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Pride in Our Ride

SALINA, Kan. - This city is not the center of the universe.  But it is a regional hub.  And it's the place where recently an unlikely outcome, well, came out.  

That is, the Salina City Commission voted 3-2 on May 14 to add lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people to its non-discrimination list.   It and the death of our first, famous, woman astronaut have made our city and state an important universal, not just regional hub.
Sally Ride, astronaut and former spouse of Steve Hawley, the astronaut who claims Salina as his hometown, just came out -- in her obituary.  

Ironies echo to the heavens.  Sally Ride, the first woman to play a crucial role in our search for greater knowledge of the universe, was herself unknown in a basic personal sense. While she escaped the bounds of earth, our knowledge of her was buried under it.  Sally Ride rode a rocket clean out of this world, but could not come out of the closet. 

GREAT BEND, Kan. - Democracy, Capitalism. Two very American words. Our forefathers and military men and women have fought to keep Communism at bay. What is shocking is to find it, right here in your very own home town

In a tough economy it might make sense to find a way to lower taxes, quit spending on unnecessary items, but we just can't seem to stop. Are politicians in Great Bend trying to spend their way out of a slumping economy?

WICHITA, Kan. - All across America there is a noticeable rise in police brutality against nonviolent citizens courageously speaking out against corruption and inequality within the American political system.

On November 16th, in Wichita, Kansas a group of protesters were unaware they were about to face some brutal treatment by the Wichita police for exercising their First Amendment freedoms, too.

As citizens, the group of protesters decided to register (which was required) and attend Governor Brownback's Town Hall Meeting. The meeting was publicized as an event to discuss child poverty in Kansas.

Most of us think of a town hall meeting like the Norman Rockwell painting where citizens stand and speak while officials listen and learn something. This was not the format for the meeting. It was a very controlled affair with far more show than substance. As others have rightly complained, the meeting was held in the early afternoon. The odd time frame made it impossible for the people who work full time but have the most knowledge or insight about child poverty from attending.

Those citizens who did attend were required to sit at assigned tables. Instead of a panel discussion of various views or open discussion with everyone in the room, the meeting was simply a lecture sponsored by the the Heritage Foundation known as a very bias, conservative think tank.

Great Bend Politics Gone Awry

man-sheep-taxpayers.jpgGREAT BEND, Kan. - Corruption in Federal politics is all too common. What really surprises me is when we have possible corruption at a local level. Right here in Great Bend.

All of us know that a corporation named Red Barn came into Great Bend. This week, through research, I found a deed to Mayor Mike Allison's home. What most of us don't know is that Kan-Can Holdings LLC, which owns Red Barn, purchased Mayor Mike Allison's home in February of 2010. Actually, his house was first purchased by a Red Barn executive, and then within a year, completely transferred to the corporation.

When Red Barn came into Great Bend, the city gave Red Barn thousands of dollars in cash incentives (which come out of taxes; citizens in Great Bend pay this) and also hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax incentives (taxes that Red Barn would have owed but will not have to pay).

In essence, Mayor Mike Allison took hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the Great Bend current and future budgets to give to this company. Shortly thereafter, his house was sold to the same corporation.

EMPORIA, Kan. - Sorry I haven't posted in awhile folks but I've been busy with a city council primary race. The primary is tomorrow and if I'm fortunate enough to get into the general on April 5th I'll have even less time to keep writing but I'll try.

OK, so why am I running? Simple enough. The current city council is out of touch with the pocket book issues of the average voter.

Mayor & CEO
Joe Reardon
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A recent headline in the Kansas City Star announced Wyandotte County in the midst of a historic building boom. Wyandotte County, located in the northeast corner of the state, includes Kansas City, Kansas, as well as several other municipalities, and is governed by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas.

While Kevin Collins, the reporter who wrote the Star article, details several of the construction projects that are fueling the Wyandotte County economic boom, one thing he failed to mention was that Wyandotte County is the only county in Kansas that has been governed for years by Big D Democrats. It also is the only county in the state that in the November 2010 election returned all its Democratic representatives to the state legislature and Democrat Janet Waugh to the State Board of Education.

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Our annual Community Cultural Harmony Week (CCHW) provides the community with the opportunity to stretch boundaries and leave one's usual comfort zones in order to arrive at new levels of understanding on a personal and communal level about the human diversity that surrounds us.Photobucket

Founded 22 years ago by Barbara Baker to targeted general problems and concerns of both U.S. and international citizens, the Week was the direct result of an unfortunate incident that occurred in what was then Bushwacker's Club in Aggieville in June of 1987. Puerto Rican students had rented the club to celebrate the day of San Juan (St. John the Baptist), the patron saint of the island and of its capital city. Bushwacker's employees hung signs that referred to San Juan, using obscene language, and the case was finally taken to the state attorney general's office, with the decision against the club for its actions.

Women's Equality DayMANHATTAN, Kan. - August 26th marked the 19th Amendment's 90th anniversary. On August 18, 1920, the Tennessee General Assembly, by a one-vote margin became the thirty-sixth state legislature to ratify the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. On August 26, 1920, Tennessee  Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the amendment's adoption.  Women finally had universal suffrage in the U.S.  The campaign to achieve this feat had taken 72 years to complete.

The campaign began in 1848, when Gerrit Smith was nominated as the Liberty Party's presidential candidate and included in his acceptance speech a demand for "universal suffrage in its broadest sense, females as well as males being entitled to vote."  A month later, on July 19-20, 1848, in upstate New York, the Seneca Falls Convention on women's rights was hosted by Lucretia Mott, Mary Ann M'Clintock and Elizabeth Cady Stanton; some 300 attended including Frederick Douglass, who stood up to speak in favor of women's suffrage to settle an inconclusive debate on the subject.

While women nationally did not get the vote until 1920, Kansas and it's progressive leaders gave women the right to vote in 1912.

senior-citizen-nursing-home.jpgMANHATTAN, Kan. - On March 23, 2010, after a year of partisan fighting, President Obama signed into law a bill that reform the nation's $2.5 trillion health-care system. Known as the H.R.3590 - Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, this legislation will expand health care coverage to 31 million uninsured Americans through a combination of cost controls, subsidies and mandates. The cost of this reform is estimated to run close to $848 billion over a 10 year period. The cost is to be fully offset by new taxes and revenues and would actually reduce the deficit by $131 billion over the same period.

One thing for sure is that an abundance of disinformation about this legislation is streaming out of the Right's propaganda machine. In an effort to provide the public with tools to separate fact from fiction about H.R. 3590, the Manhattan Alliance for Peace and Justice (MAPJ) will host an informational Health Care Forum on Monday, 26 July, from 5:30-7:00pm at the Manhattan Public Library Auditorium.

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Women, have you ever been walking home alone at night, and jumped at every twig that snaps, or has your heart skipped a beat when a shadow crosses your path, do you go over self defense scenarios in your head? Many of us are aware of the rules for walking alone at night: do not listen to your headphones, do not talk on your phone, have your keys ready in your hand. The reality is often times, women do not feel safe walking alone after dark. Many women I know will not even walk alone at night on the K-State campus, a place where we feel safe and at home most of the time. It is time to "Take Back the Night"!

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