April Election – Registration & Voting

The April 7th General Election for local Haysville and School District 261 offices is fast approaching.

The last day to register to vote in the election is just three more days away, Monday, March 23rd.

If you need help in registering to vote, the library has the forms you need and all the information you require. If you just need to print a copy of the registration form, here it is.

You can also find all the basic information you need for early voting by mail, early voting in person, or about election day polling places by checking the Sedgwick County Election Office website, or stopping by the library.

To vote in advance by mail, you can complete an Advance Voting Application and either mail or fax it to the Election Office. Applications are available on the Election Office website and also at the Haysville Community Library. If you choose this option, your ballot must be returned to the Election Office by 7 pm on Election Day, April 7th. (Note: the Elections Office began mailing advance voting ballots on March 18th.)

To cast an early vote in person you can either vote at the Election Office beginning 13 days before the election (March 25th) and until noon on April 6th, or at the Haysville Activity Center at 7106 South Broadway. Advance voting at the Haysville Activity Center will be from Thursday, April 2nd to Saturday, April 4th: on Thursday and Friday from noon to 7 pm, and on Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm.

On Election Day, voting will take place from 6 am until 7 pm, with both machine voting and paper ballot options available. To find your polling location, see the Haysville City website’s ward map and polling location list .

Published in: on March 20, 2009 at 10:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Brobdingnagian Dinosaurs

Argentinosaurus Vertebrae displayed at <a href="http://svpow.wordpress.com/2008/01/05/the-controversial-hypantra-of-argentinosaurus/">Sauropod Vertebrae Picture of the Week</a>

Argentinosaurus Vertebra displayed at Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

Among the attributes of the dinosaurs which most fascinate us today, the sheer enormity of such sauropods as Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, Brachiosaurus and – largest of them all – Argentinosaurus, is near the very zenith.

Writing in New Scientist, James O’Donoghue poses the question How the Largest Dinosaurs Got So Big. The answer, in all its manifold and intricate detail, is in itself quite fascinating.

(As a sidelight, consider visiting the illuminating and entrancing blog Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week.)

Published in: on March 19, 2009 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

The State of American Education — A Statistical Summary

In autumn of 2008, 83.9 million people in the United States – more than 1 in 4 in a nation with a total population of 304 million – were either enrolled in or employed by public and private schools and colleges. Of these, approximately 74.1 million were students, 4.6 million employed as teachers, faculty or other teaching staff, and 5.2 million were employed as administrators or other non-teaching staff .

These, and numerous other useful and interesting statistical facts summarizing the state of American education are available in the March release of the pocket-book sized Mini-Digest of Education Statistics 2008 (also available as a 77-page pdf document) produced by the Institute of Education Sciences of the National Center for Education Statistics (an agency of the US Department of Education). The text offers a broad range of informative data concerning the full spectrum of American education from kindergarten through graduate school.

For more information on this and related topics, visit the IES website.

Published in: on March 18, 2009 at 4:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pluto’s Anniversary


Seventy nine years ago today, on March 18, 1930, Kansan Clyde Tombaugh discovered the “dwarf planet” Pluto.

Pluto compared with Earth

Pluto compared with Earth

Published in: on March 18, 2009 at 4:30 pm  Comments (14)  

Your Incredibly Shrinking Food

Geoff Williams tells you how you’re getting less for more in Less Food for Your Money:

“Approximately one-third of items at the grocery store have lost content since 2007, according to the Nielsen Co., which tracks market trends. For example, the Dial Corp. shaved its soap bars from 4.5 oz. to 4 oz.; the biggest jar of Hellmann’s mayonnaise dropped from 32 oz. to 30; and a tub of Breyer’s ice cream shrank from 56 oz. to 48.

“Meanwhile, consumers last year saw food prices rise some 7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

Published in: on March 18, 2009 at 1:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Grover Cleveland’s Birthday


Today is the 172nd anniversary of the birth of Grover Cleveland, the only man to have served two nonconsecutive terms as President of the United States (as both 22nd and 24th president, according to the official conventional accounting). Cleveland is also, along with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, one of only two presidents to have won the popular vote in three successive elections (1884, 1888 and 1892 – despite winning the popular vote in 1888, Cleveland lost the electoral vote to Benjamin Harrison, whose lone term separated Cleveland’s two terms).

For a brief review and a couple of short excerpts from Henry F. Graff’s recent compact biography of Grover Cleveland, see our earlier posting Grover Cleveland.

Published in: on March 18, 2009 at 11:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Unemployed? Another Useful Website

Looking for work?

Another new website intended to assist you in your job search is TheCanned.com. TheCanned includes modules on Unemployment Benefits and Health Benefits, a very useful Tips & Tricks blog, a Job Board Directory, along with such features as the Job of the Week and the Layoff Beard Blog.

One example may serve to illustrate the usefulness of TheCanned for the job seeker: an excerpt from the quick entry on What Now? 10 Things To Do When You Get Canned:

“For most, the first reaction after getting canned is either getting emotional or diving right back into the job search. Before you make any moves, here are 10 suggestions for your first days of unemployment.

1. Take 2 days off. You probably have more options than you think and rushing into a job search can be calamitous. Designate a “time out” period and stick to it. Give yourself a chance to shake the desperation and really think about what you want to do next. Get out of the house, ditch the computer for a while, exercise, and make sure that you feel healthy when you hit the job trail.

2. Get your finances in order. Take a cursory look at your finances and make an action plan for staying in the green. Organize your expenses and look to trim as much as possible. For many, putting together a reasonable budget can help you feel back in control.

3. File for unemployment. Especially when unemployment rises, states get bogged down with new claims. For many, it can take over a month to start getting checks. If you get severance, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t collect. Look at your state profile on TheCanned.com for specific directions.

4. Get your story straight. You need to answer a few important questions before you can make a productive work search: are you willing to move? do you want to stay on track or make a career transition? aside from money, what types of fringe benefits or work/life perks do you really want? Equally important, make sure that you know why you got canned and how you want to address it in interviews.

5. Update your resume. Use action words and sharp adjectives. Be as specific as you possibly can on projects. Make yourself sound as skilled, successful, and capable as you possibly can without lying. You can perfect it over time, but get it into working order as soon as possible.

6. Put together an outreach strategy. The best way to find a new job is by networking. Start with your former colleagues, then move on to friends, family, former clients, alumni, etc. Avoid email lists. Nothing feels more impersonal than a “:CC” list 100 people long. Regardless of the truth, people think that you have time to burn now. Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone.

7. Establish a job board perusal routine. As you can see in the Job Board Listings section of TheCanned.com, there are hundreds and hundreds of sources for new job advertisements. Find the ones that are most relevant to you and get into a routine for when to check them. Where possible, take advantage of email subscriptions and RSS feeds.

8. Take advantage of the time off. Job searching is certainly a full-time job, especially in the beginning. But some of your search can be conducted outside of business hours and from anywhere with an internet connection. Take some time to travel or reconnect with friends. Get a girlfriend or boyfriend. Explore the day-time side of your city that you’ve never had time to enjoy.

9. Read up. If you’re planning on interviewing, having a command of the headlines for the world and for your field is key. If you ever plan on going back to school, now is a good time to study for the entrance exams. GMAT scores, for example, are valid for 5 years from test day. Why not study up and ace the test while you have the time?

10. Stay active. Wake up each morning even though you don’t have to and make sure that you stay fit and eat well. Make time to work out– maybe you can finally hit that elusive fitness goal. Instead of takeout, try learning to cook. If you look and feel good, it will make it easier to stay confident. Most importantly: Grow Your Layoff Beard.”

Published in: on March 18, 2009 at 11:15 am  Leave a Comment  

Unemployed? How to Job Search in 2009

CareerBuilder.com, one of the ten most popular job search sites listed in the Job Search module of our Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Web, includes a brief article on How to Job Search in 2009. While by no means comprehensive, it may offer you a few more ideas about searching for jobs in the current adverse economy.

Published in: on March 18, 2009 at 10:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Lost Your Job – Or Afraid You Will?

The AARP Bulletin Today for February 25th included an article which may be of use to those who have lost their job or are at risk of doing so. Lost Your Job – or Afraid You Will offers answers to a number of questions about unemployment compensation eligibility, about severance benefits, about your 401(k), about COBRA benefits, and much else besides. For anyone recently unemployed or at risk of losing their job, it’s a very worthwhile quick read.

Published in: on March 18, 2009 at 10:22 am  Leave a Comment  

A Stitch in Time


This coming Saturday, March 21st, is National Quilting Day.

As most of our frequent patrons surely know, the Haysville Community Library has a very active quilting group, meeting in the library every Monday and Wednesday morning for quilting, conversation and good cheer. The quilters also actively support the library, donating one of their beautiful quilts for auction to benefit the Friends of the Library. This year’s quilt appears in the photograph above.

For more information on quilting, see the website of the National Quilting Association or visit our extensive collection of quilting works in the library.

Published in: on March 17, 2009 at 2:53 pm  Comments (1)  

Fire — By the Numbers

“Nationally, there are millions of fires, thousands of deaths, tens of thousands of injuries, and billions of dollar loss — which makes the U.S. fire problem one of great national importance. Between 1998 and 2007, there was an average of 1,664,500 fires resulting in an estimated $10,949,900,000 in direct dollar loss each year. An average of 3,695 Americans lost their lives and another 19,405 were injured annually as the result of fire.”

So reports the US Fire Administration of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Kansas ranks 28th among the states in death by fire (using statistics from 2005, the most recent available at state level), in sharp contrast to neighboring Oklahoma, which ranks third, with nearly three times as many deaths per million population. (The US average is 12.3; for Kansas, 11.7; for Oklahoma, 28.7; for Hawaii, the state with the lowest rate, 4.7).

For a quick overview of national fire statistics for 2007, see this page. The US Fire Administration website, of course, has much, much more.

Published in: on March 17, 2009 at 11:56 am  Leave a Comment  

Unemployment — The Facts

On Friday, March 6, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate in February had risen from 7.6 to 8.1 percent, as nonfarm payroll employment continued to fall sharply. As they indicated, “payroll employment has declined by 2.6 million in the past 4 months. In February, job losses were large and widespread across nearly all major industry sectors.”

During February, “the number of unemployed persons increased by 851,000 to 12.5 million . . . . Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons has increased by about 5.0 million, and the unemployment rate has risen by 3.3 percentage points.” The Kiplinger Letter for the same date indicated that unemployment is “probably en route to double digits.” Counting discouraged workers who are no longer seeking work and part-time workers who would rather be working full time, the effective jobless rate tops out at just over 14 percent.

What is true on a national scale is also true, though less severely, in Kansas. The Bureau of Labor Statistics maintains an Economy at a Glance website which offers state-by-state reporting of aggregated employment statistics. These numbers lag a bit behind the less-specific national summary statistics, but are maintained for each state’s primary metropolitan employment markets as well as for the state as a whole. The Kansas Economy at a Glance numbers, for example, include numbers for the Wichita Economy at a Glance (these numbers are for the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area).

A quick reference to these reports will show you that, for Kansas, total employment contracted from 1,432,100 in August of last year to 1,420,800 in January of the present year, with the unemployment rate increasing from 4.4 percent to 5.8 percent. Still, that’s at least two percentage points below the national level. (The unemployment rate for the Midwest Region as a whole was 8.1 percent in January.)

From August through December of this past year, Wichita area employment actually grew from 298,700 to 304,100, but the rate of growth was insufficient to prevent an increase in unemployment from 14,300 to 15,800, or from 4.6 percent to 4.9 percent. While not at all good news, it does compare favorably with more dismal national numbers.

Published in: on March 17, 2009 at 10:45 am  Leave a Comment