County Library Continues to Evolve


How can 3,150 square feet provide so much to a community? It takes ingenuity, tenacity, and funding. And a dedicated Library Director. 

Stop by the Hamilton County Library and you will find a multitude of people from all walks of life and all ages patronizing this welcoming establishment. Smiling, joyful readers walk out with a book in their hand, research completed, or happy they found a local wifi spot. In fact the library has so many programs and opportunities for the community - from grabbing tax forms to children’s programming to high school student groups. 

Amy Brucker, Hamilton County Library Director, is filled with excitement to show off the new furniture bought with grant money. There are modern movable, adaptable, and cleanable chairs, and work stations that come with potential power ports. 

The State Library of Kansas offered the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Grant to all public libraries in Kansas. Libraries could apply for up to $25,000 for the purpose of responding directly and immediately to the pandemic, as related to economic and community needs through equitable approaches. The library was awarded $24,941 in grant money, with the remaining cost of the furniture ($2,188.11) coming from the library’s General Fund.

 Brucker commented, “The grant had to be covid related to qualify. Thankfully we had the generous Sparks funding to  the county that helped fund laptops and mifi units (MiFi is a small portable router that acts as a mobile hotspot for any of your devices (cellphone, tablet, etc.). to connect to Wi-Fi instead of cellular data.). So we pursued the furniture route.” 

Brucker applied in July 2021 for the grant and received word in September they had received the monies needed.

She contacted Jessie Hinkley with Total Office Solutions out of Colorado Springs who designed the Circulation Desk. Hinkley is certified in selling furniture to meet pandemic concerns. She completed a Global Biorisk Advisory Council Fundamentals Training Course with an emphasis on SARS-CoV-2/COVID 19 as the grant was released.

The library works hard to adapt to its needs. These new movable and adaptable pieces of furniture can help with spacing issues. But overall the library is fast outgrowing it’s facility. 

There is no on site storage. Many need space to use their laptops. People passing through Syracuse use the library as a work station. An attorney comes in often and uses the area as an office.  But it is not conducive to privacy. 

 One of Brucker’s hopes is to eventually have a community room and private small stations to allow for the many different privacy needs that often come in simultaneously. 

“We often have an attorney come in at the exact time a class is in checking out books as well as a child services meeting. “

The furniture can help with the varying groups that utilize the library. Children’s programs such as the well attended summer reading program and library camps, school checkouts weekly, storytime on Wednesdays,  Dolly Parton’s Imagination library,  1000 books before Kindergarten, and the two high school groups - the Library Leadership group and SAFE  all have different spacial needs.

Both students and adults can take advantage of the Wonder Book collection  that helps those learning English with books that read to you as you follow along.

Adults have access to interlibrary loan books, great new titles, and reading challenges specifically for them.   The library also offers assistance with the State Library Card and Resources (CloudLibrary, Mango Languages, etc).

In addition, it’s the place to go for free wireless connectivity. 

The Hamilton County Library moved from the basement of the courthouse in 1979. The county jail stood in its place. 

And it’s no wonder the floor coverings are worn. In 2021 alone, there were 519 class visits from USD 494 meaning they had  11,656 student interactions

The library hosted 18 special events with 396 in participation for children Age 6-11, 16 summer library programs, birth to 11, 297 in attendance. They hosted 42 story times, 

Other interesting library statistics include an average  6,000 unique computer use sessions annually (recent stats are hard since they were closed/limited hours for 2020 and some of 2021.

They average 15,000 wireless sessions annually.and 30,000 visitors to the library annually (for all purposes).

Nikki Schwerdfeger shares the joy of the library in her family memories and her life, “The Hamilton County Library is one of the shining jewels of our county.  Long before the computers and school children, the Library was an integral part of my family.  Burge was an avid reader and used the inter library loan system (before internet reading services) often.  For me, it was a wonderful, peaceful place to wait for appointments for children at after school practice or  before sports events.  The children’s section was my boys favorite place growing up as there was never a shortage of materials to keep them occupied.  It has also been my choice of memorials to our friends and neighbors at their passing.

Amy, and Joyce (Armstrong) before her, have been great stewards of the minds of our readers and I congratulate Amy for the many awards she has won for our County Library System.  Within the limited walls, so many of our children have found a place of learning and entertainment and I hope that at some time soon, the building’s footprint can be expanded to meet the demands of the future.”

So head over to the Hamilton County Library where there is something for everyone!





















What happens if you need an ambulance? What if care isn’t available locally and you need to be transported by helicopter? Where do you get that insurance? Or are you interested in learning about becoming a first responder? Maybe you want to teach your children what the... [More]



I am standing on Road S, four miles south of Road 31 in Hamilton County, and I feel like I am in the Dirty Thirties. The wind pounds against the ground as it has for what seems like months. For miles and miles, the land is desolate and barren and hard to fathom.  Jerrad... [More]


Busy Weekend in Syracuse

The weekend was packed with Saturday’s annual Crusin’ Into Summer Car Bike and Buggy show and Sunday’s Jeff Wilson Memorial Livestock show. Krista Norton reports on Saturday’s event - Mother Nature is always the determining factor in the success of the... [More]

Resurfacing begins on Hwy 50 Monday

Resurfacing to begin in Hamilton County Traffic changes are scheduled to start Monday, May 2, along U.S. 50/400 from the Colorado state line east to the east city limits of Syracuse, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation.  U.S. 50 traffic will be reduced... [More]


New Radiologist at Hm Co Hospital

Last week we met the Medellin family. This week I would like to introduce the Harris family.  Nikki Harris, Imaging Technologist who is multi-modality trained in X-Ray, cat scan and MRI is pleased to be providing services at the Hamilton County Hospital as of February 21,... [More]

USDA Designates 45 Kansas Counties as Primary Natural Disaster Area

This Secretarial natural disaster designation allows the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters through emergency loans. Emergency loans can be used to meet... [More]



Easter weekend in Syracuse has become a sand rail hub as people traveled from Ohio, California, Wyoming, Nebraska and more.  For the second year in a row, side by side sand rails, RZRs,  and a concert brought big business in to some local places. Others, not as much. ... [More]

KDHE Supports Quitting Tobacco with Free Nicotine Replacement Therapies

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is offering all phone coaching enrollees four weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy. Participants who want to quit smoking or chewing tobacco can choose a lozenge, gum, or patch that will be mailed directly... [More]

More News


The Jug of Oil Will Not Run Dry

Our community and surrounding areas are in desperate need of rain. We pray, we hope, we watch the sky. Instead, we have heat, high winds and sun. Yesterday I saw a comment on social media from someone in another part of the world on how they were so happy to have a day without... [More]

I Will Boast of My Weaknesses

The fact that this paper is out is nothing short of a miracle. Yes we say that all the time but I truly mean it. Between a plane crash, fires, weekend activites and being a 4-H mom, I have been ten places at once. On Sunday I got blindsided by someone’s hurtful and inappropriate... [More]

Ride the Waves

I have been thinking about how I want my daughter to live this life. I want her to pursue her passions and be herself regardless of others opinions. But I also want her able to ride the waves of the world easier than I have.  My husband has that even temper I want for her.... [More]

Staying In My Lane

I jumped on Instagram because I love looking at the photos that people captured. From portraits to candids it is like a museum and I feel so much there. It warms my heart and increases my passion for photography. Thought admittedly I haven’t had a chance to just go shoot... [More]

I Forgot!

 Are you ever walking along feeling like something just isn’t right but not sure what that is? There isn’t a lot of time to figure it out and there is plenty of work to be done so you don’t dwell on it? That has been me lately. I feel like something just... [More]

The brokenness in me honors the brokenness in you

I have a bad habit of not writing my column until the rest of the paper is complete. I just don’t feel like it is right to think about what is personal to me until my job is done. Sometimes that means it comes down to the wire.   And it is more than just a bad habit.... [More]

Obstacles In My Way

  Last week a relative contacted me looking to see if I was interested in buying something from him. I asked a question about the item. He got offended. I appreciated him reaching out to me to tell me so. Honestly I was shocked. I had zero intention of offending him.  What... [More]

Give Me Five!

Five minutes. I have shared before how once upon a time I started reading five pages of a book each night. It turned into chapters which turned into books which turned into me having more confidence in accomplishing my goals.   Five. It’s just a random number... [More]

More Opinions




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]


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]


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]


HS Track

Head coach Steve Navarro said, “The coaching staff has really enjoyed working with this group of kids this year. They have been putting in hard work despite some less than stellar conditions for practice and meets. We are excited to see what they can do now that we are... [More]



Baseball: The Bulldogs faced the Goodland Cowboys at home on Thursday, April 8, losing game one, 2-22 and game two, 1-17. Head Coach Dustin Doze said the Bulldogs really struggled throwing strikes again and they had too many errors. We need to clean things up if we want to... [More]


Spring Sports Start

One year ago, athletes and coaches were beginning practice for their spring sport, some practicing during spring break, others enjoying the break from school. Soon they found out their break was extended a week, some with great joy, others with apprehension. Then came the unfortunate... [More]



Substate began and ended quickly but these Varsity teams left it all out on the court. In heartbreaking last second baskets, our basketball season was over. The boys lost by two points in the last five seconds and the girls lost by three. A wrap up of the season will come in... [More]



The SHS Bulldogs faced the 4-A Holcomb Longhorns for the final home game of the season, with the varsity teams unable to win. The boys will be the number three seed in first sub state match up at home, Monday, March 1, against the number 6 seed, Stanton County. This will be the... [More]

More Sports



Delores LaJean Lindsey

Delores LaJean Lindsey (DeeDee) passed away on Thursday May 5th, 2022, at the age of 89 at Mackenzie Place in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She was born on June 30, 1932, in Jetmore, Kansas the daughter of Marshall Leon Portlock and Myrtle Gertrude (Swisher) Portlock. DeeDee... [More]

Manuel Juarez

Mass of Christian Burial for Manuel Juarez will be held at 10:00 a.m. and Rosary at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church in Holly, CO.  Interment will follow in the Holly Cemetery.  Visitation for Manuel will be held on Friday,... [More]


Leann Cook

Leann Cook passed away on April 25, 2022 in Pratt, Kansas. She had been residing in a nursing/rehab home for the last several years. She was born on January 30, 1947, in Syracuse, Kansas, the daughter of Ralph L. and Edna Belle (Davis) Cook. She graduated high school from Manter... [More]


Frederick Joseph Dorenkamp

A Mass of Christian Burial for Fred Dorenkamp will be held at 10:00 a.m.  and Rosary/Scripture Service at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, April 22, 2022, at St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church in Holly, Colorado with Father Joseph Lawrence as Celebrant.  Interment will follow... [More]



​​​ Longmont, Colorado-Martha Elizabeth Kratz passed awaypeacefully in her sleep, April 15,2022 at her home in Longmont. She was born September 6, 1942 in Limon, Colorado to Walter B. Ottem and Ruth K. (Thistlewood) Ottem. She attended elementary schools at Limon,... [More]


Capt. Leroy A. Farr, USN, Ret

Capt. Leroy A. Farr, USN, Ret On Friday, April 8, 2022, Leroy Allen Farr, loving husband and devoted father, went to be with his Lord and Savior. Leroy was born on September 23, 1945, in Syracuse, KS to William Sheldon and Thelma Benedict Farr. He received his undergraduate... [More]


Ty Frank Fullmer

Ty Frank Fullmer, 36, passed into eternal life in a tragic car accident on March 24th, 2022. Syracuse was his home for the past 9 years as he served as the Chief Operations Manager at Fullmer Cattle Company. Ty was the 7th child of 10 born to Que and Debora Fullmer. Ty’s... [More]


Rick Allen Hayes

Rick Allen Hayes, age 66, of Syracuse, Kansas, died March 27, 2022, at Stanton County Hospital in Johnson.  He was born on November 26, 1955, in Wichita, Kansas, the son of William Allen and Betty Lou (Jobe) Hayes.   Rick grew up in Manter and Johnson.  After... [More]

More Obituaries

View All Obituaries