Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kansas Turnpike

May this Road's Angels blessedly fulfill
The inmost hope of travelers of good will.
May those who seek Love, find; those Knowledge learn.
To all, gay going-forth and glad return.
~British poet laureate, John Masefield
(written for the opening of the Kansas Turnpike in 1956)

Thousands travel the Kansas Turnpike each day. 236 miles long, it angles across eastern Kansas from Kansas City southwest to the Oklahoma state line south of Wellington.

Statistically the Turnpike is a very busy stretch of highway. Within a year over 32 million vehicles drive on some part of the tollway traveling about 1.4 billion miles. 2008 toll revenues brought in $78,436,779. When the Turnpike was opened to traffic, there were 14 interchanges. The newest interchange, Tonganoxie/Eudora, opened in late 2009 which brings the current total to 22 interchanges.

Below are links to resources on the Kansas Turnpike, past, present and future plans.


Kansas Turnpike Authority
(The agency which oversees the operations and development of the Turnpike. The Kansas Turnpike Authority is charged with maintaining and improving the roadway and its function as a vital corridor to move people and goods in Kansas.)
---Toll chart
---Turnpike Authority Board members
---Annual reports
---Q&A About the Kansas Turnpike
---Turnpike News

Turnpike Conditions

Why a Toll Road? Toll Roads and Transportation Funding
---Bridging the Transportation Funding Gap
---Role for Tolls In Meeting Transportation Needs in Kansas
---Q&A on Toll Roads in Kansas

"Turnpike 2.0"....
Kansas Turnpike Twitter

The Kansas Turnpike
(Kansas State Historical Society)

History of the Kansas Turnpike

Kansas Turnpike (Wikipedia)

Tornado on the Turnpike
(Well known video of a tornado bearing down on travelers on the Kansas Turnpike)

AND FINALLY... the Bizarre
In Stephen King's book, The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass, a group called the ka-tet leave Topeka traveling the Kansas Turnpike which is a part of the "Path of the Beam" in an alternative version of the U.S.
(We thank an anonymous reference librarian at the State Library of Kansas for this information and wonder if the travelers paid the toll!)

Article contact: Bill Sowers
(Check out recent additions to our collection here)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Your Government Celebrates Earth Day

The 40th celebration of Earth Day is tomorrow, April 22. Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, proposed the first nationwide environmental protest in 1970, "to shake up the political establishment and force this issue onto the national agenda." The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. The fight for a clean Earth still continues in 2010. Find out how you can LEARN more about Earth Day, PROMOTE Earth Day in your community, and PARTICIPATE in Earth Day activities in or near your community.

Read President Obama's initiatives for a greener America:

Federal Environmental Protection Agency website:

Official Earth Day website:

Learn more about Kansas' participation in 40 years of Earth Days from the Kansas Extension Office:

Learn about Kansas' Energy Initiatives from the Kansas State Energy Office:

More information from the Kansas Don't Spoil It! Program:

Want some pamplets or brochures to display at your Earth Day event? Kansas Don't Spoil It! Program has some available online for downloading and printing:

More informational pamphlets available from Kansas Green Teams:

Play interactive games, print educational coloring books, and more at:

Learn how you can participate and volunteer in Earth Day activities: or

Does your office want to participate in recycling, but not sure of what the first steps may be? Join the Kansas Green Team!:

Do you have cell phones, computers, printers or other electronics that are of no use to you but still have value? Learn how to recycle your e-waste!
E-Waste recycling information from the Department of Health and Environment:

Article contact: Kim Harp

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lawn and Garden

As temperatures outside rise and thunderstorms move through watering the earth below, our thoughts turn to home-grown vegetables, well manicured lawns and flowerbeds bursting with color.

Below are links to information primarily supplied by Kansas State University Research and Extension to assist you in greening up your yard and lives:

Kansas Healthy Yards and Communities
(A program designed to educate the public on environmentally friendly lawn and garden care techniques)

KSU Horticulture Information Center

Kansas Master Gardeners
("Master Gardeners are a vital part of K-State Research and Extension. Donating time in return for horticultural training, Master Gardeners help our county agents meet the need for horticultural information in their communities." Check this site out and find out how you can volunteer your expertise to help others)

Plants Recommended for Kansas
(Find out which flowers, grasses, shrubs and trees grow best in the Sunflower State)

Kansas Garden Guide
("A well-planned and properly tended garden can provide food for a family throughout the year." Includes information on planning a garden, composting, soil improvement, seeding, watering, pest control and a list of plant choices. From Kansas State University Research and Extension)

Horticulture Newsletter
(Online newsletter covering many garden/lawn topics. You can subscribe to the newsletter free via email)

Lawn & Garden
(A web page with links to information resources for gardeners and lawn care. From Research and Extension at Kansas State Unversity)

Turfgrass Information Blog
(Grass 2.0!!!... a blog about Kansas turf grasses and lawn care. Provided by K-State Research and Extension)

Kansas State University Research & Extension Publications and Videos
(KSU's Research & Extension is a treasure trove of information and resources for gardening and lawn care)

Kansas Wildflowers & Grasses
(Some like it wild! Check out thousands of photos and descriptions for some 639 species of forbs, grasses, sedges, rushes, and woody plants found growing in Kansas)

Growing Sunflowers
(What webliography would be complete without at least one link to a page explaining how to raise sunflowers! From University of Minnesota Extension Service)

Kansas Planting/Growing Zones

First Fall Freeze and Final Spring Freeze Maps & Precipitation Maps
(From Kansas State University Weather Data Library)


Michelle Obama's Garden
("... a website that highlights Michelle Obama's efforts on the White house Kitchen Garden. [Includes a lot of information on organic gardening.] The site includes links to blogs, news, images, video, and the White house Garden Layout itself.")

Video on Michelle Obama's Herb Garden
(A video where First Lady Michelle Obama tours her organic vegetable garden and discusses her goal of educating young children about healthy eating)

Growing Herbs: Selected Information Sources, 1996-2005
(Dated, but most all the links still work! From U.S. Dept. of Agriculture)

Publications on Herbs Available Through K-State Research and Extension


Publications on Container Gardening Available Through K-State Research and Extension

Article contact: Bill Sowers
(Check out recent additions to our collection here

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bluegrass: it's not just a type of music anymore

Little Bluestem grass that is (Schizachyrium scoparium). The Governor signed House Bill 2649 this week designating the Little Bluestem as the official Kansas state grass. The bill was sponsored by Representatives Kay Wolf and Sharon Schwartz. It is also the state grass of our neighbor, Nebraska.

Read "Little Blue's Story" at:

Read basic facts about Little Bluestem: and

Little Bluestem joins our other state symbols which can be found at:

The Kansas Department of Travel and Tourism:

The State Library of Kansas:

Learn more about the Kansas prairie and grasslands:
Cimmaron National Grassland:

Institute for Grassland studies:

Kansas Heritage's resources on the prairie:

Learn how you can help preserve our native grasslands:
Natural Resources Conservation Service:

Kansas State University's Extension:

Plant this hardy and drought-resistant native species in your landscaping this spring!

Article contact: Kim Harp