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5 Year anniversary issue

winter winter ‘11 ‘11 |

Winter ‘11

Vol. VI / No. I

from the editor

Editor Nathan Pettengill designer/Art Director

Shelly Bryant

chief Photographer

Jason Dailey


Christy Little

advertising Kathy Lafferty representative (785) 224-9992

Ad Designer

Janella L. Williams

contributing Bill Stephens Photographer Daniel W. Coburn Contributing Writers Anita Miller Fry Jeffrey Ann Goudie Kim Gronniger Carolyn Kaberline Vernon McFalls Cheryl Nelsen Karen Ridder Christine Steinkuehler Debra Guiou Stufflebean Barbara Waterman-Peters GENERAL MANAGER

Bert Hull

Publishing coordinator Faryle Scott

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Congratulations to Christian South, the birthday boy on the cover of this issue. He’s 5-years old and so are we. For this anniversary issue, Topeka Magazine is revisiting Topekans such as Christian who have appeared in stories from our pages over the past five years. In a sense, it’s a Topeka Magazine equivalent of a classic remix of our favorite hits, but it is also an opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with people engaged in the community, to learn about the changes in their lives and the changes in Topeka.

We were delighted to reconnect with a thriving Christian. All the Topekans in these pages have compelling stories, but we asked Christian to represent us on the cover because he is our contemporary, having been born at approximately the same time as our magazine, and because his story is one of the most dramatic. Christian was one of the young infants who had just struggled through his first weeks of life when we introduced him, his family and the talented medical staff that helped him survive in a story from our first year of publication. We were delighted to reconnect with a thriving Christian for the photo shoot and the article on page 16. Christian seemed a little less thrilled by the hoopla. When you are 5 years old, a photo shoot is nine parts tedium and only one part excitement. Fortunately for us, Christian patiently sat through the preparations and adjustments that were the nine parts tedium. And that one part excitement? Well, that came from his dad, who was rolling around off camera to create some type of diversion, and from his mom, who was underneath the table tickling Christian’s toes to prompt a smile. Thanks to that frolictickle combination, we got our cover shot and Christian got to leave the studio lights and go back to being almost 5. Our half decade of success grows directly from the people, places and style of Topeka that we have presented with each issue. In that sense, it is our milestone, Christian’s birthday, but Topeka’s party. Thank you for being a part of the celebrations.


Winter ‘11


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Winter ‘11



home tour: woodward inn

Part of the Party

Trends come and go, but the Woodward aims for a classic, timeless style over the holidays

Topeka Magazine celebrates 5 years with cakes and updates on friends from past editions

The New Grassroots Visionaries A new generation of community leaders emerges to define and promote Topeka


Winter ‘11



Winter ‘11



12 Back to Sewing, Back to Lee A talented designer sees a renewed interest in her craft


Settling into Cedar Crest Mary Brownback adjusts her schedule and her family’s routines to life in the governor’s residence

42 Maggie Warren’s Top 5 Garden Tips An expert gardener shares her tips for gardens of any size or focus



‘And Me!’ A young survivor celebrates the minor details and miracles of being 5 years old

Frenemies Topeka Magazine celebrates its fiveyear anniversary with glossy rivals

21 Shining Through Whether she evokes traditional forms or lessons for aging, artist Glenda Taylor finds new expressions in clay and life

24 The SCARS Dogs Being rescued was only the first part of a transformation in the lives of these dogs and the people who gave them homes

5-year specials 61

37 Wiggins’ Serious Downtown Living Keeping with a minimalist style, a civic leader nestles into her loft and the growing downtown atmosphere

on the cover



Winter ‘11

My Favorite Shot Topeka Magazine photographers discuss their favorite image from our archives

home life


62 Timeline A visual history of Topeka Magazine through its past cover images


Christian South celebrates his upcoming birthday with cake and a photo shoot that was a bit too much for any 5-year-old boy. (Thanks, Christian!) Photograph by: Jason Dailey

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Winter ‘11


Sewing Guru Linda lee


Birthday boy Christian South


local artist Glenda Taylor


lovable scars dogs


First Lady Mary brownback


Winter ‘11


Photography by Jason Dailey Story by Cheryl Nelsen

Back to Sewing, Back to Lee A talented designer sees a renewed interest in her craft

5 Year TOPEKA anniversary issue





Winter ‘11

above Linda Lee works from her studio on Kansas Avenue.


distinctive designFashioned in Topeka


This story about Linda Lee is an update of an article that appeared in the summer 2007 edition of Topeka Magazine.


n the corner of a spare room sits a sewing machine gathering dust. Its drawers are filled with unused patterns or partially completed projects. Or perhaps those garment patterns were never opened, and now the sizing is all wrong for a seemingly ever-expanding body. That’s a scenario Linda Lee, owner of The Sewing Workshop, hopes to help people avoid by encouraging them to dust off their inactive machines and get back to sewing. From her studio in the 300 block of S. Kansas Avenue, Lee teaches customers how to sew items such as garments or handbags and sells fabric along with anything else required to complete a sewing project. “You could come in here and leave with an assortment of materials and go home and make a garment. You wouldn’t have to go anywhere else,” Lee says. Or you could stay home and order everything you needed from Lee’s website at Five years ago, her website offered sewing notions, books and patterns for consumers to purchase, and now it includes a more active blog with tips and techniques and patterns that can be downloaded from the site. “I think we might be the only people doing that in the garment end of things. You can download patterns in the craft area, but I don’t know anybody who is doing patterns,” she says. Sometimes being ahead of the curve brings its own set of frustrations. “We get a call an hour from people asking, ‘How do I download this? How do I tape this paper together?’” says Lee. “That will sort itself out as it becomes more common.” Assuming that computer-savvy clients will catch up to her website, Lee plans to expand the number of downloadable patterns, original designs created by Lee and her associates, Kathy Davis and Erin Snethen. But one of Lee’s favorite ways to sell and present these patterns remains personal contact, particularly through her onsite Sew Kansas workshops. These three-day retreats are offered three times a year to approximately a dozen clients who arrive from across the country to spend eight-hour days sewing, then continue working into the night. “It’s much more satisfying to me to be able to work with someone and satisfy them rather than just that quick hit at a trade show where you sell them a pattern and you know they’re going to take it home and never get it out again,” Lee says. The popularity of these workshops has led to Lee traveling approximately eight days each month to conduct other seminars outside her studio. “I’m going the other direction with these workshops where I have time with people to really work with them one-on-one, fitting and consulting and really helping them figure out a plan for what to sew,” she says. Lee’s teaching includes her Sew Confident courses for sewing machine dealers and independent teachers. These classes

opposite page Linda Lee is wearing the Hudson Top in a gray knit and the Hudson Pant in a dark gray. Below The Zen shirt in a cotton print.

Patterned success

Topeka-based entrepreneur Linda Lee creates her fashion empire through patterns, books, television shows, designs and her own brand of style


lthough Linda Lee, owner of Linda Lee Design Associates, loves to sew, she doesn’t really want to sew for other people; instead, she creates designs so others can sew their own contemporary, stylish clothing. Of course, Lee was willing to make an exception when Gov. Kathleen Sebelius called to request a dress for her 2007 inaugural ball. What the governor had in mind—creating a dress similar to one she saw in an advertisement—was not so unlike what Lee does for others. Lee and her three employees at The Sewing Workshop, 813 W. Sixth Ave., design clothing patterns by consulting sewing industry

Sewing odyssey Topeka native Linda Lee was introduced to the world of fabrics and designs when she began using her mother’s sewing machine as a child to make clothes for herself and her dolls. She went on as a student in Topeka’s public schools and Topeka High School to enter several sewing contests and describes her education as being a product of public school sewing teachers. At Kansas State University, she started college majoring in fashion and textiles but got sidetracked into interior design. She graduated in 1970 and designed interiors for commercial office spaces in Topeka. She continued to sew during this time but quit in the mid-1970s because the industry was down and she lost interest. “In the mid-’80s I picked up a piece of fabric, got my sewing machine oiled, and that was the beginning of what I now do. I just became possessed with it,” Lee says. That passion led her in 1989 to open a Topeka fabric store, Threadwear. This retail business allowed Lee to bring high-end fabrics into Topeka by buying them in New York from jobbers, people who go into the garment district and buy small pieces of fabric from the great designers. She and her staff at Threadwear produced patterns that were printed at McCall’s Pattern Co., just 60 or so miles away in Manhattan. Lee says, “That was really intriguing to me that it was just right in my backyard.” To round out her staff, Lee hired a pattern grader—someone who takes one size of a pattern and turns it into multiple sizes or copies something such as a sleeve and drafts it into another garment—from Lawrence, and a fashion illustrator from New York City. Attending national sewing conventions, Lee learned of a sewing school in San Francisco, The Sewing Workshop, established in 1981. She started going there as a student and by 1991 purchased the school and operated it until she sold it in 2002. It still is one of the only independent sewing schools in the country. “Because I always lived here and was traveling there so much, I wanted to have a product that I could introduce nationally to attract people to go to the school. That was sort of the motivation for the pattern collection,” Lee says. The pattern collections became Lee’s main focus after she closed Threadwear in 2002 and moved into her present location, which she describes as a workshop or studio.

Global reach The patterns Lee and her team create are sold

that into a computerized illustration. While the steps for the pattern are being worked on in Topeka, the pattern is being graded in Lawrence and eventually is sent to New York City for illustration. All this time, a third employee, Pat Huey, works with pattern orders, bookkeeping, shipping and inventory control.

One-of-a-kind works In addition to designing patterns for clients to use to sew their own clothing, Lee assists clients in creating their own designs. Her website has a designer challenge called “Reinvent the Inventor.” Clients were encouraged to alter a Lee design and submit pictures of their creations. These creations, along with pictures of clothing sewn by clients using The Sewing Workshop patterns, are displayed in the gallery section of Lee’s website. Though she is still motivated to create clothing patterns, Lee has extended her patterns to include other products as well. Her interest in interior design has led her to create patterns for items such as pillows, slipcovers and draperies. Lee, who turns 59 this summer, has no plans to turn off the creative process anytime soon. “I can’t even imagine retiring. If I were to retire I’d be sewing and writing, so I might as well just make money at it,” Lee says. left A black and cream herringbone Joplin Top. below The Ikina Jacket in mixed silk prints.

an independent fabric store. This gives them something that the chains don’t have.” Fabric stores carrying Lee’s patterns listed on the website include 250 wholesale accounts throughout the United States, Canada and Australia. “Word has kind of gotten out that the independent patterns are more interesting than some of the more traditional pattern companies and the stores have actually begun to seek us out,” Lee says. “I venture to say that we have most of the good stores in the country as our clients.” Besides stores, Lee has individual clients who purchase her patterns to create their own clothes. Lee describes some of her clients as people older than 30 who may have lost their youthful, perfect hourglass figure. “They want to have great-looking clothes that disguise some figure flaws but still look really contemporary and fashionable,” Lee says. Her classy and contemporary patterns, however, can complement any figure type. Lee says, “Our line of patterns has a sensibility that’s kind of architectural and a little bit Asian.” Examples of Asian-influenced patterns are Hong Kong Vest and Japonesque Top. The vest features side slits, a front longer than the back hem and dropped shoulders. The top has long one-piece sleeves and extended shoulders. Other pattern names reflect the range of looks that Lee designs: 8th Avenue Skirt, New Yorker Jacket, San Diego


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include slideshows showing step-by-step instructions on various projects, sewing kits, patterns and fabrics. “They can either use it to learn themselves and teach a class, or they can show it to a class,” Lee says. “I’m kind of on the cusp right now with this Sew Confident. I’m at the beginning of that, so it’s going to be my next year’s focus.” Like any business owner, Lee has noticed the recession over the past years. But it has not affected her as strongly. “I don’t want to say it’s been a growth, but we definitely have not seen a downturn like other businesses have,” says Lee. She thinks her clients have been affected by the economic downturn just like the rest of the nation, but their response has been to go back to sewing instead of “doing something else.” And for those who return to their sewing machines, Lee is there to guide and inspire them along the way.

Lee’s Topeka studio features some of her original designs and fabrics, above, as well as the chance to receive advice from the sewing guru in person, above right.


Winter ‘11


Photography by Jason Dailey Story by Cheryl Nelsen

‘And Me!’ A young survivor celebrates the minor details and miracles of being 5 years old 5 Year TOPEKA anniversary issue





Winter ‘11

above Christian South plays at Gage Park.


nursed to life destined to live Stormont-Vail’s unit of care


This story about Christian South is an update of an article that appeared in the spring 2007 edition of Topeka Magazine.


hristian South lives in a house with a basketball goal waiting for him to grow up enough to toss a ball into the hoop. Across the street is a park featuring swings, slides and a teeter-totter. It’s a perfect world for an active boy who will turn 5 this winter and has every expectation of thriving as he grows older. In some ways, say Christian’s parents, Shawn and Michelle South, their boy is ahead of some children his age and is quite proud that he learned to ride a bicycle without training wheels a full two years sooner than his sister, McKenzie. In other ways, he’s working on catching up with the help of his family and his school. Michelle says Christian is probably six to nine months delayed on some of his development, the effect of a rocky start to life. Soon after his birth, Christian, struggling for breath, was admitted to the Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Stormont-Vail Regional Health Center. For the first nine months of his life he was monitored in follow-up clinics. During one of the follow-up clinics, Dr. Jose Gierbolini discovered that Christian had pectus excavatum, a Latin term meaning “hollowed chest.” It’s a rare deformity in the anterior wall of the chest that causes ribs and the sternum to grow abnormally.

It’s a perfect world for an active boy who will turn 5 this winter and has every expectation of thriving as he grows older. “When he was in the NICU he had such retractions when he was breathing that they couldn’t tell that’s what it was, but as he grew and got older, Dr. Gierbolini found it,” Michelle says. The first three years of Christian’s life, the family made several trips to Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, and he faces surgery in his early teen years to place metal rods in his chest to make it flat. Now, Christian refers to his chest as having a hole, which is much easier to pronounce than pectus excavatum, although that term rolls off Michelle’s tongue with ease. Beyond the hospital and family, Christian has found support throughout Topeka. From six months until he was 3, Christian received help from TARC, and then the school district took over to assist him with some of his delays. At his preschool, he receives help from a speech therapist. He also has to watch what he eats because of several food allergies. “Sister does a really good job of knowing what he can or can’t have. She reads all the labels and tells people if he can have it or not. She does an awesome job helping with that,” Michelle says. “And me!” Christian pipes up.

CritiCal Care SecondS matter.

advanced technology can save lives. But dedicated, knowledgeable nurses are the core of quality care in any emergency ward. topeka magazine’s cheryl nelsen meets with a veteran nurse at one of the city’s most critical care units, where

michelle South looks over her baby, christian, after a diaper change and a nap at StormontVail’s neonatal Intensivecare Unit.

“I see mIracles every sIngle, solItary day. I walk through those doors, and I know I’m going to see a miracle all around me. and it’s true. We do. People don’t think we have them any more, but we do.” -rita Pollom

it was OctOber 13, 1979, aNd i was haviNg a baby NOt due uNtil december 10. i thought, ‘surely i haven’t carried this child this long only to lose it now.’ fortunately, i was sent to a hospital with a superlative neonatal unit before my 3 pound, 3 1/2 ounce boy was

was saving babies smaller than mine.

OppOsite page Nurse Rita Pollom guides mother Michelle South in teaching baby, Christian, how to drink through a bottle after having been fed only through medical tubes. “Nippling” is the term used when babies learn to use their mouths to suck food from the bottle. Once Christian is able to bottle feed all of his food, he will be able to go home. The equipment in the individual baby rooms allows for the nurses to be able to see information about babies in other rooms. If this information wasn’t available, the nurses would never be able to enter the individual rooms due to the fact that they need to have all information at hand on each baby they care for at all times.

The technology today is more advanced, but the caring and comforting nursing skills are still present in today’s nurses. At least one nurse, Rita Pollom, in the Level III Neonatal IntensiveCare unit of Stormont-Vail Hospital, is a nurse who cares about babies and their families. Of course, she would proudly say all of the other 80 nurses in the neonatal nursery are just as caring as she. “I love my job. I really, really do. I just have a real passion for it,” Pollom says. Pollom’s job as part of the NIC is to care for mothers and their premature or at-risk babies at birth and in the critical first days of life. The unit is the emergency room and intensive care ward for Topeka’s youngest and most vulnerable patients. The work keeps Pollom so busy she often loses track of time. “You may come in and get report, and the next time you look at the clock you missed lunch and it’s midafternoon. We can get really, really busy. The time zips by.”

her work with babies because she has responsibilities that involve the families of babies as well. The uniqueness of work in the neonatal unit, Pollom says, is that nurses develop relationships with families. “This little person just came into the world, and Mom can’t take care of it. She has to trust you to do it. It is a motherly instinct to be able to take care of everything. So, they have to develop a relationship with you and you have to develop a relationship with them. Even though you are a stranger, you become a part of their family because they have to trust their most precious item to you,” Pollom says. The staff on Pollom’s unit serve a family in many ways including care meetings to detail what is happening to the baby, baby care classes, and support for families while the baby is in the hospital and after the baby goes home. Follow-up clinics are usually held a couple of months after the family leaves the hospital’s care. Pollom says, “it’s so good to see them [at a follow-up clinic] and to see them improving. And also it helps give you an opportunity to

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Both of Christian’s grandmothers, Alicia South and Joanie Clelland, have taken care of him when he wasn’t in day care, and his Grandmother Clelland makes homemade bread, cookies and ravioli that won’t trigger his allergies. Although Christian’s medical issues are not life-threatening, they are major to the family. And yet, they don’t lose sight of what they say is the most important development over the last five years — their boy has survived, is loved and continues to grow. “Never think that your child has it the worst,” says Shawn. “With all the problems he’s had now, we’ve always been thankful that he’s with us today. All the rest of it is just minor details, just little things we have to get worked out.”

Nurse On Their Side

On Their Side

One person vital to Christian South’s care five years ago was Rita Pollom, a 37-year-veteran nurse at Stormont-Vail who has worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) since its redesign in 2005 and was featured along with the South family in Topeka Magazine’s original article. In that story, Pollom referred to the beds in the hospital’s neonatal unit as the Cadillac beds of neonatal care. Five years later they still are, she says, but other developments have contributed even more to the unit’s survival rates. “When we first started this unit in those beginning years, it was really something to see a 26-weeker make it, to survive the whole realm and go home,” Pollom says. From 2007 to the time this article was prepared, Stormont-Vail’s NICU has cared for 23 babies who were 23 weeks gestation at birth. According to Stormont-Vail officials, the survival rate of all babies admitted to their NICU is 98 percent, which reflects the national average. This high survival rate has come from advancements and techniques in the field of neonatology such as a process known as total body cooling. In this procedure, infants at possible risk for seizures have their core temperature slowly cooled down and maintained at a low temperature for 72 hours. If conditions continue to suggest possible seizure activity, then medication is given to stop any possible seizure. “Technology has brought us a long way by keeping babies in utero longer and being able to prepare us for what’s going to come,” Pollom says. Pollom tells the young nurses she teaches that when she is retired they should come visit her and amaze her with tales about the latest technology. But she stresses that along with the technology to keep babies alive is the importance of personal care for young patients and their families. “Lots of parents come to rely on us like family,” says Pollom. “They are entrusting their most precious to us.”



Winter ‘11

TOP Christian and his mom walk through Gage Park. CENTER Rita Pollom continues to assist young patients and their families. BOTTOM Christian stands near Gage Park’s rail depot.

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Whether she evokes traditional forms or lessons for aging, artist Glenda Taylor finds new expressions in clay and life

Story by Barbara Waterman-Peters

Shining Through


unlight and a gentle autumn breeze mark a perfect Kansas morning on Washburn University’s campus where Glenda Taylor walks with the energy and enthusiasm that always seems to surround her. Settling inside Mabee Library’s coffee shop, the chair of the school’s art department begins to talk about her recent work and fresh ways to achieve a satisfying life. Taylor’s latest creations were sparked by a visit to the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery, where she saw some of her work from 1988. These forms, based on the female figure, rekindled her interest in figural forms and inspired her to consider how she could apply that concept to a new batch of translucent clay that she was set to demonstrate at the upcoming National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts conference.

5 Year TOPEKA anniversary issue


suMMEr 2009

Glenda Taylor: Topeka’s athletic artist


This story about Glenda Taylor and her work is an update of an article that appeared in the summer 2009 edition of Topeka Magazine.


Winter ‘11


More specifically, Taylor was immediately intrigued with the parallel between the fragility of the human body and that of the thinware clay. She says she devoted most of her recent artist residency at the Red Lodge Clay Center in Montana to solving “technical and aesthetic challenges” of creating delicate wares that would not collapse when fired. From these experiments, Taylor emerged with different types of clay forms, one of which she calls her “Aging” works. They are made from molds and shaped with layers of multiple, almost pancake-like formations, fired at lower temperatures to prevent cracking and warping. Several layers of different colors of stain are applied, then removed, to reveal textures of the form. Taylor next inserts a 7-watt nightlight bulb through the base of the ceramic to create a luminous glow that seeps through the entire form. The contrast of the sagging form and the intense glow creates an examination of the beauty of the female form even as it begins to fail. Using scraps of this same clay, Taylor has also created tiny figures she calls “Harbingers.” Setting them in small groups, she says they appear to “sing, yell and talk” warnings to young women about what “nobody tells you” comes with aging. Almost weightless and wistful, the Harbingers are instantly appealing, yet their startled expressions testify to the urgency of the message. Taylor fires these pieces at higher temperatures. Ideally, these firings would be done in a soda glaze kiln, equipment she wistfully notes she doesn’t have presently. “I’ll have to figure out something else; it’s all part of the challenge of working with ceramics.” The concept of figuring things out applies to Taylor’s schedule as well. Though her work has its own vocabulary and unifying vision that spans across her different forms, Taylor creates this unity in spurts between her academic duties. This can be an advantage, she says, because it allows her a freedom from being tied down to any specific habits. Taylor encourages a similar flexibility in media and imaginative risk-taking in her students work and as they enter real-world situations of arts management, nonprofit arts administration and community involvement. In her own life, Taylor continues to balance her work with cycling, which continues to be an absorbing interest for this athletic artist. Taylor says she has decided to “maybe slow down” over the last two years. She has shifted from individual competition to joining Women’s Free State Racing, a team composed of members from Topeka, Lawrence and Kansas City. Taylor says that being on a team with a group of women provides a different experience. “Women recognize everyone’s value,” she explains. “We share responsibility.” As she considers moving into more of a support role, Taylor is still amazing as an athlete, having recently won the Kansas Cycling Association’s “2011 Kansas Best All-Around Rider” title in the category of women master cyclists 40 and older. Though her current ceramic work creates harbingers of aging, Taylor’s own actions as a role model in sport and art seem to be harbingers of more good things to come.



Winter ‘11

top Taylor prepares almost pancake-like formations with thinware clay to create her recent figural forms. Above Taylor sets a nightlight in the form’s interior to provide the shape with a luminous glow.


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Photography by Daniel W. Coburn Story by Debra Guiou Stufflebean

The SCARS Dogs Being rescued was only the first part of a transformation in the lives of these dogs and the people who gave them homes


visited Maureen Cummins on her ranch near Auburn in 2009. Here, she and her husband, Terry, lived with dozens of dogs that they had rescued and incorporated into a no-kill shelter called SCARS (Second Chance Animal Refuge Society). Their experience reminded of my own rescue dog, Shadow. Shadow was rescued from a puppy mill where he had spent the first two years of his life in a 3-by-3-by-3-foot cage out in the elements, unnamed and unloved. Despite rescue workers’ best attempts to train the sheltie, he did not respond. Shadow had limited or no contact with humans—a serious deficiency because the less contact a dog has with a human after it is born, the longer it takes a dog to trust. When I first saw Shadow at a public adoption event, his volunteer trainers forewarned me that Shadow had issues. Shadow was literally afraid of his own. He cowered in the corner of the pet carrier. But when I knelt down to reach him and cradle his face to get him to look at me, I knew I had to try to reach his scared soul. My husband and I brought Shadow home. We set him outside to run free in our fenced yard, but he went to the farthest corner to sit and shiver. To get him inside, we had to leave the back door open while we corralled him toward it. Each day, I gently cornered Shadow and made him sit on my lap for a few

5 Year TOPEKA anniversary issue

Maureen Cummins and several SCARS dogs


Winter ‘11 OrthOdOx



In this article, writer Debra Guiou Stufflebean provides an update on the rescue dog ranch that she first wrote about in the spring 2010 edition of Topeka Magazine.

for thE doGs Maureen and terry Cummins dedicate their nonprofit business to caring for abandoned and neglected creatures on a farm west of Auburn


aureen Cummins grew up as the daughter of a career naval officer and wasn’t allowed to have a pet as a child because the family moved too often. Still, her father’s service taught her a lesson midshipmen learn in the naval academy: to live for a cause greater than oneself. Maureen found that cause as an adult living in Puerto Rico, where she was overwhelmed by the number of starving dogs wandering the streets and took in a German shepherd. From that moment, she combined her father’s idea of service with a devotion to dogs. “I advocate for the dog; you have to be their voice. They can’t pick up the phone and say they need help,” she says. “It’s all of our responsibility to advocate for animals and children.” It was dogs that brought Maureen and Terry Cummins together. Terry, a certified public accountant, lived on a 50-acre homestead west of Auburn with his five dogs. Terry grew up with dogs on a farm near Macksville, a small town between Great Bend and Pratt. Thinking there was always room for one more dog, Terry called Maureen about adopting an abandoned dog after he saw a newspaper picture of a case she was working on as an animal abuse

Second Chance Animal Refuge Society



Second Chance Animal Refuge Society

sprING 2010



Sebastian, a Saint Bernard, and the other dogs at the Cumminses’ shelter have 50 acres to roam and roll.

Sebastian and his pack frequently get up close with a camera. The Cumminses’ photos and profiles of adoptable dogs.



After Maureen and Terry married in 1998, word spread that the couple were softies when it came to caring for dogs that others had cast aside. Dogs started showing up at their front gate, and phone messages were left about dogs that were starving or continuously left outdoors on chains. Within a few years, and thousands of dollars later, Terry knew he had to form a nonprofit to help cover the mounting costs. Today their no-kill dog refuge called Second Chance Animal Refuge Society (SCARS) houses an average population of 45 dogs that live at the farm west of Auburn and have access to the 50 acres, two heated barns and two ponds. People can interact with the dogs in the tile-floored fam-


Casey Jo

dogs are spayed or neutered, up-to-date on shots and given heartworm preventative. The couple’s work has earned them recognition, including the 2009 Capitol Citizen Award sponsored by Capitol Federal and Cox Communications. Like a mother hen, Maureen clucks off the stories of each dog that surrounds her on the floor. Bug, a rat terrier, was dropped off at the gate. Kringle, a Tibetan spaniel, had been neglected and locked in a shed. Heidi, a Rottweiler mix, was blinded in both eyes after taking a bullet in the optic nerve while defending her puppies. Horatio, a Lhasa apso mix, was surrendered to Maureen at the parking lot of Topeka West High School where she


case rescued at 53 pounds (he now weighs a healthy 180 pounds). Anna, a Bernese mountain dog-Australian shepherd mix, was rescued after a neighbor reported she had never been off chain. “Dogs were born to run, and it’s unrealistic to expect a dog to go without exercise. That’s when behavioral problems often present themselves,” Maureen says. “So we allow them to experience the sheer joy of running, as long as two weeks, before we start working on socialization.” After this initial period, the dogs are taught the difference between outside and indoor behavior. Firm commands and a lot of love transform even the most challenging dog. Because dogs are integrated

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minutes of “love time.” His heart would beat like a bass drum. As soon as I would let loose, he bolted. But approximately a year later, I began to notice that whenever I mentioned “love time,” Shadow would go to a corner and wait for me to pick him up. That memory of Shadow was with me when I returned to SCARS a year and a half later to find that some of the dogs I met have found a second chance and others have not. Kringle, the Tibetan spaniel, who was neglected and kept in a locked shed, was adopted by an associate in Terry’s accounting firm, along with a terrier named Bandit. Kringle, like all SCARS dogs, was neutered, wormed and given shots. And as with the other 45-50 dogs who populated the 50-acre grounds, Kringle had been free to roam and learn to socialize. These opportunities usually ensure a successful adaptation to new homes, but not always. Bug, the rat terrier who was dumped at the gate, has been adopted and returned twice. Each time the Cummins have taken him back. “We are committed to these dogs and only adopt them out to families that will give them as good or better care than they receive with us, but sometimes it doesn’t work out, like with Bug,” says Maureen. “We stand behind our adoptions and take the dog back.” The news was better for Anna, the Bernese mountain dog-Australian shepherd mix who was surrendered after neighbors reported they had never seen her off-chain. While at the refuge, Anna struck up a romance with Charlie, a husky who had been abused and starved. Fortunately for the pair, a young repair contractor working

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at the ranch noticed the courting duo and volunteered to give both Anna and Charlie a home. Jack, the full-blood Bernese mountain dog, who was too rambunctious for his pregnant owner, was adopted and is now merrily romping with a local insurance agent and his wife. Horatio, the Lhasa apso mix, was adopted at Christmastime by a person whose dog had died. He is best buddies with the family cat. Kramer, the wire-haired terrier, who was picked up running around a grocery store parking lot, had an enlarged heart, and after five years died at the refuge. Casey Jo, the hunting dog mixed breed, is diabetic and receives two shots a day. She and Heidi, the Rottweiler mix, who was blinded by a gunshot, will likely live out their lives at the refuge, as will Sebastian, the St. Bernard, who has become the SCARS mascot. Since my first visit, Sebastian has been diagnosed with a birth defect that can cause profuse bleeding from his nose. Maureen says she has the most success placing dogs by putting their faces on her website: or taking dogs to events at host locations, such as pet stores, where they can be seen eye to eye. “I’ve seen it happen over and over,” says Maureen, “a person will look into the eyes of a certain dog and hear an inaudible voice that says, ‘I need you, and you need me.’” Even after seeing eye to eye, it took two years and three months before Shadow would come to me and sit at my feet. Now, three years after adoption, Shadow will take a treat from my hand, sit

upon command, permit me to love on him without trying to get away, use a doggy-door and walk on leash. In recent months, he has begun exhibiting typical sheltie behavior — barking and spinning and using his muzzle to nudge. Nothing makes Shadow’s acquired trust in me more apparent than when he runs to me because he’s afraid of another dog or a thunderstorm. The bond we now have has made our journey worthwhile.

Maureen, above, and her husband attempt to find homes for nearly all of their dogs. Some such as Sebastian, center right, are set to live out their lives on the ranch.

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Settling into Cedar Crest Mary Brownback adjusts her schedule and her family’s routines to life in the governor’s residence

5 Year TOPEKA anniversary issue


Winter ‘11

Glenda Taylor: Topeka’s athletic artist


Mary Brownback


suMMEr 2009



above Kansas First Lady Mary Brownback sits in her favorite room at Cedar Crest in west Topeka.

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ary Brownback had what most people would consider a full life. Raised a Stauffer, she grew up in a respected Topeka family that published the city’s paper for decades. A strong student, she earned a law degree and married rising state politician Sam Brownback. Together, they formed a family and shared a strong faith. Sam went on to become a U.S. congressman and then a U.S. senator as Mary supported causes in her hometown and nurtured their three children: Abby, Andy and Elizabeth. But Mary felt there was room in their lives for another youngster, one who might not have a good family life and a home if she and her family did not step forward.


“I lIkE rAIsING thE kIds hErE. THeRe wOulD Be ADvAnTAGeS OF livinG in wASHinGTOn, BeinG ABle TO DO THinGS.

But hErE It Is lAId-BAck ANd GrANdpArENts ArE closE.” So Mary began the lengthy process of an international adoption as Sam campaigned throughout the state in the 1998 U.S. Senate elections. Finally, the night after the November elections, the Brownbacks learned they had been assigned a child. His name was Mark and he came from an orphanage in Guatemala. Paperwork issues arose, though, and months passed. It became


ecently, life for Kansas First Lady Mary Brownback has not been what she expected. As the wife of U.S. Senator Sam Brownback, she could still go about Topeka relatively unnoticed. Not so, with her husband now governor. “I am so surprised at how recognized I am,” she says. “No one must follow the Senate, but far more people recognize the name when I’m at the grocery store. I think the governor is in the news more.” Sam Brownback served as U.S. senator for Kansas from 1996 to 2011, and as a U.S. representative of the 2nd Congressional District from 1995 to 1996. During that time he commuted to Washington, while Mary stayed in Topeka and raised their five children. After Sam won the governor’s race in the fall of 2010 and took office in January 2011, he returned to Topeka and joined Mary and their youngest two children in moving to Cedar Crest, the governor’s official residence in west Topeka. For Mary, this has meant hosting numerous official events, expanding her public involvement, but continuing to keep the family activities on track. Mary has an assistant to help with official functions. But much of what she does, she does herself. The family cooks its own meals and does its own grocery shopping. Despite what public perceptions may be, there is no staff to shuttle the children to activities or prepare hot meals.

For Mary, this has meant hosting numerous official events, expanding her public involvement, but continuing to keep the family activities on track. “I am far busier than I ever thought I’d be,” she says while sitting at the mansion’s small kitchen table. Cedar Crest, atop a large hill overlooking grasslands and ponds, is just a stone’s throw from the home in the West Hills neighborhood where Mary lived during her junior and senior high school days. Her father, John Stauffer, moved his family to Topeka, where he was an executive in the corporate headquarters of the newspaper company founded by his father, Oscar. During that time, John served as publisher of the flagship newspaper, Topeka Capital-Journal. Mary says she was not familiar then with the governor’s mansion or its history. Coincidentally, Cedar Crest was built in 1928 by newspaper publisher Frank MacLennan, owner of

This story about Mary Brownback is an update to an article that appeared in the summer 2009 edition of Topeka Magazine that focused on Brownback’s balance of her husband’s public political career and her family’s private life.


the Topeka State Journal. MacLennan died in 1933, but his second wife, Madge Overstreet MacLennan, continued to live at Cedar Crest and upon her death in 1955 left the property to the state. Her bequest had conditions: The 6,000-square-foot mansion was to be used as the executive mansion by the governor and the more than 200 acres around the house was to be known as MacLennan Park. “I wasn’t aware it was the publisher’s house until I read the history,” Mary says. “Kansas has so much newspaper history,” she explains, listing Emporia publishing legend William Allen White and Topekan Arthur Capper, a publisher who also served as governor and U.S. Senator. Mary describes Cedar Crest as a “lovely home” with her favorite location being the sunroom along the west side overlooking an expanse of lawn and the patio. This room was originally a porch, later screened with glass windows added to make it usable year-round. The house has three floors, four counting the basement, which Mary says is a few too many levels to make it easy for a family to get situated. “It’s a great hide-and-seek house for the kids, though,” she adds, smiling. Before the family moved into Cedar Crest, the two younger children, Mark and Jenna, got to choose the colors to repaint their rooms. Mary says that made it feel more like home to them. When the four family members are home they eat their meals in the small kitchen area, but when the three older children come to Topeka the family of seven can’t all fit around the kitchen table. That is when they move to the formal dining room, which has seen decades of public receptions and dinners. Likewise, Mary’s family and public lives overlap. Her most recent initiative as First Lady has been to get Kansans reading. She hosted the Kansas Book Festival, an annual event to promote literary and encourage a lifelong love of reading. As part of the festival, she held a reception for authors at Cedar Crest. It is also in her new home during family times, that she says she turns the television off and spends more time reading.

Brownback walks outside her family’s new home, the state’s official residence for the governor’s family.

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home tour

The Woodward

Story by Kim Gronniger

Photography by Jason Dailey

Elizabeth Taylor knows where she will be spending her Christmas holiday—at work. “I don’t leave on holidays,” says Taylor, proprietress of The Woodward. “In fact, I’m here most all the time.” As usual, she will be joined by dozens of others—her guests at the inn nestled on the periphery of downtown Topeka.

5 Year TOPEKA anniversary issue



Winter ‘11


The city’s best hills for winter thrills


The Woodward appeared as part of a story on garlands in the winter 2009 edition of Topeka Magazine. This article is an update on the inn that provided the spectacular backdrop for the original photo shoot.


wINtEr 2009/10



GArlAND: Greenery with red roses CrEAtor: University Flowers loCAtIoN: The Woodward, Theresa The natural materials used in the holiday decorations at The Woodward reflect the building’s natural architectural elements, such as the timbered wood and stone used in construction of the Tudor mansion. Red roses, pheasant feathers, hypericum berries and rose hips accent the greenery in the garlands, which warmly welcome visitors and friends alike to step back in time to a gracious age of entertaining.

DECkthEhAlls The holidays begin wiTh decoraTing— and few decoraTions are more classic Than a garland


arlands are one of the stalwarts of holiday décor. The tradition of decorating with garlands was brought to America by European settlers, who often included remnants of the fall harvest with evergreens to make the ropes of greenery. Garlands are traditionally wrapped around chandeliers, light posts, stairways and mantels to celebrate the season. The long, open shape of a garland easily holds decorations and encourages you to add new adornments, mingling past and present traditions to keep the holiday spirit alive. GArlAND: Fraser fir with assorted greens and rose hips CrEAtor: Skinner Garden Store Inc. loCAtIoN: Topeka Zoo Skinner Garden Store is one of the few places where fresh evergreen boughs can be found. Subsequently, designer Dolores Beckwith has used live Fraser fir roping and boughs

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home tour

Chester Woodward built the 26-room home in 1923 as a private residence. A businessman, world traveler and avid reader, Woodward amassed a collection of more than 6,000 books formerly displayed in the home’s library. With hand-hewn timber beams, ornate chandeliers and floorto-ceiling stained-glass windows, the library remains the inn’s focal point. Family crests and historical touches reminiscent of King Henry VIII’s architectural preferences lend a medieval touch to marriage vows and a Knights-of-the-Roundtable alternative to staid corporate conference-room discussions.

Taylor purchased the home in 1994 after the property’s four-year stint as a hospice care site. Before buying it, Taylor owned a lobbying firm in Topeka and initially had no interest in shifting her professional focus from coddling political causes to pampering people. “I really thought I’d be a political lobbyist forever, but I was meant to do this next,” says Taylor matterof-factly. “I’m able to be the guests’ mother, grandmother, sister or aunt. I bring them in, pamper them and then send them on their way. It’s been a very satisfying career change.”



Winter ‘11

home tour

When Taylor moved in to The Woodward, a dining set and two buffets were the home’s only furnishings. She soon collected enough couches, beds and bureaus to make a hospitable holiday opening feasible. Each year has brought additional enhancements, from Tiffany lamps and collectible Polish pottery serving dishes to a Caribbean-themed heated pool and landscaped gardens. “I love beautiful spaces and beautiful things, and I like to share them with others,” says Taylor.

“The house is part of Topeka’s history, and I want people to enjoy it.” — Elizabeth Taylor Taylor sees the Woodward’s success and beauty as a validation of the risk she took in becoming a bed-andbreakfast proprietor. “I love what I do,” says Taylor. “Being an innkeeper satisfies my need to care for others and also enables me to create a unique historical home I intend to live in for the rest of my life. I really get to have the best of all of it.”


Winter ‘11



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Photography by Jason Dailey Story by Karen Ridder Barbara Wiggins


Serious Downtown Living Keeping with a minimalist style, a civic leader nestles into her loft and the growing downtown atmosphere

5 Year TOPEKA anniversary issue


hen Barbara Wiggins, executive director of the Topeka Performing Arts Center, first walked into her apartment in 2007, it was little more than an open space. The Sells Brothers Loft home in the 300 block of Kansas Avenue had been recently renovated, capitalizing on cavernous interiors and the home’s heritage. Listed with the Register of Historic Kansas Places because of its unique architecture, the site was built in 1883 by the owners of the Sells Brothers Circus, who used to winter in Topeka. Over the years, it has housed a furniture store, a mattress company and an undertaker. As a residence, the old building featured high-ceilinged rooms whose walls exposed pockmarks, plaster scars and the building’s stone exterior around the windows. The original wood floors retained a naturally distressed look from over 125 years of use. It has been the perfect blank slate for this civic leader, who has left it largely uncluttered. “I’m such a minimalist,” Wiggins says. “I like wide open spaces. I love the tall ceilings.” There was some adjustment. At first, Wiggins had difficulty sleeping in the loft’s open expanse. But even the loud sounds of trains moving down the nearby Amtrak line and trucks traveling along Interstate 70 quickly became little more than white noise to her. The loft’s


wINtEr 2007/08


Topeka’s LofTs: Urban, chic and stylish


This article on Barbara Wiggins’ loft is an update to Topeka Magazine’s winter 2007 cover story on downtown lofts.


iggins’ ‘role-modeling’ model loft

A few blocks north of the Lofts Over Kansas project, at the corner of Third and Kansas Avenue, stands the Sells Brothers Building Lofts project developed by Capital City Bank’s Mark Burenheide who has a reputation for supporting historic preservation. These four loft units show the raw, original architecture with a minimalist approach capitalizing on the wide-plank pine floors, exposed interior brick and stone rubble walls, floor to ceiling windows and suspended ductwork giving them a classic industrial look. The Sells Brothers lofts have attracted a younger set of downtown professionals, such as Barbara Wiggins, TPAC executive director.

place to be—for the culture as well as for a choice of lifestyle,” says the Texas native. Wiggins’ first downtown home was a hotel and then she moved into a townhouse before learning of a new loft project with “incredible tax incentives,” prices below $150,000 and spacious, classic open-style floor plans.Wiggins signed on the dotted line. She was one of the first residents to move in when her unit was completed this summer. Inside her loft, Wiggins has added a huge skylight above her living room to flood the space with natural light. “Since my loft is an interior unit, my mother was concerned about the limited natural lighting,” she explains. Being involved while the loft was constructed allowed Wiggins to make other modifications such as hanging a large wine rack in place of a kitchen cabinet and enclosing part of the living room as storage space. “Anyone interested in this style of living should become involved early on in order to get exactly what is wanted,” Wiggins advises.

walls are still bare, but she knows exactly what she wants. With the help of the historical society, she would like to find pictures of early black Topeka business people for framing. What she doesn’t want, or miss, is a lawn. “If I need green space, I drive to one of Topeka’s many wonderful parks and go for a long walk,” says Wiggins. Because her job at TPAC takes her on four to six extensive business trips per year, the low-maintenance loft lifestyle is a perfect match; she simply locks the door and leaves. “I think I made a wonderful investment,” says the savvy business woman. “Right now, I can’t imagine living any


reating loft style

Mike Fox apparently agrees with Wiggins assessment. Fox just finished work on three new units this fall, bringing the total to six units in the Fox Lofts at 118 SW Eighth. Being positioned across from the most prominent landmark in Topeka, the Kansas Capitol, makes it ideal rental property for busy professionals. The view doesn’t hurt either.When it comes to Topeka’s skyline, there is really one structure that stands out and defines the capital—and that rotunda-shaped, American Indiantopped building is framed perfectly by the oversize windows of the Fox Lofts. The Fox Lofts are luxurious but rough, with notched stone walls and original beadboards incorporated into the decorative woodwork. Rustic cherry wood cabinets and paneling have been built and customized to blend with historical architectural features. When possible, the building’s original framework and hardware have been salvaged and integrated into the design: a heavy steel door handle, a frosted-

Winter ‘11


thick stone walls succeeded in creating an atmosphere of isolation and quiet, even though they stand in the heart of downtown. Wiggins says she has seen greater changes in the region just outside her loft, many of which she works to create through her work supporting local artists and bringing national acts to the Kansas capital. “The really amazing thing to me is that on a Saturday morning, I can drive down Kansas Avenue and there are people walking around downtown just out of curiosity,” she says. That is not something she saw four years ago. Wiggins believes people have heard so much about downtown revitalization and all the things city leaders are trying to accomplish that they are simply coming down to see what’s going on. Encouraged by the rapid development of the NOTO Arts district, Wiggins has already supported that effort as well. One of the few art items in her home is a magazine rack and coaster set purchased at NOTO. For her own tastes, Wiggins says her favorite downtown spots include Blue Planet Café, Marion Lane Candles, Bosco’s and the Kansan Grille. She likes the downtown farm and art market but would like to see a fresh produce store move into the area and thinks there are enough people working downtown every day to support it. Wiggins says she is glad that she saw the potential in her home and sees lofts like hers as a key component to the long-term success of any downtown project. “If we’re really serious about the revitalization of downtown,” says Wiggins, “then you need to also look into opportunities for downtown living.”



Winter ‘11

“I’m such a minimalist. I like wide open spaces. I love tall ceilings.” — Barbara Wiggins

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Maggie Warren’s Top 5 Garden Tips

An expert gardener shares her tips for gardens of any size or focus

Anticipate growth

Think “clumpy”

Plan for the mature size of a plant by spacing starter plants far enough apart to allow for growth to maturity. If you don’t do this, the plants will be crowded over time, and the stronger ones will choke out the less vigorous ones.

Use clumps of the same plant in the same color and repeat the clumps in multiple locations around the garden for a more dramatic effect. You can even try two or three different clumps throughout the garden for more drama and consistency of appearance.

1 2 43

Story by Christine Steinkuehler

The Old Reliables

Photography by Jason Dailey

Identify and plant the “tried and true” plants that have proven suitable for your garden and climate instead of gravitating toward the newest introductions, some of which may fizzle in your garden.

Over the past five years, writer Christine Steinkuehler has toured and written about several of the city’s most unusual and fascinating gardens. For the anniversary issue, she returned to the garden of Maggie Warren and asked Warren to share five tips for a garden of any size or purpose.


5 Year TOPEKA anniversary issue

Quench thirst Plan for effective watering of plantings or practice xeriscaping, the use of droughtresistant plants, mulch and other techniques, to maintain plants in our changing climate.

Know your limits Don’t plant more than you can effectively establish in any one season or more than you can care for during the growing season. The most pleasing gardens are ones that are well-watered, deadheaded and trimmed.





Winter ‘11 LET’S PICNIC!


This article is an update to a story about Maggie Warren’s garden that appeared in the summer 2010 edition of Topeka Magazine.

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Whatever life has planned We seek to exceed your expectations and to build an enduring relationship with you. We want to get to know you, your personal goals, your struggles and challenges around money. Our recommendations are tailored so you can create an abundant and worry-free financial life.

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Frenemies Why did three magazines emerge in Topeka at nearly the same time?

What is your magazine’s vision or “elevator speech”?

785: I think in the past, we were always down on ourselves, and we needed an internal PR campaign. We were taking a look on the entertainment side, that there really was this great art and entertainment movement that was starting five years ago, and we wanted to be a zine that could help tell that story. TK: Topeka as a whole, over the last five, six, seven years, has really been shifting to become a more positive community, and maybe that was in the air. I think the most interesting part is that the three were in three different facets. There wasn’t a correlation between the three, and we were able to come into the market at the same time. 785: We play well in the sandbox together, I like to think. TK: Right. There’s some overlap, obviously, but I think it shows that we are a viable community, that we are a community that is growing, a community that can support it. 785: I think there’s room for all of us. We’re all different just as everyone is unique. So, pick up the publication or two or three that fit, dive into the community, learn those stories and become a part of it. These are all a tool to help highlight the great things in the community.

TK: We are Topeka’s business magazine. We look to highlight Topeka’s business professionals and showcase the experts that are right here in Topeka. 785: We are here, ideally, for young professionals age 25-40, to showcase what’s best in Topeka, to encourage people to get out and explore their community and to highlight the great art and entertainment that is happening here.

What do you want to look back on and be proud of having contributed?

Technically, they are our competitors—the two other magazines in town celebrating five years of publication. But while arts and entertainment magazine seveneightfive and business magazine TK compete with us at Topeka Magazine for your attention, they also share our common goal of highlighting the community. Topeka Magazine writer Vernon McFalls posed these questions to TK publisher Tara Dimick and seveneightfive owner/ publisher Kerrice Mapes. Interview transcribed, condensed and edited by Topeka Magazine.

Vernon McFalls of Topeka Magazine

Kerrice Mapes of seveneightfive

Tara Dimick of TK

TK: I think the best part of what we do is we get to tell stories — to tell the stories of people who have worked so hard and put everything they have into their business. I feel like maybe we’re giving someone hope, inspiring them to be better, or maybe giving them the tip that puts them over the edge. And I hope that we are part of this transition that Topeka is having. 785: We’d like to look back and know that we were a catalyst in this movement, specifically with arts and entertainment and with local flavor and with pride in our community. Not only were we a tool of information, but we also gave back.

Topeka Magazine celebrates its fiveyear anniversary with glossy rivals

Topeka Magazine writer Vernon McFalls holds an editorial summit with our competitors, TK publisher Tara Dimick, center, and seveneightfive publisher Kerrice Mapes. Theatrical body kicks aside, the magazines “play well in the sandbox together,” says Mapes.


Winter ‘11


P a r t y part of the

P a r t y To p e k a M a g a z i n e c e l e b r a t e s 5 years with cakes and updates on friends from past editions

Story by Carolyn Kaberline Photography by Jason Dailey


Bi l ly Va ni l ly

y Since Allyson Fiander appeared on the spring 2009 cover of Topeka Magazine she has switched her business name to Billy Vanilly and moved into two new locations: one on SW Huntoon St. and another in downtown Lawrence. Along the way, Fiander has surpassed her original goal of selling 144 cupcakes a day—sometimes selling as many as 1,000 before noon. Part of this expansion has come from catering events. Fiander, a French-trained pastry chef who worked with her staff in preparing all of the cupcakes for the photo shoots in this article, has even flown to Las Vegas to prepare cakes for a destination wedding. Fiander acknowledges that cupcakes are subject to the trends of the food industry, but she believes her success is tied to a timeless nostalgia for a neighborhood bakery where everything is baked from scratch using real ingredients.


War eh o u s e 4 1 4 48

When Warehouse 414 owners Chris and John Grandmontagne appeared on the cover of the first edition of Topeka Magazine in the winter of 2006, they had only recently opened their trendy home-furnishing store and were still busy transforming their 13,000-square-foot showroom. Since that time, the Grandmontagnes have earned a reputation for their bold dĂŠcor and their warehouse has come to be known for hosting big events on First Friday Art Walks and special occasions, including a recent performance by Ad Astra Theatre Productions. The Grandmontagnes have also expanded into website retail, offering rare finds such as a 1970s hot pink retro sofa to a national audience.

R ow Ho us e R e s ta u ra n t

Since Greg Fox appeared in Topeka Magazine shortly after the opening of his Row House Restaurant in 2006, he has grown a strong clientele and evolved the service, wine list and food. “When we started, we were the freshmen in the business, and now we’re the seniors,” Fox says. “We realize the others are following us now and not the other way around.” No matter the changes, Fox says some things will stay the same. “Our specialty is old-fashioned hospitality and respect for the clientele,” he says. “We treat our guests like they’re in their mother’s house with a little humility thrown in.”


Fred Polzin and Jeff Taylor

PT ’ s Co ffee Roas ti ng Co .

PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. has done well since co-owners Fred Polzin and Jeff Taylor appeared on the fall 2007 cover of Topeka Magazine. Polzin says his most memorable event in the past five years was winning the 2009 “Roaster of the Year” from trade-industry magazine Roast. PT’s, which started with a Topeka coffee shop in 1993, plans to open a concept store at 17th and Washburn, expand its national sales and locate a second barista training center in a larger market area. But Topeka remains the company’s main focus. “The Topeka community has been a strong supporter of our shop,” Polzin says. “We want to continue to be part of this community.”


T h e Topeka Symp hony O rches tra After 23 years of conducting the Topeka Symphony Orchestra, John Strickler will be leaving at the end of this season with a “Fabulous Finale” concert in April. Strickler, who discussed his musical journey in the spring 2007 issue of Topeka Magazine, leaves behind a large legacy. Symphony General Manager Kathy Maag praises him for “huge strides” with the orchestra. Maag singles out Strickler’s key role in the world premiere of “Parables” in May 2010 as one of the most memorable events in the symphony’s history. Darrell Brogdon, program director for Kansas Public Radio, credits Strickler for masterfully presenting a blend of “traditional symphonic repertoire with programs that are exciting and outside the box,” such as cartoon-music themes and Halloween-music themes, complete with his own costumed performance as “Strickula.” A search is on for a replacement to build on Strickler’s success. Maag says the symphony’s immediate goal is to expand its audience from neighboring communities in an effort to “make Topeka Symphony a destination” for symphonic music performances.


I w ig Da iry When Tim Iwig appeared with his dairy cows in the fall 2007 edition of Topeka Magazine, the concept of natural, family-farm milk was still comparatively rare for the local market. Now on the other side of the localvore revolution, Iwig has weathered higher feed and fuel prices by transforming into an investorowned operation and tapping renewed interest in fresh, local dairy. The past five years have also seen the grand opening of retail shops in Tecumseh and on Gage Boulevard, with plans for a yogurt production facility in the works. Iwig and his cows are part of Topeka Magazine’s five-year anniversary, but the farm itself is considerably older— in fact, the Iwig family has recently marked 100 years of operation.


Ca p i tal c i t y c ru s he rs

Michelle Ritz-Bundy, coach of Topeka’s roller derby team, will never forget the 2008 season. That was the year her 2-year-old team appeared in Topeka Magazine and the year they notched up a big victory against a powerhouse rival from Iowa. “Everyone could cry they were so excited,” recalls Ritz-Bundy. Only three of the original Crushers are still skating, but the team continues to attract new members and new generations. “We’ve started a junior roller derby team,” Ritz-Bundy explains, noting that they hope to start a men’s team in the future as well. Building on their tough-but-caring reputation, the Crushers continue to support local charities, lacing up for events such as the March of Dimes March for Babies, the KNI Chili Judging Contest for Project Topeka as well as the Polar Plunge at Lake Shawnee to benefit Special Olympics.


Grassroots The New

Visionaries A new generation of community leaders emerges to define and promote Topeka stor y Jeffrey Ann Goudie



photography by Bill Stephens

In the winter 2008/09 issue of Topeka Magazine, writer Jeffrey Ann Goudie introduced William Beteta, the newly appointed executive director of community advocacy group Heartland Visioning. At the time, Beteta was organizing large-scale discussions about the city’s future viability and noted the city’s fate depended on its ability to attract and hold onto young professionals. For this anniversary issue, Goudie resumed her conversation with Beteta—and the young activists who have since emerged alongside him.

A catalyst “It’s been a huge attitude shift,” Beteta says about Topekans’ improved assessment of their hometown over the past three years. And though Beteta does not take sole credit for the positives that have resulted in the intervening three years, Heartland Visioning was clearly a catalyst for progress. Although residents of all ages participated in the Heartland Visioning planning phase, and the North Topeka Arts District (NOTO) has been propelled by established leaders like John Hunter and Anita Wolgast, much of the positive change has been driven by the same young professionals Beteta was concerned about bringing to and retaining in the city.


A whole lot of love After living in Arkansas, Arizona and Oklahoma, John Ary, 33, changed his mind about his hometown and returned in 2009 with his wife, Stacey, who also grew up in Topeka. “It seemed like there was a lot of room to grow here, a lot of opportunity to get involved with things, and play an active part in some of the revitalization that we saw happening here,” says Ary. Ary spent a year with AmeriCorps VISTA at Washburn helping nonprofit agencies with marketing ideas and social media expertise. He also began making videos, gratis, for the Think Big Topeka group that tried to snag the Google high-speed fiber internet network for Topeka. Those videos caught the eye of WIBW general manager Jim Ogle, who tapped Ary for Topeka-themed public service announcements and an around-town events calendar for the station’s Friday evening newscasts. Out of all this sprouted Ary’s website, which highlights things to do and see in Topeka. Last November, the University of Kansas journalism school graduate started Robot Monster Creative, a company that makes commercials, ads, videos and websites for clients. “There seems to be a lot of access here for people to get involved,” says Ary, who adds, “We have some great bones that I think we can build upon.”


Stars aligning Andrea Engstrom, 30, was one of these young enthusiasts who went to Heartland Visioning’s early meetings and served on the group’s task force. “For a lot of young people in our community, it really inspired us to think differently. And I was excited because I was seeing it in the grassroots, but also in the established organizations that were getting on board with it,” says Engstrom. “It was just like something in the air. And we began to hear things like, ‘Oh, the stars are aligning for Topeka.’ ” Born and raised in Topeka, Engstrom spent three years as a senior ad-agency account manager before starting her firm, Breakthrough Revenue, to help clients grow their businesses. She also helped found Chords and Oil, an artists’ group that sponsored monthly downtown art events. Engstrom presently channels her efforts as the marketing co-team leader for the Capital District Project. With the city allocating funds for a three-year downtown renewal project, Engstrom says her group will be “every bit as interested in the promotion of things happening downtown, and shifting people’s thinking, as we are in any kind of construction taking place.” While Engstrom finishes her degree in business management from Friends University, she is also busy—along with husband Josiah—as the mother of two elementary school age daughters. “Topeka is a small enough town that one person can make a difference, but it’s a big enough town that it makes a difference,” says Engstrom.


Looking to the next generation Part of Leah Sewell’s contribution to revitalizing the capital centers on her role as co-chair of the marketing committee to restore the old Jayhawk Theatre in downtown Topeka. The 30-year old attended early meetings of Heartland Visioning and came away with a job to schedule musicians at the Farmer’s Market. But her civic ties were nurtured as a Washburn student, serving as the Washburn Review arts and entertainment editor. Many of her fellow students remained in Topeka, such as Washburn yearbook assistant editor Kerrice Mapes, who employs Sewell as editor-in-chief of family-oriented XYZ. Like her husband, Matt Porubsky, a freight conductor for Union Pacific Railroad, Sewell is a published poet. The couple are raising two preschoolers and plan on remaining in Topeka. “There are a lot of really talented people here, a lot of really intelligent people here, and a lot of people here who are active in the community,” says Sewell.


ReThinkers Bailey Marable, 31, and her husband, Justin, 29, came to Topeka with some reservations when Bailey took a job teaching art at Royal Valley High School in Hoyt. “Neither of us were excited about the possibility of living in Topeka,” says Bailey, but they found an attractive bungalow in the Kenwood neighborhood and began to make friends. After a couple of years, Justin, a full-time visual artist and stay-at-home dad, began to envision a different, more vibrant Topeka. What he hatched, along with Bailey, was ReThink Topeka, a group that organizes an annual daylong downtown art walk, replete with live music, poetry and prose readings, food, dance and film. Twelve hundred people showed up at the first ReThink Topeka happening Bailey remembers: “We had made like, 800 buttons, something that just seemed like we were gonna have these buttons for the rest of our lives, and we ran out of buttons in like the first 10 minutes. It was crazy.” Justin calls Topeka a “genuine place” with “a determination in the people to try to really change things and make it the city they want it to be.” Bailey adds: “We’ve worked hard to change minds about Topeka, and the first people’s minds that needed to be changed were ours.”


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Favorite shot

summer ‘08

My favorite image came from a story on a missile silo transformed into a home. I had heard there were people living in the old silos, so it was great getting to photograph one and see how they make it work. This one happened to be sort of a maze once you get underground, winding here and there. As far as the image itself, I was just about to give up on this particular location, a tunnel passageway between two areas, when I added a second light at the end of the tunnel. It changed the whole look of the shot. This one has that Twilight Zone or Ray Bradbury-esque feel about it that piques my interest. A close second was the photo shoot with the Capital City Crushers from the summer 2008 issue. They were a lot of fun to work with. Gave up plenty of attitude and jumped right in to what we were doing. It was fun to watch and photograph the bouts as well.

spring ‘11

Jason Dailey

One of my assignments with Topeka Magazine was to illustrate a story about a tailgate recipe challenge between two Topeka restaurant owners, one a fan of Kansas State University and the other a fan of the University of Kansas. I first did the standard shots: the closeups of delicious food with a lot of backlighting to give it depth, photos of plates of food, and some individual shots of the chefs and their spouses. But I still needed a strong visual to tie the two together. Since the subjects had been photographed and were feeling comfortable in front of the camera and strobes, I felt that I could ask them to really camp it up, put on their best game faces, school colors,

asked both of our and do some serious chomping on their BBQ beef sandwiches. I shot both chefs against uncluttered walls at their restaurants. I had strong lighting coming from the left for the K-State chef and strong lighting coming from the right for the KU chef. In post-production, I dropped them out of their backgrounds in Photoshop, put them into a horizontal layout and then added a purple-to-blue sweep of colors for the virtual background. When the layout ran, I was delighted to see that it was run as a double truck across the gutter. Back at the shoot, it did not take much arm-twisting to convince the writer and me to join into the festivities and sample the food at both locations. Yes, it’s a rough job, but it had to be done.

photographers to select their favorite image from all of their photo shoots for the magazine over the past years.

fall ‘10

Bill Stephens

Topeka Magazine


Winter ‘11






warehouse 414 A designing couple presents their treasure house of style







distinctive design-

nursed to life destined to live

Fashioned in Topeka

Stormont-Vail’s unit of care



FALL 2007



wINtEr 2007/08

Topeka’s LofTs:

Brewed in Topeka

PT’s Coffee Co.

Urban, chic and stylish

Catering topeka’s taste 30 Years of flight historY topeka’s spa sensations $3.00

Binkley’s bountiful blooms

staging the showhouse

My daddy’s war: An officer’s homecoming


Elegant comfort in Clarion



Topeka’s Zoo brings kids back to nature

ArtLab for The floral Inter-tribal Topeka’s authority, Pow Wow young artists Frances Dudley

A Rees apple a day for 3 generations



suMMEr 2008

Covers of then and now

Summer SplaSheS! The trends and styles of private pools

Welcoming Spring Designing front porch hospitality

A visual history of Topeka Magazine through its past cover images

The city’s best holiday wreaths

Soup’s on! 3 recipes to warm you





Gary Gilbert lives his rural dream

The ghosts that haunt Topeka



FAll 2008

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS AT HOME IN CEDAR CREST Our exclusive interview about family life in the governor’s house


Rock ’n’ roll granddaddies



Justin Marable

Sweet and ChiC



wINtEr 2008/09

Seeing Topeka through the eyes of this artist


suMMEr 2009


Warm recipes for a cold winter

Our guide to fresh Christmas tree varieties




sprING 2010

Beautiful barns




FAll 2009

Garden gazebos





wINtEr 2009/10


The city’s best hills for winter thrills

Wild Women Heartbreakin’ horse riders of the frontier

Topeka’s secret spicy sauces The male nurses of St. Francis


75 years of Fiesta Mexicana

Topeka’s athletic artist

The 1962 firefighter integration


Gardens open for annual tour

Glenda Taylor:

The delicious desserts at Daddy Cakes

Winter Moonrise Justin Marable/Daniel W. Coburn Printwork/Photography of rural fields west of Topeka, 2008

Balloons over Topeka

Happy trails of Rocking V


TOPEKA sprING 2009

Elegant dining at RowHouse


The romance of Juliet balconies

Top professionals remember their first jobs

Secret potluck recipes from 3 pros




fAll 2010


Reinisch Rose Garden in full bloom




An insider’s view of the Kansas Capitol


Get away on the byway

The Rowing Association’s winning strokes




wINtEr 2010/11

The home at the heart of McFarland Farm


Storytelling: Revive the tradition

Elegant garlands for the season


spring 2011



home of crosssTiTch OrthOdOx EastEr Eggs A spiritual art John Riordan’s garden is as bright as spring

SCARS dogs and the couple who love them

Historic cemeteries, living connections

EntEring thE Jordans’ wEll-roundEd gardEn


Our guide to the best spots $3.00


Kaaren Jones and her iris treasures

Summer desserts from pros

Capper’s Living LegaCy


Extreme cowboy sports

A tasty tailgating throwdown

RoadRunner homestay families

Farpoint brings the stars home


Perfect Pictures of Health

TARC’s Holiday Cookies

Cats as Cozy Coworkers


suMMER 2011

What is our next cover? Who else should be in our pages?



Please share your ideas and suggestions –


BriGadiEr GENEral

P.S. – Thank you, Topeka! $3.00



Winter ‘11

Fall 2011



Topeka Magazine winter 2011 edition  

Topeka Magazine, winter 2011. The premier magazine on people, places and style of Topeka, Kansas.