MOSCOW, Kan. — As a crow flies, this southwest Kansas town is about 5,579 miles from Moscow, Russia.

Its 310 residents could fill one small apartment building in the Russian capital of 13.2 million people.

There really isn’t anything the two Moscow’s have in common besides a name. And even that, according to local residents, is a mistake.

But the summer’s hot news — whether President Trump, his son or son-in-law or advisers, conspired with Russian officials to shift the results of last year’s election, or what Trump calls “the phony Russian Witch Hunt ” — hasn’t gone unnoticed here in this farming community, along U.S. 56, in Stevens County, The Hutchinson News (http://bit.ly/2uwQZDz ) reports.

Miles before reaching Moscow, it’s visible on the horizon, as three white cement grain elevators form the skyline view. A yellow crop duster makes a right bank over the of town and then nose dives towards a nearby field of corn.

On the edge of town, there is a sign announcing “Moscow home to the 1978 State Football Champions.”

Forget buying a bottle of vodka in Moscow, but at the Antler’s Sports Bar and Grill, you can get a vodka and soda. However, vodka is not a preferred drink, according to the bartender. This is a bourbon and Tequila town.

There are two churches – Methodist and Baptist. Neither has enough money to pay the salary for a preacher.

Post-wheat harvest, even the local grain elevators are quiet. Along Main Street, there is a strip of yellow crime tape across the front door of the tiny city hall building. The office has been moved down the street to the town’s senior center.

At the fire station, three flags fly — the stars and stripes of the U.S.A, a blue Kansas flag and a black Pow/MIA. Main Street ends at the front of the USD 209 school complex, closed for the summer.

The one happening place during a recent noon hour was the senior center.

“Want to join us?” calls out Linda Williams, as soon as this reporter and a photographer walked through the door.

Williams and Mary Ann Trujillo, Millie Heger, Sevalan Brollier and Dora Marrandino were sitting at a large, round, table eating lunch together.

The five women agreed that this Stevens County town is a Republican stronghold.

In the last presidential election 1,599 Stevens County residents voted for Trump, while 220 voted for Hillary Clinton, according to The Associated Press.

At the table in the senior center, they were three-to-two in support of Trump. Marrandino voted for Clinton and Trujillo declined to say how she voted — but it wasn’t for Trump.

“I’m a registered Republican ,” said Marrandino, who was raised in Clayton , New Mexico. She chose not to vote for Trump, however.

“I don’t like what he said about immigration,” said Marrandino. Plus, she was suspicious of how he said he was going to “fix everything.”

Meanwhile, Williams, a fast-talking Texan transplant, supported Trump.

“This was the first time I voted in my life,” said Williams, 68. ” I wanted to vote for Trump.”

“There is a reason he is so rich,” said Heger. “He is a smart businessman.”

“If they would leave him alone, he’d get something done,” said Williams.

“That’s a bunch of bull,” said Brollier.

“We get along fine,” said Williams. “As long as we don’t talk about politics.”

The women laughed and agreed.

They also agreed they were skeptical about the information coming from media outlets, regarding the Russian connection.

“I want to see the facts,” Williams said. “Show me the facts.”

The others all nodded in agreement.

Facts are important, the women continue to say.

Mistakes can affect history. Moscow is proof of that.

They pronounce the town — Mosco.

“There isn’t supposed to be a W,” said Brollier.

Legend has it back in 1888, the town was to be named after a man named Mosco.

However, when they sent the information to Washington, D.C. a postal clerk sent the name of the town back and added the “W.”

“They thought we didn’t know how to spell out here,” Brollier said.

Moscow appeared as a name with the U.S. Census in 1890.

At Bartlett Grain, where the television is either tuned to Fox News or the Weather Channel, Zach Wilson, teases his wife about his job in Moscow. His wife Elena is from Kyrgzstan, once part of the former Soviet Union. They moved to Stevens County from Kansas City a year ago for his work.

They live 11 miles away in Hugoton.

“She thinks Moscow is just a bump in the road,” Wilson said.

Meanwhile, as far as the Russian connection to Trump, Wilson wonders if the U.S. meddles in other countries, why can’t they.

“We make a living on regime changes,” he said.

He considers any Russian conspiracy lacking any real evidence.

“It’s a nice narrative,” Wilson said.


Information from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, http://www.hutchnews.com

This is an AP Member Exchange shared by The Hutchinson News.

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KATHY HANKS
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