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.
"What We've Become" is a local film featuring local talent. Those behind and in-front of the camera hope the film not only tells the story written in the script, but also the story of Lawrence as great place to make movies.
"Jennifer Nelson wrote a very powerful family drama about two sisters and their journey to find each other again here, back in Kansas. One of the sisters comes back to help her sister from a heroine world of drug addiction. I think it's a film that ultimately brings us to a place of hope, hope of redemption and reconciliation," said Christie Dobson, a producer of the film "What We've Become".
"For our audiences, certainly for anybody who's ever dealt with addiction themselves or has a family or friends whose gone through that, I think it's going to speak beautifully to that journey and the difficulty and the way you have to keep hope alive" said Diana Dresser, the actress who portrays Stephanie in the film, "I think people who have never gone through that I think that they're just really going to enjoy the story because it's a really interesting rich complex story with really beautiful characters."
But for those on the set. The film is also about something a little more, something beyond the script.
"We are really really grateful to our local community for supporting this film and all of our film-making endeavors here in town. Having the support of the Lawrence Community behind us just makes all the difference in the world," said Dobson.
"It's been magical and very very cool and I hope that what we're feeling about it right now will translate to the audience. And just to be here in Lawrence and to see what that not only is it known as an artistic community, but now it is becoming known as a town to make films in, I hope that this furthers that, " said Dresser.
The film will now be edited at Through A Glass Productions here in Lawrence. Within the next year Dobson said it will be sent and hopefully screened at festivals throughout the country. A local screening will also be planned. However, before that can happen Dobson said a fundraiser will be held to help finish the film. To find out more about the film or to pitch in to help, click here.
The serious nature of sports related concussions has heightened over the years. Using new equipment, Lawrence Memorial Hospital is working to make sure concussions are diagnosed, treated and healed properly.
"The ball was in the air. I jumped up for the ball. Then next thing I know I'm on the ground looking up at the trainers," said Bret Folks, a Sophomore at Eudora High School.
Folks is a member of the Eudora Soccer team and in the middle of a game when he collided with another player which led to an ambulance ride to Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
"The EMTs asked me questions. They asked me who the president was and I said 18 and not Barack Obama," said Folks.
Folks was diagnosed with a concussion through a new tool at LMH.
"Impact Screening is something our physicians use here at LMH to diagnose concussions as well as help with that big question return to play," said Adam Rolf, Physical Therapist and Athletic Trainer at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
With the new technology some schools in the area require young athletes to take a baseline test every couple of years.
"The baseline component looks at how the brain is operating when you are healthy." said Rolf.
Then if a concussion were to occur, doctors compare the results from the baseline test with a new post-concussion test.
"The results of that test let us know if your brain operating normally, do we have the same reaction time, do we have the same short term memory, things that we want to see what the brain is doing before we go back and possibly get hit again," said Rolf.
Basically it's a brain physical pre and post concussion. Rolf said it not only helps patients but it also aides doctors immensely.
"Physicians can be much more confident in that return to play decision and say hey you're ready to go, let's get you back out there with your athletic trainer, go to the return to play protocol," said Rolf.
Folks said Impact Screening is the reason he was able to return to the game that he loves. He said he is appreciative that his school system and LMH had him take the baseline test prior to his concussion so he could heel properly and get back on the field.
"The doctors and staff were very very helpful. They were very nice. I just want to thank them for that," said Folks.
Rolf said Impact testing started at the University of Pittsburgh in 1995. Since that time the testing method has spread to numerous hospitals and is also used in the NHL, NFL, and NCAA.
With that Jenny O'Brien set out on a project she called Lawrence OnBoard. The method goes like this, riders sign up and receive a small, portable dry erase board with a marker and their rider identification attached to it. Riders then write the name of their destination on the board, stand in a safe area where cars may pass-by, and hold out the sign. Drivers signed up and vetted through the program can then pull over and offer rides.
After collecting research and finding that people in the Lawrence community would indeed use the program, O'Brien shared the idea on the national stage as a finalist for the TEDxFulbright Social Innovation Challenge. It was around this time that the company CarmaHop became interested in the work. With that Lawrence OnBoard became CarmaHop.
With a new name and a new venture, CarmaHop expanded to include a smartphone app. The app is now available at the iPhone App Store and Google Play, just search for CarmaHop. That also led to access to another app, a carpooling app that CarmaHop previously launched. O'Brien said the carpool app allows people who may need a ride to Kansas City or Topeka to find others going that way. But it also does a little something more. O'Brien said it also has an electronic bank so that those in the carpool can also help pay for gas.
Flash forward to today, and O'Brien is excited to announce that the full fledged CarmaHop road-side ride-sharing program is ready to launch in Lawrence. O'Brien said people will soon be seen in the community with CarmaHop signs looking to catch a ride, and she hopes it inspires others to download the app and join in. Those in the community who have worked with O'Brien collecting research for the program are just as excited that it is finally here. Nearly all said it is a great way to lend a helping hand, cut down on car emissions, and in all better the community.
To find out more about CarmaHop, click here to visit the website.
"One of the things we do here at Ten Thousand Villages, we carry products from local organizations like Project Lydia and Awava. Project Lydia works with a group in Uganda. They started out with I believe six women and now they employee 65 women. When they started they had zero kids in school, now they have over 600 kids in school. Some of the women are building their own houses. It's really empowered these women and it's changed their entire community," said Scott Stutler, manager at Ten Thousand Villages Lawrence, 835 Massachusetts Street.
According to Fair Trade Campaigns, Lawrence would be the first city in the state to receive the fair trade town designation. According to the website, there are 35 fair trade towns in the United States, the first being Media, Pennsylvania in 2006.
Stutler said fair trade is something that has been part of the community's identity for a long time.
"Because people really believe in fair trade and they understand the importance of what fair trade does for the people in these really impoverished communities and developing countries," said Stutler.
Now, thanks the efforts of Stutler and a what he calls a wonderful supporting cast, Lawrence will finally get the recognition for its dedication to fair trade and will be certified as a fair trade town.
"For me it was acknowledging what already exists here in town," said Stutler.
To be designated a fair trade town, based on size and population, at least 17 stores in Lawrence have to offer two or more fair trade options to customers. Walking down Massachusetts Street alone, Lawrence meets that qualification. There are a few other calculations to it, but as Stutler said, Lawrence easily surpassed all of them.
"It's been really exciting to work on this. People in this town are so passionate about fair trade. When we pay attention to something like poverty in a developing country, we have the ability to make an impact right here in Kansas," said Stutler.
To achieve the designation, there has to be a team to lead the certification, the team has to work with local retailers to offer the fair trade products, the community must have a certain number of community organizations using or serving fair trade products, the team must show how local action can deliver life changing benefits to farmers and artisans, and the local government has to pass a fair trade resolution.
Stutler said Lawrence met all qualifications to be designated a fair trade town within a year. Overland Park has been working on the designation for more than two years and has yet to achieve it. There aren't any fair trade cities in Missouri or Nebraska. Lawrence city commissioners do have to pass a proclamation to approve the designation and make it official.
Military officials and veterans led discussions at the institute on the University of Kansas campus.
All echoed the message that the public has a responsibility to know about the the challenges veterans face after returning home.
Homelessness, difficulty finding jobs, challenges with the legal system and other issues were discussed.
Another focus of the conversations, history.
"History is a subject that is often neglected and we do so at our own peril. So it's opportunities like this for our youngsters as well as those who are a little older than youngsters to remember history so we don't repeat lessons that should have been learned," said Thomas E. Draude, President and CEO of the Marine Corp University Foundation in Virginia.
Wednesday night's topic included lessons learned from the Vietnam War.
Lt. General Paul Van Riper, who served two tours in Vietnam, was the key note speaker.
Van Riper said some of the obstacles that soldiers faced leaving Vietnam are the same obstacles that soldiers currently face leaving the Middle East.
Local kids are pretty excited about seeing the Royals in the World Series.
"I'm gonna watch all the games. My dad's letting me stay up until the game's over," said 9-year-old Royals fan Axel Bengoa.
"I can name all the players and pinch runners," said 10-year-old Royals fan Kaleb Stewart.
But when it comes to youngsters, staying up to watch the sometimes late-night games, health experts hope parents will consider a couple of things.
"How many times has this happened in Kansas City? I think it's pretty dog gone exciting. But we still have to let children know that there's still rules that they have to abide by," said Dr. Martye Barnard at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Barnard suggest setting special World Series rules so that young fans can watch their heroes and favorite team play, but still get their homework done and enough sleep to be alert and energized for school the next day.
Barnard's first suggestion is a homework stipulation.
"They have to have their homework done before they can have the privilege to watch the baseball games," said Barnard.
Second, Barnard suggests establishing a bed time.
"Set the stage so that the child knows what time they have to go to bed," said Barnard.
Even if you bend the rules a little bit this World Series, Barnard said just be sure your child can handle it.
"Parents know their children best," said Barnard.
Oh and by the way, if you were wondering what Axel and Kaleb are hoping for this post-season play for the Royals....
"They win the world series!" screamed Stewart.
Lawrence Commissioners approve a plan to keep traffic moving in downtown Lawrence as a major construction project begins.
"We have clients calling us concerned about how they're going to be able to access us and be able to reach us," said Lynn Walker, owner of The Fix Salon located at 845 New Hampshire.
"Any street closing, a partial closing or a full closing, or a week or a month or a year really severely impacts our businesses," said Sherry Bowden, owner of Z's Divine Espresso located at 10 East Ninth Street.
"We would like to ask the city and First Management to help with the marketing of the Farmers' Market and neighboring businesses during the construction," said John Pendleton, a Lawrence Farmers' Market member.
After expressed concern from downtown businesses, residents and patrons over the proposed two year closure of the 800 block of New Hampshire and the 200 block of East Ninth Street, the issue was addressed. Members of the community gathered together and came to terms. The resulting plan will keep both lanes of traffic open in the 800 block of New Hampshire Street during construction.
"We do understand the impact anytime that traffic routes are changed, parking is taken away, and there's fences put up, all that fun stuff," said Mike Amyx, Mayor of Lawrence.
The existing on-street parking in the 800 block of New Hampshire Street from Ninth Street to the mid-block crosswalk will be removed. That will allow two-way traffic to continue during the project. The only complete street closure will last about two-to three-weeks during a waterline replacement. It's a compromise that still could limit traffic, but many agree not nearly as much as completely shutting down the streets for two years would have.
"We'll look after you to make sure everybody gets through OK," said Amyx.
Mayor Amyx asked city staff to look into posting signs and providing some sort of marketing for businesses near the construction.
First Construction also agreed to postpone starting construction until the Lawrence Farmers' Market closes for the season on November 22.
A Chicago based developing company made the request as a part of a proposed $75 million apartment project titled HERE @ Kansas.
The project is set to be located at 1101 and 1115 Indiana Street.
Commissioners turned down the request expressing concern that a 100 parking space reduction would create further parking problems for the surrounding Oread neighborhood.
Commissioner Mike Dever said the city needs to address the general issue with parking in the Oread Neighborhood and possibly help to make changes.
Dever said major projects like HERE @ Kansas should not get turned away simply because of a parking issue.
The representative for HERE @ Kansas did not state at the Tuesday night meeting whether or not the parking decision would put an end to the project.
"This is a great day," said Mike Amyx, Mayor of Lawrence.
"We are continuing to show that economic development, providing primary jobs in this community, is an important priority," said Dave Corliss, Lawrence City Manager.
Lawrence VenturePark is now in business.
"This is going to be a great employment center for Lawrence, Kansas," said Amyx.
The new business park sits on more than 200 acres of land next to the East Hills Business Park in aast Lawrence. The hope is the land will draw new business to the city.
"As we look to the future and job opportunity for all citizens throughout our community and this general area, this site lends that opportunity for many businesses to be excited about being in Lawrence," said Amyx.
Amyx said the land gives the city the opportunity to offer competitive incentive packages to companies looking to make a significant capital investment that, in turn, would provide employment opportunities.
According to the city website, incentives may include free or reduced land, property tax abatement, industrial revenue bond financing, infrastructure, special assessment waivers and job training grants. Combine that with the vibrant community that many know Lawrence to be and city officials believe it's hard to see how the future for the land isn't bright.
"Lawrence, Kansas wants to be open for business and be a place where businesses want to locate. I think VenturePark gives us the opportunity to show those businesses what we can do as a city," said Amyx.
Another enticing fact for potential businesses at Lawrence VenturePark, 80 percent of the Lawrence workforce has at least some college experience. 99.4 percent have at least a high school diploma.
"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.