Sallie Magazine 2020

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Keeping aspiring dancers on their toes

FAITHFULLY FIT Fulfilling her calling on and off the track

HOMETOWN FIRST A lifetime putting Emporia first

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SALLIE SPOTLIGHTS Area businesses and professionals share what's up and what's new in their line of work

18 Crosswinds 2020: Lessons Learned 30 Kriss Dental Not your ordinary dentist 42 Fanestil Meats Get ready for the holiday parties 46 Skin Studio New med-spa brings high-quality skin care 56 Flint Hills Community Health Center Filling important role during challenging times


the FEATURES Teaching technique, winning awards and launching careers, the Kohls/Bruch trio is keeping aspiring dancers on their toes.

90 USD 252 Pride, Tradition, Excellence


From Kansas to NYC and back again, Ann Galbraith inspires students young and old to discover the joy of art.



New isn't always better. In fact, it's the historic charm and ageold elegance of their mid-town home that captured the hearts of Shannon and Chris Rech.


Trainer and coach, Erin Blocker is fulfilling her calling on and off the track.


68 Mr. G's Express Wash Join the Club! 80 ESU Foundation Making a difference; leaving a legacy



60 ValuNet FIBER Empowered women power Emporia


A former travel agent and a leader in the Emporia business community, Karen Sommers’ first love will always be her hometown.


Celebrating 100 years of women's suffrage, Sallie celebrates one of Emporia's own suffragettes.


Eric Hess' devotion and care for animals -- large and small — has made him one of Emporia's most beloved veterinarians.



Four local ladies weigh in on what "Freedom" means to them.

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FROM the EDITOR FOR THE ADVERTISERS Whew! We did it! The 2020 edition of Sallie Magazine is actually here! We weren’t quite sure it would be when COVID shut down the globe last Spring, but thanks to every single advertiser who supported Sallie — despite the pandemic — we were able to produce our 8th edition this year. This edition is dedicated to our advertisers. Even though every year it truly is only through the support of local businesses that we can produce Sallie, this year was very different. Our town was hit hard by the ripple effects of COVID, and our local businesses and industries took much of the impact. Even though we are starting to see signs of life again, many businesses struggled to endure the shutdown. They fought hard, got creative in doing business, and with much determination, did their best to keep serving their customers and our community. During times like these, typically the first thing to go in a budget is marketing and advertising dollars. But our Sallie advertisers didn’t do that. Instead, they recognized how critical it is in times like these to market the heck out of whatever they have to offer and they chose to invest in this publication. You’ll see

each one on the following pages; you’ll also notice these are the businesses in Emporia that are fighting hard to stay open. They are offering patrons what Amazon and other big box retailers cannot: local service and goods born out of a commitment to our town. These businesses, my friends, are what make Emporia what it is and, in many ways, are the barometer by which we measure the health of our community. Without them, our hometown would be a vastly different place to live. It is not easy being a locally owned and operated business. From non-profits (yes, they are businesses, too) to medical professionals, these businesses are fighting tooth and nail to keep their doors open to serve our town. And they need our help, especially now. We hope you thoroughly enjoy the stories on the pages of Sallie this year. Read them slowly over a cup of coffee or glass of wine. Linger on the photos. Let them remind you of all the good that is happening in Emporia.

and of goods and services that bring so much to the quality of life we all enjoy here. Take a moment to read their messages, too, and then find a way to support them when deciding on a purchase or service in the coming months. They will thank you, and our community will be stronger because of it. Now, sit back, relax and enjoy this year’s edition of Sallie. It’s nice to see you again.

But don’t stop there. There are stories in the Sallie ads, too. They are stories of businesses trying to stay open; of families who depend on these businesses for their livelihood;

Ashley Walker Editor and Publisher

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the ADVERTISERS Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center ������������������������������ 59

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Bobby D's Merchant St. BBQ ���������������������� 28

Lore & Hageman, Inc ������������������������������������ 59

Carpet Plus �������������������������������������������������� 79

Lyon County History Center ������������������������ 55

Chase County Chamber of Commerce �������� 96

Lyon County State Bank ������������������������������ 78

City of Emporia ���������������������������������������������� 4

Lyon County Title ���������������������������������������� 55

City of Olpe �������������������������������������������������� 94

Mark II ���������������������������������������������������������� 75

City of Reading �������������������������������������������� 95

Marlin L. Flanagin, DDS �������������������������������� 79

CoCo's Casas ���������������������������������������������� 67

McKenzie Pest Control �������������������������������� 78

Coldwell Banker ������������������������������������������ 58

Midas Touch Golden Tans ���������������������������� 29

Cookies Leather ������������������������������������������ 55

Midwest Land Group ��������������� Editors Page, 5

Crosswinds Counseling and Wellness �������������������� 18/19 Edward Jones ������������������������������������������������ 6 EK Real Estate ���������������������������������������������� 39 El Lorito �������������������������������������������������������� 53 Emporia Anesthesia Associates ������������������ 44 Emporia Main Street ������������������������������������ 59 Emporia Senior Center ������� Back Inside Cover Emporia State University ������������������������������ 2 ESU Foundation ���������������������������������� 80/81 ESB Financial ����������������������������������Back Cover Evergreen Design Build �������������������������������� 9 Fanestil Meats ������������������������������������ 42/43 Farm and Home Real Estate ������������������������ 78 Farmers Insurance - Houston Sober ������������ 15 First Start Pool and Patio ���������������������������� 76 Flint Hills Beverage �������������������������������������� 26 Flint Hills Community Health Center ������������������ 56/57 Flint Hills Technical College ������������������������� 74 Flint Hills Wedding Guide ���������������������������� 45 Floyd's Inc. �������������������������������������������������� 25 Geo Tech, Inc ����������������������������������������������� 75 Grand Central Hotel & Grill ������������������������ 96 Guzman Tree Service ������������������������������������ 39 Haag Pharmacy �������������������������������������������� 54 Hannah Orthodontics ���������������������������������� 77 Harry And Lloyd's ���������������������������������������� 95 Hartford State Bank �������������������������������������� 94 Holiday Resort ���������������������������������������������� 14 Ignite Emporia �����������������������������������������92/93 Jack's Lawn & Pool �������������������������������������� 67 Kansas Graphics ������������������������������������������ 96 King Liquor �������������������������������������������������� 78

Lane & Whitmore ������������������������������������������ 8

Miracle Cafe ������������������������������������������������ 95 Modern Air Conditioning Inc ���������������������� 44 Mr. G's Carwash �������������������������������� 68/69 Newman Regional Health ������������������������������ Newman Breast Care Center ���������������������� 58 Newman Medical Equipment ���������������������� 54 Newman Medical Partners �������������������������� 52 Newman Sleep Disorders Center ���������������� 76 Newman Women’s Life Center ���������������������� 1 Olpe State Bank ������������������������������������������ 94 Pioneer Bluffs ���������������������������������������������� 96 Plumbing by Spellman �������������������������������� 59 Prairieland Partners �������������������������������������� 79 Regional Development Association ������������ 17 Rolling Hills Bar and Grill ������������������������������ 95 Sate Farm Insurance Pete Euler ������������������ 55 Scooter's Coffee ������������������������������������������ 37 Shelter Insurance Dave Watts �������������������� 58 Skin Studio ������������������������������������������ 46/47


Sommers Auto Sales ������������������������������������ 77 Sutherlands �������������������������������������������������� 37 Symmonds & Symmonds LLC ���������������������� 78 The Sweet Granada �������������������������������������� 79 Thomas A Kriss, DDS �������������������������� 30/31 Thomas Transfer and Storage ���������������������� 76 Thompson Family Dental ���������������������������� 44

For more information, please contact: 517 Merchant Street Emporia, KS 66801 620-342-4800 Sallie is a publication of

Topeka Landscape ���������������������������������������� 41 Tyson Foods ���������������������� Inside Front Cover USD 252 �������������������������������������������� 90/91 ValuNet FIBER ������������������������������������ 60/61 Wash House Laundry ���������������������������������� 76 Waters True Value ���������������������������������������� 28 Williams Automotive ������������������������������������ 58 Williams Towing �������������������������������������������� 79 FALL 2020 | 7



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Written by Ryanm Brooks Photos by Jason Dailey 10 | EMPORIA LIVING


A Winning routine The gift of dance runs deep in the Kohls/Bruch family. For more than 50 years, the ladies behind Kari’s Dance Academy have created a legacy of dance and performance in Emporia that spans three generations. Teaching technique, winning awards and launching careers, the Kohls/Bruch trio is keeping aspiring dancers on their toes.


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ith patience, vision and more than 120 years of combined teaching and dancing experience between them, three local women have taught and trained a countless number of children in the art of dance. Mary Ann Kohls, Kari Kohls-Bruch and Darian Marie Bruch are three generations of dancers, each developing a love for the art at a young age. “I would almost say four generations, because had my mother not put me in dance class in Strong City, Kansas, none of this would have happened at all,” Mary Ann, the matriarch of the dancing legacy, said. Mary Ann began dancing when she was 5 years old, taking lessons from Judy Johnson Kidd in Strong City. She wasn’t sure how her parents afforded to pay for those lessons back then, but they managed. The lessons were held in the basement of the old Strong City Opera House. “I just remember being free and happy,” she said. “Everything we did was just so much fun. I enjoyed it so much. Everything we did was positive.” Soon, she enrolled in the Renfro Dance Studio owned by Betty Renfro in Emporia, where she took a weekly class for seven years. “Betty told my mother one day that I would never be a star dancer, but I would be a wonderful teacher,” Mary Ann said. “She asked my mother if I could come and be a student-teacher in Emporia … and she was just an amazing person. I was 13, and I remember she asked me what was the first thing I’d do if I was teaching young kids in class, and she said, ‘You get down on their level.’ And I’ve never forgotten that.” Mary Ann married Roger Kohls and had two children. When the children were a little older, she attended the Wichita School of Fine Arts and opened her own studio in 1968 — Mary Ann’s School of Dance. She had studios in Marion, El Dorado and Cottonwood Falls. One of Mary Ann’s students was her daughter, Kari, who started dancing at a young age. Kari showed an early affinity for dance, and Mary Ann said it was soon clear that her daughter was also destined for a career in dance. “From that very first time she put on a costume and standing there in the wings, I knew,” Mary Ann said. “She just lit up.” “I was there [in the studio] all of the time and I’m sure I was a terror,” Kari said with a laugh. But as she matured, so did 12 | EMPORIA LIVING


“I just remember feeling like, this is where I wanted to be.” — Darian

her talent for dance and choreography. Mary Ann said she recognized when Kari’s skills needed more and signed her up with another dance instructor who had won the title of Miss World Dance. That experience helped Kari gain more technical skills and expertise. In 1988, Kari graduated from Emporia State University. By then, she had already been operating Kari’s Dance Academy for five years. “I twirled myself through college,” Kari quipped. “Here was the opportunity to move into a studio, a larger area, and be able to serve a bigger community. I was just getting into the competition world, and that was something that I really wanted to pursue.” THE RIGHT STEPS Kari started the Starfire Dance Company as a way to showcase and grow the talent and potential of her most gifted dancers. Her gift for choreography, as well as identifying a dancer’s strengths, has helped Starfire earn national recognition in competitions over the years. Putting together a winning routine is a process of patience — both for the design

of the steps and for the dancers. “You can visually think something's going to work, and then it won’t work because either the dancers aren’t capable of what you’re trying to do or, transitionally, it’s just not going to work no matter what you do,” Kari said. “There’s a lot of trial and error when you’re trying to put things like that together and it takes a lot of patience, it takes a lot of paper because we’re always drawing out formations. Sometimes, as an artist, you have to be able to abandon your first idea. You have to be open to change.” Kari’s daughter, Darian — a gifted dancer, gymnast and choreographer in her own right — agreed. “When I started choreography, I would do the routine first to make sure that it worked,” she said. “But, something my mom told me is, just because it works for me doesn’t mean it’s going to work for everybody. Everybody’s strengths are different. Where this person’s strength might be jumps, someone else’s might be kicks and they can do turns.” The family’s knack for picking out strengths, patience and creativity has helped build confidence and skills in

multiple generations of dancers in the community. Jan Trelc, who started dancing at Kari’s Dance Academy when she was 6 or 7 years old, now teaches at the studio as an instructor. She started out in tap classes with Mary Ann, she said, and then moved up into the competition company with Kari when she was older. “Mary Ann has a very specific structure that she uses for all of her classes and I always really respected her, because she has very clear expectations — and high expectations — for her students,” Trelc said. “You’d kind of straighten up when you’d go into her room. She’s just an awesome, awesome teacher.” A self-described “wiggly” and active child, Trelc said dance was the first and only activity her mother enrolled her in as a girl. She loved the movement aspects of the dance classes, and when Kari approached Trelc’s mother about having her daughter try out for Starfire a couple years into her classes, there was no hesitation. “Dance was the only thing I wanted to do, so I never tried any other activities,” she said. “I did Starfire until I was 18, and FALL 2020 | 13

then I left to go to school in Lawrence and I danced at KU on the dance team there.” The day Trelc moved back to Emporia, she called Kari asking if she could come on as a dance teacher. Kari agreed. “It’s always been a part of my life,” Trelc said. Her daughters, 9-year-old Ella and 6-year-old Kennedy, currently take classes at Kari’s. Her husband, Aaron, has been coming to dance competitions and recitals since the couple began dating in high school, and Trelc said that makes dance something of a family affair. “My daughters love it,” Trelc said. “Ella is so focused and driven, and I really want her to train at a studio that has knowledge about technique. There’s just something special about the expectations that Kari and Mary Ann have for the students, and I think there’s a lot to be gained from that for kids.” Trelc has seen firsthand the improvements her students have seen in balance and rhythm and footwork over the years. Beyond that, there’s also being part of a team and learning how to be held accountable. “We hold them to a high standard, so you give them the steps and you expect them to practice,” she said. “Being a part of a team and being a part of something that’s bigger than just you is so important.” GROWING UP IN THE STUDIO Darian agrees that being part of a team is important. For her, watching the “big kids” at Starfire practices and competitions when she was too young to join the team made her long to be a part of the group. Like her mother, Darian grew up in the dance studio and dancing came first. Then came walking. When she was finally old enough to try out for Starfire — yes,

she still had to audition — Darian said she was hooked. “I just remember feeling like, this is where I wanted to be,” Darian said. “I was in the younger group, but just being able to start was big. Those were some of my best friends. And those are still some of my best friends today; so that was really important for me to be able to dance with them.” Darian stayed with Starfire throughout high school and, when it came time to choose a college, dance played a big factor in that decision. A 2016 graduate of Emporia High, she earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in dance performance and a Bachelor’s of Science in exercise science from the University of Kansas in May. During her time at KU, Darian was a member of the Rock Chalk Dance Team. “I truly went to KU because I wanted to be on the dance team,” she said. “The dance aspect really opened a lot of doors for me.” Darian is also drawn to teaching dance. She helps with classes at her mother’s studio along with studios in the Kansas City area. She may, one day, open a studio of her own, but for now, Darian has another job to focus on. Kansas City Chiefs fans can see Darian as part of the football team’s 2020 cheerleading squad. One thing Darian knows for sure is, the door is always open for her at Kari’s Dance Academy, and there are always familiar faces there to greet her. One of Darian’s best friends, Harlee Higgins, now teaches at Kari’s Dance Academy. She said traveling to competitions with Darian brought them closer together throughout the years. “We would do so much together, you know, we’d travel together, we’d go to dance competitions together, we’d do stuff outside of dance together,” Higgins said. “I think that’s why it’s such a fun place for me to work. Even though Kari, Mary Ann and Darian are

family, they make me feel like I’m a part of their family, too.” Higgins structures her own classes a lot like the ones she took from Kari growing up, and holds her students to high standards, too. It’s part of what makes classes there unique, she said. “There’s always something new and something to train on and get better with,” Higgins said. “Kari was always a good teacher because we had fun with her, but she knew when to be strict. A lot of what she taught me I’ve taken and used with my own students, whether it’s about dance or just about being a person. She was always really good about teaching us about life skills and being a good person.” A LASTING LEGACY For Kari, it’s neat to sit back and think about how far the women in her family have come with a joint passion for dancing. “I always think of us as close anyway because we’re a close family, but we have done a lot of things together that have brought us closer together,” she said. “My mom’s pushed me and I’ve pushed her and everything has grown from there. I’m sure if Darian ever has a child she’ll push that child, too. “I think about what I could do back when I was with my mom dancing and competing, and if you could do a doublepirouette you were amazing; phenomenal. Now, I look at the world that Darian’s in and you’ve got to be able to do six. We see this all of the time, but the evolution of dance from just over however many years, when you’ve grown up with it, it’s just amazing.”



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ith a worldwide pandemic, political unrest, finances, equality and other major issues that have dominated the headlines in 2020, it’s not surprising that people are feeling more overwhelmed and stressed than ever. Anxiety and depression linked to — or triggered by — unexpected events is not uncommon, leading to heightened emotions, miscommunications and other day-to-day struggles.

“Unexpected events or challenging situations are part of all our lives and can cause significant stress,” CrossWinds Counseling and Wellness Development Manager Lucas Moody said. “Single stressful events, or a series of ongoing events, may trigger depression or anxiety at any point in life, sometimes even many years later.” CrossWinds staff began to see patterns related to these stressors and identified some important lessons to move forward in a healthy way. LESSON 1: GRACE AND KINDNESS GO A LONG WAY. It sounds simple enough, but treating people with grace and kindness when so much seems to be going wrong in the world can be a difficult thing to do. “The age old model of ‘think happy, be happy’ often plays true,” Moody said. “When we treat others with grace and kindness, we, in turn, tend to treat ourselves more kindly.” Disagreements over COVID-19 or politics on social media can make it look like everyone is always arguing. That increased feeling of tension negatively impacts us, leading to breakdowns in times of stressful situations, and pushes us even farther away from communicating kindly, and can lead to misunderstandings. Moody said it’s important to remember that words are powerful and 18 | EMPORIA LIVING


we cannot control how another person receives them or how our words impact them. “When people use grace and kindness in their response, the situation can often improve,” Moody said. “When we respond to people, situations, work, and ourselves with grace and kindness, we improve all aspects of life — including the mental health of ourselves and those around us.” LESSON 2: FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL. From education to finances to work to politics and equality, Moody said 2020 has tested the limits of people’s stress levels. Stress can manifest with many physical symptoms, headaches, indigestion, an increase or decrease in appetite, muscle tension in the neck, face and shoulders. It can cause problems with sleeping, teeth grinding, clenched jaw and even dizziness. With so much happening in the world and so much information coming at us every single day, Moody said it’s important to focus on things you can control. “We might not be able to control the outcome of everything, but we can control our approach and our reaction to them,” Moody said. “When we focus on the things we can control,

the feeling of being out of control diminishes and a calmness takes over, helping life feel more stable even in times of uncertainty. It doesn’t make the situations easy, but it allows tasks to be more achievable.” Exercising, limiting alcohol and caffeine, talking to a friend and getting plenty of rest will go a long way to decrease stress and improve your mental health. LESSON 3: ANXIETY CAN BE A GOOD THING. Just like stress, anxiety can manifest with physical symptoms. While they are related and stress can trigger anxiety to worsen, they are not the same. Stress will go away when the stressor is removed, but anxiety is defined by persistent, excessive worries that don’t go away even in the absence of a stressor. “Anxiety is exhausting!” Moody said. Common symptoms related to anxiety include irritability, heart palpitations, racing thoughts, fatigue and lack of concentration. “Labeling and recognizing anxiety is an important step in allowing one to talk about it and start preparing a response.” Moody said there are a number of different ways people can respond to anxiety, including physical activity, meditation and even acknowledging and naming your symptoms.

progress Exercise relationships Happiness Meditation Triggers Focus Control good Anxiety sleep Conversations Kindness Stress Grace hope

“Meditation to start your day assists in calming your mind before addressing the stressful circumstances,” he said. “Naming the symptoms as you experience them helps you recognize and respond to them.” Sometimes the symptoms are so common, we don’t recognize them right away — until the anxiety progresses to a point that it can no longer be ignored. Untreated anxiety can be crippling and can interfere with relationships, jobs and day-to-day life. “If we don’t deal with the symptoms, they progress and get worse,” Moody said. “The stress of everyday life, repeat changes and worry can affect our health, relationships and work/school.”

In the end, anxiety really can be a good thing. “It’s all about doses,” Moody said. “Anxiety can keep us safe, but too much or uncontrollable anxiety can weigh us down and take over our daily functioning.” STARTING THE CONVERSATIONS Moody said 2020 has shown how important it is to start more intensive conversations about mental health and the impact it has on us. “With stay-at-home orders and social isolation, it is imperative that individuals can recognize their high levels of stress and anxiety and understand the skills to combat their

symptoms as well as to know the resources available to them,” he said. As we recognize those stressors and that anxiety, he said we should be treating each other the way we want to be treated: with grace and kindness. No matter what. “During these times, it is important that we treat others how we want to be treated and use words that are uplifting, supporting and provide hope,” Moody said. “That is where we can be powerful and stand together. 2020 will leave us with the ability to have learned many lessons related to how we manage ourselves as it relates to stressors and anxiety, as well as our relationships with others.”

1000 LINCOLN STREET | EMPORIA, KS 66801 620-343-2211 | WWW.CROSSWINDSKS.ORG FALL 2020 | 19

Written by Melissa Lowery, Ashley Walker Photos by Jason Dailey, Ashley Walker 20 | EMPORIA LIVING


As a young Kansas girl, Ann Galbraith dreamed of living in New York City. It was there that her love and passion for pottery was born and flourished. Today, Ann has returned to her hometown where she has found that as a perpetual student and teacher, she’s fulfilling another dream: being a part of the art instructors’ team at the local arts center and inspiring students — young and old — to bring beauty into the world out of a block of clay. FALL 2020 | 21

“I found the people in New York to be open-minded, with open hearts.”



hen Ann Galbraith returned to her childhood home in Madison, it was quite a change from her previous life working on Madison Avenue in New York City. Born in Topeka, Galbraith and her family moved to Madison — where her father, Clarence, established Galbraith’s Pharmacy — in 1956. An enthusiastic artist as a child, Galbraith thought fashion was her calling. “The beginning of my career may have been when I drew a mural on my parents’ freshly-painted wall,” she said. She attended Kansas State University, where she majored in clothing design and minored in art. Upon graduating, she moved to Chicago and lived with relatives while working for a fashion house. But she soon realized it was not a good fit for her. “I didn’t have a good feeling about it,” she recalled. “It wasn’t a nice place.” She got a job in the advertising department at Chicago’s Carson Pirie Scott department store (now Carson’s) and fell in love with the art of advertising. After about two years, she moved to New York City, where she stayed for nearly 40 years, working for advertising agencies and clients like Macy’s and Lane Bryant. The move was the realization of a childhood dream. “When I was little, I read a book about a young girl who lived in New York and it made me want to know more about the city,” Galbraith said. “Then I watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s and other movies and read books and articles about New York — it all made me want to be there, to experience living there.” A trip to visit relatives after graduating high school cemented her love of the city. It took a few years, but when she finally arrived in her mid 20s, New York was everything she’d hoped it would be. “I found the people in New York to be open-minded, with open hearts,” Galbraith said. “I was exposed to different people, different ways of thinking, different ways of doing things. I loved New York for that reason, if nothing else.” A perpetual student, Galbraith reveled in the opportunities available to study and travel. It was in New York that her interest in pottery blossomed. She had taken a pottery class in college, but the restrictive teaching methods did not suit her, so she abandoned the potter’s wheel. Until she took a class at New York’s famed Earthworks studio. “It’s a non-traditional teaching style,” Galbraith said. “You’re not expected to learn things in a certain order or copy others. The teachers come in and work with you on what you want to do and help you build your own particular style.”

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Galbraith’s artistic style involves creating simple shapes, then adding decorative touches like carving the wet clay or firing the piece with interesting glazes she makes herself. She is inspired by Japanese pottery, both in shape and technique, combined with her own whimsical touches. “I like things that are slightly quirky, but also elegant,” she said. “I, myself, am not an elegant person, but there’s something about elegant shapes that I love.” COMING FULL CIRCLE When her mother, Madeline, was no longer able to live alone, Galbraith decided to move back home to care for her and be near family. As much as she wanted to be with her mother in her final years, Galbraith said she had one significant concern about leaving New York. “I remember talking with my sister Linda [Sobieski] about moving back and telling her my one problem was that there wasn’t much art around here,” Galbraith said. “I think art is one of the most important things you can have in your life.” Fortunately, Linda connected her sister with the Emporia Arts Center. Galbraith found the artistic community she needed there along with being a member of the Flint Hills Artist Guild. At 72 years old, her life has come full circle in many respects. Living back in the Emporia area has provided an opportunity to teach and pass on all that she has learned over the years as a skilled and talented potter. One of the things she loves the most is helping students — especially those new to the craft — to discover what she did as a student years ago that changed her life: that creating and bringing beauty into the world brings so much joy.



In the end, she said, art is not about

“doing it right.” It’s about “doing it, period.”

“There is something empowering about making things,” she said. “When someone holds a finished piece in their hands — that they have thrown, trimmed and glazed — it is a special moment for them. They have created something that is unique and special and brings them joy to look at and use; and I get to be there.” Classes have been suspended since March due to the novel coronavirus, but Galbraith is looking forward to teaching again. Dawn Young, the EAC’s executive director, is also eager to have her back in the classroom. “The Emporia Arts Center is a non-profit organization that loves our community and its mission is to bring art to all,” Young said. “Ann plays a vital role in helping us work toward our mission by sharing her passion and knowledge of ceramics. She emphasizes individualized instruction and teaching a wide array of techniques for accomplishing students’ individual goals. Ann is an amazing person — giving her time so freely — and I greatly appreciate her for sharing her gifts and talents with EAC.” Her colleagues at EAC and fellow artists in the guild provide Galbraith with a sounding board, inspiration and encouragement for her own art and for promoting art in the community.

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“The benefit of a team is always having someone to toss ideas back and forth with,” Galbraith said. “If you’re not sure how to handle a situation or are not sure if an idea is doable, then you have someone to figure it out with. We all have different strengths and it makes for a really well-rounded group. It is also just fun to work with other women who are talented and have the same goals — making art accessible to anyone interested.” ALWAYS A STUDENT Despite her accomplishments within her craft, Galbraith remains a student of art. She takes just about as many classes at the arts center as she teaches. “It brings me joy to learn new things, so when someone walks into my class for the first time they can be assured I know just how they feel,” she said. Often, people are intimidated by the idea of picking up a paintbrush or sitting behind a potter’s wheel, but Galbraith wants to remove those barriers and encourage freedom of expression. "A lot of people hear the word ‘art’ and their eyes glaze over, their ears stop up and they say, 'I’m not an artist,'” she said. “No one expects you to be a Rembrandt or a Warhol. Art is simply about sitting down and putting some of your thoughts on whatever surface you choose to put it on.” As both a teacher and an artist, Galbraith believes the ability to create art is like anything else — practice is more important than innate talent. "Pottery is 75 percent skill, and anybody can learn the skill," she said. "I was in my 40s when I started throwing clay. I took classes. I spent hours and hours at the wheel. It didn't come naturally." In the end, she said, art is not about “doing it right,” it’s about “doing it, period.” “Perfection in art is about as common as perfection in the rest of the world,” she said. “There’s no right or wrong; there really aren’t any rules at all." Ann and the others at the art center make it their mission to make ceramics — and any form of visual art — a “judgment-free zone,” where students young and old, experienced or not, can explore new mediums, be free to create and be supported every step of the way. “For me being able to work in this kind of environment is a dream come true,” Galbraith said. 28 | EMPORIA LIVING





Dr. Thomas A. Kriss, DDS If you visit Dr. Thomas Kriss, DDS, your dental check-up may come with some unexpected extras, like an impromptu ukulele concert or dazzling yo-yo tricks.

Dr. Kriss established his dental practice in Emporia in 1997 and quickly earned a reputation for excellent dental work and a unique ability to make patients feel comfortable. His off-beat techniques are especially a hit with kids. “My daughter was very nervous at her first appointment with Dr. Kriss, so he let her sit on her brother’s lap for the exam. This probably made his job more difficult but she felt more comfortable,” Audra Sundberg said. Anxiety about going to the dentist is not limited to the young. Kasey Boyce dreaded going in for a checkup after years of avoiding the dentist. “Dr. Kriss was recommended by some friends and I’m so glad,” she said. “I’ve had three visits in the last couple of 30 | EMPORIA LIVING


months for cleanings and fillings and I’ve never felt more comfortable in the dental chair.” Kriss was born and raised in Colby, Kans., the son and grandson of Kansas farmers. But while he enjoys growing things - he planted a vegetable garden behind the office - Kriss knew at an early age that he wanted to be a dentist. “I remember I had to go get some baby teeth extracted when I was maybe 10 or 11,” he recalled. “I had a pretty big sweet tooth and that caught up to me. One night, around 10 p.m., we had to go to the dentist for an emergency extraction. I was scared at first but ended up having such a good experience, I got interested in dentistry.” In his seventh-grade art class, he made a set of teeth out of clay. He spent time with his uncle, Dr. Jay Kriss, DDS, and asked questions. He learned all he could in middle and high school, then earned degrees from the University of Kansas and the University of Nebraska Dental School in Lincoln. College and dental school were hard

work but fun for Kriss. He enjoyed what he was learning and excelled at both his studies and clinicals. His instructors would have him do their fillings, impressed with his technique and ability to put people at ease. “It all came easily to me because it’s a combination of so many things I enjoy,” Kriss said. “I call it the art and science of dentistry.” Art and science are constants in Kriss’s life, as is a sense of fun and adventure. In addition to the ukelele, he plays guitar and harmonica. In college, he was part of a hair metal band. He recently grew his hair long again, but nowadays Kriss leans more toward country music. “It’s easier to sing-along to country music out at the lake,” he explained. “Plus you don’t need the whole band. We have a ‘tiny house’ boat so space is limited.” Kriss hasn’t completely abandoned his hair metal roots, however. The “tiny house” boat where he and his family spend weekends sports the name of

the vessel in giant, unmissable letters: “Mötley Crüise”. He enjoys sculpting with clay and pottery throwing classes at the Emporia Arts Center. After a day at the office, he unwinds by cooking supper and experimenting with new recipes, a habit he picked up in college. He credits his wife and office manager, Michelle, with helping him push past his comfort zone and embrace more adventure. “She’s the one who says, ‘Let’s try it!’ and encourages me to break out of my shell,” Kriss said. Years ago, the couple and their three children began a tradition where they forego Christmas presents and instead take a family vacation. Now they have memories together in Hawaii, the Czech Republic, Germany, Belize and Thailand, among others. “It’s been a privilege to experience those things, and Michelle has been the inspiration for all of that. I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for my life and how it’s turned out,” he said.


Written by Ashley Walker Photos by Jason Dailey, Shawn Honea 32 | EMPORIA LIVING


There are some homes in town that you can’t help but want to peek inside. One of those homes is 1417 Rural Street. FALL 2020 | 33



the west side of the 1500 block of Rural Street, a hosta-lined walkway leads guests into the threestory, brick home owned by Chris and Shannon Rech. It’s a stately home, but not intimidating. After all, the Rechs love having company, and it shows from the moment you set foot on the front porch. The cozy entrance speaks to their love for entertaining and house guests. Built in 1925, the Rechs are only the fourth owner of the mid-town home, located just a few blocks from downtown Emporia. They bought the home in 2002. Unlike many buyers who are looking for a shiny new construction, the thing that drew the Rechs to 1417 Rural St. was the fact that it was old and had its original character intact. Few, if any, modifications had been made to the home in nearly a century of time. Chris and Shannon both grew up in old homes and loved the uniqueness and history that an old home brings, and when they saw it, it felt like “home” immediately, they said. It wasn’t until recently that the Rechs decided to remodel the kitchen, one of the most significant home improvement FALL 2020 | 35

projects they have done to the house since they’ve owned it. But they did it with great care, determined to maintain the integrity of the style and historic nature of the kitchen. “We wanted to make it looked like it’s always been there or could have been there,” Shannon said. And they did. The “new” kitchen fits seamlessly into the old home and only enhances their ability to entertain and welcome guests, something they both enjoy. Harkening back to the days when homes were the primary places for entertaining, 1417 Rural features large living areas, multiple sets of french doors that make it easy to expand rooms, a spacious dining room, a screened porch, and four generously-sized bedrooms. From hosting DK riders on race weekend to annual holiday parties and supper clubs, the Rechs enjoy sharing their home with others anytime they can. It’s a house that fits the Rechs perfectly. “There’s not much I don’t love about this house,” Shannon said. And there wasn’t much we at Sallie didn’t love either. In this year’s Home Sweet Home, take a peek inside this midtown home and see how a century-old home can be just as beautiful today as it was then. WHAT FIRST ATTRACTED YOU TO THIS HOUSE? We were wanting an older home and loved the feel of Rural Street, like the 36 | EMPORIA LIVING


overhanging trees. Once we toured the home, we fell in love with the interior, as it hadn’t been significantly altered since it was built. TELL US ABOUT SOME OF THE UNIQUE FEATURES OF THE HOME: The doors and windows do not have wood trim; but instead, the plaster walls are rounded/bull-nosed to tie in at the door jambs and window frames. The house has a chute in the hallway that allows waste to be dropped into an incinerator for burning. There is a built-in ironing board in the kitchen, and there are 60 windows in the house, another feature that we fell in love with. ANY INTERESTING STORIES ABOUT ITS HISTORY: We are the fourth family to own this home. One of the doorways still has the heights marked on the trim from a mother and daughter who both grew up in the house. We were fortunate enough to meet the grandsons of the original owner, who shared pictures of the construction of the house. WHEN YOU DECIDED TO REMODEL THE KITCHEN, WHAT WAS YOUR GOAL? With any of our remodels, our main goal has been to make the improvement look like it has always been there. For our kitchen remodel, we wanted to open the area up to create an inviting space for entertaining.



WHAT IS SHANNON'S FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS HOUSE: My favorite things about the house are the master bathroom and walk-in closet that were added in 2010. WHAT IS CHRIS' FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS HOUSE: My favorite thing about the house is the garage. When we purchased the house, there was a single-car garage that was in need of repair. In 2004, we tore it down and added a much larger garage closer to the back of the property. WHAT’S THE LATEST RENOVATION YOU’VE DONE TO THE HOUSE? The latest renovation that we completed was replacing the 6-by-12 foot porch on the back of the house with a 12-by-18 foot screened-in porch with a sundeck. WHAT ROOM GETS THE MOST USE? Currently, the new screened-in back porch. We have areas set up for both dining and lounging, so we are able to eat dinner and relax after work. WHAT’S NEXT ON THE LIST FOR RENOVATING OR REMODELING? At this time we don’t have anything in the works. We are happy with how everything is and just plan on enjoying it. 40 | EMPORIA LIVING





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Med-Spa brings high-quality skincare to Emporia 46 | EMPORIA LIVING



afety and natural-looking results are Skin Studio’s top priority.

From high-quality skincare products to more advanced cosmetic procedures, the new medical spa in downtown Emporia is committed to customizing a skincare regimen that fits the unique needs of every client. “We are about enhancing your natural beauty,” said Lindsey Ratcliff, dermatology certified nurse practitioner and owner of Skin Studio. A nurse for 12 years, Ratcliff went back to become a nurse practitioner specializing in dermatology. Currently focused on the cosmetic side of dermatology, she has experience in medical and surgical dermatology too, practicing for nearly five years in the field. Before any procedure, Ratcliff will schedule a face-to-face consultation with a client to fully assess their skin, determine their needs and how to achieve their goals. She works with clients to create a customizable treatment plan that focuses on the clients’ biggest skin concerns. She advises that it is often helpful to think of dermatology procedures in terms of levels, especially for those who are new to the medspa experience.

NON-INVASIVE A high-quality home care regimen is important for everyone, but it is also the easiest and least invasive way to make your skin healthier and more refreshed. HydroFacial is a facial with a boost. Using a medical-grade hydradermabrasion device, the facial cleanses, exfoliates and infuses the skin with intensive serums. As an added bonus, there is no downtime at all. Patients can walk in, get a hydrofacial and return back to normal life immediately. It’s a procedure easy to do over the lunch hour. “You can come in over lunch and walk out noticing a big difference in your skin,” Ratcliff said. MODERATE Botox: With small needle pricks, Botox relaxes the tension and stress that gets built up over time in the forehead and glabella (the area of skin between the eyebrows) and that is often associated with an “angry” and “grumpy” look. This procedure takes two weeks to take full effect, but the results are very effective at reducing lines, wrinkles and giving the client a refreshed and more youthful appearance. Laser: Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that uses a concentrated beam of light to remove unwanted hair. It can be used anywhere on the body for permanent hair removal. The same laser can also be used for intense pulse light therapy photofacials, a procedure used to improve the color and texture of the skin, often associated with sun damage. It can also be used to treat unwanted pigment, red undertones and balance the skin’s tone. A little more aggressive than the hydrofacial, laser treatments produce long-term results without surgery or downtime.

MODERATELY-ADVANCED Microneedling: Microneedling is a procedure that uses small needles to prick the skin. Its purpose is to generate the natural production of collagen for smoother, firmer, more toned skin. It is used mostly on the face and neck to treat wrinkles and lines, acne scarring and large pores. There is a small amount of downtime associated with microneedling, but the results can be substantial and long-term.

ADVANCED Dermal fillers: Dermal fillers are gel-like substances that are injected beneath the skin to restore lost volume, smooth lines and soften creases or enhance facial contours. Dermal fillers are one of the most effective and most popular methods to look younger without the expense and downtime of surgery. Results can last up to a year or longer.




Written by Zach Hacker Photos by Jason Dailey 48 | EMPORIA LIVING


Erin Blocker’s life is all about faith. An experienced trainer and ESU track coach, Erin Blocker is fulfilling her calling in Emporia by not only supporting her clients and students in their fitness and athletic goals, but leading a balanced life that encompasses a strong faith in God and healthy living. FALL 2020 | 49

"Health is not just exercise; it’s a multidimensional lifestyle."



Emporian for the last 12 years, Blocker is an instructor in Emporia State University’s Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department as well as the pole vault coach for the Hornets’ track and field team — of which her husband, Steve, is the head coach. She also taught and organized Strong Emporia fitness classes through Emporia Fitness and is now the Rural Program Coordinator for LEAP! (Lifestyle Empowerment for Alzheimer’s Prevention) through KU’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center. Her life’s work, however, goes far beyond what she’s done as a health and wellness professional. Each step in her journey has centered on health and wellness not only in a physical sense, but also emotionally, socially and spiritually. “My faith is number one in my life; everything else falls in line behind it,” Blocker said. “When I was doing the Strong Emporia camps, one of the things I focused on was trying to do work that God would be proud of. If we do that, chances are good that the work we put out will be more fruitful. If I can keep my focus on the God-honoring part of my work, all of those dimensions of health are going to flourish.” FAITH IN FLEXIBILITY A student-athlete who competed in pole vault at both the University of Northern Iowa — where she met her husband —

and the University of Kansas, Blocker had her “a-ha moment” while the couple was living in California. It was there she started working as a personal trainer with young athletes and fell in love with coaching. She has now been a pole vault coach for 15 years, all the while doing everything from opening her own fitness studio to managing a non-profit community theatre. “Being married to a coach, you learn to be flexible,” she said. “I think that cornucopia of experience has really made me who I am professionally.” Naturally, she started digging into how she could help the community immediately after moving to Emporia. It wasn’t long before she started Strong Emporia, a six-day, two-a-day fitness camp for adults. The class lasted six years until Blocker decided to return to the classroom to pursue her doctorate. It was then when she got involved with LEAP! — a program developed to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s through promoting a healthy lifestyle. Blocker has since been able to help broker a unique partnership between KU and ESU and, with funding from United Way of the Flint Hills, she has for four years been leading LEAP in Action classes in Emporia. It has been an experience she describes as “awesome,” as she’s worked with participants on all areas of their own health. “What it is about is; it’s showing people a better way of doing this or that,” Blocker said. “It’s showing people how to reach

their wellness goals whether it be physical, emotional, social or whatever. Health is not just exercise; it’s a multi-dimensional lifestyle.” Blocker’s personal lifestyle, like most people, was recently upended a bit by the COVID-19 pandemic. That, however, has not slowed her progress in working with her LEAP in Action classes or helping others live their best lives. She still does a weekly online workshop that includes exercises, nutrition tips and more once per week for LEAP in Action. She has also recorded several exercises that are available on her personal website,, FALL 2020 | 51

where she also blogs about all aspects of health and wellness — including nutritious recipes and how she’s overcome obstacles in her own life. “The videos let me show you how to modify a workout to make things easier or harder, however it works best for you,” Blocker said. She also leads online workouts each day via Facebook Live, a platform which allows her to engage and interact with students even though they’re not in the same room. It’s all free, as she does not want to put financial barriers between people and their health. “It’s exciting how it has all been morphing and changing,” Blocker said. “There is no replacement for in-person exercise classes, but I’m learning that you can have a really good, interactive online experience.” FAITH IN BALANCE Life, however, involves much more than constant focus on health and wellness goals. One of the keys to a healthy lifestyle, according to Blocker, is balance. While many who set forth on an exercise routine or a diet take an “all-or-nothing” approach, Blocker said that is a “recipe for failure.”

She said one of the ways she prevents burnout herself is by taking one day off per week. “But that doesn’t mean I’m just lying around on the couch all day,” Blocker said. That seventh day may include something as simple as a family walk with Steve and the couple’s toddler son, Matthew. Or, it might just mean taking care of some work around the house or yard. “I think it’s important to give your body a day to rest and refuel,” she said. “I think of it as being just like the Sabbath.” That, she said, can help prevent people from having too many days where they wake up and just don’t feel like working out. And the same can be said when it comes to food. “I try to live by the 80 percent rule,” Blocker said. “That says, if you’re eating healthy 80 percent of the time, that other 20 percent is not going to throw you off. I love dark chocolate. You can ask Kim (Redeker) from the Sweet Granada. But I try to create an experience with that indulgent food. Don’t just sit down and eat it, but get together with friends and have a moment to really savor it. That way you’re still working on the social, emotional and spiritual aspects of your health.”

FAITH IN WHAT WORKS Now that Blocker has a toddler in her house, time can sometimes be a finite resource. Therefore, she sometimes has to work the various aspects of her own health and wellness plan around his schedule. One of the ways she’s done that in recent months is by running — something she says is both efficient and effective. But it also allows her to work on her social health by running with a partner. “We always just have amazing conversations; so that speaks to both getting exercise and that social engagement that we all need,” Blocker said. On the other hand, she said strength training, though important, is not her favorite part of a balanced physical fitness routine. She gets over that lack of desire by strength training just a couple times per week and by focusing on the parts of it she enjoys — such as working on her core and going through the workout circuit-style. That speaks to what she said is one of the most important aspects of a good wellness journey: identifying where you are and using that as a starting point. “Start where you are with your health and fitness goals,” Blocker said. “Compare you to you; not to other people. We can choose to be our own greatest supporter or our own worst enemy. No two people are the same in any dimension of health — and that is beautiful. Focus on and celebrate your own personal victories and you almost guarantee yourself success.” She tries to relay to others that willingness to adapt to what is best for her on any given day or any point in her life. “The last couple years have been a huge season of growth for me,” Blocker said. “I try to share that with others. If I can help people grow in their own lives, then I’m honoring God in that.”




Challenging times emphasizes the importance of the Flint Hills Community Health Center


fter more than two decades of promoting affordable health care and wellness services in the area, leadership and staff at the Flint Hills Community Health Center realize the importance of continuing the organization’s legacy, especially during these challenging times. Currently serving communities in Chase, Greenwood, Lyon, Osage and Woodson counties, with dedicated centers in both Emporia and Eureka, FHCHC’s history began long before its classification as a federally-qualified health center. The roots of the health center can be traced to the founding of the Lyon County Health Department in 1923, when the organization’s main functions involved home visits and immunization appointments. Over the course of the next 70 years, the health department was able to drastically expand its scope of services. In 1997, the health department received a grant to create a federally-qualified health center and offer medical, dental and psychiatric services to all that required them, including individuals without insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.



By 2002, the FQHC officially became Flint Hills Community Health Center, Inc., separating from the county but still partnering with the Lyon County Board of Heath to offer immunizations, disease investigations and environmental health services statutorily required by Lyon County. FHCHC now provides medical, dental and behavioral health services on a sliding-fee scale, offering walk-in and same-day appointments, in-house lab testing, immunizations, prescription assistance and free interpreter services. “For the underprivileged, access to health care services can be a serious obstacle,” FHCHC Marketing Manager Brandon Stiner. “The Flint Hills Community Health Center is committed to serving those who might otherwise be excluded from the health care system. Government-funded health

centers offer many empowering services, such as transportation, translation, case management and health education, and a commitment to improved access ensures that patients are not denied health care services they require. A community health center is really a welcoming place anyone can turn to for help, whether you need a simple checkup or something more serious.” Another benefit of community health centers, Stiner said, is the opportunity for patients to be treated on a more personal basis. “The Flint Hills Community Health Center is a Patient-Centered Medical Home, meaning the focus is on you and your family in your care and disease management,” he said. “We help form a team that includes you, your family, your primary care provider, nurses, other specialists, dietitians, behavioral health consultants, your case manager and your community health workers, helping you reach your goals by improving communication with the team helping you manage your off-site referrals and appointments and much more. “A big reason millions rely on local health centers is that they offer comprehensive medical care that can treat the whole person rather than just one ailment. So, from initial screenings to managing chronic illnesses, community health centers give you a wide range of treatment options.” According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, such organizations now serve as the primary medical home for over 29 million people in more than 12,000 rural and urban communities across America. So, whether you need a simple check-up or something more serious, employees of the Flint Hills Community Health Center hope to make you a part of their ever-growing family, showing the difference a personal, vested interest in the lives of clients can make to the overall wellbeing of the community. “What I love about FHCHC is that they are here to protect the community and our well-being,” said board member Kim Massoth. “They provide numerous services to our small town with qualified professionals who take the time to listen to their patient’s concerns one-on-one.”

“The Flint Hills Community Health Center truly cares for the whole person,” added board member Vanda Stephens. “We’re about providing medical, dental and emotional care, under one roof, by a team of dedicated professionals working together to serve the area.” For further questions on service offerings, visit www.flinthillshealth. org. The organization’s Emporia facility, located at 420 W. 15th Ave., can be reached at 620-342-4864 and is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with a 5 p.m. close on Fridays. The Eureka facility, which operates under the same hours, can be visited at 1602 N. Elm St. or called at (620) 583-7436.

420 W 15TH AVENUE | EMPORIA, KS 66801 620-342-4864 | WWW.FLINTHILLSHEALTH.ORG FALL 2020 | 57



FALL 2020 | 61

Meet Eric Hess, an Emporia veterinarian, animal-lover, and this year's "Hey Mister!"

Written by Ashley Walker Photos by Jason Dailey, Beth Phillips 62 | EMPORIA LIVING



WorîƒĽ of


Milton. Missy. Princess. Milly. Garrison. Shamrock.

These names roll off of Eric Hess’ tongue like they are his own children. In fact, they have been part of his family at one time or another over the last 18 years, each one a dog with its own story about adoption or rescue by the beloved Emporia veterinarian. FALL 2020 | 63

I “ t is just what I was meant to do.”



is first adoption was right out of vet school when a former racing greyhound and the canine blood donor at the K-State vet school needed a home. Eric took him -- Milton -- right along with his DVM degree and the rest was history. Ever since, hundreds and hundreds of dogs and other creatures -- big and small -- have been treated and cared for by him at his clinic -- and even at his own home on occasion. “It is just what I was meant to do,” he said. A Madison native, Eric gained plenty of experience working on area farms throughout high school and college but he didn’t decide veterinary medicine was for him until he logged 1,200-plus hours at a veterinary clinic in Burlington in preparation for applying to K-State. That experience, watching and learning under Dr. Michael Thorpe, is what it took to make up his mind to give vet school a shot. He remembers the one piece of advice that Dr. Thorpe gave him on the eve of his interview to get into the vet school: “When they ask you why you want to be a vet, for goodness sakes, don’t say, ‘Because I love animals!’” Eric recalls, chuckling. But the truth is, Eric does love animals. And it’s that love coupled with his excellent veterinary care that he is known for in Emporia and surrounding areas. In fact, Eric has won “Best Veterinarian in Emporia” multiple times in The Emporia Gazette Reader’s Choice Awards, a testament to a career that has touched many lives, both of animals and humans alike. FALL 2020 | 65

He treats primarily small animals like cats and dogs, but he also appropriates a part of his practice to the care of livestock and farm animals, like bison, cattle, and goats that take him out of the clinic periodically. Going down to Madison, for example, and caring for the Schankie Ranch provides a good balance to his in-town work and helps him connect to his roots as a country boy. Some unusual cases Eric remembers include splinting a hamster’s leg with a self-fabricated piece of metal (yes, it actually worked) and taking care of a litter of baby beavers that were brought to him by a client. Even after nearly two decades in practice, the toughest part of the job remains the same: saying goodbye when it is time. He’s watched them grow since they were pups or kittens and has treated them for many years. But it’s that devotion and care, even to the end, that makes Eric the compassionate veterinarian that he is. Eric is married to Kari Hess, an associate professor at ESU Nursing School. He has three children: Drew, 15; Alli, 13; and Aubree, 11.


with Dr. Hess • Do you have a favorite breed of dog? Great Dane and Greyhound • Is there a pet you’ve always wanted to have? Dogs are the pet I’ve always wanted to have. I used to have a piranha, that was pretty cool too. • What’s the most exotic animal you’ve ever treated? We saw a few zoo animals in vet school. • What do you do when you aren’t at the clinic? I love to fish, be outdoors, coach youth baseball, and spend time at our “farm.” I also play basketball a couple of times a week and I like to help kids who are interested in becoming a veterinarian.






Photos by by MLG Photography

Mr. G’s Express Wash: JOIN THE CLUB!


hings have come a long way since Danny Giefer purchased his first car wash on East 12th Avenue, a little more than 37 years ago.

“Back then, the toggle switches were set to soap and rinse, and that was it,” he said, looking out from his office at Mr. G’s Express Wash. With a conveyor belt tunnel that allows drivers to remain in their vehicles during a wash, Mr. G’s Express Wash is Giefer’s fourth — and most advanced — car wash in Emporia. Giefer is more than a little proud to continue to invest in the town he’s called home for the last 50 years. Giefer said he had been working as an electrician for Iowa Beef Processors — now Tyson Fresh Meats — when he decided to take what was supposed to be a temporary position at Wolf Creek. Not wanting to leave Emporia, Giefer started looking into purchasing a business to keep his family in town. That’s when he found out about an 68 | EMPORIA LIVING


opportunity to purchase a car wash on E. 12th Avenue. “It was an old, raggedly car wash — rundown,” Giefer said. “I bought that and renovated it and added a bay on.” Then his temporary job at Wolf Creek turned into a 30-year career, and Giefer continued to build up his business. “We had the opportunity to buy the South Commercial car wash, and I bought that at a tax auction. I renovated it, put a bay on and put an automatic wash in, tried to modernize.” Ten years ago, just before Giefer retired from Wolf Creek, he purchased another car wash on W. Sixth Avenue and underwent the same renovation process. Through it all, he said he was always keeping up on the latest developments in the industry. And, over the last seven or eight years, he saw friction-based automatic car wash systems were growing in popularity around the country. “The status quo is not acceptable no matter what you’re doing,” Giefer said. So, he slowly started looking into bringing one of those systems to Emporia. Three or four years ago, he

got a little more serious about it. A consultant came down to help him select the best location and honed in at the northeast corner of Sixth Avenue and Prairie Street. The land had been home to dilapidated buildings, about 30 broken down vehicles and at least one semitruck. Giefer said it took him some convincing that that particular spot was the best location for his newest car wash, but he eventually purchased the land, a process that took about a year to complete. He’d need about an acre of land for the project. That tract of land was exactly one acre. Another big appeal? The traffic. “About 29,000 cars go through that intersection every day,” he said. “The intersection by Walmart has about 16,000 every day.” Part way through the design process, the City of Emporia asked Giefer for an easement to allow for a turning lane. So, Giefer said the building got pushed back on the site. “I never could have imagined anything like this, not even 10 years ago,” he said. “I drove by this corner

The result? A sparkling clean vehicle, both inside and out. Mr. G's Express Wash currently washes currently wash 300-400 cars per day on a normal day. Giefer expects that number to rise to around 400 - 500.

almost every day for 50 years and from 50 years ago until today, it was ugly. So, being able to open up this corner and do an improvement to this area was a big deal to me.” HOW IT WORKS Mr. G’s Express Wash is a club wash, meaning that unlike other car washes in town, people can purchase monthly memberships that allow them to wash their vehicles as many times as they want each month. There are no contracts and customers can cancel, upgrade or downgrade their plans at any time. You can also purchase single washes starting at $8. The car wash has a license plate

reader that matches a vehicle to a member’s account upon arrival. After they have checked in, the driver pulls around to the front of the car wash tunnel. One of Mr. G’s Express Wash staff will guide the driver into the conveyor belt tunnel, which grips their wheels, and then the driver simply places their vehicle into neutral. The car wash adjusts to every vehicle size and shape and ensures that every surface is cleaned evenly. Within three minutes, the vehicle is moved down the belt and cleaned using a soft-cloth system that protects vehicle surfaces. Afterward, customers can use the selfservice vacuums and floor mat cleaners for free after every wash.

LOCAL INVESTMENTS Giefer said Mr. G’s Express Wash represents about $5 million of investment in Emporia, and most of the work was completed by local contractors and financed by ESB Financial. About 80 percent of car washes like these are franchised, he said. Mr. G’s Express Wash is — and will remain — a local and family-owned business. He employs 14 people at the car wash. “I’m one of the few that’s a local owner, and we’re kind of a rare commodity when it comes to Express Washes,” he said. “So the money that I bring in here, it’s going to stay here in Emporia. It’s not going out to some outside investor.” It’s something he’s proud of, Giefer said. “We wanted to stay local if at all possible,” he said. “This is going to be here for my family.”

2032 W 6TH AVE | EMPORIA, KS 66801 620-208-9274 | WWW.MRGS-EXPRESS.COM FALL 2020 | 69

Written by Zach Hacker Photos by Jason Dailey 70 | EMPORIA LIVING


For three decades Karens Sommers has helped Emporians with everything from traveling around the globe to banking and finance, but her first love, and the place she invests in the most, is her hometown. FALL 2020 | 71

aren Sommers has been at the center of what’s happening in Emporia for more than a halfcentury. She and her late-husband, Stan Sommers, owned International Tours & Cruises for more than three decades. Since the early 2000s, she has been vice president and marketing director at ESB Financial — the family-owned bank her great-grandfather, Will Wayman, started in 1901. But Sommers’ impact on the community goes far beyond her business pursuits. One would be hard-pressed to find a charitable or community organization in which Sommers has not, at some point, been involved. She was named to the Leadership Kansas Class of 1995 and chaired the United Way of the Flint HIlls drive the same year. In 2018, she received Emporia State University’s Service Citation Award. She has also served on boards for: Red Rocks; the Granada Alliance; Emporia Country Club; Chapter DI of PEO; the Junto Study Club; the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce; Emporia Main Street; Emporia Community Foundation; Ignite Emporia; Kansas Business Hall of Fame; First United Methodist Church and Communion Steward; ESB Financial Board of Directors and is a lifetime ESU Foundation Trustee. Still, that’s just scratching the surface. “I’ve dabbled in a little bit of everything,” Sommers said. “I try to see

the world through a kaleidoscope. I’ve been very blessed. It’s been my experience that you always get back more than you put in. “That’s just the way we were raised. My parents were very involved, so I would say they set the bar very high for my brothers and me.” A COLORFUL LIFE The variety and energy Sommers puts into her philanthropy is a microcosm for how she lives her life. During her time with International Tours and Cruises, she developed a love for SCUBA diving. She has a passion for interior design and still refers to her home of 32 years as her “island getaway.” Her first job when she was in high school was hosting a show titled “Teen Topics” on Catfish TV in Emporia. That prompted her to get a degree in advertising and public relations from the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. She still uses that degree at ESB along with hosting the segment “Managing Your Money” on KVOE radio, where she also formerly hosted “737 Travel Hotline.” “I love the colors of nature — sunny yellows; ocean and sky blues; sunset corals — happy colors,” Sommers said. “Life is too short to live in beige.” She enjoys to share what she calls her “Lessons in Life” with her two sons, Christopher and Trey, along with her four grandchildren, three great-grandchildren

I love the colors of nature … happy colors. Life is too short to live in beige. 72 | EMPORIA LIVING


and team members at ESB Financial. These are quotes she uses to emphasize her can-do, positive outlook on life that she wishes to impart on others. “Teamwork makes the dream work,” “Life is like a mirror. Smile at it and it smiles back at you,” and “You will never have this day again, so make it count.” are just a few. Sommers knows the value of living life to the fullest. She is a cancer survivor who said the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams is her theme song. She puts that attitude into action through organizing the Spirit of 50. The program takes people aged 50 and up on unique day trips. Some of the adventures have included a trip to see the Broadway play “Hamilton” in Kansas City and another to take a garden tour that included a pontoon ride in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. “When you’re 50, you want to go, you want to see things, you want to do things,” Sommers said. “We try to give people different, unique opportunities to do things they wouldn’t normally do on their own. We try to find things that maybe people haven’t heard about that are cool.” THE BUSINESS OF COMMUNITY The positive, “community-first” attitude is something Sommers has always put at the forefront of her business ventures. As the only family-owned bank in Emporia — now on its fourth generation with Karen’s brother, Jim Wayman, the acting president — ESB Financial has also been strong in its desire to better the community. In 1991, ESB celebrated its 90th birthday by rebuilding the bandshell in Fremont Park for the Emporia Community Band. Ten years later, it sponsored the bald eagle exhibit at the David Traylor Zoo to commemorate 100 years in business. It is also the title sponsor for the annual Homegrown Celebration at the Emporia Farmers Market and a presenting sponsor at the Emporia Arts Center. “Being a community bank; the bank is at the center of what goes on in a community,” Sommers said. “When we change our culture, we do it as a team. We encourage our people to give back and encourage people to volunteer.” That can be exemplified even in small ways. Employees at the bank can pay $5 for the right to wear jeans to work on the first Friday of each month. The money that accumulates then goes to a community organization. Recently, ESB

employees were able to donate $4,000 to the SOS Strong Man campaign. “That’s a lot of money,” Sommers said. “When we have a passion to help other people, it comes down to the golden rule.” STRONG ROLE MODELS Sommers said none of what she’s been able to do for the betterment of Emporia has happened by accident. She said she has been “very blessed” throughout her life. She was, after all, born on Dec. 25 — Christmas Day. It was with the examples set by strong women in her life that she developed her positive attitude and desire to give back. She credits Kathrine White, former publisher of The Emporia Gazette and wife of William Lindsay White, for being among her early mentors in the world of business. Her mother, Elva Wayman, was the first woman to become a bank director in Emporia, showing Karen what a woman could achieve even in an

industry she said was “notorious for being a good ole’ boys club.” “I’ve been lucky to live in an age where women have had opportunities,” Sommers said. “Society has changed. It used to be, in the 60s, women would go to college to meet a husband and, rather than go into a career, go home and be a homemaker. When you go to college for four years — you’re lucky if it’s only four years — that’s a lot you’re putting into it. When you’ve put that much of your life on the line, you want to be the best you can be.” She tries to pass along those opportunities whenever she gets the chance. Sommers lists teaching children the basics of managing their finances through the game “Money Island” as one of the highlights of her career. Though that software is no longer supported through the bank, she is hoping to find a similar program and continue spreading financial literacy. FALL 2020 | 73

“The best way we can help people is to inform them,” Sommers said. “Our core values at ESB Financial are integrity, excellence, success and community. We strive for every one of our clients to be successful, because our success depends on how we were able to help our clients achieve their goals.” RIGHT AT HOME For nearly her entire life, Sommers has been working both professionally and in her “free time” to make Emporia a better place to live. Save for a few years in college along with brief stints in Georgia and Germany while her husband was drafted into military service, Sommers has lived in her hometown. Even those experiences, however, helped solidify her love of community. “People don’t realize how good it is in Emporia until they go somewhere else,” Sommers said. Her enduring positivity, philanthropic spirit passed down through family and tireless work ethic have made her a champion for Emporia and its causes since the 1960s; and she believes the best is yet to come. “There was a time in, probably, the 80s when we didn’t have a very good image of ourselves,” Sommers said. “On all sides of the town, we have a university that is the shining star of our community and a wonderful zoo. That is anchored by two special events — the Dirty Kanza and the Glass Blown Open. Until those started up, I don’t think we really thought of ourselves as a special location. I think Emporia will continue to be strong. It takes everyone pulling together in the right direction to make a community strong.”

• First app checked in the morning: The Weather Channel • Most used app: Text and Email

• Favorite finance/business app: Card Valet • Favorite travel app: American Airlines

• Top 3 people you text: My co-workers: Kim Botkin, Fred Harder, Michael Black, and Steve Bell • First app you check in the morning and last before bedtime: House Alarm app • At what battery percentage do you feel compelled to charge your phone? I charge it on the Mophie every night

• Where’s the craziest place you lost your phone: I've never lost my phone but I lost the abilbity to use it when it locked up on me on the WindStar sail ship cruising from Ephesus, Turkey, and the Greek Islands. • What social media app do you post on the most? I don’t post, but I check ESB Financial, Facebook and Instagram • App you wish someone would invent: Health app to diagnose COVID-19 • Biggest time-wasting app: Facebook

• What's on your home screen and why? A white southern Magnolia blossom from my yard … so that I can clearly see my folders and apps • How many photos are on your phone? 4,260 • Number of contacts on your phone: 826 • Last photo you took with your phone: A gorgeous Kansas sunset




Making a difference; leaving a legacy


hen Kansas State Normal School graduated its first class in 1865, two women were among those receiving degrees. Mary Jane Watson and Ellen Plumb have since inspired generations of women at Emporia State University to roles of leadership through hard work, determination and community involvement. Two of these women graciously agreed to share the story of their philanthropic journey with Sallie Magazine.

Marilyn Buchele 80 | EMPORIA LIVING


MARILYN BUCHELE Whether it’s making her famous homemade ice cream or supporting students through their endowed scholarships at ESU, Marilyn Buchele, along with her husband Ken, have made a long and lasting impact on campus that will be felt for generations. For Marilyn, who retired after 41 years with the university in 2014, giving back to the ESU community is just something you do. “I feel like the school was really good to me all those years I was there,” she said. “Ken and I have been really fortunate in our lives, and if there was a way for us to give back and help the students have success, we wanted to do that. It was important to us to help them to reach their goals.” Marilyn served as a layout assistant in the Print Shop, secretary to the Dean of Men and Dean of Women, the director of Veterans Educational Services, and executive assistant to four vice presidents for Student Affairs and the Dean of Students. Of all the work Marilyn did with students throughout her career, she found her work with student veterans to be particularly gratifying. “I thought, for all they’ve done for us over the years, that the least anybody can do is to listen and learn of their story,” she said. Marilyn considered her position more than just a job, according to Dr. Jim Williams, vice president for Student Affairs. “Our veterans make significant sacrifices in serving our country, and it’s only right that those sacrifices come with some benefits, including the benefit of furthering one’s education,” said Dr. Jim Williams, vice president for Student Affairs. “The director of veterans educational services is the link between our US veteran students and their federal educational benefits and ensures that they are applied accordingly. Marilyn took more than an administrative approach, she got to know and support the student veterans on a personal level, listening to and encouraging the students to continue to make progress on their educational journeys.” Command Sgt. Maj. Steve Harmon was one of those veterans. “Marilyn was the person a non-traditional military veteran student could count on to help navigate the sometimes overwhelming world of military education benefits. Her patience, expertise and follow through helped all of us start and continue our successful post military careers at Emporia State,” Harmon said.

Extending even more support to student veterans Marilyn and her husband established a $25,000 Buchele Scholarship in Honor of Veterans. “It’s our way of giving back to those whose sacrifices make it possible to enjoy the freedoms we have today,” she said. The couple’s love for ESU theatre also inspired the Ken & Marilyn Buchele Theatre Scholarship, and a $75,000 estate gift will one day establish two more funds: the Ken & Marilyn Buchele Athletic Department Endowed Fund and the Buchele Fund for International Travel Assistance for Honors Students. “[These] honors college students….. will have transformative international travel experiences and service-learning opportunities they will remember for the rest of their lives, motivating them to be outstanding, more informed citizens,” said Dr. Gary Wyatt, associate provost and dean of the Emporia State Honors College. Marilyn insists that the couple’s generosity is nothing out of the ordinary for our community. All gifts are important, regardless of their monetary value. “Every little bit makes a difference,” she said of charitable giving. “It can be just like donating the ice cream.” Following her passion and building future support for the things she has always cared about are ensuring that unlike her ice cream, Marilyn’s legacy will last forever. AUGUSTA SHEPHERD Augusta Dickson Shepherd grew up understanding the value of education. Wanting the best for their daughters, Shepherd’s parents ensured Augusta and her sisters could attend school in Eskridge where the girls would be qualified to teach school upon graduation. Her parents purchased a plot of land in Eskridge where the girls lived in a trailer, similar to a box car, with no electricity. Augusta graduated from Eskridge High School and went on to graduate from the Kansas State Teachers College in 1944 with a degree in business administration. “Her family believed so much in education, and in educating women,” said Joyce French, Augusta’s eldest daughter. Augusta met Hershel Shepherd when she was teaching school in Admire, after Hershel had returned home from World War II. French said her father, who was a gifted businessman, had not been able to pursue

Augusta Shepherd an education himself, something he later regretted. But even so, he would turn his knack for business into a number of successful endeavours throughout his life. The couple’s joint appreciation for education would inspire a lasting gift that would help clear the path forward for countless students. The Shepherd Scholarship program was started in 1994 with an initial gift of $150,000. The program has since grown with the support of Augusta, son Jim Shepherd, daughter Joyce and Craig French, daughter Judy and David Hawkins, and the family businesses. More than 300 outstanding students have been honored through the program since the initial awards were conferred in 1995. “The Shepherd Scholarship recipients are blessed with a scholarship that truly motivates students to excel and to become agents of change for the common good,” said Dr. Gary Wyatt, associate provost and dean of the Emporia State Honors College. The Shepherds wanted to play an active role in the scholarships, beyond the gifts. A family-style dinner is held prior to the awards ceremony each year as a way for the family to get to know the students and they have remained in touch with many of them throughout the years. There is a special bond built in receiving such a prestigious honor. Hershel passed away in 2001 and Augusta was proud to carry on the family’s

legacy by ensuring the Shepherd Scholars program continued to benefit outstanding students at ESU. The couple gave back in other ways, too. After Augusta noticed that Beach Music Hall hadn’t changed since her days as a student the couple provided a major gift for the renovation drive. The Shepherd Music Center, named in their honor, dramatically increased instruction and rehearsal space for the Music Department. It was a transformational construction project that continues to be a beloved space on campus. Augusta has stayed involved in more than just the scholarships over the years, as a member of the Emporia State Foundation Board of Trustees, President’s Club, Black & Gold Circle, Kellogg Society, Difference Makers and the Pacesetters. In 2019 Augusta established the Augusta & Hershel Shepherd Family Fund to support the Shepherd University Scholars Fund, the Music Department Endowed Scholarship and the Legacy Trust Fund, which provides support for the University’s highest needs. The fund will be realized with the donor’s estate gift. Augusta, now 99, is still involved in the Shepherd Scholars Program. French said she and her siblings will continue to support the university to honor their parents’ legacies of empowering and changing lives in a real and sustained way.




Written by Ryann Brooks 82 | EMPORIA LIVING


Amendment XIX

2020 Celebration 100 Years of Women's Right to Vote ̏The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.˝

This year we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the women’s right to vote. It was a journey filled with some extraordinary, inspiring and dramatic stories of women across the country fighting for the freedom to have their voice heard.

FALL 2020 | 83

Emporia's Own Suffragette

Each year Sallie Magazine asks a few local women to weigh in on a pre-selected topic. This year, in light of the 19th Amendment Centennial Celebration, we chose “freedom.” While winning the right to vote was a huge step in the right direction, it was just the beginning of women’s ability to enjoy the freedoms historically associated with that of men. The freedoms women have been afforded since 1920 continue to be a story marked with victories and defeats; and there is much work yet to be done. “Freedom” means different things to different people. On the following pages Lisa Soller, Genevieve Lowery, Jamie Dawson and Delia Guzman share what it means to them.



arah Price scanned a list of names of women known to be involved in the Kansas women’s suffrage movement. A museum registrar at Kansas State University’s Beach Museum of Art, Price had been asked to take part in a digital archiving project led by Binghamton University focusing on women’s involvement in social movements in the United States. The task was fairly simple — choose a woman involved in the Kansas women’s suffrage movement, research her and write a biographical sketch on her activities for the archive.




On the forefront of that fight were, of course, the women of Kansas, and one of those women was Emporia’s own, Sallie Lindsay White. On the following pages we celebrate the role Kansas played in the passage of the 19th Amendment and bring you the story of the wife of the Editor and Publisher of The Emporia Gazette who quietly, yet steadfastly, became a strong force locally and statewide in the women’s suffrage movement.

School Board Elections KANSAS WINS: Women can vote and run for school boards.

The list of names was surprisingly long, with a number of women that Price did not recognize. It was exciting and overwhelming, she remembered. How could she possibly choose one person to research out of so many names? And then, she saw a familiar name: Sallie Lindsay White, the wife of famed Kansan and publisher of The Emporia Gazette, William Allen White. “I saw her name and I knew who she was,” Price recalled. “I knew who William Allen White was — going through the Kansas public school system, you learn who he is. … I knew she was married to him and that’s all


State Elections KANSAS LEADS: Kansas is the first state in the nation to hold a referendum on state suffrage, but the resolution fails to pass.

Mother Rule The Suffrage Movement’s vision was inspired by Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy) women and the oldest operating democracy in the world. For a thousand years, Haudenosaunee women have held decisive political power in a society generally free of rape and domestic violence.

THE EARLY DAYS Sallie Moss Lindsay was born Dec. 3, 1869, in Nicholasville, Kentucky, the first of seven children born to Joseph Moss Lindsay and Frances “Fannie” Batchelder. Her father had served under the command of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan during the Civil War — one of “Morgan’s Raiders.” The family moved to Atchison, and then to Kansas City, Kansas, when Sallie was 8 years old. A bright student, Sallie became a teacher in the Kansas City school system at age 16. She became one of the youngest teachers ever to teach in the Kansas City school system. According to

Kansas State HIstorical Society records, Sallie loved her job and often encouraged young women to go into teaching because it would allow them to express themselves creatively. Sallie ultimately taught for five years. It was during that time that she read one of William Allen White’s poems in the Kansas City Star, meeting the young reporter and editorial writer soon after. The couple married April 27, 1893, in Kansas City. Two years later, they purchased The Emporia Gazette and moved to Emporia. Beverley Olson Buller, White family historian, said Sallie White was an active — if behind the scenes — partner with her husband in running The Gazette. “Sallie was a diminutive person — she was physically small — but she had a lot of backbone,” Buller said. “I think she deliberately stepped back and let Will be in a spotlight.. And she let Will get the credit for a lot of things that I think she did.” Buller said Sallie edited most everything that her husband wrote, something that had been verified by the couple’s son, William Lindsay White, years later.


City Elections KANSAS LEADS & WINS: First state in the nation to allow women to vote in city elections.


State Elections Second referendum on state suffrage fails to pass.

BALLOON DAY (1911-1912) Lilla Day Monroe (Topeka, KS) and hundreds of men and women pushed to pass suffrage for Kansas women in the general election of 1912. Their campaign was funded by balloon sales and thousands of women whose small contributions like selling extra eggs or a day’s worth of sewing, combined to redefine democracy in Kansas.


I knew. I just felt like she deserved her due. If I could help contribute a little of that research and give a little bit of history and shine a little bit of light on what she did for such an important social movement in the United States; I wanted to do that, for sure.” Price set to work, hoping to uncover clues about a woman who was so often overshadowed by her famous husband.

State Elections KANSAS WINS: Kansas is the 7th state in the nation to grant women full voting rights.

Lisa Soller

Occupation: Lyon County History Center Deputy Director. Age: 47. Children: Ciera and Bradley and two step-children, Josh and Sara. Spouse: J. Greg Jordan. Free time: I enjoy singing, watching our 5-year-old granddaughter and 5-month-old grandson and traveling. A person’s feelings on freedom is personal, like religion or politics. Freedom is based on life experiences and the choices we make and vice versa. There is no other ideology that brings us together and tears us apart. It stirs emotion and calls us to action. It’s fragile and complex. It is both the bull and the china cabinet. I took dozens of different directions writing this, and each time I circled back not to my experiences, but to the life experiences of other people. My chosen vocation exposes me to the most inspirational and heartwrenching stories from our collective past. For 20 years many of my personal views have been shaped by the multitude of stories I read every day. Freedom of some type — personal liberty, movement, security, pursuit of happiness, thought, political, social and religious — all play a role in every story told. Freedom is a basic human need, with no guarantee of its accessibility. I have read emotional accounts of freedom stolen, surrendered and denied. It’s been bought and sold like a commodity, based on skin color, gender and economic status. Stories of men and women battling for the freedom of complete strangers, yet deprived of freedom for themselves. These stories and the ideology of freedom connect us. Freedom is the common thread of humanity.

FALL 2020 | 85

Genevieve Lowery

Occupation: College Student at ESU, double majoring in Spanish Literature and Communication. Age: 21. Free time: In my spare time, I pray, read the Bible, participate in Christian Challenge, work with Never Too Young and play with my siblings!

“He witnessed her many times working with her husband and going into his study because they were gonna go over a chapter or whatever it was he was working on that day,” Buller said. “I think she must have been a very confident person. She would be happy helping her husband and stepping back, because she lived in an era when that’s what you were supposed to do and that’s what a woman did.” For a young couple marrying at the turn of the century, it would have been expected that the woman would take more of a background role. Sallie never returned to teaching, and instead threw herself into the life of

a housewife. But, that didn’t mean she was not active behind the scenes when it came to the newspaper or her husband’s political aspirations. THE KANSAS WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT Kansas women had started campaigning for the right to vote almost as soon as the state was formed. “Kansas was the first state to put women’s suffrage to a referendum,” said Lisa Soller, deputy director of the Lyon County History Center. “In 1867, it was African-American suffrage as well as women’s suffrage, giving these two marginalized groups, should we



A Lawrence temperance National Elections advocate, she persuaded NATION WINS: Kansas is the African American Women 4th state in the nation to to support suffrage. ratify the 19th Amendment.


Freedom is the ability to make your own informed choices. As an adult, I have the freedom to choose if I am going to eat a plate of chocolate chip cookies for supper or something substantial that has actual nutritional value. Freedom allows me to research the advantages and disadvantages of my options. Chocolate chip cookies are going to taste really good, but they will probably leave me with a stomach ache and the sugar will bring down my immune system. As a Christian, I believe that I am free in Christ. I can choose to do whatever I want, but I also have God guiding me toward the best choice. His Word (the Bible) informs my understanding of which decisions will lead to a full, beautiful life — and which will lead to hurt and brokenness. We choose which information we believe. This is why it is so important for us to make sure our sources are reliable and identify our personal biases. Otherwise, we may limit our freedom by trapping ourselves in an echo chamber, where we only hear our own voices repeated back to us. That sounds like solitary confinement to me. Don’t make yourself a prisoner. Let’s live into freedom by doing our research and making the best possible choices.




for the Atchinson Blade in her 20’s, hotly refuted the notion that black women were content with their position in life. Along with Ida B. Wells and other African American suffragists, she encouraged black women to “get involved in politics” and fought against white supremacy during the Women’s Rights campaign.

give them the right to vote? Here in Lyon County, the women’s suffrage aspect lost by big numbers, but the African-American movement won.” Soller said it took 20 years for Kansas to make history with women’s suffrage again. In 1887, Kansas became the first state to allow women to vote in municipal elections. Suffragettes attempted another state amendment in 1894, which was also defeated. “So, in 1867 Kansas women are fighting for the right to vote and we didn’t get it until 1912,” Soller said. “Nationally, we didn’t get it until 1920. There’s a lot of three steps forward, 10 steps backward in this fight, but there are also a lot of those small victories, like being able to vote in school elections or municipal elections. They all added up.” Ultimately, Kansas was the eighth state to open its polls to women. SALLIE SUFFRAGETTE Although Sallie Lindsay White kept much of her work behind the scenes, Price found not only was she part of the Kansas women’s suffrage movement, she was one of the higher ranking members in the state at one time. Sallie was involved in the Kansas Equal Suffrage Association, becoming the organization’s auditor in 1911. She was elected auditor again for the 1912-13 term — the same year

Kansans approved the Equal Suffrage Amendment to the state constitution. In June 1919, Sallie was elected as recording secretary to the League of Women Voters of Kansas, which had replaced the Kansas Equal Suffrage Association. Several months later, she became the organization’s second vice president in Oct. 1919, when the previous president’s health declined and the group had to reorganize its officers. Price speculates that the lack of information on Sallie’s activities is not for lack of interest. Rather, it was a calculated move on her part as a way to keep the attention away from herself and the spotlight firmly planted on her husband. “I had looked at another suffragist at the same time I was working on Sallie, and her activity was much more out there in terms of visibility,” Price said. “She was not a prominent political figure and she was not related to a prominent political figure, but she was related to a prominent business person, and her activity was much more obvious and flagrant. She was much more radicalized in her activity than what Sallie White was doing, and I think there was definitely some intention there, whether she was bridging a gap with trying to support her husband or if she was doing this as a support to what he was working on.” Price wonders what came first. Had Sallie Lindsay White started

“WE WOMEN DEMAND AN EQUAL VOICE; WE SHALL ACCEPT NOTHING LESS.” — CARRIE CHAPMAN CATT JANE BROOKS At the final convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1919, the League of Women Voters (LWV) was born. Jane Brooks was elected National Chair and started the first local League of Women Voters in the United States in Wichita, KS. Local leagues across Kansas were all committed to civic education.

Delia Guzman

Occupation: Spanish Teacher and Sponsor of Latinos Unidos at Emporia High School. Age: 31. Family: I am the happiest aunt in the world with two nieces and three nephews. In my spare time, I cook with my parents and I just love spending time with my family. My name is Delia Guzman. This is my sixth year as a Spanish teacher at Emporia High School. I moved to America when I was 18 years old and I did not know a word of English at the time. I attended Emporia High for my senior year, which was not easy. Being in a completely different place and culture — different language, different lifestyle and no friends — was a challenge that I had to overcome. When I graduated from high school, I was so scared to go to college because I didn’t feel confident with the language. Despite my language abilities, I decided to attend ESU for my teaching degree. I graduated in 2015 and, two years later, I went back to do my Masters in TESOL. I know that if I would have stayed in El Salvador, it would have been more difficult to get to where I am now. Freedom looks different in different countries. For women in El Salvador, we are free to pursue an education, but it comes at high risk. Women are always at risk of getting robbed, kidnapped or raped on the way to school. Here in America, I was able to get my education and not have to worry as much about my safety. Despite the obstacles, I believe that all women are free to succeed in life.

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Jamie Dawson

Occupation: History and Government Teacher at Emporia High School. Age: 38. Children: I have three children: Olivia (18); Owen (11) and Oaklie (9). Free time: In my spare time, I like to: read, sample craft beers and travel. Let me take you back to 1992. I spent that summer with my grandparents, living the best 10-year-old life. There was fun and play, but what I remember most that summer was sitting with my grandfather watching the Ross Perot infomercial campaign ads. At 10, I had no real clue about elections, but knowing that my grandpa, who was rarely excited about much, was engaged and involved in this election sent me a very clear message. Fast forward to November, to the school election. I was so excited because for once I felt like I knew what this was all about. If my grandpa thought this was important, it WAS important. I proudly cast my vote for Perot, who lost. I don’t tell you this story to point out that I have always been a little nerdy. Instead, I want to stress the impact of adult advocacy upon our youth to not only vote, but be involved in the civic processes and engaged in their communities. Our youth look to us to learn how to act. We teach them to stand still and wipe their mouth with a napkin, but somewhere along the way, we stopped stressing the importance of being civically engaged, and it shows. As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of some of the greatest activism in our history, I challenge each of you to be the change we need. Our sisters fought for this expansion, and I, for one, don’t want to let their legacy down. This November, I will be taking my kids to vote with me, as I always have, and I challenge you to do the same.

her husband on the road to women’s suffrage or vice versa? Based on what we know of Sallie, Buller believes it would have been a mutual interest. William Allen White’s mother, Mary Ann Hatten White, had been sympathetic to the suffragette movement. Susan B. Anthony is even said to have visited the White family home in El Dorado. “He married a woman about as strong as his mom,” Buller said. “His mother was widowed when Will was 14 and she would have been in her 40s at that time. She managed to build her own house there in Emporia and she was a real strong person, and so it goes to figure that Will would marry someone strong-minded like his mother.” And Sallie may have been more behind the scenes, but that did not mean she had no vested interest in the operations at The Emporia Gazette. “I’ve read more than one place from people that worked in The Gazette back then that if Will was out of town, Sallie would pop in a lot more than she usually did,” Buller said. “They said you needed to be at the top of your game, because if you weren’t, Sallie would call you on it.” Sallie was also passionate about a number of issues. That, Buller said, was evident based on the groups with which she was involved. After women’s suffrage was passed in 1919, the Kansas League of Women Voters took on a number of platforms — or “schools”

— to act upon to help educate women in society and politics. They discussed American citizenship, protection of women in industry, child welfare, improvement of election laws and methods, social hygiene, unification of laws concerning civil status of women, food supply and demand. Many of these issues would be mirrored in William Allen White’s involvement in politics and would be coerced or editorialized in The Gazette. The Whites would host a number of high-ranking visitors to their Emporia home or their cabin in Moraine Park, Colorado. “She was a wonderful hostess,” Buller said. “She always enjoyed a houseful of people. Her husband enjoyed inviting even presidents to visit, and Sallie made that possible. She hosted meetings of organizations in her home often, including the Kansas Authors Club, to which her husband belonged.” The Gazette was actively publishing editorials in support of the local suffragette movement during this time. Jane Addams, a leading figure in the national suffrage movement, visited the Whites at their home. Although no supporting records have yet been uncovered, Price and Buller both believe Sallie White could have been the president of the Kansas LWV at some point. Soller said the lack of records is a common problem. “That has been probably our biggest

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obstacle and struggle with anything regarding women and minorities is the lack of documentation, the lack of primary resources,” she said. “We have to rely a lot on newspaper accounts and finding those lesser-known stories, those accounts that are hidden in the newspapers.” If Sallie had plans to take on a larger role in the movement, those plans were sidelined when the Whites’ daughter, Mary, died at age 16 in 1921. After that, Sallie devoted herself largely to her husband and her household, Buller said. SALLIE TODAY If Sallie were alive today, Buller believes she would be active in politics supporting a number of important issues. “She would be supporting the Me Too movement,” Buller said. “I think Sallie set that bar really high. She was a beautiful woman, but she didn’t care one bit about what clothes she wore or anything like that. She was all about helping other people and using her mind. She would want women to be respected and treated as equals to men. In the 60s, she would have been involved in the Civil Rights movement.” Buller also believes Sallie would have supported the current movement for civil rights — Black Lives Matter. “She would have supported Black Lives Matter, of course, because she was saying Black lives matter back when she lived here in Emporia,” Buller said. “And, of course, she’d support the League of Women Voters.”

“I’m a very small part of it, but all of these women were doing a small part,” she said. “The whole group as a whole — spread out across the country — was making a huge difference because of the sheer amount of work going into it. You get in your history courses the brief highlights of the movement, and it wasn’t that long ago. We’re talking about the 20th century. I think it’s surprising to women now that it wasn’t that long ago that you couldn’t vote.” LESSONS LEARNED Price said the type of quiet, continuous work that women like Sallie Lindsay White performed is what won women the right to vote. “We often hear about the more radicalized participants in the movement, and there were some very extreme people, and this is true today, too,” she said. “That

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steady serving in those positions within the organization, serving as an officer, serving in your community, and we know she definitely was doing that, whether it was labeled suffrage or not.” Price said thousands of women doing that around the state — and around the country — is what pushed support for suffrage. “I think that’s a big takeaway that we need,” she said. “There were many, many women that were doing work, and it wasn’t always radicalized and it wasn’t always very obvious, but it was always helping to push that movement forward.There were many, many women that weren’t even listed as an official member or officer, but were participating in community drives and socially progressive in education … women working in their city and their community across the nation doing small things that were going to improve society as a whole. And Sallie was a perfect example of that.”

Timeline information courtesy of the League of Women Voters

Our nation’s story is still being written for women and for all americans. The most powerful tool you can use to shape our democracy is to What will you do with your vote in 2020?


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HARTFORD/NEOSHO RAPIDS • Hartford UMW Penny Suppers First Saturday of March-May and September-November • Neosho Rapids Memorial United Methodist Church Ice Cream Social (June, July, August) Church Bazaar (Last Saturday in September) • Neosho Rapids Haunted House Last three Saturdays in October Cancelled due to COVID • Hartford FBLA Luncheons Monthly (usually third Sunday of each month with some exceptions)

* All Events are Subject to Change



• A Day to Honor Fall - Cancelled due to COVID • Food Pantry 2nd Wednesday and 4th Saturday

OLPE • Olpe Downhome Days 2nd Weekend in July • Knights of Columbus Breakfast 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month (except June and July) • St. Joseph’s Parish Labor Day Barbecue and Dance September



• Lighted Christmas Parade First Saturday in December • Christmas Decoration Contest December


• Men’s Breakfast First Saturday of each month


• Community Breakfast 4th Saturday each month • Harvest Dinner - October


• NLC Youth Association Breakfast 3rd Saturday each month • Fish Fry - April


• RCD Light Up The Town - December • Celebration of Heart - December • Trunk-Or-Treat - October 31st. • Celebrating 150 Years

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• Oct. 4 - St. Anthony's Chicken and Noodle Dinner • Oct. 18 - St. Anthony's Church Hall Golf Tournament

NOVEMBER, 2020 • Nov. 5 - Celebrate CrossWinds Annual Fundraiser Breakfast • Nov. 28-29 - Chase County Country Christmas

JUNE, 2021 • June 3-5 - Flint Hills Rodeo • June 11 - River Suite • June 12 - Symphony in the Flint Hills

SEPTEMBER, 2021 • June 7 - Flint Hills Ranch Rodeo • June 25 - Woodfest

NOVEMBER, 2021 • Nov. 27-28 - Chase County Country Christmas


EDITION * All Events are Subject to Change