Kansas Day, “Legislature 101”

(Frank) Today on Around Kansas we start with the story of Kansas Day, born in Paola in 1877 as a classroom lesson. Then enjoy “Legislature 101”, a look at the Kansas Legislature and how to participate in our state government. Then enjoy a poem from Ron Wilson and we’ll end with “Bison” a traveling exhibit at Goodland’s High Plains Museum, on loan from the National Buffalo Museum.Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

(Frank Chaffin) A good Wednesday morning. I am Frank. (Deb Goodrich) I’m Deb. (Frank) And this is Around Kansas. (Deb) Sunday is Kansas Day. (Frank) And you’re sitting there with a whole lap full of books. (Deb) I am. What was that thing I saw on Facebook the other day? If somebody follows me, they’ll end up in a bookstore. (Frank) [Laughs] (Deb) That’s me. One of my girlfriends helped me move one time several years ago, and she said, “I’ve never seen so many books in my life, and not one I would read”. [Laughter] (Deb) Because here are all kinds of topics but apparently, I didn’t have these at the time or she would have wanted them. These are some that I was just going through the other day because, looking for story ideas, Kansas Curiosities. And no, Frank, we aren’t in there. I’m sure they just overlooked us. And yes, that one’s pretty well worn. David Dary, True Tales of Prairies and Plains. David Dary is our go-to guide. David Dary has written I don’t know how many books, that– Along the Santa Fe Trail, and just all kinds of stuff. But this is a great book, and Kansas figures prominently. And then we have, Myths and Mysteries of Kansas, true stories of the unsolved and unexplained. Nor do we show up in that one, Frank. That would be the good news. This is my favorite, Buried Treasures of the Great Plains, by W.C. Jameson. This has got some fantastic stories and obviously, it’s not just Kansas, but there’s, it’s rare that I come across a story that I have not heard before, because I’ve been around for a long time, Frank. (Frank) [Laughs] (Deb) And I’ve been nosing around and asking questions for a long time. This one had some real jewels that I have not heard. And apparently, Frank, there is a lot of unaccounted for treasure out here in Kansas. (Frank) Oh, I imagine. (Deb) Of course, we’ve got a lot of miles in which to look, but- (Frank) [Laughs] That’s it. Well, there is a famous one that Jesse James buried treasure over in Kansas too, and they did find coins and stuff where supposedly Jesse James buried it. Now, whether it was him or not, I don’t know, but they did discover stuff. (Deb) Well there’s been a little, there’s one of these stories, Richmond, which used to be a town, I think in Nemaha County, there is supposedly a treasure buried there where guys that come back from the gold fields and for various circumstances had to bury the treasure, then didn’t get back to claim it. And the story has it that these birds were shot, the guy was out hunting birds, and when he takes his birds home to clean them, he finds gold nuggets in the birds. Man, that’s pretty good evidence. (Frank) [Laughs] (Deb) Yes, on your, there’s still time, January is not over, to make some resolutions, go treasure hunting. And what treasure in books? These are some really great finds. (Frank) Yes. (Deb) We’re here for you. We’ll be right back.

(Frank) We’re back again. This is Around Kansas, by the way, in case you just tuned in. (Deb) And we talk about Kansas. And this Sunday happens to be Kansas Day. (Frank) Home, Home on the Range. (Deb) And when I first moved to Kansas, this is one thing that struck me, having grown up in Virginia, which is the most historic state, but we didn’t celebrate Virginia Day. Name another state that celebrates the day they became a state. That is pretty awesome. And this Sunday, we’ll be celebrating with Home on the Range, with a documentary. We are going to have a screening at the Fort Wallace Museum, and I’m sure we’ll have some bites to eat too, so I think it’s two o’clock in the afternoon, come and see us at the museum and have a little bite and enjoy the movie. But there are going to be celebrations all over the state. And there are going to be school kids doing stuff all week long, and I think Kansas Day is just one of the coolest traditions I’ve ever encountered. And, do you know the Song of the Kansas Emigrant? (Frank) No. (Deb) All right. I can’t sing, but I’m going to attempt it for you, “We cross the prairies as our old, our fathers crossed the sea, to make the West as they made the East, the homestead of the free.” (Frank) I’ve never heard that before. Except the Auld Lang Syne part. (Deb) Well, that’s the, it’s to the tune of Auld Lang Syne but John Greenleaf Whittier wrote the song in 1854. Song of the Kansas Emigrant. So, I’ve actually sung that with school children that did a much better job than I did, but-, how did we get to celebrate Kansas Day? We’ll tell you. For the story of Kansas Day, we turn to an article written in 1932 by Esther Clark Hill, Kansas Historical Society. Kansas Day was born in Paola in 1877 when the students were studying US history in the classroom of Alexander LeGrande Copley. On that day, January 8, the lesson happened to be the Battle of New Orleans. When the students realized that 62 years before to the very hour, General Jackson’s riflemen were peppering the British redcoats from behind the cotton bales, their interest in history was born. The whole school awoke to patriotism on that anniversary and decided to celebrate their pride in Kansas. It was announced that the afternoon of January 29 would be set apart for the study of Kansas, its geography, its history and its resources. For two weeks the students were busy outside of school getting together every available piece of information concerning Kansas. They searched encyclopedias, plied parents with questions, and stirred the whole community to furnish local history, statistics and valuable and interesting facts bearing upon that one subject. The eventful day came. The blackboard extended three-quarters of the way around the room and was fairly covered by the pupils with careful drawings of the state seal and maps of the state. The motto of the state was conspicuous in red and blue chalk. The banner counties in wheat, corn, oats, hay, cattle, hogs, horses, sheep and even mules were on the board. On the board were also the Kansas songs, like Whittier’s “Song of the Kansas Emigrant”. In 1879 Copley became superintendent of the schools in Wichita, and, of course, the day was appropriately observed there and he encouraged other teachers to follow suit. In 1882, the first Northwestern Teachers Association was held in Beloit. It was then and there decided that a small pamphlet should be published giving the concise information about the state, songs and sample speeches suitable for the proper observance of the day. Del Valentine, of the Clay Center Dispatch, printed the book. Kansas Day continued to grow for more than 130 years. Today it is celebrated by teachers and students across the state.

(Frank) We do have fun here all on a Wednesday and hope that you do too and enjoy our show. (Deb) Except for this next segment, which Frank gets to do, which is about the legislature, so it’s not really fun. (Frank) Well and see, we do this at the Dillon House, which is right across from the State Capitol. And, of course, the Dillon House is a nice, peaceful, beautiful place to come. Right now, you really don’t want to be across the street. (Deb) [Laughs] (Frank) No, I’m just kidding. (Deb) Of course, a lot of those people are going to be coming over here, pretty shortly probably, so- (Frank) In other words, the Kansas Legislature is currently meeting, and they have been now for a few weeks and- (Deb) Remember the old joke? Custer was in Kansas quite a bit, before the Little Bighorn, and the old joke is that right before Custer left Kansas he’s told the legislation, “Don’t do anything until I get back”. [Laughter] (Deb) That’s my favorite legislature joke. (Frank) That was what? 1876, so- (Deb) Very good, Frank. (Frank) That’s about right, yes. (Deb) Yes, very good, yes. (Frank) So, they’re just holding to it. (Deb) Yes. They’re holding, that’s right, God bless them. (Frank) Well, of course, there are a lot of jokes about them and they deserve it. But, nevertheless, we’ve got an overview of the Kansas Legislature and some things maybe you didn’t know about. (Deb) And how you can keep up with them over there and all the stuff if they do something [Laughs]. (Frank) How to get a hold of them. (Deb) How to get ahold of them. (Frank) [Laughs] Yes, anyway, let’s take a look. The Kansas Legislature has been in session for a couple of weeks now. Our Kansas Legislature is technically a part-time job. So, those serving have to have other jobs or sources of income. And if you care about a particular issue, let them know. Our legislature consists of a 125-member House of Representatives and a 40-member Senate. Representatives are elected for a two-year term and Senators are elected for a four-year term. The Legislature convenes on the second Monday in January for an annual session and generally adjourns in early May. The Legislature is supported by five non-partisan staff agencies. There is an excellent website which provides the information needed to contact Senators and Representatives; track the status and content of a bill; read supplementary reports and publications; find out what is happening in the chambers or committees; and look at the current statutes. Also, a live audio broadcast of the House and Senate chambers allows the public to listen to debate on bills and issues. Information about the chambers, committees, or individual legislators can be found using the appropriate tabs at the top of this page. During the Session, House and Senate Calendars provide information about business to be considered in the chambers and a weekly agenda of committee meetings. The Journals are the historical record of activity in the chambers. Information regarding the status or content of bills and the content of the laws can be found under the Bills and Laws tab. In addition to the website, the public can access a variety of information by calling the Legislative Hotline, a free service provided by the State Library. Librarians are available by instant message chat. Stay informed, and keep our government accountable.

(Ron Wilson) When I went to the County Fair recently, and then again when I go to the State Fair, one of the first things that strikes me when I go to the livestock barns is all the noise. This poem is entitled Sounds Fair. As I arrived at the fair grounds, the first thing that struck me was the variety of sounds I heard in broad cacophony. The bucket calves were bawling, horses neighing, head to tail. In the back, the geese were honking, hogs were grunting by the scale. In the pens, the lambs were baaing and the goats were loudly bleating, while people exchanged smiles and called out a happy greeting. A diesel pick-up chugged up to discharge its trailer load, while a maintenance man putted by in a gator on the road. There were cries of “mom” and “dad” as families made their way, to put their carefully prepared 4-H exhibits on display. It is project check-in time as the fair is just beginning. The voices of 4-H’ers show their excited hopes of winning. It is an amazing collection of sounds that I hear at the fair as the 4-H’ers annual projects all appear. Now the roar seems to subside and there’s a lowering of the den as the entries are checked-off and the livestock settle in. Our county agent has been hustling all around the grounds. Now, he stops to take a breath as the flurry settles down. “So what do you hear?”, I asked, as he drops into a chair. “Well”, he replied, “It sounds like a County Fair.” Happy Trails.

(Frank) Back again. Okay, now this next story, is it tatanka, bison or buffalo? (Deb) Okay, I think, well, if you were here before we got here, white Europeans, I guess it would be tatanka, or whatever the other tribes might have called it. I don’t know what the Cheyenne word was. I think tatanka was Sioux, if I’m saying that correctly. (Frank) Yes. (Deb) We had a lot of Cheyenne and other tribes here in what became Kansas, so I’m not sure what their word for the bison was. But, of course, Europeans called it buffalo which is not correct, that is wrong. But, when I came to Kansas, when I moved to Kansas, Noelle was just a baby, and we went out to the Kansas State Historical Society and she is in a stroller and she picks up a bison. She picks up a little stuffed bison, she carries it around, I thought she would get tired, well she didn’t. So she kept that, and that became like her teddy bear, like most kids sleep with a teddy bear she slept- (Frank) [Laughs] (Deb) -and she couldn’t say buffalo, so she called it Baba. (Frank) Baba. (Deb) So, her little buffalo, Baba. So, about that time, Ted Turner was doing all the stuff with the bison up in Montana, and I wrote him a letter and sent him a picture of my beautiful child with her little buffalo and he was raising- (Deb) bison and giving, he had a huge herd. I said, “I applaud what you’re doing, yada, yada.” He sent me back the most beautiful letter, blue embossed stationery with this buffalo–bison embossed on the stationery and all these and I said, “Well, being a Southern boy, I thought you’d appreciate that Noelle calls her buffalo, Baba.” It was a really nice thing, but the bison is our state mammal, it is also is our national mammal, and there is a great exhibit, just started on Monday out in Goodland that you’re going to have to go see. They’ve got some great events around it, so it’s your opportunity to learn an awful lot about the bison? Buffalo? (Frank) Bison. (Deb) You say bison, I say buffalo. (Frank) Shuffle off to Buffalo? (Deb) The traveling exhibit “Bison” opened January 23 and will run until Mid-March at Goodland’s High Plains Museum. The exhibit is on loan from the National Buffalo Museum and is made possible through the support of the Kauffman Museum, National Bison Foundation, and Klemm Buffalo Ranch. The exhibit will explore the past, present and future of the state and national mammal, said museum director Sami Philbrick, creating an interactive environment that combines history, artifact, and hands-on activities to bring to life the story of this great North American mammal. As a teaching aide, a live bison will be visiting the museum this Saturday from 9-5, Mountain Time. In addition to the exhibit, on Saturday, February 18, the High Plains Museum with the Klemm Buffalo Ranch will host the National Bison Association workshop Bison Advantage. The program begins at 8 am Mountain Time at the Prairie Lodge, located on the Klemm Ranch, northeast of Goodland on Hwy 18. Lunch will be served followed by tours of the Bison Ranch. That evening, a panel discussion will be held at the museum, “Bison and Modern Day Agriculture.” On Saturday March 11 the museum will host the program “Buffalo on the High Plains: Sharing Local Buffalo History” where they invite the public to come with their own bison stories and artifacts to share for the day. Ken has been raising bison since 1987 and hopes the exhibit and activities will help folks gain a better appreciation for the natural world around them and understand that there is a brand new, exciting industry rising from the prairie grasses right now – and they can be part of it! “The American Bison is an icon worldwide and we live right smack in the middle of their native range,” Ken said. “The very soil we stand on was made through the action of billions of hoof marks. Our history is intertwined with theirs. Their brush with extinction and mankind’s reversal of behavior showcases both the weaknesses and the beauty of mankind. We’re pleased to help bring this amazing story to Goodland.”

(Frank) That’s it we’re done again. I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. Happy Kansas Day, everybody. (Frank) We’ll see you somewhere around Kansas.

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

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