Hilt's Tilt

By Shirley Hilt


To E-mail Shirley - shirleyh24@earthlink.net

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Drought Impacts North West Bourbon County





Shirley Hilt's first published book is out!!  It will be in all book stores.    Ask for "Silent Screams" by Shirley Hilt.

The Book is published.    My author website is :


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I can't believe it's finally in print!!!!   Shirley



If you wish to make a comment on any article, just say which article, what you want to say and if you want it published on my web site!!   If you don't want published or your name used please let me know!!

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Shirley Hilt's first published book is out!! It will be in all book stores in the near future. Ask for "Silent Screams" by Shirley Hilt.

COVER SCRIBE FOR 185766A_Silent Screams

I was a backwoods eight-year-old with a three-year-old sister and an infant who barely held the dark angel of death at bay. I knew we had to leave what meager security the house offered and travel toward the road. Could we do it? Who knew how far away that blacktop was? And then, who knew how long before help came?

Judy was a wild child. Pregnant at 13, she had a cruel temper, a disdain for authority, and a love affair with alcohol. For the most part, she let her kind, elderly parents raise her daughter, but when she got married and took full custody of Lizbeth, the little girl’s nightmare truly began.


Set in the 1950s in middle America, Silent Screams is the true story of three children who are abandoned in the middle of nowhere and their struggle to survive. It’s a candid and emotionally shattering testimony to the fact that some women should never be allowed to bear children.


About the Author: Shirley Hilt is married, retired, and living in Port Orange, Florida. 

Web Site   http://outskirtspress.com/silentscreams185766a/


Newspaper Articles


HAPPENINGS IN MAPLETON  By: Shirley Hilt       November 2011


          The last couple of weeks in Mapleton have been rather busy.  November 19th the Mapleton and Blue Mound Red Hats, along with their husbands, gathered at Chicken Mary’s in Yale, Kansas, for their Thanksgiving get together.  About 40 people attended, enjoying good food and good company.

         Sunday the Community of Christ Church hosted the Community Thanksgiving Dinner. Members of the Congregations of the Mapleton United Methodist and Mapleton Christian Churches contributed to the Sunday Program, along with the Mapleton Chorus providing some Musical entertainment.  After the service, everyone enjoyed an abundance of home cooked dishes and desserts donated by members of all the churches.  It was a beautiful afternoon of food and fellowship.

        The City Council met on Monday, the 21st.  The only thing of note was the absence of the treasurer and a treasurer’s report.  Sandra Davis had been hired at the last council meeting to replace Jan Laughlin.  Mayor Mike Hueston and Council woman Linda Metcalf met with Sandra a few days after the October Council meeting to discuss her duties, etc.  Mike Hueston did not get to the bank to clear things for Sandra to take over until a few weeks later.  Sandra was also to pick up the bills from the Council Post Office Box, but when she stopped to do so, the mail had already been picked up.  Sandra called Mayor Hueston, and he told her that the City clerk was supposed to get in touch with the bank, and also contact her concerning the mail. 

     After several days of hearing nothing from any Mapleton officials, and with no activity to report to the City Council, Sandra left as planned on her vacation. At the council meeting, the Mayor stated he had tried to contact Sandra on numerous occasions, but could never reach her.  According to Sandra, she had one call on her cell phone from Mike Hueston, and that was all.  The City Council spent quite a bit of time trying to determine who was at fault.  

   Richard Long also reported on the first meeting of the Mapleton Planning Committee.  He said there are a number of things being discussed for future events.   Presently they are concentrating on getting the park back up to par. 

     The street signs were discussed.  There had been some work done on the ditches, and street signs were taken down for that, and now they have to be gathered up and put back up.  The meeting was adjourned around 8pm.

     The Red Hats will be having their Christmas party at the Mapleton Christian Church at 6:00 on the evening of December 16th.  Spouses/significant others are invited. Everyone is to bring a $5 gift to exchange (if you want) and your favorite Christmas snack. 

      Santa will be stopping by the Mapleton Café around 4:00 on December 17th. Bring your little ones to visit with Santa and have their pictures taken.  The Community Chorus will also be there singing Christmas Carols, and all are invited to join in. 

       I, along with the citizens of Mapleton, would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!!!


Drought Impacts North West Bourbon County  By Shirley Hilt

A rocky creek bed that normally has a stream running through it.

  <<  The Little Osage River--         "Islands in the stream."

      The fall harvest is behind us, and farmers in this community are beginning the planting of winter wheat, all the while praying for moisture in one form or another.  This area normally gets around 40 inches of rainfall a year, and with the tally coming in at a little over 20 inches so far, the amount has adversely affected the farmers and ranchers in this area.  One farmer said a rule of thumb is “you needed an inch of rain a week to survive.”

     Ponds are either completely dried up, or in the process of doing so.  The Little Osage River has islands of foliage that have not been there in past years.  The ground is dry with crevices, normal autumn splashes of color have been replaced by a dull brown hue, and what grasses remain crunches when you walk on it.   Hay production is down by a third, and rancher Dan Laughlin said, “The quality is very poor compared to last year.  Farmers are haying areas they normally wouldn’t bother with, hoping to have enough hay for their livestock to make it through the winter.” 

   Area cattle producers are forced to sell cattle because of the drought.  Jim Martin, from the Fort Scott Livestock Market, said the cow runs are up anywhere from 50 to 60%.  He attributes this increase to, “the water situation, no grass, and the high cost of hay.” 

     Jack Adamson, who farms a large number of acreage in the Mapleton area, said the soybean crop yield was about a quarter of what it should have been, and the corn yield was about one third.  There were a number of farmers who didn’t get any crop at all out of their corn.  Insurance on crops may pay back the cost of planting once in awhile, according to Mr. Adamson, but that’s about it.

    Fire Chief Mike Hueston said the local department has seen an increase of 10 to 15% of grass fires.  Chief Hueston said, “People need to think before they light that match.  Take into consideration the dry conditions, the wind conditions, and always notify the local fire department before you engage in a controlled burn.”   The increased calls also increases the expenses incurred by the department and since the firemen are volunteers—their home lives are also affected. On one day alone, the Mapleton Fire Department made 10 runs for grass fires.

    There is a glimmer of good news involving our dry weather.  A lot of the land owners are taking this opportunity to have their ponds cleaned out, which is something that has to be done every once in awhile.  Of course, it’s an expense farmers can hardly afford in lean production times. 

   If you’re not a farmer or rancher, you may think these facts do not affect you.  A sign at the local café sums it up:  “If you eat—you’re involved in agriculture.”  The prices at grocery stores will continue to rise, which is bad news for those of us who engage in a tradition called   “dinner.”

To E-mail Shirley - shirleyh24@earthlink.net



   The Mapleton City Council met Monday, October 17th, at 7pm.  The Mayor, Mike Hueston, and all City Council members were present.  The meeting was called to order, and the minutes from last meeting were discussed.  There was some question about the wording of a couple of items, but the matter was cleared up in a few minutes. 

     Mike Blevins announced that he had purchased the Mapleton Gas Company, and that he and Running Fox Petroleum are working out the details of hooking into them, so everything is looking good on that front.

     Nels Smith submitted a letter of resignation as arena manager, stating that he had a lot going on is his life and wouldn’t have time to devote to the necessary attention to the position.  Kevin Sutterby is now the new arena manager. 

   Five members of the Mapleton Planning Committee are now in place.  Richard Long will chair the committee, and Sandra Post is secretary.  Other members include Arlene Snow, Buck Burton, and Jack Sutterby.  Mayor Mike Hueston and Brenda Boehm will hold advisory positions.  Those in place are a good cross section of the populous, and will represent all age groups.  The purpose of the planning committee is to help plan upcoming events for the Mapleton Area. 

      Emotions ran high when the City Treasurer submitted her letter of resignation.  The City Council attempted to talk her into holding the position until another treasurer could be found, but Jan Laughlin was adamant about it being her last night in the capacity of treasurer.  She stated she had given them a month’s notice, and that should have been ample time for the City Council to come up with some plan of action.  Council woman Linda Metcalf stated she had called about every accountant in the Fort Scott directory, and had gotten a price from Sandra Davis, a CPA, who would take the position of treasurer for $150.00 a month.  The motion was passed to hire her, and reluctantly, the motion was passed to accept Jan’s resignation.

      In a letter to the citizens of Mapleton, Jan expressed her reasons for resigning.   Because of some things that had taken place in the past that she could not comfortably accept, she felt that her resignation was the right thing for her to do.  After some heated discussion, it was finally decided that there had been an error in judgment on the part of the mayor, and a breakdown in communications.   The air was cleared, wounds were administered to, and the meeting was adjourned on a good note. 

     Jan Laughlin has devoted close to 10 years to the City of Mapleton, giving freely of her time, energy, and computer expertise.  She is the type of person who relishes in the ability to make others, and her town look good. She truly loves the town, and only wants good things for it. Her husband, Dan, has always jokingly said about Jan, “You know—she can be replaced!”  I don’t think the town of Mapleton would agree with him!

To E-mail Shirley - shirleyh24@earthlink.net




    Mapleton’s City Council meeting was held last Monday evening, September 19 and continuing questions over the natural gas company and a report on the swap meet were heard.  The meeting was called to order by Mayor Mike Hueston with all city council members present. 

The council approved the minutes from previous meetings and approved Treasurer Jan Laughlin’s report. There were no issues from the public and the council moved on to old business. 

The first agenda item was the update on the Mapleton pipeline.  Mike Blevins stated that he was interested in purchasing the gas company, and had been in communication with the current owner and her attorney.  According to Blevins, the holdup at the present time was getting Running Fox Oil Company to commit to an agreement to tie into the Mapleton line.

The transfer of responsibility of the gas company from the city to the state was brought up by City Clerk Brenda Boehm, but Linda Metcalf stated that it’s too early to deal with that topic, so it was put on hold for the time being.

The agenda covered a multitude of topics including the Community Swap meet, the team roping, the auction and horse pull, streetlight repairs and more.

The council then discussed electrical service to the Post Office, the old firehouse and the New2U store.  For many in the audience, this was the first they had heard of the problem. 

The building that these businesses are located in is old, allegedly with the original electrical wiring in them. 

A problem occurred about six weeks ago and KCPL was called in.  They told Mike Blevins that the electrical boxes needed to be replaced.  When the electrical work came up for discussion, Ron Burton, Jr., an electrician, stated that he could do the work for $2200 or less, but nothing in writing was presented.  

Linda Metcalf brought up the fact that bids should be taken, and Mike Blevins agreed. 

Mike Hueston, (Mayor/Fire Chief) said this was an “emergency” situation, so they didn’t have to get bids, and then stated, “We either pay $2200 now and have the work done, or pay $2200 for a bull dozer to knock the buildings down after they burn.”   

This statement seemed to motivate the City Council to have Mr. Burton start the work.

In a later discussion with Postmaster Mary Lalman, the “emergency situation” the council discussed originated approximately the fourth week of August.  Lalman said she had been having trouble with the electrical service in the Post Office for a while. 

Her computer had burnt out, as well as the AC, and a surge protector cord had also burnt out, prompting a call to KCPL.  Lalman said that there was a short on the pole, and they fixed the problem temporarily, but would be back at a later time to put up a new pole and transformer.  Lalman said that KCPL recommended that the breaker boxes on the buildings be replaced, since they were outdated, and that it would be easier on their part if the boxes were installed before the new transformer and pole were installed.  Mary said she relayed this information to Hueston when she saw him.

The situation has not been resolved as of press time.

During the next order of business, the council heard from Clerk Boehm that Roger Ericsson (correct name is Roger Brazier) who helps with the city budget suggested the city hire someone to show the treasurer an easier bookkeeping system.

Treasurer Jan Laughlin stated that she is resigning and that the council needed to find someone to take over the job. She tried earlier to resign, but no one would take the job. As the activities in Mapleton grew, Laughlin’s workload as treasurer also grew, and she was reportedly tired. 

Linda Metcalf and Mike Blevins both agreed that paying someone around $3000 to show the treasurer a simpler method could be tabled until a new treasurer was in place, and the rest of the city council agreed. 

Boehm submitted a letter of resignation as City Clerk, and it was accepted.  Mandi Rhue was sworn in as new City Clerk.  The meeting was adjourned.


To E-mail Shirley - shirleyh24@earthlink.net


      With the untimely death of Mark Scharenberg, owner of Mapleton Gas Company, the operation of the company fell to his widow, Debbie.   She is placing the Gas Company up for sale, but the Kansas Corporation Commission wanted some assurances of a plan of action in the mean time.

      There are 68 natural gas customers in Mapleton and the majority of them attended a special Town Meeting called by the Mayor and Leo Haynos, Chief of Gas Operations and Pipeline Safety for the state of Kansas.  There were questions about whether or not the company would be able to supply all these customers in the event of a hard winter.  Mark was attempting to line up another company that could tie into the Mapleton pipeline before his death, and Debbie Sharenberg’s attorney, Zachery Reynolds, assured the commission, and the residents of Mapleton, that those lines of communication were on- going, with a couple of promising possibilities.

      Since Mark took care of the maintenance on the lines and equipment, it is vital to the commission that someone is available to check the lines and pressure on a regular basis, and be on call if an emergency should arise.  The commission would like these concerns addressed and a plan of action in line by October 1st.

      If the Mapleton Gas Company is forced to shut down, 68 customers would have to convert to propane, a more expensive fuel, as well as the expense involved in changing over.  Several residents voiced their concerns.  A few residents who are on limited incomes said they would be forced to relocate if the gas company shut down.  The city does not have the funds or expertise to purchase the company. One resident asked if a co-operative was feasible.  Mr. Haynos said a co-op could be set up, and Mr. Reynolds said he would research the issue and try to have some information by the time the City Council holds their regular meeting on September 19th.

To E-mail Shirley - shirleyh24@earthlink.net


Mapleton, Kansas


     On September 8th, 2011, at 5 PM 31 residents of Mapleton met with Post Office officials to discuss the on-going study that will decide the fate of the Mapleton Post Office.   Michael Behrend, area supervisor of Post Office Operations, was the spokesperson, and his assistant, who co-ordinates the study, Kim Silance, was taking notes.  Jacob LuTurneo, from Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins’s office; Pam Henderson, from Representative Jerry Moran’s office, and Representative Karen Tyson were also in attendance.

     Mr. Behrend made it clear that he would not be the one making the final decision—that decision would come from the Post Master General in Washington, D.C.  He was merely there to let us know that the study was in process, and that there were alternatives available to take care of our postal needs.   These alternatives included purchasing stamps or mailing of packages on line, doing so through our rural carriers (our Post Offices on wheels), or traveling to Redfield or other Post Offices.  

     They can install Post Office Boxes in one of the businesses in Mapleton under the “village concept,” or residents wishing to do so can rent boxes in Redfield without changing their Mapleton zip code. In other words, the Post Office will not leave the Residents of Mapleton without postal service. 

      Several points were made by the residents, the two main ones being a matter of inconvenience, and a strong point made by Jan Laughlin, concerning the fact that the loss of rent paid by the Post Office each month will adversely affect the City’s annual budget.

     Mr. Behrend stressed the fact that the Post Office as a whole is in trouble financially, and the Mapleton Post Office is not meeting it’ financial quota on walk-in sales, and it is not cost –effective to pay someone for 4 hours , when there is only an hour and a half work load.

     The residents of Mapleton can write the Post Master General in Washington D.C. with any questions or concerns and should get a response within 60 days.


Web Sites of Interest
City of Mapleton -Web Page
City of Mapleton Community News Page
Jan's  Home Page
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