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April 16, 2016 “New center a showcase for rules that shaped basketball — and KU

LAWRENCE
It had not been a good winter for James Naismith.

He was the physical education instructor at a small school in Massachusetts in 1891, and it was another bitterly cold New England winter.

The boys were roughhousing in the halls, and Naismith’s boss needed them to burn off some steam. But rugby, football and soccer were not indoor games.

Naismith had tried a modified form of football, but the boys found it boring.

So one day he nailed two wooden peach baskets on supports about 10 feet high, handed the boys a soccer ball and told them to throw it into the other team’s basket.

By putting the focus on attacking a raised basket, it might draw the attention away from tackling whoever had the ball and defending a goal line with their bodies.

The game was a miserable failure.

“The boys began tackling, kicking and punching in the clinches; they ended up in a free-for-all in the middle of the gym floor,” Naismith said in the only known tape recording of his voice, which was discovered in December. “Before I could pull them apart, one boy was knocked out, several of them had black eyes, and one had a dislocated shoulder. It certainly was murder.”

Naismith decided to add one more rule: no traveling with the ball. He wanted the focus of the game adjusted away from contact and high-speed collisions.

It worked.

“We didn’t have one casualty,” Naismith said. “We had a fine, clean sport. Ten years later, basketball was being played all over the country, and in 1936, I saw it played for the first time at the Olympic games.”

Still, when Naismith finally posted his 13 rules of “Basket Ball” at the YMCA gym that year, more than a third of the rules were variations on discouraging physical contact.

The prohibitions included “shouldering, holding, striking, pushing or tripping,” “striking the ball with the fists” and moving the basket to prevent the ball from going in. After only two infractions, a referee was empowered to suspend players.

Naismith’s original 13 rules of basketball, printed on two sheets of paper, have found a permanent home in the DeBruce Center at the University of Kansas, a new mostly glass and steel building named after the lead donation made by the DeBruce Foundation. The building connects directly to Allen Fieldhouse, where KU plays its home basketball games.

The two sheets, which cost a university booster more than $4 million – a record for sports memorabilia in 2010 – will be encased behind special glass that, with the touch of a button, will run electricity through it and reveal the founding documents.

The electromatic glass is a unique answer to the same challenges facing preservation of the “Mona Lisa” and the Declaration of Independence, according to the building’s designers.

As the button that illuminates the rules is pressed, Naismith’s nasally voice retells the story of basketball’s origin for what is estimated will be hundreds of thousands of people a year.

“I guess it just goes to show what you can do if you have to,” Naismith concludes at the end of the recording.

But when the building opens on April 25, the rules will not be in place….Continue reading

By Oliver Morrison
May 30, 2015

Homer Taylor needed to find the TV guy.

Taylor, a minority owner of Taylor Foodservice, was responsible for the design and construction of the six new food service options at the new Wichita Eisenhower National Airport, which was set to open in less than a week, and the TV deliveries were already an hour late.

“We are behind a little bit,” Taylor said. Just behind Taylor, about 20 new employees were being trained while sitting on passenger lounge seats because the tables and chairs in the airport restaurant had yet to be installed.

“Usually when operations comes in, I’ve got a small punch list, like little items to take care of,” Taylor said. “Usually I’m a little bit more ahead than where I’m at right now.”

There was a lot to do before the new airport could open. The only catch is that much of it will have to happen after the last plane lands on Tuesday at the old terminal and before the first plane departs from the new one in the wee hours of Wednesday. There will be less than a 10-hour window for the final push, and at this moment, even the preparations they could start ahead of time would have to carry over into the weekend to be ready in time.

Kevin McCune, who will manage the kitchen at the new River City Brewery airport franchise, sat on a nearby window ledge next to the just-opened boxes of Jose Cuervo and Jack Daniels, sipping on a bottle of Dasani and waiting for the new kitchen equipment to get up and running.

The owner of River City Brewing in Old Town, Chris Arnold, had another hoop to jump through. He was just getting used to wheeling his beer kegs a quarter mile from the airport loading dock, through security to the new restaurant, when he learned his new employees might not be able to learn how to taste the difference between a hoppy IPA appropriate for a seasoned beer lover passing through from Portland and the new specially brewed Aviation Pale Ale appropriate even for a craft beer newbie.

Arnold had heard that beer training might not be mandatory for all employees. He wanted it to be mandatory but MSE Branded Foods, which runs the daily operations of the six new food options at the airport, has a strict policy of no alcohol at work.

“I said, ‘What’s the big deal,’” said Arnold, explaining an earlier conversation to Ed Jones, the vice president of finance for MSE. “You work at the brewery.”

“We’ve had beer class at every other place,” Jones responded calmly, assuring Arnold that the company’s five other airport operations had allowed beer training.

A few hundred yards down the airport corridor, employees of Paradies, a separate company responsible for the new airport gift shops, were adding hooks to the walls and folding T-shirts, when the airport alarm went off.

“Attention, attention, an emergency has been reported,” a prerecorded voice blared over a loud, unending siren. “All occupants walk to the nearest stairway exit. … Do not use the elevator. Walk to the nearest stairway. … Attention, attention.”

“The fire alarms are being tested today,” said Wanda West, Paradies’ Wichita manager, who was poached off the floor of Dillard’s for her new job just a couple months before. “It’s something new every day, sometimes more exciting than others. Today they decided to go ‘secure’ in the airport. It’s not secure completely like it will be on the third (of June), but they have to test the system out.”

Employees of the new Dunkin’ Donuts slouched in their chairs, staring at the laptop next to their new team leader who gamely tried to continue his training over the blaring alarm, while a handful of cooks in the kitchen continued to chop onions as if nothing unusual was happening. Everyone was sweating profusely because a tube in the terminal’s air-conditioning unit was being fixed and the backup system was expensive to operate.

“This is normal,” said Jones. “At least we don’t have to evacuate. I’ve been some places where they make you evacuate.” MSE operates the food service in five other airports, from Flint, Mich., to Myrtle Beach, S.C. His company specializes in what he calls “regional airport markets” that typically serve fewer than a million passengers a year.

MSE would probably have one of the easiest transitions between the old terminal and the new one because it didn’t have to wait until the last flight out on Tuesday to put all its equipment in the new building. But that didn’t mean it would be easy.

“If the airport could say ‘we’ll just open when we’re ready,’ then that would be easier,” Jones said over the sound of the alarm. “But they have to have a date, everybody has to have a date to try and work towards. So it’s just a challenge.”

It turned out that, according to the technician who was adjusting the fire alarms in the front of the building, the alarm going off could be a sign that the building was on schedule. The fire alarm is one of the last components installed, he said, because it’s tied into all the other building systems, so when it goes off, for instance, only the correct doors unlock without jeopardizing safety and security.

Plus, the local furniture dealer finally showed up with seating for the new River City restaurant, and things were looking up…..Continue reading here

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MAY 30, 2016: “One of fastest drone pilots in world flies at Wichita dog park”
BY OLIVER MORRISON
[email protected]

On May 10, Brian Morris, arguably one of the world’s fastest drone pilots, had only a few hours to prove that he was still the best.

He pounded PVC-style poles into the ground at Chapin, a dog park in Wichita that has a small corner dedicated to remote-controlled planes and a new, even smaller section for drones. The measurements for his poles had to be exactly the same as every other drone pilot across the world.

After he and two racing buddies built the track, he had to record his race on video and, because this was the final day and because he works an IT job from 8 to 5, lower his time before the sun set fully.

Drone racing is in its infancy but is growing quickly. In March, Morris’ team won more than $270,000 (60 percent went to his sponsor and the rest was split among the team) for a second-place finish in a $1 million prize competition in Dubai. In April, ESPN announced that for the first time, it would televise the national drone championships in California.

“I’m trying to be at the top of the mountain when this thing goes crazy,” Morris said.

Although some races are timed and posted online, there are more races to travel to across the world. A year ago, Morris traveled to whatever he could find about once a month. But now he said there are a handful of options to choose from every weekend…..Read more here

April 11, 2016 “Internet puts Kansas farmhouse as center of U.S.; some shady characters come calling

Joyce Vogelman Taylor, 82, remembers when her family bought a Delco electric generator that brought light to the family farm just north of Potwin.

Taylor’s father, who lived all 85 years of his life in the house, bought a toaster and light bulbs, the kinds of things that made life easier, she said.

It was 1942, 40 years after the house was built by her grandfather about 40 miles northeast of Wichita.

Taylor is glad her parents are not around to see the harassment she has endured the past five years because of the internet, as first reported by Fusion.

“The family is well known for being honest and upright,” Taylor said. “And I resent this. I feel like we are being attacked, which we are.”

In a strange twist that the local sheriff has called “crazy,” people started calling and showing up at Taylor’s home in 2011 asking for runaway children, long-overdue back taxes and stolen goods. IRS agents and police officers showed up looking for people who had never lived there.

The Vogelman family was known for its quiet, unassuming contributions to the community, according to local Sheriff Kelly Herzet, who went to school with Taylor’s children. So when he made visits to the house, starting around 2011, he knew something was awry….Continue Reading

Read more here

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