Page 1

spring 2011

sHawnee People, places and style defined

WestGlen Eyecare designs a chic workplace





There are some days I wonder if I should have been an architect.



spring 2011

sHawnee People, places and style defined


Editor Katy Ibsen Designer/Art Director Shelly Bryant Copy Editor Susie Fagan Advertising Sales Mary Hay (913) 631-1611 Ad Designer Janella L. Williams Chief Photographer Jason Dailey Contributing Photographers Tim Andersen Philip Feil Contributing Writers Kim Antisdel Claire M. Caterer Carolyn Glade Dvorak Gloria Gale Vince Meserko Katy Schamberger Kimberly Winter Stern General Manager Bert Hull Publishing Coordinator Faryle Scott


Subscriptions $22 (tax included) for a one-year subscription to Shawnee 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


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

find us on facebook Follow us on twitter @shawneemag


I am really bad with numbers, but I love what these artists—yes I just called them artists—can create. After purchasing my own home (with little architectural detail), I have begun to pay more attention to buildings, interiors, design elements and so on. Therefore, working on this issue was a joy. Our Curb Appeal story (page 20) was inspired by WestGlen Eyecare’s new building on Midland Drive. The modern, state-of-the-art structure was the concept of 360 Architects, and owners Jeff Gerson and Andrea Spruyt couldn’t be happier with the optical-inspired results. This led Shawnee Magazine and writer Kimberly Winter Stern down a path to recognize other treasured businesses that have put a mark on the property map. Included is Back in Motion Chiropractic, where Scott Harvey and wife Kile Kaspar turned a vintage cottage into a downtown darling. Remodeling the businesses to fit their services, they created a gem nestled among commercial properties along Johnson Drive. Also featured is Renée Kelly’s at Caenen Castle. Kelly has graced the pages of Shawnee Magazine before, but this time we were only interested in her historic castle. Kelly confirms that the structure is most fitting for her catering and event business. From there we toured two amazing homes. Kerri Brocker was so excited about her revamped backyard last summer that she let us know about it. Writer Katie Schamberger followed up with her this spring and took a look inside the Brocker house (page 10), and she wasn’t disappointed. Brocker, an interior decorator, keeps a minimalistic style for her family and loveable Doberman, Lilly. The backyard really is the icing on the cake. Writer Gloria Gale always manages to scout out fantastic homes, and Susan and Lew Weins’ is no exception (page 6). This modern glassand-concrete home is a visual treat. Peering over Lake Quivira, the home was built to stand the test of time and surprises many with its walls of glass and two separate caves. More importantly, it was a perfect fit for the Weinses, who were ready for anything but the ordinary. Finally, our curiosity couldn’t contain itself any longer, and we needed a sneak peek at the Shawnee Town Farmstead. Although the project is far from complete, many residents are seeing some progress. Writer Vince Meserko gives us a detailed look at the project (page 14) and what we can expect to see this season. Navigating the blueprints for this issue was great fun, and I am always surprised at the sophistication Shawnee has to offer. We hope you enjoy your spring, whether outdoors or inside the community’s superior architecture.

Vol. 4 / No. 3





In Every Issue

03 Dear Reader 38 Q&A 46 best bets



shawnee living

A contemporary glass-and-concrete home with a flair for the unusual makes its mark with innovative features



Colorfully offbeat

A suburban oasis

Contemporary design and art dominate this home’s dÊcor, while water features and natural stone create a backyard retreat

Local profiles 26




Farming some historic charm

Shawnee Town breaks ground on a vintage 1929 truck farm

The big chill

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ... gelato

A smashing reputation

This certified wine expert shares his knowledge with customers

A Civil Duty

Local chapter of Civil Air Patrol sets itself apart

health & fitness

Kansas City Swing Dance Club woos dancers to a different beat


Shall we dance?

BY Vince Meserko


Curb appeal

Eye-popping architecture and design mean business for these Shawnee companies BY Kimberly Winter Stern

For the Family 40

Little Monkey Bizness

Where the kids play so mom can recuperate

get away 44



on the cover

Jeff Gerson and Andrea Spruyt, co-owners of WestGlen Eyecare. {Photography by Jason Dailey}

Gold Digger

In a city that knows how to keep its secrets, the word is out. Las Vegas beckons to the budget-minded as well as high rollers

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The Wiens home

story by

Gloria Gale


photography by

Jason Dailey


A contemporary glass-and-concrete home with a flair for the unusual makes its mark with innovative features


Staid and boring isn’t Susan and Lew Wiens’ style.


The couple decided that when it was time to move from Whispering Hills into a new home, it had to be an upgrade, colorful and absolutely an original. “Eight years ago, Lew was steadfastly against moving anywhere that didn’t hold those elements,” says Susan. “Coincidentally, I just happened to know a lot about Lake Quivira. I got a call from a homeowner who was selling and said to come take a look. The next thing I knew, my husband and I had bought a house.” But not just any house. This was a house with a twist. “Not only was it mechanically innovative, it was also structurally sound,” she adds. The home of Susan and Lew Wiens presents many surprises, including this three-dimensional artwork in the family room.

Dr. Philip C. Gaus, DDS

is pleased to announce the opening of his Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery practice in Shawnee. He completed training with the United States Air Force in 1987, earned board certification in 1989 and has practiced in Lawrence and eastern Kansas since 1991. You are invited to stop by the new location for any of your treatment needs including extractions, implants and corrective jaw surgery.

Shawnee Oral Surgery, LC is located near the junction of Shawnee Mission Parkway and Kansas Highway 7. Please schedule your appointment now. We look forward to seeing you!

(913) 948-7766 Philip C. Gaus DDS 6844 Silverheel Street • Shawnee, KS 66226



The house is partially sheltered by the earth and features its own cave (yes, a natural stone cave bracing the rear exterior), 32 skylights, an open floor plan and glass walls—a perfect match for the couple.

Parrot and palms


A concrete house trussed into the side of a hill and fronted by a lake is, in itself, a novelty. “At first, the notion of a concrete house was a draw. Lew is a developer and reveled in the open plan this 30-year-old house afforded. It surprised us both that this 4,200-square-foot house was built so long ago but with such a futuristic design,” says Susan.





[ 1 ] Susan loves art as much as she loves

sharing it with others in her home. [ 2 ] The home features multiple windows that let in plenty of light. [ 3 ] The wall of windows in the living room provides a beautiful view of Lake Quivira. [ 4 ] A vantage point in the kitchen peeks into the home’s atrium.

Structurally, they knew they had a prize, but it came with reservations. “I couldn’t live in a house with no color, and we wanted to open up the structure in the downstairs area to let light in,” says Susan. Before moving in, the couple removed a number of glass sliding doors in the atrium, which is in the center of the house. The change enables a considerable amount of light to flood into this area. Other updates followed. Wood surfaces on cabinets and walls throughout the house were redone with a faux cherry finish. Floors were leveled and walls painted in rich color as a lively backdrop for art. “The latter was a significant change since the house, formerly all white, needed my boost of purple, burnt orange, forest and ocean green,” says Susan.

Individual The house reveals its individuality at the front door, clad in a starburst of copper veneer. Ahead the soaring 28-foot atrium, radiant with light from a volume of glass windows and walls, welcomes guests. “We wanted something different, so we planted two steel-wrapped palms— one 19 feet, the other 14 feet—that we had commissioned by an artist we met at




the home show. They’re ‘planted’ in the concrete bed surrounded by real plants, a colorful parrot on a perch and on the other side of the planter a hot tub settled under the upper story walkway,” says Susan. “This is an easy place to have company since the atrium acts as our dining room. The nearby kitchen is user-friendly, offering a wonderful serving potential,” says Susan. To the left of the atrium is the ample-size living room, which vaults two stories. An aubergine wall complements the comfortable furnishings, dashes of copper, mosaics and paintings. They spend plenty of time here and in Lew’s man-cave, where memorabilia from their travels and family pictures surround a pool table.

“It’s like a tree house since there’s a great window wall. I can see practically the whole first level from my desk.” – Susan Wiens Though the house easily holds 100 or more guests comfortably, people often gather on the opposite side of the house in the family room. Two- and threedimensional artwork, such as original copper painted orbits over the entertainment center, pops on the deep forest green walls. On the second level, the master bedroom has no walls—but then again, it has no windows. A balcony rail provides an overview of the living area. All the light is courtesy of the skylights.

“What’s most intriguing, and literally had my husband salivating, is his ‘bat cave’ accessed through our closet,” says Susan, leading through a door into a massive outcropping of stone boulders that flank the back length of the house. “Not every home built into the side of the hill can boast a cave behind the house. This is where water and utilities enter the home.” Next to the bedroom lies the master bathroom, stylish with maple cabinets. Like the master bedroom, this area is showered with natural daylight and “heavenly starlight at night” thanks to the skylights and glass walls, says Susan. A glass-paneled walkway connects one side of the house to the other and leads to Susan’s office from the master bedroom. From this vantage point, she says, “it’s like a tree house since there’s a great window wall. I can see practically the whole first level from my desk.” Around the corner, bunks and beds fill the colorful green and russet orange bedroom for their five grandchildren.

Art abounds

ABOVE RIGHT A detailed bathroom vanity adds a fun pop of color. ABOVE Colorful paintings serve as a whimsical backdrop to the steel palm tree sculpture.


The Wienses showcase pieces from local artists around every bend of their home. Susan admits she wants art to say something to her. So each piece— whether it’s her own stained-glass creations, numerous mosaics or two and three-dimensional artwork—must have meaning. If there’s one piece that epitomizes the couple’s view of life, it’s Mustang Sally—a quirky painting of a horse with an attitude colorfully rendered by Julie Foster—that hangs on the atrium wall. “It’s unique, rather distorted and unusual,” she says. And it’s a fitting tribute for a house that’s anything but ordinary— just the way Susan and Lew view their world. sm




The brocker Home

story by

Katy Schamberger photography by

Jason Dailey

A suburban oasis Contemporary design and art dominate this home’s décor, while water features and natural stone create a backyard retreat

Interior designer Kerri Brocker

fuses style and family in her Shawnee home to create a look that is sure to impress. Calming shades of purple dominate the walls in her daughters’ bedrooms, accented with coordinating bedspreads and refinished furniture. Thoughtful touches like window treatments and hand-painted accessories complete the look, echoing the home’s contemporary style that inspired Kerri’s interior décor.


Making a home


Kerri and her husband, Jonathan, moved into their home in 2005 after being drawn by several features, including an oversize walk-in kitchen pantry. They bought the home when it was about 80 percent complete, which gave them the opportunity to select finishing details like colors and stair spindles. A picturesque waterfall makes the Brocker backyard a calming place to relax. Image courtesy of Kerri Brocker.


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They made a few minor changes—replacing kitchen cabinets with a small wine cooler, for example. For Kerri, ample storage space is key to achieving her desired look. “I’m a minimalist,” she says. “I can’t stand a lot of stuff laying around. I prefer a clean, open area.” Purples and grays dominate the décor, which is carefully accented with modern sculptures and other art. The highlight of Kerri’s art collection is a sculpture, Flying Half Bologna Sandwich, created by Steve McWilliams as part of an exclusive series. “The sculpture has to be won at a charity auction and given away to someone else,” Kerri says. “Our friends, Larissa and Russ Grantham of western Shawnee, were recipients of number four. They won the fifth sculpture at an auction and donated it to us.” The art imparts a touch of whimsy throughout the home, a feeling that only intensifies on the home’s second level, also known as the girls’ area.

“People know us as the house with the pond or the house with the Doberman.” – Kerri Brocker No boys allowed

ABOVE Kerri Brocker,


who is an interior designer, created a contemporary style for her home. RIGHT This treasured sculpture is titled Flying Half Bologna Sandwich. BOTTOM The Brocker’s daughters, Jordyn and Tessa, spend plenty of time in their loft play area.


A loft-style room that overlooks the main level is a hub of activity. The Brocker girls—Jordyn, 3, and Tessa, 1—spend plenty of time in this creative space. A sketch table rests near a brightly colored wall filled with letters that are affixed with Velcro, creating an interactive environment. “This room keeps the kids creative,” Kerri says. “I grew up and attended Catholic school and didn’t have as many opportunities to explore my artistic side.” A hallway leads to the bedrooms. First is Jordyn’s, a welcoming space with soaring ceilings, blue-purple walls and an oversize window that lets in plenty of natural light. Time was of the essence when designing their first daughter’s room, Kerri says. “After we had trouble getting pregnant, my husband and I decided to adopt. We got the call about Jordyn four weeks before she was born, so we had to move quickly.” In 2009, the Brockers received the surprise of their lives: Kerri was pregnant with the couple’s second daughter. Preparations for Tessa’s nursery quickly took hold of the household as Kerri’s mom and friends pitched in to help.



“It all started from a pink, white and purple pillow,” she says. From there, the walls were coated in two colors—on the top half a pinky-purple hue, accented by a deep eggplant on the bottom half. A hand-painted border meticulously trimmed in lavender ribbon divides the two colors. Other handmade details include painted curtain holders and, in the bathroom, hand-painted flowers that match a painting.

Out back

ABOVE Kerri and Lilly, the family’s beloved pooch. LEFT The Brockers began the landscaping for their backyard in 2007. BOTTOM When Kerri and husband Jonathan found the home, she fell

in love with its abundant storage, like the walk-in pantry behind this door.


As Kerri travels throughout the house, she’s accompanied by Lilly, the family’s affectionate Doberman and certified therapy dog who still works with nursing home and hospice patients. Lilly and the home’s backyard have earned the Brocker home two nicknames from neighbors. “People know us as the house with the pond or the house with the Doberman,” says Kerri with a laugh. The backyard landscaping—a process that began in 2007 and only recently was finished—is the most involved of the home projects. After the couple moved in, they spent the summer of 2006 “clearing the backyard of poison ivy and weeds,” Kerri says. “We invited friends to come over and help, and most of us ended up covered in poison ivy. I had to buy a lot of beer and pizza to make up for that!” Once the yard was cleared, the Brockers realized how much land they had—nearly an acre. The naturally sloped terrain provides the ideal layout for a waterfall. “We knew when we moved in that the backyard had a lot of potential,” she says. “And once we saw the flow of the land, we knew there was hardly any excavating that needed to be done.” In 2007, the waterfall and pond were installed. During 2010, the work continued with the creation of rock walls and a patio, features Kerri says she wanted “as natural as possible.” She praises the contractor, Next to Nature, for the admirable attention to detail. “Each rock is chiseled so it’s finished and level,” says Kerri. “It took about 10 weeks of construction to finish.” Mature trees line the waterfall and pond, creating a sundappled look. Natural plants and landscaping enhance the water features, and a three-story deck off the back of the house allows for multiple views of the backyard retreat. “When you walk in to the house, you’re at ground level,” Kerri says. “But when you go out the back onto the deck, there’s a 20-foot drop. It’s unexpected.” Now that the backyard project is complete, the Brockers have plans to finish the basement—a 2,500-square-foot space with 15-foot ceilings. “We liked the inside of the house so much that we didn’t make many big changes,” she says. “It just needed a few updates. The backyard, however, was a different story—it was all or nothing, and it will be the same way when we finish the basement.” sm


The new barn is part of Shawnee Town Farmstead. Philip Feil

S to ry by Vince Meserko P h oto g r a p h y by Tim Andersen and Philip Feil

historiC charm F a r m i n g

S h b r e o 1 9 2 9

s o m e

a w n e e T o w n a k s g r o u n d n a v i n t a g e t r u c k f a r m

In 2002, city developers and community leaders saw an opportunity to revitalize the historic Shawnee Town site into something that might help reacquaint residents with their shared history.

ABOVE Shawnee Town

will now feature buildings essential to a 20th century farmstead, including a chicken coop. RIGHT Work on the chicken coop and other buildings began in the fall of 2010. Photographs by Philip Feil

After months of research, consultation and planning, they decided that a renovation was not enough. They needed something that would expand the vision of the city’s iconic Shawnee Town. The result was an ambitious plan that intends to preserve a unique piece of Shawnee history—its agriculture. “Shawnee Town has always had a great function of historical relevance, volunteers and support. So a decision was made to further the assets and pinpoint a more targeted theme,” says Neil Holman, Shawnee Parks and Recreation director. “Not only does the theme represent Shawnee standing strong during a trying time, but it also creates a totally untapped museum theme—1929.” The plan to help the site stand out was adopted in 2004. Phase one calls for the development of a 1929 truck farm, which produces vegetables for the market, complete with a garden, barn, root cellar, market shed, smokehouse, farmhouse, chicken coop, outhouse, garage and tool shed. Phase two will include the addition of era businesses, including a typewriter repair shop, barbershop and icehouse. While the project has made slow progress, thanks in no small part to the economic downturn, the developers hope these phases of the project will be complete by the end of 2011. Ground was broken on the site in September 2010.

T he s t r a t e g i c p l a n

One of the people responsible for the new plan is Jean Svadlenak, a history museum consultant brought in to help developers define the project.


TOP Principle players

in the farmstead project include history museum consultant Jean Svadlenak, Shawnee Town museum director Gay Clemenson and Shawnee Parks and Recreation Director Neil Holman. Tim Andersen BOTTOM Renovations to the Hart House continue after it was relocated to Shawnee Town. Philip Feil

above Additional buildings make up the farmstead. Philip Feil BELOW The Shawnee Town 1929 strategic plan was adopted in 2004. Tim Andersen

“When they first asked me to help, they did not envision wholly transforming Shawnee Town. They wanted to make basic improvements to what they had,” Svadlenak says. However, as the strategic plan unfolded, Svadlenak says she was encouraged by the group’s “willingness to transform Shawnee Town from what it was to something truly unique based on historical research. They recognized they could do something even more valuable for the community in the long run,” she says of the 1929 truck farm. The transformational quality of the new development also excited Gay Clemenson, museum director for Shawnee Town. “[The plan] was very comprehensive, well thought out and a unique opportunity to reinterpret a much-loved site in Shawnee,” she says. Holman notes that because of Shawnee Town’s existing popularity, the changes reflect residents’ requests. “The citizens of Shawnee wanted a history of Shawnee. It just tied in really well,” he says.

A di sti nct ive h is t o r y

While the current Shawnee Town reflects life in Shawnee’s early days from 1840 to 1920, the additions will focus primarily on life in Shawnee during the 1920s. During early plan development, it became important to isolate the two parts of Shawnee’s objective. The first goal is to make physical changes, add to the site and change the interpretive approach. A printed, self-guided tour with interpreters at various stations will enable visitors to experience life on the farm. The second part is the rural farming community’s relationship to the larger town of Shawnee, and Shawnee’s importance as a supplier of fresh market goods to an even larger community, such as Kansas City’s farmers’ market.


Visitors will get the chance to experience life on a 1929 truck farm, but they also will get to see how that farmstead interacts with the surrounding town—the barbers, the blacksmiths and repairmen whose businesses will surround the farm site. The farm is designed to replicate the experience of living in the town by offering an especially hands-on museum visit. “[Visitors] will actually smell what’s cooking in the kitchen and will be going out to the garden and helping pull weeds,” Clemenson says.

L o o k i n g t o w a r d t he f u t u r e

With the project’s ambitious goals, funding remains a perpetual problem, as Clemenson acknowledges. “There’s no way to know how long it’ll take to complete the strategic plan for the entire site. It’s an extremely ambitious plan, and it’s very dependent on funding for construction,” Clemenson says. Resources for the project come from special park funds, grant money and charitable contributions from the Deffenbaugh Foundation, which is providing $100,000 annually over five years. The city received the third installment in December 2010. The economic downturn in the construction industry allowed the project funds to stretch further than anticipated when pricing came in below estimates. “The funds we expected to be there weren’t there, so we’re doing a lot with what we have,” Clemenson says. Regardless of funding shortfalls, the project continues to progress. Before long, the residents of Shawnee will be picking vegetables on their very own truck farm. “There’s not another 1920s museum for 100 miles. I think we could really create something that would really be special for Shawnee—a destination,” Holman says. sm

To l e a r n m o r e a b o u t S h aw n e e Tow n , v i s i t

Curb appeal Eye-popping architecture

and design

mean business for these Shawnee companies

story by Kimberly Winter Stern photography by Jason Dailey


Jeff Gerson and Andrea Spruyt, co-owners of WestGlen Eyecare in Shawnee wanted an office with a modern yet sensible design.


Business unusual. That could be the slogan for three Shawnee businesses that have taken the residential real estate agent’s well-known mantra—don’t forget curb appeal—to a unique level. Drive by any of these companies and you’ll probably do a double take. Their respective signage may say commercial, but the exteriors of these businesses are as appealing as any well-marketed home for sale. Each business is different, but they have one common denominator: a wow factor that separates them from the pack.

WestGlen Eyecare worked with 360 Architects to remodel a workplace that fit their needs and design desires.

WestGlen Eyecare When WestGlen Eyecare co-owners Andrea Spruyt, O.D., and Jeff Gerson, O.D., F.A.A.O., purchased property across the street from their former Shawnee location off Midland Drive, they had three words for their new office concept: sensible, modern, design. “Jeff and I wanted clean lines with a bit of a special edge, along with something that was environmentally friendly,” says Spruyt. “Most importantly, we wanted an atmosphere that would be comfortable for patients.” The doctors of optometry hired Kansas City-based 360 Architects, a firm that works with clients on projects as diverse as stadiums for professional football teams to innovative smallbusiness design. John Gaar, a principal at 360, was the lead architect. Gaar and his design team collaborated with Spruyt and Gerson to create a medical office that is something more than a walk-up strip mall site. WestGlen Eyecare, with its distinctive west-facing raised roof, is built at an angle on the lot. It faces southwest and captures the sunlight with moveable interior shading devices constructed of steel. “They slide like screens, have a dual purpose of displaying eyewear and are almost like sunglasses for the building,” says Gaar, referring to the relationship between the building’s function and the optometrists’ mission. “The screens have patterns and filter the sunlight, plus they can be moved to accommodate different weather conditions.” In addition to the sliding screens, WestGlen Eyecare has soft accents and interior features driven by Tracy Stearns, principal at 360 Architects. Infused with a sophisticated and contemporary combination of retail and medical, the office building with a twist stands testament to Shawnee’s ability to grow with the community. The building’s exterior and interior design is the perfect partner to Spruyt and Gerson’s trademark of exceptional service. “We want people to walk away from a visit to our office with a lasting impression of an exceptional experience—both in how they were cared for and how the physical office felt,” says Gerson. “With the help of everyone at 360 Architects, we achieved this goal in addition to helping bring progressive architecture to Shawnee.”

Back In Motion owners Scott Harvey and Kile Kaspar updated a small cottage in downtown Shawnee to channel their hometown roots for good business.

Back In Motion Chiropractic Many people talk about dream homes, but Dr. Scott Harvey speaks about his dream office. “I grew up in Salina, a small community,” he says. “I always pictured myself owning a business on a Main Street somewhere.” Harvey and his wife, Dr. Kile Kaspar, a Shawnee native, have achieved their collaborative vision. Their 11-year-old chiropractic business is in Shawnee’s revitalized downtown district in a charming house dating to the 1920s that, among other things, has been a family residence and a veterinary clinic. The couple had rented a nondescript space in a vanilla strip mall for seven years when a patient told them about the commercially zoned house that was for sale. “Although a rehabber had done extensive work to the structure’s exterior, the inside was still the original 1950s layout with floors that couldn’t be salvaged. It was still plain Jane,” says Harvey. “But when I saw it in September 2006, I saw my dream. I signed the contract on the spot.” Harvey and Kaspar, who live with their two children a little more than a mile from the office, embarked on the ambitious remodeling project for Back in Motion’s new location. They spent Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2006 at the 830-square-foot house, feverishly painting walls, putting on shutters and installing a stunning slate wall, stainless-steel counters and wide-plank pine floors made to look original. Harvey transplanted pampas grass


Chef and owner Renée Kelly knows that Caenan Castle was the best location to represent her catering/event business.

“I respected the architecture of the castle and wanted it to dovetail with the quality of the service and product my business offers to clients.” – Renée Kelly


from the family’s backyard to flank the new slate sign and put in two Japanese maples and fountain grass. The two doctors welcomed patients to the beautifully remodeled Johnson Drive office in January 2007. Harvey says part of the inspiration for Back in Motion’s unique space was his long-held small-town America notion. But he and Kaspar also knew what kind of office environment they wanted. “We didn’t want a sterile doctor’s office,” says Harvey. “It was important that our patients’ first impression of our office, even from the parking lot, was warm, inviting and cozy.” Indeed, many of the couple’s patients comment on that exact vibe. “I love the shutters on the outside that mimic the hardwood floors inside,” says Harvey. “Dr. Kaspar did eight coats of stain and finish on the floors, doors, baseboards, casing and crown molding. They glow and have the patina of antique wood.” The relaxing atmosphere dovetails perfectly with Back in Motion’s goal of achieving wellness and health through chiropractic medicine. Harvey says working with the Shawnee Downtown Business Association is a bonus. “Shawnee is a great community,” says Harvey. “We love having our business here and knowing other business owners.” Renée Kelly’s at Caenen Castle Award-winning chef, cookbook author and caterer Renée Kelly purchased a familiar and beloved Shawnee landmark on Johnson Drive in July 2003. One year and two days later, the 1907 castle built by Belgian immigrant Remigius Achille Caenen debuted with its familiar façade after being refreshed from top to bottom, inside and out. Kelly’s father, owner of Neighbors Construction Company Inc., spearheaded a painstaking restoration that brought the French-inspired castle back to its turn-of-the-century European grandeur. This time, though, instead of being a family residence, a rest home or a seasonal haunted house, Renée Kelly’s at Caenen Castle was gussied up to play host to events. People scheduled weddings, cooking classes, corporate teambuilding activities, rehearsal dinners and birthday parties in a structure that Kelly and her family took from beauty that had fallen into disrepair back to sparkling jewel. “This castle was built with integrity,” says Kelly, noting that Caenen paid close attention to every detail. “I respected the architecture of the castle and wanted it to dovetail with the quality of the service and product my business offers to clients.” Kelly says her father has a deep love of historical preservation, so he appreciated the fact that Caenen Castle is on the Register of Historic Kansas Places. Perhaps the best endorsement Kelly has received on her refurbishing of Caenen’s Castle is from Caenen’s granddaughter, Jean Ann Reider, who had her wedding reception at Renée Kelly’s. She told Kelly it was special to celebrate in her grandfather’s dream home. “That’s what I want my business to represent: lifelong memories in a stunning setting,” Kelly says. sm


profiles Gelato

story by

Gloria Gale

photography by

Jason Dailey

Aunt Jean Raab and nephew Tim Jones are the sweet creators of Aunt Jean’s Gelato in downtown Shawnee.

Thebig chill

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ... gelato


Picture this: It’s one of those sultry, dog days of summer. Thoughts of grabbing a


creamy, cold double-dip cone quickly come to mind. You trot or drive up to the storefront booth choked with a line. Finally, a window opens and a teenager may or may not hustle as fast you’d like to make your order. Suddenly, you conjure visions of an old-fashioned ice cream parlor where folks greeted you by name, knew what you wanted and made sure you were happy with that dip or two. Thankfully, that place still exists. It’s known as Aunt Jean’s Gelato, and it even sounds and looks like a vintage malt shop.


profiles Jeaneane Raab, Jean for short, and nephew Tim Jones of Shawnee have partnered to satisfy your sweet tooth throughout the sizzling days ahead.

The scoop Confounded by what to do with a mass communications degree, Tim decided upon graduating from Benedictine College in 2007 that he was open to various ideas. That changed when Tim and his Aunt Jeaneane sat down with his parents, Cathy and Jerry Jones, for dinner one evening. Equally unsure of her own path, Jeaneane says, “I had just retired from a 35-year teaching career in Shawnee Mission but wasn’t quite ready to watch the grass grow.”

“We have over 200 flavors. … But our number one best seller, and my aunt’s own recipe, remains Celebration Cake.” – Tim Jones At the time, Tim’s parents had purchased some commercial property in downtown Shawnee. They happened to toss out the idea of opening an ice cream shop. “Aunt Jean and I both looked at each other and decided there wasn’t an ice cream, yogurt, custard or gelato shop relatively close by. Next thing we knew, she and I were seriously discussing the possibilities,” says Tim. As the two researched, they began to hear quite a bit of buzz about gelato, a smooth, rich cousin of ice cream but with a European flair. “My parents had just come back from Italy, so Aunt Jean and I started to investigate. At the time, we found less than 2 percent of Americans had ever heard of gelato,” says Tim. The two dived into research and drove all over Kansas City to sample gelato. Simultaneously they discovered the Gelato and Pastry Institute of America and its one-week course. The pair enrolled and flew to New York. “In 40 hours, eight hours a day, we learned everything there was to know about making and selling gelato,” he says. Tim and Jeaneane found the process of making gelato stimulating, although it required quite a learning curve. “This was an entirely new venture since neither of us had come from a food service background,” says Jeaneane.

The institute’s in-depth curriculum concentrated on how to make authentic Italian gelato: what ingredients to use, what percentages of sugar to solids to liquids needed, how much fresh fruit to add, and how long to freeze it. In addition, about 5 percent of the time was dedicated to developing the business. “Of course we were vitally interested in producing a delicious, authentic product. We learned how to use all types of flavorings within a base. Our base, for example, is a cold process method that uses no eggs, and it has to be processed frequently, at least three to four times a week. We even spent time demonstrating what we learned in front of Cal, the gelato meister. Then, we turned around and hired him to come to our shop and make sure we were doing everything according to the book,” she says. Jeaneane eventually visited the PreGel Company in North Carolina. PreGel is the distributor of product flavorings used in making gelato. “I learned quite a bit on this trip. I wanted our shop to be as authentic to Italian gelato as possible, and this was the place to go,” says Jeaneane. Neither Tim nor Jeaneane realized there was so much to learn about making this simple, sweet treat.





Aunt Jean’s Gelato 11210 Johnson Drive (913) 268-0550

Hanging out the shingle “Once we opened in June 2007, we started experimenting with flavors. Not many customers had ever tasted gelato. ‘What is this gelatin stuff?’ they’d ask. So we would offer samples for a comparison to our ice cream,” says Jeaneane. “We decided to handcraft everything ourselves … no pre-mixed ingredients. That translates into 18 rotating flavors [of gelato].” After the store’s launch, word traveled quickly. Today, the shop routinely welcomes happy customers eager to stay for a lick. “We have over 200 flavors. Favorites include King’s Ransom, Cookies and Crème, Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, fruity sorbets like Peach and Pineapple, good old standbys Vanilla and Chocolate, Black Walnut, malts and floats and Nehi soda. But our number one best seller, and my aunt’s own recipe, remains Celebration Cake,” says Tim. Like the rotating flavors on the menu, the interior is due for an evolution. “We’re going to renovate this space that was once a barber shop,” says Tim. The bouncy baby blue and yellow color scheme will be replaced with a darker, cozier setting reminiscent of the past. “We’re also expanding our menu to include sundaes, a full coffee bar, hot chocolate, tea, biscuits and more. Plus, our hope is to be open year-round,” says Jeaneane. Because Aunt Jean’s Gelato stands out from the homogenized ice cream chains found around town, Tim and Jeaneane are excited about the future. “Routinely our customers tell us just how much they enjoy the family-friendly atmosphere. We have tables outside on the patio as well as inside. Students come and do their homework or they hang out with their dogs,” says Jeaneane. “Most importantly, everyone has something to say and we listen. We do a lot of problem-solving, and that makes for a friendly, social situation that’s hard to find these days.” sm Before opening this spring, Aunt Jean’s Gelato underwent a renovation to include more desserts and family seating.

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profiles wine guy

story by

Claire M. Caterer

photography by

Tim Andersen

Kurt Kiebler is the well-known “wine guy” in Shawnee. From recommendations to wine tastings, he’s happy to share his knowledge.

A smashing


This certified wine expert shares his knowledge with customers sHawneemagazine

At 6 o’clock on Friday evening, most people are relaxing. But Kurt Kiebler is busy.


He threads his way up and down the wine racks at Jack’s Discount Wine & Spirits in Shawnee. One customer asks for a good Merlot, another wants to know about Gewürztraminer. When patrons need wine advice, they’re invariably directed to “ask the wine guy”—Kurt. These days he’s known both in the store and on Jack’s Facebook Fan Page, where he contributes notes on his favorite beverage as “Kurt the Wine Guy.” He’s earned the title, having spent the last eight years studying, tasting and, most of all, enjoying wines. While working at Gomer’s liquor store in Kansas City several years ago, Kurt took a six-week class on wine. “That’s when I really caught the wine bug,” he says.




These vintners within a day’s drive of Shawnee make some highly recommended wines. Here are a few of Kurt’s favorites.

New Oak Vineyards 11644 Flournoy School Road Wellington, Missouri 64097 (816) 240-2391

Wine Pick: A full-bodied red made from grapes native to the United States

Somerset Ridge Vineyard & Winery 29725 Somerset Road Somerset, Kansas 66071 (913) 294-9646

Wine Picks:

Oktoberfest A spicy, semisweet white wine made from the Traminette varietal Ruby Red An award-winning blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Chancellor grapes

Stone Hill Winery 1110 Stone Hill Highway Hermann, Missouri 65041 (573) 486-2221

Wine Pick:

Dry Vignoles This gold medal-winning white boasts aromas of pineapple, strawberry and lime

Today, he holds several professional certifications, including Certified Specialist of Wine from the Society of Wine Educators, Spanish Wine Educator from the Wine Academy of Spain and Level I from the Court of Master Sommeliers. He is far from being a wine snob, though. Kurt enjoys helping customers find their own favorites. “There are a few things I like to ask people who are just starting to get into wine,” he says. “Do they like to drink soda? Do they like to drink iced tea?” Judging by a client’s palate, Kurt recommends wines to match. “People don’t realize wine is a food. People sometimes say, ‘I need to get a red.’ My first question is, ‘What are you doing? What’s it for?’”

The knowledge A neophyte first must understand the wine label. Old World wines often are labeled by the vintner’s region; Burgundy, Champagne and Bordeaux are examples. But these names say nothing about the type of grape, known as the varietal, of a particular wine. Unfortunately, says Kurt, early American winemakers tried to emulate the European style. “They would list generic wines as being Chablis or Burgundy or something like that,” he says, because Americans were more familiar with the names of French winemaking regions than with grape varieties. “That really changed, thank goodness.” In the latter half of the 20th century, American wineries began using varietal names on their wines thanks to a movement spearheaded by wine enthusiast and writer Frank Schoonmaker. “He was the one who discouraged Americans from using French names to describe their own American wines,” Kurt says. However, some large winemakers persist in the practice. “Gallo is infamous for this, ‘Hearty Burgundy’ and ‘Blush Chablis.’ In Chablis [France], all they make is Chardonnay. ‘Blush Chablis’ is meaningless,” he says.

Wine dos and don’ts Kurt knows how to help a wine newbie with the basics. When asked about grape varietals, he names what he calls the big six: popular whites are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling, while some commonly known reds are Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Jack’s often posts “shelf talkers,” which are excerpts of wine reviews from magazines like Wine Spectator that

Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery 18807 158th St. Basehor, Kansas 66007 (913) 724-9463 Over the Rainbow A winner of multiple awards, this raspberry wine “is killer,” according to Kurt

contact Kurt Kiebler at


Wine Pick:

To learn more about private wine tastings,




Serving and storing wine

“People tend to have their reds too hot and their whites too cold,” says Kurt Kiebler. He recommends taking white wine out of the refrigerator and letting it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving. Likewise, he advises chilling room-temperature reds for 20 minutes before serving. Always refrigerate leftover wine, preferably after it’s been deoxidized with a gadget like the Vacu Vin Wine Saver (available at home stores), which pumps carbon dioxide into the bottle to help preserve the wine for a longer period.

Where it grows matters

Quality vintners can be found all over the world, but climate and growing season affect the taste of the wine they produce. Here are some of Kurt’s recommendations for popular varietals:

Pinot Noir I generally like

Oregon or New Zealand. I think Pinot Noir needs a cool climate; one where some of the fruit flavors can really shine.

Sauvignon Blanc

Generally I’m going to prefer New Zealand. They’re not oaking their Sauvignon Blancs, and generally what you’re getting is these lime-grapefruit flavors.

Chardonnay My favorite area

is the Burgundy region. I like more of a dry, minerally type of Chardonnay.

Merlot My personal favorite is


Washington state. You’re getting this great mixture of both fruit and earth [flavors].


“People don’t realize wine is a food. People sometimes say, ‘I need to get a red.’ My first question is, ‘What are you doing? What’s it for?’” – Kurt Kiebler

Martín Códax Albariño, Spain

highlight a certain wine. Based on a 100-point scale, the ratings are assigned by the publication’s judge. But Kurt advises clients to “pay more attention to what the actual tasting notes say. Find out if it’s going to match with what you like.” Tasting notes describe a wine’s character and flavors, like vanilla, pineapple or smoke. Jack’s stocks wine from dozens of vintners worldwide, making Kurt’s expertise helpful. Shawnee resident and frequent customer Andy DeWitt says Kurt rarely steers him wrong. “I’ve often tried his recommendations, and many of them have turned into go-to wines for me,” DeWitt says. “He wasn’t at all put off by my ignorance.” Dhaval Patel, whose family has owned Jack’s since 2001, says patrons ask for Kurt by name. “They like his input on wine,” says Patel, noting Kurt’s expertise was a big factor when he was hired about three years ago. Customers know whom to ask for recommendations on what’s new and interesting.

Somerset Ridge Ruby Red, Kansas

Cristóbal 1492, Italy

Wine in style “I’m excited about the trend toward South American wines,” Kurt says. “You’re going to get a lot more bang for buck.” Specifically, Kurt points to the Albariño, a Spanish varietal that he calls “the darling of sommeliers, because it goes with so many different foods.” Kurt recommends the Martín Códax Albariño priced at $9.99. Another pick is the Argentine Bonarda varietal, made from a native Italian grape that’s “full of flavor.” Jack’s stocks the Cristóbal 1492 for $10.99. In the end, Kurt says enjoying wine is all about personal preference. He recommends oenophiles scout out wine tastings at www. and read Doug Frost’s wine column in The Kansas City Star. But ultimately the wine experience should be about what pleases a particular person, and, according to Kurt, “The way to know is to taste.” sm


profiles civil air patrol

story by

Vince Meserko

photography by

Jason Dailey

Cadets in the Civil Air Patrol learn to fly, develop leadership skills, participate in unique courses and learn about aviation careers.

Acivil sHawneemagazine

duty Local chapter of Civil Air Patrol sets itself apart


The Civil Air Patrol often has been referred to as a “best kept secret,” a stigma that one local chapter hopes to dispel. The Kansas City Composite Squadron (KCCS) of the Civil Air Patrol, or CAP, was chartered in January 2006 with 36 members and has since grown to 50 members. Part of the squadron’s early success can be attributed to one Shawnee family: the Metcalfs. Their dedication to volunteerism and community service has helped propel the KCCS beyond “best kept secret” status. Colonel Daniel Metcalf, a 19-year-old cadet, and his father Major Dan Metcalf and mother Captain Catherine Metcalf have been active members for several years in the Civil Air Patrol and were instrumental in chartering the KCCS.


profiles “Our squadron was going to have everything topnotch and be perfect. The cadets always looked perfect in their uniforms,” Catherine says. She adds that early on it was important for KCCS to set itself apart from other squadrons in Kansas.

CAP functions While the “best kept secret” designation may have a lot to do with other squadrons not doing enough selfpromotion, it may also have to do with the ambiguous nature of the Civil Air Patrol as a whole. Many people do not understand what a Civil Air Patrol does, an obvious hurdle for some squadrons to overcome when looking to increase their membership. Daniel explains that the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary unit of the United States Air Force, has three distinct functions: a cadet program, emergency services and aerospace education. The cadet program is available to anyone from the age of 12 to 21. Cadets learn to fly, are trained in leadership activities, participate in model rocketry and obstacle courses, and hear information about aviation careers. Cadets can also help with emergency operations, providing support to Kansas agencies in disaster situations such as floods, winter storms and tornadoes. The Civil Air Patrol provides educational opportunities in aerospace engineering, supplying cadets and schools with educational materials to generate interest in future civilian and military careers.

Upholding the mission All of these functions work together in supporting the Air Force’s overall mission: “To deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests.” As part of an organization so closely aligned with the Air Force, Civil Air Patrol members must uphold certain standards. “Even though Civil Air Patrol is not the activeduty military, our image as part of the Air Force is that we have to show we are professional and responsible,” says Daniel. At 19 years old, Daniel has already achieved the rank of cadet colonel, a title that is equivalent in effort and time to a “double” Eagle Scout. He started with the cadet program at age 11. “Honestly, the reason why I joined CAP is for fun, and the only reason I’d stay in CAP is because I’m having fun there,” he says. “I also need to keep that level of responsibility and professionalism, and everyone else needs to know I can do my job no matter what.”

Now a freshman at the University of Kansas, Daniel’s experiences in CAP helped him earn the Cadet of the Month award in fall 2010 as part of KU’s ROTC program. “I would not have gotten that if I was not in CAP. That helped me know what to do for discipline, respect, customs and courtesies,” Daniel says. He hopes to become an Air Force special tactics officer, in charge of giving coordinates and working closely with small drone aircrafts, often behind enemy lines.

A family affair It may seem hard to imagine a 19-year-old with such a commitment to remaining professional and courteous, but those attributes were passed down from his father, who was a cadet and is currently a senior member in KCCS. “As a cadet I had a blast. I flew all over the country. I was up in Minneapolis and used to catch rides to Kansas City,” Dan says. While Dan has a history with CAP, Daniel’s mother never envisioned becoming so involved in KCCS. “I jumped in full force when we started the squadron,” Catherine says. She started as a testing officer but eventually worked her way up to a rank that allowed her to promote cadets. “One of the great things about joining Civil Air Patrols is you get to promote cadets. I got to promote my son. How awesome is that? The only thing was, I was told I couldn’t cry,” she says. Catherine had a spirited reaction when Daniel achieved the rank of colonel cadet. “When he told me he had made it, I think the whole base heard me scream,” she says. “When I see [the cadets] achieve their goals, it just warms my heart. I just glow for them. If I’ve helped in any way, that’s even better.” While Daniel is unsure of his future involvement with KCCS, he’d like to return to become a senior member like his father. Regardless, the Metcalf family has proven to have an uncommon devotion to service, one that is rooted in a deeper sense of commitment. “For those of us who have never served in the military, it is a way of giving back to our country. Since we get to wear the official Air Force uniform, it really makes me feel like I am giving back to my country, and it makes me proud,” says Daniel. “I’m a very patriotic person, and this was just up my line.” sm

Captain Catherine Metcalf is a bit of a matriarch for the Kansas City Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol.



Health &

fitness story by

Kim Antisdel

photography by

Jason Dailey

Shall we


Kansas City Swing Dance Club woos dancers to a different beat More than three years ago, married duo Jon and Glenna Peterson faced a harsh reality. Like many couples one day discover, their house was quiet, void of children.


Gone were the days of busy calendars filled to the brim with softball, baseball and soccer practices. With their children grown up and living in their own homes, the Petersons were back to a household of two.


Kansas City Swing Dance Club

“We didn’t have a midlife crisis, we had an empty nest crisis,” says Jon. Determined to regain their fitness and spark for life, the Petersons joined a gym that offered ballroom dance classes, which they enjoyed for many months. But when a good friend approached Glenna and recommended they learn how to West Coast Swing dance, the Petersons signed on. Kansas City Swing Dance Club in Mission offers a variety of dance classes, including the West Coast Swing. Inspired by the moves of ’20s favorites like the Charleston and Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing created its own spin on the dance. Michael Brenton of Shawnee, an instructor at the studio, has seen students from every age and fitness level find a passion for West Coast Swing. “West Coast Swing is more of a street dance,” he says. “It’s a derivative of the Lindy Hop but not as regimented. This isn’t a choreographed dance, and there is a lot more freedom in how you dance than in other styles.” Michael has a passion for West Coast Swing for two reasons. One is the creative leniency and smooth flow of the dance. The other? Great music. “I’m a huge blues fan, and that’s the kind of music that pairs great with this dance,” Michael says. “You can go to any club or social event and find 20 songs to West Coast Swing to. If you were waiting around for, say, a Tango song to come on, you may have to wait for a while.”

Kansas City Swing Dance Club members, from left, Donna Williams, Amy Tran, Michael Brenton and Kyle Patel practice their moves.

Health &


The health benefits of dancing are hard to argue. Donna picked up West Coast Swing after she was no longer able to play indoor soccer.


Another benefit to West Coast Swing is the ability to literally swing partners—in a good, clean way, of course. Because the dance doesn’t require choreographed steps between two people who have trained together, swapping partners is half the fun. “I was at a crab shack once with my husband dancing,” says Glenna. “As we came off the floor after a dance, a woman grabbed me and said, ‘I West Coast Swing too, and I’m borrowing your husband tonight!’” For those who are intimidated by the idea of beginning something new, especially dance, Glenna encourages them to give it a try. One advantage to West Coast Swing is its lack of requirements to get going. There are no DVDs to follow and no special equipment to learn. In dance, your body and your partner are the tools. All you need is a good attitude and a desire to learn. “You don’t have to know what you’re doing when you start,” Glenna says. “You can go to an hour lesson once a week, and in three months you’d be ready to compete in a newcomers’ competition if you wanted.” The Petersons never imagined they would get as wrapped up in dancing as they have. “It’s like a cult,” says Jon jokingly. “It literally takes over your life. We even have a dance room in our house, and we practice all the time. I don’t even golf anymore.” As an added benefit to getting rid of the boring blues, dancers may soon find themselves in the company of unexpected new friends. West Coast Swing provides an even playing field for men and women to enjoy an activity collectively, so it’s great for couples but also fun for singles to participate. “We have met friends for life through West Coast Swing,” says Glenna. “We just had a 50th birthday party for Jon, and many of the people that came were those we’d met dancing.”

But perhaps more important than meeting new people is the health and fitness benefits the dance floor provides— benefits that may not be obvious until they’ve already happened. “I used to have really bad posture before I started dancing,” says Jon. “My posture has definitely improved, and we’ve even started incorporating Pilates to make us better dancers.” As a West Coast Swing instructor, Michael appreciates how dance keeps people coming back for more and pushing themselves harder. “It can be difficult motivating yourself to do another set of reps at the gym,” Michael says. “But if a good song comes on, I can always dance again. Dance takes your mind off the pain.” As the Petersons and many others at the studio have discovered, dancing is more than just a collection of steps and rhythms. It is a mental and physical workout that can have a lasting impact on their social lives, relationships and fitness. So what are you waiting for? Let’s dance. sm


Q& A producing Les Miserables School Edition. This production will feature performers aged 19 and below. I’m looking forward to seeing the most talented young performers in our city involved in such an epic piece of theater.


Tim Bair

Executive Producer Theatre in the Park


What has been the biggest surprise of your new position?


Tim Bair grew up in Wyandotte County before heading off to the big cities and bright lights, all in the name of performing. He discovered his love for musicals as a child and claims it was destiny after that. “A homemade elf costume, some fake Christmas trees and getting to save Christmas was all it took,” he says, recalling his role in Santa’s Elf Saves Christmas. Today, the performer turned executive producer oversees the efforts at Theatre in the Park at Shawnee Mission Park. “I don’t know that I ever thought life would bring me back to KC as the producer at the park,” he says. “But I do have a history as a performer onstage and as a member of a number of artistic teams. It’s been great fun to walk around out on the stage now and recall those evenings as a performer. Much has changed at the park in the years I’ve been away. It’s wonderful to see how the theater has been supported and taken some great steps forward.”

One surprising thing has been the number of people I’ve heard from that either I knew or knew of me many years ago. I recently heard from a fellow that mentioned a musical I was in—too long ago to indicate in print—and he mentioned how much he enjoyed the show and my performance. Wow, I must have been pretty good. What advice would you give to theater students?

Study. Do. Every chance you get—do. Learn as much as you can about as much as you can. You can never know too much. Practice, practice, practice. What has been your fondest memory while performing in a production?

Did you have a mentor while training and learning theater?

I had a wonderful professor in college. She was very proper and a bit quiet, but she had a wonderful “can-do” attitude. We were a small theater department, so we relied on each other for everything. She was a great inspiration with regard to jumping into the fray and getting the job done. We did wonderfully creative productions on a small budget. She never let the notion of not having something stand in the way of a creative approach to what we put on stage. What will amaze us in this upcoming season?

Well, I certainly hope many things will amaze us all. We have a great group of folks on our artistic teams this year, and I’m really looking forward to the contributions I know they will make. Perhaps one exciting thing: We’re

I once understudied the role of Will in The Will Rogers Follies. Fortunately for me —not so much for him—the fellow playing Will lost his voice, and I got to go on and perform the role. The cast was tremendously supportive, and as I recall, the evening went off without a hitch. It was grand fun, and the performance garnered a standing ovation. After the show that poor sick fellow came back to my dressing room and told me (through a raspy whisper) what a great job I’d done, and how much he’d enjoyed the show. Moments later, the producer delivered a bottle of scotch to my dressing room. I guess I was pretty good! What is your favorite theatrical production of all time?

Wow, of all time—now that’s hard. I’ll have to give you a few. Oklahoma is my favorite classic book musical. Sunday in the Park with George has been a favorite for many, many years. I toured with 42nd Street and truly love it. Crazy For You is a delight, and I love its perfect theatricality. OK, I can’t pick. sm Interview conducted, condensed and edited by Katy Ibsen. Photograph by Jason Dailey.

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For the


room to play

story by

Carolyn Glade Dvorak

photography by

Tim Andersen


oday’s parents are looking for connections. They are searching for ways to connect with other parents and meet new playmates for their children. Locations featuring indoor activity have become a popular answer for this search. Here, parents can play with their children or watch nearby while they work and visit with other adults. Most are looking for a clean, safe place that offers food and has a variety of options that appeal to children and adults. Search no more—Little Monkey Bizness is your destination. The Shawnee facility caters to everyone from children who have just learned to crawl to 8-year-olds.

Little Monkey Bizness


Where the kids play so mom can recuperate


Landon Wiglesworth knows all the nooks and crannies of Little Monkey Bizness in Shawnee.

Little Monkey Bizness franchises offer indoor climbing, a dance floor, basketball, bouncers, play structures, swings, slides and even art and party rooms. Additional perks include pizza, healthy snacks and, for mom or dad, gourmet coffee and Wi-Fi. Owner Carrie Bingham started Little Monkey Bizness in November 2009 following the success of the larger Monkey Bizness facility that has been open for three years at the Great Mall of the Great Plains in Olathe. Bingham wanted a family business for her … family business. “We were looking for something we could all do together,” she says. “It’s been working out really well.” Oldest daughter Taelor manages Little Monkey Bizness in Shawnee, where younger daughter Caroline hosts birthday parties. Meanwhile, son Zach manages Monkey Bizness in Olathe. Bingham’s husband, Calvin, takes care of the financials while she covers marketing. The businesses strive to give younger children and their families a variety of activities and ways to interact. “They can come in groups to a clean, safe, friendly environment,” she says.

For the


Jill Chalfie, a Shawnee mom of three, member of JoCo Kids Day Out and SAHMs (Stay-at-Home-Moms), says, “Places I like the best are places a crawler can have fun at and a 5-year-old can have fun at.” She says her children—Lily, 4, Luke, 3, and Grace, 1—sometimes get antsy at home, so she appreciates indoor businesses with activities for a variety of ages. Little Monkey Bizness is cleaned nightly, and the main building entrance is easily seen from just about any spot in the facility, according to Bingham. The seating area is situated between the entrance and play area, so parents can visit or work and still be aware of their children’s whereabouts. “It’s a really good fit,” says Nancy Henke of Shawnee, who frequents Little Monkey Bizness with her son Duke, 8, and daughter Lena, 4. “There’s a feeling of an adult atmosphere with the coffee shop, and the atmosphere for kids.” Henke says after playing with her children at home, she looks for a place where she can catch up on computer work. “I can get my work done and [Lena] can still be entertained,” she says. But Henke’s husband, Todd, uses most of his time at Little Monkey Bizness to play with Duke and Lena. “We’re not big on cooping up in the house and doing the video game thing, so I try to get them out of the house,” he says. “You can lose an hour and a half there pretty fast.” Chalfie knew of both Monkey Bizness locations by being involved with her moms’ group as well as some of the fundraising

Little Monkey Bizness Suitable for children just crawling to 8 years old

12219 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Shawnee (913) 631-7000

Monkey Bizness Suitable for all ages

20080 W. 151st St., Olathe Great Mall of the Great Plains (913) 780-2500 Both locations:

open play hours begin at 9 a.m. daily $7.50 per child over 1 Year $5 per child 6 months-1 year Infants and parents are free

TOP Little Monkey Bizness is a family

operation for owner Carrie Bingham and daughter and manager Taelor Allen. LEFT Caleb Wiglesworth gets creative in the art room.


Rooms available for parties


For the


activities hosted by the owners. “I love it. It’s a great place for a wide variety of ages,” Chalfie says. “It gets them in a different environment from home.” For Bingham, an important mission of the businesses is community involvement. “We wanted something that would offer the opportunity to give back to the community. That’s a big part of our family,” she says. Last year they provided a birthday party for the daughter of a Shawnee family that had just lost another daughter to cancer. This year they are helping to organize activities connected with the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises money for cancer research. The businesses take part in local parades where they hand out passes and discounts to groups such as Head Start. When school groups come to Little Monkey Bizness, they return a percentage of the entrance fees to the schools. Bingham would like to connect with more PTAs and teachers to offer her business services as rewards for students. For Kasey Wiglesworth, a stay-at-home mom in Lenexa, school events will become part of her life later. But for now, she looks for a place to give her sons Caleb, 5, and Landon, 2, some exercise.

For the


She plans these times with two other moms to ensure she gets some adult conversation. “I can get out of the house and meet with other moms in the same stage of life that I’m in,” she says. Settings like Little Monkey Bizness offer moms and children an opportunity to learn people skills. “[Caleb] can work on manners and sharing. He can ask another kid to play that he doesn’t know,” says Wiglesworth. “When you’re home all day long, especially in winter, you need a place for them to be active—a place to do some things they can’t necessarily do in my house,” she says. Todd Henke knows his children burn a lot of energy there. “They’re tired when they get home,” he says. And maybe, deep down, that’s the real reason adults like these places. sm

JoCo Kids Day Out and SAHMs The expansive play area features indoor climbing, basketball, bouncers, swings, slides and much more. LEFT The gourmet coffee bar offers Seattle’s Best Coffee for mom and dad and plenty of healthy treats for the little ones.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand

Dr. Edward A. Nelson, D.D.S., P.A.

Shawnee St. Patrick’s Parade March

Shawnee Endodontics is a dental practice specializing in root canal treatment and is currently accepting patients to its Shawnee office for their endodontic needs. Dr. Nelson is board certified in endodontics and is a specialist member of the American Association of Endodontists. He received his dental degree from the University of Iowa and became a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics in 2008.

Dr. Nelson provides the following endodontic services: • Consultation & Diagnosis • Non-Surgical Root Canal Therapy • Non-Surgical Root Canal Retreatment • Surgical Root Canal Treatment • Oral Facial Pain Diagnosis

We welcome Mastercard, Visa, Discover, Diner’s Club, American Express and CareCredit. Most major dental insurance plans are accepted. www.GoodStar

5407 Roberts Street, Shawnee, KS 66226 913-971-4050 or 913-712-9865 |


Shawnee Endodontics is located one block east of the Johnson Drive and K-7 Highway interchange.



away las vegas

story by

Gloria Gale

Photography courtesy

Las Vegas news bureau


he Las Vegas draw is unmistakable. This unique city more akin to a giant theme park draws 37 million visitors each year to its gloss and sizzle. But beneath the facade of this oasis lie culture, affordable dining and exemplary attractions surrounded by a stunning desert landscape. Everything in this megawatt locale can excite without breaking the bank.


Glitter gulch Gambling on a hunch, Frank Detra rolled out the first nightclub, aptly named Pair O’Dice, in 1930 on what was to become the famous Las Vegas Strip. A bevy of hulking casinos fueled with a party atmosphere and fast reputation soon followed. Today this town has not only become one of the fastest-growing cities in the country but continues to maintain its legendary status. Glamour is at every turn with hotels and resorts designed with one thing in mind—you. Be sure to experience the Strip. But look beyond this flashy 4.5-mile sweep and you’ll find even more




In a city that knows how to keep its secrets, the word is out. Las Vegas beckons to the budget-minded adventure and beauty. Begin by soaking in the grandeur of the Venetian complex, complete with world-class art in the lobby. Venture over to the quarter-mile replica of the Grand Canal dotted with gondolas ($16 per ride) before stopping at the Bellagio’s musically choreographed fountains showcased every 15 minutes. Once inside the hotel lobby, gaze upon the ceiling decorated with Dale Chihuly’s handblown glass. The hotel’s imaginative yearround conservatory and botanical gardens filled with the wonders of nature are equally

amazing. People-watching at this chic resort is one the best free attractions in Las Vegas. At Paris Las Vegas, take the elevator to the observation deck atop a 50-story replica of the Eiffel Tower for a panoramic view of the city ($10.50 per person). Plan on stopping by Caesar’s Palace Forum Shops to watch the Roman statues come to life on the hour. Afterward, stroll over to view the kings of the neon jungle in the heart of MGM Grand’s lion habitat (free). Play the nickel slots at any of the casinos—but only for a bit—before selecting one



Bargains can be had in this town where typically the sky’s the limit. Do your homework with a bottom line in mind before beginning your trip. Book midweek when hotels are more willing to offer deals. Avoid holidays or large convention periods. Be flexible with travel dates. Stay off-Strip for hotel deals—giving you the benefit of beautiful properties without the crowds. The Hard Rock Hotel is one block off the Strip with rooms and rates that are budget-conscious without sacrificing sizzle. Eat at a food court or buy a dining pass such as Buffets of Buffets from Caesars Entertainment or MGM Resorts International. The 24-hour pass for breakfast, lunch and dinner is under $50. Instead of renting a car, cruise on the monorail or The Deuce, a double-decker bus. Check out the Special Offers section at

Red Rocks Canyon

of the many sumptuous buffets served all over town. Indulge midday for a lasting meal (generally around $20) and skimp on dinner. Just before dusk, visit the Mirage hotel to watch the 54-foot high volcano erupt. This scene-stealer won’t cost you a dime. Walk inside the hotel lobby and experience the magnificent 20,000-gallon saltwater aquarium filled with a living coral reef. Hop on Vegas’ double-decker bus, The Deuce, to downtown Fremont Street where a free fantastical light show called Viva Vision is produced within a 175,700-square-foot pedestrian area covered with canopy of 14 million lights. Still pumped? Wander over to the pedestrian-friendly Arts District on the fringes of downtown. On the first Friday night of each month, a giant block party erupts with gallery hopping, concerts, food and shopping in these 18 blocks.

Cold War, hot rocks, cool vibe


During your stay you can always chill at one of the many resort hotel pools. Before escaping the neon, however, spend time at the Atomic Testing Museum where science, technology and social history converge in multimedia exhibits showcasing the dawn of the nuclear age ($12). For a change of pace, Red Rocks Canyon is just 15 miles west of Las Vegas. The sandstone formations on this 3,000-foot escarpment in the Mojave Desert make it a paradise destination for hikers and bikers.

Hoover Dam, 35 miles southeast, is a man-made wonder that tamed the mighty Colorado River and created Lake Mead. On-site public tours of the dam are offered year-round. Returning to the strip, visit Gambler’s General Store. This downtown hallmark is a bastion of vintage casino souvenirs. Enjoy one of the free lounge acts presented nightly at most hotels downtown and on the Strip. When you spot a Tix4Tonight kiosk, don’t hesitate. Tickets for same-day shows are often half-price and go fast. Sleep? Forgetaboutit. End the day Viva Vision at the The Cosmopolitan Hotel’s luminous Chandelier Bar. This gorgeous architectural spectacle is actually a three-story bar ensconced within 2 million hanging crystals. Step inside and expect to be wowed. At its most luxurious or kitschy, Las Vegas is pure escapism. It’s easy to spend a fortune, but it’s just as easy to find a bargain. Whether you’re seeking classic glamour or legendary entertainment, this town loves company even on a shoestring. sm


Mar’11-June ’11 March 29

Funeral Home Crematory Memorial Chapels 10901 Johnson Drive Shawnee, KS 66203 913.631.5566

Memories onored H

The Wysong Family and James Beard Foundation welcome Jason Wilson, of Crush restaurant in Seattle, for the Visiting Chef Lecture Series. Hosted by the Broadmoor Bistro, the lecture series offers patrons an opportunity to enjoy a five-course meal showcasing the expertise and creative inspiration of acclaimed chefs from across the country. Coordinated by the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation, events are at the Broadmoor Bistro, 6701 W. 83rd St. Reservations are required, $50 per person, and can be made at www.

April 9-10, 16-17 Dodge for a Cause.

Perceptive Software’s annual charity benefit for the Kansas City Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Teams compete on Perceptive’s regulationsize dodgeball court. Register at www.

April 12

Shawnee Town Speaker Series: Drive Across Kansas —

Pet Companion


10913 Johnson Drive Shawnee, KS 66203 913.631.7314

Interpreting Kansas Landscape Along I-70. Ted Cable, a Kansas State University professor, will share stories of the land and people surrounding one of America’s busiest interstates. Free. 7 p.m., Shawnee Town Museum Town Hall. (913) 248-2360. www.


June 1

Bloody Mary Party – Join Friends of Shawnee Town as they celebrate the historic site and kick off the annual Tomato Roll Fundraiser with an evening of Bloody Marys, tomato-inspired hors d’oeuvres and a few other tomato surprises. This fundraiser for Friends of Shawnee Town begins at 5 p.m. Tickets required.

April 26

The Wysong Family and James Beard Foundation welcome Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon in Portland, Oregon, for the Visiting Chef Lecture Series. Coordinated by the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation, events are hosted by the Broadmoor Bistro, 6701 W. 83rd St. Reservations are required, $50 per person, and can be made at www.

June 2-5

Old Shawnee Days.

Enjoy this annual festival where live music, carnival rides, games and a parade keep everyone entertained. Events take place at Shawnee Town. Free admission. www.

April 30

Run For Mercy. Oceans of Mercy’s annual 5K/10K run-walk benefits and supports orphaned and at-risk children in South Africa. Race will take place at Mill Valley High School. Registration available at http://oceansofmercy. com/events.html.

May 7

Farmers’ Market.

June 10-12, 16-19 The Sound of Music.

Theatre in the Park kicks off its season with the iconic musical The Sound of Music. Tickets for all shows at Shawnee Mission Park go on sale April 1. (913) 236-1237. www.theatreinthepark. org

June 18

Find an assortment of goodies at the Shawnee Farmers’ Market. Vendors offer fresh vegetables and fruits, arts and crafts, jams and jellies, and baked goods at the market, which is open Saturdays from May to October. Events start at 7 a.m. in the City Hall parking lot. (913) 248-2360.

Paws in the Park.

Bring the pups out to Shawnee Mission Park Beach for a walk on the surrounding trails and a dip in the lake. Show off your pooches’ skills in a variety of contests. Registration required. (913) 236-1269. www. events/pawsinthepark. cfm

May 21

Family Fun Day at Johnson County Museum. Bring the

family to see awardwinning magician Keith Leff. Free admission. 10 a.m. (913) 715-2550.

May 28

City pools open.

All events are subject to change.

E-mail your upcoming events for the calendar to

Shawnee Magazine Spring 2011  

Shawnee Magazine Spring 2011

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