Archive for Friday, November 18, 2011

Town Talk: Lawrence library, others in dispute over Kindle E-reader; Lawrence police leaders trying to increase numbers of ‘patrol rifles’; a piece of North Lawrence history on the auction block

November 18, 2011


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News and notes from around town:

• You thought you had the system beat. You break down and buy a Kindle, one of those fancy George Jetson-like E-reader devices. You’ll finally be part of the cool crowd at Starbucks. But you know a little secret. You have found a way to get around paying the few dollars per book to buy E-books for your Kindle on Amazon. The Lawrence Public Library, and many others across the state, allow you to download Kindle content from their sites for free. Well, your plan is about to come crashing down. The Lawrence Public Library recently announced that service is coming to an end. The Lawrence library gets its access to Kindle content through a contract that the State Library of Kansas has with a third-party provider, OverDrive. But the relationship between the state and OverDrive has fallen apart. From the state’s standpoint, OverDrive is insisting upon an unreasonable 700 percent increase in administrative fees for the program. (It would go from about $10,000 today to about $75,000 in 2014.) Those administrative costs are in addition to the money libraries spend to actually buy specific E-book titles.

From OverDrive’s standpoint, the fee increases are reasonable. The company told the publication that the amount of E-books being checked out through Kansas libraries has increased 10-fold since the contract began in 2006. Because of that increased usage, OverDrive has additional bandwidth costs, hosting costs, and support services costs that it has to cover with the administrative fees. Nationwide, OverDrive says users of its system are checking out one E-book per second.

The bottomline is this: The ability to check out Kindle content at the Lawrence library and most other libraries in Kansas will end Dec. 5. The state library is bringing a new system online, called Kansas EZ Library. But the state library is warning users that the new system won’t yet have Kindle content. The state’s new vendor — 3M Cloud Library — is in talks with Amazon to allow Kindle content on their system, but no one knows when or if that will happen. Exactly what type of E-readers will work with the new system wasn’t entirely clear to me. The state library’s site says, “All current devices which have been in long-term use should work with the new services.” But then it goes on to say that Kindle won’t work, so I’m not sure what long-term means.

Actually this whole thing is kind of like Moby Dick to me — confusing and I’m guessing symbolic of something else. (The whale is symbolic of what???) Anyway, I’ll keep my ears open for any new developments and report back. Or, if you see me in Starbucks, feel free to ask for an update. I’ll be the guy sitting at the uncool table.

• From readers to rifles. How’s that for a transition? The Lawrence Police Department is making an effort to try to get more officers to own “patrol rifles.” City commissioners at their Tuesday meeting will consider a recommendation that will allow police officers to purchase through the city certain types of rifles that officers then would carry with them in their patrol vehicles. The lease-purchase program basically would allow the city to buy the rifle and then the officer would repay the city through 26 automatic payroll deductions. That is basically the same program the city has in place for officers and their patrol pistols. The city provides all police officer equipment except patrol pistols. Officers are required to own those, with the thinking being that if they own the pistol it will be more readily available for them to practice with, they’ll be more familiar with it, and they’ll take better care of the weapon. According to a police department memo, the department has “embraced” the idea of officers carrying patrol rifles. But the department hasn’t provided a program for the officers to purchase the rifles, which must meet certain specifications. According to the memo, it sounds like the expectation now is for all officers to “have training on the use of and access to a patrol rifle.” The memo says it will allow several types of rifles to be purchased, although it doesn’t get into specifics. It estimates that the average cost of a patrol rifle with optics will be about $1,600. The police officer will be responsible for repaying the city the full amount. City commissioners this week have a special meeting time of 9 a.m. on Tuesday at City Hall because of the holiday week.

• I’m an auction fan, so occasionally I pass along interesting things I see up for auction. I don’t know enough of its story, but this seems like it might be an interesting piece of history that is going on the auction block. The old White School in North Lawrence — 1510 N. Third St., which is just before you get to TeePee Junction — will be sold on Saturday. Auctioneer Bill Fair tells me that the building was constructed in 1929 as a rural school house. I’m not sure when it stopped being a school house, but at some point it started providing lessons of a different type by becoming a bar. (If you don’t think a bar teaches you some lessons, you haven’t been to enough of them.) By 1967 it was a bar known as Ichabods.

“There was a time there that if you went to KU, you definitely would have known of Ichabods,” Fair said. “It was a bar kind of on the edge of town in those days.”

More recently, it has been an antique shop, a catering business, offices, basically everything but a residence, although Fair said it could make an interesting one of those too.

It will be interesting to see what comes next for a unique piece of Lawrence’s history. The auction starts at 11 a.m.


Sheila Hooper White 6 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for all the awesome info on new businesses and things happening around town. I have lived here all of my 41 years and have seen many business come and go. You do a great job of keeping everyone informed.

I was wondering if you could find out what went into the building that FedEx occupied off of 28th and Haskell. It sat empty for a little while and now we've noticed alot going on over there. Thanks again for all your info!!

femmefatale 6 years, 4 months ago

It is Cougars Court, for youth baseball and basketball.

Chad Lawhorn 6 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for the kind words. This is what we had on this space back in March. As far as I know it is still planned to be a youth basketball/sports facility. Thanks, Chad Lawhorn

doc1 6 years, 4 months ago

Patrol rifles are actually a good idea. Only a decade or so behind every other law enforcement entity. Even better the city won't have to be the proprietary owner.

commonsenselawrence 6 years, 4 months ago

I don't have a problem with officers having the appropriate equipment to deal with an armed situation, but requiring the officers to purchase these rifles to use on duty is RIDICULOUS!!! Why in the world is the City not paying for these? I mean $1600 is a lot of money on a copy's salary and they are told which rifles they have to buy. That's like hiring a school bus driver to transport our children to school and then making them pay for the gas!!! Common Commissioners, do the right thing and fund these rifles for the officers!!

DillonBarnes 6 years, 4 months ago

Re-read the story, officers are not required to purchase the rifles, just their service pistols. Officers have the option to buy the rifle if they want it. $1600 is a lot for an officer, but I am curious what exactly they are getting. If they are getting a Colt AR with a nice Trijicon sights (or similar) then they are probably getting a pretty good deal. If I were offered a Colt AR with Trijicon sights for $1600, I would jump on the opportunity.

*note, I don't know what the rifles are, I'm just making assumptions.

commonsenselawrence 6 years, 4 months ago

My point is...If the officers would "like" to carry the additional firepower that could possibly save your life or mine if the situation exist, they are REQUIRED to purchase the rifle themselves just as they are REQUIRED to buy their own pistol. I think it's ludicrous that cops have to buy their own weapons to carry. Do we make firefighters buy their own bunker gear too? Next the City will start making the cops buy their own bulletproof vests.

DillonBarnes 6 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, I can see your point, and I had no idea officers had to buy their own handgun. I can see their point too, and I am curious how the officers feel about it. They probably get LEO pricing on the firearms so they get to own a handgun for a significantly reduced price (not a bad deal). I'm not sure how the system works, but if the officers have the choice of handgun, all the better.

So while I see what you're saying, I bet a lot of officers are happy with the opportunity. Maybe officers should have the option to buy their own rifle or "check out" a department owned one.

sentinel4820 6 years, 4 months ago

Commonsense, It's funny that you mention the costs associated of being a cop in Lawrence.. They have to pay out of their own pocket:

•Protective vest $700 •Sig Sauer pistol $650 •Flashlight $100 •Shoes or boots $100 ( double that cause you go through two pairs a year)

And now the city is graciously considering to allow the officer to purchase a patrol rifle thats use would only benefit the citizens of Lawrence (hopefully it will never be needed) and/or to protect their a cost of $1600. That comes to a little over $3200 out of pocket expenses for an officer. Heck where can I sign up, I'll bring my checkbook.

irvan moore 6 years, 4 months ago

is a patrol rifle an assault rifle and will there be an individual choice of rifles for the officers or ?

hipper_than_hip 6 years, 4 months ago

When it's in the hands of the police it's a patrol rifle, and when it's in the hands of the citizen it's an assault rifle.

kufan1146 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm curious about the patrol rifles. What type of rifles? Will they use hollow point ammunition? Are they fully automatic? If they are not semi-automatic and the officers own them personally, it would create a tricky legal situation as I doubt any of the officers are Class 3 licensed.

My guess is they will be semi-automatics of the AR-15 variety. Hopefully they will be using hollow points, full metal jacket rounds are much more dangerous in terms of continuing through a body, whereas hollow points expand and stop much faster. Does anyone know if they use FMJ or HP for their pistols?

DillonBarnes 6 years, 4 months ago

I agree they are most likely AR-15s. Officers may very likely carry multiple types of ammunition for their rifle, including penetrating or "green tip" rounds. These rounds would allow an officer to disable a threat that may be behind some sort of cover or wearing body armor.

Though I can't be 100% sure , I am 99% sure our officers are sporting some kind of hollow point rounds in their sidearm.

Mark Currie 6 years, 4 months ago

An assault rifle is select fire. I doubt very seriously the LPD is advocating machine guns for officers to own. Some DGSO deputies have them and theirs are semi auto. I think it is a good idea. If my rear was in a sling and I needed PD help, the more the merrier.

Thanks, just my .02

kufan1146 6 years, 4 months ago

That's what I'm thinking. Technically, most assault rifles as we think of them have the option to choose between full-auto and select fire but that's really just a detail. I'm also all for it. I'd bet a lot of the officers already own AR family rifles anyways! I'm just waiting for the scared gun-control freaks to protest this - until there is a shootout or robbery down their street, then all of a sudden they probably won't be protesting.

gphawk89 6 years, 4 months ago

Most assault rifles as the scared gun-control freaks think of them have the option to choose between auto and semi-auto. But assault rifles sold to the public are semi-auto only, except for possibly those sold to the relatively small number of people who possess a NFA license. I personally know only two individuals who have such a license.

Missingit 6 years, 4 months ago

Plus if there is a zombie apocalypse the more .223 rounds the better. They sell zombie ammo now just in case.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 4 months ago

For some time, the Nook had access to libraries but the Kindle did not.

Kindle only recently made the service available.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 4 months ago

They may be thinking of something more like the Ruger Scout rifle.

rcjhmichael 6 years, 4 months ago

it's because Nook (and Sony eReader, and whatever Borders called their thing) uses .epub files. The Kindle uses its own format, a .mobi. Up until recently, Overdrive only had access to .epub files. I'm assuming that's the deal with this new company, too.

roadwarrior 6 years, 4 months ago

Thank you Kansas Library folks for not caving to excessive costs for Kindle. We know you will find a way to re establish Kindle content quickly and at a more reasonable price than what Overdrive wants...we can wait.

kansasredlegs 6 years, 4 months ago

Continued unabated unnecessary militarization of our police force. Well, if you're gonna do it to make us feel safer, should at least standardize so that any officer can pick up weapon and have ammo to load & fire it. Optics? How 'bout M-203 grenade launcher too? Bayonets, for the unruly college crowds after KU football, 'er I mean, basketball wins!

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

Chad, you might want to check your facts on Ichabod's. We moved here in 1970 and if my memory serves me right, the school house had yet to be converted to a retail establishment. I don't think Ichadbod's came along until maybe 72 or 73. Could be wrong, but I had a part time job in that area during high school and I think I have memories of it opening as a bar. But its a .long time so I could be wrong.

brewmaster 6 years, 4 months ago

The city conceals and diverts public money directly to private-for-profit business owners through "payola tax districts", and at the same time requires publically sworn and authroized law enforcement officers to pay for equipment with their own money to provide for public safety. How did our city get to such a level of insanity.

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