Robert Gustafson's (MA 1956) important news is that he has moved from Camdenton, Missouri to Overland Park, KS. He thinks no news is good news when you reach 70 yrs. old. He enjoys the Newsletter and looks forward to receiving it. Although he doesn't know many people in the Newsletter, it is interesting to read about KU, faculty and alumni. Geography stills holds a soft spot in his heart.
Charles Heller (BA 1952; MA 1957) was recently reminded of the long history of productive geographers at KU when he reread Walter Kollmorgen and David Simonett's article on Flint Hills grazing operations in the 1965 AAG Annals. That was a nice piece of work! During the 1950s, he had the enjoyment of assisting them both in the field (not in the Flint Hills however).
Charles and his wife Rita have been blessed with good health and some energy, and the last year has been busy. They traveled in New Zealand for seven weeks and had a good look at Oahu coming and going, December 01/January 02. They recently returned from a week-long trip to New York City. Although retired from teaching over six years now, he stills enjoys research and writing. A colleague in history and Charles recently wrote about part-owner farm operators in Michigan, past and present, in an article in a recent issue of Agricultural History. He is also a volunteer for the County Probate Court.
Richard Wright (PhD 1697) retired from active teaching after 38 years as a faculty member at San Diego State University(SDSU). One of the highlights for him this past year was the receipt of the James Anderson Medal of Honor in Applied Geography at the Annual Meetings of the Association of American Geographers in Los Angeles. Retirement is a concept that he has yet to comprehend. He will continue to go to his office at SDSU on a regular basis and supervise some six or so graduate students on several research projects involving GIS and watershed analysis in the United States-Mexico border region. Now that he and his wife Penny are easing into retirement they hope to spend more time at their casa in Mexico and with their six children and 13(soon to be 14) grandchildren. The only downside for Richard this year was losing an election for a local water board of directors position. He lost by eleven votes out of more than 7,500 votes cast. Aaaagh!! Other than that life is wonderful.
Michael Dobson (MA 1972; PhD 1977) has been busy this year on the West Coast. Despite their best efforts, go2 Systems failed in early August due to a last minute hitch in financing. He had been CTO and EVP of Technology at go2 for 18 months. go2 was a company focused on Location Based Services delivered through partnerships with wireless carriers using the Wireless Internet. They had contracts with all major carriers and had developed some impressive products but were slightly ahead of the market for LBS. Being a CTO was a rewarding experience and he had the privilege of managing a fantastic, extremely talented engineering team. He also managed the product development function which made being CTO slightly easier. He had taken the position because it combined three of his loves in life: high technology, telephony and geography. It is not often that he has the opportunity to pursue several interests at once and go2 was a gift. Finally, he was the "gray hair" leading a very young team. He thinks he helped "grow" most of his reports and employees, helping them understand both business and management. Since the company's failure, he has re-started his consulting business, TeleMapics, and has several interesting contracts. He has not decided whether he will continue to consult as an independent or seek a corporate position. He has had such great careers so far (Professor SUNY Albany), Chief Cartographer, Chief Technologist and VP of Business Development (for Rand McNally), CTO and EVP of Technology (for go2 Systems) and finds himself wondering what other challenges are out there that would be satisfying. He has been toying with the idea of applying for the position of president of a local community college but has not yet decided whether that would be prudent. He and his wife are continuing to think that southern Orange County, California, is a fantastic place to live and hope to remain there for some time.
Jay Farrell (BA 1971; MA 1974) has continued a residential architecture practice in Austin and has enjoyed vacationing in Italy over the past several years. He hopes to make it back to Lawrence to visit before too many more years go by - perhaps when KU plays UT!
Norman E. Hardy ( PhD 1976) retired from his position as Consulting Advisor, Health Risk Assessment, British Columbia Ministry of Health, at the end of March. His wife Bonnie retired from her position as Senior Manager, Organization and Employee Development at the end of June. However, retirement for Norm and Bonnie won't be a time of quietly tending roses or sitting in the park feeding the squirrels. For the past two years Norm has been studying techniques and technologies of cinematography, and for the past several months has been working on development of a documentary featuring the history and geography of the District of Metchosin, a rural municipality on southern Vancouver Island. Future cinematic projects (depending upon availability of funding) include The Stikine Valley of Northern British Columbia, and the City of Edmonton, Alberta. Thanks to advances in digital video cameras and availability of high quality video editing software, it's now possible to plan and undertake such projects without the funding support of a major production company. However, incurring of some infrastructure costs is inevitable, and to assist with financing his projects, Norm teaches part time at local universities and colleges, and provides occasional consulting services to the government. In addition to these undertakings, Norm is currently writing a book, based upon personal experiences derived from time spent in university, corporate and government settings, on the importance of personal and corporate values. Bonnie has settled into full time writing, and has been invited by her publisher to submit her manuscript on Women in Management.
Greg Hembree (BS 1976; MA 1978) has passed his 15th year as Director of Planning & Zoning for the town of Vienna, VA. He still resides in Centerville, VA. His son, Steven, began his freshman year this past fall at KU. Steven will be spending some time at Learned Hall as he is majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Steven was delighted in having his father walk him all over campus when he visited in September this year.
James Huckabay (PhD 1975) is the co-chair of the Council of Faculty Representatives for the university of Washington, so he spends the winter quarter in the State Legislature. Other than that, the old stuff still holds..
Tom Luellen (MA 1978) is still in the Planning Department at Stormont-Vail HealthCare in Topeka. His oldest is married, a KU grad and special ed teacher in Lawrence. His youngest is in her second year at KU in Environmental Studies. While waiting to become a grandparent, he saw Bob Dylan in Kansas City with fellow Geography alum Mark Virden.
Roland D. Mower (PhD 1971) wakes each morning to another beautiful day in the Valley of the Sanpitch, which is nestled deep in the heart of Utah. They love retirement there at the Horseshoe Mountain Ranch. He's still researching and writing genealogy and history for his family who settled this area.
John Preston (PhD 1973) has retired to a busy life on a farm in Northeastern Oregon. He and his family are tied to home during the summer season with farm-related demands. But, during fall, late winter, and spring, they do considerable traveling concentrating on landscape photography (Becky reads). Daughter Drinda is a veterinarian, and son Robert is still working on a dissertation in Physchology. John and his wife are expecting their first grand child early next year.
David Schwartz (PhD 1976) retired from San José State University after thirty years - - quite a pleasant career in retrospect, especially and surprisingly so during the final six years as associate dean but somewhat less so during a term as department chair. He's still weaning myself from the academic life by teaching a class occasionally and otherwise puttering around the department and college. It was a good thing he stumbled into geography and academia and KU and San José State. As for travel, Deborah and David now focus on Uppsala, Sweden, their daughter's new home. He wishes you all well, but especially those from the early years of the remote sensing lab—Tony, Floyd, Doug, Roger, and Stan.
Since setting up the Hong Kong Energy Studies Centre Larry Chuen-ho Chow (PhD 1982) has been very busy with his energy work. They held an int'l conference on Asian energy in Aug 2001, drawing paper presenters from more than 15 countries to come to present papers. Selected papers from that conference are now in print as a special issue of Energy Policy, a top energy journal in the English-speaking world. Two years ago, he was invited to sit on its international editorial board. In 2003, he will be holding two international energy conferences, one in April, which is the second Asian energy conference, focusing on energy market reform. The other one, to be held in Nov, will consist of the editorial board meeting of Energy Policy, and a conference on World Energy : Thirty Years Since the First Oil Crisis (the first crisis broke out in Oct 1973). Any friends who want to present papers in either one of the conferences can contact him at Larryc@hkbu.edu.hk . Selected papers will be published as another special issue of Energy Policy or as an edited volume to be published by a reputable publisher. He also is in the process of setting up a Hong Kong Chapter of the International Association for Energy Economics. He sends his regards to his former professors like Leslie Dienes, Robert McColl, Robert Wiseman, John Augelli, Walter Kollmorgen as well as fellow graduate students like Jim Kelly, Harold Denckman etc.
Jim DeMeo (MA 1979, PhD 1983) has a new issue of his Institute's "Pulse of the Planet" journal published, containing 32 separate articles by 18 different authors; it is subtitled "Heretic's Notebook: Emotions, Protocells, Ether-Drift and Cosmic Life Energy, with new research supporting Wilhelm Reich". http://www.orgonelab.org/Pulse5.htm Also, a French-language edition of his "Orgone Accumulator Handbook" was recently published by Editions Sully (Paris), and "Saharasia" is slowly being translated for a German edition. Their summer seminar series proceeded well, with an international group of students (his work continues to attract more interest overseas). His 5-year research project with the Reich cloudbuster in Eritrea, Africa, and funded by their Ministry of Agriculture, was finally published as well (same issue of "Pulse of the Planet" mentioned above), showing an approximate 50% increase in rains over the entire nation, when comparing "before" and "after" periods - there's much more to it than that, but he summarized. He also recently published an historical research project on the old ether-drift experiments of the late Dayton Miller, which is now creating a small stir within the more knowledgeable members of the physics establishment. http://www.orgonelab.org/miller.htm In short, a lot of research is being undertaken which has fleshed out and continued to validate many of the themes he studied at KU back in the late 70s and 80s. His institute also recently erected large photovoltaics arrays, providing 2.4 kw, or about 3/4 of their electrical power consumption. And they added a crowning touch (literally) to the OBRL Greensprings Center laboratory building -- a 12-foot diameter AstroHaven astronomical dome, with a 16" Meade Starfinder Newtonian reflector telescope (a photo is posted to an internet fundraising letter http://www.orgonelab.org/funding.htm). All of this has attracted attention internationally (again, most American scientists still haven't grasped the significance of the academic/medical suppression of Reich, the burning of his books, etc., which were Galilean in scope, as were his discoveries), and he is so happy to report this his institute is alive and well.
Dennis Fitzsimons (PhD 1981) and Sherrill after 30 years, are Californians again. Dennis is now the newest, oldest geography faculty member at Humboldt State University. He has great colleagues, great programs, and a great environment! Humboldt State has a new Institute for Cartographic Design and lots of eager, talented cartography students. Dennis and Sherrill are simply thrilled to be there!
Richard Groop (PhD 1976) is still attempting to do two jobs at Michigan State--Geography Department Chair and Director of the Center for Remote Sensing and GIS--although thinning hair and frayed nerves may force him to relinquish one or both of them soon. He seems to constantly go from meeting to meeting but finds time for the occasional research opportunity or teaching session. And, despite rapidly-advancing physical incapacity, he's still playing in a competitive softball league!
Mike Hogben (PhD 1981) and Peg are still in Connecticut. He's still working for INGENIX doing programming. The company is changing from a mainframe application to a web-based one which means he has to learn all about UNIX and ORACLE. Can an old dog (as in 64) be taught new tricks? He expects to work until the end of next year at which time he will seriously look at retirement. Speaking of retirement, they are considering a move back west, possibly eastern Idaho, e.g., Pocatello, Idaho Falls, etc. where they would be closer to family in Utah and Nevada, but not in the same town. Can you believe the latest results from National Geographic regarding the apparent geographical ignorance on the part of the young people? Sounds as though Geography should be a required part of the curriculum from kindergarten onward! Then there was the Yale graduate who went to visit a friend of his in Montana and told everyone she was thrilled to now be able to see the Pacific Ocean. True story!
Larry McGlinn (MA 1989) is in his second year at SUNY-New Paltz. After stints in California and Georgia, his whole family is happy to be in New York. His work recently has focused on perceptions of the hazard posed by GE's PCBs along the Hudson River.
Kent McGregor (MA 1976; PhD 1982) has just received a 20 year service award from the University of North Texas. Yes, he has been there 20 years now, and he still teaches the same courses. Kent's research is focused on El Nino and the impact on water resources in Texas. His wife, Pat, is a psychologist for the Lewisville school district. Their son, David, is 13 and enjoys theater arts and appeared in the production of A Christmas Carol at the University Theater. Their daughter, Katy, is 9. She enjoys Karati. She has also become an avid reader.
Stu Shea (MA 1983) has nothing to report of any significance, but just wants to wish everyone well and say "hello!"
Shigeo Takahashi (MA 1982; PhD 1988) hosted a major event this year with three colleagues, an economic geographers' conference at his university in May. It was quite an experience for them, since it was their first time to host a large conference. Some two hundred geographers attended. Fortunately, the conference turned out to be successful. They were exhausted, but had a sense of some achievement. Another piece of news is that a GIS project in his university is gradually moving ahead, and they expect to offer the first class this coming April. He doesn't teach that class, as he is still trying to learn how to use ArcView, but plans to develop a GIS course for economic geography to be taught in the near future.
Glen Williamson (MA 1980), wife Cindy and two sons Bryce and Landon, are all generally healthy and happy. Being a parent has increased Glen's appreciation of his own parents. To quote singer/songwriter Bob Franke, "It may not be the thing I do best, but it is the best thing that I do."
Kathy Wiseman (MA 1986) gives a quick look at the Wiseman house in Ottawa that reveals life in the family fast lane. Lauren is an active pre-teen very much into gymnastics, dance, scouts, and friends. Clint is a restricted-license teen driver with a garage band and a part-time job at the radio station. In addition to being Girl Scout Leader and Sunday School teacher, Kathy's main function in life seems to be food procurement and keeping everyone on schedule and getting them there! Bill is still at Wolf Creek where he oversees preventive maintenance programs for the site. Bill and Kathy celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in May with a trip to Puerto Rico. In her other life, Kathy works in the lab at Water Systems Engineering, located just outside Ottawa. She's listed in their literature as the Staff Environmental Geographer, but she mainly does chemical and bacteriological testing of water and deposit samples from municipal and industrial wells all over the world. Samples are checked for corrosion by-products that contribute to mineral formation and scaling of industrial systems or blockage of well flow before and after well rehabilitation. They make recommendations that enable their clients to solve problems affecting water use, quality and production.
Scott Ackeramn (MA 1992) and wife Diane, live very quiet and structured lives in the historic, treed city of Walla Walla, WA. They are right at home in what is a bird sanctuary. This time of year, one of their traditional activities is the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. They look forward to bundling up for an all-day walk around town tallying all the birds they see. Most prominent is the continued good health Diane and Scott enjoy. They take for granted most of the things they have, but by far the most underrated gift they all share is to be able to function with few physical limits. Scott is even back playing basketball twice a week during the winter. Most of the players are over forty and play on a small court in an elementary school gym/cafeteria, but it is still good competition. For those from his generation at KU, remember a guy named Linus Smith? He works and plays with a guy who is a spitting image of Linus. His name is Smith also and he's from Missouri. Diane and Scott met Scott's mom in London, England at the end of May. They ventured out of England on the chunnel train to Paris and memories were made in France and the surrounding territory. They traveled to Frieburg, Germany to visit their cousin and her husband, then south through Switzerland to stop in Chamanoix and Mt. Blanc. They then traveled further south to the Provence (Nyons, Avignion, Arles). They then moved west then north again (Carcosonne, Cave country), then back to Paris and London. Great country to travel in. They met lots of nice folks. The language barrier and driving were not as bad as he anticipated. Great food. While Diane went home after two weeks abroad, Scott spent another week in Britain with his mom. They floated on a canal boat touring around Northwitch and areas north. Other adventures included a trip to Wyoming over the fourth of July to backpack and camp a few days. He went to New Orleans at the end of July on business. This was a quick trip, but he did manage a few night sites. Life has been quiet otherwise except for home projects and visiting friends and relatives. Professionally, he continues to work at Allan Cartography Inc. He has been taking on more of a managerial role during the past year, and has recently been offered partial ownership in the company. Not to say that he will be on "Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous" anytime soon, but nevertheless he is still enthusiastic about doing custom cartography. The past year has seen the printings of a Raven world political map, five Benchmark Road & Recreation Atlas reprints, the second printing of the Oregon academic atlas, and several large scale maps for various outdoor recreation venues. On the side, he still continues as a contractor performing GIS data processing and cartographic services for National Geographic and others.
Neil Allen (MA 1995) has been undergoing life-style altering changes. Karen delivered their first son, Skyler, back in April. Currently, his biggest mapping task is trying to locate him now that he has found his mobility. This year their summer was more home oriented than usual due to Skyler's arrival, then the stampede of his Midwestern family, and then the smoke. They had a "little" fire in the mountains there that burned an area roughly 75% the area of Rhode Island. They managed a few trips for fresh air to visit friends in Walla Walla and Seattle, but for the most part it was not safe to be outdoors. With 21st century fatherhood came the inevitable, the digital camera. They have had a website up since Skyler's birth for anyone who cares to see the gigabytes of pictures that they have amassed in the last several months. (http://id.mind.net/%7Eneilall/index.htm) Otherwise they are all in the best of health and wish the Jayhawks would find some bench depth.
Jeff Bagby (MA 1995), his wife, Tracy, and three children still reside in St. Charles, Missouri. He still works for SBC Communications, in the GIS Applications Development group. Tracy continues working as a full-time mother and school volunteer. Two of their children are in school and the third will enter school next fall. So much for the basics . . .
John Banning (MA 1999) took a job with ESRI. He is sure that some of you have heard of it. It is no wonder they are a success, with such few entertainment outlets available. He often finds himself at work for long increments of time. He does manage to get into LA several times a month and Big Bear is right up the hill and is good for a ride or hike. Yet the snow is something less to be desired. Right now it is 11/20 and he is sitting outside in shorts and a t-shirt. He sees Craig and Jason on a somewhat regular basis and plans on running into them again up in Portland for the KU/Oregon basketball game.
Kevin Blake (1991) sends his greetings from Manhattan, Kansas. As he writes this in the nearly horizontal, late-afternoon light of mid December, two connections to Lawrence come to his mind. First, the sunlight coming into the house at unfamiliar angles reminds him of teaching Earth-sun relationships in physical geography labs at Lindley. He always enjoyed seeing how much of the content from those labs had real-world applicability when the students would notice what was happening in their daily environment. Second, today is the thirteenth anniversary of their adoption of Lucky from the Lawrence Humane Society. The world's best dog is a Lawrence native, snatched by the dogcatcher somewhere in the vicinity of 7th and New Hampshire. They celebrate today as her birthday. When he asked her what she wanted to do today, she was content with a long walk through the old quarry behind their house. It reminds them both of winter afternoon walks many years ago on KU's West Campus. The thought of sharing "news" usually leads him to focus on what is different now than a year ago, but 2002 had perhaps more continuity than change. Diana continues her administrative work as Associate Director of K-State's Office of Information Systems. She still enjoys their house and gardening, especially the time spent working in the yard until well past sunset in the summer, and now seeing a delightful array of birds in the newly created habitat. Daughter Jen is now 20 and a senior at K-State, majoring in agriculture business. She rides for the university equestrian team. At her first varsity show in late October she won ribbons in both of her events, bringing wide smiles to Kevin's face, even as he tried to understand what was happening inside the arena of this unfamiliar sport. Now in his third year at the geography department, he's nearly done with a five month stint as interim department head. This has certainly been an interesting way to celebrate tenure, but he has learned a great deal and is turning over the reins just prior to the falling axe of more budget cuts. Administrative duties held him at his post last summer, precluding any Colorado Fourteener climbs, yet he is beginning to write about the Fourteeners, which is just as satisfying.
Craig Campbell (PhD 1993) and family are extra busy. He is now Interim Chair of the Geography Department at Youngstown State University. It is uncertain how long this situation will last as he likes administration only in small doses. He would rather just do geography. His doctoral dissertation on Latter Day Saint perceptions of Independence, Missouri, as a sacred place (the thick one that scares incoming KU Ph.D. students) was recently accepted for publication by the University of Tennessee Press after some substantial revisions and additions. The rest of his family is doing well. Betty is not currently working, but keeps busy with home projects. Justin (19 by the time you read this) works at the local KayBee Toys in the mall, is finishing his senior year at Boardman High School, and preparing to serve his mission for the Mormon church next summer. Mickey (17) soldiers on with a good sense of humor and is a junior at Boardman High. Marta (16) just got her license and is a cautious driver. She is a sophomore and has a very persistent personality. All three together had a wonderful experience over the summer participating in a 20-mile three-day reenactment of the Mormon Pioneer trek through a good chunk of Ashtabula County, Ohio. They had to go without all modern amenities pulling authentic handcarts through several different landscapes. It was a real growth experience.
Paula Crabbs (MA 1993) is still a "geonurse" working at K.U. Med. occasionally and part-time geography instructor at Longview Community College.
Ben Dixon (MA 1996) is currently an assistant professor in geography at SUNY College at Oneonta in upstate New York. He and his wife, Jill, have a two-year old son, Alex, and are expecting a baby daughter in March 2003. Upstate New York is incredibly beautiful in fall foliage and winter snow, comfortable and lush in summer, but down-right muddy and ugly in spring. The Dixon's miss the sunshine, straight roads, lightning storms, and awesome vistas of Kansas and the plains.
John Dunham (BA 1984; PhD 1996) completed another year as a GIS specialist for the Kansas Data Access and Support Center, located at the Kansas Geological Survey at KU. In addition to his main task of testing and verification of newly-delivered Kansas datasets, he has been involved in GIS education and spreading the word about the DASC (gisdasc.kgs.ku.edu – no www – if you want to check us out), giving guest presentations in college classes at KU and KSU, and presentations at professional meetings. Among several other projects, he is currently working at testing the new 2002 digital orthophotos for Kansas. He has also created wall maps of the new state representative and senate districts, with elected officials' names for the new sessions for the Kansas legislature and KU officials. In addition, John taught the department's intermediate GIS course, Geography 558, for the spring 2002 semester. On the home front, John and wife Cindy (KU Geography, '84) are kept busy with 9th-grade daughter Tricia's activities, especially basketball and softball. Tricia has completed her junior high sports career at Lawrence West, and is pretty excited about getting to try out now for high school basketball and softball at Lawrence Free State High. Among other excitement this past year was the family vacation to the Florida panhandle, spending time with KU Geography legend Kelly Gregg and wife Karen on the beach, and the annual pilgrimage with fellow KU Geography alum Jerry Whistler to visit yet another KU Geography legend, Al "Sultan of Sand" Arbogast, and his family in East Lansing, Michigan. (Michigan State's campus is quite nice in September, before the snow hits.) John would love to hear from old friends – his e-mail is email@example.com.
Kelly Gregg (PhD 1994) and Karen are now in their eleventh year at Jacksonville State University in northeastern Alabama and certain phrases are starting to creep into their speech. Recently, he caught himself "fixing" to go to the Piggly-Wiggly and "mashing" the buttons on his computer. He is hoping that it's not irreversible. In terms of research, Kelly has been working on a PCB contamination case in the nearby city of Anniston. It's turned into kind of a big deal in the last few months making the front page of the New York Times and a feature on 60 Minutes. This summer, they traveled to Chile, their first trip to South America, and had a great time. From Santiago, they flew out to Easter Island for a few days. As a result, he has decided that he really needs to upgrade his lawn ornaments.
Mike Ingram (PhD 1996) and Bonnie continue to live in Leavenworth since he is still working for the U.S. Army at Ft. Leavenworth as a Supervisory Operations Research Analyst. He is also still teaching economics as a hobby for Kansas City Kansas Community College at its Leavenworth Center. Mike is somewhat disappointed at how little he seemed to do this past year other than plod to work and back. Work-wise, he visited Ft. Rucker, Alabama for the first time. This was in addition to trips to Ft. Eustis, Ft. Monroe, and Arlington, Virginia, and Ann Arbor, Michigan. He managed to visit a micro-brewery and do some beer tasting on each of the Arlington and Ann Arbor trips. A bit surprisingly, Bonnie out-traveled him this past year. Bonnie went to the annual quilting retreat in Tennessee again and made several trips to her parents in West Palm Beach, first visiting her best friend near Ft. Stewart, Georgia on one of those trips. In the summer Bonnie and Mike went to Atlanta to visit his side of the family. That metropolitan area has really grown way out of control since he moved from there thirty years ago. There is some good news from down south this year. Although KU fans won't care, order has been restored to Southeastern Conference football, as the University of Georgia (his first alma mater) is once again SEC Champion – Go Dawgs!
Joseph Kerski (MA 1993) sends greetings from Colorado, where they had the driest year in a century and the worst wildfires to show for it. One of the highlights of the year was to tag the last untagged latitude-longitude confluence in Kansas, at 39 North, 102 West on www.confluence.org! He still serves as geographer at the US Geological Survey in Denver, a position that took him to ESRI, Texas GIS, GIS in the Rockies, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, National Indian Education Association, AAG, and other conferences. He works often with Tom Baker at Pathfinder Science in Lawrence. Joseph is still conducting geography and GIS workshops across the country, and even taught one over at the University of Leeds, UK, in the spring. That visit took in a pilgrimage to the Royal Observatory and The Prime Meridian! In May, he visited the USGS wetlands center and in so doing, picked up Personal State # 48--Louisiana. He edited a GIS Education book for ESRI Press entitled Mapping Our World and is currently teaching an online GIS course through Sinte Gleska University on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota.
Fritz Kessler ( PhD 1999) is in the Geography Department at Frostburg State University and moved into a newly renovated building during summer 2002. He now has an office with new carpeting, fresh paint, new bookcases, new office furniture, and a window (the window even opens to let fresh air inside). More importantly, he has a dedicated computer lab for the courses he teaches. The lab has 18 new computers equipped with the latest and greatest specifications as well as new peripherals in the lab such as a 42" plotter, color printer, and high capacity black and white printer. His lab is one of 4 newly equipped labs (of comparable size and peripherals) in the department. In spite of his heavy teaching load (four courses each semester), he managed to publish an article in Cartographica entitled "Focus Groups as a Means of Qualitatively Assessing the U-Boat Narrative." He presented a paper at NACIS in Columbus, OH in October on the results of a focus group study he conducted about MaPEd – a map projection education software package he developed. Work continues on contributing to Terry Slocum's book Thematic Cartography and Geographic Visualization, which should be published sometime next year. Since leaving Kansas, he returned to his interest in racing bicycles. He had several successes in 2001, taking first place in the "Battle on Briery Mountain" in the sport/vet category and 15th place in the West Virginia state road championships. This year started out in good form when he finished in second place at the "Battle of Briery Mountain" in the Pro/Expert category. His racing season came to a crashing halt when he crashed bruising his pelvis in August on a training ride. Just as he was getting back on the bike, he crashed again in another training ride breaking his collar bone, which knocked him out of contention for October and November. He is healing fine and looking forward to getting back on his bike and the season to come in 2003.
Chris A. Klaiss (MA 1993) continues to work in Munich, Germany for British Telecom. Last December he left the Smallworld Geographic Information Systems project to become Budget Planner for the Operations Division at BT Germany. He is also making steady progress toward his part-time MBA degree in Prague. In his spare time, Chris enjoys a Czech beer and the beautiful architecture of Prague. The Czech Republic also boasts many castles. As far as vacations are concerned, he visited the Kaliningrad region of Russia, as well as the Polish Baltic Sea coast. Chris' parents now live in Switzerland, so he goes there for a long weekend once in a while as well. Contact to KU Geography has not been broken, with respective visits during the past few years by Lanham Lister and Leslie Dienes. Chris has a big freetime project for 2003: improve his French, which has been largely dormant for the past 12 years.
Taylor E. Mack (MA 1992) is still an assistant professor at Mississippi State University. Since the last alumni newsletter he has presented a paper at the Los Angeles AAG conference on the Cambodian refugee settlement in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, and has traveled throughout Mississippi, including the Gulf Coast, Jackson, and the Delta. Last summer Taylor traveled to visit his brother's family in Colorado Springs (both brother and sister-in-law are Jayhawks, but not geographers). During the trip between Mississippi and Colorado, Taylor visited the UFO museum in Roswell, New Mexico, Bent's Old Fort near La Junta, Colorado, rode the train up Pike's Peak, and stopped at the Cherokee Museum in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. This fall he also took students on three field trips to the Delta region in NW Mississippi where they visited the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, MS, toured the Mississippi River levee near where it broke in 1927, toured the casinos in Tunica County, and visited the grave of the famous blues guitar player Robert Johnson.
Rick Miller (MA 1992) works for the Kansas Department of Administration as the Chief Information Technology Architect and as Director of the Kansas Information Technology Office (KITO). The KITO is the state's enterprise office for information technology (IT) coordination and is responsible for IT strategic planning, policy, architecture, geographic information systems (GIS), and IT project oversight. Rick also serves as the Kansas GIS Director. He has been involved in GIS and IT management for over 15 years holding previous positions with the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and the Kansas Water Office. Additionally, Rick served this past year as President of the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC), currently serves on the National Research Council's Committee to review the USGS's Concept of the National Map, is a member of the Board of Directors of the Bush Administration's Geo Spatial One Stop Initiative, and remains an active participant in the MidAmerica GIS Consortium (MAGIC). Rick and his wife Rusty Schnur live in rural Jefferson County with their two dogs, two cats, and an abundance of local wildlife. Rusty works for Lawrence Unified School District #497 as the Early Childhood Special Education Coordinator, volunteers with Therapeutic Horse Riding in Lawrence (THRIL), and stays active with riding lessons, bicycling, and workouts at the gym. Golf remains an important pastime for Rick. Travel this year included trips to Atlanta, Washington D.C., South Carolina, Park City, Utah, San Diego, and Denver. Rick and Rusty are currently planning a return trip to Scotland for the coming year.
Since he finished his MA under Pete Shortridge in 1998, David Myers (MA 1998) has completed an MS in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania in 2000. David is now a Research Associate at the Getty Conservation Institute at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. At the GCI, he has been primarily involved in two projects. One is a series of 4 case studies focusing on the role that values have played in the management of heritage sites in Canada, the US, Australia, and England. In the second project, they are developing recommendations for carrying out a citywide survey of historic resources in Los Angeles.
Kim Gillespie Penner (MA 1996) is still working for the Corps of Engineers in Kansas City. She moved to the Natural Resources Section about 2 years ago and her job title is actually "Geographer"! They have expanded the GIS section and are looking for coop students. So if any students out there are interested, let her know. She now works mostly with the Lake Projects and the Missouri and Kansas Rivers. They do most of their mapping using ArcView and the Lake projects are beginning to use GPS for collecting data and creating map layers. Most recently they completed a Lower Missouri River Map/Brochure for the upcoming Lewis and Clark Bicentennial. On the personal side, she lives in Prairie Village Kansas with her husband Dan and two kids, Will (11) and Erin(6). Will is working hard at becoming a musician. He plays electric bass and seems to have some talent (got from his Dad). Erin is the artist and sometimes says she wants to be a geographer (to make mom feel good). They had the pleasure of attending Tom Schmiedeler's wedding this summer in Lawrence and saw a few familiar faces from years gone by. They had a great time. Kim has not contributed to the newsletter for several years (her data does not change too much!) but she has always looked forward to reading it.
Dave Ridgway (M.A. '92, B.A. '85) is still teaching social studies and English to fascinated and absorbed eighth graders in Connecticut. A recent publication put out by a Lawrence firm indicated that Connecticut students were the smartest in the USA! They obviously have not met some of his. While departing from a field trip to Philadelphia, they crossed the Delaware River and he shouted out to the busload, "What state are we entering now?" Responses ranged from "Florida" to "New Haven." Okay, they were only seventh graders at the time, and he hadn't had the chance to get them up to speed yet, but still. Dave, his wife Dagmar, and dog Lucy, live in Branford,CT. A recent letter came trying to start a Connecticut chapter of KU alums, so if any of you are nearby, get together and watch a game or something. Jayhawks are hard to come by up there!
Phil Reed (MA 1995) is still working for the City of Sacramento Planning Department, now as an Associate Planner and has finally bought a house in Sacramento this last year.
Severin Roberts (MA 1999) has been very busy, both personally and professionally. She and Christopher bought a house in a small, rural Iowa town and have been busy renovating the hundred year old beauty. They have traveled in the US (13 states) and to Yucatan, Mexico. Professional pursuits include a growing consulting practice and professional network. It seems geography continues to pervade all aspects of her life.
Scott Roper (PhD 1997) four months into his second term, resigned as chairman of the Board of Selectmen in Lyndeborough, NH, and moved to Canyon, TX. He is now an Assistant Professor of Geography in the Department of History and Political Science at West Texas A&M University. (He is the only geographer on the faculty here, no less.)
Amy Rork (MA 1997) is still working for a Medicinal Chemistry professor on her COBRE cancer center grant. Researchers and faculty members from KU, KSU, and KUMC participate in their grant, so she has gotten to know a number of folks across the campuses in the past two and a half years. They have had a major die-off of the wonderful pine trees around their house - about 50 at last count. It will really change the scenery when they finish cutting them down. The little farm house next to theirs was also sacrificed by the Wakarusa fire department in a practice exercise, so the neighborhood, she's a changin'. Grandson Will is a happy child with a winning smile - he'll be a year old on Dec. 16. It will be a spectacular Christmas this year with all the necessary trappings for a little boy. They are all looking forward to spoiling him rotten. Daughter Ellen was married on 02/02/02 at 2:00pm (yes, they planned it that way) complete with groundhog bride and groom for the cake. Daughter Mandy continues to teach 5th grade at Bonjour Elementary in Lenexa. Son Daniel hasn't found his way out of KU yet, but is still whacking away at it. Gerald is busy cutting trees (see above). A short trip to the Atlanta environs yielded a tour of Lookout Mountain and Chickamauga Nat'l Battlefield, the Blue Ridge mountains of north GA, and a broken foot for their traveling friend. Wheelchairs are available lots of places, but airline travel isn't quite as much fun as it used to be. They also took a quick driving trip to NJ - the fall foliage across I-80 in PA was spectacular.
Tom Schmiedeler (MA 1985, PhD 1991) reports an exciting year. He became a tenured faculty member in early spring, then celebrated by marrying Barbara Solberg on June 1. The reception was held at Liberty Hall in downtown Lawrence. Among former grad students who made it to the wedding were Jim Hale, Tom Sankey, Chuck Martin, Greg Plumb, Kim Penner and locals Bob Yoos and Jim Aldritt. Tom also continued research on Midwestern county seats by visiting state historical societies in Indianapolis, Columbus, Lansing, Madison and Springfield. (Barbara found this a boring honeymoon and left him after Indianapolis). He will continue this research at Columbia and Lincoln over the holiday break and in the Dakotas in late May. He also was easily elected to the position of Director of Kansas Studies this fall because no one else wanted to come near this position.
Steve Schnell (MA 1994, PhD 1998) has a new baby, a new job, and a new town - - not much has happened to him this last year! The biggest news first: Lisa gave birth to their daughter, Marina Allison Schnell (8 pounds, 1 ounce), on November 12. Marina is the most adorable baby ever, and very good-natured (she lets them sleep for several uninterrupted hours at a stretch!). She's also a source of great amusement, such as when she does her Jackson Pollock impression and projectile-poops onto the wall while they're changing her diapers. Mother and baby are very healthy, and both Lisa and Steve are excited, if a little intimidated, by the journey into parenting. They have also relocated to Kutztown, Pennsylvania, where he accepted a job at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania after four years at Northwest Missouri State. As a lifelong resident of the Central Time Zone, he still has a hard time adjusting to the fact that he's actually an Easterner. He also finds himself having to refer to "the real KU" when discussing his alma mater, since Kutztown University has shamelessly adopted the same initials as its own. Kutztown is even smaller than Maryville, but it doesn't feel like it. Halfway between Allentown and Reading, it's only a 2 1/2 hour bus ride from the Big Apple and only 1 1/2 hours from Philadelphia. At the opposite extreme, they also have an Old Order Mennonite church just behind their house, so the black horses and buggies pass by their house frequently, and the country roadsides are littered with fresh produce stands. They're doing their best to fit in there by eating lots of pretzels (they don't call it Pretzelvania for nothing!), although they have yet to yield to the temptations of scrapple. The Rodale Institute, an organic agriculture research center, is just down the road, and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary (a raptor reserve where Lisa has been volunteering) and the Appalachian Trail are only about 15 minutes away. All in all, a fascinating area, with lots of new geographies to explore.
Jonathan Shultz (MA 1995), after leaving KU, took a job working for a county land conservation department in Wisconsin. Good job, but he was working in a fairly technical job that involved a lot of GIS development and remote sensing processing (mostly Landsat and digital aerial photos). He enjoyed the remote sensing stuff a lot, but the GIS work turned into mostly database programming and began taking up about 80% of his time. It became a little too CS programmer-like for him. About the same time, he bought a house and needed extra money to fix it up, so he took a part-time job working for a local ambulance service as an EMT (a certification he had gotten on the side while at KU). After 2.5 years at the LCD, his life sort of got to where he was starting to dislike going to his full-time job and really looked forward to his part-time job. The ambulance service he worked for was taken over by Mayo Medical Transport and they became the "real deal" in terms of providing emergency medical services to the area he lived in. As luck would have it, a few things fell into place and he was presented with the opportunity to go back to school and become a paramedic for Mayo. So, with not much thought, probably too little thought in retrospect, he jumped at the opportunity...thereby ending his career in GIS/RS. Lots of schooling, short-lived career. Skipping over a few key details in the interest of time, suffice to say that he became a paramedic and worked for Mayo for 4 years. Again, a great job. He saw, and was able to do, many amazing things. He would not have traded his experiences for anything. His time as a medic changed the way he looked at everything, some for the worse, some for the better. He is certainly more of a realist now. Anyway, getting back on track. Being a medic also just peaked his curiosity in a lot of medically related things. A whole new area he knew something about, but wanted to learn more. So, he went back to school (part-time while continuing to work) to try and earn an undergrad degree in biology. Again, skipping a few details, but suffice to say that a few great doctors took an interest in him and prodded him along, stoking his interest in medicine the whole time. He switched his area of study from straight biology to the pre-med core curriculum. In short, after a few years of this, he got into med school and that is where he is now. At 32, he is a second year med student at KUMC (back in Kansas City). Too old to be there, probably, considering that he will have at least 5 years ahead of himself, but excited about what he is doing, learning a lot, and feeling very fortunate to be at KUMC.
Hedley Swan (PhD 1995) has done some substitute teaching for grade 11 and 12 level, preparing them for university entrance exams. These exams are heavily biased towards environmental and regional planning issues and there are complaints that kids can spout off about global warming but can't find Africa on a map. Most of his students couldn't do either. He is told that geography is a declining subject in England. He is not sure why. Hedley is a governor of his childrens' school which is also his old school. Most of his time is spent clearing up the devastation wrought by his children and looking after his houses.
Craig Davis (MA 2001) is in his third year as a geography instructor at Sacramento City College. Things are going well and he enjoys the courses and students, usually. One of the things he likes most about the position is the opportunity to travel during the summer and winter breaks. Last year he went to Peru for a month and visited a colleague who was excavating at a Moche pyramid on the north coast - El Huaca de Brujo. He also had the chance to trek around the highlands and visit Lake Titicaca and Machu Picchu - cool stuff. He is looking to return this summer to do some mapping/GIS work at the site on a National Geographic Society grant. The rest of the summer was spent traveling around the Midwest (Omaha, Kansas City, Chicago and Trenton, Mo) visiting family and friends. To end the summer, he was fortunate enough to have his 17-year-old brother travel across the West with him. One of their first stops was in Canon City, Co where they ran into the KU geography field course. He thought it was nice to visit Garden Park, even though it has changed dramatically in the four or five years since he had been there (too many ranchettes!), see Curt Sorenson and meet some of the new grad students. They also had a chance to visit Cindy Gordon and her husband in Durango, CO and then proceeded through the canyonlands of Utah, the basin and range of Nevada and up the east-side of the Sierra Nevada. He has also had the chance to attend two KU basketball games on the West Coast (UCLA last year and Oregon this year) with a group of friends from KU. Maybe he should quit going as they lost both contests. They will see if the streak holds out when they play Cal in Oakland.
Pinde Fu (PhD 2000) has been working as a programmer, then a project lead at ESRI (Redlands, California) since he graduated in May 2000. In the past two years, his work has mainly been web-based GIS applications. He joined the design and implementation for many internet/intranet-based GIS applications for the federal and local government. For example,
His Ph.D. dissertation research was about spatial solar radiation modeling. He built an ArcView extension called the Solar Analyst while at KU under the guidance of Prof. Paul Rich and Prof. Kevin Price. Jack Dangermond, ESRI president, has granted a $100K in-kind match research funding to Paul, currently working at the GISLab of Los Alamos National Laboratory, to further develop the Solar Analyst model and integrate it with ESRI ArcGIS Spatial Analyst. Pinde will participate in this project next year. Pinde's wife also works at ESRI Redlands. Their two kids are doing well in their kindergarten and preschool. They miss KU and Lawrence, miss the hard times and the good times as a student, and miss the professors and classmates at KU. Thank you, KU Geography! Best wishes to your new year.
- the GeoCommunicator project for the federal Burea of Land Managment (BLM),
- the Automobile Theft Information system for the Chicago Police Department,
- the Child Care Locator and the Geo-Information Decision Support Tool for Ohio Dept of Job and Family Services,
- the Environmental GIS (EMAPS) and the Enterprise GIS (EGIS) for the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development,
- several e-Planning pilot projects for BLM and the Forest Service.
Xulin Gao (PhD 2000) is enjoying teaching with increased positive feedbacks from students. Her research projects are continuing after a few successes in funding applications. The addition of a new family member makes her busier than ever, though she is lucky to take a 21-week maternity leave with 95% salary. Everyone is doing well in the past year: her husband received five raises in a row; Xiaoxuan earned high honors in a high school advanced program; Michael and Matthew feel it is too easy to do addition; Joshua is stronger than any of his brothers at his age and smiles whenever he opens his eyes. It is such a wonderful year!
Jerry Griffith (PhD 2000), since he left Lawrence in early autumn of 2000, spent time as a volunteer at Badlands National Park, cruising the wilderness areas on horseback while doing GPS mapping of invasive plants. He then spent about a year and a half in a post-doc position at the U.S. Geological Survey's EROS Data Center, working on the National Land Cover Trends project, before winding up on a tenure-track faculty position at the U. of Southern Mississippi.
Soren Larsen's (PhD 2002) wife, Kristi, gave birth to their son, Jonah Christopher, on May 14, 2002 -- he's got his first two teeth and has just learned how to crawl. He's a musical baby and likes to beat on drums and the piano! Kristi has accepted a piano accompanist position in the Music Department at Georgia Southern, and will start next semester with a few choirs and the opera. Soren has been adjusting to the life of a professor, which is much more demanding (at least in the first semester) than he ever could have imagined. His role in the Department is beginning to take shape, and he enjoys his colleagues immensely. He had one paper accepted for publication in Human Organization entitled: "Promoting Aboriginal Territoriality Through Interethnic Alliances: The Case of the Cheslatta T'en in North-central British Columbia." It is scheduled to appear in the Spring 2003 issue. And finally, he is beginning new research in South Georgia that examines place identity and economic development in the towns of Vienna and Cordele 120 miles south of Atlanta, both of which were targeted for a USDA Empowerment Zones grant in 1994. He will start working with that community this summer, and is looking forward to new research. He needs to send some magic pixie dust to throw on the basketball team –Soren left town and KU fell apart!!!
Michael G. Noll (MA 1993, Ph 2000), his wife, Karen, and children Jonathan and Sophia, are now in the beginning of the third year in the deep south. They have just reached the fourth season in that part of the world - "Christmas" - meaning that they have FINALLY made it through the other three seasons - almost summer, summer, and still summer. Michael is slowly turning into "Jawg," which is somewhat of a crossbreed between a Jayhawk and a "Dawg", the latter, of course, referring to the Georgia football team. Who knows, soon one might hear him yell "Go Dawgs" ... until then, though, he will refuse to call shopping carts "buggies" (since there ain't any horses in front of them) or any carbonated soft drink a "Coke" (regardless of brand or flavor). On the other hand, he has actually started to like the occasional consumption of grits (which is NOT the abbreviation for Girls Raised In The South, as some believe) and every now and then even a "Bubba Burger" ends up on his plate. If you, by chance, happen to be curious about grits and would like to discover this type of gourmet food, he highly recommends a classic - "Gone With the Grits" - which will fill you in quickly and give you recipes for about 150 different grits dishes. He has yet to try some "chitlins" ... and soon will make a visit to the home of the "Syrupmakers" ... or the peanuts capitol of the world ... but that's for next year's report.
Jason Schields (MA 2001) is currently living in San Francisco and working for a small company, NextBus Information Systems, Inc. (http://www.nextbus.com), that provides passenger and management information for transit agencies. They utilize GPS trackers and the CDPD (Cellular Digital Packet Data) network to relay information regarding real time behavior of transit vehicles. They calculate arrival time predictions for buses at stops along their routes. These predictions are available via the World Wide Web and wireless devices such as phones and PDAs. Additionally, some stops are equipped with LED signs that provide the information to the riders. Occasionally, he catches up with fellow West Coast Geography alumni, Craig Davis & John Banning. After almost continuous embarrassment in outdoor contests such as long distance rock throwing, pine cone kicking, and snowball tossing, Craig has undertaken more achievable goals like building a house made entirely of Sierra Nevada cases and collecting Danny Nee-era, Cornhusker basketball memorabilia. Meanwhile, John continues to pursue his life long dream of playing the cowbell on stage at the Crystal Palace with Buck Owens and the Buckaroos in lovely Bakersfield, California.
Langdon Smith (PhD 2002) is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Geography, Geology and the Environment at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.
John H. Teeple (MA 2000) moved to Venice and finally embraced his ennui. When not brooding or reading Kierkegaard, he can be found contemplating the delicate balance of John Dewey, contemporary discussions of cosmopolitanism, and the practice/s of geography. (He swears that, somewhere in there, a dissertation is waiting to be written.) Beyond academics, he has discovered The Boss and rediscovered The Stones. He knows it's only rock n' roll, but he likes it.
Fangfang Yu (PhD 2002) is now working as a Post Doc in the Kansas Applied Remote Sensing (KARS) Program at K.U.