John Harrenstein

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At last night’s City Council meeting, the Eudora Area Historical Society (EAHS) presented the City of Eudora and the Eudora City Council with framed copies of the original Deed to the City of Eudora and the only known image of Eudora’s namesake, Eudora Fish.

The original Deed to Eudora is perhaps the most historic document relating to the City of Eudora. The Deed came under the care of the EAHS in November of 2012. The original Deed to the City of Eudora, is the document whereby Shawnee Indian Paschal Fish transferred ownership of his land to a German Immigrant group that founded Eudora in 1857. The Deed was signed by Paschal Fish, and agents for the German Immigrant group: Louis W. Pfeif and Charles Durr.  The Deed was ratified on February 4, 1860.

The quest to find this historic document started in the summer of 2012 when John Harrenstein, the City Administrator for Eudora, asked if the EAHS had the original Deed. We did not have the Deed and therefore went on a mission to locate it, if the original Deed even still existed. Considering the document was created over 150 years ago, there was significant cause to believe the document was lost to history.

We started to contact various families that we thought might be in possession of the Deed. After several weeks of calling different families, we were able to reach a family that knew of the Deed and informed us they donated it to the Douglas County Historical Society in 2010. The Douglas County Historical Society was able to locate the Deed and donate it to the EAHS last November. The Deed is in good shape considering its age. The original Deed will remain in closed, secure storage to enable its long-term preservation.

The EAHS also presented the City of Eudora with a framed copy of a tintype photograph of Eudora Fish, the namesake for our community. Eudora Fish was the daughter of Paschal Fish and was born in the late 1840s. When Eudora, Kansas was settled in 1857, the German immigrants that founded Eudora named the community after her. The tintype shows Eudora as a young woman and was presumably created in the late 1860s. Eudora Fish married, had four children and died in 1877 in LaCynge, KS.

Please stop by the Eudora Community Museum to view copies of the original Deed to Eudora and the only known image of Eudora Fish. The Eudora Community Museum is located in the former Nottingham Elementary building and is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Admission is free.

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Eudora Community Center

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

 

The staff from the city of Eudora is throwing a farewell reception for City Manager John Harrenstein on  Tuesday, February 26.  The reception will run from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM and be held at at the Eudora Recreation Center, 1630 Elm Street.

The public is invited to attend.

Harrenstein recently resigned to take the City Administrator job in North Mankato, MN.  Harrenstein’s last day at the city offices is Friday, March 1.

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John Harrenstein

As most readers of eudorareporter.com know by now, City Administrator John Harrenstein tenured his resignation at the City Commission meeting on Monday night.

While some have said that Harrenstein was bad for this city and “good riddance”, I’m going to beg to differ.

I have spent the last two and half years covering the actions of the City and City Council in depth. I have been extremely fortunate to have access to information provided to the City Council and the inner workings of the city due to my job as reporter and editor.  I have also spent an untold number of hours observing Harrenstein and the department heads of our fine city doing the tasks of their jobs. John  Harrenstein has been nothing but upfront and professional with me.  He has answered every question I have thrown at him that he can legally answer.   I have observed him follow through on his duties and seen some him deal with some extraordinary situations.   He has handled those with diligence, persistence and excellence.  There have been times when he has been criticized for things that were out of his control and he sat there, took it and didn’t pass the buck onto others.

Many people have praised “the city” for cleaning up the water over the last year or so.  While the City Council deserves credit for requesting the city do something about it, Harrenstein, along with Public Works Director Mike Hutto, went out and found the solution and did it with minimal costs to the taxpayers. This was a problem that could have been solved years ago and never was by past Councils and administrations. I cannot speak as to why these solutions were never carried out, but the point is that they weren’t.  These two gentlemen fixed it.

The financial picture of Eudora was not great when Harrenstein came. Some with credible inside knowledge of the city, described it as “a mess”.  With the assistance of wise financial people, he cleaned up the mess and put the city in a position where they have not had to raise tax rates significantly.  Bond renegotiations and fund balances are not very sexy in print and we don’t often report on those changes, but they are important to the overall fiscal well being of Eudora.  Just this week, the City Commission approved a refunding of the bonds from 2006 that helped build the Rec Center.  This refunding will allow the City of Eudora to free up $30,000 a year and save the taxpayers nearly $360,000.  Harrenstein and the financial gurus the city works with, just saved us a great deal of money.   While the nation has dealt with the worst economy since the Great Depression and governments are drowning in debt and even declaring bankruptcy, the financial wizards on Wall Street think highly of Eudora.   For those that are into Bond ratings, Eudora received “AA” interest rates with an “A” rating. “AAA” is the highest (and best) anyone can have.  We are sitting in a much better financial position than many other cities and governments mainly because of Harrenstein’s work.

Harrenstein never wanted praise for his actions either. When something was done right or fixed, it was due to the hard work of a staffer or the Council.  He never would take credit for the good things he has done.

People may disagree with how he handled some situations.  I have not witnessed every conversation or been a fly on the fall for every meeting and in five different places at once (as much as I would love to). What I have witnessed with my own eyes, is that this city is much better off than it was a few years ago and we should thank John Harrenstein for that.  He may not have been perfect in every situation, and there may have been times when situations were not handled the best.  I can guarantee that everyone reading this article (and it goes for me as well), is as guilty of the same types of mistakes.

The 2013 City Commission is about to be tasked with the most important decision of their political careers:  Find a new City Administrator that will meet or exceed the excellent work that John Harrenstein did for Eudora.

Our loss is definitely a gain for North Mankato, MN.

– John Schulz

The views expressed in this editorial are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the staff or advertisers of Eudorareporter.com. 

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John Harrenstein

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

Eudora City administrator John Harrenstein will continue to lead the city right up to the time he is due to start in North Mankato, MN.  Harrenstein’s last day with the city of Eudora will be March 1 and his first day on the job in North Mankato is expected to be March 4.

“I wish to thank the citizens, City Commission, and employees of the City of Eudora for welcoming me to their community and supporting the city’s efforts during my tenure,” Harrenstein said in a press release.  “Eudora is poised for future success and growth as a result of the excellent city staff and a forward thinking City Commission.”

Harrenstein said he will assist the City Commission in beginning the search process for a new City Manager, including the selection of an executive recruitment firm according to the release.

City Commissioner Ruth Hughs told us that the city has already begun planning meeting dates and is fast-tracking the process to hire a City Manager.

“We will do our due diligence to find the best City Manager that will continue the excellent progress that John has made for the city,” Hugh said.

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John Harrenstein

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

After much speculation, Eudora City Administrator John Harrenstein submitted his resignation to the Eudora City Commission Monday night.  Mayor Scott Hopson announced following a closed door executive session that the resignation was accepted.  Harrenstein will become the City Administrator for North Mankato, MN.

Harrenstein would not comment following the meeting saying that he would be issuing a press release on Tuesday.

According to reports from North Mankato, Harrenstein will start on March 4.

The Eudora City Commission will now have approximately 6 weeks to find at least an interim City Administrator/Manager and begin the search process for a new City Manager.

Once we receive the press release and learn more information about the transitional process, we will keep you updated.

 

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