Spring into the season
with these stylish family events $3.00
Vol. IV | No. I
Managing Editor Katy Ibsen
This season my editor cap grew a larger brim.
As we prepared and planned going into the fourth year of Manhattan Magazine, we worked to revamp our content, freshen up and eagerly await spring. This process began with a breakfast in Manhattan, where I met with our photographers. We talked about their work, what they loved to photograph and what they’d like to accomplish in future issues. Our conversation resulted in an energizing approach to the issue ahead and—for me—two photo shoots in less than one week. To help the flow of content, I also picked up a couple of the shorter pieces in this issue to relieve the writers. What did I learn? While I think writing can be like riding a bike, writing for the magazine is best left to our masthead of professional writers. Once we headed into production, graphic designer Shelly Bryant and I were blown away by the work of our talented photographers and writers. They pushed themselves and their craft to the limit, and it shows in this issue. Lou Ann Thomas is always ready with a fresh story or willing to pick up an assignment only weeks from deadline. Spring was no exception, as she scouted out the great health story on the record-holding high jumper Gwen Wentland-Mikinski, and later
Designer/Art Director Shelly Bryant was more than willing to take on our story about Feast of the Field. Photographer Cathy Mores gave the phrase “photo shoot” new meaning when she ran along with my quirky idea to represent familyfriendly events in Manhattan with images of stylish kiddos. A full day spent capturing children left me a bit exhausted, but Cathy seemed thrilled and ready for more. Writer Donna Ekart also showed great resilience working on her first feature story about a home. We had many e-mails and conversations about this unique residence, and the final product is an enjoyable piece that captures the artistic couple’s spirit. On one particular Wednesday, we filled Alan Honey’s photography studio with so many flowers you’d think he was a florist. Shooting the gorgeous spring bouquets certainly made the season feel a bit closer but also made for a neat experiment in highlighting local businesses with one common denominator: flowers. Be sure to check out Alan’s video interview about the photo shoot on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ ManhattanMagazine). We know Manhattanites love their magazine, but after this issue I hope our readers also love the great contributors who continue to bring it to them season after season.
Copy Editor Susie Fagan Advertising Account Executive Mike Mores (785) 537-5151 Ad Designer Janella L. Williams Chief Photographer Jason Dailey Contributing Photographers Virginia Hagin Alan Honey Cathy Mores Tim Sigle Contributing Writers Abigail Crouse Robin Farrell Edmunds Donna F. Ekart Gloria Gale Kristin Kemerling Lou Ann Thomas Dennis Toll General Manager Bert Hull Publishing Coordinator Faryle Scott Subscriptions $22 (tax included) for a one-year subscription to Manhattan Magazine. For subscription information, please contact: Christopher J. Bell 609 New Hampshire St., P.O. Box 888 Lawrence, KS 66044 (800) 578-8748 | Fax (785) 843-1922 Or e-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org Manhattan Magazine is a publication of Sunflower Publishing, a division of The World Company. www.sunflowerpub.com
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3 | Editor's note 45 | Q & A
62 | Calendar of events
6 | A Perfect Fit In a quiet Manhattan neighborhood, an artistic couple find a home that suits their style 12 | From farm to table Feast of the Fields woos locavores to dinner
22| It’s a dog’s life Two canine-catering businesses help pet owners train their pups and capture their antics on film 28| The lifeline of the party Little Apple Events manages the fun and unexpected with finesse
32 | Finding perks on base The Fort Riley USO is the place where troops and their families go for unlimited relaxation and entertainment 36 | A group canvas The KSU Painting Society works to support student painters 40 | A global partnership Manhattan and its Czech Partner City create ties among community members
health & fitness
46 | Going for gold Gwen Wentland-Mikinski takes a long and eventful road to the Olympics
58 | National Treasure Experience the prestige and vitality of Washington, D.C.
Correction: In our fall 2010 issue we misquoted Prairiewood Retreat owner, Kail Katzenmeier. The opening quote should have read: “This Wildcat Valley is such a special corridor, and we wanted to see if part of it could be assembled in a way that would preserve it. Although not at all against development in general, we believe our community is enhanced by not every hilltop having a house on it,” Kail says.
Features 16 | Blooming into spring Local florists give us their seasonal inspiration 50 | Spring into the season Three unique styles are perfect for upcoming events
On the cover Jillian P. Childress jumps around for spring. Photograph by Cathy Mores. manhattan magazine
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| manhattan living
A Perfect Fit The home of Gerry Craig and Nelson Smith is an experience in art and treasured items.
| Story by Donna F. Ekart
In a quiet Manhattan neighborhood, an artistic couple find a home that suits their style manhattan magazine
| Photography by Cathy Mores
hen Gerry Craig and Nelson Smith moved to Manhattan in July 2007, they knew no ordinary home would do. But in just one afternoon, the university professors found the perfect spot. Gerry, head of the Kansas State University art department, and Nelson, an art instructor and visiting artist coordinator, value the unique sense of style in their home. It sits perched on the edge of the Grandview Terrace ravine, surrounded by midcentury modern neighbors. This quickly pleased the creative couple, who looked at only one other residence before deciding to make this one home. “It is situated on the lot for the perfect view,” says Gerry. “It fit just what we needed in a home. We could envision us here.”
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| manhattan living
“The house fits our lives. It’s beautifully made of beautiful materials, but it’s also functional and comfortable.”
– Gerry Craig
Space and light The house features wide-open space, plenty of light and expansive ceilings, which merge to create the coziness of a traditional home. Everything has a sense of flow and openness, details that Nelson and Gerry learned to appreciate while living in a downtown Detroit loft. Light pours in from every angle: the east-facing clerestory windows above the living room, the picture windows and sliding glass doors on the west side of the house and even from the lower level into the open center stairwell. “It’s not a large home, but you feel it is because of all the windows and light,” says Gerry. “It gives a sense of being very open and spacious. We can fill it with people for parties and it never feels cramped, even when everyone clusters in the dining room.” The home also offers a keen sense of being outdoors. “It seems like you can always just be outside in a second,” says Gerry. And with plenty of critters bounding about, Nelson notes that “wildlife comes at the expense of Gerry’s hostas, but we can accept the tradeoff.” Out back, a tangled oak grows near where the ravine starts to slip downward, perfectly framed in the sliding glass doors opening to the deck. “Oh, that oak,” exclaims Gerry. “We tell people it’s why we bought the house. You see it here, from the master bedroom, and again from the lower level walkout, and it’s interesting from every angle.” TOP The multilevel home allows for plenty of light and interesting angles for the couple to display art. ABOVE When Gerry and Nelson discovered the limestone house on Grandview Terrace, they fell in love.
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Accidental eclecticism Nelson and Gerry’s furnishings fit well in the modestly sized home. They immediately found a spot upstairs for their baby grand piano and room for their large bookcases in Nelson’s studio. There were even places to hang beloved art pieces, like the immense painting in the entrance. “You wouldn’t find a place for a piece that large in many homes,” says Nelson. “Not only does it fit there, it echoes the stonework in the fireplace—like it was made for the spot.” Although the home’s style is midcentury, some of Nelson and Gerry’s furnishings boast stories and history. Such is the case with the 19 th century black walnut table, which traveled from Pennsylvania to Kansas in a covered wagon, and takes center stage in the dining room.
“I dragged it out of my mother’s basement when I was trying to furnish my first house, although she saved it from my grandmother’s barn,” says Gerry. “At the time, right after college, I didn’t realize what I had. I just needed a table.” Wide planks that form the top of the handcrafted table are worn smooth from years of family use. When Gerry took the table to have a leg repaired, the woodworker showed her how its oval shape revealed the pulse of a human foot on a pedal lathe. ABOVE Perched above the city, Gerry and Nelson have spectacular views. ABOVE RIGHT The baby grand piano was one of the first pieces to find a home in Nelson’s studio.
a few of the details
| manhattan living
Thanks to contemporary dining chairs, the room’s décor spans some three centuries—and that may be why it works so well. The home’s midcentury roots are evident in the kitchen’s large chromed vent. Labeled “Vent-a-Hood” in a script that evokes a 1950s Thunderbird logo, it hangs above the small center island cooktop. “We had metal artists from the department over recently, and they admired the craftsmanship,” says Gerry. “It’s so detailed and lovely for something so utilitarian.” The raised living room holds more interesting metal artifacts. “These curved pieces were once farm equipment,” says Nelson, indicating the built-in benches that flank the fireplace. “It came from the builder’s family farm. He was the first person to live in the house, and he added some very personal bits like this.” A large gray cat named Jack swirls past the Philippine mahogany paneling and heads to the open steps connecting the three living levels, stopping to flick his tail between the risers. “They’re a cat toy that also function as stairs,” Nelson says with a warm chuckle that reveals just how much he loves the cat and the stairs.
A life told in art Gerry’s expertise as an artist is in textiles and other fiber arts while Nelson works with paint and sound. Most of the pieces in their home have been received in trades with other artists, former students, professors, friends, family and associates. TOP The dining room table is an heirloom Gerry rescued from her mother’s basement. above Art by friends, family, students and well-known artists enlivens the house.
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Among all of the art, they point out only three pieces as their own creations. Nelson made a small painting in the kitchen to honor Gerry’s mother Hazel, and they display two pieces they traded with each other before they became a couple. Other pieces have their own stories, from the African Kuba cloth that evokes Gerry’s work at the Smithsonian to the painting Nelson received in trade from a thenunknown student who went on to teach at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design. “The house fits our lives. It’s beautifully made of beautiful materials, but it’s also functional and comfortable. We live hard in it; we use every inch of it,” says Gerry. Nelson smiles and reaches down to pet Jack the cat as he says, “I don’t know everything about karma, but it’s the case that all our things fell into place here.”
ABOVE Gerry says when they found the home it was exactly what they had envisioned.
| manhattan living
From farm to table
Feast of the Fields is the creation of one Manhattan family that aims to revisit the idea of farm-to-table meals.
| Story by Lou Ann Thomas
| Photography courtesy of Feast of the Field
t Feast of the Fields woos locavores to dinner
his is no ordinary picnic. There are no paper plates, no store-bought potato salad and no cherry pie. Instead, tables are set with linens, fine dinnerware, wine and a chefprepared, locally inspired menu. Feast of the Fields is the brainchild of Mary Mertz. And, like the name implies, participants gather in a cornfield to share an evening that highlights locally grown foods and Kansas wines. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This Feast of the Fields is a unique, authentic experience in the heartland of Kansas,â&#x20AC;? Mary says.
The inception River Creek Farms, the fourth-generation Mertz family grain and livestock operation along Zeandale Road, will host the June 5 event. As a registered agritourism entity with the Kansas Department of Commerce, the farm welcomes visitors and lets them experience local foods. The seed for the event was planted in 2008 when a friend showed Mary a picture of an Outstanding in the Fields dinner on Nantucket Island. That mobile culinary adventure has been setting tables in fields, gardens and on mountaintops since 1999. Its mission is to reconnect people with the land, the origins of food and the farmers who grow it.
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| manhattan living BELOW Mary and Bob Mertz enjoy welcoming visitors to their family farm and educating them about the area’s agriculture. Photograph by Alan Honey
One of Mary’s goals with Feast of the Fields is to share an accurate story about modern farming with those interested in knowing how and where their food is produced.
Local eats Feast of the Fields will feature locally produced food from the Flint Hills region and Kansas wines from the Smoky Hill Vineyards and Winery in Salina. One of the entrees will be homegrown River Creek Farms leg of lamb, served with grilled vegetables on a bed of couscous. Scott Benjamin, chef and owner of 4 Olives restaurant in Manhattan, has agreed to be chef for the feast. “As I started to plan the event, I asked around about who would be the best fit for a chef, and Scott’s name kept coming up. When I talked to him about it, he was 6 p.m.-dusk really excited and created our appetizer and desserts for last year’s trial run,” Mary says. June 5 Scott welcomes the opportunity to River Creek Farms highlight local foods in a special menu and setting. 7280 Zeandale Road “Kansas is a great place for high-quality local foods,” Scott says. “Serving this meal at the actual source of the food helps people Cost is $100 per person; relate better to the food, as well as learn seating is limited to 64 about the people producing their food.” In 2010, Feast of the Fields was in Reservations can be made August. Instead of dining in the field, at www.feastofthefields.net participants ate in a beautiful limestone barn on the farm. Mary invited people she knew and asked each to bring a dish that featured locally grown products. David Littrell, orchestra conductor and professor of cello at Kansas State University, will provide background music during mingling and the feast as he did last year. Dick and Martha Seaton of Manhattan attended the event last year. “It was fun, and we saw people we knew as well as made some new friends,” Dick says.
Feast of the Fields
The Mertzes attended one of the dinners last July in Boulder, Colorado. “We knew after visiting with the farmers there that we could do this—we could host a meal in our cornfield and promote agriculture this way in Kansas,” Mary says.
Telling a story “Farmers have a story to tell, and they don’t often have the opportunity to share that story. Unless you live on a farm, it can be difficult to experience where and how our food is produced and the contribution our farmers make to our daily lives,” Mary says. Mary knows from experience the gap among growers, producers and dinner tables across the country. Because she grew up in Chicago, she understands how easy it is for urbanites to be misinformed about agriculture. Mary admits that after she and her husband, Bob, married and moved back to his family farm, she couldn’t believe they didn’t get weekends off. “The cattle still needed to be fed and the farm still needed to be tended. It didn’t matter that it was Saturday or Sunday. It also took me awhile to stop carrying my purse when we went to the pasture to check on the cattle,” Mary says with a self-deprecating laugh. The former “city girl” is now active in farm organizations and is a true partner with Bob and her brother and sister-in-law, Joe and Kim Mertz. Together they manage lamb, beef and farming operations.
manhattan living |
Sharing the land Mary’s goal is for people to enjoy themselves and each other on the family land. “This land is our life. We feel fortunate and blessed to be here and to be able to share it with others,” she says. In addition to the feast, the Mertzes encourage visitors to get acquainted with some of their farm equipment and gain a better idea of the technology modern farmers use to more productively grow and harvest food. “Farmers are often portrayed as being outdated and in a less-thanflattering light. People are surprised to learn how high-tech our equipment is and how efficiently we can produce on today’s farms,” Mary says. She adds that 98 percent of farms in this country are still family-run operations, like River Creek Farms. “But many people don’t truly understand agriculture and its significance in our lives,” Mary says. “What better way to share the reality of our livelihood than right here at the source?” This year’s Feast of the Fields will be another chapter in that story. The cornfield will provide the plot that will hold eight tables of eight, and the Flint Hills land and sky will serve as the setting for a homegrown meal for 64 people who are in for the experience of their lives. “Our hope is everyone leaves with a smile on their face and feels like, at least for a while, they were a part of what we do here,” Mary says.
Menu for Feast of the Fields Cantaloupe and heirloom tomato gazpacho Kansas bourbon-glazed Duroc pork belly on a bed of creamy polenta with ripe watermelon River Creek Farms leg of lamb, served with grilled vegetables on a bed of couscous Panna cotta with fresh blueberries and Kansas wildflower honey Wines from the Smoky Hill Vineyards and Winery (subject to change)
local florists give us their seasonal inspiration Photography by Alan Honey
Spring Westloop Floral Title: Garden Kaleidoscope, owner Karen Medlin
What’s included? Jade spider mums, orange magic roses, peach melba spray roses, fuchsia dianthus, purple statice, curly willow.
What do you love about sharing flowers? The feelings they convey. No matter what the occasion, flowers are the perfect answer.
Fill in the blank: If the state flower wasn’t a sunflower, it should be a rose. “Everyone loves roses!”
Steve’s Floral Title: A garden of spring, by designer Hildegard Bembry What’s included? A variety of bulb flowers,
like hyacinths and tulips, complemented by bright orange and yellow gerber daisies. Like a garden, there are different levels of heights—tall snapdragons and drape from the Amaranthus. The floral materials that manager Hildegard Bembry, AIFD, CFD, works with are a constant and primary source of inspiration. This is one of her favorite designs.
What inspired this arrangement? Hildegard grew up in Germany. The wreath circle would be found in Europe. What do you love most about sharing flowers? It always brightens someone’s day and puts a smile on your face.
Kistner’s Flowers Title: Impatient Spring, by owner Matt Douglas What’s included? Asiatic lilies, tulips, hyacinths,
daffodils, daisies, statice, wax flower, equisetum, Italian ruscus, bupleurum, curly willow, moss and twig nest.
What was the inspiration for the piece? My inspiration for doing this piece is my own impatience for the arrival of spring. This time of year, I am reading through gardening magazines and thinking of my own flowerbeds. This centerpiece style of arrangement is a way for me to create a piece of the garden for the home environment and possibly stave off the cravings for another month. What do you love most about sharing flowers? What I enjoy most is the simple beauty in flowers. Whether it is a single stem of hydrangea or an amazing mixed flower bouquet, the effect is still the same. That’s why our business slogan states, “serving you in times of celebration, sorrow and day to day life.” Flowers affect our mood no matter what the occasion. It’s a great way to show someone you are thinking about them during a grieving process, celebrating a milestone in life or simply just because. This year, Kansas celebrates 150 years. What flowers best match these famous Kansans? Amelia Earhart: Anthurium – A bold flower in design, beautiful, elegant and fragile at the same time. Dwight Eisenhower: Sunflower – Strong in structure and design, resilient. “Fatty” Arbuckle: Carnation – a timeless classic, an original in the floral industry as with “Fatty,” who was an original in silent films and comedy. Bob Dole: Liatris – Upright character, dependable and strong. George Washington Carver: Statice – locally grown, renewable and sturdy.
Acme Gift Title: no name, it’s just cute and simple, by owner Leah Hyman
Yellow vase – purple dahlias and a bear grass loop. Clear vase – watermelon gerber daisies (our current obsession). Blue vase – white oriental lily, green trick carnation, Eriostemon and a bear grass loop.
What inspired the arrangement?
The flowers themselves. Our inspirations are constantly changing. Each time we get a shipment of flowers in, there’s something new for us to get excited about. We feel like the flowers really speak for themselves, so we love highlighting them in simple yet sophisticated arrangements.
What do you love about sharing flowers? They simply make people happy. That’s really what Acme Gift is all about, and we think flowers epitomize this. We love getting to know our customers and finding out the story behind their flower order. … It seriously makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside.
Dorothy needs help selecting bouquets for her friends. What’s the best flower for each member of Dorothy’s gang?
Tin Man: Silver Berzelia balls – sweet and funky greenery that lasts forever Scarecrow: Yellow spider mum – an Acme Gift staple. Lion: Teddy Bear sunflower – an adorable type of sunflower—the name speaks for itself. Toto: Black kangaroo paws – a stem full of furry little paws. Wizard of Oz: Green Trick carnation – a crazy green ball of fuzz.
Flowers on Base Title: Softness of spring, by manager/designer Shelby Ereklens What’s included? Pink lilies, white roses,
peach roses, hot pink carnations, yellow mini carnations, white daisy, misty, leather leaf, teal wave bowl.
What was your inspiration? When I think of
spring, I think of pastel colors and soft tones. So for this arrangement, I gave a sweet Easter feel with the teal pastel bowl and the blooming lilies. I mixed the white and pinks with some hotter colors but kept the arrangement sweet and calm.
What do you love the most about sharing flowers? I love to see people smile. I love to bring the beauty of what’s outside into someone’s home. I love that people use our flowers to make memories.
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| manhattan businesses
| Story by Lou Ann Thomas
Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a dogâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life Two canine-catering businesses help pet owners train their pups and capture their antics on film
| Photography courtesy of Nadja Peery
manhattan businesses |
hile growing up in Berlin, Nadja Peery would tell her mother she wanted to live on a farm and have a lot of animals. It seemed a far-fetched dream for a girl living in one of the largest cities in the world, but Nadja always felt a connection to animals. “It is really difficult to say what it is with me and animals. I have always admired people who seem to have that special ability to bond with and understand animals, especially dogs,” Nadja says. And while she may not live on a farm, she has parlayed her love of above Russel is from the Pottawatomie County Caring Hearts Humane Society. dogs into two successful businesses: Mutt Shots and below Nadja Peery has a special bond with her pup Mac. Photograph courtesy Mutt School in Manhattan. of Amy B Photography. A year and a half ago, Nadja began Mutt Shots, a business dedicated to taking high-quality photographs of dogs. She moved to Manhattan to marry her love, Bryce, who is in the Army. Prior to her move, Nadja lived in Texas, where she interned with a publishing company. While there she started taking photographs to accompany her stories. “People photography was not my thing, but I really enjoyed taking photos of animals. I started taking photos of my friends’ dogs,” Nadja says.
Puppy parents Many times she includes the dog’s owners in the portraits, capturing that special connection between the two species. Nadja, who studied equine science in the Netherlands after high school, uses her knowledge of animal behavior and training techniques to capture each dog’s personality.
Mutt Shots www.modernmuttshots.com
Mutt School www.muttschool.com
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Chili, Hovawart from Germany
This is exactly why Angela Kargus contacted Nadja to create a portrait of her dogs, Milfy and Mickey, before her husband, Brian, was deployed to Iraq. “Our dogs are really our children, so we wanted a family portrait he could take with him during his yearlong deployment,” Angela says. But the photographs Nadja created meant much more when two months later Milfy passed away unexpectedly. “I know we will look back at those pictures for years to come with great happiness, remembering the love, camaraderie and silliness we shared with our best bud,” Angela says. “Thanks to Nadja, I have a collection of stunning portraits that captured his unique markings, toys and that special bond we shared.”
Behind the lens When Nadja goes on a shoot, she spends two to three hours with the animal she will be photographing. Once she has captured the shots, she spends five to 10 hours editing and preparing the prints. “I take the time to allow the dogs to get used to me, so the first half an hour we spend playing. That also helps me discover the dog’s unique personality. Every dog, through the camera, is unique, and I want to show off their best side,” she says. Angela was impressed with how well Nadja understood her dogs’ behaviors and how she took the time to put them at ease and capture perfect pictures of them. “One of my dogs was very timid with new people. But Nadja came prepared with treats and toys, which quickly earned his trust,” Angela says. “Nadja made us all comfortable in front of the camera. She accompanied us to one of our favorite parks so we could interact with our dogs as she took the pictures. We were all very relaxed and comfortable, and it shows in the photos.”
The dog language
Max, Lab mix from the Pottawatomie County Caring Hearts Humane Society
Nadja uses her background in animal nutrition and behavior as well as her understanding of a dog’s body language to quickly tune in to the dog, know how to approach it and put the animal at ease in order to bring out its best. She started Mutt School more than a year ago to help dog owners better communicate with their animals. “When we make animals live in our world and want them to live by our rules, we owe it to them to make an effort to understand them,” Nadja says. As a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and a certified Red Cross teacher of pet first aid, Nadja helps dog owners recognize their pet’s communication style. “The biggest
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“People photography was not my thing, but I really enjoyed taking photos of animals. I started taking photos of my friends’ dogs.” – Nadja Peery
Toben the beagle
| manhattan businesses
Max the English bulldog
problem between us and dogs is that we behave so differently. It’s difficult to train people to not treat the dog like another human, but to treat it like the dog it is,” she says. For instance, dogs don’t generally like to be hugged. Hugging isn’t a naturally occurring behavior in the dog world, so they don’t have any understanding of what it is about. In fact, for a dog, grabbing and wrapping your arms (front legs for a dog) around another dog often is considered an aggressive act. “But sometimes it’s hard to not hug my dogs. They’re just so cute, and they’ve learned to tolerate it,” Nadja says with a smile. Watching Nadja and her dog, Mac, work together around an agility course shows how she has earned Mac’s trust. He watches her closely and quickly responds to her verbal and hand commands as the two navigate orange cones and the twists and turns of the course. Nadja rescued Mac from a shelter and they, along with her other dog, Maize, are in training with K-9 Search and Rescue of Kansas. Nadja and the dogs travel to Wichita every other weekend for training. “How amazing it is to have dogs that can do a job we can’t possibly do, like saving someone’s life by finding them with their nose? I love it when, in my classes, I see people realize how intelligent their dog is,” Nadja says. “You just have to learn how to communicate with them. And when people do, it’s like a sigh of relief on both ends—from the dog and their person.”
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Training Tips Learning to communicate with your dog is the first step in successful training. Nadja Peery, owner of Mutt Shots and Mutt School, suggests using a clicker. Once conditioned to it, the dog will understand that a click signals he has done something right. To do that, Nadja suggests people first work on their timing with the clicker away from the dog. Practice by dropping a tennis ball and clicking right before it hits the ground. It’s important that you click as quickly as you can after your dog has demonstrated the behavior you are trying to teach. Now move into the room with your dog, click and immediately feed your dog a treat. Do this in short sessions over one or two days until you’ve completed approximately 100 clicks followed by treats. Now ask for a behavior your dog already can do, like “sit.” As soon as the dog’s bottom hits the ground, click and give a treat. After a few days you can teach new behaviors, and the possibilities are limitless. The key is to click the tiniest move toward the behavior you want. Remember, it’s not about how quickly your dog learns a new trick or behavior, so go at your dog’s pace. The more frequently you work with your dog with the clicker, the more quickly your dog will respond and the more willing he will be to learn new things in order to earn a click.
| manhattan businesses
| Story by Abigail Crouse
The lifeline of the party Little Apple Events manages the fun and unexpected with finesse
Girls gather at a cocktail party hosted by Megan Curtin of Little Apple Events.
| Photography by Cathy Mores
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rranging centerpieces, making sure there are vegetarian meals for the couple in the corner, cutting a sheet cake and uncorking 35 bottles of champagne. It’s just another day at the office for Megan Curtin. Megan combined her organizational talents, easygoing personality and a gift for hospitality to launch Little Apple Events in 2009. Her mission is to help create memorable, stress-free events for a variety of clients in the Manhattan area—Ashley Peck being one of them. “I was able to trust Megan fully with all aspects of my wedding,” says Ashley, who worked with Megan throughout the summer of 2009 to finalize plans for her wedding at Colbert Hills. “On my wedding day, I never worried for a minute that something would go wrong. Everyone kept asking me why I was so calm. I told them there’s a reason you hire a wedding above Wrapped asparagus make an elegant appetizer. BELOW Megan Curtin launched her event planning business planner you can trust.” after seeing a need in the area. For years, Megan has been an unofficial event planner. The Manhattan native enjoyed organizing events for school clubs during her years at Manhattan High School and worked in the hospitality industry while studying at Kansas State University. “Early on, after planning a golf tournament for a restaurant I was working for at the time, I decided this might be a good career choice for me,” she says. In 2008, Megan graduated with many courses from the College of Hotel and Restaurant Management under her belt and began working full time as catering manager at one of Manhattan’s popular restaurants, CoCo Bolos. It was through staffing those catering events that Little Apple Events evolved. “I graduated at a time when the economy was in a slump and there weren’t that many event planning positions available. This was a way for me to gain experience and earn some extra income,” says Megan. “It seemed like there was a need for more event planning businesses in Manhattan.” Since its inception, Little Apple Events has played a central role at rehearsal dinners, weddings, birthdays, holiday parties, corporate events, retirement dinners, cocktail parties, memorial services, awards ceremonies, fundraisers and even recruiting dinners for K-State athletics. No matter the type of event, Megan has the same planning process, which starts with a client meeting. “A big part of preparing for an event is listening to the client’s expectations,” says Megan.
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After working with a client’s budget, Megan helps in choosing a date and venue. Then the checklist comes into play. “There is so much to consider,” she says. “Dinnerware, glassware, number of tables, type and color of linens, centerpieces, drink and bar options, and a variety of menu options, including special dietary needs and price ranges.” Megan, who still spends a good deal of time in charge of catering events for CoCo Bolos and Cox Brothers, considers good food key to a good event. “While other aspects of the event are important, the quality of food is vital to a positive experience,” she says. In addition to food, a capable event staff is important, and she says Little Apple Events boasts a top-notch, dependable team. “With their help, Little Apple Events can meet the needs of a simple catering or plan a party for hundreds,” she says. No matter the size or nature of an event, Megan enjoys providing a service that helps clients enjoy a special day. But she says planning an event, even for a happy occasion, can be stressful, and she works to help clients avoid any anxiety and make the event a positive, memorable experience. Kim Mertz worked with Megan in preparation for her daughter’s wedding in October 2010. “It was clear to me from the start that she was committed to giving us an excellent experience. On top of organizing and running this event for us, which turned out to be just perfect in my opinion, she always had a smile on her face and an encouraging word,” she says. Of course, it’s not always easy. When setting up for a recent holiday party, Megan picked up a centerpiece vase that broke in her hand. The cut sent her to the emergency room and directly into surgery just hours before the event was set to begin. Fortunately, all major plans were taken care of and the party went off without a hitch. Another time, at a summer wedding reception, Megan was asked to help cut the wedding cake. The hot, humid weather had taken a toll on the four-tier cake, and before the cutting even began, the top layer fell off right into Megan’s hands. “It was a mess,” she says with a laugh. “But the catering staff managed to salvage most of it.” For Megan, it’s easy to smile during even the most stressful moments. “I enjoy working with people,” she says. “Each event is different, with a unique set of issues. I enjoy the challenges—I can undoubtedly say that my job is never boring.” From small gatherings to large weddings, Megan has experienced events of all sizes.
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Tips for planning an event Creativity Use your imagination and unexpected elements to make an event unique. Budget Develop a budget that works for you and stick with it. Sometimes this takes a little ingenuity and creativity. This is when an event planner can come in handy, as they have developed relationships with local vendors and can get you the best deal. Organization Make a plan. Be sure you have food everyone can eat and a variety of drinks for all tastes. Making lists is a must. Get Help Ask your friends or family to help you if you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hire an event planner. It will make the event less stressful and easier for you to enjoy. Flexibility Go with the flow. Sometimes, things go wrong, even if you are a great planner.
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| Story by Kristin Kemerling
Finding perks on base The Fort Riley USO is the place where troops and their families go for unlimited relaxation and entertainment The modern Fort Riley USO has served military families for almost a year after opening in May 2010.
ozine Tressider volunteers at the Fort Riley United Service Organization (USO) every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. She is one of many kind individuals who feel called to help families of soldiers at the center. “I was brought up in the Army. Both my parents were in the military and always taught me to give back to the community,” says Tressider. “It’s always been my thing, and a family thing.”
| Photography by Virginia Hagin
April Blackmon, director of the Fort Riley USO, says, “The USO’s mission is essentially to take care of troops and their families.” Which is easy to do at Fort Riley, where an oasis of comfort and support for soldiers and their families is offered at a luxurious 7,000-square-foot recreational center. “We are 100 percent donor-funded. We receive donations from individuals, businesses and from grants, so everything we offer to our troops and their families is free,” says Blackmon. Along with free Wi-Fi, the USO showcases two arcade games; a computer lab with nine computers; a video gaming area with Xbox 360, Sony Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii consoles; pool, air hockey, foosball, shuffleboard and poker tables; a movie theater with a large DVD and Blu-ray collection; and nine televisions with DirecTV. “The center is designed intentionally to be a home away from home for soldiers—a place that serves as an escape for soldiers,” says Blackmon. “We want the center to be somewhere they can decompress, relax and have a chance to get away in an alcohol-free environment.”
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The USO at Fort Riley opened May 25, 2010, and welcomes visitors 365 days a year. The amenities include a spacious family room, two gorgeous fireplaces and a library filled with a variety of donated books that soldiers and family members can take home for free. According to Blackmon, the center’s busiest time is during the lunch hour, when soldiers can be seen munching on menu items such as ramen noodles, nachos, burritos or hot dogs. Ryan Hurd, a soldier in Alpha 1-5 Field Artillery, is one of about 80 soldiers who visit the center on any given day. “It’s a good place to unwind between work. While I’m here, I usually get on Facebook to catch up, watch TV and drink coffee,” he says. “The volunteers are awesome. The center has everything you need or anything you want.”
Ongoing projects With games, a library, a lounge and even a selfserve kitchen, the USO offers plenty of amenities for soldiers on the job or families on base.
Not only is the USO a retreat for entertainment, it also maintains various service projects. The United Through Reading program is one popular project. Before deployment, soldiers can visit the center and read a children’s book to be recorded onto a DVD for their family. The USO then mails the storybook and DVD to the family of the deployed soldier for free. “This was the very first program started with the USO at Fort Riley,” says Blackmon. “We offer it here at the center and also go out to units to make it more convenient for the soldier.”
“The center is designed intentionally to be a home away from home for soldiers—a place that serves as an escape.”
– April Blackmon
For single soldiers returning from a deployment, the USO provides complimentary Homecoming Kits. The kits include travel-size toiletries, a toothbrush, washcloth, bottle of water and a thank you note. The USO even has worked with Kansas State University Athletics to allow season-ticket holders to donate unused tickets to the USO. One of the most popular USO projects is No Dough Dinners. Twice a month, the organization serves a free dinner to 250 soldiers and their families. The dinners are targeted for families who want a night off from cooking or just want to get together.
All about the volunteers The USO is driven by monetary donations from individuals and businesses but just as importantly by the countless hours from its volunteers. On average, the USO relies on more than 75 volunteers a month among all of its programs.
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A state-of-the-art video game room is a popular destination.
“If it wasn’t for the volunteers, we couldn’t do what we do,” says Blackmon. “They keep the center running and keep the programs going. It’s amazing to see how generous people can be.” Tressider frequently helps with the No Dough Dinners during the summer and other events at the center. She makes it a priority to include her children Kolena, 7, and Robert “Bubby,” 11, especially on days when there is no school. “My kids are always with me,” she says. “At the center, they help set up and turn on the computers. They also help out at the front desk and get video games for soldiers and family members.” When Tressider heard the USO center was opening on post, she was one of the first volunteers to sign up to help. “We have become a family here,” says Tressider. “I enjoy taking care of the soldiers and the soldiers knowing we are here for them. We really get to know the soldiers on a regular basis.”
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Anyone is encouraged to volunteer at the USO Fort Riley. “The USO has a very positive image with troops and families, and it’s easy to volunteer,” says April Blackmon, director of USO Fort Riley. “If you would like to give a couple hours here and there you can, or if you want to give all of your day you can. It’s great because you get to help out and put smiles on soldiers’ faces as well as your own. It’s all about taking care of troops and their families.” Fort Riley is an open post, and members of the community with or without ties to the military who want to volunteer are welcome. For more information, visit the Fort Riley USO Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usoftriley.
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| Story by Robin Farrell Edmunds
A group canvas The KSU Painting Society works to support student painters Members of the KSU Painting Society include, from left, Erin Elson, Erica Gilliland, Hunter Scott, Bridget Lee, Kevin Bernstein and Lisa Urban.
ccording to Nancy Morrow, painters typically aren’t too big on group activities. “It’s often said it’s like herding cats to get painters together,” says Morrow, an associate professor with the Kansas State University art department. But the KSU Painting Society proves that wrong by bringing together talented students to talk about art or painting and to socialize. For the last 10 years, the K-State organization has been instrumental in assisting fine arts students with hands-on “real-world” experience as well as expanding their worldview.
| Photography by Alan Honey and Tim Sigle
Professor Xuhong Shang conceived the painting society in 2001, and Morrow, who is currently on sabbatical, has advised the organization for the last eight years. She says Shang—who left K-State in 2005— started the group to offer a sense of community for students studying painting. Painting is just one of several areas of concentration for K-State art students. Others are art education, art history, ceramics, digital art, drawing, graphic design, metalsmithing and jewelry, photography, printmaking and sculpture. Unlike the other areas of study, painting is more individual. “Painters tend to spend a lot of time alone, working in their studio,” says Morrow. “Community isn’t as needed in the making of their work as it is in some of the other arts areas. But it’s really helpful for them to be able to share ideas with other painters.” Kevin Bernstein, assistant professor and coadviser of the society for the past two and a half years, says the student-run organization “decides and votes on how active they’re going to be.” In addition to support, the society helps expose its members to professional experiences. Members are
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encouraged to take part in at least two art shows, one usually off-campus. They are involved in the show’s entirety, from contacting the individual galleries and dealing with contracts to sending in digital examples of their work, framing their pieces, writing artists’ statements and even writing news releases to promote the exhibit.
“It’s really helpful for them to be able to share ideas with other painters.”
– Nancy Morrow
Several members participated in the off-campus show at the 5.4.7 Arts Center in Greensburg last fall. Hunter Scott, a junior from Highland Village, Texas, displayed his self-portrait painting there. Scott says the opportunity to exhibit his work was one of the main reasons he joined the Painting Society as a sophomore. He also wanted the chance to meet other art students. “It’s nice to bounce ideas off each other,” says Scott, who’s pursuing degrees in painting and art history. Occasional field trips to supplement classroom work over the years have included treks to Kansas City, Chicago, St. Louis and New York. In April 2009, a handful of students visited Chicago and several of its worldclass museums during a long weekend. “It was like stepping into a different culture,” says Bridget Lee, 23, a senior who serves as president of the KSU Painting Society. A self-admitted farm girl from the small rural town of Cummings near Atchison, Lee says it was the first time she had been to Chicago. “I forgot they called it the ‘Windy City,’” she says, remembering she had neglected to pack her suitcase accordingly. Lee, who graduates in December with a double major in painting and sculpture, recalls the high point for her “was standing in front of the (Henri de) Toulouse-Lautrec painting.”
ABOVE Bridget Lee is president of the society, helping members get involved. LEFT Lee’s painting, Still Life with Bucket, won an award during a show at Commerce Bank. OPPOSITE PAGE Nancy Morrow is an associate professor at K-State and the society’s faculty adviser.
KSU Painting Society
Any Kansas State University student with a love of paint and art is welcome. This semester, the society meets the first Thursday of the month. For more information, contact Bridget Lee at email@example.com.
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She’s been a member of the Painting Society since spring 2008, when she was enticed to come to a meeting after seeing a flier on a campus bulletin board (advertising free pizza). She left as the group’s treasurer, a position she held for two years. Lee initially enrolled at K-State as a secondary education art major but changed her mind after taking an Introduction to Oil Painting class and discovering that she loved it. “I thought, ‘This is it. I want to get up and paint every day of my life,’” she says. Her decision was further cemented after she won an award in a local juried art competition—with a piece her teacher had entered without her knowledge. “I came to class and couldn’t find my painting. He told me, ‘It’s hanging in the Commerce Bank.’ What?” she laughs at her reaction. Lee had won the Best Junior Award for her homage to her farming roots, Still Life with Bucket. The KSU Painting Society currently has just fewer than 30 members. Lee hopes to build that number this semester by recruiting students in other areas of the fine arts. “It’s for anyone who has an appreciation of art,” she says. Fundraising is also a necessity at times. While members have worked concessions at Bramlage Coliseum, other efforts have had more of an artistic bent, such as painting and selling wooden blocks and painting doors for ReStore, Habitat for Humanity’s resale outlet. For Lee, the KSU Painting Society is all about the people. “I’ve enjoyed my fellow classmates—they’re great, amazing people with a lot of talent. They should take pride in that.”
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| Story by Dennis Toll
A global partnership Manhattan and its Czech Partner City create ties among community members Karlstejn Castle on the Czech countryside.
estled snuggly within the Kansas River valley, the city of Manhattan might seem isolated from the rest of the world. Not so as long as Manhattan maintains its Partner City connection with Dob ichovice in the Czech Republic. Don’t worry about pronouncing it; even Czech students at Kansas State University admit that it is impossible for American mouths to curl around the sounds. Dob ichovice is a community of 3,000 plus on the Berounka River, just 18 miles southwest of the Czech capital of Prague. Manhattan and Dob ichovice have been partner cities since 2006. This partnership offers both communities the chance to see life outside their respective river valleys. One way this is done is through the connection of
| Photography courtesy of Ed Klimek
young students. Mary Kramer, a third-grade teacher at Amanda Arnold Elementary School, uses the partnership in her Manhattan classroom. The program works by “teaching children about this connection, bridging cultural gaps, helping them to see and understand the larger world and how important it is to accept differences—that’s my aim,” she says. “But more than accepting differences, we should also look for commonalities. We are living on this planet together; we need to know who our neighbors are across the ocean.” The partnership originated in 2004, when Manhattan city officials began exploring the idea of finding a Partner City. “Here is a culturally diverse community with K-State and Fort Riley, and with lots of things to offer and share,” says Ed Klimek, former mayor and city commissioner. At the same time K-State professor Joseph Barton-Dobrenin, who has since retired, stepped up with a proposal for a Partner City in the Czech Republic. Barton-Dobrenin was a native Czech who immigrated with his family to the United States in 1948 when the Soviets took over Czechoslovakia and seized the family’s extensive land holdings (which included a castle). After the Soviets lost control of Eastern Europe and the Czech Republic found its independence, the new pro-Western government returned the property to Barton-Dobrenin’s family. The professor made many
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ABOVE The Church of our Lady before Tyn, Old Town Square in Prague. RIGHT Old Town Hall Tower and Astronomical Clock in Prague. BELOW The Charles Bridge and Prague Castle in Prague.
trips to his homeland to help manage his newfound property. Along the way, he connected with Dob ichovice leaders and proposed that community as a Partner City for Manhattan. “It was a lucky thing for us because here was a person who did all the groundwork,” Klimek says of Barton-Dobrenin’s efforts. “He got all the people in the Czech Republic to know what was going on and basically said, ‘If you want to do it, they are willing to do this.’” Klimek then led a delegation of motivated Manhattan officials to Dob ichovice to finalize the agreement. City funds were not used for the partnership. In 2006, each city passed a resolution establishing the partnership. A delegation from Dob ichovice—including the town’s current mayor, Michael Pánek, and former mayor Vaclav Kratochvil—has since visited Manhattan.
“I think back to President Eisenhower when he created the People to People initiative,” says Tom Phillips, who led another Manhattan delegation to the Czech Republic in 2007 as mayor. “One of the objectives was to allow people to understand other cultures and to begin the communications with other people. So clearly there is value in understanding the relationships and human connections with people from across the world.” Phillips also hosted Vaclav in the Little Apple. It was a chance for two former mayors to talk shop and discover they shared much in common as mayors, despite working with two unique forms of city government. The folks from the Czech Republic also learned a few things about American business models. “They liked the spirit of entrepreneurism, that people are willing to take risks,” Phillips says. “People [in Manhattan] are willing to try something, not knowing if success or failure was going to be there, but they are willing to take that risk. In life under the Communists, people were just not like that.” A student exchange program at K-State brings about 10 Czech students to campus for a year’s study as Wildcats. In 2009, because of the partnership, 34 members of Manhattan’s Flint Hills Masterworks Chorale, plus a few friends and family, traveled to Europe and performed in Prague and at a church near Dob ichovice. Mary Ann Buhler, director of library services at Manhattan Christian College and coordinator of the trip, says one of the best things about the visit to Manhattan’s partner city was building friendships. “Instead of seeing the Czech Republic as a country that most people know virtually nothing about, we can put faces to the Czech people and we know they are very warm and giving,” Buhler says. Mary Kramer hopes to teach her students that same lesson. Kramer runs the Partner Cities Club, more commonly called the Czech Club, as an after-school program each year for about 25 Amanda Arnold students. In the club, as well as her regular classroom, students learn a little of the Czech language and customs, correspond with Czech students, study geography and even make live internet connections with Dob ichovice’s elementary school students. In 2009, the club organized Kansas-Czech Connections Night at the school, offering the community the chance to share what the students were learning. “I am trying, through my own enthusiasm for teaching this subject, to get children excited about exploring their world; if it can be about this small town in the Czech Republic, that’s great. If students can make a connection with somebody there, that’s great,” says Kramer. “I hope that is not the end of it. I hope that it will spill over into something else and that someday, when they are in college and have a chance to study abroad, that they will be the first in line to sign up.”
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Flag Plaza To celebrate Manhattan’s connection with Dob ichovice in the Czech Republic, the Partner City Flag Plaza will be constructed in the southwest corner of City Park at Poyntz Avenue and 14th Street. “We want to educate the public to this relationship,” says former Manhattan Mayor Ed Klimek. “Because if we have more education, we have more involvement, and then we have more ideas and exchanges.” Klimek also serves as the chairman of Manhattan’s Partner City Advisory Committee, which is overseeing the project. The committee tentatively plans to dedicate the plaza on September 22, 2011. Klimek explains the plaza is a “true community project,” because funding will primarily come from community and in-kind donations. The latest news about the project can be found by visiting the city’s website (www.ci.manhattan.ks.us) and clicking on the link to the Partner City Flag Plaza. Marcel Mika is a Czech graduate student studying computer science for a year at Kansas State University. Mika donated his time to the Advisory Committee and designed a website (http://partnership.
Partner City Advisory Committee members, top row from left: Mark Oberhelman and Curt Loupe. Middle row: Glen Lojka, Marcel Mika, Don Kesinger, Gary Fees. Bottom row: Liz Beikman, Nancy Kopp, Mary Ann Buhler, Pam Hatesohl, Ed Klimek. Photograph by Tim Sigle
realneo.cz) where people can offer a donation or buy a brick for the plaza. Marcel says it was always his dream to study in the United States. “I picked Kansas because I thought it was the best choice, because Kansas is right in the middle,” Mika says. “Like the Czech Republic is right in the middle of Europe and K-State is right in the middle of the States. I was thinking if I was going to travel, it is not going to be that far away from everywhere. But then I realized the States are a little bit bigger than Europe.” Mika also hopes the flag plaza will serve as a reminder of the connection between the two cultures, a connection that he was surprised to find existing in other parts of Kansas. “I’ve met a lot of people here with Czech heritage,” he says. He even traveled to Munden, a small town northwest of Manhattan, for its Czech Festival last year. The plans are to invite a delegation from Dob ichovice for the dedication of the plaza in the fall and host a Czech festival in the Little Apple as a way to bring people together. “There are really, really lovely people here,” says Mika.
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From Wichita State University to Boston University, Rhode Island School of Design to New York, Texas to Arkansas, Bob Workman has traveled the country in the name of art. Following multiple opportunities with art museums, he now is shifting his energy to the land as director of the Flint Hills Discovery Center. “I coordinated the expansion of the [Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth] building and worked with legendary modernist architect Philip Johnson. In 2004 I left the Carter to become the founding director of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, a project of the Walton Family Foundation currently under construction in Bentonville, Arkansas,” says Bob modestly. When Bob and his wife, Liz, were ready to be closer to family, their adventures brought them back to Kansas. It seemed as though the stars aligned for Bob in 2009. “When I learned about the Flint Hills Discovery Center project, I applied for the position and was selected,” he says. The project is expected to be complete in spring 2012. In the meantime, Bob shares what is so fascinating about this new institution.
Bob Workman Director, Flint Hills Discovery Center
How did you find yourself working with the Flint Hills Discovery Center? While I have a long career in art museums, I am most interested in the role of museums as places of learning for people of all ages. I know that visiting museums as a child played a role in my eventual career path. I think the concept of the Flint Hills Discovery Center is very strong, and as a fifth-generation Kansan—married to a sixth-generation Kansan—I believe the story of the land, wildlife and human settlement of this region is very important and needs to be explored and understood by Kansans and others. What encouraged you to get involved with operation? This is my third museum construction project, and it is my second effort at building an institution from the ground up. I have been extremely fortunate to work in museums for over 35 years, and for me this project is a chance to give back to Kansas and celebrate our heritage.
Interview conducted, condensed and edited by Katy Ibsen. Photograph by Tim Sigle.
Why do you think it’s important to educate others about the Flint Hills? The Flint Hills is a rare and fragile ecosystem that is both complex and
diverse. It is one of the only places where ecology and economics successfully coexist through the management of the grasslands by the ranchers of the region. I think we have a very important story to tell the rest of the world, and the research at the Konza Prairie Biological Station clearly demonstrates that point. I think it is also important to retain the great beauty of the Flint Hills. The vistas and solitude continue to inspire artists in all genres. Nature has so much to teach us, if we will only look and listen. What are some of the challenges? I try to look at everything as an opportunity; some of them just take a little more effort than others. Building broader public awareness about the potential for this project is something that will continue right up until we open our doors. It’s not easy to convey the impact of a new cultural institution in the abstract. We have to get up and running and then make our presence felt throughout this community and the wider region. What do you love most about the Flint Hills? As someone who has been steeped in art for so many years, I
think I am most inspired by the beauty of the landscape. It’s the vastness and the simplicity, combined with a requirement to slow down and really look. Somehow, being in this landscape makes me feel more connected to myself and the world around me. What is the most unique animal, plant or event you have seen in the Flint Hills? Clearly, attending the Symphony in the Flint Hills last year was the high point to date. There is something really magical about the whole process that culminates in great music surrounded by great natural beauty. This is an experience everyone needs to have at least once. If you had one wish for the Flint Hills, what would it be? That we all slow down a little bit and work to truly appreciate what we have around us in this remarkable landscape. That we continue to take responsibility to protect this rare ecosystem to assure it will be intact for future generations to enjoy. My wish for the Flint Hills Discovery Center is that it inspires pride in our community and our region and helps everyone better appreciate this great place that we live—the Flint Hills of Kansas.
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| Story by Lou Ann Thomas
The Olympics are considered the pinnacle of success for competitive athletes. For Gwen Wentland-Mikinski, making the U.S. Olympic team as an assistant coach is just as monumental. The fitness director at Manhattan Country Club and world-class high jumper has built an accomplished athletic career—and Manhattan has played a role in that success. After attending Kansas State University, Gwen competed in the Olympic Trials five times during her career. While she came close to making the team each time, she finished just shy of the cut.
| Photography by Tim Sigle
At the start As a seventh-grader in Flint, Michigan, Gwen realized she was a little different. “We were doing bounding moves across the floor in dance class, and it took all the other girls five jumps to get across. I was doing it in three. That’s when I first noticed I had a special deer-like quality,” Gwen says. That superiority soon caught the eye of the school’s track coach, who introduced Gwen to the sport that she’d love for the next few decades. In her senior year at Grand Blanc High School, she set the Michigan Class A high jump record with a jump of 5’10” and was named the 1990 Michigan High School Track & Field Athlete of the Year. That’s when Gwen also began to set her sights on an Olympic berth while being recruited by Louisiana State University, University of Texas, University of Tennessee and University of North Carolina—all top-rated track schools. Cliff Rovelto, then an assistant track coach at Kansas State University, was among the recruiters. “He was really relentless in getting me here for a visit. Once here, I liked the people and the direction the program was moving. In my heart, I knew this is where I belonged,” Gwen says.
As a Wildcat At K-State, Gwen worked hard and soon ranked as one of the top collegiate female high jumpers in the nation. She set three school records, including a world record for the pentathlon high jump her senior year with a 6’4¼” jump. She also won the U.S. Indoor Championship with a personal best 6’5” jump, and in 2006 she was inducted into the K-State Sports Hall of Fame. After transitioning to the competitive world stage as a professional track athlete,
Going for gold Gwen Wentland-Mikinski takes a long and eventful road to the Olympics 46
Gwen logged victories in 1995 and 2005 at the United States indoor championships. During this time Gwen competed in the Olympic Trials, but the stars were not aligned. Instead she remained among the top 10 jumpers in the United States for 17 years. During that time she set numerous high jump records and broke through some barriers for female athletes.
Becoming a pioneer After placing second at the Outdoor U.S. Championships and making the 2003 World Championship team that competed in Paris, Gwen thought she had a good chance of making the 2004 Olympic team. However, shortly after that meet in Paris, Gwen and her husband, Rod, a Manhattan photographer, learned they were going to have a baby. As happy as she was about the pregnancy, she wasn’t sure how it would affect her future as an athlete—or her attempt at the Olympics. At that time, no world-class female high jumper had ever had a baby and continued to compete. But with her typical dedication, Gwen trained throughout the pregnancy. When she could no longer run, she did yoga, stretching and meditation practices, and began to work out in the pool. “I tied myself to the ladder in the deep end of the pool and would do running workouts in the water. I really maintained pretty good shape throughout the pregnancy,” Gwen says. Paris Mikinski, named for the city of love where Gwen competed in the World Champion-
LEFT Gwen Wentland-Mikinski will serve as an assistant coach for the 2012 U.S. Olympic track and field team.
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ships, was born May 14, 2004, with the Olympic trials only seven weeks away. “I didn’t realize how much your body changes after giving birth,” Gwen says. “But by the time I got to Sacramento for the Olympic Trials, I could at least still run my approach.” Gwen missed her first two jumps at 5’10”—a height she previously would have sailed over—but she made the opening height qualifying jump on her third try. It wasn’t enough to make the Olympic team, but it did create a precedent for female athletes. “It changed the stigma of being a mom-athlete. Before that, if you had a baby, you retired. A lot of female athletes would wait until their careers were finished to have a baby. That isn’t the case anymore,” Gwen says.
Encouraging others Young women still ask Gwen about being a mom and an athlete, she tells them to continue believing in themselves and to maintain their fitness levels. Gwen enjoys using her expertise and background as a world-class athlete to help others who want to improve their fitness and health through her work as a trainer and coach. “Learning that it’s never too late to increase your fitness gives people a feeling of control over their bodies,” Gwen says. “My past accomplishments led me to this place of understanding that you can transcend any situation.” Gwen remains a role model for those with a dream and the determination to make it come true. Gwen’s dream of representing her country at the Olympics finally is becoming a reality. She recently was named an assistant jumps and multi-events coach for the 2012 U.S. women’s Olympic team.
Fitness Tips from Gwen
1. Set up a workout plan that is exciting to you. If you hate walking, try biking. 2. Be accountable. Keep a journal of your daily workouts, weight, physical and mental health. Give yourself a star for completing daily goals and record accomplishments, no matter how small. 3. Join a fitness class or get a trainer for those months when it is hard to find motivation. Working out gives you more energy on those less-than-sunny days. 4. Make your own fitness room for little money. Balance balls, resistance bands and medicine balls are relatively inexpensive but effective. 5. Eat healthy. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store for fresh fruits, vegetables and organic proteins.
ABOVE After a celebrated career as a high jumper, Gwen has become a trainer to other athletes, including Dolly Anderson, a competitive equestrian jumper.
health & fitness |
ideal trainee Dolly Anderson, a Manhattan real estate agent, started training one-on-one with Gwen several years ago. Dolly, who will be 75 this summer, competes in equestrian jumping events where most of the other riders are 15 to 20 years younger. “As you get older, you naturally lose muscle and core strength, and I wanted to do all I could to offset that and to keep my competitive edge,” Dolly says. Gwen works with Dolly for an hour every week, focusing on increasing Dolly’s balance, strengthening her core and improving her overall muscle tone. “Because Gwen is an athlete, she understands the importance of having a strong core. She has been such a help to me. I stand up straighter, feel more confident, and I can ride much more competitively since working with her,” Dolly says. At 50, Dolly won the AQHA World Championship jumping event. At 70, she won the same event while riding the son of the horse she’d won with previously; afterward she began working with Gwen. Gwen adapts workouts to fit each person, taking into account their goals as well as abilities. “Gwen makes it so much fun, sometimes I don’t even realize I’m working out. I really look forward to my hour with her,” says Dolly. An additional benefit to gaining strength and increasing fitness is a more positive outlook. “When you feel good about yourself, you feel good about everything else,” Dolly says. manhattan magazine
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Spr ng into the season Three unique styles are perfect for upcoming events Story by Katy Ibsen
Photography by Cathy Mores
Spring is the season for corralling the family and taking advantage of community events. Manhattan Magazine put on its creative hat this season to bring you an interpretation of some upcoming popular events. Jillian P. Childress
Rockstar and Rogers - www.rockstarandrogers.com
Bad to the bone. Trey Hoover has a jam session in Manhattan sporting all the right â&#x20AC;&#x153;rockerâ&#x20AC;? duds from Rockstar and Rogers.
Be entertained with the
Spring Music Festival.
Kids in kindergarten through 12th grade have entered the festival to show off their talents at Manhattan Town Center. Starting March 29, students will compete in vocal, instrumental and dance categories. Performances will occur from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Tuesday. Winners will meet at the final competition on April 26 and 27. Enjoy the weekly entertainment and cheer on these talented students as they compete for $1,000 in prizes. For more information, visit www.manhattantowncenter.com.
A Quilt Chick - www.etsy.com/shop/aquiltchick
Seuss-inspired characters Madeline Pool and Grant Bales channel their inner Thing 1 and Thing 2 with the help of Livie Bennett, Manhattanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Etsy crafter and owner of A Quilt Chick. Grant Bales
Be wowed with
Seussical the Musical.
The wildly amusing performance is based on the many Dr. Seuss characters and stories. The musical, created by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, follows the adventures of Horton the elephant. Because Horton hears voices of tiny creatures, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mocked for his thoughts but continues to believe. Soon all the animals come to understand Horton. This family-friendly event is sure to entertain. Tickets are $10-$15. Performance times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. April 29-May 1 and May 5-8. For more information, see www.manhattanarts.org.
Abbie’s Creations - http://abbiescreations.blogspot.com
Jillian P. Childress
The ferocious Jillian P. Childress gives her own impression of the lion king—the stylish one. Donning a handmade tutu by Kelsie Funk, of Abbie’s Creations, Jillian is certainly princess of the jungle.
Hakuna matata—what a wonderful phrase to use at
Friends of Sunset Zoo Kids Free Day.
From 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 11, families can enjoy all of the zoo’s amenities as kids get in free. Be sure to meet the newest zoo members, such as the sloth bear cubs, snow leopard cubs Kabita and Balek, the remarkable baby chimp and more. If one day isn’t enough for your curious kiddos, return July 9 for another free day. For more information, see www.ci.manhattan.ks.us/sunsetzoo.
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| get away | Story by Gloria Gale
Experience the prestige and vitality of Washington, D.C.
e the people can’t get enough of our nation’s capital. A sense of national pride seems to burst forth with little effort in a city that’s famous for stirring up a sense of patriotism—even among the most jaded. Nowhere in the United States is the concentration of government, historical and cultural sites so vast. French architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant designed the city named after George Washington in 1791. He envisioned a place where every resident would have access to sweeping public spaces and imposing neoclassical buildings accessed by radiating avenues. Concentrated in a small geographic area, the District of Columbia is contained within 68 square miles and provides a heady mix of attractions that are among the most visited in the world. It’s easy to get worn down by the sheer scope of Washington’s iconic landmarks. But you won’t sleep until you see these symbols of our national heritage.
Day One The heart of this city is America’s front yard. Most of the must-see memorials and monuments are clustered along the 1.9-mile National Mall. TOP A view of the U.S. Capitol dome. Photograph by Jake McGuire BOTTOM The Lincoln Memorial. Liquid Library
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One of the best views in the city begins at the towering 555foot Washington Monument. Take the elevator to the top for a 360-degree view. The National World War II Memorial sits at the eastern edge of the Reflecting Pool and, like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial nearby, pays homage to the thousands of men and women who have died in the line of duty. At the western edge of the Reflecting Pool sits the solemn dignity of the Lincoln Memorial. On the marble steps, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in l963. End your tour on the shores of the Tidal Basin, the site of two famous monuments: the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial with sculptures spread throughout the garden and the towering statue of Thomas Jefferson within a monument fashioned after Rome’s Pantheon.
Day Two Anchored by the Capitol and Lincoln Memorial, the Mall is lined with free Smithsonian Institution museums, gardens and memorials. First, stop at the Visitor Center to pick your favorites. Though you could spend days visiting each, the most popular (and most crowded) is the National Air and Space Museum where space capsules—including Apollo 11—and the first plane to break the sound barrier dangle from the ceiling. Don’t miss the moon rocks that you can actually touch and a soothing planetarium that serves as a spot to ponder the heavens and escape the crowds. Eat lunch like an astronaut and try the freeze-dried ice cream. The National Museum of Natural History provides an upclose look at dinosaur skeletons, wooly mammoths and an outstanding collection of famous jewels including the Hope Diamond and a 21-carat ruby. In the National Museum of American History you’ll have a chance to see a collection of dresses worn by the First Ladies, Julia Child’s kitchen, the original Star-Spangled Banner and Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. The American Art Museum details three centuries of American art from Colonial times to the present. Within walking distance of the Mall, west of the Capitol, lies the White House—the most famous U.S. residence for the past 200 years. Contact your congressional representative’s office at least a month in advance to schedule a two-hour tour. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Washington Monument. Liquid Library
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Day Three Sitting atop Capitol Hill, at the eastern end of the Mall, is the U.S. Capitol. The hour tour begins with a 15-minute film and progresses through the lobby rotunda and National Statuary Room. Tickets may be obtained from congressional representatives to view Congress when in session. Stroll over to the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest library, the Library of Congress, a magnificently ornate building holding a mind-boggling 142 million items. A tour of the grand Renaissance-style Thomas Jefferson building is a must. Just beyond is the famed U.S. Botanic Garden, where exotic plants are a welcome respite in the bustling heart of this city. After lunch, tour our temple of justice, the Supreme Court, and watch the great authority of law in motion. Visitors may enter the building 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for no charge. On days when the Supreme Court is not in session, visitors are allowed to visit the courtroom and hear a lecture. Union Station sits at the northern edge of Capitol Hill. This magnificent l907 Beaux-Arts style building is not only a rail terminal but a museum and shopping venue featuring more than 100 places to eat, drink and shop. Union Station ranks as one of the top destinations in Washington, D.C., attracting more than 32 million visitors a year.
Concentrated in a small geographic area, the District of Columbia is contained within 68 square miles and provides a heady mix of attractions that are among the most visited in the world. Day Four In the morning, take time to visit historic Georgetown. Notable as one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the District, this tony area brims with row houses and stately embassies lining cobblestone streets. John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy resided here in l960s, pushing Georgetown into the forefront of style. The area has maintained its allure and is now home to many politicians, lobbyists, movers and shakers including Senator John Kerry, Madeleine Albright, Bob Woodward and Ben Bradlee. This vibrant districtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s attractions include Georgetown University, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Cathedral, Georgetown Waterfront, C&O Canal and more than 400 restaurants, shops and nightspots. In the afternoon, celebrate all things panda at the National Zoo, where three are in residence. As evening draws, collapse with a flourish and book a performance at the Kennedy Center. Visiting Washington, D.C., is a grand experience any time of year. But consider visiting during the famous National Cherry Blossom Festival in late March and early April. TOP The Washington Monument. Destination DC center Capitol Hill rowhouses. Destination DC Bottom The Jefferson Memorial. Destination DC
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This town knows how to dress up and down, put on a spread or belly-up with no airs. Here’s a short A-list of favorites. Bistro Bis is a favorite of politicos and lobbyists near the central business district where Chef Jeffrey Buben feeds a fussy upscale crowd. Go for lunch and try the ultra Bis Burger and a heap of fries. www. bistrobis.com Clyde’s of Georgetown popularizes pub food. Chili and burgers are glamorized under Chef Jeffery Eng’s skillful touch. www.clydes.com Georgia Brown’s satisfies the soul with Lowcountry cuisine. Expect she-crab soup and fried green tomatoes at this indulgent D.C. mainstay. www.gbrowns.com Ben’s Chili Bowl has been in business since 1958. You’ll find the best burgers and dogs at this landmark casual eatery. Keep your eyes peeled for Bill Cosby, who’s among the regulars. www.benschilibowl.com Farmers and Fishers at the Washington harbor is the stop for a farm-fresh meal with earthy roots. Hot, salty fries or chocolate-dipped bacon will tempt. www.farmersandfishers.com
Shopping in Georgetown. Destination DC
The National Museum of the American Indian’s Mitsitam’s Cafe is one great cafeteria. Dishes are served according to what native people typically enjoyed during each season. Chef Richard Hertzler has become a national expert creating unexpected tastes: oak-roasted duck, moist corn pudding and spicebush aguas frescas, among others. www.mitsitamcafe.com
Music & Home Theater
e v e n t s April 1-3, 8-10, 15-17
April 21-23, 27-30
The Last Five Years See the entertaining ups and downs of a relationship between a writer and actress from beginning to end and end to beginning. Columbian Theatre, Wamego. Show tickets $20; dinner and show tickets $37.50. (800) 899-1893. www. columbiantheatre.com
av • Design
Headphones, Tubes, Turntables, Projectors & Screens
True to the performance!
1102 Hostetler Drive, Manhattan 785-341-2031 • www.LTAV.net
Lawrence • Kc • TopeKa • ManhaTTan
Wamego’s 24th Annual Tulip Festival Enjoy the
spring weather at one of the region’s largest handcrafted art and crafts festivals. Food vendors, craft vendors, Little Apple amusements, entertainment and more in Wamego City Park. (785) 456-7849. www. visitwamego.com
April 16-May 28
Wendy Barnes’ War Brides: Pieces of a Life Wendy Barnes displays her textile work, influenced by military wives and their stories, at the Manhattan Arts Center. 10 a.m.5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. (785) 537-4420. www. manhattanarts.org
Brighton Beach Memoirs Presented by
Kansas State University Theatre, this play is adapted from the first of Neil Simon’s autobiographical trilogy. It follows the life of the writer as a teenager growing up in 1937 in his Brooklyn home. 7:30 p.m., Nichols Theatre. Tickets $14, senior or military $12, student $9. http://cstd.k-state.edu/ Theatre/index.html
Kansas State Wind Ensemble Concert The K-State Wind Ensemble will be joined by the Salina South High School Band in this unique concert. Together the groups will perform an array of premier and standard concert band literature. 7:30 p.m., McCain Auditorium. www.k-state.edu/band/ windensemble.html
May 8 Mother’s Day at the Zoo Take mom to Sunset Zoo, where she will get in free with a paid child’s admission. 9:30 a.m. (785) 587-2737. www.ci.manhattan.ks.us/ sunsetzoo
TALK SeriesThe Immigrant Experience Examine
Teen Talent Show
what it meant to come to this country as an immigrant and the challenges these men, women and children faced. 7 p.m., Manhattan Public Library Groesbeck Meeting Room. (785) 776-4741. www. manhattan.lib.ks.us
Kids in seventh grade and above can show off their secret and notso-secret talents at the Manhattan Public Library Talent Show. Registration required. Sign up online or call the children’s department. 4 p.m. (785) 776-4741. www. manhattan.lib.ks.us
Wine in the Wild Enjoy wine, hors d’oeuvres and live music under the stars at Sunset Zoo. Tickets available at (785) 587-2737. www. ci.manhattan.ks.us/ sunsetzoo
Manhattan Juneteenth Festival Bring the family Friday to enjoy a Gospel Festival and on Saturday, take in a parade in the morning and games, food, crafts and educational programs in the afternoon. These free events begin at 7 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday at City Park Band Shell-Pavilion. (785) 776-0244.
Father’s Day at the Zoo Dad gets in free with a paid child’s admission. 9:30 a.m. (785) 587-2737. www. ci.manhattan.ks.us/ sunsetzoo
2011 Affiliated Foods Midwest Country Stampede Get outdoors and enjoy the sounds of some of today’s hottest country acts. Headliners include Lady Antebellum, Blake Shelton and Brad Paisley. (785) 539-2222. www. countrystampede.com
All events are subject to change. E-mail your upcoming events for the calendar to email@example.com