Commentary

Wed
13
Jun

Pedro Vial, Trail Blazer

By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray
THE WAY WEST

Pedro Vial wandered the plains long before well-known famous explorers made their reputations from the endless sea of grass. Vial was born in Lyons, France, in the approximate year of 1747. Little is known of his earliest years in North America. By the 1770s he had traversed the Missouri River, trapping and interacting with the native tribes that lived there.

His reputation reached all the way to Texas where in 1786 he was commissioned by Texas Gov. Domingo Cebello to blaze a trail from San Antonio to Santa Fe, N.M.

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Wed
13
Jun

Welcome to a new world

Lisa Miller Kijowski
Bits and Pieces

Who could ever believe that school age children would have to deal with fear of attending school?

Not so long ago, the only things to be weary of were the wrath of the strictest teacher piling on homework or — even worse — the threat of “wait until your father comes home” after breaking a school rule. Times change and for some reason, one change now is fear of your fellow student shooting you.

Students have staged “walk outs”, marched in Washington D.C. and had speeches televised. They have sparked a “never again” campaign.

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Wed
06
Jun

A thousand thrilling stories

By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray
THE WAY WEST

Joseph Lehman (pronounced “Lemon”) was only 12 years old when he set out from New York state for Kansas Territory in the mid- 1850s.

Lehman was big for his age and had “shifted for himself ” at an early age. On the way to Kansas, Lehman fell in with Daniel Hussey Page, a studious young man from Rochester, N.H.

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Wed
06
Jun

A sense of place

John Schlageck
Insight

Reflection is a good thing. It allows you to see where you’ve been and hopefully chart a better course on where you’re going. While on vacation recently I had a chance to think about the small community where I grew up.

Located in northwestern Kansas, Seguin was a small farm/ranch community of approximately 50 hearty souls. Located in Sheridan County, three miles south of Highway 24, the Union Pacific railroad used to run through our small town.

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Wed
30
May

Showdown at Council Grove

By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray

 

Throughout the later part of the summer of 1867, negotiations were made between frontiersmen and plains Indians. Groups of Comanche, Cheyenne, and others met at Jesse Chisholm’s trading post at the mouth of the Little Arkansas River (Wichita). There was quite a bit of movement between that post and Chisholm’s post on the North Canadian River in Indian Territory. The object of all that activity was a peace treaty between the United States government and all the plains tribes, especially in relation to the use of traditional hunting lands in Kansas.

George Bent described the scene in his book, Life of George Bent: “The great camp was in a beautiful hollow through which flowed Medicine Lodge Creek, with its lovely wooded banks. This was a favorite place for the summer medicine- making of the Indians and also for their winter camps.”

 

Wed
30
May

America’s gifts

Editor’s Note — These are two of the essays in the recent Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary’s Patriot Pen contest.

By Grace Bohnen
First Place

America’s gift to our generation is what it has taught me. Although what they taught us may not all be great, there are some good things too. America has taught us to stand up for what we believe in and has allowed us to honor and give back to our Veterans.

When we were younger, we were taught to always listen to adults and do what they say. Yet as we get older, we start to disagree with adults. We start to stand up for what we believe in because we don’t agree with someone.

Wed
23
May

Rich beyond measure

By John Schlageck
Insight

Grandma and Grandpa Becker were people of action rather than words. Not that they didn’t have much to say.

They just chose their words well and needed only a few to convey much. As their oldest grandson, I visited them during the summer when I was growing up in the late ‘50s. I always talked Grandma into letting me sleep in the screened-in porch on the east side of their home.

Shaded by tall elm trees, this was the coolest place to slumber on those warm summer nights before air conditioning. More importantly, the porch was right next to my grandparent’s room where I felt safe and slept like a log each night

 

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Wed
23
May

TIME TO TALK

By Jill Richardson
special to the I-R

After every mass shooting, we repeat all of the same things. Some call for gun control. Those against gun control say this isn’t the time to talk about it. The Onion reprints its story titled, “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens,” and updates the dateline to reflect the location of the new mass shooting. When the shooter is white, we talk about mental illness. If they’re not, we talk about terrorism. Then, Congress does nothing. But, so long as we’re discussing mental illness, I’d like to weigh in.

Wed
16
May

Ag bill benefits big corporations

By Ben Lilliston
Special to the I-R

As financial stress rises, suicide hotlines are spreading across farm country. Four straight years of low income, rising debt, and now fights with major trading partners are taking their toll on farmers and rural communities.

Worse, Congress seems to be pretending these hardships don’t exist.

The Farm Bill, passed every five years, is the nation’s most important policy governing agriculture and food. But instead of a serious assessment of past failures, this year’s Farm Bill doubles down on a low price, export-dependent system that’s afflicting the farm economy.

 

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Wed
16
May

Tumbling along

By John Schlageck
Insight

Part cultural icon and part invasive nuisance, tumbleweeds have an intriguing and tangled history. You know, tumbleweeds — those twisted balls of dead foliage rolling across the open range and roads.

If you’re driving any distance this spring, you’ll see them rolling across the highways. Traveling on Kansas Highway 24 last weekend, I nailed a two-footer while bumping a few others out of my path.

Tumbleweeds first gained notoriety when the Sons of the Pioneers romanticized them in song back in the late ‘30s. I remember seeing my first ones in the early ‘50s. In the early spring, summer and fall when winds howled across roads in my native Sheridan County, tumbleweeds raced across the flatland.

 

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