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Today's word on journalism

Monday, October 8, 2007

Celebrating Columbus . . .

"1492. As children we were taught to memorize this year with pride and joy as the year people began living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America. Actually, people had been living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America for hundreds of years before that. 1492 was simply the year sea pirates began to rob, cheat, and kill them."

-- Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007), author, from Breakfast of Champions

(NOTE: Strictly speaking, this Vonnegut quote doesn't have anything to do with journalism. I'll owe you one. On the other hand, Columbus didn't have anything to do with discovering America, either, strictly speaking.)


Whittier Center director working to bring in first-class playground

By Devin Felix

May 3, 2007 | LOGAN -- The empty field of yellow grass and asphalt outside the Whittier Center may be filled next year with a massive playground, designed partly by children in the neighborhood.

Whittier Center director Kendall Andelin is leading an effort to raise about $350,000 to pay for the playground, which would be designed by New York-based Leathers and Associates. Leathers and Associates is known for building high-quality playgrounds that are unique to each location, Andelin said.

"Their structures are one of a kind," Andelin said. The playgrounds themselves are outstanding, but the best part is the community involvement in the project."

On May 24, playground designers from Leathers will visit Adams Elementary and hold brainstorming sessions with students to get their ideas on what should be in the playground, Andelin said. Students will draw, or write their ideas and the designers will then incorporate them into the design of the playground, which will be unveiled that day.

The plan then calls for volunteers to build the playground over a five-day period in spring of 2008, Andelin said. Andelin hopes businesses or individuals will donate much of the building material, which will keep building costs down.

The Whittier Center, located at 290 N. 400 East St., is a perfect location for a playground, Andelin said. The surrounding neighborhood is old and neglected, and the area has a low average household income, he said. Also, the nearest playground is at Adams Park, across busy 400 North St., which deters many parents from sending their children to play there.

The neighborhood strongly supports the idea of building a playground at the Whittier Center, Andelin said. Building a playground has been part of the Whittier Center's mission statement for years, but no one has tackled the project until now, he said.

Andelin is looking for volunteers to join committees to direct fundraising and construction. He said he hopes a wide variety of community members and organizations will take part in the process.

The Whittier Center is housed in the 99-year-old Whittier School Building, and hosts meetings and activities of 26 different groups, Andelin said. About 1,600 people visit the Center each week, he said.

The playground will be designed with children in mind, Andelin said, with a focus especially on children with disabilities. He said designers will work with an accessibility expert to ensure that the playground is accessible to all children, including those with hearing or visual disabilities and children in wheelch airs.

Leathers and Associates is the same company that will design and build the Ryan's Place Park in River Heights later this month, and the design and building process will be much the same.

Anyone interested in taking part in the development of the Whittier Center playground can contact Kendall Andelin by calling (435) 753-9008, or by emailing


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