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Virtual Cemetery Tours adds to this year's Halloween Frolic

Do you know the history of the Davis Memorial? How much money did John Davis spend on this memorial where he and his wife are buried?

Or that the large white canon at the Hiawatha Cemetery is an actual artifact from the Civil War?

Or that Elizabeth Krebs — the founder of the Halloween Frolic in Hiawatha — was an orphan herself and lost three out of four of her children at a very young age?

Is the Piano House ghost story truth or lore?

Find out the answers to these questions and more by tuning in to the Hiawatha Chamber and Visitors Bureau’s “Spirits Awaken Cemetery Tours” next week on Rainbowtel.net/live or at the HCVB Halloween Frolic page on Facebook.

This is the second year for the cemetery tours — but this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has added a challenge for safely holding the tours in person. However, HCVB Board President Kate Miller said thanks to Rainbow Communications, the tours can go on — virtually.

Rainbow Communications film director Ryan Van Peursem, along with assistant Jamie Van Peursem, met members of the HCVB Cemetery Committee one evening this past week at the Mt. Hope Cemetery and the Hiawatha Cemetery for filming.

Last year’s tours were co-sponsored by the Brown County Historical Society’s Ag Museum, who sponsored the trolley and a chili supper the night of the tours. The history of our cemeteries was shared with a sold out crowd, who were given the grand tour — complete with lanterns, fog and actors in make-up who portrayed several of Hiawatha’s notable residents from the past.

The HCVB is planning an even bigger and better in-person cemetery tour for 2021, but Miller said she hopes that by viewing the video courtesy of Rainbow during Halloween week that gives the community a peek at what pleased last year’s crowds and what’s on tap for next year.

The HCVB wants to thank Rainbow Communications for partnering with them to offer this video free to viewers through their website at Rainbowtel.net/live. The video should be posted and available to watch by Monday.

In addition, Rainbow will be livestreaming the crowning of the Halloween Queen at 6:30 p.m. on Halloween night and the Grand Parade from 7-8 p.m.

Tune in to Rainbow Communications for these Frolic events to celebrate the 106th anniversary of the very first frolic in 1914, started by the “Mother of Modern Halloween” Elizabeth Krebs.

Contact the HCVB at hiawathachamber@rainbowtel.net or call 742-7136 for information on these events and others for 2020 Frolic including costume contests, haunted porch decorating contests, window painting, grand marshal and much more!

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Brown County reporting 193 COVID-19 cases, 5 deaths

The Multi-County Health Department is reporting 193 COVID-19 cases and five deaths in Brown County.

This number was updated as of Oct. 20 and also noted there were 25 active cases and no hospitalizations as of that date.

In other local counties, Atchison has seen a considerable spike in cases and is reporting 500 as of Wednesday, along with a total of five deaths. Nemaha County is reporting 264 cases, Doniphan 186 and Jackson 298. Statewide, as of Monday there are 74,456 cases, have been 3,506 hospitalizations and 952 deaths.

The Health Department is advising local residents call a healthcare provider if experiencing any signs of COVID-19. Symptoms include fever, chills, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, loss of smell or loss of taste, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

Halloween Guidance

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has issued guidance for Halloween 2020.

Not recommended:

Gatherings, events or parties with non -household members

Carnivals, festivals, live entertainment, and haunted house attractions

Door to door trick or treating – difficult to maintain proper social distance and to ensure that everyone is properly wearing face coverings

Traveling to other counties to attend fall festivals

“Trunk or treating” — difficult to avoid crowding and sharing of food


Correctly wear a cloth face covering to prevent disease spread

Avoid confined spaces, including indoor spaces that do not allow for easy social distancing Practice social distancing

Practice regular hand washing, wash often with soap and water, or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol

Clean frequently touched items

Guidance for homes accepting trick or treaters:

Wear a face covering when answering the door or coming into contact with others

Wash hands at regular intervals

Sanitize frequently touched items regularly

Do not use grab bowls

Consider placing items in your yard or 6ft apart on your porch and advise kids to take one/replenish as needed

For more guidance please visit KHDEKS.gov.

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Commission hears appeals on condemned structures

The Hiawatha City Commission held a Public Hearing on Monday evening at their regular October meeting relating to the structures that were deemed months ago to be either condemned or not meeting the minimum code for habitation.

While no property owners were present for the first Public Hearing, there were several representatives of ownership on hand. Speaking on behalf of the owner of 813 Miami Street, two of those on hand informed the commission that work had begun on the property during the summer, but has been delayed due to permit issues. The pair disagreed with the assessment that the structure is unsafe, but agreed that electric and water needed to be turned on before it would be livable. They also stated that they never received the Certified Letter sent, and that the signature on the returned card was not that of anyone who lives in their home. The Commission suggested that they have a contractor present a quote that they could then present along with proof that work could be completed.

The proposed future owner of 400 South 8th Street spoke during the Public Hearing, though her property was included on the second list and not the first. The representative said she has paid taxes on the property for five years, and is in the process of transferring ownership, but that court has been delayed due to Covid-19. She stated that she intends to begin work, but is struggling to remove a tenant from the property.

A representative of DI & CI Investments LLC was also present, and stated that work would be completed, but that it took a long time to remove a tenant, and then at least five dumpsters of trash had to be removed. This representative also cited problems with permits and utilities and stated that there had been problems with the City Code Enforcer.

Another representative of an owner was on hand and stated that they never received the certified letter announcing the public hearing.

In regards to the properties that had been deemed dangerous and unfit, the commission voted to move forward with the proposed action, which includes bringing a Resolution forward at the next meeting, which will give 30 days for properties to be repaired. The included properties are 903 Shawnee Street, 813 Miami Street, 505 Miami Street, 300 South 10th Street, 315 Oregon Street, and 802 Delaware Street.

The commission also voted to move forward to bring a Resolution on properties not meeting minimum housing codes. Properties at 308 Miami Street, 310 Hiawatha Avenue, 400 South 4th Street, 815 Hiawatha Avenue, 911 Iowa Street, 1109 Utah Street and 401 South 5th Street were included, and once the Resolution is passed, all will have until December 7th to be vacated or repaired.

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Hiawatha preparing to celebrate 2020 Halloween Frolic

It’s spooky season in Hiawatha and it’s time to Rock Around the Pumpkin Patch for the 2020 Halloween Frolic.

The Frolic has been a tradition in Hiawatha since the first year of 1914 when founder Elizabeth Krebs threw together a small parade and Halloween party for the town’s children to keep them busy and from vandalizing her flower gardens.

Since then, the Frolic has grown into a town tradition that is actually the oldest running Halloween Frolic and Parade in the nation.

The Hiawatha Chamber and Visitors Bureau is moving ahead with many of it’s favorite traditions, with a few modifications due to COVID-19.

Check out the B section of today’s issue for a complete schedule of events, along with information about this year’s Halloween Queen contestants. Find information about the Halloween Queen, window painting, contests including the Horror Photo, House Decorating, Miss Mary Costume Contest, Business Costume Contest and much more.

The winning logo was chosen and Lacey Coan’s rocking pumpkin man won! The logo will be available on T-shirts for purchase. Go to the Halloween Frolic page or contact the Chamber office or Shirt Shack in Hiawatha to purchase a T-shirt for the 2020 Halloween Frolic!

Voting has been going on all week for the Grand Marshal and the winner will be announced this coming weekend.

The Afternoon Kiddie Parade and Frolic time around the courthouse has been canceled this year.

The evening Grand Parade will still happen at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31 and is an all inclusive parade with residents encouraged to decorate vehicles and floats. All vehicles are allowed as long as they have working lights. The parade route will be First and Oregon streets and local residents are encouraged to park along the route and spread out — rather than congregate downtown as has been the norm. Rainbow Communications will livestream the parade and Chris Diller will have Halloween music playing downtown, along with commentary on the parade.

The two trick-or-treat nights are Thursday, Oct. 29 and Friday, Oct. 30. Trick or treat at your own risk and city and Chamber officials are asking that people stay in their family or friend groups, wear masks and social distance from other groups. People handing out candy are advised to wear masks and keep distance from trick or treaters. It is not advised to allow little goblins to dig their own candy out of the cauldron!

There will not be a Business Trick or Treat event this year.

Go to the HCVB Halloween Frolic page on Facebook and Instagram, or contact the Chamber office at 742-7136 or hiawathachamber@rainbowtel.net for more information.

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HP&R adds 'Glow on the Go' and Turkey Trot to fall activities

The Hiawatha Parks and Recreation is adding a returning fun event “Glow on the Go” to it’s schedule of fall events.

The HP&R recently released it’s schedule of fall events, which included flag football camps spread out over several days to keep crowds low and better social distance.

Some adjustments were made to some of the other fall events and the Terror on the Trail was postponed to 2021. However, HP&R Director Stacy Jasper and her crew created a variety of events that still will bring the Hiawatha community some fun for upcoming Halloween and the remainder of the fall.

HP&R also brought back the favorite “Glow on the Go,” set for Saturday, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. at the Hiawatha City Lake. Participants are invited to join the HP&R for this family and pet friendly neon fun walk around the gravel paths of the lake. Start and finish will be at the 4-H shelter on the south side and there will be designated parking.

There is a cost of $5 per person and each participant receives glow sticks. there will also be music, a photo booth and lots of glow. Neon costumes are encouraged. The deadline to register is Wednesday, Nov. 4.

In addition, the favorite 4th Annual Turkey Trot 5K and Mile Fun Run is set for Saturday, Nov. 22 at the Fisher Center. Registration begins at 2 p.m. with the run starting at 2:15. A mile race will be at 2:30 p.m. The family-friendly 5K is a predicted time race, so it’s not about who finishes first, but who comes in closest to the predicted time. There is a registration fee that includes a long sleeved T-shirt and a race souvenir. Deadline to enter is Nov. 10.

The following are other HP&R events coming up — go to the HP&R Facebook page for specific information on each event or call 742-7176.

Pumpkin Palooza To Go: This event is from 1-2:30 p.m. at the Fisher Center gym on Saturday, Oct. 23. Sign up for a Palooza take-home kit, full of crafts, pumpkin decorations and pre-packaged treats by Wednesday, Oct. 21. Check out the Monster Maze!

The Great Pumpkin Mile Relay and Fun Run: Set for 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31 at the middle school track — featuring two races that involve carrying pumpkins during your relay.

Pets & Pumpkins Pet Photo Contest: Email two photos of your pet — one before to verify and one “in costume” to sjasper@cityofhiawatha.org by 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23. Facebook voting next week to end on the 30th with winners announced on Halloween. Prizes awarded.

Fang-Tastic Foodie Challenge: HP&R wants to see everyone’s creepy culinary creations. Participants can post a photo and tag Hiawatha Parks & Recreation using the hashtag #hprfangtasticfoodie.

Monster Makeup Challenge: Post photos of your creative Halloween artwork of clowns, zombies, witches and more. Tag Hiawatha Parks & Recreation using hashtag #HPRMONSTERMAKEUP.