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4:00 PM Jan. 26, 2014 Newton High School Auditorium
From the Publisher
HARVEY COUNTY NOW.com VOLUME 1 • NUMBER 3
CO-EDITORS Don Ratzlaff Wendy Nugent
FEATURES, PHOTOGRAPHY Wendy Nugent
SALES Bruce Behymer Wendy Nugent
CREATIVE Shelley Plett
WEBMASTER David Vogel
PUBLISHED BY Kansas Publishing Ventures LLC Joel Klaassen, Publisher 116 S. Main, Hillsboro, KS 67063 620-947-5702
here is no shortage of positive stories about the people and places in Harvey County, which you will notice when you read our winter edition of HarveyCountyNOW.com. Enjoy! Many of you have discovered our website, which enhances the printed version of HarveyCountyNOW.com. If you haven’t already done so, we invite you to visit the site that was created specifically for people who call Harvey County home, either by living here now or in the past. We encourage you to use the website freely to post calendar events, obituaries, classifieds and special occasions occurring in your community. You would be pleasantly surprised by the amount of content that is already available to you, including links to your favorite Harvey County businesses. I would recommend liking us on Facebook, as well as posting notifications of interest when things are happening. For your friends around the world, we offer a “flip edition” of the magazine that can be seen from a computer or tablet. The link is located on the home page, front and center. Or you can email the “Read Harvey County Now” link to someone by clicking on it, copying the URL and then pasting it into your email. We also have to an archive of past issues if you wish to read a previous feature again. If you would like to have copies of the magazine available in your place of business, please contact Bruce Behymer or Wendy Nugent; their contact information is printed on the left side of this page. We would be happy to hear from you. If you have an idea for a feature article, or want to share what’s on your mind, contact Wendy via e-mail at email@example.com. Serving you is our purpose, Joel Klaassen, publisher
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Contact: Bruce Behymer firstname.lastname@example.org 316-617-1095Wendy Nugent email@example.com 316-284-0408
HarveyCountyNOW.com 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.
Mike Hanchette Works on colliapes
16 Harp tunes
Music to patients’ ears at Newton Medical
28 Gayle Funk
Mural group Starts painting
ON THE COVER: All six members of the Tim and Jennifer Bayes family are taking part in the Newton Performing Arts Center's production of “The Nutcracker Ballet.” Tim and Jennifer are in the back row. In the middle row are twin sons Mattew (left) and Jonathan, and in front are Kaylee (left) and Olivia. (See story page 4.) HarveyCountyNOW.com
Article and photos • Wendy Nugent
n a wall at the Newton Performing Arts Center is a painted “Dance is the only art where we are the paintbrushes.” With that in mind, the six members of the Bayes family of Newton will be paintbrushes this holiday season as they perform in “The Nutcracker Ballet.” The production is put on by the Newton Performing Arts Center. So, the Bayes family, as well as about 60 other performers, will paint up a storm during two performances Dec. 7. Both parents, Jennifer and Tim Bayes, as well as their four children, Kaylee, 11; Olivia, 8; and twin boys Matthew and Jonathan, 6, will take part in this classic holiday ballet. The event will be at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at Newton High School. Tickets, which are general seating, are $8 for adults and $5 for children younger than 12. The center puts on
this ballet every two years. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at the studio, which is at the outlet mall in Newton. Call the center at 316-708-1608 for more information. “(This is) our biggest cast yet,” said Lavonne Vogelman, business office manager. The cast includes 65 members. This is the first year all Bayes family members have been in the ballet. The parents and daughters have been in the production before, but this is the boys’ first year to take part. Tim and Jennifer are not formally trained dancers and haven’t taken any classes, but their children have been in various classes at the center. Tim and Jennifer’s training has only been during practices, Tim said. The Bayes parents became involved in the production this year for several reasons. “Because the (Nutcracker) costume was
made to fit me, I’m doing it again this year,” Tim said. “They need parents to do it, and there’s not as many that are out here (at the performing arts center) as often as we are. It’s for the kids so they can have their event.” Tim was the Nutcracker in the show two years ago. He will play the title role again this year, as well as being a Stahlbaum parent; Jennifer will be the other Stahlbaum parent. The Stahlbaums are the parents of Clara, who is one of the main characters, and her brother Fritz. The ballet is based on the story “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” by E.T.A. Hoffman. The storyline is about the Stahlbaums, who have a Christmas Eve party at their home. Clara is given the gift of a nutcracker by godfather Drosselmeyer. Her jealous brother breaks the gift. Drosselmeyer repairs the nutcracker, and later Clara falls
.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Members of the Bayes family (from left) Jennifer, Kaylee, Matthew, Olivia, Jonathan and Tim enjoy themselves in their ballet costumes at the Newton Performing Arts Center. The entire Bayes family is in the cast of the Newton Performing Arts Center’s “The Nutcracker Ballet,” which will be presented at 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at Newton High School. 4 | HarveyCountyNOW.com
FOUR Performances Newton High School “The Nutcracker Ballet” will be performed
Saturday, December 7 • 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Newton High School Fundraiser for Harvey Co. Homeless Shelter Selections from “The Nutcracker Ballet” by the Newton Performing Arts Center will be performed during the Celebration of Hope dinner and program, which will benefit the Harvey County Homeless Shelter. The event will be:
Thursday, Dec. 12 and Friday, Dec. 13 • 6:30 p.m. at Hesston Mennonite Church Advance reservations are $25 per person by Dec. 2 and $40 per person after Dec. 2. Call 316-283-3729 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations & sponsorship opportunities. asleep with the nutcracker in her arms. Clara dreams of a fight between the Nutcracker and his army, and the Mouse King and mice, according to www.nutcrackerballet.net. The two Bayes boys will be mice, Kaylee will be an Arabian and Olivia portrays a child attending the party. During the party scene, parents will perform ballroom dancing from the 1892 time period, which is when the story takes place. One of the artistic directors, Amy Pollard, choreographed a scene where the six mouse boys use tae kwon do, since three of the boys, including Matthew and Jonathan, are taking tae kwon do lessons. The other artistic directors are Kari Lee and Ivy Neal.
................................................................................................................... Matthew Bayes, 6, will be in a battle scene as a mouse during “The Nutcracker Ballet.”
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Being a mouse in this production seems to run in the family, as all of the children have played the furry creatures at one point. It seems as though the close-knit family enjoys performing and rehearsing together. “It’s not that bad,” Tim said. “When you get in there, it’s fun.” The boys and their dad are in the fight scene together, and the boys have fun with their father. “And we have fun with our mommy, too,” Jonathan said. Kaylee also enjoys the time with her parents. “I like watching them dance,” she said, sitting between her parents at the center. Why? “Because we’re not very good at it,” a laughing Jennifer said. When asked if her parents were funny, Kaylee said, “Yes.” Rehearsals, which are on weekends and every other Tuesday, started in September. One of the requirements two of the dads had, including Tim, was to schedule rehearsals around Chiefs games. At the center, the boys take hip hop and tumbling classes, and the girls are involved in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, tumbling, modern dance and Irish dance. The girls have been taking dance classes since they were 2 and 3 years old, Jennifer said, while this is Jonathan’s first year and Matthew’s second. The family isn’t sure they’ll be able to take part in the ballet in Newton again, as Tim is a master sergeant in the Air Force, stationed at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita. His tour will be up in 18 months. “Then we’ll probably have to move again,”
Jennifer said. They’ve resided in Newton for about four and a half years. Last year, Tim was deployed to Afghanistan for six months, and Olivia and Kaylee did a duet tribute dance for him, called “My Hero,” performing it at three competitions in Wichita and at nationals. At the Stage One competition, the girls received a platinum award. Tim returned in time to see the dance at the second competition, but choreographer Hayli Vogelman didn’t allow Tim to watch the dance until it was on stage. “It was supposed to be a surprise,” Jennifer said. During the performances, the girls’ voices were dubbed over the music. For example, at one point Olivia said, “Daddy, you’re my hero.” The girls also used Tim’s service coat as a prop. Before he saw the duet, Tim knew the dance was about him, but he didn’t know it was about his military service. “It was really good,” Tim said. “It was a nice surprise.” “He said it was the nicest dance they’d ever done,” Jennifer said. When they learned about doing the tribute for their father, the girls were happy. “When they found out about it, they were excited about it,” Jennifer said. “It was kind of a nice distraction while he was gone.” When Tim saw it for the first time, moms in the audience were watching him and getting teary-eyed. The duet was the brainchild of Hayli, who was given a choreography award in Wichita for the dance. “Hayli is a good kid,” Tim said. “It didn’t surprise me she thought of putting it together.”
Cast list for ‘The Nutcracker Ballet’ The following are members of “The Nutcracker Ballet” cast: • Dancers — Abby Smith, Kaylee Bayes, Noelle Buentello, Tegaon Livesay, Olivia Bayes, Tabitha Buffalo, Natalie Hedrick, Trinity Williamson, Alaycea Carr, Chloe Hanchett, Alyssa Gaede, Chloe Denno, Ellie Rohr, Makenzie Puckett, Jamie Haskew, Jillian Kelley, Macy Rice, Alicia Salas, Ashley Arellano, Amanda Smith, Linda Shine, Chandlor Buffalo, Marissa Gauthier, Mariah McDonald, Kaleb Wilhelm, Declan Buentello, Matthew Bayes, Jon Bayes, Dylan Hedrick, Conner Williamson, Hayli Vogelman, Alexandra Glann, Aneka Voth, Courtney Rehmert, Mary Tibbets, Madison Goerend, Taylor Staley, Lauren Beebe, Kayla Barton, Talea Montano, Kassidy Thompson, Allyssa Meyer, Samantha Buffalo, Bryanna Roby, Nadiya Avendano, Aliana Segura, Olivia Buffalo, McKinnley Mueller, Alexis Wiilson, Hannah Tate, Tori Aarons, Annika Yoder and Chloe Ribble. • Parents — Tim and Jennifer Bayes, Kari Lee and Georg Schirmer, Mike and Jennifer Meyer, Adrian Buentello and Gina Gaede, Dave Blanton and Lavonne Vogelman, and Kevin Wilhelm. • Guest artists — Makayla Williams from WSU as the Snow Queen, two guest artists from Friends playing the Sugar Plum Fairy & Prince Cavilier.
............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... ABOVE: Kaylee Bayes (left) will perform as an Arabian while Olivia Bayes will be a child at the party. 6 | HarveyCountyNOW.com
AROUND TOWN! “What do you think?” Favorite gift you received as a child for Christmas? Which do you like better — peppernuts or fudge?
Simeon Davenport, Newton
Bobby Rose, Walton
Paula Wiens, Burrton
Brady Arnold, Rural Newton
Tiara Boyd, Newton
1957 black Chevy remotecontrolled car
A bride doll
Bow and arrow
A red leather Michael Jackson jacket
A gasoline-powered remote-control car
Your favorite personality trait?
That I’m funny
Being willing to help
I’m very caring to other people.
Sense of humor
What is your favorite Christmas movie?
“A Christmas Story”
“A Christmas Story”
“Miracle on 34th Street”
“The Jesus Film”
No, I’d keep it.
Are you a nature person or a city person? If you could change your natural hair color, would you? Do what?
Dark brown with highlights
From Newton to
Article and photos Wendy Nugent
rums, xylophone, piano keys and a tambourine played an old-fashioned melody that drifted on the warm fall air at Mike Hanchett’s shop in Newton while Squeaky the shop cat wandered around. One might think all of this music was the stylings of a small band. However, it was not. The music wafted from a player piano he and his wife, Angie Hanchett, built about 30 years ago. The piano had been in a Nebraska restaurant for quite some time, and when the restaurant closed, Hanchett bought the instrument back. “It plays on a quarter,” Hanchett said. After depositing the coin, Hanchett had to urge the instrument to play by gently pounding on its side. The piano is a reproduction of one built in 1917, and the stained glass in it is almost like the original, Hanchett said. The piano started as a pedal player, and he and his wife built the player part of the piano, which starts at about waist high and goes up. The late Walter Hessler built the piano’s cabinet. “He was a master woodworker,” Hanchett said. “This is all quartersawn oak.” In his musical restoration career, Hanchett has built calliopes, and restored and built player pianos. It so happens that in 1984 during the same month, he and another man who lived in another part of the country, separately started making calliopes, Hanchett said, adding the .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. ABOVE: Mike Hanchett stands near a player piano he received from an antiques store. 8 | HarveyCountyNOW.com
other man didn’t do all his own work, so that man made more calliopes. Hanchett and this other man were the only two people in the United States who had built the instruments to sell since the 1920s. The other calliope creator has died, so now Hanchett is the only one left in the country who has built them for money since the 1920s; he said now there’s no market to build them anymore. “I’m not going to built any more calliopes,” Hanchett said. “I’m still doing player pianos.” The Newton businessman said calliopes are actually American instruments, unlike others, and they are just tuned whistles on a square-shaped case. “Like Americans, calliopes are kinda loud and obnoxious,” a chuckling Hanchett said. As of late September, Hanchett was working on a calliope for a man in Baton Rouge who is restoring a southern mansion and wants to put a calliope in it because his grandparents had a riverboat equipped with such an instrument. The case was an old Reed organ. “So I built the calliope to fit the case,” Hanchett said. The calliope is unusual because he added bass and snare drums, a xylopone, and bells.
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Calliopes on riverboats, Hanchett said, are run by steam, while the ones he’s made are air calliopes. Calliopes first were built to go into church steeples to replace bells, he said, and riverboats picked up the calliopes because they were loud and good at announcing the arrival of the boat to port. “You could hear ‘em for miles,” Hanchett said. Later, calliopes were used by circuses, which, at one point in time, traveled by train. The calliope would lead the circus parade through towns.
With steam calliopes, fire, water and a boiler were used, they had to be on a huge wagon and took up lots of room. Air calliopes need less room. ..................................................................................................... “When the air calliopes came TOP: Inside one of Mike Hanchett's player pianos at his along, they were a lot smaller,” Newton shop. ABOVE: Mike Hanchett (top right) and his Hanchett said. “You could put wife Angie Hanchett (top left) ride in the Orpheus Parade them on a truck and go.” during Mardi Gras in 2004 in New Orleans. Courtesy photo Calliopes and player pianos aren’t the only things he and there’s so many opportunities, so many Angie have made. During the years, they’ve different people he gets to meet, and every constructed player accordians, most of which piano is different. were coin operated. His restoration career started as a hobby. “Drop a coin in Before his music career, he worked for ‘em,” Hanchett said. Metropolitan Life until 1984. “Accordian will play “I left Met in 1984 and have been doing it you a song.” ever since,” Hanchett said. Hanchett’s His hobby started in 1968 when he wanted Recently moved to Harvey County? philosophy of life goes a player piano of his own and found one that along with how well Started a Business? needed to be reworked. Later, he came upon he likes the business Previous Agent Moved or Retired? another player and redid that one; this piano he’s in. now is in a private home in Washington, D.C., Whatever the circumstances... “If you enjoy your and still is playing just fine. I am here to help! work, you never have “I think we gave $10 for it,” Hanchett said. to work a day in your life,” he said. Business decisions Call or Hanchett does Hanchett said he’ll keep his business going stop by for seem to enjoy his fullas long as he can. information. Kim Manring • Fuqua Ruth Typer Insurance Newton time business, saying
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Throughout his career, he’s met some interesting people and done some interesting things. For example, he and his wife built a calliope for the Orpheus Parade, which happens annually during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. “It’s probably one of the fanciest parades down there,” Hanchett said. Every year since 2004, the Hanchetts have been in the parade, riding as dignitaries with the calliope. Part of their job is to make sure the instrument runs throughout the parade, which can last from four to six hours. The calliope, which was built 11 years ago, is waterproof and weighs about 800 pounds. During the parade, the calliope is put on a trolley, which is referred to as the Dolly Trolley because it appeared in the 1969 movie “Hello, Dolly!” starring Barbra Streisand in the title role. Unlike many other things in the area, the calliope survived Hurricane Katrina. More than $2 million is spent on just this one parade, which has from 30 to 32 floats. In order to help schools in the south, the parade pays schools $10,000 to march in the parade; that money goes toward buying uniforms, etc., for the bands. The captains of the parade are Sonny Borey and actor/singer Harry Connick Jr. “We’ve met Harry and his dad,” Hanchett said. The Hanchetts also have met other famous and interesting people in New Orleans, including actor Gary Sinise, Rita Benson LaBlanc (owner of the New Orleans Saints) and the last Tuskegee airman. LaBlanc and the airman rode with the Hanchetts in the parade. The Orpheus Parade is one of 50 that wind through the streets of New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Hanchett mentioned Gary Sinise also has a band, called the Lt. Dan Band, named after a character Sinise played in the movie “Forrest Gump.” The parade was named for Orpheus, the Greek god of beautiful music, and his daughter is Calliope, Hanchett said. So, it’s appropriate a calliope should ride
in this parade. Mardi Gras is mostly family oriented, he said, unlike what usually is covered in the media. “(Mardi Gras) is more familyoriented than most people think,” Hanchett said. This hobby-turned-business has had many facets for the Hanchetts. “It’s been a very interesting hobby and business,” Hanchett said. “We’ve done a lot of traveling. We had a calliope on the Queen Mary one year.” Hanchett and his wife have built 24 calliopes and have rebuilt hundreds of player pianos. They’ve hauled player pianos all over the United States, to such cities as Phoenix, New York, Dallas, Tulsa and Omaha. They’ve also taken calliopes to several states, including Ohio, Massachusetts, Texas and Florida. In his shop, Hanchett has a variety of player pianos and at least one calliope. One piano was built in 1915, Hanchett said, and was typical of what people would have in their homes at the time. This player piano has foot pedals so a person can sit at the piano and use his or her feet to run it. “This is kind of the mainstay of what I do,” Hanchett said. Another of these player pianos Hanchett found a couple of years ago sitting on a curb in Newton; it doesn’t play anymore as it needs restoring. “It was definitely too good to trash,” Hanchett said. Hanchett was working on a circa 1925 player piano at the time of his interview in early fall. This piano was from a nursing home in Abilene. He said he’s completely rebuilding it. For example, he said the rubberized cloth on the neumatics—which actually play the notes—get stiff, causing the piano to not work. He ends up breaking off the cloth and replacing it. The peak of player pianos probably was in the 1920s, Hanchett said. It was the earliest form of music people had, and people used it until radios came along. “But they’re still as much fun as they ever were,” Hanchett said.
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h e t H f o e a d r n t land u o S Holiday program to raise funds for safe house
“Tomorrow’s another day I hope and pray we’ll be together Tomorrow, this today, will be a yesterday that’s gone forever So take my hand, my friend, I want to say I’m glad we laughed, I’m glad we loved, I’m glad we sang Oh! How we sang today!” — Excerpt from “How We Sang Today” with words by Vickie J. Uhr
hristmastime can bring out the best in people, whether it’s Scrooge realizing life is good, George Bailey in a 1946 movie becoming happy and grateful for all the love in his life or Americans donating money to places that help others, such as the Salvation Army or the Harvey County Safe House. Sound of the Heartland Chorus is one of those organizations reaching out to help others this holiday season, because at 4 p.m. Dec. 8, the group is having a Christmas program at Salem United Methodist Church, 115 Old Main St. in Newton, to benefit the local safe house. Admission is by donation. It’s one group of women helping others who are in dangerous and desperate situations, assisting in giving them a safe place to stay, away from an abuser. “It’s another women’s organization that’s providing important services for women in our area,” chorus president and Newton resident Rachel Newell said. “Our organizations align in some ways in offering opportunities to grow and change and stretch their wings a little bit. … We just felt like we
balance each other, and we’re very happy to be working with them this year.” At the concert location, the safe house board will have a display educating the public about the needs of the organization, Newell said. During the program, Sound of the Heartland, which is based in Newton, will perform sacred and secular music, most of which will be holiday tunes. The group sings in barbershop a cappella style. Safe house executive director Jan Jones is pleased about the event. “We are so excited that the Sound of the Heartland ensemble actively supports necessary family services, such as ours, in Harvey County through projects such as this,” Jones said. “The safe house appreciates all of their time and efforts to make this a very meaningful event.” Because it’s helping the safe house, Sound of the Heartland spreads harmony in more ways than one. “Our mission is to spread harmony, create an opportunity for personal growth, to teach and train woman in the art of barbershop harmony in particular and good singing in general,” Sound of the Heartland Chorus master director LaDonna Cheatham of McPherson said. The Harvey County Safe House has been around for 22 years and provides 24-hour-aday services to sexual abuse and domestic violence victims. “In the last 12 months, the safe house provided face-to-face, unduplicated services to over 921 victims and their children,” Jones said. “Services provided are crisis line, crisis
intervention, shelter services, court and medical advocacy, and outreach advocacy.”
Beginnings Sound of the Heartland Chorus, which is part of the Sweet Adelines organization, formed in 1971 in Valley Center. In 2004, the group changed its name and moved to Newton. Some of the group’s members reside in Newton, but more travel from other towns to rehearse in Newton. Newton was chosen for its central location. “Sound of the Heartland Chorus is not so much a chorus as an ensemble,” Newell said. “With 17 members, the ensemble is clearly one of the smaller choruses performing in the area, but big, full sound sometimes comes in small packages. It’s an ensemble that delights in blazing trails, a group that has aspirations to be innovative in the Sweet Adelines organization and appealing to those outside of it.” In addition to Cheatham and Newell, other members include Nancy Brennan of Wichita, Jan Mumford of Hesston, Dava Ray of McPherson, Sue Moore of Wichita, Mary Jane Waltner of Hesston, Michelle Horn-Schmidt of McPherson, Rose Lahman of Pretty Prairie, Vickie Miller of Hutchinson, Jeanne Just of Americus, Cathy Stenz of Wichita, and Linda Schroeder, Terry Scott, Lori Harris and Marlis Nickel, all of Newton. The group recently spent August and September rehearsing and performing in the McPherson community.
.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. ABOVE: From left, Sound of the Heartland Chorus members Cathy Stenz, Rachel Newell, Linda Schroeder, Marlis Nickel, Nancy Brennan, Michelle Horn-Schmidt and Dava Ray rehearse at St. Luke Evangelical Church in Newton. 12 | HarveyCountyNOW.com
Article and photos Wendy Nugent .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Sound of the Heartland Chorus members will perform Dec. 8 as a fundraiser for the Harvey County Safe House. Photo by Vada Snider
The group’s hard work has paid off. Under the direction of Cheatham, Sound of the Heartland in 2010 brought home the Region 7 Competition championship award for small chorus, the Ruby Pike Award and the Audience Appreciation Award. They’ve also been named Region 7 champs and were in competition at the international level. Group members seem to have great respect and appreciation for their director. “Cheatham is one of Sweet Adelines’ veteran directors and widely appreciated for the expertise and encouragement she shares with singers across the region,” Newell said. During a rehearsal in October at a Newton church, Cheatham patiently and joyfully directed the group, going over fine points with them, as she smiled a lot. “All the 16th notes — they need to be clearer,” she told the singers at one point. “… You’ve got to make your brain slow down to sing those accurately.”
At rehearsals, the women work on vocal production, which is working to produce sound with the appropriate amount of air and inflection, and developing stamina to sing through phrasing, Newell said. This also includes where to place sound so it resonates the best in your head and how to sing with people who are singing in that space for the optimal wall of sound. Singers also learn music theory at rehearsals, such as understanding the keys in which they're singing and developing vocal memory of note intervals. "For those who don’t read music well, they have a variety of ways to learn the music at their own pace,” Newell said. “All of our music is memorized before performing." In other words, the group assists people in understanding the basics and go from there. Not everyone who joins Sound of the Heartland performs, although there is a performance team. New members don’t perform with that team until they pass auditions. The purpose of this is so new people can learn at their own pace. The
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......................................................................................................... Master director LaDonna Cheatham directs a rehearsal in October at St. Luke Evangelical Church in Newton.
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benefit to them is they learn vocal skill development and have fun rehearsing once a week. Dues are $30 per month for the performance team and $25 per month for the minimum-participation level. “Everybody is a member and has a place, and there’s a participation level for everybody,” Newell said. “We are currently working on a chorus model that will allow singers to participate with us in three different ways,” Cheatham said. “It will open up possibilities for women to participate with us who might not have the time to rehearse on a regular basis but still want to contribute/sing.” One of the group’s members, Brennan, has been in Sweet Adelines for about 40 years, while Cheatham and Moore have been involved for about 30 years. Sound of the Heartland is open to women of all ages, but women younger than 18 will need a sponsor who can go to rehearsals with them. Members joined the group for a variety of reasons, but the reasons are centered around singing. “Twenty-two years ago, I worked with a woman who was a member of what was then Valley Center Chorus,” Moore said. “She knew I liked to sing because she would hear me singing along with the radio in my office. She invited me to visit a rehearsal, and after one visit, I was hooked. I loved the music; just the simple fact of singing made me happy. … There is something that truly lifts your heart and your mood that comes about when you
become part of the music. In a cappella singing, your voice is the music.” As a member of the local group and Sweet Adelines International, Moore said she has been able to share that joy with the community, and her favorite places to entertain are retirement communities. “We share our music with them, and it helps them remember and relive some of the best times of their lives,” Moore said. “When I see the smiles, it reminds me of why I do this, why I love singing in Sound of the Heartland Chorus.” Another member, Schroeder, joined for similar reasons. “I joined the chorus because I really enjoy singing, and it is fun to sing with people that enjoy singing as much as I do,” she said. “What a great combination.” The group can use more performers. “I would love to have 10 more excellent singers in the ensemble,” Cheatham said. “Any singer looking for a place to sing is welcome to try out with our ensemble. They can call us or attend a rehearsal anytime.” The chorus has interest in conducting clinics at middle schools and high schools in the spring or fall of 2014. “We know that middle school and high school girls have an interest in singing a cappella,” Newell said. During rehearsals, it’s clear members enjoy what they’re doing. They smile and look animated, which includes the director. “I’ve always been a singer,” Cheatham said.
“(I) grew up learning harmony sitting beside my mother who sang alto in church. When my husband and I moved to this part of Kansas, my neighbors’ mother sang in a chorus and invited me to come listen to them. I was instantly hooked on the harmony and soon realized that I was born to be a performer and that God had prepared me to be a teacher. “ Cheatham said directing was a natural progression for her, even though she had to be convinced she could take over for the director who quit. The year 2008 is when Cheatham earned her master director status, and in 2009, she directed the combined choruses of Oklahoma Jubilee and Sound of the Heartland at the international competition. She’s been a member of a variety of quartets, including singing baritone as a top five finalist in an international competition. But before all of that, Cheatham joined the Wichita Chorus in 1982, and three years later, she started directing a chorus in McPherson. She became a certified director with Sweet Adelines in 1996. Newell also loves performing. “I love striving for excellence as I’m singing,” she said. “I love singing at a higher level. I love sharing really good music — especially since it’s unique — very well received. I like being in this group because we’re all interested in striving for excellence and learning and growing, not only in our vocal skills, but in our performance skills.” In addition to performing onstage, the group also does singing grams anytime during
.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. ABOVE: From left, Sound of the Heartland Chorus members Cathy Stenz, Rachel Newell, Linda Schroeder, Marlis Nickel, Nancy Brennan, Michelle Horn-Schmidt and Dava Ray rehearse at St. Luke Evangelical Church in Newton. 14 | HarveyCountyNOW.com
the year. They do singing has a mission grams for a variety of special with two events, such as Valentine’s aspects, Day, birthdays and Newell said. anniversaries, and perform at Those are to other events, such as “promote conferences, stage shows, barbershop church services and as a unique Scan this QR code American art Christmas events. to see a video of form and to They also carol at such the group. locales as retirement educate communities, people’s homes women about with Christmas grams, singing a businesses, downtown Newton cappella harmony.” Within the on Third Thursdays and in Sweet Adelines organization, restaurants. there are annual regional Within Sound of the competitions, the champions of Heartland Chorus is a quartet, which are invited to compete in called Detour, which also will the next year’s international perform during the Dec. 8 contest. fundraiser. This group is “International competition is comprised of Cheatham, Newell, an incredible experience,” Ray and Schroeder. Newell said. “You have the Cheatham does have a goal opportunity to meet women for Sound of the Heartland. from around the world, and you “My goal would be to do realize that you all have more performing, widen our something in common — circle,” she said. “I would love to friendship through music. When be the go-to ensemble for elite a full audience breaks into the entertaining in our half of the song “How We Sang Today,” state.” your heart can’t help but be The local barbershop chorus lifted.”
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16 | HarveyCountyNOW.com
onnie Lee Nelson had a heart attack in early October. His attack was atypical. He felt weak, and there was no pain. Paramedics had to help him move. However, he was transported to the emergency room at Newton Medical Center, like so many other heart attack victims in the area. When Nelson was in intensive care, Judy Mace played her small 9-pound, easily transportable harp for him. She has played for NMC since June as part of her harp therapy 80hour internship at the hospital, under the purview of Chaplain Janine Arnold. Nelson said the first time he heard Mace play, he was sitting in a straight-back chair and fell asleep to the relaxing tones. “This is the first time I’ve heard solo harp playing music,” Nelson said. “It’s so peaceful. I can hardly believe it. It’s so peaceful and soothing to the mind, body and soul. That’s my estimation of it. It puts me to sleep.” While in the hospital, Nelson said he’s had some trouble sleeping, but the harp relaxes him. He said it feels like it’s helping him. “(It) makes you forget all your worries and pains that you have — it did me, anyway,” Nelson said, reclining in his hospital bed. “Has to be something therapeutic about it.” The sounds coming off the strings sound so pure, like no other stringed instrument he’s ever heard, Nelson says. “They say that there is no such thing as a pure sound,” Mace said. “But the harp comes closest of anything.” When Mace played for Nelson a second time, he reclined in his hospital bed with his eyes shut and a slight smile on his face. One of the songs she played was “Edelweiss” from “The Sound of
..................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Judy Mace of North Newton (right) plays music on her 9-pound harp in October for Ronnie Lee Nelson, relaxing with his eyes closed in his Newton Medical Center hospital bed.
to their ears at Newton Medical Center
Article and photos • Wendy Nugent
he reclined in his hospital bed with his eyes shut and a slight smile on his face. One of the songs she played was “Edelweiss” from “The Sound of Music.” Mace’s musical background isn’t just in harp. She’s been a piano teacher for more than 30 years and has a bachelor’s degree in piano performance. Now, she’s working on her certification from The International Harp Therapy Program and needed to finish an 80hour internship with patients. As of early October, she had completed 64 “harp-healing sessions” for patients at NMC, according to a news release. Her internship ended in October. Mace has played harp for more than 15 years. Throughout history, the harp has been thought to be a healing instrument, Mace said during The Therapeutic Harp Program she presented for nurses and staff in October at NMC. “The healing harp is a tradition that goes back thousands and thousands of years,” Mace said. “No one knows for sure why the harp is such a therapeutic instrument, but it might have to do with the overtone series of the harp.” People hear just the first note produced when a string is plucked, she said, but we don’t hear all the other overtones, and when you pluck one string, you hear all the other strings. “So that’s one thing unique to the harp,” Mace said. Mace said patients benefit from hearing live harp music — the music can be changed to suit the patient, and patients feel the actual vibrations from the instrument. On a CD, people don’t get the full spectrum of sound like they do with live music. Everything in nature vibrates, Mace said. “We are vibrating beings living in a vibrating universe,” Mace said. “Resonance increases overall energy. Every sound you hear affects every cell in your body. Sound especially effects the water cells of our bodies.” Another benefit to patients is the 20 to 30 minutes of attention they get from someone. Nurses aren’t able to spend that much time with patients because of their busy schedules. The playing of harp music is good when someone is actively dying, Mace said. It helps them let go. One time, Mace played harp music for a hospice patient who was busy fidgeting, going from one activity to the next. “I was playing along…it just brought (his high nervous-energy level) down,” Mace said. “He just kinda melted into the bed — just kind of a deeper experience.” Mace likes to play what people enjoy hearing. “We try to play the kind of music a person likes,” she said. Mace has had to learn a variety of music, including classical, children’s, opera, ethnic, holiday, oldies, patriotic, Broadway, hymns, Celtic and country/western. One time, but not the only time, Mace played music that caused a woman to cry. The woman was from another country, and Mace happened to know the national anthem of that country. When the woman began to weep, Mace’s training took hold, as she was taught to not stop playing if a patient is having a “bad cry,” but she could modulate out of it. Her instinct was to keep playing, and it turned out the woman was touched by the music, so she was having a “good cry.” Mace told those attending the presentation about the five important qualities of individualized therapeutic music. The qualities are: • The mood of the listener. • The listener’s preferred musical style. • The tempo based on the listener’s breathing and heart rate. • The listener’s resonant tone. • The listener’s preferred delivery of the music. “Every person has a note that they resonate with — that they like and enjoy,” Mace said. Among those attending the presentation was NMC nurse Jennifer Speer. Mace helped Speer find her resonant tone by having her place her hands behind her neck and make humming sounds from low- to high-pitched. Where a person feels the most vibration in their hands when making a certain tone is the person’s resonant tone, Mace said. Speer’s tone was G. She then had Speer read something, and Mace played the G note on her harp. The note matched Speer’s voice. “Even a person in a coma will twitch when you find their resonant tone,” Mace said. Mace jokingly said she has a theory the entire town of Newton resonates with G because that’s the note of a train whistle. Those attending laughed. The nurse’s role with the therapeutic music is to refer patients, allow Mace 20 to 30 minutes of uninterrupted time with patients and help monitor patients’ responses to the sessions. Before she begins playing, Mace invites patients to close their eyes. “I say this is not a concert; this is kind of like a music massage,” the North Newton resident said. Patients and employees alike at NMC enjoy the harp playing. During the presentation, Speer has seen how harp music can effect people in the hospital. For example, she’ll be in an area of the hospital where everyone seems stressed, and that changes when the harp music starts to play. “Things are much more calm,” Speer said. The goal of playing harp music at NMC? To relieve pain and anxiety, Mace said. This is not a long-range goal — it’s an immediate one. The music has been working for patients. One time, Mace’s music helped a woman with her breathing. “There was a lady who was on some kind of breathing machine, and she was just gasping for breath,” Mace said. “By the end of the session, she was breathing calmly. That amazed me.” Unlike Mace, not too many people are happy their work causes people to drift off. “I often put people to sleep,” Mace said. “That seems normal to me. Sometimes the nurses cheer.” They cheer because this person might have been having trouble sleeping, and the nurses are happy about it. Mace described other times she’s helped patients. For example, she played for an older man a song he had played when he was in high school, and he cried. “Often, people are moved to tears,” Mace said. His family had the chance to share this experience with him, which might not have happened if Mace hadn’t have played for him. Another time, a woman was agitated and talking, and Mace played some quiet music, which wasn’t calming the woman. Then, Mace remembered she was taught to match a person’s mood, so she started playing in an agitated manner. Then, the woman calmed down, closed her eyes and crossed her arms across her chest. Another time, Mace had a learning experience. She was playing along for a man who was dying, and she played something different than she had been. At that point, the man furrowed his brow and curled up. She changed back to what she originally had been plucking, and he opened his body posture by flopping his arms open, unfurrowed his brow and started tapping his foot to the tunes. Being with people who are dying doesn’t seem to intimidate Mace. “I was with my father when he was dying, so that experience helped me to not be so afraid of it,” she said. Mace started her therapeutic harp adventure when she began a Christina Tourin course in April 2012. “I started (becoming interested in therapeutic harp playing) with that empty nest time of thinking, ‘What am I going to do with my life?’” Mace said. The harp Mace uses at NMC is a small, 25-string harp. The larger one she has at home is equipped with 40 strings. Mace said there’s not a standard for harps. The biggest harp made, the concert grand, has 47 strings. “You buy as many strings as you can afford,” she said. Mace believes harps can help people. “The individual, like a harp, has to be tuned every day,” Mace wrote in her slide presentation. “Listening to music that a person finds joyful and uplifting can help maintain a sense of centeredness, balance and well-being.”
hile at work, Rodney Redinger fights fire with fire. Literally. Redinger, who grew up in Burrton, is a wildland firefighter, teacher and commander. As part of his job in fighting such fires, he and other firefighters have used what’s called “back firing.” “(The) idea is to set a fire in a controlled environment so that the main fire will hit the fire we set and will stop,” Redinger said. “… Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.” The idea is for the fires to ram into each other. Firefighters start the fires with road flares or drip torches. If back firing doesn’t work, the main fire was going to jump their line anyway, Redinger said. Redinger started his fire training more than a decade ago, receiving an associate’s degree in fire science in 1998 from Hutchinson Community College. He started fighting wildland fires in 1998, when he was hired in Colorado after his freshman year at Hutch. He worked for the U.S. Forest Service in Colorado for five years on a hot shots crew, called the Pike Hot Shots. “A hot shots crew is a group of 20 people,” Redinger said. “They travel around the country fighting forest fires.” During his first year as a hot shot, Redinger had the chance to see many parts of the country, as he worked in Florida, Texas, Colorado and Utah. Since then, he’s seen fires in many other states. “I’ve been on a fire in 22 states,” Redinger said. “I haven’t been to Alaska yet, which I’m kinda bummed about.” After working with this group, Redinger moved back to Burrton in October 2002. Now, he has a variety of jobs. He’s the fire training specialist for the Kansas Forest Service, where he is in charge of the program that qualifies people to fight forest fires all over the country. He also trains Kansas fire departments for their local grass fires and “things like that,” Redinger said. He has an office in the same building at HCC ................................................................................ When fighting wildland fires, Rodney Redinger of Burrton wears light-weight clothing and uses tools, such as the one he's holding. He's been to fires in 22 states. 18 | HarveyCountyNOW.com
near Yoder where he received his fire science degree. When he was in school, the freshmen class had about 15 members; now, there are 80 freshmen in the fire science program. Since moving back to Burrton, where he and his family now reside, the firefighter has had the opportunity to move up in qualifications to get supervisory positions, like being in charge of hand crews and engines. Just like hot shots, hand crews also have 20 people on them. The primary job of a hand crew is to construct a hand line, which is basically a
walking trail around the wildland fire in an attempt to contain it. Most of the time, they use chain saws to clean out a 20-foot-wide swath of brush and then incorporate a variety of tools, such as the Pulaski, to make a 2-footwide dirt path. This helps to contain the fire since dirt doesn’t burn. The Pulaski looks like an axe/garden hoe combination. Part of the hand crew’s job is to go into remote areas, where there’s not a lot of access to water. “So crews don’t use a lot of water,” Redinger said. The only water they use is dropped from the sky by airplanes and helicopters. The wildland firefighters battle blazes for two to three weeks at a time — they’re not allowed to stay out for more than 21 days. “I was gone for 45 (total) days this summer,” Redinger said. He was sent to Colorado and several other states. Before that, Redinger was the crew boss for Mid Plains Hand Crew from 2003 to 2008 with the Kansas Forest Service. Other organizations represented in this crew were the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs and National Park Service. Ten years ago, Redinger and people from
Article and photos
• Wendy Nugent
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service started this hand crew. For their efforts, they received the Paul Gleason Lead By Example Award, which hangs on a wall in Redinger’s second-floor office. After working with the Mid Plains Hand Crew, Redinger became qualified to be a division supervisor. In this position, for example, during a 5,000-acre wildland fire, he would be in charge of everything from mile 1 to mile 3, which would include personnel, engines and hot shots crews. “Anything that was on that piece of the fire was my responsibility,” Redinger said. At this same time, Redinger became a Type
3 incident commander. He said as incidents grow, they get more complex. A Type 1 incident is the most complex, which would involve more firefighters working the scene and houses being in danger. “I’m kind of in the middle of the road,” Redinger said. In 2012, he was an incident commander for a wildland fire in Idaho, which involved 100 firefighters and 12 aircraft. “So, that’s what I do now,” Redinger said. When he goes to fires now, he’s either a division supervisor or a Type 3 commander. The goal with wildland fires is not always to put them out. Just because a fire starts, doesn’t
mean it needs to be extingished, Redinger said. Firefighters have three choices at such a fire — confining and containing, monitoring, and full suppression. When public safety is in danger, they enlist full suppression. Sometimes, they just monitor the fire. Redinger said smaller fires that happen now can help avoid future catastrophic fires. For example, if an area has not had a fire for 100 years, that’s many layers and 100 years of fuel that’s been built up, which gives a fire more to burn. Such fires can sterilize the soil and become extremely large. The biggest fire Redinger’s been to was a 170,000-acre inferno about 100 miles
.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. ABOVE: Photo was taken of Rodney Redinger and the rest of the hot shots crew he was on in northwest Colorado. Redinger is in the front row, center. Courtesy photo
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southwest of Denver in 2002. Even though he’s been to many fires, Redinger has never felt like he was going to lose his life. “There’s always times where you have to implement safety practices so you avoid bad situations,” he said. “There’s never been a time when I’ve thought, ‘Oh no. This is it.’ There have been times when we’ve had to leave because a fire was getting ready to come at us.” Redinger has a variety of reasons for fighting fires. “Well, I enjoy traveling,” he said, sitting in his office during a late summer day. “I enjoy the fact that we could be sitting here talking, my phone rings, and I could be on a plane going to a fire in California or wherever (soon).” Another reason his likes his job is he gets to camp at some of the most beautiful places in the country, such as Yosemite and Yellowstone. “Then, of course, I always have this belief, I guess, that people should give back to society — that’s why I’m on the volunteer fire department in Burrton,” Redinger said. “… I like to feel like I can contribute to a bigger picture than just my own little world.” Redinger also is giving back to his community by serving on the Burrton city council for a little longer than four years. Although he does enjoy his career, Redinger sees some challenges, like with most jobs. “Some of the challenges is being gone,” he said. “Some of the things that make youlove it are the same things that make you hate it.” When he’s gone, he’s away from his family — wife Molly, and daughters Ryann, 12;Teagan, 8; and Elyse, 9 months. On a typical day in the field, Redinger gets up at 5 a.m., which is followed by an operational meeting and a briefing to all firefighters, describing the plan for the day, talking about weather conditions and fire behavior they’re expecting. “And then we go to work,” Redinger said. “Obviously, you’re dealing with the fire and environment — things are going to change.” Part of their day can be spent moving resources around, and 20 | HarveyCountyNOW.com
they work until 8 or 9 p.m. that night with a meeting to follow. Dinner is from 9:30 to 11 p.m. “You have to function at a high level for a long period of time, and if you don’t take a break, it’ll eat you up.” Redinger said about why firefighters are only allowed to work 21 days in a row. What Redinger said he finds most rewarding, besides the firefighter part of the job, such as making right decisions and protecting people and natural resources, is helping younger firefighters get set up in their careers. For example, he teaches two entry-level wildland fire classes at Hutchinson Community College. He also finds it rewarding to teach students what he learns on jobs. Also during the course of his career, Redinger has met two presidents — Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. One time in 2002 when he was on the hot shots crew, as the group was getting ready to fight fires, the crew boss returned from a 6 a.m. meeting and told everyone they had to shower, shave and clean up. “We were like, ‘Why?’,” Redinger said. The crew boss said because they were invited to meet President Clinton at the Daytona National Speedway. Clinton shook all of their hands. Later that summer in Texas, they met then Gov. George W. Bush, who also shook their hands. “Regardless of politics … just being able to meet the president of the United States, I felt really honored to do that,” Redinger said. Being a hot shot seems to be close to Redinger’s heart. He has The Hot Shot’s Prayer on his computer desktop at work. It ends, “For if this day on the line, I should answer death’s call, Lord, bless my hot shot crew, My family, one and all.” Reading this prayer was Brendan McDonough during the memorial service for his19 fellow elite hot shots crewmembers who were killed June 30 while fighting a blaze in Arizona. Redinger was personally connected to some of them. “I knew a couple of those guys, so that was a rough stretch,” he said.
Article and photos • Wendy Nugent
n a little room at 2500 Place in North members of the group, and suddenly it talents are Unruh, who is good Newton, there’s art all over the walls. dawned on me — well, it’s about time.” at making sure designs are The nondescript, plain wooden door So, Scott messaged “kinda artsy people” on ready, and he was called a leading to the space doesn’t give a clue Facebook about the idea of a group doing perfectionist by another member, and Aboite, as to the creative ideas that flow throughout it, murals, group member Ensz said. They who has talent with clay. Scott said she works whether they’re in visual, verbal or cerebral decided to meet and collaborate their creative primarily in black-and-white line design but form. ideas. Scott contacted five people, and those also enjoys other mediums, as well. The group Paintings on canvas adorn the walls, and people contacted others. As of now, the group, has discussed the possibility of having a show someone literally has painted art all over one in addition to Scott and Ensz, has several where all members can display their work. wall. One canvas painting, which also has a members including Jennifer Piland, Brandon “We’ve noticed we each have our own (art) vehicle and skateboarder on it, says, “Let’s get Unruh, Andrew Thompson, Jacob Maldonado, style,” Palacios said. together and feel alright.” A pencil drawing Gustavo Palacios, Edward Davila, Bierly Aboite So far, they’ve painted a mural inside Island says, “Let your mind go; see where it takes and Robert Nugent. Blue, a Newton restaurant. The mural is a you.” “Each of us have our own role in this and beach scene with a sunset and a silhouette of Those seem to be the sentiments of a newly our own style,” Ensz said. palm trees. formed mural group that meets there. The “I feel like Terra has a very abstract (style), “We just went to town on that day,” Ensz room is a studio for local artist and and it has an eco-friendly feel to it,” Palacios said of the group’s first project. photographer Sara Ensz, and Free Flow, the said, adding all the members’ artwork has a They acquired all their supplies that group’s name, meets there because of a “go-green” vibe. morning, which included paint, brushes and a shared love of art. Ensz said Palacios is good at lettering. In projector. The assembly, made up of young adults, is fact, he did the lettering for the El Jarrito “We were just vibing together, and it came the brainchild of Terra Scott of Newton. restaurant sign on North Main Street in together very well,” Aboite said. “This group was, for me, a way to stay in Newton. He also has some of his work at the The group meets once or twice a week, and Newton,” Scott said. “I had been traveling a lot Newton Bike Shop on West Sixth Street. His when they don’t have anything to talk about, and discovering places more colorful, diverse work can incorporate scraps of electronics, old they start drawing. One time, they did a and exciting to be. I wanted to get the heck phones, old gadgets, computers and other “thought poster.” They also come up with (out of) Dodge, I mean, the Midwest, but items. He also has work in San Antonio and ideas for murals, and Ensz said their main couldn’t leave because of financial reasons and Austin, Texas. Another of Palacios’ talents function is to splash some color around. the relational ties that I value more than includes being able to locate places that want Anyone who wants to is welcome to join the anything else. I had discussed the idea of a murals painted. group. For more information about Free Flow, mural team at different times with most of the Other examples of members having specific visit the group’s like page on Facebook. ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Free Flow members (from left) Jennifer Piland, Gustavo Palacios and Bierly Aboite talk about a painting they're doing on a North Newton business Nov. 10. HarveyCountyNOW.com | 21
“We try to meet when we can,” Ensz said. Olais, art teachers at NHS. “We’re all pretty good friends. Terra has said we’re In addition, Ensz and Thompson like Salvador all an art family. It’s fun to just come and hang Dali, while Palacios draws inspiration from a out. I feel like there’s such good vibes when we’re graffiti art crew in San Antonio, called Rebels ’Til together. We just feed off of each other.” Death, which is an urban art group that’s had art The group’s instigator, Scott, does enjoy the shows. They show their rebellion through art. camaraderie. “Which is a very peaceful way of doing it,” “What I like most about this group is having a Palacios said. family right here of the type of people I most Another of Thompson’s favorite artists is Ed wanted to leave town to seek — colorful, Templeton, a skateboarder, who creates art for progressive, alternative-thinking individuals, skateboards, he said. Around 1993, Templeton people passionate about beauty and inspiration,” and several other skateboard artists started she said. showing their art outside the skateboarding Right now, the mural group isn’t charging for context, according to xgames.espn.go.com. their services. Templeton showed his work at New York City’s “We’re doing it more for the love of art,” Alleged Gallery, which “eventually enabled many Palacios said. artists to transcend the tag of skateboard artist,” “We don’t ask for money, but we kinda suggest the website stated. that the supplies be donated to us,” Ensz said. The group is looking to the future. Free Flow members credit Newton High “We have been planning a collaboration of all School art teacher Raymond Olais as helping of our minds,” Scott said. “I am really excited for them — he’s given them tips and loaned them a it to come together.” project. Another person, Andy Ortiz, has given Palacios believes the group is waiting for a big Palacios ideas on who to talk to about having project. murals painted and about how to present the “I feel like we’re all waiting for that big wall, group. that big job,” he said. “I feel like we can start a “He’s also given me examples of art districts, culture here. There’s a culture stirring up, and art and he’s given me an idea of starting an art — it hasn’t been fed to the people yet.” district in Newton,” Palacios said. ...................................................................................... The artists have favorite artists and/or From left (inside and outside the building), Free artists they look up to. Flow members Jennifer Piland, Gustavo Palacios, “We all kind of look up to Mr. and Mrs. O,” Robert Nugent and Bierly Aboite paint a North Ensz said. Newton business' logo in its window Nov. 10. Mr. and Mrs. O are Patrice and Raymond
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had a stroke, and something interesting happened. The stroke caused him to have increased brain function, he said. His doctor told him that happens to about one in 1,000 hanksgiving. Some years, Randy people who have strokes. Reimer’s birthday falls on that Along those lines, having a declining national holiday, since he was born memory is the worst part of getting older, on Nov. 25, 1928. Although his Reimer said. The best part of living a long life birthday wasn’t on Thanksgiving this year, he is not having diapers to change, kids to feed does hold the concept of gratitude in his or having a family to support. heart. However, family is quite important to “I thank and praise my Lord every Reimer. morning and every evening,” Reimer said, “Oh, I love my family,” Reimer said. sitting in an upstairs dining room at Newton “They’re so precious to me. Wonderful, Presbyterian Manor, with warm sunshine wonderful family.” streaming through the windows. Today, he’s He and Ruby had four children — Elaine, grateful even though he’s had his share of Donald, David and Edwin. He also has 10 heartache throughout his lifetime. grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and The 85-year-old said he is grateful he lives five great-grandchildren. Four of the greatat Presbyterian Manor, where they really grandchildren were born between January accommodate the residents and where they and May this year. The grandchild who lives let him bake on Wednesdays and Saturdays. closest to Reimer, Matthew, resides in Santa He’s also happy the Manor allows him to Fe, N.M. Some of the other grandkids reside have a container garden, where he grows ............................................................................... in Germany and Africa. produce, such as cucumbers, tomatoes and Newton Presbyterian Manor resident Randy Family must be important to Reimer, since bell and jalapeno peppers. Reimer holds a plateful of cookies he baked he resided on the family farm in rural Goessel “I grow so much that I give it away,” for residents. for quite some time. Reimer said. “And the other thing I’m thankful “I was born at the place that I lived for 79 for — they give me a mud room,” where he wife, Ruby, kept up that tradition. Ruby passed years,” Reimer said. “It was a place my does flower propagation. away on Aug. 12, 2011. grandparents homesteaded when they came “They say I have two green thumbs, and I “So I’m keeping up that tradition too,” over from Prussia.” don’t see it,” Reimer said, jokingly adding Reimer said. His grandfather on his mother’s side, Peter someday he might have to paint his thumbs And Presbyterian Manor residents love his G. Pankratz, and wife, Sarah (Lowen), landed that color. food. The 85-year-old used to cook bread, but at Ellis Island in 1875. At the time, Santa Fe However, when walking down the he changed his menu. Railroad representatives were there to greet Presbyterian Manor halls, Reimer is quick to “It’s cookies and zwiebach or nothing,” immigrants and offer them a ride to the train point out which flowers he’s put along the Reimer said. “I so appreciate them letting me depot in Newton to check out farmland. His window ledges to get plenty of sunshine. bake yet.” grandparents settled on 160 acres and paid “Those are mine,” Reimer said, motioning Reimer wears a red striped apron with his about $2 per acre. In 1893, they built a new to some flowers, and repeating numerous name emblazoned across the top when he farmhouse. Reimer remembers reading times, “Those are mine. Those are mine.” bakes. When he’s creating in the kitchen, something written on the house that stated the He had plenty of flowers to point out, many residents come around, saying they’re home was constructed by Peter Pankratz in of which were geraniums. “following their noses” because of the 1893 for $3,000. As with his gardening and flower growing, delightful smells. Reimer said zwiebach smells “It was very, very pricey,” Reimer said. Reimer shares the fruits of another one of his very good in the oven. He also bakes a cookie His grandfather was quite a determined talents — baking. At the Manor, he bakes up that combines banana, raisins, peanuts and man, Reimer said. For example, to attend treats for residents on Wednesdays, when he chocolate chips. school in Salina, each week he’d walk from his makes cookies; on Saturdays, he’s been known “It’s just called One Heck of a Good rural Goessel home to Salina, leaving on to concoct cookies and zwiebach, a sweet Cookie,” Reimer said, laughing. Sunday night and arriving on Monday. Mennonite roll. Baking plays second fiddle to dominoes in When he was growing up, Reimer didn’t “You can’t tell me I don’t like to bake,” Reimer’s life now. have to walk that far to school. He actually Reimer said. “I love to bake. I have no problem “This is the love of my life,” Reimer said attended Springfield Grade School, which was giving things away.” while playing dominoes with several other in a convenient spot — just on the other side During the holidays, Reimer has been Manor residents, including Vicki Howard, of his driveway. known to make New Year’s Cookies at the end Peggy Hwa and Lois Heintz while Evelyn Reimer went from being a student to of December. On one afternoon, he made 89. Garrison watched. farming. Reimer’s love of baking came from his In addition to his talents for playing “I was a farmer — a jack of all trades and a childhood, he said, as his mother was ill quite dominoes and baking, Reimer is quick to master of none,” he said. often, so she taught him how to bake, wash remember dates. He said he’s resided at the Some of his crops included alfalfa, wheat clothes and clean house. He also remembers Manor since January 2008, about a week after and sorghum to make silage. with fondness how his mother would make his heart surgery. That year was eventful for “I had 240 acres at one time,” Reimer said. zwiebachon Saturdays for Sunday guests. The him physically, as he had total knee surgery on He also had dairy cows. tradition on Sunday was to set out bologna, April 8 and fell and broke his hip July 28. “At one time, I was very foolish,” said the cheese and zwiebach when neighbors and “It wasn’t that painful,” he said. “I’m a retired farmer, shaking his head. relatives visited — a traditional faspa (light tough kid, believe it or not.” By that, he meant at one time, he tried to meal) in Low-German households. He said his Four years before that, however, Reimer
Article and photos Wendy Nugent
24 | HarveyCountyNOW.com
milk 115 cows two times a day with him, a hired man, Cornie Unruh, and family doing the work. It takes quite a lot of feed to keep that many cows producing. “That’s quite a few cows to run through the barn,” Reimer said. In 1968, Reimer sold more than 100 cows. After that auction, Reimer was able to buy a new Ford tractor, disc and drill, spring tooth harrow, pay the land mortgage and put $10,000 in CDs in the bank. However, he held back eight heifers, which ate all the $10,000 in the bank “and then some,” Reimer said. “Worst mistake I ever made,” Reimer said. Around this time, wheat and other grain prices soared while milk did “not go up one penny,” Reimer said. “The Lord really did a good deal when he told me to get rid of that dairy,” Reimer said. Even though it put food on the table, Reimer has one regret about farming. “The sad part of all of (this) was that I didn’t have enough money to pay (son) David,” Reimer said.
So, David got a job at Iowa Beef Packers in Garden City and worked there until June 9, 1985. He was on his way to work on a Sunday when he was killed in a car accident. “It was such a shock — you have no idea,” Reimer said. “Me and my wife got ulcers from that incident.” Then in 2011, Reimer’s wife passed away. “So she’s joined David, and I know they’re dancing up there,” said Reimer, who appears to still wear his wedding ring. “I wish I were there too. I wish the Lord would take me too. I’m ready to go.” After he sold the dairy, Reimer got a job at Hay and Forage in Hesston as a hydraulic brake operator, working on and off for about five years, starting in 1979. In 1983, he was laid off and then rehired in 1987, working there until 1990. “(I) quit ’em on the spot,” Reimer said. From there, he sold insurance for Penn Life from his home. Bob Goodman of Overland Park was his boss and trainer, and also was an agent himself. Goodman took Reimer under his wing like a son.
In 1991, Reimer was named a top agent, and he and Ruby were flown to Orlando, Fla., for a big celebration. “I got my Presidential Award, and Bob Goodman was there with us,” Reimer said. Goodman paid for them to go to Disney World, he added. “And so (Goodman) says to me, ‘Randy, you just keep selling insurance, and I’ll get you a vacation in Hawaii.’” Reimer and Ruby married on May 27, 1956, at a Mennonite church in Buhler. Reimer, a Mennonite, isn’t really sure what to say about what he’s most proud of in his life, but he said he doesn’t know how he had the strength and time to get the things done he did, like building the dairy barn and a 110-foot-long concrete feed bunk that could feed 115 cows at one time. In 1954, he and neighbors started building the Reimers’ home, completing it the next year. Maybe the strength came from above, which reflects Reimer’s philosophy on life: “Life with the Lord is a very sure thing. He promises to never leave you or forsake you. And with him, there’s all power and strength.”
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variety of organizations build a variety of things. Habitat for Humanity constructs houses, while blue-collar crews put up high-rise apartments and towers in big cities. The “building” and goal of Boy Scouts, however, is a little different — it focuses on people and not on things. Scouting offers a well-rounded approach to building men, said leaders of Boy Scout Troop 487 in Sedgwick. “And that’s what it’s all about — we build men,” Scoutmaster Jeff DeGraffenreid said, sitting in the basement of a Methodist church in Sedgwick, where they have their meetings. Troop Committee Chair Keith Howell said they hope Scouts take the elements they learn in the Scout Law with them as they enter the adult world. “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent,” the Scout Law reads. The Boy Scout Oath incorporates the Scout Law: “On my honor, I will do my best To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” Troop leaders have been working hard on shaping the lives of these young men, getting them involved in Eagle Scout projects, camping trips and community service projects. In addition, the Scouts lead their weekly meetings. For the troop’s efforts, they’ve received the Journey to Excellence Gold Unit Award for the past two years. In order to earn the award, the troop is ranked by the Boy Scouts on the national level on 13 criteria. “We help use that for the criteria for how the troop should be functioning,” DeGraffenreid said. One of their service projects is Flags Across Sedgwick, where the Boy Scouts place 3- by 5foot American flags in the yards of Sedgwick residents six times a year for a $40 annual donation. This project is a fund-raiser, and flags are put in yards on Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Veterans Day from sunrise to sunset. “Join your fellow neighbors in Sedgwick, KS, in honoring the freedoms that the American flag represents,” a troop flier stated about Flags Across Sedgwick. “Be part of a beautiful display
of red, white and blue in your neighborhood and support our Scouts in their fundraising efforts.… One of the aims of Scouting is to teach our young men about citizenship, and the ninth point of the Scout Law states that a Scout is thrifty.” When residents subscribe to Flags Across Sedgwick, they help Scouts cover expenses and assist them in learning about thriftiness and patriotism. When people subscribe, troop representatives drill a hole in their yards and put a 1¼-inch PVC pipe in the hole that stays in the ground. Over the top hole, they put a cap to keep rainwater out, Howell said. As of October, the troop had about 65 subscriptions. Anyone interested in a subscription can call Howell at 316-772-9054, DeGraffenreid at 316-772-5426 or Tony Resnik at 316-648-3719 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Flags Across Sedgwick is a recent troop project. “Memorial Day was our inaugural flagraiser,” DeGraffenreid said. The troop has 22 registered members, and at
............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... ABOVE: Boy Scouts attending a meeting in early October in Sedgwick are, back row, Kade Resnik, Matthew Schrick, Judston Agee, Jack Howell, Garrison Harris and Pierce DeGraffenreid; middle row, Karsen Lloyd, Nicky Ferguson, Gannon Resnik, Gary Moore and Joey Agee; front row, Connor Aycock, Levi Lewman, Chris Riggs and John Williams. Not pictured are Nate DeGraffenreid, Michael Riggs, Aubrey Young and Brendon Hamilton. INSET: Nate DeGraffenreid unfurls an American flag on Veterans Day (Nov. 11) as Scouts take down Flags Across Sedgwick. At right is his mother, Kelley DeGraffenreid. 26 | HarveyCountyNOW.com
any given meeting, they’ll have 16 to 18 boys there. To qualify for Boy Scouts, a potential member must be in the fifth grade or just finished with the fifth grade, and boys can be in the group until age 18. If a fifth-grader has completed the Arrow of Light Award, he can join Boy Scouts in the middle of his fifth-grade year; otherwise, he’ll have to wait until he completes that grade. The Sedgwick troop now meets at 7 p.m. Tuesdays at the Sedgwick United Methodist Church. They usually meet on Mondays, but during the fall, they need to accommodate schedules for boys who are in sports, saying they’ll go back to meeting on Mondays at the end of the year. Flags Across Sedgwick isn’t the only community project the troop does. “We do service projects,” DeGraffenreid said. “We do at least six a year. The biggest one we do is Scouting for Food.” With Scouting for Food, which happens in October, the group reaches out to every house in town. All of the food collected is distributed to Sedgwick residents during the holidays. “We try to collect from every house, and we knock on every door, but not every house donates,” DeGraffenreid said. The Scouts also assist the American Legion with its Avenue of Flags on Memorial Day at Hillside Cemetery, and they facilitate a free soup supper on New Year’s Eve at the senior center in Sedgwick. “That’s always a neat event for the boys because they get to meet a different generation of people in the community,” DeGraffenreid said. Some of those community members were scouts themselves. All families donate soup or chili for the event; last year, there were nine kinds of soups, said Kelley DeGraffenreid, the troop’s chartered organization representative, who serves as the liaison between the church, troop and Cub Scout Pack 487. During the meal, Scouts do the serving. In the past, the troop has helped the Masons with their Valentine’s dinner, although they haven’t done that for a year. At Christmastime, Sedgwick Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts get together for caroling at the retirement home in Sedgwick, and when camping out, Boy Scouts take part in cleanup projects to go along with the scouting idea of not leaving a trace. In addition, the troop has an annual chili supper fundraiser in March, and they sponsor a dunk tank at Fall Festival. This year during the festival, the Cub Scouts and a few Boy Scouts marched in the parade. In addition to community service projects, duty to God is important in scouting as well, said Dan Schrick, Troop 487 Committee member. For example, when they camp out, the chaplain’s aide, a Scout, leads a nondenominational service on Sundays. The Scouts camp every month, Jeff DeGraffenreid said, and Scouts also attended summer camps. In the past few years, the group has camped in a variety of places, including Harvey County West Park, First
Presbyterian Church Camp, Cross Timbers State Park and Camp Hawk, and in Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Dakota. This past June, all the Scouts attended the Quivira Scout Ranch near Sedan. Going with the boys on their camping trips are Scout leaders, who are there to support, mentor, train and protect the Scouts. The leaders make up the committee. “The whole idea of the committee is to support what the boys want to do,” Howell said. A couple of the leaders had varying reasons why they became involved in Scouting. “You get involved with your own child, and you quickly learn you’re not doing it just for your child,” Howell said. Jeff DeGraffenreid said he takes part in Scouting for a couple of reasons: first, he had fun as a scout in his youth, and second, he believes in the program and the aims of the program. The earliest a boy can join Cub Scouts is the first grade, when they become Tiger Cubs. This year, the Sedgwick Pack had 10 new Tigers, making the total Cub Scout Pack at 18. However, only 3 percent of boys who begin Scouting achieve the highest rank a Boy Scout can earn, which is the Eagle Scout Award. One of the group’s members, Nate DeGraffenreid, has been working toward his Eagle Award. His project was being in charge of Sedgwick’s Fourth of July celebration. He had games, inflatables, music and fireworks as part of the festivities, coordinating all of the volunteers, activities and food. Nate DeGraffeneid was slated to possibly get the Eagle Award in November, after completing the Board of Review, which is comprised of six adult leaders. He also put in more than 200 hours for his project. Another member of the Sedgwick troop, Matthew Schrick, recently earned that distinction. In order to receive the award, a Boy Scout has to give leadership to a service project. Schrick donated more than 200 hours to clean up an overgrown park at a lake at The Hilands at Sedgwick housing addition. He completed the project in the summer and had volunteers help. “The idea is the Scout gives leadership to others, which could
be youth or adults in a project that helps the community,” Jeff DeGraffenreid said. The 14-year-old Scout said he built three picnic tables and two benches for an area by The Hilands. “It was a park before I started on the project,” he said. They added things to the park and cut down and trimmed vegetation. “I tried to get as many people as possible (to assist),” Schrick said. “A lot of people came to help me. I was really blessed with the help.” Schrick completed the project during a couple of months during the summer, and he had to get permission from The Hilands Homeowners Association. “They really liked it when it was done,” he said. “It felt amazing right when I got (the project) done.” Schrick’s Eagle Court of Honor was on Labor Day, which was the 100th anniversary of the awarding of the first Eagle Scout. However, the Court of Honor is not when a Scout becomes an Eagle; that happens when he receives the Eagle badge and a pin. Just because he received the highest rank in Boy Scouts doesn’t mean Schrick will quit the group. He plans to stay in Boy Scouts, as well as take part in sports, such as track, football and basketball. Finding a Scout who will stay in Scouts while doing other activities teens take part in is “really rare,” Howell said.
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any people work hard all day away from home. It could be at the office, in the trenches, behind a camera lens or rounding up cattle.But when they come home, whether it’s to a 5,000-square-foot McMansion or a 400-square-foot apartment in New York City, a good number of folks think of their nest as a sanctuary, a place to be with loved ones, a place to snuggle up in front of the TV on the couch, chomping their favorite pizza. Home can be a place to be alone, far away from the crowds or a location to get a hug from their kids or a kiss from a spouse. A big part of this sanctuary is having comfortable places to rest and beautiful things to look at — like freshly painted walls, fragrant flowers from the garden resting on the counter in the kitchen, where everyone gathers to gab and cook, a remodeled and quite functional bathroom or pretty art on the living room walls. This sanctuary can be a place where people feel loved, needed, secure and peaceful. A big part of creating a peaceful, beautiful place to live is the decor. Good interior design can make a home feel relaxing, welcoming and functional. And that’s where local interior designer Gayle Funk comes in. Funk, a Bethel College graduate and owner of Living Rooms by Gayle, 124 W. Sixth St. in Newton, has helped remodel and redesign interiors for many area clients since her career began in 1985. Funk has been with one such client, Louise Koehn, 92, a resident at Kidron Bethel Village in North Newton, through four redesigns in varying degrees at the three locations at which Koehn has resided. “We’ve had four different stages of Louise’s life to redesign for,” Funk said. “Well, if you live long enough,” Louise said. When Koehn and her husband Earl resided on West 24th Street, Funk did custom draperies, wall colors and flooring for them. “That bay window was a real custom deal,” Funk said, standing in Koehn’s living room at Kidron Bethel. “That was my first time I met them, and (we) became friends.” In 1996, the couple moved to independent living at Kidron Bethel,
where they resided in the 400 building; they were the first ones to live there, and Funk did some interior design at that location. In December 2012, Funk developed new window fashions for Koehn’s independent living apartment. Koehn called her and told her she keeps on living, so it’s time to enjoy custom window fashions again. The following February, Koehn fell and decided to move to assisted living at Kidron. “So we moved the new window treatments to her new room and accessorized the new area,” Funk said. What started out as a client/decorator relationship has turned into a longtime friendship, Funk said. Koehn enjoys her window treatments, as well as the friendship. “They’re just so wonderful,” Louise said of her window treatments. “I look at them all the time.” When doing the interior design of Koehn’s current apartment, Funk learned one of Koehn’s criteria was to have all her pieces of art so she could see them when sitting in her recliner. “It’s just wonderful,” Louise said. “It’s marvelous how she arranged all the pictures.” Two of the art pieces are chalk drawings Koehn made when she was a high school freshman, and she hasn’t made any art since then. Funk also made a daybed in Koehn’s
apartment look quite welcoming with custom pillows and bedding to go with the color scheme in the room. Their friendship is apparent listening to them talk about Koehn’s sons, laughing about their adventures. In addition to saying Koehn is a good friend, Funk called the family “good, repeat customers.” “Well, she has to make a living, and she’s making a living off of me,” Koehn said good-naturedly. One thing Koehn and Funk have in common is they both majored in home economics in college. They also have ties to Bethel College in North Newton, with Funk having graduated from there and Koehn being a librarian there for 21 years. “It’s friendships like that that make it all worth doing,” Funk said. Koehn isn’t the only customer with whom Funk seems to be friends. She’s at least on a happy, hugging basis with Mary Ediger of North Newton, who gave Funk a big hug after talking about a bathroom remodel for her and her husband, Marlow. “I love this bathroom,” Mary Ediger said. The original bathroom was quite blue — blue sink, blue wallpaper, blue bathtub. The bathroom is divided into two rooms — one has a lavatory, the other a shower/toilet area. After the remodel, the latter room was completely covered in tile — walls, ceiling and floor. Funk said these
.................................................................................... ABOVE LEFT: Gayle Funk stands in the sanctuary of Newton Bible Church, where her business, Living Rooms by Gayle, was in charge of redesigning it. LEFT: Living Rooms by Gayle owner Gayle Funk gets a hug from customer Mary Ediger, as they celebrate an interior design accomplishment. HarveyCountyNOW.com
design amenities attract the older and younger people — but for different reasons. “They are stylish, but on the other hand, they are handicap accessible,” Funk said. The colors in the bathroom are neutral. “So we had quite the transformation here,” Funk said. The shower has what Funk called “zero entry,” with people going into the shower not needing to step up or down. Marlow needs more assisted-living help, so the bathroom was made accessible for him. In addition to the zero-entry shower, there’s a higher toilet seat, classy grab bars and a place to sit in the shower with a hand-held shower next to the seat. The grab bars have major braces to support them in the walls. Everything in the bathroom is custom made, Funk said. There’s also a standard showerhead and a new Kohler stacking cubby in the wall. Soft, inviting towels adorn a fancy hotel-looking towel rack on the wall. It’s fun to design things hotel-style these days, Funk said. Funk seems to have an ease and friendliness around her clients.
Kreider kitchen Another place Funk has remodeled is North Newton resident Charlotte Kreider’s kitchen, and Funk said it is an amazing transformation. The old kitchen had a variety of problems, such as no traffic flow, aging cabinets and poor lighting. Instead of using the existing fireplace with hearth, Funk did a shadow-box face fireplace, which is more modern, took out the island for an open traffic plan and adorned the room with recessed lighting. They decided to go with neutral surfaces for the floor and countertops. The background is neutral with the richness of the cabinets. Pewter hardware was brought in as an accent, and to ground all that, they used black in the picture frames, fireplace and chandelier. The kitchen was designed in a minimalistic look, which is easy to take care of, Funk said; the style these days is to simplify. The remodel started in May, and the kitchen was totally gutted. “I really do like it,” Kreider said. “Everything is so accessible, and (it’s) so easy to work in it. It’s so much better, and the cleanup is so much better.”
Newton Bible Even though homes are sanctuaries, Funk also transformed the interior of an actual church sanctuary, at Newton Bible Church, as well as redoing the entryways and putting in a new floor in the overflow area. Both entryways have new tile, paint and coat rack arrangements, and is a much nicer traffic flow arrangement for guests, Funk said. When Funk was asked to redesign the color scheme and surfaces, she was asked to design it around the knotty pine ceiling “because pretty much all of the rest of the interior was getting changed,” she said. 30 | HarveyCountyNOW.com
....................................................................................................................................................... Gayle Funk with Living Rooms by Gayle redesigned Charlotte Kreider's kitchen beginning in May.
The new stonework that will frame a large cross at the front of the church incorporates some woodwork color in it, as well as contrasting cooler colors. There’s also all-new windows, indirect lighting, wood trim and sheet-rocked walls. The new carpet tiles complement the blue cushions in the alreadyexisting pews. “The architect designed an open stage for multi-use programming, but your eye is still directed toward the cross (still being constructed) with the dimension of the new stone and subtle paint accent,” Funk said. Funk did not, however, work on this project alone. Quite a few volunteers helped. “This church committee was the best I’ve worked with,” she said. “I enjoyed providing direction to a group who communicated well, gave me constructive feedback, and could visualize the artistic changes that were going to be made. The congregation also had talented craftsmen to make the project become a reality.” Funk hasn’t always owned her own business. “I’ve owned my own business since 2006, and I have been in the design business in the area since 1985,” she said. Her first job out of college was at Hesston Decorating, where she had been doing an internship. She was employed there for 121⁄2 years. Funk said that while she was at Bethel College, where she majored in home economics with an emphasis on design and decorating, her professors and adviser were great at creating an individual emphasis for her in this area. She took classes that were tailored to the design and decorating emphasis, such as art history, interior environment, textiles and weaving and chemistry classes that focused on fiber content. She had her reasons for selecting interior design as a career. “It was a way to use my real interest and love for textiles,” Funk said. “I looked at a number of different kinds of jobs…that I could use with a textile interest but really found
interior decorating was going to be the way and from there just expanded that kind of interest of a lot of balancing color, texture and designs.” All of those are found in textiles and how a person uses textiles in a room. Funk believes tile and natural stone have similar qualities as textiles, and those areas are her favorites. From there, she said her interest grew in wanting to create a finished product for customers. Funk found her niche in this area — not focusing on just one product but helping customers visualize an entire idea for whatever they want to do. Funk’s dream, which she has realized, was to offer whole interior design project services — doing the complete project, everything from the kitchen faucet to background surfaces down to designer outlet covers and lines of custom furniture. She designs and supplies the products for a finished room, such as flooring, countertops, window fashions, paint color, blinds, lighting and custom furniture. “(We) have highly skilled subcontractors to make the transformation from to completed work of art,” Funk said. “Anything possible to finish the interior to make it an updated living space.” In other words, she takes care of the interior design and remodeling from start to finish, doing all the quotes, estimates and subcontractor costs. Employee Tonia Lowe helps with designing, ordering and many background details that complete the job, Funk said. Funk and Lowe have three main points with the business that are quite important to them: (1) They love being creative; (2) They love to sell new products; and (3) They love to make new customer relationships. Being creative and selling new products can incorporate what’s hot and trendy now. Popular colors are red, yellow and turquoise, Funk said. Next year, she sees pastels as being big. “The neutrals have gone gray and taupe
again,” Funk said. Also trending are pewter with some black accents for finishes, and she’s starting to see matte-colored golds coming back, as well as stained wood from light to dark finishes. For those who just need advice on interior decorating, Funk does consultations, she said. The business also does Christmas decorating. Some examples of what is trending in that area are on display at the studio. One of the looks Funk called the urban natural look; it combines a variety of textures with linen-like pointsettias along with different tones of neutrals, like tans and golds. In addition, combining red and off-white is quite popular. The studio has a sock monkey tree adorned with bright picks. Bright colors also are in. “I’d say Christmas is a lot of traditional color right now but more modern design — simplistic,” Funk said.
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About the studio Living Rooms by Gayle hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and by special appointment Fridays and Saturdays. Call 316-283-0041 for more information. Since starting her business in 2006, Funk has been in three locations in Newton. At first, Living Rooms by Gayle was in the back of Kitchen Corner on Main Street. Then, it was moved to the West Fifth location. “At this point, we’re in a smaller studio but streamlining the many ways that we work with customers,” Funk said. “We just try to keep up with the way today’s customers shop and the ways that we can resource product for them.” Even though her current location is smaller, Funk said she still has hands-on samples, such as those for flooring, countertops, tile and textiles, for customers to look at. And if they’re searching for lighting, accessories, small furniture or other items, they can sit down together and view ideas on Funk’s large-screen computer monitor.
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