Archive for Wednesday, November 3, 1999

A community without blinders

Shouts and murmurs

November 3, 1999

It was standing-room-only last Wednesday night in the council chambers when the planning commission met to decide on a special-use zoning request for Meier Ready Mix. I attended to gauge for myself the feelings of the community. There was a lot of caring exhibited for our town. I came away secure in the realization that this is a community without blinders, a group of people looking at the whole picture for the betterment of all.

It is difficult to know where industry, such as a concrete plant, should be located. Industry has a place in a growing community, but it will be a challenge to find the right place.

A neighboring city paper included a letter from a Leavenworth County resident who contended that the Kansas Speedway will pollute the air and increase noise levels. I have been told that residents of Basehor can hear concerts at Sandstone, several miles away. Indeed, the sounds from the speedway may travel far, too, but without traveling to their other locations to see what it is like now, how would one know?

Americans are struck with a growing disease obesity. According to figures released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity has increased by nearly 50 percent in the last nine years. Articles in the newspapers last week included ways to calculate the body mass index to see if someone is overweight or obese. A BMI higher than 30 indicates obesity. Several of us began calculating our own status. One of our slender co-workers had us rolling on the floors when she said her BMI was "a million." It's amazing what a difference a few decimal points will make.

Kansas State University is offering free tuition to students who pledge to remain in the state and teach English as a second language. The program began this fall with 14 students who will receive four years of free tuition, $150 a semester for books and $150 a month for living expenses, provided they keep their grade point average above 2.5. This is funded by a $2.2 million federal grant that also prepares teachers in 16 rural Kansas school districts. This sounds like a valuable opportunity for someone wanting to attend college.

We are told that the Tonganoxie High School marching band received an award for being an "Outstanding Band" in the Oct. 23 American Royal parade. Congratulations to the band, which has doubled in size during the last year, and to director Charles VanMiddlesworth.

The Consumer Federation of America announced last week that Americans' poor savings habits will imperil their retirements. Despite a booming economy, about half of American households have less than $1,000 in ready assets. While lotteries and gambling businesses thrive, we sometimes forget that putting away $50 a week at a 9 percent annual yield would add up to more than $1 million during a 40-year period.

A new license plate features Kansas sunflowers. About 80,000 of the 2.4 million license plates in Kansas are personalized. Known as "vanity tags," these special license plates cost vehicle owners $40 every five years and generate $3.2 million in revenue for the state.

A recent study at the Mid-America Heart Institute at Kansas City's St. Luke's Hospital offers compelling evidence linking improved health to prayer. The research involved 990 heart patients, all who suffered from life-threatening cardiac conditions. Patients who were prayed for by other people fared 11 percent better than those patients in the control group.

Halloween rushed through our town in a huff and a hurry. Before we knew it, the evening had ended and the goblins were fast asleep in bed. With that and the extra hour gained by the clock change during the weekend, time slowed down for a pace.

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