Commentary

Wed
17
May

The Long Way Around

By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray

News of the discovery of gold in California was well reported by October of 1848. In a message to Congress in December, U. S. President James Polk noted, “The accounts of the abundance of gold in that territory are of such an extraordinary character, as would scarcely command belief.”

By spring of 1849, it seemed as if the whole nation was on the move. Steamboats arrived at St. Joseph, Mo., bursting with emigrants. The St. Joseph Gazette estimated that 27,000 emigrants had left Independence for California by June 4, 1849. “California Fever” had taken hold of approximately 40,000 souls by mid-May, 1850. Horses, mules, and oxen were estimated at 100,000 to 120,000 head.

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Wed
17
May

The farming challenge

By Jill Richardson

Remember the climate crisis? It’s still happening. Having a government that resembles a circus, it turns out, hasn’t stopped the clock on the level of greenhouse gases in the air.

At a conference in Italy, former president Barack Obama spoke recently about the impact the climate crisis will have on the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

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Wed
10
May

Fraud and Deception

By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray

In the spring of 1870 the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad announced a planned extension to the southern border of Kansas. Known affectionately as the Katy, the railroad was vying with the Kansas, Neosho Valley Railroad (Border Tier Railroad) to be the first to reach the southern Kansas border with the Cherokee Nation. The winner would receive exclusive right to build tracks under land grant across Indian Territory.

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Wed
10
May

It’s all about leadership

By Lee Hamilton

I have significant differences with Donald Trump’s political stances, but I want him to enjoy a successful presidency. It’s good for neither the country nor the world when a U.S. president struggles or fails. Yet I also believe that constructive criticism can help a president grow more capable. It’s in this spirit that I want to take a hard look at the Trump presidency so far.

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Wed
03
May

If you can’t beat ‘em

By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray

On May 1, 1869, Z. Taylor announced in the Dallas Herald that he was opening the Texas Store in Abilene. The opening was, in effect, the acceptance that his hometown of Junction City could not compete with the sensation created by Joseph McCoy at Abilene.

When McCoy began to promote the idea of a cattle market west of the settled country of Missouri and eastern Kansas the concept was so revolutionary that he was readily dismissed as a dreamer.

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Wed
03
May

Just follow the taxes

By Jerry Marsh

Taxpayer alert. The Kansas Legislature returned to work May 1, and it will try to solve major fiscal issues. As part of the solution, Sen. Jim Denning advocates a regressive fee/tax on utility bills to provide needed money for Kansas schools, i.e. he favors placing a greater tax burden on lowincome earners than highincome earners.

I have no regard for Sen. Denning’s idea of a regressive fee/tax to support Kansas schools. Our legislature has been entirely too accepting of a regressive tax structure.

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Wed
26
Apr

An evolving Frontier

By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray

The Union Pacific Eastern Division, the first railroad across Kansas, reached Junction City the first of November, 1866.

A special excursion train from Leavenworth toured the new route Nov. 6. Tourists were greeted at the Fort Riley stop by the “Boy General,” Bvt. Major General George A. Custer of the newly formed 7th U. S. Cavalry and Bvt. Major General John W. Davidson of the 10th U. S. Cavalry.

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Wed
26
Apr

Trumpspeak confuses all

By Jerry Marsh

Does the onus for clear communication fall on the sender or the recipient? If readers do not understand what I write, is it my fault or theirs? I suspect we all agree that the burden falls on me.

I allude to President Trump’s recent announcement to the world that in anticipation of a North Korean missile test, the United States had sent an armada to the Sea of Japan in order to demonstrate toughness and resolve to Kim Jong-un, supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

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Wed
19
Apr

Manning’s Peak

By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray

The great cattle trail known as the Chisholm Trail was a natural pathway that had actually been followed by early Plains Indians long before Jesse Chisholm’s wagons cut a well-defined trail into Indian Territory. Chisholm’s greatest contribution to the trail was his unerring ability to adjust the route to good creek and river crossings that could accommodate regular wagon traffic.

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Wed
19
Apr

And all that Jazz

By Mark McCoy

What is it about Jazz that seems to transcend generations? I was at the Midland Hotel in Wilson, listening to the tunes of the Greg Harris, Matt Fuller and Grant Larson Trio on St. Patrick’s Day and in my bones I knew that my ancestors had been in this very town — if not in this very same spot — listening to the melodies of America’s own performing art form. Jazz was the rock n’ roll, hip-hip or pop of my grandparent’s generation. Born in the brothels and taverns of New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century, it is the major performing art form born in America.

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