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Something to Think About

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.

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.

March 26, 2012

The internet, Google search, Twitter, Facebook and the hundreds of other search tools are fast becoming a nuisance.

          Consider if you will the following words that appeared on my Facebook yesterday:

          Jane Fonda was on 3 times this week talking about her new book…and how she feels being in her 70’s…She still does not know what she did wrong…       Her book just may not make the bestseller list if more people knew.

          Facts as I believe them are: Fonda has a new book, she is in her 70’s, she likely was on TV 3 times and she doesn’t think she did anything wrong during the Viet Nam war.

          One claim against the former award winning actress is that during a trip to North Viet Nam she turned messages given to her by American P.O.W.’s over to their captors.

          Snoopes, Fact Checker and others have pretty much put that story to rest as being false.

          But, Fonda did go to North Viet Nam and did do several things that seem way beyond acceptable.

The actress and activist, defended her decision to go to Hanoi and said she had no regrets about being photographed with American POWs there or making broadcasts on Radio Hanoi because she was trying to stop the war.

"Well”, she said, “both sides were using the POWs for propaganda. I don't think there was anything wrong with it. It's not something that I will apologize for."

The Fonda Follies even involve President Obama.

        She was honored in 1999 as one of the “One Hundred Women of the Century.”

        You can find internet fiction suggesting Barack Obama had something to do with that honor. It appears he did not nor has he ever honored Jane Fonda.

        Interestingly Barbara Walter hosted the One Hundred Women show and said the following about Fonda:

“Many died in Vietnam for our freedoms. I did not like Jane Fonda then and I don't like her now. Jane Fonda can lead her present life the way she wants and perhaps SHE can forget the past, but we DO NOT have to stand by without comment and see her "honored" as a ”Woman of the Century."

        While it is difficult to separate fact from fiction today it has never been difficult for me to dislike Jane Fonda. She did go to Hanoi and worked against the U.S.A. Some of the stories may not be factual, but I agree with Barbara, I don’t have to stand by without comment.

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

March 12, 2014

Recently I attended the Emporia Planning Commission hearing on the proposed development of the Peak land located north of 24th Avenue near Wal-Mart not necessarily to oppose but to express concern about the buffer between the site and our land to the north.

The Planning Commission listened politely to the developers, a couple of supporters, several not very happy home owners, me and then rejected the proposal,  5-2.

This was disappointing because I was hoping for a dialogue about the buffer. My assumption was the Planning Commission would ask questions. Neither they, nor the developers ask anything!

The developer said it isn’t financially feasible for the Peak property to be a residential development. No one challenged that assertion with which I agree.

No one asked the rather vocal attorney who lives adjacent to the Peak property what kind of development he would be willing to accept.

It seemed the purpose of the Planning Commission that night was to find a reason to say “no” rather than to look for a reason to say “yes.” That attitude does not serve Emporia’s needs very well.

Until the Peak property is developed in some manner it appears development in other areas of Emporia will be stymied because potential companies like Hy-Vee or Dillon’s are interested ONLY in that tract.

A good question is what are the Peak family’s desires for the use of their land? My understanding is residential isn’t their choice even though it is zoned that way.

This I believe: If Emporia is to grow we must find a way to increase the size of our retail community.

Leakage, purchases made by local folks outside our area, is a serious problem or maybe better said - a tremendous opportunity.

Leakage is easily documented and Emporia’s is severe. Officials of a large Topeka based company once shared that receipts in their stores from the 66801 zip code annually exceed a million dollars!

No one wants or seeks competition, but without new businesses Emporia will stay as it is – no, that’s not true – without new business growth Emporia will continue to shrink.

Opportunity may be knocking, but at this point I’m not sure Emporia knows what the questions are, let alone the answers.

I’m Steve Sauder.

March 05, 2014

“One of a kind,” is a massive understatement when talking about Don Ek who passed away on Monday night.

          At Larry Kramer’s funeral they talked about “terms of endearment.”

          Don Ek had more than his share of “terms of endearment” associated with his name.

          First off Don was a great husband, father and Christian. He distinguished himself as a community leader as well giving time to all that ask and volunteered for even more. His success in business is well documented.

          Before getting to those “terms of endearment” let me share about my associations with Don. He was a close friend and the father of a couple of boys who thought my concession stand at the old C of E baseball field was there for their enjoyment.

We were competitors, associates and even co-conspirators a few times.

          We traveled together many times. Most often to Vegas or Reno, but most memorable for me was our trip to Scotland right after the 9-11 attacks. How we avoided an international crisis on that trip escapes me. Don knows no strangers and THAT can be a problem in a foreign country.

          And finally at Lake Kahola where we built a cabin next door to the legendary Ek homestead. We were facing not only a brand new house, but we were new to the lake and we had a new boat. Without Don we might well have sunk the boat and burned the cabin down. The Ek’s were great neighbors. My grandsons knew him as Donsie – a term most women also used. His patience with me and those kids was amazing and when he left the lake, well it wasn’t the same place.

          Now let’s talk about some of those “terms of endearment.”

          Donsie is at the top of the list, but many of us called him Eeeek sometimes followed by you blank, blank, blank usually after he spilled his beer on the table.

          I played a lot of gin and poker with Don Ek and I gave him a name that his poker club buddies remember well. That name was Shakespeare because of his amazing ability with words. NOT!

          My son Jamie called him fondly “the old buzzard” and Don responded calling Jamie “buzzard bait.”

          Now it was pointed out to me that if “buzzard” was going to be mentioned there were other animals Don had an affinity for also – like chiggers, monkeys and turkeys.

          Yes, they definitely broke the mold when they made Don Ek. He lived life at 105 MPH and best of all always made everyone around him feel good about themselves too. He was amazing!

We love you Donsie!

          I’m Steve Sauder

February 26, 2014

  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.