I want to thank the Kansas Highway Patrol Motorist Assistance Program. I never gave it much thought until I had a flat tire at a really dangerous spot on Interstate 435 in Johnson County this fall.
I called 911 and was connected to the highway patrol. I said I could change the tire but would like some protection. Within 20 minutes, I was on my way, and the Motorist Assistance person changed the tire.
I told him that he saved my life. The Motorist Assistance Program performs a great and valuable service.
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Stealth police cars
When I think of the police and what I was taught, I think “serve and protect.” So why are Overland Park police officers in camouflaged cars?
Why do I not even realize there is a police officer driving close to me until the police car goes by me?
Then I go to Leawood, and that city’s police cars are marked in black and white and are very easy to see.
So are Leawood police there to serve and protect and Overland Park police in that city to hide in the shadows to catch motorists?
These days, when some people are leery of police, I think it would benefit all of us if the “serve” part of their job were more visible. Unless, that is not the police officers’ job description anymore.
U.S. surgeon general
We can all see the value of having a surgeon general to coordinate the nation’s response to the Ebola epidemic, which has to date seen one death in the United States.
But President Barack Obama’s nomination, Vivek Murthy, is also concerned that guns are a public health problem, with more than 30,000 deaths from gun violence in the United State yearly.
It seems that any concern for this annual gun slaughter creates a crisis for the National Rifle Association, which has scared our reactionary right-wing politicians into not approving Murthy’s appointment.
Grain Valley police
I am intrigued by the idea that Grain Valley would ticket someone who flashes his or her headlights to warn oncoming cars that there is a speed trap ahead (12-4, A5, “Ticket for flashing headlights draws lawsuit”).
It was my understanding that the purpose of ticketing speeders is to motivate members of the motoring public to reduce their speed.
If someone is signaling to oncoming cars that there is a speed trap ahead, that will result in those cars slowing down. Therefore, doesn’t it make the officers’ job easier?
It seems to me that people who signal other motorists and get them to slow down should receive a commendation for helping police meet their goals, not a ticket or other punishment.
All this, of course, is even aside from the question of the free-speech rights of the person doing the signaling.
The only reason I can imagine for police to ticket the signalers is if the purpose of the speed trap is something other than improving the safety of our roads. Like revenue, perhaps?
Jean Ann Summers
I live just south of Shawnee Mission North High School and would like area residents to be aware of a glorious Christmas light display just by the football field at Marty and 61st streets.
Our neighborhood is not particularly festive, but this one particular neighbor embraces all the fun and excitement of the holidays.
I suggest all parents to drive past and let their kids witness a simple celebration of the season.
Guns for Jesus?
Looking through the Christmas ads last week I was impressed by the large number of companies selling guns for under the tree this year.
It got me thinking about what kind of gun Jesus would ask for if he came back for his birthday celebration.
Would he want a Glock 9mm with extra clip on sale for $469, the always dependable Smith and Wesson .38-caliber revolver for $399 or would he — like so many of his present-day followers — just go for it and hope for the 30-round $699 AR-15 Bushmaster, the weapon of choice for so many school shooters and weekend militia fanatics.
You wonder whether Jesus would be a hand-tooled, leather-holster-wearing, open-carry kind of guy or would lean more toward under-the-robe concealed carry.
Whatever his preferences, there are plenty of choices, at great prices, to make sure the Prince of Peace can pack enough heat to feel safe as he walks among his disciples.
Art in schools
I read with dismay the Nov. 29 article, “Schools confront an arts gap,” about the students at the Paseo Academy and the lack of art funds.
As a former studio art teacher (16 years) and current private reading therapist (25 years), I concur that there is a definite connection between art and special needs.
I always worked in the disadvantaged areas of Dallas and Detroit, and you can get supplies for your art room. Hold an auction.
Every child’s painting can be mounted; get one or two moms to help. Parents will buy the paintings for $2.
I turned my art room into another environment every year. Every kid in school had something in it.
Newspaper representatives came, sponsors came and donations came. Get out into the community — people will help.
You’d be surprised that auto dealerships will sponsor your school. OfficeMax will give you used paper; the back is great for scrap paper.
I had basketry, water-color paper, underglazes, fan brushes. Drooling yet?
It was a lot of work , but every year I made about $2,500 in addition to my budget. And I always had more than 1,000 people from the community lined up to view our work.
Make it happen.
I recently read an article on the Older Americans Act, and I strongly agree that Congress needs to act now on passing legislation to protect older people and working older Americans.
A growing percentage of the workforce in the coming years will consist of workers age 50 and older.
Age discrimination in the workplace is prohibited. Under the law, age is a protected class like race, religion and gender.
But programs for seniors are in jeopardy, such as Meals on Wheels.
Congress must act to help older people.
Even the rich get old.
Protecting U.S. troops
President Barack Obama didn’t get it wrong, as a number of letter writers to The Star keep insisting when it comes to Iraq.
The president offered to leave a small contingent of troops in Iraq on one condition — that they be tried in American courts should the need arise.
The Iraqis, under their leader at the time, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, refused. It’s that simple.
Obama was protecting our soldiers.
For more than 20 years, my family held birthday parties and other special events at the Golden Ox (12-3, A12, “A West Bottoms icon is closing”).
Year after year, when asked where I wanted my birthday dinner to be, I always picked “The Bulls” (my special name for the restaurant because I couldn’t remember the Golden Ox).
I have so many vivid memories of loved ones (many of whom have since passed) seated around a long table in a wood-paneled, dimly lighted Golden Ox — with its unique carpet, large murals of Kansas City stockyards and countless old photographs.
There would always be a basket of individually wrapped crackers at the table, and we would dine on pickled herring, big baked potatoes and most important a Kansas City strip steak, which was invented at the Golden Ox.
It is an enormous shame that Kansas City is losing this priceless steakhouse institution, rich with stockyard history and legend. What a loss, Kansas City, what a loss.