It seems to me that school consolidation is a bit like a parent trying to convince a teen to do something that is good for him. The more the parent pushes, the greater the resistance from the teen.
In many cases, a little space might enable the teen to see the value of the proposed action. Perhaps if the various parties backed off a little, the school districts would see that consolidation could be beneficial.
One thing that is curious to me is that there seems to be no consideration of using Internet technology to help school districts reduce costs. Western Kansas seems a perfect place to do this.
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Districts could create small groups of students at nodes, which would permit a larger number of students in a classroom while reducing the costs of transporting students daily to an attendance center. Even if students were transported once or twice a week to a centralized attendance center, the cost could be significantly reduced.
Kaci Hickox should be admired for her service in Africa, as should many others who have helped stem the Ebola outbreak, including the U.S. military (11-1, A2, “Judge backs nurse”).
What’s not to be admired is Hickox’s defiance of a state court order and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for returning health-care workers even if she is not symptomatic.
Quarantines have saved countless lives. If you know the history of World War I and the Spanish flu connection, you’ll know the reasoning behind the military requiring a 21-day quarantine.
Neighboring nations to the Ebola epidemic are imposing travel quarantines for obvious reasons. Public safety, as the governors of New York and New Jersey point out, trumps personal freedom in this case.
No one is asking Ms. Hickox to go to a gulag and do 21 years of hard labor, only 21 days. Come on, man. Or in this case, come on, woman.
James L. Ackinson
Kansas City, Kan.
College loan sharks
When will the college loan sharks be out of business? It is in the hands of the president and Congress. They know this has been going on for 15 years.
Congress, why do you participate in allowing loan sharks to charge so much interest and ruin the lives of college graduates and in some cases their parents? What in the world are you thinking?
Yes, members of Congress are part of the problem. They are the regulators.
When will the powers that be call in the FBI and convene a grand jury to put these shysters out of business? Go after big banks, too, and then forgive substantial portions of these criminally forged loans.
Congress has no choice because it is Congress that allowed these shysters to germinate and then grow. Step up and do something. People want action not rhetoric.
By the way, I vote Democrat, Green Party and Republican (if one can be found) but never Libertarian. Just so you politicians know where exactly I stand.
Unfair Kansas taxes
The Nov. 13 editorial headlined “Plenty of perks on the farm” described the unfair property taxes on agricultural land. I learned of the unfairness when campaigning for a state senate candidate in a western Kansas district.
After answering my knock, an elderly woman pleaded, “Tell your candidate, please don’t raise my taxes. I am living on the small pension of my husband who is dead.”
She was speaking of the property tax on her small home. Because of the low tax rate on the surrounding agricultural land, the unfair taxes on her home were a large source of revenue needed to support schools and government facilities in her county.
The unfairly low property taxes on agricultural land must be changed by the Kansas Legislature.
A few years ago when my husband and I were driving through the Southwest, we stopped in Cortez, Colo., for lunch at a Wendy’s. Arriving moments before us was a couple on a motorcycle.
I’d say it was not that unusual, but what I noticed next flabbergasted me. The gentlemen had a gun and holster on his hip.
That was the first time I had seen anything of that sort outside of a cowboy movie.
The woman placed a to-go order for more than the two of them. For some reason, there was confusion over the order.
After a few moments of discussion, the cashier used both hands and pushed the order toward them, indicating they could go ahead and take all the order, and that was that.
To the best of my recollection, no money changed hands. Was that silent coercion?
Could that happen in another situation? Could it happen now at Wal-Mart in the return line?
In the future, will we need to check our guns when we enter a big-box store?
Against Gun Violence
Reading Sen. Pat Roberts’ Nov. 12 commentary almost made me throw up my breakfast. Doesn’t he realize he was almost beaten by a virtually unknown candidate with no political experience?
What kind of a mandate is that?
Problems with guns
A Nov. 1 editorial, “Murders are down in KC, but not by nearly enough,” and a map in The Star showed that many murders occur near downtown areas of Kansas City.
In comparison, relatively few homicides occur in the suburbs.
Yet, because of fear, people in the suburbs arm themselves for “protection.” This happens even though there are many more handgun suicides than handgun homicides.
For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2010 there were 11,000 U.S. handgun homicides and 19,000 suicides.
Homicides are reported daily on television news and in The Star.
Suicides, however, are rarely publicized, so most are unaware that in the suburbs the real danger from handguns is having a handgun in the home where a teenager or other depressed family member might commit suicide.
Homes with handguns increase the likelihood someone will be killed, if not by suicide, then in an accident such as when one child shoots another.
One study indicated that a handgun in the home is 43 times more likely to kill a family member or acquaintance than an intruder.
If the media would report the number of daily and weekly handgun suicides in our suburbs, gun purchases and gun deaths in our homes would decline.
R. Vance Hall
Ebola virus fix
With Ebola cases increasing in West Africa and confirmed cases of the virus in the United States, irrational fears have spread nationwide. Conflicting information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and mistakes made at a Dallas hospital have led to rumors and panic.
During this Ebola outbreak, the U.S. desperately needed a surgeon general to oversee the crisis, but that position has been unfilled since 2013.
Nearly one year ago, President Barack Obama nominated Vivek Murthy as surgeon general.
However, Republican senators blocked his appointment because he supported the Affordable Care Act and believed that gun violence was a public-health issue.
It is shameful that petty GOP partisanship has obstructed the confirmation of Murthy, a well-qualified, trusted physician who would have led the worldwide fight against Ebola and helped ease Americans’ fears and anxieties about the virus.
LETTERS OF THANKS
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