Monday, January 27, 2014


                           INCORRECTLY, AND APPLYING THE WRONG
                                                                  Groucho Marx

     In the Clinton presidential lame duck days there was a push to take as much land from the states and create new National Monuments.  Around 80 to 90 percent of Utah is now owned by the Federal Government.  This included taking some state owned lands.  You will find that huge amounts of western states are owned by the Federal Government.
      Other than local outrage the rest of the country seems to have taken the drastic moves of the government with very little concern.  There has been very little said about the taking of lands because the excuse is always that it is in the "public trust".  "It is your lands and safe from exploitation".
     OK, TELL ME WHAT YOU WOULD DO if you woke up in the morning and you are no longer the legal owner of your house or properties?  You were not any longer a resident of your state?  You have no right to the civil protection that your city, county, state, or even the federal government provided?
      You are now squatting on tribal land and were subject to the rules of the tribal council?  Your legal title to any real estate whether paid for or not was no longer yours?  Even though your family may have homesteaded the area and title has been handed down through the generations?
     And all of this is done not by legislation or invasion, but by the ruling of the EPA, Bureau of Land Management, and Department of Justice?  How would you react?
     If this seems like a bad novel or an Internet rumor I direct your attention to Riverton Wyoming (pop. 11,000).  I have to since I have not seen this mentioned on ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN, nor my regional newspaper.
     Let me quote the Washington Times, (seems nobody picked this one up).  "Residents of Riverton Wyoming, a quiet town of 11,000 were shocked to wake up one recent morning to learn they were now Indians.  Sort of.  Their town had been taken over by an Indian tribe without a bullet or arrow being fired.  This hasn't happened since Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, having put the torch to the south, arrived to take on the Nez Pierce  Yet no battles were fought last month.  The Environmental Protection Agency simply approved an application by the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes to declare the newly expanded tribal region henceforth to be treated "as a state".
     The boundary questions had been settled in 1905 by Congress.  Yet this moved to thwart the law by unelected bureaucrats.  And it was all justified by an obscure part of the clean air act.  It is noted that the actions had been in negotiation with the tribes for several months.
      This area comprises over one million acres of land.  Of course the Wyoming Governor is outraged.  Governor Matt Mead is vowing not to honor the bureaucratic moves.*
     It took me a long time to try and verify whether this was one of those Internet hoaxes.   Since there was no national mention anywhere that I ever heard I started checking newspapers in the area.  Not everyone had run the story.  I checked with Snope's and got nothing, (I don't fully trust Snope's anyway due to its ownerships political leanings).
      I started collecting stories from the Billings Montana, Riverton Wyo., the Daily Caller newspapers.  Now I am getting theories that may sound bazaar but fit into published plans and proposals.
     I am sure that this is a test run to see how much the American Public will take without extreme reaction.  And if you believe everything that has been happening in this country it makes you very unsettled.
      If you heed the lessons that history has taught us, this is very strange times to be alive.  Is it any comfort that the news and peoples attention is diverted from international crisis, restricting our own energy policies? And focus on a speeding ticket by a spoiled 19 year old singer, seeing how much breast can be exposed on television, and that the president will rule with a pen and telephone if Congress does not do his bidding?
     *Star Tribune, Washington Times, Daily Caller, Snopes

Friday, January 24, 2014


                            YOU CAN LEAD A MAN TO CONGRESS,
                                   BUT YOU CAN'T MAKE HIM THINK.
                                                    Milton Berle

            My great grandfather traded a farm in Oklahoma for the home place in Sedgwick County Kansas in the early 20th century.  My Grandfather rode his pony up the former Chisholm Trail herding the livestock while the girls and Great Grandma rode in the automobile.  It must have been quite an adventure.
      The home place is on 119th street west juts north of 23rd (Pawnee).  My dad's folks bought a farm on Maize Road just north of Harry street.  That farm had been owned by a local bootlegger.  I always wondered why the great big chicken house had a full basement under it.  Come to find out the place could have been paid for if grandpa had just let the bootlegger use his straw stack to hide hooch in.
      I am 3rd generation Goddard graduate and went to work for the Sedgwick County Fire Department.  My first station was right on Tyler Road which at the time was the Wichita city limits.
     I also served as an elected official (township trustee).  I also worked for two years at Old Cowtown Museum.  Without going into further detail I use this to qualify myself as being close enough and experienced enough to write about Wichita Kansas.
      It seems that now someone has Century ll in their sites and tearing the structure down really seems to be the goal.  The specifics are a bit fuzzy but the theme is to attract more convention business.
      Many in the power structure of Wichita have always had the tendency to tear down and build new things.  It is like an infection, though there is a strong historic sense in the community, these seem to be outnumbered by those who want to build grand schemes on the foundations of history.
     Those who would point to Old Town as an example of historic preservation and re purposing need to stop and realize that much of what pushed the great area today was by the Minnesota Boys who came in with a lot of dreams and sand and did what those locally could not do.  Now the boys are gone.
      Those of us who were, or are, close to Old Cowtown have had the impression that someone has been lusting for the real estate under it for some new development.  The West Bank Stage that was built by volunteers and paid for by local business, was let fall into disrepair and demolished.  Now apartments are to be built there.
      The community party that is the Wichita River Festival was taken over by those who are into the fast buck and not the party it started out to be.  Now I avoid it.
      The County built the Kansas Coliseum in an area with enough acreage and traffic access to be a major attraction in the Midwest.  All it really lacked was a hotel and a little updating.  The updating was funded and the slight of hand happened when the Intrust Arena was built.  No one yet has explained where the money for the Coliseum went and the property was sold for pennies on the dollar.
     Thank goodness the new owner left the pavilion buildings open because there was never a replacement for them anywhere.
     Looking at the Century ll complex and having been in it many times from the basement to the back stage, I am left wondering at what is so wrong with this place?  The building has become a trademark with, and for Wichita.  If more space is needed then add on.  They are moving the Library anyway.  But to tear it down borders on insanity.  Unless of course you are in a position to do the work.
      Developments like this are another reason that I love living in Barber County where the pace is slower and common sense has not left everyone.
      A word to those in power.  Do what you will but the insanity will label you forever when you tear that building down.  I hope you can manage the new facility better than you have the Water Walk.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


                          COST MY GENERATION TO PRESERVE YOUR
                                  FREEDOM.  I HOPE YOU WILL MAKE
                                           GOOD USE OF IT."
                                                         John Quincy Adams

  It is happening again!  This is the time of year to call in the dogs, cancel bowling, hug your kids.  The most dangerous time of the year. 

     In Kansas late winter and early spring the capital is buzzing with all of the elected Representatives, Senators, and Lobbyists.  The annual attack on your pocket book and your emotions begins.  I listened to the State of the State address and the rebuttal afterwards and have concluded that things have not changed all that much.
     As speeches go I have to give the Gov. good marks on his presentation.  Also this is the first time that I have ever heard his opponent (predictably sounded a bit whiny), or even know who he is.  It has been a fact for many years even though the state is overwhelmingly Republican, the Republican Governors last one term and the Democrats last two.  To say the least this upcoming campaign will be interesting.
      I have not been enamored with either party and it is a shame that the things talked about during the election process are not about what most people want to hear.  It is a glaring truth that one side will whine about not funding education.  And another truth that no matter how much money is thrown at schools it will never be enough.
     The education system from top to bottom is a ripoff and disgrace to both the taxpayer and student.  The fact that we can be in the top ten states is not as shining as the fact that the country has dropped down on the level of some third world countries.
      It has been a constant that if you want to pass anything no matter how silly the first thing you have to shout is 'it is for the kids'.  Should it not bother anyone that the shining education system is actually behind the home schooled kids when the SAT's are in?
     There are so many other things that are being let go in the pursuit of taking more than 50% of the budget to put in schools.  I had a State Senator from the Kansas City region once tell me that "Kansas has the top roads in the country and has no business building any more".  HUH!!!!?
      They still build more roads around the KC area and they think that is good enough for the whole state!  The DOT budget has been the slush fund for the last three administrations.  Even though it was a campaign pledge that it would not be.  Highway projects that were on the drawing board when I got out of high school have not been finished.  KDOT (Kan be Done Over Time) has managed to turn projects that used to be finished in five years into multi generational projects.
     No matter what the letter behind the Governor has been the DOT goes out of its way to take the most expensive routes, takes out as many businesses as possible, builds through swamps, and keeps engineers busy for a career on two or three projects.  They build through historic places, grave yards, and build the European folly, the Round A Bout.
    The US 54 project announced by then representative Tiahrt is no where to be found.  The Southeast turnpike or interstate is a made up US 400 which is signs printed and put up along existing roads.  US 96 to the Northwest seems to be stopped around Hutchinson.
     The one thing I try to bring up every time I am around any of our elected ones is that Kansas does not stop at US 81 Highway.  It seems like a battle every year between the three metro areas (KC region, Topeka - Lawrence, and Wichita) and the rest of the state.
     Where do I stand? Well the Gov. sounded like a good speaker and the rebuttal was a bit whinny.  I could start taking either side more seriously if we were talking the Arts, EMS & Fire, making conditions ,really, to attract jobs, and start to seriously address why University Presidents have to be paid millions of dollars and Superintendents of the smallest school districts must make six figures.
      I can go on and on but I reiterate my warning.  Be very afraid the Legislature is in session.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


                             DANCE LIKE NOBODY IS WATCHING,
                                       AND LIVE LIKE IT'S HEAVEN ON EARTH.
                                                               Mark Twain

      One of the great things about Kansas is the number and quality of talented people that lives here and comes from here.  There is a project that the WESTERN MUSIC ASSOCIATION - KANSAS chapter has been working on for a while that is finally ready.  It is called KANSAS COWBOY.  It is a double CD set of Kansas artists in Western Music, Western Swing, Cowboy Poetry, and Bluegrass.  Twenty artists and twenty nine tracks of mostly original pieces, some never recorded before.
      So on January 19 the chapter will host a CD debut party at the EMMA CHASE MUSIC HALL in downtown Cottonwood Falls.  It is free to the public.  There will be snacks and many of the artists to sing their songs from 3:30 pm until 5:30pm.
     This is also a great way to explore historic Kansas.  The Cottonwood Falls and Strong City area of the Flint hills.  Not all businesses will be open but Emma Chase Cafe will be and others may open for a while.  You will get to see the Flint Hills in it's winter clothes and with the leaves off you may see a lot of things you won't in the summer time.
      The production, engineering, and mastering of the CD's are by Jim Farrell of Jim Farrell Studios Towanda Kansas.  You may know him better as Jim from the Diamond W Wrangler's.  He has his roots in Nashville where he started working in the recording studios at age 16.  In a facility in downtown Towanda that is a work in progress Jim records for Rex Allen Jr. and Roy Rogers Jr. and many others.
      Artist featured on the project are from all corners of Kansas and a few who came back home to be a part of the project.
     FEATURED ARTISTS INCLUDE:  Marshall Allen Bailey of dodge City, Judy Coder of Topeka, Jeff Davidson of Eureka, Geff Dawson of Alma, Diamond W Wranglers of Wichita, Kerry Grohmbacher of New Orleans, Brad Hamilton of Topeka, Fred Hargrove of Monte Vista CO., Raleigh Lackey of Wichita, Ed LaValley of Wellington, Prairie Rose Rangers of Benton, Roger Ringer of Medicine Lodge, Del Schields of Humboldt, David Smart of Olathe, Tall Grass Express String Band of Elmdale, Three Trails West of Kansas City, Barry Ward of Elbert CO., Johnny Western of Mesa AZ., Ron Wilson of Manhattan, Annie Wilson of Elmdale, and Zerf of Manhattan.
      The CD set is for sale at the event.  It can also be ordered at for $20 plus shipping.
      If you want to come up for the event it would be great if you would RSVP at so we know how much snacks and drinks to provide.  Location of the Emma Chase Music Hall is 220 1/2 Broadway in Cottonwood Falls.  You can also call 620-273-6020.

Friday, January 3, 2014


                       THAT THERE WAS IN ME AN INVINCIBLE
                                                                 Albert Camus

     I find that as time goes on the things I loved to do have started to change.  Maybe it is the loss of energy or the inevitable deterioration of the body.  I find that I do not embrace the cold as I used to and any desire to go out into it is long past.  I am starting to understand the snowbird's desire to leave the cold places behind and go to Tuscon, or Texas, or Santa Fe.
      If the cold has not alerted to you that it is winter then the ads for all the shows coming to town should have.  When I was young we would load up with a friend of dads and head to the Sport, Boat, & Travel Show just for something to do.  Ice and snow could not stop us from going and seeing the same things that were there every year before.  But we got a great start on loading our tackle boxes. 
     We would go to the heated fishing docks on Fall River, Toronto, and Marion County lakes to set around with our lines in the water trying to catch crappie.  Inevitably we were told that they were really running last week but the lake turned over.  Never saw that phenomenon actually happen but it was always the day before we got there.
      I remember spending the night by a campfire with a chopped open hole in the ice at Toronto Lake and catching the 5am run of crappie while everyone else had headed for the camper.  Mom had a fun time cleaning up the camper after we spilled a pot of chili on the stove.
      Well I am now hearing the latest information of the coldest weather of the year heading our way.  I cannot help but think of the spring ahead.  I have been trying to get interest locally for a larger booth at the Kansas Sampler Festival but it is hard to get others to look forward to the first week in May right now.
      For anyone that does plan ahead the deadline for getting your booth space for you town, area, attraction, or business at the Kansas Sampler needs to get their reservations in by January 31.
     2014 is the 25th anniversary of the KANSAS SAMPLER FESTIVAL.  It rotates in two year increments from one town and region to the other.  The last two years it was at Liberal and they did a great job of hosting it.  This year and next the Sampler is going to be in Wamego.  The area committee is going that extra mile it always takes to put on a great show and experience.
     The purpose of the KANSAS SAMPLER FESTIVAL is to provide the public with a sample of what there is to see, do, hear, taste,  buy, and learn in Kansas.  Each region in the state has a tent as well as commercial and entertainment.  There is always something going on on the several stages that they have each year.
      So as you hibernate waiting for that next cold snap to come and go you want to start your planning to attend the KANSAS SAMPLER FESTIVAL at WAMEGO KANSAS on MAY 3 & 4, 2014.  For information and registration go to .  I will see you there.