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Community News

Westview moves into the tablet age with the donation of 45 iPads
By Kristin Rulon, January 13, 2012, Excelsior Springs Standard



From Facetime, to watching movies, from videos, to playing Angry Birds and other addicting games to checking your e-mail and your Twitter and Facebook accounts, the iPad has quickly integrated itself into a must-have for today’s society.
And with apps or applications geared for every interest coming out daily the possibilities are endless.
The iPad, or Apple’s most recent version the iPad2, is not only used for personal and business purposes but also educational.
And Excelsior Springs School District’s Westview Elementary is getting a first hand experience of bringing the innovative technology to the classroom.
On Wednesday, the moment has finally arrived as the elementary school as 35 iPad 2’s were handed out to Westview’s faculty for a prompt training session.
The idea to start using iPads in the classroom started almost a year ago, said Westview Principal Rita Linhart.
Some of the faculty members personally owned iPads and were starting to use them professionally. Linhart took notice and decided the iPad could be something the teachers could use. This was around the time that Trey Harkins, who is currently the board president of the Gregg Williams Foundation, but was not at the time of their discussion, reminded her that Westview hadn’t applied for any funds for any specific project in quite some time, she said.
“We hadn’t applied for anything for a while, so why not just ask for $13,000,” Linhart joked at the training session with her faculty.
Harkins said he was excited for Westview when the proposal was presented to the board and he is glad that the iPads are now at the school, being used. He said he hopes that it’s just the starting point for other schools in the district to receive them.
The process took several months, which is something people wouldn’t typically expect, but due to the fact that the iPads were purchased for education, there was more of a process, Linhart said.
Stipulations do come with the iPads, such as the devices must be at school every day and shouldn’t be used personally.
“This is truly for the kids,” she said. “These are for the students and the teachers to use.”
The Gregg Williams Foundation is able to fund local projects through its various fundraising activities including the Gregg Williams Tiger Classic golf tournament in July. The board chooses a project to provide financial assistance to once a proposal has been submitted.

Pride After Hours celebrates best of Excelsior Springs
From the Excelsior Springs Standard

About 100 people showed their pride in Excelsior Springs by gathering Tuesday night for the annual Pride After Hours reception.
The event, held at and catered by The Elms Resort & Spa—a longtime Pride sponsor—offered attendees an opportunity to network and visit with others who see the best side of Excelsior Springs and are looking for ways to make the community even better.
Various door prizes donated by Pride sponsors and by The Excelsior Springs Standard and Town & Country Leader were awarded throughout the evening, but the highlight of the night was the presentation of the annual Pride Awards.
The awards were begun years ago by the Kiwanis Club of Excelsior Springs, and have been used to recognize dozens of educators, volunteers, business people and promoters of Excelsior Springs’ history. But between last year and this year, the Kiwanis Club disbanded after decades of service to the community.
The Pride Awards were continued Tuesday night, however. One went to an individual and the other to a group—and both award winners epitomize the concept of pride in Excelsior Springs.
Denise Bedford was the recipient of the individual award. As the director of the Excelsior Springs Senior Citizens Center, Bedford does more than just make sure dozens of the community’s older adults are fed a nutritious lunch every Tuesday. She also has formed personal friendships with each of them so that she can make sure as many of their needs as possible are met.
In addition to the meals served daily in the basement of the Jud Palmer Community Center, Bedford also provides entertainment for those who attend the daily luncheons. But her true spirit of pride shows through when inclement weather prevents the seniors from making it in for lunch.
Bad weather means Meals on Wheels doesn’t make the daily rounds. But Bedford, her husband and a contingency of volunteers spring into action, preparing hot to-go meals, emergency food packs and even packets of pet food to be delivered to those who are shut in by bad weather. She calls them to make sure they have what they need, and can usually tell when they need more help than they’re letting on.
Bedford’s bad-weather efforts are part of a larger movement that involves fire and police, city officials and even teenagers who can clear a sidewalk or driveway of snow in a matter of minutes.
But for the senior citizens of Excelsior Springs, life wouldn’t be the same without Denise Bedford looking out for them.
The group award went to the Gregg Williams Foundation. An Excelsior Springs native who now is a coach in the National Football League, Williams and his local representatives—Tray and Kelly Harkins, Jeff Woods and Jack Talley—have provided literally hundreds of thousands of dollars for groups, individuals and programs in Excelsior Springs over a span of seven years.
An annual golf tournament, accompanied by banquets and other events, are the centerpiece of the Gregg Williams Foundation’s work. But it’s after the fun is over that the real help kicks in.
During the seven years of its existence, the foundation has raised $941,000. Of that total, $650,000 has come directly back to various causes in Excelsior Springs. The remaining $291,000 indirectly comes back to the community through the purchase of goods and services to stage the annual golf tournament and accompanying events. In 2012, the Gregg Williams Foundation expects to pass the $1 million mark and then some, but they point back to the support of the community as the real source of their success.
The Pride season began last week with the publication of the first of four special sections; these publications will continue until early October, every other week.
In addition, a special Pride Community Service Saturday, a cooperative effort between the Standard/T& CL, the city of Excelsior Springs and the Rotary Club of Excelsior Springs, will take place the morning of Saturday, Sept. 24. More than 100 volunteers are expected to come to the Public Works building on S. Marietta Street at 8 a.m., at which time they’ll be given assignments to tackle four special projects—a stream clean-up along the Fishing River, beautification of a traffic island along a major thoroughfare, painting and other work on a gazebo along Broadway and various yard work projects at homes throughout town—to keep them occupied through the morning hours. Once they’re finished, they’ll head back to the Public Works building for a picnic lunch.


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