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State Debaters Fall Short In Preliminary Rounds

Posted 1/26/2017

By Jared Janzen

HALSTEAD—Halstead High School had four representatives at the 1A, 2A and 3A State Debate Tournament last weekend in Lyons.

In preliminary rounds, each team of two debates six other teams for the chance for a spot in the quarterfinals. Neither of Halstead’s teams qualified for the next round.

The team of sophomore Sara Lee and senior Kenzie Galloway went 2-4, and the team of junior Emily Gerhardt and sophomore Christian Wiedeman went 3-3.

“All of them debated very well and I was very proud of them,” Debate Coach Andrew Bauer said. “We took a step forward this year and we have something to build off for next year.”

The State Tournament was originally scheduled for the weekend of Jan. 13-14, but was postponed a week due to forecasts of icy weather.

The resolution that debate teams across the country have focused on this year is “Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic and/or diplomatic engagement with the People’s Republic of China.”

In the six preliminary rounds, each team took the affirmative stance for three rounds and the negative stance for three rounds.

The Halstead students who competed at this year’s State Tournament are the first to represent Halstead at State in at least five years, and possibly longer. The last time Bauer knows for sure that Halstead was at state debate was in 2006.

To qualify for state, debaters must have competed in at least four meets above the novice level and have better than a 50 percent winning record.

For Kenzie Galloway, the chance to compete at the State Debate Tournament was stressful and challenging, yet still rewarding.

“We all worked to the best of our abilities and even though the stress level was definitely higher than regular meets, we all had our heads in the game,” Galloway said. “And even though the result wasn't exactly as we expected, we all grew closer as a team.”

Since Galloway is a senior, she won’t have the opportunity to aim for a repeat appearance at state, but that hasn’t stopped her from encouraging her teammates to have an even more successful season next year.

“I'm graduating this year but I keep telling the others that they are so talented that they are only going to keep getting better next year,” she said.

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Newton Builder To Construct Three Spec Homes In Bentley

Posted 1/26/2017

By Jared Janzen

BENTLEY—The Bentley Land Bank is moving forward with plans to have spec homes built on three lots in the Castle Estates edition, with the first to be completed sometime this spring.

Last Thursday, Land Bank members met with two real estate agents, Stephanie Mayes and Amy Guhr, both RE/MAX associates from Newton. Mayes and Guhr will list these three previously unlisted lots as “coming soon” and have found a builder who has agreed to the project.

The three lots in question are the two on the north end of Oxford Street on the east side and one on North Devinshire Avenue just north of the lot with a private swimming pool. The lots are ready for digging, as they already have city services of water, sewer and electricity ready for hookups.

Dan Harder with Heritage Home Works out of Newton will build the spec homes with a value not exceeding $210,000.

“He does custom work; he’s not a true spec home, cookie-cutter-neighborhood builder, so he’s kind of going out on a little adventure for Bentley to get you a product,” Mayes said.

Mayes said there’s always risks involved for builders to commit to spec homes, so the fact that Harder has agreed means he sees good possibilities in Bentley.

Having spec homes to showcase will provide a more concrete way to attract new residents rather than just grassy lots. Mayes said that not many people are able to envision their family home when driving by an empty lot.

“It’s hard to sell a dream with crabgrass,” she said.

Land Bank member James Roberts offered the realtors the land bank’s assistance in whatever was needed, saying they were “ready to get something in motion.”

To continue reading, please see this week's print edition.

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Halstead Area Resident Attends Presidential Inauguration

Posted 1/26/2017

By Jared Janzen

HALSTEAD—A representative from Halstead was among the large crowds of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington D.C. last Friday to witness the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump. Craig Sooter was one of the witnesses in the nation’s capital for the historic moment.

“I think it’s something that if you like anything in politics and government, you ought to go once,” Sooter said. “This was a good one to be at.”

This is the first time Sooter has been to a presidential inauguration. He said he had been considering the idea ever since Election Day but hadn’t known whether he would be able to get off from work. It wasn’t until last Tuesday, just days before the ceremony, that Sooter knew for sure he’d be able to attend.

Sooter called his friend Justin Armbrister, who used to live in Halstead but now lives in Blue Ridge, Texas, to see if he wanted to come too. At first, Justin turned the offer down, but later called Sooter back saying he would, and that his wife, Wendi, and son, J.R., wanted to come too.

CRAIG Sooter said President Trump’s Inaugural address was his favorite part of the trip.CRAIG Sooter said President Trump’s Inaugural address was his favorite part of the trip.“The flights going there, they were full,” Sooter said. “I just happened to get the last seat on Tuesday on a certain flight, but they were all full.” For the Armbristers, they had to fly into Philadelphia and drive the rest of the way.

On Inauguration Day, Sooter and the Armbristers got an early start, taking the Metro at 6 a.m. from where they were staying in Springfield, Virginia into D.C. By 6:45, they were at the National Mall.

“We got there early,” Sooter said. “I would guess about 9:30 or 10 was when people really started piling in.”

To get in, they had to pass through metal detector security checkpoints. Crowds of spectators were fenced off into different zones to help with security.

CRAIG Sooter said President Trump’s Inaugural address was his favorite part of the trip.CRAIG Sooter said President Trump’s Inaugural address was his favorite part of the trip.“Listening to people talk that had been to (inaugurations) before, this was the first time they had cordoned sections off, so it was very well laid out on where you went in,” he said.

Sooter and J.R. were seated behind the reflecting pool, while Justin and Wendi were about 50 yards farther back.

“We were considerably close,” Sooter said. “We weren’t in a position where dignitaries were, but let’s put it this way—there were a lot of people behind us.”

During the hours-long wait for the inauguration to take place, it did rain on them a little around 8:30, and Sooter said that along with the 40 degree temperature might have caused some people to leave. Umbrellas were not allowed, just plastic covers. The rain cleared when the time came for the swearing in.

Sooter said the highlight of the day for him was hearing President Trump give his speech, which he said was uplifting.

“All during his speech, people were at attention,” he said. “It was just phenomenal the way people paid attention. Every once in a while someone would start chanting ‘USA, USA, USA’ and that chant just went across the wave of people.”

To continue reading, please see this week's print edition.

Officers Run Off Road During High-Speed Chase

Posted 1/26/2017

HESSTON--Thursday afternoon, Hesston police officers were involved in a six-department high-speed chase that ended in an arrest.

The call began as a gas theft with a stolen tag in Canton, and evolved into a chase that went down Ridge Road, onto North Newton on K-15 and I-135 according to Hesston Police Chief Doug Schroeder, who was involved in the pursuit. 

During the chase, Schroeder said the suspect ran two officers off the road. 

"On Dutch Avenue the man intentionally came into my lane of traffic, head-on, and tried to run me off the road.  He did the same thing to a Newton unit and a KHP Unit at Dutch Avenue and Hoover.  Those two had to put their cars in the ditch to avoid a head-on collision," he said. 

Schroeder said he anticipates the suspect will come up on several charges, including aggravated assault of a police officer.

In addition to endangering officers on the road, a Hesston patrol vehicle was lost to a fire when officers pulled onto the side of the road after the suspect crashed.

The patrol vehicle's heat caused the dry grass below to ignite, catching the vehicle on fire while officers pursued the suspect on foot. 

For more on the chase, as well as information on charges and the lost vehicle, see the Feb. 2 edition of The Hesston Record.

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