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August 10, 2017 The Hesston RecordAugust 10, 2017 The Hesston Record

Swather Robotics Camp

Posted 7/13/2017

Record Staff

A new generation of robotics students got their first driving lessons in the last two weeks. The first-ever Swather Robotics Camp was coordinated entirely by Hesston High graduates who were involved with the robotics program in high school

Austin Weaver, the primary coordinator of the camp, said that 34 youth took part in the camp over the two weeks.

“It went better than I thought. We didn’t have any major issues,” he said.

Assisted by fellow robotics graduates, Kendrick Weaver and Patty Deagan, the college students created bot kits and invented a game for the end-of-camp tournament.

“My favorite part was when they first got their bots moving. You hear that motor turn and it’s so amazing.  The first robot got done and turned on and every kid stopped what they were doing and looked at it,” said Austin.

Kendrick said seeing the enthusiasm of first-time robotics participants had a hint of nostalgia.

“I remember how I felt when we were first building bots with [teacher Treavor] Foreman; how antsy I was to get started and build something and making memories about robotics,” he said.

When their young pupils got their hands on their claw-bot kits, it opened up new opportunities.

“I chose robotics because I was going to participate in high school and thought it would be fun. I’ve had a really boring summer so far and I’m actually interested in this,” said Cooper.

During the week-long camp, Austin and Kendrick said they offered guidance and made recommendations, but kept kids as hands-on as possible with building, programming and driving.

“Some of the stuff you don’t know how to fix if you don’t have a grasp on the basics. We would tell them to ‘Flip this’ or ‘Fix that’ but we made them actually do it,” said Kendrick. 

With the hands-on approach, youth were able to see the fruits of their labor.

“Programming was the coolest thing,” said Jordan, one of only three girls taking part in the second week session.

Jordan’s teammate, Elana, said she not only learned the fundamentals of robotics, but was introduced to one of the cornerstones of the high school program - patience and anger management.

Making their way well into the finals, Jordan and Elana came away with confidence as well as technical knowledge. 

To read more, see this weeks print edition

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July Walkabout Gallery Artist

Posted 7/13/2017

Record Staff

This month Designs by John owner and florist John Back is the Walkabout Gallery Artist for July.

Back has been in the floral industry for over four decades and is bringing a variety of arrangements to the gallery for walkers and residents to enjoy.  One of Back’s signature pieces are the hand-woven baskets made of muscadine vines. 

“These baskets are all hand-made and I love that part.  The guy who sells them, he stopped by once and we’ve been buying from him for several years. 

“Theses guys go into the forests and this guy just makes them as he goes and then he puts the handles on later. He makes all this out in the forest. I guess they put the wreaths on their arms and make them as they go,” said Back.

Back added he has a love for natural containers and frequently adds twigs and branches to his pieces.

“I enjoy doing the baskets all the time because there’s always something different you can do,” he said.

Vases, Back said, can be a challenge and at times limiting.

“A good designer can put a vase together. If you go to mass marketers and buy a package of flowers and stuff them in a vase and think they’re going to be wonderful... This is the difference between a designer as opposed to an order-person,” he said.

Back, with over 40 years of experience, said one of the first lessons he learned was to create a piece and then leave it be.

“You put it together and then you don’t mess with it after the first time around.  So many people, the young designers, they just drive you nuts because ‘This flower looks weird. This flower looks OK.’ But when you’re working with Oasis (a gel used by florists to keep freshcut flowers hydrated) you’re putting a hole in it and if you put it back in you might not get it quite right and the flowers won’t be able to take up any water,” he said.

While many residents are trying to beat the summer heat, Back said he is already thinking ahead to fall, with his displays featuring warm colors and arrangements that can last to the holidays.

“It’s that time of year. I mean this basket is a neat piece and has the pine and will last into January or February. The Christmas pine gives you that effect,” he said.

Back added as a florist, there is enough variety to keep him busy throughout the year.

“There’s always something. I like the variety and it keeps you moving,” he said.

With customers coming from across Harvey County, Back said he has to balance his business between trendiness and giving customers what they want.

“This is my style and what I do. Let’s face it, the trends come off the east and west costs and people in the Midwest aren’t that excited about trendy things. They’re looking for flowers in a way that they want value for their money,” he said.

Back added all of the arrangements at the Walkabout Gallery are priced and ready to be sold, if a resident sees a piece he or she likes, it can be purchased and paid for at the Wellness Center desk.

“I would like people to appreciate the artistic look, how they’re designed and put together - the mechanics of them,” he said. 

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Red Cross Appeals For Help During Summer Shortage

Posted 7/13/2017

Record Staff

The American Red Cross is facing a critical blood shortage and is issuing an emergency call for eligible blood and platelet donors of all blood types to give now and help save lives.

Hesstonians can help save lives by donating blood Monday, July 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Hesston Mennonite Church.

Blood donations have fallen short of expectations for the past two months, resulting in about 61,000 fewer donations than needed and causing a significant draw down of the Red Cross blood supply. The shortfall is the equivalent of the Red Cross not collecting any blood donations for more than four days.

 

“It’s crucial that people donate now to meet the needs of patients every day and to be prepared for emergencies that require significant volumes of donated blood,” said Nick Gehrig, communications director, Red Cross Blood Services. “Every day, blood and platelet donors can help save lives, and right now these heroes are needed to give as soon as possible.”

Blood shortages often worsen around Independence Day due to many fewer volunteer-hosted blood drives at places of work, worship or community gathering, and this year is no exception. Nearly 700 fewer blood drives are scheduled during the Independence Day week than the weeks before and after the holiday.

 

Overall, the summer months are among the most challenging times of the year for blood and platelet donations as regular donors delay giving while they vacation and participate in summer activities. In a recent survey of Red Cross blood donors, more than 73 percent indicated vacation plans this summer, many of them occurring the weeks before and after Independence Day.

 

New donors and those who haven’t given in a while are especially encouraged to roll up a sleeve and help save lives. Nearly one-third fewer new blood donors came out to give last summer than during the rest of the year due in part to schools – where blood drives are held and where new donors give – being out of session during the summer months.

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Christian Crooner Jason Jones Performing At Music And More

Posted 7/13/2017

Record Staff

Local singer and songwriter Jason Jones will be headlining the July 18 Music and More at The Waters Edge at 6:30 p.m.

Jones, a contemporary Christian musician, has been performing semi-professionally for over 20 years.

Music is one of my Spiritual Gifts so I believe that God wants me to use it to minister to others.  I strongly believe that music has the power to touch people’s hearts and emotions in a way that spoken words can’t,” said Jones.

Best known for his song “Touched by the Hand of Jesus,” written by Jones over a decade ago, he said the piece is his personal testimony. 

“ I will be performing the song that I wrote titled ‘Touched by the Hand of Jesus’ and sharing the story about how I was inspired by God to write the song.  My hope is that everyone who attends will be Blessed by the songs that I sing and the testimony that I share,” he said.

As a musician, Jones said he is constantly working to expand his repertoire.

“The greatest challenge is constantly learning New Songs and then finding time to rehearse them,” he said.

At Music and More, Jones said he is looking forward to performing for an audience full of close friends, family and fellow community members.

“I am hoping my parents will be able to attend the performance since they live in Hutchinson.  My mom is a retired grade school music teacher so she started me singing very young and she has been the biggest supporter of my music ministry throughout my life.  I credit God for my gift of music, but I credit my mom for my love of music,” he said.

This is Jones’ second Music and More performance. 

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