Manhattan Magazine Winter 2009-2010

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Vol. 11 | No. I V

anhattan agazine

editor’s note

Manhattan Magazine is raising the bar this winter. I am confident in saying this as I see the high-profile stories we’ve captured in this issue and consider where we are going next while showing our readers another side to Manhattan. For this issue, we were allowed to peek inside the home of new Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz. With his calm and collected demeanor, we knew there had to be a homey atmosphere (and SportsCenter) at the limestone residence. In another feature, we tour the grand Ditto-Leach home in Wamego. A trip to Italy in the 1890s by local businessman Louis B. Leach provided inspiration for the home’s Sicilian design, down to the bricks. Today, Bill and Rose Ditto cherish and share the house with the community while celebrating its magnificent curb appeal. The life of a charter jet pilot holds interest for some people, especially Kansas Air Center owner Ron Nordt. The jets and the service at KAC are soaring to new heights as Nordt offers a more efficient mode of transportation for more than just business travelers. We even classed things up a bit during a visit with Glenda Phillips, well-known proprietor and jazz aficionado at G’s Jazz Bar. Her new west Manhattan club is enticing

Winter 2010

Publisher/Art Director Darby Oppold Editor Katy Ibsen Copy Editor Susie Fagan

guests to test their ears and palates with a swanky escape. Outside of our glossy pages, Manhattan Magazine is trying its hand at social media. If you are curious about Twitter (, start by following us– @manhattanmag is our user name– and we’ll provide updates on our production and communicate with our readers. Feel free to give us your thoughts on the magazine or our tweets. And in the future, look for our fan page on Facebook. You also can see the magazine online at www.—a good way to share the stories and photos with friends and family outside Manhattan. Finally, we have added the Manhattan Public Library to our distribution list. Current distributors, all our advertisers and the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce will continue to carry copies—but you might have to fight for them. We are excited about another great issue to round out the publication year. We hope you enjoy it and will seek us online and in stores throughout 2010. In the meantime, have a happy new year!

For advertising information, call (888) 497-8668 Ad Designers Shelly Kemph Tamra Rolf Photographers Alan Honey Tim Sigle Contributing Writers Abigail Crouse Chrissy Dolezal Robin Farrell Edmunds Gloria Gale Kristin Hodges Mark Janssen Kristin Kemerling Faryle Scott Lou Ann Thomas Manager Bert Hull 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

Katy, Editor Manhattan Magazine is a publication of Sunflower Publishing, a division of The World Company.

Follow us on twitter @manhattanmag

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t.o.c. Winter 2010

3 | Editor's note 41 | Q & A 62 | Calendar of events

manhattan living

6 | A scenic story This log home bed-and-breakfast is a dream come true for its owners

manhattan businesses

16 | In store: The Pathfinder Get your winter gear from Manhattan’s one-stop outdoors shop 20 | Jazzing up the Little Apple G’s Jazz Bar woos a welcoming audience one saxophone at a time


24 | Flying high Kansas Air Center sets the bar for executive charter travel

health & fitness

42 | Does a body good Massage therapy can help make a difference in personal health

10 | Living the good life The Schulz family enjoys its new setup at K-State’s presidential home

local profiles

44 | Welcome to boot camp One fitness fanatic introduces a challenging workout regime

46 | Grandeur on the Plains The rebuilt Ditto-Leach home brings a little Italy to Wamego and serves as a community treasure

28 | Ice-cold charity Brave and beneficial souls get their feet—and more—wet at the frigid Polar Plunge fundraiser 32 | So many books, so little time One couple’s love of books makes a life worth reading 36 | Mainstreet withstands the test of time Area band members gather in Manhattan to make music

for the family

52 | Manhattan’s helping hands The K-State Volunteer Center reaches beyond campus 56 | Getting schooled Learn about these alternative options for early education

get away

60 | Desert Cruise A rustically elegant dude ranch offers a chance to kick back and ride high in the saddle

Correction In our fall 2009 issue, Deb Pryor was incorrectly identified as a part of the Kansas State University Research and Extension for her help with the Kids a Cookin’ program. Pryor actually works with the Department of Communication as a video producer.


On the cover Ron Nordt, owner of Kansas Air Center. Photography by Alan Honey

manhattan magazine

| manhattan living

A scenic story

| Story by Lou Ann Thomas


This log home bed-andbreakfast is a dream come true for its owners

As visitors approach the Scenic Valley Inn west of Manhattan, a grand log cabin and nature’s bounty welcome them with open arms.


| Photography by Alan Honey

manhattan magazine

t was almost 20 years ago when Paul and Diana Nickel stayed in a lovely bed-and-breakfast in the English countryside. Little did they know how much that stay would eventually mean. “That’s when I knew this is really what I wanted to do,” Diana says of owning a bed-and-breakfast, adding that she has always been a “people person.” Paul had wanted to live in a log home, and eventually the couple would decide to combine their dreams into one reality.

The dream The Nickels met at Hutchinson Community College and transferred to Kansas State University in 1972. After a trip years later in the English countryside, the couple began thinking about the possibility of owning and operating a bed-and-breakfast. Meanwhile, raising a family and pursuing two careers—Paul as a financial adviser and Diana in early childhood education—kept them busy. However, a drive out of Manhattan toward Colorado in December 2000 would reveal the treasure they had been seeking. “We saw the sign for the land for sale and both thought about it without acknowledging it

| manhattan living below LEFT Owners Paul and Diana Nickel always wanted to build a log cabin and run a bed-and-breakfast; Scenic Valley is the realization of their dreams. below RIGHT The cozy and welcoming inn serves as a prairie escape hidden by trees.

“Wedding nights, birthdays and staycations are the main thrust of our business, and we’ve gone from one-night stays to twonight minimums on ballgame weekends.”

– Diana Nickel

out loud. It wasn’t until we were approaching Goodland that Paul turned to me and said, ‘Did you see that sign on Scenic [Drive]?’ I said, ‘Yes,’ and we both simultaneously said, ‘Log home. Bed-and-breakfast!’” says Diana. At the time, the stock market was a little dicey, so the couple turned to their faith and prayed about whether to move ahead on the log home and business. Then the events of September 11, 2001, created even more uncertainty, but they couldn’t shake the feeling that this was what they wanted to do. After getting the go-ahead from their three children—Jason, now 31, Brian, 29, and Juliana, 20—the Nickels took a leap of faith and bought the land west of Manhattan in October 2001. They began researching log homes and exploring the 20 acres of woods to find the perfect building site for what is now known as the Scenic Valley Inn. “We bought the land, then started the hunt for floor plans, searching for just the right layout,” Diana says. After touring more than 40 log homes, the couple decided to build with Log Homes of N.E. Kansas.

One log at a time With the initial building decisions made, the driveway was cleared in August 2002 and the foundation started in January 2003. A couple months later, the logs for the house were cut and shipped in three trucks from Arkansas. “Paul and I did all the staining of the logs and varnishing


of the tongue and groove for the ceilings, as well as painted all the walls,” Diana says. “Paul, being the numbers man, kept track of the linear footage. By September 2003 we had completed six miles.” The couple’s son Jason, a graphic designer, created the Scenic Valley Inn website in early 2004. “We received three hits the first week we went online. On March 7 of that year the first guests arrived and stayed in the Americana Room, which features a patriotic red, white and blue theme and offers a grand view of the hills and wooded area behind the homestead,” says Diana. Visitors travel to the inn through tall stands of hardwoods as they wind their way across the concrete bridge and up the hill to the large, two-story log inn and family home.

Welcoming guests Once visitors step inside the double doors off the open porch, they enter the great-room with its large, overstuffed couches, high beam ceilings and Douglas fir hearth. The Douglas fir stairs, railing and windowsills are illuminated by natural light pouring in through the large windows. The Scenic Valley Inn features three guest rooms. In addition to the Americana Room, the Oak View is decorated in earth tones and features a large picture window facing the expansive oak forest behind the inn. The largest guest room is the Woodlands suite, which is designed and furnished with families in mind. Measuring approximately 16 by 30 feet, the room is available with any size bed and a cradle or portable crib. In addition to the guest rooms, a downstairs game room and workout room overlook a valley covered with oak trees and abundant wildlife. In fact, Paul’s feeders go through more than 3,000 pounds of bird food per year. “It’s like a bird sanctuary out here. We often see deer, wild turkey, coyotes and even bobcats,” he says.

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The Wooden Nickel Event Center is found over at the barn—a popular space to host weddings, meetings or even a family reunion.

Just down the hill from the inn is the Wooden Nickel Event Center. The log barn features an upstairs loft with a complete kitchen, including two ranges and refrigerators. The space can serve up to 100 people for a sit-down meal. The downstairs area will seat up to 200 guests for video or multimedia presentations or music events. The Meadow, an outdoor clearing surrounded by stately woods, has been the picturesque setting for many weddings and social gatherings. “Wedding nights, birthdays and staycations are the main thrust of our business, and we’ve gone from one-night stays to two-night minimums on ballgame weekends,” says Diana. Guests come from all over to stay at the inn; one couple from Australia even found the Scenic Valley Inn online. “They came to stay here, and we’re still fast friends with them,” Diana says. “The best part is meeting the people. They enter as strangers and leave as friends.”

Scenic Valley Inn 610 S. Scenic Drive (785) 776-6831 manhattan magazine


Story by Mark Janssen Photography by Alan Honey

Living the good life They want to exude Sunflower State warmth and provide a welcoming place for Kansas State University students and alumni. Those are the wishes of K-State President Kirk Schulz and his wife, Noel, for their new home at 100 Wilson Court on the Wildcat campus. “It’s the school’s home that we are borrowing,” says Kirk. “We look at it as the university’s home, not our home.”

The Schulz family enjoys its new setup at K-State’s presidential home

Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz and his wife, Noel, enjoy the “practical elegance” of their on-campus home.

Before the Schulzes moved into the 86-yearold home that has housed six presidential families, it received a modest makeover. “We wanted it to have a Kansas feel and a K-State warmth,” says Kirk, who was selected as K-State’s president in February 2009. Noel, who serves as K-State’s Paslay professor of electrical and computer engineering, appreciates the limestone home’s old-school atmosphere.

“It’s not fancy or stuffy but has a Midwestern practical elegance.” She also admits to some intimidation in those first few days of living in a home of 10,000 square feet. “It did feel like a castle at times. It was a little overwhelming in the beginning.” And the couple’s 15-year-old son Andrew adds, “The first few days, I got lost a few times. I didn’t know how to get to the kitchen, which is a must-know.”

The presidential side Kirk says nearly all of the land grant institutions in the country provide on-campus housing for school leaders, as is the tradition at K-State. The home sits on the eastern edge of the campus, where it’s no more than a five-minute walk from the president’s office at Anderson Hall. And although the home is somewhat isolated, Noel says students occasionally hustle through their backyard on their way to wherever. Entering the foyer, visitors are introduced to regional artwork that’s found throughout the home. Best Spot of the Day, a landscape painting by Kim Casebeer, decorates one wall, while to the right is a campus painting by well-known local artist Ralph Fontenot that the Schulzes purchased. “We wanted the artwork to say Kansas,

The house was built in 1922 and has hosted many university presidents and their guests.

whether that is in scenes or in artists from K-State or Kansas,” says Noel. Landscape by Sven Birger Sandzen serves as the signature piece in the formal living room, where it hangs above the gas fireplace. The 30by 40-inch countryside setting created by Sandzen, a Bethany College art instructor, was a gift to the presidential home in 1930. Other art comes from the talents of Daniel Coburn, Margo Kren, Nancy Morrow, Duane Noblett and Larry Schwarm. White oak flooring throughout the formal level was discovered when the carpet was removed this summer and later refurbished at the Schulzes’ request. “I love the hardwood floors,” Kirk says. “I grew up in a house with wood floors. I think it lends a classiness and historical feel to the home.” Interior decorator Lynn Urick of Manhattan assisted with the remodeling project.

“It’s our hope to restore the tradition of hosting university guests at the home.” – Kirk Schulz

top The entrance is stately and roomy enough for the many university events hosted by the Schulz family. bottom Furniture and art was chosen with the help of interior decorator Lynn Urick.

“We wanted to create a feel of a public home,” says Urick. “We wanted the feel to say K-State and be a reflection of the area.” With her guidance, the Schulzes selected a large plum-color rug for the formal living room that complements the furniture with neutral and charcoal tones accented by touches of green. It’s a formal room for certain, but also one that is far more comfortable than intimidating.

“We wanted the home to be nice but not over the top,” says Kirk. “We didn’t want it where people would be afraid to sit on the furniture. We tried to hit the middle where it would be a nice place to have a cup of coffee or have a beer.” Small chandeliers add a touch of elegance to the foyer, gathering room and dining room, which includes a table that seats up to 18. It comes in handy, as the Schulzes estimate their home hosts

A large plum-color rug anchors the decor in the formal living room where the presidential couple often host guests.

some type of gathering three to five times a week. That can be breakfast for a visitor, groups of students for lunch, a low-key cookies-and-hot-chocolate get-together or a formal event with alumni and donors.

The family side When the work day is done, Kirk, Noel, Andrew and Amber the cat settle into a family room on the opposite side of the home. “On that other end is where the TV is on SportsCenter or a good movie,” Kirk says. Movies? Yes, the Schulzes have 534 DVDs. “We counted them when we unpacked,” quips Noel. Now they help fill the shelves of an elegant two-floor bookcase equipped with a sliding ladder to access the upper shelves. Steep stairs lead to the second floor, which houses the master bedroom, two additional bedrooms, a pair of studies for the educators and two bathrooms. “Andrew is pretty excited about his room because it’s a room President (Dwight) Eisenhower once used when he was visiting his brother,” says Noel, in reference to former K-State President Milton Eisenhower. “He likes to say he’s in the U.S. presidential bedroom.” Two more small bedrooms and a bathroom are on the third level. “We have all these rooms, so it’s our hope to restore the tradition of hosting university guests at the home,” says Kirk. Small furniture pieces made by Kirk are found in the private side of the home, and paintings by Andrew and older son Tim, 19, decorate the walls. Prints of their native Virginia landscape hang in the kitchen as well as a bulletin board

“We wanted the feel to say K-State and be a reflection of the area.”– Lynn Urick

left The dining room’s refurbished hardwood floors were discovered during the renovation. right The family room is filled with the Schulzes’ library and extensive DVD collection. below The backyard shows off the threestory home. Noel has even seen a few students cut across the grounds to get to class.

packed with family schedules, a homemade calendar marked with extended-family birthdays and family silhouettes from Disney World. The family often enjoys the screen porch off the deck when grilling or just taking in the view of the small pond and rose garden in the backyard. A small recreation room downstairs serves as a good hangout spot for Andrew and his friends.

“At first, his friends are pretty wide-eyed when they come here. But they quickly find out we’re just basic people and it’s a home just like theirs,” says Kirk. Perhaps not “just like theirs,” but one gets the idea. By making the presidential residence a home that reflects their family, the Schulzes are creating a home that embraces the K-State community.

History of the Presidential Home

A $20,000 gift to the Kansas State Agricultural College from the Mehitable C.C. Wilson family in 1912 helped launch the idea of building a presidential home. Mehitable’s husband, Davies Wilson, was one of Manhattan’s founders and played a role in locating the university here. With funds upped to $31,000 in 1922, Cecil Baker, former head of the Department of Architecture, designed the three-story limestone residence with characteristics of an English country home. While prior university presidents lived in off-campus residences, William Jardine first lived in the presidential home. Since then, the families of Francis Farrell, Milton Eisenhower, James McCain, Duane Acker, Jon Wefald and now Kirk Schulz have lived there. The thousands of visitors to the presidential home have included President Dwight Eisenhower, comedian Red Skelton and author Truman Capote.

| manhattan businesses

| Story by Faryle Scott

| Photography by Tim Sigle

In store: The Pathfinder Get your winter gear from Manhattan’s one-stop outdoors shop


or more than three decades, The Pathfinder has been a family business serving outdoor enthusiasts. Husband-andwife team Bill and Erma Riley opened the doors in 1975 and have spent the last year passing the store to their daughter Heather Lansdowne. “For me, the store is almost a sibling,” says Lansdowne. “There’s an emotional connection there as much as a business one.” Employees and customers now feel like family. Many customers have been coming to The Pathfinder for years, and photographs of their adventures on the store’s walls prove it. The main focus of the store is what Lansdowne describes as human-powered activities: kayaking, hiking, backpacking and bicycling. “The Pathfinder encourages people to get off their couch and go out and enjoy the world,” she says. “Manhattan is perfect for us,” says Lansdowne. “The customers that we have are family and regulars. They come here year after year.” With winter comes colder weather, but employees at The Pathfinder say that shouldn’t keep people from enjoying the outdoors. Lansdowne shares a few of her year-round favorites with Manhattan Magazine.

The Pathfinder 304 Poyntz Ave.

(785) 539-5639 The Pathfinder team–from left, Bill Riley, Erma Riley, Dave Colburn and Heather Lansdowne–continues to make the store a go-to source in Manhattan.


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785 539 0806

| manhattan businesses

The Pathfinder’s eccentric inventory

Madone bicycles by Trek. Developed and built for Lance Armstrong’s use in the Tour de France, the Madone line represents some of the best bikes in the world. Bicycles in general are the store’s biggest-selling items, according to Dave Colburn, Pathfinder sales manager and employee for 30 years. Built in Waterloo, Wisconsin, the Madone line also represents the Midwest.

Denali jacket by North Face. Over the years, Lansdowne has seen how technology has changed the outdoor pursuits industry, but little has changed with the Denali jacket since it was introduced in the ’80s. “When you’ve got something good, why change it?” says Lansdowne. She loves it when trends and quality fuse and people flock to items that Pathfinder employees believe in.

Metrosafe shoulder bag by Pacsafe. “[The Pathfinder does] a lot more travel now,” says Lansdowne. The Metrosafe bag is not only a classic shoulder bag, but it has anti-theft features such as slash-proof straps and panels reinforced with steel to give travelers peace of mind while exploring the world.

Camelbak bottles. These bottles come in a rainbow of colors and are a great way to drink lots of water and stay healthy. Available in either BPA-free plastic or stainless steel, the bottles have a straw and bite-valve system that help prevent spills.

SmartWool socks. These socks not only provide warmth but also reduce odor, wick moisture and wash without shrinking, providing the perfect sock for hiking or working on cold winter days. They’re comfortable, warm and a fun way to spice up a wardrobe. “The only problem,” says Lansdowne, is that “once you start wearing SmartWool, you won’t want to wear anything else.”


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| manhattan businesses

| Story by Mark Janssen

Jazzing up the Little Apple

G’s Jazz Bar woos a welcoming audience one saxophone at a time

| Photography by Alan Honey


ebop jazz drummer Art Blakey liked to say that “jazz washes away the dust of everyday life.” So it only follows that customers are taking a shine to a new jazz club catering to a mature Manhattan crowd. Located at the new Grand Mere Village southeast of the Colbert Hills Golf Course, G’s Jazz Bar is establishing itself as a go-to destination for those looking to unwind after a day at the office. “It’s comfortable,” says Steve Galitzer, director of environmental health and safety at Kansas State University. “It meets our needs of a bar that’s not necessarily for students. It feels like a neighborhood bar.” Galitzer’s wife, Jan, says, “They have wonderful live entertainment that you don’t find at any other place in Manhattan. The staff treats you like you’re special.”

“You just feel welcome there. It has an uptown feel that we enjoy.”

– Bonnie Barrett

Serenading Manhattan Since G’s Jazz Bar opened its doors in September, owner Glenda Phillips says, “We’ve already developed an appetizer crowd and an after-dinner crowd. Fridays have been huge for us, but Saturdays are also good. On Fridays people come in after work and they don’t seem to care if they ever leave.” Top jazz artists in the Manhattan community are featured on weekends. Thursday, Wayne Goins soothes with the guitar; vocalist Susan Hancock and guitarist Rick Smith perform on Fridays starting at 9 p.m. On Saturday evenings, Fran Curtis sings and plays the bass. “G’s is the only place dedicated to jazz in Manhattan,” said Goins, the K-State director of jazz. “I enjoy playing, but it’s also an opportunity for my students to learn how to hone their craft.”

G’s Jazz Bar 3901 Vanesta Drive, Suite B

(785) 320-7616

4 p.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday Owner and jazz muse Glenda Phillips is having a ball with her new act, G’s Jazz Bar.


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| manhattan businesses

left Patron Bob Bell and Phillips take their turn at the piano. Many local musicians perform regularly at G’s. RIGHT Manager and bartender Sarah Philips helps her mom run the show, making for a fine duet.

Sound beginnings

says. “I’ll be honest: One of my main goals with G’s was to provide an outlet where I could sing and play.” Phillips is relatively new to Manhattan, but Comparing her style with that of Billie Holiday, Phillips makes it a her dream of opening a jazz bar has been in the point to take her turn at the Kimball keyboard on a nightly basis. works for better than a decade. “I don’t do wild and crazy things, but I let the music speak for itself,” Career advances have taken her and hussays Phillips. “I’m not a great jazz pianist. But with my classical backband Tom, who heads the entomology department ground, I can read anything you put in front of me, and I’m not afraid at K-State, to homes in six states in the last two to experiment.” decades. That includes an 11-year stay in Stillwater, Oklahoma, prior to their arrival in Manhattan two years ago. The look of jazz “Kansas State has Aggieville and Oklahoma Remaining local is a common tune at G’s, as Phillips has made State has ‘The Strip’ that provide wonderful bars for every attempt to support local businesses. the college kids,” says Phillips. “But Stillwater had Local architects Tracey Anderson and Dan Knight listened to nothing designed for the older set in terms of live Phillips’ wishes for a contemporary look and put their designing music. And when I got to Manhattan, I found the same skills to work. G’s features a stainless-steel bar, granite tabletops problem existing. There wasn’t a place that didn’t have and indirect lighting out of its 15-foot-high ceiling. screaming music booming in your ears.” The 1,500-square-foot bar is smoky gray, accented with black G’s target audience is customers from 35 to 55, but and silver. Bringing a warmth to the décor are paintings and sculpthe younger and older sets are always welcome. “We tures from Manhattan’s Strecker-Nelson Gallery. have groups 60 to 80, we have the young professionals The bar is stocked and run by Phillips’ daughter Sarah, who is in their 30s and we have the older college students who armed with experience from New York City. As Phillips says, “She don’t want to socialize with 18- to 20-year-olds,” says knows her stuff.” Phillips. The menu at G’s includes a variety of cheese plates, a col “You just feel welcome there,” said Manhattanite lection of chips and dips, and a lengthy list of cheesecake bites: Bonnie Barrett. “It has an uptown feel that we enjoy.” chocolate cappuccino, silk tuxedo, New York vanilla and ama For decades, Phillips has enjoyed a passion for old jazz retto almond, to name a few. of the ’30s and ’40s as well as a yearning to put her piano When asked about future plans for G’s, Phillips breaks into and vocal degrees from Syracuse University and Ithaca laughter. “Let’s take this one step at a time.” College to use. “I’ve taught lessons for over 30 years and I’ve taught in the school systems, but I always wanted to perform,” she


manhattan magazine

| manhattan businesses

| Story by Lou Ann Thomas

| Photography by Alan Honey


Flying high

n today’s fast-paced and highly competitive business climate, time can often be a valuable asset. Responding to a client’s needs or getting to a potential bid site quickly can mean the difference between getting the job or being left in the dust. The charter air service at Kansas Air Center specializes in getting passengers there not only quickly but also in style. And if time is money, passengers can save both by flying the most direct route to an airport closest to their destination. “We often hold meetings while in the air, and we have a significant number of clients in western Kansas, so we use Kansas Air Center to charter us back and forth. They allow us to do our jobs more efficiently,” says John Pinegar, president of Pinegar Smith & Associates Inc.

Kansas Air Center sets the bar for executive charter travel

A luxury offered by the Kansas Air Center is the ability to reach locations that commercial flights often cannot. There are more than 13,000 airports in the United States, but fewer than 400 are served by scheduled airlines. The Topeka-based lobbying firm has used Kansas Air Center—also known as KAC—charters for more than 15 years and considers KAC part of its business team. Passengers who charter a plane determine the level of service. Standard service includes coffee, soft drinks and snacks; early-morning departures will include fresh baked goods. If passengers need a box lunch or have a special request for catering, these too

Kansas Air Center 5490 Fort Riley Blvd.

(785) 776-1991 Kansas Air Center’s fleet of charter jets offers a variety of services for all kinds of travelers.


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| manhattan businesses

left Passenger Zac Burton gets to work during a flight, one of the conveniences offered with charter jets. RIGHT Kansas Air Center’s Michael Logan talks on the radio at the airport.

can be handled with 24-hour notice; ground I liked Manhattan so much, I had to create my own job in order to stay travel and lodging at the destination also can here,” he says. be arranged. A luxury offered by the Kansas Air Center is the ability to reach “And your bags always get there with you,” locations that commercial flights often cannot. There are more than says Ron Nordt, president of Kansas Air Center. 13,000 airports in the United States, but fewer than 400 are served by Nordt started Kansas Air Center in August scheduled airlines. 1986 when he decided to turn his love of flying into The ability to fly directly to a bid or project site is a real benefit for a business. Koss Construction of Topeka, a highway contractor that frequently After his first time up in a plane, he was hooked uses KAC to reach remote business destinations. and began taking lessons the next day. As soon as “A lot of our bid sites are out in the boonies and commercial flights he obtained his license, he left his roofing business simply can’t get us there. KAC not only gets us there, but they can behind. While flying six years for Capitol Airlines, a arrange ground transportation, hotels for overnight stays, whatever commuter airline out of Topeka, he saw the need for we need. They go out of their way to take care of us,” says Sandy Wilan executive air charter in northeast Kansas. son, executive secretary for Koss Construction. Capitol Airlines offered commuter aircrafts for Costs for a charter flight are priced on a per-mile basis dependits executive traveler. But after flying more than eight ing on the plane. Flights on the Piper Navajo Chieftain are $3.59 per hours every day, the planes’ cosmetic appeal began mile and the Beechcraft Barons are $2.59 per mile. Additional serto wear. “I identified the need for an executive charter vices, such as special catering, are priced on an individual basis. business by seeing the number of charters that Capi In addition to charter services, Kansas Air Center in Manhattan tol Airlines was flying without any effort to promote offers fuel sales, flight support operations, aircraft management, that part of the business. Since there appeared to be the aircraft rental, flight instruction and aircraft sales. Nordt and his need, and Capitol wasn’t interested in developing that team also stand ready to greet those arriving in private aircraft. market, I thought I could tap into it and help develop the The team at Kansas Air Center is particularly busy when Kancharter market in this part of the state,” Nordt says. sas State University is playing football at home, especially if the Kansas Air Center’s fleet includes a Piper Navajo Wildcats face Nebraska or Oklahoma. Chieftain and two Beechcraft Barons with club-style, “If it’s a game with Nebraska, in a three-hour time period, we executive seating. The twin-engine aircrafts are equipped can have over 90 airplanes flying in here. There could be 60 to with all-weather flight capability and flown by pilots with 65 if the game is with Oklahoma or Texas,” Nordt says. “We roll more than 60 years of combined experience. out the purple carpet. We are the front door of Manhattan and When Nordt made the decision to start Kansas Air welcome them all to town.” Center, he was living in Manhattan and wanted to stay. “As a pilot for Capitol, I met a lot of visitors to Manhattan and found myself promoting all the great things found here.


manhattan magazine






| local profiles

| Story by Kristin Hodges

| Photography courtesy of Doug Adams and Jana Fornelli

Ice-cold charity

Brave and beneficial souls get their feet— and more—wet at the frigid Polar Plunge fundraiser


ebruary temperatures in Manhattan drop to an average low of 22 degrees, so why would someone choose to jump into a semifrozen lake? “It’s just fun, and it’s all for a good cause,” says Doug Long, owner of Rambler’s Steakhouse and Saloon and co-owner of R.C. McGraw’s. Since 2005, Long has taken a dive into the chilly waters of Tuttle Creek Lake wearing nothing but a pair of swim trunks to raise money for Special Olympics Kansas during the Manhattan Polar Plunge event. “Over the years I’ve had Special Olympics athletes that have worked for me, and that’s what also gets me motivated for the Polar Plunge,” Long says.


manhattan magazine

He and other plungers in the area will gather this February dressed in clever costumes, or barely any clothing at all, to dive in and raise money for Special Olympics athletes.

A festive atmosphere Doug Adams, a detective with the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office and coordinator for the Manhattan event, says past plungers have ranged from high school students to people in their 70s. According to Adams, the number of participants has grown from 25 plungers in the first year to 60-70 plungers in the last couple years. This year he is hoping for more than 80. “It’s a festive atmosphere and everybody’s excited,” Adams says. “We get an even larger crowd out there as spectators.” The event includes a parade of plungers showing off their costumes. Judges from the community give costume awards. “You can come in a costume, in a swimsuit, in shorts or whatever, but the costumes are generally



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| local profiles

amazing,” says Jana Fornelli, vice president of development and Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Kansas. She says the best costumes have been plungers dressed as the Three Little Pigs and a lady who jumped in her wedding dress after she was divorced. “The theory when plunging is the less clothes you have on the better, because when you get out of the water you want to get your outfit off,” she says.

The plunge Long says he plunges with a team of employees and customers each year. Though the water is always chilly, his favorite year featured a frozen lake. A chainsaw was used to break an opening in the ice for plungers. “We had to walk out on the ice and then just run and jump in the water,” Long says. “I think that year I jumped about three times.” People can plunge as an individual or as a team member, but every plunger must make a minimum donation of $75. Judges also award those with the most enthusiastic plunge and wimpiest plunge. An enthusiastic plunge might be a plunger who jumps into freezing water, gets out and jumps right back in. “I’ve jumped in myself, and it’s awfully cold,” Adams says. “To go back in there takes a lot.” The wimpy award is usually given to individuals who have second thoughts about jumping in; they might run to the water, get their feet wet and back out. Plungers can find comfort in heated changing tents that are available. Because the lake water can reach the freezing point, volunteers with the Riley County Dive Team are dressed in wetsuits and ready for any signs of danger. “We’ve never had an incident or any injuries whatsoever, but we still take every precaution,” Adams says. The event also includes an auction and after party for plungers and the public. “For an event where the main

“The theory when plunging is the less clothes you have on the better, because when you get out of the water you want to get your outfit off.” – Jana Fornelli


focus is a less than five-second trip to the water, there is a lot that goes on,” Adams says. This year, plungers can also meet the extreme challenge and participate in a new statewide event: the Super Plunge. “The actual plunge location for the Super Plunge will be at Pittsburg, and we encourage anyone to come down for that one,” Fornelli says. To meet the Super Plunge challenge, participants must raise a minimum of $2,500. The event consists of plunging once every hour for 12 hours, beginning at midnight February 12. Super Plungers are recognized and get to be the first plunger at their home location.

For a good cause Kansas will have 10 plunges in winter 2010. The Polar Plunge is the largest fundraising event for Special Olympics Kansas, and last year’s Polar Plunges raised more than $202,000. “They fund all Special Olympics Kansas events across the state, whether they are held locally, regionally or statewide,” Fornelli says. “We all volunteer our time on this, and without us we know that the Special Olympics probably wouldn’t be able to do a fraction of the events they put on,” Adams says. “It’s a reminder as to why we’re all out there putting the time and effort into this,” Adams says. “You’re doing a good thing for a good cause, and you’re going to have a good time doing it.”

Manhattan Polar Plunge

Registration opens at 10:30 a.m. and the plunge begins at noon February 27 Tuttle Creek Cove Park beach

5020 Tuttle Creek Blvd.

Find a Polar Plunge in another community. Topeka: Kansas City: Wichita: Hays: Pittsburg: Emporia: Salina: Lawrence: Dodge City:

manhattan magazine

January 30 – Lake Shawnee Swim Beach January 30 – Shawnee Mission Park beach February 6 – O.J. Watson Park February 13 – Gross Memorial Coliseum at Fort Hays State University February 13 – Crimson Villas Apartment Complex February 20 – Mouse Lake February 20 – Webster Conference Center February 27 – Bloomington East beach at Clinton Lake March 6 – Water Sports Campground

| local profiles

| Story by Kristin Hodges

So many books, so little time One couple’s love of books makes a life worth reading Karen Killough and Denny Riordan are bona fide bookworms who never pass up a good read.



aren Killough is an extremely fast reader. This was a problem as a child because she could only check out three books at a time from the local library. “I would find like four, and I would read one while I was standing in the library and check out three,” she says. “I would walk home and have one read by the time I got there.” But years later she met and married her solution— a book dealer—whose supply of good reads keeps up with her appetite for gripping stories. “He gets cartons of books, and I get first crack at them,” says Killough, who sometimes reads two to three books a day.

manhattan magazine

| Photography by Tim Sigle

The couple live in a house filled with books. Their separate offices, stashed with books, are where they both make a living—involved with books. Killough is an author while her husband, Denny Riordan, maintains an Internet business for out-of-print and rare books. They complement one another with their passion for great novels.

Dream jobs Crafting tales has been a lifelong infatuation for Killough. She uses her middle name, Lee, as a pen name for her work. However, she wasn’t published until later in life. Killough was an X-ray technician at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine until she retired in 2000. She never considered making money on writing until her first husband suggested it. “He sort of twisted my arm,” she says. “He was my biggest fan and my biggest critic.” Killough writes science fiction mysteries and has published 15 novels and about 20 short stories. “There’s nothing more fun than being a full-time writer,” she says.

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| local profiles LEFT Riordan collects and sells rare books in Manhattan and nationally as the Plains Bookman. right Killough has authored three science fiction novels under the pen name Lee Killough.

Riordan launched his online business due to his overwhelming collection of books. “I started buying them in bulk, and so we filled up,” he says. Riordan’s business, the Plains Bookman, specializes in out-of-print and rare books of any genre. He typically finds bargains at auctions, thrift stores and garage sales. Even his license plate—BOOKMAN—lets people know he’s on the hunt. “It helped when I used to go around to garage sales,” he says. “People knew me, and they would find me books.” Prior to becoming the bookman in the ’80s, Riordan worked in underground building and mudjacking. Now it’s all about books. “I enjoy the hell out of it,” Riordan says of collecting and selling books. “It gives me a chance to sit down and read all the stuff I want.” While Riordan’s supply of books is plentiful, Killough says he is an enabler. “I could be writing, but I sit down and read and have to tear myself away,” she says.

(Making a) living with books Riordan encounters people with different reasons for wanting to find a specific book. “This lady wanted it so badly,” he says of a printed pamphlet about Asian food. “She had literally thousands of cookbooks, and she hadn’t been able to come across it.” The two became friends through the process; she even sent him figs. “It really is a pleasure going out and finding something,” Riordan says. “There’s always someone that’s looking for something.” Killough’s work, however, revolves around supernatural detectives such as werewolves, ghosts and vampires. “A lot of vampire stuff that’s around now is horror or erotic, but mine’s just about a detective,” she says. “He doesn’t sleep around.” Killough prefers creating science fiction mysteries and building a reality where such beings exist, which is also why the couple enjoy attending sci-


manhattan magazine

ence fiction and mystery conventions. “I go to be on programming and to push my books, but we also go because there are really interesting people,” Killough says.

A love for stories Killough and Riordan met through a group of friends who would get together weekly to chat about anything and everything, not just books. After Killough’s husband died, she became better friends with Riordan. They became a couple in 1994 and married in December 2008. “We’re eclectic,” she says. They sigh and say they can’t name a favorite book, but they don’t have trouble naming favorite authors— though their lists are long. “There are a lot of authors I like,” Killough says. “When you talk favorite authors, you have to talk about someone whose books you buy when you know that it’s going to come out.” You could say they are on a lifelong quest for great books. When they find a book they enjoy, they track down all the novels in the series. “We’re really not hardcore about what we read,” Riordan says. “I guess we really try to read good stuff.” And when they come home with boxes full of books, it’s natural to wonder if they plan to actually read all of them. As Riordan replies, “Why not?”


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| local profiles

| Story by Mark Janssen

Mainstreet withstands the test of time Area band members gather in Manhattan to make music Members of Mainstreet band get their rhythm going during a performance at the Manhattan Country Club.



he year was 1979 when the Vaughn Bolton Orchestra wanted to get out of its weekly gig at Manhattan’s Gregov’s Restaurant. Calls were placed to find replacements, and the musical ensemble Mainstreet was born. This fall the five-piece band that’s gained and lost a few members since then celebrated 30 years with a Halloween reunion party at Wamego’s Columbian Theatre. “It’s been a great hang,” says current band member Rod Manges. “The guys are really fun to hang with.” Felix Smalley agrees: “So many bands have a lot of egos, and they don’t last very long. We don’t have that.”

manhattan magazine

| Photography by Tim Sigle

Daryl Batchelor says, “These are my oldest, dearest friends. Each gig is like bowling night with your best buddies, but we’re making money.” Greg Spreer echoes, “We’re brothers.” In fact, Manges, Smalley and Batchelor say their friendship dates to the mid-1970s, when they played together as members of the Kansas State University marching band.

Signature sounds When asked, each band member is stumped for a signature sound or song that has made Mainstreet what it is. But if pressed, favorites include Van Morrison’s “Domino” and “Moondance” and Dave Mason’s “Feelin’ Alright.” Mainstreet is known as a party band. “We’re classic rock, rhythm and blues, but we can also play things like country … but not all night long,” says Manges. Armed with 150 tunes of jazz, Motown, rock, blues and R&B in its book, the group is constantly looking to add “new” items to its playlist. As Smalley says, “We look for songs that are timeless … like us.”

| local profiles CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Felix keeps the beat on the drums. Daryl Batchelor adds some horn sound on the trumpet. All the members of Mainstreet Band, from left, Felix, Daryl, Greg Spreer, Rod Manges and Andy Bell. Photo courtesy Jennifer Haugh

Mainstreet goes beyond bass, guitar and drums with Batchelor on trumpet and Andy Bell on saxophone. “With so much sound being electronic today, it’s unusual to see bands have horns,” says Bell. “And our group is unique in that everybody sings.”’

Musical personalities Mainstreet comes together from a variety of side streets and dirt roads. Smalley, a native of Marysville, started banging on J.C. Penney drums at the age of 10 and is the only remaining original Mainstreet member. A jazz guy, he works as the tourism marketing manager for the Kansas Department of Travel and Tourism based in Topeka. Manges, who writes the arrangements for the group and plays keyboard, has played with Mainstreet since 1980, is a 1970 graduate of Manhattan High School. Another jazz guy, he is an instrumental music director for USD 383. “My goal is taking the talents of each Mainstreet member and making them sound their best,” he says. Mainstreet’s guitarist, Spreer, owns a dental lab in Wamego. He loves the blues because “it’s real and it feels like home.” A band member since 1991, he considers the group “fun, energetic and upbeat.” Batchelor is director of jazz studies at Hutchinson Community College and plays the principal trumpet for the Salina Symphony. A native of Manhattan, he began playing professionally at the age of 16; he’s been a band member since 1984. Bell has played saxophone for 22 years and at 16 was playing for the Vaughn Bolton Orchestra. He owns a trucking and excavating business in Manhattan and thrives on rhythm and blues. He joined Mainstreet in 1987. Each band member sits in with other groups across the state but says playing with Mainstreet is a comfort zone. “We have no aspirations of being discovered and traveling the world,” Manges says. Spreer adds, “We have no vision of grandeur.” Instead, all are comfortable with playing gigs once or twice a month, which Smalley calls therapy for all.


manhattan magazine

Even their former means of transportation provides therapeutic camaraderie that none of them will forget. They paid $600 for a 1954 Chevy bus known as “Old Bruise” that was painted black, blue and silver. Manges quips, “If that bus could talk, we’d all be in trouble. … Enough said.” What they will talk about is Old Bruise’s heating system, or lack thereof. “All of us would go out and buy the best insulated hunting gear made because that thing had no heat at all,” says Batchelor, laughing along. And about the name Mainstreet? “We wanted something that didn’t put us into a stereotype of jazz or rock or country,” Smalley says. “We wanted to be middle of the road.”

Keep up with Mainstreet for the next 30 years at

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Photo courtesy Ali Mocabee

Since college and continuing during her travels around the world with her husband’s military service, Ali Mocabee has been photographing people. Her experience with the military, and as a military wife, has only helped her grow into the photographer she is today. “I have always had a passion for photography and have always known that this is what I wanted to do or be when I grew up,” she says. Her ties to the military and skills as a photographer led her to Operation: Love ReUnited. As a regional coordinator for the national “OpLove” project, Mocabee works with six other photographers to take photographs of U.S. troops and their families in the Riley County area. “Photographers from around the country volunteer their time and talent to give a little something back to our beloved military families,” she says. For Mocabee, offering portrait sessions, complimentary albums and photographs of mom or dad for young children is a true calling.


Ali Mocabee Regional Coordinator of Operation: Love ReUnited

Interview conducted, condensed and edited by Katy Ibsen.

How did you get involved? Military families are very near and dear to my heart because I am part of one. Not only that, both my husband and I are military brats as well. It’s a huge part of who we are. Photographing military families is basically all I’ve ever done even before getting involved with OpLove. Since we basically have picked up and moved seven times in his 19 years of service, I have to pretty much start over with my business, meeting new people and establishing great rapport. Military families have always been right there for me, making it easy to do. Once we arrived to Fort Riley and it was time for me to start over yet again, I found out about OpLove and didn’t think twice about joining the program. What have you found it to mean? Participating in OpLove is a chance for me to thank a soldier and tell them that they are greatly appreciated for what they have done. If I can give just a little bit of myself to show the soldiers that they are appreciated, then this gives me a great sense of fulfillment. A soldier downrange receives a small package from me. Inside it he finds a photo album filled with beau-

tiful images of his family along with a note of thanks and a ribbon tying it all together. I have heard back from several sources that this little package can really turn a soldier’s day around … help [them] get through the remaining time they have downrange. If that doesn’t make it all worth it, then I don’t know what does. Why is OpLove important, especially in our community? For the simple reason (that) we are a community that is home to Fort Riley, where thousands of soldiers are deploying and redeploying yearround. If more families know more about OpLove, it’s just another reason why they should feel supported by their community. … Since I am also a military wife, I have been able to connect with some of these spouses and am able to offer a little bit of support ... never mind the photos. Do you have a poignant story that stands out? In April, OpLove photographers were called voluntarily from all over the country to go to Fort Bliss, Texas, and take photographs of almost 800 families whose soldier was about to

deploy. That, in and of itself, was an amazing opportunity for me to be a part of. This summer, just a few short months after the brigade deployed ... they lost a soldier in combat. That family who had participated in the event had beautiful photos to cherish forever and had received a huge wall portrait from OpLove in sympathy. Personally, I get letters and e-mails all the time from extended families of particular soldiers whom I photographed, expressing sheer joy of receiving purchased photos from their son or daughter. A lot of people sometimes forget how priceless a family portraiture is. What do you hope to learn from this endeavor? I have already learned how valuable the term “you reap what you sow” or “what goes around comes around” is, and I encourage all other area photographers to participate in this program for the very same experience. Professional photographers who have a website are encouraged to apply for the Operation: Love ReUnited program. Visit to learn more.

| health & fitness


| Story by Chrissy Dolezal

oday, massages are more than just a complement to a manicure and pedicure. While it is beneficial to have a relaxing day at the spa, massage therapy is actually considered to be part of a preventive health care program. “Massage can help calm things down, to rid the body of stress and to help our bodies deal with and prevent all the negative things that surround us every day from damaging our bodies,” says Kaisha Schmelzle, massage therapist and owner of Lotus HealthWorks Healing Massage Center. “Stress is a huge thing in our soci-

| Photography by Tim Sigle

ety, especially now with the economy where it is.” By reducing the amount of stress in the body, massage can help cure or prevent other ailments, Schmelzle says, and she’s on a mission to share this message with others. Schmelzle learned the benefits of massage therapy when she began seeing a massage therapist while studying for her undergraduate degree. At that time, she wasn’t interested in being a masseuse but saw potential in the career. A few years later, Schmelzle attended massage therapy school in an effort to get

part-time work to help offset the cost of graduate school. She quickly fell in love with massage and pursued a career as a masseuse.

The benefits “Massage slows things down: heart rate, blood pressure, respiration. It gets everything back at rest,” says Schmelzle. She says many people don’t realize that massage helps trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms the body and mind. Because our bodies heal through sleep, she says keeping the body in a calm state aids the process. Massage also helps detoxify the body by releasing lactic acids and toxins that are known to be the leading cause of sore muscles. It’s important to drink water after a massage to flush these toxins. “If you don’t drink enough water, it can occasionally cause a toxicity headache. With massage, you are literally changing the physiology of the body. My clients are walking out with a different physiology than what they walked in with,” says Schmelzle.


Does a body good Massage therapy can help make a difference in personal health 42

manhattan magazine

A massage therapist will work with a client to determine the best treatment plan. In most cases, there will be a recommended dose of massage to get the healing process started. Once relief and comfort begin, maintenance massages are needed on a routine basis. “When someone comes in with pain, our goal is to get to the point where they are not expe-

Kaisha Schmelzle, massage therapist and owner of Lotus HealthWorks Healing Massage Center helps patients develop massage plans that will relieve pain.

health & fitness |

riencing the pain they were experiencing, and then maintain it with (massages) once a month, six weeks or even eight weeks,” Schmelzle says. “The treatment is based on that individual person. There is no set routine.” Darlene Ross, owner of Supreme Elegance salon, spends most of her day on her feet and works a lot with her hands. Based on a suggestion from a regular customer, Ross decided to see Schmelzle for a massage. “The way she works with my body—the kneading motion that she does—it helps stretch me and works with my workout plan. I can feel when it is time to go; my body lets me know,” says Ross, who began getting monthly massages more than two years ago. Chuck Bramhall, co-owner and operator of Thermal Comfort Air Inc., recently started receiving treatment from Schmelzle. “I have been suffering from lower back pain and shoulder tightness for over 10 years, and recently I have been visiting Kaisha for relief. Although we have only been working together for a short time, I began to feel immediate relief,” he says.

Schmelzle says it’s important for clients to feel comfortable with their massage therapist. She recommends finding a massage therapist who is endorsed through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. “I love being a massage therapist and being a part of the process that helps people heal,” Schmelzle says. “My job is to make people feel good.”

Area massage therapists: Lotus HealthWorks Healing Massage Center 2505 Anderson Ave., Suite 204B (785) 537-4800 Body First Wellness Center 2308 Anderson Ave. (785) 587-8300 Optimum Therapeutic Massage 200 Southwind Pl., Suite 204 (785) 313-4256 Trinity Natural Health LLC By appointment only (785) 477-4135 Eclipse Therapeutic Massage 103 S Fourth St. (785) 341-9217

Schmelzle touts the stress-relieving benefit of massage.

| health & fitness


t is Monday morning, and much of Manhattan is still asleep. Through the darkness of City Park, lights illuminate the tennis courts and provide a beacon for those who are ready to get in shape. Here you will find health nut Josh Vogt, owner of Boot Camp Challenge Manhattan. “If you want to jump-start a weightloss program, get healthy or get into shape, Josh’s boot camp experience will get you there,” says Ashley Penner, a veteran of two boot camp sessions. “It is hard work, but it’s definitely worth it.”

| Story by Abigail Crouse

| Photography by Tim Sigle

Vogt discovered his passion for fitness while attending high school in Cassville, Wisconsin, a small town in the southwest corner of the state. “My football and basketball teammates used to have friendly competitions during weight training programs,” says Vogt. “We would design workouts to help us improve as athletes.” After high school, Vogt moved to Madison, Wisconsin and enrolled at Madison Area Technical College. During his first semester, he took a weight training class as an elective and, with little surprise, enjoyed it. He approached his adviser and helped create

an associate’s degree program in recreation services designed for personal trainers. In 1995, Vogt graduated with degrees in anatomy and the newly offered recreation services. After focusing on his passion for fitness and graduating, Vogt received personal trainer certification from the American Council on Exercise and National Academy of Sports Medicine and began working full time as a personal trainer. For the past four years, he has worked in publishing as the national media representative for Personal Fitness Professional magazine and media and national sales director for PARCEL magazine and media, a trade publication about shipping. In June 2008, Vogt and his wife, Blythe, relocated to Manhattan when she became an instructor in the architectural engineering department at Kansas State University. Vogt was able to keep his publishing jobs by telecommuting but wanted to get back into personal training in some form. “Since I was new to the area, I really didn’t have a lot of contacts to do in-home personal training like I did in Madison,” says Vogt. “So I decided to pursue other options. After some research, I found out there was no outdoor fitness program in Manhattan. So I contacted Boot Camp Challenge, and the rest is history.”

Welcome to boot camp One fitness fanatic introduces a challenging workout regime 44

manhattan magazine

Josh Vogt helped bring Boot Camp Challenge to Manhattan, offering an outdoor fitness program.

health & fitness |

Boot Camp Challenge is a national three- or six-week group exercise program directed by qualified fitness professionals. In order to start the program, Vogt had to convince the founder and owner of the Boot Camp Challenge program that it would work in Manhattan. The next step was finding the staff he needed to help with the program. With the help of his team—Kelcii Peck and Trebor Besser, both experienced trainers from K-State—Vogt launched the Boot Camp Challenge in May 2009. “Josh has a great deal of expertise; there is no question about it,” says Penner. “He also has a great staff. They all bring special qualities to the camp.” Vogt notes that anyone can participate and feel comfortable. “The boot camps consist of monitored fitness assessments, cardio conditioning, muscular conditioning, flexibility and nutrition guidance. Each session is an hour long and designed to give you constant variety and a total body workout,” he says.

Vogt’s three-week winter boot camp consisted of three hourlong workouts per week starting at 6 a.m. Participants can enter the program at any fitness level, and workouts can be tailored for beginners to those at more advanced levels. Vogt finds his newest fitness venture to be a rewarding one. “It’s a wonderful feeling knowing I’m helping individuals change their lifestyle by incorporating a regular fitness program,” he says.

Health Nut Stats Josh Vogt, head of Boot Camp Challenge Manhattan, knows a thing or two about staying healthy. He is 6’1”, weighs 220 pounds and has only 9 percent body fat. His best lifts are 385-pound bench press and 525-pound squatting. The greatest challenge has been staying motivated to continue a consistent exercise routine for 20 years, he says. “My favorite workout is training upperbody muscles utilizing free weights and additional accessories such as a stability ball and BOSU (balance trainer),” he says. “I also really enjoy doing calisthenics such as pushups and pull-ups.”

Boot Camp Challenge Manhattan bootcamp/manhattanks.

TOP Trainers and members with Boot Camp Challenge include, clockwise from top left, Trebor Besser, Corey Grosse, Kelcii Peck, Erica Havenstein, Josh Vogt, Blythe Vogt, Aly Kanning and Karen Winslow. above Trainers in the background give direction during a workout at City Park.

The rebuilt Ditto-Leach home brings a little Italy to Wamego and serves as a community treasure

Visions of the Mediterranean linger on the corner of Fifth and Poplar streets in Wamego, where the exterior of the Ditto-Leach home celebrates Italian style. However, visitors are far from any sea or mountainous Sicilian views. The expansive home, with its 21 gables, sticks out against the backdrop of downtown. “We’ve enjoyed living here,” owner Bill Ditto says. “I love projects, and so it got my juices flowing and I really got into it. It was great fun.”

The home’s reconstruction The house dates to 1892 when Louis B. Leach, a local businessman, decided to build a home that resembled those in the suburbs of Messina on the island of Sicily. While the house has seen a few owners since then, the Dittos began to seriously renovate it in 1987—a process that took a year. “The house was so dilapidated; it just really was in bad shape,” Bill says. “It was either bulldoze it down or rebuild it.”

Grandeuron thePlains

Stor y by Kristin Hodges Photography by Alan Honey

In 1988 it received an award from the Kansas Preservation Alliance. In June of that year, after the home’s reconstruction was complete, the Dittos opened the house to the public for tours. “Several thousand people went through the house that first weekend,” says Bill, a retired dentist. “They lined up in the heat.” Bill and his wife Rose, who was an English and music teacher, donated proceeds from the tours to community organizations.

A Victorian interior Walking up the front steps, visitors are introduced to the kind of grandeur Leach had in mind. Majestic-looking statues of

eagles flank the limestone home, which boasts more than 70 windows plus 22 rooms, four and a half baths, four fireplaces and two garages holding four cars. While the exterior resembles fine Italian living, a peek inside reveals Victorian décor. Tall wooden doors frame a small entryway with intricate floor tiles, a small powder room and a coat closet. “This was the original entrance, but it hadn’t been used that way for a while,” Bill says.

Built-in bookshelves line one wall near Rose’s piano. In another corner, a window seat invites guests to sit a spell underneath some of the home’s original windows.

The walls of the entrance display archived photos of the house during the 1890s. More historic connections can be made to the past through Leach’s safe, which is built into one of the walls and contains miscellaneous items, including an old postcard. A stained-glass window is one of several added during the home’s lifetime. “We have stained glass from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries throughout the house,” says Bill. The small entrance opens into a spacious living room with large area rugs, white furniture and hues of green, cream,

top The limestone entrance reveals the Italian architecture mimicked in the Ditto-Leach home. bottom The formal living room was once two separate rooms, but now includes beautiful built-ins and fireplaces along with the Dittos’ antiques.

pink and red—mirroring the rest of the home’s Victorian interior. “This particular room originally had all painted white woodwork and a gold trimming on the woodwork,” Bill says. “None of that was salvageable.” During Leach’s era, the living room was separated into two rooms—a ladies’ parlor and a men’s parlor—by wooden pocket doors that now serve a new purpose elsewhere. “We wanted one large living room, so we used the pocket doors in the entryway instead,” Bill says.

The dining room features a fireplace surrounded by marble and a floralwallpapered ceiling. An eye-catching cabinet that stretches from floor to ceiling divides the kitchen and dining room. Built-in bookshelves line one wall near Rose’s piano. In another corner, a window seat invites guests to sit a spell underneath some of the home’s original windows. Next to the living room is the master bedroom where a clerestory draws in natural light through the gable. An original stained-glass window, formerly above the front door, now adds color to the bedroom. “We wanted to be able to live on one floor if we needed to, so we made the master bedroom here and put a laundry room nearby for convenience,” he says. The dining room features a fireplace surrounded by marble and a floral-wallpapered ceiling. An eye-catching cabinet

top The dining room includes a marble fireplace and period chandeliers.

that stretches from floor to ceiling divides the kitchen and dining room. The intricate woodwork continues into the kitchen, where even the refrigerator and dishwasher are camouflaged with wood to blend with the rest of the room. The cozy family room holds dark brown leather furniture and a fireplace. The space was previously the back porch, so it lacks floral tones and familiar colors but continues the home’s abundant use of wood. “We wanted a regular family room,” says Bill.

The second floor Much of the upstairs woodwork is original and painted white. The rest of the upstairs interior matches the downstairs, with floral wallpaper and the same color scheme. “That’s when Rose got involved with the project,” Bill says. “She did the decorating … the wallpaper, colors and all that.” Rose worked with a decorator in an effort to feature harmonious colors throughout the house. “They started with the stained-glass windows, and then they purchased some rugs that would go with the windows, and then they went with the wallpaper and painting,” he says. The spacious house has rooms to accommodate the Dittos’ three children and many grandchildren when they visit. One pink-colored room is decorated with possessions that belonged to Bill’s late mother, including some of her dresses. “This is from the flapper period,” Bill says, referring to one of the gowns. “I always thought this was a remarkable piece with the lace sewn into it. We found it in a cedar chest after my parents passed away.” A sitting area and porch outside the blue room were closed in. The walls are decorated with family photos and items from different organizations and activities.

top Rose and Bill Ditto have owned the home since 1987 and continue to preserve its magnificence. bottom A small family room is cozy with rich woodwork and leather furniture.

“We just have a collection of things we’ve been involved in over the years,” he says.

The third floor A super-skinny stairway, no wider than a foot, leads to the top floor of the house. “Everybody says they’ve never seen anything like it before,” he says of the space. The Dittos transformed the third floor from a ho-hum storage space into a memorabilia-filled play area. “The grandkids come up here and play. We have a granddaughter in college, and she has had friends over for a sleepover up here,” Bill says. The room has four alcoves filled with objects unique to the Dittos’ three children: Danell, Dane and Daniel.

The community The Dittos moved to Wamego as a young couple and have been active in the community since. “It’s a very inclusive society that welcomes newcomers easily,” Bill says. “We found that a little bit unusual for a small town.” They continue opening their home to tours that benefit local charities, though they ask that visiting groups have 10 people or more and call several weeks ahead if possible. “We’re glad to do [tours] because it raises a little money for something in town,” he says. “The community has been good to us, and hopefully we’re able to give back to the community.”

The expansive home, with its 21 gables, sticks out against the backdrop of downtown. top Limestone columns and lanterns line the front of the house. bottom The Dittos have offered tours of the home, which remains a point of interest in Wamego and Manhattan.

| for the family

| Story by Robin Farrell Edmunds

Manhattan’s helping hands


tudents at Kansas State University have more opportunities than ever to donate their time and services to the community they call home for their college years. So it seems appropriate that “making a difference” is the motto of the K-State Volunteer Center of Manhattan. According to Richard Weerts, a coordinator with the volunteer center, students get a vested interest in the place they live for four years. Weerts sees only benefits for building relationships between K-State students and city residents. “It’s so students get more connected with the Manhattan community,” he says. The three-year-old organization is part of K-State’s School of Leadership Studies and supported financially by the K-State Student Governing Association. Serving the benefit of students, the center is also open to community members looking to get involved around Manhattan. The volunteer center is headquartered in a room at the K-State Foundation on Anderson Avenue, known as the Farm Bureau building to longtime locals. Weerts, an Olathe senior in elementary education, recruits student participants through presentations and social networking. The volunteer

The K-State Volunteer Center reaches beyond campus


TOP Yujie Lu watches her daughter Wenning Liu make crafts. MIDDLE The Ostrom family–from left, Elijah, Kathy, Skylar and Annie–sorts through old clothes to give away. bottom While raking Preston Boothe plays in the leaves.

manhattan magazine

| Photography by Alan Honey

for the family |

Volunteer opportunities vary; specifics are outlined on the website.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors is a program in which some

Manhattan families need help preparing their yards for winter. Another group is looking for volunteers to help provide child care on a specific morning on a continual basis.

One of the big upcoming events

occurs on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on January 18, 2010. Volunteers will be needed to help “Make it a Day On … Not a Day Off!” Check the website for updated information.

For more information on community volunteering, contact: K-State Volunteer Center of Manhattan (785) 532-3670 volunteercenter Kansas State University students Liz Beeler and Makenzie Kirkhart help rake leaves in Manhattan.

center maintains a Facebook page, uses Twitter and sends at least 1,000 e-mails weekly on its listserv “full of opportunities students and others can participate in,” he says.

Student awareness The organization has events occurring nearly every month of the school year. One highlight is Community Service Week, which typically occurs in the last week of October. Student volunteers help nonprofit and community organizations with a variety of activities, such as assisting with the Halloween Safe Night program at St. Joseph’s Village or cleaning the flowerbeds at the Riley County Seniors’ Service Center. Maddie Fuchsman, Lenexa freshman, and Alyssa Ortiz, Derby freshmen, had the opportunity to volunteer at the Manhattan Arts Center. After they arrived on their assigned day, they were ushered into the theater by Steve Galitzer, an arts center board member, who shared a brief history of the performing arts center with them. Though both students are involved in theater and the arts for their majors, neither was aware of the venue until that day. The two helped move a few chairs and three risers to make room for a piano for a jazz concert

Richard Weerts, a coordinator with the volunteer center, sees only benefits for building relationships between K-State students and city residents. “It’s so students get more connected with the Manhattan community.” the following weekend. While Fuchsman lay on the floor on her stomach beneath a riser, trying to loosen a wheel, Galitzer reminded her, “rightytighty, lefty-loosey.” Fuchsman joked, “That would only work if I knew my left from my right hand.” Ortiz swept the floor as she waited. Once the piano was rolled to the appropriate corner, the volunteers returned the risers—which were being extraordinarily difficult—and the chairs. According to Ortiz, they finished their volunteering day stint by “hammerin’ and nailin’” the wooden staircase, part of the set design for an upcoming play.

For families Another volunteer center event is Family Volunteer Day, which occurs every November. Activities this year included Project Thanks at Lee Elementary School. Co-sponsored by Target, this event gave children and their parents the opportunity to show their gratitude by decorating thank-you cards for Fort

manhattan magazine


| for the family

Riley soldiers, making a paper wreath to decorate their house and learning about recycling and actually sorting items. One local family participated through their children’s school during last year’s Family Volunteer Day. Kathy Ostrom recalls a note sent home with her son Elijah, 5, detailing how the 3- to 5-year olds in Amy Toll’s College Hill Preschool class would be collecting canned goods and gently used clothing to donate to the Flint Hills Breadbasket. As Ostrom was preparing items, Eli asked, “Why are we buying stuff for other people?” She tried to help him understand at the time but wasn’t certain if he did. She explains that Elijah and his sister Annie, 4, came into their family as foster children. She and husband Lon recently adopted them. The extended family also includes Lon’s two full-grown sons, Kathy’s two teenage sons, two additional foster children and recently adopted 2-year-old Skylar. When Toll’s class arrived by bus at the Flinthills Breadbasket with their donations and their parents, Elijah says, “Well, I’ve been here before.” Ostrom says, “Then it hit me—he remembered being there.” She says Elijah probably had been a recipient of such items before he had come to live with them. “It was one of those aha moments. And now it was coming back full circle.”

middle Richard Weerts, a coordinator with K-State Volunteer Center of Manhattan, enjoys working in the community and helping others.


manhattan magazine

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| for the family

| Story by Kristin Kemerling

| Photography by Tim Sigle

Getting schooled


ome schools are taking a different approach to educating their students. Meet three Manhattan schools that offer a fun, educational twist to getting schooled.

Getting a head start The Head Start program has been a building block for success in the Manhattan-Ogden school district since 1965. According to Sally Frick, the district’s Head Start director, the program was started to allow low-income families to send their children to preschool. Head Start offers free full- and half-day preschool through a federally funded program for 3- to 5-year-olds. “There is no cost, which is why our program is a little unique,” Frick says. “Children in Head Start preschool make tremendous gains. We provide a quality preschool education and are a tremendous resource for families to continue to grow and benefit their children.” With 15 children per classroom, the program teaches children skills such as taking turns, getting along with others and solving problems in an

Learn about these alternative options for early education


TOP Kaden Crawley practices his work at Head Start. MIDDLE At Flint Hills Christian School, Ellen Templin helps Madeline Vande Riet with her writing skills. BOTTOM A class at Head Start is busy learning.

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Head Start 1700 Leavenworth St. (785) 587-2045 Flint Hills Christian School 3905 Green Valley Road (785) 776-2223

TOP Principal Frank Leone at Flint Hills Christian School. BOTTOM Sally Frick directs the ManhattanOgden school district’s Head Start program.

Oak Grove School 3115 Dickens Ave. (785) 539-7910

appropriate way. They also, of course, learn how to write letters and numbers and spend time playing outside every day. Frick jokes that daily activities focus a lot around eating—the children have breakfast in the morning, enjoy a snack and eat lunch. “The meals are all served family style, so the children learn how to pass food, use table manners, clean up and so forth,” Frick says. “They also brush their teeth at least once while at school and also wash their hands quite frequently.” While the program teaches young children during the day, it also serves as a support system for the parents. “Some of these parents are single parents who are working two to three jobs plus going to school. We try to make the parents feel good. We care about family and are here for the parents,” Frick says. “We strive to teach parents that the parent is the most important person in the world to their child.”

Combining learning

“We want our children to value everyone, learn to think positively and from their point of view, and accept them as they are.” – Lakshmi Ramaswamy

Flint Hills Christian School (FHCS), previously known as Living Word Christian School, was launched by Living Word Church in 1983 to offer an education with a Christian worldview. According to principal Frank Leone, the religious aspect sets FHCS apart from other schools. “We are able to address the spiritual concerns of students, not just their academic needs,” Leone says. “We are able to pray in conflict and can talk about sin.” FHCS currently serves 164 students from preschool through 12th grade. Class sizes range from eight to 16 students. Academics focus on basics such as language arts, science, math and social studies. A requirement for enrollment is that at least one of each student’s parents is Christian. “We have very active parents and expect participation from the parents of our students,” Leone says. Along with a biblical-based curriculum, the school offers a variety of sports including cross country, football, golf, soccer, track and volleyball. Students also can participate in extracurricular activities such as chapel, band, choir or yearbook. Leone says the school provides a supportive atmosphere. “We have children with severe health issues and other children whose parents are being deployed,” he says. “We really know about the personal lives of each other and really rally for each other.”

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A parent cooperative setting Oak Grove School (OGS) is a parent-run, notfor-profit organization formed in 1991 by a few parents. The preschool provides a creative and individualized learning environment for children ages 3 to 6. According to Lakshmi Ramaswamy, director of OGS, the school is run by a board of directors, which consists of parents of the preschoolers. As part of the cooperative school, all parents volunteer for 10 hours a year with school tasks, such as doing laundry, shopping, making healthy snacks, cleaning or painting. “At OGS, parental involvement is highly valued and considered as an integral part of education and school management,” Ramaswamy says. “We believe that it helps to create a more comfortable learning environment that is an extension of each child’s home, rather than an isolated learning institution.” The school operates out of a former residence and has a large fenced-in outdoor area with play equipment, an organic garden and a tricycle path around a sunflowers. Because the school is next to CiCo Park, the children have easy access to

“Some of these parents are single parents who are working two to three jobs plus going to school. We try to make the parents feel good. We care about family and are here for the parents.”

TOP Lakshmi Ramaswamy works as director of Oak Grove School. BOTTOM Kids enjoy the playground at Oak Grove School.

– Sally Frick


manhattan magazine

TOP Alyssa Cardona works with students, such as Kyndall Clark, middle, at Head Start. BOTTOM Ronda Helmick reads to students at Flint Hills Christian School.

the swimming pool during the summer. The staff consists of three full-time teachers and six part-time teachers. The school can accommodate up to 28 kids. With a wide range of personalities, abilities and cultures, Ramaswamy says the staff is harmonious; they tend to love the environment and stay involved for a long period of time. Parents appreciate the preschool’s cooperative structure and diverse mix of students, Ramaswamy says. “Manhattan is a university town with people from different beliefs, countries and cultures,” she says. “We want our children to value everyone, learn to think positively and from their point of view, and accept them as they are.”

“We have very active parents and expect participation from the parents of our students.”

– Frank Leone

| get away

| Story by Gloria Gale

| Photography courtesy of Tanque Verde Ranch

A rustically elegant dude ranch offers a chance to kick back and ride high in the saddle

Desert Cruise


here’s an adventure in the making as I wing out of Kansas City; the flight swings southwest toward Arizona, where I understand it’s hot as toast. The road out of Tucson empties as the desert shimmers into view. Headed due east, the crisp, suede-colored ground, blanketed now in prickly pear cactus, begins a gentle climb into the foothills. My destination is an oasis known as Tanque Verde Ranch, wedged against the Sonoran Desert east of Tucson. This historic Arizona dude ranch sits lazing under the Southwest sun. There’s little doubt that this is cowboy country. Tanque Verde—Spanish for green watering tank—declares itself high and wide: The 643-acre ranch is nestled 2,800 feet in the Rincon Mountains and bordered by Coronado National Forest and Saguaro National Park. It’s also handsome—blending the old and new West in sun-drenched style. Sinking in is easy thanks to the rustic elegance. Tin-topped meeting and ranch houses, blush-colored casitas and tidy corrals are laced


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together by draping fig and mesquite trees and saguaro, barrel and agave cacti, among others. The ambiance tips its hat to SpanishAmerican architecture and cowboy culture. Outside my well-appointed hacienda—with viga roof beams, kiva fireplace and Saltillo tile floors—a thicket of 200-year-old saguaros stand tall in the desert sunlight. I’m humbled to learn this is the only region on the planet these iconic cacti grow. I amble down to the corral to find the soul of the ranch: horses. Late in the afternoon, expert wrangler Lanny Leach is patiently working with a wild-child Mexican mustang. Within 90 days, this pony will become part of the 175-strong resident herd. Dinner in the main dining room is hearty, peppered with tales short and tall. On the way back to my casita, I notice this October day has cooled, releasing a heady desert perfume of creosote and mesquite. Day two breaks at 85 degrees and the sun has yet to crest over the ridge. It’s time to head out on a breakfast trail ride. At the corral, I’m boosted atop 900-pound Chip, a horse who knows the impending routine far better than I do. After a quick lesson on reining, I cluck, kiss and kick Chip to motor forward. He deliberately falls into line behind his mates and we shuffle up the rocky trail.

High-country hospitality is a chuck wagon breakfast with a showcase of sweeping vistas and majestic views. Bacon, eggs, biscuits, blueberry pancakes and coffee never tasted this good. After we return to the ranch, we head to the corral to round up cows during a team penning experience that gives me newfound respect for those who rustle cattle across the range. After lunch there’s downtime to explore the ranch and slip into the pool for a soak. I’m content to sit a spell and mull over the day’s events before meeting Rick Hartigan, Tanque Verde’s resident naturalist. We meet at the ramada (Spanish for arbor) on the nature trail as Rick, a 30-year ranch veteran, astounds me with his knowledge. He points to a cactus wren— the state bird—flying over a Staghorn cholla and cat-claw bush. I cup my hands and puff into the creosote bloom, releasing the scent of the desert after rain. We pass a grove of cottonwoods and head down the now dry “wash” to one of the 125 hiking trails as he continues the lesson. After dinner, this cowpoke is ready for deep sleep. Day three defines a guest ranch experience. Rates are designed to make it easy. Included are three meals per day, horseback riding and lessons, hiking, trail biking and use of all ranch facilities. For me, it’s time to visit the horses again. They huddle and shuffle, corralled until pressed once again into service. I’m happy to ride the trail rather than opt to learn how to “lope.” The slow, easy pace is just my speed. With a pat on Chip’s flank and a bit of sweet talk, we’re off. After the ride, I welcome my scheduled spa treatment. Travis, my masseuse, is used to dealing with the saddle-sore guest and for that I am grateful. Soothed, I’m ready for the outdoor barbecue. Down a sandy path, the shadows lengthen while silhouetting the graceful saguaro sentinels against the dusk. Two roaring bonfires take the chill off the air as guests linger and chat before chowing down on ribs, burgers and hotdogs. A cowboy croons in his best Gene Autry voice while serenading us under a sliver of moon and acres of stars. Meanwhile, in the Midwest, fall colors blaze and the snap of winter looms. Tonight, it seems eons away as winter barely flecks this desert cradle.

Creating travel memories of a lifetime!

cruising & relaxing escapes

Tanque Verde Ranch

14301 E. Speedway, Tucson, Arizona (800) 234-3833 or (520) 296-6275


* Destination Weddings/Honeymoons * Romantic Getaways * Group Events * All Inclusives

Manhattan, Kansas ~

* Family * Cruises

785-537-8444 ~

Jan-March 10

e v e n t s


follow. Nichols Theatre on the K-State campus. 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $13. (785) 532-6878. Theatre.

Recreating Oz in Comics An exhibition of the ways artists have adapted the classic Wizard of Oz story to comic book form. (785) 532-7718. http://beach.

February 24

Annie The timeless tale


Free Kids Month at Sunset Zoo Bundle up the little ones for a day at the zoo. Children between the ages of 3 and 12 get in free with an adult. Adult tickets are $4. (785) 587-2737.

January 2

Eagle Days This environmental education program features presentations and a bus tour around Tuttle Creek Dam to catch a glimpse of bald eagles in the wild. Begins at 9 a.m. at the Manhattan Fire Department, 2000 Denison Ave. (785) 539-8511.

January 8-9

Yesterday and Today: Interactive Beatles Experience Enjoy the music of the Beatles in an interactive concert experience where the audience creates the playlist, making for a different performance each night. C.L. Hoover Opera House in Junction City. 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $17 adults, $15 for military and students. (785) 238-3103.

January 28

Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder 14-time Grammy Award winner Ricky Skaggs brings his country and bluegrass music and Kentucky Thunder band to McCain Auditorium. 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 and $17.50 for children. (785) 532-6425.

February 4-6, 10-13

Big Love Fifty brides flee to Italy in an effort to escape marrying their 50 cousins. Chaos arises when the grooms soon

of Little Orphan Annie is brought to life on the McCain Auditorium stage. Bring the whole family to enjoy some of Broadway’s most recognizable scores, including “Easy Street” and “Tomorrow.” Tickets start at $35 for adults and $17.50 for children. 7:30 p.m. (785) 532-6425. www.k-state. edu/mccain.

February 26

11th Annual Casino Night and Auction The Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan’s annual fundraiser features an evening filled with live and silent auctions, casino-style gaming, music, hors d’oeuvres and beverages. Proceeds benefit before- and after-school programs serving 1,500 children. Event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Kansas State University Alumni Center. Tickets are $60 in advance, $75 at the door. (785) 539-1949. www.

February 27-28

Manhattan Area Garden Show Prepare for spring by attending gardening seminars and visiting informational booths. Free to the public. Pottorf Hall at CiCo Park. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 12-4 p.m. Sunday (785) 537-6350.

March 3-7

The Hotel Casablanca The

K-State opera program presents the story of two wealthy ranch owners and their many guests. Wednesday through Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets start at $15. (785) 532-6878. http://

March 5

Manhattan Public Library Book Sale

Proceeds of this sale sponsored by the Manhattan Library Association benefit library programming and services. Event starts at 5 p.m. (785) 776-4741. www.manhattan.lib.

March 26-27

Flint Hills Festival of Wines Enjoy a weekend

of wine-tasting events to benefit Homecare and Hospice. Friday’s wine dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. and the wine tasting on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call (785) 537-0688. www.

March 28

Darwin the Dinosaur This

innovative theater experience for the entire family features electroluminescent crayon-like creatures that light up the stage and share the tale of a dinosaur discovering the true meaning of love. McCain Auditorium. 3 p.m. Tickets start at $16 for adults and $8 for children. (785) 532-6425.

February 26-28, March 4-7

The Dining Room The Manhattan Arts Center presents the story set in a single dining room where 18 scenes from different households overlap. Each story focuses on the families who use the same dining room furniture set, made more than 100 years ago. 2 p.m. (785) 537-4420.

All events are subject to change. E-mail your upcoming events for the calendar to