Lawrence Magazine Summer 2011

Page 1


summer 2011

Bouquets for Blokes


editor’s letter magazine

e di t or n at h a n p e t t e n g i l l De s ig n e r /a rt di r e c t or S h e l ly B r ya n t c op y e di t or s u s i e fa g a n advertising representative j o h n W. k r a m e r ( 7 8 5 ) 8 5 6 -7 7 0 5 ad designer Janell a L. Williams C h i e f Pho t o g r a ph e r jason dailey C on t r i bu t i ng pho t o g r a ph e r mark hutchinson c on t r i bu t i ng w r i t e r s Dorothea Barth l a u r e n b e at t y Becky Bridson k at h e r i n e d i n s d a l e amber brejcha fraley mary r. gage Pa m G r o u t Andrea E. Hoag susan kraus pa u l a n a u g h t i n cheryl nelsen Julie Tollefson SURE VA TO W LER D a i s y Wa k e f i e l d g e n e r a l m a nag e r bert hull pu bl i s h i ng c o or di nat or fa r y l e s c o t t $

Subscriptions 2150 for a one-year subscription

For subscription information, please contact Christopher Bell 609 New Hampshire St., p.o. Box 888 Lawrence, KS 66044 (800) 578-8748 Fax (785) 331-0633 E-mail comments to Lawrence Magazine is a publication of Sunflower Publishing, a division of The World Company.

nathan pettengill

editor ..................................................... I’ve always thought Birds of Paradise were the perfect flowers for men. Streamlined, loud and a bit boisterous, somewhat like the Sid Vicious of the plant world, they are a Page flower that a young boy might not be 42 ashamed to receive or that could sit on any man’s workbench. In this summer edition of Lawrence Magazine, Pam Grout and Jason Dailey tap local florists and the masculine set to provide new insights Page to the quandary of flowers for men. 32 We hope you enjoy the solutions, the occasional perplexed reactions and the memorable photographs that they discovered. Fragrant blooms also appear in Paula Naughtin’s story on Washington Creek Lavender farm—a repurposing of Lawrence family farmland that almost hosted grapes, goats and basil. Repurposed land is a Page theme in this issue, as Amber 74 Fraley tours a home that combines Kansas woods with Italian architecture and Lauren Beatty introduces families redefining the concept of a lawn. And if you can reinvent the land, then why not yourself through hand-sewn felt? Andrea Hoag’s story about two artists brings the delightful A lternati ve covers results of their conversion to stuffed the ones that didn’t quite animal artwork, including the zippermake the cut mouth blue wonder pictured above left. The connection between people and real animals—and the bond between riders and horses in particular—lies at the center of Dorothea Barth’s memory of childhood ponies and Mary Gage’s profile of Midnight Farm, which saddles up all people regardless of physical ability. I hope you enjoy these stories and the others that follow in our summer edition. Please do not hesitate to write to us and share your ideas, reactions or suggestions. magazine




/ summer 2011 / Lawrence Magazine



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ON The



DISCOUNT LIQUOR 1818 Massachusetts Street

The Pre mie r Dis cou nt Liq uor Sto re in Law ren ce.

Lawrence, KS


Search all area properties for sale at

on the cover Levon Hiatt stands behind a floral arrangement


by Red Door Event & Design.



08 / A G a r d e n , o n t h e O t h e r Sid e o f W e e din g Advocates

38 / S h e Did I t A former retail manager and stay-at-home mother has brought order to the world of crime (in novel form)

of a new approach to home landscaping tout the prospect of less work, more green and greater enjoyment in their gardens

14 / B uilt t o Mimi c

Renovations of a prominent downtown property are carried out with an eye for setting a new template on the Massachusetts Street loft trend

market 28 / B r o t h e r - Sis t e r In c . What happens when

brothers and sisters grow up, leave home … and then go into business together?

32 / Wa s hin g t o n C r e e k ’ s S o o t hin g C a s h C r o p A couple who

left the city to settle back on the family farm are rewarded with hard work and lavender

42 / H e a r t/ F e lt C r e at i o n s Two Lawrence artists create furry critters for those with kind souls and loving homes

wellness 54 / ‘ T h e C h a l l e n g e o f t h e P u z z l e ’ Research

scientist heads a team that applies technological innovations to studying and assisting life’s most vital functions

58 / B ig in P e r u (a n d KU, t o o) Jayhawk chef

presents fresh take on colorful Peruvian potato dish, drawing on family history and culinary training

20 / B o g a rds’ K a ns a s T usc a n y

A northwest Lawrence home brings Italian-style charm and gardening delights to wooded acreage

46 / T he Pigeons a nd t he Profes sor

How a group of low-rent, rambunctious townie birds besieged a KU scientist who turned them into the darlings of the academic world … and what happened after their fame

Men are from Mars, but they might like marigolds

62 / T h e L a s t J u n e B rid e It’s still about true love, we hope, but coed showers, pink tool boxes and tavern receptions attest to changes in other aspects of a traditional bride and groom wedding 66 / C o w g ir l In the 1960s, a young immigrant to Lawrence encounters the ponies of her Wild West imagination 70 / T h e G r a n d m a C o n n e c t i o n s These involved grandmas share ideas for interacting with and helping bring up grandkids, whether near or far

74 / MIDNIGHT ’ S MISSION A farm provides a missing rural link in the care for and lives of people with disabilities


80 / Burly M a n B ouque t s


journey 92 / B e hin d E n e m y L in e s Lawrence Magazine

travel writer Susan Kraus wanders into … ahem … that city

and I wanted to b e .. ............................ 88 calendar .. ......................................... .. 96

/ summer 2011 / Lawrence Magazine


living story by

/ Lauren Beatty

Facelift for the farm Artistic skill, clever ideas and a lot of hard work help renovate a family farmstead

A Garden, on the Other Side of Weeding Advocates of a new approach to home landscaping tout the prospect of less work, more green and greater enjoyment in their gardens


Lawrence Magazine

/ summer 2011 /

photography by

/ Jason Dailey

The warmth of something handmade.

833 Massachusetts

Lawrence, Kansas 66044




Devin Zell’s home, above and previous page, features a garden and native plants throughout the front lawn. This type of landscaping— where the yard does not so much contain a garden but becomes it—is sometimes referred to as an “edible estate.” Roger and Rhonda Brown, above right, chose a lowmaintenance lawn that mimicks natural prairie growth, far right and opposite page.


he first thing you notice about Devin Zell’s homestead on Prescott Drive is the vegetable garden. How could you not? Unlike many family veggie patches, relegated to a hidden corner somewhere behind the house, Zell’s tidy garden is prominently displayed in the front yard. In fact, it is the front yard. It may seem highly unusual to some, but Zell’s edible plot is the perfect example of a growing trend among eco-conscious homeowners: sustainable, low-maintenance landscapes that are as beautiful as they are practical. Supporters of sustainable landscaping cite environmental benefits and huge savings in time. No grass means no mowing. Keeping things organic means no messing with fertilizers. Fewer hours are spent pruning, trimming and weeding. There’s less watering. “A property can be more than just a bunch of hard work,” says Troy Karlin of All-N-1 Landscape, who designed Zell’s garden.

Save the Earth The transformation from typical front yard to sustainable food-producing garden started about a year ago at the Zell home with a garden that features perennials that do not need the typical care given to finicky annuals. Rainwater is collected on the roof and used to feed thirsty plants. What little waste there is from the garden is turned into compost. A trellis was constructed not only to grow hops for

Lawrence Magazine

Zell’s home-brewed beer but also to block some of the harsh summer sun from entering the window in front of the living room. “We want our landscapes to be functional, productive and beautiful,” Karlin says. “There’s nothing more sustainable than an edible landscape.” The team from All-N-1 is planning an overhaul of Zell’s backyard as well. In the meantime, Zell is enjoying the fresh vegetables and herbs from his lawn. “I can pull things right from the ground and cook with them,” Zell says. “Plus, I like the idea of building a community, bringing people together. Neighbors stop and talk about what’s going on in the yard. It’s a good conversation starter.”

Save some time Roger and Rhonda Brown live about a mile south of Lawrence in a home they built six years ago. When the time came to address the barren four acres around the home, the Browns turned to Ryan Domnick of Low Maintenance Landscape for a design that would honor their surroundings and be easy to maintain.

/ summer 2011 /


“We wanted a life outside of lawn care.”

– Rhonda Brown

/ summer 2011 / Lawrence Magazine



“We didn’t want to spend hours taking care of it,” Rhonda says. “We wanted a life outside of lawn care.” Domnick designed a landscape that mimicked the prairie while tapping a few nonnative plants for special purposes, such as a small grove of bamboo strategically placed into the Browns’ yard in order to screen a large, metal shop building. Mostly, however, he used native grasses that required less watering and other flowers that were resistant to pests and disease so the Browns don’t have to hassle with chemicals. “You want to enjoy your garden, not slave in it,” says Domnick. Just because the landscaping is sustainable and low-maintenance doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful—in all four seasons. “There’s always something blooming. There’s color year-round,” says Rhonda. The Browns say they spend about an hour a week maintaining the landscaping. “It’s a nice hobby, but we’re not tied to it,” Rhonda says. “We can spend more time out there if we want. But if we go on vacation, we can leave it and not worry about it.”

Save Sunday Diane Horning, top, says the lowmaintenance design of her garden, above left and right, allows her to spend more time enjoying it.


Al and Diane Horning also worked with Domnick, but in a much different environment. The Hornings tore down a non-historic duplex in Old West Lawrence and built their dream home, complete with a low-maintenance landscape design. The plan at the Horning home was similar to the one used at the Browns’ home. There are lots of native plants and easy-maintenance

Lawrence Magazine

grasses. In the back, the tiny space is covered in flagstone and dotted with shrubs and even a banana tree. “On a Sunday, I can spend a couple hours in the yard and feel like I’ve done a lot,” says Diane. “Then I’m back to drinking coffee out there.”

Save money? Creating a sustainable, low-maintenance landscape is achievable on any budget, says Domnick. His design plans start around $400. On average, entire jobs cost anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000. “It’s an investment at first, but it saves you money later,” Domnick says of sustainable landscaping. “These landscapes last for decades instead of a year or two.” Brady Karlin, brother and business partner of Troy Karlin at AllN-1, says homeowners can save two-thirds on maintenance costs with a sustainable landscape. He also cites reduced water bills and grocery bills as reasons to invest in sustainable landscapes. Homeowners who would like to create their own sustainable landscapes should do a bit of research on what grows best in their locations, says Domnick. Then they should hit up specialty nurseries to pick out the native plants, flowers, bushes and trees. Domnick warns that once the planting is done, homeowners will have a wait a bit to enjoy the benefits, which he says will be evident after a few years. “My favorite thing is seeing the sites a few years after everything has been designed and installed,” he says. “It’s very rewarding when it’s all grown in.” m

/ summer 2011 /

living story by

/ Cheryl Nelsen

/ Mark Hutchinson

Built to Mimic

Daniel Ranjbar stands inside his property at 825 Massachusetts St. that he is developing as a residential and business complex.


photography by

Renovations of a prominent downtown property are carried out with an eye for setting a new template on the Massachusetts Street loft trend Lawrence Magazine

/ summer 2011 /

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Rand McNally atlas is more than a collection of maps or a travel guide for the adventurous. In 1994, Daniel Ranjbar used one to look for a place to establish his orthodontic practice. With input from the guide and his wife at the time, who was from the Lawrence area, he came here to check it out. “When I walked downtown, I enjoyed the feeling it had, the charm, the Americana,” Ranjbar says. “The minute I came downtown, I felt this represented how I wanted to live, with a sense of community and family.” In 2009 Ranjbar decided to do more than enjoy the ambiance of the heart of the city and purchased the 18,000-square-foot former Arensberg’s Shoes building at 825 Massachusetts St. to remodel into three lofts and space for two businesses. BIAO Designs opened its doors inside the building in September 2010 while Phoenix Gallery, purchased by Ranjbar, moved from its previous location into Ranjbar’s renovated space in February 2011. The ground floor houses the retail businesses while three lofts make up the upper floor. Ranjbar says he initially purchased the building as an investment. But once he had it in his possession, he recognized its historical beauty and possibilities. “Someone who buys real estate doesn’t have to turn it over and rent it to the first bar that comes along. You want to make money, but I think there’s another way you can do it. I wanted to combine this retail and living experience that, hopefully, other people will mimic,” he says. The living spaces in the building are a one-bedroom loft and a pair of two-bedroom lofts. The lofts feature 111/2-foot ceilings with 9-foot-tall windows stretching across a living area. Each kitchen has a granite-topped island and exposed metal ductwork with 21/2-inch baseboard moldings, reflective of the 1920s and 1930s. “I like blending elements, natural products against steels and metals,” Ranjbar says. To accomplish this design, Ranjbar purchased a salvage building and removed rusted

Small details of the loft, finishes in the shower and kitchen, top left and right, offer an aesthetic appeal, but the brightest points of a Massachusetts St. loft include the view and immediate access to downtown, right and opposite page.


Lawrence Magazine

/ summer 2011 /


/ summer 2011 / Lawrence Magazine



“I wanted to combine this retail and living experience that, hopefully, other people will mimic.”

– Daniel Ranjbar

The final construction is under way on the property’s three lofts, each designed with flowing, open space. Ranjbar, above, says he hopes this and other projects will continue to attract a range of generations to downtown residences.


Art Deco light fixtures from the 1930s to incorporate into the lofts. After the period pieces were rechromed and polished, they were placed in the entryways. One example of modern, clean lines that Ranjbar prefers is the ceiling in the curved hallway outside the three lofts. A soffit of sheetrock hangs down from the ceiling, almost like an island, set in several inches from one side of the hallway walls. The indented side of the soffit features a curve, and recessed lights shine down to illuminate the hall. The three lofts have refinished maple flooring, but each living space has unique features and floor plans. The two-bedroom lofts are each around 1,600 square feet. After spending seven years of dental training in a basement setting, Ranjbar learned to appreciate natural light and worked to incorporate it in all the lofts. In the west loft, sunlight drifts down from a window in the master bedroom to a nook designed for a person to sit in and look outside, while in the southwest loft four windows on the west wall allow for plenty of daylight. Master bedrooms in the two-bedroom apartments include walk-in closets between the bedrooms and bathrooms, which feature walk-in showers and travertine tiles. All the lofts have nooks that can be used for office space. With his orthodontics office remaining in west Lawrence, Ranjbar has carved out a second office for himself in the building. He calls it his “treehouse” because the tops of the trees on Mass. Street are right outside the office windows. In the future, he also hopes to add a basement coffee shop with a Mass. Street entrance. Although downtown Lawrence is often a world of college students and other young people, Ranjbar foresees his lofts as a place for empty nesters who would enjoy a sense of community by living downtown. “This is what I am envisioning for someone like my parents. I’d love for my mom and dad to live up there, be able to get in the elevator and go down in the morning and walk around Massachusetts Street and have a cup of coffee,” he says. m

Lawrence Magazine

/ summer 2011 /

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Story by Amber Brejcha Fraley Photography by Jason Dailey

B o g a r d s ’

Kansas Tuscany A Northwest Lawrence home brings Italian-style charm and gardening delights to wooded acreage

HOMEOWNERS: Jill and Mike Bogard STYLE OF HOUSE: Tuscan LOCATION: Northwest Lawrence YEAR BUILT: 2003 NUMBER OF FLOORS: 3


The Bogards’ home exterior is a blend of Italian-influenced architecture and hardy Kansas plants.



riving up to Mike and Jill Bogard’s northwest Lawrence home is somewhat like coming across a Tuscan anomaly nestled in a wildly blooming Kansas prairie. When the couple originally helped design their sprawling home, the five acres it sat on were in the country. Though the city limit of Lawrence has expanded over the years to incorporate the Bogards’ property, the wooded lot, to this day, buffers them from the city. On the day I visited, Jill protested that she hadn’t had much time to tend to her gardens lately. But I wonder how that’s possible, because there are nearly two acres of blazing blooms and decorative trees that greet visitors in the front of the house with nary a weed to be found. Though she hired some help in the beginning to help get the gardens started, she now does most of the work herself. In creating paths that wind through the property among wild areas and manicured gardens, Jill has laid natural limestone, pavers, gravel and decorative grates she picked up in Lawrence. Amid the flowers, you’re likely to find a piece of yard art, a statue, a carefully placed tree or even a metal dragonfly that Jill built with her father from a car tailpipe, using rebar copper for the wings and marbles for eyes. “It’s made so that the wings flutter in the wind,” Jill points out, explaining that she’d seen a photo of a similar sculpture, took the photo to her father and informed him that they’d be making one together. “He’s very, very handy,” she says, later showing off a small wall piece he created from an antique doorknob and plate. “He makes all kinds of things like that.” Jill has done the bulk of the decorating, inside and outside the house, and though the outside has a decided Italian influence, the interior is very much Kansas-influenced. Jill and Mike have decorated much of their home with family heirlooms from both sides of the household, and several ornate Victorian-era antiques that belonged to Mike’s mother stand out here and there. “The hurricane lamps were all hers, and they go well with the house,” says Jill. For those items that must be purchased, the couple nearly always begin the hunt in Lawrence. If they can’t find what they’re looking for here, they move on to other Kansas communities. A chandelier, for instance, came from Stanion Wholesale Electric Co. on Four Wheel Drive, while an oak bedroom set, as well as the wood and ironwork on the home’s main staircase, was built by Eudora craftsman Wayne Burnett. Mike has been with Stephens Real Estate for 30 years, and the couple run Bogard Rentals out of their home. When they’re not working, they can relax on one of the patios or the deck out back, where they enjoy the sights and sounds of their soothing koi pond as well as the dense woods. The house that Mike and Jill built is family-friendly as well, with plenty of comfortable spare bedrooms and a game room, and it’s become the place where the extended family congregates for holidays and special occasions.




Mike: Probably about two or three—what you see out front. In the back, we really don’t do much with it. The grandkids like to visit and walk down through the woods, and Jill will go out there for some solitude once in a while. Jill: It’s not prim and proper [out back]. It’s nature. We have a lot of wildlife, too. We have deer and raccoon and coyotes, a lot of birds, whippoorwills. And we have the barred owls that really hoot and holler … and now we have blue herons, which is why there’s fishing line around the [koi] pond because they do like to come in and fish. Mike: They won’t step over that fishing line. Jill: We’ve seen fox and bobcats several times … Mike: And lots of opossums. It’s funny, when the tornado sirens blow in town, the little coyotes will just sit out here and howl.



Jill: The windows, I think. Because of the lot, we felt that it would be very advantageous to have windows to be able to see out. Every room has windows. We told the architect that we didn’t want a square house. We wanted something that would accentuate the windows. Because of the setting with the trees, the windows are very beautiful in all of the seasons, but especially in the winter because we have a lot of cedar trees and it looks like you’re in Colorado. It’s very pretty when it snows.


Garden paths and sitting areas surround the Bogard home and gently fade into the surrounding woods.




Jill: They are. A lot of them are perennials, and that takes a little bit of workload off of me, but there’s still a lot of maintenance. I could have a full-time gardener—or two. Mike: She has got one. It’s her. Jill: The rocks that we’ve landscaped with out front are the rocks that came out of [the excavation of] the basement. … I just incorporated them into the landscape out front. And we’ve used quite a few of them in the pond and the rock walls.



Jill: I continue to plant trees out here. Trees and shrubs—I know I’ve planted about 580-some.


YOU HAVE THE KOI POND OUT BACK AND THE FOUNTAIN OUT FRONT. ARE THERE ANY OTHER WATER FEATURES ON THE PROPERTY? Jill: There is a natural water feature; we have this dry creek we built in the front that connects to a natural dry creek that runs through the back. It’s so wonderful when it rains. It’s like a rushing river, because it has so many of the limestone rocks in it. m

Both the statue of St. Francis and the Bogards’ koi garden have a connection to surrounding wood creatures—one spiritually, the other as a coveted dining attraction. A wide porch, right, allows the owners and guests to enjoy the gardens, woods and wildlife.


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market story by

/ Daisy Wakefield

Brother-Sister Inc. What happens when brothers and sisters grow up, leave home … and then go into business together?


iblings are expected to share certain things while growing up—parents, possessions, the last piece of cherry pie. By most accounts, they are not asked their opinion on the matter. In this, there are certainly times for solidarity as well as contention. Graduating out of the family home is usually a doorway to a lifetime of separate interests, careers and relationships. But some brother and sister pairs are drawn back to sibling status when they decide to go into business together. Brother-sister ventures are not as common as father-and-son or husband-and-wife operations. And as the following three Lawrence business owners have found, when brother-sister pairs throw in their whole lot—the shared history, the fierce loyalty, the emotional triggers—they navigate unique, complex dynamics of jointly owning a business as adults.

Lucy White and Joe Peng Panda & Plum Garden 1500 W. Sixth St.

Lucy White and her brother Joe Peng have worked as business partners since the early 1980s.


Lucy White and her brother Joe Peng are bickering over their ages. He throws out a number for himself and says that she’s 10 years older than that. Lucy’s eyes flash as she fires out the Mandarin equivalent of “You’re full of it.” Lucy arrived in Lawrence via Wichita, after immigrating to the United States from Taiwan in 1975. Joe joined her in the early ’80s and worked for a few years as a cook at a Chinese restaurant in Ottawa before the brother and sister opened a Cantonese diner in Raytown, Missouri. “We took over another restaurant,” Lucy says. “We inherited eight table and chair sets, and an American waitress who cussed.”

Lawrence Magazine

/ summer 2011 /

photography by

/ Mark Hutchinson

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Lucy managed the restaurant while Joe supervised the kitchen. Eventually, they brought over their other siblings as well as their parents. In 1986, the brother and sister jointly opened a restaurant in Lawrence that would become the Panda & Plum Garden. These days, Lucy is the manager, Joe is the assistant manager and two other siblings run the kitchen. Lawrence is a fair leap from Taiwan, in distance and in culture. Joe and Lucy say they are thankful to be doing life and business with family, although they admit readily that they quarrel a good amount. Who wins? Joe immediately responds, “Lucy!” She is, after all, elder sister, and the others honor her as such. “They do respect my opinion as the oldest,” Lucy says. “But I’m a reasonable person. I’m very democratic.”

Mary Anderson and bill anderson Anderson Rentals 1312 W. Sixth St.

Mary Anderson and Bill Anderson, right, come from a family with a long connection to Lawrence and a long history of family members working together. Donna Johnson and David Johnson, opposite page, renewed and redefined their brother-sister relationship as adult business partners.


Mary Anderson and her younger brother Bill are not the first Andersons to own and operate Anderson Rentals, and there is a good chance that they will not be the last. Each of the five siblings in the Anderson family has at one time worked at the company that their parents founded when Bill’s father returned from World War II 65 years ago. Bill and Mary are the youngest, current torchbearers of a business that could easily pass on to Mary’s children—another brother and sister team—Andy and Katherine. On paper, Bill is listed as president, but he says the actual chain of authority is more fluid. “Actually,” he clarifies, “the family has always been matriarchal.” He explains how the business was founded on money his mother saved during the war. “Dad made his decisions, but Mom made it happen,” says Bill, who notes he and Mary are more equal than formal titles suggest. “We are partners,” says Bill. “We were born into this business. We grew up playing in the showrooms and interacting with the customers. We’ve never known anything different.” Bill and Mary regard sibling dynamics as their model for interacting with their staff as well. Mary says, “We like to think that that’s why people stick with us for so long, because they are siblings here too.” Bill chortles, “It’s certainly not because of the bonuses!”

Lawrence Magazine

“We were born into this business. We grew up playing in the showrooms and interacting with the customers. We’ve never known anything different.”

/ summer 2011 /

– Bill Anderson


Donna Johnson and David Johnson Pinnacle Technology 2721 Oregon St.

When Donna Johnson asked her younger brother David to join her in starting a new company for renewable energy in Lawrence, they had not spent considerable time with each other since they were teenagers in Poughkeepsie, New York. Since David agreed to join the venture more than 15 years ago, they have developed Pinnacle Technology to focus on biotechnological equipment—all the while developing their own relationship as adult siblings. “It was a big deal to learn how to relate to each other as adults, rather than reverting back to our childhood ways of relating,” David says. They bring up stories that highlight the benchmarks of this learning curve. One of the most memorable is a conference in the early days of their company to give a crucial product pitch. They recall that meeting disintegrating into a juvenile squabble between the two of them, replete with multiple volleys of “I did not!” and “Oh yes you did!” They laugh at these memories now, even if the laughter is tinged with a bit of sibling chagrin. Over time, they say they have come to a place of ease with their roles in the company and with each other. They boast of each other’s accomplishments and banter jokingly while, in the background, David’s screensaver plays a slideshow of personal family pictures with Donna in numerous shots. “There’s an inherent trust between us,” Donna says. “Even when don’t agree on something, we know that we’re looking out for each other’s best interest.” m

summer 2011

/ Lawrence Magazine


market story by

/ Paula Naughtin

Washington Creek’s Soothing Cash Crop A couple who left the city to settle back on the family farm are rewarded with hard work and lavender

“It is said, on good authority, that the lions and tigers in our Zoological gardens are powerfully affected by the smell of Lavender-water and become docile under its influence.”—W.T. Fernie, M.D., Botanical Outlines (1897)

K Some of the nearly 4,000 lavender plants stand ready for harvesting at Washington Creek Lavender farm outside Lawrence.


athy and Jack Wilson didn’t know about man-eating beasts and lavender when they contemplated returning to the farm established southwest of Lawrence by Kathy’s grandfather. At the time, Kathy envisioned goats. And who wouldn’t love goats? But when the farm became a reality, Kathy turned to basil, harvesting her first cash crop in 2005. The return for hours and hours of labor on that crop was not really cost-effective. Kathy sold her initial harvest to a local market. “We got $8.50 per pound, and I sold 2 pounds the first time. So I brought home about $17. I had taken out all of the stems, so the weight was pure basil. Good for the market, not so good for the plants. After a few days of harvesting, my plants were pretty empty.”

Lawrence Magazine

/ summer 2011 /

photography by

/ jason dailey

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Lavender is of “especiall good use for all griefes and paines of the head and brain.” —John Parkinson in TheatrumBotanicum (1640) After their basil crop, the Wilsons tapped experts at the Douglas County Extension Office, who analyzed their soil and identified lavender and grapes as the two crops most likely to thrive on their farmland. They didn’t choose grapes, says Jack, paraphrasing a saying about wine: “If you want to make a little money in grapes, spend a lot.” Lavender it was. They began in 2006 with 500 plants and now, Kathy reports, “We figure we have about 4,000 plants of lavender. Over time we have lost a number due to rain washout, tromping by deer, and the year of the late freeze we lost some of the little, newer plants.” They began with a type called Grosso and then added Gros Bleu, Edelweiss, Buena Vista, Melissa and Royal Purple.

“Ye decoction of it (lavender)…is good for ye griefs of the thorax.”—Dioscorides, a Greek naturalist, wrote in his MateriaMedica. This book, copied over and over since the first century, is the West’s oldest surviving example of a guide to plants used as medicine. Lavender plants dry in bundles, top right, after being harvested from Washington Creek’s fields, opposite page. Jack and Kathy Wilson, right, began planting lavender after considering or experimenting with grapes, goats and basil.


With lots of lavender, the Wilsons had to figure out what to do with it, how to sell it and how to make a better profit than with basil. Kathy tapped her creativity to develop items using lavender. For example, her neck comforter is perfect for frigid winters. Filled with wheat berries and lavender and covered with soft fleece, it can be warmed in the microwave and wrapped around the neck. There are also sachets, fire starters, eye pillows, coasters (that both keep your mug from dripping and perfume the air) and dryer sheets to

Lawrence Magazine

/ summer 2011 /


/ summer 2011 / Lawrence Magazine



help with laundry. Indeed, the name “lavender” comes from the Latin lavare—to wash. There’s more to the story than the plants, of course. There are the planters—Kathy and Jack. Based in Chicago, Kathy was a successful food photographer for many years. She describes her return to Lawrence, where she was raised, as an unexpectedly emotional relief from the pressures of the big city. Jack grew up in New Jersey and lived in Chicago for decades. After he and Kathy moved to the farm, Jack kept his video business, JWA/Video, in Chicago and commuted for 5½ years. Now he has brought the business to Lawrence. He is currently working on a television special on aging. The Wilsons’ venture is also the story of supportive fellow farmers in Douglas County. Kathy and Jack stress that they have succeeded in large part due to the generosity and advice from other local farmers. “I had respect for farmers before,” says Jack. “Now I have even greater respect. The farming community here is spectacular.” There is a Topeka couple who also raise lavender and shared advice with the Wilsons, and there is the Wilsons’ neighbor Henry Nieder. “When we get in trouble, we call Henry, and he’ll be there,” says Jack. “He’s a Renaissance man.”

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Products available online or at The Community Mercantile, HyVee on Clinton Parkway, Lawrence Farmers’ Market (and Holiday Market), Baldwin City Maple Leaf Festival, Pendleton’s Country Market and Lone Star Bison Ranch during the annual Kaw Valley Farm Tour.

Any story of working with lavender, however, has one more element—the “smelled unto” description. Perhaps you can use your imagination and evoke the smell of lavender as you read this. Close your eyes and take a deep, slow breath—can you sense it? It’s more grassy than flowery, with a hint of spice that catches at the back of your throat. It’s strong but not overwhelming. It’s the fresh, clear scent of lavender—and the Washington Creek farm is the latest part in this long, fragrant narrative. m


Lawrence Magazine

/ summer 2011 /

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/ Julie Tollefson

She Did It A former retail manager and stay-at-home mother has brought order to the world of crime (in novel form)

Tools of the trade for crime, and criminal detective novels, are displayed at the Raven Bookstore, whose founder introduced Beth Wasson to Sisters in Crime.



wo decades ago, three women slipped down a Lawrence alley, setting in motion a plot that would change the trajectory of another woman’s career. The three women—a bookstore owner and two mystery authors—sought a meeting with Beth Wasson, who had recently left a demanding job in retail to spend more time with her family. Their

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proposal? Join their international organization, Sisters in Crime. It was an offer she couldn’t refuse. Wasson laughs as she recalls that backyard meeting with Mary Lou Wright, then co-owner of the Raven Bookstore in Lawrence, and novelists Nancy Pickard and Susan Dunlap. The day marked the beginning of Wasson’s relationship with Sisters in Crime, an organization co-founded by a group of female mystery writers including best-selling author Sara Paretsky, who grew up in the Lawrence area. SinC, as it’s known, is dedicated to helping female crime writers achieve equality in the publishing industry. The organization, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, was

/ summer 2011 /

/ jason dailey

only a few years old and run exclusively by volunteers when Wright, Pickard and Dunlap visited Wasson. SinC needed a paid staff member to support its membership and financial activities. Wright, treasurer of the group, recommended her friend and neighbor, Wasson. “They were trying to manage the membership and put out publications and advertise,” Wasson says. “The board voted to hire a person for 10 hours a month. It makes me giggle now.” As Sisters in Crime executive secretary, Wasson now juggles a myriad of organizational details from her Lawrence home office in what has become a fulltime job. Anyone who calls the international headquarters for

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“I have seen so many Sisters in Crime members help new people.”

– Beth Wasson

Sisters in Crime publications such as Breaking and Entering, top left, help aspiring female detective novelists learn from their colleagues. It’s the job of Beth Wasson, top right, to help facilitate this exchange of ideas and information among writermembers.


information—from aspiring authors to Hollywood movie moguls—need never know they’re talking to a one-woman shop squarely in the middle of the country. “In many ways, Beth makes SinC possible,” says Pickard, a founding member of SinC and the organization’s first elected president. “She does the executive and office work behind the scenes that makes all of it happen, and she works so efficiently and quietly that few members realize how much she does for us.” “The most brilliant thing I did for that organization,” adds Wright, “is suggest they hire Beth for the job.” Since Wasson took on the role, membership has grown from 600 to more than 3,000. Forging connections among those members is one of the key functions for Sisters in Crime. True to the SinC mission, members willingly share their experiences to help those seeking publication. “I have seen so many Sisters in Crime members help new people,” Wasson says. “They support the organization, and they want to help other writers starting out. Networking is at the top of the list with Sisters in Crime.” SinC has 48 chapters, including an internet chapter for members who live far from local chapters and Guppies, or the “great unpublished,” for writers who are tired of “swimming upstream” alone. Close to home, the Border Crimes chapter attracts members from both sides of the Kansas-Missouri state line and meets the first Saturday of every month in Mission.

Lawrence Magazine

If networking is a top priority for SinC, promoting member authors and raising awareness of inequalities in the publishing industry are not far behind. “With fewer book reviews being published in general, our review numbers are sliding down again,” says Pickard, who lives in Merriam and whose mystery, The Virgin of Small Plains, was selected for the 2009 Kansas Reads statewide reading program. “We can still help our members assert their presence in the marketplace and in the literary world.” SinC welcomes members at all stages in their publishing careers, from the author with 40 books in print to the writer just plotting her first novel. Although the

/ summer 2011 /

group’s mission is to promote female writers, men are welcome to join, too. “And we try to provide things for the reader, because Sisters in Crime is open to all,” Wasson says. In the volatile state of publishing today—with the rise of ebooks changing perceptions of what makes a book a book and bookstores of all sizes struggling to make a profit—SinC’s national board of directors undertakes numerous hands-on projects to ensure members can access upto-date industry information. When F&W Media organized its second Digital Book World conference in New York earlier this year, for example, the board asked SinC member and author S.J. Rozan to attend. Rozan wrote a series of posts for the SinC blog, reporting on the publishing trends and hot topics she picked up during conference sessions. “That’s just invaluable to have somebody do that for free, basically, and report to members,” Wasson says. Wasson admires the board of directors and individual members who roll up their sleeves and put in long hours on behalf of Sisters in Crime. It’s just one of the reasons she enjoys her job and the people with whom she works. “I feel that I’m lucky to really believe in my work,” Wasson says. “Books are so important, and women’s voices in books are so important.” m


expa n d i n g t h e b e at Sisters in Crime lists its primary mission as: “To promote the professional development and advancement of women crime writers to achieve equality in the industry.” But as SinC’s membership has grown, so has its scope. Newsletters, books, workshops and industry reports help members build their knowledge of the craft and business of writing. Executive secretary Beth Wasson outlines a sampling of what SinC does for its members and the reading community:

Oldest publication: Shameless Promotions for Brazen Hussies is a compilation of firsthand member experiences with book promotion first published more than 20 years ago (updated in 2011). Breaking and Entering: The Road to Success, revised and reissued in 2010 by and for members, gives practical advice on all aspects of navigating the path to publication. “What’s so great about these is that the members contribute, so you’re getting to read firsthand accounts of how to do this,” Wasson says. Spreading the love: SinC gives $1,000 each month to a randomly

selected library entered in its We Love Libraries! drawing. Winning libraries must use the money to buy books, but they are not limited to spending the money on mysteries or books by SinC authors.

Raising visibility: SinC promotes members through an author listing on its website,, as well as through its online presence on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and the SinC blog. The organization and its chapters also attend national and regional book events and festivals.

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Heart/Felt Creations Two Lawrence artists create furry critters for those with kind souls and loving homes

Artist Carole Peters holds and displays a few of her colorful, handmade creatures.


Kaw River Critters Every time Lawrence artist Carole Peters pulls out her handcrafted stuffed menagerie, she tends to draw a large crowd.

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That was the scene on a recent morning when the fiber arts aficionado began displaying her soft labors of love atop the table of a popular Lawrence eatery. Wait staff abandoned their patrons to swoon, cooing to the animals as they hugged and petted Peters’ fabric delights. With a twinkle in her eye, Peters confided how lucky she feels when people return again and again to purchase her creations, especially the unforgettable soft corduroy zoo that formed a jolly troupe across her lap and table. “There was one woman who purchased one for a nephew and got so attached to it that she never

/ summer 2011 /

/ Jason Dailey

sent it off. She had to come find me and buy another,” the retired special education teacher laughs. “Men buy them a lot more than you might imagine that they would, too!” Peters reports, leaning in confidentially. Peters’ sister, Susan Ashley, assists her with the sale of her Kaw River Critters. The duo reside on a farm just outside Lawrence where they tend a real-life menagerie of horses, dogs and cats that serve as an ongoing source of craftwork inspiration. It turns out Peters’ life has been filled with adventures as diverse as the animals she crafts. Fresh out of school with a

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“Each one is definitely a labor of love for me, so I like to know they are going to good homes!”

– Carole Peters

Each of Carole Peters’ creatures, top left, are given a name and handmade “critter tag.” Marianne Wille, top right, creates stuffed animals and whimsical designs such as this animalpurse, above.


teaching degree in special education, she landed in Alaska to live and teach among the Tlingit people in the remote village of Hoonah, a sleepy burg she misses to this day. Peters also lived in New Jersey and West Virginia during her teaching career, but the one constant was her love for making adorable plush toys. “I started out making more traditional teddy bears,” she explains, and as her life experiences expanded, so did her handsewn repertoire. A trip to her family’s ancestral homeland of Norway, for example, inspired a line of trolls. These days, a lucky “fabric find” can be all the inspiration Peters needs. She often uses vintage cloth that she and her sister source locally at fairs, flea markets and thrift stores. When she finds a fabric she loves, she nabs it quickly, washes it carefully and then “up-cycles” it into a lovable critter that she will offer for sale at events such as the annual Bizarre Bazaar. “What I find so nice is that people love to stop and talk whenever they see us. Hours and

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hours … and hours go into each one,” says Peters. “Each one is definitely a labor of love for me, so I like to know they are going to good homes!”

WilleWorks Marianne Wille may just be a 21st century version of Beatrix Potter, though the medium of choice for this gentle, soft-spoken artist is wool and felt, not ink. The best part? Each of her friendly, handcrafted little creatures seems to possess a unique personality. “I make the kinds of animals I would have liked as a little girl,”

/ summer 2011 /

confides the artist over a plate of freshly baked chocolate cookies in the cozy south Lawrence home she shares with her husband. Still, the first year she was making her WilleWorks animals, it was a tad bittersweet for Wille whenever someone bought one. After spending 12 to 15 hours to make a cat or bunny, including the time it takes to sew a pinafore or knit a special feline scarf, Wille feels a connection to her work. “Of course, it was easier when I realized someone purchased the doll because they felt like they’d fallen in love,” says Wille. “Especially when they bought for themselves or a beloved grandchild.” After earning a BFA in visual communication from the University of Kansas, Wille worked in the 1980s as a museum exhibit designer and graphic artist with the Field Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. She then took off several years to be a stay-at-home mother before returning to knitting in earnest and opening an online retail site to market the creatures that she develops over time with attention to detail. “For example, it took me a long time to come up with a pattern for what I wanted one


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of the animal’s legs to look like, so I experimented for two months before I got a cat pattern that worked for me,” says Wille. Luckily, Wille’s “real” furry playmates have served as an inspiration for her work throughout her life. “As a girl growing up, I had a beloved tomcat named Fluffy who became a great mouser in our neighborhood,” recalls Wille. “When he was a kitten, I bought him for a dime.” Pets like Fluffy may have inspired Wille’s work, but the projects stemming from Wille’s imagination inspire fans of her artistry the world over. Some of her sales are local, but the majority of Wille’s sales and special commissions take place online, which means her animal friends and fun, zipper-mouth purses travel as far away as England and Japan to take up residency. m

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A blue bear, top, and two owls, above, find their “natural” habitat in Wille’s south Lawrence garden.

summer 2011

/ Lawrence Magazine

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This pigeon specimen was collected by Richard Johnston, a retired University of Kansas professor whose extensive study of the half-wild, half-domestic birds has been described as “pioneering work.�


the pigeons and the professor Story by Nathan Pettengill photography by jason dailey N.o47 how a group of low-rent, rambunctious townie birds besieged a KU scientist who turned them into the darlings of the academic world ‌ and what happened after their fame


N.o48 The roost was open so the pigeons landed. There, on the top ledges of Dyche Hall at the University of Kansas, they built their nests, cared for their young, cooed and pooed. This was in the late 1950s, and in pigeon terms, it was a wonderful life. On the interior side of that ledge sat one Richard Johnston, an up-and-coming scientist whose office window was effectively becoming an oversized peephole into the life of the increasingly rowdy colony of pigeons. As Johnston prepared his lectures and research, his ledge-neighbors crashed around with their nesting material, mated, pecked, regurgitated and played out the daily dramas of pigeonhood. In scientist-seeks-quiet-contemplative-space-tothink terms, it was a miserable life. Or it could have been. Fortunately, Johnston was an ornithologist—a bird man—and, though a young scholar, already one of the leading authorities on evolution among house sparrow populations. He recalls at first being “amused” by the birds and then realizing that while many of his colleagues were studying the glamour birds of ornithology—lowland Amazonian species or migratory seabirds, for instance—a different opportunity had come flapping to his window. Mad Max birdies Like most all modern urban pigeons, the creatures imposing their regime outside Johnston’s office were descendants of domesticated birds who had escaped their cages and chosen to live out their lives as free birds on the edges of urban environments. Neither pets nor wildlife, they were something equivalent to the Mad Max of the animal kingdom. Many academicians did not know quite what to make of these half-wild, half-urban creations, though the consensus seemed to be to ignore them. After all, biologists studied wildlife and the forces of nature—and these birds, by making a compromising pact with humans, were tainted goods. “I think [before Johnston] people had never really thought about looking at feral pigeons,” says ornithologist Charles Walcott, a Cornell University professor emeritus of neurology and behavior and the former director for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology—one of the world’s leading centers for bird research. “They were kind of regarded among the professional ornithologists as not very interesting. They were not ‘real birds’ in that they don’t live out in the wild, they live in the city.” Rather than dismiss pigeons as artificial creations, Johnston focused on their semi-Frankenstein ancestry. He called them “feral pigeons” to describe their half-wild, half-domesticated status and argued that while they were not a separate species, their history marked them as a peculiar and fascinating subset of birds. Feral pigeons, Johnston wrote, precisely because of their “coevolution with humans” and a livelihood that depended on whether they could adapt to urban conditions, were examples of evolution on high-octane. Furthermore, pigeon populations were accessible (Johnston had only to reach out to his window ledge), numerous and prolific—in short, they could provide an enormous amount of data and opportunity for research. While Johnston’s colleagues might have been sweating it out in a remote South American forest hoping to observe another beautiful, long-tailed Rufous Motmot, Johnston was able to sidle up to his comparatively drab specimens any time of the day. Johnston summarized his research—and that of a growing number of like-minded colleagues—in his 1995 publication, Feral Pigeons. Co-authored with Marian Janiga, it is a readable but encyclopedic study based firmly in a scientific approach with graphs, footnotes and citations of previous literature. The book, which Walcott describes as a “pioneering piece of work,” promoted urban pigeons from pests to legitimate subjects. In the world of publish or perish, Johnston’s pigeons were published—by Oxford University Press nonetheless. Beat that, Rufous Motmot. ‘Masterpieces’ Johnston’s research was based on the simple fact that he observed but also often killed and collected his birds for research—a scientifically legitimate and unsentimental solution to having noisy neighbors on your windowsill. But Johnston, in person and throughout his


N.o49 writings, expresses a strong admiration for his birds, even dubbing them at the onset of Feral Pigeons as “masterpieces of nature.” Researcher, chronicler and, at times, executioner of his pigeons, Johnston was also their champion within the scientific world, their Nathan of Gaza and their Don King of birddom. And Johnston’s birds, as much as birds can, basked in that glory, gaining increased attention in the academic world and even a flattering nomenclature at the conclusion of Feral Pigeons: “Superdoves.” Courtney Humphries, a Boston-based science writer, borrowed this academic nom de guerre as the title for her 2007 book, Superdove: How the Pigeon Took Manhattan … and the World. Discovering Johnston’s work at Harvard’s Ernst Mayr Library, says Humphries, was a “glorious moment.” She took Johnston’s adoration a step further, explaining, in effect, that the uncanny intelligence and adaptive abilities of feral pigeons make them (along with, perhaps, crows and ravens) the Yogi Bears of the avian world—“Smarter than your average bird!” These studies of street-smart, school-of-hard-knocks pigeons have raised questions at the forefront of current research examining the collision of human and animal habitats: How do

Johnston studied feral pigeons by taking samples, opposite page, and through extensive observations of their nests. One nesting site outside his office at Dyche Hall, top, was partly responsible for Johnston’s initial devotion to the birds. Johnston, left, is now retired and lives in Lawrence, where he keeps abreast of current research and feeds birds but has little contact with pigeons. These decoys, Johnston observed while being photographed, are not entirely authentic. “Is the plumage wrong? Do they sit this closely together?” he was asked. “No,” he wryly responded, “they don’t usually have metal clips on them.”


N.o50 humans alter the “rules” for biological evolution by affecting animals’ natural environment? What are the consequences? Should urban environments be considered “natural habitats”? “Johnston’s attention to pigeons was years ahead but similar to research that is very modish right now,” explains Marty Birrell, the director of Lawrence’s Prairie Park Nature Center, “such as studies on coyotes in East Coast urban cities or mountain lions living in what has become suburban areas of the West.” Nonetheless, Johnston’s championing of his “masterpieces” has not entirely overcome the mountain of pigeon-prejudice in the highly competitive world of funding academic research grants. “In general it is more exciting to go off and work on mound-building birds in Australia than it is to work with domestic pigeons in downtown Syracuse,” explains Walcott. “I think if you proposed to NSF [National Science Foundation] that you are going to study domestic pigeons, you would not stand a very good chance of being funded. It would be regarded as not very interesting—which is not true at all, as Johnston well demonstrated.”

The University of Kansas holds specimens, above, and skeletons, opposite page, from Johnston’s research on feral pigeons.

Poison and la bella vita Decades after the Dyche Hall pigeons flew into Johnston’s life, the retired professor now lives at Lawrence’s Neuvant House, in a comfortable room with scientific journals, ornithology books, a recent biography on Charles Darwin and a bird feeder outside his window … but no pigeon-filled ledge. Into his mid-80s, Johnston does not teach or publish but is quick to describe the pigeon studies he would continue “if I wasn’t … old.” The birds that survived Johnston’s studies—and their ancestors—have faced troubles of their own. University officials contacted for this interview emphasized that they do not take any overt actions to ban the pigeon lovepad atop Dyche Hall. But neither have they put out a welcome mat. It seems the Rock Chalk pigeons are being subjected to a treatment that

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N.o51 universities have perfected in regards to lionized but cantankerous old faculty members—they are, by no means, forcibly removed, but they aren’t exactly being invited to department holiday parties or tea at the chancellor’s. Cold-shouldered, the pigeons spread across the city where they have been met with similar frigid hospitality. Steve Bennett is the building and structures manager for the city of Lawrence. His job has many important responsibilities, such as making sure the city’s buildings and airport structures are in a safe working condition. He also has the dubious honor of being Lawrence’s go-to pigeon guy. Bennett chronicles a long history between the city and its pigeons—not always friendly. In the early 1980s, a private company briefly snuffed out the creatures with poison corn, but they didn’t go quietly. Bennett describes “not a good public relations image” as the birds struggled with seizures and violently flapped to their fatal finish in the heart of downtown. In Lawrence, it turned out (though should it have been any surprise?), even pigeons are political. A public outcry, recalls Bennett, saved the pigeons from further poisoning. To this day, some of the pigeon descendents continue to roost in the city parking garage on New Hampshire Street, and city employees are called on to chase them out during mating season to discourage them, “non-lethally” Bennett emphasizes, to keep on tramping. There may be little outright love for the cousins, grandbirdies and other kin of Johnston’s pigeons, but there is in Lawrence at least an uneasy truce. And for been-there-beaked-that birdies, throw in the ceasefire and a few stray pieces of Rudy’s pizza crusts, and you have something quite close to la bella vita. Only one group of pigeons, likely descendents of Johnston’s brood, have created a flap in recent years by nesting in—and spewing their droppings from—the university’s multitiered Mississippi Street parking garage. The pigeons seem to be the only ones in the Oread crowd quite willing to offend faculty, staff, students and even, Phog Allen forbid, wealthy foundation-

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N.o52 supporting alumni who might unwittingly park a high-dollar, plush-leather-seats convertible underneath their nests. As long as the droppings don’t land on your car, you might realize that there is something perversely pleasing about these unabashed pigeons living up to the grand reputation that Johnston helped create for them: winged masters of adaptation. After all, these feralbut-published pigeons are simply doing what they do best: ingeniously synthesizing the laws of their native wild and the mores of their adopted environment, in this case the ivory tower milieu. “I have tenure,” they seem to charmingly coo, “therefore, I poo on you.” m

pigeons with secrets to tell Much of Richard Johnston’s research rests on the work he conducted with pigeon specimens, approximately 160 of which now lie in a large scientific avian morgue in Dyche Hall. Here, Mark Robbins, the collection manager of ornithology at KU’s Biodiversity Institute, opens a long, slender file to reveal precise rows of birds, each with a label attached to a claw and filled with cotton. For those who generally associate “bird stuffing” with “Thanksgiving,” these birds are rather bizarre in appearance—with bright, white cotton bulging from their eye sockets, they look like the perfect cast for the world’s first zombie pigeon movie. Johnston examined these and other birds for tissue samples, size and plumage patterns. Dutifully having contributed to scientific knowledge, these pigeons lie mostly in peace, as do their skeletons, which were separated from them and are now stored in a cavernous warehouse near dinosaur bones and elk antlers on KU’s West Campus. But the cotton-filled pigeons’ most important scientific contribution might be forthcoming. Because ornithology, like many studies in natural science, is drawing on breakthroughs in genetics, chemistry and molecular phylogenetics, researchers are often tapping long-held bird specimens to yield clues locked in their bodies. It is, in a sense, the ornithological equivalent of a criminal investigator going back to a corpse or archived evidence from a decades-old cold case and applying the latest DNA research techniques to unlock clues or conclusive links that no one imagined were present when the case was initially closed. As an example of this, Robbins points to research on the pesticide DDT that relied extensively on samples of birds gathered many years before the general scientific community even suspected that poison’s effect on the environment. What is true for noir detective novels is also the hope of modern research—dead birds talk. It’s unknown what secrets Johnston’s pigeons will reveal, but Robbins says the extensive and meticulously documented collection of specimens “undoubtedly will yield valuable research data.”


Johnston initially established his reputation in ornithology through his research on sparrows. Several of his sparrow specimens, above left, continue to be stored with the KU Biodiversity Institute.

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Steven Barlow’s development of medical devices is supported by the University of Kansas and partly funded through local donations.

is description of them as young undergrads shuffling into 8 a.m. classes with slippers, baseball hats, little boxes of cereal, milk and plastic spoons is probably not unlike the experience of many professors. Steven Barlow, a University of Kansas professor, researcher and director of the Communication Neuroscience Laboratories (CNL), says the most enjoyable aspect of his multifaceted job is seeing these students grow and develop into intelligent, mature people, many of whom become fellow researchers and lifelong friends. “My number one priority here is my students and the scientific agenda of this laboratory,” Barlow says. Barlow’s CNL laboratory is located on Wakarusa Drive in west Lawrence. Here, Barlow and his team research orofacial neurophysiology—how the brain regulates movements of the face and the vocal tract. Most of this research focuses on problems affecting preterm infants. For example, working with Don Finan from the University of Colorado, Barlow created a device known as the NTrainer System, a pressurizedsystem pacifier that addresses

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Lawrence Magazine

/ summer 2011 /

photography by

/ jason dailey


the problems babies in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) have with learning to nurse. “One of the issues facing preemies in the NICU is an inability to learn how to take oral nutrient by either breast or bottle,” says Barlow. “They have great difficulties. It could be up to a third or half of infants in the NICU.” The NTrainer surface pulsates at a low frequency designed to imitate an infant’s natural sucking rhythm, setting a pattern for how the machine is calibrated and used to introduce natural life functions. “We’ll bring in the NTrainer about 15 minutes before a scheduled feed,” explains Barlow. “We’ll turn on the stimulator. The nipple starts to pulse. That’s introduced to their mouth. They’ll receive about three minutes of this stimulus. Then we switch it off for about 5½ minutes. Then reintroduce for another 3 minutes.” The babies are then fed—at this point in the only way possible, through a tube. But the theory is that they begin to associate the feeding with the sucking sensation they received from the NTrainer. It’s a process that Barlow says is usually repeated three times a day for 10 days—after which the preemies are able to feed on their own, without tubes. Other inventions coming from Barlow’s lab focus on treating youths, such as the OroSTIFF, a noninvasive instrument that measures the stiffness of body tissue. It has been used in clinical testing to determine whether surgery might be required for cleft palate. The OroSTIFF, like other inventions, could be applied in projects going to the end of the life span, such as studying patients with Parkinson’s disease. Funding for Barlow’s research comes mostly from the National Institutes of Health but also from local sources such as the Higuchi Research Achievement Awards and the Sutherland Family Fund. The latter, implemented by Todd Sutherland, president of University National Bank, allows the lab freedom and flexibility it wouldn’t otherwise have. “Things get done so much faster,” explains Barlow. “That’s important for students. They don’t have time in their educational careers to be sitting around for two years. The Sutherland Foundation has been very instrumental in

“I keep myself very busy with students and the science. It’s nice to have all this participation by those experts in business and marketing.”

Barlow and colleagues designed the NTrainer and equipment, top right, to assist premature babies in developing vital life skills required for nursing from a breast or bottle. Barlow’s lab relies on advanced technology, right, as well as equipment that is custom welded to save on costs.


Lawrence Magazine

/ summer 2011 /

– Steven Barlow

wellness helping us move ideas and innovations much more quickly than had we waited or pursued other routes that would have taken considerably longer.” Some of the funding goes to lab operations, and Barlow says he ensures they are not wasteful. “We shop at Westlake Hardware. We have our own welding, machine shop and electronics,” says Barlow. “Once you demonstrate proof of concept, then you go, ‘Great. This works. This lights up the brain. We know how the brain responds. It shows adaptation. It shows localization.’ Not until we’ve demonstrated proof of concept and know it works will we invest more, because further investigation will require more specialized materials and machining.” Once the products are finalized, Barlow’s lab turns to outside assistance to produce and market them. The Shawnee-based company KC BioMedix has commercialized the NTrainer technology. Matthew McClorey the president and CEO of Lawrence Regional Technology Center has helped Barlow in the commercialization process. “I keep myself very busy with students and the science,” Barlow says. “It’s nice to have all this participation by those experts in business and marketing.” Barlow says he tried his parents’ patience when he was growing up by dismantling everything he could get his hands on in order to get inside them and examine how they worked. But now he can’t imagine life without the research, the teaching, the mentoring—the nonstop buzz. “I think I would die if I was subjected to any sort of job that was repetitious,” Barlow says. “It takes a certain personality type to do this work. It all goes back to the taking things apart, the puzzle, the challenge of the puzzle. Unfortunately, I think that personality type is just stuck with you for life. Actually, I’m really happy with the go, go, go.” m

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Test equipment sits ready for a subject in Barlow’s laboratory in west Lawrence.

wellness story by

/ Amber Brejcha Fraley


Janna Traver brings world experience and back-kitchen credentials to the University of Kansas Dining Services.

anna Traver, executive chef and assistant director of dining services at the University of Kansas, has a background that reads like a novel. Her parents—he a German Fulbright scholar, she a jeweler from St. Louis—met at KU. After graduation, the couple moved to New York City, where Janna’s father was offered a job promotion that led, according to family legend, to this conversation: Dad: “I’ve got big news! We’re moving to Peru.” Mom [in reply]: “I’ve got big news. I’m pregnant!” After getting established in Peru, where he would open a new factory, Janna’s father moved his wife and Janna’s older sister to join him. Janna was born in Peru a few months later and would remain there for a few years of grammar school until the Peruvian military overthrew the government. Janna returned with her mother and sisters to the United States, first for a brief

Big in Peru (and KU, too) Jayhawk chef presents fresh take on colorful Peruvian potato dish, drawing on family history and culinary training


Lawrence Magazine

/ summer 2011 /

photography by

/ Jason Dailey

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wellness stay in St. Louis and then settling in Lawrence, where Janna began attending her parents’ alma mater and discovering her culinary talents. “When I was going to KU, I was the typical student who was really sick and tired of eating ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese,” Janna says. A friend suggested she look for work at a restaurant, where she’d be able to eat decent food. She began working in the kitchen at Arthur Porter’s (a Lawrence restaurant then located on 23rd Street, where Oriental Bistro & Grill now stands) and was soon smitten. “I started dropping classes so I could pick up more hours at the restaurant,” she says. She was also inspired by the fact that the executive and sous chefs at Arthur Porter’s were women, which, for the late 1980s, was a little unusual. Eventually, Janna told her father she wanted to leave KU to go to culinary school. “You want to be a cook?” he asked, incredulous. “I’m sending you to college to be somebody’s maid?” Janna relates the memory, laughing.

“When I was going to KU, I was the typical student who was really sick and tired of eating ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese.”

– Janna Traver

Janna says working at KU provides the chance to be creative and the pressure of intimidating events that appeal to adrenalinejunkie chefs.


Dad insisted that Janna finish her liberal arts degree and agreed to pay for her chef’s training at the Arizona Culinary Institute in Scottsdale, where she earned her culinary and restaurant management degrees before returning to Lawrence. Upon moving back, Janna worked for Fifi Paden at all of Fifi’s culinary businesses, including the American Bistro in the Eldridge Hotel, Fifi’s restaurant and Fifi’s Banquet Connection in North Lawrence. Janna started as line cook for Fifi and, over the course of seven years, worked her way up to executive chef. Though she says it was tough to move on, Janna then worked for Marisco’s before opening the restaurant in Cabela’s at the Legends and joining KU’s catering department in 2004. Only two years later, she became executive chef and assistant director of KU Dining Services, a position in which she opened the Impromptu restaurant at the Kansas Union in 2007. “The idea was to be able to provide a sit-down restaurant for the faculty, staff and students and keep the price point so that students would be able to come in,” explains Janna. “Our average ticket is $8.50.” While Impromptu is her baby, Janna’s real work is as the head of catering for the university, including her biggest client, KU Athletics, which, as a separate entity, doesn’t have to contract with KU Dining Services. But KU Dining Services also cooks for

Lawrence Magazine

/ summer 2011 /

Causa Limena

(Peruvian Potato Salad)

… 5 pounds Yukon gold potatoes 1 tablespoon kosher salt 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons lime juice 2-4 tablespoons aji (yellow pepper) puree (A true Peruvian specialty, this is one ingredient you might have to purchase online. Janna recommends the Aji Amarillo brand, which can be found at out of Miami.) 2 tablespoons canola or avocado oil 1 pound pasteurized crabmeat 1/2 cup mayonnaise ¼ cup minced red onion 4 ripe avocados, thinly sliced 10 pitted Kalamata olives ¼ cup minced red bell pepper 3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced 12 large poached shrimp

Wash and peel potatoes and remove any eyes. Boil potatoes in salted water; strain and mash, preferably with a ricer. Season warm potatoes with salt, lemon and lime juice, aji puree and oil. While potatoes are cooking, mix crabmeat with 1/2 cup mayonnaise and minced red onion. To assemble potato salad, line a terrine mold or loaf pan with plastic wrap. Layer 1/3 potato mixture, ½ crab mixture, another 1/3 potato mixture and the avocado slices. Repeat second crab layer and third potato layer. (Don’t top salad with avocados because they’ll turn brown.) Top salad with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour and as long as overnight. Invert chilled salad onto serving platter; remove plastic wrap. Garnish salad with olives, red peppers, egg slices and shrimp. “It’s really indicative of Peruvian cooking, because we just use what we have on hand,” says Janna. “This one is made with crab, but I’ve seen them made with chicken or shrimp, or I’ve even seen vegetarian ones made with egg.”

wellness every other department on campus, for events miniscule and gargantuan. KU Catering (a division of KU Dining Services) provides everything from sit-down, plated etiquette dinners for the School of Business to boxed lunches for the Beach Center on Disability for employment awareness training to game-day food for the luxury suites at Memorial Stadium. The food Janna and her crew prepares runs the gamut from smoked salmon and capers to barbecue meatballs, and though KU Dining Services can provide food in a variety of styles and ethnicities, Janna has gained a positive reputation for her Peruvian specialties. At the university, Janna has served campus celebrities, Supreme Court justices, Salman Rushdie, former President Bill Clinton and comedian Bill Cosby. Which begs the question: Is the work intimidating? “Sometimes it’s really intimidating,” Janna admits. “But most of the time it’s a big charge. Cooks are adrenaline junkies. It’s exciting to think that, ‘Wow! I just fed 300 people, the plates were gorgeous, the food was hot, everyone is happy and the plates are all empty at the end.’ It’s a huge, immediate sense of accomplishment.” m

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community story by / Sureva Towler

photography by

/ jason dailey and maggie kruger

The Last June Bride It’s still about true love, we hope, but coed showers, pink tool boxes and tavern receptions attest to changes in other aspects of a traditional bride and groom wedding

Traditions change and fads come and go for wedding ceremonies, but some locations are consistently booked for Lawrence weddings. South Park, above, Liberty Hall, opposite page, and the campuses of Baker University and the University of Kansas, following pages, are perennial favorites.



eddings are stressful and expensive, no matter how many bridal magazines you read, wedding planners you hire or times you have done it before. Size costs, sentiment counts and Uncle Harry is going to drink too much. The bridesmaids will never wear their dresses again, no one knows how much to tip the caterer and the groom is reliably clueless. And there’s the bill. The Wedding Report Inc., an organization that counts couples and costs, reports 1,153 weddings in 2010 for Lawrence, where newlyweds spend an average of

Lawrence Magazine

$20,215 per wedding for a market value of $23.3 million. These are matrimony’s longstanding hurdles and joys. But in recent years, most everything else about a traditional wedding has changed. Purveyors of wedding rings, champagne flutes and sterling silver cake knives agree: October is the new June, and there are more ways to go about saying “I do.” Outdoor ceremonies have become popular because Lawrence has spectacular places to party barefoot in the park: Burcham Park, the Gazebo in South Park or the point at Clinton Lake. Those outdoor ceremonies have

/ summer 2011 /

led to new innovations among florists. John and LaDonna McCaffrey at BitterSweet Floral & Design still keep track of trends for floral designs—gerber daisies and grasses for summer, hot pinkred-orange combinations for fall and traditional ivory-colored flowers such as roses year-round. But they also have developed a nontoxic “secret spray” (a combination of mint mouthwash, lemon ammonia and lemon dish soap) that they apply to the outdoor wedding area to keep insects at bay. Because not everyone can spring for a $40,000 weekend-long, all-event package for their 300 most intimate


Wedding photographs courtesy of

friends at a luxury venue, today’s newlyweds are opting for traditional weddings in unusual venues like the Slow Ride Roadhouse and Johnny’s Tavern. The Castle Tea Room, Lawrence Arts Center, Van Go Mobile Arts, Signs of Life, Carnegie Library, Liberty Hall and Circle S Guest Ranch always promise rainproof novelty. And the popular Danforth Chapel hosts 80 weddings a year, more for alumni and faculty than students. Rich Yeakel, a recent father-of-thebride himself and co-owner at Marks Jewelers, says ring selections for the brides also are affected by trends. In

the past, says Yeakel, couples came in together and usually chose a solitaire. But for the last few years, it’s usually only the groom, “who has been coached.” A popular choice has been the “halo style” ring, a set of smaller diamonds surrounding a larger center stone. According to Aubrey Cain, wedding director for The Eldridge and The Oread hotels, today’s young couples aren’t so young and are frequently combining households. Cain set her own wedding registry with Sunflower Outdoor & Bike Shop, listing backpacking gear for her honeymoon trek

across Europe. “More often than not,” says Cain, “bridal registries list honeymoon savings accounts, and more people are registering at hardware stores for home improvement items.” Down at Cottin’s Hardware & Rental, Tom Cottin maintains a wedding registry and supplies champagne fountains, tents and dance floors. “Lots of newlyweds want drills, recycle bins, tool boxes and appliances for wedding gifts,” he says. “We can even order the tool box in pink for the bride.” Roger Tuckel, longtime proprietor of Lawrence Feed & Farm Supply, claims wedding registries are too newfangled.

/ summer 2011 / Lawrence Magazine



He recommends one of the 100 birdfeeders hanging over his cluttered front counter. “Been married 37 years,” he explains. “Got seven toasters when we got married. Been giving them away as wedding presents for years. As a matter of fact, I’ve got one left. Wonder if it works?” The economy, and people’s tastes, have shrunk seven-tiered wedding cakes to cupcakes, albeit cupcakes as exotic as Guinnessflavored with Bailey’s Irish Cream frosting. Champagne, the ultimate symbol of luxury, is now served in mixed drinks, color-coordinated to complement the wedding colors. Coed showers, carrot cake and colored vests for groomsmen are in. Carved ice swans, little bride and groom figurines on top of the cake and invited ex-girlfriends are out. Wedding guru and consultant Carmen Hocking choreographs approximately 20 weddings each year. She calculates any ceremony requires the bride and groom to make at least


Lawrence Magazine

/ summer 2011 /

community 250 decisions. As wedding options increase, more decisions arise, and few wedding absolutes, including the ideal month for marriage, remain. The old veneration of a “June bride� is rooted in traditions of past centuries. When people took their annual bath in May, a June wedding promised that the bride would be relatively fresh and not yet in a family way, so she could work in the fields during the upcoming harvest. That tradition, along with so much else, is now a matter of preference. Today, more than 2 million bridal couples wonder what is so rare as a day in June? And the answer may well be October. m


/ summer 2011 / Lawrence Magazine


community story by / Dorothea Barth

photography by

/ Dorothea Barth and Jason Dailey

Cowgirl In the 1960s, a young immigrant to Lawrence encounters the ponies of her Wild West imagination

“L In this photo illustration, a young girl leads a pony across a meadow west of Lawrence.


ook at that great blue sky,” a neighbor suggested one day in 1966 as our family, recently grown from seven to eight, prepared to leave Lawrence for Southern California. “You may not see it again soon.” I was 14 and could not understand what he meant. Were we not moving to that storied state where life was a beach

Lawrence Magazine

party? A land graced by endless surf and majestic mountains? The Super Chief rolled through New Mexico and Arizona, stopped briefly in Needles to allow us to experience the blazing California desert, and arrived late at our new home in Pasadena. The next morning, I found the blue-green San Gabriel Mountains as beautiful as I had imagined. By noontime, they had disappeared. I was experiencing smog for

/ summer 2011 /

the first time, and my lungs would long remember. Some 45 years later, I am reminded of the vastness of my adopted country and I recall the Kansas of my youth, my first American home. Our family had emigrated from Holland, and our American sponsors and new neighbors had put their hearts into welcoming us to Lawrence. They found my father his first job at the University of Kansas bookstore and later a job as a proofreader in the journalism department. For several months, they paid the rent on our Kentucky Street home. Their generosity filled our closets (I gleefully claimed a hot pink sundress adorned with frilly rows of white lace). They provided furniture, milk and delicacies such as angel food cake with fluffy meringue frosting, fresh from a neighbor’s kitchen. They presented us with an enormous Thanksgiving turkey, along with cranberries and corn on the cob, which in Holland was not eaten but displayed in vases. They gave me roller skating lessons and violin lessons. And they let me ride the ponies. Admittedly, I was entrepreneurial in finding ponies. Riding in Amsterdam was an elite sport, but the ponies in Kansas were more available. An advertisement on the back of a children’s magazine promised that if I sold enough fresh American flower seeds, I

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/ summer 2011 / Lawrence Magazine



could possibly earn one. That meant selling a lot of seeds, and as a young girl learning English, I knew my salesmanship would not earn me a pony. During our first Lawrence summer, my brother Frank and I—our pockets lined with penny candies, butterscotch- and fruit-flavored—made regular pilgrimages up the hill to pay homage to Comanche, the horse that survived Little Bighorn and was preserved on display at KU’s Natural History Museum. When winter arrived, we sledded down the hill. And when the sun reflected from the melting snow in a dance of renewal I’ve never since witnessed, I ventured forth on my bike. On a five-minute ride from our street, in the direction of the fairgrounds, homes began to have acreage. Spellbound by the peacefully grazing horses and ponies at one such corner home, I sat on the wooden fence for hours, wishing them to come closer and imagining what might happen were I, ever so gently, to slip off the fence right onto a pony’s back. That desire overcame my shyness, and I gingerly knocked on the door to ask permission to ride a pony. I was greeted by a stocky man with a ruddy face and humor in his eyes.

I sat on the wooden fence for hours ... what might happen were I, ever so gently, to slip off the fence right onto a pony’s back.

Photographs from the author’s collection of her, her brother and the ponies and horses that enchanted them as young immigrants to Lawrence.


“Sure, Cowgirl,” he said, “but there are rules. You must always brush and currycomb them first. You shall learn to catch and bridle them yourself. And you must ride bareback to learn balance and to avoid being caught in stirrups.” I soon learned I was not the only preteen in the neighborhood eager to brush, curry and ride the ponies. Fortunately, there were quite a few available ponies, and I would get my fair share of riding during the following three years. At home, I diligently studied books about pony care and the romantic lives of young riders. I sneaked into the annual horseshow at the fairgrounds, where I admired show ponies and horses in all their magnificence: fivegaited and three-gaited, manes braided and beribboned, prancing and pulling carts, guided by seasoned cowboys and sequined cowgirls (one of whom would be crowned queen). Sometimes, our benefactor would round up his young cowgirls, along with a couple of cowboys (I’d recruited Frank to my new hobby), and pile us in the back of his pickup truck for a leaf-raking mission at one of his rental properties. We thought this a small price to pay for our relationship with the ponies. Occasionally, we were even

Lawrence Magazine

/ summer 2011 /

allowed to ride through the streets in procession to our house, always an occasion of special pride. Their names will never leave me. Gentle, smoothtrotting Pinto and her offspring Pancho, both large spotted ponies. Shetlands Ginger and spunky Ginger Snap Kid, a strawberry roan who became a cart pony in shows. Little Shady Lady and her spindly foal, irresistible Chocolate Chip. Later, I was allowed to ride the horses. Red Ribbon was easy to catch and bridle, but once mounted displayed an unpredictable bucking streak. Stately Starlight, a chestnut and a somewhat bumpy ride, gave birth to graceful Sugarfoot. Beautiful Gypsy, white, high-strung and part-Arabian, was elusive but, once captured, goodnatured and obliging. She was considered a promising barrel racer. Dapper Deacon, the elder statesman, was a bay Tennessee walker and his master’s favorite. We accompanied Deacon to his retirement home in Oklahoma City, again in the back of the pickup truck. Three sunflowers, purchased as novelty flowers at my California grocer, adorn my writing table. So much smaller than the towering specimens my father grew in the side yard of our second Lawrence home, the old sorority house on Ohio Street. The house is long gone, as are the ponies and horses, but the Lawrence I left beckons. m

community story by / Katherine Dinsdale

photography by

The Grandma Connections These involved grandmas share ideas for interacting with and helping bring up grandkids, whether near or far

This gathering of grandmas led to stories and ideas for nourishing family connections across generations.



he truth, upfront, is this. I learned—and continue to learn—from the best. Gam, as she is known, is my life model in many categories; a glamorous globetrotting octogenarian. She is grandmother to six grown “grands” and now Great Gam to one. And with that one—who makes her Great Gam—I am now and forever G’ma. The strapping beast of a man I love is now the Skypesavvy silly-sound-making PaPa. And so,

Lawrence Magazine

tick tock, life as we know it has changed. The one we called our Grand Dot when seen first by sonogram is now our darling boy. We celebrate his every move as best we can—since he lives, dadgumit, in New Jersey. Like the new parents we were, once upon a time, we now want to do this stage right. So I bring you, as a not necessarily wise or wizened new grandma, notes from a few grandmother superiors—their examples, I believe, worth repeating.

/ summer 2011 /

/ mark hutchinson

Gaye Groene’s Fourth of July celebrations at her rural northwest Lawrence home mean it’s time to gather for a special family project. Most years each of the Groenes’ four grown children and their families participate in some creative masterpiece, one per sibling family. The results of past summers are on display. PVC pipe flagpoles, each with a different wildly appliquéd and decorated duck cloth flag, line the driveway. Another Independence Day, Groene decided it was time to paint the ceiling of the large deck along the back of their house. She commissioned one of her sons first to paint an accurate compass rose on the ceiling to ascertain true north. The background sky and the rest of the Groene galaxy was left to be painted by each family. The blowing wind, several constellations, the moon and more appeared as the various artists worked from ladders on the deck. Another memorable Fourth, the extended family put together a bottle tree, hanging a variety of bottles, a few elaborately painted on the inside, on the limbs of a leafless tree. What wisdom can Gaye share? “I don’t give advice,” she says. “These are their lives, their children. I enjoyed them all when they were little, and I’m enjoying them now that many of them are grown. It’s a privilege.”

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Jan Roberts is a local grandmother of 10, aged 9

to 29. Several years ago she missed talking with her older grandchildren, some of whom are geographically distant. None were particularly interested in talking on the phone, she found, or even e-mailing. Rather than fretting or fuming, Roberts managed to get one call through to her then 12-year-old granddaughter. She tapped her to help her master cell phone use, first of all. Then Jan moved on to texting. Her granddaughter graded her progress, awarding her several “F’s” before she eventually earned an “A.” Finally, her granddaughter graduated her, but not without some advice: “Don’t text and drive, Grandma.”

Joan Kampschroeder and Jan McElwain have been friends since their own children were young. Last summer they pulled out all the stops and hosted a two-day Grandmas’ Art Camp for eight of their grandchildren, ages 3 to 8. “The days had an outdoorsy theme,” Kampschroeder says. “We made clay bugs and painted rocks like fish to go with a book we read. We built sand castles. We wrapped our wrists in masking tape—with the sticky side facing out—and took a walk to see how many interesting things became stuck to the tape. The kids made English muffin pizzas for lunch. We had so much fun and so many hilarious moments. They are still talking about Grandmas’ Art Camp. We don’t think they’ll forget it.”


Lawrence Magazine

Georgia Orchard

has grandchildren ages 2 to 12 years old. “I let them make decisions about what we do, rather than me driving everything,” Orchard says. “And I’m not big on expensive gifts. It’s about what’s in you, not what’s around you. Experiences are what we’ve tried to share.” Orchard likes to sing to the younger children as she puts them to bed. Once after she finished a rendition of “Away in the Manger,” her granddaughter, then 4, asked, “So, Grandma, how old is Jesus now?”

Ardith Pierce, retired school administrator, says her family—admittedly a musical family—writes “little ditties” for everyone to sing to a new baby from birth on. The songs, Pierce says, “are meant to encircle that child with love.” Her grandson, for example, was given the same tune as his dad, but new lyrics were created specifically for him. It’s a perfect example of the tradition’s simple and powerful celebration of individuality and family connections. m

/ summer 2011 /

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community story by / MARY R. GAGE

photography by

/ jason dailey

Midnight’s Mission A farm provides a missing rural link in the care for and lives of people with disabilities


A comfortable porch stands at the entrance to Midnight Farm’s barn and multipurpose building.


ike most mothers, Allison Frizell envisioned a future for her son. She pictured him in the country, working in the fresh air, enjoying meaningful work in a quieter, less structured pace. The only problem was no such place existed near Lawrence for autistic children such as her son. “I just felt so strongly that if we could ever be lucky enough to try to provide that sort of lifestyle for him, that’s what I wanted,” remembers Frizell.

Lawrence Magazine

Frizell and her husband, Trip, shared their hopes with Mike Strouse, CEO of Community Living Opportunities, a Lenexa-based organization providing services to children and adults with disabilities since 1977. Strouse had worked closely with the Frizells and their son, Tom, from the time Tom was a young child, and himself is a lover of a rural lifestyle, raising horses east of Lawrence. “I come from a farming history,” says Strouse. “When you think

/ summer 2011 /

of Kansas, most people with disabilities are served in cities, mostly in larger cities, but that’s not necessarily where people come from. So the idea was, we wanted to consider offering a rural experience— a living farm experience that somebody could actually live at or work at—but that was inclusive. We didn’t just want this to be an experience for people with disabilities. We wanted this to include the community, students, everything.”

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“The idea was, we wanted to consider offering a rural experience—a living farm experience that somebody could actually live at or work at—but that was inclusive.”

– Mike Strouse

The farm’s central building contains an eating area, above, and stables for riding horses. Extensive gardens, opposite page, allow for staff, residents and visitors to take part in the working operations of the farm.


Lawrence Magazine

/ summer 2011 /

Too often, hopes and dreams drift away to become another distant star in the sky, but this was an idea that fell to earth. Hard work and effort by many garnered the necessary support and funding and led ultimately to the purchase in 2005 of 40 rural acres south of Eudora that became Midnight Farm. The rolling hills of southern Douglas County frame a fresh, wide sky as paved roads turn to gravel on the drive to Midnight Farm. A log pole gate with a cutout metal sign stretches across the entrance. Several buildings come into view. Two are houses where four CLO clients live with two teaching families. The homes, however, are only a part of what has taken root on this rural acreage. Dominating the view past the gate and up the gravel drive is a 22,000-squarefoot building. The red structure appears to be a barn, but that’s not the half of it. The multipurpose building contains an indoor riding arena, a community-size kitchen, several offices, a large gathering area and, oh yes, a number of horse stalls, pens and hay bales like a regular barn. Hundreds of children and adults have had the opportunity to participate in the services offered at the barn and on the farm since the building opened in the fall of 2009. In addition to therapeutic horseback riding and interacting with alpacas, miniature horses and one fainting goat in the petting paddock,


/ summer 2011 / Lawrence Magazine



“I just felt so strongly that if we could ever be lucky enough to try to provide that sort of [rural] lifestyle for [our son], that’s what I wanted.”

– Allison Frizell

activities involving country crafts, cooking, canning, hiking trails and horticulture are offered. Undisputedly, though, the animals are the biggest draw. Stephanie Wilson, senior administrator at CLO, says, “I think a lot of times the people we provide services for feel like they have to be cared for all the time. Having animals around allows them an opportunity to care for something and to play an important role and have value. Also, I would say 80 percent or so of the people we serve don’t communicate verbally. So being with another person or adult, there’s always communication challenges. But with animals there’s not that challenge. You just get to be with them and have fun and enjoy it.” What is clear is that kids and adults of all ages and abilities are having the time of their lives at Midnight Farm—riding, fishing, hiking, gardening, singing around the campfire, petting and grooming the animals, and, like Tom Frizell, who was one of the earliest residents of Midnight Farm, breathing deeply of the fresh country air. m

Midnight Farm N umb e rs There have been 9,000+ volunteer hours donated since the farm’s opening in 2008. More than 200 adults with developmental disabilities have participated in special events at the farm. At least 80 riders have been or are being served through the Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program. The 40-acre Midnight Farm sits 7 miles south of Eudora, at 2084 N. 600 Road. Midnight Farm has 15 animals: 6 riding horses (Aussie, Koko, Vanzi, Louie, Comet and Chance), 2 miniature horses (Mr. Ed and Merry Legs), 2 ponies (Lulu and Buster), 2 alpacas (Reimundo and Ivan), 1 Belgian draft horse (Rick), 1 miniature donkey (Bandit) and 1 fainting goat (Cody).

Midnight Farm was placed in southern Douglas County so that clients with disabilities had the option of a rural life.


The farm has 2 high tunnel/hoop houses for its Green Thumb Project and 1 greenhouse. It also has 1 fishing pond and 10 miles of improved, accessible walking and riding trails.

Lawrence Magazine

/ summer 2011 /

Model: Levon Hiatt Bouquet: Red Door Event & Design


Men are from Mars, but they might like marigolds

Burly Bouquets

Man Story by Pam Grout Photography by Jason Dailey


Ever since the first caveman attempted to woo his beloved back to his den by plucking a daisy from its stem, girls have loved getting flowers. I have a girlfriend, in fact, who refused to unlock the door for her clueless date until he marched down to the nearest florist and brought her back a bouquet. “We’d been dating for a year,” she explains her lack of subtlety. “Guys always say, ‘Tell me what you want.’ Well, that’s what I wanted.” But what about guys? How do they like being bequeathed with a bunch of blooms? If you believe the Society of American Florists, 60 percent of surveyed men said “Sure, bring ’em on.” They even brandished the “L word,” as in “six out of 10 men ‘love’ getting flowers.” So Lawrence Magazine decided to ask the local masculine set—the group we normally present with ugly ties, gadgets and power tools—what they thought of being surprised with a posy. Here’s what our research reveals: A. Flowers are a great way to catch a politician off guard. “Hmm, I’ve never thought of such a thing,” says two-time mayor Mike Amyx. “My wife did give me a plant one time, but the only bouquet I ever got was made of balloons. Sending flowers to a man might be a really good idea.” B. They have mixed results in the end zone. “I’ve never gotten flowers,” reveals Tom Keegan, sports editor for Lawrence Journal-World and, who seems quite unperturbed by his overall record of weak floral magnetism. University of Kansas Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger has a different take on flower power. “In this day and age, I think it’s fine,” Zenger wrote in a message provided by his chief of staff. “But plants may be better than cut flowers. Orchids are actually a nice choice.”


Models: Raymond Munoz (formerly of KerPow Fitness Boxing) and Chris Rhoad (Morph Training; Bouquet: Englewood Florist


Model: Jesse Ens Bouquet: Dahlia Flowers and Events


C. They sometimes come with ulterior motives. “My wife brought me flowers. It was really neat,” recalls Don “Red Dog” Gardner. “Of course, I suspect she might have bought them for herself. Especially when she put them on the ledge where she wanted them.” D. They’re not just for metrosexuals anymore. “I’ve received flowers many times, usually on opening nights or closing nights of shows,” says Ric Averill, artistic director at the Lawrence Arts Center. He even buys them for himself. “I buy a bouquet from the farmers’ market every week. … I’ve become more of a flower fan than I was at a younger age. Back then, flowers were for getting yourself out of major damage done during disagreements.” E. They can make a grown man blush. “I wouldn’t care for it much,” explains Larry “Cowboy” Wiezorek, construction project supervisor. “Flowers are for chicks. But Alun over there [pointing to his buddy], he loves getting flowers, especially pansies.” “The only time guys want flowers,” retorts Alun Morrall, former rugby coach, “is when they’re in a wooden box.” But then he adds under his breath, “Guys like getting flowers, they just don’t want to admit it.” F. Flowers say it with bravado. “After being called out on a medical emergency, we got a big bouquet with cupcakes and balloons,” recalls Ed Noonen, a lieutenant with the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Department. “It was really very touching. We kept the arrangement around the station for a long time. I have to say I love getting flowers.” Maybe the Society of American Florists wasn’t exaggerating. But then fire department engineer Jeff Holland clarifies, “Ribs would be better.” m


Model: Jerry L. Kellogg Jr. Bouquet: Lawrence Sixth Street Hy-Vee Floral Department


Five Hints for Sending a Man Flowers Cary Engle of Englewood Florist and Deborah Bamrick of Sixth Street Hy-Vee Floral provide these tips to increase your chances of masculine floral acceptance.

1. Size matters

“Most men would like to receive a flower, but they usually would prefer a small, very simple arrangement.” — Engle

2. Do a home delivery

“Some men might not mind getting flowers at work. But in a large workplace, the man might get ribbed if he has flowers on his desk.” — Engle

3. Keep the colors masculine

“For men, I try to use vibrant, primary colors. You can use a nice, masculine flower such as a sunflower or a bird of paradise. You can use a rose as well, but go with the oranges or the yellows—again, more vibrant colors.” — Engle

4. Call on the great outdoors

“Think of incorporating native Kansas plants that could actually be set out into the yard.” — Bamrick “In general, men like working with plants outside. They are often the ones in a home that do the gardening. They work with roses, prune them and are proud of them. So a good masculine arrangement might mimic things that are outdoors. An arrangement for men might be bringing the outdoors to them.” — Engle

5. Tap his hobbies 86

“Go with an arrangement in a tackle box if he is into fishing. If he’s a sports fan, have something related to his favorite sport.” — Bamrick

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Behind Enemy Lines Lawrence Magazine travel writer Susan Kraus wanders into … ahem … that city

Outside the arena, Columbia, Missouri, offers plenty to do in the realms of outdoor adventure, dining and art. Venues such as the Artlandish Gallery, shown on these and following pages, have contributed to the city’s strong arts scene. Photographs courtesy Lisa Bartlett.



K, “behind enemy lines” is overstated. But, weirdly, that is how some die-hard University of Kansas fans do feel when they must venture into Columbia, Missouri. They’ll drive over for a skirmish at Memorial Stadium or Mizzou Arena. But stay there? With all those Tigers running loose? Newsflash: These Tigers don’t bite. So don’t just go for the game. In fact, the best time to appreciate

Lawrence Magazine

Columbia may be in the “off” seasons. No crowds, no lines, more fun.

All About Art Downtown Columbia, aka “The District,” is full of galleries, shops, cafes and dining adjacent to the University of Missouri campus. It’s easy to park and then stroll through campus and downtown. There are no hills, so walking is easy. The last few years have brought an expansion of galleries in Columbia. In the new North Village Arts

/ summer 2011 /

Just 10 minutes west on Interstate 70 from Columbia, Rocheport is a tiny river town (hence the “port”) with antiques shops, a few art galleries, lovely bed-andbreakfasts, easy access to the Katy Trail for hiking and biking, and two restaurants— Abigail’s and Les Bourgeois Vineyards Blufftop Bistro—worth repeat visits in a single weekend. In fact, I could easily spend a few days in Rocheport with the following agenda: sleep in, enjoy breakfast at leisure at my B&B, go for a hike along the Katy Trail, eat lunch, stroll local shops and streets, take an afternoon nap and have dinner. Sleep. Wake up. Repeat. Abigail’s opened 14 years ago in an 1820s building with exposed brick and plaster walls and randomly displayed folk art. With the restaurant’s continental bistro feel and only nine tables, reservations for dinner are essential. At my last visit, from my third-from-the-window table, I had a view between display cabinets as chef Susan did her whirlwind dance-at-the-stove: a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of spice, an easy toss above the flames. Abigail’s has a deceptively casual style with artfully prepared, organic food. The menu changes daily, so it’s always a surprise. Don’t leave town without a visit to Les Bourgeois Vineyards Blufftop Bistro, perched over the Missouri River. For more than a decade, I’ve been pulling off I-70 whenever I pass, whether for a leisurely lunch, upscale gourmet dinner or an outdoor “picnic” at the seasonal A-frame wine garden. At a picnic table, with a basket of sausage, cheese, bread, fruit and, of course, wine, I feel that I’m in Germany looking over the Rhine.


District (only two blocks from Broadway, which is the “Massachusetts Street” of Columbia), you’ll find the Orr Street Studios, an industrial space converted to studios where artists work and exhibit. Artlandish Gallery, just around the corner, features more than 40 regional artists and hosts the Catacombs Art Market and Bazaar—deep in the twisty halls below ground—five times a year. “The North Village has always been a haven for working artists, an area with a bohemian feel,” explains Lisa Bartlett, owner of the Artlandish Gallery. She lists two film companies, three dance companies, four galleries, two yoga studios, two clubs with live music, a bead gallery, a stainedglass shop, an interior design office and a music school in the four-block historic district. “We’re now collaborating so that more spaces are open to the public and visitors can get a more complete art experience.”

Along Broadway, or nearby Ninth Street, “must-see” stops include the Columbia Art League, Poppy (its motto is “fun art to fine art”) and Bluestem Missouri Crafts, with clay, glass, wood, metal, fiber and more. It’s an easy walk to the Museum of Art and Archaeology and the nearby State Historical Society gallery with its collection of George Caleb Bingham and Thomas Hart Benton works. For a “dressy” twist, take in the Historic Costume Gallery at Stephens College. And for giggles and laughs, browse Cool Stuff, 808 E. Broadway, an offbeat gag gift store for teens to adults.

Eat Like a Tiger Dining options are plentiful. I could write entire articles on eating my way through Columbia. For continental/gourmet fare, Sycamore, at the corner of Eighth and Broadway, never disappoints.

If you like cooking classes, check out what chef Mike is planning and schedule your visit to include a meal and a class. At 21 N. Ninth St., Red and Moe features gourmet pizzas, salads and mussels flown in fresh from Maine. I found the winter squash with arborio rice and french green lentil risotto appetizer delicious—and ample enough for supper. Bleu, at 23 S. Eighth, under the old Tiger Hotel sign, has a retro-contemporary décor with an upscale feel in contrast to its reasonably priced, tasty food. Bleu’s granite bar, upholstered booths, rounded walls and cool color palette provide big ambiance for your buck. Then, of course, there are the Columbia staples: Heidelberg Restaurant, Boone Tavern (love the patio on a summer night), Hoss Market, Shakespeare’s Pizza and Booche’s. The latter is perhaps most beloved: a

/ summer 2011 / Lawrence Magazine



Fe s t ival s … Ninth Street Summerfest (May through summer): most Wednesday evenings and mostly free concerts and street entertainment sponsored by the Blue Note. Artrageous Fridays (last Fridays of January, April, July and one full weekend in October): gallery crawls plus storytelling, dance, poetry, live music and artist demonstrations throughout downtown and campus locations. Art in the Park June 4, 2011 J.W. “Blind” Boone Ragtime and Early Jazz Festival, June 5-6, 2011 Boone County Fair July 2011 Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival September 9-10, 2011 Heritage Festival September 17-18, 2011 Citizen Jane Film Fest (featuring films produced/directed by women) October 1-2, 2011 True/False Film Fest Annual nonfiction film festival in the spring


Lawrence Magazine

127-year-old dive bar/pool hall, unchanged for decades. I cannot go to Columbia without grabbing a barstool at Booche’s for an overpriced mini-burger ($3.25 with onions, pickles, mustard, ketchup, cooked on the grill in the front window, served on paper) and the best bloody mary I’ve ever tasted.

Great Outdoors and Family Fun Columbia is ideal for a mini-vacation with the kids: plenty to do, much of it free. Twin Lakes Recreation Area has the usual swimming, boating and fishing but also Little Mates Cove, a water playground for kids. Stephens Lake Park has an 11-acre lake with a swimming beach. Nifong Park’s Walters-Boone County History Museum features a historic village. Trails abound, but my favorite is Bear Creek, good for walking strollers or biking. It takes you on a boardwalk on the face of a bluff, a bridge over Bear Creek and a wetland loop. In Rock Bridge State Park, the half-mile Devil’s Icebox Trail leads to a moss-covered sinkhole where the temperature drops 30 to 40 degrees in August (which kids find very cool). And, of course, there’s the MKT Trail, which links to the Katy Trail that slices through Missouri. The Shelter Insurance Gardens have free concerts at 7 p.m. most Sunday nights in June and July. For a rainy afternoon, consider the Kidz Court play area and grand carousel in the middle of the Columbia Mall. Funky flea markets and antiques stores abound. If you camp, there are regional riverfront campgrounds. Most hotels have pools, many with familyfriendly free breakfast buffets. Some even include 5-7 p.m. “kick-backs” with supper-size munchies. Time your visit with a festival (see sidebar) for a budgetfriendly family fling.


I feel a little like a traitor. Because Lawrence is the best college town. The Best. And I’m not used to feeling town envy. But Columbia—well, it’s really not bad. Fun actually. Great music, restaurants, art scene, entertainment, festivals … and very cool parks, trails and lakes. All of which make it a great mini-vacation destination. Too bad they can never be Jayhawks. m

/ summer 2011 /

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events june BROWN BAG CONCERT SERIES June 2 / Lawrence’s legendary Billy Spears and the Beer Bellies opens a weekly free concert series that continues from noon to 1 p.m. each Thursday at the southeast corner of Ninth and Massachusetts Streets. Series runs until July 28. JOHN BROWN’S BATTLE OF BLACK JACK RE-ENACTMENT June 4 / Historical re-enactments with music, guest speakers, storytellers and tours bring alive the 155th anniversary of a shootout that played a key role in the KansasMissouri border conflict leading up to the Civil War. Black Jack Battlefield & Nature Park, 163 E. 2000 Road. Park open 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; re-enactments at 11 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Tickets: $8 adults, $1 children 3-12. (785) 883-2106; KANSAS IRONMAN 70.3

June 12 / International-level and

collegiate championships triathlon takes participants through and around the Clinton Lake region. Free for spectators. (785) 331-7869; FINAL FRIDAYS

June 24 (and the last Friday of every month) / Various venues, including

galleries, stores and studios, host art displays for the public. (785) 842-3883; ST. JOHN’S MEXICAN FIESTA June 24-25 / Celebration of Lawrence’s Mexican-American heritage with music, dancing and food 6-11:30 p.m. in the courtyard of St. John’s Catholic Church, 1234 Kentucky St. Free admission. (785) 843-0109; FOURTH OF JULY SALUTE CONCERT

June 29 / Lawrence City Band

performs its annual patriotic tribute ahead of Independence Day. The concert begins at 8 p.m. in South Park and is part of the band’s regular series of free concerts every Wednesday from May 25 to July 13.

j u ly

SALUTE! July 7-9 / A festival of wine and food, including a winemaker dinner, grand tasting and other events to benefit Cottonwood Inc., the nonprofit organization that works to help people with disabilities shape their future. Tickets and information at (785) 842-0550, DOWNTOWN LAWRENCE SIDEWALK SALE July 21 / Dozens of downtown merchants stay open from sunup to sundown with discount prices on inventory and sales racks spilling onto the streets and sidewalks. (785) 842-3883; http://downtownlawrence. DOUGLAS COUNTY FREE FAIR July 30-August 6 / Tractor pulls, animal shows, barrel racing, demolition derby and other events open to the public as part of the annual celebration. Tickets required for some events. (785) 843-7058

august THE CIVIL WAR IN DOUGLAS COUNTY August 11 / Watkins Community Museum of History, 1047 Massachusetts St., opens to the public for a free exhibit focusing on the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War and its impact on the local community. Local history and community organizations will also be present with information on a series of related events. (785) 8414109. KANSAS STATE FIDDLING AND PICKING CONTEST August 27-28 / The 31st annual free concert and competition focusing on traditional and acoustic music. The event begins with an August 27 potluck dinner and jam session from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the American Music Academy, 1419 Massachusetts St. The competition concerts are August 29 and are open to the public at South Park. Noon to 5 p.m.; (785) 691-7314; www. OPEN HOUSE

INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATIONS July 4 / Lawrence Originals provides food vendors, children’s activities and free live music beginning at 2 p.m. at Watson Park. Lawrence Jaycees provide a free fireworks display with music and vendors at Burcham Park. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m.

AUGUST 27 / Lied Center of Kansas

Spend the afternoon and evening with live performers celebrating the opening of the 2011-12 season and the Lied Center’s new Pavilion. (785) 864-2787

A ll e v e n t s a r e s u b j e c t t o c h a n g e

Lawrence Magazine advises contacting organizers ahead of time. For more event listings, see and Send your future event listings to us at

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