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Last of 'Three Musketeers' dies

Northeast Kansas has lost one of its most celebrated community leaders, prompting the longest-serving member of the state’s congressional delegation to visit and pay tribute.

At the Atchison event center, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, led the community and Atchison Rotarians in memorializing the life, mission and accomplishments of A.C. Bob Berger, age 88, who died on Sunday. Roberts visited as the guest of Berger’s son and successor in community leadership and as CEO of the Atchison-based global manufacturer, Berger Company.

“When I became a Senator, well I loved to come to Atchison. Every time I’d come to Atchison, there was Bob Berger,” Roberts said. “If I needed help for anything, or advice or counsel for anything, I’d consider him a special friend. I knew he would shoot straight for me, and I knew he would have excellent advice.”

Roberts is in mourning for Berger, the youngest of the Atchison “Three Musketeers” known for their regional philanthropy and significant role in the Atchison Rotary Club, Courtney S. Turner charitable trust, Atchison Hospital board, Atchison Family YMCA, Atchison Area Chamber of Commerce, Atchison County Historical Society and many other public service missions. MGP Ingredients titan Cloud L. “Bud” Cray passed away earlier this year on Feb. 27 at the age of 96, while Dick Bruggen died on June 30, 2007; he would’ve been 93 today.

“We can only aspire to be as good as them,” said Karen Seaberg, Cray’s daughter. “I was so sad the day Rick called me ... I know that he was ready to go, but it’s the end of an era for Atchison. It doesn’t mean we won’t continue to do great things. But it’s up to the new generation now. These are the people who taught us how to give back. We must remember what they taught us.”

According to an obituary published in Atchison Globe, Berger requested a cremation and graveside service, to be held 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 4, at Mt. Vernon Cemetery with The Rev. Rachel Dannar officiating. Arrangements are in custody of Becker-Dyer-Stanton Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Atchison Family YMCA for scholarships and maybe sent in care of the funeral home.

Rick Berger said others can hope to emulate his contributions and follow his example. Roberts, who participated in state and federal government affairs with Bob for decades, is just one example of those affected by Bob’s legacy, Rick said.

“My dad and Pat go back many, many years,” he said. “They’ve been good friends and worked on a lot of projects. You know, my dad was just that type of guy, and what he loved about Atchison, was that if you didn’t like something and you got the right people, you could change it. And, that’s what they did.”

Atchison Mayor Shawn Rizza said the strength of Berger’s legacy and his character is self-evident.

“He always made everyone around him happy,” Rizza said. “He was just a real pleasure to be around.”

Seaberg expressed thanks for the Berger family’s selflessness that Bob instilled in all his friends and family.

“I thank God for Bob Berger,” she said. “The whole Berger family doesn’t know how to say ‘No.’ To anybody. You need help? They’ll be there for you. They are always there. And Bob made that happen.”

Lemonade stands to bring relief

Beating the summertime boredom and fulfilling some needs for tornado victims are the goals for Lane and Dayton Olson the young entrepreneurs in downtown Atchison.

Attired in slacks, dress shirts and ties, the brothers have set up a lemonade stand and cookie shop at the corner of Third and Commercial streets. Their opening day was about 8 a.m. Thursday, May 30.

Eight-year-old Lane is the business man as described by his mother, Amanda Peak Olson. Lane will be a third-grader at Atchison Elementary School.

Dayton, 11, a sixth-grader is preparing to start his first year at Atchison Middle School when school commences in the fall.

The brothers agreed proceeds from their business venture will benefit the tornado victims in the aftermath of Tuesday’s storm in Leavenworth County and the nearby areas.

The brothers had made plans to sell lemonade so they would not be bored during the summer, Dayton said. Their expectations are to open the stand once or twice a week throughout the summer, or whenever they can.

The first day of business has been “pretty good,” Dayton said, adding he and Lane had sold more than two gallons of lemonade by early afternoon.

Lane said after they made their decision to open for business the first thing they did was make a sign. Then they bought a glass dispenser to serve their lemonade by the cupful at 50 cents for a small cup. The larger cup costs $1. Packaged chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies were also available for $1. “Some days we might have candy too,” Dayton said.

Lane and Dayton have had plans open their stand for a few days, but the break in the rainy weather on Thursday opened up a window of opportunity for her sons, Olson said.

NEK eyes possible dam failure

HIAWATHA, Kan. — Emergency Management officials are monitoring a private dam near Sabetha for possible failure.

If the dam, located 1 mile south of Sabetha fails, then it could cause flash flooding along the Delaware River — impacting areas of Nemaha, Jackson and Southwestern Brown County.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the area until 10:30 p.m. Thursday on the Delaware River. The NWS reports the flooding would impact U.S. Highway 36, about 3 miles south of the dam and the Kickapoo Reservation, west of Horton, which includes the Golden Eagle Casino. The weather service said the water could rise to near 13.8 feet at U.S. 36 Highway just over an hour after a dam failure and to near 11.2 feet at U.S. Highway 75, up to 3 1/2 hours after a failure.

Sabetha City officials have said that a sink hole has developed below the watershed dam near the city’s wastewater plant and they are monitoring the situation.

Maps have been developed for significant and high hazard dams in Kansas that show the area that would be flooded if the dam were to fail. In this case, if the watershed dam south of Sabetha were to fail, the map indicates that agricultural lands would be flooded, as well as a couple of local roads (County Road 220 and County Road 250). Those roads have not been impacted at this time, but have been closed in a precautionary measure.

Mapping does not show water would extend over Highway 36 or out of the banks for more than a few miles downstream and does not indicate flooding in other areas with significant residential or commercial development. In the broader region, water has already cut off access to St. Joseph, Missouri, and Weston, Missouri, by flooding out portions of Missouri Highway 45 and U.S. Highway 59; Highway 36 via Kansas Highway 7 is the only route to St. Joseph.

As a reminder, do not drive through water on the roadway, or around any barricade on the roadway. “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”