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ALUMNI WEEKEND

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Mother Nature cooperated this year for the annual Syracuse Hamilton County Chamber of Commerce alumni parade and BBQ. Last year we were looking for a jacket and shelter from the cool wind and this year we were looking for a shade tree and hoping a little breeze would come and cool us off.  Although the parade was small the conversations and reuniting with classmates was huge. 
The parade began with the presentation of the colors by local veterans Marvin Weis and Rusty Wharton, followed by the singing of the national anthem by Alyssa Banning, elementary vocal music teacher. Following the parade, the BBQ attracted approximately 300 alumni and locals. 
As the floats lined up, Michele Boy, Bethanie Popejoy and myself,  got a chance to ask those gathered for their reunions something they remembered. 
RaeDene Schmidt, Class of 1962, was hesitant to share one memory for fear of getting some people upset. Their prom was “Springtime in Paris.” To save money several from their class who will not be named went around town cutting lilacs for prom. 
As she shared, those reuniting giggled. 
John Stanley was the legal cousel for the Class of 1972 and it must have been a heck of a class because they didn’t want to share much. They did want to say they think discipline is missing from schools today.  
Van Vesper, Class of 1969 was here and mentioned, “One time, Mrs. Drew put tape over my mouth to make me stop talking in Kindergarten.  I had to leave it there all day. [Secretly and defiantly,] I pulled the tape off during nap time on the little mats, but put it back on before we got up.  She never knew I took the tape off when I wasn’t supposed to.” He now resides in Garden Plain, Kansas.
And Sarah and Ray Hatton from the Class of 1962 added, “We came to Syracuse from the Bear Creek Schools. Virgil Hecker was the best ag teacher  ever!  Rock Hughes taught algebra, Don Richter taught history, and a young teacher, LaVerna Buller, taught English.”Sarah (Hatton) Cooper now lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Ray lives in Scottsdale Arizona. 
From the Class of 1967, Risa (Schafer) DeVaney added, “I remember dragging Main with Sheryl (Rudy) Carter, Nancy (Petterson) Hull, and Carla (Thomeczek) Jantz.  Nancy let me drive her Mustang convertible because it was a standard transmission and Nancy didn’t like to shift.  I loved driving that car.” Risa and Dennis live in Garden City now.
The visiting continued and the Hamilton County Library held a book signing for George Phillippy’s set of books - Choices. It was a hit. People also visited  at the local museum and Northrup Theater with many classes assembling at various locations later in the day. 
Early Monday morning, before the crowds at the break of day, several veterans rose to decorate graves and the cemetery for Monday’s Memorial Day services. Bill Royer, John Swisher, Rusty Wharton, Mark Davis,Randall Dupree, Larry Ochs, Oliver Palmer, Marvin Weis, Mort Thompson, Chris Sukach, and Bob Kirby placed a flag at each of the designated graves.  Many family members and friends gathered to hear Kai Englert and his sister Major (retired) Kris Sukach read the 500 names of veterans buried in the cemetery. 
General Ray Hatton, was in town from Phoenix attending his 60-year class reunion. Son of Ray and Bernice who were farmers and rancher, he knows the skills he learned on the farm greatly influenced his career as a helicopter mechanic. 
As a junior at Panhandle State in Goodwell OK., he enrolled in the ROTC program. Panhandle had a fixed wing program and he wanted to fly helicopters because it looked like fun. “Nam was needing a million aviators and flying seemed much better than driving a tractor!”  
Graduating with a degree in mathematics, he chose the Corps of Engineers. “I knew I wanted to go into the army and make a career, Vietnam was on and it was my duty to go and serve!” 
“I was a maintenance officer, did a lot of tests flying after we fixed them, it’s fun and interesting.” He recalls a young captain, nicknamed “magnet ass”,  “Because he attracted lead and we knew whenever he went out, we would have some sheet work to do tonight because his bird was going to get shot up!” 
Hatton recalls an incident when he flew through a verga or rain that does not hit the ground. “The rotor blades break it up and I saw a rainbow that went all the way around the blades, it was a kick in the pants!” Hatton loved to fly a helicopter and describes it like this, “Flying a helicopter is the most fun you can have with your pants on!”
He was blessed to travel to Hong Kong, Australia, Hawaii, “For this ole country boy, that was traveling!” General Hatton retired after 20 years, one month six days, four and a half hours, “But who’s counting!” 
For the third year in a row, there have been local veterans honored with a Quilt of Valor at the Veterans building following the services. A record crowd of approximately 80 gathered as six veteran’s shoulders were draped with a quilt. The quilt is a quality, handmade quilt awarded to a service member or veteran who has been touched by war. The quilt says thank you for your service and sacrifice in serving our nation
This year’s recipients were Alton (Mort) Thompson, Marvin Weis, Daryle Lewis, Fred Hendrickson, Dennis Carter, unfortunately Fred Wedel was unable to attend, but his quilt was presented to him at the Hamilton County Hospital where he is a patient.
Fred Wedel volunteered for the Navy and entered December 3, 1967, serving until October 1971, continuing two more years in the reserves. He trained in San Diego, CA. and then Long Beach CA at the Naval Shipyard. He was stationed in Hawaii for three years first on a destroyer, then a repair ship which also handled supplies. He received a Sharpshooter medal with a five-inch gun that took two 80-pound bags of black powder. He was proud to be the third generation in his family to serve in the military. 
Alton (Mort) Thompson entered the Marines January of 1975, reporting to San Diego, CA. later serving in the United States Marine Corps Air Facility in Santa Ana CA. He received the Fire Watch ribbon and Sharpshooter badge. He trained as a forklift operator and the facility was a supplier for bivouacs. He was released from service in January 1977 as a Corporal E4 and was proud to be a Marine
Marvin Weis was drafted into the Army at Colby, KS. in 1964, training at Fort Bliss, TX., and then to Fort Polk, LA. He was in the 4th infantry B company and was a second mate in the 2/8 mechanized infantry. He served in Vietnam on armed personnel carriers and pulled security. He was discharged in 1966 at Fort Rucker AL., and received the Vietnam Campaign Medal, Sharpshooter with a M14, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Good Conduct, two overseas bars and two Combat Infantry Badges. He is proud of the camaraderie among his unit, approximately 30-35 which meets yearly.
Daryle Lewis joined the Colorado National Guard in June 1967, serving six years, and two additional years in the inactive reserves. His basic training was in Fort Campbell, in Kentucky, advanced individual training at Fort Sill, OK., in artillery with the 105 howitzer units. He served in an Artillery unit in Lamar until the Lamar National Guard became a Medic Unit in March 1968, so he trained as a medic, becoming a Medical Corpsman Specialist 5th class. The National Guard was on high alert for the first two to three years, helping with the Kent State riots and forest fires, staying at the Armory during those high alert times. They also worked with the Lamar police and the highway patrol and Daryle liked the idea that he could help locally in emergencies.  
Fred Hendrickson joined the Navy in 1963 in Winfield. His home port was San Diego, CA. He trained as a welder, also known as a metalsmith, serving on the USS Thomaston Landing Ship Dock 28. He received an Expeditionary medal, DD214 and a National Defense medal. He was released in 1966 as a 3rd class metal smith. He was proud of getting to serve his country and be a part of the military which opened the door for jobs when he got out. 
Dennis Carter was drafted into the Army in May 1966, receiving his basic training at Fort Riley going on to Fort Knox and Fort Eustis before returning to Fort Riley. He had hoped to see the world, but spent most of his three years at Fort Riley, serving as a transportation officer, doing logistics supply. One of his duties he was assigned to as part of the General staff was caring for the last living Calvary horse who was getting old. When the horse died, Dennis oversaw the details for a horse funeral. They made a special coffin so he could be buried standing up. He also helped with riots and was able to attend General Eisenhower’s’ funeral. Dennis is proud to have participated in the military and his rank at release was First Lieutenant and he was released in May of 1969. 

 

NEWS

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John Smith Sentenced

John Antonio Smith’s wife, Angela, walked out of the Hamilton County Courthouse on the afternoon of Tuesday, December 6th saying, “It’s not fair.” Tuesday morning John Smith appeared before Judge Wendel Wurst with his attorney Steve Cott requesting to... [More]

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Hilltop Lanes New Owners

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Tedders from Walsh, Colorado, purchased Hilltop Lanes.  While Brittany and Matt Tedder may live in Walsh, Colorado, they have grown up in and around Syracuse near Matt’s relatives, Rod and Dona Tedder. Of all the bowling alleys around,... [More]

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Gratitude to Local Veterans

Veterans Day is a holiday which honors everyone who served or is currently serving in the military, regardless of how long or whether they served during war time. Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day, marking the end of WWl on the eleventh hour on the eleventh day... [More]

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NOT JUST A HAT

Who could have imagined a hat could connect fellow soldiers from Vietnam some 40 years later. Marvin Weis served in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968 in the U.S. Army as 2nd/8th Mechanized Infantry.  “Janet and I were visiting my brother and were at an auction, I was wearing... [More]

SMITH REQUESTS HEARING TO WITHDRAW PLEA

On Wednesday, November 9, 2022 at the Hamilton County District Court, John Smith was set to be sentenced from the August 25th court date when he took the Alford plea, pleading guilty to - Aggravated indecent liberties with a child; Indecent liberties with a child; and Sexual... [More]

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Cactus Cares

Last Wednesday, Wayne Craig and Shelby Padgett loaded 400 pounds of ground beef into a red pickup to drive over 300 miles from Amarillo, TX to Syracuse, KS, with one mission, help get protein to the Hamilton County Food Pantry. And not just a one time donation, but a regular... [More]

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Fly-In Success

Over 200 people came out to the 27th annual Classic and Antique Fly-In held at the Hamilton County Airport. It was hosted by the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 277. The Fly-in was a success with 35 airplanes flying in from Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, and Kansas. Featured... [More]

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Vernon New Animal Control Officer

Joy Bezona has handed over the reins and leashes to Ra Vernon for the Animal Control Officer position for the City of Syracuse. 
Bezona said, “I loved every minute of it, but it is time to start a new chapter.”
Ra Vernon began last month and is enjoying it. She said, “Joy did an excellent job, and I don’t know anyone who could have done it better.”
Vernon, mom to seven kids, grandmother to ten, is a busy woman. She does bookkeeping from her home, serves as lay leader at her church, and is on the Hamilton County Food Pantry Board as well as the Hamilton County Research and Extension Executive Board.
“I chose the job because it has flexibile hours and that suits my life. I like dealing with dogs.”
Right now there are seven animals at the shelter, five  blue healer mix puppies that are four months old. They were surrendered to the shelter and don’t have much time left. They are great farm and ranch dogs, and great at working cattle. 
If anyone is interested, call Ra at 620-384-4841.

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OPINIONS

All Things For My Good

I am writing this Wednesday morning after spending yesterday at the courthouse listening to testimony about sexual abuse.  Right after the newspaper goes to print, I am headed back to the courthouse to listen to a different trial about sexual abuse.   It’s... [More]

To The World You May Be One Person But To One Person You May Be The World

I am writing this on the last day of November, 2022. Snow flurries fell for quite a while yesterday and it began to feel like Christmas was upon us. I woke to  9 degrees outside. But was grateful for no wind, and heat in my home.   I have been thinking a lot about... [More]

GIVING THANKS

Happy Thanksgiving!     Last weekend we did something we haven’t done as a family in what seems like forever. We stayed home. We took care of catching up our accounting, cleaning, putting things away, going through things, taking a family walk, watching movies,... [More]

Follow the Sun

Snow fell Monday morning. It was beautiful, wet snow showers that continued for several hours. It was joyful to see the ground wet, to see the white flakes glisten on trees and vehicles. And it was sad when it ended.  We live in an area well known for drought. We cherish... [More]

Middle Ground?

I got to work a little early on Wednesday morning. Since the wind was going to blow 60 mph I got to skip doing my hair because what is the point? Ha!  I am writing this the morning after the election. Some things went my way, some didn’t and some are still undecided. ... [More]

Connection

I had the oppportunity to speak to a Junior High class about media and communications job opportunities. It gave me a chance to look back over my career, the choices I made,the places I have been and the results of it.  When the students asked me what my favorite part of... [More]

Paying The Price

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Communicating Should Be Easier, Right?

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SPORTS

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JH BASKETBALL WINS

Junior High Boys Basketball A, B, and C teams travelled to Elkhart on Monday, November 21. The A team won 41-34, B team won 26-21, and  C team lost to Elkhart 13-20. Head Coach Vance Keller said, “Elkhart was a tough win for both the A and B teams but both grinded... [More]

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LADY BULLDOGS BORDER WARS CHAMPIONS!!

The Lady Bulldogs were undefeated during the Border Wars, defeating Eads on Friday, 42-7 and Walsh on Saturday 62-5, bringing their record to 3-1. But the winner wasn’t announced until Tuesday evening. Syracuse Athletic Director Josh Johnson explained, “It came down... [More]

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JH Basketball Season Underway with JH Boys sweeping Lakin

Monday night at home at the Herndon Gym, the Junior High boys swept Lakin! Head coach Vance Keller said, “We’re a young team with only six eighth graders and 12 seventh graders. We’ve had six total that started the season with injuries so we haven’t had... [More]

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Senior Night Volleyball

Three Syracuse High School volleyball seniors were honored on Tuesday, October 5, during the volleyball tournament at Syracuse.  Kaetlin Thomeczek, daughter of Joe and Dami Thomeczek has played volleyball since the third grade, playing with Syracuse Youth Activities Association... [More]

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HS Track

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SHS SPORTS WRAP UP

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Spring Sports Start

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SUBSTATE HEARTACHE

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OBITUARIES

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Roy Alvin Newman

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Richard Ray Lennington

Richard Ray Lennington, 56                 A hard-working skilled HVAC technician with 9 lives, finally cashed in on his 10th and final life on Monday. Richard Ray Lennington was born on August 1st, 1966, to Arnold Lennington and Mary... [More]

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Charles Earl Willis, Jr.

Charles Earl Willis, Jr. passed away on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, at the age of 97. He was born May 15, 1925, in Syracuse, Kansas to Charles Earl and Dora Elizabeth (Quillen) Willis. When Earl was four years old, the family moved to Garden City. He attended school there and... [More]

Carol Lenore Dikeman

Carol Lenore Dikeman, 86, of Topeka, passed away Tuesday, November 15, 2022. She was born January 8, 1936, in Chappell, Nebraska, the daughter of Daniel Edward and Lenore (Gilbert) O’Connor. She graduated from Syracuse (KS) High School in 1953.  Carol married Larry... [More]

Ethel Marlene (Novis) Brownlee

Ethel Marlene (Novis) Brownlee passed away on Tuesday, November 9, 2022 at the age of 84 at the Seasons Memory Care in Kansas City, Missouri. She was born on December 16, 1937 in WaKeeney, Kansas the daughter of Laurence Wayne Novis and Helen Jane (Simpson) Novis. Marlene began... [More]

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Martha Lois Beauchamp

Martha Lois Beauchamp, age 90, of Canon City, Colorado, died November 6, 2022, at Hildebrand Care Center in Canon City, Colorado.   The oldest of five children, she was born May 2, 1932, in Syracuse, Kansas, the daughter of Carl E. and Henrietta M. (DeWeese) Graves. Martha... [More]

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Claudia Dee Miller

Claudia Dee Miller, 58, of North Little Rock, AR passed away on Monday, October 17, 2022. Claudia was born to the late Manuel and Katherine Guerrero in Syracuse, KS. She is survived by her husband Michael Miller, daughter Ashley Foster, sisters Rhonda and Roxanne Guerrero,... [More]

Joe Bird

Joe Lee Bird, age 72, died on October 16, 2022 in his home. He was born on July 3, 1950 at Syracuse, KS, the son of James "Jim"Walter Sabin & Beatrice "Bea" Juel (Barnes) Sabin and stepfather Wilburn "Leo" Bird. Joe lived in several places  -  Illinois, California,... [More]

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