Category: Main Feature

A family legacy: Grandson of homesteader helps others into homes

May 1, 2024 | By Joe Stumpe

You know your family’s been around Wichita awhile when it has a street named for it. Or in Don Martinson’s case, three of them. There’s Martinson Street, which runs through Delano and south Wichita. It was named by Martinson’s grandfather, who developed much of Delano in the late 1880s. A little farther west are Charles […]

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True Blue: Century II dome nears restoration

April 1, 2024 | By Joe Stumpe

Saved by concerned citizens from possible demolition, Century II is starting to look like its old self again. Make that its new self. Restoration work on the downtown landmark’s iconic blue dome is nearly done, with completion expected by the end of summer. Nearly gone is the pale turquiose shade that’s loomed over the convention […]

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South central at crossroads

February 27, 2024 | By Joe Stumpe

As lovers of all things old, Larry and Cathy Mong were thrilled with the home they bought for $50,000 in Wichita 23 years ago: a 1906 Victorian in south central Wichita, less than a mile from the heart of downtown. The neighborhood was a little rough, but the Mongs had seen similar neighborhoods in the […]

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Grins and wins

February 1, 2024 | By Joe Stumpe

For years, Denise Johnston’s life followed a familiar pattern. Come spring, she and her husband, Rusty, would start preparing for women’s senior softball tournaments. A roster would be assembled, practices held and the team would travel to tournaments from California to Florida. Denise played and Rusty coached. Their team was known as the P’Nut Batters, […]

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From culture to couture

December 29, 2023 | By The Active Age

To say that Wichitan Hazel Stabler, perhaps best known as a member of the Wichita school board, is currently experiencing some of the highest and lowest moments of her life is an understatement. First, a pinnacle of achievement for the fashion designer: She’s been invited to present a show at Paris Fashion Week. The Milan […]

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The Chapel of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother as seen from an inner room of Ascension Via Christi St. Francis Hospital.

Hidden chapel is ‘heart’ of hospital

November 29, 2023 | By Joe Stumpe

There’s a reason why going from point A to point B in Ascension Via Christi St. Francis hospital can seem like a circuitous process: the Chapel of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, which the hospital grew up and around over the decades. “The Sisters were so stubborn, they just refused to demolish the chapel,” […]

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Volunteers earn PhDs in retail

November 1, 2023 | By Joe Stumpe

Susan Hussey finished her career in education as principal at Chisholm Trail elementary school. Then, she says, she got “a PhD in retail.” Hussey is chair of the Assistance League of Wichita’s thrift shop and one of about 50 volunteers who keep the store at 2431 E. Douglas running. At a time when some of […]

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Retired prof captures crowd, spelling bee title

October 2, 2023 | By Joe Stumpe

Think all spelling bee champions are overachieving middle schoolers with minds racing as fast as their metabolisms? Meet Charlie Hunter, who won KMUW’s first spelling bee last month at age 77. Granted, the event was an adult spelling bee, but Hunter still bested a field made up largely of twenty-, thirty- and forty-somethings. He became […]

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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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