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Jan. 18, 2018 issue

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Nephews help Eilert celebrate birthday

Strong wind leaves little snow behind

Historical society to present program on earthquakes

Mankato Chamber holds annual meeting

The Cyber Express-Record

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The Superior Express & Jewell County News 18 January 2018


Photo Archive


Nephews help Eilert celebrate birthday

By Kerma Crouse
Kathryn Eilert's 101st birthday seemed a simple affair.  Just two nephews, a daughter and a friend enjoying lunch. Though it should be noted one nephew, Father Sean Martin, came from St. Louis, Mo., and the other, Brian Martin, came all the way from Atlanta, Ga. Both coming just to be with their Aunt Kathryn on her birthday.  
Plus, there had already been a rendition of "Happy Birthday" sung by the residents of Hilltop Assisted Living. Then there was the open house to be held on Sunday. Besides all that, there was a large ice cream cake with lavish amounts of pink icing.
Pink is and has always been Eilert's favorite color. Pink is the color of her rosary, which she prays with daily. Praying daily is "so important." Just ask and she will tell you.
Kathryns faith has been an integral part of her life. Moving in and round all of life's ups and downs, just as the rosary beads move through her fingers as she prays.
Her first memory of going to church was as a young child attending St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Jewell.  "I remember that little gray church," she said. She was baptized there and grew up in the congregation. The church no longer exists but was located on the northeast corner of Broadway Street (H Road) and Highway 14.  It was a small congregation and services were held once a month.
The priest, Father Barens, came from Esbon and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church. He drove a little black roadster. But Eilert remembers riding to church in the back of a wagon. 
Her parents, Joseph and Mary Gallagher would load their children into the wagon then drive the 5 12 miles to church.  Was it bouncy? Eilert shook her head. "No, mother put blankets in the back of the wagon." She continued attending that church as she grew. 
Couch School, just about a mile across the section from her parents' farm home was where her education began. Eilert went on to graduate from Jewell High School with the Class of 1934. She took normal training in 1938, earning her teaching certificate.
Eilert taught in three Jewell County one-room schools. Cyclone School, District No. 90 (Whitemound Township) was her first school. She also taught at South Hill School, District No. 106 (Center Township) and White School, District No. 78 (Center Township). Those were before teaching in Scottsville and then several years in Glasco.
Then her teaching career was put on hold.  She had met Francis Joseph "Ike" Eilert. The two planned to be married but the "little gray church" of her childhood was no more. However, a new church was being built in Mankato. They were the first couple to be married at St. Theresa's Catholic Church. It was so new that only the basement had been built and that was where they were married.
They eventually moved to Kathryn's childhood home southwest of Jewell and their church was St. Theresa's. It was there Eilert again taught, this time catechism classes to the children of the congregation. It was where her four children were baptized, received their first communion and were confirmed.
Her faith was tried in 1975 when her husband, Ike, was killed in a farm accident. She stayed the course, continuing to rear their children and returning to teaching. This time at St. John's Catholic School in Beloit.
Her oldest daughter, Mary DeBey, recalled, "If you got up early, you found her, on her knees praying in front of the fire." Prayer always was the thread winding through her life. 
Eilert moved to Beloit in 1983 and then for a time lived with her daughter, Mary, before moving into Hilltop Assisted Living in 2010.
Prayer continues to be a daily part of her life and also something she shares. When she was 98, she started a prayer group. They meet every Tuesday at 4 p.m. in her room to pray for whatever concerns have been placed in Eilert's "prayer basket."
On her birthday, Eilert received a new rosary. It has white beads with pink flowers. Appropriate for someone who loves pink and prayer.
Eilert's children are Mary DeBey of Topeka, Rosie Bosse (J.R.) of Onaga, Connie Mushrush (Joe) of Strong City and Joe Eilert (Kari) of rural Jewell.

Strong wind leaves little snow behind
By the first weekend of the new year, weather advisors were announcing the approach of a strong winter storm heading from the west coast all the way across the United States to the east coast. Predictions for Jewell County were for the storm to hit the area around 4 a.m. Thursday morning. Some snow did fall around 4 a.m. and by daylight the high winds had arrived and what snow was on the ground was blowing. Some say the wind blew so hard it blew the snowfall right through Jewell County with very little white stuff left behind.
Thursday morning many of the local news stations were issuing cautions to residents when taking the first step out their doors! Luckily for residents in Jewell County the ice was not a problem. Throughout most of Kansas, ice was accumulating on all surfaces. The temperatures were frigid and it was precipitating a wintry combination that was resulting in hazardous driving and walking conditions.
A winter storm warning was in effect until noon for portions of central Kansas. A winter weather advisory was in effect until noon for east central Kansas, north central Kansas and northeast Kansas. The heaviest snow was predicated to fall mainly west of a Hiawatha to Council Grove line, with total snow accumulations of two to five inches just west of Topeka. News releases of the winter weather also included an advisory of wind blowing snow at 45 mph with some locations receiving a layer of ice prior to the snow fall.
Friday proved to be a fairly normal winter day across Kansas. Temperatures were around and below normal and, of course, those Kansas winds were present but not howling. Off and on all day Saturday if you looked at the right time huge snow flakes were falling. Sunday morning residents arose to a white ground, although snow fall amounts varied around the county. In Mankato, it looked like around three inches was received. With no wind accompanying this snow it laid down, giving the landscape a pure white undisturbed carpet.
During the evening hours Sunday in Mankato, the predicted rain, which amounted to very little, fell leaving behind ice and snow combination in the area. Temperatures Monday were still very frigid with the sun shining and the wind did blow. The low predicted for Monday was -4 with another storm traveling towards northcentral Kansas, moving through the area by the upcoming weekend.
Road travel is always discouraged during extreme winter storm situations, particularly when there is an icy buildup on roads. However, if travel is a must, there are some precautions that should be taken to keep yourself and your family safe.
Keep at least a half a tank of fuel in your car at all times in case you get stranded or stuck in traffic. Arrange your travel plans to leave well ahead of bad weather and let someone know your itinerary and expected arrival time. Make sure your cell phone is charged so you can alert them should you be delayed. Always keep an emergency kit in your car.
Information on winter driving tips is available from the Kansas Highway Patrol. You can also follow the Kansas Highway Patrol on Facebook and Twitter at
If you must travel, get the latest road information from the Kansas Department of Transportation by calling 511 or visiting the KanDrive website at To find information on road conditions when not in the state, call 1-866-511-5368.
Be sure your home is prepared as well with a home emergency kit that contains enough essential supplies to allow you to shelter in place for at least three days. Keep abreast of weather conditions by tuning to your local weather station.

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Historical society to host program on earthquakes
Rex Buchanan, director emeritus of the Kansas Geological Survey at the University of Kansas, has been invited by the Jewell County Historical Society to present a program on the topic of the recent earthquakes and tremors that have been happening in this area during the last year.
Buchanan will present "Recent Seismicity in Kansas: Events and Responses" to the public at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Rock Hills Little Theatre, located at the high school in Mankato. The public is invited.
Buchanan grew up near Little River in Rice County, on the edge of the Smoky Hills. He earned a B.A. in biology and history from Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, an M.A. in history and science and an M.S. in agricultural journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has served as a reporter for the Salina Journal, a research assistant for the University Industry Research Program at the University of Wisconsin and a lecturer at the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. He joined the Kansas Geological Survey in 1978 and became director of the organization in 2010.
Buchanan has a number of publications including a book with James R. McCauly entitled Roadside Kansas: A Traveler's Guide to its Geology and Landmarks. He has served as chair of the Induced Seismicity Task Force for the State of Kansas, secretary of the Association of American State Geologists, chair of Geology and Public Policy Committee of the Geological Society of America, president of the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education, president of the Kansas Academy of Science and president of the Association of Earth Science Editors.
Coffee and refreshments will be served after the program. Following refreshments the annual meeting of the Jewell County Historical Society will be held with all invited to attend the meeting.

Mankato Chamber holds annual meeting

The annual Meeting of the Mankato Chamber of Commerce was held Jan. 9 at Possibilities, with 17 members present. Jason Ortman, president, called the meeting to order. Minutes of the 2017 annual meeting and the December 2017 meeting were read by Monica Walker, secretary. Sara Reiter gave the treasurer's report.
The community garden was discussed. Many ideas to make it productive in 2018 were discussed. This was tabled until the February meeting.
Emma Menhusen talked about the letter she wrote on behalf of the chamber showing support for the Summer Music Festival. The letter will go to the Dane Hansen Foundation.
Sara Reiter gave a report on Santa's Workshop. Totals were 195 registrations (146 pre-registered and 49 registered at the door), with 1,359 gifts purchased by the children. A wrap up meeting was held to discuss the evening. It was decided to start at 5:30 p.m. next year instead of 6 p.m. Donations for next year are already coming in.
A committee was formed to start planning for Mankato Chamber of Commerce Fun Run 2018. A letter will be circulated to other area towns hosting races to see if there would be interest in starting a race series. More information will be available at the February meeting.
The year in review was given by Jason Ortman. There were 65 members in 2017. We welcomed four new businesses during the year. Chamber Bucks sales were the highest to date, $2,645 worth were sold in 2017 with $1,685 of the total being purchased in December. Jason presented the group with a large thank you from the grade school children who attended the free movie before Christmas.
Emma Menhusen gave the social media report. The Facebook page gained 108 followers in 2017 with a total of 507 new likes. The Chamber website had 9,336 total site visits and 4,036 blog post views. Peak site visits were 1,221 in August with 1,135 in October.
Board member terms ending in 2017 were Jason Ortman and Brian Shulda. Both members will continue their terms for another three years. There will be no change of the board of directors: Jason Ortman, president; Brian Shulda, vice president; Paul Wilson, treasurer; Monica Walker, secretary.
A budget meeting will take place in the next few weeks so it can be presented to the chamber members at the February meeting for approval.
Membership drive for 2018 has begun. Emails will be sent out to start with. Letters will go out for members not having an email address.
A drawing was held for two free meals courtesy of the State Exchange Bank. Winners of the drawing were Jason Ortman and Emily Reed.
The group thanked Possibilities for the venue and meal. Next meeting will be held Feb. 14, at noon at the Buffalo Roam.

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