Local Columns

Your Turn: Changes boost K-12 funding needs
May 22, 2015
I recently had a conversation with my dad, a retired teacher, and another relative about school funding. We all were in agreement the block grant represents a cut to our state’s K-12 operational funding. However my relative then added: “but I think we spend too much on administration and other support staff.” He reached back to his own school days, with multiple jobs shared among staff, and students helping out with various clerical and custodial duties. It’s part of a perspective shared among many that question whether schools are operating as efficiently as possible, fueled by idealistic memories of their own, or their children’s, academic experiences.
Your Turn: Two-year colleges have key role
May 20, 2015
Earlier this year, President Obama introduced a plan “to make community college as free and universal as high school.” This proposal, which generated both support and opposition, is important for two reasons.
Saturday Column: Faculty also deserve commencement recognition
May 16, 2015
The big story this weekend is Kansas University commencement with its various activities and approximately 4,500 students walking down Campanile Hill into Memorial Stadium on Sunday to receive their degrees. This is the university’s 143rd commencement ceremony with graduates from throughout Kansas, 46 states and 43 countries at the center of the event.
Opinion: Ruling renews privacy debate
May 13, 2015
Last week, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in the case of ACLU v. Clapper on appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. This was the case brought by the ACLU after the public disclosure by Edward Snowden that the National Security Agency had been engaged in the collection and archiving of “bulk” telephone metadata (for instance, the time when telephone calls are made and the numbers of the senders and recipients of such calls) in the United States for several years.
Your turn: Group focuses on housing, mental health
May 11, 2015
Justice Matters is a coalition of 21 faith communities that have crossed racial and economic social lines to come together and address issues of justice in the city of Lawrence. Last fall, we canvassed neighborhoods, trailer parks, and organized over 1,200 people to meaningfully discuss life in our city. We elected first to address issues of affordable housing and mental health, and conducted six months of research into these two matters.
Opinion: Mountain lion is lurking
May 10, 2015
My wife saw a mountain lion the other day. That makes me the only person in our neighborhood who hasn’t seen one. Of course, I was skeptical at first. But my wife isn’t the type who reports seeing flying saucers, Big Foot, or the face of Jesus in a spaghetti ad. If she says she saw a mountain lion, she saw a mountain lion.
Saturday Column: Advance work can help university hiring process
May 9, 2015
Last week, Billy Donovan, coach of the University of Florida’s men’s basketball team, announced he was leaving that position to become coach of the professional Oklahoma City Thunder team.
Your Turn: Home-based services make sense
May 6, 2015
In the May 1 Lawrence Journal-World, an interesting narrative plays out by laying three different Section A stories out next to each other: one about Kansas’ budget crisis, one about a rally in Topeka by people in the developmental and physical disability community, and, lastly, the day’s editorial about KanCare.
Saturday Column: Unrest highlights need for quality law enforcement
May 2, 2015
Recent riots/demonstrations in Baltimore, Ferguson, New York and other cities should cause city officials no matter the size of their communities, to give serious attention to the quality and training of their law enforcement programs.
Your Turn: Helpful neighbors replace KU’s Big Event
May 1, 2015
I want to take this opportunity to speak about the KU Big Event, its cancellation and my wonderful neighbors. I am an elderly woman and, unfortunately, on March 9, I fell in my home and broke my shoulder. I still have problems and I am currently in physical therapy. I didn’t know what I was going to do in the coming spring with all the yard work that needed to be done but I participated in the KU Big Event two years ago. 
Opinion: Legislators must focus on what’s best for Kansas
April 29, 2015
The great Roman lawyer and statesman, Marcus Tullius Cicero, devoted his life to service to the Roman republic. In speeches and in books, including his De Republica, he laid out his vision of a good citizen and a good civic leader. Above all else, the good Ciceronian leader was one who governed not to benefit himself or narrow partisan interest, but, rather, to benefit the whole commonwealth (pro utilitate publica). Almost two thousand years later John F. Kennedy in his inaugural stated that an American should “ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”
Your Turn: Economy should work for all
April 29, 2015
Kansas needs an economy that works for everyone, where the road map to opportunity and the middle class is available to all. That would seem to be a goal for the Brownback administration. Road Map 2.0, unveiled during the governor’s 2014 campaign, says that “All Kansans deserve opportunities for success, the ability to earn a family-sustaining wage and to enjoy a good quality of life.”
Your Turn: State shouldn’t support discrimination
April 27, 2015
As a chaplain and person of faith, religion is an important part of my daily life and a source of strength and inspiration. I deeply appreciate the value of religious institutions in the lives of many students, including those who attend state colleges and universities in Kansas.
Saturday Column: Clinton coronation may not benefit party, nation
12:00 a.m., April 25, 2015 Updated 10:19 p.m.
Who are the true “kingmakers” in the Democratic Party, and what must they be thinking about the “Hillary situation”? Are the Clintons themselves the party’s kingmakers, and, if so, it is what it is. However, if there are other individuals or factions within the Democratic Party such as the Obama clique or a group of powerful liberals or moderates, what are they thinking about the early days of the “Go Hillary” drive for the presidency?
Your Turn: Kansas needs juvenile justice reform
April 22, 2015
Kansas’ juvenile justice system should be doing more to keep our communities safe and to make better use of state funds. Our juvenile code was written in 1996. Since then, research has shown many strategies once believed to fight youth crime actually do more harm than good — and at great cost to taxpayers. Other states are adopting smarter approaches to juvenile justice that result in declining crime rates and more cost-effective systems.