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TOPEKA’S PREMIER MAGAZINE ON PEOPLE, PLACES & STYLE

TOPEKA MAGAZINE

SUMMER 2010

LET’S PICNIC! Our guide to the best spots $3.00

Kaaren Jones and her iris treasures

Summer desserts from pros

Extreme cowboy sports


TOPEKAMAGAZINE VOL. IV / NO. II1

FROM THE EDITOR

PUBLISHER / ART DIRECTOR

DARBY OPPOLD EDITOR

“Even the facial expression of people with Alzheimer’s will frequently change; they’ll start smiling when they hear us play.” Those words are from Santa Fe Band conductor Aaron Zlatnik and appear in Debra Stufflebean and Jason Dailey’s portrait of his musical group, a summer-edition article that is posted on our new Topeka Magazine Facebook page (www.facebook.com/TopekaMag). Zlatnik’s words convey a striking image, a testament to the capacity of golden musical tunes, the power of memory, the dormant longevity of joy or perhaps the combination of all these. Zlatnik’s quote came to my mind these past months as we worked to prepare this summer edition and I read a report from researchers at the University of Iowa on Alzheimer’s and emotion. The study strongly indicated that Alzheimer’s patients, or anyone with severe memory loss, might forget about a particular joyous event but, nevertheless, retain an emotional imprint of that experience. It suggested that even if your short-term memory can’t recall why you are happy, your body and mind can still “feel” happy. I read this and thought immediately of the audience members that Zlatnik spoke of; I imagined someone smiling and tapping their toe to a recently forgotten John Philip Sousa tune. Of course, if the results from this study are true, they would apply to more than big-band audiences. Consider, for example, a parent taking care of an infant. The baby won’t remember the cooing and fussing, the embraces of love and care, but the warmth and the happiness will be retained. And I suspect the same process goes on countless times in our daily lives. Even if we forget particular details from

Summer 2010

this morning or from last week, our present emotional state is shaped by each of them. Our magazine—because it chooses to focus on living well locally—continues with each issue to highlight events, places and people from Topeka and the surrounding area that are engaged in creating something important, interesting or inspiring. Even if those things are fleeting—such as the seasonal blooms in the Warren garden (pages 58-59), a challenging ride on horseback (pages 60-61), an artist’s first glimpse at Vatican treasures (pages 22-24), a summer evening on the bleachers with home runs and hot dogs (pages 18-21), a nurse’s kind gesture to her patient (pages 56-57) or a simply planned family picnic (cover story)—all of these things can turn into one of life’s most important memories or a forgotten period of time that still shapes who we are and how we carry ourselves into the next day. In this issue, as well as in Topeka this summer, there are Sousa tunes to be heard, homemade vanilla ice cream to be shared, a musical duet to enjoy, “Billard Bums” to sit down with, cowboy tales to be told and secrets of planting irises to be revealed. What we do each day and the memories we create in and around our home matter—to others but also equally well to ourselves. The laid-back, leisurely days and long evenings of summer may represent the most important parts of our lives because certainly one of these summer memories will come back, years later, and bring with it a smile. NATHAN PETTENGILL EDITOR

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TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010

3


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Contents

Summer

ON THE COVER

2010

Brian Meredith and Rebecca Martin share a picnic lunch in Edgewood Park. {Photography by Jason Dailey}

50 Kaaren Jones and her iris treasures 46 Summer desserts from pros 60 Extreme cowboy sports

FEATURES 38 PACK YOUR BASKET! Now is the season to explore and enjoy the many locations for a Topeka picnic

50 IRIS OASIS Beginning with a heritage collection of “Old Blues,” a gardener cultivates her preserve of stunning standards and hybrids

..........................................................................................

IN EVERY ISSUE

03 FROM THE EDITOR 62 EVENTS CALENDAR

DEPARTMENTS .............

.............

TOPEKA BUSINESSES

30 SPIFFY MCKEE

GROW

10 THE WATER STORE Transplanted Southwesterners create their own oasis in Topeka

Getting out, cleaning up and coming together has been the motto for this energetic civic leader

58 A NEVER-ENDING MASTERPIECE

14 BILLARD’S FLIGHT PLAN

34 DUAL BLESSING

Rich in history, Philip Billard Municipal Airport doesn’t fly too far from its past

The musical partnership of Larisa and Steven Elisha grows from a dialogue both lyrical and silent

18 GIGANTIC

.............

60 ULTIMATE RIDERS

HOME LIFE

A group of talented riders challenge themselves with the adversities and adventures of the Wild West

Dale and Maggie Warren constantly revise their garden to create seasonal shows that blend seamlessly with their landscape .............

FOR THE FAMILY

A Topeka-based baseball team has been an elusive dream throughout the city’s history, but the tall tale might be coming true .............

NOTABLES

22 NAVONE’S ‘IRREPLACEABLE’

8

42 A DREAM HOME, POSTPONED Decades after she first imagined living in her ideal house, Mona Gambone creates her perfect residence .............

From childhood through the Vatican and up to a post-retirement Topeka studio, art runs through the life of Edward Navone

LOCAL FLAVOR

26 TIMELESS WANLESS

.............

Photographer revives some of her art’s oldest techniques for fresh perspectives on aging, travel, sunflowers and even dirt track racing

LIVING WELL

TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010

46 SUMMER DESSERTS Three chefs share their recipe for a perfect seasonal treat

56 ‘THE MOST GRATIFYING THING’ By advocating for her patients, Sister Mary Rosaleen Driscoll follows her beliefs and gains ‘better insight’ into her own life


Topeka’s Highest Rated Hospital Top 5% in Nation for Second Consecutive Year

St. Francis Health Center ranks among hospitals in the top 5 percent nationally in clinical excellence for 2009 and 2010, according to HealthGrades, a national health care ratings organization. The clinical excellence rating looks at mortality and complication rates among Medicare patients across 26 procedures and diagnoses, from heart attacks to total knee replacement. According to HealthGrades, St. Francis Health Center patients who have procedures done at St. Francis are 27 percent less likely to die and 8 percent less likely to incur a major complication. Outstanding care includes: Cardiac, Critical Care, Gastrointestinal Services (number one in Kansas), Orthopedic Services and Pulmonary.

1700 SW 7th Street, Topeka, Kansas | 785-295-8000 | www.stfrancistopeka.org MISSION STATEMENT | We will, in the spirit of the Sisters of Charity, reveal God’s healing love by improving the health of the individuals and communities we serve, especially those who are poor or vulnerable.


10 TOPEKA BUSINESSES Straight Water

THE

WATER STORE

Transplanted Southwesterners create their own oasis in Topeka

Glenn and Sandra Sanders opened Straight Water in 2004.

W

hen they moved from Arizona to Kansas about a dozen years ago, Glenn and Sandra Sanders toted with them their big 5-gallon water bottles. As they settled into Topeka, one of the first things they asked people was: “Where’s your water store?” In response, the couple received a lot of blank looks because there was no “water store” here. Many of their new neighbors didn’t know what they were talking about. In the western United States, where quality drinking water is a more scarce resource, there are “water banks” that trade water and numerous stores specializing in drinking water. “On the West Coast, water stores are like gas stations,” says Sandra. When the couple didn’t find a water store in their new hometown, they sensed a silver lining in that cloud. “We knew there was a great opportunity. Somebody’s gonna open one,” Sandra says. After a couple of years when the Sanderses didn’t see that happening, they started researching the idea. They visited water stores in Arizona and talked with store owners. They worked with the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce and devised a business plan. They set up appointments at eight banks. “Everyone for the most part seemed to love the business plan,” says Glenn, although not one of them could visualize the idea as one that would fly. The naysayers just made Sandra more determined.

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TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010

STORY BY JULIE K. BUZBEE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON DAILEY


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TOPEKA BUSINESSES

12 Straight Water

“When somebody tells me something can’t be done,” she says, “it almost makes me mad. It’s just a hurdle or an obstacle. You either go over, go around or you move the doggone thing.” So they scrounged and scraped, took out a second mortgage on their home, borrowed from family and came up with enough cash in April 2004 to open Straight Water in Fleming Place, across from Gage Park. The Sanderses are proud of their store, where upbeat Christian music plays in the background and shiny, silver purifying equipment hums quietly in a glass-enclosed room. The Sanderses say this equipment puts tap water through 13 steps of purification including carbon filtration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet sterilization. They then add ozone, a free radical oxygen molecule that has been used as a natural water purifier since the early 20th century, to their water. “We do not bad-mouth city drinking water in any way,” Sandra says. “We just take an approved source and make it better.” Promoting reuse of their Americanmade bottles, the Sanderses also sell decorative porcelain crocks for homes or offices as well as a range of waterrelated accessories. Among their most popular summer items are the Hawaiian Shave Ice treats, which go over big with their sons, Nicolus, 11, and Colin, 9, who spend a lot of time at the store. “This is a family business,” Sandra says. “Our customers have watched

Straight Water patrons have round-the-clock access to the store’s self-serve stations, or they can buy their purified water and accessories inside the store at Fleming Place.

the boys grow up. It’s great to have the family participate with the business and helping the customers.” The Sanderses’ sense of humor is evident throughout the store. Touches of whimsy are plastered on the three big water tanks with signs proclaiming: “Sugar free!” “Freshly squeezed!” and “Low carb!” And their signs for ice advertise it as having “no floaties.” The couple tease each other and their customers as they work together in a labor-

intensive business that has expanded to include a second entrance. In 2007 they added an outside fill station, where customers can refill their bottles anytime using coins or dollar bills. The next thing these entrepreneurs hope to add is an outdoor window area with some tables or benches for people to sit and enjoy the Hawaiian Shave Ice treats. Ultimately, the Sanderses’ goal is to have three stores. “We know we have a good product, but we bring people back by the kindness we show them, suggesting things that will work for them,” Sandra says. “It’s like our family has expanded to our customer base. We laugh and cry and share things with everybody.”

...............................................................................................................

WATER STORES ARE LIKE GAS STATIONS.” – SANDRA SANDERS

“ON THE WEST COAST,

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TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010


The sweet summer treat of Hawaiian Shave Ice brings many younger customers to the store.

.......................................................................................................................................................................

HAWAIIAN SHAVE ICE On a scorching hot Kansas day, a cold, sweet treat like Hawaiian Shave Ice can go a long way toward quenching thirst and a sweet tooth in one fell swoop. With the Sanderses moving here from the heat of the Arizona desert, it just made sense to them that this dessert should be sold year-round at their store, 1023 S.W. Gage Blvd. Using machinery that shaves—not grinds—the ice, they create a fine frozen powder that looks like huge snowflakes. It quickly absorbs the thick, multicolor syrups, Sandra Sanders says. Kids love the fun flavors like Bodacious Banana, Luscious Lime, Cotton Candy and Wild Watermelon, she says, adding that Tiger’s Blood—a combination of strawberry, cinnamon and coconut—is also a favorite.“That flavor has been around as long as I remember,” she says. One simple thing boosted Straight Water’s Hawaiian Shave Ice popularity, Sandra says: a coupon. The store began offering a free icy treat to each child who completed the summer reading program at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. In its fourth year now, she says, the Straight Water program has given away up to 3,500 coupons. “The kids have blessed us so much. We ask them about the books they read, and they’re so proud of themselves.” The treats provide a visual delight as well, she says, as the kids like to watch them being made, especially the rainbow ones that use two or three flavors and colors. “We make it in front of them and their eyes get big,” Sandra says.


14 TOPEKA BUSINESSES Philip Billard Municipal Airport

BILLARD’S

FLIGHT PLAN

Rich in history, Philip Billard Municipal Airport doesn’t fly too far from its heritage

The control tower at Philip Billard Municipal Airport guides a range of commercial and private planes into Topeka.

Good morning, Billard Tower. Cessna November 1529 Romeo eight miles east for landing.   Cessna, November 1529 Romeo, Billard Tower, good morning. Billard is landing runway two-one.  Winds two-zero-zero at 10 knots.  Altimeter 29.87.  Traffic is a Piper Cub on half-mile final for two-one, full stop. Report left base for runway twoone. Welcome to Billard Airport. Each of the 60,000-plus planes that use Philip Billard Municipal Airport each year receive a similar greeting from one of the air traffic controllers on duty from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 365 days a year. John Alspach, manager of the 80-foot federal contract tower, says incoming pilots also receive one of the most beautiful greetings, pointing out the Topeka skyline to the west, the bluffs on the other side of the river to the north and Lake Shawnee to the south. Closer to the tower, he notes the row of buildings housing numerous businesses associated with the aviation industry on the other side of the runways. “We’re like family here.” Philip Billard Municipal Airport, located three miles northeast of downtown Topeka, covers more than 900 acres. Its name comes from a Topeka mayor’s son who learned to fly in 1912 and earned a reputation as an early-aviation daredevil. Philip Billard enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving as a test pilot for Headquarters Detachment of the Air Service Signal

14

TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010

STORY BY CAROLYN KABERLINE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL STEPHENS


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TOPEKA BUSINESSES

16 Philip Billard Municipal Airport

Corps during World War I, and was killed in 1918 in France while on a test flight. The airport was dedicated to his memory in 1940. While the airport has gone through many changes over the years, its history and lore have been rich. The stone terminal was built by the Works Progress Administration in 1937 and the airport has hosted three airlines: TWA, Frontier and Braniff. Ronald Reagan, then governor of California, announced his first run for the presidency at a news conference held in the stone hangar in the 1960s. Beechcraft once sold D185 models here. Paul Harvey used to praise the chocolate chip nut pie offered in the airport restaurant. And there’s a persistent rumor of a brassiere factory once operating on airport property. The businesses based at Billard have been there for numerous years with two in their second generation of ownership. One of these is Hetrick Aviation, run by Keith and Dee Hetrick. Their business, started by Keith’s dad in 1967, has nine employees and handles FAA inspections along with repairs. Keith and Dee also have a longtime connection to the airport: They met at the Billard Airport Restaurant, when Dee was working as a waitress, and have been married for 30 years. Greg Hoefer of R & B Aircraft says his story is much the same as the Hetricks’. “I was working for my dad, and they used to be in competition with us. Hetrick expanded, and we never did but went more into the

Controller Jerry Kramer, left, helps Billard bring in more than 60,000 aircraft each year, including patrol helicopters, shown above with Technical Trooper Kent Miller.

painting. Now we work together; we do the painting and they do the maintenance.” Rounding out the Billard-based companies at the airport is a newcomer by Philip Billard standards, the 14-year-old Caris Midwest Aviation that specializes in servicing aircraft electronics. The Kansas Highway Patrol also has a strong presence at Billard. Its new hangar across from R & B was financed by drug forfeiture money and houses the patrol’s planes and helicopters plus a nine-passenger executive plane used by the governor and state agencies.

Technical Trooper Ryan Nolte stands next to a Kansas Highway Patrol airplane that is based at Billard.

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TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010

The airport is also home to an experimental aircraft group for those who enjoy building their planes instead of buying factory-built ones. But perhaps the best-known group at the airport is the Billard Bums Club, a social group started 28 years ago. Consisting of pilots and “people who like to be around pilots,” the group meets every Sunday evening at the east end of the farthest north hangar for food, fellowship and flying. “Sometimes no one shows up; sometimes it’s too crowded,” says member Paul Costello. “But we have a lot of fun.” That fun has included flying to a variety of places and even rating the landings of pilots with large numbered signs. “We’ll meet from 5 until the last person leaves.” It’s obvious from looking at their meeting place how much like family this group is: One wall holds tributes to deceased members of the group while the one opposite is covered with photos of special moments such as first balloon rides, pets and good times. They’ve raised their children here and seen the airport undergo major changes but still find it the place to be. “We really don’t have a list of members, and [there are] no officers,” Costello adds. “We have only one rule: If you complain, you have the job.”


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18 TOPEKA BUSINESSES The Golden Giants

GIGANTIC A Topeka-based baseball team has been an elusive dream throughout the city’s history, but the tall tale might be coming true Well before the season begins, Brett Cowdin, David Streeter and John Tetuan are planning on-field and off-field strategy for the Golden Giants baseball team.

I

f you are—as the saying goes—tall, dark and handsome, then David Streeter wants to meet you. He’s not unreasonably particular, though. You don’t have to be swarthy, and Streeter is still interested if you are on the homely side of handsome. Even height might be negotiable—Streeter could cast a kid on stilts, a short granny with a huge grin, a mastiff or perhaps a wiener dog. (After all, who’s ever gone wrong with a wiener dog?) ........................................................................................................................................

HAND YOU ARE DEALT WITH, BUT YOU’RE THE ONE

“YOU PLAY THE WHO

DEALS IT.”

– JOHN TETUAN

Streeter, you see, is the publicity guy for Topeka’s summer collegiate baseball team, the Golden Giants. His position entails everything from brokering major deals to helping round out the team’s lineup with a veritable “giant” mascot. The giant that Streeter finds will not be the team’s power hitter, but he (or she) is perhaps the link in Topeka’s latest attempt to defy the past, field an upper-level ball squad and create a genuine hometown team.

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TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010

STORY BY NATHAN PETTENGILL | PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON DAILEY


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TOPEKA BUSINESSES

20 The Golden Giants

GIANT LINEUP

Numerous gutsy teams with colorful names have gone to bat throughout Topeka’s history: the Shawnees, the Prairies, the Westerns, the Owls, the Browns, the Maroons, the Reds and the Blues to name a few. One of the most successful was Goldsby’s Golden Giants, a scrappy 1887 squad that claimed the Western League pennant and then went on to shame the big boys—the defending World Series-champion St. Louis Browns—in an exhibition match. But after only one phenomenal season, the original Golden Giants struck out and closed down. The current Topeka Golden Giants stepped to the plate six years ago, when Topeka West High School baseball coach Brett Cowdin created them almost as a civic project. Proud that many Topekans had moved on to become stars on their college baseball squads, Cowdin was disturbed that this same talented group, if they chose to return to Topeka during the summer, was bagging groceries, helping out on the farm, prepping for classes, doing all the things college students do in the summer— but not playing baseball. Cowdin contacted some friends (in particular Dan Carlson, who had played basketball with Cowdin since they were 10 years old) and fielded his first team in the 2005 summer collegiate league. The season was a reasonable success. At the end, the Giants posted a respectable record and Cowdin was relieved all the hard work was over.

David Streeter, left, Brett Cowdin, above, and John Tetuan, below, hope the team’s performance wins over hardcore baseball fans and the ballpark atmosphere attracts area families.

But it wasn’t. Players began telling Cowdin they were looking forward to playing the next season. And families came up to him saying they were hoping to see more games next summer. So while still teaching and coaching full time at the high school, Cowdin managed to recruit and field a team the following year, and each year since. For 2010, the team—still a nonprofit venture—gains head coach John Tetuan, a former Hayden High School standout, Wichita State University All-American and pitcher in the Colorado Rockies farm system.

Tetuan’s management skills are put to the test molding a team over a short six-week season and developing players who are effectively “on loan” from college teams. But perhaps his most crucial decisions come year-round as he lines up recruits through college coaches and his network of former colleagues. “You play the hand you are dealt with,” explains Tetuan, “but you’re the one who deals it.” Tetuan’s ideal Giants lineup is heavy on pitchers (to avoid injuries) and would include a good representation of hometown Topeka players (they have nearly 50 percent Topekans on the squad this year), but mostly he wants players who will win. RAZZLE-DAZZLE OFF THE DIAMOND

The big difference between the coming 2010 season and the Giants’ previous years, however, isn’t on the field. It’s what’s happening off the diamond. Along with the creation of a home-field complex at Lake Shawnee, the Giants staff is talking up player volunteer community projects, pre-game entertainment, a new ballpark beer garden and expanded bleacher space that could hold as many as 1,200 fans. It’s hoopla and hype, if you want to call it that, but also the essentials of survival.

20

TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010


“When I started this,” says Cowdin, “I just wanted to play baseball. I didn’t realize you had to entertain the fans.” But entertain them you must. A common consensus is that only 30 percent of any sport audience is there strictly to watch the game. Stonehill College professor Lee McGinnis, a sports marketing expert who taught for several years at Washburn University, says minor league and amateur-level baseball is successful when a team plays well on the field and a club plays well to fun-seeking fans. “You can’t bamboozle your fans with shoddy play,” McGinnis notes, “… but entertainment is first and foremost.” McGinnis says sometimes this entertainment can verge on “zany” pre-game spectacles, but it also includes the entire experience of going to a game, what he calls “an excuse to spend a nice summer’s night with your family.” This razzle-dazzle approach isn’t just for baseball nor is it only for minor-league or collegiate squads. After all, you’ve probably heard of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders … and how many field goals have they ever kicked? The big leagues offer entertainment and world-class stars. Any Topekan could see a higher level of baseball by driving to a ballgame in Kansas City (at least when the Yankees are in town), a fact that the Giants readily acknowledge. But the Giants offer things the major leagues don’t, and they justifiably talk up the advantages of filling their bleachers: the chance to see up-andcoming stars free of “beat-it-kid-I-won’t-sign-your-ball” attitude, tickets that don’t cost an arm and a leg, and the chance to

cheer for players that are very much a hometown team. And yes, the Giants will be playing up the entertainment card: the mascot, chicken dance contests, dizzy bat relays and other competitions that Cowdin says will be “hilarious without making us look like goofy clowns.” So this could be the year of the Giants. If David Streeter finds the perfect mascot, if John Tetuan fields a team of winners and if Brett Cowdin finds the magic balance between everything off the field—if all these things come together, as they seem to be doing—then the Golden Giants could become the hometown baseball team. And the fans? Even that majority whose favorite inning is the seventh-inning stretch? Well, at the end of this season, they too might be Giants. .......................................................................................................................................................................

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22 NOTABLES Edward Navone

............................................................................................................................

Photo courtesy Linda Humphries

DRAW SO BEAUTIFULLY HAS ED’S ABILITY TO

NAVONE’S

‘IRREPLACEABLE’ From childhood through the Vatican and up to a post-retirement Topeka studio, art runs through the life of Edward Navone

INSPIRED AWE IN HIS STUDENTS, MANY OF WHOM WENT ON TO

CAREERS AS PAINTERS, TEACHERS OR ART HISTORY PROFESSORS.

M

y first encounter with Edward Navone occurred in 1964. It was at the old painting studio above the Mulvane Art Museum with its wonderful skylight. Ed was atop a ladder, hanging huge figurative drawings executed on brown paper, so I was forced to look up at him, stunned by the skill that produced such work. I have been looking up to him and his prodigious talents since. Ed is one of the giants in Topeka art. A mentor to generations of students as an art professor at Washburn University, he is a skilled and celebrated artist in his own right and now, in semiretirement, continues to develop his drawings and paintings. ‘ART KID’

Born and raised in California by parents who believed in hard work and strict standards despite their lack of opportunities for higher education, Ed was expected to excel in just about everything. His mother taught him to read and write in cursive before he started school and later assigned homework. As a child, Ed was already observant beyond the typical firstgrader. Two-point perspective is a concept taught in high school and college foundation drawing classes and is arbitrary rather than intuitive. But there it was, clearly evident in the drawings of buildings and airplanes saved by his “high first” grammar school teacher, a woman fondly remembered who became a family friend. He was always the “art kid” during his early education, and as he grew older, Ed added woodworking to his skills by helping his father with projects, laying wood floors and learning pride in fine craftsmanship. He still uses that knowledge, building his own wood stretchers for his canvases and successfully combining materials on their surfaces. Ed studied art at San Jose State University, receiving his B.A. in 1959 and his M.A. in 1961 before taking additional courses at University of California-Berkeley, but he actually started as a Edward Navone, a mentor to generations of artists, continues to create his own work.

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TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010

STORY BY BARBARA WATERMAN-PETERS | PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL STEPHENS


24 NOTABLES Edward Navone

Recognized for his meticulous and beautiful drawings, Navone draws inspiration from his surroundings and from his studious knowledge of literary and historic subjects.

Spanish major. Six years of Spanish helped his eventual study of Italian, the language of his ancestors and a bridge to his emerging love of opera. Since his first trip to Italy in 1967, he has returned 20 times. At one point he rented an apartment in Florence so he could finish his well-known masterwork, Dante’s Inferno, a series of intense ink drawings full of the same mystery as the original. Fluency in Italian (and a fair amount of “pestering,” says Ed) opened many doors for him, including some in the Vatican that afforded him the privilege of seeing art masterpieces not generally shown to tourists. Another time he secured emergency medical care for one of his students on a university trip, and at yet another, he reunited an Italian friend with his American relatives. MENTORS

Influences of various kinds mold lives; artists frequently have that one professor whose mentoring, instruction and example indelibly mark the future. For Ed this was J. Theodore Johnson, a towering figure famous for his Works Progress Administration Chicago murals, who had worked in France for six years while associated with Aristide Maillol. Johnson made sure that his last master’s degree student was able to continue with his life drawing studies, aware of Ed’s formidable talent. Ed has remained friends with the Johnson family, including Ted Johnson, professor emeritus of French at the University of Kansas and a fellow student in that life-changing Italian class, and his son, Stephen Johnson, also a well-known artist. With his talent, credentials and work ethic, Ed could have found a job with practically any university. He did, in fact, accept a temporary position at what was then called Eastern Washington State College. But when that yearlong contract expired, he began the letter-writing campaign to find new employment. I wondered aloud what it was in particular about Topeka and Washburn University that had attracted him in the mid-1960s. His answer was that he had received a response from R.J. “Jim” Hunt, chairman of the art department and director of what was at that time the Mulvane Art Center. Hunt needed to fill the position of retiring professor Alexander Tillotson. Ed and Jim hit it off immediately and became lifelong friends, one of the reasons Ed chose to stay in Topeka all of these years. Other factors

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TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010

include his warm welcome to our community, opportunities he has found through the university and many friendships he has formed. ‘MY IDENTITY’

Retired since 2007, Ed now works primarily from his home. As I pulled up to his small bungalow in an old Topeka neighborhood, I realized it was exactly what I had expected: unassuming and practical on the outside but filled with items of intellectual interest on the inside—just like its owner. Framed works, some old and many new, hang on walls or sit on floors throughout Ed’s home and upstairs studio, a small room with windows on three sides. Paints and other materials are scattered about like fractured rainbows, and canvases in various states of completion pulsate with life. Ed’s ability to draw so beautifully has inspired awe in his students, many of whom went on to careers as painters, teachers or art history professors. He modestly declares that he hopes “what they got from me is useful.” Ed continues educating students, giving presentations as a guest professor, including one to a women’s studies class on female artists in the mid-20th century. When asked about his choice to continue art after leaving school, Ed replies: “I’ve been given a gift, and I’d better use it, not waste it. I’d be bored stiff without it. I have to do it: It’s my identity and I’ve never found anything to replace it.”


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26 NOTABLES Marydorsey Wanless

TIMELESS

............................................................................................................................

WANLESS

FROM SUNFLOWERS TO HOMES TO RACETRACKS, WANLESS’

ILLUMINATES THE SUBJECT, WITH THE INSIGHT OF HER EYE AND EXPERIENCE. WORK

Photographer revives some of her art’s oldest techniques for fresh perspectives on aging, travel, sunflowers and even dirt track racing

“P

Process and development techniques are central to Marydorsey Wanless’ photographic art, such as in “Renewal Series,” above right.

26

TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010

hotography has always been a method to collect evidence,” says Marydorsey Wanless, an award-winning Topeka photographer whose latest interest has been collecting evidence on her own life. Wanless, now 61 and an assistant professor at Washburn University, tells about a picture from when she was 11 years old that helped frame a recent project on age. “My grandmother is right behind me, white hair pulled back, little granny glasses on. … She’s old-looking, an old lady—60. That used to be pretty old,” says Wanless. “Now I look at that picture, and that’s not me. I may be old, but I’m not old!” Addressing the question of what it means to grow old, Wanless recently created a series of age-themed images. Cast in tintype— the old-style photography is itself a historic reference—these selfportraits are nods to the “fountain of youth” and modern surgical procedures as well as entries into Wanless’ own experience. Weighty yet playful, the photographs point beyond Wanless’ life and to a triumphant essence of timeless being. Throughout her work, Wanless strives to create strong effects with her final image, but much of her expression comes from the process of creation. She is a master of the arcane arts of the darkroom, working with techniques often called “historical alternative processes.” In a laborious procedure known as tintype processing, Wanless coats a tin plate with a light-sensitive emulsion and uses an enlarger in the darkroom to expose a digital negative image on top of it. The tin plate is then developed in a way similar to the development of paper print images to create a stark, historicallooking image. Another process, gum bichromate printing, takes its name from the watercolor pigments suspended in gum arabic mixed with the chemical dichromate sensitizer that Wanless applies onto paper or canvas before exposing it to a negative image with an ultraviolet

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28 NOTABLES Marydorsey Wanless

By using historical techniques, Wanless creates fresh perspectives on common Kansas themes, such as her work “Sunflowers,” above. The human body is another theme in her work, such as in “Transport,” left.

lamp (or, in a pinch, sunlight) and submerging it in water for development. It’s a process that would have been familiar to photographers in the mid1800s and must be repeated for each color that is applied onto the image. Labor-intensive and subject to so many variables, this process produces unique images—no two prints are ever alike. Wanless’ novel use of Old World techniques leads, paradoxically, to surprisingly fresh perspectives on standard themes, such as sunflowers. Wanless’ multiple-panel composition “Sunflowers” consists of 21 gum bichromate prints that are rich in color in a way that watercoloring (an art that gum bichromate is often compared to) seldom achieves. In Wanless’ work, the oft-mistreated, oft-overfeatured sunflower takes on a nearly ethereal state, transparent and glowing with an inner light. Wanless successfully applies this same approach of making the everyday sublime and surreal in her toned gelatin-silver prints like “An Old House

28

TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010

Speaks,” which give voice to an abandoned home in Onaga. In her work “Thunder Hill,” Wanless takes a seemingly unlikely subject for a mature artist—dirt track racing—and captures the magic of a blurred moment. In these prints, cars race past while remaining frozen in time, and the track appears, if one squints one’s eye, to conjure the image of an oddly lit ocean, dirt striated like petite waves on the sea. From sunflowers to homes to racetracks, Wanless’ work illuminates the subject, with the insight of her eye and experience. She describes a scene of gum bichromate beach and travel pieces as a “documentary of nostalgic places” that reflect her memories of “hot sun, cold beer, long walks in the sand.” Wanless’ work, so tied to historic process and fresh perspective, is an artistic journey through time and space. And she has one simple wish for the trip: “Hope it doesn’t stop.”


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30 NOTABLES Philicia McKee

............................................................................................................................

SPIFFY c

WHEN ASKED TO

NAME A

MENTOR, MCKEE CITES HER

M KEE

SPECIAL-NEEDS DAUGHTER WHO IS WORKING TOWARD HER GED. FROM HER SHE HAS

Getting out, cleaning up and coming together has been the motto for this energetic civic leader

LEARNED

“PERSEVERANCE.”

P

hilicia McKee has been determined to spiff up the town she’s called home since her family’s arrival on June 8, 1966, the day the big tornado hit. “We were passing through, and my dad was a builder and he decided to stay,” says McKee. Last year, the energetic executive director of Keep America Beautiful-Topeka/Shawnee County coordinated the efforts of about 600 volunteers for a total of 357,000 volunteer hours spent on grassroots cleanup, recycling and beautification. Her efforts have received attention. In 2009, McKee’s organization netted the first-place Affiliate Award out of 600 Keep America Beautiful chapters. Also last year, McKee received a Topeka City of Character award for forming Topekans Against Graffiti (TAG). Cleaning up graffiti, McKee discovered, was the responsibility of one individual in the Topeka Police Department’s code compliance unit who was also in charge of mowing overgrown weeds and boarding up abandoned houses. She asked if he would appreciate help, and naturally he said yes. Serendipitously, the next week a church teen group called her in search of a volunteer project. She pitched the graffiti cover-up and dubbed the group Teens Against Graffiti. When others who weren’t teens asked if they could help, she renamed it Topekans Against Graffiti. The chair of her board of directors, Bill Riphahn of the Topeka Parks and Recreation Department, credits McKee with building the organization’s volunteer base. “They come to her,” he says, adding she is “passionate about what she does.” Besides graffiti cover-up, her organization conducts a “No Butts About It, This is Litter, Too” campaign. Last year, volunteers put out receptacles, handed out pocket ashtrays with educational flyers and scanned a three-block area along Kansas Avenue, collecting 4,500 cigarette butts. Philicia McKee leads a graffiti cleanup in Topeka.

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TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010

STORY BY JEFFREY ANN GOUDIE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON DAILEY


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32 NOTABLES Philicia McKee

McKee, above right, initially started graffiti cleanup projects with area teens before expanding her group to include Topekans of all ages.

McKee says people don’t tend to think of discarded cigarettes as litter. In fact, butts take 17 years to break down, winding up in waterways and releasing chemicals into the water supply. “It was not a campaign against smoking at all,” she says. “It was a campaign against litter.” When the volunteers returned two months later, they measured a 62 percent decrease in cigarette litter in the three-block area. The program will be repeated. This year the affiliate initiated a “Lend a Bin” program. McKee had observed the huge amount of recyclables headed for the landfill after area events. She and her board decided to try to get portable recycling bins available for checkout, “like a library,” she says. She tried for funding but wasn’t successful. One day a member of the Fiesta Mexicana board called and asked for recycling bins. When she told him she hadn’t secured funding, he said he’d like to see that happen. As the local Pepsi bottler, he put her in touch with the Pepsi “Refresh” Grants program. At the St. Patrick’s parade this spring, recycling bins appeared for the first time along the route. McKee’s calendar is chock-full of neighborhood cleanups, graffiti paint-overs, mural paintings, garden plantings and more. “We have something just about every Saturday through September,” says McKee. What shaped McKee to fit so well into her present position? Perhaps her own volunteer work. The mother of 23-year-old Lacey and 18-year-old Michael was a Girl Scout leader for 14 years and a Boy Scout leader for five. She home-schooled her children for 10 years. When Michael entered public school, she became the volunteer coordinator for his middle school and later for the high school in the Washburn Rural district where the family resides. Her professional experience includes selling radio advertising, working for a short-lived Kansas City commuter airline and serving as a travel agent.

32

TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010

“The travel gets in your blood,” she says. The adventurous McKee has been to the standards, England and Italy, but also to Australia and Turkey. She and the friend she travels with went to India and Nepal for the millennium. If all the pieces fall into place, she plans to visit Russia and Scandinavia for her next trip. When asked to name a mentor, McKee cites her special-needs daughter who is working toward her GED. From her she has learned “perseverance.” She also mentions longtime Keep America Beautiful volunteer Marge Heeney, “because she has made so much difference in so many people’s lives.” The respect is mutual. Heeney says McKee “has the quality of giving others credit for jobs well done.” Mayor Bill Bunten, who campaigned on a platform of cleaning up the community, has worked in close partnership with her. “She’s a great asset for our community,” the mayor says of McKee. McKee is seeking funds to print and distribute curricular materials called “No Child Left Inside.” The units are designed to lure youths away from computer screens and video games. One can bet she’ll get funding. And when kids hit the outdoors in Topeka and Shawnee County, they’ll find it a spiffier place because of the work of Philicia McKee.


34 NOTABLES Larisa and Steven Elisha

DUAL

............................................................................................................................

RESPONDING TO EACH OTHER IN A

“WHEN WE ARE

BLESSING

IT’S LIKE A CONVERSATION.”

CERTAIN WAY, – LARISA ELISHA

The musical partnership of Larisa and Steven Elisha grows from a dialogue both lyrical and silent

I

t was their first time playing together, he on the cello, she on the violin. “We got together to rehearse one night, and we just started playing,” recalls Steven Elisha. “Each of us had played with very excellent performers in our careers, [but] even with such high-level people, we both would have to explain what we wanted to do. Suddenly, there was very little talking. We were just playing, and just looking at each other with some kind of ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’” “It is really hard to find the right person to play with. And when that comes together, and that [person] is not only a musical partner but a life partner as well, that’s really a blessing,” says Larisa Elisha. .............................................................................................................................................................................

“MANY OF

OUR STUDENTS WILL GO ON AND

ORCHESTRAS OR PERFORM IN CHAMBER GROUPS, AND WE HOPE SOME OF THEM WILL BECOME SOLOISTS.”

BE IN

– LARISA ELISHA More than a decade later, and now as husband and wife, the two Topeka-based musicians continue to perform individually and together as the Elaris Duo, a title formed by combining Steven’s last name and Larisa’s first. The unspoken communication they discovered in their first duet, their musical “telepathy” as Steven describes it, allows them to respond to one another—to improvise within the framework of polished material—and bring their performances to a higher level. “When we are responding to each other in a certain way, it’s like a conversation,” says Larisa. “We are into each other’s phrasing.” Steven and Larisa Elisha collaborate in music and life.

34

TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010

STORY BY CHERYL NELSEN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON DAILEY


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36 NOTABLES Larisa and Steven Elisha

Accomplished individual musicians Larisa and Steven Elisha perform together as the Elaris Duo.

Steven notes this musical dialogue can be found throughout Duo Virtuoso, a recently released CD recorded from a series of live duets in Washburn University’s White Concert Hall. One piece the Elishas favor from the album is “Duo for Violin and Cello” by Zoltán Kodály—the same piece that brought them together for the first time. “It’s the kind of piece that triggers imagination,” says Larisa. “It’s multidimensional.” “It’s symphonic in proportion,” agrees Steven. “People hear it and they think they hear more than two instruments.” Larisa and Steven’s connection runs deeper than their performances; it overlaps into their personal lives. Parents to 16-year-old Patrick, a dedicated student of piano and cello, the two describe their interaction with him as mirror-like. Besides saying the same thing to him in the same words, they often use the same intonation. Others who benefit from Steven and Larisa’s instruction are their private-lesson students and their students at Washburn, where the Elishas teach. Larisa, artist in residence at the university, teaches violin and viola. She is also the chamber music coach for the Honors Fetter String Quartet and the Topeka Symphony Orchestra’s concertmaster. Steven, the director of string studies at Washburn, teaches cello and double bass, coaches chamber groups, is principal cellist for the Topeka Symphony Orchestra and conducts the Topeka Symphony Youth Orchestra. Both are on the faculty of the Blanche Bryden Sunflower Music Institute in Topeka. Steven was born in Glen Cove, Long Island, and Larisa in Baku, Azerbaijan, but their teaching is not worlds apart. They share similar ideas about method and pedagogy. Their students often hear the same information from both, to the point that Steven and Larisa, without knowing it, convey a similar analogy or description in their classes. “Our students probably think that we discuss our lessons in such detail,” Larisa says. The Elishas teach performance majors and music educators, so several of their former students are in teaching positions at area high schools. Larisa

36

TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010

says they want their students to be good musicians, and as teachers to have high criteria. “Many of our students will go on and be in orchestras or perform in chamber groups, and we hope some of them will become soloists,” explains Larisa. “So it’s really important for them to have all this kind of complex knowledge, not only to be able to play, but to know how that happens so that they can pass it on.” As members of the Kansas Arts Commission’s Arts on Tour roster, the Elishas are often requested for projects. Their chamber music residency in the Morganville community in 2005 received national recognition from Chamber Music America, and for the 150th anniversary of Kansas in 2011, Steven has been asked to compose a suite for solo cello inspired by the paintings of Birger Sandzén. If the Elishas are not practicing, performing or teaching, they might have a bit of time to listen to music other than classical. Larisa says they appreciate many types of music other than what they play. It is not as relaxing as they might like, however, because they are so analytical about what they are hearing. And sometimes they enjoy quiet. “If I’m driving in the car for long periods of time, actually I don’t have the radio on at all,” Steven says. “Silence,” Larisa adds, “is a time to refresh our ears.”


k c Pa ur yo et! k s ba

Story by Anita Miller Fry P Photography by Jason Dailey

son many a e e s y the nic h t is enjo pic w a o k N and Tope e r plo s for a x e to ation loc

Whether you’re planning a large family picnic for a summer reunion or a romantic getaway in nature for just the two of you, the public and private parks in the Topeka area have just about any type of setting you’d want. Some picnic locations offer nearby activities—from play equipment to tennis courts—to keep young and old entertained, while others offer the opportunity to stop and smell the roses or take a peaceful, after-the-meal stroll. Pull out the picnic basket and load it with grandma’s fried chicken, some coleslaw and an apple pie— or perhaps some Brie cheese, red grapes and sparkling water are more your taste. Pack plates, eating utensils and a tablecloth, and you’re ready to picnic.

Many food items for picnics were supplied courtesy Ice and Olives, 3627 SE 29 St.


Super Spots to Picnic Matt and Mindi Miller enjoy a family picnic with children Logan, Kylie and Ella at Iliff Commons.

There are more than 50 public or accessible picnic parks in Topeka, including: 쓼 Edgewood Park, S.W. Second and Edgewood, provides old-time covered picnic areas nestled in hilly terrain with a bank of trees. 쓼 Ward-Meade Botanical Gardens, 124 N.W. Fillmore St., has winding paths and secluded picnic areas. 쓼 Westboro Park, 1273 S.W. Lakeside Drive, boasts a picnic and play area under tall, stately trees. 쓼 Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, 1515 S.E. Monroe St., offers a picnic area south of the museum. 쓼 Iliff Commons, N.E. 31st between N.E. Croco and Kansas Highway 4, has an entrance and parking area on the south side of N.E. 31st, just east of Kincaid. Access to 31st is from Happy Hollow Road on the west and K-4 on the east. Visitors are welcome every day from dawn to dusk. 쓼 Holliday Park, 1200 S.W. Western Ave., takes you back to yesteryear with an old-fashioned look, complete with a horses’ watering trough that was returned about five years ago. 쓼 Boswell Square, S.W. 14th and Boswell, is a neighborhood park with a children’s area, gazebo and large green space.

Iliff Com mo

쓼 Hughes Park, S.W. Eighth and Orleans, has a great children’s play area as well as a covered picnic area and tennis courts. The play equipment can accommodate small to big kids as well as children with disabilities.

ns

Iliff Com area mon s pres erve , a nativ offer e pra d by sr tract espite fr Dr. Doug irie and w o , deve the land m the cr and Doro ooded o lope t d for has seve wds. An hy Iliff, coun try s r kiing walking, al miles 80-acre repli . of t r un ca Ch durin of Topek ildren en ning and rails jo a’ g cr celeb the Tope s origina y playing ossl k in t log a2 Josh ration a s an 004 sesq cabin, b he ua La uilt Eagl yne e Sco uicenten and n volu ntee ut projec ial rs fro t m Tr by oop 1.

쓼 Lake Shawnee, between S.E. 29th and 37th and just west of Croco Road, offers a variety of picnic areas and shelters, most with views of the lake. 쓼 Kossover Tennis Complex at S.W. 25th and Gage, or Rueger Park Softball Complex at 28th and S. Kansas Avenue. Both sports areas have games and activities most evenings and weekends to watch. 쓼 Dornwood Park at S.E. 25th and Highland and Clarion Park at S.W. 37th and Fairlawn, have wooded trails to walk before and after a picnic. 쓼 Gage Park is the mother of all Topeka parks, with entrances off S.W. Sixth and S.W. 10th, west of Gage. It is loaded with picnic areas, from mainstream playground spots to more secluded settings.


Ward -M

eade

The W ar at S. d-Meade W B priva . First an otanica l Gar large te picnic d Fillmo re, o dens, area whit ffer away e Town a . You mansion from and t can s with h e Old P p f rairie gard riends at read you en a rea o the gaze r blanke t r at t bo in unde h r t e h a e p s i lowhang hady can cnic tabl e ing t opy of ree b ranc hes.

Autumn Eaken, Nikki Strong and Heidi Chermak arrange a “friends’ picnic” near the Ward-Meade gazebo.


Edgewood Park, in central Topeka, provides a shady, relaxed picnic area for Brian Meredith and Rebecca Martin.

Edgew ood

The sh elter a Edgew nd wid ood ca e spac n e host la primar rge gro s at ily is a ups, bu q uiet n that of t it eighbo fers a r hood p good c with n h a a rk ature o nce to r enjoy commu n a roma ntic pic e nic.


42 HOME LIFE Mona Gambone’s home

A DREAM HOME, postponed DECADES AFTER SHE FIRST IMAGINED LIVING IN HER IDEAL HOUSE, MONA GAMBONE CREATES HER PERFECT RESIDENCE

O

n a nice summer day, you are likely to find Mona Gambone at her Tudor Revival home, having coffee on the east patio or reading a book on her west porch swing. “This is my little dollhouse,” says Gambone. “It’s everything I ever wanted in a house.” Gambone’s journey into this College Hill home started when she came to Topeka as a Washburn University student. Back in those days, Gambone strolled through the neighborhood and dreamed of living in one of the area’s old homes. But life took her a short distance away to a house on 17th Street, where she lived for more than 20 years while raising a family. When her daughter graduated from high school, Gambone decided to move out of Topeka. Going against her daughter’s advice that Lawrence was probably a better town to visit than to live, Gambone bought a townhome there. Her daughter was right. Gambone hated it. “I didn’t like a new neighborhood, a new house, anything,” says Gambone. So she started driving the streets of College Hill, determined to move back to Topeka and live in a neighborhood she had always loved. One day, a friend called her about a house she had never noticed. A large hedge and overgrown trees partially obscured what Gambone discovered to be an architectural treasure. When she really looked at the house, she thought, “Wow,” and bought it as soon as possible. Then she went to work. A shaded garden stands Renovations included refinishing the outside the home that fl oors, gutting the upstairs bathroom, Mona Gambone calls her sealing casement windows and repairing “little dollhouse.”

42

TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010

STORY BY KAREN RIDDER | PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON DAILEY


When Gambone moved into her home, she pulled away hedges and trimmed overgrown trees to open the home’s delightful front exterior.

.......................................................................................................................................................................

“IT’S ONE OF THOSE THINGS WHERE

I’M SITTING OUT THERE AND I THINK

I AM SUCH A LUCKY PERSON TO HAVE THIS LITTLE QUIET CORNER OF THIS BEAUTIFUL LITTLE NEIGHBORHOOD.” – MONA GAMBONE walls. It took three and a half months before Gambone could move in. Then she began to tackle the yard. The removal of an above-ground pool, hot tub and gazebo as well as the overgrown hedge opened the lawn. She had a new cottage-style garden designed and installed and put up a short wrought-iron fence that allows her to greet neighbors while she’s working in the yard or simply enjoying it. The final remodel task was to make her kitchen more usable. Gambone wanted to change a small, dark space into something more inviting. One trick she used was to install miniature-sized appliances because she doesn’t do large amounts of cooking. Gambone does like to bake, however, “because the main ingredient is sugar.” So among the redesigned cabinets she included one of her favorite features of the whole house. It is a special shelf that permanently mounts her KitchenAid mixer on a swivel. Hidden from view, it can be pulled up easily for use. After completing the interior and yard, Gambone had one more project to do: applying for the home to be placed on the

TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010

43


44 HOME LIFE Mona Gambone’s home

In summer, Gambone enjoys the gardens in her back and side yards. She has also extensively renovated the kitchen to bring in a lighter, more pleasant atmosphere.

National Register of Historic Places. She says she got the idea when she bought the home and was able to see a copy of the original blueprints that showed the house was a unique design by W.E. Glover. Gambone knew Glover to be the architect responsible for several notable buildings in northeast Kansas. In Topeka, Glover’s work includes the former SBA Hill tower building, better known as the Menninger Clock Tower, and the original Stormont Hospital. Many of his buildings have been placed on the National Register. Glover specialized in the Tudor Revival style design for homes and chose College Hill for the location of his own home, which is just a few blocks from Gambone’s house. Gambone thought the National Register designation would be a perfect way to honor Glover’s legacy and the history of a neighborhood with many unique homes. “It’s the older homes, the different kinds of homes, the old trees and sidewalks,” says Gambone. In summer of 2008, the National Park Service agreed and accepted the application. The house now displays a National Register of Historic Places plaque next to a brass “College Hill” medallion that honors the neighborhood where Gambone has made many friends and takes frequent walks, just as she did while a student at Washburn. But now Gambone can add the pleasure of sitting on her own porch, watching or talking to neighbors who pass by and listening to the sounds of an area that captured her heart years ago. “It’s one of those things where I’m sitting out there and I think I am such a lucky person to have this little quiet corner of this beautiful little neighborhood,” says Gambone.

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LOCAL FLAVOR

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SUMMER DESSERTS

SUMMER DESSERTS

LOCALflavor

THREE CHEFS SHARE THEIR RECIPE FOR A PERFECT SEASONAL TREAT

CHEF: LUIS GUILLÉN RESTAURANT: NEW CITY CAFE

In 2003, Venezuela native Luis Guillén, an architect and construction project manager in Kansas City, purchased the New City Cafe in Gage Center and moved his wife and four children to Topeka. The personable entrepreneur developed a menu featuring eclectic Latin Caribbean fare with exotic and flavorful sauces. He further tested his mealmaking mettle in 2005 when circumstances prompted him to become the establishment’s executive chef as well. “It was a lot of trial and error in the beginning,” Guillén says with a smile. “I had always cooked at home but not for large groups.” Each day, Guillén and sous chef Marcos Barrios decide which two soups and four entrees to offer the lunch crowd in addition to a variety of popular salads that are always available. “Our clientele is looking for something different,” says Guillén. “They’re very loyal and sometimes very tough to please.” As a member of the Topeka South Rotary Club, Guillén also uses his cooking experience one Saturday a month at Let’s Help, where he and other Rotarians prepare and serve brunch to people encountering financial difficulties. “I know about cooking, so this is something I can bring to the table to help the community,” says Guillén. “It’s all about service.” Guillén doesn’t indulge in dessert often, but he has fond lifelong memories of quesillo, a creme caramel often made by his grandmothers that served as a sweet accompaniment to Venezuelan celebrations. “My wife, Marisol, doesn’t cook, but she makes the best quesillo in the world, and I stole the recipe I use here from her,” says Guillén.

CREME CARAMEL (QUESILLO) 1 cup sugar 4 eggs, separated 1 can (8 oz.) condensed milk 1 cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla (Guillén actually makes his own with vanilla beans soaked in vodka, but any commercially purchased vanilla will work fine.)

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TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the sugar in a pan with no liquid over medium heat until it starts to caramelize. Do not stir; instead, just move the pan around over the burner. Watch sugar carefully so it does not burn. Once the sugar turns to an amber color, pour some in the bottom of each of eight ramekins. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites a little and add the remaining ingredients. Combine using a mixer or food processor. Pour egg mixture into the ramekins. Place the ramekins in another baking dish and add water to dish until it is halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for one hour until firm; chill several hours or overnight. Before serving, apply a little heat to the bottom of each ramekin so the caramel at the bottom will melt and loosen so the dessert can be successfully flipped onto a plate. Makes eight servings.

STORY BY KIM GRONNIGER | PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL STEPHENS


VANILLA ICE CREAM BASE 4 cups half and half 1 cup sugar 3 vanilla beans ½ tablespoon vanilla extract 1 pinch salt 6 egg yolks

CHEF: JOHN PHILLIPS RESTAURANT: TOPEKA COUNTRY CLUB

As a boy growing up in Marysville, John Phillips remembers hand-cranking homemade vanilla ice cream with his cousins using his great-grandmother Frida Tangeman’s recipe. Today, those reunions occur monthly with up to 18 relatives as his grandmother and her sisters gather the group to reconnect and reminisce. That sense of family is what drew Phillips and his wife, Tamiko, back to the area after Phillips worked as a chef for many years in Martha’s Vineyard, Napa Valley, Telluride, Vail and most recently St. Joseph, Missouri. Their family dinners may include other homemade delicacies, but the one constant is the same homemade vanilla ice cream that has accompanied their celebrations for decades, often enjoyed with a squirt or two of chocolate syrup or a handful of fresh-picked strawberries. “Ice cream is the universal comfort food,” says Phillips. “Every culture has ice cream, whether it’s French ice cream or Italian gelato. I’ve known Mexican chefs who made black bean ice cream and Vietnamese chefs who made ginger ice cream. It’s a treat that people around the world make with whatever ingredients they have, and it’s relatively inexpensive.” Phillips’ enthusiasm for ice cream led to unique menu pairings of wasabi ice cream with seared tuna and goat cheese ice cream with a savory tart. “It plays a little trick on your palate because you’re eating something cold that should be warm and something savory that should be sweet,” says Phillips, whose ice cream experiments have also included bacon, asparagus and avocado. If summer celebrations call for homemade ice cream, Phillips recommends his great-grandmother’s simple recipe, noting that it has just six ingredients compared with the 20 or so unpronounceable preservatives found in commercially produced cartons. “This ice cream has a custard base and doesn’t taste anything like a storebought vanilla ice cream, and it can be paired with a pie or your best chocolate cake or served by itself with some simple toppings or a shot of almond liqueur, bourbon or espresso,” says Phillips. “You can make any kind of ice cream using this basic recipe as long as you have four cups of total liquid.”

In a saucepan over medium heat combine the half and half, sugar, vanilla beans, vanilla extract and salt. Bring to a simmer, cover, remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes. Add 1 cup of the hot mixture to the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk. Add the yolk mix to the saucepan with the hot liquid and whisk to combine. Place saucepan over medium heat and return base to a simmer (170 degrees or when liquid coats the back of a spoon), stirring often. Strain base and cool before pouring into ice cream freezer or other container. Makes six servings. Adjust sugar level by adding honey or molasses if desired. Vanilla beans should be added in a ration of half a bean for each serving. They can be replaced with coffee beans if desired. People who prefer richer ice cream can increase the butterfat by using whole milk or whipping cream, which works best for caramel, nut and vanilla flavors. Chocolate, fruit or cinnamon ice creams tend to work better with a lower liquid fat content, says Phillips. He notes that fruit, cut in chunks or pureed, should be included in the liquid content as well and that any alcohol mixed in with ice cream during the preparation process should be cooked off before being added to the egg yolks.

TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010

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LOCAL FLAVOR

48 SUMMER DESSERTS

CHEF: CATHY MCFARLAND BUTLER RESTAURANT: MCFARLAND’S RESTAURANT

Whether she’s perfecting pie crust made in industrial-size batches or chopping pounds of fresh vegetables to accompany a daily special, Cathy McFarland Butler revels in her role as a third-generation cook at McFarland’s Restaurant. The popular eatery founded by Butler’s grandfather Mac McFarland in 1934 once spanned four Topeka locations, including a fried chicken restaurant. Today McFarland’s, located in Gage Center, continues to draw a loyal clientele clamoring for home cooking in a tranquil setting. “God gave me the ability to cook, and the greatest gift of all is that I love to do it,” says Butler, whose success at providing “home cooking on a big scale” complements a calling to prepare all the homemade soups and chili for Doorstep’s Operation Soupline each year. Sometimes her grandchildren keep her company in the kitchen, as she once did with her grandparents. “Maybe there’s hope for a fifthgeneration McFarland’s Restaurant someday,” she says with a laugh. Butler seeks inspiration by watching cooking shows on television, researching trends and visiting with people, but sometimes a surplus of products or an inspiration can lead to crowd-pleasing innovations. Looking for a shortcut for strawberry pie, she invented Banana Split Pie, a customer favorite and an easy, light summer dessert.

BANANA SPLIT PIE 1 prebaked pie shell ½ pint fresh, sliced strawberries 2 slices fresh pineapple 1 sliced banana 1 package (3.9 ounces) instant vanilla pudding 1 cup half and half 1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip (spray canister toppings do not work well) 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts

Layer pie bottom with strawberries, then pineapple and bananas. Mix pudding with half and half according to directions on the pudding box, pour over fruit and let the pie set for one hour. Top with Cool Whip, drizzle with chocolate syrup and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

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IRIS

oasis BEGINNING WITH A HERITAGE COLLECTION OF “OLD BLUES,” A GARDENER CULTIVATES HER PRESERVE OF STUNNING STANDARDS AND HYBRIDS

Story by CHRISTINE STEINKUEHLER Photography by JASON DAILEY


KAAREN JONES’ IRIS GARDEN is one of the wonderful surprises that gardeners are always thrilled to discover. On the east side of town, just past Shawnee Heights Road and at the end of a long drive, a mailbox stands near a small sign reading “Iris For Sale,” the only hint of Kaaren’s garden from the street. Tucked behind other, newer houses that face the street, Kaaren’s home sits on 10 acres in the middle of what was once a 360acre section settled in 1849. Bordered by wet-weather creeks on the front and back sides, her stone house is surrounded by a weathered picket fence and cottage gardens with the old-fashioned kind of purple irises that smell like grape soda. It is an idyllic setting. The Joneses have called this old stone house, once the Sunflower Silver Fox Farm (Kaaren found an old sign on the property and confirmed its name by looking through old newspapers) home for roughly 20 years. Her purple irises, known as “Old Blues,” are original to the property and responsible for piquing Kaaren’s interest in the flower. Kaaren kept the “Old Blue” irises along with approximately 30 other varieties she transplanted from her former home and then began ordering tall-bearded hybrid irises from catalogs. Before she knew it, she had too many irises and resorted to placing a classified ad offering free flowers. She intended to part with some of her many “Old Blue” blooms in order to free space for her hybrids. But when gardeners arrived for the free “Old Blue” flowers, they also offered her money for some hybrids. Since then, Kaaren has cultivated and sold extra iris blooms to “cover expenses and pay for the habit.” You see what you get when you buy Kaaren’s irises. She only sells them when they are blooming, and she digs them for you on the spot after you have picked them. With every purchase, Kaaren gives away a bonus plant, usually dwarf or miniature irises about 4 inches tall. Because these smaller flowers bloom earlier than the hybrids, Kaaren carries photos of them for people to select. Hybrid irises bloom from May to early June, in conjunction with peonies, columbine, verbascum and roses. The bloom season


for irises can be extended by using a selection of varieties. A miniature iris that Kaaren calls the “April Fool’s Iris,” for example, is usually the first iris to bloom in late March, followed by the dwarf and intermediates in April. Kaaren says irises have become one of her favorite perennials because they are “hardy, don’t take a lot of care and aren’t picky.” Deer and moles don’t seem to bother Kaaren’s irises, which are able to grow under the partial shade of her large walnut trees. These characteristics make a difference when it comes to taking care of thousands of plants and 500 varieties. Kaaren’s favorite irises are ones that have what she calls “ballet skirts,” where the lower petals, also knows as the falls, stick out almost horizontally beneath the upper petals. But he likes a lot of varieties, one of the reasons she has so many. Visitors find wandering through the rows of Kaaren’s irises while enjoying the views of the hillside and the sounds of the country to be an enchanting gardening escape. Finding a treasure such as her iris oasis makes gardening a wonderful hobby.


Kaaren’s IRIS CARE Kaaren maintains her extensive iris bed by weeding on her hands and knees once a year. She applies a pre-emergent twice a year and recommends fertilizing with bone meal and well-rotted horse manure, warning that too much nitrogen will make the plants have too much foliage and decrease the number of blooms. Leaf spot fungus is the only real disease threatening irises; it generally does not kill them but can be controlled by clearing the old or dead leaves in the fall. Kaaren encourages planting irises so the rhizome can “see the sun” rather than mulching because she has found it can keep the plant wet, promoting rot as well as burying the rhizome too deep and limiting blooms. Irises require six hours or more of sunlight a day to bloom well. With less sun, the foliage tends to be weak and fall over. But they are tolerant of heavy clay soils and thrive in difficult places such as steep slopes. Generally, irises are grown from rhizomes that bloom by the second year and produce new divisions of their own by the third. Irises can be grown from seed, though these might take anywhere from one to five years to sprout and another two to three years to bloom. Hybridizing irises is relatively easy. The pollen from one just needs to be put on the stamen of another, and then a bag placed around the bloom to prevent insects from disrupting the cross. Kaaren calls herself an “accidental hybridizer” and dedicates one row in her garden to the offspring of a white iris seed pod that insects pollinated. Her advice to people shopping for irises is to look for bloom stalks that are sturdy and do not have to be staked, as well as for colors that are “sun-fast,” meaning their colors don’t melt in the heat of the day. Many of the new hybrids do not have the strong grape fragrance that is associated with irises, according to Kaaren. So she suggests gardens wanting fragrance avoid the novel mail-order varieties, though some commercial catalogs note when a new variety has a particularly strong scent.


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56 LIVING WELL The Marian Clinic

‘The Most GRATIFYING THING’ By advocating for her patients, Sister Mary Rosaleen Driscoll follows her beliefs and gains ‘better insight’ into her own life

E

very weekday morning Sister Mary Rosaleen Driscoll, from the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, dons her signature white clothing, white hat and white Oxford shoes. On her white jacket, she affixes a coat-of-arms pin from her order, the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, and the Providence Medical Center nursing school pin she got in 1952 when she received her diploma. She puts on a ring her nephew made for her in honor of her 25th year of religious life that incorporates artistic symbols for the things that guide her on a daily basis: poverty, service, chastity, obedience, the Holy Family and the Holy Spirit. Simply adorned, she prays for an hour, attends Mass, then prays a little while longer in the Marian Clinic chapel before her team opens the doors at 8 a.m. to meet the medical needs of the uninsured. “Every morning I always ask, ‘What are we going to do today, Lord?’” says the woman who prefers to be called simply “Sister.” At 82, her energy, enthusiasm and sense of fun have captivated patients, health care professionals and donors through two decades of dedicated service to the clinic. Sister joined the Marian Clinic shortly after it was established in 1988 by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth through a collaboration with St. Francis Health Center. With nursing licenses and an extensive administrative background, she came to Topeka at the request of Sister Concepta Monk, then the nursing administrator. “In those early years I mopped floors and got charts ready,” recalls Sister. “We did a lot of physicals for students and workers and treated a lot of sore throats.”

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Sister Mary Rosaleen Driscoll

Today more than 5,200 regional patients seek treatment each year for a variety of conditions from heart ailments and neurosurgical needs to diabetes concerns and respiratory difficulties. Whatever their circumstances, patients who come to the Marian Clinic receive care to restore their health through a collaborative network of providers, including one full-time physician and one part-time physician on staff. Through the support of St. Francis Health Center, StormontVail HealthCare and more than 220 volunteer nurses and physicians specializing in internal medicine, family medicine, podiatry, cardiology and many other fields, patients are treated

STORY BY KIM GRONNIGER | PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON DAILEY


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THE MAKING OF A SISTER Growing up as the sixth of 10 kids on a Fruitland, Idaho, farm, Sister Mary Rosaleen Driscoll says she learned to be resourceful and resilient in a “loving” family that fortified itself with prayer when hail, drought or other natural elements threatened. “Instead of making us quit, the hardships and prayer strengthened us,” says Sister. Sister’s career has included completing a bachelor’s degree in nursing and postgraduate work in pediatrics and working at hospitals in Colorado, Kansas, Montana and New Mexico. She took care of neonatal patients at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Denver before going to the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Mother House to care for aging sisters in Ross Hall. “I went from taking care of babies to taking care of 99-year-olds,” says Sister. “Then I came here to the Marian Clinic. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people here, the patients, the staff, the doctors, the donors. The volunteers especially are the wind beneath my sails because we couldn’t do what we do without them.” In between her travels for work through the years, she’s also made religious pilgrimages to Lourdes, Medjugorje, Italy and Croatia and taken trips to Ireland and other destinations with friends and family for rest and rejuvenation. “The Lord’s been good to me,” she says matter-of-factly. “I didn’t want an ordinary life, and I haven’t had one. I’m eager to see what he’s got in store for me next.”

on site or through consultations arranged by Marian Clinic staff. Located at 1001 S.W. Garfield, the clinic has continued to expand its physical space as well as its medical capabilities, including assistance with surgical procedures, mental health, social work support and the addition of a dental clinic. “Often we’re the very last place our patients can go, and it’s important for us to defend our patients and get them what they need,” says Sister, who serves as a patient advocate and works closely with a social worker to help with patients who have complicated care needs. “We see a lot of mental illness, too, since the state hospital closed and the Menninger Clinic left. They can’t afford medications. But if we can get them their medications, then they can become compliant with their care for diabetes, hypertension or whatever they’re struggling with.” The hours are long and the needs daunting, but Sister’s faith and feistiness enable her to prevail. “I’ve learned through the years that if I don’t stand up for these patients, who will? If I don’t stick up for them, particularly if they have a complicated condition, who will? For this, I get in trouble sometimes—my mouth has always gotten me in trouble—but it’s OK as long as I don’t get in trouble up there,” she says with a grin, pointing her finger heavenward. That detached view of her own earthly fate is echoed in how Sister describes the cancer diagnosis she received a year ago, which she perceives as an opportunity to receive “better insight so I can be more compassionate with my patients.” Relying on Mother Teresa as a role model, Sister embodies the saint’s attributes of tenderness and tenacity as she strives to “go the extra mile, spend the extra minutes, find out what’s really going on” and often gets

Inspired by her faith, Sister has dedicated her life to providing others with medical care.

to witness the transformation of patients whose overall well-being has been restored, not just a physical ailment fixed. “We’ve had some difficult patients come in here who wouldn’t make eye contact with us or they seemed disinterested in their care because they’ve been told ‘no’ so many times before. But we kept at it because no person is beyond help, and that’s what Mother Teresa did. She took that extra step,” says Sister. “We’ve had patients come back to see us we didn’t even recognize because their transformations were so complete.” Follow-up visits to express gratitude are commonplace, including one frequent visitor who underwent the first surgical procedure the clinic arranged. “He’s Vietnamese, and he always comes by at Christmas to pay his respects. I always say, ‘God bless you,’ and he reminds me he’s a Buddhist and then we laugh,” says Sister. It’s this ability to establish connection that sustains Sister. “The most gratifying thing is to each day know that I have helped someone who was really needy, to spend the day with people who are less fortunate and give them what little I can, a prayer or a smile or to just let them know they are loved,” she says.

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58 GROW Maggie Warrens’ Garden

A NEVER-ENDING MASTERPIECE DALE AND MAGGIE WARREN CONSTANTLY REVISE THEIR GARDEN TO CREATE SEASONAL SHOWS THAT BLEND SEAMLESSLY WITH THEIR LANDSCAPE

T

he garden surrounding the front entrance of Dale and Maggie Warren’s North Country Estates home is like an exquisite tapestry woven with redbuds, daylilies, perennials and roses. But maybe the most amazing thing of all about Dale and Maggie’s garden is that this suburban corner lot has a front garden that blends in with the neighborhood and a private garden wonderland in the back. The front of the house is just a preview of what is yet to come; as with a good aperitif, it merely whets the appetite. Anchored by mature blue spruce, white pines and birch with a series of natural, gently undulating berms, the structure of the back garden is fantastic. Every path leads to a wonderful destination. Every turn leads to a fabulous feature, a peaceful pond, a choice fountain or a bench to sit on and enjoy the view. As Maggie and Dale walk through their yard, they constantly think out loud and discuss plans for the garden, better ways to define and redefine spaces, and how the garden will need to change based on the weather, maintenance and growth of individual plants. With a keen eye toward blending colors and creating balance and scale, Maggie is constantly editing her plantings, often replacing one plant with another to gain a variety that holds better in the sun or requires less care. Maintenance is always an issue with a garden, but particularly with one as large as this. With two acres, thousands of plants, a streambed and two ponds, there is a lot to do. No

one is more aware of this than Maggie and Dale, whose backgrounds are in property management. Luckily, Dale is good at maintenance and handy at a number of trades. He directed the installation of a new sprinkler system and, with a neighbor, built a wooden bridge across the garden’s wet weather stream.

Dale and Maggie Warren continually modify their garden to create beautiful, seasonal displays.

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STORY BY CHRISTINE STEINKUEHLER | PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON DAILEY


Fast. Focused. Always local.

The couple also have not fallen prey to common gardening mistakes. Although they are avid daylily collectors, they have avoided creating a garden top-heavy with daylilies. They also don’t have the problem of wanting to plant one of everything, a style that is commonly referred to as the “onesies.” Foresight and balance are key to their garden’s harmony. Maggie and Dale’s meticulous planning makes for a garden that is a delight and pleasure. For most of us, it would be the ultimate garden. But as Dale and Maggie note, a garden requires year-round care. It is never completed. That is part of the magic.

ktka.com


FOR THE FAMILY

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ULTIMATE HORSEMEN’S CHALLENGE ASSOCIATION

ULTIMATE

C

RIDERS

harlie Brown stomps at a fly as he waits for his rider’s command to move out. Finally, an air horn sounds and Charlie Brown, with Shelby Bluthardt in the saddle, jumps into action. First, there is a gate to negotiate, followed by a steer to rope. Then it is on to the Kansas 3 Step where Charlie and Bluthardt race down three large steps before going through a set of “cowboy curtains”— long strips of plastic suspended in the air.

A GROUP OF TALENTED RIDERS CHALLENGE THEMSELVES WITH THE ADVERSITIES AND ADVENTURES OF THE WILD WEST

And this is just the beginning: By the time they complete the Ultimate Horsemen’s Challenge Association (UHCA) pattern at the Rocking V Ranch event, Bluthardt and Charlie will have negotiated low-hanging limbs, doctored and carried stuffed calves,

crossed bridges, performed precision work by side passing and turning in a spin box, and splashed through a pond. The UHCA event south of Topeka is part of a national trend of Extreme Cowboy sports—events to test horse and rider

Teri Vonderschmidt competes on her horse, Perry.

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STORY BY CAROLYN KABERLINE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON DAILEY


Ultimate competitors are comprised of horse riders with a range of ages and experience including, from left, Justin Branham, Paul Rasmussen and Shelby Bluthardt.

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ULTIMATE WEEKEND There’ll be “DANCIN’ in the DIRT” at the Kansas Expocentre as the Ultimate Horsemen’s Challenge Association comes to R.R. Domer Livestock Arena this June 11-13. “There are so many people who just show or trail ride,” says Kate Fowler, event coordinator. “With this, we have a whole weekend to open people’s eyes to another part of the horse world.” According to Fowler, the three-day event will consist of six three-hour riding clinics on Friday with sessions in jumping, reining, cutting, mounted shooting, Amish driving and UHCA obstacles. The “DANCIN’ in the DIRT” Spectacular is scheduled for Saturday night, featuring country swing dance, riding set to music and performances. While there is a $10 charge for the Saturday night spectacular and a fee for clinic participation, there is no charge to view the racing events. For more information, contact Kate Fowler at (785) 845-6891 or UHCAKate@aol.com or see www.ultimatehca.com. .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

by simulating challenges they would have faced in the Old West—that debuted in Kansas City in 2007. “This is the perfect discipline for jumping, roping, dressage, trail and anything else you want a horse to do,” says Paul Rasmussen of Wakarusa, one of the UHCA founders. “People are initially attracted to it because of the action, but it’s really not extreme or just for cowboys, and it’s not really a race. It makes you a better rider at whatever you do.” Bluthardt, who has a background in hunter-jumper riding and eventing, notes that this “extreme” equine competition is also one of the most democratic. “They’re not going to discriminate against a donkey or mule or if your horse is too tall or too short,” she says. Jo Turner, a club founder from Meriden, agrees. “The UHCA brings together all breeds of horses, all riding disciplines and all ages and levels of riders. It is a fun

competition that highlights the communication and bond between the rider and his or her horse.” “The obstacles I like best are the jumping,” says Teri Vonderschmidt, who comes from a hunter-jumper background and competes in the youth events. “The log drags are fun. I really like the people. And since every course is different, you never know what to expect.” Justin Branham, one of the youngest competitors at age 9, agrees. “Right now I’m working mainly on loping, trotting, walking and getting my horse Dreamer softer. This is an awesome experience. I like all the people; it’s challenging, and it’s fun.” With approximately 85 members this year—and the numbers are still growing— the UHCA has competitions, clinics or both most months in the northeast Kansas and western Missouri area. Each event is divided into several classes so that people and horses of similar skill levels are com-

peting against each other as well as the clock because each ride is timed. A horse-and-rider team has 45 seconds to negotiate each obstacle, with the amateur course at the Rocking V taking about eight minutes to complete and the open course about seven minutes. While time is important, each team is also judged on the horse’s ability to negotiate an obstacle and the rider’s horsemanship skills. In addition, the competitors seem to have a good time and enjoy a sense of camaraderie. “At an event last year, a horse got scared while he was pulling a drag object,” Bluthardt says. “He threw his rider, ran off, and 15 or so riders took after him. They caught the horse, calmed him, unhooked the object, then helped the rider through the course.” That willingness to help others and the family feel have attracted many to the sport. “This is the third year of the organization, and if I miss an event I feel bad,” says Rex Buchman of Cottonwood Falls, UHCA president this year. “It’s like a reunion every time you get together. People with horses are on a lifetime horsemanship journey, and this helps people along the way.” It’s a journey through life rooted in the history and reality of the West. “We try to keep it realistic to what a horse and rider might encounter while riding, from crossing water to an encounter with some wildlife,” says Jerry Vandervort, owner of Rocking V, who has added a moving fake deer to the course. Rasmussen remembers one event where his horse had to go by some llamas. “That was the one obstacle he absolutely refused. He thought they were horse-eating llamas.” Just another day for horse and rider in the ultimate Wild West.

TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010

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EVENTS CALENDAR

BEST BETS in June-August 2010 June ARTSCONNECT! FIRST FRIDAYS ARTWALK June 4 (and first Friday of every month): Topeka’s galleries, studios and public venues open to display art in a social setting. For a complete list of venues, see www.artsconnecttopeka.org. 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m., various locations. GOLDEN GIANTS’ SEASON OPENER June 4: Topeka’s summer collegiate baseball squad (see article on pages 18-21) opens the 2010 season. 7:05 p.m., Lake Shawnee Baseball Complex. For more information, see www.topekagoldengiants.com.

July SPIRIT OF KANSAS July 4: An old-fashioned Fourth of July celebration. The free, all-day program features crafts, car shows, water events and a fireworks display. 8 a.m.–11 p.m., Lake Shawnee. GO FOURTH CLEANUP July 5: Keep America Beautiful-Topeka/ Shawnee County (see article on pages 30-32) sponsor cleanup at Lake Shawnee. (785) 224-0446 or kab@kabtopsh.org. FIESTA MEXICANA July 9-18: One of the region’s biggest Mexican-American cultural celebrations and a benefit for Out Lady of Guadalupe Church.

August CLAIMING CITIZENSHIP August 1: Opening of new exhibit at Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. The materials focus on the experience of African-Americans and the Works Progress Administration. Exhibition runs until September 30. Free admission. 1515 S.E. Monroe. (785) 354-4273. RAILROAD FESTIVAL August 21: Third annual railroad festival features model displays, children’s activities,

DANCIN’ IN THE DIRT June 11-13: Some of the region’s top riders gather for competitions and celebrations around the Ultimate Horsemen’s Challenge Association (see article on pages 60-61). Kansas Expocentre. For more information, see www.ultimatehca.com. SUNFLOWER MUSIC FESTIVAL June 11-19: This annual series of free concerts, chamber music performances and educational events includes opportunities to attend separate performances by groups including Larisa Elisha and Steven Elisha (see article on pages 34-36). White Concert Hall, Washburn University. www.sunflowermusicfestival.org.

Events open with a parade and street party on July 9 and the main carnival takes place July 13-17. Various locations, www.olg-parish.org/fiesta. SUNFLOWER STATE GAMES July 9-25: The state’s largest amateur multisport competition occurs at several locations throughout Topeka. First day of competition features a racing regatta on Lake Shawnee. Events are open to the public. www.sunflowergames.com. HULLABALOO July 29-31: Downtown Topeka’s annual sidewalk celebration sale. More than 50 merchants offer deals from 9 a.m. to sundown in downtown’s biggest seasonal shopping event. www.downtowntopekainc.com.

historical re-enactors and more. Great Overland Station, 701 N. Kansas Ave. www.greatoverlandstation.com. GRAPE ESCAPE August 27: Topeka Performing Arts Center’s annual wine and food festival fundraiser. 6:30 p.m., 214 S.E. Eighth Ave. For ticket information or reservations, see www.tpactix.org or call (785) 234-2787. HARLEY PARTY August 28: A fundraiser for Boys and Girls Clubs of Topeka, this year’s event features a chance to win a new 2010 Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Tickets $30. Bullfrogs Live, 4115 S.W. Huntoon, (785) 232-5699.

ALL EVENTS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. LISTINGS COURTESY OF WWW.TOPEKACHAMBER.ORG & WWW.VISITTOPEKA.TRAVEL. E-MAIL YOUR UPCOMING EVENTS FOR THE CALENDAR TO TOPEKAMAGAZINE@SUNFLOWER.COM

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TOPEKAMAGAZINE Summer 2010


Topeka Magazine Summer 2010  

Topeka Magazine Summer 2010

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