McKees attend Fly-In

Livestock Marketing Association Kansas delegates (from left) Frank Seidel, Miranda Seidel, Dan Harris, Dave Kay, Beverly McKee and Frank McKee (Parsons Livestock Market) pose for a photo with Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kansas, during the 10th annual LMA D.C. Fly In.

Taco Mayo, 3210 Main, will be closed for a month for a renovation project.

Manager Eric Strait said the restaurant’s last day of business before the project begins will be on Oct. 31. The projected reopening date is Dec. 1.

Strait said the business will get a new concrete parking lot, fix water drainage in the back of the building, add a rock facade to the exterior, improve outdoor lighting and possibly change the drive-through lane so an additional vehicle can wait in line. Inside, Taco Mayo will rearrange some furniture and add a new front counter, pop machines, cash registers and new flooring in the back.

Strait said Taco Mayo also will make changes to accommodate cooking chicken, steak, tortillas and chips on site. A tortilla press and a new flat grill will be added. The menu will slightly change, including the addition of black beans and cilantro lime rice.


Triple B remains open

Triple B will remain in business at 1507 Flynn Drive until a new Main Street location is ready.

Timber Creek Meats is buying the building in Flynn Industrial Park so that it can again process livestock and deer, but Charles Black, owner of Triple B, said his store still will be open there for the next couple of weeks.

Black said Triple B is remodeling the store space at 2530 Main that most recently housed Tiki Vapes. He said Triple B should be able to relocate there in about a week or two.

Besides better visibility, the new store will offer much more space, allowing Triple B to expand its merchandise offerings. The store sells guns, ammunition, archery supplies, camping gear and Army surplus items.

The Blacks bought the building from Timber Creek Meats owner Cory Steves and moved their Triple B store from rural Mound Valley in October 2013.


Bryant has new      location

Bryant IT Services has moved to a downtown location.

Gregory Bryant Jr., president and CEO of Bryant IT Services, said on Monday he and director of operations Shawna Yockey are still remodeling the new office at 1906 Main, Suite 107, but it is open for business. The space formerly was occupied by Wright Signs and Graphics, which moved recently to 604 Main.

Bryant and Yockey started Bryant IT Services in the city of Parsons business incubator center in Industrial Park No. 1 in February.

The new location offers much better visibility and accessibility for customers, and Bryant said it’s great to be in the heart of the city in the downtown district.

Bryant and Yockey said it helped their business to be able to start in the city’s incubator center, but it was time to find a new place.

“We’re extremely grateful to the city to be provided that opportunity to be in the incubator center,” Yockey said. “It definitely did what it was supposed to do and we’re grateful.”

The business has hired a part-time receptionist through the Parsons High School JAG (Jobs for America’s Graduates) program. Bryant said he is looking for another computer technician, and Yockey is training to become a certified Google trainer to teach people how to use all of the Google apps. The company also has a website developer. Bryant said another receptionist may be added to the staff later.

The Bryant IT office is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The business will have an open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, with a Parsons Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon.


Lever receives     photo award

Mandi Lever, owner of Mandi Lever Photography, 2522 Main, was named the Child Photographer of the Year at a Professional Photographers of the Four States conference.

Lever entered six photos in the contest, and three received merits. Her combined point total earned her the Child Photographer of the Year award.  


Great Plains       website updated

A new website recently rolled out by Great Plains Development Authority supplies information about the park and the area, whether the viewer is a prospective company checking out location opportunities or local businesses and residents looking for general information.

Daniel Mann, CEO of Great Plains, said in a prepared statement that the makeover is something he’s been wanting to do since he took over the job more than two years ago.

“Industry information overwhelmingly shows that site selectors and prospective companies make 90 percent of their location decisions based off of information they find on the Internet. Companies are constantly checking out potential locations and data on the region and we now have what they are looking for.

“Companies and site consultants are in the business of eliminating communities before the community knows it was being looked at. By having a first-class website we dramatically increase our chances of being considered,” Mann said.

Mann encourages residents to take a look at the site ( and thinks they will find it full of interesting information. Many of the buildings that can accommodate uses from light to heavy manufacturing as well as warehousing are listed on the site along with photographs and specifications. Utilizing the primary economic development property listing system known as LOIS, Great Plains is now connected to the State of Kansas’ Department of Commerce listings. Those local sites can readily be found, along with other properties throughout the country.

“I’m also really excited about having live footage of our rail and a portion of the 900 Area on the Web,” Mann said. “Those pictures really are worth a thousand words.”

Aerial video clips can be seen of the rail yard and several miles of track, as well as buildings that are suitable for manufacturing energetics — a term used to describe explosives of various intensities.

Local videographer Jim Captain shot the footage for Great Plains using a quad-camera, also frequently referred to as a drone.

“We also have a great collection of data on the site about the population, labor market and key information that employers look for,” Mann said. “Local companies and residents should find it interesting to know more about the age groups of people in the area, trends and just a lot of really great facts.”

The website makeover was paid for by the Office of Economic Adjustment through the grant process that has funded the bulk of administrative office expenses of the Great Plains Development Authority since 2006. The OEA is a division of the Department of Defense, and its funding is authorized by Congress to help communities rebuild when negatively impacted by military closures and downsizing.

Great Plains Industrial Park is on the site of the former Kansas Army Ammunition Plant, which was a 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act shutdown.


Livestock marketers attend fly-in

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mark and Beverly McKee of the Parsons Livestock Market were among members of the Livestock Marketing Association who participated in the 10th annual LMA D.C. fly in.

Livestock Marketing Association members and staff traveled to Washington, D.C., for the 10th annual LMA D.C. fly in. Approximately 65 people met with leaders in D.C. on issues that matter to the livestock marketing industry. Discussion centered on the long-term need to update Packers and Stockyards Act requirements and LMA’s current efforts to develop an collaborative, industry-based solution and pursue changes.

Dan Harris, LMA president and owner of Holton Livestock Exchange, the McKees and Frank and Miranda Seidel and Dave Kay, LaCrosse Livestock Market, attended the D.C. fly in as delegates from Kansas. 

In addition to meetings on Capitol Hill, attendees also visited with Larry Mitchell, administrator of the USDA Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration; Susan Keith, USDA GIPSA deputy administrator; Brett Offutt, USDA GIPSA director of policy and litigation; and Neil Hammerschmidt, USDA animal disease traceability program manager.

During the fly-in, the LMA hosted two legislative staff briefings to educate attendees on the livestock marketing industry. Harris, David Macedo, LMA Government and Industry Affairs Committee chair and owner/president of Tulare Sales Yard Inc., and Jim Akers, LMA Government and Industry Affairs Committee member and chief operating officer of Blue Grass Livestock Marketing Group, spoke to attendees about their businesses, how their businesses have changed over the years and how markets are regulated. The briefings featured Brandon Neely, 2015 world livestock auctioneer champion, auctioning pies to legislative staff as a simulation of the process of order buyers purchasing livestock in an auction market.

“Livestock market owners operate very different businesses than the dozen terminal stockyards that existed in major cities when the Packers and Stockyard Act was written in 1921. Changes to the industry structure, more access to information, modern banking and technology such as online marketing of livestock are not contemplated by the current law and regulations,” Chelsea Good, LMA vice president of government and industry affairs, said in a prepared statement. “The fly-in was an important step toward educating decision makers in D.C. about the marketing industry, changes over the years and the need to modernize requirements.”


Wertz recognized by KDOT

The Kansas Department of Transportation recently expressed its appreciation for employees celebrating state years-of-service anniversaries in November. KDOT acknowledged them for the long-term dedication they have provided to the state of Kansas.

Those celebrating 10 years of service include Patricia Wertz, right-of-way property appraiser I, Oswego.


Johnston named CEO

TOPEKA — Economic Lifelines, the state’s leading transportation coalition, announced on Tuesday Michael Johnston has been selected as its new CEO. 

A former state senator from Parsons, Johnston served 14 years in the Kansas Senate, including service as a legislative leader. He later served as a cabinet secretary, leading the Kansas Department of Transportation. He also served as president and CEO of the Kansas Turnpike Authority from 1995 to 2013.

“I am excited about being chosen to lead the effort and equally pleased Capitol Strategies will continue to work with our lobbying effort and Strategic Communications of Kansas will continue to manage our communication needs,” Johnston said in a prepared statement. “For decades, Economic Lifelines has led efforts to support the implementation and funding of our state’s comprehensive transportation programs. Now more than ever, it is vital that we protect the commitments made to Kansas communities and help them grow through the economic impact of T-WORKS and all transportation programs.”

T-WORKS, the state’s 10 year, $8 billion transportation plan, has proven to be a vital program for all areas of the state, creating needed jobs, spurring economic development and ensuring safety on Kansas roads.

Since its passage, over $2.1 billion has been diverted from transportation to fund other areas of the budget. The transfers have resulted in nearly $300 million in postponed maintenance projects. 

“As the state continues to face budget challenges, Michael’s expertise and stature will help us as we fight to protect T-WORKS and transportation dollars,” Johnnie Koger, Economic Lifelines co-chair, said in the statement. “His background in both the legislative and executive branches of government gives him an important perspective in preserving the important investment in our state’s transportation infrastructure.”


Woldum honored by Con-way

Parsons native Martin Woldum recently earned a companywide honor from Con-way Truckload. Con-way chose Woldum, a professional truck driver, as regional driver of the month for October 2015. He was chosen out of 215 drivers across the country.

Woldum has been driving professionally for 21 years. When asked what his favorite part about being a truck driver is, Woldum states, “I like seeing the country.”

Woldum was recognized for his achievements in a meeting at Con-way Truckload headquarters in Joplin earlier this month.

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