Wednesday, January 26, 2011
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Iola High School students Wednesday through today engaged in what has become an annual opportunity — a workshop by Texas pastel artist Steve Napper.
Napper, of Odessa, Texas, happened upon teaching Iola students for the past “14 or 15 years” thanks to former Iola elementary art teacher Steve Orcutt.
Years before, “I befriended the Orcutts in Colorado,” Napper said.
“We were doing a big art show” one year, he said. “They happened to be staying at the same hotel.”
As fate would have it, the painters’ auctioneer “didn’t show up, and Steve volunteered his services,” Napper said.
A friendship bloomed, along with an invitation from the Orcutts for Napper to come share his skills, perfected over 43 years as a pastel painter, with Iola’s students.
“I thought it would be just a one-time thing,” Napper said, “but it’s grown.”
Napper shares his knowledge of the medium, along with hints and tips on producing a painting, with students over the course of three days. Day one is lectures, where students learn technique, materials and design. Days two and three involve hands-on assignments, with Napper present to coach the students.
2011 marked junior Shauna Van Etten’s “third year at the workshops,” she said.
“I’ve learned how to use the warm and cool colors and how to use pastels. It’s very helpful,” she said of Napper’s instruction.
In the near future, she hopes to couple her love of art with her love of cooking in pursuit of world culinary art and management, she said.
It was Hannah Norris’s first time using pastels. “It’s interesting — it’s different,” she said. “I’m normally a sketcher. I never color my drawings; I always shade them. This,” she said of the vibrant blues, greens, fuchsias and golds, “is a little out of my comfort zone.”
Sophomore Nathan Meadows, an aspiring art teacher himself, enjoyed blending blues and greens to form a hill above a paler river. He typically draws with pencils, he said, and found the pastels “messier.”
Mess is in the nature of the material, Napper explained, walking across floors of the Dale P. Creitz Recital Hall festooned with protective plastic sheets.
Pastels, Napper noted, “are really the most colorfast and permanent of all media because it’s pure pigment.”
Pigments, including metals such as aluminum and iron oxides, cadmium and mineral pigments, are ground to a paste with a binder, then rolled into sticks.
“I can grind that pastel up and mix it with oil and it’s oil paint,” Napper continued.
Chalk, on the other hand, “is dyed,” Napper said. There is no pure pigment in it. “Chalks will fade,” he said.
Chalk, he said anecdotally, is fine for sidewalk drawings. Pastel, however, will stain.
Both, however, are messy to work with, producing dust as the sticks are scraped across paper, cardboard or other surfaces.
“(Henri de Toulouse-) Lautrec painted on butcher’s paper; (Edgar) Degas painted on cardboard,” Napper said of the famous impressionists.
Napper said the reason pastels in museums are hung in low light situations is to preserve the paper the artists worked on — not the pigment.
“The paper deteriorates, not the pastel,” he told students.
Because of its soft and easily smeared nature, pastel paintings must be put behind glass, or sprayed with a fixative to prevent them smudging.
But, Napper said, “You kill the luminosity by putting a fixative on it.” In its natural state, he said, pastels paintings neither lighten nor darken over time. “You can come back in a year” and it’s the same as the day you worked on it, he said.
In addition, papers today are “museum grade,” compared to those of the impressionistic era.
Napper also had on hand Styrofoam insulation sheets, cut into segments, to use for blending. If using fingers, oils from one’s hand alter the pigments, he said, and “kill the color.”
Emerald Rook was getting hints form Napper on how to shade a stream bank. “It makes it more life-like and gives it a forward extension,” Rook said of the changes to her drawing.
Napper also taught the students “to paint by value and not by color,” he said. “I try to teach them to paint by temperature,” he explained, selecting warm or cool tones rather than matching the colors of the photographs used as guides.
In that style, sophomore Haydn Wolf was creating “a beautiful sky” — in greens, pink, blues and black.
“I’ve learned a lot already,” Wolf said of working with the pastels — and with Napper. “I learned lights and darks put things in the foreground and background,” he said.
“This is my first time ever doing this,” Wolf added. “I think it’s fun — it’s almost like a child with finger paints.”
Lenexa fabric artist Ada Niedenthal is adept at traditional quilting methods — just don’t call her a quilter.
Niedenthal, whose machine-pieced fabric wall hangings range in size from about a foot square to more than three by four feet, said, “I am not a traditional quilter; but I am an artist.”
Niedenthal, 63, began sewing at the age of five, she said. But she didn’t delve into the world of art until 2002, when she retired from a career in landscape architecture.
Niedenthal received a bachelor’s degree in art from Wichita State University in 1972 and a masters in landscape architecture from Kansas State University in 1977.
She worked as a landscaper in Minnesota, Indiana and the Kansas City metro area for 25 years, she said.
After retirement, fabric art came naturally, she said.
“I’m a very tactile person; it had to be something I could touch,” she said of her choice of medium.
Despite the imagery of Niedenthal pieces — trees, grain fields, flashy colors and abstract patterns — many of the hangings are made using standard quilt block methods, she pointed out.
“I really do not applique at all,” she said. “The geometry of piecing is what intrigues me.”
To make such organic designs work on a geometric ground, “It all has to be worked out ahead of time,” Niedenthal said.
“Several are paper-pieced,” she noted. “I plan out the whole thing on freezer paper — to scale — and cut it out and piece it that way.”
Another tool Niedenthal uses is a “design wall” — “It’s like a bulletin board” large enough to pin up a work in progress, she said, to observe how colors and patterns work together .
Design walls can be made of many materials, Niedenthal said, noting, “Mine is pieces of foam insulation.”
“That’s how I work out a lot of my color arrangements,” she said, “by working them on the wall first.”
Niedenthal’s work is “inspired by things I see, hear and read. I grew up in Kansas, so I’m inspired by the landscape, also” she added.
One hanging, “Amber Waves,” is evocative of a prairie field, with bands of gold fabric rolling in the lower half of the piece and strips of sky blue above.
Only after a second look does one see the outline of heads of wheat, stitched into the field.
“In all of them I dyed a lot of my own fabric,” Niedenthal said of her work, another observation best made up-close.
Only after a second look does one see the outline of heads of wheat, stitched into the field.
“In all of them I dyed a lot of my own fabric,” Niedenthal said of her work, another observation best made up-close.
Tree branches are painted on one hanging, another has overdyed calico rimming a collection of colored circles.
Niedenthal said she screen prints, stamps and paints her fabrics as well. “It’s all surface embellishment,” she said of the techniques.
A series of smaller hangings were “inspired by some scraps of fabric,” she said. “I use all kinds of fabric — neckties, old silk blouses, recycled clothing, cotton blends,” she said.
And, “I like color now “ she said. “I don’t know that I always (did),” but these days, Niedenthal said, “I’m intrigued by how color works together.”
That is apparent in the dazzling displays of fuchsia, turquoise, rich emerald greens and shining copper and gold touches in her pieces.
In addition, beads and buttons embellish others. One piece, “Squandered” is rife with words representing the years that George W. Bush spent in presidential office, Niedenthal said.
The tiny stitched letters require a close-up view; from a distance, the piece looks rosy.
When seeking out quilt designs, Niedenthal advised, “look around. Go to art shows, to galleries, look beyond (traditional) quilts.”
An opening reception for artist Ada Niedenthal will be 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Mary L. Martin Gallery in the Bowlus Fine Arts Center. Enter through the east doors; refreshments will be served.
The event is part of Iola’s week-long Kansas 150 celebration.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Allen County Animal Rescue Facility has adopted out 106 animals in its first five months of operation.
Since opening July 5, the low-kill facility has placed 30 cats and 76 dogs and returned one cat and 26 dogs to owners. In addition, 14 dogs were sent to breed rescue organizations, and four cats and one dog are in foster care. All told, 194 dogs and 68 cats have come through the facility. The shelter is full, with 53 dogs and 26 cats available for adoption, including the quiet but larger Chico, whose adoption fees have already been paid.
Shelter hours are 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.
ACARF will be closed this Friday and Saturday for the New Year holiday and will reopen Tuesday.
Rikki is a mature smaller dog that has been at ACARF for a few months now. She would love a forever home.
Chico, a resident at Allen County Rescue Facility since the day it opened, awaits adoption to a forever home. Chico’s family was forced to give up the middle-aged dog when they moved, and paid his adoption fee in hopes he would more easily find a new home. He waits patiently, still wagging his tail each time visitors go by.
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Newly minted state senator Jeff King and other local politicians were on hand Monday night for an Allen County Farm Bureau Association board of directors legislative update.
King, an Independence attorney in private practice, was joined by County Commissioners Rob Francis and Gary McIntosh and Rep. Bill Otto for the informal talk.
King was appointed Dec. 11 to fill the remainder of the term vacated when Sen. Derek Schmidt was elected attorney general. He moves over from the House of Representatives.
King said past Kansas legislatures erroneously “bragged about balancing the budget without passing taxes, but what we did was pass expenses on to cities and counties.” Unfortunately, with the current economic crisis, he said, budgets will get no better this year.
“Gov. Brownback’s budget came out Thursday,” King observed, “but I haven’t been able to see it yet to see if we’ve put a stop to taking money from cities and counties — or if there just isn’t anything left to take.”
King noted federal highway funds and state liquor taxes are about the only revenue pots the state has not yet dipped its fingers into.
On the county level, Francis said “everyone should realize their ditches probably won’t get mowed again this year.” The cutback last year to mowing just intersections along county roads saved Allen County $163,000 in fuel and labor costs, he said.
“We’re looking into using a retardant” to control vegetative growth along roads instead, McIntosh added.
An added expense facing the county will be replacing older road signs, commissioners said.
REGARDING EDUCATION, King warned that base funding for per pupil K-12 will be cut further.
King, like others, noted the state did not seek means to replace federal stimulus dollars used to prop up education the past two years.
Although state revenue collection is up “$240 million above where it was the year before,” the loss of $500 million in federal dollars equates to a $260 million loss for the state, King said.
That, coupled with enrollments having risen statewide, will mean less money for individual schools, King said.
King did vow to try to make the cuts “as small as we can and as smart as we can.”
King also noted deep flaws in the budget of the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System, calling it “the second-worst situation” facing public retirement systems in the country.
He said, “We’ll pay your KPERS. It’s a contractual obligation.” But he promised cuts to the program in 2013.
And, he reminded those present, “If you don’t like something I do, you don’t have to vote for me next time.”
King said he does plan to run for the office in 2012.
Other questions the panel faced included the new governor’s view on environmental policy and economic development. No firm commitment was made on any topic, other than to try to “push government down to the local level as far as you can,” King said.
As an incentive (or merely a bonus) for those attending next week’s Kansas 150 events in Iola, a punch card for prizes will be offered and clipped at each program.
Participants need to collect two punches through the week to be eligible for prizes, which include an autographed photo of Kansas City Chiefs star Jamaal Charles, Allen County Historical Society memorabilia and a Kansas 150 hooded sweatshirt.
Cards will also be punched for visits to the Allen County Historical Museum and for checking out Kansas materials at the Iola Public Library.
Cards are available at ACHS, the library, the Bowlus Fine Arts Center or at any of the Kansas 150 Week events.
Punched cards should be dropped off at the Historical Society through the week, or brought to the Kansas 150 birthday party before 3:30 p.m. Jan. 29.
THE WEEK’S celebrations begin with fabric artist Ada Niedenthal’s reception at the Mary L. Martin Gallery of the Bowlus Fine Arts Center, 2-4 p.m. Sunday.
Monday features historical films and photographs presented by Max Snodgrass at the Bowlus at 7 p.m.
Tuesday finds Iolans trying to solve “History’s Mysteries” at the Frederick Funston Meeting Hall, 207 N. Jefferson Ave., beginning at 7 p.m.
Wednesday afternoon, children’s librarian Leah Oswald offers up “Kansas: One State, Many Stories,” to listeners of all ages. The program starts at 3 p.m. in the Flewharty-Powell annex of the Iola Public Library.
“Let’s Talk Kansas Books!” is Thursday’s event, at 7 p.m. in the Flewharty-Powell annex. Five Iolans will expound on five books related to people or events in the Sunflower State.
Friday, Iolans can enjoy the classical strains of the Lyric Arts Trio performing “Ad Astra” at the Bowlus. Fifth graders will be treated to the tunes at 1:30 p.m.; all others are welcome at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, celebrate Kansas’ 150th year of statehood with a party at the Allen County Historical Museum, 20 S. Washington Ave. New exhibits will be on display and punch card prize winners will be chosen.
All events are free and open to the public; refreshments will be served.
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
City commissioners learned of a possible opportunity to bring new, mid-priced housing to Iola at their meeting Monday night.
Kansas Department of Corrections is offering inmate-built modular homes at cost, about $65,000-$70,000 for a 1,500 square foot three bedroom, two bath home — delivered.
Communities or individuals, in turn, provide a lot, utility hookups and foundation for the homes.
Developer Tom Carlson, Springfield, Mo., who built the River Valley Homes addition off Cedarbrook Golf Course, is considering purchasing up to 30 of the homes, if Iola would provide him lots.
Carlson would then sell the homes, reaping a profit from the donated land.
The impetus to the city is that he can front the money to purchase the homes, he told commissioners, improving Iola’s available housing stock.
Carlson noted that the River Valley Homes subdivision rented quickly, but an additional 30-35 interested parties were turned away because they made more than allowable income limits.
Those homes, built with a combination of federal tax credits and other funding, were built to serve lower-income working families and had federal income guidelines imposed upon them, Carlson said. The KDC homes would have no such restrictions, he noted.
Carlson said he would also be interested in placing the homes in the Cedarbrook area, if Iola would promise to sell him at least 15 of the 35 remaining lots in that area over the course of a number of years. Carlson said he envisioned adding two to three homes a year to the subdivision.
Commissioners expressed interest, but took no action.
New business dealt with a complaint by Iola Realtor and landlord Ken Rowe that he is unable to secure copies of utility use records for houses he is marketing. Rowe believes the records must be made available through the Freedom of Information Act.
City Attorney Chuck Apt informed Rowe that state statutes pertaining to open records exempt “records of a utility or public service pertaining to individually identifiable residential customers of the utility or service.”
Rowe debated with Apt, staff and commissioners whether a further clause in statute K.S.A. 45-221 actually allowed for such disclosure.
Apt and Rowe came down on opposite sides of interpreting clause 48 (d.), which states “public agencies shall separate or delete” personally identifiable information from “the public record subject to disclosure.”
Again, discussion hinged on whether utility records are available for disclosure.
Apt noted the city’s position was firm and suggested Rowe seek legal council on the matter.
TO ASSIST with city bookkeeping after the transition to an unpaid eight-person council in April, commissioners voted unanimously to forgo pay for the remainder of their terms, beginning with Monday night’s meeting. Commissioners Craig Abbott and Bill Shirley had received approximately $125 per month; Mayor Bill Maness received about $140 per month.
The commission’s final meeting will be April 4, preceding the April 5 election. The new council will be seated at the regularly scheduled meeting April 18.
Commissioners meet next at 6 p.m. Tuesday for four public hearings on property condemnations and an update on proposed crossing signal improvements. The hearings had been set before commissioners changed their meeting day from Tuesdays to Mondays.
Commissioners will meet again Jan. 18 for their regular second monthly meeting, bumped one day due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday Jan. 17.
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Iola Mayor Bill Maness formally announced he would not seek reelection come April, when an eight-person council plus a mayor will be elected to replace the existing three-man commission.
“I’m accepting a position with Senator-elect Jerry Moran as a district representative in this area,” Maness told commissioners at their meeting Tuesday evening.
He did note that he would try to drum up interest in citizens to attend the council’s meetings, however.
Beginning Jan. 3, those meetings will be on the first and third Mondays of the month, commissioners decided. They had discussed moving the meeting date to Mondays previously, and settled on the odd-numbered weeks so as not to conflict with local school board meetings, they said. Two upcoming exceptions will be Jan. 17 and Feb. 21, both federal holidays, when the meeting will move to the next evening.
Commissioners extended the contract of City Administrator Judy Brigham through the end of March.
After reviewing cost estimates, commissioners directed TITLE Corey Schinstock and Brigham to try to find about $9,000 in funding for crossing signal improvements at five designated corners, including the one at Buckeye and Madison streets used regularly by USD 257 students in getting to their classes at the Bowlus Fine Arts Center.
Existing signals can be converted into those with timed walk signals, Schinstock said.
The other timed crossing signals would be at the corners of Madison and State, Madison and Washington, Madison and Jefferson, and East and Kentucky.
A budget hearing opened and shut without public comment. No action was taken. Proposed amended expenditures under the 2010 budget are $16,557,881, about $1.6 million more than previously approved.
Commissioners approved, 2-1, transferring money from the city’s utility fund to help pay for a full time animal control officer. Iola Police Chief Jared Warner noted increased interest on the part of city residents in animal welfare.
Since losing its animal control officer in May, 2009, calls to deal with wild animals, feral cats or stray dogs have been divided between the police and street and alley departments. “There seems to be interest in providing pen checks and welfare checks,” Brigham noted. Both she ands Warner credited the new Allen County Animal Rescue Facility with raising public awareness of such issues, plus that of strays.
Warner suggested a full time animal control position be placed under the code enforcement arm of the city, and volunteered about $22,000 — $12,000 budgeted for animal control and $10,000 set aside for a part time officer — in the department budget to the cause. The Another $38,000 would be transferred from the utility fund, Brigham said, for a one-year trial period. In the 2012 budget, she noted, the position could be paid for through the city’s general fund. “With the 2011 budget already set, we didn’t’ have any money set aside for that (position)” Brigham said.
Maness and commissioner Bill Shirley agreed to the transfer. Commissioner Craig Abbott voted nay.
The position will be scheduled to emphasize coverage in evening hours and weekends, commissioners were told.
Commissioners unanimously voted to hire Zach Frank Web Design and Development of Kansas City, Mo., to develop and maintain a website promoting Iola and Iola Industries. The $2,200 fee will come form the city’s industry fund. The fund, designated “for industrial promotion expenses sounds like a perfect fit,” Brigham said. Money for the fund comes from an annual one mill levy, about $38,000 per year, she added.
In other business, commissioners renewed a cereal malt beverage license for Coronado’s Mexican Restaurant.
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Celebrate Kansas’ 150th year with an evening of talks by five noted Iolans, speaking on five books that reflect aspects of life in the Sunflower State.
The night is one of a week’s worth of events in recognition of the state’s sesquicentennial.
On Jan. 27, Ray Houser will reflect on “James Naismith, the Man Who Invented Basketball,” by Rob Rains and Hellen Carpenter. Without Naismith’s innovation, winter ball would have less bounce. Naismith also founded the University of Kansas’ basketball program in 1898, just seven years after the sport’s invention, and served as coach and athletic director at KU.
Rains is a former sports writer for USA Today; Hellen Carpenter is Naismith’s granddaughter of James Naismith. Her collection of Naismith’s original documents surrounding the game’s invention were tapped in crafting the book.
Charlene Levans will speak about “The Sound of Wings: The Life of Amelia Earhart,” by Mary S. Lovell. The book allows a full recapturing of Earhart’s life, from her tomboy childhood to her fatal trans-global flight. Lovell believes “biography is history” and treats her subjects accordingly. The book was one of the sources used in making the 2009 film, “Amelia.”
Library Director Roger Carswell will present “Charlatan, America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam,” by Pope Brock.
Brock tackles the tale of John R. Brinkley, a snake oil salesman who touted his unusual cures in Milford, Kansas in 1917. “It was all nonsense, of course, but thousands of paying customers quickly turned ‘Dr.’ Brinkley into America’s richest and most famous surgeon,” reads a review on Powells.com. “His notoriety captured the attention of the great quackbuster Morris Fishbein, who vowed to put the country’s ‘most daring and dangerous’ charlatan out of business.”
Despite Fishbein’s two-decade pursuit, Brinkley’s popularity soared.
“When he ran for governor of Kansas, he invented campaigning techniques still used in modern politics,” Brock noted. In addition to politics and medicine, Brinkley played a roll in expanding American media when “he built the world’s most powerful radio transmitter” and “introducing country music and blues to the nation.”
Frank L. Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” will be pondered by Iola Register editor Susan Lynn. Arguably the best known book with ties to Kansas, Baum’s classic can be read as political satire, social commentary or simply a rousing good story for children of all ages. In the tale, Kansan Dorothy Gale is swept via tornado to a wondrous land where she meets unusual characters and begins a sometimes dangerous quest to return home.
Lastly, local school teacher Donna Regehr speaks about her recently published romance :”Desert Gold, the Legend of Chinook.” Regehr based her tale of love and intrigue on her own interest and adventures in the desert Southwest, mashing Native American lore with a dose of Harlequin and criminal intent in an evocative landscape.
Each book presentation will last about 15 minutes. The event runs from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Flewharty-Powell annex of the Iola Public Library.
Other events that week include: An opening reception for the textile art of Ada Niedenthal at the Mary L. Martin Gallery in the Bowlus Fine Arts Center at 2 p.m. Jan. 23; a talk on Iola history, 1925-1990, given by Max Snodgrass at 7 p.m. Jan. 24 in the Bowlus’ Dale Creitz Recital Hall; History’s Mysteries at 7 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Allen County Historical Museum; “One State, Many Stories” with Iola Public Library’s children’s librarian Leah Oswald at 3 p.m. Jan. 26; a free concert, Ad Astra, by the Lyric Arts Trio, 7 p.m. Jan. 28 in the Creitz Recital Hall; and a 150th birthday party for the state at 2 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Allen County Historical Museum.
All events are free and open to the public.
A group of Iolans is trying to come up with ways that the city as a whole can reduce its energy footprint, and win Iola $100,000 in the process.
Iola is one of five Southeast Kansas communities vying for the pot in the 2011 “Take Charge Challenge.”
The contest, sponsored by Kansas Department of Energy, runs through Sep. 30.
Other towns in the running are Fort Scott, Parsons, Pittsburg and Chanute.
Already the group has met three times, but plans are to scale back to monthly meetings.
That doesn’t mean they won’t be hard at work between times, though.
From ideas to practical plots, members Craig Neuenswander, Dan Willis, Gary Hoffmeier, Jana Taylor, Jeff Bauer, Judy Brigham, Rebecca Nilges, Roxanne Hutton, Scott Shreve, Scott Stanley, Jeff Kluever, Holly Slawkowski and Jody Grover are working to devise easy-to-do tasks that reward public participation through energy — and therefore monetary — savings.
One such example is a rebate available for those who upgrade home appliances to Energy Star models. Refrigerators, heat pumps, water heaters — all may be eligible for cash rebates provided by the Kansas Power Pool. Contact Brigham at 365-4900 for more details.
Another incentive comes in the form of an energy audit, provided by the city’s energy consultant, Energy Management Group of Topeka. EMG will provide a full efficiency audit tackling air leakage, heating system efficiency, home insulation, appliance energy use and more. The audit runs $100 — but the money doesn’t need to come out-of-pocket, though. If a utility customer or homeowner wishes to go ahead with recommended suggestions, the $100 fee is rolled into a no interest loan provided by the Kansas Department of Energy through federal stimulus dollars made available through President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Loan payments are then tacked onto the customer’s utility bill for the next 15 years.
Lest the thought of increased debt scare someone away from possible savings, payments are calculated to match the energy cost savings wrought by the efficiency upgrades. For example, if a person replaces their heating system to the tune of a $50 a month reduction in their heating bill, the loan payment is calculated as $50, added to the monthly utility bill. Net result is payments stay static, while the home is warmer and uses less energy.
The program is also open to renters, with their landlords permission. In the case of tenants, loan fees are attached to the apartment’s meter, so that, should an occupant move, the fees roll over to the next occupant. Hoffmeier, who runs Hoffmeier Electric, noted landlords should be interested regardless because a more energy efficient apartment would be easier to rent out.
Small businesses are also eligible to participate in the program, said Shreve, who works for EMG. Contact him at 785-234-9364, or email@example.com for more information or to schedule an audit.
PART OF the Take Charge Challenge involves the city planning or participating in three separate events between now and September, team members learned Wednesday night.
The first big push by the group to enroll people in the challenge and reduce the city’s electric use will be by giving away 5,000 compact fluorescent light bulbs during the Iola Area Chamber of Commerce Business EXPO Jan. 28 and 29 at the Recreation Community Building in Riverside Park.
Anyone living in the 66749 zip code is welcome to bring in regular incandescent bulbs to exchange for the CFLs. Up to five bulbs per person may be exchanged.
Monetary savings from the switch amount to $70 per year, per person, Take Challenge team members were told.
Over the life of the bulbs, calculated to be 10 years, energy savings equal $700 per person.
For Iola as a whole, the savings equate to $70,000 per year, or $700,000 over the next decade. That’s money that can stay in the pockets of local people.
For Iola to get credit for the upgrades, citizens must sign up at www.takechargekansas.org or at the business EXPO.
The more people who participate, the further along the line Iola stands to beating its neighbors to the money.
There is no plan as yet for the $100,000, other than it will go toward an energy-related project that will benefit the city as a whole.
As Kluever noted, “Let’s get it before we spend it.”
The next activity should take place in March or April according to the larger Take Challenge program. Iola’s may coordinate with Earth Hour in March or Earth Day in April. The third event should be in June or July, or possibly during the Allen County Fair.
There is certainly room in the group for more minds and more ideas, Brigham noted.
Anyone interested can sign up for e-mail announcements through firstname.lastname@example.org and can join the working group by calling City Clerk Roxanne Hutton at 365-4900.
The next Take Charge Challenge meeting is 4-6 p.m. Feb. 9 in the New Community Building at Riverside Park. All are welcome.
Boren Roofing has been in business since 1954 — and in Iola since 1990.
The roofing company, begun by Ron Boren’s father, is “A family enterprise,” Ron’s wife Katy Boren said. “We hope it’s here for generations to come,” she noted. Sons Cory and Dillon and daughter Raven also work there, ensuring that dream is on track. “It’s one of the things we feel most blessed about,” Katy added, “That our children are right here with us in the company.”
Boren’s is the only commercial roofing company in Iola, the family said. They moved the business from Eureka in 1990 after doing a number of jobs here after a fierce hail storm.
The Borens “were impressed with how well the town was kept up,” Katy said. “Our family was growing and it looked like Iola was, too.”
To protect against storms, Boren’s offers Class 4 hail-resistant shingles, use of which may provide homeowners with a discount on their insurance, Ron noted. Other shingles — especially composite roofing — is fire resistant. That, too, can lower homeowner insurance costs, Ron said.
The Borens understand their materials and methods thoroughly.
Some roofs — installed by Boren’s more than 30 years ago — are still in good shape, Ron said.
One product, Tamko Awaplan, is known for such longevity. “It’s a modified granular surface sheet roofing,” Ron explained, used for commercial buildings.
“We’re approved by the manufacturers for both commercial and residential roofing projects,” Katy added.
Manufacturer approval is also required before a company can offer product warranties, she added, which Boren’s does.
“We try to stay abreast of all the new applications and products,” Katy said. “But you have to hold to industry standards.”
Newer products carried by Boren’s include “green” roofing materials — those made of recycled materials.
Luigi Italian clay tile and concrete tile are other options, as is faux slate — which weighs much less than the real thing, allowing the look of stone without having to shore up one’s rafters, Ron said.
In addition, new hanging methods allow the use of true slate tile without much rafter reinforcement, Katy said.
The family also installs tin roofs, which many believe last longer than shingles, Katy said, but they do so using standing seams only, Ron noted. “With screw-down roofs, everywhere you have a screw you have a leak,” he said.
For commercial applications, Katy said the best choice is modified roofing.
“Modified roofing has a polyester mat embedded in it,” she explained. “It expands and contracts with the changing weather and temperatures we have in Southeast Kansas,” making a more durable roof, she said.
Boren’s Roofing has roofed Neosho Memorial Hospital in Chanute as well as “a lot of schools and churches” in the area, Katy said.
“We constantly advocate working locally because that’s how you grow a community,” she observed. “You invest in the future for your children and their children.”
For do-it-yourselfers as well as anyone remodeling or clearing out a home, the Borens rent industrial-size rolling dumpsters. The containers are delivered to and picked up from a site, saving a homeowner countless trips to the landfill.
“It’s a convenience,” Katy said.
Boren’s Roofing, at 306 N. State St., is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The office is closed from noon to 1 p.m. for lunch. Call Boren’s at 365-7663 (ROOF).
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
“History’s Mysteries,” one of a week’s worth of events celebrating Kansas’ 150th anniversary of statehood, will be an unscripted show-and-tell featuring artifacts from the Allen County Historical Society museum’s collection as well as those brought in by audience members.
“If people have something they can’t ID, they should bring it,” to the 7 p.m. Tuesday show, said Society Director Jeff Kluever.
“Ive found that between myself, board members, ACHS members and event attendees, we can usually figure it out,” he said of objects unknown.
Many of the museum’s contributions to the evening will be photographs, Kluever said, with people or places yet to be identified.
“History’s Mysteries” will be similar to other show-and-tells the museum has hosted in he past, Kluever said.
“People like those, and we get more attendance than at almost anything else we do,” he said of the interactive program.
One mystery Kluever uncovered while searching for artifacts for the event was a pile of land grant certificates, he said. “I found 10 signed by Abraham Lincoln and five signed by President (Ulysses S.) Grant.”
Further research, however, led Kluever to “learn that after President (Andrew) Jackson,” who held office from 1829-1837, “the president’s secretaries were allowed to sign” such deeds. After comparing the signatures to known examples of the presidents in question, Kluever decided all of Allen County’s collection “were signed by secretaries.”
A puzzle still unsolved, he said, was why a pre-1910 British bayonet was stowed in a well in Moran.
The sword was brought in by a woman one day, Kluever said, who did not know what it was. After some investigation, they tracked down its approximate date and country of origin, but were never able to figure why and how it had gotten to Moran — or the well, he said.
“No one she knew had been there and no one knew who put it there,” Kluever said.
That’s the sort of example of objects perfect for Tuesday night, Kluever said. Anyone with any artifact — origins known or unknown — is welcome.
And don’t be intimidated, Kluever said. The evening will be “very informal.” Kluever said. “People don’t have to have a formal presentation planned.”
All they have to do is show up.
Even those without objects are welcome to attend, for the pure joy of sharing in discovery, Kluever said.
The show-and-learn begins at 7 p.m. at the Allen County Historical Society Museum, ADDRESS?
The mysteries are up to you.
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
HUMBOLDT — A “pouch project” has proven popular at both the middle and high school levels in USD 258, board members were told Monday night. The pouches are similar to shoe pockets, explained Humboldt High School Principal Craig Smith. Each pocket is designated with a number, corresponding to a particular student, who uses it to stow cell phones and electronic media such as iPods during class time.
Students in return receive the privilege of communicating on their devices between classes at the high school level and during lunchtime in middle and high school grades.
If a child does not participate — even for one class period — use is revoked for that day, Smith said.
The policy was instituted to curb disruptions to class time, he said. While in the pouches, phones must be turned off, he added. So far, about 92 percent of the students use the pouches consistently, Smith said.
Another new program at the schools is Operation Orange, which “will reward students for daily random acts of kindness,” Elementary Principal Kay Bolt told the board. Operation Orange also runs in grades 6-12.
“Only teachers can nominate students,” Bolt said, for positive and helpful behavior observed during the school day.
Each day, one student from those nominated will be randomly selected to receive a small show of recognition, she said.
The elementary school received a $620 donation form the Carl Bigley family that will be used to place a bench near new playground equipment, Bolt said.
She also wrote a grant application to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to attain recycled tire fill for beneath the equipment, she said. The grant will cover $4,000-$5,000, or about half, the cost of the material, she said. Humboldt Elementary Leaders and Parents group will provide the remainder of the funding, she said.
Superintendent K.B. Criss reported that deep cleaning had been done to the fieldhouse and locker rooms over the Christmas break. In addition, Criss told the board “We’re looking at buying a snowblower for the district for days like today.”
Criss also told the board that early indications are that Gov.-elect Sam Brownback “will not be as hard on education as previously thought.” But, he added, the mill levy cap is likely to be removed, putting the onus on local taxing districts to raise additional funds needed for their districts.
The board took no action after a half hour executive session.
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Iola Police Chief Jared Warner just wants people to be safe.
A recent e-mail to parents of Iola High School students addressing crossing concerns at the intersection of Buckeye and Madison streets gave the wrong impression, Warner said. The e-mail made students and their families aware that any pedestrian crossing improperly or without the aid of a traffic device might be subject to a fine totaling $160.
“That is absolutely the last resort,” Warner said of ticketing pedestrians.
Interest has peaked recently regarding safety at the popular crosswalk, used throughout the day by students to reach classes at the Bowlus Fine Arts Center.
Students attend art, music (both band and choir) and speech and drama classes at the Bowlus, said IHS secretary Judy Baker. “We’ve got four teachers over there and they have classes all day,” she said.
Of the 357 students attending IHS, on alternating gold or blue days, 155 or 273 students use the designated crosswalk.
Or, at least, they should, noted Warner, saying the threat of ticketing came about because too many students ignore the current traffic control device — a push-button activated crossing signal — and simply dart out in front of traffic.
When the pedestrian crossing button is pushed, Warner explained, traffic signals for vehicles at all four points in the intersection go red. Students — and others crossing the street to the Bowlus or Iola Public Library, in the same location but on the north side of Madison — should wait until a walking man symbol appears on the lighted crosswalk boxes, attached to streetlight poles at the intersection. “It takes a couple seconds for it to come on,” Warner said. Instead, he said students cross willy-nilly, even in the center of the block.
That kind of crossing violates state law, he said.
Warner noted that “Standard Traffic Ordinance 65; jaywalking” states that “Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk, or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, shall yield the right of way to all vehicles along the roadway.”
And although “state law (also) requires vehicles to yield to pedestrians,” Warner said, “a pedestrian can’t leave a curb right in front of a vehicle and then the motor vehicle be at fault for not stopping.
“Thankfully,” he added, “we haven’t had any pedestrian-car accidents yet.”
Preventing them, though, is his concern.
TO RAISE awareness of the high pedestrian use of the area, bright chartreuse “Pedestrian Crossing” signs akin to those in place on North State Street at the junction of the Prairie Spirit Trail will be placed in the striped pavement on Madison that directs traffic to merge to a single lane in front of the Bowlus. The signs will act as “a visual cue to motor vehicles,” Warner said.
Weather will determine the date of their placement, he added, noting a temperature-dependent epoxy is required to secure the sign mounts.
In addition, Assistant City Administrator Corey Schinstock is looking into procuring new LED readout devices that would indicate to pedestrians just how much time they have to cross.
“There’s a greater rate of compliance with those,” Warner said of the timed signals.
In addition to the Madison/Buckeye corner, Schinstock would like to place the timed crossings at each of the four corners of the Iola square.
Five “Uniform appearance countdown pedestrian signals” could be purchased by the city for $9,000 and installed using city labor, Schinstock said. “It would just be materials cost,” he noted.
Although the item has been on the last three city commission agendas, commissioners have acted only to tell Schinstock to try to find grant funding for the project.
“Grant funding is just not available for this type of project,” Schinstock said. “It’s too small scale.”
Schinstock did note that the city does have funds for the signals — providing commissioners authorize its use.
“We can fund it through special projects money — that’s the sales tax money we collect anyway,” he said.
Come April, half those funds will be directed to the new Allen County Hospital project, he said.
“It can’t hurt a thing” for citizens to call commissioners and urge support of the project while funds remain, Schinstock said.
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
one pic (submitted photo)
For a girl who grew up on the high plains — and spent some time in Southeast Kansas, too — setting a film on the prairie of North Dakota really wasn’t that crazy of a notion.
Making a film during “the coldest winter on record since 1936” was a bit wild, though, said Holly Ellis.
Ellis, granddaughter of Iolan Dorothy Ellis, recently learned the film she stars in, Prairie Love, was accepted into the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
Sundance is the pinnacle of independent film festivals. At one time, acceptance into the festival almost guaranteed box office success for a film. Now, though, “It’s become less and less common for films to be bought at Sundance,” Ellis said in a phone interview with the Register.
But their film has gotten such a positive response from Sundance staff that she is cautiously optimistic.
“Sundance got a record number of over 10,000 submissions this year,” Ellis said. “We were one of only eight films picked in our category.”
The category, NEXT, highlights films made on small budgets — less than $500,000 total.
That Prairie Love could be done on a shoestring was thanks to serendipity. The three main actors plus the writer/producer “all grew up together and graduated from Minot (N.D.) High School within a year of each other,” Ellis said.
Ellis’ father, former Iolan Lee Ellis, moved his family to Minot when Ellis was just one, she said. In high school there, she and a handful of friends all shared aspirations to the film industry. All, though, went their separate ways after graduation.
Ellis moved to New York City, where she pursued a master’s degree in acting from the New School.
In 2007, her former classmate, Dusty Bias, called. Although married and living in Alabama, he couldn’t shake the idea of setting a film in the desolate prairie of their youth, Ellis said he told her.
“About a year later, we had the script. We shot it in January of 2009.”
Filming in her hometown was “simultaneously the most fun and most torture I’ve ever been through,” said the 31-year-old. “My mom (Heather Ellis) put four of us up while we were filming,” she said. “She fed us and made sure we were warm.”
Shooting took about three weeks. Days were long — about 12 hours at a time, Ellis said. Most was outdoors.
“The coldest degree marker we ever saw was -37,” she said. “And that’s not including wind-chill.”
Ellis exaggerated her North Dakota accent for the film, and coached her former classmates on doing the same.
The result is a film that is linked to place.
A trailer for Prairie Love, available at prairielove.com, displays the native humor born of living in an isolated landscape.
Strong as it is, Ellis said she was surprised the film was accepted to the festival.
“I still can’t believe it. The shock of it comes right back.”
When she received the call from a festival representative, “I just kept going, ‘Are you serious?’
“It’s the best kind of surrealism,” she noted.
Ellis, her mom — listed in the film as part of the crew — Bias and the others will rent a house in Park City, Utah, for the Jan. 20-30 festival. Prairie Love will screen four times.
The group is already planning another movie together.
“I’m excited about it because it takes place in Alabama and I won’t have to freeze again,” Ellis quipped.
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Iola City Administrator Judy Brigham breathed a sigh of relief while about two dozen citizens applauded as city commissioner Bill Shirley seconded — then voted in favor of — a motion by Iola Mayor Bill Maness to retain Brigham through Sept. 18, her effective date of retirement with full benefits, at a special city commission meeting Monday night.
It didn’t come easy.
Earlier in the meeting, Shirley had refused to second the motion. Commissioner Craig Abbott was absent.
In the deadlock, Shirley asked whether a letter by City Attorney Chuck Apt might influence the decision.
When Apt mentioned the letter would only be discussed in executive session, which is closed to the public, Maness asked if the session would be under “non-elected personnel” or “attorney/client privilege” rules.
Apt stated the latter, and Maness mused that if Brigham — the subject of the letter — would have no objections, perhaps they could discuss the letter in open session. Apt replied, “It’s attorney/client privilege. I’m not going to discuss it in public.” As the client in this case was he city, not Brigham, executive session was called.
For 36 minutes, people waited.
At one point, Brigham enter the room to thank the public for their support. A few mentioned they, too, had recently lost jobs. Others applauded her.
OUTSPOKEN IOLAN Donna Houser began public comments at the start of the night by asking how someone could work for the city for 31 years and suddenly not be good enough to keep on.
“With a new council coming in — a virgin council — they need guidance,” Houser said.
Getting rid of Brigham at this point “is wrong on so many levels,” she added. “It’s going to hurt our city.”
Houser mentioned the negative publicity alone — that a municipality would treat a worker in such a manner — was damaging to a city trying to recruit employers.
Iolan Linda Garrett agreed. “I would think twice before coming to that town if I were an outsider,” she said.
Retired County Clerk Jean Barber spoke in favor of keeping Brigham on, as well. “I worked with her when I was county clerk and she was very professional,” Barber said.
Those in attendance, as well as Brigham, were baffled as to the reason for the whole debate.
“I don’t have an idea” what prompted the turn to discontinue her service, Brigham said. “I was never given a reason.”
Mayoral candidate John Smith noted, “I come from private sector, and in the private sector, if you’re going to fire someone, you do it.”
Cathy Lynch said, “I think we have the obligation to give this new council all the support it can get. If Judy is good enough to gave been here this long, I think she should stay.” Others, including Sharon Thyer, agreed.
City council candidate Richard Gilliland added, “I’m here to support Judy whole-heartedly.” A number of other candidates also were in the room. Those that spoke did so in favor of Brigham’s continuance.
Maness, before leaving for executive session, said, “I think Judy’s done an outstanding job. I don’t understand, like some of you, that if she isn’t doing an adequate job, why it’s gone on so long.”
“I feel very good,” Brigham said. “And I’m anxious to keep the city moving forward, finish a number of project and to work with the new, nine-person council.”
Maness added he intends to go on record at the next meeting that a search be started for Brigham’s replacement, so that that person may “work with Judy and be prepared when the time comes.”
The commission meets again at 6 p.m. Feb. 7.
“See you tomorrow,” Assistant City Administrator Corey Schinstock said to Brigham as she left.“And beyond,” she replied. “Won’t that be nice?”
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Bucking what might be a national trend towards flashier or multi-media services, Iola’s First Baptist Church is staying traditional — and seeing growth because of it.
“When I came we were averaging 90 in worship” on Sundays, said Pastor Mike Quinn, who has been at the church a bit over two years. “In the past six months, we’ve averaged 120. I think we’re growing because we’re reaching out,” Quinn said.
The church has a focus group, “God Rewards Our Work,” that devotes Tuesday evenings to home visits, letter writing and phone calls to former members, visitors or those recommended by congregants.
The church also implemented a Southern Baptist Convention program, “God’s Plan of Sharing” during last Easter season, wherein each parishioner was to spread the word of God through their daily lives. As a part of that, Quinn said, “we walked through the community and we prayed at each house as we went by.”
Quinn said church members didn’t know the residents of the homes they passed, but merely offered prayer for whatever needs those inside each dwelling might have. Then, “we hung door hangers with a gospel presentation” — a Scripture verse, Quinn explained — and an invitation to church. About 1,000 hangers were left on doors around Iola, he said.
On Easter Sunday, almost 230 people attended services, Quinn said.
“Another thing we’ve tried to do is reach into the college,” Quinn noted. “We’re working with Campus Crusade for Christ ministry,” he said. Also, the church “started a new Sunday school class for college-age kids,” Quinn said. That meets at 9:30 a.m. at the church at 801 N. Cottonwood, along with its other classes broken into age groups including preschoolers, adults and senior citizens.
First Baptist does some promotion of the class on the campus at Allen County Community College, Quinn said.
“It’s really the 40 to 50 years olds that we’re shortest on,” Quinn’s wife, Becky, said.
Becky Quinn works as the church secretary and keeps track of attendance.
“We’re reaching all age groups,” though, she noted, with the greatest attendance in the 55-and-up range. Children and 18- to 34-year-olds also boast high attendance numbers. Youth in grades seven to 12 attend only slightly less.
That troubling middle-aged group is six to seven times smaller than the others, though, she said.
Neither Quinn could explain why, unless it had to do with commitment to family, they said.
“I don’t think churches should expect young families to be very involved in running the church” Becky Quinn said. At that age, she said, “Your children are your biggest ministry.”
MIKE QUINN entered the ministry in 1986. His family was never very religious, he said.
When “in 1983 I left to go to seminary, I didn’t know the Bible or anything like that,” he said.
It was a series of deaths that led Quinn away from — and back to — God.
Before his conversion, Quinn’s only experience with church came through a friend.
“His mom would take us to Vacation Bible School,” Quinn said. “But he was killed at 15 and I turned hard toward the things of God.”
Quinn’s father was not a man of God. Instead of church, the family would go fishing on Sundays.
He was hard-working, hard-drinking, Quinn said. “He was a big guy, rough and tough. I idolized my dad. Growing up, I wanted to be just like him.”
And so, more or less, Quinn was.
Quinn worked construction at the Callaway County Nuclear Power Plant in Missouri.
“We drank every day after work,” Quinn noted. Then, in the course of 1 1/2 years when Quinn was in his mid-20s, he lost four of his best friends.
“Two were shot and killed in a bar in Jefferson City, Mo., one drowned in a pond and one burned to death in a house fire,” Quinn said.
The loss was shaking.
“I looked around. There wasn’t anybody left but me in that group.”
About that time, he said, “there was a pastor who moved into our community. He started visiting with me and I didn’t want anything to do with him.”
Quinn would hide in the closet, he said, and wait until his wife told him the man had gone.
“Just about every time something happened, he’d show up — and he didn’t know about it,” Quinn noted.
The coincidence got to be too much for Quinn.
“It caused me to think about death and if there is life after death, where would I end up? I knew I wasn’t right with God.”
Quinn spoke to the man.
“He shared how God forgives your sins and it didn’t matter what you’d done.”
“I didn’t see lightning or hear voices,” he said. But he was changed.
“The next night was Friday night and after work we stopped to get our liquor and I got a Pepsi,” Quinn noted.
His fellow workers made fun of him.
“They asked me what happened and I told them a preacher stopped by and I accepted Christ and that I didn’t think God wanted me to drink anymore. They said it would never stick.”
That was 1980. Quinn hasn’t had any alcohol since.
Shortly thereafter, Quinn said, his father threw him a birthday bash. He pressured Quinn to drink. Quinn went inside and told his wife to pray.
About six months later, his father, too, accepted Christ.
His son’s refusal to drink affected him, Quinn said. “He told me, ‘Whatever you’d gotten, I needed it.’”
QUINN’S CHURCH offers a Wednesday evening program, TeamKid, that pulls in children like he was, he said.
“We’ve got kids whose families are not members here.” Many don’t attend church at all, he said.
The program attracts students from kindergarten through grade 12, he said.
“I think for the most part (they attend) because it’s Christ-based,” he said of the program.
“Iola is more conservative” than Quinn’s hometown between Jefferson City and Columbia, Mo., “but as a rule there’s a vast loss and spiritual darkness — not only here, but everywhere,” Quinn said. “I see that as a major concern as a pastor.”
Although church attendance surged post 9/11, Quinn doesn’t “think it lasted very long. Things just went back to where they were.”
Quinn believes the role of the pastor is “to get Christ to people. It’s the gospel that changes lives and transforms lives.”
To that end, he is exploring additional outreach opportunities.
“We’ve thought about doing a discipleship class on financial planning or parenting or marriage strengthening,” Becky said. Plans for a six-to-eight week Sunday evening program are tentative right now, she said, but in the works.
“I think typically across the board people are doing away with Sunday night services because people just don’t come back for them,” Mike said. A Sunday evening class would draw a different crowd, the Quinns believe.
“It’s just finding someone to lead who is capable of doing that,” she said.
As for the Wednesday night kids program, “We keep the youth group up all summer,” Mike said. And, “We have a gym; that’s a nice draw for the kids.”
Other venues of participation open at First Baptist are music worship teams, monthly potluck suppers, ministry teams that visit the sick, homebound and those in nursing homes, and an evangelism/mission team that deals with mission projects and spending of church funds, Quinn said. “The goal is to get everybody involved in some sort of ministry,” Quinn said.
As a pastor, Quinn listens to congregants, he said.
“They have ideas and I have ideas and we bounce them off each other. I believe if we do a few things and do them well, they please the Lord.”
Each day, Quinn spends about an hour studying the Bible, then does additional research for a total of 15 to 20 hours per week prep time for his Sunday sermon, he said.
“I look online to get illustrations” and use “books that inspire me or preach through a book of the Bible,” Quinn said.
“The Bible talks about getting the whole council of God. That makes me deal with passages that are harder. I try to take it in its historical and grammatical context and see how we can apply that to today — what’s it really saying — then and to us? And now that we’ve heard it, what are we going to do with it” Quinn asked.
Quinn said his greatest role is to facillitate the healing of families.
“It’s not what I do; it’s what He does,” Quinn said.