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July 19, 2018
Harvey County IndependentJuly 19, 2018 Harvey County Independent

BREAKING: Man Killed In Rural Structure Fire

Posted 7/20/2018

RURAL HALSTEAD—OneTHE workshop fire that claimed a man’s life Friday morning on South Spring Lake Road is under investigation. THE workshop fire that claimed a man’s life Friday morning on South Spring Lake Road is under investigation. man is dead following a workshop fire two miles west of Halstead Friday morning. The victim’s name has not yet been released.

Crews responded to a report of a structure fire with possible entrapment at 10:09 a.m. Friday in the 1200 block of South Spring Lake Road. The scene is between Highway 50 and Spring Lake RV Resort but is not part of the resort.

“When we responded to the scene, one of the neighbors here said that he had heard an explosion,” Halstead Fire Chief Jim VanSchaick said. “We don’t know if it was after or before the fire started.”

VanSchaick said crews had been told a person was possibly trapped inside the building. The victim was found inside a pickup truck inside the workshop and was deceased by the time crews reached him, VanSchaick said.

“We got the fire under control fairly quickly, probably within the first half hour,” VanSchaick said. “The west side of the structure is completely involved. We did keep it out of the east side. It’s kind of two buildings back-to-back.”

The building contained machine-shop equipment according to VanSchaick, such as farm implements and painting equipment.

He said the fire did not spread outside of the structure and at that time he had no speculation as to the fire’s cause.

“We’ll have more information once we have the investigation complete, and that may take a few days to get a report out for sure,” VanSchaick said.

As of about 12:45 p.m., VanSchaick said crews were still mopping up hotspots and were waiting on the state fire marshal to arrive to give confirmation on the victim’s identity and investigate the cause of the fire.

VanSchaick said he believed the man’s wife had been inside the nearby home at the time.

Fire crews from Burrton, Hesston and Newton all responded in addition to Halstead as part of these cities’ auto-aid agreement for structure fires. Bentley Fire Department also had a tanker on route that was diverted to respond to another call for Halstead.

Halstead Police, the Harvey County Sheriff’s Office, and Harvey County Emergency Management also responded.

Temperatures were in the 80s as crews continued to monitor the scene.

“We have to watch our crews really closely,” VanSchaick said. “We don’t let them stay out there very long and we send fresh people in…. The heat can play a major role. It didn’t so much in putting it out, but as far as the mop-up and staying around for the investigation, it does play a role.”

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Wendling Buys Old Hardware Store Building

Posted 7/19/2018

By Jared JanzenTHE Old Hardware Store building sold for $26,000 last Thursday to Tessa Wendling. She is considering renting it as a small-events venue and maybe eventually using it as an office to practice law. THE Old Hardware Store building sold for $26,000 last Thursday to Tessa Wendling. She is considering renting it as a small-events venue and maybe eventually using it as an office to practice law.

HALSTEAD—The Old Hardware Store’s new owner is Tessa Wendling following last week’s five-day auction of the store and its contents. The building sold for $26,000, about half its appraisal value of $52,670.

Wendling said she is not entirely sure what she’ll do with the building, but she has a few ideas. She grew up in Halstead and has been a lawyer in Chicago recently, but she is planning to more back here to her hometown.

Eventually, she said she may open a law office in the building.

“I’m not sure what I’ll do with it initially,” she said. “I think maybe I’ll open it as an event center or community space.”

She said in this case she would rent the building out as a smaller venue for events like bridal showers.

“It’s a great space,” she said.

The building was sold Thursday evening with bids starting at $10,000. Three bidders vied for its ownership, and Wendling’s father, David, put in the final bid on her behalf. 

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

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HHS Holds Volleyball Alumni Scrimmage

Posted 7/19/2018

MEMBERS of Halstead High School’s volleyball team scrimmaged against alumni volleyball players last Saturday.MEMBERS of Halstead High School’s volleyball team scrimmaged against alumni volleyball players last Saturday.HALSTEAD—A number of Halstead High School alumni returned to the volleyball court last Saturday for the first-annual HHS volleyball alumni scrimmages. Thirteen alumni were there, representing a range of classes from 1996 to 2018.

The alumni scrimmaged the high school team and then alumni scrimmaged each other. The evening ended with the alumni scrimmaging the high school team again. No scores were kept.

HHS volleyball coach Diana Schutte said a good amount of spectators came out to watch the event, which was in the auxiliary gym since the main gym is having a new floor installed.

“We had two nets going the entire scrimmage, so spectators brought lawn chairs and there were chairs all around the gym,” Schutte said.

Alumni participating in the scrimmages were Brianna Kraus (1996), Jen Majors (1999), Tiffany Wendling (2000), Shawna Will (2001), Emily Millspaugh (2002), Stacie Brenneman (2002), Linsey Farmer (2002), Steph Millspaugh (2005), Victoria Maurath (2014), Kirsten Mueller (2016), Kaytlynn Millspaugh (2018), Daphne Williams (2018), Starr Barrett (2018).

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Bulla Brings Business Experience To Bentley Council

Posted 7/19/2018

By Pilar Martin

Toyia BullaToyia BullaBENTLEY – The city’s newest council member, Toyia Bulla, brings experience in finance that could help Bentley work through issues of revenue and expense.

Bulla spent 15 years as the Chief Financial Officer for Youthville, before starting her own company to help non-profit organizations.

“We helped small non-profits with accounting, human resources, IT, marketing, and more,” Bulla said.

Bulla has always done a lot of volunteer work to give back. She is just finishing her stint on the board of a law enforcement group that supports families of officers killed in the line of duty. She applied for the council position to continue her serving others.

“My primary goal is to help the city become financially stable. It is a tough time for non-profits and government entities. We need to balance what the citizens of Bentley need with the funding we have,” Bulla said.

Bulla, who grew up a Pribbenow, thinks Bentley is a great place to live. “It’s a good community and we want to grow businesses and convince people to want to move and live here,” Bulla added.

Bulla has three sons and five grandchildren. She graduated from Haven High School, before going off to college and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Bulla was sworn in on April 26. She fills the vacancy left by Deborah Kroulik.

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