In 2012, we spent $570 million buying coal for Kansas power plants, according to a Union of Concerned Scientists report. Wyoming alone took $555 million out of our economy. That’s about $197 from each of us, one of the highest per-capita interstate transfers of wealth for coal in the nation.
Recently, a young woman chose to leave her newborn child at a Wichita hospital, and the story was heavily covered in the local media (Jan. 23 Local & State). Opinion on the “correctness” of her choice is irrelevant.
“It’s not just a car, it’s your freedom.” This 20th-century slogan exemplifies American’s love with the automobile, which was fueled by cheap oil. As the car became king, many public and private mass transit systems declined, including a trolley system in Wichita.
It has been said that a teacher can have a lifelong influence on a young student. That’s also true of coaches who mold lives rather than just coach a sport. Truman Shinn coached me and 13 other young boys in the seventh and eighth grades at Pleasant Valley Junior High in 1957 (“Crash kills popular former teacher, coach,” Jan. 22 Local & State).
The Legislature is considering bills to repeal the death penalty and replace it with a mandatory life sentence without parole for capital murder. I encourage those who support such important legislation to take action by asking their legislators to support Senate Bill 126 and House Bill 2397.
A letter writer eloquently expressed his concern over recent changes to the concealed-carry policy regarding public buildings (“Reconsider vote on concealed-carry,” Jan. 20 Letters to the Editor). I would ask the writer to consider the following:
I am a retired Episcopal priest, and one of my struggles with my fellow Christians is the seeming immaturity and shallowness of faith that calls them to try to force their faith on others. They attempt to stamp public places and events with their personal symbols of piety (“Lawsuit filed over Oklahoma Ten Commandments monument,” Jan. 16 Local & State).
A Jan. 17 Eagle article on the Legislature’s consideration of the death penalty hit the nail on the head: This discussion is all about emotion, on both sides. But should something this important be left to emotional arguments?
As we celebrate the birth and work of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., it is good to honor the nonviolence and compassion that led his mission. At the same time, he was a victim of a growing culture of violence, fatally shot with one bullet. The glorification of the so-called right to bear arms has continued.
Working at a local food bank warehouse last week, I heard the radio playing the same ad I had been seeing and hearing all week. It was about how Obamacare is hurting the American people.
The man who killed himself on South Nevada may have been filled with the guilt of not being able to pay to bury his mother (“Bodies of man, woman found in Wichita home,” Jan. 14 Local & State). Funeral costs are ridiculous, and the Social Security death benefit would be considered adequate if we lived in the 1700s.
We have all read about the woman who was robbed of her wedding ring while suffering an aneurysm in a drive-through. Later we learned that three 19-year-old boys were arrested and charged with robbery in this dastardly and heartbreaking crime. It sends an arrow of pain and anguish through us all, especially the woman’s family, that this could happen.
Kansans have a lot to look forward to in 2014. Our economy has seen a boost recently with the Mars plant opening in Topeka, the Siemens wind-turbine facility in Hutchinson and the intermodal rail facility in Edgerton. These developments happen because of lower taxes, a strong workforce and our renewable portfolio standard.
The “war on poverty” was an intricate and highly nuanced program that, despite the factoids generated from conservative/libertarian think tanks, was very successful at lowering elder poverty from 35 percent to less than 10 percent, while Medicare has saved the elderly and their adult children from debilitating medical debt. Poor children also benefited greatly from school programs ranging from Head Start to Pell Grants. Most studies have found that the food stamp program was a success in reducing poverty – combating hunger and food insecurity while improving life outcomes for low-income children and families.
Kudos to the Wichita Crime Commission for offering at least a $2,000 reward for the return of the wedding ring taken from Danielle Zimmerman on Dec. 29 as she lay dying in her automobile after suffering a brain aneurysm. Three individuals, as the result of a Crime Stoppers tip, are in custody, charged with multiple offenses.
A huge “thank you” to all of the students, families, fans and sponsors that supported the Greater Wichita Athletic League versus the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League Pizza Hut/Taco Bell Basketball Challenge. Eighteen schools participated in the challenge, allowing our student athletes to be part of a fun competition that featured the best high school basketball in the state.
Kansas Chamber of Commerce president Mike O’Neal said that his organization has “been surprised at the delay in the realization at what this tax reform act has really meant” (“Taxes a focus as Kan. pursues job growth,” Jan. 8 Eagle). Really? Surprised?
Once again, we are amazed by the generosity of our community members and their willingness to step up and help in times of need.
Fifty years ago, on Jan. 10, 1964, a B-52 on a test mission in the Colorado mountains encountered severe turbulence and the vertical tail was torn off. The airmanship demonstrated in its landing is one of the great feats of all time.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he would support an extension of recently expired unemployment benefits, but only if they were “paid for” – presumably by cutting other expenses, because he opposes tax increases.
Atlas, as defined by Bing Dictionary, is “a figure of a man used as support … either standing or kneeling.”
The talk of a $15-an-hour minimum wage is ridiculous. Minimum-wage jobs require little more than a high school diploma and can be filled by almost anyone who wants to do them and is willing to show up for work every day.
Many object to Obamacare in the belief that a government intrusion into health care impinges on their freedom. This is mistaken, since their freedom has already been lost.
I was extremely saddened to read about the death of another homeless individual in our city (“Death shows challenges of aiding homeless,” Dec. 31 Eagle). Can anyone imagine the sadness and pain this poor man went through as he froze to death?
The article on Sunday’s front page about Barry Downing and the Opportunity Project (TOP) early learning centers was excellent (“Early education schools’ aim: Give impoverished opportunity,” Dec. 29 Eagle). I am grateful to those who see a need, study it and make it happen. How fortunate that our community has three TOP schools for our low-income children.
Contrary to what a letter suggested, income equality does not involve everyone in an economy working for the same wage (“Inequality not bad,” Dec. 22 Letters to the Editor). Income inequality occurs when the highest-earning people in the country see their salaries triple over three decades while the lowest-earning workers see virtually zero wage growth over that same period of time, once inflation is factored in.
Education is the means for opening doors to opportunities. Doors are opened when students can comprehend complex text and write for a variety of purposes. More are opened when students can reason mathematically and analyze scientific thinking.
As the year closed with no relief from the daily news of one religious sect killing another in the Middle East, a situation so desperate that even Pope Francis would entreat the world’s atheists to help in making peace (Dec. 26 Eagle), I realized just how fortunate I am to live where I live.
According to columnist Cal Thomas, entitlements didn’t build this country (Dec. 15 Opinion). But what they did was provide much-needed survival assistance, particularly in the 1930s. In today’s world, with so many people unable to find work, I’m sure the result is the same. Then, once people are on their feet, they will be happy to “build this country.”
How do you begin to thank someone for saving your life? “Thank you” does not even come close. It does not even begin to express the gratitude I feel.