EnglishSpanish

God's Hand on Highway 27

thumbthumbthumb

If you were down at the Demolition Derby on Saturday night, sheets of rain and pea size hail caused concern. 
Many left, others hunkered in their vehicles wondering if it would pass. 
Information came in waves. The stoplight was out. The railroad lights weren’t working. Electricity was out at random places like the Northrup theatre.
Then North of Syracuse, Highway 27 was closed. A wreck? Power lines down? What happened?
Sometimes we question certain situations as coincidence or miracles. Eva Birt, her daughter Rebekah and husband John Platt believe the incident they were involved in Saturday evening, July 16 at approximately 8:00 PM, was nothing short of a miracle. 
The three had been  visiting John and Rebekah’s son and family, Joshua, in Tribune. They headed home traveling south on highway 27. Eva was driving and they soon encountered heavy rain, so heavy they could not see where they were going.  
John told her to slow down and he guessed she was going about 20 miles per hour when all of a sudden they heard a grinding noise. Eva stopped, and through the pounding rain and lightning, they could see a broken telephone pole in front of them. 
“The electrical lines were over top of us, one was draped along the side resting between the windshield and mirror,” explained John, “We had gone underneath them!” 
Concerned about the live electrical lines on top of the vehicle, they remained still inside the vehicle, “But it was raining so hard getting out of the vehicle was not a temptation,” said Rebekah. 
John then called the sheriff’s department, reporting the incident and they dispatched emergency vehicles. The wind was out of the west and after about ten minutes they heard a mighty rushing wind and their first thought was a tornado was coming. 
But this is when they believe they witnessed one of the many miracles that night as the strong westerly wind shifted to the east, “Totally changed directions!” said Rebekah.
They witnessed the wind push the telephone pole, that was in front of them, off the road taking the wires off the car as it moved. “It was amazing,” said John, “It also took the passenger side mirror.”  
As the situation unfolded, they were still unsure where they were on the highway, or where they had stopped, due to the heavy rain. Thinking they might be able to go around, learning they were in the northbound lane, but through the lightning, they could see more lines down.  
Fortunately, there was no northbound traffic, but they soon found themselves at risk of a rear end collision. An approaching vehicle from the north was coming full speed in the still pounding rain. “We thought he was going to hit us and there was nothing we could do, but he stopped in time!” Said Rebekah, “Then another car come up and almost hit him.” 
“We did not want to move because we did not know what was around us,” said John, “One vehicle turned around and went north, but the other one waited.”  
The rain had subsided some when Wheatland Electric employee, Matt Riley, who had made his way to the scene via county roads, walked up to the vehicle to see if they were ok, and let them know it was safe to turn around because it was going to be hours before the road was clear. 
They then made their way back to Tribune and spent the night there with Joshua. He shared, “A thought went through my  mind, what if this is the last time I see mom and dad and grams.” He then offered a prayer saying well Lord I guess I’ll have to trust you with them.
Returning home Sunday morning, they determined they were about seven miles north of Syracuse, and counted 11 sections or 22 poles down, “We were stranded under the first fallen pole,” said John. 
“We did not think a lot about the severity of the situation until we got to church the next morning and Pastor Frank gave us a hug and explained the same thing had happened to some friends and they did not survive the incident,” said Rebekah. 
Eva said, ”I am grateful to God for His protection, His hand was on me.”
To the east of Zach and Amy Brucker’s home were  downed power lines as well. The Bruckers were thankful to the Wheatland Electric crew of Colton Green, Matt Riley, and Chris Oliver who worked to restore power at 1:00 AM!
Native Syracusan and Meteorologist, Matt Gerard, explained from what he could see on his radar app and with the heavy rainfall reports, it was likely a wet microburst. “There didn’t appear to be any organized rotation but there was a swath across your area that was favorable for heavier rain,” he said, “That storm really took off and became pretty loaded with precipitation and I also saw a forecast discussion from the office shortly after this talking about cold cloud tops, i.e. tall storms, that can come back down with considerable force! “The fact that poles were blown down in different directions would also support a microburst hitting the ground and spreading out in all directions.”
It was around 4:00 AM the next morning when Sunflower Electric had finally cleared the highway enough to open the road again.
Over a mile of high line poles had been snapped around road 13, seven miles north of Syracuse, and power lines laid across the ground.
All day Sunday, Sunflower Electric dug up and cleaned up the broken poles and the debris as well as putting up new poles. 
The important lesson here is DON’T GET OUT OF YOUR VEHICLE! CALL 911.
Hamilton County Sheriff Mike Wilson said, “It is so  important to stay in car or not get close to a downed power-line! They stayed in the car and had a great outcome but others may not know to do that. I believe a energized line will travel through the ground quite a ways. 
According to Wheatland Electric, “If you are in a motor vehicle accident and power lines are touching the vehicle: Assume it’s live.  Always assume that any downed lines are live and dangerous.  Do not attempt to touch or remove the wires and warn others to stay away.
Stay put.  Unless there is a secondary emergency, such as a fire, it is safer to stay inside the vehicle than trying to exit.
    Call 9-1-1.  Let the dispatcher know that you were in an accident and you have a downed line on your vehicle.  The authorities will contact the power company and line workers will be sent to the scene to shut off power.
 Warn others.  Witnesses may not notice the downed line and could be coming to help.  Warn them to stay at least 40 feet away.
A Kansas firefighter died after being electrocuted by power lines at a crash scene last year.
Morton County/Rolla firefighter Josh Schwindt was responding to a rollover accident, the Elkhart/Morton County Fire Department stated in an online post. While looking for crash victims, Schwindt came in contact with power lines damaged during the crash and was shocked.
He was given CPR and taken to the hospital, where the first responder died. 

 

NEWS

City of Syracuse Weeds Notice

Thankful for the rain but the weeds have grown! Let's clean them up Syracuse!   Notice City of Syracuse The City of Syracuse will be enforcing Ordinance No. 592   ​SECTION 1.​WEEDS TO BE REMOVED.  It shall be unlawful for any owner, agent, lessee,... [More]

thumb

Back to School: New Teachers at USD 494

Introducing the new teachers at USD 494. In visiting with the new teachers, a common denominator is their impression of the staff and especially the community who is supportive of the school, but also their admiration of the facility and all it has to offer.   High school... [More]

thumb

Gracie's Cafe Opens

Gracie’s Café, formerly Western Trail Café in Coolidge, is now open under new ownership and management. The Donaldson family from Bristol, Colo. has purchased the restaurant from Ken and Patty Jordan who operated it for the past ten years. Coolidge Mayor,... [More]

Do You Want To Become A US Citizen

  Do You Want to Become a U.S. Citizen? Catholic Charities Offering Free Naturalization Consultation Clinic LIBERAL, KS, AUGUST 2, 2022 --- Naturalization is the process by which people who were born outside of the United States can become a U.S. citizen. For individuals... [More]

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS OF THE AUGUST 2, 2022 PRIMARY ELECTION FOR HAMILTON COUNTY

With 34% of the voters turning out plus 13 provisional ballots, here are the results from Hamilton County. Constitutional Amendment YES              244 NO              195   For United States Senate... [More]

What Kansans Need to Know about Voting on August 2

WICHITA, KS – July 15, 2022 – On August 2, Kansas holds a Primary Election for political parties to select their candidates for the November 2022 General Election and a Special Election to amend the Kansas Constitution.             ... [More]

thumb

A Hero

It was a dramatic few weeks and one of the bigger moments got missed. Dakira Limon is a lifeguard at the Hamilton County pool and a hero.  An SHS graduate headed to Colby Community college for the animal science program. It is her fourth year as a lifeguard at the Hamilton... [More]

thumb

The Great Race

Local resident Kerry Lee has had the desire to participate in the Hemmings Motor News Great Race for a long time. He entered his 1955 first series Chevrolet pickup, affectionately called “Old Bull” in the 39th 2,300-mile Great Race which began Saturday June 18 in... [More]

More News


OPINIONS

thumb

A SUNSET

How’s your life going? Some of you are still in summer. We started back to school here this week. The summer sped by faster than I ever remember a summer going by.    Life is moving faster and faster and all the things I need to do are falling behind.  I... [More]

One Of The Greatest Lies Ever Told

One of my first columns a couple years ago discussed “have to” vs “get to.”   Well last weekend I missed a family camping trip to put together the fair edition. I barely left my chair for days. And then after a short break I had to put another paper... [More]

The County Fair

What memories do you have of childhood summers? Are they centered around family? Fun? County fairs?    We just completed anothercounty fair. My daughter did well. And I am proud of her hard work. But as I am wiped out exhausted, recovering, getting ready for the next... [More]

Raise Someone Up Today

Right now my world is consumed by the county fair. I literally eat sleep and breathe it.  When people ask if we are ready for school, my answer is after the fair we can think about it. When my daughter asks about some future event, my answer is after the fair we will discuss... [More]

One Child At A Time

Last week I mentioned how sometimes life can throw us good surprises.  Well last week I had an opportunity to volunteer with poultry testing in our county. The veterinarian showed up and I mentioned how much my daughter wants to become a vet. And could she watch her work. ... [More]

A Little Joy

Hard work. It’s what I grew up with and it’s what I believe in. It’s what  we teach our daughter. You want things, it takes hard work. Yes, once in a while you will be given a gift and that is wonderful and be grateful. But the grit and the sweat is what... [More]

Exactly As You Are

My heart is grieving. This joyous Jesus who I came to broken down by life is one many will never know. In people’s zeal they maybe forget how they came to know Him. Or maybe they never had that experience. Before I knew God, I seriously thought gay people weren’t... [More]

Kindness Matters

Here I am less than an hour from deadline trying to come up with something to write about.  Many newspapers have begun to remove or lessen their opinion section. With social media and daily news outlets opinions, people have grown weary of more opinion. At least according... [More]

More Opinions

SPORTS

thumb

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]

thumb

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]

thumb

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]

thumb

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]

thumb

SHS SPORTS WRAP UP

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]

thumb

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]

thumb

SUBSTATE HEARTACHE

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]

thumb

HEADING TO SUBSTATE

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

OBITUARIES

thumb

Terry Ogden Herndon

Terry Ogden Herndon, 88, of Carlisle, died peacefully at Care Dimensions Hospice House in Lincoln on Saturday, August 6, 2022, after a full and wonderful life.  He was the beloved husband for 66 years of Eva (Warmbrunn) Herndon. Born in Syracuse, Kansas on March 15, 1934,... [More]

thumb

Irvin Henry (Junior) Lewis, Jr.

Irvin Henry Lewis, Jr. always known as “Junior” Junior was born in a little country house in Stanton County Kansas on January 26, 1932.  He was the youngest of 3 children born to Irvin H. Lewis and Effie (Mae) Hardin.  The eldest a sister Ethel Lorraine... [More]

thumb

 Darrell D. Markley

Darrell D. Markley passed away on Sunday August 7, 2022, at the age of 95 at the Hamilton County Hospital ISB in Syracuse, Kansas. He was born on September 23, 1926, in Enterprise, Kansas the son of Oscar Markley and Nellie (Richards) Markley. Darrell was raised in Abilene, Kansas... [More]

thumb

Dale Lee Simmons

A Memorial Service for Dale Simmons will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 6, 2022, at the Hartman School Gymnasium in Hartman, Colorado,with Pastor Jason Kirkpatrick officiating.  Inurnment will follow in the Hartman Cemetery.  Per Dale’s request, cremation has taken place and there will be no visitation.

Dale Lee Simmons passed away on July 30, 2022, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at the age of 81.  He was born on February 23, 1941, in Pratt, Kansas, to John and Theda (Carr) Simmons.

Dale grew up in Pratt, Kansas until he was seven years old.  The family then moved to Hartman, Colorado,where he played basketball for the Hartman Bears.  Dale graduated with the class of 1959, the last class to graduate from Hartman.  He was united in marriage to Frances Leah Dennis on August 30, 1959.  To this union, four children were born.  

When Dale was only seven years old, he began driving a tractor.  After his father’s death, Dale took over the family farm at the age of 15.  He farmed until partially retiring in 2017.  Dale continued to swath hay and operate a grain cart until his passing.  Dale served on the Fire and Ambulance Board, Hartman Town Council, and as mayor for several years.

Dale is survived by his wife, Frances Simmons of the home; four children, Denise (Bob) Fazzino of Canon City, Colorado, Dennis (Jackie) Simmons of Hartman, Colorado, Dean (Jessie) Simmons of Hartman, Colorado, and Donna (David) Woodward of Port Orchard, Washington; eight grandchildren, Melissa Swope Woodward, Jeremy (Lindsey) Woodward, Dustin (Grace) Simmons, Kayla (Jason) Kirkpatrick, Dawn (Sean) Kelley, Sean (Krissy) Woodward, Gayle (Clay) Tatum, and Erin (Burley) Jerina; 18 great grandchildren; brother, Robert (Mary Rita) Simmons of Lamar, Colorado; sister, Ginger (Andy) Pittman of Arkansas; many other relatives and a host of friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Karen Cook; and stepfather, Herschel Melton.

Memorial contributions may be made to Holly Fire and Ambulance or the Town of Hartman in care of Valley Memorial Funeral Chapel, P.O. Box 950, Lamar, Colorado 81052.  To leave online condolences, please visit www.valleymemorialfc.com.

 

thumb

Kris Elaine (Jost) Jantz 

Kris Elaine (Jost) Jantz  March 20, 1957 - July 27, 2022 A Funeral Service for Kris Jantz will be held at 9:30 a.m. MST, Friday, August 5, 2022, at the Syracuse Wesleyan Church in Syracuse, KS. Interment will follow in the Syracuse Cemetery. Kris Elaine (Jost) Jantz passed... [More]

thumb

Barbara Laureen Fanshier-Phillips

Barbara Laureen Fanshier-Phillips (Daniels), age 83, of The Villages, FL, passed away on July 19, 2022 with her daughter, Shawn Fanshier, by her side. Born January 25, 1939 on the family farm in Kinsley, KS. Barb was a life-long learner with a passion for following her dreams.... [More]

thumb

Justin Van Trussell

Justin Van Trussell passed away on Friday, July 1, 2022 at the age of 57 from a motorcycle accident near North Platte, Nebraska. He was born on September 22, 1964 in Germany the son of Ronald V. Trussell and Mona Rae (Alexander) Trussell. Justin began his life in Germany. They... [More]

thumb

Dalene Fecht Lewis

Dalene May (Fecht) Lewis passed away on Tuesday, July 5, 2022 at the age of 71 at the Hamilton County Hospital in Syracuse, Kansas. She was born on December 15, 1950 in Garden City, Kansas the daughter of Albert Dale Fecht and Pauline (Finkenbinder) Fecht.  Dalene was... [More]

More Obituaries

View All Obituaries