Archive for Thursday, October 8, 2009

Letters to the Editor

October 8, 2009

To the editor:

The BESIC classes of Erik Bailey and Kathleen Dorsey wish to publicly thank Dave Hill and Ivan Huntoon for taking time out of their busy schedules to talk with our classes. Hill and Huntoon spoke to the students about the stock market, banking, investing, and saving. Their presentations have benefitted the students by building a foundation of vocabulary, and concepts that we will build on all year. We are very lucky in this community to have such wonderful people always willing to volunteer their time and expertise. We thank them very much.

Kathleen Dorsey's Fifth grade

Erik Bailey's Fifth grade

To the editor:

A huge thank you to all volunteers, patrons, bands and corporate sponsors who helped make the 2009 Blues and Barbecue a great success.

A special thank you goes to the following donors: Chris Lorenzen; Stephen’s Real Estate; Baldwin State Bank; MidAmerica Bank; Heritage Tractor; Riley and Sara Winkler; Hestia Club of Baldwin City; Cosentino’s Price Chopper of Gardner; Zarda Barbecue; Birdsong; Hen House; Baker University jazz combo; Forecast; Konza Swamp Band; Hickory Creek Barbecue for preparing the meat; and several anonymous donors.

Every dollar received gets us closer to our final goal of finishing phase 1 of the Lumberyard Arts Center Project.

A gigantic thank you to Diane and Jim Niehoff for their countless hours given to the project.

Linda Ballinger

Blues and Barbecue chair

To the editor:

In keeping with tradition, we all wait with bated breathe for the third weekend of October. Only two weeks away until the coveted Maple Leaf Festival. People from 100 miles or more come to see this extravaganza of “hand-made” crafts. The food, the bands, the carnival rides duct-taped together that we can trust our children's safety to. Oh and those “hand-made” crafts with that wonderful little sticker on the bottom. You know the one. The mark of a true craftsman. Made In China. Last year, my family took pictures of items that weren't hand-made. I have yet to see a license plate made by hand and I can't see that pressing a button on a printer actually defines as “hand-made.” In Overland Park, one can go to the farmer's market and find items that “look” hand-made, but are actually mass produced. These items are made and sold in bulk so a vendor can print their own labels for festivals just like Maple Leaf. It's that hand-made look at a commercial rate.

It’s Maple Leaf's dirty little secret. In local minds, not so secret. I wonder though how many Baldwin City residents know that according to the bylaws of Maple Leaf, only hand-made crafts are to be permitted? There is the selection committee that judges each and every crafter who submits a bid for entry. Picking over thousands of items to make for certain that only hand-made items are brought to be sold on our hallowed streets.

Not to mention all the people. Baldwin businesses benefit so well from Maple Leaf! The influx of people to our little town; it can only stand to reason that our local business owners will see vast amounts of profit for the event. Surely our seats will be full in every restaurant, our shelves empty from customers needing snacks, diapers and clean ups. Our storage tanks empty from the tanks filled for the return trip home. Oh, yes, Baldwin businesses should be well compensated for the weekend of jovial fall celebrators.

Yet, not all Baldwin businesses will benefit. There are so many that will suffer greatly at the hands of the Maple Leaf Committee. All being denied entry into this grand event. Why? They do not have hand-made items. Their items have the same sticker as so many of the “crafters” do. These businesses are willing to pay the same entry fee of $250 for an 8x10 stall. So what makes them ineligible? Why should any business of Baldwin suffer? Shouldn't they all see an increase in business?

Our economy has gone south, in case you hadn't heard. So many of Baldwin's residents are out of work or have been laid off in the past year. Many have been unable to find work to replace the lost income due to the economy's current state.

When there is no income, how does one pay their bills? Unfortunately, savings are depleting. Many homes have used up all their resources to pay the bills for the time the breadwinners have been out of work. Many breadwinners have been unemployed for more than a year. A month ago, more than 800 people showed up at The Great Mall of The Great Plains in hopes of landing a job with Coleman. People in suits, jeans and pajama pants all vying for the same jobs. Obviously, our local economy is not supporting our households.

It is great that the Maple Leaf Committee wants to limit the entries to “hand-made” items only. Let's be realistic. There are very few hand-made anythings left in this world. Excluding Baldwin's residents from being included in the Maple Leaf takes money out of Baldwin's economy. Even if an individual who has a business at home can find a Baldwin business with a store front to sponsor them, the Maple Leaf Committee “reserves the right” to exclude them. The committee actually regulates what items a business on the square can sell based on what that business provides throughout the year. Unless of course you’re on the committee. It is unbelievable that any business would allow a festival to dictate how they will use their property. The audacity of the committee to think it is OK to make such dictations.

Bottom line is, no Baldwin-based business should be excluded from Maple Leaf Festival. No citizen should be penalized for not having a storefront. Many home-based business owners would earn a year's income generated from this one event. Why would anyone want to exclude these businesses? The same businesses that donate to Baldwin Junior High School's Basket auction, Rainbow Preschool program, the PTO and the food pantry. We are not just people that live in a town. We are a community that thrives on the people that support each and every need our town has. As home-based businesses, we spend our money here. We buy our gas, we pay our taxes, we use the services provided in Baldwin. Why then are we not able to represent ourselves in the most visible example of what Baldwin is known for? We support the community, why not support us?

Maple Leaf Festival is a pinnacle of Baldwin City's landscape. Its history reaches far and wide. We all love the event and celebration of fall's arrival. I can't imagine arguing the good that Maple Leaf has done for so many. All I am asking is why the at-home businesses cannot be represented in this event? I'm not suggesting that we allow businesses from around the country. I'm only suggesting that our community would happily support the men and women who are struggling to support their families. Why not help us support our families by allowing us to be a part of this rewarding event?

Each year, I make the inquiries to be allowed access. Each year for the last four years, I've been told that the committee would take it into consideration. This year, I was told that there wasn't anyone to head up a committee. I volunteered to do just that. Then I was told it was too late for this year's festival. Then I was told that it wouldn't be in keeping with the “bylaws” of the Maple Leaf Festival. I was also redirected to the BPW who also told me that they are sold out and have no room, but maybe next year. How many more “next years” will it take to finally be included?

Dr. Ivan Boyd inspired this festival as being the best time to view the changing of the colors in the trees. When we will see the changing of the color of the times? When will Baldwin's Maple Leaf Festival don pride in all the businesses of Baldwin with representation of all her community’s attributes?

Scott and Deania Mishler

Baldwin City


Torch 10 years, 10 months ago

Thank you Scott and Deania.

It's a shame our little slice of heaven failed miserably to heed the warnings of the impending recession and passed school bonds and other taxes which did nothing but cripple these very families you speak of.

In any case, why not let everyone sell? I would expect smaller crowds this year because our paradise isn't the only place suffering the effects.


NanCrisp 10 years, 10 months ago

Scott and Deania, you hit the nail on the head. The answer to all the "whys" in your letter lies in one key phrase you mentioned: "Each year for the last four years..." Up until about four years ago there were quite a few local artists and crafters in the festival. A changing of the guard of the Maple Leaf Committee several years ago took the entire festival toward a slick and marketing-driven agenda that has eliminated everything local from this festival. These changes became most apparent about four years ago. The Maple Leaf Festival is now a regional, not a local, event. That's why we have Plans Trains & Automobiles to bring back the local flavor for a festival that caters to Baldwinites. You should forget about Maple Leaf. It's way past the point of no return.


annieef 10 years, 10 months ago

First, I do want to thank Deania for her comments and for visiting our meetings in September and October. Her input generated alot of discussion and we, as a committee, agreed to find a solution for next year. However, at the time of her visit we were at full capacity. Our booth deadline is in June. And, while we do accept applications after June, it is on a first come, first served basis. I have to apologize for not remembering Deania coming to any meetings while I've been involved in the Maple Leaf Festival. As acting chair and vice chair prior to that, I can't put my finger on this same discussion with her in any previous year, in any meeting.

While some may have taken their exit of the Maple Leaf Committee as a changing of the guards, we currently serving do not consider ourselves in any position of power to give such title. We are executing the Maple Leaf Festival utilizing the same by-laws that have been in place regarding booth space - no changes have been made in the past 4 years much less immediately prior to that. We also hold firm to keeping this a local event by turning away any food booth vendor that isn't within our USD348 or Baldwin community. We do NOT advertise in any forum hat would imply we're looking for non-local vendors. Alternatively, we do not hold any number of spaces specifically for local usage. We simply accept applications and jury them to the standards in the by-laws.

The biggest shame here is that instead of working with the committee to find a resolution, the chosen path is to cast disparaging remarks and to put the works of so many volunteers in question. We do not ALLOW manufactured goods. But, as you might expect, there are less than honest vendors out there. They tell us they're bringing hand-crafted goods and they show up with purchased. And, if anyone captures proof of this deceipt, I would have hoped they would take the responsible action and inform us. We all take this seriously - to identify when someone isn't meeting up to the standards. Armed with this information, we typically ask the vendor to leave, remove the manufactured item and often do not ask them back the next year.

I could dispel all the myths generated by these letters, but I suspect if anyone REALLY cares, they'll take the time, as do our volunteers, to come to our meetings and work with us to make the Maple Leaf Festival what they want it to be. I personally pushed everyone to evaluate every possible solution to help Deania and her group - we simply didn't feel we could do it in the time remaining. To that end, I will apologize again - not for our inability to include the At Home work group that was represented - but for not having anticipated that we needed to completely disassemble our current by-laws and booth structures within a month of the event to accommodate. I believe it was the intention of the committee to find a permanent solution to accommodate the At Home work group for future festivals.


BaldwinDad 10 years, 10 months ago

Yeah you're right the Big Mean Evil Festival Committee that is made up of VOLUNTEERS in which NONE of the committee members earn any money contributing their time to plan such a huge event. The Big Mean Evil Festival Commitee who by VOLUNTEERING their time help to supply almost all of the non-profit charity groups in town with over half their annual budget is just out to keep your poor local home business from making any money.

Give me a break

It amuses me that you state you only came to the meetings and the Festival to see what you can get out of it with out really putting any effort into making the Festival a success, sure you say you volunteered to head up a committee, but that was only when thought you would get something in return.

The system is not perfect but it is what it is, all the vendors are supposed to have handcrafted items and the argument, "Well nothing is really handcrafted anymore" is a childish response and one that I presume many down at the Quilt Show and many others that work hard all year around to provide quality products for sale at the Festival would find offensive.

I personally was there last year when several committee VOLUNTEERS took the time to go around the Festival and advise the dishonest vendors that they would not be allowed to come back next year or in some cases were asked to leave at the end of the day since their items were not handcrafted. These same VOLUNTEERS spend 12 months reviewing the applications on their own time and do to try and make the Festival the best it can be and fair for everyone. Do they catch them all? I guess not, but perhaps if YOU took the time to actually VOLUNTEER without some kickback (like you seem to be asking for) or gathering "proof" of how "unfair" things are, then they might have been able to catch a few more dishonest vendors and their non-handcrafted goods.

In regards to Nancrisp, since she gives no real information and only offer vague superstitions, I'm not sure what Regime change she is referring to. I can only assume that any local artist or craftsmen are more then welcome to submit their items to the committee VOLUNTEERS down at the Festival for approval and pay their money for a booth space rental, whether they choose or not too is up to them.

It cracks me up every year about 2-3 weeks prior to the Festival all the haters come out professing how they are so annoyed with the Festival yet how they love our little slice of heaven, but do any of these people ever show up to VOLUNTEER their time to try and improve the Festival much less the community. No, they just like most people looking out only for themselves and like to make nasty little comments that really offer no solutions or assistance to anyone.


hellothere 10 years, 10 months ago

Somebody always has something to complain about. If you don't like it join the committee and help out. My guess is they had some crappy craft that they thought was great that got rejected. Give me a break. I couldn't agree with Baldwin Dad more.


solo 10 years, 10 months ago

Nancy Crisp--Is there anyone or anything in this community that you won't criticize?

Scott and Deania--I'm guessing your chances of ever landing a Mapleleaf booth just went from slim to none.


TheOnlyGreyghost 10 years, 10 months ago

Standing ovation for Annie, BaldwinDad, HelloThere, and Solo.

Since the Mishlers' letter goes on and on (ad nauseam) about how unfair things are without ever actually getting around to saying just what their specific problem is (do they own a downtown business that is "suffering greatly" at the diabolical hands of the Maple Leaf Committee? Are they hawking some homemade craft?), I googled their names to see if they own a local business.

Didn't see that they own any "storefront" business, but I did see that Deania is peddling some kind of mass-distributed foodstuffs. Not something she thought up in her kitchen, with herbs she grew in her garden, mind you, but some stuff that's distributed like Mary Kay or Tupperware. We can only hope that those herbs aren't grown in China or Mexico!

How interesting, for someone who is so concerned about originality that she's triumphantly taking photos of Maple Leaf merchandise to prove that the vendors' hearts are not pure.

Could that mass-distributed culinary merchandise possibly be what she is so disappointed at not being able to sell at Maple Leaf? Or does she have a whole garage full of styrofoam & noodle wreaths and no place to unload them?

While no one is denying that some mass-produced products slip through, I suspect that the Mishlers are going overboard in their zeal. When I envision a home-made craft, I do not expect that every COMPONENT of that craft must've been grown, harvested, mined, or otherwise begun as raw materials on the crafter's land. Most crafters buy many of their components and do something creative with those elements or juxtapose them in some way to make a new product.

Since Maple Leaf is so disappointing for the Mishlers, I would encourage them to take their little spy camera and maybe go on a cruise to Alaska that weekend. Maybe they can snap some pictures of the Kremlin from Sarah's front porch. For really rollicking fun, they should take Nan with them. Alaska is a very big place. I bet there are all kinds of things there to b**** about--so many that Nan may be enamored enough to stay. Win win.


AncientBaldwin 10 years, 10 months ago

"And, if anyone captures proof of this deceipt, I would have hoped they would take the responsible action and inform us. We all take this seriously - to identify when someone isn't meeting up to the standards."

I have one panoramic photo of downtown that should suffice for this purpose.


solo 10 years, 10 months ago

And another "hater" comes out of the woodwork just as predicted............


TheOnlyGreyghost 10 years, 10 months ago

Solo~ What do you want to bet it's some sorry wanker whose pathetic painted saws and crocheted Jesus pillows failed to be accepted for a booth?


greyghost 10 years, 10 months ago

Standing ovation to Ancient Baldwin!


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