Page 1

SUMMER 2015

FREE – Take One

Youth make beautiful music Home school

Call of duty

Moonlight Serenade

Rural Newton family has 11,000-square-foot house

Newton man serves in military during World War II, FBI

Bethel instructor performs with Glenn Miller Orchestra

Har-


From the Publisher VOLUME 3 • NUMBER 1

H

arvey County is a pretty neat place. It is vibrant, full of love, and the people here genuinely seem to care about where they call home.

CO-EDITORS Don Ratzlaff Wendy Nugent

FEATURES, PHOTOGRAPHY Wendy Nugent Kelley DeGraffenreid Mark A. Rolland

SALES Bruce Behymer Wendy Nugent

CREATIVE Shelley Plett

PUBLISHED BY Kansas Publishing Ventures LLC Joey Young, Publisher 116 S. Main, Hillsboro, KS 67063 620-947-5702

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I won’t act like I have been a part of a lot of what makes Harvey County grand. I am fairly new to the area—my wife went to Bethel College and loved it here, but to be honest our time here has been short thus far. But being from outside of a community has its certain advantages, and as I spend more and more time in Newton and Harvey County, I am refreshed by the values I described above. Those are probably things you all, the ones who have lived here a long time, take for granted as what makes home, home. As with all things, there are things we would like to see improved and Joey Young, Publisher changed in our community to make it better no matter how great it already is. Some people want new restaurants, places to shop, a certain development, or whatever, but often times those calls are left unanswered because the people who would bring those types of things are inaccessible. We aren’t inaccessible, though. We are here, and we have heard your call for local journalism in this community. The call is getting answered. Our plan is to launch a new, all local all the time newspaper in August, but there is still much to be done. In this instance, you can help bring what you want to town. You can have a direct impact on local journalism in Newton. We need your support as we aren’t some giant corporate company that can just start something on faith. We are just like you—simple folks who care about their community and want to make it great and instill the values that make it wonderful. How can we do that? Quality local community journalism. Please support our effort and subscribe to Newton Now—now. Enjoy the magazine, and in just a few short months, we hope to be in your mailbox weekly.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

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Wendy Nugent wendy@harveycountynow.com 316-284-0408

HarveyCountyNOW.com does not knowingly publish or accept advertisements that are misleading or fraudulent. Publisher reserves the right to cancel or reject any advertisements. Kansas Publishing Ventures LLC does not assume any financial responsibility for typos in ads. If at fault, however, Kansas Publishing will reprint any portion of the advertisement where there is an error. Location of ads, size of type and style are left to the discretion of the publisher. Opinions in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. ©2014 Kansas Publishing Ventures LLC.

2 | HarveyCountyNOW.com Summer 2015

Mojo’s brews up some business

12 Call of duty

Newton man serves in FBI, military

26 16 Home

Rural Newton family resides in former school

Sports NHS player has something to dribble about

ON THE COVER: From left in back are Adah Hodge and Lily Schloneger and in front, Natalie Neufeld and Haniah Duerksen, all Suzuki students. Photo by Wendy Nugent


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Article and photos • Wendy Nugent

cover story

Suzuki program plucks at the heartstrings here’s one thing 8-year-old Anne Marie Koontz especially enjoys about playing the violin. “I just really like just feeling the sound,” the Suzuki Strings student said. “Sometimes you hear it. You can just imagine it in your brains, and you can just feel the beat kind of. You have to be playing it to get that noise in your body.” That helps her remember the tune she’s played. “Once you feel it, it just gets stuck in your head, and you never get it out unless you don’t practice it ever,” she said after attending a Suzuki Strings class at the Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts in Newton. Strings is the only area BCAPA offers in Suzuki, said Jessica Embach Jankauskas, director of Suzuki and strings at BCAPA. Youth can start on instruments at age 3, like Bridget Flavin, who played a 1/32nd-size violin that same day during a lesson, and the program can take them all through high school. Most of the Suzuki students at BCAPA are elementary school-aged. Flavin’s instrument appeared to be about the size of an adult’s hand. “They definitely get the ‘aaaw’ factor,” Jankauskas said about the little ones playing tiny instruments. The smallest violin is 1/64th-sized of a full violin. “We have violin and viola for Suzuki right now,” Jankauskas said. As of April 2, Newton Suzuki had 38 students under the guidance of five teachers, including Daniel Colwell (violin, viola and orchestra director), Janel Harms

4 | HarveyCountyNOW.com Summer 2015

(group and violin class teacher), Jankauskas, Rebecca Schloneger (previous Suzuki Strings director and violin) and Kara Tinn (violin). Jankauskas became the Suzuki Strings director in August 2014. Her resumé clearly shows how qualified she is for the job. Jankauskas co-founded Suzuki Strings of Austin, directed the strings program at Ambleside School in Fredericksburg, Texas, was assistant orchestra director at St. Stephen’s Episcopal school in Austin, and was viola instructor and outreach coordinator for the University of Texas String Project. She also was a clinician in the Texas towns of Amarillo, Austin and Dallas, and presented at the American String Teachers Association National Conference. Jankauskas appears to enjoy teaching strings to young students, making lessons fun and lively, while parents and other adults sit at the back of the classroom. The BCAPA teacher believes in the Suzuki philosophy. “Shinichi Suzuki was a man that came before his time,” Jankaukas said. “He created a pedagogical method based on his philosophy that ‘every child can learn’ given the proper environment. Parent involvement is critical to the method, which allows children to begin instrument study as early as 3 years old. Suzuki’s belief was that if every child studied music, they would become fine citizens. Music study requires persistence, critical thinking, fine motor skills, creative problem solving, time management. “Incidentally, many of his students became fine musicians as well as fine


........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Student Adah Hodge concentrates during a recent Suzuki Strings class. LEFT: Suzuki Strings student Elizabeth Hosford's fingers with painted nails are set firmly on a violin as she plays during a recent class. HarveyCountyNOW.com | 5


people. There are many, many professional musicians, both performers and educators, that were taught via Suzuki method. As Suzuki teachers, we are all very excited about all of the brain research which points to Suzuki’s core belief, which is that talent is not something you were born with, but rather something to develop.” The 8-year-old Koontz, a North Newton resident, seems to be one of the student developing her talents. She’s in her third year of violin playing, as she began in kindergarten and now is in the second grade. Her imagination embellished a story about one of the pieces students play — “Gavotte” by Gossec. This is the most difficult piece in the book, Koontz said. The storyline is about royalty, she said, with two Jokers, the Queen and the King. It stops with the Joker and the Joker. Her favorite part is the second Joker. “It just feels like when you get right down, you’re right back up,” she said about that part. “The Queen section feels like she’s ice skating because it’s so smooth until she does a spin, Koontz said, adding “a humungous spin.”

Koontz said the King part is really difficult. “It just feels like he’s trying to do stuff and falls and gets back up and falls down,” she said. Each child makes the story his or her own, and various tales about what the story involves get passed from parent to student and teacher to student, said Koontz’s mom, Esther Koontz. For example, Esther Koontz said she first heard the story four years ago from John Mark’s violin teacher. John Mark is Koontz’s brother. Esther passed the story to her daughter, who then “embellished it and made it her own.” In addition to “Gavotte,” other songs Koontz has learned include “Twinkle,” “Lightly Row,” “Song of the Wind,” “Minuet 1 and 2” and “Happy Farmer.” Koontz enjoys playing the violin, although sometimes at home she gets distracted. But at BCAPA, that’s another story. “When I think of this place, I think, ‘Violin. Oh wow,’” Koontz said, adding sometimes she thinks, “Oh my, this is going to be such a good time. Then you play better.” However, when she’s not fully interested in it, she said it “gets more dramatic” for her. Students, like Koontz, start with a private

lesson and level-appropriate class on a weekly basis. Classes are based on their core repertoire, and they have supplementary courses, such as reading and orchestra. Koontz’s teacher, Jankauskas, started playing a wee bit earlier in life than she did. “I began the violin at age 4 in a Suzukibased program in the Chicago suburbs,” Jankauskas said. “My father is a jazz musician, so music was definitely in my home environment.” Jankauskas, who teaches Pre-Twinkle (a beginning group class), Book 1 and Books 2-4, has developed a music philosophy. “Being a Suzuki teacher, I believe in the ability of our students to make music at a high level,” she said. “In group classes, I am always working with students to become better listeners and refine their technique and musicianship through repertoire. I achieve this through games, challenges and keeping the students playing and thinking all the time. “Group classes not only reinforce the technique and repertoire learned in private lessons, it teaches ensemble skills of playing together, matching bowing, intonation,

.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. ABOVE: Jessica Embach Jankauskas, director of Suzuki Strings at Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts in Newton, leads a class at the Academy. OPPOSITE: Jessica Embach Jankauskas teaches Bridget Flavin, 3, about playing the violin at the Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts in Newton. This violin is a 1/32nd size. 6 | HarveyCountyNOW.com Summer 2015


“I just really like just feeling the sound.” blending sound and also provides the children with a peer group of people sharing a common passion.” This summer, Suzuki Strings plans to add some new courses, such as a tour group, All-State preparation classes for string students in high school and Christmas music in July to prepare for a holiday concert, Jankauskas said. Most of the group classes are after school and into the night Tuesdays, while private lessons are given Mondays through Saturdays. “BCAPA strives to keep tuition low to make art education accessible to every child,” Jankauskas said, adding they offer some scholarships based on financial need, and they’re always grateful for donations. For more information, call BCAPA at 316-283-4902. Donations can be sent to BCAPA, 400 S. Main St., Suite 110, Newton, KS 67114. The Suzuki director believes there are advantages to playing music. “Some benefits to studying violin and viola are the ability to express oneself with music, increased brain plasticity, improved study skills, increased scholarship opportunities (for college), stronger bonds between parent and child, parents improve their skills as educators, students learn poise and how to present themselves well,” Jankauskas said.

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commerce

Article and photos • Wendy Nugent

T

he refrains of the “Happy Birthday” song echoed through the java-scented air at Mojo’s Coffee Bar one March afternoon as several young men sang to a friend after purchasing a variety of beverages at the North Newton business.. This vignette in time is a perfect example of what patrons do at Mojo’s — gather, have fun and drink great beverages. Those young men are just some of the people who patronize Mojo’s, which is in Schultz Student Center at Bethel College. (Mojo’s also has a kiosk at Newton Medical Center.) A multitude of people gather there, whether it’s to meet for coffee and chat, conduct business meetings, have first dates or be on the receiving end of interviews. It’s a place where people can enjoy a relaxed time and have fun. “We all have home and we have work, and we all need a third place where you feel comfortable and welcomed, and we want to be that place,” said Patty Meier, Mojo’s owner. Meier doesn’t know of any love connections that have been made there, but she said, “I bet we have (had some).” “We have a lot of people that meet here for different things,” she said, sitting at one of the tables. Meier estimated about 40 percent of Mojo’s customer base is comprised of students, faculty and staff at Bethel College,

while 60 percent comes from the community. In addition to serving customers, the coffee business has brewed up a variety of events, such as Music on the Patio in the summers; a Harry Potter-themed night when Kidron Bethel Village resident John Buckner and his crew made wands for attendees; Trivia Night; and performances by a variety of groups and individuals. Meier said Music on the Patio probably will return this summer. For that, musicians perform on the outside deck, and the street in front of Mojo’s is blocked off so people can sit and listen. The event draws 40 to 50 people. “That’s so much fun,” Meier said. Fun isn’t the only goal Meier has in mind; she’s also community minded. The proceeds from the Harry Potter night went toward Joplin tornado relief. Trivia Night happens a couple of times a month, Meier said. “That’s been really popular,” she said. Groups from Bethel College, such as Woven, Open Road, jazz and an improv group, have performed there, as well as “The Voice” contestant Kaleigh Glanton, who started playing there when she was in high school. Glanton also performed there while she still was a contestant on “The Voice.” Mojo’s also has had a couple of coffee cupping events, where the public is invited

to learn about coffees from different areas, Meier said. Having gatherings and serving coffee are reflected in the coffee bar’s mission, which is three-fold, Meier said: to serve exceptional coffee, to provide extraordinary service, and to make friends and have fun. “As a staff and with our customers, I feel like we’ve made a lot of friends, and we have fun,” Meier said. “This space has become everything I’d hoped it would be. It’s an open space for all. It’s very intergenerational.” Customers range in ages from the very young to residents at Kidron Bethel, a North Newton retirement community, Meier said. “Our clientele is so loyal,” she said. “I’ve just made so many good friends just being here.” The idea of opening a coffee shop had been percolating with Meier for some time. “I had actually wanted to have a coffee shop since I was probably about 20 years old,” she said. “I’ve always loved coffee culture.” However, she didn’t have the “guts or the money” until she was 44. At that time, she opened the Newton Medical Center location in December 2009, which has been in the main lobby area. Meier had heard NMC was interested in having a coffee

....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... One of Mojo's managers, Erin Engle, holds a glass of her latte art.

8 | HarveyCountyNOW.com Summer 2015


shop there, and she had also looked at some spaces in downtown Newton. “In conversation with (NMC), it sounded like a really good option,” Meier said. At the hospital, they mainly serve drinks and a few pastries. However, that location wasn’t without a challenge. During the first year, the Mojo’s kiosk wasn’t hooked to plumbing, so they had to cart water in water tanks. The hospital later added plumbing for them. Later, Meier was approached by a group working with the Bethel College Student Senate to get a coffee shop on campus, although she wasn’t the first person they asked. “It was nothing when I came into it,” Meier said of the space Mojo’s occupies that’s been called Bubbert’s. “I think it had been a year since something had been here.” Mojo’s opened at Bethel in September 2010. In December 2014, Mojo’s celebrated five years of being in existence with Newton native Chris Beck performing and cake being served. “I’ve been so enriched being here,” Meier said.

“I’ve definitely achieved my dream, for which I feel fortunate.” She said she achieved her goal better than she ever dreamed possible. “Not many people get to pursue something that’s been a lifelong dream,” Meier said. “I feel very fortunate to have met all the people who have walked with me in this journey.” Meier said she couldn’t have done this without her husband, Shane. “He does everything. He is awesome.” One of the things Shane does is fix machines, and he built a pour-over station. Like many businesses, Mojo’s needed to build on a name, but first Meier had to come up with one. Her mother’s name is Jackie, and Shane’s

mother’s name was Margaret. They discussed calling it MJ’s after their mothers, but as Meier played with the letters, she came up with Mojo’s. She researched the definition of “mojo,” and found it meant magical or charmed. “So it seemed perfect,” Meier said. The tagline for Mojo’s — Meet at Mojo’s — also seems perfect. A business is nothing without its employees, and Meier seems to have fun with them — joking around, smiling and working hard together. The majority of her employees are Bethel College students, although the business is separate from the college. Her managers are Erin Engle, a BC grad, and Meg Leatherman, a Bluffton grad.

HarveyCountyNOW.com | 9


One thing they’ve worked on is having the baristas become good at latte art, and they’ve even attended some latte art competitions. “They were so nervous,” Meier said. “We work very hard at training all our baristas about coffee and all aspects of coffee.” In addition to all the people she’s met and friends she’s made at Mojo’s, one of Meier’s favorite things is an annual event with employees. “One of my favorite things every year is the whole staff goes Christmas caroling,” Meier said. “We go one evening,” which usually is on a Friday night after they close the shop. While spreading great tidings of joy, they visit homes of some of their regular customers. These regular customers, as well as anyone from the public, can order from the wide variety of offerings at Bethel, such as a large selection of coffee drinks, salads, paninis, pastries, cinnamon rolls and cookies, including Grandma’s Cookies.

“We make everything here,” Meier said. All of their coffee drinks can be ordered hot, iced or blended. They also have a full line of non-coffee drinks, such as hot chocolate, chai, fruit smoothies and craft sodas, like bottled artisan and Italian sodas. Mojo’s also has more than 40 varieties of loose-leaf tea. Meier didn’t just jump into the coffee business blindly. “When I decided I was going to do this, I went to coffee school in Oregon,” she said. The school was intensive regarding a variety of topics, such as opening a coffee shop business, getting a business plan, how to run the shop once it’s open and how to choose a roaster. Meier picked PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. in Topeka as her roaster. “Right after we chose them, they were chosen as Roaster of the Year in the United States,” Meier said. PT’s does a lot of direct-trade coffee, which means they have a direct and per-

sonal relationship with farmers who grow the coffee. “They pay a premium for their coffee, much higher than fair trade,” Meier said. Coffee is grown in the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, which are 23.5 degrees north and south of the equator. These include places such as Indonesia, South America, Central America and Ethiopia. Even thought it can just take a few minutes to consume Mojo’s coffee, the journey it takes from bean to cup is a long one. The coffee comes from a lot of hard-to-reach places, and most is hand-picked, and washed and dried by hand. It’s a very labor-intensive process, Meier said, so many people have a hand in getting the coffee to her shop. “We respect that,” she said. The coffee then goes through a distributor, to the roaster, to Mojo’s and then the consumer. Meier didn’t start her career in the coffee business. She has a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and a master’s degree in education. She taught for eight years in Hesston public schools and five years at Hesston College. Although Meier considers herself kind of a foodie, she enjoys her coffee. “Coffee’s probably my biggest hobby,” she said, smiling.

........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Patty Meier, Mojo's owner, right, talks to manager Meg Leatherman behind the shop's counter. 10 | HarveyCountyNOW.com Summer 2015


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J

im Miller seems to believe in duty and serving his country. He spent three and a half years in the military during World War II and a great deal more years in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “I just did what I had to do and what I ought to do,” he said, sitting in his room at Asbury Park, a retirement community in Newton. “That sort of thing.” Miller was in the military because he enlisted — he wasn’t drafted. The 93-year-old Newton resident said he was part of a crew in the air force branch of the military, although he never served overseas. He was sent to the middle of the United States, he said, to prepare to go “over there,” but was sent back to where he originally was stationed, which was Rosecrans Field in St. Joseph, Mo. “I started three times — never got anyplace,” Miller said. During his first year at Rosecrans, Miller said, “I checked everything and everybody.” After that, he was given an office job. During his time at Rosecrans, Miller saw several U.S. presidents, such as Truman. He didn’t have a chance to talk to any of them, however. “I got tired of it, and they knew it,” he said about his office job. “So, they took me and sent me to a school on the East Coast.” At this school, Miller learned about airplanes and ended his military career with the rank of sergeant. “I knew airplanes,” he said. “I had been in and out of them all the time in the Guard.” One thing Miller did with airplanes was crawl into them to keep warm, away from the howling Missouri wind, he said. His ability to fly a plane later would be used at least once in the FBI. Miller was in the FBI from 1948 until his retirement in 1977. Miller spent most of his time in Missouri; he has a plaque on his wall from the FBI honoring his years of service. His duties in the FBI were many. “I was an accountant, but I did a lot of things,” he said. “I put a lot of people in jail.” He would participate in investigations and then arrest people, he said, although he doesn’t know how many. “They had a hundred types of violations, and I could investigate any of them,” Miller said. The federal violations included bank robbery and kidnapping. “We’d get up and go — everything,” Miller said. He did enjoy his job. “I liked it because you moved around,” Miller said. “You did different things. You

didn’t sit behind a desk all the time.” One time on an airplane, Miller said an “ol’ boy” came to him and asked if he remembered him. The man said, “You ought to. You put me in jail.”

“I just did what I had to do and what I ought to do.” Another time, Miller rode in a DC3 plane from Kansas City to the West Coast, and the pilot and co-pilot were young men who had been drinking. They asked Miller if he could fly the plane, and he said yes. So, they fell asleep and let him fly until they arrived at Reno, Nev., where the pilots woke up and landed the plane. “I could fly it after it got in the air,” Miller said about the experience, which happened around 1948. Early in his FBI career, Miller said he was assigned to three Kansas counties, although he was sent to other places in the state, too. “I was a clerk in the FBI to start with, and they’d move you around,” he said. Miller was assistant chief clerk in Cincinnati for less than a year while he waited for another opportunity in the FBI to come along. He didn’t, however, like everything about his FBI career.

......................................................................................................................... Asbury Park resident Jim Miller holds a plaque honoring his 29 years in the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“A job you have that long — there are certain things you don’t like, but you do it anyway,” Miller said. One of those jobs was being a night clerk from midnight to 8 a.m. with only a guard there to keep him company. After retirement, Miller didn’t just sit around. “(I did) a little bit of odds and ends,” he said. He kept busy. “You got to.” When Miller came home at night, he didn’t have a solitary life. He was married to his first wife, Emma, for more than 20 years, and they didn’t have any children. After she died, he married Carol, who had six children. His first wife is buried in Ohio, and his second in Hutchinson. Before any of this happened, Miller was born on Jan. 3, 1922, in the hills of West Virginia. “It was hills — nothin’ else,” Miller said. When he was 8 or 9 years old, the family moved to Cincinnati. He had two brothers and one sister. They and his parents are no longer living. “Everybody’s gone,” Miller said. “I’m the only one.”

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s Dorothy said in “The Wizard of Oz,” there’s no place like home. But for Michelle Ruebke, there’s also no place like school — especially since it’s her home. The rural Newton resident, along with her family, has resided in an 11,000-square-foot former school since 2003. “I went to school here,” the mother of 10 said, sitting in her dining room. “We’ve been here 12 years. Since I’d gone to school here, that made it even more fun.” Years ago, she attended what was then Suncrest school, located southeast of Newton, in kindergarten and the fourth through sixth grades. The school was built in 1960 and closed in 1986. Initially, it housed eight grades, and then when it closed, it only had fifth and sixth grades there, Ruebke said. The former school is divided into many functional living areas, such as seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a formal dining room, kitchen, a two-bedroom apartment, living room and a gymnasium. Many of the rooms lead off of a main hallway. The formal dining room is where the school stage used to be, Ruebke said. A wall was added on

the north side to close it off. “The kids think we should’ve left it as a stage,” Ruebke said. This dining room is graced by a massive table that can seat up to 28, and they’ve filled it numerous times. The table, made by a Church of God in Christ, Mennonite, woman from the Canton-Galva area, has 13 leaves but can be reduced to a 6-foot table. It was a gift to Ruebke from her husband, Don, one Valentine’s Day. Ruebke, as well as the rest of the family, enjoy the school home. “I really like the ability it gives us to extend hospitality,” Ruebke said. They can have people over for dinner or have guests stay for days or months at a time. They work with international students and have had 18-20 such students over for dinner. They’ve also had open houses with as many as 250 people attending. Other family members have their own reasons for liking the home. “I like all the open yard,” 10year-old Michael said. “It’s so unique,” said Grace, 14. “When my friends come over for the first time, they’re like, ‘Oh, my word. Your house is so huge.’”

“(I like) how it fits us all, like the space and everything,” Meghan, 10, said. The kids also seem to enjoy having a gymnasium. “I’m a dancer, so it’s really nice to have that to practice routines in and to jump and run around in,” Grace said. The gym is the kids’ playroom, Ruebke said. “It’s nice when it’s cold out or wet, and they can come in here and play,” Ruebke said. When one enters the home, there’s a large foyer with a family room to the left, which leads into a kitchen that has light-colored cabinets and a breakfast bar. “The kitchen was the school kitchen and pantry and all that, so that’s what it’s used for,” Ruebke said. Ruebke calls the family room “my French room.” Ruebke enjoys that country, as she speaks French, and the children study French in school. The dining room also is off the foyer. To the right is the family’s schoolroom, since they home school. So, there’s a schoolroom inside a home that used to be a school. The schoolroom is in the school’s former cafeteria.


lifestyle

................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ The living room in the two-bedroom apartment at Don and Michelle Ruebke's home in rural Newton has a welcoming feel with retro colors and a modern feel. OPPOSITE: Michelle Ruebke, second from left, sits in the family room with three of her children, from left, Meghan, 10; Grace, 14; and Michael, 10. The photo in the foreground shows the entire family with Ruebke children, their spouses, grandchildren and a great-grandmother. Five of the Ruebke children still reside at home. HarveyCountyNOW.com | 17


Bordering the top of some walls in the schoolroom are flags from countries they’ve visited, as well as many books and two rabbits — Clover and Honey — which were birthday presents to twins Michael and Meghan last year. There’s also flags from every state. Further down the homey decorated hallway are bedrooms, living room, laundry room, an apartment and the gym, as well as other rooms.

Rooms are decorated well. For example, the living room has deep red walls with a travel/worldly feel in the décor, while a girls’ tidy bedroom sports pink bedspreads on two single beds with an Eiffel Tower and a tree painted on a wall with fairies in it. The tower and fairies glow in the dark. The master bedroom, which was the school library and office, has a Caribbean theme. The master bath was the girls locker room. In the master bedroom is a sitting area, where Ruebke does her prenatal appointments, since she’s a midwife. A wall was added to the former kindergarten room, dividing it into the living room and a guest room; the guest room also is used as a birth room. In addition, the bathrooms have themes so they all know which bathroom they’re referring to, such as the “Rockwell” or

“Peacock” bathrooms. The boys locker room was turned into two full baths. In all, Ruebke estimated they have 18 rooms, and they did much of the renovations. Walls have been added to classrooms to make smaller rooms and closets. For example, the family turned one whole classroom into a two-bedroom apartment complete with a living room, kitchen, full bath and laundry room. One of their daughters is married to a Frenchman, and they have two children. They lived there until they found a place of their own at the end of April. “We always have somebody coming and going, so it won’t be empty for long,” Ruebke said. The apartment’s living room is decorated in bright green, orange, tans and black,

........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ The living room at the home of Don and Michelle Ruebke has a sectional that appears as though it can seat all 10 of their children and then some. INSET LEFT: The guest room/birthing room at the Ruebke home is decorated in a variety of colors. INSET RIGHT: The exterior of the Ruebke home. 18 | HarveyCountyNOW.com Summer 2015


giving it a modern feel. A trunk, which serves as a coffee table, is Granny Smith apple green and brown. Green and orange pillows adorn a tan sectional. The apartment was the fourth-grade classroom and then the Ruebke’s garage. “It’s amazing what one classroom can fit,” Ruebke said. What Ruebke called the “big girls room” will be used by two foreign-exchange students in August. Before any of this happened, another couple bought the school in 1990 and spent eight years starting the conversion, doing much of the drywall and flooring, Ruebke said. As a school, the walls weren’t very homey, since they were made of concrete blocks. “They did the basics as far as drywall and flooring,” Ruebke said. The Ruebkes definitely had enough room for their large family when they moved in. “We had eight (children) when we bought the school, and the twins were born here,” Ruebke said. “I’m a midwife, so all of our kids were born at home by other midwives.” Five of their children still live at home. Their children, in addition to Grace, Michael and Meghan, are Anna, 31; Jenna, 29; Melissa, 25; Faith, 23; Hope, 21; Jonathan, 19; and Charity, 17. One reason the Ruebkes bought a school was they wanted to have a home for all of them, so that as the family changed and grew, they could all be together during the holidays and other gatherings. ............................................................ The kitchen feels airy and light with light-colored cabinets and plenty of sunshine.

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Linscheid plays with Glenn Miller Orchestra

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any things can raise memories from the subconscious — a familiar smell, the touch of a loved one and even songs. For some, music performed by the Glenn Miller Orchestra can invoke memories and emotions from days gone by. “I’m (an) 88-year-old World War II vet,” Bill Janson wrote on YouTube in the comments section for the band’s “Moonlight Serenade.” “Playing it brings tears to my eyes.” “I love this song,” Olivia Martinez wrote on YouTube. “It reminds me of when I was a little younger, my dad would play this in the mornings and the night, and I loved it.” For about a year, Bethel College instructor Joel Linscheid was a part of bringing memory-invoking smooth melodies

20 | HarveyCountyNOW.com Summer 2015

to the public, since he was a member of The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. “It was neat to be a part of,” the 2009 Bethel College graduate said. “I’m glad I did it and (am) grateful for the experience. It was beneficial to me both musically and professionally.” In addition to “Moonlight Serenade,” the original band’s repertoire included “Tuxedo Junction,” “Sunrise Seranade,” “Strings of Pearls” and “The Lady’s in Love with You.” Glenn Miller’s orchestra formed in the 1930s, according to glennmillerorchestra.com, and the current The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra was created in 1956. Since then, the group has toured consistently and is the only big band left that tours full time. Glenn Miller himself died Dec. 15, 1944, after boarding a

transport plane. What happened to Miller is a mystery, as neither the plane nor Miller were ever found, according to biography.com. Just like the people commenting on YouTube, Linscheid said audiences really liked the music they performed.\ “The reactions were overwhelmingly positive, especially from the generation of people that grew up with this music,” Linscheid said. “Many of the older audience members had a clear sentimentality about the music and an emotional connection to it. There was smiling, crying, people getting up and dancing in the wings or aisles — and frequently an audible response from the audience when we began a song they knew. I had a few folks tell me that they had seen Glenn Miller perform live before he died and


Article and photos Wendy Nugent

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................................................................................................................. Bethel College instructor of music and director of jazz studies Joel Linscheid played with The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra for a year. HarveyCountyNOW.com | 21


how many great memories the music brought back.” Linscheid, a 2004 Newton High School graduate, auditioned for and joined the band in January 2012. “It was just a taped audition,” he said. “… The tape gets you there. The first couple weeks with the band is the real audition. … Once you get out there, you have to prove you can actually do it.” A couple of the guys were asked not to stay, Linschied said. That decision is up to the section leader, but the band leader weighs in on it. Linscheid learned about the auditions from a friend who had been in the band, and Linscheid sent in a variety of tunes. Linscheid stayed with the band from February 2012 to February 2013, he said,

his time with the band. “I didn’t get tired of the musical aspect of the gig.” What did tire Linscheid was the travel. “That’s the exhausting part of it — it’s not the music,” he said. “… It’s a routine of irregularity. That’s the part that after some time became tiresome.” Life on the road definitely is different than having an 8 to 5 job and then going home at night. On the road, there were no regular routines nor any kitchen in which to cook. Linscheid said band members are welcome to stay in the band as long as they wish, but most only are in it for a year; there’s quite a bit of turnover with people his age. “We played a lot of small-town theaters and high schools,” Linscheid said. “It was kinda neat to see different parts of the

North Newton native Joel Linscheid, left, performs with The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. Courtesy photo

and probably took part in 300 performances in a variety of venues. While in the band, Linscheid played the tenor saxophone, flute and clarinet. Most of what they played were original GMO tunes from the 1930s and ‘40s, although they also performed Frank Sinatra melodies from the 1950s and 1960s. “Most of the music was from the Glenn Miller songbook — what they would have played when he was alive,” Linscheid said. Linscheid’s favorite songs from the playlist included some of Miller’s hits, and they played those so often, he said it was nice to play something more obscure. When they performed at dances, they played for longer than they did for performances, so they had to dig deeper into their repertoire. The band also recorded a CD, “In the Mood,” in January 2013, of which Linscheid took part. “It’s all good music,” Linscheid said about 22 | HarveyCountyNOW.com Summer 2015

country that weren’t destinations.” The band also played a month each in Quebec in Canada and Japan. “Some of the venues in Quebec were really nice,” Linscheid said, adding about Japan, “Those were larger venues, so that was really neat.” He also enjoyed playing at the Orpheum in Wichita, where friends and family came to see him play. In addition, Linscheid connected with friends and family in various parts of the States throughout his travels. “So that was fun,” Linscheid said. While in San Francisco, the orchestra entertained on an aircraft carrier. They also performed with symphonies, such as those in Indianapolis and Buffalo. “It’s always fun to have different venues,” Linscheid said. Musically, the road band experience holds an important part in jazz history — performing with the same people every night

at a high level, Linscheid said. “It’s neat to be able to have that experience because there’s not that many big bands or jazz bands where you can have that kind of experience,” Linscheid said. “You learn what it takes musically to perform at a high level every night and also psychologically for what it takes to concentrate and focus on the music.” He added the audience doesn’t know or care if you drove 800 miles that day — they just want the music. This experience helped the Bethel College jazz director and saxophone instructor. “You still have to give them the same high-quality performance,” Linscheid said. “… I think I grew in terms of having to play every night — it was just a good thing. I certainly learned stylistically about that kind of music.” Linscheid played tenor and alto sax, as well as a little flute and clarinet in high school. He took on the alto sax in the fifth grade and switched to tenor in the eighth. While at Bethel, from fall 2004-spring 2009, he majored in music and earned his music education certification. Two years later, he received a master’s degree in jazz performance and pedagogy from the University of Colorado. During his last year at CU and the fall after graduation, he taught jazz history at CU-Boulder. Also after graduation, he was a freelance player in Denver. One of Linscheid’s biggest influences in music, he said, was being surrounded by his brother, Aaron, and friends who were interested in music, and jazz in particular. He said it was great to have his brother, a trumpet player who now performs in Kansas City, fellow sax player Brett Jackson and trombonist Andy Toews, as well as many others, provide competition and collaboration in his music formative years. He, his brother, Jackson and Toews would hang out during their high school years and play music. All were in jazz bands together in high school and at Bethel. Also, listening to the Count Basie Orchestra perform at Bethel when he was a freshmen fueled his love of music. “I think there were some early-on performances we went to that were exciting,” Linscheid said.


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Artwork, flags, guns, paper dolls Debra Hiebert passionate ab

Article and photos Wendy Nugent

out Harvey County museum

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here was a murder at a Newton museum about a year and a half ago, and director Debra Hiebert found it to be a happy time. And it was. The dastardly deed happened during Murder at the Manor Mystery Night, where patrons donned costumes and characters with names such as Shugga Ann Flower, the baker; and smarmy defense attorney Willa Lyalot. It was all in the spirit of having a great time, as it was a murder mystery event at the Harvey County Historical Museum and Archives, 203 N. Main St. It ended with Susan Garofalo (London Wilton) being the “victim,” and the baker as the killer. “It was just a fun way to use a historic building,” said Hiebert, who thinks the evening was the most fun event they’ve had there. Hiebert has been director of the museum, which is housed in the old Carnegie Library, built in 1903, since July 2006, taking over the position vacated by Roger N. Wilson.

Hiebert seems to be passionate about the museum, enjoying many aspects of the place. For example, in March in the Schroeder Gallery, an exhibit called “Stuff We Love: Favorites from Our Collection” was up, and it’s something Hiebert likes. Volunteers, board members, staff and friends of the museum individually chose items from the museum collection to put on display, which will be up through Dec. 5. “In this eclectic exhibit, visitors can find handmade Barbie clothes, an early radiocontrolled airplane, artwork, a quilt, a gun and more,” the museum website stated. Hiebert has several items she chose in that exhibit, including an airplane and a very long and skinny 1922 United States flag banner. “I loved this artifact from the first moment I saw it — it’s such a beautiful textile,” Hiebert has written on a card near the banner. “Then when I read the block printing on the flag and the history we have of it, that was even better — such a great story of support from past Harvey County

residents, and knowing that similar support still happens today, with local congregations sending resources to schools, hospitals and other institutions around the world.” The silk banner, dated Nov. 24, 1921, was sent from a church in Poland to a church in Newton as a thank-you gift. The exhibit also has a bed coverlet that looks brand new — except for the fact that it was cut in half — dating from the late 1800s, paper dolls from the 1920s of a family where only the mom and two small children look happy, and a bust of Abraham Lincoln. “It’s fun to walk through because it is so diverse,” Hiebert said of the exhibit, which was curated by Kris Schmucker. Another aspect of the job Hiebert enjoys is a program where she takes a box of nonfragile items from the museum to various groups, such as a middle school and Asbury Park, a retirement community. She has people guess what the objects are and then lets them tell how they acquired this knowledge.

............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Debra Hiebert, in foreground, leads the Murder at the Manor Mystery Night, which was a murder mystery event, in February 2014. HarveyCountyNOW.com | 23


“That one’s fun because it’s very hands-on; we do everything together,” Hiebert said. Another exhibit, “Serving Harvey County,” which also had programs to go along with it, also was hands-on for the public. The exhibit highlighted various professions. The museum took objects to Pages when it was open in downtown Newton and had the public guess what the objects were, or come up with something from their imaginations. People could write their thoughts on a large plastic posterboard. Hiebert also seemed excited about a new Retro Corner in the museum. The rotating exhibit, “Fancy-Dress Kitchen: Aprons,” will be on display through Dec. 5. Another exhibit, which is a Small Space rotating exhibit, “A Colorful Kitchen: 100 Years of Pyrex,” also will be on display through Dec. 5. The Retro Corner includes exhibits the museum has had in the past 20-25 years. “We’re just showcasing old exhibits that people still ask us about,” Hiebert said. “We’re just taking that opportunity to have that small-space exhibit.” The exhibits aren’t updated — they’re displayed like they were at the time they originally were up, and they also have some of the old text plates, which explain what’s in the exhibit. Although many of her duties are administrative, such as working on the budget, finances, staffing and marketing (except the blog and Facebook page), Hiebert also has been involved with an exhibit that opened March 21. It’s called “Fifty Years of Service: the Harvey County Courthouse.” Hiebert did the online exhibit portion of that project, which includes oral interviews with area folks talking about the old and new courthouses. One of those people is John Waltner, Harvey County administrator. That exhibit will be up for three years, and Hiebert hoped to have the online exhibit up by the end of March. Hiebert does enjoy her work. “There’s a lot of variety,” she said. “Sometimes that’s good, and sometimes that’s bad.” She said it can be bad because sometimes things she doesn’t enjoy doing so much get put on the back burner while she works on things she likes. She never works on the same

thing everyday. Another aspect of her job she enjoys is telling stories of community people. She said museum displays are less about artifacts these days and more about stories that need to be told or questions that need to be asked in the whole museum world, which is changing. “Our museum is not like any other museum,” Hiebert said. “We have similarities to other places, which is a benefit and a challenge at the same time.” For instance, she said in Clay County, 95 percent of the residents either grew up there or married someone there. So, they’re interested in the stories from long ago, because they themselves could have a tie to that story, perhaps through relatives. This isn’t so with Harvey County — a much lower percentage of people are from this county. People are interested in stories as they pertain to issues people face today. For example, the museum had a World War I display, which dealt with immigration and language. These still are issues we deal with today in Harvey County, Hiebert said. “We can’t just tell stories about the past,”

Hiebert said. “We have to (tie those into) what’s going on today.” Another example of tying the past into contemporary issues is when Arnie McCloud presented a program in February on Frances Anderson, a man who grew up in Newton, moved away and lived his life as a female billiards player. “He lived as a woman for 30 years,” Hiebert said. This was in the late 1890s to early 1900s. Although Hiebert likes her job, she listed some challenges. “When you have a 110-year-old building, that’s always a challenge, and trying to make that transition to serve today’s Harvey County community and be relevant,” she said. When she started in 2006, the front gallery area had already been renovated, which included removing plywood from the swooping windows. “When I started, that was one of the things we kept going,” Hiebert said about the renovations, which make the place more welcoming. In 2007, she talked to the board and staff, and they decided the Harvey County Hall, which is on the west side of the main floor, needed some love. Plywood also covered those windows, and the ceiling was an industrial sickly green. “It was just kind of coma-like,” Hiebert said about the gallery. In addition, offices were in there, which cut down on exhibit space. They raised money for the project, put low-emission glass in the 13 windows, repainted, moved the offices and added blinds. The restored room opened in October 2007. “It made a huge difference in how the room looks with the natural light and the paint,” she said. The last project they completed was putting up new storm windows the past two years, replacing the storm windows from the 1960s. The new storm windows help preserve the window wood and help the building look better, as well as lowering heating and cooling bills, Hiebert said. They did a taxcredit program to pay for a great deal of it, which was a $20,000 project. On the main floor alone, there are 26 windows. Hiebert also has been working on a tax credit for a gutter restoration project. “It has to be done because if you don’t, you get leaks inside,” Hiebert said. The director didn’t start her career in museums. In fact, she has a bachelor’s degree

............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Debra Hiebert has been director of the Harvey County Museum and Archives in Newton since July 2006. Here’s she sits near an exhibit of aprons. 24 | HarveyCountyNOW.com Summer 2015


business

in biology from Missouri Valley College, where she also studied communications. One of the early jobs she had in Kansas was being a seasonal naturalist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks during three summers. For that job, she did natural history programs. “It’s education, but not classroom formal,” Hiebert said. “You don’t have to have the same certificates as a classroom teacher.” Other places Hiebert has worked include Botanica The Wichita Gardens as director of education and Rock Springs 4-H Center near Junction City as program manager. Both jobs included administration work in addition to public programs. She’s been involved with informal education during her years of employment, as well as giving programs with her husband, Keven Hiebert, on Indian Wars and fur trade. “He does most of it anymore,” Hiebert said.

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sports A lady with something to dribble about

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uring Kate Lehman’s basketball court would be better By Mark A. Rolland four years playing than the best day anywhere else.” basketball for Newton Some of that work ethic may High School, coach have come from growing up on a Randy Jordan new she was dairy farm. For Kate Lehman, something special. sports and Basketball has been a “Many coaches will coach part of her life since her their entire career and not have childhood. All of her siblings the opportunity to coach a player enjoy athletics and they can like Kate,” he said. occasionally still get their dad to But Lehman may have join in on a game of pick up at surpassed even his expectations the gym. She recalls always with her performance during her having a competitive drive. career at Fort Hays State “My little brother and I used to University. play basketball together a lot, This year Lehman became the until he started beating me… first-ever player in Division II then we had to stop.” women’s basketball history to While playing basketball at reach at least 1,000 points, 1,000 FHSU she earned her degree is in rebounds and 500 blocked shots Elementary Education, with a in a career. minor in special education. She “ I’ve never had a player does some student teaching now accomplish that in my 30 years of and even has a few High School coaching,” FHSU Women’s ‘students of the court’ she is Basketball Coach Tony Hobson working with in Hays. When it said adding that she never missed comes to her future, she’s leaving a practice or game. “She is also it a bit open. “Graduate school is the only player in the country to an option… I would go to be a be 1st team academic and allreading specialist or something in American to go along with it,” he administration”. said. She said coaching would be She finished her time up at fun, but only at the collegiate Lehman said it took a lot of hard work and FHSU career with 1,917 points, 1,109 level. “There are just too many politics and passion to get there. rebounds and 515 blocked shots, on her way parental involvement at any lower levels. “I never missed ( a practice) because I to earning the school record in rebounds, free However, walking into a colligate position is loved going. If you enjoy what you are doing throws, blocks and double doubles. not a very easy thing to do”. it’s hard to be unhappy. My worst day on the The numbers on their own dazzle, but ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Some of Kate Lehman’s titles include: MIAA player of the year, MIAA Defensive Player of the year (three straight years), WBCA National Player of the Year Finalist, WBCA All-American First Team, BennenttRank.com NCAA Division II Player of the year. Her senior year rebounds were almost the same as her freshman and sophomore year combined. Photo by Bob Duffy

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recreation

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magine lying on the beach, the gentle summer breeze caressing your face as you relax and listen to children splash in the water. In the distance is the whir of a motorboat pulling a skier. Nearby, people chuckle as they cook hamburgers and steaks, filling the air with a wonderful barbecued meat scent that only warm summer air can bring. That’s the kind of relaxation many people have enjoyed at East Park for the past 40 years. The three parks in the county — East Park, West Park and Camp Hawk — are celebrating a 40th anniversary of sorts. Although West Park was established around 1938, East Park officially opened 40 years ago, said Kass Miller, director of Harvey County Parks. He guesses the train of thought was the parks department was formed when East Park was established. Later, Camp Hawk, which used to be a Girl Scout camp, was given to either the recreation center or YMCA, and then the county took it over, Miller said.

“I’m just learning this history by going • July 4 and 5: Washers Tournament at through board minutes of years past,” Miller West Park said. • July 4: Luminary Lighting at East Park In conjunction with the anniversary, a • July 11: Fireside Chat at 7 p.m. in East variety of events have been planned. These Park events started in April and continue through • July 18, 19: Mud Volleyball Tournament, July 25. The schedule for the remainder of East Park the summer is: • July 18: Jam Night, 7 p.m., West Park • June 6 and 7: State-sponsored “Free • July 25: Fire Side Chat, 7 p.m., West Fishing Weekend” Park • June 13: Movie under the stars, dusk in Fore more information, like them on East Park Facebook, call 316-283-5420 or visit • June 13: Fishings Future Family Fishing www.harveycounty.com/departments/parks. Clinic at West Park • June 20: Free camping for dad • June 20: Jam Night, 7 p.m. at West Park Michael X. Llamas, Attorney • June 21: Father’s Practicing in Harvey, Marion & McPherson Counties Day, build a bird feeder for dad Criminal Defense Juvenile Law • June 27: Movie • Felony Crimes • Misdemeanor Crimes • Minors charged with crimes Under the Stars, dusk • CINC Cases • Adoptions in West Park DUI and Traffic Defense Family Law • Speeding Tickets • DUI • Divorces (Contested & Uncontested) ................................................................................................................... • Driving while Suspended, No Insurance • Child Custody • Support / Paternity Cases Kass Miller, right, director of Harvey County Parks, and Jerry Howe, park ranger, work on a xeriscaping project May 18 at East Park. Former Prosecutor Framing them is a wheel from an old piece of farm machinery that is 111 E. Seventh Street  P.O. Box 176  Newton, KS  316-804-4990 part of the decorations.

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HarveyCountyNOW.com | 27


East Park offers a variety of activities, like camping and fishing.

“We want people to learn about our parks — that there’s more to do than just camping and fishing,” Miller said. For instance, naturalist Carol Dilts conducts the Fireside Chats and has a different subject each month, Miller said. “She develops different programs each summer,” Miller said. “It’s a great family event.” The topic for the 7 p.m. June 13 program is “Wings and Stings and Tadpole Tails,” which will be at the East Park Egret Shelter. This program is about dragonflies, mosquitoes, tadpoles and pond life. Dilts, who was the first naturalist in Kansas, usually brings animals to the chats and does a demonstration. At the conclusion of each Fireside Chat, participants roast marshmallows. “That’s always fun for the little ones,” Miller said. Earlier in the year, events included a Family Kick Ball Tournament, Musical Pot

Luck and an Easter Egg Hunt, the first the parks have ever done. “We had a lot of people show up for (the egg hunt),” Miller said. Only family-friendly movies will be shown at the Movie Under the Stars. “People can come out with lawn chairs and watch a movie,” Miller said. The parks department is bringing music to the parks again. For example, on the third Saturday of each month, there’s a jam night at West Park. Years ago, there was a bluegrass festival at that park. “Our goal is to get where it’s a festival again,” Miller said. Miller’s favorite event in the parks is Catch a Special Thrill (CAST), which is every June at East Park. The parks department joins with state troopers to provide a fun time for 30 mostly special-needs and at-risk youth, who get to fish in boats and from shore, as well as dine at a barbecue. Ten to 15 pro fishermen bring their rigs to the park,

and emergency workers, mostly from Harvey County, have a variety of vehicles for inspection, including an air ambulance, and vehicles from the sheriff ’s department and fire/EMS departments. In addition to events, the parks offer a variety of amenities. East Park has three swimming beaches and West Park has one. Camp Hawk doesn’t offer swimming, but has a fishing pond. At the East and West parks, horse and hiking trails go on for miles. And, of course, there’s water in which to place a boat. Gas-powered boats aren’t allowed at West Park, but they are at East Park. “It’s a great place to canoe and kayak,” Miller said about the East and West parks. “This is more of a more open-water-type atmosphere (at East Park).” People can take part in jet and water skiing, as well as tubing at East Park, and there’s no charge for launching a boat for fishing, kayaking or canoeing. There is a charge, however, for recreational boating.

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The parks offer day and season passes for camping, boating and horse trail riding. For the latter, people bring their own horses. East Park offers baseball backstops and sand volleyball courts. In addition, people can rent shelters at each park for various group gatherings. Also at East and West parks are xeriscaping projects going in. Xeriscraping is drought-resistant landscaping, Miller said. “It will all be native, drought-resistant plants,” Miller said. He said Dyck Arboretum and Stone Creek Nursery, both in Hesston, have been of great help with these projects. Although the parks are open year round, they have to shut off the water when it’s cold. However, there’s one time of year when patronage of the parks kicks up. “Once we hit Memorial Day, it’s busy, busy until school starts,” Miller said. Speaking of memorials, the East Park nature trail will have a memorial area where the ashes of deceased indigent folks whose remains have been in the county’s custody can be scattered. Right now, the county plans to replace a bathroom/shower facility and is developing overnight camping on the horse trails. Eventually, they’ll be able to accommodate horse competitions. The department has other plans, too. “We’d like to get our roads out here paved, but that is quite an expensive endeavor, so that’s more of a long-term goal,” Miller said, sitting in the East Park offices. “We’re really looking forward to the future and really excited about what we’re doing. We want people to take advantage of our parks.”

HarveyCountyNOW.com | 29


profile

By Kelley DeGraffenreid

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oday’s law enforcement officers are utilizing technology and data analysis like never before in an effort to predict when and where crime may occur. When Wyatt Earp wore a badge in the 1870s he practiced his own form of predictive policing when he famously banned guntoting in Dodge City. Earp could have never imagined the predictive policing methods used by today’s peace officers. Lieutenant Bryan Hall has a wide-ranging job description with the Newton Police Department. He works as a community liaison on social media, maintains the department’s official Facebook page, supervises training for the department, supervises the school resource officers,

30 | HarveyCountyNOW.com Summer 2015

oversees animal control and parking control and serves commander of the Harvey County Emergency Response Team. The part of his job he considers the most interesting is “predictive policing.” Unlike traditional policing, predictive policing does not primarily respond to crime, it works to prevent it. Surprisingly, Newton ranks high in Part 1 Violent Crimes in Kansas. Part I covers violent crimes such as aggravated assault, forcible rape, murder and robbery, and property crimes such as arson, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft. Based on population, Newton currently ranks third in the state behind Wichita and Leavenworth. Hall wants people to be aware that crime does occur. “They must have a healthy

appreciation that they can be a victim,” he says. Predictive policing hopefully will lead to a statistical change. “A lot of people think this type of police work leads to racial profiling,” Hall says, but he disagrees with that perception. “It is crime profiling,” which uses historic crime data to forecast geographic locations where crime events are more likely to occur. For example, “People tend not to break into cars when it is raining,” Hall says with a smile. It is possible to predict future actions based on behavioral analysis. “Everyone has patterns. They go to the same movie theater,


the same restaurants and they tend to go on the same day. When your patterns cross the path of an offender, that is when a crime will take place.” Blocking that path is the goal of predictive policing. “We’re not using race, we’re using place,” Hall emphasizes. Not long ago, Newton experienced a major outbreak of home burglaries. Using data analysis, the department was able to pinpoint a location of a possible suspect. Surveillance of the suspect resulted in an end to the string of burglaries. Is predictive policing comparable to “Big Brother?” Hall does not see it that way. Instead: “It’s like moneyballing crime instead of baseball.” Hall has become an expert on using the system. He was named the Bair Analytics 2014 National Officer of the Year for Crime Prevention. Currently, he is a criminal justice graduate student at Wichita State University, where he has been asked to become an adjunct faculty member next year. He will be teaching classes in predictive policing. Hall’s work in the realm of social media is a departure from what has been the norm for many police departments. “There has been a wall of silence for the longest time,” Hall says. A huge reason for this silence was the need to protect the rights of both victims and suspects. “Forever, you just said nothing—no comment.” Now, the emphasis is growing to keep the community better informed. Hall’s hope is to create “active participation and to have a voice with the community.” Another goal of the department’s social media presence is to prevent the public from jumping to conclusions. Often, rumors spread on Facebook or Twitter like wildfire, and. often the rumors are far removed from reality. Hall strives to “prevent unwarranted alarm” and provide an approachable presence in the police department. He has his own profile page and uses it to build relationships with the public. He says he believes in the

serving portion of “protect and serve,” and creating relationships is an important aspect of service. Hall says recent high-profile cases has created an atmosphere of distrust around the country in regard to police protection. He hopes the Newton department is able to keep open lines of communication with the public. “Every one of these guys who got into law enforcement did so because they truly care about he community and they want to help,” Hall says. Like many government agencies, the Newton department is facing a shortage of officers and resources. “We have lost so much experienced staff, and many duties have been delegated down. A lot of programs have been put on hold due to loss of staff.” Despite the difficulties, Hall says the department is moving forward: “Basic patrol services are our priority now.” “It is very difficult to hire officers in the current climate,” he adds. This is where building relationships can make a difference. The school resource officer program is hugely important. “You need positive interactions for learned behavior,” he says. “When kids only see an officer in a time of crisis, they don’t have the respect for law enforcement.” But, he adds, if children see an officer on a daily basis when situations are calm, they are more likely to build relationships. “You need positive interactions for learned behavior,” Hall says. As a part of the department’s community projects program, Newton officers are hoping to begin a monthly public coffee session to provide an opportunity for people to come together and talk. You can keep in touch with the Newton Police Department by joining its Facebook Page, which provides information all kinds, including a link to the RAIDS website where there is public access to an interactive crime map. HarveyCountyNOW.com | 31


Harvey County Now Summer 2015  
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