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Spring 2010

Vermillion Library Outside on a gray, rainy day

The heart of our cities, towns and counties: Libraries!

Vermillion Public Library is where the community comes together

“This is the hub of the town,” says Audrey Broxterman.
She wasn’t talking about some pie-in-the-sky theoretical concept of how the small rural town of Vermillion rotates around the axis of the library, nor was she referring to the precise geographical placement of what was the former Twidwell Hotel. The hotel-turned-library is located at the extreme southern end of the town, fronting the railroad tracks and an abandoned grain elevator complex. Past that—all open country, an abrupt and sudden demarcation that people used to metropolitan areas find disturbing or novel, depending on their personality.

Winter 2009

Astro Theatre outside at night

Back from the brink: Marysville’s Astro 3 Theatre gets new lease on life

That’s theatre with the r before the e. British style, but also with something of a track record preferred by many long-standing Broadway theaters. It might smack of pretentiousness but, in the case of Marysville’s only indoor movie theater (and Marshall County’s only movie house, period), more a nod to the historical record. Americans once elevated these things to a higher platform, held them to a deeper estimation, and the language had to conform. A distinction had to be made. You weren’t spending your hard-earned money on a two-hour movie, you were going to the theatre. And it wasn’t just theaters or theatres, it crossed over into other factors. How many flea-ridden, substandard motels littering the nation’s backroads were named after the Sands, the Stardust, the Sahara? Adding glitz to a name fooled no one, but a little glitz went a long way.

Fall 2009

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.

Summer 2009

Special Issue: Greening Up in Kansas

Nathan Busy with the Bees!

The new buzz in beekeeping: Brown’s Honey Farm seeks to capture health, fitness market

In the beginning there was tea. And, there was honey. Both were natural, both were beneficial, both were filled with nutrients a body needs. But the honey industry stopped at the honey bear.

“We think we can do the exact same thing as what the tea industry did,” Nathan says. “We can promote the health benefits of honey, but also we can make it more convenient.”

Spring 2008

The length of winter—paradise down a dirt road

The 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.

Winter 2008

Oregon Trail Recreator

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.

Fall 2008

air museum

From Da Vinci to Quilts, Largest Air Museum in Kansas Keeps Growing

Follow US 54 a short distance northwest of Liberal, and you come upon a large warehouse building with white columns. Colorful flowers bloom warmly invite you inside. Located in a former Beechcraft plant, the Mid-America Air Museum is more than just displays of aircraft. It is an aviation experience that is dedicated to appealing to a broad population.


Summer 2008

Marsha Doyenne

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.


Spring 2008

Small shot of trackless trainMore 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.


Winter 2007

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

Emerald City front doorDevotees 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.

For the better part of three months they’d been brainstorming over a business venture for the town of Wamego. Ideas had been proposed, vetted, weighed, hammered out, hammered flat, dehydrated, rehydrated and resurrected. The best idea to date: a café specializing in grilled cheese sandwiches.

Fall 2007

From Akron Aircraft to Kansas Tractor Collectibles

Fund hood raisedJoe and Howard Funk were born just 30 minutes apart on September 17, 1910, in Akron, Ohio. The brothers seemed to have a knack for all things mechanical, and both excelled in drafting and shop classes in school. They took an immediate liking to flying machines, which were becoming quite popular in the Akron area. Their folks, however, had other ideas and set them up in the retail grocery business. But that just provided them the financial platform needed to pursue their interest in aircraft.

Summer 2007

Buried Treasure in the Heartland

MeteoriteBuried treasure in the Heartland - something you don't hear everyday, especially in the agricultural center of America.  However, the truth of the statement is beginning to sink in with Kiowa County, especially now that the world is taking notice.  This buried treasure is not gold or jewels, a sunken ship or buried city.  It is even more exceptional, for this treasure is otherworldly.  Beneath acres of prairie grass where Indians and buffalo once dwelled, lays a treasure worth waiting for and seeking, year after year, because it fell from the sky.

Spring, 2007

RailcarSeeing 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.     

Winter, 2006

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.

Fall, 2006

Man’s Best Friend Leads to Lifetime Career in Heart of Kansas
sheep dogsWhen entering the Twin Creek Farm driveway, it is hard not to feel welcome. Jerry and Sharon Rowe open their home to dogs and people alike for weeks on end. The Twin Creek Farm plays host to one of the premier loose-eyed dog training camps in the Nation and quite possibly the world. But you would not guess that from talking to them.

Summer, 2006

The Art of Rural Lives
Artist Marilyn HakeArtist 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.”

Spring 2006

Old Car Ingenuity Generates Royal Thanks
randy rundallWhen 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.

Winter 2005

The North Forty, More Than Just Land
Winter Issue Image of alpacaWhat is an alpaca and how did they end up in Osborne? Alpacas, as defined by Webster's Dictionary, are South American llamas. Its orgins can be traced back to the Inca Empire in South America. Throughout history, alpaca fleece was a means of measuring one's wealth. They finaly found their way to the United States in 1983. However, when in Kansas, people tend to think of cows and plows not alpacas. That may be the case in most instances, but for Mitch and Vickie Vandament alpacas fit right in.

Fall 2005

An Entrepreneur’s Story
Fall Issue image of car in garageWhile Ken Hake is quite modest about his accomplishments through the years, he acknowledges it has taken a lot of hard work and dedication.

“The most challenging thing over the last 50 years has been the learning curve and doing it all without a college degree. I’ve had to figure things out the hard way in my businesses,” says Ken Hake.

Porch SwingSummer 2005

An Old Green Porch Swing
“We become better professionals, business persons, spouses and parents in only one predictable way: we must become better people! Anything less is simply a collection of feeble techniques and strategies; doomed to fail when the going gets rough.”


Wheat designSpring 2005

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.


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Last Updated April 21, 2010
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