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Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 5:58 pm

What’s the pseudo young crowd up to now?   Their  latest action that I’ve heard about involves “dumping the old guard” at EHS sporting events.  That principally would be Ron Svaty, Don Svaty and Terry Robl. Dumped.

They dumped Ron as the voice of the Bearcats, so I’ve heard. I’ve listened to him as long as I’ve lived in this house. Many days I’d hear his voice early in the afternoon and continue long after I had hit my feathers.  His voice is chiseled into the siding of our house.  Only those of us who have been around awhile understand what a huge commitment it has taken for Ron to do that voluntarily, for years, for no pay, and little thanks.  Ron did the broadcasting for varsity, and junior varsity football and track, and middle school track - which amounts to a huge number of sporting events over the years.

I don’t think the young turks know that they cannot replace him with anyone very easily… they don’t realize that it is a big sacrifice for those who announce and who must be present week in and week out for all those sporting events.  Who will they find to provide the continuity and reliability he provided?  Ron was always there for close to 35 years. Always on time.

This effort to get rid of the old guard began last spring when Ron, Don and Terry who had worked every track meet for somewhere close to 35 years, were not even given a courtesy call as to why they weren’t asked to help.  That’s not the way you treat people as loyal to the system as these men have been.

There is no written rule saying they had to be the ones to work these athletic events forever, but they all loved it and did it voluntarily every year, and were very good at it.  They made a lot of sacrifices in order to be present at all the athletic events.  It takes an extraordinary commitment and the pseudo young crowd will be hard pressed to find comparable replacements among their own ranks.

So, when you see Ron, Don and Terry, give them a pat on the back for a job well done, and thank them. They deserve much more, but they won’t be getting anything from the  pseudo young crowd.  That’s my guess.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:24 am

It’s just downright burry again this morning.  I ran the attic fan again last night, but the timer is broken so it doesn’t turn off automatically. As a consequence, it ran all night and the house is quite cool this morning.

We helped Bev and Rich Connally celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary last night at Rick’s house.  Their son, Greg, who is the pastry chef at Whole Foods in KC, baked the magnificent cake that we all enjoyed.  Rick and Danielle’s snacks were tasty and plentiful.  And there were beverages, of course.  Frank brought some fish he caught at Milford Lake that he’d smoked.  John offered his delicious homemade peach ice cream.  It was a beautiful evening for a gathering of friends.

The Ted Kennedy services and memorials kept me glued to the TV the past two days.  There were some remarkable speeches and other tributes that were impressive. Did you notice all the women weren’t wearing black veiled hats…as has been the custom for years?   Remember Jackie Kennedy? What a relief that tradition is gone.  I haven’t seen a millinery shop in years, but back in the old days, they were plentiful.

Lynn Jenkins made a terrible gaffe when addressing a group of Republicans.  She responded to a question about potential political candidates with a “great white hope” remark and it’s received nationwide coverage.  Jenkins has made lots of gaffes while in office and is the most vulnerable of the congressional candidates.

A friend from Florida wrote this morning to tell me Cheryl Wheeler is going to be performing in Lawrence.  I’ve been a long time fan of hers…a very long time. I’ve been to her concerts several times in Moundridge and Denver.  The Moundridge venue was perfect as it was informal, they served homemade soup, bread and desserts and was just the thing for my grandkids.  They loved going to eat and hear her sing and play the guitar.  We had such a good time during those outings. Cheryl drives herself all over the country and performs.   It’s a very tough way to make a living, but she loves what she does and keeps up the pace some way.   If you live in the Lawrence area, you can hear her Sat. 10/03/09 at the Unity Church at 7:30 PM.  785-865-3655; for tickets:  I would like to be there.  For her complete schedule, click here.

Brit would be happy to see how nice the lawn looks.  It’s August and in the past, it has been a point of consternation to him in that it was usually brown.  Now it is green and lush.  We haven’t watered it very often and it has been largely neglected, but it looks very nice. Todd mowed it and the “prairie” yesterday so things are humming around here.   I just wish I could work in the yard as I have in the past.  Our yard isn’t detailed…and that makes all the difference in the world.

My friend Anne is in the hospital…so I’m off to visit her.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, family, Tyler Britton USAF, Drew Britton — Peg Britton @ 7:54 am

Last evening our local family (Todd, Karen, Ally and I) needed a night out so we went to Red Lobster for endless shrimp.  They had five different kinds to choose from.  Karen and I preferred the teriyaki  and garlic shrimp while Todd’s choice was Cajun.  Ally settled for fried.  The only one that wasn’t particularly good was the coconut shrimp as it was too sweet.  Karen, the inveterate coupon collector, had coupons so it was very reasonable for us to have a good night out for dinner.

We chatted with Drew and Tyler during the course of the evening.  Drew did well yesterday during an internal audit at the bank, answering all of the questions correctly,  and Tyler announced he’ll be leaving for Cincinnati for two weeks of school early in Sept.  It’s a continuation of the CCATT…Critical Care Air Transport Team… program he’s been involved in associated with his respiratory therapy training. He loves the work.  It’s hard to believe he’s been in the Air Force for two years.  It has been a very positive experience for him as he’s taking advantage of all the educational opportunities offered.

After running the attic fan during the night, the house was actually cold this morning.  I pulled my winter bathrobe out of the closet while Ringo looked at me thinking…”where’s mine?”

Michael Vick is back in his game but he should never be held up as a role model. He doesn’t tell the truth so we’ll see how he does.  When he got out of prison after 18 months, despite the fact he has three children, he celebrated by going to a strip club.  I doubt he’s learned much.

A niece of a friend is stopping by this morning on her way back to Colorado so I need to move along.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:50 am

I couldn’t find Ringo last night when it was time to go to bed.  It was storming and he was hiding somewhere in the house.  When he finally emerged, we went to the bedroom and he slinked into my dark closet away from the windows and slept on my shoes until the last storm had passed.  What a guy.

I don’t know how much rain we had, but it seemed like a lot.  I’ll know when I pass through dead man’s curve on my way to the highway. It’s still washed out from the last rain, so I suppose there will be a wide gully to straddle.  The guy who built the road didn’t have a clue about what he was doing.  I think you’re supposed to build a road on top of the ground, not dig a hole and bury it.

The herd of squirrels we have in the yard are going to be hard pressed for food this winter as they have eaten all the acorns from the oak trees.  I haven’t seen them burying any of them.  It’s the new generation of squirrels who want instant gratification and don’t plan for the future.

Friends are stopping by this evening for salad and a visit.  That will be nice.  I love having visitors.

A friend in Salina spotted this bumper sticker:  “The Christian Right is Neither.”  Aptly put.

Thanks for tuning in…

P.S.  Our driveway looks like a wadi in need of a bridge.  The post office reports from a couple of friends is that we got over 3″ of rain last night.  Maybe 3 1/2 “.  Zounds.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:32 am


The Garden of Remembrance is dedicated to all those who lost their lives in the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 which crashed on Lockerbie December 21st, 1988.  I visited this cemetery several years ago with friends in England.  Anytime I hear the “Lockerbie” mentioned, I think of this small community and the cemetery.


Here is a view of the older part of the cemetery.  The grave markers were very interesting to read and I spent a lot of time doing just that.  It is a very beautiful, peaceful place.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:29 am

Seeking volunteers!

Prairie Festival weekend is Friday-Sunday, September 25-27, 2009.
We serve a Saturday evening dinner to about 500 people.
We need help to do what it takes to serve a “local foods” meal for 500 people.

Need:  Food prep, working with our chef

What:  Washing, peeling, cutting, chopping—bring your favorite cutting board and knives.

When:  Friday and Saturday, 8:00-5:00 (or part of the time).  Volunteer, or $8/hour. Workers both days are valuable, “knowing the ropes.”

Where:  Masonic Temple kitchen, 336 S. Santa Fe, Salina

Serve:  Food servers also welcome to help serve the 6:00 pm dinner Saturday at The Land Institute.

Perks:  Lunch provided Friday and Saturday. Reward of a job well done. Opportunity to work with wonderful cooks-for-a-crowd—and have fun and camaraderie.

Please pass this on to others you who might be interested.
Or give us contact information.

Contact:  Ken Warren, The Land Institute, 823-5376.



Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 2:44 pm

We have a couple of warm days and we’re immediately reminded of dog days of summer.  Not much is going on, that I’ve observed.

The Ranch Rodeo was a huge success both nights.  Cars were parked all over the Rec Center area for the rodeo and the encampment.

Frequently there is weekend activity at Paden’s, which I’ve always missed.  My days end about 10 pm and nothing there starts until much later. I wish I’d been there the other night for the”Pants Off Dance Off” competition, just for chuckles. Sometimes there are some pretty strange things that happen. A good laugh is wonderfully therapeutic no matter where you find it.

Ally, the champion Mexican food chef, put a meal to remember together Saturday at her ranchette.  I call it a “ranchette” as she might have a couple old cows come to stay with her which would help with the farm image.  The meal was fantastic and centered around a turkey roaster full of her famous green chile made with Colorado Hatch’s green chiles. That’s the way it done. There were too many other side dishes to mention…and a table full of hungry guests.  A good evening was had by all.

Two more dogs ended up in our yard today.  That seems to happen more frequently now than ever before.  These didn’t look as though they had been well cared for.  If they hang around until evening, I’ll have them taken somewhere for safety.

I have been giving thought to our downtown area.  It’s getting better looking all the time, but it is gradually losing retail sales businesses…the mom and pop stores….necessary to keep a town like Ellsworth alive.  Drovers, Strella’s, and the bakery are among those who closed their doors recently.  I’m sure I haven’t remembered all of them, but the businesses in the downtown area, and the side streets that aren’t what I’d refer to as retail sales stores include:  Chamber office, 2 realtor offices, 3 banks, savings and loan, credit union, city offices, 2  offices for several attorneys, office for engineers, 2 tax offices, newspaper office, Post Rock water office, 3 offices for doctors, 4 insurance offices, art gallery, churches, photography shop, roofing company, future Drover building, Post office, abstract office, 2 tax offices, Mosaic shop, car agency, shirt shop, surveyors,  Bingo’s, plumbing business, a school that takes up an entire block…and several empty buildings.

Balance this with walk in, browse around, Mom and Pop retail sales stores:  2 pharmacists, one bar, Antique Mall, Robson’s, CR Antiques, furniture store, 2 flower shops, 3 beauty shops, Tru Value, barber shop, restaurant, liquor store…and a non-Mom and Pop Dollar General.

I’m sure I don’t have all this right as I’m doing it from memory from the comfort of my living room.  I just hope I haven’t left someone out.  Some stores aren’t open all the time so I put them in the first list.

The point is, we need to be careful that we don’t end up with all professional businesses consuming the downtown area. They are a draw to retail shops, but not particularly to each other.  It’s difficult to say they don’t already fill a lion’s share of the space.  We need them, certainly, but we also need a downtown shopping area to keep those who are there alive and well and keep Ellsworth dollars here in Ellsworth County as much as possible.  It’s just something to think about.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: print news — Peg Britton @ 1:10 pm

Published: August 23, 2009

Almost 48 years after it was first published, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child is finally topping the best-seller list, bringing with it all the butter, salt and goose fat that home chefs had largely abandoned in the age of Lipitor.

The book, given a huge lift from the recently released movie “Julie & Julia,” sold 22,000 copies in the most recent week tracked, according to Nielsen BookScan, which follows book sales. That is more copies than were sold in any full year since the book’s appearance, according to Alfred A. Knopf, which published it.

The book will make its debut at No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list of Aug. 30 in the advice and how-to category.
Read the rest of this New York Times article here.

Friends have said that the movie Julie and Julia is excellent and a must see.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 6:03 pm

If you haven’t read Rob’s comment, please scroll down to find it under “What the heck…” posted 8/14/2009. You might want to read my blog as well.  Here is my response to his comments.

Dear Rob,

This is intended to be a gentle response to your comment on my blog directed toward “Scrambling for blogging material” and “What the heck is going on with the school board”. You’re not one to miss the point in conversations, but I think you might have been a little off target in this one.   My comments were not directed at you, your group or the work you are doing, but toward school board procedures.

My first blog was factual and not “outlandish” if you believe in transparency in government. There is a procedure the board of education must follow to insure they are not in violation of the open meetings law. I’m sure you are aware of this. I’m not saying they violated it, but the report in the newspaper of the last board meeting indicated to me some pieces were missing and I’m only asking why.

You asked:

“1.  Where does it state that the school board must approve every visitor to the USD 327 District Office?   Does this apply to the mail carrier, the custodians, or the many other people that conduct business affecting the school ?”

It doesn’t, in both instances. People come and go all the time, but none that I’ve heard of has been there with the specific purpose of buying or leasing school property without the board first being consulted as to whether or not they were desirous of selling such property.

My point, which was apart from your child care issues, is this:   According to the Ellsworth County Independent Reporter articles covering school board meetings, which I read assiduously, there have  been no previous discussions surrounding the sale of this school district property by this board;  however, when the subject of selling or leasing the school district administrative office building was raised at the last meeting it appeared to be an ongoing conversation from a previous meeting OR there had been serial conversations.  I say this since not all board members were engaged in this conversation. This is what I am questioning.  Which was it?

Where in the reports of the meetings can you see there have been previous discussions by the board on this subject?  Had they discussed the possible sale of this building in executive session with the reason for such session being overlooked by the reporter?   Or were there serial conversations and only some board members knew about the possible sale of the building prior to the last board meeting? Simple questions raised by reading the report in the INDY.

This is what I was addressing, not the advisability of establishing a child care center or regarding anything you said or did.   I commend you and your group for your work to address this problem facing the community. The board, and everyone in the community, should be concerned about the issues you raised.  You are correct in stating the issues have been well covered by the INDY. Certainly I have no intention to attack you or your group or throw gasoline on anything you do.

The correct board procedure, in my opinion, would have involved the board in regular session engage in addressing the issue of whether or not it wanted to sell school district property and determine if it were of benefit to the district to do so regardless of who the buyer might be.  Then the board would have been better prepared to address your request at the following meeting.

Selling school district property, especially the heavily used administrative office building deemed a necessity in board history, is a very controversial issue about which each board member ought to have strong feelings. The possibility of moving the district offices downtown or to an attendance facility fits into a special category of discussion that determined  long ago the necessity for placing the offices where they are now.  We shouldn’t need to revisit this conversation.

If all the board members were informed at a previous board meeting about this possible sale, it is assumed each would have strong opinions, one way or another, about such sale.  Why wasn’t it reflected in the conversation at the board meeting, hence also reflected in the article in the paper?

The INDY reporter covers these meetings very well and, according to the report, the board conversation seemed to come from only a few board members while the others, usually equally vocal, were ominously quiet. Were there serial conversations conducted possibly in violation of the open meetings law or did the reporter miss something? I don’t know. Which is it?

I’m only asking.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 2:52 pm

Time for an outing:  I’m going to Paden’s Place to have a tomato beer with Ally and friends who will be too busy for such fun after school starts tomorrow.

Watch out for the children tomorrow as it will be the first day of school for the wee ones and a continuation of the progression through the grades for the others.  They need to be reminded of the traffic around the grade school and drivers need to pay particular attention at the street crossings.

Grandson Drew was home today so I had an opportunity to have lunch at the bowling lanes (monster pizza which was excellent) with him and a good visit following before he had to head back to Kansas City.  He was home for a checkup and it went very well.  He’s healthy as a horse so not to worry.

The buzzards aka vultures have headed south for the winter….and they did it a month earlier than usual.  I think that forebodes an early and long winter.

Four of the downtown Ellsworth businesses were broken into the other night.  The culprits were looking for money but didn’t get much.  I’ve also heard there have been a multitude of break-ins in Marquette and Lindsborg.  A band of burglars may be roaming the area and hitting the small towns where some are distant from the sheriff’s office. I guess the warning is to batten down the hatches, so to speak.

I’ve been overtaken by squirrels.  They are breeding like rabbits…at least they are all outside. I don’t know what they will eat this winter as they are devouring the acorns from the oak trees.  They don’t appear to be burying any for the long cold winter.

One of the downtown businesses had a bat and a rat in their premises.  The old jail has all the windows open in hopes the bats will leave.  There are a lot of them as the new owners have discovered.  Ridding a structure of bats is a challenge.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings, Barack Obama — Peg Britton @ 2:27 pm


This is a wonderful picture of Barack Obama’s mother and grandparents. You can see the resemblance between Barack and his grandfather…both very handsome men.  His grandmother was a very attractive and successful woman,  as was his mother.

For more pictures and lots of text (3 pages) about Barack and his family, click here and keep scrolling.  The questions I raised then have been answered.
Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 12:30 pm

Remember the blogs I’ve posted about the cost of Mycophenolate? It cost me $77 plus or minus at Dillon’s after my insurance kicked in. The pharmacist at Smith Center said he’d sell it to me at his cost which was about $168, as I recall.  Here, it was going to cost $400.  That’s for a month’s supply.  I just received a 30 day supply from Cleland Pharmacy in WaKeeney and it cost me $5.00.  Go figger.  It doesn’t cost anything to call Jim Cleland and comparison shop the cost of your scripts.  His number is 1-800-743-8886.


Filed under: prairie musings, political musings — Peg Britton @ 8:48 am

My friend, Sheryl, wrote this morning and noted I hadn’t posted anything since the 15th.  True.  No particular reason…just a lack of blogging activity in my part of town.

The health care problems are ridiculous.  It’s time the Democrats stopped trying to please Republicans who only know how to say “NO!” and just forge ahead without them. Obama had a mandate from the people to change health care so it’s time he complies with that mandate.  As long as insurance companies run things, matters will only worsen. About three-quarters of U.S. citizens favor the kind of “government-run,” or “single payer” system most other developed countries have. Guess what. We already have one in place. It’s called Medicare.

Two of my grandchildren were together for lunch yesterday in Royce City.  Tyler, who is stationed at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, was in Royce City to pick up a friend.  That’s where Mackenzie and Luke live so he and Mackenzie met for a quick lunch.  I love it when my grandkids make the effort to stay connected.

This has been the best summer for cool temperatures that I can recall.  We had a couple of weeks of hot weather…and even then it wasn’t all that hot. We do enjoy and rely on air conditioning.  I do remember the summer of 1936 when it was hotternhell. At its peak, 100 degree plus heat covered the Great Plains, Midwest, South, and much of the Northeast, as well as the provinces of Manitoba and Ontario, Canada. At times the heat even spread into the Pacific Northwest and western Canada. With air conditioning in its infancy, it was only available in some movie theaters, large department stores and other public places, and not in residences.  Everyone was miserable day and night as temperatures across the great plains climbed over 100 most of the summer. A state record at Steele ND was 121 and still stands.  At Collegeville IN the state record of 116 still stands from 1936.  Alton and Fredonia KS hit 121. It was a type of misery one doesn’t easily forget.

That was the summer that Brit talked about so often as he remembered how miserable it was.  He and his family had just moved to Ellsworth from Kansas City and they, and many other Ellsworthites,  took blankets to sleep on and headed for the golf course to find some relief from the heat. I just remember insufferable heat.

Don’t forget the El-Kan Rodeo August 21-22nd on the rodeo grounds at the Ellsworth Rec Center beginning at 7:00 pm.  Tickets are $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for children age 12 and younger.  As an added feature, the Buffalo Soldiers will perform in activities starting at 9:30 am on Saturday the 22nd and continue into Sunday at the Rec Center area.

I’m not the only one who is questioning the handling of the last board meeting where some or most of the school board members were blind-sided by the appearance of the SHCF regarding the purchase of the administrative office building.  One could assume the superintendent worked closely with the Smoky Hill Childcare Foundation members, allowed them access to the building to make measurements and appraise the building for their purposes yet neglected to gain approval from the board before he took such action on his own.  That’s not the way the system is suppose to work.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 11:35 am

by John Cole from Balloon Juice

Another victory for stupid:

There is nothing in any of the legislative proposals that would call for the creation of death panels or any other governmental body that would cut off care for the critically ill as a cost-cutting measure. But over the course of the past few months, early, stated fears from anti-abortion conservatives that Mr. Obama would pursue a pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia agenda, combined with twisted accounts of actual legislative proposals that would provide financing for optional consultations with doctors about hospice care and other “end of life” services, fed the rumor to the point where it overcame the debate.

On Thursday, Mr. Grassley said in a statement that he and others in the small group of senators that was trying to negotiate a health care plan had dropped any “end of life” proposals from consideration.

A pending House bill has language authorizing Medicare to finance beneficiaries’ consultations with professionals on whether to authorize aggressive and potentially life-saving interventions later in life. Though the consultations would be voluntary, and a similar provision passed in Congress last year without such a furor, Mr. Grassley said it was being dropped in the Senate “because of the way they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly.”

I still contend health care reform is over. The GOP and the fringe right will just move on to something else they find “objectionable” like this absurd accusation that voluntary counselling amounted to a panel of experts determining who should and should not live, the senior citizens seem overwhelmingly content to suckle at the public teat in regards to medicare while giving everyone else the bird, the insurance industry is playing both sides, half the Democrats are spooked by their own shadows, and the other half are in bed with the FIRE sector.

It is just over. And the Democrats have no one to blame but themselves. If the Republicans had majorities like the Democrats have right now, they would have abolished the IRS and the Department of Education, Bernie Madoff would be running social security, there would be an oil well in every backyard and off every inch of coast, we’d have mandatory prayer in schools, and the defense department budget would be doubled so we could have excellent adventures in Iran while we liberate Georgia from oppressive Russian rule. And we’d be doing it all with a top marginal rate of 3%.

Get ready for three more years of debating school uniforms.

Also, they killed off the climate bill was no one was looking. Thank the usual suspects- Nelson, Dorgan, Baucus, and Lincoln. Any of you think the Democrats have the nerve to deal with immigration in an election year. HAHAHAHAHA! And forget about regulating Wall Street.



Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 1:48 pm

The Kansas Legislature’s Appropriations Committee is being called back to work later this month to consider state government consolidation — including of school districts and court systems. The committee is scheduled to meet twice in August, again in September and perhaps other times during the fall in advance of the January legislative session.

You’ll want to read this….click here.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 1:35 pm

My radar went up when I read the USD #327 board meeting news in this week’s issue of the Indy.  Read it!

‘’The district office building was discussed as a possible location for the daycare center”.  “It has a really good location”,  (Rob) Fillion said.  “It’s easily accessible for most people in Ellsworth on their way to work.”

“Two possible options for relocating the administration would be an office space downtown or the high school.  Superintendent Ken Arnhold said larger projected student populations at the high school could limit such an option in the future.”

What’s this about selling the USD #327 administrative office building?  What the heck is going on here? Have I missed something?

One would determine from this conversation by the board and superintendent that this had been an on-going item on the board agenda previous to this meeting.

Did the newspaper reporter miss all the previous conversations?  I doubt that.

Has this been a subject of discussion in executive sessions?  Possibly.

Where are all the recorded previous conversations to this idea?  This article indicates the transaction of this sale already is entrenched in the minds of the members of the Smoky Hill Childcare Foundation.  How did this happen without the public being informed of such conversations?  Why hasn’t the board mentioned this before?

The only comment that made sense was made by Greg Hoffman who said:

“I’m not real comfortable with selling the building.”

Then he added:  “Perhaps what would be best is to rent you the building.”

Why would the school board consider renting the district office building for daycare use then go downtown and rent/buy another building, pay for significant remodeling for school district offices and create  more parking problems for the downtown area?

When did the board first give consideration to selling this building? There hasn’t been any information in the newspaper about such discussions by the board of education which indicates to me the board wasn’t informed.

The long-standing argument for having administrative services separate from attendance school facilities created the need for the building in the first place.  That philosophy has not changed over the years.

Selling the school district office makes about as much sense as the  previous action of the board when they sold the building lots surrounding the Kunkle land behind the Pizza Hut to the boondoggle Welcome Home program that didn’t welcome any new people to town and only relocated local residents.  See what happens in another 10 or 15 years when there is a need for land to replace the grade school whose present location has stifled the growth of the downtown area and has been a constant danger to school children. Access to the Kunkle land that is available for school use has been seriously compromised by the sale of the land surrounding it.

Why is the board even considering selling this school district property and how can they consider selling school property that is owned by the tax payers without opening it up for sale to the highest bidder?

Why are the proponents of the day care center asking the school district to give up their offices so that it can be converted to a day care center?  This smacks of realtors asking old folks like me to give up my house and move on so someone younger…and I presume more deserving…can have access to my house.

There is something about all of this that doesn’t have a good ring to it.  Let’s just hope that there was no violation of the open meetings law in these transactions.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:20 am

According to a breaking news story in the Wichita Eagle newspaper, a finalist for the Peoria City Manager position is Wichita’s Assistant City Manager, Scott Moore.     [Wichita] Vice Mayor Jim Skelton said today that Moore has indicated he will likely leave Wichita for the job.



Filed under: political musings, print news — Peg Britton @ 2:13 pm

Here’s a paper, Unskilled and Unaware Of It, by Cornell University professors, Justin Kruger and David Dunning, that reveals a lot about today’s “birthers”, “deathers” and other crazies that are disrupting town hall meetings…and any other forum they can find to disrupt.

The Dunning-Kruger effect, defined by Wikipedia as an example of cognitive bias in which “…people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it”. They therefore suffer an illusory superiority, rating their own ability as above average. This leads to a perverse result where people with less competence will rate their ability more highly than people with relatively more competence. It also explains why competence may weaken the projection of confidence because competent individuals falsely assume others are of equivalent understanding. “Thus, the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others.”

They argue that when people are incompetent in the strategies they adopt to achieve success and satisfaction, they suffer a dual burden: Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it. Instead, they are left with the mistaken impression that they are doing just fine. Charles Darwin  sagely noted over a century ago, “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge”

 In other words, people who can’t “get it” think they actually get it better than everyone else and people who do “get it” think everyone else can too. It is the affliction of those whose arguments have been completely destroyed and are left with no evidence, and yet think they won the debate anyway - like the birthers. It is also why the smart ones don’t understand the failure to communicate and keep pressing. If this theory sounds overly simplistic or arrogant, it’s worth pointing out that it’s based on a study by two Cornell professors called “Unskilled and Unaware of it.” It certainly explains a lot about the national discourse.

How can anyone believe that shouting is more intellectual or effective  than reasoning?


Filed under: print news — Peg Britton @ 1:01 pm


If my body were a car, this is the time I would be thinking about trading it in for a newer model.  I’ve got bumps and dents and scratches in my finish, and my paint job is getting a little dull. But that’s not the worst of it.  My headlights are out of focus, and it’s especially hard to see things up close.

My traction is not as graceful as it once was. I slip and slide and skid and bump into things even in the best of weather.

My whitewalls are stained with varicose veins. It takes me hours to reach my maximum speed. My fuel rate burns inefficiently.

But here’s the worst of it —Almost every time I sneeze, cough or laugh, either my radiator leaks or my exhaust backfires.

Written by anon…



Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 7:44 pm

Congressman Dennis Moore of Kansas told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that he had received two death threats…one a phone call to his office, the other one he didn’t want to discuss.

The hate-filled crazies are on a rampage with their guns.  The lies that are circulating about insurance reform are so extreme that you would think sane, even slightly educated, people would never believe them let alone be incited to react in the way they have.

The town hall “deathers” have had the bejesus scared out of them.  They don’t understand they have been preyed on and used. But then, there are a lot of people who believed and followed crazy Rev. Jim Jones, founder and leader of the Peoples Temple, to Guyana where 909, many of them children, died from drinking cyanide-laced Kool-Aid-like liquid.  They were also misled and believed the ridiculous stuff Jones spewed to the extent they were willing to die.  People will believe almost anything without checking facts.
People who will kill abortion doctors and threaten the President and members of Congress are radical ignoramuses who believe they have a right to end the lives of those who don’t agree with them.  We all have reason to be wary of these gun-packing extremists.

76 percent of North Carolinans don’t know if Barack Obama was born in the U.S.  12 % of North Carolina residents didn’t know the U.S. contains a state called “Hawaii”.  At a recent town-hall meeting in South Carolina, a man stood up and told his Congressman to “keep your government hands off my Medicare,” which is kind of like driving cross country to protest highways.  On the eve of the Iraq War, 69% of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11. Four years later, 34% still did.

According to Bill Maher, ..”polls show that a majority of Americans cannot name a single branch of government, or explain what the Bill of Rights is. 24% could not name the country America fought in the Revolutionary War. More than two-thirds of Americans don’t know what’s in Roe v. Wade. Two-thirds don’t know what the Food and Drug Administration does. Some of this stuff you should be able to pick up simply by being alive. You know, like the way the Slumdog kid knew about cricket.”

How do you have a discussion of the complexities of health/insurance reform with folks of this ilk?

Read this if you have time….Return of the Militias.

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