Category: Main Feature

Dancers don’t want music to stop

September 1, 2023 | By Joe Stumpe

“Take the ribbon from your hair.” As the Reno County country band eases into “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” Betty and Jack Sawyer rise and take their position at one end of the basketball court in the Orchard Park Recreation Center, slowly swaying to the music. At 94, Jack can’t hear or see […]

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Artificial intelligence tools helpful, fun, but not perfect

July 31, 2023 | By David Kamerer

You may not know it, but you’ve probably benefited from some recent advances in artificial intelligence, or AI. AI powers your Siri and Alexa, those cheerful personal assistants that answer your questions about the weather or who won the big game last night. AI controls self-driving cars and the maps we use to navigate when […]

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How old is too old? Seniors weigh in on age of presidential candidates

June 27, 2023 | By Mary Clarkin

How does a senior voter view a senior candidate running for president of the United States? It depends. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan sought a second term at age 73. He captured the older voters. In 1996, presidential candidate Sen. Robert Dole, 73, lost the 60-and-over voter group. President Joe Biden, 80, and former President Donald […]

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Working moms: Parents return to workforce with their children as bosses

May 30, 2023 | By Amy Geiszler-Jones

When two Wichita women were looking for new jobs, they turned to a couple of employers they know best: their children. Lori Farha and Squeek Crouse give new meaning to the phrase “working moms.”  Farha, 67, had been working in the geriatric behavioral health unit at Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph when the COVID-19 pandemic […]

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Latinos face tough choice: uphold cultural tradition or trust strangers to care for their parents?

April 27, 2023 | By Stefania Lugli  Planeta Venus/The Active Age

Two tasks start Elizabeth Montes’ day: a morning prayer and a routine check to make sure her mother woke up, too. Then: breakfast. Medication. Food. Shower. Hospice. More food. Standby in case her mother decides to make a trek for the kitchen. Bedtime. And, usually, a 2:30 a.m. wakeup call from Montes’ mother’s low blood […]

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Wichita Bridge Club makes a bid for comeback

March 31, 2023 | By Amy Geiszler-Jones

Every Tuesday morning, Wanda Lonnon tries to help fellow members of the Wichita Bridge Club get better at the challenging but addictive card game. Projecting various hands on an overhead screen, Lonnon offers tips and strategies before the players move to tables where they’ll spend the next three hours or so playing. “Can I be […]

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All in the family: Century farms buck consolidation trend

February 1, 2023 | By Joe Stumpe

NEWTON — As Margaret Goering watches her husband, Larry, amble across their barnyard in boots, jeans and John Deere ballcap pulled low, she knows he’s right where he wants to be. “He’s an outdoor farm person,” she said of her husband. “As long as he’s physically able, he’s going to farm.” “Well,” Larry, 77, said, […]

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Save Century II founder expands watchdog role

January 1, 2023 | By Joe Stumpe

The city of Wichita has a new auditor. Celeste Racette isn’t actually on the city payroll, but the self-appointed watchdog is adept at getting things done — and undone. Take the hidden 8 percent “ballpark development fee” imposed by owners of the Wichita Wind Surge baseball team on popcorn, T-shirts and other purchases at city-owned […]

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Senior powerlifters chase records, competition and fitness

December 1, 2022 | By Amy Geiszler-Jones

      When Brian Byers’ wife of 29 years died suddenly in April 2014, he turned to a familiar activity — coaching football — to help work through his grief. But it wasn’t enough. “I was at a point where I realized I wasn’t in good shape, so I started losing weight and lifting,” said […]

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Inflation, stock market worry despite Social Security hike

October 31, 2022 | By Amy Geiszler-Jones

Living on a fixed income with the current inflation means Wichitans Wakeelah Martinez and Jim Lichlyter are making some tough decisions. “I eat only one meal a day,” said Martinez, 72, a full-time caregiver for her mother, with whom she lives. The pair live on $2,000 a month.      “Thank goodness Mom has Meals […]

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West High alumni help build back school’s academics, pride

October 1, 2022 | By Joe Stumpe

Bill Reagan’s years at West High School were some of the best of his life. “All I remember are positives,” said Reagan, a member of the Pioneer class of  ’64. “The teachers were great.” So when Reagan learned that the school’s graduation rate was languishing behind other Wichita schools, he decided to do something about […]

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Hard core: Regular cadre of Habitat for Humanity volunteers rebuilds neighborhood

August 31, 2022 | By Joe Stumpe

On a sweltering August day when the sensible thing to do would seem to be staying near an air conditioner, a half-dozen retirees are outside climbing ladders, pounding nails and sawing boards in a central Wichita neighborhood.  Heat gone to their heads? No, more like hard-headed, soft-hearted Habitat for Humanity volunteers determined to get another […]

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Pulling through: Tenacity and a new treatment help Wichitian survive cancer

August 1, 2022 | By Joe Stumpe

More mornings than not, Bill and Carrie Van Sickle can be found gliding along the Little Arkansas River in one or two kayaks, enjoying the exercise and scenery. They usually cover between four and seven miles, their oars and sleek craft barely rippling the mirror-like surface. “This river is basically a hidden gem,” Carrie said. […]

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Next chapter: Leaving beloved jobs bittersweet

June 1, 2022 | By Joe Stumpe

Travel. Grandchildren. Age. Love. These are some of the reasons people give up jobs that have seemed more like callings. But even those compelling reasons don’t make the actual decision to retire easy. The Active Age spoke to five people who recently decided to step away from highly fulfilling careers. All were thankful for the […]

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Volunteers eager to help in pet welfare crisis

May 2, 2022 | By Amy Geiszler-Jones

If you see a woman walking a dog around the Hyde Park neighborhood east of downtown Wichita, there’s a decent chance it’s Jodi Bartman. Especially if the identity of the dog keeps changing. Four days a week, Bartman shows up at Beauties & Beasts, an animal rescue organization on South Pattie, to give its furry […]

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Lynn Rogers Settles into Kansas Treasurer Post

March 31, 2022 | By Joe Stumpe

TOPEKA — Don’t hang out with Lynn Rogers at the Kansas state Capitol unless you want to talk to people. A lot of people. After a legislative hearing one afternoon last month, the state Treasurer and longtime Wichita resident lingered in the wing outside for 15 minutes chatting up lawmakers and anybody else who wandered […]

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Afghan refugees welcomed to new homes in Kansas

February 25, 2022 | By Mary Clarkin

In a span of months last year, a 26-year-old Afghanistan native named Wissa flew from his homeland to Qatar, then to Germany, next to Virginia and finally to Wichita. Wissa fled the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan along with his parents and three younger brothers, who range in age down to 14. He did not choose […]

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Take a hike: Women’s hiking club off to fast start

December 31, 2021 | By Joe Stumpe

A pair of Wichita women seem to have unleashed a mini-stampede with a simple question: Anybody want to go for a hike? Cindy Coughenour and Jeri Brungardt, who started Women Hiking KS and Beyond two years ago, drew 17 women to the first hike they organized. In October, 106 showed up for a hike at […]

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Neighbors restore historic Riverside building

December 1, 2021 | By Joe Stumpe

A historic building that was constructed in three months a century ago took volunteers more than a decade to restore. They say it was worth every Saturday spent stripping paint and patching walls, every grant application filled out and every donation request made on behalf of the Fresh Air Baby Camp building. Known by many […]

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All-female biker club rides for fun and friendship

November 1, 2021 | By Amy Geiszler-Jones

When Janice Friedman saw four women bikers roll up to a Harley-Davidson dealership in Wyoming, she was intrigued.  “I’d never seen women Harley riders before. But I was the last person you would ever guess would do that,” Friedman said. “I won’t lie, I was kind of high maintenance.”  In fact, she didn’t even enjoy […]

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New Deal’s impact still felt in Wichita

September 28, 2021 | By Joe Stumpe

As politicians in Washington debate massive new infrastructure spending, it’s interesting to recall how the New Deal programs of nearly a century ago affected Wichita.       The impact of those projects spearheaded by President Franklin Roosevelt can hardly be overstated. They are still a big part of the city’s life in areas ranging […]

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Allen House gets prairie garden to match

August 2, 2021 | By Tammara Fogle

By Annie Calovich Visitors to the Frank Lloyd Wright house in College Hill have always been amazed at the pristine condition of the restored interior of the residence. The grounds surrounding the house, on the other hand, for a long while did not reflect the admirable inside, which is now a museum. But local master […]

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