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.
Whether you're an actor, a techie, a gardener, a sewer, great with kids, or just great on the phone Theatre Lawrence could use a few Acts of Kindness from you.
"We're always looking for people who can volunteer during the performances as during the setup and the building of the sets and all of that," said Steven Fendt, Patron Services Manager at Theatre Lawrence.
Fendt said most people don't realize just how important volunteers are to the theatre. In 2013 volunteers put in some big hours to help the theatre put on performances, 40,000 in fact. Fendt said that number was achieved by more than 800 volunteers and now that a new season of shows is gearing up to begin, he hopes you can lend a helping hand.
"We have volunteer opportunities for backstage crew, sound crew, props crew, front of house as the lead usher and ushering, we have cookies sales, box office, bartenders, people who can help build the set during the day, so there's a lot of different positions," said Fendt.
Fendt said there's something for everyone, even those who might not have any background in theatre.
"There are a lot of people who might think well I don't know anything about theatre, they don't have to know anything about theatre," Fendt said. "We'll teach you."
So if you're interested in building a set, sewing a costume, working with lighting, or just greeting theatre goers, Fendt asks you to check out the Theatre Lawrence.
"It's lots of fun, you know. Let the magic begin," said Fendt.
Theatre Lawrence will hold a Volunteer Fair Thursday, September 30. Those who are interested in volunteering are asked to stop by at 5:30 p.m. to learn more information.
Up on the hill Friday, volunteers assembled care bags for victims of sexual assault. As part of the university's Sexual Assault Awareness Week volunteers came together to pack bags of clothes, toothpaste, shampoo, and other necessities to deliver to sexual assault victims immediately after incidents occur. The bags also include a survivor's guide of resources to encourage empowerment and healing following sexual assault. More than 100 bags were assembled.
"One of the things that is really important to remember about bullying is that old adage, 'It takes a village,' and I really think that speaks very very well to this problem of bullying because it's not isolated to one context and we see a crossing over from schools to home to community," said Anne Williford, an assistant professor at the University of Kansas.
On Friday, leading experts in the field of bullying intervention gathered at the University of Kansas, sharing ideas about how to prevent and stop bullying on every platform, which research now shows has a higher success rate when done through a holistic approach.
"We also need to be thinking about how do we involve the community and that means parents. That means other family members. That means other community professionals and community agencies. What is their role in really trying to address this problem from a systematic and collective perspective?" said Williford.
Scientists and researchers discussed how to start from the ground up. Williford said from infancy to adulthood, everyone in a community has a responsibility to teach children how to overcome bullying.
"We have to give kids what we call social emotional learning skills, the ability to regulate their emotions, to manage conflicts, so that they can take care of these conflicts so they don't lead to bullying," said Dorothy Espelage, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Dorothy Espelage has researched bullying for the past two decades and she said if we don't come together to put a stop to it, the outcomes will only get more severe.
"The kids that engage in bullying as perpetrators they have adverse outcomes as well, but the kids who are targeted over and over again into adulthood we know that they tend to have mental health issues as adults so we want to catch it early and we want to catch it often," said Espelage.
Research also shows it's not just those involved that are affected.
"We see it effecting very negatively school climates, classroom climates and at the end of the say we know that effects learning. It challenges us to think about intervention and prevention in a very different way," said Williford.
State law now requires every school in Kansas to have an anti-bullying policy. The policy varies based on the needs of students at each school. However, as Williford said, bullying doesn't stop at school. She says it is a community problem, which is why it must be a community that fights it.
The Lawrence Public Library hosted a "rave-in" with Edgar Allen Poe to unveil its 2014 banned book trading cards.
The event featured a Poe impersonator and 19th century music. After the fun, the library revealed the seven artists whose work was selected for this year's cards. Coordinators say they received 47 entries this year.
"It was really hard to narrow down. The art was really good and the stories behind the art, like what inspired the artists to create their trading card, that was really hard to decide too," said Kristin Soper, Events and Programming Coordinator at the Lawrence Public Library.
The cards will be released the week of September 21, 2014. One card will be available every day of the week, which is also Banned Books Week.
"The Lawrence community has needed this for decades so this is a very special moment for the school district and for the community," said Rick Doll, Superintendent of Lawrence Public Schools.
Doll said the center would still be just a dream if it weren't for the support of the Lawrence and Douglas County community. The Economic Development Corporation of Lawrence & Douglas County, the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, and several local businesses including Hyper Real Estate Holdings contributed the center in numerous ways.
Now that the building has begun, Doll said it won't be long until class begins.
"We intend to have kids in the building next August. When the 2015 school year starts we intend to have the doors open," said Doll.
Doll said the campus will provide career and technical education for students and adults.
"They'll be able to take their learning to another level and apply what they've learned," said Doll.
Doll said hopefully that will help those who will one day study at the center to go on to a very successful career in whatever they choose.
"We want to make it really, really hands on so the robotics class, they'll actually be creating robots. The science curriculum, they'll actually be learning how to be medical assistants. The whole idea is not only that you learn stuff, but you also have a career focus. That's our plan," said Doll.
Teachers in the Lawrence Public School system will lead classes at the center. Doll said four to five new educators could also be hired. He hopes that 400 to 500 students take classes at the center once it opens its doors.
"We have a responsibility to make this a community in which each of you can make decisions about your life, including your sexual behavior, and no one can make those decisions for you," said Gray-Little.
Gray-Little participated in a panel discussion with other KU officials including representatives from the office of the Provost, the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Equity, and KU Public Safety. Discussion was centered around sexual assault on campus, how it can be prevented, and how it can be better handled.
Gray-Little began stating, "We are here today because sexual assault and sexual harassment happens too frequently." She then added, "It's a topic that makes me angry, it makes me sad, and it makes me frustrated."
Later Jane McQueeny, the Executive Director of Institutional Opportunity & Access at KU, discussed campus sexual assault statistics.
"In 2013 we had 12 complaints of sexual violence," said McQueeny. "Six of those resulted in expulsion."
The university has a population of nearly 30,000 students.
"In a typical year, I believe the last academic year there were 397 case of plagiarism and resulted in two expulsions in the university," said Jeff Vitter, Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor at KU.
Many began questioning why only 12 sexual violence complaints were filed last year with six expulsions. Is it because the way they are being handled?
"Every single case of sexual harassment is investigated fully at the university level. You heard from Jane that in the case of sexual violence there were 12 cases in 2013 and it resulted in a number of actions, six of which were bans or expulsions, so that's a fairly high percentage and, in fact, all of those cases where then followed in post," said Vitter.
Chancellor Gray-Little also said that she believes KU's policies and procedures compare favorably to those of other universities, but that does not mean they cannot be improved in their implementation.
If you're feeling stressed or burnt out, just pet a dog!
Watkins Memorial Health Center is promoting Pause for Pups, an organization that encourages people to take a break and play with a dog to relax.
Wednesday the organization stopped up on the hill to help students de-stress from schoolwork. For about an hour residents of Corbin Hall played with several therapy dogs just to take a break.
The organization will head to Crawford Community Center September 24, 2014 with it's furry friends to help a others in the community relax.
Veteran journalists Dave Helling from the Kansas City Star, Jonathan Martin from the New York Times, Juana Summers from National Public Radio and David Von Drehle from Time, broke down the races making headlines across the country and here in Kansas.
Dave Helling is the Dole Institute's current Dole Fellow. He will lead sessions Wednesdays at 4:00 this fall to discuss how journalists are covering the elections.
Kim Brook is the artist behind the work. Her inspiration: her father.
"I made it to his side and he died within a half hour to 45 minutes from the time I arrived," said Brook.
Brook said she was traveling to Korea when she was called back home. Her father's health was failing. She made it to his side shortly before he passed away, but it was too short for Brook.
"I had all these things that I wanted to tell him that I didn't have the chance to tell him," said Brook.
Later, a close friend of Brook also lost her father. Brook said she began to think.
"I had wondered if I was the only person that still had things that I wanted to say. It was really things that I had to apologize for or anything negative, it's just things I wanted to still share," said Brook.
That led to her to "Unfinished."
"'Unfinished' is really about these things, these conversations that we have after people pass away that we still might want to have, these thoughts that we want to tell, things we may want to share," said Brook.
On the wall hang porcelain flowers and next to it is a table with parchment leaves. Passersby are encouraged to write a message, name or feeling about a loved one they have lost on a leaf. The leaf is then meant to replace a flower on the wall. The flower is then theirs to keep.
"It serves as something tangible, of that moment, of that person, maybe of those thoughts," said Brook.
The flowers themselves are symbols.
"They are in what we call the bisque stage so even the pieces themselves are a little bit unfinished," said Brook.
Even once all of the flowers are gone and only leaves remain, Brook said the piece will always be unfinished.
"Just because our loved ones are gone it doesn't mean those moments stop for us," said Brook.
"Unfinished" will be displayed at the Phoenix Gallery, 825 Massachusetts Street, for one more week.