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Longtime local auctioneer Bill Howard passes away

Longtime local businessman and auctioneer William “Bill” Howard passed away on Nov. 19 after a courageous battle with lung cancer at the age of 78.

Howard was born July 10, 1942 to William and Charlotte Howard and grew up west of Hiawatha on the family farm. Howard married Bonnie Garwood on Aug. 1976 — she survives of the home.

He established Howard Auction Service — loving the challenge of selling new things to old friends and old things to new friends, serving families, and working with his wife Bonnie and an incredible auction crew for over 35 years. In time he began selling all kinds of real estate with King Reality.

Survivors also include a daughter, Belinda, son-in-law, grandson and grandson, among other family and friends. Bill was preceded in death by his parents.

Go to www.chapeloaksfuneralhome.com for service information, where the entire obituary can be viewed and special thoughts and memories can be shared with the family.

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New truck gives Hiawatha Fire Department expanded versatility

A few weeks ago, the Hiawatha City Commission approved the purchase of a fire truck, and that truck was delivered to the Hiawatha Fire Department this week.

The new truck features a longer boom than what the department previously had, as well as other improvements that will let the department tackle fires in new ways.

The new truck, a 1998 Pierce Ladder Truck with a 75 foot boom was purchased for $80,000 and a trade-in of the fire department’s 1973 Pierce Ford 8000 from Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus.

Volunteer firefighter and Assistant Fire Chief Paul Shaefer said there are quite a few features that make the new truck an asset.

“We’ll be able to run structure fires with it, as well as assist surrounding departments with the ladder.” Shaefer added, “The new truck has a 10 foot advantage [over the 65 foot boom of the old truck], and we also have the availability to run multiple attack lines of fthe new truck, as well as the nozzle on the end of the boom.”

Shaefer described the truck as “farm more adaptable and versatile.”

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Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays means ever so much more for Christmas 2020.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are spending a lot more time a little closer to home. Local Chambers, civic organizations and municipalities are planning some events – but they are scaling them back to keep their communities safe.

And many are trying to think out of the box to still bring the joy of the holidays to the local communities in a way for people to still social distance or participate virtually.


Downtown Lighting: Hiawatha is no exception. The Hiawatha Chamber and Visitors Bureau had to forego the typical Holiday Homes Tour for 2020 and hope to be back bigger than ever for 2021. The HCVB is still planning to flip the switch on the wonderful lights that the City of Hiawatha purchased two years ago and installed late week last week in preparation of the holidays.

That event will be aired via Facebook Live at 6 p.m. Monday with the Junior Master of Ceremonies – this year “Every child in Hiawatha!!” Nominees were taken and voted on by Chamber businesses last week.

The official nomination was:

“Our kiddos have gone through so much this year, it would be awesome if they could all virtually turn on the lights. If you streamed via Facebook and told all the kids at home or in person at the event to hit the love emoji on their parents device and then turned them on, they would all feel they are turning on the lights and spreading love throughout our town during a time when we cannot do so in person.”

Well, it’s going to be hard to invite every child in Hiawatha to downtown Hiawatha to participate in light of social distancing.

So this year Santa is flipping the switch – but all the children of Hiawatha can participate through the HCVB Facebook Live event!

Ashley Olson, Chamber secretary and chairman of the Christmas events, said kids need to be on the Hiawatha Chamber and Visitors Bureau Facebook Live by 6 p.m. to help Santa turn on the lights.

“When the countdown reaches zero, the kids will press the heart button to bring the love of Christmas to Santa so he can flip the switch and turn on the lights!” she said. “And all children can participate.”

Due to concern over COVID-19, the general public is asked to not come downtown, but to participate virtually through the Facebook Live event.

Merry and Bright: The HCVB has decided we need some definite holiday cheer and is asking local residents to go all out this year with decorations and Christmas lights.

“We need some holiday cheer and you can help! We are looking for homes, businesses, barns, cars and more to decorate for the holiday season,” according to the HCVB.

The HCVB will create a map and on Saturday, Dec. 19, they are asking those signed up to have their lights on and decorations out from 6-9:30 p.m. Follow the map around the community and turn on some Christmas tunes while you are at it!

Anyone who doesn’t have lights but want to add to the cheer can still sign up and place a Santa in their windows for people to spy as they travel around the community. The HCVB welcomes lights and displays in the country as well.

Kleopfer said this is not a contest, just a way to spread some cheer. Sign up by Wednesday, Dec. 16 to be on the map.

The HCVB is also sponsoring the Shop Local campaign at participating businesses. Earn tickets for each $10 spent and be entered in a drawing to win up one of two prizes – a $700 grand prize and a $400 second-place prize. Participating businesses are Bling on the Nails/Mane Street Salon, Hometown Furniture, Just For You Jewelry and Gifts, Kex Rx Pharmacy, Kooser’s General Store, Mainstreet Flower Shoppe, Sarah Kathryn’s, Tice Health Mart, Tres Soles Salon, Up Cycle, Wright’s Eclectibles.

The HCVB is also collecting donations of Christmas lights to decorate a large community tree. The HCVB also has Chamber Bucks available for purchase to be used as gifts this holiday season. Contact the HCVB for more information or with any questions by calling 742-7136 or by emailing hiawathachamber@rainbowtel.net.

MerryTUBA Christmas: The Merry TUBA Christmas event, typically held at the Brown County Courthouse on the third Saturday of December, has been canceled due to COVID-19. Organizers plan to continue in 2021.


Fairview Lights Up: Santa Claus will be at Van’s Electric, east edge of Fairview, from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 10. This is Santa’s 27th year at Cleo and Elvon Van Dalsem’s Christmas wonderland. Santa requests that all visitors stay safe, wearing face masks and keeping social distance while visiting Santa.

Other homes in Fairview are getting their outdoor Christmas lights set up for visitors to enjoy. Organizers said that, regretfully, the other activities normally held for Fairview Lights Up have been canceled for this year. There will not be any vendors or exhibitors at the Community Center and no Poker Run. Organizers hope to return the event to full force by 2021.


Window Opening: The Community Christmas Tree Lighting is at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 27 in downtown Sabetha, according to the Sabetha Chamber. Everyone is invited to bring a weather resistant ornament to place on the tree. The Sabetha Elementary students are making ornaments. Parents are asked to take a picture of their child(ren) placing the ornament on the tree and tag the Chamber’s Facebook to be entered into a drawing for Chamber Gift Certificates. Santa will be driven down Main Street at 6 p.m. and kids are asked to please drop letters into the mail box located in City Hall. Santa is bringing along two of his favorite reindeer and they will be on the corner by Aberle Ford.

The businesses will be open late with specials and One-Night-Only deals! The City With Heart is kicking off their new promotion “Shop Home for the Holidays” For every $25 spent, shoppers will be entered into a drawing for 70 / $100 Chamber Gift Certificates.

Falls City

Drive Thru Santa Visits: Falls City Chamber & Main Street is presenting Drive Thru Santa Visits from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 27 at 1501 Stone Street. Santa is taking extra precautions this year to make sure everyone has a healthy Christmas. Kids will have the chance to visit with Santa from the comfort of your own car!

Shop Small Saturday: Shop Small Saturday is on Nov. 28 in Falls City from 9 a.m. to 4 pm. at participating businesses, featuring in store specials and discounts, festive activities and refreshments. Collect the Falls City business punch card and receive a punch for every $10 spent at local participating businesses. Fill up the punch card and be entered to win one of 30 gift cards or a grand prize of $500 Chamber Bucks. Promotion runs from Nov. 28 to Dec. 31. Pick up punch cards at participating businesses.


Drive Thru Snowflake Festival: The Drive Thru Snowflake Festival is from 5:30-7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 27 in a series of four stops.

Stop 1: Stop by City Hall for a Craft Bag.

Stop 2: Stop by the Senior Center for a book and a snack bag.

Stop 3: Kirkwood and Co. is sponsoring an outdoor firepit area for a professional photo with Santa. Photographer Jaime Albers will take photos of children with Santa for a fee. Masks and 6-foot social distancing are required. Photos will be emailed to parents.

Stop 4: Stop by Degginger Park for a treat bag and a gift and leave a letter for Santa with an elf. Santa will answer letters, but is relying on the elves to lick the stamps and address the envelopes for him. Make sure to have a legible address for the elves to send the letter. Degginger Park will be decorated for the entire holiday season but local residents are reminded if they stop to visit the park please follow mask protocol and social distancing. These events are sponsored by the Highland Lions and Highland Pride.

Highland Christmas Craft Fair: This event is set for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Highland Community College Wellness Center. Featuring 40 local and unique vendors. Entry fee is an item to be donated to Kaden’s Kloset. Masks strongly recommended.


Festival of Lights — Luminarias: Due to health concerns for not only the viewing public but also for the many people in and behind the scenes, the South Brown County Ministerial Association has voted to cancel the luminaries for this year.

Night of Lights: The Horton Chamber is sponsoring the annual Night of Lights at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 28 at the downtown Green Park. There will be a tree lighting, Christmas carols, Santa and gifts for children. Gifts will be handed out at Maximum Insurance from 5:30-7:30 p.m. for children who have pre-registered by Nov. 20.

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County commission approves proposal to modify quarantine protocol for schools

The Brown County Commission gave it’s approval for the Health Department to implement a “modified quarantine” protocol within the county’s schools at Monday morning’s regular meeting.

Commissioners Richard Lehmkuhl and Dwight Kruse voted for the proposal and Commissioner Keith Olsen — who had said the county should not get involved in school issues — voted against it.

The proposal will have to be approved by the County Health Department and then adopted by local school districts if they so choose.

Robin Downard, county health officer, had introduced the modified quarantine proposal at last week’s county commission and the matter was tabled until this week. Last week, the county implemented a mask mandate through Dec. 7.

According to the modified quarantine proposal, the schools could adopt a protocol that would reduce the amount of people being affected by quarantines as long as the students and school staff had masks on within the environment — such as a classroom, which is considered lower risk as opposed to higher risk situations such as athletes and crowds at sporting events or other activities.

Downard told the commissioners that there had been three confirmed COVID cases due to school exposure and that was at the high school. She said there may be many others, as it was difficult to tell due to many students have not shown symptoms, or very mild ones such as headaches and allergy symptoms. In addition, she noted some people had decided just to “self-quarantine” rather than test for the virus, so reliable results have not been known.

Downard asked for the commissioners guidance so the Health Department could make a decision to pass onto the school districts — who then have the option to adopt it. She said the initiative is designed to keep more students and staff in the schools, rather than quarantining such mass numbers due to possible exposure.

“If an outbreak occurs, as the County Health Officer, I can revoke this if I need to,” she said.

Commissioners asked Downard what the current county numbers were as of Monday and she said there were 203 active cases, for a total of 609 in the county with 7 deaths and two pending on whether they were caused due to COVID-19. She estimated that there were roughly 1,000 in quarantine in the county as of that day and noted that she had two people helping her with contact tracing locally for higher risk patients, along with school staff and students to better keep track of. Lower risk patients were being tracked by the state.

Kreek receives 'strict probation' in November fatality

Andrew Kreek of Hiawatha was sentenced in Brown County juvenile court Tuesday to a strict probation plan on charges of involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence in connection with a Nov. 2019 fatality accident.

Kreek was the 17-year-old driver of a vehicle involved in the Nov. 17 accident at Horned Owl and US 36 Highway that killed Ian Miller, 16, of Hiawatha, and injured himself and three other local teens. Kreek, Gabriel Corbett and Naveigh Dismang were hospitalized with critical injuries and remained in rehabilitative care for several weeks. One passenger, Andrew Woods, 19, was treated and released at a local hospital.

Kreek entered guilty pleas in September to the involuntary manslaughter charge, along with aggravated battery and speeding in connection with the accident. He was charged with three separate counts of aggravated battery for causing “bodily harm or disfigurement to another person” in addition to speeding in connection with the accident.

Brown County Attorney Kevin Hill said that two victims that appeared during the hearing asked the court to give Kreek a chance at furthering his education and not to send him to a juvenile correctional facility. Hill said he asked for the court to give Kreek some jail time in addition to having strict compliance with an alcohol/drug evaluation once he was out.

Hill said the court ended up sentencing Kreek to 36 months in a juvenile correctional facility, but suspended it to a strict probation plan. The plan includes a requirement that he obtain drug/alcohol treatment, abstain from possessing or using alcohol or non-prescribed drugs and a requirement that he give a 20 minute speech to every high school in the four-county judicial district, subject to their approval, about the dangers of drinking and driving. The speech will have to be approved by the court and county attorney’s office prior to him delivering it. Kreek was also ordered to pay restitution.

Also in connection with the November 2019 accident, charges were filed against Kyle White, 26, of rural Hiawatha on charges of unlawfully hosting minors and eight counts of furnishing alcoholic liquor to a minor. White pleaded not guilty and a trial was originally scheduled for this month but has been continued to March.