Letters to the Editor

Readers share thoughts on the Somali Center attack, sports headlines and grief

Somali Center attack

The Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council is shocked and saddened by the recent attack at the Somali Center of Kansas City, which resulted in the death of 15-year-old Abdisamad “Adam” Sheikh-Hussein. We applaud the quick response of law enforcement units that are investigating this incident as a possible hate crime.

There is evidence that the community had been dealing with anti-Muslim statements and threats before this incident. The Interfaith Council continues to promote understanding of all religions and continues to offer multifaith education, which is key to a civilized society.

We implore people in the Kansas City community to learn about different religions and cultures in order to prevent discrimination. Our sympathies go out to the victim’s family, to the Somali Center and to all people who care about humanity.

Please visit kcinterfaith.org to request speakers or to find out about programs that help foster understanding of different faiths and cultures.

Sheila Sonnenschein

Overland Park

Mary McCoy



Greater Kansas City

Interfaith Council

Wishing in Kansas

As the governor of Kansas and Republican legislators make painful cuts to the Kansas budget, can we expect them to make painful cuts to their salaries and benefits as well?

Dave Peterson


Headline overreach

“Sad-urday” (12-7, B1) and “Twilight-Zona” (12-8, B1) as headlines? Really?

The attempts by The Star to be witty with sports headlines has become quite annoying.

In the beginning, these were occasionally amusing but are now overdone and stale. I would ask The Star to discontinue trying to be clever with sports headlines and just let the headline report the facts.

Here’s an example of a possible headline to report on Sunday’s Chiefs game: “Chiefs lose to Cardinals 17-14.” I admit this is rather droll, but it tells a more accurate story than “Twilight-Zona.”

Joseph Hughes


Coping with grief

Amid the merrymakers this holiday season, it’s likely that you have a co-worker who is a silent soldier — an individual grieving over the loss of a loved one earlier this year or recently in the holiday season.

How do you reach out to someone coping with loss this joyful time of year?

It starts with a careful choice of words. If you knew the loved one, share something about him that you admired.

If not, don’t be afraid to ask about holiday traditions they shared. Be sure to avoid hollow sayings like “He’s in a better place.”

Don’t tell the co-worker you know how she feels because you don’t, even if you’ve experienced a loss.

Finally, don’t ask how she is. Most people will lie.

Try a few simple acts of kindness. If your co-worker is a coffee lover, take her a double tall latte or her favorite cappuccino.

See if she wants to go to lunch. Offer to take some work off her plate.

For most of us, the holidays are synonymous with charity and cheer. You can spread both in your office through your fellowship and generosity toward those who are quietly grieving while others are heartily celebrating.

Rick Deno



Crossroads Hospice

Kansas City

Golden Ox’s death

“The Sprint Center killed us,” a waiter told a man at the next table (12-3, A12, “A West Bottoms icon is closing”). A friend and I were enjoying lunch last week at the grand old Golden Ox in the West Bottoms.

We chose the place because we’d heard it would be closing. Later, I asked the waiter what he meant.

It was not really the Sprint Center, but, instead, the sprouting up of many restaurants around it that stole business from the Golden Ox. They sprouted because they pay little if any property tax.

Meanwhile, the Golden Ox — plus most other businesses and homeowners — carry the full tax burden to support those freeloading restaurateurs.

Nationwide, state legislators arrange to give to the wealthy money that belongs to our cities, schools, colleges and libraries. When the rich slip by, tax rates rise on the middle class.

Sometimes this is called a “border war” between states. More accurately, this corporate welfare is just one part of the war on America’s middle class.

And on great old taxpaying institutions such as the Golden Ox restaurant, which was killed by it.

Charles Hammer


Breakthrough bill

The House passed the Achieving Better Life Experience Act, commonly known as the ABLE Act, by a 404-17 vote last week (12-4, A4, “After eight years, aid for people with disabilities may come soon”).

The ABLE Act gives families with children with Down syndrome, autism or other developmental disabilities the opportunity to save for the costs of independence and opportunity without being taxed on those savings.

I was proud to co-sponsor and vote for its passage.

This bill has been introduced every year for the last eight years. Each year, families and advocates have met with their representatives to explain the importance of this legislation. In 2011, as a new member of Congress, I met with Rachel Mast and her family to discuss her encouragement of my co-sponsorship.

Rachel, now a student at Olathe South High School, quickly became a good friend. This legislation moved forward because of the grassroots advocacy of Rachel and many others across the country.

I urge the Senate to quickly send this bill to the president’s desk.

Sometimes we all can become cynical about the legislative process and the ability for real people to be heard in the halls of Congress. On this bipartisan vote, we ensured that Rachel’s voice and millions of other families’ voices were heard.

U.S. Rep Kevin Yoder

Overland Park

Shrinking government

The Star editorial board has referred to Gov. Sam Brownback as delusional for his projections of the economic stimulus that will result from his experimental tax cuts. The only delusion is thinking this approach has anything to do with stimulating the economy.

It’s obvious, especially after his budget director’s response to the report that the shortfall will be addressed through additional spending cuts, that this tax policy is a backdoor means to shrinking the state government.

Grover Norquist famously said he wants to shrink government until it can be drowned in a bathtub.

Want education for your kids? Send them to a privately funded Christian school.

Want roads to drive on? Save up your quarters for the tolls.

Think you need law enforcement? Actually not, because all of us should be packing our own heat.

Government health care? Seriously?

Brownback’s ideal scenario is to shrink the government to two positions: a governor who will make sure spending stays at a minimum and a secretary of state to make sure the right guy keeps getting elected.

The only experiment being conducted in Topeka is how large the bathtub needs to be to accomplish the task.

Terry Putney

Prairie Village

Conservatory gift

This city has a rich resource in its Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Any reader needing to be inspired should seek out one of its upcoming events.

On a recent evening, my husband and I attended the Ensemble Series in which more than 100 male and female voices were woven together in an exhilarating harmony. They gave rousing performances of Christmas music at Visitation Church.

For much of their performance, the singers stood above the audience in balconies encircling the room. Imagine the pure joy that the audience felt from being wrapped with such a chorus of voices.

What sweetened the pot was that many of the songs sung were familiar Christmas carols.

Kansas City is truly blessed to have the Conservatory of Music, where such a rich source of talent performs for its citizens.

Also, a big shout-out to Visitation Church for lending its superb space for the event.

Chris Kraft

Kansas City