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2013 in Eagle editorials

  • Published Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, at 12 a.m.

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Here is a look back at 2013 with excerpts from some of The Wichita Eagle’s editorials:

Schools lawsuit – So the state of Kansas is a school-finance scofflaw – again. Friday’s ruling by a three-judge panel in Shawnee County District Court was no big surprise, given how per-pupil base state aid has been cut in recent years. But it revives the risk of a constitutional showdown between the state and the state courts. The ruling underscores that the mandate in the Kansas Constitution to “make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state” applies in downturns as well as good times. (Jan. 13)

Inauguration – The recent past has led Americans to expect little from Washington, D.C. What President Obama’s second inauguration on Monday offers is a fresh chance to appeal to our leaders to be better than we think they are, and to demonstrate that the nation isn’t so big and politically divided as to be ungovernable. (Jan. 20)

No more Hawker – With Hawker Beechcraft’s name and financial challenges now behind it, Beechcraft Corp. can concentrate on building the planes and brand that made the company famous. Especially considering the alternatives, Tuesday’s exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy seems like a big step forward for both the 81-year-old aircraft manufacturer and the Air Capital. (Feb. 20)

Shockers – Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said he picked WSU to reach the Final Four, but few others did. That’s what has made the Shockers’ success all the sweeter. As the rest of the country has learned, the Shockers know how to play basketball. They rely on tough defense, aggressive rebounding, and plenty of grit and determination to wear down opponents. These are no Cinderellas. Or if they are, they’re angry ones. (April 4)

Father Kapaun – Many Kansans long have been inspired by the story of Father Emil Kapaun’s heroism and ultimate sacrifice while an Army chaplain and prisoner of war in North Korea. How wonderful to see the whole country learn about and admire the Catholic priest from Pilsen as President Obama posthumously awarded him the Medal of Honor. (April 11)

Legislative impasse – After the 2012 election put the entire Legislature under conservative Republican control, Gov. Sam Brownback touted Kansas as a “red-state model” for the nation. By Friday that model was looking a bit black and blue, though, as House and Senate leaders traded blame over their inability to agree on taxes and the budget. (May 19)

McConnell – Wichita got a great, well-timed boost with Wednesday’s news that McConnell Air Force Base will be the main active-duty operating base for the KC-46A tankers, emerging the winner in the 54-base field. The Air Force’s faith in McConnell is well-placed, and the community must do all it can to support the effort. (May 23)

Southwest – Welcome to Wichita, Southwest Airlines. This long-awaited first day of the low-fare carrier’s service to Chicago, Dallas and Las Vegas arrives at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport thanks to elected and business leaders across the years and political spectrum who have fought to keep air service strong and affordable at Kansas’ largest airport. (June 2)

Southeast High – The USD 259 school board was more conflicted in deciding to build a new $54 million Southeast High School in far-southeast Wichita than Monday’s 6-0 vote would indicate. But as the board weighed how to finish the 2008 bond issue despite $60 million in recent state funding cuts, what clearly mattered most was what would serve future Southeast students best. (June 26)

Central Library – Nine frustrating years into the effort to build a new Central Library, the Wichita City Council effectively said last week that a public library is not an essential public service worthy of tax dollars. That’s a historic change for the city, and a big challenge for the library boosters newly expected to come up with $29 million on their own. (July 14)

Too much rain – How quickly Wichita’s water problem changed from having too little to having way too much, as residents’ worries shifted from high water bills to high water. But the remarkable deluge must not be allowed to foster complacency about where Wichita will get enough water decades from now. (Aug. 11)

Old Town – As the horrific shooting spree early Sunday in Wichita’s Old Town took one young man’s life and injured six others, it renewed worries about the safety of the downtown nightlife district. Officials need to reassess and update their security plan for this important neighborhood. (Sept. 25)

KanCare – Gov. Sam Brownback is reluctant to expand Medicaid because he is concerned that the federal government won’t honor its promise to pay for it. He should be more concerned about how KanCare isn’t paying Kansas hospitals. And how not allowing the Medicaid expansion hurts the hospitals even more. (Sept. 29)

Sebelius – As the Cabinet member in charge of the embarrassing launch of the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplaces, former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius isn’t doing much for her reputation, President Obama’s signature initiative or, far more important, the millions of Americans who lack health insurance and are mandated to have it under the law. Each dysfunctional day supports the critics’ predictions that “Obamacare” not only wouldn’t be ready for prime time but will never be. (Oct. 11)

Century II – If Wichita expects to land more and bigger conventions, it will need to do better than the current Century II. But Mayor Carl Brewer is right that razing the iconic saucer-shaped 45-year-old civic center “can’t happen.” (Oct. 15)

Second-class Kansans – Secretary of State Kris Kobach is pushing a bizarre plan to create two categories of voters: those who can vote in all elections and those who can vote only in federal races. The Kansas Department of Revenue also announced that it is requiring same-sex married couples to file their taxes differently from other Kansans. Until the courts intervene, some Kansans will be treated like second-class citizens. (Oct. 16)

Finney building – Though the Brownback administration has been able to articulate some legitimate concerns about the city-owned Finney State Office Building, they still don’t justify vacating the building and abandoning a 20-year city-state partnership – especially when the city has offered a $6 million renovation and a deep discount on rent. (Oct. 18)

Shutdown – If anything was more confounding than the damaging 16-day government shutdown, it was why anyone in Washington, D.C., was smiling when it was over. (Oct. 20)

Airport threat – The threat of domestic terrorism became uncomfortably real for south-central Kansas with the announcement about a foiled suicide bombing at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport. Congratulations and gratitude are due the federal, state and local authorities whose work and collaboration enabled the incident to end with an arrest rather than a deadly blast. (Dec. 15)

Beechcraft – After all that Beechcraft has been through, and Wichita along with it, Textron’s purchase of the general aviation employer is outstanding news. The $1.4 billion deal gives Beechcraft some welcome stability. For Beechcraft, Cessna and Wichita, this big change promises to lead to big opportunities. (Dec. 29)

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