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December 8, 2016
Harvey County IndependentDecember 8, 2016 Harvey County Independent

Halstead Council Fills Both Vacant Seats In Split Vote

Posted 12/8/2016

By Jared Janzen

HALSTEAD—Halstead City Council approved the appointments of George Torres and Sam Farmer to the council Wednesday afternoon, filling both vacant positions that had been open since Nov. 14. Each vote passed 2-1, with council member Dennis Travis dissenting.

Mayor Bill Ewert first nominated George Torres to fill the seat of former council member Jere Dean with term expiring in January 2020. Ewert noted Torres’s previous experience on the council as a reason for the nomination.

“I have previously served on this governing body with George during my first term as mayor, and I am confident that he will make decisions that are best for this city.”

Council member Phil Adams made a motion for approval that was seconded by council member Ed Campbell, but when Ewert asked if there was further discussion, Travis said he would like to discuss it further.

“There were six to seven candidates that expressed interest in running in the next election,” he said. “I’d like to know why their requests weren’t considered.”

Ewert responded that his recommendation of the two candidates was because of their past experience.

Travis then asked what Torres’s motivation was for wanting to return to the council after deciding not to run for reelection three years ago. Ewert said that Torres had told him that he missed it and that he had enjoyed serving as a council member in the past and saw this as an opportunity to serve his city again on the council.

Adams added that Torres’s experience could be helpful as the city decides what to do with the former Presbyterian Church building, which was purchased by the city over the summer as a new community center.

Ewert restated that he thought Torres was an “excellent” candidate and then called for a vote. Campbell and Adams voted in favor and Travis voted against. The motion carried.

Ewert’s second nomination was Sam Farmer, who is currently chairman of the planning commission. Farmer fills the seat vacated by Roger Lowery with a term set to expire January 2018.

“Through his many years on the planning commission, Sam has demonstrated his ability and dedication as a public servant,” Ewert said. “I know he will do a superb job on the city council and that he will have the city’s best interest in mind when making decisions.”

Once again, Adams made a motion and Campbell seconded. This time there was no further discussion, but the vote went the same way with Travis opposed.

Both Torres and Farmer will be sworn in as council members at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12 prior to the city’s regularly scheduled council meeting at 7 p.m.

After the meeting, Travis told the Independent that he would comment at a later time.

The two appointments get the city out of a sticky situation of not being able to hold a meeting with just three members. A 1997 charter ordinance sets the council’s quorum at four members. The council had been unable to hold its regular meeting Nov. 28 because of this.

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EMT Students Handle Fake Blood, Training Calls

Posted 12/8/2016

JARED JANZEN PHOTO
An EMT student wraps the hand of a woman with a gunshot wound as his classmates observe.
JARED JANZEN PHOTO An EMT student wraps the hand of a woman with a gunshot wound as his classmates observe. HALSTEAD—If you heard an unusual amount of emergency sirens in Halstead Saturday afternoon, there’s no need to worry. The sirens were part of training exercises as EMT students got their first taste of responding to emergency calls last Saturday.

Halstead EMS director Andy Lowe teaches the EMT class.

Students were divided into four groups of four or five students in each group. Each group responded to a different emergency scenario, lights, sirens and all.

The groups dealt with a variety of situations, and they had no warning of what they were getting into until they received the radio dispatch call. They would then load into one of Halstead’s ambulances and head to the scene, where they would often find some twist making the situation more complicated than the dispatch call had sounded.

The entire class went on each call to observe, as did members of the Halstead Fire Department, which made for a big audience.

Lowe had recruited several volunteers to play the part of the victims, which sometimes involved a mixture of fake blood.

The first group encountered a man suffering from a heart attack. Lowe said the group was a little uncertain at first of what the expectations were bJARED JANZEN PHOTO
HALSTEAD firefighters lower a patient from a combine during one of Saturday’s training drills. 
JARED JANZEN PHOTO HALSTEAD firefighters lower a patient from a combine during one of Saturday’s training drills. ut then got the hang of it.

“They were rough going into it because they thought they were doing a patient assessment call, but once things started coming together they did good,” he said.

The second group was called out to a wooded area behind a house south of town, responding to a woman with a “gunshot wound” to the hand. After questioning the reticent patient, they found out that the wound was the result of a “drug deal” gone bad. Students then had to make a fake request for police backup due to the dangerous situation. The patient collapsed when they tried to have her walk to the ambulance, and it turned out she had a second wound in her back.

To continue reading, please see this week's print edition.

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Burrton Crafts Fair Doubling In Size This Year

Posted 12/8/2016

By Jared Janzen

BURRTON—If you’re looking to do your Christmas shopping locally, then Burrton’s craft fair this Saturday is the perfect spot for you.

The Countdown to Christmas Craft and Vendor Show will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 10 in the auditorium at City Hall.

This year organizers are expecting close to 30 vendors, double their usual turnout. In past years, the crafts fair would have about 15 vendors in a good year, according to Lisa Smith, one of several organizers for the event.

The dramatic increase in booths is thanks to marketing, which has helped get the word out to more vendors from a larger area. Previously the fair was mostly made up of vendors from Burrton.

“We really branched out for advertising to get a variety of vendors this year,” Smith said.

Products for sale include homemade crafts, jewelry, furniture, jams, jellies, Pure Romance items and much more.

Smith said they are hoping to attract lots of Christmas shoppers to the event.

The crafts fair is just part of the Christmas fun on Saturday. Also that morning, there will be a pancake breakfast beginning at 8 a.m. in the city building. Then at 1 p.m., Santa Claus will be arriving via fire truck.

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Police Teach Middle-Schoolers About Online Safety

Posted 12/8/2016

JARED JANZEN PHOTO
POLICE Chief Josh Orem interacts with Halstead Middle School students last Thursday during a presentation on online safety.
JARED JANZEN PHOTO POLICE Chief Josh Orem interacts with Halstead Middle School students last Thursday during a presentation on online safety. By Jared Janzen

HALSTEAD—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Musical.ly—when an assembly of Halstead Middle School students were asked who all had an account for at least one of these social media sites, the vast majority of hands went up.

This shows that sites encouraging people to share personal information are prevalent among young users, but along with them come potential dangers. That’s why Halstead Police Chief Josh Orem and Officer Shawn Robinson were at Halstead Middle School last Thursday to teach students about the importance of online safety.

Orem warned students to be careful about how much they reveal about themselves on social media sites.

“They’re looking for you to share personal information about yourself,” Orem said. “Who you are, what you’re doing, where you’re at and who you’re with. All this information once you put it out there, anybody can see.”

Orem recommended the acronym “YAPPY” as a way to know what personal information to not share. This stands for Your full name, Address, Phone number, Passwords and Your plans of where you’ll be and when.

Orem also warned about “friending” strangers and said not to add a person you don’t know, even if the site says you have mutual friends. He illustrated the danger of how a person could create a fake account and pretend to be someone they aren’t.

“When you add someone to any of these social media groups and you don’t know them, you don’t know who you’re talking to,” Orem said. “It could be anybody. If you don’t personally know someone, you shouldn’t be adding them.”

He also told students to never arrange a meeting with someone they meet online.

Cyber bullying was also brought up, which Orem defined as when someone picks on, annoys, embarrasses or threatens you repeatedly using technology like a phone or the Internet.

“Cyber bullying is exactly like if someone’s bullying you right in front of you, the only difference is it’s online, on an app, on Facebook,” Orem said. He told students that if they experienced problems like this, they should tell an adult.

Other tips that Orem shared with students included allowing their parents to monitor online activity, not using their full name in a username or email address and not posting or sending anything that they wouldn’t want all their friends, family and teachers to see.

 

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