Letters to the Editor

Letters: Dick Berkley shares his Billy Graham memories, and readers discuss Hope Hicks, Kansas wrestling and KC jazz

Graham’s presence

My wife, Sandy, and I read with interest the stories regarding the Rev. Billy Graham. She and I were very fortunate to meet numerous famous people while I was in elected office. One unique occasion did not involve me.

It was shortly after the Hyatt Regency skywalks tragedy. Sandy had been going to the hospitals visiting patients. One day she received a phone call from a person saying, “This is Billy Graham.” Her first thoughts were that it was one of our friends; then she realized that at this sad time it would not be someone joking.

It was in fact the real Billy Graham, and he was calling to ask if she would take him with her the next time she went to the hospitals. No publicity. She, of course, agreed.

Sandy told me afterward that he was one of the most articulate and inspiring people she had ever met. He visited with quite a number of patients and had a very positive impact on them and on members of the hospital staff. One patient had not really been communicating with anyone since the accident — until Graham talked with him.

I have always wished I had Sandy’s stimulating experience.

Dick Berkley

Kansas City

High-tech attacks

OK, I concede that people owned guns for hundreds of years without mass shootings. But were they the same kinds of guns and ammunition that we have today?

To continue to equate single-shot muskets with assault weapons in order to perpetuate the myth that our country should not update the Second Amendment is absolutely insane.

Pamela Bennett


Bye, Hope Hicks

Hope has left the White House. Very sad, but even sadder is that Faith and Charity beat her out the door.

On the bright side, Feb. 29 flew by without any more scandals.

Oh wait — this isn’t a leap year.

Ron Philo

Kansas City

Don’t ignore us

I agree totally with writer Darryl Taylor. (March 1, 12A, Letters to the editor) It’s time for The Star and other media to acknowledge the positives of President Donald Trump, and that a conservative side of the U.S. and Kansas City actually exists and is anxious to be heard.

Enough of the constant negatives.

Brenda Johnson

Kansas City

Spread too thin

High school wrestling concluded in most states last month with state tournaments. While the four states bordering Kansas all held their championships for all classifications in one location, Kansas held its tournaments in three locales.

Kansas is one of the few states that hold tournaments in more than one location. In fact, only one state, Connecticut, uses more than three sites for its state tournament.

Sadly, this is typical of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, which forces fans to pick and choose one location to watch state championship competition, except for track and field.

I’m sure many coaches in the Kansas City area envy Missouri, where all the wrestling championships are under the same roof at Mizzou Arena, instead of spread out among Park City, Salina and Hays.

The KSHSAA would not have to hunt far and wide for an appropriate site for state wrestling. Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka and the Tony’s Pizza Events Center in Salina are all excellent options.

Get with it, KSHSAA. The student-athletes and coaches deserve better.

David Steinle

Russell, Kan.

Honor our history

Discussions about honoring Kansas City’s jazz heritage fail to recognize our abject failure to keep that music genre alive for future generations. At the Charlie Parker Memorial Foundation, we offer scholarships to urban core youth to receive instruments and music lessons from our teaching staff.

Our students are taught in the classical tradition, but once they achieve a level of competence they can join our Jazz Ensemble. Our advanced students now also get added instruction from teachers at the American Jazz Museum as part of a plan to develop a youth jazz orchestra to represent Kansas City.

Our founder and my close friend, the legendary Eddie Baker, was the visionary behind the 18th & Vine Jazz District. Eddie also created the International Jazz Hall of Fame, which honors the greats such as Lionel Hampton, Ella Fitzgerald and more. As a man who had his own orchestra at age 17, Eddie schooled a generation of new musicians in Kansas City.

We must continue that work for the next generation.

If Eddie were still with us, I’m sure he would implore the powers that be to increase the number of venues at 18th and Vine and attract foreign tourists who share his love for jazz.

Jerry McEvoy

Kansas City