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Country, rock, roots music mixes in with other fair fun

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long with carnival rides, livestock displays and booths stocked with fun food and drink, the Ozark Empire Fair offers three grandstand concerts packed with nine country, rock and roots music acts. Lighting the fuse Thursday is Collective Soul, the Atlantabased rock band that was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2009. Their 20-year career boasts such hits as “December,” “Where the River Flows” and “Heavy,” which topped Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart for 15 weeks. The group’s current lineup consists of lead Larry T. vocalist Ed RoCOLLINS land, guitarists ARTS SCENE Dean Roland, Joel Kosche and Will Turpin, and touring percussionist Johnny Rabb. For tickets to the 8 p.m. show ($25 and $20), call 833-2660. Friday’s “Catch a Rising Star” event presents five upand-coming country acts, with Kansas native Jerrod Niemann topping the bill. The singersongwriter scored with “Lover, Lover” and “What Do You Want,” from the 2010 album “Judge Jerrod & the Hung Jury.” Niemann’s most recent LP, “Free the Music,” spawned the Top 20 hit “Shinin’ on Me.” Also featured at the 6 p.m. show are newcomers Gloriana (“Kissed You Good Night”), Rachel Farley (“Ain’t Easy”), Drake White (“Simple Life”) and Noe Palma (“Get My Name Right”). Tickets are $15-$25. Saturday night is reserved for a charity event, “The Sweet Summertime Car Show,” but music returns Sunday when “Red Dirt Rocks” takes over at 7 p.m. Representing the eclectic Texas/Oklahoma “alt country” movement are the Randy Rogers Band (“One More Sad Song”), the Cole Porter Band (“A Love Goes Cold”) and Jason Boland and the Stragglers (“Dark & Dirty Mile”). Tickets are $25. General admission tickets to the fairgrounds are $8 for adults, $4 for ages 6-12 and free for ages 5 and younger. On-site parking is $5. For information, go to www.ozarkempirefair .com. If you’re craving more live music, take the short drive to Branson Landing for Saturday’s free concert by the Backlit Band. The Tennessee rockers take the outdoor stage at 8 p.m. Subsequent shows feature Johnny Lee & Friends (Aug. 1), the Mark Chapman Band (Aug. 9) and a smorgasbord of four acts Aug. 24. Local theater turns the spotlight on Shakespeare’s classic tragedy “Romeo and Juliet,” playing at 7 p.m. today and Thursday through Saturday at the amphitheatre west of the Springfield Art Museum, 1111 E. Brookside Drive. Graham Weldin and Lizzy Clements take the title roles, with Ran Cummings as Romeo’s friend Mercutio and Jordan Thomas as Tybalt. Admission is free. Stained Glass Theatre opens a new inspirational show this week. Ron Boutwell’s “The Riverboat Revival” concerns a mysterious showboat that vanished soon after its 1835 appearance in the town of Danner’s Cove. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday and at 2:30 p.m. Saturday through Aug. 24. For tickets ($6-$10), call 581-9192 or go to www. The theater is at 1996 Evangel St. in Ozark. This week’s “Movies at Founders Park” slate consists of “Brave” (Friday) and “The Amazing Spiderman” (Saturday). Both films begin at dusk. Admission is $5 at the gate or free with advance family four-pack tickets. Call 8641049 for details. Moxie Cinema at 431 S. Jefferson Ave. offers “Moxie Mornings” at 10 a.m. Saturday. The free interactive film and art program is open to children ages 2-6. The Library Center at 4653 S. Campbell Ave. screens “The Philadelphia Story” at 2 p.m. Saturday. The 1940 romantic comedy stars Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and James Stewart. Admission is free. Larry T. Collins writes about the performing arts for the News-Leader.

NEWS LEADER Sunday July 21, 2013



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The Chester Bridge crosses the Mississippi River in Chester, Ill., connecting routes Illinois 150 to Missouri 51. GAYLE HARPER

TAKING HER SHOT Photographer finds inspiration on journey down Mississippi River By Juliana Goodwin JLGOODWIN@NEWS-LEADER.COM


single drop of water falling into the headwaters of the Mississippi River will travel for 90 days to reach the Gulf of Mexico. For many, that’s an interesting tidbit. For Gayle Harper, it was life altering. “When I read that sentence, I knew in that WATCH moment I would make Scan this QR the journey,” Harper code to watch said. “I have been in a video with love with the Mississip- Gayle Harper; pi since the first time I see more of saw it when I was 9. I her photographs online at felt like it stopped my world.” Harper, a Springfield photographer and writer, followed an imaginary raindrop — which she named “Serendipity” — from Lake Itasca where the river originates in Minnesota, down the Mississippi to where it empties into the Gulf. The journey exceeded her expectations. See RIVER, Page 6C

Did you know that Popeye is from Chester, Ill., and there’s a statue honoring him? When Harper saw this, she had to smile and could imagine Popeye’s voice. GAYLE HARPER

Gayle Harper holds an alligator on a swamp tour in New Orleans. New Orleans was one of the stops on her 90-day journey following the Mississippi River. GAYLE HARPER

Photographer put her faith in river By Juliana Goodwin JLGOODWIN@NEWS-LEADER.COM

Gayle Harper grew up in Omaha, Neb., went to college in Iowa and moved to the Ozarks in 1980. “When I came here, I thought I’d be here a few years and move on. But there are so many wonderful people here. I love it here. And with the travel, it’s a great place to come home to,” she said.

Keokuk, Iowa, is a popular spot for rock enthusiasts who come to hunt for geodes. This one has been newly split.

See HARPER, Page 7C


Project revealing a whole new Springfield SPRINGFIELD REVEALED Visit Springfield to find video, photos and stories about the places, things and landmarks that make the Springfield area unique.


or a few months now, I’ve had Springfield area historic, quirky and significant places on my mind. And on my computer. And in my iPhone as I’ve driven around taking photos and video for a News-Leader digital project. And I love it. Because the result of my efforts, along with the efforts of folks on the project team — particularly Matt Peterson and Tyler Lane — is the new digital destination, It’s a companion piece in many ways to our popular History Revealed (which you can find linked from Springfield See HOCKLANDER, Page 7C

SONY HOCKLANDER Have a feature story or Springfield Revealed idea? Contact Life section editor Sony Hocklander at shocklander

6C July 21, 2013


Photographer Gayle Harper captured this image of a field near Chester Ill., during her 90-day journey following the Mississippi River. GAYLE HARPER

River/Sentence about raindrop inspired Mississippi journey visited. “We had a great time. I gave her a postcard, and before I left, I asked if I could take her picture. She said, ‘Yes, but I want to hold the postcard. Today is my birthday and meeting you was my present,’ ” Harper recalled, tearing up at the memory.

Harper didn’t know about the town’s claim to fame until she set out on her journey. She drove the Great River Road, She stayed across the river with which winds through 10 states, and Vickey and Harold Henson in Hamilton, stayed at river towns along the way. She Ill. The Hensons were recommended to photographed her journey, kept a blog, her by another family she stayed with and is writing a book about the experiupriver in Minnesota. They have beence. Her book, which does not have a come close friends. publication date, will be told through a The Hensons took her geode hunting series of vignettes and photography. Keokuk, Iowa at their “secret” spot, and Harper unWhile Harper has been published in magazines all over the country, this is When Harper followed her imaginary covered gems galore. With a backpack full of booty, she her first book. raindrop to Keokuk, Iowa, she had no followed the Hensons downtown, where idea what to expect. Kirk Brandenberg, executive director Keokuk is in southeastern Iowa and Journey unimagined of the tourism bureau, showed a device maintains the largest hydroelectric for splitting geodes. Harper had always wanted to tackle a power plant on the Mississippi. “He keeps it in his office,” Harper The town, with a population of 10,700, photography project on the mighty Misboasts houses on the bluffs overlooking said, amused. sissippi, but there’s so much to cover Brandenberg dragged his homemade the river. But its biggest attractions are that she lacked focus. contraption into the street and cracked known as the “Keokuk Geodes.” In late 2009, she was on a National It turns out that southeastern Iowa is the geodes she’d harvested. Park Service website when she learned Harper describes the moment on her one of the state’s best geode collecting it took a raindrop 90 days to travel the areas. The most common size of Keokuk blog: “Kirk wraps a heavy chain imriver, and her vision took shape. geodes is about 3 to 4 inches across, but bedded with round blades around a She’d follow an imaginary raindrop, geode that looks a bit like a petrified they can reach 2 feet in diameter. stay at river towns along the way, and cauliflower and then pushes down on a Each year, during the annual Geode the only thing she would plan was lodglong lever, squeezing the blades into the Fest, people from around the country ing. flock to Keokuk to scavenge for geodes, rock. Vickey cups her hands on either The raindrop would lead her. side of it, waiting to catch it when it While she carved out her trip, Harper which bubble up in creek beds. sent emails to convention and visitor bureaus in river towns and asked if they could help her locate free lodging. Her inbox was flooded with invitations. What unfolded was an itinerary of unique lodging: rustic cabins, a barge, a tugboat, plantations, historic bed and breakfasts, fishing resorts, and even a 30-room mansion — “the whole gamut of what was meaningful and unique to their community,” Harper said. She also stayed in a trendy downtown loft, a sharecropper’s cabin and in several private homes. “They invited me into their lives and introduced me to their families and opened the doors to opportunities I never could have imagined,” Harper said. She never imagined being serenaded by Judy Whitney-Davis, a tour guide who dresses as a slave and works at a plantation in Louisiana. In real life, Whitney-Davis is a recently divorced single mom struggling with her new role. When she learned Harper’s daughter was also going through a divorce, she told Harper to turn her recorder back on and then sang a message to the daughter. And Harper never imagined meeting a nun one morning just outside a conThis aerial view of St. Louis was serendipitous. Harper saw a sightseeing helicopter tour vent in Wisconsin. Harper helped the and almost didn’t stop but decided to ask for a ride and was told that as soon as two nun right a downed bench after a storm, seats were paid for, she could have the third for free. Two people walked in almost then sat with her on that bench and immediately and bought a ride. GAYLE HARPER Continued from Page 1C

Kirk Brandenberg, executive director of the Keokuk Area Convention and Tourism Bureau in Iowa, shows his homemade device for splitting geodes. In Keokuk, geodes bubble up in the creek beds. GAYLE HARPER

Judy Whitney-Davis works at a plantation in Louisiana, dressing as a slave to be a tour guide. She was one of many special people Harper met along her journey. GAYLE HARPER

breaks. It creaks a little and then with a loud crack, it splits in half. Vickey holds the two sections together and brings them to me solemnly. ‘You must be the first to see inside your geode,’ she says, ‘No one has seen this in 300 or 400 million years.’ Slowly, she separates the two pieces, revealing matching bowls of crystals in concentric circles of soft amber and pure white, gleaming in the sunlight for the very first time. It is exquisite.” The geodes are back in Springfield with Harper now, tucked away in a box. Meandering through ordinary towns and ordinary lives, such as those in Keokuk, Harper discovered extraordinary experiences. While she set out to uncover the beauty of the Mississippi River, she learned the most beautiful part of her journey wasn’t the river, but the people who live along it. “It is easy to get jaded about humanity because there is so much bad news in the world,” Harper said. “There are so many people with open hearts, beautiful people in this world. People just took me in and wanted to be a part of this. Everyone was so unique and so amazing.”

GAYLE HARPER ONLINE » » » GayleHarper.MississippiRiver

GREAT RIVER ROAD The Great River Road is a historic byway of the Mississippi River. It follows the river from its headwaters in the north woods of Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. In 1938, the concept of a transcontinental Great River Parkway along the Mississippi River was developed by governors of the 10 river states. Wishing to conserve precious resources — among them land, time and dollars — it was decided that, rather than building a new continuous road, the existing network of rural roads and thenfledgling highways that meandered and crisscrossed the river would become the Great River Road. The Mississippi flows from Minnesota, serving as a border in Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. Source: http://www.experiencemississippi

Vickey and Harold Henson hold up geodes they found in Keokuk, Iowa. Harper stayed with the Hensons on her trip, and they took her geode hunting. GAYLE HARPER


July 21, 2013


Arizona summer is time for some great travel deals By John Marshall Associated Press


On her journey, Gayle Harper was able to spend a night on a barge. Her accommodations ranged from mansions to cabins to a tugboat. GAYLE HARPER

THE MIGHTY MISSISSIPPI RIVER The Mississippi River is one of the world’s major river systems in size, habitat diversity and biological productivity. When compared to other world rivers, the MississippiMissouri River combination ranks fourth in length (3,710 miles/5,970 kilometers) following the Nile (4,160 miles/6,693 kilometers), the Amazon (4,000 miles/6,436 kilometers), and the Yangtze rivers (3,964 miles/6,378 kilometers). The reported length of a river may increase or decrease as deposition or erosion occurs at its delta, or as meanders are created or cut off.

Winter turns the Valley of the Sun into a destination, luring visitors from colder climates around the world to the warmth of the desert. Once the searing heat of summer hits, the tourists tend to stay away and even the locals look to escape, heading off to the mountains of Flagstaff or beaches of Southern California. But here’s a little secret for you value-conscious travelers out there: Summer is the best time to get deals in the desert. Rooms up to 70 percent off, deals on spa and golf packages, resort and dining credits — all at the same luxury resorts with same stellar service others pay hundreds of dollars more for during the high season. If you can stand the heat, or at least find a way to avoid it, the bargainbasement price for highend leisure is more than worth it. “The services don’t change; it’s the same resort, the same great location whether it’s March or July,” said Shane Allor, director of sales and marketing at JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, a suburb of Phoenix. “From a value standpoint, you’re experiencing the same staff, the same very high service levels in the summer that you would get during the peak season when folks are paying $500-600 a night for those same packages.”

SUMMER DEALS IN THE PHOENIX-AREA » Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Scottsdale has summer rates of $139 that include a $30 daily credit for the resort’s FlowRider wave machine. Available Memorial Day through Labor Day. » The Hotel Palomar, in downtown Phoenix’s CityScape shopping and entertainment hub, is offering “Laugh Like a Local,” with two tickets to Stand Up Live from $129. There’s also the “Downtown Discovery Family Package” where guests get two children’s tickets to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix or Arizona Science Center, along with two welcome packs for kids, starting at $124. Available through Sept. 3, » The Marriott Courtyard Phoenix has a “Baseball Fan Package” for Arizona Diamondbacks fans. It includes room, breakfast for two adults and children under 12, a baseball souvenir and complementary hotel parking. Baseball tickets are not included. Valid through Sept. 30, » The JW Marriott Desert Ridge in north Phoenix offers the “Family Fling & Swing,” which included unlimited free golf, free meals for kids 12 and under with paying adult, no resort fee, daily $50 resort credit, complimentary appetizer or dessert with an entree, free parking, in-room Wi-Fi and free access to the Family Escape Center. Starting at $149 and good through Sept. 5, » The Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley offers a summer package starting at $169 a night that includes a $25 food and beverage credit, a room upgrade, cabana rental, afternoon snack and two welcome drinks. Through Sept. 2, » The Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa in Phoenix has a “Guilt-Free Getaway” with a half-day of edu-tainment at the Sheraton Adventure Club for kids starting at $99. Through Sept. 8, » The Carefree Resort and Conference Center is commemorating its 50th anniversary by offering “Fifty days for $50,” room rates of $50 a night through Sept. 6,

Just 20 years ago, many Phoenix-area resorts shut down for the summer because of the heat. That changed when resort operators realized they could get people to still come out by lowering the prices — a lot. From around the start of June into September, rates at resorts drop precipitously, starting around $109 up to about $199 at the higher-end places. And included in those rates are a variety of amenities: a round of golf, an

hour massage, $100 credit toward dining or shopping, and activities for kids and adults. The running joke about the desert is that it’s a dry heat, but when the mercury soars beyond 110 degrees Fahrenheit, it doesn’t matter how dry the air is — it’s uncomfortable. Most of the resorts in the area have spectacular pools so cooling off is usually not a problem. And drinking plenty of water is always vital in the desert.

LENGTH For reasons mentioned, there are competing claims as to the Mississippi’s length. The staff of Itasca State Park at the Mississippi’s headwaters say the river is 2,552 miles long. The U.S. Geological Survey has published a number of 2,300 miles, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it is 2,320 miles long, and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area suggests the river’s length is 2,350 miles.

The sun rises over the Mississippi River in Ste. Genevieve. GAYLE HARPER

Shoot the Chute was a popular attraction in the early 1900s at Doling Park. COURTESY OF THE DOLING PARK HISTORY MUSEUM

Hocklander/Area history fascinates Continued from Page 1C

WIDTH At Lake Itasca, the river is between 20 and 30 feet wide, the narrowest stretch for its entire length. The widest part of the Mississippi is at Lake Winnibigoshish near Bena, Minn., where it is wider than 11 miles. The widest navigable part of the river is Lake Pepin in Minnesota, where it is approximately two miles wide.

SPEED At the headwaters of the Mississippi, the average surface speed of the water is near 1.2 mph, roughly one-third as fast as people walk. At New Orleans, the river flows 3 mph on average.

MISSISSIPPI WATERSHED The Mississippi River watershed is the fourth largest in the world, extending from the Allegheny Mountains in the east to the Rocky Mountains in the west. The watershed includes all or parts of 31 states and two Canadian provinces. The watershed measures approximately 1.2 million square miles, covering about 40 percent of the lower 48 states. Source: National Park Service

A man plays a “squeeze box” in a re-created 1900 logging camp near Grand Rapids, Minn., one of many stops on Harper’s 90-day journey. GAYLE HARPER

Harper/Photography ‘became an obsession’ Continued from Page 1C

While she makes a living as a travel photographer, the camera wasn’t always her calling. She has a degree in social work and for most of her life was simply a “snap shooter.” About the time she met her husband, Mike, 26 years ago, she decided she wanted to get serious about photography. She took a home study course through the New York Institute of Photography and joined the local camera club. “It was a hobby that became an obsession and moved into a career,” Harper said. In 1991, Harper left the nonprofit world to try her hand at and become a professional photographer.

Harper says she lucked out in part because at that time, tourism in Branson was booming. She was hired to photograph resorts and do work for entertainers, which helped her secure a spot on the photography landscape. “That is where I learned the craft well,” she said. Eight years ago, she found out about the Great River Road and knew she wanted to follow it, but didn’t know when. But she didn’t doesn’t fret about such details. It would happen. She had faith. “You can only take one step at a time in life and whatever the next step is, is clear to me,” Harper said. In August, 2010, her next step was a journey down the Mississippi. There is nothing more satisfying than having an idea embraced by your colleagues. After brainstorming, tweaking, more brainstorming, more tweaking and having many other creative minds build upon the idea, Springfield Revealed came to life. It’s a place where, over time, readers will find stories, videos, photos and more about the places and things in our community that make the Springfield area unique. We launched with nine; by the time you read this a few more have been added. Starting Tuesday, at least one new item will be added a week — but often there will be more. For someone like me — who moved with my family to the Ozarks 14 years ago — it’s a way to learn more about my adopted home city. I am fascinated by Springfield’s old buildings, and funky public art pieces. Recently I learned about the Calaboose. It’s that old police building in downtown Springfield, an island of history in a sea of modern construction. That story and video will go on Springfield Revealed soon. For those of you who grew up here, and whose families are from here, Springfield Revealed is a place to view, read and hear the history behind places you remember. For instance, you’ll find a video story by Valerie Mosley about the history of Doling Park. I can only imagine when Shoot the

Kinetic Man, or K-Man, is always ready when someone wants to turn his crank and make him walk, as seen in this June photo. SONY HOCKLANDER/NEWS-LEADER

Chute at the park was the place to be. Just think what a wealth of stories will be on the site a year from now. But it’s not just about old or historic places. Springfield Revealed is also where you might learn about that oddity, or a curiosity, you pass on your daily drive, or along a bike path, or during a walk. For instance, do you know how sculptor Russ RuBert’s kinetic K-Man came to live in Jordan Valley Park? For a while K-Man was lost in Jefferson City. It took a rescue party to bring him home. You’ll find that story on Springfield Revealed now. Perhaps my favorite (so far!) is the story by Cliff Sain about the old concrete steps on the

west side of the NewsLeader’s parking lot, along Campbell Avenue. I’ve driven past those stairs daily on my way home from work. A passing curiosity, I’ve wondered why they are there. Turns out, I learned after a conversation with John Sellars at History Museum on the Square, they mark the location of Springfield’s first Catholic parish — Immaculate Conception’s first church. During our research, we found a few documents placing the church on a different corner. Most placed it correctly, but we wanted no shadow of doubt. More research ensued; more photos were perused; more maps were consulted. Eventually we were satisfied that, indeed, those steps were from that church. I also met with John Rutherford at the Library Center, and with Greg Burris and Cora Scott at the city. There are so many local resources, and lots of folks are enthusiastic and ready to help. I can’t wait to read and view more stories as each week goes by. Stories are searchable by tags, by photos, by a map and more. The latest 10 will always be listed on the front section of the digital site. If you have an idea (or photo), visit our site and click “submit your idea” on the right side. Or email directly to me (shocklan We have a growing list. We hope you enjoy learning more about the historic, incredible and sometimes quirky place we call home.

6 feature river  
6 feature river