FlyoverPeople Daily News

News for Early January '07


January 20, 2007 - Saturday


It's supposed to snow today - maybe an inch, maybe six. The forecasters don't know how much. It'll be a surprise!

It's not just us Midwesterners who are experiencing the cold flakes. Brian Protheroe, my Flyover People correspondent in San Francisco, reports light snow fell there this week and that the locals were a bit startled by the whole experience.


Brit to Return to Kansas

Paul Harris, who wrote "Ode to Kansas" for The Observer will be the Kansas Day speaker at the

Washburn Center for Kansas Studies

on Friday, Jan. 26, 3:30 p.m.

Details here.



Only 9 (nine) more days until Kansas Day!


January 19, 2007 - Friday


Topeka Fire Department training tower
A training tower for the Topeka Fire Dept.



I checked this morning and, as I suggested yesterday, the forecasted high of 45 would not be reached. Yesterday's high was 37.

So, we still have all that ice on the ground. Didn't melt yesterday.

The forecast is for 3-6" of snow this weekend.

Only two months until spring!


January 18, 2007 - Thursday


To the occupants of the white car driving by the house this morning: "You're welcome."

I'm sure they enjoyed a good laugh at the visual amusement I provided.

I was walking across the sleet-covered yard which was made even slicker by the ever-so-slight dampness on the crust as the heat of the sun began to melt the surface.

Carrying a bag of ice melt stuff in one hand and a cup full of ice melt stuff in the other hand, my legs flew up, my arms and legs flailed in the air. The bag fell to the ground, the cup fell to the ground, scattering salt pellets about. I fell to the ground on my butt. I'm sure it was hilarious to watch. I was laughing and I'm sure they were too.



Today in Kansas History:

1924 - "Daddy Stole Our Last Clean Sheet and Joined the Ku Klux Klan,” a song by University of Kansas student Helen May Marcell, is published by a Cincinnati, Ohio music company.

This information comes from




Temperatures haven't been above freezing for, let's see, about 40 days now. Or maybe a week.

The two inches of last weekend's sleet hasn't melted, except on streets/roads that have been treated. The sleet is solid and slick. Cars, even heavy cars, don't make an impression in this stuff.

The weather forecast on The Gazette's website this morning promises 45 degrees. We'll see. Forecasters lie, lie, lie about predicted high temps in the winter.

(Ignore the "Looking Ahead" forecast under the picture forecast - they never change that. For the past several weeks, it's said. "Warmer weather will move in this week with dry conditions.")

Snow is in the forecast again this weekend. No! No, no, no! I've had enough winter.

I'm going to put Van Morrison in my CD player and listen over and over to "Fire in the Belly" in which he repeats the words, "Gotta get through January, gotta get through February."


On the bright side, I bought gas for $1.97 yesterday. Gas has been at or around $2.19 for months. And this is the first time it's been below $2.00/gal. for a long, long time.



January 17, 2007 - Wednesday


sunset over Emporia - Emporia Gazette webcam

Emporia at Twilight.

From the Emporia Gazette's web cam.




I have my car back. I have my car back. I have my car back.


It's too cold to stand around and admire it, but it looked purdy in Carstar's body shop - purdier than the last time I saw it, that's for sure.

And, the kind man at Carstar said, "If you have any problems, bring it back to us."

Those are words I like to hear. I'm not expecting any problems, but it's nice to know they stand behind their work. They even made my license plate look like it had never been bent all to heck.

(If you haven't been following the saga of my wrecked car, you can read all about it here: "Draw Five, Keep on Playing".)



Bonus Link of the Day:

Luminosity - photos of Kansas and beyond

by Mike Rodriquez



Cheryl's Link of the Day:

Savage Chickens: Occam's Razor



Glenda the Good Witch

Glenda the Good Witch greets Kansans at the Inaugural Festival in Topeka

on Jan. 7.



January 16, 2007 - Tuesday

From The Emporia Gazette, this week's

Flyover People column:

To Grandmother's House



Cheryl's Link of the Evening:

Savage Chickens: Endangered



You know how it is when you're getting your teeth cleaned...the tongue is so inquisitive. It thinks to itself... Hmm, I wonder what that polisher thing feels like. And it reaches over.

My dental hygienist offers about 10 flavors of polishing grit. I chose raspberry today. Pretty good.

There's a large window at the foot of the dental chair. Outside are shrubs and trees. And a handy dandy birdfeeder. Do we have chickadees around here? I don't know what chickadees are, but if I had to name the cute little ones I saw today, I'd call them chickadees.

(Update: I was right. The birds looked like this Chickadee.)



Anyway, I was having a pleasant dental experience until the dentist came in and suggested that I might want to consider a CEREC treatment for one or more of my molars.

What's a CEREC treatment, you ask?

According to the brochure, it's a Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics.

I'm sorry, but that's the best name they could come up with -- Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics?

Economical, you ask? Not so much.

According to the insurance specialist at the dentist's office, my particular Blue Shield policy will pay zero dollars ($0.00) on a CEREC procedure.

Now I know something needs to be done to keep the teeth strong. The old fillings are deteriorating.

I just think my dental insurance could do a little better than zero dollars.



gray kitten

The adorable gray kitten came to the porch again this morning. Since it was like 5 degrees outside, I let him in. But he was toasty warm - his fur not the least bit cold. Geesh.

He purred, he investigated, and he posed, well, sorta.



Just by way of an update, the rental car does not have anti-lock brakes. Or an extra key to lock the car while it warms up.



Today I go outside. Well, I've been outside ever so briefly the past three days, but today, I will actually leave the property!

With all the cold and the ice and the weekend and the holiday, I just didn't have a reason or a desire to go anywhere.




Post Office and Federal Courthouse - Topeka
Post office and federal courthouse - Topeka


January 15, 2007 - Monday


A nod to Martin Luther King, Jr.


Also, on the What About the Plastic Animals site, Joe has a link to what he calls "the greatest page on the web."



K-State's solar car

Kansas State University student Sean Cillessen, of Mulvane, sits in a solar racing car at last week's Inaugural Family Fesitval in Topeka. Cillessen is part of the team that builds and races solar cars.

The body of the car is made of Kevlar. The car shown here has a display body, but the surface of the racing body has solar panels. The K-State team has raced from Austin, Texas to Calgary, Canada and has also raced in Australia, Greece, and Taiwan.

The engineering students do this not for credit, but as an extracurricular activity.


January 14, 2007 - Sunday

Flyover People Weather: It's yukky out, but not nearly as yukky as it could be. The streets are slick, a combination of sleet/freezing drizzle - about a half an inch, probably. The icy stuff coats cars, sidewalks and streets, but so far, not trees and power lines. And together we say thank you. The temperature is about 19 degrees or so and it probably won't rise above freezing until Wednesday or Thursday.



More from the Inaugural Family Festival last Sunday in Topeka:


child painting on mural A community mural project. No artist was too young to participate.




Stan Herd signs autograph

Stan Herd signs an autograph for a young fan.

Stan Herd, muralist extraordinaire, was in charge of the mural project.




January 13, 2007 - Saturday


the view from my porch 011307

Sure, it looks cold, but it's much colder than it looks.

At 2 p.m. we're getting a mix of light snow and sleet.

I've been sitting at my desk all morning, trying to pull a column out of the air.

Over my shoulder, on TNT, is "Grosse Point Blank" starring John Cusack. I'll watch about any movie with him in it.

I'm not actually watching, I'm writing. I am... but it's not going well.





Weekend forecast: ice, sleet, snow. Freezing yuk.


January 12, 2007 - Friday


We had a bit of freezing drizzle this morning. Now we're having snow flurries. The streets are pretty good - city crews were out spreading salt early this morning.

But it's nasty cold out with a cutting wind. We're not used to the cold - what with the global warming thing and all.

The Weather Channel still has Eastern Kansas in pink for tomorrow, so there may be more freezing drizzle/rain/sleet coming.


January 11, 2007 - Thursday


Cheryl's Link of the Day:

Does your computer screen need cleaned?



"Oh joy, oh elation"

When I worked at the Sheriff's Office, that's what one of the jailers used to say when I'd tell him that the Police Dept. was bringing in a drunk driver for processing. And he used to say it when it was time for Sunday afternoon visitation. And for about any other unpleasant duty that was headed his way.

So, as the ice storm cometh, I say, "Oh joy, oh elation."

The last I heard, we're to get some sort of freezing moisture over the next three days. Light freezing rain, drizzle, snow. And the high temperature, which at 6 p.m. this evening is around 60 degrees, will drop below freezing and stay there until at least Wednesday (maybe longer). So, anything we get will be with us for awhile.

Oh joy, oh elation.

I stopped at the post office this evening and they have pre-salted the sidewalk around the building.

And I dropped by Reebles to pick up some groceries, so I wouldn't have to drive out in the ice any more than I had to. The guy in front of me bought two cans of de-icer spray and five lottery tickets. I bought Triscuits and Wheat Thins, bread and milk. A couple of oranges, three apples and a lemon.

I'm still driving the loaner car while my car is in the body shop (I wasn't driving - my car was parked - hit by another driver.)

So, this afternoon with Friday, Saturday and Sunday's forecasts being icky and icy, I checked the owner's manual of the Ford Focus rental car that I'm driving. Does this car have anti-lock brakes, I wonder.

After three years of driving my car, I've finally gotten used to anti-lock brakes (I think.)

In the Ford Focus' owner's manual, I found the brake page. It said: Anti-lock brakes (if equipped).

Well, that was ever so helpful. That's what I wanted to know - was the car equipped? Since the car doesn't even have cruise control, I'm going assume that it doesn't have anti-lock brakes, so I'll pump them like regular brakes instead of pressing and hanging on like you're supposed to with the anti-lock kind.

Oh joy, oh elation.

Hopefully, we won't lose our power - meaning our computers!

Two years ago, during a nasty ice storm, we were lucky, but our neighbors were without power for four days - a limb fell on their electrical line.

I guess four days is nothing compared to what the folks in western Kansas are suffering through. And, since all the power crews are out west, if this storm puts out electricity, the whole state may be in the dark for awhile.

So, on the outside chance you don't hear from me for awhile, it might be safe to assume we have no electricity. So, picture me with a cat on my lap for warmth, trying to read a book by the flickering light of a candle.



More photos from Sunday's Inaugural Family Festival:


the Cowardly Lion
The Cowardly Lion


The Scarecrow



January 10, 2007 - Wednesday


Emporia Sunrise - webcam


Sunrise over Emporia at 7:19 a.m., as seen from

The Emporia Gazette's webcam.

Watch the light move across Emporia.

The webcam usually faces east, so we get sunrises, but no sunsets.

You are looking down Sixth Street from Merchant Street. That shape on the horizon is Bunge, a soybean processing plant.




The snow and ice storm in Western Kansas has been devastating. Many residents are still without power. Onalee Harrell sent a link to these photos which are of southern Nebraska. And here's a link I found on Peg Britton's blog to photos of the Kansas side of the storm.




More from the Governor's Inaugural Festivities:


Louis Copt painting fire


Art was an important part of Sunday's event in Topeka. The work of about 60 Kansas artists was exhibited in a juried art show. One of those artists was Louis Copt of Lecompton, who was also invited to demonstrate his work for the crowd.



Louis Copt prairie fire painting - in progress


Louis Copt's work will be part of an exhibit at Pachamama's Restaurant,

800 New Hampshire, in Lawrence. Photographs by Daniel W. Coburn

will also be on display. The opening is Jan. 16, 6-9 p.m.


January 9, 2007 - Tuesday



From the Jan. 9 Emporia Gazette

Flyover People:

Draw Five, Keep on Playing



More on Roundabouts

My sister-in-law, Margaret, just sent a link to a website that has an animated roundabout. This traffic circle has been built in Anchorage. You can take a "test drive" and see how it all works.


This animation presents cirumstances that I hadn't considered: Yielding to emergency vehicles! Pedestrians! Large trucks which may take up more than one lane!

I liked animation #5 - Do not stop in roundabout.



More from Sunday's Main Street Kansas Family Festival in Topeka:

Vendor booth - Our Daily Bread from Barnes

One of the vendors at the Inaugural Festival was Our Daily Bread from Barnes in Washington County.


Max Yoho

Max Yoho, Topeka, wrote one of the Kansas Notable Books for 2006.

The Moon Butter Route is great.

But don't take my word for it, here's a recent review.

Max Yoho is a delightful person - warm and funny - and I feel honored to have him as a friend.

I wrote a column about Max a while back:

The Storyteller.


January 8, 2007 - Monday

I drove to Lawrence this morning and recorded another piece for Kansas Public Radio. It should be on the air in a couple of weeks.

Entering the turnpike isn't too bad (yet), but good luck getting off the pike at Emporia. What a mess!

They've swapped the roads around and instead of going straight, you swing right and then you merge with another heavily traveled lane. Then you stop at U.S. 50 (down from four lanes to two) and turn left. If you can see what's coming from the right, that's great, but there's a concrete barrier in the way which looks to be taller than some compact cars.

Semis that are turning right on U.S. 50 from that stop sign have to wait until they have a clear shot from both directions because the turn is so tight.

The long-range goal is to build two two-lane roundabouts.

Roundabouts? No problem. The one they put in last year by the high school seems to be working out well.

But, I became a little nervous, after a Flyover People viewer sent me this link. Scroll down on that PDF document and you'll see some roundabouts from hell. Maybe they're not as scary as they look, but I can just imagine being trapped in the inside lane by circling semis.


Dennis Denwiddle and turkey vulture


Dennis Dinwiddle of the Stone Nature Center of Topeka shows a turkey vulture at the Governor's Inaugural Main Street Family Festival at the Ramada Inn in Topeka yesterday.

He also brought a live crow with him.

"Aww, aww, aww," it called.

"A very noisy crow," Dinwiddle said.



Radar - KHP's big guy

Radar, a Kansas Highway Patrolman of sorts, is about 8-9 feet tall. There's a person inside this inflatable suit.


January 7, 2007 - Sunday


Dave and symphony panorama

Dave with his panorama of the Symphony in the Flint Hills.

He took the panorama of the event in June at the Tallgrass National Preserve. Emily Hunter, event coordinator, wanted to use his photo to promote the Symphony.

So, today it was on display at the Governor's Inaugural Family Festival at the Ramada Inn in Topeka.

The panorama is about nine feet long.

See more of Dave's photos from the Symphony in the Flint Hills.




sunrise Jan. 7

The view from my porch.

7:40 a.m.

The birds are singing. It's chilly, but kind of feels like spring.




Pawnee Rock Girls Track

Some of my track star friends from Pawnee Rock Junior High.


I took this photo at Otis, Kansas.

That's Kim, Marilyn, Jeanette and Donna.

Our colors were blue and gold. We were the Pawnee Rock Warriors. We never got to be the Pawnee Rock Braves - as the last graduating class for the high school was 1972.

I loved track. And basketball. I wanted to be a champion at some sport. I was a pretty quick runner and a very good long jumper (standing, triple and running), but was just not

good enough to be a champion.



January 6, 2007 - Saturday



While driving down Sixth Street today, I noticed that the Three Fools' Restaurant, just east of Commercial Street, has apparently closed/moved. Written in large letters on their window was something like: Lunch and Dinner / Styx / 402 Merchant.


We haven't been to Styx yet. I wonder if their lunches will have the same menu as Three Fools', which always had pretty good sandwiches. Virgil Patterson owns both places.


In other restaurant-related news, Taco Tico closed. Yeah, like anyone is going to notice. The last time I was in that place was about five years ago.



The brand new Popeyes is doing a bang-up business. Last night at suppertime we drove by and there was a traffic jam on Sixth Street with cars trying to get into the parking lot.


gray kitten

Visiting Kitten

This kitten with the pewter-colored eyes lives somewhere in the neighborhood and likes to come to our porch to visit Tiger.

Tiger is not very happy though when the kitten comes in the house - which he is eager to do. He's a very sweet kitten who doesn't mind being picked up and petted.



stairway in Marion

Stairway in Marion

Marion is one of those male/female names and as far as I know you just have to learn that if it's spelled with an o it's a man's name, with an a it's a female's name. Francis/Frances was easy once I learned that you could think i for his and e in for hers.



January 5, 2007 - Friday

So, girls and boys, how are those New Year's Resolutions coming along? I've eaten extra carrots twice this year in addition to spinach salads - so I'm meeting my resolution of "eat more fruits and vegetables."

Of course, some dietary guidelines suggest that women eat 7 fruits and vegetables each day! If I did that, there'd be no time to eat cookies.


I'm rushing around this morning, so just grabbed an old photo for something to post. More later...


Cheryl and Patches
Me (the one with the disjointed leg) as a kid and the family dog, Patches.



January 4, 2007 - Thursday



Winter sunset with waxing crescent moon.

Taken near Manhattan.


January 3, 2007 - Wednesday


* 150 YEARS *



1857 - 2007


Emporia celebrates 150 years in 2007. One of the first events to kick off the year is tonight's book discussion at the Emporia Public Library.

The book being discussed is: Home Town News : William Allen White and the Emporia Gazette by Sally F Griffith. Roger Heineken, Board Member of the WAW Community Partnership, will be the guest speaker/discusser.

The event begins tonight at 7 p.m. at the library, 110 E. 6th.

See the list of future books/discussions.

Probably by the end of the year, I will be able to spell sesquicentennial without looking. (This blog doesn't have a spell checker.)




Yesterday, I saw the girl in action. Dave had told me months ago about a girl (probably age 12 or so) in the neighborhood who parks a bicycle (a 20") crosswise on the sidewalk.

This girl runs down the sidewalk and hurdles the bike.

Now I loved running hurdles when I was her age and jumped over all kinds of things, but a not a bicycle. And not a bicycle on a concrete sidewalk. A bike has so many hooks that could tangle your feet - the seat, crossbars, handlebars.

But the girl flew over it, landing gracefully on the sidewalk.




Wareham Theatre

Wareham Theatre

Downtown Manhattan



January 2, 2007 - Tuesday


This week's Flyover People column:

A Town By Any Other Name




Pink Contrail


The view from my driveway.

7:30 a.m.


After two months of the holiday jumble, we're almost back on ordinary time (for two weeks - until MLK Day.)

Today, federal offices (including the post office) and state offices are closed in honor of President Ford.


And, for those keeping track, Popeyes was open all day yesterday for their "Grand Opening," although their sign had indicated Jan. 3.

Dave and I stopped by. Their employees were still in training, learning how many pieces of catfish go with the catfish combo, for example.

The fish was good and I had a terrible time deciding on sides. My friend Louie has raved about the beans and rice, but with the catfish, I went with the mashed potatoes and gravy - and wow, I don't know that I've ever had spicy gravy and it was great. I brought the biscuit home for later - and it was really good cold.

And, since Popeyes is a New Orleans-style restaurant, for those of you sweet tea lovers (Booker), they have both choices: sweet tea and drinkable tea.


January 1, 2007 - Monday - NEW YEAR'S DAY


Forty-four thousand customers are without power in Western Kansas as a result of this latest winter storm. Ice and wind have downed power lines. People have been rescued from stranded cars. Drifts are as high as 13 feet. (Just like the snows we all used to remember. So, if you want to relive your snowy childhood, head to Western Kansas.)

Read the story in the Capital-Journal: Snow Takes State by Storm



Another year, another January comes to Kansas. This morning, frost covers rooftops and yesterday's dusting of snow speckles the lawns.

But the sun is shining for the first time in days - it's coming up at an angle - over in the southeastern sky - beyond the house painted green (well, that's in my neighborhood - don't know what's between you and the sun where you're at.)

The squirrels are chattering this morning on the roof outside my window.

The Kansas City Chiefs made it into the playoffs by the skin of their teeth. And today, in college sports, the Arkansas Razorbacks, a team that is a family favorite, play in the Citrus Bowl, or is that the Capitol One Bowl - at noon today. So, root them on, make my Arkansas relatives happy.





a tablecloth-kind-of-a-restaurant, is in downtown Manhattan,

next to the Riley County Courthouse.

Harry's Restaurant - Manhattan



Past News


Having trouble finding what you're looking for?
Use the form below to search the files on our site:
Text to Search For:



All Content Copyright 2004-2006 by Cheryl Unruh
Text: Cheryl Unruh

Photography: Cheryl Unruh

P.O. Box 1215, Emporia, Kansas 66801