Local second grader meets with Senator John Doll

Some memories leave a lasting impression on young hearts. Perhaps for one young Kansan who dreams of someday becoming president of the United States, a visit with a current Kansas legislator will be one such memory.

Hugoton second grader Jefferson Diaz and his family saw the state Capitol in Topeka from top to bottom February 1 as the special guests of Senator John Doll, from Garden City.

Diaz met Senator Doll at a reading program event at his school in November. The legislator invited him to visit the Statehouse after the student said it’s his goal to someday become president of the U.S.

Diaz participates in the Kansas Reading Roadmap (KRR) early literacy program at Hugoton Elementary School, a program that helps students from Kindergarten through third grade improve their reading proficiency. Senator Doll met Diaz when he visited an evening event at the school called LIFE (Literacy Integrated Family Engagement). Diaz and his family were accompanied by Hugoton KRR Program Coordinator Jacque Teeter.

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Register now to win Sweetheart Sweepstakes

Believe it or not, Valentine’s Day is next week! If you haven’t got your gift yet, don’t worry! Local Hugoton merchants have got you covered! Every winning couple chosen will then be entered into the 2018 Sweetheart Sweepstakes drawing for a chance to win a $50 Chamber gift certificate. For the Valentine’s sweepstakes, only couples are eligible to win. The winners will be drawn Thursday, February 15.

While you’re ordering your sweetheart’s Valentine bouquet, sign up at Creative Specialties for a $25 gift certificate. If you’re browsing the aisles at Yardmaster, you can register there for a $25 gift certificate.

In case your love harbors a devotion to shopping, Janet’s Bridal and Boutique has you covered! Register at 1010 Van Buren for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate.

If  you and your sweetie like to dine out, several local restaurants will help you with the perfect setting! Pizza Hut is offering a free large pizza to their winners, while Jet Drive-In is giving away two free dinners and drinks. Prefer more exotic cuisine? Then head over to acosta’s & Nieto’s Cafe or Los Agaves Bar and Grill to register to win a $25 gift certificate! You can eat your fill of egg rolls and Chow Mein with two $25 gift certificates from China!

If you’re feeling ambitious enough to tackle one of your “honey-do” list items in time for Valentine’s Day, register to win a $20 Gift Certificate at Bultman Inc., while you pick up supplies! Bultman Tire Center also has your back if your to-do includes some vehicle maintenance, with a $50 gift certificate for their winning couple.

In the event you don’t know what your loved one wants, a subscription to The Hermes is always a good fit! Register at The Hugoton Hermes for a chance to win a free year’s subscription. You can also let them pick their own gift, by signing up at First National Bank for a chance to win $25 in cold hard cash! Let Citizens State Bank handle the bankroll with their $20 Gas Capital Dollars, good at any Hugoton Chamber member business.

Be sure to sign up at Hugoton Drug. They will be giving their winners a $25 gift certificate. While at Buffie’s sign up for a chance to win a bottle of CND Almond Moistue Therapy Lotion and a chance to become the Sweetheart Sweepstakes winners.

Stevens Retail Pharmacy is giving to their winner couple a $20 gift card. While shopping at Flatlanders sign up for a chance at their $25 gift certificate and while shopping at the Little Gift Shop in the Corner at the Stevens County Hospital sign up for a chance to be named Sweetheart Sweepstakes and receive their prize of your choice of jewelry.

Wherever you decide to do your Valentine’s shopping – make sure to show your local vendors some love this February!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Groundhog Suppers bring community together

One Ground Hog Supper is in the books – the Hugoton United Methodist Men’s meal took place Saturday evening at Memorial Hall – and two more are on the agenda for this weekend! So be sure to bring the whole family – and a biiiig appetite – to the festivities at Lone Star Friends Church and Moscow United Methodist Church.

Lone Star plans sixty-first event with all the fixin’s

The sixty-first annual Ground Hog Supper at Lone Star Friends Church will be served from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Friday, February 2, 2018.

Their extensive menu will feature all the delicious players: homemade biscuits and gravy, sausage, hash browns, green beans and salads as well as prize- worthy homemade pies and cakes. A free-will offering will be accepted. Come enjoy the food and fellowship!

To get to Lone Star Friends Church from Hugoton, just travel 14 miles east of town on Highway 51.

Moscow’s UMC aims to fill bellies with tasty food

Moscow United Methodist Church announces they’ll be serving their famous Groundhog Supper this Saturday, February 3 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Be sure to get there early to grab your plate and pile it high with all the scrumptious fixings: sausage, ribs, tenderloin, BBQ pork, pickled heart, liver and onions, sauerkraut, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, sausage gravy, biscuits and BBQ baked beans. And don’t forget about all those mouthwatering homemade pies! Coffee, tea and pink lemonade will be available to drink. A free will offering will be taken. Take-out plates will also be available.

Moscow UMC is located at 300 Ransom.

Homecoming festivities start this week

Hugoton High School will host their 2018 Winter Homecoming festivities all week. The King will be crowned Wednesday, January 31 during the pep rally in the HHS West Gym, starting at 3:00 p.m. King candidates include seniors Dawson Burnett, Manny Mendoza and Eric Perry.

The Homecoming Queen will be crowned during halftime of the varsity boys’ game Friday evening, February 2. The game starts at 8:00 p.m. Queen candidates are seniors Jayden Korf, Abigail Marioni and Skyelynn Muñoz. Attendants are junior Hannah Archuleta, sophomore Johanna Bojorquez and freshman Molly McClure. The Homecoming semi-formal dance will be in the high school cafeteria Saturday, February 3 from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m.

Due to the short week – no school Thursday or Friday – there will be only three Spirit Days, so make sure to dress up! This year’s theme is the Olympics.

High School and Middle School Spirit Days are as follows:
Monday – Represent a country for the Olympics
Tuesday – Team Tuesday (represent your HHS / HMS team, your Rec team, Team Disney, etc.)
Wednesday – Represent an Olympic sport

Elementary and ECDC Spirit Days are as follows:
Monday – Red, White & Blue Day
Tuesday – Team Day
Wednesday – Sport Day

So make sure to get all your Eagle apparel ready for next Friday’s Homecoming games against the Goodland Cowboys and Cowgirls. Both girls’ and boys’ JV will kick off the evening of Eagle basketball at 4:45 p.m., followed by the girls’ varsity and boys’ C team at 6:30 p.m., then finally the boys’ varsity and girls’ C games at 8:00 p.m.

Go Big Blue! #EaglePride #WeR210

UMC to host Ground Hog Supper Saturday

Make sure to bring a big appetite this Saturday, January 27! The Hugoton United Methodist Church will be hosting their annual Ground Hog Supper.

The Hugoton United Methodist Men will host their supper at Memorial Hall at Sixth and Monroe in Hugoton from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The menu features all the staples of a delicious “ground hog” meal: sausage, hot biscuits, mashed potatoes and gravy, sauerkraut and ribs, applesauce and pies! There will be coffee and milk to drink. Bulk sausage will also be for sale. A free will offering will be taken.

Be sure to get out and enjoy some great food and excellent company this Saturday!

Tom Hicks has dedicated well over half his life in service to the Hugoton community – not least as City Clerk for the last 40 years. He’s raised children, coached Rec sports, and even written for The Hermes. He was born here, graduated HHS – Class of 1970 – married here, and seen kids and grandkids born here. He spent a couple years east at Hutch Community College, then three more northeast at KU, where he graduated with an accounting degree. Somehow, he resisted the pull of small-town southwest Kansas for an extra semester back in his college days – opting to stay in Lawrence to cheer on the Jayhawks from the student section for his final semester.

When Tom was finally done cheering for the Jayhawks – at least from the student section – he came back home, where he was appointed City Clerk under then-Mayor Paul L. Thomas.

The City of Hugoton has been responsible for itself – not under county management – for 112 years, and Tom’s been there for over a third of them. He started working for the City of Hugoton as soon as he graduated HHS, back in June 1970, when he served four summers as regular summer help. When his intentions of going to school for accounting become clear, the City – namely Everett Rowden – saw Tom’s potential and moved him into the office.

Upon his graduation from the University of Kansas, Tom went to work for the City and became City Clerk in 1978. Back then, Tom remembers, “…you had to physically insert ledger cards into [an early computer]…” and preparing the City bills took a full week. While that seems like a snail’s pace in today’s fast-paced world, Tom opines that perhaps those days were better, if only in terms of accuracy. “When you actually stuck every ledger card in, you would look at the bill.” Now, computers, servers and internet payments expedite the process. Before the advent of computers – at least those small enough to fit in an office – accounting had to be done by hand daily. Neat rows of numbers all adding up – thanks to brainpower, not megabytes.

Tom’s been with the City through six mayors – Bob Brown back in 1971, Paul Thomas, Robert Gill, Tom Greenway, Neal Gillespie and current Mayor Jack Rowden. He claims he could never pick a favorite, but said, “All the mayors have been great. They’ve all been supportive of me, and I appreciate that.” Regarding Hugoton, Tom believes the town has been fortunate in that the community has not only held their own, but has experienced growth in the past 40 years.

Tom’s been riding his bicycle to work ever since he started back in 1970. As long as the weather is above freezing, he commutes under his own steam via two wheels. Participating in Bike Across Kansas has been a dream for many years, but due to his coaching commitments, Tom had been unable to take part. When he got out of coaching for a few years, it was time. He sent in his money, began training . . . and got a hernia. After recuperating for a couple of years, he entered BAK again, only to be sidelined with a broken wrist suffered during a turn from Sixth onto Washington. Tom’s son Nathan forbade his father, saying, “You’re not doing that again. You’re moving up. Next time it’ll be your head!” So Tom’s dream of participating in Bike Across Kansas has been put aside.

Tom’s been riding his bicycle to work ever since he started back in 1970. As long as the weather is above freezing, he commutes under his own steam via two wheels. Participating in Bike Across Kansas has been a dream for many years, but due to his coaching commitments, Tom had been unable to take part. When he got out of coaching for a few years, it was time. He sent in his money, began training . . . and got a hernia. After recuperating for a couple of years, he entered BAK again, only to be sidelined with a broken wrist suffered during a turn from Sixth onto Washington. Tom’s son Nathan forbade his father, saying, “You’re not doing that again. You’re moving up. Next time it’ll be your head!” So Tom’s dream of participating in Bike Across Kansas has been put aside.

However, he’ll probably find plenty to do. Upon his retirement, Tom and wife Malissa will be heading to Surprise, Az., where they’ve purchased a “casita” in Sun Village. Two other Hugoton couples living in Sun Village checked out the “little house” for them, approved it, and Tom and Malissa bought the property sight-unseen. The couple did get to see their new place over New Year’s weekend – and thankfully, they’re sure they made the right choice. They’ll leave for their piece of paradise early next month. Their plan is to travel back and forth – 840 miles one way – for the first year. The new home is conveniently located in the heart of 15 pro baseball teams’ spring training facilities – which really sealed the deal for Tom, an avid baseball fan.

Congratulations, Tom, and thanks for your service to the community. Hopefully your days are filled with ping-pong, tennis, live shows, plenty of sun – and don’t forget baseball!

The City will host a come-and-go retirement reception for Tom at the City Office Wednesday, January 31 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. The public is cordially invited!

Commodities will be distributed January 23

Commodities will be distributed to Stevens County residents
Tuesday, January 23 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
at the VFW Building
, 300 S. Monroe in Hugoton.

Food is distributed thanks to The Emergency Food Assistance Program or TEFAP.
Volunteers from Peace House Ministries facilitate the distribution.
For more information, contact Patty Bultman at 620-428-2046 or Kristin Farnum at 620-453-0933.

Income Guidelines:
Household Size                           Maximum Monthly Income
1                                                           $1307
2                                                           $1760
3                                                           $2213
4                                                           $2665
5                                                           $3118
6                                                           $3571
For each additional family member, add $453

Fire claims 400 cotton modules

At 11:59 a.m. Sunday, January 7, 2018, the Stevens County Fire Department was dispatched to a fire at the Northwest Cotton Growers Gin Inc. Upon arrival the decision was made to request mutual aid. Seven Kansas County Fire departments, one Oklahoma Fire Department, three Emergency Managers, Stevens County Health Department and the Red Cross responded to the call.

Community response was overwhelming – members brought equipment, food and drinks.

The fire started when a spark made it out to the bur pile and tumbled down, fueled by wind, igniting the entire pile.

According to Incident Commander Rodney Kelling, at one point there were 60 firefighters fighting to contain the fire in 40 to 45 mph winds. Smoke made visibility near zero and Highway 56 was closed and rerouted. The road is now open to traffic.

The fire is 100% contained but there are still hot spots being monitored. The Fire Department’s quick response helped keep the fire contained to the cotton modules and there was no damage to the cotton gin structure itself.

At this time, Mindy Gillespie, Office Manager, said the estimated loss is 400 modules which equals 4,000 bales of finished cotton product – a large loss. There has not been a final dollar amount established at this time.

Submitted by Susan Schulte, Stevens County PIO.

Tom Hicks tenders resignation

The Hugoton City Council met December 26, 2017 for their end of the year meeting.  Attending the meeting were Mayor Jack E. Rowden and Councilmen Dean Banker, Dan Corpening, Shannon Crawford and Frankie Thomas.  Others present were Assistant Cty Clerk Carrie Baeza, City Inspector Josh Grubbs, City Clerk Thomas G. Hicks, Chief of Police Courtney Leslie, and Electric and Park Systems Supervisor Gary Rowden. Councilman Jason Teeter was absent.

The council approved the motion for the uncollectible utility accounts in the amount of $4,622,43 to be charged off with every effort made to collect the accounts.

City Clerk Hicks presented a proposed ordinance to reduce electric rates by $.004 per kWh. The motion passed unanimously. The city has now reduced electric rates by one cent per kWh since 2015.

The council passed a motion granting a 3% increase in salaries and wages for city employees and officers, effective January 1, 2018.

City Clerk Thomas G. Hicks presented offical notice of his retirement, effective February 1, 2018. The meeting adjourned. Their next meeting is scheduled for January 8, 2018 at 5:15 p.m

The New Year is almost here!

Believe it or not – 2018 is almost here! Many people celebrate the new year by staying up until midnight to ensure the year arrives to much fanfare. As a result, nearly everyone is tired when New Year’s Day dawns – so several businesses have announced they’ll have special hours.

The City of Hugoton and City of Moscow will be closed Monday, January 1. The Stevens County Treasurer’s Office will be closed to the public Friday, December 29 for year-end business. The courthouse will also be closed Monday. Commissioners will meet Tuesday, January 2. The Post Office will be closed for New Years Day only.

Toot N Totum, Circle K, and Rolla Corner Stop will all be open Monday, while Eagles Landing and The Store in Moscow will be closed New Years Day. Thrifty King and Dollar General announced they will be open regular hours throughout the holiday. Twisted H Liquor and Thrifty King Liquor will be closed Monday only.

Citizens State Bank and First National Bank will be closed Monday only. Flatlanders will be open from noon to 5:00 p.m. Sunday for New Years Eve, and will be closed Monday. Hi-Plains Lumber will be closed Saturday, December 30 through New Year’s Day. They’ll reopen Tuesday with regular hours.

Stevens County Medical Clinic will have Saturday clinic, but will be closed Monday. The Retail Pharmacy will close at 5:00 p.m. Friday, December 29, but will reopen for Saturday morning. They will be closed New Years Day. Hugoton Drug reported they’ll close Monday only.

Make sure to stock up on books, movies and games as the Stevens County Library will be closed Monday and Tuesday. The Hermes will be closed January 1, but will reopen with regular hours Tuesday. Early deadline for the January 4 paper is Friday, December 29 at 12:00 noon. The Senior Center will be closed New Years Day.

Have a very Happy and Safe New Year!