Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sharing newsy downtown news, Burlington style.

Gene Merry, current mayor of Burlington, writes a regular column in the Coffey County Republican. Known as the Downtown Guy, Gene does a fabulous job of sharing newsy tidbits of information that people want to know. The column is all about what is happening downtown or in the community and who is doing it. It's all about progress and is of a positive nature.

I share this with you as a fabulous model of how to share the "goings on" in your hometown. It's just newsy enough that people will gobble it up. People also like to see their name in print or see who is involved in the action.

It isn't easy to collect all this information. It takes a person genuinely interested in the town and someone that likes to talk to people and is trusted.

Hats off to you, Gene. You provide a great service to the community by doing this. If I were a potential resident or business owner, I'd be encouraged by your articles to move to Burlington. You really help people see what is going on behind the scenes.

Here's the latest column:

Resellers Edge at 106 N. 3rd have rented additional space to expand their operations in the old Crow Moddie Ford building at 614 S. 4th. The business is owned by Mike & Tammy Baumann. They will be looking for more employees and you can fill out an application at 106 N. 3rd. The Baumann’s make koozies, shirts and numerous advertising items to sell all over the country.

Bahr Storage is putting the final touches on a new mini storage building in Industrial Park #1. The new building is accepting tenants now. The second building is also taking shape.

City of Burlington Park Department is installing additional playground equipment at Kelley Park. Kevin Boyce, Park Superintendent will have the new area open by the 4th of July.

The city dam has taken on a new look with the clearing of numerous trees and brush along the campsite area. The following were involved in the cleanup; Kevin Boyce, Gene Merry, Richard Freeman, Stephen Freeman, Martin Bennett, Jim Hutchinson, Travis Straten, Mike Griffith, Aaron Bowman, Ron Clark, Kent Hoyt, Larry Gales, Dan Allen, Mark Griffith, Billy DeWitt, Jada DeWitt, Zary DeWitt, Blaze Riley, Kendra DeWitt, Kayla DeWitt, Corey Webber, Jossie Sharon, Dan Turner, Austin Freeman, Jurad Hobbs, Rhenda Jones, Doug Jones, Mike Turner, Darren Freeman and Jordan Freeman. Many thanks to Stephen and Tiffany Freeman for providing a skid loader and equipment, Mike & Tammy Baumann for providing doughnuts, Coffey County Jail, providing three trustees, Ron Hoover at Hoover’s Thriftway providing water and City Councilman Kent Hoyt for providing pizza and tools. Kevin Boyce managed the job and lined up city equipment including a large loader to move the tree branches to the city burn pile.

City Hall at 301 and the annex at 303 Neosho are taking on a new look. City Hall is receiving new ceiling tile, lights, windows and trim. The annex next door is receiving a face lift compliments of labor by Burlington Police officers, Riley Morgan, Randy Stuart, Jessica Stice, Chief Doug Jones and his wife Rhenda Jones, Coffey County Sheriff officers, Ken Roney, Tom Johnson, Michael Roney, Jeremy Lind, William Warkentine and Carl Lee from Coffey County Emergency Management. The Burlington Electric Department, Alan Schneider, Superintendent, Jim Cole, J.J. Jasper and Andy Lawrence worked on the electrical issues. Materials were donated by Coffey County Attorney, Doug Witteman, Sheriff Randy Rogers, Burlington City Hall, Police Department and Burlington Building Materials. The remodeled annex will be home to the The Child Advocacy Center directed by Kathleen A. Inwood, Emporia. The front area will be an over-flow area for meetings, a break room and possibly planning and zoning.

City Hall will be receiving a new mural in the front at 301 Neosho showing off the city’s logo and a stained glass wall design at 303 Neosho in the meeting room, both designed by Jim Stukey.

Red Door Apartments has a new treated wood deck and back steps at 316-318 Neosho. James and Valorie Higgins plan to have two of the four apartments ready in July, one in the fall and one in December 2011. Observing the project from a distance, this has been a real family project.

Burlington United Methodist trustees are working to remodel the 2nd floor at Garst Hall. New carpet, and paint upstairs and sound proofing materials in basement will be happening soon.

Kent and Lori Hoyt are remodeling the stone and block on their building west of Burlington Tax. Bob Salazar of Superior Masonry is doing the tuck-point work. Maybe the metal front will come off in the future and expose the brick structure behind. Thanks Hoyt’s for improving downtown.

Burlington First Baptist Church has a new roof on their addition, even with months of wind and weather interruptions. Work inside is in full swing, can’t wait for the open house.

Mike and Jo Skillman have purchased Morris Service and two lots from Central National Bank for additional space. The Skillman’s will be adding a mower and power equipment showroom across the front with numerous mower display areas, parts department and areas for rental tools at 1010 N. 4th. More details later on manager, employees and brands.

Danny Hawkins, acting Superintendent of Water & Sewer Department, has been busy along with his staff cleaning up the area along the Neosho River and the new water plant. Their parts building has been remodeled, organized, painted and will be re-roofed along with the old brick water plant soon. The galvanized metal shed sitting on the rivers edge has been razed. The large storage building for equipment will soon be painted. City crews from Street and Electric have also shared labor to make improvements. Trees have been trimmed and later grass areas will be reseeded and trees planted.

Burlington has hosted Bike Across Kansas, Relay for Life, Cornet Chop Suey, car show for scholarships, wedding after wedding, golf tournaments at Rock Creek and night golf, fishing at Wolf Creek and limb lines in the Neosho River, snagging Paddlefish at City Dam, softball, baseball, barbeques and garages sales. So many activities, so little time.

Please welcome back to life the outage workers at Wolf Creek Generating Station after a long and tough outage.

If you have news, give us a call at (620) 364-3051 or email us at


Wasn't that great? Every time I read the column I'm amazed at the amount of action in Burlington and that somehow Gene tracks down this information.

People like Gene help the world "Get Kansas!" or at least "Get Burlington!"

KE #2 Marci Penner