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4/29/2003

Digi-walker pedometer

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 1:12 pm

In terms of accuracy, reliability, ease of use, and cost, the DIGI-WALKER pedometer has no peers. It is the best pedometer for the money that you can buy today. Researchers at leading universities rely on DIGI-WALKER pedometers to provide the best data for clinical trials, and top educators across the country pick DIGI-WALKER pedometers to provide the best activity motivating tools for their students.

So says their website. Supposedly, it is the most accurate and reliable in the industry.

A friend of mine…the one with whom I had lunch a couple of weeks ago…was showing me hers that she uses to check the number of steps she takes a day. 10,000 is the goal which is the eqivalent of five miles. It looked like a dandy thing and since my old pedometer has been in the “misplaced category” for years, I ordered a couple. They are cheaper by the twos. I got the clearance models which apparently are just like the regular models.

I’ll let you know how it works. Or how well I think it works. It’s a small thing…about the size of a small matchbox…that you can hang on a belt… or as my friend says…”just stick it in your pocket”.

They have several varieties that do everything from burn the toast to walk the dog. I just got the kind that counts your steps.

You can take a look at them and find more than you could ever want to know BY CLICKING RIGHT HERE

WALLMART IGNIGION PATROL

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 11:11 am

I don’t go to Mallwart often, for the same reasons none of us should, but yesterday I popped in there for a couple of hard to find items. Going there is always an experience. Wal-Mart seems to breed its own culture. There is a life-style among the shoppers and employees that seems unique to me.

Almost always I encounter someone standing there alone talking to himself/herself. Women seem to be the worst about uttering self-musings. Standing there all alone in front of an array of “some puzzling display” from which they have to make a single selection, I listen to the internal debate they have going on in their heads. “Let’s see ummmmm, this is cheaper, no, ummm, it’s got onions, ugh, what the heck is trisodiumbiarbonatedtriglycerides? ah - well, Bob’s okay with that - but ohhh pretty package…more meat in this one, microwavable, it says.” And the grunts and groans that emerge are collectively humorous. I stand there taking it all in, smiling like a mule eating briers. I guess that makes me one of them.

Wal-Mart ought to have a little reserved corner of their store devoted to single individuals who talk to themselves. They can gather there with other single shoppers who talk to themselves. Then as their numbers increase, they can go hand in hand to shop and talk with each other.

They could merge with the ones who insist on helping you with everything. Always helpful, they roam the store looking for someone who needs assistance. They don’t wear Wal-Mart apparel so beware as they come in all kinds of ready-to-wear disguises. Remember the little old lady who provides free and unsolicited services for the hearing impaired? (Check my archives for the entry on February 28th, 2003.)

Yesterday I had a new adventure at Mallwart. It came in the form of the checkout lady. With no one other than me in her line, she nicely and very cleverly created an opening to gently admonish me about what I have dangling from my car keys. It seems that the small billfold that I have attached to my keys should be removed BEFORE I insert the key in the ignition, because she learned that from her husband. I could tell she’d had the lecture from him in a form more stern than I was now receiving from her. She was helping the elderly with her newly acquired automotive information.

She said her husband knew all about those things and now she knew too and was happy to share that hard-to-get information with me. It seems that the weight of my billfold, which I didn’t think was significant, will damage the ignition and soon I will need to have it repaired…the ignition that is, and where will I find someone to do that? Whew! I donno - it never crossed my mind.

So as to not let this important piece of information die with my ignition, she continued. “See? You have that thingy that connects your keys to your billfold - lemme show you (she relieves me of my billfold and car keys for her demonstration)… what do you call this clippy thing?… and where did you get it, at a hardware store? - and anyway, you can just remove your billfold from it like this (and she starts her demonstration) and it releases like this (she does it twice to reinforce her point) and you can put your billfold somewhere else (she placed it on the counter in front of me), then reconnect it after you turn your engine off and remove the key (she took my billfold off the counter and reconnected the various parts). See how easy that would be”, she said, “and you won’t ruin your ignition.”

I thanked her for all that good information, and asked that she also extend my thanks to her husband. Now I have to avoid the same checkout woman next time as I’m sure she’s part of the “Wal-Mart Ignition Patrol” and my picture is in her deck of cards. Violators will have some consequences to suffer and I suspect one ought to avoid experiencing that at all cost.

I know. This is one of the frustrated Wal-Mart women who never got into their management trainee program. She was actually very nice and deserves to be in management, in my opinion.

I got all that free information just by being a Wal-Mart shopper. That store and the people in it amuse me. Nice, just amusing. There’s probably nothing you ever wanted to know that you couldn’t learn from some shopper among the masses of people just waiting to impart information on the unsuspecting bystander.

Stay tuned. There is bound to be more.

WHAT GRADE OF GASOLINE IS BEST?

Filed under: prairie musings, political musings — Peg Britton @ 10:14 am

This came this morning from Dan Allard, a former Ellsworthite now living in Texas. I found it informational and a good thing to know.

Many people believe using premium or mid-grade gasoline in their vehicle is always the best choice. They pay the extra money believing the terms, “premium” or “mid-grade”, signify the fuel is better than “regular” unleaded. In fact, all the word premium actually describes when referring to gasoline is the “premium price” you are paying for the higher octane you probably don’t need.

Octane is a term used to describe a gasoline’s ability to resist knock. That formula you see on the side of the pump, R+M/2, represents the average of the Research Octane Number (RON) and Motor Octane Number (MON). RON relates to low to medium speed knock and MON to high speed or under-load knock. Once R+M/2 is figured, the result is the Anti-Knock Index (AKI), or pump octane rating. Added to this alphabet soup is the “ONR”, or Octane Number Requirement. The ONR is what your engine requires to operate knock-free and is determined by the compression ratio, timing, air/ fuel ratios, type of combustion chambers, and other design elements of your engine as well as environmental factors such as humidity or altitude.

What makes your engine run, and your vehicle go, is a series of controlled explosions occurring at precise times within the combustion chambers of your engine. Inside each of these chambers a moving piston squeezes a mixture of air and gasoline to just the right amount of compression before being ignited by the spark plug. Knock occurs when any of these explosions happen before they’re supposed to, and the sound you hear is the force of an early explosion against a moving piston causing it to slap against the wall of the chamber (cylinder) it’s moving within. The problem with this, in addition to the obvious mechanical shock to engine parts, is if the early explosion is severe enough it will force the oil out from between where these metal parts touch and cause them to wear.

Fuel with a higher octane number, such as premium, burns slower and because of this can be compressed more in the combustion chamber without causing an early explosion. This makes it perfect for engine designs requiring high compression, such as found in high performance sports or luxury cars. In engines not designed with high compression, the higher-octane fuel is not burned completely and results in excess carbon build-up and fouling of spark plugs. Tests have also shown that using a premium or mid-grade gas in an engine not designed for it may actually reduce your gas mileage, thereby wasting money in more ways than one.

Many people believe they need premium or mid-grade gasoline because they occasionally hear their engine knock when passing or under a load. Modern engines are designed with knock sensors that will cause a change in the engine’s ignition timing to stop this knock or its severity. Only when the knock is continual, or severe, should a change to a higher-octane fuel be considered in a car with a modern “computer” management system.

Just remember, the higher price you pay for premium is to offset the added cost of refining to achieve the higher octane, not to make a better gasoline. Follow the fuel recommendations found in your vehicle’s manual and if your engine doesn’t need a higher octane, not only are you wasting money at the pump by buying premium, you may also be wasting money down the road.

I COULDN’T BE MORE PROUD

Filed under: family — Peg Britton @ 10:00 am

Last night, someone in our family received a very prestigious award at Southern Methodist University in a ceremony honoring undergraduates who excel academically. Most of the honorees were graduating seniors, a few were juniors, and there was one lone sophomore. Guess who? Someone who spent most of her years going to school in Lincoln KS, the last two at Salina Central.

She was inducted into Tau Beta Pi, which is the engineering equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest and most respected honors organization in the US for liberal arts students. She’s majoring in mathematics and computer engineering. Double major.

She served as chairman of their pledge class and was just elected vice-president of the campus engineering organization. Go girl!

SMU has an outstanding engineering department, ranking nationally considerably above both KU and K-State. Such rankings are made available yearly by US News and World Report and other publications. This isn’t an award that is easily earned. SMU is not quite up there with MIT, Cal Tech and Case Western Reserve, etc. in the national engineering rankings, but comes out in the top group overall. That reason for that rests with the inclusion of a more rounded schedule of liberal arts subjects along with engineering. It is a very good fit for her and will serve her well when she graduates.

I couldn’t be more proud of her.

(If she sees this, she’ll make me take it down….but, I think she is too deeply immersed in finals to notice.)

4/28/2003

EISENGLASS HILL

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:43 pm

Twice today I went by where Eisenglass Hill is supposed to be. It is still missing. I wonder what the State Highway Department spent on that bit of folly. Kathleen sure hasn’t appeared to dip into the highway funds for cuts if they can spend money like that so loosely during these tough economic times. We could have used whatever money they wasted on that in education. That hill had been there forever and no one to my knowledge had ever stumbled over it. Well, we won’t need to worry about that anymore. Historians will spend forever trying to locate it in years to come. I don’t see anyone coming forward and boasting about what they did. I sure wouldn’t.

MY ARCHIVES

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:33 pm

Just in case you didn’t know…when looking for some specific article in my greymatter blog archives, remember that once you open the archives you can scroll down and find whatever you might be looking for by topic. Click on it and it should pull it up for you.

We didn’t add the comment section until later, but you have the opportunity to make comments on my more recent blogs. A few have so you can check those out as well. You can also write me at the address that is listed on the nav bar. I’ll promise to answer as promptly as I can.

4/27/2003

ISP INTERNET ACCELLERATOR

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:55 pm

For those of you using KIT as your isp, their new x4 Accellerator seems to be a Jim Dandy. I haven’t given it the full test as all their sign-ups have slowed the whole system down. But…once everyone is on, then it should work very well. I’ve used it for almost two weeks and have noticed a difference in some things already. Mail service is certainly better than I have experienced in years.

The ISP Internet Accelerator uses a patented and proprietary method of compressing standard graphic images found on the Internet and in POP3 e-mail. Acceleration is dependent upon a client application that runs on your PC and a server application that runs on a special compression computer owned by your KIT.

Once configured properly, the ISP Internet Accelerator requires very little interaction from the user. It is designed to work behind the scenes with existing Web browsers and e-mail applications. The most common interaction that a user has on a day-to-day basis occurs when different image qualities are desired

It costs something less than $2.00 a month. If you hook it up and don’t like it, you’ll get your unused portion of it back, just like on your regular service. KIT has good policies in that regard.

EVERYONE IS GOING IN THE SAME DIRECTION…A POSITIVE STEP FOR ELLSWORTH COUNTY

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 8:36 pm

In an unprecedented effort, Ellsworth County Community Development, the Ellsworth-Kanopolis Chamber of Commerce and Ellsworth County Economic Development, Inc. are harnessing efforts and putting together a marketing package for recruiting new residents, according to information from Sarah Grace Geiger in response to one of my blogs. What a wonderful attempt at unifying the community this could be…a marvelous step forward. YES!!!

She describes the steps as follows:

First step: hosting “commuter coffees” at major employers in town. Ask them to fill out a survey of information such as family size, occupation, what would entice them to move here, etc. Give them cookies and a chance to win a model house/doll house.

Second step: engage the community. The group will recruit about 15 people to become part of a team to develop a 1,5, and 10 year strategy for increasing population. This team involves people throughout the community - mostly younger with families. The hope is that the results will include an incentive package with financial incentives.

Third: engage the plan, get to work, get families to move to town and get more students into our school.

This program deserves all our support. Other groups could work on financial incentives to encourage people to move to town. We need to increase our number of school age children as that is essential to our vitality and existence as a town.

I site Wakeeney as an example again. They have 79 seniors in their graduating class and 11 students in kindergarten. Something has to happen fast in Wakeeney to turn that around. And we are showing the same trends in our school population, so it is mandatory that we do something now.

What this group is doing is the right thing. They deserve our support.

CLICK YOUR REFRESH BUTTON FROM TIME TO TIME

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:44 pm


COUNTING THE DAYS TO INDEPENDENCE

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:11 pm

There is a huge tidal wave moving from the west to the southeast across Kansas comprised of people of all ages, gear, musical instruments, art work, props, signage, dancing shoes, soap boxes, food and everything you ever wanted to know about 150 or more Kansas communities.

This mass will begin to gain momentum toward the end of the week as it arrives in Independence Kansas for the weekend. All eyes are on Independence and the yearly Kansas Sampler Festival. It is the most important two days of the year for Kansans to learn about Kansas. More and more people are coming to realize that each year and taking advantage of a great weekend of fun.

I can only guess at the number of people who will be in Independence Saturday and Sunday for the Festival, but last year there were 7,100 visitors, as I recall. The numbers will probably increase by a thousand or two this year as each year the event has more and more attractions to draw people to the Festival.

You can scroll down my daily blogs and find schedules and lots of information about the Kansas Sampler Foundation, the Festival and the Explorers Club. Or…you can go directly to the Kansas Sampler Foundation website where nothing is left to chance by clicking HERE and getting all the straight information about this organization that does so much for so many.

METAPROS STATS FOR MY WEBSITE

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 3:38 pm

… people are indeed reading about Ellsworth County and our backyard events

For the month of March:

Total Hits (any request) 22,294
Total Files sent 15,651
Total Files saved by cache 5627
Total Page Views 5,518
Hits per day (Max) 1407 (Average) 719
Total Logfile Entries Read 22, 295

I launched http://kansasprairie.net in June 2002.
August was the best month for hits at 36,485.
December was the month of the fewest number of hits at 13,149
So far this month, my site has had 22,766 hits.

There are many other stats, but these are the ones of interest to most.

I have regular readers from K-State, Bryant TX, St. Joseph MO, Reston VA, Salina, Wichita, Kansas City, WaKeeney, Oakley, County Durham ENG, Denmark, Topeka, Halifax NS, Manitoba CA, Toronto CA, Minatu-ku Tokyo, Rio de Janiero…and a plethora of school districts/community colleges/universities and military bases all over the world. The ones I just listed, plus many from my home base, are a few of the ones that have hit my website in the past 12 hours.

I thank you all.

4/26/2003

MORFORD EGGS AND THINGS

Filed under: prairie musings, friends — Peg Britton @ 5:02 pm

Moreford’s have a lovely assortment of plants to satisfy every gardener. They also have fresh country eggs, which happen to be a passion of mine. The kind that are laid by chickens who scratch around for food. The kind that stand up all filled with pride, showing off a round orange face when you break it into the skillet. None of those pale yellow eggs that run all over the pan. Not in our house, if we can avoid it.

And, when you drive up to Morford’s to make a purchase of eggs, you can hear the roosters in the background which lends credibility to their product. They are very noisy roosters. I’m not sure where the hens are, but they must have the roosters around for a reason.

I should have asked what kind of chickens they have, not that I’d remember. They’re the variety that gives you colored Easter eggs without all the work - shades of pale green and blue all the way through the shell. The kind my friend in England doesn’t believe exists.

Morford’s is located just a little west of Kanopolis on the low road. Turn where the sign says to turn and you’ll soon be there. They have a huge and impressive operation of plants and flowers and will have a variety of produce to sell when the time is ripe.

Leave me some eggs, please.

P.S. Here is a comment from my Geordie friend in England who doesn’t believe eggs come in pastel hues of green and blue:

“Just read your blog,no way does a hen lay coloured eggs apart from white and brown, for me to believe the eggs are the colour you described somehow your gonna have to get a photo of em and send it to me.”

Navigation Bar, Sterling, Music and Orphan Trains

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 12:27 pm

We’ve added some new things to my website navigation bar. The navigation bar is that list of stuff on the left of the splash page such as “Home”, “Prairie Introduction”, “Mom and Pop Shops”…the first page that comes up when you access my website.

If you run your cursor up and down that area, you’ll see the new additions under “Kanopolis” and “Odds and Ends”.

If you run your cursor over the Ellsworth County map, also on the left right under “Contact Peg”, you’ll see some new additions for the “Ellsworth High School” and “Ellsworth County” websites. When you slide your cursor over Ellsworth County link, you’ll see stair step links to “City of Ellsworth” and “Ellsworth Heritage”. Isn’t that neat?

Those are the only recent additions, but check back frequently as we’re always adding new material.

Yesterday I was in Wichita for an all-day meeting of facilitation boards across the state. It was very informational, interesting and fun. I went with a good friend from Sterling, Renee Lippincott, who is the director of their Main Street program. When you drive down the Main Street of Sterling you just feel good. It looks like a town where you’d like to live, visit, shop and own a business. A Main Street town since 1997, the effect of the state program has instilled an attitude in Sterling leaders about doing things well and being sensitive to appearances. They have also shown their support through funding.

A clean town with restored historic downtown buildings, old-fashioned street lamps and street signs, trees, benches and nice sidewalks give people a favorable reaction to the town.

A fire in February of 2002 destroyed some historic buildings in the 200 block. The owners were adamant that the new building fit the historic look of downtown. Getting an architect who had a sensitivity and appreciation for downtown architectural design was key. Look at the new home for Ben Marshall’s Sterling Bulletin. It is a tremendous asset in the visual attractiveness of downtown Sterling.

Renee Lippincott is the spark plug behind the Main Street Sterling program and full of wonderful ideas and enthusiasm.

I’ve been thinking about how nice it would be to have a city appreciation gathering for all our teachers and staff. I think it would be great if we could have a big picnic in Preisker Park, have town people buy up enough tickets for a catered BBQ to treat all the teachers…maybe have some homemade ice cream and cake. A town appreciation picnic. That sounds like a great idea to me. We do owe our teachers so much and rarely thank them enough.

Which reminds me of something I’ve blogged before…

Long ago we had a city band and city band concerts in the summer time in Preisker Park. It was great fun to go listen and either clap your hands or honk your horn in appreciation, depending on where you were sitting to listen to the music. If you forgot the Friday night concert and were still at home…no problem, you could hear faint strains of the music and the horns honking in unison did not go unnoticed. It always brought a smile to my face.

I think it would be wonderful if we could revive a city band and have concerts one night a week in one of the parks maybe occasionally in downtown Ellsworth…where people would gather for that and maybe have some other things to go along with it. Our stores could stay open and perhaps we could draw in some shoppers and listeners from other towns. We have a lot of musical talent, both young and old, and it would be wonderful if they would share that with the rest of us during those long summer evenings. They could be evenings of fun for everyone, including the musicians both experienced and beginners.

Concordia has been picked to be the home of the Orphan Train Museum. The Orphan Train Heritage Society of America recently selected Concordia to be the home of their national museum and research center. The museum will be in the 1917 Union Pacific depot that will be restored. The depot will also be used as a community center. In June they will host a five-state reunion of those who rode the orphan trains. Cloud County Community College is writing a play about the Orphan Train Experience. This major attraction will give people yet another reason to visit Concordia, along with the restored Brown Grand Theatre. You’ll have a wonderful experience touring the Brown Grand with Susie Haver or Holly Andrews (Jan’s daughter) showing you around.

4/24/2003

I HEARD A GOOD ONE TODAY…

Filed under: prairie musings, print news — Peg Britton @ 10:47 pm

It seems someone during a meeting of a local organization last night asked what I was doing “reading in the back room” of the Independent. Now that is really funny since I’ve been doing it two days a week for 4 years or so. Every Monday and every Tuesday each week, year after year. I was about as close to the back door as you can get, as there was no other place for me to sit. That place is packed with people and desks - all occupied by paid employees.

When the paper was first organized about four years ago, I started proof-reading for them as a volunteer, to help them out. I just stayed. I guess I forgot to go home. I’ve never been paid nor had any benefits other than a meal or two now and then.

Proofing has nothing to do with editing or the content of the paper. Proofing involves catching misspelled words and I usually do it by reading backwards through an article, word by word, so I haven’t the slightest idea what I am reading. When I read the paper, I read it fresh just like other subscribers.

It takes some qualifications to edit, if that were the implication, and I have no such qualifications. They wouldn’t have let me do it anyway. Writers don’t want people editing their stories and they get really grumpy if anyone tries to rearrange their words or tell them what to say.

I don’t know how you can resign from a non-paying, volunteer job, but I just did last week. I want to have more time to do other things. Two days a week out of my life at my age is a big chunk and I wanted that time back to use in other ways. I have a lot of projects I’m involved in right now.

Everyone ought to volunteer some time to help others, and many do. Mine just happened to be that I was helping friends by doing some thankless, time-consuming dull work. And all my friends know that.

If they really get pinched for a proofer, I’ll go back down if they call. But I won’t be eager as I’m really enjoying the extra time I seem to have suddenly acquired.

So….that’s what I was doing in the back room of the Independent.

MORE ON THE WATER WAR…

Filed under: prairie musings, water supply — Peg Britton @ 10:05 pm


I wonder what the people in Ellsworth County are going to do when they wake up some morning and realize Salina, Russell and Hays have claimed all the water rights to Kanopolis Lake and what little might be left for us will be so expensive we can hardly afford it? We could be the big losers in this political game of “who gets the water”?

Do you know how many people from Ellsworth cared enough about this very serious issue to attend the water meeting yesterday? Seven of us, that I saw. There may have been others but the room should have been full of people from Ellsworth. There were a lot of people from Hays, Russell and Trego Couty. Cedar Bluff is another water target for Hays and Russell.

We all may have water tomorrow and next year, but you need to be seriously concerned about where you are going to get it in 10 to 20 years. People in western Kansas have already come to this realization…and are ready to wage war over water rights.

Who do you have protecting your water rights?

WHAT IS THE KANSAS SAMPLER FESTIVAL?

Filed under: prairie musings, friends — Peg Britton @ 5:35 pm

The Kansas Sampler Festival is designed to provide the public a sample of what there is to see, do, hear and taste in Kansas.

The mission of the Kansas Sampler Foundation is to preserve and sustain rural culture and this event, a project of the foundation, helps achieve that mission by giving Kansas communities a quality event to showcase their offerings and it educates the public about Kansas. The intended result is to get more people traveling around Kansas.

There are many aspects to the festival. Beside the community and attraction booths, entertainers come to not only add sound and color but also to get bookings. Kansas product people come not only to sell but to find new retail outlets and for the networking. Food vendors come to showcase Kansas foods, a Kansas style of cooking, or a Kansas restaurant. The public comes because they can find information about the entire state in one place — and they get to enjoy a broad perspective of Kansas in one weekend. There are thousands and thousands of Kansans—and friends from across the border — who are interested in finding day trip information and learning the Kansas story.

Above all, the Kansas Sampler Festival is designed to be fun and to show that exploring Kansas is fun. It truly is an event that every Kansan should attend. You’ll find out about local cafes and their specialties, where the best soda fountains are, where you can watch a first run movie in a historic theater, where you can take a tram ride into a buffalo herd, where you can buy specialty products in small towns, where you an find amazing grassroots art, and much more. At the Festival, we supply you a sampling, a teaser of what you can see when you go from town to town across Kansas.

It is an event that makes you feel good about being a Kansan!

For more information about the Kansas Sampler Foundation, go to www.kansasampler.org. Scroll down for further listings.
(Taken from the Kansas Sampler Festival Program, by Marci Penner.)

JUMPING AND SINGING AND ASSORTED THINGS ON A THURSDAY MORNING…

Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends — Peg Britton @ 8:11 am

Number Three Grandson is going to be running and jumping in Russell today at a track meet for middle school folk, if it doesn’t get rained out. I’m going as I haven’t yet seen him do either this spring. And spring is what I hope he does….lift himself right off the ground and soar over that bar. Aim for a school record. Shades of Javier Sotomayor. 2.45 meters. 8.038058 feet. When Javier was 15 he cleared 6.56168. I find that just amazing.

It’s always fun and interesting to see all the middle school kids perform then go into high school and learn more about what competition means. High jump is one of my favoite field events so I find it enjoyable at any level of proficiency. Ballet in motion, sometimes.

I didn’t understand the newspaper account regarding district budget information where it said “The music program remains intact.” Then later in the article it said Ellsworth had three music teachers (when we have had four) and 37 coaches. Russell, at the top of the heap in the NCAA, has four music teachers and 48 coaches. Maybe I don’t understand the word “intact”.

I am happy that rumors were dispelled about the district vehicles. It doesn’t help anything to hear it repeated that the school district bought a $60,000 suburban so that the coaches can use that instead of riding to out of town sports events with the team. Not so. Everytime it circulates it has to be dispelled.

I can’t imagine anyone believing we’d send board members out of the country to meetings. That makes no sense at all, but I suppose there are a few who would believe almost anything. It’s essential that board members and administrators attend meetings along with other school board members and state education leaders in order to stay informed. By not attending and not staying well informed, one courts problems, some potentially serious, that could be avoided.

The board and administration do an excellent job of staying on top of things and they should be commended more frequently for their diligence and hard work. That doesn’t mean we should shirk at the opportunity to express objection if we disagree with some of their decisions and the way they handle some matters. We can still strive for common goals of improvement while trying to iron out differences of how those goals are achieved. At least we should be able to do that. We should do that. Patrons should be active participants and informed.

I recently visited with a friend from WaKeeney who told me they have 79 seniors and 11 in kindergarten. They have a critical situation, which is the trend in our rural communities. If you don’t have students, you can’t maintain a school. The same can happen to us as we, too, are experiencing declining enrollments. If Salina has its way, they would swallow us all up. The day may come when we are down to too few students that transporting our children to Salina to school might become an option. I hope I never live to see it. I hope people circle the wagons and do something to make our community stronger before then. We’re operating on borrow time.

So, what do we do about it? We must attract people to live here, one way or another. Maybe we need to establish some kind of incentive program to encourage people, who are commuting here to work, to move here. It would be a great beginning if everyone who works here also lived here. And it would be wonderful if everyone who finds it necessary to commute elsewhere to find satisfactory work, could find work here.

We also need a city owned broadband internet and cable service, in my opinion. We need to maintain quality of life standards that are absolutely necessary to attract people to small communities. People aren’t going to move here from larger communities and settle for a lot less than they are accustomed to. And the trend is continuing that people are leaving our communities and not coming back. They aren’t going to move here just because we have a glut of housing. We have to reverse that flow somehow, someway before it is too late. The town can become septic overnight and then it will be too late to do anything about it. We have to stop the bleeding….now.

I just got the word. The track meet was canceled because of rain. Now let it rain.

Mark Roehrman, owner of the Antique Mall, said he conducted about 60 people through the underground and Masonic Lodge during the Spring Gather. I was one of those as I was interested in seeing how much he had accomplished since the last time I was there. He has it all cleaned and ready for renovation when the time comes. There was a lot of “stuff” to haul out of there and it looked to me like it would take months, but Mark moves slowly and methodically and in no time at all, it was once again empty. It will be a show piece when it is completed.

The coffee area is showing progress too. His mom has painted tiles for the walls to match the tiles on the tables and chairs. It’s going to be very classy. A large cabinet will be built for the south wall to match the others along that wall. I’m ready for the coffee makers to arrive!

I just saw the pajamas. Two pair, exactly as he wanted, stylish and classy. Perfect. I understand he found them at Dillard’s.

The high school track meet in Sterling, scheduled for 3:00 today, hasn’t been called because of rain, but it looks dark off in that direction. I’d like to see Grandson Number Two jump. The middle school track meet has been rescheduled for tomorrow in Russell, 1:00.

4/23/2003

WATER WARS

Filed under: prairie musings, water supply — Peg Britton @ 11:55 pm

There was a water meeting today attended by the Grabbors and Grabees. People were there from Saline County to Trego County and all the towns in between.

It was interesting. There are those wanting to protect Kanopolis and Cedar Bluff water and those wanting to get water rights from those sources for their towns in the middle of the district. It has already been demonstrated that politics enter in to this to a great degree.

The shotguns are coming out of mothballs and getting a good dose of spit and polish. No kidding. If you haven’t already noticed, stay tuned as the water wars around us are eventually going to get your attention.

One day, it is said, there will be a huge ditch from the largest fresh water supply in the world that will come down this way from the Great Lakes and then veer south and west to California.

Meantime - let’s just hope for rain.

THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW IF YOU DON’T ASK

Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 11:33 pm

“We have a shortage of pajamas around here”, so it was said last night and reiterated again this morning. “Nothing but winter flannel pj’s in this house”, said a plaintive voice. “I can’t stand up in the summer ones I have or they fall to my ankles. They are ready for the rag bag!” Ah…mere mention of the rag bag and I know these are desperate statements.

This was a moderate emergency of sorts. It wasn’t a REAL emergency as we’ve experienced before. Heck…pajamas never wear out and are perfectly fine until you have to make that emergency run to the hospital and then it’s panic time. No matter how hard you look, there never is a pair for such emergencies…except for maybe the pair with partial elastic that happens to be in the laundry. These were more in the category of causing possible arrest before we made it two blocks to the hospital.

But that was just a projected emergency that flashed through my mind.

And, then we have THE bathrobe that is covered with ink residue from reading the morning paper. After a while it looks more like the paper than the paper since it carries with it all the latest scoops from USA Today, the Indy and the Salina Journal. When he moves it’s like the latest news flashing on the canopy above Times Square.

This all looks like a disaster ready to happen and I really start to pay attention.

Now you have to know that he doesn’t often shop for things such as this, or at least he hasn’t for a long time. Things just magically appear in his drawer when the time seems right for new ones, but it was apparent his personal shopper has fallen down on the job. He was talking about his “in between” wardrobe, right smack in the middle between the winter flannel variety and the torrid summer heat short legs and sleeves variety.

As he headed out on his shopping venture, I suggested Penny’s would have a good assortment of reasonably priced “durable” pajamas, with good elastic. Just the kind he was looking for. With all the assurance of a veteran shopper, he headed out to find his favorite spring/fall model…cool, crisp cotton with long sleeves.

After looking around on his own and finding none, “some nice lady” suddenly sidled up to him. He said she was “very helpfu”,  which makes me a little suspicious that good looking male pajama shoppers are an easy target for women who pretend to be pajama clerks. Right? She quickly informed him that the only style Penny’s carried was flannel pajama bottoms. Only bottoms, no tops. That confused him. How can they be pajamas if they don’t have two parts? He told her he thought he was too old for the one piece styles. Maybe age is a factor but I think he wanted a more complete outfit. Something more stylish. Classy. Studly.

So, he described again what he was looking for and guess what? They had no pajamas. None. Only those “bottoms”. There were no pajamas. None of those easy to acquire items that senior citizens call pajamas which would be something to cover both the top and bottom. Part One and Part Two that come in sizes A, B, C, D and E. All nicely folded with straight pins holding everything neatly in place. Nada.

He was informed that Penny’s only carry pajamas at Christmas time. How incredible! He said he was desperate and couldn’t wait until Christmas…or even one more day. I can only surmise that every man in the country who wears pajamas, and granted, most don’t, must get an ample supply of whatever-kind-of-pajamas-they-like-or-don’t-like at Christmas time so as to last until the following Christmas.

That has to be the most brilliant strategy ever on the part of Penny men’s wear buyers but pretty tough on the one guy in the world who doesn’t get pajamas at Christmas time.

He persevered, found what he wanted and canceled the emergency.

4/22/2003

WHAT’S HAPPENING YOU ASK ?

Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 5:02 pm

Ellsworth County will be recognized as an Outstanding Kansas Community at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 23 at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility Staff Development Center. The Department of Commerce and Housing will be making the presentation. Way to go Ellsworth County!

The Ellsworth County Medical Center, in partnership with other county health organizations, will be sponsoring the annual Smoky Hill Health Fair on Saturday, April 26 at the Ellsworth City Hall. For more information, contact Mike Morgan at 785-472-3111 x 303.

Carpet Central, located on Douglas Street next to Drovers Mercantile, will be celebrating their grand opening on Friday, April 25 at 2:00 p.m. Sheri Bennett, of Kanopolis, will be the new store manager. The store will feature, carpet, laminates, and wallpaper. Stop by the store and welcome Carpet Central to town!

The Chamber’s Relay for Life team will be holding a garage sale from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 26 at the home of Loren and Callie Reber, 203 Evans. Shop for great bargains and support the team!

Greg Valentine, SRS Manhattan Area Director, will be conducting an open meeting on April 29th at 10:00 am in the Friendship Hall of the First Presbyterian Church of Ellsworth, 405 N. Lincoln Avenue to address concerns about the closing of the Ellsworth county SRS office located in Ellsworth. Any interested parties are invited to attend the meeting.

Kansas Travel and Tourism is hosting a tour of Kansas for tour guide operators. They will be traveling through Ellsworth County on Wednesday, April 30 and stopping at the Kansas Original Market in Wilson. Kansas T&T is doing a great job at working hard to promote Kansas. Please give your support to Kansas Originals Market!

The Smoky Hills Charitable Grant Foundation will host their first awards program on Friday, May 16 at 10:00 a.m. at Citizens State Bank & Trust in Ellsworth. The first grant recipients will be announced at the reception.

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