AWARD OF MERIT — Magnolia Scents by Design received the 2018 Business Appreciation Month Award of Merit from the Kansas Department of Commerce. The award was presented to the business during First Friday at the Civic Center. Pictured left to right are Independence City Manager Craig Whitehead, Kansas Department of Commerce Southeast Regional Project Manager Craig VanWey, Montgomery County Action Council Executive Director Trisha Purdon, Brian Hight, co-owner and operator of Magnolia Scents by Design, and State Representative Jim Kelly. Ellie Davis | Staff Photo
AWARD OF MERIT — Magnolia Scents by Design received the 2018 Business Appreciation Month Award of Merit from the Kansas Department of Commerce. The award was presented to the business during First Friday at the Civic Center. Pictured left to right are Independence City Manager Craig Whitehead, Kansas Department of Commerce Southeast Regional Project Manager Craig VanWey, Montgomery County Action Council Executive Director Trisha Purdon, Brian Hight, co-owner and operator of Magnolia Scents by Design, and State Representative Jim Kelly. Ellie Davis | Staff Photo
The adventures are getting exciting in Independence and the monthly First Friday event highlighted several of those adventures, plus the event offered attendees a chance to see a special award presentation to Magnolia Scents by Design. The large crowd was ready to hear about the latest and greatest of Independence news and happenings and Independence Chamber of Commerce President Lisa Wilson promised they would not be disappointed, beginning with the event sponsors, Edward Jones Financial Advisors, Gregg Webster, Gavin Webster and Jason Rutledge. The trio told of their services, introduced their teams and spoke of the upcoming Walk to End Alzheimer’s Sept. 22, encouraging everyone to get involved in the fight to end Alzheimer’s. Speakers for the day included Fab Lab Director Jim Correll, Textron Aviation General Manager Paula Schabel, USD 446 Superintendent Rusty Arnold and Independence High School Agriculture instructor MaKayla LaRue. Correll started the morning by talking about all the happenings at Fab Lab ICC. He spoke of new equipment purchases and invited the community to join the Fab Lab at the grand opening of the new Fab Lab ICC expansion which will be Oct. 1 from noon to 7 p.m. “We will cut the ribbon at 12:15 p.m.,” explained Correll. “With that expansion, our Fab Lab will be nearly 16,000 square feet and that is a pretty good size for a Fab Lab especially in a market our size. We are pretty sure it’s not only the biggest maker space in a community the size of Independence or even a county the size of Montgomery, but we think in markets of 50,000 or less, it’s probably as big as there is. We have never heard of one with that much space.” Correll continued explaining Fab Lab happenings and then Paula Schabel began her presentation. Schabel, who was born and raised in Independence, is the new general manager for the Independence location of Textron Aviation. She told a little of her personal history followed by the explanation of how she landed a job at Textron Aviation. “With my experiences I was able to get a job at Textron Aviation at the actual credit union when it first opened in 1996,” she stated. Scha- bel said she worked there about a year and moved to the Finance Department. While she worked, she received her associate’s degree from Independence Community College followed by her bachelor’s degree from Pittsburg State University. Schabel then began her career in the finance de- partment for 19 years working her way up the career ladder. “In 2016, I was promoted as Accounting Manager,” she explained. She was responsible for two other facilities beside the Independence facility. She then took the operations position under Kerri Peterson until Peterson took a position in the Wichita facility which moved Schabel to the general manager position. Schabel mentioned Textron Aviation employs more than 500 people who produce six of the company’s 22 aircraft models. She stated they are seeking interns and if interested to visit their website textronjobs. com. USD 446 Superintendent Rusty Arnold was next to tell the audience of the happenings with the school district. He mentioned the theme of this year’s Kansas State Fair is “Find Your Fun” and he said he got to thinking what a great theme it would be for Independence. “I think of all the things I do in Independence and all the things my grandkids do when they come to Independence — it’s a great place to find your fun,” he said. “I hope this weekend, all of you here today, will go out and find your fun — whatever that may be.” Arnold said one thing the district is really excited about this year is the opening of the preschool, Riley Early Learning Center. The facility holds four class- rooms for three- and four-year-old students which serve general and special education. “We have a total of about 102 kids right now, capacity would be 120,” Arnold explained. “Due to some of the situations the kids have, we don’t want to be at capacity at this time, we are not quite ready yet.” Arnold said the 102 students they do have are a lot more than the district anticipated. “We were hoping to get 60 to 70 kids this year and that would be a great year, we’ve got 102,” he said. He welcomed everyone to contact him for a tour of the facility. He told of other district activities and then introduced Independence High School Agriculture instructor MaKayla LaRue. LaRue, of Erie, began by explaining how she landed the position at IHS and the success the new program is experiencing. “Last spring I had 70 kids in the program — students, I’m sorry, they sometimes get a little bit cranky when I call them kids,” she stated with a smile. “This year I have about a 16 or 17 percent increase at 85 students in the program. I thought that was awesome. I was very excited, I didn’t decrease.” LaRue told the audience of the subjects she teaches and what she expects from her students. She also be- gan the Future Farmer’s of America (FFA) program at IHS which has been successful as well. The next First Friday event will be Oct. 5 at the Civic Center beginning with a light breakfast and networking beginning at 7:30 p.m. followed by the program which usually offers four speakers. Everyone is welcome to attend the monthly event.