May 19, 2004 | KU Radio News Line

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Contact: Frank Barthell, University Relations, (785) 864-8869.

Radio News Line text:
RADIO NEWSLINE: Bus tour offers new KU faculty a closer look at Kansas this month

FORTY-TWO UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS FACULTY MEMBERS WILL GET A CLOSE-UP LOOK AT THE STATE THIS MONTH ON A 15-HUNDRED-MILE, SIX-DAY WHIRLWIND TOUR ACROSS THE STATE.

SPONSORED BY THE CHANCELLOR'S OFFICE,THE WHEAT STATE WHIRLWIND TOUR BEGAN IN 1997 TO INTRODUCE FACULTY NEW TO KANSAS TO THE PEOPLE, CULTURE, HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY OF THEIR HOME STATE.

THIS YEAR'S TOUR TAKES PLACE MAY 21 AND MAY 24 THROUGH 28 AND WILL TRAVEL THROUGH 38 OF THE STATE'S 105 COUNTIES.

DON STEEPLES, DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR OF GEOPHYSICS, IS CO-DIRECTING THIS YEAR'S TOUR. STEEPLES IS A NATIVE OF PALCO AND HAS BEEN ON BOARD THE TOUR SINCE IT STARTED. HE ENJOYS TWO THINGS MOST ABOUT THE TOUR. STEEPLES: "My biggest kick is from showing off my hometown. And I'm always amazed at the number of things that I learn about Kansas each time we do the tour." (10 sec.)

STEEPLES SAYS THE TOUR HELPS FACULTY DEVELOP A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THEIR STUDENTS' BACKGROUNDS.
STEEPLES: "When the faculty see the towns that the students come from and talk to some of the local residents, I think they start to get a better feel for the rural culture that our students come from." (11 sec.)

STEEPLES SAYS THE KANSAS RESIDENTS ARE HAPPY TO SHOW OFF THEIR TOWNS TO THE K-U TOUR GROUP.
STEEPLES: "The communities respond with eagerness to show us what's there. They're very proud of what they have." (5 sec.)

THIS YEAR, THE TOUR WILL VISIT NORTHEAST KANSAS FOR THE FIRST TIME FRIDAY, MAY 21.
STEEPLES: "At Atchison, we're going to visit Amelia Earhart's house. We'll visit a site where Lewis and Clark camped in 1804. We'll visit Fort Leavenworth, which has a history that goes all the way back to 1827." (10 sec.)

STEEPLES SAYS THE MAY 24 ITINERARY WILL INCLUDE A VISIT WITH GOVERNOR KATHLEEN SEBELIUS PLUS STOPS IN THE FLINT HILLS AND SOUTHEAST KANSAS.
STEEPLES: "Monday we're going to visit Monroe School in Topeka, which is associated with the 50th anniversary of Brown versus Board of Education. Then we'll visit the Scott Ritchie Ranch down in the Flint Hills. And then down to Sedan, where there's some economic development and rebuilding of the town." (18 sec.)

STEEPLES SAYS MAY 25 WILL COVER THE SOUTHERN PART OF THE STATE.
STEEPLES: "Tuesday we're going to go to the DewEze Manufacturing Company in Harper. They make large hay bale moving equipment. And then we'll head over to Medicine Lodge, take a look at the Red Hills and discuss the history of the Medicine Lodge area. Then we'll visit a junior college in Liberal, an air museum in Liberal." (17 sec.)

STEEPLES SAYS THE MAY 26 ITINERARY WILL INCLUDE GARDEN CITY.
STEEPLES: "Wednesday we'll visit a wind farm at Montezuma. We'll have lunch at Garden City Community College. We'll visit the Methodist Ministries Medical Clinic in Garden City. Then we'll head up and spend some time in the pasture with the buffalo, north of Scott City." (17 sec.)

STEEPLES SAYS THE MAY 27 TOUR WILL START AT THE PRAIRIE MUSEUM OF ARTS AND HISTORY IN COLBY AND CONCLUDE WITH DINNER AT THE ROSS BEACH RANCH NEAR HAYS.
STEEPLES: "Wayne Bossert will be there and give us a discussion of the irrigation and water management problems in western Kansas. Then we'll go to Nicodemus and look at the National Parks Service facilities in Nicodemus and discuss the history of Nicodemus. Then we'll go to Palco, which is my hometown, take a look at their distance learning facility in the high school, visit the grain elevator, visit my own farm. We'll visit a saddle-making shop. Then we go into Plainville and visit a site where they make mailbox supports out of limestone. We'll also visit Dessin-Fournis, which is a custom furniture manufacturer that's won a number of awards." (44 sec.)

STEEPLES SAYS THE TOUR WILL CONCLUDE MAY 28 WITH STOPS IN LUCAS, WILSON, MARQUETTE AND LINDSBORG.
STEEPLES: "Friday we'll visit the Grassroots Arts Center in Lucas. Then we do a drive-by on the south side of Wilson Lake, my favorite part of Kansas in terms of scenic beauty. We'll visit Kansas Originals in Wilson, where there are various artistic and other sorts of Kansas manufactured goods. Then we'll go visit Lindsborg, where turkey red wheat was first imported in the 1870s." (27 sec.)

THE DIRECTOR OF THE KANSAS EXPLORER'S CLUB, MARCI PENNER, WILL MEET WITH THE FACULTY IN LINDSBORG.

FOR A COMPLETE ITINERARY AND LIST OF TOUR PARTICIPANTS, VISIT www.wheatstate.ku.edu.

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