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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.

In case you missed it, the streets of Paris were transported to Lawrence over the weekend.  It was the culmination of a week long summer cap at the Lawrence Arts Center.  

On Friday, the center held the grand opening of the Box City Project.  Kids had the chance to study the layout, architecture and culture of Paris, then re-created the City of Lights right in the lobby of the arts center.  

Along with the help of cardboard extrordanaires and local artist, the summer camp gave children the opportunity to explore, create and learn.

"We strive here at the Arts Center to offer project based learning, open ended learning, learning that's driven by student application, experimentation.  We get them involved in the design process.  We show them how it works, what's possible and then really they dream up what they want to create and they spend all of their time devoted to that task," said Neal Barbour, Director of Youth Education at the Lawrence Arts Center.

The Box City Project is just one of many programs offered at the Lawrence Arts Center.  For more information about upcoming classes, click here.

 

Starting this school year the Lied Center make performing arts available for middle and high school students.  In the past, the Lied Center has provided free performances for kindergarten through fifth grade classes. Now, thanks to fundraising efforts, the center is providing performing arts for all USD 497 students this year.

"The arts can provide kids with great experiences, but also they can just be fun and enlightening and can expand your idea of the world and that's kind of what we hope,” said Anthea Scouffas, Director of Engagement and Education, “So every time a student walks in here we want them to have a very special experience."

The Lied Center's ultimate goal is to create an endowed fund to ensure free access to world-class performing arts experiences for all USD 497 students. 

Here is a list of shows for students this year:

•         During the 2015-16 season, kindergartners through second graders will see Big Bad Wolf and the third through fifth grade students will experience Mistatim. 

•         In the fall, Lawrence and Free State High School students will connect with Black Violin, the group that was named one of the hottest bands at South by Southwest.  

•         In March, middle school students and their family members will experience Out of Bounds, a two-part performance anchored by the topic of cyber bullying.

A study shows that the Lawrence area had several of the top accident sites along theKansas Turnpike.

The 2010 Long-Term Needs Study compiled for the Kansas Turnpike Authority shows that six of the top nine accident spots on the 236-mile turnpike were in the Lawrence area, and two were on the I-70 stretch approaching Kansas City,

The report also says the turnpike's south Wichita interchange is another top accident location in the turnpike system, coming in at No. 9.

The Wichita Eagle reports the high accident areas are along the more heavily traveled stretches of the Turnpike, particularly along I-70 between Topeka and Kansas City.

The K-7 interchange at the Bonner Springs exit approaching Kansas City had the most accidents with 43.

Months of hard work and dedication by local young adults was unveiled Friday.

25 Lawrence youths participated in Van Go's summer job-training program this year. Part of that program is completing their custom, commissioned benches. The benches are unique pieces of art that help beautify the community and provide resting points for citizens.

Not only do the benches beautify the city, participants said the program has helped them.

"I'm very grateful for this program. It's given me, you know, something productive to do instead of just sitting at the house," said Jordan Wittbrod, Van Go artist.

"They say that it's kind of like a sink or swim sort of world sometimes and I don't know if I would have gotten through high school without Van Go," said Jax Young, Van Go artist. "They require that you go to school every day and complete your homework and that's really important and I graduated. So I definitely wouldn't have done that without Van Go."

"They put their heart and soul and everything they have into these," said Van Go Executive Director Lynne Green. "So please enjoy."

A car accident occurred around 4:30 am on Saturday, July 18 in the vicinity of Kasold and 4th Street in Lawrence.  This accident damaged a significant part of our fiber plant.  Our crews are on site working diligently to restore service as soon as possible.
An east Lawrence intersection will soon be transformed into a community art piece.

It's a project called Lawrence Intersection Repair and in the end, the intersection at 10th Street and New Jersey will be full of color, design and community love. But before that, the group behind the street mural is holding a community picnic to talk about the project, show design plans and get input. Because in the end, gathering together is what the project is all about.

"This whole project is community driven. There's been input that's gone into the design of it and also the actual painting of the mural will also be totally community driven. It will be all inclusive, everybody can participate. That is sort of the goal of the project, to bring people together, to bring the neighborhood together," said Katy Clagett, a Lawrence Intersection Repair Coordinator.

The community picnic is Saturday, July 18 at the 10th and New Jersey intersection. Everyone is welcome to come between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Clagett said bring a dish, share some time with neighbors and get a glimpse of what the project is all about. There will also be shade and kiddie pools for youngsters.

The actual painting of the intersection is tentatively scheduled for September 12, 2015. For more information about the art movement, click here.

Thanks to the effort of local Girl Scout Troop 1550, Prairie Park Elementary will have a new addition when school starts back up again.

The troop sold more than 2,000 boxes of cookies to build a garden at the elementary school. Amazed by the effort, Lawrence Public Schools joined together with the scouts to build a site big enough for each grade level to have their own garden box, complete with mulch, soil, weed netting and more.

The garden project helped the girls achieve their Bronze Award. The Bronze Award is given to scouts who do something to impact their community in a positive way.

Prairie Park Elementary is the first K-5 grade school in Lawrence to have a garden. With Troop 1550's efforts and a new initiative called "Farm to School," the goal is to build a garden at every elementary school in Lawrence for kids to enjoy. The gardens are also meant to be a part of curriculum, with elements of growing fresh fruits and vegetables included in science classes. Students will also get the chance to eat their produce during school lunches.

Anyone interested in helping a Lawrence elementary school start a garden, contact Denise Johnson, K-12 Health and Wellness Administrator for Lawrence Public Schools.

As summer winds down and school nears, it's time to start buying those back to school supplies, but for some families in our community that's something that just isn't possible.

That's why United Way of Douglas County has partnered with the Salvation Army of Douglas County, Ballard Community Services and ECKAN, along with Back 2 School and the Lawrence Noontime Rotary Club, in a community-wide school supply drive to benefit low-income children and families.

"We're talking about kids here. Kids who have no control over their situation, kids who deserve to be treated equally across the board. If we're going to live in a society that's based on merit, effort and potential, everyone needs the same starting point," said Kyle Roggenkamp, Director of Human Services at Ballard Community Services.

According to Roggenkamp, 17 to 20 percent of Douglas County residents live in poverty. 1,600 kids in the Lawrence School district receive free or reduced school lunches. And this year, 1,200 children in Lawrence signed up for help purchasing their back to school supplies.

Roggenkamp said those numbers prove why this school supply drive is so important, adding that providing children with the necessary supplies to succeed will help them do just that.

"We can take a kindergartner and expand their potential just by giving them the supplies they need, you know that child could be the next president," Roggenkamp said.

Drop off locations for the drive are Saturday July 18 and Saturday July 25, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at both Walmart locations in Lawrence as well as Office Depot. Additional donations can be dropped off during normal operating hours at United Way or Ballard Community Services.

Supplies needed include:

Backpacks

Ball point pens

Colored pencils

Dry erase markers

Ear buds

Pencils

Pocket folders

Cash donations are also accepted. Children K-6th grade will also get a new pair of shoes to start the school year, through donations by the local Rotary club and Salvation Army. For more information, contact any of the participating non-profit organizations.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 out of every 4 American adults, including 7 in 10 cigarette smokers, favor raising the minimum age of sale for all tobacco products to 21.

In most states the minimum age of sale for tobacco is 18. Tobacco has long been known to cause serious health problems and to be very addictive for younger people. For those reasons, Chris Tilden, Director of Community Health at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, believes increasing the age requirement to 21 would have a positive impact on the health in Douglas County.

"Tobacco is an addictive substance. It really has a lot of effects on the developing brain. As we know, it's one of the leading causes of multiple kinds of cancer which is still the leading cause of death in Douglas County. By decreasing the amount of tobacco use we really can make a substantial difference in the health of our community," Tilden said.

The 2014 Surgeon General Report found that the tobacco industry aggressively markets and promotes its products to youth. It also found despite marketing regulations, the industry continues to recruit youth and young adults as new consumers. The CDC reports, people who begin smoking at a young age are more likely to become addicted and have trouble quitting. According to the CDC, a previous Surgeon General Report found about 96 percent of adult smokers first try cigarettes by the age of 21.

Currently, Hawaii prohibits sales of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. The minimum legal age for tobacco sales is set at 19 in Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey and Utah.

Additionally, several cities and counties across the U.S. have adopted laws raising the minimum age to 21, starting with Needham, Massachusetts, in 2005. Since then, New York City; Hawaii County, Hawaii; Evanston, Illinois; Englewood, New Jersey; Columbia, Missouri; and several other communities in Massachusetts also implemented the change.

Also in the recent CDC report: In March 2015, an Institute of Medicine report found that increasing the legal age of sale for tobacco will prevent or delay tobacco use initiation by youth. The Institute of Medicine also found that if all states increased the minimum age of sale for all tobacco products to 21, there would be a 12 percent decrease in cigarette smoking across the nation by 2100. That would translate into nearly 250,000 fewer premature deaths from cigarette smoking among people born between 2000 and 2019.

Do you know what to do if a bat finds its way into your house?  What if you're bitten by a bat?  The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department has received an increased number of calls regarding bats this summer.  During most of the calls, people have revealed that they do not know what to do if they encounter a bat.  As a result, the health department is trying to get that information out.

 

“Our message is really, bats shouldn't be in the house.  Make sure you prevent bats from getting inside the house or apartment.  Put screens up because they can get in little tiny holes.  If you do find a bat, give us a call; let us talk with you about what the circumstances were.  We can consult with a physician and hopefully get the bat and get it tested at K-State and then we'll know if that bat has rabies or not.  If it doesn't, then the person or the people in the family don't have to get all of those shots," said Kim Ens, Director of Clinic Services at the Health Department.

 

Rabies is a fatal disease and the shots Ens mentioned is a series of vaccinations that must be administered, if exposure occurs or if it cannot be determined if a bat was infected with Rabies.   The vaccinations can prevent infection if received quickly after exposure. 

 

 

Ens also added that because bats have small teeth, some people may not know if they have been bitten and potentially infected with Rabies. 

 

 

Ens gave the following examples of instances when health professionals should be contacted:

 

  • If a person wakes up to find a bat in the room

  •  If a bat is found in a room with an unattended child

  •  If a bat is found near a person with a disability

  •  If a bat is found near a person who is intoxicated

 

Again, Ens said if a resident finds a bat, dead or alive, inside of their home, contact the Health Department immediately.  Ask to speak with a Communicable Disease nurse. The department can be reached at: 785-843-0721

 

 

 

 

 

 

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