Category: What’s So Great About Lawrence (page 1 of 5)

Thanks For Coming Out To The Fall Community Bike Ride!

On behalf of all of us at Lawrence Central Rotary, a big thank you!

On Saturday we hosted the 2nd ride of our “Community Bike Ride” initiative. In spite of warm weather, overlap with the KU football game, and a variety of other options, we were able to total 79 participants (by counting the waivers). We had another successful helmet giveaway – as well as providing neon safety vests and shirts.

For the year (both rides), we had 247 participants, we gave away 107 helmets, 98 vests, and 105 shirts (with shirt and vest totals only limited by our inventory). And, importantly, we had another successful year without injuries. We heard multiple people share that it was “…my first time on this trail!” and more than one family share that they were back with kids who had graduated from our training-wheel takeoff clinic (that Jane Huesemann leads). 

Speaking for the group – each time we help fit a child (or adult) with a helmet – provide them with a bright (neon) vest or bright shirt – we know we are proactively promoting well being (safety). It means a lot to us – and we could not pull this off without your help.

Below is a gallery of pictures (thank you Lynn O’Neal, Tobin Neis, and the folks at Friends of Lawrence Area Trails). Our fall ride that started at the Haskell Stadium parking lot and went up along the Burroughs Creek trail and back.

We are looking forward to coming back in 2019 and we hope you choose to be along for the ride!

Steve

Rideperson, 

Community Bike Rides

www.lawrencecentralrotary.org

Pictures from a community bicycle ride organized by the Lawrence Central Rotary Club. Starting at the Haskell Memorial Stadium and riding up and back on the Burroughs Creek Trail

Posted by Ride Lawrence on Monday, September 17, 2018

Sister Cities Bridges Communities and Hearts

Kelly Schultz, Megan Durner, and Joan Durner share the positive impact Sister Cities is making in Lawrence.

Megan Durner, incoming Senior in Lawrence, discovered her love for cultural exchange as a Freshman. Through the Sister Cities program Durner’s family hosted a student from Germany. It was such a positive experience, the family hosted again the following summer.

This summer Durner became the exchange student, traveling to Eutin, Germany, a Lawrence Sister City since 1989.

“Being in Germany is the best thing that has ever happened to me,” said Durner. “I truly learned what it was like to live in someone else’s shoes. I relished learning the differences and similarities in how we live.”

As soon as Durner received information about her Eutin host family, she started talking with her host sister. “By the time we met she felt like family.”

The whole trip felt like “something out of the movies,” said Durner. The students went to class, on day trips, and took in the beauty of the small lake-side town. 

2019 will mark the 30th year of Lawrence and Eutin’s history as Sister Cities. Kelly Schultz, from the Sister Cities Governing Board, shared an update on changes in the board’s structure.

The City of Lawrence has recently restructured several of its boards in order to improve efficiency and combine like-efforts. Sister Cities is now managed by a Governing Board and will continue to benefit from financial support from the City for operating expenses. While this has reduced the board size from 14 to 9, the change has provided greater autonomy.

Lawrence has three Sister Cities: Eutin, Germany, Hiratsuka, Japan, and Iniades, Greece. The goal of Sister Cities is to “Promote peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation — one individual, one community at a time.”

Schultz thanked Lawrence Central Rotary for their support of Sister Cities programming. “The goal of good international relations is something Rotary is very interested in. It’s also a way to assist students with an incredible educational opportunity. Sister Cities combines these two goals.”

Schultz encouraged the Club to send a Rotarian on the 2019 delegation to Eutin, celebrating the 30 year international friendship.

Lawrence Is a 4-Star Community

Jasmin Moore, Sustainability Director for Douglas County, reminded Rotarians that Lawrence became a national leader in 2016 in quality of life measures, the first community in Kansas to earn a 4-STAR certification.  The STAR measurement framework (“Sustainable Tools for Assessment and Rating”) allows communities to track progress toward improved quality of life against seven sets of objectives–and to compare themselves with others working on similar goals.

Moore defines a sustainable community as one that is economically, environmentally, and socially healthy and resilent.  She uses a four-way test to evaluate sustainability initiatives:

How does it impact environmental health?
How does it impact the well-being of people?
How does it impact relationships, effective government, social justice, and overall livability?
How does it impact the local economy and at what short-term and long-term costs?

Originally from the Kansas City area, Moore chose to study urban planning at KU when she became intrigued with the idea that the built environment of a community influences the health of the community.   After a series of jobs in Colorado, Texas, Arkansas, and Johnson County, she has landed back in Lawrence.  Now she coordinates the City/County collaboration to develop integrated solutions and long-term investments for sustainability.

Oury Takes Pride in Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority

There is so much that Shannon Oury, Executive Director of the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority, is proud of in this community. She also knows how much work is left to do.

LDCHA, which recently celebrated its 50 anniversary, serves 1,250 families monthly through owned and managed properties. 73 percent of people served are considered extremely low income, making $15,000 or less as a household. Programs are 99 percent full, with waiting lists.

Oury shared that she has always been “pulled to this work.” While she taught at the University of Kansas Law School and worked as a practicing lawyer, she served on the board and as the attorney for LDCHA. When the previous Executive Director announced she was stepping down, Oury realized how much it mattered to her that the organization’s work continues.

She’s especially proud of the Moving to Work (MTW) program, which provides a flexible structure for LDCHA to provide support and resources based on where the individual or family is at, whether that be rental assistance, job training, bikes and bike trailers, computer access, or counseling. The transitional program also has a wonderful success rate, with 83 percent of participants transitioning into stable housing after completing the 24-month program.

What’s Up at Watkins Museum of History?

In addition to the core exhibits about Douglas County history on display at Watkins Museum, such as this 1870s playhouse, there is always something new to see, according to Steve Nowak, Executive Director.

Sometimes the “new” is an addition to an existing exhibit. For example, the story of Lawrence’s efforts to establish a Fair Housing Ordinance in the 1960’s has been added to the “Enduring Struggles—Lawrence Fights for Change.” Documents, music, photographs, artifacts, and oral histories combine in an interactive display highlighting Lawrence’s spirit of activism and community spirit in various decades.

Changing exhibits can focus attention on a particular aspect of local history. For example, “Community and Culture: the Lawrence Turnverein” tells the story of the Germans who were among the earliest settlers in Lawrence.

“Hidden Treasures: Staff Favorites from the Watkins Collection” showcases artifacts in new ways.  Find a cowboy hat signed by John Wayne and a sculpture made of the soles of shoes, as well as other treasures.

“Mass St. Magic—Weaver’s Window Displays” celebrates the 160th anniversary of the local department store by recreating some of the window displays it featured over the years. Founded in 1857, Weaver’s is one of the longest running department stores in the United States. Even in 1850’s, it was known to bring NYC fashion to Lawrence.

On Saturday, December 2, the museum will host “Tails and Traditions Holiday Festival.” Stop by between 9 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. for prime horse parade-viewing spots, snacks, kids’ crafts and games, and live holiday music. The Watkins Museum of History hosted 17,500 visitors in 2017, up from 6,000 seven years ago when Nowak began his tenure.

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