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A VA worthy of our veterans' service

 

Since the Civil War, Americans have gathered each year on Memorial Day to remember the courageous men and women who laid down their lives for our country and express our gratitude. We gather together to remind our children and grandchildren that because of the sacrifices of our nation’s veterans we have the opportunity to live in the strongest, freest and greatest nation in the world.

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Reviving Government of, by and for the People

Reviving Government of, by and for the People

Here we are, 150 years after President Abraham’s Lincoln’s address at Gettysburg. Now, our democracy is imperiled not by guns and bullets, but by the greed of the rich.

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Kansans say country is on the wrong track

Over the latest Congressional work period, I conducted a 20 county, 2,000 mile listening tour, traveling from eastern Kansas to counties on the Colorado and Nebraska borders and back again. I spoke to farmers and ranchers, took part in a technical broadband summit, toured hospitals, met with students, visited a major oil fracking site, and held numerous town hall meetings.

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National prayer: Now more than ever

 

In this contemporary world it is easy to dismiss as old-fashioned the idea that prayer has a role in our public sphere. Indeed the U.S. Supreme Court is even taking up a case by those opposed to prayer at government meetings. But irrespective of modernity, national prayer has always played a critical role in shaping our great nation. Prayer binds man to one another, and it shows that even with great power entrusted to them our leaders have called upon the Almighty in times of need and of thanksgiving. In fact, the first national call to prayer in America ...

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School ruling dominates legislative discussion

This past week the majority of our time was again focused in committee, working bills passed by the Senate during the first half of the session. Next week will be the last week for most committees to meet as we approach the next major deadline of the session  — first adjournment. This deadline will conclude all committee work.

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Super Bowl should be called 'Ad Bowl'

Between our national sport of baseball and March madness, we have one other little sporting event in our country — the Super Bowl. There have been a few alternate names given through the year but I believe we all know what the Super Bowl’s second name should be. 

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What do our schools say about us?

A famous comedy line comes to mind each time we read one of reporter Mark McCoy’s stories about the struggle of Ellsworth-Kanopolis-Geneseo School Board members to settle on needed district improvements in the wake of two failed bond issues.

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Celebrate a century of the Kansas State Fair

More than a century ago, a group of business leaders in Hutchinson formed the Reno County Agricultural Society and hosted a fair in a small wooden livery stable behind the town’s only bank. Forty years later in 1913, Kansas Governor George Hodges made Hutchinson the official location for the Kansas State Fair, which was described by The Hutchinson News as having an “auspicious opening” when thousands of Kansans gathered for “a record-breaking agricultural and horticultural exhibit showing.” 

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Don't separate food stamps from farm bill

The federal farm bill is shaping up to be an excellent example of everything that’s wrong with Washington and to some extent — America in general.

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Dodd-Frank does more harm than good in rural America

 

In response to the financial crisis of 2008, Congress passed the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010. This July marks three years since President Obama signed the bill into law, and we’ve had ample time to observe and evaluate the impact of its more than 400 new rules and mandates.

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Remember our current generation of soldiers

The Fourth of July is an all-American holiday – a day when communities across the country come together to wave the Red, White and Blue, and commemorate our nation’s independence with parades, fireworks and good barbecue. Every Kansas family celebrates in their own special way, but we are all united in our cause for celebration: the many blessings we enjoy as Americans and the sacrifices made in the name of our freedom.

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Courage defined

Courage is often talked about but seldom witnessed. On Memorial Day each year, America comes together to remember those courageous souls who inspire us all – those who answered the call to serve our county and laid down their lives for our freedom.

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Don't fence me in

 

No job now,

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Uncle Sam: Please tax the Titans

I’ve already told you the story of Mrs. Campbell, my well-meaning high school guidance counselor. In case you missed it, I’ll tell you again.

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Underage drinking is a community problem

 

Enough is enough.

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Father Kapaun receives Medal of Honor

The Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military award, is bestowed on the bravest of the brave.

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Lawmakers try to pull the curtains on sunshine laws

 

Most of us are fed up with the doldrums of winter, so why not celebrate the sunshine that comes with the advent of spring by also celebrating Sunshine Week.

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William Robert John Bricker

 

William Robert John Bricker, 79, died Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, in Salina.

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First 2013 legislation passes House

First 2013 legislation passes House

Work in the third week of the 2013 legislative session continues largely in committee. After three weeks, almost two hundred bills have been introduced in the House. These are all referred to a committee where testimony for and against is heard and the bill is debated.

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Taxes take center state in Senate

Taxes take center state in Senate

Talking about taxes. Senate committees have been busy with new bill introductions and hearings throughout the week. The highest profile bill is Senate Bill 78 that implements Governor Brownback's new tax proposal. Hearings were held throughout the week in the Assessment and Taxation committee, with proponents and opponents discussing their support or concern. The Ways and Means committee also discussed the revenue impact of the new tax proposal. According to Secretary of Revenue, Nick Jordan, and Director of Revenue, Richard Cram, generally, the Governor's tax plan will lower individual income tax rates, reduce Kansas itemized deductions, hold sales ... Read More
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All we want for Christmas is a farm bill


 Though critical to farmers, ranchers and consumers, the farm bill has not been at the top of the list of issues on Capitol Hill. Instead, lawmakers are debating how to avoid what’s known as the fiscal cliff. In case you haven’t heard, this fiscal cliff is a series of tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect Jan. 1.

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Shop locally this Christmas season

There are some things that can’t be said enough. Just ask Carol Kratzer, director of the Ellsworth-Kanopolis Chamber of Commerce, or leaders of the Smoky Hill Development Corporation.

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Bureaucracy before Bravery

 

While we continue to see and hear stories about America’s veterans receiving subpar medical care, the bureaucrats charged with overseeing the health needs of our brave men and women in uniform are apparently sparing no expense in taking care of themselves instead.

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Making job creation an attractive proposition


When the latest jobs report was issued the first week of July showing 8.2 percent unemployment, it was not a shock. While we may not be in a formal economic recession, the recovery we so desperately need has yet to appear.

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Recalling the Gilded Age

Organized labor, liberals in general, and President Barack Obama in particular got their heads handed to them by the good people of Wisconsin, with a little help from the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

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Childcare center good symbol for the future

Predictions about a community’s future are similar to political polls — they often vary by a significant number and you’re never quite sure where to put your money.

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Beating somebody with nobody

Donald Kaul

Republican lawmakers have declared war on the presidency. Not so odd, perhaps, given their recent record. But the leader they're targeting this time is Mitt Romney.

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Change the world if you don't want to flip hamburgers

Change the world if you don't want to flip hamburgers

Millions of college graduates will soon walk across the stage to accept their diplomas. Given the harsh reality of today's economy, here's the commencement speech I'd like to deliver to the class of 2012:

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Roberts details new farm bill proposal

U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today said the Committee’s 2012 Farm Bill would reform Agriculture in America, saving nearly $23 billion and consolidating nearly 100 programs while ensuring critical safety nets are improved to allow farmers and ranchers to continue to meet exploding global demand for food and fiber.

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Moran reacts to DOL decision on farm labor

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) issued the following statement in response to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) announcement this evening that it has withdrawn a proposed rule dealing with youth working in agriculture:

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Being proactive for water conservation


Linda Mowery-Denning Editor-Publisher Ellsworth County Independent-Reporter 220 N. Douglas Ave. Ellsworth, Kan. 67439 (785) 472-5085

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Lowering fuel costs by increasing domestic supply

As families across Kansas begin to plan for summer vacation, many are scaling back this year because of increasing gas prices. Escalating gas prices have also impacted business owners, who have been forced to pay higher costs to cover utility bills, and producers who have been paying more to bring their commodities to market. Consumers have also faced higher prices for goods and services because of the rising cost of transportation fuel. Higher energy prices are not only threatening our global competitiveness, they are hampering our economic recovery, and they will continue to rise until we take serious steps toward ...

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Trained storm spotters deserve our thanks

As anyone who was hunkered down in their basement Saturday will probably tell you, we won’t soon forget the day and night when a dozen reported tornadoes crossed the state. That’s as many twisters in one day as Kansas typically has in the entire month of April.

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The right to be left alone

It seems as though the 2012 Republican presidential primaries began the day before forever. But oh the lessons we've learned.

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I don't like Ike's memorial

When they decided to honor Dwight Eisenhower with a memorial in Washington, they did it up right. They hired perhaps our most famous architect, Frank Gehry, to design it. They picked out a place in the middle of the National Mall to put it. They bankrolled it at a cool $112 million. Top shelf all the way.

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Women have had enough

It's not about free speech. Within extremely wide limits, Rush Limbaugh certainly has the right to say anything he pleases.

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Volunteers play important role in community

Anyone who doubts the importance of volunteers to rural communities should have attended the annual meeting several weeks ago of the Ellsworth County Historical Society.

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Will we survive $5 gasoline?

Oh my God. Gasoline is headed for five bucks a gallon. I read it in the newspaper, so I know it's true. The national average is already creeping up on $4, and it's bound to climb higher as the summer surge in travel approaches.

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Timing is everything - and this is the time

The USD 327 Board of Education is in the process of proposing a bond issue for voters to consider making significant improvements to our existing facilities.

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Party of God?

Donald Kaul

The Republican primaries have been a tough sled for God, the Father of the party. (Well, Republicans claim He is.)

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State parks feel budget crunch

"Sorry, we're closed."

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Extend the Bush tax cuts

 

Proponents of extending the Social Security tax holiday warned of dire consequences if Congress and the President failed to extend the two-percentage-point reduction. The loudest voices argued that the average worker missing $40 in a biweekly paycheck would cause our economy to come to a grinding halt.

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Let's be civil

Television pioneer Art Linkletter used to do a popular segment called “Kids Say the Darnest Things.” This year’s Republican presidential primary has proved you don’t have to be a kid to say the darnest things.

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Gov. Brownback should set an example for other public officials

At the risk of crossing the line between politics and religion, we often think the governor of a state and the pastor of a church have much in common. They are both imperfect human beings, yet we expect them somehow to be a little better than those of us who look to them for guidance and inspiration.

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Perils of Fracking

Folks, I've got some good news and some bad news about the nation's ever-elusive quest for a sound energy policy. The good news: Finally there's some under-the-radar bipartisan consensus in Washington. The bad news: Both parties are dead wrong.

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We're all about war

Washington's talking about cutting the military budget. Whoopee.

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The Startup Act: bipartisan plan for job creation

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama called on Congress to pass an agenda that helps start-ups and small businesses succeed. We have already introduced a plan that shares his goals. It's called the Startup Act.

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Religious liberty essential to our nation

Our nation has a long legacy of defending an individual’s religious freedoms. James Madison, the Father of our nation’s Constitution and the author of the Bill of Rights, once wrote that “conscience is the most sacred of all property.” Since our nation’s earliest days, the U.S. Supreme Court has consistently affirmed our First Amendment right to exercise our religious beliefs freely. But today, recent decisions by the Obama Administration are threatening Americans’ religious liberty.

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Bringing farmes and their communities back together

As one travels through rural Kansas it becomes readily apparent many small communities that once revolved around farm life are slowly fading away or have already died.

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Business owners embrace Brownback's tax plan

Business owner Ken Daniel, of Topeka, was beaming Thursday as he listened to members of Gov. Sam Brownback's cabinet explain to lawmakers details of the administration's latest tax and budget plans.

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