Archive for Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A look back at 2008

Crews install light poles Dec. 23 at the corner of Seventh and Main streets. The lights were one of the final elements in the downtown beautification project not yet completed. Construction in the area started July 7 and is not yet finished.

Crews install light poles Dec. 23 at the corner of Seventh and Main streets. The lights were one of the final elements in the downtown beautification project not yet completed. Construction in the area started July 7 and is not yet finished.

December 31, 2008

No. 1

The color orange had some Eudorans seeing red during the summer and fall as a result various construction projects.

Work on the downtown beautification project started on July 7 — and still continues — on Main Street. That same week, KDOT notified the city the Church Street bridge over K-10 would receive work at the end of the month that lasted until the end of September. Just one week later, Douglas County Public Works told the city Church would receive a mill and overlay once bridgework was finished.

Work on the bridge and Church Street went as planned and finished by mid-October. Such has not been the case for the downtown beautification project, which began three weeks late because of a rainy spring.

KDOt officials chose Eudora as one of 18 cities eligible for a transportation enhancement grant. The grant will cover 80 percent of the streetscape improvements. Engineers estimated the project would cost about $1.5 million and the city had budgeted about $902,000 for its part.

No. 2

The role of Superintendent of School for USD 491 transitioned on Tuesday from Marty Kobza to Don Grosdidier.

For Kobza, it is both an ending and a new beginning, as he will be headed to a similar position in Hot Springs County, Wyo. It also is a bit surreal to be leaving the district he has been a part of for the last 14 years

“It’s different,” Kobza said. “You’re starting all over and you’re starting again, which is exciting and challenging. But at the same time, there are things here that are very familiar. So, I’m a little nervous.”

Kobza, who is a father of five, said he and his wife had been considering a move for about two years, but began seriously looking into opportunities about 10 months ago.

“This was just the right thing for our family at this time in so many ways,” Kobza said. “We are just so appreciative for the opportunities that the people of Eudora gave us. They gave me a chance to do the things I did and trusted me enough to make me superintendent.”

Kobza’s time as superintendent coincided with a time of rapid growth in Eudora. To deal with increased enrollment, Kobza oversaw the passage to two district bond issues.

No.3

New Eudora USD 491 Superintendent Don Grosdidier had a great second day on the job when the district received a four-year, $3 million grant July 2 from the U.S. Departments of Education, Justice and Health and Human Services.

The grant was part of $74 million in grants awarded to 27 different states as part of the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative.

USD 491 was the only school district in the state of Kansas to receive the grant.

The district applied for the grant in March after discussing it at a meeting in late February attended by about 23 representatives from various organizations, including members of the Bert Nash Center, the Eudora City Council, the Eudora Chamber of Commerce, Douglas County Youth Services, the Eudora School district and the Eudora Police

The grant, which will pay out $745,816 over four years, will address five areas that can detract from quality of life:

• safety and violence factors

• drugs and alcohol factors

• behavioral, social and emotional factors

• mental health factors

• early childhood and parenting factors

No. 4

Eudora High School received national recognition last week when the U.S. News and World Report chose it as one of the top high schools in the country.

A total of 21,000 schools were ranked gold, silver or bronze. EHS received a bronze and was one of 34 schools in the state to make the list. It was the only school in Douglas County to be ranked.

“I thought it was pretty impressive that we got a bronze,” EHS senior Mariah Webb said. “It makes me appreciate my school a little bit more. I was very surprised that this little school got such a high ranking.”

The award was the silver lining to the cloudy forecast the district had received during the week as a result of the economy’s effect on the district’s bond projects.

No. 5

Just one day before the Eudora USD 491 Board of Education passed a resolution honoring him for his work to improve their schools, Leo ‘Doc” Lauber, 82, died of cancer at Medicalodges, Eudora.

Lauber, who played an integral part in the development and improvement of the community, moved to Eudora in 1959 with his wife, Jean, who also was known as Dusty.

The father of six served on the Eudora City Council, Eudora Planning Commission, Eudora Board of Education, the ECO2 Commission of Douglas County and the Lawrence-Douglas Planning Commission. He was the former president of Lions Club, was a member of MENSA and fought in World War II.

Lauber was a chiropractor by trade, but also was a successful entrepreneur. He founded the Orthopedic Casting Laboratory, which was Eudora’s largest private employer during the late 1970s, and M-PACT Worldwide, which produced medical supplies.

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