• Last modified 1079 days ago (May 5, 2016)


Odds and ends

Kansas spring is full upon us, with all of the beauty and anxiety that entails.

It’s the time of year when Sunday drives are a must-do activity if you’re a lover of nature’s beauty, as in only a few short weeks much of it will disappear.

Certain flowers will come to the end of their natural life cycles, while others will wither under hot summer sunshine. Waving green wheat fields will ripen and fall to harvest. There’s a special beauty to be found in the green blades of prairie grass pushing up through the blackened acres of burned pastures.

Around whatever town you’re in, welcome to the annual iris explosion. Predominantly purple, but with several other colors tossed in, they’re feathery sights to behold, and they won’t last long. However, you’ll also enjoy the labors of many who’ve adorned their yards with all sorts of flowers and ornaments in clever and attractive arrangements.

Of course, all of it will be replaced by more beauty — inch for inch, I’ll stack Marion County up against any place I’ve lived for the abundance of nature’s wonders, if only one will take the time to look and appreciate it all. Too many take it all for granted, and that’s too bad. It’s the simple little pleasures and moments that make some of the greatest and most lasting effects on our lives.

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Speaking of being taken for granted, it’s National Small Business Week, and if there’s something we have plenty of, it’s small businesses. Granted, we need and want more, but in a rural county such as ours, small business is the lifeblood of economic vitality.

While we always encourage shopping at home, you don’t need to buy a thing to stop in at one of your favorite shops to just say “thank you” for what they provide to the community. Sure, perhaps that sounds a little corny, but that’s the kind of corn most folks like to harvest. And don’t forget that many of those businesses are regular financial contributors to community causes. Being a good neighbor is good business, but it’s also just plain good, and another reason why we like living here.

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Alas, all is not rosy when it comes to our representatives and governor in Topeka. They’ve just raised your vehicle registration fees $3.25 to get more money for the Highway Patrol and the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center.

At the same time, they rejected a move to start collecting income taxes again on out-of-state businesses that earn profits from the spending of hard-working Kansans. There’s no discernible benefit anyone can show to letting those profits leave the state untaxed, but it’s evidently a whole lot easier for them to take more money from you through increased fees than to fix what was from the outset a ridiculous tax cut.

They’ll find more clever ways to sap money out of us, because once again the state is facing massive budget deficits. What they won’t take from us in cash, they’ll take from us in services through cuts to transportation, education, and social services.

Actually, I can’t think of a better Sunday drive than to take one to Topeka and stay overnight. Monday, get up bright and early and head over to the Capitol and give any legislator you see an earful about what “government of the people, for the people and by the people” is supposed to be about.

Based on recent experience, they’ll likely still turn a deaf ear to your pleas, but at least you’ll have another nice, long, beautiful Kansas drive to simmer down.

— david colburn

Last modified May 5, 2016