Something to Think About - keep (295)

          Today my thoughts come from a really timely column written by Mitch Albom, in the Detroit Free Press on June 30. You’ll remember Mitch from his book and TV show Tuesday’s with Morrie.

          The column was titled: The ricochet effect of public shaming now on full display.

          He talks about the old use of the dunce caps in classrooms in hopes that by shaming someone in front of their peers they’ll think twice about repeating their misdeed.

          He points out today this type of bullying in classrooms is not acceptable, but in our political world unfortunately led by our President the shaming of others using rhetoric is more than common.

          Recently Sarah Hucklebee Sanders, the White House Press Secretary was asked to leave a restaurant in Virginia because the help was upset about her politics. The media has shamed Sanders since even though she was guilty only of doing her job and reportedly left the business without incident.

          The hypocrisy here is the offended employees were reported gay yet they very likely do not support the recent Supreme Court decision saying the Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple was exercising his religious rights.

          Albom points out the call by Congresswoman Maxine Waters to her supporters in Los Angeles, she said,  If you see anybody from that (Trump) Cabinet in a restaurant, department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and create a crowd….And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.

          Mitch says, Public shaming. All that’s missing is the dunce cap. Except this time, the dumb behavior is from people who think they’re being smart.

          My point is to lift up how often the words being used today in way too many political situations are inappropriate.

          Mitch Albom brings up the wise words spoken by First Lady Michelle Obama several years ago when she said, When they go low, we go high.

          That’s great advice that unfortunately is being followed today by few from either political party. While President Trump is the uncontested ringleader in inappropriate rhetoric there’s plenty of blame to go around.

          Would it not be interesting to make a rule that for a day or a week or longer that politicians had to -  not say anything if they couldn’t say something nice?

          Not a chance!

           I’m Steve Sauder

          Last Saturday five Republican candidates for Governor of Kansas were in Salina for a debate, but only 4 participated.
Former Senator Jim Barnett has not participated in any of the Kansas Republican Party sponsored debates because he refuses to sign a contract limiting the scope of the debate topics. He attended the so-called debate but sat in the audience.
          First, let’s applaud Jim for his willingness to NOT participate in these rigged events.
          With the primary coming soon Kansans have a big choice to make.
          Most of the night was highlighted by Governor Jeff Colyer blasting away at Secretary of State Kris Kobach for his growing list of misdeeds including being sent back to school by a Federal judge for his misconduct in a recent hearing!
          Barnett’s strategy is to allow the others to “beat each other up” and emerge as a more “palatable” choice. This seems like a good decision especially after  Saturday where Colyer according to the “Topeka Capital-Journal “unleashed a mean torrent of criticism toward his opponent;” and Kobach accused Colyer of “being either ignorant or intentionally misleading.”
          Barnett’s Tweet saying, “ The next governor of Kansas needs to re-create a functioning state government” could not be more accurate and the display in Salina on Saturday convinces me Jim Barnett is not only that man, but that he’s the only candidate that can re-create a civil, functioning state government!
          The challenge to my thought process is obviously that Jim is trailing even in his own polls.
Obviously now is the time for Kansans to decide what we want in the future – more of the same or a leader willing to listen, compromise and lead?
          After a good night’s sleep my decision is to stay with Senator Barnett despite the peril of possibly seeing Kris Kobach become our next governor – a fate maybe even worse than the horrible Brownback experience.
          Electing Colyer would be Brownback light or Kobach – Brownback worse, so Jim Barnett gets my vote.
          There are 42 days left before the Primary Election. That’s plenty of time for Barnett’s message of common sense leadership for Kansas to resonate.
If supporters like me jump off the wagon now simply because he trails in the polls his fate and our states are sealed, so I’m dropping a check in the mail to P.O. Box 4584 in Topeka 66604 to help the best candidate for Governor of Kansas run the entire race. Hopefully, many of you will join me.
I’m Steve Sauder


            Father’s Day morning I watched Outside the Lines on ESPN. It told about Ernie Johnson – Inside the NBA host with Shack, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith – who with wife Cheryl have 6 kids. Their first 2 were biological and healthy, but they then decided to adopt. From Ernie’s new book comes this excerpt” 
Cheryl left for Romania on May 16, 1991. She made her first visit to an orphanage in a village outside Bucharest. On one of those rare occasions when we were able to secure a phone line, Cheryl detailed that visit for me. As she waited in the lobby, a nurse brought out a child. It was a boy, not quite 3 years old. He had been abandoned in a park at birth. He could not walk. He could not speak. On the other end of the phone, my wife was having trouble speaking. She was in tears.
"Hon, I met this little boy today. The first child I saw. The nurse told me, ‘Do not take. Boy is no good.' Ern, he has so many issues, he’s so much more than we said we could handle, but I don’t know if I can go the rest of my life wondering what happened to him."
Her words hung there, demanding a response, for 10 seconds, with neither of us speaking. Sometimes you are captured, even on a scratchy telephone line halfway around the world, not by the words you’re hearing but by how they are spoken. Those words were coming from some inner recess of Cheryl’s heart, someplace not easily accessed, some place for which only an abandoned, hopeless Romanian orphan had the key. Suddenly, all the things we had talked about and all the things we had written in the required adoption paperwork about the severity of a child’s condition we were willing to take on became secondary.
"Then bring him home." 
            The descriptions of the boy’s condition are worse than you can imagine. One foot turned 90 degrees, unable to chew because he’d never had solid food, unable to speak and eventually diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy!
            Ernie explains the reaction from friends to that diagnosis was way too common, something like this:
"I’m so sorry to hear about Michael.  I guess if you guys had known he had muscular dystrophy, you wouldn’t have adopted him."
Nothing could have been further from the truth. In as understanding a tone as I could muster, I would explain that we had adopted Michael not with an eye on what he would become, but for who he was – a neglected, forgotten child who deserved another chance.
            Wow! Father’s Day morning and I’m coming off a wonderful time with my grandkids and after hearing from my healthy sons it hit home how blessed my family is and how amazing people like Ernie and Cheryl Johnson are.
My tears wouldn’t stop and my respect and admiration for parents who deal with kids like Michael skyrocketed. God bless all parents and especially those who deal with children with special needs.
I’m a very lucky “Papa” Steve Sauder.


          Many of you are familiar with the Serenity Prayer. It’s a simple 24-word prayer that has aided many in 12 Step programs as they seek recovery. This prayer is often carried on a coin in one’s pocket. Here it is:

          God, grant me the Serenity to accept things I cannot change….

          Courage to change the things I can and Wisdom to know the difference.

          Recently I ran across The New Serenity Prayer written by Father James Martin, SJ. Here it is:

          God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, which is pretty much everyone, since I’m clearly not you, God. At least the last time I checked.

          And while you’re at it, God, please give me the courage to change what I need to change about myself, which is frankly a lot, since, once again, I’m not you, which means I’m not perfect.

          It’s better for me to focus on changing myself than to worry about changing other people, who, as you’ll no doubt remember me saying, I cannot change anyway.

          Finally, give me the wisdom to just shut up whenever I think that I’m clearly smarter than everyone else in the room, that no one knows what they’re talking about except me, or that I alone have all the answers.

          Basically, God, grant me the wisdom to remember that I’m not you.


          Obviously some great thoughts.

          Anyone else think sending a copy of this to the occupant of that big white house on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC makes sense?

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

As the news about Emporia State Baseball Coach Bob Fornelli leaving for Pittsburg State leaked out over the weekend the reactions were swift.
I’ve known Bob since his playing days as a Hornet. He helped me broadcast at the tournament from old Hornet Field; became my son’s JV coach at Emporia High and my oldest son’s American Legion Coach and to complete the cycle when Bob became ESU’s head coach Jamie my youngest son was his first base coach for 2 years. We are pretty close.
Bob Fornelli becoming Emporia State baseball coach when he did was a departure from the norm.
The only other time I remember E-State hiring an active D-II head coach was Bud Elliott from Washburn in the 70’s.
Bob had completed 7 years at Ft. Hays, but his Hornet blood was thick and he jumped at the chance to come home.
This opportunity at Pitt State is about getting on a level playing field. Emporia State athletics are proud – maybe almost to a fault – of “Doing more with less.
Division-II allows for 9 full ride baseball scholarships. ESU funds 4 and supporters make a few more possible, but not the 9 Pitt State and several other MIAA schools are offering.
Bob wants a chance to win a National Championship. He figures he has 10 or 11 more years to do it and despite the fact, it’s “killing him” to leave Emporia.
My colleague here at KVOE, Ron Thomas suggested we should be embarrassed about losing Coach Fornelli to a D-II school.
I disagreed with Ron. I’m envious of Pitt’s ability to fund baseball, but I’m certainly not embarrassed about Emporia State’s efforts.
Coaches succeeding at ESU and then moving on – hopefully up – is what we do.
Dave Bingham, Cindy Stein, Brandon Schneider, Jory Collins, Jerry Kill, Dave Harris and Kristi Bredbenner all left for D-1 jobs. Hopefully, new coaches like Craig Doty and Toby Wynn will have success and 4 or 5 years from now they will moving to D-1 jobs.
In Bob Fornelli’s case – well this is just unique. He moved laterally to come here from Hays and has turned down at least 4 other really good opportunities to go to schools for more money and scholarships. Finally, he decided he needs to give “having more” a shot.
Please note: Bob is not upset with Emporia State – he understands the situation. He, like me, hopes this changes.
Bob will be successful, but I wonder if his success will be much different than it has been at ESU. He will have more dollars to work with, but will be going after the same kids.
Bob’s strength, in my opinion, has been first, his amazing work ethic and second: his ability to mold kids into a team or family as he likes to say. His E-State teams always understood they were “doing more with less” and played with a bit of a chip on their shoulders. Bob’s rarest talent is to get his kids to play that way, but without feeling sorry for themselves!
I’m not sure how that happens in Bob’s new land of plenty?
Good luck Buddy, you will be missed!
I’m Steve Sauder


          Here at KVOE, we do “Feel Good Fridays” each Friday to let our listeners know about someone they can feel good about. You know, acts of kindness, helping others etc.
          Today my mission is to give each of you an opportunity to Feel Good about yourself. The kind of Feel Good we get when we give a cool gift.
          I have two ideas to share with you.
          First would be the 2018 Emporia School Supply Project. We talked about this on the Chat a couple of weeks ago. This is the third year of raising funds to buy school supplies for every youngster in Emporia’s 9 public schools plus Sacred Heart and the Christian School.
          This project puts each of our youngsters on an even keel with their classmates when school starts. Each student will have all the supplies they need to start school. Without this project, teachers have to wait days for some students to get the notebooks, writing tools and other essentials like Kleenex together. In many cases, the teachers ended supplying many of the supplies.
          With over 60% of Emporia school kids on reduced lunches, the need is well documented. Yes, a few kids get supplies they could afford for free but school officials tell us the benefits far outweigh any liabilities.
          We also learned there are about 50 students in the school system that are homeless meaning – not able to sleep at home at night. Often all they want is a toothbrush and a bar of soap.
          This effort was started by the First United Methodist Church and the church continues to facilitate. Your donation is tax deductible by sending it to the church at 823 Merchant with School Supplies in the memo line.
          This is an amazing project with winners everywhere but it isn’t cheap. Nearly $40,000 is needed with the cut off in June. Send what you can to School Supplies c/o First United Methodist Church at 823 Merchant. This guaranteed to make you feel good!
          My other ask is time sensitive as Ron’s Ride is tomorrow! For over a decade our Ron Thomas has been mounting a bicycle and riding to Olpe with local law enforcement folks to raise money for the Special Olympics.
          This may not sound like a big deal, but we should appreciate Ron’s efforts as he is not really equipped to ride a bike – i.e. short legs, supple girth and zero conditioning, but he continues to abuse himself for this cause. The least we should do is donate.
          Please call 342-1400 and simply say your name and amount. Then bring or mail your check to 1420 C of E Drive. We’ll come pick it up if that works better.
          Best idea yet would be to write 2 checks – one for School Supplies and the other for Ron’s Ride - and drop them off here at KVOE – heck we will even give you a tour of our studios!
          There you have it – two chances to Feel Good about yourself. Try it cause it works!
          I’m Steve Sauder.


          Saturday morning on Sports Talk we introduced our four KVOE Athletes of the Year.
          What a delightful and impressive group!
          From Olpe: Brianna Vogts and Damon Schmidt and from Emporia High School: Abbey Stewart and Brent Hastert.
          We learned a great deal from these youngsters about role models, leadership and future plans. In the end, they were asked this question: “In light of the rash of school shootings do you feel safe a school?”
          Each answered in the affirmative adding, security guards, locked doors, and active shooter drills made them feel safe.
          While it’s good to know our students feel safe it is sad they feel safe only because school officials are taking extra measures to protect them.
          In Santé Fe, Texas all those things had been done, but still, ten students and teachers lost their lives.
          How to fix this situation gets debated every time another student loses their life, but little gets done.
          Monday Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education under President Obama suggested maybe parents need to quit sending their sons and daughters to school in protest. He said, “it might take such a radical action to break the political gridlock on this topic.”
          While this won’t happen Secretary Duncan is correct about the gridlock.
          We all agree banning all guns or certain guns will not fix this problem, but eliminating certain unneeded guns and making the purchase of guns a little more difficult especially for felons and the mentally ill can’t hurt.
          Sure, the gun lobby says “you are taking my guns, infringing on my rights and it won’t make any difference.”
          You know, they said the same type of thing years ago about seat belts. “You can’t make me wear those things and they don’t protect me anyway!”
          The results from strong seat belt laws make those statements look pretty silly.
          So, while banning so-called assault weapons and the tools that make guns more automatic and making background checks more effective might not solve the problem we might get surprised by the positive effect such changes could have.
          Those changes seem like a small concession in light of the harm being done especially since these events have increased in number in an alarming amount!
          Short of keeping our children home from school in protest do you have a better idea?
          Our kids should feel safe because they are, not because their schools have become a fortress!
          I’m Steve Sauder and there’s something to think about.
          Mother's Day was this past Sunday and I blew it off! More on that later.
          Actually, Bobbi and I honored our moms and her daughters and my daughters in law with a donation to our church.
          Bobbi lost her mom before her fifth birthday and my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease when I was in my late thirties. She had a great deal of influence on me. She was a stickler for things like - saying please and thank you, pulling out chairs for ladies, and opening doors. She was a great mother.
          My sons have a great mother. I think Bobbi is a great mother and both her girls are great moms. That leaves my three daughters in law and guess what they too are great mothers.
          To say I am surrounded by great moms is an understatement. They all take their duties seriously and are wonderful role models.
          So, let's talk about me blowing Mother's Day off this year.
          My opportunities to do play by play at KVOE have been reduced greatly over the past few years due to the loss of my sight in my left eye. But, I can still do baseball and for the last 4 years, I've been needed to cover the ESU Hornets in the MIAA Post Season Baseball Tournament. It's a gig I relish, but can't do without a helper. Three years ago my old friend and partner Steve Inwood accompanied me to St. Charles, Missouri, but the three other trips Bobbi has been my helper.
          This year the Hornets qualified as the seventh seed so going to Warrensburg on Thursday didn't seem to be a threat to honoring my group of moms on Sunday. But those amazing Hornets had other ideas and Sunday Bobbi and I were headed back to the baseball tournament arising at six A.M. to do so. Happy Mother's Day babe.
          Our equipment for doing a baseball game is in a suitcase and weighs about 30 pounds. At Jim Crane Stadium the press box is twenty steps straight up.
          We have an elevator in our home so I don't have to climb stairs so guess who pulled that equipment case up those stairs 4 times last week? She also became our producer and engineer after our play by play unit acted up.
          As we pulled out of the parking lot on Sunday after 4 days and six games totaling about 18 hours on the air I looked at Bobbi and said “Happy Mother's Day.”
          All mothers are special and thankfully God gave them an ability to make the best of any and all situations. Thank you to all the moms out there for your understanding. And especially Bobbi!
          I'm “Lucky” Steve Sauder.


          National Teacher’s Appreciation Week – shouldn’t every week be “Teacher Appreciation Week?”
          If teacher’s jobs were not hard enough the recent acts of violence in schools makes their task even more daunting. Appreciation is the least we should be showing.
          When the subject is teachers most of us start thinking about the teacher or teachers who most influenced our lives.
          In my case that would a plural. My Senior English teacher comes to mind first. She told my mom “Steve will not pass an hour of college English!.
          Al Higgins my Debate Coach challenged me and Mrs. Pitko at Emporia State taught me to write a good business letter.
          But it was Richard Doxtator my sophomore English instructor that really inspired me. He made us do things we didn’t want to do like read Shakespeare and Churchill. Doxstator was borderline rude and hard on athletes, but fair.
          Most important for me in his class was a quote from Winston Churchill that suggested: “Change is the master key.”
          I used that as an excuse or at least qualifier to change jobs some 13 times between finishing college and founding Valu  Line – the Telephone Company in 1982.
          Admittedly I was pretty much taking the great British leader’s words completely out of context, but NOT being afraid to “change” when opportunity knocked worked for me.
          On closer examination, Churchill actually said those words on more than one occasion: Once in the forward to a book about his hobby – painting. And he also said, “Change is the master key. A man can wear out a part of his mind by continually using it and tiring it, just in the same way as he can wear out the elbows of his coat.”
          My conclusion is if I hadn’t heard those words in my sophomore English class and salted them away I might have been stuck in a job I didn’t like because I was afraid to change. Unfortunately, many are.
          Every one of us had experiences in our school days where we learned a lesson that seemed trivial or unimportant at the time that became useful in later years.
          That’s what teachers do – fill our heads with lots of information for us to sift through and decide how and when to use it.
          So, Thank You, Teachers, everywhere for your willingness to educate us all in ways we often didn’t understand.
          And, by the way, I passed 24 hours of college English with a “B” average.
          I’m Steve Sauder and There’s Something to Think About.




Sherry Ferguson – Rural Reading

We’ve all heard the phrase “Penny-wise, pound-foolish”.  What does it mean?  It means to be cautious (wise) with small amounts of money but wasteful (foolish) with larger amounts.  

North Lyon County (NLC) residents please remember the November 2017 failed bond election.  NLC patrons were asked to approve a $29 million bond to build a new 6-12 facility, plus spend another $3 million out of capital outlay funds to build the athletic complex.  The board promised to keep the current elementary facilities in Americus and Reading open.  The location of the new facility, one mile from the Emporia School District boundary, was an attempt to stop seventy-nine NLC students (K-12) from attending Emporia Schools.     

Each September the local school board and state entities receive the official student headcount used in funding calculations.  The NLC Board must have considered these numbers in the district finances in order to make this promise of keeping the two elementary schools open.  The new school would have also taken a period of time to design and build.  The September 2017 headcounts in NLC elementary schools were approximately forty-eight at Reading in grades (K-5) and a hundred and seven at Americus in grades (K-5).   During this school year, Reading has shared teachers in a couple of combined classrooms.  

About three months after the bond failed, in February 2018, the board passed a motion to “close” Reading Elementary.   Shortly after, a group of teachers and an established not for profit entity, proposed that a charter school with a dyslexia emphasis be created at Reading.  A charter school is a school with a specialized mission operated within a school district.  These professionals felt it would be a winning solution to put students with special learning needs into classrooms with a smaller number of students and at the same time maybe increase the enrollment in the NLC district.   It was anticipated that it could increase enrollment at Reading by 10-20 students the first year.   Training of the teachers would have been funded by a grant written by the not for profit entity at no cost to the district.  

Studies estimate that one in five students has dyslexia.  NLC was handed an opportunity to explore something positive and create a unique identity for our district.   It was an opportunity to possibly become early leaders and embrace a critical need area in education.  It could have potentially increased enrollment, but more importantly, it was an opportunity to help families struggling with dyslexia issues in our own district and beyond.

Attracting out-of-district students to NLC has been controversial.  The difference in cost/risk to the district and the education mission between these two proposals is enormous.  The bond proposal asked the patrons to borrow millions for a new school and a new sports complex.  ‘New’ could have potentially attracted students to NLC.     With the charter school proposal, there was no huge outlay of money, existing facilities were fine.  The mission, the hope of the charter school, was to make the reading process easier for students. 

The charter school proposal was rejected by the majority of the NLC school board in April, 2018.  They also formally closed Reading Elementary at the end of the 2017-18 school year.       

Reading Elementary does have a smaller enrollment number but it still contains nearly 1/3 of the total (K-5) population of NLC.  There is no guarantee that those students displaced by closing Reading will choose to attend Americus Elementary.  In the fall of 2017, fifty-two (K-12) NLC students chose to attend schools in Mission Valley, Osage City, Lebo and SLC schools.   Will nearly 1/3 of our (K-5) students decide to follow? 

The charter school opportunity did not contain a significant risk to the district nor did it contain a significant cost to the district.   Reading Elementary could have been closed, at a later date, if the charter school had failed to thrive.

Is it possible to be “Penny-Unwise and Pound-Foolish”?