Monday, April 27, 2009

kansas oklahoma

Something I noticed on the AP this morning was too much to pass up.
I was reading the stories about the state legislatures and how they are winding up their respective sessions.

Kansas is dealing with huge deficits and facing lots of cuts. Oklahoma is debating its state rock song.

I just thought the comparison was too much to pass up. Not sure what it means, but it does seem that oklahoma is not in as dire straits as Kansas.

On Kansas:
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Familiar budget problems and policy issues will face the Kansas Legislature when it reconvenes Wednesday, but its members likely will be dealing with a new governor as they wrap up business for the year.
They've been wrestling with the state's financial problems since they opened their annual session in January, and they must eliminate a projected $328 million deficit in the next state budget. They're pursuing some spending cuts and proposals to boost revenues, although not a general tax increase.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Conservative Republicans, frustrated by the governor's veto of a contentious embryonic stem cell research bill, capped off a zany week in the Oklahoma Legislature by kissing off "The Flaming Lips."
The rejection by the state House of "Do You Realize??" as the official state song is just one example of social conservatives showing their strength in a session dominated by debate over such things as a Ten Commandments monument, state sovereignty and "official English."
Meanwhile, after passage of a major legislative deadline, the fate of key programs of GOP leaders remains a question mark, most notably a bill making sweeping changes in the civil justice system.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Ive been sick since the interview with Kasha, so have not posted.
That was not what made me sick though.
Doing better, but still not at 100 percent.
Here is a good thought for today.

John 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-
John 1:13 children born not of natural descent, [fn] nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

kasha kelley live

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

note on live blogs

Ive heard a few people say they could not read the live blog. The company that does the blogs made some changes.
Anyways, you now have to click on the little white arrow in the middle of the thing to make it work.
If that doesnt work let me know.

Also, will be live blogging with Kasha Kelley at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Real city commission

live blog

Just a reminder that we will have a live blog of the city commission meeting at 7 p.m. today.

Freedom of speech redux

My point in posting that story about miss America was not to get into the gay debate.
The point was, - to me anyways - was her voicing her opinion costing her the title.
SHould someone's opinion keep them from winning something like miss america?
I just think that sort of thing has a chilling effect on freedom of speech.
Just look at how fear makes people post anonymously on here, and there's no title on the line even.
I do think it is a freedom of speech issue.
The gay issue is a side issue to me in this case.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Freedom of speech takes a fall

Try to look past the issues itself, and consider what this says about freedom of speech.

Perez Hilton: 'The Way Miss California Answered Her Question Lost Her The Crown'

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Miss North Carolina Kristen Dalton may have been crowned Miss USA 2009 on Sunday, but on Monday, it was Miss California Carrie Prejean's answer to a question about same-sex marriage from celebrity blogger and pageant judge Perez Hilton that was the night's biggest story.
During the show, Perez asked Carrie, "Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not?"
"Well I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. Um, we live in a land that you can choose same sex marriage or opposite marriage and, you know what, in my country and in, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman," Carrie said to a mix of boos and applause. "No offense to anybody out there. But that's how I was raised and that's how I think that it should be between a man and a woman."
Carrie's answer to the hot button question cost her the crown - at least according to Perez.
"The way miss California answered her question lost her the crown, without a doubt!" Perez told Access Hollywood after the pageant. "Never before that I'm aware of has a contestant been booed at Miss USA."
Keith Lewis, Co-Executive Director of the Miss California USA and Miss California Teen USA said in statement to Access Hollywood that he respects Carrie's opinion, even if it differs with his.

live city worksession

Sunday, April 19, 2009


We had a good time at the music show last night. We ended up with six performers. We had around 50 people show up, not counting the musicians.
It was at Calvary Chapel.
I thought the musicians we really good. Some of them I had not heard before.
Next show is May 15 at Wilson Park.
Our schedules change from time to time, so keep that in mind.

The music festival had a booth at the cowley county marketplace thing saturday morning. It displayed things made, and things to do, in cowley county.There are lots of interesting things here.

The legislators were also there. They talked about the budget and how there is this huge shortfall in finances. There will have to be some big cuts in 2010 budget.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

City commission meetings changes

There is a move afoot to change the city commission meeting date for the worksession. Currently it is at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, and the regular meeting is the next evening at 7.
Before the three amigos came on board, the work session was at noon on friday. There is a move to move it back to the friday at noon time slot.
One thing you have to admit about the three amigos, is that that have tried to make the meetings open and available to the public. Not saying they were not before, but, they have tried to remove any obstacle that they could.

The argument for the change is that it will give them time to gather information if they need to between the meetings.
The argument against it is that it does not make it convenient for people to attend.
One commissioner pointed out that not many people go anyway.
Let's show em Monday night.
See how many people we can get to come out.

Also tuesday they will have the changing of the guard. elect a new mayor and all that.
mell will officially hand over the gavel, that is assuming he is not mayor anymore.
traditionally the highest vote getter is the mayor, and the second highest vote getter is the mayor the following year.
but that is just tradition.
The commission may elect any of its members.

I can see the argument that it is hard for a newcomer to step into the role of mayor. it would be better perhaps for a person to serve on the commission for a year at least before taking that role. But at the same time, it has worked for years.
So im just not sure it matters.

The vote on the meeting change is set for after the new commissioners take office.
It isnt that big of a deal, but it might be symbolic ?

Saturday, music , good thoughts

Morning all.
Ive not posted much this week, but you all seem to have done just fine without me.
I noticed not many people took my challenge to say something good about someone.

Today I will be at the Cowley Marketplace thing at the Brown Center. From 8:30 a.m., until 12:30 p.m., businesses and organizations that make things or do things in Cowley County, will be there showing their stuff.
I will be there with River of Life Music Festival information.

Also today is the Monthly River of Life music show. It starts at 6 p.m. today. At Calvary Chapel, which is at 1000 S. Third Street. It is an old elementary school.

Here are some good thoughts about people.
* My neighbor, ben winegar, climbed up on a tall ladder to nail back up a shingle that blew off our house during the recent ice storm. I was entirely too chicken to do it myself.
* Our neighbors in general, a couple of summers ago, came to the rescue when our garage caught on fire while we were away on vacation. The fire dept. came and had to break out a couple windows to get in to put out the fire. Someone did a nice job of boarding up those windows. It actually looked nice. (The boards have since been replaced with glass, as per city code.)
* Kanyon Gingher has raised a lot of money to pay off those water bills for the city. She did complain and fought the fees that the city instigated., but she has also worked hard for a solution.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


The negativity and attacks on here have been amazing over the last week.
Some people really have a lot of anger.
A person did make a suggestion that I thought was good.
Here is a challenge.
For the rest of the week, until Sunday.
Lets talk about good things people have done.
Talk about people all you want, but talk about the good stuff.
Im sure there are good people out there that you can think of.
Lets see what happens

The Music

The River of Life music returns this weekend.
We got snowed out - iced out - last month. This weekend will be our first monthly show.
This is for local bands that maybe do not get as much attention as others, or who are starting out.
This includes performers - not just bands. It also includes all styles of religious music. - whether that be classic gospel or rock and roll.
This will lead up to the big festival in the fall. First weekend of October.
The show this weekend will be at Calvary Chapel on South Third street. Its an old school building.
Starts at 6. Musicians are:

6:00-6:20: Bob Onelio and Praying for Miracles
6:35-6:55: Open Heaven, Diane Maxwell
7:10-7:30: Sylvia Riggs
7:45-8:05: Calvary Praise Band
8:20-8:40: Tim Durham and 3 in 1 Group

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Some people on here are acting like they think Dustin should not have written his letter.
I just want to remind everyone that this is America. That means you can write what you want and say what you want. Of course, people can then rip it to shreds and say what they like just as well.
One difference is that Dustin signed his letter.
It is true that you don't have to on here. But it is real easy to rip him anonymously.
Im not defending his letter, but I do think it took a bit of courage to put the name on it.
I cant help but notice that all the critics are anonymous.

I am not defending him or his letter. Whether I agree is not the point. I could debate things brought up. But this is what freedom of speech is about, allowing everyone to say what they want.
There are some actual topics in the letter that could be debated.
Can we rise above petty nitpicking and backbiting long enough to actually discuss issues?
Anyone brave enough to say what you want about dustin, mell and others, AND put your name on it?

You may post anonymously. Im just raising the question, thats all.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Big Brother

I got a little sidetracked over Easter.
Had something i wanted to write but never got it done. Too late now.
One weird thing happened today.
I got a letter from federal court in Topeka. They wanted me to fill out a form with questions and eventually i could be called for jury duty.
It would be for federal court in Topeka or Wichita.
That isn't the weird thing.
The weird thing was this. There was a note that i could fill all this out online and not have to mail the form. I did that. Went to the web site. I entered my name and date of birth. The form automatically filled in my address, phone number, place of employment from that.
Big Brother watching.
What else do they know.
That was a bit spooky.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The night before Easter

Easter is tomorrow.
Kinda interesting that for many Christians it is the most important holiday of the year, yet it is also he one with the most pagan influences.
Doesn't bother me at all though.
We get a day off for Christmas, but not for Easter. To me Easter is much more significant than Christmas. It was so for centuries. Christmas really didn't catch on until the early 1800's. But Easter has always been celebrated in one for or another.

Of course there is the resurrection that we celebrate. When the early Christians made their way to Europe they found pagans celebrating the new birth of spring with various holidays and rituals.
Pagans liked Christianity, and switched over. Some say they were persecuted, but really, it was just a "battle" of ideas.
The pagan holidays were already in place celebrating new birth.
So combining it with a holiday about the resurrection was kind of a natural match.

I may post again about Easter in the a.m.
Easter morning is a special time, so maybe not:)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Deleted string

I decided to delete that other string.
It was just getting - or had gotten very - ridiculous.
I should have put a stop to it earlier.
I dont have to allow anonymous character assassinations and i wont.
especially when they do not relate to the discussion at all.

ive not had time to post much last couple of days.
we are missing two out of five people in the newsroom.
so its kinda crazy right now.

here is my original post that got hijacked.

Another election. The sun came up again this morning. Life goes on.
I do want to say something about Scott Margolius. I thought he displayed a lot of class last night at the meeting, and was very gracious in his loss.
He was checking the results on his cell phone as the meeting was ending, and knew the results before any of the other commissioners knew. He could have just kept quiet and faded into the shadows. But instead, he congratulated the winners.
He gave them credit for winning.
After the meeting he acknowledged that the election was a sort of a referendum on the big box. He did not say he was wrong, but did say that he recognized the statement that was made by the voters.
It is important to win well. It is also important to lose well.
I think he deserves some credit for that.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

new commission

Here are the city results

JAY W. WARREN . . . . . . . . 1,012
PATRICK MCDONALD . . .. . . . . 794
JEAN R. SNELL . . . . . . . . . 702
BOB MATHEWS. . . . . . . . . . 619
GORDON FRY . . . . . . . . . . 579
SCOTT MARGOLIUS . . . . . . . . 481
PENNYANN WARESAK . . . . . . . 107
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 10

We are going to have a new commission.
Looks like a power shift. The big box may have had an effect here.
Now that its over, what do you think?

city commission


DO you think we will ever get over the big box deal?

Monday, April 6, 2009

City Commission worksession

City commission candidate Scott Margolius

About the live blogs

I just wanted to explain to everyone how did some things in an effort to be fair to everyone.
The way the schedule was working, Scott Margolius is today on the radio.
That would mean his story - which all the other candidates have received - would not have shown up in the paper until tuesday evening, which would be after most people had voted.
So, I went ahead and interviewed him Saturday, took the photo, and put it in today's - Mondays' - paper. He will still be on the radio tonight, answering the questions again.
This way he will get a story the day before the election. The story will appear in the paper before the live blog does.
So just in case there is any confusion, that is what is happening.

More live candidate interviews

Just a reminder
I will have the Scott Margolius live blog interview, with Kanyon and KACY, at 5 p.m. today.
Vote tomorrow.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Friday, April 3, 2009

Commission candidate Gordon Fry

escapee maybe

According to the scanner.
A work-release inmate got into a care and left the facility at Winfield this morning.
He got into a white 1948 mercury coupe with Texas antique license plates.
He was last seen headed south on Main Street in Winfield. Perhaps headed south on 77.
The inmate is said to look like Kenny Rogers.
Escaping in style anyway.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

city commission candidate jay warren

who you like

There's plenty of attacking going on.
I am wondering if there is any positive reason to vote for a candidate?
I want to suggest posting about why you like a particular candidate.
who do you like and why?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

city commission candidate Jean Snell

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

city commission candidate Bob Mathews

Monday, March 30, 2009

new patrick

City Candidates

Kanyon Gingher will be interviewing city commission candidates all this week and next monday, at 5 p.m. each day on KACY radio.
Monday will be Patrick McDonald
Tuesday will be Bob Mathews
Wednesday will be Jean Snell
Thursday will be Jay Warren
Friday will be Gordon Fry
Monday of next week Scott Margolius

Election is the next day, Tuesday April 7

Picture from last friday

Disposing of yard trash

The city plans to have the F Street burn pit open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday this week and next.
The city is asking all citizens to place their tree limbs and debris at the curb if they want city crews to pick it up. You will have until April 6 to get it set out.
Debris will be picked up this week and continue until it is all picked up.
For more information or questions, call 441-4460.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Here is my Sunday devotion.

My comments are below the verses

Ephesians 1:17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

Matthew 16:
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.

A person can study religion - or Jesus. You may study archaeology, history, ancient languages, and all of that. You may even become convinced of the validity of the claims of Christians. But the bottom line is, the reality of it has to be revealed to you in a supernatural way.
I know that i know that i know that i know. I cannot really even explain how i know the reality. I just do. The more I study I see that the claims are very reasonable and that there is some evidence here and there.
For instance, that the scriptures were written nearly 2000 years ago, and have been passed down accurately, is a proven fact. "Problems" that exist are very minor and have no impact on the overall message.
But it is not evidence that makes me believe. I is the spirit of revelation.
If someone asks God to reveal himself, he will. It may not be immediate, and God isn't into parlor games and tricks. So if you ask him to turn your water into wine, it probably won't happen.
But in God's time, God will reveal himself if you ask and are open to the revelation.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ice storm

Just listening to the scanner. Lots of power lines down. Lots of limbs down.
Trees are catching on fire. If a house is not on fire, firemen are not going to respond. They are answering too many calls and can't get to them all.
Not many accidents, but somewhere around K-15 a couple people ran into a ditch. They were not hurt, but had to stand on top of their car until help came. Good thing they had a cell phone.
On one street, power lines are down and the fire dept. is telling them they are going to have to shut off power to their house.
Could be a cold night.

How is everyone doing.
Ill be checking back.

Saturday morning live,10 a.m.


Now that the forum for city commission candidates has passed, who do you like?
There is a poll at right.
Does the forum make a difference in who you vote for?

The school board forum was not as well attended last night, and a couple candidates did not appear.
With a week or so to go, which candidates do you think have done the best job of winning votes?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The music

The monthly concerts for the River of Life Music Festival start Saturday.
It is at 6 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Arkansas City. That is at Central and A Streets.
We will have Tim Durham and his 3 in 1 band, Sylvia Riggs, and Dianne Maxwell. Maxwell is part of band but i dont know the name of the band.
Weather is supposed to be bad, so come on out.
Lot going on this weekend, so people will be making choices.

We have some musician lined up for future shows. April will be at Calvary Chapel. May is at Crossroads in Winfield. June is open - may be at Wilson Park. July is set for the E-Free church in Winfield.
The big concert is the first weekend in October.

We need musicians. We also need a crowd for them on Saturday night.
Also Saturday, there is the county marketplace expo at the Brown Center.
Local business and events will be showing off their stuff, to show what we have to do in Cowley County. There really is a lot to do here.
The River of Life Music Festival will be there, so stop by :)


Nothing very surprising at the forums last night.
Six of seven candidates were there. They all did pretty well in saying what they thought.
You can read it in detail on the live blog.
There's probably lots of bad typing in there. So I hope you all understand that it was live. I was trying to get as much in as possible.
Tonight is the school board forum.
Someone else will be doing the live blog.
I will be moderating.
Same format.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

city candidate forum

obama's speech

Here is a link to the transcript of Obama's speech and press conference last night.
I didn't watch it. He is a good speaker though. I always enjoy a good speaker.
The second link is an AP "fact check" which analyzes the claims the president made.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Just a reminder about our political forums.
Wednesday 6 p.m. is city commission
Thursday, 6 p.m. is school board
both are at the senior center.
we will be living blogging, kacy will be broadcasting.
you may also attend.

Misplaced anger ?

The drug testing for welfare recipients has gotten a lot of comments.
Looks like most people are against it.
I don't want to defend any druggie or take up for anyone addicted to drugs. I know the only language a druggie understands is tough love.
The problem I have is just basic fairness. There is huge hypocrisy here on many levels.

One level being the definition of drugs. Alcohol is not included on tests. Tobacco is not, Caffeine is not. Some drugs are just more socially acceptable than others.

Another level is my current favorite outrage, which is corporate welfare. We are worrying about some druggie abusing the system for a couple hundred dollars, while passing out million dollar bonuses for criminals in penthouse suites.
There is no mention of drug testing for the people getting bailouts. Discrimination plain and simple. Easy to target a poor person who cant afford a lawyer.

The cost is another level of hypocrisy. It will cost $800,000 the first year and $1.4 million over a two year period. Officials estimate 7 percent of welfare recipients - the poor ones, not the rich ones - are druggies. That works out to about 500 people in Kansas.
Say half don't complete the rehab program and get booted off the welfare rolls. At a total cost of $800,000, that works out to $32,000 each. Not many poor people get that kind of money in welfare. Just don't see how this could ever save any money.

Druggies need help. Some of them need to be locked up.
But, lets not lose sight of the reality that our government is handing out billions of dollars to criminals who have wrecked our economy.
So you steal 100 bucks from the state you get cut off, you steal millions from the feds, and you get even more millions.

I would like for conservatives to explain to me why they get upset at poor people abusing welfare, but they are not upset at huge companies getting BILLIONS of dollars after having wrecked our economy.

And you know who is footing the bill? We are with tax money.
Where is the anger?
Where is the outrage?

Storm sirens

Where were you when the tornado sirens went off yesterday.
I was headed up Summit, going to KFC. They were about to lock the doors up there, but let me get something.
I probably should have taken cover quicker, but I did manage to get home pretty fast.

The sirens are only sounded if a tornado has been spotted in the area, and if it looks like there might be one. Ive heard that there has not been a tornado in Arkansas City.
The rivers might really have something to do with that.
We can still have storm damage here, so its probably not a good idea to continue on to a fast food place when you hear the sirens go. :) note to self.

The wind was blowing so hard, i could feel the truck moving. Rocking.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

cool link


Just some quotes to think about.

Prov 18:2 A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.

The superior man is firm in the right way, and not merely firm.
-- Confucius

A fool despises good counsel, but a wise man takes it to heart.
-- Confucius

Confucius Say
Never argue with a fool…he may be doing the same thing.

63. The fool who knows of his ignorance, indeed, through that very consideration becomes a wise man. But that conceited fool who considers himself learned is, in fact, called a fool.
.. buddha

* No man is so foolish but he may sometimes give another good counsel, and no man so wise that he may not easily err if he takes no other counsel than his own. He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master.
- Hunter S. Thompson

* Foolish writers and readers are created for each other.
- Horace Walpole (1717 - 1797)

The Constitution gives every American the inalienable right to make a damn fool of himself. John Ciardi 1916-1986, American Teacher, Poet, Writer

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. [King Solomon] Bible

Only a fool knows everything. A wise man knows how little he knows.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

another drug abuse question

question on another post.
anyone want to talk about this ?

Question: have you ever had family or friends with a substance abuse problem?

You would have to include tobacco and alcohol here i would think ?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Live blog, with guest from Iraq

Thurber sentencing live blog

You can see a live blog of the Thurber sentencing here:

Live interview saturday

On the live blog Tuesday, there was a reader who said he is in Iraq. I found out he is legitimate.
I am going to interview him live at 10 a.m . Saturday on the live blog.
His name is Dallas Tharp. Has lived in both Arkansas City and Dexter.
Dont know much else about him.
He is an MP at a base in Iraq.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

welfare drug testing

Our state rep, Kasha Kelley, wants to have random drug testing for people who get welfare. Here is an AP story about it.

DRUG TESTING: Some Republicans in the Kansas House are pushing for random drug testing for people who receive cash assistance from the state.
A bill mandating such testing has cleared the House Health and Human Services Committee and is headed to the entire chamber for debate.
The measure would affect about 14,000 people receiving help under the Temporary Assistance for Families, General Assistance, Child Care Assistance and Grandparents as Caregivers Assistance programs.
People who fail the tests and don't complete a treatment program would lose their benefits. The testing would cost $800,000 a year and start in July 2010.
Committee Chairwoman Brenda Landwehr, a Wichita Republican, told The Topeka Capital-Journal that the state has a duty to make sure tax dollars don't finance drug habits.
But Democrats are skeptical of the proposal, and the committee's endorsement Tuesday came on a party-line vote.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bryants Hardware closed

Bryant Hardware is now closed.
Zach Posted the following on this blog on another post awhile ago.

Here is what he posted.

Today Bryant Hardware is no more. It was a shock to me as well not in the fact that I didn't know it was happening but that I didn't know it would happen so soon. The reason I appologize is because I didn't live up to the standards of Bryant Hardware. I could not maintain the Yes We Have it motto, I did not always provide the best of help and quickly I found I could not compete with the big box stores. I'm sorry that many feel I helped stop Lowes from coming here. It would have been another hardware option that could have helped better serve the communitys needs. That being said I would also like to say thank you. Thank you to the community for shopping local and for giving my store a shot, thank you to all the wonderful people and personalities that frequented my door, thank you to the other businesses that stood behind me, most of all thank you for allowing me to be a part of Ark City. Though I don't know what the future has in store for me job wise I want everyone to know I am proud to be from Ark City and I will continue to strive to make this the best place on Earth to live. I will continue to lead the skate group and remain a possitive role model in their lives, I will still coach as many little league teams as I have time for in order to teach sportsmanship to the younger generation, and I will continue to speak out when I think anyone is being wronged. I am here to stay, my son is here, my home is here, and my friends are here. This is the town I love and I will remain here. I appologize one last time for taking the direction of this blog the wrong way but I needed to say that. Best wishes to all.

Zach Bryant

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Live meeting tonight at 7

Late-meeting fireworks

As the work session was breaking up Monday night, and after I had shut down the live blog, there were some harsh words exchanged.
Dotty Smith and Mell Kuhn told Patrick McDonald that they didn't appreciate some of his political activities. They were referring to emails and things he has said publicly that were negative about other commissioners.
McDonald is running for re-election. Smith and Kuhn are not up for the vote this time.
Dotty said "you are still going to have to work with us after the election if you win."
Mell was a bit harsher, saying he didn't appreciate some of the things McDonald has done.
McDonald didn't respond except to just acknowledge what was said.
He has been distancing himself from the "three amigos" as part of his campaign.
Mell and Dotty are two of the three amigos. Scott Margolius is the third one, and he is running for re-election.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Worksession live blog

city agenda

Not much on the agenda this week for the city.
Im surprised to see the hospital on there. Should be on the first meeting in April instead. Ill see what the deal is.

1. Proclaim April 2009 as Fair Housing Month in Arkansas City.

2. Consider charter ordinance on reorganizing Hospital Board.

3. Receive presentation on Cherokee Strip Museum operations and proposed improvements.

4. Consider Mayor’s appointments to City Boards.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

here is an outrage

WASHINGTON – American International Group is giving executives in its most troubled business unit tens of millions of dollars in new bonuses even though it received a taxpayer bailout of more than $170 billion dollars.

AIG has said it must pay out the executive bonuses to meet a contractually obligated Sunday deadline, but the troubled insurance giant has agreed to administration requests to restrain future payments.

The Treasury Department determined that the government did not have the legal authority to block the current payments by the company — which are part of a larger total payout reportedly valued at $450 million. AIG declared earlier this month that it had suffered a loss of $61.7 billion for the fourth quarter of last year, the largest corporate loss in history.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has asked that the company scale back future bonus payments where legally possible, an administration official said Saturday.

This official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said that Geithner had called AIG Chairman Edward Liddy on Wednesday to demand that Liddy renegotiate AIG's current bonus structure.

Geithner termed the current bonus structure unacceptable in view of the billions of dollars of taxpayer support the company is receiving, this official said.

In a letter to Geithner dated Saturday, Liddy informed Treasury that outside lawyers had informed the company that AIG had contractual obligations to make the bonus payments and could face lawsuits if it did not do so.

Liddy said in his letter that "quite frankly, AIG's hands are tied" although he said that in light of the company's current situation he found it "distasteful and difficult" to recommend going forward with the payments.

Bonus programs at financial companies have come under harsh scrutiny after the government began loaning them billions of dollars to keep the institutions afloat. AIG is the largest recipient of government support in the current financial crisis.

AIG also pledged to Geithner that it would also restructure $9.6 million in bonuses scheduled to go a group that covers the top 50 executives. Liddy and six other executives have agreed to forgo bonuses.

The group of top executives getting bonuses will receive half of the $9.6 million now, with the average payment around $112,000.

This group will get another 25 percent on July 14 and the final 25 percent on September 15. But these payments will be contingent on the AIG board determining that the company is meeting the goals the government has set for dealing with the company's financial troubles.

The Obama administration has vowed to put in place reforms in the $700 billion financial rescue program in an effort to deal with growing public anger over how the program was operated during the Bush administration.

That anger has focused in part on payouts of millions of dollars in bonuses by financial firms getting taxpayer support.

Sunday morning

Phllippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Phl 4:5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Phl 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Phl 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Phl 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.
Phl 4:9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Here we have a promise.
We present our needs and requests to God. We are not promised physical stuff we may need at that moment, but what we are promised is that the peace of God will be with us.
Having peace within yourself is important. That is the greatest need there is in the world.
That is why there are so many self help books out there.
If you have peace in yourself, you can handle anything.
As he says later in the chapter.
He can do all things through Christ.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Saturday morning live,10 a.m.


Live blog Saturday

Just a reminder that we will do the live blog thing again in the morning.
10 a.m.
It is just going to last one hour.
Ending at 11 a.m.

Music festival

We are set to go with our monthly music shows.
The first one will be 6 p.m., March 28, at First American Baptist Church in Arkansas City.
The second one will be in April at Calvary Chapel in Ark City, May will be at Wilson park, June will be at Crossroads church in Winfield. July has not been determined yet.
Winners from each of those shows will move on to the finals, which will be held in August. This might be on the river, not sure yet.
Three of those bands will be invited to play at our music festival - the Third River of Life Music Festival. It has been held the first week in October. We may move it to the week before the Walnut Valley Festival.

The monthly shows will have local Christian bands. Any music style is welcome. Each band will get 20 minutes to play. Judges will pick a winner. The audience will also get to vote, and their vote will count as one judge.
We still have slots available for bands.
The first one should be interesting as it will be a learning experience for us.
It will be indoors though, and we will have electricity, so that should help. :)

If anyone wants to get involved - or for bands that might want to play - email us at
I use the words "bands," to include any musical act. It could be an individual.

city - hospital board

After nearly two hours of meetings last night, I am not sure I understand the thing between the city and the hospital board any better.
The city has been restructuring its boards, so maybe it makes sense that the hospital board would be included in that.
Hospital board people argue that they are doing a good job, so there's no need to mess with something that is working.
They did seem to be close to agreement last night.
The changes are not all that drastic really.
Board member said they had no problem with going from nine members to seven.
One disagreement is that the hospital board has some sub-committees that report back to the board. You have the board making decisions about operations of the hospital - no pun intended - and the city feels that is micromanaging. They believe the ceo should be in charge of that.
Hospital board members feel the system they have works just fine and makes them more efficient. Looks like they do get somewhat involved in day to day operations, but they are fine with that.
Another point that may have been cleared up, was the process of selecting board members. The board recommends people, the mayor then nominates and the commission either approves or rejects. Rejection of a board member nomination is very rare.
Commissioners felt they "had to" approve whoever the hospital board sent them. Hospital board members did not feel that way.
One thing I hoped for last night, as to finally find out why this matters.
Why does the city feel reorganization needs to be done, and why does the hospital board care. Im not sure that question was answered.

Commissioners say they want to make some changes because things have changed. With the half-cent sales tax, the new hospital is going to be built with a lot of help from tax dollars. Nearly $1 million a year for 10 years. For that reason they want to take a little closer look at things.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Live blog, city commission Thursday 7 p.m.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

forums for local races

Our forums are finally set.
Earlier i mentioned some dates. Things have changed, so, these are the official dates.

City commission is set for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25 at the Senior Center.
School board is set for 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 26 at the Senior Center.

Each candidate will get three minutes to speak. Then there will be questions selected from the audience.
Each candidate will then be given one minutes to speak as a wrap-up.
KACY will be broadcasting the event, and we will have live blogging going on.
But we still hope to have a decent crowd.

KSOK radio is having one on March 21. Not sure of too many details on that one yet, but they are doing all the local races, including Winfield, on the same day.

We have our online poll going on for city commission. We will soon have an online poll for school board. These are not very accurate, but do give you a general idea.
Lets check out the candidates real hard. :)

Just a tangent

Click on the title of this blog for a link to a Time Magazine article.
It is very long and laborious, but it is good reading.
It is about how the leader of Brazil has that country doing very well in a world of economic crisis and turmoil.

He is considered something of a leftist, but is very moderate.
Above all, he is a pragmatist.
He apparently is taking the best of conservative and liberal ideas and doing what works.
That is kinda what Obama claims he is doing or says he wants to do. Maybe we should look past partisan politics and give him a chance?

I really believe the biggest problem we have - as ive said before - is partisan politics itself. We have conservative and liberal sides who want to rule, and who want power. There's nothing wrong with that, but you cant make progress in the middle of a power struggle.
Neither side really wants a solution, and so our depression grows deeper.
The thing is, neither side is right. Both have strengths and weaknesses. The biggest weakness of both is that they are more into power than progress.

If a political party could be developed that took the best of both, it might appeal to more people, and might do a better job.
The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and over and expecting to get different results. Choosing either side is just doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. But also, choosing a third party just because it is a third party, isnt a good idea either.
Where are the politicians who can see past partisan politics? I dont know, but they might be out there if we look hard enough.

Thats my rant for a Tuesday. The Time article is good.
Anyone want to talk about this?

Monday, March 9, 2009

More on death penalty

Here is a case that has similarities to ours.
Click on the title for the whole story.

WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Cal Coburn Brown surprised investigators with his reply to this routine question at the end of a lengthy police interview: Anything else you want to tell us?
Brown — arrested in Palm Springs, Calif. for an attack on a woman at a hotel — answered with explicit details about how he had tortured and murdered a 22-year-old woman in the Seattle suburbs just days earlier. Her body was found in the trunk of her car.
Brown, 50, is scheduled to die for that murder on Friday, and would become the first person executed in Washington since 2001.
Prosecutors point to the case as one befitting the death penalty, while opponents argue for leniency because of his mental condition.
"I've been in the prosecutor's office for 25 years, and I've seen a lot of shocking things. But looking at Cal Brown's sadistic torture spree, really it is about the worst case I've ever seen," said King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.
According to court documents, Brown suffers from bipolar disorder, but was not being treated at the time of the murder. Since 1994, prison staff have prescribed medication to control the condition.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Saturday morning live

live blog tomorrow

Just after 6 p.m., and no fallout from my article yet.
I have a column about local connections in Saturday's paper. Ill post it here tomorrow
Also, ill try that live blog thing again Saturday morning.
10 a.m. until 11 a.m.
We had a pretty good talk on various subjects last week.
See you there.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Video of commission meeting

The city has updated the online video to show the Tuesday night meeting. People can view it at:

select CITY GOVERNMENT from the list on the left
scroll down and click on COMMISSION MEETING VIDEO REPLAY

Also, many documents on that site.


We are putting together forums for city commission and school board elections.
The election is April 7.
Both forums will be at the middle school.
School board is March 26, City Commission is April 2.
(We may change the city commission to March 25)
Both to start at 7 p.m.
Those are tentative dates. We are just waiting for the candidates to get back to us and say it is ok.

da mayor

I had a long talk with Mell on Tuesday. Ive looked over the city record's and the mayor's records.
I am working on a story that should be out on Friday. Maybe Saturday.
I want to do some comparisons to other cities.
One thing about Kuhn is, he doesn't care all that much what people think.
That might be a good thing. Too many people are afraid to speak up because they fear what people will think of them. Right or wrong, Mell is Mell.
During our talk he said. "If the job gets done on time, under budget and according to specs, why should anyone care who did it."
He showed me some of the bids he has done in other cities. They look just like the ones he has done in Arkansas City. He currently has six other jobs going on in six other cities on sewer and water plants.
The jobs he is doing for Arkansas City seem to be on the level. Even city officials - could be commissioners or employees - who are not fans of Mell say that.
He has not been part of making decisions about who gets jobs with the city when he bids on projects. There have been some bids that he did not win.
One point too, is that we don't hear of other contractors, competitors, complaining about the process.
He makes no secret of his preference for the hospital project. He says his company "doesn't do hospitals." He said his company would not be bidding on any significant work on the hospital.
Some minor job perhaps, but probably not, he said.

So thats his response in a nutshell. There will be much more in the story.
I have all the bids for all the jobs he has bid on in recent years.

I am remaining neutral on the Mayor. His jobs with the city do not appear to be illegal. Whether its right or wrong, is not a call I'm going to make. That means both sides accuse me of being on the other side.
But the thing is, he is causing some things to happen. He is stirring things up and disrupting the status quo. Maybe that is a good thing?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tuesday's meeting

The Arkansas City City Commission revised its water bill rules Tuesday night.
The reversed the earlier move of charging people $100 to get their water turned back in if it had been turned off due to nonpayment. They were also going to shut people off five days after the past-due date.
The new rules call for a $35 fee if your water is shut off for nonpayment. There will also be a 10-day period between the past-due date and the shutoff date.
If a non-profit group pays to have someone's water turned back on, the non-profit won't be charged the $35 fee.
That seemed to be what people wanted.
They are considering refunding the $100 fees that were assessed.

They tabled the skateboader rules after a long discussion. The rules would ban skating - and bicycles - from sidewalks in the downtown area.
The discussion revolved around the penalties.
The hospital board restructuring was also tabled without much discussion. That was discussed at length Monday.

Also at the meeting, City Manager Steve Archer made available a list of all of Mayor Mell Kuhn's jobs with the city. Also included are what bids were from other companies. This lists all of the jobs since 2007.
I had a long interview with Kuhn Tuesday afternoon. I will be putting all of this into a story very soon.

The live blogging is going well. Lots of people are reading it. Im still getting comfortable with it. Learn a little more each time out.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesday night meeting

Monday's meeting

Long work session last night. You can read about the whole thing at the live blog below.
The hospital charter ordinance is going to get tabled. Commission will meet with hospital board to work out some details. One big issue is whether to go from nine members to seven on the hospital board.
The board has committees within itself. City commissioners are questioning the wisdom - or need - for that.
City commissioner will be a non-voting member.

That meeting tonight is a public meeting and will likely be next week, Wednesday of Thursday. Should know for sure on that tonight.
Tonight's meeting is at 7. Again, open to public.

They are going to pass the water bill ordinance. There will be a $35 fee for shutoff, and no fee for turnon. 10 days to pay instead of five after late date.
Skateboarder rules might also get passed tonight. They are also going to do a map showing where skating areas are.

I did the live blog thing again. It was about four hours long. I was surprised at how hard it is to type one thing and pay attention to something else at the same time.

Monday, March 2, 2009

City worksession

More live blogging

This live blogging thing is going well.
Im going to do it again this evening, starting at 5:30 or so at the city commission work session.
Work sessions are a bit more informal and don't always start right on time.
These meetings are public meetings. You may go to the meeting.
I have also added an archive of live blogs over to the right. So if you want to see an old one, it will be easily available.

The hospital board might be the most controversial topic tonight. I'm still not sure if it is a big deal or not. Keep in mind that there is an election to coming up. A question to think about during election season is: How might this impact the campaign of any candidate?
The issue itself could effect someone's run for office. Also realize, that who is making it an issue, is itself an issue.

I am still working on a story about the mayor's work for the city. Politics is involved here as well. The mayor isn't running, but there's still political hay to be made from the issue.
Hope to have it done in a day or two.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

re-posting sunday morning

Psalm 32
1 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.

Confession is good for the soul, people say. I think it is. It is for our own benefit.
The first people, Adam and Eve, covered themselves with leaves after they had sinned, because they realized they were naked.
The clothes were not the issue, but what it symbolized.
God covered them with animal skins, which was a symbol of the blood sacrifice, and the sacrifice of Christ.
The story of Adam and Eve has huge theological significance.
When we sin, we distance ourselves from God. Just like in any human relationship, you tend to not want to hang around people too much if you have wronged them and think they might be mad at you. There is also a pride issue. No one wants to have people thinking bad of them.
God covered Adam and Eve's sin with animal skins, which was a picture of the covering he gives us with the death and resurrection of Christ.
The second verse of the psalm is significant too. When confronted with his sin, Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the devil. (the snake.) and the snake didn't have a leg to stand on.
This caused tension in their relationship with God, and no doubt, in their relationship with each other. That is the result of having deceit in our hearts.
They tried to hide their sin- with leaves, but God's covering really works.

Deceit in our spirits also speaks to deceiving ourselves. Some people won't acknowledge their sin, not even to themselves, so they deceive other and themselves. Then there is the ultimate solution, which is to deny God and the existence of the spirit world.
But as the psalmist says, blessed - or happy - is the person whose sins have been covered, who is not "in debt" because of them.

Confession is basically just admitting to having done wrong, and agreeing with God that it is wrong.
Some people say you should also pledge to not do that sin again, but I really don't agree with that. First, you do not know what tomorrow will bring. Second, it sets you up for failure. It puts pressure on you, so if you fail, then you feel worse, but if you succeed, then you may become prideful and be in sin anyway.
It just gives the devil a stick to beat you over the head with.

Confession is the way to a clear soul and mind. Happy too is the person who is not trying to hide their sin. Im not so sure that means hiding it from other people, as im not sure if that matters. But hiding it from God, or from ourselves, is a path to destruction, as the rest of the psalm says.

Sunday morning


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hospital charter

Here is a link to the packet for the next city commission meeting.
You may also get there by clicking on the title of this post.

The hospital is item no. 4

It says a five member board in the preview, but its really supposed to be seven.
The board has nine members now.
A member of the commission will be a non voting member.

One thing that I thought was interesting, is a provision to make the charter have to be approved by voters. If 10 percent of the voters present a petition, the city will have to put it before the people to vote. So even if it were passed, it could be blocked by voters.

Here is the wordage ...
Section 9. Effective Date. This Charter Ordinance shall be published once a week for
two consecutive weeks in the official City newspaper, and shall take effect sixty (60) days after final publication,

unless a petition signed by a number of electors
ten percent (10%) of the number of electors who voted at the last preceding regular City election shall be filed in the office of the City Clerk, demanding that this Charter Ordinance be submitted to a vote of the electors, in which event this Charter Ordinance shall take effect when approved by a majority of the electors voting at an election held for such a purpose.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Saturday morning

mayors and blogs

Here are a few random thoughts for a Friday morning.
I talked with Mell Kuhn yesterday. We couldn't connect for a full interview, but he is willing to answer questions. I hope to get to that even today if possible.
But we did talk for a few minutes. He feels he is actually helping the city. He said he has done a lot of work for the city, but also said he has saved the city money.l
One thing to consider is that he specializes in working on sewer plants and has worked on several around the state.
This bidding process is pretty well out in the open.
Got to hand it to Mell. He says what he thinks. He told me that if he were doing anything illegal, he would not be doing it out in the open.
He said he also does some consulting work on the phone with people at the sewer plant at no charge.
Also chatted with City Manager Steve Archer after the meeting Tuesday. He says they take extra care to make sure its all legal because he is the Mayor. Archer was a little indignant as well. He feels his own integrity is being questioned as well.
The players seem willing to put the cards on the table. Ill facilitate that as soon as i can.
As usual, I am not taking sides. Ill gather the information and leave it to the readers to decide for themselves.

Im still kinda amazed at the live blogging, and how well it was received. No one has commented on my idea of doing a general live blog Saturday. If you are going to show up let me know.
Anyway, I plan on doing it again Monday at the work session.
Work session meetngs are much less formal than regular meetings. There may be 3 conversations going on at once and it can get hard to follow.

Im sure many of you have blogs. Send me your blog addresss - or post it here - an I'll put a link to it. Im going to compile a list of local blogs here.

We have had our share of controversy lately. The trial and the death penalty, crash recovery fees, water bills, hospital boards, mayors .... the list goes on.
Actually I think this is good. Stuff is getting out in the open and being debated.
The controversy is not a problem. I think it is part of the solution really.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Let's try this

Here is another experiment I would like to try.
I am going to try the live blogging thing again Saturday morning. Lets say 10 a.m.
There wont be any event or anything.
Just stop by and we can talk about whatever you want to talk about.
What do you all think?
Does anyone want to do that?
Just sign on here and you will see the live blog. You may read or comment.
I have not figured out how to let comments just show up on their own, so I will have to approve them.
Ill let as many through as I can.

One thing I would like to talk about is the paper. The web site.
Other than that, you can name the subject.
I guess we will go about an hour if people are interested.

Live blogs

Response to the live blog has been overwhelming.
We had a lot more visitors both to the site and to the blog here as a result.
Feels like we have hit upon something you all want.
I hope to do it again real soon. We might try to get the candidates involved in that.
We have elections for city commission and school board in early April.

Another idea I have is to do a general live blog, where we could talk about whatever is of interest to our readers.
Maybe a Saturday morning. I could open a live blog and just see who shows up. Let me know if you would be interested in that.

I may also try it again Monday night at the city worksession. That won't be as fast and furious as the meeting the other night.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


A lot of people showed up at the town hall meeting last night, and seems like quiet a few were participating in the live blog.
Again, public outcry has made a difference. The water fee thing will be changed at the next meeting. The crash recovery fee has been dropped.
I think its good when people get riled up.
I enjoyed doing the live blog. It was intense for me.
Hope you all understand about the typing. I was trying to type on there, and type some notes for a story, and trying to pay attention. That was the hardest thing, keeping track of what was going on as I typed.
There were also people typing in questions and comments.
I had to approve those for those to appear. I put up a lot of them. Some I just didn't have time to look at and others were not suitable.

I thought it was also interesting that people questioned the mayor about his business dealings. He answered the questions. Ill be getting a more in depth story on that together soon.
Ill try the live blog thing again soon.
Thanks to the city for their cooperation.
I would like to know what you all thought about that.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

City Commission Town Hall Meeting Live Blog

Welcome to the first Traveler Live Blog! We're trying something new today, so please bear with us as we try to work out the kinks and bugs.

The above window is where the live chat is taking place. Once the live blog starts, you should see a place to click to join in. You will then be able to read my thoughts during the meeting, as well as ask questions of your own. Once the meeting is over, the blog will be archived and you can check it in the future whenever you want.

Monday, February 23, 2009



Here is a poem submitted by a reader

I watched them tear a building down

I watched them tear a building down;
A gang of men in a busy town.
With a mighty heave and lusty yell,
They swung a beam and a side wall fell.

I said to the foremen, "Are these men as skilled
As the men you'd hire if you had to build?"
He gave a laugh and said, "No indeed!
Just a common laborer is all I need.
And I can wreck in a day of two
What it took the builder a year to do."

And I thought to myself as I went my way,
"Just which of these roles have I tried to play?
Am I a builder who works with skill and care
Building others up by the rule and square,
Or am I a wrecker as I walk the town


Voter ID

Here is a link to a chart that shows requirements in all states.
Federal law requires ID for first time voters, after that its up to the states.
They are different. Only a few require photo ID. Most just want some kind of ID, and even a bill with your name and address on it will work.
Then there is the question of whether people should be required to vote.
Be sure to check out the link to the Australian vote near the bottom of this.

Here are state by state rules

Voter ID required in Canada

Pro and con articles

From a Time magazine article
Representatives of the ACLU and several black caucuses say there's no proof of voter fraud to justify these requirements. ID advocates counter that there is no proof of disenfranchisement either. Although an Ohio State University study predicts that 6% to 10% of qualified voters in that state could be turned away if a photo ID were demanded, no studies have yet been conducted to determine whether disenfranchisement has occurred in states where such ID is already required.

More links

In the UK

required to vote, but just about any excuse will get you out of the fine ... even forgetting.

Required to vote

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday morning

I posted a verse of the day yesterday, so I wont today. Some folks may feel im getting off into "religion" too much. Ill try to limit it to Sunday mornings.
Having folks give me topics would help too.
We could talk about national and world events as well as local.

Later today I am going to look around and find some stats on the death penalty.
Ill post what I find.
But you know you can make numbers say whatever you want them to say.
Someone said ... "figures don't lie, but liars figure"

Here are some sayings of the buddha

One of his students asked Buddha, "Are you the messiah?"
"No", answered Buddha.
"Then are you a healer?"
"No", Buddha replied.
"Then are you a teacher?" the student persisted.
"No, I am not a teacher."
"Then what are you?" asked the student, exasperated.
"I am awake", Buddha replied.
Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.
What we think, we become.
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

More trial thoughts

There were a couple of anti-death penalty people at the Thurber trial. They were giving quotes to the media and trying to stir up the debate about the death penalty.
They were from here and part of the Kansas organization. They certainly had every right to do so.
They also wrote a letter to the editor in the paper, and some readers have posted on here about how it was a bit harsh.
I thought it was a bit harsh too, but we don't edit letters and we try to let people say pretty much what they want to say.
I am not sure how others felt, but I felt it was in bad taste to try to stir up the debate during such a time. The community was trying to come to grips with one of the worst things to happen here in a long time. It was an emotional time. Two families hurting, and many people feeling stressed. It was a time of great sadness for all of us.
I realize people have to take opportunities to speak out when they arise. But still, there needs to be some sensitivity to how a community feels. The media pretty much did not allow itself to be manipulated.
Sometime in the summer maybe, would be a good time to have that debate, after we all have a little perspective and feelings have faded.
Did anyone else feel that during the trial was not a good time to be having a political debate?

The verdict was certainly a reflection of our community. On our latest online poll, 84 percent favored the death penalty, 11 percent were against it and the rest were undecided.
There were a lot of votes, with 835 saying they favored the death penalty.

What seems right

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
Proverbs 16:25

Today's verse of the day caught my attention.
I may start posting more "wise sayings" and see if people want to talk about them.
Ill include some from other religions and from non-religions.
Anyways, this one is interesting. It is identical to Proverbs 14:12, and is the only one that is repeated.
This verse really goes against a core value of our culture. Our culture says what feels right is right, or whatever is right to you is right for you etc.
What seems right, may not be, is what the writer is saying. Our culture says what seems right has to be right.
That's a deep philosophical issue, but the thing is, we can be deceived. What seems right really might be bad for us. We should try to look at the facts and not our feelings in deciding what is right or good.
The point is, you reap what you sow, no matter how it seems to you or how you feel about it.
Another way to look at it, from a more cynical point of view, would be that we all end up dead anyway, so ... it doesn't matter what you think is right.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Town hall meeting

The city commission is having a town hall meeting at 7 p.m., next Tuesday, the 24th, at City Hall.
Just so there isn't any confusion. It was originally set for a different day, and we had it in the paper as a different day on Tuesday. Tuesday night they changed the date.
Im not mentioning the other date to try to avoid any confusion.

They have had a couple of these forums and they have gone rather well.
But they have been dominated by hot button issues. There was one last fall and it was all about the windows.
I know people like to talk about hot button issues, but if that is all people talk about, there may be some really worthy issues that are passed over.

Its going to be at city hall, which is different. It will not be televised. Or recorded. City officials say they want to gather information, and they feel some people might not want to talk if they are going to be on TV.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

State financial moves

Ive been talking with Kasha Kelley and Ed Trimmer about the money crisis at the statehouse.
It is cool having a representative in our area from both sides of the aisle. I think this way we get a well rounded picture of what's happening up there.
Anyways, it seems this whole crisis thing was never a crisis at all. It was just politics. As you would expect, just who was playing politics depends on which side you ask.
There never was a real danger that employees would not be paid, nor was there a real danger that income tax checks would not go out.
Trimmer said this happens every year. The state doesn't get as much revenue in Jan-Feb., and it gets more around April and May. So in the past, every year, they borrow from April and May money to finish off the lean months of Jan-Feb. It's just a short term bond note.
The only difference is that this year it became politicized.
Kelley agreed that this was never a real crisis.
But they don't agree on how it happened or why it happened this time.

The deal is, the Governor signs a bill to move the money around to make expenses, and the heads of the House and Senate sign of on it, and its a done deal.
This time, from what I gather, the house and senate leadership threatened to not sign it because the Governor had not signed the state budget bill. The governor then went to the media and cried wolf, and the media took the bait, and we had a news story.

But, some say the governor could have signed it over anyway. But republicans say there was some reason it wasn't legal this time. Looks like both sides were playing a little politics.
I would give credit to our two legislators for telling us the real deal.
Though both did point to the other side as the root of the problem.

I emailed Steve Abrams, to see what they were thinking over in the Senate.
Kinda gave him the chance to join in the political fray. To his credit, he didn't take the bait. I got the idea from his email that he was not real concerned about it. He did say it was not a real crisis, but he does think there is a real crisis with funding the overall budget.

They do have bigger fish to fry up there. There really are budget shortfalls, and the 2010 budget isnt going to be pretty. Just hope they stop playing politics long enough to deal with the situation.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

corporate welfare

Just for a change of pace.
Someone said something about welfare. I know people complain about poor people getting welfare and people getting it who don't deserve it. Yet I rarely hear complaints about corporate welfare, which is giving money to huge companies that are already making a nice profit.
This is before, and beyond, any bailouts.
Here is a quote from the Boston Globe, and then a few links for your reading enjoyment.

"The $150 billion for corporate subsidies and tax benefits eclipses the annual budget deficit of $130 billion. It's more than the $145 billion paid out annually for the core programs of the social welfare state: Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), student aid, housing, food and nutrition, and all direct public assistance (excluding Social Security and medical care
--Boston Globe series on Corporate Welfare,9171,989508,00.html

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

crash recovery fee

Commissioners repealed the crash recovery fee tonight, effective immediately.
Very few individuals paid. They said they would not be refunding any of the money collected from insurance companies, but they may look into that further.
Full story in tomorrow's paper.

On the Thurber sentence.
I was not really surprised that it went the way it did.
There will be appeals and it will take a few years. I dont think the families will have to go through it again. The appeals will involve just lawyers and judges I think
Thurber did mutter a small apology to the Sandeholms, but only after being convicted.
I might have felt a shred of sympathy if he had taken the stand, taken responsibility for his actions, and apologized publicly.
Not that I am happy he will be executed.
Just saying it would have made a difference to me if he had done that. Might have made a difference to the jury too?


Jury just handed down a death sentence in the Thurber murder trial

Commission update

Looks like the crash recovery fee will be repealed tonight.
Commissioners told the city attorney to draw up the ordinance repealing it and to give it to them at tonight's meeting.
Dotty and Scott want to repeal it. Remains to be seen if they have the third vote needed.
They may approve some other kind of fee. Something a lot less and more reasonable.

The water bill thing is also being debated, but may not come up tonight.
Skaters will be coming in again tonight. They are getting organized, no action is expected tonight at the commission meeting.

Monday, February 16, 2009

city commission agenda

Here is what is on the city commission meeting agenda for tonight.
Worksession 5:30 p.m. today
regular meeting 7 p.m. tuesday

1. Receive presentation on proposed MidWest Rock Fest.
2. Consider ordinance correcting verbiage in City Code 8.12.070 regarding multi-family
dwellings, trash collection.
3. Consider ordinances levying special assessments on various properties in the City for
unpaid charges for weed mowing, property maintenance violations, and removal of junk and
4. Consider ordinance amending City Code regarding responsibility for trees and vegetation
on public property.
5. Consider resolution setting hearing date for possible dangerous structures at 521 N. C, 312
N. 1st, and 715 W. Vine.
6. Consider resolution authorizing an engineering services agreement for Kansas Avenue
improvement project.
7. Consider resolution authorizing purchase of property at 1534 N. 3rd.
8. Consider authorizing use of Equipment Reserve Fund for purchase of clarifier drive,
Environmental Department.
9. Consider authorizing use of Equipment Reserve Fund for copier purchase, Administration
10. Consider resolution setting public meeting for February 26, 2009 at 7 PM at the Senior
11. Consider Mayor’s appointments to City Boards.

Review of Upcoming Ordinances.
1. Charter Ordinance on reorganizing Hospital Board.
2. Ordinance modifying municipal code regarding skateboarding violations in the
downtown, increasing deterrents and penalties.
3. Ordinance on use of CSR, emergency services fees.
4. Ordinance revising utility shut-off procedure.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thought for Sunday

Which is the greatest commandment ?

Matthew 22:37-40
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

What does it mean to love?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

column about the trial

Here is a link to my column that was in the paper saturday.

Valentines Day

Here is a question sent in by a reader of this blog.
Use this blog today to write about Valentines Day.

On a day set aside to celebrate the virtues of "LOVE" with all its hype, money and advertising. What is it that keeps some couples together for a life time and others still searching?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thurber guilty

Jury rules Thurber guilty of capital murder.
Guilty on all counts

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Skateboards and rivers

I am encouraged by the skateboard coalition. Just that they are organizing and trying to make something happen.
They tried a year or so ago and faded away. That's ok. Its cranking up again, and that is what matters.
It may take a few tries.
I think too often in Arkansas City, we are able to define problems, but do not do as well at finding solutions. Maybe we are not even defining the real problem. Maybe we don't even know what the real problem is.
It is similar to the rivers, which were also being discussed in yesterday's blog.
We all want more river access, and we all realize it is a problem. We just don't seem to know what to do about it.
Im seeing the skateboard "problem" as the same issue as the river "problem."
Both are real issues, but there may be underlying issues. We need to see that just complaining and further defining the problem - is not the answer.
We are starting to see some movement in searching for a solution to the skateboard issue.
That is encouraging.
Some people are taking charge and being leaders.
We need that to happen with the rivers as well.

The problem we have is one of leadership. Leaders are emerging on the skateboard issue. We are still waiting for river leaders to show up.
I believe that is te real problem regardless of the issue.
Who is willing to take a chance.
Who is willing to achieve great things?

I was reading about the history of Oklahoma City's downtown development. It is a very cool place now. It was terrible in the 70s. Here is the thing. This guy had a dream. His dream was to create trails for horseback riding in an otherwise dilapidated area.
There are no horse trails there now. His idea failed. Just never worked out.
But, he never dreamed there would be what is there now.
Something to think about?

Monday, February 9, 2009

New blog

Ive posted a devotional over on the new blog, which is about bible study.
It is adult material, so be warned. :)
Here is the link

Here is a link to the blog itself

skateboarder and a wild idea

I have been down on skateboarders from time to time. But I see some things coming together and it sounds good.
Ill give them some support in the paper and help publicize their efforts - that means organizers have to give me information about events and so forth.
But when they do bad, I'm gonna say that too.
They just need to stay out of my wife's flower beds at the library. She puts a lot of work into that, and her own money, so I hate to see it messed up.
Anyways, im all for them getting organized and building a park. Exhibitions would be good too. You could also have competitions.
Now is a good time. The city has property. The current commission wants to get rid of property.
I'm not sure the city will give any money, but they might give away a piece of ground.

Which brings me to the wild idea.
The city is going to shut down Summit Street for a few days while PrairieFest is going on in May.
That's not done too often.
But, what if we did that every now and then. Make Summit into a pedestrian area. Allow skateboarders that day. Bikes. Whatever. Just no cars.
Could be dangerous. But it could be good too.
Maybe a skateboarder festival?
Just a thought.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Good Sunday morning

Did you all see the verse of the day. These are just wise old sayings. I thought today's was particularly appropriate to blogs. And to those that post there.

Proverbs 18:20
From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled;
with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.
18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.

My comments:
It speaks of the power of the tongue - the words you use. They affect others obviously, but they also affect you.
The tongue's fruit are words ... what comes out of the mouth formed by the tongue.
It is saying you will reap what you sow. Words are powerful. Just think of the words you say to yourself, about yourself.
And on here, anonymity has given people the feeling they can say whatever they want without facing any recriminations. But, your own words will come back to you.
That is why it is better to speak positive words than negative words.

Skateboard park

Sounds like the Skateboard Park is getting some momentum.
Zach may have found himself a project eh :)
Its great to have the kids involved in it. I will really be theirs once it is built.

Ill put stuff in the paper for you. Any fundraisers or whatever. Just let me know a few days ahead.
One suggestion is to make sure you keep good records and a good trail of where the money goes. People will donate if they know their donation is spent well.

What about the area south of town where we had - have the music festival. The old meat packing plant.
There's tons of room there. It is a hard sandy surface so it could handle a cement park really well. It's got a meat packing pant buried under it so it really can't handle normal buildings.
Reason I mention that is, I would like to see that area developed and have river access there eventually.
Having a skate park there, and a growing music festival, can only help in that.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Have you guys been following the Thurber murder trial?
Nothing much has been said on here, but it is all over the place.
Most of what is coming out, came out during preliminary hearings over a year ago.
The defense has not done very much cross examining. It will be interesting to hear their case.

Ive not heard it talked about all that much in the street either. I wonder why that is.
Is it just too hard to talk about?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Tourists and downtown

Did you see the story in the Traveler this week about the tourist group from Wichita that came to Arkansas City for a day trip?
With all the Thurber trial coverage, it might have gotten lost, but it was on the front this week.
They had a good time and enjoyed their day here.
All those naysayers who are always running the city down should pay attention to this.

The tour group is interesting. Its called a "mystery" tour. A couple in Wichita runs the group, and takes people on a "mystery" tour 3-4 times a year. You go somewhere in Kansas for the day.

We have made a lot of daytrips in Kansas, and there is a lot to see and do.
Some of the people said they would like to come back. They were given schedules of events coming up, such as festivals.

Also, yesterday I was meeting someone for lunch downtown. I was running late. It was only 2 blocks, but since I was late I took my car. Here is the weird thing. There was not a single parking spot available on that block - were Bricks is - or on either side street of the block.
So I ended up parking almost as far away as I would have if I had just walked to start with.
The downtown does get busy at times.
Hardly sounds like the ghost town some want to make it out to be.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

City Commission on dogs and other issues

You can be fined in Arkansas City now for not cleaning up after your pet.
City commissioners passed an ordinance Tuesday that will impose fines on people who do not clean up after animals that defecate on public property, or on someone else's property without permission. It will be complaint driven. No one will be patrolling to see if anyone is violating the ordinance.
The city also passed two ordinances regarding pit bulls and vicious dogs.

They talked about the water bill fees and the crash recovery fee more, but didn't take any action. On the water bills, they plan to exempt non-profits, and seem to be leaning toward reducing the fee to $35 instead of 50. Both will be brought up again in March meetings.

It was a four-hour long meeting.
They also heard from skateboarders. They tabled an ordinance that would require parents to come to the police station to retrieve skateboards that have been confiscated. Parents could also be fined.

Other matters:
* Approved the Public Building Commission to issue $28,000,000 in revenue bonds for new hospital facility. Voters approved the half-cent sales tax last November. The Public Building Commission — made up of city commissioners — must issue the bonds that will be used to build the hospital, funded in part by the sales tax. This is a preliminary step to selling bonds.
* Accepted KDOC HOME grant, providing for grants to remodel low-income, owner-occupied homes.
Passed a resolution authorizing city participation in NLC Prescription Discount Card Program.
* Passed a resolution authorizing engineering services agreement with Smith & Oakes for Sanitary Sewer Relocation project. A sewer main was heavily damaged in the flooding during the summer of 2007. FEMA has agreed to reimburse the city as repairs are made. Archer said the city has decided it would be more efficient and less costly to build a new one. Smith & Oakes will be doing the design work.
* Passed an ordinance modifying municipal code regarding City Commission authority to remove any board member (of the city boards) without cause.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

More notice

At the worksession Monday, the city decided to try to give more warning - or notice - about upcoming ordinances.
They are going to start putting ordinances on the agenda two weeks earlier.
This means, for instance, when they put out the agenda for the first meeting in March, it will have any ordinances that will be considered in the second meeting listed.
That way, there will be more notice.
So the the agenda for the first meeting in march will have that night's items, plus the items for the following meeting. This will apply only to ordinances.

Kansas is pretty lax in its rules about agendas and such. Legally they do not even have to have an agenda, and if they do, they don't "have to" follow it. They could legally bring up an item and pass it that same night.

Got to give them a little credit here for trying to give the public more notice about things.

You can find out a lot by going to their web site.
The agenda is usually posted Thursday afternoon before the following week's meetings.
The "packet" is usually posted at the same time, or Friday morning.
The packet has background information about the items on the agenda. It is the same material - for the most part - that commissioners receive.

Monday, February 2, 2009

water bills and crash reports

Commissioners talked a long time about the water bill thing and the crash report thing.
They will likely be changed some.
One thing to realize is, that you do not have to pay the crash report fee. It is voluntary.
The insurance companies are asked to pay, and about half do, chief Wallace said.
Some companies send it back to the person who was at fault.
Wallace says no one will go after the person to pay, it wont be turned over to a collection agency etc.
On the water bills. Lane Massey said since this connection and shutoff fee went into effect, a lot fewer people are failing to pay their bill.
There were more people late last month, but the number of shutoffs were cut in half.
So if its getting people to pay, then maybe its not so bad.
But they are considering cutting the amount of the charge, and are going to not charge if a non profit - such as salvation army or a church - is paying the bill.
They talked over 4 hours.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

city commission agenda

Here is the agenda for the city commission meetings
Monday 5:30 p.m., worksession.
Tuesday, 7 p.m. regular meeting
all meetings open to the public

1. Consider resolution requesting the Public Building Commission to issue $28,000,000 in
revenue bonds for new hospital facility.
2. Consider resolution accepting KDOC HOME grant, providing for grants to remodel low
income owner occupied homes.
3. Consider resolution authorizing City participation in NLC Prescription Discount Card
4. Consider resolution authorizing engineering services agreement with Smith & Oakes for
Sanitary Sewer Relocation project.
5. Consider ordinance modifying municipal code regarding skateboarding violations in the
downtown, increasing deterrents and penalties.
6. Consider ordinance modifying municipal code regarding Commission authority to remove
any Board Member without cause.
7. Consider ordinance modifying municipal code regarding additional regulation of Pit Bulls.
8. Consider ordinance modifying municipal code regarding additional regulation of vicious
9. Consider ordinance modifying municipal code regarding removal of pet waste from public
and private property.
10. Consider Mayor’s appointments to City Boards.