Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on death benefits, radon, infallibility, comic, outstanding teacher, act of kindness

Raise Social Security death benefits

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.

If Congress wants to do something that will help people: Increase the survivor benefit to $5,000 and fund it with an insurance policy on every person, paid for with the funds that will never be collected by the people who die before receiving any benefits.

So many of us are indifferent to the plight of others when there is very little separating us from being in the same circumstance.



Invisible killer

Sept. 10 has always been an especially happy day in our family. It was the day we were married and is the birthday of our youngest daughter, Karen. But it became a sad day last year because it was the day our oldest daughter, Beth, died of lung cancer.

Beth was not a smoker, and her cancer was attributed to radon, the radioactive gas that is created as uranium breaks down in the rocks and soil and accumulates in your basement. After her diagnosis, tests showed that it was dangerously high in her home.

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers. One home in four in Kansas may have an elevated radon risk.

Gov. Sam Brownback declared January as Kansas Radon Action Month, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment is supplying free kits that homeowners can use to detect their level of radon. Kansas State Research and Extension offices also have kits for sale at a moderate price. If your home tests high, a certified technician can install a pump that will run around the clock and rid your basement of this invisible killer.

If you are trying to avoid lung cancer by not smoking, why not check for radon as well? Losing a child is a heartbreaker.



Wrong on infallibility

Davis Merritt wrote that “many Catholics, as well as non-Catholics, no longer accept – if they ever did – a pope infallibility on temporal affairs” (“Pope challenges our political habits of mind,” Jan. 14 Opinion). The Catholic Church has never taught that the pope is infallible on any matter except when he speaks of faith and morals, exercising his office as pastor and doctor of all Christians and indicating that the doctrine must be held by the universal Church. Obviously, economics and “temporal affairs” are not matters the pope can speak on with infallibility.

Please, let’s get our assertions in line with the facts.



Bring back comic

“Jump Start” is my favorite comic strip. Please bring it back. It portrays admirable family values. It is uplifting. It starts my day right – that is, it used to.



Return the ring

A couple of weeks ago at a Bible study class, a woman related how her husband had found 17 $100 bills under the floor mat of a car he was cleaning. He promptly turned in the money to management.

What a wonderful example of Christianity at work.

Perhaps the thief or thieves who stole the wedding ring from a dying woman would do the right thing, too, and return the ring to the family.



Outstanding teacher

I want to recognize my daughter, Sheila Hagemann, who a year ago was nominated for a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. She was one of 50 teachers nominated in the Kansas City area, and she is now one of three still being considered. The final nominees will be determined this spring, and the winners will receive a certificate from the president, a $10,000 award and a trip to Washington, D.C.

She attended St. Anne Catholic School in Wichita and Bishop Carroll Catholic High School before graduating from Emporia State University and getting her master’s degree from Baker University.



Act of kindness

On the morning of Jan. 11 I was blessed by an angel who anonymously paid for my coffee as I waited my turn in the drive-through lane at the Starbucks at 21st and Amidon. That act of kindness gave me great joy and a renewed positive attitude. It was a reminder that we receive joy through selfless acts of thoughtfulness.

Little did that kindhearted lady know that she filled me with hope and nudged me to be generous toward others with random deeds, words and actions.