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Hesston, KS 67062
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Prescription Drugs Stolen In Pharmacy Break In

Posted 8/17/2017

Hesston police responded to an alarm at Hesston Pharmacy on Main Street a little before 1 a.m. Thursday. 

According to Hesston Police Chief Doug Schroder, “The investigation is very fluid right now.” 

Schroeder said forced entry was found at the pharmacy by responding officers. 

“Subsequent investigations led to traffic stops and one of several suspects was identified,” he said. 

Schroeder said the suspects targeted prescription medications, “the most highly abused ones, like pain killers.” 

On Thursday, Schroeder said, “We currently have one search warrant we’re getting some information from.” 

He said in order to maintain the integrity of the investigation, no further information could be released.  However, he was “confident it will be solved.” 

For more information, see the Aug. 24 print edition. 

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AGCO Announces Layoffs, Union President Explains

Posted 8/16/2017



On Monday afternoon, AGCO announced a round of layoffs that would impact between 220 and 230 employees.

In a Record exclusive interview, USW Local 11228 President Christian Ward, who has monthly outlook meetings with AGCO leadership, and he saw the decline in demand.

“What happened was, a big number of products were taken out of the schedule compared to what was forecasted in January,” he said.

Treasurer Delgado said the layoffs will not occur all at once, but will cascade through the plant as production tapers off. 

“It starts at the beginning of the manufacturing process, so first would be lasers,” he said.

Ward added the Hesston plant is unique in that it receives spools of steel and can create completed machines from raw product.

“The lasers are first, then it goes down the process - cutting sheet to fabrication that cuts it more, to machine, paint, assembly,” he said.

Delgado added, “It’ll go in waves. If we keep productivity numbers up where they need to be, they’ll go week-by-week and day-by-day.  Right now we are just forewarned it’s coming,” he said.

Delgado said the layoffs are separate from the annual summer shutdown.

“Summer shutdown started for most of us in the beginning of July.  A handful began earlier than that, but summer shutdown was the month of July,” he said.

Delgado said there was “some talk” of extending layoffs, but he projected employees will return from summer shut down and layoffs related to the Monday announcement will begin at a later date.

As the Union leader, Ward said he was concerned about employees’ access to unemployment payments during the layoff and any confusion that can be caused by calling the layoffs “temporary”

“Kansas state statute says, after four weeks, a person is indefinitely laid off. That’s Kansas statute,” he said.

According to the contract between AGCO and Local 11228 as a collective bargaining unit, “you can be laid off out of line of seniority up to 50 days,” said Ward.

Those 50 days are cumulative in the calendar year - excluding 20 working days for a two-week shutdown in July and in December. 

Ward said he receives weekly reports on individual employees’ layoff status and total days.

Ward said this time of year can be riddled with anxiety for manufacturing employees.

“They see the writing on the wall. It’s almost as if they get a lot of anxiety.  Each time before any layoff, it’s like it’s the first time. You can speak with reason and logic, but the rumors get flowing fast and as a Union we try to stop that as much as we can,” he said.

The layoff announcement at AGCO comes on the heels of two other major layoffs at Excel Industries and GVL Poly. 

In 2017, as a community, Hesston manufacturing has shed approximately 545 jobs.  

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Hesston College Student Returns As 9th President

Posted 8/16/2017


HESSTON RECORD STAFFDR. JOSEPH A. Manickam graduated from the automotive
program more than two decades ago and is returning
as the ninth president.DR. JOSEPH A. Manickam graduated from the automotive program more than two decades ago and is returning as the ninth president.

This weekend, Dr. Joseph A. Manickam will, for his first time, hoist the Hesston College Mod Olympics Torch for the fist time as the ninth president of the college.

Manickam, who was a graduate of Hesston College, said he was introduced to the college simply because “Hesston gave me the best scholarship. That was the only reason and it turned out to be a very positive decision,” he said.

While at Hesston College, Manickam was drawn to the strong sense of community and his earliest introduction to Mennonites - particularly Phil Zaer and his wife, Deborah.

“He never really talked about faith, but I saw the connection between what was being taught in my Bible classes and the life Phil and his wife were living.  These two people, I would put them pretty high on my list of people that helped shape me and released me into the world,” he said. 

Manickam earned a degree as an automotive technician and then took a job with Mercedes Benz in Wichita.

“I found I had a restlessness. I love working on cars. I’m a tinkerer.  I do all the work on my own vehicles. But I realized I needed a job that was more people-oriented,” he said. Manickam embarked on what would become the first of many international journeys.

“I went to Germany for a year on a Mennonite Exchange. It was quite informative in terms of my faith and theological formation,” he said.

Following his year-long stay in Germany, Manickam returned to the United States and earned his bachelor’s degree from Goshen College, Indiana.

Manickam returned to Hesston College in the 1990s and worked in the recruiting office, encouraging other young adults to choose to begin their journey to adulthood at Hesston.

“I had gone out, I had a little more experience and some travels, and I was able to bring that back to Hesston College to share with others,” he said.

However, in 1996, Manickam said his greatest and most profound journey was about to begin. He and his wife moved to Southern California and spent nine years in the Pasadena area. 

“I became involved with a small non-profit, the Center for Anabaptist Leadership - CAL. It was probably the most jarring time of my life in terms of faith formation and really equipping me to move on to do what I did,” he said

CAL focused on working with churches and engaging their communities.

“I was surrounded by Mennonites that were born into the church. I was there but on th margins. I was an outsider, especially as an international person and a person of color. 

“The ‘ah-ha’ really came during the years in LA. In this vibrant area that’s very pluralist, there were these groups of Christians who call themselves Mennonites and came to faith as adults and are trying to live a life for God in this particular way. Now I’ve found my place,” he said.

Manickam went on to serve in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, working closely with communities in Asia and traveling overseas several times per year. 

“Those years too my faith formation to the next level - faith formation at a global leve and looking at inter-faith engagement, which today remains one of the things I am most passionate about,” he said.

Finally, he and his family moved to Manickam’s nation of birth, Thiland.

“What was good about returning, it gave me wife and children the chance to get to know part of my life and my formative years,” he said.

Returning to Hesston College, and the United States, has marked another major changes for the Manickam family. Since Manickam’s graduation and then employment, many changes have happened at Hesston College, however the foundations are still in place.

“One of the things that is so obvious that hasn’t changed is the tightness of the community and the openness.

“My days in the ‘80s, there’s a small handful of faculty still here and staff still here. And I’ve been warmly welcomed by those familiar faces.  From the ‘90s, a larger group is still here, but the other whole group I haven’t met yet. There’s a caring community that has continued and I still see that here and my hope is we never lose that,” he said.

As the new leader of the college, Manickam said his style is to “lead from the center” and to engage people with areas of expertise to move the college forward.

“I have very little need to be up front. The VPs are my intimate circle. I’m not the expert, but I bring an expertise to the table.  Each one of them bring an expertise and it gets shared. It’s in that collective we lead together,” he said.

Manickam added he has been pleased to see many people coming into his office with everything from concerns to prayers and well-wishes.

“I feel very empowered in this type of place. People trust me because they’re willing to come and engage with me. People are not afraid of this office,” he said.

However, one of the greatest challenges in his first weeks as president, Manickam said, would be simply staying in his office and completing paperwork.

“Nailing me down to the desk will be a challenge.  I want to connect with faculty and staff and sitting in a class or two, eating in the cafeteria.  I want to meet people, because that’s what makes us who we are - not the buildings or the trees - it’s the people,” he said.

While Manickam said assuming the roll of president is about engaging the campus as a whole, he takes his role very seriously and comes into the office with a deep feeling of respect.

“I’m not Howard. I don’t speak or think or act like Howard. I don’t work like Howard. I don’t know the issues or have the depth of relationships like Howard. But I’ve inherited this beautiful mantel Howard has passed on to me. And I treat it with much respect and I am very careful and committed to being careful about how I use that mantel and how I wear that mantel and how it is displayed,” he said.

However Manickam said he, as a man, is much more than the ninth president of Hesston College.

With a wife and two children, he is a father and avid automotive enthusiast.

“I hope people see me also as a father and a husband and someone that loves to ride motorbikes and bikes,” he said.

Manickam’s eldest, daughter Faith, will be attending Hesston College and moving into the dorms this weekend.

“We are making many adjustments as a family. My son will be in 10th grade at Hesston High. My daughter is moving out of the house. We need to put down roots, but we aren’t sure what that is going to look like yet. We have to adjust to what life will be like for the three of us in the house instead of the four of us. We’re in a discovery process here,” he said.

Manickam said one of the greatest discovers for he and his son has been Dan’s Cycle.

“It’s a second home. We go there and our guards come down and we just salivate over the bikes,” he said.

Manickam has the added benefit during this time of adjustment for his family, of having a support network of family.

“It is the first time my children have lived this close to biological family. Wanda’s sister, her parents live in Yoder. My sister is in Wichita. The proximity to family, that’s the first time we have had family this close and it’s a very good thing,” he said.

Manickam said has he comes into his own during his presidency at Hesston College, he will be encouraging students and staff to push out of their comfort zones. 

“Dare to meet someone who is not like yourself because fear is what drives us toward violence and we must, must, must face our fears head on and overcome our fears. The way to do that is to be curious. Curiosity mitigates fear. Get curious! Because out of curiosity comes creativity and creativity is the opposite of fear that drives violence,” he said. 

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Producer Started In Basement On Streeter Now Grabs Attention Of Tribeca Film Festival

Posted 8/16/2017


HESSTON RECORD STAFFTHE Love Story, Rhodes Current work, has captured the attention of the Tribeca Film Festival.  
RHODES was instrumental in the filming of "Bender".THE Love Story, Rhodes Current work, has captured the attention of the Tribeca Film Festival. RHODES was instrumental in the filming of "Bender".


Shawn Rhodes launched his career into film making from the basement of his home on Hoover Road just outside of Hesston 23-years ago. Today, Rhodes, a 1988 Hesston High graduate and 1990 Hesston College graduate, has had a hand in the creation of “Bender” - the story of America’s first serial killer family. 

Bender was recently released on Netflix and on Google Play.  The film documents the story of the Benders on the Osage Trail in Kansas - setting up a small bed and breakfast general store for westward pioneers. However, for many travelers, the journey west ended at the Bender cabin, murdered by the family.

“That’s what was going on on the Osage Trail in 1874. It was literally the hottest news story in America for about five years,” said Rhodes.

Long-forgotten by the march of history, Rhodes said he was glad to be part of bringing Kansas history back to life and capturing the imaginations of a national audience.

“I was hired as the digital imaging technician - take the footage, check color, continuity, triple-redundant backup and get back with them.

“It ended up being a whole ton of stuff. I did everything from putting sunblock on pigs to securing the Ambassador Hotel and making sure people weren’t dying in the Flint Hills,” he said.

Filming on location for Bender, Rhodes said there was no power, no running water, “we’re in the boonies, how do we make this happen?”

With a budget of only $250,000, the film was produced on a shoestring.

“There are so many little things you have to think about because you’re shooting at night. You have cameras, batteries, boom mics. You’re going through a terrabite every two hours with a 4K camera.   Most films with a big budget have semi-trailers with everything they could possibly think they might need,” he said.

Rhodes’ long history in production made him an ideal candidate for the film.  His start in radio, and move to television production meant he had kept up with the changes in technology and knew the rhythm of production.

“I’ve produced and edited somewhere around 300-400 TV shows. The technology is almost identical. It’s a different outlet. It’s not cut, paste, play for eight minutes, commercial for four minutes, eight minutes, four minutes. It’s fun to branch out. It was a natural progression,” he said.

Even before beginning a movie career, Rhodes has had success as a creator and producer, beginning with Heavy Pork on Fox.

“The second year of Heavy Pork on Fox, we were nominated for two Billboard Music Awards. We didn’t even go. But we won one! We were nominated for a total of six. After doing that for so long, that led me back into doing more film stuff,” he said.

Today, Rhodes said his newest creation “The Love Story” has generated buzz at festivals ranging from the Tallgrass Film Festival all the way up to Tribeca. 

“It’s taken 17 years to get around to telling this story about the creator of funk,” he said.

The Love Story, Rhodes said, is not another rom-com, but a candid documentary about Rudy Love, “it’s the world’s first Funkumentary.” 

“If it wasn’t for Rudy Love, music as we know it today wouldn’t exist,” said Rhodes.

Digging into the story and putting it into less than two hours of film has been a major challenge, as Hollywood’s biggest movers and shakers were all affected by Love’s work in the music industry.

“You start pealing back the layers and find out that one of Rudy’s songs went platinum six times with other artists and never really got a cent out of it,” said Rhodes.

From teaching Marvin Gay some of his hits to having the owner of his record label murdered in a mob hit, Rhodes said, “Right here in Wichita, we have the craziest story about Rock and Roll anyone has ever heard,” he said.

Rhodes said while The Love Story is not complete, it takes time to sift through 70 years of music history and unearth the man behind the likes of Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Martina McBride, George Clinton and Fleetwood Mack. 

Rhodes said from the time he was a teenager, making waves in Hollywood, “is exactly what I thought I would be doing. I didn’t know it was going to take me this long.”

However, he said it took a lot of dedication, creativity and hard work.

“I didn’t accidentally end up here. I did radio and when that was being taken over, I move to Europe for a while, and when all the digital stuff was coming up I edited videos from VHS and, in my house on Streeter, I started transferring Super8 onto VHS. Then I started shooting weddings. I got a scanner and scanned people’s photos making montages.

“Then I started making commercials; then Heavy Pork. I needed a change of scenery and that led me back into film. And, I’m teaching at Butler College,” he said.

Throughout all of it, Rhodes never lost touch with his community.

“I’ve never wanted to leave the area in the first place. I was able to do all of this and not leave.  The myth is that you have to be in Hollywood to be able to do any of this and you don’t. You can do it all right here,” He said. 

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Mystery Boom In The Night

Posted 8/16/2017

Record Staff


Several Hesston residents took note of a loud boom on the evenings of Friday and Saturday around 10 p.m.

Sergeant Chris Carter said he noticed the noise and went out to investigate, even while he was off duty.

“I heard it in my house and stepped out. It sounded like a shotgun blast outside my house,” he said.

Carter said he saw several residents making comments about social media, but there were no reports called in to 911. 

“It generated a lot of social media posts and a call to the paper, but no one called 911.  That’s not really a design we’d like to follow,” said Carter.

Carter said officer Chris Eilert was on duty Saturday evening and did not hear the second loud boom. 

“I don’t know that he heard it while he was on duty.  Sound doesn’t always travel in town,” he said.

Though, Carter said there might be one small lead.

“I saw someone comment on social media say they actually saw an artillery shell, but they couldn’t tell where it was coming from,” he said.

Carter said the event “didn’t end up being an issue,” beyond suspected illegal fireworks with no reported injuries or property damage.

However, he encouraged residents to call 911 in events like this.

“It’s best to err on the side of caution. If people aren’t sure what it is, they don’t bother to report it. The point is if you don’t know what it is, it is our job to go and find out.  We have officers on duty 27-7 so this is not inconvenient.  As small-town officers, we expect call like this. It’s our job,” he said. 

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Hesston Pool League Hosts First Ever 9-Ball Tourney

Posted 8/16/2017

Record Staff

The Hesston Senior Pool League hosted its first ever 9-Ball tournament last Thursday morning, organized by Steve Augustine. Teams from across the tri-county area convened at the Hesston Wellness Center for the tournament with 32 players entered.

“The reason is so we can have a tournament here and make some money for our team. We need some new covers because they’re getting ratty, and it’s fun for the players too,” he said.

In the fast-paced play, G. A. Carr of Hutchinson came out in first place; Chris Heckard of Goessel took second and Walt Eberhardt of Inman placed third.

Augustine said the tournament was an opportunity to show what the Hesston team has to offer for facilities and showcase its ability to host a well-run tournament. 

“The championship tournament was moved to Lindsborg, and we wanted to remind people we can still host a very good tournament here in Hesston,” said Augustine.

John McGehee said part of being a good host was arriving with donuts and hot coffee for players to enjoy.

  1. A. Carr said he has been an avid pool player for “a long time”

“These guys are all good guys and it’s fun to play,” he said.

Keith Coy also with Hutchinson said he has been playing pool since 1990.

“It’s just a lot of fun. Win or lose to me it makes no difference because I really enjoy it,”

Ken Vogts interjected, “He does a lot more losing!”

David Johnson with the Hesston team said, “I was elected as co-captain and I like to do this kind of thing.”

Augustine said membership for the pool league is open to all residents over 53, but primarily attracts men.

“We are looking for more people interested in playing on our pool team. If you are interested, you can contact me,” he said.

Augustine can be reached at 620-327-4124. The team practices Tuesday and Thursday morning at 9 a.m. at the Hesston Wellness Center. 

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