Link to KansasPrairie.net

10/20/2014

ELLSWORTHITES: A “YES” VOTE will keep Ellsworth’s sales tax rate at 8.4%.

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 11:28 am

10/19/2014

YOU MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER THIS PROPERTY …

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 6:34 pm

This once stately mansion in Ellsworth KS, priced at $39,000,  has more than 5,000 square feet of useable space.  There is original woodwork and it needs work and love to return it to its 1910-era glory. For many years, it served as the Ellsworth County jail.  I really don’t remember any of the history of the house, except bits and pieces, but I’m sure there are local people who could tell a lot about it.   It’s listed on zillow.

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I’ve had a good weekend, quiet with some friends who stopped by to visit.  Friday night after trivia, Ann and Terry Headrick stopped by with some “garments” for me and during the discussion, we decided to go to the Korean Restaurant for a bowl of soup.  It’s the only place in town where you can get HOT from the stove soup. Every other place in town you have to send the soup back to the kitchen for reheating.  If you want it spicy hot, Joomi will make it that way for you too.  And we did.

They make their soup with Ramen-like noodles, but they aren’t the Walmart variety, they are Korean noodles.  They make the soup with chicken and slivers of various fresh veggies. It’s filling and delicious.

And, the best part was that friends from Ellsworth were there eating too.  I don’t often see my friends so it was a special treat…

We’re gearing up for the soup supper on Friday.  I’m especially looking forward to it as Tyler is coming from Cincinnati.  Also joining us will be Ally, Todd, Karen, Jan, Ann and Terry.  There will be a houseful here for soup, relishes and pie..maybe 900 friends of the Palace.  Earlier in the day I will be removing cellophane wrappers from all the Marcon pies…and the homemade ones that are donated.  I’m able to do that  while being seated.  My favorite position. My ability to walk is getting worse by the day, imo.

Today was laundry day.  I only did a couple of loads and called it quits.  It’s exhausticating for me so I do only what is necessary for the moment.  I have clean duds for a while.

We had fried chicken today for lunch that was pretty good.  Once they get the hang of how to do it, I wish they’d remember the next time it’s on the menu.

I haven’t heard anything about my friend, Doris.  I was expecting a call tonight…maybe I’ll hear tomorrow.  They are very aware of and abide by  HIPAA regulations so it’s hard to get information on your friends well-being.  Maybe tomorrow. I worry about her ability to thrive, but she is an amazing person.

Politic and religion aren’t discussed around here very much.  What I have overheard is that most people are not voting for anyone who is now in office.  That’s a good thing.

Thanks for tuning in…

10/17/2014

DAVIS DOCKING DAVIS DOCKING FOR KANSAS…

Filed under: prairie musings, political musings, Kansas — Peg Britton @ 12:00 pm

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10/16/2014

IN SALINA, VOTE “NO” IN ORDER TO KEEP FLUORIDE IN THE WATER….

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 2:09 pm

10/13/2014

PLEASE VOTE “YES” TO KEEP ELLSWORTH MOVING FORWARD…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 5:26 pm

10/12/2014

ELLSWORTH VOTERS….GREG ORMAN WILL BE IN ELLSWORTH TOMORROW AT THE HODGDEN HOUSE MUSEUM COMPLEX AT 10:30 TO TALK WITH SUPPORTERS. IF THERE IS RAIN, THEY WILL GO INSIDE THE DEPOT. THIS IS A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY TO MEET THIS CANDIDATE.

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:39 pm


Greg Orman is running as an Independent for U.S. Senate because Washington is broken and we need a new approach.

Greg co-founded the Common Sense Coalition in 2010 to give a voice to unrepresented independents and other voters in the sensible middle and to seek common-ground solutions to the nation’s most difficult public policy issues.

10/10/2014

VOTE “YES” TO KEEP ELLSWORTH MOVING FORWARD…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 7:43 am

“A question to continue the City of Ellsworth’s quarter percent sales tax will be on the ballot this November.  Ellsworth’s quarter percent sales tax is on pace to expire on June 30, 2015 if the election fails.  This money currently pays for debt service on our 2005 fire department building, street infrastructure, offsets some costs to the streetscape improvements made in 2010, and various other large scale improvements.  By continuing our quarter percent sales tax, our community will work to improve infrastructure throughout Ellsworth, pay off our debts in a timely manner, and keep our property taxes stable.  A vote Yes keeps our sales tax at its current rate.

One item that makes renewing the quarter cent sales tax appealing is that it allows tourists and people passing through town to contribute to our City’s revenue.  Sales tax can be generated by anyone, whether they are from Dodge City or Overland Park.  On the other hand, property taxes are generated only by people who live within City limits.  The more sales tax our community generates, the more likely we are to see improvements in Ellsworth and keep our property taxes steady.

A vote Yes keeps our total sales tax at its current rate of 8.4%, whereas a vote no will drop our sales tax to 8.15%.  Simply put, if the sales tax election fails, it would save a citizen buying $100 worth of groceries a quarter.  While the savings to an average consumer would be nominal, when all purchases in town are combined, this is a substantial piece of the City’s budget.  This additional .25% of sales tax has generated an average of $91,431 per year over the last five years.  The only way to make up for a $91,431 shortfall in our budget would be to dramatically reduce our services or increase property taxes.  Based on Ellsworth’s current valuation, to make up for a $91,431 deficit, property taxes in Ellsworth would need to go up 6.521 mills, or an 8.8% increase ($74.99 increase in property taxes on a home valued at $100,000).

A vote Yes will keep Ellsworth’s sales tax rate at 8.4%.”

Sincerely,

Tim Vandall
City Administrator
City of Ellsworth
(785) 472-5566
tvandall@ellsworthks.net

10/7/2014

PRECIOUS MOMENTS…

Filed under: prairie musings, Roy P. Britton, Ally Britton — Peg Britton @ 6:56 am

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Ally and her dad…

10/5/2014

MORE PALACE MUSINGS….

Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton, Todd & Karen Britton, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 2:32 pm

Palace life is wonderful…

This is perfectly stated: True equality for every human should be something liberals, conservatives, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, men, women and people from all races, backgrounds and ethnicities should support. And anyone, or group, who opposes that should never be shielded from criticism for doing so.

I’ve not been satisfied with my news sources since I moved here.  I like to be able to stay abreast…or at least try to stay abreast of the news and that has been an overwhelming challenge. There is too much going on in the world to just breeze past it.  It needs study.  I rarely watch TV and local newspapers are not the answer.   I decided to subscribe to the WSJ.  Ginny Frederick passed on a copy to me last weekend and I really enjoyed it.  Brit and I always liked it and the format has improved favorably over the years. So, the very day I decided to subscribe, one of my fellow inmate friends, John Zimmerman, approached me and asked if I read the WSJ.  I said I was just planning on subscribing and he offered me his.  So, every day after he’s finished reading the paper, he leaves it at my door, just like a real “paper boy”.  I’m loving it.  It fills the big news “gap” that previously existed in my life.

John’s a very nice man.  I grew up with his wife and knew one of his sons and a daughter-in-law was Brit’s VA doctor for many years.  Now I count John among my friends, as well as all four of his children and numerous beautiful and very talented grandchildren.  Another thing:  when John moved into the tall building from one of the outhouses, he was not in good health.  He was on a very slippery, downhill slide…but through determination and lots of exercise, he brought himself back to the real world again.  Living among us and being challenged made the difference. That’s what I love about this place.  It’s all family and we do help each other.  You don’t have this level of full time help and support when you live alone.

I had a wonderful dinner last night…designed just for me by me.  I removed more leaves from that perfect head of bib lettuce Ally got me and wrapped them around paper thin slices of smoked ham, pepper jack cheese and slivered onions.  The three rolled sandwiches looked beautiful on my place especially after I added a few of Ally’s cherry tomatoes and a small bunch of red grapes.  That and a glass of red wine made it a perfect meal.  That would  cost you a small fortune in a five star restaurant, if you could get it.  Tonight I’ll have some of Ally’s chili.  It’s always delicious.

There are a few people who live here who can’t find anything nice to say about anyone or anything.  We just look at them with amusement and wonder when they’ll grow up.  We avoid sitting with them during meals. Fortunately, they are few in number.  Today…as we were going through the salad bar, one of the grouches was grumbling that the table cloths weren’t ironed.  Ironed?  They’re made of material you don’t have to iron and look quite nice. I’ll admit they tend to wrinkle a bit if you don’t pull them out of the drier right away, but the kitchen staff isn’t in charge of laundry and that’s where the complaint was registered. Can you imagine?   That guy has a prickly pear in his shorts and gripes about anything and everything.  When I meet him in the hall and say hello, he just glares, doesn’t speak and walks by.  If I had lain in bed all night long dreaming of stuff to complain about, I never would have come up with that one.

Sunday is the day I do my laundry.  I did a couple small loads and am ready to go for the week.  The machines aren’t top of the line, but they do a good job and are clean and available for our use…and free.  There are machines on each floor, but more people live on the second floor than any other.  Even at that, we all manage to get our laundry done.  Some who have trouble sleeping do theirs in the middle of the night.

I haven’t signed up for the dinner trip to Solomon on the 16th and I need to do that.  It’s another Travel and Taste bus trip that always has unintended consequences…like running out of gas, near misses of getting stuck on muddy roads or lasting over two hours with a busload of women who by then have long extended necessary trips to the ladies’ room. Those are always interesting trips although not always the way intended.

The annual soup supper is  Friday November 24th starting at 4:30.  You can eat in or carry out.  The place is packed so it’s a good opportunity to say hello to people you probably haven’t seen in ages.  Tyler is coming all the way from Cincinnati just for it along with his parents and Ally.  I’m excited about that.

Thanks for tuning in…

10/1/2014

INSIDE THE KOCH BROTHERS’ TOXIC EMPIRE…. MUST READ….

Filed under: prairie musings, print news, Koch Brothers — Peg Britton @ 2:47 pm

Inside the Koch Brothers’ Toxic Empire

Together, Charles and David Koch control one of the world’s largest fortunes, which they are using to buy up our political system. But what they don’t want you to know is how they made all that money

By Tim Dickinson | September 24, 2014

The enormity of the Koch fortune is no mystery. Brothers Charles and David are each worth more than $40 billion. The electoral influence of the Koch brothers is similarly well-chronicled. The Kochs are our homegrown oligarchs; they’ve cornered the market on Republican politics and are nakedly attempting to buy Congress and the White House. Their political network helped finance the Tea Party and powers today’s GOP. Koch-affiliated organizations raised some $400 million during the 2012 election, and aim to spend another $290 million to elect Republicans in this year’s midterms. So far in this cycle, Koch-backed entities have bought 44,000 political ads to boost Republican efforts to take back the Senate.
What is less clear is where all that money comes from. Koch Industries is headquartered in a squat, smoked-glass building that rises above the prairie on the outskirts of Wichita, Kansas. The building, like the brothers’ fiercely private firm, is literally and figuratively a black box. Koch touts only one top-line financial figure: $115 billion in annual revenue, as estimated by Forbes. By that metric, it is larger than IBM, Honda or Hewlett-Packard and is America’s second-largest private company after agribusiness colossus Cargill. The company’s stock response to inquiries from reporters: “We are privately held and don’t disclose this information.”

But Koch Industries is not entirely opaque. The company’s troubled legal history – including a trail of congressional investigations, Department of Justice consent decrees, civil lawsuits and felony convictions – augmented by internal company documents, leaked State Department cables, Freedom of Information disclosures and company whistle¬-blowers, combine to cast an unwelcome spotlight on the toxic empire whose profits finance the modern GOP.

Under the nearly five-decade reign of CEO Charles Koch, the company has paid out record civil and criminal environmental penalties. And in 1999, a jury handed down to Koch’s pipeline company what was then the largest wrongful-death judgment of its type in U.S. history, resulting from the explosion of a defective pipeline that incinerated a pair of Texas teenagers.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN ROLLING STONE HERE…

9/30/2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ….

Filed under: prairie musings, Tyler Britton USAF — Peg Britton @ 7:58 pm

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The birthday guy is on the right…

9/28/2014

BROWNBACK IS PLAYING POLITICS WITH RURAL SCHOOLS IN KANSAS…

Filed under: prairie musings, print news, Sam Brownback, Kansas — Peg Britton @ 7:41 am

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KANSAS CITY STAR: Sam Brownback is playing politics with rural schools in Kansas

September 11, 2014

By Mary Sanchez
Kansas City Star

My mother attended a one-room schoolhouse in Kansas.

Her rural education is the type that Gov. Sam Brownback dredged into his re-election campaign with an opportunistic bit of rhetoric. Brownback is calling for the ouster of Leawood Republican John Vratil from a state committee looking into efficiencies of Kansas schools as districts try to weather funding cutbacks.

The claim is that Vratil, a former vice president of the state Senate, is gunning for consolidating rural schools. It’s a charge made by taking a 2011 comment Vratil made, extracting it from broader context and spinning.

It’s a contrived issue, intended as bait for rural votes, especially in western Kansas. Vratil was appointed to the committee by Democrat Paul Davis, who is running against Brownback. So by association, it’s a political jab at Davis.

Rural schools have long struggled with dwindling populations and budgets. They don’t need Brownback’s campaign to know it.

Mom’s stories of her childhood near Madison were classic, almost “Little House on the Prairie” to my ears. She walked country roads to school, sometimes trudging against the harsh Kansas wind and snow. Plenty of stories included the bull that always scared her, sometimes charging at flimsy fencing.

But guess what. That school is long gone, closed decades ago as fewer families farmed and more moved to towns closer to Emporia.

Times change. Populations shift. Tough calls about budgeting and buildings are not new. Consolidation at times is both inevitable and prudent. That’s partly why the committee that Vratil sits on, the K-12 Student Performance and Efficiency Commission, was formed by the Legislature.

And Brownback is the cause of some of the recent belt-tightening by not replacing federal stimulus funding and by his tax policies.

All districts, in Wyandotte and Johnson counties as well as those farther west in the state, struggle to meet vastly diverse student needs with fewer dollars.

Besides, Brownback’s administration pushes innovative programs to draw younger, college-educated people to sparsely populated areas. So he acknowledges reality in one portion of his policymaking and then tries to ignore it for campaign spin.

The man who wants to remain governor of the entire state should be above such tactics. All Kansas children deserve a quality education, no matter their home address.

9/27/2014

I’M A LIBERAL LIVING IN A RED STATE…IN A RED CITY…IN A RED PALACE…JUST SO THERE ISN’T ANY DOUBT…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 1:43 pm

I’m a liberal.  I live in a red state, in a red city, in a red Palace.

I stand for liberal principles:

…free public education K-12 for all, and affordable higher education

… the decision to have an abortion is a personal choice of a woman regarding her own body and the government must protect this right. Women have the right to affordable, safe and legal abortions, including partial birth abortion

…the freedom to practice any religion or no religion without threat of violence

…the death penalty should be abolished.

…free speech

…church and state should be completely separate. The rule of law is different from and better than theocracy.  Religious expression has no place in government

…respect for and equal rights for all minorities including LGBTs  Marriage is the union and right of two people who love each other.

…equality for women in every walk of life as men now enjoy

… free or low-cost government controlled health care

…a market system in which government regulates the economy.  Government must protect citizens from the greed of big business

… the use of embryonic stem cells for research

…euthanasia should be legalized

…Individuals do not need guns for protection; it is the role of local and federal government to protect the people through law enforcement agencies and the military.  Additional gun control laws are necessary to stop gun violence and limit the ability of criminals to obtain guns

… The government must produce a national plan for all energy resources and subsidize  alternative energy research and production…

…Welfare is a safety net which provides for and protects the needs of the poor. Welfare is necessary to bring fairness to American economic life.

Thanks for tuning in…

9/24/2014

PALACE MUSINGS…

Filed under: prairie musings, Todd Britton, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 12:52 pm

Life at the Palace continues to be interesting, fun, restful,  worry-free, calming, easy, and pleasant.  I checked in here as a new “inmate” nearly two years ago and haven’t found anything here to worry about since my arrival.  I hardly have to turn a finger except for doing my laundry, a little light house work and occasional meal/snack preparation.  Since I have my main meal in the dining room at noon, there is little I have to do in the kitchen.  Sharon from housekeeping comes every two weeks and cleans my apartment.  I’ve also been fortunate to be surrounded with people I like very much and many have become close friends.

My apartment has everything I need or want in the way of comfortable amenities.  It is spacious, bright and airy, with good temperature control.  When a light bulb burns out, someone from maintenance comes promptly and replaces it.   They repair anything that needs fixing, at no charge.

I rarely shut the door to my apartment.  I like having it open so people feel free to come and go as they please and it gives me a feeling of being better connected to the outside world.  I feel very safe here, safer than anywhere I’ve ever lived.  I try to remember to close my door to the hall at night, but I tend to forget rather often.  I trust people who live and work here.  There is no reason why I shouldn’t.

The social event of the day is the noon meal which most of us attend with anticipation and regularity.  We sit with essentially the same group of 15-20 people every day. As in every society, you gravitate to those with whom you share common interests and enjoy being around.  It doesn’t take long to become good friends with one or another of your choosing.  Whereas it is common to see friends occasionally, or with planning in the “outside world”, here I live on the same wing on the same floor with my besties and see them every day.  Life is very good in the Palace and I don’t wish to  live anywhere else but here.

There isn’t a lot I find to blog about. It’s not as if I were involved in numerous  activities as I once was that would be of interest to readers. The kind of news I deal with these days is  “stuff” like “both elevators are finally working at the same time” which is a relief as it shortens the wait time to be elevated from one floor to another.  It’s a big deal if you live here and can’t walk the stairs, but hardly interesting.

Having family and friends come to visit is wonderful.  Monday evening Todd and I went to the Seoul USA Korean Restaurant where we had an authentic Sicilian dinner prepared by Tim Bobbit..with help from wife Joomi.  It was the 13th “International” night and those who attend are regular diners at the Korean Restaurant.  You have to work…or eat… your way up the ladder to get invited to attend.  They can only serve 45 people so it’s a pre-pay deal to get a spot reserved for you on International night.  They are mostly “regulars” we see every month.  We join Ann and Terry Headrick, Martha and Kent Buess, Marsha Stewart and Mary Lemon at the back table that we reserve every month.  We frequently see Denny and Connie Helvey, Danee and Travis and David Helvey as they love eating there for the International dinner too.  As the restaurant is closed to other diners, we take our beverage of choice, which is usually a bottle or two of wine.  Joomi usually treats us to one of her Korean drinks too which are fruity and good.

Next month will have a typical Indonesian dinner prepared by Chef of the Night, Venny Afianti Baily.  The menu hasn’t been finalized (and that doesn’t make any difference to those of us who attend), but Venny thinks it will probably include appetizers, vegetable pancake, avocado smoothy, chicken stew, fish of some kind, Joomie’s special drink and dessert.

The Presbyterian Manor Annual Soup Supper is Friday October 24th starting at 4:30.  We serve chicken and noodle soup, chili, relishes and pie either to eat here or carry out.  Pre-purchased tickets are $6.00 and slightly more at the door. The proceeds this year will go towards the purchase of a van designed to transport our wheel chair-bound residents to various activities.  That is not possible now, so we’re all hoping for a good response to the dinner to assist in this worthy cause.  Had this vehicle had been available yesterday, some of our residents who need wheel chair transportation could have made the trip with others to Rolling Hills Zoo and Museum.

We had a nice, generous rain last night, but now the sun is shining brightly…and I need to go run some errands.

Thanks for tuning in…

9/14/2014

A GUY AND HIS DOG BY THE CAMPFIRE…

Filed under: prairie musings, Drew Britton — Peg Britton @ 11:56 am

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Drew and Sarge

photo by Christy Beckman

9/9/2014

BROWNBACK AND THE FAMILY…

Filed under: political musings, print news, Sam Brownback — Peg Britton @ 11:23 am

Brownback and The Family

by Bob Grover

The Emporia Gazette 9-8-2014

How can someone claim to follow Jesus yet not support programs that fight poverty and benefit the needy?

This is a question directed at Sam Brownback, and a possible answer is provided in Jeff Sharlet’s book, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power (Harper Perennial, 2008). Journalist Sharlet describes in detail the history, leadership and beliefs of this secret organization of which Brownback is a member.

Brownback was introduced to the Family (also called the Fellowship) while interning for Bob Dole the summer before his senior year at Kansas State University. Brownback stayed in touch with Family members and was invited to join when he was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives in 1994. Understanding the mission of the Family provides a glimpse of Brownback’s beliefs that drive his behavior as governor.

The Family includes such current government leaders as Chuck Grassley (Iowa), James Inhofe and Tom Coburn (Oklahoma), Bill Nelson (Florida), and Mark Pryor (Arkansas). Other members include former senators Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Pete Domenici of New Mexico, along with former Kansas Representative Todd Tiahrt and Watergate participant Charles Colson.

The Family is the group behind the National Prayer Breakfast, initiated as the Presidential Prayer Breakfast during the first year of the Eisenhower administration in 1953. It has been described as “the most powerful group in Washington that nobody knows.”

Its membership roll is secret; it collects no official membership dues and issues no membership cards. Members are urged not to commit to paper any discussions or negotiations occurring in their work related to the Family.

Prayer groups, or “cells,” are the core group within the family. The cell is unknown to the public and has veto power over each member’s life. Each member promises to monitor the others for deviation from Jesus’ will. Brownback told author Sharlet “that the privacy of family cells makes them safe spaces for men of power … .” Power is a key to understanding this Family.

Within the cells men develop a covenant with each other, and therein lies the power. Their premise is that when two or three agree and act as one, they have power.

Jesus is at the center of the Family, but this is Jesus the leader, not the Savior. Jesus provides the Family a model for organization; with James, John, and Peter closest to him, he encircled himself with other disciples along with a larger contingent of followers. Jesus taught the fundamental principle of creating a social order — commitment. Jesus said that his followers had to put Him before other people, even father and mother, and put Him before oneself.

Surprisingly, the Family also claims Hitler, Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, Bin Laden, Mao and even the Mafia as models that used covenants to gain and exercise power. The jarring contrast between Jesus and these other brutal leaders seems of little importance to the Family.

Another Family hero is King David of the Old Testament. David slept with Bathsheba, another man’s wife, and killed her husband; however, God favored David — he was chosen. The implication is that if you’re chosen, you are not to be judged.

The Family believes that God’s covenant with the Jews has been broken, and they consider their members the “new chosen” — chosen by God to be leaders.

Because they believe that they are God’s new chosen, the Family members are provided with what Sharlet calls “divine diplomatic immunity.” It’s like a blank check to do whatever they believe they are called to do.

What are they called to do? The long-term goal of the Family is a worldwide government under God. Douglas Coe, the Family’s leader since 1969, has said, “We work with power where we can, build new power where we can’t.” (p. 121)

Although members of the family may be members of a denomination (Brownback is Catholic), their belief system is different than the theology of mainstream Christians. The Family prefers to think of themselves as “followers of Jesus,” not Christians, and free of the trappings of religious denominations.

Unlike most followers of Jesus, the Family is interested almost entirely in Jesus as leader and the way he was able to generate a successful, worldwide social movement. They show little interest in following Jesus’ teachings to help the poor, feed the hungry and clothe the naked.

As a member of the Family, Brownback has adopted their values, and the Family ultimately is about power. Knowing about Brownback’s affiliation with the Family helps to explain his motives and actions as Kansas governor.

9/5/2014

LETTER TO FCC CHAIRMAN TOM WHEELER ABOUT NET NEUTRALITY…FRANK SMITH SAYS IT BEST…

Filed under: prairie musings, political musings, Kansas — Peg Britton @ 6:40 am

We live in a remote rural area, 15 miles from the nearest stores. It’s winter wheat heartland that thrived thanks to homesteading in the late 19th Century. “Quarter sections,” 160-acre parcels, typically supported multi-generational families who contributed to vibrant small towns with churches, schools and businesses. Farmers walked behind plows pulled by mules, forming co-ops in their common interest to protect themselves from rapacious railroad corporations and buyer cartels. They depended upon horses and carriages to do business and access social life. More fortunate children went to land grant colleges and returned home with new skills to be with siblings and grandparents.

As agriculture came to depend increasingly on petroleum-based production with ever larger machines and fertilizers, these towns withered. A family came to need to farm many square miles to get by.

There were advantages of course. Constant bonebreaking labor became a distant memory, crop and disaster insurance protected against the vagaries of droughts and deluges, life spans increased. Electrification and telephones arrived, thanks to the efforts of forward-looking leaders.

However this progress came with a steep price. Schools became ever more distant. In the 105 counties in Kansas, eighty or more have smaller populations than they did in 1920. Children departed rarely to return save for funerals and holidays. In the midst of prosperity, services declined.

Corporations and their lobbyists insisted that “public services” be heavily subsidized for the benefit of affluent consumers and they targeted delivery sectors where the largest profit margins were to be found. Fifteen years ago, when I moved here, UPS serviced us only in fair weather, Fed Ex not at all, and DHL was unaware of our existence.

At the same time corporate America demanded public subsidies, it attacked core services, demanding exemptions from taxation. Networks of paved roads disappeared. Polling places were “consolidated” away to remote towns. Public schools were attacked with vouchers and “chartered” competition draining our tax revenues. Hours of postal operation diminished and proposals now stand to close every office within fourteen miles, an erosion propelled by special interests. Even cell phone services withered, thanks to industry consolidation and concern for stockholder-driven “acceptable” profit margins and “bottom lines.”

We’re dying out here. We’re being excluded from modern life.

One of the remaining bulwarks against this erosion of our quality of life is net neutrality. We can get Internet service, not on a par with South Korea or Finland of course, but at least with smaller Midwestern cities.

I lived in Barrow, Alaska, before I moved here, and was acutely aware of being a second class citizen in the information age. Though we were a town of 4,500 people, we depended upon a paleolithic 9.5 baud server. I would open the New York Times or Anchorage Daily News website, and take a shower waiting for it to come up. After clicking on a story, I’d cook breakfast and hoped by then that the article had slowly arrived.

Industry’s proposals to destroy net neutrality are a regression to that electronic caste system. I don’t want multinational corporations deciding what we can read and how long we have to wait to read it. Please don’t abandon us. We’re still part of America, even if Verizon and Comcast choose to commercially disenfranchise and exile us.
Sincerely yours,

Frank Smith

Bluff City, KS 67018-7630

9/4/2014

JUSTICES’ RULINGS ADVANCE GAYS; WOMEN LESS SO…

Filed under: prairie musings, SCOTUS — Peg Britton @ 3:33 pm

By Adam Liptak

When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reflects on the Supreme Court’s recent rulings, she sees an inconsistency.

In its gay rights rulings, she told a law school audience last week, the court uses the soaring language of “equal dignity” and has endorsed the fundamental values of “liberty and equality.” Indeed, a court that just three decades ago allowed criminal prosecutions for gay sex now speaks with sympathy for gay families and seems on the cusp of embracing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

But in cases involving gender, she said, the court has never fully embraced “the ability of women to decide for themselves what their destiny will be.” She said the court’s five-justice conservative majority, all men, did not understand the challenges women face in achieving authentic equality.

Justice Ginsburg is not the only one who has sensed that cases involving gay people and women are on different trajectories.

STUDENT OF LIFE…PRESBYTERIAN MANOR AKA THE PALACE

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 1:30 pm

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photo by Kim Fair
STUDENT OF LIFE

Peg Britton embrances new experiences
by Erin O’Donnell, free lance writer and editor
from Community Matters a publication of Salina Presbyterian Manor

Posted September 2, 2014 HERE.
Peg Britton embraces new experiences
Peg Britton’s Internet connection has taken her all over the world.

The gift of lifelong learning is that you’ll never be bored. That’s what Salina Presbyterian Manor resident Peg Britton discovered even as a child. “I guess it’s because I have a curiosity about how things work. I always have,” Peg said.

As a young adult, Peg pursued her education with vigor even as discrimination threatened her goals. She attended the University of Kansas, graduating in 1950 with a degree in architecture that many male students and professors didn’t think she should have. “They came out and told me it was not a place for women, and I told them they better find a place for me, because I’m staying,” Peg said.

After school, Peg embarked on her career, beginning with Edward Tanner Architects in Kansas City. In 1976, she and a friend designed and built her 4,256-square-foot modern home in Ellsworth. She lived there for more than three decades, before moving in 2012 to Salina Presbyterian Manor – or, as Peg fondly calls it, “The Palace.”

No matter where she is, Peg says she’s never far from the Internet, keeping in touch with friends and current events around the world. She has been sharing her own “back road adventures, community commentary and essays” via her blog, KansasPrairie.net, for more than 12 years, far longer than most bloggers on the Web today.

Peg’s 5-year-old granddaughter was the first to introduce her to computers about 20 years ago. “I realized she had a computer and I didn’t. She said, ‘Grandmother, I think you’d enjoy a computer. We could do things together.’ And I thought, that sounds wonderful.”

Peg said she made countless friends online from around the world, some of whom have come to visit. She especially likes getting to know young professionals and says they learn a lot from each other. “I’ve always had a lot of younger friends because we had more in common,” she said. “They’re going to be our leaders. I place my hope in those people.”

Recently, Peg said she heard of a retirement community where residents taught English to foreign students online using the Skype video chat application. That’s something she’d like to try. “I’ve just never stopped,” Peg said. “I’ve always helped wherever I could.”

Your Comment:

Ann says:
“A lovely article. An incredible woman and one of my favorite people on the planet!”
Austin says:
“Same Peg I have known since high school.”

Francis E. Carr says:
“I’m so happy and proud to say I know and love Peg Britton.”

Roger Novak says:
“Peg, you are a remarkable lady. Never afraid to take on a challenge. Always proactive. You should be very proud.”

Mackenzie Britton says:
“I was that young granddaughter encouraging her to get a computer! Knowing she tackled a male-dominated field helped inspire me to earn a degree in computer engineering. Such a role model and amazing grandma too :)

Greg says:
“Peg’s a wonderful lady who’s a bundle of fun! Her wit and intelligence are inspiring!”

Shirley A Turner Raney says:
“Go get it girl. Learning and helping are good for you and good for those helped. I love to learn and respect you for that. We must help those who will be telling us what to do. LOL Nice article.”

Ginger Kippes says:
“Enjoyed reading all about you, Peg. I know what a super person you are because, of course, I am your house-mother! Love you, Gin”

Jennifer Byer says:
“Go, Peg! By a stroke of good fortune, I stumbled across Peg’s blog a few years ago. She had posted an entry about my great-uncle Hat Barofsky, whom I’d never met. She put me in touch with friends who knew some of my Ellsworth relatives, and rest is history, as they say. Thank you, Peg!”
Deb Divine says:
“Wonderful description! Did not know you are the architect of your fabulous house! Love it.”

Veda Hoffhaus says:
“You go, girl!”

UYF6U says:
“You go girl………….and you have!!”

Ally Britton says:
“I’m Peg’s daughter, Ally
I can’t begin to say what a wonderful mother, best friend and idol she is.
She passed on her great genes to her three children and taught us so many things.

She taught me to be an individual and to love life with morals and respect  for others.

At 86, you couldn’t ask for a cooler mom that has kept up with the times and has supported me in my endeavors.

Because of her, I’m a fee spirit. Love you bunches, mom.”

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9/2/2014

PRESBYTERIAN MANOR ANNUAL SOUP SUPPER FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24TH

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 5:11 pm

We’re gearing up for the Soup Supper.  People are selling tickets by the dozens and residents are signing up for various work details that go in to the preparation of the what is known around Salina as the place to be on Soup Supper night.

“October” at Salina Presbyterian Manor means one thing: Soup Supper. Our 34th annual Soup Supper will be held from 4:30 to 7ish p.m. on Oct. 24th.   We hope you too will come to eat in or carry out.

Chicken noodle soup, chili, relishes, pie and cinnamon rolls are on the menu for this event, a tradition as old as the Manor itself. You won’t leave hungry.
This year, the baked goods and craft sale promises to be larger than ever.  If you are able to donate pies for the dinner or baked and canned goods for the sale, please call the Manor for details.  Residents have again crafted a quilt that will be offered as a special donation item. Items will be donated for the silent auction.

Residents, volunteers, artists and donors work together to make this event a success.  It is truly a civic event.

This year, in a slight change of direction, the proceeds will be used to buy a bus that will transport our wheel chair residents.  All other proceeds and donations go the Good Samaritan Fund that  underwrites our mission of providing lifelong care to our residents even should they outlive their financial resources.

We hope to see all of you here.

Thanks for tuning in…

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