Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum, Yordano Ventura

(Frank) Today on Around Kansas we start with a look at the Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum near Clinton Lake. Next enjoy a tribute to Yordano Ventura, the beloved KC Royals player who recently lost his life in a car accident while in the Dominican Republic. Then enjoy a poem from Ron Wilson and we’ll end with a story about antelopes in Kansas.Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

(Frank Chaffin) Here it is Wednesday morning. Good morning. I’m Frank. (Deb Goodrich) I’m Deb. (Frank) This is Around Kansas, the show that talks about the people, places and things that make Kansas a great place to live and visit. (Deb) If you got some things you want us to talk about, just send us a message. I’ve been getting a lot of messages lately. You know the, when I shared some of the books that you needed to get on Around Kansas, I had a couple of messages, people wanting to know where you could get the books. You can get anything on Amazon. Heck, you can order, what, anything from a monkey to a stair railing on Amazon. (Frank) Also the library. [Laughs] (Deb) Go to the library. Most of these things you can check out. What can’t you check out at the library? Whether it’s a film or a book, they can get it if they don’t have it. The museums, I could point it out, a lot of your small local museums, when you’re travelling, stop there. Most of them have wonderful little bookstores; little souvenirs with some very interesting, hard to find things that you won’t find anywhere else. If you’re looking for something unique to read or give as a gift, stop at those little local places and, yes, there’re some pretty cool stuff there. (Frank) Yes. (Deb) What else did I have? Somebody messaged me about the other day…they want to meet you Frank. (Frank) Hi! [Chuckles] (Deb) This is Frank. Consider yourself introduced. (Frank) Out in western Kansas, I lived out in western Kansas for a while. I think I probably met most everybody out there. (Deb) There may be some new people there since you were there. Where did you live? (Frank) Norton. (Deb) Oh, Norton, we’re going to mention Norton next week, maybe. But Norton, we’ve got a lot of fans in Norton. (Frank) It was 53 years ago, but I did live in Norton. (Deb) Oh, never mind. They’re all dead now so anyway. [Laughter] (Deb) We’ve got a lot of friends, a lot of fans at Norton. Hi, folks. (Frank) Yes. (Deb) It’s a lovely town. (Frank) Yes. (Deb) Really pretty. We drove through the other day. (Frank) Yes. In fact, they were building the reservoir when we lived there. (Deb) That’s very pretty. (Frank) It is. (Deb) That’s beautiful. We did a segment on it, didn’t we? (Frank) Yes, we did. (Deb) Yes, that’s really pretty. (Frank) That segment on the Olson Ranch and segment on what is it, Station 13? (Deb) Yes. (Frank) It’s there. There’s a lot of stuff in Norton. (Deb) There’s a lot of stuff to brag on. Well, next week is Valentine’s Day. (Frank) Yes, it is. (Deb) Have you picked out something appropriate for your sweetheart? (Frank) Of course. (Deb) What is it? (Frank) Well, [Chuckles] you see, we wait- (Deb) Don’t tell me she watches the show. It’s not like you’re going to spoil anything. (Frank) No. See, we wait till the day after Valentine’s Day. (Deb) Where the candy goes on sale. [Laughs] (Frank) That’s right. It’s all on sale and then you can really go and get lots of it. (Deb) I feel the love. What a romantic guy you are, Frank? (Frank) Well, no, but you have to know my wife. It tastes better if it’s a bargain. [Laughter] (Deb) Bless her heart. She picked the right guy, didn’t she? [Laughter] (Frank) Anyway, yes, Valentine’s Day. (Deb) Yes, we should’ve done like great love stories or something for it or maybe the not so great love stories or something. (Frank) [Laughs] Well, Home on the Range, that’s a good love story. (Deb) That is a good love story. (Frank) Except she never came out to marry him but– [Laughter] (Deb) Well. [Laughter] (Frank) It’s still a love story. (Deb) Almost a great love story. [Laughter] The almost love stories; we’ve got the also great galleries. We’ve got the almost love stories. That would make a great museum, wouldn’t it? (Frank) Yes. Aren’t you glad you got up and you watch all the silliness? (Deb) No kidding. (Frank) We really do have good stories. They’re coming up. (Deb) Stay with us.

(Frank) Okay, we’re back. We’ll try to straighten up a little bit. You have some speaking engagements coming up, I understand. (Deb) I do. Friday night I’m going to be in Lincoln, Kansas as they celebrate Lincoln Days. Speaking of great love stories, Abe and Mary, Woo Hoo! A House Divided, that was the documentary they made about their relationship. We’re going to show the movie, Lincoln of Illinois with Raymond Massey and Ruth Gordon. Ruth Gordon played Mary Lincoln. She was amazing. Next to Sally Field, maybe the best Mary Lincoln ever. Raymond Massey, next to Daniel Day-Lewis, the best Lincoln. (Frank) Daniel Day-Lewis I think really was- (Deb) He was like channeling Lincoln or something. He probably went into therapy after that movie. Friday night, we’re going to be showing the movie there in the theater in Lincoln so come on out. I won’t be there Saturday for the rest of Lincoln Days because I have to speak to the Kansas Muzzleloaders in Manhattan. They’re old friends, everybody. We’ve done programs on them and so that’s going to be an awesome time too. But, yes, Lincoln Days check it out. Speaking of, again, great museums, we’ve got another one around Clinton Lake. Clinton Lake, we were just talking about reservoirs, the Clinton Reservoir. (Frank) That’s a beautiful place. (Deb) It is gorgeous. It is really gorgeous. While you are out there running around or camping or hiking, because the trails are really extensive out there, make sure you stop in the museum. I think it will be…it’s closed for the season. If you’ve got a nice day, I bet if you call Martha Parker, she’ll still let you in. She’s an amazing little woman. (Frank) Well, you can look in the outside anyway. (Deb) You can. There’s a lot to enjoy there. Let’s take a look. Dedicated in 1975, 1,500-acre Clinton State Park is located on the northeast shore of Clinton Reservoir. The reservoir itself has 7,000 surface acres of water and reaches a depth of 55 feet. It supplies water for more than 100,000 people in northeastern Kansas but six times that number visit the park each year. While the reservoir and state park serve the region well, the Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum reminds us of the cost of this public works project. According to the museum’s director, Martha Parker, rumors of damming the Wakarusa River had persisted since the early 1900’s; the potential impact on the farmers of the valley was not taken seriously until the Army Corps of Engineers began buying property for the project in the mid 1960’s. Families who had tilled the land for several generations were forced to sell and move out. The Corps came to be regarded in much the same way as the invading Missouri border ruffians had been a century earlier. The residents were concerned not only about the loss of their land but of their identity and history. The valley was a minefield of history from the Bloomington Guards, the Underground Railroad, The First Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment, and the home of Free State Abolitionists, mostly Quakers, who paid with their lives to make Kansas free. A society incorporated to preserve this story and the museum in Bloomington Park was born. Unable to save the home of Col. J. C. Stelle, the organization moved to the farm’s milk barn, which has been renovated and expanded. The grounds are also home to the Freedom Rings Sculpture that represents the communities destroyed by flooding the valley and the legacy of those who lived there.

(Frank) Back again. (Deb) Well, this is a really, really sad segment but we just have to pay tribute to a Kansas City Royals baseball player who tragically was killed in a car wreck…25 years old. Oh my gosh, just heart breaking. (Frank) Yes, it is. I mean he was such a– he was an up and comer. I mean, one of the stars and not only for the Royals, but in the American League. Then tragically, his life is taken in a car accident. (Deb) That’s just; I don’t think they’re going to have toxicology and all that stuff. Apparently, from early indications, nobody’s fault. Just one of those, they just happen. It’s just so sad. Our sympathies to the Royals organization and to his family. He’d just gotten married not that long ago and it just breaks your heart. (Frank) Yes, and signed a 53 million dollar contract. I mean he had everything down in front of him. (Deb) Right, had everything in front of him and the Royals made everybody proud when they won the World Series. It wasn’t just their winning; it was the way the town responded to the victory; a very jubilant, orderly celebration. It was just very family friendly, the whole thing, the nature of the team. It’s just an amazing organization. (Frank) The game that he pitched made it possible for the Royals to go on and win that World Series. (Deb) Right, yes, very integral to their success. (Frank) Anyway, let’s take a look. His career was brief and stellar. The odds were not in in his favor. A kid in the Dominican Republic who dropped out of school to take care of his family and wound up with a multi-million dollar contract with the Kansas City Royals, and an integral part of the success that led them to a World Series Championship. Yordano Ventura was also beloved, as the fan response to his death on January 22 would indicate. Ventura was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic. “Everybody in our organization is hurting right now,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore told MLB.com. “We were truly blessed to have been a part of his life. He will always be a special part of our organization.” “He was a great kid with a big heart. It’s just a very hard day for all of us. We lost a brother,” said Moore. A memorial was set up to Ventura at Bartle Hall during FanFest activities a week after his death. Ventura signed with the Royals as an international free agent in 2008 and played with minor league clubs before moving to the Royals in 2013. In Game 6 of the 2015 World Series against the San Francisco Giants, with the team down in the series 3–2, Ventura threw seven shutout innings in a 10–0 victory, forcing a Game 7. Prior to the game, Ventura had dedicated his performance to his friend and fellow countryman Oscar Taveras who was killed in a car accident on October 26. Ventura pitched the game with the message “RIP O.T #18” written on his hat. Ventura signed a five-year, $23 million contract with the Royals before the 2015 season. He is survived by his wife and a daughter from a previous relationship. Yordano Ventura was 25 years old.

(Ron Wilson) Farming is a gamble. A farmer puts a crop in to the ground. The rancher raises a calf not knowing what kind of weather conditions, market conditions or other factors could affect it in the end. Farming is a gamble just like Las Vegas. This is a poem I wrote titled Gambling Man. Did you hear about the guy who went on an amazing trip ad hit it rich winning money at an amazing clip. I hear stories of those high rolling, gambling big wigs who roll the dice in Vegas and really hit it big. But I’m way too conservative or risk-averse; they say to take a chance on losing all my money in this way. Yet, maybe the biggest gamblers aren’t in Vegas after all, but rather in the country at agriculture’s call. That’s where a farmer takes the gamble to plant a crop of wheat never knowing if it will survive the drought or freeze or heat. And just as lady luck can snatch a gamblers’ money when they win it a hailstorm can claim a Kansas wheat crop in a minute. A mother cow takes a year to breed and feed and thrive, but that whole year income is lost if the baby calf does not survive. The market shows the farmer the value of his crops, but it’s a gamble to sell before the market drops. So, maybe the biggest gamblers aren’t the ones with Vegas claims, but rather the farmers and ranchers out here on the Kansas plains. I think I’ll take the risks I know with crops and with cattle instead of trying to beat casino odds in some Las Vegas battle. Did you hear about my friend whose Vegas trip caused such a fuss? He drove there in a 20,000 dollar car and came back in a 100,000 dollar bus. Happy Trails.

(Frank) And back again. (Deb) Where the deer and the antelope play. (Frank) Yes. Now, okay. Yes. Where the deer and the antelope play and the skies are not cloudy all day. What a lie. Anyway, [Laughs] Well, the thing is, you see deer but I have yet to see an antelope. (Deb) Okay, so the other day, if you’re in the right place in Kansas, you see antelope all the time. The other day, Dr. Jake calls. He’d gone out to somebody’s ranch and he calls and said, “There’s an antelope, he’s been here three or four days and he’s in this pasture, just a mile or two from the house, if you want to come and take pictures”. Because we were working on a project and he thought I might like the pictures. I go out there and the antelope, unlike the deer who will come up and pose in front of your car, the antelope were more skittish and this little guy apparently had gotten separated from his herd. Unlike deer, and this I did not know until I was researching the story and talking to Dr. Jake who is a veterinarian and knows these things, they don’t jump fences like deer do. Did you know that? (Frank) Would they go to the gate or what? (Deb) They break a lot of fences and that’s why a lot of ranchers don’t like them. This little guy, he’s there in this fenced pasture and I don’t know if he can’t get out. I don’t know what his issue is. Tune in next week folks for the continuing saga of little Andy the Antelope and we’ll see what happens to him. Jake was going down the road one day and this antelope comes through the field and crosses the dirt road there, bounces. He hits this barbed wire fence and he bounces back. It’s like, “Boing.” He runs at it again, “Boing” again and It’s like, “Are you a moron?” [Laughter] (Deb) “What’s your problem?” They don’t have apparently that same ability. I mean, the deer just sail over these things but antelope are just not quite built that way and it’s- (Frank) Maybe that’s why you don’t see too many antelope. (Deb) Exactly, Frank. Maybe why you don’t see so many. I don’t know. (Frank) They’re still running into the fence sometimes. (Deb) Boing. Yes, that’s sad or what? [Laughs] (Frank) Okay. I’m going to really watch this, so I can see what an antelope looks like. (Deb) We’re here for you. The antelope, or more accurately, the pronghorn, is a unique species to North America. Historically pronghorn ranged throughout the western three-fourths of Kansas and were considered nearly as numerous as bison. But by the late 1800s and early 1900s, unregulated harvest reduced pronghorn to the western border of the state. Trap and transplant efforts were initiated in 1964 in Wallace and Sherman counties. Pronghorn were reintroduced into Barber, Comanche, Ellsworth, Saline, Gove, and Morton counties later. A Flint Hills population of pronghorns was also established in Chase County with releases from 1978 to 1992. The western Kansas reintroductions were successful. There are about 2,000 pronghorn in the westernmost two to three tiers of counties. A few pronghorn roam Barber County, and 50 or so remain in the Flint Hills, which was the eastern edge of the historic pronghorn range in the U.S. None remain in Ellsworth and Saline counties. As the landscape becomes more intensely developed and modified, it becomes more and more difficult to find space for larger animals like pronghorn, and landscape changes such as the loss of native prairie to agriculture, urbanization, and tree growth resulting from fire suppression have not been favorable for pronghorn. Even fences can present a significant barrier to pronghorn movement and survival. As a result of these things, the amount of good pronghorn habitat is limited in Kansas. Even areas with extensive native grassland like parts of central Kansas that might appear to be suitable for pronghorn have seen reintroduced animals dwindle or disappear. There is a healthy population of pronghorn in Kansas, but they are primarily restricted to the west.

(Frank) Well, I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And we’ll see you somewhere – (Frank & Deb) Around Kansas.

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

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