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

Excel Announces Restructuring, Layoffs

Posted 6/21/2017


Employees leaving Hesston’s Excel Industries Wednesday afternoon, told the Record they would be receiving letters Thursday that would inform them if they would remain employed at the company.

The employees declined to give their full name but said the notification from the company would come in the form of a letter sent to the homes of employees. Some employees will get letters saying they are laid off, some will be asked to move to different shifts or jobs, and some employees will see no changes.

A release issued by Excel read, “ Excel Industries, Inc. today informed employees about a reorganization that includes a workforce reduction at its Hesston manufacturing facility. The company will issue a formal statement regarding the restructuring on June 22 after impacted employees have been officially notified. 

 “In the interest of protecting employee privacy, no further details are available at this time.” 

Severance packages and payment terms vary according to seniority, according to one employee. 

At a company meeting Wednesday no names of employees keeping or losing jobs was announced.

Excel, maker of Hustler and Big Dog brand mowers, has largely been in a growth mode in recent years. The company was shaken last year after a mass shooting at the facility in February. This spring Excel rolled out a UTV called the Maximum Duty Vehicle or MDV.

See the Record 6.29 print edition for full story and reaction in Hesston.

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Fresh Produce A Hit At HAS

Posted 6/15/2017

Record Staff

Shoppers carted off bags of fresh produce from the Hesston Area Senior Center on Monday morning with the first Farmers Market being hosted at the center.

Residents had the opportunity to pick up fresh, locally grown produce at HAS from 10-11 a.m.

Sid Whitcher was one of the early-bird shoppers at the market and was particularly excited to find fresh kohlrabi - a vegetable described as a cross between a cabbage heart and a turnip.

“I wasn’t expecting them to have it. The only place I can find it is the Farmers Market in Wichita on Saturdays,” he said.

Whitcher added as a South-Texas native, kohlrabi was commonly eaten raw with salt. 

“It’s absolutely great,” he said.

Whitcher sliced up one of his veggies and handed out samples, along with a shaker of salt, to shoppers curious about the seldom-heard-of vegetable.

Shopper Allison Zielke, described herself as “super granola” and was thrilled to see a locally-sourced farmers market come to Hesston.

“II was just excited to see what they had and I’m really excited there’s one here.  I’ll be coming back, definitely,” she said.

Zielke added, as an aspiring ecology major, local farmers markets like the one at HAS help residents make environmentally friendly choices part of their daily life.

“I want people to be more green. I think you can do things like this in your everyday life that are just more sustainable,” she said.

While at the market, Zielke picked up potatoes, carrots, kale, kohlrabi and romaine lettuce. 

To read more, see this weeks print edition

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Bump In The Night Leads To Man In Tree, Burglary Arrest

Posted 6/15/2017

Record Staff

Hesston Police are working a case involving drugs and business and residential burglaries.

According to Police Chief Doug Schroeder, police have a suspect, who police have not named, has had contact with officers numerous times in the last week.

Police first made contact with the suspect on Thursday evening when a Weaver Grocers employee working late called 911 and reported suspicious activity near the store.

Police arrived and found a man in a tree near the property. 

On Thursday night, police received a call about a prowler at Weaver Grocers at about 10:30 p.m.

“After investigation, we determined the individual needed medical assistance and the individual was transported to Newton Medical Center,” said Schroeder.

On Friday afternoon, Schroeder said police made contact with the individual again on a welfare check.

“Officers responded and the individual needed medical assistance again. He was transported by Hesston EMS to Newton Medical Center.

“During the course of the investigation, drugs, drug paraphernalia and stolen property was observed in the house,” said Schroeder.

Police contacted the Harvey County District Court to obtain a search warrant for the property.

“The search resulted in a small amount of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and approximately 95 percent of the property stolen from Hesston College,” said Schroeder.

“Here’s a case where someone heard something go bump, we checked into it and it was much bigger than even we originally thought,” said Schroeder.

According to Schroeder, the suspect is connected to a burglary on Wednesday, June 7 or early on June 8.   A Hesston College Resident Director reported the theft of several thousand dollars in equipment from Kauffman Court. 

“Most of the equipment belonged to students returning this fall semester,” said Schroeder.

In addition to the aggravated burglary at Hesston College, Schroeder said a trailer stolen from Newton was also found to be in the individual’s possession. 

The suspect is also accused of breaking into Hesston Veterinary Clinic. Animal medications from the clinic were also found in the individual’s residence. 

“The case is still under investigation. I expect, when completed, criminal charges will be prosecuted,” said Schroeder.

Schroeder said the suspect could be facing felony burglary and felony theft charges, along with drug charges. 

“I know I sound like a broken record, but if you see something, say something,” said Schroeder.



Fake Franklins In Hesston


Hesston Police Chief Doug Schroeder urged businesses and individuals to be vigilant when handling cash, particularly $100 bills.

“It has been reported to us that a counterfeit $100 was passed at Weaver Grocers,” he said.

Schroeder said he learned a fake bill with the same serial number was recently passed in Moundridge and in Lindsborg.

“Through investigation and surveillance, we have identified suspects and are currently looking for them. It is still under investigation,” he said.

Schroeder gave a brief description of the suspects as two caucasian females in a dark passenger car with out-of-state license plates.

Schroeder added the Secret Service has been contacted but there has been no official reply.

Schroeder urged businesses to be vigilant about any large bills coming into businesses, stating the forgery passed at the business made it to the bank before being detected. 

“Use a money pen. If it feels funny or doesn’t look right, get a second opinion,” he said.

Schroeder said if business people or checkers are suspicious or discover counterfeit currency, “record as much as possible about the person and vehicle.” 

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Ridge Road Resurfacing Will Continue Through Summer

Posted 6/15/2017

Record Staff

Hesston residents will have been hard pressed to miss the construction work happening on Ridge Road from 12th Street to the McPherson County line.

The work, which is part of regularly scheduled maintenance by Harvey County, is a cooperative effort between the county and the City of Hesston.

Harvey County Road and Bridge Superintendent Jim Meier said the project will be a two-part project with outside lanes being resurfaced and finished before the two inside lanes are milled and overlaid later this summer.

Hesston Street Superintendent Jim Erb said the project requires a great deal of coordination and cooperation with the county.

“We are paying for the outside two lanes and Harvey County pays for the inside two lanes,” he said.

Erb explained the road needed to be resurfaced in two different stages because two different methods of resurfacing will be used on each lane.

“On the inside two lanes, they’re doing a process called hot in place recycling.  There’s too much eat with that process to be right next to a curb, so we have to do a different process on the outside two lanes,” he said.

Erb said while there are two different resurfacing methods being used, all of Ridge Road will receive a two-inch mill and overlay.

“It has no impact on the drivability of the road once it’s done,” he said.

Meier added the timing of the project had to be carefully coordinated between the city, county and contractor to ensure minimal disruption to traffic, particularly in areas in Hesston that are already seeing a great deal of construction work.

“It’s been a wonderfully cooperative effort between BNSF, KNO, the city, the county, the contractor; everyone worked well and that’s all to the taxpayers’ benefit,” said Meier.

Meier said the last time Ridge Road was resurfaced was in 2006.

“It’s held up really well and we hope to get another 11 years. That’s a long time for pavement,” he said.

The total project cost, including Hesston’s contribution for the current construction (not the hot in place contract) is $975,592.75 according to Meier. The inner two lanes, according to Meier will represent $402,220. According to City Administrator Gary Emry, “our cost for our two lanes was approximately $130,000.”

Meier said bids for the project came in unusually low this year.

“KDOT has no work for these guys and contractors are hungry for work.  They’re having to go out of state. For the first time in my career, good prices have nothing to do with crude prices. It’s just not market driven; it’s driven by the need for work.

“Harvey County happens to have some money. We have other projects that contractors want. The want to stay close to home and survive,” he said.

• Randall Road between Ridge Road and Old Highway 81 also had a two-inch mill and overlay done to repair the surface.

• The railroad crossing at Lincoln Boulevard and Old Highway 81 was also improved, with new pavement laid on the easement owned by the railroad company. 

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Having Fun Getting Fit At KLCH

Posted 6/15/2017

Record Staff 

For the last decade, Harvey County kids have been getting fit, thanks to the Kansas Learning Center for Health.

This year, 41 youngsters, ranging between kindergarten through fifth grade, came from Hesston, Halstead and Newton to participate in the program. 

Kansas Learning Center for Health Executive Director Carrie Herman said children learned about nutrition, exercise and teamwork during the week-long camp.

“Each day the kids made a healthy snack - like owls made with apples, cucumbers, cheese and pretzels or birds on a limb with hard boiled eggs, pretzel rods and string cheese,” said Herman.

While snacks were kid-constructed, activities had campers outdoors and active.

“activities included going on a scavenger hunt to Scout Park, doing teamwork games and obstacle courses, and water day with the fire department,” said Herman.

If campers were not outdoors and active, Herman said their creativity was put to good use, making different crafts.

“Crafts included creating a camping scene with each child’s photo, making and painting butterflies, creating a lantern with a mason jar, and making fish with paper lanterns,” she said.

As the week progressed, Herman hoped campers realized health and fitness are not just for adults.

“KLCH wants kids to have fun and learn how to incorporate healthy food and activities into their daily lives,” she said.

Herman added allowing kids to make some of their own choices allows them to experiment with larger, more adult concepts.

“The program guides children and encourages their growing ability to make healthy choices, work with others and assume responsibilities,” she said.

Working with children ranging in age from five to 12, Herman said she and her staff faced one major challenge this year.

“he greatest challenge has been finding activities that an age span of Kindergarten through fifth grade all find interesting,” she said.

However, this year’s crafts, snacks and activities had all the campers coming back for more.

“The kids had a lot of fun with the crafts this year.  The kids found them challenging, which also made them proud of their accomplishments,” she said.

Herman added, a side benefit of the program is getting kids engaged with the real world and disconnecting from electronic devices. 

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