Skip to main content
A1 A1
top story
Gabby Barrett to headline for LakeFest 2022 and Atchison county native Erik Dylan to open
  • Updated

We are excited to announce the lineup is finalized for LakeFest 2022. Mark your calendars! July 15 at Warnock Lake in Atchison, Kansas.

ACM New Female Artist of the Year will headline LakeFest 2022. Warner Music Nashville’s Gabby Barrett is setting the trend. Barrett has added more elite wins to her goldmine of accolades, including three Billboard Music Awards — Top Country Female Artist, Top Country Song (“I Hope”), Top Collaboration with Charlie Puth (“I Hope”) — iHeartRadio Music Awards Best New Country Artist and the 2021 CMT Music Awards top honor for Female Video of the Year (“The Good Ones”). Recognized as Billboard’s Top New Country Artist of 2020, an Amazon Music Breakthrough artist, one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Music plus listed in Variety’s 2020 Young Hollywood Impact Report, Barrett is proving why she’s “the face of Gen-Z Country” (HITS). Her meteoric 5X PLATINUM debut “I Hope” was the most-streamed Country song of 2020, highlighted as one of the Best Songs of the year by the Associated Press and Billboard, winner of CMT’s 2020 Breakthrough Video of the Year award, while catapulting to the Top 3 on Billboard’s all genre Hot 100 chart. Reigning atop the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for a record-breaking 27 weeks, “I Hope” was also the first debut single by a solo female artist to top the Country radio charts since 2017 and made her the youngest artist with a #1 debut at Country radio in over two decades. We can’t wait to welcome her to the LakeFest 2022 Stage!

For Michael Ray, music is his grandfather singing and sweating on a rural Florida stage. It’s the childhood refuge he found during the pain of his parents’ divorce. It’s family and stories, history and hope. Ray says music saved him, but it did even more: Music made him. In four short years, Ray has built an impressive foundation. Three No. 1 songs – RIAA Platinum-certified “Think a Little Less,” along with“Kiss You in the Morning,” and “One That Got Away” – plus “Get to You” and “Her World or Mine,” brings his tally to four Gold-certified singles. Now, two hit albums into that all-too-rare blend of critically acclaimed and commercially successful career, Ray has released “Whiskey and Rain,” the first single off 7-song collection Higher Education, produced by GRAMMY-nominated producer Ross Copperman. Proof that heartbroken wallowing can feel good if it swings, “Whiskey And Rain” has garnered over 66 million streams as it reaches the Top 10 at Country Radio, cementing Ray as the ideal bridge between vintage country cool and modern country’s best sounds.

— Singer/Songwriter & Atchison County native Erik Dylan will be appearing this year at Lakefest.

A frequent collaborator to Luke Combs and Riley Green, Dylan contributed to Combs’ record-breaking album What You See Is What You Get and co-wrote Green’s No. 1 hit “There Was This Girl.” The Kansas native also has songs recorded by Parker McCollum, Brantley Gilbert, Elvie Shane, Ashland Craft, Kip Moore, Trisha Yearwood, Ray Fulcher, Justin Moore, Eli Young Band, Brent Cobb, and more.

An an artist Dylan has enjoyed success as well. His “JJ’s Market” was named one of American Songwriter’s Top 20 Songs of 2020, and his full-length projects include his 2016 debut album Heart of a Flatland Boy and the follow-up Baseball on the Moon (2018), which features duets with Steve Earle and Combs.

The LakeFest concert is a highlight of the 25th Annual Amelia Earhart Festival, which will be held in the hometown of the world-famous aviatrix on July 15 and 16.

The annual concert is held in the park surrounding Warnock Lake, 17862 274th Road, which is three miles southwest of Atchison. Gates and concessions will open at 4 pm. We will open the concert with the National Anthem at 7 pm. Erik Dylan will take the stage immediately following. Michael Ray will perform approximately 8:15, with Gabby Barrett’s appearance at approximately 9:45.

Food vendors and concessions are available on the grounds. NO COOLERS ALLOWED! ( NO BEVERAGES CAN BE CARRIED IN!) The Salvation Army will provide cups of free water.

“We are super excited about the lineup for LakeFest 2022!” Jacque Pregont, Amelia Earhart Festival Coordinator stated. “Gabby Barrett has taken the country music scene by storm and we can’t wait to have her light up the LakeFest stage! Michael Ray highlights his newest music, along with his three number one hits as our middle artist at LakeFest 2022! And we love having Erik Dylan come back home to open for us again. He is such a great talent and everyone in this area should be proud to know he’s from Atchison County and leaving his mark in country music with some great songs! It’s going to be another great night at Warnock Lake!”

Information for purchasing tickets will follow soon. Advance ticket price will be $25 per ticket. Tickets on the day of the concert will be $35. Children 10 and under will be admitted free with a ticketed adult.

LakeFest 2022 is the prelude to a full day of festivities in Atchison on Saturday July 16. A complete festival schedule will be available as details are finalized at

For any questions concerning LakeFest 2022, contact Jacque Pregont, Amelia Earhart Festival Coordinator, at (913) 426-3911 or

top story
Huron City Council now complete
  • Updated

The table for Huron City Council leadership has come full circle for all the respective 4-year terms of elected officials.

After votes were counted as the result of the 2021 local cities and schools Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 2, there was a three-way tie between write-in candidates to round out two of the

Undecided was who will fill the open two seats for Huron City Council due to a three-way tie between three write-in potentials, Joel Clem, Kimberly Clem, and Ronnie Funk. The race was decided on Nov. 23 after Atchison County Commission members, Chairman Jack Bower, Vice-chairman Eric Noll, and Commissioner Casey Quinn recessed from the regular county business long enough to convene as the Atchison County Board of Canvassers.

County Clerk Michelle Phillips, the county’s chief election officer, directed the canvassers to randomly pull two names from a cup to determine who’ll fill the vacant posts.

Bower and Noll each pulled out a piece of paper with a name written onto it.

Kim Clem and Ronnie Funk were the names drawn from the cup that has been approved by a unanimous vote from commissioners.

Other Huron Council members are Mayor Jaquetta Peak, the incumbent, who was the only candidate to file for office. Three of the council positions were filled by write-in votes Jordan Clem, Linda Ferris, each with eight votes, and Donald Ball with seven write-in votes.

Concerning some other recent county matters:

The Leadership Atchison class members for 2021-2022 visited with commissioners on Nov. 16. Class members present were Krista Parks, Kevin Dykstra, Diane Holly, Kristen Otte, and Sarah Fischer. The class members also toured the Emergency Operations Center and the Atchison County EMS ambulance main station also housed in the facility located at 10443 U.S. Highway 59. While present in the facility, class members visited with EMS Director Corey Scott and EMS responders about procedures and toured an ambulance. During their visit with commissioners, class members asked questions about topics like zoning and they heard about Kansas Open Meetings Act from County Counselor Patrick Henderson. Commissioners told the group about their representative districts and Atchison Senior Village.

County Treasurer Connie Ellerman served as substitute facilitator for the visit in the absence of Leadership Facilitator Jesse Greenly. Ellerman and Phillips also explained their duties as elected officials.

Commissioners recently made a decision on Nov. 4 to lock the east entrance into the Atchison County Courthouse, and to only allow entry through the north door. However, persons can exit the courthouse through east and north doors. The decision was made after executive sessions during prior meetings to discuss courthouse security with department heads and local officials.

top story
Benedictine students fund local Christmas charitable gift
  • Updated

Inspired by Scripture, religious teachings on social justice, and their message of faith and selflessness, the Benedictine Black Student Union has exceeded its online goal of charitable fundraising.

The Atchison Giving Tree project has thus far generated $2,536 via GoFundMe, which means five low-socioeconomic families in the area of the Atchison, Kansas, the campus will receive aid, including presents and stocking stuffers for their children. BSU President Soloman Wallace, a student at Benedictine from St. Louis, said he is driven first and foremost by his faith.

“As I child, I personally wasn’t able to have the best Christmas,” Wallace said. “I knew that if I were put in a position to help others, that’s something I would want to do knowing that it’s something God would want of me as well.”

The BSU engages in activism on diversity and inclusion, but the approach is first and foremost as a Christian leader doing what he can to uphold II Corinthians 9:7: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

This carries special meaning for Giovanni Burk, who helps lead recruiting efforts for the BSU, which is open to all students regardless of ethnicity, creed, or background. As a native of Atchison, Burk is part of the growing number of Black students on what has historically been a not very diverse campus. He said he is proud to see Benedictine become not just the Catholic college that happens to be in town, but one that sponsors deep, personal relationships with all its people.

“There’s a lot of young men around here that don’t really know anything about college,” Burk said. “So, I want to give them an example of a young man that’s from their same town that’s in the college they all know doing something great, letting them know they can do it too.”

The community as a whole has striven to build stronger interconnections between institutions and people, as represented by gestures like last year’s renaming of the busiest thoroughfare near Benedictine to Unity Street. The former “Division” name is associated with a history in Atchison in which some Black residents were made to feel unwelcome in mostly white neighborhoods, and vice versa.

To put such realities firmly in the past is the chief goal of Leila Almanza, who is from San Antonio, Texas. She explained how the Atchison Giving Tree project serves the complementary goals of helping those in need and establishing the readiness of the BSU, and Benedictine, as a place where everyone can have a home.

“Our mission is to help students through community engagement, academics, and social services,” she said. “So, I think that setting this kind of example is a great way to start.”

top story
Benedictine College President Stephen Minnis receives CiV Papal Award
  • Updated

President Stephen D. Minnis of Benedictine College was one of the remarkable Catholic leaders honored by Caritas in Veritate with the organization’s Papal Award on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021.

“This award is a tremendous honor for Benedictine College,” Minnis said. “It is gratifying to know that the effectiveness of our mission is being recognized on an international level.”

The award is given annually by Caritas in Veritate “to distinguished leaders in the international community and in the Church for outstanding work in charity and leadership.” The episcopal advisors of Caritas in Veritate include U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops president Archbishop Jose Horacio Gomez of Los Angeles, and Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston. Caritas in Veritate has Consultative Status at the United Nations both in New York and Geneva, where its mission is to protect society’s most vulnerable populations from discrimination.

The award comes on the heels the launch of the college’s Transforming Culture in America plan formed in three years of meetings with board members, faculty, and leaders in all walks of life.

“Benedictine College’s new visionary plan is an exciting development for the whole Church,” Minnis said. “Caritas in Veritate shares our vision that Catholic truths about the human person are the answer to the deepest needs of the human person today.”

Others who received the award at the Nov. 21 Meet the Visionaries event in Phoenix, Ariz., included:

• Cardinal George Pell, the former prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy who was falsely imprisoned in Australia for 404 days before being acquitted of abuse charges and released.

• Sister Deirdre Byrne, an active missionary sister and superior of her community in Washington, D.C., who retired with the rank of Colonel from the U.S. Army in 2009 after 29 years of service that included the twin towers following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

• Jerry Colangelo, with his wife Joan. Colangelo is former owner of the Phoenix Suns of the NBA, Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball, the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA, the Arizona Sandsharks of the Continental Indoor Soccer League, smf the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League.

• Raymond Arroyo, news director and lead anchor of EWTN News, the news division of the Eternal Word Television Network and author of the Will Wilder series for young readers.

A native of St. Joseph, Mo., Minnis graduated from Benedictine College in 1982 and obtained a Juris Doctorate degree from Washburn University and Masters of Business Administration degree from Baker University. Minnis worked as a prosecutor and corporate attorney for 19 years before becoming President of Benedictine College in 2004.

Since his appointment, Benedictine College has seen unprecedented growth. The enrollment has doubled to over 2,000 full-time undergraduates. Benedictine has opened 10 new residence hall buildings; six new academic buildings; a Marian Grotto; a student recreation center and dining hall. The college has either built new or renovated every dorm room, every classroom, and every athletic facility during this time. The college opened a campus in Florence, Italy; began a nursing program as well as engineering and architecture, making it one of few liberal arts schools in America and only the fourth Catholic university with engineering and architecture.

During his presidency, Benedictine has for the first time been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges and recognized by the Cardinal Newman Society as one of the top Catholic universities in America. Minnis was one of only five Catholic university presidents to be appointed to a U.S. bishops conference committee on Catholic universities in America and one of only four Catholic university presidents to be appointed to the Vatican Commission on the Church in America.

During this time, Benedictine College also committed itself to serving the poor around the world. International mission trips expanded from one in 2004 to more than 25 per year along with the same number of domestic mission trips — meaning more than 75% of Benedictine College students will be on mission before they graduate.

President Minnis himself participated in a student-initiated project to help fund and build a new Catholic church in Guatemala watch documentary here.

Minnis is married to Amy (Kohake) Minnis, a 1984 graduate of Benedictine College. The couple has three grown children, Molly, Michael, and Matthew and three grandchildren, Joseph, Mary and Benedict.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.