The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 18, 1989, Page 14, Image 13

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    Arts & Entertainment
Lincoln parks among the nation’s best
By Mick Dyer
Staff Reporter
There’s more to a park than
trees and grass and flowers and
squirrels and birds and fountains
and things.
Much more.
There is catharsis and respite
from the anxieties and frustrations
that build up from living in this
busy.busy world.
Don Smith, director of the Lin
coln Parks and Recreation depart
ment, said that parks are a vital part
of any community. He said parks
provide the community with beau
tiful open spaces, and also give
people a pleasant place to spend
their leisure time.
Smith said Lincoln has an out
standing park system. And if you
have spent leisure time at any one
of the roughly 80 parks in Lincoln
- ranging in size from the back
yard-sized mini-parks scattered
throughout town to the 1,450 acre
Wilderness Park — you might
agree with him.
At any rate, the Lincoln Parks
and Recreation Department has
been recognized for excellence at
the national level.
“I think that speaks well for our
department, our city tattlers and
our citizens,” Smith said.
Smith said he is proud of the
Lincoln parks department’s high
marks. He said that when com
pared to other park systems in the
nation, Lincoln’s is one of the best.
”1 think we rank right up at the
top for any community of this size
or larger,” Smith said.
The park system in Lincoln has
a rich history.
When the frontier city was de
signed in 1865, citizens saw the
need for a park in the new commu
nity. So civic planners set aside a
two-block area for a park. And
when the city later was incorpo
rated, the park area became the
property of the city.
That park is Cooper Park, lo
cated at 6th and D streets.
Since then, the people of Lin
coln always have seen the need for
new park areas as the community
grew and changed, Smith said. But
often, the city didn’t have the
money to buy and develop new
parks. It was through the efforts of
citizens in the community, either
by donating lands or by organizing
the contribution of lands to the
city, that much of the park land in
Lincoln came into being.
Smith said many prominent
Lincoln families have donated
park land. The Harris family -- no
relation to Mayor Bill Harris --
gave the land for Pioneers Park, at
South 'Coddington and West
Calvert streets. The Seacrest fam
ily donated Seacrest Park, 70th and
A streets, and the Sunken Gardens,
27th and D streets. The Woods
family donated land for Woods
park, 33rd and J streets.
Other affluent and public
minded individuals also have do
nated or helped secure park lands
for the city, and many of these
parks bear their names.
Parks are maintained by fund
ing from general tax monies and
also federal and state money when
it is available, Smith said. Many of
the parks in Lincoln were devel
oped with help from the Land and
Waters Program, a fiscal govern
ment program funded by off-shore
drilling rights. Smith said many
parks around the country were
developed through funding from
the Land and Waters Program, but
unfortunately, there is little money
left in the program.
The contemporary goal of the
Department of Parks and Recrea
tion ic in nnrkc within a miAf
ter to a half mile of any home in
Lincoln, Smith said. There arc a
few exceptions to this goal, he
said, especially in new housing
development areas, but the depart
ment usually meets its goal.
He said the parks department
and the public school system often
work together to develop schools
and parks close together in new
housing areas. Since both often arc
built and maintained through pub
lic funding, it is easy to locale a
park and a school close together,
Smith said.
And, he said, the community is
belter served and the neighbor
hood is enhanced when there is a
park located near a school.
Smith said that for a community
of its size, Lincoln parks don’t
have serious crime or vandalism
“Lincoln is really fortunate to
be in the place where it is,” Smith
said “People really appreciate
what we have.”
Al Schaban/Dalty Nabraakan
The Sandstone Columns at Pioneers Parle is a pleasant place to spend leisure time.
Missouri student wins Miss America pageant
Debbye Turner, the new Miss Amer
ica, is a born-again Christian who
sang a religious rap song at her first
public appearance, promising in
rhyming patter to “sing His song...
everywhere I go.”
Miss Turner, a veterinary student
from Missouri, was crowned late
Saturday as Miss America, besting
runner-up Miss Maryland, Virginia
Cha, 25, of Frederick, in the 68th
edition of the popular pageant.
On a dare, the 23-year-old who be
came only the third black woman to
* wear the crown started clapping her
■ hands and sharing the same song she
f gave the other 50 contestants back
stage Saturday night before the pag
eant started:
“Well, I love the Lord... with all
I know ... going to sing His song ..
. everywhere I go. Going to sing
about the love... sing about the faith
. . . sing about seeing Him face to
face,” Miss Turner sang, continuing
on with seven more verses.
Even pageant officials clapped
along, including 91-year-old Adrian
Phillips, a retired pageant director
who traditionally escorts the new
i Miss America to her first news con
ference. *
Phillips has seen new Miss Ameri
cas giggle in response to reporters’
questions. He has seen some winners
touch on controversial subjects.
But a rap song is a first.
“This new Miss America is ex
actly what I anticipated,’’ pageant
director Leonard Hom said after
Miss Turner now puts her educa
tion on hold for a year to serve as Miss
America 1990. She said she will
travel around the country “motivat
ing the youth of this country to excel
“My mom taught us how to do
things not because we’re female or
black or southern, but because we
have what’s on the inside to do it,”
she said. “I’d like to inspire young
children to dream about being an
aeronautical engineer... and I don’t
care if you grew up in a ghetto.”
‘ ‘ Be bold enough to overcome the
pressure and not try that drug. Be bold
enough to stay in school and study.
Be bold enough to be an individual
and not a part of a group,” she said.
As the third black Miss America,
“I don’t know if ! bring any added
dimension,” she said. “Being black
is the very least of who 1 ant. I had
nothing to do with it, and that’s not
landmark. I just came that way.”
During pageant week, Miss
Tumer remained quiet about her reli
gious convictions. But as soon as she
was crowned, her faith in God be
came apparent. She said Sunday that
she has been a born-again Christian
since age 7.
‘‘There’s nothing mystical or
sensational about it,” she said. "It’s
simply that I believe in God and 1
depend on him for direction in my
For the record, Miss Turner said
•Is "politically moderate -- 1 vote
my conscience.”
•Has a ‘‘very good friend,” but not
a boyfriend.
"Right now I’m kind of busy with
other things,” she said, grinning.
• Is pro-life. "I would hale to see
the day when we have what I call
‘microwave abortions,’ being able to
kill life simply because it’s inconven
ient to have it or because it’s the
wrong sex,”
•Mastered the marimba - her pag
See MISS on 15