Page 1 FALL 2013

A RISING STAR North Newton native has passion for performing music

Spooky Ghost investigators find evidence at Newton museum

In stitches Quilt shop a place for creativity

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Fall 2013

From the Publisher


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


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he response to our first issue of was overwhelmingly positive. At the outset we didn’t know how many magazines it would take to satisfy the people who are receptive to good stories about great people and places. Our first press run was 10,000 copies and they are literally all gone. We will continue to distribute the magazine 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. The north Dillons store seemed to be the place for what seemed to be an insatiable desire for the premiere magazine. If you would like to have magazines in your place of business, please contact Bruce Behymer or Wendy Nugent whose contact information is printed on the left side of this page. Here is a comment we received from one of our readers: “Last week my wife brought home a copy of the new I had no idea this was in the works. However, it clearly displays the talent you (Wendy) have for writing. I especially liked the feature about John Banman because we both know something about his talent in making music. It is a delight to know people who make life productive for themselves and interesting and significant for others. What a gift you have for enriching the lives of others. I have already sent a copy to my brother in Kansas City and another will soon be on its way to a nurse in South Dakota.” We would be happy to hear from you too. If you have an idea for a feature article, or whatever is on your mind, just contact Wendy Nugent via her e-mail: Serving you is our purpose, — Joel Klaassen, publisher



Contact: Bruce Behymer 316-617-1095Wendy 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.

Serving you is our purpose, — Joel Klaassen, publisher

Rising star North Newton native records several CDs


Quilting Creativity at local fabric store

20 Spooky!


Evan Johnson

Ghost investigators search Newton museum

Walton man wears many hats

ON THE COVER: April May Webb is majoring in music at college. (See story page 4.)

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Article and photos • Wendy Nugent .......................................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................ Above: April May Webb, center, is passionate about music. This is the cover of her second CD, which she recorded with her group April Web Meets Eternity. While at Newton High School, she performed during musicals. Right: April May Webb rehearses this past summer at her parents’ home in North Newton. Webb started taking piano lessons in the third grade. (She also is pictured on the cover.) 4 |

Fall 2013


ust by looking at April May Webb as she’s running groceries through the scanner at North Dillons in Newton, patrons can tell she’s happy and full of life. What they can’t see in the checkout lane is the 22-year-old college student’s love of music. The Dillons employee, a senior this fall at Paterson University in New Jersey, readily admits she is passionate about music and that it helps her express herself. “I feel like everyone has a way to express themselves, and music is a lot like my outlet,” she said. “Whether I’m expressing something sad or happy, I can fully express myself through music. Every time I perform, I treat it like a journey or storyline.” Webb works at North Dillons when she’s on her summer break from college. Each of the songs for which she has written music and lyrics has a chronological order that reflects her life, she said. Webb’s first CD, called “It’s All About You,” has a song with the same name. This album was released in 2012. That song is about finding someone special and thinking he is a wonderful person, only to realize this person was not who he said he was and that everything was about him. Another of her songs, called “Chance of a Lifetime,” is happier, she said. Webb’s second CD, performed with her group, April May Meets Eternity, was released in May. Both albums can be downloaded on iTunes. The group performs a fusion of jazz, and rhythm and blues. Including Webb, there are five people in the band, which rotates members. “So there’s a lot of people circulating,” Webb said. Before she came back to the area, the North Newton resident and the band had many gigs in New York and New Jersey, which are their base areas. They play at a various locales, including clubs, restaurants, lounges and showcases. As of mid-June, they were booking gigs for August and September. Webb said her CDs are selling well, and she sells most of them when performing. “Anybody who wants us, we’ll go play,” Webb said. Webb’s performances aren’t limited to New York and New Jersey; she’s also performed at Karen’s Kitchen in Newton. Webb’s passion for music carries over into her studies at Paterson, where she’s majoring in music education. “Actually, an education degree is a backup plan,” Webb said. “My primary plan is to be a performer.” Webb has been performing for a number of years now. When she was “little,” she and her musically talented brothers, Jacob and Nathan, formed a band called Webb 3. All did vocals, and each played an instrument with April on

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............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. April May Webb, a senior at Paterson University in New Jersey, plays the piano this past summer at her family's North Newton home. Webb has released two CDs. Portrait important to the family rest atop the piano. piano, Nathan on drums and Jacob on bass. “Music has just been a part of my immediate family,” Webb said. The Webb children all have a talent for music, and Webb said her mother, Felicia, used to play the piano while her father, Stanley, didn’t play an instrument. Webb thinks, however, her grandfather also used to tickle the ivories. Webb followed in the footsteps of her mother and grandfather, starting piano lessons when she was in the third grade and taking

voice lessons beginning in the eighth grade. Webb said one of her major influences was her first private vocal teacher, Karla Burns of Wichita, who had performed music theater on Broadway in New York City and did a oneperson production show of “Hat Not Hattie” at the Orpheum in Wichita. “She really talked about control and diction and pronunciation,” Webb said. “She had a lot of different — her own — teaching ways.” While attending Newton High School, Webb was involved in band, choir and full

Making every room an

orchestra, where she played clarinet. She also used her performing talents during musicals, as she was a cast member all four years in high school. Musicals she was in were “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Schoolhouse Rock,” “High School Musical” and “Footloose.” In college, Webb’s favorite class has been ensembles with a pianist, bassist, drummer and someone playing a horned instrument while she sang. The class meets two times a week. Webb also had the opportunity to study with Mulgrew Miller, a legendary jazz pianist,

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R&B, gospel and contemporary rock. One of her favorite songs is “Lesson Learned” by Alicia Keys. For performers wanting to get into the music scene and get CDs out there, Webb advised them to go to Los Angeles or New York “because they’re big on music scenes,” and go to jam sessions, where they can make music connections. Webb met a lot of people in her group and other people she’s played with at jam sessions. She said she plans to stay in New Jersey after graduation and follow her passion. She advised others to follow their interests as well. “Live ’til you can’t live no more as far as doing the things you are most passionate about and going extremely hard until you can’t anymore,” Webb said.

On the

Web... To find out more about April May Webb, visit or

Performing, I feel like that is one place I feel the most comfortable, and it gives me the most joy on the stage... Live ’til you can’t live no more as far as doing things you are most passionate about and going extremely hard until you can’t anymore.

who passed away in May, Webb said. “It was a shock,” said Webb, who basically has lived in North Newton her entire life. “He had a stroke. He was 56.” While she’s in North Newton for the summer, Webb can’t stay away from music. She’s pianist and minister of music at the church she attends, Second Baptist Church in Newton. Webb has tried her hand at writing a spiritual song, called “Inseparable.” “It’s about in life when people try to distract you from Christ and how nothing can really separate you from the love of God through Christ Jesus,” Webb said. Webb wrote the song about her experience in going to New Jersey and how she innocently trusted people who ended up leading her astray — how she kind of lost herself and then returned to Christ. Webb does enjoy performing. “Performing, I feel like that is one place I feel the most comfortable, and it gives me the most joy on the stage.” As of mid-June, Webb and her brother, Jacob, were working on a country CD. “We’ll see how that turns out,” Webb said, laughing. Jacob has produced her two CDs. Not only does Webb perform music, she listens to it, as well. Her favorite rock band is OneRepublic, and she enjoys listening to jazz,

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i n s t i t che s

Article and photos:

Wendy Nugent


harlotte Wolfe is surrounded by bolts of I’ve made myself.” “We moved during a car show,” Wolfe said, creativity at her quilt shop in She likes to experiment with fabrics to see laughing. “It was hot, and I remember Randy downtown Newton. This creativity what happens when she cuts them up and sews (her husband) was driving a big rental truck I comes from within Wolfe herself and them back together. had.” from the other talented people she has working “It’s just fun to do,” Wolfe said. When they brought the large truck at both of her shops, as well as customers and As part of her quilting passion, Wolfe has downtown, car show participants had to move numerous finished quilts in a rainbow of colors joined the Emma Creek Quilt Guild, which will his vehicles. that hang on the walls. offer a show, “Quilter’s Delight,” this fall. It will be When Wolfe opened her first store, she said Inspirational magazines and books also from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 18 and 19 at Salem there was a renaissance of quilting going on at contribute to the shop’s creative feel. United Methodist Church in Newton. Admission the time. Wolfe has an extensive selection of fabrics in is $5, and a tea room will serve coffee, tea and “It was just a trend in the industry,” Wolfe said. 8,000 bolts, including batiks and cottons, quilt dessert items. “It was just a natural thing that was happening. patterns and quilting supplies, such as rotary A whole cloth opportunity quilt, “Quilter’s People who loved fabric just started making quilts cutters and templates. Delight,” will be given away during a donation again. I really probably started making quilts after And she loves to make quilts. drawing at the close of the show. The show is a I’d had my store a couple of years.” “Creating something from scratch is very fund-raiser for the guild, with money going Wolfe carried 100 percent cotton fabrics and satisfying to the soul,” Wolfe said. “I love playing toward educational programs. said “everyone else” sold poly-cotton blend with fabric — sewing together lots of different Wolfe started sewing when she was quite fabrics. Since cotton fabrics are better for making fabric, shapes, sizes, seeing the magic happen. young, making such things as doll clothes, and quilts, quilters would shop at her store. The end product, quilts, are cozy and secure year then in college, she majored in costume design. At the time, Newton had three other fabric round. They can be made in any weight, even for In 1985, she opened Charlotte’s Natural Fabrics stores: Four Walls, Pin Cushion and Quilt Room, air-conditioned houses. I feel comfortable in Hesston and then moved in 1987 to where Wolfe said, and there was little fabric made just surrounded by homemade items, especially ones Peace Connections now is in Newton. for quilting. Then Andover Fabrics and Hoffman ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Charlotte Wolfe, right, owner of two fabric stores in Newton, and daughter Lily Schneider discuss which fabrics to use as a border on Lily's table topper hexagon project at Charlotte’s Sew Natural in downtown Newton. Visit Wolfe's blog at 8 |

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Fabrics starting making all-cotton fabric. Before that, they only offered poly-cotton blends for clothing construction, Wolfe said. Now, Wolfe mostly caters to quilters, although at her other shop, Charlotte’s Bargain Fabric & Stitchery at the Newton outlet mall, she offers some clothing fabric. Wolfe learned how to quilt from books and some classes, like ones offered at market. “You learn a lot by making mistakes,” Wolfe said. Wolfe the student then became a teacher to her daughter, Lily Schneider, who picked up an interest in quilting from her mother. “It’s similar to beading or embroidery or hand-stitching as therapeutic most of the time,” Schneider said. “I literally grew up in Mom’s store, so it was almost impossible not to get the quilting bug. “While I was definitely blessed in respect to having a mother who took time to teach me how to piece, arrange colors and use a sewing machine, quilting is really a way to use what artistic skills I have formed to help create beautiful pieces.” Schneider recently brought to the downtown store one such piece, which she was making as a table topper in a variety of colored fabrics set off with white, all in hexagon shapes. She and her mother were talking about which fabric to use in the table topper’s border. In addition to discussing quilting projects, Schneider also works part time for her mother’s stores, mostly from home. “Lily is a vital link to the social media crowd of all ages,” Wolfe said. “I write newsletters, Lily promotes them and keeps the store in front of people on Facebook, Pinterest, etc. She has helped design our evolving ‘look’ and is involved with promotion, the print media and advertising, as well as social media platforms.” All of these advertising efforts, classes and a large variety of fabrics keep customers coming through the doors, doors Wolfe likes having open. What Wolfe enjoys most about running a quilt shop is getting to purchase just what she wants. “It’s on hand because I want it,” Wolfe said.


Creating something from scratch is very satisfying to the soul. I love playing with fabric — sewing together lots of different fabric, shapes, sizes, seeing the magic happen.

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Quilt Show in

October... The Emma Creek Quilt Guild will have a show, “Quilter’s Delight,” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 18 and 19 at Salem United Methodist Church in Newton. Admission is $5.

The store has a wide range of fabrics — a lot Schneider said she loves working with her from all of the stores’ different blocks. The quilts of variety, from reproduction fabrics in Civil Warmom. can be viewed at era and 1930s, to modern. All fabrics are new, “It’s a huge blessing to be able to have her as a in and there is a great deal of turnover. resource,” Schneider said. “Sewing is a passion of September. Those with passports stamped at all Wolfe stands by her business philosophy, mine, and I know that she helped ignite that fire. 11 stores are eligible to win prizes. which is “to buy what I like and find people with It’s not necessarily something that comes by Those attending the shop hop may notice similar tastes to (mine) who I can share it with super easy for me — like some of the techniques trends in the quilting industry, including the use who will keep me in business. I like lots of things, — but she helps push me out of my comfort of hexagons. Trends also are showing up in color so that’s not so hard.” zone.” and style, Wolfe said. Popular colors include blue, Another part of her business philosophy is to Schneider, Wolfe and staff at the store also are turquoise, magenta and coral. have a friendly atmosphere conducive to involved in the 15th annual Central Kansas Shop “These colors appeal to younger people but creativity, Wolfe said, so having like-minded Hop, which will be from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 4 also to older, since many people like blue,” Wolfe people working there is important. and 5, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 6 at 11 said. “Lots of use of solid color fabrics in the Wolfe appears to like what she’s doing, which participating area quilt shops. These shops patterns being shown together with prints. The goes along with her philosophy of life — to be include Charlotte’s in Newton, Cottonwood industry is encouraging younger stitchers, as well sure she likes what she’s doing. She said that is a Quilts in Hutchinson, Hen Feathers in Wichita, as men with lots of variety in styles, particularly “little bit weird” for a businessperson because Kessler Creations in Hillsboro and Needle in a simple, graphic designs.” when she was younger, she tried to not pay too Haystack in Severy. Schneider sees another trend. much attention to what other people thought of A black-and-white fabric, called “Black Tie “Talking with others of the Generation Y her, but as a businessperson, she does have to Affair,” was printed specially for the shop hop and group, it’s obvious that despite how pay attention to what other people think. includes names of all the towns participating, as technologically dependent we’ve all become, “My philosophy is to not be thinking carefully well as the word “Kansas.” there is a great desire to learn how to sew and about what you’re doing every day,” Wolfe said. “I Each shop will sell fabric for one particular quilt. Hopefully, we as a community of quilters feel extremely lucky to have been able to do this block, different than any blocks in stores taking can continue to share that knowledge with every for 30 years or however long I’ve been doing part in the hop. Each shop also will have its own generation.” this.” finishing kits for sale, designing their own quilts ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Charlotte’s Sew Natural on Main Street in Newton is one of two shops owned by Charlotte Wolfe. The downtown storefront lends a historic feel. INSET: This fabric, called "The Black Tie Affair," was made specifically for the 15th Annual Central Kansas Shop Hop, which will be Oct. 4 through 6 at a variety of area quilt shops. 10 |

Fall 2013

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o some, he’s known as Mr. Johnson, to others, he’s Dad, and to many, he’s just called Evan. Whatever folks call him, the fact exists that the retired principal and former Walton mayor has worn many hats. He’s spent much of his life dedicated to assisting others, whether it be nurturing the minds and values of children, serving his city or helping get a much-needed restaurant off the ground in the small Kansas town. In those roles, he’s a living example of his life philosophy. “(I want) things to be as good as possible for

everybody,” Johnson said, sitting in his garage filled with antique tools. “I believe I want everybody to have a good day.” Johnson wishes all people to have success in their relationships and families, and to have jobs they enjoy. One job Johnson enjoyed was being principal of Suncrest, Pleasant Acres and Walton elementary schools. “It was a good job; it really was,” said Johnson, who turned 76 on Sept. 1. Suncrest and Pleasant Acres were closed in 1986, and Johnson moved to Sunset Elementary School in Newton, where he was

principal until 1992. That was the year he transferred to Lincoln Elementary School in Newton, where he worked as principal until 1997, when he retired. However, in fall 1997 he became the substitute principal at Sedgwick elementary and junior high for two years, retiring again in 1999. Johnson’s career in education began in 1961 when he moved to Walton to teach high school math and science. Before that, he resided in Newton for three years. The high school in Walton closed in 1964, so Johnson was principal at the elementary school in the same town, where he also taught eighth grade. The

............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Evan Johnson of Walton owns more than 2,000 antique tools. These are just some of them in his garage. 12 |

Fall 2013

Article and photos • Wendy Nugent

next year, he taught sixth through eighth grade. In 1964, the high school only had 29 students, Johnson said, so those students went to Newton and other area towns. Johnson has many memories of his education days. One of those was when he would not let students play ball until they had finished their lessons. Sometimes, the junior high students sat on the scorer’s table until their work was done. Johnson said the coaches kidded him, calling him “you old meanie.” Something that impressed Johnson about students was their honesty when he sat them down and talked to them. He said with students, he stressed honesty. Stressing such

values and just being himself have endeared him to many of them. Now, it’s not unusual for former students to stop by his home when they’re back in the area for the holidays. One former student remembers an incident when Johnson was principal at Lincoln. A fellow student was angry, throwing chairs around the classroom; Mr. Johnson walked into the room, picked up the student, put him on his shoulder and carried him out of the room. The student who observed this thought, “Well, that took care of that.” Johnson didn’t always intend to go into education. His first career choice was farming, and that’s why he said he collects antique tools—because he was around a lot of tools on the farm. “I grew up on a farm,” he said. “I was always wanting to be a farmer. It didn’t work out to be a farmer.” Johnson said when he grew up in the 1950s, farming was poor. For three years, from 1951

through 1953, the family didn’t even have a wheat crop. “Dad said, ‘Stay in school,’” Johnson said. So he did, but he has never quite rid himself of the farming bug. Johnson has about 2,000 antique tools, the oldest of which he believes is a monkey wrench dating from 1837. He found it in Joplin, Mo., and it’s one of the first monkey wrenches made by Coe Company. Other unusual tools include a 1920s marmalade grinder, a knife serration cutter from the 1940s, a hammer head made for square nuts (which was his 279th tool), a Vandergrift quick-adjust square nut wrench dating to 1917, a fence stretcher called The Rattler and a bandage winder. Of the latter tool, Johnson said, “That’s one of my more unique, different tools. Kids really like that one.” In retirement, Johnson hasn’t stayed away from teaching. Every Friday during the school year, he brings a “tool of the week” to the charter school in Walton to teach children about it. While there, he tells students to make good eye contact with him, which shows they’re paying attention, and to ask good questions. Education, however, wasn’t Johnson’s first choice for study in college. He studied

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............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Former Walton Mayor Evan Johnson, left, shares a laugh with Walton City Clerk Stephanie Ashby in her Walton office.

engineering for two years at the junior college in Hutchinson, and then ran into a couple of people who were student teaching. Johnson said he’d always go with them while they student taught and decided that’s what he wanted to do. Johnson now has a master’s degree plus 30 more hours of post-graduate study in education under his belt. Another of Johnson’s roles is being owner of Johnson Jack Service, a hydraulic jack repair business. “There’s not that many people around who do that kind of stuff,” Johnson said. He also has been chairman of Rural Fire District No. 1 for 15 years. The district is comprised of Walton and three townships. In June, the town had a dedication ceremony for the new fire district building, which Johnson said is a $250,000 building built for $100,000. Money was saved because firefighters built the structure. “We’re very proud,” Johnson said. “So now every fire truck we have has its own door.” Prior to that, some trucks had to be moved to get other trucks out of the building. Johnson gives Dean Davis, who retired from the Newton Fire/EMS Department, credit for getting the new fire building erected. The building was 14 |

Fall 2013

financed by bonds and will cost about 1 mill for 10 years, Johnson said. His son, Merlyn, is fire chief and Walton city superintendent. Evan Johnson and wife Carolyn celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary this summer. They have two other children, Greg and LuAnn. In serving his city, Johnson was mayor for the past four years and had been on the council for 12. He is proud of the council’s accomplishments while he served. “We got a good road built in our industrial park by working with the county and the city and the Mid Kansas Co-op,” he said. The co-op provided the rock, the county hauled and graded it, and the city packed it. “So we got ’em a good road there,” he said. He said the council’s goal was to make Walton a better place to live. About a year ago, while Johnson was on the council, a fertilizer company, called ISP, moved into the old Art’s and Mary’s potato chip plant. “We got them to come without having to give them a tax abatement,” Johnson said. “They didn’t ask for one.” Johnson also was elected to chair the Walton Community Development Corp. This group spearheaded a project where people in the

community pooled money to get a restaurant in Walton. Johnson also has a key to the Walton museum. He said people can call him, and he’ll take them through the two buildings that make up the museum, one of which is the old Walton Post Office. The museum has a variety of articles on display, including school items, a sidesaddle and old town photographs. One of the museum buildings is an old grocery store, given to the Walton museum by Mabel Morgan, whose husband was a lawyer in Newton for many years. Another of Johnson’s hats includes being treasurer of the Brethren church in Newton and helping with the Caring and Giving Garden at the church. During the garden’s first year, they gave away 660 pounds of tomatoes. In addition to wearing many hats, Johnson knows at least some of the history of Walton. For example, he said Walton was named after a former railroad official. And now the town has many trains running through it. “We get about 24 to 40 (trains) a day,” said Johnson, who can hear trains from his property. “It’s busy here.”

Article and photos • Wendy Nugent


ean Hicks seems to take life as it comes, and a saying with that idea in mind is one she thought might make good body ink. “I’m not a tattoo person, but if I was to get one, it would be, ‘So be it,’” the Asbury Park resident said, sitting on a pink recliner in her living room. “I just kinda like the way that sounds. I don’t know how it would look, but I like the sound of it.” Thinking positively encompasses her philosophy of life, which is to “live, laugh, love and be happy,” the soon-tobe 80-year-old mother of three said on a warm summer day.

Hicks will turn 80 on Sept. 19, as she was born in 1933, during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. She lived most of her life in Satanta, a town named after a Native American chief. Hicks calls Satanta a “delightful town,” with a population of about 1,200 the last she knew. She and her husband, Russell, who passed away in 1992, had three children: Sherri Rawlins, who is an administrator at Prairie View; Robert Hicks, who works the family farm; and Randall Hicks, a welder. Jean Hicks and Russell were married ...........................................................................................................J for almost 40 years. Jean Hicks of Newton enjoys a variety of things, including • See Hicks, page 18 reading.

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Article and photos • Wendy Nugent


t’s a sanctuary. It’s a place for artists. It’s a beautifully built barn with two 8-foot ceiling fans made out of windmills, and it’s not used for farming purposes. Construction of The Barn at Sedgwick, which replaced an early 1900s-era barn that had chipping red paint, was completed early this year, on the farm property of Frank and Mary Harder of rural Sedgwick. Mary Harder didn’t want to see the old barn torn down, but it was in disrepair, she said. For about the past year, she wouldn’t even let their two daughters, Annie, 14, and Cora, 10, go into the barn, which was taken down in 2012. “’There’s no more options on it,’’ Mary said her husband told her. “‘Yeah, the barn’s coming down.’ My heart just broke. It’s the history of it. It was so hard to let that go. He said we don’t have to do anything (with the land the barn was on) or we can build.” So, build they did. “Long story short, we decided to build a barn that had some tradition to it that would last for years — a heritage barn,” Mary said. 16 |

Fall 2013

They purchased a barn kit from Sand Creek Post & Beam of Nebraska, and an Amish construction crew out of Yoder built it. A crew of four usually worked on the barn taking them only about 17 days to construct it, starting in 2012 and finishing in early 2013. Mary even asked the builders to sign their names on the barn, she said, looking up at the place they had signed on the barn’s interior. The old barn with the red chipping paint is featured in a book written by Kelley DeGraffenreid called “Harvey County Barns.” “My heart breaks for that barn,” Mary said, sitting at a table inside the new barn with photos of the old barn and the old house that had been on the property. Frank’s father, Joe Harper, grew up in the house built in 1940 that still is on the property today. Wood from the old house that had been there previously was incorporated into the new 1940 house. “So he grew up with the old barn that sat here,” Mary said. Mary moved into the newer house in 1994,

when she married Frank. Later, Mary enlisted Joe’s help when she wanted ceiling fans put into the new barn, but she didn’t want just any ceiling fans. She had found a photo of windmill ceiling fans and approached her father-in-law about the possibility of making some. “When I went to him, he wanted to help because he was willing to do whatever we needed to help out in the barn,” Mary said. He said it was doable. The windmills, which also were in disrepair, came from the land Mary had grown up on, so they also were in the family. Joe restores windmills, Mary said. “Joe had to actually make them work as a fan instead of a windmill,” Mary said. “So, yeah, I like my windmill fans.” Even though she didn’t like to see the old barn torn down, Mary loves the new barn. “I just feel so blessed we were able to do this,” Mary said. “It really, for me, has been a God thing. That’s really an important part with this. I feel that God — just God’s blessing to see the goodness that he can give us.” With the barn and having an art studio there,

....................................................................................................................... LEFT: Mary Harper enjoys her studio in The Barn at Sedgwick. The barn is used by humans and was built in early 2013. ABOVE: The Barn at Sedgwick was constructed in early 2013. RIGHT: A ceiling fan made from a windmill adds to the atmosphere on the second floor of The Barn at Sedgwick.

Mary has been able to mix the farm with her love of art, as she has a degree in art education. She said it’s been difficult to tie that with her duties on the farm. “I enjoy creating,” she said. There was no space to do that in their home, and at one point, Frank jokingly told Mary she could have her studio in the barn. “I think he was serious, but joking serious,” Mary said. They didn’t need the barn for farm use, so that’s what they did. “I work with metal jewelry,” Mary said. The barn was built for human comfort and use, complete with a bathroom and shower, tables and chairs on the main floor, an art studio, a kitchenette with running water and sleeping quarters upstairs with rustic-looking beds constructed by Joe. The single beds and bunk beds are made from tree branches, and the beds surround a cozy setting with cushy, brown living room furniture. A trickling watering-can fountain in one corner on the main level provides a relaxing atmosphere. The barn also comes with air-conditioning, heat and vintage bulbs hanging from the rafters. The door leading to the studio was salvaged from the old barn. “It’s been fun to use part of the old barn in here,” Mary said, adding the goal of the barn is to be a “positive, happy place.” Since the barn was constructed, there have been a few events there, including a barn-raising celebration with food and music. The money

raised and items received from this event were given to local shelters, Mary said. “The blessing of the barn we wanted to pass off to somebody else,” Mary said. “We want to continue to be able to share.” Other events they’ve had there have fallen in Mary’s lap, she said. At the barn-raising party, one of Mary’s friends, Morgan Simmons of Hesston, proposed teaching a sign-painting class. “She’s been a joy,” Mary said. “It’s because of her we’re having these events.” Then on June 23, Mary, friend Stacey Rasmussen, sister-in-law Janelle Dolan of Sedgwick and Simmons combined efforts to have a jewelry-making class with all proceeds going to Oklahoma tornado victims. A total of 16 people attended. Another event that fell into Mary’s lap was an Art in the Barn camp, which was July 8 through 12 for youth in grades two through six. This class, called Art with a Twist, was one of two Art in the Barn camps for children — the other was in Whitewater. There also was a one-night men’s retreat where men from the Methodist church in Sedgwick enjoyed a meal and fellowship. When people ask Mary what they do at the barn, she said that’s hard to answer because it’s

still evolving. She even has one wedding scheduled there, but she’s not sure she wants to continue doing that — she wants to see how that wedding goes. On Oct. 5, Mary, sister-in-law Janelle Dolan and sister Sara Dawson will host an all-day event at the barn offering art and jewelry classes, and items for sale. There also will be food and music. Mary said she could not have done any of this alone — she’s had the help of friends, family and God, but she doesn’t want the barn to take up all of her time. “I don’t want to ever get so busy at the barn that I neglect my kids,” Mary said. “My kids are important.” Her children have enjoyed the barn, too, drawing with chalk on the floor and having sleepovers. Mary has decided to limit sleepovers to family, and she also wants people who go there to have a good time. “When people walk in the door, I want (them) to go, ‘Wow, this is a happy place,’” Mary said. She also wishes she had a sign on the door that says, “Leave your troubles in the car.”

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From page 15

“We were farmers,” Hicks said. They grew wheat, corn and milo and had some livestock—mostly cows and pigs. They also had sheep for about three years at one point. Son Robert was in charge of the sheep. “My husband was a cattle man,” Hicks said, but she enjoyed the sheep more. “I liked working with the sheep,” a laughing Hicks said. “Cattle will run over you. Sheep will gather around you, but they won’t run over you.” Their farm is in its third generation of family owners. Hicks grew up on the farm and later she and her husband bought it from her mother, Vira Winsted. Now, the farm is in Robert’s hands. Hicks called herself a farm wife, since she carried out farm duties—and said she loved it. “I started out driving truck, doing harvest and just worked on up to the rest of it,” she said. “Farm help was hard to get. Mostly, I did the sweeps or plowing, whatever.” One time, Hicks dug the furrows for

planting, but her husband redid them because they weren’t straight enough. They worked long hours and repaired machinery despite the weather, whether in the freezing cold or blistering heat of Kansas. There’s very little shade in southwest Kansas, she said. In addition to farming, Hicks has tried her hands at many things. In fact, when her daughter asked Hicks how she knows how to do so many things, she replied, “It’s from having the nerve to try different things.” “Just jump in and do it,” Hicks said. “Give it a try.” Along these lines, Hicks wasn’t just involved in farming as a career—she also was co-owner of a flower shop in Satanta called Love Buds. A friend wanted to go into business with her, so Hicks worked under her friend for a year and then went to design school at the age of 48. After school, she worked there four more years before buying her friend out and running the business another five years. “So, a total of 10 years in that business,” Hicks said. In 1992, Hicks’ husband was having health

problems, and a woman wanted to buy the store. Russell died that year, and the sale of the shop was effective in January 1993. At that time, Hicks went to work at a flower shop in Ulysses. “I was driving 14 miles to town every day and don’t think there was any day I wished I didn’t have to go to work, but I missed the tractordriving time,” Hicks said. She said the tractor-driving time was her quiet time, where she did a lot of thinking. Also after Russell passed away, Hicks’ mother moved to the farm, and she and Hicks stayed there until 1997, when they moved to Newton. Hicks lived in Newton for 10 years, and during that time she worked at Designs by John. Hicks’ mother ended up residing at Halstead Health & Rehabilitation — she lived five months shy of reaching the century mark. Hicks also resided in Missouri for two years, moving there in February 2011. In March, Hicks moved back to Newton to be closer to her children, settling in Asbury Park. She said enjoys it. “People are friendly (at Asbury Park),” Hicks said. “There’s lots you can do here — lots of volunteering.” Her volunteering at Asbury Park includes

............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Jean Hicks points to family photos in her bedroom in her Asbury Park residence in Newton. Family is important to her. 18 |

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helping residents in wheelchairs find their way to the Sunday chapel service. Hicks has helped many people in various jobs and volunteer work, and she does it for the companionship. “For the enjoyment of it — I’m a people person,” she said. “If I was confined to the house, I don’t think I could take that very well.” Hicks also has volunteered as a cook for Circles of Hope meals at First United Methodist Church in Newton and has helped with the Senior Companion Program in Newton for seven years. In the latter program, volunteers are matched with elderly clients, and Hicks had the responsibility of taking people to appointments and eating breakfast twice a week with one client. “He always wanted to go to CJ’s Pancake House,” Hicks said. Hicks also has a variety of hobbies, some of which are ongoing and some are in the past, as she likes to try new things. “I think my trademark is I jump in on things I don’t know much about,” Hicks said. Not knowing much about these things doesn’t seem to hamper her enthusiasm. For example, Hicks wanted to make a bed covering. “I’d never made a quilt before,” she said. “I picked a pattern. I looked in (a) book, and that’s the one I liked.” Hicks carried her love of flowers into the quilt, as it features hand-appliquéd blossoms. It also incorporates embroidered names of her children and their spouses, grandchildren and husband, not to mention her name, as well. The quilt, which rests on her bed, is tied, and she did the binding herself. Family seems to be quite important to Hicks. Photos of jer loved ones are scattered throughout her bedroom, and an embroidered family tree she made hangs on the wall above her bed. The tree goes back as far as Russell’s parents; his father was born in 1873. “I tried to do their name in their birthstone colors,” Hicks said. Also in her bedroom is a teddy bear made from her mother’s mink stole. The bear is named Fin, which was her mother’s nickname. Her mother, who was a twin, was born in 1905 and played basketball. Hicks has carried her sense of adventure into volunteer work and hobbies, which involve sewing and working with a sewing group, to name a couple. She made curtains for the Prairie View school and curtains for granddaughter Elisa’s classroom at Moran. Hicks received letters of thanks from the children at Prairie View and has the letters displayed on her kitchen wall. “I was so proud of those,” Hicks said of the

letters. “I just thought that was really neat.” Then Hicks corrected herself, saying, “Pleased with the letters. It’s kinda hard to keep that word (proud) out of your vocabulary, I think.” Earlier, Hicks had said, “You know, they say pride goeth before a fall, so I try not to say (I’m) proud. I say, ‘I’m pleased.’ And I’m really pleased with my family.” Hicks works with a sewing group at Trinity Heights United Methodist Church, the church she attends. She stuffs pillows, which are given to patients at Newton Medical Center. “I know they’ve made a lot of them,” Hicks said. Initially, the group had asked her to quilt, but she told them they did not want her to quilt, so she stuffs pillows. Hicks also has made balaclavas for Afghanistan and son Robert, welding caps for son Randall, do-rags for son Robert and many corn bags for family and friends. Corn bags are heated in the microwave and provide relief for aching muscles. A balaclava is a ski mask or helmet that covers the entire head, exposing only the eyes. “I don’t know how many of those I’ve made,” Hicks said. Hicks also likes to do word searches, crochet, embroider, play cards, bake and read. She’s also going to the senior center to relearn Pinochle and to play cards. What does Hicks like to bake? “Anything,” she said. “If I’m trying a new recipe, it’s more apt to be a dessert item than a salad. Who wants a salad when you can have sweets? I don’t allow myself sweets too often, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about it.” Another of Hicks’ involvements includes belonging to the Challengers Sunday school class at Trinity Heights. She calls the group “a good bunch.” Years before, when Hicks was in high school, she tried her hand at something new, blazing a trail. She and another senior girl took

I think my trademark is I jump in on things I don’t know much about.

Woodworking I with the freshmen boys. They were the first girls to take woodworking at the school. “I loved that — loved working with the wood,” Hicks said. About blazing a trail for girls to take woodworking at her high school, Hicks said about herself, with a smile on her face, “Some people would use the term troublemaker, I think.” Her first project was squaring a board, and she also made a pig breadboard and two shelves. Her last project was a cedar chest. “One of (the pig’s) hind legs was very thin,” Hicks said. “We laughed about that for years.” Also while in high school, Hicks took three years of home economics. “I don’t (sew) much clothing anymore,” she said. “In fact, I don’t do any clothing anymore.” Thinking of others runs in Hicks’ family. As she was growing up, Hicks said her mother had some advice, which Hicks seems to have followed. “Our mother said to have a friend, be one,” Hicks said. “She was a happy person. I think everybody loved her.”

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Things that go in the night T Article and photos Wendy Nugent

hunder rolled through the night air, way to share history,” museum director Debra and digital recorders. mimicking the sound of a bass drum as Hiebert said. “‘Stuff’ isn’t history. The lives of the The results of the lightning lit up the eerily dark historic people who had the stuff is what needs to be investigation will be Carnegie Library during a recent shared, and this is a different way of possibly revealed during a Saturday night ghost investigation. telling some of those stories. We have had some program in the fall at the Unseasonably chilly temperatures occasionally visitors who ‘sensed activity’ in the museum and museum, 203 N. Main St. in Newton. As of press permeated through the atmosphere of the more have had some inquiries about that, so I decided time, the date for the “reveal” had not yet been than 100-year-old Newton structure as rain fell that this was a group of museum visitors that we determined, but the event will be open to the softly on the roof. The elements provided the could serve by looking further into paranormal public. To learn when the reveal will happen, call perfect backdrop for the ghostly inspection occupation.” the historical museum at 316-283-2221, check conducted by the Ghost Investigation Crew, The investigation, which was done with lights the museum’s Facebook page or visit which has members in Newton and Salina. out, took about five hours, from 9 p.m. on a or Stairs squeaked. People were startled. A ghost Saturday until 2 a.m. on a Sunday. GIC members In addition to GIC members, four others were or two possibly touched at least three of the now will have to pour over hours of video and at the location, including Hiebert. The building, women there. Investigators took coffee breaks audio digital recordings. Sometimes, ghosts can which features a basement, a first floor and between searching for things that went bump in be seen and heard with human eyes and ears, second floor, was built in 1903-04 as a library. It the night. and other times, these phenomena are picked up also has an attic. The structure was a library until “I agreed to the investigation as a different only electronically. That’s why GIC uses audio 1973, and has been owned only by the city of ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. ABOVE: The Harvey County Historical Museum and Archives, 203 N. Main St. in Newton, was the site of a ghost investigation. Photo illustration by Kevin Hower and Wendy Nugent. RIGHT: Brad Buchta with Ghost Investigation Crew instructs non-Crew members about equipment that's used as GIC co-leader Bryan Breen's image is reflected in a mirror. 20 |

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Newton and the historical society, Hiebert said. Before the investigation began, Newton resident Brad Buchta, founder and lead investigator of GIC, talked about the equipment they would use, noting that most activity usually starts after midnight. Buchta said the Crew runs all night vision on their camcorders. Other equipment includes an EMF (electromagnetic field) pump, which gives off energy and can draw ghosts to investigators; a grid pen light that lit a room with a series of green grid dots; digital recorders to capture EVPs (electronic voice phenomena); a ghost box that also can catch ghost voices; an infrared digital thermometer; a K2 meter, which reads electromagnetic fields (that can indicate a ghost might be present); motion sensors; baby monitor; and cameras. The light grid sometimes can indicate if a ghost or “shadow person” is in the room, even though it’s not visible to the naked eye, because it will block the light. A shadow person is the spirit of a human who died suddenly, investigator Sonia Tingen said. They also move very fast, Buchta added. “Shadow people — we’ve had a couple experiences with those,” Buchta said. The ghost box scans a variety of FM or AM radio waves, and a mixture of white noise and audio fragments can be heard. A ghost can manipulate a wavelength to talk, Buchta said. “With the ghost box radio sweep method, the spirit or ghost voices seem to be carried upon these audio fragments and white noise,” according to The thermometer measures the temperature of a specified area; a colder area possibly indicates a spirit and a warmer area possibly indicates a bad spirit, Buchta said. Hiebert said she had a good time during the investigation. “I enjoyed some of the gizmos, especially the shadow people ‘pen’ because it was so visually cool,” Hiebert said. “And really? I enjoyed being a part of activity in the museum at night — very different than daytime activities, and I like that the museum can have different ‘faces’ for different visitors.”

Attached spirits The main reason GIC wanted to inspect the historical museum was because they feel spirits might be attached to older items there. While giving instructions that stormy Saturday

night, Buchta said, “If you think something Sherry Breen and Jesse Blouch; and Newton touches you, let us know. If something whispers residents Sonia Tingen and Twila Smith. Also in your ear, let us know.” there was Rodger Nugent of North Newton, who At one point, investigator SaVona Davis of is not a member of GIC. Salina did let people know. She said she felt a The team did its first investigation on May 7, touch in one of the main rooms. Later, down by 2011, at Theorosa’s Bridge near Valley Center, the boiler room, two women, Sara Ensz of and has done 40 to 50 investigations since then, Newton and this writer (Wendy Nugent of completing many during their first year and a Newton) both felt as though they were contacted half. by someone who had crossed over. “It does wear you out,” Buchta said. Nugent said she felt a tickle like a spider on Not only does the investigation take several her leg when nothing was there, and Esnz said hours, but there’s travel time and pouring over she felt a cold touch on her right arm. This was the evidence afterward. right after investigators asked any entities in the “The best part of doing this is going over the basement to reveal his or her name, and they evidence, and the worst part is going over the received a message on the ghost box three times: evidence,” Buchta said, while sitting at a table on “Joe.” the museum’s second floor manned with a Ghosts are curious, Buchta said, but they can be shy. During the night, several people asked ghosts questions, such as “Did you go off to the war and die?” “What is your name?” and “How old are you?” Ghosts also were asked to sing along Text NORMS to 90583 for coffee specials, concert info and more! and say what their 125 W. 6th Street • Newton • 316-804-4924 favorite food was. The investigators there didn’t hear any Mon-Wed: 7am-12pm • Thu-Fri: 7am-12pm, 7pm-10pm Sat: 8am - 12pm responses at the time. Buchta made it clear the group doesn’t falsify their evidence. “We don’t fabricate or Photoshop anything,” he said with a serious look. The team knows if they fabricate anything, they’re off the team. “Because we’re not going to pull the wool over anybody’s eyes.” In addition to Buchta and Davis, other GIC investigators there that night were Salina residents Bryan Breen, co-lead investigator and THURS, SEPTEMBER 19TH Buchta’s best friend,

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camcorder, the only light shining in through windows. At one point upstairs, Buchta said he thought he saw a shadow move very quickly from left to right among the racks. Other personal experiences that night included Bryan Breen saying they picked up the two other names on the ghost box in the basement: “Angela” and “William.” “There’s something downstairs,” Bryan Breen said during the investigation. “That’s where the activity is.” When “Joe” was asked what or who he was attached to, they got a response that sounded like “janitor,” Bryan Breen said. They also heard papers rustling in the boiler room that night, and Tingen, who is sensitive to spirits, felt something rush up on her. Ghosts know which people are sensitive, so they’ll go up to them, Buchta said. Buchta hasn’t always believed in ghosts. “I’ve had people ask if I believe in life after death,” Buchta said. “I say, ‘I do now.’” His experiences with ghosts started when he and Tingen lived in a home at 12th and Madison in Newton. One night, they both heard what sounded like a sigh. “Different things were spooking us out,” he said. Another time, Buchta was vacuuming at that house and saw a figure in black. He thought it was Tingen’s daughter, but when he turned around, nothing was there. The next day, he contacted several paranormal societies. After a few months, one of those contacts suggested to Buchta that he get an investigation team

together. The first person he thought of to join was his best friend, Bryan Breen, since they both love information on Contact Brad Buchta at 316-727-6292 or Bryan Breen at 785-201-2485 unidentified flying objects and Bigfoot. Atlanta Paranormal Society (TAPS) from the TV They’ve been on many adventures together. show “Ghost Hunters” investigated that location One such investigation was at a home in after GIC did, Buchta said. Minneapolis, Kan. There, they experienced a Another investigator, Blouch, also had spirit that wasn’t very kind. At one point, Tingen paranormal activity in his life before joining GIC. and Buchta were in the kitchen talking about He said his bedroom had been haunted “all his being thirsty, and they later found they had life.” He would hear his door unlatch itself and caught a creepy EVP about that time that said, then footsteps. He said the spirit who haunted “Thirsty? I’m going to drink your blood.” his room had curly hair and static eyes, such as Also at this same home, they learned a little that on a TV set. girl who lived there referred to a “friend” only One night, the spirit kept coming toward she could see whom she called Beadie. The team Blouch, he said, as he was lying in bed. Blouch captured an apparition of a transparent little girl told the ghost to leave him alone. The running across a room, who most likely was showdown ended when Blouch got up, stood Beadie. At the time, Buchta became quite up to the apparition, inches from its face, and nauseated, which can happen to people near told it to go away. Blouch said the spirit then when they’re near ghosts. dropped down into his dresser drawer. He hasn’t Buchta felt a ghost come up on him, like it seen the ghost for a number of years. was chest bumping him indicating “this is my Buchta himself experienced paranormal place,” he said. activity during the day at the museum even They also caught a recording of what before the investigation started Saturday night. sounded like high heels or boots going across Only he and Hiebert were in the museum that the floor in the kitchen in that home. afternoon as Buchta was there to get some base GIC also investigated a place a business in readings. He got a “K2 hit” at the World War II Salina, where a worker said she kept seeing a piano, and he also heard footsteps coming down shadowy figure. the stairs; Hiebert was not on the stairs but in her “When I asked if there were any spirits here office. with me tonight (as they investigated), I heard “A lot of people ask why (we don’t investigate) stuff being moved around in that office,” Buchta during the day,” Buchta said, to which he replies said. “I said, ‘Yes there it’s hard to catch entities during the day as they’re is,’ and I turned and You are reading… transparent. walked back up the Buchta said the group doesn’t charge hallway to get Bryan, anything for their investigations — they do it to who was downstairs. help people. When they show people their Harvey County’s new quarterly magazine about While listening to the evidence, the people feel validated — these digital recorder, not people, places and events in Harvey County. people say, “Hey, I’m not crazy.” only did you hear the When they arrive at a location, GIC recites a • movement from in the prayer of protection, and when they leave, they office, you also heard SUMMER ISSUE – June FALL ISSUE – September do an exit prayer, Buchta said. footsteps running right WINTER ISSUE – December SPRING ISSUE – March “If we’re in a place six or seven hours, and we by me, which I did not get an EVP, it’s a success,” Buchta said. hear with my own While investigating the past, GIC has plans for Be sure to check out our new website… ears.” the future. On Nov. 15, they will investigate the Buchta and Bryan Villisca Axe Murder House in Villisca, Iowa. In Breen also investigated 1912, a family, comprised of a husband, wife and the Odd Fellows four children, came home from church with two Asylum in Liberty, Mo. One of their photos had neighbor kids. The story goes a man was hiding in the house and killed all eight people after they a red splotch on it. went to sleep. When they blew it up, The TV show “Ghost Adventures” crew also they saw it was an has explored this home. Buchta said the crew apparition of a little boy sitting on the stairs. The recorded an EVP that said, “I killed six kids.”

Contact info for Ghost Investigation


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800-279-8207 / 316-830-2204

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Information on the Museum Harvey County Historical Museum and Archives’ hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission: $3 for adults, $2 for children ages 5-17, free for kids under 5.

A guiding

Article and photos Wendy Nugent


onnie Sowers, as well as Hesston College nursing program faculty and staff, have managed to do something rarely seen on college campuses these days—especially with the current economy. During her tenure at Hesston College, as assistant director and then director of the nursing program during the past 40 years, nursing graduates have experienced a job-placement rate of 100 percent. “As far as we know, all of our (registered nursing) graduates who actively sought a nursing position have been offered a job in nursing,” Sowers said. “We have actual records on nursing employment from 2000 to present. In the earlier years of the program, we did not track our program outcomes as carefully as we do today, but we cannot recall anyone who ever notified us that they were unable to locate a nursing position.” Sowers doesn’t take credit for the high employment rate, though.

“First of all, we are fortunate enough to recruit outstanding people to join our program,” Sowers said. “The vast majority have a real heart for people and come to us with strong personal values already in place and a commitment to holistic care. That is part of the reason they choose HC as the setting for their nursing education.” In addition, faculty members do an “excellent job” educating the committed nursing students, assisting in their development during the 18-month program as “competent and caring nurses,” Sowers said. The nursing program has eight full-time core faculty members: one director, one administrative assistant and four adjunct/clinical faculty members. The nursing coursework has 112 students enrolled, 25 to 30 more are taking pre-nursing courses during the academic year. “The local health-care PRESERVING YOUR GREATEST ASSET community also has high respect for our nursing program — our graduates — and many agencies are pleased to employ HC nurses,” Sowers said. The nursing program, under Satisfaction Guaranteed Sowers’ direction and leadership, Family Owned & Operated has stayed on the cutting edge of RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL Over 28 Years SPECIALIZING IN: nursing education. It has kept


.......................................................................................................................... Bonnie Sowers, director of the nursing program at Hesston College, left, helps student Bri Stutzman with a blood pressure check in the Newton Medical Center Simulation Center (clinical learning) at Hesston College.

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pace with many changes in nursing and health-care during the years, such as the fast growth in pharmacology and medications, HIV/AIDS, new diseases and illnesses, and modifications in acutecare technology settings. “One of the biggest changes has been our approach to clinical nursing,” Sowers said. “In the past five years, we have made extensive use of patient simulators in our campus labs. Students now participate regularly in our Newton Medical Center Simulation Center (on the Hesston College campus), being instructed by a nursing faculty member who holds advanced practical nursing credentials and who works exclusively with our students in simulation.” Nursing students now are better prepared to care for the needs of actual patients in real-life settings after they’ve had much practice and testing with simulations. Faculty member Gregg Schroeder, an advanced practice registered nurse with a Master of Science in Nursing degree, watches students from a cubicle that looks like it has a two-way mirror on at least two sides, and plays out real-life scenarios for students with the simulated patients that lie in hospital beds, responding to what students do. The simulated patients can be male or female, adult or child, post-op patients or having an illness, such as pneumonia, to name a few scenarios. A second campus simulation lab, Riegsecker Nursing Laboratory, has two patient-care rooms — one with a birthing simulator called Noelle and another with SimMan, which is a high-fidelity simulator used for medical/surgical and critical-care nursing case studies, as well as Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support testing and prep. This lab also has a few infant simulators with an infant warmer. The simulation lab activities can take place before or during lecture classes. One student, sophomore Bri Stutzman, enjoys this kind of instruction. “This works really well for my learning style,” said Stutzman, who describes herself as a hands-on learner. Applying what she learned in lecture class in the sim lab reinforces skills and techniques, she said.

Working with Sowers Students, as well as co-workers, think highly of Sowers, admiring her dedication to the nursing program, students and staff. “In the 35 years I have worked with Bonnie, what I have come to value most are her vision for our nursing program, her wisdom in leadership and her warm relational style,” said Marilyn Unruh Flaming, academic assistant in the Department of Nursing. “Students consistently sense that they have found an encouraging advocate in Bonnie. She is an optimistic, joyful person to work with and has been a caring, inspirational role model for students and colleagues. We all love her!” Hesston College President Howard Keim says Sowers has been the leader of the college’s “highly successful” nursing program and chairwoman of the Career Programs Division, as well as the Assessment, Research and Coordinating Committee. He also noted she has led three accreditation reviews with the Higher Learning Commission; these all .......................................................................................................................... Bonnie Sowers looks over the Newton Medical Center Simulation Center in July at Hesston College. 24 |

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resulted in 10-year renewals. “She is a wonderful, collaborative, cheerful presence on campus,” Keim said. “It is difficult to think of a person who has contributed more to our success than Bonnie Sowers.” Sowers said has enjoyed working with Flaming, as they work as a team to administer the program. “It’s a working relationship — good friends supporting each other in other aspects of our lives,” Sowers said.

More than 40 years Sowers finds it hard to believe the duration of her career at Hesston College. “I have been at Hesston College for 40 years,” she said with a smile. “It’s just hard to believe. I just received recognition for my 40 years of teaching at Hesston College this past May.” Sowers attended Hesston College as a student for one year, then transferred to Goshen (Ind.) College, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing in 1969. She transferred schools because Hesston didn’t offer a nursing degree at the time. She joined the Hesston College faculty in 1970, instructed in the Goshen College nursing program for a few years, earned her master of science degree in psych mental health nursing in 1975 from Ohio State University and went back to Hesston College in 1975, where she was recruited as the nursing program assistant director, later becoming director. “(I’ve) been here ever since,” Sowers said. “It’s been a wonderful job for me. I couldn’t have asked for a better career. It has been full of rewards.” The success of her students and former students is high on the list. “It has been such a delight and blessing to see students grow, change and make a contribution to health care — here in central Kansas and all around our state, nation and world,” Sowers said. For example, Sowers recently received a note from a 1999 graduate who is an advanced practice registered nurse, employed as a hospitalist in North Carolina. Sowers said another graduate told her she was accepted into the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Wichita State, and yet another graduate, Gloria Solis from Newton, is a chief nursing officer and chief operating officer at a large medical facility in Missouri. Sowers also recalled one student who was a “very dedicated” single mother while at Hesston, but had trouble making ends meet as she went

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through the nursing program. The former student was quite grateful for the financial assistance she received, and is now a nurse manager who frequently checks with the college to see if she can financially help current students who are going through similar circumstances she did. “But of no less importance are the hundreds of graduates working each day in a multitude of health-care settings, practicing nursing at the bedside, touching and transforming lives — one patient and one family at a time,” Sowers said. Many of these nurses work at Harvey County clinics, long-term care, hospital and home-health settings. Sowers was recruited to work at Hesston College by Ray Showalter, the first director of the HC nursing program. Before that, Sowers had been employed by Halstead Hospital. Her husband was attending Hesston College at the time, so it was a “win-win” situation for them, Sowers said. “It helped my husband with tuition costs and essentially brought me back to work at a place I love,” Sowers said. “I have deep roots here and have been affiliated with HC all my life.” Those deep roots were anchored in the Hesston College soil as her father was president of the college for 19 years. The social life of their family centered on the college. “This has always been a part of our lives,” Sowers said. “Teaching at Hesston is a real natural for me. It feels like home.” While she was assistant director, Sowers did a lot of teaching. Now, as director, much of her role revolves around advising students as well as administrative duties. When she does have the opportunity to teach now, Sowers will present students with critical-thinking scenarios. She challenges students to come up with their own answers instead of the old days’ “sage on the stage” kind of learning where instructors impart information and then test students on it. Now, students do is what is called “flip the classroom.” Sowers gives students notes before class, so they come to class prepared and armed with questions. “It becomes a critical-thinking time instead of just a faculty member departing information,” Sowers said.

To become registered nurses, students earn an associate’s degree at Hesston College, then take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. Some of the students then attend other schools to receive bachelor’s degrees. At Hesston College, students and faculty learn together. “We say it’s really a learning-centered classroom” focusing on how well students learn as opposed to how well faculty teach, Sowers said. Most nursing students attend Hesston College because emphasis is placed on holistic patient care — caring for a patient’s body, mind and spirit — not just the physical aspects. In fact, the official motto of the nursing department is “A Tradition of Service — A Commitment to Care.” Along those lines, some of the nursing faculty adopted this Scripture for the department: “Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this. YOU are the equipment” (Mark 6:8, The Message translation). “It has been a real joy and blessing to be part of such a close, relational community — a Christ-centered community,” Sowers said.

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Article and photos Wendy Nugent

A phoenix rising from the celluloid ashes


ewton native Barb Burns has fond “One of the things I remember is the activity 1965, led by Dan Suderman, purchased the memories of the Fox Theatre in downtown and the Fox being in the center,” theater for $1 from the city of Newton with the downtown Newton from when she was Skibbe said. “Back in the ’70s, fuel was cheap, and “blessing to keep the theater and make it happen,” growing up — recollections of we only had one phone in the house, so we could Burns said. cinematic treats like candy and cartoons. only talk for five minutes at a time. So what we This group worked hard, cleaning out gunk For many years, Burns’ mother was would do is tell our parents we were going and fixing things, Burns said. For almost 10 years, manager/owner of Lois’ Style Shop, just off of Main downtown to see what was going on and who was they brought in local concerts, even without doing Street on West Broadway. out.” fund-raising, she added. “I grew up on Main Street,” Burns said. The Fox was in the middle of the driving turnNow, the Newton Fox Performing Arts Center “Saturday morning cartoons at the Fox with around places, including A&W and Sonic or Big D. Inc. board of directors, which is a group of friends is a warm and lasting memory. There were People would socialize outside the theater. volunteer owners, is working to raise money to treats at the Fox that we simply didn’t get “Cars would be parked on both sides of Main renovate the Fox and enhance programming. anywhere else: Milk Duds, licorice taffy, even Street and on the side streets when it was a really After Suderman died in 2010, the theater was popcorn was a special treat. Good memories. Lots good movie, and then when the show would end, headed back to the city, as the previous owners of Newton natives recall their budding social lives everyone would be either talking outside or grew weary of the project. The city commission happening at the Fox. Lots of ‘first kiss’ activity in dragging Main honking their horns at those still was presented with doing something with the Fox the back rows!” standing outside,” Skibbe said. or tearing it down. Burns said her back-row experiences were nil, MGM Fox acquired the theater in 1955 and Dewayne Pauls, who “singlehandedly has done but she does recall feeling quite grown up when upgraded it for movies. When Dickinson more for Main Street in the last decade than she attended the Friday night cinema without her purchased it in the 1990s, they put in new seats. anyone else,” suggested Burns get her arms parents. The arrival of multiplex theaters and shopping around the project, she said. “I still remember how frightened I was leaving malls in the mid- to late 1990s led to the demise of So, Burns visited with Newton City Manager the theater after watching ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’” single-screen movie theaters, and Newton was no Randy Riggs. Burns said. “Lasting memory!” exception, said Burns, who is chair of the board of “Clearly, tearing that down simply wasn’t an Many people have lasting memories from that directors of the Newton Fox Performing Arts option,” Burns said. historic building, which was constructed in 1914 Center Inc. During this time, the Fox fell into However, the city does not put any money into as a live theater. One such person is Daryl Skibbe disrepair. the theater, and the city is not a safety net for it, of Newton. In 2001, the Newton High School class of either. Working with the theater is in Burns’ job ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ These are some of the audience participants taking part in the Rock for the Fox event in April at the Meridian Center in Newton. The event included dualing pianos as part of the fund-raiser for the Fox Theatre in downtown Newton. 26 |

Fall 2013

description as advancement director for the city. The NFPAC board of directors has been together for about a year. Other members include Ann Davidson, Newton Police Department Chief James Daily, Tim Buller, Rosaland Scudder, Kevin Geraci, Gini Coleman Johnson, Chris Conrade, Floyd Sowers, Janis Whitfield, Michelle Coffman, Larry Morse, Julie Preisser and Donna Mills. Burns cited several reasons for restoring the Fox. During the 2010 ReNewton comprehensive plan, more than 1,800 citizen participants said in writing nothing was more important to Newton than an energized and vibrant downtown, and that the Fox Theatre was identified as the single most important catalyst to that goal. “Having quality, fun events at the Fox downtown brings local folks and people from out of town in big numbers,” Burns said. “People and the arts are key to a vibrant community.” She also had a more personal reason for restoring the Fox. “The Fox Theatre is the heart of downtown Newton,” she said. “Those of us who have lived here and loved our Main Street for many years know that.” Burns hadn’t really planned on being part of such a large project. “I certainly didn’t wake up one day and decide to renovate an old theater in my non-existing spare time,” Burns said. “And quite honestly, I was naïve to the magnitude of the challenges facing the project. I was also naïve, though, to the fun and creative energy the project would generate. More importantly, I have created lifelong friendships through the intensity and time commitment of the project. Our Fox Theatre board spends a lot of time together.” The theater twice has been close to being torn down. Burns said she remembers when the decision was made to demolish the old Harvey County Courthouse and build the current one. “Sounded good at the time, probably saved money over renovation,” Burns said. “But there is a lasting collective angst knowing what we lost forever in that decision. Had our group not stepped up to work on the Fox, it likely would have been destined for demolition this time. Not good.” The new board inherited a building with many problems. In the early weeks and months, Burns said she knew she had no ability to make the renovations happen on her own, but if she put together a strong team, “I knew we could do anything.” Burns spent many hours meeting with people about the possibility of restoring the Fox. “And the excitement was almost palpable with everyone I spoke with,” she said. Then, the board of directors was formed. “So, this committed, energized and visionary group of volunteers galvanized around our project,” Burns said. At the time, the building had a dark feeling, as well as a nasty stench. They found closets that were full of junk, including moldy drapes, stacks of broken toilets, dead birds and cockroaches, Burns said. “No cinema treasures,” she said. “There was just junk everywhere.” In February 2012, the board and friends rolled up their sleeves and carried out 2.5 tons of waste, which filled up five city dump trucks. “Once we got that stuff out, we (could envision) some potential,” Burns said. “We bonded with the project.” The volunteers then set about to freshen the place by replacing granite outside, cleaning and whitewashing some walls. Prudential Realtors helped paint.

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The group also received hope in getting great concerts when Miner Seymour, who was with Old Settlers Inn in Moundridge for years, said he’d help recruit talent. The board also knew the place needed to be renovated, so they took their story to Law-Kingdon Architects in Wichita, complete with the theater’s history and plans for the future. The board decided it wanted to bring the Fox back as a multiuse facility, including showing movies as there had been no screen or equipment to show flicks. The board also wanted to make the Fox a communityuse locale for community meetings or as political forums. “But to do that, we knew we needed to make structural improvements,” Burns said. The architect firm drew up a historically accurate 1955 design, part of long-range plans for the theater. The renovation project will cost $2.2 to $3.2 million when completed, but there is no time frame at this point as to when the major renovation will take place. The historical designation of the theater will be 1955, Burns said, which means the theater’s look will be from that time period. As the project vision began to take shape and the board started asking for help, very few people said no, Burns said. For example, the advertising agency Sullivan Higdon & Sink in Wichita helped with early promotional materials at no charge to the Fox. “We had hope, we had energy, we had vision, but we still had no money,” Burns said. “The Fox Theatre simply sells itself to interested people. It just must be the right thing to do.” In fall 2012, the board scheduled the Under Construction concert series as a way to test the concert waters in Harvey County; Seymour made the entertainment arrangements. More recently, Adam Hartke, who was program director for the

Orpheum in Wichita, stepped in as program with Harvey County Economic Development. director at the Fox. Patrick Johnson, with Patrick Johnson Interiors Performing for the Fox Christmas program in of Newton, is doing a great deal of work in the 2012 was Cherish the Ladies, a world-renowned theater, such as painting, designing and creating. Celtic women’s group. During the performance, “We’re going to make this place respectable,” seven young men did Irish step-dancing on stage. he said, standing in front of the concession In the last 30 seconds of the performance, one of counter. Plans include renovating the counter, the men fell through a hole on the stage. That adding an ADA exit ramp and working on theater wasn’t the only problem that night. Earlier, there walls. were plumbing problems in the women’s “It will be done in phases, and we’re just restroom. chipping away at it,” Burns said. “We knew we couldn’t continue without Chipping away at renovating needs funds, and stopping and fixing the building,” Burns said. the board has been working on raising the money. “Safety and comfort is paramount to our being a For example, in April, a dueling pianos event, quality venue for our guests.” “Rock for the Fox,” raised significant money for the The theater closed from December 2012 Fox. That same group will return in the spring. through May. Local plumbers were brought in and Those in attendance seemed to have a great time, did a “colonoscopy” of the building. The structure with audience participants singing and dancing on was rewired for better sound and light capability, stage to audience requests of tunes from the ’60s and fire code compliance measures were installed. and ’70s. The theater received at no cost like-new theater “We had a packed banquet room at the drapes from Maize High School. Digital movie Meridian Center having a great time,” said Burns equipment was purchased, and a 20-foot with a grin. “Those two pianists were amazing retractable screen soon will be installed. The talents.” theater will start showing movies in the fall. The Rock for the Fox event was a turning point As of July, dressing rooms, each having its own for the theater project. People who had never shower, were being constructed just off the stage. darkened the Fox doorway left with a sense of the Having spacious and comfortable dressing rooms fun and togetherness the Newton Fox can will help the board’s goal of attracting quality generate, Burns said. performers, Burns said. “Part of our mission is to bring a fun, social In addition, the stage was extended and rebuilt pulse back to Newton,” Burns ßsaid. “So far, with new flooring added. Darryl Skibbe with mission accomplished.” ServiceMaster steam-cleaned theater seats, and “did magic” on the floors, Burns said. Much of this was done with a loan from the South Central Kansas Economic Development District “We invite you to come Bank with US!” with guidance from Mickey Fornaro Dean

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Fall 2013


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owntown Newton is In addition to raising money for adrift with a variety of Harvey County United Way, there’s food smells at various another reason for this event, which times of the day and year. can send even the largest of men Some days, downtown smells like home with a very full stomach. peppernuts, which are small “It’s an opportunity to bring all Mennonite cookies steeped in spices; the United Way partners together at these delectable treats are created at the same time and provide key Prairie Harvest. partner people face-to-face (time) Some nights, whether the air is with the community,” said Carrie Van baking in Kansas heat or snowflakes Sickle with Prairie Harvest. “(It’s an) are softly falling to the ground, the opportunity to put faces and fragrance of freshly baked doughnuts organizations together.” wafts through the air, courtesy of Last year, 25 participants made Druber’s Donut Shop. chili. Most groups or people don’t But on one particular day in the create the same chili year after year, fall each year, downtown Newton is said Tina Payne, Harvey County overcome with the delicious bouquet United Way director. of chili. This year’s seventh annual event This aroma happens during the will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. annual Chili Cook-Off. Sept. 29 at Sixth and Main streets in “All proceeds go to (Harvey Newton. The 2012 event raised County) United Way for their general $9,500, and about 900 people campaign,” said Mike Petitjean with attended. Petitjean, Whitfield & Associates, a Participants can make any kind of financial advisory practice of Americhili they want with the only prise Financial Services in Newton, requirements being they are asked to which is one of the event sponsors. purchase at least three ingredients The other sponsor is Prairie Harvest from Prairie Harvest, and the chili has Market and Deli in Newton. to be hot. The chili can be spicy, non......................................................................................................................... Sheila Contreras (right) and Tina Reyes (center), along with Kathy Schwarzenberger, director of the Newton Area Senior Center, cut up meat for a summer meal at the senior center. Some chili is made with this kind of meat, Kathy Schwarzenberger said.

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spicy, made from game, vegetarian or with beans, to name a few of the variations. Some groups have participated in the event since its inception. Once such group is the Newton Area Senior Center, which partnered with the Hesston Area Senior Center in 2011 and won the Pride of the Prairie award for the best-tasting chili, according to Kathy Schwarzenberger, Newton Area Senior Center director. The winning recipe was a Cincinnati kind steaming with cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as three types of beans. “It had a bit of a kick to it, ...................................................................................................................................................................................................... which made it appealing to Harvey County United Way director Tina Payne talks during a Chili Cook-Off meeting in early summer at Prairie most chili lovers,” Harvest. Also pictured are Rick Whitfield (left) and Mike Petitjean with Ameriprise Finacial Services in Newton, one Schwarzenberger said. “We will of two event sponsors. The other sponsor is Prairie Harvest. definitely be participating again this year. We look forward to Awards for chili cooking are presented in two classes: the United Way partnering with Hesston if they choose to.” partners class and the open class. Each class has a judge’s choice award, This year, they’re considering creating a Mexican-style chili. called Pride of the Prairie, and a People’s Choice Award. A fifth award, Best “We have several Hispanic partners at the center who are great cooks,” Booth, also is given, as each booth is encouraged to have a theme. Schwarzenberger said. The public participates by purchasing tickets for $5 in advance or $6 at Other groups that have taken part in the event since the beginning the gate. With admission, they get a sample kit, so they can go around tasting include Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Harvey County, Community Playschool, all the chilis. At booths, they’ll get a small ladle of chili, Van Sickle said, and Harvey County Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Task Force, Health they can vote for the People’s Choice Award with dollars at each booth. Ministries, Mirror Inc., Newton Meals on Wheels, Offender/Victim Ministries Advance tickets can be purchased through local organizations such as and United Cerebral Palsy. Kiwanis, Rotary and Lions clubs, and United Way board members and The Hesston and Newton senior centers participate in the event because United Way agencies. they are Harvey County United Way partner organizations, receiving The event seems to be a hit with the public. For example, Van Sickle said funding. Because this is a major fundraising event for United Way, the event at the event’s first year, a couple from Florida told her they were so gives the centers an opportunity to show support and be involved in the impressed that when they returned to Florida, they planned start a chili money-making effort, Schwarzenberger said. cook-off to benefit United Way there. The Newton senior center has used the same recipe for the past two The two people from Florida aren’t the only ones who see the fall event years. Schwarzenberger said it’s her understanding that before that, several as a positive. Payne has seen the cook-off from two sides — one when she people would cook their own chili recipes, combining them all into one was director of Health Ministries of Harvey County and now from the other chili. side as local United Way director. When Payne was at Health Ministries, she “I see the Chili Cook-Off as a great community event,” Schwarzenberger said she saw it as a fundraiser. But last year, which was her first cook-off as said. “It is well attended and enjoyed by hundreds of people. It is gaining in director, she saw it as a true community event that had evolved from a popularity and is bringing in more funds every year. As a participating fundraiser. organization, we have lots of fun, and we get to interact with so many other United Way partners and open-class participants this year include: Big organizations and people of all walks of life. We owe a deep debt of Brothers/Big Sisters of Harvey County, CASA: A Voice for Children, Central gratitude to Petitjean, Whitfeild & Associates and Prairie Harvest for their Kansas American Red Cross, Circles of Hope, Community Playschool, commitment to the event. They put in many hours of hard work and Harvey County Community Partnership, Harvey County Domestic personal investment to make it very successful.” Violence/Sexual Assault Task Force, Harvey County Infant Toddler Program, Health Ministries of Harvey County, Heart to Heart Child Advocacy Center, Hesston Area Senior Center, Mirror Inc., Newton Area Senior Center, Newton Community Childcare Center, Newton Meals on Wheels, Offender/Victim Ministries, RSVP of Harvey County, Salvation Army Red Shield Service Center, Sunshine Academy Learning Center, Trinity Heights Respite Care, United Cerebral Palsy of Kansas, Emporia State University, First Baptist Church, Newton Police Department, Project Search/Newton Medical Center, RB Media Group, Salem United Methodist Church and The Newton Kansan. Entertainment will be provided by the Newton High School drumline, and Classic Country 92.3 FM is planning a live broadcast. To see a video from the 2011 Chili Cook-Off, visit The video features fast, happy music with shots of people eating chili and comments from Van Sickle and others, as well as one man dipping a doughnut into chili, taking a bite and saying, “Hey, that tastes like chili, don’t it (doughnut)?” 30 |

Fall 2013

AROUND TOWN! “What do you think?�

Ben Voth, Newton

Jenae Janzen, Newton

Shane Dick, Newton

“The Other Woman�

About to start “Dead Hearts�

Second “Game of Thrones� book

“The Cross and the Switchblade�

Trips to Lake Tahoe

Day my wife said she’d marry me

Day I married my best friend

Every day is a happy day.

When I found freedom in Christ

“My Smurf one�



Mad scientist

Peacock or a bunch of grapes



Roast beef

Supreme pizza

Monte Cristo sandwiches


Italian food

What is one item you splurge on?




All-natural peanut butter


Eating out

What is your favorite movie?

“Despicable Me�

“Ben Hur�

“It’s a Wonderful Life�

“Jurassic Park�

“Pan’s Labyrinth�

“Furious Love�

What is the last book you read? What was the happiest day of your life? What was your favorite Halloween costume as a child? If you could eat one food every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Mara Oswald, Newton

Chuck Corbitt, Newton

Barrick Wilson, Wichita

“Frog and Toad Together�

Don’t like reading

Going to Mall of America



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| 31

Harvey Country Now Fall 2013  

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