Open House with Brenners

George Brenner, a longtime member of Lawrence Central Rotary, retains his membership in the club even though he and his wife Mary Ann now live in Richmond, VA.  When the Brenners visited Lawrence recently, club members met for a potluck meal to reconnect.

Driving to Keep Bicyclists Safe

Be predictable!  Kirsten Yunuba Stephens underlines that advice to all bicyclists and to those who share the road with them.

Stephens volunteers her time to teach “Bicycle Friendly Drivers” in Lawrence on behalf of the Lawrence Bicycle Club.  Based on a program developed by the City of Fort Collins, CO, the course briefs drivers of cars and other motorized vehicles about the rules of the road when they encounter bicyclists.  The hour-long interactive class is “aimed at educating all drivers on the best and safest ways to share the road with people on bicycles.”  Kirsten has incorporated photographs of Lawrence streets to help learners envision problem situations.

Many drivers are surprised to learn that:

  • Bicyclists must follow the same rules of the road that cars and other vehicles do.
  • Bicyclists can legally “take the lane” and ride in the middle of road.
  • It’s okay for two bicyclists to ride side by side.
  • Cars should stay at least three feet away from bicyclists.
  • Many accidents occur when vehicle drivers making a right-hand turn don’t check for cyclists coming on their right.  

Helmet Fitting with a Chill

Lawrence Central Rotarians braved the cold morning on Saturday, April 7, to fit bicycle helmets for children who attended the Joy Ride sponsored by Gravel Grinders.

Haitian and US History Entwined

Cecile Accilien, Ph.D., is Associate Professor and Director of the Institute of Haitian Studies in the Department of African and African-American Studies at KU.  Although born in Haiti, she has lived in states all across the United States.  She urged Rotarians and political leaders to reject negative stereotypes about Haiti, learn about the country’s distinguished history and connection to the United States, and understand how that history has resulted in Haiti’s situation in the world today.

Several hundred Haitians fought on the side of American revolutionaries in 1779 at the Battle of Savannah, Georgia. A statue was erected in 2010 in downtown Savannah commemorating the event.

Haiti is the world’s first black republic.  Its slave revolution won independence from France in 1804, making it the second independent nation in the Western Hemisphere after the United States. The United States waited nearly 50 years to recognize Haiti’s independence, fearing a contagion that would inspire American slaves to rise up to an even greater degree.

President Thomas Jefferson was able to buy the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803 because Napoleon had lost control of Haiti (then known as Saint-Domingue) due to the courageous fight of the Haitian people.  The “gingerbread architecture” of homes in Louisiana, language, food, and religion all had roots in Haiti.

For 19 years (1915-1934), the United States occupied Haiti, completely controlled the country, and rewrote its constitution to benefit American economic interests. Haiti was a powerhouse supplier of sugar, rum, and indigo to its northern neighbor.

In Fall 2018, an art exhibition at the Spencer Museum of Art at KU will highlight “The Ties that Bind:  Haiti, the United States, and the Art of Ulrick Jean-Pierre in Comparative Perspective.”  The exhibition notes explain that “both the United States and Haiti were impacted by complex encounters among European colonizers, Indigenous populations, and enslaved peoples. These nations share common revolutions for independence and violent but ultimately successful attempts to abolish slavery. The ongoing migration of citizens between Haiti and the United States has led to hybrid forms of architecture, language, food, and religion.”


New Talent and Energy Joins Lawrence Central

Three of the newest members of Lawrence Central Rotary shared the spotlight in a recent panel interview. All are excited about how Rotary can expand their networks of friendship and opportunity for community service in Lawrence.

Lee Anne Thompson (left) is AVP and Employee Benefit Officer at The Trust Company of Kansas (TCK). Lee Anne grew up in Hayes. After earning a degree in finance at Kansas State, she moved to Wichita to work for TCK for a number of years. She spend eight years as IT manager at another Wichita business before returning to TCK in 2012 at the Lawrence office. Lee Anne serves on the board of the Lawrence Community Orchestra and has been active in the music ministry at her church. She has been a foster parent and has a passion for serving neighbors, clients, friends and others that may be in need. To see her smile, ask her about her dogs. Lee Anne relished the childhood freedom to ride her bike or her horse all over small-town Hayes. A favorite memory is the laughter when her family played card games together.

Gena Dellett (center) grew up in Concordia, KS. Although her father was a dairy farmer, she considered herself more of a town girl. She was active in Rotary programs even during high school and helped to start a Rotoract Club while attending University of Rochester, NY. She was living in Alamosa, CO, when she joined a Rotary club in 2014. Gena moved to Lawrence in recent months with her husband and two young children. Professionally, she specializes in communications and in relationships, working remotely as an account manager for Wanna Pixel, a technology company. Gena tried hot air ballooning while living in Colorado and loves it. She believes that purpose is key to leading a successful life; she values family over career and believes that earning money is a means, not an end.

Leticia Cole (right) has worked with Paul Werner Architects for the past 11 years. Although she lived in Lawrence in grade school, she graduated from high school in Topeka. After earning a degree in Architecture at KU, she spent professional time in Phoenix and in St. Louis before returning to Lawrence. Leticia is a graduate of Leadership Lawrence and serves on the board of Catch-A-Break. She thinks our Club will be a good fit for her as she enjoys doing anything outdoors—biking, yard work, camping. A favorite adventure was a raft trip through the Grand Canyon with her husband.

« Older posts