Archive for Thursday, August 10, 2006

Letters to the Editor

August 10, 2006

To the editor:

The Baldwin Police Department has recently been criticized regarding ticketing procedures and general attitude issues. My letter is not sent to counter the opinions of Baldwin citizens who sincerely believe they have been wronged or offended. I did not witness those incidents and the individuals who were directly involved have the right to their opinion.(But I believe the local police should be equally recognized for the good they do.)

I am submitting this letter based on something I witnessed personally early one afternoon about a week ago. I was going south on Sixth Street and a small girl, probably no more than 6 or 7 years old, was attempting to cross at the corner of Sixth and Baker. She was carrying several items that appeared to include papers and small boxes. She would take a few steps, drop one of her items and stoop to pick it up only to drop one or two more items. I was considering trying to park to help her when I noticed a Baldwin City Police patrol car approaching the same intersection. The patrol car parked at the curb and Officer Tom Wiseman got out and approached the little girl. As I continued down Sixth street, I watched in my rear view mirror as Officer Wiseman got down on his haunches, talked to the girl and gathered up the things she had dropped.

I proceeded to the post office, dropped off my mail and returned north on Sixth Street. The officer's car was still parked at the curb. The officer and little girl were not in sight. I can only assume he accompanied the little girl home to help her carry her belongings.

Observing that act of kindness really made my day. It is indicative of a caring public official -- and I feel certain that little girl will always remember the kind policeman that came to her rescue.

Cleo Langley
Baldwin City



To the editor:

As an "outsider" who resides in the "urban sprawl" of Vinland, I am generally not involved with the politics of Baldwin City. At the same time, I wanted to give a belated "thanks" to those in the city government responsible for taking over the Baldwin Golf Course and keeping it as a facility that those of us in the area can use. A closer look reveals what a great recreational asset it is to the community.

Naturally, for those of us that are interested in golf, it's a super place to play at a ridiculously reasonable price. In recent weeks, I've played on "couples night," partnering with my daughter, Becky, competing against a number of other local mixed twosomes. I've also played on "men's night," joining 30 or so other golfers of varying skill levels in friendly competition. Both "nights" provide the opportunity to get a little exercise, socialize and, most importantly, have some fun with other members of the community. On Aug 6, I joined a good size crowd of local linksters to play in the "Baldwin Open" and we all had a great time.

As an instructor in the Physical Education Department at Baker for the last two decades, I've seen literally hundreds of Baker students enjoy the course. Granted, the Baldwin course isn't Augusta National, but it's a great place to teach, practice and learn the basics. It's close, it has plenty of room and it requires a minimum of upkeep. Like many local dads, I've used the course to introduce golf to my own kids.

The facility is also there for youngsters in the community as well as high school PE classes. "Serious" golfers and those on the Baldwin High School golf team can use the course to practice if they don't want to drive to Lawrence to buy a bucket of range balls. Casual and recreational golfers can come to the course virtually anytime without having to worry about securing a tee time or paying an outlandish green fee. It's the best "golfing bargain" around ... by far.

At the same time, the facility is about much more than "just golf." The course is used for cross country meets and practices. Coaches have told me how fortunate the local school district and Baker are to have such an area available for their athletes. Besides competitive runners, the course provides a great place for joggers and walkers to get some exercise in a safe, comfortable and relaxing environment. There are no cars, trucks, or motorcycles to worry about. Joggers and walkers don't have to stick to a pre-determined route on a hard path or bike trail. They can choose a flat or rolling hill terrain and change their route and direction daily. With a convenient parking lot, joggers can drive to the course, park their vehicle and exercise as long as they want.

For those that are into winter sports, the course can even be used for cross country skiing after a snowfall. Teaching the basics of downhill skiing to beginners is a reality as well.

With a little imagination and creativity, there are all kinds of recreational opportunities that the course potentially offers...all without altering the basic golf layout. Ultimate Frisbee, Easter Egg and treasure hunts, archery lessons, and even the basics of orienteering and related outdoor skills can be taught at the good old Baldwin links. With the availability of the local layout, the city rec program can even offer a youth golf program if it so desires. The course could be used for a citywide walkathon, a Baldwin City fitness day with a variety of outdoor games and outdoor mountain biking events on a smaller scale.

In addition to providing great recreational opportunities, the course can be used for events that benefit a variety of worthwhile causes. The Baldwin Junior High held a golf tournament a few weeks ago to raise money for athletic uniforms. I can recall the "Chili Open" that was held in the middle of winter as a charitable fundraiser.

A quick look at the membership list posted at the course is ample evidence of the heavy usage of the facility. Throw in the joggers, walkers, school and college classes, cross country teams, high school and college golf teams, as well as "occasional" golfers and it is obvious that the course is used by many.

Often, one doesn't realize how much one misses something until it is gone. When it comes to the Baldwin Golf Course, we're indeed fortunate to have such a facility available to so many people at such a reasonable cost. Good job Baldwin.

Rick Weaver
Baldwin City

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