Carrie Rengers

Hallmark might use Wichitan's card design

Julie Conner does a lot of writing in her day job in the marketing department at Pioneer Balloon , but she may have a future as a greeting card writer, too.

Conner entered a Hallmark contest to write a caption for a birthday card. She's one of 39 winners nationally and now has a chance to have her caption turned into an actual card.

"I'm hoping that maybe it will be one of those," Conner says.

Even if it's not, she's thrilled to have won and receive $250 for basically making fun of her husband, Chris .

Conner snapped a photo of her husband on the teacup ride at Walt Disney World . His eyes were closing, which made him look as if he were about to be ill.

She used the picture with the caption: "Now that you're older, it might be best to avoid the spinning rides. Hold on tight and have a great birthday!"

Conner wasn't home when Hallmark called to say she won, but there were several Hallmark employees on the message she received.

"They were all cheering in the background."

It made her feel even better about the company.

"I'm a Hallmark junkie anyway," she says. "They're a really personable company."

Chris Conner seems to be enjoying the moment, too.

"He was like, 'Do I get a modeling fee for this?' "

On second thought

In October, Kay's This N' That turned 40, and owner Kay Hettenbach declared it was time to call it quits.

She hoped to sell her costume and accessory shop at Second and Anna, but Hettenbach has changed her mind.

"My customers are so loyal to me, and we just think so much of the people who shop here, we just decided, 'OK, we're going to stick it out.' "

Customers are who changed her mind.

"I had people coming in, and they were actually crying tears because I was leaving," Hettenbach says. She initially thought "it would be just an easy thing to do, and it just really wasn't because then I'd get upset."

"It was a lot harder than I thought it would be."

The costumes that Hettenbach made herself had an influence, too.

"They're kind of like my kids," she says. "I found I was being kind of picky on who I was going to sell to."

Hettenbach says she had several interested buyers but that nothing panned out.

She's now making a few changes to help make keeping the shop easier. That includes selling her rental costumes.

"It gets to be a lot of work," she says of cleaning and repairing them on a regular basis. "People don't realize how much work is involved."

Instead of selling some of the joke and novelty items the store has had through the years, Hettenbach says she's going to focus on selling costume items, accessories, makeup, wigs and hats.

Also, Hettenbach now will take off Mondays in addition to Sundays.

"It's been, like, six days a week for 40 years, and I guess I need a break."

Tuesday through Saturday, though, she'll be open.

"We're not going anywhere."

You don't say

"Like Mark Twain said, 'The rumors of my death are grossly exaggerated.' "

—Developer Chuck Caro's Facebook post Thursday after word incorrectly circulated that he had died

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