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.

April 28, 2016

Community Comments Edition of Something to Think About

Reading’s Field House by Sherry Ferguson

Generations of Americans have grown up in a throwaway society.  We use it for a while, throw it away and get another one.  I was starting to believe that the following generations were better educated, better informed and cared about such things as the carbon footprint and that they would be a softer, gentler more nurturing generation in regards to our resources.   Some of the responses of young alums in the USD#251 district to the last bond election surprised, and at the same time, saddened me.  

Why should we keep and improve the current buildings?  During the last bond election, I did hear alums say we needed to save our heritage.  The current buildings contain our history.  They are our heritage.  One of those building was built in 1951 in Reading KS; the Reading High School Gymnasium now the Reading Elementary School Gymnasium.  The gymnasium was built during a time when some people referred to them as field houses. 

My history with the building started in 1998 when my daughter entered kindergarten.  In 2007 Mr. J.T. Crawford recognized the importance of the building and had the 6th, 7th and 8th grade students at Reading give the gymnasium a facelift by painting signs that told of the school’s rich history.  One sign told of the league championships of Reading High School.  Another sign told of the league championships of Reading Grade School and a third sign contained some of the academic achievements of Reading Grade School.  

Mr. Crawford was quoted in The Emporia Gazette in 2007 as saying “Reading gym is kind of a blast from the past.  We’re just kind of trying to preserve it……..It’s straight out of ‘Hoosiers.’  Next to White Auditorium, it’s one of the most prized gyms in the area.  It seats over 600 people.”  “The gym was built in 1951 ….. and is one of the last of the old-fashioned gymnasiums, complete with theater-type seating and a raised buffer zone between the basketball court and the spectators……It’s a wonderful place to coach…..There’s not a bad seat in the place.  It’s just wonderful.” 

The kids spent hours working on the project even coming in over their Christmas break to work on it.  Mr. Crawford demanded excellence and they did their best to comply.   My daughter was proud of the signs and after hours of working on the project did what she thought artists did and signed “Jenna” in very, very tiny letters under the tassel of the graduation mortar board on the academic sign so Mr. Crawford wouldn’t notice it.  As a matter of fact, no one knew that the sign contained her name until it was firmly in place high on the wall in the gymnasium.  Even then she only confessed her actions to Mom and Dad.  And that has remained a secret shared between the three of us until now. 

Each time she enters that gym her eyes go to the wall to see if that sign is still there.   Each NLC alum has a similar story, a piece of their heart they left in one of those buildings.

The Capital Outlay Fund provides funds for the purposes of acquisition, construction, reconstruction, repair, remodeling, additions to, furnishing and maintaining and equipping of school district property and equipment necessary for school district purposes.  The Kansas Department of Education website (ksde.org) has the USD#251 July 1, 2015 balance in the Capital Outlay Fund at $1,124,688.  Since Westar came on the tax rolls our district valuation has grown significantly.   PiperJaffray, investment bankers, Mill Levy Impact Analysis (25 year - $30,900,000) for the May 2016 bond election, project the 2016 district’s assessed valuation to be $91,659,760.  To calculate the approximate revenue USD#251 will receive to replenish the capital outlay fund this year ($91,659,760 * 8 mills / 1000) = $733,278.  It will continue to grow as the district’s evaluation grows. 

In that same PiperJaffray Impact Analysis, they project in 2042 our district’s assessed valuation will be worth $153,385,103.   If the mill rate remains at 8 mills ($153,385,103 * 8 mills / 1000) means $1,227,080 would be generated for building repairs in 2042 at our current funding level.    

I hope that someday I can walk into the old brick and mortar field house at Reading listening as my daughter shares her story with a possible future grandchild.  The intrinsic charm of the old field house will never be procured in a new gymnasium constructed of tilt-up brushed concrete.  The new gypsum board classroom walls will contain no history, and their future?  Throwaway people, throw away walls. 

April 27, 2016

Community Comments Edition of Something to Think About


April 20, 2016

A friend from long ago died last week at 93 years of age after a full life.

Jim died last week at 89 after a full life. He was a grade school principal in Gridley when I was a kid.

One of my co-worker’s mom died last week at 70 after a long battle with cancer.

A young soldier died last week in Afghanistan he was 24.

Brenton Bennett died last week in a motor cycle crash. He was just 52. He was a native Emporian and known and loved by many.

Death is the most curious human event because we have no control over when or how it will occur.

Many wonder: is death the end of human existence and consciousness, or do we continue in some other place or state of being?

Do we go to a place of everlasting reward or eternal torment?

Will we ever see deceased loved ones again?

For those who practice the Christian faith there is belief in an everlasting reward.

In John 3:16 it says: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For “believers” death on earth is made easier because we know there is life after death and we will see our loved one in a later life.

It’s hard for me to imagine how people who don’t believe handle losing a loved one with earthly death being so final.

At times like these my faith is truly appreciated.

I’m Steve Sauder.

April 13, 2016


          Just because the question has arisen - today the rules for recall of an elected official in Kansas are being shared. This information came from the Internet – ballotpedia.org.

Officials subject to recall

Chapter 25, Article 43 of Kansas state statutes defines two separate categories of elected officials that can be recalled: state officers and local officers. National officeholders and judicial officers are not subject to recall.[1]

       State officers are those persons holding the following positions: Governor, State Senator, State Representative, State Board of Education Member, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner.


The Recall process

Grounds for recall


Conviction for a felony,

Misconduct in office,

       incompetence, or

       Failure to perform duties prescribed by law.


The Application for intent to recall

State officials

To launch a recall effort, supporters must submit the following:

       An application indicating the targeted official

       Statement of grounds for recall not to exceed 200 words

       List of 100 sponsors to circulate petition

       Signatures of registered voters equaling 10 percent of votes cast in the last election

       $100 fee[4]

The application is then submitted to the secretary of state's office and if accepted the recall effort has ninety days in which to collect signatures from 40% of the number that voted in 2014. If successful a state-wide recall election is scheduled within 60 to 90 days.

          0ver 848,000 votes were cast in the 2014 Kansas gubernatorial election, so you’d be looking at 85,000 valid signatures on the “Launch” petition and 340,000 signatures on the “Recall” petition.

          Dissatisfaction is running high with our state leadership but those are big numbers in a short amount of time. Existence of the Internet and vehicles like Face Book and Twitter could make a recall much easier, but if successful with say - Governor Brownback what would you get?

          Exactly – you get Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer, MD who has been nothing less than in lockstep with his boss!

          Guess we’d better hope the college presidency rumors are real.

I’m Steve Sauder and there’s something to think about.

April 6, 2016

  Let me start today by thanking the people who filled in for me the past three months. I was able often to wake up early and listen on www.kvoe.com and can attest my helpers really did offer some very intriguing things to think about.

          Upon returning it’s good to note many positive things going on in our community.

          Saturday I had a chance meeting with new ESU President Allison Garrett at the Trussler Sports Complex. She was positive about things at the school but admitted she was happy the dire predictions for revenue shortfall in Kansas in March were exaggerated. She’s learning about counting on public financing even in the last quarter of the year!

          Flint Hill Technical College held an Open House on Saturday and listening to reports on KVOE I learned this great institution isn’t standing still. It’s growing and continues to address the needs of our area.

          How about the United Way? While we were gone they wrapped another record Drive under the leadership of Stuart Symmonds and of course Jami Reever. Over $620 thousand pledged - another great job!

          Bobbi and I were lucky to spend the winter in Palm Desert, California which is located in the Coachella Valley which is located about 100 miles from both Los Angeles and San Diego.

          The area is a retreat for senior citizens with the population growing to over 650,000 during the winter.

          This year we discovered an amazing part of the Valley called the San Andreas Fault. It is over 800 miles long. Our guide on a Jeep tour told us there are two plates – the Pacific and the Northern American and they are moving in opposite directions with the fault in between. He likened it to an Oreo cookie with the goo in the middle being the fault.

          On our tour we actually drove into the fault even though there are no roads only crevices created by flash floods over many years. Our tour of the San Andreas Fault was the highlight of our stay.

          As is normal though, it’s great to be home.

          Thanks for listening, I’m Steve Sauder.

March 30, 2016