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Summer highlights in 1998
otm vlc Kaleb-Schartz
Young eater-- Fifteen-month-old Kaleb Schartz gnaws on a piece of food at the annual ice cream social hosted by Sunflower bank of Ellinwood. Thursday marked the second day of the After Harvest Festival. - photo by Tribune file photo

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

A few minor historical world events happened this week in 1998. First, South African President Nelson Mandela accompanied Queen Elizabeth II on a coach drive through the streets of London, according to
It was a year after he stepped down from power as President of South Africa. His visit to England included a visit to the grave of Princess Diana. According to the London Daily Mail from that week, “The private visit precedes a charity function tomorrow in London where Mr. Mandela is expected to announce the coming together of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund which cares for HIV and Aids sufferers in South Africa.”
Second, on July 17, Russia buried Tsar Nicholas II and family, 80 years after they died. At that time the country was led then by Boris Yeltsin, considered liberal and progressive by today’s standards. 
The family was assassinated in the basement of their home by Bolsheviks in 1918, as the White Army approached to liberate them from their captors. Their bodies were buried in secret unmarked graves, but Russian historians found them in 1979, and 12 years later in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union the graves were opened, and through DNA testing it was determined they were indeed the Romanov family members. Two members, however, were buried in a separate grave that was not discovered until 2007. Those remains are in possession of the Russian Orthodox Church, and have yet to be buried.
In 2015 the official state investigation of the tsar’s murder was reopened, and Nicholas and Alexandra were exhumed, as was Nicholas’s father, Alexander III. Since then there have been conflicting reports from government and church officials on when, or if, the entire Romanov family will be reburied and reunited, even if only in death.
WE found an article in Town and Country magazine that tells the whole story.

In Great Bend, summer was in full swing, with the Barton County Fair wrapping up, and Ellinwood’s After Harvest Festival fast on its heels.
The Brit Spaugh Zoo had just received a new addition.
“The zoo was a recent recipient of a young yellow anaconda, and while the water boa is small now-- only about eight feet long,” it was reported, “it could grow to be several times that.” It was also reported that the largest anaconda on record was 37 feet long. But, according to Wikipedia, reports of that size have not been verified. With that criteria, it should be noted that the longest to be verified is around half that size, and even that is very rare.
Still, anacondas probably weren’t the kind of snakes zoo keepers would pull out for a “meet the animal” presentation.
“You have to be careful handling even small ones that you don’t end up with a mouthful of needle sharp teeth digging into you,” the zoo director Mike Cargill stated, “They are very aggressive.”

Kansas Cave Dwellers
Snakes bring to mind caves, and it turns out this week in 1998, a feature story appeared this week in the Tribune, concerning the Faris Caves located in rural Ellsworth. The Faris Caves were (and still are) a popular tourist attraction, but maintaining access to them was becoming a problem, and the Army Corps of Engineers and Ellsworth County had a plan. They planned to build a new road with access from above, instead of continuing to try to maintain a road below that was subject to washing out after heavy rains.
The caves are still accessible today, ( and are located near what was once Fort Harker near the city of Kanopolis. Also, if caves are your cup of tea, we found a travel blog with a list of four other popular Kansas caves. All but one are located near Kanopolis. And not to worry, they are all above ground!

Cookie jar
Remember the fair? The opening day of fair may as well be synonymous with cookies. The Barton County Extension Council entered Commissioners Cookie Jar contest on Sunday, the last day of the fair. And, they won. The Tribune center spread Wednesday, July 15, carried recipes of each of the cookies. Extension executive board chair Barbara Davenport was interviewed. Extension’s budget had been cut the year before, so the board determined more needed to be done to spotlight Extension, she said. Entering the contest was one (delicious) way to get the word out about what the Barton County Extension had to offer the public. Since then, Barton and Ellis Counties have combined forces to form the Cottonwood Extension District, offering even more expertise and opportunities to both communities.
Here, a no-bake variety submitted by Donna Krug, who is still going strong with Extension:
Moon Rocks
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 6 oz. can orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 tsp. Orange rind
1 lb. vanilla wafers, crushed
1 stick margarine, melted
1 cup pecans, ground
1 lb. shredded coconut
Combine all ingredients except for half of coconut. Shape into 1-inch balls, and roll balls in remaining coconut.