Quindaro, United Mosquito and Fly Control, Evel Knievel Museum

(Frank) Today Around Kansas first shares the story Quindaro; a town in the area originally purchased by the Wyandot Indians from the Delaware, in what is now Kansas City. Next learn about United Mosquito and Fly Control in Mission; and the newly opened Evel Knievel Museum in Topeka. We’ll end with Melissa Rau, a sculptor of life-sized historic figures.

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(Frank Chaffin) Good Wednesday morning. I’m Frank. (Deb Goodrich) I’m Deb. (Frank) And this is Around Kansas, is it nap time yet? [Laughs] (Deb) Yes, we’ve been up for a while, it ought to be time for the first nap of the day. (Frank) Yes, should be. (Deb) We want to point out that right behind us, we, of course, are in the historic Dillon House right across from the State Capitol and Hiram Price Dillon has returned to the building. He is right behind us and the portrait of his wife Susie is on the opposite mantel and don’t they make it look homely in here? I think they would be very happy. And speaking of returning to the building, we were just talking about Elvis and there was a photograph making the rounds on Facebook the other day and it was a picture of a crowd at Graceland and there was a guy in the crowd that is supposed to be Elvis; if you aged him it’s like that’s what he would look like at 82 years old. Number one, I’m thinking that the guy doesn’t look 82, but he is just heavy like almost a Santa Claus looking guy. He’s got a white beard, and sunglasses and it looks like he might even be wearing his pajama pants. They were like plaid pants, might even be flannel pajama pants and that’s not funny enough but the responses of the people. It was like, “If I had been there, I would have recognized him. He wouldn’t have gone unnoticed by me.” And I’m like, “Number one, he look s nothing like Elvis. Number two, he looks like half the men in America right now with a beard.” And I’m like, “The insanity.” Though Deena Anson and I do celebrate Elvis’ birthday every year but we are not to be confused with the other nut cases who think that they saw Elvis there in the crowd at Graceland. (Frank) When we were there, several years ago, they wouldn’t let you go to the second level because they said Elvis is up there taking a nap. [Laughs] Anyway – (Deb) What nuts. (Frank) You got to go to Graceland. (Deb) I wrote my name on the wall. I didn’t have time to go inside. (Frank) What wall did you write on? (Deb) The, right there in front of the yard. That wall, yeah, that keeps people off the yard. It’s not a huge wall. It’s not like the wall Trump is going to build or anything like the Wailing Wall or whatever but it’s a pretty good-sized wall. Not like the Great Wall of China or anything. (Frank) It wasn’t there when we were there; I don’t recall that one at all. (Deb) Are you sure? It was full of names. It’s because you paid the price to get in, me I’m just one of the cheap people standing out. One of the poor pathetic people that’s weeping beside the wall and writing your names on it but – (Frank) So you didn’t get to see the jungle room or any of that? (Deb) No, it’s on my bucket list to go back. (Frank) Down in the Jungle Room. Whose song is that? I can’t remember, I actually know. (Deb) And I collect graves and that’s the one that I haven’t been to. It was Elvis’ grave so I got to do that one. Gosh, there was a comedian in the south, I can’t think of his name, but he was talking about visiting Graceland and talking about seeing the pink Cadillac and he said, “I didn’t know Elvis sold Mary Kay.” And it was just – (Frank) [Laughs] That’s good. (Deb) It was. He did a whole bit on Graceland and it was pretty good, pretty darn good. I don’t think Elvis is going to show up in our show today but you never know. Pay attention; look closely in all these little frames you might get him. (Frank) There might be something appearing right here. (Deb) There might be, stay with us and find out. (Frank) I think we’ll be back.

(Deb) Welcome back. I want to tell you about this next segment we are going to do on Quindaro. Have you ever been there Frank? Wonderful site in Kansas City, or just north of Kansas City. My friends Holly and Kristin Zane are descendants of the founders of Quindaro. They are two of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. They’re sisters, and Holly, I know I’m going to mess this up, is an attorney for the state of Kansas, and I think she’s also the Council for the Wyandotte Nation. And she’s just an amazing historian and just a wonderful person. When I did the segment a couple of weeks ago or something on the African-American Trail that will be going through Kansas, will be designated sites, I did not include Quindaro in the list because I wanted to do a segment on Quindaro and Kristin kindly reminded me of that. When she saw the segment said, “Now this is great but Quindaro is not in it.” And so Quindaro is a really special place and I’ve been on bus tours when the Underground Railroad Association met in Kansas few years ago. Went on a tour and went to Quindaro and just very dedicated people involved in interpreting that site and keeping it alive. It’s going to be cool. It almost became a landfill. The Kansas State Historical Society shares the story. Located on the south bank of the Missouri River in what is now Kansas City, where Interstate 635 crosses the river, lies Quindaro. The land was part of an area the Wyandot Indians had purchased from the Delaware. When the Wyandot tribe disbanded, the land was divided among tribal members who wished to remain in the area and become US citizens. Among these people were Abelard Guthrie and his wife, Nancy Quindaro Brown Guthrie, for whom the town was named. When the Wyandots were removed from Ohio to Kansas in 1843, Guthrie decided to follow Nancy and her tribe to Kansas; they married and he was adopted into the tribe. The town’s founders and first residents included other Wyandots and abolitionists. Because it was close to the Missouri River, Quindaro was an ideal location for helping slaves move to freedom. This was more by design than by chance. The population reached 600 at the height of Quindaro’s prosperity. But the boom town quickly went bust, thanks to a nationwide economic depression and the failure of a campaign to attract a rail line to town. Many of the young men in the community left to join the Union Army in the Civil War. A few families stayed in the area to continue farming, but the original town site was largely abandoned. After the war, several freed African American slaves moved to Quindaro and other Kansas River towns. Freedman’s University, later chartered as Western University, was established and its buildings were erected on a bluff west of old Quindaro. About a century later, in the late 1980s, a company wanted to build a landfill in the area. It encountered an obstacle when an archeological investigation had to be conducted. Evidence of homes and business were found and a public outcry arose. Artifacts were placed with the Kansas State Historical Society. Passionate supporters, many of whom are descendants of its founders, keep Quindaro alive.

(Frank Chaffin) Here’s a story by Ron Wilson, Director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University. Bangkok, Thailand. A German businessman is building a home and wants mosquito control. He is buying an insect control system from an entrepreneur halfway around the globe. Paul Friedrichs is the owner of United Mosquito and Fly Control in Mission, Kansas. He is the entrepreneur who took his system to Bangkok. Paul credits much of his success to his rural upbringing. He grew up on a dairy farm near the unincorporated community of Bremen, Kansas, with a population of perhaps 60 people. “We grew up among German Lutheran dairy farmers,” Paul said. “It was a very close-knit community. It’s the kind of place where everybody has known everybody for seven generations and everybody has the hymnal memorized.” Paul’s family, friends and neighbors provided a strong support system for him and his brother and two sisters. During his first eight years of schooling, he was in a class of five at the local Lutheran country grade school. He went on to Marysville High School and then K-State where he studied agricultural economics. Paul credits 4-H, FFA, and the K-State College of Agriculture for providing him tremendous opportunities. “I wanted to travel internationally,” Paul said. Through FFA, he went to Russia and Hungary. He worked on an agricultural exchange student program between K-State and a university in Mexico, and then earned a Rotary Ambassadorial scholarship, which paid for his post-graduate degree from the London School of Economics. “It was a tremendous experience and the Rotarians were wonderful,” Paul said. After returning to Kansas, he worked as an international trade consultant for a time and did contract sales for an agronomic mineral company. He eventually moved to Kansas City, where he met and married his wife Liz. He was also approached about another business opportunity: United Mosquito and Fly Control. Ultimately, Paul bought the business. “The broker said, `Oh, you’re an ag guy, so you’ll know all about this.’ Then I found out this business served the equine industry, and we never had horses growing up on the farm,” Paul said. “I had no clue.” But Paul took to the business and has grown it ever since. Today, United Mosquito and Fly Control has two primary business components: Fly control for equine and livestock operations, and mosquito control for residential applications. “This is a top-of-the-line system and many of our customers are horse owners,” Paul said. “We have an automated spray system that is installed in barns and it really works well,” he said. This system saves labor and provides great relief for horses. It uses a natural insecticide that is derived from a special variety of the chrysanthemum flower. Organic options are also available. The mosquito control system similarly allows a person to be out on their deck, for example, without the hassle and worry of biting mosquitos. United Mosquito and Fly Control serves customers around Kansas City from Omaha to Springfield, Missouri and Columbia, Missouri to Manhattan – and beyond. “A German businessman with factories around the world was building a home in Bangkok,” Paul said. “He contacted us and eventually contracted to buy our system. I was able to take my dad and he helped me install the system over there.” “My dad’s a typical former dairy farmer,” Paul said. “Ask him to take two week’s vacation to go overseas and he’ll say `no way.’ But tell him you need him to help you build this system overseas, and he’s willing to help.” Paul is also renting and farming ground on the edge of urban Kansas City, where investors have purchased land for future growth and development. He has continued to grow the United Mosquito and Fly Control business in the Kansas City area. For more information, go to www.unitedkc.com.

(Frank) Here we are again. (Deb) They new Evel Knievel Museum is open in Topeka and how exciting! It’s going to be a huge draw for tourists and people ask about the connection to Topeka. Well, it all starts like so many stories with the collector and a collection and they need a place to put it and so we are thrilled that they put it right here. (Frank) Well, there are other Evel Knievel exhibits around the country but this one is especially unique. It is something. (Deb) And that historical Harley Davidson building, it used to be the city garage, county garage. That’s an awesome limestone building; just awesome. Then they put on this incredible addition to house these artifacts and it’s more than just artifacts; it’s an experience and you’re going to see that from this film. (Evel Knievel) I’m Evel Knievel and hey, I’m not supposed to be afraid. (Announcer) What builds a legacy? Is it a thing? A kid? Maybe it’s the people who remember us, fans and critics, friends? Or maybe it’s that paralyzing moment filled with fear and doubt. Sure everyone has a legacy, but there are those in every generation that launch for over our heads. They don’t do it just because they’re crazy. They do it because building a legacy takes more than handshakes and hash tags – passion fuel-injected with hard work and polished to a gleam, every day and every night. If you do that, you won’t have to build your legacy because others will build it for you. (Evel) In life for me, I would rather take a chance to be something a little extra special. That is something that I feel compelled to do and I’m going to do it.

(Frank) Here we are in the middle of June already, good grief. (Deb) Seriously? Oh, heck, oh my gosh. I must have missed a week or two there somewhere. (Frank) Yes, we had the story on Evel Knievel but now the rest of the story is something – (Deb) We hope you enjoyed your visit to the Evel Knievel Museum and now we are going to talk about the artist who did the sculpture of Evel Knievel. And you remember this, Michael is too young, he might see it in the history books or museums or something. When Evel Knievel was on the cover of Sports Illustrated and again it was like Elvis. It was like the jumpsuit was popular. Remember he had the white jumpsuit with the red, white, blue, the all American. That’s the Evel Knievel that Melissa portrays in her sculpture and it looks pretty doggone on awesome. Like he could just speak to you. Thank you very much. (Frank) Thank you. Thank you very much. (Deb) The more you think of Evel Knievel and Elvis. (Frank) Well, he was – (Deb) It is pretty much sums up American – (Frank) He was the motorcycle Elvis. (Deb) He was, he was, he was. There’s never going to be another one like him, we hope. Stay tuned. Melissa Kingman Rau loves the thrill of design and is committed to seeing art translated into beautiful, high quality artist figures. She is a self-taught artist who has a life-long interest in many forms of art, but sculpting has become her focus. Her life-sized historic figures depict both historical and legendary characters. Each one is thoroughly researched, utilizing as many historical images as possible. Melissa surrounds herself with as many images as she can while she sculpts each character out of polymer clay. After the faces and hands are sculpted, they are painted with artistic attention to detail. The bodies are then sculpted from metal and wire. The tedious process of creating a life-size figure can take from ten to twelve weeks. The clothing is thoroughly researched and hand-made by her, or original pieces are incorporated. Melissa learned the skill of doll making from her mother, Barbara Kingman, many years ago. Barbara became nationally known as a doll artist, specializing in 17” historical figures. Sculpting began in life-size for Melissa after she endeavored to create a life-sized Santa for display in her window for Christmas. After that, one thing led to another and historical characters became her passion. Melissa has completed figures for museums and organizations such as the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum, the Great Overland Station, the Capper Foundation for Handicapped Children and the Evel Knievel Museum. These figures include Amelia Earhart, Wild Bill Hickok, Dr. James Naismith, Arthur Capper and Evel Knievel. Her work through this summer will be focused on Mother Teresa. She also creates a line of whimsical figures that she retails to shops from Topeka to St. Louis. Melissa is committed to telling the story of each one of her figures through her art. She wants her audience to understand the character of each person she is creating – what it would be like to meet them in person, what motivated them and interested them and what made them significant to the history of our great country.

(Frank) Time to go, I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And we’ll see you somewhere. (Frank and Deb) Around Kansas.

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