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Something to Think About - keep (227)

What a year 2016 was and as I look at the prospects for Emporia and our region I find even more to be excited about.  I am going to do my best in 2017 to enjoy and hopefully contribute to our local glass being mostly full. That is not to say there are not challenges to be addressed and there are certainly always opportunities for improvement which should be sought!

Today I am celebrating the New Year and the area we live in and I am looking for ways we can make things better.  Consider joining me in volunteering in at least one new endeavor to serve the greater good. Families, churches, neighborhoods, civic groups, schools and others offer these opportunities which are easy to find if we look.

I am looking for ways to appreciate and enjoy our community!  Think about the venues in Emporia – the Granada Theatre, Emporia Arts Center, Albert Taylor Hall, Civic Auditorium, the White Arena, Welch Stadium, Bruder Theater, the Bowyer building and Fair Grounds complex, our schools and churches and more.  Emporians and those in our area will have literally hundreds of opportunities for enjoyment and enrichment in 2017.

Emporia has no equal in Kansas as a destination for the active leisure traveler.  The Glass Blown Open disc golf event, the DK cycling events, the Symphony in the Flint Hills are literally world class events and will draw visitors from around the world. These events and others offer us the opportunity to volunteer, to be a spectator and importantly to be part of the friendly and welcoming community Emporia is increasingly becoming known for.

With Wednesday Words Steve Sauder has done an exceptional job of raising our awareness of things to be grateful for, of opportunities to challenge us and of issues to stimulate our thinking.  During the next few weeks as Steve enjoys some leisure time away, I along with several other guest commentators will be filling it.  In the process we hope our listeners will find that occasional pearl of wisdom, gain understanding and awareness of local treasures and maybe even find a bit of humor.


I am Don Hill.

Thanks for listening.l

It took a little time to get to know Larry Kramer, but when you succeeded you had a true friend. Larry was a no nonsense person and coach. He passed away last Saturday. He was 71.

          Coach or Coach K as he liked to be called took over a downtrodden Emporia State football program in 1983. It had won 18 games in the previous 9 years.

          Kramer’s teams won 2, then 3 games before winning 6 games in 1985. That was followed with 8, 7, & 8 wins before winning 11 in 1989 losing to Carson Newman in the NAIA National Championship game.

          Here’s my story about getting in the Coach’s doghouse.

          The story comes from the awesome 1989 Championship season. Game six was played at Kearney State. ESU won easily giving them a 5 – 1 record, but the Hornets were called for like 5 personal foul penalties in the second half.

          On a rambling Wednesday’s Words I mentioned that ESU had an excellent football team, but really needed to tighten up their discipline.

          Coach Kramer heard about my remarks and responded with two pointed questions: What hell did Sauder know about football or discipline?

          I tried to see Kramer, but he didn’t want to talk. Assistant Coach Mark Luedtke suggested I just let Coach cool off. Instead I offered Larry the opportunity to do a rebuttal on KVOE and he took my offer and rebutted for some 7 minutes!

          It took a few years to mend that fence and rumor has it Coach K did

let his team know that type behavior would no longer be tolerated and the Hornets did end up playing for a National Championship!

          Many years later Larry and I laughed about the incident.

          In my job on the ESU Now and Forever campaign Shane and I have called on dozens of former Larry Kramer football players. I don’t have to fabricate to tell you that to a man they each and everyone tells us what a positive influence Coach Kramer had on their lives – to a man.

          That’s a legacy we all would be proud to own.

          Rest in peace Coach K, you were a warrior.

          I’m Steve Sauder.

Some folks say that one of Emporians' greatest shortcomings is their modesty. We expect the best, but when successes present themselves, we rarely even talk about them. Yes, we did boast a bit when we won the Best Water in the World award, but that talk dwindled away quickly. We're Emporians, after all, not Texans.

I'd be willing to bet, however, that no other city in the nation can claim more successful people and products -- per capita -- than Emporia.

You already know about William Allen White's two Pulitzer prizes. You probably know that his son won the broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer when he was reporting for CBS from the European Theatre in WWII. W.A.'s son also was a roving editor for Reader's Digest and author of several books, three of which were picked up by Hollywood and made into movies starring the likes of Robert Montgomery, Donna Reed and John Wayne .

But do you know about Murdock Pemberton, an EHS graduate who went on to become the first art critic for New Yorker magazine?

His brother, Brock, moved from Emporia to the East Coast, where he produced and directed shows on Broadway. Perhaps his best-known production featured a man whose friend was an imaginary rabbit -- The play was "Harvey." In 1950, a few months after his death, he was posthumously awarded a Tony, in recognition of his role as founder and first chairman of the Tony Awards.

Remember former Gazette reporter Pete Earley? His books routinely hit the New York Times best-sellers list.

Emporian Pat Hopper Dahnke has truly made a name for herself in western fashion design with her elegant leather-and-lace clothing and has added a new line of bedding and other home items.

Then there's John Forsythe, who came to Emporia in the early 1970s to attend College of Emporia, and stayed. His gorgeous bronze statues are in demand at museums and state houses, and other high-profile settings.

If you're into tough guys, Emporian R. Lee Ermey must be one of the best-known drill sergeants this side of Sgt. Bilko and Sgt. Carter.

When the owner of the Evel Knievel museum needed someone to restore the motorcycle daredevil's furniture, whom did he call on for the job? Emporia's woodworking artist Conrad Wempe.

Emporia has sent out some successes in sports, too. Dean Smith spent part of his childhood here, when his father was principal at Emporia High School. Dean Smith went on to be pretty well known as a basketball coach.

Let's not forget champion steer-wrestler Jason Lahr, and John Lohmeyer, who played defense for the Kansas City Chiefs; NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer, and racer Gary Stinnett, who also builds race car engines that are in demand worldwide.

We're home to gravel-grinding bike races and disc golf tournaments that bring in competitors from across the U.S. and several foreign countries.

I think we also can count the successes of sports at Emporia State. Baseball, softball, and basketball teams all have won NAIA championships. This year, it looks like the Lady Hornets could repeat the feat.

Let's not forget that a couple of years ago, ESU's debate team took double national championships.

And how many times has U.S. News & World Report named our university among the "best" -- a best value in education, a best program in a variety of fields. Just this month, the magazine ranked ESU 11th in the country for its online graduate education programs. No university in Kansas ranked higher, and most of the rest of the country trailed behind, too.

Home-grown businesses also have made their mark.

Sauder Tank Company, which moved here from Greenwood County, has been supplying monstrous tanks to the oil industry world-wide for decades. Hopkins Manufacturing produced an ice scraper that was the most-popular Christmas gift in 1985, and they've only expanded their product line since then.

Carl Didde and Don Glaser teamed up to invent a collator that revolutionized the printing industry. Didde Web Press had a long run dominating the market for small- and mid-sized presses world-wide, until technology and copy machines supplanted the need for most presses.

Even the city itself has done well. Emporia is -- by a Congressional resolution -- the official Founding City of Veterans Day. We have the National Teachers Hall of Fame and the new Fallen Teachers Memorial that's bringing in more visitors every day.

And this is only a sampling. There are many more that time prohibits mentioning.

Sure, there are things we need to improve, and we realize that doing a little better job every day will result in a better product or performance. But we do already have a great deal to be proud of in Emporia. The overall level of achievement in so many areas surely is unequaled by any other city our size.

We don't talk about it much, though. But if this were Emporia, Texas, instead of Emporia, Kansas, we wouldn't be able to stop ourselves.

Bobbi Mlynar

I'm Larry Putnam.  Flip flopping is something to think about while Steve Sauder is on vacation.

To me, Hilary Clinton is not likable.  That smugness causes me to view issues opposite of her on just about every issue.  Sometimes, I forget how I feel on the topic.

But after she was accused of flip flopping again, I found myself siding with her on this point.  One should be able to change their mind after they learn or new facts emerge.  Smart people adjust.

We all change our minds.  At one time, I thought Ned Yost was an idiot.  I changed my mind.  I thought he should have been manager of the year after our World Championship.  The facts didn't change, but I learned. 

Obama care is not working.  Health Insurance companies are bailing; doctors want out; middle class people in good health are paying an enormous tax in the form of larger and larger premiums.  My health insurance premium has jumped 63% in 2 ½ years.  This system is going to cave.  Our president should flip flop and look for alternatives.

The Kansas tax system is not working.  We tried the Governor's idea and it isn't working.  Our Governor should flip flop and reinstitute income taxes for all income earners.

The KU athletic director sold out the rural fans so that they could not watch 7 basketball games.  He should flip flop (like he did on Charley Weis) and reinstate those 7 games for next year.

As Hilary has taught us, you don't have to admit you made a mistake, just say the facts changed and go a different direction.  Get it right.  Flip flopping could become a positive trait.

“Our Community and Emporia State University”

Something to Think About


Often the institutions of higher education and the town see themselves connected only through geography and economic dependency.  Rarely, if ever, do the university and the community acknowledge, let alone embrace, the partnerships necessary to carry out the educational mission of the institution. In my opinion, Lyon County and the City of Emporia are unique! We are all working side-by-side building a University and Community in Motion . . .”

It is often said that “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts” We are fortunate to be the home of many outstanding institutions and organizations that contribute high quality partnerships with Emporia State. 

Informal partnerships also enhance both Emporia State and the community and are one of our greatest assets.  These connections provide learning opportunities for our students.  Numerous businesses and not-for-profit organizations provide a significant number of internships for a variety of majors.  These internships help students gain the professional experience necessary to achieve gainful employment, while employers gain valuable exposure to current and best practices.

Students at Emporia State, in each of the last two years, have contributed more than 24,000 hours of community service. The value of this activity comes not only in the services provided to the community, but also the pride the students have in giving of their time to their community.

Quality of life in Lyon County and Emporia is enhanced by the community’s participation and attendance at the many events the University offers each year. From athletic events to theatre productions, art exhibits and lectures, there is always something appealing to all interests. The support from the community in attending these events is not only an investment of their time, but also an opportunity for our students to hone and share their skills and talents.

Much of a student’s college experience includes learning opportunities to develop life skills. Community members in a teaching role, provide learning opportunities that add to the value of students’ college education. Students gain real-life experience by signing contracts with landlords, establishing basic services, buying groceries, joining church congregations, or even applying for jobs.  The time and energy we take to help our students learn as well as the support and challenging our students to accept their responsibilities is greatly appreciated.

The strength of Emporia State University is two-fold: the dynamic faculty, staff, students and alumni and equally important, the partnerships with the community and the role these partnerships play in our student’s futures. In these challenging times we must remember our collaborations and better yet, we must find ways to celebrate our connections.

We look forward to continuing our high level of engagement with the community, partnering with a focus on the education and lifestyle of our students and of our community members. Lyon County, the City of Emporia and the University share a long and fruitful legacy. Now is the time to take pride in our community and our university and celebrate the collective vision of changing lives for the common good.

I’m Jim Williams and That’s Something to Think About……

At an economic development conference a few years back, a speaker was highlighting the need for communities and business people to fuse the concepts of “dreaming” and “implementation”.  A quote flashed on big screen behind the presenter, declaring- “Entrepreneur- A French word meaning, has ideas and actually does them.”  The crowd laughed, but the discussion among attendees after the presentation highlighted the need for entrepreneurial mind sets in more than just business.

Entrepreneurs spot opportunities and convert those opportunities into businesses, events, developments and solutions to problems.  They move quickly to implement new ideas and create unique community elements.  Because businesses, events or solutions to issues implemented by entrepreneurs are “one of a kind”, they draw people into an area and create community pride.

So, why the resistance to entrepreneurship?

Smaller, rural communities seem to crave the known commodity of branded business types.  Citizens tend to look at other communities within driving distance to say “why can’t we be more like them”, and bureaucratic entities encourage people to look backwards in time to nostalgically embrace how things used to be instead of intersecting with emerging trends and demographic shifts.  Training programs struggle to teach local citizens skill sets associated with creating things that don’t currently exist.

But, because of our smaller relative size, do rural communities have a choice beyond embracing an entrepreneurial focus?  Recent economic reports indicate that large chain retailers are finding it increasingly difficult to compete against on-line competition.  Some economists indicate that increases in automation and other influences will result in roughly half of all jobs residing in entrepreneurial businesses by 2040.  Policy decisions in Kansas have resulted in population loss, and new ideas are needed.  Entrepreneurial businesses tend to donate a higher percentage of sales to local charities, and are more likely to use local professional services, like attorneys, banks, accountants and media.

To use a sports analogy, communities are like basketball players.  Big communities can lumber down the court and throw their weight around because of their relative size.  Smaller communities must be fast, opportunistic and willing to take some outside shots.  Entrepreneurs can spot opportunities, move quickly to capitalize and create valuable changes that result in big community gains.

So, what can we do as rural communities to emphasize entrepreneurship?  It starts with   recognizing that entrepreneurs aren’t found only in business. They are found throughout various segments of our community. Supporting these local entrepreneurs with our time, talent and treasure is a way to advance Emporia towards an entrepreneurial mind set.  We vote for entrepreneurs with the dollars we spend, our advocacy and our focus.  We need to support the development of places that encourage entrepreneurs to exist in close proximity to other entrepreneurs so they can support each other.  We need to encourage entrepreneurial educational practices that emphasize team building, resource attainment and realistic opportunism.  In short, we need to build an entrepreneurial culture.

Over the past several years, we’ve seen Emporia pull in more outside dollars.  We’ve grown jobs in some pretty unique business types and we have established some internationally acclaimed events due to entrepreneurship.  Because we are surrounded by much larger communities that already have established chains and homogenous activities, our best chance to compete is through the unique opportunities that entrepreneurs provide.

So, let’s go beyond celebrating entrepreneurs and their can do attitudes this year.  Lets recognize the critical role they play in creating a successful Emporia, and dedicate the resources, support and advocacy our locally owned businesses need to grow a better community all year long.

I’m Casey Woods, and that’s something to think about…

Today I’ll share with you a truth about Public Enemy Number 1.

The old battle of the bulge, the contradiction that occurs when we match our desire to become fit and thin with a plate of hot French fries or fresh pastries.

          The most common New Year’s Resolution is always to shed a few pounds. There are many ways to lose weight and most involve a diet.

          There are name brand diets from Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, NutriSystem, Atkins, MediFast and the famous Mayo Clinic Diet.

Lesser known plans abound. Like: the Green Coffee Diet, the Dash Diet, the Miracle Diet of 2014, the Web MD Diet, the Sensa Diet, the Abs Diet, the Flat Belly Diet for Men or the Paleo Diet suggesting you “eat like a cave man.”

And there are many other plans, pills and lotions out there all promising to help you lose weight.

All of these plans work up to a point – but the truth (remember I’m sharing a truth with you today) lies in a word most us over weight people abhor and typically refuse to acknowledge.

          That word is sedentary which describes a ”lifestyle with no or irregular physical activity.” One definition of sedentary I read uses the term “Couch Potato.”

          Dieting can work, but dieting works far better when exercise is part of the equation.  

          Over eating is a fairly easy target, but a sedentary lifestyle is very difficult to overcome, but help is available.

          Emporia is blessed with several gyms just itching to help you learn to exercise:

The Genesis Health Club, Emporia Fitness, Emporia Recreation Center with their “Couch to 5k” starting now and the ESU Rec Center if you have an association with the University just to name a few. I’m sure there are others.

          The point is dieting alone is a very slow process. Attacking a sedentary lifestyle is a life changing event.

          The truth is it’s time to start movin! Heck, some people even like to exercise!

          I’m Steve Sauder

Faith or fear? Which one do we choose, for all men are driven by one or the other?

If we choose faith, then we believe in the hopeful potential of what we haven’t yet seen.

Fear disrupts us and will keep us from our goals, dreams and our destiny, so fear is not an option for this community to move forward.

Over the last few years you have heard me talk about partnerships and relationships that make this community much stronger. Let’s recap quickly of just a few of these. The City of Emporia and Lyon County have created many joint efforts that will benefit services and enhance the quality of life throughout the county. Emporia State University, Flint Hills Technical College, City of Emporia and Lyon County are working together to better understand what is needed to have the highest qualified workforce in this region and what it means to be a “university community”. Newman Regional Health and Lyon County are working together to provide this region with the absolute best health care available. By becoming a member on the Flint Hills Regional Council we now have a 7 county partnership that has the potential to provide cost savings to our county by sharing resources, and give us leg up in attracting new business to this area. It also gives us the opportunity to create ties with Fort Riley, mostly through education for troops transitioning to private life. These are positive changes.

Currently we have RDA leading the way for industrial development and working with existing business to address the needs that they require to be even more successful, throughout our region. We have Main Street that does a phenomenal job increasing consumer business and bringing many activities downtown, and more than willing to say downtown is everywhere. We have the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, which does a great job of promoting business and community success, and have a tremendous leadership program second to none, again throughout the Lyon county area. And now Lyon County is looking to become more active in economic development. Again this is a positive change.

So why is Lyon County taking the time to research where we can be most effective in helping this community take a positive step forward? First answer is that is why you hired us. You put your faith in us to make the decisions that will make Lyon County more efficient, have a better quality of life, and provide an atmosphere that will foster structured growth. This will be an ongoing process that requires public input that we desperately encourage.

Second answer is that with all the organizations that have been mentioned above, why aren’t we more successful. We must challenge ourselves every day to be better. We cannot afford to become defensive when ask if there is a different way to create jobs, housing, and utilize existing infrastructure to be more efficient. I think that we have proven that partnerships and relationships are the key to success and if we all, and I do mean all, work together we will find that we have the same common goals. And that is a positive change.

And finally let me read the mission statement of Lyon County. “The mission of Lyon County government is to create an environment of economic growth within a framework of fiscal responsibility and transparency to the people of Lyon County.” And that folks is the action we will take.

Many are fearful of change, but I already said that fear is not an option so faith it is!

Scott Briggs, Lyon County Commissioner