About two months ago, the FYI section featured animals available for adoption at local shelters in its “12 Strays of Christmas” series. We wanted to hear from readers about their successful adoptions and the impact their four-legged family members have had on their lives. We were flooded with stories. Now, we’re sharing some of our favorites.
Ken Armitage of Lawrence, a professor emeritus of biology at the University of Kansas, has a national reputation as an expert on marmots and published a research book on them last June. When Sony released a 25th -anniversary edition of the movie “Groundhog Day,” it filmed a segment with Armitage as an added feature.
The fact that a Maryland couple is being investigated by Child Protective Services for letting their kids walk home by themselves from a park shows our society has taken legitimacy away from responsible parents who try to foster independence.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has a winner with “WWI and the Rise of Modernism,” an exhibit of 60 works including paintings, prints, sculpture and decorative arts. Drawn mainly from the museum’s permanent collection, the unpretentious show is striking a chord with viewers.
Although the California Tower is Balboa Park’s most obvious artifact from the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, its interior was closed to the public in the 1930s. But now, as San Diego celebrates the expo’s centennial, the 200-foot-high tower is open again, and even if you don’t sign up for the climb, you’ll see reminders of 1915 throughout the park’s core area.
Yordano Ventura quit school at 14 and was working construction until his big break: a tryout that led to a spot in the Kansas City Royals’ academy in the Dominican Republic. But even after making the major leagues and pitching in the World Series, Ventura wouldn’t live anywhere else than Las Terrenas, his hometown, where he trained on the beach and swam in the ocean.
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When the North American Aviation plant opened in Kansas City, Kan., before the war, it hired 1,400 skilled workers. At its peak in October 1943, it had 24,000. Women on the payroll numbered more than 9,000, working in 98 of 100 departments. The plant became not only a source of income for families still recovering from the Great Depression and a symbol of pride and patriotism that still resonates today.
Kate Morrand, 30, a graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High School and the University of Kansas, is an underwater archaeologist for the Naval History & Heritage Command’s Archaeology and Conservation Laboratory in Washington, D.C. A recent discovery was a ship from the Chesapeake Flotilla that sank during the War of 1812 in the Patuxent River.
Despite the chaos of adorable 3-year-olds running around, Caryn Freirich noticed Rob Mandel at the parent orientation at the Child Development Center at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City. Caryn knew Rob was divorced and thought, “He is cute and seems like such a nice dad. I’m going to get a date with him.”
DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: My grandparents put their home and farm into a living trust. After they died, the property was managed by my uncle, and my three siblings and I were supposed to inherit it when he died. Well, he passed three years ago, and my brother became the trustee, but not much else has happened. My siblings and I get a small check after each crop is sold, but my mother thinks we’re getting very little money compared with what the crops are worth. Meanwhile, my brother has never said anything about our inheritance.
Orlando, Fla., is the No. 1 U.S. destination booked by travel agents, according to a fall survey by the giant travel agent group Travel Leaders. So if you are headed to Orlando in 2015 and haven’t visited for a year or more, you’re in for a treat.
Members of Kansas City Oasis gather weekly in a way that appears churchlike-y, but there’s no prayer, no reference to a higher power. Most are atheists or agnostics, although people of faith aren’t excluded. “We get to celebrate the human experience every week, so welcome,” says Helen Stringer, the group’s executive director.
Journalist Nina Teicholz’s book, “The Big Fat Surprise,” reveals that government health officials have long ignored studies that found heart disease to be virtually nonexistent in several populations around the world where the diet consisted almost entirely of saturated fats from meat and dairy.
Several major anniversaries will also be marked by a variety of events in 2015, including 70 years since the end of World War II, the 60th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland and 10 years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.
DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: I own a piece of investment real estate, a house, that I recently rented to my mother-in-law. She’s living on a fixed income, so I’m charging her only half of what the place normally rents for. I made her promise, though, not to tell anyone about the sweetheart deal I’ve given her. That’s because my wife is one of eight children, and I don’t want the others thinking I’m made of money and coming to me with their hands out any more than they already do.
Emporia State University photography professor Tom Parish spent two years seeking out and photographing native stone, arched-roof cellars in the northern Flint Hills region of Kansas. “These places look like they could have been thousands of years old. They are reminiscent of these stone structures you see all around the world but that are much older and were probably built for entirely different purposes,” Parish says.
DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: I’m a CPA, and every year I prepare my siblings’ and their spouses’ tax returns. I don’t charge them for the work I do, even though some of their returns are complicated and the paperwork they provide me with often is a mess. While I’m OK with preparing returns for my two siblings who don’t earn much, I don’t see why I should be preparing them for the one who in recent years has been making tons of money. Shouldn’t she and her husband at least be offering to pay me?