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Archive for Tuesday, September 7, 2010

KU dance professor Janet Hamburg falls to her death in New York City

A KU dance professor died in New York City Saturday. Janet Hamburg was nationally known for her work in movement analysis.

September 7, 2010, 9:55 a.m. Updated September 7, 2010, 11:45 a.m.

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Janet Hamburg, pictured in this 2005 file photo, died unexpectedly in New York City on Saturday, Sept. 4 when she fell onto a construction platform.

Janet Hamburg, pictured in this 2005 file photo, died unexpectedly in New York City on Saturday, Sept. 4 when she fell onto a construction platform.

Kansas University officials today are mourning the loss of a dance professor who gained international recognition for her work in movement analysis and its applications in treating Parkinson’s disease.

Janet Hamburg, who had a member of the KU faculty since 1979, died unexpectedly on Saturday in New York City.

Police said 59-year-old Janet Hamburg died Saturday after falling onto a construction platform. They also said it was a suicide.

In a statement, KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little called the loss “deep and painful” for the university community.

“Janet Hamburg was an extraordinary teacher and researcher who had earned her colleagues’ highest respect, here and around the world,” Gray-Little said. “Countless people, particularly those in the Parkinson’s community, benefited immeasurably from her devotion to dance, exercise and movement analysis.”

She centered her research in the field of movement analysis, in which she was certified by the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in New York. She received the institute’s first Laban Award for Creative Achievement by an artist or researcher in 2004 and was named a senior research associate.

Her research resulted in “Motivating Moves for People with Parkinson’s,” an exercise video and DVD for people with Parkinson’s disease.

Michelle Heffner-Hayes, professor and chair of dance, said that while that work garnered her international recognition, her passion for dance was what leaves an impression at KU.

“Her absence among us is unthinkable. Her permanent mark is on all that we do,” Heffner-Hayes said. “Her support and enthusiasm have been a force, an anchor. She will be keenly missed.”

Hamburg is survived by her partner of 30 years, Lynn Bretz, of Lawrence; two aunts and many cousins. Memorial contributions may be made to the Janet Hamburg Dance Scholarship in care of KU Endowment.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. A previous version of this story did not describe Hamburg's death as a suicide.

Comments

blueberries 3 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Kris_H 3 years, 7 months ago

Is there really such a thing as independent investigative reporting anywhere any more in any media? Seems to me they are all "owned," and not in a good way.

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Paul R Getto 3 years, 7 months ago

"jafs (anonymous) replies… I doubt they'll follow up on that idea.Given this thread, I would guess that the online editors wish to be able to remove any post, at any time, without giving any reasons." === So? That's called: "We own this paper and can do what we want, in print and on the blogs." Guests here are like people in Dolph's living room, He controls the climate and can do what he wants. What's the beef? Want to say what you want when you want about whomever you want? No one is stopping you. Put it on your Facebook page. BTW: I'm no big fan of the LJW. They are essentially a bulletin board, a cheerleader for KU and the Chamber of Commerce and they never do any investigative reporting, probably because they don't want to hack off advertisers. As for the blogs, they own the sandbox and have total control and do not need to explain themselves to anyone who can find a keyboard and has an insight or 'informed opinion.'

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bearded_gnome 3 years, 7 months ago

what Tange said: please if you're going to remove posts, with implied sanction of the poster, you should cite the portion of the terms that was violated.


I have not yet looked at the Kansa's article.
no, I did not know this gifted woman.

however when one of us dies, we all lose. and we all naturally wish to know how such a woman died. for, perhaps, we can avoid thesame fate. or, we can mourn her more particularly if we know. or finally, perhaps we can help others avoid the same kind of death.
these are not wrong or bad motives for wishing to know how such a gifted woman came to fall on a construction platform.


other users or Ms. Hamburg and sarcastic jokes and/or observations of the nature of Ms. Hamburg's death. Most comment responses to any of the above posts will also be taken down.

If more details unfold, we'll report them as necessary.

Whitney Mathews Online Editor

it is unfortunately natural to wonder at such a death. so I think it is wrong to casually remove speculations about her death.

now, if someone posts claiming some kind of inside [wrong] knowledge or uses the death to denigrate the dead person, slash away at that comment.

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KCsFinest5 3 years, 7 months ago

I pray for her and her family. But (true or false) all aspects of the story must be addressed. And if a detective that follows the case says something, it needs to be on here. Just my two cents.

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fiddleback 3 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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jafs 3 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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onceagain 3 years, 7 months ago

One final comment, which will probably get me removed completely, Why have TOU at all when moderator does what he or she desires, terms be damned.

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Newell_Post 3 years, 7 months ago

My redacted comments related to the LJW's editorial policies and reporting quality. Nothing more.

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onceagain 3 years, 7 months ago

Seems that Whitney is going to remove any post or any poster who's posts something she doesn't like or anyone flags. At least with Jonathan, a consistent policy seemed to be there.

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 7 months ago

One might suspect that the J/W is deleting posts related to the death as some of the posts reflect upon KU and the J/w has a history of that as the belief is that KU is Lawrence and Lawrence is KU. don't tarnish KU's image, unless prior approval is gained.

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tange 3 years, 7 months ago

Whitney, I don't envy you for the role you have undertaken; I can't imagine tackling the task daily facing you, but here are some thoughts...

It would be helpful for users to understand the User Agreement, as it's interpretation evolves over time and from editor to editor. As I shared in recent correspondence with you, I only inadvertently discovered the removal of several of my comments from other forums. I had no clue why, and I could not recall any clearly offending commentary. After the fact, I was, simply, at a loss.

Since violations of the User Agreement can be articulated, succinctly, then why not incorporate an "offense" flag into the removal process?

An offending comment could be removed simply by virtue of associating it with a list-based offense, and this process could auto-generate an email message to the user which contains both the comment and the removal reason. Not only would commenters be apprised of removal, they would be edified as to implied expectations as interpreted by online editors.

What say ye?

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Newell_Post 3 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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skinny 3 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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SWJayhawk13 3 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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gatekeeper 3 years, 7 months ago

Thank you blueberries. Of course the UDK had more info and a much better article written about this.

Very sad.

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g_rock 3 years, 7 months ago

It was the oddest feeling ever last night watching this story on one of the local Topeka TV stations while at the gym where I would see her. I noticed a few other folks sort of look around in shock as they saw it on TV.

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Ronda Miller 3 years, 7 months ago

What You Hear

When you've been told how someone left this world in ways incomprehensible to those of 'us' left behind, mourning our losses and surrounded by the blackest of night, remember what you hear is your own voice telling you what you'd never do, nor should another. But listen more closely, perhaps you'll hear something that resembles the truth. Forget about your own sounds of feR and longing so you can truly hear.

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wmathews 3 years, 7 months ago

Here's what is going on: Based on the sensitive nature of this story, comments that will not be allowed are any petty name calling, personal insults toward other users or Ms. Hamburg and sarcastic jokes and/or observations of the nature of Ms. Hamburg's death. Most comment responses to any of the above posts will also be taken down.

If more details unfold, we'll report them as necessary.

Whitney Mathews Online Editor

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Kris_H 3 years, 7 months ago

If I wanted anything more in this sad story, it would indeed be clarification of the accident itself.

But then I realize that the only reason I want to know that is simple curiousity, about the death of a woman I did not even know (but who sounds like someone I would have enjoyed knowing).

Rest in peace, Janet Hamburg.

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fiddleback 3 years, 7 months ago

Some comments were removed for suggesting this was not an accident as implied.

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tange 3 years, 7 months ago

Having just arrived to the forum, now a surgical patchwork of commentary, I'll limit my reply to Py's comment (most recent upon my arrival), as it raises as many key issues as any.

Regarding a prior review of posts... simply, by what criteria? by whose? Why should the open discussion of a death—or the life which preceded it—be off limits?

I have a hard time reconciling a perspective on life—on lives—which demonizes and rejects some while exalting others. Py (figuratively speaking, not personal... well, maybe personal) and others certainly seem to have their favorites, and they have no problem donning the "heinous suit" when it comes to prescribing punishments for the transgressions of those not on their favorites list. Who are they to judge whether and to what degree these "offenders" enrich the lives they touch? Wouldn't it be grand if Py et al. were capable of the very magnanimity they would exact of others.

And regarding condolences, "deepest" or otherwise... aren't they implied in a situation of loss, and doesn't the verbose expression of such just diminish—cheapen—the inherent sentiment? (Personal pet peeve, but, frankly, having again weathered another episode of Py railing against the "heinous... dregs of society," her heartfelt expression smacks more of an indignant slap at perceived offenders than sympathy for the bereaved.)

Finally, for all the words about the appropriateness and inappropriateness of personal expression in a situation (and within a context) such as this, I think it safe to conclude that Janet is beyond them. Someday, we all will be.

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Pywacket 3 years, 7 months ago

Reviewing prior to allowing posts would be a good bridge between present policy and a restrictive policy of no comments on some articles. Obviously, though, that would involve more manpower...

I can't imagine what nasty things anyone would feel it necessary to say at the news of a vibrant, productive person being cut down before her time. This is not someone who committed a heinous crime or recklessly endangered the lives of others--on the contrary, she apparently enriched many lives and likely eased the Parkinson-related suffering of many.

How can anyone in good conscience say something derogatory enough about a person like this to warrant removal? To those people: why don't you sound off against the dregs of society (like the guy who murdered that young girl recently) instead of picking on a positive and well-loved individual?

Deepest condolences to loved ones, friends, colleagues, and students of Dr Hamburg.

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blue73harley 3 years, 7 months ago

Here is another "vote" for disabling comments or reviewing them before they are posted on this tragedy.

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Andrea Hoag 3 years, 7 months ago

My condolences for her partner and family. None of our business what the details are - leave these folks to grieve in peace. LJW - when will you please disable comments on sensitive stories involving a person's death?

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balishag 3 years, 7 months ago

Was she dancing on the platform??

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sierraclub 3 years, 7 months ago

She did so much for the gay community, very sad.

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overthemoon 3 years, 7 months ago

My thoughts and condolences to the Lawrence Dance community. I know that so very many people have benefited from the exposure to the excellent dancers in our town that this is indeed a loss for all.

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Newell_Post 3 years, 7 months ago

Is any additional detail available about the accident that lead to her death? All debate about LJW's editorial policies notwithstanding, it seems odd that a dance professor should die by "falling onto a construction platform." If a construction worker died by falling onto a construction platform, it would make sense. (Tragic, but understandable.) In this case, it just seems like there should be more to the story.

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jimincountry 3 years, 7 months ago

This lady's death is indeed very sad, but the circumstances nonetheless do stir one's curiosity.

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true_patriot 3 years, 7 months ago

How sad. Just spoke with her a few weeks ago. Great human being who dedicated herself to helping others. Rest In Peace.

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tracer1962 3 years, 7 months ago

R.I.P. Janet, You will be missed by all the people you have touched. God has a new angel. May she dance forever

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BlackVelvet 3 years, 7 months ago

"you won't have much of a comments section anymore". You certainly have my permission to be the first to leave.

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thatonedude 3 years, 7 months ago

Like it or not, this is still a story in a local paper about a local woman dying unexpectedly. Do us all a favor and find another place to set your soapboxes.

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jafs 3 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Kelly Johnson 3 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Newell_Post 3 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Bob Kraxner 3 years, 7 months ago

In what manner is a fall not an accident ? Unless of course she was pushed, or jumped, either way I'm curious as to the details of this accident. I didn't know her personally, but I'm just as shocked as anyone else.

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fiddleback 3 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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jafs 3 years, 7 months ago

Please inform me of what part of the usage agreement has been violated, that you removed my above post.

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deathpenaltyliberal 3 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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orbiter 3 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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booklover2 3 years, 7 months ago

This is a tragic loss for the University of Kansas and the Lawrence community. She was an incredible woman.

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thatonedude 3 years, 7 months ago

Really sad news. Worked with her on a few things, and she was a nice lady.

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Gootsie 3 years, 7 months ago

Oh this makes me so sad. I just talked to her last week and she waws amazing as always.

Darn Janet, I will miss you so very much, as will the world. Your work with parkinsons patients was so incredible.

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Newell_Post 3 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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whats_going_on 3 years, 7 months ago

Agreed, Bob.

This is very sad. :(

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liberallibrarian 3 years, 7 months ago

Bob, I agree. Seems like stories involving fatal accidents should have the comment section removed. Sure, 95% of people will come on to offer condolences, but there will always be the anonymous 5% who choose to flaunt their stupidity in a public forum.

I only knew Ms. Hamburg peripherally- but, I must say this is a giant loss for the community. My heartfelt condolences to her family and friends.

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 7 months ago

You know, at some point the LJ World will finally realize that not all stories must have comments.

The Eagle's site removes the comments function from sensitive stories. Kudos to them.

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Newell_Post 3 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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jihadist 3 years, 7 months ago

This is very tragic, condolences.

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