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Audrey Coleman Honored with Becky Castro Award

Audrey Coleman received the Becky Castro Award from President Fred Atchison at Lawrence Central Rotary’s annual anniversary event.  He thanked Coleman for her work and dedication on a significant initiative to fulfill the Club’s mission–the acquisition of Lawrence Kids Calendar.

In June 2017, Lawrence Central Rotary Club decided to purchase the Lawrence Kids Calendar website.  They recognized the website as a fundraising opportunity as well as a public service initiative that was focused on youth and family activities. During the past year, Coleman has taken the role of Project Manager for Lawrence Kids Calendar, providing leadership and coordination during the Club’s acquisition and implementation of the online tool. Coleman is currently President-Elect of Lawrence Central Rotary.

The Becky Castro Award was established in 2014 in memory of founding club member Becky Castro in recognition of her lifelong dedication to community service.  It is presented periodically to a member who has put forth exceptional efforts in time, expertise, and personal resources on behalf of Lawrence Central Rotary; been instrumental in shaping and promoting the strategic direction of the Club; made major contributions to the realization of our mission, goals, and objectives; and enhanced the value of membership for all.

Two other club members were recognized during the anniversary celebration as well.  Jim Peters and Shelly McColm were honored as Paul Harris Fellows in thanks for their service.  Peters was President from 2016-2017.  Since that time, he has served a year as Past President and has been active with the launch of Kids Calendar and with the Program committee.  McColm has served as Club Secretary/Administrator since 2015.  She helps regularly to post events on Lawrence Kids Calendar.

Atchison says, “LCR is a small club which means just about everybody pitches in to get things done. So many club members deserve recognition and thanks. Audrey Coleman, winner of the Becky Castro award, received special recognition for her extraordinary work in managing the acquisition and set up of our new club project: the Lawrence Kids Calendar. This year we are also proud to see Shelly McColm and Jim Peters recognized as Paul Harris Fellows. They have provided great leadership year after year. Thanks to these Rotarians for their good work.”

J. R. Brinkley: Medical Quack and Marketing Genius

Jerry Harper, a retired Lawrence lawyer, told Rotarians about Dr. J.R. Brinkley, the notorious goat-gland doctor from Kansas.

In 1917, Brinkley arrived in Milford, KS, to establish a practice. When a local farmer convinced him to transplant goat glands into him to renew his “vim and pep,” the patient and his wife had a baby the following year. News of Brinkley’s success spread rapidly, and soon he was charging $750 per operation, doing 50 procedures each week.

Although his dubious surgery became a lucrative business, Brinkley was probably more remarkable as a marketer. In 1923, he started the “Sunshine Station in the Heart of the Nation,” a radio broadcast that ran a full schedule of weather, stock market updates, music, even French lessons and college courses. This innovative use of radio broadcasting also promoted good health, recommending his surgical procedure and his medical advice and referring people to his network of pharmacies to supply the remedies.

When Brinkley began to answer medical questions on the air, however, his medical license was revoked. But his notoriety made it possible for him to run as a write-in candidate for governor of Kansas in 1930, garnering 30% of the vote. After the race, Brinkley moved to Texas and continued to broadcast his messages nationwide. He lost his fortune in the following years and died with nothing in 1942.

Jerry Harper is a fan of colorful characters from Kansas. In addition to his law practice, he served in the Kansas House of Representatives, taught as an adjunct instructor at the KU Law School and in the KU Humanities Program.

Cowboy Songs Tell the Story

Jim Hoy, author, educator, and Kansas native, sang “The Old Chisolm Trail” to launch his story about the American cowboy.  Cowboys were typically men between the ages of 19 and 22, he explained.  They managed the herds on the long, slow cattle drives from Texas to Kansas, work that was both boring and dangerous.  Cowboys sang to the cattle to calm them and to themselves to pass the time, generating a wealth of music and poetry.

Kansas is the home of the cowboy, Hoy says, a fact that often surprises people. Over 35,000 men and boys–and a few women–worked the Chisolm Trail after the Civil War, driving long horn cattle from San Antonio, Texas, to be sold in Abilene, Kansas.  It was entrepreneur Jim McKoy who took advantage of Kansas State law and talked the Kansas Pacific Railway into running a spur to Abilene so he could ship cattle East from there.  In the five years (1867-1871) that Abilene was the main Kansas cowtown, over 3,000,000 head went through the pens there. The era came to a close as the town of Abilene grew and changed, more farms developed in the area, and the residents began to resist the rowdy lifestyle that the cowtown fostered.

Kansas originated the cowboy boot with its high heel and pointed toe.  Even John B. Stetson’s ten-gallon hat has Kansas roots, according to Hoy.  Frank H. Maynard was a Kansas cowboy when he wrote “Streets of Loredo” or “Cowboy’s Lament.”

Hoy actively helps his son Josh and family who own and operate the Flying W Ranch in the Flint Hills.

Preserving Digital Memories

Michael Church, Digital Initiatives Coordinator for the Kansas State Historical Society, spoke on the importance of managing and archiving personal digital content. Michael Church earned an undergraduate degree in English Literature, but it was a love of history that took him to a master’s degree and an archivist job with the State of Utah. His work at the Kansas State Historical Society includes the Kansas Memory photo archive and the nationally recognized digital collection of Kansas newspapers.

Paper records often require less preservation attention, but personal records are particularly vulnerable if steps are not taken to preserve them. Digital records must be located and identified, with the most important being tagged for preservation. Files should be constructed and saved with multiple copies. Files should be identified by name, date and other pertinent information. Multiple copies should be made for the computer, CD, DVD, thumb drive or internet storage. Check those files once a year and copy to new media every five years.

Michael Church recommends using an extended drive that can automatically back up your records to the cloud. There are numerous sites that identify and evaluate cloud services. Various resources on digital preservation are available through the work of the Kansas State Historical Records Advisory Board, of which our own Audrey Coleman is a member. Individuals may also obtain assistance from local computer businesses. Protecting your valuable digital records can be accomplished with some planning and diligence.

Marples Creates Music with Woodworking Skills

When you love both music and woodworking, what do you do when you want to slow down your career?  The Doug Marples answer:  Make violins!

When Doug Marples decided it was time to leave his internal medical practice in Garden City in 2005, he enrolled in a school to learn the craft of making violins, violas and cellos. Now he spends his time creating instruments in his shop in west Lawrence.

The process of making a violin, viola, or cello is much the same, Marples explains, although obviously the scale of each type of instrument is different. The first concern in creating a fine instrument is to select high-quality wood and to let it dry and season.

Using the classic Cremonese Method, Marples traces the shape of an instrument that he wants to use as a template and makes a inside mold of walnut. Willow blocks are placed around the mold to which the ribs or sides of very thin maple are glued. A heating iron bends the maple into the curved shapes necessary.

The top and back of an instrument are made from a single piece of wood. Marples splits the wood block and uses a gouge to create the arch in the wood on both the top and the bottom plates.  He then planes the wood to the opportune thickness. Inlay around the edge of the instrument is made of veneer. This purfling reinforces and increases the plates’ flexibility as well as adding visual beauty.

Next, the mold is removed, and the plates are glued to the ribs and blocks. F-holes are carved on either side of the top of the instrument. A sound post is positioned on the treble side of the instrument, and a bass bar supports the the lower strings. Creating the neck, fingerboard, and scroll for the instrument is another a carving job. Their alignment is important to the playability of the instrument. The mortise connects the neck to the body.

Once the instrument is made, Marples applies a gelatin-like sealer made of alum and protein. Then he applies a clear ground varnish of linseed oil and resins and often a colored varnish as well.

Marples says it takes about 4-5 weeks to carve a violin or viola and about twice that long to carve a cello. The varnishing process takes 2 to 3 months, no matter what type of instrument he is making.

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