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Emporia, KS

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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 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.

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.