Something to Think About


Steve Sauder is president of Emporia's Radio Stations, Inc. the owners of KVOE-AM 1400, Country 101.7 and Mix 104.9. Steve has been in a leadership position with ERS, Inc., since 1987.

May 14, 2014

Emporia State Baseball Coach Bob Fornelli is my topic today because he represents a positive attitude most of us would love to possess.

          Bob came to Emporia Statehoping to play for Dave Bingham, but  Bingham took the KU job and Fornelli ended up playing for a different coach.

          Next, Fornelli was the pitching coach at Butler County Community College. The first three years he lived in a room about the size of his current office and showered with the kids. He was promoted to Dorm Director the last two years with an apartment in the dorm. He and new wife Jill lived in the dorm their first year of marriage.

          Bob worked at coaching baseball 24/7/365. Summers inElkhart and Liberal and less exotic places and then Ft. Hays State called. After seven years in Hays the ESU job opened up and Fornelli eagerly took over. This is his eleventh year atEmporia State. His teams have twice been national runners up.

          The Hornets made it into NCAA post season play in both 2010 and 11, but did not advance. 2012 and 2013 were not good years for the Hornets. Winning records yes, but post season action was limited to losing in the first round of the MIAA tournament.

          It may not have been so much ESU having slippage as much as other schools in the MIAA and Region starting to throw money at baseball.

          Fornelli has been offered at least two other MIAA jobs, both with larger salaries and promises of lavish budgets. Fornelli’s response has been “I’m a Hornet and if we can find a little more support I’m not going anywhere.”

          At the mid point of this past season Coach Fornelli had to be questioning those decisions. In early April with an almost entirely new team and one he really liked Washburn handed ESU three straight losses and a season record of 19 & 14.

          Fornelli’s response to Greg Rahe on KVOE was “this is not a time to pout.”

          That so impressed me I traveled to Topeka for the final game of the Washburn series. ESU won starting a 15 game winning streak. The Hornets have now won 21 of their last 24 including 4 in a row to win the MIAA Post Season Tournament. They start play in the Central Regional tomorrow.

          Bob Fornelli is all about playing hard, doing things the right way and having fun. He is the Dean of ESU coaches and someone many other coaches go to when their chins are dragging.

          Fornelli makes his living in a sport where you can be successful even when you fail 7 or 8 times out of 10. Maybe he read Thomas Edison who once said “People are not remembered by how few times they failed, but by how often they succeed.”

          Bob Fornelli is a text book example of never letting failure become permanent. He’s always looking for the next opportunity for success.

          Fornelli is a role model family man too. Jill and delightful daughters Emma, Rylie and Addison are seldom missing when the Hornets are playing.

          Look up positive attitude in the dictionary and you’ll see Coach Fornelli’s picture.

          I’m Steve Sauder

May 7, 2014

         Our choices to represent us in the First Congressional District of Kansas will be: Incumbent Tim Huelscamp, and Challengers: Kent Roth and Alan LaPolice.

          Believe it or not this is an improvement as Rep. Huelscamp, in Congress since 2011, ran unopposed in 2012! He initially won his seat after winning a wild primary with numerous contestants including Dr. James Barnett from Emporia.

          Speaking from a personal point of view Tim Huelscamp has been an embarrassment as my representative in Washington. His ultra conservative positions seem unwavering and only get worse. At a time when gridlock in Washington is one of the biggest problems Huelscamp is exactly the opposite of what is needed, yet no one even ran against him in the last election.

          There would appear to be reason for hope when polling consistently indicates over 51% of First District Kansans do not approve of Huelscamp’s activities.

          Former Kansas legislator Kent Roth from Ellenwood announced his campaign to unseat Congressman Huelscamp months ago. I sent him a donation and he sent me a bumper sticker that says – No Labels – Kick Too Crazy for Kansas Out of Congress.

          Not sure how effective that is, but I did put one on my car.

          Earlier this week Kent Roth solicited me again.

          His letter thanked me for my donation, defined the Federal contribution limits for me, pointed out the polling numbers mentioned earlier and suggested splitting the opposition vote in the primary would not be good. He then dropped the bombshell that truly explains the value of being an incumbent like Huelscamp.

          Kent told me had cash on hand of $15,756; the other person in the race had $14,402 but our incumbent congressman Tim Huelscamp reported cash on hand in excess of $800,000!

          Not exactly a positive message for a want-a-be supporter, huh?

          My question is what can we do about our congressman? He’s a bright guy, PhD in political science, concentrating on agriculture policy from American University, but he does not seem to represent us well.

          If you agree with me the time to take action is now, but fifteen grand compared to 800,000 THAT is a big problem. Any ideas?

          I’m Steve Sauder.

April 23, 2014

Sunday evening my wife and I were heading home when we notice two boys riding their bikes on the seventh green on the country club golf course.

                We chased them down and were able to have a conversation with the boys estimated ages 13 and 7. My hope was to let them know their behavior was not acceptable that they were on private property and especially that they could damage the green with a cost in the thousands of dollars possible.

                Unfortunately, the older boy was not impressed and in fact laughed at me. When I suggested I might call the police he said “go for it!”

                This is where my problem gets dicey.

                How exactly do I call the police?

                911? No, this is not an emergency and I recently heard stories about people who called 911 for a cat in the tree which obviously wasn’t an emergency, so 911 was not an option.

                I had no phone book, but did have the number for one of Emporia’s detectives in my phone. Calling that number got me to the City/Lyon County line. It asked me to choose between City and County. No problem. Then it said: Dial 1 for a Police for Fire emergency. No, so the next option was Dial 2 for a water emergency. No, so option 3 was for “All other needs.” That sent me to the City’s general mail box. I tried dialing “0” but that went to the mail box too.

                Bottom line my choices were dial 911 or leave a message. I guess finding a phone book was also an option, but that didn’t seem plausible since I was holding onto the handlebars of the older youth’s bicycle.

                As a sidelight we did eventually talk to the boy’s father, but that wasn’t very satisfying either as he basically said “boys will be boys and scoffed at the idea of involving the police.”

                Monday I was able to visit with Chief of Police Scott Cronk who agreed I had a conundrum, but advised me I could have hit 1 for the emergency/911 option and then ask them to call me back on a regular line because my call was not an emergency.  Guess that’s why he’s the Chief.

                Scott did agree to visit with Ed Rathke at the city to see if adding an option for non-emergency contact with the P.D. and Fire Departments might be possible. My hope is Ed will agree and seek a better solution.

                Personally, I went to the phone book and found with a little effort there are numbers for both departments for non-emergency calls. I put both in my phone and suggest you might want to do the same.

                The Emporia Police Department Non-emergency number is 343-4200 and the Fire Department’s is 343-4230.

                O.K. now it’s your turn. Let me know how dumb I was. By the way the boys did do some damage to the green.

            Hopefully, the story ends here. I’m Steve Sauder.

April 16, 2104

          This is Easter - the most important time of the year for Christians. The reason Easter is so important is because the events of this week give us the hope for eternal life; hope that our sins can be forgiven and our less than perfect lives can still have meaning.

          God sent his son Jesus to earth to teach us a better way to live. Even though his ministry lasted only three years it influenced billions of people. Eventually he paid for our sins with his life. He died on the cross, rose from the dead and gives each of us a way to return and live with God – thus the Easter celebration.

          For those who do not believe in God there is an ongoing debate. The movie “God is not Dead” is a wonderful tool to use if you question the existence of a higher power.

          As a Christian I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Because of him death is not the end thus giving my life new hope.

          I often wonder what non believers are thinking when they attend a funeral.

          As a Christian I am comforted knowing eternal life is available for all who believe in God.

          This is a good time for those who have doubts, don’t understand or do not believe there is a higher power to seek answers. It would seem that having hope for eternal life is a far better place to be than simply being confused or mad about death.

          God does love this world and he does so much that he sacrificed his own son’s life to pay for our sins. That’s a gift we should not ignore.

          Hoping you have a meaningful Easter, I’m Steve Sauder.

April 9, 2014

It truly is a great day in Emporia. Especially if you have an interest in our local institutions of high education – Flint Hills Technical College and Emporia State University.

          In case you have not noticed both are experiencing some very positive events.

          Once there was little or no cooperation between the schools, but today they are working well to help each other succeed.

          Take for example the 3-D competition being sponsored jointly by the two schools plus the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce. I was fortunate to be asked to help judge this first ever contest. While it doesn’t appear a Facebook or a Google will be invented from this year’s entries I can say the efforts were very good and the passion the students exhibited indicated a keen interest.

          Friday night at the 3-D Gala the best three from an original pool of 33 entries will be honored. They represent a wonderful cross section including both institutions, traditional, non-traditional and international students and ideas worth exploring.

          While the 3-D is about to conclude exciting news from both schools hit the airways this week.

          FlintHills Tech is absolutely blowing away previous numbers with success in many areas, but specifically in their Power Plant Technology and Industrial Maintenance areas. Both programs have cooperating partners from some really big names in industry and are attracting students from all over the United States. Placement results have been outstanding.

          Emporia State rolled out it Master Plan for the next ten years calling for some drastic changes in physical entries in to the campus. The endorsement of the Black and Gold District in the eleven hundred block of Commercial will further tie our town the university together.

          Never in the history of Emporia State has so much excitement been present. With another new Dean about to be hired ESU will showcase its’ ability to attract top grade people because of the school’s positive direction. It is indeed “Great time to be a Hornet.”

          Together these two fine schools with their excellent leaders working together are helping Emporia be a better place to live, work and raise our families.

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

April 2, 2014

Do you know what SOS stands for in the Emporia area?

          The official answer is Sexual Offense Services. An organization started in 1976 as an outgrowth of the Emporia chapter for the National Organization for Women. The underlying purpose was to offer services for rape victims.

          Today SOS is one of Emporia’s finest assets. The SOS vision has grown to be one seeking to end sexual and domestic violence, child abuse and neglect through service, education, advocacy, social change and promotion of justice.

          When I say one of Emporia’s finest assets its because not all other communities have an SOS and few if any have organizations as effective as our SOS.

          SOS has been a United Way agency since 1982, but funding remains their biggest challenge. At one time many grants were available, but they have dried up and creative fund raising like the concert and auction this past Saturday night are vital.

          SOS services cover a lot of areas.

They include CASA which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. Working in the 5thJudicial District CASA volunteers represent the best interest of children who need help.

In 1999 the Visitation and Exchange Center was opened. It is a safe place for children to be with their parents during supervised visits and exchanges. This Center often makes complicated situations simple.

Since 2002 SOS has operated in four additional counties – Chase, Coffey Greenwood and Morris- offering client services and developing volunteer bases in these areas. Osage County was added in 2004.

In 2012 Susan Moran retired after years of outstanding leadership as Executive Director of SOS. Fortunately Connie Cahoone was available to take over from Susan. Connie would be the first to tell you there was no replacing Susan, but Connie is off to a wonderful start.

The biggest disappointment about Saturday night was that YOU were not there. There was a nice group assembled for the auctions which raised over $10,000, but the turn out for the outstanding Callie Agler-Medrano concert was disappointing.

SOS is a wonderful asset, but more support is needed. Volunteers are needed. YOU are needed. SOS makes our community a better place to live. Please help.