Solomon Valley Economic Development Holds January Meeting


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Solomon Valley Economic Development held their monthly meeting at the Porter House in Beloit on Thursday last week. The Porter House became the new home of the Beloit Area Chamber of Commerce in December. Proprietor Kevin Mickey gave an overview of the Porter House and unveiled future plans for the property. He said there are currently 20 of 30 apartment units occupied.

He said several groups have utilized the facility for special events which are encouraged by the ownership group out of Omaha, Nebraska. Mickey said other future plans include creating a club room in one of the basement rooms complete with furniture, television and a pool table.

Community Development Director Heather Hartman said the new website,, has averaged about 200 new visits per week. People are searching the economic development, tourism and the government pages most regularly. She also said the Neighborhood Rehabilitation Program has been officially renewed by the county and all the taxing entities in the county including USD 272, USD 273 and the cities of Beloit, Glen Elder, Cawker City Tipton.

Cawker City is working toward building a splash pad water attraction in town and considering a city sales tax. Glen Elder is working on their public bathroom project, and trying to find a replacement for the Central National Bank branch which is expected to close. The timing of the closure has yet to be released, but nor have hours or days of service been reduced as indicated when the pending closure was announced. Central National Bank representatives had said they would have a press release with details on the closure available by January 14, but it has yet to be distributed.

She reminded the group that the Tree City USA event in March 22 and 23 will bring 100-150 people into the city. They will be doing tours of area attractions such as the North Campus and NCK Tech. Kent Miller was asked by Bob Severance to take over his capacity on the county tourism board. The board meets the first Thursday of each month at 11 a.m. at the Mitchell County Courthose. Severance has served on the board since its inception in 2006.

Lucille Heller is working for the tourism committee and is efforting to create a website for the organization. Money which is granted by the tourism committee is provided by the two percent transient guest tax in place in the county which is supposed to apply to any hotel or similar entity which charges a daily rate and sleeps more than six guests regardless of the number of rooms.

Curt Frasier discussed the Community Foundation and reminded the group that the next round of Dane G. Hansen grants totaling over $55,000 are accepting applications which are due by February 1. He also said the fund matching drive in November raised about $140,000 to the community impact fund.

Leadership Mitchell County has determined this year’s class project which will be an upgrade to the public address system at Trojan Field in Beloit.

The MCPC had approached the community foundation about helping raise $40,000 in matching funds to qualify for state funding. At the last meeting SVED granted $1,000 to MCPC to help reach that goal.

Brandi Zimmer of NCK Tech said the BPA National Skills Competition will be doing a breakfast from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on two Saturdays in February. More information will soon be released.

County Commissioner Tom Claussen mentioned the retirement of former Mitchell County Sheriff Doug Daugherty and the installation of newly elected Sheriff Tony Perez. He is also working with the other commissioners to obtain grant funding to upgrade the structure and aesthetics of the exterior of the courthouse with tuck pointing work and sandblasting the stone.

Beloit City Administrator Jason Rabe said the East Main project is approaching and will be completed despite delays although completion by Memorial Day is very unlikely at this point. Rabe said the project may very well run into harvest time. He also discussed the completion of the water pilot testing at Waconda Lake to consider as a future water source for the city of Beloit. He said the city is also in the initial stages of working on a new capital improvement plan. He also mentioned the H.E.A.L. Committee which was officially formed at Tuesday’s city council meeting. For more details about the committee you can search H.E.A.L. at

The Safe Routes to School program has received a grant of about $200,000 to put toward the project where new sidewalks will be built along 12th Street and 4th Street. The city will be required to provide a 20 percent match. There are 39 easements needed to be acquired before bid letting can begin on the project. The city currently has about half of those easements obtained.

Chamber Director Gina Broeckelman said the Annual Chamber Banquet will be a luau and is set for February 18. Entertainment is a comedian/magician Gayle Becwar. Cost for the banquet is $30 prior to February 15 and $40 after that. For $100, individuals and businesses can sponsor and decorate a table. The sponsorship also comes with two tickets to the event.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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