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Ellinwood Chamber banquet celebrates successes
ell kl chamber kimple award
At the Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce banquet, Chamber Administrator J. Basil Dannebhom, Becca Maxwell watch as John Hughes presents an award to Linda and Richard Kimple for the Kimples 70 years of business on Main Street in Ellinwood. - photo by KAREN LA PIERRE

ELLINWOOD — Over 200 people attended the successful Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce annual banquet on Friday, capping off a year of new programs, changes and initiatives at Lone Wolf Restuarant.
Attendees enjoyed an Italian dinner while listening to reports from chamber leadership.
The first ever Christkindlmarket was held in December on a warm, pleasant day full of new activities, tree lightings, and a living nativity. Fifty-two vendors sold their wares and created new memories for the community. Plans are being made for this year’s Christkindlmarket.
“We came together as a community,” said J. Basil Dannebhom, chamber of commerce administrator. “We worked hard and we celebrated a job well done. And we’re going to do it again. On Saturday, Dec. 6, we’re going to make Christkindlmarket even better.”
Dannebohm acknowledged that rural life in general is facing its fair share of struggles throughout the country, referencing statistics and observations. He felt, however, that Ellinwood is collaborating and working toward becoming an example to other rural communities.
“My dear friends, we are defying the odds and making Ellinwood a great place to live, work and play,” he said. “There is much more work to be done and we cannot do it without you. In just a few months, we will once again host the June Jaunt, one day later, I am pleased to report that Ellinwood will once again serve as an overnight venue to 800 people participating in Biking Across Kansas.”
“A little over a month later, we will celebrate the 41st annual After Harvest Festival bigger and better than even,” he said. “My partner in this project, Mitch Menges, our team and myself will bring back some old traditions and introduce some new ones including a BBQ Cook Off sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society. We aim to make you proud - but we cannot do it without you.”
In addition to the festivities arranged by the chamber, Dannebohm highlighted “behind the scenes” work including improving the chamber’s gift certificate program as well as advocating the needs of Ellinwood businesses to Kansas leadership.
“Recently, Governor Brownback invited myself, along with Lloyd Kurtz and Jacque Isern to attend the State of the State. In conversation with Governor Brownback, he mentioned that he would be calling upon Ellinwood to test drive one of his housing initiatives, which he highlighted in his state of the state address,” he said. “We met with the Department of Transportation, expressing your concerns about the safety of “the Y.” Secretary King is requesting a traffic study and plans to advise us of what action they will take to resolve the issue. We met with the department of commerce and discussed signage that would direct visitors to our downtown shopping district. We met with the Secretary of State, Senators and Representatives to discuss the needs of and to showcase our community.
Following Dannebohm’s address, John Hughes, President of the Chamber Board of Directors along with Becca Maxwell, Ex-Officio Member of the Board, joined Dannebohm on stage to present a series of awards and recognitions. Those receiving awards were the Historic Wolf Hotel, the City of Ellinwood Employees, The Ellinwood Rotary Club, former board members Kathy Hertel and Robin Doll, Richard and Linda Kimple and John Isern for the Jerry Menges Award for Outstanding Service. John was presented with the award by Geraldine Menges.
In addition, attendees voted on candidates to fill three vacant board positions. Elected were Mitch Menges, Mark Batchman and Curtis Wolf.