Broken headlight leads to two drug distribution arrests in Hays
Posted Jan 15, 2020 11:44 AM
By JAMES BELL Hays Post
A routine traffic stop on Jan. 1 led to the arrest of two Missouri residents on suspicion of drug distribution in Hays.
Around 11:59 p.m., a Hays Police officer pulled over a vehicle in the 3700 block of Vine for a broken headlight, according to Hays Deputy Chief of Police Brian Dawson.
During the stop, the officer detected the odor of marijuana and conducted a search in the vehicle. During the search, the officer found 3.53 pounds of marijuana and THC products, along with paraphernalia, according to Dawson.
Both the driver, George P. Bilheimer III, 38, St. Louis, and a passenger, Jodi Marie Walker, 34, St. Charles, Mo., were arrested on suspicion of drug distribution, possession of drug paraphernalia and no drug tax stamp.
During the stop, the driver Bilheimer also failed a field sobriety test and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence following further testing at the Hays Law Enforcement Center.
All suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
The Ellis County Ministerial Alliance honored Pastor Celeste Lasich of Hays First Presbyterian Church on Jan. 8 for her work organizing the Community Thanksgiving Dinner.
Lasich said she didn't need a plaque. She works to organize the meal year round becuase of the joy it brings her.
Lasich said she is constantly thinking about the annual event, jotting down notes and brainstorming ideas. It's a big job — with the dinner severing 500 to 600 people annually.
Laura Allen with First Call for Help helps coordinates volunteers for the event. Lasich and Allen frequently run into each other at other events, meetings or at the grocery store, and the conversation inevitably always finds it way back to the Community Thanksgiving Dinner.
"It's a lot of hours, but you know when you do something that just gives you a lot of joy, the hours don't really matter as much," Lasich said.
Lasich, 59, and her husband moved to Hays in 2013, and dinner founder Pastor Kyle Ermoian of Celebration Community Church quickly recruited her for the Hays event.
"My husband and I have lived in four different states," she said. "We've been married for 30 years. Community Thanksgiving meals have always been part of our life and part of what we've done in every community we've been in.
"When I heard that Hays had one and the Ellis County Ministerial Alliance had one, I was, 'I'll be there. What can I do to help?' "
Ermoian said he was very pleased Lasich, Linda Mills of First Call for help and others are still leading the meal since he helped organize the event more than 20 years ago.
"She is a caring person, who is committed to her congregation as well as to the community of Hays, particularly though to those people who are less fortunate," Ermoian said of Lasich. "She has a heart for those people who are in need."
Lasich said she appreciates the dinner for the many needs it fills.
"It is one of the only times and places in this community where all social strata, educational backgrounds, vocational backgrounds, neighborhoods, all gather in one place," she said.
Volunteers seat people as they come in, so it is likely diners will be set next to people they don't know.
"I am always struck and delighted by the conversations, by the connections people make as they are eating together, by the laughter, and the ways in which community is forged when we eat together — when we break bread together. There is something very special about that," Lasich said.
People need the dinner for different reasons, she said. For some people, the diner is the one good meal they will have because of economic reasons. For others, it may not be feasible to cook a Thanksgiving meal because they are alone, because of work schedules, or because of age, health or disability.
"Maybe it's just two people at home or maybe the family has come back to Hays, but mom can't do the things she used to do. It's just too hard," Lasich said. "Yet the family is able to gather and share holiday memories. The holiday traditions continue, but perhaps in a different form and in a different place."
Lasich also lauded the volunteers. Seventy to 100 people give of their time each year, and it has become a family tradition for many of them.
Lasich said she was shocked to be honored, but wanted to make sure all of the other members of the leadership team and many volunteers were also acknowledged.
"There are a lot of other people who are a part of this as well. This is not by any means something that I do alone," she said. "I am so grateful for all the people who are a part of it."
People donate money and time, the Rose Garden prepares the meal, people donate canned goods to be given away in conjunction with the meal and people volunteer to organize and sort those donations.
Lasich said she intends to continue volunteering with the dinner well into the future.
"I'm not stopping. I'm having too much fun," she said.