Mark your calendars! Wednesday Oct 7th is the official day that Lawrence Schools are encouraging students to walk or bike to school.
The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department had a great website with information about finding the best routes to your local school and even has maps.
From the website: “Be Active Safe Routes is a local movement to create safe opportunities for children to bike and walk to and from schools. The goal is to get children moving again and to reverse the growing rate of childhood obesity.
In 1969, approximately 50 percent of children in the U.S. walked or biked to school. Today, fewer than 15 percent do. As a result, kids today are less active, less independent and less healthy.
“The research is pretty clear that kids who walk and bike to school are more active. They will be healthier and perform better in school.” – Community Health Director Chris Tilden.”
Lawrence Central Rotary (and the other local Rotary Clubs) sponsored a hole for the Lawrence Public Library’s Caddy Stacks Mini Golf fundraiser event.
From Library Executive Director Kathleen Morgan, “Summer Reading is an important annual program for our entire community. Not only does it provide great summertime entertainment, but it also is essential to preventing summer learning loss in Lawrence’s kids. Numerous studies show that students experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities over the summer. Low income students who do not have access to these important summer learning activities are particularly at risk. Thanks to your help, 4,176 of Lawrence’s kids, teens, and adults chose to spend their summer at Lawrence Public Library and read nearly 35,000 books and attended 258 library programs.”
Look for your ballot and be sure to vote!
Dr. Rick Doll, Superintendent of Schools for District 497 in Lawrence, explained to Rotarians the school funding issue that is in front of voters. A ballot will arrive in each resident’s mailbox this week.
The question in front of voters is whether or not to maintain the current level of funding in the Local Option Budget (LOB) at 33% of the general fund amount that is provided by the state funding formula. Passing this measure will not increase property taxes and will maintain District 497 LOB funding at the current level.
The LOB was originally established by the Kansas legislature to fund “extras” in a school district. Now District 497 uses the LOB taxation to extend their general fund in order to pay for basic needs. All other districts in the state have taken similar action.
Rotarians asked Doll to comment on a variety of topics in addition to the ballot measure. He told the group that he is especially pleased to see the transformation of the older schools in the district, thanks to the bond issue that voters approved a year ago. The new College and Career Center under construction on Haskell Avenue will offer exciting opportunities to both youth and adults. He commended the City of Lawrence, Douglas County, and the Chamber of Commerce for their collaboration on the technical school planned in conjunction with the new facility.
Doll foresees that the District will next need to build a new elementary school to the west in coming years and to make improvements at Lawrence High School. He notes that District 497 has the largest virtual school in the state and is proud of its success. Common Core standards make sense in the current world, Doll says, but have become politicized. The community should be concerned that 40% of the children in the District are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.
Below is a video from the USD 497 website with a little more information on the ballot initiative.
Diane Ensminger explained to the Lawrence Central Rotary Club that she created Allie’s Village Memory Care Homes, LLC, in honor of her mother Allie, a victim of Alzheimer’s disease. As CEO and owner of Allie’s Village, Diane is committed to providing comfort to the persons living with Alzheimer’s & dementia and their families. The facility promises customized care for those living with the disease. Diane declares, “You do not need to walk alone or be afraid, we are here to help you.”
Alzheimer’s and dementia are potential issues for many as the population ages. Statistics predict that one in eight people over age 65 will have Alzheimer’s disease. The Huffington Post blog gave a dire prediction on April 9, 2014:
Our country is in the middle of an Alzheimer’s crisis that has already been devastating to millions among the “greatest generation,” is well on its way toward doing the same directly to the “boomers,” and has already immersed their progeny in caregiving. Right now there are more than 5 million Americans who have this progressive, degenerative and fatal disease.
Allie’s Village opened just over a year ago in spring 2013. Its eight bedrooms and five day-care openings are full, and there are five people on the waiting list. The residence takes pride in its ratio of one caregiver for two every residents, ensuring that residents have an opportunity for constant interaction and activities that match their interests. The family-centered philosophy at Allie’s Village ensures its happy, loving environment and its partnership with the loved ones of its residents.
Professional Science Masters program is a new science-based professional degree, now offered on the KU Edwards campus. Dr. Mark Jakubauskas, the program director, said the idea has been in the works for years and is now available at 71 universities with 300 such programs across the country.
He told Central Lawrence Rotarians that the degree, which began at KU in the summer of 2013, is a combination of graduate-level science and/or mathematics. It is intended for math and science graduates who want careers at the intersection of science and management.
Students enroll in short courses such as business fundamentals, tech transfer, project management, entrepreneurship, regulatory affairs, leadership and ethics with training in communication and team building. Rounding out the program is a required internship.
He called the internship the capstone project. Students are able to apply their skills in the disciplines they choose. Professionals from all areas are involved and provide evaluations of the program as it continues.
“We’re trying to fit the to the specific needs of the businesses out there,” he said. “We’re very excited about this. People who already have degrees in science and technology often don’t want to go on for a Ph.D. but do want to have a masters.
“There’s a lot of interest from businesses about this and the program is exploding. It is the first PSM program within 200 miles of the Kansas City area.”