Right-sizing in Jefferson City
Kudos to Missouri state Sen. Jason Holsman for his proposal to extend term limits in the state House and Senate.
The Kansas City Democrat would stretch them to 16 years in each of the two chambers. That strikes us as a little strong. We’d prefer 12 years.
But it’s important to move beyond the eight-year caps in both chambers now. That’s just not long enough to allow lawmakers to develop needed expertise in today’s complex issues.
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Holsman also proposes shrinking the size of the gargantuan House from an unwieldy 163 members to 120 while expanding the Senate from 34 to 40.
That means three House members per Senate district — and that’s nice symmetry.
The half-court miracle
Shooting a basketball looks so easy. Heck, most of us have tried it once or twice. Under the basket, no problem. A few feet away, a bit more tricky. Three-point range? Brick.
So a tip of The Star cap to Jordan McClellan of the Liberty High School Blue Jays, who tossed in a 47-footer this week in a playoff game against Park Hill.
It turns out Jordan and his teammates actually practice the shot. “I didn’t believe it when it went in,” the young man said after the game. Park Hill probably didn’t believe it either.
The miracle heave didn’t decide the game, although the Blue Jays said the first-half jumper gave them momentum to prevail. Practice, it seems, makes perfect.
Of course, let’s be clear. We could throw up half-court shots for a week and miss the hoop. Shooting a basketball that far, it turns out, is harder than it looks.
Strength through the storm
No Midwesterner is a stranger to wild weather, and we give thanks to the pros who alert us to its destruction, and then help those caught in its wake. The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings as Monday night’s storm rampaged.
It was “a textbook example of how America’s weather enterprise is supposed to work to save lives and property,” said Michael R. Smith, meteorologist and Senior Vice President of AccuWeather Enterprise Solution. The service is one of the federal government’s great public safety success stories.
We also owe an immeasurable debt to the fire, police, rescue and utility crews who leapt to action even while the winds raged. We can’t take them for granted.
Residents of Oak Grove suffered some of the worst of the storm, with many homes devastated by a EF3 tornado. Literally, some homes were shaven of their roofs, with personal contents swept up in the storm.
The last thing residents needed to worry about was the prospect of thieves showing up to scavenge. Jackson County Sheriff’s deputies and Missouri Highway Patrol officers intervened. They secured neighborhoods, thereby ensuring only those who lived there or were showing up to help could gain entry.
Volunteers take on wildfires
As firefighters battle wildfires that have burned thousands of acres from the Oklahoma state line north to Interstate 70, it’s worth remembering that 90 percent of the firefighters in the state are volunteers. Like some of their counterparts in Kansas City, they work two jobs, too.
Only about 30 of the state’s 600 fire departments have any paid staff, according to the Wichita Eagle.
That’s less than ideal because firefighting is expensive, and not all employers will allow their workers to take time off. Those who can get away, though, will often “leave their job and drive back to help us with a fire,” Jim Unruh, of Atlanta, Kan., population 194, told the paper.
We owe a debt of gratitude to those who step up and provide that service to their communities.