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For Her • May 2013
Win a $1,000 shopping spree By Linda Stinnett email@example.com
With For Her, a special publication, The Derby Informer and participating businesses are announcing that a contest to win a $1,000 shopping spree is back again this year. The Mad Shopper contest begins with this announcement. Registration lasts through May 31. Register at any of the participating sponsors by using registration blanks by using registration blanks available at any participating merchant. Contest rules do limit Mad Shopper participants to one entry a day at each sponsor. The lucky Mad Shopper winner will be able to spend the $1,000 at any of the participating businesses. Enter soon. You don’t want to miss the chance to win this.
Mad Shopper entry points Rainbow Valley Veterinary Clinic 1630 James
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Madison Ave. Salon 421 E. Madison
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Stress Busters Massage Therapy Group 1747 Osage, Suite A
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Name____________________________________________________ Phone_______________________________ Address___________________________________________ City__________________ St______ Zip ___________ Email_________________________________________________________________________________________ ______YES! I would like to receive information on Specials & Coupons from Derby-Area Businesses. Go to www.derbyinformer.com for complete details or to 219 E. Madison, Derby, KS 67037
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For Her • May 2013
Attorney’s career is not for faint-of-heart By Davi Stuhlsatz firstname.lastname@example.org
Becky Hurtig’s career as guardian ad litem for children taken out of homes due to abuse or neglect is not a job for the faint-of-heart. “It can grind one down to deal with such constant and never-ending dysfunction and ugliness and damage,” the Derby lawyer said. She currently represents over 200 children from newborn to age 18, and over her 13 years as a GAL, has represented hundreds to thousands more. “In Sedgwick County, agencies and policies are in place to assist families in distress, so only the worst Photo by Davi Stuhlsatz situations are filed as ‘Child Becky Hurtig, guardian ad litem for abused and neglected children, said she and her in Need of Care’ cases,” she family, including daughters Christina (left) and Anna (right), are blessed.
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said. “By the time a family gets to that level of scrutiny, there are usually huge issues of dysfunction: physical or sexual abuse, drug or alcohol abuse by the parents or severe mental illness.” Hurtig represents children’s best interests as their CINC cases proceed through the state court. She reviews reports and legal documentation, files legal pleadings if necessary, and argues aspects of the law that benefit her clients. The children are from throughout Sedgwick County. “Cases do indeed come out of the Derby area, plenty of them,” she said. “One of my most memorable was when a mom told her approximately 8-year-old twin boys that
she was going out shopping on Christmas Eve in the morning. She went off on a drug/alcohol bender and never came home.” Hurtig said the twins spent Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and a couple more days sitting in an apartment wondering when their mother would return. “No Christmas decorations or food or presents or church or family,” she said. “They just sat there by themselves, waiting. It broke my heart.” Before becoming a GAL, Hurtig spent five years in the Sedgwick County Public Defender’s Office, representing indigent people charged with felony crimes – “an eye-opener for a fairly please see
For Her • May 2013
Double lung transplant brings renewed life By Davi Stuhlsatz email@example.com
Siblings Rafe Biltz and Julia Biltz Rogers fought the effects of cystic fibrosis together their entire lives. Julia, 28, was hospitalized in the same hospital as was her 23-year-old brother, fighting an infection, when he died from CF complications in January. “I’m sad he can’t be here physically with me now – healing, recovering, breathing, but I know he is happy, running, breathing, and so much more in heaven right now,” she said. CF affects about 30,000 children and adults in the DAVI STUHLSATZ/Informer photo Derby resident Julia Rogers received a life-saving double lung transplant on March 18. U.S., according to the Pictured at a rehab appointment tin Dallas, her husband Joe is holding a photo showing Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. her clouded lungs before the transplant (at left) and the clear lungs post-transplant. It clogs the lungs, leads to life-threatening lung infections, obstructs the pancreas, and prevents the absorption of food. The Derby resident has never let CF define her. But the past two years, Julia was on oxygen 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except At D&B Service Center for one special event 18 we recognize that a large months ago – her marriage majority of women make to Joe Rogers. “Our wedding day was vehicle maintenance and repair perfect,” she said. “I had to decisions on their own. wear my oxygen, but I was determined to walk down Let us release you from that aisle without it ... and “Auto Phobia” and make those decisions easier!
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I did. Marrying Joe, and having him as my husband, makes me so very happy. Even in the midst of being sickly, of being on oxygen, of struggling to breathe ... that was set aside by the joy and love we felt in our hearts.” Julia’s lung function continued to plummet this past fall. She dropped to 78 pounds, and 14 percent lung function. “I felt like I was trapped in my own body, unable to breathe, unable to walk even 10 steps without feeling out of breath,” she said. Julia had always been horrified of a lung transplant, but it seemed there was no choice. “I basically had no reserve left,” shes aid. “If I got sick again – with anything – it could be the end for me. It was a miracle I survived my sickness in November – a real life true miracle.” One consideration in the transplant candidate approval process is posttransplant support. “The support we’ve received from people has touched our hearts greatly,” said Julia. “We even got a card from First Presbyterian in Derby telling us they’re praying for us. Complete strangers hear about our
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story and offer us up in their prayers – it is heart melting. “ Julia received new lungs on March 18. She and Joe must live in Dallas near the University of Texas - Southwestern Medical Center until mid-June. Transplanted lungs do not “get” CF because they come from people who do not have CF. However, posttransplant, the person still has CF in other organs. The antirejection drugs Julia will take the rest of her life significantly lower her immunity and have potentially serious side effects. But, the life expectancy of CF patients is increasing. According to the American Lung Association the median age of survival – the age by which half of CF patients are expected to survive – rose to 37 in 2008, up from 32 in 2000 and 25 in 1985. “I feel like an entirely new woman being able to get up and go without grabbing my oxygen, worrying if I have enough or not, lugging it around, constantly watching it to make sure I don’t run out, staying away from flames ... just everything I don’t have to worry about anymore because of the oxygen,” she said.
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For Her • May 2013
ANNE DEWVALL/Informer photo
Naomi Weierich (at left) and Michelle Walker enjoy an apricot saison and an IPA at River City Brewery during one of their weekly Thursday night beer events on April 25.
Ladies who lager
Women are setting record numbers in enjoyment of craft beer By Anne Dewvall firstname.lastname@example.org
Beer was once considered a man’s drink, but women are smashing this stereotype as they flock to craft beer in record setting numbers. Beer has edged out wine as the beverage of choice for women ages 18 to 34, according to a recent article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In large part due to the explosion of the craft beer industry, consumers have more options of styles and flavors of beer than ever. “Craft beer is the most delicious art form,” said Katie Miles, former Derby resident, Wichita home brewer and beer aficionado. “The difference between mass-produced beer like
Budweiser and craft beer is like the difference between a McDonald’s pie and grandma’s apple pie.” In the past six years, craft beer sales have doubled and are projected to triple by 2017, according to BeerPulse. com. “Women actually have more highly developed taste buds than men,” Miles said, “That’s why there are typically more women on tasting and judging panels than men at beer competitions.” Women have flooded the beer market at a time when more purchases are being made based on taste and quality, rather than on marketing, for which the beer industry used to rely on scantily-clad women to nab their mostly male market. Now, emphasis is on artisan
ingredients, innovative flavor combinations and highquality results. “Personally, I like craft beers due to the quality and vast array of choices,” said Mahleah Lavin of Derby. “They have become very similar to wine in that there can be many complex notes in one glass.” Creativity, quality and variety are hallmarks of craft beer, and those are things that women appreciate, according to Miles. “For me it was much easier going from drinking wine to trying craft beers,” said Michelle Walker of Derby. “I enjoy flavorful beverages and run of the mill beer was not appealing to me. However, once I tried a craft beer it please see
For Her • May 2013
Stability of family prompts volunteerism By Davi Stuhlsatz email@example.com
Stephanie Bergmann is detached and calm as she reports stories on KSN. Offthe-air, those same stories pull at her heart. “Through my job at KSN, I’ve become painfully aware how many kids face poverty, violence or substance abuse in their homes,” she said. “I know my small part won’t solve any of these problems, but at least I can help to raise awareness and/or money for groups like Big Brothers/ Big Sisters, the Kansas Food Bank, Addison’s Army, Gerard House, Girl Courtesy photos Scouts and others.” The Birmingham/Bergmann family is shown at a recent holiday celebration. From left Bergmann said she has are Don Birmingham, Stephanie Bergmann, Paige Birmingham, Jordan Bergmann and “a real soft spot for kids,” Marjorie Bergmann. and volunteers most with charities that help children. “I feel so blessed to have grown up in a stable family with loving parents. Not every child has that,” she said. She also volunteers out of a sense of gratitude. “As cliché as it sounds, I feel like I should pay it forward,” Bergmann said. “Right before my senior year of college, I got pregnant. I knew I wanted to keep the baby, but feared that all my plans of becoming a news
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reporter had just ended. Even though I was scared to tell my parents, they were very supportive.” Her mother, Marjorie, moved to Colorado to help her care for her son so she could finish her degree in broadcast journalism at Colorado State University. Her father continued working in Wichita and visited every few weeks. “Once I graduated, my mother moved with me again, this time to Topeka where I got my first job as a news reporter,” Bergmann said. “I made so little money, I never could have afforded daycare for Jordan, so again, my mom came to my rescue.” It was more than a year later, when Stephanie was hired in Wichita at KSNW in 1990, before her mother and father were finally able to live together again. Stephanie has been at KSN for 23 years now. Jordan is 24, accepted to medical school this fall. Most of Stephanie’s siblings and her mother live locally. Stephanie married Don Birmingham in 1998, and they have a 12-year-old daughter, Paige. “I love Derby because it has a small town feel, but still has a variety of
Marjorie Bergmann stepped in to care for her grandson, Jordan, while her daughter finished college and started her career as a news reporter. It meant time away for nearly two years from her husband.
restaurants, shopping, a water park and movie theater,” she said. “I also like that people are friendly and community-minded and my children are able to attend a Catholic school.” Stephanie said she will never forget how her parents put their lives on hold to help her and her son. “I can only hope to be as good of a role model to my own children,” she said. “When I tell people that I would not be in television today if not for my parents, I mean it quite literally.”
For Her • May 2013
Life’s journey begins anew on Crooked Creek By Anne Dewvall firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheerful flowers, charming tea sets and antique linens dot the pages of On Crooked Creek, a decorating and lifestyle blog curated by Patricia Cantwell. This self-professed “hopeless romantic and lover of all things vintage” named the blog after the Derby home she and her husband, known as “Mr. Ed” on the blog, relocated to 11 years ago to be closer to family. “Finding a community where we could enjoy retirement has been quite a journey. I use my blog On Crooked Creek to share the everyday happenings of life as a way to stay connected with lifelong friends. Although the location of On Crooked Creek may change in the future, ‘Mr. Ed’ and I have chosen Derby as our forever residence.” In the pages of her blog, Pat invites readers to join her on the journey of life as she dabbles in decorating, crafting, antiquing and a wealth of other interests. After retiring from the Derby school district, Pat has maintained an industrious schedule, beginning each day with, “my devotional, prayer and coffee.” In 2010, Pat turned to blogs as a way to find inspiration and to stretch her own artistic muscles. “Several of my home decor magazine subscriptions ceased to exist, leaving a void for inspirational resources,” Pat said, “While seeking alternative sources of inspiration, a friend suggested I check out some blogs.” Blogs filled this void and then some, providing an ideal outlet for this former artist and designer to pursue creative writing. Another benefit of blogging has been the community. “I have approximately 195 followers of On Crooked Creek and have developed personal friendships with a dozen
amazing ladies in the ‘Land of Blog’ that I correspond with weekly.” Choosing topics to share on her blog is often influenced by the community of other bloggers with which Pat corresponds and by the seasons. “My favorite seasons are spring and fall. Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite holidays on (the blog),” she said. She often participates in “linky parties” where up to 100 bloggers contribute to a shared topic. Before and after makeovers, tutorials and tabletop vignettes are some of Pat’s favorites. An artistic thread is woven deeply into On Crooked Creek and Pat keeps busy with many crafts and hobbies. Until January 2012, Pat ran a small business designing and producing handmade, vintage-inspired greeting cards. But, when her husband retired, she closed up shop. The cards took up to six hours each to complete, Pat said. GINGER G. GOLDEN/Informer photo “I made cards as a way to fill my idle Patricia Cantwell shares her penchant for romance and vintage furnishings in a blog, hours when ‘Mr. Ed’ worked long hours “On Crooked Creek,” based on everyday life in her Derby home. with the KDOT. Now, I enjoy spending those hours with him,” she said. Pat also creates accessories for her home using many of the heirloom and antique treasures she finds on her expeditions. “One of my passions is to peruse antique malls, flea markets, thrift stores and unique décor and gift shops,” she said. Vintage buttons and laces, silver and other objects are transformed into unique accessories and art. It may seem like Pat’s creativity has no bounds, but there is at Izzy Bella least one hobby of which she is less fond. Amy Bella Border Collies “I hate to sew,” she said. “However, if belonging to John & Linda Hezlep Bichon Frise Poodle there’s something I want for my home, I belonging to belonging to Michael make an occasional exception.” Melyn Bounous & Dinell Stuckey On Crooked Creek has become more than a way to share the joy of decorating. Lab Domestic It is a vibrant artistic outlet and source belonging to Long Hair of community for an equally vibrant and Kent & Susan Kearn belonging to artistic woman. the Koudele family
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Alayna Kempf stands next to one of the quilts she is currently working on. Each quilt uses pieces of a fallen police officer’s uniform as well as personal items if requested. This quilt includes other clothing owned by the officer. Quilts are then presented as gifts to the officer’s spouse and children.
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The basement of the Kempf home looks like a quilting studio full of fabric and equipment. Not what one may expect to see in the house of two police officers. But these two police officers have a mission to create quilts for the spouses and children of fallen law enforcement officers. It was wife Alayna Kempf’s vision that created Final Call Quilts. The vision began with the ambush and brutal murder of Sedgwick County Sheriff Deputy Brian Etheridge in September 2009. Finding a mutual friend with Brian’s widow, Sarah, the Kempfs were given Brian’s uniforms to turn into a quilt. Four days later, the night after Brian’s funeral, Alayna and Robert presented two quilts for Sarah and her 2-year-old daughter, Natalie, who was also presented with a teddy bear. “I was pretty speechless,” said Sarah, now vice chair of Final Call Quilts. “I mean it can’t be put into words how much that meant to me. I just think it’s a really neat way to honor police officers that have died in the line of duty because otherwise,
those uniforms just hang in a closet or sit in a box or get returned to the department.” That was only the beginning. Kempf’s desire to make quilts only grew after that as she began searching for more families of fallen officers who might benefit from her skills and passion. With the help of Robert and others who have volunteered their time and effort, Alayna has made 57 quilts, 34 pillows, 55 wall hangings for 34 families and 36 wall hangings for police departments. They have sewn together 13,695 squares and 182 items. They have flown 17,394 miles and driven 6,309 to hand deliver most of the quilts they have made. “We never wanted to have to ship anything back in a box,” said Kempf. “You build a bond with these people you don’t even know. So to actually finally meet them and to place it back in their arms is like payment in full.” Finding time to make the quilts for two full-time police officers with three children at home can be difficult. Currently they have nine families for whom they are quilting. please see
For Her • May 2013
Fashionable, functional and festive IPhone Apps array of applications through the iTunes store. Millions in America own this ubiquitous device and most users are familiar with the The Apple iPhone continues to be the world’s heavy hitters of apps – the ones that have been most popular smartphone, linked to a staggering tried and true and make life easier and often, By Anne Dewvall
way more distracting. Facebook, Dropbox, PayPal, Epicurious, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Angry Birds: the list goes on. But, new apps are being developed every day with increasing dexterity to improve nearly every area of life, from walk-in closets to wine. Arm your iPhone with this arsenal of apps to make life a little more fabulous. Fashion Stylitics: Plan outfits and store your entire closet on your iPhone. Add items using your phone camera or product gallery, then create new outfits, see how a new purchase meshes with your current wardrobe and catalog your outfit history to avoid repeating outfits. Free. Polyvore: Polyvore is a favorite for creating inspirational outfit collages (known as “sets”). Need outfit ideas? Search millions of looks created by users by keyword, clothing item and more. Create sets of your own and share them instantly. Free. Poshmark: Advertised as a fun and simple way to buy fashion, Poshmark allows users to literally shop each other’s closets, shopping, sharing and selling clothing and accessories
in a virtual marketplace. Sell items of your own or shop selections from fashion bloggers, boutiques and other fashion hounds. Free. Lifestyle WifeBro: Despite the name, this helpful app is a great way for both men and women to remember special events, store gift-giving ideas and save important gift-giving facts like clothing sizes. The ability to keep all this information in one spot is priceless. Free. Craftsy: While Pinterest inspires users, Craftsy gives them tools to bring inspiration to life. A video database of interactive online classes teaches sewing, jewelry making, gardening, knitting and more. Most of the classes must be purchased, but once you’ve paid, they do not expire, so you can watch endlessly. This app is just the thing to spice up knitting night with the gals or to plan a fun activity with the kids. Free. 30/30: Have trouble staying on task? Forget post-its and notebooks, 30/30 is the 21st century please see
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For Her • May 2013
Women in blue
Derby has above average number of female police officers on patrol and in leadership By Linda Stinnett firstname.lastname@example.org
Derby Police Sgt. Ginny Atkison-Hall still recalls with great clarity the day in 1989 she told her parents she was switching careers and going into law enforcement. She had met them in a Wichita restaurant. After she made the statement, her father dropped his bowl of soup, causing it to break into thousands of pieces. “My mom said, ‘But you wear fingernail polish,’” Atkison-Hall said. After nearly a quarter c e n t u r y a s a n o ff i c e r, Atkison-Hall still wears nail polish and she has been a success at her job. She is in charge of the day shift of patrol officers. With just over one-fourth of all Derby police officers now women, Atkison-Hall is a member of a department LINDA STINNETT/Informer photo that is far exceeding national Patrol Officers Trisha Lichti and Amanda Stitt are serving averages for women in blue. in a police department which has higher than average According to figures from numbers of female officers. Police Chief Robert Lee and
the Wichita State University’s School of Community Affairs, communities the size of Derby typically have an average of 12 percent of police positions held by women. Smaller communities average 4 to 7 percent and larger cities average 17 percent. Derby is currently at 26 percent female of all commissioned officers. Lee does not know of any secrets his department has for attracting female officers, but he said he does believe professional working conditions and a good
overall reputation have made it attractive to applicants of both genders. “I think Derby is a very attractive department for people that are looking for a job,” he said. The selection process for new officers is designed to seek quality candidates, both he and a group of his female officers said. In fact, at present there is at least one position unfilled because the right candidate – whether male or female – was not found in the most recent class of applicants. “You have to meet the
standards,” said Trisha Lichti, a Derby officer since 2004. “We will find the best candidate,” Lee said. “Sometimes it just takes a little longer.” That patience in the hiring process can be the difference between life and death for an officer. Atkison-Hall said in every situation Derby officers must be able to know the man or woman answering a call with them has their back and both, barring extreme circumstances out please see
LINDA STINNETT/Informer photo
Shown above are Det. Kinzi Schiffel, Sgt. Ginny Atkison-Hall and Peppi Tanner Schroeder, senior records clerk, all key members of the police department staff.
For Her • May 2013
In a nutshell: women members of the police force Peppi Tanner-Schroeder, senior records clerk Peppi Tanner-Schroeder came to the Derby Police Department 35 years ago after working as a security guard at Wichita State University. She has a criminal justice degree from WSU. Tanner-Schroeder remembers being in awe of a sheriff’s deputy her sister dated and watching ADAM-12 and Emergency on television. She was torn between law enforcement or emergency medical services until she rode along with an officer in a “Buzz with the Fuzz” program through the Wichita Police Department. That officer guided her through many of the decisions for schooling and training. She started in Derby as a reserve officer and then a patrol officer. She discovered a penchant for dispatching, though, and moved to it after just a few months on patrol. In 2000 she was named communications supervisor for the department and became senior records clerk this past year after Sedgwick County took over the dispatching services. When she first entered the police field she found people did not understand why she was pursuing her career. “It was something I had a passion for,” she said. “It’s what I want to do.” Away from the office, TannerSchroeder helps others who
Det. Karensa “Kinzi” Schiffel began working at the Derby Police Department in 2006. She has a criminal justice degree from Wichita State and interned with the Secret Service. She was influenced by the X-Files show as a child, but said that type of work lost its appeal after her internship. After a
Peppi Tanner-Schroeder is shown with Greta, one of four rottweilers she lost to bone cancer. She lost two additional rottweilers to other cancers and one from an intestinal blockage but treasures her memories of those pets and helps others in similar situations. have pets suffering from bone cancer remember their love of that pet through videos of photos and music. Every year BoneCancerDogs.org holds a reunion for those who have a dog with bone cancer or have
lost one to bone cancer. and Tanner-Schroeder creates the videos as part of the reunion events. The organization provides online support and is funding its third clinical trial of the disease.
it,” she said. Someone also told her at 5-feet-2 she could not do the job. “I said, ‘Watch. I can,’” she said. As the mother of two daughters, she wants them to understand they can do what
they want in career decisions. “I don’t want any girl to know any limits,” she said. Away from the job she is actively involved in the children’s ministry at her church and she has been an active Girl Scout volunteer.
Patrol Officer Trisha Lichti Patrol Officer Trisha Lichti has worked for the Derby Police Department since 2004, following a 10-year stay-athome-mom career. The former elementary edu c a t i o n m a j o r w e n t t o
ride-along program, she decided police work was what she was seeking. She is a field sobriety expert and in her first five years on the job, she won departmental awards for her work against drunk driving. Now she is working primarily property crimes, which do not have a high
degree of solvability, but are important because they impact so many residents. “If my job was as sexy as CSI ... I’d have all my cases done in an hour,” she said. Away from the job, she attends baseball games and enjoys time with her family.
Patrol Officer Amanda Stitt
Sgt. Ginny Atkison-Hall Sgt. Ginny Atkison-Hall began working for the Derby Police Department in 1989. She is now in charge of day shift patrol officers. After working in the retail field, she enrolled in a program to ride along with an officer. “Once I rode, I knew that was
Det. Karensa “Kinzi” Schiffel
a banquet where a forensic document examiner spoke and she began gravitating toward a law enforcement career. “I thought, dang, this is awesome,” she said. “It felt right.”
In Derby, she does a lot of fill-in on beats, which gives her a variety of duties on a day-today basis. In her spare time, she loves to catch up on movies and attend auctions and “buy old junk.”
Patrol Officer Amanda Stitt just began her work with the Derby Police Department in July. She has a criminal justice degree from WSU and worked for a security company before taking her current job. Originally Stitt wanted to pursue a career in forensic science, but she found the constant book work tedious.
“I didn’t want to be in a lab or stuck behind a desk all day,” she said. She wanted a law enforcement career because she likes solving a mystery or working a puzzle. “I never saw myself in anything besides this,” she said. With just a few short months on her own on patrol, she said she is still using her fellow officers
as resources but applying what she has learned to her job. “I have to figure it out on my own,” she said. Away from the job, she helps her father with woodworking projects and she reads. Reading is her great escape from the world’s problems, she said.
The value of women in law enforcement Given the variety of circumstances faced by law enforcement officers, it has been found that women can be just as effective and even more effective in certain scenarios, the International Association of Chiefs of Police. • Women often show a high degree of competency in intellectual and strategic situations and can diffuse potentially dangerous situations
with great skill. • As role models at higher levels of law enforcement increase, the number of women interested increases. • More than two-thirds of current criminal justice students polled are in support of additional women law enforcement officers. • Women law enforcement officers are especially effective in carrying out the new
community model of policing, which is less reactive and more proactive. • According to the National C e n t e r f o r Wo m e n a n d Policing, only 9.6 percent are in supervising positions and just 7 percent of them are in top positions such as a captain or even higher. – Courtesy of the International Association of Chiefs of Police
For Her • May 2013
Land conservation important for one Derby resident By Ginger G. Golden email@example.com
Mary Cowan, along with her late husband Dwight, has a mission in life – be good stewards of the farmland they inherited. Since inheriting the land on the northeast corner of 55th Street and Rock Road in 1978 from Dwight’s aunt and uncle who raised him, the Cowans have received six awards for good stewardship. Dwight died in 2009, but
Mary has continued their work on land conservation. In 2012 she had terraces rebuilt, earning her the Soil Conservation award. She was notified of the award this past February. “These terraces had been run over by KG&E, which is now Westar, whenever they put large concrete utility structures across the south end of our property,” said Cowan. “They broke down the concrete structures that were there. It had always bothered Dwight
and he wanted to get them fixed but he never had the opportunity, so I went ahead and did it.” Cowan said she could not remember when the terraces were broken but that KG&E claimed no responsibility, saying the structures were already cracked. In 2012 she hired Tyson Koontz, who spent three days repairing the terraces. “He’s the only one around that actually does this sort of work in Sedgwick County,” said Cowan.
The cost of the project was shared between the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s division of conservation available funds and herself, Cowan said. At this time, she has no desire to sell her land but wants to continue with her conservation efforts. “If you’ll look around, t h e r e ’s n o t t o o m u c h farmland left,” she said. “Everybody’s letting it go to build it up in houses because they can make a whale of a lot more money.”
HURTIG: Represents abused and neglected children From Page 3
naïve young woman,” she said. She is a 1987 graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law, “By the time I started representing kids in juvenile court I had handled a large number of criminal cases. I thought I’d seen about every bad thing humans could do to one another,” said Hurtig. “I was wrong. Unfortunately, I continue to be amazed and appalled at the harm and hate adults inflict upon children.” H u r t i g ’s p a y i s n o t commensurate with what attorneys of similar experience and skills receive, but she appreciates
the autonomy to set her own schedule to allow time for family and other obligations, and “the peace of mind of knowing that I represent individuals who truly deserve the full benefit of the legal system.” “My clients are in the CINC legal system through no fault of their own, and it is life-affirming to see how positive changes can benefit them,” she said. Hurtig’s job carries with it the responsibility to view pictures of bruises, welts, burn marks, bone breaks and scars on children, to look (through crying eyes) at child pornography taken off of an abuser’s computer
and introduced as evidence against him, she said. Hurtig has cried with and for clients, prayed with them and lectured them, in addition to serving as their lawyer. She said one job perk is when adoptive parents contact her after cases are closed, to share photos of kids she represented. “I love to see how they grow and prosper,” she said. “If even one child can be helped up out of the mire into a world that is safe, loving, healthy and happy, that is great reward.” One phone call she received inspired her to continue at a time when she was feeling so beaten down
and mired in ugliness that she was considering finding a different calling. “At best it felt like I wasn’t making a difference and at worst it felt like the ‘bad guys’ were winning,” she said. “Imagine my surprise after a particularly long, difficult day to find a beautiful voice mail message from a man who, along with his wife, had adopted four of my kids a few years prior. Those kids had come out of a very unhealthy biological home, suffering both abuse and neglect. He said he was cleaning out some stuff in his desk and saw my card. He called to thank me for my work on behalf of the kids, and to let me know how beautifully the children had healed and grown.” Hurtig said she just sat there with tears in her eyes. “I am convinced the Lord moved that dad to reach out to me at exactly the time I needed it most,” she said. “It also made me realize that this isn’t an occupation where one receives frequent or immediate positive feedback, but we never know how what we do today may affect a life tomorrow.”
Valdyne Schengost, her only child who is 48 years old and lives in Dallas, is allergic to everything on the farm, said Cowan. She does not know what her daughter will do with the land once she inherits it. Currently Cowan said she hires Greg Rau to maintain the farm. He plants wheat in
the fall and corn and milo in the spring. “He’s a ‘no till’ farmer,” she said. “He just follows one crop after another.” Not tilling the land is another way of conserving it. It increases nutrients and water in the soil and reduces erosion.
POLICE: Female police officers From Page 10 of their control, will walk away. “We go home to our families,” she said. “We go home whole and healthy.” The female employees in Derby know they have their jobs in part due to changes in acceptance in society. Peppi Tanner-Schroeder, senior records clerk who came to the department as an officer 35 years ago, said it has changed. H o w e v e r, j u s t a s i n other cities across the nation, departments are finding the female persona works extremely well with community policing philosophies and a proactive approach. Det. Karensa “Kinzi” Schiffel, a department employee since 2006, said the job of an officer is multifacted. At one minute, they may be a marriage counselor, at another tracking hints from a burglary, later giving problem child advice to a parent and later holding the hand of someone dealing with the sudden and untimely death of a loved one. Atkison-Hall said the first seven-eighths of her college degree were taken in the drama and dance departments of the college. Unintentionally, she has
found the ability to shift into acting can help her in many situations. The child sex abuser is never the person she could identify with outside her job, but she has developed a knack for slipping into empathy with suspects. That empathy has enabled her to get them to talk more freely about what has happened and, ultimately, gain the information needed for a criminal conviction. For women, their typically smaller stature does not allow them to manhandle suspects who are out of line, but departments are also finding there are fewer reports of brutality or abuse by female officers. The women have to learn to talk people into handcuffs, Atkison-Hall said. “The best weapon we possess is our mouths,” said Schiffel. At the end of the day, the women officers remind the public they are people the same as everyone. They are working women, working mothers, they shop at the same grocery stores, they deal with the stress of the job in any way they can and they avoid “playing the girl card,” on the job. What they do that is different is put a uniform on and run toward the danger.
For Her • May 2013
Doctor lives by priorities and the power of the present By Davi Stuhlsatz firstname.lastname@example.org
Long before a tree fell on her and other spectators at a Winfield swim meet in July 2012 and caused serious injuries, Dr. Lorraine Alvarado had established priorities. “My kids are my number one priority, but the most important thing to me personally is the capacity to grow, to change and to continue to learn; to maintain my sense of wonder, to embrace life, each moment, the lows and the highs,” she said. “This is not a dress rehearsal, it’s the big show.” Alvarado was knocked unconscious in the Winfield incident, so she only knows what happened through the reports of witnesses. As a doctor and a mother, the big lesson for her afterwards was having the grace to receive care, rather than being the caretaker, she said. “I was nothing short of astonished by the outpouring of help I received from my friends, office staff, patients, all swim clubs involved, colleagues, acquaintances,” she said. “I felt surrounded by loving, generous, kind, genuinely
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thoughtful people.” An avid cyclist (road and mountain bikes), Alvarado said the biggest challenge from the accident will be a return to her previous level of strength and endurance. “The best thing anyone, male or female, can do for their health is to get fit, stay active,” she said. “This can be anything you enjoy. It doesn’t mean we all have to run marathons or be body builders. It just means you move your body, get your heart rate up a bit and build some strength and endurance.” Alvarado has overcome challenges before. She entered kindergarten in McPherson only speaking Spanish. By her high school graduation, she had received a full academic scholarship to the University of Kansas. “I don’t think anyone believed that I could get to college, let alone become a d o c t o r, b u t I n e v e r concerned myself with what anyone else believed,” she said. “I just moved in the direction of my goal. It was difficult, yet that simple.” Getting to medical school was a deliberate decision. “Every single thing I considered doing from that moment forward was answered through a
filter: ‘Will this help me or prevent me from getting to medical school,’” she said. “I did not choose medicine because it would be easy, but because I wanted to make a difference.” Becoming a mother of three was another deliberate decision with both challenge and opportunity to make a difference. She said it is “my life’s greatest joy.” Alvarado moved to Derby in 1997, after finishing her family medicine residency at Via Christi St. Francis. “I was interviewed and hired by Dr. David Niederee, who has been a great mentor to me for the last 16 years,” she said. “Derby is a great community – it’s a great place to work, to live and raise kids. People are the major factor in this community – it seems everyone here has a vested interest in nurturing and helping one another.” Alvarado said her life’s course was not altered by the Winfield accident. “ M a y b e i t ’s m y Courtesy photo background in medicine, Dr. Lorraine Alvarado (center) said her children, 16-year-old Liam (back), 10-year-old but I always have believed Max (right) and 8-year-old Marlee, are her greatest joy. in the power of now,” she said. “As much time as we spend planning our lives, all we really have is now.”
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For Her • May 2013
Merritt won’t stay quiet about silent killer By Anne Dewvall email@example.com
Only months after losing her 14-year old daughter to ovarian cancer, Kris Merritt continues to battle ovarian c a n c e r, t h i s time for the foundation named after her daughter. W h e n R e b e c c a Bekah “Bekah” Crowe Crowe was diagnosed in September 2012 with stage 4 ovarian carcinoma, the news was a shock. A tumor the size of a large grapefruit was lodged in Bekah’s abdomen. Chemotherapy was ultimately unsuccessful and Bekah lost her battle with cancer in December.
By the time Bekah was diagnosed with cancer, it was already too late. Ovarian cancer has only a 4 percent survival rate, with 89 percent of detection being made in the late stages of the disease. Now, Kris has launched a crusade under her daughter’s banner to educate women about ovarian cancer. Despite being the fifth leading cause of death in women, most are not adequately educated about symptoms, early detection options, and the early age at which women become vulnerable, said Kris. “Ovarian cancer is called the silent killer. The symptoms whisper until it’s mostly too late,” said Kris. This spring, Battle for Bekah, as Kris’ fight against Bekah’s cancer was originally called, is transitioning into the Bekah
and Friends Foundation. They began applying for 501c3 nonprofit status in April. The foundation plans to provide
LINDA STINNETT/ Informer photo
Kris Merritt is shown wearing a T-shirt explaining how she feels about cancer after losing her daughter, Bekah, to it this past December.
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education about ovarian cancer, share statistics and collaborate with the medical field to provide examinations to younger girls. Education is the biggest hurdle in overcoming ovarian cancer, especially for young victims like her daughter, according to Kris. Doctors are resistant to perform invasive well-woman exams on teenaged girls who are not sexually active, she said. “This can change because ovarian cancer cannot be detected through Pap smears, so such invasion isn’t necessary with what I’m proposing.” Kris’ goal is to work with doctors to more closely examine family history, to perform abdominal or pelvic exams and open the lines of communication with parents. She also encourages women to ask their doctors about CA-125 protein blood tests, which are effective at detecting ovarian cancer in its earlier stages. Kris is also gathering signatures for the “Bekah’s Change” petition, which proposes changing the provision under the new health care bill which states that well woman care isn’t available for patients under age 21 and isn’t allowed to be performed more than once every 3 years unless the patient is sexually active. “Bekah Mae was neither (21 nor sexually active). If (ovarian cancer) is present in teens, it is a death sentence if these exams are not even considered until age 21. This is why Bekah died,” Kris said. “It isn’t her doctor’s fault. He only followed standards that were already out of date.” In many situations, ovarian cancer isn’t even considered as an explanation
Above, Bekah Crowe had a love of peace signs, both by hand and as symbols. Many were sent to her while she fought cancer.
for symptoms, with more likely causes being hormones or stress. Symptoms include fatigue, unexplained weight loss or gain, abdominal pressure and bloating, lower back pain and many more subtle symptoms that mimic common conditions, like digestive disorders. “As of right now, I know of two women who took their Bekah and Friends Foundations postcards (to their doctors) and they have been since diagnosed with ovarian cancer.” The postcards describe the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and are available free of charge. In the long term, Kris
plans to continue developing ovarian cancer education in unique ways to reach women of all ages. Additions to the website are in progress and already the foundation has a number of outreach programs and print pieces. Kris’ resilience and candor have gained her thousands of followers on the Battle for Bekah Facebook page. Bekah’s cousin Mason continues his own battle against cancer, with updates being made on the Cousins Battling Cancer Facebook page. To learn more about the Bekah and Friends Foundation and Kris Merritt visit www.battleforbekah. org.
KEMPF: Creates quilts of honor From Page 8
“There’s a lot of guilt because I feel like I don’t want to take time away from my kids,” said Kempf. “So I try to strategically plan, like to stay up later than I should after they go to bed.” Because of their already busy schedule and increasing requests for
quilts, Kempf said they have had to cut back on what they will make. “In the beginning we were pretty much making quilts for any family member that asked for it but we quickly had to say that we’re not capable of this,” she said. “We will make a quilt for every spouse and every child, whether they’re little
For Her • May 2013
Marine follows father’s training to the Corps By Linda Stinnett firstname.lastname@example.org
A dash of mechanical ability, enhanced by a love of jigsaw puzzles, led Bernadine “Robbie” Roberts into a military career at the height of World War II. Roberts, who will be 90 in September, was sworn into the U.S. Marine Corps on Sept. 14, 1943 for boot camp at Camp Lejeune, N.C. She was among only the second set of women Marines who attended basic training. “They really didn’t know what to do with us,” she said. The Corps was male only until the demands of the war brought personnel shortages. In World War I, 305 Marine Reservists – call “Marinettes” – served, but did not go through basic training, according to the Women in Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, Inc. The Corps commandant followed the lead of other branches of the military in recruiting women – “Be a Marine: Free a Marine to Fight.” The women Marines
were commonly called Women Reservists. Roberts was helping her widowed mother make ends meet by washing dishes for 25 cents per hour, seven days a week, she said. To get a better job in a defense factory, she had to be 20 and have her parents’ consent, she said. She also had to have parental consent to join the Marines before age 21, even though men could join at 18 without permission. She told her mother what she was considering. “I had no trouble when I told her what I wanted,” she said. Roberts said her family had gone through hard times in the Great Depression. They left Nebraska and headed to Washington and Oregon to pick fruit and earn money, eventually settling in California where their home was destroyed in the earthquake of 1923. Her memories are of eating those wonderful fresh fruits and her father catching salmon for the family to feast on.
Bernadine “Robbie” Roberts
U.S. Marine Corps
Women’s Army Corps
“I never knew I was poor,” she said. War brought the reality home and she tested with the Marines for different jobs. She had always helped her father when she could and believes the aptitude he taught her helped. “I was mechanically minded,” she said. Add in a love of jig saw puzzles – with its knowledge of how to put things together – and the Marines sent her to work as an airplane mechanic. The job did exactly what the Corps wanted – allowed a male mechanic to be sent where there was fighting. However, Roberts remembers resentment among the male Marine that a woman was pushing a man to a riskier location. “They didn’t send the women Marines overseas,” she said. She served two years, but left the Corps to get married. The marriage did not last and soon the Korean War was under way. This time Roberts enlisted with the Women’s Army Corps and stayed with it as a career as an X-Ray technician working with the wounded from the war. She served in Germany, France, Okinawa, Japan, camping all across Europe during her leave time so she could visit the world. After 23 years, she retired as a sergeant first class at age 50. “I’ve enjoyed it ever since,” she said. Today she spends a couple of days a week beading, she knits, she embroiders, she goes to the gym three times a week, she quilts and this past year she made 224 hats for veterans. She still drives herself across country and she believes she can speak
LINDA STINNETT/Informer photo
Bernadine “Robbie” Roberts enjoys beading at least two days a week at Born2Bead in Derby. She is retired from the military, after two years in the Marine Corps and 23 in the Women’s Army Corps.
her mind. “I don’t keep my mouth shut,” she said. “It’s a free country and I believe in it.” But, 70 years later she still follows the credo “Once a Marine Always a Marine.” “That’s the best outfit,” she
said. “I picked the Marines, I thought they were great.” She was part of a group that proved it was correct – even for women. “Like most Marines, when the matter first came up, I didn’t believe women could
serve any useful purpose in the Marine Corps,” said Gen. Thomas Holcomb, Corps commandant during World War II. “... Since then, I’ve changed my mind.”
BEER: Record setting number of women From Page 5 really changed my mind.” Flavorful craft beers are ideal partners for food, which lends them to entertaining. Whether pairing a hoppy IPA with creamy crème brulee or marrying a fruity saison to spicy pad Thai – there are an infinite number of possibilities. Beer tasting events are becoming popular social engagements and local restaurants offer special “beer dinners” where different varieties of beer are paired with complimentary food
courses. Wi t h r e g u l a r w e e k l y events, such as River City Brewery’s Thursday night tapping of new, unusual and small batch beers, the social aspect is part of the appeal of craft beer for many women. “The draw of craft beer for me is partly the social aspect and partly the experience of trying something new. There’s always something different to try,” said Becky Elliott, Wichita craft beer enthusiast. While craft beer is still dominated by male brewers,
females are breaking in to the field. Women’s craft brew clubs have sprung up across the nation, one as near as Tulsa. Celebrate craft beer or sample it for the first time this spring, with American Craft Beer Week, May 1319. Watch for events and special promotions at local restaurants, breweries, bars and liquor stores during this week-long celebration that will have men and women alike enjoying flavorful, artisan beers.
For Her • May 2013
Author’s journey began as quest to learn about grandfather By Linda Stinnett email@example.com
Tammy Zimmerman has rubbed elbows with people in the White House on a daily basis as a former intern to First Lady Laura Bush. She has earned a college degree in history with a minor Joseph in political Zimmerman s c i e n c e and she is a voracious reader of anything related to history. It was not until she was reading a book about World War II that Zimmerman suddenly realized her own grandfather’s life was irrevocably connected to the same historical drama of which she loved to read. Something in the account led her to look up Joseph Zimmerman’s discharge papers from World War II – papers she had seen in an old wallet her father inherited but never truthfully fully connected to being in the war. Her grandfather Joseph served in some of the fiercest fighting in World War II and lived to tell about it. His unit helped free the concentration camps of Landsberg, Germany, but he returned to his own hometown of Quinter to a
peaceful family life in which little was said of the horrors he had seen in the war. Then at age 37 he died from a brain tumor, never getting to see his seven children grow up and succeed nor talk to his grandchildren about what really happened in the war. After his death his children and siblings just did not truthfully talk about their father. “His loss was such a painful thing, I think, that no one talked about him,” Tammy said. Knowing his connection to the war started Tammy on a 6-1/2 year search to learn about her grandfather. She researched his military history and painstakingly found details on where he served in the European Theater. She had hours of phone conversations with men who served with him. “It was really neat to hear their stories,” she said. “I always say I was born too late because these men are passing along.” She found a photo of a Nazi flag which the soldiers had picked up as a memento of
the war and signed. She, by luck, found the flag’s owner and garnered more information about the man she never met. She said her own grandmother was quiet on the subject at first. As a young widow, she had to pick up when her husband died and take over raising and supporting her family. Life went on. Tammy was sure there was something her grandmother could share and she asked over and over for letters. “I was always pestering her about the letters,” she said. Tammy scoured hundreds of archived newspapers – which many times printed entire letters from soldiers for their communities to read. She found some from her grandfather. Then her grandmother found poetry he had written and Tammy found the one thing she did not expect – to read the verses and find she could feel as if the grandfather she never knew was talking. “It wasn’t letters, but it was him speaking,” Tammy said. “I kind of felt I grew to know him from hearing him talk.”
The book, Blinded by His Shadow, began as a way to gather family memories in print and Joseph Zimmerman’s siblings shed some tears upon reading it. “They felt like I captured who he was,” she said, adding that now she looks at characteristics she learned belonged to her grandfather and now show in his descendents. His story expanded, though, and became a book that anyone can read and enjoy. It captures the essence of the long, drawn out days and nights in the cold of battle, the stench of the concentration camp, the joy of returning home to parenting on the Kansas prairie with a house full of children and the fight against an unknown cancer slowly taking a life. With the exception of the battle zone, Joseph’s life was that of any ordinary Kansan of his day. Tammy now encourages others to seek out the history of the ordinary people they know. “History is made of people who do what comes to them ... ordinary American history,” Tammy said. “But, in his ordinary way, he became a great man. His lasting influence, though silent, powerfully shaped the lives of his family with a nearly blinding force.”
Author Tammy Zimmerman has released Blinded by His Shadow, a historical account of her grandfather’s life, including his time served in World War II.
––– Tammy Zimmerman has a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in political science from Wichita State University. She blended the two interests while serving as an intern for former First Lady Laura
Bush. Today she is married and living in Mulvane. Her father, Darrell Zimmerman, is Derby’s superintendent of parks and was 14 when his father, the subject of “Blinded by His Shadow,” died.
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