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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Jefferson City, Missouri

We arrived in Jefferson City, Missouri, this afternoon for a media trip. Plans for this evening include dinner at Prison Brews and a Ghost Tour of the Missouri State Penitentiary. Tomorrow we have a history tour of the penitentiary.

Stay tuned for details. With the cooler weather, we should have a fantastic adventure.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Downtown Denver

16th St Mall view from outdoor cafe
My first sight of the Rocky Mountains always makes me fall in love with them again - new and fresh as the first views from early childhood. Sometimes I think their beauty beckons stronger each time.

Colorado to me means growing-up years, high school friends, college, marriage and early parent years. Then we moved away and I've always wondered why. I knew why at the time. I'm not sure I do now.

We spent the day in Denver. Amidst the memories of college days, the changes and city improvements enthralled me. The skyline, shopping districts, striking architecture - all bring to mind energy, creativity and progress. Mix in the clear blue sky and Colorado weather and what more could one want.

Denver is an exciting city. One senses the purpose and healthy energy in the people. It speaks of a place where people love the outdoors. You can see it in their faces and in the way they carry themselves.

The 16th Street Mall is new to us and we loved it. This mile-long piece of Denver has been turned from just another city street to a beautiful tree-lined walkway through the downtown shopping district. A view of the capital and downtown Denver highlights the scenic experience.

We ate lunch at an outdoor table at Johnny Rockets. The '50s decor and great sandwiches and fries complemented our day of fun.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lillian Jackson Braun

Since I started writing the Hap Lynch mysteries with Luke the Detective Dog, I've read lots of other mysteries featuring animals. A well-known series, The Cat Who...books, created by Lillian Jackson Braun, features a former newspaper reporter, James Qwilleran, and his two Siamese cats.

Lillian passed away June 4 at the age of 97. She wrote 21 books in the series: with titles such as The Cat Who Went to Heaven, The Cat Who Could See Backwards and The Cat Who Saw Red.

If you're a cat lover and haven't read any of the The Cat Who...books, check them out!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Amanda Franklin's Obituary

Amanda Michelle (Younkin) Franklin, 25, of Neosho, MO., passed away at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX, on May 27, 2011, due to complications from burns received in an aviation accident.

Amanda was born on March 14, 1986 in Springdale, AR., to Jeanie and the late Bobby Younkin. She was a very accomplished gymnast, musician, animal welfare advocate, and aviation enthusiast. After learning to fly at the age of 16, Amanda became an accomplished multi-engine and tail wheel pilot; she became proficient in over 15 different types of airplanes.

As a little girl, Amanda traveled with her father Bobby to airshows across the country. It was there that she was first exposed to airshow wingwalking and met the future love of her life, wingwalker Kyle Franklin. She and Kyle started dating on May 22, 2004. The couple traveled the airshow circuit with their fathers as Kyle continued his wingwalking career. They were married on October 18, 2005 and along with her brother Matt, took over the multi-family airshow business that their fathers left behind. Amanda had managed the brothers’ airshow sponsors and bookings since 2005. She became Matt’s full-time announcer in 2007 and Kyle’s full-time wingwalker in 2009.

Amanda was patriotic and had the utmost respect for those who put themselves in harm’s way in order to protect our freedom. She joined the Commemorative Air Force and also participated for several years in a World War Two style pinup calendar to help preserve the heritage of our country’s fallen heroes. Amanda was also a huge supporter of women in aviation. As one herself, she coached and encouraged young girls that she spoke with at airshows to pursue their dreams of becoming a pilot and to never let anyone hold them back. She was a member of the Arkansas ninety-nines, a group of women pilots that dates back to the nineteen thirties. Amanda made a huge impact in a short amount of time on millions of aviation patrons, airshow fans, and humanity in general. She inspired millions from the young to the young at heart with her amazing wingwalking feats, charming personality, and calendar girl smile. She will be sorely missed by countless people the world over.

She is survived by her husband Kyle Franklin of Neosho, MO., mother Jeanie Younkin of Fayetteville, AR, brother and sister-in-law Matt and Michelle Younkin and niece Kimberly of Siloam Springs, AR, grandfather Jim Younkin and his wife Ada of Fayetteville AR, and extended family, all of Fayetteville AR, mother-in-law Audean Stroud and her husband Steve of Ruidoso, NM, and the Franklin extended family. She was also survived by her “four legged children”, Rocky, Rambo, Marvin, and Peggy. In addition to grandparents, Amanda was preceded in death by her father Bobby Younkin, and father-in-law Jimmy Franklin.

Funeral services will be held 10:00 Tuesday, June 7 at the First Baptist Church in Fayetteville, AR. Interment will follow at the Fairview Memorial Gardens Cemetery also in Fayetteville. There will be a reception at the Fayetteville Country Club to follow. An online RSVP is requested for those wanting to attend the reception, please go to for more information.

In lieu of flowers, Amanda would insist that you donate to your local ASPCA, Humane Society, or Animal Shelter.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Amanda Franklin's Service

Amanda's service is set for 10am Tuesday, June 7 at the First Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Graveside services will follow at Fairview Memorial Gardens, followed by a reception at the Fayetteville Country Club.

Plans for a mass flyover of the cemetery are underway. Amanda's obituary will soon be posted.