Kristin Scheurer, executive director of the Lawrence Senior Center, says she loves her job and the people she works with.
“It’s challenging,” she said in her presentation on April 16 to Central Rotary members “because the population of senior citizens is changing as the ‘baby boomer’ generation reaches retirement age.”
People born before 1928 are a generation of savers, she said. They survived the depression and World War II. They value health care and a safe environment.
The new retirees, born around 1946 and after are looking for a gradual transition. Many of them want to work part time, maybe find a second career. They’re not slowing down, want to be physically active. They know how to use facebook and twitter. They travel, are even open to relocation, and want to pursue hobbies.
“Which means,” she said “that the board of the Senior Center is preparing to look at the marketplace, at trends that will attract the boomers, at what this generation will need.
“We, want to increase awareness of the challenge, gather community input and share resources with other agencies. Lawrence provides a great deal of what this new group wants: social and intellectual choices, physical activities, access to the arts, entertainment and competitive sports, being close to an airport.
“We have a vibrant retirement community already,” she said. “Now our strategy is to retain current retirees, make services available, and work to incorporate wants and needs, such as transportation, counseling, and information on health care. The board at the senior center has a strong vision and is working on a marketing campaign to attract those retiring.
“It’s an exciting time and I feel blessed to be doing this work,” she said.
Steinle is Principal Management Consultant with ARCADIS, a privately owned company that deals with risks in the infrastructure, with water, the environment and in buildings. ARCADIS provides risk assessment in all these areas. He said rising sea levels along the coasts are going to be a major problem
“In evaluating situations such as this, we go through several steps,” Steinle said. “We identify risks and then work on ways to mitigate them.
“We repair damage, getting specialists in many areas to help us.”
Steinle said the company studies responses to situations and provides training , for example, simulating search and rescue exercises.
“And then,” he said “we work on helping with recovery from incidents.”
Steinle said the company is also looking at resilience as the infrastructure is aging and at asset management. They do earthquake planning,, especially studying providing shelters for quake victims. They have grant applications out to FEMA on behalf of clients and they work with the highway patrol in several states on crash response.
“Our clients are starting to understand the sea water rise and we’re currently looking at a project in New York to provide water barriers.
“We’re working hard on getting everyone to be aware and follow the necessary guidelines,” he said.
Ben Alford and Karl Fundenberger, volunteers representing the Topeka Community Cycle Project shared the history of the Topeka initiative with Lawrence Central Rotary. The (TCCP) is a non profit volunteer organization committed to the reclamation and distribution of recycled bicycles and in the process promotes self-reliance, sustainability, and healthful living.
The TCCP work space is open on Thursday evenings and mid-day on Saturdays providing opportunities for members of the community to volunteer their time and/or have access to the free bicycle maintenance work space. The work space includes shop stands and tools in their downtown Topeka location. There are also opportunities for people to learn from shop volunteers how to repair and maintain bicycles. Through an Earn-a-Bike (EAB) program, volunteers refurbish bicycles that would otherwise take up space in a landfill, giving new life and utility to bicycles. Once an individual has invested 10 hours of volunteer time at TCCP, they may pick out a donated bicycle and work with a shop mechanic to refurbish it for their own use. The organization also gives away bicycles and helmets to children and serves as an information source about all forms of cycling and cycling events in the area.
TCCP welcomes donations of time, money, and used bicycles, bicycle parts, and tools. The group is located at 423 S. Kansas Avenue in downtown Topeka. They are renovating a historic space for use as their permanent community bicycle work space.
Locally there is some interest in creating a similar work space to refurbish bikes and teach maintenance skills. There is a local group, called Lawrence Unchained Bike Coop that is currently working on the creation of a similar project in Lawrence. For more information about their work and/or to get involved email email@example.com.
Professional Science Masters program is a new science-based professional degree, now offered on the KU Edwards campus. Dr. Mark Jakubauskas, the program director, said the idea has been in the works for years and is now available at 71 universities with 300 such programs across the country.
He told Central Lawrence Rotarians that the degree, which began at KU in the summer of 2013, is a combination of graduate-level science and/or mathematics. It is intended for math and science graduates who want careers at the intersection of science and management.
Students enroll in short courses such as business fundamentals, tech transfer, project management, entrepreneurship, regulatory affairs, leadership and ethics with training in communication and team building. Rounding out the program is a required internship.
He called the internship the capstone project. Students are able to apply their skills in the disciplines they choose. Professionals from all areas are involved and provide evaluations of the program as it continues.
“We’re trying to fit the to the specific needs of the businesses out there,” he said. “We’re very excited about this. People who already have degrees in science and technology often don’t want to go on for a Ph.D. but do want to have a masters.
“There’s a lot of interest from businesses about this and the program is exploding. It is the first PSM program within 200 miles of the Kansas City area.”