Wow, what a fast and exciting July! We started July with a Meet and Greet with Senator Ralph Ostmeyer at the beautiful Robbins Center on the FHSU campus on the 3rd. I, of course, am an FHSU alum (my master’s degree in political science) and Senator Ostmeyer has 3 children with degrees from Fort Hays. So it was a very beautiful and appropriate setting for us. Republican candidate for the 110th district, Travis Couture-Lovelady, was also in attendance.
Independence Day and The Wild West Fest took up the remainder of that first week of July. Our oldest son and his family were with us for the first several days. We entertained the grandsons by visiting the Hays Aquatic Park, the tennis courts, and a ballgame at Larks Park. We enjoyed armband night at the amusement park and the fireworks on July 4th. We had great seats, in the pick-up with the fireworks overhead, and the two grandsons, ages 5 and 2, oohed and awed with every new burst of light, array of sparkles, and sound.
Carl and I enjoyed the music of Diamond Rio and Easton Corbin on Friday and Saturday evenings and participated in the annual parade on Sat., July 7th.
The following week, on Tuesday, July 10th we were invited to participate in a forum sponsored by The Big First Tea Party and held at Thirsty’s Brew Pub and Grill. All of the candidates in Ellis County were invited to attend. We had a good turn out and I thank the Tea Party for the opportunity.
I was invited to visit with Paul Ibbetson of Patriot Radio on Friday, July 13th. The interview was scheduled to air on the following Monday and, I understand, it has been aired several times since then.
On Sat., July 14 the Ellis County Fair was scheduled to begin. That morning I attended the memorial service for George Wall, a good friend that frequented our Sportsman’s Supply store often in search of hunting and fishing supplies. I taught with his wife Margaret for many years at Hays Junior High, then Felten Middle School, and was saddened to hear of his passing. Our condolences to Margaret and their family. Daughter Darcy was also a student of ours at the junior high.
That same day, I travelled to Salina to attend the wedding of my nephew Chris and his bride Kristen. Weddings are always blessed and beautiful events. There I met up with our second son, his wife, and our 8-yr old granddaughter.
The following week was spent checking out the Ellis County Fair, walking the fairgrounds, perusing the wonderful 4-H displays and products, appraising the livestock, and enjoying the festive flavor of the fair.
I believe the triple digit heat had a negative effect on the fair turn out, until the sun went down. The rodeo, car races, demolition derby, musical events, etc., were well-attended and enjoyed by all who would brave the heat. Even the amusement rides garnered greater activity in the “cooler” hours of evening. (Although jackets and sweatshirts were never viewed as necessary apparel.)
Friday and Saturday of that week, Hays was host to the Blues, Barbecue, and Bargains event, and I found myself working in the beer garden. A holiday atmosphere with great food and great music was a colorful draw for our community and another respite from the heat. Around 36 barbecue chefs extraordinaire exhibited and offered their fine cuisine and the aroma of barbecue delicacies mixed with the “sounds of the blues” filled the air.
The following week found me travelling to Emporia for a KCSS (Kansas Council for the Social Studies) board meeting as the plans for the fall conference were reviewed and established. I also attended a meet and greet for Republican candidates in Topeka.
On Wed., the 25th, local candidates were invited to a meet and greet sponsored by SEIU Local 513 Area Council, the service employees union from Hays and Ellis County. Several candidates were in attendance and many of the members were former students and friends, so we had a very nice evening visiting with this group. I want to, again, thank the SEIU for hosting the event at the VFW Hall and allowing us the opportunity to visit with the local membership.
The final few days of July will be spent getting our signs out and up, talking to the residents of the 111th district, and teaching a 4-day Transition to Teaching Induction class. Dr. Jim Barrett and I will help get 26 or so new teachers in an alternative certification program ready for the new school year. I always look forward to working with these bright and eager new teachers ready to embark on a very exciting and rewarding career.
As the month winds to a close, we can look forward to a primary election, the start of school, sports team practices, and — hopefully, cooler weather. I look forward to an exciting August!