Making ‘cents’ of property tax infatuation under the Kansas Statehouse dome
When the news hit this summer about the state of Kansas’ record-setting revenue in the face of runaway property values, it reminded me of our Legislature’s curious dalliance with property taxes. Statewide lawmakers’ proposals will no doubt be reheated next session, like Salisbury steak leftovers in the refrigerator. But will local officials toss these concerns […]
I knew Kansas officials would overstep after Marion raid. I didn’t expect it to be in Lawrence.
Ding ding ding! We have a winner for the not-at-all-coveted prize of “first Kansas officials to embarrass our state by attacking the free press after the raid on the Marion County Record.” You knew this award was coming. I knew this award was coming. News outlets try to uncover information powerful people want kept secret. […]
School board changes can destroy students’ educational opportunities. We’re paying attention.
As a student who attended the Gardner-Edgerton School District from middle school through high school, graduating only four years ago, it breaks my heart to know my 17-year-old sister has not been enjoying the same quality of education that I did. When I first came to Gardner in the 5th grade, my family worried about […]
As our country confronts serious threats, some Kansans want to laugh them off
As long as news stories and columns have appeared online with a way for readers to make their reactions known, one piece of advice to authors persists. Don’t read the comments. Yet I can’t help but do so when it comes to my work, simply because I’m curious to know what people think. My recent […]
Motorists shouldn’t fear the cops. Let’s make sure the Kansas ‘two-step’ is left behind for good.
Imagine you’re driving on Interstate 70 across Kansas in a used Winnebago you’ve just bought. It’s before dawn and you’re outside Salina and your spouse and your two kids are passengers in the RV, and you’re passing through on a family vacation. Everything seems normal until a car comes up behind you and pulls over […]
Suicide prevention is a priority for me now. Loved ones can help a person who is in crisis.
I live in an old Denver building with six units, one of which was occupied, until recently, by a mathematician. I met this neighbor several years ago when I asked permission to enter her apartment, because I was looking for the building’s main water shut-off valve, which I had reason to believe was located behind […]
Graying politicians across Kansas, U.S. hoard power. A volatile world warrants youthful leadership.
This article is part of U.S. Democracy Day, a nationwide collaborative on Sept. 15, the International Day of Democracy, in which news organizations cover how democracy works and the threats it faces. To learn more, visit usdemocracyday.org. All of a sudden, cracks have spread across the formerly invulnerable wall of U.S. gerontocracy. In case you […]
When a high school student and coach collide, Kansas officials’ sympathy doesn’t flow equally
Possibly the best definition of modern racism came from journalist and author Ta-Nehisi Coates, who described it as “broad sympathy for some, broad skepticism of others.” This axiom came to mind recently during an email exchange with a private school administrator who seemed unbothered by secretly recorded comments his basketball coach, Mitch Fiegel, made about […]
Fixing Kansas’ child welfare system requires the voices of families ‘closest to the pain’
“Those closest to the pain should be closest to the power.” This quote from U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts is the impetus to solving many of the problems faced by Kansans. She meant that policies and laws should be filtered through the experiences of those most affected by them. If they are not capable […]
As censors challenge more books, authors bring a new crop of Kansas literature to annual festival
TOPEKA — One day, Kathleen Wilford observed a girl of about 12 walking home from the bus stop on her street. “She was eating a bag of Doritos and simultaneously absorbed in the book she was reading,” Wilford said. “I was struck by how much she reminded me of me at that age.” So Wilford, […]
Eisenhower defeated authoritarians in Europe. His foundation now covers for one in the U.S.
Kansas’ own Dwight D. Eisenhower served as supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe during World War II and defeated a rising tide of fascism and authoritarianism. As a popular two-term president, he governed as a pragmatic conservative — sustaining prosperity, supporting integration and supporting international alliances. In every way, he lived and governed as […]
There’s a spike in youth suicides. Easy access to guns is part of the problem.
There’s a book I turn to every now and then to remind myself not to surrender to despair. It’s called “Abandoned Topeka: Psychiatric Capital of the World” and it’s a photo album about the forgotten and mostly hidden places around town. The author is Emily Cowan, who writes in the introduction that she lived in […]