Aquifer – A report released by researchers at Kansas State University has assigned alarming numbers to a regional tragedy of the commons otherwise known as the Ogallala Aquifer that lies below Kansas: If crop irrigation continues at current levels, almost 70 percent of its water will be depleted within 50 years. The aquifer needs to have water for western Kansans to have their home on the range. Private irrigation must decrease to prevent an avoidable tragedy from affecting us all.
Hays Daily News
Use of the Ogallala Aquifer requires continuous study and monitoring. Western Kansas without a reliable water source would be almost useless for irrigated crop production, which would further drive down population – both of which would be a blow to the Kansas economy. Efforts to maintain the aquifer and slow its depletion will require a blend of solutions that involve the state of Kansas, local stakeholders, landowners and residents.
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Syria – Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, is in tune with his own Republican Party in saying a U.S. attack on Syria should be more than “a shot across the bow.” There is a history of Republican support for prohibiting the use of chemical weapons. Several people, including President Obama, have pointed out that Iran is watching what we do in Syria. Obama’s threat to use military means to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon must be credible. Our response to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons should be strong enough to signal Tehran that we mean business when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program.
Winfield Daily Courier
Judicial selection – The League of Women Voters of Kansas called on Gov. Sam Brownback’s office to release names of candidates the governor says his office interviewed before nominating Caleb Stegall to the Kansas Court of Appeals post. Brownback has refused. How odd. The previous judicial-selection process – just a year ago – was far more open to the public. Why would a governor slam the door on the public? Why does any public official shut his constituents out? Because the process isn’t at all about the public. It’s about a power grab.
School lunches – Schools across the country reportedly are turning up their noses at the National School Lunch Program’s push to get kids to eat more things that are good for them. After one year with the new, healthier menus, many schools are losing money on their cafeterias because students refuse the offerings in favor of what they can bring from home. Apparently, you can lead kids to the healthy stuff but you can’t make them eat it.
Dole Institute – It is worth remembering that it was 10 years ago that the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics was dedicated at the University of Kansas, marking a great gift for the university, Lawrence and the state. The institute has increased the community’s intellectual standing by bringing noted leaders to the community ranging from former Presidents Carter and Clinton to former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich. It has highlighted meaningful history – such as its recent in-depth look at the Battle of Gettysburg – and has excelled in documenting Dole’s service to his country. But perhaps the institute’s greatest contribution has been the consistent commitment it has made to promote civil discourse.