Something to Think About - keep (272)

I just called him “Calhoun.” We met through friend Jeff Hawes when we were all at Wentworth Military Academy Summer Camp when I was ten years old.

William Kenneth Calhoun III died this past Friday at home in Lawrence. He was 71.

          On KVOE News over the weekend I called him an “icon” in Emporia for my generation. Calhoun was involved in more things outside his field of endeavor than anyone I know.

          As the news of his death started to sink in it hit me that while we had allowed Calhoun to fix many things locally we had made a big mistake. We should have forced Kenny Calhoun to Topeka or even Washington because of his unique ability to force budget considerations and planning.

          Early work for Calhoun was at Newman’s Department Store the family business on Commercial Street. He kept it afloat for a long time through rough times for retailers and finally gracefully closed it out.

          While a Commercial Street merchant Calhoun led almost single-handedly the project to revitalize downtown Emporia. Our downtown street design was Ken’s and he was the ringleader in getting rid of parking meters and building parking lots.

          They called Calhoun the “Mayor” at Lake Kahola. The lake was special to the Calhoun’s and Ken kept his finger in Kahola business right up through the sale from Emporia to the leaseholders.

          Calhoun was president of the Emporia Country Club 3 times – 1974, 1998, and 2012. Guess what – he wasn’t president because things were rosy. Again he was a fixer helping find ways to keep the club open.

          Calhoun attended Culver Military School in Mexico, Missouri and later Kansas University and loved his reunions and old classmates.

          Calhoun was a KU fan and Lady Hornet Basketball supporter.

          Before moving to Lawrence three years ago Ken managed the Emporia Community Foundation for 12 years of magnificent growth.

          Calhoun loved Emporia but moved to Lawrence to finish his life and find some new challenges. His wife Judy told me at the time of Calhoun’s death he was chairing a finance committee and because it was budget time and he was so excited.

          Seems to me what I need to do now is warn St. Peter about Calhoun. Ol’ Pete better have his heaven’s Mission Statement up to date, goals set and budget balanced because Kenny Calhoun will soon be looking over his shoulder!

          RIP Ken, you were one of a kind.

          I’m Steve Sauder

          Hillary Clinton got called out during Sunday night’s debate for having both a public and private view on a topic. She responded saying she was using Abe Lincoln as her example.

          This of course set Donald Trump in motion suggesting Mrs. Clinton was no Abe Lincoln especially when it comes to honesty.

          Monday Trump had Face Book posts showing Lincoln’s picture with “Honest” flashing under it and Clinton’s picture with “Liar” flashing under it!

          Nick Fouriezos known as Ozy on Face Book shared historical information that might make Trump slow down trying to associate himself with Honest Abe!

          Ozy said “Midway through the 19th century, the country surged with a new political force. Mostly made up of white Protestant working and middle class voters, this emerging bloc despised the elites, whom they felt had rigged the system. They blamed the influx of migrants – namely Irish Catholics fleeing the potato famine – for a diversifying the nation… they began as state groups loosely affiliated by one universal nickname: the Know Nothings.”

Mark Sill from Trinity University said, “They easily could have said ‘Make America Great Again.’”

At one point the Know-Nothings held 8 governorships and had over 100 members in congress. They eventually re-named themselves the American Party. They were described as a “hodgepodge of conservatives united by anti-immigrant, anti Catholic and interestingly anti-slavery views. They believed Catholics could not be trusted – closely paralleling today’s Trumpian view on Muslims.

So now if Trump is planning to continue claiming Honest Abe Lincoln as an ally he’d better bone up on his history.

Here’s what Abraham Lincoln wrote to his lifelong friend Joshua Speed about the Trumpism of the 1800s: “Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ ”

Heaven, please help us!

Post script. If you’d like to read a really well written piece on the state of our democracy by David Brooks called “The Governing Cancer of Our Time” go to and type “Brooks” into the search bar and the article should pop up. That’s b-r-o-o-k-s.

I’m Steve Sauder

          Saturday my brother Mike was here for the 1967 Emporia High School Class Reunion so he attended the ESU game with us. At halftime our Congressman Roger Marshall was there and I introduced Mike.

          Later Mike asks me if that’s the same person I had asked a while back how often he talked with Democrats in his position in Congress.

          His answer then was – “not that often.”

          Obviously the point of my question  - how often do you talk with Democrats - was to see if there was much if any bipartisan contact in Washington.

          The very obvious conclusion to that question and Congressman Marshall’s answer of “not that often,” indicates the potential for any solutions to the major problems facing our country are slim.

          The problem is the Republicans have at least one answer for each question and maybe more while the Democrats either respond “NO” to anything proposed by the opposition or have different ideas altogether – and none of them seem to be talking trying to find any way to compromise.

          Currently gun control is topic number one. Health insurance or Obama-care is not far behind and of course tax policy is on the table too with infrastructure rebuilding and immigration other possible areas.  

          None of these are going to be agreed upon without some really good work across the aisle! Unfortunately there does not seem to be any Bob Dole’s or Tip O’Neill’s stepping forward.

          News from Washington is as ugly as anytime in my lifetime and of course that’s all magnified by the existence of countless so-called “news” sources.

          Term limits or extending House of Representative terms to 4 years might stop the need to start seeking re-election on the day new congressmen arrive in D.C. Who knows?

          Seems to me our best course of action in addition to prayer is to  constantly request from our representatives to work with the other side to find compromise and not be so cotton pickin’ bull headed!

          I’m Steve Sauder and “There’s something to think about.”

  No secret about my feeling on our Governor - not a Sam Brownback fan and not alone in this!

          My uncle Harold lives in Independence and like my dad when he speaks it makes good sense to listen.

          He shared with me a flyer from “Kansans for Kansas Values” which described the Brownback leadership style as “a real circus act.”

          Here’s what it said: “Just follow the leader” has been the style of leadership during the Sam Brownback years as Kansas governor. Like circus elephants parading in an arena, far-right Republicans have latched their trunks firmly onto the tails in front of them and followed Brownback’s every move, knowing full well that if they don’t move on his commands, they will face his wrath… and be kicked out of his circus. He’s done it before… and he’ll do it again!”

          The Brownback administration truly has been a circus complete with slight of hand, deception and promises that can never be kept. It’s a show, but unlike the circus there won’t be a happy ending.

          An editorial from the Hays Daily News reprinted in the Gazette had a good example of the Brownback style.

          Seems “the Kansas Division of the Budget told seven state agencies to prepare budgets showing more efficiencies.”

          This obviously was speaking to preparing for more cuts due to low revenue expectations, but when the Gov’s office was asked about the instructions from the Budget office they said they were looking “for ways to govern better and be good stewards of the taxpayer’s money.”

          What a crock, they already have cut budgets to the bone!

          Their explanation is as transparent as the “loans” Brownback’s Lt. Governor made twice to their campaign right before reporting deadlines to make their numbers look better than they really were.

          Hopefully, Kansas voters are paying attention.

          Governor Brownback has made Kansas the laughing stock of this political cycle and the only way to fix that nationwide perception is to toss him out on his ear.

          With the election is just over a month away now is the time to register and prepare to vote. The future of Kansas is absolutely in the balance.

          I’m Steve Sauder.

Attending the funeral for a co-worker is something I believe I have never experienced before.

          Yesterday we laid Roger Troutner to rest.

          I remember when we hired Roger at Valu-Line. He was finishing up his schooling at the Goodland, Kansas Technical School in the telecommunications area. Valu-Line was growing and needed technicians. The competition for techs at Goodland was strong. We were very excited to land Roger.

          He moved here and made Emporia his home. Roger started with Valu-Line which became Birch. After Birch he worked for Stutler Technologies and recently joined the Valu-Net team.

          Roger served 4 years in the Navy and was Gulf War Veteran.

He and Deanna were married in 1996 and have three good looking children.

          On October 30th Roger lost a courageous battle with leukemia. He had just turned 45.

          Roger’s brother said during the service he understood why Roger made Emporia his home citing all the love that has been shared for he and his family during his illness.

          The number of friends attending the services was a wonderful tribute to Roger.

          Death is a part of life. Unlike those who do not believe, Christians are blessed with hope. That hope is based on a belief of an eternal life in Heaven with Jesus.

          Admittedly I struggled during the service to understand how and why this happens to someone so young. But, in those struggles I am reminded and thankful for my Christian upbringing that does give me hope.

          On the other side one has to wonder how non-believers get through such ordeals.

          Roger was a good man and you know what? I’ll bet God needed a good tech in Heaven.

          I’m Steve Sauder

Election results never fail to be surprising. Yesterday’s event was a mystery well into the evening and did not disappoint. 

Well, that’s not exactly true as several of my favorites lost. They should be proud for running and I’m proud for taking a stand. Hope you voted so you can say you were a part of the process.

          With Governor Brownback winning re-election my mind was racing as to how and why that happened when Chuck Todd on NBC provided the answer.

          Todd pointed out that the amazing Republican wave of senate victories across the country all had the same characteristic – each and every candidate ran against President Obama! Todd then added even Sam Brownback in Kansas made his opponent Barrack Obama.

          My thinking is Chuck Todd was correct. Brownback’s campaign successfully tied Paul Davis to Obama and the President’s unpopularity allowed the campaign to be about that rather than the problems we face in Kansas.

          Brownback also owes a debt of gratitude to Bob Dole for pulling Pat Roberts behind out of the mud and bringing out the Republican votes.

          It would seem the Governor’s campaign didn’t need the awful and nasty tactics it employed. The Carr Brothers inclusion was a dreadful decision.

          Last thought about Sam Brownback’s re-election is he might not be so happy about the results in a few years. He said often said “the sun is shining on Kansas.” During the next four years Kansas may have a few clouds to deal with and our Governor won’t have President Obama to blame.

          Speaking of which President Obama started his evening off last night by calling the newly elected Senator for Arkansas and congratulating him. Coupled with Mitch McConnell’s acceptance speech where he opened the door to cooperation there is room for optimism about Washington getting something done during the next two years.

          Guess we’ll hide and watch, but we won’t hold our breath!

          Congratulations to the victors and thank you to those who made the effort to run and also the less than 50% of registered Lyon Countians who voted.

          Elections are great and wonderful even when most of yard signs were wrong.

          I’m Steve Sauder.

It’s back to the future today. Fast forward 20 years. It’s 2035 and for the first time since 2015 the Kansas City Royals are in the World Series.

My great grand son, Tate, Jr., is asks “Papa Steve, can you remember the last time the Royals were in the World Series?”

          I’m 89, but I tell Tater a great deal about the 2015 Post Season for the Royal’s. It’s still as clear as a bell!

          First, is how we scored the tying run in the ninth inning of the fifth game in New York. Eric Hosmer our first baseman is on third with one out. Our catcher, Salvador Perez chops one to the right of third. Hosmer waits for the throw to first then breaks for the plate and should have been out, but the throw is wide and he scores. We win the game and the Series in the 12th inning. Gutsiest play ever!

          A close second was Alex Gordon’s clutch home run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the score in game one. The Mets reliever Jeurys Familla was supposedly untouchable.

          Facing elimination in game four against Houston in the Division Series the Royals score five runs in the eighth inning to erase a 4 run deficit. This was one of seven come from behind victories by the Royals in the 2015 post season!

          Against the Blue Jays in game six of the American League Championship Series closer Wade Davis found himself facing no outs with runners on second and third and a one run lead. This after he had recorded the final out in the eighth and then sat through 57 minutes between pitches due to a rain delay. Two K’s later and a ground out the Royal’s were in the World Series! Incredible!

          The winning run for Davis came in the bottom of the eighth when Lorenzo Cain amazingly scored on a single to right. Another example of daring and exciting base running that highlighted the 2015 Royal’s!

          Those were just 5 highlights. There must have been a dozen including amazing pitching displays and a utility player getting the game winning hit in his only at bat in the Series! Every member of the Royal’s had a highlight during the five game event. The 2015 Royal’s were the absolute definition of a team.

          And last Tate, I can remember the celebration in Kansas City following the Series. Well over 500,000 fans packed downtown K C and heard the team say Kansas City had always possessed the best fans, that it was also the best city and NOW had the best baseball team in the world. It all seems like yesterday!

          The 2015 Kansas City Royal’s were indeed magic.

          I have been characterized as a “sports junky.” So be it as today my topic is Emporia State football and with no apologies.

          Yesterday former Emporia State football coach Jerry Kill addressed my Rotary club.

          Kill coached here in 1999 and 2000 before heading to Division I Southern Illinois followed by Northern Illinois and finally Minnesota in the Big Ten. He has been named National Coach of the Year 3 times and recently was inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. 

          Just over a year ago Kill was forced to retire from coaching – walking away from an $8 million three year contract for health reasons. He’s now an Assistant AD at K-State.

          Kill was only at ESU for 2 years winning and losing 11 games, but he played a significant role in the success of Emporia State football today.

          You see, Kill replaced Manny Matsakis after his Hornets were 9-2 in his last of 4 years here -  the Brian Shay years.

          What Kill found upon arriving at Emporia State was program with few players, footballs or scholarships. Matsakis knew he would leave after 4 years and bled the well dry!

          Kill’s leadership restored the program in a hurry and inspired a fund raising campaign known as the “Difference Makers” that still functions today.

          In his talk yesterday Kill lauded the fund raising suggesting the program could have been set back 25 years without it!

          My opinion is the three coaches most important in the history of ESU football are Larry Kramer who did the dirty work of laying a foundation for football here.

Kill who provided needed leadership and knowledge and inspired many even though his stay was short.

And Garin Higgins who now leads the best NCAA Division II program in Kansas.

          Higgins efforts are magnified when you consider the obstacles he has to overcome.

          ESU plays in the toughest Division II conference in America with second lowest athletic budget. Recent efforts including the Now and Forever campaign have increased the budget, but other schools are raising money too.

          Higgins took the job knowing that he would have fewer toys in his toy box than schools like Northwest Missouri, Central Missouri and Pittsburg but he has overcome.

          ESU athletics across the board employs an attitude of “Doing more with less.” The school may be at the bottom of the MIAA in budget, but is way better than that in results.

          Congratulations to ESU football and Coach Higgins on a great season and a great future.

          I’m Steve Sauder

 Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and all across America people will give thanks for their many blessings.

          While Thanksgiving goes all the way back to the Pilgrims at Plymouth in 1620 the official Thanksgiving in America was finally proclaimed as such by President Abe Lincoln in 1863 the same year our university in Emporia was founded.

          Prior to Lincoln’s proclamation this celebration took several turns.

          In 1620 the 56 Pilgrims who made it through the first winter celebrated their survival and their bumper crop. Their celebration included 91 Indians who helped them through the winter.

          During the three day celebration they dined on wild ducks, geese and venison. It’s doubtful if turkey was part of the meal. Confusion may have set in because the term “turkey” was used widely to describe all wild game.

          In 1676 Charlestown, Massachusetts declared June 29 as a day of thanksgiving to express thanks for all their good fortune. Interestingly, their feast did not include the Indians because part of the occasion was to celebrate their victory over those “heathen natives.”

          October of 1777 was the first time all 13 colonies joined in a thanksgiving celebration.

          George Washington proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789 although some were opposed suggesting the hardship of a few Pilgrims did not warrant a national holiday.

Later, President Thomas Jefferson scoffed at the idea of having a day of thanksgiving.

It was a 40 year campaign by Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor, that led to Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1863.

Thanksgiving was proclaimed by every president after Lincoln. FDR picked a date creating a longer Christmas shopping period, but the public didn’t like it. Finally Congress made the fourth Thursday in November as a legal holiday.

One has to wonder if our Congress today could even agree on that!

          So here we are. Thanksgiving 2013. While we have many blessings to proclaim we also have a state, country and world in turmoil. Seems like a proper time to say thank you for our blessings and ask for guidance to help us solve our problems. Shall we pray………..

          I am a thankful Steve Sauder.

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