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A Better Team

I had a discussion with someone out of the area about what community journalism means. It was interesting because I believe it is dependent on where you live. Wichita has television news channels, a daily newspaper, websites, social media pages, and staff. 
In our small town community journalism looks different. It’s a weekly time capsule of the community. Not everyone who has run the paper has done it the same but I believe it should be generally focused on the positive points, dealing with some difficult subjects in as much of an impartial way as possible. 
In a large city, a newspaper reporter can call some issue or person out and go about their day with little understanding of the impact that story may have on a person, a family, or a business. 
Here, reporting on a situation can have immediate effects. That is something I do not take lightly. 
There is power in the press and there should be. But wielding a sword around town does not do anyone good. 
I mentioned to this person how generations of two families could bicker and squabble to the end but if one family lost a loved one to a tragedy the other would be the first one at the door with a casserole. 
He asked me about politics. I said we choose relationships first, and generally keep our politics to private conversations. 
Then he asked me about national politics. I think about how most of the country is frustrated by what appears to be limited choices of Trump vs Biden. 
Years ago when Trump was elected and the media elite proclaimed racism for the vote I was disheartened. Over half the population was reduced to being considered white supremacists and bigots. When in truth they voted on the issues of health insurance, jobs, and more. 
How do you have a conversation and truly heal and move forward if you don’t listen to the other side of the conversation?
All that has been done is create more trust issues and cause weariness of mainstream media.  
While the headlines in our local paper aren’t flashy and the stories generally aren’t sensationalized, there is a respect for who we are. There is an understanding of what consequences come from using the newspaper as a weapon. 
The man asked me if I was trusted in the community given my job. I said I believe so because many have trusted us with their personal stories and with community information. We have researched it and weighed the risks of reporting on it. 
Don’t rack your brains of what story in particular I am referring, there is none. 
But pose the question of community journalism to yourself. What should that look like? 
I live in this town. I want the community to flourish. I want my child to build great memories here. So do I overlook or pass over some areas that a larger city may tackle? Yes. 
But when asked if I trusted local officials I said yes. They were elected to use a small budget to run a county. If they don’t fund what I want, I don’t dig into their past to write an expose on them. I just find a way to fundraise for what I believe is right. 
Maybe if the United States put more effort into electing people based on principles and not on their past (which everyone has) we would have more choices, we could accomplish a lot more. 
Until then, extremism will prevail and 85% of the country will be disenchanted. 
While I can’t change the world, I can work hard to help build community here. 
Last Friday a young man with a disability came onto the basketball court in the last couple minutes of the varsity boys game. He was cheered on by both teams and fans. Our players helped him have an experience by playing a part in his ability to score two baskets. I shared the short video online and it had been viewed by over 100,000 people. It has been shared over 200 times. And the joy it brought people showed me how this young man reminded me of what’s important - kindness, respect, and building something. Tearing each other from the inside out isn’t working. So maybe it is time to lay down our weapons.   
Maybe we start right here. If you are a parent in the stands as your child plays basketball perhaps if the referee got the call wrong you let it go. Maybe you give him or her the benefit of the doubt that he/she is human. Maybe the kid hit your kid accidentally? No not always. Sometimes the refs have an agenda. Sometimes the kid did hit your kid on purpose. There is  not always good in the world.  There is evil. 
But maybe we need to fight evil with good.  Maybe America needs to become a better team. 

OPINIONS

Never Not Be Afraid

Here we are at the end of February. What are you going with your bonus day?  The weather in western Kansas has been wild. 78, 17, 65, and blowing, then snow.  When I spent a couple of years traveling the country, I enjoyed the different climates. Eventually I tired... [More]

The Trouble with John

It’s going to be a beautiful 70 plus degree day in February as I write this. As soon as the paper goes to print I am spending as much time outside as possible. Days like this should be savored.  There is one week left of February. Sometimes I think February is the... [More]

On the Horizon

February is half over. The sun is shining, the wind is at bay. Spring is just around the corner. For us basketball season will end this weekend at my daughter's tournament.  Spring means a lot of different things to people. To me, it is the start of fair season.  In... [More]

Sun is Shining Bright

I am writing this on the last day of January. The sun is shining bright which is a rarity lately. But I thought about how the sun shining with moisture on the ground is a completely different scenario than the sun shining when the ground is desperate for a drink.  That led... [More]

Five Things

If I described the climate here as cold, wet, foggy, with snow packed, slick, icy roads, you would not picture Syracuse, Kansas. Yet here we are. If you aren’t driving in it, it really is quite beautiful. And I am excited for the moisture on the planted wheat.  It... [More]

Lend A Hand Up

How crazy is this weather? Between the blizzard and the cold snap, the promise of 40 degree days feels like spring is here! The kids had two days off then this week we had a two hour delay at school. But the extreme temperatures caused a few hiccups in our lives. Our dogs couldn't... [More]

Grateful

Getting home after being on the road for so long feels incredible. I woke up in the middle of the night wishing I was home only to realize I was in my own bed! A blizzard came through and while I love my daughter’s school I was grateful for the couple of days off. ... [More]

More Country By The Day

We spent the week on the road and in Arizona for several days at a national livestock show.   I am writing this as we are driving home, and, as the roads become two lane highways and less and less traffic I am smiling. I have come to love wide open spaces more and more. ... [More]

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SPORTS

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STATE GOLF RESULTS

State golf on Monday had the Varsity Bulldogs miss playing in the finals as a team by one stroke. They finished seventh out of twelve teams.  On Day 1, Brody Keller shot a 92 missing day two by two strokes. Ian Brummett shot a 95, Mason Scott  and Johnny TeVelde shot... [More]

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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

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]

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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]

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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]

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NEWS

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RAGING FIRE BRINGS COMMUNITY TOGETHER

The call came across the radios of a fire in northwest Hamilton County, near County Road L and 7. Fire trucks raced through town, sirens blaring. Farmers loaded up water trailers, tractors, disks, and a community banded together to help save Daryle Lewis home as well as keep... [More]

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SHS ALUMNI RETURNS TO WESTERN KS

“Being back in a small town is the single most enjoyable thing so far.  The city it not as much fun as what it’s made out to be, at least once you have kids!"   Thomas Eddy DPM, son of Kent and Melanie Eddy, has returned to western Kansas, living in... [More]

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Schwieterman Wins YFR Award

Scot Schwieterman, a local hay and forage producer was named the Young Farmer and Rancher of the Year at the Kansas Farm Bureau YF&R Leadership Conference in Manhattan February 2-4.  The conference is designed to provide educational and networking opportunities for young... [More]

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A NEW EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY COMES TO SYRACUSE

“Now I can learn right along with my child and know how I can help him to read.”   The Bulldog Cafeteria was the site for joy, laughter, and a trial run for a new educational opportunity when Syracuse Elementary School opened its doors to 25 families for Decodable... [More]

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Maria's Family Restaurant

Local people, local atmosphere, local family establishment. Owners Mario Moreno and Maria Leyva want the message out that Maria's Family Restaurant is open for business and ready to serve the community of Syracuse. Mario is the Safety Supervisor at Fullmer Cattle Company. For... [More]

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LOCALS MARATHON FOR THE BIRDS

While some may think running a marathon is for the birds, three local residents. Elizabeth Thomeczek, and Colten and Magen Soelzer took it to a whole other level and did in fact run the “For the Birds” marathon in Hilo, Hawaii, December 17, a race which supports... [More]

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STULTZ: AMERICAN IMPLEMENT TECHNICIAN OF THE YEAR

Ben Stultz, 2010 SHS graduate has been named John Deere’s Technician of the Year for 2023, working out of the Syracuse location. In addition, he is one of American Implement’s top contributors to their internal Technical Communicator team, and one of American Implement’s... [More]

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A Look Inside

It's on everyone's mind, "How is the Hamilton County Library's expansion project going?" I sat down with Library Director Amy Brucker to get some details. They broke ground in late July. While weather did not cause delays, the delivery of the structural steel in November did.... [More]

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OBITUARIES

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Ron Seybert

  Funeral services for Granada, Colorado resident, Ronald Seybert, will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2024 at Valley Memorial Funeral Chapel in Holly, Colorado with Pastor Kathy Leathers officiating.  Interment will follow in the Holly Cemetery. Visitation will be... [More]

Robert Wagner

Mass of Christian Burial for Robert Wagner will be held at 10:00 a.m. and Recitation of the Rosary at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, March 6, 2024 at St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church in Holly, Colorado. Reverend Mario Jose Parlingayan, S.S.S. will officiate. Interment will follow in... [More]

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 Dallas Wayne McNitt

Born March 6th, 1932 in Syracuse, Kansas. Passed January 28, 2024 in Fort Worth, Texas.  Dallas lived in Syracuse, Kansas, until joining the US Army in 1951. Returning to Syracuse after the army, he met his future wife, Phyllis. They were married in 1954.  Dallas... [More]

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John “Butch” McCracken

John “Butch” Charles McCracken, 84 June 28th, 1939 – February 2, 2024   Funeral Services for Holly, Colorado resident, Butch McCracken will be held at Valley Memorial Funeral Chapel in Holly, CO on Saturday, February 10, 2024 at 10 am with Pastor... [More]

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Raymond Walters

A Memorial Service for Raymond Walters will be held at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, February 8, 2024 at the Bent County-Las Animas Cemetery Elder Chapel in Las Animas, Colorado. Raymond J. Walters was born on March 20, 1980 in Aurora, Colorado to William Walters and Rose “Wendy”... [More]

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Greysen Ray Holmes

Greysen Ray Holmes, 22 months old, is the son of Collin and Ashley (Myers) Holmes and has an older brother, Nathan Alexander Holmes, 3 and a half years old. Greysen is such an amazing young boy who loves following his brother around, running around and getting into things.... [More]

Ben Cook

Ben Cook, cremation has taken place and services will be held at a later date. Benjamin Ray Cook affectionately known as Ben, was born in Syracuse, Kansas on January 25, 1983 to David and Terri (Eckas) Cook. He departed this life suddenly on January 12, 2024 at the age of 40.... [More]

Loretta Mae York Watson-Connor

Loretta Mae York Watson-Connor, 82, passed away Wednesday, January 17, 2024 at the Hamilton County Hospital ISB in Syracuse, Kansas. She was born July 29, 1941 in Leoti, Kansas the daughter of Dempsey & Leona Connor. Loretta grew up in Syracuse and as a child she enjoyed... [More]

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