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Pat Madden and Blair Taylor were named Homecoming King and Queen for Maur Hill-Mount Academy last Friday night.

Maur Hill-Mount Academy Homecoming winners

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Voting to start soon to decide cities and schools races
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The races to determine who will lead the local city governments and public school boards are fast approaching their end when the polls will close at 7 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Persons who have re-located to Atchison County or who are new to the voting process and will be 18 years of age or older on or before Tuesday, Nov. 2 can register until 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12 at the Atchison County Clerk’s Office in the Atchison County Courthouse, 423 North Fifth Street.

Advance Voting starts 8:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 18, and will continue throughout business hours until noon Monday, Nov. 1 in the Clerk’s Office at the Courthouse. The deadline to request an Advance Mail-out ballot is Tuesday, Oct. 26. To do so, call the Clerk’s office at 913-804-6030 for more information. Advance Mail-out/absentee voters may return ballots into the Atchison County drop box before 7 p.m. on Election Day located outside the courthouse, or personally deliver to anyone the polling places between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Election Day. Starting on Monday, Oct. 18 until 7 p.m. Election Day, there will be a dropbox for ballots outside at the Main Street Food and Fuel in Effingham.

Voters are required to provide a valid photo ID to vote.

Atchison City Commission candidates vying for seats at the commission table are Political newcomers: David Deware and Michael White; Incumbents: Jesse F. Greenly, Lisa Moody, and Allen Reavis; and Former City Commissioner William J. Murphy.

Effingham City Council positions are: Mayor: Harvey Fasse, an incumbent running unopposed; Three persons have filed for the five open council positions — Adam Diebolt, David Lowe, and Kirk Wohlgemuth.

Huron City Council: Jaquetta Peak, an incumbent, is the only person file for mayor. There and no filings for the five Huron City Council seats.

Lancaster City Council positions: No filings for the position of Lancaster Mayor, write-in votes; Ryan Hermreck and Larry Myer, an incumbent have filed for the two open positions.

Muscotah City Council positions: For mayor, Brian Higley is running unopposed; Susan J. Higley, Darryl J. Hundley, Margaret Jacobs, Dale W. Small, and Dalia M. Wilson are all running unopposed for the five open city council positions.

USD 409 Board of Education all positions are at-large: Six candidates are vying for four open positions, Sean P. Crittendon, Diane Liebsch, and Carrie Sowers, are all incumbents seeking another 4-year term on the Board.

Deborah Eplee, Allison Marschean, and Chuck Tilton are the challengers.

Brandi Ross, an incumbent, is running to determine if she will continue to maintain the school board seat for she was appointed to complete the unexpired 4-year term left vacated by former school board member Dr. Pam Rizza who relocated to Colorado about a year after she started her elected term on the board.

USD 377 Board of Education: Three four-year terms for three positions, Position No. 4, 5, and 6 are respectfully expiring.

There is a race for Position No. 5. Trenton Beagle, of Cummings, is challenging incumbent Corey Neill, of rural Effingham. Position No. is comprised of Walnut, Mt. Pleasant, and Center townships of Atchison County and a contiguous portion of Jefferson County that is within the boundaries of USD 377.

All other candidates are running unopposed:

Kelli Bottorff, Position No. 4 representing Lancaster and Shannon townships in Atchison County; the portion of Grasshopper Township lying north of the southern edge of Township Five and the contiguous portion of Doniphan County that is within USD 377.

Lori Lanter, Position No. 6 represents portions of Kapioma and Benton townships in Atchison County, the portion of Grasshopper Township that lies south along the southern edge of Township Five, and contiguous portions of Jackson and Jefferson counties that are within USD377 boundaries.

Some Atchison County voters reside within one of the five neighboring are subject to those respective school board elections: These districts are USD 335 Jackson Heights in Grasshopper Township; USD 338 Valley Falls for eligible voters residing in Benton Township HD2; USD 339 Jefferson County North patrons who are eligible voters residing in Benton Township H62 and Benton Township H63; USD 430 South Brown County Schools for patrons residing in Grasshopper Township; and USD 449 Pleasant Ridge for voters who reside in Mt. Pleasant and Walnut townships.

The polling places where the voting will take place between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2, please note some sites are hosting multiple precincts. The polling places are:

Only First and Only Fourth precincts — New Life Assembly of God, 1004 South Fifth Street, Atchison.

East Second and West Second precincts — United Methodist Church, 501 Kansas Avenue, Atchison.

East Third and West Third —Second Christian Church, Seventh and M streets, Atchison.

North Fifth and South Fifth — First Baptist Church, 1640 Riley Street, Atchison.

Benton — Effingham Municipal Building, 414 Main Street, Effingham.

Center – Cummings Christian Church, 2583 McPherson Road, Cummings.

Grasshopper and Kapioma — Muscotah City Hall, 111 First Street, Muscotah.

Huron and Lancaster — Lancaster City Hall, 301 Kansas Street, Lancaster.

Mount Pleasant and Walnut — Faith Bible Fellowship Church, 18688 262nd Road, Atchison.

Shannon — Fire District No. 1, 2509 Highway 73, Atchison.

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Benedictine hosts Budweiser Clydesdales
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Benedictine College had the fortune of hosting one of the most iconic American symbols in the Budweiser Clydesdales Wednesday morning.

The horses were led by the Raven Regiment and paraded along a portion of the Second Street corridor and then back into the campus in Atchison.

A two-month-old dalmatian named Gus also participated in the parade riding on the carriage pulled by the Clydesdales.

O’Malley Beverage owned by class of ‘79, and Board of Directors member Kevin O’Malley played a large part in bringing the famous attraction to the college thanks to his accomplishments in the brewing business in recent years.

Atchison Mayor and Benedictine Executive Assistant to the President Abby Bartlett said she was so happy for the community to experience such an event that wasn’t even announced until last Friday.

“The Clydesdales were absolutely magnificent,” Mayor Bartlett said. “It was a wonderful opportunity to have citizens of Atchison and Benedictine College together for such a unique spur-of-the-moment experience. I am grateful the O’Malleys and Benedictine could do this for Atchison.”

Declining student numbers raise USD 409 concerns
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For the second consecutive year, the total enrollment count of students attending the Atchison Public Schools is showing a downward trend.

“Our enrollment is dropping,” said Dr. Renee Scott, superintendent of Atchison Public Schools. “It really saddens me.”

The total headcount of Pre-kindergarten throughout 12th-grade students present in their seats on Sept. 21, throughout USD 409 was 1,570 compared to 1,615 for the 2020-21 school year – the total number also includes students attending private schools.

The drop in enrollment numbers throughout some recent school years cost the district about $300,000 to compensate for the decrease of student headcount. Scott delivered the news to USD 409 Board of Education members Monday night, Oct. 11 during their meeting at the Atchison Elementary School. About 14 fewer kindergarteners and a 24-student decrease of sixth-graders reflected big drops in comparison to the previous year.

Despite the declining numbers throughout recent years, the numbers show there has also been a gain of 211 new students in the district, which is still less than the collective losses, Scott said.

The 2019-20 school year and COVID-19 interruption and coronavirus outbreak adversely impacted the district.

Last year about 100 kiddos because of COVID relocated from the district, Scott explained some families experienced job losses, career changes and some moved in with family members elsewhere to sustain their living because of the economic downturns.

“These things affect how we are going to move forward,” Scott said. “There are hard decisions we’ll have to make”

Some decisions might likely center on cutting teacher positions for some classrooms because of fewer students for the grade level.

School trends throughout Kansas are also showing a decrease similar to USD 409, Scott said.

Board members also heard a report from the AES administrators Principal Lisa Pierce, Associate Principal Andrew Lillie, Intermediate grades, and Associate Principal Andrea Coppinger, pre-kindergarten – second-grade, who introduced as one administrative team sharing one vision and one goal. The principals explained some classes and activities implement in the new school year like a STEM Enrichment class, emphasis on emotional learning that replaced character development, and Family Engagement activities. Board members also heard that the numbers of student referrals continue to decrease from previous years.

AES Music Teacher Bradley Weaver has written and composed “Phoenix Soar.” A video was shown featuring the AES pupils performing the number.

Following a 15-minute recess to go into an executive session behind closed doors, board members resumed their public meeting and unanimously voted on some personnel matters:

Accepted a termination of a contract of Lanizisha Collins, a paraeducator, became effective Sept. 17 at AES.

Accepted resignations from Jocelyn Campbell, AES para educator, effective Aug. 13; William “Taylor” White, Atchison Middle School custodian, effective Oct. 12; and from Mike Nigus, a special education teacher at Atchison High School, effective Dec. 31 a release from a contract with an assessment of liquidated damages per agreement.

Approved some recommendations for employment for the 2021-2022 school year: Andrew Raplinger, a para-educator at AMS, effective Sept. 27; Staci Loeffler, paraeducator, at AHS, effective Sept. 27; Regan Magee, paraeducator, AMS, effective Oct. 11; and Kelly Wedgeworth LPN, as the USD 409 COVID Tester, effective Monday, Nov. 1.

Approved six supplemental contracts: AMS – Bridget Baker, Seventh-grade Team leader, and Girls Head Basketball Coach Rachael Baumgartner; and AHS — Softball Coach Jennifer Felvus, Assistant Girls Basketball Coach Paxton Throne, Assistant Girls Basketball Coach Jaleia Rice, and Scholars Bowls Coach Janet Coco.

Concerning other matters, Board members:

Unanimously approved the consent agenda that included acceptance of the following donations for Kids Closet Donation from Cloud L. Cray Foundation and the Football Program donation from BUNGE, and merit pay for staff to compensate them for extra duties performed because of the coronavirus to be paid from the allocated funds the district received to offset added expenses due to the pandemic.

Unanimously approved participation in the Neighborhood Revitalization Program Interlocal Agreement that includes the designated Target Areas that are within USD 409 boundaries.

Unanimously reaffirmed Policies JK to JS as resented on second reading.

Heard a public comment from Barbara Chapman who thanked board members for the current mask mandate and COVID-19 policy inside school properties district wide. Chapman said she agrees with the board’s decision 100 percent and that COVID has hit her family hard through the recent death of her father. Chapman thank the Board members for caring, told them they are doing a good job by showing they care for all in the Atchison Public School System.

Heard a report from Scott that Kansas health officials are training some staff and administrators how to use COVID Rapid Tests.

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Skateboard park dedication officially opens
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Phase one of the skateboard park has now been dedicated. The park was the dream of Joshua Kinsman who was an avid skateboarder and left behind a letter asking for a skateboard park. His parents Pamela Cline and Jeremy Watkins have worked tirelessly to make that dream come true.

Saturday was the dedication of the first phase of the park. A large crowd was on hand to see a number of skateboards, grownups, boys, and girls alike, using the facility. For those who didn’t skateboard there was plenty of food, children’s activities, and music.

The dedication was very meaningful as Pamela, Joshua’s mother, addressed the crowd and made a strong point that the park was “everybody’s park” and to come and use the facility or just sit on a bench and rest.

The second phase is now in the planning and already donations are being received. A drawing of the second and third phases was shown at the main booth. Phase two may also include an area for smaller children.

The park is located on the 10th. and Riley Street, Atchison.