Monday, June 27, 2005

The Wichita Eagle issues special edition

WE BTK X-tra Edition front
Originally uploaded by Edited Copy.
This issue of the Wichita Eagle was published shortly after Dennis Rader confessed to all of the 10 BTK killings. It was sold out in about five or six hours. The only reason I was able to get a copy is because I work across from the customer service desk in the Wichita Eagle Celebrations office. (I help people place anniversary, birth, engagement and wedding announcments, among others.)

Rader surprised everyone today, including his defense team, which was convinced that the confession was going to be a "bare bones" confession. Instead, Rader gave the eerie details of every killing, including how he chose each one, even comforting some of them before he strangled them to death.

This man is seriously disturbed, although it appears there was not enough evidence to support an insanity defense.

See my post below for links to more information.

Dennis Rader Confesses to Being BTK

In a dramatic turn of events, the man held in connection with the BTK murders (serial murders that happened over a course of almost three decades by someone who eluded capture for 31 years), confessed to being the notorious killer. BTK, a nickname given by the killer, himself, stands for "bind them, torture them, kill them".

Dennis L. Rader was expected to change his plea of "not guilty" to "guilty," partially at the request of his family to make it easy on them. To tell you the truth, though, I don't know how any of this could be easy for anyone who knows or loves him. He did change his plea, and then he non-chalantly described every aspect of the killings: how he gained entry into the homes, how he went about the killings, step by step, and how he got away with each one. All this, he told without emotion. It was sickening and very, very disturbing.

I only watched about the first five minutes of his description of the Otero family murders (this was a family full of Judo experts; the youngest of the victims was only 9 years old). After that, I couldn't listen to any more, and I had work to do. I was getting ready to bundle newspapers for delivery for customers of mine who had placed announcements that ran in last Sunday's paper.

While I was bundling papers, The Wichita Eagle was printing (or, at that time, preparing to print) an "Extra Edition" featuring the guilty plea, abbreviated descriptions of the murders, and the victims. Needless to say, it sold out before the day was over, but not before I was able to get a copy for myself. A photo or two of that edition is forthcoming.

In an effort to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information, I'm providing the following links:

The Wichita Eagle, the newspaper I work for, and also one of the media outlets that received communications with BTK prior to his arrest
Eagle links that go directly to BTK coverage
KAKE-TV, the ABC television affiliate that had dealt directly with communications with BTK before his arrest
KAKE-TV links that go directly to BTK coverage: here, here, here, and here.

I may add more as the coverage continues.

Keep in mind that most of this information will only be available for a limited amount of time, so eat up what you can while you have the opportunity. Remember that the "Extra Edition" of today's paper sold out in a matter of about five or six hours. Chances are, there will be more information released over the next few days, weeks, or more, as it is released from sealed status in the court system.

I'll do my best to give my own updates with links, as well. But keep in mind that I have a full-time job now that keeps me very busy, plus a Mary Kay business that fluctuates with consistency.

If you have any questions that you aren't finding answered in the links I provided, let me know and I'll see what I can do to find the information for you.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

I've been book-tagged...

Okay, Devona, I'll take up your challenge. But I must say this is going to be a rather embarrassing post. I'm going to be referring back and forth to your post to answer to the different sections of this tag. Ready? (No!) Oh, sorry. I guess I posted that out loud.

Number of books I own: This is a tricky one, because most of the books I have are text books that I decided to keep after my classes at Wichita State University were over. Other than that, I probably own between 15 and 20 books. (I told you this would be embarrassing.)

Next book to buy: Wow. I haven't really thought about that much, but I guess the next books I'm looking to buy are related to my desire to teach beginning American Sign Language. One is called Religious Sign Language, and that's one that I want to get for myself so I can improve my ability to sign at church. The others are for those who sign up for my class. It's a book called Signing Made Simple.

Currently reading: Well, I can tell you what I read when I want to read and what I'm supposed to be reading. What I read when I want to read is Killed: Great Journalism Too Hot to Print. What I'm supposed to be reading is The Hammer of God for our pastor's summer book club. I have a lot of catching up to do.

Last book I read: I very seldom read a whole book from cover to cover, and if I do, it takes a while. I'm just not much into reading. I'd rather be up and doing something or watching a good TV show or movie. The last book I read all the way through was The Gutenburg Galaxy by Marshall McLuhan. It figures, right? A communication-related book.

I've also been working my way through the articles in Killed. Very intriguing. Even Ron has liked some of them, including a story about an interview that writer Erik Hedegaard had with singer John Mellencamp. It was called "The Lay-Z-Boy Position," and it was killed by Details in 1996. I guess because the story focused a lot on Mellencamp's cigarette addiction, the magazine was afraid that its cigarette advertisers would pull their ads, so they chose not to run the story. I think Ron liked it because every other word Mellancamp used was the f-bomb.

Books that have meant the most to me: The Bible, Luther's Small Catechism, and an assortment of communication-related texts, mostly. That includes the sign language books I have. Afterall, sign language is a form of communication. A very effective one. I find it fascinating. I like Sprituality of the Cross by Gene Edward Veith, although Ron just mostly read it to me while I was putting my makeup on or something.

A book that changed my view of the world: I remember reading A Brave New World in high school. That was truly a scary futuristic view of the world, but slowly, I keep seeing evidence that some of the stuff described in the book is coming true. For instance the test-tube babies and the necessity to carry around protection in case people got frisky... I could go on, but some of the stuff I found just very disturbing.

I also read Sister Carrie, Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, Huckleberry Finn and others that I can't think of at this moment. I really liked most of the books I read in high school. And I read all of them completely. I would have read more books had I not had an advanced English teacher who didn't like me. I had to transfer out of her class because she wouldn't stop giving me Ds on papers and tests I should have gotten As or Bs on. Because of that, I missed out on Death of a Salesman, the Grapes of Wrath and a few others that I really kind of wanted to read. I guess high school was the time to do my reading because I seemed to enjoy it more then.

Embarrassing: I never really read any books I'd be embarrassed to admit to having read. The embarrassing part for me is the fact that I really don't do much reading unless it's required of me or unless I know I'm going to be stuck in a doctor's office waiting room for a while and the magazines suck. So, I bring a book with me, usually something that has something to do with the media.

My favorite book as a child: Honestly, I don't think I had one. I know that I was excited to learn how to read, but I don't think I ever really had a favorite. Unfortunately, reading wasn't really encouraged when I was growing up. I mean, not that it was banned or looked down upon or anything like that, but I never saw my parents sitting down to read anything, and I guess that's why it never really mattered to me very much.

I'm not getting too specific here, because I really don't do a lot of pleasure reading. In fact, I think it would shock Ron quite a bit if he ever saw me reading a book just for the hell of it. Usually, there has to be a pretty good reason for my book-reading. I do a lot of reading and typing at work. Ron tries to encourage me to read more, but it doesn't seem to have much of an effect on me. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I didn't learn to appreciate it when I was growing up.

But the question is this: How did I end up liking English and journalism so much if I never liked reading as a kid? And further: How am I going to impress upon the kids Ron and I have that reading is important if I can't seem to get into it, myself? That kind of concerns me. I know that whatever kids Ron and I have are going to be smart because they'll inherit our genes and more than likely improve upon what knowledge we impart to them. But we, as their parents, will need to set examples for them to follow. That won't be a problem for Ron: he loves reading. But if they see that I'm not very interested in reading, chances are good they won't be either. I hope that fear doesn't make it to reality.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Very well... An update

Nick asked me for an update. Well, Nick, and everyone else, now that the work week is over once again, I can post again.

I was told that our church might pay for the materials I would need to teach an ASL class. That, however has yet to be decided, as it has still not been determined when or where the class will be held. I also have not yet received any information about who will join the class, but there are many who have told me they would join if I taught it. People at church are still trying to decide which board my ASL class would be under: Evangelism, Social Concern, Education... I think it would go under all of them, personally.

As far as work goes, I still have not had my review with my boss. He was at first saying that he'd have scheduled times for everyone, then he said he'd let us know when he was ready for us and he'd try to have the reviews done by the end of June, and now he's saying it will probably take until the end of July. In the meantime, I've been full-time for almost a month, am really enjoying it, and am desparately looking forward to being able to take time off during the day for lunch and whatever other small breaks I could get. But before I can do that, I'll have to train someone to take over for me for those short periods.

So, if I have a doctor's appointment or something, the lady who used to trade off with me during the week will have to take time out from her new full-time position in order to relieve me.

In other news, Devona has tagged me with the book tag that is going around. I'm getting to it, Devona. I'm just very busy, especially during the week. That's why I'll try to post my response this weekend.

In the meantime, I'm tagging IntolerantElle and Nick. They're the only ones whose blogs I frequent that haven't been tagged yet, that I know of. So, take it away, Elle and Nick. (And, Elle, hopefully you can do this before you come to visit Dan, whom I'm surprised didn't tag you first.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Delphine and Wilma chatting
Originally uploaded by Edited Copy.
It stands for Midwestern International Lutheran Deaf Association, and it's probably the most needed in the United States, although it is one of the most overlooked.

Countless LCMS churches have begun English as a Second Language classes for those who speak Spanish, but the population most in need is that of the Deaf community. I'll tell you why:

About 95% of the Deaf population in the United States remains unchurched. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that since most people don't know how to talk to them, they don't ever receive the knowledge about Christ to begin with, and also, those who do have some knowledge of Christ are unable to find interpreted church services that jive with the theology they believe in.

At least in Wichita (and I'm willing to bet in the majority of cities in the U.S.), there aren't any LCMS churches with services interpreted for the Deaf. There was one LCMS church here that was interpreted about 15 years ago, but no longer.

The church that hosted the MILDA Conference is one that actually does have a Deaf Ministry program and interpreted Sunday services. Although it may have something to do with the fact that there is a school for the Deaf nearby in the same town.

One of the ways to try to start changing people's mindsets about ministering to the Deaf is to start a sign language class at your church. That's what I'm attempting to do at my church for the fall. Anyone close enough to come to my class (which I'm predicting will be Wednesday evenings during our Midweek program) is encouraged to attend!

I hope I've opened your eyes a little bit to this very overlooked ministry. I'm open to answering any questions you may have.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Cross-dressing burglar?

I got this story off of our local ABC station's website. It's just too crazy to believe, but it really happened! My guess is that the burglar was high on meth. I mean, no one in his right mind would do something like this!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

In Church This Morning...

We had a matins service instead of the divine service because our pastor is participating in the annual Bike Across Kansas. Basically, he's joined with hundreds of other people to ride their bicycles all the way from one end of Kansas to the other, a journey that lasts about a week.

The riders get sponsors to donate money to their ride, and in turn, the riders donate their funds to charity. The charity our pastor is donating to is the Children's Christian Concern Society. You should take a look! If you haven't heard of it, it's really a very worthy organization. Our pastor donates his time to the BAK every year, and his sponsor money to CCCS.

I got to write a story about and take pictures of people participating in the BAK three years ago when I was living and working in Ellsworth, Kan. at the the Ellsworth County Independent/Reporter, a tiny newspaper in a county of about 3,000 people in north-central Kansas. The town was on the BAK's route, and many of the riders stayed in town overnight one night before going out again to continue the ride.

Bikers start at the Kansas-Colorado border, and they end by touching the front tire of their bikes in the Missouri River on the Kansas-Missouri border. Whoever's tire touches the water first is considered the winner. If I had the stamina and time to do so (and if I could get my oversized hubby to join me), I think I'd enjoy riding in the BAK, myself!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Hit the ground running

I've never been so happy with a job that I've done. My work at The Wichita Eagle as the Celebrations Coordinator is really very enjoyable. I get to do everything: work with the customers, edit the photos, write the copy, layout the pages and print them, make slicks... I do it all. In reality, I kind of feel like I do the job of two people. I mean, I work all day five days a week now (well, starting on Monday, I will).

I start the job at 8:30 in the morning and hit the ground running. I start two computers (one a Mac and the other a PC) and check my mail and voicemail. Depending on the day, I either start out by bundling newspapers and making slicks or dealing with customers and typing announcements and arranging pages. Slicks and papers are done on Mondays and Tuesdays, usually Mondays, if I don't have too many customers to interrupt me. The rest of the time, I prepare my pages, and lately have been three pages for each Sunday edition.

I'm supposed to be finished with the day at 4:30 p.m., but oftentimes, I end up staying at least 15 minutes late. Sometimes, if I've really had a busy week dealing with customers, I end up staying really late on Fridays, which are my publication days. last night, I was at work until 9:15. I went in at 8:15 that morning. A four-day week made my job just a little more compressed.

I still don't get any breaks, either, including lunch. I eat in my office, and if the phone rings or someone comes to my window to place an announcement, I'm the only one who can help the customer, so I do. I have to. It's my job. And if my lunch gets interrupted, so be it. I can't leave the office because no one else knows how to do my job except the lady who used to work with me, who's now moved on to another department.

Apparently, in about another month or so, I should be training a lady who just started about a week ago at the front counter. She's supposed to take over for me during actual lunch breaks and whenever I might have a doctor's appointment or something. It'll be a while before I run up enough vacation time to actually go anywhere, so I should have time to train her before I would want to go anywhere. Theoretically speaking, of course.

Mostly, I'm just looking forward to getting to take a break once in a while. Working part-time was okay because, even though I worked full days, I only worked two to three a week, max. Now I'm working every day and still getting no breaks until I'm able to train someone else to take over for me. My boss said to give this new lady about another month to really fully learn her job before I start training her to do mine so she can cover for me. It's difficult work to train someone. Putting out three pages all by myself and training someone at the same time is going to be extra work and extra time after hours. I just hope I don't get burned out on this work before I have someone to give me breaks!

Ron calls me sometimes when I'm at work. He says, "Are you busy?" It's kind of funny for me to hear that when I'm at work, because there's never a time when I don't have something, something to do. So I tell him, "Yeah, I'm always busy." Then he says, "I like it when you're busy. That means you're not being lazy." How am I suppose to be lazy at work when I know that I'm going to have at least an hour or more in post-work-time hours every week than I would if I wasn't fully responsible for an entire three-page spread? I can't afford to slack off. Actually, I'm afraid that taking on the training of someone else, especially during a time of the year when we've got more customers than at any other is really going to make me work a lot of overtime hours.

Good thing I get paid by the hour!