Built in 1877, the Oak Grove Schoolhouse has been a gathering place for the community of Lincoln Township for generations. In this episode, Rachel talks with Cary Pruitt and Roger Pruitt from the Oak Grove Schoolhouse Historical Society.
Part family history, part Kansas history, partly a story about family legacy, we think you'll find this episode to be informative, entertaining, and important.
Oak Grove Schoolhouse website
What You’ll Learn In This Episode:
This month, Rachel talks with Connie Blanke about Prairiesta, a festival that happens every 10 years in Russell, Kansas. Whether you are able to make it out to the festival or not, you'll learn a lot about community spirit, the importance of honoring our history, and what it takes to put together a festival.
Deines Cultural Center
Episode: Big Kansas Road Trip - The Experience
In this episode of Uncovering Kansas, Rachel interviews guest Kirk Sharp of the Gordon Parks Museum. For many the name Gordon Parks will be familiar. To others, only a vague recollection. And for some the name will be unknown entirely. No matter which group you are in, come along for the ride and join in and listen as Rachel learns about Gordon Parks and uncovers only a fraction of the eventful life of this Kansas-born man.
And if you’re like the Uncovering Kansas production team, then after learning a little of Gordon Parks you’ll quickly begin seeking more information. For example, after recording the interview Rachel devoured one Gordon Parks book and when finding another book by him was not in the library system’s inventory she quickly sent off an email to the library making the case for and requesting its inclusion.
Enjoy the episode! And we hope to see you on the road soon as the Kansas climate warms and vaccinations are delivered and bodies and imagination that have likely been more dormant than usual for the better part of twelve months begin again to explore the world around them.
Gordon Parks Museum website
Books and Films by Gordon Parks
Gordon Parks Celebration
Gordon Parks Museum Facebook
7 Gordon Parks Images that Changed America - several of the images that we discussed in the episode are here
Rachel chats with Kansas resident and fellow podcaster Landon Huslig of Wichita Life ICT. They discuss cultural aspects and details of Wichita and create from the specific a backdrop for a broader, more personal, discussion about their passion and support of Kansas, generally, including a similar objective each has for their respective podcast.
Update / Correction (dated February 23, 2021 & March 15, 2021)
Co-producer, Geoff, here with an update / correction. This month's guest mentions Naismith inventing basketball while in Kansas. The game of basketball was invented by Mr. Naismith while he worked as an instructor at the International YMCA Training school in Springfield, MA. And while the sports legend certainly improved on the sport he created while teaching at the University of Kansas and while without a doubt Kansas and Kansans hold him in such high esteem they are eager to call them one of his own, the production team at Uncovering Kansas wanted to clarify this for our current and future listeners and readers. I am sorry for overlooking my own note and not including this clarification when originally posting the show notes above. The error is mine.
Wichita Life ICT website (and podcast)
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook: @WichitaLifeICT
Dockum Drug Store Sit In
Keeper of the Plains
Wichita River Fest
Uncovering Kansas episode on Comicon
Air Capital Comic Con
Taco Fest Twitter: @WichitaTacoFest
Little Jerusalem State Park
In this month’s episode of Uncovering Kansas Rach talks with Grammy-nominated musical artist Jan Kraybill. If y’all could have seen Rachel’s eyes when she slotted this interview. She doesn’t geek out over too many things. Rachel is pretty level-headed. But she does enjoy a classical music concert, there’s no denying that.
When Geoff, our co-producer, listened to the initial post-production he smiled and nodded as Jan communicated a response she receives after mentioning she’s from Kansas City to strangers she meets in her travels. Rachel and Geoff receive similar responses. In fact, the communication dynamic is so memorable and powerful Geoff included it in a story he wrote in November 2019. Be sure to listen close when Jan and Rachel start to discuss meeting new people while traveling. Have you received similar questions about the Kansas City area?
So, turn up your volume if you’re going to multitask while listening, or grab your favorite set of earbuds and your beverage of choice. Find a comfy spot and settle in. Relax and listen to Rachel and Jan take a meandering audio backroads drive through the subjects of music, Kansas, travel and more.
And, as always, thanks for listening and sharing this podcast with others.
See a video of Jan
Beethoven Walks Into a Bar Podcast
Sam Ramey - operatic bass
Mark Schultz - contemporary Christian
The Prairie Museum of Art and History
Salt Mines in Hutchinson
Humanities Kansas Hotline 1-888-416-2018
In this month’s episode, Rachel talks with Deb Kohn and Cheryl Germann, Co-Coordinators of the Poetry Out Loud program in Kansas. They uncover the way that Kansas students can compete while also learning about poetry and performance.
Kansas Poetry Out Loud website
See a video of Sarah Katsiyiannis, Khadija Ceesay, and Santiago Vasquez
Poetry Out Loud Kansas Facebook Page
"Flight Path" a poem by Geoffrey Allison (read, in this episode, by Rachel)
Building a Bookshelf
In this month’s episode, Rachel talks with Tony Helfrich, Director of Adventure Programs at McPherson College. They uncover the way that a passion for Kansas outdoors can add to the richness of experience for students at McPherson, while also teaching them life skills along the way.
Bulldog Adventures - @mcbulldogadv (instagram & twitter)
Shotgun Sports Program - @mcshotgunsports (instagram & twitter)
Maxwell Wildlife Refuge
Quivira National Wildlife Refuge
In this month’s episode, Rachel talks with Stephen Bridenstine of the Flint Hills Discovery Center. Rachel uncovers the draw of the place. Hint: it sounds as though it caters to all ages, nature lovers and science lovers. The center is located in Manhattan, KS and so it can be both a destination in its own right as well as temporary exploratory stop as you and your family are out wandering the Sunflower State.
This month’s links are:
Flint Hills Discovery Center website
Lesser Prairie Chickens
Flint Hills Foundation
Flint Hills Learning Center - including maps
Hello, Kansas! Uncovering Kansas Podcast co-producer Geoff here, with this month’s show notes.
I pitched the idea for this month’s episode to Rach back in late May and, paraphrasing now, it went a little something like this: “Not now,” I had said. “I understand things are still in a fragile state. But when we start to come out of the pandemic, I think we should send out invitations to several communities across Kansas. Offer them a chance to share a little about their community’s COVID story. However they want to tell it: it’s their story, after all. Whatever they want to share. The good. Or the bad. The uplifting, or sad. People will shoot straight. They won’t hide from the tougher bits they had to work through.”
We recognize we aren’t clear of the pandemic yet. There are new spikes in places. And concerns as winter approaches. There’s still work to be done. Together. And that’s why this may be the best time to share this episode. To remember the parts of the challenge met. The best efforts in the face of uncertainty. The human element.
We’re grateful to everyone who follows and listens and shares this podcast with others. Because of you, we’re growing. Because of you, we’re in a position to share bits and pieces of Pittsburg’s COVID-era story with the world. That’s right, Kansas. Uncovering Kansas has listeners from outside the (mostly) rectangular-shaped heart located smack dab in the center of the United States of America—the place we call home. Folks is interested, as ya might say. So, again, THANK YOU.
Stay safe and healthy, and we hope you enjoy this month’s episode.
Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce
Crawford County Travel Site
Rachel sits down with kristopher swanson from The Neighboring Movement, a Wichita based community development organization. They talk about how to uncover the unique assets you have in your own neighborhood, and the similarity and parallel of the missions of both organizations. Uncovering Kansas: to inspire Kansans to learn more about the gifts we have within our state. The Neighboring Movement: to connect people with their neighbors as a way to help restore the social fabric and health of our neighborhoods.
After listening to this episode we hope you go out and talk to your neighbors. Learn something new about their unique gifts and build a stronger relationship that creates a more enriching environment for you to live in.
Neighboring Movement website
The Neighbor Next Door Podcast
Asset Based Community Development Institute
Your co-producer, Geoffrey, here with show notes for the latest episode of Uncovering Kansas. Rachel talks with the hosts of the WORST COMIC PODCAST EVER. A fabulous episode of nerdom and the sharing of shared passions.
If I were writing a comic book script about these guys and their show it would begin like this:
Three longtime friends have a shared interest: comics. They decide to produce a comic books podcast and share it with the world. The content will be earnest. And smart. And, at times, when necessary, it will be serious because comic books, as a medium, are uniquely positioned due to their mix of both approachability and fantasy, to explore a multitude of topics impacting society writ large.
PANEL1 (half page)
We see an old dining room table set up in the middle of a room (garage, basement, backyard shed - ART decides and we'll keep consistent throughout; whatever is chosen, consider adding bits of related paraphernalia (e.g. power tools on wall rack if garage, a stack of holiday decorations in once corner if basement, etc.)). The table is the gravitational center around which three different sized bodies orbit at varying degrees: three middle age men (John, Jerry, and Cullen). Cullen [see character description notes] carries an oversized Mac desktop, making ready to place it on the table. Jerry [see character description notes] untangles a rats nest of audio and ethernet cables already on the table, along with a couple microphones and mic stands. John [see character description notes] stands at the end of the table (farthest from viewer/reader), staring at the other two men. He holds a piece of chalk in the open palm of one hand. An old timey movable chalkboard looms behind him. We see PODCAST NAMES written across the top and several columns of suggested names underneath—all of which have been crossed out.
Listeners, the comic book themes I best remember are ones where the hero overcomes life’s struggles through the help of a friend. Sometimes the friend is another superhero. Better still, it is not. It’s a co-worker from the day job the hero’s alter ego keeps. Or it is words of encouragement issued by the owner of the alimentari located in the Italian neighborhood where the hero grew up and who knew the superhero BEFORE the “powers” and is, therefore, unimpressed by them and just talks straight and tells the hero like it is.
I went to high school with the hosts and producers of the WORST COMIC PODCAST EVER, although we ran in different circles. Sure I dig their podcast content. But what I dig even more is their lasting friendship. Relationships that transcend and extend prove more powerful than special powers and abilities. It may be THE special power—the most powerful of all the superpowers. Knowingly or not, in addition to comic fandom content, Jerry, John, and Cullen share their special bond through the Worst Comic Podcast Ever. I appreciate that. Hell, I applaud it. Thank you, gents.
Links to various tidbits discussed in this episode
Greetings Uncovering Kansas listeners and supporters. June 2020's episode is about art and science and connections. Rachel sits down and talks with Kelly Yarbrough, an artist and a Kansan by choice. Of course, Kelly discusses her artistic process. She also talks about how the seasons and science of Kansas influences her creative effort. What becomes apparent is that Kelly is a connector. Whether as an artist to her audience, or as a citizen in her role as a territory rep for the Kansas Creative Arts Industry Commission, or in her roles with the Tallgrass Artist Residency Program or as Director of Community Programming at Prairiewood Preserve, Kelly creates and facilitates connections that enrich her audience and greater community through the promotion of art and creativity. It's a great episode. We look forward to sharing it with you. As always, we share a few links below related to topics discussed in the episode.
Tallgrass Artist Residency
Mattfield Green, Kansas
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
The Bank - contemporary art space
Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission
Prairie Festival at the Land Institute
There is no ‘they’ that fixes what needs fixing, or improves what needs improving. There is ‘us.’ You. And me. Kansans understand this. In this month’s episode Rachel talks with Lisse Regehr of Thrive Allen County, an organization convening, coordinating, and championing the ideas and efforts of Allen County residents. Listen to examples of a community converting an abandoned cement factory into usable community space and volunteers shaping trails for health and wellness. Efforts undertaken to improve the lives and conditions not only of its residents but those who visit, those today and tomorrow.
Wichita Eagle article- 14 Regional Podcasts to add to your Playlist
Uncovering Kansas - Manhattan for Nature Lovers episode
Thrive Allen County website
Links to all of the trails discussed on the episode
Robert Wood Johnson Culture of Health Prize
Rural Health Initiative
A Bolder Humboldt
Uncovering Kansas - Kansas Framework for Growth episode
In April 2020’s episode of Uncovering Kansas, Rachel talks with Kansan Sage Scott, a travel blogger. They talk about travel vs vacation; of inspiring someone to travel and explore rather than attempting to influence visiting a specific spot or locale; and they give shout-outs and share BIG love for Abilene and Nicodemus Kansas. Sage Scott arrived in Kansas via a circuitous route. But she is plugged in now. Shining bright, lending her passion for, and experiences with, travel with the entire world. Please, listen to the episode. Share it with family and friends. And send us any comments or feedback you have.
We understand everyone is self-isolating right now. And travel may not be possible. But before you know it, we’ll be traveling and exploring again because of the efforts of dedicated people—in Kansas and elsewhere—to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus.
Mr. K’s Farmhouse
Volga German History Museum
Brown vs Board of Education
Everyday Wanderer links to articles mentioned in the show:
Women’s history month
Brown v Board
Life Lessons for your big 0 birthday
Economic Development in Kansas is changing. A banner program and important effort driving this initiative is the Kansas Framework for Growth, a comprehensive strategy for economic growth in the coming 15-20 years. More than 1,000 Kansans have given their input into the process. We first heard of the strategy and program as citizens. And, wanting to engage in the process, we attended two different events. In this episode, Rachel talks with Deputy Secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce, Patty Clark, about the outcome of the study and current status of the program.
Note: This episode was recorded before the effects (closures and self-isolation protocols, etc.) related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We are unaware of any curtailments to the rollout process of the Kansas Framework for Growth and, because we believe in the importance of the effort, are releasing this episode per our original schedule for March. Please visit the website to discover how you can get involved and any impacts or changes to the calendar or events as a result of pandemic protocols.
Kansas Framework for Growth
Kansas Department of Commerce
Kansas Main Street Program
Get to Know a Kansan (links)
Symphony in the Flint Hills
Kansas State Parks (Cabin reservation info)
Depot Theater Company
Dodge City (Amtrak information)
Dwight D. Eisenhower (Presidential Library)
Were you aware that there is a group of Kansans providing thought leadership in the area of caring for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and seniors? In this month's episode, Rachel talks with Mike Strouse, CEO of Goodlife Innovations. Remember KC Pop Co? They are one of Goodlife's innovative life enrichment and skill development programs. Rachel sits down to listen and learn (uncover) how they are delivering the kind of life people they support want to lead, and how other agencies are looking to them in order to implement similar models across the country.
How do you more cost effectively deliver the kind of lives that people want to lead? That’s what it’s really about. ~Mike Strouse, CEO Goodlife Innovation
Rachel describes herself as a self-proclaimed Kansas Ambassador as does this month’s guest, Bryan Lisbona. Bryan is driven by the philosophy #lovewhereyoulive, and he invests in that philosophy and takes daily steps to live his truth. Through our conversation listeners will uncover details of Bryan and his family’s journey into small town life after their decision to leave one of the state’s (sub)urban areas. Listeners uncover the benefits of smaller towns, and why Kansas offers distinctive qualities of life such as knowing your neighbors, the ability - perhaps necessity - to get involved and impact your town in concrete ways, and living in communities whose energy wellspring is generated by the various personalities and characteristics and actions of the town-folk themselves, not by the depth of restaurant reservation wait-lists and number of new openings of entertainment venues.
We talked and uncovered A LOT, so the ‘links in the show notes” are pretty long!
Nick Hague - Astronaut
Kansas Sampler Foundation
Uncovering Kansas: Big Kansas Road Trip 2019 episode
Uncovering Kansas episode (featuring Gypsum Hills)
Flint Hills Discovery Center
Johnson County Museum
Rachel and Geoff briefly review highlights from the podcast's second (2019) season, and discuss our upcoming 3rd season and beyond. A few side projects are shared with listeners and then -- WOW! Rachel uncovers for our listeners an absolutely fascinating figure from Kansas history. A pioneer, in multiple ways, Emanuel Haldeman-Julius.
A state with socialist leanings (Kansas was a hotbed at the time). A Jewish man sympathetic to these, Emanuel Halderman-Julius served as editor for the Appeal to Reason before becoming, as many consider him to be, the inventor of the paperback book and, perhaps ironically as seen through the lens of the 21st century historical observer, the Henry Ford of the publishing industry. A true innovator and forward thinker in both business and culture, Haldeman-Julius and his wife took on each other's last names. With laser-like precision, using methods described in modern business vernacular as guerilla marketing, he created and built a publishing enterprise he wanted to see serve the working class reader—fulfilling their need for learning AND enjoyment.
Clarification: In the audio, Rachel refers to William S. Burroughs and listeners might misinterpret his status as a Kansan. He was a Lawrence, KS resident (we were there!) though not a Kansas native.
Links mentioned in episode:
www.pmocoaching.com (new business-centric podcast on developing skills behaviors and attitudes hosted by Rachel)
www.sixstringcpa.com (new audio-format short story series Geoff writes under his name)
Love frozen snacks? How about all natural ingredients, do they make you smile? Does the thought of small businesses creating jobs that foster skill development and increased independence for people living with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (ID/D) make you smile from ear to ear? We're a 'YES' for all three and that’s why Rachel interviewed Ky Kanaman of KC Pop Co for the November ‘19 episode.
Enjoying an all natural ice pop for breakfast during the Kaw Valley Farm Tour. Believe it or not, that's how we discovered the Kansas business featured in this month's episode. Unexpected, yes. But what would you expect in the Land of Oz?
KC Pop Co is a small batch manufacturer of ice-pops whose kitchen facility is located in Baldwin City, on Midnight Farm. We learned of KC Pop Co while participating on the Farm Tour, and fell for KC Pop Co’s mission and approach. Sure, it may be a little colder outside while you’re listening to this. But, this is Kansas. We may get a 66F day in January. And, besides, summer gets closer with each passing day and frozen natural treats will soon be needed. Even for breakfast, to which Rachel can attest.
Uncovering Kansas participated in the Kaw Valley Farm Tour this year. While we were out we interviewed farmers and attendees (and some of the wildlife, too).
This month Rachel uncovers another story about a Kansan, Nancy Overmyer. Rachel (and Geoff) met Nancy while they were volunteering for the Lenexa Art Show in May 2019. And Rachel immediately fell in love with Nancy’s artwork.
In this episode, Rachel sits down with Nancy, a gourd artisan who also did a stint as a librarian. They discuss the origins of the gourd, the intricacies and nuances of the gourd as (artistic) medium, and how Nancy’s path meandered and branched out to include making gourd jewelry, as well as carving and decorating. And you’ll learn what it means to ‘love the 745s’ and how Nancy sees unique patterns in each gourd. Nancy’s passion and commitment to her artistic development is evident in this interview and in her artwork (see photos). It’s no wonder her creations have been highlighted and showcased in magazines. Being a library geek herself, Rachel encourages Nancy to share with listeners her experience as a librarian as well as her personal picks and favorites from around the Sunflower State.
A note from our co-producer, Geoff: Uncovering Kansas never requests or expects compensation, in any form, from guests appearing on the show. Rachel fell for Nancy’s creativity and purchased a necklace while volunteering at the Lenexa Art Fair. Unbeknownst to Rachel, Nancy brought another necklace to the recording of this episode and presented it to Rachel as a token of appreciation and kindness. Rachel accepted the gift. While it was not a requirement of appearing on Uncovering Kansas, nor influence the content or direction of the recording, we believe it appropriate to share this information with listeners in the spirit of transparency and openness.
Gooseberry Lane (Nancy’s) Facebook Page(look for a picture with a gourd)
Sunflower Gourd Patch
Silver Lake Kansas
Maple Leaf Festival
Baldwin City Kansas
Baldwin City Lumber Yard Arts Center
Coronado Heights Castle
Emma Chase Friday Night Concerts
What’s a honey tap? Is there lanolin in alpaca? You can learn the answers by listening to the podcast and by attending the Kaw Valley Farm Tour. This year’s tour is October 5-6, 2019. It is also the 15th anniversary, featuring 34 farms located in five counties. Attendees are able to get an insider view of working farms and ranches and get to know the people who produce the food they consume and the materials that go into the products they buy. Uncovering Kansas loves encouraging our listeners to explore and learn about Kansas. Rachel interviews the owners of two of the farms participating in this year’s Kaw Valley Farm Tour: Spike and Patty Durkin of Happy Valley Farm, and Claudia Hey of Ad Astra Alpacas.
A side note from our co-producer: The relaxed format of our podcast leads to friendly, casual bantering between host and guest. This episode is no different. Listeners may incorrectly conclude we (Rachel and Geoffrey) literally 'throw out' our empty honey containers. I assure you, friends, we do no such thing. We recycle with pride and vigilance and, whether glass or plastic, our honey containers are correctly disposed of with care and attention to environmental impact. Also, I'm wicked stoked to work this honey tap. Bees, baby. Bees!
Kaw Valley Farm Tour
Happy Valley Farms
Ad Astra Alpacas
We are sharing a short BONUS episode with listeners about an event our new friends at the Kansas State Historical Society (KSHS) are hosting. Rachel offers listeners a chance to follow along her first steps as she discovers who and what the KSHS is and does by talking with Bethany Falvey and Katrina Ringler. Some focus is directed at special KSHS programming happening in Dodge City, KS in September 2019.
This year is the 10th anniversary of the Flint Hills Shakespeare Festival, which takes place each September in St. Marys, Kansas. For 2019, the festival features Twelfth Night along with an artisan village of about 50 craft and food booths along a forest path. The festival is a volunteer led event, another example of the power of people coming together to make something happen.
Our guest is Ben Moats, the President of the festival, and he and Rachel talk about the festival, the history of St. Marys, and the importance of bringing culture to towns across the state. The festival is in September (2019). Event and ticketing details can be found at the Flint Hills Shakespeare Festival website. (Bring your own chairs and wear appropriate shoes for walking through the woods -- Shakespeare out in the open, as intended)
St. Marys Kansas
Kansas City Flint Hills Enthusiasts Group
We are working on a project to create a group in Kansas City for Flint Hills enthusiasts. We'll meet every few months to enjoy a drink, socialize, and talk about our love of the Flint Hills. If you would like to be notified once we have the details worked out, please let us know below.
Most of us have experienced that always exhilarating, and sometimes frightening, feeling when we end up doing something we never quite expected doing. Chris Alexander's path took her from theater to stained glass to metal working. As co-owner of Alexander Artworks, Chris has found herself busier than she ever imagined as she and her co-owner husband try to keep up with orders. Rachel and Chris talk about metal working, the importance of personal connection, and what it's like to be a business owner in a small town. Chris' answers and responses during the Get to Know a Kansan section impressed, and Rachel captured her insights so our listeners can add to their list of places to check out when exploring Kansas.
Morris County Community Arts Council
Strong City Rodeo
Bloody Bill Anderson
Allegawaho Heritage Memorial Park
Rails to Trails
Kanopolis Drive In
Lost City of Etzanoa
The podcast about culture, travel, people, history, and enterprise in Kansas.