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In Memoriam: John Wilkinson

John Wilkinson

We lost one of our club’s own in 2020 – long-time member John Wilkinson.

In honor of his life, Lawrence Central Rotary has a tree planted at the Rotary Arboretum which he dearly cared about and was on the arboretum committee for many years.

The following is an excerpt from his obituary:

John grew up in Cherryvale. In fact, the town practically reared him. John had a number of jobs including a large paper route along which he regularly collected cinnamon rolls and cookies. He also worked carrying luggage from one station to another until his love of talking too much caused 10 others to show up and take the work.

John had a great love for sports, especially basketball and baseball. One story stated that he won a game with a three-point shot from the far side of the centerline. He also pitched in a baseball game to Mickey Mantle (and Mickey hit one off of him)!

In 1951 it was his turn to go to KU. This was the summer of the big flood. He had a dorm scholarship but the dorm wasn’t built yet. Instead, John was put in a gym annex and then to a space located under the stadium. It was a long, muddy walk to meals and classes. The next year he got a room and a job at the Faculty Club. There he met a freshman named Marianne Anderson. They got married in 1957 and were married for 63 years.

Tree planted in Lawrence's Rotary Arboretum in John's remembrance.

After finishing his law degree, John and Marianne moved to Topeka. He became a research attorney for the Kansas Supreme Court and a law clerk to Judge George Templar. He formed the law firm Waggener, Wilkinson, and Wigglesworth. He lectured on appellate procedure at the Washburn University Law School. He owned and operated Burger King in Topeka which he was given in payment for legal work. He argued a case before the US Supreme Court. It dealt with the rights of indigent defendants. He won the case.

Buy A Wreath – Make a Difference – Order Holiday wreaths & decorations now from Lawrence Central

Lawrence Central Wreath SaleLawrence Central continues our annual fundraiser for the work we do every year. As in year’s past, we will be selling wreaths and other holiday decorations from Lynch Creek Farms and in Lawrence Central’s partnership with them, we receive money back from every sale to help fund the service projects we do.  Some examples of our service activities include:

We want to continue to do this work and more with help from you and all you need to do is simply purchase holiday decorations. You can do this by talking to any of our members or there’s an even easier way – visit our Lynch Creek fundraising website, peruse what they have, and order yourself!  We’ve even set up an easy link:

If you’re not comfortable with ordering online we totally understand – you can also call Lynch Creek direct toll-free at 1-888-426-0781 and please Lawrence Central Rotary Fundraiser #246673.

Lynch Creek is a family business that started in 1980, now transformed from selling a few flowers and vegetables at the local farmers’ market on the weekends, to a full-blown year-round business that ships throughout the United States.

We could go on about how great these wreaths are, but when we were at the Lawrence Rotary Club recently,  Jennifer Berquist stopped us and told us this,

“I purchased several Lynch Creek items as holiday gifts. Those who received the evergreen gifts were so pleased and impressed with the quality. It is a huge seller for me that the Lawrence Central Rotary Club receives part of the profits. I will definitely place another order this year!” – Jennifer Berquist – Lawrence, KS 

Lynch Creek Farms have been amazing to work with and they care about the groups that sell their wreaths and decorations. Here’s a video about the business.

2020 Community Bike Ride Weeks 3 & 4

Ok Community Bike Ride Fans. It’s time to tell you about the trails for week three and four.

Week 3

Levee Trail

CBR Levee Trail

Description: Take your Bubble “off-road” by checking out the Levee Trail in North Lawrence. This trail runs along the Kansas River providing views of the water, wooded areas and agriculture. Although technically unpaved, the crushed gravel surface is well maintained and can support narrow road bike tires as well as larger ones. Although this is a longer route it is very level, giving youth an opportunity to up their mileage without added stressors of hills or other traffic. Bring plenty of water and watch out for the wind as the trail has little shade or wind protection. Bonus: The route outlined follows the Levee East from North 2nd street, but you can also ride to the West!

Directions: Head out the south side of the parking lot towards the river. There is a crosswalk you can use to get up to the levee. Turn left and head east away from the damn. Turn back when you get to the yellow gate (or when you start to get tired)

Parking: There is free public parking available at the corner of Locust and North 2nd street if you want to ride the whole route. Or you can park at the 8th and Oak boat ramp and ride from there if you want to shorten the total distance.

Amenities: There is a fix it stand at the corner of 2nd and Locust. A port-a-john is placed at the 8th and Oak parking lot year round.

Mileage: 9.5 Miles for the whole out and back.

Elevation: 20 Feet

Activity: Across Locust from the parking lot is the Historic Union Pacific Depot, which until recently served as the Lawrence Visitors Center. Explore the French themed garden and enjoy sculptures by Jim Brothers and Shellie Bender before or after your ride. Look for the High water markings on the Depot to see where there has been flooding in the past, and you might even get to see a train go by.

Week 4

Baker Wetlands

Description: Take your bubble on one of the newest sections of the Lawrence Loop! Running adjacent to the Baker Wetlands on the south side of Lawrence, this section of the Loop provides beautiful views of the wetlands. The few hills are steep but short. Keep an eye out for lilies blooming towards the east end and the many redwing blackbirds that call the wetlands home!

Directions: Follow the sidewalk east from the parking lot up to Michigan Street. At Michigan turn right staying on the sidewalk and turn right again jest before the overpass. Turn back when the wall ends for the mileage listed.

Parking: To ride the full distance listed you can park at the Baker Wetlands Interpretive Center off of Michigan Street. If you would like to ride a slightly shorter route you can park at Broken Arrow Park off of Louisiana Street and use the underpass to access the trail.

Amenities The Baker Wetlands Interpretive Center is currently closed due to COVID but will hopefully re-open in 2021. Broken Arrow Park has restrooms that operate from April 15th through October.  

Mileage: 3.5 Miles

Elevation: 85 feet

Prairie Park Trails

Description: Prairie Park Nature Center opened in 1999 and in addition to the building that houses various animals from around Kansas there is a trail and lake. This trail is shared with many walkers and joggers so it’s a good fit for young riders who aren’t going too fast. After going through the nature park you can ride past Prairie Park Elementary and through the neighborhood!

Directions: From the entrance to the trail turn right and follow the trail around the lake and up to the school. Ride to Kensington Road and take a left. Turn left again on 27th street, and once more on Harper (there are sidewalks the entire route).

Parking: The trailhead parking lot is at 28th and Harper. Or you can park at the Prairie Park Nature Center and ride south on Harper to get to the trail head. The distance of the loop remains the same.

Amenities: Prairie Park Nature Center is currently closed but there are activities for children outside of the center including a butterfly garden.

Mileage: 1.75 Miles

Elevation: 98 Feet

Thank you for checking out our 2020 Bike With Your Bubble Rides.

Please remember to stay distanced from other trail users and always bring a mask in case you need it.

We hope to see your smiling faces again in person in July of 2021.

2020 Community Bike Ride Information

One of Lawrence Central Rotary’s largest and most exciting projects is our annual Community Bike Ride. Every year for the past decade we have gathered at the Rotary Arboretum promoting safe cycling and healthy lifestyles.

We cherish the opportunity to give out free helmets, safety gear, and go on fun bike rides in the area. Unfortunately this year we do not feel it is safe or responsible to hold a large group gathering due to the dangers presented by COVID-19.

However, we do still feel that staying active and enjoying the outdoors is important for health and wellness. This year instead of joining us for a large event we suggest you go out with your “bubble”. Those people you live with or have chosen to maintain close contact with through this unique time.

To help you get out and enjoy the riding Lawrence has to offer we have put together some suggested routes for you to try on your own. Each week we will publish one or two new routes that you can try at any time.

Please remember to stay distanced from other trail users and always bring a mask in case you need it.

We hope to see your smiling faces again in person in July of 2021, but until then, please enjoy the Community Bike Ride 2020 Bike With Your Bubble Edition!

Week 1


The Classic CBR

Description: Just because the Community Bike Ride has to look different this year doesn’t mean the routes have to. We’re kicking off our Bike With Your Bubble ride series with the Classic CBR! This route will be familiar to those of you who’ve ridden with us in the past. Starting from the Rotary Arboretum this route follows the Lawrence Loop around the western edge of the city. There is a good mix of uphill and downhill sections and a few road crossings. We recommend this route for families with kids who feel comfortable on two wheels and are ready for a bit of a challenge. (if there are puddles on the trail, it is highly recommended that you walk through them as they can get very slick.)

Directions: Follow the trail west away from the Arboretum, after a few miles follow the hill up to the right instead of crossing the Dam Road. At the top of the hill cross Clinton Parkway and head east until the trail continues again to the left. After that follow the trail all the way until it dead ends and turn back the same way.

Parking: Parking is available at the Rotary Arboretum. If that lot is full you can also park at the Youth Sports Complex.

Amenities: A unisex restroom is available at the Arboretum year-round. There is a Fix-It Stand in the parking lot.  

Mileage: 12 Miles

Elevation: 576 feet

Arboretum Loop

Description: Does anyone in your Bubble still use training wheels? Not sure how far they’re ready to ride? The Rotary Arboretum gives you the opportunity to ride a mile loop while never being too far from the parking lot if you have to call it a day early.  The Arboretum, is a project supported by all three Rotary Clubs in Lawrence and includes three-shade/rest structures as well as two ponds with fish and frequented by Canadian geese.

Directions: Instead of joining the Lawrence Loop to the south of the parking lot go north and head either right or left when you reach the sidewalk. You can follow this loop around both fishing ponds, there is also a small detour that takes you into some tall grass before bringing you back out to the ponds.

Parking: Parking is available at the Rotary Arboretum. If that lot is full you can also park at the Youth Sports Complex.

Amenities: A unisex restrooms is available at the Arboretum year-round. There is a Fix-It Stand in the parking lot. 

Mileage: .9 miles

Elevation: 9 feet

More Rides and descriptions coming soon!

Over 100+ brave the heat for 2019 Community Bike Ride

It had been a scorching week, but after discussions with the organizers and the forecast that said we’d start with a temp of 80 degrees and be done before the mercury broke 90 we forged ahead.

We were able to use the new shelter at the Lawrence Rotary Arboretum which allowed more space in the tent to fit people with new helmets.

Thank you to our sponsors and everyone who came out to ride and volunteer.  

The team from Matty D Media was onsite and put together this video of the event (more coming soon)!

We also got some great photos of the event check them out below.  If you took any pictures you’d like to share email them to: or post them to our facebook page at 


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