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News for Norther Colorado and the world

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Around Town: Stars All Around Us

I have been getting out and around town a little more this past week. What a delight to watch the kindergartners perform over at Ivy Stockwell. I may have been the only non-parent/grandparent there, but the kids were delightful. I think there are some future show-choir candidates in that bunch. The teachers and volunteers did a great job.

Then it was off to the library district board meeting. Everyone seems to be glad the mil levy was approved. The Town Board was very happy about it last week while they were approving the budget. While they are still giving support to the library this year, that will soon end and there will be more money for the Town government. The library folks are pleased because there will be a more predictable income. The final budget will be approved next month for those that wish to attend that meeting.

Friday night was Star Night at the Little Thompson Observatory (LTO).  The speaker was our own Andrea Schweitzer. This is a special year for astronomy as the
whole world celebrates the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s invention of the telescope. The International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA 2009) will be full of interesting events and Dr. Schweitzer is the person in charge of the program for the entire United States. Quite a responsibility. The powers that be had heard of the LTO and how successful it has been. Dr. Schweitzer was of the opinion that she was chosen because the local observatory has been all-volunteer and the IYA2009 folks don’t have any money to spend and they want her to organize the whole country as volunteers. If anyone can do it, she can.

Saturday was a day of robots. The 2008 Thompson Robotics Expo at Thompson Valley High School was quite an event. There were two categories of robots working that day. First up were the smaller Lego robots. Yes, robots put together with Lego blocks and parts and made to run in competition. We had three teams from Berthoud and while they did not finish in the top ranks, the kids had a great time.

Actually, the robot competition only counts for a quarter of the score the teams get. They also have to do a research project, have a technical interview and perform a team challenge. It was a long day, but I think the participants liked it.

The other, larger robots are the VEX robots. I tried to find out what VEX stood for, but apparently it doesn’t stand for anything. The robots are larger and use radio controls in their competition. Berthoud fielded two teams from the ranks of the high school and they tried to pick up foam blocks and stack them, but I didn’t see them get very many blocks. It looked to me that the robots were mostly running into each other.

The important thing was that the kids had a good time competing and they learned a lot in the process. The program helps develop and interest in science and technology, which is what these things are all about.

Time to get ready for Thanksgiving Day. I am going to start looking for my carving knife as soon as I am finished.

See you around town.

 

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