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Grinnell, KS : Community News

by Gayle Weber
July 17, 2012 - Hays Daily News

GRINNELL -- It was all fun and games for adults and children alike Saturday at the Grinnell After Harvest Fest.

The fun started Friday night with a live band and continued through the heat of the day Saturday, culminating with games for all ages Saturday evening.

The After Harvest Fest, with booths and activities located in the city park and a meal served in the city building, is an annual tradition that draws not only from throughout Gove County and the surrounding area, but draws many people back home, too.

"Even the grandkids get excited about coming back," said Hope Weninger, Nebraska City, Neb., who was back for her 20-year class reunion.

Those kids are excited for a reason. After the dunk tank had served its purpose Saturday, it became a pool for many children. And water guns were in great abundance on the 100-degree day.

Then, children had the opportunity to participate in turtle races and an egg toss before giving way to the adult games.

"The games and watching the kids" are Mary Jane Goetz's favorite moments of the After Harvest Fest.

Under the shade of a row of trees across the street from city park, fun was the name of the game. The Bixenman clan from rural Gove County brought their favorite horses to town, and with the help of an aunt, also had donkeys and goats on display for children to see, touch and occasionally feed. The Bixenman siblings ride their horses all the time on their farm, said mom Judy.

"We just donated our time so that the city kids could ride," she said.

Bailey, Melissa, Brooke, Andrew and Mason Bixenman all helped out, leading the horses and helping children mount and dismount.

Ava Wolf, 4, smiled from ear to ear as she took her turn on a pony. Her dad, Kyle, is a Grinnell native who has attended many After Harvest Fests in the past, but this was Ava's first.

"It's the right time to come back," said Wolf, now living in Webb City, Mo. "Came back and saw the family and had the opportunity to come out to the After Harvest Fest."

by Mike Corn
June 21, 2012 - Hays Daily News

GRINNELL -- Ralph Ostmeyer can't get away from his cellphone, even out in the harvest field.

Shortly after pulling in his first field recently, Sen. Ostmeyer, R-Grinnell, stepped down from his Gleaner combine -- turning over driving duties to son Terry -- to take a call about groundbreaking ceremonies later that day in Goodland.

He wasn't hoping for a bumper crop in the field he pulled into, but as it turned out, the yield was 48 bushels per acre.

"I'm just surprised," he said of the quality of the wheat.

Ostmeyer is in the position of farming too much land for one person, but not enough for two.

"We have around 600 acres of wheat," he said. "We're not very big farmers."

But that let him follow his children and grandchildren through the years in sports and other activities.

It's also let him take time for politics.

That's why harvest is important, augmenting what he makes as a Kansas senator.

"I have to live first," he said. "That salary doesn't pay much."

He's amazed at who is able to serve in the Legislature.

"There's a lot of young kids in the Legislature," he said. "I don't see how they can afford it."

This campaign season will be a busy one for Ostmeyer, who now is facing two challengers: John E. Miller, a Republican from Norton, and Allen Schmidt, a Democrat from Hays.

He also had another challenger, but Hays Republican Sue Boldra decided she wouldn't run against Ostmeyer, choosing to instead run against Rep. Eber Phelps, D-Hays.

"She just said, 'Ralph, I've got no problem with what you're doing,' " he said.

Miller filed for office nearly 18 months ago.

"Now, I've got a Democrat," he said while standing in the wheat field. "That makes the election process longer."

Ostmeyer harbors no ill feelings against Schmidt for filing for election to the 40th District, after he essentially was tossed out of incumbency when his 36th District was moved east and Ellis County was lumped in to Ostmeyer's district.

"I knew he was wanting to run when he called me," Ostmeyer said of Schmidt. "I can't discourage anyone. That isn't my style."

He had only kind words for Schmidt.

"I've never been negative," he said of his campaigning style, "and I don't intend to start now."

He's discouraged Schmidt didn't get to run for re-election to the 36th District, taken away when three federal judges redrew district boundaries.

"We just didn't get it done, and we're going to pay for it," Ostmeyer said of the court's redistricting maps.

Despite that, Ostmeyer's relatively pleased with his district.

"I've got a nice looking district," he said. "They took six counties away and gave me one."

He's hoping to serve one more term in office.

"Allen is a likable guy," he said of Schmidt. "So is John (Miller). They just want to serve. So do I."

by The Hays Daily news
June 18, 2012 - Hays Daily News

A total of 12 area school programs were awarded funds from the McDonald's Classroom Grants program that totaled $5,000 for the 2012-13 school year.

Grants ranging from $234 to $500 were given to teachers in five different counties for "the application of innovative teaching methods," according to a release from McDonald's of Hays, Russell, WaKeeney and Colby.

Rick and Gail Kuehl -- owners of McDonald's restaurants in those four cities -- founded the program in 1988 as a way of encouraging teachers to explore innovative teaching methods.

To date, more than $125,000 has been awarded to area teachers for 364 classroom projects that have involved reading, science, math, writing, music, art, biology and social skills.

Any preschool through 12th-grade teacher in a 15-county area in northwest and north central Kansas was eligible to apply. Grant applications are reviewed by a committee of business owners and educators and selected by meeting certain criteria.

The winners of this year's grants are:

Stacy Befort, Washington Elementary, Ellis; Marlisa Berner, Plainville Elementary; Mindy Christensen, Golden Plains Elementary, Selden; David Dryden, Palco High; Sonya Herl, O'Loughlin Elementary; Melody Mesecher, Sacred Heart Elementary, Plainville; Carrie Newell, Palco Elementary; Bridgette Ramey, Grinnell Elementary; Kay Shippy, Roosevelt Elementary and Lincoln Elementary, Hays; Christine Weber, Lincoln Elementary, Hays; Jonita Windholz, Wilson Elementary, Hays; Tamara Wynn, Trego Elementary, WaKeeney.

More information can be found online at