No independent and non-commercial movie screenings over the next few weeks. So, instead, as we move from 2012 into the New Year, Fletcher Powell takes a look at a couple of his favorite movies that deal with transitions and change.
A year before cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin orbited the earth, American Joe Kittenger took a lift below a two-hundred-foot helium balloon. The ride took an hour and a half in a tiny open-air basket that took him 102,000 feet above New Mexico.
When he jumped from nineteen miles up, the free-fall lasted four and half minutes. Kittenger's space dive began a long and costly race. After Russian Eugene Andreyev set an official free-fall record, an American Nick Piantanida spent the mid-sixties trying to bring the record back to the United States.
Dozens of social workers and law enforcement personnel around Kansas recently completed training designed to further understanding of human trafficking, which is a modern form of human slavery.
Classes were held in Wichita, Topeka and Hays. Social workers from the Kansas Department for Children and Families and Kansas Highway Patrol officers gained new insights from nationally renowned expert Dottie Laster.
Louisa Clark lives in a small English town with her parents, grandfather, sister and nephew. She has no secondary education, the cafe where she waits on tables closes, and when her father loses his job, it's up to Lou to become the family provider. She takes a job as a caregiver for Will, a formerly larger-than-life man in his 30s who is now confined to a wheelchair as a quadriplegic.
Wichita Public Schools is accepting nominations for the 2012-13 Distinguished Classroom Teacher Award to honor new and experienced teachers.
The Distinguished Classroom Teacher Award program recognizes outstanding teachers who affect the quality of education of more than 50,000 students in the Wichita school district. Awards are given in seven categories: new elementary teacher, new secondary teacher, primary teacher, intermediate, middle school and high school teacher and support teacher.
After the first of the year, the Kansas Geological Survey will sample wells in the western part of the state to check groundwater levels. In past years, water levels in some parts of Kansas have dropped significantly.
Brownie Wilson is with the Kansas Geological Survey. He says disappearing groundwater can have a financial impact on water users in Kansas.
"Usually what you see is the well yields start to suffer, and so those large volume demands that need a lot of water really quickly, those become uneconomical," says Brownie.
A wind energy tax credit is set to expire at the end of this year, but Gov. Sam Brownback is still holding out hope that lawmakers in Washington will extend the credit. He'd prefer to see it phased out more slowly over several years. Some critics of the credit have called it wasteful spending, but the governor says it's been the driving factor behind the wind industry in Kansas.
"I think they have a legitimate point of view, I just think it would be better off phasing it over four years," says Brownback.