Commentary

Wed
06
Apr

ANOTHER WAY

By Jim Gray

By the end of 1870 the Kansas Pacific Railway finally connected the Missouri river with the Rocky Mountains. Change was rapidly coming to the prairie. Abilene, Kan., had carved out a place for itself as the seat of the Texas cattle trade, annually bringing tens of thousands of rangy longhorns to the Great Western Stock Yards along the ribbon of rails passing across the state.

Wed
06
Apr

Too much secrecy

By Lee Hamilton
 

We have a secrecy problem. This may seem odd to say during an era in which the most intimate details of individuals’ lives are on display. Yet government is moving behind closed doors, and this is definitely the wrong direction. In fact, I’m dismayed by how often public officials fight not to do the public’s business in public. And I’m not just talking about the federal government.

 

Wed
30
Mar

Education moves to front

By Rep. Steven Johnson 

The legislature finished the general session this past week. Tensions continued to run high as we pushed to meet the shortened calendar. For better or worse, fewer bills were able to make it through the process as leadership held to a calendar a full week shorter than originally planned. Education issues came to the forefront. 

Wed
30
Mar

Follow the ‘dark money’

By Jerry Marsh 

If you missed Norman Ornstein’s column on Page A4 of last week’s edition of the Ellsworth County Independent- Reporter, it would be well worth your time to find it and read it. In fact, it would be a good idea to clip it and post it to your refrigerator for re-reading and for reference around election time this fall, because one can bet that much of what he wrote about will happen.

Wed
16
Mar

Legislature versus Court

by Jerry Marsh 

Last Thursday, the Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee approved SB439 to facilitate impeachment of Kansas Supreme Court Justices. The court apparently labors under the conviction that their job is to interpret the Kansas Constitution; whereas, a number of legislators believe that the court should subordinate itself to their wishes.

 

Wed
16
Mar

February shortfall budget wake-up call

by Rep. Steven Johnson 

The past week in the legislature was moving at full speed in most of my committees. We did make some useful progress. In the pension committee, we finalized and passed a bill that relates to rules for working after retirement. The bill last year may create some challenges for employers. We also had a chance to define some of the costs to the system better. The bill proposed this year is based largely on the work the school superintendents did before session. There was bi-partisan support for the measure in committee and I would expect most of the bill to make it into law in some form.

 

Wed
09
Mar

Hope is all around us

by Lee Hamilton 

These are very unhappy times in Washington. Relations between the executive and legislative branches are not just sour, but corrosive. The Republican-led Senate has declared it will simply ignore a presidential nomination to the Supreme Court.

 

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Wed
09
Mar

Making best of what we have is common sense approach

by Linda Mowery-Denning 

Editor/Publisher 

Members of the Ellsworth City Council dedicated a lunch hour this past week to a tour of the city’s water wells and treatment plant. This week’s agenda called for a tour of the city wastewater lagoons. We can’t think of a better use of the council’s time. For months — even years in some cases — officials have discussed Ellsworth’s water situation. Most months, the supply and its distribution system have been enough to sustain the city’s 1,100 meters. Other times, such as in 2012 when drought affected city and country residents alike, Ellsworth was forced to ban outdoor water. Even now, the city remains on voluntary conservation, with outdoor watering allowed certain days, based on a resident’s house number.

 

Wed
02
Mar

Be alert — and careful — as you drive through downtown

by Linda Mowery-Denning

Editor/Publisher 

Afriend stopped us the other day to voice her concerns about traffic in downtown Ellsworth, in particular on the streets near Ellsworth Elementary School. One day, she said, traffic continued for 10 minutes while a child waited to cross the street. No one bothered to stop and allow the child safe passage. After the friend left, several of us started telling stories about tractor-trailer trucks roaring through town and other situations that make our downtown less safe.

 

Wed
02
Mar

Guns prevail in Kansas

by Jerry Marsh 

What are the ingredients for a mass shooting? There are many; here are three: first, a stressed individual, the reasons for the stress can vary greatly; second, easy access to fire arms, particularly high capacity automatic and semi-automatic weapons; third, extended news coverage, especially television coverage, of the event.

 

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