Eastern Cowley County Resource Center

"Don't Forget To Smile!"

Hope After Loss: http://www.stevencurtischapman.com/

Lighthouse Library Update  (Below - Grouse Valley Lodge being built. It is now complete. Updated photos loaded soon. Please check back. )





Above: ECCRC Back office on the back of the library lot. (Click on photos tab for progress of the lbirary building. Below: The 24-ft. lighthouse that will be set on its base on the site soon.

Lighthouse will be erected on its stand on the library site soon.

Please e-mail eccresourcecenter@yahoo.com to volunteer.  

Please sign up for an hour or all day!! Jobs open include frame-up on front library section & making forms for The Treasure Chest at Lighthouse Library TM.  Word days on Treasure Chest all of the first week in March, 2009.



The Vision Behind Lighthouse Library


Jennifer Nicole Norris was born on August 2, 1979 in Ark City, KS. She traveled with her military family that moved 17 times until returning home to Kansas. Jennifer loved to enjoy life, she loved for things to be fair and just, and she loved her family. Her wedding date was approaching and she had visited her family in rural Dexter the weekend that she was killed in a fatal car crash on her way driving back to K-State. The thing that she said she was the most proud of in life was representing her community in the local Arkalalah parade as “Miss Otto”. She played the clarinet in high school and at Cowley College where she graduated in 1999 with her Associates degree. She played sand volleyball at K-State and lived in the Clovia Sorority dorm. Because she said there were too many “Jennifers” at K-State, she introduced herself as “Bob” and the name stuck. Many K-state students visited her grave in the  months to follow her death & left little notes addressed to “Bob”. Her class at K-State also put together a scrapbook and each young woman in her sorority wrote letters of appreciation – some addressed to Jennifer & others addressed to “Bob”.


Her family was humbled by the huge impact Jennifer’s life made on her classmates at K-State and how the university dedicated an entire ½ page in the yearbook in 2000. The University sent a van of students and teachers to the celebration of life service  that was held in the old Dexter Gym where nearly 600 persons attended. Cowley College also sent a van of supporting students and faculty. Other agencies such as Martin Luther Homes sent staff and residents to attend. Many businesses closed for the afternoon in honor of Jennifer’s life. Jennifer’s father spoke at the service to invite others to lean on the Lord in times such as these. Vicki Drake, second cousin of Jennifer read a letter written by Jennifer’s mother reflecting on a life cut so short. The letter invited others to honor Jennifer’s life by loving those around you and by showing fairness in situations when possible – and to have fun and enjoy life – something Jennifer found a must.


For what ended up being Jennifer’s last 4th of July, Jennifer expressed

that night from the family’s rural porch how much she loved that holiday & how happy she was to be alive and home. She spun out in the yard holding a sparkler that lit up her blond hair in the night sky and her smile.


As a child, Jennifer lived on the west and east coast. From the age of three to nine, she lived in California. From the age of nine to fourteen, she lived in North Carolina. While there, the family often visited the ocean including around Cape Hatteras. The family stayed  in military facilities on the beach in South Carolina. The theme of Lighthouse Library (ocean theme) is to share the wonder and the beauty of the ocean with youth in Kansas. The library will feature  The Courtyard TM - an outdoor courtyard with ocean artifacts  gathered over the years and other ocean items that have been purchased or donated for the educational collection. The site will feature a 25-ft. working lighthouse, a replica of the one at Cape Hatteras. It will sit in the Courtyard TM outside the library where an outdoor movie theatre will also be – the Oceanfront Cinema at Lighthouse Library TM.


The Treasure Chest at Lighthouse Library TM variety store will be another sustaining project for the library to help raise funds to pay the utility bills. It will be something along the lines of an upscale thrift store in addition to having new ocean souvenirs and fun pirate items for children.

Grouse Valley Lodge TM is another sustaining project. This is a cabin with a kitchenette that will sleep six. It will have a deck and offer a place for a family to cook out while enjoying the lighthouse and the courtyard.  Rock Creek Cabin TM will be a second lodge that will be built later.  The site will also feature an RV hookup that can be used during annual events such as the Dexter BBQ and Blackdog Festival. The RV site can also be used for persons who are in town visiting relatives.


Lighthouse Library of Dexter TM room is 40 feet by 30 feet with a 20 ft. ceiling and with a computer loft. At a later date, a full upper level can be added. The book collection is at 21,0000 books to date. It includes DVD’s, Videos, talking books and other useful items. The books range from self-help books to current novels. There are even some signed novels in the collection. A relative of the family presented a signed text book written for a  college where he was a professor. Duplicate books are being donated to other libraries such as Greensburg. A college in Tennessee has donated the library shelving valued at $10,000.00. This is half the cost spent on the lumber for the entire library project. A volunteer is needed to drive to Tennessee mid-June to pick up the shelving from the university.Hopefully the library will be enclosed and ready for the shelving soon. 


Although the library is in part a memorial to Jennifer Nicole Norris, that is only in the fine-print. The library is a needed facility for this rural area. The high-speed Internet will help local youth with homework and make it a fun place to study on Fridays when a tutor will be present. Dexter Schools are closed on Fridays and students often catch up on homework on that day.


The library will serve as a  living tribute to a young woman whose simple life represents the life of anyone. Jennifer was one to remain true to her morals and her conscience. She worked two jobs to send herself through college. She always tithed to her local church and upon her death, she had some bills made out in her checkbook ready for payment. She didn’t complain – she just did what she needed to do to get through life.


A Lesson In Setting & Reaching Goals:

Jennifer began talking about attending K-State about her junior year in high school. She knew that her only chance of attending was to qualify for the Clovia Sorority dorms where the ladies exchanged duties such as cleaning and kitchen duties for some of the fees associated with the dorm rent. The family traveled to the dorm and planted purple irises from their farm near the dorm. On their way back home, they erected a memorial cross was erected along Highway 77 in Geary County at the scene of the accident. Realizing that this temporary highway memorial did not satisfy their desire to honor Jennifer’s life, the Lighthouse Library project began. The only thing on the site that will bear Jennifer’s name will be the lighthouse. The rest of the library and buildings are there for the public to enjoy.


All the lumber needed to build the library sits on the site or is stored at Sutherlands in Wichita. Work crews are needed. The goal is to open the doors this August – 2008. Gas funds can be paid for volunteers driving to the site to work. Youth may work under the direction of a licensed carpenter for a wage that will of course not be high dollar. Work days are held every Saturday for whoever shows up. Family members are on the site working on Saturdays whenever they can. If you can volunteer some time, please call to designate the time and dates that you are available. There is a list of job duties and the family does not have to be present for you to work.


Lighthouse Library is sponsored by ECCRC (Eastern Cowley County Resource Center) – a 501-C non-profit. Your donations are tax deductible. ECCRC does other social service projects such as literacy help, Job Skills training, Youth Robotics Workshops, Creative Writing Workshops, AA Group, Grief Support Group, Computer Workshops, E-Bay Workshops, Quilting Workshops, hosts a food bank, and provides 100 Thanksgiving food boxes per year to the surrounding communities.


The Lighthouse Library project is under the direction of a General Contractor – Ron Slaven and he too can assign job duties for the weekend. An Engineer has overseen the project and a Brick Mason Engineer has worked to help restore and save the original Shadid Store brick walls to the front and the south. The goal of the project was to preserve the history of the past while reaching to the future.


In addition to numerous local and distant supporters, supporters include the Shadid family and the Jabara Family, two local merchants from years gone by in the Dexter and Burden communities. Recently, a matching grand of $3,500 was given to help complete this project. A “Wall of Honor” will be displayed to honor those who have made significant contributions of either financial support or donated items. The names will fill a wall. Without the support of everyone, this project would not become a reality. Some large companies sent out work crews to help clear the lot and others loaned expensive equipment for the volunteers to accomplish that day’s work. To offer labor call: (620) 212-8582 and leave a message in the Resource Center voice box or e-mail ECCRC at: eccresourcecenter@yahoo.com  Donations may be sent to: ECCRC, PO Box 40, Dexter, KS 67038.


Inspiration Behind Lighthouse Library


Psalm 119:105: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. ... (Video Below)



Jennifer’s favorite Bible verse: This is the day which the Lord has made, let us rejoice & be glad in it. Psalms 118:24  (Video Below)



Rural areas can be remote areas & a library is a needed services. Just like the isolated families of the “Keepers of the Light” (Lighthouse keepers) from days gone by, rural families need a library. Here is an article about the TRAVELING LIBRARIES that served the Lighthouse families: http://www.michiganlights.com/lhlibrary.htm


Interesting side note: A woman called ECCRC one day & identified herself as a book author. She said she had grown up in a lighthouse and had read about our project in “Lighthouse Digest” that featured the project. She plans to visit the site and bring her collection of books about lighthouses. She also said she can related to the remote life that persons in rural areas face and how she admires our local attempt to provide this needed service. (She has websites that feature her books. We will add this information soon.) 

FUNDING UPDATE - July 15, 2009:

The funds are used up for the project. The donated funds & loan funds are depleted. To donate, send your tax deductable donations to: ECCRC, PO Box 40, Dexter, KS 67038.

We need an ELECTRICIAN or the funds to pay someone to wire the project site. Once done, we can finish out the interior of the buildings. Please help us pass the word that we need a Licensed Electrician.

Matching Grant: May 15, 2008: $3,500 - matched dollar for dollar. Open until May 30, 2008. Please donate today to use this valuable tool of making one dollar become two. To donate: ECCRC, PO Box 40, Dexter, KS 67038. Help put the roof on the library - funds and crews are needed.

Your donations are tax deductible.

DONATION: Jabara Foundation -

March 3, 2008 - $1,000.00.

This funding will allow us to get started with building this spring. We were out of funding & this is our first donation of 2008 for the library project.

Thank you for your support at the last fund-raiser during the Black Dog Festival.
Another $1,800.00 were raised (includes a $1,500.00 pledge that came in.) All

the lumber is on  the lot ready to be put up. WE NEED VOLUNTEERS to help

build the library!!! Still need the following building materials:

Glass & Windows - Lots of them! Need 2 large front Windows! DONATED!!

Lumber for the "Meeting Room" - (All Glassed in room.) Need Frame Boards (2X4 & 2X6.)

Need Heating & Air Unit to heat 30'X40' By 15' space. DONATED!

Need electrical wiring & boxes, etc. STILL NEED.

Need plumbing products (have sinks, toilets, etc. Need faucets &

hook-ups & line.


SOUTH WALL of the library. Also will rock

up the front where the old board portion is.

Cut rocks will fill that area.

(620) 438-3333 to donate time/funds.

Someone donated a WONDER & HUGE double - paned window to set in

around the bricks/rocks on the south to let a lot of light in. SOMEHOW we have

to finsih out the south wall while trying to save the ORIGINAL bricks on the south.

If you are a brick mason - please volunteer your time & talents on the south wall!


We've been asked - so we will share the library stats -


ENGINEER - Dale Steward - Cowley Conty Engineer was the first person on

the site to discuss plans. He referred the group to Patrick Steward, Licensed Engineer.

Patrick Steward, Sedan is the acting Licensed Engineer who has overseen the project.

He made the recommendations for the steel I-beams and other structural elements.

Steward lives at Sedan & has donated his labor except for a very small fee.

General Contractor - Ron Slaven - Licensed Gen. Contractor

Carpenter - Leonard Beamer - Licensed Carpenter

                   Marty Kerr - Licensed Carpenter

Plumbing - Ron Slaven - Licensed Plumber

                  Randy Norris - Water Distribution License

                  James Pettigrew - Water Certificate

Rock/Brick Mason - David Kerr - Licensed Carpenter/Brick Mason

Back Hoe Service - Ray Faber - Licsensed Back Hoe Operator

We are thankful to have these licensed professions on board to help with this

community project. We have some local volunteers who work under the

direction of these professionals. The volunteers do general labor jobs like

lift and haul the rocks, move the lumber over to the carpenter's site, etc.

Volunteers have also done things like chipped off the stucco from the

brick wall, etc.

This project used professional plans that were ordered. The Engineer looked

over the plans & OK'd each portion of the project as it was completed. The

specs were documented with detailed script & photos. Two professional

Engineering and Architectural firms were consulted & contractd to build the

two sets of trusses. They were built according to their plans, specs, and weight-

bearing specs. The truss engineering firm signed off on the trusses.

The professional Engineer has requested a small fee as has the professional

carpenter. This fee mostly covers their mileage to the building site.

Other professionals donated their time and labor to this project.


The following is on the site:

All the lumber for the front library portion. NEW trusses ordered (first set blew over

& were ruined due to lack of labor. It got dark before they could get set into place

after the crane lifted them up onto the I-beams. NEED MORE LABOR!!!!!!!!!!!!

New trusses will be delivered BEFORE the workday on OCTOBER 20th. We

need your help! Come out & help. DEXTER DEDA serving lunch that day.

The Variety store lumber & trusses are on site.

The office/cabin lumber is on site & an the licensed carpenter is

working on building the cabin/office. Sinks, toilets, shower, carpeting, tile -

purchased. All the library carpeting is purchased!  

We hope volunteers will continue to come out & work along side these

professionals to keep the project moving forward.

We need  funds to purchase the remaining items!!!!!!!

Send donations to: ECCRC - PO Box 40, Dexter, KS 67038


Read updates from the Ark City Traveler:


More updates coming soon. Check out the August

Advocates for updates. The "Beacon" coming out

soon with updates. If you did not receive your free

online "Beacon" newsletter, e-mail ECCRC at:

eccresourcecenter@yahoo.com to sign up.

The "Silent Auction" continues on the 2 quilts

& thes stone carving. Get your bid in today!

Winner of bids announced at September town

events in both Dexter & Burden.

THANK YOU!! Another $1,350.00 was donated

at the Benefit Breakfast on May 26th. This brings

the total building fund to $16,350.00 (with $3000 of this

being in the form of pledges that still need to be sent in by people).

"Together, we can build a library!" THANK YOU!!!!


Our Food Booth at the Air Show was a wash out. No one could

make it through the mud over to our booth. We cooked for three

days & mad enough Sloppy Joe's for 450 people. The hot dogs were

cooked up & waiting for customers. None came. There was just too

much rain & mud. The Air Show was a HUGE Success & the air

performers were wonderful. The crowd enjoyed the A-10 & other

planes on on the tarmac as they looked at all the static displays of

different types of planes. A dual engine Cessna did things in rthe air

that usually a fighter plane does. Amazing! The wing walker did her

tricks & walked the plane wings - mid-air. The show ended after several

hours with parachut jumpers. Our booth sat, lonely off in a muddy field.

We froze the buns & anyone needing buns can get them from us. We have

enough dessert for 500 people. It was purchased comercially & will last

until the Blackdog Festival. ECCRC Plans to donate some of the food &

the bottled water to a Kansas area in need due to all the storms.

This fundraiser brought in an anonymous donation of $500.00, so it was

not a total loss. The following people volunteered:

Donna Martin - Dexter, Kathy Waite & 2 4-H  members - Dexter, Time Hays & 2

other men from the "Early Bird Lion's Club - Ark City, Marjorie Snyder - Winfield,

Margie Miller - Cambridge, and another volunteer from Ark  City. THANKS to

all of these wonderful volunteers. They waded through the mud to help us build a

library with this fundraiser. Some even volunteered for our last fundraiser - the

BENEFIT BREAKFAST during the Blackdog Festival on September 29th.


ECCRC Food Booth at Air Show - Funds to go



10 volunteers stepped forward & will man the Food Booth

at the Strother Air Show. They are from the Dexter 4-H,

Dexter Teacher, local volunteers, & the A.C. Lion's Club.




Slopppy Joe

Large Cookie


Bottled Water


$3.50 - Hot Dog BROWN BAG SPECIAL -

Hot Dog

Large Cookie


Bottled Water

$3.50 - Ham Sandwich BROWN BAG SPECIAL -

Ham Sandwich


Large Cookie

Bottled Water


POP CORN - $1.00 Bag

Lg. Cup Ice Tea - $1.00


4th of July Souveniers - $1.00

Chance on Hand-Crafted Quilt - $1.00

Chance on Stone Carved Viking - $1.00

100% of Proceeds go to the

Lighthouse Library Building Fund.
Thanks for helping build a library for Dexter!!!



Last Benefit -

Black Dog Festival - Sept. 29th 7:30 - 9:30 a.m.



Grouse River String Band Performing at 2:00 p.m. out front.

Reading Group for Children inside the new library.


Check back for More details later.





 Library Benefit Breakfast on May 26, 2007

@ the Dexter Senior Center. Pancakes & Sausage - all you can eat.  

7:30 - 9:30 a.m.


Note To Contractors & Lumber Yards: We need your donations of  any

type of building material. Donate 2 X 4's, tile, ceiling tile, other boards &

lumber, nails, screws, sheet rock, plywood, or any building material. No

donation is too small!!!  WE ALSO NEED VOLUNTEERS. Put in an

hour or two to help build a library in Dexter. Thank you so much!!!


Everyone -- Donate any amount -- no amount is too small. Each small

amount has already added up to nearly $15,000.00 toward the amount

needed to build a library in Dexter. Maybe no one has a lot of funds, but

every little bit helps!! Please know that your $5.00 & $10.00 do matter

& do add up. You are very much appreciated for every dollar you donate!


You may drop off your treasure at 408 Hwy. 160 in Burden. 100% of proceeds go to library

building fund.



Click on the above URL to find out more about Lighthouse Library in Dexter.

Sign up as a "Friends of Lighthouse Library" member.

your free "BEACON" bi-monthly newsletter with membership.

E-mail Lighthouse Library to request free bi-monthly newsletter.



Update on Lighthouse Library - (Better Update at

Library website -- see above URL.) Read "The Beacon" there.

Information Breakfast was held on November 11, 2006.

A formal fall breakfast was the backdrop for the event.

The outcome of the event was a matching grant of $2,500.00 that was matched by an area business -- for a total of $5.000.00 in donations. Another $2,600.00 were donated at the breakfast for a total of $11,000.00 for Lighthouse Library.

An Engineer is drawing up the plans for the library & two area lumberyards will provide bids. A Volunteer Master Plumber has taken on the underground portion of the project with a major donation of plumbing materials.

Construction on the library is slated for the summer of 2007. Tax deductible donations may be sent to:


PO Box 40

Dexter, KS 67038

Lighthouse Library is a Living Tribute to Jennifer Nicole Norris.


The SHADID STORE Lot is CLEARED. The progress of the project will be posted on the OFFICIAL DEXTER WEB PAGE SOON. Watch for updates!


Lighthouse Library

Article about Lighthouse Library

 from Wichita Eagle:


THANKS to those who attended the Benefit Breakfast - on Sat. Sept. 30th - Dexter City Bldg. for Lighthouse Library! - Results of Fund-raiser will be published here & in the Advocate. Thanks so much to the 150 people who came through the line!   Over 300 pancakes were served! Hope your food was warm enough. People showed up at 6:00 a.m. Thank goodness for microwaves! Toward the end, requests were coming in for "skillet hash". That stuff needed a name:) Thanks again!!!!!!!!! 

We will post the final donation amount here soon.

TOTAL : $2,500.00 from benefit breakfast. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The building material goal is $50,000.00.   - $20,000 to date - March 1,2008.

Article below from Winfield Courier:


Article from the Ark City Traveler about Visionary Contest: (Click below to read article.)


Lighthouse Library

has purchased the old SHADID STORE in Dexter through ECCRC. (104 S. Main is the location.)

The plan is to restore the storefront & recreate Shadid's Store as you walk in. The book checkout will be the old Shadid Store counter. The library will be located in the front portion of the building.

Behind Lighthouse Library will be "Red Rock Lighthouse" - a lighthouse built from Shadid Store bricks & native red rocks from rural Dexter.

Another feature of the library will be "The Treasure Chest" (see information below).

Funds are needed to help restore the storefront & also to build the library.

Please send donations to:


PO Box 40

Dexter, KS  67038 or


408 W. 5th Ave, Suite B, Burden, KS  67019.

Your donations are tax deductible.



By Beccy Tanner, Wichita Eagle



Right now, it's just a crumbling wall. The windows are boarded. The front door leads to a pile of rocks and lumber. Weeds and volunteer trees spring up from the rubble. But Lynn Pettigrew Norris and her husband, Randy, see a library, a small thrift store, a play area for young children and a computer lab with Internet access -- in one 40-by-50-foot building. All that stands between them and their vision is $50,000. On Saturday, the Norrises and others will hold a breakfast fundraiser at the Dexter Community Building to help reach that goal.


They started their quest as a way to give back to their hometown of 300 residents, 90 miles southeast of Wichita. "With Dexter being such a rural area, a library is a must," said Lynn Norris, who grew up in the town. When she stands in front of the ruins of Shadid's grocery store, she remembers the nights her father picked her up in his red county truck in front of the store after piano lessons. He died when she was 18. Shadid's would let the town's children run a charge account for candy bars and soft drinks. "All of us kids had a tab at Shadid's," Norris said. "When our tab became too large -- usually under $5 -- our parents were called to pay the bill."


This is the lifestyle she wants her three children and six grandchildren to have. "We lived in some large cities during our military days," Norris said. "It was good to move home to a simpler place and time. "This is why we want to start a library in Dexter. It is important to my husband and me to try to do our part in keeping our hometown alive."


Community residents are beginning to step forward to help. One woman has offered to be a librarian. The local phone company, Southern Kansas Telephone, has offered free Internet access. Licensed carpenters, plumbers and electricians have volunteered their services. A local engineer donated time to check out the safety of saving the wall and offered to draw up plans for the library.


Wichita Friends of the Library, the Winfield library and area neighbors have donated more than 6,000 books. Shelves for the library have been donated by the Eastern Cowley County Resource Center, which serves all of Cowley and parts of Sumner, Elk and Chautauqua counties. The nonprofit resource center, of which Lynn Norris is director, has bought the lot with the crumbling wall on Main Street. Norris wants to call the library the Lighthouse Library, in part because her daughter Jennifer, who died seven years ago in a car accident, was enthralled by lighthouses.


Randy Norris said that when the library is ready, he will climb to the top of a hill where red round rocks are scattered about. The hill overlooks the Norrises' family farm. He and others will cart hundreds of rocks to the library site to create a play area -- complete with a lighthouse and "oceanfront" with sand.


"We have lots of dreams for our little town -- but no money," Lynn Norris said. "We have hands of volunteers who will build these things, but no construction material. "We just wanted something so people won't forget our daughter. She lived, and her life mattered." And although the money may not be there yet, Norris said, she's certain her vision will be realized. "I think we will build the library. I just believe we will," she said. (from The Wichita Eagle)  Since this article was written - most of the building material has been purchased or donated!



New Site Secured for Lighthouse Library!

ECCRC has purchased a site for Lighthouse Library. We need your prayers in seeing this project to completion. We hope to begin construction again on the new library this winter after the weather improves (Spring 2008) . We need volunteers who can do construction time. We need your name for now & your offer to donate your time to build the library. We need plumbers, general laborers, electricians, carpenters, painters, brick layers, concrete workers, and interior decorators. We need people who can sew curtains and do upholstery. We need a sign made. We need finish carpenters to put in the interior walls and build bookshelves.  

We need donated


materials & volunteers.

The goal is to preserve and rebuild a Historical Site in downtown Dexter - the Original Dexter Movie Theater & Shadid Store.

THE CORRECT ADDRESS FOR LIGHTHOUSE LIBRARY for anyone wanting to send correspondence is:
ECCRC - Attn: Lighthouse Library Project

PO Box 40

Dexter, KS  67038.

The Phone Number will not be working until the future at: (620) 876-3474. For now - call the Burden ECCELL office at: (620) 438-3333 or 1-888-296-5146.

Also - PLEASE BRING BOOK DONATIONS to the ECCELL office in Burden at: 408 Hwy. 160 in Burden. (We have no more room for books at this time. We do need donations & also volunteers to help build the library.)

THANKS & BE LOOKING FOR THE RE-OPENING OF (The Jennifer Nicole Norris Memorial Library - RENAMED -




May God bless you greatly! "Don't forget to smile!"
Lynn & Randy Norris & Family

"LIGHTHOUSE LIBRARY" - (Jennifer Nicole Norris Memorial Library). "Don't Forget to Smile!"

Jennifer Nicole Norris was a 1997 graduate of Dexter High School and a 1999 graduate of Cowley County Community College. There, she enjoyed playing in the concert and marching band, writing in her journal, and volleyball. Jennifer stated days before her death that her proudest moment was when she represented her community as "Miss Otto", a rural title for the area Arkalalah (a fall festival in Ark City, Kansas). At Cowley County Community College she enjoyed playing in the concert band.

Jennifer was residing at the Clovia Sorority Dorm at K-State at the time of her death where she enjoyed playing intramural sand volleyball. She was killed on her way back to K-State in an automobile accident after visiting her home community in Dexter where she had been planning her upcoming wedding. She enjoyed watching the Dexter Football Homecoming ceremony on her last visit to Dexter where she got to see her sister who was one of the Football Queen candidates and also to see her brother play football. She also attended Homecoming at Hicks Chapel Church where she sang with her family and played instrumental specials on her clarinet. She was a member of the Dexter Baptist Church and a frequent visitor of Hicks Chapel Church .

Jennifer had lived on both coasts with her military family, but always considered Kansas her home. She was not the star athlete, was not entered into "Who's Who", but rather was a person with a heart for others who were hurting. She served as an in-home support worker for her cousin who has Autism while attending college and worked at an area Steak House as a waitress to help put herself through college. She was known as someone who stood up for the "underdog" and someone who enjoyed life and wanted others to succeed and enjoy life as well.

The Jennifer Nicole Norris Memorial Library is currently packed up & in storage at the ECCRC Building in Burden.  Area artist,  Rita Krug from Atlanta, Kansas donated a portrait that will be hung in the new library when it opens. A major book donation was received from the Wichita “Friends of the Library” foundation in Wichita that consisted of over five truckloads of wonderful books. A grant was obtained through the Libri Foundation & new books were purchased for children and youth. Many area residents have also donated many books and the collection is very diverse!

"LIGHTHOUSE LIBRARY" will be built in memory of Jennifer Nicole Norris! Our hope & Prayer is that it will indeed become a lighthouse to the community where Jennifer grew up. Construction began in the summer of 2007 after the lot was cleared at 104 S. Main in Dexter behind the Old Shadid Store front wall. The storefront wall is being preserved with the help of an engineering firm.

This PERMANENT site for the library will be an asset to the community.  Reading contests will continue to be sponsored with prizes donated from the Cinema 8 Movie Theatre near Strother Field once the new library opens.

 The Lighthouse Library mailing address is: PO Box 40, Dexter, KS, 67038 or in Burden, the ECCRC office is: 408 W. 5th Ave, SUite B,  Burden, KS  67019. The business office phone number is: (620) 438-3333 or 1-888-296-5146 (changing soon - please check back). The Library local number in Dexter is not available until the new building is completed (but it will be: 620-876-3374.).

Book Donations are no longer accepted. We have a collection of 20,000 books!<><><><><><><><><><><> Thank you!

God Bless & - "Don't forget to smile!"

________________________________________________________               Read About Lighthouse Library



Phase I – “Lighthouse


Library”.  Size is 50 feet long by 40 feet wide.


This will be the actual library room. It will be inside the original wall of the old Shadid store. The old store checkout counter will be recreated from an old photo. This will serve as the book checkout. The checkout stand is just inside the front door & to the right as you walk in. There is a window to the right of the door. The window was on the east side of the counter. Will make this window Stain Glass (By Beth Norris.) You walk behind the counter by this window. The counter will stick out from the north wall about six or eight feet from the wall. In place of where the tall end of the counter was (on the west side of the counter) used to be shelves where the Shadids kept everyone’s tabs), we will keep the library information there like the checkout lists (note cards in long metal note cardholders). You will check books back in at this counter, too.


As you walk into the door, to the left behind the interior brick bracing - wall will be a counter with chairs where people can drink coffee in front of the other front window. That window will be left where you can look out. All to the west will be the library shelves as well as on the east wall. The south wall bill be the 14- 16 Port Computer LAN System. There will be a pop machine with pop for sale for 10 CENTS on the other side of the bracing wall. Coffee will be five cents. The point is not to make money, but to pay for the products. People can sit there,  read books, drink coffee, and look out the window.


There are 16 shelves for this part & some commercial library shelving donated by a library (to be announced soon). There are a lot of ocean decorations & nice paintings for the library. All the needed furniture, desks, etc. are in storage and ready to go. There are also two David Copperfield huge plaques donated by the Wichita Public Library that will be displayed. One is “Chapter One” & the other is “Chapter Two” of David Coperfield. Chapter 3 has a woman on it & Chapter One has D. Copperfield on it.


PHASE II – Directly behind the library room.


Size is 50 feet long by 40 feet wide. This part will have a door that goes from the library inside into this part. This part is called The Treasure Chest. It is a unique variety


store. Although it is a second chance (or thrift store), the items are one-of-a-kind & collector items as well as new hand-made items from local people. There will be a sidewalk from the front of the store to the south side that goes back all the length of the store. It will go back to a door on the south that also goes into the Treasure Chest. This will actually be the main entrance for the Treasure Chest. The Treasure Chest will include a bathroom for public use. It will be decorated with an ocean theme. ALSO – there will be a nautical theme right outside of the Treasure chest like planks with rope right outside the south door.





The Courtyard. This will be behind the Treasure Chest. It will be about 50 feet long (north to south) and 40 feet wide. It will containRed Rock Lighthouse


that will be made of many of the old Shadid Store bricks & als

 o red rocks from up on our hill. It will have a pond with a fountain with goldfish & a walkway. It will have an ocean theme with a sand pile that kids can play in. It will also have actual shells from the ocean that we have collected.  The lighthouse will light up at night. We will have a KS Flag & an American Flag that the lighthouse will shine on to light them up. We will also maybe have a K-State flag?? Will have Water Lillie in the pond. Will just keep it simple with the lighthouse & the sand &  natural ocean shells, etc.. Will put a bench in so older folk can sit down. The lighthouse will be about 12 – 15  feet tall & its light will shine on the American Flag & KS Flags at night.


Phase IV: Back Lawn


50 feet by 30 feet. This is a simple yard with trees and grass and flowers. It is the back of the lot back to the alley. Landscaping and bushes will be added as time goes on and anyone is welcome to add flowers, etc.


Lighthouse library is in memory of Jennifer Nicole Norris, a local graduate of Dexter High School, Cowley College, and student of K-State at the time of her death. It is a project of ECCRC (Eastern Cowley County Resource Center). The mailing address is:


ECCRC, PO Box 40, Dexter, KS, 67019. The Dexter Phone (*not activated yet) will be: (620) 876-3474. The Burden ECCRC office number is: (620) 438-3333 or 1-888-296-5146.  Fax: (620) 438-2527.


ECCRC Provides many community services including the annual Thanksgiving food box distribution for food boxes complete with either a turkey or ham (value - $50.00) are given to Cowley County families who need them. ECCRC is the only agency providing this service with an annual cost of about $6,000.00. Other services include computer workshops, job- training programs, quilting workshops, CPR & First Aid Training, Monthly Neighbor’s Grief Support Supper, Heartland Shares, and other programs. Many of these same services will be provided in Dexter once Lighthouse Library is open.


Your tax-deductible donations are greatly appreciated. Cowley County Roads & Bridge Department will clear the back lot up to the storefront this fall (2006). The construction will follow in the summer - 2007.

A spring 2007 Breakfast


fund-raiser is planned during


the Alumni Weekend in May - Memorial Day Saturday. Thank you for your support & God bless!


 (Lighthouse Library.)



News Article About J.N.N.M.Library

Courier News Item About Jennifer Nicole Norris Memorial Library:


If you would like to become a Literacy Volunteer and help an area Cowley County resident improve his or her reading skills or work on homework, please call ECCRC to set up a Literacy Training session. Training sessions are held by appointment on Fridays at ECCRC. Volunteers are needed all over the County to serve as tutors for adults. Please visit the site below for more information:



Tributes To Jennifer

Article From K-State




A Tribute From Jennifer’s Fiancé & Family




Obituary – Winfield Courier


Follow-up to Obituary:

Jennifer Norris

DEXTER - Services for Jennifer Nicole Norris, 20, who died Sept. 27, 1999, were held at 2 p.m. Oct. 1 in the Dexter school gymnasium. Dr. Stanley Upchurch and the Rev. Dane Massey officiated. Burial was in Cedar Vale Cemetery.

Pianist Evalyn Upchurch played "His Eye Is on the Sparrow." Other selections included "In the Arms of the Angels" performed by Sarah McLachlan and "Electric Light Parade" by Bach. Congregational hymns were "Amazing Grace" and "It Is Well With My Soul."

Casket bearers were Alan, Chris, Eric, Jack and Tom Norris, Harold James Pettigrew Jr., Jamey and Stephen Pettigrew, Steve Powell and Ron Slaven.

Memorial contributions may be for scholarships in music, writing and social work at Cowley County Community College and Kansas State University.

Miles Funeral Service was in charge of arrangements.


Letter to the Editor – Manhattan Mercury

Date: October 13, 1999  Page: a6




To the Editor:

I am writing to thank the Manhattan community for the support shown in the

recent tragic death of our daughter, Jennifer Nicole Norris, who died as


result of injuries

from a car wreck on her way back to K-State.


K-State sent a great representation of people to her "Celebration of Life" service.

There were nearly 600 people in attendance in the old Dexter gym, and the


reserved for K-State had more than 50 people in it. That was so nice of everyone to

drive down so far. The president of Student Affairs even drove all the way into Cedar Vale for the burial. This meant a lot to me.


Jennifer was a nice young lady with major plans in life. Her plans were good ones: her upcoming wedding and her social work studies. She was so happy.


We want the students and faculty at K-State to know how much their gestures


support were appreciated and we want them to know Jennifer like we knew


She would want them to go on living and working toward their goals in life. That will

make us all very happy.


Everyone who knew Jennifer will take a part of her sweet spirit with them.

The Women of Clovia worked so hard to make a scrapbook with a letter to us


each girl. One letter told how Jennifer wanted to be called "Bob." There

were just

too many Jennifers there, so she said to call her "Bob." That captures my


to a "T." She was cute. May God bless you all.


Lynn Pettigrew Norris


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