When Mom Negotiates Your Major League Contract

Today’s sports stars often have high powered agents who negotiate their contracts.  However, this first round draft pick simply turned to his mom for help with that important job…

Dreams of Playing Professional Sports

Many young boys have dreams of playing pro sports.  This man had many sports from which to choose which left him with a tough choice to make…

From Board Room to the Classroom

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What happens when the CEO of a major corporation decides he wants to begin teaching middle school math? It’s a real life story that played out in a challenging neighborhood in Kansas City.

H&R Block Career Change

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Tom Bloch’s father and uncle founded H&R Block, a company that Tom eventually led as CEO. But there was something else that weighed on his heart…another career. The story of an extraordinary decision is today’s American Countryside

H&R Block

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There are some folks that think they can run your business better than you can. In this case, the man at the newspaper was right. His advice to two brothers helped them launch a major corporation.

The Bloch Brothers

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Very few people like to figure their taxes and even fewer like to pay them. But this pair of brothers found an unlikely business doing something few enjoy.

The Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand

FJM-HV-Hawaii2014It’s difficult for many of us to name many specific battles or events in World War I.  We may have learned the war began when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated.  That is somewhat true, however the story of what happened to the assassin and the items surrounding that tragic day are intriguing and we take a look back…

The Beginning of World War I

FJM-HV-Hawaii2014Some say the event that began the first World War occurred on June 28, 1914…a century ago.  Today we take a look back and what happened that day – events of chance that helped ignite a worldwide conflict…

100 Years Since The World’s First Global Conflict

FJM-HV-Hawaii2014This week marks 100 years since the world faced its first global conflict.  It was a war that would engulf countries on multiple continents.  Yet, ask someone why it began and you’ll get a myriad of answers, and there’s a good change all of the answers are correct.  We look back at World War I…

The World War I Museum

When the World War I museum and Liberty Memorial were dedicated in 1926 by President Calvin Coolidge, it’s said he addressed the largest live audience of any president to that point in history.  It was a moving occasion to remember the sacrifices in the first world war…..

A Global Conflict

Ask most Americans who their nation fought in World War II and they’ll tell you Nazi Germany and Japan.  Ask them who was the enemy in World War I and they’ll struggle with the answer.  It was a world wide conflict with no clear enemies and no clear solutions.  We unravel a global conflict a century old…..

Hiding Cash in a Unique Way

When Union and Confederate sympathizers threatened to take this banker’s money, he did what any logical person would do–he dressed as a woman and began transporting the cash underneath his skirt to secret locations where it could be safely kept until the end of the war…..

Where’s Waldo?

A few years ago, you may remember the popular Where’s Waldo books that had kids searching for a man hidden in pictures.  Today, we search for a Waldo ourselves–a real man with links to the Presidency as well as the Civil War…..

Seven Great FREE Places to Visit with the Family this Summer

Here are seven places my family and I have discovered in the American Countryside listening area that are not only fun to visit, but also free. The list isn’t ranked, because any of them might be a great fit for you and your family!

275px-Bob_Waldmire_van_at_Route_66_MuseumPontiac, Illinois
Pontiac boasts four free museums: the Route 66 Museum, the Pontiac-Oakland Auto Museum, the International Wall Dog Museum (the billboard art once painted directly onto the sides of buildings and barns), and the Livingston County War Museum. Plus you can see their historic swinging bridges and do a “Looking for Lincoln” self-guiding tour of famous sites associated with our 16th president.
The Money Museum in Kansas City
925_Grand-former_Federal_Reserve-KCMOThis is one of two such museums (the other in Denver) operated by the Federal Reserve. You can visit the cash vault with millions of dollars inside (you’ll be behind the glass but “in” the vault), plus see many interactive exhibits that are fun for both kids and adults. The Kansas City location is also next to Union Station, which often has a mix of free and paid exhibits for visitors.
live_bird_at_milford_nature_center1_mediumMilford Nature Center & Fish Hatchery, Junction City, KS
Almost like a zoo–but better. You’ll find a large variety of animals both indoors and outdoors, interactive exhibits, hiking trails along Milford Lake, tours of the fish hatchery, and a great playground to boot. Don’t forget nearby Ft. Riley with the U.S. Cavalry Museum and 1st Infantry Museum, both free of charge.
TropicalIllinois State Museum, Springfield, IL
The lower level is full of great interactive exhibits for the kids. The main floor has displays on a wide range of state-minded exhibits, and the upper floor is an art gallery. This free museum is also close to many other museums and sites in downtown Springfield, some of which are free as well.
DisplayMustardMuseumMtHorebWI2007National Mustard Museum, Middleton, WI
Barry Levenson was the assistant attorney general for the state of Wisconsin. Then, in 1986, after his beloved Boston Red Sox lost the World Series, he had a vision to begin collecting mustards. The new found passion for mustard led to the creation of the National Mustard Museum. Meeting Barry is half the fun, and visiting his free museum is quite a treat as well. Middleton is a suburb of Madison, so you’ll find plenty to do in the area.
State Capitols: Indianapolis, IN and many more
State capitols in almost every state are a great option for a family outing. The one in Indianapolis just happens to be the first one we hit as a family, at the request of our five-year-old son, while I was in town for a convention. Capitol buildings are grand structures that are fun to explore. Many offer free museums somewhere within the building. They also serve as a place to begin to learn about the workings of government. If you go during Spring, Summer, or Fall, the grounds are often well kept and can offer a fun place to relax, or in some cases, even eat a picnic lunch.
2007-06-04-Gothic_HouseAmerican Gothic House, Eldon, IA
American Gothic by Grant Wood is said to be the second most-recognized painting in the world next to the Mona Lisa. The home in Eldon is the backdrop for that famous painting, which actually used Wood’s sister and his dentist as the models for the picture. The visitor center is free of charge. They even supply various sizes of overalls and dresses for people to put on. You can then take your own picture in front of the famous home and become your own stars in the famous picture (all for free). Or bring your version of clothing and make a Christmas photo or another image you send to friends. The center does a nice job of creating activities for the kids as well.

Veterinary Care in Afghanistan

In this nation, a veterinarian may be called upon to help a sick animal. The vets Peter Shinn helps train not only heal animals, they also must dodge a war taking place around them……

Agriculture In Afghanistan

There are certainly plenty of battles and firefights that continue to be waged in Afghanistan. However, for this team, most of the challenges there are fought with a shovel and helpful knowledge…..

The Farm Foundation

The world will add approximately three billion people in the next forty years. Farmers will be asked to feed those souls with less land, less water and fewer inputs. So how does one of the world’s leading agricultural thinkers see us accomplishing that task?

Jailhouse Families

When the Sheriff was away, the prisoners might play; that is, until the Sheriff’s wife got involved…..

Brayan Pena

Bryan Pena has played catcher for the Atlanta Braves and the Kansas City Royals. However, his proudest accomplishment may be his route to American citizenship…..

Leaving Cuba

Imagine growing up in a country where you were not allowed to leave its borders; a place where the stories you heard about the rest of the world were often untrue. Now imagine you take the risk to escape…