Archive for Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Shouts and Murmurs: So much so good in Tonganoxie

May 28, 2003

Congratulations to the Tonganoxie debate and forensics team for completing another successful year. A trip to the National Catholic Forensics League tournament in Arlington, Va., netted more wins for three members of the class of 2003. Paul Reetz and Andrew Becker landed 17th in policy debate, and Angela Pestock received a 25th place ranking in extemporaneous speaking.

Andrew Becker said the 13 team members had a good time on their Tuesday through Monday trip by bus. The week included a tour of Washington, D.C.

Johnny Wickey said the competition at the tournament is stronger than the team is used to. "But we try our best and go to compete and make the most of it," Wickey said.

Wickey, who plans to study business at the University of Kansas starting this fall, said he will miss high school debate and forensics.

"I will miss it quite a bit," Wickey said. "It gives me a chance to work hard and see what I've accomplished and how I've grown over the year and that's what I'll miss about it most."

For Wickey, and some of the other students, the trip lent their first in-person view of the nation's capital.

"It was really a good time seeing all the sights," Wickey said. "It was kind of hard to believe I was actually there, seeing the monuments, that sort of thing."

And, the question on the streets of Tonganoxie, where we assume that our high school debate and forensics teams will continue making names for themselves next year is this: Is there enough room for the annual addition to the teams' congratulatory signs at the roadside park just southeast of the intersection of Washington Street and U.S. Highway 24-40?

Again, congratulations to the team, and to coach Steve Harrell and his assistants, Kelley Sivits and Dave Mitchell.

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The great lament of the last day of school is that school friends will be missed during the summer. In McLouth, second-graders had that problem solved. Friday afternoon, during the last hour before school dismissed for the year, students in the classrooms of Cindy Jones and Linda Martin made autograph books for their friends to sign.

But the books turned quickly into summer resource guides, with children quickly scribbling down their phone numbers to send with their friends.

And then there's the Chief Tonganoxie Swimming Pool, the great summer meeting place for children. The 76-year-old pool opened Sunday, with swimsuit clad/beach towel carrying children standing in line outside the bathhouse.

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Pastor Rick Lamb of West Haven Baptist Church spoke about the war in Iraq Sunday afternoon during his Memorial Day address at VFW Park. About 60 people were on hand for his talk and to watch Veterans of Foreign members replace the old flag with a new one.

Other highlights included Chase Nowak playing "Taps" on his trumpet and the VFW members with their gun salute.

It was a memorable service, especially this year, with soldiers, including men and women from this area, still serving in the Middle East. They are still in dangerous situations, and as a community and as a nation, our thoughts and prayers are still with them.

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If you haven't taken a walk through VFW Park lately, take a few minutes to do so. Bo Himpel, who is 84, keeps the park in tip-top shape, along with other volunteers, including his nephew-in-law Jerry Bretthauer, who helps with weed trimming.

Himpel is always modest about taking credit for the work he does out at the park, but when asked, he will admit that it takes him from eight to 10 hours each week to mow the park.

On top of that, he works about 40 hours a week at Himpel Lumber Company. Bo is an inspiration to me, as I suspect he is for many people. Thank you, Bo, for all the work you do, and for working with the members of the VFW to make the park the beautiful shady place that is there for all of us to enjoy.

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