It was a day for young achievers at Lawrence Central Rotary as two high school students reported on club-sponsored summer activities.
Hamidat Asuku received a financial award from the club to help her participate in the Sister Cities student exchange trip to Hiratsuka, Japan. Hamidat shared images of her trip and her impressions of Hiratsuka, which she described as safe, clean and pleasant, with a small town atmosphere.
The most memorable part of the trip was her host family who were very kind and made her feel welcomed. Hamidat is studying Japanese, but she was grateful that the host family spoke English. She was impressed with the interesting and tasty variety of food she was served. The “host dog” was great fun, and it went along on various excursions. Hamidat enjoyed trips to museums, places and to the beach. She would very much like to return to Japan. Hamidat’s mother, Billy Asuku, was present at the meeting.
Shreya Bhaka, daughter of club member Sam Bhaka and his wife Rohini, was selected by the club to attend Rotary Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA). Some sixty students assembled in Lawrence this summer for a week of presentations on leadership and various civic and social issues.
Shreya enjoyed working with the mix of students drawn from schools in the area. The students formed small work groups and took on such topics as “the state brain-drain” and activities such as preparing care packages for tornado victims. They also learned about Rotary service options for young people as well as other avenues for service. Shreya spoke of numerous new friendships and intends to maintain contact with others in the group to create a forum of RYLA attendees for sharing school issues and ideas in the coming year.
Lynn O’Neal, retired opthamologist and charter member of Lawrence Central Rotary, told a story of a chance encounter with fascinating “small world” coincidences attached to it.
The story begins with Lynn’s Navy ROTC scholarship to medical school. After twelves years of active duty and four years in the reserves, he was eager to meet old friends at the 2015 Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, PA. While exploring the city, he and his wife Debbie happened to stumble upon the Barnes Foundation, a private collection of impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modern art.
Intrigued by the fact that the collection was little known, Lynn did some research and discovered that the art was acquired in Europe during the Depression by a Dr. Albert C. Barnes of Philadelphia (1872-1951). Trained as a doctor, Barnes pursued chemistry as it applied to the practice of medicine. In fact, Barnes’ wealth came from a drug he developed called Argyrol, an antiseptic which is used in the treatment of ophthalmic infections and to prevent newborn infant blindness. It was a treatment that Lynn prescribed often in his opthamological practice. (That’s the “small world” part of the story.)
Barnes formed A.C. Barnes Company and registered the trademark for Argyrol, selling the company just days before the stock market crash in 1929. He spent his wealth purchasing fine art throughout his lifetime.
Philadelphia’s art intelligentia declared Barnes’ collection to be too avant-garde when he shared it with the public in 1923. As a result, Barnes maintained a long-lasting and well-publicized antagonism toward those he considered part of the art establishment. There are over 4,000 objects in the Barnes collection. The works are not hung traditionally, a fact that generates ongoing criticism.
Megan Poindexter, Executive Director of Senior Resource Center of Douglas County (SRC), is excited about the renovation project underway at 745 Vermont Street, a building that the Center has shared with Fire Station #1 since 1979. She expects the changes to be completed in the next few weeks after a two-and-a-half-year wait. The agency plans a “Big Reveal” homecoming fundraiser on September 14 with a ribbon cutting and EXPO scheduled soon afterward.
SCR, a rebranding of the former Douglas County Senior Services, provides both tangible and intangible services to county residents. Typically, Poindexter explains, a person will call SCR with a particular problem or question. A consultant on staff works with each caller to identify the multiple layers of need and recommend information and referrals that will help.
Tangible services delivered through SRC include the Energy Utility Fund and coaching about Medicare and Medicare Supplement enrollment. Although transportation services are a major expense for the agency, the vehicles and drivers that SCR manages are vital to those who are unable to get to medical and other appointments without such support.
Since social interaction is key to well-being for seniors, the Center provides a number of activities for people in that age group. Events, classes, and groups will meet regularly in the new space once the move back to Vermont Street is completed. Those opportunities take place in partnership with Osher Lifelong Learning, Lawrence Parks and Recreation, the Lawrence Arts Center, and Just Foods, among others.
Sixty-five percent of SRC funding comes from Douglas County grants. State money, private donors, and fees also support the agency.
Xan Wedel spoke to Rotarians about the upcoming United States Census. The Constitution mandates that there be a count of all who reside in the United States every ten years.
The count will take place on April 1, 2020. Beginning in March 2020, households will receive a postcard with instructions. Each household will be asked to complete ten simple questions.
Power, money, and infrastructure in Ameria are all impacted by the results of the Census. The count determines how many people each state may send to Congress to represent the state in the House of Representatives. Many federal and state dollars are allocated according to census data, so under-counting can be costly. And because localities use data as they plan infrastructure improvements, an accurate census can determine the placement of a new grocery store or the priorities for which roads and bridges to repair.
Traditionally, people respond to the census using a paper form, by contacting a call center, or by responding to a Census enumerator in person. For the upcoming census, they may also respond online. The Census will NOT call or email people.
Of the 248 census offices that will open in the United States, two will be in Kansas–one in Kansas City Kansas and one in Wichita.
Xan is Senior Research Data Engineer at the Institute for Policy & Social Research (IPSR) at the University of Kansas where she “plays with data every day.” IPSR is a faculty-driven research center supporting social scientists who focus on social problems and policy-relevant questions.
Xan has been with the Institute since 1999. Among other responsibilites, she leads the Kansas State Data Center (SDC). The SDC Program is one of the U.S. Census Bureau’s longest and most successful partnerships.