The holiday famous for first downs and second helpings arrives to find south-central Kansas richly blessed, even as it continues to shake off the Great Recession and deal with the disappointments of Boeing’s planned exit and Hawker Beechcraft’s ongoing bankruptcy.
As friends and loved ones gather together, there are some collective blessings to count this Thanksgiving Day 2012 in Wichita. Among them:• The election that seemed as if it would never end finally did. It left scars and bitterness but also a new clarity regarding what needs to be done. Those offering holiday prayers might put in a good word for continuing good will, which will be essential given the fiscal challenges ahead for our leaders at the federal, state and local levels.
• The economy is showing signs of real improvement at last. Just the past few days have provided news of the decline in the state’s unemployment rate to 5.7 percent in October (compared with 5.9 percent in September and 6.6 percent in October 2011), and of the continuing trend of increased sales of area new and existing homes.
• Southwest Airlines is coming to Wichita. Realizing a two-decade dream for Wichita Mid-Continent Airport and the region, the low-fare carrier announced Monday it will operate five daily flights as of June 2, with service to Dallas Love Field, Chicago Midway Airport and Las Vegas. Area businesses and wallets will benefit.
• United Way of the Plains met its latest goal. By pledging $15.6 million, south-central Kansans ensured that the organization will be there for the 87 programs it helps fund at 35 agencies. What a way for the generous community to celebrate United Way’s 90th anniversary in Wichita.
• The Greater Wichita YMCA just keeps growing. On Dec. 10 it will open the new $23 million Robert D. Love Downtown YMCA, and it recently completed $5 million in renovations at the Richard A. DeVore South YMCA with plans to add fields, an indoor soccer complex and more at the site. In a further show of strength, the Y also wants to mobilize its 155,000 members to volunteer on behalf of youth and community health.
• April’s EF-3 tornado hit hard but took no lives. The community was at its best during the aftermath, as first responders, government officials, utility crews, churches, charities and volunteers mobilized in Oaklawn and elsewhere. Spirit AeroSystems showed its resilience, sustaining heavy damage yet resuming production within days. Of the show of support, one resident concluded: “There is still some good in mankind.”
Amen to that.
And Happy Thanksgiving.
For the editorial board, Rhonda Holman