The arts’ importance downtown
It is reassuring to learn of the new Project Wichita community vision process. As the community ponders the future of Century II, we need to put its place in history in perspective.
The cultural heart of the city includes the Wichita Historical Museum and the old library/Wichita Omnisphere/Fidelity Bank restoration. It also includes the library (being replaced) and Century II, named in 1969 to commemorate the beginning of Wichita’s second century.
When Century II opened, it provided the outstanding Wichita Symphony a home. It also installed the famous Paramount Theatre Wurlitzer pipe organ from New York. It is the home of Music Theatre of Wichita and the Wichita Grand Opera.
The unique opportunities for our youth to develop their talents are enviable — from local Wichita youth symphonies to the nationally recognized Music Theatre apprentice program.
Each of these programs deserve top priority in the Wichita vision process and need to remain located in the heart of the city.
Irene Shaw, Wichita
A great way to celebrate National Poetry Month
April is National Poetry Month, a time when the country celebrates its rich legacy of one of the grandest and most foundational of the literary arts.
Wichita will be celebrating the month in high style, hosting Kevin Young, poetry editor for The New Yorker magazine and a formidable poet in his own right. As an editor, he publishes cutting-edge contemporary verse; as an author, he has written 11 wide-ranging and much-honored volumes of poems.
His latest is “Brown.” In it, he brilliantly explores all things brown, from the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, to the crazed abolitionist John Brown, memorialized in the mural by John Steuart Curry on the walls of the rotunda of our state capitol.
“Brown” packs many Kansas connections, since Young grew up in Topeka. In a series of poems titled “Ad Astra per Aspera,” he meticulously articulates his fascination with the “Land of squat buildings / & broad, slate sky.”
It is a coup for Wichita to have landed such a deeply talented national poet. Anyone who loves poetry, the heartbeat of Kansas, or all things brown should not miss Young’s appearance at the Kansas Leadership Center, 325 E. Douglas, at 6 p.m. April 19.
Arlice Davenport, Wichita
Erin’s Law worth being a law in Kansas
Erin’s Law, which requires all public schools to implement a prevention-oriented child sexual abuse program, has so far died during this legislative session. Over half of the states have passed a bill establishing Erin’s Law, and it’s been introduced in Kansas every year since 2013 but failed.
The founder of Erin’s Law, Erin Merryn, plans on meeting with the Kansas State Board of Education, which supports enacting this bill into law. I know that while board supporting this law is a positive, members of the board potentially change every two years. This is why Erin’s Law must be passed at a legislative level.
We must help support the children of Kansas and the state Board of Education by advocating for this law to pass in the next legislative session. This law will be introduced in Kansas again and it is up to us, as constituents, to fight to help educate and protect our children.
Ashley Schmidt, Derby
McCormick’s love for all things Kansas
Mark McCormick is executive director of The Kansas African American Museum in Wichita. However, for many years, he was an outstanding reporter, writer and columnist for The Wichita Eagle.
I am writing to recommend and endorse Mark’s most recent book, “Some Were Paupers, Some Were Kings: Dispatches from Kansas.” This collection of 60 columns spans a period from September 1996 to February 2017. Included in the book are stories about celebrated Wichitans and Kansans such as Gordon Parks, Dwight Eisenhower, Arthur Fletcher, Don Hollowell, Ron Walters and Barry Sanders.
There are columns relating to his experiences as a reporter and about important news events that occurred during the 20-plus years of the columns. Mark also writes about his grandparents, parents and children, all of whom have clearly had a strong and dramatic impact and influence on Mark McCormick, the man.
McCormick is a sensitive, articulate, courageous, caring and passionate person and these qualities are reflected in his writing. He is also not hesitant to discuss the pathos of the human condition; stated less dramatically, he writes about people’s cruelty and stupidity, as well as their strengths and accomplishments. The assortment of columns in this new book cover these topics and more.
Ted Ayres, Wichita
Arming teachers ludicrous
The Kansas school gun bill (HB 2789) making it more difficult for insurance companies to restrict school districts from allowing teachers to have guns in school is ridiculous beyond belief.
Those who fear the loss of their Second Amendment rights are quick to blame the school shootings primarily on mentally deficient individuals rather than place any blame on prolific gun ownership and increased violence due to ever-growing concealed gun rights.
This bill, brought by Rep. Blake Carpenter, R-Derby, and advanced by Sen. Ty Masterson, R-Andover, reflects that both should give up their own Second Amendment rights forthwith and immediately resign from their jobs.
The bill is named the SAFER bill? They and the constituents who put them in office are devoid of any consideration of safety for children. This bill should go down in flames immediately unless we have regressed to the point where insanity describes all of us.
Chuck Glover, Wichita
We were told that Planned Parenthood would be defunded if we pro-lifers helped to elect Donald Trump. We did that very thing and yet Planned Parenthood is disgustingly still funded.
What does Trump do? He signs the spending bill that continues to use taxpayer dollars to fund Planned Parenthood. Trump said he would “never sign another bill like this again.” Really? Go tell that to the dead babies your veto failed to protect.
Michael Rachiele, Prairie Village
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