Something to Think About - keep (248)

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.

This week seems to have barely begun and yet – does it seem to anyone other than me that we have had enough headlines for weeks.

President Trump has been busy in his first dozen days after taking the oath of office.  I believe he has taken some meaningful positive action and made other moves which cause me great concern.   Kind of reminds me of the playground game we played way back in the day – he has taken 4 scissor steps forward and several baby steps backward. 

I am especially concerned about the Presidents immigration ban and the way it was implemented.  What was he thinking about?  Who did he consult?  Were the consequences of this action, both intended and unintended, carefully considered?

In the aftermath of this action I am grateful for the wisdom and guidance from the faith community as well as counsel from leaders in business (especially the tech industry), education, homeland security and defense.

Elected officials in both parties have raised voices of concern including all of our Kansas congressional delegation.  Senator Jerry Moran and Representative Kevin Yoder responded quickly.

Senator Moran said  “ While I support thorough vetting, I do not support restricting the rights of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents  Furthermore, far-reaching national security policy should always be devised in consultation with Congress and relevant government agencies.”

Representative  Kevin Yoder  said his office will work with constituents who, as lawful permanent residents of the United States, are unfairly detained under the executive order. Yoder said he supports pausing refugee resettlement in the U.S. but opposes more expansive restrictions.

Yoder stated further that “President Trump and the White House must work with the State Department and (Department of Homeland Security) to ensure that green card holders and valid visa recipients who have already gone through vetting don’t get swept up by this order because it is interpreted too broadly.”

The higher education community in Kansas has also expressed concern.

K-States president Richard Myers, who was also chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Republican President George W. Bush, said in a statement that Kansas State has reached out to all international students and scholars with travel advice while the ban is in place.

“K-State deeply values the contributions of our international family members and regrets the disruption this situation is causing in their lives. As a public research university with global connections, we are concerned about the detrimental effects of this policy on those pursuing academic studies and research.” said Myers.

A spokesman for prominent Kansas businessman Charles Koch said he opposed President Trump’s controversial ban on immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries.

In a statement he said "We believe it is possible to keep Americans safe without excluding people who wish to come here to contribute and pursue a better life for their families. The travel ban is the wrong approach and will likely be counterproductive,"

I understand there is disagreement regarding this issue but I believe the President has stubbed his toe on this one.  Donald J. Trump is our President.  He is my President and I wish for his success.  There is not a President in history who has not acknowledged they made mistakes while serving in the most powerful office in the world.

I believe we must all be willing to find ways to work together and I hope President Trump will be caring and careful.  We will all be best served when he finds the capacity to learn from his, and others, success as well as missteps.

That is something to think about!

          Donald Trump said it’s time to “Shut down the influx of Muslims coming into the United States.”

          I have a better idea – maybe it’s time to shut down Donald Trump!

          I won’t resort to name calling because that’s what Trump does, but this guy takes the cake. How his candidacy keeps moving forward and maintaining its support is a mystery to me.

          Donald Trump has insulted everyone from the President of the United States to about every foreign leader in power. He’s disrespected Hispanics, veterans, congressmen and senators, not to mention women, handicapped people and the media.

          If you disagree with Donald Trump he calls you a name and says you are incompetent.

          Monday he may have gone too far when he suggested the U.S. shut off our country to Muslims.

          This wacky idea is illegal and violates more than one article of our constitution not to mention it would be impossible to do.

          With this idea Trump has taken on a religion that has a reported 1.5 billion followers many who live in the United States and are law abiding citizens. Who will be next for Trump? Catholics, Jews or maybe Methodists?

The man is out of control yet he has supporters.

I may have an idea to slow him down. The media could if it had the fortitude of Joe Scarborough the former member of congress that now hosts the “Morning Joe” on MSNBC.

Yesterday Trump was a live guest on the “Morning Joe,” but he would not shut up to allow for questions. Scarborough told Trump either you shut up and allow me ask a question or we are going to a break. Trump kept talking so Scarborough took a break. When the show came back live Trump was quiet and answered questions.

Maybe the media should do the same thing when Trump insults them. Just get up and walk out. CNN ought to uninvite him to their debate on the 15th. If the media made a pact and quit covering Trump he might be forced to behave. You think?

American politics have taken on a new twist and I for one don’t like it or him for that matter!

I’m Steve Sauder

In today’s world “the truth” has become a pretty allusive thing to tie down.

          ESU professor Michael Smith offered a new term in his recent Wichita Eagle piece. It was “post-truth.”

          In fact the Oxford English Dictionary declared “post-truth” the “word of the year!”

          Defined it is: “Relating or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal beliefs.”

          Obviously it also explains much of the past year in terms of things we have heard and or read. Too many stories that when fact checked were not quite what the person creating them had implied.

          Of course our President-elect Donald Trump leads the world in things said that turned out to not be exactly as he described them. No, he actually leads the universe, but who’s counting.

          Mrs. Clinton had her share, but probably not in the same class as The Donald.

My point today isn’t so much to indict our President-elect, but to point out that telling the truth has become a not so popular thing to do.

Unfortunately many of our leaders are guilty to some degree.

          Post-truth is running wild.

          Example: In 2013 while defending his new health care plan President Obama said “If you like your insurance plan you can keep it.” He did eventually apologize, but his gaff was still tabbed the “lie of the year.”

          Bernie Sander’s plan for “Free Tuition” for all was amusing to me.

          Sorry Bernie, but there aren’t any free lunches. Free maybe if you don’t pay taxes. Somebody would have to pay for that tuition, but “appealing to the emotions” of people with tuition to pay or large debts still unpaid was effective. It wasn’t a big lie, but “free tuition” was certainly not the truth.

          Now - the real test. Can our next president figure out how to govern without abusing the truth?

          I think Circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal beliefs will be much more difficult to find for him as president.

          I’m Steve Sauder.

          “That’ll be the day!”

          John Wayne or Buddy Holly?

          Take your pick cause they both said or sang that line. Duke in the movie “The Searchers” in 1956 and Holly after he wrote a song with that title.

          Holly is listed as the 13th most influential rock and roll personality of our time. That’s pretty amazing when you learn that his career lasted a mere one and a half years before he died in a plane crash on a snowy Iowa night.

          Richie Valens, the Big Bopper and their pilot died in the crash. Waylon Jennings, a band member gave up his seat that night.

Holly’s wife of two months missed the flight because she had morning sickness. She later said had she been there “Buddy would not have gotten on that plane.” She miscarried the day after learning of his death. She did not attend the funeral nor has she ever been to the gravesite.

          Holly grew up in Lubbock, Texas as Charles Hardin Holley – spelled with an “e.” The “e” got dropped when it was inadvertently spelled wrong on a recording contract.

          Holly has 40 songs registered with ASCP and BMI. He actually did his first recording at age 13 with Hank Snow, but released only three albums in his lifetime.

          Buddy Holly’s most famous songs? Take your pick from: That’ll Be the Day; Peggy Sue; O Boy; Maybe Baby; It Doesn’t Matter Any More; It’s So Easy; True Love Ways; Well All Right; or my favorite Not Fade Away that the Grateful Dead reportedly performed over 500 times in concerts and appears on 8 of their live recording releases.

          Holly had a profound effect on other artists such as Bob Dylan who attended a Holly concert at age 17, or the Rolling Stones’s Keith Richards who attended a concert and heard “Not Fade Away.” The Stones later did a cover on that song.

          The Beatles watched a Holly concert on TV in England and reportedly took their name partly in homage to Holly who’s band was the Crickets – also a bug.

          The death of the three performers was the subject of several songs over time with the most noted being Don McLean’s “American Pie.” It references the tragedy as “the day the music died.”

          Buddy Holly was in Emporia last Friday night and it was time of fond memories for at least one person who was 13 when the music died. He did own several Buddy Holly 45’s! Including…… That’ll be the Day.

          I’m Steve Sauder

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