Archive for Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Shouts and Murmurs — Kansas: A state that’s divided

November 5, 2003

An Associated Press story this week highlighted the difference between the economy in rural and urban Kansas.

The story told about 1883 mansion in Concordia that is for sale. Apparently, no one in the north central Kansas town of 5,500 is standing in line to snap up the 23-room residence which has an asking price of $200,000.

It's likely, in central Kansas where the economy has stalled, that residents would consider that price to be prohibitive.

Even if the house were in Tonganoxie, it might seem a little steep. And, it's likely that almost anyone would shudder at the thought of maintaining and heating a 120-year-old mansion.

But in looking at real estate prices in Tonganoxie, the price of the mansion itself, if it were here at that price, might not be so unreasonable.

After all new Tonganoxie houses, many of them spec homes, are selling for prices ranging from $150,000 and upward toward $200,000.

When an upscale housing area at Pleasant and Washington was developed several years ago, homes were slated to start at about $225,000. That seemed like a lot when the typical new home in Tonganoxie was selling for $125,000. But since then, prices have gone up.

As long as interest rates stay fairly low, and as long as gasoline prices don't increase too much, the Tonganoxie housing market is likely to remain strong.

But in Concordia, where a mansion struts above its fellow rooftops, it's likely the $200,000 asking price would dwarf most of the other price tags in town.

When it comes to the state's economy, it appears there is more than one Kansas. We in northeast Kansas live in an area that is booming.

And then there is the rest of the state.

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This week's story on bullying came about after rumors that Tonganoxie schools had a bullying problem surfaced in neighboring cities.

We believe it's likely that the experiences of bullying that are discussed in the story are the exception, not the norm. But as THS principal Mike Bogart said, even one instance of bullying is too many.

There are so many good things about Tonganoxie schools -- the scholastics, the various music programs, the drama, debate and forensics, the athletics.

It's likely that most of us believe that overall, we have a caring school staff, administration and school board.

But there are parents in the district who feel their concerns about bullying are not being taken seriously enough.

Our school district has too much going for it to let bullies, or the lack of punishment for bullies, give it a bad name.

Yes, as junior high principal Steve Woolf said, it's a tough issue to tackle -- especially in today's society where children are subjected to a glut of media violence almost from birth.

Yet with persistence, perseverance, and the belief that all children, and their parents, deserve to be treated with respect, it can be done.

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This weekend, area businesses are starting their holiday season. The calendar includes Village Floral's open house on Friday and Saturday. Pam and Tim Volk's rural holiday shop, "The Master's Touch" will be open Friday through Sunday.

And in the McLouth area, the McLouth Flower Loft's Christmas season kicks off on Friday and Saturday, and Milk House Memories, with crafts from the vineyard and holiday gifts will be open on Saturday.

Take a drive this weekend, enjoy the autumn scenery, and see what these businesses have to offer.

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