Monday, December 17, 2007

More Than A Week

I've been gone from the blogging for more than a week. By the time I get my papers graded I have no energy left to explore town or gown issues. I'm wondering where all my time and energy goes.

Part of it, this last week, went to getting to and from Columbia, Missouri for my daughter's Ph.D. graduation. She was hooded on Friday the 14th. The ceremony (the important parts) looked like this:

We got back via Kansas 4. Picture the trucks. Thirty electric trucks replacing line all along the way. It was fantastic.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas Carol Tonight

Tonight is the first of two performances of A Christmas Carol, in the Burnett Auditorium, 7:30 pm.

Done as a Reader's Theatre piece, I like to think of this technique as one that Dickens would have approved of. He spent several years in America, touring as a lecturer and reader of his own stories. He even buried one of his children in the cemetery in Moline, Illinois.

I am extremely proud of the cast. These are not your normal Theatrical kids, they're a combination of the Burnett Center standbys and absolute newcomers to the stage.

Plus, we've got the Lindsborg Youth Choir singing between the staves. You're all invited! Come and hear and see and enjoy one of the Christmas highlights.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Yes I Am Complaining

Now I'm angry. Now I'm really angry. (What I'm hearing in my head is the sound of an ineffectual comic anger, so don't take the anger too seriously.)

Some posts ago (like here) I wrote a very minor post on the LNR and the policy of requiring everyone who makes money to buy advertising before getting anything published. I questioned the policy, and mentioned that I thought it made more enemies than friends.

Now I'm angry.

I wrote, and Bethany's publications person sent, a press release on "A Christmas Carol," our new production for the Christmas season. There are lots of important things to say about the production, not the least of which is that this is the largest cast we've had on the stage in many moons. I've got folks from McPherson calling for reservations. We're bringing business to town and enhancing the theatre program at Bethany.

So what's the LNR's response - you have to buy an ad because you're selling tickets. Not only that - if we just meet the technical requirements that LNR has set - say by buying a classified ad - we get a minor two line announcement in News Briefs.

In order to get the LNR to publish what we wrote for them (i.e., what they didn't bother to report on), we have to buy a display ad. The smallest display ad is $64.

This is extortion! It is legal, I suppose, but it is a clear violation of journalistic ethics. The more you pay, the more coverage you get, and John Marshall doesn't have to actually hire anyone to report the news, it's all done for him by people to pay to play.

Good Grief! This is shoddy on so many levels.

Dan Carr took umbrage at an earlier post in which I pointed out the advantages of online reporting versus what the LNR does. I hope he reads this and writes a defense of a policy that can't be defended.

A Christmas Carol, by the way, is December 7 & 8, 7:30 pm, in the Burnett Center.

The young man at the top of this post plays Jacob Marley. It's going to be an unusual production. The Lindsborg Youth Choir will perform between the staves. Ya'll come.

For more details call the Bethany Theatre Hotline - 227-3311, ext. 7910.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving Winter

It wasn't a lot of snow, it didn't last the day, but wasn't it a beautiful contrast to the seventy-five and eighty degree weather we had last week.

I know that those of you who are here in Lindsborg reading this blog already know what a surprise it was. I went to be late last night, not knowing that there was any snow on the way or falling. Around 1 am I woke and thought I'd forgotten to turn off the outside light. I'd remembered the light, but the snow had already covered our roof and the street lights reflecting off the snow made out of doors bright.

When I woke I immediately snapped on the Weather Channel to see if we could expect more. Too bad, this was all we were going to get.

Around noon I got outside and took a few snapshots, just to remind myself and show everyone up in Minnesota, off in Chicago, Florida and Japan, that we had snow!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Chris Abercrombie's Hemslöjd Tour

Chris Abercrombie's done a short town and factory tour for Lindsborg Hemslöjd. Available at the shop for a mere six dollars, it is a great and positive view of the story of the store and a quick tour by quadracycle.

Narrated by Chris, at his mellifluous best, the piece is an enjoyable and quite striking six minutes. Chris's camera work makes the piece work, and his editing adds just the right pace to this quick tour around town.

My only objection is that Chris, like so many in Lindsborg, hasn't learned where to put the accent on Dalarna. Like most Lindsborgians he pronounces it with the accent on the second syllable. The accent belongs on the first syllable. But, that's a minor quibble. The one mis-mention doesn't detract from the quality of the whole.

The Great Announcement

It has been almost a week since President Leonard and board chair Tad Doering announced the major gifts totaling nearly two million dollars. Here's a video of most of the announcement.

What's most tantalizing about the announcement is the "Swedish Chapel." As soon as I heard it I wondered what Bud Pearson meant. My original idea was the kind of monument to Swedish pietism represented by the Jenny Lind Chapel in Andover, Illinois.

That chapel, the first place of worship for Swedish American Lutherans out on the Illinois prairie was constructed with a gift from the "Swedish Nightingale," Jenny Lind. Lind was quite generous toward the Swedish Americans. She gave a large sum of money to Saint Ansgarius, the Swedish Episcopal congregation in Chicago, for the purchase of a silver chalice. She gave a like sum to the congregation's priest, Gustavus Unonius. She also gave money for the construction of the Lutheran Chapel in Andover, about thirty miles west of the dissenter settlement at Bishop Hill.

Lind's money allowed the congregation to build the simple, pietist style chapel that remains in the midst of the cemetery. Her original gift included enough to build a steeple at the church. The cholera epidemic struck the small community, and the lumber that was to be used for a steeple was used for coffins.

That simple and spare style, common in the mid-nineteenth century Swedish church architecture, with a central pulpit, was what I thought might be intended by a "Swedish Chapel."

Talking to Noni Strand this week I discovered how mistaken I was.

The chapel is not a new idea, but one that Bud Pearson had proposed some years ago. The time was not right then for a chapel. Now, with the Bethany renaissance beginning, the time is right.

The chapel that was drawn originally featured lots of bright, light colored wood, flexible seating patterns, a plane floor (rather than the theatre seating we have today), open space. The design has a kind of airy lightness to it.

However, the Swedish architect who originally drew up the plans has passed away, and one of the tasks of this new fund raising effort is to find a new architect who can update (or draw new) the plans to include a "welcome center" and the offices of the Admissions people.

The idea of a bright and light place of worship and gathering is a welcome one, as is the idea that the theatre can have all of Burnett to work on plays - perhaps using the old chapel space as a black box theatre.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Way Too Long

It has been over a month since I last posted to this blog. I've been to Dallas (had fun at the fair, hated Dallas), danced for Hyllningsfest, heard two operas and video'd them for the department's records. Now I'm in the midst of rehearsals for "A Christmas Carol," opening December 7 at Burnett Center. So I'm trying to do way too much and accomplishing less than I hope for.

Ran into Chris Abercrombie at Scott's last night, which is partly why I'm posting tonight. Chris has just finished a new video for Hemslöjd and I'd love to see it. His creative products have been absolutely fascinating.

Speaking of Creative Products - on top of everything else we're supposed to have a film festival of student films this weekend. Right now we have no entries, so I don't think it is going to happen. But the two new miniature cameras will enable a quick and dirty documentary from the President's retreat this coming weekend. Watch this space on Sunday or Monday. We'll get back to posting this week!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

New House Blues

We're enjoying the new house on North Second. I'm glad to be able to walk to work every day. But we've hit a variety of things that don't work quite right and I'm a little frustrated and befuddled.

The Cox connection works upstairs, but not in the basement - where the basement studio is supposed to be located. Half the lights in the basement stopped working two days ago and for the life of me I can't figure out which circuit breaker is thrown. The lawn mower decided that it didn't want to run more than five minutes at a time.

Oh well, it could be worse. We found a new bed and bought it in just ten minutes of shopping. That's not a bad investment of our time.

In the meantime, I'm totally out of the loop on local news. It looks like both the Crown and Seasons are almost ready to open! I'll have to stop into Seasons and see what's going on and do the same at the Crown.

Family weekend this weekend and I've agreed to do some shooting for one of my students. So it is not going to be a weekend where I get to finish unpacking afterall.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Broadway RFD Again

The board for Broadway RFD met again last night. One of our major topics of discussion was show for next summer. Here's three of the four we're considering (I hope I get this right! I don't have my notes here at work, and will update soon.)

West Side Story
The King and I
Kiss Me Kate

Which would you like to see? They're all theatrical wellworns, and crowd pleasers - and each has its own challenges. Which is your favorite?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Is It Good Policy?

I haven't posted for several days now. I've given a great deal of thought to what I'm about to say, and I hope that everyone concerned will read my thoughts for what they are - they are my thoughts. I'm the only one responsible for these thoughts. I am writing to express a concern about a policy in a company that isn't my own. I don't have an ax to grind, I'm not looking to insult or injure, but to express a thought that's been with me for the past six months.

Last week's LNR contained a rather blunt letter from a friend of mine, a fellow member of the Lindsborg Folkdanslag. He was upset with the publishers of Destination Lindsborg because they had not included even a mention of the Folkdanslag in this year's Hyllningsfest edition of the magazine.

Marv was answered by the editor. The editor pointed out that the Folkdanslag had been offered an arrangement similar to that offered to the Swedish Folkdancers. The Swedish Folkdancers took the LNR's offer, the Folkdanslag chose not to take the offer.

The offer was the same kind of offer that the LNR makes to any organization that holds an event at which tickets are sold and/or funds are raised. If you don't buy an advertisement in the LNR you don't get a news story. That may be stating the policy a little too baldly, but that is what the policy amounts to.

I discovered the policy last spring when the paper published no notice of the final production of the 2006-07 Bethany theatre season, Talley's Folly. I was told of the policy by our then director of communication, too late to do anything about either placing an ad or protesting the policy.

That policy was one of the reasons I started doing this blog. If the LNR wouldn't bring news to the people, I would. A little arrogant on my part, I suppose. I was certainly angry when I began this blog.

I was angry not simply that the LNR had that policy, but also that I hadn't been given even a courtesy call telling me of the policy. (I wonder, do the school sporting events all have to take out advertisements for each game?)

The more I think about this policy the more I think it is misguided. The paper may be gaining some involuntary revenue, but it has become an object of derision in much of the community and has made a number of enemies with the policy.

I wonder about the ethics of the policy as well. In most newspapers the editorial side of the paper is sharply divided from the business end. When a non-newspaper person took over the publisher's job at the LA Times a few years ago he wondered why there was the wall of separation and how quickly he could tear it down. The newsroom rebelled.

The reason to keep a wall between the business and the editorial wings of the paper is to keep at least some semblance of objectivity in the reportage, to keep some kind of credibility with the readers. If the paper only prints the news that pays, how credible is the reporting? Would the paper print a negative review of a show that took out a display ad, or would the only pan only a play that purchased a two line classified? Would the paper do independent reporting on businesses and not-for profits when the paper's bottom line depends upon those same organizations buying space? Can a newspaper that prints news only when the sponsor pays be trusted?

I know things are different in Small Town Journalism. But no newspaper can survive long without its reputation in tact. Pay to play journalism is the quickest way I know to lose your reputation, and frankly, the LNR has lost much with many Lindsborgians. Marv Johnson is just the latest to complain about the paper's policies.

It's ultimately their paper and they can do with it what they want. But with the rise of citizen journalism - our little town supports multiple bloggers - I wonder how long they can make the people pay to get noticed in the LNR.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Pick Your Spot

Construction continues on the Bethany Campus. One of the walls at the east gate to campus has been faced with brown stone, looking much like the gates at First and Olsson.

The parking lot is about half paved. The front half of the Hahn gym parking lot is ready for occupancy. Today, September 7th, Tom Classen became the first parker on the new lot. Here's how it looked:

Monday, September 3, 2007

North South Divide

I've been away from the Blog for the weekend. Life has been incredibly busy as I've worked on a slide show for the Lindsborg booth at the state fair. Saturday was taken up with traveling around town snapping photos of friendly people, many of them waving.

One of the most interesting things I found out - probably something that most of you know - is that the addresses shift at Lincoln Street. North of Lincoln on North South Streets, the even numbers are on the east side of the street and the odds on the West. South of Lincoln the sides are reversed. That is as surprising to me as my call to Ron MacLennan was to him on Sunday evening - which is why he looks so startled in the photo for today.

I was told that this had something to do with the Lutheran Churches - which are both North of Lincoln and the Covenant, Methodist and Baptists churches, which were all South of Lincoln (at the beginning of the 20th century).

This seems strange to me, but it certainly isn't beyond possibility.

What seems quite likely is the other story I heard about Main Street south of Lincoln. I heard that it is difficult to do retail South of Lincoln because the town tavern has always been located on that block, and some of the more pious members of the town won't go on that block of South Main or let their children go on that block of South Main.

What have you heard about that? Is it true? Is it still true? Are we actually, as small town people, that unthinkingly narrow minded?

Friday, August 31, 2007

Save the Date

It's a long ways away, but you've got to plan if you're going to show up for important events.

The Raleigh Ringers or Raleigh, North Carolina are coming our way next summer. Their summer tour will bring them close enough that bell choir fans in Lindsborg may want to make a trip to Atchison or Beatrice, Nebraska to hear them.

The group will play Lincoln, NE on June 23, 2008; Beatrice on June 24th and Atchison on the 25th. Mark your calendar now! Save one of those dates! It will be a concert you won't want to miss.

Aside from the rarity of a professional bell choir, this organization has the distinction of counting Bethany alumnus and ringer Audrey Yosai as a member. So, plan to go. It's bells. It's Yosai. An unbeatable combination.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

President Leonard's Convocation Address

I had hoped to get this video up this morning. We've begun classes, so things are a little hectic.

President Leonard spent his twelve minutes first, giving us a view of what his next two weeks would hold - and then by placing our sights firmly on a goal that can bring the Bethany Renaissance he hopes to see happening in his tenure as President.

I think he can lead us to this renewed Bethany, building on the solid foundation Paul Formo laid for the college's future.

Unfortunately, I can't embed this video here. You'll have to click on the link to get the view.

Bethany College Podshow

The New News

Update and Correction Below

I picked up a copy of the Lindsborg News Record for August 30th.

Top story, graphics above the fold - no photo from the meeting, but a large graphic representation of Abercrombie's plan - was the remodeling proposal for the Sundstrom building.

You read it here on the 20th. You read it in the LNR on the 30th.

First item in Valley Voice - notice on the new stop signs on Grant street, along with a convoluted explanation on why Grant Street at those 3 intersections. You read it there on the 30th. You read it here on the 24th. There, no photos. Here two photos.

Want to know about the Boxing Club? The Prairie Trail byway? Helen's closing of Lindsborg Antiques? You won't find out about that in the LNR, apparently. Read the blog, this is the new news.

No, you haven't read about the Boxing Club - yet - that's coming next week when I go there with two of the Bethany Messenger reporters.

Update and Correction

I was incorrect on the date on which I first published news about the Sundstrom building. It was the 24th and not the 20th. I should have consulted my archive before making a boast. Thanks to Dan Carr of the LNR for the correction.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tomorrow's Big Event

President Leonard has done a phenomenal job this first month.

His presence on campus has been invigorating. He has won many of the faculty to his side with his series of meetings last week. He listens to coaches and they feel supported. He went to Greensburg and dug beside the students. He went bowling with the RAs. He has done many things well.

Here's where you expect a but - a disclaimer of some sort that allows me to offer a critique.

I have no critique.

Tomorrow Dr. Leonard addresses the whole of the faculty, the staff, the student body and as many of the community as want to be there in the first Convocation of his Presidency.

I'm pulling for him. I hope he continues the trend and - to mix a metaphor - hits one out of the park.

Video Thursday morning.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Campus Progress and Surprises

We haven't quite gotten out of the mud yet, but the students are here, final registrations are being arranged, and life is beginning to return to that craziness that is normal on a small college campus.

There are signs of progress. The parking lot, for example, is almost ready to be poured. Here's how it looked at 8 am on Monday, August 27th.

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Of course, other parts of the campus aren't even this far. Signage, in some places, has a rather temporary look to it - like this sign on the side of the Union:

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Meanwhile, one place has a sculpture where there used to be an architect's imitation of a sculpture. Josh Smith created this DaVinci inspired Science Logo for the east front of Nelson. Ed Pogue got it in place and helped finish the final touches. It is amazing. Go see it in person.

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While you're on campus, see if you can find the little fishies.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Who's the Adult?

I just returned from a trip to Salina. In the retail outlet where I'd gone to get my made in China bargains, I encountered a woman at the service desk, insisting that she get her way.

What she wanted was not unreasonable, and perhaps, had the manager been there on Sunday afternoon she might have gotten what she wanted. Instead, she was attempting to bully the two very nice young women at the service desk into giving her exactly what she wanted. They treated her with respect, and explained that the chain's policy would not allow them to do what she wanted. I think they offered to get someone higher up to work on her problem. She turned away from the desk and walked away. The gave a hand el under the chin "forget it" gesture and re-enforced it with "ya know what, forget it. I'm never going to shop here again."

As I said, the request was not unreasonable, just contrary to company policy, and the persons with whom she was dealing were unable to change company policy. It's not the request that became unreasonable, it was the woman.

She seemed to me to be like a little child, insisting that she could too get her way, if only she threatened, blamed and insisted. I really wanted to tell her to grow up. Adults used to know that they didn't get everything they wanted, even if they cried really, really hard and held their breath and threatened to hate their parents forever.

She's, of course, not the only one. We have a new generation who've been raised to be assertive of their needs, wants and desires; not to take no as an answer. The problem is sometimes there is a reason for the no that can't be overturned, overwhelmed or beaten into submission.

Most often the attitude that we ought to get our way, and the angry frustration that we don't get exactly what we want comes when we're working with new software.

Here's a humorous take on the phenomenon of new software and getting a member of the geek squad to come and bring a little live tech support.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Street Dancing

King Midas and the Mufflers are still hard at work. Here's what's gone on recently. It is a little grainie, due to the low light and the old camera. I'll know better next year!

Kris just brought both last year's and this year's pins. There is a difference.

Oh, BTW, in case you hadn't heard, Helen Weaver will be closing Lindsborg Antiques on the 9th of September. I'll be sorry to see her go. She was the first person I met as a person when I came to Lindsborg. I've shopped the store and recently purchased some fantastic postcards for my collection! I'll miss your shop, Helen!

Our New House

We're moving in September, from W. McPherson Street to North Second. We're buying the Carlson house at 332, and hope to close before September 14th. We'd better, there are many things to get done on the 15th and 16th and we're going to Dallas on the 27th. Here's a little video tour, especially for family away from Lindsborg.

Chinese Ownership?

What the heck's going on here? Just this morning I got a come on from the History Channel, sometimes known as "All Hitler All the Time" - though less so since they discovered that there are Americans eager to see men drive trucks over ice. Beside the point.

I got a come on from the History Channel to join some sort of club focused on one of the American wars. Patriotic emblem included.

Patriotic emblem made in China. What the heck? Are we ever going to learn?

Friday, August 24, 2007

New Stop Sign

Updated Below

I've been up and down South Chestnut Street several times today. I think it was the second pass when I realized that there is a stop sign at Chestnut and Grand. There it is, all shiny and red and new. It must have arrived today.

There's a day care on the north west corner. Maybe that's why there's a new stop sign there. There certainly isn't enough traffic on either street to justify traffic control.

Other news of the day, it looks like Willie Moller will be returning home soon. Barb Moller Spear has been cleaning the garage and making plans for a ramp and ordering a conversion van. Don't know when the conversion van will be here, but I hope it arrives before he does! He'll be riding a motorized scooter when he gets here. He's been away for a year now.

Stop Sign Updates!

There's also a stop sign at Third and Grant, and one at Washington and Grant. Don't go being in a hurry to get from Lincoln to Lindsborg Streets!

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President Leonard and the Faculty

President Leonard spent the better part of Thursday afternoon in the Lindquist room at Wallerstedt Library, listening to faculty hopes and dreams. He began his time with faculty by announcing that he had nine questions to ask us. The video above does not list all the questions, but only the first two, ones I'd like to ask the readers to respond to. What about Bethany is worthy of preserving? What about Bethany needs to change? There may be a third question in this video - "What do you hope I'll do?" The faculty answer was, "raise money and provide leadership." Even if that question isn't asked in the video, I ask it of the readers. What do you hope the President will do? As you can see from even these brief snippets, President Leonard is quite comfortable in his own skin, and is willing to simply sit and listen.

Sundstrom Building Update

Thursday night, at the safety center, City council met in special session to receive a plan on rennovation of the Sundstrom building as a new city hall.

The meeting drew approximately a dozen Lindsborg residents, in addition to Mayor and Council, as well as city professional staff. This study was a complement to a previous study on re-designing the current city hall to meet current and future needs.

One of the major features of conversion of the Sundstrom building as a new city hall is a large meeting space, capable of seating approximately 200 people. The space, as designed, could accomodate more than 200, but the occupation limit, legally, would be 198.

This gathering space, in the south front corner of the building, could be sub-divided into two smaller spaces to accomodate gatherings of fewer than 100 people.

A redesigned Sundstrom building would include space for all the city employees currently occupying city hall, plus office space for the Director of Economic Development, and rental and gathering space on the first floor. The lower level would house emergency management, and some storage. Upper level would house offices for professional staff, as well as some space not designated in this "first iteration."

In the hour of presentation council members carefully questioned many facets of this design. C. F. Abercrombie representative stressed to the council that this was "a first iteration" and that he doubted that it would be the last. Discussion included the facade, location of the new entrance, retention of historic features of Sundstrom, even whether or not the space could be easily reconfigured for retail or professional offices should the city offices be moved out of the center of town at some subsequent date.

The cost of the project is estimated to be approximately $2 million, or approximately $118 per square foot. This cost is slightly higher than new construction.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Faculty Assembly IV

Next up, Bette Zehnder and Joyce Pigge - early academic alerts. We're now having two types of early alerts. Oh, boy! This may be confusing.

We're going over standard procedures. Interestingly, all the forms we need are now on the local area network, on a drive to which faculty have only access to read, but not to write. This drive was a new addition last year, and is a welcome one. Materials used to be in Public Folders on Outlook. That tended to be confusing. Now we have many things in two places, and we haven't made a policy that says, "What you need will all be in one place and that place is. . ."

Withdrawl from courses is now under discussion. What Bette's explaining seems to be news to the faculty. I'm not sure why. This is not a new procedure.

Joyce is now talking about Athletic eligibility and a guide she has prepared. This is now in Public Folders on Outlook. There's the confusion.

Denise is inviting us to the library. We can use the library catalog from home now!

Then came the Dean. Good news - we aren't going to fail every accreditation we face. Bad news, we have three visits coming in quick succession. Good news, we don't have division meetings anymore. Bad news, we need to have departmental meetings and get to business taking care of business. Good news, we have a new, revised Faculty Handbook. Bad news, we have a New Revised Faculty Handbook, and we need to read it and fix it.

And then I had to go! And the laptop shut down due to running out of battery. So that's it.

Faculty Assembly III

You can tell we've been away from each other too long. Greg LeGault has just been put under the gun. He has to log into the LMS site after having been away for a semester.

In her own nice way she is giving everyone a heads up on Faculty Development and JICS/LMS. She's also giving a not too subtle push to actually apply for and use the foundation money that the college has developed in order for faculty to develop their scholarship.

Overall, this is quite a scholarly faculty. Loranelle is among the most scholarly of our faculty.

Faculty Assembly II

A major concern for faculty is, ta-dah, students. Right now we're talking about the forms needed to get early intervention with students who need help.

That's a great idea. There are, of course, two problems. Problem one is that some students don't want help. They have the Amy Winehouse attitude - you know - "they tell me go to rehab and I said, no, no, no." I've had a few of those students. They are difficult.

On the other hand, we also have troubles with some faculty who don't want to do the kinds of things that are needed in the contemporary academy. "I'm not good with the touchie feelie kind of thing," one faculty told me last year in connection with teaching Bethany Seminar. That instructor turned down a request to teach.

There's no doubt that students are the great joy of the academic life - and the great difficulty of the academic life. I could get a lot more blogging done if it weren't for the students.

The question was just raised, "How many students with suicidal thoughts do we have?" Well, we have lots of students in this age group who have suicidal thoughts, even take some steps towards self destruction. "Even a joking suicidal comment we take seriously." Yes, we have to take such seriously.

We have many students who are medicated, says one of our staff. Yes, we certainly do. Some are self medicating - a common event for college students. Most of my generation was self-medicating their way through undergradate days.

At the faculty meeting

Bethany faculty is back and back to its work together. Bob Carlson is keeping the meeting moving along.
We're into reports. Jodi Frisbee and Margaret Presley are presenting their experiences at the Mission of the College conference. Right now Margaret is talking about the on-line experience. I'm not sure that what she's reporting is entirely accurate. I wish I could have been at this meeting.

New Bethany Faculty

I'm painfully aware that I haven 't finished the Byways post. I've gotten us to the Dam and left us there. OK, that post will come later today, or possibly tomorrow morning.

This morning Bethany faculty return to campus. Bryan Yorton is back, Greg LeGault is back. All I have to see is Mark Ahlseen and I'll know that we're all back from the world wandering that Bethany faculty does during the summer months.

We have two new faculty members.

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Melissa Seacat joins us in Physical Education.

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Banjo Oriade is our new Physics professor.

Welcome to both of them and their families.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Scenic Byway Tour - The First Half

This got to be a very long post. I've divided it into two for convenience. Here's the tour from Canton to Kanapolis Lake. (probably the longer half.)

Saturday, August 18, was road trip day.

I am not Jack Kerouac. I do not have any secret heroes to my tale. Despite that, Saturday we set out On the Road to find what was waiting to be found. Perhaps it was karma, or fate or kismet or call it what you will, but it was a perfect day for a road trip.

The weather was cloudy. That was a plus after this week of one hundred degree days. Every day so stinking hot you can't hardly bear the heat. Every day so hot that you're begging for shade as soon as you start working. Water. Shade. Shade. Water. That's the week past.

Saturday was different. Cloudy. A light rain had already pocked the dust on the Volkswagen's windshield. The rear window was so thick with the dust of the week that mere drops couldn't melt the grey brown coating.

We headed east in order to go west. Today was the day to test the newly designated Scenic Byway, and we had to get to Canton to begin our trip.

Beautiful Galva lies between us and Canton. Of course we had to stop in Galva.

I know of two Galvas in America. The other Galva, a place I visited every year while I lived in Chicago and danced with the Chicago Nordic Dancers, lies just outside Bishop Hill, Illinois. We went to Bishop Hill. I have photographs proving we went to Bishop HIll, but that's another story and a long time ago and I still wonder if there is a relationship between Galva, Kansas and Galva, Illinois, and Gefla, Sweden. I know the relationship between Gefla and Galva, Illinois. What of Galva, Kansas? I do not know. We stopped. Antiquing. A Minnesota commemorative plate called out to us. Three dollars. We bought it, toured town, continued to Canton with just a ten minute detour.

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At Canton the Scenic Byway begins, heading straight up Main Street. At the junction of Main Street and US 56 someone, several someones, have parked the detritus of industrial development. It is an oil pump graveyard. I'm a sucker for industrial ruins.

Rest rooms in Canton, if you need them.

At 10:52 we began our northwest passage.

Seven miles north of Canton is the first possible detour, a west bound road will take you into Maxwell Wildlife refuge. We passed on the possibilities, since this was our first, but not our last, tour of the Byway.

From Canton north toward Roxbury the road traverses a series of hills, with oil derricks dotting the hillsides and hilltops. At about 7.5 miles on the byway we encountered the remains of the old dirt road, on our right. The road ran over a picturesque concrete bridge, a little stream trickling to some larger tributary somewhere, trickling into the Kansas river basin or the Arkansas River basin and thence into the Mississippi and then the Gulf. All running under this little bridge.

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At 9 miles the road flattened out some.

Roxbury lies 11.5 miles into the trip. Rylie Renee was born to a Roxbury couple on Thursday. Her arrival was acclaimed on the sign at the junction of county roads 304 and 447. New baby tantamount to divinity.

Right at Roxbury takes you to Tampa. I've been through Tampa. I do not want to go back to Tampa. It is not on the Scenic Byway.

After stopping to photograph the ruining gas station, I went left at Roxbury and headed towards Lindsborg. A dog stepped out into the highway to make sure I did not violate his space, attempt to claim his turf. You know how dogs are about things they have marked. This dog has marked this town.

The road turned hilly again. At fifteen miles the road passes through a pretty rock formation, and you do too. The road has been cut through the rocks. The road should have gone over the rocks, but someone decided that going through was better than going over. How are these things decided? Who decided? When. I don't know. It is like the mystery of Galva.

Keep on moving.

Don't miss the old school ruins. On the left at about 16 miles there is a tumbling down wooden sectional school; a one room school house, like we saw all over the country until consolidation. Who decided that was better? I don't know. Another mystery.

From here to Lindsborg it's all rolling hills and large, green farms. Beans and milo, mostly. Some fields have been cut for hay. Large round bales of hay are lined up against the edges of the fields.

We took two side trips on the way into Lindsborg. After the byway crosses below the Interstate, it becomes Business 81. We detoured off 81 to see Lindsborg Golf course. I'm not a golfer and I had never been to the course. I went. We looked. We left.

Wildflower Road back to Old 81. At First Street exit-entrance to town, we took another detour, driving past the Old Mill Museum. Lots of folks in the museum Parking Lot. Something was going on. Wonder what? I'll probably not find out in the local newspaper. Another mystery! Chet Peterson was there, so I can ask him. I think that was Chet Peterson.

At 28.5 miles, we left Lindsborg and headed west on Kansas Highway 4. This is probably the most familiar part of the road, so it was difficult to see this with new eyes: the way we saw it when we lived in Sterling and came east on 4 into Lindsborg. The first trip east resulted in stops at farm ruins, jaw dropping amazement at the mule farm. Now, the rolling hills west of town have become a common place.

The turn to Marquette is 36 miles into the trip. Like the rolling hills surrounding Lindsborg, Marquette is a familiar and loved place. Got a great bargain on a Linda Rondstadt cd at the last Marquette wide yard sale. We bought a Marquette Commemorative plate at that same sale. I've been into the Motorcycle Museum quite a few times, and we still enjoy the Valley Cafe.

This portion of the byway is 65 miles per hour traffic. I suppose you can go slower. The tractors, combines and farmers do.

At 43 miles the byway turns right, on Kansas Highway 141, heading toward the Kanapolis dam, Kanapolis lake, and the state parks connected to the lake shore. Public restrooms in the convenience store on the west side of the road, just before you actually get to the dam.

In order to even get close to the lake shore you have to pay an entry fee. Three dollars and seventy cents, currently. Even if all you want to do is drive down by the lake, take a few snapshots and head out. Three dollars and seventy cents for your car. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

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We stayed on top of the dam, looked at the lake and the causeway and shot pictures while driving at very slow speeds. It was the best we could do. We left town with very little cash, and by the time we got to Kanapolis Lake we had only three dollars left.

The Start of the Year

Bethany Church was the site of two Bethany College beginning of the year events today.

President Ed Leonard was guest preacher at the 10:30 service, when Bethany Church gave a $10,000 scholarship check to the college. Today was the church's 138th anniversary, and the full church was testimony to the importance of the church to the college and the community.

President Leonard's sermon was on the text from Hebrews 12:1-2. The writer to the Hebrews, President Leonard reminded us, exhorted his congregation to look to the "pioneers" of the faith, to the "great cloud of witnesses" who direct our gaze to the true pioneer, Jesus.

In order to meet the challenges, Leonard continued, we need perseverance - the quality that one gains in preparation for a long race - like the Chicago Triathalon. Leonard reported in this sermon that he had experience with perseverance, having trained for and competed in that triathalon twenty years ago.

Further, we have to keep our goals focused on Jesus, the Lord of the church. As the Bethany motto has it, all must be "of the Lord," and "for the Lord."

Later that day Bethany's new students, their parents, and orientation staff gathered in the Bethany Church sanctuary for the annual service that marks the beginning of the school year.

Pastor Noni Strand, interestingly, took that same text - Hebrews 12:1-2 for her sermon, but gave it an entirely different twist. Pastor Strand's sermon focused on the great cloud of witnesses - the living ones, primarily - who will surround and uphold these new students as they work their way through the first year of college.

Of course, not all of those witnesses were in the action all the time

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Bethany Church moves on to preparations for its new Pastor, Loren Mai, arriving in the next two weeks and beginning ministry with the congregation on September 1st.

Bethany College moves into orientation mode this week. New faculty orientation is Monday. New student orientation begins tonight and continues through the whole of the week. Orientation has been restored to the week long event it was throughout the 1970's, in the hopes that Bethany can improve retention of new students.

I do not have figures on the number of new students, nor on the number of new faculty and staff at the college.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Scenic Byways Post Coming

We drove the new Scenic Byway, from Canton to Ellsworth today. I'm working on a long blog post, probably two blog posts covering the trip.

You probably know the route. North from Canton on 27th Street, or County Road 304 to Roxbury. At Roxbury, take county road 447 west to Business 81. Right on Business 81 north to Kansas 4. Left on Kansas 4 to Kansas 141. North on 141 over Kanapolis dam, to Kansas 140. Left on Kansas 140 to Ellsworth, where both the tour and highway 140 terminate at Kansas 14.

This bare bones description of the route does nothing to tell about what we found there. This picture will tell you more

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Where were you when?

It was thirty years ago today.

Where were you when you heard that Elvis was dead?

I was in Charleston, S.C., serving a little mission church. I was not an Elvis fan.

Ten years later, the summer of 1987, I was in Memphis, finishing graduate school. Late in the evening of August 15th, moving toward midnight, I joined thousands of others - fans, the merely curious, the imitators and their fans, at the gates of Graceland. As the evening wore on the Graceland staff passed out little candles, the kind we use at Christmas eve candlelight services. At midnight we all lit our candles and slowly, quietly, filed past the music staff gates, up the winding drive and past the graves of Elvis, his twin brother, his mother.

The crowd was subdued. Several members of the crowd fainted, most likely a response to the Memphis humidity and the summer heat. As we processed past the graves I heard soft sobbing behind me.

Perhaps it was the crowd, the late hour, the rocky state of my marriage, or maybe the event marking the tenth anniversary of Elvis' death. For whatever reason, I felt moved nearly to tears and others' sobbing felt contagious.

I had come to appreciate Elvis, even to be a fan. I've got some of his hits. I've visited the mansion. I was in Memphis when the Lisa Marie was taken from the airport, a mile from Graceland, and ferried to the parking lot across the street from Graceland. I saw it happen.

And tonight, in honor of his passing, I'm going to watch one of my favorite Elvis movies: Bubba Ho-tep.

Learning About Houselife

Spent the day being domestic, mostly. Tomorrow I'm going to go cut grass at the college. But today was mostly about domestic issues.

I had to go to the insurance agent. I took a trip to Scotts. I did a little computer maintenance before going to the office to do a little class prep and pick up a phone number and name to keep going on domestic issues.

From 2:30 to dinner time I spent my time getting dinner ready. I made two types of home made salsa, washed the grill, got the fire going and cooked dinner.

While I was doing all this I realized how much time domesticity consumes. All you have to do is plan a meal that's more than just a pop it in the oven or throw it on the grill meal and you suddenly have an afternoon filled. So that's what my mother did while I was away at school!

Oh, I knew that, but it was just a sudden epiphany this afternoon that led me to write these few lines. That, and being domestic, cooking and arranging - it's kind of fun. It's a shame when work has to get in the way of living!

This Saturday we're packing up one of the cars and taking the blog on the road. We'll be touring the new Scenic Byway from Canton to the Northwestern End. If we get wireless hotspots along the way we'll do live blogging.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Broadway RFD Final Report

The BroadwayRFD Board met on Monday to sum up the season.

The tale of the tape gives a fair approximation of the success of Damn Yankees. The overall impression, good show, some problems, many surprises. Attendance was down slightly, particularly in the first week.

A total of 1,039 Lindsborgians officially passed through the ticket counter. The first weekend there were 412 brave souls. We say brave because they were willing to take a chance on a show they didn't know with a director they knew well.

The second weekend attendance picked up - good word of mouth will do that - and 627 folks came to see the show.

What most folks don't realize is how expensive it is to stage a musical. BroadwayRFD total costs this year were $15,433, down slightly from last year. The bulk of that money is tied up in production costs.

Musical theatre is the most expensive to produce, largely because of the demands of the form. The copyright holders demand bigger royalties, the sets are more complex and cost more to build, the scripts and scores have to be rented. BroadwayRFD is a major undertaking in a town our size.

So, the board is grateful for every member of the community who has supported this venture for the 48 years it has been running in the park. We couldn't do it without community support - both the material and financial support - and we look to do it better next year.

Speaking of next year, the last item on the board agenda was the choice of a show for next year. What do you want to see in the park?

I'd love to see Into the Woods, or Sunday in the Park with George - both of which seem to me to fit our community. But what about you?

Send your comments to me - or comment on the blog - and I'll pass them to the board.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bethany Home Ice Cream Social

The heat moved the action indoors.

Indoors was a better setting for the semi-Dixieland stylings of the Dixie Six.

Overall, the 2007 Bethany Home Ice Cream Social was one of the premiere events of the summer. Goodness, I'm starting to sound like Ethelyn Misroon, columnist for the Georgetown Times and leading exemplar of the "good times were had by all" school of small town journalism.

The ice cream was home made. The cakes were too. That's what you expect at the Bethany Home Ice Cream Social. The crowd was mixed ages, mixed religious background, mixed occupation. That's what you expect at the Bethany Home ice cream social. So, everything went as it always has.

The hot weather moved the social indoors. The past two years the social has been on the north side of the building, outdoors. This year guests ate and enjoyed in the dining hall and the activity room.

The other difference came because Lan Nelson arranged for Roger Thorstenberg's band, Dixie Six, to perform.

Despite their name, their performances had more in common with Big Band jazz than dixieland. If you don't believe me, listen to their rendition of this standard.
Dixie Six will be playing at the Red Barn studio to celebrate Lester Raymer's 100th birthday, September 22nd. For more information see Raymer Anniversary.

In the meantime, here's 30 seconds of the sights from the Ice Cream social.


Thanks to Betty Nelson for pointing out to me that Roger is a Thorstenberg, not Thorsenson. It's the heat! I apologize for not getting this corrected more quickly. It's the heat and the paint! The College is painting the lower level of Presser Hall. It's going to look great, but in the meantime, I'm not able to spend much time there. I was there an hour and a half today and came away with a blinding headache.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Quade's First Video

President Leonard, his wife and son were at the Bethany Home Ice Cream Social tonight. Quade wanted to shoot video. This is his video.

Thanks to Candy Davis for setting me straight on the spelling!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Still Hot, Hot, Hot

It's still hot and threatening to get hotter.

Of course, mad dog that I am (I'm not an Englishman, so I must be a mad dog), I seem not to know to come out of the mid-day sun.

I'm not the only one.

I stopped at City Hall where the office staff and city manager were all staying out of the heat. I was just there to pay my electric bill. I asked about the workers. "They don't get to take the day off just because it's so hot." But were they working the really hot jobs, like repairing asphalt. "No. The county might be working near Harrison Cole, where the asphalt meets the brick." If they were they had gone home. Good sense.

Meantime, over on the college campus, folks had no more sense than I have.

The avenue of Flags is going in, north of the Swensson statue. The Swensson Avenue pavement continues to come up, but slowly due to the embedded and old rebars.

I asked about the plan for Swensson. Jeff reported that the street will be narrowed to 10 feet, allowing vehicle access to the center of campus as needed. The new street will be a combination of concrete and paving stones, the way the turning circle is paved around Dr. Swensson now.

The new parking lot and sidewalks by Stroebel Gibson are being prepared.

The problem - and it is a minor one for Stroebel Gibson parking lot - was that the soil beneath the old parking lot was too loosely packed, and too wet for a new parking lot. So the contractor had to remove a foot of topsoil, and the subsoil has to be packed down.

The sewer/water line that has the water turned off to the majority of the north side of campus is just about finished. The campus should be back to having water throughout by next week.

All in all, things are moving along, but there is still a long way to go.

And the guys doing the work will continue to have it Hot, Hot, Hot. The weather channel says another 7 days of this.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Folkdanslag to Dallas

It's official, we're Goin' ta Dallas.

The Lindsborg Folkdanslag got official word tonight - on what was to be the first night of practice - that we are invited back to Dallas, and that the Texas State Fair people will pay us $2500.

Think of that! They liked us. They really liked us. So the weekend of September 28 - 29 - 30 I'll be in Dallas, Texas, dancing my feet off. Two performances on Saturday and two on Sunday morning.

Texas State Fair is the biggest in the nation. I am fond of State Fairs, but used to the Minnesota State Fair, where everything is better on a stick - and the Illinois State Fair - where the big thrill for a kid from Chicago is to go milk a cow.

Kris and I get to the Kansas State Fair every year, and I hate to be a state fair snob, but it isn't the Great Minnesota Get Together. It's nice, but small.

Now we're going to the biggest of them all - and I am excited.

We didn't start practice tonight, but we will next week. In the meantime, here's the new resident of North Third.

It's Hot Out There

I just looked at the Weather Channel, and it's 100 degrees. I was out trying to get my lawn mower to start, without success. I guess I'm going to let it go for a few, and try to find someone to fix whatever is wrong with the mower.

It is hot!

Ran into Skippy on the street and she was definitely NOT enjoying herself. It's as Hot as - well you know - she said. Oh I know, said I, but it isn't as hot as that. It isn't as hot as Baghdad, but it is hot!

Despite it all, work still goes on at the college. Swensson Avenue is being torn up. Walls are being painted in Presser Hall, new walls being erected. Tomorrow they'll put in a new sewer main.

We've only got a few weeks before students return in force, and we have a long way to go to get things done.

Let's hope the heat of the next three days doesn't do us in!

Lindsborg Folkdanslag is back at work tonight! Video of the first practice later today.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Smoky Valley Car Show

Just a short post on the car show.

I went. I saw. I was amazed.

Car collecting, restoring, rebuilding is an amazing obsession. I am a car guy to the extent that any normal American guy is a car guy. We all remember certain cars that we wanted as teenagers but could never have.

I always wanted a sleek little sports vehicle. A Triumph TR3 or a MG-TD or a Jensen. My buddies wanted GTOs and Corvettes. I have to admit a certain fascination for the '57 Chevy and the '58 Corvette, but I really am not that taken by the Corvette.

Anyway, all those cars and more were there at the car show. I'm preparing for a sermon (I preach at Bethany 10:30 am tomorrow) so I'm in a rather introspective mood.

Went to the car show and talked to almost no one. That's not like me. But I'm thinking, I'm thinking, I'm thinking. One of the things I think is "this was a nice show." I think it was, but I have no critical judgment available for the car show at the moment. Here are some odd pictures then.

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This is the fanciest air filter I've ever seen. It reminds me of the texture and color of an old sofa.

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I've always been drawn to the Edsel. Maybe I share some of its traits.

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The beauty of really clean industrial machinery. Different from the beauty of really grimy industrial machinery.

Finally, a self portrait. I might end up using this for a logo.

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Sandzén Gallery Shows

Sandzén galleries opens three new exhibits this week, with works from the permanent collection, Margaret Greenough portraits and the work of Lindsborg's younger artists.

In the North Gallery Ron Michaels has set out another show from the Permanent Collection. Along the West wall he's hung Margaret Greenough's portraits. Both of these exhibits, or ones similar to them, have been up previously. I look forward to these shows, it's like renewing acquaintances with old friends.

Among Greenough's portraits I'm particularly fond of the portraits of Gus Holm. Greenough painted his portrait several times, and the one hanging now is from Gus' middle age. There is something lively and appealing about this old Swede, where my other favorite Holm portrait, one of Gus in his late 60's or early 70's, sitting on a chair on a yellow porch, has a touch of pathos about it.

Then there is Greenough's portrait of Glova Linaweaver, a 10 year old painted in the early 1950's. Glova is sitting on an armchair, her eyes averted to the viewer's right, her young lips pursed, perhaps a little dry. She's struggling to sit quietly for the nice lady who is painting the portraits of all of her family, and it's a difficult task. I look at this 10 year old, and I know lots of little girls like this. Proper and prim and struggling to stay that way.

The pieces from the permanent collection also seem like old friends. I'm particularly drawn to the piece "Advice." I also like Lee Becker's piece in this show, a still life watercolor wholly unlike anything she's doing these days. The show also has one of those rare G. N. Malm paintings that have nothing to do with Kansas or God.

The Malm painting is California redwoods, possibly painted from life, in 1925, just three years before Malm's death. The little canvas gives you a feel of the texture of the tree bark, the smell of the woods, and the sense of the California sunshine.

What really turns my crank, however, are the Henry Varnum Poors in the exhibit.

I can't explain it really. Maybe it is Poor's ability to locate his work in its own era, and give those of us who never knew it a real sense of what it was like to be him, to be in his world, to see the world as he saw it. This show has one of my favorite Varnum Poors from the collection, a self portrait of the artist with his wife.

Probably the most fun and more revelatory exhibit is the "Walking in Sandzén's Footsteps" show. Ten area students took part in the program, which included drawing outdoors, learning principles of composition, practicing Sandzén style painting techniques. The pieces are wonderfully inventive even while they try to imitate the master's technique. I was particularly drawn to the work of the Peterson boys, since I know them, but was just blown away by the spirit that Graci Kejr captured on her canvas. This show is only up through the end of the month, so catch it now.

This year is the fiftieth anniversary of the gallery. The 50th anniversary show opens on September 8th, with a reception on September 9th. The three shows I've mentioned will be up until they're replaced by the anniversary show.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Prayer for the President

Bethany began its liturgical year a little early.

Generally, the liturgical year at a church college begins with opening convocation. This year it began with a eucharist giving thanks for the new President, Edward Leonard.

Doctor Leonard officially began his work as the college's 13th President today, August 1st. He began the day, fittingly enough, with a breakfast with students. Worship was second on his agenda for the day - also fittingly enough for the President of a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

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In her homily, Pastor Noni Strand stressed the large linkages that overcome the small differences between Christians, and between Christians and non-Christians. She stressed the academic side of the life of faith in her message, titled "What Does This Mean?," an allusion to Martin Luther's questions in the Small Catechism.

About two hundred people from campus and community gathered on the Presser Hall stage to sing, pray and share Holy Communion on this Wednesday morning.

While Pastor Strand alluded to the arrival of the new President as the "meaning" of this weekday worship, President Leonard was not the focus of the worship. He was part of the sermon, giving thanks for his arrival was reason for the service. He was included as one of the petitions in the prayers of the people, but he was not the focus of the half hour service. That too, is as it should be.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Seasons is Coming

Now you might be thinking that I should be saying, "Seasons are coming."

Nope. It's singular, a new restaurant in Lindsborg. On my way to the grocery the current state of the former Aaron's building caught my eye.

I know I've been gone for a month this summer, but I've been back for three weeks now. How could I have missed the amazing transformation of that metal building?

I went in and met Don, fiance of one of the new owners.

Don, a Californian, is here helping the California branch of the Landgren family establish their new restaurant and lounge, Seasons.

Exterior and interior are both getting a going over in the remake of the building. Opening by Hyllningsfest, Seasons will feature a lounge and family restaurant. The lounge, on the east side of the building, will have a sports bar along with booths for dining.

The dining room, on the west side of the building, will feature both booth and table dining.

Menus, according to Don, will vary with the theme of the day. Plans now call for an Italian night, a Hispanic night, and so forth. Steak will be a part of everyday on the menu.

More about Lindsborg's Elevation

I'm still on the trail of the elusive definitive answer to the question, "Who determined the elevation of Lindsborg, and how."

I got a step closer today when I visited with Mr. Dunn in the city's Public Works office.

He assured me that there is no "city datum" for Lindsborg, which confirms what I suspected to be the case. He then showed me a list of "benchmarks" throughout the city, spots whose elevation has been precisely determined and which can therefore be referred to in other drawings and building plans where elevation would matter (laying sewer pipe, for example).

Below is the "highest point" in the city, actually the highest benchmark, at 1336 ft and change.

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Notice how elevated Kris looks standing at that point.

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The spot is located on the N.E. corner of Lindsborg and Chestnut Streets.
According to Mr. Dunn, it's all downhill from there.

The lowest benchmark is at 100 Normal, at 1322 ft. In general the land slopes from south to north, which makes the flow of the creek kind of interesting, since it generally flowed in the direction of the Smoky Hill River, back in the day when the creek that ran through town was an actual creek.

I have half my answer. Now the question is, who and how was 1331 ft. determined to be the elevation for the train depots?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Biking Across America

Two cross country cyclists visited Lindsborg today.

Greg Pierce, former Criminal Justice instructor, rode into town with Beth, his wife, in control of the sag wagon.

Greg's goal is to travel from Oregon, his home to Alabama. He's been on the road for two months now, having crossed the mountains and come down from the High Plains and into Lindsborg. Lindsborg is slightly off his route, as he showed the assembled friends and relatives in the Kozubowski back yard.

Greg is riding for Sadie. Sadie is a young relative suffering from cancer. It isn't quite clear how this ride is going to benefit Sadie, but Greg refuses to take donations or support for his ride.

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Also riding across Kansas is Eugene.

Unlike Greg, Eugene is unaccompanied by a sag wagon. All his belongings and support gear are in the trailer behind his bike.

I met Eugene at the Cycle Tek store in Salina today. I'd passed him heading up Crawford and was surprised by how quickly he arrived at the bicycle shop. Even though it wasn't my party, I invited him to come to Lindsborg and meet Greg. Son of a gun, he did!

Eugene is riding to raise awareness of the need for better care for Disabled Vets. He is accepting donations. He hopes to ride through all 50 states before he's done, though he didn't say how he'd reach Alaska and Hawaii.

As of tonight he'd managed to make it to a dozen states since starting out from Arizona in March. His roughest night of the past several months was last night, when he attempted to sleep in Lions' Park in Wilson, struggling to stay dry despite the driving rain.

When I left the Kozubowskis to come home and write this, both bikers were headed off to bed, to get a good night's sleep before an early morning start tomorrow.

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"I try to get all my miles before noon," Greg reported. "Cooler and less traffic then."

Bergman has gone

Updated below

Swedish director and author Ingmar Bergman has joined those of my Swedish heroes who have passed in these recent years. He joins Olle Adolphson, Povel Ramel in the list of my dead heroes.
Bergman was one of the figures from whom I learned about the "new Sweden." He was the cultural departure from my father's generation of working class lodge members who first showed me that Swedishness was culturally informed, deep and melancholy.
I first encountered Bergman's work as an undergraduate. Dr. Anderson, half of Augustana's Swedish department, taught a seminar in Bergman films. We watched "The Seventh Seal," "Persona," and "Hour of the Wolf." There may have been others, but these are the films I remember best.
Eighteen years ago, on my first trip to Sweden, I wanted to attend something, anything at Dramaten. I was fortunate enough to get to see Bergman's production of Ibsen's "A Doll's House." I even got free tickets. Unfortunately, I fell asleep in act II.
Ten years ago, while working for the Swedish American paper Nordstjernan, as their Chicago correspondent, I had opportunity to interview one of Bergman's wives, Liv Ullman. She was gracious and beautiful and extremely shy. Her comments on Bergman were like her personality, gracious and beautiful.
This summer, during the Anderson Sweden Highlights tour, Lasse Henningson, our bus driver, related an interesting story about Bergman and the residents of Fårö. The island dwellers, on the island where he lived and where he'd shot several films, were very protective of their most famous resident.
If they didn't like you, and you asked about Bergman, they'd show you the house where he lived. Only it wasn't the house where he lived.
Bergman was a very private man. The islanders did their best to protect his privacy from outsiders, especially those outsiders of the press who wished to pry.
And now he is gone. Those who love film and the theatre will miss the appearance of a new film or stage play directed by Ingmar Bergman.


Andrew O'Hehir writes a very personal tribute to Bergman at Perhaps this is the only kind of tribute that can be written.

Interesting to note that, in this morning's Aftonbladet the tributes did not include one from Liv Ullman.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Wilson Czech Fest

We were so busy today that I have missed out on posting Lindsborg News. Instead, we were off in Wilson, at Czech Fest. It's a nice festival. We hadn't been before, and I'm glad we went. We'll go back.

As I said, it's a nice festival, but it doesn't hold a candle to Midsommar or Hyllningsfest.

Friday, July 27, 2007

How Elevation is Determined

The local librarian did not fail me!

The college librarian did not immediately know how elevation is determined, nor did she know exactly where to look to find out. The encyclopedias had nothing, which is particularly distressing when you consider how much information is in the Britannica Macropedia!

However, librarians are diligent researchers, and she did find Cecil Adam's Straight Dope.

There we learned:

"This is not the scientific process you might think. As far as I can tell nobody publishes an official list of elevations for cities in North America. Highway departments, mapmakers, almanac compilers, and what all come up with numbers for their own purposes, but they use different sources, and their figures don't always agree. . .

"Town elevations may be the altitude at some prominent public place (Caltrans uses city hall) or they may be an average for the downtown area. Either way they're often just estimates. Caltrans got its numbers from the U.S. Geological Survey, but the USGS got them by eyeballing the contour lines on maps. . .

"It's only when we get into the no-nonsense world of engineering that we start to get some precision. Many big towns have established a "city datum," a standard elevation pegged to some known point, which is used in blueprints for major construction projects. For instance, on a drawing for an office building, the elevation of the sidewalk in front of the entrance may be marked as "+15' Podunk city datum."

There you have it.

Is Cecil Adams credible, you ask. He/she certainly is. They have never been known to be wrong, except when they are. Moreover, the column is named "The Straight Dope," and who would risk that on a fraudulent answer to my simple question.

The next question is, is there are city datum for Lindsborg, and if so, where is it. I will ask on Monday!

The image in the upper left corner, by the way, is from the Library's extensive collection of G. N. Malm artifacts.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

V trail riding and Town Elevation

It was a beautiful evening for a ride along the Välkommen trail.

The temperature was in the low 80's. The sun was dipping behind the trees on the west side of town. The tunnel, the alley of trees leading to the east leg bridge, was cool and shady and invited riders to slow down and enjoy the sounds and the breeze.

I was a little surprised to meet only three other riders and no walkers. Maybe it was the hour, too close to dinner time. Maybe people were just too worn out from the heat of the day and didn't trust the cool of the evening.

Road past two additional signs I hadn't seen on the trail - one commemorating Anton Person and a second noting the Pavilion. Both add to the educational aspect of the trail.

I passed the Missouri Pacific station sign. At the bottom of it, in a nice rectangle, was the elevation of Lindsborg: 1331 ft. It made me ponder, how is a town's elevation determined? Is it an average, or is it the elevation of a specific location set by the US Geological Survey?

If anybody knows and wants to write an article about how towns set their elevation, I'd be glad to publish it. In the meantime, I'm going to ask one of the people who knows everything - or at least knows how to find out everything. I'm going to ask a librarian.

By the way, I've added a new link in the blog roll to your right. Rocketboom is one of my favorite vblogs. Joanne Colan brings a quirky charm to all things technological.