Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Law enforcement impersonators at large

Friday, November 9th, 2018

By Kat Collins
Staff writer

On Monday, the Hutchinson Police Department sent a press release about some people pretending to be security and police in parks around the city.

The Hutch PD said that the suspects have approached parked vehicles in city parks, identifying themselves as the security or police and asking one of the people to exit the car. Then, once the person is outside the vehicle, the victims have reported being sexually assaulted.
The City of Hutchinson does not employ any sort of Park Security. The only law enforcement that patrols the parks around the city, are commissioned law enforcement that include the HPD, Reno County Sheriff’s Office, and Kansas Highway Patrol.

If you are contacted by someone in a city park claiming to be a police officer or park security, you should lock your doors and on roll up your windows on your car. The officer should show you their official badge, name and badge number.

If you have doubt during the contact, inform the officer that you are calling 911 to verify their Identity. If the officer tries to stop you from calling 911, remain on the line with 911 and drive to the Law Enforcement Center at 210 W 1st, Hutchinson.

If the said officer you are questioning leaves the scene, call 911 and report the incident Immediately.

Doreen Welsh, ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ flight attendant, speaks at Dillon Lecture Series

Friday, November 9th, 2018

By Tabitha Barr
Opinion Page Editor

Flying is a common source of transportation for people all around the world. Some people love it, others fear it, but it’s a necessity nonetheless.

For Doreen Welsh, flying was normalcy because it was her job for 38 years. She spoke Tuesday at the Sports Arena during the Dillon Lecture Series. But on Jan. 15, 2009, her life changed in 90 seconds. She was on the crash of flight 1549 but it was later renamed the Miracle of the Hudson. According to Cliff Moore, they were “hailed as heroes,” and will forever be known as that.

Welsh was on her final day of a four-day flight journey and was ready to go home to her son. The flight was taking off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte, North Carolina.
She did her normal routine with the other stewardesses and flight attendants, and she headed to her set position in the back of the plane and buckled up.
Minutes after takeoff, the plane made a jerking motion and Welsh caught a whiff of a “burning smell” that was not normal. She, at first, thought it was something technical and thought that they would just go back to the airport to fix it.
After checking around for signs of danger, she noticed that it was eerily quiet.
“It was total silence,” she said.
Welsh realized the engines weren’t running.
After gesturing to the flight attendants up front, she decided that the pilots didn’t have time to announce what was happening. So she sat back down and buckled up. Seconds after, she heard three words that came from the cockpit that she had been training for in her 38 years. She never thought she would actually here it.
“Brace for impact.”
After a pause of silence, she said, “I remember the terror rippling through my body.”
In the seconds that she had to process it, her thoughts exploded.
“I was in denial,” Welsh said. “This happens to other people, this does not happen to me.”
She then thought through her whole life of the good times. She saw her family, her son, and everything that made her life good.
In those moments, adrenaline kicks in and the brain is put on survival mode. Welsh’s went from zero to 100 in a split second. Truly, that is what kept her going through the whole crash.
She looked in front of her at the passengers and they were praying, phoning loved ones, and holding hands with the people around them, whether they knew their neighbor or not. She remembers thinking, “Everyone had a set of eyes to look to, but I was back there alone.”
Ninety seconds of bracing, and then impact happened. The back of the plane was the first to crash, which is where Welsh was stationed. Because her adrenaline was so high, Welsh didn’t realize that a piece of metal actually came through the bottom of the plane and sliced into her leg on impact.
At this point, water was seeping into the aircraft and was accumulating fast. She kept trying to close the seal of the door, but she didn’t realize that a huge hole behind her station had been torn open. Knowing that no one could evacuate through that door because of the water, she yells for passengers to go forwards because backwards is a complete no-go.
By this time, the water has increased up to her chest and three passengers were frozen with fear and aren’t responding to her commands to move. She could have easily put her life first and gone past them for her own safety, but she couldn’t do that. At that point, she stood at a certain point and accepted that that was where she was going to die. But she had this voice in her head that said, “One more time, go for it.”
So the next thing she knew, she was closer to the exit and the passengers. Welsh managed to make sure that everyone in her group was out of the plane before she left and went to one of the rafts.
When she went to grab her life vest, this is when she saw her torn up leg for the first time. It was a shock. Especially when she was the person with the worst injuries. She was the only one from the plane that had to have surgery.
Welsh had two heroes that night, one being a ferry boat passenger that helped her from the raft and keeping her warm and calm. The second was an New York police officer who stayed with her until her son showed up for her.
After two courageous people helped her on her way, Welsh was taken to the hospital for surgery. The first face she saw was her son and he greeted her with an “I love you but you are done flying.”
From this whole experience, Welsh has gained a new perspective on life. She’s made relationships with the people on that plane that would have never been if this didn’t happen.
Yes, this was a very difficult experience to go through, but it taught Welsh a lot about herself and life. There are many things she wants people to take away from her emotional story but there are two that she pointed out. The first is to “tell the people you love that you love them because you just don’t know what’s around the corner.” And the second is life is just about the people you love and making memories that make life better.
The reason this event is so incredible is because there were no fatalities. It could have been known as the crash of Flight 1549 but because the plane staff did their jobs and everyone helped others out, it has gone down in history as the Miracle of the Hudson. Welsh is known to many about her experience, but to those passengers, she is know at savior of that day.

Flying is a common source of transportation for people all around the world. Some people love it, others fear it, but it’s a necessity nonetheless.

For Doreen Welsh, flying was normalcy because it was her job for 38 years. She spoke Tuesday at the Sports Arena during the Dillon Lecture Series. But on Jan. 15, 2009, her life changed in 90 seconds. She was on the crash of flight 1549 but it was later renamed the Miracle of the Hudson. According to Cliff Moore, they were “hailed as heroes,” and will forever be known as that.

Welsh was on her final day of a four-day flight journey and was ready to go home to her son. The flight was taking off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte, North Carolina.
She did her normal routine with the other stewardesses and flight attendants, and she headed to her set position in the back of the plane and buckled up.
Minutes after takeoff, the plane made a jerking motion and Welsh caught a whiff of a “burning smell” that was not normal. She, at first, thought it was something technical and thought that they would just go back to the airport to fix it.
After checking around for signs of danger, she noticed that it was eerily quiet.
“It was total silence,” she said.
Welsh realized the engines weren’t running.
After gesturing to the flight attendants up front, she decided that the pilots didn’t have time to announce what was happening. So she sat back down and buckled up. Seconds after, she heard three words that came from the cockpit that she had been training for in her 38 years. She never thought she would actually here it.
“Brace for impact.”
After a pause of silence, she said, “I remember the terror rippling through my body.”
In the seconds that she had to process it, her thoughts exploded.
“I was in denial,” Welsh said. “This happens to other people, this does not happen to me.”
She then thought through her whole life of the good times. She saw her family, her son, and everything that made her life good.
In those moments, adrenaline kicks in and the brain is put on survival mode. Welsh’s went from zero to 100 in a split second. Truly, that is what kept her going through the whole crash.
She looked in front of her at the passengers and they were praying, phoning loved ones, and holding hands with the people around them, whether they knew their neighbor or not. She remembers thinking, “Everyone had a set of eyes to look to, but I was back there alone.”
Ninety seconds of bracing, and then impact happened. The back of the plane was the first to crash, which is where Welsh was stationed. Because her adrenaline was so high, Welsh didn’t realize that a piece of metal actually came through the bottom of the plane and sliced into her leg on impact.
At this point, water was seeping into the aircraft and was accumulating fast. She kept trying to close the seal of the door, but she didn’t realize that a huge hole behind her station had been torn open. Knowing that no one could evacuate through that door because of the water, she yells for passengers to go forwards because backwards is a complete no-go.
By this time, the water has increased up to her chest and three passengers were frozen with fear and aren’t responding to her commands to move. She could have easily put her life first and gone past them for her own safety, but she couldn’t do that. At that point, she stood at a certain point and accepted that that was where she was going to die. But she had this voice in her head that said, “One more time, go for it.”
So the next thing she knew, she was closer to the exit and the passengers. Welsh managed to make sure that everyone in her group was out of the plane before she left and went to one of the rafts.
When she went to grab her life vest, this is when she saw her torn up leg for the first time. It was a shock. Especially when she was the person with the worst injuries. She was the only one from the plane that had to have surgery.
Welsh had two heroes that night, one being a ferry boat passenger that helped her from the raft and keeping her warm and calm. The second was an New York police officer who stayed with her until her son showed up for her.
After two courageous people helped her on her way, Welsh was taken to the hospital for surgery. The first face she saw was her son and he greeted her with an “I love you but you are done flying.”
From this whole experience, Welsh has gained a new perspective on life. She’s made relationships with the people on that plane that would have never been if this didn’t happen.
Yes, this was a very difficult experience to go through, but it taught Welsh a lot about herself and life. There are many things she wants people to take away from her emotional story but there are two that she pointed out. The first is to “tell the people you love that you love them because you just don’t know what’s around the corner.” And the second is life is just about the people you love and making memories that make life better.
The reason this event is so incredible is because there were no fatalities. It could have been known as the crash of Flight 1549 but because the plane staff did their jobs and everyone helped others out, it has gone down in history as the Miracle of the Hudson. Welsh is known to many about her experience, but to those passengers, she is know at savior of that day.

In Their Words: “I was left to pick up the pieces and move on with me life”

Friday, October 26th, 2018

By Tabitha Barr
Social Media Editor

Sexual assault is a hard thing to hear about, but it’s even worse to go through.

For Nichole Alexander, she was taken advantage at a very young time in her life. She was in the fourth grade when she started talking to a boy. He was two grades above her, so their main way of communicating was through email. They were a grade school couple, so it was just playful messages back and forth. He liked her, and having him there “made (her) feel better about (her)self.”

That was until he started saying things that were over the line of innocent and crossing into inappropriate. She remembers one of his messages asking her what color of underwear she was wearing. Because their way of communicating was through email, Nichole’s mother had access to it. Her parents found out about the private messages and immediately sit Nichole down. They told her to stay away from this boy because he was bad news. This was during Thanksgiving break, so she had space away from the situation. When school started back up, the boy still wanted to talk to her. So from then on, their only way of communicating was on the bus. They conveniently rode the same bus, and it just so happened that his mom was their bus driver.

A year went past. They just talked to each other on the bus. Their relationship had gone to just friends and everything seemed fine. But her fifth grade year is when things turned south. On the bus, Nichole was the first to get picked up, and the last one to get off. But this didn’t include her assaulter because he was on the bus as long as his mom was driving it. So that meant there was a lot of bus time where not a lot of people were around.

The boy’s mom was the bus driver and that gave him access to any seat. So when the bus was less crowded, he would come and sit in the seat behind Nichole. On buses, there is this gap between the seat and the window that students can talk to each other through. However, it wasn’t used for talking in this situation, but for something unfathomable.

“He would stick his upper arm in the gap and then reach his lower arm down into my seat where I was sitting,” Nichole said. “He would unbutton my pants, and he would finger me.”

During the series of molestation, he would ask her if it felt good. With tears in her eyes, she would say yes.

“What else can I say? I was so scared,” she said this with a tone in her voice that conveyed more emotions than almost any human can take on.

Part of the reason she went with it was because she had told a couple of her friends. But none of them knew what to do, who to tell or even if they should.

He did this to her for the entire school year. But in the beginning of May, Nichole had grasped enough courage to tell him he needed to stop. She was utterly terrified but she told him that he needs to stop, it’s wrong, it hurts and that she doesn’t like it. After this, he lessened his intensity but he didn’t stop pestering her. He would constantly ask if she had changed mind and would touch her on her thigh to convince her. She remembers shaking, telling him no and praying that the bus driver would quickly get to her house. She was scared everyday to ride that bus and there was no way to escape it.

Exactly one week into sixth grade, she finally told her parents what had been happening to her. That night, her mother called her best friend’s husband, who was an on-duty police officer. He ended up taking Nichole’s statement that night.

The process of pressing charges was started and they went to court for a restraining order against him. Being in court at such a young age was difficult for Nichole because she had to tell everyone what happened. At the end of this, she remembers the judge looking at her attacker and saying “son, you better get an attorney.”

That quote is one that stays with Nichole, because a couple months later, the detective working on the case told her that she was lying. He told her that there was absolutely no way that the situation happened and the case was dropped.

The case being dropped was only part of the fallout, because she could no longer attend therapy for free because she was no longer a “victim”. With therapy costing hundreds of dollars an hour, Nichole was no longer able to attend because her family couldn’t afford it. She was dropped, just like the case had been.

“I was left to pick up the pieces and move on with my life,” she said.

Her attacker wasn’t punished, not through the law, and not through the school.

“Nothing changed,” Nichole said. “Here I was, feeling so lost and broken. I was just trying to put myself back together again.”

The trauma doesn’t stop just because he did. She went through a long period of depression and anxiety. Self-harming was a way of letting out her pain because she had lost sight of her worth. She’s gotten better, but she still suffers with knowing her own self-worth.

Just recently, Nichole shared her story on social media with the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport. With the events of the Brett Kavanagh hearing, she wanted to help other people realize why sexual assault isn’t reported immediately. To show that someone people know personally, didn’t report when it started happening. When she watched Blasey Ford’s testimony, she saw herself. She saw herself going through everything all over again.

“For so long I kept it to myself,” she said.

But she said that she knows that it’s helped people actually listen and not just argue. Because “this is not a political issue.” Nichole said sexual assault is a human problem that needs to be heard and stopped. For everyone who hasn’t experienced it, she wants them to know that sexual assault really happens and it’s a big deal. She hopes that sharing her story will help those who have gone through similar situations.

She is still here, she has shared her story, and she’s living her life despite her past. Nichole is 18 years old and is currently a freshman at University of Missouri-Kansas City studying, chemistry and pre-med.

In Their Words: “It was their fault, not mine”

Friday, October 26th, 2018

By Emily Fehrman
Social Media Editor

Editor’s note – This story was told to Social Media Editor Emily Fehrman. The subject wanted her story to be told in first person. This is her story as told to Fehrman. Names used in this story are not the real names.

When I was 17, a big part of me disappeared for what felt like an immeasurable amount of time.

I took a chunk of myself and tucked it away just so I wouldn’t have to think about the events that happened that summer. I completely blocked out the fact that I was sexually assaulted, by someone I never thought would hurt me. A friend who was also friends with my then-boyfriend.

It was Friday night, which meant everyone would be out partying, including myself. I always surrounded myself with people who would keep my best interest at heart, or at least I tried to. I never in a million years thought that I would ever be put in an atmosphere that being taken advantage of was even an option.

The whole evening everything was fine. I was around friends, so I took the opportunity to get intoxicated. We weren’t moving parties or doing anything wild, so I thought, why not live a little. Henry, my then-boyfriend, and I were having fun with all our friends, including two of his “best buddies”, John and Patrick.

The night went by in a flash, and before I know it, I’m laying down to sleep in Henry’s bed while he is still at the party downstairs. I decided to go to bed because I was too drunk to function any longer, and literally kept falling asleep on Henry’s shoulder.

I was woken up with a set of hands running up my thighs, and a set of hands keeping my mouth and eyes shut.

I was so drunk there wasn’t much I could do, except try to beg them to stop, cry and pray for it to end. I didn’t know how to stop what was happening, let alone how to figure out who the boys were that were doing this to me. Once the hands were removed from my eyes I thought maybe that signified the end of the torture. But all that was revealed was who my attackers were and that it wasn’t going to end any time soon.

I saw that the two boys that were touching me were John and Patrick. Two people I had never thought would hurt me. They were my friends and they had betrayed me. As they switched places with each other all I could think about was how embarrassed I was, and all the ways I could have prevented this from happening. I could’ve locked the door, maybe I was just too friendly, maybe I shouldn’t have worn a low cut shirt that night, or maybe I shouldn’t have gotten drunk in the first place.

But really, it comes down to the fact that it was nothing I did that made this horrible thing happen to me. It was their fault, not mine. I didn’t ask to be taken advantage of. What it comes down to is when they saw a defenseless, unsuspecting, sleeping girl, and they thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of her.

It felt as though it would never stop. I prayed and prayed that it would end. In that moment, I wished I were dead. They took turns giving oral sex to my limp body, and then the rest is a blur.

I have glimpses of memories every once and awhile of that night. And when I do remember bits and pieces, they are so horrible for me to think about that I get physically and visibly sick.

The next morning, I woke up and they were gone, but Henry was there. Not knowing how to handle the situation, I got up and left. Walking past my rapist on the way out the door. I couldn’t look at them. Even while they were asleep they were still the most terrifying thing out there to me.

The drive was completely silent because what music do you play the morning after you’ve been raped? I had a 20-minute drive home to contemplate the night before and come to terms with what had happened.

I decided I should call Henry and tell him what happened. But before I had even moved to grab my phone it was already ringing, and it was him. Thinking I would pick up the phone to a curious boyfriend wondering where I was, I was shocked to hear such loud screaming on the other end of the phone.

He was screaming things at me I would never wish to repeat to anyone. John had came up with this lie that I had tried to touch him inappropriately. Claiming that in my drunken haze I tried to rape him, but that he had thrown me off and went back to down to the party.

Completely shocked by this I tried to tell Henry that it was the other way around, but he wasn’t having any of it. Called me a liar and said I should go to hell for what I put his friend through. I didn’t tell anyone what happened that night for two years.

During that two years, I blocked everything that had to do with that night away. I broke up with Henry and I stopped hanging out around those people I had thought were my friends. It wasn’t until this last summer that I really came to terms with everything that happened that night. I never filed any charges because I assumed no one would believe me. If the boy who was supposedly in love with me didn’t even believe me over his friends then who would?

In the end, I’d like to say I’m healed and all is forgiven, but it’s not. It’s been two years, but it still feels like it was yesterday. I never thought it would happen to me, until it did.

In Their Words: “I didn’t think they were going to believe me”

Friday, October 26th, 2018

By Tabitha Barr
Opinion Page Editor

Editor’s note – The following story was told on the condition of anonymity. At the request of the survivor, the names have been changed.

Sexual assault can happen to anyone. It can happen at any age. And it can happen more than once.

Carter’s story doesn’t have one instance of violation, but two different instances with two different assaulters.

The first time happened when Carter was 14 years old. She went to school with Ian and developed a crush on him. He ended up taking that to his advantage. One night, they were hanging out in his truck off the road, hidden from sight. They started making out, but it quickly turned into something much more intense. Ian maneuvered his way on top of Carter, pinned her down, and put his hand down her pants. She didn’t fight back, she just laid there because she didn’t know what to do.

It is common to freeze in these situations because it’s a shocking violation. After everything settled down, Ian ended up dumping her in a church parking lot.

“It was always weird after that, because he didn’t see it as I saw it,” Carter said.

She would see him almost everyday because they went to school together, and there was nothing that can be done to change that. It was uncomfortable to be around him.

The second time she was sexually assaulted is the one that came very close to ending her life. She was 17-years old and was best friends with Nic who she also worked with. They had known each other for about six months and were close. At that time, Carter was in a relationship and thought nothing of her co-worker in a similar way. She did know that he liked her, but she made it clear that nothing would become of it.

One night, Carter went over to Nic’s house to have a drink. The night went on and time had flown to early the next morning.

“I was s— faced,” she said. “I couldn’t move at all. I was so drunk.”

Suddenly, Nic started kissing her and he asked her if she wanted it.

“I told him no, but in that situation, I couldn’t fight back,” she said.

She was so intoxicated that she couldn’t do anything about it. Nic picked her up and took her to the bedroom.

“He threw me on the mattress and he pulled my romper completely off.”

Carter was left in her bra and underwear and completely unable to defend herself.

“He got on top of me and started raping me,” she said.

She couldn’t do anything to stop him. She could only lay there and “take it.”

After a little time had gone past, he got off of her and told her he wanted to switch positions. Carter saw this as her only opportunity to escape and ran for the bathroom, saying she didn’t feel good. She locked herself in the bathroom and immediately texted her then-boyfriend and another friend what happened. Nic came banging on the door, questioning if she was OK, but eventually went back to bed and was waiting for her to come back.

When she could tell he was no longer by the door, she grabbed as many of her possessions as possible and “ran down two flights of stairs, got in a car, and drove home drunk at 3 a.m.”

But the story doesn’t end there. When Carter went back to work and saw him there, that’s when things got more complicated. She pulled another co-worker to the side and told her what had happened. This led to Carter telling her manager about that night and how Nic raped her. The manager asked the questions of “did you promote this kind of behavior?” and “were you drunk?” The questions seemed to be pointing judgment instead of empathy.

Two days later, Carter overdosed on pills.

“They didn’t think I was going to pull through,” she said. “They had me on a ventilator, they had me so sedated I was pretty much in a medically induced coma.”

Her then-boyfriend was actually the one that saved her. He found her and called 911. If he hadn’t been there for her, she would not likely be here today.

She actually lost her job over this. That day, she tried hard to find someone to cover her shift but she finally just said, “f— it. I’m going to be dead in however many hours and I don’t care.”

In the hospital, her parents asked her then-boyfriend and her other friend if they knew why she would do something like this, and that’s when they told them that she had been raped.

She woke up two days later with “an IV in my neck and arms, a catheter in, and cops in my room with an advocate for the domestic violence sexual assault center.”

After Carter was released from the hospital, she was sent to a mental health facility in Topeka. She stayed there for a few days, but was then able to come home.

When she got home, her parents actually tricked her in riding with them to the courthouse.

“They dragged me into the police station,” and had her tell her story to officers.

During this time between that night, she had many people say to her that they didn’t believe her. That she shouldn’t ruin this boy’s life just to get attention. When speaking to the detective, she ended up telling her that she lied. She just didn’t want to look like she was cheating on her current boyfriend and that it was all consensual.

The next day or two, Carter got a call from that detective saying that the district attorney was wanting to press charges against her for a false claim. But she was given a deal that the charges would be dropped, if she was to tell her parents the truth. And so she did.

The whole situation was pushed to the side. Five months later, she ended up telling her parents the truth.

“I didn’t think they were going to believe me,” she said.

It was a big deal because she had been alone in this with no one who knew what really happened.

During the time after, her mental health suffered tremendously.

“I questioned my sanity,” she said. “I didn’t know if I believed myself anymore.”

Her mind was playing tricks on her, denying that it ever even happened. She had a hard time believing that it wasn’t her fault.

Part of the reason she had such a hard time was because there was no legal action against the assailant.

“People would tell me, ‘he doesn’t seem like that kind of guy,’” she said. “He denies that it ever even happened. It’s my word against his. And I know the statistics. I don’t want to be violated all over again just for him to get away with it.

“It’s an unfortunate thing that happened, but I have learned to forgive, not only him, but myself.”

These events have shaped Carter’s life into what it is now. They are gruesome and horrifying.

The statistics are scary. Out of 1000 cases of rape, only 994 perpetrators will walk free. But the conversation has started.

“You just have to hold on,” she said. “It is so hard and I get it. I’ve been at the very bottom. I think about it and I still want to die and I still hate the situation.”

But Carter is now living her life. She is pushing past the huge obstacles of the past and striving for a bright future.

“It is worth it in the end,” she said. “It is worth the struggling, it is worth the crying and wanting to die over. You just have to keep your head up and know that you never are alone.”

In Their Words: “I started screaming for him to stop”

Friday, October 26th, 2018

By Brenna Eller
Editor-In-Chief

Editor’s note – The following story was told on the condition of anonymity. At the request of the survivor, the names have been changed.

Jodi was 15 years old when she was first sexually molested. It was done by her sister’s boyfriend.

Jodi, her sister, and her sister’s boyfriend John were downstairs watching a movie and her sister got tired, so she went up to her room.

At some point during the movie, Jodi fell asleep.

“I woke up to him having his hand inside my panties. I was too scared to do anything, so I pretended to still be asleep,” Jodi said, “When he left me alone, I then ‘woke up’ and went to bed. I didn’t say anything to anyone in fear of what they would say.”

Jodi – the wife of a Hutchinson Community College faculty member – didn’t say anything to anyone right after it happened and didn’t want her sister to know. It took her a few years to actually speak up about it, which was because her boyfriend, Steve, at the time said something that triggered the memory.

“We had just gotten in an argument on the phone, he then said something to the effect of, ‘go find a boyfriend like your sister’s, he’s perfect’,” Jodi said.

She was so angry that she finally had the courage to tell someone about her traumatic experience.

“I was scared to death it was finally out of my mouth and someone else knew,” Jodi said. “He ended up telling my mom right away and we didn’t go to authorities.”

However, Jodi’s sister found out and asked if it was true, and when Jodi confirmed it, her sister broke up with John.

It wouldn’t be the last time Jodi experienced a sexual assault.

Jodi was 21 and in college when the second sexual assault happened.

At the time, she was living in an apartment with a roommate. They usually went out, but Jodi and her stayed in that night and were sleeping. A male high school friend of Jodi’s had been out drinking.

“He had been going through a rough time and had been upset that evening,” Jodi said, “He called me after he left the bars and asked if he could come over and talk.”

Jodi agreed to him coming over and talking. When he arrived, they went into her bedroom so they wouldn’t bother her roommate.

“We started talking, and then all of a sudden he had gotten on top of me, held me down, removed my pants and started to have sex with me,” Jodi said.

She couldn’t move, so all she could do was scream while he was raping her.

“I started screaming for him to stop and get off of me,” Jodi said. “I kept shouting ‘no’. He wasn’t listening to me.”

Jodi’s screams woke up her roommate, and she was able to come in and get him off of her. He then ran out of the room and left the apartment.

“She didn’t know what to do for me, so she just sat there with me and we talked and made sure I was OK,” Jodi said.

Again, Jodi didn’t go to the authorities because this time, she was in so much shock that a long-time friend, whom she trusted, would do anything like that to her. It has been 21 years, and she has still only told a few people.

“My parents do not know, just my roommate, my best friend and my husband,” Jodi said.

With today’s society, or any time for that matter, coming forward about sexual assault can be difficult for the victims.

“I feel like I’ll be judged by others, that these happened because I allowed them, that it was my fault I was raped and molested,” Jodi said.

‘Trooper Ben’ comes to HutchCC

Friday, October 19th, 2018

By Kat Collins
Staff writer

The Twitter-famous Trooper Ben came to Hutchinson Community College on Oct. 10 to talk about making a brand for individually, and how to get known on social media.

Some of things that he talked about included that social media is 95 percent fun and five percent business, and don’t use social media as a megaphone – use it as a Walkie-Talkie. In other words, use it for one-on-one interaction.

On twitter, Ben, whose real name is Ben Gardner, can be found @TrooperBenKHP. He has more than 59,000 followers. He is originally from Michigan, and when he joined the military, it brought him to Kansas.

During his time in Fort Riley, he met his wife, who was going to Kansas State University at the time. From the beginning that they were dating, she told him that “I won’t leave Kansas.”

So he left the military to be with his wife.

In 2014, Ben asked two of his fellow troopers, Tod and Gary, to join him on Twitter. At first, they were hesitant, but Ben convinced them. They soon agreed to it, and they soon became known as the “Tweeting Troopers”.

Trooper Ben says, “I use my twitter to humanize myself to others – to show that I am more than the badge I wear.”

Maybe the best thing about following Trooper Ben on Twitter? He follows back.

Spooky Legends: The ghosts of Reno Valley Middle School

Friday, October 19th, 2018

By Tabitha Barr
Opinion Page Editor

Schools seem to haunt everyone.

It’s the place we dread to go, but have to nonetheless. However, there is one school in particular that seems to be haunted, not just by memories of teetering grades and awkward throwbacks, but by spirits from the other side. Reno Valley Middle School is located on the outskirts of Hutchinson and is a part of the USD 309 Nickerson-South Hutchinson district. There are many stories from teachers and staff that are unexplainable and creep in many ways.

Three ghosts experiences have been told, but the main ghost everyone knows is the former custodian. A source who would like to remain anonymous shares that the middle school use to have a therapy dog named Allie and “she would often stop and stare at “somebody” near the rear tech lab door. Evidently, this is where an old custodian would stand when she would watch the kids.”

This spirit is, according to legend, just a caretaker of the school who looks out for the students and staff. There is said to be only one picture known to exist with the custodian, and no physical evidence could be provided.

Two girls once took a selfie in the seventh grade girls restroom that seemed nice and innocent, but they were not expecting it to have three faces staring back. In the picture, there is a weird face that appears between two girls. That girls’ restroom has many ghostly feelings reported and they continue to pour in.

Around 10 years ago, Reno Valley even had a man come in and see if he could connect or see any paranormal activity.

To one person’s account, they “were in the office. (The guy) asked (them) to come towards the counselor office. As (they) started down the hall, the temperature dropped and the hair on (their) neck stood up. The guy said that the spirit was on (them).”

So according to a paranormal psychic, the middle school definitely has some ghostly figures among the halls.

The second ghost only a has a couple of witnesses but their stories commonly send shivers down listeners back. This one is of a little girl who yells and calls out for her mommy.

According to Trissa McCabe, an eighth-grade math teacher, “It was a Sunday afternoon and as I worked in my classroom, I heard a little girl yelling. I thought it was another teacher’s daughter. As I waited for them to pop into my room, they never did. So I went to look out the window expecting to see (a) vehicle but the parking lot was empty.” Another teacher said that they heard “Mommy?” when walking down by the gym doors. No one knows who the kid could be or who he is searching for.

The final ghost is said to be the late Steve Lehmann, who was the activities director. He passed away in 2013 but a year after he passed, most of the keys to the cabinets in the Panther Den disappeared. This was Lehmann’s main area of the school and he was always there with students. The keys were “later discovered in a cabinet the staff had been in several times, sitting in plain sight.”

To the staff, it seemed to be too coincidental and they all believed it was Lehmann showing that he was still apart of the school.

Reno Valley Middle School has many paranormal experiences that have been shared throughout the years. Ghosts are a part of the unknown, and, apparently, this middle school is a common ground for both the living and the departed

Spooky Legends: Local library lore

Friday, October 19th, 2018

By Brenna Eller
Editor In Chief

Those who have been to the Hutchinson Public Library may not know that there is an interesting history right in front of them.

Some have noticed when Google searching, “Most haunted places in Kansas”, that the public library usually appears at the top of the list.

From library employees to patrons, many people have claimed to encounter the ghost of a librarian named Ida Miranda Day-Holzapfel, who was one of the first librarians at the Main Street location and worked all over Kansas in several different libraries. Kate Lewis, who works as Marketing and Communications at the library, researched Ida Day and found a lot of new information that most never knew, and sent it to Reno County Museum.

Lewis said that Ida Day had unfinished business at the library and believes that the high electromagnetic field in the basement explains why she seems to be most active in there.

Lewis said that Ida Day was born in Colony in 1888 and was hired at Hutchinson Public Library, then located at 5th and Main Street – now the Union Labor Temple – in 1916 at the age of 28 after being a teacher in Colony and Iola. She made $75 a month and was given a two-weeks paid vacation.

In 1917, during the library remodeling, “Ida and her assistants cataloged and classified every book, a thing which was never done before,” Lewis said, “One of the best ideas which Miss Day has inaugurated into the system of management is the perfection of the reference arrangements.”

Lewis also said that Ida helped people look up any number of books. Ida also mounted and classified 3,000 pictures during this time.

One of Miss Day’s many achievements was sending books out to soldiers during WWI in 1918.

Ida Day was library director from 1916-1925.

In 1925, Ida took a leave of absence for a year to study at the University of Kansas. In 1926, Ida resigned.

Ida was married at the age of 52 to John Holzapfel, in 1940.

In 1946, Ida returned to the library, and there had been plans for another remodel since the population doubled. They wound up building a new library, which is where it is now. Ida even wrote an article for the Library Journal in 1949, which was titled, “Hutchinson Builds Modern Library”, where she described the modernization that was taking place and even included blueprints for the new library.

Ida yet again served as Library Director of the Hutchinson Public Library from 1946-1954

Her husband died in 1948, the same year her sister, Sarah Elizabeth Mather, died.

On Feb. 1, 1954 Ida resigned from the public library and prepared herself to become head of the catalog department at the Tulare County library system in Visalia, Calif. on March 1.

“A wish to be relieved from the administrative duties prompted the change,” Holzapfel said.

She was going to keep her home in Hutchinson at 430 East 12th, which is one of the student/faculty parking lots of Hutchinson Community College.

Ida Day died from a fatal car accident in California at the age of 65.

Lewis was one who has experienced unexplainable things in the library, one of which was when she first was given a tour of the basement and got chills where she felt the hair on her head stand up.

Another experience was while taking photographs with her 7-year old daughter for a stuffed animal sleepover program.

“She doesn’t know about the library ghost,” Lewis said. “I didn’t want her to be scared of the library.”

They walked to the location where the Children’s Services supplies are, which include puppets and paper-mache sculptures in the oldest area of the building built in 1951.

“I thought my daughter would be fascinated,” Lewis said, “Instead, she instantly said that she didn’t like the room and that it felt scary.”

Lewis also said that her daughter didn’t want her to take pictures of the animals and just wanted them to get out of there.

The Hutchinson Public Library Business Manager, Tina Stropes, had a strange encounter with Ida Day about 15 years ago, in 2003. Stropes was working on payroll, adding up timesheets when her calculator started printing “0.00” repeatedly.

“We decided that it was Ida Day wanting to get paid, but she didn’t work any hours,” Stropes said.

That isn’t all that happened, because the next month of doing payroll, Stropes’ calculator did the same thing and she told Ida that she wasn’t working any hours so she wasn’t getting paid and the calculator stopped.

There were other experiences, such as visitors being poked and no one would be there, and some had feelings of being watched.

Whether a believer of ghosts or not, the Hutchinson Public Library is a historical building with an interesting past and is worth the visit to many.

Overcoming adversity: ‘Breaking Bad’ actor R.J. Mitte speaks about overcoming challenges in his life

Friday, October 5th, 2018

By Brenna Eller
Collegian Editor-In-Chief

When a child is asked what they want to be when they grow up, they hardly ever say sitting in an office all day or doing something they aren’t fond of. Instead they say they want to be a doctor, firefighter, singer, or even an actor/actress. The limits have seemed to change for college students who once had those dreams themselves.

Twenty-six-year-old actor, model, and cerebral palsy activist, R.J Mitte who spoke at the Ray and Stella Dillon Lecture Series on Tuesday Oct. 2 at the Sports Arena, explains that no one should limit themselves on what they can or can’t do. Mitte spoke about struggles he has faced with the condition and stressed the thought, “Can’t is a decision, and a mindset.”

Mitte is most known for roles in television shows, the main one being Walter White Jr. on AMC’s hit show “Breaking Bad”, who has cerebral palsy, same as Mitte, except in reality, Mitte’s condition is milder, so he had to slow his speech and learn to walk with crutches for the show.

Mitte, like others with CP, was born with the disorder where the brain lacks the appropriate amount of oxygen.  Mitte is also known for characters he played in “Switched at Birth”, “Weeds”, “Vegas”, and even acted in “Hannah Montana” and “Everybody Hates Chris”.

Still acting, Mitte helps with several charities on the side, such as Shriners Hospitals for Children, Special Olympics, ALS Associations, and many more organizations dedicated to helping others.

Mitte was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana. From age 3-13, his mother took him to Shriners Hospital for many types of therapy and braces. Mitte was a “severe toe walker and his feet bent downwards, so he walked on the tips of his toes, so he had to go through a lot of physical therapy. During his lecture, Mitte described the casts he had to wear and shared about sticking frozen coins in them during the hot summer to cool his legs.

Despite his optimism, growing up with the disorder had its challenges. Even though Mitte participated in normal childhood activities like soccer and riding dirt bikes, he explained what it was like with bullies.

“People with disabilities don’t want to be labeled as disabled,” Mitte said.

He also explained how a lot of people stand by while bullying takes place.

“If you see something, say something,” Mitte said. “Everyone has the ‘someone else will take care of it’ mentality and we need to break it.”

Mitte followed that thought with a story involving a blind man on the same plane as him recently. The man was in need of assistance, according to Mitte, and got lost trying to figure out where he was going. Mitte decided to step up and guide the man, even though he was a stranger and several people were watching the blind man struggle, yet Mitte was the only one that took initiative.

From a young age, Mitte learned the importance of self-worth. His grandfather pushed the philosophy of “Can’t say can’t” and the idea stuck with him. When answering his grandpa, Mitte had two options, “Yes”, or “I wasn’t in the room, or didn’t hear you.”

His grandfather showed him that even though people told Mitte he couldn’t do specific things, that it was their decision, not his and wanted him to be the best he could be.

Mitte not only faced his own obstacles, but his family’s as well. When he was 12-and-a-half years old, Mitte’s mother was in a car accident that partially paralyzed her for seven years. His grandfather also suffered a stroke that left him fully paralyzed on the left side.

“Without challenges, where would we be in our lives?” Mitte said. “It’s those challenges that shape us.”

In 2006 Mitte’s family moved to California to support his sister, Lacianne, while she was trying out for an acting opportunity. That was also the time, Mitte was recognized and started going to acting classes just for fun and to meet kids his own age. Before he knew it, Mitte was pushed into the entertainment industry, or as he called it, “The Mob”.

The main focus of Mitte’s speech was to not limit yourself to the small things, but instead reach as far as you can, and then even further.

“It’s up to you how far you want to reach,” Mitte said. “Step out of your realm of comfort.”

When asked earlier in the press conference what the overall message would be to the Hutchinson Community College students, Mitte said, “Protect your brand and image, you are cultivating your business, jobs look at you as an individual on social media and what you represent.”

Mitte also wanted to inform students that being aware of who they are and not being afraid to show people their true self is important.

“The people around you set your tone, if you don’t stand up for something, then who will?,” Mitte said. “We only get one chance to show people who and what we are, so stand up for what you believe in, what we believe is all we have.”