Monday, April 29, 2013

Even in Hutchinson there is some "road rage"

Dear Ask Hutch:

This concerns 17th and Faircrest Drive. When you are gong west on 17th, it is two lanes when you stop at the light at Severance Street. Then, just west, you come to Faircrest Street on the right. Barely west of Faircrest 17th narrows to one lane.

Frequently, the vehicles in that right lane merge into the left and only lane - and so often it is not safely done. Why isn't there a sign east of Severance saying those in the right lane must turn right? There is a lane to turn right off Severance onto 17th when coming from the north. This is a dangerous place at 17th and Faircrest and a bad accident could happen and could be avoided.

I brought up the question here in the newsroom as I was trying to search out the answer. But the comments and discussion made us realize this is more than just an Ask Hutch question. Most agreed with the question asker. Jason immediately got riled up about the people "who jack wagon" into the left lane of traffic, cutting off the people who are in the "correct" left lane. Jim said he makes allowances for out-of-county and out-of-state tags, but added Reno County residents should know better.

There are other uniquely Hutchinson traffic problems, as well.

* 30th and Main - Head west on 30th past Main, and the same one-lane issue appears.

* Avenue A bridge on Main - Go south on Main past Avenue A, and many of us often get confused as to what lane ends as we're driving over the Avenue A bridge. Somehow, it always works out.

* Fifth Avenue near Dillons - One I hate the most, however, is probably Fifth and Adams by Dillons. The left lanes ends as you are heading west on Adams. If you're not in the right lane, plan on being patient.

If you're heading west on 17th, it turns into a one-lane road just past Faircrest.
* 11th and Plum - Even newbies soon have this one memorized. If you are heading west on 11th by the Cosmosphere, you have to be in the left lane, otherwise turn right on Plum.

* Hutch News Facebook reader, William Hirst, reminded me not to forget 11th Avenue and K-61. "What genius thought of that?" he writes.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Kansas State Fair's "Sunflower Shake"

Kansas State Fair took part in the "Harlem Shake" fad.

The fair posted a video this morning showing employee Denny Vick getting out of state fair tram in the fair's Expo Center show ring. He begins dancing and soon is joined by other fair staff. They called it the Sunflower Shake.

I am disappointed that I didn't see Fair Manager Denny Stoecklein in the video, although he might be hiding in the background. Assistant Fair Manager Lori Mulch Hart is posing as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.

The video ends with the maintenance crew continuing to "sweep up the mess" and the Oz characters holding the number "100."

The fair will celebrate its 100th birthday this year. You'll be hard pressed to find anyone who loves the fair more than me. I did cover the fair one week after giving birth to little Jordie, who attended her first fair in 2011 at 10 days old.

I rode the zip line, too.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

PETA talking of using drones to monitor hunters

As many of you know, I'm an avid hunter. Thus, it should be no surprise that my ears perked when I learned of this announcement released earlier this month by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA said it plans to watch hunters and farm operators using drones.

"PETA will soon have some impressive new weapons at its disposal to combat those who gun down deer and doves," the group said in a release dated April 8. " The group is shopping for one or more drone aircraft with which to monitor those who are out in the woods with death on their minds."

According to the group, they hope to catch people using spotlights, illegal baiting, as well as those drinking alcohol while in possession of a firearm.

PETA also intends to fly the remote-controlled aircraft over “factory farms,” fishing holes and “other venues where animals routinely suffer and die.”

PETA president Ingrid Newkirk says, “The talk is usually about drones being used as killing machines, but PETA drones will be used to save lives. Slob hunters may need to rethink the idea that they can get away with murder, alone out there in the woods with no one watching."

The animal rights group's announcement is coming when the talk of the government using drones to monitor farms seemed to be dieing down. Could it be another PR stunt similar to what the organization did just before the opening of the 100th Kansas State Fair?

Reno County hunting guide Jim Call says he doesn't care that PETA is using drones. In fact, it could be positive, Call tells me.

"I have nothing to hide," he says, adding that the effort could curb the county's poaching problem - something that has become worrisome over the past few years.

He said there are even area guides who are breaking Kansas hunting laws.
Future duck hunters.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Deep-fried guinea pig, anyone?

When in Peru, do as the Peruvians, right?

But the dining experience that requires trying to pull off a small morsel of meat from the carcass of a bony rodent that stared up at me with a toothy glare wasn't quite what I was after as my two-week adventure through Peru came to an end.

Last month, I journeyed to Peru as part of the Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership Class XI. Guinea pig was one of the many eye-opening experiences.

In America, we call these cuddly creatures pets. In Peru, especially in the rural areas, guinea pig is a vital source of protein  - especially in poorer, rural communities.

"Even the poorest family can afford to raise guinea pigs," Gloria Palacios, director of a small-livestock farm at La Molina National Agrarian University in Lima, told The Christian Science Monitor in 2006.

After all, guinea pig, or cuy, as the Peruvians call it, is a delicacy. They usually are cooked whole, the heads, feet and tail left on, then served to the diner. And, they aren't cheap, either. For roughly $64 sols, or about $30 American dollars, you can try guinea on your next Peruvian excursions.

However, according to this recent NPR story, the country wants to import more guinea pig into the U.S. food system. According to one U.S. newspaper, Peruvians eat more than 65 million guinea pig a year.

I'm a meat and potatoes person myself, but when in Peru, I figured I better act somewhat cultured. I also didn't want to disappoint my children, who were fascinated and somewhat repulsed by the idea. So, on one of our last nights in the country, five of us decided to order one guinea pig and split it.

My couple bites were a couple of bites too many. But, then again, I could see a new Kansas State Fair food for the 100th anniversary in September. Deep-fried guinea pig, anyone?

Guinea pig, anyone?

It seems happy, with that toothy grin ...