Link to KansasPrairie.net

10/31/2011

ECMC AUXILIARY 22ND ANNUAL SPAGHETTI SUPPER FUNDRAISER

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth, ECMC — Peg Britton @ 1:19 pm

ANNUAL SPAGHETTI SUPPER

SPONSORED BY THE ELLSWORTH COUNTY MEDICAL CENTER HOSPITAL AUXILIARY

Friday November 4th, at the American Legion Hall

Coffee and rolls served from 7:30 to 10:30 am

Supper served between 4:30 and 7:00, or until spaghetti runs out

Spaghetti, relishes, bread, assorted pies, tea and coffee.

Cost:  FREE WILL DONATION SUGGESTED $6.OO

Opportunity Drawing: 7:00 p.m.

Tickets: $1.00 each, $10.00 for one stretch of tickets, $20.00 for three stretches of tickets

Tickets are available at ECMC, Rural Health Clinic

Prizes include: Sony 32″ Flat Screen TV;  Toshiba Lap Top Computer; Velocity Micro Cruz Wi-Fi Tablet; AT Tablet; Garmin Nuvi 1300; Hand-stitched Quilt; Hand-stitched Afgan and much more……

Pre-sale tickets available at ECMC Rural Health Clinic.  Winner need not be present at drawing.

Bring your family, relatives, next door neighbors and have a wonderful evening to support a very good cause.

HAVE A HAPPY HALLOWEEN…

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 6:26 am

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10/30/2011

KELLY’S TAVERN IN LURAY KANSAS… AND MORE ABOUT LUCAS…

Filed under: prairie musings, Area Sites, Lucas — Peg Britton @ 12:16 pm

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I’m sending this Philly Cheese sandwich to my friend, Ty Walk, who longs for a good Philly sandwich.  At Kelly’s Tavern in Luray they prepare this dandy with thinly chopped sirloin steak (made on site) and serve it on a hoagie bun with sauteed mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers with melted provalone and mozzarella.  The au jus was a special request…and was a wonderful addition.  You can’t really appreciate the size of this sandwich from this angle looking down on it, but it is several stories high.  This plate of food is $8.95 and enough for two meals.

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This is Kelly’s Tavern in downtown Luray.  You can’t miss it.  “Hooray for Luray”, as my friend John O’Leary used to say.

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Kelly’s Tavern is true to its name and located at 112 North Main, Luray.  Walter Keith is the owner and can be reached at 785.698.2305.

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Karen ordered The Club.  If you look closely you can see it fills the whole plate.  The french fries were piled on top. It was $7.95.   I ordered The Prime Minister, a customer favorite, that was made with thinly sliced prime rib, that melts in your mouth, with all the same toppings as The Philly except for the green peppers.  It, too, was $8.95.  We each brought half of our sandwiches home.

They also have seven varieties of  1/2 pound hamburgers.  The Kansas Killer Burger is served between two grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon, lettuce, tomato and onion.  It’s $7.75, the highest priced burger on the menu.  There are four varieties of 1/4 pound hot dogs, all served with fries. One is the Pig Roast served on a hoagie bun with grilled honey ham, bacon and melted Swiss and American cheese.

There are six appetizers on the menu and three salads. He serves a 14 oz K.C. Strip steak with choice of potatoes, salad and veggies for $13.95. We heard the chicken fried steak, which is $8.95, will fill a large platter.

There are plenty of items to choose from on the menu to make anyone a happy diner.  They have several selections of $2.00 bottled beer and wine.  You couldn’t possibly leave there hungry.

There are Kelly’s Taverns in Bluffton SC, Ridgeland SC, Coeur D’Alene ID, Springfield GA, Neptune NJ….and one coming soon in Russell KS.

We stopped in Lucas on the way home to see the progress they are making on the extraordinary public bathroom facilities, a one of a kind in Kansas or probably elsewhere.

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Isn’t this spectacular?  It’s not quite finished, but local artisans are diligently working on it as it nears completion.  The Kohler Company has taken Lucas under its benevolent wing and is providing top-of-the-line fixtures necessary for this bathroom facility.

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This is part of the outstanding art work, the creation of Eric Abraham, that will be mounted on the walls of the men’s restroom.

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This is Eric Abraham showing us one of his porcelain marvels.

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Karen image is reflected in the porcelain framed mirror.  Although his lavatory/mirror creations resemble one another, no two are the same.  They are found in  many parts of the U.S. and command a very hefty price.

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I never go through Lucas without stopping to buy fresh meat products from Doug Brant.  It’s a mandatory stop.  Here’s Doug dishing up pound packages of freshly ground meat for us.  We also put a dent in his fresh bulk sausage, pepper sausage and bacon.  He also sells the best beef jerky available in this neck of the woods.

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The Garden of Eden is getting a face lift…and it really shows.  The City of Lucas gave the Garden to the Kohler Company that is responsible for all the restoration work being done on the Garden.  Once completed, they will turn the facility back to the City.  This is a project that the City of Lucas couldn’t easily afford on its own.  The Kohler Company has done a great deal to aid in the preservation of the grassroots arts community of Lucas.

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My two traveling companions, Karen and Ally, stand in front of the restored Adam and Eve at the Garden of Eden.  The Garden is getting a grand restoration.  Stop by and view the progress when you are in Lucas.

Thanks for tuning in…

10/28/2011

MARK YOU CALENDAR FOR THE SPAGHETTI SUPPER FRIDAY NOV. 4TH AT ECMC…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 8:54 am

10/27/2011

ARGH…

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 7:01 pm

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COME JAM WITH THE SMOKY HILL PICKERS…

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

I have been informed that the SMOKY HILLS PICKERS will play their music on the first Sunday of November, the 6th, at 6 p.m.,  at the Ellsworth Area Art Center, 223 N. Douglas Ave., in Ellsworth.  Everyone is welcome to join the jam session…or just relax and enjoy an evening of music.

Remember that is the day of the time change… fall back!

Thanks,

Sharon Haverkamp

785 472 5682

10/26/2011

BOB

Filed under: prairie musings, Video — Peg Britton @ 1:49 pm

Make sure you watch through the credits…it’s very clever and funny.

BOB from Jacob Frey on Vimeo.

10/24/2011

USD #327 BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING TONIGHT…PLEASE ATTEND.

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 1:35 pm

The USD #327 School Board is hosting an open meeting this evening to discuss potential expansion plans for the districts facilities.  Superintendent Eric Reid will speak about enrollment  trends and offer proposals to best deal with an increase student population.
Please attend the meeting to share your thoughts and opinions.
Where:  Ellsworth High School Commons Area
When: Tonight, Monday, October 24 at 7:30pm
Hope to see you there!
Rob

Rob Fillion
Executive Director
Smoky Hill Development Corporation
P.O. Box 321
Ellsworth, KS 67439
785.531.2479 (cell)
785.472.4136 (work)

COFFEE COMPANY CAFE IN SALINA…BEST BURGER IN TOWN…

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:59 am

My friend, Ann, from Salina who enjoys “good eats” too, sent me the following:

Oh, here’s a new place to eat in Salina. Strange location but probably the best hamburger in Salina. It’s called the Coffee Co Cafe and is in the Copy Co building, corner of Cloud Street and Ohio, on the east side. (1813 S Ohio) The owner is a meat cutter by trade so is very particular about his meat. Prices are between 4.95 and 5.95 AND there’s a $2.00 discount for seniors. Oh that’s for combos which include your sandwich and choice of chips, tots or fries. Tell him Ann sent you. Won’t get you anything cause the food and service are already great, but I told him I’d spread the word.

Thanks, Ann…

10/23/2011

INFO FOR EX-PATS: ELLSWORTH KANSAS IS ON A ROLL…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth, Ellsworth Child Care — Peg Britton @ 11:44 am

These pictures were taken Oct 22, 2011 and indicate the construction of new or the relocation of existing businesses in Ellsworth.  In my years living here, since Brit and I moved here 1952 when Dane was an infant,  the recent economic growth on the two highways that surround Ellsworth has not been equaled.  If you are in the Ellsworth area, drive to the north east part of town on highway 40 and 156 to take a look.

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Progress on the construction of the new, elegant First Bank Kansas  is proceeding rapidly.   It is located south of the Ellsworth County Medical Center on “old highway 40″ at the north edge of Ellsworth.  The former building occupied by this bank in downtown Ellsworth has been purchased by Rick Connally who will serve his Farm Bureau customers from it.  This leaves Rick’s present office on Douglas Avenue, and the house next to it, for sale.

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Between the Ellsworth County Medical Center and First Bank Kansas, an area is being cleared with utilities leading to it that is the proposed site of a mini-mall owned by First Bank Kansas.  I understand there may be several housing sites available as well.

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The southeast quadrant of the intersection of highways 40 and 156 is the location of Ellsworth’s new Dollar General.  The other three corners of the intersection are occupied by Casey’s, ALCO/CSB & T drive in and a closed roadside rest area.  Dollar General is vacating the former Novak Grocery Store building in downtown Ellsworth they have outgrown.  According to Roger Novak, owner of the building, the former grocery store building is for sale, as is the former dry cleaning building next to it.

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This huge complex, by Ellsworth standards, is the future home of Carrico Implement.  They sell John Deere tractors, combines, hay equipment, sprayers, consumer products and commercial products.  Carrico Implement has three other locations in Kansas.

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Fondly referred to as “Chicken Charlie’s”,  this building since those chicken days has seen several owners.  This is the new location for a Subway sandwich franchise.   Hoffman auto sales is directly north of this location, with Dollar General’s new location just north of Hoffman’s.

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Located west of  the Pizza Hut and Finke’s Retail Liquor Store, the new Ellsworth day care center is being constructed.

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Citizens State Bank and Trust soon will begin construction on a drive-in facility at this location near ALCO at the intersection of 156 and 40.  Across 156 in the back ground is a closed road side park and rest area and there is some speculation that there might be development there at some time in the future.

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Taken from my driveway, the new Assembly of God Church will be located between the clump of trees and the hillside behind it.  This is the intersection of highways 40 and 14 looking north east.

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The continuation of this road by ECMC will lead to the new Assembly of God Church complex.
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Pictured here is the intersection of 40 and 156 looking toward the site of the future Dollar General and taken from the ALCO parking lot.

Downtown Ellsworth has recently undergone a revitalization project and is very attractive and inviting now.

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Apropos nothing that has already been mentioned, I also took a picture of this bald cypress tree that Brit and I planted sometime in the neighborhood of 57 years ago. I love this magnificent tree.  I remember well because I was nailing sheathing on the roof of this house when I was pregnant with Ally.  It’s a gorgeous tree and one Mabel and Bob Herzog, who lived across the street, loved to see change into its fall bronze colors.  Although we visited back and forth frequently,  Mabel would make a special trip each fall to our house with cookies, pear jelly or something good from her kitchen to tell me how much they loved that tree.  We also planted all the trees you see in the backyard which is forest-like to behold.  I have a thing about trees.

My friend, Meredith, just reported that she spent considerable time yesterday walking around Brookville visiting with the local gentry.  Of particular interest was “Bill” who is refurbishing the old Brookville Mercantile into a bar and grill, yet to be named.  They have only commenced their project and hope to have it ready sometime mid-winter or early spring.  They aren’t to be rushed.  Bill’s son is helping and it is he who will be operating the bar and grill.  It’s going to be a nice place to stop to eat or have a cold beer.  I say that, because in the conversation with Meredith, he said he would leave a key with one of the older men who along with his friends like to gather for coffee in the morning.  Since there isn’t a gathering place now in Brookville, he will let them use the bar and grill when it isn’t open.  That sounds like the kind of place I’d like to frequent.

Thanks for tuning in…

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10/22/2011

GET READY…

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 12:36 pm

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SOUP SUPPER TONIGHT IN KANOPOLIS

Filed under: prairie musings, Kanopolis Musings — Peg Britton @ 10:23 am

SOUP  SUPPER FUND RAISER…
SATURDAY EVENING,  Oct. 22nd

C.O.Q.  in  Kanopolis

5 p.m.   –   7 p.m.

Chili  -  Chicken Noodle  -  Vegetable Beef

Pie  and  Coffee  or  Tea

Ellsworth Co. Historical Society

A $5.00 donation is suggested.  Carry out available.

Your participation is appreciated.  And the food is great!

10/18/2011

ELLSWORTH’S RANDY RATHBUN — SUPER LAWYER

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 3:06 pm

Published in: Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers 2011 — November 2011

Land Steward
By Amy Kates
Wichita’s Randy Rathbun left the farm to become one of the state’s foremost environmental litigators
Land Steward
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Photo: Gavin Peters

Randy Rathbun’s legal career may have been born in the glint of a red tractor in the morning sun. At least, that’s how the former Kansas farm boy tells it. “My father set me on a tractor when I was 10 years old,” says Rathbun, “and I decided the very next day I was going to be a lawyer.”

This statement, like most that come from Rathbun, 57, is punctuated with a warm, earthy laugh. “Living on a farm, my dad especially taught me that we were stewards of the land,” he says. That deep-rooted love has proved invaluable for Rathbun, who became one of the foremost environmental litigators in Kansas. “I find it very offensive when companies just dump hazardous waste on the ground and not care about it,” he says. “Very offensive.”

Still, before he could litigate, he had to plow. Coming from a long line of Kansas farmers, Rathbun spent most summers driving a tractor. “You were expected, from the age of 10 or 11, to be helping out on the farm,” Rathbun says. When he was 18, he began custom cutting wheat to earn money. “Custom cutters go from location to location cutting wheat for farmers who don’t want to invest in combines,” he says. “We’d start down in Texas at the end of May, and a week later, we’d move on farther north, until we moved clear up to Montana.”

Traveling from town to town, Rathbun met his share of interesting people. “In the evenings, or when it rains, there’s nothing to do,” he says. “I spent a lot of time in little towns, just talking to folks.”

No matter what odd jobs Rathbun worked, though, he remained on a steady course toward the law. “I never made a fallback plan,” he says.

He almost needed one. “When I went to [Kansas State University] for undergrad school, I just had a wonderful time goofing around my first few years. I spent way too much time in Aggieville,” Rathbun says. “And if you don’t know what Aggieville is, that would be the bar section right off campus. I was literally one of the last students to get into Washburn Law School, by the skin of my teeth.”

Once there, he got his act together. “I knew I could not treat this like K-State,” he says. “So I lived in the library, and by the end of the first year, was near the top of my class. But, boy, K-State was fun.”

After law school, he landed a job in Wichita with what was then the second-largest firm in the state. But soon after, it split up. “It just blew up, into like 10 different firms,” he says. “And here I was, six months out of school and all I knew was that there were a lot of doors closed and a lot of conversations going on among the partners.” Because his firm wasn’t opening new cases, Rathbun spent a lot of time without a mentor, doing nothing. “I was just sitting there, walking up and down the hall saying, ‘Hey, you got anything I can do?’ I walked into this lawyer’s office and he said, ‘Yeah, go collect this debt.’” It was owed by a farm couple who lived northeast of town. “They were nice people,” Rathbun says. “And they said, ‘Would you look at something else for us because we’re very worried about this.’”

“This” was a toxic waste site that had opened up a few miles from the couple’s farm, operated by Chemical Waste Management Inc. “At that time, the company was the largest land-filler of hazardous waste,” Rathbun says. Chemical Waste claimed that due to its use of “impermeable Wellington shale,” the site was guaranteed to provide 10,000 years of protection to the earth. “Well, they only missed it by 9,995 years,” Rathbun deadpans. The waste ate through the shale in five years, flowed half a mile to a creek, and spread from there. “I sat around the table with this couple and their neighbors, and the stories they told were just horrible,” Rathbun says. “The chemicals dumped there were horribly toxic and burned their eyes and noses. In the summer, the fumes from the site were stifling. I listened to these people and thought, ‘God, I have to help them.’”

At 26, Rathbun, who in the meantime had joined Depew & Gillen, filed a multiparty case with more than 100 plaintiffs, in federal court. “[Chemical Waste] hired a Kansas City law firm, and the guys carrying the briefcases for the lawyers in that firm were my age. I’m sure my clients looked at me, and looked over at the other table and saw these gray-haired gentlemen that were well-recognized trial lawyers and thought, ‘What were we thinking?’”

In the end, the case settled favorably for Rathbun’s clients for an undisclosed amount; it also marked his initiation into environmental law. “I knew when I concluded [that] case in 1985 that I wanted to be an environmental lawyer,” he says. “It was trial and error because I didn’t really have anyone teach me how to try a case. [The partners] were just so busy they didn’t have time to get involved. But that was a very formative case for me because I learned that if you spend the time to do the digging yourself, and you look at the documents yourself, and you learn the geology, the hydrogeology, and you learn the chemistry, you’re going to be ahead of the lawyer on the other side—because he or she will have had a bunch of younger lawyers doing that background work. That has served me well over the years.”

So well, in fact, that after a decade of hazardous waste cases, Rathbun was tapped to serve as a U.S. attorney in 1993. “[U.S. Rep.] Dan Glickman knew I could try a case,” he says. Rathbun suspects, too, that his work for Bill Clinton during Clinton’s presidential run highlighted his name. “My parents always wanted to know where I went wrong, because they were Republicans,” he quips.

As U.S. attorney, he was involved in the Oklahoma City bombing case in 1995. “Within a couple of days [of the bombing], I got a call from the AG’s office on a Friday night saying it looks like there’s a Kansas connection to this, and we’re going to need you to do a search warrant tonight,” Rathbun says. “So I went over to Herington, Kansas, and the FBI were in the process of interviewing [Terry] Nichols, and we got the information we needed to get a search warrant. We called a judge early Saturday morning, went down to chambers, and got a search warrant. I just kept thinking, ‘Man, you better not screw this up because this is going to be one of the nation’s most horrendous crimes. … You better get this right.’”

Rathbun handled portions of the case involving the search of Nichols’ residence and the effort to send him back to Oklahoma. “I have the best law firm,” Rathbun says of what’s now Depew Gillen Rathbun & McInteer. “They’re like brothers and sisters to me. But that was the best job that I ever had.”

Until his time as a U.S. attorney, Rathbun’s practice was 100 percent devoted to contaminated groundwater. But he’s had to evolve. “There’s actually not much of that practice left anymore,” Rathbun says. “Companies that used to dump contaminants into the ground are more responsible now. So it’s good for the environment. Not so good for Randy Rathbun.”

Unfortunately, there are plenty of other ways in which the land can be abused.

In July 2007, a flood inundated Coffeyville, Kan. Officials at the Coffeyville refinery decided that to keep their crude oil tank from floating, they should pump it full of additional oil. But workers neglected to turn off the line after the tank had filled, Rathbun says. By 6:30 the next morning, 90,000 gallons of oil had coated the surrounding landscape, wiping out most of the east end of the town. “The refinery tried to portray this as [being caused by] an act of God,” contends Rathbun, who is representing businesses and farmers affected. “What it actually was, was that they let a tank run over—and it hadn’t been the first time a tank ran over at that refinery. And when a tank runs over in the middle of a flood, it causes catastrophic problems. There was oil clear down 20 miles into Oklahoma.”

Eighteen of the 20 cases that Rathbun filed have settled. At press time, he was awaiting trial for the remaining two. “The sad thing about it is if they had had any kind of emergency plan, it would have never happened,” he says.

With only 25 percent of his practice now devoted to environmental law, Rathbun has broadened his practice to include employment and civil rights law. “I have this white knight syndrome that I know drives my partners crazy sometimes,” Rathbun says. “But I think a jury can spot a phony a mile away—which requires me to believe with every fiber of my being that my clients are in the right and are being hurt by someone that doesn’t care about them.”

Though he takes his clients’ concerns seriously, Rathbun believes a sense of humor is crucial to the job.

“Look, I don’t like lawyers who take themselves too seriously, and I have never done that,” he says. “I have success with juries because I’m not a stuffed shirt. Life’s too short, and you need to enjoy every day of it. I’m just so blessed. I talk to so many people that hate to get up in the morning and go to work, and I’m just always eager to get in the office.” He laughs. “I guess that’s pretty pathetic, isn’t it?”

NOCONA TEXAS SURVIVING AND THRIVING SUCCESS STORY…

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 11:39 am

We love to hear stories of small towns surviving, and thriving, especially in a difficult economy. The story that follows is a great example of how one person can start a trend that sets a town on a course for success.

Downtown undergoing renaissance in Texas town
By CHRIS VAUGHN Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 2011-09-10

NOCONA - The temperature regularly reads 108 on the downtown bank sign, and it’s still difficult sometimes to find parking. In Texas, it’s easy to read the fortunes of a business or commercial district by the number of parking spaces available. For many years, since about the era of tailfins and chrome, parking in downtown Nocona was as wide-open as the cattle country stretching north to the Red River.

But Nocona, a town of 3,000 with a history of pumping black crude and stitching leather boots, is emerging from a long winter of neglect and deterioration, infusing hope and pride, not to mention millions of dollars in investment, into a community that didn’t have a lot to brag about in recent years.

Ten buildings downtown have been completely renovated and restored to the look of their early 1900s origins. One block of buildings is under restoration by an oilman and his wife, who are relocating their oil company from Wichita Falls.

People are building residential spaces above or next to their businesses, proving that downtown condos are not just the purview of urbanites. And a once-a-month concert of Texas red dirt musicians is drawing people with addresses in Fort Worth, Grapevine and McKinney.

This renaissance is occurring in a city where there is no grand courthouse or darling public square. It is occurring in a town that is not on the way to anywhere else, unless someone needs to go to Spanish Fort or Belcherville. Even more miraculously, it is happening with private money and no tax incentives.

Nocona’s turnaround can be traced directly to Dan Fenoglio, a fast-talking, artistic construction company owner. Dan Fenoglio, Nocona Mayor Robert Fenoglio’s younger brother, spent $500 in 2002 to buy two condemned buildings adjacent to each other on Clay Street. One was his maternal grandfather’s grocery store from the 1920s, so he had some sentimental attachment.

Between paying jobs, Dan Fenoglio cleaned up the buildings, shored them up and eventually began restoring them into something he could really enjoy - a saloon and a dance hall with a big smoker in the back.

“I like to cook, and I wanted to have a place to have a drink with some friends,” he said. “I didn’t do this with the idea of changing downtown.”

The experience of reviving the saloon and his grandfather’s grocery taught him a lesson that would ultimately shape the rest of downtown.

“I wasn’t particularly interested in the history of Nocona,” he said. “But when I was working on these buildings, the old-timers would bring me pictures and share stories with me. Most of the pictures in this saloon are from people in town who gave them to me. I got interested in the history from talking to them.”

The blue-stem and tall-grass prairie gave birth to Nocona in 1887. The town built a reputation for oil and leather. The North Field boomed for many years, and a roughneck didn’t have to look far for work. The Nocona Boot Co., started by Enid Justin because she was angry at her brothers for moving Justin Boot to Fort Worth, employed hundreds. Nokona Leather Goods manufactured some of the most sought-after baseball and softball gloves, not to mention more aerodynamic footballs, anywhere in the country.

But oil prices collapsed, and the Middle East became the prime oil supplier for the world. People wanted cheaper gloves too, and China could do that better. Justin Industries shut down Nocona Boot in 1999. The downtown looked all but abandoned, and it was getting close to actually being that way.

But Dan Fenoglio’s painstaking restoration a few years ago had an effect on Nocona. It spurred more of the same. The school district renovated its two buildings downtown, stripping off the dated ’70s facades and returning the buildings to their turn-of-the-century beginnings.

Superintendent Harold Reynolds, who was responsible for that, retired but decided he wasn’t done playing preservationist.

“Downtown was dying. It was terrible,” his wife, Sandra Reynolds, said. “When we retired from the school system, we felt like we needed to give back in some way.”

So the Reynolds cashed in some of their retirement funds and bought a 100-year-old former bank building. The tin ceiling and plaster walls were original, but the floor was dirt, and the upstairs slept the occasional homeless squatter. Now it’s the Times Forgotten Steakhouse, the first restaurant in downtown Nocona in years and a far more sophisticated place than the fast-food or barbecue restaurants most small towns support.

The spirit of restoration continued to Rusty Fenoglio, who owns and operates Gibbs Pharmacy downtown. (He is distantly related to Dan and Robert Fenoglio.) By 2010, Fenoglio had gutted the second floor and turned it into a 2,400-square-foot living space for him and his wife.

The restoration of downtown reached a tipping point quickly this year when Pete and Barbara Horton returned to their hometown for, of all things, the city’s first-ever Mardi Gras parade. Pete Horton owns Peba Oil & Gas Co. in Wichita Falls, where the couple has lived for eight years. The couple bought very nearly a block of buildings, plus several on other blocks, and began restoration. Local construction crews are involved, but the Hortons also hired craftsmen from Dallas-Fort Worth, filling local motels and restaurants for weeks at a time.

Two of the buildings, including an old Chevrolet dealership, will be used to showcase Horton’s rare-car collection. Another two buildings will house Peba Oil & Gas. The Hortons also plan to build a New Orleans-style house on one corner of downtown, reminiscent of their current vacation house in the Big Easy.

“We’ve never done any of this before, so we don’t know what we’re doing,” Barbara Horton said. “But eventually we’d like to see a bike trail and a park downtown. I’d like for downtown Nocona to be pretty and friendly and welcoming and maybe a destination spot, if even for an afternoon.

“But if no one ever comes, that’s OK,” she said. “It’ll still be worth it because we love our little community.”

www.brownsvilleherald.com

10/17/2011

HOUSE MOVING OPERATION…FROM CANTON TO LINDSBORG…

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Ryon Carey — Peg Britton @ 6:42 pm

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The foundation is ready and waiting…

As were Ally and I.  It took longer than we anticipated so we spent the day getting a lot of fresh air.

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We stopped in Little River at the Garden of Eden Grocery Store with Heavenly Meats.  It’s a powerful little store with an outstanding meat case located in a very small town.   Since there are not many alternatives for eating in Little River, they make a variety of fresh sandwiches and  home-bake pizza and the line of people form at the meat counter to place their order.

I found some chicken and beef base among their spices that has been hard to find in the past.  My granddaughter brought me the same brand from Dallas and it’s one I particularly like.  It’s nice to know where I can replenish my supply.  Also, check out their fresh produce while you are there.  You can buy a single apple or orange to go with your sandwich.  They also sell frozen cookie dough that originated and is produced in Little River.

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They cut a variety of steaks for Fat Boyz, the local steak house restaurant located next door to the grocery that requires reservations if you intend to eat their on Friday or Saturday night.  The food is worth a long drive to get there.  The meat counter also contains a nice variety of fresh meats, cold cuts, cheese, etc.

From Little River, Ally and I drove to check on the house site then down to main street Lindsborg to eat at the Mexican food restaurant.  It was exceptional.  I had the Guadalajara special that I highly recommend.  We’ve eaten there on several occasions and I’ve never heard any complaints from others who also eat there.  It’s the cleanest Mexican food restaurant I’ve ever been in and the food is excellent “home cookin’”.

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Finally, after a long wait in Ryon’s driveway, the activity got very brisk and we could see the house appearing in to view.  The ruts in the wheat field were sizable and unavoidable.

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Moving on…right down the road…

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Finally…the house is in the corn stubble field and on it’s way to top the foundation.  This is a charming house with lots of nice details. They moved the piano in the house.  Nothing was damaged.  A few drawers opened slightly during the move, but that was all.  This shows the back side of the house.  There is a small front entry porch on the other side,  stained glass windows and other nice features.

Ryon will have to fill in the details about the house in the comment section, when he has time.

Congratulations on the move, Ryon.  Some of us have been waiting with you for a year to find a house mover who could complete this task.  We’re all relieved the house is finally on your farm and we’re expecting a grand open house once you work out a few details.
Thanks for tuning in…

ELLSWORTH COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY SOUP SUPPER OCT. 22…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 7:17 am

The Ellsworth County Historical Society will be sponsoring a soup supper Sat. Oct. 22nd from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m. at the Commanding Officers Quarters, Kanoplis.

They will serve chili, chicken noodle soup, veggie beef soup and homemade pie.

A $5.00 donation per person is suggested.  Carry out is available.

10/16/2011

YOU WON’T SEE REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMEN TALKING ABOUT THIS…

Filed under: political musings, Barack Obama, Video — Peg Britton @ 7:45 pm

10/15/2011

COMMITTED BY ELIZABETH GILBERT…

Filed under: prairie musings, Authors, BOOKS — Peg Britton @ 4:03 pm

Elizabeth Gilbert, who also penned Eat, Pray, Love has created this  very interesting book — Committed — with wit and wisdom by weaving the magical places she’s traveled with insights about marriage and facts about the history of marriage.  I was aware of the information below, but particularly like the way she presents it.  It’s a quick read, and one I think most adults would enjoy and benefit from…especially those contemplating marriage at an early age.

Here are a few excerpts from her book:

Marriage does not benefit women as much as it does men.  It’s a sad truth, backed up by study after study.   Marriage as an institution has always  been terrifically beneficial for men. If you are a man, say the actuarial charts, the smartest decision you can possibly make for yourself is to get married.  Married men perform dazzlingly better in life than single men.  Married men live longer than single men; married men accumulate more wealth than single men; married men excel at their careers above single men; married men are far less likely to die a violent death than single men; married men report themselves to be much happier than single men; and married men suffer less from alcoholism, drug addiction, and depression than do single men.

Disheartingly, the reverse is not true.  Modern married women do not fare better in life than their single counterparts.  Married women in America do not live longer than single women; married women do not accumulate as much wealth as single women (you take a 7% pay cut, on average, just for getting hitched); married women do not thrive in their careers to the extent single women do; married women are significantly less healthy than single women;  married women are more likely to suffer from depression than  single women; and married women are more likely to die a violent death than single women — usually at the hands of a husband, which raises the grim reality that, statistically speaking, the most dangerous person in the average woman’s life is her own man.

All this adds up to what puzzled sociologists call the “Marriage Benefit Imbalance” — a tidy name for an almost freakishly doleful conclusion:  that women generally lose in the exchange of marriage vows, while men win big.

There are factors that can narrow this inequity considerably.  The more education a married woman has, the more she earns, the later in life she marries, the fewer children she bears, and the more help her husband offers with household chores, the better her equality of life in marriage will be.

If you are advising your daughter on her future, and you want her to be a happy adult someday, then you might want to encourage her to finish her schooling, delay marriage for as long as possible, earn her own living, limit the number of children she has, and find a man who doesn’t mind cleaning the bathtub.  Then your daughter may have a chance at leading a life that is nearly as healthy and wealthy and happy as her future husband’s life will be.

(taken from pages 166-168)

The better-educated you are, statistically speaking, the better off your marriage will be. The better-educated a woman is, in particular, the happier her marriage will be. Women with college education and careers who marry relatively late in life are the most likely female candidates to stay married. (page 124).

You can buy “Committed”  used from Amazon for a couple of bucks.  Money well spent.

10/13/2011

THE INESCAPABLE SHADES OF GRAY

Filed under: prairie musings, Jeffee Palmer — Peg Britton @ 10:56 am

The Inescapable Shades of Gray
by nowandthenadays

Human beings are purposeful animals.  We decide to do something, set a goal, put something in motion.  The funny thing about life, though, is that what we do doesn’t always work out as intended . . . we get blindsided by something we didn’t see coming.  Did we skip over the chapter with the foreshadowing?  Or forget that we rationalized it away like all boogie monsters?

Lately, I’ve been struck by these unintended consequences, primarily by our desires and actions to live a long life, the longer the better.  We take decided action not to step in front of moving vehicles or eat cheesecake in order to prove wrong the actuarial tables.  But achieving longevity doesn’t always turn out that well for us.

“Theories of the Sun” was a play I saw last year in Chicago about a woman who was seeking a cure for a disease that kept her from aging and ultimately dying.  In this twist on the Benjamin Button scenario, Elizabeth Sweeney quit aging in her early 20s and now her daughter is a middle-aged woman who, based on appearances, could be her own mother.  The play centers on her desire to be cured to avoid outliving her daughter.  It’s against the nature of things, she reasons, that a mother would have to bury her own aged daughter.

In an obituary last week, I read that Ruby Lee Duff Cook had blown past the life expectancy figures, staying firmly in this world until the age of 103.  I noticed with admiration that in her younger days she was “addicted to energetic activities.  If these activities involved sweating, so much the better.”  She and her husband were enthusiastic square dancers, while she also kept a pony and loved horseback riding.  Ruby took up golf in her 60s, danced ballroom at the Austin Rec Center until her early 90s, and was particularly happy to work in the yard raking leaves, picking up limbs, and collecting pecans.   All of this sounded like a woman happy in her activity and longevity, and then I read the disquieting parts:  “Ruby remained active in her Sunday School class until all the other members of her class died.”  The obit further reported that “Preceding her in death are (certainly not surprisingly) her parents, all her siblings . . . her husband of 51 years, Elmo V. Cook,  Elmo’s parents, Elmo’s siblings . . . and her older daughter.”

In short, there are real downsides to longevity, particularly when you are the long-lived one, the person left behind to mourn all your loved ones.

Another thing I wouldn’t have expected were some unsettled feelings in the aftermath of my 40th high school reunion early this month.  I was prepared to look back on the weekend and enjoy all the good feelings I normally experience after reunions  (which some  of my readers will remember are near and dear to my heart).  But, curiously, I was uneasy.  What’s up with that? I wondered.    Being one of the organizers, maybe I was having a bit of postpartum planning depression now that the big push to beget the event was over.  And then I read what David, one of my classmates, wrote in a thank-you note that clarified that feeling for me.  He said:

“It always seems like unfinished business at the conclusion of these reunions.  The conversation that you didn’t get to finish, the person across the room that you never got to approach, the expectation to run into someone the next night and it doesn’t happen and in fact, at this stage of the game, may never happen.  For whatever reason, the lack of closure this year is a little more disquieting . . . ”

Yes, that’s the truth . . . the unfinished business that may never be addressed.  I once heard it said, that after the 40th high school reunion, the number of reunion attendees begins diminishing rather quickly.  I had managed to forget that niggling statistic until David’s words.

Steve Jobs’ death last week and the words he left behind were further reminders of the nature of things.  As his contributions to our world have been circling the world via  internet, I heard a commencement speech he had given at Stanford in 2005, which had a special resonance for me.    There he said: “Death is the destination we all share.  No one has ever escaped it.  And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life.  It is Life’s change agent.  It clears out the old to make way for the new.

”But before I could even think of resuming my post-partum reunion funk, he offered up some advice in that speech that inspired me with its ageless wisdom:  “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma —which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.  And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”  He makes a strong case for not wasting time worrying about longevity.  By his words and, more importantly, his example, Steve Jobs taught us a lot about carpe diem.

Yes, living a long life is a good thing, and getting old and being replaceable is not so good.  But there is little we can do to avoid the “not so good” part of life and a lot we can do to enjoy the good part.   The best approach may be to embrace the ambivalence and try to find some humor, whenever you can.  Which reminds me of something I heard Garrison Keilor say recently on Prairie Home Companion in the voice of American patriot Nathan Hale, “Give me ambivalence, or give me something else!”

So, how about some cheesecake, friends?!

CARAMELIZED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH BACON AND DRIED CRANBERRIES…

Filed under: prairie musings, recipes — Peg Britton @ 7:50 am

This is my latest favorite recipe.  I followed this recipe for the most part, except I adjusted it for the amount I wanted to make.  I didn’t need to measure anything.  I made the sauce (I used Splenda brown sugar), added dried cranberries and cooked it to reduce some of the liquid.  Then I mixed the cooked Brussels sprouts with the sauce, added the crisp bacon and served it.  It was so good, I think we could have made a meal of it.  It’s also quick and easy.

Ingredients:

•    10 cups water
•    Salt
•    4 pounds Brussels sprouts
•    5 or 6 pieces bacon, minced
•    1 red onion, medium dice
•    4 tablespoons butter, divided
•    1/4 cup red wine vinegar
•    2 tablespoons brown sugar
•    1 cup fresh or dried cranberries
•    Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

In a large pot, over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Generously salt the water and add the Brussels sprouts. Cook the sprouts until medium tenderness has been reached, about 8 to 10 minutes.In the meantime, in a large saucepan over medium heat fry the bacon until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from the pan to a plate lined with a paper towel. Crumble the bacon and set aside.

Leave the bacon fat in the pan and add the red onions and 3 tablespoons of the butter. Saute until the onions are translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the red wine vinegar and brown sugar and cook until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.

Drain the Brussels sprouts from water and add to pan with the onions. Stir to coat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Stir in the reserved bacon and cranberries. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste, and transfer to a serving bowl to serve.

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