Tributes to Tyler
Over the past week, I have gotten to know more about someone I have never met than I know about some of my own friends. The incredible person, Tyler Rathbun, has easily been seen by the amazing support shown from the community (11-30, A1, “From coast to coast, tributes to Tyler flow”).
I have seen countless Instagram pictures, Facebook posts and tweets bearing the hashtag #RIPTR, people sharing their love for someone who positively affected so many people.
The support from Shawnee Mission East grads across the country is amazing, but the outpouring of support from St. Teresa’s, Sion, Rockhurst, Miege, Pembroke and so many more is something I could never have imagined.
Even though I am at college in California, I still feel the impact of all the support for the Shawnee Mission East community and Rathbun family.
Someone asked me a couple of weeks ago what I like about Kansas City and why I would want to live there. This week has shown me why. No other community could pull together so quickly and in such numbers in support of one person.
I will forever be proud to call Kansas City my home.
Prison price gouging
Fill in the blank: The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by (blank).
I bet you didn’t write “entering its prisons.” The prison system is a good representation of our capitalist society as a whole — a few people profiting off of the most marginalized Americans, most recently brought to light in the form of price gouging an inmate’s personal phone call for staggering profits (11-27, Opinion, “Price gouging by prisons costs us all in the end”).
For-profit prisons are benefiting the wrong people. Incarceration is already hard on families in so many ways and should not impose further financial challenges.
Consider that selling a $20 bag of marijuana could result in an inmate’s family members paying $20 for every heartfelt and supportive conversation they have with their loved one.
Regulating price gouging is a good first step in ending the massive injustice that is the industrial prison complex.
The road construction along Southmoreland Park between Main Street and Warwick Boulevard has taken over the streets where many apartment residents have to park.
These complexes don’t have parking lots, and the construction signs did not threaten towing. Residents have been surprised by the combined removal of their cars, towing fees and city traffic tickets.
Why are we paying hundreds of dollars for you to pave our streets?
Justice should be served. Drop these fees.
Frankenstorm Sandy is one more dramatic demonstration that climate change and its extreme weather patterns are now part of our future.
Although we’re unlikely to reverse climate change, we can still mitigate its effects by reducing our driving, energy use and meat consumption.
Yes, meat consumption. A 2006 U.N. report estimated that meat consumption accounts for 18 percent of man-made greenhouse gases. A 2009 article in the respected magazine World Watch suggested that it may be closer to 50 percent.
Carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by combustion of fossil fuels to confine, feed, transport and slaughter animals and to refrigerate their carcasses.
The much more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are discharged from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively.
We have the power to reduce devastating effects of climate change every time we eat. Our local supermarket offers a rich variety of soy-based lunch “meats,” veggie burgers, soy- and nut-based dairy products (including cheese and ice cream), and an ample selection of traditional vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts.
Product lists, easy recipes and transition tips are available at www.livevegan.org.
Women have surpassed men in earning bachelor’s and advanced college degrees. More than 55 percent of college enrollments are now women.
Women constitute 46 percent of the workforce, and the labor-market participation rate for women 25 to 44 years of age is more than 75 percent.
Question: Does anyone really think any of this would have been possible without women’s access to the full range of family planning options that have been available since anti-contraception laws were overturned in the 1960s and Roe v. Wade was decided in the 1970s?
Many women and men have fought long and hard to acquire and improve economic opportunities for women — our daughters, granddaughters, wives, sisters and nieces.
For women, family planning/reproductive health is at the core of their economic opportunities and decisions. All that is on the line now for both women and men.
Charles K. Baber
KC trolley dreams
I would like to weigh in on the much-talked-about proposed trolley system in Kansas City. Why spend millions of dollars on obsolete technology?
Nostalgia aside, it makes no sense. I suggest we invest in new technology.
Why not invent a new generation of the tram? Design a green draft engine that can operate remotely using GPS and sensors.
Several could be monitored at a central station while GPS would navigate a predetermined route with the aid of safety sensors. Design new coaches to create a safe, comfortable ride.
Roving maintenance and security teams could respond to any problems the trams might encounter.
With such a system, routes could be changed to respond to traffic needs and street repairs. You could add more coaches during peak commute times and fewer during slow hours. This would save money on maintenance and energy costs.
The greatest savings would be the absence of tracks. Savings on the construction and maintenance costs would allow you to expand the system.
Because this would be an inner-city system involving low speeds, modern computerized sensors would make it as safe as any means of urban transportation.
Timothy McDonald’s review of the Kansas City Symphony’s concert last weekend (11-26, C3, “Finnish maestro heats up KC stage”) was spot-on. Guest conductor Osmo Vänskä elicited inspired music-making from the orchestra in works by Sibelius, Prokofiev and Beethoven.
Disconcerting throughout this concert was the sporadic, unrestrained coughing by a few individuals that disrupted the auditory magic the orchestra now conjures up routinely. These sonic annoyances are all the more intrusive in the splendid acoustical environment that is Helzberg Hall.
Equally disruptive was the applause between movements of the Beethoven symphony, which visibly annoyed Maestro Vänskä. It would behoove the symphony’s management to request that an audience withhold its applause until a work is concluded, despite the precedent for between-movement applause from earlier times.
Gary E. Tegtmeier
Replacing old stoplights
An issue I frequently encounter as a driver in Kansas City is the problem of stoplights that are not on sensors and are just on timers. I know it is not a huge deal, but people are getting stuck at traffic lights when there is not a single car coming in either direction.
It is frustrating, and the time and wasted gasoline can add up. There have been countless times when I have been on my way to school or on my way home and I have been stopped when there was not a car in sight.
I would greatly appreciate it if the city looked into fixing this problem. I’m sure it would be greatly appreciated by a lot of people.