(Frank) Today Around Kansas takes a look at some of the interesting people, places and things in the state, starting with a story of friendship, compassion and selflessness that you won’t want to miss. Next we take a look at a CineMagic Experience in Ottawa; some Kansas Pride communities and then finish up with a poem from our Poet Lariat, Ron Wilson.Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.(Frank) Good morning. It’s Wednesday and that means this is Around Kansas. I’m Frank Chaffin and… (Deb) I’m Deb Goodrich, nice to be with you this morning. (Frank) And of course we are from our studio in the historic Dillon House which is right across the street from the State Capitol in Topeka, Kansas, USA. (Deb) Isn’t this a great place for a party? (Frank) It is, it is, it is. (Deb) Oh, it’s beautiful. (Frank) So, I think there’s gonna be tours at some point because they’re still doing a lot of renovation here. But it’s a beautiful place. So looking forward to coming here and having some sort of event. You can do that now. (Deb) I can’t wait. (Frank) OK. So, what’s coming up? What are we doing? What are we up to? (Deb) Hey, you know, Sampler Festival’s this weekend. (Frank) Oh, that’s right. (Deb) Wamego, one of the biggest weekends of the year, of course, for a lot of Kansans. Last year they broke attendance records in Wamego and I think they’re gonna do it again this year. I’ll be in a tent selling books and visiting with folks, with Aaron Barnhart and his lovely wife Diana Eickhoff and Matt Dighton and we featured them last year on Around Kansas. We did several segments on the Sampler Festival. So we hope to see you there. It’s gonna be a great event. (Frank) Yea. And what it means by the Kansas Sampler is it’s a sampling of events and things and people… (Deb) Just about everything. (Frank) …from all over the state of Kansas. And it moves around every two years it goes somewhere else in the state. It’s in the eastern part of the state last year, this year. So, this will be a chance to see it then and then it’s gonna move somewhere else next year. (Deb) And of course, Wamego, that park, I can’t imagine a more perfect setting. The park was absolutely perfect for it. (Frank) It is, it’s beautiful. That’s where the Old Dutch Mill is. (Deb) So pretty, so pretty. So just lots… April has just been an incredibly busy month. And going into May I mean it’s just like everything is full swing. You know winter, you’re just hibernating and you’re just sitting there waiting for the cold to end and then it’s just like everything just springs out. And even western Kansas, it’s turning into spring. And if you have a chance to get over to Fort Wallace, their annual meeting is also Sunday and they have a program with that. So check out the Fort Wallace Museum. A nice cluster of buildings there. Wonderful folks and a really nice program. You know what? We’re gonna start a calendar on our website at some point Frank cause there’s so much cool stuff going on. And this gentleman who moved to Kansas yesterday was just saying to me, it seems like people in Kansas just have a sixth sense for when things are gonna happen. And then I hear about it after the fact and he said, I miss stuff. And I’m like, oh that would have been awesome. So, we’re gonna help you with that. We’re in the process of getting a calendar going. So, if there’s something you want us to put on there, just drop us a line and let us know and we’ll make sure to share that with everybody. (Frank) And that will be good for me, so then I’ll know when to show up. (Deb) Exactly. (Frank) Also, this Friday is the First Friday ArtWalk in Topeka and of course that means also in NOTO where the WREN radio studio is, stop in and say “Hi” to us. (Deb) That is the best event ever, ever. (Frank) It is. (Deb) It’s just all over Topeka. NOTO of course, the real hot spot. It’s the best ever. (Frank) Yea, so alright we’ll be back.
(Frank) We’re back. (Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas. And what makes Kansas so special? People. (Frank) People. (Deb) Obviously. And whether they’re dead or alive you know, I kind of like ones from the past too. But there’s just no shortage of some really cool folks in Kansas. And one of the great things about social media… people when the telephone came out believe it or not, people said, oh the telephone is going to be the downfall of civilization because people sit and waste their time on the phone. And it’s the same with computers… oh people are in chat rooms or they’re on Facebook and all this stuff, and it’s just the down fall of civilization. But like everything else, it’s what you make it. And I’ve made friends on Facebook. and the other social media that I don’t think I would have found any other way. And one of those stories is one that we’re gonna share with you today. And this story came to me through Facebook. Somebody had seen my profile and they had seen the show mentioned and so this is how this particular story came to me was on Facebook. So, send us your ideas. (Frank) Yea. (Deb) And I don’t want to spoil it, we’re gonna talk about Rob Robinson. Good old boy from Mississippi and a friend of his, Gil Alexander out in Nicodemus. Now have you ever visited Nicodemus Frank? (Frank) Not to my knowledge. (Deb) Nicodemus was a black settlement founded primarily by the Exodusters after the Civil War was over. So freed slaves were looking for land and of course, where they were there wasn’t a lot of land available and Kansas was one of those states that advertised to come west and find a place to settle. So, Nicodemus was one of those great sites. And Gil Alexander lives in Nicodemus, fourth generation there. So, we’re gonna tell you an incredible story about Gil Alexander and his good friend from Mississippi. (Frank) Great. (Deb) It all started with a turkey. Rob Robinson is a good ole boy from Mississippi, a fireman in Starkville . He had been traveling to Kansas to hunt deer for 20 years when he turned his attention to turkeys. His second year of hunting, he landed the Kansas state record and bagged a 26 and a half pound bird. (It was number 7 in the world.) Rob was going for the grand slam of turkey hunting (four different types of bird) and headed for Nicodemus, Kansas. There, he knocked on the door of Gil Alexander, a 4th generation farmer and rancher, to ask permission to hunt on his land. Gil recalled the day three years later that Rob returned to ask if he could pitch a tent in Gil’s yard. Gil did not recall the name, but he sure remembered the Southern accent, an accent that often put him on edge. Gil grew up in the 1960s when images of the South on television were dominated by violence toward blacks. His own great-grandfather had escaped a plantation in Mississippi and joined the 10th Kansas Cavalry at Fort Leavenworth, the legendary Buffalo Soldiers. This Southern boy standing on Gil’s doorstep was the last person he expected to become such an important part of his life. Gil was on dialysis in the morning, cutting milo in the afternoons. He had gone to the top of the list for a kidney from a cadaver, but Rob said no, I’m giving you a kidney. In November of 2012, Rob came to Kansas City and celebrated Thanksgiving with Gil’s family and Monday they headed to the hospital.The organ match, said doctors, was closer than siblings. The kidney functioned immediately. It was an emotional moment for Gil to visit Rob in Mississippi and find himself in the same county in which his great grandfather was born a slave, just miles from Rob’s home. Rob’s white family welcomed him with open arms as a new member of the family. Since then, Rob and Gil have begun a new endeavor, Forever Outdoors, an organization that enables people with challenges to get outside and hunt and fish and do all those things these men have enjoyed. Rob says, we welcome veterans, kids, organ donors or recipients, cancer survivors — anyone with challenges to overcome. Rob envisions a 5-star resort in northwestern Kansas some day soon. In the meantime, they have held turkey hunts and muzzle loading shoots and other events to benefit the cause. Forever Outdoors has a FB page and those wishing to get involved may contact Rob at the number or email on our screen. And to think, it all started with a turkey.
(Frank) And again we’re back. You know there are a lot of really just great places all over the state of Kansas and some that are rather famous. There’s the Fox Theatre in Newton. (Deb) Right. (Frank) Which has been restored and they show the movie, “Picnic” there I believe on some occasions. And another movie theatre is actually the oldest continuously running movie theatre in the United States. There’s only one older and it’s in Europe. I believe it’s in Denmark. And so we’re gonna tell you a story about the theatre. It’s in Ottawa, Kansas, and they call it the “CineMagic” experience when you’re there. You can have dinner and a movie all in one place. (Deb) Awesome. (Frank) It’s very interesting. The theatre actually opened in 1907. It was refurbished in 1996 and it’s kind of ongoing. But I’m not gonna tell you the whole story now, cause then why would you want to stay tuned? (Deb) You know I think my friend Deb Barker worked on that project didn’t she? (Frank) Really? (Deb) She’s head of the… let me get this right…the Historical Society there in Ottawa. And I think she was one of the ones that worked on the documentation for that to prove that it really was the oldest and did some really difficult research. Because anybody can claim anything, but you have to to be able to document it. And I think Deb is the one who worked on that. (Frank) Yea, and it is on the Historic Register so they can put some modern accoutrements in it, but basically it kind of stays the way it was. (Deb) Awesome, let’s take a look. (Frank) We have been talking to you about some of the opera houses around the state of Kansas and some of them have been restored and some are in the process of being restored. But today I am going to talk to you about a movie theatre and the reason is because it is the oldest continuously operated movie theatre in the United States, perhaps the world. It is in Ottawa Kansas. It’s called the Plaza CineMagic Experience. The theatre has undergone extensive renovation and was restored to its original historic character – except with up-to-date sound, projection and seating. The theatre museum is open during the day and first run movies play in the evening. The theatre was opened in 1905 showing “The Great Train Robbery” and “The Great Bank Robbery,” of course two of the first movies ever made too.The theatre opened two years before a theatre in Denmark it opened in 1907. Therefore, it could be the oldest operating movie theatre in the world maybe, but it is the oldest continually operated movie theatre in America! The theatre also features the Plaza Grill that was part of the theatre from since 1907. And the grill of course has been updated I hear it has really good food, so you can do dinner and show all in one place. Also it is planned for the Plaza CineMagic Experience to have an ornate ticket booth with a talking mannequin to issue tickets – plus display of costumes worn in the movies by the stars that wore them, so there is a museum there, the theatre is operating and of course you can have dinner at the Plaza Grill. A unique experience – The Plaza CineMagic Experience in Ottawa. More fun Around Kansas!
(Deb) Like Frank said, there’s a lot of interesting things and I brought some things to show and tell this morning. (Frank) What is this thing? It looks like some sort of latch or something? (Deb) Torture instrument or whatever you can see. This is actually art in my home. I’m so easy to buy for. My Granddaughter’s family, on her Dad’s side, homesteaded in Lincoln County, I believe in the 1870s. And when they tore down an old barn recently he saved the latch for me. So, that latch… and you can show ’em. Isn’t that cool? Just a real simple little, old latch. But what a great memento for those old farming days in Lincoln County. They actually lived around Westfall. The Obermillers. So, that’s one of those things that I am putting up for Lulu, my Granddaughter to keep. I’m sure she’s gonna be thrilled. And you know, some time in the future we’re gonna talk to some of our friends who are really into metal detecting. And I’ve got a lot of buddies who are in to that and find some really cool things. This is what we found in Lecompton one day. This was actually on… where I used to live in Lecompton, my former husband’s home site, which was a territorial home site. So, I don’t know if these are territorial horse shoes, or if they’re just 50 years old, or if some horse passing on the highway threw one off. But I’m gonna have my metal detector buddies take a look at ’em and we’ll figure out how to find out what they are. (Frank) They most probably are hand forged because… (Deb) They look like it don’t they? (Frank) Yea, they really do. (Deb) Yea. My expert opinion…(Frank) Not that I know what it looks like. (Deb) …they might be hand forged, but you know, those are those things that help you tell the story and these were found in Lecompton. Lecompton was one of the Kansas Pride Communities this year. Got an award. So we’re gonna talk to you about all those communities working so hard to share their stories and improve their communities. Kansas Pride Communities. Stay tuned. The Kansas PRIDE Program is a partnership of K-State Research and Extension, the Kansas Department of Commerce, and Kansas PRIDE, Inc. and is all about building better Communities. It is dedicated to serving communities across the state and encouraging and assisting local government and volunteers in making their community a better place to live and work. Through the PRIDE program, local communities identify what they would like to preserve, create, or improve for their future. Then, working with the resources of K-State Research & Extension and the Kansas Department of Commerce, community volunteers pull together to create their ideal community plan. The Pride Communities of Excellence distinction is given to a community for a set period of three years. It honors local PRIDE volunteer groups that continuously work to improve their communities through activities such as determining the community’s needs, establishing goals, creating projects and celebrating successes. As Community of Excellence award winners, they are eligible to apply for Partners in PRIDE matching grants of up to $2,000 to fund future community improvements. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a proclamation earlier in the spring designating May 24-30 as this year’s Week of PRIDE. The 2015-2017 PRIDE Communities of Excellence are Glasco, Dover, Randolph, McFarland, Lecompton and Larned. If you have never been to one of these communities you should visit. They are putting forth the efforts and improvements to make their community a great place to live, entertain and grow. Isn’t that what Rural Kansas is all about? If you want to learn more about the Pride Program you can visit www.kansasprideprogram.ksu.edu
(Ron) Years ago there was a cartoonist named Gary Larson who wrote cartoons, some of which featured cows talking to each other. And it made for a funny cartoon because you wonder what animals would say to each other. This poem is entitled, “The Perfect Name.” Three new horses were talking over the pasture fence. They thought they’d get acquainted so their grazing could commence. “What’s your name?” They asked the first horse. And he swelled up with pride. “My owner calls me Champion, when we go out to ride.” They turned to the second horse and said, “So what’s your name?” Just as the first horse swelled with pride, the second did the same. “I got a cool name when I was just a colt. You see my owner always calls me Thunderbolt.” Then the other two turned to the final horse and they asked for him to tell his name of course. “Well I’m not exactly sure,” the other horse finally said. “From what I hear I think it’s ‘Whoa, you stupid Knucklehead.’ ” Happy Trails.
Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.