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Something to Think About

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Steve Sauder is president of Emporia's Radio Stations, Inc. the owners of KVOE-AM 1400, Country 101.7 and Mix 104.9. Steve has been in a leadership position with ERS, Inc., since 1987.

March 29, 2017

Tyler Curtis

Something to Think About

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

March Madness. The Big Dance. Many of us have been enjoying the annual NCAA tournament. The intensity of play during this time of year is unmatched. And true to its name, it can certainly be “maddening” if your team isn’t winning or your bracket is breaking. But even that makes it fun, doesn’t it? Watching a team completely destroy another isn’t nearly as enjoyable as watching a close game full of lead changes, a bad call here and there, and dramatic game winning shots. The Big Dance is about both cheering and yelling - winning and losing.

If I have the chance to select what to view on the household television, odds are that we’ll either have a game on or something political. I like watching sports, and I also enjoy following politics and being involved in political life.

Like March Madness, politics can also be full of “madness” and is downright aggravating at times. Like a great game, politics can be disappointing yet exhilarating, full of emotional swings resulting from both moments of setback and moments of glory.

Recent years have perhaps been more maddening than exciting, though. It seems we’ve allowed our system of politics to replace our system of government; that is, we’ve allowed our political parties and political elections to be the focus of our political culture instead of focusing on the process of policy making and the act of governing.

In politics, the game today is based on the election cycle, not the policy making process. Our culture has moved the game from governmental chambers to ballot boxes, but what do the winners achieve? Merely another opportunity to compete in the next election?

Political candidates certainly have to focus a portion of their attention on winning elections - but that’s when the real game should just be starting - that’s when the winners really go to work.  And that’s not happening. Rather, the winning team gets the parade and victory lap while the loser goes back to find ways to oppose anything the winner wants to move forward between that loss and the next election cycle. So what’s not happening? Policy making. Compromise. In short, governing.

Political parties may be focusing on winning elections, we, the people, end up losing. If we belong to the winning party, we’ve been told we won, but what have we won? When “winners” proceed to narrowly pass legislation staunchly opposed by the “losing” party only to see those policies overturned once that balance of power shifts, then what have we truly won? What progress have we made?

Elections should be a means to an end - a means for electing people who govern - not a game that results in winners and losers who don’t do anything but campaign for the next election. Elections should be the way candidates punch their ticket to the real dance - the Big Dance - the dance of policy making - the dance of governing. That dance requires leadership, and leadership requires listening and learning - cooperation and compromise - give and take - mutual respect and a desire to work toward the common good. One party may lead the dance but the other parties are equally important to ensuring a successful outcome.

As important as it is to vote, it’s equally important to hold our elected officials accountable for action between elections. Even if the candidate you supported didn't win, you still have an elected official representing you. We can’t expect our lawmakers to work as a team if we don’t cheer them on and encourage them to engage in teamwork after taking office.  Do you take the time to respectfully articulate your opinions on policy matters? Do you provide elected officials with both positive and negative feedback?  Do you advocate for compromise? Do you express an expectation that lawmakers work for the common good? Do you let elected officials know that the Big Dance is what happens after the election? 

Ultimately, our political culture mirrors our overall society and its culture. If we don't like what we see, than we have to identify what our part of the mess is.  And that’s certainly something to think about. 

March 22, 2017

Good Day!

As one drives into our fine city from just about any direction one cannot miss the large sign advising the reader that he is entering an inclusive city. One also finds the logo of several of Emporia’s fine service clubs.  There are many not listed, but for today let’s talk about the ones that are. Masons meet at their Lodge on the first and third Monday right down the street from the Emporia Gazette. 

The Sertoma Club meets at the American Legion Thursday at noon.  This club puts out the US flags up and down main for every flag type celebration. Oh and if you like model trains, this club runs a pretty big one down in Sodens Grove.

Kiwanis—way more than an annual pancake feed. Kiwanis,  there are three clubs in Emporia, a noon, morning and an evening club they all get together to put on the late winter Pancake Day. Each club helps the community in countless ways. Kiwanis clubs are located in over 80 counties. Go find one of those folks that sold you that ticket and say Hey, tell me more.

Rotary International is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders and problem solvers who come together to make positive lasting change in communities at home and abroad.  Check them out they meet at the Emporia Country Club every Tuesday at Noon. 

The America Legion (2nd Tuesday at 7:30pm) and the American Legion Auxiliary (2nd and 3rd Tuesday 9:00 am) is the only military club listed on our city Marque.  As the home of Veterans Day this and many of our military clubs provide invaluable service to our celebrations that make us uniquely us.

The second row starts with the Lions International sign.  Their web site says they are the largest service club in the world, with 1.4 million members geographic area around the globe.  Sight is a major focus of this local service organization.  They meet 1st and 3rd Wednesdays at noon at Emporia State University Student Union Kanza Room.

Altrusa clubs were founded 100 years ago and several decades later they began to focus on literacy for their organization.  No meeting date or place listed but the Emporia Gazette list all the active service clubs, times, date and place every week in the paper. 

Next on our little sign trip is the LWV the League of Women Voters.  The have been in existence since 1920 just before the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified giving women the right to vote.  This very active local organization does in fact accept men into its ranks. Along in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s all these other service clubs began inviting women into their clubs (Very good move Guys!)

Emporia Garden Club of America disbanded as a non-profit.  Dec 2016

And we come to last listing on our service club snapshot—The Optimist International.  This local club meets at ESU each Thursday at noon just one of 2500 club roster that covers the globe who bring out the best in youth communities and ourselves. 

Your Service Organization not listed—find out why.

A Lion and A Rotarian (bicycle riding buddies) were setting in the Chamber Offices the other day, discussing service clubs.  Jeanine allowed that service organizations add Pride to our community. I absolutely concur.  If you are a service club member ask your friend, coworker, church member, and your spouse, anyone Hey you want to join a really neat club?  Let me tell you more.  If you are new to the community or recently retired or just got an empty nest or whatever and want something in your life that will give you more than the effort—join a service club.

My sincere thanks to KVOE for your Community Service

I’m Gary Post and That’s Something to Think about

March 15, 2017

As I record this segment I am in a bit of a frump. I woke up this morning and realized that what Hornet Nation experienced Monday evening was real and not a bad nightmare.  Our beloved Lady Hornets lost a basketball game to an outstanding Harding team on Harding’s very hostile home court.  Emporia State went from a stretch in the first half to early in the second half when virtually every bounce went our way to a second half stretch when we could not buy a basket even when getting really good looks.  The Harding Lady Bison who have now won 30 games deserve the opportunity to advance to the elite 8 after their come from behind victory and I hope they win the National Championship.  Just like the football playoff – we may not have celebrated but we were pleased when the team that eliminated Emporia State – the Northwest Missouri Bearcats went on to win the national championship.  Speaking of deserving - the Lady Hornets were again, by circumstance, deprived of playing on their home Slaymaker Court in this regional tournament.  To their credit, I am not aware of any complaints about this situation from Coach Collins or his team.  I am sure that this most difficult scheduling conflict situation will be thoroughly considered one more time as the best possible outcome continues to be sought.

Do we have anything to be thankful for?  The answer to that question is an emphatic yes!!  This basketball loss would not be nearly as difficult if we had not been living the dream during the season.  The success of the Lady Hornets has built to a crescendo – an outstanding season followed by their phenomenal success in winning the MIAA tournament and then dramatic wins in Searcy before losing in the Championship game to Harding.

This team has continued and built upon the Lady Hornet Basketball tradition.  Seniors Kathryn Flott and Kelly Moten will both go down among the very elite group of players who have left a lasting and indelible legacy on this basketball program.  Their basketball prowess goes with their character off the court and their performance in the classroom distinguishes them even further.  Their classmate Megan Holloway joins Kathryn and Kelly as an essential contributor to their career program success.  What Megan may lack in star power she more than makes up in her true grit and her leadership in team defense and blue collar workmanship. These three seniors will graduate from Emporia State and move on from their college basketball experience both better for the opportunities they have been blessed with as well as leaving the program having contributed to an even richer tradition than when they started.

Coach Jory Collins and his staff continue to do an absolutely amazing job.  Jory’s teams’ success in wins and losses certainly tell an impressive story but the quality of the student athletes in the program as individuals tells the real story.  Next year Coach Collins could welcome back 10 honor role student/athletes from this year and new recruits are impressive.

Thank you coaches, players, fans and the entire Hornet Nation for another wonderful year of Lady Hornet basketball.

Finally one more thing I am especially thankful for – when we hit White Auditorium or go on the road we are loyal Hornet fans.  We come out of our conservative or liberal silos, our Donald or Hillary silos, our MSNBC or FOX News silos.  We are all together cheering for our home team and sharing with one another our hoped for success.

Let’s join together in finding more opportunities to share in pursuing the greater good and in celebration of success.

Remember it is always best to LISTEN, TO FIRST INQUIRE, TO SEEK TO UNDERSTAND.

I am Don Hill and that is something to think about.

February 15, 2017

After I made my decision to retire from the legislature I got involved in the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas which is a broad based statewide coalition of individuals and organizations that have come together to improve the health of  Kansans.

The first policy goal of the Alliance is to improve access to care by expanding KanCare, the Kansas Medicaid program. Alliance members include business leaders, doctors and hospitals, social service and safety net organizations, faith communities, chambers of commerce, advocates for health care consumers, and others.

Over the last eight months the Alliance has held 36 community meetings across Kansas, including one in Emporia last September that directly engaged thousands of Kansans. The work of the Alliance has confirmed that expanding KanCare impacts and will benefit all Kansans. 

Last week the House Health Committee held hearings on expanding KanCare. Doctors and leaders of community health centers and mental health centers testified that expanding KanCare will make Kansans healthier.  In addition to improved health and lower death rates, Kansans who are eligible for coverage under expansion will see reduced medical debt, better credit scores, and an improved chance of finding and keeping employment.   While there is a lot of talk about expanding KanCare providing a disincentive to work, the opposite is true.  A study of Ohio’s Medicaid expansion population found that the policy improved the expansion population’s employment status and prospects.  Area patients of Flint Hills Community Health Center and Crosswinds will benefit significantly from the expansion of KanCare.

Newman Hospital is enjoying improving stability after being designated as a critical access hospital.  Unfortunately thirty-one Kansas hospitals are considered financially vulnerable, in part because they provide millions of dollars’ of uncompensated care.

Larger hospitals in Kansas including Via Christi in Wichita and others have been forced to lay off hundreds of employees because of the failure to expand KanCare.  The League of Municipalities, has described how dozens of communities and their taxpayers must pay higher local taxes to support their hospitals because the state has not expanded KanCare.  

Expanding KanCare will provide resources to hospitals and reduce uncompensated care costs.  In turn, this will lessen the need for local taxpayers to pay higher sales, property, and district taxes to support their hospitals.  Research has shown that expansion often times means the difference between profit or loss for rural hospitals.  We cannot allow another closure like that experienced by Mercy Hospital in Independence – especially when there is a solution.

The closure  Independence hospital caused the loss of more than 190 good paying jobs.  Kansas lost 9,400 private sector jobs last year.  We cannot afford to lose any more.  Leaders of dozens of Chambers of Commerce including Emporia’s have described how expanding KanCare creates jobs, stimulates the economy, and helps businesses.   

The issue of whether or not to expand KanCare impacts every Kansas taxpayer.  To date, the state has forfeited over $1.6 billion of Kansas taxpayers’ money because we have chosen not to expand KanCare. That money could have been brought back to Kansas to create jobs, protect hospitals and local taxpayers, and most importantly to improve the health of Kansans.  Instead our tax dollars have gone to other states that have expanded.  Expanding Medicaid does not contribute to the deficit or debt because it is part of a budget neutral bill at the federal level.  At the state level, expanding KanCare would help the Legislature address our budget problems.  Other states have experienced positive budget impacts as a result of expansion.  It is projected that expanding KanCare would result in a $69.2 million net gain to the state budget in 2017.  

It is past time the Kansas Legislature votes to expand Medicaid.  I trust that will happen.  A recent American Cancer Society poll found that 82% of Kansas voters support expansion. When the legislature passes expansion What will Governor Brownback do. Well that is the subject for another day.

That is something to think about.  I am Don Hill 

March 1, 2017

My how time seems to fly by.  We have torn January and now the February pages off the 2017 calendar.  Emporia has been a beehive of activity as we have observed the 160th anniversary of our founding while seeing signs of vibrancy and growth I have not observed in the 45 years I have spent in our community. 

It is true that there will always be room for improvement but as I look around it is my observation that we are hitting on all cylinders. Lyon County and the city of Emporia are being led by an engaged electorate, quality commissioners and outstanding professional management. Long range strategic plans are in place and tax payer resources are being deployed carefully and wisely. 

Both public and private sector investments are quite evident in the area.  The property tax base is increasing and employment has risen. You can drive around town and observe the building activity which includes homes and businesses, as well as public improvements.

When I served in the legislature I shared that there was not a more education centric district in Kansas.  That district includes three public school districts, private schools, Flint Hill’s Technical College and of course Emporia State University.  These varieties of institutions all face different challenges and are presented various opportunities.  I am so impressed that Superintendants Mike Argebright, Aaron Doty and Kevin Case together with Flint Hills President Dean Hollembeak and ESU President Allison Garret work closely together for the mutual benefit of their institutions and for the greater good of our area and for the state of Kansas.

These education leaders and their governing boards owe their success prominently to dedicated educators and staff. 

The National Teachers Hall of Fame provides depth and additional meaning to our education centric reputation.

As I look around the community at the involvement of volunteer leaders and those civically engaged in any variety of endeavors, I am amazed to see the number of educators, retired educators and students preparing for a career in education.

Emporia has a well diversified economy and has seen the most growth in the agriculture value added manufacturing sector.  With the likelihood there will be more humans and pets to feed in the days and years ahead the food business in less vulnerable to economic downturns and that bodes well for the relative stability of our local economy.  The Regional Development Association continues to market and leverage our attributes to attract new employers and help existing businesses expand.

Emporia has always been a destination city.  This of course is relative but our history as university town, as a center for commerce and banking, our status as a sub-regional medical center. our location and accessibility are all fantastic.  Emporia is within 100 miles of over 90% of the population in Kansas. The number of medical specialties and treatment modalities available at Newman Regional Hospital continue to grow.

Retail, dining and entertainment opportunities are also on the rise and our downtown area and arts and entertainment area continues to grow and improve. Now with cycling and disc golf activities our claim as the best Kansas destination for the active leisure traveler is difficult to dispute.  Our Emporia Main Street organization has been the catalyst for much of the dynamism and vitality we see not only on Commercial Street but throughout the community.

I could go on and on and I probably will in coming weeks but for now I hope you get the impression I am proud of Emporia and grateful to call it home.

That is something to think about.. I am Don Hill.

February 22, 2016

Something to Think About, every Wednesday on KVOE with Steve Sauder.  I remember when Ed McKernan Jr., past owner of the radio station had his weekly words.  I always looked forward to both, didn't always agree with them, however.

When I received an email from Erren Harter asking if I would be interested in doing the show on one of the Wednesdays that Steve will be gone, I thought that it would be a neat deal,  Well let me tell you, it hasn't been as easy as I thought.

I thought maybe I would talk about Steve asking me to fill in for his leftfielder on a slow pitch softball team.  There was a high-five ball that I would normally catch well it felt to the ground when Steve was on the pitching mound.  Yes, you can picture the rest.

Or maybe I could tell you about the time Ed McKernan Sr., was broadcasting the Emporia high basketball game with Topeka high in the Dungeon with their two division one signees.  Ed broadcast the whole game with my dad playing instead of me.  By the way, we lost 63-61. I am sure that if I had played instead of my dad we would have won the game.

Oh the memories.   Life is built on memories you live for the moment you prepare and then it is gone in a split second to become a memory.

When Yordano Ventura was killed a few weeks ago it brought back memories of him in his Royals uniform, his hat cocked to the side, and the hope we Royals fans had this year for him being the big guy on the mound.  But oh my, how life can be so fragile

That accident jogged my memory to the year 1964 when a former KU track athlete silver medalist in the 400 m hurdles in the 1960 Rome Olympics and a captain in the Air Force named Cliff Cushman came back to KU to train for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.  He was favored to win the gold instead he hit a hurdle during the Olympic trials, he fell and did not qualify for the Olympics therefore this would push his dream for Gold back another four years.  For all the accolades in track he might've been better known for a letter he wrote to the students in his high school in Grand Forks, North Dakota.  It was a challenge to these young people to better themselves, cherish second chances, honor their mothers and fathers and to reach exceeding your grasp.  You can read the letter on the Internet, just Google "Cliff Cushman letter".   I have used it many times giving it to young people who experimented some heart ache in their lives.  The irony of it all was that Cliff returned to the Air Force he flew his first mission in Vietnam was shot down and is listed as missing in action.  In a brief second his hope for gold again was snuffed out.

Here are some things to think about also:

Just for Today, I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle my whole life-problem at once.

Just for Today, I will be Happy. This assumes that what Abraham Lincoln said is true, that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Just for Today, I will try to strengthen my mind, I will study and I will learn something useful

Just for Today, I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my luck as it comes, and fit myself to it.

Just for Today, I will exercise my Soul.

Just for Today, I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress as becomingly as possible,  talk low,  act courteously, be liberal with flattery, criticize not one bit nor find fault with anything, and not try to regulate nor improve anybody.

Just for Today, I will have a Program. I will write down just what I expect to do every hour. I may not follow it exactly, but I’ll have it. It will save me from the two pests Hurry and Indecision.

Just for Today, I will have a quiet half hour, all by myself, and relax. During this half hour, some time, I will try to get a little more perspective to my life.

Just for Today, I will be Unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to be Happy, to enjoy what is Beautiful, and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.

One last thing, a few weeks ago, I was reading a devotional by John Wooden, the great UCLA basketball coach.  It was titled 86,400.  That is how many seconds there are in a day.  They are given to us for us to use as we see fit.  We cannot pass any unused seconds to the next day.  Once they are gone they are gone.  It details about planning, using your time wisely, do not waste time, time lost is time lost, you can't make it up, if you put things off and work twice as hard the next day then you're only cheating yourself.  Life is fragile, enjoy every moment, don't cheat yourself.

Now there is Something to Think About