Kansas State Student Earns a Spot in the PGA Tour

The Kansas Jayhawks can be pround of one of their former students, Gary Woodland, who has gained a spot on the PGA golf tour. Woodland is 26 years old and is making his second appearance on the tour. While competing with over 150 golfers for a spot, he managed to get eleventh place. You must place in the top 25 in order to be eligible for the tour. He is the only other Kansas State student to go to the PGA twice in the last ten years. His first appearance was in 2009. Throughout the game, he had rounds totaling 71, 68, 69, 71 67 and 71 to take his position.

His first time in the PGA was successful, as he made it through eight different cutting events. His time on the tour was cut short when he suffered an injury to his shoulder, forcing him to sit out the rest of the season in order to recover. He has also competed in the U.S. Open played at Bethpage Black, in which he was able to garner the eleventh spot by the second day of play. At the end of the match, he tied with another player for the 47th spot. During the tour, he had drives that traveled over 300 nearly fifty percent of his time.

Woodland also made a splash on the green while playing golf for Kansas State. Overall, his student score averaged out at 73.44. While playing on the Jayhawk team, he managed to win a total of four tournaments, including the Cleveland State Invitational in 2005 and the Louisiana Classic in 2007. He ranked at the top of the team, earning his way into a professional career. Continuing his stellar performance into the professional arena, Woodland has more than earned his two separate spots on the PGA Tour.

The Economy and Efforts to Stimulate a Recovery

Nationwide, efforts are in full swing to find solutions to the economy issue. Many states have had to pull out unpopular tactics, such as raising property taxes and making deep cuts into various programs. Though many of these actions are unpopular with voters, there has been one positive note within the whole affair: cooperation. Past rivals and the fence between Democrats and Republicans has had to be crossed in order to make many of these deals go through.

This was recently seen in Washington, D.C. when President Obama pushed through stimulus legislation by working out a deal with the G.O.P. With party politics put aside at times, governments are finally learning that working together is the best medicine for a struggling economy. Without a compromise in many cases, budgets would not be passed and solutions would lay mired in a field of discontent. This political cooperation gives the country a measure of hope into an uncertain future.

Other efforts have been successful at staving off real problems for some areas, while others continue to struggle. One area that is having the most problems are local school districts. Reduced tax revenues and cuts in funding allocations has brought numerous challenges to many. Some have had to resort to cutting positions and closing schools. Enterprising districts, especially small ones, are starting to be more strategic with their funds, hiring grant writers to help bring in additional moneys. By thinking with an eye on quality and being creative, many of the smaller districts can weather the financial storm.

The ability of governments, at both the state, local and national level, cooperating and with smart planning, things should improve in time. These are lessons learned that we can take with us into times when the economy is once again strong and full of potential.

Fun and Entertainment in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas is a charming university town nestled in the beautiful Ozark hills of Northwest Arkansas. There are numerous acitivities, sites and things to do around this area, and you won’t regret taking the time to visit.

For a fun day, give a start to your time here on Dickinson Street, which sits right down the road from the University of Arkansas. This street has a long history going back to the early years of the town, and features numerous attractions. You can take in a performance at the Walton Arts Center, which has everything from Broadway productions, classical music performances, dance, and theatre productions with groups from the local area. When you get hungry, you and your family can dine at one of the many quality establishments up and down the road.

The Northwest Arkansas Mall offers shops of all types for the dedicated shopper, from clothing, books, toys and specialty items. They have a large food court and a theatre inside if you and your family want to take in a film. The mall also features numerous sales throughout the holidays, helping you save money on gift purchases.

The downtown square is the perfect way to spend a cool, winter evening outdoors. The buildings and trees are decked out in an array of beautiful Christmas lights, and as you stroll around holiday tunes are played. There are also horsedrawn carriage rides around the square for a different way to take in the scene. You can catch dinner at a number of quality restaurants, getting everything from pizza to a stout meal.

The University of Arkansas has a number of sports teams, and you can catch a football game in the massive stadium. There is also an excellent museum on campus, which features a variety of exhibits. Fayetteville has a little something for everyone, and is the perfect way to spend a day out and about.

A Different Way to Spend New Years Eve

New Year’s Eve has taken on a new character in the past decade. The past practice of attending a party or watching the year roll over at home are still around, but other activities have surfaced that can make your evening more enjoyable. Many cities are now turning to a family oriented evening full of various forms of entertainment titled “First Night.” This event is popular in some cities in Missouri and Arkansas, becoming an annual tradition.

This celebration provides a safe, fun way to celebrate the new year that is alcohol free and planned out. The event is set up so that interested individuals purchase a ticket, or badge that grants them access to the evenings various events. They can often park in a designated area, then spend the evening strolling around from venue to venue, experiencing a wide array of entertainment and food.

In areas that have a thriving art district, there may be open gallery displays, theater performances and various crafts that are on display to be purchased. There will also be planned, interactive activities that allow children to create a craft of their own. Music groups, specialty groups and other performers give audiences a variety of music and entertainment to enjoy throughout the night. There may also be a movie showing in a local theater and opportunities to taste different foods from area eating establishments.

Other cities may have a fireworks display in conjunction with midnight to ring in the new year with style. The evening is coordinated so that everyone meets up at the end of the evening to watch them go off. This is the perfect way for anyone to celebrate the new year, without having to worry about planning and how they will spend the evening. For a reasonable price, the whole family can enjoy the festivities together.

Christmas at Silver Dollar City

Each year in Branson, Missouri, Silver Dollar City is home to an old fashioned Christmas experience for the entire family to enjoy. This time of year, the park opens its gates to visitors that find an enjoyable way to spend a cold winter evening. You can enter the park and stop at the ice cream shop or a local vendor wagon to get yourself a steaming cup of hot chocolate. At timed intervals throughout the evening, a huge, lighted tree in the center of the square goes off in time to various Christmas songs, illuminating the sky with blues, reds, greens and a variety of other colors. People gather in droves to watch the spectacle, framed in the other gorgeous lights that are strung throughout the park.

Another popular attraction here is the evening Christmas parade, as lighted floats and staff in costume and lights march by. Christmas music plays in time with the parade, giving everyone a feeling of holiday cheer. The train ride also goes out, decked out in holiday lights. You ride through the woods, meet a pair of ornery train robbers and listen to holiday tunes along the way. Silver Dollar City is also home to every kind of shop that you can imagine. These include: candle shops, wood carvering, blacksmith, galleries and a general store, filled with beautiful, handcrafted items to take home with you.

The park also had a variety of eating establishments to help curb your hunger. Buffets, hamburgers and Italian are just a few examples that you can choose from. Then you can catch a unique version of Dicken’s Christmas Carol, complete with all the trimmings of past times. Silver Dollar City is the perfect way to spend the holiday season, enjoying family, good times and creating memories to last a lifetime.

Reliving History at Pea Ridge National Military Park

Pea Ridge National Military Park, located near Pea Ridge, Arkansas, was the scene of a key battle in the southwestern region of the country. Fought earlier in the war in 1862, Confederate and Union troops battled out in the forests and Ozark hills for control of the area. This was a confusing battle, as some troops were not yet wearing the standard colors of blue and gray, separating them on each side. Some still wore their original state militia uniforms, which often caused confusion on the field of battle.

The park has a tour route that runs through the battlefield area, with different places to pull off and read waysides that explain the action in that particular area. The trail can be driven, walked or done on a bicycle. There are also horse trails throughout the park that offer a great ride in the beauty of the hilly and forested area. You can check the Elkhorn Tavern, which served as a temporary hospital for the wounded soldiers coming from the fighting. The best place to start your visit is at the visitor center at the entrance of the park. Here, you can get a park brochure and watch the film, which gives a good general overview of the battle’s events.

The museum has an excellent selection of artifacts and several displays that have multimedia presentations. These give you a step-by-step layout of the battle’s events, while one goes into detail about how a Howitzer cannon was fired by an artilelry crew. Park rangers are available to answer any questions that you may have. The park also hosts a reanactment of the battle each year on its anniversary. Pea Ridge National Military Park is a great way to step back in history and learn about the Civil War from the stories of those who experienced it.

The Fun at College of the Ozarks

College of the Ozarks, also known as Hard Work U, is located in Branson, Missouri in the midst of the beautiful Ozark hills. The school boasts a wonderful way to spend a day visiting, and is the perfect spot to have a family reunion or group get together. The campus has a full working hotel with restaurant on the property that is staffed by students majoring in the culinary arts, hotel management and who are working to pay their tuition. The lodge type atmosphere has a comfortable sitting area with a large, cozy fireplace inside. There are several floors of comfortable rooms, and the dining room serves up a wide variety of gourmet foods. On Sundays, you can enjoy a fantastic buffet that covers all types of food to fill your stomach.

The campus also has a museum on the grounds that displays the history of the area and the school, full of fascinating artifacts to peruse. There is also a working farm, where you can watch students work with animals, milk cows and do a variety of on the farm chores. They even let you get in on the action, giving many youngsters from urban areas a new experience. The grounds are beautifully laid out, with a lake in the middle. This is the scene of the annual Fourth of July celebration that occurs each year.

During the celebration, a band plays patriotic music as people come with their lawn chairs and picnic baskets to inhabit the lawn. They set up for a relaxing afternoon full of food and fun. Activities for children are set up all over to help them keep them busy, while the adults relax in the shade. Later that evening, the school puts on a spectacular fireworks display that will dazzle and delight. For a taste of the Ozarks, College of the Ozarks is the place to go.

Spending the Day at Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park, located seven miles outside of Cassville, Missouri, is found in a valley full of forested hills, walking trails and some of the best trout fishing in the state. The park has a history going back to the nineteenth century, when a large waterwheel ran a grist mill on the river. Nearby, a natural spring pours cold, clear water that runs through the river and is full of rainbow and brown trout. Fishermen come from all over to cast their lines into the river and pull out a gorgeous rainbow with its scales shimmering in the sun.

The park has has a full working fish hatchery that supplies the river with a constant stream of fish. Visitors can walk around the hatchery and pay a small fee to feed the fish. The regular season to fish starts on March first and runs through October 31st each year. There is a daily limit of four, and you must possess a Missouri fishing license with a trout stamp on it. People can either cast with a rod and reel or bring out a fly rod. Certain areas of the park are limited to fly rod fishing only, and fake bait can be used, but live bait and corn are prohibited.

The park also boasts numerous beautiful trails and two different campgrounds. The campgrounds have full showers, laundry and restroom facilities for campers to take advantage of. Several fishing spots are available right near where you can pitch your tent. Those who walk a good walk can take to one of the trails, running from as short as 1/2 mile to three miles or more.

Roaring River is also beautiful in the winter, when you can hike, do catch and release fishing and watch for bald eagles, who love to come here in the colder months.

President Obama’s Tax Break Compromise

Recently, President Obama was able to pull a compromise with Republicans in order to get tax break legislation passed. This bill holds $858 billion dollars in tax cuts that would be a huge help to those in the middle class. This is a show of true partisanship as congressmen on both sides of the fence put aside differences and have started working towards solutions for the economy. Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was one member of Congress that helped to push both sides to come together.

One aspect of this bill that will immediately impact people is the funding that allows states to put unemployment benefits back in the mail to many. It also puts a moratorium on tax increases that would impact the middle class, putting more money back into people’s paychecks. The bill basically extends the time on tax breaks that have already been in place for a long period of time. The president and his staff worked closely with Senate Republicans to find a middle ground for the bill. It finally passed with a vote of 277 to 148, making it law. Earlier, it was voted in the Senate with 81 for and 19 against.

The tax breaks will continue for a period of two more years and keep unemployment benefits for a period of 13 months. There will also be a payroll tax reduction of two percent for the next years. Some Republicans still hold misgivings about the bill, stating that the lower tax revenue will not help the national debt that has to be dealt with. Despite these misgivings, Democrats and Republicans were able to put together a deal that got the bill to the table for the president’s signature. This shows the work being done to keep the government in motion and to work cooperatively to bring things to a brighter outlook.

The Meteoric Rise of Tron: Legacy

Disney’s latest smash is “Tron: Legacy,” which recently hit theaters and has gained huge fan approval. The first installment of the film was created in the early 1980′s, featuring special effects that were stunning for its time. The second version follows in this tradition with even greater special-effects that are beautifully complemented by its storyline. The film also returns many from the original cast, including Jeff Bridges in his role of Kevin Flynn and Alan Bradley played by Bruce Boxleitner. Garrett Helund makes a great addition to the group as Sam Flynn, with Olivia Wilde playing Quorra.

The plot takes an interesting twist as grown-up Sam is drawn into a search for his father who disappeared so long ago from his life. Sam ends up entering “The Grid,” the cyberspace world that his father has created. He finds that “Clue,” the program that Kevin Flynn wrote to help create the world, has gone astray and taken over everything. Sam is thrown into the games and an adventure that will help reunite him with his father and start him on a new life. The film takes an interesting line with the story, adding a wiser Flynn who has learned a more peaceful way of being.

The film overall was both strong in story and in the special-effects that were used, equally complementing one another. The film has done very well in its first days at the box office, and should make a nice addition to the Tron series. Disney has once again created a quality film that is not overloaded with violence and is well written. Moviegoers will enjoy seeing this film in both the IMAX and the standard 3-D version in theaters. It is well worth the cost of the ticket to go see, and will provide a memorable experience to those who watch it.