Something to Think About - keep (240)

  The announcement last week that Mark McAnarney had been hired as Emporia’s new City Manager came as a surprise only because the City Commission had indicated they were hiring a search firm to help fill the position.

                Mark comes about as well qualified to lead our city as anyone could be having worked as the Assistant City Manager for over two decades and having worked for several different city managers. He definitely has seen some good, some bad and even a little of the ugly.

                Mark McAnarney knows the workings of Emporia’s city government better than anyone alive, so he’s a great choice.

                Mark also knows Emporia. His wife Amy is an Assistant Principal at Emporia High where son Josh goes to school. Their other son Matt is off at college. They are both good kids. Mark and Amy built a nice home a few years ago and are truly invested in our community.

                With that all said there are a few concerns I have for Mark.

                First, is simple: his job now is to lead and not follow - just an adjustment, but one worth mentioning. This includes his relationship with the elected members of the city commission. They need to let Mark lead and not over direct his activities.

Second is that Mark’s relationship with other employees at the city has now changed dramatically. People who were once his co-workers are now his employees. There is no doubt many city employees looked to Mark to voice their needs and concerns to the city brass. Those days are gone. New relationships will need to be built.

My last concern is for Mark’s time. The city manager needs to be seen. He attends lots of meetings and events. Mark will be great at doing this but he has to find the time to also do his job - just another adjustment.

At the end of the day the city commission made the right choice. The City of Emporia has capable people in most key positions and they appear to have great respect for McAnarney – that’s good.

 Mark McAnarney is honest, hard working, and extremely well prepared, but his greatest asset in my opinion is his sincerity. When you talk with Mark you know you are getting the truth. You know he’s not blowing smoke. If Mark doesn’t know the answer he’ll say so, that my friends is sincerity and a trait great leaders possess.

Congratulations Mark!

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

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Something to Think About, every Wednesday on KVOE with Steve Sauder.  I remember when Ed McKernan Jr., past owner of the radio station had his weekly words.  I always looked forward to both, didn't always agree with them, however.

When I received an email from Erren Harter asking if I would be interested in doing the show on one of the Wednesdays that Steve will be gone, I thought that it would be a neat deal,  Well let me tell you, it hasn't been as easy as I thought.

I thought maybe I would talk about Steve asking me to fill in for his leftfielder on a slow pitch softball team.  There was a high-five ball that I would normally catch well it felt to the ground when Steve was on the pitching mound.  Yes, you can picture the rest.

Or maybe I could tell you about the time Ed McKernan Sr., was broadcasting the Emporia high basketball game with Topeka high in the Dungeon with their two division one signees.  Ed broadcast the whole game with my dad playing instead of me.  By the way, we lost 63-61. I am sure that if I had played instead of my dad we would have won the game.

Oh the memories.   Life is built on memories you live for the moment you prepare and then it is gone in a split second to become a memory.

When Yordano Ventura was killed a few weeks ago it brought back memories of him in his Royals uniform, his hat cocked to the side, and the hope we Royals fans had this year for him being the big guy on the mound.  But oh my, how life can be so fragile

That accident jogged my memory to the year 1964 when a former KU track athlete silver medalist in the 400 m hurdles in the 1960 Rome Olympics and a captain in the Air Force named Cliff Cushman came back to KU to train for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.  He was favored to win the gold instead he hit a hurdle during the Olympic trials, he fell and did not qualify for the Olympics therefore this would push his dream for Gold back another four years.  For all the accolades in track he might've been better known for a letter he wrote to the students in his high school in Grand Forks, North Dakota.  It was a challenge to these young people to better themselves, cherish second chances, honor their mothers and fathers and to reach exceeding your grasp.  You can read the letter on the Internet, just Google "Cliff Cushman letter".   I have used it many times giving it to young people who experimented some heart ache in their lives.  The irony of it all was that Cliff returned to the Air Force he flew his first mission in Vietnam was shot down and is listed as missing in action.  In a brief second his hope for gold again was snuffed out.

Here are some things to think about also:

Just for Today, I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle my whole life-problem at once.

Just for Today, I will be Happy. This assumes that what Abraham Lincoln said is true, that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Just for Today, I will try to strengthen my mind, I will study and I will learn something useful

Just for Today, I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my luck as it comes, and fit myself to it.

Just for Today, I will exercise my Soul.

Just for Today, I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress as becomingly as possible,  talk low,  act courteously, be liberal with flattery, criticize not one bit nor find fault with anything, and not try to regulate nor improve anybody.

Just for Today, I will have a Program. I will write down just what I expect to do every hour. I may not follow it exactly, but I’ll have it. It will save me from the two pests Hurry and Indecision.

Just for Today, I will have a quiet half hour, all by myself, and relax. During this half hour, some time, I will try to get a little more perspective to my life.

Just for Today, I will be Unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to be Happy, to enjoy what is Beautiful, and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.

One last thing, a few weeks ago, I was reading a devotional by John Wooden, the great UCLA basketball coach.  It was titled 86,400.  That is how many seconds there are in a day.  They are given to us for us to use as we see fit.  We cannot pass any unused seconds to the next day.  Once they are gone they are gone.  It details about planning, using your time wisely, do not waste time, time lost is time lost, you can't make it up, if you put things off and work twice as hard the next day then you're only cheating yourself.  Life is fragile, enjoy every moment, don't cheat yourself.

Now there is Something to Think About

Ray Call, wow! While Ray and I had conversations from time to time I did not know he was close to passing away. This is a great loss.

          Unique is the only way to describe Ray Call. Talk about hearing a different set of drums! Ray holds a major spot in the history of Emporia. He was his own man.

          My associations with Ray have taken on many shapes – everything from co-worker (I was the Gazette’s Circulation Manager for a year), to reader, critic, topic, friend, competitor and even co-conspirator a few times.

          Thank you to Bobbi Mlynar for her awesome piece in Monday’s Gazette about Ray’s life. It brought back so many memories.

          Ray was a newspaper man at a paper buried in tradition with bosses so legendary its mind boggling. He worked for the White’s after all. William Allen White, NO he died with Ray was 12, but his ghost is still there! He did work for W.L. (Bill) White  and his wife Kathryn (she may have been the toughest of all) and finally the Walkers.

          If you know much about journalism you know that Ray’s job at the Gazette had to be a pressure cooker. When he wrote an editorial it not only had ten thousand or so readers to contend with but THE WHITES!

          Ray’s writing to me was legendary. First, he wrote almost every day! Writing opinion pieces once a week in a challenge, but daily is ridiculous! Ray Call not only did this he did it with precise accuracy and on timely topics almost all local in nature.

          Bobbi’s article brought good memories about pick up trucks and other controversial subjects he tackled.

Ray Call was fearless. He was not a community booster. Maybe more accurate would be to say he thought of himself as our community’s conscience. He took stances that were not pro business and would ask questions of community leaders in government, at the Chamber, in education, the churches or whoever that often made them uncomfortable. He asked those question most were afraid to ask!

There had to be some serious issues with the Gazette’s advertising department and Ray.

But, in the end Ray was effective in helping his community land on the correct side of most every challenge.

Over the past few years Ray and I had several interesting conversations about many things including the various spats he had had with KVOE over the years.

You fought the good battle my friend, so, now rest in peace. Ray Call had just turned 82.

I’m Steve Sauder

Brent Windsor, Emporia Board of Education

Something to Think About, Wednesday February 18

I recently saw a quote by John F. Kennedy that would provide perfect guidance for our Governor and legislative leaders. It reads, “Let us not seek the Republican answer, or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” Seems quite simple doesn’t it? Not really. I would suggest that none of us are quick to admit our mistakes of the past; myself included. Yet given the current financial crisis our State is in, there is no better stance to take than to realize and admit the tax policy implemented in 2012 is no longer sustainable.

I have never witnessed a situation where our leaders refuse to see the impact of their previous decisions and continue to ignore the actions necessary to bring Kansas back to financial stability. Two weeks ago, the Governor announced that he would reduce K-12 and higher education budgets by $44.5 million. This goes directly against the promise he made during his re-election campaign that he would not reduce funding to education. During his State of the State address, the Governor even went so far as to blame education for the reason Kansas is in financial trouble. I find that hard to swallow when tax cuts implemented in 2012 have resulted in a $344 million dollar deficit projected for this year and an additional $600 million for FY ’16.

These decisions will hit Emporia in many ways. Our school district will certainly lose $269,000and if future payment delays are implemented, as projected, those losses will easily rise to $517,000 or more. ESU will see cuts of $632,000, our civic infrastructure will begin to degrade and Emporians depending on social assistance will find it harder to meet their needs.

I am extremely concerned with disinformation distributed by various interest groups, including the Governor’s office, as they publish messages that are misleading and include half-truths. Last week I heard the comment, “education isn’t getting cut, it’s just getting less of an increase over the previous year.” Well yes, I suppose that could be true. But the rest of the story is that total spending on education is at the lowest it has been since 1985 at only 4.48% of Kansan’s personal income. And now the Courts have ruled that Kansas is not meeting its constitutional obligation to provide a public education for every child in this State.

When will our governor and legislative body realize that our current tax policy is not sustainable? The realization is probably already there. I simply ask that the Governor, and the legislature, look at the results and understand that Kansas is not a State that can survive on a low-to-no income tax policy. What prevents our leadership from admitting that their experiment isn’t working and modifications need to be made? What would happen if mistakes were admitted and a path towards growth was implemented?

This legislative session has definitely started with a bang, full of controversy and misguided action that will only result in bad policy limiting the rights of our community and cutting budgets from education and state agencies that are already struggling. I encourage you to use your voice and follow in the footsteps of a great leader. “Let us not seek the Republican answer, or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

I’m Brent Windsor and that’s something to think about.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Kent Weiser – February 17, 2016

As you might expect, today’s topic revolves around intercollegiate athletics.  It is not about wins or losses, scheduling games, or officiating.  It is about a topic that that has drawn attention at college campuses around the country.  It is not about political correctness, but rather, it is about the role athletics plays in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

By its nature, athletics has advantages as we address diversity, and at almost all levels, sports are ahead of society when it comes to equity.  Historically, racial barriers are broken in athletics before other areas.  Athletics in its best form is the most level playing field there is…where people are judged and valued by their abilities, and by the content of their character.

Emporia State student-athletes, and those on any organized team, come together with the hope of reaching a common goal.  They must trust each other, treat each other with respect, and depend on each other, regardless of their teammate’s ethnicity or background.  When athletes focus on a common goal, individual differences become much less important.  Every day, I see that dependability, trust, mutual respect, and dedication are found in people of all races and cultures.

Athletics though, does face their own generalizations and stereotypes.  We hear of individual instances that perpetuate the stereotype of student-athletes being dumb jocks, that they are arrogant, and don’t care about education.  So how do we make people realize that these are generalizations, and do not apply to the majority of student-athletes? 

At ESU, we have chosen to address these pre-conceived stereotypes by being involved in various community service projects.  Not to specifically alleviate the stereotypes of student-athletes, but to simply help people and causes that are in need.  When we do that, people get to know student-athletes for who they are as individuals, not by the group they belong to.  Stereotypes are slowly broken down, and pre-conceived generalizations fade away.

Emporia State student-athletes take the opportunity to help those in need in our community in a variety of ways.   From reading to elementary school students, helping senior citizens, volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, collecting food for our local food banks, and building dog houses for our four-legged friends at the Humane Society, just to name a few.

I would like to see other groups and individuals in Emporia, and in the world for that matter, take this same approach….to lend a hand to someone else and get to know them, and they get to know you.  Imagine if our international students helped with Walk for Hunger to fill our food banks.   If the student Christian organizations helped our Islamic students observe Ramadan, and celebrate Eid.  If our black student union helped the Hispanic community celebrate Cinco de Mayo.  If our Muslim students helped our senior citizens with Christmas events.  If our fraternities and sororities helped African American students recognize Black History month.  The possibilities exist everywhere…not to forward any one group’s agenda, but to help others reach their goals.  If you first seek to understand, you will be understood.

For this to work as it has for ESU Athletics, groups and individuals must have the courage to get out of their comfort zone, and be the first to extend their hand in friendship and support.  How about that someone be you.

I’m Kent Weiser, and that’s something to think about.

After I made my decision to retire from the legislature I got involved in the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas which is a broad based statewide coalition of individuals and organizations that have come together to improve the health of  Kansans.

The first policy goal of the Alliance is to improve access to care by expanding KanCare, the Kansas Medicaid program. Alliance members include business leaders, doctors and hospitals, social service and safety net organizations, faith communities, chambers of commerce, advocates for health care consumers, and others.

Over the last eight months the Alliance has held 36 community meetings across Kansas, including one in Emporia last September that directly engaged thousands of Kansans. The work of the Alliance has confirmed that expanding KanCare impacts and will benefit all Kansans. 

Last week the House Health Committee held hearings on expanding KanCare. Doctors and leaders of community health centers and mental health centers testified that expanding KanCare will make Kansans healthier.  In addition to improved health and lower death rates, Kansans who are eligible for coverage under expansion will see reduced medical debt, better credit scores, and an improved chance of finding and keeping employment.   While there is a lot of talk about expanding KanCare providing a disincentive to work, the opposite is true.  A study of Ohio’s Medicaid expansion population found that the policy improved the expansion population’s employment status and prospects.  Area patients of Flint Hills Community Health Center and Crosswinds will benefit significantly from the expansion of KanCare.

Newman Hospital is enjoying improving stability after being designated as a critical access hospital.  Unfortunately thirty-one Kansas hospitals are considered financially vulnerable, in part because they provide millions of dollars’ of uncompensated care.

Larger hospitals in Kansas including Via Christi in Wichita and others have been forced to lay off hundreds of employees because of the failure to expand KanCare.  The League of Municipalities, has described how dozens of communities and their taxpayers must pay higher local taxes to support their hospitals because the state has not expanded KanCare.  

Expanding KanCare will provide resources to hospitals and reduce uncompensated care costs.  In turn, this will lessen the need for local taxpayers to pay higher sales, property, and district taxes to support their hospitals.  Research has shown that expansion often times means the difference between profit or loss for rural hospitals.  We cannot allow another closure like that experienced by Mercy Hospital in Independence – especially when there is a solution.

The closure  Independence hospital caused the loss of more than 190 good paying jobs.  Kansas lost 9,400 private sector jobs last year.  We cannot afford to lose any more.  Leaders of dozens of Chambers of Commerce including Emporia’s have described how expanding KanCare creates jobs, stimulates the economy, and helps businesses.   

The issue of whether or not to expand KanCare impacts every Kansas taxpayer.  To date, the state has forfeited over $1.6 billion of Kansas taxpayers’ money because we have chosen not to expand KanCare. That money could have been brought back to Kansas to create jobs, protect hospitals and local taxpayers, and most importantly to improve the health of Kansans.  Instead our tax dollars have gone to other states that have expanded.  Expanding Medicaid does not contribute to the deficit or debt because it is part of a budget neutral bill at the federal level.  At the state level, expanding KanCare would help the Legislature address our budget problems.  Other states have experienced positive budget impacts as a result of expansion.  It is projected that expanding KanCare would result in a $69.2 million net gain to the state budget in 2017.  

It is past time the Kansas Legislature votes to expand Medicaid.  I trust that will happen.  A recent American Cancer Society poll found that 82% of Kansas voters support expansion. When the legislature passes expansion What will Governor Brownback do. Well that is the subject for another day.

That is something to think about.  I am Don Hill 

          Saturday night Emporia State University will hold a Gala to mark the end of their 150 year celebration.

          My name is Steve Sauder and I am a Hornet.

Let me suggest this is a great time to be a Hornet.

Why you ask?

          Because, while Emporia State has had many fine hours and tons of accomplishments over the years there has never been a time when the future appeared to be this bright –  even with amazingly awful budget cuts in place and with more expected.

          Nobody saw this coming.

          Two years ago enrollment at ESU was seriously low and falling. The campus totally lacked excitement and the hope for the future was dim.

          On January 3, 2012 Michael Shonrock became Emporia State’s new President. He wasn’t wearing a cape, so expectations weren’t that great.

          What we didn’t know was that Shonrock has a different way to look at things than most leaders. He never gets caught up on what is notpossible, but always looks to find out what can be done.

          His style is perfect for Emporia. His leadership has transformed the ESU campus and many think our community as well!

          What Michael found at Emporia State was a place that had a culture of doing more with less. Despite not having had a pay increase for a longtime he found a hard working, dedicated and talented faculty and staff.

          Unfortunately for Shonrock state support for Emporia State has been even less than he expected when he took the job. Kansas lawmakers have done little to aid higher education during his two years in Emporia.

          Despite these difficult conditions the University is growing and making plans for exciting major changes. Budget cuts have forced the elimination of over 70 positions at Emporia State, but morale seems strong. Fact is, I attended the most recent General Assembly at the start of the new semester and the faculty and staff in attendance were pumped up and excited!

          Throw in the increasingly strong and amazing results form the ESU Foundation’s Now and Forever Campaign (over half way to the $45 million goal) and you understand something special is going on at Emporia State University.

          Two National Championships in Debate; a play off football team, #7 nationally ranked ladies basketball team, track and field accomplishments out the wazoo along with academic accomplishments too many to count don’t hurt either.

          One on my favorite saying is “the speed of the leader determines the speed of the pack.”

          Obviously, ESU’s leader has us running real fast.

          I’m Steve Sauder and I am a Hornet. Stingers Up!

Something to think about! - Shirley Antes - Director of Emporia Community Foundation

I’ve got something for you to think about – “Keep 5 in Kansas”!

That’s right – “Keep 5 in Kansas”!

It’s a campaign.  It’s an opportunity.  It’s a way of leaving a legacy.  It’s all of these things AND it’s something to think about.

Now more than ever, we have an opportunity to ensure our cities, towns and counties remain great places to live for future generations.  The “Keep 5 in Kansas” campaign highlights the unprecedented transfer of wealth that will occur in the next 40 years as estates change hands from the Greatest Generation to the Baby Boomers, and then to their children and grandchildren.  In Kansas, this transfer of wealth is estimated to be $79 billion by 2020.  By 2064 it will increase to nearly $600 billion!  For Lyon County alone this transfer of wealth equals $845 million by 2020 and by 2064 $6.5 billion.

So, how can we keep a portion of the transfer of wealth in Kansas and more importantly in our own communities?  The “Keep 5 in Kansas” campaign asks every Kansan to consider designating a portion of their estate wealth – even 5% -- by setting up an endowment through their local community foundation. By doing this, we could provide a permanent source of funding for local organizations and charitable causes that will greatly improve the lives of future generations.

So, think about what matters to you. What are the causes you care about? What would you do to make sure the things that matter to you today have a secure future, long after you’re gone?  How can you help ensure that future generations will benefit from the wonderful resources we have in our community?  There are many options for establishing an endowment and with a little planning, we can all make a difference for our communities, our families, our friends and our neighbors, forever.

Now that’s -- Something to think about!

For more information, visit the “Keep 5 in Kansas” website at keepfiveinkansas.com or call the Emporia Community Foundation at 342-9304.

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