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State Farm brings on Scheitel as Life Specialist

There is a new face at Ryan Meininger State Farm, as Meininger has hired on Logan Scheitel of rural Rulo, Neb., as the team’s new Life Insurance Specialist and Property & Casualty Salesman.

A graduate of Sacred Heart High School in Falls City, Scheitel attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln prior to working for AHRS Construction while training for his career in insurance. Logan and his wife Brooke are expecting the couple’s first child in the coming months.

Scheitel says he looks forward to serving the local community, as the agency is licensed in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri. “Working in a field where I can make a positive impact in people’s lives means a lot to me,” says Logan, who is a strong believer in the importance of life insurance. “Protecting the future of a family is something that I take seriously, and I look forward to working with our customers to do just that.”

Agent Ryan Meininger says Scheitel is a welcome addition to the State Farm team. “Logan brings postivity and enthusiasm to the office,” said Meininger, adding, “He is a great fit, not just for our team, but for our community and the role he will fill in helping people take care of their families. Call Logan for a home and auto insurance quote, or to discuss a life insurance plan, at (785) 742-7116.

Second Harvest offers meal gap number study

Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, released new/updated information for the “Map the Meal Gap” study showing that food insecurity now resides at 54,657 individuals in Second Harvest Community Food Bank’s 19-county service area.

“This important study shines a light on the challenges of hunger and the impact we are making within our communities,” Chad Higdon, Chief Executive Officer for Second Harvest Community Food Bank said. “We use this data to best align our services to meet the need in every county we serve. We work to insure adequate and equitable service throughout our service territory and Map the Meal Gap data drives our distribution strategy.”

Second Harvest continues to fight hunger within all 19-counties within the organization’s service area. One new development, is that by the end of March, Second Harvest will have increased the organizations monthly Fresh Mobile Pantry distributions from 26 to 40.

“Being able to adapt and do whatever we can to best serve those in need within our service area is what we will always strive to do,’ Blake Haynes, Communications Coordinator for Second Harvest said. “Our vision is for — A Hunger-Free Northwest Missouri and Northeast Kansas”

Hunger is defined as a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat. This is a feeling unfortunately millions of individuals in the U.S. must face on a daily basis.

For more information about this study, please contact 816.364.3663 or email info@shcfb.org. An executive summary of the report and interactive map can be found at: http://map.feedingamerica.org/

Hunter Education classes set for March 20-21

There will be a Hunter Education Class in Hiawatha at the Fisher Center on March 20-21.

The classes will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 20 and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 21.

The class will be strictly limited to 25 students. Students are required to preregister by calling Larry Weast at (785) 547-6181 or email Larry at stonypoint@hughes.net. All COVID 19 protocol will be enforced.

Students are required to bring paper and pencils to take notes. Students must be at least 11 years old on or before March 21, 2021. Students must attend all classes to be certified. The Fisher Center is handicapped accessible.

Weast reported that enrollment is closed with some prospective students on a waiting list.

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Sycamore Springs to reopen under new ownership

A historic Northeast Kansas resort is reopening this spring under new ownership.

Kent and Molly Grimm of rural Morrill, along with their sons Micah and Collin, announced late last week they had purchased Sycamore Springs and have plans to restore it with a projected reopening date of May 1. Not only will Sycamore Springs reopen the famous skating rink, offer camping, mini golf, walking trails and other activities that local residents had become used to, but the resort will also offer hunter lodging and the Grimms plan to raise whitetail deer on the property.

Sycamore Springs was a place of local legend – established in 1886 on the Pony Creek in the northwestern corner of Brown County – a health spa that drew the rich and famous from all over the country in the late 1800s and early 1900s with the promise of healing waters.

Even before then it was a place where Native Americans and settlers stopped to find water and take respite. John Brown and James Lane — early Kansas Free Staters — spent time in the area, bringing escaped slaves through for spring water and rest. John Cook met with passengers at the once-nearby railway depot and ushered them here to the Sycamore Mineral Spring Health Home when it was still open.

Fast forward to the 1930s and beyond, when Sycamore Springs became a place for reunions, picnics, camping, swimming, skating, weddings and much more. Families played horseshoes, putt-putt and took part in other activities including swimming, roller-skating, camping and roasting marshmallows by the fire.

This historic resort has seen the turn of two centuries, with many different owners and too many visitors to count. The most recent owners before the Grimm family was Dale and Betty Aue — who purchased the property nearly 20 years ago after it had been closed and in bankruptcy court for the 6 years prior.

In February 2018 and after 18 years of running Sycamore Springs, Betty and Dale – in their late 80s at the time — announced Sycamore Springs would not be opening that season and Sycamore Springs was going up for sale once again, as in the words of Betty “It’s time to hang up our hats.”

Kent Grimm said he and his family have hit the ground running – working on remodeling projects and plans for reopening after the resort had been virtually abandoned for more than three years as the last open season was the summer of 2017.

“We are planning a May 1 opening and have a lot of work ahead of us,” he said.

The first to open will be the skate rink, Grimm said, noting they pulled out the lowered ceiling to open it up to the original rafters. They will remodel the former little restaurant area for a small event room with a kitchen.

The plan is to offer skating to park guests only, or to local residents through an annual pass.

Sycamore Springs offers 120 RV and tent camping sites – and those will be for rent by the night, week or season, Grimm said.

Grimm said they do not plan to have weddings at the chapel, but the church will be open for visitors to wander in and see the interior along with antique organ. In addition, the nearby barn will be renovated into a larger event center with a full kitchen, he said. The former general store on the property will be turned into private living quarters.

By 1880, the mineral water and beautiful landscape were becoming well-known and a large 60-room wood-framed hotel was built. By 1886, Sycamore Springs had become widely known as an outstanding health resort of the Midwest. A five-story stone hotel was also built to accommodate the visitors that came from near and far, which contained all of the latest conveniences and modern hospital facilities. Both buildings were destroyed by a fire in 1916. The present hotel was rebuilt in the early 1920s.

Grimm said the hotel will be turned into a 10-bedroom rental thru Airbnb that could potentially sleep 25. The adjacent house may also be remodeled to serve as lodging and possibly a hunter’s lodge in the winter months. Another house on the property was a small four-room housekeeper residence and Grimm said that will also be available to rent.

Sycamore Springs also has a swimming pool — built in 1926 and open until the late 1980s — but it has remained closed for nearly 30 years as the cost to repair it has been too great. Grimm said the pool would take hundreds of thousands of dollars to restore to its former glory and as all neighboring communities offer pools, they didn’t think it would be worth the cost.

Instead, he said, they may divert spring water into the pool, fill with rainbow trout or other fish and offer fishing to the guests as a fun activity.

Grimm said the miniature golf will also be reopened and just northwest of the golf and shelter houses will be pens for whitetail deer, which the family is raising.

Farmers for all their lives in rural northwestern Brown County, Grimm said they also raised cattle. In recent years, they drifted away from cattle and toward raising whitetail deer and that is one of the reasons they purchased Sycamore – as a place to have the deer and offer local hunting services.

Besides the hotel and hospital facilities, Sycamore Springs once had a post office, general store, barber shop and pop bottling plant on the grounds. Many of those facilities are long gone, but the memories remain and the Grimm family hopes that families near and far will come to make more memories.

Grimm said he wants guests to have the full experience.

“We just want to have a place where people come and get away from the world, get back to nature and make some memories,” he said.

Sycamore Springs is located at 3126 Bittersweet Rd., Sabetha. For more information, call (785) 285-8800 or email sycamorewhitetails@gmail.com. They will be launching a new website in the near future called www.sycamorespringswhitetails.com.


With the USD 415 Men’s tennis season starting the first week of March, a local couple spruced up the benches at the tennis court. Charles and Caicey Baird stripped, sanded, repainted and stenciled the benches for the Tennis Courts in preparation for the 2021 season. Charles Baird said they wanted to send out a Special “Thank You” to the Hiawatha Farm and Home for their generous donation of paint for this project and also good luck to the Men’s Tennis Team and their coach Michael Downard.

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Honoring Coach John McLendon Jr. for Black History Month

As we wrap up Black History Month in February, it is only natural to recognize one of Hiawatha’s most well-known residents who was prominent not only in the game of basketball, but in the civil rights movement.

Hiawatha is proud to be the birthplace of Coach John McLendon, Jr. and in recognition of him, display a sign along US Highway 73 (First Street) near GNBank as well as along U.S. 36 Highway, near the West Oregon entrance into Hiawatha.

The signs honoring McLendon were erected in 2014, after a group of local residents and students led the effort to honor McLendon. Members of the community and honored guests that included family of McLendon were invited to an unveiling ceremony in his honor.

During the ceremony, several speakers recounted McLendon’s numerous contributions to the sport of basketball and to the civil rights movement.

Coach McLendon was born in Hiawatha in 1915 and was raised here for a brief period of his early life, until the death of his mother in 1918.

According to the Hiawatha World reportings of McLendon’s life, he fell in love with the game when he first caught a glimpse of an indoor basketball court while on a sixth-grade field trip. McLendon pursued his passion upon graduating high school, seeking out the tutelage of Dr. James Naismith, the sport’s inventor, in 1932 at the University of Kansas. While studying the sport at KU, McLendon became the first black member of the university’s student council. Because the KU varsity did not accept African American players at the time, McLendon was unable to suit up and play for the school.

According to Hiawatha World archives, following his time at KU, McLendon then went on to coach basketball, first at the high school, then at the college level. While coaching at the North Carolina College for Negroes, at a time when the game was segregated, McLendon organized what has become known as the first assimilated game in collegiate sports, the “Secret Game,” in which the white athletes of Duke University played against McLendon’s all-black team.

The game went poorly for the Duke team, who played in the traditional “up and down” style developed in the sport’s early years. McLendon, however, had pioneered a new style for the game, known as “fast-break,” in which players would work to get the ball to the other side of the court as quickly as possible, thereby dominating their opponent. McLendon’s team finished the contest at twice the points earned by Duke.

His collegiate coaching included North Carolina College, The Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) and Tennessee A & I (now Tennessee State University). McLendon led Tennessee A & I to three consecutive NAIA championships making him the first coach to ever win three consecutive national titles.

At Cleveland State University he was the first African American to ever coach at a predominantly white university. He later became the first African American coach in professional sports with the 1961 Cleveland Pipers. He was known as the architect of the “four corner” offense. McLendon was a life-long champion of diversity in education and athletics.

In 2007, Cleveland State University will debut the Cleveland State John McLendon Scholarship Series named in his honor. In 2021, McLendon was honored with the Theodore Roosevelt Award at the NCAA Convention.

McLendon was the first college basketball coach ever to have won three consecutive national titles and the first African American basketball coach at a predominantly white university. He also had the distinction of being the first African American head coach in professional sports, inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

Community Happenings

Saturday, April 17

Hiawatha Prom with red carpet arrival at 4:30 p.m. at the Hiawatha Fisher Center with dinner at 5:30 p.m., photos downtown approximately 6:30 p.m. and dance starting at 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 20 Karla’s Diaper Closet is open 4-6 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 701 Kickapoo in the basement. Diapers, formula, wipes, lotion, clothes and more. One family at a time and sanitizing is done in between each family.

The Quilters Club will be meeting on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 2 p.m. at Morrill Public Library. Beginning and experienced quilters are invited to join in to share projects and educational time together. Public is cordially invited.

Wednesday, April 21

TOPS weight loss club meets every Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the NEKAAA building, 1803 Oregon St., Hiawatha.

NEKAAA is participating in Volunteer Income Tax Assistance on Wednesdays. Anyone wanting information can call (785) 742-7152 to make an appointment.

Wednesday, April 28

Commodities for North Brown County will be distributed from 9-11 a.m. at Eternal Hope Family Life Center, 424 Oregon St., in Hiawatha on a first-come, first-served basis and income based for Brown County residents. Masks will be required! Enter the building, sign-in and remember social distancing. Thank you for your patience. For more information, call 740-9001.

April 29-30

Hiawatha Elementary is planning Kindergarten Screenings these two days where parents and students can meet the teachers and students will undergo screenings. Kindergarteners must by 5 years old as of Sept. 1. for additional information go to sites.google.com/usd415.org/kroundup/home and to make an appointment go to rebrandly/heskscreening or contact the office at (785) 742-7181.