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106th Halloween is a success despite COVID-19 pandemic

Saturday was a beautiful fall day with a full moon for the 106th Hiawatha Halloween Parade and Queen crowning.

The year 2020 has posed many challenges as communities struggle to have activities despite the COVID-19 pandemic, however the Hiawatha Chamber and Visitors Bureau scheduled this year’s Halloween Frolic to keep with the 106 year old tradition started in 1914 by Mrs. Elizabeth Krebs.

Many Frolic activities were virtual this year — including kids costume contests, horror photo contest, cemetery tours and a few others. The Business Costume contest was held in person on Friday and was sponsored by GNBank and voting for the best decorated houses was done during trick or treat nights on Oct. 29-30.

The Halloween Queen pageant was held the weekend prior to Halloween, sponsored by the HCVB Queen coordinator Ciara Nioce and her committee.

Nioce said the contest was all held virtually this year. The candidates submitted their applications on Oct. 16, along with a video of them presenting their essays and a talent by Oct. 21. On Sunday, Oct. 25, they had a scheduled interview with the judging panel via Microsoft Teams.

Nioce said that as as well as being judged on their essay, the contestants were judged on leadership, community involvement, scholastic achievements, and had to answer two interview questions in front of a panel of judges.

The crowning was held on the steps of the Brown County Courthouse at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, following a flag presentation by members of the Homer White American Legion Post 66.

There were eight local candidates: This year’s Halloween candidates were Miss Everest Tommi-Anne McAfee, Miss Hiawatha Ashlynn Henry, Miss Horton Avery Wischroopp, Miss Wemore Alyssa Bloom, Miss Wathena Grace Feuerbacher, Miss Robinson Raven Stroud and Miss Sabetha Leah Reyner.

The 2020 Hiawatha Halloween Queen is Miss Horton Avery Wischropp (left) and Miss Congenality is Miss Wetmore Alyssa Bloom. The 1st Runner Up is Miss Abetha Leah Renyer, who was not pictured and unable to attend Saturday evenings crowning ceremony on the steps of the Brown County Courthouse due to her participation in the state volleyball tournament for the Sabetha Lady Bluejays.

The Halloween Queen receives a $1,000 scholarship, sponsored by Rainbow Communications; 1st Runner-Up a $500 scholarship and Miss Congeniality a $250 scholarship.

The other two scholarships come from any monetary donations the Queen fund receives. This year the fund received $250 total from Dr. Jordan Haedt, Casino White Cloud and Morrill & Janes Bank.

The Afternoon Kiddie Parade and Frolic activities around the courthouse were not held this year as the HCVB wanted to provide a safe environment for the community and focus on the evening Grand Parade.

This year’s Grand Parade kicked off at 7 p.m. with volunteer Chris Diller announcing and playing Halloween music. There was no registration this year — the parade was an all-inclusive one, with many of the vehicles starting at the high school, led by the Hiawatha Police Department. The parade route included all of Oregon and First and the turn around point was at the high school Red Hawk Drive.

Chamber officials said they were very pleased by the participation and the creativity of the vehicles. Some people went all out with streamers, balloons, big pumpkins on their hoods, blow up vehicles an much more. One family — the Koerperich/Chandler family created a traditional float with the theme of Cinderella.

“The 2020 Halloween Frolic was a bit different this year, but the Chamber Board and Frolic Committee worked to find ways to carry on our traditions,” said Sarah Kleopfer, Chamber Administrator. “We were able to continue most or all of our traditional contests such as poster, pumpkin decorating, Miss Mary Costume Contest, Business Costume Contest and others. Thanks to everyone who sponsored the contests and to those who participated. The parade looked different, but still was very successful. People really showed up and did a great job decorating vehicles and participating. We kept our tradition going!”

For a complete list of contest winners check out the B section of Friday’s Hiawatha World or go to the Hiawatha Frolic Facebook site.

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2020 General Election - voters elect two new Hiawatha City Commissioners

(Editors Note: results are not official until they are canvassed by the Brown County Commission after provisional votes are counted).

Voters hit the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 3 to exercise their right to vote.

This year’s presidential election has garnered much attention as President Donald Trump (R) was challenged by Joe Biden (D). Libertarian Joe Jorgensen was also vying for the position. In Brown County, Trump defeated Biden nearly three to one in the popular vote.

By Thursday morning, the votes were still being counted and Biden had begun to pull ahead with Electoral Votes. As of press time Thursday, Biden had received 264 of the Electoral Votes and Trump 214. In the popular vote, Biden also led 72,723,151 to Trump’s 69,127,275.

In local election highlights, the Hiawatha City Commission races garnered much attention and the results ended in two upsets as former Hiawatha Police Chief Evans Woehlecke upset incumbent Police Commissioner Dustin Williams 719 to 636. In another upset, challenger Brian Shefferd beat incumbent Commissioner of Utilities Toni Hull 797 to 525.

In the other city commission race, Commissioner of Parks and Streets Becky Shamburg narrowly held onto her seat as she was challenged by two people — Nicholas Blevins and Paul Mendez. The final tally: Shamburg 612; Blevins 570 and Mendez 179.

In addition, the voters made decisions on state and U.S. positions for Senate and Congress. Locally, two county commission positions were unopposed in the general election as were several other county positions including Treasurer, Register of Deeds and County Attorney. Three Hiawatha City Commissioners all had challengers for their positions.

The Brown County Clerk’s office reported a 70 percent turnout with 4,220 of the 6,289 registered voters coming out to vote. Of those, there was 1,704 voters choosing advance voting.


The following positions were decided by the Brown County and U.S. voters:

U.S. President: Winner Joe Biden; Incumbent Trump/Pence (R) 3,262 Brown County votes and 71,056,016 overall and Biden and Harris (D) 1,104 Brown County votes and 76,644,439 overall.

For the U.S. House 2nd District: Winner — Jake LaTurner; Michelle De LaIsla (D) 1,162 Brown County votes and 130,756 overall ; Robert Garrard (L) 174 Brown County votes and 13,504 overall ; Jake LaTurner (R) 3,014 Brown County votes and 180,144 overall.

Senate 1st District: Winner — Dennis Pyle; Incumbent Dennis Pyle (R) 2,919 Brown County votes and 24,776 overall ; Kirk Miller (D) 1,435 Brown County votes and 9,774 overall.

Representative 62nd District: Winner — Incumbent Randy Garber (R) is running unopposed 3,662 Brown County votes.

U.S. Senate: Winner — Roger Marshall; Barbara Bollier (D) 1,193 Brown County votes and 5552,952 overall, Jason Buckley (L) 255 Brown County votes and 63,629 overall , Roger Marshall (R) 2,975 Brown County votes and 711,069 overall.

Hiawatha City Commission

Commissioner of Police (four-year term): Winner — Evans Woehlecke; Incumbent Dustin Williams (R) 636 votes; L. Evans Woehlecke (R) 719 votes.

Commissioner of Streets and Parks (four-year term): Winner — Becky Shamburg; Incumbent Becky Shamburg (D) 612 votes ; Paul Mendez (D)179 votes ; Nicholas Blevins (R) 570 votes.

Commissioner of Utilities (four-year term): Winner — Brian Shefferd ;Incumbent Toni J. Hull (D) 525 votes ; Brian Shefferd (R) 797 votes .

Brown County

(All positions unopposed)

District Judge District 22, Div 2 (four-year term): Incumbent John Weingart (R) unopposed and had 3,906 votes.

County Commission: Commissioner Dwight Kruse lost to challenger William Pollock in the primary for the District 3 Commission seat and Commissioner Keith Olsen did not file for re-election for District 2 Commission. Lamar Shoemaker is the only candidate running for Olsen’s seat. In the General Election, Pollock had 1,005 votes and Shoemaker 1,232.

Brown County Clerk (four-year term): Dawn Boyles (R) has filed for the position currently held by Melissa Gormley, who initially filed for re-election, but withdrew. Boyles ran unopposed and had 3,867 votes.

Brown County Treasurer (four-year term): Betty (BJ) Spiker (R) beat Anne Olson (R) in the primary election and ran unopposed and had 3,813 votes.

Brown County Register of Deeds (four-year term): Nellie Brockhoff (R) ran unopposed and had 3,897 votes.

Brown County Attorney (four-year term): Kevin Hill (R) ran unopposed and had 3,561 votes.

Brown County Sheriff (four-year term): John D. Merchant Sr. (R) beat challenger Dennis Entrikin (R) in the primary and ran unopposed in the General Election. He had 3,669 vote.

For information on township and other elections, go to brcoks.org and click on Elections and Election Results for final results.

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Community Thanksgiving Dinner is on with a few twists

The annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner in Hiawatha has a rich history, as organizers have been been serving the community for nearly 40 years.

The Community Thanksgiving Dinner started out of the Melster family restaurant so many years ago as Toby and Helen Melster, family and friends served people a special luncheon on Thanksgiving. The project grew and grew and was moved to the Fisher Community Center for several years until the Melsters partnered with the First Baptist Church many years ago to help continue the tradition that has become a favorite in Hiawatha.

Last year was the 37th annual dinner and more than 60 volunteers — including the Melster family and members of the First Baptist Church — served a total of 367 delivery/carry out meals and 150 dine in meals at the church.

This year, the tradition will continue, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Melsters and organizers from the church have made the decision that there would not be an in-person meal served at the church or delivered. Instead meal boxes will be provided early in the week of Thanksgiving, so that families can prepare their own holiday meal.

Meal boxes will be available for drive thru pickup at FBC or delivery to homebound individuals and families. On Sunday, pickup is from 3-5 p.m. and Monday from 5-7 p.m. at the church. Delivery is offered only Monday from 5-7 p.m.

Call-in or online registrations for the dinner will be taken until Nov. 8. Reservations must be made by the end of the day to receive a meal box.

The organizers are asking for financial contributions this year as well. As always, contributions directly fund the dinner and the remaining funds go directly back to the community through Christmas food baskets, Brown County food Bank and Karla’s Diaper Closet, to name a few.

This year’s take-out Thanksgiving meal boxes will cost considerably more than the traditional eat-in meal as has been served in the past. The added cost has raised the committee’s financial goal to $5,000.

All contributions can be mailed or delivered to the First Baptist Church at 210 Lodge Rd., Hiawatha, KS 66434. To sign up for a thanksgiving meal box, or give financial support, please visit FBC’s website at www.fbchiawatha.org. For information call FBC at 742-3423 or email at admin@fbchiawatha.org.