Letters to the editor on being thankful for food, teachers, founders

11/22/2012 12:00 AM

11/21/2012 5:07 PM

Give thanks for safe, plentiful food

As we gather with family and friends to count our blessings this Thanksgiving, the farmers and ranchers of Sedgwick County Farm Bureau are encouraging others to give thanks for the bounty we enjoy not just on this holiday, but every day.

The safe, plentiful food that is available to us – and the products used to produce the clothing, housing, medicines, fuel and other products we use on a daily basis – didn’t just appear in a store. They are present thanks to a tremendous partnership of farmers and ranchers, processors, brokers, truckers, shippers, advertisers, wholesalers and retailers.

No group is more proud to provide the bountiful, quality and safe food than your Sedgwick County farmers and ranchers. There are more than 12,000 members of Sedgwick County Farm Bureau. Of that number, 1,000 are voting members, meaning they own or have a vested interest in local land and livestock.

Seventy-nine percent of Sedgwick County’s acres are home to fields of wheat, soybeans, milo, corn, hay and pasture. Those acres are cared for responsibly and superbly by owners who have most likely done so for multiple generations.

Rural and urban communities working together have made the most of our rich agricultural resources and have made significant contributions to our health and well-being and to the strength of our nation’s economy. For this, are thankful.



Sedgwick County Farm Bureau Agricultural Association

Mount Hope

Teacher thanks

I attended the Kansas Teacher of the Year banquet Saturday where Dyane Smokorowski of Andover Middle School was selected the winner for 2013. Kansas is blessed with having a multitude of winners teaching in the classroom.

In spite of budget cuts and additional burdens in measuring student performance, teachers continue the task of preparing our youths with passion and perseverance. Smokorowski is a shining example of how inspiration and creativity can create a special learning environment for her students.

As we give thanks today, let’s remember to be thankful for teachers, who many times are taken for granted.



Founders’ wisdom

I’m thankful that the Founding Fathers were both courageous and wise enough to create the first truly democratic nation, one that has been the pattern for many other countries over the past two centuries. We are all blessed by the freedoms they established.

I’m thankful that the Founding Fathers had the wisdom to establish many checks and balances so that no person, or small group of people, could steal our democracy from the people. The presidency has the responsibility to lead and has veto power, but the House and Senate have the power to draft laws (and the need to compromise to pass legislation). This gives better representation to all citizens. The U.S. Supreme Court gives us further assurance that any laws passed are kept within the bounds of the Constitution.

I’m thankful that our election is over, and that the unsuccessful party won’t lead an insurrection or military coup to gain power. (I’m also thankful that the robocalls and political ads have ceased. Pity the poor swing-state voters.)

I’m thankful that both parties will hold at least one branch of the government, as neither won a big majority of votes or can honestly claim a “mandate.” Furthermore, neither party has all the right answers. With a division of power, almost all citizens will have some representation in our legislature, and I believe better, more balanced legislation will be achieved.

And I’m thankful to hear the word “compromise” come from the lips of the leaders of both parties. There are many important issues to be resolved. Perhaps at last, progress will be made in formulating a reasonable strategy for leading our country forward.



Restrict phones

If you are providing a cellphone or smartphone to your teenage children and they are not maintaining at least a 2.5 grade point average in high school, you may be effectively paying for their failure.

Many of the worst academic performers are often outfitted with the best in cellphone technology. Their attention span for the school content that will enable them to succeed in postsecondary education or the workforce is being stolen by the asinine chatter of Facebook, Twitter and text messaging.

I teach in a high school, and not a day goes by when I don’t have to coax a kid away from a glowing screen and back to the lesson at hand.

A lot of parents rationalize that a cellphone is a necessity in case of an emergency. However, all schools still employ secretaries who will quickly relay important messages to students. Parents also should consider enabling usage controls that can restrict text, data and calls from all but certain contacts at certain times. A block from 10 p.m. at night until 3 p.m. each day may result in a better-rested, higher-functioning teenager.

If your children are not performing in school, consider doing them and your wallet a favor by suspending service until the grades come up. You may be amazed at what an incentive this can be.



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