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Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development

2001 Profiles

J. D. Kice - Kice Industries - part 1
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Today let's visit the Air Capital. That's Wichita, home of the aviation industry. But today, the term Air Capital takes on a whole new meaning. Because near Wichita, we'll meet a company which has been a pioneer in the use of forced air in the handling of grain. That's right, in this case, the air is not for flying airplanes but for moving grain in a safe and sanitary way. Hold on to your hat, this is today's Kansas Profile.
Meet J. D. Kice. J.D. told us the fascinating story of Kice Industries.
Let's begin our story back in the 1870s, when Ira Kice set up a blacksmith shop northeast of Wichita. As the blacksmith worked, he was joined by his grandson, young Bill Kice. Bill learned a lot about metal working in those days, and he began a career in sheet metal work. In the 1920s, he installed sheet metal in several flour mills in the southwestern U.S. That experience would prove invaluable.
Then came another interesting twist. Bill shared some equipment in Wichita with a mechanic who worked for Walter Beech - the same Walter Beech who founded the Beechcraft airplane company. There were several airplane companies in Wichita at the time, and many of them bought sheet metal parts from Bill Kice. His contact with Walter Beech and others in the aviation industry may have given him some insights into airflow, which would also come in handy later on.
In 1929, the Kice family moved to Newton, which at the time was a town of about 11,000 people. Now, that's rural.
Here Bill was busy, working in the sheet metal industry and raising three sons. But when World War II hit, Bill went to work in the wartime aviation industry in Wichita again.
After the war, Bill Kice and sons went into business for themselves in Wichita. Kice Metal Products Company began in 1946.
Some years before, Bill Kice had designed an aspirator which used air to clean grain. He had also designed a cone-shaped, cyclone system. It is said that the principles he used have never been improved on and are incorporated in most cyclone systems around the world today.
Until the late 1940s, the Kices had sold most of their products to mills in Kansas. But in 1949, the Pillsbury Company began buying Kice-type cyclones for many of their mills all around the country.
At the same time, managers of the General Mills corporate office noticed something unusual. Their mill in Wichita, Kansas was generating exceptionally high yields of grain product. They investigated the situation and found that the high yields were due to the use of the Kice aspirator. That led to major orders for Kice products.
And just when things were going well - boom. The Korean War hit. Suddenly, Uncle Sam needed all the industrial fans which were an essential part of the Kice systems. Kice could no longer buy them on the market. So what to do?
With typical resourcefulness, the Kices designed and produced a new fan of their own. These would prove to be even better than the ones they had been purchasing. Today, fans are the third largest Kice product division.
About this time, a new concept was emerging: pneumatic systems for handling and moving grain. Instead of metal elevators carrying and, all too often, damaging the grain, it was possible to move the grain pneumatically with air systems, using vacuums and air pressure. With the experience that Kice already had, this would prove to be a natural.
Fast forward to the 1990s. Today, Kice Industries is a leader in the production of industrial air systems and components. These systems are used for dust and other air pollution control, pneumatic conveying, air activated processing, and air stabilization and energy conservation applications. Most of these are utilized in the grain handling and food processing industry. The third generation of the Kice family, including J.D., is in senior management, and the fourth generation is coming up.
It's time to say goodbye to the Air Capital. Yes, Wichita got its name from the aviation industry, but it could also apply to this company which has designed innovative systems using air flows to handle grain. We commend the Kice family, young and old, for making a difference with entrepreneurship and hard work.
And there's more. In the 1990s, Kice Industries would venture into a new arena – which would make it unique nationwide. We'll hear about that on our next program.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

J. D. Kice - Kice Industries - part 2
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Today let's go to Santa Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Here is a revolutionary new type of flour mill being put to use in this developing country. And where did it come from? Sure enough, it came from miles away in the middle of Kansas. Stay tuned for the conclusion of our two-part series on Kice Industries, on today's Kansas Profile.
Meet J.D. Kice. On our last program, we learned how J.D.'s ancestors began Kice Metal Products Company. That company would become Kice Industries, a leader in skilled air systems for industry.
Just to put all this in perspective: The company began work in a 1,900 square foot workshop in Wichita some 50 years ago. Today, Kice Industries has three facilities, including a corporate headquarters and a foundry, which total more than 250,000 square feet in area. In fact, the Kice research lab by itself is larger than the entire plant in which the Kice company began.
This growth was based on pioneering work in the air cleaning and pneumatic handling of grain. But in the 1990s, Kice Industries took another step. It was based on a whole new concept of milling grain. Here's how it happened.
In the late 1980s, Professor Steve Curran was in the department of grain science at K-State. He was working with a group of foreign students, and they had a problem. They were very impressed with the big, modern facilities of grain milling companies in the U.S., but they were concerned that such technology was not transferable to the developing countries from which they came. These countries just didn't have the supplies and electric power to build and operate these huge flour mills.
So Professor Curran came up with a new concept: a shortflow mill, without all the extensive equipment of the big units. While he had the idea, it was not commercialized.
So in 1990, Kice was licensed by KSU as the sole world-wide manufacturer and marketer of mills based on the shortflow concept. Professor Curran says, "Kice took the idea and concept that I had and upscaled it. They understood milling to begin with, and they were able to see what I was driving at in changing the traditional milling process."
J. D. Kice explains that a traditional flour mill sends grain through long sets of equipment in a process of gradual reduction. For example, there are five breaks, seven middling units, and so forth. Eventually, it produces fine, white flour.
The new system utilizes something called a pre-break which opens up the kernels of wheat and enables them to be processed more efficiently. J.D. Kice says, "This means half the equipment and half the energy." It also means much less time is needed for sanitation or for adjusting the equipment.
Of course, with a smaller mill, not every type of flour can be produced. But experts say the quality of many, if not most, of the flour types milled by the unit are as good or better than conventional units.
Professor Curran expected that these changes would be very appealing to foreign countries, but guess what: Those advantages sounded good to U.S. consumers too. So while one of the Kice shortflow mills went to Santa Domingo, as I mentioned at the beginning, the first three units went to Pennsylvania and California.
J.D. Kice says, "We have sold 25 flour mills in the last eight years." This growth has been good for the Kansas economy. Today, Kice Industries employs some 250 people.
In 1996, Kice Industries completed a multi-million dollar new facility for corporate offices and additional manufacturing space. It's located in Park City, a town of 5,426 people. Now, that's rural.
Actually, it is a small town nestled in close to Wichita, with excellent access to the metropolitan area. And the fourth generation of the Kice family is coming into the management of the business.
It's time to say goodbye to Santa Domingo, where a Kice shortflow flour mill is operating here in the Dominican Republic. It's just one example of this innovative product at work around the globe. We salute J.D. Kice and the people of Kice Industries for making a difference with vision and innovation world-wide.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Jack Kilby
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Have you hugged your computer today? That sounds like a techie's bumper sticker, but it is a reminder of the differences which computers have made in our lives. The computer and microchip, for example, have expanded our horizons, enhanced our productivity, and in many ways enriched our lives. Did you know that the inventor of the microchip has roots in rural Kansas? Stay tuned for the remarkable story on today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Janet Siebert. Janet is vice-president of the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce and the person who provided me the background information about this remarkable scientist's roots in central Kansas. Most of the following information came from an article in the Dallas Morning News.
Jack Kilby was born in Great Bend in 1924 and grew up there. At the time, Great Bend was a town of about 9,000 people. Now, that's rural. Jack Kilby graduated from Great Bend High School in the class of 1941. He would go on to a very distinguished career in electronics.
You might think that a math or science teacher inspired Kilby along the way, but he says it was a history teacher who made the difference for him. Kilby says, "She was one of the few people in town who'd been out of the country. She was strong at looking at the reasons things happen. She had a phrase: "This wasn't just happenstance," and she'd begin to explore the causes."
That inspiration to inquire why things worked the way they did would serve Jack Kilby well. But it still wasn't easy going, early in his life.
Kilby failed the entrance exam to get into MIT, and he struggled to get into the University of Illinois. He went on to the University of Wisconsin and then went to work for a company called Centralab in Milwaukee, designing hearing aids, radios, and televisions. But remember, this is when the electronics industry was in its infancy.
Kilby says, "Because the field was new, everything we did was different. It was easy to get patents. That reinforced my interest in that type of work."
Kilby went on to join the Texas Instruments company in Dallas. He was a 34 year old researcher for TI when he wired together something called the integrated circuit. It is what we today call the microchip.
And did the world stop and applaud this innovation? Well, not exactly. In fact, a decade would come and go before people realized the significance of his invention. It really surfaced after his second major brainchild: The hand-held calculator.
I remember the big, clunky calculator that I bought in college. It would add, subtract, and multiply, but not too much else. Today, I have something the size of a credit card which will do much more than that. Much of the credit belongs to Jack Kilby.
With time, the accolades would roll in for Mr. Kilby. He went on to hold more than 60 patents. He is a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and recipient of the National Medal of Technology.
As for those microchips which he invented, those are now found in everything from cars to coffeemakers. It is estimated that more than 155 billion dollars worth of microchips are now sold each year.
But how do his old high school classmates remember him? One says, "He's really smart, really nice, and really humble."
That humility came through in all I could read about Jack Kilby. In 1998, he returned to Great Bend and participated in events honoring him for his achievements. But according to reports, the part of the visit which seemed to mean the most was when he visited with high school students who thanked him for his work on computers.
And in the fall of 2000, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the 2000 Nobel Prize for Physics -- one of the most well-known and most prestigious awards for achievements in science world-wide. Among the three winners was Jack Kilby, a native of rural Kansas.
Have you hugged your computer today? No, it's not a techie's bumper sticker, but it reminds us of the contributions which computers make to our lives. We thank Jack Kilby for making a difference with his innovations and for remembering his rural Kansas roots. And we commend Janet Siebert and the people of Great Bend for nurturing and remembering this native son.
Now don't hug your computer. Instead, go hug your kids. They're going to take the computer a lot further than we ever did.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Stan and Myrna Bartel
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
American historian Henry Brooks Adams once wrote, "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." That is a high-sounding sentiment, and an appropriate way to begin today's story. We'll learn of such an outstanding teacher on today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Stan Bartel. Mr. Bartel is the outstanding teacher of whom I am speaking. He has had a long career in teaching agriculture, with roots in rural Kansas. Mr. Bartel was mentioned on an earlier Kansas Profile, because he helps operate the chains at the K-State home football games, as heard on an earlier program.
Mr. Bartel says he is a football addict, and he enjoys working the chains at the ball games. But his primary career has been as a teacher of agriculture, and that continues to this day. Here is the story.
I mentioned that Mr. Bartel has rural roots. He grew up near the Mennonite community of Goessel in south central Kansas. Goessel is a town of 518 people. Now, that's rural.
He grew up on the farm near Goessel and took vocational agriculture in high school. So it was only natural to continue on to K-State and major in agricultural education. He then began a 29 year career of teaching agriculture and science at Manhattan High School.
His wife Myrna is also an educator. She is Health Occupations Coordinator for the nursing program at Manhattan Area Technical College. They have a daughter Amy and son Alex.
In the spring of 2000, Mr. Bartel decided it was time to retire. He considered various options for what he would do after retirement. One possibility came from an interesting source: The parent of a student who Mr. Bartel had taught many years ago. This father of a former student was now with a management firm that was working with a Native American Indian tribe in Arizona.
As our quote said at the beginning, a teacher never knows where his influence stops. Well, this parent from years ago asked Mr. Bartel if he would be interested in this position in Arizona. Ultimately, Mr. Bartel accepted the position in Arizona, teaching agricultural workers on the large tribal farms there.
Specifically, he is working with the Tohona O'dham tribe. It was originally called the Papago tribe in English. This tribe has significant landholdings in Arizona, but of course, that is very dry territory. So the way to make it productive is through irrigation.
Irrigation in this dry, flat country makes it possible to raise large acreages of crops. For example, among four farms, the Indian tribe has some 12,000 acres under cultivation. About 8,000 acres of that consists of cotton production. Among the other crops are broccoli, pecans, durum wheat, and barley – not what you see in Kansas every day. But Mr. Bartel is training workers on the various large farms operated by the tribe.
He says, "There are some 200 skills and competencies that we are teaching these workers."
On weekends during the fall, Mr. Bartel would come back to Manhattan to see the family and do his chain crew duties at K-State football games. Then it was back to Arizona to continue his training of the agricultural workers.
In spite of that high-sounding quote about the influence of teachers, it seems that society does not value our teachers highly enough. Mr. Bartel notes that his first contract with the Indian tribes was for much more money than his last contract with the public schools.
Throughout this program, I've referred to him as Mr. Bartel, with his formal title and last name. That's because it is a habit of many years, going back to the time I was in his classroom. Yes, I was another one of those who was a student of Mr. Bartel's many years ago. I'm thankful for all he did for me. It truly made a difference in my life.
As the writer said, "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." We are thankful for caring and committed teachers like Mr. Bartel, who are making a difference in schools and families across the country. We appreciate his rural roots and his continuing role in serving agriculture and rural America, and we hope that the positive influence of our outstanding rural teachers will continue.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Clay Parker
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Let's go to Brazil, to one of the largest leather producers in the world. An executive of that company is receiving a gift from a representative of a shoe company in the United States. It is a beautiful present, a pair of hand-tooled leather saddlebags complete with the company name. This is a beautiful piece of work. And – you guessed it – it came from rural Kansas. Saddle up and ride on over for a special leather edition of Kansas Profile.
Meet Clay Parker. Clay is the leather craftsman who produced this fantastic set of saddlebags that went to Brazil. Here is his story.
Clay Parker grew up at Greenleaf, Kansas. That's a north central Kansas town of 346 people. He grew up in a custom combining family, so he traveled a lot. But he went to school at Greenleaf. One of his classmates was a girl named Tressa. Her family moved away in the seventh grade. Just hold that thought for a minute.
Clay finished high school and went into the Army. While stationed in Germany, he was told that he should take up a hobby. So he went to the craft shop, where one of the products to work with was leather. An older man from Turkey managed the craft shop, and he had a knack for making beautiful products from leather.
Clay says, "That Turk was old as dirt, even then, but all he had to do was look at a piece of leather and it would turn out beautiful." So Clay started learning from the Turk and making leather articles himself. Clay says he always had an unexplored artistic side, so he enjoyed the work.
Clay finished his Army duty in Texas, where he was discharged and did more leather work. In 1994, he came back to Kansas, to the Topeka area. A friend of his set him up with a date. This lady mentioned a friend of hers named Tressa. Clay Parker says, "There was only one girl I had ever heard of with the name Tressa."
Sure enough, it was his old school friend, who he had not seen in more than 15 years. The coincidences were remarkable.
Tressa had opened a tack shop in Topeka but needed a leather repair person, and Clay was doing his leather work on the side. So the two got together, first professionally and then personally. They set up a full service tack and custom leather business, selling all over the country.
After a brief stint in Iowa, they came back to Kansas. Today their business operates from their home southwest of Topeka. Their mailing address is Auburn, but they actually live in the country closer to Dover. Dover is a town of about 100 people. Now, that's rural.
Today the company is known as Horse and Leather Works. That includes the Bar Triple T brand on their custom leather products. In the spring, they anticipate expanding into Masterpiece Wood Furnishings, quality furniture accented with tooled leather.
Clay Parker's leather products are fun to see. He starts with a clean, tanned hide. Then he puts the desired design onto tracing film and uses a swivel knife to start the design. His products are hand-tooled, one tamp at a time.
He produces saddles, tack, thanks to Tressa's guidance, guitar straps, and other leather goods. Earlier in his career, he made boots for such country stars as Alan Jackson, Clint Black, and Randy Travis while working with Kolton "Ross" Robert, owner of Kolton Boot company in Olney, Texas. His company also sells some Montana Silver products. They exhibit their products at rodeos, fairs, and horse related events. Clay says, "If it has to do with horses, we do it." Each year he takes products to market from Phoenix to Indianapolis, and his products have gone coast to coast. He says, "Eighty percent of our business is out of state."
He also has a heart for others. Clay says, "I would like to be a resource for art teachers and help the handicapped by having them do therapeutic work in leather."
It's time to say goodbye to Brazil, where one of Clay Parker's hand-tooled saddlebags from rural Kansas has gone to one of the world's leading leather producers. It's exciting to see quality products come from rural Kansas, thanks to people like Clay and Tressa. We salute Clay Parker and other craftsmen for making a difference through their skills and talents, and sharing them with others.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

KMA - SmartMarket training
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Four centuries ago, William Shakespeare wrote, "Sell when you can. You are not for all markets." That was good advice then, and it still rings true today. Strategic marketing is key to the success of any business.
Yet marketing is such a challenge for small businesses today, who are all-too-often short on time, labor, and money. How do they make the most of their marketing efforts?
The good news is that there is help for rural entrepreneurs who want to enhance their marketing. It's a joint project of the Kansas Marketing Association and the Small Business Development Center at K-State, made possible by a grant from the USDA Rural Business Enterprise Program. We'll get the story on today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Bob Cole of the Kansas Marketing Association or KMA. He is working with K-State's Small Business Development Center – called SBDC for short – on a program to assist rural entrepreneurs with marketing.
The program is called "SmartMarket," and it is designed to help small businesses learn the most effective marketing strategies.
As I said, this project is a joint effort of the SBDC and the KMA. Let me sort through the alphabet soup to explain what these entities are.
SBDCs are offices which help small businesses find practical solutions to business problems. Kansas SBDCs are supported by the Small Business Administration and the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing. SBDCs provide free, confidential, one-on-one management assistance to small businesses. There is a network of them across the state and the nation. Fred Rice is the director of the SBDC based in Manhattan.
KMA, the Kansas Marketing Association, is partnering with the SBDC on this particular project. KMA is a non-profit association of small business owners located throughout Kansas. The purpose of KMA is to support the economic health of small businesses through research, training, and cooperative marketing programs.
One of the things I appreciate about KMA is the grass-roots nature of this organization. While members of KMA come from across the state, including larger cities, 67 percent of KMA members come from 32 counties where the population is less than 50,000.
Many KMA members are in financially stressed areas. Twelve percent are in counties where the unemployment rate exceeds the state average, and 42 percent are in counties where the median household income is below the state average.
I am pleased to see that the leadership of this group comes from rural Kansas.
For example, the officers of KMA are: President Ed Henry of Greenleaf, population 346; Vice President Gary Reynolds of Concordia, population 5,706; Secretary Shirley Voran from Cimarron, population 1,646; and Treasurer Cherry Renick from Ingalls, population 312. Now, that's rural
These are all small business owners who are extremely busy with their own enterprises, but they take the time to team up with others in an effort to make things better for all of them.
KMA has been featured on this program before, and I'm pleased to report that they are now implementing this new initiative. KMA and the K-State SBDC are offering a one-day, six hour training session on marketing strategies on February 1, 2001. The session will be held at the Brookville Hotel in Abilene. The cost is $20 and lunch is included.
The purpose of the session is to help entrepreneurs get more bang for their marketing buck. There will be basics presented on principles of building an image, making a product unique, advertising successfully, using available resources to market the product, and in general, keeping customers happy. And to make it even better, many of these proven marketing strategies can be implemented at low cost, or no cost, by any small business.
KMA and the K-State SBDC are planning a second session in Garden City on March 1, in cooperation with the Garden City SBDC. And, more sessions around the state could follow.
Again, the sessions will be in Abilene on February 1 and in Garden City on March 1. For more information, contact Bob Cole at the Kansas Marketing Association at 785-770-2716. That number again is 785-770-2716.
Four centuries ago, William Shakespeare touched on the challenge of marketing. Today, small, rural businesses are still grappling with successfully reaching key markets. We commend the Kansas Marketing Association and the K-State SBDC for making a difference by providing this vital marketing assistance. Marketing can make or break a business. With apologies to Shakespeare, marketing can determine whether a business's future is "to be, or not to be. That is the question." Let's answer it positively.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Bannister Brothers
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
How are the crops in western Kansas? Well, the farm crops vary from year to year, but I want to talk about a different kind of agricultural product. One farm in Rush County has produced a particularly outstanding crop – but it isn't wheat or corn. It is a set of young men. We'll meet the Bannister family of western Kansas on today's Kansas Profile.
It has been my pleasure to get acquainted with several of the members of the Bannister family, and they are a wonderful group. There are four sons in this family: Mark, Ted, Grant, and Joel. Their parents are Bill and Marcia Bannister.
Bill farms in Rush County, which is south of Hays in western Kansas. Marcia is a professor and chair of the Department of Communications Disorders at Fort Hays State University.
That combination of the family farm and higher education has borne good fruit. All four sons have come from their rural roots to pursue higher education.
Grant says, "We had the benefit of both. We graduated from Hays schools, but spent all our summers and weekends on the farm near Alexander." Alexander is a town southwest of Hays, with a population of 71 people. Now, that's rural.
What does a person learn growing up in such a rural setting? Grant says, "You gain both independence and dependence. On the one hand, you learn responsibility and independence at an early age from operating expensive equipment and doing jobs on the farm. On the flip side of the coin, it's just your family out there so you learn you can depend on family."
All four sons have learned these lessons well. Just listen to the achievements of these young men. They all attended Fort Hays State University and then went on to graduate work.
Mark Bannister went on to receive a masters and a law degree at KU. He has served as Director of the Docking Institute of Public Affairs, Chief of Staff for the Kansas Senate President and Associate General Counsel to the Kansas Board of Regents. He is now the Chair of the Department of Information Networking and Telecommunications at Fort Hays State.
Ted Bannister received a graduate degree in economics from American University in Washington, DC. He was an economist at the U.S. Department of Commerce before coming back to Kansas to join his father in the family farming operation.
Grant Bannister received his law degree from KU and, since 1997, is a partner in the firm of Knopp and Bannister in Manhattan. Grant says that he welcomed the opportunity to work with attorney Joe Knopp and his law firm, which has such a prestigious history and a strong commitment to public service.
Joel Bannister, the youngest, is a senior at Fort Hays State University today. He is applying to graduate schools as we speak, probably to pursue an MBA degree.
Now you see what I mean about this family's tremendous commitment to higher education. And I haven't even mentioned their distinguished spouses. Mark's wife Shala is a political science professor and pre-law adviser at Fort Hays. Ted's wife Kathy is a minister who is involved internationally. Grant's wife Stephanie is Director of the Jardine apartments complex at K-State, and a participant in the Flint Hills Regional Leadership Program. Joel is still single. He is quite the entrepreneur, however, having taken steps to begin a computer software company of his own. I hope he'll become the next Bill Gates!
By the way, the next generation of Bannisters is coming along. But in contrast to these four sons, all of their children so far have been daughters. The Bannisters are going from an all-male generation to all-female. I'll bet Grandma is enjoying that.
In a time when all too many of our best and brightest youth are leaving rural Kansas, it is wonderful to see the commitment of the Bannister brothers to our state. Not only are they remaining in Kansas, they are working every day in various ways to make our state a better place.
How are the crops in western Kansas? Well, I'm talking about a different kind of crop today: The fine young men who are often a product of our farms. We commend the Bannister family for making a difference with their achievements in higher education and their commitment to Kansas. This is one farm family that has produced a very high yield for our state.
And there's more. I mentioned that one of those spouses is a minister. We'll learn about her global responsibilities on our next program.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Kristin Rethman
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Let's go to an exciting women's basketball game. It is K-State versus Colorado, and the Buffaloes are leading by two points with less than a minute to play. The clock is winding down when K-State gets a rebound. The players race to the other end of the court, with the Cats down by two. The ball goes to the left wing, to a freshman K-State guard, with three seconds to play. And boy, does she deliver. She puts up a three-pointer – and it's good! K-State takes the lead! And the Wildcats pull out the victory.
This is the true story of that young K-State guard who delivered this key play and has made many others – and she comes from rural Kansas. Stay tuned for a women's basketball edition of Kansas Profile.
Meet Kristin Rethman. Kristin is the guard who made that key shot against Colorado, and who has been an important contributor for the Wildcats throughout her K-State career. She is now a junior on the team.
Women's basketball is generating lots more interest across the nation these days, and that is certainly true in Kansas. K-State had a very successful pre-season, going 10 and 1 in non-conference games before entering a very tough conference schedule. There also seems to be several high-profile, strongly recruited girl basketball players in the state, and they are coming or have come to K-State from small towns. Yet none of these could surpass the team spirit and hard work of Kristin Rethman – and none of them comes from a setting any more rural than hers.
Kristin's family lives in the north central Kansas town of Corning, population 139 people. Now, that's rural. Her mother is a nurse and her father is a mailman. Kristin went to high school in the nearby town of Centralia.
Kristin had great success in high school. She was valedictorian of her 28-member class. And of course, she succeeded as a high school athlete, in basketball, volleyball, and track. She led her basketball team to league championships in her last three seasons. She says, "I always wanted to try to play division 1 basketball." Her parents were very supportive, taking her to basketball camps and tournaments. Her AAU summer team made it to the sweet 16 of the nationals in Indianapolis.
Her performance helped spark the recruiting calls, but the very first one she received was from K-State. She received interest from a number of other in-state schools, but chose to become a Wildcat.
As a true freshman, she hit the game-winning shot against Colorado and has developed into a key three-point shooter for the Wildcats. By her sophomore season, she led the Big 12 in three-point field goals made and ranked 30th in the nation, while also ranking high in assists.
How did the three point shot become her signature play? She says, "Lots of shots after practice. In high school, my dad would come over after practice and rebound for me, and I'd take lots of shots to extend my range. I'm not the fastest athlete, so I have to do what I can do best to help the team."
The key word there is team. When you ask Kristin about highlights of her career, she doesn't bring up her game-winning shot or her career high of scoring 27 points last December. Instead, she says the highlights are team wins over KU and last year upsetting number 8-ranked Iowa State. It is team success that is important to Kristin.
She expresses thanks to her parents, the coaching staff, and support from fans at home. She says, "I'm playing for one of the best, if not the best, coaching staffs in the country. And my parents were great in helping me see the big picture, taking me to tournaments and stuff. I'm so thankful for their support and encouragement."
What about coming from a small town? Kristin says, "We have that reputation of a strong work ethic, and that's something I rely on too." And, she says with a smile, "We travel well." Her community will turn out in force to support its' teams, and that is another trademark of rural Kansas.
It's time to say goodbye to this exciting basketball game, where small-town athlete Kristin Rethman has just delivered the game winning shot for K-State. We salute Kristin and other small-town athletes for making a difference to the communities that support them. Just as her father delivers the mail in rural Kansas, so Kristin has delivered positive results on the court. And that also concludes my delivery.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Here's a statistic that might surprise you. Some experts believe that 85 percent of the people are wearing shoes that don't fit right. 85 percent! Maybe that explains some things about our current society....
But today, we'll meet a family whose philosophy is to provide the customer with shoes and clothes that DO fit. It's a family whose company has been built on value and service, so people find the boots and western clothing that fit their size as well as their budget. Put up your feet and relax for today's edition of Kansas Profile.
Meet Dave and Jan Vanderbilt. Dave and Jan are the founders of Vanderbilts, the company we will learn about today. Here is the story.
Dave Vanderbilt grew up in Iowa, working in a local department store. He joined the company's management training program and started working his way up. He began, as a true success story would have it, working in the stockroom. By the mid-1960s, he became a store manager in Kansas City.
Later on he and other partners opened department stores in Kansas City and Topeka.
By 1972, he was ready to go out on his own and was looking at possible locations to open a store in a small town in the region. He and his wife Jan chose to come to Wamego, Kansas.
They opened a department store downtown, offering the typical candy, health and beauty aids, and arts and crafts supplies which you would find in stores at that time. They named the store Vanderbilts after the family name.
Of course, that name really doesn't tell anyone exactly what the store sells. They didn't call it Boots R Us, for example. So people would call up and ask what they sold and if they had whatever it was that the caller was looking for.
Over time Dave noticed that they were getting a lot of requests for work clothes and boots. He contacted a supplier in Missouri who had overstocked some work boots and brought those back to sell at the store in Wamego.
Andrew Vanderbilt, Dave's son, says, "I think we sold out the whole supply in three weeks. I guess that's when the light went on, that this was something we should pursue."
With time, Vanderbilts would convert their entire operation to selling western wear and work boots. They would eventually partner with Red Wing and other big names to become a major western wear and boots provider in the central U.S.
Can a rural-based business sell products? Well, listen to this. In 1980, Wamego was a town of about 3,100 people. Now, that's rural. But at the height of the Urban Cowboy craze in the early 1980s, that store in Wamego sold some 19,000 pairs of boots in a single year. Wow. That would be about 12 boots for every resident of town.
So you can see that folks would travel a long ways to buy boots at Vanderbilts. And the company grew with time.
Today, including four franchise operations, there are 13 Vanderbilts stores across Kansas and Missouri. They sell such products as Levis, Wranglers, Carhartt, Justin, Key, Red Wing, Tony Lama, Wolverine, Rocky Mountain, and Caterpillar Footwear.
Dave and Jan's sons Thomas and Andrew studied business at K-State and have joined the company.
Andrew says, "Some experts estimate that 85 percent of the people are wearing shoes that don't fit them. Dad's philosophy is to measure people's feet so we could get them boots that do fit. We want the best fit and a low price. Dad really had a pulse for what the consumer wanted."
Today, for example, hiking and work boots are popular. Andrew estimates that the company's work boot sales have tripled in the last 10 years.
Dave remains President and CEO of the company, while Jan does bookkeeping and taxes. Thomas and Andrew share responsibility for the stores.
Andrew says, "God led Mom and Dad into the right place at the right time. We're thankful for the blessings we have, and we want to keep customers with good service."
So there's that surprising statistic: Perhaps 85 percent of the people are wearing shoes that don't fit right. Today, we met a family company that is helping reverse that trend, by helping find boots that fit through good service and good value. We commend Dave and Jan and Andrew and Thomas Vanderbilt for making a difference by building and continuing this family business. It's a good fit for rural Kansas.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Emmett Kelly
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Today let's do some clowning around. No, I don't mean doing something silly, I mean learning about someone whose profession was to be a clown. In fact, he has been called the greatest clown of all time, and he came from rural Kansas. Stay tuned for a special Kansas Day edition of Kansas Profile.
Today's program is a family affair, because I have help today from a guest commentator. My daughter Joanna learned about this rural Kansan as a Kansas Day project in Mrs. Collin's third-grade class at West Elementary School in Wamego, Kansas. Here's Joanna Wilson.

Meet Emmett Kelly. Emmett Kelly was born December 9, 1898, in Sedan, Kansas. Sedan is in southeast Kansas. It is a town of 1,286 people. Now, that's rural.
When Emmett Kelly was six years old, his father retired from railroading, and the family moved to a farm in Missouri. He was only able to go to school through the eighth grade, because he was needed to work at home on the farm.
His mother gave him a calf to raise, which had been born on the farm. When he sold the calf, he earned $25, which he used to take a drawing course through the mail. He also sold a calf to raise money to take a course on lecturing.
With his cartoon drawing and public speaking, he made money making "chalk talks." He could make very quick sketches and turn names into faces, using chalk on a blackboard.
In 1917, he went to Kansas City to look for work as a cartoon artist. When he did not find a job, he worked for a circus one season as a painter, painting faces on Kewpie dolls.
After that, he returned to Kansas City and entered contests with his chalk talks. When he was asked to do one performance, he went dressed as a clown, and his appearance was a hit.
He worked in a circus and other jobs, like in an oil field. Then he worked for a movie company in Kansas City drawing cartoons
One day he drew a cartoon of a hobo clown, dressed in tattered clothes. He liked the picture and drew lots more of them.
So he dressed up for a circus job like his cartoon character. The clown was called Weary Willie. Willie was a sad clown who never smiled or talked, but people loved him.
He spent many years working for the Ringling Brothers Circus. He loved to see children smile at Willie.

Once, there was a circus fire, and he helped rescue people. He also was the mascot for the Brooklyn Dodgers; acted in movies; and did shows around the world.
He was famous for his closing act, where he pretended to try to sweep up the spotlight. Willie did other things like planting a garden that never came up.
There is an Emmett Kelly Museum in Sedan, which has displays and items about Emmett Kelly and Weary Willie. He also drew many pictures of circus life that are in the Ringling Brothers Circus Museum.
Emmett Kelly had two sons, who also became clowns, and two daughters. He collapsed and died of a heart attack in his front yard on March 28, 1979. He has been called the King of the Clowns.

Today, we've been doing some clowning around – not being silly, but learning of a famous Kansan who was a great clown. We commend Emmett Kelly, for making a difference by bringing joy into the lives of people around the world. And we commend Mrs. Collins and all the teachers in schools across our state who help our kids to celebrate Kansas.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Joanna Wilson -- and Ron Wilson -- with Kansas Profile.

Kathy Bannister
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Today let's go to a meeting of the Presidium of the World Council of Churches. To me, the mental image that conveys is a bunch of old, white men sitting around a big table. But guess what – at this meeting of the Presidium of the World Council of Churches, there is even a young woman from rural Kansas.
How in the world did a young woman who lives in rural Kansas come to be a part of this important, international group? It's tempting to say it's a miracle. Stay tuned for the story on today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Kathy Bannister. On our last program, we learned about the Bannister family of western Kansas. Today, we'll meet one of those who married into the Bannister family – a remarkable person in her own right.
Kathy grew up in north Texas, in Dallas and Wichita Falls. Her father is a Methodist minister, and she was active in the church also.
One year she went to a church camp in Arkansas, and while there, met a young man from Kansas named Ted Bannister. Now, kids, let this be a lesson to you. There are a lot of good reasons to go to church camp....
Anyway, Ted and Kathy stayed in touch, and with time, a relationship developed and the two were married. They also pursued higher education. Ted graduated from Fort Hays State University and went on to get a masters in economics from American University in Washington DC. He then went to work for the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Kathy went to American University also, in her case for an undergrad degree, and then wanted to further her education in seminary. She chose to go to Iliff School of Theology in Denver for graduate work and a seminary degree.
During that time, Ted made the move back to the family farm in western Kansas. After Kathy graduated, she became ordained in the United Methodist Church and became a local pastor in the Bannister's home area in 1996. She and Ted also had a daughter.
And how did this city girl adjust to rural life? Kathy says with a smile, "I had never lived in a place less than 100,000 people." Lo and behold, she was now living in the town of Bison, population 211 people. Now, that's rural.
Kathy says, "It's been a lot easier than I anticipated. People here have been incredibly supportive of the things I do."
So let's talk about the things she does. While in college, Kathy had been active in church activities, including the larger organizations of churches. In 1991, she was chosen as a delegate to the gathering of the World Council of Churches, or W-C-C. This is the large assembly which occurs every seven years. Her leadership abilities were noticed in this assembly, and she was elected to serve as one of 150 persons on the council's governing body.
But there is an even more exclusive group in the leadership of the World Council of Churches, and that is the Presidium of the council. This consists of only eight persons, one from each region of the world. And believe it or not, in 1998, Kathy Bannister of Bison, Kansas was elected to the Presidium as a representative of North America at the tender age of 29 years old.
This is a wonderful thing, for women, for youth, and even for rural Kansas. Kathy says, "I was intentionally elected as a young person to signal a WCC commitment to raising up a new generation of ecumenical leadership. This is the second time the WCC has elected a young person to the Presidium."
Kathy's responsibilities will literally take her around the world, from Geneva to Zimbabwe. She has traveled to every continent. Yet she continues to serve her churches in rural Kansas, and take care of daughter Hannah.
Kathy says, "Serving in this way has caused me to grow. When I was asked to preach at the U.S. Conference of the WCC, I wondered what in the world I could say to this distinguished group. I chose to integrate the two worlds in which I live: Rural life and the ecumenical structure, and people responded."
She says, "I am very grateful for the local support I have had. And this is a wonderful place to raise a child."
It's time to leave this meeting of the Presidium of the World Council of Churches. We're thankful for Kathy and Ted Bannister, for making a difference in rural Kansas and for supporting people of faith around the world.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Harold Frasier
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Soil and water conservation is a long-term project. I think most people would agree with that statement. Conservation of our soil and water resources is important to maintain these resources for future generations. So it's important to take the long view of these conservation efforts. Today we'll meet someone who takes the long view of conservation, because he has been involved in it for a long time. He is the longest serving conservation district board member in the state, and he's located in rural Kansas. Stay tuned for a conservation edition of Kansas Profile.
Meet Harold Frasier. Harold and his wife Eilleen farm in western Kansas. As I said, they take a long view of conservation issues – with good reason.
Harold Frasier was born in Nebraska in 1919. In 1920, his parents brought him to a farm in Wallace County, Kansas. He went on to attend K-State, and served in the Army in Europe during World War II. After his time in the service, he came back to the family farm in Wallace County. There were many challenges in those days, and a key one was soil conservation.
Growing up on the farm, Harold Frasier had experienced the dust bowl days.
Harold says, "I remember being on a tractor and the sun disappearing. It becomes like night, just because of the dust in the air."
There was terrible soil and water and wind erosion in those days. The U.S. Department of Agriculture began the Soil Conservation Service in those days to help farmers combat such erosion.
Of course, the best conservation efforts are organized locally. Harold Frasier was one of those who helped to organize the Wallace County Conservation District. These districts, across the nation, work with USDA's Soil Conservation Service to provide assistance to farmers in learning conservation practices. That meant such things as building terraces, dams, and waterways to help conserve soil and water.
The Wallace County Conservation District was chartered on May 24, 1950. One of the charter members was Harold Frasier. He was appointed to the board at first. Some years later, all the board positions became elective, and he has been elected to the board in three year terms ever since.
Today, more than a half-century later, Harold Frasier continues to serve on the Wallace County Conservation District Board. I think that makes him the Strom Thurmond of soil conservation in Kansas. He is a pioneer who has made a long-term and deep commitment to conservation of resources in our state.
Harold and Eilleen have two sons: Curtis and Duane. I've known those two for a long time myself, and they are outstanding guys. Curt is an attorney in Beloit. Duane has taken over the farming operation in Wallace County. Harold and Eilleen now live in the Wallace County town of Sharon Springs, population 860 people. Now, that's rural.
Harold, who is now 82, remains active. He says with a smile, "I call myself Duane's chief tractor driver and combine operator."
He has seen a lot of changes over the years. Harold says, "My father put his first terraces in because the county extension agent suggested it. That would have been in about 1935."
Those conservation practices have made a big difference over time. And agriculture has changed as well, using lots of big modern equipment.
Harold says, "I can farm more ground in a few hours than we used to get done in a week." The move to no-till and minimum tillage farming has also helped conserve lots of resources.
Harold says, "Mother nature has a good way of taking care of things. We need to learn her ways and change our farming operations to fit. Some of the things the government comes down with are contrary to nature's way. It's important to adjust these government guidelines to fit the local conditions." Today, for example, western Kansas farmers have learned to farm on the contour of the land to conserve soil and water resources.
Soil and water conservation is a long-term project. Harold Frasier is one of those who has made a true long-term commitment to conservation, and he is still living it today. We commend Harold Frasier and others who serve as local conservation district board members, who are making a difference by working to conserve these resources for the future.
Strom Thurmond would be proud.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Kriss Avery - Rainbow Sound
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Let's go to the 2000 Emmy awards -- the regional Emmy awards presented by the Mid-America Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Among the winners is a woman who creates soundtracks for various types of films. Her work on one particular documentary was honored with not one, but two, Emmy awards, and she comes from rural Kansas. Stay tuned for a special soundtrack edition of Kansas Profile.
Meet Kriss Avery. Kriss is this creative award winner, who operates under the business name Rainbow Sound. Here is the story.
Kriss grew up on a farm southwest of Riley, Kansas. One of the things which developed in Kriss was an interest in music.
Kriss says, "My mother played piano by ear. She liked pop tunes, and there was always music around." But this interest was brought to a new level by an unlikely event. Kriss says, "Our church did an exchange with a black church at Junction City. We gathered in their sanctuary for a regular church service, and I was blown away by the music."
Her third major musical influence came from a favorite teacher named Jerry Hall at Riley County High School, who introduced Kriss to jazz and classical music.
After graduation, Kriss went to KU for a time, but she wanted to spread her wings. She moved to Los Angeles for two years, and then began to think that there were too many people concentrated in southern California. The final straw was the earthquake of 1971. After that event, Kriss came back to Kansas City, where she settled and has lived ever since.
Kriss received a degree in music composition from the University of Missouri - Kansas City Conservatory of Music, and did graduate study in electronic music at UMKC and the University of Illinois. UMKC had received a synthesizer from an alumnus, and Kriss used it to create and edit musical compositions. Then one of her professors bought one of those early computers. Kriss says, "In a weekend, I could do with that computer what had taken two semesters to do before." It was a sign of things to come.
Kriss went to work for a computer company, but after a couple of years felt that something was missing. She says, "I saw a lot of people saying, I wished I woulda, I wished I woulda. I began to realize that I was going to have to make a change, or I would have regrets like that too." She says, "My dad, who is a farmer, said you should always enjoy your work."
So as she thought about her future career, she followed her heart back to music. She apprenticed with a company which did musical accompaniments to documentary films, and then went out on her own.
Today, her company - Rainbow Sound - produces film soundtracks and provides other post-production sound services for a variety of clients. Her client list includes entities from as far away as Philadelphia and Dallas. A lot of her work is for a local PBS station in Kansas City.
Examples of her Emmy-winning work include Water and Fire: A Story of the Ozarks, and one titled This Place Called Home. The film Ninth Street won awards from the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, Independent Film Channel, and Prized Pieces Film Festival. Other award winning films include Yosemite, Railroad 4: The Golden Age, The National Parks of Utah, We Proceeded On.. The Expedition of Lewis and Clark, and many more.
Currently, she is doing sound for a history of arts organizations in Kansas City. This is a pioneering work, because the show will be produced for high-definition television. The technology is so new, the tapes have to be sent to Washington DC to be uplinked to a satellite so that the local station can downlink it for broadcast, which means any of the 26 digital PBS channels nationally, or anyone with a satellite TV, can also view the shows.
Even with all this technology and creativity, Kriss still has a special place in her heart for the rural environment. After all, she grew up near Riley, population 753 people. Now, that's rural.
Kriss says, "I'm much more aware than the average city person of our soil and air and water resources. It's dear to my heart, due to growing up on the farm."
It's time to say farewell to this Emmy award ceremony, but we're especially proud of this Emmy winner. We commend Kriss Avery for making a difference with her initiative and creativity – and for remembering her roots in rural Kansas.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Donnie and Ginny Young - Part 1
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Today let's take a look at U.S. News and World Report. That's a highly respected, national magazine. Let's leaf through some old issues. In the June 10, 1996 edition, we find a picture of an old friend of mine - a farmer in rural Kansas. How did a Kansas farmer come to be in U.S. News and World Report? Stay tuned for the story on today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Donnie Young. Donnie Young is this outstanding young farmer who was pictured in this national news magazine. Here is the story.
Donnie Young comes from southwest Kansas. While growing up, however, his dad worked for a gas company. Mr. Young's career took him from southeast to southwest Kansas. Donnie grew up in southwest Kansas at a Cities Service Gas Company housing camp between Ulysses and Satanta. Satanta is a town of 997 people. Now, that's rural.
So Donnie's family came from a rural setting, but not from a farm. However, Donnie decided he wanted to be a farmer. It's not easy to get a farm when you don't, as the saying goes, inherit it or marry it.
Donnie did neither. But he had a genuine desire to be a farmer, and so he worked at it. He worked for local farmers in the summertime and went to K-State where he studied agronomy. That's where I first met Donnie, and I knew he was an outstanding guy.
Some of the guys we lived with went back to the farm when they graduated, but in Donnie's case, there was no farm to go back to. Still, he had his mind set to be a farmer, and he pursued it.
He knew where he could rent some ground, but the question was, how would he get the equipment to farm it? For starters, Donnie sold his motorcycle. Then he borrowed some equipment and his dad co-signed a note.
Eventually, he got what he needed and produced a crop. Donnie worked very hard, and was able to expand his operation over time. Today, he is one of those all-too-rare creatures: a first-generation farmer. And he is operating more than 5,000 acres of corn, wheat, and milo in southwest Kansas.
His whole-hearted commitment has helped make him a success. In 1981, he won the Jaycees Young Farmer award. In 1987, his farm was selected first runner-up in the nation in the Farm Futures Magazine Best Managed Farm contest. He has been recognized with an award from Top Producer magazine. He has been appointed to the Kansas Corn Commission, elected president of the Kansas Corn Growers Association, and serves on the board of the Southwest Kansas Groundwater Management District and KSU Ag Alumni. He was also selected for KARL, the Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership program.
In 1996, when U.S. News and World Report was doing a story about the drought in Kansas, one of the persons to whom they were led was Donnie Young.
It is good to see my old classmate have this recognition. He is an entrepreneur also, currently involved in organizing and building a large dairy in Grant County in southwest Kansas.
Donnie is also a guy to whom faith and family is important. He has been a Sunday School teacher at his church and serves on the finance committee. Donnie and his wife Ginny have three daughters, of which the oldest, Inga, is a student at K-State. Daughter Nicole is the next oldest, and is heading to KSU next fall to study Ag Communications. Danielle, the youngest of the Youngs, pardon the pun, was pictured with her dad in the story by U.S. News and World Report that I mentioned at the beginning.
It's time to put away our copy of U.S. News and World Report. We are interested to see that Donnie Young from rural Kansas was featured in this story, and rightly so. He is a leader in the agriculture industry in this state, and deserves great credit for becoming a successful farmer after starting from scratch. We commend Donnie Young for making a difference with his entrepreneurship in agriculture, his drive to succeed, and especially the values he brings to his leadership.
And there's more. I mentioned his wife Ginny. Ginny Young, living in southwest Kansas, is an accomplished artist. We'll hear about that on our next program.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Donnie and Ginny Young - Part 2
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Let's go to the headquarters of the Pepsi-Cola Company in New York. There's a work of art which will catch your eye. The image is of a collection of crushed Pepsi cans. It is done in giclee, which is a type of print on watercolor paper. This is just one of the works of art of the remarkable artist whom we will meet today – she lives in rural Kansas. Stay tuned for an artist edition of Kansas Profile.
On our last program, we met Donnie Young, an outstanding farmer in southwest Kansas. Today, we'll meet his wife Ginny, an excellent young artist.
Ginny grew up in Manhattan, Kansas. She says, "My dad used to draw." He drew cartoons and designed logos for local businesses as a hobby. She says, "I used to sit by his table and watch him draw."
That artistic interest must have taken root early on, but it didn't come to flower until later. Ginny went to K-State for bachelors and master's degrees in recreation. She took a couple of art classes, but didn't get heavily involved in creating artwork.
While at K-State, she met Donnie Young. They married and made the move to southwest Kansas. While Donnie was getting his farming career started, she was starting to develop her artistic side. She took some art lessons, but then their kids were born.
She says, "My interest increased after the girls got bigger." Ginny started to paint. She says, "I love to paint. I love color, shapes, contrast, people, and art."
She says, "I see life from a creative standpoint. I'm very aware of colors, textures, and shapes."
She primarily works in watercolors and also does collages. She will occasionally use acrylics and oils also. Recently added new ventures are in mosaics and ceramics.
In 1995, Ginny did a watercolor painting of their pet cat resting on some quilts. It won best of show, and people began asking for prints. So she produced her first print, called "Grandma's Quilts." Within months, her piece called "Garden Gate" was featured on a calendar done by a printing company in Wichita. "Season of Singing" won Juror's Award of Merit at the 2001 Wichita Lawn and Garden Show.
Ginny has about 40 images in her print, limited edition, giclee, and notecard line. She does work on commission as well as for competitions. Currently, she is leading an effort for the local tourism board on working with youth to redo historical murals in their community.
She says, "I get inspired by real common items." The photo she took of crushed Pepsi cans turned into her giclee. A picture of it was sent to the Pepsi Company, which bought it and displays it at Pepsi headquarters.
Donnie has been supportive of Ginny's artistic efforts and flies her to various galleries, competitions, and workshops in their Cessna 182 Skylane. She has gone to workshops in such places as New York, Montana, Colorado, and Texas. She has also organized art workshops locally during the past six years, bringing in professional instructors.
Ginny is a member of the prestigious Kansas Watercolor Society, which is a seven-state juried competition. In 1999, her postcard "Espresso" was one of 16 chosen in the Kansas Artists Postcard Series to be reproduced and exhibited statewide. A copy of her work "Lauren" hangs in Senator Sam Brownback's DC office. Ginny's watercolor, "Garden Gate" was given to the governor of Hawaii from Kansas for the Mrs. America pageant, 2000. Her poinsettia giclee was given by Mrs. Kansas to the winner of the Mrs. USA pageant, 2000. Her work has been exhibited at the Manhattan Arts Center, the Governor's Mansion, Wichita Art Museum, the Birger Sandzen Gallery in Lindsborg, and more.
This talented artist's studio is in her home, in the southwest Kansas town of Ulysses, population 5,947 people. Now, that's rural. It is exciting to see such talent come from rural Kansas.
She says, "I just love art. I can't imagine life without it."
Ginny adds that she is inspired by the beauty, uniqueness, and intricacies of God's creation. She says, "God is the ultimate Artist and Creator. We have the privilege of sharing in His beauty and creativity – and that is a joy!"
It's time to say goodbye to the headquarters of the Pepsi-Cola Company in New York. It's an unlikely place to find a piece of art from rural Kansas, but this is quite a remarkable artist. We salute Ginny Young for making a difference by nurturing and sharing this creative gift with others.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Frederick Funston - Part 1
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Today let's discuss some heroes from Kansas history. For example, there is the explorer who almost lost his life in a Colorado blizzard, the war hero who was wounded repeatedly in battle, the botanist who served hazardous duty for USDA, and the soldier who made a daring escape. Quite a collection of Kansas heroes, isn't it? But what is especially remarkable is that they are all one and the same man -- and he came from rural Kansas. Stay tuned for the fascinating story of this Kansas hero on today's Kansas Profile.
Our story goes back to the 1860s, when a Civil War soldier from Ohio came west to homestead in southeast Kansas. His name was Edward Funston. He later brought his family out to Kansas, including his petite wife and his two year old son named Frederick.
The family homestead was north of Iola near the unincorporated settlement of Carlyle, which today is estimated to hold about a hundred people. Now, that's rural. This was the boyhood home of Frederick Funston.
Over the years, his father Edward Funston expanded the farm and became active in politics. He served in the Kansas Legislature and then the U.S. House of Representatives. Ed Funston was a big, imposing man – six feet two and more than 200 pounds – with a deep, booming voice. His enemies derisively called him "Foghorn Funston." That prompted his supporters to call him "Farmer Funston," because he was such an effective supporter of his state's agricultural interests. In fact, he became Chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee.
Young Frederick Funston inherited his father's intellect and competitive spirit, but he inherited his mother's small size. Fred Funston grew to only five feet, four inches tall and barely 120 pounds. But his small size was packed with muscle and a fighting spirit. In a brief career as a teacher, he singlehandedly fought off the much larger school bully who came armed with a gun. It was a sign of things to come.
First, though, came his education. Fred Funston attended KU, where he was a classmate and close friend of some newspaper fellow named William Allen White.
In 1890, he and a friend went hiking in Colorado. A sudden blizzard trapped him in the mountains and he accidentally slid down a steep, ice-covered snow field. He drove the muzzle of his rifle through the hard crust and came to a stop, having slid some twenty feet. He opened a pocketknife with his teeth and used the knife to cut footholds in the snowy crust, ultimately enabling him to escape. It was the first of many close escapes.
Funston then gained an assignment as a botanist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This was no boring assignment in a research library. His job was to retrieve plant samples from some of the most challenging habitats in the country. This job took him into the most extreme conditions, ranging from 147 degrees in Death Valley to 62 below zero in arctic Alaska. Wow.
Funston became interested in the fight for independence in Cuba. The U.S. was officially neutral, so he had himself smuggled into Cuba to become a solder to fight for independence. He rose to lieutenant colonel, was in 22 major engagements, had 17 horses shot out from under him, and was wounded twice. At one point he was traveling in disguise when apprehended by the enemy. He managed to swallow what would have been an incriminating document and gain freedom from the enemy.
Funston was selected to head up the volunteer soldiers from Kansas during the Spanish-American War. Eventually, his regiment was sent to suppress an insurrection in the Phillipines. Funston and his troops repeatedly distinguished themselves in battle. He was awarded a Medal of Honor for his service, advanced rapidly in promotion, and came home a national hero.
At the age of 32, he had been a private citizen. By age 35, he had become Brigadier General – one of the highest ranking officers in the Army. Yet there was much more to come.
We've been discussing heroes from Kansas history: a brave explorer, a pioneering botanist, a courageous war hero – who are all the same person, namely, Frederick Funston. We are proud to claim General Funston as someone who came from rural Kansas and who made a difference in serving his country. But there is more. For example, Funston is much better known in San Francisco than he is in Kansas. We'll learn why, and about his community's efforts to honor him, on our next program.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Frederick Funston - Part 2 - Museum
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Today let's go to California. Here is a bust of the general who has been called "the man who saved San Francisco." The way he earned that title is just another chapter in the fascinating life of General Frederick Funston, but it is also a time to remember his roots in rural Kansas. Stay tuned for the conclusion of our two-part series on Fred Funston on today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Clyde Toland. Clyde is an attorney in Iola, Kansas and former volunteer president of the Allen County Historical Society. It was Clyde who told me about the new Funston museum in Iola.
On our last program, we learned about the early life of Frederick Funston on the farm in Kansas. He worked briefly as a teacher and for some years as a botanist for USDA. But it was in the Army that the combative Mr. Funston found his niche.
After service in Cuba, and one close call after another, Funston served with distinction in the Phillipines and rose rapidly through the ranks. He returned to the U.S. where he was stationed in San Francisco.
Then came April 18, 1906. A powerful earthquake hit the city, and large sections were destroyed. A huge fire swept the city, and some 200,000 people were left homeless and hungry. Funston happened to be serving as acting commander while his boss was away and he sprang into action, organizing troops to maintain order, fight fires, and carry out relief efforts. Funston again became a national hero, and gained the title of "the man who saved San Francisco."
Adventure would follow Funston back to Kansas, when he became commandant at Fort Leavenworth. A court-martialed solder tried to take revenge on Funston while he slept, but Funston pulled a pistol from under his pillow and returned fire. Neither was hurt.
Funston's next assignment was in the Mexican border conflict of 1914. Funston again served with distinction and was promoted to Major General – the highest filled rank in the U.S. Army at the time.
Funston's command of the troops was a model of organization and military administration for generations to come. In fact, listen to the names of some of those who served under him: John J. Pershing, Captain Douglas MacArthur, Lieutenant George Patton, and Lieutenant Dwight Eisenhower. Wow.
Funston's star continued to shine – but then suddenly, it burned out. On February 19, 1917, Funston was having dinner in San Antonio when he died instantly of a heart attack at age 51. The nation mourned.
Fast forward to current times. The years have passed since Funston was famous. In fact, it is said that more is known about Funston in San Francisco than his boyhood home of Kansas.
But thanks to some dedicated citizens in Kansas, that history is again being remembered. In 1994, the Allen County Historical Society reclaimed the Funston boyhood home and moved it four miles to the Iola town square. There the house was restored to the Victorian era and a museum was constructed with displays about the fascinating life of Frederick Funston. Visitors can see an interesting video of his life, peruse the displays, and tour the house - all for free.
Iola is a town of 6,241 people. Now, that's rural. But this rural community has developed a wonderful museum. Visitors can see such things as actual plant samples, on loan from the Smithsonian, which Funston brought back from his expeditions to Death Valley and Alaska. There are also such items as the actual snowshoes that Funston used to walk a thousand miles above the Arctic Circle.

The Allen County Historical Society raised more than $200,000 to move and restore the Funston home and to build this beautiful museum, thanks to the leadership of Clyde Toland. Clyde wouldn't tell you that, but his leadership has helped preserve this fascinating chapter of Kansas history for years to come. If you would like to visit the museum, its telephone number is 620-365-3051. That number again is 620-365-3051.
It's time to say goodbye to California, where we learned about this general who was known as "the man who saved San Francisco." Yes, he had a fascinating life and interesting career, including helping save that city after a devastating earthquake. But you don't have to go to California to learn about this fascinating man. You can learn about him first-hand by visiting his boyhood home and museum right here in rural Kansas. We salute Clyde Toland and the people of Iola for making a difference by honoring and preserving this heritage for the future.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Greg and Deb Wells - Wells Cabinet
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Today let's go to New York, where a concert pianist is performing on a Baldwin grand piano. The music is beautiful, and so is the piano. Take a closer look at this piano. Inside you will find some hand-crafted wood components, produced by a company in rural Kansas. How in the world did wood components from Kansas end up in a Baldwin grand piano? Pull up your piano bench and listen to today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Greg Wells. Greg and his wife Deb are owners and founders of Wells Cabinet near Fredonia, Kansas. Wells Cabinet is the source of these wooden components we find inside Baldwin pianos today. Here is the story of this fascinating company.
Greg Wells grew up on a farm outside of Fredonia in southeast Kansas. He graduated from Pittsburg State and got married. He and Deb came back to an old farmstead not far from his original home place.
Greg went into construction, but of course, that is a seasonal business. He was looking for something he could do during the winter months, and in 1976 decided to try building kitchen cabinets and refinishing furniture. He set up shop in the old chicken house on the farmstead.
Greg says, "I like to froze in the wintertime. And the roof was so low that I couldn't stand the tall cabinets straight up. I had to work on them lying down on their backs."
Conditions were not ideal, to say the least, but it was a start. In 1979, he decided to concentrate on the kitchen cabinets. One year he did a nice kitchen for a family in Neodesha, home of one of those high-end boat companies. That company needed some nice cabinets for a new boat they were designing, and they came to Greg to see if he could do it. That was the good news. The bad news was, they needed a sample at a boat show in a matter of days.
Greg worked virtually around the clock and got the job done. The company was so pleased with his work that he built cabinets for them for years.
Over time, his company grew and diversified. Since 1980, Wells Cabinet has been a supplier for Baldwin piano, providing the hardwood damper moldings and lid props as I mentioned earlier.
Then there are wooden toys. Wells Cabinet produces thousands of hardwood toys for such companies as Childcraft Education Corp. in Pennsylvania, Lakeshore Learning Center in California, Back to Basics Toys in Virginia, and the U. S. Toy Company. Boy, my kids would have a blast testing their products...
Greg says their products have been very popular in the educational toy market, where they are called manipulatives. Basically, these are wooden blocks and similar products which build motor skills as children use them. Another major market is in producing high quality stereo speaker cabinets for companies like Martin-Logan in Lawrence.
So today, these products of all different types are going coast to coast. Yet the company remains located where it began, on a rural route outside of Fredonia, population 2,541 people. Now, that's rural.
Of course, the chicken house is long gone. Greg and Deb have built a modern manufacturing facility at the farmstead, with some 20,000 square feet. They have one high-tech computer operated router and another on the way.
Pittsburg State University, where Greg went to school, has a nationally-acclaimed program in wood technology. Is that where he got his start? He says with a smile, "No, I majored in biology. I used to cut through the wood tech building when it rained."
Even so, Pitt State has seized the opportunity to benefit from Greg's expertise. He has been a lecturer on woodworking at Pittsburg State, as well as at such things as the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta.
How has this business become successful? Greg says, "Quality is the kicker. We don't have any salesmen, we don't have any representatives. All of our accounts have started small and built up. And I feel like we've got a good work force and good work ethic."
And of the community, Deb says, "We have been fortunate to have dedicated, educated community volunteers. People are more than willing to help."
It's time to leave New York, where we find wood products from Kansas in a Baldwin grand piano. Hats off to Greg and Deb Wells and the people of Wells Cabinet for making a difference with hard work and entrepreneurship. This piano makes beautiful music – and also a beautiful enterprise in rural Kansas.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Marc Glades - Outdoor Connection
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Have you ever gone into an office for one of those big international companies where they have several clocks on the wall to tell you what time it is in various time zones? It's always impressive to see that they are doing business in so many places around the world. Recently I visited a business that had several clocks on the wall like that, but it wasn't in some big city corporation. It was in Yates Center, Kansas. And this company doesn't sell widgets – it sells fun – specifically, outdoors fun in hunting and fishing. Grab your fishin' pole – this is today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Marc Glades. Marc is President of Outdoor Connection, based in the southeast Kansas town of Yates Center.
Marc grew up in Garden City. As a kid, he enjoyed the great outdoors. Marc says, "I grew up pheasant huntin.'" Marc went to school at Emporia State and trained to be teacher.
Marc says, "I taught for one year but decided I liked fishin' and huntin' better." Well, that might be true for lots of us, but how do you make it pay? Marc Glades managed to find a way.
He found a company called Outdoor Connection. Outdoor Connection is a travel agency specializing in hunting, fishing, and outdoor travel. In other words, it organizes excursions for the outdoor sportsman. The company was founded in Minneapolis in 1988 to cater to people traveling north for trips into Canada.
Outdoor Connection is a franchise company, and Marc opened the franchise office in Wichita in 1995. In 1998, he and a couple of other guys approached the owner and bought the company.
Meanwhile, Marc's grandfather, a businessman in Yates Center, had passed away in 1997. Grandfather's old office space on the courthouse square in Yates Center had sat empty for a couple of years when there arose the possibility that Marc could move his business location there.
So Marc remodeled the old space and established the new main office of Outdoor Connection in Yates Center. Marc says, "We could continue to pay high rents in Wichita or we could come here for a lot less."
Marc and his wife were also looking for a good quality of life for their young children, so they made the move to small town life.
Communications technology has helped make it possible for this company to operate outside a major city. After all, this company doesn't really need a storefront downtown in major cities, because so much of the work is done over the telephone and computer anyway.
Outdoor Connection now has 80 offices in 27 states across the nation, plus Canada. Yet the headquarters office is now here in Yates Center, population 1,717 people. Now, that's rural.
As I said, this is a travel agency that specializes in hunting and fishing expeditions around the world. They offer high quality lodges, guides, and outfitters all over the globe. Whether you want a daily fishing charter on the Chesapeake Bay or a three-week safari in Africa, Outdoor Connection can take care of all the details.
And you wouldn't believe all the possibilities. On the Outdoor Connection website – which is www.outdoor-connection.com - you can get information on hunting elk, moose, caribou, bear, turkey, dove, big horn sheep, african big game, and more.
If you'd rather go fishing, there is information on northern pike, muskie, large and small mouth bass, tarpon, marlin, and many others. Or if you'd prefer dude ranches, white water rafting, or summer pack trips, Outdoor Connection can take care of that too. The website has listings from Australia to Africa and lots in between, including in Kansas.
Marc Glades says, "We are a full service company. We'll take care of all the arrangements. And we're seeing a lot of growth in the corporate market."
Marc says, "We communicate electronically with people all over the world. The computer and telephone give us the freedom to be in Yates Center and wear jeans to work." Again, that web address is www.outdoor-connection.com.
Have you ever gone to one of those big companies that has several clocks showing different time zones on the wall? I recently found a set of those clocks on the wall in Yates Center, at the office of Outdoor Connection. We salute Marc Glades and the people of Outdoor Connection for making a difference with innovation and technology.
Now, whatever the time is in your time zone, our time is up.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Don Musil - Blue Rapids
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Let's go a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and New York Giants. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?
Sure, you say, but there's one or two slight complications. First of all, we are in Kansas – not Chicago or New York. The baseball Giants aren't even in New York anymore. And have you checked the prices of major league baseball tickets lately?
Okay, I admit, maybe it's not too practical to go to a White Sox - Giants game today. But what if those teams were playing right here in rural Kansas? This is the true story of when those two teams did come and play in rural Kansas. Stay tuned for a spring training edition of Kansas Profile.
Meet Don Musil. Don, a veterinarian, is the volunteer president of the Blue Rapids Chamber of Commerce. Blue Rapids is in Marshall County in north central Kansas. It is a town of 1,122 people. Now, that's rural.
Could a town that size play host to a major league baseball game? The answer is yes. Here is the fascinating story.
In 1913, the owner of the Chicago White Sox, Charles Comiskey, conceived the notion of a world tour to promote the game of baseball.
Comiskey envisioned a series of games between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants, which had won the National League pennant that year. The games would be held around the country and around the world.
Towns that wished to host the touring teams were required to put up a thousand dollar guarantee. That was a lot of money, especially in those days. But a group of businessmen in Blue Rapids, Kansas acted quickly to sell shares of stock and raise the needed money. Other cities responded also, and the world tour began in Cincinnati following the World Series.
There were 49 playing sites included on the tour. The only town in Kansas, and the smallest town of the whole group, was Blue Rapids.
On October 24, 1913, a special train arrived at the Blue Rapids depot carrying the world tour entourage. Players were given tours of the area after their arrival. At noon, the schools and most businesses closed.
Can you imagine the excitement? Among those involved with the tour were pitching legend Christy Mathewson, Hall of Fame manager John McGraw, Olympic hero Jim Thorpe, and many others.
Fans and the players gathered at the town square and then walked in a parade to the baseball field. More than 3,000 people attended. The White Sox won the game, 8 to 5. It was a big success. The teams were paid more than $1800, and the locals cleared nearly $500.
The tour continued to the West Coast and around the world, traveling to Japan, Ceylon, and up the Suez Canal to Egypt. The last game was played before King George V in England. The teams then sailed back to New York, riding on a vessel which would later gain its own place in history -- the Lusitania.
The people of Blue Rapids are honoring and remembering this baseball history. Brochures have been printed and a beautiful painting has been done of the ballfield where the game was played, as the people of Blue Rapids try to get out the word.
One day, Don Musil got a call from a guy in Missouri. The Missourian recalled a story that his grandfather had told, of a time he was doing carpentry in Kansas and a trainload of ballplayers came into town. One of them, a pitcher, asked him to cut a piece of stout lumber, which the man did. Later that day, at the ball game, the pitcher demonstrated his strength and power by pitching at the board and breaking it. That pitcher was the legendary Christy Mathewson.
The Missourian said, "We always thought that was some crazy story that my grandfather had made up. It didn't make sense, having major league ballplayers out in the middle of Kansas. But when I read about your game in Blue Rapids, then I knew that Grandpa was right."
It's time to say goodbye to our game between the White Sox and the New York Giants. No, we didn't have to travel far for this game, for it was held right here in rural Kansas. We salute Don Musil and the people of Blue Rapids for making a difference by honoring this history. And the part I like best is that this ballfield is still in use for kids in rural Kansas today. They can run and hit and catch the ball on the same field where the major leaguers played nearly a century ago. Now let's Play Ball!
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Sheriff Janet Harrington
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Howdy, Sheriff. Does that sound like a line about the good guys in an old western movie? Well, this is no movie – it's about real life in Kansas today. And in this case, the good guy isn't a guy. It is a woman who is serving as a sheriff in a rural Kansas county. Pin on your badge for today's edition of Kansas Profile.
Meet Sheriff Janet Harrington. Sheriff Harrington serves in Elk County in southeast Kansas. Here is her story.
Janet grew up in Severy, Kansas. She attended Emporia State, has an associate degree from Butler County Community College and is now working on a BS in criminal justice from Friends University. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.
Janet moved back to Elk County after she met and married a man there. She became trained as an emergency medical technician.
In 1982, she joined the Elk County sheriff's department as a dispatcher and EMT. Eventually, she was promoted to day clerk dispatcher where she assisted the current sheriff in various ways. When the undersheriff quit, the sheriff asked her to take the job.
After she had served in that capacity for two years, the sheriff needed to quit for health reasons. In August 1987, Janet Harrington was appointed as sheriff. And in the fall of 1988, she stood for election and was elected by the people of Elk County.
So what is it like being a woman sheriff? Janet says, "I haven't had any problems with it, except for just a few people. And apparently the voters haven't had any problem with it." She has been re-elected four times.
She says, "I like my job. In the big, urban counties, the sheriff is more of an administrative figure. But in a small rural county like this one, the sheriff does everything that the deputies do, plus the paperwork."
So Sheriff Harrington does her share of road patrol, crime and death investigations, arresting suspects, serving warrants, and escorting prisoners. Wow! I asked her if she carried a gun, and of course, she does. But she has never had to use it in the line of duty.
She did point a shotgun at a suspect one time, when he refused to show his hands upon being apprehended. She finally managed to convince him that she was serious.
Sheriff Harrington says, "I'm lucky with the people I have in our office. We have two deputies who really do a good job, four full-time dispatchers and one part time, and four part-time deputies."
One plus is that their experience ranges from 10 to 18 years. The sheriff says with a smile, "I don't know if I'm easy to work for or if they're too scared to leave."
She also credits the agencies with which she works. These include the Highway Patrol, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and Wildlife and Parks. Then there is the alphabet soup of the federal agencies: the FBI, ATF, DEA, and even Secret Service. Yes, there was a Secret Service agent who came to Elk County. He was investigating a woman who expressed a threat against a Senator.
Sheriff Harrington's effectiveness been recognized by the voters of Elk County, and also by her peers. In 1999, she served as President of the Kansas Sheriff's Association – the first woman to do so. She says, "I love the Sheriff's Association. We all have the same problems."
As to being the first woman president, she says, "I never wanted to make being a female a big issue. Whether you're male or female, what matters is whether you can do the job."
Janet Harrington is doing the job here, in spite of the problems and paperwork. And she likes the rural setting. Her office is in the county seat of Howard, population 827 people. Now, that's rural.
She says, "It's nice to be in a rural county. Here, people do care."
It's time to say goodbye to this pioneering sheriff. This sheriff is on the side of the good guys, but she is no guy herself. She is the first woman to serve as President of the state sheriff's association. But more than that, she is an effective public servant in law enforcement. We commend Sheriff Janet Harrington for making a difference with her commitment to law enforcement and her community. And this sheriff isn't riding off into the sunset, she is continuing to do her job for the citizens of Elk County and the state of Kansas.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Paul Fleener - Heart to Heart
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Let's have a heart-to-heart talk. Did your mom or dad ever use that phrase with you? For me, it usually meant I was in trouble. But today, we are talking about something different: An organization that is meeting people's needs around the globe. This is literally a heart-to-heart talk, because the name of the organization is Heart To Heart International. One part of this organization is addressing world hunger specifically, and that is led by a man from rural Kansas. We'll have our heart-to-heart talk on today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Paul Fleener. Paul is the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Food and Grain Bank, a part of Heart To Heart International. Here is the story.
One day in 1989, the Olathe Rotary Club was meeting and the scheduled speaker didn't show up. To fill in the time, a local doctor named Gary Morsch was asked to speak about the work he had been doing to provide international charitable assistance. That led to the club sending aid overseas.
In 1992, Dr. Morsch challenged his fellow Rotarians to do something major to assist the people in the former Soviet Union who were having hard times due to the government breakup there. Local volunteers became motivated, and a project began to grow. Ultimately, the result was an airlift of medical supplies to aid hurting people in Russia.
This initial project gave birth to Heart To Heart International, an organization that provides humanitarian assistance around the world on a continual basis. It is officially described as a relief and development organization that specializes in volunteer action and world wide humanitarian assistance to alleviate human suffering. The theme of the organization became: Ordinary people can do extraordinary things.
As you might guess, with Dr. Morsch being a medical doctor, health care was a major focus at the beginning. For example, one fall a group of volunteers went to Uzbekistan and delivered pharmaceutical products, medical supplies, and nutrition products valued at seven million dollars.
Heart To Heart provides domestic as well as international programs for assistance and disaster relief. But of course, world hunger is one of the main problems. After a severe hurricane in Honduras, Heart To Heart coordinated a donation of food from a firm in Goodland, Kansas that was transported by Frito-Lay of Topeka to Kansas City where it was then shipped to Honduras. This became a prototype for Heart To Heart's establishment of a Food and Grain Bank.
Dr. Gary Morsch knew exactly who he wanted to run the Food and Grain Bank: Paul Fleener, a longtime, recently retired professional with Kansas Farm Bureau in Manhattan. After prayerful consideration with his wife Shirley, Paul accepted the job.
He is now working to develop the Food and Grain Bank as a resource that can provide nutrition to needy people around the globe. Paul says, "The Food and Grain Bank will assist the hungry, the hopeless, the homeless, and the hurting in the United States and around the world." Paul has assembled an honorary advisory board that reads like a who's who of farm, ag policy, and agribusiness leaders.
In March 2001, during National Agriculture Week, the Food and Grain Bank sponsored meals for needy and homeless people in Washington DC. The ham was donated by Farmland Industries and citizens in Kiowa County, Kansas; the potatoes by General Mills; green beans by Chiquita, and so forth. Now listen to this: Some 2,000 people were fed in that one day.
How did the people in Kiowa County, Kansas get involved? They were actually in Paul's hometown of Greensburg, population 1,654 people. Now, that's rural.
How fitting that a leader from rural Kansas is giving leadership to this effort to feed people around the world. And the work of Heart to Heart International goes on: in only 8 years, Heart To Heart has delivered 180 million dollars worth of pharmaceuticals to 57 countries. Wow. Ordinary people are doing extraordinary things.
How can you help? Contact the Food and Grain Bank office at 785-537-1740. That number again is 785-537-1740. Or visit their website at www.hearttoheart.org.
I'm glad we could have this heart-to-heart talk today. And see, we weren't in trouble after all. But there are many people with real needs. We commend Paul Fleener, Dr. Gary Morsch, and all the people of Heart To Heart and the Food and Grain Bank who are literally making a difference in people's lives around the world. That's a cause we can truly take to heart.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Bud and Marti Newell
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
"There's nothing better for the inside of a kid than the outside of a horse." That's the value of horseback riding. Today, the truth of that statement is being raised to a whole new level, thanks to a couple of entrepreneurs who are implementing riding therapy in rural Kansas. Saddle up for today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Bud and Marti Newell. They are the owners of Serenata Farms between Topeka and Lawrence. It is near Big Springs, with a population of perhaps 50 people. Now, that's rural.
Serenata Farms houses the Newell's business headquarters as well as an Arabian horse farm. Bud loves those beautiful Arabian horses. He had been breeding Arabians and selling horses for some years, but he said, "I want to do something that really grabs my heart."
Someone told him that he should contact a guy in Pennsylvania named Ben Nolt. But Bud's a busy guy and he hadn't gotten around to contacting him. Then one day in 1992, Bud was attending the American Horse Council meeting. As Bud was registering, he turned to a stranger standing next to him and introduced himself. The stranger replied, "Hi, I'm Ben Nolt." Wow, it was the very man Bud had been told to reach. Bud says it might have been divine guidance.
Ben Nolt told Bud about the work he was doing in therapeutic riding. In other words, Ben Nolt was helping patients with various disabilities by providing physiological and emotional therapy through a horseback riding experience. Bud and Marti put this idea to work in Kansas.
In 1993, the Newells founded the Serenata Farms School of Equestrian Arts. It is a non-profit corporation that provides equine-facilitated, integrated therapy programs for individuals with physical and emotional disabilities. When physical and emotional therapists provide treatment using the movement of the horse as an additional therapy tool, it is called "hippotherapy," referring to the Greek word "hippo" for horse.
Bud and Marti built a wonderful, year-round riding arena and stables at Serenata Farms. Today, they are offering a variety of therapeutic programs to folks with various kinds of needs, who come if prescribed by a doctor. Research has become a major component of the program, and the psychology department at Washburn University will soon provide written documentation of the effects of therapeutic riding.
I attended a therapy session for people with Multiple Sclerosis. These folks walked with a cane or were in wheelchairs. But with the aid of a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, and volunteers, each one is fitted with a safety helmet and safety belt and then helped to mount onto a horse.
One end of the riding arena has a wooden platform with a wheelchair ramp where the patients are helped into the saddle. Then with a little help, they ride the horses and practice some physical exercises themselves under the guidance of the therapy team.
Sherry Meier, the instructor, is registered through NARHA, the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association. She says, "When these sessions began, each student had two sidewalkers - one on each side - and someone in front leading the horse. Now four out of five can ride independently."
Is that scary? Sherry says, "Safety is our number one priority." She manages the activities very carefully, and several volunteers as well as the certified therapists are always present. The horses are thoroughly trained so that they won't shy from a sudden movement or distraction.
In effect, the horse becomes a set of healthy legs for the MS patient to use. The patient exercises muscles that he or she might not use otherwise, and it is done in a fun, safe, and scenic setting. There's also bonding and trust.
Bud says, "Many MS clients take up to 20 pills a day for their spasticity. But Annie, one of our riders, has gone from 20 pills down to 2. Some clients improve their bladder control."
After her first therapeutic riding session, one patient said, "This one day has done me more good than all the drugs I've taken." It's used to help folks with cerebral palsy, down's syndrome, and other disabilities, as well as sexually abused kids, battered women, and senior citizens. At Serenata, there are kids with autism who have never spoken – 10 percent of them have said their first words after riding a horse.
A client named Connie says, "It's helped me physically and psychologically. It's the best thing I've done."
"There's nothing better for the inside of a kid than the outside of a horse." That's being proven true, thanks to Bud and Marti Newell who are making a difference through a project that combines their love for horses with their heart for people.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Grandma Hoerner's
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Today, we're in New York, at a national retail specialty grocery store called Trader Joe's. Here we find a special kind of applesauce - chunky and tasty. It's made by a company called Grandma Hoerner's. And true to life, there actually was a grandmother named Hoerner. Today the company which honors her memory is operating in rural Kansas. Get your taste buds ready, this is today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Duane and Regina McCoy. They are the owners of Grandma Hoerner's Foods. Here is the story.
The lady who would become Duane's Grandma Hoerner was born in Kansas in the late 1800s. Her first name was Mabel. Isn't that a great name for a grandmother? Anyway, she lived on a farm near Manhattan, Kansas, below where Tuttle Creek Reservoir is today. Their old stone home is listed on the national register of historic places as part of the underground railroad.
Duane's dad was from California and the family spent time both in Kansas and on the west coast. Duane took classes at K-State as well as UCLA and other places. Along the way, he met and married Regina, a native Californian.
Duane McCoy is an entrepreneur at heart. He was an innovator in several different ventures in California, from a system to organize tickets to TV game shows to real estate promotion on cable television.
In his heart, however, there was the memory of Kansas where his family had roots and he had spent part of his growing up years. The family still owned a ranch in Wabaunsee County.
He remembered telling his mom, "You make the best applesauce there is." It was his Grandma Hoerner's family recipe. She had an apple orchard on the farm, and made wonderful, chunky applesauce which was so popular she would give it as gifts.
Duane McCoy thought about marketing this applesauce. He says, "In 1986, we went around to the stores and bought all the different kinds of applesauce we could find. We lined them all up on the mantle and they were all the same: bland and boring."
So he took his grandmother's recipe and on his mother's stovetop, he made it, cooked it, and tested it. He bottled up samples and tried to sell them to stores.
One day while he was out marketing, a call came from the national specialty grocery company Trader Joe's. Duane's mother took the message: They wanted 1500 cases.
When Duane got home, his mother relayed the message but said, "This must be a mistake. Surely they meant 150 cases or 15 cases."
It was no mistake. Trader Joe's liked the product, and they wanted to buy. That was a breakthrough. He found a nearby processor and started producing.
The business grew and Duane was marketing the product and coordinating the apples and other components to fill the orders. All this was still taking place in California. Then in February 1994 came a devastating earthquake which damaged their home. Duane and Regina had a one-year-old, and they began to think about moving to Kansas.
Regina encouraged him. "You do all your work by phone and fax now," she said. "Set up an 800 number and you can do the same out there." And so they did.
In 1994, they moved to Kansas and continued to grow the business. In 2000, they bought a large building close to the home ranch. This building has been converted into their headquarters, processing plant, test lab, warehouse, and gift shop. They have 12 full-time and 4 part-time employees. He's come a long way from his mother answering the phone! The mailing address of the new facility is route 1, Alma. Alma is a nearby town of 842 people. Now, that's rural.
The actual location, however, is just off I-70 at exit 324. It could become a fun stop for travelers and locals looking for quality gifts and goodies.
Today, Grandma Hoerner's has branched out into formulating, producing and marketing a vast array of premium quality sauces, jams, toppings, condiments and dry mixes. For example, they offer the original applesauce plus cinnamon, cranberry, or apricots. They offer wonderful strawberry and raspberry preserves, apricot cherry fruit spread, gift crates, and more. These products are selling coast to coast and on the web, at www.grandmahoerners.com.
It's time to say goodbye to Trader Joe's in New York, where we found a high quality applesauce from a company in Kansas. We commend Duane and Regina McCoy for making a difference through entrepreneurship and hard work. Grandma Mabel Hoerner would be proud.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Jerry and Virginia Florian - Florian Audio-Visual
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Today's story is about sound. We're attending the national meeting of the American Nursing Continuing Education Association in Portland, Oregon, and the sound is being recorded. You see, it's one of those conferences where they record the sound - the audio - of the sessions on tape, so if you miss one you can still get the benefit of the session. And who do you suppose is doing the recording? It is a company based in rural Kansas. I like the sound of that. And how in the world did a company from rural Kansas come to be doing this in Portland, Oregon? Don't fast forward – we'll give you the answer on today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Jerry and Virginia Florian. Jerry and Virginia run Florian Audiovisual, the company which does these recordings of conference sessions. Here is the story.
Jerry Florian's father came from between Lucas and Wilson in north central Kansas. Virginia came from McPherson. When they got married, they came to Wilson where Jerry's father had a business. These two have been in Wilson for a while now. In April 2001, they celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary.
Virginia's older brother was in Newton running an interesting business of his own. He had a recording studio there, where he recorded various types of music. This included sacred music. As you may know, there are some great sources of music in places like Bethany College in Lindsborg where the Messiah is performed each year.
Anyway, musical recording was the primary focus of Virginia's brother. Then when someone was doing a convention, they got the idea of having him tape the conference sessions. With time, this turned into another part of his business. When he got really busy, he asked his sister Virginia and her husband Jerry Florian to help out.
The Florians enjoyed doing this, and saw an opportunity there. At one point, Virginia's brother told them, "There is room for both of us to be doing this type of work."
So Jerry and Virginia did some conference taping on their own. When Virginia's brother retired, they bought his equipment.
Today, Florian Audiovisual is one of the largest conference recording companies in the state, in terms of equipment. Thanks to improvements in technology, they can do much of this recording using wireless microphones. That means speakers don't have to be bothered or constrained by being tethered to a microphone cable. Instead, they can wear the wireless mikes which transmits the sound to where the Florians are taping in another room.
Florian Audiovisual has the equipment to record from eight rooms simultaneously using the wireless system. If the conference expands beyond that, they can use the traditional wire-connected equipment to get the job done. They have the capability to do as many as 36 breakout sessions simultaneously. Wow.
This is a family operation. Jerry and Virginia's younger sons help out when there is a large conference to cover. Jerry's aunt and uncle and his sister and her husband also help out.
The Florians have covered conferences on everything from emus to church matters. In fact, they have worked with several different denominations. On the day I saw them, they were preparing to take off do the taping at a conference in Buffalo, New York.
Yet the company remains based in their central Kansas community of Wilson, population 744 people. Now, that's rural.
How can such a national business operate in Wilson, Kansas? The Florians say, "We take our equipment to the conference, so we don't have to be in a big city. We can do this from a small town, and our son can still walk to school."
This may be an example of the emerging generation of businesses, which are independent and have the flexibility to operate where the individual chooses. For those with ties to rural Kansas, this means an opportunity to come back to their roots, to the high quality of life and small-town values which we celebrate.
Today's story has been about sound. It's about recording the audio of conferences and breakout sessions, where people will want to hear and share those sounds again or with others. Jerry and Virginia Florian have responded to this market niche, and are serving it across the country. We salute Jerry and Virginia Florian for making a difference with their entrepreneurship and technology. For rural Kansas, we think this is a very sound idea.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Bob Rosander - Nanoscale Materials
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Imagine a combat zone in the Persian Gulf. American soldiers are fighting Iraq, and the enemy has unleashed their dreaded chemical weapons. But our soldiers find themselves protected, thanks to a type of technology developed in the plains of Kansas. Today's story is about such technology, but it is also about commercializing university research and making it work as a business for the benefit of Kansas. You can take off your gas mask, this is today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Bob Rosander. Bob is President and CEO of Nanoscale Materials, Inc., the company that is working on such technology. He shared the fascinating tale of this journey from the laboratory to the business world.
Our story begins with a K-State chemistry professor named Ken Klabunde, who came to K-State back in 1979. He did pioneering research work in the field of chemistry, including on something called nanoparticles. Nanoparticles are tiny, microscopic particles of certain minerals which displayed remarkable properties when evaluated in the lab.
In 1995, K-State helped create a company which could find commercial applications for these particles and bring products to the marketplace. Fortunately, there was an economic development organization in place to assist. It is called MACC – Mid-America Commercialization Corporation.
With help from MACC and its president Ron Sampson, a new company was formed which is now known as Nanoscale Materials, Inc. Bob Rosander joined the company in 1999. Ken Klabunde serves as the company's chief technology officer and is also still a professor at K-State.
Nanoparticles are made from certain metals or metal oxides, such as calcium oxide or magnesium oxide. These are common enough chemicals, but in nanoparticle form, they can do some amazing things. For example, their melting points, surface structure, and in some cases the chemical reactivity is different when these common minerals are in nanoparticle form.
Bob Rosander showed me a small vial containing nanoparticles. These particles individually are measured in billionths of a meter. All together, they appear to the naked eye like a fine powder. The vial holding them was about the size of my thumb. But because the material is in nanoscale form, the particles in that vial have as much surface area as a full-scale football field. Wow.
What does this mean in practical terms? Nanoparticles have properties which enable them to absorb and destroy toxic materials and to counteract chemical and biological weapons. They can also be used to filter water and purify air.
That's exciting. Nanoscale Materials Inc. is working on using these in commercial products. For example, a large air filtration company is interested in using these products to get rid of smoke. The Army is interested in applications which could protect soldiers from biological or chemical agents, as I described in our imaginary example at the beginning. This could include protective clothing, protective skin creams, and decontamination systems.
Bob showed me something called FAST-ACT. That's an acronym for Field-Applied Strategic Treatment Against Chemical Threats. It's in something that looks like a fire extinguisher, which could be used to destroy toxic chemicals.
Nanoscale Materials doesn't handle the toxic chemicals, but it has developed labs and a plant which can produce the protective nanoparticles. Its facility is in the Kansas Entrepreneurial Center, but it has grown to the point that it is going to be the first tenant in a new 20,000 square foot facility at K-State's new research park.
The company has grown to 21 full-time and 4 part-time employees, with a payroll of around 1.3 million. Wow.
A company like this provides high tech, high wage jobs so that our best students from rural Kansas can remain in the state if they choose, rather than having to go to the east or west coast for jobs. This helps fight the brain drain. The staff includes K-State MBA grads, engineers and chemists from Ulysses, Junction City, and even Marion, population 1,863 people. Now, that's rural.
But in fact, this business provides opportunity for some of the best and the brightest from all over the world. The company's first employee was Dr. Olga Koper, a scholar from Poland. Others come from such places as India and Paris. The bottom line is that this company provides world-class opportunities in Manhattan, Kansas.
It's time to leave our imaginary combat zone, where a technology developed in Manhattan, Kansas is protecting our soldiers and enhancing the environment. We commend Ron Sampson, Bob Rosander, Ken Klabunde, and all the people of Nanoscale Materials for making a difference through commercialization of technology. That's a battle worth fighting.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Carey's Wheat Berries
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
And now for today's market report on the price of wheat. In New York today, wheat was selling for 980 dollars a bushel...
Wow, I think the wheat market went up a little bit since the last time I checked at our local elevator. But before I create a run on the market, I'd better explain. Sorry to disappoint you wheat producers, but 980 dollars a bushel isn't your market price – yet it is the equivalent of the value of a bushel of wheat when marketed creatively in new ways and new markets. Today we'll learn about a family that is doing so on a special wheat harvest edition of Kansas Profile.
Meet Bruce and Connie Carey. They are this farming family which is trying new, value-added ways of marketing and utilizing their wheat. Here is the story.
Bruce Carey is a third generation wheat farmer. After service in the Navy, Bruce went to the Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa before coming back to the farm near Sterling, Kansas.
One day, as happens with farmers all too often, Bruce suffered a farm accident. In fact, he lost the tips of three fingers. He went to the hospital in Sterling for care, and while there, met a young nurse who was new in town. Connie says, "He was one of my first patients." Bruce says, "I like to tell people that we met in bed."
Anyway, it must have been meant to be. Two years later, Bruce and Connie were married and she moved to the farm. By then, she was director of nursing at a local rest home. She also taught pharmacology at the college level for 12 years.
Originally, she was from a rural setting in nearby St. John, population 1,244 people. Now, that's rural.
But of course, wheat prices are low and Bruce and Connie thought about new ways of marketing this wheat. After a couple of years of research, they launched a new business complete with website called Carey's Wheat Berries.
Connie says, "We were making a lot of our own foods, especially breads. People began asking for grain that they could use to make their own bread too."
Today, Carey's Wheat Berries markets wheat seed, food grade wheat, and small handmills that can be used to grind the wheat into flour. This isn't just bulk wheat dumped in a bin. It is marketed toward specialty, high value uses, such as in cooking or salads. The use of whole wheat flour has several health and nutrition benefits.
Connie provides free cookbooks with wheat orders and milling guides with the handmills. She also does classes on topics such as Making your bread machine work for you. She says there is an increased interest in home baking.
Carey's Wheat Berries also offers specialty items such as wheat grass, rye, and triticale seed for juicing and sprouting. These are natural products oriented toward good health.
Today, the company has distributors in Florida, Georgia and Indiana, plus direct sales from their farm and a retail location in the Hutchinson Mall. Calling the wheat Carey's berries rather than kernels not only rhymes, it makes for good marketing.
Carey's Wheat Berries has sold products to 33 states, from Vermont to California. Their web address is www.careyswheatberries.com. That's www.c-a-r-e-y-s wheat berries -all one word - .com.
Bruce says, "People need to get in a mode where they can set the bread machine at night and by morning they have fresh bread and a nice smell in the kitchen." Connie says, "Using whole wheat flour and our other products, you can eat healthy and well and not too expensively."
While most of their products are oriented toward food use, there are other niches as well. Connie has found people on the east coast who want small quantities of wheat seed to plant in flower pots to grow as greenery. Packets of wheat seed for this purpose will sell in New York for one dollar an ounce. That makes it sound like some sort of controlled substance. But marketed in this way, that translates to a wheat price of 980 dollars a bushel. Wow.
This concludes our market report on the price of wheat. No, you can't get 980 dollars a bushel at your local elevator, but there may be opportunities for responding to new markets for these products. We commend Bruce and Connie Carey for making a difference by trying these creative alternatives for marketing the staff of life and raising our daily bread.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Terry O'Neil - Blue Valley Telecommunications
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Phone home. Remember that line from a movie some years ago? That phrase - phone home - takes on special meaning in the context of the company that we'll learn about today. It is a progressive and growing telephone company, and it is located in Home, Kansas. Stay dialed in for today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Terry O'Neil. Terry is general manager of Blue Valley Telecommunications Inc., in Home, Kansas.
You may ask, where is Home? Well, it's where the heart is. But in this case, the town of Home is located east of Marysville in Marshall County. Here is the story.
During the 40s and 50s, a number of independent telephone companies were formed around the nation. These were small, family-owned or mutual companies, and were pretty primitive, reflecting the conditions of their time. As Terry O'Neil says, "Farmers literally went out after storms and hung the telephone lines back up on hedge posts." And of course, this was the era of the party line and two shorts and a long.
The Blue Valley Telephone Company was one of those early independent phone companies. Terry says, "It was formed in May 1956 for the purpose of improving or providing telephone service in the rural communities around here." In 1960, the company bought its first two exchanges.
Over time, the company would grow and change. Its service area included much of the county, but the main office was in the town of Marysville which is actually served by Southwestern Bell. So in 1972 it was decided that the main office should be located within the Blue Valley service area. A new headquarters building was built in the town which had one of the company's directors and was also one of the first two exchanges purchased: Home, Kansas. In case you haven't guessed, I just love that name.
Today, Blue Valley serves 2,500 telephone subscribers in 10 communities covering 850 square miles. This is rural territory. It includes the Washington County towns of Linn, population 415, and Palmer, population 117, plus the Marshall County towns of Axtell, population 430; Centralia, 428; Beattie, 221; Summerfield, 169; Wheaton, 116; Oketo, 115, and Vermillion, population 101 people.
But listen to what this company is doing. In spring 2001, the company changed its name to Blue Valley Telecommunications, because a new name would better describe its expanding services. Besides providing plain old telephone service, Blue Valley is an agent for a cellular company, is its own Internet service provider, offers long distance toll service, and is getting into high speed Internet.
And this gets even better. In 1990, in an effort to stimulate economic development, the company put up a new building across the street in Home, Kansas and formed a wholly owned subsidiary to do telemarketing from there.
Terry O'Neil says, "It was a slow start. At first we did some telemarketing as a subcontract from other telemarketers who had more than they could do. But now we are working directly with national, brand name clients." These might be an east coast bank promoting a credit card or a major publisher with a special offer on books, for example.
Terry says, "We are doing 2 ½ to 3 million dollars of business a year, and supporting a payroll of 1.5 million." Wow.
He says, "This is true economic development. We're not pulling business away from a neighbor, we are generating new money from outside. Every nickel is brand new money coming into here from places like California, Minnesota, and New York."
Most of their calling is to sites outside of Kansas. Most recently they have added the capability to receive inbound calls, such as from someone who reads an ad and wants to place an order. There are now 100 employees in the telemarketing operation and more than 40 will be added this summer.
This provides useful employment and flexible hours for people in a truly rural region. Blue Valley headquarters and the telemarketing building are in the unincorporated town of Home, Kansas, with an estimated population of about 50 people. Now, that's rural.
How exciting to see such a progressive, aggressive, and growing company operating in such a rural setting.
Phone home. Yes, we might literally phone home, if we are calling Home, Kansas due to its telecommunications capacity. We commend Terry O'Neil and the directors and staff of Blue Valley Telecommunications for making a difference through entrepreneurship and the wise use of the tools of technology. Now it's time for me to hang up, but do your family a favor and phone home.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Steve Walz - RSI
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Let's go to the headquarters building of a major federal agency in Washington DC. There is a problem. It's a hot summer in Washington, the building temperature is slowly rising and the occupants are getting uncomfortable. What happened to the air conditioning? Well, when the union contractors went to the top of the building to service the air conditioning unit there, they saw signs warning them of non-ionizing radiation from the radio transmitters which are located there also. Since the workers have been trained to follow signs, they refused to go in the area to get the air conditioning going. And what do you suppose the federal agency which owned the building did? Would you believe they contacted a company based in rural Kansas, and within hours that company had representatives there addressing the problem? This story is true - we'll learn more on today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Steve Walz. Steve is General Manager and co-founder of Radiofrequency Safety International Corporation, or RSI. RSI is the company that was contacted to address this agency's problem. Here is the story.
Steve Walz grew up in northern Oklahoma. He married a lady from Barber County in southern Kansas. An engineer with a business degree, Steve became vice-president of a Fortune Top 100 oil business in Houston. His job involved constant travel, however, and his wife wanted to come back to Kansas.
Steve noticed, from the industrial side, the rapid growth in wireless communications. You and I see it too. There are cell phones and pagers all around us. In order for those to work, however, there must be transmitters and antennas. The radiofrequency energy which these generate have safety implications, and there are federal safety regulations which cover them.
In September 1996, Steve Walz opened a company back in his wife's home area of Kansas to address these needs. The company helps businesses and agencies meet the radiofrequency safety standards and comply with federal regulations. As I said earlier, the company is named Radiofrequency Safety International or RSI. RSI's first client was in Canada and they have had some work in Europe.
What exactly does RSI do? Steve says, "RSI is the leader in the field of radiofrequency emissions safety." RSI has a variety of services to assist companies in this area.
RSI can do site assessments, called electromagnetic hazard assessment reports; develop safety policies, plans and programs; and provide various types of training. There are one-day awareness training seminars, train the trainer programs, and more intensive customized training for safety officers. RSI provides total site management and compliance services, including signage and documentation.
Let's say that you own a utility company with a number of large towers for the power lines. A cellular phone company contracts with your business to place radio transmitters on some of the towers. That's a win-win deal, right? It provides you revenue and saves the construction of more towers. But these transmitters generate potential radiofrequency hazards covered by OSHA and the FCC.
You can go to RSI and have them assess your site and provide necessary training and signage. The result is that you have provided a safe workplace and have the necessary documentation to be in full compliance with federal regulations.
You can see why this service would be of value to lots of companies. Steve says RSI has already had thousands of clients. From January 1999 to June of 2001, RSI has grown from 5 employees to more than 20. Their instructors are located around the country, in places like LA and Denver. But the company's headquarters remains in the southern Kansas town of Kiowa, population 1,002 people. Now, that's rural.
This rural setting is a challenge for transportation, recruitment of professionals, and certain services. But Steve likes the quality of life, people values, safety and security, low cost and central location of rural Kansas.
A major obstacle was overcome when South Central Telcom, the local independent phone company, provided DSL service so that the company would have the broadband service it needed to do business on-line. Now RSI field personnel can do an assessment and transmit their report electronically to Kiowa where staff scientists can review it and provide a final report electronically to the customer within 24 hours. Wow.
It's time to say goodbye to this federal agency in Washington DC, where they called RSI to address the safety issues around their radio transmitters. We commend Steve Walz and the people of RSI for making a difference with creativity and entrepreneurship. For Radiofrequency Safety International, safety is their middle name.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Thomas & Cheryl Etheredge - Prairie Rose
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
I should've been a cowboy, goes the words of a country-western song. Yes, the American Cowboy still strikes a chord in the hearts of people around the world. Today we'll learn of a place where that history is still alive. Round 'em up for today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Thomas and Cheryl Etheredge. They are the co-owners of Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Suppers, which they operate on their working cattle ranch in Butler County, Kansas.
Thomas is a former banker from Texas. He says he met Cheryl at church. Cheryl is a Kansan. In fact, her great-grandfather homesteaded in this area of Butler County in 1885. Thomas and Cheryl were back on the family ranch in the 1990s when their economy took a downturn and they tried new alternatives.
Thomas says, "We knew we had great beef and could sing cowboy songs." So they started offering a cookout and some old western singing as a cookout in a pasture south of their home. In the first year, they had 3,500 customers. But they had a vision of something greater.
Come with me on a trip to the Prairie Rose today. A tree-lined dirt road leads up to the entrance. Guests can relax on the porch, walk down to the gazebo overlooking the lake, visit a tepee where Native American Indian history is taught, or climb aboard a custom-built horse-drawn oak wagon for a tour around the place. The wagons go past the Roy Rogers theater, livery stable and open air ampitheater to a place called the OK Corral, where longhorn cattle are kept and an informative and entertaining Kansas history lesson is presented. The ride ends at the Opera House, where guests can shop at the Prairie Rose Mercantile.
The mercantile has all kinds of Prairie Rose and other merchandise for kids of all ages, from a 99 cent stick of old fashioned hard candy to a $900 western portrait.
When the dinner bell sounds, it is time to enter the air-conditioned, handicap-accessible 9,000 square foot Prairie Rose Opera House. There the cowboys will serve you an all-you-can-eat barbecue meal. The vittles consist of slow cooked smoked brisket and barbecue sausage, red beans, potato salad, homemade biscuits and hot peach cobbler for dessert. Yum.
Diners are serenaded by Cowboy Jack during the meal, and then the little kids are invited to Ranger Al's Kids Corral for a program of their own. Meanwhile, on the main stage the Prairie Rose Wranglers perform. These are three professional musicians who blend beautiful three part harmony in songs of the American West – and throw in humor to boot.
Does this sound like fun? Apparently lots of folks do. In just three years, the Prairie Rose has gone from 3,500 visitors to an estimated 30,000 visitors in 2001. Wow. That makes it one of the fastest growing attractions in the entire state of Kansas.
Why has this been such a success? Thomas Etheredge says, "I believe that America is hungry for family values again, and we provide the best in wholesome family entertainment." There is no alcohol or bad language in any part of this experience.
Dinners are offered Thursday through Saturday nights. For more information, call 316-778-2121 or go to http://www.prairierosechuckwagon.com. Again, that's 316-778-2121 or http://www.prairierosechuckwagon.com.
The Prairie Rose is located in a scenic rural setting, but is not far from the city of Wichita. The address is actually Benton, Kansas, population 761 people. Now, that's rural. Yet this fun and authentic portrayal of the American cowboy has been visited by folks from all 50 states and more than 40 foreign countries.
One 80-year old couple from Holland came to the Prairie Rose with family now in Wichita. The old Dutchman enjoyed the show so much that Thomas finally asked how come he knew all the old cowboy songs that were performed. The answer brought tears to their eyes. The Dutchman described growing up in Holland and being fascinated by tales of the cowboys. But, he said, "In 1941, Hitler invaded my hometown."
The boy and his family were taken to concentration camps, where his entire family was killed. The Dutchman said, "The only way I survived those years in captivity was to dream of being a cowboy." Now, 50 years later, his dream had come true.
I should've been a cowboy, says the song. Thomas and Cheryl Etheredge and the folks of the Prairie Rose are to be commended for making a difference by honoring that western heritage still today. This is truly the best of the West.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Maria Kientz - Project Rescue of Amazon Youth I
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
It's a small world. Sorry for the overused phrase, but I think the reason it is used so often -- besides a little help from Walt Disney -- is that it is true. Today we'll hear the remarkable story of a group of people who are reaching out to truly needy children far overseas -- yet this project has its beginnings in rural Kansas. In fact, you might say it was powered by canteloupe -- but the real power came from on high. Stay tuned for a heart-warming edition of Kansas Profile.
Meet Maria Kientz. Maria and her husband Jim Kientz live on a vegetable farm south of Wamego, Kansas. Jim is an entrepreneur in his own right: producing, processing and retailing fruit and vegetable products around Kansas. But that is not our story today.
Jim is a K-State graduate who went to Brazil to do mission work. He taught vegetable production to the natives at a mission in the north of Brazil. There he met and married a young lady named Maria.
As Jim's father fell into ill health, Jim and Maria came back to Kansas to his family's farm near Wamego. Maria works part-time at a local flower shop, where she met a woman named Sally Savery.
Sally grew up at Clay Center, population 4,692 people. Now, that's rural. Savery became a friend of Maria's in Wamego. Maria was planning a trip home to see her family in Brazil, and Sally Savery wanted to go along to see the country.
There was one big problem: no money for airfare. So Sally and Maria planted some canteloupe, and after a bountiful harvest, the money was there. Sally accompanied Maria to Brazil. She visited Maria's home, and then Maria took her to some of the poorer regions of the country. It was a life-changing experience.
In the town of Jacunda, Sally saw children in abject poverty, abandoned kids living on the street. No food, no health care. It struck her heart.
Sally Savery admits to a rowdy childhood, but she had come to a strong personal faith. Now she felt God's call to mission to these children.
Back in Kansas, Sally and Maria put together a group called Project Rescue of Amazon Youth. The acronym spells PRAY. They wanted to build a children's shelter at Jacunda. The concept was embraced by the Presbyterian and the Catholic churches in Wamego as well as others.
A Board of Directors was formed, in Kansas as well as in Brazil. Help came from people like Michael Ryan, an editor of the Topeka Capital-Journal, Martha Seaton of Manhattan, who had knowledge from living in the Amazon region for several years, and Fred Rice of the K-State Small Business Development Center who helped with business plans.
Funds were raised for the children's shelter in Jacunda, and Sally began her outreach there. Even before the house was ready, the kids were coming. The needs were immense. Medical care was and is an obvious need.
In August 1999, Senator Sam Brownback hosted a fund-raiser for PRAY in Topeka. More than $20,000 was raised to build a medical clinic at Jacunda. On the first day a doctor came, Maria says, "The line of kids stretched out the door and through the village."
Now another doctor has been found who will serve there. In June 2001, a mission team from the Manhattan area went to Jacunda to help stock the facility. I am pleased to report that it is named the Maria Antonia Valadares Kientz Medical Clinic.
Sally Savery is now a full-time missionary in Jacunda, returning to Kansas only for fund-raising. She speaks with conviction of God at work in meeting the needs of these children.
One day she took in a pair of abandoned infant twins, each weighing less than two pounds. She cradled one of these babies as it apparently drew its last breath. She had given up on them, but when she returned to the room, she found that infant was again gasping for breath. She said, "Who am I to give up on anybody?" She felt that God had given this child a second chance, and she provided her best care. Today, both of those children are thriving in a new adoptive home.
It's a small world, after all. We commend Sally Savery, Maria Kientz, and all those who are making a difference by reaching around the world to help these needy children. And there's more – a ministry in music that is supporting this worthy cause. We'll hear about that on our next program.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Bill and Brenda Harris - Rutladers Outpost
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Today let's visit an outpost. Sounds like we're going to some oldtime frontier fort, doesn't it? Or maybe to some camp at the north pole? This outpost certainly isn't at the north pole – instead, it's in rural Kansas. Yet it is close enough to an urban area that it provides an opportunity for city people to conveniently get out – out of the city and out for a time of shopping and entertainment. We'll journey to this outpost on today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Bill and Brenda Harris. Bill and Brenda are co-owners of this outpost. Here is their story.
Bill Harris is from Illinois and his wife Brenda is from Missouri. For years, they both worked for the Yellow Freight company in Kansas City. By the mid-90s, they were ready for a different adventure.
In 1995, the Harrises bought an old high school in a small town near Kansas City named Louisburg. They remodeled the old building into an office complex called the Louisburg Plaza, and it worked very well.
One day in fall 1997, Bill Harris was stopped on the street by a local man named Jimmy Rutlader. Jimmy said to Bill, "I've seen what you've done with that old school. I have some other buildings I could sell you, if you wanted to do the same thing." In January 1998, Bill and Brenda bought the property from Mr. Rutlader.
This property was on a farm south of Louisburg. There were several buildings, which housed a furniture store and collectibles.
Bill and Brenda started to remodel and expand the buildings, and it has turned into a remarkable complex today. It all operates under a name that is true to its heritage: Rutlader Outpost.
The outpost complex consists of several buildings. For starters, the complex has been rebuilt to resemble an old western border town. This is fitting because it is only a mile from Missouri, in an area that Quantrill traveled during the Civil War. It is located just off Highway 69, the major north-south military highway in the area.
The complex consists of several stores. One is an antique and trading company. Another is Ace Outdoorsman and Embroidery, which is a serious bait and tackle shop for fishermen going to nearby Middle Creek Lake. Then there is a western wear store called Buffalo Girls Outfitters, plus a large discount furniture and carpet store.
There's also the Middle Creek Opry, with gift shop and snack bar. The gift shop features Fenton glass and other collectibles.
Rutladers offers a country music show every Friday night. Bill Harris says, "I told my manager I wanted the six best country musicians in the Kansas City area, no matter what it cost."
That strategy has paid off. These high quality musicians have attracted crowds of 2 to 300 people each Friday night since mid-March 2001.
On weekends, Rutladers has vendors markets selling additional products. There are also special events held at Rutladers, such as cowboy shoot-outs, cattle drives, Native American pow-wows, frontier mountain men gatherings, craft demonstrations, wagon rides, and more. Old west re-enactors come down from Kansas City the second weekend of every month.
The newest addition to Rutladers Outpost is an RV park with full hookups. The park expects to have 72 sites by spring 2002. One reason why this is attractive for RV rallies and other events is that Rutlader Hall is available for people to meet in. This hall is 7,000 square feet and seats 500 people. It can be used for corporate meetings, reunions, wedding receptions, and more.
The RV park will attract people from coast to coast, but the stores and music shows can serve both travelers and a local audience. Going to the outpost is a great opportunity for people who live in Kansas City to have a rural outing without traveling very far. Louisburg is a town of 2,230 people. Now, that's rural. But it's only 18 miles by four-lane from Olathe and the Kansas City metro area.
And it's very family-friendly. Bill Harris says, "I like to see young couples pushing a stroller around here. It's all concrete so it's good for that, and I've been there."
It's time to say goodbye to this outpost. Outpost is a good name, because this provides an opportunity for urban people to get out – out to a fun, safe, and convenient rural setting. We commend Bill and Brenda Harris and the people of Rutladers for making a difference through entrepreneurship and creative entertainment. I think their example is out-standing.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Gary Bruch - Texas Longhorns
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Survivor. It's a popular show on television. People are fascinated by the challenges the contestants face and the suspense of finding out who will survive. Today we'll meet a survivor of a different sort. This survivor is a true survivor of nature, and is now bringing benefits to cattle producers in rural America: It is the Texas Longhorn. We'll learn the story from a national leader of the longhorn industry who comes from rural Kansas. It's today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Gary Bruch. Gary is President of the International Texas Longhorn Association.
Longhorns have been in this country for an estimated 500 years. Think about that a minute. They are nature-made survivors, going back to the time when white people were barely on this continent. Through the years, those longhorns had to survive the vicissitudes of nature in the wild, and now we are finding that their naturally-developed traits have benefits to producers today.
Gary Bruch is one of those producers. He grew up at Kingman in south central Kansas and went to Emporia State. He taught school in the winter, ran some cows and built houses during the summer.
One year he was working on a roof that needed special reinforcement, and he went to Fort Scott to see another roof like it to get some ideas. He may have gotten more ideas than he bargained for. The man at Fort Scott had one of those roofs, but he also had some Texas Longhorn cattle.
Those longhorns caught Gary's eye. He bought his first longhorns in 1979.
Now think about how busy Gary was at that point in time. He was occupied with family, school, and other commitments. He says, "I didn't have time for problems." In other words, with all the other things he had to do, he didn't need a cowherd that required a bunch of his time too. The longhorns were appealing for several reasons, including the fact that they are a low-maintenance breed of cattle. Longhorn cows tend to be able to have live calves unassisted, which is a big time-saver and a big plus.
Why is it that longhorns are so hardy? The answer is that they come by it naturally. Again, they are the original survivors. Through the centuries, the longhorns were forced by nature to adjust and become a hardy animal.
Longhorn cattle are easy calving and resistant to pests. That means they are great for the weekend farmer, and are an efficient and low maintenance animal. Gary says, "I can run 40 longhorn cow-calf pairs in an area where other breeds could only run 34."
The full-time commercial cattle producer also benefits from these traits, such as high fertility and easy calving. Several large ranches are using the longhorn in cross-breeding programs.
Longhorns have leaner meat, according to USDA data. And they can be used for everything from breeding stock to recreational animals, such as for roping in rodeos. Of course, they have their distinguishing feature: the horns. Gary Bruch says, "People really want the long, showy horns. Ten years ago, people would advertise an animal with a 40 inch long horn. Now that's the low end. It's 60 inches today."
That's part of the appeal of these animals. Gary says, "For some people, it holds a lot of romance. It makes them think of the old west and cattle drives." An animal with exceptionally long, showy horns can be sold for prices as high as $20,000. Wow.
In 1998, Gary retired from teaching. He is now a county commissioner and, in October of 2000, was elected President of the International Texas Longhorn Association.
Gary has 100 head of longhorn cows on his spread in Chase County. Gary and his wife, who is a K-Stater, live in the area where her great-grandparents homesteaded years ago. It is in a scenic area near Strong City, a town of 592 people. Now, that's rural.
This rural setting is a perfect area to see these beautiful cattle and to enjoy the prairie. Gary's wife runs the Prairie Rose gift shop in nearby Cottonwood Falls. It's all in that beautiful region in the heart of the Flint Hills.
Survivor. It's not just a TV show, it's the history of Texas Longhorn cattle, which creates traits that have benefits for modern cattle producers today. We commend Gary Bruch and others representing the longhorn breed for making a difference by preserving and enhancing this part of our heritage. For some in rural Kansas, this will help to survive challenging times.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Dorothy Sjolander - Formoso
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
What do you do when you're in a small, rural community, your city water system is in terrible shape, and you don't have the money to fix it? Well, you have limited options. You can apply for government grants, but then you're competing against the bigger cities – and some of those grants require matching money anyway. So all too often you are left stuck with the status quo, and complaining about the problem. Today we'll meet a community that faced such a situation – but with a different outcome. They benefited from an innovative state program and creative regional leadership. But the bottom line is: The people in the community put in this water system themselves. Talk about rural self-help! We'll get the story on today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Dorothy Sjolander. Dorothy is chair of the PRIDE group in Formoso, a community in north central Kansas.
Dorothy explains that the folks in Formoso were having a terrible time with their water system. The pipes were old and rusty. The fire hydrants were so rusty that some of them were unuseable, and that's scary. The water lines were continually breaking, and the water quality wasn't good.
Dorothy says, "It was so rusty, it was terrible. We had four or five water breaks every winter. The repairmen were putting patches on top of patches."
It's tough to pay for new systems in a small rural town. Formoso is a town of 121 people. Now, that's rural.
So, the city applied for a government grant to get the system fixed. Dorothy says, "We applied for water grants, but we never seemed to get one."
Meanwhile, the Community Development Division of the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing had developed a creative program called KAN-STEP. That stands for Kansas Small Town Environmental Program. This is an alternative way for communities to address their water and wastewater needs.
The official description of the program says, "Cities or counties participating in the program utilize creative means to complete the project including volunteer labor, materials and supplies donated or available at a reduced cost, and lots of community support to show a minimum savings of 40 percent off the retail cost estimate." Dorothy says, "It means you can match the grant with your labor. They call it sweat equity."
Through the leadership of John Cyr at the North Central Regional Planning Commission, a KAN-STEP grant was applied for and received for Formoso. The Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing provided the funds, but the citizens of Formoso provided the labor to install the new water system.
The digging started on April 3 of 2000. Professional engineers provided direction, the city helped organize and a backhoe was rented, but local people did the trenching and installation.
Dorothy says, "We had people of all ages working out there. There was an 80-year-old man who was out there almost every day, and a 15 year old boy. Local farmers came in, and our local minister was out there about every day too."
The PRIDE committee organized a schedule whereby people took turns providing a hot meal each day at lunch for the people working on the water system. One family that couldn't cook or dig donated a hog, and PRIDE paid for the processing. The grocery store at Mankato donated paper plates and napkins. Someone else donated a refrigerator for the fire department, where the workers got their meals.
When it was all said and done, the citizens of Formoso installed 3 ½ miles of water line, 48 gate valves, 26 fire hydrants, and 99 meters. Wow. It is estimated that, if all that work had to be contracted and paid for, the cost of monthly water bills would be more than double what it is today. Dorothy says, "We're real happy with our water now. And I believe this project brought the people of this community closer together."
What do you do when you're a small, rural community and you don't have the money to buy a new water system? Well, you build your own. Of course, it isn't that simple, but we commend the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing and the North Central Regional Planning Commission for the flexibility and innovation to make this type of effort possible. And we especially commend the citizens of Formoso for making a difference by using their labor and voluntary spirit to make their new water system a reality. This concept isn't just bringing water to people in Formoso, it's bringing hope to rural Kansas.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Kim and Patty Nance - Micro Air
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Let's go to the dentist. Oh, that's always a lot of fun, right? Well, to make it more interesting, let's go to a dentist in New Jersey. Don't worry, we won't check your cavities. This dentist needed to repair one of the tiny turbines inside one of the dental handpieces which he uses. That's a gadget that you and I laymen would call a drill. But anyway, it needs fixing, so this dentist sends the handpiece off to be repaired. And where do you suppose it goes? Sure enough, to rural Kansas. I can't resist saying that this is a story you can get your teeth into. Stay tuned for a special dental edition of Kansas Profile.
Meet Kim and Patty Nance. They are co-owners of this dental equipment and supply business, named Micro Air Inc. Kim is President and CEO.
Let's begin our story in the early 80s, when Patty was a student at K-State. She met Kim Nance, who was stationed at Fort Riley. Kim was assigned to Irwin Army Hospital, where he was trained as a technician in medical equipment repair. Kim and Patty were married, and they pursued his career.
After his military service was completed, Kim went to Regis College in Denver and then worked for an X-ray company in Kansas City.
In 1992, they started their own business in repairing and servicing dental equipment in Arkansas. The company was named Micro Air, Inc. It takes its name from the tiny air-powered turbines inside the drills.
In 1996, Kim and Patty moved back to her hometown in north central Kansas. It is the town of Blue Rapids, population 1,122 people. Now, that's rural.
Yet this rural town is now home to a high-tech dental supply and service company. That's exciting to see.
Blue Rapids is also a town with a lot of history to it, including historic stone buildings around a circular city park downtown. Kim and Patty moved their operation into one of those stone buildings, after beginning it as a home-based business. Kim says, "I think the local people were really glad to see someone move into this old stone building so it wouldn't go downhill."
Micro Air offers several services for dentists. One is handpiece repair, where Kim will repair and reassemble those handpieces the dentist uses to work on your teeth. Another is on-site equipment service, for repairs of other things such as patient chairs, x-ray machines, and so forth. Micro Air also sells new equipment. And then they have a 20 page catalog of consumable and other products for dental offices, such as fluoride rinse, disposable instrument trays, and even those bright lights that shine overhead.
Kim's work requires him to know and use everything from electronics, sterilization, physics, and chemistry to plumbing.
The handpiece repair is really interesting.Kim says that a typical new handpiece would cost $300, but he can rebuild and repair an existing one for only $79. You can see why dentists like it.
And you know that high whine that the dentist's drill makes? No, not your kids whining about going to the dentist, but the sound of the equipment? It is the sound of that tiny turbine inside, which goes as fast as 400,000 revolutions per minute. Wow.
Kim Nance rebuilds those things for dentists, from as far away as New Jersey to Montana. But most of his business is in north central and northeast Kansas.
In fact, Kim says, his competitors are big companies which, like so many others, are consolidating into larger cities. Then when a dentist in the middle of Kansas needs service, the company rep has to drive out there. Kim says, "Dentists in Kansas like us because we are already here, and they don't have to wait for service."
And Kim and Patty wouldn't trade the small town lifestyle. Patty says, "We took our kids to Kansas City last weekend, and I'd forgotten what a hassle it is with all those people. We like it here."
It's time to say goodbye to our dentist in New Jersey. How exciting to see that he is sending his handpiece to a business in rural Kansas. We salute Kim and Patty Nance for making a difference by creating this unusual business and making it work in small-town Kansas.
And, by the way, don't forget to floss.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

David Vaughn - Hardwood Products
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
It's time to relax. Plop down in your Lazyboy, sit back and get comfortable. And while you're reclining in comfort, I'll tell you that the Lazyboy you're sitting on contains Kansas wood. Yes, I said Kansas wood. Wait a minute, you say, Kansas has a reputation of being a treeless plain. Is there really wood in Kansas? Oh, yes. We'll meet a leading company from our state's wood industry on today's Kansas Profile.
Meet David Vaughn. David is the person who told me the story of Hardwood Products, which is the largest sawmill in the state of Kansas.
Our story begins with a half-century ago with Jim Carter, who must be a fascinating character in his own right. Mr. Carter grew up in southeast Kansas. His three older brothers were in the service during World War II, so since his brothers were serving, he thought he should too. At age 16, he lied about his age and enlisted, and served among other places on Saipan, Guadalcanal, and Tarawa.
After the war, he came back to Kansas. In 1960, he founded a small sawmill company in southeast Kansas called Hardwood Products. It consisted of one tiny sawmill and a limited delivery system, but was based on a commitment to quality and integrity.
Today, that commitment to quality and integrity remains unchanged, but the tiny sawmill has grown into state-of-the-art sawing facilities. Jim Carter has retired and his son Jamie Carter is President of Hardwood Products.
The company buys logs from timber operations within a 200 mile radius of the plant or more. Then they produce carefully inspected, graded green hardwood lumber for export and domestic use. They also sell uncut logs, sawdust, barrel staves, and wood chips for potting or decorative mulch.
In 1998, Hardwood Products completed a new 12,000 square foot mill. The company also has 500,000 square feet of covered air and shade-dried storage on site using fluted sticks.
And in contrast to the few trucks they had to deliver at the beginning, today the company has a complete fleet of big rigs to deliver into Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and Missouri. Their customers are companies like Lazyboy and upscale furniture makers on the east coast, such as in New York and the Carolinas.
David Vaughn grew up in Indiana. His dad worked in a veneer mill so David worked there summers also. He says, "After that, I swore I'd never work in wood. But after college in Florida, I realized wood was what I knew." So, he got started in the business.
Later on, when he learned that he was getting transferred to Kansas, he said, "Well, you might as well fire me now." Here again was the perception of Kansas as a treeless plain. But David and his family moved to Kansas. Since 1990, he has been in charge of buying timber for Hardwood Products.
David says, "We love Kansas. We fell in love with it and you couldn't get us to move away." His wife is a programmer at Pittsburg State University. He says, "Pittsburg is a family oriented community. The people are really friendly."
And Hardwood Products remains a family-owned business in a rural setting. Yet this company is selling logs to furniture companies in the U.S. and even exporting as far away as Korea, Japan, Italy, and Chile. Wow.
Still, the company remains in its hometown of St. Paul, Kansas. St. Paul is in Neosho County, east of Pittsburg. St. Paul is a town of 698 people. Now, that's rural.

How exciting to see a business like this utilizing the natural, renewable resource of Kansas trees. And despite the perception, the most recent Kansas forestry inventory showed that Kansas has a substantial forest resource.
It's time to relax. Plop down in your Lazyboy, sit back and get comfortable. It's nice to know that Kansas wood products are a part of your easy chair, and I'm especially pleased to find that they are coming from this family-owned company in rural Kansas. We commend Jim Carter, Jamie Carter, David Vaughn, and all the people of Hardwood Products for making a difference through utilization of this native Kansas resource. Now if they could just make a hardwood remote control...
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Mark Johnson - Camouflage Communications
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Imagine you are a Green Beret, commanding a U.S. Army Special Forces unit in enemy territory in Somalia. It's time to get your soldiers out. You make it through a bunch of enemy checkpoints to reach your contacts, and you get your men successfully airlifted out. There's only one problem: You're still here. Now you have to make your own escape alone through miles of enemy territory.
Sound scary? It does to me. This story is true. It was a real-life experience of the man we'll meet today. He served for 20 years as a Green Beret and learned a lot of lessons about leading men in the field. Now he is communicating those lessons of leadership all over the globe, and he's based in rural Kansas. Be ready to salute – this is today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Mark Johnson. Mark is President of Camouflage Communication, Inc. and a professional speaker. But his primary career was in the U.S. Army Special Forces.
Mark grew up around Kansas City. He describes himself as a military brat, as his parents moved around on assignment, but he graduated from Lawrence high school and went through the ROTC program at KU. He participated in an ROTC basic camp in Fort Knox, Kentucky.
He's a big, strong guy, and some friends encouraged him to join the U.S. Army Special Forces. Well, it sounded exciting, jumping out of airplanes and facing adventure, so he gave it a try.
Mark had a 20 year career in the military, and listen to this. He performed missions in more than 50 countries, rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, and received over twenty awards and decorations. In combat, during Operation Desert Storm, he led his Green Beret unit in Special Operations, which included Reconnaissance, Combat Search and Rescue, Direct Action, and Coalition Support. He was awarded The Bronze Star, The Combat Infantryman's Badge, The Valorous Unit Citation, The Kuwaiti Liberation Medal, The Defense of Saudi Arabia Medal, and The Southwest Asia Service Award. He is a Master Parachutist and earned Advanced Parachutist Badges from twelve foreign nations. Wow.
Mark's last assignment was as director of the ROTC program at Pittsburg State University here in Kansas. He thought about that ROTC basic camp that he had attended in Kentucky years ago, and set a goal that Pittsburg State would send 50 students to that camp.
Well, that's fine, his assistants said, but we've never sent more than seven students to that camp, and most years we've sent one or two or zero. And no school in history has ever sent more than 25.
But Mark set out to pursue his goal. That first year, Pittsburg State didn't send 50 students to camp -- they sent 52 students. Yes, Mark had more than achieved his goal.
Now Mark has retired from the military. He has written a book and is sharing with others his message of achieving goals and motivating people. He is so motivational that he has been called Mark the spark.
Mark set up his own company, called Camouflage Communication, Inc., and is presenting seminars and speeches to companies around the world. He has recently done presentations in the United Kingdom, North Dakota, and California.
Given the flexibility of choosing a place to live, Mark and his wife have picked the town of Eudora, Kansas. Eudora is a small town between Kansas City and Lawrence. Eudora itself is a town of 3,713 people. Now, that's rural.
Mark says, "We were looking for a good, smaller school for our daughters to attend, and we like Eudora. We've fallen in love with it."
From this rural base, Mark can travel all over the country. He especially enjoys interacting with youth, and is speaking in high schools across Kansas while continuing to serve corporate clients and other groups.
For more information, contact Mark at 785-550-3009. That number again is 785-550-3009. Or you can get more information on-line at http://www.markthespark.com. That's http://www.markthespark.com.
So you're a Green Beret, and you have successfully airlifted your men out of enemy territory in Somalia. Now you have to make the great escape yourself. Mark Johnson faced that situation, and made it through enemy checkpoints to escape Somalia successfully. He faced combat in the Persian Gulf and grueling conditions in foreign countries around the world. Yet his real goal is to make a difference in people's lives, and he is doing that by sharing his message today. Yes, we salute Mark Johnson and others who serve their country and are now working to make it better.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Mary Mertz - Project Rescue of Amazon Youth II
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
I'll go to them. That short but powerful phrase is our topic today. On our last program, we learned of Maria Kientz, a native of Brazil, who married a Kansan and came to his home near Wamego. She brought her friend Sally Savery back to Brazil, and Sally says she was inspired by God to help the desperately needy children that she saw there. In effect, she made a decision: I'll go to them. And she did. Today, Sally Savery is a full-time missionary in this region of Brazil. Under the title Project Rescue of Amazon Youth or PRAY, a group was organized to build a children's shelter and a medical clinic. We'll learn of the musical ministry which supports this effort on today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Mary Mertz. Mary is a friend and neighbor of Maria Kientz. They live near Wamego, population 4,074. Now, that's rural.
Mary says, "Maria is active in our women's group at the Presbyterian church. She brought Sally to speak of the needs she had seen in Brazil and her desire to go help them. We felt that it was truly God's leading."
Mary, a young farm wife who writes poetry and enjoys music - and who now serves on the PRAY board - was so inspired by Sally that she wrote an original song titled "I'll Go To Them." The song was great, and people asked for copies. To make a long story short, today there is a CD featuring that song and three others written by Mary. They are performed by artists Joseph Mills, Renae Nelson, Mindy Chmiel, David Mace, and Becky Wolfe who donated their time and talents to the cause. The sale of each CD provides a contribution to the project in Brazil.
Performed by artist Joseph Mills and with the permission of author Mary Mertz, here is an excerpt from the title song, I'll Go To Them.
( song excerpt)
The CD is available for purchase from certain businesses in Wamego and Manhattan, or by contacting Mary Mertz directly. Mary's phone number is 785-456-9201. That number again is 785-456-9201.
We commend Mary Mertz, Maria Kientz, Sally Savery, and the many people who are making a difference by supporting this project. When you see people in need, we encourage you to make the decision: I'll go to them.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Superior - Essex
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Get Wired. Sounds like a slogan for a technology company, doesn't it? Or maybe an ad for one of those extreme sports drinks? But I'm referring to getting wired as an essential element of our modern technology. We need lots of miles of wire and cable to connect our telephones and computers with each other. Where does that cable come from? Today we'll meet a company which is a major source of communications cable, and this plant is located in rural Kansas. So let's get connected for today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Ron Ingram. Ron is Human Resources Manager for the Superior Essex Company plant located at Hoisington, Kansas. He told me about this remarkable company.
In 1974, a plant was built near Hoisington, Kansas to produce telephone wire and cable products. It was built by the company which today is known as Superior Essex. That represents a combination of two major companies, Superior and Essex. Superior refers to Superior Telecom, which began as Superior Cable Corporation in North Carolina in 1954. Essex was formed in 1930 in Detroit, Michigan to manufacture battery cables and wiring harnesses for Model A Fords.
Both companies grew through the years. In 1998 the two combined to form Superior Essex – the largest wire and cable manufacturer in North America. That includes the cable plant in Hoisington, Kansas. And whether or not you've ever heard of Superior Essex, you've probably used their products without ever knowing it.
This plant produces various types of plastic insulated copper cables which telephone companies use to carry their signal. There are cables used to transmit voice and data inside homes and commercial buildings, and outside products which are used by telephone companies to route signals from a central office to an exchange area or building.
When I was at the plant, I saw products ranging from tiny copper wires up to big clusters of wires in a plastic coated cable as thick as your wrist.
This plant has grown to 235 employees in 250,000 square feet of space. And it operates 24-7. In other words, the plant runs around the clock and never closes through a series of shift changes.
Copper comes into the plant in the form of copper rod, and is drawn down to 10 gauge wire through a series of reducing dies. Then it is further drawn out and insulated with a variety of plastic coatings. Individual insulated conductors are twisted together, and then assembled into larger units and cables. They are jacketed, tested, and shipped all over the world.
Customers include electrical distributors, original equipment manufacturers, and telephone companies in the U.S. and 25 foreign countries. Wow.
The Hoisington plant is ISO 9000 certified, which is the highest honor for manufacturing facilities worldwide, and recently became TL 9000 certified, which is the equivalent in the telecommunications industry.
Ron Ingram says, "Like a lot of rural plants, we have very little turnover and very good attendance." The plant is located near Hoisington in central Kansas, but employs people from an estimated 21 cities in the area. That includes places like Bushton, population 325; Albert, population 219; Olmitz, population 123; Timken, population 83; Susank, population 58; and Galatia, population 44 people. Now, that's rural.
The plant has grown and functioned well in this rural setting. Then came the night of April 21, 2001. A ferocious tornado roared through Hoisington. One life was lost, twenty-six people were seriously injured, and at least eighty-five homes were totally destroyed. It is rumored that a dentist's chair from Hoisington was found in a pond near Susank, 10 miles north. The tornado made a direct hit on the town, but the damage at the Superior Essex plant was limited to the roof and one corner of the building. However, Ron Ingram says, "Twenty-one employees were directly affected at home, and three lost everything."
So Superior Essex set up a disaster assistance fund, and the company matched every dollar that employees contributed from around the country. Lots of people in the region and the state stepped in to help. In rural areas, people do care about their neighbors, and Hoisington is gradually rebuilding.
Get Wired. No, I'm not referring to a sports drink. I'm talking about the wiring and cable connections which are an essential part of our technological world today, and which are produced in Hoisington, Kansas. We commend Ron Ingram and the people of the Superior Essex plant near Hoisington for making a difference through their high productivity and caring. That's a type of connection that transcends technology.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

John Curtis - Agtech
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Let's go around the world to Belgium. Here we find a specialist in embryo transfer conducting a workshop about this scientific procedure. And where did this specialist come from? You guessed it – from Kansas. This is the remarkable story of a Kansas entrepreneur and the international reach of his innovative company. Stay tuned for today's Kansas Profile.
Meet John Curtis. John is owner and president of Agtech, Incorporated in Manhattan, Kansas. Agtech is a recognized world leader in the distribution of supplies for embryo transfer -- known as ET – and artificial insemination – known as AI – in livestock. Here is the story.
John Curtis grew up at Hays, Kansas. As a boy, he and his brother would visit Grandpa's farm and tend to his Shorthorn cattle. It sparked an interest in agriculture which John pursued in college, getting an animal science degree from Fort Hays State University.
About that time, there was a lot of talk about a new technology in animal reproduction called embryo transfer. This process involves treating superior cows so that they produce extra eggs in the ovary. Those fertilized eggs or embryos would then be surgically removed from the cow and transplanted into another cow which would carry the calf to term and deliver it naturally.
John Curtis says, "Farmers and ranchers know who their best cows are. They might say, "Boy, I wish I could get more than one calf a year out of that good one." And this technology makes that possible. It is a management tool which increases the likelihood that we can obtain more and superior offspring from our better females." It also gives producers the option of marketing those frozen embryos to prospective buyers.
John went on to study this technology in graduate school at Colorado State. He then put it to work as an ET specialist with livestock operations in New Hampshire and New York.
In 1988, John and his family came back to Kansas to get a Ph.D in animal science from K-State. Meanwhile, he decided to put down on paper what he had learned about embryo transfer in cattle. He produced a workbook and training video to sell to people who wanted to do this work. And he thought, "If we show them how to do this, they'll need supplies and products." That includes such things as pharmaceuticals, microscopes, custom solutions for transfer and freezing, syringes, nitrogen tanks, and much more.
So in 1990 he started Agtech, Inc. to market the supplies for AI and ET technologies plus the training system. His first employee was a fellow graduate student – a young man from Honduras who spoke Spanish.
Having multi-lingual help would prove to be important, because ET technology is of great interest around the world. Use of AI and ET provides other nations a chance to make quicker gains in improving their livestock. So not only is Agtech selling coast to coast, it has a big market overseas.
Today, revenues have grown to 1.4 million dollars, of which 35 percent is from export sales. Agtech is based in Manhattan but sends a catalog to more than 2,000 U.S. addresses and some 700 in foreign countries.
John does 4 to 5 ET training workshops per year, such as the Belgian example I mentioned at the beginning. But he certainly hasn't forgotten rural Kansas. Each year he does a workshop at Hays. Two of his students at the most recent workshop there came from Herndon, population 161 people. Now, that's rural.
Most of the customers for John's products are veterinarians and cattle producers, but there is growing interest from zoos and even from human reproduction clinics. For more information, go to www.agtechinc.com.
The international interest in ET has been dramatic. Agtech has made sales to 47 countries, including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, S. Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Wow.

It's time to say goodbye to Belgium, where we find John Curtis doing a workshop on embryo transfer a long way from home. We commend John and the people of Agtech for making a difference through technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. And now, ET can come home.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Utilicorp United - Wind Farm
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
A song in the 60s said, "The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind..." Fortunately for you, I won't try to sing it. But perhaps part of the answer to our energy challenges is blowin' in the wind. I'm referring to wind power, which can be harnessed to help provide electricity for today's consumers. We'll learn of a project to do just that on today's program -- it's happening in rural Kansas. Stay tuned for an extra-windy edition of Kansas Profile.
Meet Scott McGinley. Scott is director of economic development in Kansas for Utilicorp United, an international energy company based in Kansas City which serves much of Kansas. Scott is also the volunteer president of the western Kansas Rural Economic Development Alliance. He helped me get in touch with Carl Turner who managed this project for Utilicorp headquarters in Kansas City.
In spring 2001, Utilicorp United announced that it would purchase all of the electrical power generated from the largest wind project ever built in the state -- a wind farm being constructed in southwest Kansas.
What is a wind farm? It is a collection of giant wind-powered turbines that generate electricity. This one is being built by a Florida company named FPL Energy, the largest developer of such facilities in the nation. The Kansas wind farm will be operated by a subsidiary called Gray County Wind Energy.
Utilicorp will buy all the electrical output from the new wind farm and pool it with the company's existing power sources. The long-term goal is to reduce electricity costs for customers by utilizing new, renewable, or more efficient methods of energy production.
Of course, wind power isn't exactly new. Research shows that wind power was used to propel boats on the Nile River as early as 5,000 B.C. And of course, windmills have been a fixture on the American Great Plains ever since the west was settled.
Wind power technology has improved substantially through the years. These modern turbines are like giant windmills, but instead of running a water pump like the windmill on grandpa's farm, these modern wind-powered blades crank a turbine that generates electricity. This electricity is then sent to customers along existing overhead transmission and distribution lines.
On our last program, we learned of a company called Micro Air which worked on the tiny air turbines inside dentist drills. If that was Micro Air, this is Macro Air. Gray County will have 170 wind-powered turbines, each 214 feet tall. Wow.
The electricity from this wind farm will serve customers of WestPlains Energy in Kansas as well as Utilicorp customers in Missouri.
Now, I'll admit that Kansas has a reputation as a windy state – not even counting our politicians. Experts say that Kansas ranks third in the nation in wind power potential. This is a chance to use that natural resource.
But what about those times when the wind doesn't blow? Utilicorp says that extensive studies show that wind levels in this area will be consistently strong year round, and in any event, the electricity will be pooled with other sources.
The company did a lot of studies before locating the wind farm in this particular location, three miles east of the town of Montezuma between Dodge City and Liberal. Montezuma is a town of 877 people. Now, that's rural. But this wind farm will be generate enough electricity to serve 30,000 homes. Wow.
Another nice feature of this project is that it is compatible with the agriculture of the region. In other words, cattle can easily graze around the turbines.
Talk about a win-win deal. This is a wind-win deal. It utilizes the clean, natural, renewable resource of the Kansas wind to generate much-needed electrical power while benefitting rural Kansas and creating local jobs.
If you are in a local chamber of commerce, you may wonder, "How do I put my community on the map?" Well, on August 16, 2001, Montezuma, Kansas was on the front page of USA Today - marked on a map with an article about wind power. It was truly on the map.
A song in the 60s said, "The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind..." Maybe part of the answer to our energy and economic development challenges can be found blowin' in the wind. How exciting to see this happen through the private sector. We commend Scott McGinley, Carl Turner, and the people of Utilicorp United for making a difference through this initiative and environmentally-friendly investment. With that, I am finally out of wind.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Cindy Elliott - Fort Hays Virtual College
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Anchors Aweigh is the song of the U.S. Navy. We'll talk about the Navy today. The men and women of the U.S. Navy have served our nation well. But what about those sailors who would like to complete a college degree while continuing their military service? Today we'll learn about a program which is providing those opportunities for sailors overseas as well as people here at home – and it's being done through technology and distance education from the middle of Kansas. Stay tuned for the story on today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Cindy Elliott. Cindy is Dean of the Virtual College at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas.
Fort Hays State University, and other Kansas colleges, have been engaged in distance education for some time. This means using technology like videoconferencing for students in several places to take classes and complete degrees. Now such education can be done via the Internet and other technologies.
In 1998, the division of continuing education at Fort Hays State was upgraded to become a Virtual College for the university. Cindy Elliott was then director of distance learning for Florida International University.
Cindy says, "I was living and working in Miami, Florida at the time. I saw the ad while reading a magazine on a flight to Detroit. Kansas is one of four states that I had never visited, so I thought it would be worth a trip."
Not only did she make the trip, she got the job. Cindy says, "I have fallen in love with Kansas." She says, "Kansas gets a bad rap from rest of the country. They simply don't understand all the great things that rural America has going for it."
As dean of the virtual college, she is responsible for the continuing education and distance learning function of the university. In the spring of 2000, Cindy made a proposal to the Navy College Partnership. The U.S. Navy was looking for educational institutions with which it could partner to deliver degree opportunities for its servicemen and women.
Fort Hays State applied and become one of 16 partnership schools across the country. In fact, while competing with such schools as Florida State and the University of Maryland, Fort Hays got the most ratings of any school.
Through the Navy College Partnership, sailors can receive academic credit for certain parts of their military educational experience. That credit is analyzed and a listing of classes is designed for each sailor to take in order to complete his or her college degree.
A sailor wishing to complete a degree would work with a counselor first. They can then register and enroll on-line at their computer, through the virtual college at Fort Hays State. They can take the classes at almost any location using distance education techniques.
For example, there is a virtual bookstore which will provide them the necessary books, CD rom, videotapes or other course materials. If the course is offered on-line, the student gets a password to allow them onto the website where the course materials and discussion groups are located. They can view lectures and participate in class discussions via e-mail.
This means technology can bridge the distance gap. Obviously this is helpful in places like western Kansas, where students might have to travel a long distance to get the education they want. The virtual college has interactive television classrooms in mid-size western Kansas towns, plus such rural places as Haviland, population 635; Kismet, population 464; Ingalls, population 312; and Brewster, population 285 people. Now, that's rural.
Now this same type of technology can serve young men and women serving in the Navy anywhere around the globe. For example, one of Fort Hays' students is a sailor on a naval base in Guam. Sailors could literally be working on a bachelors degree from a ship in the Atlantic or a submarine in the Pacific Ocean. Wow.
Anchors Aweigh is the song of the U.S. Navy. Of course, an anchor holds ships in place. For some young men and women, the lack of a college degree can be an anchor that weighs them down in their future career. The virtual college and other distance learning programs can help lift that anchor from young people whose access to education is limited by their location. We commend Cindy Elliott and the people of Fort Hays' virtual college for making a difference by providing this innovative educational opportunity. For those young people whose lack of a college degree is a burdensome anchor, this opportunity can help take the anchor away.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Lester Lawrence
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Today's topic is out of this world – and I mean that literally. On this program through the years, we have found products from rural Kansas which have gone all over the globe. Today's program will top any of those. Today, we will meet a man living in rural Kansas whose products are actually located on the moon. So get ready for blastoff, this is today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Lester Lawrence, a fascinating character. He grew up at Clyde, Kansas, and managed a grain elevator at Mankato. He had an interest in flying and got his private pilot's license. During World War II, he tried to get in the U.S. Air Force but couldn't because of bad knees from a high school football injury. So in 1942 he went to California to work in the aircraft industry. He worked his way up to become supervisor of inspection in aviation maintenance.
When it comes to overhauling airplanes, Lester Lawrence wrote the book – literally. He helped write the first airplane overhaul manual ever written for American Airlines.
After the war, he had a special opportunity. He was asked to go help build an air force for Israel, which was just in the process of becoming a nation. He says, "I first landed in Israel the night before they became a state." He helped obtain airplanes for Israel and bring them into operating condition.
I might add that his motivations were not necessarily political. He says with a smile, "We were in it for the cause – cause we need the money."
In 1949, Mr. Lawrence returned to Israel as Chief Inspector of El Al Airlines.
In the early 1950s, he went back to California. He opened a small machine shop in his one-car garage in back of his house in Burbank. His goal was to manufacture precision fasteners for the aviation industry.
That goal was achieved in a big way. His company, Lawrence Engineering, grew to nearly a 30 million dollar business with facilities in California, Oregon, Texas, Memphis, and Orlando. Wow.
But Lester Lawrence did not forget his roots in rural Kansas. He established scholarships back home in Clyde. And he went on to pursue another interest: Buffalo.
He says, "I was always fascinated by buffalo." In 1982, he bought some buffalo from a herd near Longford and pastured them back home in Kansas. He says, "The first farm I bought was one where I had worked as a boy."
Lawrence Engineering went on to reach incredible heights – that pun is fully intended. His company made fasteners that went into the lunar landing assembly. Lester says, "Somewhere up there in the equipment that was left on the moon are some bolts with LE marked on the head for Lawrence Engineering." He has a copy of a message dated July 25, 1969, congratulating him for having a part of the equipment that contributed to man's first successful landing on the moon. His company went on to make components that are in the space shuttle robot arm.
Lester retired to Texas and then back to Kansas. He remodeled a farm home and lives there today near the town of Clifton, population 474 people. Now, that's rural.
I learned all this when I was driving down Highway 9 and made an impromptu stop at a place marked LCL Buffalo. The LCL stands for Lester Charles Lawrence.
Today, Mr. Lawrence has a hired man to look after the buffalo. There are now 6 pastures with 320 head.
One of the places he bought was this place along Highway 9. Mr. Lawrence remodeled and expanded the house. He has a small store on his place that sells buffalo meat in the region. And he enjoys the artworks and collectibles that he has collected through the years, along with artifacts from his daughters and grandchildren.
The place where Mr. Lawrence lives, including the buffalo herd, antique machinery, and bronzes and other art he has collected, will be preserved through a foundation he has established: The Lawrence Foundation for the Preservation of Buffalo and the Agricultural Heritage.
Our topic is out of this world. Yes, now we've learned of a man living in rural Kansas whose company sent equipment up to the face of the moon. Today, he is retired and producing buffalo meat back in rural Kansas, where the buffalo roam. We appreciate Lester Lawrence for making a difference with his entrepreneurship and for caring for rural Kansas. It's enough to put a smile on the man in the moon.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Sheryl Bemis - Bar-B Tack Etc.
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
We don't want this program to get too tacky, but that's where we'll start today: Talking about tack. Tack, of course, is what you call the gear that you put on a horse - such as bridles and saddles. You can find tack in western stores and farm stores across the state. Today, we'll find a place that has excellent tack and much, much more, in truly rural Kansas. Saddle up for today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Sheryl Bemis. Sheryl owns and operates Bar B Tack Etc. near Hays, Kansas.
One day a few weeks ago, I was in western Kansas and was driving back toward a meeting in Hays. Since I like to get off the Interstate and see the countryside, I was taking Highway 40 toward Hays. Suddenly I passed a sign that said Bar B Tack Etc. So I doubled back to see what this business was. It was a find.
Bar B Tack Etc. is located on a working family farm and cattle ranch. It is the place where Sheryl's husband Taylor grew up.
The store is actually in a barn. It is a historic old barn dating back to 1917. Taylor's grandfather milked cows in this barn back in the '40s.
In the early 1990s, Sheryl decided to get into the tack and western wear business, and the barn was remodeled.
Sheryl Bemis says, "I thought this would be fun." So they bought some tack and western wear and started a small store. It began in a small room in the front of the barn, and now has expanded the full length of the building.
Not only does Bar B sell tack, it now offers hats, boots, ropes, saddles, clothing, jewelry, and household items. There are autographed pictures of rodeo stars and country music performers all around the room.
It's obvious to me that there is a woman's touch to this business, because there is a lot of beautiful jewelry and decorations on display. Of course, the store is especially popular at Christmastime. And if they don't have something on hand, Sheryl says she takes lots of special orders.
When I stopped in at the store, Sheryl the proprietor -- who I had not yet met – started making friendly conversation. It didn't take long to find out that her daughter was at K-State and was someone I had worked with directly. It is a small world, after all.
Their daughter Kristi Bemis is now married to Larry Koch and living at Clyde, Kansas. She was Miss Rodeo Kansas in 1998. She is also a student at K-State and a horse trainer herself. I had met Kristi but had no idea of this connection when I made an impromptu stop at Bar B Tack. The Bemis' also have a son Dusty, who is managing a ranch northwest of Hays.
It appears to me that Bar B Tack Etc. caters to the working stockman and all those who love the west. The store is truly located in a rural setting, on a working ranch out in the country.
Sheryl says with a smile, "I tell people we are located between Hogback and Yocemento." Those are the names of former towns nearby that have dwindled away. There's nothing left of Hogback. Yocemento still has a grain elevator with a few people living around it. Depending on how far you go out from the grain elevator, you can count about 20 people living around Yocemento. Now, that's rural.
But the store is only 6 ½ miles from the city of Hays on Highway 40 and is not far from Interstate 70. And the customers have come.
Sheryl Bemis keeps a guest book for visitors to sign in. I looked through the pages and found names from all over Kansas, plus such places as Texas, Arizona, Wisconsin, Utah, Maryland, Germany, and Australia. Sheryl says, "There was a guy from New Zealand who bought a lariat here." Wow.
If you would like to contact Bar B Tack, you can call toll-free at 1-800-611-BAR-B. That number again is 1-800-611-2272.
We don't want this program to get too tacky, but we have been talking about tack. Fortunately, I'm referring to the tack that goes with horses. Today we've met a truly homegrown business in a rural Kansas setting. We commend Sheryl and Taylor Bemis and all their family for making a difference with hard work, creativity and entrepreneurship, Western style. Too many families are unwilling to try an entrepreneurial activity. Fortunately, Sheryl Bemis was willing to try a different tack.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
I have a bunch of errands to run in town. Would you like to come along? Here's my to-do list. I have to return a U-Haul rental trailer, stop by my insurance agent, pick up my dry cleaning, drop off some tax stuff for my accountant, look at a new washing machine for my wife, refill my propane tank, and get some lumber and some hardware for that do-it-yourself project out back. Whew, it sounds like a lot, doesn't it? Well, what if I told you that I could do all that and more under one roof? Today, we'll meet a business that has diversified and expanded to serve its community. It's a hallmark of rural Kansas, as we'll see on today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Glen Keller. Glen is co-owner of Trio Enterprises, including the Trio Lumber and Building Center in Ellis, Kansas.
Glen explains that he grew up at Ellis, just west of Hays in northwest Kansas. Ellis is a town of 1,722 people. Now, that's rural.
While Glen was in college, one of his class assignments was to do a business feasibility study. Glen says, "My uncle told me about the lumberyard back in Ellis that was for sale." So Glen did a study of the feasibility of the purchase. Well, guess what eventually happened.
Yes, Glen went on to buy that lumberyard with two of his college friends from Bethany. Because there were three of them involved in the project, they named it Trio.
Glen says, "The previous owner of the lumberyard was ready to retire, and it worked out for us to step in." The three new partners took ownership on August 1, 1972 and continued till 1998, when one took a position in another town. Now Glen Keller and Dave McDaniel are the two co-owners of the lumberyard.
This lumberyard has a lot of history associated with it. It was a second generation lumberyard when the trio took it over, and has continued since. Glen says, "For 105 years, there has been a building and lumberyard at this corner."
I find hardware stores and lumberyards in many rural towns, even when other businesses are gone. But in Ellis, Glen Keller and Dave McDaniel have helped to maintain those other services. They remodeled their building and diversified their product lines to include such things as electronics, appliances, and fuller brush products. They also rent out space for other businesses such as insurance and accounting. And when the local co-op discontinued its propane business, Trio started offering the service.
Glen says, "We like Ellis. It's a good place for families." Glen and his wife raised their family there, including a son who is a graduate of K-State-Salina.
Glen and Dave have invested in the community in lots of ways, through other businesses and their own involvement. Dave has been mayor of Ellis for five years. Glen is coordinator of the Ellis Railroad Museum and on the Board of Ellis Main Street, just to name a couple of his activities.
Main Street is a program offered by the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing and the National Main Street program. It is a downtown redevelopment program that integrates organization, promotion, design, and economic restructuring into a practical downtown management strategy.
To be accepted as a Main Street city, a town must meet strict criteria. Ellis was accepted in 2000 and is one of the smaller towns in Kansas to be part of the Main Street program. Vera Haver is the director of Ellis Main Street. She is a native who moved away and has come back to Ellis with her family.
Phyllis Zorn is chair of the program promotion committee. She used to live in Chanute, where she saw the benefits of the Main Street program there. She says, "Getting people to work together is a big part of what we've done the first year."
In October 2001, the annual state-wide Main Street conference was held. Awards were presented, including those for diversification. Guess what: Among the winners was Trio Lumber and Building Center in Ellis, Kansas.
I have a bunch of errands to run in town. Would you like to come along? Yes, I have a long list of things to do, but I can do them all under one roof at Trio Lumber and Building Center in Ellis, Kansas. We salute Glen Keller and Dave McDaniel at Trio Lumber and Vera Haver, Phyl Zorn, and all the volunteers of Ellis Main Street for making a difference by making their community better.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Rich Jensen - Titan Manufacturing
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
It takes a lot of pull to get things done. Sometimes that's the way we feel about our government. But I'm talking about a different kind of pull today. I'm talking about those big livestock trailers that you see getting pulled down the highway, hauling cattle or horses to their destination. Some of those trailers are beautiful and they can pull a heavy load. Today we'll meet a company which produces such trailers in rural Kansas. In fact, it is a Titan in the business. Hitch up your trailer for today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Rich Jensen. Rich is General Manager for Titan Trailer Manufacturing. He told us about this excellent company.
Rich explains that the company is owned by Dave and Linda Smerchek, who founded the company in 1986. This company produces trailers for hauling horses and other livestock.
The Smercheks are from Waterville originally. Waterville and Blue Rapids have been a center of trailer construction for some years. Dave worked for one of the trailer companies there, and then decided to strike out on his own. He started building trailers in a garage in the town of Frankfort.
The company grew, moved, and expanded with time. Titan Trailer Manufacturing moved into a building south of Waterville and then expanded it in 1998.
Today, Titan Trailer has more than a hundred employees in its Blue Rapids and Waterville facilities, plus a nationwide dealer network. There are dealers carrying Titan products from the Carolinas to California, and even up to Calgary, Canada.
Rich Jensen came on as general manager in 1995. He says, "We try to build a well-built, rugged trailer that's the best buy for the money."
Rich has ties to this area. His dad was a teacher and coach at Valley Heights High School, among other places, and Rich followed a similar career path before coming into this business. Rich's wife is from the area originally, and she is now an art teacher at Susan B. Anthony Junior High School in Manhattan.
Rich has seen this company demonstrate impressive growth. Why such growth?
Rich says, "We give the customer what they want, and we stand behind our products." It seems to me that standing behind your product is a good idea -- except when the trailer is backing up...
But seriously, the fact is that Titan Trailer is committed to continuous quality improvement and customer satisfaction. Rich says, "We went away from cold rolled steel and started using Galvaneeled." That's a specially treated steel with more zinc to resist rust – it's the same kind of metal used in modern cars, only harder.
Titan has also improved its paint process. First, the metal is washed with a degreasing detergent followed by a phosphate coating and rinse, and then is baked dry for priming. After that, the trailer is shot with a high-solids urethane topcoat and returned to the bake oven to cure the finish.
Rich says, "In the beginning, we actually mixed paint in 5 gallon buckets." Now, the company uses the pro-mix paint system, which utilizes electronic, computer controls to provide precise, continuous on-line monitoring.
The bake oven, which is used to dry the metal and cure the finish, is an infrared bake oven which can reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit and can cure the paint in 20 minutes. This avoids the airborne contaminants found in traditional curing systems and gives a higher gloss, longer lasting finish.
While using these same techniques, Titan has diversified its product line, producing flatbeds and other types of trailers for construction or landscaping use. Titan also produces custom built trailers, designed to fit the customer's specifications.
Rich says, "We bring in 3 to 4 truckloads of steel a week, and there's about 40,000 pounds of steel on each truck." Wow.
He says, "We feel we have a great employee base, and the best people to work for that there is." So Titan trailers are going coast to coast and even to Canada, from Waterville, Kansas, population 527. Now, that's rural.
It takes a lot of pull to get things done. Today, we're met a company which produces trailers which can pull a lot, and they are being pulled all over our country. We salute Dave and Linda Smerchek, Rich Jensen, and all the people of Titan Trailer Manufacturing for making a difference through hard work and product improvement. Succeeding in rural Kansas can be a challenge, but these folks have found a way to pull it off.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Ruth Peters - Santa Fe Trail
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Don't get in a rut. Ever gotten that advice? In some parts of our state, there is historical significance in certain ruts – namely, the ruts left behind by wagon trains which came through on the pioneer trails. These pioneer trails are part of a fascinating era in our state's history – in fact, they have captured the interest of people around the world. Today, we'll meet a team of people which is building on that history in rural Kansas. Climb in the covered wagon for today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Ruth Peters. Ruth is director of the Santa Fe Trail Center near Larned, Kansas. The Santa Fe Trail Center is a museum dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of the geographic area once known as the Santa Fe Trail.
The Santa Fe Trail carried people and goods westward from the Mississippi River to Santa Fe in what is now New Mexico. It was used by Spanish explorers in the sixteenth century. In 1821, Mexico gained its independence from Spain and opened up trade opportunities with the U.S. Ox- and mule-drawn wagon trains carried freight back and forth along the Santa Fe Trail until the advent of the railroad in 1880.
The original trail passes near the town of Larned. People in Larned have taken a leadership role in preserving and promoting this history. Through the local historical society, they had a vision of a museum to accomplish this purpose.
Through a lot of planning, hard work and sacrifice, the Santa Fe Trail Center was built and opened its doors in 1974. It is owned and operated by the Fort Larned Historical Society. In 1977, the museum was accredited by the American Association of Museums, making it - at the time - one of the youngest museums in the nation to be granted such accreditation.
To be accredited, a museum has to meet certain high standards. The Santa Fe Trail Center has been continually re-accredited since it began. Interestingly, out of 8,000 museums in the nation, only some 750 are accredited. Nine of those are in Kansas, including the Santa Fe Trail Center.
The Center has a 10 acre complex, not far from a location where one can actually see the ruts from the old trail. The Center includes a large native stone display building holding a visitors center, gift shop, research library, and a really well-done set of exhibits. These begin with the prehistoric days of the region, go up through the time of the Native American Indian and the covered wagons, and continue on with displays about life on the plains early in the 20th century.
Visitors can see such things as a grass Indian lodge, ancient Spanish medallions, early photographs, frontier firearms, and a life-size stuffed buffalo. Later displays show rooms of homes as they would have been furnished in the early 1900s, and a recent addition includes a small motion picture theater showing old movies.
Outside the building is a full-size reproduction of a sod house, an old-time wooden windmill, a dugout home, a limestone cooling house, a one-room school - complete with outhouses - and a railroad depot from - what else? - the Santa Fe Railroad.
Ruth Peters was archivist here before becoming director. She is originally from the nearby rural town of Garfield, population 237 people. Now, that's rural. She went to Larned High School and Bethany College. She speaks with pride of the Santa Fe Trail Center museum.
She says, "I have a wonderful staff, very dedicated."
Remember I said these trails captured international attention? Inside the doors of the center are maps showing the U.S. and the world. Pins on the map show where visitors have come from. They have come to Larned from coast to coast, and overseas from Budapest to Tokyo. Wow.
The center is located two miles west of Larned on Highway 156. If you would like more information, call 620-285-2054 or visit www.larned.net/trailctr/.
Don't get in a rut. Ever gotten that advice? Today, we see that these ruts of the Santa Fe Trail are a reminder of a fascinating time in our state's history. Just as visitors from overseas have come here to discover this history, it's time for those of us in Kansas to enjoy these attractions right here in our state. We commend Ruth Peters and the people of the Fort Larned Historical Society for making a difference through their work in preserving and fostering this part of our history.
So don't get in a rut - relive this history along the Santa Fe Trail.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Fred and Pam Goodgion - Elk Creek Trading Company
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Do you have a burning desire to give a special gift to someone? Or get all fired up for your favorite team? If so, we have a deal for you. I'm talking about candles. Today, we'll meet a company which is manufacturing candles in rural Kansas. Get ready to light your fire for today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Fred and Pam Goodgion. Fred and Pam are owners of the Elk Creek Trading Company in northeast Kansas. Elk Creek's primary product at this point is hand-crafted scented candles. Here is the story.
Fred Goodgion was born in Arkansas and raised in Oklahoma. He was a warehouse manager with Hills Pet Foods in Topeka when he met Pam. Pam was born in Holton, Kansas but moved away at age 5. When she met Fred, she was a cost analyst for Hills. She had also worked as a bookkeeper for a candle company in Kansas City.
In 1983, they moved up near her family's home area around Holton, north of Topeka. They ran a local restaurant for about 10 years and then retired. While in retirement, they were visiting their son-in-law in the southern U.S. when they saw him making candles.
Fred says, "We watched him do that and thought that looked like fun." In fact, those candles looked so neat they thought people would like to buy them. So they experimented with various kinds of waxes, wicks, and containers, and in May 2001 opened their new candle business. Elk Creek Trading Company was born.
As the slogan on their business card says, these candles are a fragrant way to light your day.
I came across these eye-catching candles at the Kansas Sampler Festival. There was a display of these attractive scented candles, and also on the table was something else: a lump of clear, soft stuff. What in the world was that?
Fred Goodgion explains, "That is gel wax. We found there were a number of advantages of candles made with gel wax rather than plain old paraffin."
The gel wax is kind of like a clear playdoh. It is like silicone, but is not a petroleum-based product. When you melt this stuff, it looks like water and then it will set quickly as it cools. This enables the Goodgions to not only put gel wax into all kinds of neat designs, they can also put all kinds of neat things into the gel wax.
For example, they can make a clear wax candle and embed into it a key ring displaying your favorite school's mascot and other elements with your team colors. It looks beautiful. Then after the candle is burned down, the remaining gel wax will easily peel off the key ring and you have a key ring that is good as new.
That beats the old style candles. All they leave behind is a black wick and puddles of wax.
Beside the designs, there are scents or aromas that they can incorporate into the candles. Fred says, "We have 67 different scents we can use." These range from cinnamon red hot to banana nut bread to pina colada to mulberry, hot blueberry muffin, and french vanilla. Wow.
That did raise a point of caution from the Goodgions, however, because I have heard people who are concerned about fire from gel candles. Fred says, "Always use high flash point scent for gel candles. If you don't, the candles can generate a flash." The Goodgions always use the high flash point scent so their candles will be safe.
Pam says, "We package these candles in cellophane bags with ribbons and gift cards. We make coffee mugs with candles inside, and even tiny hanging ornaments." The Goodgions even offer customers to refill their used containers with gel wax so that it can be burned again.
These attractive candles are being sold at gift shops around north central and northeast Kansas. They are produced by the Goodgions in their hometown of Circleville, population 146 people. Now, that's rural.
Pam says, "We believe that the little things make a difference. We try to do a little something extra for the customer."
Do you have a burning desire to give someone a nice gift? Or get all fired up for your favorite team? Do so literally with a scented candle produced by Elk Creek Trading Company. We salute Fred and Pam Goodgion for making a difference with creativity, entrepreneurship, and customer service. That's a combination that others can't hold a candle to.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Donna Homan - Isle of Lights
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Today let's go down to the isle for the holidays. No, I'm not referring to an island cruise, or a marriage proposal either. I'm talking about going to see a beautiful display of Christmas lights, made even more attractive by the fact that they are displayed in a scenic park complete with a water-enclosed island. And you don't have to fly halfway around the globe to get to this island, you can find it right here in rural Kansas. Stay tuned for a special holiday edition of Kansas Profile.
Meet Donna Homan. Donna is President of Isle of Lights Inc. in Winfield, Kansas, south of Wichita.
Donna explains that in 1992, a group of people in the Winfield Chamber of Commerce got together to plan some new Christmas decorations for the community. They managed to outline some downtown buildings in Christmas lights.
But then someone had another idea, and that was to put lights in the area of town called Island Park. Island Park is a park on the north side of Winfield with a circular drive, some tall, gorgeous trees, and an island in the center surrounded by water. I guess if it's surrounded by water, that pretty much makes it an island, doesn't it?...
But anyway, the island and the water would make for a beautiful setting for a lighting display. After a lot of research, the volunteers in Winfield met with a representative of a company in Illinois who presented a plan for 80 thousand dollars in displays. That was a lot of money – but it turned out to be only the beginning.
Today, what is called the Isle of Lights includes more than a quarter-million dollars worth of Christmas lights on display in approximately a mile-long driving route in and around the park. There are even theme areas, such as Reindeer Road - including Rudolph, Toyland, Zooland, Land of Oz – complete with Dorothy and the Emerald City, an angel tree, Christmas elves, a nativity scene, a Noah's Ark floating on the water, and – oh yeah – one with that guy in the red suit. What's his name again?...
Many of the displays are animated, so the viewer sees lights in motion. Kids especially like the jack-in-the-box, the rocking horse, and the toy soldiers which salute you as you pass. There is a 2 ½ story Old Glory display, reflected at the water's edge.
There is a new musical section of the display which has musical accompaniment to go with it. Then there is a scene of a boy fishing, complete with a lighted fish jumping out of the water near him. There is a scene of two skaters who sparkle as they glide on the water, plus much more.
Words really don't do these displays justice. You just have to see them for yourself – and lots of people have. Donna says they are averaging more than 30 thousand cars coming through the park annually. Cars have come from 37 to 38 states each year. And this whole thing is operated by volunteers, led by the person who has been President of the Isle of Lights from the beginning - Donna Homan.
Donna operates a floral and gift shop in Winfield called Donna's Designs. She has rural roots, having grown up in the nearby town of Argonia, population 523 people. Now, that's rural.
Donna came to Winfield to attend Southwestern College and has stayed. She has two young daughters and has operated the floral and gift shop downtown for 18 years. And how did she become President of this group, with all this work to do? She says with a smile, "I guess I'm just lucky."
It is clear that she is community-spirited. She and the volunteers of the Isle of Lights organization have given countless hours to operate this display, with help from the city and the chamber. There are hundreds of thousands of lights on display.
And in the true spirit of the holidays, donations are optional but admission is free. Donna says, "One of the most rewarding things has been for those who are having tough times, they can bring their kids through here as many times as they would like. It's fun to see the kids and the older people with big, bright eyes."
Let's go down to the isle for the holidays – the Isle of Lights in Winfield, that is. We commend Donna Homan and all the volunteers who are making a difference by bringing a little extra light into the world.
Wishing you the best of holidays, for the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.

Paul Rhodes and Amy Crouch - Cheney Times-Sentinel
This is Kansas Profile. I'm Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
Henry David Thoreau once wrote, "The question is not what you look at, but what you see." It's an interesting quote, reminding us that different people may envision different things when looking at the same object. For example, think about community newspapers. Some people may see only the challenges and problems of running a newspaper in a rural setting. Today, we'll learn about two Kansans who envision the opportunities and quality of life that can be found in community journalism and rural Kansas. We'll get the full story on today's Kansas Profile.
Meet Paul Rhodes and Amy Crouch. Paul and Amy are the two Kansans who are at the heart of today's story.
Paul Rhodes is a young man with rural roots. Now when I say he is young, I mean, of course, that he is my age... Paul grew up in the Smith County town of Gaylord, population 154 people. Now, that's rural.
Paul Rhodes went to K-State and studied journalism. When it came time for him to seek a summer internship, his collegiate advisor recommended he work for a fellow named Huck Boyd. Of course, Huck was the western Kansas newspaper publisher and civic leader for whom our Institute is named. He published the newspaper in Phillipsburg, not too far from Paul Rhodes' home.
Paul says, "The first newspaper publisher I ever met was Huck Boyd." Paul applied for the internship and got the job. It turned out to be a great experience.
In fact -- I would hate to think that Huck Boyd would contribute to the delinquency of a minor -- but Paul says Huck encouraged him to drop out of K-State and come to work for Huck. Paul says, "He told me I didn't need any more college, I was good enough to go into fulltime journalism right then. But I was intent on finishing up." So Paul got his degree, but he continued to work for Huck during college breaks or whenever he had a chance.
Paul also met and married Amy Crouch, an interior design student at K-State who was from Topeka.
Paul's journalism experience with Huck Boyd and K-State would serve him well. Paul worked for the Wichita Eagle and Marysville Advocate before spending 9 years with the Manhattan Mercury. After that, Paul and Amy made the move to Georgia and ran a daily newspaper there for two years. But they found that they wanted to make the move back to Kansas. The question was, how to do it?
Paul says with a smile, "We didn't have enough money to buy a real newspaper." So instead of purchasing a thriving city daily, for example, they found a printer in south central Kansas who was looking to scale back on some of his weekly papers.
Paul and Amy ultimately bought the newspapers which served Cheney, Goddard, and Clearwater in south central Kansas and moved back to the state. They created the Times-Sentinel, a single newspaper which served all those towns plus Garden Plain. These towns are all in commuting distance of the big city of Wichita.
Paul says, "We knew Wichita was key for us. We'd have to serve this cluster of communities and look to Wichita for ad revenue."
And what happened? Paul says, "Amy found that she had a real knack for the computer graphics stuff, which has really helped with page layout." And since 1992, the circulation of the newspaper has more than tripled. Wow.
Paul and Amy launched a shopper newspaper for west Wichita and later bought West Side Story, a monthly feature publication. Now the events of September 11 have caused some Wichita businesses to scale back advertising, which puts a squeeze on lots of people.
Paul says, "Sometimes events like September 11 make you rely more on your readers, and our readers are really good at responding. And it really requires a husband-wife team effort." He says, "The biggest rewards are on Thursday afternoons after the paper's out and someone stops you and tells you that something you wrote somehow made a difference in their lives." He says with a smile, "That's the type of reward that makes our meager paychecks worthwhile."
Henry David Thoreau wrote, "The question is not what you look at, but what you see." Paul Rhodes and Amy Crouch see the rewards of serving the people of their communities through community journalism. We commend Paul and Amy for making a difference through their service. I think Huck Boyd would be proud.
For the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, this is Ron Wilson with Kansas Profile.