The Bulletin
Sunday, December 21, 2003
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Updates -

by Weston Johnson

Well, it's been awhile since I've contributed an update, mainly because work has been pretty much dominating my life for the last month or so, leaving me little time to write and little interesting material for an update. My standard answer to the question, "where do you work?" has always been a vague line about feasibility studies and stadiums, so I figured I'd write about exactly what it is that I’ve been working on lately to give everyone a better idea of what I do.

I've been working on three projects lately, all of which we're trying to wrap up before Christmas. The first is a study we’re doing for the St. Louis Rams football team. We're basically examining their finances and operations, comparing them to other NFL franchises, and identifying areas of potential improvement. My role has been to collect the information we receive from other teams and enter it into summary charts to allow for easy comparisons with the Rams' information.

The second project is a study we're doing to help Franklin County, Ohio, (Columbus) decide if they should renovate their 70-year old baseball stadium or build a new one, by helping them figure out what the prevailing opinions are in the Columbus area. As a first step, I went to Columbus in August to do fan intercept surveys at several Clippers games to find out what their fans think of the stadium situation. The next step was telephone surveys of Clippers season ticket holders and local corporations and residents. We don't actually have to conduct the surveys ourselves; we just develop the survey, then analyze the results.

For the last step of the process, I got to go back out to Columbus in late November to moderate focus groups sessions with various groups to get more input on the stadium situation.

The last couple of weeks have been spent taking all the opinions we received through the surveys and focus groups and pulling them together into a report. We just sent a draft to the County this week, which basically consisted of 75 pages of bar charts with explanatory text. If you think it sounds like fun to read, just imagine how much fun I had writing it! It was a good feeling to finally get it sent off.

The third project I’ve been working on is a feasibility study for a new arena in suburban Detroit. A private investor wants to build the arena and bring in a minor league hockey team. Of course, he wants the public (in this case, the city of Lincoln Park) to pony up some of the funding. Our report is supposed to help the city determine whether the project is feasible (i.e., whether it could draw enough events and attendance to turn a profit) so the city can decide if it wants to get involved.

I have interviewed managers of several existing arenas to get an understanding of how those facilities operate. I've also talked with potential users of the facility (minor hockey and indoor football leagues, concert and show promoters, the state high school league, etc.) to see if anyone would actually use the facility if it were built. Now I am in the process of writing the report and working on a financial model that will estimate the annual revenues and expenses that could be generated by the arena. The goal is to have that done by Christmas. We'll see.

So that's what I've been keeping busy with over the last few weeks. Throw in the fact that I was responsible for making sure my company's 700 Christmas cards got sent out on time and to the right addresses, and it's been a pretty hectic month of December. I'm definitely looking forward to Christmas, even more so than usual.

Travelogue t

The Bolivian Beat
By Kjirsten Swenson

We'll be in Argentina at least until mid next week. The directors have reason to believe that the travel warning will be lifted next week Wednesday, provided that all remains calm. We would likely fly back to Bolivia the following Saturday. It's still all very, very tentative...

I've decided that if we have to stay in Argentina to do our independent study projects, I'm going to go to Patagonia and play and take pictures. That made me feel better. :) No matter what, I'm going to carry out my planned project in rural Bolivia -- I just may end up doing it unofficially in February when I return. But I retain hope that we'll be back within two weeks.

We visited a shantytown this morning and learned about mobilization efforts of unemployed Argentines. The contrast between the standard of living between the center and this place was amazing. It's like going from Midtown New York City to the most destitute areas of Bolivia, but during a 30 minute bus ride. This afternoon we had a lecture on most recent 100 years of Argentine history. I think we're enjoying the city, but it's impossible not to be preoccupied about what is or isn't coming next.

Ex-president Goni apparently met with Bush a day ago. Not exactly sure how to translate his lies, but he gives "narco-traffic-unionists" and "corporate terrorists" responsibility for ruining democracy in Bolivia, and warns that it could become the next Afghanistan. So ridiculous ... if I didn't think my government were silly enough to believe him, I might be entertained.

Abundant shops filled with creative shoes and middle-of-the-night dinners remind me of Spain :)


The Matriarch Speaks W
by Dorothy (Dake) Anderson
Springfield MO

A Christmas to Remember

It all started out so perfectly. It was a beautiful sunshiny day; the snow that had fallen in the last week covered all the dreariness of late fall with a new and beautiful coat. Today was the gathering of the family. We were to all be at Grandma and Grandpa Dake's house just across the way, and Dad had said that Billy, Blanche, and I could run on over and see if we could help Grandma (or Grandpa). I loved being included in with the big kids. After all, I was soon going to be six! (Well, maybe not real soon.)

Grandma greeted us at the door and she said that maybe I could be in charge of the entryway. Put all the everyday clothes way in the back and then as people came I could put the boots back against the wall on the paper that I could lay down for receiving them. So I put the boot jack beside the door and then laid out some papers to keep the floor clean. It was a very important job and I did it the best I could.

Wonderful smells drifted out from the kitchen -- hmm I wondered what present I would get. We would have gift unwrapping after the noon dinner was over. I knew that there would only be one gift for each of us. We had drawn names at Thanksgiving. I had helped Mom pick out the gift for Uncle Isom -- as I really wasn't too sure what he would be pleased with (and must admit I wished I had gotten somebody else's name). I hoped he was going to like the nice handkerchiefs with his initial on the corner. I knew he would like the loaf of bread Mom and I had baked for him. She had let me punch the dough down so it could be partly from me! But there I heard old Tippy barking, so I had better start helping the first arrivals.

The next part of the day was fun, too. Everybody of the family had gotten to come. The first to arrive was our family; Mom and Dad and little brother Bubsy (really his name was LeRoy but we didn't call him that). They arrived with all the food and gifts in our dependable Model T. Mom told me that I really had everything fixed up so neat that she was proud of me and thought that now that she saw Anty and Gilbert arriving she thought maybe I should run and play and she would take over my job. So that is what I did!

We decided that we would make a big "Fox and Goose" ring and Billy said he would be the first fox to chase the geese. It was fun but scary and I liked to sneak to the middle and get in the safe spot so I wouldn't get caught. The only trouble was that only one goose could be there at a time and when somebody else came on base I had to run again. But it WAS fun being the fox, too, so I didn't really mind getting caught. (There was always Bubsy who I could catch pretty easy!)

The morning flew by and our game hardly got started and Aunt Minnie came to the door to "yell us in." She had a broom and used it to sweep every one of us so we wouldn't track up the house!

Dinner was scrumptious! We kids each sat on a stair step, with Billy at the top and coming down by age -- Blanche, Gilbert, Me, and then Bubsy. I liked getting to sit so near Gilbert. He had such a good imagination and we could have such a lot of fun together. He was not quite a year older than me but the older kids liked to play with him, too. I think we were lucky to have nice cousins! The other ones didn't come to this family gathering, though; they went to their Mom's folks, I guess ... after all, it was a long way to the City!

At last everyone was finished eating, the dishes were scraped and stacked on the table ready for Mom to wash and half a dozen others to dry and put away. Aunt Minnie got another pan out and started to clean the pans. We thought they would never be done -- the stack of presents stacked under the shelf where Grandma's geraniums were blooming looked so exciting! And FINALLY it was time.

We each received our package, and then took turns unwrapping and displaying what we had -- that made the fun last longer. Finally it was my turn and the package was pretty ordinary looking, no lumps or bumps. It was from Mom. In it was the prettiest cloth I had ever seen; it was soft, white with pretty little squares in groups and they were such pretty colors -- with it came beautiful buttons. (That is another story how that dress got made.)

Now what was about to happen? This was something strange. Grandma Mellon was speaking to all of us. She brought a box out of the bedroom and opened it. She lifted out a beautiful doll all dressed so fancy I could hardly believe my eyes. And this is what she said," This doll needs someone to take care of her. It will take a big girl to care for her so she will go to the girl who can reach the highest."

It took a while for this to sink in -- just how could I expect to own this lovely doll? I wasn't ever going to be able to reach higher than my sister Blanche who was ten!! But I wouldn't give up without a try, and it was then I heard my Grandpa Dake and my Grandpa Mellon; they were telling me, "Dorothy, climb up on the couch!" but I knew Grandma Dake wouldn't like me to do that. So I just stretched as high as I possibly could. And the doll went home to our house, but not in my arms!!

It was truly a Christmas to be remembered! And I don't tell anybody, but I like my Grandpa Mellon better than I like Grandma -- but really I do love them both!

This and That
by Elaine Wold
Wahpeton, ND

Something for the kids....or the "Young at heart"....

Q. Why did Johnny get such low grades after Christmas?
A. Everything is marked down after the holidays.

Q. If a reindeer lost its tail, where would he go for a new one?
A. A retail shop.

Q. Why was Santa's helper depressed?
A. Low elf esteem.

Q. What happened when the lion walked on the beach?
A. He got sandy claws.

Q. Why does Santa have a nice garden?
A. He likes to ho, ho, ho.

Q.Why did Mrs Claus give Santa an umbrella?
A. Because of the rain, dear.

Why did Santa go into space?
A. To find Comet.

Q. If athletes get athlete's foot, what do astronauts get?
A. Missile toe.

Q.What did Tarzan sing on Christmas?
A. "Jungle Bells"

Q.What do you call a piece of cheese that's not yours?
A. Nacho cheese.


Holiday Greetings from the Indermarks!

We hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
The Indermark Family
(Jim, Kristi, and Jordan)

Left to right: George Larson, Jordan Indermark, Kelly Seaman, Nathan Seaman, Mike Seaman, Devan Seaman, Jim Indermark, Jim Miller

Sorry we haven't written lately. Rylie's been sick a couple times, which has made for some pretty long weeks! I'll try to get something together soon; in the meantime, we're sure enjoying the Bulletins we've been receiving!

Wyatt, Jolene, and Rylie


By Barb Dewey

Donna wanted me to tell the story of our little black Springer Spaniel/Lab dog, "Norm," (like in "Cheers") and his hunting experience with our older son, Mark. Norm is 3 and loves to hunt, is merciless in hunting squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks and his favorite ... woodchucks, in the farmyard all summer. In the fall, he has a hard time getting anyone to bring the gun and hunt the fields, but Mark was home from Bemidji and he was going pheasant hunting.

Out through the grass ditches they go ... Norm leaping and sniffing and soon up jumps a pheasant. Mark raises his gun to fire ... and it jammed. Nothing. He reloaded and Norm goes bounding on ahead ... up jumps pheasant #2, Mark pulls the trigger and "bang," but nothing fell from the skies ... he missed.

Now Norm isn't used to such frustration ... the "other people" in his life usually "get the varmint" ... so he looks quizzically at Mark and then goes back to sniffing ... but soon there is a rustling in the grass. Norm comes out with a pheasant in his mouth ... you can only put up with such incompetence for so long ... and off he goes, trotting down the driveway toward home with the prize.

Tune: Winter Wonderland
sent to us by Melinda M.
(The elementary teachers understand what this office girl is talking about!)

Children scream, they're not listnen'
When they go, we don't miss them,
In all of this pain, we try to stay sane
Workin' in an elementary school

Christmas comes, they're excited,
Though our nerves, they've ignited
They're off of the walls, they run in the halls,
Workin' in an elementary school.

In the lunchroom we can hear them yellin'
And we know that they are really wound.
Someone hits, the other says, "I'm tellin'!"
And that is when our heads begin to pound.

Pretty soon we'll be restin'
Cause our nerves, they've been testin'
We're happy, it's clear
It comes once a year,
Christmas in an elementary school!!!!!!!!!!

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY: Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death.

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This Bulletin is copyright Dorothy M. Anderson; the contents are also copyrighted by the authors and photographers and used with their permission, and the contents are not to be used for any commercial purposes without the explicit consent of the creators.