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Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth Child Care — Peg Britton @ 1:33 pm

From Ally:  Wow, Ellsworth made the news for the most rain in Kansas last night with 1.64 inches. I had no idea we had that much rain. We haven’t had any measurable rain since Sept., so needless to say, we’ve been dry as a bone here. Look out east coast friends and stay safe!



Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth, Ellsworth Child Care, Pretty Boy Floyd's — Peg Britton @ 3:14 pm

Child care center to fill needs of booming city

By TIM UNRUH Salina Journal

ELLSWORTH — Electric saws and nail guns are setting the beats of progress in Ellsworth, where businesses are expanding or locating.

Projects and plans since 2008 and continuing until 2015 will result in more than 200 jobs, representing a fortune in investment in the town of 2,817 people.

Nestled into the growth is the Ellsworth Childcare and Learning Center, which opens Monday.

The $575,000 center is sorely needed, said Mark Parsons, president of the nonprofit Smoky Hill Childcare Foundation, which owns the 10,000-square-foot building.

“Day care has been great in Ellsworth. It’s just that there’s not enough of it,” said Parsons, owner of Parsons Funeral Home.

The child care center’s ribbon-cutting will be at 4 p.m. Friday.

There is room for 83 children, including nine infants and 10 toddlers, with lots of space for more, said Lainie Dauster, director. When the center is fully staffed, it will employ 13 people.

“It’s really hard to find child care, and with all the businesses coming in, it’s going to be even harder,” she said. “We can meet the immediate need and are also able to expand when the need comes about.”

The center is an economic boost for the town, Parsons said.

“With young people moving to town, and they see a center like that, they know their kids are going to get good day care,” he said.

Manufacturing and other industry is picking up in town, said Carol Kratzer, executive director of the Ellsworth-Kanopolis Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re the place to be,” she said.

Location has been a contributing factor for the city, Kratzer said.

Situated at the intersection of Kansas highways 140 and 156, Ellsworth is a 15-minute drive from Interstate Highway 70.

K-156, a diagonal highway from Garden City to the northeast, “has become a major route through Kansas,” she said.

The town is also situated in the hub of two wind farms — Post Rock Wind Farm, the latest, is about to go into operation. Maico Manufacturing, a steel fabricator, snared a lot of business with its 60-foot-long press break, which puts longitudinal bends in steel, said Dave Cox, the plant manager.

“Most steel fabricators have 12- to 20-foot press breaks,” he said.

The equipment is capable of forming flat steel into multi-sided, tubular shafts.

Maico is making 30 1/2 miles of utility poles for the new wind farm, he said. The company, which employs 65 workers in two shifts, includes 12 hired in the past two to three months, and at least that many more openings.

“I’ve got a couple people weld testing as we speak. We’re trying to increase the employee base,” Cox said Wednesday afternoon.

“There is so much work that we’re turning it down. We just don’t have the manpower to keep up with demand,” he said.

Cashco, a valve manufacturer with a full-time equivalency of 178 employees, is building a new headquarters, “to allow additional room for our growth in our Ellsworth facility,” said Clint Rogers, the general manager.

Cashco has added eight jobs in the past six months, he said, and plans to hire another 28 in the next three years.

An early contributor to the boom was Salina-based Great Plains Manufacturing, which began making tillage equipment in Ellsworth four years ago. Of the company’s 130 workers, 40 were added within the past year, said Roy Applequist, Great Plains’ founder and president. The company is still hiring, he said.

Whatever the reason, Ellsworth is “a happening place,” said Karen Pestinger, one of the owners of Beloit-based Carrico Implement, which will open a new, 54,000-square-foot store in Ellsworth during July or August. Carrico will employ approximately 20 people, she said, and add a few more during the first six months in operation. When the Ellsworth store opens, Carrico’s Lincoln location will close, Pestinger said.

“Right now, there are six or seven construction projects that were either just completed, in progress or about to be started,” said Dave Brownback, president of Citizens State Bank & Trust, which has loaned money for some of the construction.

‘A lot of good things going on’

“There are a lot of good things going on here, more commercial activity than we’ve experienced in a long time,” said Brownback, a cousin of the Kansas governor.

Citizens State and Salina-based First Bank Kansas both have built new branches in northern Ellsworth, along K-140.

“We had just outgrown our building because our community has been so supportive with our branch here,” said Tami McGreevy, a teller and customer service representative at First Bank Kansas in Ellsworth.

The Kansas Department of Corrections expects Gov. Sam Brownback to sign legislation approving the purchase of the former St. Francis Boys’ Home property in Ellsworth, spokesman Jan Lunsford said.

Expected to cost $350,000 or maybe a bit more, he said, the former boys’ home will allow Ellsworth Correctional Facility to move minimum custody inmates there, freeing up medium-security space at the main prison campus. The former boys’ home has space for 95 beds, he said, and will be staffed by the equivalent of 15 full-time workers, Lunsford said.

He expects the expansion to open in September.

“They’ll have to make sure it’s up to code security-wise. They’ve got some adjustments to make there,” Lunsford said.

A new Subway restaurant is under construction and is hiring, said the chamber’s Kratzer. Subway management did not return calls Wednesday.

Pretty Boy Floyd’s, an “upscale steak house,” will open to the public July 5 in Ellsworth Village Mall, said Josie Roehrman, who co-owns the mall and the restaurant with her husband, Mark.

“It’s gonna be awesome,” she said.

The restaurant has hired 10 people, “and we need more,” Josie said.

To make a reservation, starting in about a month, call (785) 472-2183.

A Dollar General Store opened Feb. 14 and currently has three employees, manager Trasa Maguire said.

“We’d like to hire four to five more,” she said.

Ellsworth schools ended the school year with 575 students, not counting the St. Francis enrollment, Superintendent Eric Reid said.

In a Tuesday special election, voters will decide whether to absorb a property tax increase to build new classrooms, a new gymnasium, and do some remodeling, he said.

The $11.3 million project will add $20.12 a month to the taxes on a $100,000 home, if certain state aid is eliminated. If it survives budget cuts, the burden on the same home would be $14.14, said Jan Andrews, Ellsworth County clerk.

The district did not seek the upgrades in anticipation of population growth, Reid said, but the expansion projects shouldn’t hurt enrollment. The district has also added three teaching positions.

“I think we want to be prepared in case we go up and still serve our kids well,” he said. “We want to be prepared either way.”

More students will make the district budget rise, Reid said, but the new businesses and construction will raise the district’s valuation and spread out the tax burden.

The challenge, he said, is places for new folks to live.

“We’ve got to work on our housing needs,” Reid said. “Trying to keep some of those families here instead of commuting would be favorable for us.”

– Reporter Tim Unruh can be reached at 822-1419 or by email at



Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth Child Care — Peg Britton @ 1:33 pm

ELLSWORTH CHILD CARE CENTER will host an open house on Friday June 1st.

4:00 ribbon cutting and donor appreciation

5:00 children and parent play day.  This is time for children and parents interested in attending the center to become acquainted and explore the facility.



Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth, Ellsworth Child Care — Peg Britton @ 11:44 am

These pictures were taken Oct 22, 2011 and indicate the construction of new or the relocation of existing businesses in Ellsworth.  In my years living here, since Brit and I moved here 1952 when Dane was an infant,  the recent economic growth on the two highways that surround Ellsworth has not been equaled.  If you are in the Ellsworth area, drive to the north east part of town on highway 40 and 156 to take a look.


Progress on the construction of the new, elegant First Bank Kansas  is proceeding rapidly.   It is located south of the Ellsworth County Medical Center on “old highway 40″ at the north edge of Ellsworth.  The former building occupied by this bank in downtown Ellsworth has been purchased by Rick Connally who will serve his Farm Bureau customers from it.  This leaves Rick’s present office on Douglas Avenue, and the house next to it, for sale.


Between the Ellsworth County Medical Center and First Bank Kansas, an area is being cleared with utilities leading to it that is the proposed site of a mini-mall owned by First Bank Kansas.  I understand there may be several housing sites available as well.


The southeast quadrant of the intersection of highways 40 and 156 is the location of Ellsworth’s new Dollar General.  The other three corners of the intersection are occupied by Casey’s, ALCO/CSB & T drive in and a closed roadside rest area.  Dollar General is vacating the former Novak Grocery Store building in downtown Ellsworth they have outgrown.  According to Roger Novak, owner of the building, the former grocery store building is for sale, as is the former dry cleaning building next to it.


This huge complex, by Ellsworth standards, is the future home of Carrico Implement.  They sell John Deere tractors, combines, hay equipment, sprayers, consumer products and commercial products.  Carrico Implement has three other locations in Kansas.


Fondly referred to as “Chicken Charlie’s”,  this building since those chicken days has seen several owners.  This is the new location for a Subway sandwich franchise.   Hoffman auto sales is directly north of this location, with Dollar General’s new location just north of Hoffman’s.


Located west of  the Pizza Hut and Finke’s Retail Liquor Store, the new Ellsworth day care center is being constructed.


Citizens State Bank and Trust soon will begin construction on a drive-in facility at this location near ALCO at the intersection of 156 and 40.  Across 156 in the back ground is a closed road side park and rest area and there is some speculation that there might be development there at some time in the future.


Taken from my driveway, the new Assembly of God Church will be located between the clump of trees and the hillside behind it.  This is the intersection of highways 40 and 14 looking north east.


The continuation of this road by ECMC will lead to the new Assembly of God Church complex.

Pictured here is the intersection of 40 and 156 looking toward the site of the future Dollar General and taken from the ALCO parking lot.

Downtown Ellsworth has recently undergone a revitalization project and is very attractive and inviting now.


Apropos nothing that has already been mentioned, I also took a picture of this bald cypress tree that Brit and I planted sometime in the neighborhood of 57 years ago. I love this magnificent tree.  I remember well because I was nailing sheathing on the roof of this house when I was pregnant with Ally.  It’s a gorgeous tree and one Mabel and Bob Herzog, who lived across the street, loved to see change into its fall bronze colors.  Although we visited back and forth frequently,  Mabel would make a special trip each fall to our house with cookies, pear jelly or something good from her kitchen to tell me how much they loved that tree.  We also planted all the trees you see in the backyard which is forest-like to behold.  I have a thing about trees.

My friend, Meredith, just reported that she spent considerable time yesterday walking around Brookville visiting with the local gentry.  Of particular interest was “Bill” who is refurbishing the old Brookville Mercantile into a bar and grill, yet to be named.  They have only commenced their project and hope to have it ready sometime mid-winter or early spring.  They aren’t to be rushed.  Bill’s son is helping and it is he who will be operating the bar and grill.  It’s going to be a nice place to stop to eat or have a cold beer.  I say that, because in the conversation with Meredith, he said he would leave a key with one of the older men who along with his friends like to gather for coffee in the morning.  Since there isn’t a gathering place now in Brookville, he will let them use the bar and grill when it isn’t open.  That sounds like the kind of place I’d like to frequent.

Thanks for tuning in…




Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth Child Care — Peg Britton @ 12:00 pm

The Smoky Hill Child Care Foundation announced that with a significant contribution from the Horst-Rider Foundation the Ellsworth Child Care and Learning Center will be breaking ground later this summer.  The new state of the art facility will be built on Kunkle Drive, land donated by the USD 327 School District.

“We are very happy that the Horst-Reiter Foundation was so generous and will make this project come to fruition.  We appreciate the community support we have had and excited to begin the process of providing a service that is greatly needed in Ellsworth County,” said Mark Parsons, President of the Smoky Hill Child Care Foundation.

The money was donated by the Horst-Reiter Foundation through a grant request form the Ellsworth First Presbyterian Church.  One of the church’s missions is to give in the community a positive and nurturing environment for children.

A lack of adequate child care providers in Ellsworth County has been a hindrance to the business community in the area, according to Rob Fillion the Director of Smoky Hill Development Corporation.  “Families looking to locate in our county have been faced with the problem of finding child care.  Our businesses rely on an expanding labor pool and this child care center will give parents the ability to enter the work force,” said Fillion.

A survey conducted by K-State Extension Service and Smoky Hill Development Corporation showed a growing need for child care providers throughout the County.  The new child care and learning center will accommodate 59 children in the county, with the ability to expand on a needed basis.  The child care foundation will be working with local contractors, the Ellsworth Correctional Facility, and area retailers who have donated products and labor towards the project.

“This project has been a community effort.  We are grateful we now have the funds to build the center and will continue to rely on grant opportunities to provide parents and children the best affordable child care they deserve,” said Parsons.



Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth, Ellsworth Child Care — Peg Britton @ 11:37 am

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Today is National Coming Out Day….Oct. 11 every year…

Comment by Brent:
I’m not sure I can get anymore “out” than I am, but I would like to thank you for posting on this topic and I’d also like to comment on the importance of having a National Coming Out Day.  Some gay teens, and gay adults for that matter, will come out today to family and friends, and that’s great.  Many more won’t come out today, but knowing that this day exists is even more important for them.  They may not be ready or able to come out, but knowing that there are others out there who are the same, who are facing the same struggle is very important.  Knowing that there is a future time and place where they will be able to come out and be themselves is what will get them through those teenage years in a less-than-accepting home or community environment.

Wednesday Oct. 13:  Flu shots 1-5 at the County Health Department.

Wednesday Oct. 13:  Early voting at the Court House

Thursday Oct. 14: Meeting of young professionals 6:00, social and game watching. Golf course.

Friday Oct. 15: Flu shots 8:30-noon and 1:00 to 5:00 County Health Department.

Friday Oct. 15:  Kirkham Michael Open House 9:00 to 1:00

Saturday Oct. 16:  Candidate Forum,  6:30 meeting room at the golf course.

Monday Oct. 18:  The Four Freshmen appear in concert in Beloit.

Wednesday Oct. 20:  Housing meeting at noon at the golf course meeting room. Reservations.

Thursday Oct 21:  Dinner for diabetics 6-8 at the hospital ad building. Speaker is cardiologist Mark Mikinski. Reservations.

Saturday Oct. 23:  Ellsworth County Historical Society annual soup supper, Ft. Harker CO’s quarters. 4-7pm

Sunday Oct. 24:  Bill Self and Frank Martin are here for a childcare fundraiser. Reservations/tickets.

Ansel Adams prints on display at the Ellsworth Area Art Gallery

RAP gallery displays



Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth, Ellsworth Child Care — Peg Britton @ 2:25 pm

Two ticket levels for the Ellsworth Child Care and Learning Center fundraiser featuring Bill Self and Frank Martin are on sale and going fast.

K.U. Coach Bill Self and K-State Coach Frank Martin will be participating in a VIP reception, banquet and live auction on Sunday, October 24th in Ellsworth to benefit the Ellsworth Child Care Center.

From 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. a VIP reception will be held at the Ellsworth golf course meeting room providing Platinum and Gold Level ticket donation holders an opportunity to meet and visit with the two coaches.  There will be an open bar and appetizers.

Two levels of tickets are still for sale:  the Gold Level Ticket Donation for $500.00 per person and the Silver Level $200.00 ticket per person donation.

The Gold level ticket holders will sit at a table in close proximity to the coaches and participate in the VIP reception at the golf course meeting room. There will be 88 tickets available at this level.

The Silver Level Ticket Donations of $200.00 per person will attend the banquet, live and silent auction. There are approximately 200 tickets at this level.

Prior to the live auction, the coaches will comment on the 2010-2011 basketball season, as well as the importance of community involvement in providing a safe, secure learning environment for our children.

The Smoky Hill Child Care Foundation is a 501(c)(3)  public charity.  All donations and the majority of the banquet ticket donation will be tax deductible.

The $1,000.00 tickets are almost sold out.  The concentration now is on selling the $500 and $200 tickets.  Proceeds go to the  Ellsworth Child Care and Learning Center.

Dress for the occasion is “business casual”.

A child care facility is necessary for our continued growth as a community and will help attract young people to the area.  Please support the efforts of many toward this goal.

For further information and tickets purchases, please contact Rob Fillion at 785-472-4136.


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