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Kerns’ Century Farm

Tasty Spring Snacks

Nurses: The New Boys in Blue

Hot Dog Skaters: A family tradition rolls with young generations

Salina area’s premier Magazine on People, Places & Style spring 2011 $3

Underthecover volume 02 / issue 01

Keep on Skating … This spring issue of Sunflower Living marks our magazine’s one-year anniversary. As we come round to a full calendar circle, what better cover image could we have than of a young roller skater about to set off on her lightning-fast circular cruise of Starlite Skate Center? This skating rink, a locally owned and operated business (by Mary and Roger Krehbiel, pictured above and below), has had its own rotations of family members work through it. We’re happy to catch up with them this time round, and hope you enjoy reading through our pages as we begin our second year of stories and photography highlighting the people and beauty of the Salina region. Nathan Pettengill Editor

Publisher Tom Bell advertising director Kim Norwood advertising sales managers Christy Underwood Kathy Malm Linda Saenger for advertising rates and information (785) 822-1449 Sales executives Matt Browne Tina Campbell Brian Green Leah Plumer Jamie Stroda Erica Wiseman Tiffany Modlin Sue Austin Debbie Nelson Mary Walker Debbie Porter Ad designers Jamie Jeffries Natosha Batzler Annette Klein Aaron Johnson photographers Lisa Eastman Larry Harwood Contributing writers Patricia E. Ackerman Melinda Briscoe Chelsey Crawford James R. Godfrey Cecilia Harris Karilea Rilling Jungel

Production and editorial services for Sunflower Living provided by: Editor Nathan Pettengill Designer Shelly Bryant Copy Editor Susie Fagan Chief Photographer Jason Dailey General Manager Bert Hull publishing Coordinator Faryle Scott e-mail Comments to sunflowerliving@sunflowerpub.com

www.sunflowerpub.com • a division of The World Company

Subscriptions to sunflower living $15 (includes tax) for a one-year subscription for subscription information, please contact: Salina Journal Circulation Department Christy West 333 S. Fourth, Salina KS 67401 (785) 822-1467 / (800) 827-6363 ext. 347 cwest@salina.com 4


Spring 2011




sunflower spaces 6 Born and Bred

The Short Ride to the Linger Longer A cold Green River and old-time songs wait at the other end of a day trip to Bennington


For a hundred years, the Kern family has raised cattle, crops and five generations on its land

10 A Home to Live and Quilt In

A couple’s self-designed home becomes a haven for family and fellow quilters

sunflower resumés 15 Jim johnson Owner, Johnson & Associates

16 Sherril Bieberly Owner, Quilting Bee

local profiles 18 When the Harp Talks Lifelong musician discovers it is ‘never too late’ for a beloved instrument

20 ‘Another Sunrise’

A series of morning sky portraits enables artist to document her life and share common connections

24 A Fly-Tier’s Journey

Skating Across the Ages The Krehbiels have watched the generations roll round and round at their family skate rink


Early in his career, a cardiologist discovers a sport and art that accompanies him through life

health & fitness 28 New-Wave Nurses

An influx of male nurses changes a profession and the men who enter it

local flavor 32 Spring Treats

Treat kids to these light, healthful snacks

on the cover:

India James enjoys a snack break while skating at Starlite Skate Center. Sunflowerliving


Sunflower spaces

Born and Bred For a hundred years, the Kern family has raised cattle, crops and five generations on its land


n 1911, John Kern arrived in the Bavaria community, west of Salina, set up a farm and worked it with his family and its team of horses. The last of his seven children—son George, born in 1913—kept the farm running through the Great Depression and even added sections to the farm and a new homestead in 1945. That became home for George’s 6-month-old son Larry, who would learn farming on his grandpa’s land and an Oliver 88 tractor.



Spring 2011

story by James R. Godfrey

photography by Larry Harwood

Sunflower spaces

Eventually, the original farmhouse was moved into Bavaria, and Larry built a new home on the farmland for his family in 1975. The Kerns continued farming the land through all the changes. Larry now lives and works on his 3,000 acres while teaching the upcoming Kern generation about the heritage with son Jason, who learned to farm on an IH 1486 tractor. The newest set of grandkids—Kelton, 7, and Marcus, 4—may be too young to understand all that has gone into the Kern farm, but that history is being passed down to them during daily runs in the cab of the farm truck or on top of the farm’s latest John Deere tractor. In recent years, the Kern farm has been dedicated to cattle, including cow-calf operations with bred heifers and feeder calves. Most of the crops raised on the farm, such as alfalfa, silage, milo and prairie hay, are grown to

support that cattle business, but the family does grow some wheat and soybeans as cash crops. As with previous generations, however, the heart of the farm can be found at the family dining table, where plans are discussed and the past is remembered. Larry recalls working with his father on a range of crops for a farm where “you pretty well grew everything you ate.” Then, the Kerns kept cows for milk, chickens for eggs, pigs and cattle for meat, large vegetable gardens for produce and a wellstocked cellar to carry them through the winter. Even the old tractors had a distinctive feel to them, explains Larry. “It took ‘strong arm’ driving back then,” he jokes. The tractors had no power steering and of course no air-conditioned cabs, GPS planting systems or all-wheel drive. “You felt lucky if you had an umbrella on the machinery,” says Larry.

Marcus Kern, opposite, helps at his grandfather’s farm near Bavaria by feeding milk supplement to a young calf. The calf’s mother gave birth to twins and is unable to supply both calves with milk. Each morning begins and each evening ends with a feeding of the cows. Jason Kern, above, scoops in the feed at the close of this day.

Sunflower spaces



Larry’s wife, Barbara, grew up as a city girl and was thrown into farming after marriage. She has her own memories of farm life and how it has changed over the years. She recalls how everyone in the farm community would help everyone else and how harvest time was always such a hectic occasion. She helped Larry’s mom in the kitchen, preparing the meals for the harvest hands and taking her turn at the wheel of the wheat truck. When she wasn’t farming, she taught at nearby rural schools, retiring just two years ago. Education is one of the big improvements in farm life, notes Jason. His Grandpa George operated the binders, thrashers and six-bottom plows of his farm with only some high school education. Larry was the first son in the family to go to college. His education became essential to adapting the farm for the agricultural revolution of the mid-20th century. Jason’s degree from Kansas State University assists him with continuing changes. His wife, Kristi, also helps in this respect. Her degree in veterinary medicine is a great aid for the farm’s cow-calf operations. But those same educational opportunities, and other economic factors, also mark a break with the farm. Larry laments that so many young families are rupturing their ties to the land. “There used to be more family farms. Your neighbor was just a half-section away.” Now, he explains, some farm owners live in another state and the land is leased for various purposes. He believes modern machinery, advances in crops and husbandry, inheritance laws, additional federal regulations and higher operational costs have driven away many family farmers, who are replaced by larger or corporate operations. “It’s hard for an individual to get started on his own,” says Larry. On the Kern land, there are clear changes since it was first settled by the family. But when you drive up to the house, your arrival is announced by the family dog, you’re greeted at the 8


Spring 2011



Sunflower spaces


door with a smile and a firm handshake, and you’re invited to gather around the kitchen table where the farm’s legacy is so easily felt. There, you sip on well water instead of a latte, and you look out the windows and see the land stretching away before you. And Marcus, the 4-year-old from the latest generation, looks up at you with a grin. “I like helping with the cows,” he says without prompting, “and the tractor.” That’s when you know that there’s a good chance this land will still be home to the Kerns for several more generations.


[ 1 ] Larry Kern is the third generation to farm his family’s land near Bavaria. [ 2 ] The Kern family farm calls on the labor of Kelton, back row, and, front row from left, Larry, Barbara, Marcus, Kristi and Jason. [ 3 ] The fields around the home are often planted with sorghum used to feed the cattle. [ 4 ] The Kerns raise mostly Angus cattle with a few Angus-Hereford cross breeds, recognized by their white and black faces. [ 5 ] Larry and Barbara Kern’s home is surrounded by their farm land. [ 6 ] While the Kern family goes about it’s chores, the cows enjoy one of the family’s ponds.


atv The Kerns sometimes use horses to round up their cattle, but Larry often rides his ATV to work with cattle closer to the home.

BABY BOOM Until the beginning of April, the Kerns are busy with the birthing season of calves.

BACK TO THE LAND Once the spring birthing season is over, the Kerns will use their heavy equipment to prepare the land for planting.

farming 101



Sunflower spaces

A Home to Live and Quilt In A couple’s self-designed home becomes a haven for family and fellow quilters


ome is where your story begins,” says Karen Hoeffner, who whipped those words onto a small framed photograph that graces a guest bathroom at her house in northeast Salina. She and her late husband, Henry, were both former country kids who started their story together as teachers before Henry joined Millwood Realty in 1977 and Karen followed him into the profession a few years later.



Spring 2011

story by Karilea Rilling Jungel

photography by Lisa eastman

Sunflower spaces

Together, Henry and Karen came to specialize in designing layouts for homes by tweaking blueprints that met a family’s desires and tapped the couple’s insights. Henry and Karen came from large families where functionality was considered a necessity and wasted space was anathema. In addition, Karen brought what she thought was a much-needed woman’s perspective into the process. “Homes were built by men,” she says, explaining that this often produced a one-sided view of aesthetics and sense of useable space. Of the 38 homes Karen and Henry designed and built over the years for others, the last house they began in 2005 was their own. It became a true culmination of their mutual eye for design, form, features and use of space.

Stretching imagination to satisfy wishes Henry kept his eye on the traditional needs of the man of the house: good insulation throughout the home, including the three-car garage with a tankless hot water heater, worktables and a sink. He also designed the garage so that its storage space for equipment, tools and other paraphernalia was not visible from the street when the doors opened. He set up a main floor with 12-foot ceilings in all rooms and truss flooring so the basement area accommodates true 8-foot ceilings throughout. Henry wired the house for surround sound and placed electrical outlets in the eaves for Christmas lights. He also designed the living room so that the “dead

Karen Hoeffner shows her quilt, “On Eagles’ Wings,” opposite. The custom-designed fireplace, with a mantel standing more than 6 feet tall, was one of Henry Hoeffner’s proudest contributions to the home.

Sunflower spaces

area” part of the stairway serves as a media center and the stairwell leads to built-in floor-to-ceiling shelves holding numerous family photographs. Henry’s pride and joy, however, was the gas fireplace that features a wide hearth with a seating area and a beautiful custom-designed mantel.



quilts can be found throughout Karen’s home.



BEVELED GLASS door greets visitors.

Lanterns welcome Karen’s craft circles to the home.

CUSTOMIZED WOODWORK provides a natural feel with an elegant touch.


details 12


Spring 2011

Karen’s eye extended to a kitchen meant to be used for baking bread and preparing her mother’s chiffon pies for family get-togethers. A large Lshape granite countertop allows visitors to help or stand nearby to watch or enjoy the camaraderie of the moment. The stovetop, refrigerator and double oven were placed for easy use and traffic flow. Windows in all rooms allow optimal light. The back of the house looks out over countryside that holds a pond and Karen’s tomato and vegetable garden. Quilting the pieces— and a home—together For Karen, the home has always been about having space to accommodate friends and family— the large kitchen, the formal dining area, the four bedrooms and wide entryways. It also has been a place to share her love of quilting. Walk down the home’s 4-foot-wide oak stairway and into the daylight basement, and you will find an oversize sewing room that holds colorful quilts created by Karen, her mother and her grandmothers. The treadle machine that Henry’s grandmother used sits next to Karen’s customized sewing area that appears like a great island amid a sea of assorted pattern colors. A mapping and design table resides directly behind the sewing machine with antique shelves, drawers and cabinets holding all sizes of quilts spanning the generations of Karen’s family. True to her waste-no-space philosophy, Karen designed her quilting and sewing area with tuckaway closets full of shelves lined with a sewer’s treasure trove of fabrics harmonized by color, weight and texture. One fabric closet, holding old-time feed sack materials and faux animal-fur materials, is the favorite of Karen’s grandsons.



Sunflower spaces


Karen shares her love of quilts with others beyond her family. Her basement craft center often hosts Material Girls, one of Karen’s two quilting groups that gather to share ideas and often collaborate on pieces that they sell for charity donations. Over the years, Karen’s colorful quilts have spread throughout the house. They reside on beds, are draped over quilt hangers and are displayed in small, framed pieces placed here and there. One quilt, a military-theme design she created after the September 2001 attacks, was a favorite of her husband who passed away in 2007. That quilt, “On Eagles’ Wings,” sits prominently in the home’s den. Karen has found satisfaction in designing her home and her quilts. But the deeper satisfaction, she says, comes from passing on her designs and appreciation for her art to other generations. “My designs and the meaning they hold,” Karen explains, “will remain long after I am gone.”

[ 1 ] Karen’s L-shape countertop clears space in the kitchen. [ 2 ] The sitting area of the porch is a favorite spot to enjoy views and spring breezes. [ 3 ] Karen spends much of her time in her basement sewing and quilting room. [ 4 ] Handwork decorates Karen’s home, whether it’s placed on top of a couch or framed and hung on the walls. [ 5 ] Karen decorates her home with photographs of her family, perhaps some of whom will become quilters. “Little boys can be quilters, too,” one of Karen’s sons told her on the day a grandson was born into the family.



Sunflower resumé

a closer look at area business people


or 40 years, Jim Johnson has been finding and buying rare vehicles and matching them with buyers who appreciate them. The Salina native specializes in selling what he describes as “exotic, European and special interest automobiles.”

Jim Johnson Occupation: Owner, Johnson & Associates Job Location: 1101 E. Iron Ave., Salina birthplace: Salina Name:

Where did you get your interest in cars?

Jim Johnson

What are some examples of unusual vehicles you have acquired? The first Ford Thunderbird ever built.

Roseanne Barr’s pink ’56 Ford pickup.

A Rolls-Royce adapted into a pickup.

An all-electric car with a converted rocket engine.

Where do the majority of your customers come from?

A majority are from Salina, but more expensive cars are often bought from people in California. I used to do some business in the 1970s importing Rolls-Royces from England, but now I get those from California as well. story by JAMES R. GODFREY

Father was a pilot. I didn’t learn anything about cars from him, but he had a wonderful touch with an airplane. My brother taught me about cars at a very young age. He was a very good engine builder and raced cars as well. I learned about motorcycles from my grandfather. He rode an Indian motorcycle when he was first married to my grandmother. When my mother was born, my grandmother was excited that they would finally get a car. But he just bought a sidecar for that old Indian! He rode Harley-Davidsons well into his 80s. What was your first job with cars?

When I was 10, my job was to be in the shed, under the lights, keeping the June bugs out of the cylinders when my brother was working on his racecar engines. What’s the best springtime driving route around Salina?


Salina, KS

photography by lisa eastman

Anything in an open car is fabulous, and there’s some beautiful roads around here. But I never do that. I’m here working. When I’m not here, I’m on a golf course. Sunflowerliving


Sunflower resumé

a closer look at area business people


herril Bieberly moved to Salina in 1971 with her husband and a child on the way. Shortly afterward, her husband suggested that she tap her Kansas State University degree in retailing and her love of sewing to open a fabric store. “With the move and kids, I decided not to,” says Sherril. “Funny, because after getting the degree I wanted nothing to do with retailing for 30 years.” But in 2000, after her kids had grown and left home, Sherril bought Quilting Bee in downtown Salina. Under her ownership, the store specializes in supplies, equipment and ideas for sewers and quilters. It’s also a place where these stitchminded hobbyists can meet to share patterns, advice and ideas. “Now, here I am 40 years later and loving it,” says Sherril.

Sherril Bieberly Occupation: Owner, Quilting Bee Job Location: 120 S. Santa Fe, Salina birthplace: Wichita Name:

What is the difference between “grandma’s quilts” and contemporary quilts?

Back in our grandmas’ day it was all about saving money and making something useful, and beautiful, out of scraps that some would throw away. There is still some of that, but in the ’70s there was a resurgence in quilting with the finished product being more a work of art and something to display. What are current quilt trends? Brighter prints

More elaborate designs

Sherril Bieberly

Do you have many male quilters?

Actually, the number is growing every year. Several customers’ husbands are really into helping with the quilts, and some are doing their own now. I think it’s the creative nature of the art that is attracting them. They can make quilts that reflect their interests, like sports, hunting and the like.

Bolder stitching What is the average quilter’s age? Hand-piecing and hand-quilting

Are modern quilts more to “please the eye” or “warm the bed”?

More to please the eye, but they are still useful products. So a little bit of both. 16


Spring 2011






There is a big push in the quilting industry to introduce sewing and quilting to younger generations, and I can’t believe that there aren’t many young people who wouldn’t love creating with fabric. But the average quilter today is 55-65. story by James R. godfrey

photography by Larry harwood

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local profiles

When the Harp Talks Lifelong musician discovers it is ‘never too late’ for a beloved instrument


n her hometown of Inman, RoJean Loucks had the childhood musical encounters familiar to many. She began with piano lessons at the age of 6 and then learned to play flute, organ and drums. She remembers the experiences simply as “trying out all kinds of things, as children should do when they are growing up.” Music as a hobby accompanied Loucks through marriage, children, career changes and her relocation to Salina. But in the late 1980s, while singing with a madrigal group at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival, she heard a performance by harpist Pamela Bruner. For several years Loucks followed Bruner’s progress. “She was chording and singing, and I became her groupie,” says Loucks. “I just couldn’t stay away from it. It felt like the harp was talking to me.” While shopping in Kansas City with her husband, Loren, she ran across another harp concert, and the music spoke to her even more directly. “I was mesmerized,” recalls Loucks. “It moved me to tears. I decided that if something talked to me that much, then I needed to find out more about it.” So after earning her master’s degree in early childhood education in 1994, Loucks rewarded herself with a small harp. The purchase required perseverance. “At that time I could not just Google ‘harps,’” she explains. “Music stores don’t normally carry harps. I finally found one in a child’s music catalog, a little 22-string harp. At the time, I thought that was all the harp I was ever going to need.” For the next 18 months, Loucks took lessons from Stephanie Rosenberg, a concert harpist in Great Bend, before studying with a variety of instructors, including Bruner. In 1996 she upgraded to a full-size, wooden handmade lever harp, also known as a folk harp, and by 2000, her son-in-law Jeff Garretson helped her release her first recording. “I probably only knew 10 songs by then” says Loucks, “but he convinced me that it would be a

RoJean Loucks plays and teaches the harp throughout the Salina region.



Spring 2011

story by Patricia E. Ackerman

photography by larry harwood

local profiles


‘snapshot in time.’” And that is what it has proven to be. Loucks has since recorded eight CDs, with the latest, Sweet Dreams, released in the summer of 2010. All but one of Loucks’ CDs include original music compositions. “It was the harp that led me into composition because it felt like there was music in the harp waiting to come out,” Loucks explains. Along with recording music, Loucks publishes harp arrangements of well-recognized classics. “The last one I did was ‘White Christmas’ for lever harp. People who play ask how I managed to do that, thinking it impossible to break into Irving Berlin’s copyrighted materials. But I just wrote for permission and paid the royalties, and I did it.” After taking training to become a therapeutic musician, Loucks resigned from her position with the school district. She continues to play therapeutic music for Hospice patients on an on-call basis. “It is very rewarding,” says Loucks. “The music helps carry people through the emotions of what is happening and is often as helpful for the families as it is for the patients. This is different than entertainment; it is meeting people where they are and moving with them on their journeys.” Loucks has shared her music by teaching others to play the harp in partnership with the Salina Public Library’s Community Learning and Skill Sharing Program (CLASS). She now teaches private lessons and facilitates a monthly harp circle. Her students include her daughter, Deb Garretson, and her 11-year-old granddaughter Olivia. Other activities include regular performances for two churches and concerts at a variety of festivals and events, including the Smoky Hill River Festival and the McPherson Scottish Festival. “I think diversification has been the key to my success thus far,” says Loucks. “And I really could not have accomplished half of the things I’ve done if it weren’t for the grant support I have received through local arts agencies.” Her musical successes and enjoyment are riches she encourages others to find. “I was 49 when I started playing the harp, and it has totally changed my life,” explains Loucks. “I guess what I would like people to know is that it is never too late to begin.”

Loucks teaches harp to her daughter and granddaughter, right, and to small groups in instructional circles, below.



local profiles

‘Another Sunrise’ A series of morning sky portraits enables artist to document her life and share common connections


Debbie Wagner paints at her studio in Bennington.



Spring 2011

n 2002, Debbie Wagner, a self-employed consulting designer and mother of three, began experiencing vision problems. Numerous medical consultations revealed that she had two large, pear-size tumors pressing on her brain. After surgery, she typed words backward, lost her ability to multitask and could not read or write well. The next few years were filled with treatments, therapy and healing for Wagner, her husband, Don, and their family. Three years later, in mid-December, she woke one morning to find “the most glorious sunrise.” The scene, she says, made her think “how lucky I was to be alive and to be functioning.” Spurred by that beauty, she says she realized how important it was to “do what I really wanted to do with my life.” For Wagner, that something was art. On that day she decided to start painting the sunrise to document each new day. “I had an epiphany that I should do this as a celebration of life, as a celebration of waking up another day and being able to function and to revel in reinventing myself,” she says. story by Patricia E. Ackerman

photography by Larry Harwood

local profiles

So on that day she painted the sunrise. The next morning, she woke up and painted another sunrise. “I just kept doing that day after day, and it became so pleasurable for me that I remember thinking, ‘I wonder if I can do this for an entire year?’” she recalls. And so began her ritual of waking up every morning and creating a pastel painting of the sunrise from the same location near her Bennington home. Since that start in 2005, she has missed only a few days, mostly when “there is a complete absence of color or a completely clear day—and in Kansas there are very few days like that.”


Wagner’s collection of sunrise paintings continues to grow. “In the beginning, say 2006-2007, I matted each one of them and took photographs of them every day. Then it became every month, then every three months. By then I realized that this was going to become a longterm project,” she explains. “So I started placing no-static glassine paper between each painting and stacking them in chronological order by years.” Upon seeing her stacks of sunrises, award-winning Kansas mural painter Dave Loewenstein observed that she had “time sitting on her dining room table” in the form of a chronological series of each year. In 2006, Bergen’s Studio and Art Gallery of Salina invited Wagner to exhibit some of her sunrise paintings. She hung three sunrises from each of the four seasons. And when she stepped back to look at the exhibit, Wagner was struck by how the sun moved across the horizon throughout the year, documenting the slow passage of time. After the exhibit, she began receiving calls from people who wanted to buy sunrise paintings from particular

Wagner’s recent works hang in her studio, surrounded by many of the sky-hued pastels she uses to paint them.



local profiles

Wagner’s studio in Bennington, above, is open to visitors. The artist creates a new skyline painting each morning except when there are gray skies.



Spring 2011

dates. “They wanted to commemorate births, anniversaries, funerals, weddings,” Wagner recalls. “One woman ordered a sunrise for the day her fiancé left for Iraq—all kinds of touching and important events.” The enthusiasm for her paintings was a revelation for Wagner. “People are so connected to the weather and to the sky. There are things that are so obvious that I had never thought about them before,” she says. “Everyone relates to what the sky and the weather are like on special day in their lives. If, for example, a woman gave birth today, she will never forget what the weather was like on this day. I never really thought about the connection people have to the sky before. And the sunrise is symbolic of so many things.” At that point, Wagner’s sunrise paintings took another evolutionary turn as she stopped using the artist’s traditional two-thirds and one-thirds rule. “I realized that in the rural setting I was painting, the Kansas sky was what was important,” she explains. “Now I include very tiny indications of what the land looks like under the sky. The sky is the focal point.” Wagner sells the actual paintings she completes during each sunrise, not copies. On occasion, she has attempted to duplicate paintings to accommodate buyers, but the colors are never quite the same. She is uncertain how many paintings she has sold since 2005. “I did not start my sunrise paintings as a commercial venture. I started them out as a personal journey, as a visual journal. And that’s the beauty of it all, because I am selling pieces of myself, pieces of the blessing that is my life. And I’ve never grown tired of it,” says Wagner. “Even if I never sold another painting, I would keep waking up every day and painting another sunrise.”

local profiles

Award-winning Kansas artist Dave Loewenstein observed that Wagner’s sky paintings, when placed together, are an artistic chronicle of time.



local profiles

A Fly-Tier’s Journey Early in his career, a cardiologist discovers a sport and art that accompanies him through life


urtis Kauer’s first visit to a hospital emergency room took place as a child in his hometown of Belleville, after a fishing hook caught him in the back of the head. Hooks and hospitals didn’t combine in his life again until 1992, when he was completing his residency in internal medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. Kauer went to see A River Runs Through It, the film based on Norman Maclean’s story about two fly-fishing brothers growing up in the hills of Montana. That cinematic vision inspired Kauer to begin his own journey into fly-fishing and the art of tying his own flies. Initially, Kauer attempted fly-tying “for practical reasons.” Kauer says he quickly realized it was “considerably less expensive—and very much more enjoyable—to tie my own flies than

Curtis Kauer prepares one of his self-tied flies for fishing.



Spring 2011

story by Patricia E. Ackerman

photography by Larry Harwood

local flavor

Since he began tying flies in the early 1990s, Kauer says his interest has changed from the “practical” to an “appreciation for the historical merit of the art.”

to purchase them.” In 1996, he joined Salina’s Mowery Clinic as a board-certified cardiologist. By that time, tying flies—his thrifty approach to sport—had become an interest in its own right. Kauer describes what he calls “the journey of a fly-tier” as one that evolves “from practical reasons, through interesting challenges, and on to appreciation for the historical merit of the art of fly-tying.” Of particular importance to fly-tiers are the materials used to design hooks so they resemble lifelike insects and water creatures. As the popularity of fly-fishing and fly-tying has grown, so has the availability of interesting materials. Many of the basic materials, like feathers or animal fur, are found in nature. “A fly-tier’s journey often includes a roadkill phase, where they begin stopping by the side of the road to collect unique bits of fur and feathers for future creations,” notes Kauer, who has also used synthetic materials such as glass beads, safety pins or balsa wood in his flies. “Sometimes I will see a particular piece of material and wonder, ‘What could I make that into?’”

Kauer lists polar bear fur as one of the more exotic materials he has seen in a fly, though each fly has its own characteristics. There are special varieties of ties for saltwater fishing. Different types of string are used to bind fly mate- “SOMETIMES I SEE A rials to the hooks. And PARTICULAR PIECE OF Scotch Guard may be applied to help with MATERIAL AND WONDER, buoyancy. ‘WHAT COULD I MAKE Kauer keeps a THAT INTO?’” detailed sketchbook, — CURTIS KAUER filled with anatomical drawings and notes about materials, techniques and ideas for future creations. After the September 2001 attacks, he designed a patriotic red, white and blue pin ribbon. This project evolved into crafting gifts of jewelry from his fly materials, and he has since presented more than 400 pairs of earrings to hospital staff in the last few years. Sunflowerliving


local profiles

Art leads to dinner as artistic, painstakingly made ties are used for their primary purpose: catching fish.



Spring 2011

local profiles

But he most often uses the flies for their original purpose: fishing. It’s a sport that continues to fascinate Kauer. He now enjoys fishing outings with his two sons, ages 15 and 18, and a small community of fly-fishermen in and around Salina, as well as members of the Flatland Fly Fishers in Wichita. In 2003, three of Kauer’s flies were featured in a book titled Patent Patterns: 1,500 Unique and Innovative Fly Patterns by Jim Schollmeyer. He keeps samples of his “published” flies on display near his workbench at home. Kauer says he does not typically travel far to try his flies but prefers the peaceful shores of Kanopolis Lake, Milford Lake and area farm ponds. “Shallow waters are the best place to fish, as fly-fishing is a visual sport,” he says. “Deep water makes it more difficult to catch fish.” The Kansas wind can also be a factor, he says, but it is not prohibitive. He praises the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks for improving fish habitats in area lakes and streams. Kauer points out that trout are not the only fish available to fly-fishers. He has fly-fished for crappie, bass, carp, gar and even catfish. Kauer manages to work in an hour or so of fly-tying each week, in addition to his family life and medical practice. Over the years, the novice has turned into somewhat of an authority, eager to share his knowledge and even his flies. Smiling, Kauer pulls a small plastic container out of his pocket, pouring out an assortment of black, brown and yellow flies. He selects four tiny insects and slides them across the table. They will, the veteran flier and artist guarantees with a smile, “catch fish.” Kauer’s unique flies have been featured in fly-fishing publications

health & fitness

New-Wave Nurses An influx of male nurses changes a profession and the men who enter it story by Cecilia Harris

photography by lisa eastman

Levi Kinderknecht


ot that long ago, nursing was almost exclusively woman’s work. Females dominated the field in their white nursing caps, white starched uniforms and white stockings and shoes. Boy, have times changed. Today, nurses wear colorful scrubs and may likely be men. According to the latest data from the federal government’s Health Resources and Services Administration, men comprised only 4.1 percent of graduating registered nurses before 1990 but 9.6 percent of graduating registered nurses after 1990. Mary Blubaugh, executive administrator for the Kansas State Board of Nursing, says the state has followed national trends. Her organization’s latest data, from fiscal year 2009, shows that about 7 percent of registered nurses in Kansas are male, although that percentage is much higher for certain specialty nursing positions such as registered nurse anesthetists, which are approximately 50 percent male in Kansas.



Spring 2011

health & fitness

Charles Bray

Men are choosing to become nurses for the same reasons women do: job security, the challenges and rewards of the job, good wages and a flexible work schedule. At Salina Regional Health Center, 3 percent of the nurses are men; in fact, the chief nursing officer is a male. James Barker, who also holds the title of vice president of patient care, chose a nursing career 20 years ago after working at other jobs. James has worked in hospitals with a higher percentage of male nurses, but he thinks the number in Salina will increase soon. “In the last six months I am seeing a lot more male nursing students, and I think that’s because of the economy.” Men, however, are less likely to be found caring for the typical patient in a hospital room. Many prefer working in the emergency room (ER), operating room or intensive care unit (ICU). “Men tend to want a faster pace in nursing, just as in life in general, although there are plenty of women who want that, too,” James says. “It still comes down to the individual and what they are motivated by.” Sunflowerliving


health & fitness


David Young enjoys the adrenaline rush created by situations in the intensive care unit, where he has worked since becoming a registered nurse nearly two years ago. “I’ve found men typically like the ICU and the ER better because they like more excitement than what you see on the regular floor,” David says. “The patient comes into ICU critically ill or injured, and we like the challenge. We’re given the opportunity to use our skills more in the intensive care unit than on the floor, and that part is important to me.” One of those skills is critical thinking, which David says he learned while working as a farmer in Mississippi before becoming a nurse. “With farming, you’re not sure what the day will bring because you see a different challenge every day. The intensive care unit is the same way.” David believes male nurses are more accepted than they used to be as more men go into the field. “My class was 20 percent male, and I think we’ll continue to see that trend go up.” David’s colleague Levi Kinderknecht also chose to work in the ICU for the chance to save lives and be challenged. But Levi says nursing also offered more for his life outside the hospital. “My interest was in the medical field, and I thought about being a doctor,” Levi says. “But then 30


Spring 2011

David Young and Levi Kinderknecht

I decided I didn’t want a doctor’s life of being on call 24/7. I wanted to have a family life, so I chose nursing because I would still be able to do patient care.” The quality of life that nursing offers was also a factor for Charles Bray, who entered the field after working in the food service industry for 15 years. “I decided to change my career because of the fact I saw myself getting stressed out over the situation in food service,” he says. “I was gaining weight and working 70 hours a week and setting myself up for a heart attack.” When his father-in-law’s health declined, Charles realized he enjoyed caring for people. Nursing offered the opportunity to help others, better support his family, work fewer hours and have a more flexible schedule. As a charge nurse on the floor during the night shift, Charles puts his management skills to use while still working with patients. “I’m a compassionate person with a positive outlook on life,” he says. “I enjoy the opportunity to care for people and show them there’s a reason to live. I help by comforting them through the difficult times in their lives, and I feel God directed me to do this. He gave me the heart to do this job.”



local flavor

Spring Treats Treat kids to these light, healthful snacks


or children, spring calls for special treats—light, refreshing afterschool snacks that fill the tummy with healthful food and energy. Ann Doocy-Walker from The Dish in Abilene suggests these two quick, enjoyable recipes. They are perfect for even younger kids to make by themselves.

Banana Pops Ingredients: Six bananas 16 ounces nonfat yogurt (Ann suggests lemon yogurt, but any favorite flavor will do) 1 cup shelled sunflower seeds 1 cup crushed chocolate crumbs 1 cup crushed, shelled pistachios Cut the bananas in half (each half makes one pop). Stick each banana half on a wooden skewer. Roll the bananas in a plate of yogurt. Roll yogurt-covered banana in sunflower seeds, crushed chocolate crumbs or pistachios. Cover bananas with wax paper and place in freezer. They are ready to eat as soon as they freeze (usually in less than hour). Makes 12 servings.

Cucumber Sushi Ingredients: 1 cucumber 8 ounces chunky peanut butter, hummus or low fat herb cream cheese 30 frozen peas (approximately 5 peas per cucumber slice) Cut a cucumber into four to six large slices (depending on the size of the cucumber you may have more or fewer pieces). Use a melon baller to hollow the inside of the cucumber slices. Leave Âź inch of cucumber in the bottom to hold stuffing. Fill cucumber slices with chunky peanut butter, hummus or low fat herb cream cheese. Thaw peas and use them to create a design on top of sushi. Makes 4-6 servings.

Skewers transform sandwiches into a fun treat.



Spring 2011

story by Chelsey Crawford

photography by lisa eastman

local flavor

When the adults eat their own sushi, let the kids enjoy it as well—but with kid-friendly flavor. Try this sushi dish that may be just a little more appealing for younger snackers.



the short ride to the

Linger Longer



Spring 2011

A cold Green River and oldtime songs wait at the other end of a day trip to Bennington


he American landscape is dotted with eateries designed to evoke nostalgia. Even in chain restaurants, old movie poster reprints line the walls along with sports memorabilia. The Linger Longer in Bennington, an old-fashioned soda fountain shop housed in a building that dates to 1912, is a place that accomplishes not only nostalgia but a genuine sit-aspell-and-stay-a-while feeling. Husband-and-wife team

Sharolyn and Jay Wagner own the place and take care of daily operations. They are the soda jerks and tour guides for people who wander in unaware of the treat shop’s history and antiques. Darned near everything about the place is authentic, beginning with the front entryway’s screen door, similar to what many of our grandparents’ houses had. “I like the sound of an old-fashioned screen door slamming,” Sharolyn says. H.A. Elliott’s pharmacy was the first business to move into the building. The gorgeous 8-foot-tall solid oak back bar

story by Melinda Briscoe photography by Larry Harwood Sunflowerliving


Sharolyn Wagner prepares and serves treats to customers Liz Smith and Warren Smith.

“I like the sound of an old-fashioned screen door slamming.”

­— Sharolyn Wagner

Patricia Wagner samples a cookie and a Green River soda drink. The hand-mixed retro soda fountain drink was popular during the Prohibition years.



Spring 2011

The Linger Longer

119 N. Nelson St., Bennington (785) 820-6050 Open 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 3 p.m.-9 p.m. Saturday 

Sharolyn’s collection of Dr Pepper memorabilia includes glass bottles, left, and imitations of the famous fizzy drink.

used in that pharmacy was refinished, rewired, given a new beveled mirror and put back into place as the centerpiece behind the soda fountain counter. Other authentic items in the store include spigots from a 1920s soda fountain, an antique Brunswick pool table, a player piano (and hundreds of scrolls of music), a 10-cent pop machine from the 1950s and the city’s last remaining original streetlamp. When the weather’s warm, look outside that screen door toward Jay’s truck and you might catch a glimpse of two other items that are not necessarily antiques but longtime regulars: the family’s border collies, Hank and Ralph. “They like to hang out here too, but they just can’t come inside to do it,” says Jay.

Sharolyn and Jay were successful business people, living in a larger community—Lawrence. However, in 1989 they decided it was time to return to Bennington and Jay’s roots on his family’s farm, which was homesteaded in 1862. Parents to children Jackie, John and Jacob, they wanted to do something for their kids, their neighbors and the community, so they opened Linger Longer in 2010. “Our objective is not to make money,” Sharolyn says. “This project is about community building.” On a day when school has just let out, Sharolyn eyes the clock, grabs a checkerboard and sets up a game on one of the tables. One young man comes in, eats a cookie and declares, “Their food is the best!” Jay fires up the player piano



Window displays, top, and antique signs fill the Linger Longer while a toy train, right, rolls on a track the Wagners installed along the top perimeter of their shop. Jay Wagner, bottom right, serves drinks and gives tours of his shop.

“This project is about community building.”

— Sharolyn Wagner



Spring 2011

and belts out a few choruses of a golden oldie with a customer: Five foot two, eyes of blue, has anybody seen my girl? The customer laughs and comments on how this was the original karaoke. A few feet away, a 12-year-old boy eyes Sharolyn’s extensive Dr Pepper collection, which includes obscure and rare versions of Dr Pepper bottles and cans through the decades, along with many of the Dr Pepper “imposters.” Back behind the counter, Sharolyn is defending her reputation as the chief brownie baker with her house-favorite hot fudge butterscotch brownie sundae. Along with ice cream and baked confections, Linger Longer’s soda fountain is a main attraction. It’s one of fewer than 40 original soda fountains in use in the state and one of a few that hand-mixes syrups with carbonated water. When Jay takes the time to explain this to a young patron, it is obvious that the process is almost lost on the youngster. But in an age of prepackaged everything, the hand-mixed treat is a learning experience for almost anyone under the age of 50. The fountain is also on a very short list of places where you can still get a Green River soda, a soft drink that became popular during the early years of Prohibition. The Wagners experimented with different types of ice cream to use at their fountain but eventually decided on only the good stuff. “We use Blue Bunny Premium, which we get from Kearney, Nebraska,” says Jay. “We tried the cheaper brands, but it just didn’t taste right. It was one of those cases where you get what you pay for.” The Wagners, who invested their own money in the restoration of the building, say what they are paying for is the chance to create a community center. “I want a place that will evoke memories for the older generations,” says Sharolyn, “and create memories for the young generation.”

Three Rivers Studio and Gallery Gallery features the works of Debbie Wagner (see article on page 20) 200 N. Nelson St. (785) 488-8182 www.3riversgallery.com The Bennington Rodeo the town’s big summer celebration traditionally occurs the last weekend in May or the first weekend in June. For ticket price and event information, look for announcements in the Salina Journal or at www.salina.com.

Other attractions for a day trip to and around Bennington:

The Dog House the town bar hosts the Bennington Rodeo street dance as well as various fundraisers and a weekly karaoke night. 106 N. Nelson St. (785) 488-3535 Our Place Cafe serves homemade Salisbury steak and fried catfish. 415 E. Bennington St. (785) 488-3949 Westside Ventures the area grocery store sells ham sandwiches and roasted chicken dinners to take on a picnic to the nearby state lake (see below). 113 N. Nelson St. (785) 488-3700 Ottawa State Fishing Lake formerly known as the Bennington State Lake, has spots for picnics, fishing and camping (one cabin, numerous tent sites). Goodwin Drive (785) 658-2465 Sunflowerliving


skating across the ages the Krehbiels have watched the generations roll round and round at their family skate rink



Spring 2011

story by Chelsey

Crawford photography by Lisa Eastman Sunflowerliving




Spring 2011

Going out with a smile, Rosetta Wiles, previous pages, is eliminated from the skating limbo competition. However, Kayden Presnell, left, skates under the pole.

“If you came out this far south in Salina, it was either for the drivein movie or to go roller-skating,” says Roger Krehbiel with a rather nostalgic look in his eyes. And that was true back when Starlite Skate Center first opened in 1963 and there was not much out that way. But south Salina is where Roger has spent most every weekend for the past 47 years since his father, Clinton Krehbiel, bought the land and built the skating rink with his family’s assistance. “The whole family helped out by working there,” recalls Roger. “My siblings and I worked there starting when we were just old enough and then all through high school.” The siblings eventually went their own ways, getting jobs and moving away to start their own families. But while he was a student at Kansas State University, Roger still returned to south Salina to help his father— and to take care of other priorities. “I came home every weekend when I went to K-State,” says Roger. “Part of it was to work at the skating rink, but the other part was to date Mary.” He smiles over at his wife, who has spent almost as much time as him at the Starlite. “She was the cute girl working behind the snack bar. My dad introduced us, and it just went from there.” “Yes, I had asked his dad who the good-looking guy that came to work on the weekends was,” she says with a laugh as she points out the place where they first talked.

Mary and Roger Krehbiel, above, skate around the rink that Roger’s dad opened in 1963.




DARING, FAST & STYLISH The skating bios of young wheelers


Years Skating: Three Reason to Skate: Meet with friends and get exercise Favorite Skating Song: “Who let the dogs out?”


Years Skating: New to the rink Signature Style: Happy not to fall down Will he skate with girls? Yes


Years skating: Two Skating advice: “I’m only 9!” Reputation on wheels: Limbo specialist Kylie Jank and Faith Morris



Spring 2011



Soon Roger and Mary wed and started raising their own family, continuing the strong connection to the rink. In 1984, the couple bought the rink from Roger’s father. They were joined by their daughter and son, who started skating soon after walking and started working at the rink as they grew older. “It was a great childhood for them. We were all constantly at the rink,” says Mary. “It was such a great experience for our family.” Of course, Mary admits, her daughter may have not liked that every one of her dates had to pick her up from the rink and thus visit with the entire Krehbiel brood. The Krehbiels, understandably, have become advocates for skating—and particularly for enjoying the sport as a family. “Skating is just such a wonderful activity for families, because the whole family can do it together,” says Roger. “Sports are great. But instead of just sitting on the bleachers watching your child compete, you can get in there and play with them. “We have met so many wonderful families in the years that we have had the rink. Some have even worked for us. The parents do some part-time work and then all the kids as they get older come and work for us until they go to college.” The rink fills with families on Saturday afternoons and evenings. The youngest skaters buzz by for the Saturday morning “tiny tot skate,” older families skate onto the rink as the day goes on and one couple in their 70s have come every Saturday night “for as long as I can remember,” notes Roger. “We have just loved running the rink and seeing the generations go through it,” Roger says. “It is so neat to be able to see people bringing their grandchildren to the rink to skate, and I can remember when they were coming there as teens themselves and then started bringing their own kids.” Mary says that with kids’ school activities, jobs and much more to do in Salina, they don’t have as many skaters. But she’s proud of the young kids she hosts. “I just think that kids that roller-skate are very nice kids,” Mary says. “Everyone just skates together, and they all form wonderful friendships.”




Spring 2011

Profile for Sunflower Publishing

Sunflower Living Spring 2011  

Sunflower Living Spring 2011

Sunflower Living Spring 2011  

Sunflower Living Spring 2011