October means the start of the new 4-H year. Oct. 6 - 12 is National 4-H Week, and members have been promoting area clubs by wearing 4-H T-shirts, hanging banners, and speaking about their clubs at school or at church. In addition to projects, camp and fair, they also talk about the friends they've made and the fun they've had with their families. For one Barton County family, 4-H has been a tradition for several generations.
PAWNEE ROCK - Tuesday morning, the parking lot of the Bergthal Mennonite Church north of Pawnee Rock was lined with trucks, SUVs and minivans. Former members and neighbors of the 98-year-old church arrived early to register to bid on church pews, stained glass windows, and other items left before the final demolition of the building later this year.
During World War II, the U.S. Air Force bomber pilots flew Kansas-made bombers overseas to bomb Axis strongholds. Leading up to their missions, those pilots practiced by dropping bombs over Cheyenne Bottoms. Debris from these practice runs prompted Chad Hobson, a Kansas State University graduate student, to include the wetlands area in a study recently.
Supporting a friend through a cancer journey can be both heartbreaking and inspiring. For Great Bend High School English teacher Jessica Ferguson, the struggle of her long time high school friend, Kimberly Jessop, through treatment and subsequent remission of Stage IV melanoma and leukemia helped her to step way out of her comfort zone. Next Sunday, Oct. 13, she will travel to Chicago and run her first full marathon in honor of her friend.
For 11 years, the Barton County Sheriff's Office Reserve has held Kids' Camp at the Barton County Sheriff's Office Range and Training Facility. On Sept. 14, kids ages 8-14 arrived early for a day of positive interaction with law enforcement and emergency service personnel.
To celebrate 25 years promoting the simplicity of a sustainable rural lifestyle, the Dominican Sisters of Peace were joined by a host of supporters from around the country Saturday at Heartland Farm west of Great Bend, as well as many from the local community. From 1:30 to 2 p.m., local musicians Alex and Nicholas Cartwright, Ian McGilber and Trisha Weilert and Travis Marler performed as visitors enjoyed lunch and a chance to explore the farm.
Wonder and fascination with nature took wing Saturday as people of all ages, from mothers with babies to retired persons, came to the Kansas Wetlands Education Center north of Great Bend to lend a hand capturing tagging Monarch butterflies. But the late summer beauties failed to show once more in significant numbers, though a handful were caught over the course of the morning. Still, kids, had a great time catching other varieties, as well as abundant dragonflies and toads.
Each week we'll take a step back into the history of Great Bend through the eyes of reporters past. We'll reacquaint you with what went into creating the Great Bend of today, and do our best to update you on what "the rest of the story" turned out to be.
Saturday, Sept. 14, marks the 25th anniversary of the Dominican Sisters of Peace opening of Heartland Farm west of Great Bend. What started as a testament to the value of small, privately owned farms and an experiment with organic farming has evolved over a quarter century to become an example of what agri-tourism in the local economy can look like.
Sister Terry Wassinger sits on the swing near the circular driveway at Heartland Farm. Beside her sit Lily and Lennie, brother and sister farm dogs. It is her favorite place to sit and rest. But soon, she will be say goodbye to the farm that has been her home for 21 years. She's heading to Kentucky on Sunday, Sept. 15, the day after Heartland Farm celebrates its 25th anniversary.