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Tabatha Mills

Tabatha Mills

Tabatha Mills, Anchor/Reporter

Tabatha Mills is a Bakersfield, California native. She spent most of her childhood on a farm, in a ballet studio or on the basketball court. All three still hold a very special place in her heart. Given her basketball background she's very excited to now live in Lawrence, the home of the University of Kansas Jayhawks.

Tabatha attended college at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. She majored in agribusiness and minored in agricultural communications, journalism, marketing, and theatre. After graduating she worked in the California rodeo system as a marketing and public relations manager. She then interned with the Tampa Bay Rays in Florida as an on-field in-game coordinator. After that, she found herself in front of the camera working as an anchor and reporter in east Tennessee. That was until that fateful day that she applied at 6News and knew from the first email she received from News Director Lindsey Slater that she wanted to join the 6News team!

Outside of work, Tabatha enjoys volunteering for various organizations whenever she can. She loves working with children and given her chipper attitude, they love working with her. She also enjoys the arts and all they encompass. From music, to movies, to art exhibits. There's a good chance you can find her enjoying something arts related.

Tabatha said it is her goal every day to bring a smile to someone's face. If you've ever spent 20 minutes with her, you'll probably leave with one.

In ending her bio, she had a few things to say. The first, something her father says to her nearly every day: "Gabba Gabba Hey."

The second, her favorite: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. You're playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." - Marianne Williamson

You can find Tabatha on Facebook here and follow her on Twitter here.
Local volunteers are participating in a national program by helping their fellow community members get to and from cancer treatments.

"I am a cancer survivor. I went through treatments several years ago and I was fortunate enough to have a husband and friends who could drive me when I couldn't drive myself. But I saw a lot of people who were unable to get there on their own or they didn't have friends and family and that's how I first heard about this program," said Vickie Anderson, a Road to Recovery volunteer.

Because of that experience, Anderson now dedicates her time to the American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery Program.

"It just gives you a lift to know that you're able to help somebody and it's such an easy way to help," said Anderson.

There are others like Anderson who help others as a part of the program.

"We have volunteers donate their time, their vehicle, their gas to help cancer patients get to their life saving cancer treatments," said Ann Crockett, Specialist Mission Delivery for the America Cancer Society.

However, organizers said more help is needed.

"Currently we have eight active drivers in Lawrence," said Crockett, "We're always trying to recruit more drivers because it seems like we never have enough for the amount of calls that we get."

The treatments cancer patients receive can indeed be lifesaving. Anderson understands their importance.

"It's vital that you get your treatments on schedule and if you can't get there it makes it very difficult for the treatment to be successful," said Anderson.

She hopes others will be encouraged to participate in the Road to Recovery Program and help local cancer patients fight and beat the disease.

"It pulls at your heart strings and you feel like you do get to know them," said Anderson.

If you are in need of help to get to your next cancer treatment or would like to volunteer to drive a patient call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345.

About a year ago those at the Lawrence Public Library started to look into developing a smartphone app. Flash forward one catalog update and the grand opening of the new location for the library and viola, you have the Lawrence Public Library App.

"The idea is that anything you can do in our new catalog, you can also do on the app. So you can kind of carry that in your pocket and access anywhere that you go," said Jeni Daley, Marketing Coordinator at the Lawrence Public Library.

You can place items on hold through the app and find recommendations.

"Let's say you don't know where to start with science fiction but you're curious, we have lists that say hey here's great intro books for the science fiction genre," said Daley.

You can also search and create reading lists and even look to see what librarians have to say about a book or two.

Another feature of the app is the completed, in progress, and for later shelves.

"It's just a really convenient way to kind of track your reading," said Daley.

And just in case you can't quite remember when to take back those books you checked out last week, there's also a little something for that.

"You can see your fines and you can also see your next due dates. It's a good reminder of ok in a couple of days I have these books due. It's all just right there on your account information," said Daley.

The app is available for all smartphones. Just search Lawrence Public Library in your phones app store.

 

On Thursday evening, women visited downtown Lawrence for Girls Night Downtown. The event is a shopping fundraiser that is presented by Downtown Lawrence, Inc. Business Association. This year the beneficiary was the Willow Domestic Violence Center.

October is not only known as Women's Health Month, it is also National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

"Take domestic violence out of the shadows and bring it into the communities conversation. Last year we received over 3,000 crisis calls. We talked to over 2,500 students. We housed 136 women and 111 children in our safe home shelter," said Joan Schultz, Executive Director at Willow Domestic Violence Center.

While raising awareness they also helped raise money for the center.

"Last year we raised $5,200 and that all goes directly into programs and services," said Downtown Lawrence Inc. Executive Director Sally Zogry.

Ladies were also treated to a little bit of shopping fun.

"It's all just like a party in every store," said Zogry.

A fun atmosphere that event coordinators said really helped achieve the purpose of Girls Night Downtown.

"Community education. Just getting the word out that we are here to help those suffering from domestic violence," said Schultz.

"It's a big issue and we want to help support their efforts," said Zogry.

The Willow Domestic Violence Center serves people in Franklin, Douglas and Jefferson counties.
 
This week the Lawrence City Commission deferred action on a request from First Construction, LLC to partially close a portion of the 800 block of New Hampshire Street and the 200 block of East Ninth Street for 24 months.

The request would take effect immediately if passed and for the next two years access to the streets could be limited due to the construction of a new multistory, multiuse building next to the Ninth and New Hampshire intersection.

Some citizens said the closures could have a big effect on the day-to-day happenings downtown. Besides downtown, the Lawrence Farmers Market and the Lawrence Arts Center could be affected. The city parking lot on the 800 block of New Hampshire could be unavailable as well.

Another point of interest, if passed, the current partial closure of the 900 block of New Hampshire could still be in effect. Which means both the 800 and 900 blocks of New Hampshire could have partial closures.

Commissioners are set to discuss the item on October 21. City staff and officials have also held public meetings for those who live and work in the area to share information and receive feedback on the possible closures.

It's a discussion by multiple agencies to determine what the future holds for 90 acres in north Lawrence. The property was purchased by the Delaware Tribe in 2013 as part of a re-establishment on their ancestral lands in northeast Kansas.

"What we are trying to do is to work together to find some kind of agribusiness that will be appropriate for the site where the Pines Sod Farm was at Teepee Junction," said Lawrence Commissioner Bob Schumm.

As Commissioner Schumm said, agriculture is a big focus. Ideas include building a local food hub, a site for agri-tourism, classroom space for culinary demonstrations and students, a holistic health center, a farm to plate restaurant, and more

Other ideas for the land include a kitchen to help feed elderly tribe members, a tribal headquarters, as well as classroom space for the tribe, Haskell Indian Nations University, the University of Kansas and other educational partners.

All ideas commissioners said are of interest to the people in Lawrence, but nothing can move forward until a few concerns are addressed.

"There is a question of is it sustainable? Is there enough money that is going to be generated to keep the program going without continued infusion of dollars?" said Schumm.

Another problem to address, money to get things started.

"The Delaware Nation has indicated that they are going to seek grants through the different facilities that offer grants to Native American Tribes," said Schumm.

Tuesday night Lawrence commissioners were asked to consider entering into an agreement to continue discussions with the Delaware Tribe on what will become of the land.

"It commits the city to continue to be one of the partners in these continuing discussions," said City Manager Dave Corliss.

Commissioners passed the agenda item 3-0. Commissioners Jeremy Farmer and Mike Dever were not present for the meeting.

"I think it is a good agreement to sign and move along and see what happens," said Schumm.

Other parties involved in the discussion include the Douglas County Commission, USD 497, the University of Kansas, Haskell Indian Nations University, K-State Research and Extension, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Douglas County Conservation District, and the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce.

"This is a very important issue and one that is of interest of all people in Lawrence and I think this is the best use and a cooperative effort is very appropriate between the government services," said Commissioner Terry Riordan.

Meetings have been planned for the agencies to attend and continue discussions with the Delaware Tribe, but no word on when a decision could be made.

Tuesday night Lawrence commissioners heard the results of a recent sidewalk audit. The 2014 audit found more than three-fourths of sidewalks in the city have a defect that could make them dangerous or unsafe to pedestrians. Commissioners voted 3-0 to receive the report and said more discussions need to be held before taking action on the matter.

Commissioners voted 3-0 to enter into an agreement to continue discussions with the Delaware Tribe. Discussions revolve around 90 acres north of Lawrence recently purchased by the tribe. The tribe purchased the property to facilitate their re-establishment in their ancestral lands in northeast Kansas. Possible development plans for the property could include a tribal headquarters, a kitchen to feed elderly tribe members, classroom space for culinary demonstrations and culinary students, as well as classroom space for the tribe, Haskell Indian Nations University, the University of Kansas and other educational partners.

Third on the agenda, a petition from Corpus Christi Church to create a special assessment benefit district for a left turn lane on Bob Billings Parkway, also passed 3-0.

Truck routes in the East Lawrence Neighborhood will soon change. Commissioners voted 3-0 to designate Pennsylvania Street from Eighth Street to Ninth Street as a "No Truck" route. Commissioners instead voter to designate Delaware Street from Eighth Street to Eleventh Street as the primary truck delivery route. The change also included reducing the speed limit on Delaware to 20 mph and the addition of a stop sign at Ninth Street and Delaware.

Prior to the meeting commissioners deferred action on agenda items three and six. Item three asked commissioners to consider approving a right of way permit for First Construction, LLC, to partially close a portion of the 800 block of New Hampshire Street, as well as partially close the 200 block of East Ninth Street for a 24 month period. The closure requests involve the construction of a new building on the northeast corner of the intersection at Ninth Street and New Hampshire.

Agenda item six asked commissioners to revise the Preliminary Development Plan for HERE @ Kansas, located at 1101 and 1115 Indiana Street. The request would reduce total parking spaces at the location from 683 to 583 spaces.
On Tuesday morning, Lawrence youngsters got the chance to learn all about buses.

"It's just a really fun way for kids to learn about the bus and have a first experience riding the bus," said Serena Pearson, a Lawrence Transit Marketing Specialist.

Lawrence Transit System and the Lawrence Public Library joined together for a fun filled "Books and Bus" story time that included crafts, stories and of course singing

"This is sort of planting the seed for our future bus riders. Kids love the bus, especially when they're preschool age like this," said Pearson.

More than one hundred children, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, you name it participated in the event.

"It makes it not seem so scary. She's always asking about school buses or buses around town. So I thought this would be fun today. Really glad that the library did this today," said Renee Gregory, who took her daughter Grace along for the ride and fun.

This year marked the second year for the event, which organizers said was a hit again.

"Most kids just think it's really fun. They see the buses going by down the street and a lot of parents say 'my kids want to ride the bus,' so this is a great way for the parents as well," said Serena.

Just take it from one of the young participants.

"I had really fun," said Grace Gregory.

"I started out volunteering partly because I am a writer and I get very lonely at my house and I just wanted to come somewhere that was creative and had a lot of people and a lot of energy and it just seemed that the art center was the place," said Mary Wharff, a volunteer at the Lawrence Arts Center.

Wharff volunteers at the Lawrence Arts Center weekly. She's worn several hats at the center, teaching writing classes, helping with special events, and now she spends her time in the office.

"Mary's terrific. Mary is a fiction writer and I met her in that capacity. Mary and her husband Andy are involved in the art center in different ways. Mary's taught writing classes here. The Arts Center is a place where Mary can come interact with the hustle and bustle of our front desk and what she does makes a big difference in our day," said Susan Tate, CEO at the Lawrence Arts Center.

Mary does everything from answering phones to manning the front desk, which may not sound exciting to some but just listen to it from Mary's point of view.

"You think 'why am I feeling so happy?' Then you realize oh it's because there's 60 children and how can I not be happy too. It's just really great. Full of energy and creativity and good, kind, busy people and it's just a great place to come alive. I just think it's one of Lawrence's best things. I think it's unusual in the whole country, so just to be a little part of it two-four hours a week I just think is really an honor," said Wharff.

The Lawrence Board of Realtors released its 2015 housing market forecast.

Friday morning the organization held a breakfast meeting and discussed the national, state, and local economic outlook.

Experts said home sales in Lawrence could increase this year and next year.

Sales increased by double digits in 2012 and 2013.

Experts also said existing home sales have been doing well but sale of new homes has struggled, adding that new people in a community drive new home construction and so does replacement for existing housing units.

Data shows people working in Topeka and Kansas City who want to live in Lawrence also help home sales.

Lawrence Habitat for Humanity kicked off it's "Happy Homes Happy Hour" fundraiser Friday at the Carnegie Building.

The event included a silent auction for gift certificates, home and garden supplies, and even a hand painted dog house.

It's meant to help raise money for the 'Women Build' program, which just as it sounds involves women building a home.

Money raised at the event will go towards the next Women Build sponsored home which is expected to break ground next fall.

The Women Build Program has sponsored a total of six homes in Lawrence.

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