Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Several good ideas have been brought up in the blogs. THe discussion seems to be going along fine without me, and that's not a bad thing.

What I noticed though, is a continued stream of negativity that seems to run throughout.
As someone said, it is easy to point fingers and find the problems. That is something that should be done, but if you don't take it a step further, there isn't much point.

I would like to see it go further, into the stage of action.

There are things that can be done. We can start a main street association. THere is some interest there, and Ill be interested to see if it comes about.

We could also have public meetings of our own, and then take ideas to the city.

But even failing that, people can act without the city's involvement.

Who is willing to actually take action, to take a risk?

Who will lead?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

some momentum

There's been some really good discussion lately on the blog.
I appreciate everyone's interest. There have been some good ideas expressed.
It would be cool to see some action taken.

Does anyone want to start a main street association?

Does anyone want to meet to try to organize and plan some things?

What about approaching the commission with some of these ideas?

I know, now i've gone from preachin' to meddlin' :)


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

something interesting

ESPN Anchor Disciplined for Roast Tirade
By RACHEL COHEN – 3 hours ago
NEW YORK (AP) — Insults are the goal of roasts, and plenty were zinged around during a charity dinner held to skewer two ESPN radio hosts earlier this month. One of the network's anchors went too far.
Dana Jacobson, co-host of the "ESPN First Take" morning show, was disciplined by her employer after an expletive-laden speech. The Chicago Tribune reported she was suspended one week.
ESPN commentators shared the stage with actors and athletes Jan. 11 in Atlantic City to celebrate the eighth anniversary of "Mike & Mike in the Morning" co-hosts Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg. The whole point was to spout off edgy jokes, but what's OK for comedians Eddie Griffin and Jeffrey Ross may not be appropriate for ESPN announcers seeking to be both entertainers and journalists.
Asked whether the network planned to rethink its policy regarding employees taking part in such events, ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys said, "We won't be participating in another roast anytime soon."
Jacobson's speech included obscenities aimed at Notre Dame, with Irish football coach Charlie Weis in attendance.

The AP story does not say what she said, but
According to several websites she said
"F*** Notre Dame
"F*** touchdown Jesus
and finally
"F*** Jesus.

good thing she didnt say that about allah, muslims, jews, jesse jackson ect. :)
she might have been fired for that

what do you all think ?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


here are just some random thoughts based on the posts of the last couple of days.

Someone said something about getting dept. stores back downtown. I don't see that happening because our culture has changed. Department stores are no more. Now they are Walmart, Lowes, Kmart and so forth.

We cant recapture the golden age, the good old days, or whatever they were. We have to adjust.
At one point in Arkansas City people drove horses and buggies. We can't go back to that either as a way of life.

But here is what we can do.

THere are opportunities. I dont think we can expect the city to "do" things. The city can help people who are trying to do things, and I think that is where the answer is.

I did that concert last fall. The city helped by letting us borrow a stage and porta-poties. They also let us use the land.
But the committee - private citizens - did the actual work and made it happen.
That is how things have to go.

We need to have people with ideas and the intestinal fortitude to try something. The city can then help.
In general i think the city will help people do things.

We can make fairs happen, festivals happen, and those are good. THey are not the "answer" but they are part of the answer.
There isnt "an" answer. The answer is in a lot of little answers that make a big difference.

We do need businesses like eating establishments, shoe stores and so forth. Maybe someone can open one.

We need to try stuff.

I really believe that is the answer.

The city does need to cooperate and help out, but it is us that needs to actualliy do the work.

We can make things happen.

More study

There was a lot of discussion on the Study that I posted Friday. The study itself was not talked about much though.

There does seem to be a lot of negativity in Arkansas City. A lot of finger pointing, and a lot of people worried about who is getting credit - or blame as the case may be.

My aim in this blog is to turn that around.
We can change Arkansas City.
But we have to do things differently.

The city commission had an important role, but they are not the deciding factor in all this.

Do we want to change the city ?

in what way ?

how do we get there ?

Hot buttons

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and today is the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

There's two hot topics ready to go. Robert E. Lee's birthday is also this week.

Anyone want to wade into those battles ?

Friday, January 18, 2008


Here is a link to a study done by Wichita State University about economic trends and such.

Just posting it for potential conversation.

idea blog reminder

Not much is happening yet on the idea blog. You can get there by clicking on it, under LINKS, at the right side of this blog.

The main st. association idea is being talked about ...

Also someone suggested having a meeting of people to talk about ideas.

Just trying to get us to the next level :)


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Attracting industry

The thing about attracting industry is that it is really hard to measure.
Most of the stuff is done in secret meetings - ok, executive sessions :), but the public has no way of knowing what is going on.

We think nothing is happening, yet the people in charge - Cowley First, the chambers, the city etc., - all say they are busy and working. The problem is you always get the same answer ... "There is a lot going on but I cant tell you about it."

Businesses don't want the information to be public either. Part of the deal with the big box was that no one would publicly say it was a Lowe's, and that was at Lowe's insistence.

Of course, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out.

But the thing is, all this activity in attracting industry is done in private, so ... it is hard to know what is going on, hard to hold them accountable.
On the flip side, we tend to think they are not doing anything because we get no information.

This is just another reason that all public business should be done in public.
I understand negotiating a deal being done in private, but still ... they could be more public about it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Someone showed up at the city commission meeting last night and asked where they could see the petitions that were submitted on the night of the big box hearing.
This has been asked several times.
Where did the petitions go?

Apparently they have fallen off the face of the earth.
Mayor Dotty Smith said she looked at the petitions when they were given to her, and then she passed them to other commissioners. I don't recall the order of seating that night, but it does seem they got passed around some.

No one on the commission knows where they are. City Manager Doug Russell said the petitions were never given to him.

My guess would be that they were just left behind on the table that night, and maybe were thrown out.

I am not sure what value they would have.

Smith says some names were repeated, and were names on other papers she had received. She said she recognized some of the names as people not from Ark City.
That was her justification for not doing what the petitioners wanted.
She and the other two of the Three Amigos still maintain that they heard more people in town saying NO than saying YES.

Regardless, the deal is done. It's time to move on.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The idea blog

Check the idea blog
we need to get some posts going there

Work session

Commissioners decided to hold off on their goal setting session last night. Commissioner Joel Hockenbury was missing so they decided to do it later.
They did talk about a few ideas though.
One would be to create a small industrial park. The city currently does not own one.
They also want to see how they can work with Ark City Industries.
They could also create an economic development board - and that has yet to be defined.

One interesting discussion item was whether to target certain industries and go after them. Not necessarily a specific industry, but a certain class of industry.
That is a possibility since most of the time industries are not beating a path to Arkansas City.

They are also talking about creating a disk-golf course, possibly near the old meat packing plant near the levy on Summit.

Whatever you think about the big box, there is now a sense of urgency among commissioners. They really do want do so something. Just exactly what isn't clear, and their is disagreement over how to do things, but ... they are talking and that is good.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Best laid plans

I spent a lot of time last week talking to individual city commissioners about their plans and dreams for Arkansas City. It was interesting as you might imagine. The results of those interviews are going to be part of a series of articles this week.

The city does not appear to have an overall plan as such, but they do have some general directions.

They do have policies in place for economic development. The idea that there is no TIF policy is not exactly accurate.

The policies were put together by "city staff" and city manager Doug Russell gave them to the commissioners several months ago. Commissioners didn't take any action, and a couple of them said they wanted to look at them some more.

Russell told me that the policies were just guidelines, and as such, did not have to be voted on at all.

I have a copy. It goes into great detail about what is available and what is not, and what the city can do for businesses and industry. It tells them how to apply for various things, and under what conditions tax credits or breaks might be given.

The policies may get changed. But in reading through it, there is no difference made between industrial and retail. Just from reading the policy, I did not get the feeling that retail was rejected out of hand.
Of course that could change if that is what the commission wants to do.

Perhaps having policies are good enough.
But it might be good for the commission as a whole to set forth an agenda for the future, or a plan, that can be used to guide getting there.

Just my own observation on the whole situation is that we do not have a clear goal for the city.
We need someone to tell us where we are going and how to get there.
Whether that is the job of the commission remains to be seen.

But even in saying that, I do not think we should have another study.
We need some people of action to step up and articulate a goal.
Who will it be?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Yesterday's comments

Now we have some talking going on and it looks good.
I appreciate all the comments yesterday.
We do need to define what it is we want, and then figure out how to get there.

I really don't think that more jobs was the point of a Lowe's. We have plenty of jobs. There are many jobs unfilled here, and not all are low paying.
When we have an opening in the newsroom - which requires a specific set of skills - it usually takes us several months to find someone. It is hard to even get an applicant with any kind of newspaper experience.

(Hope that doesn't offend any of the fine people who did apply who have great experience in other fields.)

I have talked with company officials of several companies who have openings for jobs that pay well. They can't get anyone to come here, and one of the reasons is availability of things like a lowe's or nice restaurants. That, and housing, has been a deal breaker for several people who could have moved here.

The point of bringing in a Lowe's or something like that, was to provide shopping opportunities. Study after study has shown that this is what most people in Ark City want ... more places to spend their money.

We do need to hold our public officials feet to the fire and see what they are doing to take Arkansas City in the right direction. That is one thing that is not so positive about small towns. Strange as it may seem, it is easier in a larger city for a newspaper to "encourage" a commission to be open in its dealings.
But, we cant use that as an excuse.

We need to press on and try to get them to do what is needed.

One problem is that business negotiations can be kept secret legally. So it is hard to know what they are doing.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Ill try to get a new blog set up for ideas as soon as I can. Maybe today or tomorrow.

There are lots of good ideas around.
Someone mentioned that some are good and some are not as good. I think we should also talk about ideas that are rather far fetched just as well as those that sound reasonable.

I noticed that the Winfield Country Roundup is planning to host a "lite lunch" at the chamber of commerce office today, to talk to local businesses about opportunities for partnerships etc.
THat is good marketing.
The communities do need to work together.

Im planning on going.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

saturday night, home again ?

Just flew back tonight. Got into Wichita and got to Ark City around 7 or so.
Picked up some germs along the way, got a cold - or maybe its allergies - either way its a pretty lousy way to come home.
That happens to me a lot. I tend to catch colds when I fly.
But it could still be allergies, hard to tell at times. That is one thing I like about Kansas, my allergies are not nearly as bad.

It was great being in East Tennessee. They have lots of restaurants, lots of stores, lots of everything - even mountains and lakes.
You cant help but compare.

That area is growing by leaps and bounds. Someone was telling that a local school district was in a bind because they were expecting 500 new -additional- students and got 700. They're building a school about ever year, but then there are 100,000 people in the school district.

Im not sure we can ever expect that kind of growth here - and we might not want it either. There are some advantages to small town life. I don't miss traffic jams and 8-lane streets at all.

But I do think we cam make some tings happen here. What we need is a new attitude. We need to stop complaining and get to work. As the old saying goes, if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

I want to start a new blog, one for ideas.
People could post their ideas and other people could discuss those ideas with them.
Maybe some new ideas will spring up.
Maybe I can post info on how to get help and so forth.

What do you all think ?