Yoder, Topeka’s Ballet Midwest

(Frank) Today Around Kansas looks at the founding of the Amish community of Yoder and their Heritage Day celebration the fourth Saturday in August. Next learn about Topeka’s Ballet Midwest and the upcoming Sleeping Beauty performances. Then enjoy a poem from Ron Wilson and we’ll end with a story about the Bone Wars that started with the dinosaur bones found in 1867 near Fort Wallace.Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

(Frank) Good morning. It’s Wednesday. I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And this is Around Kansas. Good morning, thanks for joining us. (Deb) It’s April already. (Frank) It is. April. So, you have a birthday coming up here too. (Deb) I do. I do, Friday. National holiday, everybody take the day off. We’ll celebrate! (Frank) So, is that one of those spring forwards or spring back? (Deb) Honey, I may be springing back for a few years now. I think I’m just going to keep springing back from now on. (Frank) So, go on Facebook and wish her a Happy Birthday. (Deb) That would be so sweet of you. Better yet, send cash. There used to be this preacher on in the south, the Reverend Roosevelt Franklin from Macon, Georgia, and he was on, we could hear him every Sunday morning on some radio station and he was always talking about send cards and send letters, don’t be sending no postcards, you can’t put no money in no postcards. (Frank) I love that. (Deb) So yes, send cards and letters, don’t be sending no postcards. (Frank) Can’t put money in a postcard. Oh my goodness. (Deb) Hey I brought you something. (Frank) Uh oh, OK. (Deb) This is for you Frank. (Frank) OK. (Deb) St. Francis. I was visiting with the good folks from St. Francis, Kansas, the other day. They have a new motorcycle museum. (Frank) In St. Francis. (Deb) In St. Francis, so I though that would be something you would enjoy tooling on out there and checking out. That could be one of your road trips on the bike this spring or summer sometime. (Frank) OK. (Deb) Beautiful drive along Highway 36 and yea, check it out. (Frank) So, now there are two motorcycle museums here in the state. (Deb) Ain’t that…I tell you what we’re just moving on up there, aren’t we? (Frank) OK, we’ll have to do a story on this. (Deb) We will, we sure will, yea. (Frank) I will put on my GoPro and ride out there. (Deb) Cool. (Frank) That would be cool, yea. (Deb) That’s some pretty scenery too. Heading out to St. Francis and then you can…so do you get off road any at all Frank? (Frank) No, no, I’m too old for that. (Deb) Alright. We do the Arikaree Breaks. We’ll have to put the Go Pro on somebody else. (Frank) Pretty soon I’m going to have to have four wheels, training wheels on. OK, this is going to be one of those silly days folks. Anyway, I know you have been traveling, yea. We went to…actually we went to Oklahoma and got to check Bob’s stagecoach. So, I believe he and his friend are going to start a stage line between Wallace and Russell Springs, I think. (Frank) Really? (Deb) Oh they might. Who knows what they might do? They may just give rides on the weekends. Who knows? But sometimes a man just has to have a stagecoach, you know it Frank? (Frank) OK. (Deb) And a team of mules, and a team of mules. (Frank) OK. (Deb) And a surrey. Sometimes a man just needs a surrey too, you know? (Frank) With the fringe on top. (Deb) It’s got fringe on top. (Frank) There you go. (Deb) It’s gorgeous. (Frank) Really? Well see it belongs in Oklahoma. (Deb) Yes, that’s where we got it. We got it in Oklahoma. (Frank) Surrey with the fringe on top. (Deb) But now it’s in Kansas. (Frank) OK. (Deb) With lots of other cool stuff. Stay with us.

(Frank) OK, I think we’ve settled down some anyway. You’ve been traveling around. (Deb) We went to Yoder. (Frank) Yoda? (Deb) Yoder. We went to Yoder. (Frank) Yoder. (Deb) To the big buggy sale in Yoder, so they had a big auction all day long. Buggies, everything you can imagine, wagons, teams of horses, all kinds of things, butter churns. They’ve got this odd mix of antiques and horse harnesses and stuff. Of course you have the folks in the community that use these every day and some of them are the Amish and Mennonites and some of them are just ranchers and folks who are big horse people that like wagons and buggies. So were were down there, but I have to tell you what impressed me most at this auction. We were there all day long, most beautiful children I have ever seen and you’ve got these, and I took a couple of photographs, I asked them if it as OK and I took photographs of these kids. They were just the most well-behaved children I have ever seen in my life. We were there all day long. It was chilly. It was windy. They were all bundled up, but they were happy. They would run up and give somebody a hug, but they were with their parents or they were playing. You never heard one child whine. You never heard one child cry about it’s cold or let’s get in out of the air. Then they had, say, there were a couple of ponies for sale and so this little girl comes out with her Dad and she’s got her pony and she’s helping with it and everything and the kids are helping. We’re talking hours. All day long. The same kids were there all day long. It was amazing. (Frank) Hmmm. (Deb) So whatever is in the water in Yoder our kids all need some of it. (Frank) Get your nanny from Yoder. (Deb) Get your nanny from Yoder. Maybe Yoda was down there. I don’t know. Some kind of guru. That’s right. Let’s take a look at this wonderful community. Yoder was founded by Eli M. Yoder, the son of an Amish bishop from Maryland. In the late 1800s Yoder came to the newly-minted state of Kansas to homestead in Reno County, settling in a location about a dozen miles southwest of the city of Hutchinson.Yoder is technically the largest Amish settlement in Kansas, with 3 church districts, giving it an Amish population of roughly 400. Amish at Yoder are among the most progressive when it comes to technology, allowing bulk milk tanks, rototillers, and tractors for fieldwork, see Living Without Electricity, Stephen Scott and Kenneth Pellman. Due to the high heat in this region of the country some fieldwork may even be done in the evening. In 1886 the Missouri Pacific Rail Road constructed a track from Hutchinson to Wichita, which resulted in about 5 acres being split off from the rest of Yoder’s farm. Yoder used the separated area to construct a post office and general store, which became the nucleus of the village. During the 1880s, Amish migrants from Shelby County, Illinois began to arrive and settle in the region, with the new village of Yoder becoming the center of the community. Although Yoder is the center of this community, and still maintains a post office, most Amish homes in this settlement are actually listed as Haven addresses. Yoder celebrates Heritage Day the 4th Saturday in August, marking its history with a variety of events, including a buggy race in which Amish take part.

(Frank) And we’re back. Great story. (Deb) Yea, yea. So spring is in the air and people are just flitting around, flitting around. I love to flit around like a ballerina. (Frank) There you go again. There are ballet companies in Topeka. And they do good stuff… (Deb) They do amazing stuff. (Frank) …of course the Nutcracker around Christmas and so anyway Sleeping Beauty is coming up. (Deb) At TPAC. (Frank) Yes, so make sure you check on that and really anything classical, I don’t know sometimes people say, oh I don’t want to go see something like that. (Deb) Right. (Frank) But ballet really is an art. It really is a talent and we really have some very, very talented people in Topeka from small children on up through adults. (Deb) Barbara Ebert, Barbara’s Conservatory of Dance, that’s how Ballet Midwest was started, with Barbara. She has taught hundreds and thousands of people throughout northeast Kansas to dance over the years. Like you said, it’s art, it’s all these things and it’s athletic, tremendously fit and in-shape people. Whether ballet or dance becomes a vocation or advocation, it’s certainly a worthwhile pursuit of your time. Going to see the ballet, I think it’s really good for kids. I think on Saturday, the performance is April 16th and 17th at TPAC, but then on Saturday they’re adding a shortened version for kids. It’s My First Ballet, or something and that’s to get kids involved. So, by all means kids don’t have all the preconceived notions like you’re talking about it. A lot of us tend to think that the ballet or the symphony, maybe a little too hoity-toity until you go and experience it and you realize those things were created for the masses, they’re created for everybody. Getting kids in there early so that they can see that, be exposed to it is really important and a lot of them will develop a lifelong love and appreciation for it. (Frank) Now, I get to do the story. Let’s take a look. Ballet Midwest presents two classical performances each year, one in the spring and Nutcracker during the Christmas season. The spring performance is Sleeping Beauty, the perfect introduction to classical ballet and the perfect fix for the faithful fan! This production is a nearly full length classical ballet like it is staged in NYC, Paris, Moscow and other ballet centers around the world; which makes it a “must see” for arts enthusiasts and a chance for everyone to see one of ballet’s most famous works, more than the movie, even better, the ballet version includes many of your favorite storybook characters, such as Snow White and her dwarfs, City & Country Mouse, Puss in Boots with the White Cat, the 12 Dancing Princesses and 2Little Red Riding Hood with that pesky Wolf. We even throw in a Bluebird and his Princess! This is no kids recital; come cheer on local dancers who are so talented that they mostly dance the same classic choreography as professional dancers. You’ll see the famous Rose Adagio dance. It’s one of the most famous solos in all of ballet.

(Ron) So many families take these big family trips where the kids all pile into the car, Mom and Dad drive and they get out of the driveway before the kids say, “Are we there yet?” Well, there’s also the issue of coming home to the ranch. This poem I wrote based on a true story. It’s titled, “My Vocation Affects my Vacation.” or, “The Trip.” We’re all driving home from a nice family trip, dog tired but happy with smiles on our lips. We’d been driving for hours on the big highway, and we thankfully turned onto the ranch driveway. We were all looking forward to the end of the ride, when suddenly signs of concern that I spied. It’s not what I wanted for my welcome back, cause alongside the road, I could see some cow tracks. And by the road was manure as I looked about and I knew what it meant – the cows had got out. What a lousy welcome home to receive. While I was trying to get home, the cows were trying to leave. Instead of relaxing to unpack and unwind, we had all the cows to hurry and find. The horses were still in the corral at least, so we saddled up quickly to track down the beasts. It was easy to follow the tracks on their way to the neighbors where they got into his hay. They tromped through his garden, got into his shed and ate the alfalfa stored there to be fed. So we rounded them up and drove them back home and into a pen where they no longer roam. Then we rode around the perimeter fence and we found the spot where those maverick cows went. A tree had blown down on the wire while we’re gone, and let the cows loose, so that they could go on. So we gathered our tools and got the fence mended and went home thankful this long day had ended. I complained to my wife about this turn of events from vacation to having to chase cows and fix fence. I said, “It’s unfair the cows caused this extra work to do.” She just smiled and said, “I guess the cows wanted a trip too.” Happy Trails.

(Frank) And we’re back again. Yes, we’ve straightened up now. (Deb) See if we can maintain it. We’re such a poor example to young people all over the place, you know it. All the teachers around the place telling the kids to behave. Act like Deb and Frank, that’s what they’re saying everywhere. School kids are being told, act like Deb and Frank and we’ve got a lot to live up to Frank. (Frank) Yes, yes, yes. (Deb) I’m doing the best I can. (Frank) Uh huh. So, you’ve been spending a lot of time way out west in Kansas. (Deb) I love it. I love the High Plains. I just can’t, I don’t know what it is but from the first time I saw the High Plains of Kansas and eastern Colorado I fell in love with it, like 20 years ago. (Frank) A lot of it I think is, because there are people that, especially from the east that have grown up in a city and they come to some place like Kansas, but then they get out west where there is wide open. Wide open and you can…if you’re up you can see for a very long way and the sky is spectacular. (Deb) The sky is spectacular and the night sky is absolutely incredible. I walked outside just a few nights ago and it was one of those nights where every single star…and you can’t believe how many more million stars there on the High Plains than there are say in Topeka, because of the light obviously, and because of the altitude and the wide open space and honestly it was overwhelming. It was just like…I’m not sure I had experienced anything like it since I was a kid. So, I absolutely love the High Plains. I love the altitude. I love the wind. I love it. I love the history. Of course, Fort Wallace, I fell in love with Fort Wallace first time I was there years ago and I had been blessed to be back many times. Fort Wallace has a fantastic expansion going on. I was out over Spring Break and they had volunteers coming in and doing some painting. They are actually creating facades inside their addition of the town of Wallace, the old Ruby Doe Hotel, the shops that were there. The next stage is creating the facades of Fort Wallace itself. But in the midst of this is the casting of a 42 foot Plesiosauria that was dug up out there by the Post Surgeon in 1867. That’s already hanging. Even though the expansion is underway, that casting is already up and that’s what I want to talk about in this segment today. It’s spectacular. (Frank) Great. (Deb) It’s awesome. (Frank) Let’s take a look. (Deb) In the second half of the nineteenth century, important finds were made in the sediments of the American Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway, the Niobrara Chalk. One fossil in particular marked the start of the Bone Wars between the rival paleontologists Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh. Cope’s Elasmosaurus with its head on the tail and lacking hind limbs In 1867, physician Theophilus Turner near Fort Wallace in Kansas uncovered a plesiosaur skeleton, which he donated to Cope. Cope attempted to reconstruct the animal on the assumption that the longer extremity of the vertebral column was the tail, the shorter one the neck. He soon noticed that the skeleton taking shape under his hands had some very special qualities: the neck vertebrae had chevrons and with the tail vertebrae the joint surfaces were orientated back to front. Excited, Cope concluded to have discovered an entirely new group of reptiles, which would be distinguished by reversed vertebrae and a lack of hind limbs, the tail providing the main propulsion. After having published a description of this animal, followed by an illustration in a text book about reptiles and amphibians, Cope invited Marsh and Joseph Leidy to admire his new Elasmosaurus platyurus. Having listened to Cope’s interpretation for a while, Marsh suggested that a simpler explanation of the strange build would be that Cope had reversed the vertebral column relative to the body as a whole, in other words, Cope had gotten it backwards; the head was on the wrong end. When Cope reacted indignantly to this suggestion, Leidy silently took the skull and placed it against the presumed last tail vertebra to which it fitted perfectly: it was in fact the first neck vertebra, with still a piece of the rear skull attached to it. Mortified, Cope tried to destroy the entire edition of the textbook and, when this failed, immediately published an improved edition with a correct illustration but an identical date of publication. He excused his mistake by claiming that he had been misled by Leidy himself, who, describing another specimen, had also reversed the vertebral column. Marsh later claimed that the affair was the cause of his rivalry with Cope: “he has since been my bitter enemy”. Both Cope and Marsh in their rivalry named many plesiosaur genera and species, most of which are today considered invalid. Today, the fossilized remains of this beast are in the holdings of Drexel’s Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia where a casting is suspended over the visitor’s desk. A casting also is suspended from the ceiling of the Fort Wallace Museum.

(Frank) And just like that we’re done again. So Happy birthday! (Deb) Thank you. (Frank) I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) We’ll see you somewhere… (Both) Around Kansas!

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

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