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Sheriff T. Walton and Chamber Director Pam Stevens
Hesston couple creates the home of their dreams
Newton man builds violins by hand
From the Publisher VOLUME 2 • NUMBER 2
fter years of hearing grand stories about Bethel College from my wife, Lindsey (Miller) Young, I am finally getting to experience it myself. Not yet living in the area (we are still working on selling a house) and working here often, I spend many afternoons meeting with folks at Mojo’s coffeehouse on campus and interacting with staff and faculty. While I’ve never taken a class at Bethel and haven’t gone to a sporting event, I am starting to feel why she loves that campus so much. One thing Lindsey has spoken about fondly ever since we started dating was Bethel Fall Festival, an awesome campus event that brings people from near and far to celebrate at the college. I plan to attend the event for the first time in October, and I couldn’t be more excited after reading the cover story for this issue about the Reusser couple who have been making kettle corn at for Fall Festival for years. They can rest assured they already have sold at least one batch as my mouth is watering to try some. As I become more familiar with being in Harvey County and on the Bethel campus, my network of friendly people continues to expand. I hope to meet more of you at Fall Festival and plan to have a nice time in the process. See you there.
CO-EDITORS Don Ratzlaff Wendy Nugent
FEATURES, PHOTOGRAPHY Wendy Nugent Fred Solis
SALES Bruce Behymer
CREATIVE Shelley Plett
PUBLISHED BY Kansas Publishing Ventures LLC Joey Young, Publisher 116 S. Main, Hillsboro, KS 67063 620-947-5702
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Bethel College gears up for its annual celebration in late October
Good coffee, good relationships are brewing at Norm’s
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8 Robert Palmer 27
19 Home in Hesston
The sport has been a family affair for this quarterback
One family’s dream has come true
ON THE COVER: Loren and Peggy Reusser of Newton have been making kettle corn at Fall Fest at Bethel College for a number of years. Here, some of their kettle corn rains down on them. (See story page 4.)
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t’s not every day a man in his 80s is Loren credits his great deal of enthusiasm another player, called Cornbread, who given a Fan of the Year award at his and spirit for Bethel College to his college weighed 325 pounds, were invited by the alma mater, but it seems Loren Reusser experience at Bethel, the life of Christ and a Bethel coach to watch a football game. deserves the honor. He’s spent years revival he and his wife attended many years Reed indicated he’d like to see the Bethel leading cheers and giving away kettle corn ago at Walton Mennonite Church. The community support the BC football team as on the sidelines at a variety of Bethel College combination helped him change his enthusiastically as the Hesston community games, including football and basketball. priorities from materialism to people, and supports its high school program. At Hesston “It looks a little odd to have an old man learning about other cultures by visiting High, the Reussers bonded with other adults cheerleader,” said Reusser’s wife, Peggy, other countries and living there, such as in the stands, and they decided to form a sitting at their dining room table. “It took a Taiwan. first-down club. A first-down club brochure, while to get used to it, but now I am.” Loren, class of 1959, came up with the containing light-hearted rules and other During the 2013-14 school year, the idea about leading cheers through a series of humorous items, like stating the new board college’s athletic department had its first-ever events. It started when his grandson, Reed (there wasn’t a board) would be chosen THRESHSPY’s Awards show, modeled after Hammond, and two other Hesston High during the last home game, was printed. the ESPY Awards hosted by ESPN. School football players, Andy Schmidt and Loren still has one of those. .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Loren and Peggy Reusser of Newton have been selling kettle corn at Bethel College's Fall Festival since the late 1990s. 4 | HarveyCountyNOW.com
Reining kettle corn & Bethel spirit Reusser couple make tasty Fall Festival treat for years
When Loren and Betty’s grandson went to Bethel, Loren wanted to raise the enthusiasm of the crowd. A Bethel College First Down Club brochure eventually was printed. About 1,000 Bethel College First Down Club hand banners were made, and people in the stands started bringing them to games and pointing them in the direction of a touchdown or first down. Loren said they used to distribute First Down Club handbooks, but they don’t have any left. Loren decided he was going to start cheerleading at Bethel games, and John Sheriff, who was in his first term as interim Bethel president in 2005-06 recalled when Loren stopped by his office to discuss the matter.
“I do remember Loren coming to my office and sharing his vision of ‘First Down Club’ and making me a member,” Sheriff wrote in an email. “It was the year his grandson came to college, and he wanted to do something to create more ‘spirit’ in support of our athletic teams, especially football.” “I didn’t ask anyone’s permission (to lead cheers),” Loren said, smiling. His first megaphone was a 2-litre bottle, and then he moved on to using an orange construction cone given to him by a BC parent. “The thing was heavy,” Loren said. Later, a football player’s mom brought Loren two boxes of gray and maroon (Bethel’s colors) pom-poms and a megaphone from California. Loren was inspired to attend away games when this woman and other football team’s relatives came from long distances, like Texas and Ohio, to see them play in Ottawa one year. “I thought, ‘If they can do that, we ought to be able to have commitment to them’ “ as live human beings, Loren said, stating the players have feelings, and he wanted to attend games to support them. Now the Reussers, who are Newton residents, go to football, volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball games, soccer, and softball games. At the basketball, volleyball and football games, Loren throws 20 to 30 bags of kettle corn to people in the stands for free. “(Loren) continued to lead cheers for sports teams and to give away free kettle corn after his grandson graduated,” Sheriff wrote. “Loren became a fixture, a tradition, a legend in his relentless effort to wake up spectators to the joy and responsibility of supporting their teams.” “At the home games, he gives a bag to all the players,” Peggy said.
Loren made a deal with one woman, Rosie Goering Brandt. The parameters of the deal are if Loren throws her a bag at a game, she owes $20 to Penny Power. During one game, Brandt received several bags, and at another game, Brandt didn’t attend because of illness, so Peggy sent a bag home to her. “And she still paid for it,” Peggy said. This kettle corn isn’t just any kettle corn — it’s made by Loren and Peggy, who have been selling the delicious treat at the Bethel College Fall Festival since the late 1990s. They will sell it again this year, and, for a time in years past, they sold it outside of the Newton Wal-Mart. Fall Fest will be Oct. 16-19 this year. When selling the kettle corn at Bethel, Loren jokingly said he calls it German Swiss Anabaptist Mennonite Bethel College Kettle Korn, and when they sell it at the Mennonite Central Committee relief sale in Hutchinson, he replaces the words “Bethel College” with “MCC.” “One year, we popped nearly 400 pounds,” Peggy said of the MCC sale, which was attended by more than 25,000 people. When they first started, the Reussers had a wooden rowboat oar to stir the kettle corn, but now use a motorized stirrer. Peggy joked people get less fiber in their kettle corn now. People from around the country purchase the sweetened grain at Fall Fest. The recipe includes popcorn, butter, salt, sugar and canola oil. For example, some people took the corn to Ohio, and a Newton mom who had a son attending college in Chicago mailed the tasty treat to him. Their cooking heat source is propane, which Loren said sounds like a hot-air balloon blast. Now, the only time they sell kettle corn is during Fall Fest, and for that annual event, they donate about 80 percent of the proceeds to the college. For 12 years, they sold it at the MCC sale and gave proceeds to
the sale. They have not, however, sold kettle corn at the MCC sale the past three years. They didn’t this year because they volunteered with Feeding the Multitudes at the sale. They also donate kettle corn to the local Crop Walk. “We rarely sell it,” Peggy said. Loren became interested in selling kettle corn after tasting a sample from Dewey Hochstetter at a church function in Wichita. Loren asked Dewey where he got the treat, and Dewey informed him he made it. Dewey purchased his first kettle corn rig for $25,000. “He was my ‘kettle corn father,’” Loren said. At one point, Dewey said he was going to make a kettle corn rig to his own specifications. “So he made one that he liked, and that’s what we bought — the one that he made,” Loren said. The Reussers, who have been married for 60 years and like to tease each other in a loving way, said they’ve given
away or sold more than 2,000 pounds of kettle corn. In addition to showing his spirit for the college, Loren likes to sell kettle corn at Fall Fest for a couple of other reasons. “(I) have a good time,” he said. “Learn to know some students because they help. We don’t get to enjoy the totality (of Fall Fest), but what I enjoy most is meeting some people I haven’t seen for 10 to 20 years.” In addition to popping corn, the Reussers drove a semi truck together for a number of years. Peggy did that with Loren for 19 years, and now Loren jokingly says Peggy is “semi” retired. Loren still drives truck. He’s also a former teacher, having taught business and accounting at Hesston College and Eastern Mennonite University, and was business manager at Tabor College for three years. Peggy said they’ve experienced many places during their marriage. “So we’re moved a few times in our lifetime,” Peggy said. “Last time I counted 22 times.”
............................................................................................................................ Madeline Baumgartner (left) and Alyssa Dingman talk during the 2013 Fall Fest. Every year, nursing students host a pumpkin-carving contest. For a full list of events, visit http://www.bethelks.edu/alumni/events-foralumni-and-friends/fall-festival/
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Robert Palmer, volunteers dedicate time to Norm’s Coffee Bar
Article and photos • Wendy Nugent 8 | HarveyCountyNOW.com
orm’s Coffee Bar is a place for office work and preparing and serving “We exist to love God and show his love people to go who want their coffee. Volunteers have included a variety of with this wonderful city around us,” tummies warmed on a chilly people, such as students in the summer and Brandon Eck, pastor of The Gathering. winter day and a place to have people between jobs. Relying on volunteer In addition, a business, CrossFit 81 their hearts and spirits warmed, as well. staff has forced Norm’s to have limited hours owned by Garrett and Maranda Whorton, is The idea for the Newton coffee shop had of operation. Norm’s hours are 7 a.m. to housed at the back of Norm’s. been percolating for some time in the mind noon weekdays and also 7 p.m. to midnight “We’re always looking for ways to make it of Robert Palmer before it opened three Fridays. Most Friday nights, live music sustainable,” Palmer said. years ago at 125 W. Sixth St. entertains the crowd. Palmer considers Norm’s his ministry. He “Our mission is to encourage each “It’s been amazing,” Palmer said. “It’s has been a senior pastor at a church, a individual mentally, emotionally and amazing how many have volunteered and children’s pastor and a small-group pastor. spiritually one conversation at a time over helped.” He also helped start New Anthem an awesome cup of coffee,” Palmer said as From the beginning days, seven families Community Church in Park City during the the warm June afternoon sunlight filtered were involved, and it took two years to past year. through a Norm’s window. “One of our renovate the building, Palmer said. “They’re doing really well,” Palmer said. goals was to serve the community.” Under the leadership of Palmer, the “Now, we’re looking at where else we can And serve the community they do — with shop’s mission also is to foster Christian help.” And by “we,” Palmer means his wife, coffee, treats, prayers and words of ministries, using the space as a venue for Cheryl, and the two children of their five encouragement. For example, they’ve had non-profit Christian ministries and other who still are at home. Two of their children people who received calls from doctors’ community organizations. It’s more about are in college and one graduated from offices about medical test results, asking facilitating than direct ministry, Palmer said. college this past spring. The Palmers have them to come in right away, and before “(It’s about) creating an environment that resided in Newton for 15 years. going to hear about the results, they’ve allows those things to happen,” Palmer said. In addition to ministering at Norm’s, stopped at Norm’s for for encouragement “Our goal is not to have a Christian coffee Palmer said he has spoken in several area and to receive prayers. shop but to have Christians run a coffee churches. Norm’s is about encouraging and shop.” After Palmer became a Christian, he said ministering to people, Palmer said, and Groups that meet there include Newton he felt a call to help people answer “the big everyone is made to feel welcome. Young Professionals and The Gathering, questions,” like what happens after we die, Before Norm’s came about, people which is a church that meets at 9:15 and 11 what’s the meaning of life and is there a involved did a community-needs assessment a.m. Sundays. God? He said when he became a Christian, through Compassion by Design. Through the assessment, they found Newton has quite a few services, although there weren’t a lot of “third places.” A person’s first place is his or her home, a second place is a person’s workplace, and third place is where people do community, Palmer said. Palmer said he had an idea for a coffee-shop ministry in the mid-1990s. Putting that idea together with the lack of third places and an “amazing group of people,” led to the development of Norm’s, he said. The idea for the Norm’s name came from a movie, “A Man Called Norman,” which was put out by Focus on the Family in the 1980s. It’s about a man who helps and befriends another man — about someone helping someone else. “It kind of reminds us why we’re there,” Palmer said. Palmer is manager of the non-profit community coffee bar and leads a team of ..................................................................................................................................................................................... volunteer staff. Those in the Left: “Our mission is to encourage each individual mentally, emotionally and spiritually one conversation fluid volunteer base, which has at a time over an awesome cup of coffee,” Robert Palmer says about Norm’s. Above: Robert Palmer included hundreds of people, do shares a laugh with customers Hope Flask (left) and Elena Flask in June at Norm’s. Palmer considers a variety of jobs, such as cleaning, Norm’s his ministry.
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he found the answers to those questions himself. That goes along with Palmer’s philosophy of life, which is in the Bible. “What it really is is love God and love others,” he said. “I really think that’s what we’re made for.” More things are planned for the shop’s future, like expanding the hours and adding brick oven pizza. In addition to making coffee and pizza, Palmer said he likes to read and loves baseball. “(The coffee shop) has a great vibe, and people really enjoy it,” Palmer said. “We definitely need to expand our hours and become more sustainable.” “Norm’s is our favorite place in the whole world,” Hope Flask of Halstead said. “Love it. Love it. Love it.” Flask was at Norm’s one June morning with her young daughter, Elena. In addition to the Flasks, Norm’s attracts many ages,
including the young. When young adults go on mission trips, for example, Palmer invites them to take a photo of a Norm’s travel mug wherever they are and post the photo on the Norm’s Facebook page or email it to him. If they do that, they can have the travel mug. Mugs have had their photos taken in a variety of countries, including Greece, Africa and France. “We’re kind of world famous in a way,” Palmer said with a smile. Even though the coffee mugs have been around the world, Palmer likes his feet planted in Newton. “(I) just feel like Newton is just a place where really good things are happening,” he said. “For us, it’s just we want downtown to be a thriving place where community is happening — become the hub of what’s happening in Newton.”
EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME E
xperiences she’ll remember for a lifetime fluttered into the world of Nuttaporn Limnirunkul like cool snowflakes wafting to the ground. Before arriving in the United States, the 18-year-old student had never seen snow because she’s from the warm climate of Thailand. Nutt, as she’s called, lived at the home of James and Carrie Reid of Newton through the Educational Resource Development Trust/Share High School Exchange Program during the past academic year. One of Nutt’s favorite things in America was the snow. “In my country, we don’t have snow,” Nutt said. “I like snow here.” Nutt had tried to make a big snowman while she was here, but she only could make one that was about 18 inches tall because the snow wouldn’t pack very well. In addition to enjoying snow, Nutt also experienced other things for the first time while living in Newton. She tried fishing, camping, softball, varsity bowling and riding a scooter. “She jumped in and would never be afraid to try anything,” Carrie said. “… ....................................................................... Above: Nuttaporn Limnirunkul (right) an exchange student from Thailand, spends time with her host family, Michaela Robbins, James Reid and Carrie Reid (from left) before returning to her country.
She’s probably taken 5,000 pictures since she’s been here — literally.” Nutt had never been to America before arriving on Aug. 17, 2013. “This is first time for me,” she said the day before she left the States on an early morning flight. “I love it here, and I love my host family too,” she said, sitting at the family’s dining room table while they all ate dinner. There seems to be a definite fondness between the Reids, Nutt and Nutt’s host sister Michaela Robbins. They joke around and tease each other. For instance, when James picked on Nutt, she’d say “Good, my boyfriend get you.” She would refer to the family’s Golden Retriever, Chewy, as her boyfriend. “It’s been a good year,” Carrie said. “We love her,” James added. “We’re going to miss her. We already told her if she wants to come back for college to just let us know. And her boyfriend will still be here.” Nutt plans to become a dentist and did a one-day observation with a local dentist while she was in Newton. They all do plan to keep in touch. Nutt also joked around with the family after she found a large box and said it’s big ..................................................................................... Left: Nuttaporn Limnirunkul jokingly called golden retriever Chewy her boyfriend while she was in America.
enough to take all of them back to Thailand with her. In addition to becoming quite fond of someone from another country, both the family and Nutt have exposed each other to a variety of things, including food. “She got us addicted to pad thai,” James said. Pad thai is a stir-fry dish with noodles. Nutt also taught the family how to make sticky rice over a campfire, and she learned how to make s’mores. Nutt’s family grows rice in Thailand. As a host family, the Reids and Robbins were instrumental in helping expose Nutt to America. They gave her the “8 Wonders of
Kansas Guidebook,” which James recommends host families get for their students. The group traveled to a variety of locations in the book. For example, they got to bowl at the Seelye Mansion in Abilene. “It’s been a lot of fun,” Carrie said. Nutt also went to prom this year with a friend, and Brad Elliott of Realty Connections drove them there in his antique Chevy truck. Her high school experiences also included being a member of musical group Les Chantes, and she lettered in music. The NHS homecoming parade marked a first for her on a float — until the rain started to pour.
Having such new situations in her life was one of the reasons Nutt wanted to visit America. “I wanted to practice English so I can speak English because English is used around the world,” she said. “Wanted to get a new experience and learn another culture.” While here, Nutt made a lot of friends, Carrie said. For example, one day they went to the Braum’s drive-through, and people at both windows knew Nutt. “Everybody knows her at the high school, seems like,” Carrie said. During one softball game, Nutt was awarded most valuable player because at four times at bat, she hit the ball and made it on base four times. At one point during the school year, Nutt was included in a playful “kidnapping” when the softball team seniors, wearing Ninja
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During any given year, there are about 15-20 families involved in the ERDT/Share program in Harvey County. “Share is very strong across the state of Kansas and is active in many states of the U.S.,” said Newton resident Mari Sailors, Exchange Program coordinator. “I recruit host families, match host families with appropriate exchange students, work with local school districts and monitor the placement for the entire time the student is in the U.S.A.,” Sailors said. “Additionally, I plan fun events, such as parties and trips, for our students to participate in while they are here.” The application process requires an inhome interview and a host family application that incorporates a background check on people 18 and older in the home. References are a must. “I truly believe that there is a student match for most families who wish to host,” Sailors said. “We encourage oneparent and single-parent families with and without children in the home to apply. The most important quality is a genuine desire to open your home to a teenager from across the world and treat them as a member of your own family.” ERDT/Share is a non-profit group that works to provide successful cross-cultural homestay experiences. In addition to providing inbound long-term exchanges, Share has other programs, such as outbound programs, sending American youth and young adults to other countries for volunteer work and exchange programs. Those wishing to become host families can call 800-715-3738 or Sailors at 316727-6478.
Turtle masks, showed up at the Reid home and took Nutt (and other new students and freshmen) to Druber’s late at night. Nutt learned things in America. She learned “that she doesn’t like touching snakes,” James said. Nutt also was made aware of how many product choices American consumers have. When Nutt visited Wal-Mart for the first time, her eyes were quite huge, Carrie said, since she was amazed how many choices there were for the same products. “I remember her eyes,” Carrie said. “You were just like, ‘Wow.’” Nutt was schooled on other matters, as well. “I learned English,” she said. “And people here are more openminded.” “We’re just more open and not as modest,” Carrie added. For example, at the Newton Activity Center swimming pool dressing rooms, people dressed in the open; in Thailand, people changed in small private rooms. It also took Nutt a month to wear shoes in the Reids’ house because in Thailand, shoes aren’t worn in homes. In Thailand, students wear uniforms, while in America, public schools usually don’t require that. In addition, there’s more options for classes in high school in the States, while students are told what classes to take in Nutt’s native country. ERDT/Share students enter school in America as seniors, Carrie said. Newton wasn’t the only place in America Nutt experienced. She traveled to Colorado, where she skied, and took the Amtrak train to Chicago. She saw the tallest Christmas tree in Missouri, and traveled to the Sedgwick County Zoo, Topeka, Kansas City and Greensburg. There are things Nutt will miss about America. “Of course, (I’ll miss) my host family, friends, people I know here,” Nutt said. And the Reids’ cooking. And snow.
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Making beautiful music
ONE INSTRUMENT AT A TIME
Article and photos Wendy Nugent
eautiful things are all around us — there’s pretty flowers, attractive people, the song of a bird and the brave heart of a soldier going off to defend his country. Beauty can be seen, heard, tasted, felt and smelled, encompassing many of the senses. Newton resident Robert Fisher III shows beauty in at least three of our senses when he makes stringed instruments — they can give off wonderful melodies, they look pretty with their scroll work and curved designs, and feel smooth and soft to the touch. “I do it for fun,” said Fisher, who appears to be a walking encyclopedia on violin-maker history. “It’s just something I do with my time. … I just do it as a hobby though to see how many I can produce. … It gives me something to do. Idle hands can be a big problem.” To date, Fisher has made 15 instruments, he said. He mostly makes violins and was working on a bass cello in early June. The bass cello is made of hard rock maple, which Fisher said is extremely expensive. He began making the plans for the cello in 2006, and he started this hobby in 1981, he said. One time, he made a violin from the headboard of an antique bed, and he finished his first instrument around 1997. He also was given permission by Don Reed, owner of Good Old Days Antiques south of Newton on Old Highway 81, to make replicas of a couple of violins Reed owned. These instruments were either authentic Renaissance instruments or replicas, Fisher said, adding they were crudely made. “I became interested in (making violins) since high school,” said Fisher, a 1979 graduate of Goddard
High School who attended Bethel College and graduated from the building trades program at Newton High School. However, the roots of his interest in violins may go back to his grandmother. “I can remember my grandmother showing me her violin, pulling it out of the attic when I was 7 years old,” Fisher said. Fisher’s interest in violins also was piqued when he was working for Learjet and went to visit a co-worker’s home, who had instruments hanging from the walls and ceiling. The man sold Fisher a “basket-case” 1911 violin to him for $90, which later was auctioned at the relief sale in Hutchinson. In addition, his grandmother gave him the violin she had shown him when he was 7; he still has the chin rest and bow of that instrument. A basket-case instrument is one that’s broken, Fisher said. He repairs these basket- case instruments from antique stores. One such instrument Fisher repaired was one that was made at the same factory where the instruments played by the quartet on the Titanic were made. The violin was auctioned at the relief sale in Hutchinson that benefits Mennonite Central Committee. As of early July, Fisher was working on a violin for his cousins patterned after the Giovanni Paolo Maggini violin.
............................................................................................................................................................................ Above: Newton resident Robert Fisher works on a violin in his Newton home. “It gives me something to do,” Fisher says. “Idle hands can be a big problem. Right: Robert Fisher is making this bass cello out of hard rock maple. 14 | HarveyCountyNOW.com
Maggini, a violin maker, died of the Black Plague in 1632 when he was in his 50s, Fisher said. Maggini originated from Bescia, Italy. Fisher likes to pattern his stringed instruments after those made centuries ago. “I’m just replicating older designs,” Fisher said. “They’re not exactly the same.”
Some he’s modeled after Stradivarious stringed instruments, with some of his own design thrown in. Those stringed instruments were made during the 17th and 18th centuries by the Stradivari family and particularly by Antonio Stradivari. “He, in my book, is the best violin maker in the world,” Fisher said. “He produced the most instruments of any maker.” On his workroom wall, Fisher has photos of some violins that were made in the 1500s. “Those would be some of the first style of instruments that came out,” Fisher said. Fisher said he obtained permission from the book company to copy them at a copy shop. Although they are on his wall, Fisher hasn’t made any of those.
“Those are early, early period violins,” he said, adding early violins were either larger or smaller than the standard-sized ones today. Fisher taught himself to make the stringed instruments. “I have the skill working with my hands with wood,” Fisher said. “That was one of my Godgiven gifts.” The first instrument Fisher made was the most difficult, he said, as he didn’t have half the tools he needed. Now if he worked at it constantly, Fisher said he could make a violin in three weeks. Fisher’s only sold one of the instruments he’s made — the rest he’s given away. He sold a violin to a man for the cost of the materials, and the man threw in an extra couple hundred dollars because he was impressed with the tone, Fisher said. There can’t be any tone without the wood, and Fisher uses a variety of woods for his craft, including blue spruce, maple, hard rock maple and tiger stripe. Fisher obtains the wood and has Dan White of rural Newton, who has an antique sawmill, cut it. Fisher reaps benefits from his hobby. Fisher made his own jigs, which he uses to form the sides of the instruments, steaming and bending the wood. “Just the satisfaction of being able to build something,” he said. “… Getting the gratification of building something from scratch. … Carving it, scraping it, shaping it.” In addition to making the violins, he also can play them, he said. He even demonstrated his ability and said he taught himself how to play. One violin he owns and plays is a couple hundred years old and is full size. After he graduated from high school, Fisher said he’d go back home during the summers and play the violin at his parents’ house, or as he put it, he “squawked” in their garage.
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IN HIS GRANDFAT Harvey County sheriff talks about aliens, Kurt Ford, law enforcement career
rowing up in Long Island, N.Y., Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton used to listen to his grandfather’s stories about being a police officer in New York. And the tales always ended with the same admonition — don’t be a police officer in New York. “I had to come to Kansas,” Walton joked. “There must have been some of the police DNA that got into my bloodstream.” He had a bit of an adventurer’s bug in him, too. So after graduating from Oceanside High School in New York in 1969, Walton, then 18, headed to Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, where he graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in 1973. He was as green as they come when he arrived in Kansas. “All we knew about Kansas was what we saw on “Gunsmoke,” he said, referring to the long-running TV western drama series that aired from 1955 to 1975. “We expected Indians and sidewalks made of wood. We’d never seen horses or cows or chickens. Back there it’s city, city, city, concrete and no break. It was 10 miles from Kennedy Airport to the house, and it took an hour to get there.” His expectations were pleasantly dashed, however. “I was amazed. It was nicer than what we had in New York. I got acclimated quickly. It was big and clean – nice sidewalks – and I never left,” Walton said. Walton, a religion major in college, considered becoming a church pastor. But after giving a sermon as part of a class, he started to have second thoughts. “I had a thick accent and was speaking fast because I was nervous,” Walton recalled. “I looked at the congregation, who were having a hard time figuring out what I was saying, and then wondered if it was something I should do.” From there he worked a variety of jobs, including construction, running a
contractor’s business and working with a community action group as director of a program to help lower-income people fix their homes. All the while, though, police work kept tugging at him. In 1988, just shy of 70 years after his grandfather, Joseph Woytisek, became a police officer in 1919, Walton finally followed his grandfather’s footsteps into law enforcement. After graduating from the Kansas law Enforcement Training Center, he joined the Newton Police Department in 1988. He was promoted to field training officer in 1992 and to detective in 1994. The following year, Walton was a member of the Emergency Response Team (ERT) as a hostage negotiator. In 2000, he founded and was the director of the Heart to Heart Child Advocacy Center. Two years later, he was promoted to sergeant in charge of investigations. He moved up to lieutenant of investigations and director of the Harvey County Drug Task Force in 2006. Then in 2008, Walton won the election for sheriff of Harvey County and was re-elected in 2012. As sheriff, he starts each day with coffee with his staff, the highway patrol and the Newton Police Department. “I need to know what’s going on, and to laugh a little bit, because after that, you never know what will happen,” Walton said. As the day unfolds, he could be called out to a vehicle accident, a hostage situation or a shooting. Or to investigate reports of aliens, of which he’s come to be looked on as the resident expert by his co-workers.
Somehow, during the years, the reports of aliens always seem to have found him, he said, laughing. One time he was called to a street scene of an alien’s narrow escape, as luck would have it. Another time he went to a house that had its basement flooded with water from a garden hose. The woman who placed the call said she had spotted an alien and ran the hose into the basement to ward the being off. Aliens, she told Walton, don’t like water. Her protective measure clearly worked. That’s why there wasn’t one on the premises when Walton arrived, she explained. His experiences quickly turned into fodder for jokes and pranks by his peers and staff. Figurines and action figures of aliens, along with a life-size cardboard cutout of one, stand guard in his office, all gifts from friends and office mates. But there’s also a serious side to the job. “Kurt Ford was a life-changing experience. Bullets were flying by my face,” Walton said of the 2005 shootout that killed Harvey County Deputy Sheriff Kurt Ford. Like Walton, Ford had begun his law
........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton has been in his elected position since 2008. “I need to know what’s going on, and to laugh a little bit, because after that, you never know what will happen,” Walton says about having coffee in the morning and his duties. Inset: Nearly 70 years after his grandfather Joseph Woytisek became a police office in New York, Sheriff T. Walton followed his footsteps and began his career in law enforcement. 16 | HarveyCountyNOW.com
Article and photos Fred Solis enforcement career in Harvey County in 1988. The incident began with a domestic disturbance that turned into a hostage standoff situation. When the suspect began attacking the hostage, Ford and the ERT moved in. Ford was fatally shot in the head. Afterward, coming to grips with the tragic shooting, Walton was faced with a decision. “I could quit, or go on and be better,” he said. “I chose the latter. “The hardest part is for the wives,” he continued. “You have to think about them. When you go (to work), you say, ‘See you later.’ But will you see them later? Will you come home? I didn’t realize what my wife goes through when I’m late coming home.” Walton is married and has one son, Joseph. His wife, Karen, owns Karen’s Kitchen in Newton. “I worry about my officers. When they go out and I hear there is a gun, I worry, he
added. Working in law enforcement, “you see a lot of death – suicides, car wrecks,” he said. And that can weigh heavy on officers’ minds. Following emotionally taxing events, officers, especially young detectives, need to talk, Walton said, whether it’s to their wives, the staff chaplain or himself. “Talk to me, tell me how you’re feeling. Talk to the chaplain. You don’t have to be macho. Go and talk. This is what’s going to get you through your career,” Walton said. Community support also helps bolster officers, who often don’t realize how much support they have in the community, or the effect they have on the public they serve, he said. “There will be things that officers do that they have no idea of the impact they have in people’s lives. The things they do will influence a lot of lives,” he said. For instance, a woman was riding a bike on a hot day and she passed out, and no one
stopped to help, he related. But an officer spotted her and stopped to assist her. He gave her a ride and retrieved her bike. Another officer helped a woman on the road with a tire repair. She later called the office to say, “Thanks.” “The ramifications are tremendous. You never know what you’ve done. The magnitude is so great,” Walton said. Walton, too, has received heart-felt gratitude for work he has done. After helping close the case of the 1994 first-degree murder of Rhonda Krehbiel of Newton, he received a letter from the victim’s daughters with “Thank You” written 150 times. “That letter means the most to me out of all my career. I want to make a difference. You have to have that. You have to come into it with that attitude,” Walton said. “That’s why I love law enforcement. I think it’s a fantastic career. I would do it again.”
18 | HarveyCountyNOW.com
A dream come true
eff and Marcy Thiesen’s dream home in Hesston started as a drawing on a napkin. In 2002 when they visited her brother in California, they were out for dinner, and Marcy’s brother asked them, “What would you build if you could build (a house)?” Marcy started listing things, and all the time, her brother was doodling on a napkin. When he showed it to her, she said, “This is a nice floor plan.” So, they brought the napkin and magazines to architect Alisa Hake out of Texas, who happens to be a Kansas State University grad. “We actually worked on a plan back and forth (with the architect) for three … years,” Marcy said. Inspiration came from other sources, as well. The couple
snapped photos of historical places they liked, as well as other places. They also took inspiration from Stan Hywet Hall in Ohio, which has Tudor Revival architecture and was built in the early 1900s. “It was kind of an evolution,” Marcy said. “We really spent a lot of time thinking it out because we knew we would never build again.” “For the most part, it was very fun,” Jeff said. “… For us, for the most part, we were on the same page.” The 6,000-square-foot threestory home (counting the finished basement) has six bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. An office doubles as a guest bedroom. It’s built in an English Tudor style on the outside, complete with a feature that looks like a castle. The English Tudor style
flows into the interior of the home, as well. The family room’s two-story-high ceiling is very English Tudor, Marcy said. “The thing that makes it feel so big is (the ceiling is) so tall,” Marcy said. A Wichita-area contractor even complimented them on keeping the Tudor theme throughout the home. The ceiling features dark wood beams and paint, which also is on the walls, that has been “aged.” The home also has iron fixtures, a staircase between the first and second floors graced with a unique banister, a craft room, a 500-year-old mahogany ceiling from a mosque in India in the library, a curved doorway to a bathroom in the finished basement, a “keyhole” that overlooks the family room from the second floor, another kitchen in the basement and a bedroom decked out in lots of pink for
Article and photos Wendy Nugent ............................................... Opposite page: The formal dining room in Jeff and Marcy Thiesen’s Hesston home has a fixture over the table that weighs 299 pounds, Marcy said. Above left: One of the rooms in the 6,000-square-foot home is a wine cellar. Above right: This guest bedrooms is in the finished basement along with a full kitchen, at least two bathrooms, another bedroom and a wine cellar. Lower right: The back yard at the Jeff and Marcy Thiesen home in Hesston is done in an English style. HarveyCountyNOW.com
their twin granddaughters, Brynn and Tenley, 4. “Can you tell we didn’t have girls?” Jeff said, laughing. The Thiesens had two sons, Matt and Josh, and seemed to have delighted in dressing the room up for the girls. Josh was killed in an accident before the twins were born; their mother, whom the Thiesens treat as a daughter, is Traci. “It’s real special to me,” Marcy said about the library ceiling. “I tell people, ‘Can you imagine all the prayers that have been lifted up through that?’ and now it’s in our home in Kansas.” Although only Marcy and Jeff reside in the home, they have a lot of space for visiting family. “We’re doing a lot of living here,” Jeff said. “We built big, and several times a year, we’ve had every bedroom full.” Marcy said she believes the finish carpenters and painters are artists, and the Thiesens chose to use the same yellow paint throughout the house, although some of the rooms
had different treatments to the painted walls. “It was our own color,” Marcy said. “They call it Thiesen Gold.” The large family room builtins were modeled after a piece in the kitchen, and the finish carpenter drew up the plans for those. In addition, the Thiesens gave the carpenter three pictures on which to base the banister’s design. He combined the three designs. Although Marcy has done much of the interior decorating herself, she had help from interior designer Neal Stewart with pattern and scale. “I needed a bit of help with scale and being able to think of a good flow and continuity in the house,” Marcy said. For example, Marcy wanted to put a family portrait above the fireplace, but Stewart told her it was too small, so they put up a much larger piece of art. “Color, pattern and scale (were) what he helped me with, and then I took it from there,” Marcy said.
Marcy designed the two dramatic light fixtures in the formal living and dining rooms. The ceiling had been braced for 100 pounds, she said, but the fixtures turned out to weigh 199 and 299 pounds, so the carpet had to be torn up upstairs to brace the ceiling for more weight. “Adding the fixtures was like icing on the cake, and that’s the thing people like the most when they come to our house — they always like the fixtures,” Marcy said. The formal dining and living rooms are used a great deal around the holidays, and they even have a caroling party at Christmas. As community-minded people, the Thiesens also host fundraisers at their home. .......................................................................................................................... Above: Jeff and Marcy Thiesen with twin granddaughters Brynn and Tenley in front of their home.
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The backsplash in the kitchen is from the Netherlands; to the left and right of the backsplash are custom-made boars holding the large range hood. The home also has a handy pantry off the kitchen, fashioned after an old-fashioned butler’s pantry. The couple had their home built on two lots, which they put together. They had thought about moving into the country, but then decided to stay in town. “Our intention there was to have our country in town,” Marcy said, as the back yard is quite large and features a swimming pool with a waterfall, a large green area surrounded by flowers, bushes and trees, a deck that looks like an indoor room, a bathroom, and a box garden with strawberries, green beans and flowers. The entire yard was done in an English style, Marcy said. Their granddaughters have been gardening since they were 2.
“They help us plant,” Marcy said. “They help us pick.” Construction on the home started in February 2009, and it was complete in July 2010. The Thiesens moved there in April 2010, although they didn’t have a back yard until 2011. The back yard was another whole phase. The couple was influenced on the style of their home by a trip they took to Europe in 1996. When Marcy was in college that year, although she was a student at Bethel College in North Newton, she found a class through Southern Methodist University to study art and architecture that summer in Italy. After
........................................................................................................................... This bathroom in the finished basement has a beautiful curved doorway. The bathrooms in the home have sinks and counters fashioned from antique pieces of furniture.
the class was over, Jeff joined her, and they toured Italy, France, Germany and Austria. As they toured, they fell in love with medieval churches and castles. Back then, they thought if they ever built a home, it would be in the Tudor style. “It was a distant dream,” Marcy said.
Article and photos • Fred Solis
That’s how she was raised Chamber director learns about serving from her parents
am Stevens can’t help it. It was the fills in at the bank when employees take “You have to have a dying need to serve way she was raised. Stevens, Newton vacations. She also volunteers for Meals on the community,” she continued. “It doesn’t Area Chamber of Commerce Wheels. seem like work. It’s something I enjoy.” executive director, always has some “They worked very hard but always gave She joined the Newton Area Chamber of chamber event going on – Art and Music, back to the community,” Stevens said. “We do Commerce six years ago as membership and College Night, Hot Topic Luncheons, a lot of events here at the chamber. It’s a fundraising director. Last March, she stepped Chamber Breakfast. demanding job, but growing up in the into her present role as the organization’s “I grew up in Sterling, Kansas,” she said. business community has really helped me. interim director. She was named to the “It’s a town of about 2,500 people. I was in a The community has been very good to me position in September 2013. She oversees a class of 50, so we did everything.” and my husband (Ronald), and this is one staff of three part-time employees. Whether it was in school or in the way I can give back.” “When I moved here, downtown was community, “I always had that in my A Newton resident for 30 years, Stevens booming, but things have changed — the background, being service-oriented,” she volunteered at school, where she was Internet, the economy. It’s changed, but it’s said. “I got that from my parents.” president of the PTO, the hospital auxiliary, still here. The hard part in this day and age is Her father, Marion, taught physical PEO (an organization that promotes keeping your business viable. So we try to education and coached football, basketball educational opportunities for women) and help them find ways to keeping them and track at the junior high school in Sterling Ladies Reading Circle. She also worked for successful,” Stevens said. for 35 years. He was just as busy in the the William Carter Company as a training “Our mission is for everybody to be summer, running a roofing and remodeling manager. successful. We’re a great resource for other business. “I decided I can get a job and get paid for chamber members to find other chamber Stevens’ mother, Flo, worked in the my efforts,” Stevens said. “I could volunteer members and resources to help them with banking industry. Now 80 years old, she still and give back. their business,” she said. .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Pam Stevens is the Newton Area Chamber of Commerce executive director and has resided in Newton for 30 years. 22 | HarveyCountyNOW.com
Toward that end, the chamber offers tools on its website and works closely with the Kansas Small Business Development Center to offer free consultations to businesses. With 381 members, the Newton Area Chamber of Commerce is going strong and is second in size only to Wichita in the area. Membership fees are based on the number of employees at a business. Basic membership, for three employees, is $195. Churches and non-profits have a different fee schedule, Stevens said. The chamber has a contract with the city of Newton to provide events for the city, Stevens said, which serves as a revenue stream, along with memberships, and golf and cookout fundraising events. City events for Newton include Main Street Mania, College Night, Taste of Christmas, Taste of Newton and Third Thursday. Other chamber events include Hot Topic luncheons, and a monthly 7:15 a.m. Chamber Breakfast with community partners Bethel, Hesston and Hutchinson Community colleges, the Newton school district, Harvey County, Newton Young Professionals and the Harvey County Economic Development Council, among others. “One of the best things we do at the chamber is the Chamber Breakfast,” Stevens said. “It’s one of the things that’s well attended. About 100 to 130 people attend. “The sponsor speaks for about 15 minutes and then the community partners give reports. It’s very beneficial. You get a good overview of what’s going on in the community, and there’s networking. Providing networking is the No. 1 thing we provide. We get very positive feedback from our breakfast,” she said. Stevens balances the chamber’s established programs with new ones, including a breakfast for USD 373’s roughly 45 new teachers, and Chamber 101, a
program to explain to mew members what the chamber can do to help them. “It’s been very successful,” Stevens said of Chamber 101. “We help engage them and make them aware of what we can do to make them more successful.” With the breakfast for new teachers, the chamber “welcomes them into the community,” Stevens said. The teacher is paired with a chamber member to help “integrate into the community.” “Education is very important to our community, so we tied the business community with the school district. When companies look to come here, they look at the school district and what amenities are here for their workers. Our members thoroughly enjoy and love to part of it,” she said. At the same time, Stevens is always evaluating programs for effectiveness. The chamber is revamping its leadership program, for instance, and recently met with the Kansas Leadership Center “to see what we can do going forward.” “It’s important to grew your leaders for the future,” Stevens said. “It’s important to give them leadership skills so they can become better leaders.” To get ideas for new events, development tools and programs, Stevens meets quarterly with other chamber executives in southcentral Kansas and with the MAKO Chamber, a group of chamber leaders from Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma.
The hard part in this day and age is keeping your business viable.
So far, the Newton Area Chamber of Commerce members heartily approve of the organization’s programming and leadership. Its most recent bi-annual survey reported a 60 percent approval rating. “We feel like we’re on the right track, even though we’re continuing to look for new things to accommodate our new members,” Steven said. In her off hours, Stevens likes to work in her garden and spend time with her family – husband Ronald, a family practice physician, son Tyler, daughter-in-law Ericia and 4-yearold grandson Landyn, and daughter Lauren. Big K-State fans, where Stevens studied family economics, and Ronald received his undergraduate degree, the family has attended and tailgated Wildcats home games for the past 25 years. This year, though, they didn’t renew their season passes. “We’ll have some free time this fall,” Stevens said. “I don’t know what we’ll do. “We’re expecting another grandchild in January. That’s good because that’s our quiet time. We rarely have a quiet time,” Stevens said.
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Fulfillment through sculpture Article and photos • Wendy Nugent
ands that have seen 90 years of use held a chisel and mallet, knocking out pieces of wood in a sculpture the artist hopes will look like flames when finished. John Gaeddert did his work on a warm June afternoon in the woodshop at Kidron Bethel Village in North Newton. The Kidron resident said the shop has equipment and space there, as well as machinery, such as sanders, saws and a drill press. The artist has his own chisels and mallets, however. Gaeddert, who turned 90 Feb. 7, enjoys creating his sculptures, most of which are abstract made from varieties of wood. These include medium-to-hard Kansas woods, such as Osage orange, walnut and cedar, as well wood from Colorado, like bristlecone pine. Gaeddert enjoys his craft. “It has given me a fulfillment of something that I recognized was there but never explored earlier on in my life, and I feel it gave me fulfillment and also recognition as an artist,” said Gaeddert, who is a retired pastor. He was a pastor for 35 years, retiring in 1989. Gaeddert started in Henderson, Neb.,
and then went to the Congo through the This sculpture is of a man and woman Mennonite Central Committee. His next with an umbrella above their heads, which place to work was Tabor Church in the Gaeddert calls “The Immigrants.” The lamp Goessel area, and then he served at First sculpture is of his great-grandparents, Mennonite Church in Halstead. Dietrich and Elizabeth Gaeddert, Mennonites Gaeddert said he’s fought recognizing who immigrated from Russia. Dietrich was himself as an artist because he doesn’t have pastor at a church in rural Inman. Mary made any formal training. the shade, which is the sculpture couple’s “One does it, I hope, humbly and also umbrella. with recognition of one’s accomplishments “That’s crazy I had to think it had to be and talent — God-given talent,” he said. functional, you know,” Gaeddert said of using The primary wood he’s used is Osage the sculpture as a lamp. orange, which has a deep orange color to it. Now, Gaeddert makes art for art’s sake, Gaeddert is known for his work with that saying it’s therapy for him. He created that wood. In fact, he had a show at Tabor College piece shortly before he and Mary were in Hillsboro that centered on pieces he made married; they’ve been wed for 63 years. The from Osage orange. piece was made from a porch corner post “It’s amazing how beautiful it is,” that was 4 by 4 inches and 4 feet long. Gaeddert said, sitting at his and his wife, Gaeddert said he took a 20-year hiatus Mary’s, dining room table in their home from creating art when he went to seminary decorated with a variety of his sculptures. in Chicago, but he’s had a creative spirit for a Some of the wooden sculptures in their long time. home are abstract verticals with pointed “It’s been a part of me for 65 years,” columns reaching for the heavens, while Gaeddert said. “I did not have any formal some are realistic, including one of his first training anywhere in school. It just occurred sculptures, which is housed in their to me I might like it, and I did. It worked for bedroom. me.” ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... North Newton resident John Gaeddert works in the shop at Kidron Bethel Village. “It has given me a fulfillment of something that I recognized was there but never explored earlier on in my life, and I feel it gave me fulfillment and also recognition as an artist,” he says. 24 | HarveyCountyNOW.com
In making his pieces, Gaeddert said the sculptor and ceramicist Paul Friesen, wood speaks to him, telling him what it retired visual arts professor at Hesston should be with its shapes. College, and Gaeddert wanted to give “Each piece has its own character Friesen recognition. suggesting the form, certain contours, “He and I spent a month together,” intriguing blemishes and various colors,” Gaeddert said. “He allowed me to work in Gaeddert’s artist card stated. “The Plains his studio in Hesston. That was many years have greatly influenced John, for he grew ago — perhaps after retirement.” up in rural Kansas and has spent most of In addition to working in the Friesen his life as a teacher and a pastor of studio and at Kidron Bethel in a private Mennonite churches in the Great Plains way, his art has been on public display. territory. In his retirement, he has found He’s a member of the Carriage Factory the opportunity to use his wood Gallery in Newton. sculptures to express some of the “It’s been a very good outlet for me,” simplicity, gentleness, growth and Gaeddert said of the gallery. relationship themes that have been He and his daughter, Susan Bartel, had important to him in his ministry over the a show there one spring in the mezzanine years.” with her paintings and his sculpture. He What Gaeddert does is release the and Susan also had a show at The Leaf Tea beauty and character of the wood, the card Lounge in Newton a few years ago, which ............................................................................. stated. was their first enterprise together. John Gaeddert holds one of his sculptures. “Often as you work with a piece, some For about the past 25 to 30 years, he’s also things appear to help determine what the displayed at Bethel College’s Fall Fest. shape will eventually be,” Gaeddert said. “I enjoy the outdoors a lot, and I believe “I did that in three weeks full time,” Wood for his art comes from a variety of in conservation totally, so I use only wood Gaeddert said. “It was right after I retired. sources. that has already died — a great source to Retirement has been occupied with wood “I’ve had the good fortune of knowing honor wood,” Gaeddert said. “Wood is so sculpting and has been a great satisfaction.” Paul Unruh — he makes wood for heating his Other pieces of his work are displayed in a beautiful and lends itself to uses beyond art home,” Gaeddert said, adding Unruh has that it’s beautiful to be identified with the variety of locations, such as a few pieces at supplied much of the wood Gaeddert has versatility of wood beyond art. It’s really nice Bethel College, one at Prairie View in used, which is mostly Osage orange. to experience that.” Newton, several at Kidron Bethel and a “He has an eye for what might work for buffalo sculpture at Camp Mennoscah near me,” Gaeddert said. Murdock. The Gaeddert also has acquired some wood Plainsman was made from Colorado, as his son-in-law Allan Bartel from a dead tree, and was director of the Rocky Mountain at one point had to Mennonite Camp near Colorado Springs. have a concrete base The North Newton artist also acquires wood added as the roots had from people with fallen trees or when the icy rotted; as the roots fingers of winter cause limbs to break. rotted, the sculpture When Gaeddert was a youth, Osage began to lean. orange was known as “hedge,” and people His “The Open used hedge to make posts and for heating, he Hand” is at Faith said. The artist has learned to use the hedge Mennonite Church in posts, saying he assumes many of the posts Newton. This HASSLE-FREE PRINTING TO THE RESCUE are 35 to 40 years old based on the rings in sculpture was created the wood. from a pine tree that “Posts don’t rot like other woods do,” was removed when Gaeddert said. “They’re very sturdy.” the congregation Gaeddert doesn’t know how many added on to the sculptures he’s made, but he guessed around church. 1,000 — from small pieces to large One sculpture, sculptures, such as The Plainsman near the called “Hard Winter beginning of the walking path at Bethel Wheat” made from College in North Newton. The Plainsman is black walnut on about 12 feet tall. display in his home, Free Samples & Info Jim Stucky Photographics has taken took Best of Show at photos of Gaeddert’s work, which he puts in 4954 Space Center Dr. the Newton 5,000 1,000 San Antonio, TX 78218 photo albums. This visual record of his work Presbyterian Manor’s San Antonio was a gift from his children. 210-804-0390 Art is Ageless contest. Austin “I’m now on my eighth volume,” A photo of the art 512-480-0860 Gaeddert said. piece was featured in www.shweiki.com Each album holds about 50 to 60 photos. June in the Art is In addition to The Plainsman, another Ageless 2008 calendar. FREE T-Shirt large sculpture is a bear made from a fallen Gaeddert has had tree at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp 25 the opportunity to years ago. work with wood
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Article and photos • Fred Solis
s Jack Kingsley takes the yards. There was no jealousy. No fill the void. Characteristically, he throwing. He rested his arm and center snap as Newton’s question. They fully supported used the opportunity to improve underwent physical therapy for full-time quarterback each other. They would high-five his game. glenoid internal rotational deficit this year, he’ll be filling each other and go off the field “It was good to get their point — all the while studying which some familiar shoes — his own. arm in arm,” said Newton High of view, to know what to do, how position he could play in football Last season Kingsley split time football coach Nate Wollenberg of they make their reads,” he said. “I if his throwing days were over. with starting quarterback his two quarterbacks last year. also played slotback. It helps you Fortunately, his shoulder is Braedon Morrison, who gradu“That’s when we realized what know the ins and outs of what healed and he’s cleared for footated last spring. kind of person Jack was and how they do and helps me on pass ball. “It’s helped me,” Kingsley, a special he was,” he added. routes and what they do.” “He’s probably the most senior, said of his platooning at As the 2014 starting quarterThough on the quiet side by respected player walking the halls the position. “I can see someone back, Kingsley is dropping his nature, Kingsley has worked on and on the field,” Wollenberg else’s point of view. I can take defensive position and will be becoming more vocal for the sake said. “He’s earned it. He’s deditheir advice. able to focus exclusively on the of the team. cated and works hard. He goes “It worked well because I also offensive side of the ball. The “I really enjoy being looked up out of his way to help another started at cornerback. It kept my Railers were 5-5 last year. Newton to and the one people look to in kid. He’s talented but humble. mind free and eased the load and opens its season this year on the a clutch moment and say, ‘Oh, He’s very much about team. He’s got me ready for this year at the road at Campus Sept. 5. Jack can do that,’” he said. “At the excellent quality.” same time,” Kingsley said. This summer he attended con- quarterback position you have to At the same time Kingsley is It didn’t hurt his game or his ditioning sessions four days a control the team. I lead by examfilling his own shoes, he’s followstats, either. He carried the ball week and worked on drills and ple and put all the effort I can in ing in the footsteps of his older 102 times, picked up 391 yards footwork to help him improve at everything I do. Most of the time brother, Coleman, and father, and scored six touchdowns. And the position he’s played most of people pick up on what I do and John, both of whom also were he completed 40 of 81 passes, his life, beginning in the third follow my lead.” quarterbacks. Coleman, 19, and which was good for seven touchgrade. Even injuries don’t sap his Kingsley’s playing days downs. Two years ago, though, the thirst for the game. Last spring, overlapped one year, when “He was second on the team team’s running back broke his during baseball season, a shoulColeman was a senior and with total passing and rushing foot, and Kingsley stepped in to der injury prevented him from ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Jack Kingsley, Newton High School senior, will take the snaps as quarterback this year after splitting duties last season. Sharing the position helped prepare him for his full-time role this season. 26 | HarveyCountyNOW.com
Kingsley was a sophomore. Their time together was a boon for Jack. “Coleman helped me a lot, especially my sophomore year,” he said. “I was running back and he was quarterback. I got to play right along with my brother. He was able to ease me into varsity games because I had never played that before.” Jack also admired his brother’s toughness. During one game, Coleman broke his thumb and kept playing the whole game. “He was hard-nosed and never quit. I try to be like that because in the game of football you have to be tough,” he said. Jack’s biggest praise and inspiration, though, is reserved for his father. Kingsley’s jersey number, 12, is the same number his father wore during his playing days. Kingsley chose it as homage to his dad. “He supports me all the time,” Kingsley said. “He’s helped me a lot. He coached me in youth football. He would give me pointers after the games.” Kingsley’s mother is Shannon
and his sister, Kit, will be a freshman this year. Being a student of the game takes up a lot of time, Kingsley said. The team practices five days a week, with games on Friday night, then watching game film on Saturday mornings. Still, Kingsley keeps it in balance and maintains a 3.75 grade-point average. This year he’ll add four college classes to his schedule. When he’s not tending to his schoolwork or running the team on the gridiron, Kingsley details cars with friend, fellow senior and teammate Brendan Downey. The work gives Kingsley time to reflect on football and his role on the team. “It’s paying attention to the little things, making sure you’re doing right for the customer and doing things right for the team,” Kingsley said of the car work. But nothing stands out like football. “It’s the close bonding of football,” he said. “You’re like a family. That’s what I like about football.”
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HOPE Article and photos • Wendy Nugent
........................................................................................................................ Hesston resident Bryna Buchholz pushes son Isac, 4, with her boyfriend Brad Siemens during a Circles of Hope picnic in Military Park in Newton.
28 | HarveyCountyNOW.com
uring her entire 29 years of life, Hesston resident Bryna Buchholz has lived in poverty. She doesn’t want to be there anymore. So, she joined Circles of Hope through Peace Connections in Newton. “We set goals, make goals and try to actually get to the goals — meet the goals,” Buchholz said. Her goals included graduating college, which she did, and getting a job, which she also accomplished. Circles of Hope focuses on two ideas, said Jennifer Rose, Peace Connections director. One is to help a group of families over time move out of low resources to a place of stability, and the other is changing people’s minds about the definition of poverty. Poverty can be financial or resources poverty. A person in Circles of Hope could make the same amount of money, but have low resources, such as no friends, no knowledge of where to get help and no transportation, as someone who’s not in the group. To qualify for Circles of Hope, a person must be below 200 percent of the federal poverty level and want to form intentional relationships to change their lives. Peace Connections wants to help families. “We know that kids that grow up in (financial) poverty … over a long period of time, it can affect their social, emotional and cognitive development,” said Circles coach Glenda Reynolds. They believe if the community understood how many children are in poverty and how it affects them and the impact it has on schools and workplaces, they just wouldn’t want that to happen, Reynolds said. About one of five children in Harvey County lives in financial poverty. “In addition to helping the families achieve their goals, we strive to transform communities by building relationships, resources and resilience,” Rose said.
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The people who join the program are called Circle Leaders, who are matched with allies. Allies basically become Circle Leaders’ friends, Buchholz said. Circle Leaders can ask allies to help them find resources, but they’re not there to give them money. “They’re not going to push you,” Buchholz said. “They’ll walk with you. … It’s like an arranged friendship.” Allies also can set goals for themselves and talk about them, she said. Buchholz, a single mother of two, ages 6 and 4, started attending in August 2013 what she called “open Tuesdays” to see if she wanted to join Circles. “I wanted to check it out,” she said. Circle Leader training started for her in October, so she’s been involved with Circles for more than a year. Circles of Hope has helped Buchholz in a number of ways, she said, by first getting her out of her “little bubble.” Buchholz said she’s not a people person, and the program helped her find effective relationships and be able reach out. “This is where I found healthy relationships,” Buchholz said. “I was always in abusive relationships.” She’s made good friends and even found her boyfriend there, although she wasn’t looking for a romantic interest when she joined Circles; she said they have a healthy relationship. Circles has assisted Buchholz in another way. “It helped me actually to make goals and then meet them,” she said. “I’ve never had problems making the goals, just meeting the goals.”
She graduated in May from Hutchison Community College with a pharmacy technician degree. Her other goals include moving, and learning and following through with relationship boundaries. After completing her Circle Leader classes, Buchholz said leaders were asked to write out their wants in life. Using her artistic side, Buchholz drew pictures instead. Then potential allies picked who they’d liked to be paired with based on their wants lists, and Buchholz was paired with a man and a woman. Another thing Buchholz gained in this experience is stereotypes have been dismantled. She’s always had the feeling the upper class was stuck up, she said. “Being in Circles, that thing has broke,” Buchholz said. “… Maybe that’s what I was reading into it because that’s what I was taught.” Buchholz recommends Circles to others. “If you actually want help — not financial help — a good support system to help you get out of poverty, but as long as you are following through — yeah, it’s for everybody,” she said. Buchholz and her boyfriend, Brad Siemens, are among the youngest in Circles, and Buchholz thinks that’s the age group that needs Circles the most. “A lot of times I tell people, ‘If I can do it you can do it,’ ” she said. “… Right now, I’m built up — not just because of them, but because of me and them.” Circles has weekly meetings in the basement of First United
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Circle Leaders start their Circle journey by attending a class called Circle Leader Training, where they learn about the causes for poverty, assess resources in multiple areas of their lives, learn about healthy and unhealthy relationships, and learn to set smart goals. “The class provides them a time and space to think about a different future story for them and their family,” said Wanda Pumphrey, regional Circles coach who works with all eight Circles sites in Kansas and one in Colorado. When they finish the class and they’re willing, able and ready to keep working on their goals, they can be matched with two to four allies from the community; this is called a .................................................................................................. Match Circle, and they meet once a month. Bryna Buchholz plays with her daughter, Audrey, 6, on a The other three Tuesdays of the slide at Military Park in Newton. month have different focuses. For example, one week zeroes in on Methodist Church. There’s a free community building financial, spiritual and mental meal at the start for Circle Leaders and their resources. families, allies and other Circles volunteers, “This is about relationships, and so we and free childcare is provided. There’s about 60-65 who attend meetings, want to continue to do things to build those relationships,” Pumphrey said. “… When which includes Circle Leaders, families and you’re trying to build relationships across community volunteers who have formed lines that often keep us apart, it can be messy. intentional relationships for at least … It’s almost guaranteed.” 18 months.
For example, sometimes allies want to swoop in and save the Circle Leaders. They learn, however, the Circle Leaders are the leaders. Marva Weigelt, who does marketing and communications for Peace Connections, said Circles devastated her because her “neat assumptions” about herself and her assumption she could come in and save someone were shattered. She found out it was not an appropriate expectation to have — that it was elitist. “The only appropriate measurement of the success of that (ally) relationship was how I had been changed,” Weigelt said. One thing they found out about people in financial poverty is there’s a lot of shame connected to it, so there can be quite a lot of isolation. Peace Connections is recruiting for the next Circle Leaders Training Class and always are recruiting for allies. Allies also are trained and have ongoing support. Those who are good listeners, and can be present with someone else and open to new experiences have the potential to be good allies. “Bottom line, if you can be a good friend, you can be a good ally,” Pumphrey said. For more information, call Peace Connections at316-284-0000, email email@example.com or visit Peace Connections at 612 N. Main St. in Newton.
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