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The Tour of Lawrence was a three day cycling celebration that began downtown on June 26 with street sprints and an evening of music and family entertainment.
Saturday the Campus Criterium Race showcased Haskell Indian Nations University and the Breezedale Historic District with a 2.2 mile loop bicycle course, followed by at Downtown Criterium that used the former two-time Collegiate National Championship course. Case prizes for the weekend totaled over $20,000.
“Seven hundred riders in the race and 2500 people downtown help create the idea that Lawrence is THE Midwest events destination,” Sanner said. “It helps sell Lawrence to corporations and shows companies that they should bring their events, conferences and meetings to Lawrence.
“Our downtown track meet even got international attention. All these events demonstrate what Lawrence can do.”
Sanner said he is thankful for volunteers, some of whom came from Central Rotary, who man these events. He believe in promoting events on social media using the slogans “Explore Lawrence,” and “Unmistakably Lawrence.”
“Being a university community helps,” he said. “There’s a youthful vibe that I really enjoy.”
The Pollinator was on a wall of what was then the Aquila building at 9th and New Hampshire from 2007 until March, 2015. It was inspired by the work of Aaron Douglas, a black Topeka artist, who graduated from Topeka High School in 1917 and, against formidable odds, became the first black to get an art degree at Nebraska University. He also earned a masters degree at Columbia. He studied in Paris, taught at Fisk University and, in addition to murals, designed posters, book covers for major authors and journal covers.
After the Spencer purchased one of his murals, the idea grew for a mural in Lawrence to commemorate the influence of Douglas and other Kansas blacks including Langston Hughes, Gordon Parks and Gwendolyn Brooks, in pollinating art in America. The mural’s name reflects one of Brooks’ poems: “We are each others’ harvest . . .”
Local artist David Lowenstein led the project, aided by a large committee which included Central Rotarian Carolyn Chinn Lewis. Grants, community support and private donations provided funding. The completed mural faced the Farmers’ Market, creating a downtown site celebrating all aspects of the harvest.
By 2014 the building had been sold and marked for demolition. “We spent months trying to figure out a way to save the mural,” Earle said. “ We thought of moving the wall or taking it apart brick by brick.” But none of these ideas worked and the building was demolished in March.
“The owners have promised us wall space for a mural on the new multi-purpose building they are constructing at the site,” Earle said. “And it will still face the Farmers’ Market.
The Baker Wetlands was the subject of Doctor Roger L. Boyd’s presentation. Doctor Boyd is the Baker Wetlands Education Coordinator and a biology professor emeritus, Baker University. Preservation of wetlands is important where ever they are found as they function as a check on flooding, filter pollutants and serve as a unique habitat for plants and animals. Haskell University acquired the area in 1854 and drained it and used it for agricultural instruction. Baker University acquired the site in 1968 and in 1990 restoration began. Drainage ditches were plugged with good results. A thirty year controversy threatened the project as plans to link up highway 10 with a passage through the wetlands was fought over. The project was finally approved with a promise to reduce the impact of a roadway on the area and there was a significant property exchange that benefited both parties.
An 11,800 square foot Discovery Center will open in July and there are plans for camping areas and trails. Recent rains have speeded up the restoration. The Baker Wetlands will function as a giant outdoor classroom for area students and researchers from Haskell University, Emporia State University and Kansas University.
Mark Gerges, Assistant Professor from the Department of Military History at Ft. Leavenworth, marked the 75th anniversary of the fall of France to Nazi Germany with his program at Lawrence Central Rotary. This historic event occurred in June 1940. Gerges’ explained that the fall was not a result of superior German military skill or resources, as some have claimed. Rather, France fell as the result of a number of small twists of luck and the initiative of a few German leaders.
Gerges used maps to highlight the planned movement of allied forces and German onslaughts. The French front was brittle; it had had no depth of resources. Half as many men were in the French army in 1940 compared to its force in 1914. But Germany was not as strong as they claimed either. In particular, the German tanks were not as plentiful along the French front as portrayed in the media. The photos of hefty German tanks were of tanks actually located in Norway, not on the French border.
Gerges also emphasized the strength and weakness of the two different command and control models that the Germans and the Allies used. The Germans encouraged individual initiative and maneuvering; the French used a “fan” approach where central control managed troop movements. Gerges believe that the German model is what gave them the victory.
Gerges will speak on “The Fall of France” at KC Library on Tuesday, June 30, at 6:30 p.m.
The School of Business at KU is launching anew online MBA program. The new facet to the school was presented by Administrative Director of Masters Programs, Dee Steinle, who is the wife of Central Rotarian Michael Steinle.
“It’s an interesting way for a University to do business,” she said of the growing online presence of university classes.
“Two years ago KU launched an online special education degree,” Steinle said. When market research showed an MBA would find an audience, the process began.
Citing her own middle school aged son’s ease with learning online she said predictions are that by 2020 there will be five million online students in the country. Currently there are 450 MBA programs on line but only 20 are ranked programs. “It’s getting harder for people to attend classes in person,” she said “so this is the answer.”
KU will provide the “talent,” creating the syllabus and teaching the courses, the first one to be offered in August, the second in October. EverSpring, a private company out of Chicago will handle the technical details.
“There’s going to be a lot of learning on my part as we ramp this up,” she said. They are formulating an admissions process and creating an eight-week cycle of class offerings. “We will try to keep human touches too, providing places for students and graduates of the program to come together.
For more information about the program point your browser to http://onlinemba.ku.edu/online-mba/
Margaret Weisbrod Morris, chief program officer for the Lawrence Arts Center became an official Rotarian after having visited the club several times. President Carolyn DeSalvo gave her membership materials and her pin.
Margaret Weisbrod Morris came to the Lawrence Arts Center from the Kansas Arts Commission where she was the program manager for Arts in Education. She managed the funding, partnerships, and initiatives related to arts education for the state arts agency, and served as the program administrator and event producer for the Kansas Governor’s Arts Awards and the Kansas chapter of the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Competition.
Before moving to Kansas, she created studio art and art therapy programs for non-profit organizations in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and provided training on the use of art in social service and community settings. Ms. Weisbrod Morris is active in the arts education and non-profit community, presenting in national forums such as the Arts Education Partnership’s National Forum, the National Association for State Arts Agencies National Assembly, National Art Education Association’s National Conference and the Americans for the Arts – Arts Education blog salon. She has served as a panelist for the US Department of Education, National Endowment for the Arts, Mid America Arts Alliance and the Oklahoma Arts Council.
Morris holds a B.F.A. in painting and printmaking from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and studied with Edith Kramer, the founder of the field of art therapy, to get her M.A. degree from New York University.
Even though the 2014-2015 school year is just coming to a close, plans are already underway for “Back 2 School” for Fall 2015. The project will provide school supplies, backpacks, and new shoes to children who cannot afford to purchase those supplies themselves.
Every child needs school supplies to begin the school year with confidence. With “Back 2 School,” families who live at 185% of poverty level may apply for assistance. In USD 497, there are 1,648 children, ages 5 to 17, who qualify. That is 13.8% of the Lawrence school system enrollment.
Rotarian Jim Evers, Director of Development for Douglas County Salvation Army, introduced the join initiative to Lawrence Central Rotary members. Kyle Roggenkamp, Human Services Director at The Ballard Center and Penn House, and Colleen Gregoire, Vice President and Campaign Manager, United Way of Douglas County, shared stories about the project. East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corporation (ECKAN) is also part of the alliance. Other sponsors include First Christian Church, Hallmark, the City of Lawrence, Office Depot, Walmart and Radio 92.9, KLWN AM 1320, and KKSW 105.9.
Local agencies will work with the school district and other groups to develop a list of families who need “Back 2 School” assistance. In July, volunteers will encourage donations for paper, notebooks, pencils, and other materials listed by the local school district as necessary for a well-prepared student in the fall. United Way also hopes to include a new book for each child as well. In August, other volunteers will pack each backpack with the appropriate supplies for each grade level; buy shoes for children; and prepare for distribution day.
It is the second year of collaboration among these agencies. In 2013, the Penn House alone distributed school supplies to 598 children. Last year, the first year of collaboration, Penn House, Ballard Center, and the Salvation Army distributed backpacks and pairs of shoes to 833 children K-12. The goal for this fall is to serve 1120 children in four school districts: Lawrence, Perry/LeCompton, Baldwin, and Eudora.
Danica Moore is a busy lady. Her title is the Equity TOSA or “Teacher on Special Assignment” but it’s so much more than that. One of her goals is to be in every classroom in the district at least twice a year to observe and help teachers as she’s the point person for USD 497’s Beyond Diversity, E-Team, and CARE Team Programs.
A major focus of the Lawrence Public Schools’ work this last year toward its Equity Goal – to raise the achievement of all students, while closing achievement gaps – involves school board members, administrators, teachers, support staff, parents and community partners participating in Beyond Diversity training. This two-day seminar serves as the foundation to the Pacific Educational Group’s (PEG) Courageous Conversations about Race programming, which the Lawrence school district began implementing in 2009. Participants describe Beyond Diversity as a powerful, personally transforming experience. The training is designed to equip participants to understand the impact of race on student achievement and the role that racism plays in institutionalized racial disparities. The goal is to have all the employees of USD 497 to have taken this training.
In the spring of 2011, each high school and a small group of elementary schools initiated E-Teams, school equity leadership teams. These teams consist of 8-10 racial equity leaders who have completed the Beyond Diversity seminar. The E-Teams participate in additional professional development activities designed to prepare staff to develop and guide the implementation of their own school’s Equity Transformation Plan. The remaining schools developed E-Teams in 2012.
During the 2013-14 school year, the district formed its first CARE Teams to begin conducting Collaborative Action Research for Equity. The district also began providing opportunities for staff of color to meet and discuss equity leadership. Teams continued to attend the annual National Summit for Courageous Conversations, including presenting information about the district’s work toward its equity goal. In addition, several members of the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence staff participated in the National Summit. The Club offers before- and after-school programs in the Lawrence Public Schools.
For more information about these programs here is the link to the USD 497 Equity and Excellence page. http://usd497.schoolwires.net/Page/5866
Becca Burns, the Director of Volunteer Services for The Willow Domestic Violence Center, joined Rotarians for lunch to kick off the club’s third annual fund-raising effort on behalf of the agency. Each May, Lawrence Central Rotary collects personal hygiene items and financial contributions for The Willow.
Burns highlighted the range of services available at The Willow as well as the wide-spread need for those services. One in three women will experience some sort of domestic violence in their lives; one in six men are victims. The agency is now providing programs to educate and prevent domestic violence as well as assist those escaping from it. The Willow is also addressing the issue of human trafficking for labor or sexual exploitation. Their programs include efforts in Franklin, Jefferson, as well as Douglas County.
Becca is responsible for training, recruiting and supervising volunteer and intern advocates, many of whom work directly with the survivors The Willow serves. She obtained her Master of Social Work degree from Washington University and her Master of Education from the University of Missouri at St. Louis.
All month Lawrence Central encourages members and guests to come to our meetings and drop off cash donations or items that will go directly to help the work that The Willow does. Please consider making a cash donation or picking up some items from the list provided by Willow:
1. Ethnic hair care products (wide-tooth combs, Pink brand products, Pantene in the brown bottles) – if your members have any questions about where to go, they can stop by Sally’s in the Kohl’s shopping center or check out the Ethnic hair care sections of Walmart and Target
3. Over-the-counter stomach remedies, pain medication, and allergy relief
4. Adult body wash
5. Baby wipes
6. Diaper rash cream
7. Diapers, size 0-6
8. Flash drives
10. Watercolors – for the Art Program
11. Bubble machine – for the Children’s Program