Sunday, November 30, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Supporting the Kansas Sampler Foundation helps everyone "Get Kansas!"
KE #2 Marci Penner
Monday, November 24, 2008
Want to learn how to be an Explorer? Sign up to be a Kansas Explorer Club member.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
The url to see Norma hearing the news is: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=6315618
or http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Weekend/ under the You Tube section.
Norma made 56 pies this week, about double her usual amount. Because of the publicity, the Sommerset Cafe in Dover had more business than ever. Norma is an 88-year-old that sure knows how to bake a pie the right way.
Norma's victory should be evidence enough that our small town resources (people like Norma, places like Sommerset Cafe) are of great interest. Likely she had to double her pie-baking numbers this week because of more Kansans coming to visit. Just think if we kept talking up these kind of places. It would help rural communities get the boost they need and it would affirm the fact that what rural communities need to do is work on being the best they can be at being themselves.
Norma and the Sommerset Cafe are the big winners this week because they were just being their best and people noticed -- and then people came.
If you understand that being the best at being yourself is far more important in rural Kansas than a highly expensive ad campaign then you "Get Kansas."
KE #2 Marci Penner
Friday, November 21, 2008
We were on a Group Adventure and it rained most of the day. That sure didn't dampen our day. Explorers are fun. I mean, why just look at the tiniest band shell in the state when you could stand on the stage and sing?!
Kansas Explorers Club members love to experience the nooks and crannies. It's a great way to "Get Kansas!" KE #2 Marci Penner
Thursday, November 20, 2008
They are on my mind because when I shopped at our local grocery store in Inman this morning the Marcon delivery man came in with trays of pies. Oh my. I wanted to buy one but the clerk wouldn't let me! First, she had to figure out which ones to set aside for pies pre-ordered for Thanksgiving. There were simply a pile of pies!
Stores in Inman, Yoder, Hoisington, Wilson, Belleville and many, many more have them. You'll know if your local store has them...
What's the big fuss? They are made in Washington and the company was started by Marilyn and Connie -- thus the name Marcon. You can go into the "pie factory" at 8th and D for a tour (call in advance, 785.325.243) or to buy a pie at the front counter.
Cream pies, fruit pies (only available on Friday), sugar-free pies, cheesecake. Yum.... Hey, gotta close. I'm jumping in my car and going back to Inman. Maybe I can buy one by now. Cherry pie here I come!
To eat a Marcon is to "Get Kansas!" KE #2 Marci Penner
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Sign #3: Designed by artist Paul Boyer of Belleville, what a clever idea! Look closely and you'll see that the open and closed are each in a window and a wooden white board with handle just slips over one of the sides. No screws. Look in the middle and you'll see the wingnuts that turn easily. When it says open make sure to go in and see Boyer Museum of Animated Carvings.
Monday, November 17, 2008
In the group description I was a little more direct than in usual Kansas Explorers Club recruitment lingo. I wrote that we wanted people who are ready to be Kansas activists, ready to commit to buying at locally-owned stores and thinking local, local, local when making purchasing decisions.
My goal is to have 5,000 Kansas activists. Think of it, 5,000 activists sending their Kansas conscienceness into every one they meet. It could be something really great.
To buy local means you "Get Kansas."
From the office in the barn, KE #2 Marci Penner
Saturday, November 15, 2008
The concrete slabs with natural pantina are balanced with the high black ceiling and in between is a crowded inventory of everything from bright purses to holiday decorations. The building most recently housed a long-time successful furniture shop and now the owners converted to this gift shop to stay up with the times. The place has a contemporary feel to it. In fact, a young woman from California was working here.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Last Saturday, November 1 a group of C.O.W.B.O.Y.S. lined up in the center of Douglas Street in Ellsworth, hollered for Jim Gray to come out, and then commenced shooting (blanks) straight up at noon. It was a rowdy few minutes until Jim came out of the store with his hands up and Linda with tears streaming down.
That was the Kansas Cowboy way of saluting Jim Gray and Linda Kohls. The legendary Drovers Mercantile had been open since 1995 to sell authentic western clothing, books, and music and to swap stories and lies about cowboys, cattle, and trails.
Jim Gray will keep his Kansas C.O.W.B.O.Y. publication going and hopefully he'll put that information into a book someday. He's a cowboy and rancher at heart with a deep sense of history and a passion for sharing it. Jim would have been comfortable living in the era of his great grandparents.
And Linda...the steady rock behind the scenes. Grounded in common sense and a good balance for dreamer Jim. Together these business partners galvanized the Kansas C.O.W.B.O.Y.S. and will continue to be an important part of keeping the Old West story alive -- they just won't be doing it at 119 N. Douglas anymore.
Cowboy hats off to you Jim and Linda!
Yep, to know why Jim and Linda kept this store going is to "Get Kansas." Yours, Kansas Cowboy #41 and Kansas Explorer #2 Marci Penner
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Paul Boyer's daughters Annie and Candy are your hosts at the gallery. They show as much admiration for their Dad and his amazing works as the guests do. They tell how he never wrote out plans. If he could see it in his head then he could make it. He must have amazing finger dexterity to work with those small gears and shafts. The carved figurines are another amazement! How did he do that?
Sunday, November 2, 2008
As you can see, I still haven't figured out how to wrap text around the photos.
Nonetheless, I can still tell you about the Renaissance Cafe, 210 N. Center, in Assaria as an excellent place for quiet day meetings and good food. Nathalie and daughter Elaine are the breakfast and noon cooks. And it's always delicious -- and made from scratch. On this particular day we had spaghetti and fresh garlic bread. It was sooo good.
The cafe is located in a 1919 school and is adjoined with a Great Plains Manufacturing plant. The cafe surrounds a sunken gym and stage. Owner Roy Applequist owns the plant and keeps the cafe open so his workers have a place to eat their noon meal. On Thursday-Saturday evenings the place converts into a fine dining facility for Italian meals with Kevin as the chef. You can't go wrong at either time of day. It's different menus but both are delicious!
Dave Procter, director of the Center for Engagement and Community Development of K-State, WenDee, and I met recently to talk about the grocery store initiative. For good karma, I like to meet in a town that matches the size towns that we're discussing.
Dave had recently been at a national community development conference and realized that Kansas is ahead of the curve in paying attention to the crisis of sustaining rural grocery stores. Though things have been moving slow that bolstered us to know we're a least on a good track.
Issues on our mind are volume buying, work force, loyalty shopping, cost of utilities, some legislative issues, and the need and desire to stock local produce, healthy foods, and possibly Kansas-made arts and craft products, as well. We have to figure out what needs to be done to support this primary and anchor business in towns of 2,000 and less. Though it's hard to sustain stores in cities of less than 5,000, there seems to be another deeper layer of issues when you go below 2,000.
Dave and I have known each other for years so we understand one another and work well together. The plan is to mesh grassroots abilities with university resources and see if we can create a new working model for rural grocery stores. We've got to make it happen as soon as possible.
It was a good meeting... It will take some outside-of-the-box thinking to create this new model. It will take the right people in the bus, on the rights seats, and we'll need to find some money to put this all in place. We've just got to make it happen.