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Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 1:08 pm

Wilson’s Annual Chamber of Commerce Casino Night is tomorrow,  March 19th.

The social hour starts at 6 p.m. where there will be a finger food buffet and cash bar. Many casino type games of chance will be available starting at 7:00 p.m.

For $20 you will receive $10,000 fun money,  4 prize tickets and a finger food buffet.

At  10 p.m. there will be drawings for prizes and silent auction winners will be  announced.

If you’ve never attending one of these entertaining events, I think you’ll find it a good way to spend the evening among friends.



Filed under: prairie musings, political musings, Wilson Musings, Sam Brownback, Ringo — Peg Britton @ 8:20 pm

After going through the pains of starting up a business, the Midland now has a another chef, a good one this time.  The reports I’ve had from several people who have eaten there are that the food is very good.  Now, that’s what we want to hear.

Republicans always vote for things that are not in their own best interest.  This time they may get what they voted for.  Let’s see what Brownback does about closing small schools, county consolidation, etc. He’s going to bring jobs to Kansas, he says.  Let’s see how that goes. Kobach will be a show to watch.

One overhead fan I have has needed cleaning for a long time. I don’t know that it has ever been cleaned and I’ve had it for over 30 years.  It’s much older than that…a year older than I am, as a matter of fact.  It was built March 3rd, 1929 and spent most of it’s life in the doctors’ office above the CSB and Trust.  Greg Nece Electric cleaned it from stem to stern and polished the wood blades.  It looks like new.  He reminded me that fans need a yearly cleaning. Three more overhead fans to go.

Those small frozen mugs of tomato beer are a buck each Thursday at Paden’s.  Claudia, Ally and I checked it out early this evening.  They do serve the best tomato beer ever.

When the next round of redistricting — the decennial re-drawing of all 435 House districts — occurs next year, Republicans will have complete control over the process in four times as many House districts as Democrats do, districts that comprise nearly half of the entire House, according to a review by The Fix.

Freeze warnings are out for tonight with the expected low to be 27 degrees F, the coldest so far this fall.  Ally finished winterizing my sprinkler system.  She disconnected hoses and rolled them up for the winter.   Daylight Savings time ends and Standard time begins each year at 2:00 A.M. on the first Sunday in November, with clocks moving back one hour.   That means people will be early for church on Sunday.

It’s a good night to turn on the electric mattress pad and turn in.  Ringo seems ready for bed too.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, family, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 5:03 pm

For most of us, it’s too hot to think let alone work outdoors.  After Ally and I had our usual Sunday morning breakfast at KCs, she spent the rest of the morning and until mid-afternoon pulling weeds, watering plants and spraying around my house.  In the heat of the day.  Then she went to her farm and tackled weeds with a 50 gallon sprayer on her truck.  She had a friend help her since she tends to run over the hose and get herself tangled in it when she’s on her own.  She thrives in this heat whereas I just dissolve into a puddle of ghee.

She’s just like her dad.  They could both play golf all day in this heat.  There was only one occasion during his life time that Brit had to leave the golf course because of the heat.  We were in Tucson and it was blistering hot…the steering wheel on our car was too hot to touch.  He drank all the water and lemonade he could find on the course and finally quit.  It was 117, or something like that, and it got the best of him.

Wilson area residents are gearing up for the Czech Festival scheduled for the end of the month.  It’s going to have to cool down a lot before I can handle it this year.   I would like to drop in the Midland Hotel and wish them well.  Maybe we’ll have a cold front roll though. Suppose?  Right now it’s 103 and that’s down a bit from the index of 112 the other day.  Something is going to have to change before I’m going to play outside.

Todd and Karen are driving back from Boulder in this heat.  I haven’t heard of people having their tires blow out as they did frequently when the speed limit was 75 and it was common practice to drive 80 or 85 mph.  That was back when they first opened I-70.  You don’t want to drive that fast in this heat.  I like it better when the speed limit is 60 and people stick to it.

I’m happy staying home where it’s cool.  I have a phone, a large screen TV and my computer has a big screen.  When I tire of reading, I get a movie off the instant viewing list on Netflix.  I’m making up for missing all those movies for years and years.  For less than $10 a month I can watch movies anytime I want. In this weather, that’s a lot.  I have a movie bonanza going most of the time.  It’s the best bargain going…and I love it.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 1:12 pm

The historic Midland Hotel in Wilson KS sold at auction today for $235,000 to a couple from nearby Dorrance. The board could have sold the property previously at a much higher price as was offered, but their infinite wisdom that plagued them throughout their entire history of restoring and operating  the hotel, held out to the for end-of-the-rainbow money and crashed.  So,  their investment of way over $1,000,000 turned south…way south. It was inevitable from the beginning.

But, there is a bright side to the sale and future operation of the Midland Hotel on the horizon.  Tom and Heddy Mahoney from Dorrance are the new owners and they are good people who are hard-working and knowledgeable about finance. More importantly, they know how to involve local people in their plans and operations and will proceed accordingly.  Tom is the son of Ken (recently deceased) and Dorothy Mahoney and owns and manufactures  “Toss Back”, a basketball training invention of theirs.

We’ve had remote connections with them for a long time.  As a matter of fact, Ken, Dorothy and Tex Winter, the K-State basketball coach at the time, established Camp Audubon, a basketball camp that our boys attended near Nederland CO.  Our boys were much too young  (probably 8 and 9) to attend such a camp, but it’s one of those things Brit thought would be good for them.  They had some wild tales to tell about that.  I’d picked out a place for them that was geared for younger boys, but Brit got all caught up in the basketball idea, as dads are wont to do.  When we went out a couple of days early to pick up the boys after they were there for a couple of weeks, Dane had walking pneumonia, and Todd was wearing the same clothes as those worn when we delivered him there.  I guess he managed to throw up every night in his footlocker containing all his clean clothes.

One day we took the Mahoney kids and ours and climbed to the top of Mt. Audubon…except that I couldn’t make it to the top as I was completely out of wind.  Brit ended up carrying Tommy Mahoney on his shoulders to the top and all the way down and needless to say, he was a basket case the rest of the night.  Ever after that, when Brit was really, really tired, he’d say, “I’m as tired as if I just climbed to the top of Mt. Audubon with Tom Mahoney on my shoulders!”

Even if the Midland didn’t turn out as originally planned, and we were saddened by that, we should be very hopeful that the new local owners will be able to turn things around.  They are good people, know how to run a business and will quickly gain the support of “locals”.  We certainly wish them well.

And, Ally was right all along.  She said someone probably could make it “work” if they paid less than $300,000 for it.  She was in a position to know.

Thanks for tuning in…



A friend and I drove to Wilson tonight to get a cheeseburger from Made From Scratch.  Their homemade  potato chips and curly fries…both made on site with real potatoes with the skins left on…are also worth the drive.  When I see the cook in the kitchen shaping the thick burger and flopping it on the grill, I know I’m in for a treat.  It’s also worth the drive for a piece of homemade pie.  I forgot my camera, as usual, but they had just taken a half dozen or so pies out of the oven. They have a huge run on their pies so they are constantly baking them…all from scratch, of course.  They have every kind imaginable and they are all fresh and delicious.  Last night they had probably a dozen varieties to choose from and they are all very, very good.

My friend bought a “table” for Sarah Palin’s dinner and speech that is coming up in Salina, if Sarah shows.  Once again, she offered me a ticket to join her, but I have not the slightest interest in going to hear Sarah.  Like my friend “Margaret” says: Sarah’s problems come because every time you stick a microphone in front of her mouth a whole lot of stupid falls out.  I’ve never heard her speak when that wasn’t the case. Margaret is very wise.  She also said Palin “mixes religion and politics like I mix gin and tonic but then calls for less government involvement.  Freedom from government is her battle cry until a vagina gets involved and then watch how much involvement she wants.  Show me a woman who is making a private medical decision to end a pregnancy and I’ll show you a Palin screaming for more government involvement.”

There was a National Geographic program tonight about Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province Afghanistan.  It’s an excellent program about our involvement there and the thousands of additional troops that are being filtered through that camp.  Interestingly enough, I’d already seen most of the documentary in smaller segments that I’d Googled on YouTube. If you have a chance to see it, I think you’ll find it eye-opening.

I visited on Skype tonight with one of my new friends, Stanley, who is from California, but grew up in K.C. and had relatives in Salina.  He’s a retired nuclear physicist  and  heavy into chemical makeups of foods and various dietary components. He is the one who recommended virgin coconut oil to me. I’m now using it exclusively. I’ve since learned there are several people around here who have been using it a year or more.  Stanley is patient and explains things very well, which in my case, is a necessity.  He recommended a book…The Diet Evolution by Dr. Steven Gundry, which I’ll find used on Amazon and wade through one of these days.

Except for a major pain in the ankle (which is why I’m up at this hour), I’m feeling better.  Joint aches and pains have filtered away. Who knows what to credit for that, but I believe it must be either the coconut oil (Stanley thinks so) or Knox Nutra Joint stuff my friend in FL recommended.  Neither can harm me, so I’m continuing with both and keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll soon be moving around without my joints creaking and hurting.

That reminds me that two separate friends from afar both recommended the same book to me:  Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. My thoughts ran there after talking about potatoes and another book.

I love Skype, btw.  You might want to contact a friend and  give it a try.  I have had very successful video visits with friends in Halifax NS, England, Alaska, FL and CA, for openers.  Some have not been very successful.  I have a lot yet to learn about the program. It’s free.

It’s going to be cold and party cloudy today.  I’ll get my mail later on, but other than that, Ringo and I will hang out at home where it’s warm. That may be all Ringo and I do for a few days except that I am going to Salina on Thursday to have lunch with my friends Shannon, Ivy and Shirley at the Coop.  They apparently have very good veggie pizza and salads.  I’d like to go to Art Rush that night, if possible. It’s always fun.

Tomorrow is Ground Hog Day. Celebrate!

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 2:44 pm


A grand old building…the Wilson Opera House.


It was 2:30 this morning when a neighbor living close by the Wilson Kansas Opera House heard an explosion and called authorities.  At 2:35, the Wilson Chief of Police, Mike Schoenhofer, arrived and found John Johnson’s auto shop engulfed in flames.  Johnson’s building adjoined the Opera House on the east.  East of Johnson is Dr. Ron Whitmer’s medical office.  Soon most of the residents of Wilson were watching their most precious land mark burn to rubble. By mid morning they had all gone home or to their place of employment…saddened beyond belief.


All the history of Wilson, going back to the days it was founded, was contained in this building.


Fire responders came from Ellsworth, Russell, Holyrood, Lincoln, and other communities.


John Johnson’s shop, on the left of the Wilson Opera House, is believed to be the source of the fire.  It’s origin is not know, but there is no suspicion of arson.


Dr. Ron Whitmer’s medical office building was badly damaged.


We are devastated by the loss of this building.  As one of my friends said….”These small towns don’t have much, and it is pretty hard to keep morale up in the first place.  This is tragic.”


Memories forever.

A good friend of mine who is involved in all kinds of restorations…from very expensive fine art to buildings, has mentioned to me that he hopes the citizens of Wilson aren’t hasty in demolishing the facade of the building.  He believes after a time they may want to rebuild the structure, and if so, it’s a good possibility the limestone facade would be strong enough to be utilized.


Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 8:29 am

During the night the Wilson Opera House burned to the ground and damaged the buildings adjacent to it.   I don’t know any details regarding the source of the fire.  The Opera House housed all of the area history, pictures, documents, artifacts…everything. It’s a real tragedy.



Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 2:55 pm

The annual Czech Festival begins Friday and continues throughout the weekend.  Mark your calendars and be there if you can.  There will be arts and crafts, polka music and beer, barrel rides and moon walks, Czech dancers, ice cream social, basketball, softball, flea market, races and runs, a legislative coffee with all your favorite politicians and of course…a parade and lots of pork, sausage and sauerkraut dinners.



Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 2:43 pm

The celebration begins  March 29th, 2009 at  3:30 p.m. at the Catholic Parish Hall in Wilson KS. It is open to the Public.  Call for your free tickets now 785-658-2602.

The meal will feature a whole roast hog banquet with all the trimmings.

Musical Entertainment:   FOUR STAR from Hays — Featuring songs by the Statler Brothers,  John Denver, Alabama and other contemporary artists.

Open to the Public - Call for your free tickets now 785-658-2602

The Post Rock Opportunities Foundation was created to market the work of Kansas Artists, Craftsmen, Food Producers and Authors.



Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 11:30 am

The Midland Hotel in Wilson is closing at the end of the month. They put a fox in charge of the chicken coop and now not all the chickens are gone but many, many, many more are unaccounted for.

Way too bad for Wilson and the entire area.



Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 5:21 pm

Sunday, November 30    12 noon to 3 p.m.

Enjoy Refreshments &  Meet the artists

RoJean Loucks will provide beautiful harp music throughout the afternoon

Artists and Craftsmen:

Michelle Weigel: Hand-painted Christmas ornaments

Angela Bates: Author “The Adventures of Nicodemus Annie”

Jerry Ostermann: Photographic Design Art

Helen Aust: Fabric purses

Carol Hall:  Author  “Prairie Meals and Memories”

Paul & Mary Roper: Variety of handmade items

Mary Moore McKown: Grandma Moses-style paintings

Carol McNickle:  Scroll-saw Ornaments

Troy Thompson:  Café Gourmet Sauces

Kansas Originals Market & Gallery
233 Hwy 232      (I-70 Exit 206 north side)
Wilson, KS 67490



Filed under: prairie musings, political musings, Wilson Musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 12:00 pm


Caleb and James, and another friend from Bethany College, were offering all kinds of locally grown, fresh from the vine, delicious produce this morning under the branches of that lovely cottonwood tree by the railroad tracks. Betty Gwinner waits for James to weigh her produce and return with her change.


Before 8:00 a.m. the queue formed and everyone takes his turn with selections. Selling doesn’t begin until 8:00 so Caleb doesn’t arrive until then. There is always a grouch around to complain if he opens at 7:59.  I was one of the first there and went through the line but had to make a couple trips to the car with my armful of good things.  One sack of sweet corn lies on the ground waiting for my return.

I went through the line a second time and got a few more items.  In addition to all the good things they had last week, the addition of melons was a welcome sight….honeydew, cantelope and watermelon.  His tomato crop has been dismal so he hope to have some from “grandma’s” next week.  The corn was devoid of worms and beautiful. That’s what Brit wants for dinner. Ally is smoking baby back ribs at the Deli today, so we may get a slab of those as well. They are so good!

While we were waiting for Caleb’s arrival, all the emergency vehicles left the fire house zooming past us. I heard that a house located by the cop shop on 3rd street burned to the ground. Fortunately, no one was in the house at the time as it was reduced to cinders very rapidly.  They suspect smoldering electrical wiring might be the cause.

Josh Svaty and Jay Emler showed up for the legislative/polical gathering at the Senior Center in Wilson today.  That once was a huge event and almost everyone running for state political offices were in attendance.  Things change and now there are more festivals like the one in Wilson to draw politicians to them.  The parade was well-attended.  The gathering in the Wilson park for last night’s activities was huge, it was reported.

Eaglenet is updating today so I’ll post this now.  Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 3:07 pm

The 48th annual Czech Festival kicks off tomorrow afternoon with the annual state meeting of the Kansas Czechs, Inc. at the Wilson Opera House. Arts and crafts booths  will be unveiled in the Lions Club park at 4:00.  The ever present smell of beer and brats will waft over the town from the beer garden beginning at 5:00 tomorrow night.  The little girl Czech dancers will perform at 6:30 in the park with an ice cream social and other events to follow.

Saturday morning at the Senior Center, political speeches will be offered at 8:00 a.m. with free coffee and kolaches served on the side. The parade follows at 10:00. There will be activities all day Saturday culminating in three dances that evening.  The Jimmie Dee Band will play a polka dance beginning at 8 pm at the Opera House.  There will be a teen dance at the Stop-2-Shop parking lot with music by DJ Tony Smith.  The Czech Lands Band will perform at the Catholic Parish Hall.

Czech food will abound all day at various locations:  Made From Scratch, Opera House, American Legion Hall, Knights of Columbus and Senior Center, the Midland Hotel, Snack Shack and Stop-2-Shop will offer a variety of dishes. Food venders will also be in the park.  Pie, bierocks, kolaches, beer and brats will be found around each corner.

They estimate there will be 5,000 visitors coming to this small town of less than 1,000 people. It takes an all-out effort from almost everyone in town to make this a successful festival each year, so give them your support, if you are able. It’s a good way to insure the future success of our small communities.

And, while you are in Wilson, take a break and visit Kansas Originals and meet the artists who will be displaying sculptures in iron, blown glass, stained glass and acrylic painting between 11 and 4 on Saturday.



Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 10:33 am

Dear Friends,

I want to inform you that our application titled “Wilson For The Ages” did not make the Top 4 in the Case Foundation “Make It Your Own Awards” grant program.  We can feel very proud, however, for what we have accomplished (i.e. Top 20 out of 4,641 applications and a $10,000.00 award).

In the online voting competition to determine the Top 4, “Wilson For The Ages” received 1,546 votes which is pretty darn good for a community of our size.  Wilson is the smallest of the cities that made the Top 20.  The projects that made the Top 4 each received over 4,000 votes and are located in New Orleans, St. Paul, Chicago and Philadelphia.
Go to to learn more.

Congratulations to the projects that made the Top 4.  I hope they accomplish great things in their communities.

Much thanks to everyone who voted for “Wilson For The Ages” and helped spread the word to others.


David Criswell
Wilson PRIDE



Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 3:21 pm

On Thursday, April 24th, several Wilson residents gathered in Lions Club Park to plant trees is observance of Arbor Day.  Mayor Eleanor Hunter (not pictured) read a proclamation in support of Arbor Day and encouraged people to plant trees, and Jim Strine, NW Kansas District Forester from Hays (middle, wearing a blue cap), offered valuable instruction on tree planting.  Jim also discussed the benefits that accrue to communities that participate in the Tree City USA Program sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation.  Wilson is working toward becoming a Tree City.




Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 1:55 pm

Speaking of Wilson…I understand the StopUShop, Dane’s favorite hangout in Wilson, is now serving food that is packing them in over the noon hour….crusty chicken, jambalaya and other tasty things. Dane always hit the Chinese egg rolls pretty hard when meals at the home were lean. You might want to stop in and give it a try.

Also, one would think you wouldn’t allow a guy who’s naked from the waist up to do dishes in a restaurant, would you? Health/sanitation laws forbid it and common sense should prevail. I guess some folks who were at the hotel to eat noticed the half naked guy and left the premises very quickly.

The First Annual Wilson Spring Picnic is Saturday from 11:00 to 5:00. I have a project to work on that day involving a very busy friend so I won’t be able to go, but my guess is that it will be a lot of fun. There will be lots of food and Wilson food is generally very good. And, it’s free. There are things for the kids to do, you can hear Josh speak at 1:00 p.m.and just have a nice day relaxing in Wilson honoring all the volunteers and organizations that help western Kansas stay on the map.

It’s wet and blustery cold today. Yesterday there was no wind. The day before that we had gusts up to 56 mph. Last night the wind started in again and it’s blowing hard enough now to cut right through you. The rains have been widespread with some areas getting over two inches. All the moisture is soaking right in to help those spring flowers pop up and make us smile.

Our magnolia tree is in full bloom. I hope to get a picture posted before all the flowers are gone.


Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 1:38 pm


Mitch Wolf, Heather Bloesser, Magen Zelenka and Kaitlin Ptacek attended the Fort Hays Art Show on April 16th.  They were to modernize a picture and did so of Marilyn Monroe by including the three presidential candidates still in the race.   Mitch drew the characters. They didn’t win but ended up 3rd out of a number of high school from Kansas.

Way to go kids!



Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 12:57 pm

Dear Peg,

I’m requesting your help to ask as many people as possible to go to Case Foundation and vote for “Wilson For The Ages.” This is the name of a grant I wrote last summer to the Case Foundation that has made it to the Top 20 out of 4,641 applications received by the Case Foundation.

For making the Top 20, we have been awarded $10,000.00 which we will use to do an aggressive community outreach, visioning and goal setting project in Wilson. You can read more about “Wilson For The Ages” and the other Top 20 applications at

Attached is the Case Foundation’s press release. If “Wilson For The Ages” gets enough votes to make it to the Top 4, we will get an additional $25,000.00. The deadline for voting is April 21st. Each email address is allowed just one vote.

Wilson is the smallest community to make it to the Top 20 and the only one in the middle part of the U.S. Most of the other Top 20 organizations reside in large cities like New York, Chicago and Denver and have paid professional staff. Wilson PRIDE is all volunteer, of course. We were very fortunate to make it this far, but now we’re trying to go farther.

Thanks, Peg, for whatever you can do to help spread the word and get us some votes!!!!!!

David Criswell, President
Wilson PRIDE, Inc.
P.O. Box 7
Wilson, KS 67490
Ph. 785-658-3409 or 785-452-5507

P.S. by Peg…. You have to vote for 4 projects rather than just one (vote for Wilson first), then you have to go to your email in-box and receive the message sent to you by the Case Foundation before your vote is recorded. I tried using a hotmail address and it wouldn’t work for me. Gmail works and I presume other ISP addresses will work just fine.

Dane was vice-president of Wilson PRIDE, but was not really well enough to serve very long. He was very supportive of the program and it would be nice if you’d help the cause and cast a vote.


Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 9:48 am

Wilson’s 1st Annual Spring Picnic that will be this Saturday, April 19th,  from 11 AM - 5 PM at the Wilson School grounds (inside the gym if the weather is bad).  There will be lots of good food, music, entertainment, inflatable moon walks and many fun activities!

Come help us celebrate our local volunteers and public employees who serve Wilson and the surrounding area


At 1 PM, Josh Svaty will speak on the importance of  volunteerism and public service to a community.  There will be live entertainment throughout the day and fun activities for kids.

The all day event is sponsored by Wilson Pride, Dr. Dennis and Jennifer Kepka, Florian Audio Visual, Wilson Family Foods and over 40 local organizations.

FOR INFORMATION CALL 658-3409 OR 658-5142.



Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 5:28 pm

Tomorrow the city of Wilson will begin a year long celebration commemorating the 125th year of its founding. The first event will be a hog roast from 1:00 to 5:00 at the Senior Center. Everyone is welcome.

Then to finish off the day with a little more food, you can enjoy a chili feed in Dorrance at the American Legion post, an event that signals the effort to reorganize a Boy Scout troop for the Wilson-Dorrance area. Everyone is welcome.

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