Saturday, March 29, 2014



                                  Roger Ringer

          Five year old kid stopped from saying a prayer in school by teacher who asked for favorite story, boy suspended from school for pointing finger and going 'bang' charged with having a 'class 2 imitation firearm', man who was not cooperating with police has 6 rounds pumped into him (no gun on him), leader of Congress calls all who criticize Obama Care liars, Senator who supports Homeland Security spying is offended when spied on herself.  The list goes on and on.  If you are not politically correct in your thinking or speech you should have no rights.  World War 3 is firing up.  You have to fund abortion even if you believe what your faith tells you.
     It just goes on and on.  What I never would have even considered to be acceptable when I was young is now the norm.  No matter how bizarre and outrageous you have to be 'accepting' or someone will be offended.  Yet I never hear any of those people go out of their way to not offend me.  Funny.
      I write this on my 59th birthday and am overwhelmed at the best wishes piling up on my Facebook.  I realize that there are still people out there who hold the old values as sacred and more agree with me than don't.  Those that don't, and are friends, tolerate my opinion.  In fact the ones who are offended by my opinions and cannot conceive of my opinions generally do not rise to attacking my view points.  There is a difference in discussing and attacking.
     I am more and more being disillusioned at the educational institutions in this country being more worried in mainstreaming thoughts and opinions than encouraging lively discussion and debate.  It is inconceivable to me that many university campuses actual have a designated area for free speech and that penalties can be taken against students that do not register and get permission to use the areas weeks in advance.
     It also amazes me that people can criticize the 'Rich' while eating a $35,000 dollar a plate fundraiser.  That news is made when a startlingly under talented TV star by complaining about how hard she has it raising her kids, and managing her nanny and her nanny's driver.
     It is refreshing to know that there are more incompetent government leaders than ours.  Like you can say the plane is definitely lost in this area, without one piece of wreckage being picked up.  And this is repeated over and over in the news cycle as fact.  Hey guys, let me know when you actually find something!
      Well it is nice to know that everyone in the world is crazy but you and me.  And sometimes I wonder about you.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


                           THE RIGHT THING - AFTER THEY HAVE
                                        TRIED EVERYTHING ELSE.
                                                       Winston Churchill

     My how the innocents can be led to the slaughter.  If you don't see it coming it is over quickly.  We are so free from the various agencies of the Federal Government and whims, regulations, and actions they take in other parts of the country.  Very little of Kansas and the Plains are owned or controlled by the Federal government. Consequently, we are blissfully ignorant of how divisive they can be towards the individual farmer, rancher, and land owner.
     Every issue of RANGE MAGAZINE that I receive fuels the resentment that I have for out of control public agencies and the manipulation of them by groups and well heeled individuals with their legions of lawyers and lawsuits.  Yet when someone here reads the magazine they are so shocked that they think it is not true and that the publication is a radical rag.  Yet Range Magazine prints the verifiable truth.  It is their investigative reporters that have uncovered multitudes of unethical and illegal practices.  They also report on the ranchers who are stripped of their rights, properties, and some put into prison.
     How can the government 'of the people' turn into the enemy of it's own citizens?  Power and greed!  The concept that has been the back bone of the US Forest Service that was created and signed into law by Teddy Roosevelt known as 'Multiple Use' has been done away with.  The management of our public lands has been hijacked by interests that are dedicated to destroying the grazing rights of the ranchers that have been leasing the public lands for generations.
      Between special interest groups, political appointees, radical organizations, and a man with the resources to file and pursue lawsuits for decades has driven families off the land.  The resultant mismanagement by our natural resources is creating the largest disaster in years.  Accumulating each season the burning of the west is a result of pop science and political hacking.
     The lie of the Spotted Owl put hundreds of loggers, logging companies and the economies that depended on them out of business.  The 'fragile' owl has been found thriving in second growth timber which had not even been look for before.
     Government employees deliberately cut fence and let cattle into areas off limits for grazing repeatedly so ranchers would be fined and barred from running lease lands again.  Even putting into prison a rancher and son who backfired their ranch to keep the Federal Forest's fire from destroying their property because the back fire crossed into the federal area marginally.  Pictures of US Forestry service fire units staying off private ground paints a terrible picture of politics gone wild. When the private fire resources would fight on into public lands but the reverse was not true.  Who paid the taxes for the federal units in the first place?
     Huge stands of diseased timber stand without a concerted effort to clear them, to prevent future fires, will continue the string of huge fires that have plagued the west.  I have written in the past that the size, severity and scope of the fires in the West has yet to be realized.
      As bad as the last several fires seasons have been we have not seen the worst.  It was published in al Qaeda sites to spread the Jihad to the Western United States.  Many of the fires that the country has suffered have not had the sources identified.  It is not unreasonable to assume that if our own arsonists have started many fires, that those who openly wage war on us will also.
     We will never get a handle on the fires or any other problem until this country puts petty politics aside and start acting like a free nation again.
     If we continue to elect those who have no interest in what is best for their constituents and only follow power politics, we can expect more disasters.
     The drought in the west is having severe consequences because the infrastructure to hold water for these times have been dismantled by radical environmental groups one law suit at a time.  The water to keep agriculture running in California has been diverted around to 'save' a rare bait fish.
      Putting our heads in the sand will still have the same result it always has.  When the head is pulled out everyone will say "how did this happen?"

Monday, March 17, 2014


      Margret Walker
     Have you every just wanted to have some friends over, or a lot, for a nice evening but want to avoid dull and boring conversation?  What about a HOME CONCERT? 
     Many people think you have to have a lot of money or connections to get professional entertainers to come do parties or events.  Well there is a type of concert that many entertainers will do as they travel through from one gig to another.  Many of these entertainers are in Folk, Bluegrass, Western, and Acoustic music.  These are entertainers that really love to get to know their fans and are at home setting in the lawn chair in the backyard as in a fancy hotel suite.
     We have a backyard concert twice a year, if we can, and have friends of mine in Western music perform.  We let everyone know what is going on and when.  We make the concert into a pot luck supper so we don't have to figure out what to cook.  We tell everyone to bring one dish and their lawn chair.
     We generally do this on a weeknight because the artists generally have a paying gig on Saturday nights.  We have anywhere from 50 to150 people show up.  But you can do it on the space you have.  Nobody fails to have a good time.
     To make it worth the artists time we put out a jar and all the money donated goes to the artist.  We do not take any part of it.  We, also, put them up for the night and feed breakfast the next morning.  This saves them some expense and let us get to know them better.
      This works well for individual artists and duos.  But we have had all four members of the Diamond W Wranglers here.  I have friends in the Western Music Association that are traveling through here from New Orleans, Albuquerque, and Dallas.  We all have a great time.
     So how can you have a concert at your place?  Simple.  Through the Big Rural Brainstorm that the Kansas Sampler Foundation sponsors there is a group of us that formed KAN-REN (Kansas Rural Entertainment Network).  For now it is a Facebook page.  Like the group and you can find names of entertainers and make connections with people who have had these events for information.
     You do not have to be the richest person in the community to have a good time with good music.  Oh and it is more than music.  We have members who are Cowboy Poets and ventriloquists.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Modern version of a quote by Chief Edward Croker FDNY
This quote is given to each class of recruits joining the New York City Fire Department (FDNY).  And probably many others.  But each individual firefighter everywhere knows this quote even if they don't know where it came from.  It is a principle that they live by.
      It is a question in the mind of many people as to why, when everyone is running to get away from a fire, some run toward it.
   There is a crisis building in this country and many elected officials, city and county managers are dealing with.  Some with utter disregard for the needs of our citizens.
      First let me start with this.  Congratulations to Joe Cox (47 years), Keith Rathenberger (33 county, 20 city), Tome Farney (HFD 20, KFD 20), Jerry McNamar (31), and Ed Hermon (27).  These are retirees from the Kiowa Kansas Volunteer Fire Department.  The numbers indicate years of service, some with more than one department.
     The years of service are an indicator of the age of firefighters all across the nation.  Kiowa is fortunate that they have young members stepping into each position.  Yet the depth of the department numbers could be larger.  This department has been able to side step the problems that are affecting the fire service nationwide.
     Everyday the news of the death of a firefighter, or officer, comes in and at least 1/3 of the time, or more, it is due to a heart attack suffered on a call or afterward.  It is reflective of the age crisis in the volunteer service.  It is also the trend of early heart attack and stroke suffered by firefighters at a younger age than the general population.
     So does everyone appreciate what the members of the fire departments do?  NO!  There are any number of towns, cities, townships, and districts across the country who are more concerned with saving money than equipping and training fire departments.  Compound the fact that the rural areas are losing young people as fast as they graduate and there are few young people to replace the aging and increasingly unhealthy members.
     There are also huge numbers of taxpayers who give more attention of cutting taxes.  Yet they expect the best and fastest service when it is their house on fire.
     There is a small town not far from home that has one old fire rig.  It is a grass fire rig and not even an engine.  There were only two men there that could take the unit out on a fire.  The town is in an extremely remote area of the county.  The closest department is over 20 miles away.  One of the men had had open heart surgery.  The other had heart problems.  Both were over 70.  One had to finally move into a larger town for health reasons.  That left one man with heart trouble.  When a call would come in he would pull out to the county road and wait for a local cowboy to come by and recruit him to go to the fire.
     I have not been there for a few years so I don't even know if there is anyone left to take the truck out.  Many departments are recruiting women because they are available and willing to step in.  Yet it remains to be seen if small departments can survive.
     To compound these problems there are certain minimum equipment and training standards that are law laid down by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) and backed by insurance companies.  Many of these standards are formed by large professional departments, code services, and legislation.  Many are all but impossible for a small underfunded department to even come close to.
     There are legal liabilities.  Many departments do not know the responsibilities that the law assigns to the fire chief.  From Code enforcement, investigation and police powers, maintaining minimum standards, and planning for major incidents.  The fact that the fire statutes, that authorize the existence of fire departments and regulations, does not differentiate between Volunteer or Professional.  Either term is not even mentioned in state statute.  With the authorization is the liability of discharging the duties.
     The very real possibility that regular inspection of facilities, training standards, and safety concerns can be prosecuted, and have as a criminal case.  Then there is the civil liability.
      But malfeasance is generally done by someone with the purse strings.  As an example, Houston Texas Fire Department is one of the recognised largest and best fire departments in the world.  This does not insulate them from budget cutters.  The city fathers have just voted to build a multi million dollar pet park and have slashed the fire department budget to the point that stations will be closed.  There is possibility of lay offs and the response times will go to the point that the danger to the public and firefighters will sky rocket.  This from a city that just buried five firefighters.
     Another city has a volunteer department but does have paid drivers in the station.  They recently created a new fire station and added new engines and equipment to the department.  There is an opening there right now and the ad reads, "maintenance and fire truck driver position open".  The main duties of the fire truck driver is Janitor at City Hall.  Most departments require several years experience and testing to become the Engineer (driver).  There is a lot more to 'driving' and operating a fire truck.  It is not for just anyone who hires in off the street to start at.  Although when I hired on in 1974 my department ran two man engine companies and I started to drive after 3 shifts of intense instruction.  It did help that I was a farm boy and had rode out with the department for several months as a volunteer.
     Can every department and entity do things better?  You bet.  Do some try?  Yep and many go over and above.  But the value that the community puts on its fire departments has a reflection on the values on the itself.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


 Lord Acton
     An old crime from the old west is making a comeback.  But then, it never really left.  Cattle Rustling!  As times get harder and the value of livestock goes up, there is always the lazy who will steal from others and try to live a life without pride.
     Maybe the city life can be done in an anonymous fashion but here a persons character and honesty still count.  Reputation takes a lifetime to build and a moment to destroy.  It is amazing how even those who know better get caught up in corrupt acts.
     Over the years a judge in Oklahoma, Sheriff in Kansas, contract manager, and many others.  It seems tempting to take something that can be quick cash and since it is out on pasture it may be sold and in hamburger before the owner knows it is gone.
     In 2013 by November there were 835 head of cattle stolen in Oklahoma.  This is a 16% increase over 2012.  In Pratt County 12 head of 13-1500 pound cattle were stolen in Feb. 2014.  29 head of heifers were stolen southwest of Sharon.  They were 500 - 550 pounders and mostly black.
     A man who had problems borrowed a trailer from an auctioneer and it showed up across the state with a load of stolen calves.  Of course the trailer was traced back to the well meaning auctioneer.  Luckily he was proved innocent.
     There has been a rash of building break ins and stolen trailers also.
      Kansas is still the highest state for cattle theft in the nation.  We have a unique amount of access and remoteness.  It is not an unusual sight to have a pick up pulling a trailer all hours of the day and night.  So often it is done right under our noses.
     Kansas has brand laws but they are not mandatory.  The Kansas Department of agriculture has two investigators that assist other agencies in investigating thefts but it is not enough.
     Oklahoma passed a bill in 2001 authorising Ag Dept. Agents to investigate livestock thefts, arson in forests, and timber theft.  There are nine state investigators.
     There is another deterrent in Texas and Oklahoma.  The Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Association.  The association employs 29 Special Rangers that work both states as well as members in other states.  These are deputized special Texas Rangers with jurisdiction in both Texas and Oklahoma.  They maintain ties with law enforcement agencies throughout North America.
     Until the Kansas gets serious about cattle and other Ag theft this will continue to be a problem.  Brand laws need to be enforced and mandatory and a group of investigators like Oklahoma, Texas, and Missouri have to concentrate on Ag crime.
     There is a bright spot that is trying to make a difference and it was initiated and run by the Sedgwick County Sheriff's office.  C.A.L.I.N. is a Facebook page that information and pictures are posted on for Construction, AG, and Livestock Information Network.  you can contact at Facebook CALIN, 316-660-0750, or This is a statewide program.
     Our farmers and ranchers work too hard for a thief to take away his living.