Koester House, Earl Roemer

(Frank Chaffin) Today on Around Kansas join us for a tour of the Koester House in Marysville for a look at life before the turn of the century. Then enjoy a story about Earl Roemer, founder and President of Nu Life Market in Scott City. Next we’ll help you get ready for the upcoming Eclipse on Monday, August 21st; and we’ll end with a look at Wild Bill Hickok, in real life and in film. Stay with us!Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

(Frank Chaffin) And a very good day to you. I’m Frank. (Deb Goodrich) I’m Deb. (Frank) And this is Around Kansas. Guys, it’s the second day of August already. (Deb) Oh man, and we have been so busy. It’s taken this long to recover from our events at Fort Lawrence and all the big expo – we’re still getting feedback from that, all the wonderful things that happened and wonderful people. Really wonderful time and invite everybody to come out and see the new addition to the Museum at Fort Wallace and the statue of Scout William Comstock by Jerry Tomas. It looks awesome. And while we are talking about artists, I want to put in a plug. The painting behind us – we’re in our brand new studio for the first time and the painting behind us, yes Ben, would you show them the painting please? Is by our friend Caitlin Cobb who is a very accomplished artist, this is one of my favorites, and that is from the Flint Hills and if I remember what Caitlin said about it, that’s not an actual place, that’s a combination of couple of places. The bridge is from one place, the hills. She took those shots and combined them. If you’re looking for that specific spot, you won’t see it exactly. Isn’t that wonderful? (Frank) I see a tree there. (Deb) Looks familiar? [Laughs] (Frank) I’m missing one from my yard. (Deb) Well, she just is one of our incredibly talented friends and just an amazing artist and a wonderful person. We are thrilled to showcase her work and if you have work you have to showcase, we’d be happy to take all. (Frank) Is this for sale? I would assume so. (Deb)-No, this was a gift. This is actually mine. No, this is not for sale. (Frank) Never mind. (Deb) Yes, if you want to showcase some of your art, we could switch it back. Wouldn’t that be awesome? (Frank) Yes, we have a very nice place now I am showcasing. (Deb) Don’t we? (Frank) Yes, when we get boring, Michael will just – (Deb) [Laughs] (Frank) – swing up and look at the art. (Deb) Yes, just look at the art. That’s right, just look at the art. My fried Tom Ross has been doing some new stuff and he did the Spartacus exhibit. He lives in Lamy, New Mexico and he just an incredible artist. He did this exhibit on Spartacus and the whole series on Spartacus and I wrote poetry to go with this exhibit. Yes, nerd day. Nerd alert folks. We’re going to put that together into some kind of book or exhibit or something. The poetry and the art. He started out with Western stuff, so the other day he did these Indians shooting bows into the air and it’s almost like Spartacus mixed with Wild West. And it’s just the coolest piece. It’s wonderful. (Frank) Southwest of Spartacus. (Deb) Yes, it’s cool. It’s really cool. We have a lot of very artistic, very talented friends, don’t we Frank? (Frank) I guess so. Yes. (Deb) I guess we do. I guess we do. And we get to talk about some of them on the air, which is a lot of fun to share them with you. (Frank) Any ideas you have of people, places and things around the state of Kansas, let us know. We’ll be happy to do stories on them. (Deb) We might not know everybody. We may have missed a few. (Frank) A couple of people. (Deb) Couple of people out there we may have missed along the way. Let us know.

(Frank) [Singing] Please Mr. Custer, I don’t want to go – (Deb) It’s not Custer, Its Koester. Koester and I hope I am spelling that correctly. Yes, I do remember that song actually. (Frank) And I thought we were going to do a story about Custer. Never mind, I was taking a nap. (Deb) Not that I don’t usually take advantage of the time to do Custer, but we’re doing Koester; the Castor house in Marysville. And I loved it when the house stories. I love home tours. I have the Kansa Home Tours and all those fund raising events. One of my jobs in my past life, I worked for the Winston-Salem Journal Sentinel in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in the home place section. It was just me and my boss, who reminds a bit of you Frank. We just went around looking for cool houses to write about. It was the best job ever. It paid dirt, but it was the most fun job, because you’d go through this mansions and what was the most fun were people that had money and imagination. If you had money, you could do anything, but if you had money and imagination, those were some cool homes. (Frank) Okay. Then what we need to do, is do some stories about some of the homes in Old West Lawrence. (Deb) Yes. (Frank) I lived in Old West Lawrence center; a block over was one of the houses that was spared by Quantrill’s raiders because the raider that knocked on the door was German. The woman who came to the door was German. He said, “Okay.” And the door is still there. The original door of the house is there and it has a musket ball in it. So there are lots of really cool things over there too. (Deb) There are cool houses, lets take a look at one. The Koester House Museum, nestled in the heart of downtown Marysville, is an excellent place to take a look at life in Marysville before the turn of the century. Luxuriously furnished with the Koester belongings, including family portraits, clothing, toys and books, furniture and household items, the house is a rare gem. Completed in 1876, renovated carefully since the 1970s, it is open to the public through the generosity of the Koester heirs. Surrounded by a brick wall and with cast iron lions and dogs guarding its gates, the grounds of the house are nearly as interesting as the interior. A summer kitchen, ice house, carriage house and statuary make a stroll through this family’s yard an experience to remember. A rare collection of white bronze, zinc, sculptures which the owner acquired to enhance his yard and gardens has been restored and is on display in the museum yard. The cast iron lions and dogs at the gates were noted by Laura Ingalls Wilder in “On the Way Home,” a diary of her family’s journey in 1894 from South Dakota to Missouri. These statues have also been restored, along with cast iron urns, yard furniture and a fountain. The Koester family came to America in 1850 from Germany. Charles F. Koester arrived in Marysville in 1860. He engaged in business and was recorder and treasurer of Marshall County. He joined his brother-in-law in the bank, which became the Exchange Bank of Schmidt & Koester. Mrs. Koester died at the age of 35 from consumption, leaving her husband with two small children. Eventually the Koester family developed an entire block, which had two homes, one now a museum and the other a restaurant, several business buildings and a park. The entire block was given to the city of Marysville by the Koester heirs in 1977. It is open April through October, and by appointment November through March.

(Frank) Well, I shouldn’t start another segment with a song that has nothing to do with what we’re going to talk about. (Deb) So what else is then? (Frank) I don’t know. Okay, anyway. There are a lot of interesting people and places in Kansas. That’s why we do this show and there are a lot of people that have no idea that there are a lot of manufacturers in this state. Of course, in Kansas I don’t know if it’s really unique, but Fuller Brush Man. Did you ever see the Fuller Brush Man in North Carolina? Well you know, they’re made in Kansas. (Deb) No, I didn’t know that. (Frank) It’s there. And we’ll do a story on that too. There are a lot more manufacturers here, Grasshopper lawnmowers. They’re made here. (Deb) I didn’t know that. (Frank) Yes, Big Dog lawnmowers, motorcycles made here. (Deb) You killing me Frank, I really didn’t know that. (Frank) There is a lot of innovation in the state. Sometimes, people may join the service or they had to go fight in a war, but when they come back, they had some ideas and they were able to develop it. The next story is going to be about someone who came back to the state of Kansas and wanted more helpful food. That’s what the story is about. It’s called Nu Life and there’s a Nu Life Market. Lets take a look at the story. This is Kansas Profile from Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University. Food is necessary for life. For those with food allergies, the right kind of food is vital. When someone with gluten intolerance or another food allergy finds a tasty food, which is healthy for them, it can be like a new lease on life. Today we’ll meet a Kansas entrepreneur whose company is helping supply those needs with a Farm to Family food safety program. Earl Roemer is founder and president of Nu Life Market in Scott City. Nu Life Market business development manager Rachel Klataske shared his story. Earl’s family has farmed in the high plains of Kansas for four generations. As do many western Kansas farmers, his family grew grain sorghum, also called milo, as a feed grain crop for livestock. Earl became intrigued by grain sorghum’s potential as a human food source. “Earl is a scientist by training and a farmer by background,” Rachel said. He started researching the potential use of grain sorghum as a human food crop. According to one account, the early grain sorghum products “tasted like cardboard and the texture was like sand.” Now they are much improved. K-State food science professor Dr. Fadi Aramouni helped with research, which significantly improved the quality and appeal of the product. K-State researchers even developed an award-winning recipe based on sorghum flour. In 2007, Earl founded his own business to produce and market sorghum-based products and sell sorghum ingredients to other food companies. The company was named Nu Life Market. Facilities were built in Scott City to accommodate the careful processing which allergen-free products require. With the increased interest in gluten-free products such as sorghum flour, the demand for Nu Life Market products has grown significantly as has the company’s workforce. For example, Rachel Klataske studied Bakery Science at K-State and was a product developer for Post cereals in Michigan before coming back to Kansas. She is now business development manager for Nu Life Market and her husband Ryan Klataske is a cultural anthropologist who has taught at K-State. Sorghum is an ancient grain. Traces of it have been found from 8,000 years ago in Egypt. In recent years, it has been grown in the U.S. as a water conserving alternative to corn. Kansas is dominant in sorghum production. An estimated 52 percent of U.S. sorghum production comes from Kansas alone. The gluten-free and other properties of sorghum flour, such as its non-GMO status, now make it especially popular as a human food ingredient. “Some sorghum varieties are even higher in antioxidants than blueberries,” Rachel said. The Nu Life Market processing facility was carefully designed and constructed in Scott City. “No allergen containing grain comes into the facility,” Rachel said. The facility is dairy, peanut, and soy-free. As mentioned, Nu Life Market implemented a Farm to Family food safety program. This includes strict selection of fields, careful cleaning of equipment to prevent cross-contamination, processing in its dedicated facility, certification by the Gluten Free Certification Organization, and accredited third-party testing of the finished products. The flours are milled into a silky, fine particle size, which is ideal for gluten-free baking. Packaging is designed to extend the product’s shelf life. “Demand for our products is growing very fast,” Rachel said. Sorghum can be found in more than a thousand products, such as gluten free baked goods, cereal bars and snacks, represented by some 80 brands. Nu Life Market is shipping its products coast to coast and beyond. “Since production of this grain uses less water, we are helping the environment and helping people’s lives,” Rachel said. That is an impressive contribution by this company, created by a family which still farms at the nearby rural community of Healy, population 387 people.

(Deb) Welcome back folks. Yes, let me talk a little bit Frank. The eclipse, of course, is coming up and people have been planning that for months and if you want a hotel in Nebraska, forget it, or northeastern Kansas, forget it. People are renting out their yards. I have a friend doing a history program in Laramie, Wyoming. She’s been trying for months to find a hotel room. They were up to $950,000 and they just weren’t available at all. It’s pretty crazy. (Frank) Wait, $950,000 for a room? (Deb) $950 to a thousand. (Frank) Okay, I was going to say – (Deb) That’s for Motel Six. (Frank) – I hope they would have a room. (Deb) We’re just talking Motel Six for that amount of money. (Frank) Or staying in it. Now I got it. (Deb) Brenda Culbertson, our, I feel like she our resident astronomer here, has been putting together a private viewing and has been teaching people along the way. This has been a real teaching moment for people all over and we’re in northeastern Kansas, is in the direct path of the eclipse. I guess everybody is going to get some kind of eclipse. But for the total eclipse where the northeast corner of Kansas is in the path. That’s pretty exciting stuff. (Frank) Yes, it is. It is, it is. (Michael Goehring) People from all over the world have been booking flights and hotel rooms for months. They have been planning their vacations around this event, organizing watch parties, studying and ordering supplies. The Eclipse is almost here. On Monday, August 21, 2017, anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights: a total solar eclipse. The path travels through the very far NE corner of the Sunflower State, and the center line passes right over Troy at 1:05:55pm. Folks in Atchison, Hiawatha, and Seneca will have front row seats as well, though the folks in Leavenworth might want to head over to St. Joe, according to the website Eclipse 2017. Kansas State University and the Flint Hills Discovery Center will be joining together with Highland Community College to provide a day of great education and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere, the corona, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk. The registration fee for this event is $35 for the general public and $25 for K-State students. Meals are not included. Kindergarten through 12th grade students may attend with a registered adult participant. Preregistration is required.

(Frank) Now I really don’t have a song for this, wouldn’t bet anyway. (Deb) You know what? I tried to get the song. JB King from the Shyster Mountain Gang wrote this wonderful song called Aces and Eights and its about, that’s the hand that, supposedly, Wild Bill Hickok was holding on this day in 1876 when he was shot and killed in Deadwood, South Dakota. But of course, Hickok has so many ties to Kansas and that’s what this next segment is about. I tried to get a hold of JB and see if we could get that song. We will play it for you sometime, because it’s actually a really good, despite the fact that JB wrote it. It is a really good song and the Shyster Mountain Gang, I love those guys. (Frank) Yes. I know I’ve heard the song. I know I’ve heard the song. (Deb) Its really fun and I used to MC at Wheatstock. I was not able to this year. The Shyster Mountain Gang is always one of the regulars there, Seth Valerius and Larry Demit. Such great guys and I’ve said JB song Aces and Eights. If you get a chance to hear it. Its awesome. The legendary James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok began his career as a Kansas lawman in 1858 in the hamlet of Monticello, on the bluffs of the river near present day Kansas City. Born in Illinois, Hickok spent a decade in and out of Kansas working as a wagon master, special policeman, government scout and guide, and Deputy U.S. Marshal. His exploits in the West were published in an 1867 issue of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine that brought him national recognition. In 1869 he was elected Marshal of Hays, serving until 1870. During his tenure Hays was a rough frontier town whose population consisted primarily of buffalo hunters, soldiers, and railroad workers. In 1871 Hickok was hired as Abilene’s Town Marshal during its last big year as a cattle town. He earned a reputation for being a quick draw and for spending most of his time playing cards in the saloon. It was in Abilene that Hickok met his future wife, Agnes Lake. Wild Bill captured the public’s imagination then and now and has been portrayed on television and film many times, most recently in the film Hickok starring Luke Hemsworth. Other actors who have played the legendary lawman are: William S. Hart; Gary Cooper in the 1936 film The Plainsman; Moe in The Three Stooges ; Wild Bill Elliott; Roy Rogers; Richard Dix ; Bruce Cabot; Howard Keel; Forrest Tucker; Tom Brown; Robert Culp; Don Murray in a 1966 remake of 1936 film with the same title The Plainsman ; Jeff Corey in Little Big Man; Charles Bronson in the 1977 film The White Buffalo; Richard Farnsworth; Jeff Bridges in the 1995 film Wild Bill; Sam Elliott in the 1995 film Buffalo Girls; Sam Shepard in the 1999 film Purgatory. Hickok was killed by an assassin in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, on August 2, 1876. He was 39 years old.

(Frank) Got to go. I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And we’ll see somewhere – Together: Around Kansas.

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

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