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Entries from blogs tagged with “Community news”

So Much to See #7 (2/10/2008)

Previous:SMTS #6
Next:SMTS #8

Where is it? What is it?Here is this week's image, and I'm even including a hint. The small patches of white? That is snow.Does that help? <grin>

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2nd image:

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Image #3:

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Image #4:

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The final image of the gazebo at Centennial Park:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Feb/14/DSC_0786.JPG

Here is a map, the Centennial gazebo is marked by the blue baloon:

View Larger Map

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Pulitzer Prize winner speaks at KU.

Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter, Seymour M. Hersh received the William Allen White Foundation 2008 National Citation at Woodruff Auditorium (in the Kansas Union Building) at Kansas University yesterday. A photograph and report appears in the Journal World this morning.In an introduction, Ted Frederickson, Budig Professor of Writing, at KU, said that Hersh was "the most effective watchdog of our time...." and referred to his expostion of the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War, and the more recent Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq."Great," I thought, "I'm going to hear a great journalist, with proven investigative skills and courage, who is going to teach me something about persistence, courage, and some things that might help me become a better citizen journalist."I took my notebook along to gather gems of wisdom. I was excited when I heard his first sentences which included the phrase "there's nothing like journalism ... we have the ability to change the world." He added, referring to America, "this is a special country.""He's so right," I thought. "I'm privileged to be sitting here in the middle of America listening to this."Then Hersh proceeded to disparage the President of "this special country" with a "Bush bash" which drew laughs and clapping from some sections of the audience. Before I go any further, let me make it plain that I am not yet a voter (my American citizenship is in process) - and I am trying to listen to ALL the debates with an open mind. As Hersh continued talking, I became increasingly uncomfortable with his obvious negativity toward President Bush. The "greatest watchdog of our time" directed his bark and bites at the President. Yes, I know the watchdog journalist needs to tell the truth and Hersh has done a great job in relating the truths he has unconvered in Vietnam and in Iraq, but I expected him to be more objective - not engage in what appeared to be a personal attack on the person more than half of America elected to be the leader of this country.I am amazed that people on both sides - Republican and Democrat - seem to conclude that thinking or voting for one particular party shows some kind of stupidity or imbecility on the part of the other. Is over half of America really stupid because they voted for Republican George Bush? Does one half of America have the monopoly on intelligence - or stupidity?Surely part of any intelligent debate - and investigative journalism - is to look at both sides of issues in an objective way, before rendering a reasoned opinion? Near the end of his talk, Hersh said:"As journalists, we can hold up a light to show the truth."He generally does this in his writing, and does it well, but, yesterday, perhaps because he was suffering from a head cold, his objectivity went walkabout. The watchdog seemed to bark a little too much in only one direction, and, in my eyes, his light dimmed a little.

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Building International Understanding

http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... is noted sculptor Elden Tefft on the left. Eldon is retired from teaching sculpture at the University of Kansas and maybe best known locally as the creator of the statue of Moses in front of Smith Hall. His representation of former KU Chancellor Franklin Murphy is in a sculpture garden at UCLA along with works of such notables as Jean Arp, Barbara Hepworth and Henri Matisse.That is internationally known sculptor Gustavo Beckelmann on the right. Gustavo is from Paraguay and is in Kansas this month as part of the "Visual Encounters with Paraguay" exhibit at the Mulvane Art Museum at Washburn University in Topeka. Elden Tefft taught sculpture in Paraguay in 1989. His trip was part of a cultural exchange through Kansas Paraguay Partners and supported, in part, by Partners of the Americas.Gustavo says that in 1989 he was a struggling artist who was trying to create bronze sculptures. His methods were primitive and results were disappointing. He attended Professor Tefft's class in Asuncion Paraguay and his artistic life was transformed. Elden taught the "lost wax" method of working with bronze which is an ancient technique still used today.Following these classes Jerry Miller, one of Elden's collaborators, helped Gustavo build the type of kiln needed to work successfully with bronze. Gustavo has gone on to create sculptures that have won international prizes. He has also passed on what he has learned by helping sculptors in other countries build kilns like the one that Jerry helped him construct. This is one of hundreds of stories of international collaborations in diverse fields including agriculture, health and education that build understanding across cultures. In this case a young struggling artist in a developing country learned the skills needed to build a successful career. For his part Elden made lifelong friends in a little known South American country.I heard yesterday that the US now spends more on defense than all of the other countries in the world combined. Perhaps if we spent more on building relationships like that of Elden and Gustavo we would need to spend less on defense.

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Griff’s, the Drive-In and Much, Much More

Griff's Burger Bar was at 1618 W.23rd Street. Currently, Dunn Brothers Coffee shop sits on the site. In a recent LJWorld and Readers Blog quiz, the location of Griff's, along with the name of the drive-in theater on 23rd Street, was asked. It was the "Lawrence Drive-In" and its mailing address was 625 W.23rd Street, right between W.B. Auto Sales and the residence of Gene Hubbard. I can also tell you that near the Drive-In was the Malls Shopping Center with the Safeway Grocery Store, Acme Laundry & Dry Cleaners, Key Rexall Drug Store, Kief's Records and Hi-Fi, Maupintour Travel and several other businesses. How can I be so specific? Though I do admit to vaguely recalling some of these, this information can be found in the city directories in the Osma Room at the Lawrence Public Library.City directories list names and addresses of residents, businesses and organizations as well as official city offices, schools and churches. The earliest directory in the Library's collection is for the year 1866. In addition to listing the general information, an account of Quantrill's Raid of 1863 written by Rev.Richard Cordley is in this edition. If you wish to see how the city grew, reading the directories will give you a tour of the stores on Massachusetts Street, where the city limits ended, what industries came and went, how residential areas grew and who were the city officials. These little books are time machines that can take you back to a Lawrence that had streets named "Winthrop" and "Quincy". It will send you to a town with only 2 department stores but 20 dressmakers, including the Misses Dixon and the Helmendach Sisters. There were 36 grocers but not all were downtown. Small neighborhood grocers were selling their wares at 900 Mississippi Street and 1200 New York Street. There was a time that Lawrence had 30 physicians and 1 phrenologist.The changing needs of a community are reflected by the listings, too. In 1907, Lawrence had 4 carriage & wagonmakers but only 1 auto repair shop. By 1911, it was reversed. That year also showed Obers selling "automobile clothing". Society changes can be seen as well. The resident listings show occupations as well as names and addresses. It is easy to distinguish the working class neighborhoods from the residential area of business professionals. The books can take the reader back to an unfamiliar time but it can also shake the cobwebs from your own memory. Directories of the 1960s, '70's and '80s can conjure up cherry cokes at Raney's Drug Store, magazines at the Town Crier and Friday night tacos at the Stables. These memories are strong but the directories can also destroy them. Vividly recalling that something was definitely at a particular place only to read that it was elsewhere can be embarrassing. Lots of arguments can be settled by these little books. The city directories are a source of valuable information about a town. Merely by listing the basic facts, a picture appears of who lived there, what they did for work and leisure and where they did it. The Library has most city directories from 1866 through 1930, 1961 to the current edition. They are shelved in the Osma Room on the lower level of the Library. The Osma Room is the local history collection. It contains many other books and materials you might find interesting, including hard-to-find books on regional and local history, telephone directories plus high school & KU yearbooks. Genealogy materials are also available there. It is a treasure chest for anyone interested in the history of Douglas County. For more information on the Osma Room or material in the room, contact the Library Reference Desk, 843-1178 .1963 R.L.Polk & Co. Lawrence City Directory*1907 R.L.Polk & Co. Lawrence City Directory

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MIKE HUCKABEE, THE FALSE CONSERVATIVE:

THE REAL MIKE HUCKABEE: House Bill 1525 by Rep. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock, was approved by the House but eventually failed in the Senate. Huckabee reiterated Wednesday that he believes every child, regardless of their parent's immigration status, should have an opportunity to receive an education in the U.S.MORE ABOUT MR. HUCKABEE:http://www.arkansasnews.com/archive/2005/06/30/News/323746.html http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/25/AR2007112501547_pf.htmlhttp://www.huckabeefacts.org/ http://www.worldmag.com/articles/12679 http://cofcc.org/?p=1018http://www.chequer-board.net/story/2007/12/21/155136/04 http://www.dailycampus.com/home/index.cfm?event=displayArticleComments&ustory_id=0d52d1b9-1ae0-4e3b-8353-7d653899bac6&refsource=collegeheadlineshttp://www.powerlineblog.com/archives2/2007/12/019190.php http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/1/4/144236/0317 http://www.firesociety.com/forum/thread/20933/Huckabee-calls-for-end-of-Anchor-Babies/The media has successfully fragmented the Republican vote and pumped their favorite (NOT OURS) RINO (Republican In Name Only) McCain. It's a win win for the Liberal Socialists who are in the process of hijacking the Republican Party AND the country.JOHN MCCAIN, THE DEMOCTRATS FAVORITE CHOICEHere are links to articles that really expose John McCain for who he is:http://www.alipac.us/article2920.htmlhttp://media.citizensunited.org/Surprisingly.htm. It's a killer for McCain.There is still time to give Romney enough of a push to keep the race competitive. The power of the internet is incredible. Please make use of it! Email ANY and EVERYONE you know who will be voting on Tuesday and let them know just how disastrous it would be to vote for McCain. Educate them as to why and turn them on to Mitt Romney.I've met him on several occasions and was at the MA Rep. convention when we nominated him for Governor there. Tell them to get on the Romney bandwagon and help the guy out at: http://www.mittromney.com.Besides emails, you can make phone calls AND write/submit letters to editors online and at major metropolitan newspapers http://www.newslink.org/news.html around the country.HELP STOP RINO JOHN MCCAIN AND HIS SECRET PARTNER, HUCKABEE!!A vote for RINO (Republican In Name Only) John McCain is a vote for the following:ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: he wrote the bill granting amnesty to illegal immigrants (co-sponsored by Ted Kennedy).SOCIAL SECURITY: he voted to give your social security money to illegal immigrants.TAXES: he voted against the Bush tax cuts multiple times (he has since flip-flopped and has campaigned as a lifelong tax-cutter).RHETORIC: he routinely engages in Democratic class warfare against big companies in America, particularly the "evil" drug companies who research cures to debilitating diseases for a profit.ECONOMY: as recently as December 2007 he admitted "he does not know the economy very well" and needed to get better at it.1ST AMENDMENT: he wrote the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill that was declared to be an unconstitutional infringement of the 1st Amendment (co-sponsored by ultra-liberal Democrat Russ Feingold).2ND AMENDMENT: he was called the "worst 2nd amendment candidate" by the president of the NRA.ENERGY TAX: wrote a bill (co-sponsored by his buddy Lieberman) imposing a massive tax on energy which, according to the Department of Energy, would drastically raise the price of gasoline and put 300,000 Americans out of work.GLOBAL WARMING: supports radical global warming legislation which involved him voting with every Democrat; think only America is responsible to take action, not other superpowers.JUDGES: he joined forces with Democrats (Gang of 14) to block the Senate Republican's attempt to confirm conservative, strict constructionist judges; also said Alito was too conservative for his liking.WAR ON TERROR: fought with Hillary Clinton to demand that terrorists be given a full AMERICAN trial.

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Shuttle Launch Today

Launch today is scheduled for 1:45PM CST today. You can watch it in HD on channel 220, or on NASA TV.Launches now are just a small note in the news now, but if you've had a chance to see a shuttle launch, it is not something you will forget. NASA has not done a good job relating how amazing a task it is. Unfortunately, few will get to stand outside Launch Control, hear the final count over the loudspeaker, hear the loud whir of the main engines when they start and watch it rise from the billowing clouds of smoke.I can tell you for a fact that it is cool. Even these days few things can match it. From 3 1/2 miles away (as close as anyone is allowed) it is loud. Sometimes you'll hear car alarms go off from the low frequency vibrations. 10 miles is as close as most of the public can get, but even at that distance it is impressive.So if you have a few minutes today around 1:45, you might take the time to watch. Seven people are going to do something pretty amazing.And here is one more NASA site of interest, it is a real-time 3-D display of the satellites orbiting the earth. Unfortunately, it doesn't include the Shuttle and Space station, but it does show a new, fascinating perspective of our planet.

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My First Caucus

I will always associate my interest in this year's election with bitterly cold weather. The Obama rally in Kansas City came along with biting wind and last night's caucus ended in freezing rain. But still, something inside me said I should brave the cold and trade in the precious independent status I've held for so many years. So last night, I became a registered Democrat. Ralph Nader would be very disappointed in me. Quite honestly, it wasn't the party that drew me in but the candidate. There is something about Barack Obama's message that makes me want to give the guy a chance to stir up the pot out there in Washington. Apparently, a lot of people in the state of Kansas felt the same way. (Except my three year old, of course, who made sure everyone around him know that he "is for John McCain").The turn out was overwhelming. I don't think I've ever supported a popular candidate before, so it was fun to be with the majority. Although, I do think we had the best seats in the house.We sat on the edge of the Obamicans and adjacent to some friendly Edwards supporters. A few rows up were the enthusiastic Kucinich fans and a pair of even more boisterous college kids with a handwritten Mike Gravel sign. And let me tell you, young children do not see much difference in these divisions. So, while we were waiting for the rest of the voters to assemble, my restless toddler took me on a tour of all of the factions in our vicinity.The Kucinich group pimped their message of "Kucinich today, Obama in November" with great style. A Washburn student spoke eloquently about wanting one delegate to send a message to the country about needing a progressive voice in the Democratic party. And it worked. This small group tripled in size when it came time for the second vote. But, alas, even this wasn't enough for a delegate and they dispersed mostly to the Obama camp. Maybe 30 minutes later, we all dispersed back into the cold. A few cups of hot chocolate later, I saw the Kansas caucus results tallied on CNN. It is hard to put into words just how rewarding it felt to be one of the numbers reported. I would tell you I might have teared up, but I am afraid of a Hillary Clinton backlash so I'll leave that to your imagination. All in all, the caucus was a cool expierience, but next year, I am hoping for a primary. Either that or find some Republican friends to babysit.That was my caucus experience. How was yours?

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I like pie

My youngest son, Michael, has a fascination with pie. A few years ago when he was six or seven, my husband let him write the digital signature for paying with credit at our local lumberyard. Instead of writing his name, he scrawled "I like pie." So that was the signature on the printed bill! Michael is the baby of the family. He is ten years younger than his oldest brother and seven years younger than son number two. He is a freckled redhead with warm brown eyes that twinkle with mischief and merriment. He's smart and he loves a good joke. We have all laughed at his antics since he was just a baby, which has only encouraged him. At 11, he is still funny. His teachers even tell me how much they appreciate his sense of humor.The other day Michael asked his dad how to change his log in password on the computer. His dad told him how to make the change. Today, when my husband tried to log in to the computer, his password wouldn't work. When he clicked the help button, the hint for the password was "food." So he entered "pie." Apparently, Michael changed all of our log in passwords to his favorite food!

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Computer Use for the Very Young

The first thing my 3 year old said when he woke up this morning was, "can I get on the computer?" He wasn't interested in pancakes or trains or puppy dog tails but an electronic contraption with a plug to the outside world. Granted, I just recently signed him up for a trial period an educational website designed for preschoolers, but this level of enthusiasm was a bit disturbing. Having two little boys in the house, I have mentally prepared myself for the day when I'll have a couple of teenagers upstairs glued to a gaming system. But I never thought it would start so soon. Perhaps it is a result of my gender, but I've never quite understood how guys can spend so many hours of their lives on computer games. Okay, so maybe it was kind of fun watching my brother do Mike Tyson's Punch Out on the old Nintendo, but other than that, this phenomenon has escaped me. It just seems like a lot of wasted time.My son is remarkably computer savvy. He can drag and drop better than my mother can and navigates his bookmarks with surprising ease. And sure, I have been strict about setting time limits and only allowing him to do educational programs, but I still wonder if this is a good thing. Yes, he's gaining some technical skills and practicing his letters and numbers, but I can easily see how this could become a crutch. There aren't too many activities my son is content to do on his own, but his computer is one of them. And as a mom trying to juggle creative ambitions, it sure would be easy to let him be on there for a little more time as I finish up some projects, right? But today was a beautiful day. So, I turned off the computer and took the kids to the park. So, yeah, the Play Station days will catch up to us someday, but for now I have two little kids to cherish and play with: unplugged.

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Paraguayan Art?

Paraguay is a little known (in the USA) South American country snuggled between Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia with a rich artistic tradition that is celebrated in an exhibition of over 150 works currently at the Mulvane Art Museum of Washburn University in Topeka. The exhibit is open through April 13, 2008.This exhibit includes cultural artifacts of several indigenous peoples. Tools, water pots, sandals and spears are just a few examples. But Paraguay is not just a romantic tropical or sub-tropical country. A 2007 human rights calendar published by Museo de las Memorias is a graphic reminder of abuses of past dictators. This museum is part of an old police station that was used to torture political dissentients and is dedicated to keeping the memory of these events alive.There are several works by artists who struggled for artistic and political freedom during the repressive dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner (1954-1989). Carlos Colombino is one of these artists whose work of that era is highly symbolic. His El Supremo not only refers to Paraguay's first dictator but to a long line of repressive governments. This work shows a head emerging from or submerged in a landscape form constricted with rope.Other, less troubling aspects of Paraguayan culture are represented. Nanduti is delicate lace work that seeks to emulate and go beyond the intricate spider webs that inspired this craft. Nanduti is the word for spider web in Guarani which is the other official language of Paraguay with Spanish. Nanduti is represented in the exhibit with several handmade examples and by other works that pay homage to this tradition such as the contemporary works of Alfredo Miltos. In this exhibit, as in the artistic expression of most cultures, the traditional and modern are intertwined. A very interesting modern artist is Maria Gloria Echauri who takes pictures of peoples lower legs and feet and superimposes them on maps representing the movement of people to find work.The exhibit is titled, "Visual Encounters with Paraguay: Forty Years of Kansas Paraguay Partnership." Kansas and Paraguay have been partners since the 1960s as part of the Partners of the Americas program. Through the years there have been and continue to be a variety of exchanges including education, agriculture, medical, and arts. Much of the work in the exhibit is from the private collection of Kansans who have traveled to Paraguay as well as from the Spencer and Mulvane Museums of Art.Reinhild Kauenhoven Janzen, Interim Director of the Mulvane Art Museum is the curator of this show has done a masterful job of presenting the breadth and depth of Paraguayan art. She states, in the exhibition catalog: "Visual arts, like music, are powerful communicators of a people's history, cultural identity and values across boundaries of language and political borders." Her presentation of the works is a testament to her ability to enable the art to communicate. The catalog is trilingual, English, Spanish and Guarani. That may be a first for Kansas and Paraguay.

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So Much to See #6 (2/3/2008)

Previous: So Much to See #5
Next: So Much to See #7

Where is it?
What is it?
Yes, the image is small. A hint or larger image each day.http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... #2http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... #3http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... is it?
What is it?
Who was it?
The full image:
http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... is the front of Thomas Barber's monument:

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January 31st

January 31st Our dam speaks with a mighty roar,Day by day-hour by hour;Our dam speaks for a mile most days,A sound ignored all the more,For its constancy perpetual,Holding forth his mighty power;Dog and I walked the levee one day, usual;Suddenly the dam's voice was not there in my mind's haze,Unheard where normally his voice is good, The dam was not speaking? The voice still, no voice vestigial, My ears heard not his roar;Dog looked me in the face, as still I stood,An answer to this puzzle seeking;Then, A snowflake gently rested on my nose, As if in reply: 'sound is lost in snows;'a slow and easy snowfall, Weathermen called it a dusting,And no wind gusting, A so Gentle snow, muffling the dam's mighty growl;I imagined mashed potato clouds filled the sky ;After walking much more,his familiar drone-my ears modulated,This fine snow made the levee More than usual cozy;I returned to my neighborhood,With echoing train whistles,And icy beard bristles;Snow and dam penetrated.

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I made a fool of myself for international understanding.

http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... is me in the homemade sandwich board. On Wednesday I walked Jayhawk Boulevard for 1.5 hours between the Kansas Union and Hock Auditoria trying to catch the noon hour rush from class to lunch. I was looking for a few good volunteers. Being many years older than most people on the street I got lots of strange looks.That RPCV on the button stands for Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. I was one and like so many others it was a fantastic and life changing experience. I served in Paraguay which is also part of another U.S foreign policy program called Partners of the Americas. Like Peace Corps, Partners was another President Kennedy initiative. Paraguay is partnered with Kansas and that partnership is still going strong after 40 years but more on that at another time.The event I was trying to get students interested in was Thursday evening and included recruiting for Americorps and Teach for America as well as the Peace Corps. There may have been as many RPCVs there as recruits. That is because it is such a powerful experience that most RPCVs want to share their experiences and encourage others to do the same. One recently returned volunteer served in Turkmenistan and as a result came back to seek an advanced degree related to Central Asia. One volunteer in my group is now working in a not for profit housing organization on the south side of Chicago using his Spanish learned during his service in Paraguay. These are just two of thousands of stories.I talked with several young people who were interested and showed with their questions that they were apprehensive. Twenty seven months away from friends and family in some country with another language is quite a commitment. Yet every RCPV related wonderful stories of learning a language, adapting to another culture and making friends that became family away from home. One person who served in the 1970s told of continuing to visit 'family' in Central America more than 30 years later.Programs like the Peace Corps and Partners of the Americas may be the most effective United States foreign policy programs. Not that volunteers have a large impact on another country but because people in one country come to understand those in another. I was once told that Senator Fulbright said that he favored any foreign policy program that reduced nations to people. I agree.

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My Experience at the Obama Rally

I'd never been to a political rally before, but something about this election year made me think it just might be time for me to take an interest. So, when I heard Senator Obama was going to be in Kansas City, I rounded up the necessary babysitting and registered online for a ticket. Easy, huh? Well, not exactly. The rally was supposed to start at 5:45 and doors opened at 3:45. I got there at 4 o'clock and entered a packed foyer for the Municipal Auditorium. It was a sizeable crowd, but I figured once we could spread out in the auditorium it wouldn't be too bad. I should have known better. About 20 minutes later, a distant voice informed the crowd that we would be filing in from one side of the room, so now was the time to form a line. Now was the time? How can you form a line in a room that was packed with people?By some stroke of luck, I just happened to be on the side of the room that was entering. And this Obama crowd was a pretty tame and civil bunch. No one pushed or shoved their way toward the opening we were filtering out of. Hey, I was almost crushed at a Bauhaus concert once, so this was a piece of cake, right?Again, not exactly. Unbeknownst to anyone in the crowded room above, the small opening we were filtering out of did not signify the end. It was the only the beginning. What awaited us was a labyrinth of horrors designed to torture Obama supporters and undecideds alike for the next hour and a half of our lives. We were ushered through a long line in a parking lot only to discover that this line did not lead to a destination but was a loop that would come full circle. The looks of horror on people's faces and the "oh my god's" were only amusing when you were on the returning side of this circle.After 45 minutes of this rat experiment maze, we were thrilled to be back inside the building. Then we discovered there was yet another loop to go through! At this point, I began to wonder what had happened to me in the last eight years of my life. Waiting for Peter Murphy was one thing, but doing all this to see a senator of Illinois- what was wrong with me?http://worldonline.media.clients.elli..., we I made it to the auditorium just before Governor Sebelius and Senator Claire McCaskill from Missouri took the stage, looking like the Obamettes. Sebelius was much more animated than she was the night before. Jon Stewart would have been proud. And Obama? He was a great speaker, and I soon forgot about the waiting. (I wonder if you could say the same thing after waiting for Mitt Romney). But I may have been paying too much attention to election coverage because a lot of Obama's talking points were familiar to me. I was not swept away in quite the same way I was when listening to his Jefferson Jackson speech on the radio. http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... really responded to his idea of getting rid of income tax on seniors making under $50,000 a year. And his comments about including pre-existing conditions in health care coverage got the crowd riled up after his personal story about his mother.The part that I found most memorable was when he spoke about the Kennedy endorsement. He said it was not so much a passing the torch from the Kennedys to him, but from their generation to the next generation. This sentiment really resonated with me as I was amazed to see how much of the crowd here tonight was made up of young people. My generation has grown up in the shadow of the 60's. We contrast that time of conviction and passion with the malaise that we feel about our current state of affairs. We are rather cynical about our government, but have yet to have our spirit awakened to do anything about it. Tonight, Obama called for us to end this cynicism and look for a new hope (he's talking Star Wars here: he must speak to us, right?)I have a new respect for the people you see on CNN at these political gatherings. So, sure my feet hurt and yes, I witnessed an an asthma attack and a near fainting in which Obama himself had to intervene to get the woman a chair. But, ultimately, I think it was worth it to make the headlines personal and take an active part in something rather than just watching it on television. A Bauhaus concert it wasn't. But a piece of history? Maybe. http://worldonline.media.clients.elli...

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Douglas County’s Ninth Wonder of Kansas

The 8 Wonders of Kansas sponsored by the Kansas Sampler Foundation were unveiled by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius today. I believe they are a good representation of Kansas. However, my suggestion, located right here in Douglas County, did not make the list.I suggested rocks, more specifically pink boulders found along the Wakarusa river valley.According to Glacial Geology, the pink boulders were recognized in northeastern Kansas by the French explorer, De Bourgmont in the early 1700s. Their origin was a mystery until 1868 when Louis Agassiz visited the area. He was a controversial scientist who popularized the concept of a recent Ice Age in earth history. He correctly identified the pink boulders as erratics transported from as far north as the now Minnesota region by an ice sheet.The following is a quote from Glacial Geology of the Kansas City Vicinity:"Along the edge of the ice lobes, glacial lakes were dammed in pre-existing valleys, and meltwater floods eroded spillway channels around the ice margin. All these features serve to identify the effects of glaciation in the region. During the late Independence glaciation, ice lobes advanced farther south and locally blocked the Kansas and Missouri River valleys east and west of Kansas City. Numerous meltwater spillways were eroded and glacial lakes filled and overflowed along the maximum limit of glaciation. These spillways are preserved as valleys parallel to and south of the Kansas and Missouri river valleys. Some of these spillways were later filled with sediment and others remain open valleys today. A good example is the Wakarusa River valley in Shawnee and Douglas counties, Kansas."From the quote, one would conclude the large number of red granite rocks in the area were brought here by the glacier and then dropped as it melted. They are beautiful, all sizes and very heavy.The Wildlife and Parks hunting area in the upper region of Clinton Lake is available for hiking. On the northern hills of the river valley, Minnesota granite rocks, protrude from the grasslands. They may appear flat in the grass but may be massive in size underneath. The rocks located near the bridge on the north end of Massachusetts Street were harvested in this area.Skye, the boxer, indicates the size of the rock. Granite rocks would not make Kansas a tourist hot spot. On the other hand, how they were transported and left here is amazing. I would consider it a wonder of Kansas.

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So Much to See #5

Previous: So Much to See #4
Next: So Much to See #6

Where is it? What is it?This is visible from one of the main streets of town (as defined by me). Each day or so I'll add a larger image or hint. Some complained last week that the image was to small and blurry. I confess, I'm trying to make them hard enough so that it will take at least a day or two to identify them. The previous 4 pictures were guessed quickly. FYI, here's a recap:

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However, I am amazed that subjects of the pictures were identified so quickly. Nonetheless, I'm trying to make them harder.Here is this week's image first image:

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2nd image

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3rd image

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4th image

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The final image:
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This house is just north of East Heights Early Childhood Family Center.Cody has done it again.

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Show Me the Money

On Friday, Nov. 9th, Drake University played a basketball game at 4:30 P.M. (ET) against California-San Diego. The game was played at California-San Diego. Drake won, 81-63. One of the Drake players, Bill Eaddy, played for one minute. He had no free throw or field goal attempts. You can find all the box scores for that game online.Sometime ago, I don't know exactly when, the city of Lawrence built a roundabout at the intersection of 19th St. and Barker Avenue. I strongly suspect the construction involved a number of workers and took several weeks,, maybe more. I would also guess that it cost over a hundred thousand dollars. With some effort, I'm sure I could find out more about this project.I can find minutes from a city commission meeting in 2000 where the the roundabout was mentioned. I can also find information about the city budget process. The city budget for 2007 is available online. I don't see the 19th & Barker roundabout mentioned so it must have been built before then.To be honest, I don't really care that much about when the roundabout was built. I would be interested to see how much it cost.Am I the only one who thinks it ironic that detailed information about a basketball game is so readily available, yet informtaion about our local government and the millions ($67 million if I read the budget correctly) it spends is so much more difficult to obtain?I do commend the city commission in making the budget available online. The school board should follow suit.Show me the money, where it goes, and that it is used effectively, or don't ask me for more. We are each responsible for overseeing the actions and decisions of those we elect. Those elected officials should make it as easy as possible for us to do that.Even if the city and school district each needed to add a person who's only responsibility is to make the budget and financial information available to us, I think it would be money well spent.

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Taking the Credit

I was recently sent an email that consisted of quotes from famous persons. It was a pretty slide show of profound sayings by historical people, some I actually recognized before their names were shown. The quotes were thoughtful and I know that I've seen several on the "Inspirational" plaques but one jumped out to me. "It is remarkable what can be accomplished if you don't care who gets the credit.--Harry Truman." My mind immediately went to the current political campaigns. It has been a source of warped comedy to me how people complain so about the Christmas season lasting too long because items are in stores in October but don't seem to be fazed at how long the candidates have been running for the Presidency. I understand how the election process works. I know how states choose their delegates. I understand about the conventions. By the time of the conventions, let alone the election itself, candidates will have been electioneering in some form for two years. Doesn't that strike anyone beside me to be slightly excessive? No candidate can fully say what he or she will do once in office because there is no one person that can make the changes by themselves, not even the President. The strength of our governmental checks and balances determine that one person cannot make all of the decisions. A candidate can say what he or she feels is needed to be done and how it could be implemented but they never do that. The campaigns talk in generalities but some are better at that than others so it does seem that solutions are being given but if we listen closely, they aren't. Call me cynical but why can't the candidates take a much shorter time to not tell me exactly what they want to do? If a candidate can't convince me that he or she is the best person for the job in six months, why do they think that two years will do it? Oh, wait a minute. I think I used to use this tactic with my Mother. If I keep talking about what I want for long enough, maybe she will tune me out just enough to finally say yes to make me stop? Especially if I look nice doing it and say just enough of the right things that I know she likes to hear occasionally. Yes, now I think I get it. Only thing is, I remember this didn't work very well with my Mother. She told me that she was getting tired of hearing about it and so the answer was no. But my Daddy, he was another matter. He would say yes. Guess it depends on the audience. As I listen to the candidates, more and more I am wanting to hear a candidate that appears to have the bigger picture for the country instead of what one party has or hasn't done or will or won't do. As I first mentioned, when credit for accomplishing what is needed is not the first priority, many things can be done. Politics has never been a group hug but it has shown times when the greater good was the priority. I don't think that I would be the only voter that would recognize that candidate and feel that , finally, I have a real choice.

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Mont Blue to the Rockies-managing affordable ski vacations

Growing up as Kansas flatlanders, skiing was on water in the summer.It was the early 70s when a friend suggested we try snow skiing at Mont Blue, a busy little ski slope southeast of Lawrence. Always ready for fun, we jumped at the chance.Mont Blue had a base house with fireplace, refreshments and ski rental. Equipment fitted, we headed out to the "mountain." To get to the top, we grabbed the towrope and hung on. Once there, we proceeded to fall and slide to the bottom. Laughing all afternoon, we got better and were hooked on skiing.Mont Blue was the beginning but the Rocky Mountains had better snow. Quickly discovering a ski vacation is expensive, we managed to find ways to make it affordable for our family. These are my suggestions.First, it is helpful to find at least one other family with a similar interest to share lodging as well as food. Our children have many happy memories from these trips with friends. Take a lunch to the slope in a backpack. Sandwiches, cheese, fruit. candy bars and sodas taste wonderful after a morning of exhilarating runs. We "hide" the backpack in a snow bank and retrieve it at a designated time. Most all warming houses on the slopes have seating for picnickers. Do this or pay $6 to $8 for a hamburger.Ski rental is cheaper as a package away from the slopes. Equipment malfunctions will quickly ruin a day of skiing especially if the rental store is two hours away. Make sure there is a satellite shop or the store has an agreement with a rental shop near the slope. No need to purchase fancy clothing. Ski pants are affordable and any warm coat will do. Always layer. Toasti Toes help with cold feet. Mittens are warmer than gloves. If you are a first time skier, plan on at least a half day of lessons. It is money well spent and may include a lift ticket. Lift tickets are a major expense. Breckenridge is now charging $80 a day. Check some of the lesser-known slopes. They might offer a family discount. Right now a $10 purchase of gasoline at a Phillips 66 in Colorado will get you a voucher for a buy one, get one free lift ticket on Sundays at Copper Mountain. Grocery stores in Denver offer discounts also. An article recently on Arama.com entitled Discount Lift Tickets - Learn what Colorado Ski Resorts Do Not Want You to Know! has additional suggestions. Finally, be adventurous. Keep a good attitude and have fun. Don't give up after the first try. It gets easier. There is no feeling like swishing down a slope with breathtaking mountains as a backdrop. Suddenly all the planning is worthwhile. Since our first try at Mont Blue, we have visited slopes in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. Three of our five grandchildren, all under eight years old, skied for the first time last week. We still laugh coming down the slopes-all three generations.

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For The Love of Grandparents

Stories My Grandmother Told Me premieres at the American Heartland Theater in Kansas City this month. The review wasn't very favorable, but reading about the play brought back childhood memories of time spent with my grandparents. I loved visiting my grandparents. When Grandma came to pick me up, I knew that she would keep me for several weeks. She would only allow one granddaughter at a time to stay with her so I knew that I would be the sole focus of attention while I was there. Every visit, she cut my hair and took me shopping for new clothes. I hated the hair cut. It looked like she put a bowl on my head and cut off any hair that stuck out and my bangs were ridiculously short. I could hardly wait until they grew back in. I would pull on them constantly trying to get them to grow. My sister said that I was lucky. Grandma gave her "permanents" when she was a little girl. My grandparents lived on a farm in Holden, MO. My grandfather farmed, raised cattle and kept horses. He and my grandmother rode horses in parades and horse shows. Gramps was 6'4" tall and Grandma was 5'1". They made quite a pair! Being a bit plump and on the short side, my grandmother had a hard time reaching the stirrup to lift herself into the saddle. She had a very gentle horse named Dan that she trained to "stretch out" so that he was low enough for her to be able to get into the saddle. Dan was the only horse my grandparents would allow me to ride by myself. Often during my visits, Gramps would have a new buggy for me to try out. He'd attach it to one of the horses and lead the animal around while I rode in the seat, grinning from ear to ear, having the time of my life. Gramps would also take me for a ride on the tractor and let me steer, only to pretend that I was losing control and we were headed for the pond. I would squeal and Grandma would yell at him to stop that before somebody got hurt. It was all in good fun though.My grandparents were also antique dealers. The house and the barns were full of antiques. They called their shop Granny's Antiques. They took me with them when they traveled to auctions. These trips started before dawn, at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. This was long before the life-saving benefits of seat belts were known and I would stretch out in the cab of the pick-up truck with my head in one lap and my feet in the other. Grandma was partial to fancy glassware but Gramps loved to restore furniture. Some people think that refinishing and restoring devalues antique furniture. I disagree. The way that Gramps stripped off the years of dirt and old varnish to reveal the beautiful wood underneath was like magic. He would sand until it was smooth, apply stain and then varnish. He also taught himself how to cane chairs. I marveled at his endless patience as he caned chair seats. That is painstaking work! When I was about five years old, I was outside with Gramps. He was working on a piece of furniture and watching me watch a hummingbird. The hummingbird was about a foot away. I was sure that I could reach out and grab it. Gramps read my mind. In his orneriness he encouraged me. "Go ahead, try to catch it," he said. I so wanted to hold that hummingbird, but I was hesitant. Knowing that I wouldn't be able to catch it, he egged me on. Ultimately, I didn't reach for it. I could tell from his chuckle and the glint in his eye that Gramps was just having fun with me.I miss my grandparents. I am grateful to have known them and for the memories they created and lessons they taught me. I am a better person because of their love and guidance.These are just a few of the fond memories I have of my grandparents.What fond memories do you have of your grandparents?

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