Every year about this time, the Hiawatha World staff takes a look back at the year and reviews the top stories.
We can pick and choose our top stories, but with the help of a Google Analytics breakdown that ranks the top-performing web addresses through our Hiawatha World Facebook and Website www.hiawathaworldonline.com we are able to get a more accurate picture of what our readers truly like.
In addition to the following Top 10 stories, the photo galleries that featured the Red Hawk Collection — especially football — Legion Baseball, Brown County Blackout and Hiawatha Halloween Frolic also performed very highly.
Thanks to the community and our readers for not only checking our Website and Facebooks daily, but for subscribing to the Hiawatha World. Without you we couldn’t do it!
1. “Discovery Investigation to air Rulo-cult story on Dennis Ryan” – This story was about the television airing of “Evil Lives Here” on the Discovery channel on Feb. 22, and the son of Michael Ryan who was the leader of a Rulo, Neb., cult consisting of around 20 adults and several children. The son, Dennis Ryan, was 16 at the time. The cult was anti-Semitic and believed Armageddon was coming. They stockpiled weapons and food and worshipped “Yahweh” according to Michael Ryan’s teachings. Follower James Thimm, and Luke Stice, who was only 5 years old, were chained and tortured for several weeks and eventually killed by Ryan, his son, and some of the members of the cult for questioning Ryan’s teachings. A book, “Evil Harvest,” was written and published in 1992 by Hiawatha native Rod Colvin, documenting the horrors that took place.
2. “Highland family has close call with silent killer” – Chris and Amy Lackey were awakened by a loud noise on Friday, Jan 6, which was their oldest son, Caleb, falling as he tried to get to the bathroom. Luckily for them and their two sons, Caleb and Carson, they woke up. They found their son disoriented, and they also started to display similar symptoms. They got out of the house and called 911, and once the emergency responders arrived it was confirmed that the house was filled with high levels of carbon monoxide. The whole family was hospitalized, and Amy and Caleb were transferred to KU Medical Center for time in the hyperbaric chamber.
3. “Two charged in home break-in, battery” – Hiawatha Police Department responded to a report of a break-in and burglary on Tuesday, May 16, where the victim was bound and beaten. Ray Atlakson, 30, was transported to the Hiawatha Hospital for treatment of his injuries. It was reported that there were three suspects, and after the initial investigation, two individuals from Sabetha were identified, Edgar Martinez and Jazmene Hicks, and were arrested on May 19, in Sabetha. They were transported to Brown County Jail. The suspects were charged with aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, aggravated battery and criminal restraint, and bond was set at $175,000 each.
4. “Husband and wife team up to offer two business opportunities to Hiawatha residents” – Thrivent Financial and Horizon Mental Health opened their doors to customers with a joint open house and ribbon cuttings at 120 N. Sixth St., in Hiawatha, on Oct. 24. Kyle Olson is an associate representative with Thrivent Financial and his wife, Sarah Olson, LSCSW, is a certified play therapist with Horizon Mental Health. Kyle joined Thrivent Financial with the organization’s Kansas/Missouri Regional Financial Office. Horizon Mental Health is an extension of Sarah’s desire to work with both adults and children in a community setting. Kyle and Sarah, married for 12 years, live in Hiawatha with their three children.
5. “Price Financial Group and Gregory A. Price ordered to cease and desist” – This article is about allegations against a Lawrence area financial group, and a cease and desist order filed against them by the Kansas Securities Commissioner, John Wine. The order alleged that Price Financial Group and Gregory A. Price violated the Kansas Uniform Securities Act by operating as an unregistered investment adviser and broker-dealer in the state of Kansas. The Kansas Securities Commissioner urged anyone who may have had dealings with this group to call the Office of the Securities Commissioner.
6. “Former Hiawatha teacher charged with unlawful sexual relations” – Following a lengthy investigation, search warrant, and forensics review of several electronic devices by the Hiawatha Police Department, Gabrielle Bauman, 24, of Fairview was arrested. The charge was one count of unlawful sexual relations, a level 5 person felony. The initial report was made to the USD 415 Administration in mid-June 2017. Brown County Attorney Kevin Hill said that the complaint alleges conduct covering a time-period from November 2016 through May 21, 2017. Bauman was employed as a teacher at Hiawatha High School during that time, and the alleged victim was a student.
7. “Two Killed in Accident South of Hiawatha” – Michael Patrick James, 52, of Horton, and Patricia Boldt, 80, of Upland, Nebr., were both killed in a double-fatality accident on U.S. 73 Highway south of Hiawatha Wednesday, July 19. According to the KHP report, James was driving a 1996 Chevy Suburban northbound when his vehicle veered left of the center line striking a 2011 Toyota Sienna head-on, driven by Delwyn A. Boldt, 80, of Nebraska. Delwyn Boldt, and two 15-year-old passengers in his vehicle, Luke and Jack Boldt of Leland, N.C., were all hospitalized with disabling injuries. KHP investigated the accident, with multiple agencies assisting.
8. “Candlelight Vigil Planned for Former Hiawatha Man Killed in Compton, Calif.” – A candlelight vigil was held Wednesday evening, July 19, at the Fisher Community Center in Hiawatha, in memory of Carlos Velasquez, 23, who was killed along with another man late July 9, or early July 10, in Compton, Calif. Velasquez lived in Hiawatha many of his school-age years, moving back to Compton during his teen years to be close to family. Carlos is survived by his mother, Horalia Velasquez and brother Matthew.
9. “Changes at the Daily Perk” – Ashlee Simpson, owner of the Daily Perk, has had a busy year, including getting married and preparing for a new baby, along with an already busy 8½ year-old daughter at home. The Daily Perk opened in June 2013 at 402 Oregon St., in Hiawatha, as basically a coffee shop only, but she said before she knew it she had a full lunch and was doing catering on the side. With the “life changes” Simpson has experienced this year, she decided it was time to make some changes. In October, she announced an hour change and elimination of lunch, but decided to offer breakfast all morning until noon with an expanded menu, along with seasonal soup from 10 a.m. to noon as well.
10. “Gaddis Officially Moves On From HHS” – It was made official Tuesday morning, June 20, by the USD 415 Hiawatha School Board, to transition from Hiawatha High School principal Dr. Andrew Gaddis, to interim principal Alan Jeffery. Dr. Gaddis has accepted a position at the Atchison County Community School District, replacing Steve Wiseman, who has served in that position for 12 years. Jeffery served as principal at Hiawatha High School for several years prior to his retirement, and prior to Dr. Gaddis taking over the position three years ago.