Celebration turns to beards, medallions

By RICHARD LUKEN
Register Reporter

Iola has several activities in store this fall as the city continues its sesquicentennial celebration.
Becky Nilges, a member of the Sesquicentennial Committee, visited Tuesday with Iola commissioners about upcoming events.
Saturday marks the start of a beard growing contest. Judges will see who can grow beards of all types over the next 21⁄2 months, such as long, silky beards, stubby ones and those befitting a biblical character.
The competition will have two brackets, “clean start” and “fuzzy start,” for those already sporting facial growth. Beards will be judged as best overall, most original, longest and worst effort.
The contest concludes Oct. 17 during Farm-City Days, when those unable to grow facial hair can take part in a “mud beard division.”
Another ongoing sesquicentennial activity will be a weekly Medallion Quest. From Aug. 10 through Oct. 3, special medallions will be hidden on city property once a week.
A clue describing the medallion’s location will be in each Monday’s Register and broadcast on KIKS/KIOL Radio Monday afternoons and Tuesday mornings. Those who find the medallions get to keep them.
Special events will take place on Labor Day, Sept. 7, and during the Christmas season.
Sesquicentennial presentations on the history of the Iola Public Library will be Sept. 28, on the history of Iola’s schools and USD 257 on Nov. 19, and a rescheduled slide show about the courthouse square at a date yet to be set.
The Iola Community Theatre will present “Memories, Dreams and Shadows — A Soldier’s Recollection” reviving history, music and songs of America’s war eras, starting with the Civil War. The show will feature several original songs by Iolan Jan Knewtson. Show dates are Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, 6, 7 and 8.

COMMISSIONERS will decide soon whether to spend $25,100 to help pay for planning and development of the city’s parks, downtown and trails.
The proposal for the “Vision Iola Master Plan” was brought to the Commission earlier this month. David Toland, executive director of Thrive Allen County, was on hand to elaborate further on what services would be provided. The Vision plan would deal with specific elements of the already-in-place city master plan, he explained.
Commissioner Craig Abbott wondered about the project’s cost, which includes another $49,900 from the Kansas Health Foundation. The Health Foundation grant is contingent on the city’s contribution.
The city has paid for other “master plan” services in the past and received minimal benefit, Abbott said, and Commissioner Bill Shirley wondered if the Vision plan would usurp the city’s master plan.
It would not, Toland said.
Rather, the Vision plan would rely on the city’s master plan for guidance for specific elements, for example on the city’s trail and parks development or to design landscape projects downtown.
“This helps us go from a general plan to something more tangible,” said Iola Code Enforcement Officer Jeff Bauer.
City Attorney Chuck Apt queried Toland about Landworks, the firm that would, in league with Thrive, develop the plan. While Landworks has several certified landscape architects, Apt wondered if any of the firm’s employees were trained in city planning.
They are, Toland replied.
Commissioners asked Toland to submit proof of Landworks’ city planning capabilities before they make a decision.