Something to Think About - keep (257)

If this was the Breakfast Quiz and the question was “who first coined the name – The Flint Hills?” Would you have an answer?

I do because my friend Wikipedia always has lots of interesting facts.

Explorer Zebulon Pike gets the credit for the Flint Hills and also for Pike’s Peak!

More Flint Hills facts after telling you about the Gator Rally Bobbi and I participated in earlier this month. The Rally hosted by Prairie Land Partners and their dedicated staff is a unique opportunity we have because we live near the beautiful Flint Hills.

On Thursday, our night, some 27 Gators took off from the cattle pens 16 miles south on the Kansas Turnpike. Four incredible hours later we had traversed nearly 40 miles over some of the most gorgeous land anywhere.

We were lucky because the recent rains added vibrant colors to this amazing place.   

The Flint Hills historically known as Bluestem Pastures or Blue Stem Hills, is a region in southeast Kansas named for the abundant residual flint (or chert) eroded from the bedrock that lies near or at the surface. The region includes a band of hills in eastern Kansas stretching into north-central Oklahoma, it has the most dense coverage of intact tallgrass prairie in North America.

The highest point in the Flint Hills is Butler County High Point, with an elevation of 1680 feet. The Flint Hills span 199 miles by 81 miles.

Our journey paused for dinner near Teterville and then Teter Rock for pictures. Where’s Teterville you ask? O, that’s just west of Thrall.

The trip back to the cattle pens led us through what my dad used to call the “oil patch.” I’m not sure we were on any of his old leases, but the smell and the sights and sounds of oil being pumped from this rocky soil was nostalgic for me.

The Gator Rally is a big undertaking for Prairie Land Partners encompassing 5 nights with stunning results. Not only did dozens of people get to see the Flint Hills up close and personal; three organizations – Big Brothers/Big Sisters; the Senior Center and C.A.L.M. – shared over $37,000 from the event. Our hosts deserve a big thank you.

Last thought: Let’s call it 40 miles in a Gator and my butt was sore, my back worse, my eyes swollen from the dust and my face covered with what was close to mud. My thought -  If 40 miles in Gator felt like this - what must 200 miles on a bike on gravel feel like?

I now have even greater respect for both our magnificent Flint Hills and the DK 200 riders.

I’m Steve Sauder with “Something to Think About.”

Bruce Jenner suffers from dyslexia. That had a lot to do with him enrolling at tiny Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa in 1968. You see despite Jenner’s athletic prowess his academic issues kept him out all colleges in his native Connecticut. He came to Graceland as part of an effort to recruit east coast kids by the school.

Anyone think Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner could have been a Presby?

          He came to the Iowa school to play football. His scholarship was $250.00!

          Unfortunately Jenner blew out a knee and after a year of rehab thought his career was over, but legendary

track coach L.D. Weldon introduced him to track and more importantly the decathlon. His work ethic was exceptional and he won the multi-event at the KU Relays in 1971. He made the U. S. Olympic team in 1972 finishing 10th in Munich, but came back four years later and became the “World’s Greatest Athlete” winning the decathlon in Montreal.

          Jenner was married for 23 years to Kris (Kardashian) Jenner; the couple and their children appeared in 2007 on the reality TV series “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” Following their divorce in 2015, Jenner came out as a “trans-woman” and, in June of this year changed her name to Caitlyn.

          As you can imagine this was big news at Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa where the Bruce Jenner Athletic Complex remains today.

          Interestingly Jenner has not been a big donor at Gaceland despite the fact the school helped him find his athletic identity.

          Several of his former coaches said in a recent story in the Kansas City Star they would fight any attempts to have Jenner’s name removed from the complex. They also said they would oppose an attempt to change the name to Caitlyn Jenner Athletic Complex.

          One of the old coaches said he’s uncertain how he would address Jenner should they meet again. He said “I’m hoping Bruce is Bruce and Caitlyn is Bruce.” He wondered would she say “Hey Duke” and give him a hug or just not know him?

          The Graceland College connection is interesting and suggests Jenner was once a pretty common student. Today she is the ccnter of a lot of attention. Attention she may or may not desire, but if there is another reality show based on Jenner’s life – well, I’ll have my answer!.

          As for the upcoming ESPY’s giving Jenner the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage – I am not one to think this makes sense. Like many others my opinion is there are many people more deserving this award than Caitlyn Jenner.

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



Maybe not a new term, but certainly a term most of us were not that familiar with prior to former Olympic Decathlon Gold Medal winner Bruce Jenner going public with his gender change.

Now we have our president dictating a policy for bathroom usage that isn't  needed by many and is creating lots of confusion.

So, using an informative article from the Topeka Capital Journal as my resource let me define some terms that might help all of us better understand this confusing “transgender” situation.

Are the terms gender and sex interchangeable?

My source says "NO."

Sex is a biological status based on attributes like chromosomes and anatomy.

Gender is a social construct relating to behavior and activities society associates with males versus females.

What is transgender?

An umbrella term for people whose gender identity differs from what society associates with their sex as identified at birth.

Does transgender involve making changes to one's body?

Some people do seek changes through hormones or surgery. Others don't.

Does transgender have anything to do with sexual orientation?

Not at all. Sexual orientation refers to romantic attraction, i.e. whether someone is gay, lesbian, bisexual or straight.

I hope these definitions help. What we learned is: sex and gender are not the same thing; transgender is someone identifying themselves as a sex different from their birth; not all transgender folks change their bodies and transgender people can practice any sexual orientation.

The newspaper story in the Cap Journal is about a high school student born as a female who now does not associate herself with either sex.

The bathroom controversy for transgender individuals is amusing. Evidently the president feels he has a “one size fits” all solution while the common sense people on the Kansas State Board of Education basically said – our policy isn’t broke so we aren’t fixing it. 

Hope this helped as we obviously have lots of new stuff to learn!

I’m Steve Sauder

As a young man the Jaycees - a service organization for men 36 and under - was an important part of my life and development. In Emporia the Jaycees were responsible for many accomplishments including things like helping obtain a positive vote for Emporia High School Bond election, sponsoring and building low and elderly housing projects like Eastgate Plaza and Stanton Heights and many other worthwhile projects.

          A wonderful residual from those days is the Jaycee Creed.

          It says: We believe:

          That faith in God gives meaning and purpose to human life;

          That the brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations;

          That economic justice can best be won by free men through free enterprise;

          That government should be of laws rather than of men;

          That earth's great treasure lies in human personality; and

          That service to humanity is the best work of life.

          What a thought provoking statement with every word of it still being relevant today!

          What brought my attention to this creed was something David Brooks, the talented columnist for the New York Times said on Sunday.

          He pointed out that while the media and many in congress are in an absolute frenzy to find Donald Trump's campaign guilty of collusion with the Russians “they may getting ahead of themselves,” because not much evidence has surfaced that the campaign and the Russians were in cahoots. 

          BUT, because Trump himself operates in what Brooks described as a "tribal mentality" he does not trust the rule of law to protect him.

          In other words: Trump doesn't believe "government should be of laws rather that of men."

          If he did he'd trust that the law of the land, which demands things like evidence, proof and due process, would eventually vindicate him.

          President Trump's “tribal mentality” has worked for him in business where being loud, confident and powerful can often win the battle.

But, in leading and governing our country it isn't working very well for him because we have laws that actually supersede men!

          When our president starts understanding this he will become more effective - and Not before!

          I'm Steve Sauder and "there's something to think about!"


Life is short and our health is precious. Aging is something we all face and the ways it unfolds are endless in description.

For Bobbi and me the past year has been one of challenges – some we were aware of and unfortunately some we learned about on the fly.

The good news is we think we see a light at the end of a tunnel. 

We’ve had awesome doctors offering medical advice, talented and dedicated physical therapy professionals, good drugs and effort on our part working together to find answers.

In addition to my ongoing battles with A-Fib and a bulky back, I found time to endure a vitreous hemorrhage resulting in laser surgery and finally a vitrectomy to remove the excess blood from my eye. 

Today my vision has been restored, my heart is beating quietly again and my back has settled down thanks to some excellent care. 

Bobbi had her right knee replaced on Monday and the results are already very positive. She’s uncomfortable from the procedure, but can already tell the source of much of her pain has been taken away. 

Like I said before our optimism is high. We appreciate the help we have received from our friends in the form of prayer.

Miracles?  Well maybe not, but not many days ago we doubted the future, but today life looks a lot better. God is good! Praise the Lord!

I’m Steve Sauder



          Timely, but touchy topic today – guns.

          I am a gun owner and was a hunter, but 2 knee replacements ended that activity. My point is I respect the right of Americans to own guns.

          But, with that said and the brutal massacre in Orlando last week my thinking is it is time we do something about these weapons that have no purpose what so ever other than to kill.

          Guns like the AR 15 reportedly used in the Orlando slaughter have little redeeming value. I actually fired a machine gun as part of the Emporia Police Department’s Citizen’s Academy years ago. Thirty rounds fired in just a few second did give me a rush and the target was obliterated, but I can achieve that same feeling by lighting a pack of 500 firecrackers at one time!

          Guns don’t kill – people do, but guns like the AR 15 should be harder to get than is currently the case. This is the part of the Orlando event that gets to me. This guy bought his weapon of mass destruction with few questions just a few weeks prior to the shootings.

          I’m not prepared to say no one should own an AR 15, but to buy one it ought to be more difficult and the authorities ought to learn who you are, why you want such a gun and what your intensions are.

          Is that Big Brother stuff? Probably, but what else can we do? The status quo won’t do!

          You need a license to be a plumber, a barber or even to sell real estate so why shouldn’t gun ownership be qualified?

          Here’s a fact I heard. President Obama in his seven years in office has hosted 12 State Dinners. During the same time frame he has given 16 speeches in response to mass shootings!

          A friend Tweeted “When there wasn’t compromise on gun laws after Sandy Hook I was amazed and concluded it must be okay to shoot children.”

          Both candidates for President seem confused on this issue. This is not an immigration issue and all out gun control will never pass, so someone who understands compromise needs to step up.

          Ronald Reagan had it right in 1989 when he said “I do not believe in taking away the right of citizens for sporting, for hunting and so forth, or for home defense. But, I do believe than an AK 47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for defense of a home.”

          The time has arrived to adopt rules that restrict the ownership of these guns that are capable of mass shootings.

It shouldn’t be easier to purchase an AK 15 than it is to get permission to cut the curb in front of your home for a new drive way!

          Heaven help us!                       I’m Steve Sauder

          During our Monday Morning Quarterback show our guest was Jory Collins, ESU Lady Hornet Head Coach and in addition to talk about his team and new recruits a question was posed about the fact our Ladies have on three occasions lately been ranked Number One in the Central Region, but unable to host because White Auditorium was busy with a high school state basketball tournament.

          This has become an ongoing problem.

          Years ago there was an attempt to hold both tournaments simultaneously with a less than acceptable result. A broken leg resulting in a 45 minute delay caused the college event to start late with games ending after the witching hour.

          The city controls White Auditorium and isn't about to give up the very lucrative annual state high school tournament to accommodate the university on a "need be" basis.

          Kind of a “bird in hand deal.”

          I was in Hays several years ago when they gave up their longtime high tournament to host a college regional.

          Conversations with the hotel owners and merchants indicated lots of disenchantment with not having 16 high school teams in Hays starting on Wednesday compared to having seven visiting college teams arriving on Thursday and starting to leave after Friday games and dwindling down to one visiting team by Saturday!

          My favorite retired Emporia dentist texted me Monday suggesting I ask Jory about the hosting situation.

          Jory obviously doesn't like it, but doesn't over react understanding that would hurt his team.

          What we have is a very perplexing problem with no lack of discussion or concern, but also without a good answer.

          Using Emporia high school was considered, but that floor doesn't meet championship regulations.

          Moving our host location to say Washburn has even been considered, but they weren't willing.

          Discussions about this can get heated. A comment from an outside source suggesting - our city doesn't look out for its' students and fans - struck a nerve with me.

          My reaction was - well, maybe Emporia State needs to build a crappy little field house like Harding has in Searcy, Arkansas.

          And therein lays my question for today.

          Maybe our solution is bigger than we've been considering.

          Emporia High's gyms are not convenient for fans in terms of parking, bathrooms or concessions. Maybe an upgrade is in order?

          Maybe a new venue in Emporia could make sense?

          What if the school district, university, community, area schools and the public all decided to collaborate? Maybe Jones Trust could help?

          Pittsburg State and the city just built a facility together.

          Hosting indoor track, tennis, wrestling, other youth sports, and the list goes on might be considered?

          We'd still use White, but maybe another gym solves lots of problems?

          Let's at least take a look.

          It's "Something to think about" and I'm Steve Sauder.

The United Methodist Churchhas about 12 million members across the world. In the United State, United Methodist ranks as the largest mainline denomination, the second largest Protestant church, and the third largest Christian denomination. It’s founding is traced back to John and Charles Wesley and the Church of England according to Wikipedia.

          Today the church is facing a possible split in its clergy and membership over the handling of gay issues. The conflict pits traditional preachers against more liberal ones, many who have officiated at same sex weddings. Also in question are Bishops who some think have not appropriately enforced the “Book of Discipline”  in these cases.

          On May 22, a group of 80 Methodist ministers issued a press release suggesting there be an “amicable separation” within the church. One denomination would be the conservative Methodist churches and the other well “everyone else.”

          But, a recent poll taken by a reputable research firm found that 90% of respondents said “The United Methodist Church should not split over issues related to human sexuality.”

          Adam Hamilton is the founder and Senior Pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City and a noted leader of Christian beliefs.Hamilton released this week an idea to hopefully fix this issue called “A Way Forward for a United Methodism.”  It is described this way:

“The ongoing debate over homosexuality continues to divide the United Methodist Church. We believe that most of the denomination’s pastors and laity do not want to divide over this issue. The signers of this proposal offer it as one possible way forward, focusing on what United Methodists share in common, and then offering a way to allow us to live with our differences over how we interpret scripture regarding homosexuality, and how we will be a church in ministry with gay and lesbian people. It is a conversation starter, not a perfected conclusion.”

          It calls for a local option for churches within the denomination, but it would take a super majority for a church to adopt.

          Release of this idea has met with much debate with vocal opinions on both sides.

          I’ll end with a thought found in a response to Hamilton’s idea. It should give you “Something to think about!”

          A blogger suggested “you would not find Jesus anywhere near you if he were walking the earth today. He would be with us the ones being snubbed and condemned.”

          Your “something to think about” is:

What would Jesus being saying about same sex marriage if he were here today?

          I’m Steve Sauder

In these days of news most of us aren’t all that pleased to hear – i.e., stories from the circus in our state capital often disparaging our public schools – it is my pleasure to mention some really encouraging news coming from right from here in Emporia that indicates one school district is trying to be efficient.

          Last week USD 253’s Superintendent, Theresa Davidson announced changes within the district concerning the Turning Point Academy.

          Turning Point is a school designed for youngsters needing a non-traditional educational experience. The project has been successful, but with funds always restricted the district has not been able to give Turning Point its own home.

          The new plan has kindergarten through eighth grade of Turning Point moving into the WilliamAllen WhiteElementary School building. The older youngsters will move to EmporiaHigh School creating two so-called “school with-in a school” situations.

Principal Dathan Fisher from W.A. White moves to EHS to fill a vacancy; Tell Kirk, Turning Point’s current principal moves to W.A. White where he will become principal for both the elementary school and Turning Point’s K thru 8.

Acknowledging the schools involved may experience unknown consequences there appears to be a number of positive outcomes from these moves.

          Like: One less administrator in USD 253, permanent homes for TurningPointAcademy students, a significant cost savings by closing the Kansas Avenue building while maintaining the option for students to choose an alternative style education.

          Nice job USD 253!

And we also note with optimism the work of surrounding school districts as they struggle with decisions on space and efficiency. We appreciate the efforts of school officials to be good stewards of the public’s money.

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


          Saturday the Emporia State Alumni Association holds its annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. A big part of this event is honoring the Distinguished Service Award recipients. These are folks who have provided “unique and significant service” to the university.

          A partial list of past honorees include: KVOE’s Ron Thomas, Don Hill, George & Gail Milton, Clair Hutchinson, Tom Tholen, Dave Eldridge, Skip Evans, Chuck & Doris Hanna, Russ & Jeanie Jenkins, Paula Sauder, Gilbert Rodriquez, Carl Hoffman, John Rich, DeWayne Backhus and my dad.

          This is a big honor.

          Four people will be recognized this year.

          Virginia “Ginny” Higgins long time ESU instructor and leader who first graduated in 1962 and spent most of her life at Emporia State winning numerous awards for outstanding teaching and finally being inducted into the Kansas Speech Association Hall of Fame in 2006.

          Dr. Loren Pennington started teaching at the university in 1960 and is an expert on World War II and the Korean War.  He became involved in Emporia Veteran’s Day celebration and is a permanent fixture at the annual Veteran’s Roundtable. Dr. Pennington means history in Emporia.

          Marion Stuart grew up in Emporia, attended the laboratory school, received 2 degrees from Emporia State and taught in 5 Kansas high schools. She and her late husband Chuck were fixtures at university events for decades.

          The final honoree is my close friend John Staton who graduated in 1960 and has never quit promoting and supporting Emporia State.

In a letter in support of John for a different award I said “There is no better or more dedicated Hornet anywhere than John Staton!”

I suggested John should simply be recognized as a “Proud Hornet Supporter.”

John knows no strangers. He has a conversation with everyone he comes in contact with and more times than not he finds a connection to Emporia State.

There’s not time to list all the ways John and his lovely bride Connie support the university - they are endless.

John is well into his seventies, but he still found the energy to help with the ESU Foundation’s recent Now and Forever campaign - and in a significant manner.

Professionally both John and Connie succeeded nicely, but their real calling may be in helping others. They’ve done everything from hauling a dog-napped beagle across the country to its home in Kansas to assisting for nine years an aging Army General.

It is a busy weekend in Emporia, but these folks are all Proud Hornets and Distinguished servants……… We salute and thank them.

I’m Steve Sauder.

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