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2021 Atchison County Fair wraps up
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The 2021-themed Atchison County fair “Plant your roots in Atchison County” for many attendees represented a tradition of coming home to interact with friends, family, and neighbors.

It was just that when the fair wound down Saturday night featuring a performance by Muscotah native, Erik Dylan and Friends who are also songwriter-guitarists Nick Walsh and Brett Sheroky, and his uncle Dick Anderson on harmonica.

“I love coming back home,” Dylan said, “You-all my people.”

Dylan, a current Nashville resident, told about the songs he’s written and co-written and explained how he draws inspiration from his childhood experiences and memories of his hometown Delaware River area. Currently, Dylan is working closely with Luke Combs.

“He is singing the song and I am thinking about Muscotah, Kansas,” Dylan said.

Dylan has co-written multiple songs that have reached number one status on the charts.

Anderson is also a Muscotah native currently residing in Loveland, Colorado. Anderson regularly plays his harmonica along the jazz club circuit in Fort Collins, Colorado. Anderson is a 1973 graduate class member of Atchison County Community High School.

Walsh was reared in nearby Lyndon and is a former Kansas State University football punter who decided to pursue songwriting in Nashville, Tennessee. His song-writing portfolio includes a song that recently reached number one.

Sheroky is a former southern Illinois resident who relocated to Nashville to pursue songwriting. He is a winner of The John Lennon Songwriting Contest, an international music award. One of his songs has been recorded by Blake Shelton and has also reached a number one status.

Dylan thanked the audience and emphasized how glad he was to be able to bring peer songwriters and musicians to share his home county fair with experience. He said he is hopeful to do it again at future fairs. Dylan, Walsh, and Sheroky all agreed many artists are unfamiliar with the rural community lifestyles. Dylan encouraged the interested audience members who would like to attend a similar showcase of songwriters and music as presented Saturday to contribute to the Atchison County Fair Board Entertainment Fund.

Contributions can be sent to Atchison County Fair Board Entertainment Fund, in care of Jeff Hoffman, 6587 U.S. Highway 159, Effingham, KS 66023, or in care of Exchange Bank, 423 Main Street, Effingham, KS 66023.

The 4-H livestock sale also featured the Bucket Calf Parade and Mary Boldridge Cake Sale. The Knuckle Draggers Car Show and BBQ contest also main-lined Saturday events.

Friday night’s entertainment showcased Matt Snook, a current Kansas City area resident who is an Edgerton, Missouri resident. Onstage with Snook was Craig Kew, of Atchison. Kew performed bass guitar along with guitarist Elijah Chastain and drummer Joe Sully, both are Kansas City area residents. Snook annually performs at Gold-Star Family holiday events and was a Voice contestant on seasons 7 and 8.

Snook’s performance followed the “Plant your roots in Atchison County” –themed parade. Earlier in the day, there were goat, sheep, and the round robin showmanship judging competitions.

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USD 409 reveals new mascot
  • Updated

Phoenix image A is the new mascot to represent the USD 409 Atchison Public Schools.

The Phoenix graphic was announced to Board of Education members and the audience in attendance before adjournment at Monday’s board meeting.

Superintendent Renee Scott said the results of the survey showed favor to Phoenix image A by about 87 percent of the participating stakeholders who responded to the recent survey. Stakeholders included students, staff, alumni and the public at large. The deadline to receive survey responses was noon Monday, Aug. 9, several hours prior to the board meeting.

An image depicting the Phoenix head will also be used at times in conjunction with the full-bodied image.

In other matters, board members reviewed the draft of the USD 409 Safe Return and Continuity of Services 2021-2022, a written document that outlines guidelines the protocols in wake of the coronavirus pandemic that requires all staff, students and visitors to wear masks while indoors on school property and while riding buses, Scott said. Hand hygiene and sanitation practices will be in place as well as contact tracing.

Remote learning is not an option offered the new school year, unless there are some who test positive for COVID-19. Protocols concerning the coronavirus quarantines and symptoms will differ a bit for vaccinated persons and the non-vaccinated. The plan is in accordance with the American Rescue Plan Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services guidelines as revised in July.

Before board members unanimously adopted the plan, Board Member John Eplee, MD recommended the plan be on the monthly meeting agenda to update accordingly.

Board members recessed from the public meeting to go behind closed doors to discuss matters of non-elected personnel with Board Attorney Larry Mears and Scott. The first session was for 20 minutes. Board members resumed the public meeting to take action, which resulted in a 10-minute extension of the executive session. After the public meeting resumed, board members unanimously took action on the following non-elected personnel matters:

Approved the non-renewal of contracts: Paraeducators – Sarah Nordlund, Atchison High School and Caralynn Servaes, Atchison Middle School; and Helen Reynolds – AHS food service worker.

Accepted resignations from: Sheila Hennigan Atchison Elementary School teacher, Rebecca Cronander, AHS teacher; Jennifer Whyte AHS music; Jim Smith as AHS electives department head; Kevin Rieger AHS assistant band director and AMS instrumental music director; Angie Hildman Special Education supplemental at AHS; Jerry McColley at Central School; paraeducators – Kathy Scott, and Brittany McBride at AES; Orlando Rivera and Emerald Lauts at Central School; Sara Linck, AMS, Rickee Smith, AHS, and Jessica Lamme.

Unanimously approved recommendations for employment: At AES – Sherry Domann as third-grade SPED teacher; Kelli Becker speech paraeducator; Jocelyn Campbell, Jordan Wentz and Shawneekia Mays; at AMS – Paul White, lead band teacher; AHS – Tina Janc and Jeffrey Stuart as English teachers, and Jaleia Rice as a paraeducator.

Approved the following transfers: Michelle Birch from Central School paraeducator to long-term contracted pre-kindergarten substitute teacher; Joni Colwell, AES paraeducator to long-term contracted in-school suspension teacher at AMS; Kevin Rieger for AMS lead band teacher to AHS lead band teacher; Olivia Denton from AMS paraeducator to Central School Edgenuity facilitator.

Approved the supplementals: Central School – Tammy Bush, team leader, and Kelsey Martin as new teacher mentor; AES – Annalese Schelvan and Kirah Lohse, as lunch supervisors, new teacher mentors are Ashley Funk, Gerre Martin, Lauren Benning, Leah Martin, Brad Weaver, Monica Kruse, Erin McKelvy –Patterson, Amy Siebenmorgan and Michelle Wilson. Co-teacher coaches are Ramona Wilson, Tricia Regan and Angie Gray, and SPED Classes Payton Nigus. At AMS – National Board Certified Victoria Grable, New Teacher Mentors are Stephanie Affield, Bridgett Baker, and Elizabeth Howard, co-teacher coaches are Michelle Fosdick and Affield. Jennifer Felvus will serve as the head cross country coach and the sixth-grade lunch supervisor, and Taylor Frunk as the assistant wrestling coach. Julie Underwood and Paul White have supplemental contracts regarding the musical courses and activities at AMS and AHS, and Rieger’s supplementals are AHS-based. Other supplemental positions at AHS are Elective Department Head co-sponsors are Matt Hall and Angie Hildman, Ambassadors co-sponsors are Jodie Stillwill and Julie Ellerman, Leadership Department Head is Toni Anthony, Ed Crouse and Blaine Clardy will serve as social studies co-department heads. CTE Department Head Heather Matthias, SIT Team co-sponsors are Macy Pickman and Clardy, SPED classes Melissa Nigus; Amanda Drury, travel stipend for Board of Education.

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Senior Village director steps down
  • Updated

Haley Tinch has resigned from her position as the Atchison Senior Village administrator effective immediately.

Atchison County Commission members, Chairman Jack Bower, Vice-chairman Eric Noll, and Commissioner Casey Quinn unanimously voted to accept Tinch’s resignation following some lengthy discussions behind closed doors about non-elected personnel before their regular meeting adjournment on Tuesday, Aug. 10.

In his motion to accept Tinch’s resignation, Noll explained that Tinch had sent notification to commissioners on Sunday of her intent to resign from her position effective immediately.

Tinch’s resignation follows an outbreak of positive COVID-19 cases among residents and staff at the county-run residential care facility.

On Aug. 3 a Facebook post indicated 20 residents and six staff members had tested positive with the coronavirus. The post also indicated all local, state and federal guidelines have been followed to mitigate the spread and to keep residents safe.

“Please note, our residents are the number 1 priority,” the post reads. “We are working around the clock with Emergency Management, the local Health Department and KDHE in our COVID response.

Commissioners hired Tinch, a Salina resident, on Dec. 18, 2020 by a two to one vote. Noll was the only commissioner to vote in the negative concerning the hire.

Tinch started her new job Dec. 22, 2020 to earn a $68,000 salary with the potential to earn $2,000 in quarterly bonuses and up to $12,000 a year if she met certain other performance criteria. Tinch replaced former administrator John Rainbolt who started his position on Aug. 3, 2020, but then notified commissioners of his intent to resign for personal reasons on Oct. 20, 2020. Rainbolt’s last day was mid-November at Senior Village.

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Berger resigns as City Manager
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Atchison City Manager Becky Berger is resigning from her position.

Berger, who has worked for the City since 2012, started as the Assistant City Manager/Finance Director until 2017, when she was named interim City Manager. Berger became the official City Manager in 2018.

“I have enjoyed having the opportunity to serve the City and the Atchison community for the past nine years, and will miss the work and all of my colleagues at the City,” said Berger. “I wish the City of Atchison continued success and will always cherish the relationships and experiences I’ve gained in my time there.”

Mayor Abby Bartlett and the Commission are proud of Berger and what has been accomplished in Atchison during her tenure.

“This City is headed in a great direction on so many fronts and Becky was a main driving force behind much of the progress we’ve seen in recent years,” Bartlett said. “We are grateful for her leadership and service to the Atchison community. She will be missed not only by the Commission but by the dedicated employees of the City of Atchison she served alongside for so many years.”

City Commissioners will decide the next steps for moving forward, with the next commission meeting at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, August 16th in the Commission Room.

If you have any questions, please contact Joe Warren, Director of Administrative Services, at 913-367-5500, or