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Archive for Friday, September 14, 2012

Town Talk: Therapeutic autism ranch may develop south of Lawrence; Knology e-mail issues resolved; Lawrence lands on Mother Earth list; tree cutting near Kaw levee

September 14, 2012

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News and notes from around town:

• A Douglas County horse farm soon may become home to a therapeutic ranch for adults and children with autism.

The Kansas City-area based Mid-America Association for Autistic Training and Research has filed plans with the Planning Department to operate a therapeutic ranch on 31 acres just south of Lawrence.

The association is seeking to locate on a portion of the Coal Creek Farms property at 1674 N. 1000 Road. Rick Andrews of Coal Creek Farms told me the group is working in conjunction with Coal Creek to develop the property and have it rezoned from agriculture to rural tourism.

According to the filed plans, the association plans to use existing indoor riding arena and stables. It also proposes building about four guest cabins, but the plans indicate the property likely will not host large groups of people at once because people with autism often do better in smaller groups.

The plans also call for construction of a small activity center and “country store” that would sell items made or grown by the farm’s autistic guests.

But the main purpose of the property, it appears from the plans, is to give both autistic adults, children and their caregivers a chance to get out in a rural setting. Much of the property would continue to be devoted to riding pastures, vegetable gardens or picnic areas. The property also would be able to accommodate a few art, music and other types of classes for guests.

An attempt to reach a representative with the Mid-America Association for Autistic Training and Research was not successful. The zoning request will need to win approval from the Douglas County Commission before the project can move forward.

• Perhaps some of you feel like you need a place for a bit of respite after dealing with what sounds like some nasty problems on Knology’s e-mail system over the last couple of days.

Several people have passed along complaints that their Knology e-mail accounts largely have been non-working for more than 24 hours, and they weren’t getting many answers about what the problems were.

Well, I did get in touch with a spokeswoman with WOW — the parent company of Knology — out in the Denver area.

As of Thursday evening, WOW spokeswoman Erica Stull said she believed most of the issues with the e-mail system had been corrected. She said the problems arose when WOW began to switch the e-mail from a Knology platform over to a new platform. She said her understanding was that the e-mail service, while not completely down, was unreliable for about a 24-hour period.

“We have had engineers and personnel working on it around the clock,” Stull said.

My understanding is that the system would allow people with Knology e-mail accounts to receive e-mail but not send e-mail, or perhaps vice versa or a little bit of both at times.

For whatever it is worth, I have talked to some folks in the cable/Internet industry who are not affiliated with WOW but said they do expect WOW to make significant improvements in service to the Lawrence area. They generally said WOW has a good reputation in the industry. They didn’t go so far to say that about Knology. Indeed, WOW does seem to consistently do well both in Consumer Report and J.D. Power rankings for both cable, phone and Internet service.

I have also heard that there have been some management changes on the local level with Knology — which I assume will be renamed WOW, at some point — so we’ll see what other changes are on the horizon.

• Hey, look at it this way. All that time you didn’t spend sending e-mail messages, you could have spent reconnecting with Mother Earth. And it appears Lawrence is one of the better places in the country to do that, according to a new ranking from the national magazine Mother Earth News.

The publication — which is actually based in Topeka — has named Lawrence one of its eight “Great Places You’ve (Maybe) Never Heard Of.” (If you are reading this column and have never heard of Lawrence, we’re going to have to talk about getting you off your bar stool a little more often.)

The magazine notes that Lawrence has a real appreciation for sustainable and healthy living, even going so far to compare our enthusiasm for Jayhawk basketball to our enthusiasm for local food and farmers markets. (Indeed, I have been known to climb a light pole on Massachusetts Street when homegrown tomatoes start showing up in the garden.)

The magazine also touts Lawrence in several other ways, including:

— A rich history as the “epicenter of pre-Civil War abolitionism.”

— Cultural opportunities at Haskell Indian Nations University and KU.

— The Merc’s market and deli section of locally produced foods.

— And the city’s “generations long history” of producing hydroelectric power via the Bowersock Dam.

That last one was particularly interesting to me. I’m predicting Lawrence will try to make a major effort to publicize itself as a unique green community as the new Bowersock hydroelectric power plant opens on the north bank of the Kansas River. And this is unofficial — because I haven’t gotten word yet from Bowersock leaders — but I think that project is significantly ahead of schedule. News of it starting to produce electricity could come sooner rather than later.

Anyway, you can read all about Lawrence in the October-November issue of Mother Earth News. The other cities on the list of “Great Places You’ve (Maybe) Never Heard Of” include: Charleston, S.C.; Denton, Texas; Dover, N.H.; Golden, Colo.; Hilo, Hawaii; Port Townsend, Wash.; and Red Lodge, Mont. (I hadn’t heard of Port Townsend or Red Lodge, but I’m not going to spend any less time on a bar stool.)

• While we’re talking about Bowersock, here’s a chance to control a rumor before it gets started. Soon (I don’t think it already has happened) a small grove of about dozen trees or so immediately east of the new Bowersock plant will be cut down.

But no, the tree cutting doesn’t have anything to do with the new power plant. Instead, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently inspected the city’s Kansas River levee. The Corps said the trees and their invasive roots needed to be removed to prevent damage to the levee.

The tree cutting also won’t extend further to the east, where there are acres of trees that have grown in between the river and the levee.

Matt Bond, the city engineer who oversees levee maintenance, told me most of the trees that will be cut are less than 12 inches in diameter. He said the Corps’ report also recommended removing a “handful” of scattered trees that are on the north side of the levee. But Bond said he wants to further review that finding, and may challenge it. The trees on the north side of the levee, although, they technically are in an easement, likely provide some benefit to the houses that back up to the levee. Bond said he would want to be convinced that the trees are causing a true threat to the levee before ordering them to be cut down.

Comments

2 years, 1 month ago

Just spent another 35 minutes on my 3rd call to Knology attempting to get the business e-mail working. Still doesn't work. WOW is not making a very good impression on the conversion.

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frankfussman 2 years, 1 month ago

I switched to Lawrence Freenet a month ago. It's great Internet service, and cheaper than Knology. (It does not include TV service.) www.lawrencefreenet.org/

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Laura Wilson 2 years, 1 month ago

I couldn't send emails from the webmail for about 24 hours. I was able to do a work-around on the security settings on my phone and in Eudora on my home computer. What I find most annoying is that there is never any explanation given until the problem is resolved. No "we're working on the problem" posted on their website or anything. How hard is that to do? I didn't even bother calling since I'm not sure where the heck I'd be talking to someone. I SO miss Sunflower just down the street.

I'll be so glad to get rid of Knology completely but I really wish Sunflower still existed. With no news about how long the problem would exist, I was tempted to just switch everything to my gmail account. If they take my sunflower email name away, I'm definitely doing that. I don't want to be name@wow or whatever.

Thanks for letting us know that at least someone was working on it.

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Glo 2 years, 1 month ago

Our e-mail is still not working. Important messages in outbox just sitting there! Frustrating, this is the second day! Knology "working on it",

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Weather_Watcher 2 years, 1 month ago

All I can add is that it took 5 minutes of phone time with a Knology tech on Wedneday afternoon and Outlook was sending again. Almost took me longer to navigate the phone prompts than it did to talk to the tech and solve the problem.

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livinginlawrence 2 years, 1 month ago

Chad, you might want to consider adopting people-first language the next time you write about individuals whose development is not "typical." E.g., say "adults and children who have autism, as well as their caregivers" instead of "autistic adults, children and their caregivers."

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chootspa 2 years, 1 month ago

Most autistic adults would prefer you skip the person-first language: http://www.thinkingautismguide.com/2011/11/person-first-language-why-it-matters.html

http://autisticadvocacy.org/identity-first-language/

I know your heart is in the right place for the suggestion, but most people from the disability community think the idea is linguistically cumbersome and emphasizes the disability rather than humanizing the individual. It's as silly as referring to women as "persons with femaleness." The National Federation of the Blind rejects it: http://www.nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/bm/bm09/bm0903/bm090308.htm The Deaf community rejects it. http://www.nad.org/issues/american-sign-language/community-and-culture-faq And I'm sure there are other communities. I'm just too lazy to google it.

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livinginlawrence 2 years, 1 month ago

That's interesting--thanks for sharing that information.

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Deb Engstrom 2 years, 1 month ago

I still prefer the people-first language. I would much rather be referred to as a woman who is fat than a fat woman.

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chootspa 2 years, 1 month ago

A person with femaleness affected by obesity.

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TNPlates 2 years, 1 month ago

I've noticed that a bunch of tree's have recently been cut down north of the Bowersock Dam (or more accurately, north of the trailer park by Johnny's). Chad, is this part of the same project of the Corps of Engineers?

They did something similar to this a couple years ago in that stand of woods, but I do find it curious, since all of the tree's cut down this time appear (to me) to be below the levee. And most of them seem to be at least 12 inches in diameter (which would seem to me that the worst of any potential damage from these roots to the levee occurred in years past.)

Any idea how these roots destabilize the levee? I always thought roots were good for soil stabilization.

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BringBackMark 2 years, 1 month ago

Don't worry, more trees will grow.

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J 2 years, 1 month ago

Email issues resolved? For whom? I gave up yesterday after being on hold for 25 minutes. Thank goodness for gmail.

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hipper_than_hip 2 years, 1 month ago

Is there a fix for the email problem? I'm still down.

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rockchalker52 2 years, 1 month ago

I call BS on the email fix. As of 1 pm Friday (a few minutes ago) I still cannot send mail. I know it's a first world problem, but hey, that's where I live.

Bad first impression, Wowsters. Time to look at other providers, I guess.

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Clark Coan 2 years, 1 month ago

Well heck, the owner of Mother Earth News lives just north of town. No wonder Lawrence was picked.

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Ira Rott 2 years, 1 month ago

Was an error message for all outgoing mail yesterday. Changed some login settings per a call to Knology, but now instead of an error message when I try to send it says it's sent without anyway of knowing if it is ACTUALLY sent. Sometimes the person receives the email and sometimes they never get it. That's still the case as of this afternoon.

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tessk 2 years, 1 month ago

Hmm, sounds like some people can actually open their Knology/Atmail account. Mine won't open at all. It just "times out" in my Mozilla browser. It was out most of yesterday-back in the evening for a while--then gone this morning until about 7:30 a.m. and now unable to connect again. So, I'm jealous of those of you who can at least get into parts of it. :-)

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buffalo63 2 years, 1 month ago

Can't send via Outlook, but seem to receive OK. Was able to reply to and forward a two day old e-mail by using the Knology.net route, but was hard to navigate for a "semi-computer nerd."

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classclown 2 years, 1 month ago

"Persons with femaleness."

================================================

So that's their problem!

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Lawrenceks 2 years, 1 month ago

I started having problems with my outgoing mail Wednesday. I called Knology and they assign an incident number and I never heard back from them. It's still not working!

I had just canceled my cable TV with them as I put up a TV antenna and get 41 TV channels. No sense paying a hundred bucks a month on something I can get free.

So now I am thinking about switching my internet and phone. I have not been happy with Knology since they took over from Sunflower. No news updates on their web pages, poor service, and now this email issue. Time will tell!

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Kat Christian 2 years, 1 month ago

IT did take me longer to navigate the phone prompts than it did to talk to the tech and solve my problem. I couldn't get into my email account either but we finally worked it out... I use Outlook on my home computer but use the webmail if I want to check my mail outside my home. Knology webmail SUCKS. You can navigate to the next email if you delete or otherwise. I can't open attachments so I don't bother and just wait until I get home to do so. I've been looking for a better internet service. I may try freenet. I was thinking of going ATT with the bundle, but not real sure of DirectV (anyone have that). Still researching it - we SO need another cable company in this town.

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Tomato 2 years, 1 month ago

We switched to Directv and it's not really much better - a little, maybe. Cheaper for now, but still rife with problems.

Their Video on Demand is horrible - you have to wait until the program downloads and then there's a better than 50/50 chance that it will be unwatchable. We have the DVR that lets you record five things at once and it randomly cancels our recordings on a regular basis (just like Knology did).

Tech support is at least as unhelpful at Knology's. Much less helpful than old Sunflower.

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Carol Bowen 2 years, 1 month ago

Fix for outgoing emails in Outlook.

  1. Go to Tools/Account Settings. Highlight your sunflower account. Click on [Change ...] above.

  2. Make sure your full email address is used. Make sure "Secure Password Authentication" is unchecked.

  3. Click on [More Settings/Outgoing Server]. Make sure your full email address is used. Make sure "Secure Password Authentication" is unchecked.

  4. Click on [Advanced] tab. Change the encrypted connection from [TLS] to [None}.

Click [OK] until you are back to the account screen. Click on [Test Account Settings ...]. Incoming and Outgoing messages should be "Completed".

I am using a relatively old version (2007), so you might have to hunt around for comparable directions. Credit for this is not mine. I was able to get WOW tech support.

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Uncool 2 years, 1 month ago

Totally miss Sunflower! The sending went down on Sept 11 late. After 5 or 6 calls over the next three days still no resolution. Finally on Sept 15 got hold of someone in Sioux Falls SD who would not admit the problem was their change in the email system. Instead, he tried to blame it on mysterious changes that my McAfee security software made to my computer. BS! My iPad had the exact same settings and problems and does not use McAfee. No one in charge and I suspect it will get worse. They don't bother to notify anyone about fixes even though I called multiple times and they had my phone number. I've been a customer over 20 years, but that is going to change very soon!

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Carol Bowen 2 years, 1 month ago

A bigger company is not better, for sure. Thats a typical tech support response. Fix the encryption settings on your PC. Your iPad will adjust.

If you do need tech support, tell them you are having an encryption proble because of their changes.

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