Editorials

Happy Thanksgiving

The reasons to be glad and grateful today are abundant. They’re also personal, as evidenced by the Twitter users who’ve recently tweeted their thanks for everything from clean sheets to duct tape to maple syrup to good gas mileage, as well as for the timeless favorites of God, Mom and apple pie.

But with the Wall Street Journal reporting that thankfulness is good for individuals — adults “who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not” and “earn more money, sleep more soundly” and “have greater resistance to viral infections” — sharing communal thanks must be beneficial as well.

So here are some of the many things The Eagle editorial board is thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day 2010:

„ That brave men and women from our community have answered the call of their country and served it around the world, fighting terrorism and sowing liberty. The area lost four more warriors in Afghanistan in the past three months — Spc. Tom Moffitt, Sgt. Justin A. Officer, Capt. Jason T. McMahon and Sgt. Vinson “Trinity” B. Adkinson III — and we should keep their families in our prayers this holiday season.

„ That downtown Wichita really is making a comeback, one project and block at a time. Not only did the city get an inspiring downtown master plan this year, as developed and delivered in September by Boston consultants Goody Clancy, but real change is visible, from the ongoing $29 million overhaul of the historic Hotel Broadview into a Drury Plaza Hotel to the construction of the $12 million Fairfield Inn and Suites at WaterWalk. Sedgwick County’s Intrust Bank Arena has had an amazing first year full of stars and strong ticket sales, as it warms up to host the first two rounds of the 2011 NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Tournament. As of last summer, the Wichita Boathouse is back in top shape and business. And now there are specific and promising plans to turn historic Union Station into a retail and entertainment complex.

„ That USD 259 voters two years ago approved the $370 million bond issue, which is giving the community the benefit of construction jobs now and new schools and upgraded facilities long term. Because of the state’s revenue problems, Wichita and other school districts must worry about funding for operations. But it’s a blessing that the district, which just a decade ago had mostly unair-conditioned buildings and 280 portable classrooms, has been able to invest in and improve its infrastructure. „ That the historic downturn hasn’t deterred community giving. Planners wisely kept the economy in mind as they set the goal for the United Way of the Plains’ fall campaign at $15 million, less than the total raised last year. But in the end last week, donors were there for the United Way, ensuring it will continue to be there for the nearly 90 programs it serves and the jobless who seek its help at the Laid-Off Workers Center. Most remarkable of all, $5.26 million of the corporate and employee giving came from Wichita’s aviation companies, which have suffered so much the past two years from layoffs, furloughs and canceled orders.

In addition, we’re thankful that agriculture prices are up for farmers and natural-gas prices are down for consumers, that Wichita will soon have its first IMAX theater (at the Warren Theatres at 21st and Tyler), that the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita is on track to expand from a two-year to a four-year campus, that the 2010 Legislature passed a statewide public smoking ban and a new transportation plan, and that the often uncivil and seemingly endless 2010 campaign season did in fact come to an end.

Here’s wishing the community a safe and relaxing Thanksgiving Day full of good food and fine company.

— For the editorial board, Rhonda Holman

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