Entries from blogs tagged with “Community news”

And the Beat Goes On… Clinton & Obama Closer than Ever

I've only been a registered Democrat for a few weeks now and I already have a few complaints: First off, what exactly is the point of these superdelegates? I mean, really, why should unelected officials get a separate vote just due to their prominence in the party? Secondly, I have to believe there could have been some way to avoid the debacles in Florida and Michigan. And, finally, (perhaps most importantly), why couldn't they let Stephen Colbert on the ballot?With Senator Clinton's wins last night, one one thing is certain- this thing is going to get ugly. This kind of negative campaigning, particularly in big states like Pennsylvania, can only serve to help John McCain. But having said that, I don't blame Hillary for hanging in there. I probably would, too, with things so close. And who's to say the other states shouldn't get the opportunity to weigh in for the candidate of their choice? Still, I may have to get myself motivated to go volunteer in Pennsylvania for a few days for Obama if nothing changes:Either way, this election has been an exciting one and the first one I've cared about in a long time. And, hey, I still have my old stand-by, Ralph Nader, to vote for if I end up jumping of the Democratic ship.


Road Trip Sandwiches

A sandwich, salad and drink is the perfect road trip meal. It may be hot or cold, fat or thin, open or closed. Sometimes the good ones are hard to locate. If a traveler passing through asked where to find a good sandwich locally, these two would be my suggestion.Grilled Portabella at Wheatfields Bakery . Of course, I would enjoy a butter sandwich with any of their delicious breads.Planet Veggie with among other things, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, and tangy olive spread at Yello or Planet Sub Both of these favorites are in downtown Topeka.Hot beef sandwich at the Downtowner just east of 6th and Kansas Ave. Worth the trip just for the retro cafe atmosphere.The Reubenstein at Classic Bean. Really, any of their sandwiches named after famous composers are good.On the way to visit family in Colorado we stop for homemade bierocks at Made from Scratch in Wilson, Kansas. It is a good half way lunch stop. Before re entering I70 at the Wilson exit, stop at the Flint Hills Winery tasting room for a bottle of wine, cheese and crackers, almost as good as a sandwich.The Hot Brown was first invented at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. Although the hotel restaurant was closed when we were there, we sampled the hot open faced sandwich at a restaurant recommended by a security guard at Churchill Downs. It was delicious but very rich.A Lobster Roll is easy to find in Maine. Small locally owned walk up places are frequent in the coastal cities. They are good, but quite honestly, I would rather have a fried walleye shore lunch sandwich, the fish freshly caught.A hot dog will certainly taste good when purchased downtown Chicago. Is there a better dog than at a football game? Yes, there is one better at the Art Fair in Breckenridge, Colorado, because it features caramelized onions. Probably the ultimate is a hot dog cooked over a bonfire.If you also have a sudden interested in sandwiches, check out the article, Best Sandwiches in America. Another gathering of lists of sandwiches is at Roadfood. The book, American Sandwich looks like a traveler's sandwich bible.These are my favorites. Additions encouraged.


So Much to See #10 (3/2/2008)

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Next:SMTS #11

Below is a small portion of a picture taken somewhere in the Lawrence city limits. It may be something you've never noticed before.Each day I'll post an image that shows a larger part of the full picture. I'll notify the first person who identifies the location and subject of the picture.

Image #2:

Hint #1:The picture was taken somewhere in the blue rectangle below.

View Larger MapImage #3:

Image #4:

The EleventhStephanie identified the house at 15th (actually 1501) Pennsylvania) first. Here is the entire picture:
(Click on picture to see a larger image)


Is it Over for Hillary?

Sure, we won't really know the fate of the former First Lady's presidential race until March 4th, but as of now it is not looking good. Supporters are swinging support to Barack Obama every day and Tuesday's debate in Ohio reeked of desperation. Prefacing the answer to the first question of the night with a complaint about preferential treatment (and a reference to Saturday Night Live, nonetheless) is just not the sign of someone in control. Combine this with a "shame on you" and an emphatic speech on the futility of hope and her chances of inspiring voters is just about over.For a moment there it looked like Hillary just might be paving the way for a graceful exit. Last week's debate in Texas showed a softer side of the candidate (um, New Hampshire, anyone?) that makes her much more likeable than she is when delivering corny one-liners like "change you can Xerox" or nitpicking over the words "reject" or "renounce." But for some reason, her campaign failed to capitalize on her softer side and instead focused on a lot of negativity. Perhaps the woman who will become the first female commander in chief is out there taking notes right now and won't be afraid of showing a little humanity.


Build a bear for the Pope.

The first official souvenir for Pope Benedict XV1's visit to Washington DC in April, has been announced - a bear. He's been nicknamed "Benny Bear" by Susan Gibbs, spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington."He's cute," Gibbs said, referring to the the bear.You can only get this "special" bear at one of the six Build-a-Bear workshop stores in Washington, so if you want one, you will need to act quickly. I suppose if the Teddy Bear was named after a President of the United States, it's perfectly natural to have Benny Bear to mark the visit of Pope Benedict on his first visit to Washington DC?


So Much to See #9 1/2 (2/27/2008)

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Next:SMTS #10

Since this week's image was guessed on the first comment, here is an extra picture. The entire picture is below, no sequence of gradually expanding images this time.


The Oscars Lack Luster

When I was in film school, I celebrated the Oscars with beer and friends. These days it's apple juice with the kids. And I don't think it's just my life that has gotten boring. Okay, so maybe my husband and I snuck in a few glasses of wine but this didn't make Jon Stewart any funnier. I guess you could say the writer's strike was to blame for the lack of any of the usual pageantry, but those of us working in film are used to doing things last minute. Creativity can be best when you're under pressure. So, what happened?I, for one, enjoyed watching "The Daily Show" (or "A Daily Show" as it was called) and "The Colbert Report" during the writer's strike. With talented comedians like Stewart and Stephen Colbert, a little improvisation can be a good thing. In addition to the freshness of spontaneity, you are spared a few groan inducing one liners. But whether it was the lack of prep time or the pressure of such a large viewing audience, one of my favorite political humorists failed to deliver last night.On the positive side, the film I wanted to win Best Picture, "No Country for Old Men," actually got the goods and Diablo Cody seemed genuinely moved when receiving her Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (proving us female bloggers can make good!). And of course the most moving moment of all was the In Memoriam montage of those who have permanently moved on from Hollywood. With both Michelangelo Antonioni and Ingmar Bergman in there this year, it further separates us from the greatness of cinematic past. Sure they were old as Methuselah, but it was just nice to be alive during the same time as them. It made cinematic history feel in the present, somehow.So, perhaps just like film industry it is meant to honor, our buddy the Oscar may be losing his magic: Next year, I'm hoping for Stephen Colbert!


Bullying- Proven Program?

As a victim of bullying a long time ago I know it is no fun. This was in the sedate 1950s before youth became so sophisticated and have so many more bullying weapons. I would not like to relive those years in today's schools or internet environment. There are many bullying stories out there. Feel free to share yours.As a former victim and child welfare advocate I was delighted to read in today's JW that Lawrence schools are expanding a bullying prevention program. The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program is identified as the "Cadillac" of such programs. The next sentence says that this program has "proven to reduce disciplinary referrals and conflict among students." I recall reading a press release ( entitled "Bully-prevention options for schools too narrow and untested." This statement came from Dorothy Espelage a Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who is an expert in bullying. This is what she says about the program adopted by the Lawrence School District.The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, "is being presented as a model, as being effective in decreasing bullying, and it has not been rigorously evaluated with U.S. samples," she said.Who to believe? I checked the Olweus website ( and they do have a link to a section on evidence of effectiveness. This includes 3 research studies conducted in Norway and 2 in the US. These appear to be reasonably well done studies but not ones that can establish cause and effect. They are not studies that use random assignment to two groups one receiving the Olweus Program and one that does not. This is the way to establish cause and effect or proven effectiveness.The Olweus Program has not "proven" to be effective. Perhaps the Olweus research suggests that the program reduces conflict or is associated with reduced conflict but it cannot be said that it is "proven" to reduce conflict. It is not uncommon for people who are advocating a program to overstate its benefits. It is likely that I have been guilty of that. However it is better for all of us to be careful of our language. Overstatement raises expectations and when they are not fulfilled the public becomes disillusioned.


So Much to See #9 (2/24/2008)

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This one is easy. This week I return to the original rules. The first iamge below is a small part of a much larger picture. A larger image will be posted each day. The first person to correctly identify the place or "thing" will be notified by me. The rest will just have to wait until a picture that they can identify is posted, or the answer given.This week's first image:

So now I know what a finial is.

Image #3:

A view of Watkins Museum from the alley to the west:


Your guess is as good as mine!

 The title says it all.    Nothing!    He/She sure as hell don't do anything about money hungry........uhhhhhh.........women, who just sit on their........uhhhhhhh.........behinds, collecting welfare, and waiting for child support payments.         Women who get pissed off when their check isn't what they thought it would be, and call SRS to file BOGUS allegations of abuse, just to retaliate against the men they WISH they could still have, but can't because they are/ were cheating whores.     And I'm not even going to mention SRS, and THEIR lack of intelligence.   Providing funding for women who don't even HAVE children to support.    OR providing funding for medication which is SUPPOSEDLY necessary (i.e. oxycodone), which is SOLD illegally.    OR for their failure to recognize REPEATED UNSUBSTANTIATED CLAIMS OF ABUSE.

Frozen Waterfall in Estonia

I saw this video of a waterfall in Estonia. High winds caused ice to cover nearby objects in a fascinating natural masterpiece.


Riding on the City of New Orleans

Here's a little piece of trivia for you music-lovers out there:Who was the first person to record Steve Goodman's "City of New Orleans"?(Hint: It wasn't Arlo Guthrie.)It's amazing what a clip of music can do. Whenever I hear a certain version of "City of New Orleans" I can feel the train wheels rolling beneath the floor, feel the jerk of the car that eventualy lulled me to sleep. I remember how it felt to walk between the train cars and how at first it seemed like a sudden lurch might toss me into someone's lap! I can see sunset all awash with pinks and lavenders in Chicago, the stop in Kankakee, morning in Memphis, the cotton fields of Mississippi and the swampy ground alongside the Pontchartrain.I took a train trip to New Orleans in early June of 2005, just months before Katrina. We took the Southwest Chief to Chicago--my mother and brother, Mark, and I--from the dank and deserted Lawrence depot. There, I was delighted (and also bruised from tumbling down the busy escalator with my suitcase) to find that the train heading south really WAS The City of New Orleans. No kidding. For two nights and a day and a half, as our train rolled south, I heard Willie Nelson singing "City of New Orleans" in my head. As we passed the cotton fields, Mother kept singing over and over, "I never picked cotton..."It was a marvelous trip, in spite of a few flaws. For instance, the train to Chicago ran out of food in the club car. Mark and I split a muffin for lunch. We heard the same movie about six times in the lounge. ( Who needs a movie when you've got such scenery, I wondered?) On the last leg of the journey home, we half wondered if they'd stop the train for us here in Lawrence. Or would they simply boot us out the door as the train slowed for a curve? These weren't flaws, really. They're something to look back on a laugh overm just as much as our days in New Orleans.So I was thrilled to read in the paper of Amtraks proposal to expand services south. It'd be great if we could all see this country by train. We need to use our rails again. But first of all, they do need to be more efficient. And our depot does need a lot of attention. (When we set out, we weren't even sure if we were in the right place. The place was so dark, so empty.)I hope the Kansas Legislature will support this plan!By the way...Any guesses on the trivia question? I'll be in later with the answer.


A Flat Boy In A Round World

My three year old son could not stop talking about last night's theatrical production of "Flat Stanley" at the Lied Center until he finally fell asleep at an hour so late I'm afraid to disclose it.It wasn't the vibrant performances of the side characters or the catchy musical numbers that kept running through his mind, but the talking bulletin board that flattened Stanley like a pancake., it's a bizarre premise, but most good children's books are. Whether it's sophisticated rabbit civilizations or magic closets, the realm of the imaginary holds a natural fascination over most kids. "Flat Stanley," by Jeff Brown and Scott Nash, was the first chapter book my preschooler could stomach and helped pave the way for our current delightful foray into "The Invention of Hugo Cabaret."The play combined several books from the Flat Stanley series in order to carry Stanley around the globe (via mailbox) in the space of an hour. The plot felt a bit rushed, but for the little ones in the audience, this may have been a good thing. I was hoping for a bit more visual imagination for the whole flat gimmick, as some of the more amusing parts of the main character's physicality were either ignored or summarized to avoid coming up with ways to translate them to the stage. But that may have just been the filmmaker side of me coming out to wreak havoc on my complete enjoyment of an experience that was otherwise delightful. At the play's end, Stanley encourages the audience to draw pictures of him and send him on further adventures. The "Flat Stanley" paperback we have at home also includes a cutout that you can take pictures of on your travels and mail on to your friends to do the same. I could not help but make the connection between Stanley and the Flat Daddies that families with fathers in Iraq can have made to fill in while they are away. "Flat Stanley" may not be that bizarre of a premise, after all.


So Much to See #8 (2/17/2008)

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Next:SMTS #9

This week, for reasons known only to me, the sequence of images will be different. Instead of an image which gradually expands, I'll be post small sections from different parts of the picture. I normally add one new image each day, but this time I will post additional snippets of the picture more often, probably twice a day.If you are the first person who correctly identifies the place or object, I'll send you a message to let you know you're correct. Everyone else will just have to keep looking.Cody is currently the undisputed master of this game. Take him down!This week's first image:

Here is a different part of the picture:

I said I would add images more frequently, here is another:

And another piece: another:

The blue baloon marks the location of this week's location:

View Larger MapHere is the picture of the train at Buford M. Watson Park:

Click on the picture to see a larger image:


Surprise Sunday Snow


Native Oversight

If you are a youth in SRS foster care who made it through high school and wants to further your education, you don't have to pay tuition at Kansas public institutions such as vocational schools and colleges. If you are a Native American youth in tribal foster care, forget it.Carol Shopteese, a child welfare worker with the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas, told me about a youth under the jurisdiction of the tribal court who made it through high school and wants to graduate from college. When Carol tried to access the tuition waiver program for this youth, she was denied.Kansas and other states are doing a better job of helping youth who are leaving foster care because of age. In the past, foster youth reaching age 18 were simply out on their own. One researcher in Wisconsin said that people leaving prison in that state had more resources than youth leaving foster care. That changed in 1999 when Senator John Chafee authored a bill that put an emphasis on assisting these youth to make the transition from foster care to becoming productive members of our communities.Many states have recognized their responsibilities to these youth by adding benefits beyond those provided by the Chafee Act. In 2006, the Kansas legislature enacted the "Kansas foster child educational assistance act." In simple terms, this law provides free tuition at Kansas public vocational schools and colleges to youth aging out of foster care who were in the custody of the Secretary of the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services. That is the rub. Children who are members of one of the Native American Tribes in Kansas are more likely to be in tribal foster care under the custody of a tribal court rather than SRS. Federally recognized tribes are sovereign nations within the United States. Many tribes have their own tribal courts and foster care systems to protect the interest of Indian children and families. Native American youth are eligible for benefits provided by the Chafee Act. The SRS Policy manual states: "Youth affiliated with the tribes and in custody or jurisdiction of the tribal court meet the same criteria as youth in the custody of the State of Kansas." This does not apply to the Kansas foster child educational assistance act because this provision was not written into the law. I am sure that this was just an oversight. Tell that to the 18 year old Sac and Fox youth trying to attain a college education.


Space Station and Shuttle Visible Tonight

The Space Station, with the Space Shuttle still be docked, will pass overhead this evening. Look to the northwest about 6:48 PM (the article says 6:28, but that is incorrect). Although it should be even brighter than usual, it will be visible for only 3-4 minutes as it passes over and goes below the eastern horizon. Even if there are a few clouds, it should not be hard to locate.


Google Street View: Cool? Scary? Both?

Yesterday I noticed that Google Maps, a tool I use frequently, had a new button at the top of the map. The button "Street View" was something I'd heard about a few months ago.Clicking the button, I saw most of the roads in Lawrence become highlighted in blue. As I zoomed in closer, a little virtual man appeared on the map. Clicking on him caused a picture to appear above his head. The picture was a view of the city street where he was "standing". With my mouse, I was able to pan the picture around and get a 360 degree view from that location.Then I used my mouse to drag him to near where I live. From within the picture, you can not only pan, but, by clicking on the arrows superimposed on the picture, move up and down the street.Soon I had navigated to my street and then to where my house is. I panned around to the right and there was my car sitting in the driveway!Before I go farther I should say that these picture were clearly taken in summer, probably last summer. THEY ARE NOT REAL TIME IMAGES. Google has sent a vehicle around to take these pictures. It has a camera with a 360 degree view on top. Some of you have seen it, as I'll describe later. It may have been a van, or a car with a spherical camera mounted above the roof.Speaking of people who have seen it, I noticed that the blue lines (which shows those streets which have been mapped with images) extended up north of Lawrence in to Jefferson county, where my Aunt lives.I found their road and as I "approached" (virtually that is) their house I first saw my one of my cousins driving his ATV down the road, past the camera vehicle. As I approached the house, my other cousin was clearly visible on a riding lawnmower, mowing his mother's grass.Cool? Absolutely. A little scary? Maybe. One thing I'm sure of, this is only the beginning. It will only get better... or maybe worse, depending upon your perspective.The Journal World's Christine Metz also had an article on Street View" which has more information.For those of you who follow my So Much to See blog postings, here is another hint for the lastest image. It uses Google Street View to let you search the area where this week's landmark is located. Navigate around a bit and you will see the subject of this weeks picture.BTW. I've been working with the LHS Robotics Club and hope to soon have some pictures and information as they prepare for this year's US First robot competition.


Feral Hog Problem Addressed

Feral hogs once again reared their ugly heads in the upper Wildlife and Parks region of Clinton Lake. Only this time, USDA Animal Control Specialist, Chad Richardson and his staff were there.First spotted in 2002, the wild pigs have been a continuing problem to private landowners and farmers leasing farmland in the Wildlife and Parks hunting area. I personally became concerned when I spotted a group walking across the pasture directly behind our home, an area where our grandchildren play.The Lawrence Journal World reported the USDA helicopter flight on March 17, 2006. In June, 2006 the Kansas Legislature passed a bill banning public hunting of feral hogs. Finally, in a story on January 25, 2007, George Teagarden, Kansas Livestock Commission announced they would fly again in the spring of 2007 reported here. Although the problem continued to receive attention, I did not feel there was a united effort against the growing population. We continued to see them, often a sow leading a group of babies.The USDA, Kansas Livestock Commission and Kansas Wildlife and Parks handling of the feral hog problem in our valley has received criticism. I, personally, felt the helicopter could not be completely effective over our valley because of the foliage. Others felt the ban on hunting did not make sense. Meanwhile, the farmers continued to lose crops. Two were hit on the road with damage to vehicles. It seemed the problem had no practical solution.It all changed December of 2007. It was the Holidays, but Chad Richardson was on the job. He paid us a visit and indicated he was ready to work on the hog population.Thanks to Richardson's long hours and local cooperation, a coordinated program of trapping began. The ban on hunting kept the hogs localized in the valley. As a result, 60 hogs were caught in live traps the months of December and January. The helicopter flew again on February 4, 2008 with 23 taken at that time.Although there may be feral hogs left in the valley, I applaud Richardson for his efforts in removing 83 of them. I, for one, will feel safer walking down the valley road this spring.


Roy Scheider: Not Just The Guy From “Jaws”

At the age of 75, film actor Roy Scheider passed away this weekend due to complications from cancer. Sure, he was most well known from his role opposite a certain shark known for terrorizing Amity Island, but he also appeared in dozens of memorable films that may not be blockbuster material, but are definitely worth checking out.The first one that comes to my mind is a lesser known William Friedkin film from 1977 called "Sorcerer." A remake of the French film "Le Salaire de la Peur" (The Wages of Fear), "Sorcerer" tells the tale of a couple of truckers in South America who are commissioned to drive shipments of nitroglycerin through some pretty rocky terrain. Both a character study and a thriller, the film allows Scheider to deliver an intense performance of a man risking his life for a chance at freedom.Other highlights from his career include a fun 70's cop drama called "The Seven-Ups," the Bob Fosse inspired "All That Jazz," a supporting role in "Klute," and let's not forget that role he had in the adaptation of William Burrough's "Naked Lunch."So, if you find yourself with a free moment, take a look at Roy Scheider's filmography on imdb. After you weed through a few missteps like "Daybreak" and "The Punisher," you just might find yourself with some decent Netflix rentals for this weekend. you have any other Roy Scheider recommendations, feel free to post them here.


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