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Chase County:

Chase News editor

Only place on the planet – Chase County Leader-News

As a general rule, offices of small-town newspapers are rarely showy. A few sport big lettering on windows or storefronts as if to emphasize their importance within the structural hierarchy of a community, while others adopt a less lavish facade. It could be argued that the offices of the Chase County Leader-News in downtown Cottonwood Falls adheres to an antithetical approach. Other than a small brass plaque affixed to the wall by the front door—whose minute and weathered lettering, it might be noted, is impossible to read from the street—there is nothing to distinguish the business from any other, vacant or otherwise.

Alan David and his Audichron Collection

As you travel thru Kansas and meet people, you learn about some pretty interesting hobbies and collections. Alan David of Elmdale, Kansas, has one such unique collection. Alan collects and restores antique Audichrons. Most people do not even know what an Audichron is. Alan David certainly knows one when he sees one, and has gone out of his way to preserve a little bit of telephone history.

Clay County:

Acts of faith – keeping it local in Clay Center

Clay County editor

Recently, the husband of the mayor of Clay Center wrote a scathing letter to the Clay Center Dispatch. In it, he questioned many of the facts reported by the staff journalist about a rancorous city council meeting, and, at the end, swore at the writer.

Ned Valentine, owner and editor of the Dispatch, still gets a chuckle out of it.

Old Car Ingenuity Generates Royal Thanks

randy rundall When Randy Rundle first learned to drive in a 1948 Chevrolet pickup, he had no idea that would eventually lead to his current livelihood. From his early driving days, he gained firsthand knowledge of 6-volt electrical systems and the problems associated with them such as hard starting, yellowish dim headlights and dead batteries.

The Clay Gourmet: A Special Place

If it is used on the Food Network, it can probably be purchased in Clay Center, Kansas.

Jason and Annette Smith opened The Clay Gourmet in October 2001 to carry cookware, bakeware, cookbooks, cutlery, tabletop items, seasonal items and more kitchen gadgets than one could ever imagine. Clay Center, population 4,564, may seem an unlikely location for such a specialized store, but the store’s customer base continues to grow. They also receive plenty of advice from Jason’s family. His mother has operated a successful gourmet kitchen shop in McPherson, Kansas, called The Cook’s Nook for the past 19 years. Customers who have been to the McPherson store will notice many similarities including the products carried, the checkerboard logo, and the attention to customer service.

I'll have a Kiowata on the Rocks

Water in the southwestern Clay County town of Longford has long been boasted as some of the best in Kansas. Now it is helping sustain this community of 89 people.

“Cecil” is Born In Kansas    
Imagine that you are the Marketing Director of a local hospital?  Okay, if that does not seem possible, how about being the CEO of a hospital? Or how about Director of Nursing? None of those fit? Okay, how about just working for a hospital that is a fun place to work, where everybody is encouraged to share ideas and work towards a common goal.  Okay so far?

Seeing Kansas By Rail         
With literally dozens of ways to tour Kansas, to see and experience all of the diverse beauty the state has to offer, most people go by car or truck, fewer by bus. But for a select, and lucky, few there is the Fairmont Motorcar.

Where the earth breathes—Kansas by way of L.A.

When Meg Perry’s son, Bear Santos, first laid eyes on the dinky rural town where his mother had moved and was setting up shop, he looked around at the broad gravel streets, the vacant storefronts of what remained of the downtown area, the 20 or so homes and the green fields beyond, and said, “Now I truly know the meaning of ‘the middle of nowhere.’

The Eiznhamer Motor Company: A Studebaker Dealer and the Town He Served

Bill Eiznhamer owned the Studebaker Dealership in Clay Center Kansas from late 1945 until his death in 1952. He died in the winter of 1952, the result of a heart attack while helping the local body shop owner dig his wrecker out of a snow bank. I did not come along until the 1958 model year, but I have always been interested in antique cars and trucks. When my aunt (Bill’s wife) passed away in the spring of 1968, my grandparents got the job of cleaning out her house and preparing for an estate sale. I was only too willing to help, having heard numerous stories from my grandparents over the years, about the Studebaker dealership.

Krazy Kar Returns After 35 Year Disappearance

Many older Kansas residents may remember the Krazy Kar from Clay Center. It was built using the front halves of two 1939 Chevrolet cars. Both ends had working steering and the car could be driven from either direction.

Cloud County:

Taste the Journey of the Cloud County Tea Company

The journey has been swift, but not always smooth, for co-owners Johnita Crawford and Lorraine Palmer. However, their Cloud County Teas offered a quiet moment along the way.

The Future for Rural Kansas

The headlines today do not seem to have much faith in the future of rural Kansas. If we based Kansas’s future on the predictions of the news media, Globalization will take over rural Kansas and no one will live here anymore. However, I disagree with what the commentators and reporters say. I think that the Kansas that I have grown up in will continue to thrive for several reasons.

No Place Like Home

A common perception is that when young people graduate they leave town and never look back, swapping parochial backwaters for the glitz and glamor of big cities. They disappear Out There, by which rural folk mean the greater world, a distant city or a megalopolis stitched to a coastline. East or West, they’re one and the same. A smaller number, a fraction really, head Over There, which once meant Great Britain and Europe and countries with strange names and languages nobody at home could speak; and an even smaller number slip off Down Under, which is about as far as one can go from Kansas and still remain on the planet.

A Spot of Tea and Huckleberry Bread

A friend and I traveled to Concordia to attend the Taste of Home Cooking School at Cloud Community College in October. It was an evening event so we went early to tour the National Orphan Train Complex and to check out the shops. After a morning of learning about Ann Harrison, Edith Peterson, and other children who traveled the “orphan trains” to Concordia, we were starting to get hungry, but put it off to visit some of the shops. Not able to put up with hunger pains any longer, I asked an owner of an antique store, “Where do the locals go to eat?”

Dickinson County

Christmas in the Cabin

As their horse-drawn wagon veers around a bend in the road, the time travelers welcome the site of a small log cabin lit by kerosene lamps. In his pioneer attire, Pa opens the door and steps out on the porch to invite the shivering visitors inside where the family is preparing for Christmas. As Ma pulls a pan of hot cookies from the oven in the black, wood burning stove, the children string popcorn to decorate the spindly tree Pa chopped down and placed in the corner of their meager home. This is Christmas in the Cabin, a living history event at the Heritage Center in Abilene on the first Sunday in December.

Chapman Tornado Recovery

On June 11, 2008, a half-mile wide F-4 tornado swept through the community of Chapman, destroying or damaging dozens of homes, several businesses, churches, the school district’s administration offices and all three school buildings. Despite the devastation, the very next day Dickinson County Administrator Brad Homman, in charge of emergency services, reflected the optimism of the community of around 1,400 people when he stated: “We’ve still got half the town intact.”

Ellsworth County:


Geary County:

Gatherings on the Prairie

Rob Dudley often wondered about people who just one day walked away from seemingly great jobs with no real plans in place. Then one day he woke up and became one of those people.

Elk at Home on the Prairie

Fort Riley Elk
Photos by April Blackmon

More than 15 years have past since Elk were first reintroduced onto Fort Riley. During that time, the elk herd has evolved to become a symbol of Fort Riley, a symbol that has restored a native component to the Kansas Flint Hills. For those who have experienced the elk firsthand, it is a sight they most likely will never forget.

Custer House Brings Fort Riley Past To Life

A simple white picket fence borders one of several limestone houses on Fort Riley’s Sheridan Avenue. Unlike the other historic homes, though, Quarters 24 remains in its 19th century flavor.

A Ranch in Geary Photo Essay

Fort Riley, Then and Now

Fort Riley ChapelThe early history of Fort Riley is closely tied to the movement of people and trade along the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails. These routes, a result of the United States perceived "manifest destiny" in the middle of the 19th century, extended American domination and interests into far reaches of a largely unsettled territory. During the 1850s, a number of military posts were established at strategic points to provide protection along these arteries of emigration and commerce.

Special Accommodations Provided for Four-legged Travel Companions at Central Kansas Ranch Resorts

The Hilton®, Super 8® and Holiday Inn® are all recognizable motels and hotels for people. But is there a demand for horse motels? As two families accidentally found out there is quite a demand for an overnight accommodations for the hoofed members of the “family.”

Milking the Market: Glass Bottles, Fresh Milk

As the dairy industry is changing across the nation, some producers are finding market opportunity by taking production back in time. With consumers demanding locally grown food, producers such as the Hildebrand’s of Junction City are finding a a potential market in bringing back glass-bottled milk not seen for decades. Alan and Dave Hildebrand, brother and owners of their fourth generation dairy farm, are expanding to meet this growing demand for farm-fresh dairy products.

Graham County:

Deep Roots

The town of Nicodemus is—like many rural communities throughout Kansas—struggling. The freed-slave settlers who established the black township in the mid-1800s faced harsh living conditions, hostile climate and lack of adequate supplies to build Nicodemus into a thriving town. Generations later, the remaining descendents of those settlers are facing challenges of their own – intensive drought, unstable commodity prices and increasing operating costs. The farmers of Nicodemus, however, are looking for opportunity through a cultural crop connection.

Jewell County:

An Old Green Porch Swing

No “flash and fluff” with little substance here. Given the opportunity, Ron Willis, Jewell, provides inspiration rather than motivation as the true path to excellence in a keynote or seminar.

Fleming feeding birds
Fleminy children feeding birds (from left to right) Kyle, Levi and Amanda

Hobby Flies Into A Profitable Career

You can hear them early in the morning, cackling back and forth taking off just at daybreak: music to every upland hunter’s ears. That music means income to Mark Fleming, co-owner and co-operator of Fleming Farm Game Birds in Formosa. And Fleming wouldn’t have life any other way.

A Touch of Wheat

Kansas is the "wheat state" and visitors often purchase products made from Kansas wheat including flour, pancake mix or Butter Braids. But most don't consider taking the raw product home as a souvenir. However, members of the National Association of Wheat Weavers encourage visitors and residents to do just that.

Lincoln County:

what is it?"Creature Creations"

That's not an old combine: art dots Lincoln County landscape.

A Sedentary Rock: Limestone

During Sylvan Grove’s bicentennial in 1976, Duane Vonada along with many other community members pondered on their town’s heritage. After looking around, the answer became obvious. Stone, particularly limestone, was everywhere, and it truly was their heritage. After all, there are the old stone quarries, the limestone buildings, arch bridges and the countless post rocks for as far as the eye can see.

Village Lines Owner Wears Many Hats

Marilyn Helmer, owner of Village Lines in Lincoln, Kansas, admits that an occasional identity crisis comes with the territory when anyone has a deep passion for telling the local story.

Marshall County:

St. Bridget services
Photos by Tom Parker

St. Bridget Church a testament to the “fighting Irish”

The story goes (correctly or incorrectly doesn’t matter, so woven is it into the historical tableaux that it will stand forever as an illuminated portrayal of legitimate rebellion against hierarchy or tyranny, or, perhaps, merely proof of the fabled irascibility of the Irish) that late one night in 1863 or 1864 a group of disgruntled parishioners gathered on the steps of a frame church a few miles north of Axtell and, by torchlight and heavy labor, jacked the church onto ox-drawn skids and absconded with it. Their destination was a point one mile north where they felt the church should have been sited. Halfway there the oxen tired, the skids broke, and a second group of incensed parishioners, all of whom felt the church had no business being relocated, blocked the road and threatened violence.

The way it should have been    

To see St. Elizabeth Catholic Church now is to see it back in 1913 when its dedication drew people from miles around. The bell tower is the same, or almost—the open windows have been covered with louvers—with the same clean lines almost Spartan in simplicity. The white siding is an exact match for the painted clapboard of the original, with the same stained glass windows and same minuscule porch and same steep-pitched roof. What's different is an extension behind the sanctuary, noticeable only when compared to old grainy black-and-white photos. And the location, of course.

St. Michael's in construction

Still listening for the bell – preservation efforts underway for St. Michael’s Church

Kimeo signIt’s hard to believe there was ever a town here. All that remains of Kimeo, nine miles southwest of Greenleaf, are a few empty houses devolving back into the Kansas soil, a bullet-scarred sign welcoming visitors to a town with a “rising” population, a tree-shaded cemetery and a magnificent limestone church.

But a century ago 100 children led Bishop J.L. Cunningham from the pastoral residence to the southwest corner of the church—named for St. Michael, whose image graces the stained glass window in the choir loft—where the bishop blessed the cornerstone before it was wrestled into place. The Very Reverend J. Maher told the assembled crowd that the church would stand not only as an architectural ornament to the country but it would also be a lasting monument to the noble generosity and self-sacrificing zeal of the people. “It will be a living, eloquent witness to their children and their children’s children,” he said.

Full circle – There and back again for Marysville journalist

She doesn’t bleed ink though there were days when she thought she must, her hands blackened and stained, nails pale haloes luminous within their individual darker frames, the crevices and whorls spider-webbing her fingers and the backs of her hands an ancient roadmap across uncharted territories, the accumulation of words and sentences and phrases, of grafs, charts and halftone images, all smeared into one indecipherable text no amount of soap could banish.

Honoring the ancestors -- single-mom organic farmer branches out into the all-American hotdog

Nancy Vogelsberg-Busch wants to tell you a story.

Actually, she wants to tell you a lot of stories, because she knows that stories are the individual threads weaving the fabric of our lives. They are the weft and warp, the underpinning, the foundation...your own personal polar star.

As Eyesight Dims, Waterville Muralist Turns to Home 

A painter leaves something of himself in each painting, embedded clues that if deciphered reveal an intimate biography. It can be a particular shade of color, the way light dances on softly-rounded hills, the casual fold of a skirt, the scampering of a rabbit, dark clouds building in the distance, or an expression caught between now and an uncertain future.

A Bird Named "Kansas”

Kansas BirdWhen Megan Friedrichs raised her government-issued Leica binoculars to study a bird she’d been tracking on the north slope of Mauna Kea, she saw something that set her heart racing. There, beside an adult palila fitted out with a radio transmitter, was a second bird, hopping and fluttering its wings. As the adult began feeding the second bird, Friedrichs studied its legs and plumage. “Holy cow,” she thought. Then she fumbled for her radio.

“Kiss Me, I’m Irish Today

“Kiss Me, I’m Irish!” Well, actually don’t because I’m honestly German. But, for one special day of the year, I can be Irish.

Marshall County Historical Tour

In March of 2006, I officially began what is now called the “Marshall County Historical Tour,” or MCHT. I persuaded a few of my friends to come with me to visit past and present townsites located in our county that I have found. We put in countless hours of research interviewing people and looking in numerous reference materials, be they books or something on the Internet.

Train car in maarshall County
Courtesy of MCRHS

Making Tracks of Memories

Preserving history keeps traditions alive; educating younger generations about their roots is the life blood of a community's past and future. Although history may exist largely in our minds, real, tangible artifacts still tell thousands of stories. When one of these artifacts is lost, we lose far more than a physical object. We lose our past, we lose who we are.

Waterville woman recreates the lure of the Oregon Trail

For as long as Yvonne Larson can remember, the past was never really past but remained as fresh as today’s headlines and yet somehow more real, more substantive, more historic, if such a thing could be, history being the now and not the then, not something relegated to the dustbins of once-upon-a-time or cloaked in old boring textbooks crammed down the throats of children yearning to be outdoors making some history of their own. No, the past was right there, almost within arms’ reach, and given a little imagination and a longer arm, could be snatched and tenaciously held.

The length of winter—paradise down a dirt road

CanoesThe Alaskan Highway officially ends at Delta Junction, but from there the road continues in a loop northward to Fairbanks before snaking down past Talkeetna and Wasilla—a small town virtually unknown to the world at large before vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was selected—and past the cutoff to Anchorage it stabs straight east to Glennallen, where it abruptly shoots north back to Delta Junction. Drivers on the loop are witness to stunning mountainscapes, zillions of trees and one lone farm.

“We were the only one visible on the entire road system,” Cecilia McNeal says with a laugh.


Mitchell County:

Bored no more—Retired Couple Adds Finishing Touch to Restored Beloit Hotel

Take one derelict early-20th Century hotel, add one bored-to-insanity retiree, stir in a heaping measure of inspiration and sprinkle with the dust of dreams, and what do you get? The Porter House Apartments with the Porter House Coffee Shop and Bistro in downtown Beloit. The two are inseparable, like coffee and cream, biscuits and gravy, ham and Swiss, or pancakes and syrup. (All which the Bistro serves, and serves very well.)

From Suits to Pottery to Grills: Finding Success in Anticipating Customer Demands

When Rex Waggoner began working at James Clothing in downtown Beloit as a freshman in High School in 1964, he had no idea he would stay for good.

James Clothing was new to town in 1964, although owner Calvin James had been operating his original store in nearby Jewell, Kansas, since 1950. The store carried only men’s clothing when Rex began as a freshman.

Kansas in Snow

buffaloIt's early, too early. It is a surprise of white that cheers the youth, slows the bold, marks the fools.

An Entrepreneur’s Story

“My first product was a TV tower that I started manufacturing because I saw a need for a good strong tower,” Ken says.

Small town has large “can-do” attitude

“The big focus has been trying to get the community back—to rebuild and grow the community,” says Tipton Mayor Adrian Arnoldy. “Building the school was the big thing because we wouldn’t be doing any of these other projects if it wasn’t for the school. Now we’re trying to keep things going and growing.”

More to Memorials than just Rocks

It’s not too often one can memorialize someone, decorate a kitchen, reward a deed and designate a homestead all in the same place. However, Bell Memorials in Beloit, provides an array of products that fit into these very categories. They customize one-of-a-kind memorials, granite countertops, etched glass, monument signs and post-rock yard

Keeping the Ball Rolling

At 80 years old, Kay Thull is one example of the volunteer spirit that drives a town forward.

The Twine of a Town

It starts with the twine; but there's so much more.

The Art of Rural Lives

Artist Marilyn Hake finds inspiration for her pencil illustrations in her rural roots and her picturesque setting nestled in the rolling Blue Hills near Tipton, Kansas. “I am blessed with a peaceful location that’s quiet and I can just do work,” Marilyn says. “I get inspiration from being in a rural area and people like the rural-themed art for a variety of reasons.”

Winter Remembered


Pottawatomie County:

Toto Taco Owners

Not in California, er, Kansas Anymore, Toto

I confess to being something of a Mexican food aficionado. Or snob, if you prefer. My upbringing in New Mexico taught me the finer aspects of Mexican cuisine, and 26 years in Denver honed my instincts and sharpened my palate. Moving to Kansas improved my life in every way but one: quality Mexican fare was forever a thing of the past. Or so I thought.


It's Food, Glorious Food! in the Emerald City!

Devotees of exquisite foods, aficionados of rarefied chocolates, cognoscenti of the finest condiments, sauces, cheeses, olive oils, and imported Italian pastas, connoisseurs of wine and other possessors of sophisticated palates (and wannabees) can thank Stephen Balderson for talking his father, Clark Balderson, and Clark’s business partner, Larry Costlow, out of their hair-brained idea.

More Than a Train, a Trackless Train!
Kaw Valley Express Re-energizes Childhood Dream

As a young boy, John Vinsonhaler would stand beside the singing tracks of the Rock Island Railroad in Smith Center to watch one of its most famous trains pass through. It was the Rocky Mountain Rocket, a streamliner passenger train on a 19.5-hour run from Chicago to Denver and on down to Colorado Springs, pulled by a pug-nosed scarlet engine built for power and speed. The sight never failed to move him. It was the genesis of his interest in railways, an interest that took a backseat to the necessities of a career and raising a family, the mundane things people do when dreams can’t put food on the table.


Taste of the Irish in St. Marys

When Joseph and Janice Trummer left the Lake Placid region of upstate New York almost 20 years ago, it was to follow their religious tenets, leaving their home and families a half-continent behind at Saranac Lake. They settled down in St. Marys, home to St. Mary’s Academy & College, a traditional Roman Catholic school operated by the Society of St. Pius X. It was a package deal, church services with Latin mass and an educational program focused on a conservative Roman Catholic lifestyle. That they now own and operate a pub may seem farfetched; they prefer to emphasize not the alcoholic beverages the pub serves, but what separate their business from others: ambiance and a killer menu.

A Basement in Belleville

Cross through the weathered archway, the patio of retired Rock Island Railroad ties and beyond the suspended porch swing to the enchanting home of Bud and Pat Hanzlick. The door opens almost before the knock: every visitor is warmly welcomed into the unassuming headquarters of internationally known Bekan Rustic Furniture ...

Rags to Riches

North on Main Street, almost out of town, a subtle white metal building sets back among the trees. On a weekday, the parking lot is mostly full with a few spots marked "visitor" saved directly in front of the doors. A passerby might assume it's just another office building ..

Riley County:

John W. Bartleson Biography: Preface

J.W. BartlesonJohn Wool Bartleson (J.W.) was born August 15, 1846 in Pulaski County, Illinois, and died in Beloit, Kansas, April 18, 1944.  Starting sometime in the late 1920’s, J. W. began transcribing his life story to Rachel Bates.  This catalog of his life, spanning nearly 84 years at its completion in May, 1930, provides a unique vision of the life and times of a generation who come to age in the Civil War, later settling and building the rural communities of Kansas.  These memoirs—typed by Ms. Bates later annotated and corrected in pencil by J.W.— are a historical trove of information. Alone they provide great historical record.  But J.W. started a process—continued in fits and starts—by his children, grand children and now great grandson in documenting and sorting the record of this settler into a meaningful narrative. 

Memoirs of John W Bartleson: Boyhood

Chapter Two (Part One) - Youth and War

Chapter Two (Part Two) - Battle!

MChapter Two (Part Three) - Freedom and

Chapter Three (Part One) - Farming, Mules and Loss

Chapter Three (Part Two) - Kansas!

Chapter Three (Part Three) - Turn of a New Century

Chapter Three (Part Four) - Havanna and Home

A Konza Show: a Movie

A slideshow.

Tallgrass Prairie

As Lewis and Clark made their way up the Missouri River in 1804, they came upon an unexpected discovery.  In the Northeast corner of Kansas they took a left turn up a smaller, yet mighty river later to be named the Kaw. What they did not anticipate was the end of the deciduous forest and the beginning of the tallgrass prairie. 


Catfish Paradise

As a sport fish catfish may not have the cachet of bass or trout, but as table fare they're unrivaled. It doesn't matter whether you go after blues, channel cats, flatheads or bullheads; Kansas has delicious whiskerfish aplenty.

Accounts of the 1951 Kansas River Flood

There have been numerous floods in the state of Kansas. Some of the biggest and most devastating are known to have happened in 1826, 1827, 1844 and 1903, just to name a few. One of the most well documented of those came when the Kansas River spilled over its banks in July of 1951. The flooding started above Manhattan on the Big Blue River. Downstream flooding continued in Topeka, Lawrence, and Kansas City. In Topeka alone 7,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed. The rising river waters caused transportation throughout the river basin to cease. The damage at that time exceeded $935 million in an area covering eastern Kansas and Missouri. The flood resulted in the loss of 17 lives and displaced 518,000 people.

Catfish Paradise

As a sport fish catfish may not have the cachet of bass or trouChannel catfish at Tuttle Creek Reservoirt, but as table fare they're unrivaled. It doesn't matter whether you go after blues, channel cats, flatheads or bullheads; Kansas has delicious whiskerfish aplenty.

Despite an ability to grow to immense size and a willingness to clamp down on a variety of baits, catfish are accorded respect by too few anglers. Sure, catching a 2-pound bass is fun, but catching a 20-pound catfish is even more fun in the opinion of some anglers, including myself. In many states, including Kansas, catching a 20-pounder isn't all that difficult.


Lloyd Henderson: Kansas Aviation Pioneer

As I get older, history, especially personal history, becomes more significant. Now that I am retired and my children are grown and married, I have a new appreciation for what my father accomplished, endured, and contributed during his life.

Lloyd Henderson loved airplanes and airports. Even 40 years after he quit flying he would look to the skies when he heard an airplane overhead. “Looks like a Cessna 180 headed toward Wichita” or the next time he might say, “That’s an Aeronca Champ. I used to be pretty good in that airplane.” Lloyd couldn’t get airplanes and airports out of his blood. They were as much a part of him as the wrinkles and arthritis.


A Randolph Landscape


A Stone House

Tuttle Dam

Fall Colors at Tuttle Lake

Saline County

"Cozy" Stand Makes Onion Burgers World Famous

For 81 years, the Cozy Inn -- a tiny restaurant in downtown Salina Kansas has been making and selling small hamburgers, officially known as "aromatic sliders."

They are made the same as they were decades ago, and they are made only one way, equal parts hamburger and onion, catsup, mustard and a pickle. There is no such thing as a "cheeseburger" on the Cozy Inn menu and you had better not ask for one!

Wabaunsee County:

Mike and Teresa Brown

Mistake Puts Alma Couple on Stony Road to Success

Upon entering the showroom of Stone 1 there's so much to take in that my eyes get crossed. Small stones, big stones, oddly shaped stones, stones on shelves, on the floor and spaced along the walls, stones with Wildcats and Jayhawks, stones engraved with names, designs, company logos, flags, insects, mammals, cowboys: the variety is not only unexpected but tantalizing.

German Prisoners of War and Lake Wabaunsee

Seeing a German Police dog and a guard with a gun in our fields and at our country dining room table was a sight my eyes shall never forget. I was a small child during World War II, but those images are etched deeply in my mind. The prisoners were housed in barracks at Lake Wabaunsee and trucked to our farm for hire.

Old Fort?

Old Fort? Stone Mystery Needs Answers

This Old Fort/Home/Barn is located on the intersection of Tri-Country Rd and Boulder Road about 10 miles north of Alta Vista and 5 miles west of Alma. While the identity of this is a mystery, it clearly pre-dates Fort Riley, and was probably one of the initial constructions on the frontier before Kansas became a territory. Clearly abandoned for a very long time, it offers only a vague reminder of years past and battles (maybe?) won and lost.


Washington County:

Washington Times Editor

Relevance with an eye toward history – Washington County News

For the 150th anniversary of Washington County, Dan Thalmann vowed to take a picture.

Actually, Thalmann vowed to take 365 pictures, one a day, each a visual and literal snapshot of the county and its residents, its festivals, its daily rhythms and cycles—its culture—at the opening of the 21st century. Each daily image would be posted to a special website, and each week’s collection would be prominently placed within the pages of the Washington County News.

A Very Good Move
California professional couple trade the fast life for the country life

Brad and Angie Portenier’s friends thought they were nuts.

No, not nuts as in the funny-jacket-with-the-extra-long-sleeves and squalid-one-room-dormitories-in-industrial-strength-block-houses-where-the-doors-are-all-locked-and-the-inmates-shuffle-around-with-slackjawed-expressions, but nuts in wanting to trade the sun-drenched California beaches, cloud-snagging Sierras and wind-hallowed deserts for, well, for what—Kansas?

Beeeess by the Buzz-illion!

Bees!When asked how many bees he has, Jerry Brown’s standard answer is a “buzz-illion.” Seems fitting given that Brown’s Honey Farm, located at Haddam, is the state’s largest bee operation.

MarCon Pies, Inc.

The aroma of freshly baked pies filling the air and overwhelming the senses is noticed immediately upon arrival at this business. For Don Walsh, however, it’s just another day at the office and he’s not even aware of the tempting smell until someone else reminds him.

Our Daily Bread Bake Shoppe and Bistro

The main ingredient is family. “Our family has always been hospitable,” says Cindy Hiesterman, business co-founder. “Mom always had a saying that whoever put their hand in the cookie jar was family, and we try to carry that philosophy into our business.”

Watering Bindweed: County takes first step in biological control for pesky weed

Agents working on BindweedAs a former horticulturist and current noxious weed agent for Washington County, Duane Bruna has a history of battling bindweed. It goes way back into his childhood on his dad’s farm, where bindweed was ever-present. Chemicals knocked it down, thinned it, sickened it, even killed some of it, but like a Timex watch it took a licking and kept on ticking.

That might change in the near future. Bruna and the other agents of the county noxious weed department have implemented the first phase of a trial planting of bindweed infested with Aceria malherbae, the bindweed mite.

“It sounds crazy,” Bruna said, “but I’ve been watering bindweed.”


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Last Updated August 31, 2015
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