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

Eli's Battle Story

Posted 7/14/2016

For nearly half his life, Eli Vela has been battling leukemia.  This Friday, residents can help with his fight from 5-8 p.m. at Sonic in Hesston.  Sonic is holding a fundraiser for the Vela family with 20 percent of the proceeds to benefit the family. 

Crystal Vela, Eli’s mother, said her son was diagnosed only five weeks before his second birthday. 

“A month to five weeks later, he was in remission and has been in remission ever since. They try to get them into remission right away,” she said. 

Currently Eli is in maintenance treatment and will continue in maintenance treatment, if all goes well, until October or November of 2017.

Vela said her son’s treatments include weekly leg shots of chemotherapy at home, as well as a daily chemotherapy pill.  Eli visits his oncologist once every four weeks for IV chemotherapy.  He also has spinal taps every three months.

As a mother, Vela said her son’s growing realization about his condition has been a challenge.

“He knew when we went in to have a spinal tap. He said, ‘They put medicine in my tubie’ - that’s what he calls his PICC line - ‘then I go to sleep and wake up dizzy.’  There’s a lot of emotion in coping, trying to figure out what exactly is going on,” she said.

Vela said one of the best tools the family has at their disposal is the Make A Wish Foundation Mule, which was presented to Eli by Dan’s Cycle last year.

“Every day he gets to enjoy his wish.  It’s been such a blessing. We have a pond and some days he doesn’t feel well enough to walk around it, so we ride around it. It’s like a soothing therapy,” she said.

Vela added the Mule also gets a workout while Eli is on steroid treatments.

“He wants to ride it all the time when he’s on steroids.  He gets ‘roid rage, he gets frustrated really easily and always wants to be on the Mule,” she said.

While the Make A Wish Foundation gave the Velas one tool for helping Eli and her family, she said coping with mounting medical costs is a major challenge.

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Timeline of Country Village Mobile Home Park purchase negotiations between the City of Hesston and Bob Tonge with Prestwick Investments, LLC, of Texas.

Posted 7/14/2016

June 25, 2015

• Gary Emry reports Bob Tonge inquires if city is interested in purchasing mobile home park (MHP)


July 13, 2015

• Councilman Clare Moore emails City Administrator Gary Emry “I think there is a consensus to move. ... And there has been a few comments that we need to do whatever necessary o secure the ownership.”

• Councilman Clare Moore expresses interest to start negotiation and establish top price

• Executive Session held on acquisition of MHP


July 17, 2015

• Emry emails Tonge “ appears there is no traction on moving toward a purchase.”


July 19, 2015

• Moore emails Emry tax projections on duplexes on MHP property


August 21, 2015

Emry’s Weekly Briefing

• Emry describes a meeting with Paul Mullet about a possible partnership on the MHP property. “I asked if they would still be interested in a partnership on this property and he indicated they would be.”


October 16, 2015

Emry’s weekly Briefing

  • Emry reports he receives a call from H.I.I. in Hutchinson, the business is in negotiation to purchase the MHP.

Councilman Jason Jones to Emry

  • Jones emails Emry with concerns. Jones wrote, “To the best of my knowledge they are known for having low income properties that are typically in disrepair.” ... “I’m concerned we could have even more problems with HII than we currently do with Bob Tonge.”
  • Emry agrees with Jones. He wrote, “This tells us where Bob Tongue [sic] is headed and causes me to question if we should be more aggressive in trying to purchase it.”
  • Jones suggests to put the purchase into the next council work session.

To read more, see this weeks print edition.

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Mayor Asks For ‘More Patience’ From Residents On Fate Of Country Village Property, Residents

Posted 7/14/2016

Monday evening Mayor Dave Kauffman once again asked for patience from a room-full of residents who attended the City Council meeting looking for answers concerning the purchase of Country Village Mobile Home Park the the plans for the property and its residents. 

“Everything we are going to discuss - the best options for the park - after it’s done. And that means for the city and for all of you as well. The best I can tell you, we don’t own it yet; give us more time,” he said.

Kauffman said once the city owns the park, “We will begin our research with development and what the future plans will be.  There will be time to talk both ways about what the options are. I can’t say more than that.”

Kauffman assured residents they would not receive 30-day notices once the park closed and there were no “imminent plans in the next very short time frame” residents of Country Village would need to move.

One resident, a renter of one of Prestwick Investment’s homes, said she was in the process of purchasing a home out of the county, even though she recently enrolled her child at USD 460.

“We’ve started moving on with our lives. It’s putting us in a financial struggle, this place will close.  What are you planning to do with the renters?” 

City Attorney J.T. Klaus said neither he nor the city could answer what would happen to renters and it will be “entirely up to them [Prestwick Investments]”

One attendee added moving a mobile home is a difficult endeavor that is not only expensive, but frequently results in damage to the home.

“When you start thinking about compensation, you are moving a house. This isn’t a glorified RV. There will be damage. You can’t help it. So when you consider compensation, you need to consider that. It may be more affordable to just buy the houses out,” he said. 

To read more, check out this weeks print edition.

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Hutch Business Offered $500K for Park

Posted 7/14/2016

By Blake Spurney

Hesston Record Staff

Jim Hiebert, with H.I.I. Mobile Homes, LLC in Hutchinson, said he offered $500,000 last fall for the purchase of Country Village Mobile Home Park.

Hiebert said he had heard from one of his own tenants that the mobile home park was up for sale. He called Hesston City Hall to get a phone number for Bob Tonge, owner of the property.

"He just dropped us like a hot potato once he got involved with the city," Hiebert said about Tonge.

Hiebert said he wasn't aware Tonge was simultaneously was negotiating with the city of Hesston during his own negotiations with Tonge. City Adminsitrator Gary Emry had written in his Nov. 20 weekly briefing to Hesston City Council members that Tonge told him he would put H.I.I. "on hold until he has something more from us."

"We had no idea he was putting us on hold," Hiebert said. "We had no clue."

Hiebert said he had dealt with Tonge off and on for several years.

"Bob seems to the kind of guy who has trouble making up his mind on things," Hiebert said. "He's kind of back and forth a lot."

Hiebert expressed no hard feelings that he was going up against a city in a bidding battle. In fact, he said that type of scenario was common.

"It's not that big of a deal to me," he said. "If the city wants, I would just bow out."

To read more, check out this weeks print edition.

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Searching for Beauty in the Kansas Sky

Posted 7/14/2016


Hesston Record Staff

Mary Lee of North Newton usually starts her day by looking up at the sky because she never knows when Earth's canvas might beckon her to grab her camera.

"I see people driving around, and they don't look up at the sky," she said. "The beauty of nature is what inspires me. It's just awesome. If more people would take the time to look at the beauty around them, I think they would be more calm."

A collection landscape photos taken by Lee are on display at the Walkabout Gallery at Hesston Wellness Center. One that was taken along Ridge Road captures a blue sky littered with big, billowy clouds.

Lee became interested in landscape photography when her parents, Vern and Virginia Miner, took her on long vacations out west in the 1950s. She got more serious about taking pictures when she worked at The Record as an ad rep in the early 2000s. She took several shots that appeared in Toyota ads.

Her work has been on display at juried art shows in Hays, Chanute and Haysville. She placed third in a show at the Carriage Factory in Newton about 10 years ago.

To read more see this weeks print edition

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