Archive for Thursday, September 4, 2003

Bits and Pieces

Some good news, some bad news

September 4, 2003

Looking at last week's Eudora News headline, all that comes to mind is, "There's bad news tonight," which was the trademark phrase of a radio commentator in the 1940s called H.B. Caltenborn. With headlines such as "Pool Tanks," "Downtown grant put on hold" and debates being "fueled" within the City Council, Caltenborn's phrase seems pertinent. What's up with this?
First of all, the turnout for the pool election was dismal -- just 670 citizens voted. It's difficult to believe that people don't care enough about their community to vote on an issue that will certainly affect a lot of them next summer with the uncertain condition of the existing pool.
There are those who said they could refurbish the pool or build a new one for much less money. Where are they now, and do they have a plan? Have they presented such a plan to the City Council?
We can hope, otherwise there will be a lot of disappointed families and children next summer.
In the words of last week's Eudora News editorial, "Don't be surprised if the twice-burned Council waits until that clamor becomes deafening before dipping a toe into those waters again." Well said.
Speaking of the City Council and the debates concerning new positions for police officers and fire fighters, I am reminded of a recent Garrison Keillor article in Time magazine dated Aug. 25, 2003.
While commenting on the governor's recall in California in a piece filled with humor and clever references to both Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger and their political ventures, Keillor puts the job of politicians in perspective.
He said, "When you get among the real people who are actually engaged in public life, they tend to be well-mannered and respectful of the process and the humanity of those who take part."
He talked about all the small things in our communities that are there because of our city governments, for instance the ramps carved into street corners that accommodate those with special needs.
He stated, "People sat through a lot of meetings to get that accomplished. It was a boon to the wheelchair crowd and also to parents pushing strollers and kids riding bikes."
Reading this, I remember the great ache of boredom that overwhelms me when I hear the word "easement." I am reminded of the many, many boring sessions our Council members must sit through, and the documents they must read that are guaranteed to make most of us yawn and wish we were home in our pajamas.
And yet, they persist and they endure as they open themselves up to both public scrutiny and criticism. So my response to their recent debates is "good" -- they need a little diversion. If tossing around a few words of disagreement occurs then, why not?
I don't mean to make light of the issues involved, but don't they deserve to mix it up now and then?
I'll end with thanks to those Council members for fulfilling a responsibility that few of us would ever agree to take on.
Now about the downtown grant being put on hold. This is an issue that keeps coming up and never seems to move forward. It seems a shame that a merchant's association could not be created, especially when Thomas Smith, who runs Aspire Marketing and the newly opened Madame Hatter's, is so enthusiastic about getting downtown renovated, even volunteering to help clean up Main Street, when I visited with him a few weeks ago.
Speaking of Madame Hatter's reminds me that there are two new places in town that are definitely "good news." Last week, my daughter and I ate lunch for the first time at Madame Hatter's and were pleasantly rewarded not only with an excellent lunch but also with the deluxe service of our waiter, Brandon. We also visited with owner Lauren Smith briefly as she busied herself taking care of her guests in the tearoom that was almost full at noontime. Lauren also reported that all of last week was a busy one for them. Seems the word is out in Johnson County and Lawrence as well. Grab a friend and check it out.
Another place in town that inspires good news for Eudora is Shari Turnbaugh's new Cardinal Cleaners in the strip mall south of C&S Market. I stopped in there last week as well and found the most cheerful and sparkly clean laundromat I believe I have ever seen, complete with Norman Rockwell pictures on the wall and a fresh blue and white decor.
Shari reported that business was picking up and wanted to stress the fact that her business was not only a dry cleaner but a laundry as well. My comforter came out perfectly. Let's hope all of us in Eudora take advantage of another new business in our town.
More good news: The rain finally came, and came, and came, five or six inches of it. As I sit here on Labor Day, it is still overcast at 62 degrees. Jeans and sweatshirts have been dragged out of the recesses of the closet. (Just like Kansas not to give us a warning that the relentless heat and drought was coming to an end). Most of us were caught still leaving the house in shorts and flip-flops.
A somber closing to this piece -- Angie Lee, daughter of Joe and Barbara Hanna, longtime residents of Eudora, died as a result of an automobile accident Aug. 30 in Phoenix.
Speaking for the Eudora community members, many of whom have known the Hanna family for more than 30 years, our hearts and prayers go out to them at the time of this dreadful loss.
And for Angie, my prayer is: "Come to meet her, angels of the Lord. Receive her soul and present her to God the Most High. Grant her eternal rest, O Lord, and may your light shine upon her forever."

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