Current Events, SEK

As far as “things you find money for to make it happen” goes, this is one of them in education. You do not fail students that work their asses off to qualify for Nationals, because these are the students doing everything right. You do not shit on those kids like that. Debate and Forensics programs are literally one of the few opportunities students have to learn and apply skills that genuinely go on to serve them in the real world the rest of their lives. If you want to help them, visit their GoFundMe page.

“I was kind of expecting it when I heard that our district was cut so much money and we got the final word from our principal and he’s still trying to find ways to help us pay for it.” PHS Debate Coach Julie Laflen, K-12 cuts hit PHS debate; The Morning Sun

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Issues, SEK

Kansas just took one of the best possible scenarios for a casino in SEK and pissed all over the opportunity out of petulance.

The Quapaw Tribe’s Downstream Casino Resort, of Oklahoma, withdrew from a partnership in a Kansas state-owned casino proposal citing a hostile and adversarial environment created when the Kansas attorney general filed a federal lawsuit to halt a separate plan by the Tribe to expand its existing casino. Quapaw’s Downstream Casino Cites Kansas’ Hostile Environment, Lawsuit, For Withdrawing From Proposal Partnership; KOAM TV

Ruffin’s proposal is still in play, but I feel like this substantially hurts the possibility of it being selected. Not to mention it cripples part of what made the proposal so appealing to begin with.

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CC by 2.0 puuikibeach
SEK

Highway to Hell

About a month before the election last year, Governor Sam Brownback made an announcement in Arma, KS that, at the time, I openly called bullshit on. It looked like a publicity stunt, and it smelled like a publicity stunt. His opponent, Paul Davis, even made an incredibly prescient statement that “the enhancement project could unravel if the Brownback administration withdrew funding from the state’s T-Works transportation program to fill budget gaps left by unexpected revenue shortfalls associated with the governor’s income tax cuts.”

The reason I said that, was because Crawford county has been begging for the completion of the 69 expansion for quite some time, and it’s also one of the largest Democrat concentrations outside of Lawrence, Kansas City, and Wichita. However, there’s been a very vocal debate over the issue from folks along 400 Highway. The timing of the announcement was far too convenient to be anything but pandering. As Davis worried, Brownback did exactly what was predicted in raiding the highway fund (though the administration has maintained that planned expansion projects won’t be impacted… for now). Continue reading

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Issues, SEK

Obviously correlation and causation are different things we must consider, but we’re seeing this conversation an awful lot in recent years. The question becomes one of risk-reward: how much risk are we willing to assume in the pursuit of energy resources given our long term rewards (keeping in mind, the ability to continue relying on fossil fuels is not a reward), and at what point do we establish the line in the sand to force reconsideration?

“Reports of earthquakes in Kansas have shot up recently, particularly in the state’s south-central region. Now, scientists are connecting them to the disposal of wastewater that is a byproduct of the oil-and-gas extraction process. Rick Miller, geophysicist and senior scientist for the Kansas Geological Survey, told the Lawrence Journal-World, ‘we can say there is a strong correlation between the disposal of saltwater and the earthquakes.'” Political tremors: Kansas officials link earthquakes to fracking-related process, FoxNews.com

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Issues, SEK

If I Were a Betting Man

On the 24th, news came out of Cherokee County of another group interested in petitioning the state for the construction of a casino in southeastern Kansas. They join two other projects also underway that are making similar proposals for Crawford County. This is interesting, because in the end, only one project can proceed – not all three. Kansas is divided into four “gaming zones,” and each zone can only have one casino that is under the leadership (in various weird and bureaucratic ways) of the Kansas Lottery Commission. The SEK gaming zone is the last one without a  casino operating in it.

This is, mostly, good news for SEK. While I myself am not much of a gambler, I’m a big fan of the dining establishments that frequently accompany them, not to mention the concerts. I’m also a supporter of letting people game with their money if that’s what they feel the need to do. And with Amazon leaving Montgomery County, having a casino built in the area will give a huge boost to the job and tax pool in the entire area. Lord knows we can use all the revenue flow we can get these days. So, a whole lot of upside to this process. Continue reading

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Current Events, SEK

I Don’t Know If It’s Art, but…

To get the ball rolling here, I thought a local matter – of limited conflict – would be a good thing to start with. Brought to my attention recently was the debate brewing within the population of the SEK Art Fest. For the past couple years, the Art Fest has worked with the City of Pittsburg to bring a sculpture competition to downtown Pittsburg. They put together a theme (visualized through the common sculpt the artists use), and then businesses sponsor artists to decorate and present the works for an extended period downtown until a point where they then auction off the works to raise money to support the arts in Crawford County. All in all, A Good Thing™ (save the bit of vandalism that took place, because some people are just dicks).

The issue at hand deals with folks who apparently bought footballs (the subject of the sculpts) this year, and have or intended to repaint them. The question being: is it right or wrong? The answer is yes.

Continue reading

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