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The Hesston Record
345 Old Hwy 81
Hesston, KS 67062
(620) 327-4831

Planning And Zoning Hears From Potential Country VillageDeveloper

Posted 4/27/2017

Hesston Record Staff

On April 25, the City of Hesston Planning and Zoning Commission heard a presentation from Kelley Hrabe, owner of Prairie Fire Development Group about the possibility of developing new rental housing on the current city-owned Country Village property.

Currently Prairie Fire has projects in Moundridge, Baxter Springs, South Hutchinson, Newton and Kansas City.

Prairie Fire operates on a rental-only basis with a focus on multi-family housing and senior housing. The company owns and manages its property for a contractually agreed-upon 15 years, after which Prairie Fire has the option to refinance or sell the property, according to Hrabe.

Hrabe said there are no current projects that have hit the 15-year mark.

Prairie Fire Development Group uses tax credits, subsidies and rebates to underwrite construction and infrastructure costs. With the cost of building underwritten through tax credits and rebates on property taxes, Hrabe said the business is able to keep rental rates low.

Hrabe said financing tools included the Affordable Housing Tax Credit, the Rural Housing Development Districts credit, Moderate Income Housing Program and the Neighborhood Reinvestment program.

“We use these tools. Development and construction costs keep going up and incomes have been static. These tools underwrite total development costs that make them affordable projects people can afford,” he said. 

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Hustler Launches New Utility Vehicle - The MDV

Posted 4/27/2017

Hesston Record Staff

Wednesday afternoon, Excel Industries rolled a totally new product off the production line - the MDV, Maximum Duty Vehicle. The new machine represents a diversification from the lawnmower manufacturer’s typical product lines.

According to Adam Mullet, the product line will create 40 to 50 new jobs at the Hesston facility.

Currently, Hustler is producing five DMVs per day with plans to increase to 10 and produce about 6,000 per year.

Bob Mullet introduced the latest creation of the manufacturer.  The MDV was a decade-long project in the making. 

Mullet said said in 2005 the concept of the level lift was created and in 2009 the first prototype was created. The patented piece of technology would put the Hustler product ahead of the competition.

Paul Mullet said the design of the MDV is different from other utility vehicles.

“Most utility vehicles are designed around the vehicle, so all the money goes into the suspension and the vehicle then they just put a box on the back.  We decided to design it around the level lift, so that’s how this product came  about,” he said.

Adam Mullet said the MDV is partially the creation of the Spanish company Ausa, which makes construction equipment.

“This was the low end of their product marketing. There is a big market in the US for utility vehicles, but they didn’t have the network. A mutual friend in Europe said they were looking at moving their design. We got in the conversation. We had the technology and needed the platform. This leapt us forward,” he said.

The level lift technology employed on the DMV can lift up to 750 pounds and employ the dump feature at any angle or height. 

“We feel it’s what is needed in the utility vehicle market. One one else has anything like it. We have patented the features and we think it is a good entrance into the market,” said Adam Mullet.

Adam Mullet added Hustler will be utilizing its current dealer network to bring the product to market.  However, he said other utility vehicle dealerships will be considered as the product gains traction, particularly i the western markets.

“In Colorado, Arizona, out that way, there isn’t much grass but there are a lot of people that use utility vehicles. We’re hoping we can begin to establish ourself in those new markets,” he said.

City Administrator Gary Emry said the addition of dozens of new jobs is a major boon for the community.

“If they are able to hire a significant number of those folks that are living here it deepens the circulation of wages that are spent with local businesses through employees paying mortgages with local banks, eating at local restaurants, paying insurance premiums to local agents, purchasing gas, and shopping at the local grocery store just to name a few.

“Those businesses invest in their operation, service, or product and hire additional employees who further circulate money into the local economy. It’s a circle of green,” he said.


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HC Aviation Department Loses Director

Posted 4/27/2017

The Hesston College community was struck by the unexpected news of the death of Director of Aviation Dan Miller, from a heart attack on Sunday, April 23. Miller, a 1978 Hesston College graduate, was 63. He had served as the program’s director since 1999.

Miller was recognized by his students and colleagues as a patient, kind and welcoming presence. He expected the utmost professionalism from student pilots, and conducted himself with the same standards.

Prior to becoming director of Aviation, Miller served as Hesston College Associate Director of Development from 1995-98, and as an instructor in the Aviation department from 1979-84. In total, he served at Hesston College for 26 years.

Miller had undergone heart surgery on March 24 and was recuperating and working at home, waiting for a follow-up visit with his cardiologist on May 5. He is survived by his wife Jaynette, and four children, Leslie (Miller) ’02 Duerksen and husband Lyndl, Amreitha (Miller) ’03 Jeeva and husband Pradeepan, Vaughn Miller ’04 and wife Caroline, and Bryant Miller and wife Chrystiana, as well as four grandchildren.

Viewing is Wednesday, April 26, Miller-Ott Funeral Home in Hesston: public 2 to 7 p.m., family present 5 to 7 p.m.

Memorial service Thursday, April 27, at Hesston Mennonite Church at 2 p.m.

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New Beginnings And New Possibilities

Posted 4/27/2017


Mayor of Hesston

This is an exciting time to be living in the City of Hesston!  This last week served as a reminder to me of all the activity that is taking place in town right now.  Let me re-cap some of these exciting projects for you.

Excel - On Wednesday, Excel introduced its new Hustler MDV utility vehicle.  This new product is the culmination of many years of market research and engineering.  The vehicle is a four wheel drive utility vehicle that can reach a speed of 37 mph.  What makes it truly unique is the dump bed can stay level while bringing its payload of up to 750 pounds all the way to the ground.  The great news for the city is that Excel continues to invest in their Hesston facility and this product has the potential to add 40-50 new jobs.  I know that the company is excited to begin production and get the product to market!

Casey’s – As Jackie mentioned in the paper last week, Casey’s has begun construction of its new store which will be located directly north of its existing location.  This store will serve as a flagship for the franchise and will be the largest store in 15 states.

Schowalter Villa – On Thursday, the Villa held a ribbon cutting for its new Private Home for Everyone.  This building, located at the northwest corner of Main and Hickory, will allow every resident to have their own room and become the new home of the child care facility.  It will also have some features that will appeal to all Hesston residents such as a café, coffee shop and theatre room.  The exterior of the building is beautifully designed and will serve as a showcase for the Hickory Street corridor that leads to the Villa and Dyck Arboretum.

Recreation Project – Work will begin in April on the new recreation project which includes a new swimming pool, softball and soccer fields, parking and restroom/concession areas.  Several years ago, the city purchased a home at the northeast corner of Ridge and Amos with the idea that the school system could use that area for much needed parking.  This conversation re-started talks about the need for additional softball, baseball and soccer fields.  Our aging pool had been repaired many times through the years but was leaking water badly.  This project will bring Hesston back up to par with our neighboring towns and will provide our youth and recreational participants with excellent facilities for years to come.

Mobile Home Park - We are approximately half way through our resident relocation period after purchasing the park. This week, the Planning and Zoning Commission will hear a presentation by Prairie Fire Development, based out of Kansas City, related to their proposal of redevelopment of the park property. This is the first of what we anticipate to be several presentations from a few developers who have expressed interest in working with the property.

All together, these projects represent a significant investment in our community that will improve the quality of life for everyone!






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FBLA Sends 72 To State: 9 Headed To Nationals

Posted 4/27/2017

Hesston Record Staff

Seventy-two Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) traveled to state competition March 29-31.  Of those students, 21 placed in the Top 10 of their events and nine will be moving on the national competition June 9 in Anaheim California. 

Sponsor Denise Goevert said with hundreds of students from across the state taking part in the competition, Hesston continues to perform well.

“We had a few students place in testing events that had 110-plus people taking the tests.  That's always a pleasant surprise,” she said.

Goevert said students participating in FBLA spend the entire school year preparing for State and Nationals.

“Our presentation event kids took on projects that required work from the beginning of the school year.  They all did an amazing job and were well prepared,” said Goevert.

Goevert said to support students heading to Nationals, and the FBLA program, the group will host the Hesston Area Senior Center Community Breakfast on Saturday, May 6.

“If anyone cannot attend the breakfast, but would like to support our group, donations can be sent to the high school, attention:  Denise Goevert/FBLA.  Thanks to everyone that has supported us in the past,” she said. 

To read more, see this weeks print edition

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