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Local leader recovering in cliff fall

A local business and community leader is recovering from a fall down a steep bluff on Monday evening.

The man lost control of his riding lawnmower while cutting his grass. Authorities say the man is believed to have hit a saturated patch of turf which caused his tractor to slide off the cliffside, leading to serious injuries.

On Tuesday afternoon, family confirmed the victim is Rick Berger, CEO of leather goods manufacturer Berger Company. He is an active community leader and philanthropist.

“He is doing much better and is very lucky,” said his son, Reed Berger. “It could have been much worse.”

The grass that forms the rear of Berger’s lawn in the 300 block of Terrace Street runs up into some brush that forms an effective cliff edge as the bluff descends to the western banks of the Missouri River.

“In this particular case, when his tractor slipped off the edge, apparently due to some wet ground, some wet grasslands up there ... he continued to fall, 15 or 20 feet beyond that then to where he landed,” said Atchison Police Chief Mike Wilson.

Wilson said the man became separated from his tractor by the force of impact with the trees. Firefighters rescued Berger, but the mower remained caught up in the wooded area.

“Several people actually witnessed this happen as he fell off the cliff edge there,” Wilson said. “We were immediately notified. Police officers were there very quickly, as were firefighters. The firefighters ended up cutting some timber away for the rescue to be able to occur.”

The injuries resulting from the impact required a medical helicopter flight to the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City. Authorities said Berger was conscious and talking to them at the time of his rescue.

“I am so sad about Rick being hurt but very thankful that he is going to be OK,” said Jacque Pregont, president of the Atchison Area Chamber of Commerce. “Rick is a dear friend, but he is also very important to the entire community.

“He is so active in virtually everything and has given so much of himself to all of us. I’m praying for him and a quick full recovery.”

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Ravens react to Notre Dame inferno

With Atchison’s strong connection the global Catholic community via Benedictine College, it may be no surprise that many of those students have been to the site of the disaster in Paris.

St. Benedict Catholic Church and the surrounding academic campus stands now as a gathering point for those who are mourning the fate of one of its great ancestors, Notre Dame de Paris, devastated by fire.

“Seeing those photos and just seeing livestreaming, I just absolutely can’t describe it,” said Irma Barcena, who previously studied abroad in Europe and took time to visit the church. “I was there two years ago and now it’s in flames.”

While gripping with the memories of the beautiful, ancient cathedral and knowing how damaged it has become, the students turn to their faith in God to make sense of the tragedy.

“I think it’s so important to realize that our church and our faith is not bound to a building, but in the midst of tragedy, like, it brings people together,” said Pamela Zarybnicky, who visited in 2016. “There’s so much community and so much unity comes from these tragedies and it’s beautiful to see how this tragedy is doing that in Paris.”

Fr. Blaine Schultz, OSB, once had the opportunity as a visiting priest to lead a celebration of the Mass in the sacred halls of Notre Dame.

“When I saw the news, I thought, ‘That can’t be happening!’” Schultz said. “But you could see the images, the flames shooting through the roof. I thought, ‘Oh my Gosh, I pray they can at least save something of it.’ And now I understand they were able to save much of the beautiful main entrance. Yet the roof and interior remains totally destroyed. What a loss.”

Schultz said that in his experiences, rather than serve as a locus for local Parisian worshipers, Notre Dame is a draw for tourists and is both a religious and national symbol of France. And yet the glory of its nature of a church is hard for someone who hasn’t visited to comprehend, he said.

“It’s truly incredible for someone who hasn’t been there to grasp,” Schultz said. “Combined with the gallery spaces, Notre Dame can seat what, 10,000 people? By contrast, the Abbey Church seats, at most, a thousand. And if anyone knows the Abbey Church, just think about the size of that. You can compare those two.”

The latest information indicates that the roof, spire and much of the combustible structure throughout the inner workings of the centuries old great stoneworks of Notre Dame has been lost in an apparent accident related to ongoing renovation proceedings. New information on Tuesday indicated that the belltowers, facade and some of the most valuable stained glass windows of Notre Dame have survived the fires.

“It’s so beautiful to see people all over, both here in the United States, at Benedictine and all over the world,” said student Kaitlyn Enders. “To really use those roots as a Catholic community to not only lift each other up in prayer but also to lift each other up in unfortunate circumstances like this.”

Crowds have been seen in the streets of Paris gathering to mourn and to pray that the landmark will one day return to glory.

“If I was in Paris right now, I would be there too,” said Wesley Greer, who visited the church while studying abroad in 2017. “I’d pray alongside all those people praying for it and the possibility that it could be restored in some way in the future.”

Schultz said he remains hopeful that once rebuilt, Notre Dame will continue to inspire as it has before.

“So many people admire the church and want to rebuild this,” he said. “Of course, we can never replace the magnificent artworks that have been lost. This reminds us, though, of the importance of having structures like this in our society where people can see not only a religious building, but also its purpose, and that is to serve God.”

Lip smacking deals fund campus greenhouse for Tigers

Elementary school children continue paving their way to obtain a greenhouse for the Atchison County Community Schools outdoor learning campus one lip balm tube at a time along with other funding contributions.

The Atchison County Community Elementary School Top Rural School Lip Balm project endeavor recently benefitted the ACCCS Outdoor Learning Campus $500 toward the greenhouse initiative.

ACCES Teacher Wanda Small and her second-grade pupils implemented the lip balm project during the 2016 spring semester. The youngsters made the balm from two agricultural products, beeswax and soybean oil. Then the children flavored their balm peppermint, Small said.

Their hands-on lesson also included studies about soybean farmers, soybean products and the process of how honeybees make beeswax during her science, technology, engineering, art, agriculture and math class time. Small said second-graders were also enlightened to entrepreneurial potential after they read a book about starting a business.

Within the past three years, Small transitioned from second grade teacher to project based learning and STEAM educator along with her role as an Outdoor Learning Center co-facilitator. In the meantime, the lip balm endeavor expanded to include the third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders.

Small said each class has an assigned flavor. The second-graders continue to flavor their lip balm with peppermint. Gingerbread is the third grade flavor. Fourth grade pupils flavors their class work Lemon, Lavender flavor by fifth-graders and the sixth-graders have graduated up their skill level to Tiger Orange. The balm is hands-on for all students the ingredients are purchased from proceeds earned from the sales.

All the youngsters in grades second through sixth read the recipe, measure, pour and stir the ingredients in a small slow cooker, Small said. Then they pour their mixture into lip balm tubes. The pupils cap and clean off each tube. The sixth-graders made the labels and attached them to the tubes; even if they are crooked, it’s all part of the finished product. Presentation is also part of the entrepreneurial class subject.

“I talk to them about presentation of the product,” Small said. “They usually say they prefer not to have a crooked label.” Small continued “Its all part of the learning process and they learn by doing. “

The sixth-graders have the opportunities to volunteer to sell the balm during the morning in the hallway, Small said. In addition to their sales pitches, the volunteer seller records who buys the balm and how many are sold. Additionally, the volunteers keep track of the records and count back the change during the transactions, and the volunteers gain some real world sales experience from the start to consumers. “It is a real business for them,” Small said. “They have sold a lot of lip balm and that is helping our school and community. “

The money donated from the lip balm endeavor has been a way for the pupils to learn from their young age to do their part about giving back and community service.

The balm sells for a price of $2 a tube direct from the young entrepreneurs, Small said. It is available at the school. The class members have expanded their business to the Muscotah Mercantile available at a higher price for the in-store purchase convenience. If anyone from outside the area, or district would like to purchase some balm contact Small at Small has fulfilled orders up to 25 that went to a location across Kansas.

Throughout the year, the funding for the greenhouse continues to trickle in. During the April meeting, USD 377 Board of Education members unanimously accepted a $1,000 contribution from the ACCES Parent Teacher Organization towards the greenhouse.

Board members also accepted an additional $2,000 to top off the expected $3,000 grant award for the greenhouse by way of an Annie’s Grant. The total Annie’s Grant award is $5,000 for the 2019 grant cycle. The greenhouse endeavor also recently benefitted from a $1,000 Farm Bureau White Reinhardt Grant, $500 ADK, donation from the Alpha Delta Kappa teacher sorority and $1,000 from the Outdoor Learning Campus Funds.

Vo-Ag Instructor Kayla Bodenhausen Atchison County Community High School, serves as one of the outdoor learning campus facilitators.

Bodenhausen has recently applied for funding from a Farmers Grow Rural Education STEM Grant. Announcements of the awards are pending for late summer.

Earlier in the schoolyear, the proposed greenhouse also was awarded funding from Kansas Farm Bureau and the FFA Foundation.

The goal is to complete the greenhouse before the end of the 2019 -2020 schoolyear that fits into six-year plan for campus completion.

Bodenhausen and Small also serve on the Outdoor Learning Campus Committee along with USD 377 Superintendent Andrew Gaddis, ACCJSHS Principal Deanna Scherer and ACCES Principal Mandi McMilllan.

Second suspect emerges in Osage Road case

Keldon M. Reynolds

Charges on file against an 18-year-old Atchison man marks the second arrest made in connection with an October residential burglary and theft of multiple firearms from a rural residence.

Keldon M. Reynolds is held in the Atchison County Jail on a $20,000 bond facing six felony charges that include: burglary with the intent to steal a firearm; three counts theft of a firearm; theft; and criminal damage to property; and one count misdemeanor theft.

Atchison County District Court records indicate an arrest warrant was issued for Reynolds on Feb. 13. Reynolds was subsequently transported and booked into the county jail on April 4 where authorities from Atchison County Sheriff’s Office arrested him.

J. David Farris has initially been appointed to serve as defense counsel of Reynolds. Formal charges against Reynolds were announced April 12 in district court. Reynolds is scheduled for the 9 a.m. criminal docket Friday, April 19 with Farris.

Reynolds’ co-defendant, 19-year-old Jonathan M. Hundley, of Rushville, Missouri, was arrested March 2 on a felony warrant. Hundley has since bailed out of jail on a $20,000 bond. Both Hundley and Reynolds are facing identical charges.

Overland Park-based attorney Judd Herbster serves as Hundley’s court-appointed defense counsel. Hundley’s next day in court is at 1 p.m. Monday, April 22 with Herbster.

The respective complaints against Reynolds and Hundley allege they burglarized a residence Oct. 5, 2018 along Osage Road with intentions to steal a shotgun, two .22 caliber rifles and two air rifles. The collective loss of the weapons is more than $2,000, Atchison County Sheriff Jack Laurie initially reported to the Globe following Hundley’s arrest.