EDOCS




“THE LITTLE WORLD’S FAIR”

COMES TO

KISMET*, KANSAS!

September 5, 6 & 7

 

    Kismet residents can’t remember when there wasn’t a “Little World’s Fair.”  The first, called “Labor Day Picnic,” was celebrated 100 years ago—in 1915.  The town, (2015 population - 460 - give or take), located in Seward County, Kansas, was 28 years old.

              
After a four-year hiatus during World War II, the event was resumed—in 1946—and re-named “THE LITTLE WORLD’S FAIR” in honor of servicemen returning from the war.  This year Kismet will celebrate its 96th Labor Day gala.

          Activities early-on included, in addition to the picnic, a Chautauqua and foot and horse races.  Local businesses, proclaiming it to also be “Merchant’s Day,” passed out gifts and prizes.

          Today, the celebration attracts people from all over the world and from throughout the United States.

          Popular for both family and alumni reunions, many former Kismet residents choose this weekend to come home to visit.  The Little World’s Fair also draws others who have heard about it from friends, as well as people driving through the area.

          The Lions Club has organized fair activities since 1966 when the Quarterback Club, the sponsoring organization at the time, disbanded.  The Town Criers, a Kismet Woman’s club and other organizations and individuals, work closely with the Lion’s Club members to ensure its success.

The number of The Little World’s Fair activities has increased over the years, but they still reflect the simple “down home” type of fun of earlier celebrations.  The events, which might include tractor pulls, stick horse races for toddlers and Grandma and Grandpa slow bicycle races, are planned for the participation and amusement of all ages.

Church services on Sunday initiate fair activities.  Events are planned for throughout the day.  Evening activities include bingo, followed by an ever-popular street dance.

 Labor Day morning, a frenzy of activity begins with registration for events at 6:30 a.m.

The mid-morning Labor Day parade features participants from area towns.  In the past, parades down Kismet’s Main Street, have featured two miles of floats, bands, vehicles, bicycles, tricycles, and horsemen.

Meanwhile, two huge vats, containing 200 gallons of ham and beans, are being prepared for the crowd.  Long before noon, people begin gathering for the free meal.  They chat as they watch Lion Club members, standing over huge vats, stir the steaming, bubbling beans with canoe paddles, while other workers lay out paper plates, plastic forks, bread and relish on long tables.  Entertainment is provided.

In celebration of the town’s centennial year (1987), the Lion’s Club financed and, assisted by others in the community, constructed a 400 square-foot building to replace the canvas tent which had previously served as “The Little World’s Fair” headquarters.

The carnival is the only entertainment brought in from the outside, and everyone pitches in to help.  Everything about the fair is done by Kismet residents, area farmers and ranchers.

Food, crafts and other items are sold by area organizations and individuals from booths set up at strategic points on and near Main Street.

Each year, prizes are awarded to contest winners, parade entries and costumes, and recognition is given to the oldest man and woman, the couple married longest, the person who has lived longest in the Kismet area and those who traveled the longest distance to attend.

Late Monday afternoon, one might hear a number of audible sighs as the last car disappears down Main Street.  The Little World’s Fair is over for another year and Kismet becomes, again, a quiet prairie town.

*The word “Kismet” means “destiny.” (Think of kismet as your lot in life, or your fate).

I’ve talked to no one who knows why the little prairie town was named “Kismet.”






YOU’RE OK IN MY BOOK

 

 

Most of us cherish the memory of a special person who has influenced our lives in a positive way.  My special person was James Kendall, a fellow worker.

 

James was the most understanding and caring person I have ever known.  His favorite expression was: "He (or she) is OK in my book."

 

"What Lois does out of the office is her business," he might say.  "She's still OK in my book."

 

Our receptionist's morals were rumored to be somewhat questionable but James remembered something that the rest of us sometimes forgot—Lois's big heart.  It was a rare day when there wasn't a plate of cookies or candy on her desk for us to help ourselves to, and she always remembered to bring in flowers, balloons, or a cake to celebrate a birthday.  She went out of her way to do nice things for people, not only in, but out of the office as well.

 

Lois wasn't the only one in the office that was "OK" in James's book.

 

"Joe is OK in my book," he’d say when we complained about Joe Green, a grumpy salesman that no one else in the office liked.  Later, when we learned that Joe's two boys—ages four and six—were slowly dying from a rare muscular disease, we were more understanding.  Unlike James, however, we had to have a reason before we could overlook Joe's unpleasant disposition.

 

Also OK in James's book was Johnny Barton, our delivery boy.  We all knew that Johnny was filching pens, paper and notepads from the office.  I agreed with everyone else that he should be fired.  That was before James confided in me that Johnny's dream was to be a writer.

 

“We shouldn’t begrudge him a few supplies,” James said.  “His father was laid off several months ago and all of Johnny's salary goes toward helping to pay the rent and feed a family of five children, besides himself.”

 

Since James and I both worked in the communications department, we saw a lot of each other.  Although he was witty and fun to be around, I never heard him say a disparaging word about anyone in all the time we worked together.  He always looked for the good in people.  He honestly seemed care for other people and to be interested in what we had to say.

 

James was the one we all went to when we needed a shoulder to cry on, or someone to listen to our problems.  His door was always open, and I doubt if there was anyone—from the janitor to the company president—who didn't drop in from time to time "just to talk."

 

I'm afraid I "bent his ear" as often as anyone and, like

everyone else, I always came away from his office feeling better.

 

"People often use anger to hide the way they really feel," James once said when I complained about Joe's negative frame of

mind.  "Someone who comes across as irritable or insensitive may actually be suffering—physically, mentally or emotionally."

 

That's when he told me about Joe's children.

 

James seemed to be able to “place himself in another person's shoes.”

 

Any time he saw someone looking sad or worried—whether it be  in the elevator, on the street or in the checkout line at the supermarket, James would stop and strike up a conversation.  Almost always, the person he was talking to walked away wearing a smile.

 

It's been years since we went our separate ways but I still think of James when I find myself being judgmental or overly-critical. 

"What do you know about this person and what he is going through?" I ask myself; and I try a little harder to understand—as James would say—“what makes him tick."  And I try a little harder to be more understanding of other people's cares and problems.

 

James was a tough act to follow; but I'm making progress.  This morning when Marge, a neighbor, called to tell me that our mutual friend, Linda, had been seen in public a little tipsy the night before, I thought of the basket of delicious apples Linda had picked for me when she went to the orchard last fall.

 

"So what, Marge?" I said.  "That’s her business.  I don’t know anyone who is more kind-hearted than Linda.

 

Then, thinking of James, I added: "I don’t care what she did, she's still OK in my book."

 

Published in Ultimate Christian Living Anthology

Reprinted in For the Love Of God Anthology

Both available on my Amazon page

 







EVENING SHADE


 How a cookbook built a gym for Evening Shade, Arkansas

 

          There was nothing wrong with the old rock gym.  Built in 1939, by the National Youth Administration, it had served the school well for more than 50 years.  But the young folks thought it would be nice to have a regulation size gym so they could host basketball tournaments and invite other schools for district and regional games.

They figured it would cost about $350,000.

          All schools—especially small ones—have trouble raising funds,” said Supt. Billy Paul Boyle, who oversees 314 students in grades K-12.

          Everyone was trying to come up with ideas on how to raise money to build a new gym.

          In the fall of 1990, Mrs. Lita King suggested that her home economic class might compile a cookbook to sell to raise money for various projects.  It would make a good chapter project for the Future Homemakers of America.  So the class went to work, collected recipes from local residents, assembled the cookbook and ordered 350 copies.

          No one expected them to sell as rapidly as they did.  But a new television situation comedy—“Evening Shade”—had just premiered on CBS, and the cookbook became a “hot” item.  An additional 200 copies were ordered quickly.

          Mrs. King’s husband, Kevin, who is an attorney at Hardy, suggested that the book be tied into the television show.  He encouraged the students to incorporate recipes from the stars of the show—and to apply the proceeds toward a new gym.

          Everybody laughed!  You have to sell a lot of cookbooks to make $350,000!

          But King, not to be daunted, spoke to a friend and fellow attorney, Hilary Clinton.  (They were working on the same case at the time.)  She, in turn, contacted friends in California—the producers of the TV show.

          Before long, recipes and photos of the stars began to arrive.  Burt Reynolds, the show’s major star, wrote a dedication for the book.

          After that, things began to move fast.  A drama as exciting as an episode of the show itself began to unfold.

          Shalynn Arnold wrote a letter to Burt Reynolds, inviting him to speak at her class’s graduation exercises.  He came.  So did Hilary Clinton and Harry Thomason and his wife, Linda Bloodworth Thomason, producers of the TV show.

          Later that summer, Reynolds invited Shalynn to visit Hollywood at his expense.  While there she appeared in a scene on the TV show.  


          Lita King said that after the cookbook edition with the stars’ recipes was published, 110,000 sold in just about a year, making it the second fastest selling cookbook in the country.

          Soon the Evening Shade Cookbook Foundation was formed.  The group retained an architect and discussed integrating an auditorium into the plans for a gym.

          Orders for the cookbook poured in from all over the country, and that fall Mrs. King set up a vocational entrepreneur class through the State Department of Education.  For two years, students gained valuable experience, as well as credit, packaging, addressing and mailing out the cookbook.  The community joined in, and volunteers met each Thursday night, working long hours to fill the orders.

          “Although the gymnasium is important to the school, and it has brought a lot of attention to the town, what is more important is it brought the town together.  We were all working for a common cause—our young people,” said Donna Ables who spent innumerable hours working on the mailing project.

          In July of 1992, Charlie Dell—Nub in the sitcom—served as grand master in the annual Evening Shade Summerfest Parade.  He returned again the following year and was married in the Methodist Church to actress Jennifer Williams.

          Burton Gilliam, who plays Virgil, has also played an important role, as has Jay. R. Ferguson (Taylor), Jacob Parker (Will), and Bonnie Franklin.

          Due to nationwide publicity, tourists began to arrive from throughout the United States, Canada and several foreign countries.

          Construction of the gym began in October, 1992.  Delk Construction Co. of Bald Knob submitted the low bid of $604,000, almost twice the original estimate.  Not to worry; $300,000 worth of cookbooks already had been sold.

          When the gym was completed in August of 1993—at a final cost of $750,000—the foundation reported cookbook sales of more than $625,000.  Evening Shade T-shirt sales—totaling $25,000—purchased the sound system, a lighted school sign, drapes for the stage and other incidentals.

          The building was named the “Burt Reynolds Gymnasium and the Linda Bloodworth Thomason /Harry Thomason  Auditorium” and bears the TV show’s “Evening Shade” symbol.  A cover protects the floor when plays, band concerts and the like are presented.  An additional 600 chairs bring the auditorium seating capacity to 1,500.

          In the spring of 1993, the school received 70 blue and gold (school colors) warm-up suits as a gift from Burt Reynolds.  With them was a note: “I Love You, Burt.”

          Thirty teams from North Central Arkansas came for the first event—a basketball classic held in October of 1993.  School secretary, Anna Lee Little, was pleased the day she moved her files from a portable building that had served as an office into the new administrative offices in the old rock gym.  Physical education classes are held there as well.

          Over 200.000 Evening Shade cookbooks were sold, bringing in a total of approximately $1 million dollars.  It wasn’t all profit, of course, and some of it went to pay off some school debts, buy an adjacent lot, purchase mailing equipment and the like.

Sales slowed down after the show went into syndication, but no one complained.  There were enough good memories to last for years to come and everybody was enjoying the new gymnasium.

The Jonesboro Sun—May 6, 1995




LIVING OFF THE LAND
http://www.grit.com/property/farm/living-off-the-land.aspx



THE DALTON GANG HIDEOUT

The Legend Lives On

 

Mystery surrounds the Meade, Kansas Hideout, used by the infamous Dalton Gang—notorious train and bank robbers in the late 1800’s

 

            Fascinated by mystery, romance and intrigue, visitors stop at the Dalton Gang Hideout in the southwestern Kansas town of Meade, year after year, not only to view the house, barn and underground tunnel, but also to try to unveil the secrets within.

            Eva Dalton Whipple’s honeymoon cottage and the tunnel leading to the barn on the creek below is reputed to be where the notorious Dalton Gang hid between train and bank robberies more than 100 years ago.

Meade’s Dalton Gang connection was established when Eva, sister to Bob, Grat and Emmett Dalton, and her friend Florence Dorland moved from the Coffeyville area to Meade Center—as the town was called then—in the 188o’s.

“No one knows why they came—perhaps to visit relatives or just for the adventure,” said Nancy Ohnick, who is well versed in the Dalton family history.  Ohnick, who has researched the Daltons since she worked at the hideout as a teenager, has published a book, “The Dalton Gang and Their Family Ties.” 

            Once Eva and Florence arrived, Ohnick said, the ladies established a millinery shop.  Eva was considered a “fine lady” and, being “young, gay and comely,” she attracted the attention of most of the available men.  She, however, was interested only in John N. Whipple, proprietor of Whipple’s Headquarters which is believed to have been the first mercantile store in Meade.

            Well-liked and apparently a dedicated booster of the growing community, Whipple’s various activities were reported weekly in one or more of the three local newspapers, said Ohnick.       Although Whipple was somewhat older than Eva, they appeared to be a good match.  They were married October 25, 1887.  The wedding and reception took place at the home of a prominent local couple who lived south of Meade Center.  Emmett, the youngest of the four Dalton brothers, who were serving as Deputy U.S. Marshals at the time, was reported to have attended the wedding.

            The couple moved into a new home Whipple had built for his bride on a hillside southeast of the city.  An older Dalton brother, Frank, was killed a month later on November 27, near Fort Smith, Arkansas while making an arrest.

            The unusual sequence of events which followed were not explained at the time and have baffled historians ever since.  Three weeks after the wedding, Whipple gave up his business, and two months later, transferred the deed to their home and property to Eva.  Since Eva had given up her millinery business earlier, the couple were presumed to subsist—quite well, in fact—on the proceeds from “Whip’s” horse trading and poker playing.

There are conflicting reports concerning Eva’s brothers’ “falling out” with the law, but their first train robbery attempt was reported in Alila, California in February 1891.  Grat was captured but escaped.  In the spring, rumors of Dalton Gang activities began circulating in the Midwest.

Meade Center sympathies were with “poor little Eva.”  After all, everyone said, she couldn’t help what her brothers did.  Some said if the Dalton boys had been treated squarely when they were U.S. Marshals, they wouldn’t have turned bad.  Also, they said, it probably hadn’t helped that the brothers had grown up hearing about the escapades of the Younger Brothers, cousins on their mother’s side.

The Whipples house was often watched and, on occasion, searched by lawmen, but the infamous brothers were never seen on the premises.  When asked about an unusually large number of horses in his corral, Whipple plausibly explained he’d “been doing a little trading.”

In 1892, the Whipples quietly left town.  No one knew exactly when but they were gone when Bob and Grat Dalton, Dick Broadwell and Bill Powers were shot and killed in Coffeyville on October 5 while attempting to hold up two banks simultaneously.

The Whipple house was sold at a sheriff’s sale in November, 1892, Ohnick said.  Sometime later, a secret passage was discovered after a trail-weary stranger appeared in the house, seemingly out of nowhere, startling the family who had moved into the cottage.

The 95-foot tunnel was a crude, ditch-like affair, too shallow in which to stand erect.  Covered over with dirt and boards, it opened beneath a stairwell on the lower level of the house and ended in the feed room in the barn.  It appeared to have been used as an escape tunnel by the visiting Dalton brothers who could hide in the tunnel when the house was approached and, if necessary, make a getaway through the barn, mounting their horses and galloping out of sight up the draw.

The property was purchased by the City of Meade in 1940.  Improvements were made to the house to make it tourist accessible.  The barn, which was in disrepair, was removed and another was built in its place.  The tunnel was enlarged and reinforced for safety and convenience.  The Dalton Gang Hideout was opened to tourists June 6, 1941.

Visitors to the hideout may browse through Evan’s cottage, the gift shop, the museum on the upper level and walk through the tunnel leading to the barn.   Eva’s house is furnished as it might have been when she lived there—complete with a dress form and sewing machine.

In the tree-shaded park below the barn are barbecue facilities and picnic tables, playground equipment and a stage used for occasional concerts and other entertainment.  Also on the premises are an 1800’s-era covered wagon, mail cart, steam engine, farm wagon, school bell and a wishing well.

Nearly 14,000 tourists visit the attraction annually, according to Nancy Dye, former manager and curator of the facility.

“A surprising number of people from other countries are very interested in the hideout, as well as anything pertaining to the Old West,” Dye said.

Tourists routinely pose numerous unanswerable questions.  Why did the Dalton brothers “go wrong?”  Why did John Whipple give up his business and deed the house to Eva after the couple was married?  Was there something shady in his past?  Were the Whipples innocent bystanders, or did they play an active role in the Dalton Gang’s escapades?

Recurring rumors, including reports of a cache of “loot,” keep the Dalton legend alive.  Although portions of the Dalton legend are admittedly speculation and much of it remains a mystery, enough has been documented in court records such as deeds and licenses and in newspaper articles to validate most of the history, Ohnick said.

“Among other things, we know that Eva and John’s love proved strong enough to survive,” she said.  “After leaving Meade, they lived quietly in both Oklahoma and Arkansas.  Although nothing is known about them, records show that the marriage produced two children, a daughter, Maud, born in Meade in 1888, and a son, Glenn, born in Arkansas in 1894.”

Whipple died in 1932, at the age of 81, in Arkansas.  Following his death, Eva moved to Kingfisher Oklahoma, where she died in 1939 at age 72.

The Dalton brothers’ careers as outlaws are legendary but, for them, crime did not pay.  Another brother, Bill, joined the forces with outlaw Bill Doolin and was shot and killed by lawmen in 1894.  Emmett Dalton, the only member of the gang to survive the Coffeyville incident was sentenced to life imprisonment after recovering from his wounds.  He was released in 1907, whereupon he moved to California and became a respectable businessman.  He was once quoted as saying that he was the only Dalton ever to profit from those outlaw days.  He did so by writing two books and assisting in producing films about his early experiences.  Although both books, “Beyond the Law” and “When the Daltons Rode,” were said to be highly fictitious, they apparently sold well and at least one was made into a movie.

The above article was published in KANSAS! Magazine (2nd Issue, 1997)

 

The Dalton Gang Hideout, located 4 blocks south of Highway 54 ((502 South Pearlette) in Meade, Kansas is open from 9 to 5 Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 on Sunday. 







THE WHITE HOUSE COOKBOOK

 

 

  When my grandparents headed West to homestead in the Oklahoma Panhandle, my grandmother carried one of her most prized possessions, The White House Cookbook.  I was lucky to inherit this family heirloom.

 

  The 3-inch thick, 600-page, Comprehensive Cyclopedia of Information For the Home sold for $1 in 1900.  It is an intriguing contrast to our cookbooks of today, in price and content as well.

 

  As I thumb through it, I wonder at the changes technology has wrought in the past 100 years, changes in our lifestyles and interests, in our knowledge.

 

  The White House Cookbook, dedicated to “the wives of our presidents,” features portraits of the first 25 first ladies.  A portrait of Ida Saxton McKinley graces the dustcover.  Pictures of the White House kitchen, the Family Dining Room, the Great State Dining Room, the East Room, the Blue Room and the Red room are also included, as are menus, table settings and recipes for “everyday” occasions as well as “state” and “special” events.

 

  The book contains everything the homemaker of yesteryear wanted or needed, including how to carve beef, pork, mutton, venison, fish and fowl (including wild game); how to stay healthy, how to care for the sick, and how to make perfume, toiletries, cough syrup, liniment, wine, soap, glue and dyes.

 

  As we approach the 21st century and an increasingly high-tech lifestyle, these circa 1900 remedies seem quaint, if not downright ridiculous.  An item in the chapter Facts Worth Knowing tells us: “To discourage troublesome ants, a heavy chalk mark laid a finger’s distance from your sugar box and all around will surely prevent ants from troubling.”

 

  And under Hints In Regard To Health, we learn: “the flavor of cod-liver oil may be changed to the delightful one of fresh oysters if the patient will drink a large glass of water poured from a vessel in which nails have been allowed to rust.”

 

  To keep Well: “Don’t sleep in a ‘draught’, don’t go to bed with cold feet, don’t stand over hot air registers, don’t eat what you do not need just to save it, don’t try to get cool too quickly after exercising, don’t sleep in a room without ventilation of some kind, don’t stuff a cold lest you next be obligated to starve a fever, don’t sit in a damp or chilly room without a fire, don’t try to get along without flannel underclothing in winter.”

 

  “Leanness,” the book tells us, is “caused generally by lack of power in the digestive organs to digest and assimilate the fat-producing elements of food.  First, restore digestion, take plenty of sleep, and drink all the water the stomach will bear in the morning on rising, take moderate exercise in the open air, eat oatmeal, cracked wheat, graham mush, baked sweet apples, roasted and boiled beef, cultivate jolly people and bathe daily.”

 

  From the Medicinal Food section we learn “spinach has a direct effect upon complaints of the kidneys, common dandelion greens are excellent for the same trouble, asparagus purifies the blood, celery acts upon the nervous system and is a cure for rheumatism and neuralgia, tomatoes act upon the liver, lettuce and cucumbers are cooling upon the system, onions, garlic, leeks, chives and shallots possess medicinal virtues stimulating the circulatory system, red onions are an excellent diuretic, white ones a remedy for insomnia – ”

 

I daresay Grandma would be amazed at the progress we’ve made in 100 years.

  Although I have an aversion to cod-liver oil and drinking water flavored by rusty nails, many old-timers still swear by these home remedies.  As the use of natural products to promote good health gains new followers, some of the suggestions in The White House Cookbook sound vaguely familiar.  Advertisements touting the beneficial uses of vinegar, honey, garlic and soda have been published in recent issues of GRIT, for instance.

 

  And who can ignore the “new research” reports appearing regularly in the media reminding us to eat certain foods to control or prevent such illnesses as cancer, heart disease or diabetes?

 

  Broccoli anyone?

Published In Grit Magazine






HOMELAND SECURITY

When we think of Homeland Security, most of us think of it as a Washington, DC organization involving the FBI, the CIA, the Secret Service, etc.  Few of us stop to consider the precautions being taken in smaller communities throughout the United States to keep us safe from terrorism.

Although the following was written a few years back, security measures are still being taken, in ways we may not even be aware of, not only in Southwest Kansas, but in other communities nationwide as well.

 

"Sixty-eight percent of the world's beef is produced in a triangular area from Dodge City west to the Colorado border, south to Amarillo, Texas and back to Dodge," Stice said.  "This includes range cattle, feed lots, and the three Southwest Kansas packing plants -- National Beef, Excel and IBP -- which process process a combined total of one million head of livestock a day."

We Kansans have always felt relatively safe what with a wide-open prairie surrounding us and a half continent between us and terrorists and threats of like nature.  However, we may not be as safe as we’d like to think.

“Everyone is under the impression that if anything happens, it will happen in New York, not here,” said Mike Cox, Meade County Sheriff.  “That’s not necessarily so.  We, here in western Kansas, are vulnerable in a number of ways.  It’s possible for anything to happen at any time, and we all need to stay aware—and alert.”

This is also the message of Meade County Emergency Management Coordinator, Marvin Stice, who heads up a recently formed committee made up of law enforcement personnel, businesses and individuals whose goal is to address all areas of terrorist vulnerability in the county.

“Our office receives upgraded Emergency Sensitive Notices from the FBI Intelligence Office periodically—especially when a terrorist alert is changed,” Cox said.  “With the 2nd anniversary of the terrorist attacks approaching, we are prepared to take any precautionary measures necessary—whatever the threat might be.

“For example, when the two previous red alerts occurred—in October, 2001 and February 17 to May 29 of this year—we were notified to beef up security at various Meade County facilities,” he continued.  “We had deputies on high alert on an hourly basis; then after the level of the alert went to amber, we continued monitoring the facilities with periodic drive-bys.

“Immediately after the terrorist attack, we were notified to keep our eyes on airports—especially spray planes which might be confiscated and used to spray toxic chemicals over towns,” he added.  “Since this is still considered a threat, we check the airport on an ongoing basis.”

“We work closely with county law enforcement officials as well as the KBI,” said Craig Stratton, who operates a crop dusting service out of the Meade airport. “Agents of the KBI checked all crop dusters in the state early on to make sure that we each have all the planes we are supposed to have—and only the planes we’re supposed to have.  They want to know where all crop dusters are at all times.”

With the threat to food security high on the list of possible terrorist activity, the Meade County Emergency Management Coordinator, as well as area farmers and ranchers, are keeping a watchful eye on cattle, crops and grain elevators.

*“Bioterrorism has been a big issue ever since 9/11 and our beef industry is considered a very vulnerable target,” Stice said.  “Sixty-eight percent of the world’s beef is produced in a triangular area from Dodge City west to the Colorado border, south to Amarillo, Texas and back to Dodge.  This includes range cattle, feed lots and the three Southwest Kansas packing plants—National Beef, Excel and IBP—which process a combined total of one million head of livestock a day.

“One of the objectives of our team,” he continued, “is to take every precaution possible to safeguard these facilities, including any attempt to spread foreign animal diseases such as foot and mouth disease, anthrax, etc.”

“If we receive a warning that dangerous chemicals or toxins might be passing through the area, we are prepared to shut down our main highways (54, 160 and 23) immediately and begin inspecting carriers” Cox said.

“Although we’ve had no serious incidents of any kind in the county and, thus far, reports have proved to be false alarms, we intend to be on the ready in case there is an actual emergency,” Stice said.

“The entire Southwest Kansas Medical Community has been on the alert since the initial terrorist attacks,” said Mickey Thomas, Director of Meade District Hospital.  “We watch for any indication of unusual viruses, poisons, small pox, etc., and are carrying a heavier inventory of antibiotics and supplies.  We also have a task force of aids standing by if an emergency should occur.”

Although the date has not yet been confirmed, a consortium of 17 Southwest Kansas hospitals are making plans to conduct a bioterrorism mock disaster drill in October, he said.

With new diseases cropping up worldwide, we are always on the alert,” said Michele Correll, Director of the Meade County Health Department.  “As a bioterrorism measure, we are working with a six-county regional group, studying ways to identify and contain these diseases should they appear.”

Courthouses, government offices, schools, utility companies, etc. are notified during heightened alert.

“Everything changed on 9/11,” said Mark Goldsberry, Director of Lake Meade State Park.  “Although Lake Meade is less vulnerable than the larger state lakes, we are always on the alert for unusual or unexplained fish kills, bird die-offs, etc., as well as persons or activity of a suspicious nature.”

Goldsberry is a member of the Southwest Kansas Regional Foreign Animal Disease Committee (FAD) as well as the Meade County Emergency Planning Committee.

“The success of Homeland Security depends on the involvement of the common people,” he said.  “The cowboy riding the pens, the waitress in a restaurant, the gas station attendant—any of us—may see or hear something important to our security.  The bottom line is that we all remain aware and alert at all times.”

In addition to supporting local antiterrorism planning groups, Darrell Yarnall, Senior Resident Agent for the Garden City FBI office, suggests that citizens be aware of who their neighbors are and report any suspicious persons and/or activity to the FBI or to their local law enforcement officials.

“We are concerned most about people, fitting the terrorist profile, who might move into the area and assume a new identity, using this as a base to carry on terrorist activity,” he said.                                                                                         

Dodge City Daily Globe 8/29/03

*All statistics apply to 2003

Although this article was published in 1903, Marvin Stice, former Meade County Emergency Management Coordinator, has since informed us that agencies continue to remain alert for possible terrorist’s threats.  Certain information in the article might also apply to other counties, states, etc.  (Marvin Stice resigned as Coordinator in 2010).




 

 MID-AMERICA AIR MUSEUM

"We have a great museum," Bert said.  "You'd be hard pressed to find an aviation museum with the diversity of airplanes we have anywhere else in the world."

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