Something to Think About
Lee Nelson passed away last week at the age of 90. He is best known as the founder and proprietor of Bluestem Farm and Ranch which he and his wife started in 1961. Today I share some memories of Mr. Nelson and end with something he is credited with doing that changed Emporia’s future in a very positive way!
Bluestem may well be Emporia’s number one tourist attraction. It would be hard for me to count the number of friends and business associates I had in Emporia who demanded time to visit Bluestem while in town.
Rick Tidwell shared this story: He was testifying before a Senate Telecommunications Sub Committee in Washington D. C. and when he introduced himself as being from Emporia, Kansas Senator Conrad Burns from Montana interrupted him to ask “Emporia, Emporia, Kansas – is Bluestem still open?”
Lee Nelson was a good customer for things like telephones, long distance, and radio advertising. Rick Tidwell and Lee were friends making things easier, but Lee still asked the most penetrating questions of any of our customers.
Lee was a long time and active member of the Emporia Rotary club. I have to admit I used the opportunity to sit with Lee at our weekly meetings often to lobby for radio advertising.
Obviously, the rural community was important to Bluestem’s success and the Nelson’s returned the favor with strong support for 4-H and Extension activities. Memorials for Lee are to those groups.
Longtime Emporian and former Mayor Dale Davis and I were talking just a few weeks ago about Lee Nelson. Dale suggested and I agreed that Lee is an unsung hero in our city for his opposition to the proposal to build a federal prison on the old College of Emporia campus.
In case you don’t remember the C of E campus had been occupied by the Way College International since the school closed in the seventies. After the death of the Way’s leader, the school lost favor and the campus was about to go on the property tax roles. A federal minimum security prison was proposed and Emporia was giving this idea serious consideration - enough in fact that a city-wide referendum was called for by the city commission.
While it was never confirmed it was believed that Lee Nelson was the chief supporter of the effort to vote “NO.” The proposal lost by a significant margin.
Dale and I agreed if Lee was the leader of the opposition he did Emporia great favor.
Lee Nelson was a good man, good family man, a veteran and good citizen - and in the final analysis a very interesting person.
Rest in peace old friend, rest in peace.
I’m Steve Sauder
Last week at the Annual Meeting of the Emporia State University Foundation it was suggested calling Allison Garrett the “New President’ was not proper as she has now been on the job for a year and a half.
Whatever we call her President Garrett is gathering steam as her leadership and planning are starting to take hold.
A friend I used to play poker with would say “you have to take a step backward before you can go forward!”
That’s good description of Garrett. She followed one of the most successful and charismatic presidents in ESU’s history and has been challenged with keeping the ship moving in times where budgets cuts are common and students hard to find.
This year’s news that enrollment at ESU was slightly lower than hoped for was not surprising, but after hearing President Garrett speak last Friday I’m convinced she’s ready to lead a revival.
There are lots of good things happening at the school where state support has dwindled to 33%. Tuition accounts for 37% so grants, philanthropy other sources have to be found to fill the void.
Allison Garrett started her higher education career after spending ten years as a corporate lawyer with Wal-Mart. Often her corporate thinking pops up to help make good decisions in times of stress.
A campus initiative giving faculty a chance to suggest and plan new programs with potential for rewards is about to produce its first result - not only exciting, but good for morale.
The ESU Foundation has topped the hundred million mark with assets now listed at $107 million!
Emporia State recently was the only school in Kansas sited by the Colleges of Distinction with three programs singled out for special recognition: Business, Education, and Nursing.
ESU graduates were placed in jobs at a 98% rate in a recent survey upsetting both KU and K-State who reported 94% success.
Our school continues to be a bargain as U.S News indicated Emporia State graduates left school with the second lowest average debt in the midwest!
The groundbreaking on Saturday for a new residence hall on Market Street is not only the first new structure on campus in 15 years, but the result of an ongoing partnership with the Foundation which acquired most of the ground for the new dorm. It won’t be long before the same team breaks ground on the new home for the university’s president.
The speed of the leader determines the speed of the pack and Allison Garrett seems to be picking up speed daily. Add exciting leadership from Deans in most every department Emporia State is poised for long-term success.
Stingers Up and absolutely “Something to think about!”
I’m Steve Sauder
Remember being at a ballgame where the guy yelled, “get your program so you can know the players!”
That’s kind of the situation we have in Kansas with the governor’s race to be decided in November of 2018.
Last week’s headline read: Eighteen and Counting!
The filing deadline is June 1, for Republicans and Democrats and August 6, for all others.
The fees? $2,207 without five thousand signatures. $670 with the signatures and Independent candidates must get the signatures.
So far there are 11 Republicans, six democrats and an Independent that have filled out requirements to raise money. There are also 4 high school students and NO women.
Democrats in the race so far are: House Leader Jim Ward; former Ag Secretary Joshua Svaty; ex-Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer; Dr. Arden Anderson: and salesman Robert Klingenberg.
The R’s are: Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer; Secretary of State Kris Kobach; Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer; oil company owner Wink Hartman; former state representatives Mark Hutton and Ed O’Malley; former Emporian Dr. Jim Barnett; and businessman and evangelist Patrick Kucera.
Running as an Independent is Topeka minister Richard Kloos with Greg Orman expected to be an Independent candidate too.
Holy Toledo ! How do you tell the wolves from the sheep?
Dr. Barnett has been working hard and has put out some interesting ideas to think about. Like:
He told me he plans to be a One Term Governor thinking leading Kansas as it tries to get it’s financial act together over the next four years will not be compatible winning re-election. That’s refreshing!
In Abilene last week Dr. Jim said something Republican candidates rarely say responding to a question about the role of government.
He said, “It puts me out on a limb because typical Republican mantra on how to solve our problems is to cut government and cut taxes, and that is not going to work. Any gubernatorial candidate who will tell they will cut taxes to get out of this mess we are in is trying to pull the wool over your eyes.”
Risky, but refreshing because given the mess Kansas is in – new Education funding starting around $600 million plus highway funds that have been borrowed, KPERS loans to repay etc., etc., etc………. taxes are going to rise and being truthful about this has my attention.
How about yours?
I’m Steve Sauder
The article in this week’s TIME is titled: Making prayer safe.
Someone who just woke up from a long sleep might ask: Are you kidding me?
As TIME says: The violence (in Sutherland Springs, Texas) was all the more horrible because it felt so normal.”
Institutions like malls, theaters and schools are working hard to find ways to defend themselves. Now with churches added to the list, we are asking: Are you kidding me?
Efforts to develop ways to protect the masses became a priority during the Obama administration with training to combat active shooters at the top of the list. The Trump administration is carrying on these efforts and ramping them up, but how and what – exactly do we do?
Big churches often have the resources to create security measures, but most congregations are strapped to just keep their doors open let alone hire someone to protect them.
And, even if the resources are available what exactly is a security person going to do? One shot and everyone is vulnerable.
Some suggest members of the congregation should carry guns and they actually do in some places, but while that might solve one problem it might create others. Evidently, none were helpful in Sutherland Springs.
Lord help us if we have to start carrying guns to church!
While I used to hunt I’ve never felt the need to have guns for protection in my home. Asked once why I didn’t have a pistol? I answered: because I might have to use it!
Let’s return to the original question about making it safe to pray. It appears to me it’s an amazing oxymoron if we need to have security on hand in order to pray. I hope, no make that I believe my faith is stronger than that.
Please, Lord, we don’t want to live in a world in which we need armed protection in order to assemble to praise you and hear your Word. Please give our leaders and all of us guidance in this area. We need your help.
Amen and Amen!
I’m Steve Sauder
Meet Nina as described in a TIME magazine article this week.
Great friends, prosperous neighborhood and close relationship with her parents. Like most 16 year olds Nina spends lots of her time on her smartphone. Unlike many of her friends Nina has never been targeted or bullied on social media.
Seems like a pretty solid situation and a seemingly happy young lady – NOT!
Nina suffers from depression so severe she recently attempted to take her own life. Her therapist called it “body-image insecurity.”
Nina’s mom was caught completely off guard with her daughter’s problems calling her “funny, athletic, smart and personable.”
What mom didn’t know was Nina was spending hours in her room stalking models on Instagram. She stayed up late and developed an eating disorder because of her concern for how she looked. She said later she “didn’t totally want to be gone, she just wanted help and didn’t know how else to get it.”
There is total agreement that “smartphones are having a profound impact on the way adolescents today communicate and spend their free time.”
Consider these numbers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
Teenage depression has risen 60% between 2010 and 2016!
Suicide-related thoughts are up 48% in kids using electronic devices more than 5 hours a day!
One college professor said “The more we learn about kids and smartphones, the more we’re going to see limiting their exposure is a good idea.”
Smartphones in hands of young kids absolutely have benefits, but we are also learning there are serious perils to be watched.
TIME listed several ideas to consider:
1. No smartphones in the bedroom.
2. Utilize available Firewalls and Data cutoffs
3. Create a contract between parents and kids for smartphone usage.
4. Model healthy device behaviors! Kids do copy their parents.
5. And finally – how about a flip phone for Junior?
Seems like a big old red flag to me. Smartphones are great, but hidden in their use can be major problems.
I’m Steve Sauder
Monday it had been 12 days since 4 American soldiers were killed in an ambush in Niger and the media obviously hoping to catch President Trump in a misdeed ask him if he had reached out yet to the families?
President Trump responded that he had penned personal letters to the families over the weekend and they would be mailed that night or soon. He also said he would be calling the families.
Seems to me the discussion should have ended there, but the President decided to elaborate a little bit and suggested that previous presidents specifically President Obama had not always reached out to families.
When pushed for details because he was caught in a mistruth he backtracked and used his famous "he didn't know, but he'd been told" President Obama did not reach out.
When do these types of encounters for Donald Trump end?
Let me ask you a question. Have you ever heard President Donald Trump say any of these statements?
1. I don't know.
2. I was wrong; or
3. I am sorry.
Seriously, all mortals are faced with situations where we must admit - we don't know the answer; that we were wrong; or that we are sorry.
How is it that our President is totally immune to having to say any of those things? Not once can I recall him saying any of these.
Obviously Trump supporters like his brash and bold style, but even his most ardent supporter must tire of his constant inability to be truthful and his awful habit of always going on attack when challenged.
Four dead soldiers was a question he should have been prepared for, but obviously was not. Trump's Press Secretary had a good explanation he could have used and shut the whole deal down.
She said any delay in reaching out was based on getting accurate information as to exactly what happened in Niger. But, President Trump couldn't just say that. He had to go attack dog and impugn his predecessors and make a mountain out of a mole hill.
Donald Trump is his own worst enemy and becoming a serious embarrassment for our country.
I’m Steve Sauder and “There’s something to think about.”