The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas on September 22, 2002 · Page 24
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The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas · Page 24

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Sunday, September 22, 2002
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SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 22,2002 BUSINESS THE HAYS DAILY NEWS C5 German traditions continue Long-time sausage maker opens own meat market By PHYLLIS J. ZORN HAYS DAILY NEWS Warren Wittman's interest in keeping alive the German traditions of the Hays area motivated him to learn to make German sausages years ago. *. Wittman worked in the meat and sausage business 39 years at several area stores. When the grocery store where the butcher and sausage- maker last worked changed owners and decided to stop selling German sausage, he hated to see the traditional sausages disappear from the shelves of local merchants. For years, Wittman had toyed with the idea of opening his own meat shop, but he'd always pushed back the thought. There were plenty of meat markets around, he said. That's no longer the case. Not only are there fewer meat markets, there no longer were any stores marketing German sausages. About four months ago, Wittman happened to drive past the former Hanger Orthopedic building at 1010 E. 29th. "I spotted this location one day for lease, and I said, bingo, a meat market," Wittman said. He leased the building and set it up for business, installing coolers, freezers, service cases and floor drains. He put in a sausage stuffer, a smoker big enough to serve as a closet, a patty maker, a meat tenderizer, a meat saw, a slicer, a wrapper and a vacuum packing machine. Then the work of getting the sausage ready began. Wittman spent recent evenings making a variety of sausages and preparing cuts of beef and pork to stock the service cases. He made pork liver sausage,, Warren Wittman packages bratwurst Thursday morning at his new business, Warren Meat Market, 1010 E. 29th. MARK COLSON / Hays Dally News summer sausage, zitter, ring bologna, breakfast sausage in bulk and links, seasoned ground beef, country style sausage and beef sticks. He sliced bacon and cottage bacon. He cut pork roasts, ground beef and pork, sliced pork chops and country ribs, T-bones, sirloins, arm steak, cube steak and ribeye. He smoked turkey legs and chicken. Finally the work was done — sort of. The coolers were stocked, the price tags affixed, the signs hung. The store was ready to open, and the work of waiting on customers, cutting to their order and restocking the coolers began. At the grand opening Wednesday, business was brisk. It's no surprise that most of the faces of the customers so far look familiar. "Some of them have followed me. from one place ^another yeikrs," They also have been anticipating the opening of Warren's Meat Market. "These people have been waiting for three months for us to open up," Wittman said. When customers at Sun Mart, where Wittman worked before, told him they missed and wanted German sausages, he was able to tell them for the last three months that he would be able to offer them again when he opened his own store. Eventually, Warren's Meat Market will offer other varieties of sausages, Wittman said. Right now he's focused on the German variety sausages that he expects to make up the bulk of his specialty sales. By November he'll offer Swedish potato sausage, he said. Eventually, he'll have homemade Italian sausage and chorizo. "My customers say I should Ijave done this years ago,'% Wittman said; "This is a German' Arlene and Warren Wittman stand in front of the newly opened Warren Meat Market in Hays. Wittman has about 30 years of experience in meat processing and distribution. community. We've gotten a lot of ness. Daughter Kelly Kuhn, Col- other nationalities over the years, but it is traditionally a German community." wich, has been assisting the last few days. Daughter Lori Lane, Great Bend, son Curtus Wittman, ,, Wittman's, .family ; , members,, : and.w.ife.^.Ar.lene have been helping with the busi- ! pitching in as they can. are . , GAO blasts government oversight of meat, poultry plants WASHINGTON (AP) — A congressional audit has found that the public is at risk for illnesses from tainted meat and poultry because the Agriculture Department is not doing enough to oversee slaughterhouses and processing plants. The longer the department's Food and Safety Inspection Service "allows plants to remain out of compliance with regulatory requirements, the greater the risk that unsafe food will be produced and marketed," the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said Thursday. But Agriculture Department officials said they already have identified many of the problems and taken steps to correct them. The GAO report follows complaints by some lawmakers that the department, through its inspection service, has not adequately explained how it handled a recall this summer of 19 million pounds of contaminated hamburger meat. The report calls on Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman to demand that inspectors do their jobs and that plants react promptly to correct violations. Sen. Tom Harkin, the Senate Agriculture Committee chair- man, said in a statement: "Such clear evidence that food safety regulations are not being enforced is alarming, to say the least." Harkin, D-Iowa, who requested the report along with the committee's top Republican, Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, said the department has had enough time to work out problems with the inspection system that was adopted in 1996. "They're still way behind in the race to protect consumers," he said. "According to this report, we have several companies in this country repeatedly failing to meet food safety requirements and USDA is standing by and watching. That is a problem." Elsa Murano, undersecretary for food safety, said steps are being taken to ensure that all inspectors are properly trained. "Many of the weaknesses highlighted by the GAO were ones also documented by my new leadership team. Importantly, we have already begun addressing the issues identified," she said in a statement. "We are taking steps to ensure that all inspectors are properly trained." The report found that inspectors failed to: • Consistently identify and doc- ument repeated failures of plants to find contamination hazards, as required under a system the department phased in from January 1998 through January 2000. • Determine whether the hazard-detection systems are based on sound science, because the inspectors lack that expertise, and only about 1 percent of more than 5,000 plants nationwide had been analyzed for scientific weaknesses. • Find any hazard-detection violations in 55 percent of the plants during 2001, a figure that struck even department officials as unrealistic because it seemed too high. Farm politics Candidates agree that farm economy necessary By ROXANA HEGEMAN ASSOCIATED PRESS HUDSON — Stopping at a pig barn during a recent farm tour, Kathleen Sebelius moved easily among the crowd, shaking hands and visiting briefly with many of the farmers. "Just don't forget us out here," Pawnee County farmer Gary Nelson told the Democratic candidate for governor. Joined by her Republican opponent, Tim Shallenburger, at a Kansas Farm Bureau luncheon later that day at the Hudson Cream Flour Mill, the two candidates outlined their campaign stands on farm issues. It wasn't the first campaign trip to rural Kansas for either candidate. With the summer's drought and a faltering farm economy, rural issues are high on each candidate's campaign strategy — and on the minds of rural voters. Gov. Bill Graves said that in his own two races for governor farm issues did not play as big a role as they do for the candidates that are hoping to succeed him. In his 1994 campaign, for example, the biggest farm issue was property taxes, the governor said. "Thinking back four and eight years, I can't remember we had the same sense of urgency we feel right now because of the extended drought," Graves said. Farmers need federal and state help to survive the drought, he said. One of the first advisory groups the Sebelius campaign put together was for farm issues. And Shallenburger, who has posted his farm policy on his campaign web page, is campaigning on the development of a state agricultural plan. "It is such a critjp j ^|;;p^e^eyo? r the Kansas economy'..', it is'hot just a'campaigh'issue.'but thefu- tureof Kansas," Sebelius said."' 1 But the struggling rural economy is an issue with many wrinkles, and the candidates are getting an earful about all of them. Farmers say they fear losing their local schools and worry about their quality as money gets tighter. They say they can't afford the rising property taxes, which are headed up after the state government cut school funding to meet its own budget crunch. And they worry about keeping health care. "If we don't have money coming back into the local economy, we lose our schools ... we lose our hospital," said Stafford County farmer Keith McNickle. "If we don't have these things, we don't have a community." C.S. Post gets national attention in Better Homes and Gardens By GARY DEMUTH HARRIS NEWS SERVICE C.S. Post might be an old-fashioned general store, but it has attracted the attention of several modern magazines. The store, located in downtown Hays, is featured in the October issue of Better Homes and Gardens, on sale last week. The story (on page 78) not only praises this "emporium of fine goods," but is even more impressed with the variety of merchandise that can be ordered through the store's Web site at www.cspost.com. "The editor loved the photos she saw on our Web site and wanted us to send more," said Chuck Comeau, who co-owns C.S. Post with his wife, Shirley, and a second store in Plainville called Pineapple Post. Comeau also is the developer of the Chestnut Street District in downtown Hays, which seeks to revitalize the area by renovating historic buildings and attracting new businesses. Chuck Comeau designs upscale furniture, .including chairs, benches, tables, ottomans and so : fas. The store also carries a variety of unique kitchen and bath products, gourmet coffees, teas and oils, candles, soaps and body powders, picture frames and mirrors, plants and garden accessories, cookware and a wide array of rings, necklaces and bracelets. "We try to cultivate a lifestyle with our merchandise, and many products we offer are hard to find," Chuck Comeau said. The Web site not only impressed Better Homes and Gardens but similar magazines such as Homestyle, Victoria, Country Living and Country Home. "We send out press kits to magazines all the time," Chuck Comeau said. "Then they might call and say they're doing an article on bed linens or upholstery covers, and they'll ask if we can send them samples to photograph. The editor at Better Homes and Gardens loved our upholstery and wanted to see more. "Our Web site is so important because it allows everyone anywhere to access our store. When they see what we provide — interesting products and good service — they pay attention." Chuck Comeau feels fortunate to be featured in Better Homes and Gardens. The magazine has a circu-; lation of 7.8 million and is available at newsstands and grocery stores nationwide. The increasing magazine coverage has steadily increased the Web site activity, he said. "People are spending more time on the site—there have been 8,000 visitors who have spent more than 15 minutes on it," he said. "Interestingly, many of these hits originate from the coasts. I know we ship a lot of merchandise to both coasts." Chuck Comeau believes many people from the East and West coasts are enamored of Kansas and its people. "They think it's a luxury the way we live here," he said, "There have been New York editors who have come here, looked at the sky and didn't see tall buildings for the first time. They were blown away by it." Chuck Comeau credits his staff and buying team for helping make the store a success and said he would never move the store anyplace else. "We have a team here that has great ideas and a great sense of the aesthetic, and after two years, it's starting to take hold in other places," he said. "Shirley and I travel and buy things from all over the world, and we ship to markets from Paris to L.A. Many metropolitan areas don't carry the products we have, so this is where we want to stay." IN STORE C.S.POST If you find yourself motoring along Interstate 70 in central Kansas, stop off at C.S. Post in the small city of Hays. This 21st-century version of a general store, owned by Chuck and Shirley Comeau (lar left), Integrates the "new and wonderful with the rediscovered and unique." There's an .emporium of fine goods to choose from, but-we found the most surprising merchandise to be what you can order; designer-look upholstery such as the Augusta club chair, $2,040 (tell). Chairs, sofas, and seitees-ln a selection of custom fabrics-Tare available online at www.cspost.com. - ' COURTESY BETTER HOMES AND GARDEN The photo and article about Hays-based C.S. Post, published in Petter Homes and Gardens. Women's clothing store opening in October BY THE HAYS DAILY NEWS Cato, a specialty retailer of value-priced women's fashion apparel and accessories, will open a store Oct. 2 in the Hays Plaza near the Wal-Mart Supercenter. The store features lifestyle dressing and a br"oad assortment of merchandise in junior and misses sizes as well as plus sizes. Selection includes casual, career, business casual and special occasion apparel and shoes and accessories. Since items are delivered every week, customers will have a choice in the latest fashions. The company uses live fit models, which establishes a consistency of fit within Cato's private label products. A customer who wears a size 10 in a Cato dress, will wear a size 10.in any other item.of Cato brand merchandise. Milka Goodlett is the store manager. Goodlett's responsibili- ties include supervising the store's associates, providing customer assistance arid maintaining strong store visual presentations; -'•• : • . • ,''"•:•••', ••" .-,',' The Cato Corp. operates two di-: visions, Cato and It's Fashion, and offers private label merchandise with fashion and' quality comparable to specialty stores at low prices. ; The corporation operates'a total of 950 stores in 24 states, including sev^ni stores in Kansas. SEC chief: It's 'safe' to invest in the market WASHINGTON (AP) — It is "more than safe" for investors to return to the stock market as the government and business work to restore integrity to accounting and company conduct, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission said Friday. SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt referred in a speech to the crisis of investor confidence, this year sparked by a wave of accounting scandals at big companies, which has helped push down the market to record lows. The Dow Jones industrial average plummeted 230 points Thursday to close below 8,000 for the first time since July 23. Later, Pitt said in response to a reporter's question, "It is more than safe for investors to get back into our market." Problems in the accounting and'corporate conduct system "must be fixed and must be fixed as soon as possible," Pitt said in his speech at the conference of Women in Housing and Finance. The SEC's receipt last month of sworn statements from the top executives of more than 700 of the , biggest companies, vouching for the accuracy of recent financial • reports as ordered by the agency, ! turned up problems 'With some . companies but showed that the ' vast majority stood behind their • numbers, Pitt said. The SEC is putting in place • rules to implement sweeping leg- > islation enacted in July to crack j down on corporate fraud.

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