KANSAS! Magazine | 2018 Winter

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| VOL 74





Reader choice s’


you voted & you chose the state’s six favorite destinations.


Team Alpha Drones


home to huge celebrations that stir the passions of the community and attract nationwide visitors. While here, visitors should take advantage of amazing dining options and exciting city-wide attractions.

Oh Manhaan !






Holiday shoppers cross Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence. Photograph by Michael C. Snell

features 36 |

6 Top Places

52 |

Kansas’ Finest

Explore the six Kansas cities our readers selected as the top weekend getaway destinations

The annual award recognizing Kansans who promote the best aspects of our state

In This Issue

06 |

From the Editor

08 |

This Season

10 | Eat 12 | Sampler 15 | Shop 17 | Outside 18 | Culture 20 | Lens 22 | Reasons We Love Kansas 25 | Winter 2018 Events

26 |

Wide Open Spaces

26 | WHERE THE BALLET MASTERS ROAM A Topeka couple works to cultivate ballet across the state in a new generation of dancers 30 | TASTE OF KANSAS: MIND OF A KANSAS CHEF Finding food inspiration from the breadbasket of America


| VOL 74




58 |

KANSAS! Gallery: Winter

64 |



Reader choice s’


you voted & you chose the state’s six favorite destinations.

ON THE COVER A Haskell Indian Nations University student Sumer Moshen stands in front of the “Celebration of Cultures” mural in Lawrence, one of the six cities selected by readers as the state’s “Best Weekend Getaway” destinations. Photograph by Carter Gaskins

03 WINTER 2018

04 |





PEPPER SMOKE Our photo shoot at Global Café happened to overlap with one of the restaurant’s annual traditions—the 30 annual smoking of green chili peppers. Read more about how this Kansas restaurant came to be known for its cross-country pepper journey and dishes featuring green chili in the Taste section of this issue.





When Justin Lister headed off for a weekend in Lawrence to write about and photograph the city as one of the Top 6 Weekend Destinations from our Readers’ Choice contest, he naturally assumed the city and its attractions would be the star of his story. But when he arrived with his three Chihuahuas, they quickly stole the show. “It seemed like everyone in downtown would stop and say “hello” to the dogs and ask me about them,” says Lister, a veteran photographer who usually works without his canine companions but brought them along for this trip as part of the family-friendly weekend getaway. We can’t officially speak for the entire city of Lawrence, but we suspect the town is honored to share the spotlight with Izzy, Browny and Sammy.

These are just some of the locations represented in this issue of KANSAS! Magazine.

Station 15

Kansas Ballet Academy

St. Benedict’s Abbey




Crazy House THIS SEASON—SHOP Liberal

Cathedral of the Plains Isle of Lights THIS SEASON—SAMPLER Victoria

REASONS Winfield

PHOTOGRAPHS (FROM LEFT) Justin Lister, Brian Goodman




Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Andrea Etzel EDITOR

Jeff Colyer, M.D. GOVERNOR

Linda Craghead





Bob Cucciniello DIRECTOR

Shelly Bryant







Nathan Pettengill SECTION EDITOR

Leslie Andres COPY EDITOR

Joanne Morgan

Periodical postage paid at Topeka, KS, and at additional mailing offices. Newsstand price $5 per issue; subscription price $18 per year; international subscription price $22 per year. All prices include all applicable sales tax. Please address subscription inquiries to: Toll-free: (800) 678-6424 KANSAS!, P.O. Box 146, Topeka, KS 66601-0146 e-mail: ksmagazine@sunflowerpub.com Website: www.KansasMag.com POSTMASTER: Send address change to: KANSAS!, P.O. Box 146, Topeka, KS 66601-0146. Please mail all editorial inquiries to: KANSAS!, 1020 S. Kansas Ave., Suite 200, Topeka, KS 66612 e-mail: ksmagazine@sunflowerpub.com The articles and photographs that appear in KANSAS! magazine may not be broadcast, published or otherwise reproduced without the express written consent of Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism or the appropriate copyright owner. Unauthorized use is prohibited. Additional restrictions may apply.

05 WINTER 2018

KANSAS! (ISSN 0022-8435) is published quarterly by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism 1020 S. Kansas Ave., Suite 200, Topeka, KS 66612; (785) 296-3479; TTY Hearing Impaired: (785) 296-3487.


MARKETING, (785) 832-7264





—of course, you have the holidays, but soon the new year will begin. I’ve enjoyed 2018, but I think 2019 is going to be an exciting year. Instead of having resolutions, I like to set goals. Each year I wanted to experience something new or visit someplace I’ve never been to before. One of the highlights this year was venturing to western Kansas and driving 4-wheelers through the Syracuse Sand Dunes. It was EPIC, truly a one-of-a-kind destination in Kansas! On a more personal note, late this summer I became an official homeowner—and boy, it’s been a journey already. I’ve already started my list for next year, like visiting the soon-to-be-remodeled Eisenhower museum in June for the 75th anniversary of D-Day, or flying over Kansas in a biplane with Stearman Sky Tours. If, like me, you’re planning to travel more in the new year and need a little inspiration, this issue is perfect! Our feature on the top weekend getaways, chosen by KANSAS! readers, is sure to give you a few ideas. The KANSAS! magazine family wants to wish you and yours a wonderfully happy and blissful holiday season!

I would love to hear your travel and adventure plans for 2019; I might add them to my list, too. Feel free to send me an email (andrea.etzel@ks.gov) or a letter.





KansasMagazine (get spotted; use #kansasmag to tag us)

PHOTOGRAPH Courtesy Andrea Etzel



10 Eat


12 Sampler 15 Shop 17 Outside 18 Culture 20 Lens 22 Reasons We Love Kansas 25 Winter 2018 Events



WIDE OPEN SPACES 26 Where the Ballet Masters Roam 30 Taste of Kansas: Mind of a Kansas Chef


Welcome to KANSAS! magazine’s “This Season.” Here we explore what’s new and buzzing throughout the state—from restaurants and shopping to cultural happenings and attractions.

09 WINTER 2018

PHOTOGRAPHS (CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT) Brian Goodman, Nick Krug, BriJoRae’ Pusch-Zuniga, City of Winfiled


eat. this season

By Cecilia Harris








Stay out of the kitchen this holiday season and support a worthy cause by purchasing homemade cookies, candies, cupcakes, pies, cakes and breads at the Holiday Cookie Walk and Bake Sale from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dec. 7, at the Ronald McDonald House, Topeka. Proceeds support the families of hospitalized children. rmhcneks.org (785) 235-6852

Peck Garden City

Topeka Wichita

Thankful to Dine Out WHILE SOME ENJOY COOKING A FEAST ON THANKSGIVING DAY, others prefer to avoid the stress and mess by dining out at one of a growing number of restaurants open on the holiday. “We had people for years ask us to be open on Thanksgiving, and this will be our third year,” says Lisa Haskell, owner of Annie’s Place in Topeka. “There just seems to be so many people who have out-of-town guests, and they just don’t want to prepare a big meal.” To allow staff to spend part of the holiday with their families, Annie’s Place is open only from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with two meal options—traditional turkey, dressing, cranberries, and mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, or honey-glazed ham with cheesy scalloped potatoes. Both meals include a slice of pumpkin pie, a beverage, and a choice of green beans or corn.

Although Stroud’s in Wichita is typically known for its pan-fried chicken dinners, the restaurant offers a Thanksgiving Day meal with a choice of roast turkey or country ham; traditional sides, including Stroud’s signature green beans with a light smoky flavor, are served family style. “It’s our busiest day of the year,” Kevin Allis, general manager, says.“Some of our Thanksgiving reservations are for 24 guests.” Samy’s Steakhouse and Spirits in Garden City serves from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. an annual Thanksgiving Brunch buffet complete with all the traditional fixings as well as beef and fish. anniesplacetopeka.com (785) 273-0848 stroudswichita.com (316) 838-2454 samysgck.com (800) 875-5201

Holiday SIP AND SHOP Peck Sample wine and enjoy hors d’oeuvres at Holiday Sip and Shop from 1–4 p.m. on Dec. 2 in Vineyard Hall at Wyldewood Cellars Winery in Peck. Numerous vendors will offer a variety of gift items, including homemade jams and jellies, to fulfill your Christmas shopping list. wyldewoodcellars. com (316) 554-9463

“There just seems to be so many people who have out-of-town guests, and they just don’t want to prepare a big meal.” —LISA HASKELL, ANNIE’S PLACE IN TOPEKA

n o m m o Unc d e t c e Unexp Over 160 Christmas Tree Display Nov.1 to Jan.1! 10–5pm Wed–Sat | 1–5pm Sun (785) 887-6148 | www.lecomptonkansas.com

ie shops, Discover ind g lleries, dinin boutiques, ga e on historic and nightlif St. Commercial

Proud Past – Brilliant Future Smoke in the Spring State BBQ Championship Friday April 12, 2019 785-528-3714 (Osage City Hall) www.OsageCity.com


m | 80 visitemporia.co

sampler. this season

By Amber Fraley

Cathedral Christmas Concert The Fort Hays State University Music Department presents its free, annual choral Christmas concert in the beautiful Cathedral of the Plains in Victoria. Various other community choirs and guest performances will join this spiritfilled occasion for two free performances, December 2 at 3:30 pm and 6:30 pm.





Victoria Cottonwood Falls Junction Elmdale City Matfield Strong City Green Topeka

Topeka Miracle on Kansas Avenue and WinterFest THE KANSAS CAPITAL KICKS OFF THE HOLIDAY SEASON ON NOVEMBER 24 with its annual parade down the city’s main street, Miracle on Kansas Avenue. The celebration begins with a charity run at 5 pm, followed by the festive community tree lighting ceremony and then the parade at 6 pm.The entire community is then invited to the downtown United Methodist Church for cookies, cocoa and caroling. Enjoy discounts, seasonal displays and holiday magic as you do your shopping in downtown Topeka during its WinterFest celebrations.The historic area will be decorated with sparkling ice sculptures as horse-and-carriage rides take to the streets. Savor rich Mexican hot chocolate and tamales at Lupita’s, or make your own ugly seasonal sweater at Boho Mojo’s. Kids can write and hand-deliver letters to Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Classic Bean. Even Santa’s reindeer will make an appearance. Featured performers will include the Kansas Ballet.WinterFest runs on Saturdays, December 1, 8 and 15, from 10 am to 2 pm. CHASE COUNTY COUNTRY CHRISTMAS This November 23–24 celebration of live music,

shopping, dining and a wide variety of holiday-themed events takes place all over Chase County. Start Saturday morning with Country Breakfast at the Chuck Wagon Cafe & Grand Central Hotel and Grill in Cottonwood Falls, and stay to participate in or cheer on the ugly Christmas Sweater 5k and one-mile fun runs.Visit the Arts & Crafts fair at St. Anthony’s Hall in Strong City, then see gorgeously decorated historic homes and barns all over Chase County in the Holiday Homes Tour. A full schedule of events also includes a visit from Santa’s Reindeer on the historic Chase County Courthouse lawn in Downtown Cottonwood Falls, while Santa himself will make an appearance inside. Afterward, see the lighting of the courthouse and a parade taking Santa to the North Pole over the Historic River Bridge. Later that evening is a Victoria Christmas Ball in the community building at Swope Park; period dress or country formal attire is required. (620) 2738469 chasecounty chamber.org

Delight in a spectacle of holiday lights as you drive a two-mile loop at Lake Shawnee.

FIRST INFANTRY Division Band Christmas Concert Junction City’s C.L. Hoover Opera house will be in its Christmas finest to host Fort Riley’s First Infantry Division Band for its annual free Christmas concert. Seating for both of the 7:30 pm concerts on December 14 and December 15 is firstcome, first-served.

UPCOMING EVENTS Hays Community Theatre Presents: Little Women

Friday, Nov. 30 – Sunday, Dec. 2 12th Street Auditorium

Hays Symphony Winter Vespers Concert Saturday, Dec. 1 St. Joseph’s Church

Winter Art Walk and Tree Lighting Ceremony

Friday, December 7 The Bricks in Downtown Hays

FrostFest Illuminated Parade

Saturday, December 15 The Bricks in Downtown Hays


Plan your trip at VisitHays.com!


Christmas December 1st, Noon - 5pm

Experience All of the Activities!

mark your calendars!

Children’s Christmas Train Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides Lighted Christmas Parade North Pole Village ...and much more!

Lighted Christmas Parade @ 5:30 pm

visitatchison.com or 800-234-1854


November 24th | 2-6 PM Downtown Atchison, KS Get your button, claim a prize!

Serene Photography \ Desktop Calendars \ Notecard Collections

VisitAtchison.com or call (800) 234-1854

Rural & Inspirational Photography by Rose M. Burgweger \ De Soto, Kansas

RMB prints & gifts


May Your Days Be Merry &



Santa’s Christmas Parade 55+ Home Tour of Lights Live Nativity Christmas Concerts MARYSVILLE Festival of Trees CREATIVIT Y. CULTURE. COMMUNIT Y. Unique Shopping & more! VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR A FULL MONTH OF CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES!



Take in an indie flick. ART CENTER CINEMA

Light up Buy the kids. a little bauble. GIANT LIGHT BRIGHT THE CURIOSITY SHOP


Visit Marysville

A great marketing tool for your business.


Joanne Morgan


(785) 832-7264 / jmorgan@sunflowerpub.com



Download the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce App!


shop. this season

By Amber Fraley


St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (913) 682-0387

GREG SHAW OPENED CRAZY HOUSE IN GARDEN CITY IN 1960 with the intention of making smart wholesale purchases and passing the savings on to his customers. As it turned out, his most popular items were boots and western wear. “With all of the feed yards and packing plants here, there were tons of cowboys with no place to shop,” explains Shaw’s granddaughter Carrye Mantilla. So Grandfather Shaw made western wear the focus of Crazy House as it expanded with a second location and continues to operate as a third-generation business. “It’s been a family business since 1960,” says Mantilla, who now owns the store with her husband, Carlos Mantilla, and her brother, Taylor Shaw. Crazy House, she adds, has always been a store for the working person.“That’s always been my grandfather’s emphasis.” But that doesn’t mean the family doesn’t have a royal storehouse. “We call ourselves ‘The Boot King of Kansas’ because we have every kind of western boot or

work boot you could want,” says Mantilla. In addition, the Crazy House stores carry work and leisure western wear for men, women and kids, including jeans, western shirts, duster coats, purses, belts and belt buckles. Folks can also purchase cowboy hats and baseball caps, and if you need your hat seamed or straightened, Crazy House will fix you right up. With gift-giving in mind, the store offers western-style CRAZY HOUSE home needs Garden City and gifts, (620) 275-1417 including dishes, linens, Liberal (620) 624-0400 candles and crazyhouse.com wine racks, as well as western style paintings and art. For the kids, Crazy House stocks farming- and Western-themed toys such as tractors, stuffed animals and miniature horses. Speaking of horses, the store carries a full line of horse tack, including saddles, bridles, bits, stirrups and reins. Crazy House’s full-service website will ship to arrive for Christmas if you order by December 12.

Original Juan’s factory outlet and gift store 111 Southwest Blvd. Kansas City, KS



Bring your family and friends to enjoy the day at Leavenworth’s indoor Christkindlmarkt. The December 1 event, held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, runs from 9 am to 4 pm and features quality handmade crafts, as well as delicious German foods and desserts. Imbibe a mug of German beer or a glass of gluhwien (mulled wine) as you bid in the silent auction. The market also brings the seasonal sounds of a variety of live music artists, such as a French horn quartet, an Ompa band or perhaps Christmas carols sung by the St. Paul school children. Father Christmas will also be there, with a twinkle in his eye, to visit and take photos with children of all ages.

Western-Themed Gift Ideas

Put some southwest flavor into your stockings with goods from Original Juan, a Kansas City company that has been creating specialty sauces, salsas, BBQ rubs, snacks and dips for wholesale and retail since 1998. Original Juan’s many brands include American Stockyard, Fiesta Juan’s, Da’ Bomb, Kansas City’s Cowtown BBQ and many others. The Original Juan store also carries Southwest decor, apparel and glassware.

15 WINTER 2018


Liberal Garden City

Kansas City Leavenworth

“We call ourselves ‘The Boot King of Kansas’ because we have every kind of western boot or work boot you could want.” —CARRYE MANTILLA


Limit one per person. No cash value.Valid for regularly scheduled 50 min. tour only. Tours run on Friday & Saturday. Expires May 31, 2019

231 E. Wall St. 620.670.2750


GET OUTSIDE WINTER GROUP BIKE RIDES Lawrence Mountain Bike Club Every Friday, December through February Kansas winters sometimes deliver mild enough days to allow outdoor activities. Cyclists might consider a trail ride and social event combination. The Lawrence Mountain Bike Club sponsors a ride every Friday, December through February. The group meets at the trailhead parking lot by the Kansas River Levee. All skill levels are welcome for this one-hour ride. Bikers often dine together afterwards, adding to the fun. lawrencemountain bikeclub.org

Nearly 140 bald eagle matings occurred in Kansas in 2018, and 104 eaglets fledged from nests.

outside. this season

THE MAJESTIC EAGLES SOARING THROUGH THE BLUE SKIES OVER KANSAS represent one of the greatest conservation success stories in history. Eagles were nearly extinct because of human activities, pesticides, and habitat loss, but these grand birds have made a remarkable recovery. Nearly 140 bald eagle matings occurred in Kansas in 2018, and 104 eaglets fledged from nests. Winter is the prime season to see eagles, as birds from farther north migrate to Kansas to find open water and more abundant food sources.They prey on fish, ducks, rabbits and carrion, such as roadkilled deer. Eagles can be easily spied sitting in trees near the Kansas and Arkansas rivers or local lakes.A good pair of binoculars will enhance your viewing experience, with close-up images of their intense, piercing yellow eyes and impressive, sharp beaks. There are several educational events in Kansas to celebrate our glorious eagles. On occasion, live hawks and eagles from rescue centers are on display so children see raptors up close. Make plans early to attend, as these are popular events with up to 2,000 people participating. When a severe winter storm roars south from Canada, a trip to the larger reservoirs, such as Clinton,Wilson, Cheney or Council Grove might yield observation opportunities for flocks of eagles; however, it is not uncommon to see a bald eagle just above your hat in downtown Wichita or Kansas City. Golden eagles also reside in Kansas, but they are less common in the eastern part of the state. Both of these magnificent species are some of the largest birds on earth, with wingspans exceeding seven feet. Their unmistakably large nests seem to be an odd collection of sticks, haphazardly stuffed in the crotch of a large tree. They reuse the same ramshackle abode year after year with only minor repairs. Both adults are active in raising chicks, with the female being noticeably the larger of the pair.

TUTTLE CREEK EAGLE DAYS Manhattan | (785) 539-8511 January 5, 2019 nwk.usace.army.mil/Media/NewsReleases/Article/1390394/eagle-dayprogram-planned-at-tuttle-creek-lake/ KAW VALLEY EAGLES DAY Lawrence | (785) 843-7665 January 19, 2019 jayhawkaudubon.org SCHLAGLE LIBRARY EAGLE DAYS Wyandotte County Lake Kansas City, Kansas | (913) 295-8250 January 19–20, 2019 kckpl.librarymarket.com/ 17th-annual-eagle-days EAGLE DAYS MILFORD NATURE CENTER Junction City | (785) 238-5323 January 26, 2019 ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/ Locations/Museums-and-NatureCenters/Milford-Nature-Center

WHERE IN KANSAS? Lawrence Kansas City Manhattan Junction City


Eagle Days


17 WINTER 2018

By Dave Zumbaugh

culture. this season

By Cecilia Harris



Hays December 7–8




Christmas Past, from 7–9 p.m. on Dec. 7–8 at Fort Hays State Historic Site, reflects how soldiers’ families celebrated the holidays in Kansas in the 1800s. Luminarias and candle lanterns provide light to the officers’ homes decorated in Victorian style. Activities include mule-drawn wagon rides, fiddlers, and hot apple cider and fried apples over a campfire. kshs.org/fort_hays (785) 625-6812

Ft. Scott Leavenworth Hutchison Topeka Hays

Homes for the Holidays ’TIS THE SEASON OF DECKED HALLS AND OPEN DOORS AT HOLIDAY HOMES TOURS, which are as much of a tradition in several Kansas communities as Santa’s visit.Whether homes are embellished by the owners or ornamented by professional designers, holiday décor abounds and highlights each home’s history and architecture. The Leavenworth Vintage Homes Tour, sponsored by the Leavenworth County Historical Society, features at least five private homes dating from the late 1850s to the early 1900s.The tour, from 1–6 p.m. on Dec. 9, also includes a historic church building and the Carroll Mansion, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and opened in 1965 as a Victorian home museum. The theme for the 38th annual Homes for the Holidays Tour in Fort Scott is Downtown Christmas, featuring living quarters above retail stores and traditional homes. Hosted by the Historic Preservation Association of Bourbon County, the tour will be from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9, and always includes a family-decorated tree at each of the three to four open houses. The CASA Homes for the Holidays Tour highlights six Topeka homes, most of which are decorated by designers who collaborate with the homeowners to develop a themed room or a cohesive holiday theme for the whole house. The event will be from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. on Nov. 17 and 10 a.m.–3 p.m. on Nov. 18 with proceeds benefiting CASA, volunteer court-appointed special advocates who represent children in foster care. leavenworthhistory.org | (913) 682-7759 casaofshawneecounty.com | (785) 215-8282 facebook.com/Fort-Scott-Homes-for-the-Holidays-Tour (620) 224-1186

JOIN ’EM HYDE PARK LUMINARIA Hutchinson December 22 More than 17,000 luminarias (lit candles in sand inside brown paper bags) will line the streets and sidewalks along 36 square blocks in Hutchinson’s historic Hyde Park neighborhood from 6–9 p.m. on Dec. 22. The event includes musical entertainment, horse-drawn wagon rides, Santa, and food. Free bus rides through the neighborhood are available. facebook.com/ hydepark hutchinsonks (800) 691-4262

Whether homes are embellished by the owners or ornamented by professional designers, holiday décor abounds and highlights each home’s history and architecture.


Helium @ TCT thru Nov 18 Mo Willems Exhibit @ KS Children’s Discovery Center thru Jan 4 First Friday Art Walk Nov 2, Dec 7, Jan 4 Salute Our Heroes Festival & Parade Nov 10 Gingerbread Homes for the Holidays @ TPAC Nov 16 - 18 Winter Wonderland Nov 21 - Dec 31 Elf the Musical @ TCT Nov 23 - Dec 23 Shop Small Saturday Nov 24 Miracle on Kansas Avenue Parade Nov 24 The Chocolate Nutcracker Midwest @ TPAC Nov 24 & 25 Oak Ridge Boys @ TPAC Nov 28 Festival of Trees @ KS Expo Nov 28 - Dec 2 WinterFest Dec 1, 8 & 15 Santa Arrives by Union Pacific Train Dec 2 Mannheim Steamroller @ KS Expo Dec 7 Topeka Symphony’s Capitol Federal Holiday Concert Dec 12 Wing Fling @ KS Expo Dec 15 Kansas Ballet + Symphony Nutcracker @ TPAC Dec 15 & 16 Nitro Arenacross @ KS Expo Dec 28 - 29 Forge NYE Party Dec 31 NYE @ Ramada Topeka Downtown Dec 31 Ken Ludwig’s The Fox on the Fairway @ TCT Jan 18 - Feb 9 Topeka Symphony Who Am I, and Where Am I Going? Jan 19



AFTER LAUNCHING HER PROFESSIONAL CAREER AS A BEAUTY PHOTOGRAPHER IN 2010, BriJoRae’ Pusch-Zuniga’s portfolio has grown to include elopements, maternity, birthing, business, bridal and everyday glamour. She is based in Topeka, where she owns her own production studio, shoots commissions for private clients and various publications, as well as organizations and awareness campaigns such as the YWCA Northeast Kansas Domestic Violence Awareness Campaign.

WHAT WAS THE MOMENT YOU WANTED TO BECOME A PHOTOGRAPHER? I discovered my love of photography at age 14, while photographing for my high school yearbook and newspaper and was drawn to the big events like homecoming and prom.

PHOTOGRAPH BriJoRae’ Pusch-Zuniga

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAMERA? WHAT DID YOU LIKE ABOUT IT? I used Canons throughout high school and college. They were dependable and durable. When I was 21, I purchased my own Canon 7D Mk ii. I dropped it once— every photographer’s nightmare—hard! But not a scratch on it! A GOOD PHOTOGRAPHER KNOWS WHEN TO … put their camera down and never give up on capturing life with their naked eye and full heart. WHAT ARE THREE THINGS YOU WILL NEVER TIRE OF PHOTOGRAPHING? People, emotions and oceans.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC FAMILY TREE? My mother would be Sue Bryce as she is a great teacher. My father would be Nigel Barker. My brother would be Lance Gross because of laid-back style. My sister would be Tyra Banks. She’s known for modeling, but she’s also an amazing photographer with an eye similar to mine and a desire to build her models’ confidence. That’s my heart. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING TO PHOTOGRAPH BADLY? WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING TO PHOTOGRAPH WELL? The hardest thing to photograph badly is human emotion. The hardest things to photograph well are objects. IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY IN TERMS OF A COLOR WHEEL, WHERE WOULD YOU FALL ON IT? Green. I love nature.

lens. this season

Lawrence I did my first professional photo shoot in downtown Lawrence, and that area has kept a special place in my heart ever since. Lake Shawnee A ton of my clients love to have their photo shoot at Topeka’s Lake Shawnee. It has become a second studio for me, especially when the flowers are in bloom.



A conversation with KANSAS! photographers about their lives in photography

Council Grove During a KANSAS! magazine trip to Council Grove, I found a book written by a local man with ties to my family and information about family history that I had never known. That place is ingrained in my soul forever, and I can’t wait to return.

21 WINTER 2018

BriJoRae’ Pusch-Zuniga


Council Grove

Lawrence Lake Shawnee

People think photography is about what you see, but it is actually about what you feel. —BRIJORAE’ PUSCH-ZUNIGA

this season


By Cecilia Harris


we love Kansas

Enchanting Holiday Light Displays


22 TRAIL OF LIGHTS Great Bend Great Bend’s Trail of Lights takes visitors through five diverse stops. Music plays over a localized radio broadcast for the Twelve Days of Christmas at Veterans Memorial Park and during the light shows at the animal-themed Wild Lights at Brit Spaugh Park and Zoo. The Jack Kilby Square highlights the Mayor’s Tree; a Christmas Nativity shines at the K-96 park; and traditional lights glow at the Historical Village Lights Display. visitgreatbend.com | (620) 793-4111

A 60-foot-long tunnel of 48,000 colorful bulbs highlights The Arc’s Lights, a halfmile-long driving tour in Wichita.Volunteers design and create the unique displays that include singing light bulbs with animated faces, a gingerbread man jumping on a trampoline, a flying pig with wings, Santa in a helicopter, and an elf driving a police car. Candy cane lane boasts 72 five-foot-tall candy canes. Proceeds benefit The Arc, an organization providing programming for people with developmental disabilities. arc-sedgwickcounty.org (316) 943-1191



Some 2,000 red and green lights shine under a canopy of blue lights radiating from four ivory stars crowning a handmade,35-foot-tall tree in the center of downtown WaKeeney. The festive tree is the centerpiece of the town that calls itself the“Christmas City of the High Plains.”Here, from November 24 to January 1,visitors can stroll through the entire four-block region where handcrafted lit wreaths and bells adorn over 1,110 yards of garland that wraps poles and drapes across the streets.New this year is the opening of municipal LED displays that will remain on permanent display,altering colors and themes for events and holidays. Wakeeney.org (785) 743-8325

Blinking lights on a life-size combine harvester make the reel appear to spin in one of the 250 displays, many funded by community members, at horseshoe-shaped Chautauqua Park in Beloit. From November 21 to New Years Eve, visitors to Chautauqua Isle of Lights may view a 30-piece nativity scene on a hillside, as well as other themed areas such as Toy Land, patriotism, agriculture, and transportation. New last year was a 20-foot-tall replica of the city’s Catholic church. beloitks.org (785) 738-8276


we love Kansas



Reindeer that appear to jump across a road are part of the numerous whimsical, animated Christmas light displays that colorfully blink at the Isle of Lights, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year in Winfield’s historic Island Park. From November 18 to December 30, visitors can tune to a station on the car radio to watch the lights in several trees dance to the holiday music; the tour continues through themed areas such as Santa’s Workshop,Alice in Wonderland, and Wizard of Oz. isleoflights.org (620) 221-2420

A dragon in a Santa hat grins as a nearby Viking ship fires off a barrage of lights in one of the animated displays visitors see as they drive through Winter Wonderland at Lake Shawnee Campground in Topeka. On November 16, a special opening event allows walkers and bicyclists to enjoy a slower-paced view of the nearly one million light bulbs, while other evenings through the holiday season are open to car traffic.The suggested donation supports TARC, a provider of support for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and delays. winterwonderland topeka.com (785) 232-0597

Send your “Reasons We Love Kansas” to ksreasons@sunflowerpub.com or to Reasons, KANSAS!, 1020 S. Kansas Ave., Suite 200, Topeka, KS 66612.


PHOTOGRAPHS (CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT) City of Great Bend, Shutterstock, City of Winfield, Shutterstock, City of Beloit , City of WaKeeney



23 WINTER 2018

this season

Find The Perfect Piano For Any Room We have a piano for you!

Visit our showroom or view our pianos online. Manhattan, KS | 800-950-3774 | PIANO4U.COM

Free bench, tuning, warranty and delivery with purchase of a piano.


Scott Bean Photography K A N S A S L A N D S CA P E A N D N AT U R E P H OTO G R A P H S

7 8 5 - 3 4 1 - 1 0 4 7 | S C OT T @ S C OT T B E A N P H OTO. C O M

www.scottbeanphoto.com GIFT CERTIFICATES AVAILABLE


Traditional Toys and Games


All Inns are licensed with the state along with being health and fire compliant.


ASSOCIATION www.kbba.com




See Marbles Made! Call or visit website for more info.

600 East Front St., Bonner Springs, KS 913-441-1432 moonmarble.com


EVENTS winter 2018

OVER THERE: AMERICANS ABROAD IN WORLD WAR I November 9–January 6 / Topeka Topeka & Shawnee County Library’s Sabatini Gallery hosts traveling exhibition of National Archives collection of U.S. military photography during World War I. tscpl.org

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY Jim Turner and Lindsborg CVB

NOT ANOTHER CHRISTMAS LETTER! November 30–December 9 / Abilene Great Plains Theatre presents this holiday musical featuring score by Wichita native Laura Bergquist. greatplainstheatre.com SIGHTS & SOUNDS OF CHRISTMAS December 1 / Atchison Citywide celebration with carriage rides and children’s events during the day and a holiday-light parade in evening. visitatchison.com 5 STATE PHOTO EXHIBITION December 1–January 26 / Hays The 35th annual showing and prize competition for Midwest photographers. haysartscouncil.org

this season

JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM December 8–9 / Jetmore Hodgeman County churches present a Living Nativity Scene. thejtb.org ST. LUCIA FESTIVAL December 8 / Lindsborg Lindsborg’s annual celebration of Christmas and Swedish heritage. visitlindsborg.com CHRISTMAS IN NORTON December 15 / Norton Free holiday-theme movie showings at the Norton Theatre with Santa visits downtown. Look for Norton Theatre or Christmas in Norton on Facebook for more information. THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME January 26–27 / Salina Salina Symphony presents concert performance based on the Disney animated musical. stiefeltheatre.org


BISON & WOLVES AND WILD LAND Ongoing–January 13 / Manhattan Flint Hills Discovery Center hosts exhibition on the iconic mammals of the Great Plains. flinthillsdiscovery.org

KAW MISSION CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE December 6 / Council Grove Kaw Mission State Historic Site holds open house with holiday decorations, refreshments and carols. Suggested donations of $3 accepted. For more information, look for Kaw Mission Historic Site on Facebook.

THE CLEAN HOUSE January 31 / McPherson McPherson College’s Mingenback Theatre presents the Pulitzer Prize nominated romantic comedy. mcpherson.edu/theatre KODO: ONE EARTH TOUR 2019: EVOLUTION February 19 / Lawrence Japan’s world-famous drum troupe presents its latest staging. lied.ku.edu

25 WINTER 2018

CHRISTMAS IN LECOMPTON November 1–January 1 / Lecompton Don’t miss the largest indoor Christmas tree display in midwest at the Territorial Capitol Museum in Lecompton. The display features 168 trees, decorated with antique ornaments thanks to 20 volunteers with the Lecompton Historical Society. lecomptonkansas.com/ category/events

FIND MORE EVENTS AT TRAVELKS.COM/EVENTS Because all events are subject to change, please confirm with organizers before finalizing plans.

wide open spaces


Where the



Ballet Masters Roam A Topeka couple works to cultivate ballet across the state in a new generation of dancers

By Kim Gronniger

Photography by Nick Krug

Dancers line up at the ballet bar of the Topeka Ballet Academy.

Ballet instructor Alex Smirnov offers instructions to his students.

“[W]e love ballet and feel it’s important to pass an appreciation for it to the next generation.” –ALEX SMIRNOV

and other venues. Each year they host worldrenowned guest artists for their summer showcase and display hand-painted backdrops from the Ukraine for performances of The Nutcracker in conjunction with the Topeka Symphony. For Heston, the couple’s community outreach efforts are an extension of the experiences she enjoyed as a young girl. “I didn’t grow up in a wealthy family, but I want people to have the same opportunities I did to dance or enjoy watching others perform. If ballet is only available to a small segment of people who can afford it, then it won’t flourish.” To increase exposure and overcome economic barriers to ballet, they diligently pursue grants and enlist support from the academy’s board of directors and the broader community. The couple says they have seen the results in the amount and skill of young dancers around them. Pointing to a 6-year-old dancing in the studio, Smirnov says, “She lives here. We all do because we love ballet and feel it’s important to pass an appreciation for it to the next generation.”

27 WINTER 2018


opekans Alex Smirnov and Stephanie Heston live ballet whether they’re performing, teaching or tending to their responsibilities as small business owners, husband and wife, and parents. After careers in New York and Minneapolis and performances the world over, Heston and Smirnov, a native of Russia, chose to settle in Heston’s hometown of Topeka because of family connections and a local arts renaissance. Here, they opened the Kansas Ballet Academy in 2012 and added a nonprofit outreach organization, Kansas Ballet Company, in 2013. The nonprofit continues the mission of their academy—teaching ballet—but brings dance exposure to underserved communities. “When I went to New York, I realized I didn’t get the level of early education the other performers had received, and I wanted to bring that back to help Kansas kids,” Heston says. Since returning to Kansas, Heston and Smirnov have coordinated more than 100 free performances in libraries, retirement centers


Ballet instructor Stephanie Heston works with a young dancer at her studio.

wide open spaces



In the past five years, the Kansas Ballet Company has collaborated with several organizations in the capital city to promote ballet. Here is an overview of some of these programs.



STATE STREET ELEMENTARY On late-start Friday mornings at Topeka’s State Street Elementary, the three R’s are being supplemented by the 3 P’s—position, plié and pirouette— as ballerinas practice their routines in a black-box room specifically built for them. Clad in black tights, shoes and Ballet Stars T-shirts, students in second through fifth grades learn the basics before practicing for a themed recital they will present to their classmates in April. A second class for advanced students is offered on Wednesdays after school. Both classes are made possible through a grant from the Security Benefit Charitable Trust, and students not only participate in the school program but also perform in the academy’s June showcase at the Topeka Performing Arts Center, giving them another vantage point from which to appreciate the art form. “Sometimes our dancers would arrive hunched over with their backpacks and expressions that were hard to read,” Heston says. “But once they put on their uniform, they were ready to work. Whatever literal or figurative baggage they carried in those mornings went away during that hour of class.” The school has embraced the program, collecting data to determine participation’s effect on academic performance and attendance, providing a snack for the dancers to keep their energy up and placing a large photograph of the Ballet Stars in a prominent hallway to promote pride. Heston and Smirnov created a monthly newsletter in English and Spanish to share with parents. Some former State Street Elementary dancers now attending Chase Middle School return as teaching assistants and role models. “Seeing the dancers’ faces light up while they’re performing or when they’re coming offstage is incredible,” Smirnov says. “We’ve gotten so much positive feedback from exposing the kids to ballet, not just from the dancers but from their parents and teachers too.”

BOYS AND GIRLS CLUBS OF TOPEKA The Kansas Ballet Academy also secured funding from the nonprofit arts grant agency ARTSConnect to conduct a week-long camp at a Boys and Girls Clubs of Topeka location in 2016, expanding to three locations in 2017 and five locations in 2018. “We led them through Peter and the Wolf, demonstrating how movement and music can combine to tell stories,” Heston says. Students then performed for their peers, parents and club staff. “Parents were in disbelief, wanting to know how we were able to help their kids focus and learn so much in such a short time,” she adds. KANSAS CHILDREN’S DISCOVERY CENTER The Kansas Children’s Discovery Center’s “Toddler Tuesdays” program includes a free monthly 45-minute “Dance with Me” movement class. The Kansas Ballet Academy also participates in Camp Kindergarten, with a condensed version of its annual themed performance. Every Black Friday, children and their families can enjoy a 30-minute version of The Nutcracker. TOPEKA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER Through a grant from the Kansas Creative Arts and Industries Commission, Heston and Smirnov sponsor world-class visiting artists to teach students and perform with them at the Kansas Ballet Academy’s annual June showcase. During the holidays, around 2,100 children attend an hour-long version of The Nutcracker through TPAC’s “School Time Theater” program.

wide open spaces


Because it focuses on the body and presentation, ballet teaches students to be proud of who they are, what they do and where they’re from.


Like many sports and arts, ballet teaches students to be committed and not give up.


Ballet helps students literally think on their feet and adjust accordingly for presentation and to prevent injuries.


Ballet students are often tapped to be an ambassador of the art, to pass on their joy and help inspire others as participants, audience members or patrons.


Stephanie Heston’s and Alex Smirnov’s


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Ballet teaches students to be on-time and prepared to practice or perform.



taste of Kansas

Kansas Chef Mind of a

Finding food inspiration from the breadbasket of America

By Meta Newell West and Paula Naughtin

Photography by Deborah Walker and Brian Goodman


RAFAEL GONZALEZ GLOBAL CAFÉ, LAWRENCE Story by Paula Naughtin Kansas, New Mexico, Venezuela, Italy, Spain­—influences from all of these places can be savored in the food Rafael Gonzalez prepares at the Global Café in Lawrence. Rafael’s path to Lawrence started across the Atlantic; he was born in the Canary Islands to a family with Italian and Spanish roots. He grew up in Venezuela and then came to the University of New Hampshire as a student in 1994. Seeking warmth, Rafael transferred to the University of New Mexico just five months later. New Mexico, says Gonzalez, “was for me like home.” It was also where he really learned to cook, at a restaurant called Orlando’s. “It was the same kind of place like Global, family-run with the same kind of food. And they used green chiles,” he says.

INGREDIENTS • 1 cup fresh sweet corn cut from cob (canned if fresh is out of season) • 1 1/2 cups chopped zucchini • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers • 2 tablespoons olive oil • Salt • Pepper • 3 cloves chopped garlic • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco INSTRUCTIONS Sauté the sweet corn, zucchini, roasted red peppers, and garlic in olive oil for 5–7 minutes or until zucchini is fork tender. Take off the heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a large bowl and top with queso fresco. Serve with tortilla chips or as a side dish.

Rafael met his wife, Kate, a Kansas native, in Taos. They moved to Lawrence and founded Global Café in 2007. The couple makes an annual trip to New Mexico to gather green chiles for the restaurant; the most recent venture in August netted 1,300 pounds hauled back in a rented trailer. Friends and family helped the restaurateurs roast and peel the peppers that are then frozen for use throughout the year. And Kansas and its bounty also shape the way Rafael defines his meltingpot menu. “In the summer we get all these good crops,” he says. “We’ve got the farmers market less than a block away. We have these little farmers like Mellowfields, eggs from Markley’s in Baldwin, Hildebrand Dairy, Goddard Farms, and Kroegers Meats.” Arepas, a Venezuelan corn cake made from masa, are on the menu with traditional fillings such as pulled pork and cheese and shrimp. They are also a featured element in La Gringa, a dish where Rafael combines his Venezuelan roots with Kansas farm products. Rafael’s La Gringa is definitely not traditional, featuring hamburger and pickled onions as filling. It’s delicious, decidedly Kansasinspired, and, as a bonus for some, gluten-free. Rafael and Kate recently made some changes in their hours and added a dinner menu, which changes every two to three



Queso fresco is a great cheese to use in lots of recipes. Try it instead of feta if you want to dial down a bit of the salt and tang so the other ingredients shine.

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wo chefs from two different Kansas towns innovate their menus with inspiration from food culture in Kansas. Chris LaPorte, head chef of Hitching Post Restaurant in Abilene, continues the long tradition of beef dishes in the historic Chisholm Trail cattledriving town. And Rafael Gonzalez, chef at Global Café in Lawrence, prides himself on highlighting the diversity of cuisine, showcasing many cultures in his dishes made with locally grown ingredients.

Like many of the dishes at Global Café, the following recipe makes use of seasonal produce with a simple preparation that highlights the ingredients. It’s endlessly adaptable, so feel free to add or subtract what you find in your garden or at your farmers market.

taste of Kansas

months to take advantage of seasonal Kansas produce. Several varieties of ceviche, another Venezuelan favorite, are always on the dinner menu but change according to what is available and fresh. The Gonzalez children, Sofia, 13, and Isabella, 10, have been part of the restaurant from the beginning. Rafael talks about them when he offers his philosophy of cooking. “Do the right thing,” he says. “The way that I think we’ve been feeding our customers, it’s the same way that I try to feed my kids. When we get those eggs—we know what they’ve been fed. We know where and how the produce is grown. I think it is better long-term for people.”



Chris feels fortunate to have worked in restaurants that allow him to experiment and create new sauces that complement his steaks. He serves this one over filet mignon.



INGREDIENTS • 2 tablespoons salted butter • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots • 1 pound crimini (baby portabella) mushrooms, sliced • 1 cup port wine • 1/4 cup coarse ground Dijon mustard • 14-ounces (1 3/4 cups) beef broth • 2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water • 1 tablespoon cold butter

INSTRUCTIONS 1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. 2. Sauté shallots until slightly soft. 3. Add mushrooms and cook until tender; remove from skillet and set aside. 4. Pour port wine into skillet and bring to a boil; boil until wine has reduced by about half and has a syrup-like consistency. 5. Whisk in the mustard and beef broth; then whisk in the cornstarch dissolved in water to slightly thicken the sauce. 6. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining 1 tablespoon cold butter to create a velvety sauce. 7. Add mushrooms back to sauce and serve over grilled steaks.

A KANSAS STANDARD CHRIS LAPORTE HITCHING POST RESTAURANT, ABILENE By Meta Newell West Chris LaPorte has cooked upscale meals for dignitaries from all over the United States, even the world, and prepared Midwestern fare in several Abilene restaurants for almost 23 years. Beef is his calling—perfectly seasoned and cooked steaks, prime rib, country fried steak, and melt-in-your-mouth pot roast. His food appeals to locals, visitors and tourists who like to dine in the town at the end of the Chisholm Trail, the first “cowtown” of the west. Home-cooked meals were a standard in the LaPorte household, and Chris helped his mom prepare liver and onions, meatloaf, and comfort-food dishes. He was so enamored that he enrolled in four years of food classes at Salina Central High School. After he graduated, LaPorte entered the food service industry as a dishwasher at Abilene’s Kirby House Restaurant. Job duties included peeling potatoes and prepping salads. Most importantly, he paid attention, observing the cooks in action. In a matter of months he was working on the line as a sous chef, first at the fryer, then on to the flattop, sautéing, preparing side dishes and pasta entrées. Terry Tietjens, restaurant owner at that time, remembers LaPorte was intent on learning at every step of the way. When Vangie Henry purchased the Kirby House in 2000, LaPorte was promoted to head cook/chef and eventually added kitchen manager duties to his tasks. He was inventorying, ordering, creating and costing out menus for in-house dining and catering events; planning daily specials; training and supervising employees; drafting work schedules; and making sure health standards were met at the highest level. LaPorte says this sort of housekeeping work takes up about 75 percent of his time, but allows him the other 25 percent to do what he loves—cooking. “Chris is a master on the grill and has built quite a reputation for great steaks,” Henry says. The process begins with a loin, strip loin or tenderloin of beef that he trims and cuts to order. LaPorte describes cutting meat to order as learning to trust your instincts, a sixth sense that develops over time with lots of practice. His career became a lifestyle. Working 12-hour days, including weekends and holidays, LaPorte often spends more time in the restaurant than at home. He’s quick to credit his wife and three children for supporting his work ethic and adds, “It also helps to have extended family in the area.” As LaPorte thinks back over the years, he recalls using his knowledge to help a restaurateur design a kitchen and set up a new business. As a 19-year-old dishwasher, he never imagined how his career would expand, or all the challenges and adventures it would include. In a town shaped by cattle, LaPorte’s cooking skills help keep the legend alive while appealing to modern day tastes.

taste of Kansas

“Chris is a master on the grill and has built quite a reputation for great steaks.” –VANGIE HENRY

TOP Joe Minick operates one of the several machines necessary to process wheat from berries to flour. BOTTOM Joe Minick (left) and Reed Hoffman (right) collaborated to restore the Hoffman Grist Mill, a flour mill located in Enterprise once owned and operated by Reed Hoffman’s grandfather, Christian Hoffman, in the 1860s.

abilene atchison council grove lawrence Lindsborg norton , s u l p

the some ofst Kansans greate ever meet. you’ll


36 | Six Top Places Explore the six Kansas cities our readers selected as the state’s top weekend getaway destinations

52 | Kansas’ Finest

The annual award recognizing Kansans who promote the best aspects of our state

abilene atchison council grov lawrence Lindsborg norton



Explore the six Kansas cities our readers selected as the state’s top weekend getaway destinations


ach year, KANSAS! magazine selects a theme to celebrate the state and asks readers to nominate and vote on the winners. For this year’s Readers’ Choice, our readers chose their favorite weekend getaway destinations. The results—listed in alphabetical order for the top 6 finishers—are on the following pages. Thanks to all of our readers who voted and selected our winners! Watch for notifications online and in your email inbox for our 2019 Readers’ Choice nominations that will begin in January with an entirely new (but entirely Kansas) theme. Until then, maybe we’ll see you at one of these award-winning destinations.




The description of Abilene as “Best of the Midwest” or “The Best Small Town in Kansas” is not merely a slogan, an exaggeration or hype. If you’re looking for a getaway that’s educational and entertaining, Abilene fits the bill. From Eisenhower’s boyhood home and museum to Seelye Mansion and the Dickinson County Heritage Center, this town is a smorgasbord of rich, well-preserved history. Mix in art, the grand entertainment of the Great Plains Theatre, outstanding dining offerings, quaint specialty and antique shops, lovely parks and gardens, and you have a rare gem with which few places can compare. Accommodations range from budget hotels to elaborate bed & breakfasts. Whether you live a hop, skip and a jump away, or are traveling from out of state or overseas, Abilene is a destination you don’t want to miss. Story and Photos by Deborah Walker

and the rich historical offerings of the Dickinson County Heritage Center are definitely cause for acclaim.

Seelye Mansion. A fascinating representation of its time. Current owner and steward Terry Tietjens offers a captivating, detailed account of the mansion’s history and facts about the rare artifacts. Tietjens encourages visitors to sit on the century-old vintage furnishings and bowl on the rare 5-pin bowling lane in the arcade.



The beautiful, functional 1901 C.


Best Local Discoveries

Good for outdoorsy folks? Good for artsy folks? Abilene is perfect for artsy folks. With a number of museums, murals, a local bookstore and art galleries, there is plenty to see for weekenders. Artsy souls should be sure to check out the Great Plains Theatre. Being one of only two professional musical theaters in Kansas, Great Plains Theatre’s highquality performances and sets give a sense of being at a major New York theater, with the added intimacy of being so near the stage that you feel almost part of the production.

Bow Studio & Gallery.

This gallery is an enriching experience for the art lover willing to stray from the beaten path. Located on Buckeye Street near the outskirts of town, this charming studio/gallery features 1950s fashion-design sketches, clay sculptures, tiles, turtles, paintings, photos and wirework by owner Bob and his late wife, Inga.

Joe Snuffy’s peanut butter pie. Made on-site and absolute taste-bud bliss!

The Victorian Inn & Chef Adrian’s gourmet breakfast.

These accommodations feature turn-of-the-century furnishings and artwork throughout the common areas, and visitors can find a piano once played by Nat King Cole. Homemade cookies are always stocked in the dining room, and if you want to take a taste of Abilene home with you, the inn includes a gift shop with Adrian’s cookbook and a variety of tasty concoctions for sale, such as her acclaimed granola and lemon curd.

3 things to pack in your suitcase *

A 12-volt car cooler to keep your chocolate-covered strawberries (& other chocolate indulgences) from Russell Stover’s from melting! Also handy for leftovers from the awesome restaurants.


A reason to celebrate. What could be more fun than celebrating your child’s birthday in Old Abilene Town after a train ride and watching gunfighters? Or taking Grandma for Brookville’s famous chicken dinner after a tour of Eisenhower’s visitor’s center on her special birthday weekend? wrap. *KeepBubble your 1950s Siamese cat TV lamp (or whatever antique or souvenir you’ve found) safe when you head home.

Abilene Sites worth the hype MR. K’S FARMHOUSE If you’re planning a birthday trip, the Farmhouse is the perfect stop for your birthday luncheon or dinner. Participate in the Farmhouse’s legendary birthday tradition and have your name and the date scrawled on a birthday paddle. Don’t forget to stop in the gift shop and take home a bottle of Mr. K’s specialty House Dressing.

RUSSELL STOVER CHOCOLATES There’s nothing like savoring the freshest, most delectable chocolate in almost every form imaginable—from chocolatecovered strawberries to fudgetopped ice cream.

GREYHOUND HALL OF FAME The Greyhound Hall of Fame offers interesting facts about this popular racing breed, as well as the racing legends. Be sure to give resident greyhounds Gary and Ginger a pat on their heads.


W. Parker Carousel

everything one would imagine and more. The great artifacts and historical accounts are carefully preserved, clearly presented and attractively displayed.


Eisenhower’s Boyhood Home, Museum, Library and Place of Meditation are

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three claims to fame



If you like history or architecture, Atchison is definitely a place to add to your weekend getaway list. The city has a number of gorgeous Victorian homes, many of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. In fact, Atchison has the thirdlargest number of registered places in the state. In addition to historic homes, Atchison has many lovely churches, as well the monastery of Mount St. Scholastica and St. Benedict’s Abbey and Benedictine College. Both the abbey and monastery offer overnight accommodations and retreat facilities. Perhaps Atchison is most famous for being the birthplace of worldrenowned pilot Amelia Earhart. The city pays tribute to its native daughter, and visitors can enjoy learning about Earhart at either her childhood home and museum or the Amelia Earhart Earthwork, a one-acre outdoor landscape mural by artist Stan Herd depicting Earhart in flight regalia. If it is relaxation you seek, don’t miss the Riverwalk, a paved path that trails along the Missouri River. No matter your pleasure, Atchison offers food, history and art, all in one cozy town. Story and Photos by David Mayes

Walking shoes Camera Curiosity

what food is atchison?

The Big Fat Greek Burger at Pete’s Steakhouse

outdoorsy folks, this lake offers excellent fishing and rustic camping opportunities.

Amelia Earhart Earthwork is currently under construction, as the Atchison Amelia Earhart Foundation is building a place to house “Muriel,” the last remaining Lockheed Electra L-10E—the same model of plane Amelia flew.

Good for outdoorsy folks? Good for artsy folks? A little of something for everyone. Atchison is good for outdoorsy people. Riverwalk is a nice place for a run (the park even has outdoor showers). The state fishing lake is about 15 minutes away, and Warnock Lake is about 10 minutes out of town and offers camping opportunities.


Suitcase Items

Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum & Amelia Earhart Earthwork near Warnock Lake. The

Artsy folks will like the Muchnic Gallery, located on 4th Street.

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are open for public tours.


Atchison State Fishing Lake. For



Mount St. Scholastica Monastery and St. Benedict’s Abbey. Both


three claims to fame


Atchison’s Local Sites THE RIVERWALK is very peaceful and relaxing, especially in the evening when the Amelia Earhart Memorial Bridge is lit.

EVAH C. CRAY HISTORICAL HOME MUSEUM. Open March through October, this 19thcentury mansion, fashioned after Scottish castles, offers a look into the opulent life of Victorian-era grandeur.

THE ATCHISON HISTORICAL SOCIETY MUSEUM IN THE SANTA FE DEPOT. Stop in for a bit of the railroad history that built Atchison, as well as the David Rice Atchison World’s Smallest “unofficial” Presidential Library. Then hop on a trolley for a tour of the city.

Council Grove

All across our beloved Great Plains, there are acres of farmland, green rolling hills, sunflowers, wheat, cows, horses and tractors. If you keep rolling west through the historic Flint Hills, you’ll happen upon one of Kansas’ best kept secrets. Council Grove might be known to many Kansans, but the town has a fascinating history and air of adventure that might surprise. Within the last three years, Council Grove’s passion and knack for historical preservation and restoration have been taken to a whole new level. Upon entering this town, no matter your background, you are certain to find a story about who you are and where you’ve come from as a Kansan, all the while, enjoying a fresh breeze at the newly restored marina or sipping a brew at a local pub. Who knew you could find education and fun in the same place? Story and Photography by BriJoRae’ Pusch-Zuniga & Tomi Lynn

three claims to fame people of the Grove not only care about preserving each physical element of the town’s story but also make it their mission to pull you into the story as well.

Council Grove Lake. A fun water retreat for fishing, swimming, boating and boarding, Council Grove Lake also offers a marina with a caring staff. Have questions about how to drive a boat or how to stand up on your longboard? Just ask Skip and the staff, and they’ll offer you hands-on instruction, ensuring your safety and ultimate enjoyment.

Council Grove’s

Sites worth the hype COUNCIL GROVE MARINA. Owners Chip and Ginger Cansler, a brother-sister duo, have spent the past three years restoring the Grove’s marina. “Before Skip and Ginger arrived, the dock was falling into the water and was close to closing,” says volunteer Justin Wohlschlegel. “They’ve done so much work to keep our lake alive.” Today, the marina has become a second home for many boaters and a first home to a school of carp living under the dock. Your trip to the dock will not be complete without feeding the fish and seeing firsthand how they frenzy for your breadcrumbs.

Outdoorsy or Artsy?

Whether you’re boating or hunting in the town’s outskirts or wandering through the heart of Main Street seeking leisure, art and shopping, this quaint town is good for both the outdoorsy and artistic.

HAYS HOUSE RESTAURANT. Hays House is Council Grove’s date night staple. Founded by the first white settler in Council Grove, Seth Hays, the Hays House Restaurant offers a versatile menu and top-notch desserts. Before your trip, be sure to check out their Facebook page to ensure your classy meal will include a live band. Want to know more about Seth Hays? Visit his fully restored home located about a half mile south of the restaurant on Wood Street. KAW MISSION. From 1851–1854, the Kaw Mission was a home and school to orphaned boys of the Kaw Nation. Today, the mission is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, providing an in-depth view into the lives of our state’s native people. If interested in a detailed history of Council Grove, you must stop here.

Best local discoveries Allegawaho Memorial Heritage Park. Allegawaho Park is named for the Kaw Nation’s last beloved chief to fight their removal from their native lands near Council Grove.

Hidden Diverse History.

As an indirect result of the Osage Treaty, thousands of black settlers were provided the opportunity to settle on the Kaw Reservation. Many stone markers can be found throughout the Flint Hills, remnants of old fence posts constructed by the black settlers.

The Lodge.

Located on Kansas Highway 177, the Lodge’s owner, Marie Blythe, provides a quaint yet modern countryside escape. This bed-andbreakfast’s unique design and homecooked meals make for an intimate retreat for small groups or couples.


Caring Community. The

about how you can restore a part of your city? Contact Diane at the Council Grove Chamber of Commerce! An expert on all things Council Grove, she and the staff at the chamber can put you in touch with members of an inspiring and innovative community, capable of offering you informative and transformative services!

43 WINTER 2018

Historic Site Restoration. Want to know more

council grove


I have always found Lawrence to be a unique city. Partly it’s that vibrant, youthful vibe that comes from the large student population at the University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University, but Lawrence is more than just a college town. Outside of campus, the town boasts its own activities, events, nightly live music, great restaurants and bars. You can find a wide variety of cultures represented in the events and on the streets. For example, a Greek restaurant sits across the street from a ramen shop that is around the corner from an Indian restaurant. People are very friendly and accepting of all kinds of lifestyles in Lawrence. Everywhere I went, people would strike up conversations with me. The locals like to point out that Lawrence’s principles of tolerance and inclusion date back to its founding by fervent antislavery activists during the “Bleeding Kansas” era of the 1850s. The community also supports their local businesses, which says a lot about their residents. It’s not uncommon to find shops downtown that have been there more than 20 years. Just off Interstate 70, halfway between Topeka and Kansas City, you’ll eventually have a reason for stopping off in Lawrence. And if you don’t, here’s my invitation to make it a weekend destination for your next trip. Story by Justin Lister Photography by Justin Lister with Carter Gaskins, Brian Goodman and Michael C. Snell


three claims to fame

University Home Anti-Slavery of of CivilWar Kansas Basketball History 1



3 events to plan your trip around


Suitcase Items

The annual Lawrence Downtown Sidewalk Sale in July The weekly Lawrence Farmers Market from April–November The annual Kansas State Fiddling and Picking contest in August


conversations and supporting the home teams



worth the hype


Lawrence Activities


because live music happens almost every night

45 WINTER 2018

A KU OR HASKELL HAT for striking up


the relaxed vibes


Lindsborg may be a small town, but it boasts a thriving arts scene and cooperative entrepreneurial environment. Holly Lofton, director of Lindsborg’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and a Montana native, said she loved visiting Lindsborg before she ever moved there. “There are so many people who work so well together here to continue to ensure that we have shops that are open and young people who are successful in business,” Lofton says. The decline seen across rural America, she says, has not touched Lindsborg. Also known as Little Sweden, Lindsborg is pristine, picturesque and historical. The town was founded in 1869 when a large group from Sweden immigrated to Kansas in response to an invitation from their Lutheran pastor, Olof Ollsson. This town delights all sorts of visitors. While romantics are busy watching the sunset from Coronado Heights and eating Swedish pastries at The Gallery, history buffs are enjoying the Old Mill Museum and Heritage Square. For those looking for excellent hiking opportunities, the Välkommen Trail offers 2.5 miles of scenery, and Kanopolis Lake is a mere 30 minutes away. “People from large communities come here not expecting to find what they find, and then they find it. And that’s I think what makes Lindsborg a notable place,” Kathy Richardson, a long-time resident, says. This town truly is an unexpected pleasure. Story by Rebekah Lodos Photography by Rebekah Lodos and Courtesy Lindsborg CVB

three places to shop Small World Gallery

The Ivory Thimble


Jim and Kathy Richardson own this refined shop that offers his National Geographic photography and her locally crafted jewelry.

Browse Tara Killingsworth’s custom apparel line as well as traditional Swedish costumes in this charming apparel design studio and boutique.

For Scandinavian knick-knacks and T-shirts that say “Kiss me, I’m Swedish,” be sure to check out Hemslöjd. Often someone is working on painting wild dalas in the back.


Visitors can enjoy a taste of Swedish culture without leaving Kansas. CORONADO HEIGHTS “The daughter of Olof Olsson, Lindsborg’s founder, would come up here and sit with her father when he was doing some writing,” Kathy Richardson says. “Her mother had to stay back in Sweden ... And she would tell her mother that she could see Sweden from here.” If you blur out the corn fields, Coronado Heights makes you feel like a Viking surveying fertile soils.

What dish is Lindsborg? The “Brent Nelson” at the Öl’ Stuga

ÖL’ STUGA An American tavern that boasts a fascinating history, the Öl’ Stuga is well worth a stop. Their flagship sandwich—a cheese and sausage sandwich served with onions and barbecue sauce dubbed the Brent Nelson—was featured on Good Morning America, and legend has it Mikhail Gorbachev snuck out late at night for some Aquavit and cranberry during his 2005 visit. THE HOSPITALITY Midwestern hospitality is one thing; Lindsborg hospitality is another. Everyone is friendly and obliging.

St. Lucia Festival

The mid-December festival celebrates the legendary Swedish heroine who steered a shining ship to deliver food to a starving nation.

Svensk Hyllningsfest

The biggest festival in Lindsborg happens in October in oddnumbered years. Art, parades and Swedish customs take over the city and bring a taste of Scandinavia to the middle of Kansas.

The Messiah Festival of the Arts

During Easter, Lindsborg hosts a performance of Handel’s Messiah, sung by one of the biggest choruses in the Midwest. This timehonored event, held yearly since 1882, is a must-see.



3 events to plan your trip around 47 WINTER 2018

3 Lindsborg


For visitors looking for the slow pace and hospitality of a small town, Norton is the perfect spot for a weekend getaway. Revel in classic Kansas Americana and meet a community that has worked hard to revitalize its town. Be sure to stop in during the summer for great outdoor opportunities at nearby Prairie Dog State Park and enjoy the annual volunteer-planned carnival that supports community development. Story and Photography by Jessi Jacobs

one. two. three.

three claims to fame Station 15. Located on

Keith Sebelius,

36 Highway, and once kept by the parents of infamous outlaw Billy the Kid. Wild Bill Hickock made regular visits to this historic stagecoach station.

who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1969–1981, was born in Norton. The nearby state lake is named in his honor.


Nick Allen, professional baseball player from 1914–1920 who played with the Buffalo Buffeds, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds, hailed from Norton.

3 tghin iynourgsusitcatsoen

to brin ekend in Nor for a we

Swimming * Suit for * Energy Shopping

* Curiosity

Best Local Discoveries notable

Outdoorsy folks will love Elmwood Park, which houses a race track, equestrian center, disc golf course and playground. Golf enthusiasts will need to check out Prairie Dog Golf Course, a beautiful nine-hole golf course with an abundance of trees, perfectly groomed greens, gorgeous water features and some historic metal bridges. The town’s proximity to Prairie Dog State Lake is also a draw for anglers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Moffet Drug. Take a

seat at the vintage soda fountain counter, enjoy a cup of coffee and shoot the breeze with locals. Moffet Drug has been a staple in Norton since the 1940s.

The works of artist Frederic Remington.

Outside of the Norton Public Library complex, you’ll find his life-sized statue of a cowboy and horse.

Russ’ Jewelry and Repair. They have not only beautiful jewelry but also a collection of Indian arrowheads and Alaskan knives. Destination Kitchen. Find the perfect gift for the budding chef in your life. It is also a great place to stop for a slice of pizza, deli sandwich or a slice of Italian cake with homemade cream cheese frosting.

Ruth’s Antiques. Chat with owner Ruth Hartman while you hunt through her impressive stock of antiques and collectables.

Norton Sites worth the hype PRAIRIE DOG STATE PARK AND KEITH SEBELIUS LAKE. The lake is an easy drive from town and is home to the site of the last adobe house in Kansas. The park also includes a new pavilion, sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits and a community-funded playground.

THEY ALSO RAN GALLERY. Located in the First State Bank, this unique museum features a gallery of portraits of presidential candidates who came up short.

THE SCHEETZ MOTOR BUILDING. Built in 1925, this former car dealership is now a nostalgic hot rod show room not to be missed by car enthusiasts. Next door, check out a replica of a 1950s Sinclair gas station.


Good for outdoorsy folks? Good for artsy folks?

a main floor art gallery, featuring light sculpture designed by Lisa Brooksher. This mixed-use building’s renovations highlight historic features, including original doors and windows, and is home to a number of offices, conference rooms, and a coffee shop, with plans to add a spa.

gift shops

49 WINTER 2018

Heaton building. This refinished building houses

Lindsbor g P

atchison. Fall. Atchison is full of pretty fall colors, and visitors can take advantage of haunted Atchison events and tours.

Approx. 10 ion ,70 t a ul

council grove. Summer. Visitors will want to hit Council Grove Marina’s swimming hole, boating, kayaking and long board rentals.





Approx. 2,80 n o 0 i at

lawrence. The town absolutely erupts with spirit during March Madness. You can watch NCAA games with loyal fans at practically any of the restaurants and bars, and KU often opens Allen Fieldhouse for a live transmission of the games. If you want a calmer, less crowded shopping and touring experience, visit in summertime when the majority of university students are away.



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or fall is the perfect time to visit for the mildest Kansas weather and most picturesque foliage.


Atchison Pop

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Abilene. Spring

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Lindsborg Norton Council Grove


lindsborg. Summer to enjoy all of the hiking nearby and enjoy finding all of the dala statues.

in What season should you visit?

norton. Visit Norton in the summer to catch the carnival, the annual car show, and a movie at Norton’s 1950s-era movie theater. It’s also a good time of year to take advantage of the state-of-the-art community pool and parks.

for voting Council Grove as a

weekend getaway Workplace Wellness Farmers Alliance encourages employee health.

VISIT c OUNCIL g rove . com Council Grove/Morris County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism 620-767-5413

Lemon Park Lights

“We believe a healthy work/life balance is important. Our workplace wellness program offers a workout facility, education and assistance to help employees live healthier lifestyles. “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas are partners in our success. Their onsite and online education and support are made especially for our needs. “Companies of any size can benefit from helping employees live healthier lives. It’s just the right thing to do.” Ryan Hicks • VP, Human Resources • Farmers Alliance, McPherson, KS

The one-mile drive takes you through Pratt’s oldest and most scenic park, illuminated by thousands of lights and animated displays. Lemon Park Lights has expanded into its neighboring park with animated displays of the 12 days of Christmas.

LEMON PARK LIGHTS will be lit from dusk to 11pm nightly from November 17 TH - January 1ST

Come celebrate Christmas with us! J O I N S A N T A O N S A T U R D A Y,

NOVEMBER 17TH — 3:00 TO 5:30PM for Christmas in the Park and the lighting of the lights! There will be activities for the kids, hay rack rides, carriage rides, food vendors, live entertainment and more!

For More Information

620.672.5501 www.prattkansas.org


N.1817 An independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

story by Amber Fraley Portraits by David Mayes




Patty & Jerry







hen we asked Patty Reece to design a new holiday for Kansas, she came back with an answer that reflected her own interests and historical connections to the state. Her holiday would be called “O, Pioneers!” and would honor those who established and built communities across the state. “Every town, large and small,” writes Reece, “has its own rich history of pioneers. This day would be an incentive to rediscover those stories and celebrate them.” Reece and her husband, Jerry, have certainly done their part to honor pioneers in the state. Residing in Shawnee Mission since the late 1960s, the couple traveled throughout rural Kansas and encountered an abandoned community store in Volland, near Alma, around 2000. By 2013, they had bought the property and began restoring the structure as well as researching the store’s crucial role in providing supplies and a gathering spot for surrounding farm families in the early 20th century. Their restoration project led to the 2015 opening of The Volland Store as a gallery and cultural center that strives to preserve and celebrate life in Kansas and the surrounding Flint Hills. Reece describes it simply as “a place for art and community.” Past exhibitions have included a series of conversations and art displays about water in Kansas, discussions of how weather is affected by our interaction with the land, photographs of tornado sirens as art … and more. Reece says that she and her husband were guided by a love of Kansas, as well as “curiosity, respect for others, creative thinking, willingness to engage smarter people than myself, and dogged persistence.” Their dedication to promoting the heritage and beauty of rural Kansas life is the reason that staff of the state Tourism Division chose Patty and Jerry Reece for this honor.

Dr. Roger “Doc”




55 WINTER 2018

oger Trotter has been a physician in Dodge City for over forty years, but the man known around town as “Doc Trotter” has cared for his community in many ways beyond his medical practice. One of his largest projects began sixteen years ago, when he was asked to join the board of the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. The sitting president of the rodeo quit not long after, and Trotter took over the position. At the time, the rodeo was struggling, but it has flourished under his leadership. In August 2018, USA Today named the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo the “No. 1 Best North American Rodeo,” beating out rodeos in big cities such as Denver and Houston. That level of success is probably why Trotter is still the rodeo president. “They can’t find anyone who has his passion,” says Mary Trotter, Doc’s wife. “He loves rodeo and understands the business side of it.” Together, the Trotters help raise money for cancer treatment at the rodeo though a program sponsored by Wrangler Jeans called Tough Enough to Wear Pink. Thinking beyond one event or one community is typical of Doc Trotter. Jan Stevens of the Dodge City Convention and Visitors’ Bureau nominated Doc Trotter for this award because “he promotes not only Dodge City, but Kansas rodeo, across the United States.” She says Trotter often stops by the Dodge City CVB to pick up Kansas memorabilia and promotional items, such as wooden nickels, which he distributes when he travels, especially at rodeo functions. “When he leaves, he leaves a piece of Kansas behind. I would say he humbly does this stuff because it’s a passion of his. He works tirelessly.” While he represents Dodge City and Kansas to the world of rodeo, Doc Trotter, now 70 years of age, continues to serve his town as a physician. In addition to his private family practice, Trotter is the director of Hospice of the Prairie, which covers much of Southwest Kansas. This means he regularly works 11hour days. “My husband sees four or five new patients a day, and about 30 patients a day in total,” says Mary of Doc, who gets up every day at 5 a.m. to exercise. “He has to, to be able to do all he does. He’s everywhere.”








ne of the masterminds behind the creation of the Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad, Joe Minick is a machinist and mechanic who knows how to make things work. Born in Talmage, and having spent his entire life in Dickinson County, Minick is technically retired, but maintains a working machinist shop in his home of Abilene. “We’re so lucky to have him,” says Abilene Convention and Visitors’ Bureau director Julie Roller, who nominated Minick for this award. “Joe is a Jack of all trades. It just so happens his passion benefits the tourism industry. He loves Kansas, and he loves machinery and making things work. He loves history and seeing the value in making something come to fruition.” The railroad line that Minick helped revive now gives regular rides to enthusiasts and tourists, May through October. It all started with a train engine sitting dormant in a local park. “For years and years that engine sat in a city park,” Roller says. “It was a staple of the park. Joe and a group of guys thought they could get it to work again.” The men crafted a master plan not only to get the engine itself running again but also to acquire train cars and purchase a defunct line of tracks from Abilene to Enterprise to Woodbine. “It was a complete plan, from start to finish,” Roller adds. “They brought it back to life.” The Rock Island Railroad Branch through Abilene was originally constructed in 1887. Today it’s owned by the Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad, which has diesel locomotive and steam locomotive passenger trains, and dinner train excursions departing on the hour from the Dickinson County Heritage Center. Every position at the Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad is a volunteer position, including operating the trains, maintaining the locomotives and cars, maintaining the track, hosting train trips and helping in the depot. Minick continues to be a part of helping to keep the railroad chugging along in whatever capacity he’s needed, whether that means repairing an engine or mowing along the rail line. Minick was also instrumental in helping to build and recreate the historic Hoffman Grist Mill in Enterprise on the Abilene & Smoky Valley railroad line. Today it’s a fully operational grist mill grinding turkey red heritage wheat (see the fall 2018 edition of KANSAS! for a story on this mill). Minick was also involved in a crucial element of the Arabia Steamboat Museum. Though the paddleboat’s 5,000-pound, 19th-century steam engine now resides in a Kansas City museum, it was first restored in Minick’s machine shop in Abilene. “He’s willing to tackle anything,” Roller says. “He’s fearless. He’s not replaceable. Having that person with a mechanical mindset who has ambition and is willing to promote his community ... Imagine if we had a Joe in every Kansas town ... The sky would be the limit.”

Rebecca “Beccy”



hese days, you might find Rebecca “Beccy” Tanner at Wichita State University where she teaches a “Quirky Kansas” class. But across the state, she’s also known for her 39 years of awardwinning journalism focusing on the daily life of Kansans. It’s a story she has lived. Growing up as a fourth-generation Kansan on a farm in Stafford County, Tanner is rooted in the land. “There’s nothing on a farm she hasn’t done, from fixing fences to driving tractors, to birthing cattle,” notes Michael Pearce, who nominated Tanner for this recognition. Pearce, now the outdoor content manager for state’s Tourism Division, also worked with Tanner for 17 years at the Wichita Eagle where she mentored new writers and continually discovered compelling stories. In all, Tanner published and contributed to several books about Kansas and wrote some 8,000 articles about the state. “She had a heck of a following,” Pearce says. “She could write about light-hearted things, but she could write the hard stuff, too. She really understands the history of Kansas, and how that made Kansas become what it is today. Early on in her career, she talked with people who survived the Dust Bowl. She’s talked to survivors in towns after they’ve been destroyed by a tornado. She just has a personality that allows her to talk with anyone, from governors to the guy shoveling grain at the coop.” In many ways, Tanner is an advocate for the state. And her love of Kansas isn’t blind, but built over years of traveling back roads, sitting in small-town eateries and making friends in virtually every county. “She hasn’t missed a state fair, even when she went as an infant,” notes Pearce. “Everybody knows Beccy. She just is Kansas.”








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e h t e Giv f o t f Gi s a s n Ka Order online at shop.fromthelandofkansas.com by December 10 for guaranteed holiday delivery.

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