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Shop locally now and year-round PDF Print E-mail
Written by Isaac Kreider   

Like the citizens of Holyoke, some new businesses have come into town, and several long-standing establishments remain in place. As a “city of pride and progress,” Holyoke has created an economy that is diverse and supportive of its citizens.

There are some unique niche stores and ones that are the sole providers of their products and services. Holyoke’s business sector is also home to lots of pairs — two implement companies, two pharmacies, two liquor stores, two Hispanic mercantiles, two bakery cafés, two chiropractic clinics, two convenience stores. There are multiple hardware/general stores and auto service shops and a handful of salons.

“I feel very lucky to be in this community,” said Jody Fiscus, owner of The Oak Tree. “It has supported my business well, and I have always enjoyed having my store open here.”

Of course, it is the people that make the community what it is and dictate the strength of the economy. By shopping locally, the citizens of a city have the ability to bolster the businesses and the livelihoods of their friends and neighbors.

Even on a cold Monday morning, downtown Holyoke is bustling with activity. With the holiday season quickly approaching, business owners are encouraging citizens to shop in town and help invigorate the local economy.­­  

—Enterprise photo

“There are wonderful stories around here and so many good people,” said Carolyn Koberstein of Scheunemann’s Department Store. “There’s goodness every day. Sometimes, my best customers are the ones who come in just to chat.”

Doug Schelling, owner of Smith Wholesale Hardware, said he believes Holyoke is doing well compared to many other small towns.

“There’s a lot going on all around this area, but it would be better if more people sourced their materials locally,” Schelling said. “We’re as busy as we want to be, but we pull a lot of business from out of town too.”

Holyoke has always been the strong seat of Phillips County, but there are also several empty storefronts, and economic uncertainty is felt by local business owners.

“It would be nice to see a few other unique and different businesses start up — ones that would help keep more people in town,” said Tim Bartels, owner of Holyoke General Store. “It can be hard to compete with some of the big stores elsewhere, but I give this town a lot of credit for the support it has given us so far.”

Holyoke General is a younger addition to the community, but others have been conducting business for decades and have taken notice of the changes that have occurred.

“Business has always been pretty steady,” said Chip Scheunemann, owner of Scheunemann’s Department Store. “But it’s not quite what it was. Free spending has fallen a little flat over the last several years.”

Others, along with Scheunemann, described how generational changes have impacted their businesses.

“Economies are hurting everywhere,” said Julie Dirks, owner of The Flower Garden. “The dynamics of a business like this change from year to year, but shopping locally real­ly does have many benefits.”

Dirks noted how sales have fluctuated over the years for certain holidays and year-round as well.

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch peers over the rooftop of the Flower Garden, eager to share his holiday cheer with the Holyoke community.  

—Enterprise photo

“It can be interesting and fun to watch the different generations do business,” she said. “But the younger ones especially are spending less money in lots of markets.”

Many business owners reciprocated this understanding that some years won’t be as big as others, and they recognize the economic struggles consumers face.

“The whole dynamics of retail in these small market areas has changed,” Fiscus said.

“We haven’t ever had it quite like the last year and a half, but it hasn’t been hard enough to significantly impact the way we operate.”

Fiscus acknowledged that some of the impact can be caused by changes at the governmental level, such as when prices for gas and food rise, or when people anticipate these rises in costs.

“Someone has to take a hit, and unfortunately it’s usually small businesses,” Fiscus said. “But I believe business will increase again soon.”

That kind of optimism is an integral part of keeping a business running no matter how the economy shifts.

A sign in the window of The Oak Tree encourages community members to “Work Local, Live Local, Shop Local.” During the holiday season, this is an easy way for people to show their support for their hometown.

—Enterprise photo

“The one constant is change,” Scheunemann said. “We have a nice city that always endures. It just needs some kind of economic boost to encourage others to come to town also.”

Dirks said she believes the late harvest season has contributed to business being slow and quiet lately, but she also expects business to pick up during the holiday season.

“Country Christmas shows great support of local businesses and is such a fun community event,” she said. “It’s always a great kickoff for the holidays.”

Bartels said he, like other business owners in town, is willing to work with customers where he can. With Christmas still several weeks away, there is plenty of time to find that right gift for friends and family.

“If people plan ahead for the holidays, we can special order items,” Bartels said. “We try to have competitive pricing here, and I’ve heard from several customers that we have been right in line with others in bigger cities.”

To truly be a city of pride and progress, the citizens of Holyoke must be willing to support the businesses that operate here and depend on them to continue and thrive.

If someone hears or receives a challenge to shop locally — particularly this fast-approaching holiday season — it might be more important than ever and something that can really make a difference, for one business or even an entire city.

‘Just get ’er done’ is advice on colon scopes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt   

No matter one’s age, postponing a colonoscopy is never a good idea.

Two area residents who are quick to proclaim the value of taking time for the procedure are Kelly Reichman, now 46, of Julesburg, and Eloise Harms, 88, of Paoli.

“Just get ’er done,” said Reich­man last week. Discomfort finally pushed the 45-year-old farmer/rancher from Julesburg to go to the doctor last spring.

By then, he had a tumor that was 5 centimeters across and too big to remove with a snare. An April 29 surgery took about 18 inches of his colon, 32 lymph nodes and the tumor. The inner 1 centimeter of the tumor was cancerous, but the rest was not, said Reichman.

That 5-centimeter tumor was messing up his bowel movements and was finally the signal for him to get to the doctor. He admits he reached a point of misery before doing so.

Today Reichman readily points out that if he’d gone in three years earlier, he potentially could have just had polyps picked off and been done with it.

Instead, he endured major surgery followed by six days in the hospital, six weeks of home recuperation and six months of gradually moving back into steady work.

Eloise Harms said the last several years she was receptive to having a colonoscopy but always said she just needed to wait until after harvest. Instead of scheduling a postharvest appointment, it kept getting pushed back to the next year.

Like Reichman, she reached a discomfort level with symptoms last summer and had a colonoscopy June 5. Two weeks later, she underwent surgery to remove a mass and several pre-cancerous polyps that were too big to take out in the scope.

No cancer was detected, but Harms said Dr. James Schiefen warned her that with another couple of years, she could have been in big trouble. As it was, the polyps were too big to remove by a simple colonoscopy and therefore required surgery.

She underwent a one-week hospital stay and said it was a couple of months before she was back to normal.

While Harms was 88 when she had her first colonoscopy, and was certainly glad that she did, she recommends the procedure be done at a much younger age — particularly for those with a family history of colon issues.

Harms’ daughter, Linda Alberts, 64, of Holyoke, works at Melissa Memorial Hospital and said she’d been thinking she should probably get on a wait list for a colonoscopy.

After Harms’ diagnosis, she urged her daughter not to wait. Alberts accepted the nudge. Her scope also resulted in the finding of pre-cancerous polyps. Because of the early stage, they could be removed in the colonoscopy. Another couple of years of waiting most likely could have found Alberts facing surgery as well.

Detection of polyps in Harms and Alberts spurred Alberts’ husband, Vern, to have his first colonoscopy at age 71. It was clear but gave great peace of mind.

Alberts said she was told to warn her boys, who are 40 and 44, that they should be looking to have colon scopes.

In general, if there’s no family history of polyps, a colonoscopy is recommended at the age of 50.

However, those who have family members (brother, sister, mother, father or grandparent) who have had polyps, colon screenings are recommended at a younger age.

Mary Kay Knode, who schedules screenings for Schiefen at the specialty clinic at Melissa Memorial Hospital, said the first step is to speak with a primary care provider.

If a father is diagnosed with colon polyps, then his children are advised to have a colonoscopy when they’re 15 years younger than he was at that time. For example, if the father is 55 when diagnosed, his children should be scoped at age 40.

Soaring numbers of young people will develop bowel cancer within the next 20 years, an alarming study has warned. While cases in the over-50s have declined, numbers for younger adults age 20-49 are expected to skyrocket.

The three main symptoms for colorectal cancer are blood in the stools, changes in bowel habit and abdominal pain.

“You think you don’t have time for a scope?” said Reichman. “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure,” he advises.

Reichman credits his wife Trena for not only keeping their diversified livestock operation running during his surgery and recuperation time but also for managing the household, including their three children, ages 7, 5 and 3. Family helped when needed, and the Reichmans are glad the surgery is behind them.

Alberts said a colonoscopy isn’t the most pleasant thing, but it’s not that bad. Reichman added that one is sedated during the scope itself.

Eloise Harms, pictured at left, had her first colonoscopy, which led to surgery this past summer, at the age of 88. That spurred her daughter Linda Alberts, at right, to schedule a colonoscopy as well. They firmly recommend regular scopes.  

—Enterprise photo

The procedure involves a 24-hour liquid diet prior to the scope, taking a colonoscopy prep to clean out the system and feeling tired afterward. “It’s really a simple procedure,” said Alberts.

“And knowing beats fear every time,” said Reichman. Taking out a couple of days every four or five years for a scope isn’t much considering the comfort it gives in knowing where one is at.

“Set a date instead of postponing,” added Harms.

Through the Colorado Colorectal Screening Program, the local specialty clinic has a limited number of screenings they can provide for those who can’t afford the cost for a colonoscopy and who meet the criteria for the program. For information on this program, contact Knode at 970-854-2241, ext. 316.

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. Early detection through regular colon screenings can make a life-saving difference.

Holyoke Enterprise November 20, 2014

Veteran shares experiences PDF Print E-mail
Written by Isaac Kreider   

World War II veteran Tech. Sgt. Glen Michael looked out upon the crowd and addressed the students first during the annual Veterans Day program at the HHS auditorium Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 11.

“My high school days were a little different than yours,” Michael said. “Mine were war days.”

He spoke about many things being rationed in those years, such as sugar, coffee and tires, to name a few. He also said his family raised many different animals including chickens, rabbits and pygmies — “Whatever we could to make a living.”

Michael said he was drafted into the Army Nov. 17, 1944, and served for a little over two years. After training in Texas and Chicago — the biggest place he’d ever been — he and a fellow soldier he knew from Chappell, Neb., followed their assignments to the east coast for further training.

WWII veteran Glen Michael shares some of his war-time experiences during the Veterans Day program at the HHS auditorium.  

—Enterprise photo

In New York, Michael said he was transferred into the motor pool where he worked on tanks. The troops still in the United States were always anxious to learn how things were going overseas.

“We really enjoyed having the radio, since we were late getting into the war,” Michael said. “We always rushed to the mess hall so we could hear how our boys had advanced each day.”

Eventually, he and 6,000 other troops boarded a ship that had been captured earlier in the war and departed from Massachusetts to sail across the Atlantic Ocean.

“We were amazed that there was enough food stored up for everyone for that long, but it was a massive ship.”

He said their sleeping bunks were stacked six high and were only about as wide as the podium that he was currently standing behind.

Michael described how the trip lasted 14 days. They had to travel through several bad storms, and they constantly worried about the other ships in their convoy. Eventually, they landed in the heart of France.

“War is never a good thing,” was a message Michael continually stressed during his speech. “It never helps.”

Just shortly after they arrived, a general came to their base and informed them that the war was over.

“I was just about the happiest guy out there,” Michael said. “I didn’t want to have to go shoot anyone anyway.”

Even though the war itself was over, military work was still being conducted overseas. Michael said he stayed in Europe for several more months and worked with the Stars and Stripes newspaper for the Allied soldiers.

He read an excerpt from the newspaper that highlighted General George S. Patton’s strength and command of the military during the war.

Michael quoted Ephesians 2:8-10 from the Bible, which begins, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves ... ”

“The national news portrays that ever-present possibility of us heading into another major war,” Michael stated. “I don’t know why anyone would ever want to do that.”

Other readings Michael chose to share included a letter from President Harry Truman that was sent to every member of the armed forces during WWII, thanking them for their commitment and encouraging them in their efforts.

He also read several passages from old army encyclopedias that gave accounts by both the Allied and Axis forces of the numbers of soldiers killed and injured and houses struck, as well as the total weight of bombs dropped by the Allies.

To sum up his speech, Michael made a simple statement.

“Thank you for listening, and stay out of the war.”

VOD speeches show relevance of veterans

Four HHS students shared their Voice of Democracy speeches during Tuesday’s program. The theme for this year’s essay contest is “Why veterans are important in our nation’s history and future.”

Winners in this year’s contest were freshman Luke Krogmeier, first; senior Anastasia Conklin, second; junior Tyler Loutensock, third; and junior Dominic Krogmeier, fourth. Winning speeches can be found elsewhere in this week’s paper.

The HHS band began the program by performing the national anthem after students acting as the color guard brought in the various flags to be posted on the stage. The band also performed “God Bless America,” and the student chorus group Sound Check sang “On Veterans Day.”

Holyoke Enterprise November 20, 2014