Monday, March 31, 2008


Seems there are more and more skateboarders out on the street.
There is a skateboard park over by the pool, but it is old and has big problems. Not many kids use it because it has become dangerous and people get scraped up often.
The city is probably going to tear it down.

There is a move to organize the skateboarders and help them raise money for a new skateboarding facility. Skateboarding is very popular, so lots of kids are into it.

There are a lot of them in the downtown area, which also looks kinda dangerous as well.

But there are people trying to help them help themselves.

Tearing the old facility down, or moving it or whatever they do to it, is on the agenda this week.
Tonight is worksession and the regular meeting in Tuesday.

Not sure that the windows committee will meet this week, with the regular meetings going on and all that. So maybe next week. They only have a couple weeks before their deadline.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

committee meeting

The "window committee" meeting lasted nearly 3 hours. Lots of talking, and perhaps somewhat productive.
They will meet again, probably next week.
There is a consensus that "something" needs to be done, though the building owners object to being told that they have to do windows, or that they have to do anything really.
They say they are willing to do something.
They want to get more building owners involved.
They want to look into what tax breaks might be available, and what the city could do to help in that regard. The city offers big tax breaks, but that doesn't keep their county and state taxes down.
We shall see...

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Here are some opportunities to get involved with city business this week.
Tuesday, 6 p.m., at Bricks, the window committee will be meeting. Mostly it will be the committee talking, but there may be some chances for the public to chime in.

Two public hearings on goals.
here is a link to the goals.

Wednesday noon at city hall
Thursday 7 p.m. at the senior center

see you all there

Friday, March 21, 2008

blog question

Someone at the paper suggested we start a religion blog. Everyone thought it was a good idea, and people started looking at me.
I tried to hide.
Then I did what was in essence a religious blog (though i still dont like the word religion) the other day, and the response was a bit surprising.
A lot of it was hostile, but there were more responses to that than there were even to the Lowes stuff.

So what do you all think?
Any ideas for how it would look?

Various stuff

Gotta hand it to Scott Margolius. He formed the committee as a means of compromise on the window flap, and has already got a meeting set up.
The first meeting will be Tuesday, 6 p.m. at Bricks. Enter at the side door.
The meeting is open to the public. There may be a little time for the public to ask questions or comment, but the committee does have to be allowed to do its work.
The city is working on its goals. They have goal session public hearings set up March 26 and 27. March 26 is at noon at city hall, and March 27 is 7 p.m. at the senior center.
Its "good friday" and Easter Weekend. Its a great time. The most significant holiday of the year to me.
Chocolate easter bunnies
NCAA basketball tournament non stop through the weekend.
and there's that resurrection thing.

Im not sure how Good Friday got started. It is supposed to be the day of the crucifixion. But Friday to Sunday is not 3 days. It was Thursday because Passover fell on the Sabbath that year, so there was a special sabbath on Friday. Thursday was the day or preparation.

Happy solstice to everyone :)
and happy belated birthday to the prophet mohammed, which was earlier this week

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The week so far

I got a few people stirred up with my comments about Easter. No one raised an eyebrow though about the pagan origins of the holiday.
It does amaze me that people get so upset at the mention of religion. As someone said, "though do protest too much."
Some people just don't like that freedom of speech thing. Its fine to disagree, but attacks seem a bit much.
I should not have gotten caught up in that.
An honest debate would be good, but ...

Also the window flap.
Give Scott Margolius credit, he already has a meeting set up with the committee. I asked him if this would be an open meeting and he didn't bat an eye in saying yes.
So ill be sure to be there.
Can we give him the benefit of the doubt and see what happens?
He is showing some leadership i think.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

main street association

Would now be a good time to start a main street association?
Anyone interested in getting the ball rolling?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tabled !

City commissioners tabled the windows ordinance. They formed a committee that is charged with coming up with recommendations by the first meeting in May.
Commissioner Scott Margolius made the motion and will chair the committee.
There will be 7-8 people on it, mostly downtown building owners.
Margolius says he will not let it die. He says they will have to come up with solutions and he expects an ordinance to pass at the first meeting in May.
There was a pretty good discussion at the meeting. However, no one showed up to support the ordinance, so it as picked apart pretty well.
More tomorrow.

Monday, March 17, 2008

update on city windows

Fairly long worksession meeting. A couple building owners showed up to voice objections to the ordinance requiring buildings replace windows with glass or close off the window.
Jim Sybrant objected, and his building is the largest one. He said he wants the town to improve and he wants to do something, but said it would be too hard the way the ordinance is written.

Not sure how the commission will go on this one.
They might table it.
They seem ready to say that all future replacing of windows has to be with glass. This means that if one breaks you cant board it up. They may be wavering a bit on requiring ones that are already boarded up to be replaced within a year.

Should be more interesting discussion tomorrow night.

holy smokes

Holy week began yesterday with Palm Sunday.
Warning: Adult material: Im getting off the city for a day and talking religion for a moment. If you are offended by such material do not proceed. :)

Easter is early this year. I really don't know why its a different time each year and mid-march seems much too early. But there's nothing i can do about it.
To me, Easter is a much more holy, or spiritually significant holiday. Christmas is nice, but if there is no Easter then Christmas is irrelevant.

There are pagan roots to Easter, just like there is to Christmas. When Christianity spread to Europe pagan holidays were adapted to celebrate Christ's death and resurrection. Christmas didnt come along for many years, but it too co-opted a pagan holiday.
THe easter bunny, eggs and all that, are completely pagan in origen.
By Pagan i mean the popular religion is europe before the gospel arrived. Even the word "easter" comes from the pagan goddess of fertility.
THat bothers some Christians and they dont do the holidays as a result. Doesn't bother me in the least.

One thing that always bothered me was the idea of "good" friday and sunday being easter morning, or resurrection day.
I dont care how you slice it, friday evening to sunday morning is not 3 days and 3 nights.
But the days themself were just days chosen for celebration purposes and have no real connection to history. Im not sure that 3 days matters either. Dead is dead whether it is 3 minutes, 3 days or 3 weeks. But still it seemed that there was a contradiciton in the scriptures.
Well the problem was not the scriptures, but our understanding of history.
The scriptures say Jesus was crucified on "preparation" day, and it mentions a special sabbath.
The jews of the day were partiers. When a holy day landed on a sabbath they didnt have them together, they had a special sabbath so they celebrated 2 days instead of one. They also had a preparation day, when all the food and such was gotten ready, so that everyone could celebrate and no one was stuck in the kitchen.

So you have preparation day, then two days of sabbaths, and on the third day you have resurrection day. So if Sunday is resurrection day, Jesus would have to have been crucified on Thursday.
Some historians assert a third high holy day in there, making the crucifixion on Wednesday.

I dont want to get too bogged down in history though. The point is, he rose from the grave. It was not just raising from the dead - Jesus raised several people from the dead - Lazarus was dead even longer than Jesus was, which is why the "how long" doesnt matter too much.

He was resurrected - not just "brought back". He came back to life with a new body, one that is immortal and completely perfect. It is perhaps the kind of bodies we will have in Heaven.
Paul uses the analogy of a seed being planted - our mortal bodies being "planted" when we are buried in death. What comes up is not the seed, but a plant which is much larger.

We are "sown" in imperfection, and "raised" in perfection.

His death also paid the price for our sins. Im a bit radical in that i believe that means ALL sins,all means all. So im already forgiven for the sins i will commit tomorrow. Doesnt give me a license, but it does give me assurance.
His resurrection defeated death - the penalty for sin - hence giving us victory over sin (thats a whole nuther subject).

Anyways, im rambling on.
I do have some easter traditions.
I like to spend more time during the week in the scriptures and in prayer. Meditating over the scriptures, especially John's account of the final days of Jesus life on earth.
I may go to some of the services this week.
I really try to avoid any of the fleshly sins this week - smoking, drinking, bad language, lustfulness etc., - , and it is easier because im focusing more on the one who died for me. Yea i know, i would be better off if i focused more on the spiritual aspect of things all the time, not just at Easter ...

I like to fast at some point. usually friday to sunday. Fasting is another subject we might get into someday. It is a great thing both for the spirit and the body.

I will admit though, that i don't usually like going to church on Easter Sunday. It's just too religious, too crowded with people who only go on Easter. Im glad they are there, but it is just too special ofa time for it to be just a matter of religion.

It is also a very emotional time as well.
This is the difference between religion and being a follower of Jesus.
My religion is not religion at all really. it is a relationship.

Religion is man's interpretation of God. "real" christianity is God reaching to us and our response to him. THast real orthodox, what the apostles believed - .. :)


Saturday, March 15, 2008


I said the other day that they may not vote on Tuesday on the windows ordinance. They might vote. There's no reason not to really, unless they decide to have a public hearing first.
Not sure how many building owners will complain. Realize that some - maybe many - of the businesses downtown are in buildings they do not own.
From what I have heard its a popular ordinance and not oppressive at all.

Ive talked to a couple commissioners and they tell me they are ready to vote. So we shall see I guess.

Should be an interesting worksession monday.

Friday, March 14, 2008

City in action

The city is starting to do some things. Some have commented that nothing much has been happening, which is true. A lot of that was because it has been winter and winter time in Kansas is no time to be doing anything.

But Monday night at the worksession the city will be talking about an ordinance to make downtown building owners fix up the exterior of their building. Some buildings have tin, metal or even wood, covering windows. That has to go. New rules are being discussed. Since it is in a historic district it will have to follow state guidelines.
That could get interesting.
Not sure anything will get passed Tuesday, but it is coming.

Also they are moving the Easter egg hunt to the downtown area. It will be at the Ben Givens Park, that little park on Central near Summit by town hall.
That could be interesting too.
It could have been promoted better. It will be held in conjunction with a little spring festival. I had heard of it back in January, and did not hear of it again until yesterday.
Its been in the paper already.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

One thing / music

If you were telling someone about Arkansas City, and you could only tell them one thing, what would it be?
Im thinking of positive things here.

I think i would say "good music"
I dont hear it talked about all that much, but there are a lot of really talented musicians here.
There are quiet a few performances around town, and they are all good.
Im not sure people realize what they have here.
Even a high school production here is pretty good.
I have lived in other small towns, and I feel that on a per-capita basis, there are more quality musicians here than there are in other places.

It all goes back to buckskin joe, one of the settlers who founded arkansas city. he was a "professor" of music. played 16 instruments, all self taught, and taught music.
How many fledglng tow ns in the 1870's had a music professor do you think?

In those days the term "professor" was one you could adopt for yourself and no one questioned it. But being able to play 16 instruments is quiet a feat.
Im not sure if he read music or not.
But that may be the reason we have so many good musicians here.

You had people taking music lessons from him from about 1880 to 1900.
The city band, which is also pretty good, is one of the oldest continually running bands in the state and in the nation.

We do have a great tradition of music here. Why isn't that celebrated more?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

music festival

Just wondering what people think.
Should we have the music festival the weekend before Arkalalah, or the first week of October.

There are benefits to both. And drawbacks.

Connecting to Arkalalah gives financial benefits, more people to attract, lowers costs, but the weather is risky, and its going to be cold in the evenings regardless, probably.

First week of oct. we have a better chance at good weather, but there are some financial issues there without the arklalah connection.

So ... what think ye ?

We are starting to plan and talk about the festival ... if anyone wants to get involved, give me a holler.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

What I like in Arkansas City

Ok, here goes.
There are things that are good about Arkansas City. Here are my favorites.

Food category
Breakfast - Bricks.
Pizza - Mozittis.
Fast Food - Wendys.
(used to be Taco Bell. Dont know what has happened there, service and quality has gone down in last few months.)
Convenience store - Jump Start on Madison and Summit.
Ice Cream - Braums
Salad Bar - Dillons
Best lunch in town - Carls BBQ .. really good and inexpensive. Wish they would move more to downtown and be open more days.
Daisy Mae's gets a honorable mention here
Best place to go hang out to talk with someone with a coke or coffee or whatever - Grinderman, love their cookies too.

Streets to walk on
North THird and Fourth
North or South B st.
Summit is ok downtown
Hiking in town .. The paths behind Kneebler pond off Kansas Ave. Great winding trails, you can get really lost there, and its quiet. Good place to think, meditate, commune and all sorts of hippie-type things.
The new paved trail around Veterans Lake, but I just hate paved walking areas. Just doesnt seem natural :)
(Of course I know walking on the levee isnt really legal, so, i cant mention that. I dont know anything about walking on the levee, ok? )

Quiet place - McFarland Pond, formerly known as North Pond. Also good for bird watching.

Shopping in town... McDonalds books, Mylisas antiques, ACE, Orsheln's.
Groceries - Dillons.

Some general stuff that is cool.
Basketball, Volleyball games at Cowley..
Music at Browns, Coffee at Browns...

Lots of cool looking old buildings,
There are also a lot of nice houses... i know a favorite thing to complain about is the old worn out houses, and that is true, but there are some nice ones here and there.
Along North B there are several.

Ok thats a start
What do you all think.

idea blog

The idea blog is still over there. Not being used much.
There are some good ideas around, such as the Mainstreet Association.

Im so tired of the cold weather. Maybe the city commission could do something about the weather?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Positive grousing

It is hard to decide ... What do we do with the naysayers, the negative people, who always find something wrong.
Do we try to "convert" them by showing them the truth, or do we just ignore them and move on with progress?
I used to lean to "conversion" but now I am leaning the other way a bit.

Sure there are problems. Yea we don't have enough industry, we dont have this we dont have that yada yada yada. Truth doesnt matter to a lot of people. But we cant let them stop progress.

BUT we have enough people to support three or four casinos just to the south of us. How much sense does that make?

I do get weary of the negativity at times, and I guess this is one of those times. :)

I know there are positive minded people here in town. We just need to get them together and start doing something.

We just passed the school bond referendum. Yes its going to cost a bit more on your property taxes. Get over it and make one less trip to the casino.

There are going to be some good economic things happen as a result of the school bonds .. $36 million spent on schools and the community is good. Beats the heck out of taking $36 million south to the casinos and throwing it away doesnt it?
Virtually none of the casino money stays here.

I know i know, i've gone from preaching to meddling. Ill shut up now. :)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

the morning after

One thing that was not talked about a lot during the school bond referendum campaign, was the economic impact the bond issue would have.
Our taxes are going up, but they are going up to pay for something we will actually be able to see. It is for "bricks and mortar," not just government stuff.
Look at the other side of the equation.
$35 million is going to be spent locally over the next 2-3 years. There will be some turnover too. People who are being paid this money will spend at least some of it here in restaurants, gas stations and other places.
Some local construction companies will get some of the money. Out of town companies will be spending at least some money here.
It will be good for our local economy.
Just imagine if we had a Lowe's for them to get their supplies.

I wonder if the people who were against the Lowe's project were also against the bond referendum. Interesting to think about. But we do need to move forward. We need progress.

Nothing will change until attitudes change.
Maybe this is a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Unofficial results

TOTAL for 2166
Total against 1888

Still about 80 provisionals to count, but thats not enough to change it.
Final canvasing is Friday


City Commission is starting to get things cranked up after several slow meetings. Last night's work session was relatively short, and tonight's meeting has only a few items, but wheels are in motion.

Improving infrastructure and the appearance of the city are at the top of goals listed for the coming year by the city commission. Recruiting business and industry are there as well.
They may talk about their goals more tonight.

Some things are coming down the pike that won't be on tonight's agenda.
They are thinking about putting some requirements on people for replacement of windows. This could help take care of some of the downtown buildings that have windows covered with wood or tin.
They will require windows to be replaced with glass, or sealed off with the same type of material as the building.
As one of the commissioners noted, a piece of glass is not any more expensive than a piece of plywood.

There will be some public hearings in April on the goals.

Monday, March 3, 2008

bonds and banks

Ok I did some checking around.
The Bank John Sturd works for, Union State, stands to make very little from the school bond issue. Anything they make would be indirect, and is available to any bank.
Really everyone could benefit by having $35 million spent in Arkansas City over the next three years.

But here is the deal.
The school board will go through a bond counsel - bond attorney - and will issue the bonds through a bond house, or agency. This would be a huge bank in a major city like Kansas City.
That will be decided by bid, which the local banks will not be in on at all.

Now, the banks can buy some of the bonds, as an investment. Any bank could do that.
Sturd told me that the bank does sometimes buy securities as an investment. They make money off the money that is deposited which is how they can pay interest on savings accounts and still make a profit.

So, to say Sturd and his bank will benefit is not accurate.
He could be in this because he believes in it.

They may benefit indirectly, but any bank in town could do that.