Something to Think About - keep (310)

Less than two weeks ago I was on the phone with my friend and Dirty Kansa founder Jim Cummins congratulating him on being included in Kansas City’s prestigious Ingrim’s magazine as one of 50 Kansans You Should Know.

          I was also scheduling Jim to join us on the On-Air Chat today to discuss his newest honor and the plans for this year’s DK.

          Obviously the narrative has changed with Jim unfortunately posting a controversial piece on social media and eventually agreeing to leave Dirty Kanza Promotions. He declined an opportunity to join us today suggesting, “he’d probably had too much air time already.”

          Jim Cummins is a good man who made a mistake that he owned and now moves on. I wish him well.

          One of the unfortunate consequences of this episode was a re-awakening of a seemingly settled discussion about this epic bike race on gravel through our glorious Flint Hills. Some have suggested the name Dirty Kanza really means “Dirty Indian.”

          It’s my understanding that recently Cummins met with the leadership of the Kaw Nation and reached an agreement leaving the DK name intact.

          With recent events raising new awareness of this situation the DK’s corporate owner, Life Time has decided to change the name.

          A recent KVOE poll indicated that 70% of the respondents to our unscientific poll indicated they did not want a change.

          On today’s On-Air Chat we will have as guests; Kristi Mohn and LeLan Dains both key players in the DK’s operation and future. This year’s DK is now scheduled for September 12.

          These two requested the opportunity to appear and not only answer our questions about the DK’s future, but also requested listeners call in with their questions.

          The Dirty Kanza is as Emporia as anything one can imagine. We need

it and want to protect it. If changing the name is what’s best, then

let’s figure it out and keep moving forward.

          Kristi and LeLan are willing to answer all our questions so tune in at 10:06 and let’s figure out the future of Emporia’s premier bike race!

          I’m Steve Sauder

I wonder if Americans are even paying attention?

          Instances of new Corona Virus victims were at an all time high over the weekend yet we continue to “open up” with our President leading the way.

          Friday evening I needed to talk to my doctor’s wife so we stopped by. As she answered the door adorned with a mask my doctor yelled from behind her –“Where is your mask?”

          I gave the dumbest answer imaginable – “it’s in my pocket.”

          We visited on the driveway observing social distancing and he said to me, “Steve, you do not want to get the virus!”

          He described one of his patient’s bout with the COVID 19 and explained it was dreadful. Nuff said, our mask wearing will continue.

          Many have questioned the effectiveness of wearing a mask, but the following story at least gives evidence that wearing a mask can work.

          Springfield, Missouri in hair salon, maybe Great Clips. A beauty operator worked 9 shifts in 8 days seeing over 80 clients. While she was working this lady was experiencing Corona Virus symptoms! She was not asymptomatic, she actually had a fever and sore throat, but continued to work.

          The saving grace was she wore a mask all of the time and many of her clients did as well it is reported. Soon after she was tested positive for the virus. Contact tracing went into high gear with all of her clients contacted and traced through at least 2 weeks with zero cases of the COVID 19. That is amazing, true and a testament to the benefits of wearing a mask in public situations.

          Which brings me to a personal concern. I have traveled very few places recently but was in Wichita and Kansas City for brief visits this past week. We ate out twice with both restaurants exercising extreme social distancing and all personnel wearing masks.

          In Emporia several of our favorite eating establishments are not requiring their servers to wear masks. I know masks are recommended by our health professionals, but not required.

          My question is why not?

          Bobbi and I will miss eating in those places and miss seeing friends there, but we are vulnerable and need to stay healthy.

          My hope is this awful challenge is going away, but if we lose our resolve to follow the expert’s recommendations we will pay the price.

          How about if we all redouble our efforts by wearing masks and keeping our distances?

          I’m Steve Sauder and “There’s something to think about.”

       Today’s thoughts come again from a column by Leonard Pitts who shares some numbers that some of you might not believe and/or like. We are talking about America’s cable news networks – Fox News and CNN in particular as reported by the Pew Research Center and PolitiFact, which is a Pulitzer prize-winning group.

       The study is about who might be America’s least trusted news sources. Pew lists Rush Limbaugh’s show as the least trustworthy source with a 40% not trusted rate. Fox News is a close second at 37%.

       But, while both Rush and Fox aren’t highly trusted they are certainly popular. Limbaugh’s show is the highest-rated show on radio and Fox News is the most-watched cable news network!

       This topic gets pretty complicated when you learn Pew says CNN, our President’s favorite – NOT, is the most trusted news source at 54% positive. But, even though American’s think CNN can be trusted we evidently don’t like watching it as it ratings are only a fraction of Fox’s. CNN has even been laying people off recently.

       PolitiFact reinforces who is trusted and who is not with these interesting findings. The question wasn’t perfect but examined the “truthfulness of broadcast pundits?”

       Over 60% of Fox’s pundit’s statements were “found to be some flavor of false.” while CNN’s were just 22% less than accurate.

       Let me interject here: If KVOE ever reached 2% false let alone 22% we’d be run out of Emporia! Obviously we carry network news and Talk Shows where announcers are likely not accurate all the time, but our local reporters better be correct.

       Finally, Nielson was asked to find out in times of crisis where do people turn for their news and reported among other things that when 9-11 occurred CNN’s audience increased by 800%. “No other network came close.”

       It’s a free country and we have a bunch of choices for where we get our news.

       Maybe that old saying about “believing none of what you hear and half of what you see,” makes sense again?

       One request! Please remember I’m just repeating today what others wrote.

       I’m Steve Sauder and “There’s Something to Think About.”

       Watching the expanded coverage of the challenge for equality for all races in America at the same time we are also facing this daunting Corona Virus challenge it occurs to me that America is now facing TWO PANDEMICS: Corvid 19 and Racial injustice. One is new while the other has been with us, but ignored far too long.

       Friday, Emporia was the scene of a large march to protest racial injustice. Admittedly I had concerns for my community because there were rumors of outside influences that might create undesired activities. I even had a nightmare with Commercial Street on fire!

       Shortly before the event I called KVOE’s Chuck Samples and suggested he stay safe. If trouble started I did not want him to feel obligated to stick his nose in the middle of it. At KVOE we cover the news, we are not obligated to be the news.

       Fortunately, the protest was well planned, well organized, and occurred without incident other than some heat-related problems.

       Our local law enforcement people are to be thanked for their leadership and tactics in making this event peaceful. Emporia’s interim Chief of Police Ed Owens described on our On-Air Chat last week how he had reached out and met with the protest organizers and how the police were planning to not only protect the marchers and property but also walk with and participate in it. Sheriff Jeff Cope was all in with his colleague.

       We are fortunate in Emporia to have a positive history and leadership in our law enforcement organizations.

       Chief Owens when asked last week if he was aware of President Obama’s 21st Century Policing handbook, his response was, “yes,” but we started doing most of those things 15 years ago especially mentioning the good works of officer John Koelsch.

       Being a cop might be the toughest job in America right now, so when Ed and Jeff both explained why they “loved being a cop,” it suggests a lot about the character of law enforcement locally.

       Those “Unfund the Police” signs at protests have been hard to ignore. That’s not a good idea, but re-examining what we expect our policemen to do is a worthy goal. Maybe there are more efficient ways to meet the needs of society.

       Listeners are encouraged to agree or disagree with me and to have opinions on the goings-on in America today, but whatever you think or do - please understand your voice is really only heard when you register and vote. That’s how America can really be great.

       A big thank you to Chief of Police Ed Owens, who hopefully won’t be “interim Chief” much longer and Lyon County Sheriff Jeff Cope for their leadership.

       I’m Steve Sauder and “There’s Something to Think About.”

       I’ve been doing this commentary for over thirty years. Often I am challenged about what to talk about. Today the “what” to discuss is very obvious. My challenge is” how” to say it.

       For several days I’ve kept notes about thoughts I’ve heard about diversity. They come from friends, Facebook, preachers, TV personalities, and guests on our Monday Morning Quarterback show.

       Most important in anything I say is to – be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

       My mom’s favorite advice looms large, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

       The Golden rule comes to mind, also.

       A minister suggested we all have biases and most biases were inaccurate or at least exaggerated. He suggested we need to address our biases, try to talk to them, debunk them.

       Chiefs Patrick Mahomes explained how he was lucky to grow up in locker rooms where every race, every background, and community come together and are accepted.  He hoped our country could become more like a locker room accepting one another.  Interestingly we came to the same conclusion on the Monday Morning Quarterback agreeing on sports is a good petri dish.

       Ali and Brandon Schneider, the former ESU Lady Hornet basketball coach, posted an open letter about racism which they concluded this way:

       “We pray through more education, better communication, and the desire to celebrate the blessing of ethnic diversity, progress can be made.

       Ali and I want our young sons to know they have a responsibility to be part of the solution. As a family, we want to be part of the solution. We stand together in promoting peace, justice, equality, and unity in the fight against racism.”

       The letter is signed by Ali, Brandon, Cash, and Cole

       An important part of this letter is Brandon and Ali’s desire to communicate with, educate, and include their boys in this effort. Kids do listen to their parents.

       What parents say, does matter!

       Let me finish today with a neat story.

       A friend told me his 10-year-old son came home one night telling his parents a story about Andy at school. When the parents asked about Andy who they did not know their son said, “Well, Andy has really big feet and he wears a Cubs hat all the time.” Pushed for more of a description the son added, “He eats a lot.”

       Later my friend told me he and his wife discovered Andy is

African American. Pretty amazing a 10-year-old school kid has a friend but doesn’t think to describe him as being black. A lesson for us all!

       The George Floyd story is just the most recent example of racial inequality in our country. Being white I have no idea of the burden my minority friends carry. My nightly prayer now includes a request for help in being a part of the solution to the racial injustice problem in our country.

       I hope you will join me. I’m Steve Sauder and There’s something to think about.

            I shared this idea on a Zoom call last Friday hosted by Senator Jerry Moran and included a number of Emporia leaders.

          My son Jamie called me a few weeks ago concerned about the future of Emporia State University and the Corvid 19 challenge. We ask Don Hill who is ESU’s legislative guru to meet with us. Complete with masks we met one morning.

          Our first point of agreement was that having students back on campus at Emporia State this fall is the most important benchmark for our community to recover successfully from this crisis.

          Repeat: College students back in Emporia this fall is VERY IMPORTANT!

          We visited for a while about housing and how landlords may have to be prepared to have single tenants in units designed for more and other challenges in housing.

          Our best idea came from Jamie who suggested testing and tracing availability may be where ESU could set themselves apart from other schools.

          “Heck,” Jamie exclaimed, “if ESU could say they will have 10,000 tests available this fall lots of students and their parents should be very impressed.”

          We concluded buying a bunch of Corona Virus tests - set aside for ESU, and maybe Flint Hills Tech too would be a tremendous marketing coup.

          Not sure how this would be handled by the University, but Allison Garrett did call me and say she is interested.

          Shane Shively, the CEO of the ESU Foundation promised to visit with President Garrett about this idea. The Foundation is best positioned to lead this effort. Hopefully, both Emporia residents and ESU alums would understand and support this effort.

          This idea may be way outside the box, but I believe if we created such a fund and have a thousand tests available along with a solid tracing plan ready to go that could make Emporia State the safest place in Kansas for students!

          Please discuss this idea and make your feelings known to the leaders at both our post-secondary schools. Emporia’s future is at stake!

          I’m Steve Sauder and There’s something to think about.


       I play golf because I like it, certainly not because I’m good at it.

       In early adulthood, I was known as a tennis player who played golf when forced to. I’ve never been “great,” at golf but do have plaques from both the City and Country Club Championships.

       No holes in one, but I did make a 2 on a par 5 about 20 years ago, but today it takes me 4 good shots just to get on that green!

       Golf today is a struggle with a cranky back, bum foot, only one eye, and well you get the picture.  But, golf can still be fun. I shoot my age every time I play hitting 73 after 12 or 13 holes.

       Since March golf has been therapy for my state of mind. Without golf several times a week, I’d be nuts. We have a group of 9 guys that participate in our daily games. Unique is the only way to describe us.

       Our ringleader is retired pharmacist Don Hill who never arrives early and has lots of responsibilities even when he’s on the golf course as he’s never far from his cell phone.

       Our only golfer of note is Dr. Wes Jones who can still play. He’s a shrink and former paratrooper in Viet Nam who never lacks for a joke or opinion many coming on-line.

       Dr. Ken Wright doesn’t play as often as some but still has some game. Fortunately, he’s not as competitive at golf as he was reported to be on the hardwoods.

       Retired Veterinarian Dr. Duane Henrikson is our most improved golfer.  He’s also our registered Democrat, so he has some political responsibilities at times.

       We don’t lack for doctors with Dr. Jim Geitz next in line. He is fun because he seldom loses his temper, but occasionally will shout “well shoot!” Jim’s game is better than he knows.

       Bill Barns and Mike Hudson are engineers by training and are pretty annul in their approaches even to golf. One is fast, the other not so much, but good to have with us.

       Dr. John Patton has joined us of late. He was one of the best athletes ever at Roosevelt High School and a former competitor with me on the tennis courts. He’s still a horse!

       Last is the Dean of ESU’s Business School, Ed Beshaw who plays on weekends. He’s a little young for our group but adds a personality we need.

       As the final member of the group and I play golf for three reasons: exercise, socialization, and a distant third, competition.

       Several years ago it became obvious my competitive days in golf were behind me! If I keep score, it’s by numbers - 1 for a bogie, 2 for a par, 4 for a birdie, etc. I come home from an 18 round and tell Bobbi I scored a 12 or 13 and she asks? “ Is that good?” And I say “ It was today!”

       You see, my golf game is kind of like the Marines who are “Looking for a few good men,” when I play golf “I’m Looking for a few good shots!”

       I’m thankful I can still play a little and I have such a great group of friends who tolerate me.

       I’m Steve Sauder

Something to Think About - 05-13-20



          If you see Bobbi or me in public in the next few weeks you will notice we are wearing face masks. We are doing this for two reasons:

          First, this Corona Virus pandemic IS NOT OVER YET!

          While we’ve made great progress Bobbi and I believe now is the time to re-double our social distancing efforts. The next few weeks will determine if we finally put this challenge behind us. Wearing a mask in public is something positive we all can do.

          Second, we absolutely understand wearing a mask doesn’t protect us, but it does let us become a part of the solution.

          In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said the following about the greatest commandments:

          You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.   Again: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.

          Wow! Could there be a better way to show our love for our neighbors or strangers than by making sure they don’t get this awful virus from us even though we don’t feel sick?

          Remember, asymptomatic folks can carry this unseen germ.     

          Some of my thoughts today came from, you guessed it, Facebook.

          Wearing a mask doesn’t make us weak, scared, stupid or even” controlled.” It makes us considerate.

          We don’t feel like “the government is controlling us.” We feel like we are contributing adults to society and want to teach others the same.

          We’ve been disappointed observing the small number of people lately wearing masks even though this is strongly recommended by health officials.

          We pray this is not a political decision for anyone and that many of our listeners will reconsider and start wearing face coverings.

          Heck, a handkerchief will do.

          “Love your neighbor as you love yourself!”

          If we could all live with other people’s consideration in mind this whole world would be a better place.

          I’m Steve Sauder and there’s something to think about.

Today I use Leonard Pitts, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Miami Herald, thoughts about re-opening our economy with a few of mine added for emphasis.

Someday, I’m going to die.

This, I grudgingly accept. I have no idea how it’s going to happen. Maybe I will die of having a tree fall on me, of eating tainted shellfish, or of being struck by lightning. But this much I guarantee. I will not die of having wagered my life on the word of some political halfwits who claim they know more than experts with R.N., M.D., or Ph.D. after their names.

In other words, I will not die of stupid

Not that there aren’t plenty of opportunities to do so. Indeed, in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the question of when and how the nation’s economy should be reopened, we seem to have tapped the U.S. Strategic Stupid Reserve.

Surveys show, for instance, that a solid majority of Americans (63 percent according to a CBS News poll) are more worried about re-opening the country too fast and worsening the pandemic than opening it too slowly and worsening the economy. Yet a noisy minority of protesters are furious at our government for trying to keep them healthy. They demand their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of acute respiratory distress.

In Las Vegas, the mayor demanded the re-opening of casinos, suggesting her town could be a “control group” to find out if social distancing works?   Talk about shooting craps with people’s lives! Not that she would wager her own life. Asked by Anderson Cooper if she would visit the casinos, the mayor declined.

But here’s the thing. There’s been a lot of talk over who has the power to reopen America’s economy. Well, it doesn’t belong to the president, nor to the governors. It doesn’t even belong to business owners. No, ultimately, it belongs to me. And to you. It belongs to us, as consumers.

The president and the governors can issue all the orders they want, the owners can remove all the padlocks, but none of it matters if customers are too afraid to walk back through the doors. And I am. I have no idea how many consumers I represent, but I suspect it’s more than a few.

I get that businesses are suffering. But I refuse to eat in a crowded restaurant, sit in a packed movie house, or fly on a full flight again until I feel I can do so safely. And I am emphatically not assured by TV carnival barkers or political halfwits.

No, I need to hear from serious, credible people. I need to know sufficient testing has been conducted and that they feel the virus is no longer a threat. If other people want to die of stupid, I can’t stop them. But if America wants its economy back — it better do whatever is necessary to persuade Dr. Anthony Fauci it’s time to give the all-clear.

Look for me two weeks after that.

Mr. Pitts’ message is insightful.  

I don’t want to die stupid, either! so I need to be patient.

Hopefully, this gives you - Something to think about.

I’m Steve Sauder.

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