Letters to the Editor

April 8, 2013

Letters to the editor on rail passenger service, life at fertilization, educating boys, watering trees

All the studies are completed. It will cost Kansas $139 million to implement the passenger rail service development plan.

Support expanded rail service

All the studies are completed. It will cost Kansas $139 million to implement the passenger rail service development plan.

Federal funding is not available for operating expenses. This will cost the state an estimated $6.44 million in annual operating subsidy.

Expanded passenger rail service will triple investment. A financial impact study by the University of Kansas School of Business projected an economic benefit of $3.20 for every $1 invested in rail service to bring trains up from Oklahoma City to Arkansas City, Wichita, Emporia, Topeka, Lawrence and Kansas City.

The Kansas Department of Transportation conducted an economic impact analysis of expanded passenger rail service. It showed positive numbers for return of investment, short- and long-term growth, and an overall stimulation of the Kansas economy.

The Oklahoma experience is reassuring. Towns along the route averaged $4 million in expanded economic activity for the first year after the trains’ arrival.

Amtrak’s financial feasibility study projects an annual ridership of 174,000 passengers.

This is an opportunity our state cannot afford to miss. Call your legislators; they are home. Encourage them to support funding the rail service development plan in the wrap-up session of the Legislature.



Educating boys

I am concerned with my children’s education. I am concerned about the funding. I am concerned about “teaching to the test.” However, I am also deeply concerned about the gender gap in education. Many people are unaware of the gender gap and what it means for our children’s futures.

The traditional classroom is not designed for the stereotypical boy. It is very conducive to girls and the way they learn. Our boys are routinely labeled as behavior problems (often diagnosed with behavior issues) simply for acting like boys. As a mother of a middle school boy and girl, as well as a preschool boy and girl, I have experienced the detrimental effects of our education system with regard to educating our boys.

Our boys are suffering, and it has lasting effects. Fewer boys are attending college, much less graduating. This is causing significant gender discrepancies in the workforce and issues in family life. The research is there to back it up.

I propose our state consider gender-specific classrooms (don’t freak out – I am talking for core classes only). It is something to consider for the betterment of all our children.



Life at fertilization

How audacious it is of the Legislature to assume the authority of declaring that life “begins at fertilization” and that “unborn children” have interests “that should be protected” (“Senate OKs bill saying life starts at fertilization,” April 2 Eagle). This places a new understanding of the reach of government.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, said he didn’t have any immediate concerns about this. But I do have immediate concerns.

Shall the state pay out more money in food stamps since the unborn qualifies the same as a child outside the womb? If the child is born with a physical or mental defect, will the government have the authority to arrest the mother while investigating her lifestyle during pregnancy? Must the state be kept informed of medical issues, and will the state have the deciding voice in cases where a decision must be made during a pregnancy that may be harmful to the unborn child? Must medical insurance coverage be purchased specifically for the unborn child?

I do not believe that in order to protect life we must sacrifice liberty. The Legislature should be mindful that the rights of the minority once sacrificed may lead to the sacrifice of the rights of all.



Trees need a drink

For all the good that trees are and do, it is sad to see that so many that were planted in front of so many houses for free (yes, your tax money helped) are now dead. This is all for the lack of a good drink of water at the right time.



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