Kansan Major DeanA. Klenda, Esther Luttrell

(Frank) Today Around Kansas begins on a somber note as we send our kindest regards to the family of Kansan Major Dean A. Klenda who was recently buried after being shot down in Vietnam 51 years ago. Next meet Esther Luttrell, an accomplished author and screenwriter who makes her home in Topeka. Then enjoy a poem from Ron Wilson and we’ll end today at the Trails, Rails and Tails Festival.Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

(Frank Chaffin) Good grief, its Wednesday again already. I’m Frank. (Deb Goodrich) I’m Deb. (Frank) And this is Around Kansas, good morning. (Deb) And it’s the last Wednesday of September. (Frank) Already. (Deb) The last Wednesday. I can’t believe it. So the beautiful, beautiful autumn so far, and this Saturday I get to go on a bus tour, the Last Indian Raid Museum, Decatur County, Oberlin, has a bus tour of The Last Indian Raid. So it’s going to be a great time in Oberlin. Of course this is one of my favorite places with a lot of my favorite people, cool history. So it’s going to be great time. Come up and join us. (Frank) That is quite a place, when we lived out there in the mid-60s. Went over to The Last Indian Raid Memorial and all that so it’s pretty cool. (Deb) Was that the 1860s or the 1960s? (Frank) 1860s. [Laughter] (Deb) I feel pretty wicked today. Pretty wicked with October coming on and Halloween coming on. I do. Mark Yunker, a friend of ours from out there in Colorado, originally from Kansas, is always doing these Photoshop pictures. We want to thank Patti King for doing the Photoshop, the cartoon life that Frank and I have. Mark Yunker does the Photoshop stuff of me and I’m ready to– I’ll be posting this one again soon. Last year he did me as a witch, a really good-looking witch, too. So it’s like this really hot witch flying through the air with my face stuck on it so it was really cool. But yes. (Frank) Yes. (Deb) Ready to pull out the witch stuff and the flying monkeys and — (Frank) Have you have you discovered Prisma yet? (Deb) No. (Frank) Well, that’s an app that you can download and then you can take a picture yourself, or whatever. Then what it does is its various artist’s styles that you can choose so I’ve been kind of playing with that. (Deb) I saw, yes, some of your pictures on Facebook, I saw you. (Frank) Scream and the whole thing. (Deb) Cool. (Frank) It’s pretty fun. (Deb) And while we’re talking about photos, we want to give a shout out to Mike Anderson who I think lives right around Lindsborg. Mike had actually posted a picture on Facebook and I asked him if I could share it, because I’m always changing the cover photos on our Around Kansas Facebook page. And fortunately, there are just so many talented people that we can draw on around the state to take these gorgeous pictures. He had this incredible picture of Coronado Heights with the clouds and the lightning. It is stunning and it has had tens of thousands of views on Facebook now and it’s in the process of going viral as we speak. And if you didn’t see that one go back and check out our Facebook page and scroll back and check out Mike Anderson’s work and all the other photographers that share their work. And we invite you to share yours with us, too. (Frank) It is the most fantastic lightning display you’ve ever seen. (Deb) It’s something. (Frank) I think it ought to get sent to Weather Channel because I think those people will even go, “Wow.” (Deb) It looks like a medieval castle or something with that light. It does. It should be the cover of a book. [Laughter] Or in a movie. It’s really spectacular. It’s so nice to have such a talented audience out there, isn’t it Frank? (Frank) Yes, it is. (Deb) It is. And for all you talented folks we’ve got a great show coming up, stay with us.

(Frank) And we’re back. Aren’t you excited? (Deb) I know I am. (Frank) So anyway, well we do have some good stories today and one that we’re going – that’s coming up is one that — (Deb) It’s kind of bitter sweet. (Frank) Yes, it’s bitter sweet. So she’s going to be doing the story. Anyway, she’ll give you a little bit of background. (Deb) Major Dean Klenda, who was shot down in Vietnam 51 years ago. He was missing, they have all these official designations, they did not recover him until recently, recovered his remains. So he has been brought back to Kansas and laid to rest and that’s the story. Incredibly bitter sweet. And as we’ve talked before on this show and I’ve talked in other venues, we’re the Soldiers State. And so we’ve got a lot of veterans’ stories coming up for you this Fall. And December will mark the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Did you know the first man to shoot down a plane? (Frank) Was from Kansas. (Deb) Was from Kansas. So that’s a story that we’re going to feature in the first week in December, and we invite you to share your stories with us. You can find us on Facebook, you can send us an email and we’ll put those addresses on our screen. Or you can find them on our website. If you’d like to share the story of your particular veteran with us, we’d love to hear them and love to share them with our viewers. (Frank) So a story coming up about the hero from Marion, Kansas. (Deb) The Defense Department has announced that Air Force Maj. Dean A. Klenda, 25, of Marion, Kansas, was buried Sept. 17 in Pilsen. Fifty-one years earlier, on Sept. 17, 1965, Major Klenda was assigned to the 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron as the pilot of an F-105D Thunderchief that was attacking enemy targets in Son La Province, Vietnam. During Major Klenda’s mission, his aircraft was struck by enemy fire causing him to eject from the Thunderchief. He failed to separate from his ejection seat before it impacted the ground. Major Klenda was reported as missing in action; however, a military review board later amended his status to dead, body not recovered. Between 1993 and 1999, multiple joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam teams conducted investigations of the crash site. The teams identified the site that was believed to be where Major Klenda’s ejection seat impacted the ground. No remains were recovered at that time. On Nov. 10, 2011, another joint team re-investigated the loss and interviewed a Vietnamese national who claimed to have found remains at the site in 1996. He told the team that he discarded the remains in a field five kilometers away from the crash site. In November 2014, a joint team excavated the site described by the Vietnamese national and recovered human remains. In the identification of Major Klenda, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence and dental comparisons, including isotopic analysis, which matched his records. The support from the government of Vietnam was vital to the success of this recovery. Today there are 1,618 American servicemen and civilians that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. We here at AGam send our kindest thoughts to Major Klenda’s loved ones.

(Frank) Hello. I thought you were going to go first. [Laughter] (Deb) You never let me go first. Why should I think I was going first? (Frank) I don’t know. I was just sleeping. (Deb) He never lets me first. (Frank) I’m suffering from hay fever today, so excuse me I’m going to take a nap. (Deb) Yes. Excuses, excuses. He never lets me go first, does he? Anyway, speaking of equal rights for women, our next topic, Esther Luttrell, our dear friend, a good friend to Frank and me both. Esther, so multi-talented and she has written so many novels that use people we know and places we know for settings. So we’ve both been included in that, haven’t we Frank? (Deb) WREN radio has figured prominently? (Frank) WREN radio was, in one of her novels, which is a murder mystery that takes place in the NOTO Arts District where the WREN studio is and it involves WREN’s staff members and all that. None of us was the murderer. (Deb) No, but I was the intended murderee, murdered in absentia. (Frank) Yes, that’s right. (Deb) Yes I was the one in Magenta who was the intended murderee and survived to show up in another novel. I was a thinly disguised as beloved radio talk show host, Deb Goodman. [Laughter] (Frank) Yes. Deb Goodman. [Laughter] (Deb) But our friend Esther has just taken it to new levels in the month September. We’re so proud of her, so proud of her. (Frank) September was a big month for our friend, Esther Luttrell. The accomplished author who makes her home in Topeka was the screenwriter for a film that premiered in Oklahoma, Te Ata; and her book, Evidence of God was released. We think our viewers will be interested in both projects! Te Ata is based on the inspiring, true story of Mary Thompson Fisher, a woman who traversed cultural barriers to become one of the greatest Native American performers of all time. Born in Indian Territory, and raised on the songs and stories of her Chickasaw tribe, Te Ata’s journey to find her true calling led her through isolation, discovery, love and a stage career that culminated in performances for a United States President, European royalty and audiences across the world. Yet, of all the stories she shared, none are more inspiring than her own. Esther spent months researching this remarkable life, finding details that bring Te Ata to life on screen. Throughout her career, Esther has worked with and counted among her friends and coworkers some of the most important names in the entertainment industry. She has also known great personal tragedy and has found healing in her writing. In sharing her own stories of loss and inspiration, she found other stories, experiences of faith, and from these, Esther has found Evidence of God. This is not a “preachy” book; it is a book of compassion and insight, and much comfort. The world is a richer place because of Esther’s life and work.

(Ron Wilson) One of the key pieces of equipment which a cowboy uses in modern times is the livestock trailer. This poem is a tribute to the livestock trailer. I wrote this poem on the back of the sale barn receipt while I was sitting in line at the sale barn getting ready to unload cattle. It’s called, Hitch Me Up. There are red ones and blue ones, silver and gray. Some are splattered with manure, some leaking hay. Some are dark or muddy, some are clean or white. There’s Titans and Travalongs, Sooners and Featherlites. There’s Trailmann, Ruff Neck, CM and Diamond C. And some of them look downright homemade to me. Most have goose neck attachments but some are bumper pull. Some have a big dent from carrying a bull. Some are riding low from carrying heavy loads. Some look like they’ve banged down too many gravel roads. Some need a paint job, some are coated with dust. Some look like antiques that are nothing but rust. They’re used to haul cattle or horses or hay, and they’re parked at the sale barn during sale day. They’re going to and from pasture at different times of the year, during County Fair they’re hauling in the show steer. There might even be a time in your child’s search for knowledge, that the trailer’s cleaned up to haul the kid’s stuff to college. So we salute the livestock trailer, in fact we might say, that it’s a vital support for the cowboy, it’s behind him all the way. Happy Trails.

(Frank) Okay, I’ll go first this time. We’re back. [Laughter] (Frank) Don’t you love our table setting today? (Deb) We had a lovely floral arrangement that we had to move out of the way so you could see us, but it’s also pretty decked out for a party tonight at the Dillon House. I wasn’t invited. Were you invited? (Frank) No. So anyway. (Deb) I thought they lost it. (Frank) Yes. The Dillon House is a great place for you to have your parties, so you might check it out. (Deb) And you might invite us, too. Speaking of talented friends like we talked about already. Jeff Davidson and Ron Wilson are two more of our talented friends. Ron Wilson of course, you see every week on Around Kansas along with us. (Frank) The poet lariat. (Deb) The poet lariat. (Frank) Not laureate, lariat. (Deb) And our very talented cameraman, Michael Goehring actually interviewed them out in Abilene recently when they had their festival out there. Those guys with the Western Music Association do some awfully cool stuff and we’re so proud to be connected with them in any way. Michael did a great job, and we’re thrilled to have Michael with us. He’s more than just a pretty face Frank. (Frank) Now you mentioned Abilene and one time I was kind of a smart aleck and was going “Abilene, Abilene.” I said, actually it was about Abilene, Texas. Well I stand corrected because a viewer did say, “No, no, no.” It was originally about Abilene, Kansas but Abilene, Texas stole it. So there you go. (Deb) I believe that viewer was Roger Ringer, who is a past officer with the Western Music Association. Kudos Roger, shout out to you. (Frank) Yes. So anyway, thank you for the information. (Deb) [Laughs] Let’s take a look. (Ron) We are here in Historic Old Abilene Town, celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Chisholm Trail. Ron Wilson here with Jeff Davidson. The city of Abilene has hosted a special festival, “Trails, Rails, and Tails.” Jeff, there was an awful lot of stuff going on this weekend. (Jeff Davidson) This was a big weekend. It was a lot of fun, really was. (Ron) The Kansas Chapter of the Western Music Association, of which Jeff is president, provided music both Saturday and Sunday here at the festival. But there were cattle drives, there was a melodrama, there were all kinds of food, and vendors, and gunfights as always on the Main Street of Old Abilene Town. (Jeff) That’s right. And then Red Steagall was the kind of grand finale last night right before the fireworks, and we also had the Native Americans, which I thought was a nice touch. The Chisholm Trail came through their country, which was Oklahoma, where it became Oklahoma, at that time. (Ron) So we had both cowboys and Indians here in Historical Old Abilene Town. One of the most interesting parts was the cattle drive, there were longhorn cattle, actual longhorn steers that were brought up from Woodward, Oklahoma, had a daily cattle drive around the park, and then the culmination was the loading of the cattle onto the steam engine and the train to go east. (Jeff) That’s right, and that was super and drew quite a crowd. It was certainly fun to watch those longhorns get on, and they had horns long enough that you had to tilt their head a little bit to get through the door on that cattle car. (Ron) The history of Abilene is that Joseph McCoy, an Illinois cattle buyer, came down the railroad line through Kansas after the civil war looking for a community to host the stockyards, where they could bring all those wild longhorns up from Texas to the railroad so they could go east to the cattle markets there. There was a Joseph McCoy interpreter who made remarks at the cattle loading, and then they had actually built a wooden loading chute that resembled one of the original loading chutes for cattle. (Jeff) Yes, and I think it was actually quite accurate. I think it was a very good replica of what they actually used. And you might even mention that Joseph McCoy, more or less designed the cattle car himself. And we were using one from the 1860s; it was actually that old, so that was interesting. (Ron) That’s tremendous. The Texas drovers, when they were moving those cattle north, found that they could follow the ruts of the wagon trains that were left by freight wagons that were going down to the Indian tribes in Oklahoma. The man who was doing the trading was a half Indian trader by the name of Jesse Chisholm. And so the Chisholm Trail got its name. Why was the Western Music Association part of this event? (Jeff) Well we talked to Abilene when we knew they were going to do a show, and actually we were talking about doing one actually next year, on the 150th year. But this year, this is actually 149 years since the cattle started coming up the trail, which was 1867 by the way. And so Abilene decided to kick it off with the show this year, and then they’re going to culminate it with even a bigger event, bigger show next year. And so we talked to him that, “Hey. We’re the Western Music Association, the Kansas chapter. We would like to be a part of your celebration and with all you’re doing.” And so they said, “Sure. Come ahead.” And it’s been a great event, and from everything I’m hearing, the people really like what we did, so that’s great. (Ron) There is a group that’s meeting to plan events all year long, culminating in the 150th anniversary, so be watching for more information about that. If you’d like to find out more information about the Chisholm Trail celebration, go to Chisholmtrail150.org.

(Frank) [Laughs] We have to go. I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And we’ll see you somewhere – (Frank and Deb) – Around Kansas.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

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