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Topeka Magazine

going the distance

Winter ’ 13 | sunflowerpub.com | $5


Topeka Magazine

Winter ’ 13 | sunflowerpub.com | $5


Topeka Magazine

Winter ’ 13 | sunflowerpub.com | $5


Winter ’13

Vol. VIII / No. I

from the editor

Editor Nathan Pettengill designer/Art Director

Shelly Bryant

Jason Dailey

chief Photographer

COPY EDITOR

Deron Lee

advertising John Kramer representatives (785) 865-4091 Joanne B. Morgan (785) 832-7264

Ad Designer

contributing Photographer

Jenni Leiste Bill Stephens

Contributing Writers Tonya Bell 2013 Melinda Briscoe James Carothers Anita Miller Fry Meredith Fry Jeffrey Ann Goudie Kim Gronniger Cecilia Harris Suzanne Heck Carolyn Kaberline Susan Kraus Vern McFalls Eric McHenry Cheryl Nelsen Karen Ridder Christine Steinkuehler Debra Guiou Stufflebean Linda A. Thompson-Ditch Barbara Waterman-Peters GENERAL MANAGER

Bert Hull

Subscriptions $22 (tax included) for a one-year subscription to Topeka Magazine. For subscription topekamagazine@ information, sunflowerpub.com please contact: Topeka Magazine is a publication of Sunflower Publishing, a division of The World Company. www.sunflowerpub.com Please contact us at topekamagazine@sunflowerpub.com for all comments, subscription and editorial queries.

F ollow us on twitter @TopekaMagazine find us on facebook: facebook.com/topekamag

This winter edition has been a delight to prepare and a long time in the making. As usual, most of our winter-themed subject stories were photographed last year when snow was still on the ground and holiday décor was still on the mantels. This is also when we began writing several of the stories and took some of the portraits.

But as long as we’ve been working on this edition, our subjects have been preparing much longer. Join us for this collection of stories about Topekans who have spent their lives perfecting a talent, a skill or a tradition­—from the music of Phillip Watson to the boxing of Marcus Oliveira, from the scholarship of Linda Elrod to the dessert dish of Tonya Brown. These stories are more than updates or news—they are a retelling of years of work and dedication by the people (and sometimes horses or cats) featured in them. We hope you enjoy them all. Philip Watson

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Winter ’ 13

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what's inside TOPEKAMAGAZINE

Winter ’13

notables

home life

41

8

24

‘Cricket:’ It Fits Scholar Linda Elrod has influenced the international legal community and inspired those around her

Cooking by Faith Despite setbacks, the cobbler is still served warm and fresh in Tonya Brown’s kitchen

Home Tour with Mit & Susan The Winter home offers Christmas nostalgia for all to share

12

Back on the Bus The city’s new transport director has stepped on for the ride and reserved a seat for Topeka

Pony Sledding Not your standard neigh-and-sleigh winter fun, this sport gently topples riders as it builds horse-human trust

16

29

Witness to the Times Doug Wallace claims the mantle of curmudgeon, but his colleagues and fellow enthusiasts recognize him as one of the city’s most generous, knowledgeable historians

31

20

35

The Hip-Hop Generation Four young musicians represent a coming of age for their musical sound

Events around Topeka for december-february

Quarterly guide to participating venues

what’s happening?

4

Topeka Magazine

TOPEKAMAGAZINE

Winter ’ 13 going the distance

A Dicus Christmas Couple opens home to community for annual holiday charity tour

48 A Cup and a Dish Anita Miller Fry discovers delightful combinations at Topeka coffee shops

Art wALk guide

on the cover

45

Marcus Oliveira prepares for a world light heavyweight championship title at the United Martial Sciences gym in Topeka.

features 52 What He’s Got Marcus Oliveira changed his life through boxing. And now he’s eyeing a champion’s belt.

58 Cat Perfection Beauty is born in the breed, but it takes the loving hands and hearts of devoted cat lovers to make a show cat look and feel like a champion


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Departments TOPEKAMAGAZINE

Winter ’13

Danish author Carsten Jensen wrote that our roots aren’t to be found in our childhoods as much as they are in our children. I think the same could be said for holiday traditions. They are certainly something we often enjoy when young, but they become part of us only later in life when we begin watching over them, shaping them and sharing them with others. I think you’ll see several examples of this in our winter edition, as different Topekans talk about holiday decorations, recipes or music they inherited and then came to love with an even greater strength as they sought to pass them on. And I think you’ll see it even in pony sledding. As we learn from Carolyn Kaberline’s story, this sport provides a thrilling ride over the snow. But, equally important, it teaches the horse and the horse-rider to work together—essential for trail riding. Pony sledding is a wonderful holiday tradition if you’re in the sled with the wind blowing against you and the ground waiting to welcome your spill. But it’s a more meaningful holiday tradition for the horse-human team doing the work, pulling the sled and making the ride memorable. After all, we are the traditions we create, the rides we give, the food we cook, the memories we leave in others. We don’t have roots. We grow them.

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‘Cricket:’ It Fits

12

Pony Sledding

16

Witness to the Times

20

The Hip-Hop Generation

24

Cooking by Faith

29

Back on the Bus

41 Home Tour with Mit & Susan

“Pony” pulls Robert Spagnuolo and Lacey Atwood on a sled at Kira Johnson’s ranch outside of Topeka.

45

A Dicus Christmas

48

A Cup and a Dish

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Winter ’ 13

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Photography by Jason Dailey Story by Jeffrey Ann Goudie

‘Cricket:’ It Fits Scholar Linda Elrod has influenced the international legal community and inspired those around her

about the

8

writer TOPEKAMAGAZINE

Winter ’ 13

Jeffrey Ann Goudie, former newspaper columnist, is a freelance writer and book reviewer whose work has appeared in the Huffington Post and the Kansas City Star. For Topeka Magazine she profiles Topekans who are making a positive difference in their community.


T

“She’s accomplished more than any three people.” — James Concannon,

on Linda Elrod

Opposite With nearly 45 years of studying law, Linda Elrod continues to teach, publish and research from her office at Washburn University.

he cricket symbolizes good fortune in many cultures. It probably isn’t an accident that perky Jiminy Cricket was the character of conscience in the Disney production of Pinocchio. This particularly apt nickname fits Linda “Cricket” Elrod, the Richard S. Righter Distinguished Professor of Law at the Washburn University School of Law. James Concannon, who was dean of the Washburn law school from 1988-2001, has this to say about Elrod: “She’s as energetic as anyone I’ve ever known. She has an extraordinary ability to multitask. She’s accomplished more than any three people.” Elrod has written three books, founded the Washburn Children and Family Law Center, and served as the first female president of the Topeka Bar Association. In 2007, she was an official observer for the International Society of Family Law at a Hague conference on international child support. She’s been editor-in-chief of the American Bar Association’s Family Law Quarterly since 1992 and has been teaching family law at Washburn for almost 40 years. She currently serves on the U.S. Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law. And she makes a mean chocolate chip cookie. She comes by her interest in family law and advocacy for children in divorce cases from her own experience. When Elrod was 12, her teacher mother and lawyer father divorced. She lived with her mother, but began to work part-time for her dad, who was an attorney in Overland Park. He hired the first female attorney in Johnson County. Elrod says another attorney at her dad’s office treated her almost like a colleague: “He’d say, ‘So-and-so’s here and she needs to get a divorce. Here’s her name. Here’s her legal information’ … and he’d expect me to go do this stuff. Especially if the secretaries weren’t there.”

Her father and grandfather had attended Washburn (and there was a boyfriend in Iowa, which tilted the balance in the final choice between a Kansas and a Massachusetts school), so Elrod enrolled at WU, but not pre-law. She intended to become a college teacher of English. Her favorite teacher was the legendary Eldo Bunge. “Anyone that can recite The Canterbury Tales in Old English is worth listening to,” says Elrod. She spent a semester in Copenhagen and was ready to graduate with an English degree and a teaching certificate. She intended to start a Ph.D. program in English. But her inspiring English professor was a stickler, and refused to count one of her Copenhagen courses toward graduation. Because of that roadblock, Elrod entered law school on provisional status in January of 1969. Not one to do things by halves, she juggled several jobs while a full-time law student. She taught English at Roosevelt Junior High and Hayden High School. She worked for KTWU’s legislative affairs series and punched meal tickets at the Washburn Union in exchange for food, while reading law books. Elrod graduated as the only woman in her class. She was married and working as a research attorney for the Kansas Judicial Council, the first woman to work in that capacity, when she was asked to pick up a class on creditors’ rights at the law school. The early-morning class allowed her to be at her regular job at 9 a.m. She began to teach a class in research and writing in the fall. The following spring, a faculty member became ill, and the dean called her on a Friday and asked her if she could teach a property class starting the following Monday. She agreed, as long as it was over her lunch hour. Elrod was seven months pregnant and already teaching a six-and-a-half-hour load when she was offered a full-time job at the law school.

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Winter ’ 13

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The law school was small and faculty could be added at that time without a national search. “They had more women coming into law school, no women teaching courses…I just was right place, right time, right sex. Plus I had shown them I could do the work,” she says. Although she had been the only woman in her graduating class, there were already 14 women in the program by the time she was a third-year student. She was the only female faculty member teaching at the law school from 1974-79. Elrod has found Washburn to be a flexible and supportive institution. “I always had deans that, whenever I had an idea and said, ‘I think this is something that would really make Washburn stand out,’ they all said yes,” she says. “No one ever told me no. They have always said, ‘How can we help you?’ ” For example, she started a study program in London. She credits her semester in Copenhagen as a Washburn undergraduate with her interest in travel: “That was the turning point in my life … where I feel like I became a citizen of the world, and all of a sudden you realize there are other people out there with other ideas and other ways of doing things, and it’s so exciting.” Elrod taught in the London study program four times from 1985 through 2002. She taught in Paris two summer sessions for the University of San Diego. She was a Fulbright Senior Specialist during the winter of 2011 in Ireland. This past spring, she spoke to the 6th World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights in Sydney, Australia, then leapt over to New Zealand to speak at the University of Auckland at a faculty colloquium on the rights of the child. She also knows her way around the kitchen. Elrod has been the Topeka Capital-Journal’s “Cook of the Week” and once attended a cooking school in Italy with her daughter Bree. Both Bree and her older brother Carson completed graduate school at the Tisch School of the Arts in New York, and now work as actors. One of Elrod’s former students, Lynn Ward, a Wichita lawyer and president of the Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, says Elrod has been a mentor. When asked for an adjective to describe her teacher, Ward says she thinks not of an adjective but of how her catchy nickname fits: “She talks fast, she’s enthusiastic, she’s one of the smartest people I know.” “Cricket” Elrod has certainly brought good luck and plenty of energy to Washburn and Topeka.

Elrod balances teaching and advising Washburn students, such as Lisa Williams, top with Elrod, with her research work, such as editing the Family Law Quarterly, above.

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Photography by Bill Stephens Story by Carolyn Kaberline

Pony Sledding Not your standard neigh-and-sleigh winter fun, this sport gently topples riders as it builds horse-human trust

about the

12

writer TOPEKAMAGAZINE

Winter ’ 13

Carolyn Kaberline’s freelance-writing career began in 2006 when she wanted to show her journalism students that she wasn’t asking them to do anything she couldn’t do. Since then her articles have appeared in local, regional and national publications. A full-time high school teacher, she enjoys reading and working with her horses.


L

acey Atwood shuffles through the snow, climbs onto an orange plastic toboggan and reaches for the loop of ski rope attached to the sled. On the other end of the rope is Kira Johnson, who sits on top of a palomino gelding named Pony, a POA-Welsh cross. Johnson dallies her end of the ski rope around Pony’s saddle horn and Pony starts into a trot. The pace increases, the toboggan begins flying over the snow, Atwood loudly giggles and calls for Johnson to go faster—pony sledding has begun. “The kids do everything from giggling, laughing, yelling ‘woo hoo’ and the occasional singing,” says Johnson, riding instructor and owner of BlackJack Stables southwest of Topeka. The popular winter activity, offered with almost every snow, began about six years ago with Johnson’s show horse and a “what if?” “We had done some sledding with a four-wheeler,” Johnson says. “My old show horse, who had been ridden and driven, had been used to pull a sled loaded with grain from the truck to the barn when it was snowy. That gave me the idea for pony sledding.” Before long, Rio and Sophie, horses owned by Johnson, were pressed into sled duty.

“It’s usually good for the horses mentally, too, and it helps desensitize them to things they might find on the trail.” — Kira Johnson “The kids enjoy this more than using a four-wheeler,” Johnson says. “It’s usually good for the horses mentally, too, and it helps desensitize them to things they might find on the trail.” And that’s the delightful secret about pony sledding—it’s a fun winter romp that also happens to be great training for more important work. While snowy winter days allow for sledding, Johnson tries to find activities that enrich both horses and riding students year ‘round. “During the spring we do lots of pasture riding,” she says. “We also do trail rides and travel down creeks in the water. We sometimes trailer to nearby lakes for more riding.” Next comes summer, during which Johnson offers several horse camps at her training and boarding facility, with activities that bolster skills and confidence. Those activities include driving cattle between pastures and riding through ponds—some of which provide opportunities for impromptu swims—as well as horseback soccer. In the fall, Johnson hosts an annual Halloween party for costumed riders of all ages. The party is usually themed as well—this year’s theme focused on mad scientists.

Opposite Kira Johnson and Pony prepare to pull Lacey Atwood over a trail on Johnson’s ranch.

13


“We also do a ‘Pretty Pony’ competition where participants get buckets of enrichment items and are separated so they can be creative,” Johnson says. “They decorate their horses with the items they have been given, then have a ‘reveal’ where their work is evaluated.” Throughout the year, numerous extreme trail activities test riders’ and horses’ ability to negotiate a variety of obstacles—streamers, pool noodles, and even an inflatable T-Rex. “All of the stuff we do is mainly for the rider,” Johnson explains. “If the rider stays calm regardless of the situation, the horse will stay calm.” Johnson, a licensed master’s-level psychologist, and her brother Charles Bromstrom, a local farrier, are also certified EAGALA—Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association—practitioners. Founded in 1999, EAGALA is an international nonprofit association that uses horses for therapy, focusing on mental health and human development needs.

“We use a lot of the team-building activities for summer camps,” Johnson says, “but what we do for the camp is not so much therapeutic as it is a way for the horses to help the kids learn more about themselves. It’s more for growth with summer camp.” Johnson also notes that the EAGALA program has been found to help those with autism spectrum disorders and those afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder. “We’re trying to get a program started for veterans too,” Johnson says. “The program seems to work because the horse is nonjudgmental. The horse seems to understand the needs of the person. An excessive amount of control from the instructor leads to something the instructor wants to see, not what the participants need.” she explains. After all, in equine learning, the horse and human must work together for a common goal, even if that goal is simply a dash through the snow and a glorious spill.

…and the horse you sledded in on.

You may not have a horse named Pony, but with a little training, practice and attention to safety, you can do your own equine sledding.

(pony-sledding essentials) Horse not easily scared used to pulling and dragging used to having extra weight on saddle horn some horses more comfortable if a driving hood is used to block their rear vision

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bale of hay place this on the sled as your experimental “crash test dummy” practice pulling with the hay bale until horse is well experienced with this type of pull

Here’s what Kira Johnson says you will need:

The right connection never hard-tie rope to saddle horn loose wrap allows rider to let go of rope and free toboggan if necessary

Toboggan while a sled will work, a toboggan needs less snow to function doesn’t have to be expensive but needs a hole for the tow rope to go through

Helmet recommended for safety one used for equine activities is best

common sense never drink and slide never endanger the horse or the riders

TOPEKAMAGAZINE

Winter ’ 13

Lacey Atwood holds onto a rope as Pony pulls her across a field.


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Photography by Bill Stephens Story by Christine Steinkuehler

Witness to the Times Doug Wallace claims the mantle of curmudgeon, but his colleagues and fellow enthusiasts recognize him as one of the city’s most generous, knowledgeable historians about the

16

writer TOPEKAMAGAZINE

Winter ’ 13

Christine Steinkuehler has contributed to Topeka Magazine since 2007. She lives in Topeka with her husband, twins and an ever-changing menagerie of pets. Christine likes old things, rainy days and books—especially if there is coffee.


M

ost days, Doug Wallace can be found, his glasses pushed up or slipping down his nose, intently scanning the pages of papers from days gone by in the Topeka Room of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. Newspapers (and the microfilm rolls that often store them) are among his favorite places to look for information. With newspapers, Wallace says, “you always will end up getting something. You end up finding a half dozen other things that you weren’t looking for, and then you start forgetting or you say to heck with what you started out looking for.” It is the thrill of finding that unexpected, unknown or forgotten piece of history that has kept Wallace sifting through archives for decades. And his efforts, in turn, have brought treasures of information back to the community.

“Doug is a major contributor to the collection and sharing of vital Topeka history.” — Charity Rouse,

on Doug Wallace

Wallace—working entirely without research grants, a tenured academic position or the backing of any publication or city department—has meticulously researched and written more than 20 books about the history of Topeka and Shawnee County. He is the brain trust behind many community research projects. He willingly collaborates, and he passes on his discoveries. “Doug is a major contributor to the collection and sharing of vital Topeka history,” writes Charity Rouse, research librarian at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. “From his work with North Topeka

OPPOSITE AND ABOVE Doug Wallace spends much of his time researching at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. He also has provided tours at Topeka High School, above, and shared his knowledge in dozens of publications, such as this Shawnee County Historical Society Bulletin.

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buildings and people to his many and varied contributions to the Shawnee County Historical Society Bulletins, he works hard to document and record Topeka history for future generations. He is generous with his vast knowledge of Topeka history and helps relative newcomers like me understand more of the ‘why’ and not just the ‘what’ of the event or the significance of the person under discussion. He gets that context is important and tries to convey that as well as the pertinent details.” A native to the area, Wallace comes from a family that has been part of the Topeka community for more than 100 years, with strong ties to city institutions such as Union Pacific, Santa Fe Railroad and Kansas Power and Light. He graduated from Topeka High School, then headed off to study education and history at the University of Kansas before returning to Topeka, where he became a driving force behind the Topeka High School Alumni Association and many historic preservation initiatives there. Though he enjoys talking about most any incident in local history, Wallace becomes particularly animated when he discusses architectural styles found in the city. “I love [Charles] Rennie Mackintosh design; that is actually late 19th century but the Art Nouveau, merging into Art Deco. The Craftsman era. I don’t like the severity of Bauhaus. And of course he was a master of the first order and impractical as hell, but you can’t help but love Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie Style. I love early George Elmslie and the other early Chicago style, Louis Sullivan.” In Wallace’s opinion, good proportions are what make a building pleasant. So it is a particular delight to this loyal son of THS that his school hit the mark with its 1931 Gothic masterpiece included on the National Register of Historic Places: “One of the buildings that has proportions right is Topeka High School. They got it right.”

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Winter ’ 13

But that doesn’t mean Wallace is biased toward THS when it comes to historical significance. “I think it is wrong to say that I have a favorite building. I think what you say is that you have structures that are important aesthetically, architecturally, historically, and have different meanings at different times. Obviously, it is an important building to me. I think that it is an important building to Topeka. It was an expression of when it was built, it spoke of its era and is set in that backdrop.” But Wallace doesn’t always give such glowing assessments. He loves Topeka’s history, but will readily note that the city has had a tendency over the years to favor demolition over preservation. “We had a George Elmslie building in Topeka, but of course we tore it down—at Sixth and Kansas, the old Capitol Federal Building.” And he doesn’t mind if his assessment of what should be preserved and how it should be preserved ruffles any feathers. “It is very easy to take a good building and make it bad. And I don’t really care,” says Wallace. “The optimist is the one who says the glass is half full; the pessimist says that the glass is half empty. I am the one who says: ‘Now look, you bloody idiot, the damn glass is totally empty!’ I love the role of a curmudgeon. Curmudgeons are fun. I hope that everyone thinks of me as being a curmudgeon. That is the role that I am trying to be.” Keep trying, Mr. Curmudgeon. Fellow historians such as Don Chubb—who was tapped to pen Topeka’s official history on the city website—say Wallace might project a rough exterior, but he’s a dedicated, and rather warm-hearted, historian to the core. “Topeka history really is fun, but Doug is one of the few people who has actually realized this, and had the talent to share it with the rest of us,” says Chubb. “We are grateful to have a curmudgeon who isn’t so curmudgeonly.”


Doug Wallace on three common misperceptions about Topeka history

one

Mr. Mayor, the First: “One thing you always hear is that Cyrus K. Holliday was the first mayor of Topeka. Loring Farnsworth was the first mayor. Holliday was the third.”

two

THS claim to fame: “You often hear that Topeka High School was the first milliondollar high school in the United States, or at least west of the Mississippi. Not either one. Topeka High was not even the first milliondollar high school in Kansas. It was Wichita North—it opened two years before. It opened in ’29, Topeka High opened in ’31.”

Topeka’s connection

to Camelot and comic-book legend “Every Tuesday, my father would go down to the city newsstand and buy the New York Daily Mirror, the Daily News, and the Chicago paper for the Sunday comics,” recalls Wallace. “I remember comics such as Mandrake the Magician and Prince Valiant. Hal Foster, the artist who did Prince Valiant, was really from Nova Scotia, but for whatever reason he made it to Topeka and was living here, in the midto late-1930s, when he came up with this idea for a new strip. I heard this back in the late 1980s, when I was taking some Topeka High reunion-goers on a tour of the building and I heard some older men—1938 was their year—talking among themselves about: ‘Do you remember how we used to after school go to that artist’s and one day he said, “Hey fellas, I’ve got this idea for a new comic strip”?’ And he showed it to them and they said that was Prince Valiant. That was in the 1400 block of Western. A little-known fact—the Prince Valiant strip was created here in Topeka. You could almost call it one of the first graphic novels, because it was a continuous storyline about what was happening to Prince Valiant, King Arthur and others.”

Setting the record straight … three “Topeka” means: “There have been a couple competing theories about what the name Topeka means. The first one is probably the best known and the most popular: that the word Topeka is from native origin, meaning ‘a good place to dig for potatoes.’ Another, the minority view refers to ‘noisy people.’ The most important part of this story is that the founders of Topeka were told stories and they thought that it meant ‘a good place to dig potatoes.’ They named it that way because they thought that people called this area by that name.

What is really the mystery is when they named the settlement Topeka. [Frye] Giles in his history of Topeka that he wrote in 1886, says that he first heard of the word on January 2, 1855, when the early

settlers had already been here almost a month. He heard the word from a Congregational minister, S.Y. Lum. However, Cyrus K. Holliday, writing a letter to his wife back home in Pennsylvania, dates it December 17, 1854—just two weeks after the town founding. And at the top, he dates it ‘Topeka, KT’ (Kansas Territory), so Holliday had heard of it two or three weeks before Giles, who said that everyone liked that there were three syllables and that each syllable began with a hard consonant and ended with a vowel. The phonic appealed. The mystery is who first came up with the idea: Is it Lum, as said by Frye Giles or Holliday in the letter to his wife? Or was it some French guy, decades earlier, who interpreted it from the native language and passed it on?”

Primary Sources Many consider Witness of the Times: A History of Shawnee County, the 1976 historical overview by Roy Bird and Doug Wallace, to be the most readable and definitive account of local history, but Wallace recommends a series of primary resources for those interested in delving more deeply. William G. Cutler’s History of the State of Kansas: Shawnee County (A.T. Andreas, Chicago, 1883): “If you are interested in Kansas, Topeka, Shawnee County, at some point you are going to have to look this up,” says Wallace. “There are others, but this may be the closest thing to a bible of this period. What you have here you won’t find in other places. This describes at length. It goes into detail. It is one of the original sources with extensive quotes and early documents.” James L. King’s History of Shawnee County, Kansas, and Representative Citizens (Richard and Arnold, Chicago, 1905): “This contains miles of prominent citizens, not everyone you want to know, but private citizens,” says Wallace. Sanborn Insurance Maps: Going back to 1883, the Sanborn maps were created to assess fire insurance liability. These maps include outlines of buildings and outbuildings. “To update them they would take the books and put little slips to show the new buildings or additions and paste them on,” says Wallace. “The different colors mean different things— pink means brick, yellow is stucco…. The problem with the early ones is that they only do a portion of town.”

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Winter ’ 13

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Story by Melinda Briscoe

Photography by Bill Stephens

The Hip-Hop Generation Four young musicians represent a coming of age for their musical sound

In the ’80s, hip-hop was associated with the East Coast. In the ’90s, West Coast artists made names for themselves. The new millennium brought a new sound from Atlanta-based rappers, otherwise known as the “Dirty South.” Along the way, talented artists emerged throughout the nation, including in Topeka. Young and drawing from a variety of inspirations, they bring exuberance, ambition, and know-how to the microphone.

about the

20

writer TOPEKAMAGAZINE

Winter ’ 13

Self-described as a “mom, writer, thinker and occasional bum,” Melinda Briscoe is a freelancer who also works a 9-5 for the government.


Antoni Hill / Ex-O Anyone who thinks musicians cannot also be aspiring businessmen has not met Antoni Hill. Originally from Atlanta, Hill moved to Topeka when he was a kindergartner. Just a few years later, when he was 9, a relative got him interested in music and opened a new way of life to him. “When I was a kid I was doing the street-life thing, getting into trouble here and there. But I always wanted to find a way out of that life,” says Hill. “Once I really started taking music seriously I decided to go to college. I took business classes to learn as much about the industry as possible.” For Hill, business advances music and music advances life. “Music, and in particular hiphop, is a way for people to make business for themselves. It’s also a way to express anger or love or peace. It’s a gift from God.” Unlike many young musicians who hope to get signed by a major label, Hill—who performs and releases music as Ex-O— wants to go the opposite route. “I aspire to be an unsigned, independent artist. And I want to be based locally.” Hill is realistic about his goals. “We come from a little town, so in order to be heard you really have to take this art seriously.” And for Hill, performing is the key to perfecting his gift. “It takes a lot of courage to go out on stage and do a show. It’s a possibility you could be booed off stage. But if that happens, you just have to get back up, keep going. Next time you’re on that stage—rock the joint!”

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Winter ’ 13

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Bobby L. Wilson III / Yung Mane Bobby Wilson’s childhood wasn’t the smoothest of journeys. Orphaned at a young age, he was then sent to live with a succession of relatives, from Kansas to Kentucky to Chicago and back to Kansas again. In Topeka, he started out at Topeka West High School but graduated from Hope Street Academy. “Things were a little rough at times, but I’m glad I stuck in there until I graduated,” says Wilson. To Kansas hip-hop aficionados, Wilson is better known as “Yung Mane.” You would be hard pressed to meet anyone on the scene in this state who hasn’t either worked with him, heard his music or seen him perform. In addition to Topeka, Wilson has had shows in Junction City, Salina, Manhattan and Lawrence. He also has worked closely with artists, DJs and producers from the Kansas City and Wichita areas. “I enjoy traveling around the state and working with a variety of people because I learn a lot from them. To see them perform and hear their music, I think we all have something to learn from each other.” For Wilson, music is not only about inspiration, but teamwork and professionalism as well. “I like the way music brings people together. Of course, you can be a performer or a DJ, but there are also other ways to play a part. People can get into the production aspect. Hip-hop will always need beat-makers. And even in the area of promotion, there’s always something for someone to do. Music keeps folks productive, and it gives you a gratifying sense that you are a part of a team.”

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Brandon Evans / Bizzy “Pedro Bizz Juanjulio,” or “Bizzy,” is Brandon Evans’ stage name, but it can also be used to describe his life. When he’s not writing, recording or performing his music, Evans is a paraprofessional at Williams Elementary school, runs a K-5 after-school program with the YWCA, counsels and helps organize community food, clothing and toy drives. Growing up, Evans listened to a variety of genres. “I would hear my mother playing gospel music at home, then I would go spend the weekend with my father and he had all these great rap albums I’d listen to. Then during the week at school, I’d hear my classmates playing Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears,” says Evans. His performances as Pedro Bizz Juanjulio are purely rap and hip-hop, but Evans gives credit to anyone who makes a mark with their music. “I like recording artists who paint pictures with their songwriting. I love a song that touches something inside of you that makes it feel like it was written for you.” Evans separates his professional life as an educator and his performance persona, but he says both serve the same goal: “I think music helps bring the community together as a whole. People get out of the streets because of music. People don’t go through with suicide because of music. Music can be truly life-saving. Music has the power to heal.”

Phillip Watson / Brail Phillip Watson came by his nom du plume accidentally. “I wrote a rhyme when I was younger. It went: ‘They know I’ll never fail, so they gotta kill me/ My brothers call me braille, ’cause you gotta feel me.’ It stuck.” Watson was raised primarily on gospel, R&B and classical music, and he is a musician in the traditional sense. He has participated in both vocal and cello ensembles since he was in elementary school. “I consider myself more of a musician than anything. Before I rapped, I did poetry. And before I wrote poetry, I made music,” says Watson. While at Topeka West, he was involved in the music program and became a charter participant in the mentoring program. “I’ve always tried to put my energies into projects that are going to be impactful,” says Watson. And that emphasis on positive change includes his music. “Sometimes rap music has a stigma associated with it,” he says. “But I believe, like any other genre of music, rap can be used as a tool. It’s a craft. I use it to get the word out. Many of my stories do have more of a Christian base to them. I like to relay a Christlike message to people through my music. Music helps people who can’t understand each other understand one another. And I think rap specifically can relay stories which people can relate to.”

TOPEKAMAGAZINE

Winter ’ 13

23


Despite setbacks, the cobbler is still served warm and fresh in Tonya Brown’s kitchen

Story by Linda A. Thompson-Ditch

Photography by Bill Stephens

Cooking by Faith

about the

24

writer TOPEKAMAGAZINE

Winter ’ 13

Linda A. Thompson-Ditch’s love for food dates back to times spent watching her grandmother cook in her farmhouse kitchen. A freelance writer for almost two decades, her work has appeared in the Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, Taste for Life, Better Nutrition, Manhattan Magazine, Shawnee Magazine, and Cat Fancy.


Is thatinsmile you?

T

he smell of cinnamon, nutmeg and peaches slowly seeps from the cobbler in Tonya Brown’s oven. The aroma evokes the personality of the chef— warm, inviting, pleasant and joyful. It’s a friendly cheeriness always on display, be it in the kitchen, on the street or at the Kansas State Capitol’s Tour Center, where Brown is a regular volunteer and sends visitors on their way with wishes of “a blessed day.” And though few, if any, of those visitors might immediately notice, Brown achieves all of this having lost most of her sight to glaucoma in 2006. The vision in her left eye is totally gone. The right eye has minimal vision, and that could disappear any day. “It’s cloudy to me all of the time. I’m looking through a fog,” says Brown. “Most people think you either see or you don’t—that it’s black or white. But there is a gray area. I’m in that gray area.” The loss of sight topped a difficult 10 years for Brown, who used to live in Wichita and worked as the bone-marrow donor coordinator for both the American Red Cross and the National Marrow Donor Program. In 1997, her son, Quincy, died from leukemia at only 25 years old. A year later, her mother passed away. A few years afterwards, her marriage ended in divorce. Then came the glaucoma. The Services for the Blind in Wichita recommended Brown go to a rehab facility in Topeka, which is no longer in existence. She lived at the facility for a year to learn how to read in braille, manage daily living tasks, find a job, and get around the city without sight. One fear Brown had to overcome was cooking. Before glaucoma, she enjoyed making dishes for family and friends. Her triple-layer peach cobbler was Quincy’s favorite, a dessert she brought to all family gatherings. Once her sight failed, Brown had to adapt every step of her cooking and relearn how to prepare this dish. A closer look at Brown’s kitchen shows the tricks that help her navigate while cooking: The oven’s temperature dial has bump dots on 350 and 400 degrees. Her timer has raised bumps to show the different time increments. Ingredients are marked with braille or bump dots (though often Brown just smells a bottle to discern what’s in it). A liquid indicator beeps when a glass is full. Perhaps her best tools are her fingers, which allow her to “see” the correct measurements. “You’ve heard the scripture: ‘Walk by faith, not by sight’?” asks Brown. “I thought I understood that, but since I’ve come into the blindness, my cane reminds me of that scripture. Because that’s what I’m doing, both physically and spiritually.” And her advice for the kitchen applies equally well to life: “Whatever one’s challenge is, stay encouraged. This is a blessed and interesting journey.”

Opposite Tonya Brown shows the peach cobbler that she prepared in her home kitchen.

25

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recipe:

Tonya Brown’s TripleLayer Peach Cobbler Preparation time 45-60 mins. approx. Feeds Six to eight Ingredients: 4 large (29-ounce) cans sliced peaches in heavy syrup 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1 teaspoon nutmeg Dash of salt 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 1/2 cup granulated sugar Butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray, for baking dish 3 9-inch pie crusts for 9-inch, deep-dish pie pan, or 4 9-inch pie crusts for a deeper baking dish (Tonya Brown uses frozen 9-inch pie crusts that are removed from the foil pie pan and allowed to thaw in the refrigerator) 3 tablespoons butter, melted instructions: 1) Pour the cans of peaches, with syrup, into a large saucepan. Over medium-high heat, bring the peaches to a simmer. Lower the heat and allow the peaches to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes so they break down and the syrup thickens. Use a spoon to help the peaches break into smaller pieces. 2) Add the butter to the peaches and stir until melted. Add the spices, flavorings and sugar, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat and set the peach mixture aside. 3) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom and sides of the baking dish with nonstick spray. 4) Remove the pie crusts from the refrigerator. Lay one crust into the bottom of the baking dish, making sure to cover the entire surface. Brush the crust with melted butter. 5) Pour in a layer of the peach mixture, approximately 2 cups. (Use a slotted spoon to get more peaches than juice.) 6) Repeat steps 4 and 5 until the last crust is on top. (You may not use all of the peaches. Save the leftovers to serve with the finished cobbler or over vanilla ice cream.) Brush the top crust with the remaining butter and sprinkle with a little cinnamon. 7) Bake the cobbler for 50 to 60 minutes, until the top is brown and the juices bubble over the top. Remove the cobbler from the oven and allow it to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

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TOPEKAMAGAZINE

Winter ’ 13


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S

The city’s new transport director has stepped on for the ride and reserved a seat for Topeka

Story by Karen Ridder

Back on the bus

usan Duffy had ridden the bus. When she was younger, and her car was less reliable, Duffy remembered frequently riding the Topeka buses. Then, her kids used to take the bus home from Topeka High. But like many Topekans, she had, over the years, deferred to the convenience of her car. It had been a while since she rode regularly. So after Duffy applied for the position of Topeka Metropolitan Transit Authority general manager in May 2012, she stepped back on the bus after work, on days off—basically any time she could find. She ended up riding every route in the transit system. What she saw was a snapshot of life: people from different backgrounds going to different places, but building a small community along the way. She says these trips made her realize how extremely important and valuable the Topeka Metro—which provides approximately 1.2 million rides a year—was to the city. “It became clear we are connecting people to their lives. That’s what we do. We’re not hauling freight. We are an essential part of their lives,” says Duffy. By the time she was offered the job in August of 2012, Duffy was prepared to come into the position with a goal of building on those connections and creating community

Photography by Jason Dailey

Susan Duffy

about the

writer

Karen Ridder visits many interesting events as a writer for various publications, including Topeka Magazine and the travel blog for the Kansas Department of Travel and Tourism. She and her husband have lived in Topeka for eight years and they have three young children.

TOPEKAMAGAZINE

Winter ’ 13

29


What’s new

with the bus? Expanded stops and pick-ups: The Topeka Metro began offering once-a-day pick-up for passengers who get off Amtrak to get to the Metro bus transfer station. Signs: New Metro signs replaced those that were 25 years old. Fare Boxes: There are new boxes for fare collection on all buses. Bus Shelters: Look for dozens of new busstop shelters to appear in the coming months. Googlization: A partnership with Google allows riders to plan routes and find out bus arrival times. Free Rides: Washburn faculty and students ride free in the 2013-2014 academic year. All kids were offered free rides last summer, which led to a tripling of rider numbers. Families have been offered free rides during Spring Break to local attractions. A new program also offers free rides to USD 501 classes for field-trip destinations along regular routes. Art: The Topeka Metro partnered with ArtsConnect to start offering a scheduled free shuttle on the First Friday Artwalk. Topeka Metro also allowed USD 501 high school students to create art benches at the bus stops near their schools. Books: Following the model of the Little Free Libraries dotted around town, buses have an area where riders can pick up reading material, magazines and books on a takeone-leave-one system.

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TOPEKAMAGAZINE

Winter ’ 13

partnerships to make them stronger. The first step was to strengthen the system’s No. 1 priority: to pick people up on time and deliver them safely. Duffy did this by having new fare boxes installed in the buses, building dozens of new bus-stop shelters in the city, and making ticket purchases easier for regular riders. Then, Duffy focused on the social aspect of the job, protecting the community developed by those regular riders and building a new base of people who are willing to ride. “We are not an isolated entity. We need to weave into the fabric of the city, where we are really a part of what’s going on,” says Duffy. Duffy sees riding the bus as a life skill. “We tell the kids, if you can learn to ride a bus in Topeka, Kansas, you can ride a bus anywhere,” she says. And if riders can learn to get on the bus, she believes, then the bus system has to learn to meet them and their needs halfway. “If we aren’t relevant to our community then we’re going to be like the dinosaur, and we have to be relevant in a lot of different ways. We need to think outside the box,” says Duffy. For Duffy, “outside of the box” can also mean “beyond the bus.” Among her list of future priorities are integrating the bus system into people’s plans for recreational cycling, commuting outside of Topeka for work and accessing safe pedestrian paths throughout the city. “We’re only one leg of the journey,” says Duffy. “We are talking about transportation in general. We want to be around the table not as an afterthought, but as a forethought.”

Bus Boss Bio Susan Duffy was born and raised in Wichita. The native Kansan came to Topeka more than 30 years ago when offered a governor’s fellowship—a program to identify and recruit talented graduate students into Kansas government positions. At the time, Duffy assumed she would eventually move back to Wichita, but she had found her niche in public service. She was hired on to work fulltime in the governor’s budget office, and ended up spending decades in state government, finishing with 10 years as executive director of the Kansas Corporation Commission. Now, in her post as general manager of the Topeka Metropolitan Transit Authority, this is the first time Duffy has worked for the local community, but her background in budgets helps her handle the nuts and bolts of what is a heavily regulated industry.


Pull-Out Guide

Arts Connect of Topeka

Larry Schwarm’s photograph “Burning Grass, Lyon County, Kansas—1994” will appear as part of the “Kansas Burns” exhibition, opening at The Alice C. Sabatini Gallery on the February 7 Artwalk. Photograph courtesy Larry Schwarm.

Official First Friday Artwalk Map and List of Participants

December-February


noto/north noto/north topeka topeka 1 Riverfront 9 Rewind Riverfront Station Station 802 | 802 N | 802 Kansas N Kansas9 Rewind Antiques Antiques | 840 N | 840 Kansas N Kansas

2

10 Robuck 10 Robuck 2 Days Two Two Monthly Days Monthly Market Market | 829 N | 829 Kansas N Kansas Jewelers Jewelers | 845 N | 845 Kansas N Kansas

3

11 Eclective 3 Rusty Rusty Haggles Haggles Antiques Antiques | 826 N | 826 Kansas N Kansas11 The The Eclective | 900 N | 900 Kansas N Kansas

4

4 4 Garage 4 Girls’ Girls’ Garage | 837 N| 837 Kansas N Kansas

12

12 Generations Generations Antiques Antiques | 918 N | 918 Kansas N Kansas

5

5 Studio Studio 831 | 831 N | 831 Kansas N Kansas

13

13 Yeldarb Yeldarb Gallery Gallery | 909 N | 909 Kansas N Kansas

6

6 Stonewall Stonewall Gallery Gallery | 826 N | 826 Kansas N Kansas

14

14 NOTO NOTO Arts Center Arts Center | 935 N | 935 Kansas N Kansas

7

7 Vintage Vintage Vibe |Vibe 833 N | 833 Kansas N Kansas

15

15 Trails Trails Gallery Gallery | 109 N | 109 Kansas N Kansas

8

8 Wolves Two Two Wolves StudioStudio & Den&| Den 837 1/2 | 837N1/2 Kansas N Kansas

1

1 Kansas Kansas Ave Market Ave Market | 628 S| 628 KS Ave S KS Ave

9

2

2 Bottega Bottega 235 | 235 7th &| 7th Qunicy, & Qunicy, 3rd Floor 3rd Floor

10

3

3 Constitution Constitution Hall | Hall 429 S| 429 KS Ave S KS Ave

11

Your Your support support counts! counts! WeWe thank thank thethe follo f businesses businesses for for their their ongoing ongoing support suppor of ARTSConnect ARTSConnect - it -isitwith is with their their support suppot 9 Prairie Prairie Glass Glass StudioStudio | 110 SE | 110 8thSEAve 8th Ave continue continue working working to make to make Topeka Topeka a gre a 10 Upstage Upstage Gallery Gallery | 720 Jackson | 720 Jackson Ave Ave 5 town! town! Please Please joinjoin them them in supporting in supportin u 11 Warehouse (Closed Warehouse 414 | 414 SE | 414 2ndSESt2nd St for January artwalk)

4

4 Boho Boho Mojo Mojo | 728 S| 728 KS Ave S KS Ave

12

12 Ramada Ramada | 420 SE | 420 6thSE 6th

5

5 Cloister Cloister Gallery Gallery | 701 SW | 7018thSWSt8th St

13

13 Swinnen Swinnen and Assoc and Assoc | 921 S| 921 Topeka S Topeka Blvd. Blvd.

6

6 Black Black Door Gallery Door Gallery | 913 S| 913 Ks Ave S Ks Ave

14

14 Block H&R H&R Block | 726 S| 726 KS Ave S KS Ave

7

7 Merchant The The Merchant | 913 S| 913 KS Ave S KS Ave

15

15 Wolfe’s Wolfe’s Camera Camera | 635 S| 635 KS Ave S KS Ave

8

8 NexLynx NexLynx | 123 SW | 1236thSWAve 6th Ave

16

16 Capitol Capitol Federal Federal | 700 S| 700 KS Ave S KS Ave

6 7

HUNTOON

1

4

7

3

2

westboro/midtown westboro/midtown 1 C. Alice Alice Sabatini C. Sabatini Gallery Gallery | 1515| 1515 SW 10th SWAve 10th Ave

2

2 Beauchamp’s Beauchamp’s Frameshop Frameshop & Gallery & Gallery | 3113| 3113 SW Huntoon SW Huntoon

3

3 Collective Collective Art Gallery Art Gallery | 3121| 3121 SW Huntoon SW Huntoon

4

4 Edward Edward JonesJones | 3100| 3100 SW Huntoon SW Huntoon

5

5 Legacy Legacy Community Community Art Center Art Center | 1315| 1315 SW 6thSW 6th

6

6 Mulvane Mulvane Art Museum Art Museum | 1700| 1700 SW Jewell SW Jewell

7

7 Soho Soho Interiors Interiors | 3129| 3129 SW Huntoon SW Huntoon St St

8

8 Topeka Topeka High School High School | 800 SW | 80010th SW St 10th St

9

9 Cafe PT’s PT’sCollege Cafe College Hill | 1635 Hill | 1635 SW 17th SWAve 17th Ave

10

10 Cafe Boca Boca Cafe | 1414| 1414 SW 16th SW Street 16th Street

SHAWNEE SHAWNEE LAKE LAKE

1

1 Topeka Topeka Art Guild Art Guild | 5331| 5331 SW 22nd SW 22nd Place Place

2

2 Colorfields Colorfields | 6826| 6826 SE Stubbs SE Stubbs Rd (Berryton) Rd (Berryton)

3

3 Paint Paint Therapy Therapy Uncorked Uncorked | 5130| 5130 SW 29th SW St 29th St

4

4 Toy The TheStore Toy Store | 5300| 5300 SW 21st SWSt21st St

5

5 Hookah Hookah HouseHouse | 1507| SW 1507 21st SW 21st

6

6 Southwind Southwind Gallery Gallery | 3074| 3074 SW 29th SW St 29th St

7

7 Prairie Prairie Meadow Meadow Greenhouse Greenhouse | 7321| 7321 SE 45th SE Street 45th Street

First First Friday Friday ArtArt Walk Walk Shuttle Shuttle Schedule Schedule 1 1 2 2

7

3 3

4 4

5 5 6 6 7 7

9

8

17TH

4 1

GAGE BLVD

1

10

surrounding surrounding

2

7

6TH

RN

Pull-Out Guide

downtown downtown topeka topeka

2

First Frid artwalk m We We Applau Appla Our OurPartne Partn GAGE BLVD

TNRESETTREET

1

6

6

5

29TH

3

DEC

21ST

6

JAN

3

FEB

7

Warehouse Warehouse Downtown DowntownGraceGrace NOTONOTO 414 414 8th &8th KS & KS Cathedral Cathedral Swinnen Swinnen TSCPLTSCPL Westboro Westboro 5:30 5:30 5:35 5:35 5:40 5:40 5:45 5:45 5:48 5:48 5:55 5:55 6:05 6:05 5:45 5:45 5:50 5:50 5:55 5:55 6:00 6:00 6:03 6:03 6:10 6:10 6:20 6:20 6:00 6:00 6:05 6:05 6:10 6:10 6:15 6:15 6:18 6:18 6:25 6:25 6:35 6:35 6:15 6:15 6:20 6:20 6:25 6:25 6:30 6:30 6:33 6:33 6:40 6:40 6:50 6:50 6:30 6:30 6:35 6:35 6:40 6:40 6:45 6:45 6:48 6:48 6:55 6:55 7:05 7:05 6:45 6:45 6:50 6:50 6:55 6:55 7:00 7:00 7:03 7:03 7:10 7:10 7:20 7:20 7:00 7:00 7:05 7:05 7:10 7:10 7:15 7:15 7:18 7:18 7:25 7:25 7:35 7:35 7:15 7:15 7:20 7:20 7:25 7:25 7:30 7:30 7:33 7:33 7:40 7:40 7:50 7:50 7:30 7:30 7:35 7:35 7:40 7:40 7:45 7:45 7:48 7:48 7:55 7:55 8:05 8:05 7:45 7:45 7:50 7:50 7:55 7:55 8:00 8:00 8:03 8:03 8:10 8:10 8:20 8:20 8:00 8:00 8:05 8:05 8:10 8:10 8:15 8:15 8:18 8:18 8:25 8:25 8:35 8:35 8:15 8:15 8:20 8:20 8:25 8:25 8:30 8:30 8:33 8:33 8:40 8:40 8:50 8:50 NOTE: Warehouse NOTE: Warehouse 414 will414 not will participate not participate in the January in the January artwalk artwalk * Times *subject Times subject to change to change

TopekaTopeka Metro shuttle Metro shuttle buses will buses begin will at begin NOTO at at NOTO 5:30atp.m. 5:30 and p.m. will and follow will follow the the schedule schedule shownshown above above with a with new shuttle a new shuttle arrivingarriving every 15 every minutes. 15 minutes. The final Theshuttle final shuttle will leave willNOTO leave at NOTO 8:15atp.m. 8:15 arriving p.m. arriving at Westboro at Westboro Mart atMart 8:50atp.m. 8:50 p.m.

(785) 249-6329 Support Support Topeka’s Topeka’s artart co Sun - Tues by appt

- Fri 10am - 6pm Donate Donate at:Wed at: www.artsconnecttope www.artsconnectt Sat - 9am to 5pm


noto/north topeka

14

map

STREET

1

12

13

11

10 9

8 4 5 3 6 2

AVE

Riverfront Station 802 | 802 N Kansas

9

Rewind Antiques | 840 N Kansas

2

Two Days Monthly Market | 829 N Kansas

10

Robuck Jewelers | 845 N Kansas

3

Rusty Haggles Antiques | 826 N Kansas

11

The Eclective | 900 N Kansas

4

4 Girls’ Garage | 837 N Kansas

12

Generations Antiques | 918 N Kansas

5

Studio 831 | 831 N Kansas

13

Yeldarb Gallery | 909 N Kansas

6

Stonewall Gallery | 826 N Kansas

14

NOTO Arts Center | 935 N Kansas

7

Vintage Vibe | 833 N Kansas

15

Trails Gallery | 109 N Kansas

8

Two Wolves Studio & Den | 837 1/2 N Kansas

downtown topeka

7

KANSAS

1

1

15

1

Kansas Ave Market | 628 S KS Ave

9

Prairie Glass Studio | 110 SE 8th Ave

2

Bottega 235 | 7th & Qunicy, 3rd Floor

10

Upstage Gallery | 720 Jackson Ave

3

Constitution Hall | 429 S KS Ave

11

Warehouse 414 | 414 SE 2nd St

4

Boho Mojo | 728 S KS Ave

12

Ramada | 420 SE 6th

5

Cloister Gallery | 701 SW 8th St

13

Swinnen and Assoc | 921 S Topeka Blvd.

6

Black Door Gallery | 913 S Ks Ave

14

H&R Block | 726 S KS Ave

7

The Merchant | 913 S KS Ave

15

Wolfe’s Camera | 635 S KS Ave

8

NexLynx | 123 SW 6th Ave

16

Capitol Federal | 700 S KS Ave

We Our Pull-Out Guide

day

GORDON

Your support c businesses for ARTSConnect continue work town! Please j

westboro/midtown

5

13

1 12 16 4 14 9 2 3

11 2

1

Alice C. Sabatini Gallery | 1515 SW 10th Ave

2

Beauchamp’s Frameshop & Gallery | 3113 SW Huntoon

3

Collective Art Gallery | 3121 SW Huntoon

4

Edward Jones | 3100 SW Huntoon

5

Legacy Community Art Center | 1315 SW 6th

The Collective Art Gallery

For Great Fine Art

6TH

6

Mulvane Art Museum | 1700 SW Jewell

7

Soho Interiors | 3129 SW Huntoon St

9

PT’s Cafe College Hill | 1635 SW 17th Ave

Art Restoration & | 800 Repair 8 Topeka High School SW 10th St

10

KANSAS

6 7

3 15

AVE

4

TOPEKA

8

5

BLVD

WASHB

8

Fine Art Since 1987 Join us on the First Friday Art Walk! (and during our regular business hours)

10 Boca Cafe | 1414 SW 16th Street 3113 SW Huntoon (In surrounding the Westboro Mart)

10TH

1

Wednesday-Friday 12-5 Saturday 10-3 We’re On Facebook! 3121 SW Huntoon, Topeka, KS 66604 785-234-4254

Topeka Art Guild | 5331 SW 22nd Place

Colorfields | 6826 SE Stubbs Rd (Berryton) 785-233-0300 Paint Therapy Uncorked | 5130 SW 29th St 2 3

beauchampsart@cox.net 4 The Toy Store | 5300 SW 21st St

SHAWNEE

CALIFORNIA

LAKE

TOPEKA!

1

Join us for first fridays! dec 6 • Jan 3 • feb 7 • March 7

Prairie Meadow Greenhouse | 7321 SE 45th Street

2

NOTO 5:30 5:45 6:00 6:15 6:30 6:45 7:00 7:15 7:30 7:45 8:00 8:15

3

Warehouse Downtown 414 8th & KS 5:35 5:40 5:50 5:55 6:05 6:10 6:20 6:25 6:35 6:40 6:50 6:55 7:05 7:10 7:20 7:25 7:35 7:40 7:50 7:55 8:05 8:10 8:20 8:25

4

5

Grace Cathedral Swinnen 5:45 5:48 6:00 6:03 6:15 6:18 6:30 6:33 6:45 6:48 7:00 7:03 7:15 7:18 7:30 7:33 7:45 7:48 8:00 8:03 8:15 8:18 8:30 8:33

Attorneys at Law

7

artsconnecttopeka.org

Southwind Gallery | 3074 SW 29th St

7

SWINNEN & ASSOCIATES

2

complete exhibit information available at

Hookah House | 1507 SW 21st

6

First Friday Art Walk Shuttle Schedule

21ST 29TH

5

921 SW Topeka Boulevard Topeka, Kansas 66612 NOTE: Warehouse 414 will not participate in the January artwalk

6

7

TSCPL 5:55 6:10 6:25 6:40 6:55 7:10 7:25 7:40 7:55 8:10 8:25 8:40

Westboro 6:05 6:20 6:35 6:50 7:05 7:20 7:35 7:50 8:05 8:20 8:35 8:50

* Times subject to change

(785) 272-4878 (HURT) Topeka Metro shuttle buses will begin at NOTO at 5:30 p.m. and will follow the

schedule shown above with a new shuttle arriving every 15 minutes. The final shuttle will leave NOTO at 8:15 p.m. arriving at Westboro Mart at 8:50 p.m.

Supp

Donate


Pull-Out Guide James Pringle Cook’s Thunderstorm, ’08, No. 1, 60”x50” oil on linen. The James Pringle Cook solo show at SouthWind Art Gallery opens for the January 3 Artwalk.


What’s Happening in

december Music for a Sunday Afternoon Series The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library presents its Music for a Sunday Afternoon series. This popular, free program is scheduled and organized by Mark Rustman, the library’s musical specialist for the past 25 years. The series began in the 1970s when Friends of the Library purchased a seven-foot Steinway Grand Piano. The programs were once exclusively classical chamber music, but have grown to include different musical genres. “We added more concerts and invited a wider variety of performers,” says Rustman. “We have classical, jazz, folk, and for the first time, rock music concerts.” The program kicks off November 24 with a concert by guitarist Kelly Werts and then switches into holiday mode on December 15, as John Curry and his Tri-Percussion Ensemble beat out some festive favorites from 3-4 p.m.

Text by Karen Ridder

December 1 | Santa arrives by Union Pacific train for a day of children’s activities | Great Overland Station

December 10 | Mannheim Steamroller Christmas | Topeka Performing Arts Center

December 1-31 | Winter Wonderland drive-through holiday lighting display to benefit TARC | Lake Shawnee campground

December 14 | Street Corner Choir, folk music program | Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka

December 5-8 | Festival of Trees event | Kansas Expocentre Ag Hall December 6-7 | Holiday Open House for downtown merchants | Downtown Topeka December 6-7 | Old-Time Holiday Happenings, dinner in the mansion with entertainment in the vintage buildings | Old Prairie Town December 6-8 | Ballet Midwest presents The Nutcracker | Topeka Performing Arts Center December 6-15 | Jingle Arrgh the Way, a Christmas pirate adventure | Topeka Civic Theatre

December 14 | Children’s Christmas Shopping Spree, with gifts priced $10 and under | Garfield Community Center December 14 | Father Christmas at the Mulvane General store | Old Prairie Town December 14 | Free flashlight candy-cane hunt and s’mores with Santa | Crestview Community Center December 21-22 | Metropolitan Ballet of Topeka presents the Nutcracker | Topeka Performing Arts Center December 31 | Jim Brickman, the Magic of the New Year | Topeka Performing Arts Center

December 7 | Pancake breakfast, sing-a-long and pictures with Santa | Velma K. Paris Community Center December 7 | Old Fashioned Christmas Craft Fair and Bake Sale, featuring 50 booths of reasonably priced craft items | Crestview Community Center

TOPEKAMAGAZINE Photographs courtesy, from left, Topeka Magazine and TPAC.

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What’s Happening in

January (date TBA) | Tours of the Capitol Dome resume | Kansas Capitol (Statehouse)

january

January 3 (and the first Friday of each month in 2014) | First Friday Artwalk | for locations see map on pages 32-33.

Topeka-to-Auburn Half-Marathon Rain or shine, sleet or snow, the annual Topeka-to-Auburn Half-Marathon is set for January 18. The Sunflowers Striders Running Club hosts the event at a time of year when competitive racers have few other options in Kansas. “We feel like it gives a goal in midwinter to keep their fitness programs going,” explains club vice president Jared Durall. The event has become increasingly popular, drawing about 500 to 600 racers from across the country. Advance registration forms can be printed from the group’s website at sunflowerstriders. org or picked up at Garry Gribbles’ Running Sports.

January 3-4 | Laugh Lines Improv Comedy Show | Topeka Civic Theatre January 7-9 | Topeka Farm Show | Kansas Expocentre

January 23 | Elvis Lives! A tribute concert | Topeka Performing Arts Center January 24 | Harlem Globetrotters | Kansas Expocentre January 26 | Closing day for exhibit James Cook: The Painted Image | Mulvane Art Museum January 29 | All-day, free Kansas Day events for children | Kansas History Museum

January 17-February 8 | Kill Me Deadly (film noir comedy) | Topeka Civic Theatre

January 29 | Evening Kansas Day celebration with readings of pioneer accounts of settling the state | Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library

January 17 | Opening of special exhibit Speaking of Quilts: Voices from the Collection and the Community | Kansas History Museum

January 31 | Exhibit opening: Exodus, African-Americans Seek Freedom in Kansas 1879 – 1880 | Great Overland Station

January 18 | Capricious Genius, featuring Bach, Saint-Saens and Shostakovich, Topeka Symphony Orchestra | White Concert Hall

Text by Tonya Bell

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Photographs courtesy, from left, Kevin Gray, Sunflower Publishing and Harlem Globetrotters International.


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What’s Happening in

february Topeka Civic Theater marks 500 shows Topeka Civic Theatre brings Mel Brooks’ musical Young Frankenstein to celebrate its 500th production. Artistic Director Shannon Reilly says many arts organizations throughout the country struggle, but TCT has been sustained through 77 years thanks to strong community support. “The 500th show proves the validity of theater in the Midwest. TCT is what it is because this community has sustained our growth,” says Reilly. Opened in 1936, the theater now includes four regular performance companies in addition to a dinner theater. It is also a partner in managing the Helen Hocker Theater in Gage Park. TCT will be one of the first to perform the community theater version of Young Frankenstein, opening the show on February 28 and running it through March 29. Tickets go on sale February 11.

Text by Karen Ridder

February 1 | Polar Bear Plunge to benefit the Special Olympics of Kansas | Lake Shawnee Swim Beach

February 17 | Last day for Polar Ice Cap synthetic ice skating rink | Topeka Zoo

February 2 | The Senior Class Improv Comedy | Topeka Civic Theatre

February 21-23 | Arab Shrine Circus | Kansas Expocentre

February 7 | First Friday Artwalk | “Kansas Burns” exhibition opening at the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery will include Spring Burn, Flint Hills, Kansas by Jim Richardson February 7-9 | Topeka Boat and Outdoor Show | Kansas Expocentre Exhibition Hall February 8 | Susan Picking, folk music program | Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka February 14-16 | Kansas Garden Show | Kansas Expocentre

February 22 | Musical Greatness, Topeka Symphony Orchestra features Brahms and Mozart | White Concert Hall February 28 | The Spire Ensemble and Soloists with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra | Grace Episcopal Cathedral February 28-March 2 | Topeka Home Show | Kansas Expocentre February 28 | Opening of annual Kansas Silent Film Festival | White Concert Hall

February 14-15 | Laugh Lines Improv Comedy | Topeka Civic Theatre February 16 | Music for a Sunday Afternoon series presents “Invisible Bike.” The library’s first rock band concert | Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library

Photographs courtesy, clockwise from left, Nathan Ham Photography, Shutterstock, Jim Richardson Photography and Invisible Bike.

TOPEKAMAGAZINE

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Warm entry Candle lighting and a collection of Santas from the 1940s and ’50s line a buffet in the entry. Two adorable furry elves, Sadie and Mia, act as greeters. Beyond the foyer, the visitor catches the glow of a fireplace dancing on the walls of the living room.

Photography by Bill Stephens

The Winter home offers Christmas nostalgia for all to share

E

Story by Debra Guiou Stufflebean

Home Tour with Mit & Susan

veryone loves going home for the holidays. And when that home is the house of Mit and Susan Winter, even outside guests can delight in the family’s celebration of childhood traditions and treasured memories. It is a magical scene created each year as the Winters drag out boxes and boxes of cherished collectibles that have been gingerly stored away. “There’s only room to put up about one-third of what Susan has inherited or collected,” says Mit, “so not everything gets put out each year.” Susan readily admits, “I’m very sentimental, and Mit wouldn’t have it any other way.” The result? Their home is a feast for the eyes. Both Susan and Mit are native Kansans. Susan was born in Salina, but at 6 weeks old, she moved to Topeka. Mit was born and raised in Lawrence. The Winters built their home in 1987. A saltbox with naturally weathered siding, it has a timeless, rustic appearance. A simple wreath and large lanterns draw the eyes to the red front door, creating an expectation that visitors will find an old-fashioned atmosphere within. The warmth that greets you does not disappoint.

about the

writer

Debra Guiou Stufflebean is the author of four novels and the director of the Shepherd’s Center of Topeka. She and her husband, Mike, live in the College Hill neighborhood with their four dogs and can be found cheering at their grandchildren’s ballgames.

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Vintage tree Standing opposite the living-room fireplace is a large tree laden with retro‘50s ornaments, many of which are from Susan’s childhood. As the oldest of five, she takes seriously her role of keeping family traditions alive, including what should go on the Christmas tree. Large, colored ball lights provide just the right backlighting for a game of “I Spy.” I spied “Snap, Crackle and Pop” dressed as elves; the German pickle that guarantees a gift to the first child who sees it; plastic Night Before Christmas Santa and reindeer; magic lanterns; starched doily stars; and, of course, a Rudolph ornament. Special to Susan are the ornaments she made using pictures of her former pets, the felt elf she made in 6th grade, and walnut-shell halves with a miniature Santa or an elf inside. Tucked below the tree branches are an assortment of period toys: dollhouses, hand-crank tops, baby dolls, teddy bears, storybooks and the classic Barbie and Ken. What toys she didn’t inherit came from flea markets and estate sales, but these are the same toys she played with as a child.

Clippo A “Clippo the Clown” doll catches the eye from its position on top of the dining room china closet. The vintage puppet was only produced in the late 1930s, and Susan says this Clippo belonged to her mother, Enid Ireland. “She tended to keep everything, but wasn’t particularly good about displaying anything,” says Susan. “We had no idea what treasures we’d find when Mother passed away in 2009.” Susan knows the marionette was a cherished gift, purchased and brought back from Chicago on a Pullman train by her grandfather, because she also has a letter her mother wrote to her “Nanma” excitedly describing Clippo in detail. “Some toys are too dear to put away,” says Susan, who leaves Clippo up year-round.

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Winter ’ 13

Gather ‘round Comfortable seating surrounds a glass-topped coffee table brimming with beads, bowls filled with antique Christmas balls, hand-made Santas and lighted tapers. People can easily engage in conversation while enjoying the fireplace and the decorated tree.


A member-driven orgAnizAtion thAt supports your community.

www.topekAchAmber.org / 785.234.2644 Table set for all

santa tradition

An exquisite vintage theme presides in the dining room. Matching wreaths hang in the windows, silver serving pieces glisten on the buffet, and children’s tea sets top the china closet. But not everything has to be vintage. Some new items blend very well with older pieces, which is why Susan uses pieces of mercury glass throughout the dining room. The long dining table seats 10 and is set with her grandmother’s Spode Cowslip pattern china. “Thanks to the magic of eBay, I now have 32 place settings,” says Susan, “so everyone feels special, even if they’re seated at a card table, when they come home for the holidays.”

The writing desk and back sofa table display family photos with Santa. “It was a tradition. We had to go get our pictures taken with Santa without fail,” says Susan. “One year, when I was a sophomore in high school, I took my girlfriend with me to see Santa at White Lakes mall, even though I’d been forbidden to drive due to icy road conditions. I wrecked my VW, but rather than call my Dad, I waited until after seeing Santa and then had the car towed. I got in trouble, but I still got my Santa photo!” She continued the tradition as a parent, and now as a grandparent. Her desk displays photos of her two sons, Mit and Sam, on Santa’s lap each year. She makes sure that grandchildren Mit, Harper and Grant sit on Santa’s lap each season, too.


Sometimes, the toughest subjects are the most important. Dealing with changes that occur as people age can be challenging for everyone involved. That’s why so many people count on us to help them understand retirement living and how it can help their loved one live a more fulfilled life. Taking the next step usually starts with a question. We welcome yours. Just ask. Call today for our free brochure. Together, we’ll find the answers.

Contact Marsha Anderson at 785.272.6510 for more information or to schedule a tour of the community.

4712 SW 6th Ave Topeka, Kansas 66606 www.topekapresbyterianmanor.org


Couple opens home to community for annual holiday charity tour

The Dicus home will be decorated by David Porterfield for this year’s CASA “Homes for the Holidays” tour.

Photography by Jason Dailey

Christmas

Story by Kim Gronniger

T

A Dicus

radition permeates the lives of John and Brenda Dicus professionally and personally, from their livelihood through Capitol Federal, where John is a third-generation president and chief executive officer, to the holiday customs they uphold. This November, they will be joining in a Topeka legacy by opening their home as an inspiration destination styled by David Porterfield for the CASA of Shawnee County “Homes for the Holidays Tour” to benefit abused and neglected children. The Dicuses’ spacious home, built in 1927, is a haven for their three daughters and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. It is also an entertaining space as relaxed and warm as the Dicuses themselves. With bookshelves, a grand piano and oversized chairs ideally situated for comfort and conversation, the living room sets the tone for the traditional décor that beckons throughout. The Dicuses bought this house, a 1990 ERC Designers’ Showhouse, in 1999, moving from just across the street in their Westboro neighborhood. “We had a great house before, and we weren’t thinking about moving, but when the owners asked us to see the house, we realized it had a lot of potential for us,” says Brenda. “This home has many nooks and crannies, and the extra space has been wonderful for our family.” Brenda’s favorite room is an addition designed by her brother-in-law, an architect in Omaha, that transformed a seldom-used, screened-in porch into an airy kitchen and living area that brings the family together for meals, movies and casual conversations year-round. “We lived here while the remodeling was going on, and while I think it was so worth it, John might tell you differently,” Brenda says, laughing. Another home-improvement project included reopening a wall adjacent to the living room that had been sealed off by the previous owner. The Dicuses used the same contractor, who fortuitously had kept the matching, intricately carved molding in his garage. “Since the beginning of our marriage, it’s been an evolutionary process of recovering and Brenda and John Dicus repositioning our favorite pieces and adding in new items,” says Brenda, who works with an interior-designer friend in Kansas City to score delightful finds like animal-print dining room chairs and add them into the mix of eclectic accessories.

about the

writer

Kim Gronniger kicks off the holidays with a three-movie marathon with her two children Thanksgiving Eve and is grateful for artificial Christmas trees, neighbors who string lights on their houses and Pillsbury cookie dough to create less-stress, less-mess, much-happier family memories.

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“My parents always had a warm home. Sometimes I think our home borders on clutter, but it’s important to me to have people feel comfortable when they are here,” she says. Brenda’s commitment to hospitality extends throughout the hectic holiday season. Each year, she places the main Christmas tree in the living room and begins the typically solitary task of trimming the tree. “I will never give up the dream that this will someday be a fun family event, but truly no one really wants to help me do it,” she says with a laugh and a shrug. “I’m always curious how other people make that happen.” She often fills the branches with matching ornaments, “even though the kids complain,” and sometimes sets up a second tree adorned with her daughters’ handmade creations and mementos collected through the years. Their oldest ornaments go back either to Brenda’s childhood or the couple’s first Christmas together. “Some friends hosted an ornament shower for us, so we were able to start off with quite a few pieces that I still use,” says Brenda. “My mom had a tiny box of things I’d made or she’d collected, but if we’d only had those when we got married we wouldn’t have had much on our first Christmas trees.” Another holiday focal point is the home’s entryway staircase, not only for its distinct curlicue railing that is decorated with garland, but because of a long-standing Christmas-morning tradition begun by the Dicus daughters as young children and continued through their teenage and adult years. “The girls sit on the stairs in their pajamas until we’re ready to go in the living room to open presents,” says Brenda. “They still yell at me to hurry while I’m getting my coffee, and I take their picture every year. It’s fun to see how they’ve changed, and it’s fun that they’ve continued to do this for us.”

All of the Dicus daughters participated in Nutcracker performances periodically through the years with Ellen, the eldest daughter, continuing through high school. These commitments, combined with middle daughter Emily’s out-of-town swim meets, often meant “December was chaos until Christmas week started,” recalls Brenda. “Then it was as if life stood still so we could all just enjoy being together, whether we were at home, or visiting relatives in Kansas City or Omaha, or traveling.” Growing up in Nebraska, Brenda and her three siblings enjoyed Christmas Eve soup suppers, something she continues with her own family when they spend Christmas in Topeka. She and John love having Ellen, who lives in New York City, and Emily, a junior at the University of Virginia, home not only for the holidays but whenever their schedules permit, to rejoin Laura, a junior at Topeka West High School (also John’s alma mater). Steeped in tradition, focused on family and committed to community, the Dicuses embody the same attributes associated with the cause for which they have opened their home. Just as Brenda’s tree-trimming fantasies fall far short of idealized holiday hype, she is acutely aware that, on a much more serious scale, children served through CASA of Shawnee County are enduring hardships no one should have to face at any time of year, especially without an experienced advocate. “Participating in the home tour is a way for us to give back to a heartwarming cause that helps kids who really need assistance,” says Brenda. “People who tour our home can get ideas from David for decorating for the holidays, but the real benefit is knowing that their money goes straight to CASA and the children they serve.”

about CASA of

Shawnee County Each year, more than 1,200 children are in foster care in Shawnee County. Because there are not enough CASA volunteers to represent all the children in care, judges often assign CASA volunteers to their most difficult cases. Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For more information about CASA and events such as the “Homes for the Holidays Tour,” visit www.casaofshawneecounty.com.

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by Jason D ailey Photography a Miller Fry

2525 Topeka Blvd., (785) 232-0772

Story by Anit

a cup and a dish

5222 17th St. (785) 783-2800

A special treat at Nib’s House of Coffee comes in the form of homemade sugar cookies decorated with seasonal themes. The cookie style is ever-changing, but the taste is always sweet. Popular among those who live north of the Kansas River, Nib’s is a family-room environment. Espresso drinks, pastries, breakfast items, and a lunch menu of soups (try the Chipotle corn soup), salads and sandwiches are mainstays. And don’t overlook the baked items like the muffins or large cinnamon rolls with cream-cheese frosting.

Anita Miller Fry discovers delightful combinations at Topeka coffee shops No matter what direction you head in Topeka, you’ll find a local coffee shop that will cater to your caffeine cravings and desire for a delectable dish. Topeka Magazine recently went on a coffee shop tour to find out just what Topekans seek to satisfy their palates. The result: lots of lattes, and specialty sweets and sandwiches.

Barrington Village, 5660 29th, (785) 273-4920 www.ptscoffee.com Additional location for PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. Cafe at College Hill, 1625 S.W. Washburn Ave., Suite A, (785) 408-5675 Tucked into the west side of Barrington Village shopping area at 29th and Arrowhead, the original PT’s coffee shop is a neighborhood gathering place. But don’t let the laid-back atmosphere of this intimate coffee shop fool you. Business is transacted here, and the muffins go fast. The most popular item on the menu is the no-bake cookies. Chicken salad sandwiches are also the bomb, complete with chicken, craisins and celery. You can have your sandwich served with or without bread if you have gluten intolerances or are watching your waistline. Of course, PT’s signature coffee is sold at this location, as well as at the newer, larger PT’s coffee shop near Washburn University. The university location also boasts hand-crafted coffee brews.

The breakfast pizza is a hot item on the menu at Hot Java in Topeka. One larger slice is enough for a filling breakfast. Piled on top of the pizza crust is gravy (biscuits and gravy-style), Potatoes O’Brien, bacon, sausage, eggs, chorizo, peppers, onions and cheese. The good news is if you are a late riser, breakfast is served all day. In addition to the breakfast pizza, another popular breakfast item is biscuits and gravy. Like many of Topeka’s coffee shops, Hot Java caters to the neighborhood crowd, with neighborly friendliness. When it comes to coffee at Hot Java, popular choices are the Java Frappe, a blended espresso with mocha, and the Java Macchiato, a caramel macchiato.

Inside Ice and Olives, 3627 29th St., Suite 105 (785) 215-8460, www.iceandolives.com Specialty lattes are the specialty at the Java Bar, a full-service coffee house that’s inside Ice and Olives, near Lake Shawnee at 29th and Croco Road. The lattes are special blends of flavors, with one popular concoction called “Good Night Moon” combining the tastes of caramel, hazelnut and Irish cream. Besides a wide selection of year-round and seasonal coffee flavors, Ice and Olives has a dine-in or carry-out menu of sandwiches, soups and salads. One sandwich of choice is the Cuban Panini, with ham, corned beef, aged Swiss, mustard and pickles.

about the

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writer TOPEKAMAGAZINE

Winter ’ 13

Anita Miller Fry is no stranger to Topeka and Topekans. She has been writing about them for many years. Even so, she still finds there is much to discover about her hometown.


4010 Huntoon (785) 228-2001 juliscoffeeandbistro.com Additional location: Inside West Ridge Mall at 1801 Wanamaker Juli’s evokes the feeling of sitting in your mother’s kitchen and being well taken care of. There’s a sort of home-sweet-home feeling at the original Juli’s location on Huntoon, almost as sweet as the pastries in the display case. And Fridays are especially sweet at Juli’s when cinnamon rolls are served with three-bean chili. Another Friday to mark on the calendar is the first Friday of the month, when homemade bierocks are served starting at 11 a.m.

4025 10th Ave., (785) 271-8188 BlackbirdEspressoBar.com The Turkish Fantasy, a toasted sourdough sandwich with smoked deli turkey, baby Swiss cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and ranch dressing, makes mouths water at Blackbird. It’s one of 13 gourmet sandwiches on the menu that also boasts breakfast, lunch and dinner food items along with specialty drinks. Cooler temperatures outside directly correspond to hot drinks becoming more popular with the Blackbird crowd. The caramel latte, white mocha and mocha espresso drinks top that list.

The conversations aren’t the only worldly happening at World Cup on 21st and Washburn. On the menu is international cuisine, of sorts: breakfast crepes, lunch crepes and dessert crepes. Serving this delectable dish of French origin, World Cup has a mini creperie that turns everything into a crepe. One favorite is the breakfast Veggie Lover’s crepe with spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and peppers, or its lunch counterpart, the Mediterranean Veggie, with spinach, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella and feta cheese. Along with the crepes, World Cup serves coffee and espresso drinks, smoothies and pastries.

722 S. Kansas Ave., (785) 232-1001, classicbean.com Also at 2125 Fairlawn Road in Fairlawn Plaza Locals know it simply as “The Bean,” and this establishment has been serving “beans” to coffee aficionados from its downtown location as well as a location in Fairlawn Plaza for a number of years. It also serves lots of lattes, giving guests nearly 50 flavors to choose from. Aside from the beverages, a popular item on the menu at The Bean is its Reubenstein. On toasted marble rye, this sandwich is filled with pastrami, sauerkraut, melted Swiss cheese, lettuce and a special Reuben sauce.

1501 21st St., (785) 354-1877, worldcupespresso.com

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features TOPEKAMAGAZINE

Winter ‘13

There are many headline names that might fit Marcus Oliveira: The Mayetta Mauler, The Topeka Tornado, The Haskell Hunk, The K.O. from Keshena, The Menominee Maimer ... really any combination of Oliveira’s rich background and incredible strength describes the professional boxer inside the ring. Outside the ring, his titles are more pedestrian: husband, mentor, worker, graduate, friend, etc. But these ordinary roles seem equally important for Oliveira in the path he has taken toward his next title: “Champ.” Suzanne Heck’s portrait of this local fighter in the international spotlight provides a candid and inspiring story. We hope that even if you’re not a boxing fan, this introduction to Marcus Oliveira will make you become one for as long as it takes him to bring home a title he so well deserves.

52 What He’s Got Marcus Oliveira changed his life through boxing. And now he’s eyeing a champion’s belt.

58 Cat perfection Beauty is born in the breed, but it takes the loving hands and hearts of devoted cat lovers to make a show cat look and feel like a champion

TOPEKAMAGAZINE Arriving before the gym doors open, Marcus Oliveira practices his boxing moves in the parking lot.

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52


Story by Suzanne Hec k Photog raphy by Jason Dailey

W h a t

H e ’ s

G o t

Marcus Oliveira c hanged his life through boxing. And now he’s eyeing a c hampion’s belt.

Marcus Oliveira—one of Kansas’ best-kept sporting secrets—is about to blow that secret apart, set to take on Germany’s Juergen Braehmer for the title of World Boxing Association Light Heavyweight Champion on December 14 in Neubrandenburg. Though Braehmer will have the home-country advantage, Oliveira is ranked above him. At 6 feet 1 inch and 175 pounds, the fighter from Mayetta with a pedigree of bouts and blows from Topeka gyms will enter the ring with a record of 25-0-1. It is certain Oliveira will bring excitement to the ring. His fights usually end in a flurry of early power-punch hits that drop his opponents to the floor. And, in the lead-up to his final blow, Oliveira smacks out a set of combination punches at a fast pace that is normally found in most middleweight fighters. It’s almost as if Oliveira has a third eye or sixth sense that flashes a signal to his brain and tells him when his competitor is vulnerable and when it’s time to go in and seal the deal. There is no doubt that Marcus Oliveira is a rising star in the professional boxing arena, which is remarkable in itself given just how far he has come. Oliveira, a member of the Menominee nation, was raised on the Menominee reservation in Keshena, Wisconsin, where he got hooked on boxing. As a young kid he used to watch the sport on television with his uncles, whom he idolized and who competed in local matches. By age 7, Oliveira frequented the boxing club in Keshena, imitating and improvising his own style as he grew.

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“Through trial and error I had to learn to fight properly,” Oliveira says, “and part of it was that I am not big in size. I was really a poor boxer until I learned through training to use my feet, dodge punches and balance correctly. That is why I tell aspiring fighters who want to learn to box in earnest to stick with it and don’t ever give up. Size is really not that important. It’s how you use your body and mind that determines what you’ve got.” Eventually, Oliveira would accumulate more than 250 amateur fights in the Golden Gloves league, but at times he was his worst enemy. A series of petty robberies and breakins on the reservation got him into trouble and led to him leaving Wisconsin to live in Kansas with an aunt before moving into a guardianship program. In Kansas, he would do jail time for providing information to friends who robbed a fast-food restaurant. This was one of the most difficult times for Oliveira—and he says it’s a period in his life that he references whenever he gives advice to young fans. “I tell kids not to get into that cycle—it’s extremely hard to get out of it. I push them not to even get into that situation; you don’t find many people coming out of prison and being successful. I heard it a lot growing up: You do better when you associate with a better crowd. But that’s true—it’s the little steps, associating yourself with good people.” Landing in good company is what Oliveira says helped him after he was released from jail and enrolled at Haskell Indian Nations University. It was while a student at the Lawrence-based university that he walked into an informal “Saturday Tough Man” fight held at the garage of fellow boxer and Haskell alumnus Erik Riley. “I looked at him and thought I could take him on,” recalls Riley, who is approximately the same height as Oliveira but with a considerable weight advantage. So they squared off. Within seconds, Oliveira blasted Riley with a series of punches, culminating in a right hook to the eye. “I didn’t even have time to close it,” recalls Riley. “I couldn’t shake it off, and everything was all double.” One of Riley’s buddies called off the match. Oliveira walked away with the prize money and Riley walked away with a new sparring partner. The two of them started training together at Topeka Golden Gloves gym and faced off in a rematch a few months after their first bout. “The second time I lasted about three rounds,” says Riley.

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“Through trial and error I had to learn to fight properly.” – Marcus Oliveira


But they kept training and sparring. “It was something I had been doing since age 7. You smell the same gym, the same leather, the same sweat. I was just sick of doing something since I was young,” says Oliveira. “But Erik talked me back into boxing.” More than 10 years later, Riley has become an award-winning Golden Gloves trainer, and he is largely responsible for helping Oliveira to go professional. By 2010, Oliveira signed on with Don King Productions and was also backed by Doug Ward’s Lenexa-based Underground Boxing. Ward says Oliveira’s transformation in the ring from a fighter to a world-class boxer mirrors his growth outside of it. “Boxing can give you a second chance. Marcus chose to turn his life around, and boxing—along with a very supportive wife—was his vehicle to do that. He sees kids looking up to him, and he can relate to those who are having tough times. That makes him the best kind of role model.” As a professional, Oliveira knocked out Ricky Torrez in the first round of a fight at Caracas, Venezuela, in October 2012. In January 2013, he won an 11-round knockout elimination bout hosted by Showtime Network. His most recent win was against Ryan Coyne (then 21-0) at Treasure Island in Las Vegas on April 12. Oliveira says he normally fights two to three professional matches a year and never knows exactly when his fights will occur. He schedules his regular fitness routines around full-time work and evenings that he reserves for his family. Preparing for a bout, Oliveira trains 6 to 7 hours a day a couple of months before the fight. His weekly routine includes workouts at United Martial Sciences in Topeka and at the Prairie Band Potawatomi Boys & Girls Club, where Cody Wilson of Tushka Training drills him through a series of strength conditioning exercises. Riley remains his primary coach and sparring partner. At 34, Oliveira is reaching the upper age range of professional boxers. But Riley and Ward say Oliveira’s defensive style and his unbeaten record will allow him to fight competitively for at least four more years. “I’ve never been in any big wars with boxers,” adds Oliveira. “I haven’t taken a lot of punishment. But I don’t like to predict things. It depends on my body, what my team and my wife think. That’s the thing with a good team, they know when you need to stop.” So far, there’s no stopping Oliveira. When he isn’t working or training, he shares his experience by giving motivational speeches at youth sports camps, as well as at the Boys & Girls Club on the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. If he wins the title, Oliveira still plans on continuing this work and returning to the reservation. “This is my home,” he says. “My fans and family are what keeps me going. I’d never make it without them.”

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cat

perfection Beauty is born in the breed, but it takes the loving hands and hearts of devoted cat lovers to make a show cat look and feel like a champion

Story by Kim Gronniger

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Photography by Jason Dailey

Sacerdosfele’s Orion is an Oriental shorthair owned by Murlene Priest and Amy Hanson.


On any given weekend, cat breeders across the country pack up their pampered pets and considerable paraphernalia to travel to competitions in hopes of winning top honors from discerning judges. Win or lose, this feline fascination has brought these three area cat connoisseurs joy, acclaim, friendship and purpose as they promote their respective breeds. Amy Hanson A small-animal veterinarian in Manhattan, Amy Hanson grew up on a farm with lots of cats. But she didn’t start showing breed cats until her husband surprised her with a breed-quality Siamese cat on her 30th birthday. Starting with Xerxes, named for a Persian king, Hanson made monthly sojourns to competitions across the country and in Canada. Hanson has also gone on to breed Maine Coon and Oriental Shorthair Siamese cats and is training to become a show judge. She has befriended Xerxes’ breeder, Murlene Priest, and the two have become business partners and travel companions. Together they cram Priest’s Tahoe with equipment rivaling a toddler’s trappings, including carriers, toys, litter boxes, grooming supplies, suitcases, beds and bottled water (in case a contender has a finicky reaction to local tap water). Just as Hanson thrills at “seeing all the different breeds out there” when she travels to shows, she also enjoys the people she meets “from all walks of life” as they preen their cats and pass along advice. “Everyone has the health and well-being of cats foremost in mind, and they are passionate about the importance of spaying and neutering their pets,” she says. “Dentistry is a fairly new thing for cats and dogs, but most people are very conscientious about that, too.” Forging friendships with kindred spirits helps Hanson while away long hours in convention halls, in hopes that a handful of judges will agree that one of her entrants best fits the breed’s standard. “Every day is a show in itself,” she says. “The second day you start over with new judges.” Celebrating a championship like the one Xerxes once won is a hobby highlight, but Hanson says, “The most gratifying part is being around people who have cats’ best interests at heart.”

Mamies Maines Nmitz of Ma’at is a McTabby owned by Amy and Brian Hanson. (Cat throne courtesy Warehouse 414.)

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Allene Keating Retired psychotherapist Allene Keating had kept American Burmese house cats as pets since 1975, and she noticed that they kept getting smaller. “I was worried that they’d die out,” she says. That worry intensified when she took a Burmese cat to the Netherlands, where her husband was working for Hill’s Pet Nutrition, and a local veterinarian confirmed the cat had the smallest kidneys he’d ever seen. Attributing the cat’s ability “to live as long as she did” to a Hill’s Pet Nutrition diet, Keating decided to become a breeder to help the breed. Her first cat of this breed was a European Burmese, Xander, imported from the Netherlands by cat breeders who had mentored Keating. “They taught me the genetics of cat breeding and told me what breeders were doing to get the European Burmese recognized as a breed in America,” she says. “I knew that was something I could help with.” When she returned to Topeka in 2001, Keating joined the Worldwide European Burmese Society and the Topeka Cat Fanciers Association, starting out as a spectator. She suspected her friends thought she had become “a crazy cat person,” she says. Eventually, Keating became a European Burmese breeder, association officer and organizer of the annual Topeka show. “It takes a lot of money and energy to put this show on, and we’re trying to bring in new, young people who love cats as much as we do to continue the work,” she says. “Pedigreed cats may go out of existence if we don’t attract responsible breeders. I would love to find a young person I could mentor who could carry on the lines I have when I am ready to retire.” Keating has been successful in garnering attention for the cause, breeding national winners and helping establish European Burmese cats as legitimate contenders on the show circuit. “I get Christmas cards from people I’ve sold cats to, and I love seeing the pictures and reading their stories,” she says. “I think of them as my grandbaby kitties, and I want to know how they are doing.” Keating revels in the global relationships that develop through her avocation and “the deep friendships that come out of a love for this breed,” she says.

Allene Keating, opposite right, breeds European Burmese cats such as Balsa, opposite left, and Winter, opposite lower right.


Murlene Priest When Murlene Priest was 2, her grandparents gave her an Applehead Siamese cat; the cat lived until Priest’s senior year in high school. Approximately four years later, she welcomed a new cat, Bathsheba, a purebred, registered pedigree bluepoint Siamese female. Bathsheba began a 15-year period in Priest’s life when she bred and showed Siamese cats. After Bathsheba died, Priest eventually began showing and breeding ebony Orientals. Although the venture involves “a lot of time and money,” Priest says, she loves breeding kittens that have won national rankings. “It’s gratifying when you’ve bred a cat and got it right based on written standards for the structure of the face, the color of hair, the shape of the eyes and other factors,” she says. But it’s not only about aesthetics. Priest favors Siamese and Orientals because of their social nature. “They have to be able to play with you and interact with you,” she says. A judge at various American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA), CFA and The International Cat Association shows across the country, Priest advises people interested in becoming breeders to find a mentor. “Some of these breeds have more hair products and more expensive blow-dryers than I do,” she says, laughing. “A mentor can let you know what’s involved and help you determine which breed is right for you.” Noting that while “cat people can be really catty in some instances” with biases about their breeds, Priest says most competitors “will talk you up if you’re down and look out for you” through the tedium of “hurry-up-and-wait days hoping you make the final.” Employed in the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Division of Health Care Finance, Priest enjoys the myriad aspects of her hobby, whether she’s competing, judging or administering to the extensive care needs of her cats to ensure they are in tip-top shape at home or in an arena. “It’s a lot of fun, and when it’s not fun anymore, I’ll quit,” she says.

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Uta-Neko Desperaux of Sacerdosfele is an Oriental shorthair owned by Murlene Priest.


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Profile for Sunflower Publishing

Raw Power | Marcus Oliveira in Topeka Magazine winter 2013  

Boxer Marcus Oliveira looks to bring a world title back to Topeka. The world of competition cats. Hip-hop in the heartland. Two holiday home...

Raw Power | Marcus Oliveira in Topeka Magazine winter 2013  

Boxer Marcus Oliveira looks to bring a world title back to Topeka. The world of competition cats. Hip-hop in the heartland. Two holiday home...