Page 2 of 99

Portugal Sampler

Portugal is a very appealing destination according to Lynn O’Neal, Lawrence Central Rotary member. O’Neal shared his recent vacation experience and provided a delightful program.

O’Neal and his wife Debbie visited four cities in Portugal, took a river cruise, enjoyed the beautiful coastline, and discovered delicious sea food at every stop. They visited walled towns, vineyards, and a chocolate factory. Many Portuguese are English speakers, and it is not an expensive place to visit.

The O’Neals provided Portuguese wines to sample and a tasty traditional custard desert. It was great to be reminded of the pleasures of travel.

Facing the Past

On June 10, 1882, three black men were brutally lynched from a bridge over the Kaw River near downtown Lawrence. Ursla Minor, head of the local chapter of the NAACP, reported on the efforts of a local coalition to commemorate the three men. A permanent marker will be placed at City Hall in June near a remaining pier of the old bridge.

Minor is a strong advocate of citizen involvement in community affairs, serving as a Trustee for Lawrence Public Library and as a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board for LMH. Minor is also an accomplished 3-D mixed-media artist.

Pollinators in Peril

The meeting was buzzing with anticipation and bee puns were “flying” as bee man Phil Knaus brought us up to date on domestic honey bees. 

Knaus knows his bee lore as owner of Cedar Ridge Bees in Overbrook, Kansas.  The business is not about producing commercial honey; rather the focus is on breeding and marketing bees for beginning bee keepers.  Toward that end, he also offers beginner classes and support. 

Most everyone likes honey, but there are other important reasons to care about bees.  One third of our food supply depends on the work of these pollinators, as does some twenty billion dollars of the agriculture industry.  Unfortunately, bees are in peril, as there are only half the bees in the country as there were in 1945.  The indiscriminate use of pesticides continues to kill bees.  Natural and invasive predators are a threat, like varroa mites and small hive beetles. Mono culture agriculture and flowerless landscaping reduces the food supply for bees. 

Bees are altogether fascinating, and their hives are models of efficiency and cooperation.  The queen is the sole mother of the hive.  She mates once on a flight outside of the hive and spends the rest of her life providing eggs.  She is productive for about two years.  As she begins to fail, the colony produces a new queen. 

The hive is mostly made up of female worker bees who have a short life span.  Some workers fly as far as two or three miles to harvest nectar and pollen which is stored as food for the hive.  Other workers maintain the hive, building honey comb, caring for young bees and defending the hive.   The third group of bees are the male drones who have little responsibility after the mating flight.  However, their presence has a calming effect on the hive.

Bees survive the coldest winters by forming a compact ball and taking turns to be in the warm center.  Bees manufacture a substance called propolis which is a kind of bee glue for repairing the hive.  Local honey can provide allergy relief, and bee stings are used to treat arthritis.  Honey contains natural preservatives and is used in lotions and lip balms, and bees wax is used in candle making. 

Fortunately, there are ways to help bees to prosper.  Mitigating the damage done by pesticides is critical.  We can also plant pollinators and build special bee gardens.  Trees are also an important food source.  Knaus urges us to buy local and support efforts to educate everyone about the value of bees.  

Walden Focuses on the Supply Chain

The supply chain is getting lots of attention these days and lots of blame for our economic woes.  Who better to make sense of it all than Joe Walden, associate teaching professor at Kansas University and expert on supply chain management.

Walden is a retired U.S. Army Colonel with an extensive background in logistics.  He also holds advanced degrees in engineering management, operational planning, systems management and logistics, and curriculum and teaching.  Presently his focus is on supply chain security and reverse logistics.  In addition to his professional accomplishments, Walden is a three -time world champion weight lifter in his weight class.

When things are working as they should, the supply chain is invisible.   The supply chain is made up of organizations, people, activities, information, and resources involved in moving a product or a service to the end user.  When something disrupts part of the supply chain, like a pandemic, it can have a ripple effect through out the system. 

Our economy operates on a “just in time” model which means local inventories can run short if there is a disruption to the supply chain.  Presently, on-time deliveries are at an all-time low due, in part, to chip shortages, port backlogs, business closures, and shortages of workers.  Labor and fuel costs are pushing prices up, but Walden asserts that some of the price increases are opportunistic.  Hoarding makes things worse as panic buying creates shortages and drives up prices. Demand eventually falls and producers reduce production, creating another shortage on down the road.  An additional factor adversely affecting the economy is a 25% return rate on online purchases, creating a huge problem for retailers. 

Walden is optimistic that these problems are being addressed.  For example, a “just in case” approach to the supply chain has had some success.  This strategy involves better planning, a need forecasting, preparedness, resiliency, and a better focus on the customer.  He also believes the growth in small truck deliveries has created new jobs and reduced the reliance on a large-truck shipping model.  Walden says he tries to inspire at least one person every day–which seems like a great goal for us all.

« Older posts Newer posts »