Archive for Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Letters to the editor: State needs more efficiency; Memories of hardware store

April 5, 2006

State needs more efficiency

To the editor:

Recently, I received a small check from the state treasurer after I claimed some "unclaimed property" (it was a small rebate check less than $10). I was amazed to see that the check was actually issued by the Department of Administration's subgroup -- the division of accounts and reports. I always thought that the state treasurer held the money (invested, deposited, wrote checks). Not so. It is evidenthe state of Kansas needs to streamline the maze of bureaucratic overlap.

Does it make any sense to have a "state treasurer," a "secretary of the Department of Revenue," a "state budget director," plus the little "division" of "accounts and reports," which actually writes the checks that pay the bills? No.
I was amazed to learn that the Department of Revenue deposits money they collect daily and then they merely send receipts of those deposits to the state treasurer's office daily.

This smacks of redundancy, excess and wasteful government. Weon't need an octopus with eight tentacles to latch onto our money. Kansas needs a workable plan that merges necessary divisions of government under one, central revenue umbrella. If we're going to have a state treasurer, let's have one who isands-on and who can perform all the fiduciary duties that the office warrants and demands. The state treasurer should be more than just a figurehead. He or she should receive and care for all money collected, keeping accounts of when money was collected and from whom; and a corresponding ledger of what amounts were paid-out and to whom. The governor and the Legislature should not let politics get in the way of rapidly implementing a streamlined Kansas treasury department. Excess offices need to be abolished. Too often, politicians have given the taxpayers blarney-talk when citizens need straight talk in matters concerning revenue.

James A. Marples,
Esbon, Kan.

Memories of hardware store

To the editor:

With sadness I read the story of John Lenahan's decision to close his store on Fourth Street. I understand the realities of getting older and being unable to carry on the work, but an era is truly passing when Lenahan Hardware closes.

My family and I lived in Tonganoxie for 12 years, having recently moved to Texas. I have two stories about John Lenahan I would like to tell.

Shortly after moving to Tongie, I needed seed for a garden. I went to Lenahan's and instantly realized the history captured in the building and, most notably, John himself. Knowing how newcomers are often recognized, I introduced myself and we had a great conversation. As I prepared to leave, I asked John: "How long does it take newcomers to be accepted around here?" Without batting an eye, but with a wry smile, he answered, "Oh, about third generation!" That answer was betrayed, however, by John's gracious nature toward me. He accepted me kindly and I enjoyed every visit to his store.

Having purchased a home on Second Street that required the use of the old "skeleton" keys, I thought that John would be able to help me. Sure enough, when I presented my problem, he showed me an entire box of uniquely shaped keys that were at least 40 years old. He invited me to "take the whole box; see which one works, and bring the rest back." I did so and paid for the key that worked. Something like that hardly happens in today's big-box, mega-stores.

An era will pass when John Lenahan closes his store. Sure, larger stores will come. It's inevitable. I don't even live there anymore, but I will miss a kind, good-natured man whom I saw most mornings at the post office and, on occasion, in his store. I'll miss the smell of history and the warm welcome, "Hello ... der!" Godspeed John Lenahan ... and thank you!

Rick Lamb,
Corsicana, Texas.

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