Early Childhood Fair - A Hit


What a Saturday! A brand new event in Hamilton County was created to Grow A Reader and many families turned out at the Barney Akers gymnasium to partake in the event. In fact, 52 families, came with a total of 153 in attendance.
The coalition which put this event together consists of Amy Brucker, Dallie Vernon, Corinna Hines, Erica Rodriguez, Heather Durler, Faith Barnes, Dana Gould, Liz Plunkett, and Jeanie Miller. These ladies put together a fun filled literacy event to encourage families to read more. 
Library Director Amy Brucker said, “The “Grow a Reader” early literacy initiative was created by the Early Childhood Coalition for Hamilton County. It grew from grant funds available to our county through the Kansas Masonic Literacy Center (KMLC) at Emporia State University. The grant is also covering the first couple years of Dolly Parton Imagination Library.”
Brucker added, “One of our biggest surprises was the interest in our Digital Literacy Tools. Community members were excited to find out about online picture books and read-alongs for their kids. We are now planning training sessions for the community on these free resources.”
USD 494 offered free hot dogs and hamburgers on their new grill. If you missed the event, the gym was set up in stations. 
The Kansas Highway Patrol brought their SWAT vehicle to let kids get an inside look. Trooper Calderon explained that this vehicle travels to Topeka, Salina and more. 
Erica Rodriguez welcomed you with a smile when you walked into the gym. 
Corinna Hines enthusiastically commented, “The Early Child Coalition team has been working hard to bring more awareness to our families and community about how important early learning is for our children! We learn the most we will ever learn and our brains have tremendous growth in the birth-5 year time period; thats what makes these years so critical! It literally sets children up for success later in in life!”
She added, “Hamilton County is blessed to have so many, many resources to support our children! We had a great attendance for the first year and I am hopeful parents came away with more knowledge about their child and how they can learn and resources available to support their learning…plus this kids had an AWESOME time!” Corinna Hines
Heather Durler added, “I enjoy working with children and their families, so watching the parent/child interactions was one of the highlights of the event. I’m very happy with how everything went, and am already thinking about what book theme we will use next year.“
Brucker surmised, “It was great to see the positive response from the literacy fair. . One of our biggest surprises was the interest in our Digital Literacy Tools. Community members were excited to find out about online picture books and read-alongs for their kids. We are now planning training sessions for the community on these free resources.”
Jeanie Miller of Little Learners preschool said, “I was so excited, to see  all of those sweet faces, and their excitement! I’m ready to see what we come up with next year. Parents reading to their children is so important! I had as much fun as the children !”
Lora Horton, K-State Research and Extension Agent “I want to thank the organizers for this family-oriented event.  Helping parents to improve family well-being through increasing their knowledge for ways for children to learn at home and what resources are locally available, is instrumental in empowering parents to be engaged parents. All that and it was also very FUN.” 
The coalition is looking at future events. In the meantime, the community can check out thier Facebook Page, “Grow a Reader.” The team will be posting activities, tips, and resources for children birth to 5.
The Literacy Fair Participants were Grow A Reader Welcome Table - Erica Rodriguez, Hamilton County Family Practice - Brandee English, PA-C, Hamilton County Food Pantry - Ra Vernon, Griselda Sigala, Vicky Pinto, Hamilton County Library - Amy Brucker, Paola Varela, K-State Research and Extension - Lora Horton, Aly Corter, Julie Cruz, Lil Farmers Preschool -  Dana Gould, Miriam Mejia, Little Learners Preschool - Jeanie Miller, Rebecca Gonzales, Parents as Teachers - Dallie Vernon, Russell Child Development Center - Corinna Hines, Kansas State Trooper Anthony Calderon, Syracuse Learn & Play - Dana Gould, Corinna Hines, Syracuse Elementary Early Childhood - Heather Durler, Faith Barnes, Syracuse Elementary Kindergarten Enrollment - Liz Plunkett, Barb Zuzelski, Mecia Luebbers, Barb Summers, Gaby Ramirez, Victoria Gonzalez
Additional Partners were Garden City Vision Source, Hamilton County Sherriff’s Office, Lewis Dental Office and the Syracuse High School FFA




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