Commentary

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.

 

Wed
09
May

Scamming the poor

By Olivia Alperstein

The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Ben “I’ve Never Had to Worry about Affording Housing” Carson, wants to triple the rent that low-income American families pay for federally subsidized housing.

Yep, this is the same guy who spent $31,000 of taxpayer money on a table and chairs. He’s trying to make it harder for low-income families who shop at Bob’s Discount Furniture to afford a stable housing situation.

For many families, that rent increase could mean the difference between squeaking by and being out on the street. That’s not an exaggeration — just ask anyone who’s been on the cusp of homelessness.

 

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Wed
09
May

Education funding set

Rep. Steven Johnson
Capitol View

The final week of the 2018 legislative was filled with activity on education funding, the budget, judiciary and tax.

The first major issue was to pass a final education funding bill. This was needed to clarify that the department of education has the authority to distribute the last $80 million of the about $4 billion allocated for K-12 education next year. The bill was largely assembled on the House floor and passed to the Senate. It passed both chambers easily and I voted yes.

 

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Wed
02
May

Up the Missouri River

THE WAY WEST
By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray

Missionary work among the native tribes of the west began almost as soon as the first bold adventurer ventured beyond civilization.

One of the most prominent organizations was the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) founded in 1810 by former graduates of Williams College at Williamstown, Mass.

In the spring of 1836, an ABCFM missionary party set out from New York bound for Oregon. At St. Louis the missionaries boarded the steamboat Chariton.

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Wed
02
May

The tax work continues

Rep. Steven Johnson
Capitol View

The wrap up legislative session resumed April 26 to complete the 2018 legislative year. Education funding, budget and tax issues are at the top of the agenda.

Consensus revenue estimates were shared from the April 20 meeting and came in above those set last November. Revenues increased by just over $200 million for the current fiscal year. I estimate those numbers may be even larger as we move to the end of the fiscal year June 30.

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Wed
25
Apr

The beginning of life

THE WAY WEST
By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray

They say that life begins at 40, but for 12-year-old Jennie Ball life was truly taking a turn that she would mark for the rest of her life as her beginning.

The year was 1879. Her father surprised Jennie and her brother with the announcement that they were leaving Warsaw, Ind, for the farm life in northwestern Kansas.

“Up to then a farm to me, meant going to an uncle’s and riding horses, morning to night, (and) petting the calves and lambs. So I had a wonderful vision of ‘life on our farm’ in Kansas.”

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Wed
25
Apr

Time for voters to step up

Jerry Marsh
Political Bites

Most, if not all, readers know of the recent passage of a bill funding Kansas education to the tune of $500 million over the next five years. What interested me most about the passage was the effort to extract legislative approval of a constitutional amendment depriving the Kansas Supreme Court of jurisdiction regarding “suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state.” (Article 6, Section 6 of the Kansas constitution) Unfortunately, the effort failed. I support the amendment.

The anticipated effect of the amendment has been misrepresented, most recently in my reading by an opinion piece in the Salina Journal: “No districts or parents could sue for equitable and adequate funding, as the Kansas Constitution mandates.“ I have read the amendment, and to make sure I interpreted it correctly, I contacted Rep. Steven Johnson and he confirmed my interpretation.

Wed
18
Apr

Ag can’t afford trade war

Sen. Jerry Moran
Others Say

When people in rural Kansas talk to me about a farm crisis or economic depression, they unfortunately aren’t talking about the dust bowl of the 1930s or farm credit crisis of the 1980s — they’re talking about the ongoing crisis in farm country today where low commodity prices and severe drought have pushed many agricultural producers to the edge of an economic cliff.

America’s trade relationships are, now more than ever, tied to the success of rural America, and we must make certain we negotiate responsibly so that our farmers and ranchers can continue to make a living by feeding and clothing the world.

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