Archive for Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Shouts and Murmurs: The sweet sounds of silence

November 20, 2002

Almost three weeks of blessed relief have passed since Kansas' no-call law took effect Nov. 1. Since then, our home phone has been almost free of telemarketers' calls. Shelly Welch, a special agent for Kansas Attorney General Carla Stovall, encourages Kansans who are on the no call list to report telemarketers' calls to her office. There is a $10,000 fine per call. It's difficult, she said, for the state to sue a telemarketer based on one complaint, but as the number of complaints mount, so does the validity of the case. The toll-free phone number for the AG's office is (800) 432-2310.

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What a delight it was to interview Robert Carpenter and Jared Jellison who are featured in this week's Living page story. Although we've never met (both were telephone interviews), I feel as if I know each of them. Their canoe trip turned out to be much different than they had planned. But the two managed to make the most of anticipated rivers that in reality were dry gullies. Being prepared for any changes is what life is all about, Jellison said: "You can't plan nothing," he said. "If you do, you just get turned around that's what life is, that's what's so fun about it."

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For the three years we've listened to the police scanner at our office, Mike Vestal's voice has become as familiar to us as our own. Seven days a week, for 12 to 14 hours a day, he relays law enforcement and emergency messages through the city's radio dispatch service. Mike says he doesn't do the work for the glory, or to be shown appreciation, he just does it because he loves doing it and he loves helping people. I'm proud that I knew Mike when he was a rambunctious teen-ager and I'm proud that I know him today. Thanks Mike, for all you do.

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One of the best parts about being a parent is watching your children mature as they grow. You'd think the two would go hand in hand, but sometimes they're just a little off kilter. Just as soon as you're ready to wring your hands, they do something to renew your faith in them. Or, when you think they're too independent to ever need their mother again, you get a phone call. Son Ted, who attends college in Emporia, called Monday afternoon and said he had a day off on Tuesday and would come up to spend Monday night. That he first collected his dirty laundry to haul along is a small matter it's always great to see our kids walk in the door.

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I read last week that 40 percent of people surveyed said they get into the holiday spirit by listening to Christmas music. That works for me, too. But are we making too much of the holiday preparations when we must do something special to get in the mood to do it? I can't help but wonder how did the real reason for the holiday and the way we celebrate it today wind up being so far apart?

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