peschel was one of the presenters.)  Again, this program is helping them decide on a career early and more definitely before college or tech school. 

  • Helped write a support letter for the Transition Plus Summerfield Project representing the city council.   Helped write a support letter from the President and myself for the Summerfield Project from MCP4G.   Much of my time has been spent this month on the Summerfield project and the Blue Rapids store project. 

  • On the 28th, I have a second Blue Rapids Community Meeting led by K-State to improve the downtown district. 

Director’s Highlights April 2019

  • We had a great meeting with the K-State Community Input Meeting with Blue Rapids at the end of March! The Summary and Next Steps Meeting has cleared through the city council and will be held May 28. 

  • April has seen a total of 7 buildings being signed off to be looked at by the State Brownfields Program in the downtown area of Blue Rapids.  Many owners are making it easy and leaving a key in the office so when the assessor comes, they have access right away.  This program is a first step to determine contamination in local buildings and future plans for the properties. The city council, police department, and the city clerk have all been a help to me in order to make this happen.

  • I completed the application to NetWork Kansas for the request to be an e-community, and received confirmation that we are in the running to be evaluated against the other cities that are applying.

  • Wrote a radio spot and newspaper article to promote our fundraiser.  Sent emails to Partners to remind about banners and decorating.  Attended planning lunch to develop last auctions and promotions for Dueling Pianos. 

  • Spent time working out situation for drinks at the event.  After calls to state Alcohol Commission, I visited with Executive Council and we did the complimentary route for beer and wine only.

  • Attended Blue Rapids council meeting to report on the Brownfields Program and update on the Grocery Store situation – we need 8 more weeks to process.

  • Had phone call with Gary Smith re: Transition Plus Summerfield application for Community Tax Credits.

  • Clarification phone call with Seth Mettling over Brownfields next steps.

  • Did a banner run and picked up our Partner’s promotional materials for our event.

  • Met with members of Marysville council on the Finance committee and the mayor regarding questions over programs I had introduced to the council earlier, and the mayor had requested more information for a smaller group.  Also visited about a particular resident who wants to start up a business but is having trouble finding the right building.  The mayor would like a (future) list of incentives for the downtown area. 

  • Paid our yearly Secretary of State Annual Tax Report. 

  • Asked Frankfort for a letter of Support for the Moderate Income Housing Grant upcoming.

  • Worked all Saturday getting ready for Fundraiser Event.  We had about 80 show up, and about 10 who paid but didn’t show.  There was some great auctions that really helped us raise money that night.  A break down will be given at the board meeting.  My highlight was the auctions, and being able to promote our partners and share the reason we do this work.  Feedback was that our partners  really appreciated the way they were promoted.  

  • Re-promoted K-State Grant Workshop with 40 targeted emails and FB posts and Advocate Reminder.  We had about 15 people there and there was great discussion!  One group was able to get over the hump that they needed in order to finish writing their grant.

  • Was given another application to work on for the grocery store start up in Blue Rapids and spent the day organizing and requesting the different groups to send in the appropriate information.  Will need to fill out a good portion myself.

  • Worked about 2 hours on a possible sale of a downtown building in Blue Rapids with 3 people involved.

  • Stopped by to see the Future Maker Lab at MHS Mwe brought to town to promote STEM careers and took a few pictures for the newsletter.

  • Wrote a support letter for the Summerfield Project representing MCP4G. 

  • Board Meeting with Summerfield Transition Plus on 23rd, and meeting with USO and others at the site on the 30th.  Working out a time Gary Smith can meet our commissioners and share what we are doing.   It would be helpful to receive a  Letter of Support from our commissioners for the Tax Credit project.  Requested and they will provide.

  • 25th was the NCRPC Board Meeting, and I needed to be back in Blue Rapids that night for a Grocery Store Meeting.

  • 26th was the full day Grant Workshop we are hosting with K-State, and our Extension Office.  I’ll be there from at  9-3:30 at Landoll Lanes. 

Director’s Highlights March 2019

  • Set up the “Drive for Community” with new business coming to Marysville (which I recruited!).  I called and asked him to consider buying Boss Motors, and while that didn’t work out, he is coming into the county.   Ryan Honeyman from Honeyman Ford is set up to be offering new Ford test drives during BBQ Days to raise up to 6k for the Marysville Fire Department.

  • Filed our 990-N with the State.

  • Went to Manhattan for the Job Fair.  Had some great visits with people, got some resume’s and directed someone from Waterville who was looking for a job in Manhattan, to get one in Blue Rapids!  Notified local businesses of leads to call.  

  • Worked with the Brownfields situation with five downtown buildings in Blue Rapids, approved applications and got them sent in to the State with the help of the city clerk in Blue Rapids.

  • Researched Community Tax Credits for use with FCCH and wrote a letter to the parties on how to get started and steps to do next.  Did the same for the Transition Plus Summerfield project as we are going to go through their Wamego/Summerfield Foundation.     

  • Finished Grant Workshop Flyer for Marysville, presented by K-State and promoted on FB, and sent to state official needing it. 

  • Worked over 4 days on getting a Paypal Account and approval for tax exemption, and set it up on our website to accept ticket sales for the fundraiser and the grant workshop. 

  • Gave a written report to the Blue Rapids City Council on grant, loan and Brownfield Applications.

  • 3-way phone call with Transition Plus Planning.  4x this month.  Worked on discovering the right funding source to use to buy Home for the Project. .  

  • Holton lost their hospital and Maureen Crist (member) asked if we could recruit there.  Spent the a.m. talking to state officials and Holton Library and sending editorial to paper on available jobs here. 

  • In case I forget to mention this, the effort we did to work on the specialty crop Stevia is being used (materials and information and K-State feasibility study) by Chalon Barnett in Frankfort to start his first crop.  While I have had to move to different things, I am glad to see that we could provide what he needed right down to a person to buy his crop!

  • Put 12 Dueling Piano flyers for our fundraiser up in Marysville, and covered Summerfield and Axtell with local help.  Frank P. reported he covered BR, Waterville and Frankfort with Dueling Pianos flyers.  I sent a press announcement to 12 media outlets and created an event for FB. 

  • Attended the Big Rural Brain Network It.  Very good.  Found a K-State program that will do the free WIX set up for businesses!  May not be able to get that going until the fall due to summer vacation coming up, but it is a huge find!  I want to ask her to optimize our site for free too, and maybe set up with them for fewer fees over the years.   

  • Something I worked on for a year is to get the veterans transitioning into manufacturing to visit here for our local plants.  On the 22nd, I helped host the Heroes Make America Veterans with a Manufacturing Certification,  come for a Tour of Landoll’s and Titan.   Some want to apply to MC!!!  16 men came and the Landoll Tour was super.  I wasn’t able to go to Titan and miss that much work, but I was in close touch to set up.  Pictures to come in the newsletter. 

  • Community Meeting Tues. p.m. to do Downtown Planning for Blue Rapids with the K-State group who will hear resident’s opinions and then develop an architectural rendering for their downtown.  

Director’s Highlights January/February 2019

  • Met with Waterville Chamber Director, Heather Anderson over city projects and efforts to improve the town.

  • Met with a Local business man regarding growth of his business and possibly buying another building to start a new business.

  • Met with the Marysville City Council regarding Network KS update, the Downtown Redevelopment Act, and the Concordia Land Use Policy.  I encouraged them to visit the Business Park in Beatrice as it is much larger than a typical city of its size.  Mayor Grund took me up on that and visited, and asked me to pursue how they were able to attract such a great amount of business to the Park.

  • Attended the NCRPC Board meeting

  • Feb. 1-20:  Attended the Marysville Chamber Dinner and Awards night.

  • Finished newsletter and visited with Beatrice’s Economic Development and Concordia’s Economic Development groups on questions from the discussion with Marysville City Council.

  • Worked with grantee on details in order to complete grocery store Initiative Grant.

  • Finished up Grant and Loan Requirements for the KS Healthy Food Initiative and turned it in.

  • Had a nearly 2 hour conversation with the KC gentleman working with Summerfield and the Good Shepherd Transition Plus project.  Working on applying for the Non-Profit status and developing a business plan. 

  • Attended the 7:00 Beattie Commissioner’s vote.  Our own Angie Armstrong stepped up as one of the voters for Frankfort.  She asked the question about economic development.  The top candidates were strong on using development to strengthen the county. 

  • We had a fundraising meeting with a community expert in fundraising who was helpful with guiding us to the best way to raise funds.  Mark calendars for April 13!

  • Attended the Frankfort City Council meeting where we discussed the Frankfort Community Care Home and how the city can help with a grant and possibly with the actual senior living housing by building one unit. 

  • Met with KC gentleman and Rose Meybrunn at the Library for a session on next steps.  We are working networks with SAVE Farm and Southeast Community College and Cloud County for educational opportunities with the GI bill that some of the vets will want to use.

  • Dealt with contracts a lot this month on the restoration of the grocery store in Blue Rapids.

  • Participated in a 2 ½ hour conference call with the Kansas North Central Food Council over the survey and final results of the county’s information that has been compiled.  I hope to share some of this with the paper and our group/newsletter in the months to come. 

  • Attended the Commissioner’s meeting 2/19 at 10:45 with Doug McKinney from NCRPC as he shares with them about the Comprehensive Economic Development Plan they are working on in the 12 county area. 

  • Planned for Board Meeting, and the Finance Meeting on the 21st  at 7 that Mayor Grund asked me to attend to further discuss ideas I brought up at the Marysville Council Meeting. 

  • Attended our first meeting of the Network KS 2/21 in Newton to become an "elite program" e-community, with team members Michelle Whitesell and Laura Musil.  This is a competive process and will take the year to be accepted if we win in the application process.

December 2018  Director Highlights

  • Met with Frankfort Community Care Home officials to talk about the housing grant I will be spearheading this next year.

  • This was an exciting month!  Much time was spent in Blue Rapids working with their ad hoc committee on developing their new anti-blight for the Downtown area.  Liz Miller headed it up and there were many revisions of the ordinance until the attorney okayed it and it was passed in time for the New Year!  This ordinance has incentives for owners to either rent, sell or occupy their building, or be fined each year.  We have already seen people making an effort to make changes in the downtown.

  • We also started the KS state level Brownfields Assessment for several building owners this month and into January.  This will be a multi-year effort to start the understanding of where these buildings are in safety and possibility to renovate or reuse.

  • I also spent a lot of time working on the sale of property and expansion of 2 businesses in the area in order to open a new grocery/produce store.  The city council voted to help purchase on the of the buildings in order to help see that happen.  In order to accomplish that, I have also been involved with state and university officials for grant and loan opportunities.

October/November 2018 Director's Highlights

  • Organized a group that could claim ownership for the meeting in NE for the National Heritage Area Designation.  Michelle Whitesell reported that it went well and has accepted responsibility for it since it is a tourism designation.

  • Restaurant Meeting in Waterville

  • Met at BR at former Gator’s grocery store to see building and people who want to see what efforts can happen to reopen it.  The store is in rough shape with nearly everything sold out of it and it would need a huge cleaning.  The group discussed how to divide or close off part of the building, and how to divide for several businesses.

  • Habitat Board Meeting.

  • Attended the Centraila Public School Work and Career Fair.   Individually talked to over 100 students about available jobs in the County.

  • Attended the Christmas Dinner and Leadership Discussion and speech at the venue in Clay Center with NCRPC as a board member.

  • I finished up the mailing for our membership drive.

  • Attended the Marysville Council Meeting with Davanie, Angie and Frank and presented our proposal and support for the Chamber plans.  They came in at 1k, but Todd Frye expressed in the Advocate his no vote was due to his disagreement that they came in too low.  Mayor Grund said they may change that later as they thought about their needs and our proposal.

  • Called prospective buyers for Boss Motors in Marysville. 

  • Went to the Marysville HS and saw the status of the class I helped start about 1,1/2 years ago as a business/entrepreneur class.  It’s now 18 kids being mentored by many of our local businesses.  I was pretty excited about it, and wrote an article about it for the paper to be publish the last week of Nov.  Paul Kessinger gave me some great ideas about how the newspaper can be involved too.

  • Had a phone interview with Jeffry Ryan on what he sees would benefit Marshall county. 

  • Had a phone interview with Gary Smith on how to grow the Summerfield Veterans initiative.

  • Went to SCC in Beatrice for a Workforce Manufacturing Meeting.  They are working to change the reputation of manufacturing and work with regional groups to improve our workforce. 

  • Worked to set up the FutureMaker Mobile Lab in our schools.  Marysville and VH have a date. 

  • Called prospective grocery store buyers for BR or Marysville.

  • Had several conversations with the Frankfort Community Care Home folks about helping to fund the next phase for the housing.  I gave the Board an email that outlined what I needed from them in order to resubmit the MIH grant for the housing side.  They will discuss it this week. 

  • Food council meeting for Marshall County.

  • Will attend 6:30/7 meeting for the Blight Ordinance questions from business owners in BR.

  • Meeting in BR with grocery group to see how we can buy the building.

  • Board meeting and newsletter to finish up the month.

Director’s Highlights September 2018

  • Attended the Dept of Ag Summit in Manhattan.  This conference is an update of all they worked on last year and a process of vetting what the public on the ground thinks is most important to be worked on next.  There were a lot of governmental officials there, and I was impressed with their progress and passion for what they are doing.

  • Commissioner’s Meeting.  Shared what Cloud County does for their small business incentives and left info so they can incorporate it into our concept of supporting new business.

  • Met with much of our Board and a few other economically minded groups with Roger Marshall and his managers.  There were really good discussions over conservation, health care, and tariff issues. 

  • Attended the NCK Food Council meeting in Minneapolis to get ready for our local food focus group with the County.  Later in the day the Board for NCRPC met and we had the ear of several of our sitting house representatives.  I came up with an exemption idea that the Senator promised to work on for our hospital in regard to Medicare repayments.

  • Nic Stoll and I joined the realtor to see the free house in Beattie to see if it could be workforce housing.  Unfortunately, we felt it was so outdated, that to move and update would be too costly.

  • Met with Manager of Weaver Hotel to discuss how he can lower the costs of the electric bill in the Hotel through the city and grants to weatherize.

  • Attended Weaver Restaurant Start-up.  

  • Helped as a volunteer to fill bags from local vendors for the gravel dash participants.

  • Business Learning Event at City Hall: Michael Aumack from the Small Business Admin led a workshop for about 20 participants from local businesses on Marketing Strategies. Citizen’s Bank did a great job sending people!

  • Noon meeting with City Ordinance Planning Group in BR.  We ended up talking mostly on the grocery store issue.  A group was developed interested in exploring ideas on the solution. 

  •   7:00 meeting with Waterville City Council on nature of the Demand Meter and how the Hotel can lower their bill.  Chuck Tryon will walk through assessment of the building with Kode and measure electronics and see how to level out demand cycle.  I am working on grant ideas with him.

  • Frank Popejoy and I met with a local farmer at their farm and discussed growing Stevia there.  Starting to work on a grant with them that would be key to doing this project.

  • Had the 2 professionals on food systems and community development come and talk over the results of the survey for the County.  A lot of people want the best type of food here and local shopping, but behaviors prove otherwise.  A lot of education would be necessary to change minds and behaviors.  Some want to continue to be involved in improving our food system.

  • 7:00 BR City Council Meeting.   Talked about their pool project and gave them some grant ideas, talked about Brownfields, with discussion, and about a housing project. Note:  Lots of phone calls with BR residents helping them brainstorm and come up with next steps to the loss of the grocery store.  Working overtime a lot due to this situation.

  • Finished up Grant to Foundation for Rural Service for helping businesses set up an online presence.  Angie Armstrong provided a great support letter. 

  • 7:00 Public Hearing at the City Hall for our property Zoning.  Holding off on zoning at this time.

  • Sept 18 – Attended the Dept of Commerce Manufacturing Summit.  Found a great resource to help have a Manufacturing Day here with the Future Work traveling interactive truck.  Learned about New Market Tax Credits, and made a great connection for Veterans just trained in Manufacturing Skills and we can be sent the resume’s. 

  • Sept 19 – 7:00 a.m. Joint Meeting with the Marysville Chamber, Main Street and Tourism and Convention groups.  Some good discussion there.  Shop Local Campaign is resetting under Ashley Kracht's leadership. 

  • Noon meeting with PEP-C board and shared some grant ideas with them for their building and their training programs.

  • Frankfort Meeting with the Frankfort Foundation regarding Housing / Former school building

  • Noon meeting with BR Chamber with PRIDE K-state program coming in to visit with them.  4:30 Our Board Meeting

  • Beloit NCRPC Board meeting.  7:00 BR community meeting regarding grocery store.


Director’s Highlights Aug 1-22 2018

  • Attended the KS Farm Tour sponsored by the KS Farmers Union.  My insights that I felt would best help local farmers diversify was written up and given to the Advocate for publishing on their time table. 

  • Business Visitation with Salih Doughramaji, Dept of Commerce.  Had visits with Landoll and Valley Vet,

  • Attended Rotary on the 6th and presented the Award of Merit to Curtis Hawkinson from the Dept of Commerce.  I had nominated the hospital for the award and Ashley Kraut helped fill out the necessary information.  The papers later had it covered.

  • Fundraiser Lunch Meeting with the Golf Planning group.  We tied down some more ideas. 

  • Attended the Marysville Chamber Meet and Greet with new employee Jennifer Duffy at the Wagon Wheel. 

  • Attended Blue Rapid’s First Impressions Report meeting with Nancy Daniels reporting.  Later I wrote an article for the papers concerning the meeting.  Some issues came up about the city pool and city internet that I am working on with leadership there.

  • Visited the County Health Dept to understand programs available to new workforce that comes in.

  • Attended the Weaver Hotel Restaurant meeting.  The hotel needs solar energy or the city to do something about the electric meter on businesses in order to do well since electricity costs are too high.  Waterville businesses all suffer from this situation.  I later provided the manager some options on funding with solar or for lowering the electricity costs.

  • Attended the Marysville City Planning Commission to finalize the zoning of our Business Park.  The public hearing will be Sept 13.

  • Had a meeting with April Todd and PEP-C to understand housing in the county and how the workforce may use it. 

  • Contacted several local farmers and we attended the Organic Farming Workshop at Southeast Community College.  There was a lot of interest with transitioning to more lucrative crops in the area.

  • Working with BR Chamber on Yungeberg Motel opening.

  • Working with all local Chambers and Main Street on SBA Workshop planned for Sept 6 in City Hall.  Subject is Marketing & Customer Engagement Strategies -

•        Develop your competitive advantage to stand-out from the pack!

•        Turn your establishment into a destination

•        Gain more repeat customers

•        Email marketing best practices

  • Worked with Roger Marshall Campaign to set up complimentary Luncheon on 27th at Landoll Lanes discussion on Economic Development.  Our Board was invited first.  RSVP’s are necessary.

  • I plan to attend the free Agricultural Summit in Manhattan on the 23rd .

  • I plan to attend the NCRPC Board Meeting in Minneapolis on the 30th.

Director’s Highlights July 2018

  • Director was out for a vacation this month.

  • Met with Charlie Friedrichs regarding a school program that would include businesses to internship High School students.  The Habitat Thrift Shop is developing their program to allow students to sort, display, run cash register, and market goods at the store. I will be part of the committee helping to set that up.

  • Sent information to farmer who wants to grow Stevia as part of the test plot.

  • Attended and marketed the KSWorks Apprenticeship Program that came to Marysville to our main manufactures.  Several came to the meeting when I notified them.  This program is available to help train workers in an agreed program with the state allowing for the employee to be paid.  It is open to many types of sectors of business.  I am trying to see how we can get to the next step of getting people signed up and going.  A workshop for employee soft skills is being planned.

  •  Attended the Commissioner’s Meeting about the ROZ Resolution getting renewed.  I had requested that they not make a final decision until my Board could discuss and amend the document to dispel their objections.  We did that, including cost sharing with the employers so the county only gave $4,500 a year and we could attract 6 young professionals.  They listened to the ideas, then rejected them all and made no changes whatsoever.  I asked them restore us to a support of 5k since they were not going to give any money to ROZ and still got no changes and no vote.

  • I stayed for the presentation from the entire Hospital Board. They brought more financial information.  Frank P. was there and the Commissioner’s Board stalled the decision until the next week.    

  • I have been personally helping 2 women (young) look for work in the county.  Another disabled man requested my help.  He is deaf.  We met at the library and went over available jobs listed on the website.  Contacted all the potential commissions to meet on the 25th with us at the Community Center, Home City during our Board Meeting.

  • Wrote an Advocate opinion for a story they are doing on our county demographics.

  • Wrote an application support letter for the River Rail Trail to receive a grant from the Forest Department.

  • Attended the Commissioner’s meeting for the hospital again.  Again they stalled, but now there is a 5 year limit on the motion instead of 10.  Lawyers will draw up the question to be considered next week.

  • I plan to attend a KS Farm Tour of Farms sponsored by the Farm Union that have done unique things to grow their businesses. 

  • Invited all the potential commissioners running for District 1 to attend our July Board meeting and hear our concerns for a more robust commitment to economic development in the county, as well as share how they would want to grow the county.

  • After the Board meeting, I attended the Forum for the potential County Commissioners.  It was refreshing to hear that economic development was one of the most discussed topics. 

  • Collected final North Central Food Surveys to turn in, and removed link from website.

  • Attended as a Board Member, the North Central Regional Planning Commission meeting in Miltonvale.  Recorded that our county received over $700,000 worth of funds for Home Land Security this year through the Commission.

Director’s Highlights End of May and June 2018

  • Attended the NCRPC Board Meeting.  They are trying to do a program that towns can hire to do their nuisance abatement. However, it is turning out to be more difficult with dealing with residents than hoped.  

  • Sent letters to Marshall County graduates that stated no college plans in the newspaper.  

  • Met with Mary Howell about the Food Council and the upcoming survey.  She is a great one to help on this!

  • Attended the Harvest Food Development Conference in Lawrence.  Some great information and some new ideas on what grants are available. 

  • Attended the KS Forest Services Grant Planning Meeting that Dan Howell invited me too.  Jeff Neel has a concept for new equipment we may be able to market to our county that will allow them extra funds as they get rid of their cedar trees.  The oil sells well, and so does the char.  He would add MCP4G into their Phase 2 of the grant they are already funded for.  

  • Wrote article on county diversifying our agriculture and requested interest in Stevia from the public.  It will be published June 13.

  • Typed up and turned in my First Impressions Project for the city of Lindsborg.  The Kstate advocate said it was great, and would be a real help to the city.  

  • Worked with a lady to help her find a job here as her fiancé is moving here  and she will need work here too.  Sent her resume’ around to all the businesses that may need her skill and asked them to keep it circulating. 

  • Let Habitat for Humanity know there is a very nice free house if you move it located in Beattie.  

  • Attended the Commissioners meeting with Salih Doughramaji about the new ROZ program needing to be signed onto by Aug.  The document had not been passed onto the commissioners (sent 3 weeks ago) and so they could not make a decision, they said.  I later requested if I could ask for comments from the Board and offer them to them before the decision was made and that I be notified when to be present for the discussion. 

  • Met with Rose Meybrunn and the Representative of Commerce to discuss other ideas of selling her former vet home to places like Valley Hope. 

  • Salih from the Dept of Commerce and I did a visit with a local manufacturer regarding their workforce and a tax break they can get on new equipment they will be purchasing.  

  • Spent time updating the Recent News and Grants Plus pages on the website.  I am excited to see so many new visitors still coming into the site. 

  • Sent approved description to the newspaper for interest in a co-working office situation.  Worked on fleshing out the FRS Grant that would help us get people signed up for their own website.  

  • Disseminated Food Survey to all who will help distribute it.  

  • Met with Waterville Restaurant founders to continue with hiring an architect and to fundraise.

  • Board Meeting at the Marysville Public Library.  Special guest Steve Boyda and Bill Phillipi spoke about running for Commissioner

Director's Highlights, May 2018.

  • With Graduation across the county, the Board approved Ellen sending a letter to our county graduates with plans to just work after graduation, in hopes we can educate them about our local job site on our webpage and invite them to work locally. She also sent recruitment letters to graduates of local tech schools, Washburn, Manhattan, Southeast Community and Highland. We would love to see our youth consider this area as a job potential, and want them to know they are wanted here.

  • Met with the Waterville Planning Commission to talk about a building they are considering for demo due to blight in their downtown area. There are matching funds for clean up and help with demo. They are also considering a third party nuisance abatement idea.

  • Presented at the Marysville Rotary Club with Ashley Kraut on the ideas being develped for a shop Local campaign. These campaigns help people shop in the area and can help with margins that are already too thin.

  • Ellen went to Lindsborg, KS for the K-State First Impressions Program and evaluated their city for a "first impression" of tourism and business. Marysville MainStreet is in a reciprocal evaluation with them, and they will give us feedback next month. I was impressed with the clean look of the neighborhoods and business yards, and even the co-op grain areas were part of that effort and made to be part of the town and trail area! They made their eye sores acceptable, and that in itself is remarkable. They have the Dala Horse miniature statues to promote their Swedish background. It shows their town works together to make tourism a top money draw in their town. My biggest take-away was that they are missing marketing their best asset - the Mill - and the most energy is going downtown. Now it needs to go to their best tourism spot.

  • Worked with a prospective new business entrepreneur considering going into business for themselves.

  • Attended the CMH Tour and Hospital Anniversary. I was really impressed with the new improvements and equipment upgrades to the Radiology Area!

  • Helped send out a link for the local hospital for information on how to sign a petition in case they are interested in getting a sales tax question on the ballot.

  • We have a new farmer interested in experimenting with the stevia plant here. They will experiment with it's growth from seed and wintering it over the winter.

  • The North Central Kansas Food Council I'm on has developed a survey for 12 regional counties that is ready to go out, and embedded in the newsletter. The Extension Office is willing to help send it out as well.

  • Wrote our commissioners to thank them for supporting buying local food through our County Agency on Aging office for the meals that go to our local nutrition centers. This will really help our local grocery stores. Please remember to thank them as well!

  • Attended the Board Meeting in Beloit for the North Central Regional Planning Commission. A large concern was how to handle disgruntled people over the new nuisance abatement program NCRPC is trying to put into place.

  • Met at Miltonvale with the food policy council for Central Kansas. They are gearing up for sharing a survey that will help us with needs in the communities.

  • Worked with Washington County newspaper on a story that shows what regional counties do financially to help their county grow.  Marshall County is at $6,000.00 a year for economic incentives.  Other counties ranged from 35k - over 120k.  (That does not include the Neighborhood Revitalization Program.  Monies abated for taxes are most likely made up later with higher taxes on the improvements to the property abated.)

  • The Waterville Weaver Restaurant continues to move forward. They are working on fundraising presently and are planning to have a community dinner in the near future to keep the momentum going.

  • Attended the Chamber Mixer at the Marysville Golf Course which is having a new membership sale to attract new customers in 2018.

Director Highlights, April, 2018

  • April 7th was the Tour of Open Buildings for Blue Rapids. It was a really cold day, but we still had some lookers at the three buildings that were on the Tour. We are glad the building on the highway across from Casey's sold just before the Tour.

  • This month I'm teaching Junior Achievement at the Lutheran School. I'm encouraged by the curriculum. If a kid learns in Kindergarten that money is made by working a job, that makes an impression. They are already looking for ways they can make a little money on the side at home with chores or helping.

  • Met with the Waterville/BR chamber group to talk about how to help businesses.

  • Had our third meeting with the Joint Leadership Groups concerning a Shop Local Campaign. It will cover the County and have slogans to identify with the campaign efforts. I will be informing the smaller towns of the campaign and feeding them ideas to implement it.

  • Met with the group involved with a "First Impressions" Project for Lindsborg, KS. They will also come for a visit in Marysville and share their first impressions of the city. This will help with objective views of how our cities can improve visits from people out of town.

  • Worked with a prospective new business entrepreneur to apply for a special business loan.

  • Spent time working on a grant that could help with housing in several situations. I also found a grant opportunity for the Trail project and for Habitat for Humanity that may be helpful.

  • We made the Board decision to put a hold on our Stevia project as we need more information before we start a test plot. We have established some new advisors with K-state to help us find the right equipment. We need a farmer/grower who is interested in directing the project and growing an acre on his land and wants to learn the process and possibly go into this specialty crop. If you know anyone like this, please let Ellen know.

  • Our Board has recently developed a subcommittee interesting in senior housing. Every community needs senior housing in our county. Our retired family wants to age in place and stay near family. We hope to help them do that.

  • Attended an early visit to Boss Motors to congratulate them on 80 years. While they are retiring, the Ford Management has told them they want to keep the Ford Dealership there in Marysville. They are looking for a buyer for the business.

  • Met at Miltonvale with the food policy council for Central Kansas. They are gearing up for sharing a survey that will help us with needs in the communities.

  • Newsletter stories featured the Washington County loss of Bradford Built's expansion, and their Brewery, and the situation the weather is putting the local crops in.

Director's Highlights March 2018
  • Met with a small group of people (MCP4G members Charlie Weickert and Rob Peschl were there) to visit personally with James Barnett who is running for Governor. He is strongly in tune with economic development in the rural areas and "gets it" when it comes to having the right plan and working with grass roots people.

  • Meet with the local people helping me with the Advisory Food Council

  • Meet with the Joint Leadership Groups concerning a Shop Local Campaign

  • Was part of the speakers who shared at the Waterville Community Meeting for the new Weaver Hotel Bar and Grill

  • Wrote a piece for the Advocate's article on attracting tourism to pull people from the highways by good signage from all over our county-pointing up each town's best assets

  • Frank Popejoy and I visited with hospital public relations how the Partnership can support the hospital as an economic driver in our communities.

  • On March 16, I gave the main speech at the Frankfort Community Cottages ground-breaking for the infrastructure. The Advocate took pictures and later published the story and parts of the speech.

  • Angie Armstrong and I met with a prospective new business entrepreneur. We helped with resources and advice and talked through obstacles. We are hopeful they will take the plunge to open a business with their name on it.

  • Advised a business owner on getting their application in for the Neighborhood Revitalization Program for business improvements. Also advised on the 0% Loan called REDLG, which is administered through Blue Valley Telecommunications geared toward business growth.

  • On March 21st, Frank Popejoy, Nic Stoll and I went to Summerfield to test the soil for the Stevia project and figure out the best places for an irrigated test plot. We found some places that could work well.

  • Organized a lunch with local realtors and business people for their ideas on growing the downtown and filling empty buildings.

Director's Highlights - Jan - Feb 2018
MCP4G has the vision for a new business park in Marysville.  The one the city started years ago with the incentive of free property and help with infrastructure has long been full.  They have secured land behind Kan-Equip and now have a small bill-board that points to the direction with "Commercial property available."  We hope to have it annexed to the city, and zoned light industrial.  Ellen and Tony Deveur answered questions for the Planning Commission regarding the property. 
Ellen met with the SAVE Veteran Group that works to train vets in ag while providing housing for them.  The Summerfield former vet home was toured with the party including the owner and the representative from the Dept. of Commerce.  They hope to visit with the Janus Life Science Stevia growers when they come to visit.
Jan. and Feb is our membership Drive.  We had to cancel our public meeting, "A Celebration of 2017 Successes," until March due to an ice storm. 
Marysville Chamber and MCP4G met to meet the new Chamber leadership and talk
​​about how to partner in the new year. 
Attended the Joint Meeting for the Chamber, Convention and Tourism, and Main Street where a group of about 30 talked about filling the empty grocery store and downtown buildings.  Thought about a plan to encourage buy local in the towns and throughout county. 
Attended the Jewell Co Ec Dev Group in Mankato.  Their "Possibilities" store was community sponsored to fill an empty building and is now ready to be bought by an owner for profit.  This is one of 3 buildings the community has sponsored.  The Rev e3 Business was started in a former school and is growing incredibility as a recycling of electronics business.  It is partnering with a trucking business also in the school building. 
On Feb. 1st, we led the "Grow Us Forum" for BR and Waterville residents.  There was a lot of discussion of how the Electric meter could be removed from businesses so that they are not penalized and the rate spread out among the city.  We have considered buildings in both towns that may be suitable for a day care building.  There may be grant money in the Wilson Fund for that as well as from the USDA. 
 Ellen Attended the First Impressions Meeting for Waterville that gives suggestions of improving the town's first impressions to guests.  Talked with the Chamber on first steps  to make changes. 
Met with Titan managers and Highland Community College to see how their grads can be hired locally by Titan.  They set up a field trip possibility with taking the welding students over to Titan to visit.
Was given a guest column to write on how to grow the county's population in The Advocate.
Attended the Ag Marketing Advisory Information at BVTC community center with K-State presenter. 
Met with Salih Doughramaji from the Dept of Commerce on how we can work together to grow Summerfield and other parts of the county. 
Submitted a project proposal to the state of KS to attract an incoming business to Marshall County. 
Welcomed Dane Automotive, a Auto Repair company that grew from Waterville to Marysville. 
Was invited and attended the Opening Launch of the Marysville Home Ownership Program.  I have already referred someone to the program and to one of our bank partners.  This program was possible because MCP4G and others advocated for the commissioners to keep NCRPC as a partner of the county.  NCRPC used a quotation in their new brochure from Ellen.

Director's Highlights November -December 2017. 

This has been an exciting month!  We learned that the city of Frankfort has received the money for the infrastructure grant that MCP4G has initiated through the KS Housing Corp.  It's a $300,000 grant that will cover roads, electricity, water and sewer to provide for new independent senior living in Frankfort! 

Neither the City of Frankfort nor the Frankfort Community Care Home could afford the infrastructure, so I asked the City, the Home, and the developer, JD Construction, if they would like for MCP4G to provide a grant and the support to have me coordinate it between the Frankfort Care Home and JD Construction.  Each of these groups are business or investment partners of MCP4G and our mutual goal of needed senior housing in Frankfort was the motivation. 


The city council unanimously agreed and so the Home and JD Construction and I coordinated to write the grant I found through the KS Moderate Income Housing and I submitted it in September. We were able to thoroughly document the scarcity of housing in Frankfort that affects employment and makes people unable to live where they work.  The 8 new duplexes designed for seniors will free up 8 homes in the community, easing the housing issue there. It will provide for independent living where many seniors were feeling unsafe in their present homes with stairs and a lack of updated safety features. We are pleased to announce this award as it represents the 4 partners of MCP4G working together in public-private partnership in order to better our communities.  This is a beautiful example of how economic development should work!  

Other developments:
  • We closed on our May property, selling to a local resident who wants to make improvements to the block, including sharing it with the public as a park.  This fits in our "quality of life" goal since we were not able to sell it for housing.
  • Nov. 2 – Forum for Waterville and BR area. Nearly 30 showed up to discuss many items that hey would like to see happen in their area including the Tour of Open Buildings.
  • Nov. 3 – KNDY did a phone interview with me over the Waterville/BR Forum which will work into a Tour of Open Buildings in the Spring. Wrote a newspaper article for all the local papers on the meeting. Advocate published same week, and the others said they would.
  • Nov. 6 – Waterville Weaver Restaurant Meeting – Worked on next steps to be ready for a community meeting. Waiting for bids to come in.
  • Nov. 7 – Talked to over 90 students at the Career Fair at the Centrailia School, juniors who are working towards career choices. They were all shocked to know how many jobs are open all the time and that there is a place to see them all. I was able to personally invite them to consider Marshall County first.
  • Nov. 8 - Met with Nancy Grifford, Economic Director from the Sabetha/Seneca area. She is strongly supported by both those counties. I also met with two other sites in Seneca to see if they were interested in expanding retail into Marshall County. One was wanting to retire and the other is not ready yet.
  • Nov. 9 – Attended the Waterville Chamber Meeting to talk about the Tour of Open Buildings. They listed buildings for me and I’ll be talking to the realtor connected to those sites.
  • Nov. 17 – Attended the Food Conference in Manhattan sponsored by K-state and paid for by NCRPC since I am on the Food Council with North Central Regional Planning Commission.There is now 5 on the Advisory Council from Marshall County.
      (Out on a trip.)
  • Board meeting on the 29th had Cara Baker from Highland Community College Speak on their new tech and medical degrees and how we can partner with them for newly graduated workforce.  Ellen sent a letter to each of the new Dec. graduates to invite them to our jobsite and local jobs.