Gary & Margaret Kraisinger will present The Chisholm Trail: The Rest of the Story to celebrate
the 150 year anniversary of the Chisholm Trail. The Kraisingers are award winning authors and
have published three books dealing will the early herding of cattle from Texas to train terminals in Kansas--Abilene, Newton, Wichita, and Liberal. Join the Friends of the Whitewater Memorial Library and the Frederic Remington Area Historical Society for an interesting listen into the history of cattle trails.
Roy Beckemeyer will present Giant Dragonflies, Australia, and a Small Town in Kansas:
Investigating a 1920’s Mystery. This presentation focuses on fossils found in a ridge of rocks
that passes through Dickinson, Marion, and Harvey Counties and continues south into
Oklahoma. When these rocks are cracked, embedded in the rocks are fossils of insects including dragonflies with wingspans up to thirty inches. Dr. Beckemeyer will tell the story of how a small spot in central Kansas came to the attention of a renowned Australian paleontologist and how he came to visit. Also, how fossils of giant insects, steamships, railroad trains, land grant colleges, long-lost photographs, and kidney stones are all part of the puzzle. Dr. Beckemeyer is a retired engineer and author of the 2015 Kansas Notable Book “Music I Once Could Dance to: Poems.”
Jane Rhoads will present Opera House Culture on the Kansas Frontier. Ms. Rhoads’ book, Kansas Opera Houses, Actors & Community Events 1855-1925, selected as a 2009 Notable Kansas Book, highlights the importance of Kansas' opera houses to the cultural and social development of Kansas during the last half of the 19th century and the early 20th century. Opera houses were home to important community events such as dramatic productions, commencements, and traveling theater performances. Settlers arriving from European countries and eastern U.S. cities brought with them ideas of the cultural life they wanted to establish. The types of civic, cultural and dramatic entertainments that occurred in these structures and the actors who graced their stages will be discussed. A focus will be on opera houses located in southcentral Kansas communities and the activities that were held there.
Sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council.
Rex Buchanan will present Water in Kansas: Past & Present. Early evidence of Native peoples
in Kansas shows that they lived near springs, seeps, and rivers. Later, European settlers moved
along water sources, and eventually cities were established in areas with plentiful water
supplies. Even today, demographic changes in Kansas are the result of water: scarcity
connected to water-level declines in the Ogallala Aquifer is impacting depopulation in western
Kansas, whereas some eastern Kansas counties, which are relatively water-rich, are gaining
population. Recently the state government developed a 50-year water planning vision,
identifying two major issues: reservoir sedimentation and the rapid drawdown of the Ogallala
portion of the High Plains Aquifer in western Kansas. This presentation will highlight how water issues today define much about Kansas in the future, just as it always has. Rex is the interim director of the Kansas Geological Survey and the author of books about Kansas geology and water. Sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council.
Viola (Entz) Udd will present Bernhard and Marie Wilhelmine Entz: Their Lineage, Lives, and
Letters. After the Bernhard Entz family emigrated from West Prussia in 1891, they settled on a
farm one mile south of Newton. The presentation will focus on the life and times of Bernhard
and Marie Entz. However, their son Herman B. married Anna Harder in 1897 and moved south
of Brainerd; the Entz name continues to be prevalent in the local Emmaus Mennonite Church
community. Another son Gustav stayed on the original Entz farm south of Newton. Viola lives in Missouri Valley, Iowa. She has compiled the Bernhard Entz heritage into a book, which she
expects to publish in the fall of 2017. She will draw her presentation from her manuscript.
Kevin Rabas, 2017-2019 Poet Laureate of Kansas, will present Finding the Extraordinary in the
Ordinary. Dr. Rabas suggests that poetry can illuminate the path through our daily lives,
revealing beauty in the mundane tasks and objects that we often overlook. As poet Naomi
Shihab Nye observed, “Poetry helps us to see something worth seeing everywhere, whether
inside or outside of us.” Emotions triggered by everyday items--the memory of a lost mother, or the anxiety that come with hope—often go unseen but are given voice through poems that span continents and generations. As Kansans, most of us can appreciate memories connected to limestone postrock, birdhouses, soap dishes, soup bowls, and sunset light. With words and
music, this presentation will uplift our daily experiences. Dr. Rabas is a poet, jazz musician, and professor who teaches poetry and playwriting at Emporia State University. Sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council.