These news items were taken from the Sun’s issues 20, 30 and 40 years ago:


April 2, 1979

A merger plan was unanimously approved for Washington Avenue United Methodist Church and First United Methodist Church in Parsons. The charge conferences of both churches voted separately to accept the plan for the new church, which would be known as Wesley United Methodist Church. The Rev. Lamar Davis of Washington Avenue Church said it was gratifying to see the merger after unsuccessful attempts to merge the congregations in 1969 and 1975. The combined numbers of the new church would be about 960. The congregations would continue to meet in the existing facility, with a building decision to be made later. The Washington Avenue congregation had been using the First United’s facilities since May 7, following the destruction of its church by fire on March 4, 1978. Joint services had been held since October.


April 2, 1989

The season’s success for the Parsons High School forensics team had created a nice problem for the team and its coach, Mark Harris. Each school entering the state tournament was limited to 12 entries, and the PHS team already had 20 qualifying entries. First places had gone to Khalil Coltrain, prose; Suchita Kishore, domestic extemporaneous, informative and Lincoln-Douglas debate; Mike Monninger, extemporaneous, Lincoln-Douglas debate and international extemporaneous; Todd Morrison, extemporaneous; Ajit Pai, international extemporaneous and Lincoln-Douglas debate; Mike Reece, humorous interpretation; Jennifer Saunders, improvised duet acting; David Smith, improvised duet acting; Sharon Smith, duet acting; Genny Stein, oration; Angela Vietti, oration; Janette Watts, improvised duet acting and dramatic interpretation; and John Womeldorff, duet acting and improvised duet acting.

Paced by sophomores Tim Buller and Raja Jothi and junior Scott Marlow, the Parsons Vikings captured the title in their own season-opening high school tennis tournament for the second year in a row. Buller and Jothi swept to the title in No. 1 doubles. Marlow was a perfect 4-for-4 in No. 2 singles. Freshmen Chris Lubbers and Matt Rhodes went 3-1 in No. 2 doubles. Freshman Mike Hentzen went 1-3 in No. 1 singles but earned coach Gary Kennett’s praise because he had a tough draw.


April 2, 1999

Taylor Dwyer and Chris Gabbert of the Parsons Wrestling Club and Jacob Bierbrodt of the Altamont Wrestling Club captured titles in the Kids State Wrestling Championships at Topeka. Dwyer won four matches without a loss to claim the crown in the 8-and-under 43-pound division. Gabbert went 2-0 in the 12-and-under 215-pound bracket. Bierbrodt was a perfect 4-0 in the 8-and-under 64-pound division.

Eighteen people were laid off from A.O. Smith Engineered Storage Products in Parsons, making 43 total layoffs for the corporation within a year’s time. In August 1998, the A.O. Smith Corp. closed its Bakersfield, California, plant and transferred all the plant’s business to Parsons. At that time, all of Bakersfield’s 25 employees were laid off. Ed O’Connor, vice president of public affairs and human resources at corporate headquarters in Milwaukee, attributed the Parsons layoff to a combination of factors, including the U.S. economy, which wasn’t conducive to expansion and renovation of the large businesses that A.O. Smith served.

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