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Basketball at the Berlin Olympics

Hughes book tells the story of the US Olympic Gold Medal in basketball

AAU players from the McPherson  Refiners, KS, and the Universals, CA, formed a basketball team that won Olympic gold in Berlin in 1936.  The United States team beat Canada, 19-8, in the championship game played outdoors in pouring rain on a muddy tennis court surface. Dr. James Naismith was there to present the medal.

Rich Hughes tells the story in his book Netting Out Basketball 1936.

Now often referred to as the Hitler Olympics, the 1936 games were the first time that basketball was recognized as an Olympic sport. It was the year that Jesse Owens raced to gold.

In 1936, fast breaking offenses, dunking the ball, and full court zone pressure were important new techniques that radically changed the game.  Post-season college tournaments were invented as well–necessary in order to identify recruits to play for the U.S. Olympic team. Tryouts for the Olympic team took place in Madison Square Garden.  Five college teams, two AAU teams (the McPherson Refiners and the Universals), and a YMCA team from Pennsylvania participated.


Anatomy of a Crisis

The opioid crisis became personal for Tom Coleman when he took his elderly mother to see a new doctor. On reviewing her list of current medication the doctor expressed alarm at the number of high dosage potent drugs she was taking. Coleman was motivated by this experience to learn more about the opioid crisis.

Coleman is a graduate of Washburn University and a retired federal contracting officer, working primarily on military construction projects. He decided to apply his skills to researching the problem. What he learned was appalling: in 2016 there were 53,000 overdose deaths due to opioids, and the price tag on misuse had reached eighty billion dollars.

The trouble started when opioid use for cancer patients was expanded to treat any kind of chronic pain. Unprecedented advertising and financial incentives to regulators and doctors drove opioid prescription rates to increase ten times in the next decade. The Sackler family and Purdue Pharma were making billions. They lied about the threat of addiction and served up deceptive studies and research to increase sales. Opioids proved to be highly addictive and subject to serious abuse. Some users crushed pills and snorted them, others turned to heroin.

Meanwhile, the Sackler family made huge gifts to museums, universities and other entities. A pattern of nefarious actions on their part have now been exposed and state governments are suing to recover damages incurred by the crisis.

Unfortunately, while many pill mills have been shut down and unscrupulous doctors have been put out of business, the abuse and damages continue. Tom Coleman urges every one to be informed consumers when the seek relief for pain.

Lawrence’s 2019 Community Bike Ride Set for July 20th

The 2019 Community Bike Ride is set for July 20th.  We’ll again be at Lawrence’s Rotary Arboretum at 27th and Waukarusa.

This year we have 4 rides planned for folks of all ages and experience.

  • 4 Miles – 9:30 am – Sanders Mound
  • 6/8 Miles – 9:00 am-  K-10 Trail
  • 12 Miles – 8:30 am – I-70 Turnaround
  • 22 Miles – 8:00 am –  Lawrence Loop

We are excited to again to be sponsoring free helmets, safety vest, and other exciting goodies (while supplies last).

After a trial run last year, we will again be partnering with Lawrence’s bike share company VeoRide who will offer FREE bikes for use during the event if it is too difficult for you to get a bike to the Arboretum. You just need to register before 7/18 at

All of this is made possible by volunteers from Lawrence Central Rotary and some fine local sponsors who love supporting getting outdoors and being active. 

You are also welcome to join the ride after-party at S&S Artisan Pub and Coffee House at 2228 Iowa Street between 12 and 2pm.

We will have releases on-site for attendees to sign when checking in, but you can also download one here to fill out and bring if you like.

See you on July 20th!

Updated Ride Maps!

We’ve had some requests for maps so we’ve put this together for you. If you’d like to download a pdf of one use this link.

Discover “Secret London” with a Monopoly board

Doveton shows the London map of Monopoly locations

John Doveton, retired from the Kansas Geological Survey, has developed a reputation for his diverse and quirky expertise.  When he visited Lawrence Central Rotary recently, he has a secret to share.

Doveton explained that people in the English-speaking world outside of the United States play a version of the board game Monopoly that uses place names of locations in London.  The American version uses places found in Atlantic City.

The graphics and color scheme on the English game board are the same as the United States version, but the properties have different names.  For example, the familiar upscale properties called “Boardwalk” and “Park Place” in the American version of the game are called “Mayfair” and “Park Lane” in the London version.  The railroads include “Kings Cross,” not “Reading.”

Doveton suggests that the next time people travel to London, they seek out the landmarks of Monopoly London.  Trekking to find them will lead to explorations in parts of the city that traditional tourists miss.  And the curious can uncover interesting historical tidbits.  For example, the US Liberty Bell was cast by a foundry near Whitechapel Road, a place name found on the game board.


Southwest Middle School Excels at Future City Competition

For several years Southwest Middle School has participated in the Future City Competition, an engineering competition for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. This year’s theme was “resilient power grids in natural disasters.” The students were required to design a city that could sustainably bounce back after a major weather event.

In addition to support from their teacher, the students consulted with a professional engineering consultant.

The project required the students to develop a model using SimCity, a software for designing a city. The students reflected how well the software worked at demonstrating the repercussions of city planning, such as the consequences of zoning and tax changes.

The students were also required to write a 1,000 work essay explaining how transportation, housing and the electric grid in their city works to protect against natural disasters.

The students constructed three-dimensional models of the city mostly out of trash. The students were given a budget of up to $100 per model.

During competition the students delivered a seven-minute presentation. Both teams qualified for nationals; one team placed sixth overall at the national competition.

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