Local Columns

Your turn: Board of Regents can learn from social media work group
April 15, 2014
In the months since the Kansas Board of Regents passed their widely derided social media policy, many have wondered why they would create a policy so at odds with higher education. One answer is that the regents are political appointees, all but one of whom lack professional expertise in higher education. (Four of the nine are lawyers.)
Your turn: Former editor earned community’s respect
April 12, 2014
It doesn’t seem that long ago when we Lawrence Junior High kids were jamming into the Congregational Church “recreation area” for those church-sponsored Friday night dances. You “old-timers” remember when Pastor Dale Turner in the 1950s opened his heart and church to us Lawrence “Happy Days,” barely teenage, boys and girls. Times change, people grow, and our wonderful Lawrence community continues to thrive. Many people through the years have contributed immensely to local progress. Today I remember a fellow Jayhawk, Bill Mayer.
Saturday Column: 4-H leader, newsman had distinguished careers
April 11, 2014
Rather than expressing opinions about disturbing, if not illegal, actions by President Obama, challenging issues facing the city, the university and the state, the positives and negatives of the one-and-done exercise now being played by all-star university basketball players, the excessive salaries paid to all-star university basketball and football coaches compared to salaries paid to all-star faculty members and other topical matters, this writer prefers to focus this week on two unassuming but true all-stars in their respective fields.
Your turn: Group says economy strong
April 10, 2014
The Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors quarterly “Indicators of the Kansas Economy” (IKE) report recently has been the subject of careless scrutiny. Some have taken the short-term numbers in this report out of context and misconstrued them, painting a picture of a lagging Kansas economy, when in fact long-term trends reveal that our state’s economy is the healthiest it has been in the last decade.
Opinion: Public education under attack
April 9, 2014
Another chapter in the long-running controversy between the Kansas Legislature and Kansas public education concluded on Sunday night when the Legislature approved a bill earmarking an additional $129 million to K-12 in response to an earlier order by the Kansas Supreme Court. Getting the bill through both houses was not an easy task and required the addition of a series of additional non-monetary provisions involving so-called “policy” decisions. In fact, these additions were included solely to placate the furthest right members of the Legislature and the policies behind them were never adequately debated.
Your Turn: Threats won’t help save bird
April 8, 2014
The lesser prairie chicken won’t generate much of a buzz in Kansas or the nation. Few know what it is, fewer still what it looks like, and even fewer what good it might be. The name “lesser prairie chicken” lacks the star power of polar bear, Bengal tiger or giant panda. Among birds, it doesn’t evoke the patriotism of the golden eagle, the majesty of the California condor, or the rah rah of Kansas University’s mythical bird, the Jayhawk. And, it’s a “lesser” chicken — not a great blue chicken, like the heron, or an emperor chicken, like the penguin. 
Opinion: Exulting in Mardi Gras excess
April 6, 2014
Some irresistible need must make members of our species attempt to escape from the prison of their skins. I was standing at the corner of Frenchman and Royal streets in New Orleans, and towards me flowed a stream of human beings magically transformed: A penguin, baboon, zebra, sea horse, alligator, gorilla, bear — the entire animal kingdom usurped by intoxicated women and men.
Your turn: Local clinic outlines efforts
April 5, 2014
Health Care Access Clinic is proud to provide high-quality health care to our county’s uninsured, low-income residents. We think everyone in this community, including our patients, deserve to be cared for in a respectful, holistic way that makes them feel like coming back.
Saturday Column: Why do Koch contributions trigger such scorn?
April 5, 2014
Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision that changes the law on how much money an individual can give to political candidates. The decision maintains the previous $123,000 limit to a single candidate but allows an individual to give the same amount to any number of candidates.
Opinion: College degree gains in importance
April 3, 2014
Those who question the fundamental value of a college degree need to stand back and accept undisputed facts.
Your turn: Breaking bread with the ‘other’ side
March 31, 2014
The pull of the extreme ends of our political spectrum in recent years, particularly from the right, has widened the divide that our political discourse must cross. Anthropogenic climate change, a given for many of us, with approximately 97 percent of climate scientists agreeing it exists based on decades of research, is portrayed by some on the far right as alarmism resulting from faulty computer models. Such vastly different views are common across many issues. And we often vilify the other side, whether that’s depicting the governor in cartoon image with flames in the background or the governor himself equating abortion with slavery.
Saturday Column: Player unions would vastly change college athletics
March 29, 2014
The ruling earlier this week by a National Labor Relations Board official that Northwestern University football players are employees of the university and have the right to unionize and bargain for salaries is sure to have a huge impact on so-called amateur collegiate sports.
Opinion: Fond opening-day memories
March 24, 2014
Larry Doby, the first African-American to play in the American League, liked to talk with me about opening days at old Municipal Stadium in Cleveland.
Saturday Column: Politicians, like athletes, should play by the rules
March 22, 2014
Millions of Americans currently are engaged one way or another with the NCAA basketball tournament. Some are participating in office pools or filling out brackets predicting how far the 64 teams will advance, and thousands upon thousands of fans will fill arenas around the country to watch their favorite teams in action.
Your turn: Legislature ties funding to court policy
March 21, 2014
Last year, several legislators crafted a proposal for changing the constitutional process chosen by the people of Kansas for selecting Supreme Court justices. These legislators sought endorsements by the Kansas Bar Association and the Kansas District Judges Association (KDJA).