Archive for Thursday, July 1, 2010

Catching up on a usual busy, busy June

Around Town column

July 1, 2010

Turning the calendar over today to July 1 officially brings the end of yet another extremely busy June in and around Baldwin City. It also hit me that I haven’t done a bits-and-pieces column in a long time and I certainly have them. So here it is.

I’m not sure why we pack practically a summer’s worth of activities into one month, but I’d suspect weather as much as anything. Of course, there are certain dates to adhere to, such as the Battle of Black Jack anniversary that’s set in stone and Planes, Trains and Automobiles that’s a Father’s Day event.

Those have a long history and our “famed” city-wide garage sale has been the first weekend in June for decades, so it’s got some history, too. Likewise, the Baldwin Community Arts Council has been having Art Walk the third Friday of summer months for a long time, so that fits in. And I guess the city-wide cleanup can join that fold, too.

Then there are a pair of events that have jumped around over the years, but wisely have settled back on June dates. That would be Thomas the Tank Engine’s annual visit and the Baldwin City Community Theater’s summer play. They tried Thomas in hotter months and didn’t like the results. The summer play flirted with different dates and in an auditorium instead of outside, but has settled back to the downtown location. Both make sense.

That had been the lineup for the last several years, but there was yet another event for this year. The Baldwin City Volunteer Fire Department had an open house Sunday to celebrate its 100th anniversary. It wrapped up yet another incredibly busy June.

All of those events were well attended and the BCCT’s performance of “Seussical the Musical” gained rave reviews. Black Jack’s program included reenactments of the famed battle for the first time, which brought history alive. Thomas brought his usual crowd of close to 16,000 people and the garage-sale weekend brought its usual throng.

That’s all normal. Celebrating 100 years of volunteer firefighting wasn’t. That’s the celebration that I was most pleased to see. We cannot honor the hundreds of people who have battled our blazes for a century and those that continue to do it enough.

When you see a firefighter, tell them thanks. I sure do.

As for that June weather, it’s been pretty doggone good, really. There have been some brutally hot days, but not too many. We’ve certainly had plenty of moisture, too. The combination has led to something I’ve not seen before. I swear for the last couple of weeks the corn and soybeans have absolutely been shooting out of the ground.

Alas, so has the grass. But that’s something that doesn’t bother me a bit. I’m on my twice-a-week mowing schedule and am not complaining one bit. In fact, I was extremely pleased with the unexpected break in the recent heat wave on Sunday. Made for some mighty fine mowing Sunday morning on the north 40.

That all said, there have been some strange bouts with the weather. For awhile we were in a pattern where the storms were to the north of us, but just a touch of them would take a dip south for some good showers and excitement.

One of those was the biggest factor in a couple of our events. We had one of those fast-moving storms make the plunge south on the day of Planes, Trains and Automobiles. The weather liars, er, forecasters, were predicting 2.5-inch hail from it. That scattered the many cars, etc., on display in downtown Baldwin City. I know I headed my truck into the barn because of it. But there was no hail, thankfully.

There was bad news in June, though. I was disappointed when Steve Friend, Baldwin City Recreation Commission director, made the announcement that the usual Community Fireworks Display wouldn’t happen this year.

I had become suspicious when no one had approached the city council for a contribution, but figured that was just a matter of time. I asked City Administrator Jeff Dingman about it and he said the same.

It was only a day or so later that Friend dropped by the office with word of the display’s demise. It just didn’t work out. And with the construction at the school complex, that location really wasn’t going to work, either. So, we’ll take a year off and hit it next July 4.

Of course, a report on June needs a report on June. June Jewett, that is. Most everyone knows the long-time Signal columnist suffered a mild stroke this month, another bummer about it.

I haven’t talked to her since she called right after the stroke. But I did hear from the library ladies this week that she had been there last week. She stopped in to say hello and goodbye as she was heading to Texas to stay with her daughter again to recuperate.

I wish her the best.


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