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CONTACT In touch with all things Cottonwood...

Renae 35 - years

Charlie - 40 years

Albert - 39 years

JR - 38 years

Martha & Mary - 40 years

Jill - 36 years

Fall 2012

Sam - 40 years

Susan - 38 years

Milissa - 37 years


We help individuals with disabilities shape their own future. Real People. Real Lives.

Inside COTTONWOOD................ Board of Trustees COTTONWOOD INCORPORATED

Steve Atzeni Joe Baker Barbara Ballard Marilyn Bittenbender Zak Bolick Karen Bryan Perry Buck Jim Budde Mary Carson Kelly Drake Doug Gaumer Dale Glenn Phil Godwin Webster Golden Jon Heeb

Celebrating our Past--- Shaping the Future--As we wind down our 40th year Anniversary celebrations, I want to take this opportunity to communicate our deep appreciation for the long-standing partnerships we enjoy with the communities in Douglas and Jefferson counties that have helped us be successful; including board members, families, businesses and other organizations that have been so supportive of our mission and the work we do each day. We also thank our staff members who are dedicated to supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead full and productive lives. In the midst of an evolving and ever changing landscape for funding and overall system-changes, Cottonwood remains committed to our mission of helping people with disabilities shape their own future. We look forward to a bright and successful future. Thank you.

Carl Locke Shirley Martin-Smith Tim Marshall Tom Mulinazzi Jeff Shmalberg Paul Werner


Tana Ahlen Hank Booth

On The Cover: 2012 is Cottonwood’s 40th anniversary. All of these people have been a part of Cottonwood since the 70’s, either receiving or delivering supports & services. Top Row: Renae Johnson, Jr Condra-Director of Cottonwood Industries, Sam Branson. Middle Row: Charlie Tipton, Martha and Mary Mathews, Susan Boose. Bottom Row: Albert Gauna, Jill Baker-Administrator of Services, Milissa Hicklin.

Brad Burnside Harley Catlin Kristin Eldridge Harry Gibson Kurt Goeser Mark Gonzales Tom Groene Nancy Longhurst Mark Mitchell Allison Vance Moore Martin Moore Bill Salome Miles Schnaer Gary Sollars Sharon Spratt Sharon Stultz Andy Vigna Jerry Waugh Richard Zinn


CONTACT is published for the friends and supporters of Cottonwood, Inc. by the Community Relations and Development Department: Peggy Wallert and Kari Bentzinger. Cottonwood, Incorporated is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization that serves children and adults with developmental disabilities. Cottonwood provides employment , residential, and community support services. Cottonwood is a member of Interhab, the Resource Network for Kansans with Disabilities. Cottonwood is partially funded on a contractual basis with the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. Cottonwood is accredited by CARF, the rehabilitation accreditation commission. Cottonwood is an affirmative action equal opportunity employer. We do business in accordance with the Federal Fair Housing Law. (The Fair Housing Amendment Act of 1998). Labeling and mailing services for this newsletter have been provided by men and women of Cottonwood. An adapted version of this publication and other materials are available by calling 785.842.0550 or by visiting us on the web at


Jessie & Dr. Vernon Branson Sam Branson

Sam working at Cottonwood Industries

Lyman & Bryona Wiley with son Ted

1972-Present Cottonwood is celebrating 40 years of helping people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) to shape their own futures. Back in 1972, families in Lawrence were looking to expand the opportunities for their adult children with I/DD in this community. They believed that their children could survive and even thrive if given the chance. Cottonwood, Inc. was born out of this belief—and continues today to provide quality supports for people that foster independence, inclusion and participation in our community. Lyman & Bryona Wiley and Dr. Vernon and Jessie Branson were among that group of parents who helped to found Cottonwood, Inc. Their foresight, commitment and determination led to the establishment of Cottonwood, Inc.—and their spirit continues to guide us even today. Some of those earliest individuals seeking support continue to be a part of the Cottonwood family. We salute the people served, their families, and the staff who have been a part of Cottonwood’s 40 years—and we look forward to the coming years and the opportunities to continue the mission of helping persons with disabilities to shape their own future!

Renae at work - now (On the Border)

Susan at the Cottonwood Minimasters

Martha at her community jobLawrence Decorating Center

Renae at work - then

Milissa working at Cottonwood Industries

Albert & Charlie at the Cottonwood Minimasters

Mary getting ready for the Retirement Art Show.



Perfect weather enhanced the fun times for the almost 100 golfers who participated in the 2012 Cottonwood Classic Golf Tournament. Over $14,000 was raised for the Cottonwood Foundation while everyone enjoyed their afternoon in the sun. CONTESTS Closest to the Pin - Jon Smiley Longest Putt – Bob Young Closest to the Water – Curt Floerchinger


Championship Flight Winners

1st Place: Jim Biemick, Chris Hutchens, Bob Jones, Ken Creasey 2nd Place: Sean Lester, Robert Green, Bob Clement, Mark Gonzales 4


The Cottonwood MiniMasters continues to be the highlight of the spring for the people we support, staff and families! This year was no exception. More than 200 people joined us at The Lodge in Baldwin City for a BBQ meal, miniature golf, horse-drawn wagon rides, dancing, singing and petting of miniature horses and donkeys! Fun, fun, fun!!!


COTTONWOOD INDUSTRIES Congratulations to the Workers of the Month!


Cottonwood Industries is always looking for new jobs to expand opportunities for people to learn new skills and earn more money! One of the newest projects is a work crew at Free State Brewery. If you know of any opportunities for packaging, mailing, shrink wrapping, labeling, commercial sewing, please let us know. We have a great pool of skilled workers who are looking to help you! Contact Robert Bieberle (Business Development Manager) at or call him at (785) 842-0550. July-Andrew





• • • • • • • •

140+ person workforce 66,000 sq. ft. facility 9 loading docks Ample fork lift equipment Pallet racking equipment ISO compliant Experienced sewing department CASS certification

JOBLINK COMMUNITY EMPLOYMENT JobLink is proud to announce the following outstanding employees of the month!

May - Kenneth Beard- Chili’s

June- Ruby Plymer-Assist LLC

July-Bill Reding-The Market at KU

REDUCED HIRING COSTS Are you coping with excessive employee turnover, rising training costs and a shortage of dedicated employees? We can help. JobLink provides consultation and personnel to businesses interested in a stable workforce. JobLink workers are noted for their employment stability (the average length of employment is nearly four years), low rate of absenteeism and excellent safety records.

August-Melissa Franklin-Freddy’s


• Over 150 employers • 240 people employed • 82 job seekers

CUSTOMIZED SERVICE JobLink provides reliable and qualified workers. Our job development team will match your needs with interested workers. And, you interview candidates to ensure a skills match with your employment requirements. HIRING FLEXIBILITY We can fill one or multiple positions for you. You can even contract with JobLink for a crew complete with a supervisor. Individuals or crews are available for temporary and permanent part-time and fulltime positions. PAYROLL SAVINGS When you contract with JobLink for a work crew, you can count on willing and able workers. You will reduce your hiring and training costs, and save on workers’ compensation and benefit expenses. In addition, many of our job seekers will make their employer eligible for a tax credit. Ask us about it. ON-SITE TRAINING JobLink employment consultants will support your new employee(s), as needed, from no-cost initial consultation to more intensive training and support on the job. Additionally, we offer information regarding disability awareness.

September-Carl Amaro-Walgreens 6th Street

Contact JobLink for more information. 785-842-0550


Salute! HIGHLIGHTS This was the best year ever for our major fundraiser, Salute! Over $114,000 was raised for the Cottonwood Foundation. This was the 14th annual Salute! A Festival of Wine & Food, underwritten by Standard Beverage Corporation. This three-day extravaganza features three very different kinds of wine and food experiences. We are very fortunate to have a core group of volunteers who plan and oversee each of these events. The 2012 Steering Committee were: Miles & Paula Schnaer, Becky Gibson, Cary & Ettie Brightwell, Michelle Fales, Kristin Eldridge, Nancy Longhurst, Susan McElwain, Andrea Baloga, Rick & Faye Hale, Allen & Kate Pickert.

Tickets for the Mosey were again a very hot item—they sold out in a day! As you can see, everyone was eager to Mosey along and support Cottonwood.

The Mass St. Mosey began the festivities on Thursday, July 12. But, actually, the fun began even earlier when bags for participants were stuffed and volunteer pourers and servers were trained. This year’s participating venues were: Eccentricity, The Etc. Shop, Goldmaker’s, Hobbs, Kring’s Interiors, Mark’s Jewelers, Prairie Patches, Shark’s Surf Shop, Saffees, Stitch On, US Bank, Waxman Candles, Winfield House, & Wink Eyewear.

Thank you Mosey Co-Chairs! Allen & Kate Pickert, Faye & Rick Hale

Thank You Bag Stuffers! Back Row: Ettie Brightwell, Emma Bentzinger, Faye Hale, Kate Pickert, Emma Brightwell. Middle Row: Douglas Hale, Derek Hale, Ethan Bentzinger, Peyton Mallory. Seated: Kathryn Hale, Rebecca Pickert, Elise Pickert

Winemaker Dinner

Friday, July 13

This was the best dinner ever! I really, really, loved it! -Ross Schimmels V.P. Standard Beverage Corporation

The wines from Buena Vista Winery were featured at the 2012 Winemaker Dinner. Host John Grasse gave a colorful history of this historic winery and its founder. The gourmet meal presented by The Oread Hotel’s superb chef, TK Peterson and his staff, was again delicious and beautifully served. A truly fine dining experience for all who attended!


Salute! HIGHLIGHTS Grand Tasting & Auctions Saturday, July 14

Salute activities culminated with the Grand Tasting on Saturday evening at The Oread Hotel. Over 600 persons enjoyed a variety of food and wine and bid on rare wines, fun trips, gourmet dining experiences and a wide variety of items in the Live and Silent Auctions. What an incredible time—and we are very grateful to the over 1300 persons who participated in the events of Salute 2012! Thank you to everyone who sponsored, donated, volunteered, and participated.

Thanks to our associated sponsors! Founder & Presenting Sponsor

W i n e

a n d

S p i r i t s

Mass Street Mosey Glassware Sponsor

Title Sponsor

Grand Tasting Glassware Sponsor Logo, Color

Media Sponsor

Logo Small, Greyscale

Grand Tasting Tote Bag Sponsor Logo Small, Black/White

Printing Sponsor Mass Street Mosey Tote Bag Sponsor

Invitation Sponsor TOYOTA / SCION / VOLKSWAGEN

Reserve Room Sponsor Tear Pad Sponsor

Associated Sponsor

Butler Tray Sponsor Jeffrey Ingles, Financial Consultant, Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC

Magnet Sponsor

Associated Sponsor

Thanks to our Restaurant Sponsors!

23rd St Brewery LaTropicana Bigg’s BBQ Genovese Pachamama’s Paisano’s The Olivia Collection Basil Leaf Cafe Encore Cafe Cupcake Construction Co. Evan Williams Catering


Friend of Cottonwood, Richard Vigna, brought members of the First United Methodist Church for a tour.

Cottonwood Inc. Board Member, Zak Bolick, brought 2 Leadership Lawrence groups (above and below) to tour.

Leadership Lawrence

Staff from The Oread Hotel Cottonwood Inc. Board Member, Tim Marshall (back, right), brought Jefferson County superintendents of schools for a tour.

We love to have visitors at Cottonwood! This 40th year anniversary is a great time for us to share the amazing work that is done for and with the people we support. No group is too big or too small- just give Peggy a call at 785-840-1605 to arrange for your tour.

Cottonwood staff, Peggy Wallert, Steve Steinbach, and Robert Bieberle, are flanked by Luke Livingston and Randy Cotton from Del Monte Pet Products. Cottonwood Foundation Board Member, Kurt Goeser, brought friends and family to tour Cottonwood.


EVENT HIGHLIGHTS The Cottonwood Foundation Board of Trustees is always helping with their generosity of dollars, business experience, fundraising abilities and advice. But, on Saturday, June 30, several of the board members, their spouses, plus some Cottonwood staff showed off their gardening skills and helped to weed and mulch several beds at our newest home on Blazing Star. Many thanks to all who helped!

A BIG Thank You! Jeff Whittier- Residential Coordinator, Gene PlankerResidential Maintenance Supervisor, Diane & Dick Zinn (Cottonwood Foundation Board Member), Gary Sollars (Cottonwood Foundation Board Member), Sharon Spratt-CEO Cottonwood, Inc., Mike & Tana Ahlen (Cottonwood Foundation Board Member) (Not pictured, Kara Walters-Director of Residential, Jerry Sylvester-Residential Maintenance.)

Welcome New Board Member, Kristin Eldridge!

We are very pleased to announce that Kristin Eldridge has joined the Cottonwood Foundation Board of Trustees. Kristin and her husband, Lee, own Snap Promotions, a company that specializes in promotional items for all occasions. Kristin has been involved for several years on the Salute Steering Committee as the Auction Chairperson. Kristin and Lee are the proud parents of three children.

Opportunities to shape the future The Cottonwood Foundation is a separate but affiliated 501 (c) (3) non –profit organization established to facilitate the contribution of funds for the benefit of Cottonwood, Inc. The Cottonwood Foundation plays a key role in providing funding for the organization by helping to provide for some of the special needs of individuals served by Cottonwood, Inc. With increased competition for limited philanthropic funds, gifts have become even more critical to helping ensure a long, healthy future for Cottonwood, Inc. Contributions to the Cottonwood Foundation can be made in a number of ways, including cash, securities, real estate and personal property, life insurance, retirement plans, in-kind gifts, and planned gifts through a will or trust. Each contribution makes a difference and helps ensure the future of Cottonwood. The Cottonwood Foundation is a charitable organization, and gifts are tax deductible.For more information about Cottonwood, Inc. as well as the Cottonwood Foundation, visit To learn more about how you can have an impact on the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities by making a donation to the Cottonwood Foundation, contact Peggy Wallert, Director of Community Relations and Development at (785) 842-0550.

You can make a lasting difference! 13

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS A Mid Summer Afternoon The Talent Show has become one of our favorite activities. We held our fifth annual event, July 24th, and the performers enjoyed sharing their talents.

Health & Safety Fair To kick off the Consumer Health & Safety Fair on August 17th, Red Dog (Don Gardner) and his crew came out to teach our group a few exercises to help keep them fit! Many of our folks were even able to keep pace with the trainers! Other presenters at the Fair included Work Services staffer, Sharon Vokins, performing a Safety Skit (there were prizes involved!); Harvester’s conducting a hand washing clinic using a black light; representatives from Parks & Rec conducting an “Organ Wise” session. A “Together Prepared“ disaster preparedness booth was manned by Karen Lowder and Nina Van Schmus with Delta Dental contributing the first item to consumer’s preparedness kits, a toothbrush & toothpaste. Everyone had a lot of fun and learned something valuable that they can use to improve their own health and safety every single day!


EVENT HIGHLIGHTS Direct Support Professionals Week, September 10-14

The people who provide direct support to the people with disabilities receiving services from Cottonwood, Inc. are amazing, dedicated individuals who give their all. We are proud to highlight them and thank them for their dedication to the people they support. Thank you to McDonald’s for providing breakfast sandwiches for our DSP breakfast!

The choir has been pleased to receive invitations to sing for various community groups. The most recent performance was at Neuvant House, a personal memory care facility. The entire choir performed and was treated to fresh baked cookies afterwards. Singing was fun, but visiting with our hosts was great too.

Do you need some fun entertainment? Just call and see if you can book the Cottonwood Choir to make your event extra-special! They really enjoy entertaining and they put on a wonderful show! You can call Cottonwood at (785) 842-0550 and ask for Peggy or Lynn to schedule the Choir. 15


NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION U.S. Postage PAID Lawrence, Kansas Permit No. 115


2801 W 31st St Lawrence, KS 66047-3049



FALL 2012 ART SHOW & SALE October 26th - Final Friday Art Gallery Walk 5pm – 9pm October 27th - Art Show & Sale 11:00am – 1:30pm


For more information: Contact Micki Self-Loveland 785-840-1633

Lawrence Arts Center 940 New Hampshire St.

Fall Contact Newsletter 2012  

Fall Contact Newsletter