Questionable river development
I hate to see the further erosion of a clear view of the downtown skyline. The exclusive apartment complex along the Arkansas River is nearing completion. It appears that any green space at or around the apartment complex might be potted plants on the balconies.
Increasingly, The Keeper of the Plains will be looking down river, and his view will be narrowed somewhat by tall buildings.
Sunset reflections off the river are already eliminated by the apartment buildings. I guess at least on the side of WaterWalk, sidewalks will be in the sunshine, at least a bit longer than the apartment side.
The gentrification of downtown is well under way, and exclusive housing opportunities will increase. New laws will help to move out panhandlers, admittedly some professional, but some also needy.
In our way of doing things, we look askance at someone with their hand out, but if they come to our city asking for million-dollar tax abatement assistance, we willingly offer what would be public tax money to the developers, who are well dressed and without placards, but with papers in hand showing how much their developments will make for a better city. Go figure.
William Ripley, Wichita
This week, I proudly joined the Kansas Bar. Ordinarily, I would have celebrated this achievement with my longtime mentor and friend, the late Tom Docking.
Sworn in by Judge Joe Kisner, also a friend of Tom’s, the moment reminded me of how Tom’s loss impacted many in Wichita’s legal community. Most knew Tom as a result of his legal practice, his extensive political and civic engagement, or through his wonderful family. However, there are many of us who knew Tom because of his unique interest in our futures.
Tom held great interest in my aspirations and willingly shared his sagacity with a receptive 17-year-old. He wisely cautioned me that while everything appears obtainable at 17, there would be times when “your engine just won’t run on all six cylinders.” He challenged me to envision bleak times and to recognize the strength and courage required to merely continue along in daily life.
Tom encouraged me to attend his alma mater, the University of Kansas, and advised me before, during, and after law school. Tom’s legacy of mentorship will endure through the numerous mentees he inspired to pursue the enrichment of others. I encourage others to follow Tom’s lead in mentoring our youth.
I learned several lessons from Tuesday’s Eagle. First, I learned that if you are a big school district you can take – and spend – money earmarked for your smaller colleagues. When caught bullying, you can then ask for fairness and get another year to continue spending your ill-gotten gains while you work on a way to legitimize your actions. To these folks we entrust the education of our children.
Next, I learned that if you get a ticket in Old Town, you need only find a complaisant pen on the Eagle staff to write about the unfairness of being caught and soon you will be allowed to spread your sloppy – and dangerous – driving practices to the rest of the city’s highways and by-ways. After all, Old Town has done such a good job in the past at self-policing.
And finally, I learned that one can write an opinionated screed on the Trump administration’s abuse of language. Mr. Merritt then seeks to cloak his rant with an aura of objectivity by listing myself first and foremost as a journalist. Pots should be more careful when addressing kettles.
Michael Halfman, Wichita
The importance of rural broadband
There’s no question that broadband has become a vital and indispensable part of American lives. It’s no longer a service just for watching YouTube videos or connecting with friends on social media – it’s critical to access healthcare, advance education, improve agriculture, and grow small businesses. However, the Federal Communications Commission reports that 23.4 million people in rural America still lack access to broadband.
People who live in rural communities are increasingly unable to take advantage of the economic and educational opportunities urban cities enjoy. In closing the digital divide, it could entice people in urban areas to move to rural communities. I own a construction company in rural Sedgwick County and this population shift would greatly benefit many small businesses, including mine.
Connect Americans Now has a goal to eliminate the rural broadband gap within the next five years. They plan to do this by using TV white spaces to extend broadband to rural areas. This technology is more reliable than dial-up and less expensive than running cables to each home in rural areas.
Blake Renner, Wichita
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