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November 1, 2014
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One Family in a Kansas Town
Produced by: Steve Lickteig
In 1990, Smith County, Kansas, where Lebanon is located, was a thriving region. By the late 1990s the population had dwindled to 4,500, having suffered a drop of 150% in 100 years. If this trend continued, Smith County and Lebanon would essentially disappear. When Jim Rightner and his wife, Christine, came to town, they planned to retire there, ready for small town life. During his first day in town, Jim decided to change things. Before long it became a perfect model of small town America. Lebanon proved to be a town willing, in part, to accept this man's dream if it meant surviving. As we learn more about his grand plan, we begin to learn more about what drives him, and what's really behind his dream to rebuild Lebanon, Kansas.

Program Credits

One Family in a Kansas Town was produced by Steven Lickteig, with production assistance from Rob Hilton. The editor was Gemma Hooley and the sound engineer was Thom Woodward. This program was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional assistance by Mike Horan and Paul Schmidt. Special thanks also to Kim Bancroft, Norman Bemmelmans, Darrell Brogden, Ruth Maddell, Bill Martin, Patricia Priest, Victory Foth Sherry, Melinda Weir, and Laura Wexler. We have an update to this piece. Jim Rightnar died May 18, 2003. His widow, Christeen, and their son, Christian, who is now divorced, still reside in Lebanon. Jim's dream of a revitalized Lebanon has not yet been realized.

Resources

Links:
Stately Knowledge: Kansas
Some fun facts about Kansas. Can you name any famous Kansans? Check out this site to learn a few!

Kansas State Historical Society
More history from Kansas. This site includes information dating all the way back to prehistoric Kansas.

Access Kansas: Kansas Facts and History
Links to historical information about Kansas. Linked from the official website of the state of Kansas.

Welcome to Lebanon, Kansas!
This website provides information about Lebanon, Kansas. Check out the local schools, businesses, and churches.

Books:
Roadside Kansas: A Traveler's Guide to Its Geology and Landmarks
by: Rex Buchanan, James R. McCauley 1987
A guide to the geology, natural resources, and landscapes along the major highways in Kansas.

An Army of Women: Gender and Politics in Gilded Age Kansas
by: Michael Lewis Goldberg 2000
A book looking at both the public and private lives of people in urban and rural Kansas. The author looks at the way gender roles influenced the Gilded Age of politics.

Radio Online
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Programs by Steve Lickteig

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