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For sale by owner: Baldwin City school buildings

Is this really any surprise? I predicted exactly this scenario last year. My prediction was based on several factors that could have been avoided had the superintendent and school board solicited some professional advice and remained patient for the real estate market to recover.

The Chapel Street property comprised 2 square blocks of land on which 2 school buildings are constructed. The old, historic junior high building has a footprint taking up approximately 1/3 of the property and the old elementary school 2/3 of the land.

The county appraised the properties, including buildings at approximately $1.3 million. The school district’s independent appraisal came to approximately $850,000.

The school district in a rush to make it look like they were accomplishing something sold 2/3 of the property, including the old elementary school for only $200,000 last year (hundreds of thousands of dollars less than the appraised value).

Last year I predicted that by selling the property piecemeal the school district would be left with an unsellable “white elephant” in the old, historic junior high property. This remaining 1/3 of the property has little value to a developer or property owner because the building occupies almost all the land of the 1/3 plot leaving little room to further develop the property. Plus the building contains lead paint and asbestos; a very expensive proposition for removal.

Selling the property complete would have allowed for the removal of the old elementary school building, preservation of the old, historic junior high and having 2/3 of the land available for new additional development.

Additionally, the old elementary school abuts the junior high school building. There is no property separation or turf buffer. The 2 buildings are connected.

The property should have been sold as a whole. All the land and 2 buildings sold for near the appraised price. This is what would have been in the best interest of taxpayers and would have avoided the current situation of now owning a “white elephant”. Long after this superintendent has retired and the school board (that made these decisions) is replaced, taxpayers will still be paying for this mistake.

August 9, 2013 at 4:10 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Former Wellsville police officer pleads not guilty in animal cruelty case

Twenty-four hours later and we are missing the most essential part of this story. What was the situation involving this cat?

Was it a feral, rabid cat presenting a danger or a lovable family pet?

This one missing fact defines this news story as an absurd prosecution by nutty police officials and prosecutors to a matter of serious, anti-social animal hatred. A huge defining difference.

Mrs. Stus is a respected Alaska attorney. These are not stupid or uneducated people. Mr. Stus voluntarily returned to Lawrence to answer the charges (that he was unaware existed).

By failing to include all the important facts, Mr. Stus is portrayed to be some kind of animal hating torturer, whereas he may in fact just be protecting his property or family from a bad episode with a wild animal with police officials acting irresponsibly.

I don't know every fact, but with ALL the facts readers could judge whether Mr. Stus is a good or bad guy (without the pertinent facts he is assumed to be a villain and smeared by this newspaper).

December 21, 2012 at 9:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Outgoing legislators recommend big increase in school funding, but chair declared meeting adjourned

"a majority of a legislative committee Tuesday recommended an increase in school funding, but not before the chairman declared the meeting adjourned."

So, according to your first sentence, Mr. Rothschild, the chairman declared the meeting adjourned BEFORE a majority of a legislative committee recommended an increase in school funding.

"But Committee Chairman Steve Huebert, R-Valley Center, cut Vratil off, saying the meeting was adjourned and walked out."

So, the meeting was adjourned. The antics and posturing did not happen in a meeting.

Where's the serious news story here, other than your usual propaganda ?

December 18, 2012 at 9:48 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence resident set to become vice chairman of U.S. Bancorp

"the result of deregulation of certain banking practices pushed through by the Bush administration at the request of the banking industry."

I think you should direct your criticism towards Barney Frank and Maxine Waters. If you're going to make your point quoting history, please be familiar with historical fact. Barney and Maxine were the primary instigators of sub-prime mortgage lending to unqualified borrowers who never had the ability to pay back their loans. These 2 congresspeople pressured Fannie and Freddie to lower their lending standards over many years.

While the Bush administration may have allowed this "bullying" to occur unchallenged, the instigators were primarily responsible.

December 15, 2012 at 10:09 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Brownback, senators refused to help Topeka school district in grant application for federal funds

“These are all goals the governor supports,” said Brownback’s policy director Jon Hummell in an email to Topeka school officials.

Hummell added that Kansas legislators have requested an audit to determine the cost of adopting Common Core State Standards.

“I believe it would be more prudent for the governor’s office to withhold any endorsement of an application that includes the adoption of the CCSS until we have an opportunity to review the results of the audit,” Hummell said.

Shouldn't the headline more accurately reflect the news story as "Governor and Legislators Defer Decision on Helping Topeka School District Pending Cost Audit."

Instead we once again get Mr. Rothschild's biased, tilted, misrepresentative headline which does not reflect the true meaning of the article and is intended to stir up anti-Brownback sentiment and mislead the readers.

December 6, 2012 at 9:43 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Brownback urging prayer on Saturday during ReignDown USA event

So, let me get this straight, Mr. Rothschild. Reigndown as a private religious group is holding an event. The governor, separate from his official role in state government, and as a religious person, would like to promote the private event on his own time and expense.

Where's the story here? Should we expect to see an article tomorrow about your promotion and attendance at the Hanukkah celebrations happening now. We're not interested in Brownback's or your private life.

Once again, Mr. Rothschild, your propaganda machine is pumping out biased garbage to incite your like-minded small fan base's dislike of Brownback.

The majority of Kansas voters seem to be quite happy with the man and his agenda having voted him into office and supplementing his agenda by electing like-minded legislators.

I'm not necessarily very religious or political, What I am is disgusted and irate at "faux" journalists who pretend they are not propagandists.

This is why the Lawrence-Journal World is almost bankrupt. Tweaking your news stories to play to an lefty audience of 15% of the general public is not a profitable marketing strategy in any business. Which doesn't say much about the LJW management's expertise.

December 5, 2012 at 3:04 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Prayer in public meetings common in Kansas

Mike1949.

Perhaps you could cite the exact law that is being broken here. That would help to support your contention.

We not looking for court cases. Courts do not make laws. The Constitutional issue is subject to interpretation. The Constitution protects against a state sponsored religion and protects the freedom to practice any religion freely.

You claim a legislature passed a statute forbidding the recitation of a prayer in a public meeting. I'm curious to know what statute that would be as I've never come across it in 40 years of studying the law.

Opinions are good, but "valid opinions come with supporting arguments". Otherwise, they are simply hot air.

November 25, 2012 at 9:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

All aboard the dinner train

While I am generally not in favor of these type of taxpayer funded financings of private ventures or city-built industrial parks, the city is very minimally exposed here and it's a done deal. I might have been hard to convince to vote for this, but now that it is a fait accompli, let's make it work.

I say let's give these gentlemen some encouragement and support to make this a success for them and everyone in town. I have met the guys involved and they are train enthusiasts and genuinely want to offer all of us a great benefit.

Reading all this sniping and the negative comments in the Signal and LJ World is not a "welcome mat" for the risks they are taking to benefit all of us too.

Their target market is the surrounding populations within 250 miles. That encompasses a very large potential customer base that is comfortable spending $60 for a good meal and trip. And those folks will spend additional dollars in the area and provide employment for our community.

Keep in mind they ran a successful and profitable operation in Nebraska for 24 years. Part of the reason they needed financial assistance coming here was the short time frame they had to make decisions and move the equipment.

Those that complain about the shortness of the current track system should realize that as the system adds equipment and income the track system can grow and improve. Although there would be huge obstacles, a rebuilding of the tracks to Lawrence through the Vinland Valley would be great someday.

I intend to keep an open mind, refrain from criticism and give these guys their opportunity to show us what they got without insulting them upfront.

November 15, 2012 at 4:11 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Douglas County Commission to discuss priorities for road and bridge projects

The residents and taxpayers of Baldwin City would like to know more about the above mentioned project costing us another $87,000 since only a tiny number of people seem to even know anything about it and most citizens know nothing of it.

Since our school supertendent has essentially bankrupted our school district and caused many of our retired, elderly neighbors to sell their homes and move due to high property taxes, the district seems, once again, intent on pawning off their sidewalk and street problems on municipal taxpayers. (Items they should have considered when they passed the new school bond issue.)

The taxpayers of Baldwin City are quite fed up by these secret projects that seem to spring up from no where, like this project and the High Street / Highway 56 intersection project.

These projects seem to benefit a very few of our new, wealthier neighborhoods and have led to a complete neglect of the residential neighborhoods in the center of the city.

And frankly, a silent majority is quite fed up.

November 5, 2012 at 4:27 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

DA says governor's meetings didn't violate law

"Substantially" is the journalist's chosen text. It is not a quote. The author could just as easily selected the word "definitively" or any other word. Style and bias plays it's part for good or bad.

In a legal sense, "substantial violation" doesn't mean as gray area (as some here seem to wish), it means there was nothing to indicate any action violated the law.

"but that generally they did not intend to violate the act." This also is the journalist's interpretation. It could just as easily have been stated "that we took extraordinary precautions so as not to violate any laws."

Kudo's to the Democrat District Attorney for a fair and balanced investigation. This article should be more about his good judgement and effort to remain non-partisan. I suspect he had pressure from both sides of the political spectrum to try and sway his actions.

Strategy sessions happen with both Democrats and Republicans. If these were unlawful, we'd have representatives running around all confused and uninformed (more so than we do now). "Governors have had regular social gatherings for lawmakers at Cedar Crest for decades." These gatherings have to include both political parties.

The process worked as it was intended. Time to move on and accept the outcome in a non-partisan manner.

August 21, 2012 at 11:51 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

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