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Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Tyler Britton USAF — Peg Britton @ 4:59 pm

The Kansas Board of Regents has hired Bernadette Gray-Little, the provost at the University of North Carolina, as the next chancellor of KU.  As far as I know, this is the first time they have named a woman.  Finally.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee winner from Olathe Kansas is aspiring to be a neurosurgeon when she grows up.  Not only that…she’s beautiful and charming.  She’ll go far.  “Kavya Shivashankar became the seventh Indian-American in 11 years to claim the title, including back-to-back winners who want to be neurosurgeons. Her role model is the one who started the run: 1999 winner Nupur Lala, who was featured in the documentary “Spellbound” and is now a research assistant in the brain and cognitive sciences lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.” For more…

“Kavya, was an obvious favorite, having finished 10th, eighth and fourth in her three previous appearances. Her winning word was the proper adjective ‘Laodicean,’ which means lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics. As with all her words, Kavya wrote the letters in the palm of her hand with her finger as she called them out.”

There is nothing more fundamental than the right to marry the person you love.  One day, everyone will have that right.  One of these days, people will realize it doesn’t matter what state you live in, that can’t matter…it won’t matter…when all is said and done. We may have to wait until Justices Kennedy (73) and homophobe Scalia (72) retire to get the job done. The Full Faith and Credit Clause—Article IV, Section 1, of the U.S. Constitution—provides that the various states must recognize legislative acts, public records, and judicial decisions of the other states within the United States.  They will have to honor the contradicted obligations of another state.  TheThe Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson and David Boies, who opposed each other in the court wrangling over the 2000 presidential election results for George W. Bush and Al Gore, have filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of two gay couples.  This should be interesting to follow.

Jay Leno is leaving his late night show tonight after 17 years.  I usually watch David Rose or on occasion, Letterman.  Conan O’Brian is not at the top of my list of comedians.  Jon Stewart is very funny some of the time.

Some cell phones have lasting power.  Someone I know was riding her Harley down the highway when she noticed something in her rear view mirror spewing all over the highway.  She didn’t realize what it was until she returned to her farmette and her cell phone and holster were missing from her belt.  So, back she went to retrieve the various bits and pieces from the highway and reassemble them. She was surprised it still worked and all she needed was a new cover and holster…both on sale for a few bucks.  Amazing that Samsung.

Times Square has turned into a pedestrian mall…which is very cool.  Five blocks have been closed to traffic where the streets are inhabited by people instead of traffic. The Times Square Allianace, which is a business owners’ groups that acts like a Chamber of Commerce for the area, says it’s so successful that no one has even pilfered any of the 350 chairs they have made available.  Over 350,000 people throng the area daily.  It will remain closed to traffic at least until the end of the year. You can relax in one of the busiest places in New York read a book, visit or people watch.  My mother would have loved it.

My time has come…I need a root canal.  I’ve never had one.  Never lost a permanent tooth either.

Jeremy Milbradt of Smoky Valley Appliance Repair came to take a look at a refrigerator/freezer that shot craps on the day I was least prepared to handle it…the day my houseguest arrived.  I’ll spare the details, but he did determine it was beyond repair.  Remember the Almond Gold GE’s appliances of 1972-74?  Quite the thing, back then.  We moved them from the old house to this one in ‘76.  Slowly they perished.  The refrig served us well all these years with little or no attention given to it.  Today it went to the dump.  Jeremy drained the freon and gave me a slip of paper attesting to the fact. You need that and $3.00 to unload it at the landfill.  I don’t need it anymore and it probably drew it’s last breath knowing that.


Jeremy does excellent work.  He was trained by Larry Adamek and knows what he’s doing.  I blogged another “appliance doctor” a few years ago and it was a bad mistake, so forget that as he ran up a lot of expenses on a dryer I had and didn’t fix it.  Didn’t even return calls.  That’s his reputation, so I’m sorry if I led people astray.  Jeremy is very good…and honest.  Oops…one of Josh’s signs just emerged.

If you’re in Abilene, stop at the downtown New and Used Book Store (probably called something else officially).  Tyler, Ally, Cathy, Nancy and I had lunch there yesterday.  It was good…and fun.


I was amazed at the volumes of books they have to buy.   There are several tables such as the above inside, with a couple of sidewalk size tables outside.  It’s a nice place.


They had several very good sandwiches and great desserts on the menu. They are very nice ladies who work there.

We had a fun day visiting friends and seeing the sights in Abilene.  Tyler is a very good sport.



Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth Sites — Peg Britton @ 2:40 pm


The old insurance building…the Ellsworth landmark, has taken on a new look. This is what the restoration group felt the building looked like when it was constructed which is a marvelous upgrade from the dilapidated building we inherited.  There were stairs up the front and other details, but for the most part, the outside appears very much the same.  The roof has been repaired and and the building is structurally sound once again.

What we need now are donations to help restore the inside of the building.  That will be the next phase of the project.  It is a slow process but the board is committed to  its completion.  Donations may be made to the National Drovers National Hall of Fame and sent to Mark Roehrman, president, 210 N. Douglas, Ellsworth KS 67439.

For more information, check the Drovers website here.  This is a not for profit project and built entirely with donations and fund-raising projects.  We’d appreciate your help.


Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Eat — Peg Britton @ 2:20 pm


Meredith, Cindy and I get together as frequently as possible to have huevos rancheros at Orozco’s.  That isn’t very often….every few months, at best.  Now that they are retired, they are busier than when they were teaching.  Or so it seems. We usually arrive at 9:00 and stay until the lunch crowd arrives.  It was my turn to pay so we gathered at 8:00 and added to our numbers so the airmen and Ally could be included.  From left: grandson Tyler, Meredith (The Crystal Queen) Vargo, daughter Ally, Lew McAtee, Cindy McAtee, Moi with my steriod moon face, and Greg Jones.  The best of friends for years, Greg and Tyler were off for recruitment duties in Salina after breakfast.


Gabe Orozco and Tyler.

If you haven’t had the huevos rancheros experience at Orozco’s, you might want to give it a try.  I have mine served with scrambled eggs and extra sauce on top.  It’s Gabe’s parents special dish and a local favorite. The Orozco’s are a wonderful family and each one is special.  Gabe has two nephews in Harvard med school.  Smart group they are.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:04 pm

Margaret, a long time friend of mine from college days just celebrated her 80th birthday by jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.  She tagged along with a very experienced jumper who turned out to be very “cool” under pressure.  It seems that when the main chute failed to open, the cool jumper guy methodically separated it from them  so it wouldn’t tangle the reserve chute when it was released.  After releasing the reserve chute they had a very routine and pleasant landing.  They had a photographer along to capture the event.  I don’t know how she celebrated the rest of her day but, my guess is that the auspicious event was followed with a large quantity of libations.

When Brit’s Class of 44 was gathered at the Senior Center Saturday noon, the phone rang.  My friend Nancy answered it and was instantly perplexed.  I could hear her say…are you coming? You need a ride? Someone was supposed to pick you up?  Where do you live? Is this Frank? I’m sorry…let me pass the phone on to someone else who can figure this out.

Here’s how the conversation went with someone we presumed was a very able classmate:

Class Member:  Hello?  Frank? Are you coming?
Caller:  No…I’m supposed to be there and no one picked me up.
CM: We didn’t know you needed a ride.
Caller:  I always get a ride.
CM: You need a ride?  Don’t you live in Geneseo?
Caller: I live here.
CM:  Where is here? I thought you lived in Geneseo.
Caller: I live in Ellsworth.  You were supposed to pick me up. I’m supposed to be at the Senior Center.
CM:   We’re having a class reunion at the Senior Center.  We were expecting you.
Caller:  Well, this is Friday and I’m supposed to be there to eat.
CM: This is Saturday and no one else is here…except for members of the class of ‘44.
Caller: Oh…this isn’t Friday?

Then there is another college friend who said….”And that blimp you flew is just huge.  How many people will it hold…hundreds?”  Nope, only  six.  “Only six?”, she queried again?  Only six. “But it’s so huge”, she said.  Ummm…  Like she commented we probably saw lots of ‘fish and stuff’ out the windows when we were submerged for a day aboard the LA Class nuclear submarine, USS Topeka. Ummm…

It’s our age…or sumpin’.

Drew is settled in an apartment in Kansas City, unpacked and ready for work June 2nd.  He and family leave soon for Rod and Gen’s wedding down Cancun way…in the European Riviera.  I wish I could be there for the wedding….without the hassle of getting there and enduring the heat.  There is too much walking in the Playa area for those who are not able to endure very long hikes.  That would be me.

Ringo seems lost without people in and out.  It has been very busy around here for the past several days and he likes the activity.  So do I.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 11:48 am


Rolling Hills Wildlife Center is one of the best things to happen in Kansas.  Certainly, it’s an oasis in the center of Central Kansas….an oasis in an oasis…an extraordinary one.  When Tyler arrived home, he said he wanted to go back to visit again (I took him there a lot when he was a young tyke), and Nancy had never been there, so Sunday afternoon, we headed that way to spend a few hours.

The best way to visit the Center,  is to arrive early in the morning when they open so you can see the animals being fed.  After that, one can spend hours just browsing around visiting the various exhibits.  It’s easy to walk from one area to the next or hop on the tram as you feel inclined. There is a restaurant for food and drinks.  Then later in the afternoon, when it gets a little warm after all day in the sun, step into the museum and spend the rest of the day viewing the fantastic collection of animals in their natural habitats.  There are also periodic art displays of note. It’s a very worthwhile adventure and a great way to spend the day.


Tyler and Nancy rode the tram to the first stop then walked the rest of the way.  I never used to bother with the tram, but yesterday i wasn’t up to doing much walking so I spent my time just riding the tram, visiting with Seth (Jean Schwerdtfeger trained him), the wonderful tram driver, and enjoying the day.

I spent days at the zoo before they officially opened, followed the construction…and watched them plant trees, shrubs etc.  Now, after over ten years, the trees, shrubs and vines have grown so much the the whole area has a different look about it.  Gerrett Morris, the landscape manager, has done a wonderful job. The many varieties of oaks …and all the bald cypress, maples and other trees  are doing so well and are a study unto themselves.  They’ve been well-tended and are flourishing.  It’s such a peaceful place to just sit and wile away the day gazing at the flora and fauna.


The Airman loved his hours at the zoo.


One thing you don’t see just everyday is a pair of reticulated giraffes mating…or any giraffes for that matter.  These were definitely mating. I probably should have hung around to take a mounted picture…just for the heck of it.  But you get the idea there is action taking place.


Following our wildlife adventure, Tyler, our driver and leader, was ready for some Italian food so we went to Napoli’s in Salina, a new dining experience for each of us.  We had a great meal and very good visit.

Tyler had to slouch down so I could get them both in the picture.  What a good day we had!

If you are traveling this way, I certainly can’t stress enough what an outstanding experience this is. Take advantage of it, if you can.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:49 pm


Ally’s last day at the deli with my friend, Nancy Walters Morrison…preparing for the  EHS Alumni Banquet 2009.


Her last Voilà!…and a very good one…of roasted pork tenderloin topped with her special  apricot  fruit sauce.


Her very own made-from-fresh-potatoes…cheesy potato casserole and green beans. I sacrificed the large, warm whole wheat rolls to assuage my guilt and had Dutch apple pie.  The meal was hot, the pork was fork tender and all of it was very, very good. She served about 325 for one of the largest alumni gatherings anyone could recall.


Some of Brit’s classmates whom I joined for their reunion festivities…Wini Helus, Anona Vague, Nancy Morrison, Norman Vague and George Barta.


Part of the gathering of classmates.  The room was packed.


There were so many individuals there I would have liked to have captured on my little digital camera to show here, but the crowd was sort of immovable and I couldn’t maneuver through the bodies  to do it.  I should have done it before the dinner….but…oh well.  After thoughts.  It was wonderful seeing old friends even for very brief hugs and hellos.



Linda Kohls, Ally and Audie Magana.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:46 pm


Back left…Lloyd Dolezal, Nancy Morrison, Paul Helus, Norman Vague, Fern Zajic,  Fritz Pflughoeft.  George Barta was here as well…some place.


Anona Vague, Fern Zajic and Bernie Pflughoeft.


Winifred Helus, Fern Dolezal, Fern Zajic and Nancy Morrison.



Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 4:16 pm


Bank board members, Dave Brownback and Lew McAtee watch the hot dogs as they prepare for feeding anyone who stops by.  Cheryl Brownback lets the guys do the cooking at their yearly gathering.  It’s a nice community event for Ellsworth.  Watch out when the bevy of young boys arrive on their bicycles ready to load up on free hot dogs.


Betty Gwinner, John Sherman, Anne and George Jones enjoy the nice weather and the free lunch.


The line starts here…


Ellsworth Mayor Steve Bahan stops to visit with Lew McAtee, one time mayor of Ellsworth…and a very good one.


Ted Edgerle, Dan McKiernen and unknown young fellow shoot the breeze.


Mike Pflughoeft goes through the line while bank board member, Carol Herber, waits for the next taker.

Ringo enjoyed two hot dogs sans buns.  He lapped them up looking for more.  Those were very special treats for him.



Filed under: prairie musings, Tyler Britton USAF — Peg Britton @ 7:44 pm

Our grandson and his g/f landed jobs in their respective fields…Drew in banking and Kaley in marketing.  With the job market such as it is, they worked hard at it and it got them where they wanted to be.  They are excited to get moved to Kansas City and go to work.  There is the burden of student loans to pay off, which will be the first order of business.  They’ll be here Friday for the weekend, and after that, we won’t see them as often as we’d like.

Tyler has done some really good things to help me out since he’s been home.  My garage has been swept clean and sorted through for the first time in years.  What a difference that makes.  He’s a perfectionist so it was done just the way I wanted.  He does it around his recruitment/AF obligations and it works well for everyone.

My car that was showing the presence of  dog slobbers and shedding hair, has been cleaned thoroughly inside and out and waxed with Ice.  Another Tyler specialty.  Brit always took Ringo with him everywhere he went and I didn’t let Ringo ride with me.  I figured one messy vehicle was enough…but I can’t stand NOT taking him as he enjoys it so much.  He does flip flops when I asked him if he wants to go for a ride or go get the mail. He’s my dog now and I have had to make allowances for that. A dirty car just comes with the territory.

Last night after dinner at Orozco’s Tyler and I were cruising through town so I had him stop at the new hamburger/bakery place.  I thought I’d check out their cinnamon rolls that I’ve heard were so good.  Well, I must still be under the influence of steroids as I asked when the cinnamon rolls were baked and nothing computed as it should.  The pan was undisturbed like it recently had been removed from the oven and the rolls looked very good.

“Were they baked today”, I asked?  No, not today she asked…and the guy behind her said…”Probably yesterday”.  Then they bantered back and forth like they really didn’t know when they were baked. “The supplies come in on Wednesday”. she said.

This was like my experience with the bad Mexican food place in Lyons…I should have just thanked them and walked out.  But no…I said I’d take one.  $2.96.

Then, with roll in hand, I asked, “What day does she bake rolls?”, and the reply was “Wednesday”.  As I carried the roll out of the establishment, I pressed on it (or tried) and it occurred to me that it was Tuesday.  The roll was probably a week old.  Right on.  It was so hard and dry I couldn’t even cut it with a serrated knife. If I’d dropped it, it probably would have shattered. Looks are deceiving. It was so hard it wouldn’t even soak up hot coffee! It had to be trashed.

The information I need to appeal to the state tax board is in hand.  A good friend is going to help me with it.  I think it’s all done over the telephone and I don’t know how fair it all is…but we’ll see.  I may get nowhere, but I’m going to try.

My friend, Nancy, is arriving from Shreveport tomorrow.  She’s driving to Ellsworth so she can attend her husband’s 65th class reunion.  If Joe were alive, she says, he’d be here.  Brit would be on the golf course, as he always was during his class reunions, but I’ll tag along with Nancy to the noon gathering of their classmates and the evening dinner at the American Legion Hall.  It will be fun to see some of them again and especially nice to have Nancy as a house guest for a few days.

Soon I’m going to do a garden tour and take some pictures.  Roger and Teresa showed me their garden hideaway the other night and it is truly a secluded place of beauty complete with one of John Griffith’s fish ponds.  Ann Gro and The Crystal Queen have wonderful vegetable gardens and I want to visit them now that all the new seeds have emerged from the soil.  They are garden perfectionists so I’ll try to capture some pictures to share.

On Sunday from 11 until 3:00, there will be alpacas roaming around Kansas Originals and fiber artists explaining about spinning wheels and making things from fibers.  They’ll also have a large display of foods made in Kansas.  Stop by if you can.

And…eldest grandson Rod and Genn will be married later next week in Yucatan. I wish I could be there…it’s a gorgeous place and their wedding will be lovely.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 1:14 pm

Drew is employed.  He landed a position with Bank of the West in Kansas City…he has an apartment and will start to work June 2.  Yay!

As we all know, the job market out there is very tight, particularly in banking….Drew’s chosen field.  Other fields are equally as hard to break into for work.  A friend told me today that her niece who graduated from KU with a couple of majors in political science/international politics was one of 500 applying for a position. They ran that group through all kinds of scrutiny and weeded the list down to 50.  Then they took those 50 and gave them very tough on-line vocabulary and math tests.  After that with about 25 remaining, they told them to be creative in figuring out how much the Washington Monument weighed and a way to sell it.  They didn’t want an engineers approach to it. Well…she finally breezed through that and was one of three who spent the next two days in Denver with interviews and then got the job.   The other 499 are still looking, I presume.   In one of Drew’s interviews, he was asked all kinds of questions related to banking which he felt he answered well….then was asked to sell them a loaf of bread.  That would be an easy one for me, but for a young kid who only looks at bread as a platform for holding something to eat, it’s another matter. It stunned him, but he did it.

Tyler is tackling my garage, putting things in order, cleaning and rearranging.  That’s a first…for the way he’s doing it.  He’s helping his recruitment officer as well which is the reason he gets to spend a couple weeks at home.  If you know of anyone interested in joining the Air Force, he’s around to answer questions with first hand information on what’s military life has to offer.  He’s getting a good education and not accumulating the debt that’s ordinarily associated with it.  He made a very good choice by joining the Air Force and loves what he’s doing.

I stopped by the grocery store to restock my banana supply and found Ally and Lori up to their elbows in mice en place preparing the apricot sauce for the Saturday night banquet.  Julie Wright still has tickets if you need some.

Jackson Cole Svaty was ambling through town yesterday seeing the sights with his parents and I got to see him for the first time.  What a handsome baby he is.

Ringo loves going on errands with me.  For the most part, he stays in the back seat with his head hanging out the window.  What a Ringo.

Summer is descending upon us.  It was cool last night so I let in all the wonderful fresh breezes then shut the windows this morning.  I hate the thought of turning on the air conditioner and will put it off as long as possible.

I’m in the process of appealing my taxes to the state level.  Brit just let “things” like that go and now I’m having to deal with something that got way out of hand.  Even though he did correct some errors, the appraiser and I are still miles apart from where I think we ought to be.  We’ll see what happens.  At least I’ll feel better after going the course.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, family, political musings — Peg Britton @ 10:15 am

Troy Findley, the newly appointed Lt. Governor, says he has “no intention” to be a candidate for any elected office in 2010.  He’s just holding the position…a bench warmer.

My friend is in line at Wheatfields in Lawrence and called for my bread order.  Four loaves of sourdough walnut raisin.  Yay.

Ally is moving on from the Deli.  She’ll be there to finish out her catering commitments, then she’s off.

And, I hear the high school and middle school music teachers are also moving on.  If so, the district is losing two very talented teachers.  For whatever reason, those of us on the sidelines have seen decisions made by the board that over the past years have turned a hugely successful music program in our schools to a shadow of its former self. If you want to toss a ball, they offer a game for everyone.

My friend, Ryon the Chicken Guy, has it made.  He has two chickens who lay eggs at his door every morning.  There is a little pile of leaves by the door and they plop two eggs there every morning.  He only wishes they’d fry them first.

It’s time to take flowers  to the cemetery. I have a lot of graves to decorate…Dane’s, my parents, Brit’s parents, my paternal grandparents and two pairs of great-grandparents.  At least they are all located here.  I’m not sure I could even find all of my mother’s ancestors grave sites.

The two graduates are beating the bushes to find jobs in their fields…finance and marketing.  Keep your fingers crossed for them as they are really trying.

And…from Kansas Jackass:

Monday, May 18, 2009
Rally to Support Planned Parenthood!
One of the not-so-nice things included in the budget just passed by the Kansas Legislature was a rule change sponsored by State Senator Tim Huelskamp and State Representative Lance Kinzer that strips Planned Parenthood of the state dollars the organization uses to pay for women’s reproductive health care, education, and family planning. In other words, Huelskamp and Kinzer succeeded in stripping Planned Parenthood of the money it uses to provide services that might lead to fewer abortions needing to be performed.

So much for actually being “pro-life,” there, boys.

Tomorrow, supporters of Planned Parenthood will rally at the Kansas Statehouse to ask Governor Mark Parkinson to line-item veto the Huelskamp Amendment and make sure funding that goes to preventing abortions in Kansas continues to be spent.

I’d like all of you to join me at the Statehouse tomorrow!


Rally to Support Planned Parenthood Tuesday, May 19, 10 a.m. to Noon South Steps of the Kansas Statehouse

We need YOU to attend a rally at the Capitol to show support for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, and to oppose the Huelskamp amendment which will defund them. Women depend on Planned Parenthood for pregnancy testing, contraceptives, STD testing and treatment, HIV/AIDS testing, and gynecological exams - just to name a few!

The rally will be held on the south steps of the Kansas Capitol and will be attended by KS NOW, ACLU, Planned Parenthood of KS and Mid-Missouri, and the Kansas Equality Coalition. We need a strong showing to oppose this attempt by right-wing legislators to hurt the women of Kansas. Help us send a strong message to Governor Parkinson to line-item veto this harmful provision.

More later…thanks for tuning in ….



Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 5:02 pm

Ticket sales are lower than expectations for the alumni banquet on Saturday and sales  ended yesterday, but Ally Britton, who is catering the meal, can work with numbers she gets on Monday…tomorrow, according to Julie Wright.

The committee would really appreciate it if you’re just slow in buying a ticket, if you’d do that now and help bump up the numbers.   Julie Wright has tickets for sale and you can give her a ring at 472-3326. If they could get confirmation for more tickets that would help them out a lot (and Ally too!).

The dinner is May 23rd at the Ellsworth American Legion Hall.  Doors open at 5:30 with the dinner being served at 6:30.  There will be a short meeting and class recognition at 7:30…with lot of visiting going on after that.  The tickets are only $15.00 and I know the dinner includes one of Ally’s specials…roasted pork loin slices topped with apricot sauce, cheesy potatoes, green beans, salad, rolls and butter and an assortment of pies.

I plan to go…how about that…and I didn’t graduate from EHS, although I might as well have done so.  I’ve lived here almost long enough to qualify.  Nancy Morrison is driving up from Shreveport to help organize the class of ‘44 grads and their  65th class reunion so she and I will fill in for our husbands who were classmates.  We’re expecting about 15 to gather for lunch to reminisce before attending the banquet that evening.

The committee could use a boost….so buy a ticket and attend the dinner….please. Julie and the committee members thank you too.


Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 4:31 pm


Drew Wiiiam Britton, KSU 2009 graduation, Bachelor’s of Science in Business/Finance.


His classmates.  Drew is in the center.


And…another special person who also graduated with a degree in business/marketing….Kaley Auston.

Congratulations grads….


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 3:13 pm


Friday evening found Preisker Park being invaded by the barbecue cookoff competitors.  What a lovely weekend for community gathering.

The coals have been lit….


Hamburgers were the order of the evening on Friday…with the full cookoff coming on Saturday.  By the time I returned home from Manhattan (and Drew’s graduation) Saturday, it was too dark for me to meander through the park to take pictures of  Saturday night’s events.  Sorry…I know it was hugely successful as I could hear the music quite clearly as I crashed for the night.


Filed under: prairie musings, History — Peg Britton @ 2:48 pm

Twenty years ago the dream of a local art gallery came alive.  Julie Britton sent me the following information that I thought would be of interest to many.
The Ellsworth Area Gallery of Art
A Historical View

The possibility of establishing a local gallery of art in Ellsworth, Ks. was explored in a public meeting held at Citizens State Bank and Trust, Frontier room on Dec. 5, 1989.

The consensus of the members attending the meeting was to move ahead to provide a viable cultural art experience and avenue of art exhibit space for works of art by Ellsworth County artists and visiting artists. The support and cultivation of local friends of the arts as well as the identification of local artists plus the addition of a cultural avenue to attract visitors to the community through the offering of exhibits of unique rural works of art and multi-disciple theatre performances were all a factors in the decision to move forward.

The initial location of the gallery was the former Seitz building located in downtown Ellsworth, currently owned by the local bank and just recently used and vacated by the newly established Ellsworth Correctional facility executive personnel. The donation by CSB&T of the use of this prime downtown store space was instrumental in the establishment of a local art gallery

The mission statement of the original Ellsworth Area Arts Council Board of Directors was to be responsible for “Planning, coordinating, initiating and strengthening programs that will provide the citizens of Ellsworth County area with an enhanced cultural life by showcasing local and Kansas artists and to promote, through youth art exhibits, the continued encouragement to produce works of art and cultural expressions by young Ellsworth County artists.”

After the acquisition of an IRS private non profit 501 (c) 3, status the gallery moved ahead. The gallery opened in 1990.
The organization was originally led by Michelle Petermannn of Holyrood, president, and Ellsworth volunteers Susan Cunningham, vice president, Annette Bourne, secretary, Janet Carswell, treasurer and Julie Britton, ex-officio executive director designation due to her current service as commissioner for the Kansas Arts Commission. Many community volunteers served on the advisory board of directors during this summary of operations and many volunteers helped hang exhibits and contributed their time to many exhibits and performance openings.

Wilson artist and graphic designer, George Eschbaugh, of Wilson, avidly supported the gallery through exhibitions of his works of local painterly pastoral scenes of Ellsworth County rural. His generous donation of a professional promotional window sign invited visitors to the new Ellsworth gallery.
The gallery survived during this time through generous membership donations and through funding of grants to the gallery through the Kansas Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Exhibitors and Cultural Opportunities included:
•    A permanent display of works by the late Ellsworth artist, Charles B. Rogers
•    Oliver Bircher of Kanopolis, Exhibiting intricate mosaic woodworks of art
•    Marilyn Showalter of Holyrood, countryside Central Kansas paintings
•    Keith and Marsha Erickson, Ellsworth, weaving
•    Julie Britton, Ellsworth, hand-colored intaglio and assemblage
•    Pam Schmidt and Deneen Urbanek (Shively) Ellsworth, storytelling
•    Annual Summer art classes for youth in Holyrood, Ellsworth and Kanopolis
•    Adult art classes in sandstone sculpture and painting techniques
•    Ralph Bruning of Ellsworth, display of authentic ¼ scale Mitchell farm wagons, Abbot Downing Stage Coaches and howitzers and Native American artifacts (this exhibit was later accepted by the Kansas Museum of History, Topeka for a 3 month exhibit).
•    Thomas Warttig, Ellsworth, hand carved Michell Farm Wagon (include in Ks Historical Museum Exhibit)
•    Alfred Vodraska, Ellsworth, Czech inspired hand-made woodworks
•    L.D. Bates, Jr. Kanopolis, unusual antique items
•    Norma Meitler, Ellsworth, watercolor paintings and painted hand-carved birds.
•    Norman Meitler, Ellsworth, hand carved birds
•    Vernon Brejcha, formerly of Holyrood, currently Associate Professor of Design KU; glassblowing
•    Margaret (Mugs) Sheridan, Ellsworth, wheat weaving
•    Kepka Belton, Ellsworth, Czech Art
•    Ed (Doc) Ptacek, Ellsworth, photography
•    John Thaemert, Sylvan Grove, scratchboard creations and acrylic painting
•    Larry & Ellen Hanzlicek, Wilson, Czech woodworks and paintings
•    Gordon Sherman, etchings and monotypes
•    Kenneth Crease, Ellsworth Correctional Inmate, drawings of Ellsworth County buildings
•    Agnes Kepka, Ellsworth, hand-made paper sculptures
•    David Mehl, (formerly of Holyrood) live musical performance; organist
•    Ruth and Robert Rogers, Ellsworth, an overview of the work by the late Charles B. Rogers
•    Carol Tanton, Ellsworth, Etched Glass
•    Chris Leal, Ellsworth, Native American Artifacts
•    An Exhibit of the late Ellsworth ceramist, Jimmy Dryden of his Dryden pottery from local collections, over 100 pieces donated for viewing for this exhibit.
•    Ed Fulford, wood sculptor
•    David Schwartzel, Ellsworth, photography
•    Bob, Eva and Scott Grauer, Wilson, stained glass and photography
•    Gordon Mai, Wilson, photography and painting
•    Don Long and Jan Klug, Ellsworth, hand-painted woodworks
•    Eugenie Fein, North Carolina, graphic designer for Ellsworth Development “Pride of the Prairie” brochure; paintings
•    Bill Kirk, Ellsworth, paintings
•    Ernie Masden, Wilson, “Buffalo Bill Collection,” Indian artifacts and historical memorabilia.
•    Adolph Hanneman, Lincoln, wood sculpture
•    Delmar Vonada, Sylvan Grove, post rock construction
•    Ruth Staeber, Lorraine, bell collection
•    Brett Hanson, Ellsworth native, Black Hawk original pottery
•    K-4th grade Ellsworth original Halloween mask contest
•    T. David Lowe, Bethany College professor of music and art direction, violin performance with Jeanne Schroeder of Lorraine.
•    Agnes Kepka, Janet Carswell and Lois Wenz, area collectors of Christmas items
•    Marilyn Hutton, Holyrood, hand-made dolls
•    Debra Dolecek, Wilson, portraits
•    Inez Jandos, Kanopolis, hand-painted porcelain on china
•    Mr. & Mrs. Torrey Fox, animal fox collection
•    “Eisenhower the Artist”, collection of paintings by the late Dwight D. Eisenhower.
•    Barbara Jarvis, Sara Duffield, Jean Rietz, Bran Anderson, Harley Elliott and Richard and Richie Bergen, Salina, group show
•    Jonathon Dahlke, antique instruments
•    Joanne Harwick, Michael Florian Jilg, Darrell McGinnis, Kathleen Kuchar, Frank Nichols, Leland Powers and Zoran Stevanov, FHSU art faculty show.
•    Youth Art Exhibit, Ellsworth County Students
•    Richard and Richie Bergen, Salina, sculpture to include an miniature of “Ad Aspera per Aspera” and paintings
•    Harley Elliott, Salina, mixed media
•    Brand Anderson, Salina, ceramic
•    McPherson Group Artist Show featuring works by 14 artists of multi-disciplined works.
•    Swedish art by 14 Lindsborg artists, multidiscipline
•    Laurie Housemann-Whitehawk, Lawrence, Native American paintings.
•    Eddie Morrison , Lawrence, wood sculpture
•    Les Evans, Lawrence, Native American Masks
•    Chris Musgrave, Baldwin City, painting
•    Patti Massell, Culver, Traditional Sioux Sun Dance Dress
•    Mr. & Mrs. Floyd Kasiska, Ellsworth, private collection of artist Blackbear Bosin
•    Hubertine Mog, Ellsworth, watercolor paintings
•    Ross Hilgers, Hays, stoneware
•    Joyce Harlow, Lincoln, pastel drawings
•    Marge Lawson, Sylvan Grove, photographs
•    Richard Renner, Wichita,  Slapstick Circus performance, Ellsworth Elementary Gym
•    Susan Lime Overbey, Holyrood, pottery
•    The Wichita Children’s Theatre performance
•    Ken (K.W.) Raney, Ellsworth native,  book signing
•    Rhonda Keating, (formerly of Ellsworth) paintings
•    Myra Cassidy Barr (late mother of Nancy Stonebraker) paintings
•    Don Urbanek, historical artifacts
•    James D. Puner, assemblages

My count shows that 200 artists exhibited their works of art during this time. This list is not inclusive of all of the talented artists that drove to Ellsworth to contribute their works of art for viewing.

I am glad to see that art exhibitions in Ellsworth are continuing.

Julie Britton



Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 1:07 pm

Are you curious about salaries of state employees?  Click here to search the State of Kansas government database.

Provided by Ryon….


Filed under: prairie musings, Shop — Peg Britton @ 12:45 pm


Deena Duesburg, executive director of Mozaic, cuts the ribbon at their Thift Shop open house.  Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors and other employees of Mozaic included Rachael Muro, Cristi Bailey, Cheryl Bruning, Angie Bourbon, Georgiana Bates, Kelly Fitzgerald,  Nick Slechta, Amy Eck, Todd Britton, Nathan Reihn, Curt Glaser.


You’ll find clothes for the entire family…


Shoes, jeans and hats…


Tableware….toys…games…and collectibles.


Stop by the store and see if they don’t have something you might need.  They have a lot of merchandise and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the volume of goods.

Their hours are:

Monday and Friday from 10 to 2; Wednesday from 3 to 7; and they will be open the second and fourth Saturdays from 10 to 2.  They might be tweaking the Saturday times, so give Mozaic and they’ll let you know.


Filed under: prairie musings, Shop — Peg Britton @ 8:20 am

The Ellsworth Arts Council had the welcome mat out last night for artist Richard Bergen, his wife, family and guests from Salina. It was a very well attended event with good conversations, conviviality, food and libations.


Visitors were milling around, visiting and enjoying the evening.


Artist Dick Bergen and Leonard Parks were classmates at Bethany College in their youth. They appear here to have located other information of personal interest to share.


Their spouses, Louann Bergen and Betty Parks also had the opportunity to reminisce about earlier times.


Former Ellsworth residents, Jack and Betty Gillam, came to visit friends and share the evening with their close friends, the Bergens.


Robert Rogers, president of the art gallery board, ponders one of Dick Bergen’s sculptures….one of his Mother Earth series that depicts individual shapes of wheat interwoven with the rolling hills of the prairie landscape.  I think his free form work is among his best….and comprise my favorites.  That is one piece I’d like to add as my own.  They will be on display for a couple more weeks, so stop by the gallery and take a look at the fine display.


Robert Rogers father, Charles Rogers, was a resident artist here for many years and is well known for his sumi egg emulsion, oils, and water color paintings.


And, another artist in his own right, Rich Bergen….that his dad says is his best work of art…


Dan and Susan came to enjoy the evening.   It was a good gathering…and a lot of fun.


And….the artist….Richard Bergen.

The first Thursday of every month the art galleries in Salina have open house in the downtown area.  Bergen’s open house starts about 5 pm and lasts until about 9 pm.  It gives visitors an opportunity to view gallery exhibits and enjoy some food and drink with local artists and patrons of the arts.  Everyone is welcome.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 3:59 pm

This is a story worth repeating.

Back in the days when I was sick…a month or so ago…there wasn’t much that tasted good to me and certainly I wasn’t hungry.  It’s unusual for me to have to force myself to eat, but that’s mostly what I was doing.  I lived mostly on a mixture of grapefruit sections, chopped avocado and banana….all stirred up together, protein drinks and toast.  Yeah…I know.

The day of the famous Tea Bag Parties across the country, I avoided all the newscasts as the whole event was repetitious and silly, and a whole other story.  Instead, I spent a day watching the food channel.  That’s about all I was up to doing those days…sitting and staring ahead at the TV.

Ally always came after work to see what she could cook for me that might taste good.  Nuttin’.  Nothing sounded good…except that day, I had an idea from the food channel.  I told her that either two Hawaiian broiled shrimp with pineapple or seafood chowder sounded good.  Seafood chowder like I had in Yucatan…or the kind my friend, Robin, makes.  I only wanted a little. Only a bite.

Living in land-locked Kansas surrounded by beef critters and no creatures from the sea, we laughed and agreed I’d graze again from the refrigerator and let it go at that.  We had nothing to make either and what little I’d eat anyway hardly made it worth the effort even if the ingredients were available.  But….I really had worked up an appetite for some good seafood chowder.

Ally had no more pulled out of the driveway and was heading home when my phone rang.  It was my good friend, Anne Gro….and wonderful cook who said…”Peg….for the first time in my entire life (she’s my age), I just made seafood chowder. I’ve never made  it before…and it’s made from fresh shrimp and real, honest to goodness crab, not that fake stuff…and my kids say it’s delicious.  Would you like some for your dinner? ”

She brought me some and I ate the whole thing.  It was wonderful.

Now…how eerie is that?  I bet there wasn’t another bowl of seafood chowder to be had in the entire county.  Wishes do come true.


Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 3:22 pm

Over the years….many of them….I’ve attended more high school and college graduations than I care to remember.  Actually, few are memorable.

Quite by accident, I heard the entirety of Obama’s address to the Arizona State graduating class the other night and it was something to capture and retain.  If you want to read it in it’s entirety, click on the link.  Hearing him deliver it, though, makes all the difference in the world.  He is quite an orator and this is a great example on how well he handled the adversities that arose prior to his arrival on the campus and turned them into positive thoughts.

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