Bill Kurtis, a nationally acclaimed journalist and a native of southeast Kansas, presents “Bill Kurtis: Back Home on the Range” at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21, in Yardley Hall of the Carlsen Center, Johnson County Community College.
A reception will follow in the Carlsen Center lobby. The talk and reception are free and open to the public. The event is co-sponsored by JCCC’s Kansas Studies Institute and Performing Arts Series.
Kurtis will discuss his efforts to return the prairie lands near Sedan, Kan., to their native state, revive Sedan’s economy and establish a company that revises the agribusiness model of feedlot cattle to create healthier beef that is better for the environment, animals and consumers.
He will share his personal experiences of attempting to reverse agribusiness norms and be on the forefront of grass-fed cattle ranching. He will also highlight the important lessons he has learned about the business of what we eat.
A journalist, producer and author, Kurtis is celebrating 40 years as an award-winning broadcaster. Born in Florida and raised in Independence, Kan., Kurtis graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor of science degree in journalism. He attended Washburn University School of Law, where he was awarded a juris doctor degree.
Kurtis began his television career at WIBW-TV (CBS) in Topeka. In 1966, after being recognized for his 24-hour coverage of a devastating tornado, Kurtis was hired by WBBM-TV in Chicago where he was a field reporter and later anchor of The Channel Two News. Kurtis moved on to the network level at CBS where he anchored the CBS Morning News and contributed to CBS Reports. He is also credited with breaking the Agent Orange story and the story of Amerasian children in Vietnam. He returned to Chicago and WBBM-TV as news anchor from1985-1997.
In1990, he founded Kurtis Productions and began producing programs for the A&E Network, including the long-running, Emmy award-winning Investigative Reports and Cold Case Files as well as Investigating History for the History Channel. Kurtis served as the host of A&E’s American Justice — the longest running nonfiction justice series on cable. Cold Case Files was nominated for 2004 and 2005 Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Nonfiction Series.
Kurtis is also an author. “The Death Penalty on Trial: Crisis in American Justice,” which is his most recent book, explores issues surrounding capital punishment in America. By profiling two murder cases, Kurtis reveals his change of mind regarding capital punishment.
In his home state of Kansas, Kurtis is an active conservationist. His 10,000-acre Red Buffalo Ranch is located in the last section of America to enjoy untouched tallgrass prairie. In 2005, Kurtis founded Tallgrass Beef Company to champion the environmental and health benefits of grass-fed cattle ranching.
The Red Buffalo Ranch borders the small town of Sedan, which is southeast of Wichita, near the Oklahoma border. Kurtis has worked closely with residents to renovate and restore the historic Main Street.
Kurtis is the third speaker in the Kansas Lecture Series. The Kansas Studies Institute initiated the Kansas Lecture Series with Wes Jackson, president, The Land Institute in 2009, followed by Stan Herd, preeminent representational earthwork artist, in 2010.
For more information about Kurtis’s presentation, contact James Leiker, director, Kansas Studies Institute at JCCC, (913) 469-8500, ext. 3673, or [email protected]