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May 6, 2008
Contact: Margey Frederick, Special Events and Visitor Services, (785) 864-7103.

Wheat State Whirlwind Tour to begin statewide trek in northeast Kansas

LAWRENCE — More than 40 University of Kansas faculty and staff members will visit sites in Barnes, Concordia, Manhattan, Marysville and Topeka on Monday, May 19, the first day of the 2008 Wheat State Whirlwind Tour.

The tour, now in its 11th year, will take participants to more than 20 communities and cover more than 1,000 miles. The tour, sponsored by Chancellor Robert Hemenway, gives participants a firsthand look at Kansas’ economy, landscape, history and culture.

For the first time, tour participants will share their impressions of the tour via a daily blog, which will detail the experiences of this year’s participants, feature photos from stops and include updates on the tour.

This year’s tour will kick off with a visit to the Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Site. The site, located at Topeka’s Monroe School, 1515 S.E. Monroe St., commemorates the landmark Supreme Court decision that led to the desegregation of America’s public schools. Deborah Dandridge, field archivist for the African-American collections in KU’s Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection and Topeka native, will address the group.

From Topeka, the group will travel to Manhattan, where participants will tour the Kansas State University campus. The bus will then hit the road for Barnes in Washington County to lunch at Our Daily Bread Shop.

The next stop is in Marshall County, where the group will tour Landoll Corp., 1196 Pony Express Highway in Marysville. Don Landoll, president, chairman and founder, will speak to the group about the internationally known company’s design, manufacture and marketing of transportation and agricultural equipment. Landoll will also lead a tour through the company’s Marysville plant.

From Marysville, the group will proceed to Washington to visit the Kansas Specialty Dog Service, 124 W. Seventh St. The service trains assistance dogs to work with people with visual impairments. The organization’s staff will talk about the service, which also helps familiarize individuals with the animals who will work to assist them. Larry Stoppel, a KU alumnus and local optometrist, will also meet with the group to talk about the community and what makes it unique.

The tour bus will make its next stop in Concordia. On the way, Marlesa Roney, vice provost for Student Success and a Concordia native, and Sue Sutton, dean of humanities at Cloud County Community College and Concordia resident, will join the tour. They will point out historic sites such as Camp Concordia, a World War II prisoner of war camp for German soldiers. The group will also visit the recently completed National Orphan Train Museum, 300 Washington St. The Concordia museum commemorates the orphans who traveled by train from the East Coast to be paired with families throughout the Midwest from 1854 to 1929.

Later that evening, the group will have dinner at Concordia’s historic Brown Grand Theatre, 310 W. Sixth St.

On Tuesday, May 20, the tour will continue westward with stops in Lucas, Palco, Nicodemus, Edson and Goodland.

To view daily itineraries, maps of this year’s route and photos of previous tours, visit the Wheat State Whirlwind Tour site.

Itinerary for Monday, May 19

7:45 a.m. — Load bus at KU Visitor Center, 15th and Iowa streets.
8:15 a.m. — Depart for Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site (27 miles)
8:45 a.m. — Arrive at Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site
9:30 a.m. — Depart for Manhattan (58 miles)
10:30 a.m. — Arrive in Manhattan, tour K-State on bus
10:50 a.m. — Depart Manhattan for Barnes (50 miles)
11:45 p.m. — Arrive in Barnes; lunch at Our Daily Bread Shop
1 p.m. — Depart Barnes for Marysville (21 miles)
1:30 p.m. — Arrive in Marysville; tour Landoll Corp.
2:20 p.m. — Depart for Washington (22 miles)
3 p.m. — Arrive in Washington; stop at Kansas Specialty Dog Service; talk by Larry Stoppel
4 p.m. — Depart for Belleville (32 miles)
4:30 p.m. — Meet Marlesa Roney in Belleville; depart for Concordia (18 miles)
5 p.m. — Check in at the Holiday Inn Express
5:30 p.m. — National Orphan Train Museum reception
5:45 p.m. — Depart for National Orphan Train Museum
6:45 p.m. — Dinner at the Brown Grand Theatre
8:30 p.m. — Return to hotel

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