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magazine

smor.gas.bord / 25 Jaysplained—double meanings behind the benevolent beak.

people / 52

The Chronisters want you ‌ to Rev it Up! (for a good cause). $7 / sunflowerpub.com / fall 2015

places / 70

Follow our guide to your best weekend in the Flint Hills.


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lawrence magazine

editor

Designer/ art director

Nathan Pettengill

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Shelly Bryant

advertising John W. Kramer representative (785) 865-4091

ad designer

Jenni Leiste

copy editor

Leslie Andres

contributing Mick Braa writers Becky Bridson Katherine Dinsdale Mary R. Gage Cathy Hamilton Suzanne Heck Nadia Imafidon Susan Kraus Maggie Lawrence Deron Lee Paula Naughtin Cheryl Nelsen Kate B. Pickert Katy Seibel Nick Spacek Julie Tollefson CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Fally Afani Jason Dailey Ann Dean Mark Mangan Tree Mangan Michael C. Snell Emily Steele Doug Stremel

CONTRIBUTING Lana Grove ARTISTs Torren Thomas

Sunflower Katy Ibsen Publishing General Manager

Subscriptions $ 25 for a one-year subscription For subscription information, please contact lawrencemagazine@sunflowerpub.com 645 New Hampshire St., p.o. Box 888, Lawrence, KS 66044 (800) 578-8748 | Fax (785) 331-0633 E-mail comments to lawrencemagazine@sunflowerpub.com

This fall—just as our magazine releases—more than 11,500 Lawrence students are set to return to school. And that number counts only the public school students. Add in the students of Lawrence Arts Center Preschool, Elizabeth B. Ballard Community Center, Raintree Montessori, Prairie Moon Waldorf, Veritas, Bishop Seabury and other independent schools … and we easily have a couple thousand more. Then there are the approximately 28,000 students returning to the University of Kansas. Together, these numbers represent (besides a bit of school-traffic gridlock) probably the biggest single common action of people across the community. There will be some reluctant treks to school. But I imagine a good percentage (if not most) of the students are returning eagerly, expectantly. And they are returning with trust in the staff and administrators assigned to guide them and charged with what is one of the community’s most important jobs. Because despite cutbacks in state funding, teachers in Lawrence remain respected, revered and—hopefully—supported. In a town devoted to education, the annual return to school is one of the most sacred of fall rituals that opens futures, forms lifelong friendships and provides cherished memories. We thought it was time to celebrate that fact. There are many education themes in this issue. Our cover image features three Cordley students who will be returning to a renovated elementary building this fall (more on that in our Lawrencium section). We also have profiles of teachers Linda Reimond and Deb Engstrom (an educator turned community volunteer) in our Hometown Heroes section, along with the work of Michelle and Steve Chronister whose hot rod celebration supports students at the Ballard Center. Nick Spacek introduces us to the University of Kansas music mentor program in our Sounds section, and the Lawrence High School Class of 1955 gathers in these pages to remember their senior talent show that left a legacy still on display. Of course, there are also stories on recipes, art, events, pets and even a cattle roundup with a purpose—and all with a Lawrence theme. But, one way or another, many of these stories also go back to a school, to subjects learning their careers, their art, their way of life from a mentor or teacher. For the educators, parents, staff and everyone who supports a young student returning to school this fall—thank you for helping Lawrence fulfill a most important mission. This issue’s for you. Nathan, editor

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Lawrence Magazine is a publication of Sunflower Publishing, a division of The World Company.

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lm features

76

Bright Seclusion

Near Lawrence, but a world apart, Dave Van Hee lives in a historic, natural setting that he fills with colorful creations

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Unusual Pets

Beyond cats and dogs, a wide range of animals live out their lives in Lawrence homes

86 Making the Cut

In the beautiful land of Kansas cattle country, some essential tasks still boil down to sweat, blood and newly-made steers

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14 | LM Style Fresh for Fall There are many reasons autumn is fashion’s favorite season

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16 | LM Sounds Keeping it old school

departments

21 | LM Bookmarks For three Lawrence authors, memory shapes meaning

25 | LM Lingo Jaysplaining

50 | People Lions, and tigers, and zombies! Oh, my! Aunt Maggie proves, once again, that she has a brain (and a heart and courage!) when it comes to explaining and defending local culture

52 | People Hometown Heroes Everyone needs one, and fortunately Lawrence has an abundance of them

Our favorite mascot’s benevolent smile covers a history of darker meanings

58 | People When They were Seniors … and Chesty was Young

28 | LM Fit The Hike

The Lawrence High School Class of 1955 looks back on a gumptious stage act that created a legendary lion and left a lifelong bond

Three Lawrencians talk about their experience on the trails

34 | LM Gallery CapturE the Moment By focusing on what is fleeting, three local artists reveal their vision of life

40 | LM Flavor Ron’s Keema Matar Years ago, a young student discovered himself and a timeless curry dish

62 | People “… As Anywhere in the World” Like the land he loves, Rex Buchanan’s stories of Kansas can be understated, layered and beautiful

66 | People ‘Kansas is for Walkers’ A University of Kansas fellow makes the case for rambling across the state

47 | Lawrencium The science of distilling one Lawrence theme into essential information …

magazine

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smor.gas.bord / 25 Jaysplained—double meanings behind the benevolent beak.

people / 52

The Chronisters want you … to Rev it Up! (for a good cause). $7 / sunflowerpub.com / fall 2015

places / 70

Follow our guide to your best weekend in the Flint Hills.

ON THE COVER Bus driver Kelly J. delivers students Elliot S., Robert P. and Ava G.W. to Pinckney Elementary School. Photograph by Mark and Tree Mangan.

70 | Places Through the Flint Hills Susan Kraus provides an itinerary for enjoying the best of the Flint Hills for one fall weekend


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14 | LM Style 16 | LM Sounds 21 | LM Bookmarks 25 | LM Lingo 28 | LM Fit 34 | LM Gallery 40 | LM Flavor 47 | Lawrencium

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fashion & style Story, styling & modeling by Katy Seibel Photography by Jason Dailey

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Style fresh for fall

There are many reasons autumn is fashion’s favorite season

Fall might be the best season for fashion lovers. The oppressive summer heat demands minimal clothing for comfort, while the winter chill requires bundling that isn’t always beautiful. Autumn hits that in-between sweet spot. You can layer to your heart’s content without resorting to extremes. Taking advantage of the perfectly crisp weather, I sauntered through the Downtown Farmers’ Market. For my easygoing weekend look, I paired a goldenrod sweater (my favorite color regardless of season, but especially apropos for autumn) with a cozy, classic buffalo plaid flannel and a leopard skirt to add some extra texture and pattern. A casual, carefree felt baseball cap completed the look. Just as the Farmers’ Market booths brim with a cornucopia of colorful choices, fall’s fashion scene offers up something for every taste. Mix and match aesthetic ingredients to create an of-the-moment combination that expresses your point of view.

MORE IS MORE Toss aside traditional notions of what goes and doesn’t go. Let your imagination and your eye for style come up with unexpected combinations. Clashing colors? Mixing different prints? Fancy meets casual? Unexpected textures? Say yes to all this fall! If your look leans eclectic, take it a step further for fearless, standout style. LESS IS MORE If you live by a more minimal mantra, there are plenty of scaled-back styles to choose from. Head-to-toe black is an always-chic choice that can go from edgy to elegant depending on the pieces. Monochromatic combinations composed of cream or soft pastels offer subtle, muted beauty that still makes a statement. Gray suiting is a clean, modern option enjoying popularity this year. ENDLESS SUMMER OF LOVE Far and away the favorite look of spring and summer, the seventies trend is still going strong for fall. Achieve an updated bohemian vibe with long layers, faux fur and shearling accents, flares and culottes, patchwork fabrics, plenty of fringe and any other free-spirited fashions that suit your fancy.

MOD MADE MODERN If the hippie-inspired look doesn’t appeal to you, just turn back the clock a tad more to the time when A-line miniskirts ruled the runways along with simple turtlenecks and babydoll dresses. Just combine the best of Sixties mod look with contemporary sensibility. SHINY OBJECTS If you’d rather not invest in new clothing for the season, refresh your look with accessories. Let big, bold jewelry like oversized earrings and sparkly brooches take center stage. Or, try adding texture, color or pattern to an otherwise simple ensemble with unique hosiery. DRAMA QUEEN Craft a high-impact look with one of fall’s more striking trends: achieve a Victorianinspired look with gothic lace details and high-neck blouses; opt for a statementmaking cape rather than a traditional jacket; or dazzle day and night in highshine fabrics. There’s something so singular about fall. The crisp air blows in and wakes us up from our languid summer daze. Pencils are sharpened. Routines are restored. Lovely layers come out of hiding. Let this invigorating change of season guide your style and help it grow.

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sounds / keeping it old school Story by Nick Spacek Photography by Fally Afani


the westerners When Lawrence’s Westerners recorded their first EP in 2013, they’d been a band for less than six months. In the intervening year and half, those early songs have undergone a metamorphosis that might be the opposite of what one would expect. Rather than growing in complexity, the songs have become far less complicated, says frontman Mitch Hewlett. “My problem is that I over-complicate everything from the beginning,” Hewlett says. “And what we’re trying to do right now is de-complicate all of our stuff. One of our first songs, we just started to hate it. It’s got like, 12 different parts to it. It’s a three-minute song with 12 different parts to it. It’s just too much.” The challenge is finding a balance between flow and the descent into one-size-fits-all pop music. “I don’t want to be a pop band, but I do want to have that pop structure with a lot of weird, dark stuff going on underneath,” Hewlett explains, citing bands like My Morning Jacket and Wilco, but especially Dr. Dog, who writes a lot of happy pop songs with bleak undertones. Still, Westerners aren’t the sort of band to let writer’s block hold them back; they’ll just move on to something else. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of time and distance. It’s a mystery, says Hewlett, in that the song they were playing three months ago might be played the exact same way when they return to it. “But now we’re all digging it, whereas the first time, half the band was like, ‘Eh. This is too much this, too much that,’” Hewlett says. “I think a lot of it’s that, while we don’t have a lot of songs, we have a god-awful amount of material. For every key, I’ve got 70 guitar riffs, so we can sit and mix and match those all day.” All those experiences are coming into play as the Westerners record most of their upcoming record at home. “We want it to sound live and a little raw,” he says. “We don’t need it to sound pristine, so doing it at home is the best way to spend more time on my songs,” says Hewlett. In addition to the comfort that comes with recording in a familiar space (to say nothing of not having to pack up all their gear and set up somewhere else), Hewlett thinks there’s something else to consider. “We’re not all that comfortable in a professional space,” he says with a laugh. “We all get pretty uncomfortable when there’s a lot of money involved. Money and time: when you’re recording at $50 an hour, I think it’s something that all of us in the band can’t stop thinking about. It’s cool, and there’s a bunch of gear, but I’m just way more comfortable doing it at home, sitting around smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, and working that way.”

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opposite The Westerners get cozy with a glow lamp at their home recording studio.

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The DJ Gary Myers started his mobile DJ business in October of 2008, not long after his own wedding. “We had the DJ there at my wedding, and I talked to him, and he was a cool guy,” Myers says. “I asked him a bunch of questions, dug a little deeper, and saw what he was doing. I thought, ‘Hey, I like music, and this would be a fun avenue to go down.’” But don’t think that Myers went into this on a honeymoon whim. He had been in the mortgage business for eight years prior to this moment and had plenty of experience researching and thinking over financial moves. This was no different. And given that the bottom was dropping out of the banking market at that time, his move seemed less rash. Plus, he had sized up the competition—the emergence of pre-loaded electronic playlists. “Here’s the thing: I start off telling people, ‘You can hire anybody to play music. You can hop on Spotify and there are lists upon lists upon lists,’” Myers says. “Am I really afraid of it? No,” he continues, going on to explain that DJing is more than just setting up some speakers and pressing “play.” “You have to be able to read the crowd. The other night, I thought it was going to be a bunch of hip-hop. Nope. Oldies and country ended up being the angle. You hit ‘shuffle,’ it’s not going to do that. It can’t read and see, it can’t take requests. So: Spotify—totally awesome, but not an endangering threat.” And to read the audience, Myers says a good DJ should not necessarily chase trends but definitely know what’s hot and what’s not. Once again, it’s research. “You’re looking at the bridal magazines, you’re on Google, you’re talking to other DJs. It’s knowing what’s going on with the West Coast and the East Coast. They’re not all going to work here, but knowing what’s going on is important.” Myers describes getting his photo booth several years ago, and since then, it’s become a big hit. The photo booth helps make him an “all-in-one entertainment package,” rather than just some guy with a mixing board and some speakers. “At this point, I’ve got hundreds of weddings under my belt. Weddings and receptions—those can be crazy challenging,” says Myers. “That’s something you can’t ask the iPod to do.” Mentors Music Mentors, part of the University of Kansas’ Center for Community Outreach, has been pairing up Jayhawk musicians with young students since 1999. But the program is more than just giving kids music lessons, says the organization’s co-coordinator, Kate Ebbert. “It’s like a friendship,” Ebbert explains of her voice lessons with an elementary-age girl. “We would sit there, doing the scales, but then she would tell me about her day at school and tell me about her friends.”

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Gary Myers, left, dropped the ups and downs of the financial markets for the upbeats and downbeats of the music industry. Baxter Vaz and Kate Ebbert, opposite, coordinate a University of Kansas mentor program helping young Lawrencians study music.


To participate in the program, a student’s parents or guardians pass on information through the organization’s website, and coordinators match them with college students, setting up lessons wherever space can be found. “Some take place in the students’ homes. I did my lessons in one student’s home because they had a piano there,” Ebbert says. Lessons benefit the young students and the collegiate volunteers, says former coordinator Lindsay Frank. Volunteers gain teaching experience and get to share their love for music. “I think most people would be surprised to find out that volunteering can be really fun,” says Frank, who notes not only music majors participate. “There are also engineering students who apply, or people who are pre-med. When you’re in engineering, there’s not much of an opportunity to play your instrument because there’s such a busy schedule.” Ebbert and her co-coordinator, Baxter Vaz, hope to expand the program, making it more of a full mentorship. “We have a lot of needs and a lot of students who want to do it, so we’re trying to figure out what we can expand to,” Ebbert says. Part of that might mean expanding the age range.

While Music Mentors has focused mostly on elementary-school students, they have also worked with some middle-school musicians, as well as some high school first-year students. The only people left out of the program, oddly enough, are some very enthusiastic college percussionists. Because most young students are after the basics (piano, guitar, voice, with a couple clarinets and tubas thrown in), there have been no percussion students as of yet. “We’ve had a lot of KU students who want to teach percussion, and what we’d be interested in is students who want to learn percussion because we don’t have a lot of those who apply,” Ebbert says. “Maybe this year!”


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Story by Katherine Dinsdale photography by Doug Stremel

For three Lawrence authors, memory shapes meaning

Clarence Lang

applying lessons from the ’60s Clarence Lang, associate professor of African and AfricanAmerican Studies and American Studies at the University of Kansas, says his first awareness of civil rights history came from seeing two works of art as a boy. The first was a painting that hung in his grandmother’s house showing what he describes as “the holy trinity of the Sixties”—Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. The second was in Stevie Wonder’s 1980 album Hotter than July, whose sleeve liner portrayed a glossy portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. on one side and a collage of photos from the civil rights movement on the other. Lang draws on these experiences in his new book, Black America in the Shadow of the Sixties: Notes on the Civil Rights Movement, Neoliberalism, and Politics (University of Michigan Press, 2015), but argues in his writing that these legacies must be carefully explored and understood before being applied to current events. “The Sixties left us black members of the so-called Generation X longing for a similar experience of collective transcendence,” says Lang. “But, using the Sixties as our only political and historical compass not only does violence to the actual history of that past, it also fetters contemporary thought and action and hinders appropriate new forms of black activity and engagement.” In practical application, Lang cautions against direct comparisons between the protests of 1960s Birmingham and recent unrest, noting that racial, economic and judicial forces are aligned differently in each case. Race can be an explosive topic in the United States, but Lang hopes his study will provide insight in applying history to discussions of race. “This book comes at a moment when we have opportunity to draw comparisons and contrasts in ways that allow us to think more critically about what we know and where we are today,” says Lang.

book cover courtesy Duke University Press

Where Jitterbugging Hips Sank Ships Sherrie Tucker’s Dance Floor Democracy is a long book about a small place, the Hollywood Canteen, a USO-type

short takes:

when and where

Big Tent Readings Fourth Thursdays; 7 p.m.

Fahrenheit 451, on stage September 3, 7 p.m.

Banned Books Week Sept. 27–Oct. 3

Karen Russell Oct. 15

The Raven Book Store hosts its series of three writers of different genres, a poet, a non-fiction writer and a fiction writer in September and October. The readings are free to attend.

The Lawrence Public Library hosts Paul Stephen Lim’s adaptation of this classic as part of the On Book with Card Table Theater series.

Lawrence Public Library continues its award-winning tradition of creating and handing out bannedbooks collector trading cards to celebrate freedom of print.

The author of the best-selling Swamplandia! will speak at Abe & Jake’s as the Lawrence Public Library Foundation’s featured author for 2015. 21

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nightclub operated by motion picture industry workers during World War II. This was the place where Bette Davis and other starlets lent their glamor to the war effort by dancing with, feeding and signing autographs for soldiers. As Tucker writes, the movie-industry names did their patriotic duty by “being friendly and generous with their time, beauty and fame.” Archive film clips and photos of Hollywood legends jitterbugging with clean-cut servicemen made a powerful backdrop for positive publicity. Tucker, a professor of American Studies at KU, notes this traditional portrayal of the dance hall “not only feels great, it has tremendous healing properties for the individual, the military and the nation.”

“Loving a nostalgic memory is fine, but we have to constantly examine what it is that we are in love with …” – Sherrie Tucker She quotes a movie portrayal of Hollywood Canteen in which a soldier leaps from his bunk with a bodily epiphany: “I danced tonight! Look! I don’t need my cane no more.” It turns out the truth wasn’t quite that simple. Tucker’s book adds new depth to the understanding of Hollywood Canteen by drawing on oral histories from those who were there and acknowledging other subplots, such as battles over mixed-race dancing. Tucker spent hours reading FBI files, many heavily redacted, that noted which celebrities were for and which were against mixing races on the dance floor. Those in favor of integrating were often labeled as suspect communists. “One of the things I was working on was taking something remembered in

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a singular way and acknowledging how celebrating that singular representation of democracy is dangerous. We fall in love with a symbol of how things were or could be and we want everything reconciled to that,” Tucker says. The descriptions of the Canteen that Tucker heard in interviews were often strikingly different from the stereotype. Some of the now-elderly veterans told her of being welcomed on the dance floor regardless of their race; others said they were excluded because of their race. The range of memories is plausible, Tucker says. “I set out to present a very complex story. Loving a nostalgic memory is fine, but we have to constantly examine what it is that we are in love with, what is true about it and what might be missing from what we see.” A Muse to Guide You To explain his new book of poetry, The Museum Muse: Poems about the Celebration of Life, Lawrence author Tom Mach turns to a quote from Audrey Hepburn: “Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering.” Mach imagines a sympathetic museum muse to help each individual navigate personal history. This curator could allow people to understand who they were, who they are now, and where they are going. Mach’s collection is a search for that muse. He writes, … then where shall I find the true museum muse, that marvelous explorer of the labyrinth of life exhibits? If I discover him will he reveal to me love held and love released? will he then disclose to me the pain, pride, and promise of my existence?

Tom Mach

Mach, whose previous work includes historical fiction and short stories, has also recently released a children’s book, Invisible Twins, based on the adventures of two girls who steal their grandfather’s invisibility formula. Fourth-grade volunteers helped Mach as a trial audience. But ultimately, the veteran writer followed his own muse. “I write from my heart,” says Mach. “I want kids to read a good book that uses some big words, that doesn’t look down on them and presents a challenge.”


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Lynn Jenkins introduced a resolution in power emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation power Congress emancipationto progress destruction revenge emancipation emancipation congratulate the University ofpower Kansas on progress destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destruction th its 150 anniversary. The text of H. Res. 180 hailed old KU for revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation valuesdestruction and idealsrevenge of the people who fought died to power emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation power “embodying emancipation the progress emancipation power and emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destruction power destruction ensure Kansasrevenge would emancipation enter the Union as aemancipation free State, asprogress symbolized by revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destruction revengethe emancipation power emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation University’s mascot, the Jayhawk.” power emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation But just which “values and ideals” are those, exactly? 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Marking the anniversary of the progress destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destruction revengeraid emancipation power emancipation destruction emancipation in 2011, the Osceola Board ofprogress Aldermen passed arevenge resolution calling power emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation power on emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation KU to drop the “Jayhawk” name and stop glorifying the “group of progress destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destruction domestic terrorists” who had raided their town. revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation According to the Columbia Tribune, the university power emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destructionDaily revenge emancipation powerresponded emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation emancipation destruction with a tongue-in-cheek statement: power “A Jayhawk is a blueprogress bird with a revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destruction revengered emancipation emancipation progress revenge head and apower big yellow beak that wears destruction boots. It would beemancipation hard to power emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation confuse it with anyone of terrorist intent, though we admit we have been progress destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destruction thepower Tigersemancipation on the basketball court for some time.” emancipation revenge emancipation power emancipation progress destruction revengeterrorizing emancipation progress destruction revenge power emancipation progress destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation destruction revenge emancipation power emancipation So what progress is the Jayhawk? A noble, idealistic freedom fighter? 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As KU professor emeritus Frank Baron detailed in a 2011 article for the journal Kansas History, there was a time when the name of our state’s symbolic bird held mostly negative connotations. The word “jayhawker” first came into the region in the 1850s, when it was embraced by Lane and his forces engaging in bloody battles to keep slavery out of Kansas. By one account, the word derived from an apparently mythical Irish bird with a nasty disposition. “Jayhawking” came to mean attacking and “foraging off the enemy.” And that is just what Lane and his men did in many cases— including the 1861 attack on Osceola. This disreputable Jayhawk still exists in the minds of some Missourians with long memories, and the now-archaic transitive verb “to jayhawk”—meaning “to make a predatory attack on”—can still be found in Webster’s unabridged dictionary. Still, this negative image was undermined by the fact that Lane and his cohorts, however unscrupulous their methods at times, fought under the larger banner of a noble cause—the battle against slavery. Among the “property” liberated in the Osceola attack, after all, were a number of slaves. Thus, over time, Baron wrote, “the jayhawk could represent contradictions: stealing, revenge, destruction, and emancipation.” The history of the Civil War jayhawker was largely written by the winners, and the Jayhawk entered the modern era with a rehabilitated reputation in the early 20th century. “The ‘Jayhawk’ myth has become a spirit of progress and power,” said KU Graduate School Dean F.W. Blackmar in 1926. “Gone has the spirit of robber birds. … The spirit of the modern Jayhawk is to make Kansas great and strong and noble in good deeds. It is a benevolent spirit.” To judge from early drawings of the KU mascot, however, the Jayhawk spirit was still not entirely benevolent. The fiery, menacing visage of James Lane still seemed apparent in some of the early-20thcentury Hawks, especially the World War II-era “fighting Jayhawk” drawn by Gene “Yogi” Williams. In 1946, KU student Hal Sandy was asked to draw a kinder, gentler Jayhawk befitting the postwar environment, and the result was the smiling, big-beaked logo we know today—the friendly cartoon figure who, the university would insist to Osceola’s malcontents in 2011, could never be confused with a violent, belligerent plunderer. But despite the enduring appeal of this robust, happy Hawk, the Jayhawk has still been prone to mood swings. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, for instance, the university revived Williams’ angry, “fighting Jayhawk” from 1941 for a “United We Stand” T-shirt, with proceeds to benefit victims of the attacks. The disposition of the Jayhawk shifts to fit the mood of the times in Kansas. In dark times, the hostile “fighting” bird is resurrected. During World War II, Kansas Historical Society secretary Kirke Mechem reflected on the Jayhawk’s enduring inspirational power in wartime. “As the myths of the Greeks reflected their humor and idealism, the Jayhawk is peculiarly an expression of the spirit of Kansas,” Mechem wrote. “Like the state, it was born in adversity and its flight is to the stars. It is a fighting bird, full of the tough humor of the territorial soldiers who first made it their mascot…. Today its free and fierce spirit flies with Kansans on every battle front.” For not only the KU faithful but for Kansans everywhere, the Jayhawk—fierce, angry, happy, or proud—represents our best and sometimes worst selves, tested in war and peace. But here’s hoping the Hawk’s most grueling battles to come are confined to the hardwood.


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fit / the hike Story by Becky Bridson Photography by Emily Steele

Three Lawrencians talk about their experience on the trails


Creating a naturally beautiful smile designed specifically for you! Joann Renfro

Appalachian Trail Fulfilling a dream for Joanne Renfro entailed being the dirtiest and smelliest she’s ever been in her life, for a prolonged period of time. Five months to be exact. The long, stinky feat of walking the entire length of the 2,000mile Appalachian trail places her in esteemed company considering only one in every four hikers who begins the trail completes the entire length that runs from Georgia to Maine. “It’s an incredible experience,” Renfro says. “You realize you’re a lot tougher than you think you are.” Beginning in March 2014, Renfro plowed through 14 states, experiencing milder terrain in the south near the start and more challenging landscape in the north toward the end, especially in New Hampshire and Maine. Stacking up anywhere from 12 to 25 miles per day along the ridge of the Appalachian mountains, she says the adventure provides unique perspectives not limited to the vast vistas, valleys and views. “It is another world,” says Renfro. “It’s like you’re in this century, but you’re not.” Renfro and her fellow hiking buddies she met along the way survived and subsisted on surprisingly little, but they were able to enjoy modern conveniences from time to time. Renfro says hikers are welcomed into trailside towns, her favorite being Hanover, New Hampshire, the home of Dartmouth College. Some townspeople even welcome hikers into their homes, providing access to showers, washers and dryers; others transport tired trekkers to grocery stores and restaurants before returning them to the trail.

“You realize you’re a lot tougher than you think you are.” – Joanne Renfro “I would always go into town and think I should eat a salad, and then I was like, no, I want a burger,” Renfro says. “Because you’re hiking 8 to 10 hours a day, you’re burning a lot of calories, so when you get into town it’s like a free-for-all, eating whatever you want and no guilt, which is kind of fun. I mean how often does that happen in your life?” Renfro describes the process as fluid; she sometimes hiked alone and other times with different people, whom she refers to as “great, life-long friends.” Removal from one world and insertion into another leads with a trail name and follows with a common goal. “You don’t really call each other by real names. You call them by their trail names,” says Renfro, who walked the trail as “Johawk.” The trail names are another way of separating yourself from unnecessary concerns. “You have

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opposite Joanne Renfro demonstrates the hiking form that helped her conquer the Appalachian Trail.

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no idea if this person is a millionaire, if they’re living paycheck to paycheck, if they’re semihomeless at that point. Everybody gets along and is respectful toward each other because everybody is going through the same thing.” And for Renfro, that experience was an all-time mental and physical high. “You lose your vanity, and yet everybody looked healthy and happy,” Renfro says. “To me, everybody looked so good. Even after we’d been out in the woods four or five days I didn’t think anybody looked dirty. I miss the people a lot. I miss the simplicity and being in the woods and hiking all day.”

Hiking essentials

Dan Kuhlman

What is essential? What is unnecessary? And what would have been nice to have along the trail? Our three hikers answer.

Priti Lakhani

Dan Kuhlman

Joanne Renfro

Essential items Good fitting shoes Backpack Ultralight tent Rain jacket Extra socks/ moleskin/ shoes Repair tools Sun protection Stretchy nylon cord Baby wipes

Unnecessary items

Nice extras

Camera

Change of clothes

Tablet

Feather pillow

Flashlight (a smart phone replaces all) Camp pillow Toilet paper (think leaves and snow) Electronic devices Music Umbrella

Fresh fruit and veggies Inflatable kayak Camp chair A good red wine Shower Bed

Money Toilet

Backpacker Trail runner, kayaker, biker, backpacker, Dan Kuhlman insists the possibility of getting a little lost from time to time can be exhilarating. When he takes groups or his family out to the Colorado or Wyoming wilderness on annual trips, there’s no GPS, no wi-fi. Maps and compasses convey courses. “It’s the idea of going to a blank spot on the map and getting away,” says Kuhlman, a retired teacher and coach. “There are just not that many blank spots left. I feel like it’s kind of almost my mission to get people interested and involved in wilderness backpacking.” Kuhlman himself has accumulated four months total wilderness time in the more than 20 years he’s been backpacking. The trips he leads range from four to seven days and entail 20 to 50 miles of hiking. Hikes usually begin at 9,000 feet and increase to as much as 12,000 feet, where travelers will experience ups, flat stretches and even sometimes the most challenging part—downs. Kuhlman says the initial hikes can be awkward and disorienting, but he encourages people to stay with it. “By about the third day you get into the rhythm of nature,” Kuhlman says. “It takes that long to strip away civilization. You strip away the layers of stuff that’s on you. Stuff that seems so important just kind of falls by the wayside.” Sometimes groups set up a base camp and set out on daily hikes from there. A more advanced option involves hiking and finding a new spot to camp at the end of each day. Relocating a camp provides backpackers the opportunity to test their skills by getting off the beaten path a little more and going deeper into the unknown.


Dan Kuhlman

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Priti Lakhani

“You want to move enough to get a feel for what backpacking’s like,” Kuhlman says. “You really want to pick up and move and reset your camp and find campsites because that’s where you learn—by resetting your stuff up. Finding a campsite to me is part of the fun.”

Ultimately, Lakhani and her friend Scott Hyman were the only ones in the group to reach the summit. What was originally perceived as a hindrance was unequivocally a help to her and Hyman, who appreciated the slower, smaller strides, allowing him the chance to slow down and rest while waiting for his friend. “Basically, the most important thing I realized was my vulnerabilities were my strengths,” Lakhani says. “I cursed them every single day, but I have a humility now for my limitations that I don’t think I had. I don’t apologize for my weaknesses anymore because they served me really well.” The ascent itself, which Lakhani describes as “totally transformative,” is silent, cold and demanding. Lakhani burned 5,000 to 7,000 calories daily while trying to keep her body warm, concentrate on the loose surface beneath and trudge forward with no exterior stimuli or encouragement from others as is the case in other physically challenging events such as marathons or triathlons. Lakhani managed “supreme exhaustion,” oxygen deprivation, pain, cold and the constant threat of falling by repeating the alphabet backwards and counting as high as she could in each of the five languages she speaks.

Mount Kilimanjaro

“I don’t think you really know how strong you are until you’re at your weakest.” – Priti Lakhani

Finishing 14th out of a group of 14 hikers daily served as an important life lesson and assisted Priti Lakhani in her quest to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro—the tallest mountain in Africa at 19,500 feet. “I got to the top because I was slow,” says Lakhani, a former practicing physician and current Cerner executive who took the trip as a fundraising effort for Project Karibu, a Kenyan medical clinic focusing on reducing maternal and fetal mortality. When others were racing to the camps, Lakhani caboosed the all-male line of hikers each day of the six-and-a-half-day ascent, admonishing herself every agonizing step along the way. “I’ve just never been that physically vulnerable,” says Lakhani. “You’re the slowest person. You’re the weakest person. It takes you the longest to go to the bathroom.”

“You’re completely in your head,” Lakhani says. “There’s no way out. There’s no failing. You can’t just say I quit. I’m out. There’s no tapping out. You are completely at the mercy of the mountain.” To prepare, Lakhani spent years researching and nine months conditioning her mental and physical stamina by performing resistance and interval training with a trainer as well as hiking on her own, usually at a 10-percent incline when on the treadmill. “Fear will make you train like nothing else,” Lakhani says. “I don’t think you really know how strong you are until you’re at your weakest,” Lakhani says. “Your life expands in proportion to your courage.”

Priti Lakhani

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gallery / Capture the Moment Story by Mick Braa

By focusing on what is fleeting, three local artists reveal their vision of life

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Zak Barnes / Marilyn Horsch / Nancy Marshall


S

ome artists simply know how to paint the moment. They have a fascination with rich colors and patterns that leads their brush around a canvas, connecting visual rhythms and varied sensations of light and color. Often in these works, subjects become secondary to the brushstroke as one form, shape or figure leads into another. A scene emerges; a sense of time is created, even if fleeting or visionary. And by allowing themselves to be led by patterns, colors and atmosphere, these artists paint first and foremost for themselves, fitting things together in their own way with the hope or confidence that viewers will simply “get it”—a sense of what the artist and one particular moment in their world is all about. Zak Barnes If you shake up a bit of a classical academic painter, add El Greco and the dry, rural humor of Grant Wood and then pour it all out in oils on the canvas with a bold and colorful impressionist style, then you begin to get a sense of Lawrence native Zak Barnes. Zak says he has been drawing and painting since he was 4, but he really acquired strong foundations under longtime Lawrence High art teacher Pat Nemchock, who helped him get a scholarship to the Columbus School of Art and Design in Ohio.

“I didn’t want to be known as a landscape painter, so I started adding a lot of stuff in …” – Zak Barnes “But formal training goes only so far, then it’s a lot of painting, a lot of failures and then something good comes out at the end—I hope,” Zak says. “I started off doing landscapes. After art school, I moved near Cottonwood Falls and started painting immediately. I didn’t want to be known as a landscape painter, so I started adding a lot of stuff in, and it’s all evolved since then—my images of women, dogs, wine, music and such.” Zak returned to the Lawrence area in 2003, painting full-time from a barn-turned-studio between Clinton Lake and Lone Star Lake. Just before the recession of 2007, Zak’s figurative paintings became widely popular, particularly his OPPOSITE Bonnie Apocalypto II is one of Zak Barnes’ paintings featuring the oftenbizarre pairing of a young woman and some attribute of rural life. ABOVE, FROM TOP Big Cumuli Hybrid and Overbrook Overture show Barnes’ preference for both simple themes and crowded scenes. RIGHT Black House Garden shows an abstract work with Barnes’ signature bright colors.

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“Bazaar” series of paintings that depicted women—never men—in rural settings and unusual backdrops, suggesting that something more is going on just off the canvas. Zak did not pre-sketch these compositions, but says he would allow them to evolve, adding “pieces and parts” that came into his head. He is known to work and then rework areas of a canvas until everything fits into a composition that leads the viewer’s eye into and around the scene. Portrait commissions and even abstract images like Black House Garden round out his unique portfolio. Even in a cityscape like KC Prototyp, Zak’s bold colors and brushwork are easily distinguished. “I try to keep myself uninfluenced by the art world and let my own experience and brush take me around the canvas without really thinking about any specific style or technique. I try to go all-out with color and a lot of contrast. I don’t render what I see, but let my head and the paint suggest what’s there. I like to go back and forth with new ideas to keep it all fresh,” Zak says. “Now, I mostly just paint—a combination of plein air and studio work—and I work hard at it every day.” Marilyn Horsch As a kid, Marilyn Horsch drew constantly and enrolled in all the art classes she could. She also loved the sciences, especially astronomy and gazing at the night skies over Meade in southwestern Kansas. Coming from practical parents, she and her siblings were encouraged to pursue professional careers—Marilyn went off to first study psychology and later law. “I joke that I also went to the Marilyn Horsch School of Art—I’d go out on my lone ventures to the museums and galleries, always drawing, always trying to teach myself since I wasn’t off in art school.” In 2003, painting became more of a “have to” as Marilyn began working exclusively in oils. Since then she has exhibited at a variety of area galleries, arts events and other venues showing many of her signature moonlit portraits of landmark buildings, places and interior spaces. “Sometimes a painting is an ode to certain places or people. Life experience really informs art, takes it to another level, and I try to be clever enough to turn inanimate subjects into something that is more alive and organic—in a moment, a movement that the viewer can complete,” Marilyn says. This approach quickly won recognition. Teller’s, Marilyn’s Van Gogh-like impression of the Lawrence restaurant’s interior, was her showcase piece as featured artist in the 2006 Lawrence ArtWalk. Her Driskill Hotel was selected in 2007 for Paint America’s Top 100, a national traveling show that conveniently had a stop in Topeka. And more recently, SouthWind Gallery of Topeka tapped Marilyn as one of the “Artists to Watch in 2012.”

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clockwise from upper left Marilyn Horsch’s work includes Behind the Mask, Driskill Hotel, Teller’s and Kansas State Capitol.

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ABOVE On Target shows one of Nancy Marshall’s paintings that includes objects telling about the characters’ lives. OPPOSITE Rob in the Mystery is a mystical portrait of Marshall’s husband and an attempt to decode his frequent saying that life is perfect.

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While her landscapes have won awards, Marilyn says that she really always wanted to be a portrait artist, and her list of commissions for portraits has grown, including one of fellow Lawrence artist Dave Van Hee titled Behind the Mask. Marilyn is now winding down her law practice to finally paint full-time. “Now I paint like a maniac because I really cherish it!” she explains. She and her husband, Brian, an area optometrist and sculptural ceramic artist, share a studio in the Pinckney neighborhood. “I’ve become a better observer and I just follow where my brushstrokes go,” Marilyn says. “It’s all about creating a vibrant overall sensation, but a painting still has to really pull you in, speak to you with some meaning.” Nancy Marshall As a painter, portraitist, illustrator, potter, art teacher and sometimes woodworker, Nancy Marshall has tried it all. Recently, she has concentrated on commission portraits. “It’s fun to play on the canvas with how and where I see them, their reflections in objects or include things that say something about them,” Nancy says. The people, objects and places she assembles seem to work together as interconnecting clues to illustrate some moment or narrative about the subject that Nancy has discovered. Reoccurring objects like a strand of pearls are used as visual reminders, dividers or links to the story. Taken together, these scenes are curious, mysterious and at times mystical—like theatrical backdrops. Rob in the Mystery is a mystical portrait about her husband, with visual clues to his proclaimed “perfect life.” In On Target, Nancy creates a sort of super portrait and still life that seems to include a lifetime of clues and artifacts from the lives shared by the subjects. “I look for images that are connected, so my painting tries do everything at once. I call it narrative or storytelling because you can still pick out recognizable images and objects that build a story,” Nancy says. “Paintings sort of have a life of their own, and before they’re done I like to just live with them a bit just to see if I need to add or change something.” Adding and changing in painting become a metaphor for life which, of course, is reflected again on canvas as Nancy paints the people around her, sharing food and drink, nature, where they live, and some observation about them or a particular place. “Life experiences are so full of layers and intense colors,” Nancy says. “Painting allows me to be creative, introspective and even tell some stories at the same time. It’s a way to start revealing those layers.”


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flavor Story by Paula Naughtin Photography by Doug Stremel

Years ago, a young student discovered himself and a timeless curry dish

Ron Schorr

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Ron Schorr credits his move to Kansas for introducing him to a world of rich music, art, and recipes. Though he grew up in New York City, his culinary experiences were limited to his mother’s Old World cooking style. And the restaurants in New York weren’t that easy to access; even when he attended the City College of New York, Schorr lived with his parents, commuted one and a half hours each way, worked part-time, and didn’t have money to try new dishes. That changed in 1965, when Schorr came to the University of Kansas as a post-graduate student in entomology. Boarding with other students, he met Surjit Singh Chhatwal, a Punjabi doctoral student in chemical engineering.

“Both of us were cleaning the kitchen more than anyone else did and had very similar tastes in terms of sanitation,” recalls Schorr. “He was a really wonderful person and he knew how to cook. And I didn’t know how to cook. My joke is I couldn’t boil water before I came here.” Under Chhatwal’s guidance, Schorr learned an entire range of curries and other new dishes. But learning to cook wasn’t the only new experience for Schorr. “When I came to Kansas, I found myself. I’d go over to the Union and find people there, I’d meet people through Surjit. It just kind of opened my eyes,” says Schorr. “It was a totally new experience.” For the first time in his life, he also had the time to attend events such as chamber music concerts at Swarthout Recital Hall and, when he got a car, shows at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. Schorr also made discoveries in his own career. He found that inventing and making the micro-dissection

“My joke is I couldn’t boil water before I came here.” – Ron Schorr


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tools needed for his field of study was actually more satisfying then studying the bugs themselves. At about the same time, an aunt gave him a pocket watch, and its inner workings intrigued him. He repaired the watch with tutelage of some Lawrence watchmakers and began doing clock repairs for four jewelers in town. Eventually, he left entomology and took a staff position with the university “tinkering for the mechanical engineering department” before working as a computer lab technician and retiring in 2011. Now, Schorr lives with his wife, Georgann Eglinski, in a bright house that glows with color, inside and out, just west of the KU campus. Eglinski, a lawyer, worked for a law firm in Kansas City before becoming an associate dean at the KU Law School. Like Schorr, she is now retired, and the couple have more time to explore their interest in cooking with the International Dining Club (see Lawrence Magazine, spring 2010) and to create new dishes. But one of Schorr’s favorites remains Keema Matar, an early dish that he learned years back from

Vera

Bradley

trapp candles

Chhatwal. The big difference now is that after decades in the kitchen, Schorr is a confident chef, changing the flexible recipe, which is made with beef or lamb, to his taste—even if it means dropping out a common ingredient. “I don’t like cumin, a lot of recipes put cumin in it. It’s a curried dish,” says Schorr, who uses a red curry he adapted. “The other thing that has always amused me is it’s heavy in the Cs. Which is to say it has cloves, it has coriander, it has cayenne, it has cinnamon, and a few other Cs.” But not cumin. Or maybe, if you want. After all, whoever makes the recipe gets to decide. And having once been a novice chef himself, Ron Schorr isn’t one to take away the joy of discovering new tastes in the kitchen.

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This recipe can be prepared a day before, allowing flavors to meld and improve. For a more complex flavor, you can add a teaspoon or so of garam masala spice mixture. Schorr prefers the blend available at the Merc. Don’t use ground beef that is too lean. Fat is needed for flavor. Ingredients: 1 3/4 lbs ground beef, 85% lean (can also use ground lamb) 3 tbs canola or other cooking oil 2 medium onions, finely chopped, about 12 oz. 3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed, more is ok 1 tsp ground turmeric 1 tsp whole cloves 3/4 tsp salt or to taste 1/2 tsp black pepper 1/2 tsp paprika 1/2 tsp chili powder 1/4 tsp cayenne (more or less depending on strength) 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks 1 tsp ground coriander 1 cup frozen petite sweet peas 3/4 cup water 1 tsp Garam Masala (optional)

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Instructions: 1) In a 5-quart pot, brown the meat, breaking up lumps. Transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon and discard fat. 2) While meat is cooking, mix all dry ingredients, except coriander, and reserve. 3) Sauté onions until they start to brown, stirring regularly. 4) Add garlic and continue to heat for another couple of minutes. 5) Add all dry ingredients except coriander, and continue to heat, stirring, until it starts releasing fragrance. Feel free to use more spices, or correct later. 6) Add ground beef to sautéed onion mixture 7) Add 3/4 cup water. 8) Heat mixture until it boils then turn heat down to low and heat another 15 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally. If pot bottom get dry, add a bit more water. 9) Mix in peas. 10) Simmer 8-10 minutes. 11) Transfer to bowl. 12) Sprinkle with coriander. Serve over rice.


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usd 497

Transportation

78 daily bus routes 2,500 bus riders

1Travelmillion miles annually never too late ...

Faculty breakdown

1,823 individuals

Number of undergraduate students at KU, 2014-15

54 administrators

1,057 licensed, certified teachers

712 classified educational support staff Source: Julie Boyle, communications director, Lawrence Public Schools

586 Ages 40-49: 137 Ages 50-59: 54 Ages 60+ : 53 Ages 30-39:

This issue’s theme:

s c h 2 ool k c a b compiled by Nadia Imafidon

Source: Office of Institutional Research and Planning at the University of Kansas

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School Wisdom Our genius panel from the Pinckney Think Tank Institute of Pinck-Thinkology—Ava G-W, Elliot S, and Robert P.—answer these questions about the upcoming school year.

One:

What are three magical things that could help you do well at school this year?

Ava

• Superpower of always knowing the right answer • Becoming a mermaid to swim through the halls and on the playground • The help of Mrs. T [a veteran Pinckney teacher]

Elliot

Students from Cordley Elementary School who have been attending East Heights since fall of 2014 can now rejoice. Their “transformed home” awaits them in August, says John Wilkins from Gould Evans, the firm overseeing the transformation. Prepare for a number of additions and renovations to the historic 1950s building.

Some features of the construction project include: • An additional 20,000 square feet to the building

Why would I need magic?

Robert

• The school year would be extended • But … recess would last all day • And … students would be made of jelly beans

• New classrooms • A new cafeteria • A new library, which now serves as “the heart of the school,” and will be 3 times larger than the previous library

Two: Why do

Three: Four: Five: What is one If you were If you weren’t

• The entrance on the south side of the building has been restored to include a new administration area

people go to school?

thing you want to learn?

• A final bill of $7.5 million

Ava

Ava

To learn and have fun

Elliot To learn

Robert To learn and be smart

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Fractions

Elliot

To play the recorder in music class

Robert

Math and more math

to choose a new mascot for the school, what would it be?

going to school this year, where would you go instead?

Ava

Ava

Seals

Elliot Lions

Robert Sharks

To Raintree Montessori

Elliot

Disneyworld for the whole, entire year

Robert

To Broken Arrow School


Lions, and tigers, and zombies!

oh,my! Aunt Maggie proves, once again, that she has a brain (and a heart and courage!) when it comes to explaining and defending local culture

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Story by Maggie Lawrence

illustration by Lana Grove

Dear Aunt Maggie, My 12-year-old daughter is begging me to let her attend this year’s Zombie Walk in Downtown Lawrence. I am terrified of zombies and have no idea where this awful zombie craze came from. It seems cultish and dark, with no redeeming social value. My daughter insists it’s “just for fun,” but I can’t believe there’s not some hidden agenda to the whole ugly, undead business. What should I do? Horrified in Hutton Farms West

Dear Horrified, You’re right, Mom. There is a hidden agenda. Unknown to many, the annual Zombie Walk has always been a benefit for a local charity. Last year, for example, proceeds from T-shirts sales and something called the “Blood Booth” went to the Lawrence Humane Society. So, don’t worry. The only danger here is some dirtier-than-usual laundry. If you’re that worried, why not join your daughter in the walk? The costume is easy-breezy to make and you might enjoy it in spite of yourself. But, beware. The Zombie Walk is typically scheduled in early October, not as close to Halloween as you might think. Check them out on Facebook to be sure. Have fun!


Dear Aunt Maggie, My daughter is holding her wedding in Lawrence this fall. The guest list includes several groups of friends from the East and West coasts. The bride and groom live out of town, but both are from this area. As Kansas natives, they have been subjected to the tired-butinevitable teasing: “Hey, Dorothy! Where’s Toto?” “Watch out for flying monkeys!” “Killed any witches lately?” And the pièce de résistance: “You’re not in Kansas anymore!” The kids are used to the abuse and take it in stride, but they would like to show their wedding guests the real Lawrence, Kansas, in the form of welcome baskets in every hotel room. And their one request is, in my daughter’s words: “NO WIZARD OF OZ SOUVENIRS OF ANY SORT!” Maggie, I don’t want to spend a fortune on this, but I would like to put our best Larryville foot forward for my daughter’s special weekend. Do you have any suggestions for me? MOB in Bauer Farms

Dear MOB, Aunt Maggie never got her gingham bloomers in a bunch over those old Wizard of Oz jokes. After all, it’s arguably one of the greatest, most popular movies ever made and, wicked twisters notwithstanding, it’s not like it put Kansas in a bad light. Shoot, I’d give my ruby red house slippers to live on an idyllic spread like the Gales’. And, those familiar-looking farmhands could really come in handy at harvest time. Besides, what’s not to love about a young Judy Garland singing her heart out next to a pigsty? Still, I know it can be annoying when that’s the only

Aunt Maggie, or Maggie Lawrence, is the pen-name for a longtime Lawrence resident who knows the Sidewalk Sale so darn well that she completes all of her holiday shopping before noon and spends the rest of the day shouting out words of encouragement from the outdoor patio of Free State Brewery.

reference people can come up with to our home state. (I guess we should be thankful they don’t mention the state budget deficit that’s deeper than Aunt Maggie’s storm cellar.) Anywho, to answer your question: How about some local honey or jam from the Lawrence Farmers’ Market, along with a loaf of Wheatfields bread and a quart of Free State beer? (Now, there’s a feast fit for the Wizard right there!) As for activities, I’ve found that big-city types go ga-ga over Mother Nature. And, since an EF-5 tornado isn’t very likely in the fall, why not send them out to see some of Lawrence’s naturally beautiful autumnal sights? A walking tour of Old West Lawrence will show them some of the prettiest trees in town and gorgeous iconic homes of all sizes and styles. Or, send them out to one of our many walking trails for a less manicured view. If there’s time, recreate a mini farm tour for the city folk including Pendleton’s, Holy-Field Vineyard, Ad Astra Alpacas, Vertacnik Orchard and, of course, Schaake’s Pumpkin Patch. After they experience a taste of rural life, a stroll through some Downtown Lawrence shops is sure to yield more sophisticated souvenirs than flying monkey key chains and Yellow Brick Road snow globes. Get all the brochures and maps you need for those welcome baskets at the Lawrence Visitors Center in the old Union Pacific Depot in North Lawrence. And give my best to the happy couple!


hometown

heroes Story by Nathan Pettengill

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Illustrations by Torren Thomas

Linda Reimond In Linda Reimond’s world, toy cars become paint rollers, salad spinners fling paint on paper-plate canvases and penny-roll holders have been fashioned into the fingers of a robotic hand. And yet, when Reimond founded the Lawrence Arts Center preschool program 30 years ago this fall, she did not necessarily plan any of these activities in advance. The best traditions of her class emerged from children doing what they do best: exploring, experimenting and playing. Reimond, who grew up in Wichita and took degrees at Wichita State University and Emporia State University, has championed creative play throughout her career as an earlychildhood educator. In describing the teaching philosophy that she and her staff have developed in working with children ages 3-5, Reimond frequently draws on concepts such as “open-ended,” “choices,” “confidence,” and “independence.” Given a spacious, safe and stimulating environment, children in Reimond’s classes mentor one another, negotiate who takes Top 3 Characteristics the lead, and go about the of a Good Teacher important task of play. This approach has won 1. Likes kids. national recognition from the Henry Ford Foundation, 2. Has patience. which tapped Reimond for a 2015 Teacher Innovation 3. Can speak a kid’s Award. Reimond’s teaching language. Doesn’t also has won the admiration talk down to kids. of generations of Lawrence preschoolers and their parents, such as Christine Schneider. A professional illustrator and artist, Schneider praises Reimond for exposing children to a variety of art, without pressure. Schneider chose to send her daughter, Emmeline, to Reimond’s class and describes the scene as “kids playing, enjoying what they were doing in an atmosphere of freedom.” Emmeline, now in eighth grade at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School, says she is impressed that Reimond still remembers her by name and takes a genuine interest in her development. For Reimond, these are true rewards—along with the honor of working with some of the city’s most active, inquisitive minds. “It is a joy to watch a child bloom and blossom here,” says Reimond. “They are innocent and creative. They don’t see that they can’t do things. It’s just a joy ... and it’s a lot of work. But I think I have the best job in Lawrence. Super kids. Super families.”

Linda Reimond’s


Linda Reimond’s

Top 3 Career Highlights

1. The 2002 move from the Carnegie Building to the building on New Hampshire Street “The kids were nervous, the families were nervous. Everything was virtually moved out, but we left a few things: some wagons and some blocks. So we loaded up the wagons and had a wagon train and came here.” 2. Being accepted as a new teacher in Tulsa. “It was 1970. Tulsa was segregated and they were going to lose federal funding if they did not integrate. And integrate the teachers as well. I had been teaching for one year, so I knew they were going to move me, and I was fine with that. And I was accepted into that new school, by the kids, by the staff and—when the principal, an AfricanAmerican man, went with me to visit the families at home—by the parents. And they asked me to return.” 3. Receiving the Henry Ford Foundation Teacher Innovation Award “I have been honored to receive a variety of awards, but this one, first of all, means that early childhood education and perhaps non-traditional education has been recognized on a national level.”


Michelle Chronister’s

Top 3 Types of Hot Rods 1. ’59 Pontiacs 2. Low-rider vintage Cadillacs 3. Vintage Impalas

Steve Chronister’s

Top 3 Types of Hot Rods 1. Rat rods 2. Old-school stretch cars 3. Old-school race cars (1940s-1960s)

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Michelle and Steve Chronister Lawrence’s hot rod car show, Rev It Up! Hot Rod Hullabaloo, marks its seventh annual gathering this year— but the origins of the event stretch back decades and across states. Over 15 years ago, in Nevada, Michelle Chronister was a single mother with five kids and no extra cash for the holidays. To her surprise, a group of strangers stepped in. “Our family got adopted by a business—I didn’t even know that even existed—they called me and said people would be coming to my house to drop off some Christmas stuff,” recalls Michelle. “They showed up in several SUVs. They brought us a Christmas tree, lights, stockings for the kids, food, gifts—everything was wrapped—I had never seen such a Christmas like that in my life. I just knew that some day it would come back around, that I would be able to do that.” And she did. Fast forward to Kansas in 2008, Michelle was then in a blended marriage with Steve, and together they came up with the idea of creating a charity event based on one of their shared passions: motor cars with attitude. Rev It Up—now a gathering of 350 rat rods, muscle cars, vintage classics and more—has been an annual fall tradition benefitting first GaDuGi Safe Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters Top 3 Elements for of Douglas County, Just Food a Good Car Show and (for the past three years) The Ballard Center. 1. Good weather. Rev It Up provides over $6,000 each year through 2. Good food. the Chronisters’ parent charity, Be Your Best Self. 3. Good music. This money is sent as an (If you have those three, unrestricted donation to the cars will follow.) Ballard, a community center that provides food, essential items and childcare. Megan Stuke, Ballard’s director of development, says the donation from the Chronisters covers the staff and material expenses for five children to receive 3 months of care. But none of the fundraising would be possible without the event’s core focus: a rockabilly romance of motors, music and mean metal. The Chronisters note that as the years go by, more and more hot rod shows spring up across the United States, with at least 10 other major shows in the region. That love for hot rod culture and music is a good thing, but also means the event must compete to attract the best cars. Fortunately, the Chronisters say Rev It Up has built up a reputation for a well-run event, thanks to work from fellow hot-rod enthusiast and co-organizer Curt Schontz, the enthusiasm of some 50 Ballard volunteers on the day of the event and the generosity of the car community. “Car people are some of the most generous people I have ever known,” says Michelle. “Most of the people who have hot rod cars are older people, financially stable and they care about what is going on in the community.”

The Chronisters’


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Deb Engstrom Everyone has their signature Thanksgiving recipe. Here’s Deb Engstrom’s: Ingredients: 1 anonymous turkey donor, 30 religious groups (each with a particular side-dish specialty), nearly the entire staff and all of the kitchen at Maceli’s, some 600 milk cartons from LMH caterer Unidine, 400 delivery bags from Checkers, 50 volunteer drivers, a complicated system of index-card address listings, prayers for good weather (along with a standby network of 4x4 vehicles) and a good night’s sleep. Coordinate all ingredients. Mix together on Thanksgiving Eve. Bake. Slice. Scoop. Pack. Load. Deliver. Serve. Preparation time: One full day, plus weeks of planning. Yields: Approximately 600 community Thanksgiving meals. A lifelong special education teacher who served 22 years at Lawrence High School, Engstrom began volunteering with the Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen (LINK) and delivering meals for this organization’s annual community Thanksgiving meal in 1994, when the event was still run by longtime coordinators Terry and Jack Connolly. In 2006, Top 3 Reasons to Volunteer when the Connollys at a Community Meal decided it was time to retire from the event (and 1. Serving meals can teach children spend the Thanksgiving and teens the importance of holiday celebrating their community service. 50th wedding anniversary), 2. A community meal can bridge all social, cultural, economic Engstrom stepped in as and political barriers that might coordinator. otherwise separate people from Under Engstrom’s one another. direction during the past 3. Giving of yourself is an antidote decade, the all-volunteer, to a season that can otherwise free-to-all Thanksgiving become too focused on eating, meal has grown getting and buying. tremendously in numbers, from approximately 120 individual meals to 600. Engstrom estimates that 200 of those meals are served as part of the community gathering at the LINK dining room of First Christian Church, with the remaining 400 meals delivered to senior citizens or others unable to leave their home. Fortunately, Engstrom can tap a deep level of support for the task. “LINK has a real solid core of volunteers,” says Engstrom. “There are people who have been coming to help for 10 years. Everyone has their job and their system. I hand the reins over to them.” Other reins have been handed over as well. When Brower and Mary Burchill stepped down recently from coordinating LINK’s community Christmas meal (similar to the Thanksgiving production, but approximately twice as large in scale), their second-in-command (guess who) stepped in. “My chronic inability to say no,” explains Engstrom. And Lawrence can be grateful that Engstrom has, at least, that particular weakness.

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Deb Engstrom’s

Top 3 Holiday Rescues

1. The year of the big snow In 2008, a tremendous snowstorm hit Lawrence on Christmas, leaving the freshly cooked turkeys from Doug Holiday of Bigg’s BBQ trapped on the road. A special snow plow, along with a rescue brigade of volunteers with shovels and 4x4 vehicles brought the turkeys into the kitchen. 2. The year of the baker You can’t have Thanksgiving turkey without rolls. For many years, they were baked and donated by M&M Bakery. But one year, the baker had a health crisis and was unable to prepare the rolls. Last minute calls led to Checkers providing rolls at a discounted rate. Holiday saved. 3. The year of the key-drop Thanksgiving almost became a lock-out when Engstrom dropped the keys to the kitchen down an elevator shaft inside the host church. Fortunately, someone had a spare key. And the original keys were retrieved months later during a routine elevator inspection.

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when they were seniors …

and chesty was young The Lawrence High School Class of 1955 looks back on a gumptious stage act that created a legendary lion and left a lifelong bond

S

ome of the old folks—we’re talking about the ones in 1955, not the present company—said it couldn’t be done. They worried about homework, bedtime and naïve enthusiasm. But now, as the Lawrence High School class of ’55 prepares for its 60-year reunion, this group of once very young and wide-eyed students proudly looks back on an ambitious plan that won over their skeptical elders and created a Lawrence landmark. Of course, now there are different recollections of how it all began. Some might chalk that down to old age and memory, but even five decades ago there seemed to be a question of who came up with the idea. Great minds think alike, even if they do eventually age, and at least one or two heads in the Lawrence High School senior class of 1955 decided, at some point rather late in their last semester of school, that their class of ’55 would go out in style, leaving behind a gift that would outshine any other class’s legacy. They would commission a statue. It would be big. It would be magnificent. It would be their mascot—the Chesty Lion—cast in bronze. It would take a lot of money. So the seniors decided to produce a variety show, sell tickets and raise money. They presented their idea, which they called Calendar Capers, to the school staff. And, as Sharon Wagner recalls, it wasn’t particularly well received. “Most of the teachers were opposed to it because we would be up until 9 or 10 at night. Then we had to go home and do our homework,” says Wagner. “Really? I went to bed,” interjects Pete Anderson. As these two sit around a dining-room table at a Lawrence Presbyterian Manor townhome with other

Class of ’55 graduates, more memories emerge. “We had one classmate, Charlie Coleman, who sang ‘Unchained Melody.’ He brought the house down. People were standing up cheering when he sang that song,” remembers Tudy Youngberg. “I was involved in helping with scenery production and that kind of thing,” says Eugenia Bryan. “I was in a guitar group,” adds Johnson Shockley. But others recall Shockley and his amazing gymnastic abilities in another number titled “Tumbling Weeds.” Shockley doesn’t remember that skit, which is not too surprising given that students performed in several acts and in numerous roles that evening. “It was totally produced and directed by the class,” Youngberg says. Bryan adds, “As far as we know this was the first student-initiated project.” Although some teachers, such as choral director R. Wayne Nelson, assisted the students, the seniors were the ones who created the 12-act production with each act dedicated to a month and featuring musical performances, specialty numbers, skits and a fashion show. Also unique was the number of students involved in the project. “It was exactly 50 percent of our class that participated, which is fabulous,” says Youngberg. Because the show was a fundraiser, everything involved in the production was a donation. “I was in a dance review, and we had to buy and make our own costumes,” recalls Wagner. “We footed the bill for our own participation, and that’s why we were able to raise $700. If we had paid everybody money, we wouldn’t have raised anything.”

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Story by Cheryl Nelsen

photography by Mark and Tree Mangan


Members of the Lawrence High School Class of 1955 gather around the school’s Chesty Lion statue, which they donated as a senior gift.


The $700 paid for the statue, as far as the classmates knew— though some speculate that parents silently and heroically put them over the top on final expenses—and other costs were absorbed by Lawrence High graduates who donated their time or materials free or at a reduced cost. LHS graduates who owned Green Brothers Construction— Bob, ’43; Cecil, ’42; and Pat, ’42—built the base for the statue and sidewalks around it. Elden Tefft, a 1939 LHS graduate and a University of Kansas professor of sculpture, designed and created the statue. “All the graduates saw an opportunity to give back to the school, and that helped immensely in this project,” Shockley says. “I think a part of our approach was, yes, this is a great idea, and it’s so exciting, and it’s a big deal, and we can do it,” Bryan says. The class had a clear vision of what the project should be, but the work to produce the statue took more time than anticipated. A pedestal for the lion sat empty in the circle drive at the back of LHS for almost four years. Initially, a Kansas City artist and engineers were enlisted for the project. They struggled with getting casting material into the lion’s tail. Tefft, a pioneer in the field of lost-wax bronze casting, took on the task and redesigned the lion without the troublesome tail, completing the statue with assistance from Youngberg and other KU students. During an assembly on December 1, 1959, LHS students applauded and shouted for a full minute at the unveiling of the four-

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foot-tall, 320-pound Chesty Lion statue. After the assembly, Chesty was placed outside the school. The year after Chesty was placed on the LHS campus, Tefft organized a conference at the University of Kansas to share his experience with lost-wax bronze procedures. There he said, “The use of bronze as a sculpture medium had fallen into disrepute among the young sculptors in favor of the popular movement to work directly in materials. I felt that if the casting knowledge could return to the studio, bronze could regain its importance among sculpture media.” So, the bronze Chesty became not only a point of school pride, but part of reclaiming a lost art. At a rededication ceremony in 1995, a plaque honoring Tefft was installed next to the Chesty Lion statue. Tefft continued working with bronze until a few months before his death in February 2015. His son, Lawrence-based artisan Kim Tefft, continues to care for the statue to this day. With the passage of time, the Chesty Lion statue—and the dream of the LHS class of 1955—has come to represent more than a class gift. Youngberg says the project and the variety show were bonding experiences for the class. “It was a very creative experience. It was something we could rally around. We are going to have a 60th reunion, and we still want to get together.” “It was a part of our life. It was part of our culture at the time, and it was part of a good thing we did for the school,” says Shockley. “It leaves a legacy as to what kind of people we were and are still today.”

When Paul Coker, a 1947 Lawrence High School graduate, drew the school’s mascot for a decal given out with the 1946 Red and Black yearbook, it’s doubtful he realized he was creating a legacy. “It’s amazing to me. Even right now as I’m talking on the phone, there’s a little throw rug I use that has the design on it,” says Coker, speaking by from his home in Santa Fe. Although LHS adopted a lion mascot as early as 1930, no particular depiction of a lion caught on until Coker drew a proud, winking lion standing upright on his back legs, puffing out his chest and holding one hand on his hip and the other in the thumbs-up position. Unnamed at the time, the lion would be dubbed “Chesty” by LHS principal Neal Wheery in the early 1950s. “Chesty” was only one of Coker’s illustrations featured in the LHS yearbooks of the mid-1940s. While a student at LHS, Coker enrolled in as many art classes as possible. “Any opportunity I had I would skip something that I should have been taking, like typing, and would take art as an elective. I can’t tell you how often I wished I had learned to type,” Coker says. Despite being unable to type, Coker went on to become a professional illustrator, drawing hundreds of cartoons for Mad magazine and creating animated characters for television movies including Frosty the Snowman. At the age of 86 he continues creating commercial illustrations. For some of his class reunions, he has redrawn Chesty to reflect how an aged Chesty might look. His original Chesty, however, is ageless.

Paul Coker’s illustration for satire on Donald Trump, Mad magazine, February 2005. Copyright Mad.


“… as anywhere

in the world” Like the land he loves, Rex Buchanan’s stories of Kansas can be understated, layered and beautiful

R

ex Buchanan knows how to tell a tale. His anecdotes, where he slips in just the right Kansas twang, concern antelopes sprinting or jack rabbits exploding from a snow drift to interrupt an otherwise routine study of regional groundwater. Often, Buchanan’s stories might make some unexpected connection, as did one of his frequent essays as a commentator for Kansas Public Radio, linking paleontology with the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life. Buchanan’s storytelling ability makes sense, in part, when you look at his background. A sports reporter who then covered science and geology. Arriving as a staff member at the University of Kansas in 1978, Buchanan went on in 2010 to become the interim director for Kansas Geological Survey, the research and service division of the University of Kansas that is charged by statute with studying and providing information on the state’s geologic resources. It’s a position that demands equally an understanding of science and an ability to explain complex studies to non-scientists, from the general public to policy-makers. On this day, Buchanan is describing many things … including barbecue.

“Other people go on trips to play golf. I travel just to go eat,” he jokes from his office on West Campus that smells faintly of rock dust. Buchanan continues to tell of a tour of the Texas Hill Country that included thick-cut brisket at Smitty’s in Lockhart and hot guts in Elgin. Then comes a segue to Kansas cuisine and the time not so long ago when, Buchanan says, “the best choice when working out in the field near small towns was a microwaved burrito from KwikTrip.” Fortunately, that period is over and Buchanan notes that there are pretty good Mexican restaurants in every small town. It becomes apparent that his trips to measure water levels in the Ogallala Aquifer are bookended by opportunities to chow at Super Pollo in Liberal. Buchanan estimates his work has led him to spend a night or two in most of the small towns of Kansas. The traveling is a return, of sorts, to his childhood on a wheat and cattle farm in Rice County, 20 miles west of McPherson. “I’ve read that the topography you grow up with is the topography where you feel the most comfortable all your life. I have the most affection for the Smoky Hills of Rice County. It is a relatively treeless landscape and, it’s true, I am most comfortable there. There are too many trees here.” Buchanan sees Kansas changing. Half the

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Story by Katherine Dinsdale

photography by Michael C. Snell


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population of the state lives in five counties: Wyandotte, Johnson, Douglas, Shawnee and Sedgwick. “Before long, one-fifth to 25 percent of us will live in Johnson County,” he says. “Kansans think of themselves as from a rural state, but we are not. We are urban people, for the most part. Kansans are not as connected to the land as they once were.” As the number of small farms decreases in the state and larger acreages are privately owned, the amount of public property accessible per capita rapidly decreases. In fact, public land is scarcer in Kansas than in most any other state, Buchanan says. “Because so much of our land is private property, our opportunities for connecting with the land are becoming more limited. When so many Kansans grew up on farms and had farms to go home to, it didn’t matter so much. But that’s changed now.” This separation from the land is not happening by choice. “People aren’t in Johnson County because they have an undying affection for the landscape. They are there because of the jobs,” says Buchanan. “There are sights to see in the natural landscape closer to home, but the problem is, with less public land and fewer people making their living outside, fewer people get to see those sights.” For Buchanan, part of the joy of his work is being in regular touch with the land and reminding others of its beauty. “Every year the Survey does a field trip for our legislators. One year we went in late May to the Cimarron National Grassland, to prepare for this trip. We gathered on a point of rocks, right above the Cimarron River. It was 75 degrees, a blue sky. As far as we could see there were wildflowers, carpets of Gaillardia. The land was blooming orange. I looked out across that valley and I thought it was as pretty a place as there is anywhere in the world.” For Buchanan, of course, falling in love with the land goes back to his childhood, lying at night on a grassy slope, looking at the stars. “I had an awareness even then,” he says, “that the sky was different there, that I was somewhere different and special.” Referencing his book, Roadside Kansas, A Traveler’s Guide to its Geology and Landmarks, now in its second edition and coauthored with James R. McCauley, Buchanan talks about his work promoting the state’s landscape. “Part of the reason we did that book is that there is this sense that we are in this great wasteland. I think that attitude says a lot more about the person talking than about the place they are describing,” he continues. “If you are attuned, mindful and informed you will appreciate this land in ways others can’t.” Being informed, of course, is part of Buchanan’s job. And lately, much of that focus has been on whether the high-intensity gas-drilling procedure known as fracking has been responsible for an alarming rise in the number and frequency of earthquakes in

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Kansas. Buchanan says he’s spending about 90 percent of his time studying and speaking about the issue. Buchanan’s position—that fracking itself does not cause the quakes, but that the disposal of saltwater from subsequent production likely does—is a nuanced stance that has caused him to be attacked from both sides in the heated debate. “I’ve gotten beat up pretty good in the human earthquake surrounding this problem,” he says. “How can we reduce the tremors without stopping the economic benefits? It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through professionally.” Buchanan continues to monitor studies and evidence and says we do not yet have ready answers. As that conversation continues, Buchanan himself continues to advocate for the state he loves by telling stories about the land and the life on it. “A Friday in mid-October, we were down doing work on the springs on Thompson Creek. A cold front came through. By Saturday morning the cedar trees were covered with monarchs. They were cold and clinging to the trees until it warmed up and they dried enough to fly. It was one of the most spectacular things I’ve seen in my life. The more time you spend outdoors the more often you’ll have that type of experience,” says Buchanan. And he has more stories like this. He tells about recent Kansas explorations: visiting caves full of bats in Barber and Comanche counties with Stan Roth of the KU Biological Survey and exploring petroglyphs in Ellsworth and Rice counties. And he tells about the need to share these natural treasures, both incredibly powerful, but somewhat difficult to come by. “It’s hard to get there, both physically and legally in terms of getting permission to go onto the land. How do we get and preserve that experience?” he asks. “That’s the problem.” Buchanan is a Willa Cather fan, he says. He understands the Midwest author’s love of sky and grass. And it is a line in Cather’s O Pioneers! that could easily describe Buchanan: “We come and go, but the land is always here. And the people who love it and understand it are the people who own it—for a little while.” If loving and understanding the land equate to a kind of ownership, Rex Buchanan is a true Kansas land baron. And chances are, he’d have a story to tell about that.

“If you are attuned, mindful and informed you will appreciate this land in ways others can’t.” – Rex Buchanan


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“Kansas is for

walkers’’ A University of Kansas fellow makes the case for rambling across the state

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here is nothing particularly unusual about Henry Fortunato—walking stick in hand, baseball cap on his head and a bit of salt and pepper in his beard—as he strides at a spirited pace over the horizon of the Kansas plains on the shoulder of a country road. But Fortunato’s presence, on foot in landscapes across the state, has triggered many questions. Who is he? Why is he on foot? Did his car break down? These are questions that Fortunato, now an author of an upcoming book about walking across the Kansas prairies, has answered for strangers and friends many times over. The answer, simple yet layered, begins with geography. Born and raised on Long Island, Fortunato grew up in area where it made perfect sense to rely on public transportation and one’s own feet. Going to school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and remaining in the city as a magazine editor and then as the owner of a marketing firm, Fortunato simply never found the need to acquire a car or a driver’s license. But when he took a job with a financial firm in Overland Park in 1997, Fortunato’s reliance on public transportation and self-transport became more challenging. Rather than take up driving at the age of 41,

Fortunato decided to treat his new landscape as he had every other region he called home. Except now, instead of crossing urban blocks, he was meandering back roads, trails and open lands, appreciating the differences. “One of the things I like about walking in Kansas,” says Fortunato, “is the scenery is always changing. It’s subtly changing, but it is changing. You’re going to cross railroad tracks; you’re going to see barns and livestock; you’re going to see crops; you’re going to have to make a left turn or a right turn. It is subtle distinctions, but it’s not at all boring.” Fortunato would continue his walks through the years that he would complete his masters in American history at the University of Kansas and from the time that he accepted a position as director of public affairs at the Kansas City Public Library in 2006. Gradually, visions of what most would call a really long walk across Kansas began dancing in Fortunato’s head. In his free time, Fortunato was preparing for a bucket-list trek by taking “reconnaissance rambles,” a term he used to describe his exploratory day-hikes that taught him the differences in navigating concrete pathways and crossing the prairie. “When you walk in a city you don’t have to take much of anything,” says Fortunato. “Every three blocks

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Story by Mary R. Gage

photography by Ann Dean


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or so you can get water, find a bathroom, buy food.” Rural Kansas hikes, by contrast, where the sheer distance between watering holes is formidable, morphed the city stroller into a marathon man. “A good day for me is 23, 24, 25 miles,” Fortunato says. “I can do 30, and I try not to do less than 15 or 16, but it’s totally a function of point to point: Is there going to be a place to sleep? Is there going to be a hotel, motel, B & B, or somebody I know who’s willing to give me a couch? As long as I can sleep on a bed or couch, use a shower and eat a meal prepared by somebody else, I’m happy.” In 2014, with reconnaissance acquired and stamina gained, Fortunato was ready to launch his cross-Kansas hike. He secured a six-week sabbatical from his library post and commenced upon his state-wide journey on the morning of September 14 by walking from the doorstep of his Overland Park home. His trajectory was to the west while weaving north and south. Not surprisingly, there was a method to his meandering. “The neat thing about Kansas, specifically eastern and central Kansas,” he says, “is that so many of these towns were originally railroad towns so that a 20- to 30-mile distance between towns was built into the transportation infrastructure of the time and a lot of them still have a place to stay.” On the Lawrence leg of the journey he says, “I thought about the fact that though I’ve never actually lived in Lawrence, I have stayed there for a considerable period of time, first in my grad school apartment three to four days a week over four years, then with my surrogate parents Ken and Katie Armitage with whom I have stayed many, many times since 2004, and that indeed, Lawrence ranks the place where I’ve spent the fourth most nights in my life. I kind of like that.” Leaving Lawrence, Fortunato strolled down backroads and trails, past fields, barns, silos and sunflowers for 39 days. He saw llamas and cows, hay bales and oil wells, and grassroots artistic expressions like Truckhenge near Topeka and the extravagantly kitschy public restroom complex in Lucas. He connected with other friends and

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acquaintances in Topeka, Alma and Abilene to name a few, and he met many more folks who told him their story, showed him around or gave him a ride. Yes, a ride. “I’m not a total purist,” says Fortunato. “If I get picked up by a sheriff’s deputy— which happens numerous times for ‘welfare checks’—or if there’s a day where it’s pouring rain and I get drenched, and somebody stops and offers me a lift to the next town, I’ll probably take it.” After 450 miles and almost six weeks, Fortunato crossed into mountain time-zone and declared victory. His wife drove six hours to pick him up and he headed east feeling healthy, happy and inspired. A book, tentatively titled Kansas on Foot: A Long and Winding Walk across the Sunflower State is in the works. And more broadly, he has developed a new concept for his adopted state, starting up a business this summer to promote walking. “I have a vision for Kansas,” Fortunato says in of one of the talks he presents to the public about his walk, “a vision I can now begin to actualize because I have truly walked the walk. I envision Kansas becoming a walking state. Just like bumper stickers proclaim that Virginia is for lovers, I see advertising asserting that Kansas is for walkers. I see a Kansas that promotes good health for its citizens by enabling good walks throughout the state. I see a Kansas where people can journey from town to town on foot, get close to the land, and enjoy the ambience of smalltown America.” In a time when official Kansas policies are created in the backdrop of partisan divide and a shrinking budget, this novel marketing plan and corresponding infrastructure might seem like a far-fetched notion. But to this, Fortunato—who continues his walks and continues to explore side routes through the state—has a simple answer, backed by the routes that he followed step by step and witnessed with his own eyes. “I see all this,” explains Fortunato, “because, well, I’ve already seen it.”

Lawrence’s Burroughs Creek Trail

“There’s no five miles in Kansas that’s this full of history,” Henry Fortunato says about the Burroughs Creek/Haskell Rail-Trail in east Lawrence. As a Simons Fellow at the Hall Center for the Humanities, and with the support of the Lawrence Public Library Foundation, Fortunato is designing a traveling exhibit that will interpret the rich historical context of the trail for libraries, schools and community centers. Among the trail’s historical highlights: • William Quantrill and his raiders crossed this north-south axis as they attacked Lawrence • The trail passes near the location of the WWII P.O.W. camp • The trail passes by what was once an amusement park whose partial exclusion of blacks was reflected in a short story by Langston Hughes. •William S. Burroughs, for whom the trail is named, lived nearby Fortunato sees the project as a model for interpreting and enhancing trails across Kansas in a way that may also serve as a national model, turning “local history into emblematic narratives broadly explaining the American experience.”

“I see a Kansas where people can journey from town to town on foot, get close to the land, and enjoy the ambience of small-town America.” – Henry Fortunato


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Through the

Flint Hills Susan Kraus provides an itinerary for enjoying the best of the Flint Hills for one fall weekend

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Photography by Michael C. Snell

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hen first transplanted to Kansas, some decades ago, I was ignorant. My idea of scenery was distorted by over-exposure to massive mountains and crashing ocean waves. I didn’t appreciate “spacious skies” or “amber waves of grain.” So, I didn’t see the Flint Hills as anything special. Now, I can supply a litany of statistics: how the Flint Hills is the largest tallgrass prairie tract (yet less than 4 percent of the original 170 million acres) on the continent; how it is an endangered ecosystem; how there isn’t just “grass” but 40 species of grasses. But stats aside, the real change is that I now truly see the beauty, the majesty, of this land. I know you probably know the Flint Hills—perhaps even quite well. But it is a landscape that merits return visits. So if you have been, or if this is your first time, here is a handy-dandy itinerary for a 36-hour weekend getaway in the Flint Hills. Plan to go off your grid. Unplug. Breathe.

saturday Leave Lawrence about 8 a.m. and take I-70 west to Manhattan. First stop is breakfast at The Chef (111 S. Fourth St.) because any day that begins at this diner, now in its seventh decade, is a better day. Well-fortified, begin your official introduction just a few blocks away at the Flint Hills Discovery Center (315 S. Third St.). Start with the short 4-D movie (who knew that prairie smoke was the fourth dimension?), which encapsulates the evolution (both land and people) of this unique ecosystem. Stay to savor the Kelley Hunt music and lyrics during the final credits, then move on to the exhibits, illuminating and interactive. From Manhattan, drive south on state highway K-177, the start of the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway (one of only two national scenic byways in Kansas). This byway extends from Council Grove to Cassoday, ending when K-177 intersects with I-35. Go slow: It’s under 90 miles from Manhattan to Cassoday, and you’ll be driving this road for two days. Your first stop along this road is Council Grove, some 42 miles south of Manhattan. If you have not been here before, check out the Madonna of the Trail statue and the Post Office Oak and Museum as you stroll downtown. While you’ll probably be too full from that Chef breakfast for a meal, a slice of pie at the 1857 Hays House Restaurant can’t hurt. Leaving Council Grove, continue south on K-177 for approximately 23 more miles, coming into Chase County, which has fewer than than 3,000 people, but, when the cattle are summer grazing on the rich prairie grasses, more than 400,000 cattle. And, since you’re dying to know, Chase County is named for the same Salmon P. Chase that hung out with Lincoln, the Chase of Chase Manhattan Bank, the Chase pictured on the $10,000 bill. Chase County also boasts your one essential stop, the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, run by the National Park Service. The best way to appreciate the prairie is to hike into it on one of this preserve’s nature trails. Even a half-mile in, you begin to leave the world behind: hear nature, smell the earth, see bison, appreciate more of what the word prairie encompasses. The park rangers offer daily, guided bus tours that are good overviews if you have little kids or if hiking is not your forte. A walk through the historic buildings provides insight into 1800s ranch life. At this point, you’re practically in Strong City and Cottonwood Falls, two historic communities just a mile apart.

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In downtown Cottonwood Falls, a must-see is the 1873 stone Courthouse (second oldest continuously operating courthouse west of the Mississippi, where kids love the basement jail), then the Historical Society Museum, Roniger Memorial Museum of Native-American culture, art galleries and shops. I get a kick at the gas station when someone hops out to pump—it’s so 1950s. This is where you make your stop for the night, booking ahead at one of two locations. The Grand Central Hotel in Cottonwood Falls first opened in 1884, went into decline, but was completely renovated before re-opening in 1995. It has ten well-appointed guest rooms (love the comfy white robes) and is very dog-friendly for those who like to travel with their best friends. The Grand Central is where Lyle Lovett and his entourage stayed last June when coming through to perform at the Symphony in the Flint Hills. I’m also partial to the Lark Inn Guest Houses: six updated cottages can accommodate families or friends, with porches or patios for sitting outside. Dining for Saturday evening will be a treat. The Grand Central Hotel & Grill is an exceptional restaurant with understated fine dining, featuring delectable beef. In Strong City, you’ll find Ad Astra, open only Friday through Sunday. Both Grand Central and Ad Astra are destination restaurants, with folks driving in from a 100+ mile radius. Reservations recommended for both. Nightlife? Not on this trip. The goal when staying in Chase County is to unwind. Rock on the porch, take a stroll, avoid electronics and hit the sack early.

sunday

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The Grand Central Hotel restaurant is closed to the public on Sunday, but breakfast is available for their guests as well as for Lark Inn guests. You should have time for breakfast along with, perhaps, a sunrise prairie hike and a late check-out. Leaving by late morning or early afternoon, drive the remainder of the Scenic Byway south into Matfield Green, at last count a community of 47, but growing in both population and artistic aspirations. Stop in at the two art galleries, Pioneer Bluffs and The Bank. Pioneer Bluffs is a meticulously restored farmstead and heritage education center, with a gallery focus on contemporary art. The Bank is a hip, smaller gallery located in an old, compact bank building. Train buffs will love this community as well. Some 70 trains come through Matfield Green each day, and visitors can stay in totally renovated efficiency flats converted from Burlington Northern Santa Fe “casitas.” Just 50 feet from the tracks and perfect for viewing trains, they are amazingly quiet when the doors are closed. Couples or families can also opt for one of four unique VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) cottages, either in town, or, for exceptional privacy, set alone on 8 acres of tallgrass prairie. From Matfield Green drive down to Cassoday, catching the intersection with I-35, just 12 miles away, and taking it and U.S. Route 59 back to Lawrence. If you wish, you can reverse this Flint Hills National Scenic Byway itinerary, starting at the Cassoday exit off I-35 and driving north on K-177 through Matfield Green and into Cottonwood Falls and Strong City, concluding in Manhattan. In that case, wrap up your weekend getaway at the Flint Hills Discovery Center, then relax on the patio at Taco Lucha, in Aggieville, my latest Manhattan find, where the patio is hip, and the “taco-fusion” menu with mango margaritas make me so, so happy.


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lm features

76 bright seclusion Near Lawrence, but a world apart, Dave Van Hee lives in a historic, natural setting that he fills with colorful creations

86 making the cut In the beautiful land of Kansas cattle country, some essential tasks still boil down to sweat, blood and newly-made steers

80 unusual pets Beyond cats and dogs, a wide range of animals live out their lives in Lawrence homes

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 bright  seclusion Near Lawrence, but a world apart, Dave Van Hee lives in a historic, natural setting that he fills with colorful creations

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Story by Kate Blatherwick Pickert

photography by Jason Dailey


F

or artist Dave Van Hee, home is a collection of places, all near one another on a nearly hidden 18 acres just outside East Lawrence. It is a stretch of land that Van Hee learned about from a friend who was studying entomology and stumbled upon the place while looking for spiders. Years later, Van Hee was able to buy the property when he learned it was for sale. His new purchase came with several small houses, many of which were relocated motel units, similar to the old El Rancho Hotel that used to be on Sixth Street. “Some of them were just shells,” explains Van Hee. The buildings that could be salvaged were repaired, and soon Van Hee rented structures out, joining the tenants of the houses in a co-op, which he describes as having been similar in arrangement to The Merc. But later, each homestead was surveyed and entered into a townhome agreement, the Blue Moon Ranch, which is how the property functions to this day. At first, Van Hee lived in what was once a former garage, but he eventually moved into the main, sandstone house, where he continues to live with his wife, Carolyn Coleman. Now, the house sits atop a small hill, peeking above the treeline, but Van Hee says the house once sat near the eastern edge of Oak Hill Cemetery and was moved brick-by-brick to its current location in the fall of 1857. On that year, the property shows up

A Must-Stop on the

ArtWalk

on a survey map as being owned by “J.W. Mathews,” the same name that can be found on a tombstone in Pioneer Cemetery on the University of Kansas campus, with a death date of 1862. Van Hee says a family who once lived there stopped by and provided several pages of history of the property. According to them, it was owned by the “Matthew” family, whose men survived William Quantrill’s 1863 raid on the city only by hiding on the property’s grounds. However the original owners spelled their name, one of the stones that remains in the house has “J.W. Math” carved into it. The outside of the house also still bears doors leading to the second floor, the spot where hay and apples from neighboring fields were stored. Otherwise, Van Hee and Coleman have transformed the structure into a comfortable two-bedroom house, enjoying electricity and gas but keeping the wood burning stove. But Van Hee’s artistic residence is a smaller structure in the shadow of the house, a studio that was once a garage and briefly Van Hee’s home. Filled with a maze of color from Van Hee’s art supplies and items he has collected over the years, the studio is arranged into work spaces and narrowly lined by a variety of storage drawers. Van Hee’s signature metallic masks and his large-canvas line paintings hang from the walls. On the high shelves, boxes are labeled with their contents,

For the past several years, Dave Van Hee has opened his unique, funhouse studio to the public during the annual Lawrence ArtWalk. Set to mark its 20th consecutive year this fall, ArtWalk is the city’s longest-running gallery tour. For one weekend, it allows anyone to tour the studios, homes and workspaces of dozens of artists from the Lawrence region. There is no entry fee and no formal program; instead, ArtWalk allows visitors to talk directly with artists about the works they create and the studios where they create. These intimate and unplanned experiences are the core of the event. Van Hee’s studio is a perennial favorite for ArtWalk visitors. The artist is always present, with a cooler of drinks, a range of affordable ceramics to complement his masks and canvas works and even a working gumball machine that has been modified to dispense tiny artistic creations at the drop of a coin.

This year’s ArtWalk marks the full retirement of long-time director John Wysocki. Artist and Haskell Indian Nations University instructor Anne Egitto, who helped coordinate the event in 2014, will lead the ArtWalk. The Phoenix Gallery in downtown Lawrence will run a preview show of all participating artists, opening in September. The 2015 ArtWalk runs from October 23–25. A full listing of participating artists and a map of their studio locations will be posted online at lawrenceartwalk.org.

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making it easier for the artist to find exactly what he needs. There is an unexpected sense of order and a feeling that any of the objects might soon become part of a new work of art. Friends of Van Hee often think of him before throwing out anything, as he enjoys finding new life in container caps, toy parts, springs and other industrial detritus. There are some comforts here as well. There’s a chair, and Van Hee’s record collection sits on the shelves amid the art, though he explains it really is his second collection. “I got really excited about 8-track tapes and sold my first record collection, so this is really my second,” Van Hee says. But the music has returned and allows him to work in a quiet refuge near, but not necessarily a part of, Lawrence. With the property surrounded by a cemetery to the west and agricultural land to the east, the hustle and bustle of the city can’t be heard. Van Hee says Memorial Day, when the cemetery has a 21-gun salute, is really the only time he realizes he is not far from Lawrence.

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Beyond cats and dogs, a wide range of animals live out their lives in Lawrence homes Story by Cheryl Nelsen

Photography by Jason Dailey


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hree egg-laying hens nestle quite comfortably in Danielle Rittenhouse’s backyard chicken coop. Their names reflect Rittenhouse’s sense of humor: Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Masala and Chicken Noodle Soup. No, the gals won’t end up on the dinner table, but their eggs certainly do. Rittenhouse says the ladies take turns laying eggs and make a bit of noise during the hourand-a-half process, which they insist on keeping private. “They won’t let me watch. They stop what they are doing when I open the door,” Rittenhouse says. Over time, the egg-layers have also become pets. The personalities of the birds (a Rhode Island Red, a Brown Leghorn and a Red Sex-link) are evident in their pecking order. “The boss is the Rhode Island Red,” says Rittenhouse. “She is the first one out of the coop in the morning. She’s the one the others follow around when they are free ranging in the yard. She has a little bit of attitude.” So far, that attitude—and the help of Phog, a black lab—has enabled them to survive two attempted attacks by a raccoon. When they squawked in the middle of the night, Phog chased off the raccoon, arriving just in time to save Chicken Parmesan. “I inspected her thoroughly,” Rittenhouse says. “She had no scratches, no cuts, but was missing feathers. I found out later that meant she was being attacked, but she was fighting back. That made me very proud.”

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J

anet Moskow has a knack for taking care of all kinds of things. At the St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center she is known as the plant whisperer, and at her home she cares for pets including Sasha, a Bichon Frise; koi who live in a 2,000-gallon pond by the patio; and Howie, a Red Slider aquatic turtle. “If you give me something to take care of, I’m going to nurture it,” Janet says. Apparently her son, Adam, knew this about his mom when he returned to their home in New Jersey 13 years ago from a trip to a Chinese restaurant in New York. He handed her a turtle saying, “I’ve named him Howie, and he’s for you.” Janet says she was determined to keep Howie alive, but because his life expectancy is 60–80 years, she and her husband, Thomas Moskow, joke that they will have to make provisions for him in their will. Howie and the koi moved to Lawrence 10 years ago via an 80-gallon Rubbermaid tub with a plug in the bottom for pumping the water out. “They survived the trip. I guess you could say our pets become part of our family,” Janet says. Now Howie resides in a heated tank atop the kitchen island and can look across the hearth room to watch television. Howie is picky about his food. Some turtles eat live crickets, but Howie won’t eat anything moving. “I would have to bash them in the head first, and that didn’t really appeal to me, so we gave that up,” Janet says. Occasionally when Howie is out of his tank he strolls around the dining room and then returns to the hearth room. Janet says he knows the sound of her voice and will move to the part of the tank that is closest to her. “He knows his mama,” she says.


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hen it’s feeding time, Betsy the zebra approaches the house of Peach and Ted Madl on their farm in rural Douglas County. At other times, the 8-year-old zebra prefers the company of the farm’s mares, stallions, horses—and, for the most part, the donkeys. “Betsy runs with the herd,” says Peach. “She is the matriarch and kind of cool. She’s powerful and strong, and she’s beautiful.” Betsy is a cross between two breeds of zebra, a Chapman breed and a Grevy. The only zebra now on the farm, she grazes freely from pasture and, from a distance, pleases occasional visitors. “They are animals of beauty,” says Peach. “They are just a work of art to enjoy.” Because zebras are flight animals, Betsy does not warm up to strangers easily, but she does let down her guard for those she knows. “I can feed her out of my hand, and I can talk her into following me,” Peach says. “We let her naturally herd, and I visit her or go take walks and talk to her. When you can make a zebra comfortable in your presence, you’ll find that you are breathing deeply; you’re relaxed.”

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K

aren Glotzbach and Diana Frisbie have a full set of animals at their rural Douglas County home: 32 chickens, four horses, two chocolate labs, two mini pot-bellied pigs, an Amazon Parrot, a PomeranianChihuahua mix, a miniature horse and a llama. Karen, a firefighter/paramedic for Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical, says her favorite movie as a child was Dr. Doolittle, and her friends now have given her that title. Guardian Dahli Karen’s family has suggested she would be a candidate for Craigslist Anonymous if it existed, but some deals are just too good to pass up. Such was the case when Karen found three llamas selling online for $10 each, so Dahli was added to the family to serve as an outdoor guardian. “She’s a herd protector,” says Karen. “She’ll help protect the horses and chickens from the coyotes.” Dahli does guard the tree-surrounded home, but to Karen and Diana, she’s mainly a pet even though she doesn’t like people to pet her. Dahli took over a kiddie pool they put out in the yard in the summer. At times she’s been seen lying down with the chickens or with the pot-bellied pigs. Smart Pig Pair Too often people abandon pot-bellied pigs when they get larger than anticipated, but Karen and Diana have no trouble finding room inside their house. Now that Shamrock and Guinness, 16-month-old pot-bellied pigs advertised as teacup pigs, have grown big enough to take up most of the room in front of the fireplace, Karen and Diana laugh and say, “Our T cups went to D cups.” Shamrock and Guinness like to be inside when the weather is cold, and they are potty trained. The pigs are sociable and have their own unique personalities. “And they are smart,” Diana adds. “They can open drawers and doors.” Genial George George, about 56 years old, was taken into the household in 2006 after his owner, a friend of Karen’s, passed away. George had lived for years in a smoke-filled home and was regarded as a mean bird who would throw dishes to break them. The parrot had given up talking except to say “peek-a-boo.” Karen got him a bigger cage and changed his diet to make it healthier. Now that his home has changed, so has George. Bright colors have returned to his feathers, and he couldn’t be described as a mean old bird anymore. “Sometimes he will crawl down on my chest, or he’ll let me reach up and pet him,” says Karen. “When the grandkids were babies, he would cry like they were crying. He’s a character.”

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abbits have been a part of Sharon Leggott’s life since she adopted her first one at age 5. But her latest, Trix, is a bit more rabbit than Leggott is accustomed to owning. Trix, named after both Beatrix Potter and the cereal, is a Flemish Giant rabbit who weighed 14 pounds by his tenth month, a bit on the light side for his breed. Leggott, a vegetarian, shares much of the food she eats with Trix and has trained him to come to the refrigerator for treats of carrots, Brussels sprouts, cabbage or broccoli. In addition to his favorites of apples and sweet corn on the cob, Trix is also fed basic rabbit pellets. When he isn’t eating, Trix relaxes in his own way. “One of the things I hadn’t seen my other rabbits do is when he stretches out he kicks his back legs out so they are not under him,” says Leggott. “It’s sort of funny to see these big old feet sticking out.” Leggott, who works full time in the USD 497 print shop and part-time for the Lawrence Parks and Recreation’s special needs programs, says she thinks Trix could become an ideal therapy rabbit. “He’s so gentle and likes to be held,” she says.


In the beautiful land of Kansas cattle country, some essential tasks still boil down to sweat, blood and newly-made steers

Photography by Michael C. Snell


Though Tailgate Ranch is only a few miles northeast of Lawrence, it is an entirely different landscape of rolling hills, ponds and green grasses, the latter being a combination of native, fescue, brome, clover and Timothy—a perfect blend for nourishing calves and cows. Pat and Liz McKie have raised cattle on this lush 2,000-acre spread of land for more than 50 years, and their manager, Kirk Sours, has worked this land for decades as well. In that time, they have seen several revolutions in breeding techniques, vaccinations, artificial insemination and more. But some tasks on a cow and calf operation remain very much the way they were in the 1800s—dictated by the changing of seasons and the birth of new calves. Every spring and fall, calves are born, just as they always were. And every spring and fall, young bulls are rounded up to be branded, examined and castrated. “If you don’t castrate most of them,” says Sours, “then the young bulls will start chasing after the others, trying to mount them.” Although mounting is part of bovine life, explains Sours, an uncastrated bull’s persistent, aggressive forced coupling can injure other cattle, run them to exhaustion or even kill them in an all-out fight for supremacy. “It’s pure domination behavior,” he says. For that reason, though the word might carry a painful mental jolt, castration is looked upon by beef cattle owners as just another necessary task in raising their herds. Work horses require shoeing. Frozen waterholes

require breaking. And large groups of cattle, in order to live in peace, require that most of the bulls sacrifice their swagger. Choosing which bulls to cut and which to leave alone is a process that begins well before a new herd is born. Like many operations, Tailgate artificially inseminates a portion of its breeding cows to bring proven genetic lines into the herds. The bulls that are not born with champion lineage through artificial insemination are castrated as soon as possible. In the spring, when the flies are not yet born and cannot infect a fresh cut on bull, that means immediately at birth. Sours says if you are a bull destined to lose your testicles, then the birth castration is probably the way you want to do it. “There’s lower stress,” Sours explains. “For the first 24 hours, there is very little blood supply to the genital area, so there is hardly any bleeding.” Traditionally in a ranch, the actual cutting of a bull’s testicles is done by an experienced, but perhaps physically weaker or older hand while the strongest hands wrestle and hold down the calves. It is a demanding process that can take the entire day with a large herd. Sours says that, for example, if a group of 30 bulls is born in one season, then he will castrate

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‌ though the word might carry a painful mental jolt, castration is looked upon by beef cattle owners as just another necessary task in raising their herds.


all but 8-10. Approximately half of the bulls not immediately castrated at birth go through another selection process at 6 months. This period of time allows for a ranch manager and hands to study the bulls to see which ones have the best traits, seem the healthiest and are spirited, without being too aggressive. Equally important is the bull’s relationship with his mother, whether the mother is giving the bull plenty of milk. The first stages of selection are scientific with plenty of paperwork, charts and pedigree lines, but the final stages are more intuitive, particularly when the bulls reach one year and the last castrations are done, leaving only 2 or maybe 3 bulls intact. By this time, the bulls are too large and powerful to wrestle to

the ground, so castration is done not through cutting, but by clamping their seminal cords, a procedure that elicits no gratitude from the bull and that requires significantly more force from the ranch hands. Whenever it comes, castration technically changes bulls into steers, but they are still part of the herd and rush to join their mothers and fellow calves. Together, they leave the confining pen as they are driven out to pasture. For Sours and his crew, castration day marks the end of one season and the beginning of another. And perhaps the best part of the day is this moment, riding back through the hills, closing one season of work and planning for the new set of tasks that the change in season will bring.

ranch hand for a day For writer Darin White, castration day involved demanding work and a few sore parts Story by Darin White

Having some experience working at ranches and riding horses, I signed on as a one-day hand at Tailgate Ranch to help with the castrations and

At least I wasn’t losing as much of my dignity as the calves would. My real job, I learned, would be sorting calves,

to bring back a bucket of the harvest to turn into a

checking their tags against a sheet that detailed

gourmet meal.

the plan for each one of them. On this day, we

The day began in a thick blanket of fog with

were castrating, vaccinating and branding. It was

a cup of coffee at the ranch. Manager Kirk Sours

dusty work, and the smoke from the branded hides

introduced me to his team: brothers Elden and Pete

caused a burning-hair smell that hung in the air

Pickett, Cliff Bates, Nathan Ellerman, Jimmy Packard

like a stale cloud. Jimmy described it as a smell you

and Shorty Hall. We tied our bandanas, snapped

could never get used to or get rid of it. The sights

our pearl buttons and fashioned our chaps to drive

and sounds were fairly unforgettable as the testicles

the herd from nearby grasses where they had been

were efficiently deposited with a “plink-plunk” in a

pastured overnight closer to the holding pens.

metal bucket.

I was purely a spectator at this point, but since

But these weren’t bizarre trophies. Bull testicles,

I don’t mind getting my hands dirty, Kirk and the

commonly called ‘Rocky Mountain Oysters” in the

crew let me join in on the activities. Whether it

States, are considered a protein-rich and somewhat

was planned for the newbie or not, they told me I

delectable treat. Waste not, want not. There is also, of

would take one of the more demanding jobs, holding

course, a certain macho mystique about eating them.

down a calf and placing my boot in a very strategic

Nathan, who had experience on large ranches

location to prevent the animal from defecating on

in Western Kansas, told me an unforgettable tale of

the other hands as they cut and branded the bull.

how the branding and the cutting all merge together

The crew kindly sat me down in the correct spot,

in a common ranch legend. Apparently, by some

right in a fresh cow pie, which seemed to amuse

standards, you aren’t really much of a man unless

them all a little too much.

after cutting a few of the cattle you put the gonads


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onto the branding iron to warm them up and pop

their dining area, we rode up the hill to another

’em whole and chew ’em up.

breathtaking scene. In the distance was another

I was glad that on this day we would break

herd that we rounded up and started the trek

for lunch by driving into Tonganoxie for barbecue.

back across the grassland. Our drive back was

I was eager to eat, though nobody seemed eager to

perhaps a little more eventful, as this group of

take me. There was a decent amount of discussion

bulls was intact and less cooperative. Several

about who would have to ride with me since my

times as we were proceeding back along the

backside was still caked in dung. But the smell

grasslands, a little bull would try and sneak away,

began to dissipate, particularly once we returned

which resulted in a full-on race to cut off his

and mounted horses to drive the herd from the

retreat and bring him back to the herd.

pen pasture to their grazing pasture. We saddled

Somewhere along the chase, I had to

up and began herding steer. By this time, the sun

dismount and my horse bucked and trotted away

had long burned off the fog, and it was getting

triumphantly, head held high—my payback for

pretty warm as we walked along at a slow steady

allowing the beauty to distract me from work.

pace through a beautiful slice of North Eastern

After some time, I retrieved my mount and

Kansas paradise with its open green pasture,

returned to the barns after the others had brought

rolling hills and angular hardwood trees in the

in the herd. At least I made it back before the rain

valleys and crevices.

came and with time to say goodbye to the crew,

We didn’t have many issues with the cattle as many of them were a little more docile than they had been before their unrequested change.

gather up my things and drag my hot, sore body to my truck for the slow ride back to Lawrence. I was bringing with me a new respect for

We rode them almost effortlessly over a hill, down

the labor-intensive work of cowboys, the type of

a valley, through a tree line and across a pasture.

gritty tasks like castration that will never be—

The heavens were glorious with bright blue sky

and never should be—automated, as well as a

and puffy clouds. Not a bad way to get around.

nice bucket of grass-fed Rocky Mountain oysters

Once we delivered this group of cattle to

that would soon be a meal.

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Grilled Mountain Oysters

dishes that defy the stereotype

with creamed nettle, leek “haystacks,” shiitake breadcrumbs and blackberry demi glace

Though bull testicles are often thought of as a grease-and-flour culinary joke in bad taste,

Oysters

they do contain plenty of protein and, like other

½ pound Rocky Mountain Oysters

1 liter water

meats, can be part of a sophisticated plate that

100 grams salt

90 grams sugar

relies on pleasing combinations. Alix Osborn,

Oregano, bay leaf, juniper berries and peppercorn

a sous chef at 715 and once a western Kansas ranch boy, prepared these variations that are

Brine oysters in water, salt, sugar, and herbs for at least two hours.

equally elegant and savory.

Remove from brine and pat dry. Submerge in aromatic oil of your choice until cooking. Grill to medium or medium rare, and serve with the rest of components.

Nettle ½ cup nettle

1 shallot

2 garlic cloves

½ cup cream

1 bay leaf

1 sprig rosemary

Wearing gloves to avoid stinging, separate nettle leaves from the stem and chiffonade until you have half a cup. Mince shallot and garlic and sweat in a pan on low heat. Add the nettles and sautee at mediumhigh heat for 3 minutes. Add cream, bay leaf, and rosemary. Let cream reduce by half, remove bay and rosemary.

Shiitake Breadcrumbs 1 cup shiitakes

Olive oil

1 teaspoon pepper

½ baguette

1 teaspoon salt

Stem and toss shiitakes in very little oil, with salt and pepper. Roast at 220F for 20 minutes, until nearly dry. Add one-half a baguette, or the equivalent of a bread of your choice, into 1-inch chunks, and put in the oven for another 30 minutes until both the mushrooms and the bread are dehydrated. Place mushrooms and bread cubes in a food processor, and pulse until proper consistency.

Leek “haystacks” 1 leek Take leek, remove the root and green, cut in half and rinse thoroughly. Cut to a fine julienne, and submerge in water for an hour. Drain and pat dry, place onto an oven pan lined with parchment paper, and salt lightly. Roast at 200F for 30 minutes, or until the moisture has evaporated and leek halves are dry and crisp.

Blackberry Demi Glace

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1 cup beef or veal stock

¼ cup blackberries

1 teaspoon honey

Edible flowers

1 teaspoon salt

Place stock in a pan over high heat and reduce by half. Mash blackberries and add to pan, reducing by half again. Add honey and salt; strain. Continue reducing if necessary to achieve nappe consistency. Decorate with fresh blackberries and edible flowers.


Smoked Rocky Ragout brine 1 liter water 100 grams salt 90 grams sugar Oregano, bay leaf, juniper berries and peppercorn

Ragout ½ pound Rocky Mountain oysters ¼ pound shiitakes 1 shallot 3 cloves garlic ¼ cup minced carrot ¼ cup minced celery 1 cup Chianti 1½ cup beef or veal stock 1 tablespoon thyme 1 tablespoon oregano 1 tablespoon rosemary

Noodles 1 egg 100 grams flour Pinch of salt

Garnish Edible flowers Sprouted greens Bring brine ingredients to a boil and let cool. Submerge oysters in brine for at least 2 hours prior to smoking. Pat oysters dry with paper towel and place into a pie dish and on the top shelf of the smoker, away from the heating element. Smoke at 180F for an hour. Reserve any liquid released from the oysters and add it to stock. Mince the shiitakes, shallots, garlic, carrots, and celery in food processor. Bring a wide-bottomed pan up to medium-low heat and add oil. Add vegetables to hot pan and cook for 20 minutes, stirring consistently, until vegetables are golden brown. Add the oysters to bare spot in the pan to sear one side, then mix with the vegetables and add Chianti. Let that cook until the wine has reduced by two-thirds, and add the herbs and stock. Let the stock reduce by half and add salt and pepper to taste. Make simple egg noodle of your shape of choice with egg and flour. Long and wide hold ragout better; recommended shapes are pappardelle or maltagliati. Boil

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noodles in salted water until tender, and toss them in the

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ragout. Garnish with edible flowers or sprouted greens.

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Lawrence Restaurant Week e page se

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Sept. 13-19 Alix Osborn of 715 probably won’t be sharing his Rocky Mountain Oyster dishes, but this second annual event features special creations and deals at restaurants throughout Downtown Lawrence. For a list of participating venues and schedule, go online at lawrencrestaurantweek.com

Community Education Breakfast e page se

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Sept. 18 There are many improvements being made across the local school district and the Lawrence Schools Foundation helps with these costs with annual fundraisers such as this breakfast. For fall 2015, the guest of honor is Lawrence High School graduate and longtime University of Kansas assistant football coach Clint Bowen. For more information and ticket reservation, go online at usd497.org/page/51

Hands on a Hard Body Sept. 18-Oct. 4 One truck. Ten Texans. That can only lead to drama, Americana … and an outburst of songs. This Tony-nominated musical comedy opens up the 2015-2016 Theatre Lawrence season that also includes The Little Mermaid, A Streetcar Named Desire and more. For more information, full schedule and ticket reservations, go online at theatrelawrence.com

Rev it Up! Hot Rod Hullabaloo e page se

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Sept. 26 Join Michelle and Steve Chronister as they host over 300 hot rods in South Park, along with music, food tents and food trucks. The event runs from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and is free and open to the public, but participant entry fees are donated directly to The Ballard Center. For more information, full schedule and the chance to contribute directly to The Ballard Center’s mission, go online at revitupcarshow.com

Kansas concert Oct. 2 Shake the dust in your wind by attending a reunion concert from the home-state legendary classic rock band Kansas. The group that won eight gold albums back in the time when people still bought albums performs live at the Lied Center. For more information, ticket reservations and to check out the full lineup of concerts in the 2015-2016 concert season, go online at lied.ku.edu

Lawrence ArtWalk e page se

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Oct. 23-25 Tour one of the city’s coolest art studios with Dave Van Hee and tour dozens of working studios across the Lawrence region for the 20th-annual Lawrence ArtWalk. For more information, maps and a full listing of participating venues, go online at lawrenceartwalk.org

Kansas Half-Marathon

Lawrence Magazine winter issue release party

calendar / fall 2015

Nov. 13 TBD Join Deja Brooks, Lawrence’s big-hearted queen of glamor, as she hosts the launch party for our winter edition along with a preview of “Transformations Charity Gala,” the annual event where queen candidates team up with professional female impersonators to win thousands of dollars for the Lawrence charity they represent. For more information, look on our Facebook page, facebook.com/ lawrencemag

Photograph Lawrence Magazine

Nov. 1 The 9th-annual racing event highlights the best areas of Lawrence (and, ok, a few of its most challenging hills) on a USATF-certified course. Come test your time or cheer on the runners. For more information and registration, go online at kansashalfmarathon.com


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smor.gas.bord / 25 Jaysplained—double meanings behind the benevolent beak.

$7 / sunflowerpub.com / fall 2015

people / 52

The Chronisters want you ‌ to Rev it Up! (for a good cause).

places / 70

Follow our guide to your best weekend in the Flint Hills.


magazine smor.gas.bord / 25 Jaysplained—double meanings behind the benevolent beak.

people / 52

The Chronisters want you ‌ to Rev it Up! (for a good cause).

$7 / sunflowerpub.com / fall 2015

places / 70

Follow our guide to your best weekend in the Flint Hills.


smor.gas.bord / 25 Jaysplained—double meanings behind the benevolent beak.

people / 52

The Chronisters want you ‌ to Rev it Up! (for a good cause).

places / 70

Follow our guide to your best weekend in the Flint Hills.

$7 / sunflowerpub.com / fall 2015


smor.gas.bord / 25 Jaysplained—double meanings behind the benevolent beak.

people / 52

The Chronisters want you ‌ to Rev it Up! (for a good cause).

$7 / sunflowerpub.com / fall 2015

places / 70

Follow our guide to your best weekend in the Flint Hills.


magazine smor.gas.bord / 25 Jaysplained—double meanings behind the benevolent beak.

people / 52

The Chronisters want you ‌ to Rev it Up! (for a good cause).

$7 / sunflowerpub.com / fall 2015

places / 70

Follow our guide to your best weekend in the Flint Hills.


magazine smor.gas.bord / 25 Jaysplained—double meanings behind the benevolent beak.

people / 52

The Chronisters want you ‌ to Rev it Up! (for a good cause).

$7 / sunflowerpub.com / fall 2015

places / 70

Follow our guide to your best weekend in the Flint Hills.

School's Back | fall 2015 edition of Lawrence Magazine  

Get on this bus with stories of life, learning and more. Meet a geologist front and center in the debate over fracking and earthquakes in th...