Heard on the Hill
_Here's [a preview of some photos] of the happenings around the stadium. Journal-World photographer Nick Krug will have more (and much better) photos as the game moves along, but here's some to give you an idea of what's happening._MIAMI - It's still three hours until kickoff, the seats are still empty, but fans have been at Dolphin Stadium for the Orange Bowl for hours.One group of Kansas fans - from Newark, Del., - decorated their car with oranges on the antenna as well as along the roof. Justin Baynes, the car's owner, said he had family in Kansas and consequently was a Jayhawk fan."A couple of Virginia Tech fans flipped us off on our way down," he said. "And people in Miami have been giving us a lot of weird looks. But whenever we see Jayhawk fans, they cheer."
Erica Heiden, a KU senior from Des Moines, Iowa, drove down to the Orange Bowl with some friends.The drive was OK, she said, until one of her friends had a little accident at the gas pump."Our friend spilled gas all over himself," she said. "So we got to smell gas the whole way from Tennessee on."That's about 13 hours for those who've never made the drive.
At the official Orange Bowl tailgate before the game, fans had the opportunity to check out the Orange Bowl championship trophy that is given to tonight's game winner.Glenn and Yvonne Cover, originally of Topeka but now of Miami, snapped a family photo with the trophy."We want to take it home with us," they said. "We never expected we'd be following the Jayhawk football team to a bowl game."
The official KU tailgate, held at Calder horse track near Dolphin Stadium, attracted thousands of Jayhawk fans, including several university leaders.In addition to Chancellor Robert Hemenway, Provost Richard Lariviere, Medical Center Executive Vice Chancellor Barbara Atkinson, Endowment Association President Dale Seuferling Regents Chairwoman Christine Downey-Schmidt, Regents CEO Reggie Robinson and others were also at the rally."You can really see from all the planning and quality of the people associated with it that this is a BCS bowl game," Hemenway said. "It's a great honor to be here, buy you can see how tough it is to stay at this level."Tickets to the $45 event were sold out several weeks ago, though in addition to the wealthy alumni, it looked like a number of students and more typical fans managed to snag a ticket or too.Among the two most popular fans were John and Kyle Swenson, brothers originally from Beloit. John now lives in Homestead, Fla., just south of Dolphin Stadium.The Swenson brothers painted themselves bright blue for the game, despite the occasional sprinkles and downright chilly temperatures. Both said they intended to be bare chested for the game."It's the Orange Bowl, man," John said. "We're so proud of these guys." : http://www.flickr.com/photos/11794649@N04/sets/72157603626896435/
In case you didn't see it, Journal-World reporter [Alex Parker had a great story] about Kansas University alumni who have put up tents in Iowa in order to work for their favorite candidates this election season.In the past couple days, I also received word that four more KU students were headed up to Iowa to join the alumni in getting the vote out tonight in Iowa.But once this night of caucusing is over, all the students and alumni will leave - either for another state or back to school. And David Yepsen, the dean of Iowa political columnists, says [thanks for coming and restoring his faith] in politics and young people.Having met a number of the people Parker profiled and others that are in Iowa, I'd bet KU alumni and students helped him restore the faith. : http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/jan... : http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080103/OPINION01/801030361
$16 million. That's how much revenue the Kansas University basketball team generated last year.After deducting the nearly $8 million budget the program has, the basketball team still generates an $8.3 million profit for the Kansas athletic department, [good for eighth in the nation].And, Forbes predicts, that ranking is only likely to rise, because of a 10-year, $65 million contract the department signed with Host Communications back in April.The top ranking team was the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, which generates [nearly $17 million in profit]. No other Big 12 schools made the top 10, though the University of Texas came in at 11 and the University of Missouri was at 12. : http://www.forbes.com/2007/12/27/college-basketball-valuations-biz-sports_cz_js_0102basketball_slide_9.html?thisSpeed=30000 : http://www.forbes.com/2007/12/27/college-basketball-valuations-biz-sports_cz_js_0102basketball_slide_2.html?thisSpeed=30000
! MIAMI - If you're going to find a family where Mom and Dad are Hokies, and son and daughter are Jayhawks, where do you go?The answer is Houston. The Perez family - Vic, Karen, Nic and Caroline - are at the Orange Bowl this week to support both teams. Vic, a former VT football player, and Karen both graduated from Tech in the 1970s. Their children graduated from KU in 2005 and last year.The four, as well as another son who graduated from the University of Texas, have attended dozens of Hokie and Jayhawk games, but never expected to see the two teams battle in the same game."My wife suggested making a combined KU-Virginia Tech T-shirt," Vic said. "Nic would have none of that."And who does the family think will win?"There's absolutely no concensus," Vic said. : http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2363/2...
MIAMI BEACH - Seems like Jayhawk fans everywhere decided to hit Miami on New Year's Day.My flight from Kansas City to Dallas was filled with Jayhawks, who then dispersed to at least five different other flights to the Miami area. And according to media who have been down here longer, the fans are finally noticeable.In fact, by my observation, there is a lot more KU blue than Virginia Tech maroon. Of course, that could be because KU fans feel compelled to wear their school colors more than Tech fans, or Hokies, and Jayhawks just choose to congregate in different places.I really can't tell.Long awaitedMark Robinett had the opportunity to go to the Orange Bowl in 1969. He and his hallmates estimated it would cost about $50 to get down here, buy a ticket and spend a couple nights.A poor college student, and assuming KU's football dominance was beginning, Robinett passed on the opportunity. He's been waiting - and regretting his decision - ever since.But he's here in Miami and ready for the game.Weather reportI know it's cold in Lawrence, and much colder than it is here, but Miami is embroiled in one of its coldest snaps in years. It's only [57 degrees here].Jayhawk fans seem to be a bit disappointed to be wearing hoodies and jeans instead of T-shirts and shorts as they wander around town.Fan events on tapThe [WaMu Fan Fest] is set for 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. tonight. The KU pep rally that is part of the fan fest is slated for 5:05 p.m. and VT will have its rally at 5:40.Tomorrow, both the [Budweiser Tailgate] and the [KU Alumni Association tailgate] are scheduled for pregame. The Budweiser tailgate is in the Dolphin Stadium parking lot and the alumni event is just north of the stadium at Calder Race Course. : http://www.weather.com/outlook/health/allergies/tenday/USFL0316?from=36hr_topnav_allergies : http://www.orangebowl.org/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=11800&ATCLID=694673 : http://www.orangebowl.org/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=11800&KEY=&ATCLID=695853 : http://www.kualumni.org/football/football_orangebowl.html#tailgate
Kansas City Chiefs General Manager Carl Peterson said today that the team was devastated by how this season turned out, but ["we know where we're going."]Turns out, where he's going is the Orange Bowl, as a guest of KU athletic director Lew Perkins.From the Associated Press: "Peterson said he would be meeting with players and coaches the next two days and then fly to southern Florida to see the Kansas-Virginia Tech Orange Bowl as a guest of Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins. The two became friends while arranging for Kansas and Missouri to play their 2007 and 2008 games in Arrowhead." : http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/football/nfl/12/31/bc.fbn.chiefs.peterson.ap/
Eventually, 17,000 Jayhawk fans from across the country will make their way to Miami for the Orange Bowl.Some have already left, others leave today and still others will take off Tuesday and the day after. The drive from Lawrence to Miami is about 23 hours, yet some area Jayhawk fans have taken the time to send some dispatches from the road back to the Journal-World.Here's a look at some of [their photos].Also, check out the journey on our interactive [road trip map]. If you'd like to take part in the Journal-World's fan coverage, e-mail pictures, narrative or videos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Videos should be sent as YouTube links. : http://www.flickr.com/photos/11794649@N04/sets/72157603585986390/ : http://www2.ljworld.com/maps/special/miami_here_we_come/
One week from today, the Kansas Jayhawks will take the field in the Orange Bowl.In preparation, local political leaders are making friendly wagers on the outcome of the game. Mayor [Sue Hack] and the Lawrence City Commission bet Blacksburg, Va., Mayor [Ron Rordam] and the Blacksburg Town Council that the losing city must wear the opposing team's hat to the Jan. 8 commission or council meeting."I told our players, we don't look good in your colors, so we hope you look good in Kansas red and blue," Hack said via phone this morning to Rordam.Hack and Rordam said that though neither would be making the trip to Miami, both were excited that their teams had advanced to such a prestigious bowl."I appreciate you being willing to make this friendly wager," Rordam said.It's not just the mayors, however, that are placing bets on the outcome of the game. A spokeswoman for [Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius] said she had made a wager with [Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine].The winner in that wager won't just get to revel in the humiliation of his political counterpart. Instead, if the Jayhawks win, Sebelius will get to enjoy a Virginia ham. And should the Hokies win, Kaine will get to sample some choice cuts of Kansas beef.But confirming that these wagers aren't confined to politicians, the leader of the Kansas and Richmond race tracks also placed [a wager.]Should the Hokies win there, Kansas Speedway President Jeff Boerger, a Kansas graduate, will provide all the employees at Richmond International Raceway with Kansas steaks and sunflower seeds. Should the Jayhawks win, it's Virginia ham and peanuts for all the Kansas track employees from Richmond President Doug Fritz, a Virginia Tech alum.For more on this story, and to see scenes from this morning's teleconference between Hack and Rordam, tune in to 6News at 6. : http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/commissioners/hack : http://www.blacksburg.gov/government/town_council/biography.php : http://www.governor.ks.gov/ : http://www.governor.virginia.gov/ : http://www.richmond.com/sports-leisure/23178
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's case against Student Financial Services has been settled, [the attorney general announced Tuesday].Cuomo had beeen investigating SFS, also known as University Financial Services, because of the relationships it had with 63 college athletic departments, including KU's.As part of the settlement, SFS will end all of its relationships with the 63 schools; end all agreements with five sports marketing companies, including Host Communications, which manages sponsorships for KU; launch a print advertising campaign in the largest circulating newspaper at each of the 63 schools, alerting students that they must protect themselves when shopping for a loan; and end the practice of providing cash-based incentives to students who refer their friends to the company for loans.Earlier this year, when the investigation was announced, KU associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said KU had a relationship with SFS that is no different than the relationship it has with Dillons or a local car dealership. He echoed those comments in an article appearing today on the Web site of [the Chronicle of Higher Education]. : http://www.oag.state.ny.us/press/2007/dec/dec11b_07.html : http://chronicle.com/daily/2007/12/950n.htm
In the event that the predicted ice storm materializes, KU will consider moving Tuesday finals to Thursday, Jan. 17 - scheduled to be the first day of spring classes.In an e-mail sent to students, faculty and staff, KU said that a decision on whether to have tonight's the 7:30 p.m. finals would be made by 6 p.m. A decision on the Tuesday finals will be made by 6 a.m. Tuesday and will be communicated by e-mail and text message.KU used its emergency text message system for the first time Monday in order to alert students to the e-mail it had just sent.KU spokesman Todd Cohen said "never in recent memory" had the university been forced to postpone a final because of weather.Students in the Law School and the PharmD program will make up any missed finals on a different schedule dictated by the deans of their schools.
Sometimes we reporter types want to try to dig up more information than we can get by just dialing a phone number or clicking a mouse three, or even four, times.
One of those times happened last month. I heard from a KU graduate student who'd had to move out of his home in the on-campus Stouffer Place apartment complex, along with his wife and two daughters, because of safety concerns about the building. He'd been told the building had developed some structural problems because of the recent drought, and he wanted some assurance that the new Stouffer Place building into which his family had moved didn't have the same issues.
He wanted to take a look at an engineering study on his building's problems, and make sure such problems hadn't been found elsewhere in the 25 buildings that make up Stouffer Place, a housing complex for couples, students with families and others.
So we asked about it. I sent KU a Kansas Open Records Act request for documents related to any engineering studies done on Stouffer Place buildings since the beginning of 2012.
Last week, I got my hands on the documents in question. And they show that an engineering study did indeed find some worrisome problems about this student's building, Building No. 20, and no studies had found any structural problems with any other buildings.
The report said the building had settled because of the dried-out soil underneath, caused by the drought and a nearby tree that sucked up what little moisture was there. There were cracks in walls and gaps between the floor and the walls. The biggest structural concern, the report says, was a gap between the second floor and the north wall, which had moved about half an inch away from the rest of the building. It recommended several thousand dollars' worth of repairs.
You can download the report here, in case you're curious. (It has some pictures.)
This graduate student and other residents in the building were told they'd have to move while KU conducted repairs, according to some materials he shared.
Jim Modig, KU's director of Design and Construction Management, said a few buildings here and there had developed such problems because of the drought, but the problem wasn't "huge." If you've noticed any other campus buildings that have seemed to settle or shift a bit over the last year or two, though, let me know at email@example.com.
And send in those KU news tips, too. I'd love to see them, no many how many mouse-clicks are required.
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I don't know about you, but I've read just about enough words for today, so this blog entry will be a mostly visual one.
For our KU Today edition (coming in August!) I'm learning right now about the process of forming KU's new master plan, a map for how the KU campus might change over the next 10 to 15 years. KU is paying a planning firm about $1.2 million to go through the process, and folks at KU and the firm, as well as a variety of subcontractors, are poring over a wealth of information.
Jim Modig, KU's director of Design and Construction Management, shared some of that stuff with me last week. And I thought I'd share one piece of that with you: these maps that show in a simple but interesting way how much KU's campus has changed over the past 140-plus years.
Each one includes the boundaries of the campus, shown in blue, at a certain point in time, laid over a current-day map. Modig wasn't immediately able to fill me in on exactly what year each of these maps corresponds with, so I've included some rough guesses based on when buildings were built.
In each one, pay attention to where the red "plus" sign falls. That's the campus's geographical center. And as you'll see, it's moved a lot over the years.
When the first KU buildings were built in the late 1800s, the center (and the entire campus, really) was in the northeast, where Corbin and GSP residence halls are now:
In this map, which must be from around 1900, you can see things moving toward the south:
By this time — the 1920s or '30s, as far as I can tell — the campus still only stretched southward to Jayhawk Boulevard:
Next is one from, I think, around 1950. Now the center was right on the current site of Wescoe Hall:
By what seems to be sometime in the 1960s, the center was near Murphy Hall, on a part of the campus that didn't exist 30 or 40 years earlier:
And now, with the addition of KU's West Campus, the center is near the Burge Union and the nearby athletic complex:
And officials project it to continue to shift to the southwest as more development happens on the West Campus, where space is much more plentiful. And this is why this exercise is important for the master planners. The campus's center is nearing Iowa Street — and that's a point where, right now, it's pretty tough to cross from one side of the campus to the other by foot. That's not exactly ideal, so one of the problems the planners are considering is how to do more to merge the two campuses into one.
That's quite the obstacle they have to overcome. But for you, it's an excuse to look at some pictures late in the afternoon. Thank me by sending a KU news tip to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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When I saw Steve Warren, KU's vice chancellor for research and graduate studies, at a groundbreaking event on Friday, I asked him about something that I figured is probably frequently in the back of his mind nowadays: how the federal budget sequester is affecting KU's millions in federal research funding.
He said there's been one unfortunate piece of news: A government office called the Institute of Education Sciences, part of the U.S. Department of Education, has indicated that it will simply stop awarding new research grants for the time being because of the federal budget cut.
KU already has a number of active grants thru the IES, and those will continue to be funded as scheduled. But grants expire eventually, and Warren said it looks like no new funding will be available for now.
Altogether, Warren said his best rough guess is that KU's federal research funding might decrease by about 5 percent for the 2013-14 year. KU gets more than $200 million per year, so that's a decrease of more than $10 million. And that would break a five-year streak of increasing federal research funding, Warren said.
This could be a real blow to a lot of folks, from young faculty who crave grants and research opportunities so they can achieve tenure to graduate students who sometimes rely on outside funding sources to fund their education. And the competition will likely get stiffer for whatever grants remain available from the federal government, Warren said.
Altogether, he said, it could be an "unpleasant" year, though he said KU would do whatever it could to shield faculty and students from the effects.
Anyone out there at KU who's seeing the sequester affect his or her work up close? If so, let me know at email@example.com. And send in those KU news tips, too.
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Here's a piece of KU-related news that we'll present on its own, because it's quite sad.
A Northeastern State University professor found dead in Tahlequah, Okla., at the end of May was just four years removed from earning her doctorate from KU.
Tiffany Maher, 38, was an assistant professor of chemistry at NSU, and authorities say she was the victim of a homicide. She and four cats were found dead in her home after a fire that police say was arson. No arrests had been made in the case as of Friday.
Maher studied at KU for five years before earning her Ph.D. in chemistry in 2009, and the Tulsa World extensively quoted her dissertation supervisor, associate professor Mikhail Barybin, in a story on the aftermath:
"She was an extremely gifted teacher," he said. "I'd say she was probably a rare example of a graduate student who had equally impressive contributions in research, teaching and service to the community here in Lawrence.
"She was very well-liked by the departmental faculty, her peers, graduate and undergraduate students - and she taught many of them. She has been a great mentor to the undergraduate students."
The KU chemistry department will have a memorial service for Maher this weekend in Wescoe Hall, according to this note on its website.
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Clemson University in South Carolina has hired away a professor in KU's molecular biosciences department, according to this Clemson news release.
Robert Cohen, a professor of molecular biosciences at KU right now, will go to Clemson to become chairman of its biological sciences department. At Clemson, that's in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences.
Cohen earned tenure at KU in 1996 and was promoted to full professor in 2005. Before that, according to the Clemson release, he was on the faculty at Columbia University in New York. He'll start at Clemson on July 1.
A few facts about Clemson, since I went through the trouble of looking it up: It is not a member of the Association of American Universities as KU is, its endowment was less than half the size of KU's as of 2012 at about $483 million and it ranked No. 68 in the most recent U.S. News and World Report "Best Colleges" rankings to KU's No. 106.
No word on the local campus blogging situation at Clemson, though if there are any blogs I'm sure their readers are not nearly as helpful as mine. You're so helpful you didn't even need me to butter you up like I just did there for you to send a KU news tip or two to firstname.lastname@example.org.