Kidron Bethel, Schowalter Villa finalize mergerKidron Bethel Village of North Newton and Schowalter Villa of Hesston are merged, effective Nov. 1, 2012. Discussions between the two continuing care retirement communities began in December 2010. A merger agreement was approved Jan. 26, 2012, by the boards of both Kidron Bethel Village and Schowalter Villa.Operation of the two retirement and health care organizations is directed by a single management team and board of directors. Bluestem Communities Inc., the new parent organization of Kidron Bethel Village and Schowalter Villa, is home to more than 735 residents. With a workforce of 420 people, Bluestem Communities is Harvey County’s sixth largest employer.“Kidron Bethel Village and Schowalter Villa have always emphasized compassionate service in an efficient and resourceful manner,” said Bluestem Communities President and CEO James Krehbiel. “This merger allows us to become even better at streamlining delivery, sharing resources, and eliminating waste and duplication.”“Our goal is to pursue a common mission with even greater stability,” said Bluestem Communities Vice President of Marketing Diane Yoder. “We celebrate the energy and momentum of two strong organizations, and continually seek new ways to benefit the communities we serve.”Numerous services and programs owned and operated by Bluestem Communities Inc. are serving the broader community. Progressive Recovery Academy offers short-term rehabilitation care and services. MyMaid Housekeeping Services are available throughout the Hesston and Newton communities. Osher Lifelong Learning courses are offered to south-central Kansas residents in conjunction with Hesston College and The University of Kansas.For information about services and amenities available on the campuses of Bluestem Communities, visit www.kidronbethel.org or www.svilla.org.Harden Hospice Kansas medical director to retireAfter more than 10 years with Harden Hospice Kansas, formerly Hospice Care of Kansas, the company announced today that chief medical director Dr. Jerry Old will retire at the end of 2012.Dr. Old began his career with Hospice Care of Kansas as an associate medical director for the company in Arkansas City. He then served as a full-time medical director in Hospice Care of Kansas’ Lenexa office until being named the chief medical director for the company in 2007.“Dr. Old has faithfully cared for our patients and led our staff for more than a decade, and we thank him for his faithful service,” Tamara Metz, executive director of Harden Hospice Kansas, said. “He is such a presence in our community and will truly be missed.”Dr. Old plans to continue teaching medical students part time at The University of Kansas School of Medicine—Wichita until, at least, the end of this academic year.“I’m looking forward to full retirement,” Dr. Old said. “Working with hospice makes you value each day of life. It’s time for me to enjoy the farm and raising vegetables with my wife, Kristi.”In honor of Dr. Old’s many years of service, Harden Hospice Kansas will host a retirement reception in his honor from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Bistro at the West River Plaza located at 2622 W. Central Ave., Wichita. The community is invited to attend. Cards may be dropped off or mailed to Harden Hospice Kansas, Dr. Jerry Old, 2622 W. Central Ave., Suite 401B, Wichita, KS 67203.McDonald’s becomes official sponsor of the NFLFootball fans have even more to celebrate this NFL season at McDonald’s, the new official restaurant sponsor of the NFL, a news release stated.As part of a multi-year agreement, McDonald’s will become the presenting sponsor of the 2013 Pro Bowl and will be able to feature the NFL Shield and collective use of all 32 team logos in its marketing and advertising.The sponsorship kicks off this December with a Chicken McNugget Pro Bowl promotion at participating McDonald’s restaurants across the country.“Spread” holiday cheer with Citizens Bank of KSTo help local food pantries this holiday season, Citizens Bank of Kansas has announced it will again sponsor the “Spread” the Holiday Cheer with CBOK campaign designed to collect donations of peanut butter for area food pantries.From now through Dec. 28, customers and friends are invited to donate unopened jars of peanut butter for donation to the needy. The bank will match the amount of peanut butter collected, and deliver to area food pantries.“One of our many dedicated employees came up with this terrific idea last year, and we decided it was worth repeating,” said Jane Deterding, executive vice president and marketing coordinator. “Allison Rockett, of our West Wichita branch, read an article about the shortage of peanut butter, and suggested that CBOK get involved. We’re thankful for employees like Allison who are aware of the needs of the communities we serve, and happy to help with this shortage.”Unopened containers of peanut butter can be donated at any of CBOK’s branches — Kingman, Winfield, Medicine Lodge, Isabel, Pretty Prairie, East Wichita and West Wichita — until Dec. 28. Customers also are invited to bring donations to an open house on Dec. 14.