Letters to the editor on higher ed, I/DD care, child abuse, EITC, mental health funding, slow drivers, foreign exchange experience

05/03/2013 6:36 PM

05/03/2013 6:36 PM

Higher ed helps grow economy

In recent weeks, Gov. Sam Brownback has been touring college campuses in support of public higher education. His budget calls for stable funding and targeted investments in growing and vital areas of the higher-education system to support the recovery and growth of the Kansas economy. The Kansas Board of Regents is grateful for the governor’s efforts on behalf of a strong higher-education system.

In order to grow tax rolls, Kansas needs new businesses to succeed, existing businesses to grow, and more people working. Achieving a higher-education credential, from a technical or community college or a university, is the best way to ensure Kansans are the first choice of current and future employers, and to ensure that businesses invest in Kansas with confidence.

Nearly 7 percent of Kansans are enrolled at a public higher-education institution right now. Their investment in higher education is their pro-growth strategy. And more than 60 percent of Kansans have obtained some higher education. Clearly, a majority of Kansans realize higher education is crucial to the future of the state.

Providing stable higher-education funding is an investment in the growth of the human and intellectual capital of Kansas. It is an investment in the future of our state and our citizens.




Vice chairman


President and CEO

Kansas Board of Regents


Carve out care

Do you want your insurance agent determining where you live? What you do during the day? I seriously doubt that you would hand over those choices to your insurance company.

So then why is it appropriate, just because someone has developmental disabilities, to hand over those same choices to an out-of-state, for-profit insurance company?

Contrary to the message being delivered by the Brownback administration, KanCare’s rollout on the medical side is not going well. There is a steady stream of stories of inordinate amount of time spent on the phone, caught in an endless loop of “provide more information.”

Yet we are not asking for people with developmental disabilities to be taken out of the health care offered through KanCare. We are, however, strongly advocating for a carve-out of long-term care services.



Prevent abuse

I’m a forensic nurse and represent Via Christi Health on the Child Abuse Fatalities Community Response Team at Kansas Children’s Service League. This response team was formed in 2008 after eight deaths that year related to child abuse. More than 60 different organizations have come together to combat this issue.

I chair a subgroup that provides resources in the ZIP code 67214, which had the most reports or deaths related to abuse or neglect. Since November 2012, we have gone to College Hill United Methodist Church during its food pantry day and handed out diapers, wipes, formula and resource guides. To date, we have helped more than 200 families.

I’m writing because child abuse continues to be an issue in our city. My group is doing wonderful things, but to continue we need awareness and more community involvement. We rely on donations of the items we hand out. We recently attended Holy Savior Catholic Church during its food pantry. There was an overwhelming response – 79 families in 11/2 hours.

Please help bring awareness, so we can continue to do this very important work for these innocent children. We also are in dire need of volunteers.



Stand together

An April 24 Eagle article on the Pew Research Center study documenting the decadeslong trend of growing wealth inequality in our country only highlighted for me the situations I encounter every week in my ministry to the people in our community with scarce resources.

Many of them are living day to day in what I can only term a survival mode. They can barely make it by, and then only with help from charitable organizations in Wichita. Many of these people are working, but usually at minimal wage and for a number of hours just short of full-time employment, so there are no benefits to add to their income.

And then I read of the Kansas legislative debate over cutting in half one of the very limited areas of assistance – the earned income tax credit.

I have always believed that the purpose of any government is to look out for the common good. We must recognize that our civic communities can only be strong and healthy when the weakest ones among us are given a chance to live a full and healthy life.

I hope that all of us will stand together in demanding that our elected officials in Topeka truly work to achieve the common good – for every member of their constituencies.



Fund mental health

Sometimes I really don’t understand what goes through the minds of our people in government, at both the state and federal levels.

It’s pretty much accepted that the shooters in recent mass killings were mentally ill. Yet I’ve read that Gov. Sam Brownback wants to reduce state funding on mental health in Kansas.

It seems in any budget, state or federal, when cuts need to be made, one of the first places cut is mental health or physical disabilities. Why? Are these people considered second-rate, perhaps because they often don’t pay taxes or vote? How ridiculous.

Also, why is the first solution to these shootings always a cry for more gun control? A better solution could be more mental health care and more guns in the hands of legal, capable, trained people.



Move over

Driving on the highways and byways of this grand republic should be fairly easy and stress-free. We have wide lanes, gentle curves, good signage and long merge lanes, and the majority of surfaces are well-maintained.

Unfortunately, it only takes one discourteous, oblivious driver to ruin the daily commute for the rest of us.

If you have several cars stacked up behind you and a quarter of a mile of open lane ahead of you, move over. If other cars are passing you on the right, move over.

Be aware of what is going on around you. Check your mirrors. That is what they are for.

Good citizenship includes respecting your fellow citizens. It is not that hard.



Amazing year

I am an ASSE high school exchange student who has been attending Remington High School in Whitewater. This exchange experience has helped me grow as a person, take more responsibilities, and become more independent and mature.

I adjusted to different habits and a different way of living. My daily schedule completely changed, and my new school is totally opposite of what I was used to in Italy. During my stay, I’ve spent a lot of time with my host family visiting the area, playing with my host parents’ grandchildren, celebrating holidays and birthdays. I’ve really felt like part of the family.

Attending a small school has given me the chance to make many friends. At the beginning of the year, I joined the volleyball team and had a lot of fun. I’ve also volunteered in the community.

This experience has helped me become more talkative and outgoing. I won’t forget this amazing experience. Not only have I learned another language without even realizing it, I have grown so much as a person.


Milan, Italy

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