Thursday, December 30, 2010
GAS — Heidi Hibbs is shy and forthright, funny and persnickety — much like any other six-year-old. But Hibbs has cerebral palsy, along with other medical conditions, that left her unable to walk until the age of four, said her grandmother, Elizabeth Hibbs, who along with her husband Tony is raising Heidi.
The Hibbses take Heidi to Kansas City every three months for Botox injections that help her muscles function better, Elizabeth Hibbs said. With other appointments, the Hibbses “are up there five to nine times a year,” Elizabeth Hibbs said.
A year ago, Heidi had a shunt in her brain replaced. A long tube drains fluid to Heidi’s stomach, Hibbs said. And Heidi still receives regular physical therapy through the ANW Cooperative.
That Heidi can do so much is nothing short of a miracle, her grandmother noted.
Born at just 25 weeks along, weighing only 1 pound 8 ounces, Heidi “was immediately Life Flighted from Allen County Hospital to one in Wichita,” where doctors told the family that Heidi “would never walk or talk,” Hibbs said. “She was so little you could see through her,” Hibbs said.
Heidi is the daughter of Hibbs’ son Jonathan and his girlfriend Sarah Swogger. At the time of her birth, the couple, in their early 20s, were caring for a one-year-old son.
“The stress was too much” for them, Hibbs said. So when Heidi was 14 months old, she went to live with her grandparents, who have cared for her since.
“That first year we had her, we had 95 out-of-town doctor appointments” Hibbs said.
Common to all individuals with cerebral palsy is difficulty controlling and coordinating muscles, according to the website emedicine.
Heidi wears a foot brace and her right hand is almost always coiled into a fist, Hibbs said. She has a brace for that, too, to stretch her fingers, Hibbs said. She also has osteogenesis imperfecta — fragile bones, Hibbs said, and is completely blind in her left eye.
The combination meant Heidi has had difficulty not only learning to walk, but other activities other children her age have already mastered, such as going up and down stairs and riding a trike.
Enter Vickie Snavely of ANW, and AMBUCS, a North Carolina-based national service organization that assists individuals with mobility impairments.
Hibbs learned of AMBUCS during a visit to her brother’s in Dodge City about a year and a half ago, she said. At a mall-based health expo, AMBUCS representatives had forms that put Heidi on a wish list for an AmTryke, a specialized tricycle designed with weighted pedals, odd-shaped handle bars and other modifications that allow those who cannot ride normal bikes to use the vehicles.
The agency required verification of Heidi’s needs, which is where Snavely came in, Hibbs said, crediting the therapist with filling out necessary forms that resulted in Heidi’s receiving an AmTryke this Christmas.
“Last Wednesday we got ready to go to school and this big ol’ box was outside” the family’s door, Hibbs said. “I brought it in the house and put it under the tree. On it was a big red sticker that said, ‘For Heidi.’”
“It was my trike,” Heidi knew.
Snavely had received a call from AMBUCS a few days earlier, letting her know the trike was on its way.
“It was odd,” Hibbs said. She hadn’t heard from the organization between the initial flurry of submitting materials and receiving notice the trike was coming.
But she is grateful.
“This will help with her mobility and bein able to be with her peers,” Hibbs said of Heidi, a first grader at Iola’s McKinley Elementary School. “It will be huge for her.”
Thursday, December 23, 2010
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Iolans are in for their annual Christmas treat when about 25 community members harmonize sweetly Sunday in the vespers concert at 4 p.m. in the new First Christian Church, at the corner of Kentucky and Oregon roads.
Other obligations cut into performer numbers this year, noted Jim Gilpin, one of the event’s organizers. Even so, “we’ve got the best men’s group we’ve had in years,” he said.
Men and women are equally matched in this year’s choir, which typically favors women’s voices, he said. In years past, as many as 80 individual voices made up the choir, he said.
Carol Chrisenberry, musical director, selected old favorites plus a handful of songs the group has never done before, she said. The new music came via an American Choral Directors meeting Chrisenberry attended this summer.
“It’s all Christmas music,” Gilpin said. “Everyone loves Chirtmas music.”
The concert has been an annual feature of the holiday season since the mid 1950s, organizers said.
Initially a program by and for members of the Iola Music Club, it opened to the community first to enjoy, then to participate in, as time went by, noted Marian Wilson, a member from the get-go. Wilson has sung in “better than 80 percent of the vespers” concerts, she noted.
“I’m looking forward to performing again. I think as long as a few people are willing to do it, it will keep going,” Wilson said of the tradtion.
The concert is sponsored by the Southeast Kansas Christian Artists Series.
There is no charge to attend. This year’s concert is dedicated to the memory of Fern Marsh.
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Most folks don’t go running out to the furniture store for Christmas presents, Gordon Ulrich noted.
“Sales are usually slow,” said the owner of Ulrich Furniture, a staple on the Iola square for the past 76 years.
The current economic downturn has things even slower, so Ulrich is offering incentives to those who might be thinking about a new chair or desk or bed or sofa to tuck under or beside that Christmas tree.
All recliners are half-price through the holiday. And any purchase, on any item, paid by cash, check or credit card is given a 10 percent discount.
“If you buy a chair that’s 50 percent off and pay by cash, check or credit card, you get 60 percent off,” Ulrich said.
For those who can’t swing that deal, the affable Ulrich offers an interest-free payment plan, possible because “We handle all our own financing,” he explained.
Ulrich mans the store with his son, Brek Ulrich, and employee Mike McRae.
Furniture has been the family business for most of the past century.
“My uncle started W.H. Wood furniture here in 1934,” Ulrich said. Before that, “he had a furniture store in LaHarpe for about 10 years.”
Ulrich’s father, Leland Ulrich, worked for his uncle in the Iola store. With his wife, Arlene, he purchased the venture in 1957. Ulrich began working at the store full-time in 1967, he said.
“When my dad started, you could furnish an entire house for $37.50,” Ulrich observed.
Although prices have increased since then, Ulrich offers a range of products to fit all budgets.
Probably the widest variety offered is in beds.
The store’s third floor has “thousands of beds,” said Ulrich. Maybe not that many, but certainly a wide selection awaits any shopper.
Pillow-top, no flip, extra firm, memory foam — Ulrich has them all. Full sets start at $299, Ulrich said.
Most of the manufacturers Ulrich stocks have also “been in business at least 75 years,” Ulrich noted. All stand by their warranties. Many are regional.
Ulrich noted that a bed may be the most important piece of furniture one owns. “You lie in it eight hours a day, seven days a week,” he said. Because a good night’s sleep can make or break your day, Ulrich said, “You should spend more to take care of your back.”
Other furniture purchases can be more subjective, he noted, as in whether a person prefers floral or leather couches, for example.
Still, even such things as recliners are now tailored to body type, he said. “Bucket seat recliners contour to your body,” he noted.
Petite recliners, a mere 27-inches wide, are for the smaller framed individual — or house. For the larger man or woman, Ulrich showed off a “Comfort King Big Man’s Chair” by Lane. The frame is steel with heavy duty coil springs, he said. The mechanism requires more torque to work. The chairs are designed for frames up to 6 foot 4 and 350 pounds, he said.
Also available are lift chairs in plush colors and fabrics; “motion furniture” — reclining sofas and sectionals; matching end and coffee tables; and new tables with built-in storage.
One cocktail table has a hidden desk top, that rises to reveal a storage compartment and that can be used as a desk top or lap table. An oak side table designed as a free-standing office has compartments that reveal electrical outlets, laptop storage and a file drawer.
There are even narrower, 18-inch sofa tables designed to fit between a pair of recliners.
Electric fireplaces can heat a 12 by 14 room for 8 cents an hour, Ulrich said, yet are cool to the touch.
As the oldest business on the Iola square, Ulrich Furniture has the experience and expertise to help you select the perfect piece of furniture for your holiday home.
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
HUMBOLDT — When longtime Humboldt correspondent Vada Aikins decided to retire recently, there was a bit of worry as to who would take up the torch, getting the news of Humboldt out to Register readers.
In stepped Terry Broyles, Humboldt resident and owner, with her husband David, of Broyles, Inc., a Humboldt-based business that sells, installs and maintains service station equipment. “The underground tanks, the pumps, the nozzle you put in your car,” Broyles said, “We do everything.”
Broyles father-in-law, Jim Broyles, began the business in 1972, she said. It has since grown to have offices in Topeka and Springfield, Mo. Terry does the bookkeeping for all three branches, she said.
The Broyleses have two grown children, daughter Claire in Ada, Okla., and son Clayton, in Ottawa.
Broyles is no newcomer to the world of print.
“I worked for the Humboldt Union for 12-15 years,” Broyles said. Before that, she worked for Jackie Witherspoon when the latter started “The Marketplace News.”
“It was just a little tabloid,” Broyles said. “Eventually we became the Humboldt Union.”
Broyles left the Union in 1998 to join the family business, she said.
Although she is active in the community, she figured acting as the new correspondent could only help her get more involved.
“I belong to GALS FCE,” she said, and Chariots of Light Christian Motorcycle Club.
The club is more than a hobby.
“My husband and I rode 26,000 miles on that motorcycle this year,” she said. “From April to October we went from the East to West coasts, to Canada, Montana, Louisiana and Alabama,” she said.
Along the way, club riders evangelize to other bikers they meet, Broyles said. “People are curious,” she said when they see a big group of riders. “They come up and ask questions.”
Broyles has also recently taken up another sort of biking — the non-motorized kind.
“Just the last two years I’ve taken up bicycle riding,” she said. “I did a 500-mile four-state ride my first year.”
Broyles said she and a friend, Peggy Hillman, began at the northeast corner of Kansas intending to venture southwest. “We got about half way when she broke her arm,” Broyles said. “That ended our ride.”
But Broyles went on, signing up for the four-state tour.
Just weeks after returning , “I was having open heart surgery,” Broyles said.
Until then, “I did not know there was anything wrong with my heart,” she said. “I just had a little congestion. I figured it was form riding so much.”
Urged by her son to see a physician, Broyles discovered she had a n aortic aneurysm. “I had to have a valve put in,” she noted of the surgery.
“Once I got over that, I started riding again,” she said.
Broyles is not currently planning any major trips for the coming year, but, she noted, “My sister had since taken up bicycling” and she could see the two of them on such a jaunt.
For now, though, she’s easy enough tot reach.
“In winter I go to the Fieldhouse” to stay in shape, she said. She also can be contacted at Broyles, Inc., 473-3835, at home, 473-3727, or email@example.com.
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
School children learn that poems are words and space.
Poets know that words are soul — the heart of a matter distilled into verse or prose.
Being a poet, like any other art, is not a path one typically chooses, but something inside that must needs come out.
So it is for Shirley Ashford.
Ashford’s book, “Reflection and Other Poems” was a gift of love.
As an Iola mom, wife, daughter, friend, Ashford shared her observations of the world with those she loved.
The favor was returned when Richard Zahn, the son of her lifelong friend, Eunice Zahn, had published a collection of Ashford’s poems.
“One year at Christmastime I compiled some of my verses and gave them to friends,” Ashford said. “He found them,” she said of Richard, going through his mother’s things after her death.
“One day, I came out and here on the porch was this big box — here were these books. He had, on his own, published them as a gift for me for my love for his mother.”
That depth of love is clearly evident in many of the poems, written over the span of many years, Ashford said.
“Some pertain to my life. Others were assignments when I took a variety of writing classes at Allen County Community College. Others are figment of pure imagination.”
She leaves it to the reader to guess which are which.
Ashford began writing poetry in junior high, she said. “I can still recite most of” the first verse she ever wrote, she said.
A lay minister, some of her poems have a religious theme. A few of these had been published in Christian magazines over the years, she said.
Ashford said she may have pursued writing as a career, but “my life took over.”
A number of the poems in “Reflection” are about loss.
“My very best friends have almost all left here,” Ashford said of Iola. “So many of my dearest friends have moved away,” resulting in much of the loss and longing that fill the verses.
One poem, about a grandmother’s aching arms for a grandchild moved away, was written for Ashford’s granddaughter Natasha when she was two. “She’s 34 now,” Ashford said.
And there are poems for her mother, who shaped her life. “When I lost my mother...” Ashford began. “I’m an only child. She’s all I had — I always thought we would grow old together.”
Ashford recalled spending much of her childhood in her grandmother’s kitchen, and there are poems for her, as well.
“She was a big woman,” Ashford said, often at the stove.
“You might call her fat,” a poem in her honor goes, “you would not know ... how those plump hands could fashion rolls as light as air, cook a dozen meals at once or braid a grandchild’s hair...”
Ashford said people focus on the outside of things, never learning what lies within. About her grandmother, she said, “she was big in the way she worked so hard. She was always good to me.”
Other poems are about her son, her grandson, her daughter.
In recent years, Ashford had written less, she said. She has instead “supplied the pulpit” in numerous churches, most recently in Neodesha.
“I served Humboldt Presbyterian Church on a bimonthly schedule for three years. I’ve served in Fredonia, Chanute and Iola over the years,” she said. After Christmas, she will serve in Yates Center.
“If my life had been different, I might have gone into ministry,” she said. “You always wonder ‘what if.’”
Ashford said she has enough poems collected to publish another volume, “but I don’t think it will ever happen.”
As she said, life gets in the way.
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
w/ 2 pics and 4 recipes
Iolans are familiar with the face of Brian Donovan. For more than 10 years, he served as a city police officer.
A year ago, Donovan embarked upon a career change: All indications suggest it was the right move.
Since January, Donovan has been a student at the Art Institute of Kansas City, pursuing a degree in culinary arts.
Recently, he was granted two scholarships toward that endeavor — $1,000 from The Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association and $1,500 from the American Institute of Wine and Food in Wichita. Donovan said receiving both scholarships was a surprise.
The transformation from cop to cook and eventually, chef, was not completely off the cuff, Donovan said. He had been trained to cook in the National Guard.
There, he said, cooking was “basic” — and “in bulk.”
Donovan would prepare meals for “up to 300 or 400” soldiers. There wasn’t much creativity, though. From oven-baked chicken to pot roast, he said, “The guard dictates the menu.”
Donovan mastered the art of bulk buying and food preparation in the Guard, skills that transferred well to the buffet of The New Greenery, where he now works and feeds “about 150 a day between 2 p.m. and closing,” Donovan said.
In his last year as a police officer, Donovan said he began musing about returning to school.
“I still had G.I. Bill money,” garnered through his years as a Marine, from 1986-96, and as a Guardsman from 1997-2008.
Internet research led him to Kansas City, where he crams a week’s worth of classes into two days to accommodate his work and family life.
“I have a very supportive family,” he said of wife, Tina, and sons Chase and Nick Lampe. “Sunday is family day,” he said — and the only day he is not either at work or in class.
By Sunday night, Donovan is on the road to Overland Park, preparing for two days in the Art Institute’s culinary kitchens.
In the program, which will take him 18 months to complete, he is learning pastry baking, American Regional foods, European cooking and World menus — “mostly Mediterranean and Middle East,” he noted. Come January, it’s foods of France, Germany and Italy, he said.
As an Iolan, Donovan’s experience of global flavors was limited before culinary school, he said.
One food he has come to appreciate is lamb.
“I never had lamb before and I’ve really taken a passion to cooking it,” he said. It is a versatile meat that can be prepared in a wealth of ways.
“Sauces have been fun,” he added. “I really enjoy — although it’s hard to make — hollandaise.” Even his instructor, executive chef Steve Venne, can have trouble with the delicate whipped egg-and-butter sauce, he said.
One sauce that shined for Donovan was “a merlot sauce. We did it with our lamb. Oh my goodness, it was so good.” Before that sauce, Donovan had never cooked with wine, he said.
As in the military, Donovan said, “we are not allowed to alter a recipe” in culinary school. That changes in lab work, though, where teams of four must create their own menus, he said.
A recent class competition involved creating a Christmas canape menu.
“The assignment was for each of us to come up with a hot and cold appetizer and an amuse-bouche” — a bite-sized palate cleanser, he said. “It’s always just a single taste,” he said of the ‘happy mouth’ dish. “Just something to highlight the palate and say ‘Oh, yes, I’m here to eat!’”
Donovan selected a cold cucumber-dill soup served in shot glasses for his amuse-bouche. For his canape, he developed a pancetta with pineapple tidbit.
“I wanted to go with ‘What can I do with my leftover Christmas food?’,” he said of his choice. The pancetta in the recipe is easily replaced with shaved ham or turkey, he said.
“I’M HAVING a totally good time,” Donovan said of his new venture. “I’m doing something I love.”
And he’s not the only one at the school who did a career about face, he said.
“I’m really surprised by the number of people who already have degrees” who are in the program, he said. One of his classmates is a pharmacist.
Donovan’s ultimate goal is to be certified as a chef — an additional process beyond culinary training — and to open his own restaurant.
And, he said, in some ways, “law enforcement and food service are kind of the same,” in both, “you are taking care of people.”
Editor’s Note: With Donovan’s approval, recipes have been modified to reflect locally available ingredients
3 slices white bread, crust removed
4 ounces ham, turkey, or smoked turkey, shaved
cinnamon-honey butter (see below)
Cut each bread slice into four uniform squares. Lightly butter and toast in a 400 degree oven.
Spread with honey butter, top with shaved ham and a pineapple piece.
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
3 Tblsp. honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
Whip butter, honey, cinnamon and lemon juice until light and thoroughly blended. Can also be used on toast or bagels as a breakfast treat.
1 loaf French bread, sliced into at least 10 slices
4 ounces Monterrey jack cheese, shredded (1 cup shreds)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 green onion, chopped
Place bread slices on ungreased baking sheet and bake at 400 for 8-9 minutes until lightly browned.
In a large bowl, fold together mayonnaise, almonds, bacon, onion, salt and cheese.
Spread on toasted bread. Bake an additional 7 minutes, until cheese melts.
Sprinkle with additional almonds, if desired.
10 shrimp, peeled and de-veined
10 buttery crackers
cocktail sauce (follows)
cream cheese, softened
Heat olive oil in a pan and saute shrimp until done, about four minutes. Cool.
Spread crackers with cream cheese. Top with dab of cocktail sauce, a shrimp and snip of dill.
4 ounces ketchup
1 Tblsp. prepared horseradish
lemon juice to taste
Blend all ingredients. Use as dip or on canapes.
Chilled cucumber-dill soup
1 cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1 Tblsp. fresh or 1 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
Cook cucumber, onion and broth in a small saucepan until veggies soften. Transfer to blender or food processor. Add cream and dill. Puree.
Pour into shot glasses (about 1-2 Tblsp. each). Sprinkle with pepper and salt (optional).
Fill a serving tray with crushed ice. Arrange glasses among ice. Serve.
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
An era came to a close Friday when four long-time stylists locked the doors and departed Unique Beauty Salon, 310 W. Garfield St.
Tuesday morning, the doors opened under the ownership of Charity Jones, who recently purchased the business from Phyllis Goodell.
Goodell, Stonna Raney, Vanessa Michaels and Cheryl Heffernon — the collective that made up Unique — decided to retire recently.
Fate brought Jones into the picture.
All the women’s lives, in some way, overlap.
Jones had lately been an independent trucker, along with her husband, Kelly Jones. Recent engine problems and a phone call from her father-in-law, Roger Jones, led to the sudden career change.
“The day my motor blew my father-in-law called and said ‘I know you want to start your own salon. There’s an ad in the paper. You should check it out.’”
Jones, a 2006 graduate of the Fort Scott Cosmetology School, inquired into the ad selling salon equipment. A familiar voice answered the phone.
“Phyllis answered. I knew right away it was Phyllis Goodell,” Jones said.
“Phyllis has known me since I could walk,” Jones explained. “I worked for her taking care of her cats when I was in high school.”
One thing led to another and Jones ended up buying the entire business — not just equipment — from Goodell.
Hours at Unique Salon will be Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. through afternoon, Jones said. Evening appointments can be made as well. The phone number will remain 365-5711.
As for the retiring “girls,” as they call each other, “I will miss the ladies terribly bad,” Goodell said. “But it’s time for a younger person behind this chair,” she said.
Heffernon concurred. “We’ve all got some health issues. For me, it’s my back. Standing up all day gets hard on the hips,” she said. Heffernon intends to do some traveling, especially to Colorado, where she is from and still has family.
Raney hopes to do some traveling, too, she said.
All three have been doing hair for most of the past five decades.
“Stonna and I started together 45 years ago,” Goodell said. Raney began doing hair 47 years ago, she said. Soon thereafter, she said, “I started a professional salon.” Goodell, she said, “was my faithful employee.”
Then Raney moved to Washington state for a while. “When I moved back, she hired me.”
Four years ago, the women, along with Michaels, were based on the Iola square, at the corner of Washington and Jackson streets.
“Iola Office Supply wanted to expand,” Raney said, “So we needed to move.”
Following a rumor, they sought out Heffernon.
“I was in here doing my nails,” Heffernon said, “They came in and said ‘I hear you want to retire.’ I said ‘No. But tell me what’s happening.’ They told me their story and I said, ‘If you need to move, just bring your ladies and come on out.’ I had stations available. They moved in.”
Heffernon went home and told her husband of the odd occurrence. He told her she should consider selling.
So, “They moved in and bought it right away,” Heffernon said — with one caveat. Heffernon said, “I’ll sell it to you if I can stay.”
Ands so the trio became a foursome.
All the women have grown close.
“That’s going to be the hard part — not being around each other and sharing the ups and downs the woes and joys of life,” Heffernon said. “I’ll miss all the ladies and,” — after 47 years on the job — “I’ll miss coming to work,” she said.
“I’ll miss all my wonderful clients,” added Stonna. “I’ll shed a lot of tears.”
Of the four, Michaels, at 51, is the youngest retiree. A recent grandmother with another grandchild on the way, she’s looking forward to spending more time with them. “I’m excited,” she said. Still, she noted, “I’ve been with these girls 10 years. The camaraderie is what I’ll miss most. That and the ladies — we have a lot of older clients and you get attached.”
“We’ve had a lot of fun in here,” Heffernon noted.
The women do intend to stay in touch.
“We’ll probably get together and take trips to Kansas City, go to lunch,” Heffernon said. “The nice thing is, we’re all compatible.”
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Now is the latest one should plant bulbs for winter, said Tracy Keagle, a master gardener.
Keagle, who ran a yard care business in Iola from 1985 to 2000, became familiar with common mistakes people made preparing their gardens for winter, she said.
Common bulb mistakes, she said, included planting bulbs too shallow and tying back their foliage once they are past bloom.
Bulbs should always be planted at a depth that is 2 1/2 times the width of the bulb. “If a bulb is 1 inch across, plant it 2 1/2 inches deep,” she said. Tulip bulbs, which are usually wider, are typically planted at about 6 inches deep.
Yet this late in the season, she said, it’s OK to plant 1 inch closer to the surface than one normally would.
Plant bulbs in clumps, Keagle advised.
“You can mix them up. Plant tulip bulbs at 6 inches deep, then cover them with an inch of soil and plant smaller bulbs on top of that.”
Such groupings look more natural, she said. Keagle suggested preparing a hole “about the size of a dinner plate” in the flower bed for such groupings.
Bulbs planted together will all come up at the same time, she said, with similar bloom times.
After they are done blooming, Keagle said, do not tie back or cut down foliage. “You want the air to circualte around them” and foliage to remain until it yellows and dies back on its own to ensure the bulbs store enough energy to rebloom the following year.
Instead of single rows of bulbs, Keagle suggested planting bulbs amidst beds of later-blooming perennials to obscure foliage during late spring.
But, she noted, “Always snap the old head — the flower, stem and all — when the flower starts to fade.” This, too, she said, will push energy from the leaves back into the bulb for the coming year.
Bulbs can be planted as long as the ground can be worked and has not frozen, Keagle said.
Those planted later may bloom later the first year, “but they’ll catch up” and bloom on a normal schedule in subsequent years, provided foliage is allowed to grow so the bulb can store energy, she said.
KEAGLE BECAME involved in landscaping by happenstance, she said.
“When I was in my 20s, a neighbor of mine, an older gentleman, was telling me about a book he was reading about leading a successful life.”
When she asked him what money-making schemes the book espoused, he told her “It’s not about money. A successful life is one in which you are happy.”
A friend told Keagle if that’s the case, she should find a job planting flowers.
The chance came.
On one of her regular walks, Keagle said she saw an elderly woman with an unkempt yard — one that had obviously been cared for in the past. The woman said the lawn care man she hired had never shown up, and her health prevented her doing the job herself. Keagle volunteered, spending the day mowing, trimming and putting things in order.
When she went to leave, the woman paid her.
A business was born.
“At one time, I probably had 70 lawns to mow,” Keagel said. “I never used a riding mower.”
And, she said, “I’ve probably planted 10,000 bulbs in my life.”
The work kept Keagle fit and trim as well as busy, but a fall from a roof five years ago curtailed her ability to do yard work.
“I’m not supposed to lift anything over two pounds,” she said.
Still, she readily shares her knowledge.
Another trick to perfect bulbs, Keagle said, is to feed them — not at planting, as many suspect, but when they first blooom.
Keagle suggests using “Miracle Grow or other common liquid fertilizer.”
And, she said, “don’t use bone meal — it will attract animals” that will dig up the bulbs. “Do add phospohorous,” she said.
Phosphorous is essential for blooming.
Ozmacoat or another slow-release granular fertilizer can also be put on bulbs once they begin to bloom, Keagle said. “That’s not going to activate until it gets warmer,” but it will help feed the leaves to ensure future blooming.
Additional tips shared by Keagle include preparing yards for upcoming freezing temperatures.
“There’s really not much to do,” she said. “Don’t cut grass before winter. And I wouldn’t clean any leaves off, but I’d mow them up and scatter them on the garden and lawn. A couple good mowings will chop them up and they act as a natural mulch.”
In addition, she said, “leave crepe myrtle and mum tops on the plants to self mulch.”
Other lawn tips Keagle shared were letting grass get taller than most people allow. This protects it from sunburn and lets it green up easier, she noted.
Mainly, she said, pay attention to soil.
“If you fix that soil the way soil is supposed to be” — full of organic matter and not compacted — “you really don’t have to do a lot to it.”
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
One expects a play about a 50s boy band to have harmony and style. Add an element of Christmas, and one settles in for an evening of cozy comfort.
Unexpected are the belly laughs the quartet exudes from the audience through their clever word play and silly antics.
The non-stop Plaid Tidings plays tonight, Friday and Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday and Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. at the Warehouse Theatre, 203 S. Jefferson Ave.
Dessert precedes the performances by 1/2 hour; tickets, $15 general and $10 students, are available at Sophisticated Rose, 19 S. Jefferson Ave., or at the door an hour before each performance.
Plaid Tidings is a sort-of sequel to Stuart Ross’ Forever Plaid, a whimsical lark about a young quartet killed in a collision en route to their first big gig. The Beatles got the fame; the Plaids got their wings.
Plaid Tidings was written, Ross says in the program notes, after the sorrows of 9/11 warranted “a little joy and fun to lift the spirits.”
In this incarnation, the Plaids return, confused as to their purpose.
Through song after song after song — many a delightful mash up medley — the gang hopes to discern why they were brought back to Earth.
AS THE PLAIDS, four local men command the audience’s attention.
Skylar Strickler plays ring-leader Frankie; David Gilham is more reserved Sparky; Bill Wolf is a natural as Smudge and Bryan Johnson, as the nose bleed-prone Jinx, soldiers on, at times with tufts of cotton sprouting from his nostrils.
Each man is given a chance to front the show as the evening progresses.
Strickler’s pure showmanship and clear tenor voice prove he will go far. Currently a student at Allen County Community College, Strickler leaves soon for Wichita State where he will major in music and performance.
Wolf, a financial advisor, has a rich bass voice that anchors the group. Gilham is most adept at a long spoken part in Act II, where the words are as rapid-fire as the songs in the rest of the show.
Bryan Johnson has the highest singing tone, clear as a bell, with a playfulness to his performance befitting the season.
All the actors break the fourth wall, engaging the audience directly throughout the show. They also reference musicians Treca Jackson, piano, Tom Wheat, bass, and Todd Willis, percussion, rending the invisible wall behind them as well.
The players’ skill is such that one quickly forgets live musicians are present — they play at the perfect level to be appreciated without overwhelming the singers.
A large crew keeps props, lights and sound spot-on. Credit must be given to costumers for taffeta plaid blazers, Mexican sombreros and Santa hats. Kim Strickler directs.
Simply put: see the show. It will add sparkle to your holiday season.
In its 42 years on the Iola square, McGinty Whitworth has become known as the go-to place for unique Christmas gifts and women’s clothing — and of course, accessories, accessories, accessories.
“Jewelry and handbags always sell well,” said store clerk Melissa Lassman. Scarves and hats and gloves are popular as stocking stuffers as well as under the tree, she said.
McGinty’s famous Christmas sales book, included in today’s Register, boasts a 30 percent off coupon that can be used on almost any item in the store.
McGinty’s has extended business hours for the holiday season and will be open Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with longer evening hours on Thursdays, until 8. In addition, “we’ll be open Sundays in December from 1 to 5 p.m.,” Lassman said.
Bargains are always available at McGinty Whitworth. Sales racks lure shoppers in every department. Jewelry, clothing, shoes, scarves and seasonal ware is often discounted for the price-conscious shopper. That’s important to consumers in the current economy, said Lassman, who anticipated an increase in sales of smaller items over years past.
Novel gifts on the shelves this year are stretch rhinestone rings and bracelets to add a little glitter to one’s holiday bling. Cuff bracelets, textured clutch purses and sparkly lanyards catch the eye. Butter-soft fleece lounge pants, cozy sweaters and lusciously textured woven scarves all beckon the casual shopper. Vibrantly colored plush slippers promise to cheer the cold from your winter floor. There are even stockings that would look great hung on the mantle, though designed to be worn on one’s feet.
Numerous special gift items are brought in just for the holidays, noted store clerk Sheryl Zajic. “They’re all cute and if I had enough money I’d probably buy them all,” she said.
Other seasonal specials include a “Christmas clock” that chimes carols on the hour and holiday ornaments and home decor. Unique photo frames are a McGinty staple.
Kids’ gifts can be found toward the back of the store, where looms a large variety of logo gear — K-state and KU fans both can find mugs, pennants, wall hangings and shirts that show off their team spirit. There are even fleece jackets sized for the youngest of fans.
Stocked near the shoes, a huge assortment of “Rubber Lover” bracelets will delight any stretch band fan.
You can find something for almost anyone at this anchor store of the Iola square.
Reach McGinty Whitworth at 365-3271.
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
It would be a stretch to say that people come from out of town just to enter the Iola Area Chamber of Commerce gingerbread house contest, but one family, visiting relatives in Iola, did take part.
The Dorst sisters, who live in Manhattan, were in town over Thanksgiving to spend time with their relatives, the Dunnes.
Emma and Grace, ages 7 and 9, constructed one house, while 11-year-old Chloe helped her little cousin, 3 1/2 year old Makayla Dunne, complete another.
Makayla’s mom, Lisa Dunne, said although this is the first time the girls have entered a contest, it isn’t the first time they have constructed gingerbread houses.
“They do it with their grandmother, Vickie Tholen, every year,” she said.
“It’s the first thing we do for the holiday to get in the spirit of Christmas,” Dunne said. “The girls even go shopping together for the candy” to decorate the houses.
Chloe and Makayla’s house is on display at Classy Attic, while Emma and Grace’s creation is at Jones Jewelry.
MARTHA HEFFERNON has entered the Chamber’s contest before. She favors using graham crackers as building blocks.
“I just like to do them,” Heffern said of building the houses. “An idea just pops in your head and you go with it.”
Heffern created a miniature village this year, with a main house, smaller house and church. She uses royal icing to frost and glue her pieces together “because it dries really hard,” she said.
Next year, Heffern may use actual gingerbread, she said.
“The gingerbread is thicker. It’s probably easier to work with. The crackers tend to bow,” she said.
Heffern’s village is on view at Town and Country. It received the People’s Choice Award.
For Jana Taylor, letting her 6-year-old son T.J. build a kit home was a way for him to participate in the family’s holiday baking “without him having his arms in brownie batter,” she said. “We bake a lot at the holidays and he always likes to help,” she added.
T.J. really enjoys gingerbread construction, she laughed. “He loves to build gingerbread houses — and eat them.”
Thomas “T.J.” Taylor’s house is visible at Duane’s Flowers.
ANOTHER ginger village was made by a village — of a sort. Both seniors and preschoolers in the Age to Age program at Windsor Place crafted a cookie village complete with school bus, on view at Iola Office Supply.
Windsor resident Jean Carr was one of the seniors involved.
Carr enjoyed camaraderie and competition among the builders, she said, “to see if you could get your candy on quicker than the guy next to you.”
Seniors and students all worked on the project throughout the course of a day, she said.
With that many hands came a few mouths that sampled the candies and cookies, she said. “That’s why it isn’t as big as it should have been,” Carr laughed.
Six to eight seniors and 27 preschoolers had a hand in the construction.
FIRST PLACE winner Barbara Anderson’s village is on display at the Allen County Historical Society.
This is her fifth entry into the contest, she said.
Anderson built her graham cracker-based creation over the Thanksgiving holiday with the help of her kids and grandkids, she said.
“I just think it’s a wonderful part of Christmas,” she said of constructing the houses, although next year, she may try actual gingerbread, she said.
“There was just too much humidity this year,” she said of using graham crackers. “It kept the crackers soft.”
Like Heffern, Anderson uses royal icing made with meringue powder to keep her construction together.
“One year I tripped,” while placing a house, she said, “that icing just stuck. It’s like cement.” The houses, Anderson said, “are more durable than you think.”
Despite winning first place, Anderson doesn’t consider herself an expert in architectural confections.
She does it for the fun, and to help add to the beauty of Iola’ downtown.
“We almost have a Norman Rockwell thing going on,” she said of Iola’s holiday charm.
All entrants will receive Chamber Bucks.
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Traditional to trendy Christmas decor is everywhere at Duane’s Flower Shop, 5 S. Jefferson Ave. on the Iola square.
“Lime and purple is good this year,” noted Duane McGraw of the latest look in holiday color. One of the many trees at Duane’s is decked out in just that. Large purple and lime balls, tufts of glittery green “ting ting,” fern sprays and sparkly twisted branches poke out at odd angles, making the tree vibrant and alive.
The glitter-covered sprays and sprigs are very popular this year, Duane added, noting all come in silver, copper, gold and red as well as the brilliant green. “It’s all glitz,” he said of the collection.
And glitz is in — big time.
Whole garlands of glitter can be had. “You wrap it around your tree,” Duane said — or banisters or railings or mantels or wreaths. “It’s best you put it on first, before you add your decorations,” he advised.
Also in this year are words. The look that has adorned walls and desks in recent memory has moved onto the holiday tree, he said.
Ornaments proclaiming “Cheer” and “Ho Ho Ho” as well as placards promoting peace now hang from boughs and branches.
Ceramic tile ornaments can be personalized with a ceramic marker or Sharpie, Duane said. They can even be used as place markers in a table setting, making a lovely holiday keepsake.
Even bottles of bubbly get festive this year with stained glass ornaments meant to loop around the bottle top. They work equally well on trees, Duane noted, pointing to a bright red cardinal that would be at home in any woodland scene. At the flower shop, “we use them on bud vases,” he said.
It seems, this year with ornaments, the bigger the better. “Put the larger ornaments on the outside,” Duane suggested, “and tuck in smaller ones,” making a tree look fuller.
On a bird-themed tree, ostrich feathers furl from boughs while little red birds peek out from the core. Pine cones keep it real while sparkly red ting ting adds a needed touch of glitz.
“I think everything needs to tell a story,” Duane said of his themed trees.
In his home, Duane said, the family’s three trees do just that.
“In the sunroom, everything is home made. It’s all things the kids have made. Downstairs, we have an outdoor theme with bears and deer and antlers.” Upstairs, he said, wife Judy’s look is “all cut glass — everything is clear” a timeless, elegant note.
Duane said that at the store, every look is up for grabs.
“Everything’s for sale,” he said. “Even the window displays,” which also can be rented. Too for wreaths and mantel pieces, he said.
“Sometimes a family or organization wants something to dress up a holiday table or party,” he noted, adding he will also make displays on request.
There are even discounted ornaments, at 50 or 75 percent off. Sports fans, too, can find their favorite Kansas team on bulbs and balls for Christmas boughs.
Another trends is outdoor ribbons, Duane said. Bows of mesh withstand wind and weather, he said.
While the store’s wreaths sport traditional red and green and candy cane colors, the fade-proof bows come in all colors of the rainbow, Duane said, perfect for outdoor weddings or receptions.
Duane is careful not to carry the same merchandise as other Iola stores, he said. His collection of snowmen is unique and “We don’t have the same angels.” His might be the only store with purple and pink advent candles, he noted.
And of course, Mylar balloons, pillow-soft plush toys, all occasion cards and funerary ornaments abound.
Duane’s Flower Shop, an authorized FTD florist, can also ship flowers anywhere in the world. Call him at 365-5723.
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
COLONY — “I feel like a used pew salesman,” said the self-effacing pastor of Colony Christian Church.
Indeed, in a way, he is.
Pastor Mark McCoy said the church is offering its collection of pews — all 20-some — to any and all takers who pony up 50 bucks apiece for the hard, wooden 10-foot-long benches. About 10 have been spoken for so far, McCoy said.
Although the pews’ seats appear padded, they don’t feel it. The harvest-gold upholstery hides nary an ounce of softness. One sits down with a thud.
“They’d be great as a hall bench,” McCoy suggests.
Colony Christian is replacing the pews with more “functional” seating: interlocking — and padded — chairs.
“There are several people with back problems” who will benefit from the change, McCoy said. In addition, “we’re trying to accommodate young families in the back.”
Seven pews converge at an acute angle in the back of the church, where families with small children like to sit, he said.
“It’s near the restrooms; it’s near the doors if they have to get up.”
Also, the space is set aside from the rest of the sanctuary, making a perfect room-within-a-room where kids could run and babies crawl — providing there was floor space to do so.
Only about a foot separates row ends. Set aslant, even that feels cramped.
Once all the pews are sold, McCoy said, the money will go toward purchasing the supportive chairs that can stand in rows, clusters, circles or “whatever configuration is needed at the time,” McCoy said.
That will also allow a center aisle in the church “should we ever want to have a wedding or funeral,” McCoy noted.
At present, three banks of pews mean walkways are right and left of the altar.
The change is part of an ongoing effort to bring the church into the present, McCoy said.
Also planned is updating the 70s-style wood paneling to “something more modern,” he said, unsure of what that would be.
McCoy isn’t being intentionally vague — the church really doesn’t have a grand master plan, but instead has been making improvements as finances allow.
“We just got central heat and air,” he said of the most recent change to the 116-year-old building. That was but a few months ago.
“We had resonant heaters before that,” he said, akin to gas space heaters in the wall. The new system “is nice,” and should evenly heat the sanctuary.
Additional changes made over the almost six years McCoy has been on board include an updated sound system with computer to present sermons and Scripture on a drop down screen.
“The screen was here when I came,” he said, but wasn’t very usable without support equipment.
Improvements in the church basement, used as nursery and kitchen, include freshly painted cabinets — “even though they look old,” he said. Upstairs, “We used to have ugly old yellow curtains,” where now are cream-colored venetian blinds.
MCCOY DOESN’T mind that the transformation is coming about slowly. That it is happening at all is positive, he said.
Colony Christian Church, with a weekly attendance that ranges from 40 to 90, has been flourishing since McCoy arrived.
The young pastor — he’s 29 — was fresh out of Ozark Christian College when he accepted the job pastoring a church that was down to 12 members.
“In another week it would have been down to seven,” he added. Previous differences between church leadership and body led to the decline, he said.
McCoy has worked hard at bringing the congregation together.
The church has instituted small group meetings each Sunday night reviewing material presented on Sunday morning.
“A lot of people forget what was preached on Sunday morning by Sunday afternoon,” he said. He admits he has been one of them — even when he did the preaching.
So he started “Infusion,” a study group for leaders who then share the materials with congregants throughout the week.
“We believe leadership is shepherding. We really steer away from leaders being decision makers,” he said, instead allowing decisions to be weighed by the whole congregation.
“In so many churches,” McCoy said, “the leaders will make a decision, but they’re not connected to the people.” Those outcomes, he said, cause division. But, McCoy said, “Church isn’t a business, it’s a family.”
And so, “I try not to micromanage,” he said, but instead encourage involvement of all church members.
“We’re trying to get back to the New Testament,” he said. “We try to focus on the people. We start out by listening. We focus on truth in a relational context.”
Church, he said, is not about a building, but developing relationships and changing one’s own heart.
Still, he noted, “We live in a culture where impressions matter.” Thus the physical improvements.
The idea to modernize the church actually came from the congregation, he said.
“I had a lady say, ‘We update our houses, but we never update our church.’” So through savings and donations, the process began.
“We’ve got some really generous people,” McCoy said of the congregation, which draws people from all ages and directions.
“If you look in any direction for 15 to 16 miles, we have people coming from there,” he said.
Members come from “Humboldt, Garnett, Moran, Kincaid, Iola, Westphalia and” — even — “Colony. We want to be as far-reaching as we can be,” McCoy said.
To that end, the Infusion group is working. “We have some people who are not members here who come to the small groups, so we’re having an impact on their churches, too.”
Overall, McCoy said, “It’s a community effort, it’s not just a Colony church.”
THOSE interested in securing a pew can call McCoy at 620-852-3200.
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
There’s a new — or is it old? — business on the Iola square.
Brooklyn Park antiques and flea market has opened up shop at 3 N. Jefferson Ave.
Melinda Luttrell, owner, seized an opportunity when the building became available recently, she said.
She had established Brooklyn Park in 1994 at the corner of Kentucky and Madison avenues, but “the building at that location needed too much work to maintain,” and she closed its doors several years ago, she said.
Work on the front of the new location, done by her father, Don Britt, and Iola artisan Jim Smith, allowed Luttrell to open in November, she said, although remodeling work went on even as vendors set up spaces within the store.
“We have more than 50 consignors in here,” Luttrell said of the reconfigured space. A center row of “cages,” — small wood-framed display areas — allows local crafters and vendors without too much to sell to “try their hand at retail,” Luttrell said. “I have several (vendors) who do crafts and they do really well,” Luttrell noted.
Luttrell intends further improvements to the building.
Smith and Britt will return to remodeling efforts, including painting the facade, once warmer weather returns, she said. “I wanted to do a lot more but didn’t have the time,” before cold weather set in, she said.
Inside, Luttrell had new flooring installed and removed old glass and cardboard from the front wall. “Jim Smith and my dad repaired the front of the building,” she said. “They insulated and rebuilt it.”
Antique display cases, including an old ice box from a former meat market, provide intriguing display space.
“We’ve brought in vendors clear up to the back door,” she said.
Items such as antique furniture — too large for the downtown space — will be housed in the building on Kentucky Street and offered online, through brooklynparksales.com, Luttrell said.
“We have original teller stations from Iola State Bank there,” she said by way of example.
Estate items are available both in the store and online, she said.
Luttrell plans to revamp the website to highlight new merchandise in coming months, she said.
Business is already booming, Luttrell said.
“I owe a lot to the vendors — they bring in quality merchandise at reasonable prices.”
One such is Linda Haeger of Topeka. With family in the Allen County area, Haeger said she enjoys coming to Iola to resell items she collects at flea markets and auctions in the Topeka area.
She has even stopped marketing her wares in Topeka “because this keeps me busy,” she said of the Iola store.
Brooklyn Park is open seven days a week. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and form 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.
The store can be reached at 228-7107 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
When Bud Folck and his wife Pepper drove in from their home in Toronto last Thursday, they expected a relaxed afternoon of Christmas shopping. Instead, car trouble that left them stranded reinforced Bud’s belief that Iolans are some of the finest folk around.
“I always though Iola was a fine little town,” said Bud, who retired from the radiology department of Allen County Hospital 21 years ago.
Folck had been having battery trouble for about a week, he said, needing to jump start his car to get it going each morning. Last Thursday was no exception, and he planned to buy a new battery while in Iola, he said.
But shortly after crossing the intersection of Madison and State streets, his 2002 Honda CRV died. Auto Zone, at 5 N. State St., lay just ahead.
Folck said workers from the store came out and pushed his vehicle into the parking lot.
“They do sell batteries there,” Folck noted of the store, but did not have the one he wanted. “So they called their competition,” Iola Auto Parts, “and took me over there,” Folck said.
The door-to-door service was just the start.
Folck purchased a battery at Iola Auto Parts, then the Auto Zone crew returned him — and it — to their lot, where they installed it for him, he said.
Ready to go, Folck turned the key and — nothing. “The car still wouldn’t start,” he said.
The Auto Zone crew spent about an hour trying to determine what was wrong. “They had three or four guys out there working on my car,” Folck said.
When the car still wouldn’t start, the crew called a mechanic to come help. When none was found available, they called Folck’s neighbor on Toronto Lake to come fetch the couple.
While waiting, Pepper lamented her missed shopping opportunity.
An Auto Zone worker volunteered to drive her out to Walmart where she could shop while awaiting their ride, Folck said.
Meantime, Folck, remembering a mechanic he’d known all those years ago, wandered over to RB Auto at 301 S. Washington to see if Richard Burton could help.
“He grabbed some tools” and they returned to the stranded CRV.
“After about five minutes, he determined I’d put diesel in the car,” during a fuel stop in Yates Center, Folck said.
Burton had the car towed to his shop once the Folcks’ neighbor, George Poffinbarger, arrived to pick up the couple.
The next day, tank drained and refilled with unleaded, Folck got the call the car was ready to go.
Folck said he tried paying the crew at Auto Zone — John Ashworth, Chris Rhea and Andrew Reagen — for their efforts, “but they wouldn’t accept anything.”
On Wednesday, back in Iola for his wife’s doctor appointment, Folck decided he’d give the men “a whole variety of treats” from Renee’s Bakery as a thank-you.
“They all just did what they could to help,” Folck noted. “I just wanted them to know I appreciate it.”