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A 'Red Truck Christmas'

A red truck has often been used as an image representing the holiday season in recent years.

People can find it on many seasonal home decor items, it is popular on T-shirts and has become one of the symbols of everyone’s favorite Hallmark Christmas movies.

Well this year, a local family has created the ultimate Hallmark photo opportunity at Mulberry Pond, which offers a pumpkin patch and store in the fall as well.

Staci Charles, owner, said she and husband Merle bought the 1950 Dodge shortbed truck in September to be used as a photo spot for families vising the pumpkin patch.

They found it on the Facebook Marketplace and were fortunate that it wasn’t very far away — from a man living in the country between Hiawatha and Atchison.

“It does not currently run, but we may try to get it running this year,” she said. “We decided to make it available to people over the holidays as well.”

The Charles added a wreath, Christmas tree and a sign that says “Fresh Cut Christmas Trees.” There is a bench in the back and some blankets to add to the cozy Christmas Tree Farm effect.

“Numerous families have come out to get their family picture for the holidays,” Charles said.

Charles said the truck will remain up through New Year’s and any family wanting to schedule a time can contact her through the Mulberry Pond Facebook page.

The red truck has been an iconic image that signifies warmth and bringing people together for the holidays.

Wishing you have a “Red Truck Christmas!”

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Merry and Bright Night lights up the community

Hiawatha was buzzing Saturday night as families were out to see Merry and Bright Night.

An event sponsored by the Hiawatha Chamber and Visitors Bureau, Merry and Bright Night is one night in December where everyone is encouraged to go all out with lights and decorations for the holidays. The first event was in 2020 and due to COVID many close-contact events were canceled. The Chamber scheduled this in an effort to spread cheer to the community — families could stay social distanced from everyone else but still take part in a holiday activity.

Highlights this year included the Thacker home at Third and Iowa, where Santa and Mrs. Claus waved from a decked out truck in the driveway. Another stop for Santa was the Kliewer home on Choctaw, where Santa and Mrs Claus, along with a few elves, greeted visitors and handed out candy canes.

Due to the cold temperatures, a living nativity at the Presbyterian Church had to be canceled.

HCVB Administrator Sarah Kleopfer said 39 houses and businesses signed up for the event this year. Maps and lists of locations were posted on the Chamber social media and available at Casey’s.

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History Mysteries at the Museum, 'The TRUE story of Santa Claus'

Executive Director/Curator

With the holidays quickly descending upon us it is the season to be grateful. Here’s wishing your holidays sparkle for each of your families! The true story of Santa Claus chronicles the story of Saint Nicholas, who was, in fact, a genuine person.

You may know him as Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, St. Nick, and Father Christmas are just a few of the names we have come to regard him as. The stories are true, and yes, there is a Santa Claus!

Nicholas was born in 280 A.D. in Patara, now known as Turkey. Nicholas was born into a wealthy family, but Christian beliefs were fundamental to his upbringing. Sadly, Nicholas’s family died during an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Nicholas was determined to make a difference and gave his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. Nicholas spent his entire life serving and helping people, and while a young man, he was made the Bishop of Myra. It is easy to see why we remember Bishop Nicholas for his generosity to those in need!

Most importantly, Nicholas loved children! Nicholas was kind, giving, determined, stubborn, and defended any person in need! Nicholas defended his beliefs, including Christianity. Nicholas was generous and spent his entire life and family’s fortune sharing with others who were less than fortunate. On December 6th, Nicholas passed away; his life was celebrated annually with a feast. December 6th was considered a day of good luck for purchases or getting married for many years. So whenever you ask, yes, absolutely there is a Santa Claus.

The postcard treasures are indeed a delight. These postcards were sent as a means of expressing gratitude for continued business. As always, there is so much more to every story. Find it, be sure to reach out, and let me know what you discover! #HistoryMysteries

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Storm damage more significant in some areas

While many people had only minor damage in last Wednesday’s storm, other’s had roofs and buildings blown away by the extremely high winds that accompanied it.

Laura Tollefson, who lives at the South Pines on 230th Road, just south of Hiawatha, said they had significant damage at their location — which is also a Home Plus care facility.

Tollefson said she thought the house was going to lift off its foundation and praised God that no residents or employees were hurt.

They had significant damage at their location and felt like it was more than straight line winds that hit the area. In fact, she shared a photo that a friend snapped south of Walmart just prior to the storm hitting Tollefson’s house. The photo was later posted on Facebook and it shows significant formation in a cloud meeting the ground that appears to be a tornado.

Sheriff John Merchant said winds reached 90-plus mph at some points during the several hour weather event. The storm swept through rather quickly, however the wind continued for several hours, causing extensive power outages. While power was restored for most of Hiawatha within the first day, several others in the county were without power for several days.

Sheriff Merchant and other local authorities said no injuries were reported as a result of the storm, but there was extensive damage in some areas of the county. Three semis rolled over — two at the US 75-US 36 junction at Fairview and one on US 73 north of town.

Authorities have credited emergency personnel, the Kansas Department of Transportation and the City of Hiawatha street crews for going above and beyond responding during the storm.