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Mac Moore/Staff Photo  

Liberty North swimmer Kate Huyser earns four medals in Class 2 at the Missouri State High School Activities Association Girls Swimming Championships on Saturday, Feb. 22, in Columbia. Huyser is pictured here at the Greater Kansas City Suburban Conference Red girls swimming finals at Lee’s Summit Aquatic Center.

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Judge takes no action on county's request in audit case

A Missouri judge took no action on a motion filed by Clay County in its case against State Auditor Nicole Galloway by the Monday, Feb. 10, deadline, effectively denying the County Commission’s claim. The county sought to amend an order of dismissal in the case that confirmed the auditor’s legal authority to conduct performance audits of counties.

The lawsuit was originally filed more than a year ago by the Clay County Commission, which claims Galloway overstepped her authority as state auditor in requesting certain information from the county.

“When the case was dismissed in October, the judgment was clear: the state auditor has the authority to perform a comprehensive audit of the operations and finances of Clay County government. It is unfortunate that some members of the Clay County Commission have attempted to prevent the audit that citizens demanded from moving forward. Nonetheless, we will continue our audit work and get the answers these taxpayers deserve,” states a release from Galloway’s office.

The audit was initiated by a citizen petition of about 9,000 county residents who are registered voters.

Presiding Commissioner Jerry Nolte, who supports the audit effort and has been against the county's legal auction in relation to the audit, said the county needs to stop the legal fight against the auditor and let her and her team do the job Clay County taxpayers petitioned her office to do more than a year ago. 

Discussion between the commission and county legal counsel about about the audit lawsuit development has taken place in closed session, said Nolte. A majority of the commission, made up of Nolte, Eastern Commissioner Luann Ridgeway and Western Commissioner Gene Owen decided to continue to move forward with continued legal action in the case. What type of legal action the county plans to take next has yet to be publicly released.

During a press event in the Missouri Capitol last month, Galloway told reporters audit work continues despite lags related to the county’s legal action. No timeline has been given for when results are expected.

Clay County administration defies second audit subpoena

CLAY COUNTY — County leaders are sticking to their guns when it comes to putting up roadblocks in the state audit of Clay County after an assistant county administrator refused to answer questions Thursday, Dec. 12, from auditors as required by a subpoena issued more than two weeks ago.

County administrator says no-show for auditors due to vacation

CLAY COUNTY — After being accused of refusing to appear to provide testimony demanded by the state auditor Monday, Nov. 25, Assistant County Administrator Nicole Brown and county staff provided media a copy of an affidavit Brown sent to the auditor’s office explaining why she was a no-show Monday.

Auditor hits Clay County with second subpoena in 2 weeks

CLAY COUNTY —On Friday, Nov. 22, State Auditor Nicole Galloway issued yet another subpoena to Clay County, demanding the county turn over documents associated with a citizen-mandated audit. This is in addition to a previous subpoena issued on Nov. 8, and is the third subpoena overall issued by the state auditor for records in relation to the county audit.

Kearney police looking for woman from surveillance footage

KEARNEY — Police officers in Kearney are looking for a person of interest seen in surveillance footage at a local store.

Police have not released a description of the woman, the crime she may have been involved in or from what store the footage was taken, but have posted her picture and a picture of what looks to be a gray Dodge truck on social media, seeking the public’s help in identifying the woman.

Based on the surveillance footage from what looks like a local hardware store, the woman has dark hair and was wearing a dark jacket and jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to call detective Brian Allen 903-4758.

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2 run for Smithville's First Ward aldermanic seat

SMITHVILLE — In the race for Smithville’s First Ward aldermanic seat, Dan Ulledahl and Arthur Smith will appear on the April ballot. The Courier-Tribune provided questions to each candidate, asking for biographical details and where they stand on city issues.

Candidates were allowed 50 words to answer each question. Answers exceeding the limit were edited for fairness to all candidates with an ellipses (...).

What will you make your primary goal for the city of Smithville, if elected?

Ulledahl: “My primary goal is to promote growth while maintaining traditional values and the safety of our town.”

Smith: “Accountability for the citizens of the city of Smithville.”

In what areas of economic development does Smithville need to improve and how, as alderman, will you work to improve them?

Ulledahl: “I strongly believe Smithville should capitalize more on lake traffic. Additional lake-oriented businesses and city festivals during high lake usage times could help our economy. Finally, having more industrial companies located in Smithville would enable their employees to shop and enjoy our city.”

Smith: “Smithville needs competition in business. Old companies control the town, and new businesses have been blocked and do not come into Smithville. With the growth of Smithville, we need to be able to keep up so citizens don’t feel it necessary to travel to Kansas City in order to shop.”

Are you participating in the city strategic planning process? Why or why not?

Ulledahl: “Yes I do. I think it is very important to see and hear other community member ideas. I have seen a much bigger picture of what needs to happen to make Smithville a better place to live and work.”

Smith: “No, because times of meetings were not easy to obtain.”

Do you believe the city is doing enough to forge community partnerships to set Smithville up for future success? If not, what would you do differently as an alderman?

Ulledahl: “Yes. I think the current set of aldermen and mayor have done a very good job of setting Smithville up for future success and would like to help continue progress.”

Smith: “Yes.”

Do you support passage of the park sales tax ballot issue? Why or why not?

Ulledahl: “Yes, although I am not a fan of raising taxes. I believe our parks are very well-used and need upgrading of equipment and amenities.”

Smith: “Yes, because I believe we need to do more to support the children of Smithville. They need a safe place to hang out and play. As a father and grandfather, I want a fun, safe place for kids to be outside playing and getting exercise.”

Do you support banning flavored vape/e-cigarette juice? Why or why not?

Ulledahl: “Yes. I believe strongly that vaping is a problem for youth in our community. Banning it would help stop them from being able to become addicted to smoking/vaping.”

Smith: “Yes. It is a matter of health for children and adults. There is enough evidence of the harm that is being caused, and laws surrounding vape/e-cigarettes should be strictly enforced. We need to have education available for families so everyone is knowledgeable of the harm that vape/e-cigarettes can cause ...”

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Northland couples share secrets to marriage longevity
An unbroken view of … wedded bliss

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we at the Courier-Tribune discussed marriage with three couples who have been married multiple decades. The following includes details on how they met and their secrets to a long and happy union.

How they met

Joyce and Fred Kinney of Kearney, married for 59 years, said their love story is one of love at first sight that began at Minnesota State University in Mankato, then a teachers college.

“We we’re playing a game where the girls sit up on top of the boy’s shoulders and you try to knock the other off. … We were 22 at the time. Anyway, he saw Joyce up on those shoulders and he thought I was cute,” said Joyce.

“Oh yeah, you were great,” Fred said to his wife. A year later the pair wed.

Kenneth and Lilas Scott have been in Liberty since 1966. However, the two met about 107 miles south in Nevada, Missouri. Like Liberty, the community had a bustling town square. Lilas worked at Kress, a five and dime on one side, and Ken worked on the other at Midwest Auto.

“I saw a cute little farm girl,” Ken said. “Farm life is tough and I knew she could handle anything that came along. You learn to do without things on the farm.”

Their first date was June 13, 1963. By Oct. 13, the couple married. Ken was 21 and Lilas, 19.

Gene and Sharon Irsik of Kearney married 59 years ago after meeting in college, when a long-legged Gene sat behind Sharon in math class and would stretch out his limbs, putting his feet on the sides her desk.

“He had nice, shiny shoes,” said Sharon. “He had well taken care of shoes. They weren’t new, but they were taken care of. I thought that was nice because he cared about himself.”

“I had no place to put them,” Gene said, laughing about his shoe placement, adding he was happy it worked out.

Secrets to long marriage

For Joyce and Fred, two lovebirds who still can’t get enough of one another after nearly six decades of marriage, said a key to their happy marriage is togetherness.

“We do everything together. Even when we go out to eat, we share the same meal,” said Joyce.

“It’s also about respect and love and appreciation,” said Fred. “There’s a lot of things you can name.”

For the Scotts, it’s similar.

“We have always been interested in the same things,” Lilas said, adding the pair works well together.

Ken said he enjoys helping her prepare meals. The two even grocery shop together.

If they go out, the favorite destination is Texas Roadhouse. They invite fellow exercisers and those who use the Liberty Silver Center for a birthday meal.“It’s gone by so fast,” Lilas said. “We make sure to kiss and hug each other, especially at bedtime.”

In addition to both spouses having good senses of humor, for the Irsiks, the secret is “lots of pleases and thank yous,” said Gene.

“You also need to tell your spouse how you feel about them, tell them you love them at least once a day, never go to bed angry and avoid all arguments, if possible. Some arguments are impossible to avoid, but most of them aren’t,” he said.

Never going to bed angry, Sharon said, is something the couple is pretty successful at.

“Sometimes it is really quiet at bedtime,” she said with a smile.

“Especially when we both take our hearing aids out,” joked Gene.

With kidding aside, Sharon said she feels her marriage’s longevity is based on several things, including remembering all the things, like family, there are to be thankful for.

“There is commitment to going on and keeping on,” she said. “... You need to be content with what you have; your family, your children and extended family.”

Being committed to someone for a lifetime, the couples said, takes hard work and dedication.

Getting through hard times, Joyce said, takes planning where possible.

“Practically, planning things helps so that you are always ahead. Planning helps for when the bad things come, like financially. Planning your future so when you get as old as we are, you don’t have to worry about where you are going to be,” said the wife of the Kinney duo.“We are always talking things over,” Lilas said. “We buy things together. No one sneaks off to buy something. Decisions are made together. It’s been a successful plan as money is one of the things couples fight about most. Don’t buy something just to buy it. Think about if it’s really needed.”

Ken said he remembers the advice from his agriculture teacher in high school.Sharon said as a spouse, you need to be empathetic and sympathetic.

“You need to try and see it from the other person’s point of view,” she said.

In the end, Joyce said the most important thing for any couple to have is love for each other.

I always think about this Bible verse that says there is faith, hope and love. You have all these things, and the greatest of things is what? Love.Have love for each other and all those other things work out together,” she said.