Saturday, May 24, 2014

Free Movies in the Park

Enjoy family night at the movies in the city parks on Saturday nights through the summer. Take your lawn chairs and/or blankets. Admission is free, and concessions will be available for purchase. No outside food or beverage will be allowed.

  • 5/24/14, RIPLEY PARK, DESPICABLE ME 2 @ 8:30 p.m.
  • 5/31/14, GARFIELD PARK, Planes @ 8:30 p.m.
  • 6/7/14, SANTA FE PARK, movie TBD @ 8:30 p.m.>
  • 6/15/14, GARFIELD PARK, Monster University @ 8:30 p.m.
  • 6/21/14, BILLARD PARK, movie TBD @ 8:30 p.m.
  • 6/28/14, Meadowood Park, Lego Movie @ 8:30 p.m.
  • 6/30/14, GARFIELD PARK, Saving Mr. Banks @ 9 p.m.

    July and August to be announced at a later date.
  • Free Concert in North Topeka

    Topeka resident and Country Gospel Singer, Pete Whitebird, will once again have a concert in Topeka. Tomorrow, Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 6:30 pm. It has been a few years since I attended a concert of his, but I am sure his comedy act of "Bubba", will once again be a part of his concert. If you not heard him sing or heard his comedy, I highly recommend that take this opportunity to take in this FREE concert at Seaman Congregational 2036 NW Taylor Rd, Topeka, KS 66608

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

    Race Car Driver Shane Gray Coming to Topeka

    photo courtesy of NHRA
    We recently learned that NHRA race car driver Shane Gray, will be signing autograph's at Menard's on Thursday May 22, 2014. His Gray Motorsports Camaro will be on display in the parking lot as well. According to the poster displayed on the front doors of the store, Gray and his Jerry Haas-built Camaro will be at Menards, located at 6401 SW 17th St in Topeka, KS, on Thursday, May 22, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Gray will meet fans and sign autographs, and the public will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with his race car.

    Gray and his team will also be at the NHRA Kansas Nationals in Topeka, Memorial Day weekend.

    Monday, May 19, 2014


    We are on the search for the best burger in Topeka. Here is how we rate the burger joints that we will review. First we put heavy emphasis on where the joint is headquartered, Local (Topeka) will garner an automatic 10 bonus points. Kansas owned chains (headquartered in Lawrence, Wichita, etc) an automatic 5 bonus points and National chains (those headquartered outside the state) will garner an automatic 0 bonus points. The ten categories that we will use in our search for the best burger in Topeka will be 1.Burger Patties Quality, 2. Bun Quality, 3. Customer Service, 4. Garnish Quality, 5. Fries Quality, 6. Atmosphere, 7. Order Accuracy, 8. Cleanliness (Restrooms, Dinning area, Entrance, etc), 9. Building Accessibility and 10. Price. All categories will earn a score between 1 and 10, with 10 being the highest and 1 being the poorest. 

    photo by Kevin Surbaugh

    Bonus Points: 5

    1.Burger Patties Quality 7
    photo by Kevin Surbaugh
    The burgers were thin, but cooked through. However, I would hope so as thin as the single burgers were. Taste was edible, but have tasted much better with Coke™ rather then Pepsi™ (which tastes like flat watered down Coke™ to me). Aside from the amount of meat (or lack thereof) the Pepsi™ was the biggest thing to bring down the rating in burger quality.
    2. Bun Quality 8
    The buns seemed fresh and were buttered. They didn't appear to be toasted which would of made the bun quality even better. Kudo's to them for at least buttering the bun, but a toasted bun would have been so much better. 
    3. Customer Service 7
     Ordering was very fast and efficient, as was receiving our food. However, they did not explain that lettuce and pickles do not come standard on their burgers.  They just tacked on an extra 15 cents for each of these garnishes.  As first time visitors to this restaurant this left a bad taste in our mouth. Which meant as both a customer and a reviewer we were not happy.
    4. Garnish Quality 7
    While all the vegetables and condiments were very good and fresh. Which would of earned them the highest marks in this category, the fact they charged extra for pickles and lettuce without even alerting us to this atrocious  extra charge, brought the ranking down a few points.
    5. Fries Quality 7
     I am not a fan of shoe string fries. As it leaves me want to shout, "Where's the potatoes?" I like my potatoes, no scratch that I love my potatoes and when I eat a fry, I want to taste the potato not air. So on this category, I have to again give lower marks, even thought they were hot and fresh tasting.
    6. Atmosphere 7
     While I am a fan of oldies music, it seems a little tacky to hear an oldies radio station rather the Muzak®. Especially when the first thing I heard when I set down with my food was a commercial for a competitor (also headquartered in the same city as Freddy's™).
    7. Order Accuracy 5
    missing fries  photo by Kevin Surbaugh
    We ordered two steak burger combo's. What we received was one combo (burger, fries and drink), One burger and one drink. We had to return to ask about the fries. The problem was completely in the kitchen, as our receipt clearly showed  the cashier had rung it up as we had ordered.  The kitchen tried to tell us that their monitor only said one combo was ordered.  If they had been honest and not lied about it, I would have given higher marks, but because they lied to try cover up their own mistake, I gave them a five rather then the seven that they could have received with the same mistake. Accidents happen, and I understand, but I hate lying.
    8. Cleanliness (Restrooms, Dinning area, Entrance, etc) 2
    Of all the restaurant reviews I have done for this blog and another blog, this is the poorest ranking I have given for cleanliness, but that is because it was the dirtiest. After using the restroom, we extremely considered taking Dr. Oz's advice and walk out without ordering anything. However, we needed to write this review. So we persevered.
    photo by Kevin Surbaugh
    So what did we find objectionable in terms of cleanliness at this national fast food chain

  • Trash on the floor of both restrooms.

  • Chrome on the the bottom of the restroom doors (and kitchen doors) looked like they hadn't been cleaned in days if not weeks (as I tried to photograph in the picture to the right).

  • Numerous fingerprints on kitchen and restroom doors.

  • Front windows were dirty

  • The only thing positive was that the dinning room floor and tables appeared to be clean, and that an employee was seen cleaning the tables as the handful of customers left.

    9. Building Accessibility 10
    This building having been built only a few years ago, had been constructed in a manner that was easily accessible from the three handicapped parking stalls in the parking lot.
    photo by Kevin Surbaugh

    10. Price 8
    $4.89 (per Single Steak burger  combo meal) x2 Each Combo comes with a Steakburger, Fries and a drink. They also charged us an extra 15 cents for lettuce and another extra 15 cents for pickles. Two things that come standard on most burgers. At least the pickles. The lettuce I might have seen as being an extra charge, if they had politely informed of this. Since they didn't it left us feeling misled.

    Over all the score: 7.2
    Looking back at our experience with the cleanliness (and charging extra for pickles) as well as the fact they serve Pepsi™, it is unlikely there will be a second visit to this establishment or any other Freddy's™.

    Sunday - Thursday 10:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
    Friday - Saturday 10: 30 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
    1050 SW Wanamaker Rd
    Topeka, KS 66614

    ****Update The extra charges were for Lettuce and tomatoes. We misread the receipt. We regret that error. It was an extra 15 cents for tomatoes and extra 15 cents for lettuce. Still feel this was ridiculous. The Franchise operator recently said that next week the prices of their menu items would be going away, and the extra charges for optional tomatoes and lettuce would be eliminated.

    Friday, May 16, 2014

    Brown v Topeka Board - 60 Years Later

    It has been 60 years since Topeka was rocked by the court case that would be heard around the world. The famous Brown v Topeka Board of Education. In fact this Saturday will mark the 50th anniversary. Topeka already has a National Park Site to commemorate the historic event. Which is important, because as they say, "he who forgets the past, is doomed to repeat it."

    As such there will be some special events happening this weekend to help everyone of all ages to remember.

    1. Monroe Kindergarten (National Park Service)

      See the National Park Service’s renovation of the old Monroe kindergarten room. Restored to look like it did in the early 1950s, the room will contain games, toys and books from the period.

      When: Friday, May 16, 2014, 11am

      Location: Brown v Board National Historic Site

    2. First Lady Michelle Obama

      The First Lady of the United States will be here in Topeka tonight for a special senior recognition event to celebrate the 60 year anniversary of the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision.

      When: Friday, May 16, 2014, 5pm

      Admission: Free but invited guests only (Tickets required)

      Location: Kansas Expocentre

    3. Legacy Walk (National Park Service)

      Walk from Monroe Elementary to Sumner Elementary, reversing the path traveled before the Supreme Court ended segregation in Topeka and the Nation’s schools. Two-hour ranger-led walk. Wear comfortable shoes. Return transportation will be available.

      When: Saturday, May 17, 2014, 10 & 1pm

      Location: Brown v Board National Historic

    4. Sumner Tours, Oral Histories, Future Uses

      Take a look at the building where the case began. Share your stories with staff on site to record vital oral histories and join the conversation on future uses of the school.

      When: Saturday, May 17, 2014, 9am-6pm
      Sunday, May 18, 2014 1pm—6pm

      Location: Sumner Elementary School
      330 SW Western Avenue

    5. Twitter Re-enactment of Brown v. Board of Education US Supreme Court Decision. Follow the site on Twitter @BRVB_NHS for a re-enactment of the Brown v. Board of Education US Supreme Court decision and the world’s reaction.

      Saturday, May 17, 2014 thru Sunday, May 18, 2014

      Admission: Free on Twitter
      Location: Twitter on your computer, tablet or smartphone

    6. Brown Foundation Banquet

      The Brown Foundation offers a tribute to the seminal events of the Civil Rights Movement. Commemorate the 60th Anniversary with celebrity host Carl Boyd, speaker Danny Strong and keynote speaker Carolyn Maull (McKinstry).

      When: Saturday, May 17, 2014, 7pm

      Location: Ramada Inn & Convention Center (Downtown)

    Friday, May 9, 2014

    Santa Fe 3463

    The vintage Sante Fe 3463 locomotive above was designed by H.H. Lanning and his staff in Topeka, Kansas, and built in 1937 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Pennsylvania. The steam locomotive was first assigned between La Junta, Colorado and Chicago, Illinois.

    photo by Kevin Surbaugh

    Later with the introduction of the diesel engine, service was changed to Kansas City and Oklahoma City and Kansas City between Tulsa, Oklahoma. Eventually being displaced by diesel in the 1950's, the #3463 made it's last run in 1953 with a run between Newton, Kansas, and Emporia, Kansas. For three years, the class 4-6-4 locomotive remained in Emporia until 1956 when it was permanently moved to the Topeka Fairgrounds which is more commonly known today as the Kansas Expocentre. This steam locomotive is the only one from this class in existence today.

    photo by Kevin Surbaugh
    This locomotive was built in 1937 and retired in 1953.

    photo by Kevin Surbaugh

    Kansas Expocenter
    One Expocenter Drive
    Southeast parking lot just off Topeka near 17th
    South of hotel
    photo by Kevin Surbaugh
    People with mobility issues in grassy area will find it difficult to get close to. The best way to access it, for the closest view if you have mobility issues is the hike and bike trail that runs behind  it in the pictures above. That of course may still be difficult for some with mobility issues.

    Wednesday, May 7, 2014

    White Concert Hall Murals

    There are two murals at White Concert Hall. I have been attempting to find more about the murals, but so far have not been able to find out when they were painted or by whom.  They are located just inside the front doors of White Concert Hall.
    In addition to those two there are murals on the Mulvane loading dock, on the Physical Plant building and on the exterior of the connection between the Memorial Union and the Living Learning Center. The latter of which, was painted by then Washburn art students Judith Wade and Maria Guzman in 2003.

    I will be back to Washburn to photograph more of the public arts in the coming weeks.

    photo by Kevin Surbaugh

    photo by Kevin Surbaugh
    White Concert Hall
    17th and Jewell

    Friday, May 2, 2014

    Annual Job Fair Event to be Held Monday

    Second district Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins announced that her annual job fair will be Monday, May 5, 2013, at the Agriculture Hall at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka. The event is scheduled between 9am and noon.
    Congresswoman Jenkins said 72 employers have registered to attend the annual Jobs Fair, which attracted more then 900 job seekers last year.
    According to the Capitol Journal,
    “Even in a difficult economic climate we have received overwhelming support from the local business community as more than 70 employers have registered,” Jenkins said in a press release, which noted that an estimated 1,030 job openings are available.
    - Topeka Capitol Journal


    Gracing the front lawn of the Mulvane Art Museum. Interdependence reveals the ongoing spirit and changing nature of art.

    photo by Kevin Surbaugh

    photo by Kevin Surbaugh
    Created Date:

    Yu Yu Yang

    Sculpture Type:
    Polished stainless steel

    Mulvane Art Museum
    (one of the oldest art museums in Kansas)
    near 17th and Jewel
    1700 SW Jewel
    Topeka, KS 66621

    It is on grass but plenty visible from the sidewalk or street.