June2019


Summer 2019: “Polka Party” Sneak Peek!

Posted on June 7th, by admin in Events, Magazine, People. No Comments

Polka Party
Polka tradition lives on through Johnnie Zibert Band & Big Brutus’ Polka Fest

On a late summer evening each year, Johnnie Joe Zibert lugs his 30-pound accordion beneath the towering shadow of Big Brutus – and he puts on a show.

His fingers flying, Johnnie plays dozens of tunes on the accordion, watching as old folks and kids alike dance to the music across Big Brutus’ pavilion floor. Others can’t help but clap and sing along.

He plays a little bit of everything – country, rock ‘n roll, slow songs – but he’s best known for his polka, the same music his dad famously played across Southeast Kansas for 75 years. And for Big Brutus’ annual Polka Fest, this summer to celebrate its 29th anniversary, there’s no better group to run the show than the Johnnie Zibert Band.

“Polka Fest is a tradition … Read More »


Summer 2019: “Space Monkey” Sneak Peek!

Posted on June 7th, by admin in Magazine, Outdoors, Places. No Comments

Space Monkey
Independence celebrates its own Miss Able, who blazed the trail for human space travel when she was launched to space 60 years ago

Mickey Mantle made history in 1949 when he hit his first professional home run at Independence’s Shulthis Stadium. His ball soared over the stadium wall, ultimately landing on nearby Monkey Island at Ralph Mitchell Zoo – or, at least, local legend tells the story that way.

Whether Mickey’s ball really did reach the zoo’s monkeys or not, Monkey Island would produce some big history of its own just a handful of years later with the birth of rhesus monkey Miss Able. The 7-pound primate would go on to become the first successful American astronaut, flying to space and returning home with squirrel monkey Miss Baker in May of 1959. Together, these two tiny pioneers blazed the trail for … Read More »