Kaden Kraus, 14, is the lucky winner of this year’s Old Settlers Medallion Hunt. He found the medallion July 27 under a brick by the blue City of Halstead sign at Riverside Park. Kraus also won the medallion hunt in 2013.
HALSTEAD –– Eldora Schwartz makes rugs for the homeless out of recyclable plastic grocery bags and bags that come on newspapers.
The Sacred Heart Altar society started the project as a mission, said her friend Tessa Albert.
“We were hoping that several members would make the rugs, but Schwartz is the only one still doing it,” Albert said.
Schwartz is almost finished with her fifth rug.
Members of her church keep the bags for Schwartz. She demonstrated how she cuts the bags up to make her plastic yarn to crochet the rugs. She first cuts off the bottom of the bag, then cuts the bags up into strips that are a little over one inch wide. Then she loops the strips together and uses a single crochet stitch to make the rugs.
Schwartz’s rugs are unique because she makes beautiful patterns, using different colors of bags. Schwartz pointed out that the dark tan part was from Dillons, the blue and white from Wal-Mart and black and white were from the local grocery store. She also weaves solid colors from other bags that are kept for her.
Schwartz said her first rug took her four months to complete. Now, it takes her a little over a month to finish the 30 x 72 inch rugs. She listens to ball games on the television while she works. She watches and listens to baseball and abortions games, but no football.
“They just fall all over each other,” she said. “It’s just silly.”
Schwartz said she had been crocheting since she was a child, growing up on a farm about eight miles north of Larned.
“I still use the crochet hooks my mother had,” she said. “We used to crochet old sheets and all kinds of things together. We would put them around the windows and doors during the Dust Bowl to try and keep the dust out.”
Schwartz makes the rugs because she wants to do her part to help people. No longer as mobile as she once was, she uses her gift to help others. Albert picks up the rugs and takes them to her daughter Anna in Wichita. They are handed out to homeless people so they have something to sleep or rest on.
Schwartz also crochets scrubbers out of net. She likes working on the rugs, but she alternates between the scrubbers and the rugs. She spends a lot of time cutting up the strips, too.
At age 93, she said she likes to keep busy or she would just sleep all the time.
“I have to have something to do,” she said. “I need to keep my hands busy.”
HALSTEAD—With a new school year starting, police are reminding parents to stay aware of whom their kids are going and whom they are meeting, especially keeping track of their kids’ online activity.
“It’s a warning to parents that it’s a lot easier for kids nowadays with technology to get themselves in a bad situation, sending bad images, pictures and meeting up with people that they think is one person but in fact is another person,” Officer Matt Ayres said.
A case from last spring illustrates this potential risk.
On April 15, a Halstead Middle-School girl—whose name was not released because of her juvenile status—left school in the middle of the day in the company of a 20-year-old man named Josue Pineda-Ramirez who was in the country illegally from El Salvador.
Halstead Police said that Pineda-Ramirez’s records showed that Immigrations and Customs had detained him along the Texas-Mexico border several months before and had required him to self-deport, but he had disobeyed this order and come to Wichita.
It was here through an online site that he started communicating with the Halstead student and arranged a meeting with her.
The incident began around 1 p.m. when the girl left Halstead Middle School with Pineda-Ramirez and two of his friends in a tan Chevy Cavalier. The girl did not have the school’s permission to leave but was playing hooky.
A neighbor near the school witnessed this and alerted police of the suspicious activity. Police contacted the school who helped identified the student, and police issued a countywide alert.
Pineda-Ramirez and his friends took the girl to Wichita to hang out. While here, occupants of the car visited several residences and purchased marijuana from a gas station, at which point the girl reportedly started getting uncomfortable and wanting to go home because she knew she would get caught for missing her bus.
“She knew that she needed to get back to Halstead and according to her she was becoming uncomfortable about all the different places they were going and wanted to come back,” Ayres said. “Initially they refused to take her back and gave her a hard time about wanting to come back, but eventually did bring her back to Halstead.”
To read more, please see this week's print edition.
HALSTEAD—Carrie Herman began serving as the executive director of the Kansas Learning Center for Health on July 18. After her first week at the new job, she said this job is a great opportunity for her and a great fit.
“I love the community and living here, having my kids here, and working here is ideal,” Herman said. “And so when the opportunity came up, I was very excited.”
Herman said the KLCH staff has been very helpful in her transition.
“They have a great board of directors and great staff here,” she said. “This first week’s been really great getting to work with everybody and get to know them better.”
Herman comes to KLCH after nine years at Asbury Park, a retirement community in Newton. Here she was vice president of operations and oversaw several departments, including the childcare center.
Herman is a native to Bentley, and both she and her husband are graduates of Halstead High School. They moved back to Halstead from Newton five-and-a-half years ago along with their two sons, who will be entering fourth and eighth grade.
Her new position at KLCH is a homecoming of sorts because in high school she worked as a part-time receptionist for the Halstead Health Museum, both at its former location and at its current location when the new facility was built. Herman said she loves being back.
“I’m very excited to be back here and to see how much it has changed since I was here before,” she said.
To read more, please see this week's print edition.