Rangers Baseball Academy to open next week

WICHITA — Barry Newell plans to keep his day job as an assistant principal at Bishop Carroll, but he’s starting a new business, too.

Rangers Baseball Academy opens Monday at 3732 N. Ohio, which is between Hydraulic and Broadway, just south of I-235.

The 10,000-square-foot indoor facility will help kids ages 8 to 18 improve their games.

“I’ve been in baseball for a long time,” Newell says.

Shocker Hall of Famer Jason Adams, who used to play in the Houston Astros organization, is Newell’s partner in the venture.

Adams is a postal worker, but Newell says the plan is for him to eventually work at the academy full time.

Newell has been a guest instructor for the Kansas City Royals and the Toronto Blue Jays, he’s a scout for the Texas Rangers, he’s coached college baseball and is involved with Walter Johnson League Baseball.

“I was wanting to expand on that,” Newell says.

The academy will videotape players and then show them how they can improve their hitting or pitching or any other aspect of their game.

Newell named the academy partly for the Texas Rangers and partly for the Park City Rangers, his Walter Johnson League team.

“It just all kind of fit together.”

You don’t say

“Restaurants down south don’t offer you a straw with your tea, because everybody knows tea is for sipping, not sucking through some petroleum-based construct.”

Zoomdweebie’s Tea Bar owner Frank Horbelt, writing on the website for his new Southern Boy Teas, which he’s selling to restaurants and convenience stores

MillyRose Photography & Design is now a home-based business

WICHITA — The new Salon Lush that’s opening at Occidental Plaza at Second and Main streets is taking the former MillyRose Photography & Design space.

Taci Fast still has her photography business, but she’s decided to base it out of her home.

Fast is traveling, so she filled us in on what’s going on via e-mail.

“Since my focus is predominately fine art lifestyle photography, I found the studio model was not fitting my needs,” she says. Almost all “of my shoots are location based, and with a website serving as my storefront, the studio is just not necessary for a successful business.”

Fast liked opening for Final Friday, but she did that only every two or three months.

With less overhead, Fast says she’ll be able to be more generous with causes like Make-A-Wish Foundation of Kansas, the Kansas Humane Society and her own charity, Angel Kisses, which gives free portraits to families who are facing critical illnesses.

Fast says photography is competitive and has changed substantially because of the digital revolution.

“I think the secret is to just keep evolving to stay relevant and reinvent yourself every couple of years!”

Picture Framing & More to close in Old Town Square

WICHITA — Brett Osburn is closing his Picture Framing & More in Old Town Square after almost six years in business, but he’s not blaming the economy.

“The economy is definitely not helping out,” he says.

The bigger problem, Osburn says, is Old Town.

His business has “never been what I hoped for.”

The store’s average ticket is good, Osburn says, but he doesn’t see enough customers.

“That’s been the No. 1 problem since Day 1,” he says.

“I don’t get the sense that people out east (or) out west are coming down.”

Even though Old Town boasts a number of unique businesses, Osburn says, he’s not sure most Wichitans even know they’re there.

“I don’t think a lot of Wichitans are using the area or even know what’s down here,” he says.

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Lbd, etc., which will sell little black dresses and more, to open at Bradley Fair

WICHITA — Looking for the perfect little black dress?

Barb Mann is so sure she’ll have it, she’s naming her new Bradley Fair store the Lbd, etc.

“I just thought, you know, in today’s world with all the texting and everything, Lbd was kind of a cute little term for ‘little black dress,’ ” Mann says.

She plans to open her new store in 1,400 square feet between Bella Luna Cafe and the Frame Shop by late summer.

Mann is a former computer programmer.

“I’ve always been interested in fashion,” she says.

Though the economy may not be the best just now, Mann says, “It’s good timing for me personally.”

Also, she says, “I feel strongly that the economy will recover. It will rebound.”

Mann will sell what she calls “upscale casual” clothing, including dresses, designer jeans and accessories such as jewelry and belts.

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You don’t say

“The first time somebody came in and was looking around for bargains.”

M.B. Ash of Ash-craft engraving on East Central on when she realized people thought she was going out of business (when really it’s Winstons/RSVP next door)

Sea Dreams is closed and seized by the state

WICHITA — In November, Sea Dreams owner Lynne Penny told Have You Heard? she was going to try to keep her store open despite being more than $76,000 behind in state taxes.

“I’ve been trying to work it out with them for about two years now,” she said at the time.

It didn’t work.

The state seized Penny’s assets and this week closed the 10,000-square-foot store, which sells fish, aquariums and related products.

Sea Dreams has been on East Harry in front of Office This for four of its 10 years in business.

The state says Penny owes more than $500,000 in back taxes.

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Fizz Burgers & Bottles to open in the former Amici space at Siena Plaza

WICHITA — A planned bistro in the former Amici space at Siena Plaza isn’t going to happen, but a high-end hamburger restaurant will instead.

Scott Bergeson is opening Fizz Burgers & Bottles — at least that’s the working name — in early September at the development at 37th and Rock Road.

Siena is a Caro Development property.

Amici closed following a fire in June 2008.

“We’re starting from scratch,” Bergeson says. “It’s pretty much like a brand-new building.”

Bergeson is opening the restaurant with backing from his father, David Bergeson, a former investigator for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration who now is a consultant.

Scott Bergeson has been in the restaurant business in Wichita for two decades.

The restaurant will seat 60 inside and another 40 to 50 people on a patio.

“We want to do something simple — simple but really good,” Scott Bergeson says.

Fresh food is particularly important to him.

“We’re not even going to have a freezer in the place,” he says.

Along with burgers, Bergeson says he’ll have salads and sandwiches, all of which he hopes to add a creative twist to, though not too far out.

“Not scary, but still high end.”

Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce cancels issues forum after calls of complaint

WICHITA — The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce has canceled a federal issues forum it planned for April 19 in response to complaints from its members and U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt’s office.

“We’ve been well communicated with,” says Sam Williams, chamber chairman.

“It’s a political year, and we didn’t probably pay enough attention to the political ramifications.”

The chamber invited U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran to speak at the forum.

Moran and Tiahrt, both Republicans, are running against each other for U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback’s seat.

Williams says the forum is meant to be a nonpolitical gathering to discuss issues in Washington that affect local businesses.

“We thought this was going to be pretty interesting just because of all the health care stuff going on,” Williams says.

With the pressure that everyone is under these days, though, he says, “Things that maybe in the past wouldn’t have been so important just get overblown.”

The forum will be rescheduled, but neither Moran nor Tiahrt will be at it.

“Bottom line?” says Todd Novascone, Moran’s chief of staff. “As of yesterday or the day before, we are disinvited.”

Regarding Tiahrt’s office, Novascone says, “I don’t want to use the word arrogant . . . but I’ve never seen pressure like that. It just kind of really shocked me.”

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Medical Service Bureau to move April 1

WICHITA — The Medical Service Bureau has found a new home, albeit a temporary one.

Earlier this year, Via Christi Property Services gave the organization a 60-day notice to move out of its property at 1148 S. Hillside, where it’s been for about a decade.

The group is a nonprofit that provides low-cost vision care and prescription help to the uninsured and underinsured.

Builders Inc. has offered the organization new space at 1530 S. Oliver.

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