Link to KansasPrairie.net

4/30/2004

www.travelKS.com

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 5:08 pm

From the Governor’s Newsletter:

“Governor Kathleen Sebelius and Leaders Announce The Mega Gigantic Get Away Giveaway - Standing beside a Chevy Malibu and school children, Governor Sebelius launched The Mega Gigantic Get Away From It All Summer Blast Off You Won’t Believe It  Til You See It Giveaway. To enter, travelers must go at least 100 miles from their home and take a photograph of themselves, their families, or friends at a Kansas attraction or event. The purpose of the Kansas Mega Gigantic Get Away Giveaway is to get people out exploring different parts of the state with the chance to win a new Chevy Malibu, made right here in Kansas, or other prizes. To learn more, you can visit www.travelKS.com.”

Okay folks. I’m just asking a simple question here. See what you think is sensible about all of this. The Governor is engaged in a big media blitz about tourism and referring everyone to enter the contest by clicking on www.travelKS.com and finding a site to visit that is 100 miles away. Do that and click on Ellsworth. You don’t need to fill in the other blanks. See what you get. How excited are you going to be to visit a town that has no more listed than this? You get the names of a few places in town, some are very outdated, and their addresses. Wilson’s site is far better than Ellsworth’s.

What good does this website do Ellsworth? For anyone who wants to participate in this Giveaway adventure and a chance to win a new Chevy Malibu, I don’t think they are going to go out of their way to visit Ellsworth based on what you see here. See what you think.

We have people who talk and talk about tourism and economic development and this website on travelKS.com just doesn’t cut it. Keeping this website current should be one of the first things they do. The Governor is making every effort to help the entire state with a tourism program and we’re sitting here dead in the water.

I’ve written the powers that be in Ellsworth to get this site upgraded and nothing has happened. No response from them. I’ve written the people at Travel and Tourism who run this site and asked that it be upgraded and had no response from them. I’ve offered to help. I’ve written the State Chamber and they will gladly include my site if the local Chamber will okay it. The local chamber won’t okay it. They would, however, be most grateful if I would “give” them my website to use without the blog. That just won’t happen.

The problem, so I am told, is that a few people in town don’t agree with my website because of the blog that is attached to it. Of course, that makes sense. I understand that clearly; however, my website is the best piece of advertising this county has and most people realize it. I challenge anyone to find something on my blog that is truly offensive, libelous, defamatory, or patently untrue. You’ll find opinions you may not agree with, but any educated soul should know what an opinion is. Everyone has them.

I’m not asking that they “endorse” my website, I’m only asking that they add a reference to my website as a link with the notation “Information about Ellsworth County written by someone who lives there”…or something like that as a solution to the problem that exists. That’s how it is listed everywhere all over the state except here. Most of my website hits come from K.U. and State of Kansas websites, state universities and unified school districts, etc. It’s listed in places the chamber website will never be listed. It seems logical and simple to me that until such time someone does a website that is agreeable to everyone, they might at least use mine.

I think the real issue is, no one in a position to do anything about it really cares whether or not we draw people to Ellsworth. They just like to toot horns about their own efforts at trying. The point is, I still get over 500,000 hits a year on my website…legitimate, verifiable hits, so it doesn’t matter to me as I’ll get them anyway. Those figures are nothing to overlook as all the websites in Ellsworth put together won’t reach those numbers in a life time nor will their websites be listed in places where they might.

I’m not trying to sell anything except our town, Wilson, Kanopolis, etc….and some town folk don’t care enough to see my website for the good it can do toward that end. And the thing they don’t seem to get is that the 95% of the people who hit my website never go to the blog. My blog readers come from referral sources, not from my website.

So, my blog followers, maybe you should start asking some questions as to why this is so. That would be a start. Ask why Ellsworth has such a deplorable website on travelKS.com and why they don’t put a link to mine until such time they get something respectable built for Ellsworth. We deserve a lot better …we are a lot better.

CLASSICNET UPGRADE AND STUFF

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 12:54 pm

CLASSICNET UPGRADE AND STUFF

Mark Gwinner said they upped the download speeds this week from 512k to 1 meg so those of us using classicnet should find our computers running even faster than before.

Yeah! Thanks Mark. We like that kind of news. We’re very lucky to have Mark, a local who knows what he’s doing with the cable network since he and his dad installed it in Ellsworth initially many moons ago. He provides excellent service, always has. He also has neat, conscientious guys who work with him.

Now after Kenz and Luke reformat my hard drive and reinstall all my programs, I’ll be flying through space. Catch me if you can.

The boomers last night sent me scurrying downstairs to unplug my computer. After the first two little flashes of light and distant pops, I thought they might just be passing by in the distance, but I didn’t want to take a chance so I unplugged everything…well, except my modem. After that the sky opened up, the rain poured down and the lightning was enough to make me glad I had traipsed downstairs. Now that this unpredictable spring weather has arrived, I’ll just unplug stuff before I hit the feathers.

I’ve heard stuff on the street, which is definitely not reliable place to hear much more than weather talk, that suggests the county may be facing a huge law suit…a multimillion dollar negligence suit. If it is true, and something has been filed, then I think the general public has a right to know about it. If there is anything to it, I’m sure the INDY will cover it.

Friends have said they read my blog, sometimes, but that they don’t always agree with me. That’s the point I have in writing it. At least half the reason I write is so someone out there will view what I say through a different looking eyeglass. If one person can look at a subject in a little different way, a little less myopic than they way they are accustomed, then I feel good about that and have accomplished my purpose in writing about it. I’m sure a lot of what I say just doesn’t soak in. That’s okay too. And, I’m sure some miss the whimsy of my comments.

Anyone who likes can write me and have something posted…if it meets my criteria, of course. I don’t want to defame anyone.

Opinion is just that, opinion. You have to have a foundation in order to offer an opinion, some basis in fact…facts that others with differing mindsets could use to offer differing opinions. My musings are more not to be right, but to write, and offer readers something to think about in a different way. Opinions are neither right or wrong, they’re the intangible property of those espousing them.

Tonight I’m going to Meridy’s for steak with a friend. We’ll use a gift certificate that was won at the Wilson Casino party.

People are heading to Newton today to participate in the Kansas Sampler Festival. I hope the weather clears by tomorrow so that it will be a most successful event for Marci and the festival goers. There are several from here going to help man the booths, and that’s a good thing. There will be festival goers who might learn a little about Ellsworth they didn’t previously know. It’s a fun event.

It’s easy for me to tell when Brit is fixing a can of soup for lunch as he is doing now. He does weird man-in-the-kitchen things. I can tell exactly what he is doing from my chair a floor below him. He wonders at that, but women know household sounds, even the tiniest ones. Very little escapes my attention in this house.

What he does is retrieve a can of soup from the pantry…and a small sauce pan. He opens the can then proceeds to pound it on the side of the pan to remove the contents. Sometimes, like with split pea or bean and bacon soup, the really stiff kind, the removal takes an interminable amount of pounding. Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang….and on and on and on. I’m not kidding. I can complete a letter to someone from scratch before he finishes his pounding. Now, mind you, there is a drawer containing an assortment of spoons for such things right next to him, but he must like to pound.

Maybe since he gave up bowling and most of his golf, it’s a way to release all the pent up energy 78 year old men carry around with them. I’m not clear on exactly why he does it. When I ask him why in the heck he doesn’t just get a spoon and dip it out…since he gets a spoon out eventually to stir it…his feathers sort of ruffle at the suggestion.

After that, I can tell whether he’s eating water or milk based soup depending on whether or not he opens and closes the refrigerator door twice or turns on the water tap. Today it will be water based as we are out of milk. He has learned to check first after having a couple of lunches of cream of potato soup made with water.

After that…and the constant stirring…things get quiet. He eats and returns to his reading chair and a wee nap. It’s sort of funny because he never knows if I’m in the house or not, unless he checks to see if my car is missing, but I can tell you every single movement he makes around here. Men are just men, that’s all and mine is very predictable, a creature of habit. He’s very cute and loveable about it all. And, not being able to hear is definitely a handicap for him as I stealth around doing my thing.

I told him I blogged his soup making operation and he just grinned. “How did you know I was having soup?”, he asked. Oh my! I think even the neighbors have figured it out by now.

Texas Spends More On Inmates Than Students

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 11:53 am

TEXAS SPENDS MORE ON INMATES THAN STUDENTS

DALLAS — As state lawmakers in Austin haggle over funding for school children, an NBC 5 investigation discovered that Texas spends far more on convicts than students, and far less than most other states.

NBC 5 also learned that Texas spends far more on the average prison inmate than the average school child. The state spends $16,063 per inmate and $7,088 per student.

For full story, click here.

There is also a link to the “Rankings & Estimates: Rankings of the States 2002 and Estimates of School Statistics 2003″.

4/29/2004

BURRRR…IT’S SNOWING IN COLORADO SPRINGS

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:56 pm

BURRRR…IT’S SNOWING IN COLORADO SPRINGS

WHAT ARE THEY LOOKING FOR?

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:09 pm

WHAT ARE THEY LOOKING FOR?

What are university graduate schools looking for? How do they determine who they accept and who they reject? It puzzles me.

We have a young friend, Tara, who is one of those perfect students. She has never made anything but A’s since she entered school. In the 5th grade she scored at the university level on Duke University tests she was given. When she was a sophomore in high school she was offered a full ride to the University of California at Berkeley in a program for 60 hand-picked high school students from across the U.S. She was taking university classes all through her high school years. She has been on a full ride scholarship at Oklahoma University for 5 years…all expenses paid. She’s has straight A’s there too.

At OU, she started out in pre-med, concentrating in the sciences and mathematics. Then, after her junior year, she changed career goals and flopped over to English lit. Still she made straight A’s. She’s graduating in a couple weeks summa cum laude from OU. She was a Rhodes Scholar finalist. She made a near perfect score on her LSAT. This young woman is brilliant, beautiful and can sing and dance. And she’s very, very nice to be around.

Law school. She had in mind going to Stanford or Harvard. But guess what? She’s wait listed at both schools. I wonder what it takes to get in…how much more do you have to achieve in order to get admitted? Beats me. She’s the perfect student with lofty goals and ambition.

What I do know is who they are not looking for…that would be a super brilliant, beautiful, talented, sensible, energetic, young Caucasian woman from Oklahoma who wants to be an attorney. They don’t want someone like that.

OU wants her to stay there in the worst way. They have offered her another full ride scholarship with all expenses paid and a very generous stipend for her law school years. It’s a good law school and she’ll make a terrific attorney. But I wonder how those university selection committees function. I can only think everyone else who applied must be as near perfect too. I think she is wise to go where she is wanted. It was a good decision.

We know Mackenzie will be going through the same thing next year. It’s her plan to get in a top ten engineering grad school, if at all possible. I hope there is a university that really wants her and offers her a good ride and a super stipend. She’d like to find an industry sponsor. She’s looking.

PARALLELS TO PEG AND PESSIMISM

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:40 pm

PARALLELS TO PEG AND PESSIMISM

You might like to read Jesse’s follow up about my comment about the draft here. He’s certainly one who has a serious interest in the subject and has presented some interesting thoughts on the subject.

BAILEY MCKAY…NEW YORK CITY?

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 6:51 pm

BAILEY MCKAY…NEW YORK CITY?

That’s the next stop for volleyball standout Bailey McKay
By Paul Rhodes

When Goddard High School senior Bailey McKay packed a lunch for her dad one day, she included a brief note thanking him for bringing the family to Goddard.

Bailey McKay’s reasoning for the thank you note was simple: In the past two years, she has been exposed to volleyball opportunities that last week resulted in a Division I offer from Fordham University in New York City.

“This is how you get to the Division I level,” said Gary Oborny, McKay’s coach with the Wichita Flyers. The Flyers are an 18 and under open division USA volleyball team that serves as part of the feeder program for the USA national volleyball team.

Goddard High School senior Bailey McKay will play Division I volleyball next fall at Fordham University.

For the past two years, when McKay wasn’t playing volleyball for the Goddard High Lady Lions, she was playing with the Wichita Flyers.

“It takes lots of determination and some sacrificing,” said Oborny. “It’s all about what these players want to do.”

For McKay, the answer to that question is two-fold: She wants to play volleyball at the top college level, and she wants to major in biology and pre-med. All that can be accomplished at Fordham University.

“I went to visit the campus two weeks ago, and really liked the coach and the school,” said McKay, who hopes to graduate next month with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. “They’re really big on academics, and that’s important to me, as well.”

McKay came to GHS from Ellsworth, Kan., when her father Kevin landed the principal’s position at Goddard’s Discovery Intermediate School. She played varsity volleyball at GHS her junior and senior years, and quickly hooked up with the Wichita Flyers.

The Flyers travel a national schedule from January through July, which means McKay has been playing volleyball almost year-round for the past two years.

“Bailey’s greatest strength is her work ethic - she comes to practice to work hard and support her team,” said Oborny. “She shows appreciation to the coaching staff, and to other players.

“It takes a lot of discipline to train almost year-round, and that’s what they’re looking for at the college level.”

“I’ve had a lot of opportunities here,” McKay said. “A lot of colleges expressed interest, and I’m excited to be going to Fordham.”

Her parents, Kevin and Tracy McKay, were on hand for the signing last Friday, along with coach Oborny and several friends and fellow players.

Fordham University is part of the Atlantic 10 Conference, and the volleyball program will be under the direction of new head coach Peter Volkert, who previously coached at Manhattan University and took his team to the NCAA tournament the past two years.

McKay received first team All-League honors her junior and senior years at Goddard, and was named to the All-State 6A tournament team this year. She played setter and outside hitter through high school, and was recruited by Fordham as a setter.

NEW HONDA COMMERCIAL

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:36 pm

NEW HONDA COMMERCIAL It’s even better than the one last year.

This is the New Honda Commercial in the U.K. Go to this website and watch this commercial. There are no computer graphics or digital tricks in the film. Everything you see happened in real time exactly as you see it. The film took 606 takes. On the first 605 takes, something, usually very minor, didn’t work. They would then have to set the whole thing up again. The crew spent weeks shooting, both night and day.

The film cost six million dollars and took three months to complete. In addition, it’s two minutes long so every time Honda airs the film on British television, they’re shelling out enough dough to keep any one of us in clover for a lifetime. However, it is fast becoming the most down loaded advertisement in Internet history. Honda executives figure the ad will soon pay for itself simply in “free” viewings (Honda isn’t paying a dime to have you watch this commercial!).

When the ad was pitched to senior executives, they signed off on it immediately without any hesitation-including the costs. There are six and only six handmade Accords in the world. To the horror of Honda engineers, the filmmakers disassembled two of them to make the film. Everything you see in the film (aside from the walls, floor, ramp, and complete Honda Accord) are parts from those two cars. When the ad was shown to Honda executives, they liked it and commented on how amazing computer graphics have gotten. They fell off their chairs when they found out it was for real.

Oh! And about those funky windshield wipers. On the new Accords, the windshield wipers have water sensors and are designed to start doing their thing automatically as soon as they become wet. It looks a bit weird in the commercial. Just one-second of computer generation is used to link the two halves when an exhaust pipe rolls across the floor. At one point, three tires roll uphill because inside they have been weighted with bolts and screws.

THE DALLAS HIGHFIVE

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 3:29 pm

THE DALLAS HIGHFIVE

A blog from Dane Britton:

The Dallas HighFive interchange project is considered to be one of the most complicated civil engineering projects currently under construction in the U.S. The interchange of the LBJ Freeway (I-635) and the North Central Expressway (U.S. 75) is one of the busiest highway intersections in the United States.

The current three level intersection and ramps were designed in the 1970’s & 80’s for far less traffic. It is not uncommon to face 1-3 hour delays during rush hour in any direction.

The redesign will expand traffic and exit lanes and heighten the intersection from three levels to five levels. Actual construction began in 1999 and is scheduled to be completed in 2007 or 2008. What makes this project so complicated is that NO lane closures are permitted on either freeway between the hours of 6-9am and 2-9pm. New bridges and overpasses are being built while the current bridges and overpasses remain in place. Much of the work is being done at night.

Some facts:

When finished the HighFive will allow for 8 lanes of traffic on U.S. 75. I-635 will then allow for 10 lanes of traffic and 4 dedicated HOV lanes. Over 2.2 million yards of soil has to be moved…220,000 dump truck loads. 43,000 linear feet of drilled shafts (eight miles). Over 350,000 yards of concrete will be needed. 164,000 feet of steel bridge beams (31 miles) will be utilized. Over 2 million square feet of bridge decking… 300,000 square feet of retaining walls… 14 miles of drainage pipes.

The difference between the highest and lowest roadways will be 135 feet, the height of at 13 story building. 710 bridge columns have to be built and erected. 31 bridges have to be demolished and 35 new bridges built.

Total estimated cost is $275 million dollars.

(P.S. from Peg….and yet, people continue to move to Dallas by the thousands. They must look at all of this as a challenge. They aren’t moving elsewhere to avoid it.)

CHILD ABUSE

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 1:17 pm

CHILD ABUSE

I heard this morning that a reliable source, who certainly should have those figures in front of him, said Ellsworth County was the leading county in the state for child abuse. That doesn’t surprise me at all. I also have heard the same thing about abuse against women and Ellsworth County topping the list statewide.

And, guess what? Where do kids and women go for help and counseling? Who do they have here to listen to their problems? Where do the abusers get help around here?

CAN’T GET THEM BACK ON THE FARM

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:34 am

CAN’T GET THEM BACK ON THE FARM

Without getting into a long harangue about it, it’s pretty easy to understand, after spending a couple days in Dallas, the difficulty in getting our young people to return home to rural Kansas after living in the city. I blogged this several months ago rather extensively about all they have done in North Dakota with money and the promise of jobs to lure back their young citizens, all to little avail. Visiting Dallas was just a renewal of that for me. Over the years, we have had a lot of kids from here who have moved to the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and I can almost assure you they are never coming back. What would they do if they did?

We know there has been a great migration of people off the farm for reasons we have experienced and know well. At the same time, we have been sending our children to colleges and they have been educated in the ways of the world. For the past couple of generations, those two things have combined, in my opinion, to drain our countryside of young people. And it continues. Our children and grandchildren have global ideas and thoughts, they travel and explore the world, they become broad-minded and accepting of differences…and they don’t find those same pockets of tolerance and understanding among people in rural Kansas. We offer few opportunities, precious few that make any difference to them.

They get good, well-paying jobs in the city. Their kids are growing up with opportunities they themselves didn’t have here as childen. We’re doing well to teach them the basics and they want more for their children. If we have a kid who wants to play the violin, for the most part we tell him to play a trumpet or drum. The choices and opportunities in small towns are just very, very limited and the kids we’ve sent away to college have realized this and quickly see the short-comings of rural life. They want more educational opportunities and more choices in life for themselves and their children.

I don’t think it’s a lack of appreciation for what they had here as children. I believe they treasure the time they spent here as children. But times and opportunities have changed them. They tolerate the inconveniences and busyness of city life for all the other challenges and opportunities there are near at hand. They want to be where their friends are, doing the many things that friends can do together in the city. Rural life is too stagnant for them, too confining, too limiting in exposure surrounded by too many people that don’t share their vision or tolerance of others who are “different” from themselves.

People like to be exposed to the various life styles in the city where they can “fit” in their own particular niche. They enjoy having the availability of movies, theater, arts and sciences, museums, art galleries, shopping, restaurants, night life, social things, not to mention all the athletic opportunities to experience both as participants and spectators…all the choices to explore that living here can’t offer. They don’t want to become involved in the smallness of small towns. They like all the things we are willing to sacrifice just so we can live here. We can’t expect them to like what we like.

So how is Ellsworth different from Lincoln, Russell or Lindsborg? We all have our eight cultural elements of which we are very proud. We all think we live in the best town there is, or we wouldn’t be here. How many of us would move to Dallas if we were given a free lot to build on? Not very many, I don’t think. At least if we moved to Dallas and built a house we probably could sell it. You build a house here and you might as well plan to live the rest of your life in it, as selling it is generally not easy.

What few people there are who filter back home to raise their families, have good jobs secured before they move or plenty of money to start up their own business. There aren’t that many good jobs available here and the kind that arise may not be the right kind. Choices are limited.

Those of us who live here, for the most part, choose to live here for other reasons. We love our community, but we can’t expect others to share our enthusiasm just because we happen to prefer it.

All of this brings me to another point. If we can’t attract our own children to move back here, why is it we seem to think we have something unique that droves of tourists are going to want to come here and see? Charlie Walker’s Rolling Hills Zoo and Museum is a first class, unique tourist attraction. He’s spent millions of his own money developing it. He’s a mile off the Interstate and even with all the billboards and advertising…and vast amounts of money spent on marketing…he hasn’t begun to realize the head count he had anticipated. How in the world are we, with our meager resources and no ball of twine, going to draw people eight miles off the interstate to Ellsworth?

Look at the Sternberg Museum in Hays, a first-class fossil museum. They’ve cut staff because their numbers and resources are down, and frankly, unless they are going to change their exhibits, I’m not all that interested in making a special trip back there for another visit. I’ve already been there a half dozen times. They are smack dab on the Interstate and still, not enough people to make a difference to their operation are attracted to stop and go through it.

Ellsworth is eight miles off the Interstate and we have no giant ball of twine like Cawker City. We don’t have an Eisenhower Center. We don’t have resident artists as we should have. If we want tourism, we’ll have to invent something that no one else has.

People…and I am among them.. have talked tourism during all the years I’ve lived here. I’m just not sure all my efforts…and those of many others…have changed a thing in the last 20 -30 years. I can’t see that the Amazing 100 Miles group has made any progress to lure visitors. I know three-color brochures stacked with hundreds of other three-color brochures from other towns at travel centers across Kansas aren’t going to make a difference.

My thoughts today…they may change tomorrow…are that we better do everything we can to get any prison expansion we can located here. State infrastructure is the only thing that is going to keep us alive and free from becoming part of the buffalo commons. It’s a sure thing and brings jobs and people. I’d hate to think where we’d be today without the ECF. It would be bleak around here.

We need to do as much as possible with grassroots entrepreneurship. We need to support the Prairie Enterprise Project…the Sirolli group. We need to attract and support artists to locate here, as Lucas and Lindsborg have done. We need to consolidate our efforts rather than having so many groups with overlapping purposes stringing out their attempts to make change.

We need to have a group of three or four solid businessmen in town, as we had ten or so years ago and haven’t had since that time, who know how things work to go out and get small businesses to locate here. They need to initiate it independently…and go to work. They know how economic development works. It’s not going to get done by some committee. There are a couple of my secret readers, I hope, who are paying attention to this as you are the ones who need to lead the charge and make things happen.

The best we can do, I think, is to make things here better for those of us who choose to live here. We all should be working toward that goal so the people who live here will want to remain here.

What do you think? Blog something back and I’ll post it, as you choose, with or without your name.

REFRESH

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:30 am

REFRESH…RELOAD…CLICK REFRESH

4/28/2004

GAS CONSUMPTION

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:06 pm

GAS CONSUMPTION

Driving home today from Dallas took half a tank less gas than driving to Dallas on Monday. Anyone who has been outside knows the wind is blowing a gale from south Texas north to the Arctic Circle. Maybe the same wind is circling the earth and coming back at us. I just know we had one terrific tail wind. Gas is also 15 cents a gallon cheaper in Dallas. I suppose some of that is due to our road tax.

We were surrounded by a flurry of activity while we were there with an honors convocation and reception one night and an engineering honors banquet last night. We could all take lessons from them on how to run a good awards ceremony.

The student honors convocation involving the top rung students at Southern Methodist (they aren’t really associated with the Methodist Church any longer…or so I’ve been told) took exactly one hour. That included a speaker and the introduction of about 200 students and presenting each with their medal and defining their many achievements. It was classy and efficient. There was not a single one second break in the rhythm of the evening.

The engineering school banquet was a little different as students were receiving specific one of a kind awards. One thing that was very apparent was the mix of students which wasn’t noticeable with other University departments. In the engineering school …at least the ones on the magna and summa cum laude tracks… the students are not Caucasian. I only mention this as there is a definite absence of Caucasian males and only a handful of Caucasian females. Generally speaking, these students are found more frequently in mechancial and civil engineering, but since jobs are scare in those fields, they have filtered more in to the computer and electrical engineering fields.

Mackenzie and her friend Alison were the only two female Caucasians in the computer engineering honors award ceremony in a sea of men and a sprinkling of other women. Most were East Indian, Asian, etc. That’s not true throughout the general enrollment, but in the top tier of students in engineering, it certainly is. The competition is fierce.

Dane, Luke, Julie and I watched as Mackenzie received her medal and a very fancy engraved lucite Mark Shepherd award for leadership in the School of Engineering and on the SMU campus. In addition to their awards, the students each received a check for $100. It was a very nice ceremony and she was happy to have family there to share in the honors. They spent a lot of bucks on the very fancy awards…all encased in padded boxes.

The faculty was voted on by the students and the best of the lot were honored as well. I’m not sure there is anything more in the way of awards that will be available to Mackenzie during her senior year. She’s done very, very well.

Dane and I walked through the City Market and it was an eye-opener for sure. I love that place. There are more unusual food stuffs there than I could ever describe. I think if you lived in Dallas and could afford to shop there you must have achieved significantly. By carefully selecting foods, you’d never have to eat leftovers again. Entertaining would never be a problem. I bought some French organic sea salt and some flax seed, both cheaper than internet prices. We didn’t have much time so we just did a walk through…and I loved it. I could spend hours there.

We made a quick stop at a Barnes and Noble and I bought three books that Brit has wanted to read. I’ll blog about them later.

We had dinner at Pappadeaux…a seafood restaurant that is a family favorite. Soft shell crabs were my choice.

We had lunch at Fuddruckers, home of the world’s greatest hamburgers. They grind all their own meat and make their own buns on site. All the many toppings are fresh and appealing. It’s a family favorite place and if it were in Kansas, it would make the Kansas Explorers Club list for great hamburgers, even if it is a chain.

We also took a good look at the new High Five civil engineering project that is proceeding without interupting the flow of traffic on the highway. I guess it is considered one of those civil engineering marvels that is getting world wide attention. It has been going on for years and some of the SMU graduates who started working on the project when it began have done nothing else for the past 15-20 years since they left school. There are five decks of highways, with loops and connecting links going on for a couple of miles and all the while the traffic flows underneath…always in different patterns as they have to change the roads to accomodate the work. It is going to be one huge, monstrous piece of engineering when it is finished. Maybe I can talk Dane into blogging it for me as he knows more about it. It’s something to see if you get to Dallas.

And I was somewhat amused when I saw numerous huge, yellow billboards advertising “Condoms to Go”, a chain of stores located throughout the city selling only what the sign says…and lots of them. Of course, there were plenty of XXX signs too with stores located next to Walmart. People don’t think anything about them and can’t help but be puzzled about the flack around here about such things.

I’m just reporting in. It was a quick trip. I’ll have more on the subject later after I sleep.

4/25/2004

2004 STATISTICS…SO FAR

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:03 pm

2004 STATISTICS….SO FAR

Website hits to Kansas Prairie website so far this year:

March 2004 …………. 55,279
February 2004………. 57,799
January 2004………… 49,054

That’s a big bunch of hits and I thank all of you very much. So far this month 41,156 hits have been recorded. We’re on the road to 600,000 hits this year.

FOR A FEW DAYS THERE WILL BE NO BLOGGING

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 2:23 pm

FOR A FEW DAYS THERE WILL BE NO BLOGGING

Tomorrow morning early I’m leaving for Dallas with oldest son, father of Mackenzie, so that we can watch her participate in the award ceremonies at Southern Methodist University. There are three such gatherings and we’re invited to all.

Well, the one tomorrow night is open to anyone as it is a general awards ceremony for the University. The one Tuesday night is an engineering banquet where she’ll be awarded the Mark Shepherd engineering award. Wednesday morning there is an honors breakfast where she is a speaker and will talk about the research paper she had published, and the progress made by Tau Beta Pi, as she is president of the group. Dane and I are invited to it too. We’re looking forward to the trip and being there to watch Mackenzie being honored for her achievements.

She’s going to take me to the Central Market…grocery store. I think that’s the name of it. It’s a must see.

So, this is the last blog I’ll post for several days. We’ll be back Wednesday evening where I expect to find Brit and Jack waiting to hear all about our exciting adventures. Maybe I’ll have time to post something on Thursday. So, until then, you all get a breather! Write me about what is going on in my absence so I can post it later.

Don’t forget to attend the Kansas Sampler Festival in Newton next Saturday and/or Sunday. It’s a wonderful affair and everyone under the sun you want to see will be there.

OSMAM AND GAS PRICES

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 1:10 pm

OSAMA AND GAS PRICES

I’m not a betting person, but I’d lay a wager that Osama bin Laden and lower gas prices both appear shortly before the election.

“House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World’s Two Most Powerful Dynasties ” by Craig Unger, Scribner

“Against All Enemies” by Richard Clark.

Both are interesting reads.

TALKING HEADS

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:30 am

TALKING HEADS

The heads are bobbing around more than ever. I wonder if anyone out there doesn’t know who they are going to vote for despite all this talking?

SERVERS AND ISP’S

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:18 am

SERVERS AND ISP’S

There are some things I just can’t grasp and one is exactly how it is my ISP handles my mail. I now have it set up on my computer in a way that makes sense to me, but despite efforts on the part of my guru friends, Brad and my webmaster-person who clearly understand such things, I just don’t get how it really is. Maybe when Mackenzie and Luke come to work on my machine, they can draw pictures of all this which might make it soak in.

You see, I have three different addresses set up…or did…in my mail account. One from classic net and two from kansas prairie. The first is my internet service provider and the later uses a server that requires I have an isp. I know that was like being on a rural road with two mail boxes, one with two doors, standing there side-by-side. Now, I have only one mail account and one mail box on that road.

Thanks to Brad, I now have my mail all being delivered to that one mailbox, classicnet, then filtering into three different folders. I envision classicnet as being my post office box and mail addressed to me in three different ways somehow ends up in that classicnet box. Don’t believe it as it isn’t true.

Then, when it enters my machine, I have it set up so it goes into these three different folders that are compliant with the three different addresses. One folder gathers up almost all of the spam stuff that is usually addressed to one specific address and encourages me to mortgage my house, borrow money, enlarge certain parts of my body that I don’t have, or buy some kind of medications I don’t want. Another address is little used and largely remains empty. The rest of my mail, the bulk of which I want, flows in to my “inbox”.

Now…all this limits some of the other things I could previously do with my mail, but it does manage the spam which was a huge annoyance. I made a mistake long ago not to use my yahoo address for some things which may have resulted in spam….like sending greeting cards, which is the greatest spam address collector of all. Also, my website initially had my email address spelled out so spiders could collect and use it against me. That has been changed but spam hangs on for years.

So, I have elimated the need for a spam program, for the moment anyway, as long as I can protect my other addresses. As long as other people have those addresses, I don’t have much control over their use. I guess we just have to learn to live with spam as short of charging for internet mail, I don’t know how they can eliminate it.

WHEN I HEAR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS TALK ABOUT MILITARY CONSCRIPTION, I JUST SHUDDER.

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:51 am

WHEN I HEAR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS TALK ABOUT MILITARY CONSCRIPTION, I JUST SHUDDER.

This was one of my concerns when we blithely headed off to Iraq. It is a war and it isn’t over as Bush announced so confidently that is was. Reviving the draft is a scary thing, but under the circumstances, I can’t see us avoiding it.

MIDLAND FILET

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:42 am

MIDLAND FILET

Brit and I went for real food at the Midland Hotel last night. Ally had ordered and just taken delivery on some wonderful filets so we decided to have our first experience with them. Usually, we have prime rib, or some lesser fair, on Saturday night on the occasions we are there. The filets sounded irresistable.

She broiled them….and they were huge… wrapped in bacon and we chose to have ours topped with broiled bleu cheese. Yummmmmy. They came with salad, baked potatoes, wonderful bright green broccoli (I don’t like it very well when it isn’t) and dinner rolls. We agreed they were the best we’ve ever had….including the good ones we fix at home. That meat was as tender as it gets…and the flavor was remarkable.

There are three new local faces on the Midland staff…Chris, Audria and Kathy. That’s nice to see. The flow of traffic has increased and lots of exciting conferences, retreats and special occasions are being celebrated there. The North Central Kansas Tourism committee met there recently. The 2004 Kansas Byways conference being held next month in Wilson for three days will see some events at the Midland. More and more travelers are discovering the Midland. And, couples are just finding it a great place to go relax or celebrate a special occasion. It’s a great hidden treasure that is being discovered.

Next Page »
Home

Powered by WordPress