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Archive for "Community"

Rotary District 5680 Refugee Project

Posted on January 22, 2022 by under Community, Projects.    

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Kathy Sexton from the Derby Rotary Club spoke to our club last week to talk about the Rotary District 5680 refugee project. Our nine area Rotary clubs are partnering with the Wichita office of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to help resettle hundreds of families fleeing Afghanistan and other crisis zones.

IRC helps refugees find homes, jobs, English classes, and connects them with resources to help them transition to their new environment. Refugees often arrive with nothing and need dishes, furniture, and other items for their new home.

The Rotary clubs in our District have committed to providing and assembling dinnerware, kitchen, cookware, and bathroom kits consisting of new and gently used items, and transporting kits, vacuums, and other household items. We are asking everyone for help in putting together these kits.

  • Dinnerware Kit: 8 place settings of dinner plates, salad plates, bowls, drinking glasses, mugs/teacups, and silverware
  • Kitchen Kit: 3 mixing bowls, 3+ kitchen knives, 3 cutting boards, 3+ plastic/glass storage containers, can opener, dish drying rack, 3+ cooking utensils, 2 oven mitts, 2 towels
  • Cookware Kit: 3+ pots and pans, stockpot, 3+ bakeware, tea kettle
  • Bathroom Kit: shower curtain, curtain rod and package of shower hooks, toilet brush and plunger, toothbrush holder, wastebasket

If you are downsizing or minimizing, then this is a great opportunity to put extra items that you no longer need to good use. Please consider donating items listed above that you no longer use. There is an immediate need as we are expecting hundreds of refugees to arrive in Wichita the coming weeks.

The IRC in Wichita is currently located at 1530 S. Oliver Suite 270 but they will be moving their office to a new location sometime in February. The IRC accepts kits Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. You an reach them at (316) 351-5495 or volunteerks@rescue.org to let them know that you’re coming by to drop off a donation.

If those days do not work for you, you can also deliver your donation to BRG Precision Products at 600 River Street (Derby, KS) through February 11. BRG can accept donations Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. It’s best to call them ahead of time at (316) 788-2000 to notify them that you’re dropping of a donation. They will give you parking/drop off instructions based on when you’re arriving to ensure that there are no conflicts with their normal business operations and other deliveries.

On Presidents Day (Monday, February 21), Rotarians will gather at the BRG office from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM to assemble all the donations received into the kits listed above. BRG will provide boxes, bubble wrap, and packing materials. Rotarians will deliver the completed kits to IRC on Saturday, February 26.

Kathy Sexton from the Derby Rotary Club is leading this effort. If you wish to donate, volunteer, or have questions, please contact her at sextonkbs@gmail.com or (316) 371-6451. Thank you in advance for supporting this initiative and helping us welcome refugees to their new homes.

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Major League Pickleball – ICT Version

Posted on December 15, 2021 by under Community, Hobbies.    

I had the opportunity to participate in another team pickleball event recently. This time it was at Chicken N Pickle. This one was a little different than the Nahola team tournament that we did last month because it was patterned after Major League Pickleball (MLP) complete with a draft and everything.

We had 32 players participate — 16 men and 16 women — and broke out into 8 teams of 4 — 2 men and 2 women. They drew 8 guys randomly and made them team captains and then the captains drafted their team members via a snake draft (to make it more fair — so the captain who gets first pick doesn’t get to pick first every time). I was hoping to livestream the draft just like they did for the real MLP but Michael Harris (the man in charge) decided that it should be a private draft to avoid hurt feelings. I guess people get butt hurt when they are picked last. I can’t really relate because I have such thick skin but some people are very sensitive about this stuff. I told Michael that I don’t mind getting picked last. I’m just happy that I get to play. I mean, there are dozens of pickleball players who probably would have loved to have been invited to play in the first ever ICT MLP but it was a hand-picked select group so the fact that you’re one of the 32 lucky ones who get to join the fun means you’re already winning. But I often see things differently than most.

So they had a somewhat secret draft (it’s not really that private because they did it during the men’s league at CNP on a Wednesday night) and here’s how it turned out:

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The captains drew for their pick order and our team captain Daniel Nguyen was lucky enough to get the first pick. Amazingly, he didn’t pick Steve Vetter who I think everyone pretty much assumed would be the #1 draft pick. I was going to tease Daniel and ask him how much Zach Nguyen (who got to pick second) paid him to not pick Steve. LOL.

Anyway, Matthew Rochat is actually an excellent first pick. He will forever be known as the #1 draft pick of the first ever ICT MLP event — a HUGE honor.

Later that night, Daniel messaged me on Facebook to ask for my number and I immediately knew I was on his team. When I found out who the rest of our teammates would be, I was stoked. Fong Witte was our other female team member and she is rock solid and I really enjoy playing with her. I was so excited! Specially after seeing the other team rosters, I thought our team looked pretty darn good. I already had visions of winning the whole thing.

Here are the teams:

Team 1: In It 2 Nguyen It
— Daniel Nguyen (captain)
— Matthew Rochat
— Fong Witte
— Ching Brubaker

Team 2: Tickle My Pickle (don’t ask)
— Zach Nguyen (captain)
— Steve Vetter
— Jody Vinson
— Deana Holman

Team 3: We’d Like to Speak to Your Manager
— Ian Carr (captain)
— Michael Harris
— Krista Crawford
— Karen Fox

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Team 4: Watchous Win
— Klee Watchous (captain)
— Scott Wolford
— Karen Taylor
— Lesli Toubassi

Team 5: 3 Dinks and a Fireball
— Donnie Lesperance (captain)
— Bobby Weisbrodt
— Tiffany Lesperance
— Missina Sharp

Team 6: The Porn-stachers
— Kyle Starkel (captain)
— Jeff Bally
— Amy Jaramillo
— Rachel McMahon

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Team 7: Old Man and His Posse
— Han You (captain)
— Tim Hereen
— Jen Reifschneider
— MariAnn Hereen

Team 8: 20/20
— Rick McKinney (captain)
— Adam Korfhage
— Jenny Cole
— Jen Tiano

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Daniel didn’t really want to come up with a team name and, since I pictured our awesome team winning it all, I suggested we be #InIt2WinIt which later evolved into “In It 2 Nguyen It” after Daniel’s last name. Other team name ideas included Team Electrum (since Matthew, Daniel and I all play with Electrum paddles but we couldn’t do that because Fong plays with a Franklin) and Asian Sensations (which would have worked except for Matthew isn’t Asian). Someone on the Facebook suggested we could have been Matthew and the Asian Sensations, which is actually pretty clever and has a nice ring to it.

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We actually did really well in our pool. The teams were randomly divided into two groups and we ended up in the same group as Tickle My Pickle, 3 Dinks and a Fireball, and 20/20. The match format is as follows:
— women’s doubles
— men’s doubles
— two rounds of mixed doubles
— optional team singles tie breaker (if needed)

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The games are all one game to 15, win by 1 (normal scoring) — except for the singles round which is also one game to 15 but with rally scoring. A team can avoid the singles round by winning 3 out of the 4 games. But if it’s 2 and 2, then you go into a singles tie breaker. During pool play, we still played out the second mixed doubles games even if one team already won the first 3 games so that the remaining players could still get their game in; however, during the single elimination bracket play portion, we were running out of time of if one team sweeps the first 3 games then the other team just gets knocked out.

We came out on fire and won all four games — women’s doubles, men’s doubles, and both rounds of mixed doubles — for our first match of the day against Tickle My Pickle. I think it’s because Steve, who is not a morning person, wasn’t quite awake yet. Amazingly enough though, he was at CNP warming up a few minutes before 7 AM, which is completely unheard of — Steve usually doesn’t play any earlier than 9 or 10 AM. No singles for us that round!

Our next match was against 3 Dinks and Fireball. Fong and I lost to Tiffany and Missina but Daniel and Matthew won against Donnie and Bobbie. Before you play, there is a coin toss and the winner of the coin toss decides if they will release their mixed line up first or their singles line up (and the other team would do the opposite). Donnie decided they would release their mixed first, which meant our team was on the hook for releasing our singles line up first. We weren’t really all that concerned because we didn’t have to go into a singles tie breaker for our first match — but maybe we should have been, LOL. Their team had Bobby and Missina playing first. Since I usually struggle when playing against Donnie and Tiffany, we decided to have me and Matthew go first.

We really should have won but we had a ridiculous amount of unforced errors that game. I blame the fact that their team soundtrack was playing in the background. Here’s a video if you want to watch the massacre. It was brutal.

At this point, we were down 2-1 and we really need Fong and Daniel to win in order to force the singles tie breaker game. Luckily, Fong and Daniel came through, which kept us alive. The downside is that we had to release our singles player order first, which meant the other team got to dictate the match ups. They ended up winning the singles and taking the match.

Our final round robin match was against 20/20. That’s Rick, Jen T, Adam, and Jenny. Because there were only 3 round robin pool play matches, it made the seeding very interesting. A lot hung in the balance of that match. If we lost, our win-loss record would be tied with 3 Dinks and a Fireball but, since they beat us head-to-head, we would end up as #4 seed within our pool. However, if we won, then we would be tied with Tickle My Pickle who we beat head-to-head so then we would be the #1 seed. So wild.

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Much like the match against 3 Dinks and a Fireball, out team lost women’s, won men’s, lost the first mixed doubles match up (me and Matthew), and won the second one (Fong and Daniel came through for us — again) to force the singles tie breaker. We kept our same order for singles — Matthew, Daniel, Fong and me — our strategy being to put our strongest singles players first because, with the rotation every four points, the weaker players may not get to play a second time (which would be a good thing).

Our team won singles and earned #1 seed for our pool. However, since the seeding was so random and out-of-whack anyway, it didn’t really mean anything other than determine who would play first in the single elimination bracket. Being #1 seed in Pool B meant we were playing the #4 seed of Pool A. But being number #4 seed didn’t really mean your team isn’t as strong because we could have easily been #4 in our pool depending on the outcome of that last match against 20/20.

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Our ranking put us against Old Man and His Posse in the first round. This was actually the worse we’d ever played all day. We lost both our gender doubles games and now it came down to winning both of the mixed doubles matches, with the added pressure of the second mixed doubles game not being able to play if our first mixed doubles team loses because we were running out of time to finish the tournament (so Michael decided to start eliminating unnecessary games to save time). That said, since Fong and Daniel had been doing much better than me and Matthew, our team decided to have them go first. They had to play Jen and Han. While that game was going on, Matthew noticed that there was an open court, so he negotiated with Michael to let us play our mixed game as well. Since both games would be going on at the same time, it wouldn’t really prolong the match and this meant that Matthew and I could still get one extra game in no matter the outcome of Fong and Daniel’s game.

Matthew and I started with a huge deficit against Tim and MariAnn right off the bat. However, we made a good run after the side switch and came back to win it. All I could think of was that I could not let my teammates down. We desperately needed the singles tie breaker.

Funny thing is, though Matthew and I started after our other teammates had already played several points, we actually finished before Fong and Daniel. It was such a close game, which could have gone either way. In the end, Jen and Han prevailed which meant their team won 3-1 and therefore we did not get that singles tie breaker that we needed. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. LOL.

I think Brian was relieved because it gave us plenty of time to make our nail appointment, which we had already rescheduled after the Nahola team tournament ran long. Had my team done really well and made it to the championship, we would have had to miss our nail appointment — again. It all worked out for the best.

The tournament went on until about 5 PM so it ran two hours longer than scheduled. Michael had originally planned for us to play from 7 AM to 3 PM that day. In the end, the two teams that made it to the championship round were both #4 seeds in their respective pools which only affirms what I already knew — it’s pretty much a crap shoot. I mean, all of teams consisted of some really good players so it came down to the match ups and who played the cleanest games.

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Old Man and His Posse (Han, Tim, MariAnn, and Jen) ended up winning the championship and own the bragging rights to being the first ever ICT MLP champions. The players who stuck around until the very end took this fun group picture. I wish we could have taken a group picture with all 32 players at the beginning because many of us had already left and our teams were eliminated from the tournament one at a time.

I had high hopes for my team at the start of the tournament but I am by no means upset about not winning. Win or lose, I’m happy either way as long as I get to play. I had an absolute blast playing in our first ever local MLP event and the team singles, which we tried so hard to avoid for every match, actually turned out to be my favorite of all the games. It was such a fun day and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Here’s a highlight video I made of that day:

Brian got a few games on the GoPro (before we ran out of space) and I have those up on YouTube here. Follow the link if you want to watch them.

Until next time. GNG.

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Chicks that Click

Posted on December 13, 2021 by under Community, Events, Things to Do.    

I love the Snowbound pop-up bar concept at Chicken N Pickle so much that I welcome any excuse to go. When Kim Blackman and Lisa Orf invited me to the Chicks that Click event at Snowbound and told me I could bring some friends, I was all over it. I was already going to be playing at Chicken N Pickle that day anyway for the CNP ICT Major League Pickleball team tournament so I figured it was perfect because then I could just come out an hour early.

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Sarah is the best bartender/mixologist/bar manager ever! She made an amazing “mocktail” for my friend Lesli Toubassi (below). I liked it so she made me an “adult” version spiked with rum, which was just as tasty.

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Deana Holman, Karen Taylor, and Jenny Cole listening attentively to Abby and Kim. Deana and Karen are a couple of pickleball players from Oklahoma who were playing in MLP that weekend. They stayed at Jenny’s house.

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We listened to Abby (brains behind the Snowbound pop-up bar concept) talk about how they did Snowbound at the Kansas City location (original/first ever CNP) last year and it was a huge success so they decided to bring it to the other locations this year. I’m not sure how it’s doing at the other locations but it is super popular with my circle of picklers so from that perspective I think it’s doing really well.

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Missina Sharp (another out of towner), Krista Crawford, and Rachel McMahon.

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The same ladies with Karen Fox. At first Karen said she couldn’t make it but she was able to come out after all.

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Deana, Karen (Taylor), Jenny, and Michelle Pease with their fun drinks.

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Group photo with most of the girls who attended. Lesli couldn’t stay.

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I had to get a gondola pic with my friend Krista who I had ran into at Costco earlier that same day. Then we did again with all the other girls because everything is better when you do it with a group, specially a fun one like these ladies.

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Jody Vinson was surprise when she arrived at open play because there weren’t many people there and when she found out we were still all drinking at Snowbound, she came to get us. LOL.

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The pre-pickleball drinks made open play quite interesting but I did get a few good practice games in before heading over to Nahola for our more pickleball with Debbie’s group. Anyway, this was the day that we took my car in for an oil change and I didn’t realize they turned off my headlights which are normally set to auto so I don’t ever mess with them. Anyway, I didn’t realize I was driving around without headlights until I was on my way home. Ooops!

I highly recommend checking out Snowbound. I do not recommend driving around without your headlights on. I knew I should have checked but it was daylight when I went to CNP and, even though I didn’t have that much to drink, I completely spaced the checking my headlights because I never really ever have to mess with them. I will be extra careful in the future. Until then. GNG.

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Leadership Wichita Holiday Get Together

Posted on December 9, 2021 by under Community, Events, Leadership.    

Our #LeadershipWichita class (class of 2014) recently had a holiday get together at Bill’s place. He has a 5,000 square-foot loft above Bite Me BBQ. It was the perfect place to gather because, being downtown, it’s centrally located for both East- and West-siders, and he had plenty of space for everyone.

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Bill and his wife Marilyn were wonderful hosts. Besides providing BBQ for everyone, they also had a nice dessert selection and made a special cake for our group. It was fabulous!

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Here are some pictures of our group. I’m glad several of my classmates made it to this event. It was great to see everyone. until next time. GNG.

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Meredith’s Visit

Posted on November 30, 2021 by under Community, Hobbies.    

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Meredith Novy was in town last weekend (she’s currently working in Baltimore, MD) so her boyfriend Brian Harshman brought several people together at Chicken N Pickle on Sunday afternoon for some pickleball fun. Some people couldn’t make it (Ev Kim had volleyball and Anna Le had to stay home and watch Sophia) but we got enough players to fill three courts for a fun ladder.

Debbie and Dave Fanning, Tiffany and Donnie Lesperance, Michael Harris, Lori Below, Karen Fox, Kim Knotts, Fong Witte, Brian Harshman, and Meredith Novy (our guest of honor) came out to play. Here are some pictures that we took at the end of our play session.

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But the fun didn’t end there. After our pickleball session, a bunch of us went up to the Snowbound Ski Lodge (trip #2 for me) because several people hadn’t experienced it yet. The Snowbound Ski Lodge is located at Chicken N Pickle’s rooftop and it’s the perfect place for a holiday gathering.

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It was so great to have Meredith back, even just for a weekend. It’s so much fun to play with and against such a talented pickleball player. We had a great time visiting but also hearing how difficult it is to get good pickleball play in Baltimore made me realize just how special our pickleball community is in Wichita.

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Cheers to the best group of picklers ever! Can’t wait to have Meredith back! Only a few more months to go. Until next time. GNG.

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