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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Thoughts. A Save the Space Center Update. The Imaginarium

Shine Forth!
Hello Troops,
Our mega inversion has made the air barely breathable and highly visible.  From my vantage point on the east bench, Utah Valley resembles an alien landscape in Pollution's canvas of red, brown, yellow and orange hues illuminated by the rays of a dying late afternoon sun.
For one hour each day I stand outside in this mucky air adorned in my vest of hunter orange draped over my green coat (coat is a generous term);  one twenty minute shift at Central in the early A.M.  and two, twenty minute P.M. shifts at Shelley).  The kids are fun to talk to as they come and go.  One young Shelley Elementary 1st grader is eager to keep me in the know about Zombies.  One day last week he gave me a mini lecture outlining Zombie origins.  Another day he demonstrated how to defend oneself if attacked by Zombies.  The other days of the week consisted of general Zombie related discussions.  He wants me to be prepare for their inevitable coming (according to his older brother).  I'm touched he cares so much about my welfare.
I saw the funniest thing at Walmart this weekend. My mother asked me to take her to Lindon's Walmart to fill a prescription and pick up a few things in what she labeled a ' I'll only be a minute' half hour shopping trip.
It was just after 9:00 A.M. I was sitting in the parking lot waiting for her to come out. A gray haired grandma and her middle aged daughter exited the store. The grandma was pushing a half full shopping cart. An adult child helping her mother with her shopping wasn't anything out of the ordinary. I was there doing the same.
What happened next was the extraordinary part of this story. The grandma started running toward her car with the cart. The daughter looked surprised. The grandmother was laughing as the distance between her and her daughter increased. She had released the little girl locked up inside her.
Then to my surprise, grandma jumped up on the back of the shopping cart and rode it like a Roman chariot down the parking lot's long decline.
"Stop. Stop!" the Daughter shouted as she ran behind trying to catch up to steady the cart. It was obvious grandma wasn't going to stop.
"Be Careful!" the daughter shouted, realizing her mother was committed to the adventure. I could tell she was aware people were watching. She seemed embarrassed.
I learned a lesson from watching Gladiator Grandma. We must let our inner child escape its chains from time to time. The Space Center did that for me and thousands of other people. It was our chariot ride across a Walmart parking lot.
Mr. Williamson

The State of the Space Center. An Open Letter from the Save the Space Center Group:

Dear Friends of the Space Center,

A lot has happened this year and it's not even the end of January! We would like to answer some questions and concerns that have been coming in about the future of the Space Center. Consider it a "State of the Space Center" message to start the new year.

This Save the Space Center page and accompanying websites are a grassroots effort by concerned friends and former staff of the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center in Pleasant Grove. We are not backed by Alpine School District or any other organization - we are people volunteering our time and resources to make sure that students can continue to experience the magic and the learning found only at the Space Center. Our grassroots efforts include rallies, participation at civic meetings, and the timely dissemination of accurate information to the public. We want to keep everyone completely informed as decisions are made and steps are taken to reopen the Space Center and to secure its future.

The District launched a Committee last year after the Space Center we know and love was abruptly and unexpectedly closed. This committee meets every week and is focused on reopening the Space Center at Central Elementary as soon as possible for field trips. The District reports that the Space Center will reopen at the end of January or early February and that field trips will resume shortly thereafter. Due to various risk and liability issues, the District is not opening after school programs *yet*. From our contacts on the District committee, we understand that the first priority is field trips. As soon as field trips resume, the District can begin to focus on how to reopen for after school programs. One proposed solution is for a third-party
organization to assume responsibility for private flights and carry the burden of liability. Another is for the district itself to provide insurance and liability coverage for after school programs. These are questions that will be answered in the coming weeks, but for now we do know that the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center in Pleasant Grove *will reopen* on a limited basis for field trips.

Of the 5 simulators operating last year, only 3 will reopen: The Magellan, Phoenix, and Galileo simulators. The Voyager and the Odyssey were deemed too expensive to upgrade to the latest electrical and accessibility requirements. The Odyssey has been demolished completely, while the Voyager is now serving as storage space and will not be reopened. While the loss of two simulators means that fewer students can fly at a time, the three other simulators will be made available for field trips as soon as possible.

Earlier this week, Mr. Williamson wrote a blog post regarding the Discovery Space Center, a for-profit endeavor to replicate the Space Center experience at the Stonegate Reception Center in Pleasant Grove. This effort is supported by a number of former Space Center staff and friends who are eagerly painting, drilling, framing, and preparing 4 new simulators. Although the Discovery Center is completely independent of Alpine School District, the Discovery Space Center intends to pick up field trips, birthday parties, and private programs in lieu of the original Space Center's reduced capacity. Because the Discovery Space Center is owned and operated by a for-profit entity, they cannot support volunteer programs in the same fashion as the original Space Center. They do plan to offer programing, acting, and other classes, and high school students may be offered internships to help staff the facility. More details about the Discovery Space Center are available on their website

Since the closing of the Space Center, many of you have proposed that the Space Center form an independent nonprofit to house the Space Center brand and advance the art and science of simulation-based education experienced at the Space Center. We are pleased to announce that under the direction of Mr. Williamson and with the backing of a number of longtime Space Center staff, the Space EdVentures Foundation is being incorporated with assistance from the Vantus Law Group. A totally independent nonprofit, this foundation has a threefold mission:
  1. Protect and promote the Space Center brand
  2. Develop new curriculum, missions, software, and creative resources
  3. Advance the art and science of simulation-based education

As noted earlier, this nonprofit could also serve as the sponsoring organization for volunteer guilds, after school private programs, birthday parties, and camps at the Space Center at Central Elementary.

To become a fully recognized, 501c3 tax-exempt nonprofit is a lengthy process. As such, donations to this foundation will not be tax-exempt until full approval by the IRS. In the meantime, the foundation will be able to accept non deductible donations to fund up-front costs and to initiate the development of new Space Center oriented STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) curriculum, new missions, and other supporting technical and creative resources. Use of funds will be in full compliance with nonprofit disclosure laws and will go towards protecting and advancing the Space Center that we all know and love.

We hope that this report on the latest state of the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center helps to answer questions, dispel rumors, and otherwise establish current efforts to preserve the Space Center. We will provide more information about the Space EdVentures Foundation as soon as various legal and tax requirements have been met.

Thank you for your support of the Space Center!

An Update from Gary Gardiner's Dream Flight Adventures in Pennsylvania

Gary Gardiner is a former Space Center enthuasist who grew up, graduated from school, got married, had children and started his own Space Center company called 'Dream Flight Adventures'.  He is building his first starship simulator at a school just outside of Pittsburgh.   He recently posted this on his web site.  I'd like to share it with you.

Mr. W.
I’m excited to announce a brand new video that introduces all 16 stations in our simulators.   This is a great resource to review prior to a mission with us.
Also, teachers, please note that this video goes great with the “Infinity Knights Job Application” activity that is included in the Instructor Packets that come with each mission.
Now, without further ado, this video:

The Imaginarium
The Imaginarium is a place where we exercise our creativity and imagination.  Remember, use your imagination or lose it.  The Imginarium reminds you to always explore ways to make the ordinary, extraordinary.

An Automaton of Marie Antoinette.  The genius and imagination of the 18th Century David Roentgen (1743 - 1807).
David Roentgen was the 18th century's most celebrated cabinetmaker, famous for adding mechanical fittings and secret drawers to his ornate furniture. In 1784, he surprised his patron, France's King Louis XVI with this marvelous automaton of his queen, Marie Antoinette, playing the dulcimer. The mechanical proficiency of this device is quite remarkable; even today, we can see the hammers in the automatic queen's hands strike the strings precisely and in perfect rhythm. And, unlike the real Marie Antoinette, this creation has managed to keep her head.
This automaton is part of the exhibit Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens, on display at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art through January 27th, 2013.

A napkin at a Mexican restaurant.
Creativity: A

A book nook under the stairs.  
A creative way to use that space.

Who knew light sabers were powered by Duracell's?

Steam Punked Modern Devices.
I'd love to build a Steam Punked Simulator.  Any one else interested?  Shall we do it?


A sign found at an engineering school.
The Work of one of our Imagineers.

Don't be Alarmed by the Alarmed Door.

A Vesuvian snow event.  
A winter Pompeii catastrophe! 

A True South Park fan.

More from an epic snowfall.

 Brilliant.  I use chairs for this all the time.
I never thought to do this.
Imagination: A

 A Space Center Tale.
I understand all too well.

 The truth behind it all.

 Imagination and Creativity is inborn.
Schools must find a way to nurture this, the greatest force of nature.

Too Good not to try.
Purchase several of these stick on eyes, then visit the frozen foods section of your 
local grocery store.

A fun way to wake up?

Minimalist Movie Posters

Ministry of the Environment.
South Korea

Tron prom dress.
Creativity: A

 Creativity: A

It is easy to lose your individuality and Identity.
Protect and nurture the differences and similarities between us.

There must be quite a line to use this toilet!

Ever feel like the Yellow Light?

A simple, creative solution.

Brilliance in airline design.
Imagination: A

Finally:  Something Worthy of your Time

Hi everyone. I am a volunteer at the Space Center and to past the time of the closing I got interested in the drama program at my school, Timberline Middle School. I'm now on the Drama Council as publicity rep. The Drama 2 class is putting up the play, "Rumor Has It". It is an adaptation of William Shakespeare's classic "Much Ado About Nothing" and was written by the students themselves. If you like Shakespeare, or if you don't, you will love this comedy! The play is showing on Jan. 24, 25, 26 & 28 at 7:00PM, and is $4.00 for students and $5.00 Adult. It is in the Timberline Auditorium. Hope to see you there!

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