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Mexican-American softball tournament celebrates 65 years

Rock Local band looks to the future

Family Stobbes keeping business in the family

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Summer 2013

From the Publisher

HARVEY COUNTY CO-EDITORS Don Ratzlaff Wendy Nugent


SALES Bruce Behymer Wendy Nugent

CREATIVE Shelley Plett


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



ou are reading the premiere issue of magazine. It is designed to feature positive information about the people, places and events of Harvey County, Kansas — all general interest in nature. The printed magazine will be published on a quarterly basis in summer, fall, winter and spring. Its digital companion, the website, will feature the print edition in an easy-to-read format from your desktop, or you can get the app and read it on either your Android or Apple tablet. The website will include much more. Our goal is to make it the hub of what’s going on in Harvey County. Anyone may post events and news for your church, organization, school, summer league, etc., to the site. Each community will have its own page to keep residents and potential guests informed. The magazine will be distributed in a variety of ways, including many stores and places where people gather as well home delivery in different neighborhoods within each community on a rotational basis. We trust you will be able to pick up a copy in the places where your life takes you or seek one out when you find a convenient place to obtain one. I am pleased to announce that we have assembled an outstanding professional staff to bring this package to you. These are the same folks who have been bringing — and will continue to bring — the Buyer’s Edge of South Central Kansas to you each month. You may have read or heard that print is dead. We don’t believe that by any means. As long as the content is relevant and thousands of readers have access to positive and interesting features about the community, readership will follow. Our advertisers have made this a reality, and we are thankful for their support. We would be happy to hear from you. If you have an idea for a feature article, or whatever is on your mind, just contact Wendy Nugent via her e-mail: We look forward to serving you, — Joel Klaassen, publisher

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Contact: Bruce Behymer 316-617-1095

Tradition Newton Mexican American softball tournament celebrates 65 years.

Wendy Nugent 316-284-0408 does not knowingly publish or accept advertisements that are misleading or fraudulent. Publisher reserves the right to cancel or reject any advertisements. Kansas Publishing Ventures LLC does not assume any financial responsibility for typos in ads. If at fault, however, Kansas Publishing will reprint any portion of the advertisement where there is an error. Location of ads, size of type and style are left to the discretion of the publisher. Opinions in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. ©2013 Kansas Publishing Ventures LLC.


The Old Hardware Store Business a fixture of downtown Halstead for decades.

20 Phil Epp


American Muscle

Works on art project for Arrowhead Stadium.

Rock band wants to bring home the bacon.

ON THE COVER: Cousins Brian Dochow (left) and Ric Martinez Jr. share in their joy of the game in a dugout at Centennial Park in Newton.

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Article and photos by Wendy Nugent


Thomas Gaede takes part in a May practice.

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Summer 2013

rtwork of a peaceful scene depicting a hawk flying silently above a cross tells a Jaso family story. This artwork isn’t your usual artwork — it’s a tattoo on Ric Martinez Jr.’s arm. Martinez said he had the pleasant scene created there in honor of his late grandmother, Jaunita Jaso. “The cross is also a tribute to Jesus, thanking him for dying for me and my grandparents, my mother and father, as well as the lives of my children and grandchildren,” Martinez said. “Those are the names I want to put on my cross in the shape of Jesus’s body. I’m still looking for the right tattoo artist to finish the job.” The hawk also is significant to the family story. Martinez said on Sundays when he was growing up, the entire family — Jaunita and her husband, Nick, had 12 children — would get together on Sundays, and the children eventually make lots of noise in the house, as children do. “Of course, all the uncles would chew us out, so we’d go outside and play baseball,” Martinez said during an interview at Mojo’s Coffee in North Newton. Relatives and neighbor kids played baseball in the lot behind the house, and one day, Grandma Jaso looked out her window and saw a hawk flying overhead. So, she called the kids who were playing “los gavilanes,” which means “the hawks” in Spanish. “All of us grandchildren were out there playing, and that’s what she called us,” Martinez said. When they were kids, they played so much, the ruts for the baselines still are visible on that land. And like those ruts made so long ago with family and friends playing baseball, another sports tradition still is visible in Newton, one in which Martinez, as well as many others, have been involved for years. This year is Newton’s 65th Annual Mexican-American Men’s Fastpitch Softball Tournament. “We are especially proud of that milestone,” said Manuel Jaso, who is in his 13th year as tournament director.

At the 50th anniversary tournament, many Jaso relatives formed a team and called themselves Los Gavilanes. Each family member wore a number on his team shirt that signified the birth order of the child from which he was descended. Martinez himself has played in the tournament for many years, as well as one of his uncles, who is Manuel Jaso. “I started at 17, and I’m still playing at 58,” Jaso said. This year’s event will be from July 5 through 7. The tournament has been a Fourth of July tradition, so it’s on a weekend close to the national holiday, and there are families who plan family reunions to coincide with the tournament. “If you’re of Mexican descent (in this area), it’s a no-no to get married that weekend,” Martinez said. Because 2013 marks a milestone year, special events and low-cost admissions are planned. To watch games and the opening ceremonies July 5, there is no cost, and admission to games on July 6 and 7 is $1. Games are played at Centennial Park, Washington Park and Athletic Park, all in Newton. “(It will be a) rollback to old prices, old days, so basically you’re going to get free entertainment,” Jaso said. Special for this year’s event will be an Old Timers’ reunion, which is free to retired players. The reunion and meal will be at 6 p.m. July 6 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church Hall. In addition, a dance will be from 8 p.m. to midnight at the same locaWhat: Newton’s 65th Annual Men’s tion; there will be a Mexican-American Men’s Fastpitch cost to the public Softball Tournament for the dance. When: July 5 through 7 Preceding these Where: Athletic, Centennial and events on Saturday Washington parks in Newton will be Catholic Admission: Free July 5, and $1 July 6 Mass at 5 p.m. at and 7 the church. On July 5, opening ceremonies begin at 6 p.m. at Athletic Park. Father Juan Garza will give the opening prayer. There also will be a color guard and national anthem. Awards will be given to businesses and sponsors that have helped the tournament throughout the years. Later, four $500 scholarships will be given to graduating seniors who either have played in the tourney or whose parents or grandparents have helped with the tournament. Hall of Fame Awards will be given to former local players. The Old Timers’ game will be at 6:30 p.m. followed by entertainment provided by the Azteca Dance Troupe. The first game will be at 8 p.m. At 9 a.m. Saturday, the first round of games starts, and the championship game is at roughly at 5 p.m. Sunday. To be eligible for the tournament, seven of the nine starting line-up players on a team have to be of Mexican descent, and the other two cannot be pitchers and have to be fielders. “This keeps a competitive edge,” said Martinez, who is the tournament board president. In addition, the event is a men’s tournament, but some women have been integrated into it, as well, Jaso said. The tournament is open to any team that meets the qualifications and pays the entry fee, which has been $200 in the past. The annual event uses eight umpires and follows a double-elimination format. About 30 games are played. The tournament averages 14 or 15 teams playing, although the event has had up to 20 teams participate. The deadline to enter the tournament is the Sunday before the event. Call Martinez at 316-804-0423 to register. The Newton Mexican-American Athletic Club, which puts on the tournament, will sponsor a team with the same name.

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Members of the Mexican-American Athletic Club of Newton team are, first row (from left), Pablo llamas, Jake Gaede, Brian Dochow, Gabriel Serrano and Joe Montano; and second row, John Llamas, Nick Garcia, Matt Stineman, Kevin Stuchlik, Thomas Gaede, Hector Segura and Joey Padilla. This team will play in the tournament.

it was rained out twice. “In 1947, this tournament and others like it got its beginning a lot like the Major League and Negro Baseball,” Jaso said. “Due to segregation, Hispanics were kept from playing alongside their Anglo counterparts. Our tournament started with help (from) Nick Jaso (Martinez’s grandfather), Elmer Vega and Ted Romero as directors. The majority of our first team players were returning veterans of World War II and in need of a game of recreation away from war and work. These men had no grudges — they just wanted to play ball.” During the early years, families in Newton would open their homes for the ballplayers to stay, and they helped feed them, Martinez said. From 1947 to 1994 or 1995, the event was at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Newton, which had a ball field. After that, the tournament moved to the main field at Athletic Park and Washington and Centennial parks. Newton High School art teachers Raymond and Patrice Olais of North Newton painted a mural at the ballpark in 1978; that mural now is on display at Sunset Elementary School in Newton. The mural was painted for the event’s

30th anniversary and is about the Mexican community in Newton — about the religion, food, sports and community, Raymond Olais said. During the years, for one reason or another, all Mexican-American tournaments have gone to an open invitational or have been stopped, Jaso said. “Here in Newton, we believe in tradition and have continued our format out of love and respect for our elders before us,” Jaso said. “It does sadden me that I see the day we will be forced to open our tournament as well; teams’ numbers are down.” Jaso said the tournament usually gets a fairly large audience, especially on Friday night during opening ceremonies. The Estrada family, which ran Chuck’s Familia in Newton, will cook and serve food in Athletic Park at the 4-H Building. The club tries to make the event as family-oriented as possible, in more ways than one. From Jaso’s dad and Martinez’ grandfather (Jaso is Martinez’s uncle) on down to kids and grandchildren, 27 of their relatives have played in the tournament. Martinez himself played from 1979 to 2005. Martinez’s five uncles, who are Jaso’s brothers, still are playing in the tourney.

Of course, it’s all for the love of the game.

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Last year, five local teams participated. Team members this year are coaches John Llamas/pitcher, Gene Serrano/utility and Joe Padilla/utility; and ball players, Pablo Llamas, Kevin Stuchlik, Jake Gaede, Thomas Gaede, Nick Garcia, Brian Dochow, Hector Segora, Gabriel Serrano,Tomas De La,Torre, Mark Wadley, Matt Stineman, Gabe Lujano, Kyle Blotcher and Joe Montano. “We got a lot of young kids,” Martinez said. The club has 15 members and is a non-profit group. It has given money to local organizations, such as Heart to Heart, the women’s shelter, homeless shelter, Salvation Army, the food pantry at Our Lady of Guadalupe and United Way. “Of course, it’s all for the love of the game,” Jaso said. It’s also about something else. “It’s been a long-standing tradition,” Jaso said. “We are the longest-standing Mexican American tournament (in the country), and we’re proud of it. If I didn’t enjoy the tournament and the tradition of it, I wouldn’t do it.” That tradition started 67 years ago — this year would have been the 67th tournament, but

Family tradition also is apparent in one of the tournament sponsors. One of the event’s first sponsors was Charlie Newell Sr., and now his son, Kerry Newell, has continued that tradition, Jaso said. A couple of ball players told him Charlie Newell Sr. would give them a credit card and tell them to buy gas. Charlie Newell Sr. happened to be Jaso’s baseball coach when he was growing up. As with any outdoor event, Jaso hopes the weather will cooperate this year. “As long as it isn’t raining, I’m a happy camper — it can be 3 degrees or 110,” he said. Something this event does differently than other tournaments is they give prize money for first through fourth places. They also award trophies for the top four winning teams, in addition to determining nine all-stars, a most-valuable player and a most-valuable pitcher. The local club wants to keep doing that for years. “That’s my goal is to keep (the tournament) going,” Jaso said.


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Article and photos • Wendy Nugent


small fire snapped and popped, wrapping its toasty fingers around wood inside an old-fashioned stove in The Old Hardware Store in Halstead. It created a warm glow while snowflakes softly fell to the ground outside during an early April snow shower. In addition to providing a cozy, 1920s atmosphere, The Old Hardware Store sells a variety of items, including authentic architecture and furniture salvage hardware from the 1860s through the 1970s. The architectural hardware that came from old homes from the late 1800s to the early 1900s the store sells includes glass door knobs, porcelain knobs, ornate brass knobs and backplates. Time periods covered include Victorian, Eastlake, Art Deco, Colonial and many others. “It’s the real stuff,” owner Margaret Kraisinger said. “I just have a passion for old things. I love working among turn-of-the-century cabinets. I love handling hardware that was used 100 years ago or more.” Kraisinger and her husband, Gary, purchased The Old Hardware Store on Main Street in 1998 and restored it to look like it did in the 1920s, much like a photograph from 1925 of the store's interior printed in a publication called Mail Call. “We removed paint from the cabinets, the drawers and doors, which had been stored upstairs for more than 40 years, were repaired and reinstalled, lighting was changed back to the old-style hanging globes, pegboard was thrown in the Dumpster, and center showcases were brought back into use,” Margaret Kraisinger wrote in a Mail Call article. The store now features a tin ceiling, squeaky wood floors, oak cabinetry, a rolling ladder from floor to ceiling and a 1915 nail scale. The hardware store’s building has seen its share of natural disasters, including surviving several floods and a tornado. The two-story building was constructed in 1878-79, Kraisinger said, and is one of the original permanent buildings of Halstead. “It’s just full of history,” she said. 8 |

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That history includes the list of owners, the first of which were David Dyck and Henry Riesen, who had owned a grocery store across the street. In 1909, the two handed the business over to their sons. Seven years later, the sons ordered oak cabinets for the store from the Warren Cabinet Co. of Chicago. The sons, Curt Riesen and Albert Dyck, operated the hardware store until 1936, according to a sign erected by the Harvey County Historical Society, which is in front of the building. “(The Kraisingers) reopened it in August of 1999 as the Old Hardware Store,” the green sign reads. “Today it is known far and wide as one of the few remaining pre-1900 hardware stores still remaining.” Other owners and store names include Detweiller and Frazer as D&F Hardware from 1936 to 1946; Woodworth Hardware from 1946 to 1981; Don Haury and Brad Smith as Halstead Hardware from 1981 to 1983; Arnita and Don Haury as Halstead Hardware from 1983 to 1998. After the Kraisingers purchased the place in 1998, they spent a year restoring it. In addition to the restored interior, the store has more old-fashioned charm in some of the other items it sells, which includes furniture hardware.

Cattle and books The hardware store is the headquarters for information on The Western Cattle Trail. Margaret Kraisinger and husband Gary wrote a book on the trail called “The Western, The Greatest Cattle Trail, 1874-1886,” which sold out. The Kraisingers have written a second book on the cattle trailing industry, which will be for sale at the end of the year. They also sell The Western maps at the store and online at

“I have probably the best selection of furniture hardware in the Midwest,” Kraisinger said, sitting behind a large wooden counter in the store that came from a mercantile shop in Newton. She said there are only a handful of businesses that sell authentic hardware online. She carries replacement hardware for people who have something missing from an antique, and said she has “drawers and drawers and drawers” of furniture hardware. “My hardware is my concentration,” she said. Other items sold at the shop include sweets at the “penny candy counter,” which Kraisinger started a couple of years ago. The candy isn’t sold for a penny but includes sugary treats from yesteryear, such as hard stick candy, rock candy, licorice wheels, Black Jack gum, lollipops, waxed bottles, root beer barrels and Sugar Daddys. “So I have an old-fashioned candy counter,” Kraisinger said. Kraisinger also sells antiques, such as kerosene lamps, food crocks, kitchen items, washboards and rug beaters — items that were used by homesteaders who came to Kansas. She calls these items “primitives,” which were handmade by the homeowners. The store also stocks old dishes, such as Depression glass from the 1930s and 1940s and cobalt blue glass. The hardware store is a parts distributor for Aladdin Lamp. If people need wicks, chimneys or other items for their Aladdin Lamps, they need to go through a distributor, Kraisinger said. Aladdin Lamps are oil lamps, according to The store also is a distributor for kerosene-lamp parts. Since the business has been around for 14 years, it seems to be doing well. Some customers visit the shop from as far away as western Kansas, Topeka and northern Oklahoma. Other customers come to the area once a year for other reasons, such as reunions, but drop by the shop, jokingly saying they came from as far away as Arizona, for example, just to shop there. The store also seems to mean a great deal to the community. “I treasure that store for a multitude of reasons,” Halstead Chamber of Commerce President Mary Lee-McDonald said. “It shows our past. I shop there because I make jewelry from her old hardware. It’s kind of like a treasure trove. There’s nothing like it downtown.”


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Previous page TOP: The Old Hardware Store owner Margaret Kraisinger (right) talks to Craig Sooter with Biggest Little City Media of Halstead while he was helping her with her computer at the store. LEFT: The store has an old-fashioned candy counter, complete with lollipops. ABOVE: Margaret Kraisinger stokes a fire in a back room of the store during an early April snow shower.

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ot many people voluntarily would allow a high school band to march through their home, let alone instruct a band to do so. North Newton resident John Banman is an exception. Daughter Nancy Banman, who resides in Fort Collins, Colo., loves to recount the time her father did just that while leading the Ellinwood High School marching band as its instructor. With the school located downtown, the band would practice marching in the streets. During one rehearsal, Banman told the drum major to lead the band through his house and not tell anyone. When Banman gave the signal, the band marched through the front door and into the house, helped themselves to doughnuts, then proceeded out the back door and across the street. At least part of the time the band was playing. Banman became a music instructor because music was important to him. “Obviously, I liked that the most,” he said. “There certainly were jobs where I could make more money. At night when I can’t sleep, I still think of ways I would teach against the rules.” “Dad was a great teacher and got numerous awards in teaching,” said Nancy during a recent conversation on Skype. Banman has spent a great deal of his life with music. As a child, he took lessons from Ernest Sanderson, who lived in the 100 block of West First in Newton; Banman was Sanderson’s student through high school. Banman, soon to celebrate his 95th birthday, majored in musical constructs at Wichita University, graduating in 1940. Two years later received the first master’s degree given in clarinet performance from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Banman taught music his entire career, mostly at Ellinwood. Before that, he taught in Clearwater. He instructed band and choral music, retiring in 1976. A highlight of his teaching career in Ellinwood was arranging to have Doc Severinsen from “The Tonight Show” perform with the band; this was around 1965. Severinsen played fine classical and jazz with them. “It was a good experience for those students,” Banman said. He enjoyed adapting conventional teaching methods and created musical exercises and song arrangements that helped students practice certain techniques, according to Nancy. The retired teacher became interested in choral music while at Northwestern because peo-

ple would perform choral music during the lunch hour. “I enjoyed choral music very much,” he said. In addition to teaching music, Banman is an accomplished clarinet player; at a moment’s notice, he can play a number of tunes by memory. The first time Banman saw a clarinet was when he watched the Snigglefritz Band play in

John Banman plays his clarinet at Kidron Bethel Village in North Newton. 10 |

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Goessel. He asked his mother about “that big licorice stick” that a man was playing. In addition to playing a “licorice stick,” licorice is one of Banman’s favorite candies.

Love of life When he suffered a stroke about six years ago, Banman combined his passion for music with a passion for life to overcome its effects.

Article and photos

Knowing that research at Northwestern University had found that music can help with cognitive function, Banman began playing — not well at first, but he became better over time. His persistence helped him overcome the stroke’s effects. Today, one can’t tell he’s had a stroke. During the past five years, Banman has been performing. He’s come full circle and has played with the Snigglefritz Band. He also plays classical music with volunteers on Thursdays and took part in a large program in November at Schowalter Villa in Hesston. He also performs the national anthem during the Senior Olympics at Kidron Bethel, where he resides. “I like pop songs very much, too,” Banman said. He also has written some songs. “I suppose, kinda halfway. There’s so many, it’s hard to come up with new ideas,” he said. One project he’d like to pursue is put scriptural words to the “Stardust” melody. He’s also done many, many arrangements that haven’t been published. Banman’s 95th birthday will be June 23; he shares that birth date with his daughter. “It’s always been good (sharing a birthday with my father), and my brother has a birthday the day before, so we all shared the party,” Nancy said. Nancy’s parents told her that because of her impending birth, an Ellinwood High School summer outdoor band concert her father was directing was canceled. The rain might have had something to do with the cancellation, as well. “That’s the folklore, anyway,” Nancy said.

The early years Banman was born on a farm between Canton and Goessel. He attended a Goessel school his first year, then attended school in Newton after the family moved there. He played basketball for Newton High School’s second team and for Bethel College for one year. He said he didn’t play often for Bethel, but during one game, he made two baskets — one tied the game,

Wendy Nugent

and the other put the team ahead. Banman may not have been celebrating his 95th birthday this month if it had not been for a simple twist of fate at a train station during World War II. At the time, Banman was in the military, waiting to board a train with other military members at the beginning of a trip to fight overseas. Noticing a military band playing at the train station, Banman pulled out his clarinet and began playing with the band until it was time to leave. As he left the band to board the train, the director called Banman back — and just like that, Banman was in the military band and didn’t have to fight. “I know you’ve told me a number of times how fortunate you felt,” Nancy said to her father. Usually when Banman tells the story, he said, “I high-tailed it back (to the band when the director called me back),” added Beth Penner, director of activities at Kidron Bethel. Banman is a Mennonite, and his father was a preacher. Most Mennonites were supposed to be conscientious objectors during the war, but Banman joined the military out of a sense of duty to his community, although he detests the tragedy of war. “I just don’t believe in killing people,” Banman said, sitting in his room surrounded by the scrapbooks he creates. Besides scrapbooking, he reads many newspapers front to back. In addition to serving one’s country, Banman values family and volunteering. After he and his wife, Iris, moved back to the Newton area, Banman volunteered to help Arlo Kasper with projects such as building sets for plays and musicals at Bethel College. He and Iris were married for 58 years. The couple had two children, Nancy and Paul; Paul is a jazz musician.

Innovator Still an innovator, he and Nancy are the first Skypers at Kidron Bethel. They seem to have a good time talking “faceto-face” on computer screens. While Skyping with his daughter on a recent afternoon, Banman said, “I’m fortunate to be as healthy as I am, Nancy.”

ABOVE: John Banman, who will turn 95 years old June 23, Skypes with his daughter, Nancy Banman, in April at Kidron Bethel in North Newton. BELOW: John Banman keeps busy scrapbooking, among other activities.

Family When Iris moved to Kidron Bethel Village, John took up residence there to be close to her. They lived down the hall from each other in separate rooms. When John performed, Iris would come and listen to him play. John and Iris loved to watch sports on TV. After 58 years of marriage, he would ask Kidron staff for a Coke, root beer and a Hershey bar so he could have a date with his wife. Then, he’d proceed down to her room and watch sports or “Beethoven” movies. The couple believed giving back to one’s community was important. Nancy said she learned from her parents that giving to others, having a hobby and nurturing that hobby are important, too. That is John Banman’s advice for living a good, long life. “Try to think of something you can do to make this a good world,” he said. “I guess I do think about that. I just think, is there a reason to live past 100? I don’t know. Should I do that, I’d certainly like to do something worthwhile...something I could do to help others.” The night Iris wife died, Nancy sang hymns to her mother by her bedside. “She did so bravely — that’s the way to live life, as far as I’m concerned,” Banman said.

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ared Pohl, a member of American Muscle, a garage band out of Newton, has a sticker attached to one of his drums that says, “I love bacon.” “I love bacon,” the band’s drummer said, echoing the sticker. “Bacon makes the world go round. Bacon — it’s meat candy.” Pohl said he loves bacon so much he even ate a giant cheeseburger at a fair that had chocolate-covered bacon on it and used Krispy Kreme doughnuts for the buns. If the 29-year-old loves bacon, he also must buy it at the grocery store. But the band wants to bring home the bacon in another way by booking gigs. Other group members are Travis Smith, 33, on guitar and some vocals; Michael Fahrney, 23, on vocals and occasional guitar; and Chris Beasley, 37, on bass. “The core of us have been together about six months,” Smith said. “We play a blues style of hard rock. It’s not quite hard metal and all the screaming.” The group does play loud enough, though, that someone standing near them can feel the music vibrations in his or her chest. The group rehearses on Sundays in Smith’s basement, but they hardly can be heard from the street. On one Sunday afternoon in April, as heard from outside, the rock music was superimposed over the sound of an ice cream truck as it made its way through Newton. Before rehearsing in the basement on a recent Sunday, group members did a sound check, and then a couple of people, including Fahrney’s dad, listened in on rehearsal. Some of the group’s main influences come from Clutch and ZZ Top, and Smith is big into Metallica and Avenged Sevenfold, he said. American Muscle hasn’t played together anywhere as a group as of yet. Pohl was in a band called Kidney Shot in Emporia; that group played in Lawrence and Emporia. In addition, Pohl and Beasley have jammed off and on for years; they met through siblings. That’s not the only prior friendship in the group before it formed. “Me and Chris have been friends for years and years,” Smith said. Smith and Beasley played with a group called Red Letter Revenge two times as it broke up and got together twice. This group played at the Fox Theatre in downtown Newton. The way Fahrney joined the group was through karaoke. Smith said he hosts karaoke at the Iron Horse Pub in Newton, and Fahrney would come in and sing. “We both had a mutual love for rock and karaoke,” Smith said. Smith then asked Fahrney to audition for the band. “We did two songs, and after two songs, we immediately hired him,” Smith said. “First audition — nailed it,” Fahrney added. Fahrney and Smith collaborate on writing the songs, creating both the melodies and vocals. “And then these two (pointing to Pohl and Beasley) tell us if these things suck or if they’re good,” Smith said. The group has seven or eight original songs ready to perform. Titles of their original songs include “The Man,” “Crappy Blues Song,” “Shadow,” “It Is What It Is” and “Puppies and Kittens.” The other songs have working titles. “We talk about (doing) covers, but we never get that far,” Beasley said. Group members have years of experience in music. For example, Smith has been playing guitar for 15 years and has been in three bands, including First Crucible, Years of Life Lost and Red Letter Revenge. He’s played in Lawrence, Manhattan, El Dorado and at the Fox. “All but one were charity or fundraiser shows,” Smith said. Beasley has played bass for six years. His bass-player career started as a crash

We just want to melt faces.

Members of American Muscle: (from left) Travis Smith, Jared Pohl, Michael Fahrney and Chris Beasley, rehearse in Smith's basement. 12 |

Summer 2013

Article and photos • Wendy Nugent

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course. Two guys needed a bass player and asked him if he wanted to learn how to play bass. “It’s still a crash course,” Beasley said. Fahrney has been playing guitar for 10 years. He’s also played another instrument and been singing for quite some time. “I’ve been playing piano for as long as I can remember,” he said. “Been singing since I was born.” The lead vocalist of American Muscle said he’s been in bands, but the only one he talks about is Steady Your Pace, which is no longer together. He did the vocals for that band. The group does want to play for people — not just in Smith’s basement. “We’re actually looking to book right now,” Smith said. To sign them up, call Smith at 316-804-0932 or Fahrney at 316-6315639. For more information about the band, visit Future plans include recording a CD and possibly touring a little. The guys right now, however, think of the band as a hobby, and all have day jobs. Pohl works for ResCare Industries in Newton; Beasley is the maintenance supervisor at International Paper Recycling; Smith is an assembler at Excel Industries; and Fahrney is a field representative at Rent First in Newton. The band members get along and seem to have fun together as they rehearse. At one point, someone yelled from the first floor of the house, “You guys just blew a breaker.” “Mike comes over for dinner every other night,” Smith said, standing in his basement. Band members play video games online together. They all enjoy playing Call of Duty. Although all band members reside in Newton, one member, Pohl, has historical roots to the town. “My grandfather was one of the original milkmen of Newton,” he said. When asked if his grandfather would like the kind of music he plays, Pohl said, “I don’t think the radio in his truck has left KFDI.” Two other band members mentioned their families. Smith’s mother and stepfather have been to all of his shows, and Beasley’s family has attended his shows. Beasley’s wife and daughter have been to all of his shows, and his mother also has been there for support. The atmosphere during rehearsal is casual with members wearing Tshirts, jeans and shorts. In addition to booking gigs, Fahrney mentioned another goal the group has. “We just want to melt faces,” he said.

To book a gig To contact American Muscle, call Travis Smith at 316-804-0932 or Michael Fahrney at 316-631-5639. The group also is on Facebook at

Jared Pohl plays drums for the group. 14 |

Summer 2013

Article and photos • Wendy Nugent


hen Ray Penner is not sitting behind a desk managing a bank, he lives the life of an adventurer. He has a passion for hunting, both in exotic locales, such as New Zealand and Africa, and closer to home in New Mexico, Texas and Kansas. The president of First Bank in Newton has hunted for more than 25 years, and he looks forward to returning to Africa to hunt a blackmane lion. Penner first visited South Africa in 2011, drawn to hunt there by the unique and rare wildlife, as well as the beautiful landscape. “The South African experience is so different than North American,” Penner said. “Once you’ve been there, it calls you back.” While Penner’s focus on the trip was purely hunting, his wife and a friend experienced the South African culture with the help of a guide. They toured schools, went on river cruises, visited cafes and experienced the open vendor market. On his first South African hunting trip, Penner successfully hunted a variety of unusual animals, including two waterbucks, two impalas, two warthogs, a zebra, a blue wildebeest, a bushbuck, a bushpig, a kudu and a nyala. During the expeditions, Penner was accompanied by a hunting companion, a tracker, a skinner and a driver. The group was surprised

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ABOVE: Ray Penner and some of the animals on display in his home.

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Ray Penner points to a 300-grain bullet for a Kimber 375H and H rifle, which he plans to use when hunting a black-mane lion on a future trip to Africa. The bullet is 4 inches long.

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Penner succeeded in landing a bushpig, as one had not been shot in four years. “The coloring for this animal was really unique,” Penner said. “Although most bushpigs are black and white, this one happened to be red and white and black, so it was really a catch.” Penner emphasized that with the volume of animals he hunted in Africa in 2011, it was important to him that the meat was put to good use. It was sold to local meat buyers for human consumption. “We never leave anything behind,” Penner said. “No meat goes to waste.” Through the years, Penner has become somewhat of an expert in hunting equipment. During his African trip, Penner used a 300 Winchester Magnum. For his return trip, with a black-mane lion in his sites, Penner plans to hunt with a Kimber 375H and H rifle with a 300grain bullet measuring 4 inches. As he described his upcoming trip, Penner stressed his philosophy about responsible hunting. He will pursue only an old lion, one that no longer participates in the breeding cycle. Additionally, Penner won’t interfere with natural reproduction of a species by killing females. Holding to this standard has been a challenge at times, and in the past has resulted in four missed opportunities for grizzly bears that were females. “I’d rather come home empty than to shoot the female,” he said. Hunting is not without its own inherent risks. “When you become the prey, sometimes it gets a bit gut-wrenching,” Penner said. He recalled “one of the scariest” incidents with a large cougar. With the animal 50 feet up in a tree, and the guide advising him to not lose eye contact with the cat, Penner approached the tree in search of a good shot. As he circled the tree, the cat’s head and eyes slowly tracked him. There was a real possibility that the cougar could jump the 50 feet to attack Penner, but the cougar did not win the showdown. Some grizzly bear hunts became unnerving as well, including a sleepless night in a 9- by 9-foot tent as large rocks rolled down the mountain. Although the guide assured Penner that small animals were responsible and there was no need for worry, the bear scat Penner found 15 feet from their tent in the morning indicated otherwise. “I slept a lot of nights with the rifle loaded right beside me,” he said. The venues in which Penner has hunted have afforded him a range of experiences and animals, including a tahr in New Zealand, two black bears in northern British Columbia, a cougar from southern British Columbia, elk from Colorado, a caribou, bobcat and cougar from the Yukon Territory, and from Texas a dall sheep, Armenian red ram and a blackbuck, which Penner said is the true North American antelope. Penner has been hunting since he received his first BB gun when he was 5 years old.

“I’ve been doing this (extended hunting trips) for 25 years,” he said. “I’d always try to plan something in the summertime or fall and take off and do something that was out of the ordinary.” In addition to being adventurous, Penner also can also be persistent when hunting. An orex expedition in Texas began at 6 in the morning and finally ended when Penner felled the animal at 5 that evening. Penner generally prefers not to use the same outfitter for his trips twice in a row, and as a rule, he likes to have his taxidermy work done in the area the animal is killed. Penner uses a variety of taxidermists, including a woman in western Kansas who learned the trade in prison. Penner relies on his taxidermists as a source for good hunting sites, since they know where good animals come from as well as the quality of the outfitters that coordinate the hunts. Penner’s home is a showplace for his hunting successes over the years, with his unique animals displayed in two rooms. His favorite animals to hunt are those in the cat family. He dismisses any thought of going after larger animals, such as elephants, giraffes, hippos, or rhinos, citing logistics in displaying game that size. Penner plans to keep hunting as long as possible, provided he still has his health and legs to carry him, he said. Getting away from the distractions of daily life is a prime reason he enjoys hunting. “Being outdoors, away from the telephone,” Penner said. “(I) get to see different parts of the world. I just love to be outdoors with nature.”

African trip On his first South African hunting trip, Penner successfully hunted a variety of unusual animals, including two waterbucks, two impalas, two warthogs, a zebra, a blue wildebeest, a bushbuck, a bushpig, a kudu and a nyala.



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Ray Penner has a variety of game he’s shot on display in his home.

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therapy spoken at prairie view Article and photos • Wendy Nugent


he room in which Ian Gingrich-Gaylord conducts art therapy at Prairie View could be a metaphor for how it helps people in a time of personal crisis. The subterranean room, a storm shelter with plenty of cello music and art, can assist patients at the mental health facility in Newton find a little shelter from a raging storm within, and even creatively get connected to that storm. “The basic premise of why art therapy works (is) because of the idea of we are all creative people,” Gingrich-Gaylord said, sitting in his office on a recent spring morning. “Working with the creative process can be a healthy way to develop a different perspective on your problem.” Gingrich-Gaylord, who is the only art therapist at Prairie View, believes art therapy can assist patients with their problems. “I think art therapy is most helpful...because it can give people this poetic view on their lives,” Gingrich-Gaylord said. “It doesn’t necessarily make anything better. It doesn’t change the facts of the matter, but if you can look at your life as this creative act, this poetic existence, then you’ve changed your relationship to your problems.” The Bethel College graduate said over and over that people will create a dark piece containing all these problems they’ve been trying to avoid. They will look at the image and connect with it, he said, and start to see their problems as artful, realizing they can take a creative stance to their problems. “People articulate they really enjoyed having (art therapy) available to them while at the hospital,” said Gingrich-Gaylord, who is a registered art therapist and a licensed professional

counselor. He has been in the same position at Prairie View for four years. One particular patient, an older adult, refused to attend art therapy. This patient was dealing with anxiety and depression and was getting treatment in Prairie View’s Comprehensive Diagnostic & Treatment Center, because outpatient services for her were not successful. “Part of the treatment includes art therapy,” said Joan Brubacher, licensed specialist clinical social worker at Prairie View. “She was asked several times to attend art therapy but refused. The social worker asked if she would go to art therapy for 15 minutes. The social worker would then go in and check on her, and if she wanted to leave, there would be no questions asked. We just wanted her to at least try the therapy as many patients find it very beneficial.” When the social worker arrived after 15 minutes, the patient indicated she wanted to stay for the two-hour group session. “The patient then returned, stating she really liked it and was now planning to go daily,” Brubacher said. “She indicated that it helped with decreasing her anxiety and expressing her feelings. It helped to get in touch with some of her pain, and it was also relaxing, as well as therapeutic. This patient who refused art therapy for several days now became passionate about art therapy.” After she was discharged, the patient enrolled in an art class and bought art supplies, telling her therapist she used it as a coping skill and found it enjoyable. “(Art) helped her to avoid ruminating about situations that she couldn’t change,” Brubacher said. “In the process, she was able to gain acceptance of her life circumstances. Since her discharge, she has continued to thrive in spite of further difficult circumstances.”

ABOVE: Ian Gingrich-Gaylord, art therapist at Prairie View in Newton, paints on a mural he's been working on with adolescents in the art therapy room at the mental health facility. 18 |

Summer 2013

Working with the creative process can be a healthy way to develop a different perspective on your problem.

Gingrich-Gaylord works with inpatient adult groups, partial hospital patients, people in the addictions treatment center and adolescents in the residential psychiatric treatment facility at Prairie View. “Most all the work I do is in groups,” he said. “It’s all groups except for the couple of people I see for outpatient. What I do is I use art making and the creative process to help people to re-imagine their lives, their experiences here.” A lot of the work he does with patients is short term, maybe seeing them three to five times, and part of his job in working with adults is to give them a starting point back into the premise they are creative people. He said many adults haven’t done art in years. Gingrich-Gaylord, who has a master’s degree in art therapy, said adolescents are different than adults because they are closer to the creative spirit. Adults often have trouble tapping that spirit. “Kids have a very intuitive sense of what they want to do, and my job becomes this act of witnessing this creative act in action,” GingrichGaylord said. “Basically, the idea is that oftentimes you can see where kids run into trouble through how they’re struggling in their art making.” Problems people bring to art therapy, Gingrich-Gaylord said, can be explored through this creative process. “A person can create an image that addresses their depression, anxiety or whatever else, and enter into a relationship with the image where they are responding to, elaborating upon and perhaps working out a problem through the creative action,” Gingrich-Gaylord said. “An art therapist can help someone identify how they are connecting to, or not connecting to, the image and help strengthen salient connections. Establishing a dynamic relationship with an image can aid in emotional regulation, as the person creating the image sees their emotions mirrored in their work.” When working with adolescents, Gingrich-Gaylord has them do projects with other adolescents, such as constructing water fountains. “One thing that we do is that adolescence is that period of time when somebody is moving from being a kid and having fun to mastering something — becoming an adult,” the art therapist said. He said working on the group projects becomes a metaphor for the adolescent finding a place in his or her community. “It’s just this constant trial and error,” he said of adolescents — “this working with this desire to master something, to take on more responsibility. This is about a kid becoming part of a larger community.” It’s not just what patients create that shows what’s going on inside of them — their choice of art material also can be helpful in therapy. “The idea is that a person’s choice of materials really can say something about what they need,” Gingrich-Gaylord said. He rarely dictates to patients which materials to use; the materials become an active part of their relationship. The way a person works with material will move the art process forward. He said if a person is working loosely with paint and is frustrated with that, sometimes switching material helps move him or her forward. Also, what a patient chooses to work with helps Prairie View staff learn about who the person is. “The bottom line is, how you work can tell you a lot about yourself and help guide the process,” he said. “It’s not just what you create. I think part of being an art therapist is helping people realize their vision.” Sometimes, the hardest part in art therapy is for the patient to get started, so Gingrich-Gaylord will pick themes for people to use, such as

Photo by Vada Snider

“Part of the treatment includes art therapy,” says Joan Brubacher, licensed specialist clinical social worker at Prairie View.

“home.” The themes are intended as starting places, and he places no expectations on the patients with their results. The theme simply acts as an invitation to start making art, and the entities become their own. Another benefit of art therapy is it allows patients to work on their problems nonverbally. Gingrich-Gaylord said they know how people respond to problems, and working with problems is not always through verbal means — the brain doesn’t always work on a verbal format. “So art therapy can work on problems nonverbally that’s effective,” he said. Gingrich-Gaylord is an artist himself. He mostly draws and paints, and plays piano. In his office is a painting he did of a fish with plastic grocery bags painted and attached to the work. Prairie View has a variety of mental health services. For more information about Prairie View, call the facility at 316-284-6400.

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Creating the FAMILIAR & UNFAMILIAR Article and photos • Wendy Nugent


t would be an understatement to say rural Newton artist Phil Epp likes to paint clouds. Examples of his artwork are featured on signs throughout Newton and on the water tower near Centennial Park, as well as on the Blue Sky Sculpture in the same vicinity. He, Conrad Snider and Terry Corbett collaborated on the Blue Sky Sculpture. The water tower and Blue Sky Sculpture have received high recognition. The water tower was named by the Tnemec Co. as the national 2010 Water Tank of the Year, and The Blue Sky Sculpture was chosen as one of the Kansas Sampler Foundation’s Eight Wonders of Kansas Art in 2008. More cloud paintings rested in Epp’s studio in mid-April, including one of 10 pieces in a series featuring an arced shape. Another was a fairly large commissioned painting, and yet another painting had light, puffy clouds contrasting against a darker sky with cows grazing below. These days, when Epp paints clouds, they are a few more animated than there used to be, he said, in contrast to the signage and water tower painted clouds in Newton. His work also is in the rotunda at the Medical Office Plaza in the Newton Medical Center complex. The rotunda works incorporate various kinds of Kansas weather, including a tornado, snow and clouds. “I still have fun painting those clouds, though,” he said. His newer version of clouds, the more animated ones, are more pronounced than real

clouds, Epp said. “(They are) sort of a heightened version — makes them appear more like an icon than a natural cloud,” he said, sitting in his sunny studio graced with skylights. Epp’s next big project is a triptych for Arrowhead Stadium, the venue used by the

Kansas City Chiefs football team. A triptych is a piece of artwork comprised of three panels. Each of Epp’s panels for the work will be 6 feet by 13 feet. “So it will be like a 50foot span when it’s completed,” he said. He said each panel barely will fit in the studio, and the panels will be made of canvas constructed by Mark Andres of rural Newton. Andres is a farmer and “quite an amazing craftsman,” Epp said. Andres also does work for Kauffman Museum in North Newton, Epp said. The triptych will be a landscape, and the process of painting it will be filmed by the Chiefs NFL production team. The emphasis for the art was not to be on sports, but rather artists were encouraged to submit pieces surrounding cultural and regional themes past the scope of entertainment and sports, according to “Their art program will be part of their general education program,” Epp said. “The Dallas stadium has an art program within their stadium. That’s the sort of thing the Chiefs are doing.” The Hunt family and the Chiefs issued a call for artists to submit work for the Kansas City Chiefs Art Program. “This initiative will support the celebration of regional art originally announced by Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt as part of the club’s plans to celebrate the Chief ’s 50th year in Kansas City,” the website stated. People go to Arrowhead Stadium for games, of course, and to tour the stadium. This will give the public something to look at besides football.

Phil Epp sits in his studio in front of one of his recent paintings, which includes more dynamic clouds than he's painted in the past. 20 |

Summer 2013

“It’s just a way of them presenting themselves as more than just football,” Epp said. In order to get this commission, a “ton” of artists applied, Epp said. He was told to construct a scale model of what he planned to paint to present in person. “They asked me questions about the process and so on,” Epp said. “I received a contract that said, ‘We’re ready to go.’” The former USD 373 art teacher predicted the project will take from six to nine months to complete. A handful of other artists were selected for the program, which includes painters and sculptors, Epp said. The pieces will be owned by Arrowhead. The deadline to submit artwork was in September. Epp certainly does like art. He taught art in the Newton school district for 29 years, retiring 10 years ago. “My favorite kind of art is when I don’t know where it’s going, and I have an idea I think is unique,” he said. “And I start putting the idea on canvas, and it creates a whole other world that’s unfamiliar to me and familiar too.” That’s what Epp thinks draws people to art — that they can create “this place that’s in your head.” The Bethel College graduate doesn’t like to give his work titles. “I don’t put a lot of emphasis on a title,” he said. “… A title usually distracts from the imagery of the painting — it dictates too much to the viewer.” In one of the paintings in his studio, the large one with the dynamic, swirly clouds, Epp included images of trees and water. Epp usually paints with acrylic. “I don’t do water and trees very often,” Epp said. “It’s kinda fun to do something different every once in a while.” One of Epp’s recent projects was a large painting for the Kansas Star Casino, which used five panels. This past winter, he also did some etchings. Art keeps Epp busy in his retirement. “Basically, it gives me something to do,” he said. “I see a lot of fellas my age who don’t know

what to do. It just gives me a real purpose, I think. It’s just challenging and sometimes enjoyable.” Epp hasn’t kept his enjoyment of art within the borders of Kansas. In 2009, he traveled to Kazakhstan to take part in programming that included master classes and lectures with several local artists, students, schools and institutions. He was an American Artist Abroad, which was sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Art in Embassies Program. While in Kazakhstan, he visited Almaty, Astana and Shymkent. After his trip, he gave some talks locally about his trip, at such places as The Carriage Factory Gallery in Newton and Newton Public Library. “I just keep plugging away, and I’m lucky enough to have some projects ahead of me,” Epp said.

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All in the family B Article and photos • Wendy Nugent

usiness with the Stobbes is a family affair. This is evidenced by family photos in Vicki’s office and in the way her husband, children and daughterin-law have become involved in the businesses. One photo on the wall is of the family more than 20 years ago, which was used for a bank advertisement. Wife-and-husband team Vicki and Ken Stobbe own four area specialty gift shops and boutiques, three of which are in Newton. Besides Kitchen Corner, these are High Street Co., 315 N. High St.; and Main Street Co., 611 N. Main St. The fourth store, Redbird Boutique, 9747 E. 21st North, No. 145, in Wichita, is managed by their daughter, Tina. Vicki Stobbe said Tina, 31, has been involved with the family business for a long time. At age 5, she was helping out at High Street Co. curling ribbon.

“She (later) graduated from Tabor (College) and has worked for us ever since,” Vicki said. “Tina named Redbird after her grandmother,” Lovella Adrian, who has passed away, Vicki said. Tina wanted to honor her grandmother, who is Vicki’s mother, because she was close to her. Tina’s grandmother loved redbirds, Vicki said, and one day, when Tina was trying to decide on a name for the store, she looked outside and saw a redbird sitting on a fence. That day was her late grandmother’s birthday. So, she decided to name the store Redbird Boutique. In her office at Redbird, Tina has a chalk drawing of her grandmother. “Grandma goes to the store with her every day,” Vicki said. Although Vicki majored in music at Tabor, she picked up her business skills from her parents. She said her mother was “quite the business-

woman,” and her family wouldn’t be where they are today without her parents’ knowledge. “My family was very entrepreneurial.” In addition to Tina managing the Wichita store, son Shawn Stobbe, 27, and daughter-inlaw Madeline are active workers in Newton: Shawn is manager of Kitchen Corner, and Madeline manages Main Street Co. “We kind of all have our little areas of expertise,” Vicki said. “We all kinda have our areas, but we’re all involved in it.” All family members attend market at different times, so Vicki feels they have different eyes looking for products to buy for the stores. They attend five markets per year. “We also do shows on the road,” she said. “We do about nine shows on the road per year.” During shows, the store sets up a booth and sells products. They have visited Oklahoma City

Co-owner of four area specialty gift shops and boutiques, Vicki Stobbe (left) talks to sales associate Deanne Loganbill about Vera Bradley bags, which they carry at Main Street Co. in Newton.

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and Tulsa and the Women’s Fair. Vicki is proud of their staff. “I have an excellent team working for us,” she said. “Otherwise, even with the whole family, we couldn’t do this.” Vicki enjoys what she does for a living, and works about 60 hours per week with Ken working about 70. “I love to buy stuff,” Vicki said, laughing in her Kitchen Corner office. “But my energy comes from our customers because I just love to visit with people and get to know them, and I really feel that the three kids have that aspect.” Vicki really appreciates the customers, saying Harvey County and the surrounding areas have supported the Stobbes, and they are thankful for that. She said they are blessed they have been able to be in the community for 27 years. “Thank you for shopping locally because the money stays where it should,” she said. The first shop they opened was High Street Co. in January 1986. The next store they opened was Main St. Co., followed by Kitchen Corner and then Redbird two years ago in September. Shawn was 6 months old when Vicki opened High Street Co. A representative came to her home

on the day Shawn had had his 6month shots, and he was cranky. The rep, Jim Root, was selling baskets and mugs. “He walked out of the house and said, ‘That lady will never make it,’” Vicki said. She and Jim became lifelong friends and used to laugh about the incorrect prediction he had. Jim died of cancer about three years ago. Shawn seems to enjoy his job, calling people on the phone in his upstairs office on a snowy April morning. “I move from store to store because I do my best to make sure things run smoothly in the background,” he said. For him, working with the family business is fun, new and with family, “it’s always entertaining, that’s for sure,” he said. Working with family can be a challenge, Shawn said, because they all have different opinions on certain things. He said it’s often a challenge to find a common ground, but they always get it done. “I’d say for a family working in multiple stores like this, communication is just a huge factor,” Vicki said.

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509 N Main Street • Newton, KS 67114 (316) 283-5870 Newton businesswoman Vicki Stobbe works in her office at Kitchen Corner.

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