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A Day in the Life of Lovina and Her Family

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This is a diary of Monday, February 26, 2024.

3:50 a.m. My alarm goes off. I get up, unlock the door, and wait for Dustin, daughter Loretta, and their two boys to arrive. After getting them settled down for a nap, Dustin leaves for work at the RV factory. Son Joseph gets up too, as he’s leaving earlier today to do concrete work. 

Joseph and I pack his lunch. I make him a breakfast sandwich: grilled cheese with an egg and sausage patty in it. 

4:30 a.m. Joseph leaves, and my husband Joe gets up. He refuels the coal stove in the basement while I make his breakfast and pack his lunch. Nineteen-month-old Denzel isn’t quite asleep and hears that Grandpa Joe is up. He stands in his crib, begging Joe to come get him. Of course Grandpa can’t say no to his little sweetie. So Denzel sits beside Joe, helping him eat his breakfast. 

5:15 a.m. Joe leaves for work, which doesn’t make Denzel too happy. He cries and wants to leave with him, but I hold him awhile and put him back in his crib, and he falls back to sleep. I take a nap on my recliner while all is quiet. 

7:45 a.m. Denzel wakes up, and so I get up too. Those extra two hours of sleep feel good to me. I make Denzel breakfast, as he’s not as patient to wait until everyone else is ready. 

Son Benjamin’s work was cancelled for today, so he goes out to do the morning chores and refuel the coal stove in the pole building. First, though, he teases Denzel and holds six-month-old Byron for a while. Byron is always full of smiles. 

8:30 a.m. Everyone is ready for breakfast, which is easy this morning… grilled cheese, eggs, and cereal.

It’s such a nice February day with temperatures much warmer than usual. I want to hang all the laundry out to dry, and everyone helps gather the clothes. We have a cold air return vent to the basement that we use as our laundry chute. Denzel loves to help throw the clothes down there. We just have to make sure the vent is back in or else toys and anything else that fits gets thrown down there as well. Haha! He’s a little active boy!

1 p.m. Laundry is drying on the lines. 

Daughter Susan comes to bring daughter Verena to their house. Verena will stay with Ervin and Susan’s five oldest children while they go to the hospital to see Ervin’s dad Perry. Perry, age 55, had a seizure Sunday morning (which he has never had before) and has not been responding since. He’s in the ICU and was transferred to a bigger hospital. Doctors are doing all kinds of tests to see what is going on. Please keep Perry, his wife Esther, and the family in your prayers.

Ervin and Susan are preparing to host church services in two and a half weeks, so they have a lot going on right now. I want to go help again this week. 

2 p.m. Dustin, Loretta, and the boys leave. Son Benjamin goes to get some gas and a prescription for son Joseph, who has poison ivy and needs a stronger cream for it. Benjamin then leaves to help his friend with some work. 

3:15 p.m. Joe is home from work. The laundry is dry, and we’re folding it. Verena will stay the night at Ervin’s, then go from there to daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s and babysit for their children on Tuesday night. Not sure if she’ll stay until Wednesday or not. 

4 p.m. Joseph is home from work. He is working on the new pole barn. We had help last week for several nights and then on Saturday again. The roof is on and so is the metal on the sides. Windows are in, along with the framing for the overhead doors, and more. We appreciate all the help! 

On Thursday evening, our whole family was here helping. Sisters Emma and Verena; nephew Benjamin, his wife Crystal, and son Isaiah; and nephews Jacob and Steven also came along. They were all here for supper. I made cheesy ranch potatoes and meatballs. The menu also included lettuce salad, cheese, chips, chocolate chip bars, and ice cream. Sister Verena stayed here for the night. 

6:30 p.m. Chores are done, and supper’s ready. We are having leftovers of creamed potatoes, fried chicken, and meatballs. 

8 p.m. Everyone is done for the day. Once again, we thank God for another day. We have so much to be thankful for. May God bless each of you! Good night!

Butter Tarts

Pastry Dough:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup lard (or 1 1/4 cups butter) 

1 large egg

1/3 cup cold water

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Filling:

4 large eggs

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 cups dark corn syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon white vinegar

10 tablespoons butter, softened

2 cups raisins, walnuts, or coconut (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a standard muffin pan. 

To make the dough: In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Stir to blend. Add the lard and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg, water, and vinegar and stir with a fork until the dry ingredients are moistened. Form the dough into a ball and divide that into 3 balls. Form each ball into a disk and roll out on a floured surface to a 1/8-inch thickness. Use a glass or 4-inch cookie cutter to cut out rounds and place them into the muffin tin. Cut off any excess overhang.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, combine the eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, vinegar, and butter until the mixture is creamy and thoroughly mixed. 

Spoon the optional ingredients into the bottom of the unfilled crusts. Pour the filling mixture into the pastry crusts until three-quarters full. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is firm. Makes 20 tarts. 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her two cookbooks, The Essential Amish Cookbook and Amish Family Recipes, are available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at Lovina’s Amish Kitchen, PO Box 234, Sturgis, MI 49091 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email [email protected] and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

National Slam the Scam Day March 7, 2024

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On National Slam the Scam Day and throughout the year, we give you the tools to recognize Social Security-related scams and stop scammers from stealing your money and personal information.

Help protect your loved ones and people in your community this Slam the Scam Day by:

  • Educating them about government imposter scams. Let them know they shouldn’t be embarrassed to report if they shared personal information or suffered a financial loss. It is important to report the scam as quickly as possible.
  • Sharing our Scam Alert fact sheet and helping educate others about how to protect themselves.

Report Social Security-related scams to the Social Security Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

Visit www.ssa.gov/scam for more information and follow SSA OIG on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn to stay up to date on the latest scam tactics. Repost #SlamtheScam information on social media to keep your friends and family safe.

Ear Biscuits (Best Of)

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I don’t know why Butcherknife Bill changed his name to Sourdough Sam. Maybe someone hung the moniker on him because of his reputation for delicious biscuits. Or perhaps because he remained unmarried, the word “sourdough” being synonymous in the west with the word “bachelor.” I can however guess why Sourdough Sam never found a bride. Because he snores like a choked bull. 
 
 
The reason I know about Sam’s sleeping habits is because I went on a trail drive with him and a bunch of wannabe cowboys for three days and three nights. The key word here being “nights.” As we unrolled our bedrolls on the first night Darrell remarked, “Ah, you will never get constipation if you sleep on the ground.” 
 
 
“You won’t get any sleep either,” a veteran camper replied prophetically.
 
 
After just ten minutes of Sourdough Sam’s snoring, wheezing and whistling Darrel’s response was, “It’s not exactly what you would call “melodious” is it?”
 
 
After one snoring fit that consisted of three violent staccato outbursts followed by several seconds of silence one trail driver made the hopeful comment…”Maybe he killed himself.”
 
  
But we had no such luck. 
 
 
Suffice it to say, we were not lulled to sleep by the howl of a coyote. Sam’s snoring even scared them away. And so the sleepless companions considered the options. “I remember seeing an advertisement in the Sharper Image catalog,” said one of the city dudes, “for a device that sent an electrical impulse to the snorer’s brain whenever he  or she uttered a peep. I considered getting one for my wife.” 
 
 
That remark sent us looking for a hot shot. But, as usual, the batteries were dead.
 
 
Another trail driver suggested, “maybe we should just roll Sam over on his side. Perhaps he only snores on his back.” Much to our chagrin we discovered that Sam even snored with his lip hobbled, hanging upside down with a bandana in his mouth.
 
 
“Let’s just asphyxiate him with his own pillow,” suggested one exasperated insomniac. “No one will ever know.” But instead, one by one we just moved farther away from the source of “earitation.” Without the warmth of the fire, using only our backs for a blanket, we arose the next morning with icicles hanging from our lower lips. Not having slept a wink I asked the other men, “How’d you get along?” 
 
 
“It was so dark I couldn’t see that I threw my bedroll on a hill of red ants,” said one. 
 
 
“That’s better than laying on a fresh cow pie like I did,” replied another. 
 
 
Looking at a bruised and battered Darrel I asked,  “What happened to you?” 
 
 
“I got away as far as I could but I ended up in a cow stomp and got trampled by a stampede.”  Caused no doubt by the thunderous snores emanating from camp.
 
 
Despite our pathetic condition no one complained to Sourdough Sam about his snoring because, you see, he was our camp cook. A cowboy never packs a lunch so he is totally dependent on the cook for sustenance. One complaint to the cook and you could starve to death on a trail drive. So nobody uttered a word.
 
 
On the second night of the trail drive when Sourdough started his incessant snoring we all ran to the chuck wagon to find something we could stuff in our ears. And on the third night we finally got some shut eye. That was because our cook laid in his bedroll with one eye peeled on his chuck wagon all night, attempting to discover who stole his sourdough mix the night before.

Ogallala Aquifer Summit set for March 18-19 in Liberal

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Event will draw participants from eight states to discuss water management issues.

A proverbial Who’s Who of water management in the High Plains region is expected for the 2024 Ogallala Aquifer Summit, set for March 18-19 at the Seward County Fairgrounds in Liberal, Kansas.

The conference marks the third time that an inter-disciplinary group of water specialists, users, regulators and others from eight states will gather to discuss the condition of the mighty Ogallala, a vast underground reservoir that covers 174,000 square miles and touches parts of South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas.

“One of the key values that I see to the Ogallala Aquifer Summit is the opportunity to hear from other states on the condition of the aquifer in their region, discuss shared challenges and learn ideas that may be adapted to Kansas in order to improve our water management,” said Susan Metzger, director of the Kansas Center for Agricultural Resources and the Environment, and the Kansas Water Institute at Kansas State University.

Registration is available online at www.irrigationinnovation.org/2024-ogallala-summit. The cost is $150, which includes meals and all conference sessions.

Metzger said this is the third time that the Summit has been held, each three years apart beginning in 2018. It is organized by the Irrigation Innovation Consortium, a group of water researchers and management specialists mostly working at universities throughout the eight-state region.

The Ogallala Aquifer is critical to the economies of the regions it touches. It is estimated that 95% of groundwater pumped from the aquifer each year is for irrigated agriculture, though it also supports livestock and municipal needs. The aquifer supports approximately $35 billion in crop production.

In Kansas, the Ogallala covers a majority of the western one-third of the state, which is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the entire country.

But the Ogallala Aquifer is rapidly depleting; some estimates indicate that in 50 years, 70% of the aquifer will be depleted. Diminished availability of water will also impact municipal water supplies; and in 2022 K-State agricultural economists reported that if current water depletion rates continue, Kansas land values may drop as much as $34 million in the next 40 years.

All of that makes get-togethers like the March 18-19 Summit even more important, according to Metzger.

“In the short term,” she said, “I hope the Summit inspires new partnerships and strengthens existing collaborations. But in the long-term, I hope we can identify practices and policies that collectively can extend the useful lifetime of the aquifer.”

Some topics on this year’s agenda include:

  • New opportunities with conservation-related legislation.
  • Understanding water risk as part of climate risk and economic risk.
  • Advances in science and data application.
  • The power of peer networks.
  • Workforce and leadership development.

The full agenda is available online.

In addition, Metzger said researchers and water specialists from each state in the Ogallala Aquifer region have prepared updates on their water management progress and challenges. The topics – which will be featured in facilitated roundtable discussions — include water management technology and outreach; sustainable feed and forage; local enhanced management areas (known as LEMAs); reusing water in a municipal setting; a Kansas partnership with NASA’s Earth Sciences division; and more.

Metzger said the Summit’s attendee list is “intentionally diverse,” including farmers and ranchers, non-profit organizations, city and state government, universities, federal agencies and representatives of groundwater management districts.

The Summit is open to all interested. More information and registration is available at www.irrigationinnovation.org/2024-ogallala-summit.

Kansas City Renaissance Festival celebrates Tenth Annual Kegs ‘n’ Eggs

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Join the Mad Hatter and Queen for the 10th Annual KEGS ‘n’ EGGS at Kansas City Renaissance Festival The Kansas City Renaissance Festival is thrilled to invite you to the whimsical and EGG-citing 10th Annual KEGS ‘n’ EGGS event happening on Saturday, April 6, 2024. Join the Mad Hatter, Queen, Chesire Cat, and their friends for an EGG-cellent adventure that promises fun, games, prizes, and a whole lot of excitement!
KEGS ‘n’ EGGS is a unique event tailored for those over 21 years old, bringing together the thrill of egg hunting with the enjoyment of craft beer, wine, spirit, and mocktail tastings. Participants will have the chance to hunt for hidden eggs, each containing candy, prizes, or prize tickets redeemable for over $20,000 in cash and prizes, including two $250 cash prizes.
In addition to the egg hunt, attendees can look forward to a variety of activities, including food trucks, shopping opportunities, EGG-citing games, and contests that are sure to keep the fun going all day long.
Registration opens at 9:00 am. Pre-Party: 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. Egg Hunt and Beverage Tasting: Starts at 1:00 pm. Tickets for the event range from $30 to $135 and can be purchased online in advance or at the gate on the day of the event. For those looking to enhance their experience, VIP igloos are available for reservation on a limited basis, offering a whimsical breakfast before the festivities kick off. Don’t miss out on this EGG-stremely awesome event! Join us at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival for a day filled with adventure, drinks, and plenty of surprises.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit
Kegs ‘n’ Eggs
April 6, 2024
11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Rain, Snow or Shine
633 N. 130th Street Bonner Spring, Kansas 66012
$30 – $135 per person
Follow us on social media @kcrenfest

Good Samaritan bill shielding Kansans reporting overdoses from prosecution passes House

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The Kansas House has passed a good Samaritan bill that would shield people from prosecution when they call emergency services to report an overdose.

Legislators took up the issue after overdose deaths more than doubled over the past five years, largely due to fentanyl.

Kansas and Wyoming are the only states that haven’t enacted some form of a good Samaritan law. The Kansas House passed the bill unanimously last week and had sponsors from both sides of the aisle. It now goes to the Senate.

“The aim for this is to keep drug users, drug addicts, however you want to refer to them, alive long enough for them to seek treatment,” said Rep. Nick Hoheisel, R-Wichita, a sponsor of the bill.

Good Samaritan laws aren’t uniform, though, and some give blanket amnesty for people calling for emergency medical services while others have more conditions the caller must meet. The bill in Kansas doesn’t cover calls if the overdose occurred during a drug deal or if there’s a trafficable amount of drugs.

The person who calls 911 must also provide their full name, remain at the scene and fully cooperate with medics and police.

“I ask this body not to view this not as a soft on crime bill, but a pro-life bill,” Hoheisel said. “We have to keep these individuals alive long enough for them to seek treatment.”

Hoheisel was joined in his sponsorship by Rep. Pat Procter, R-Leavenworth; Rep. John Alcala, D-Topeka; and Rep. Jason Probst, D-Hutchinson. Probst has been a longtime advocate for harm reduction policies in the Statehouse and was one of the leaders of decriminalizing fentanyl test strips in the state.

“I think it’s worth noting, and I feel proud of the evolution I’ve seen in this body over the last few years, about substance abuse and the recognition that it’s not necessarily a moral failing and it’s not necessarily that someone is doing wrong, so to speak, but that we have a broader understanding of addiction,” Probst said.

Proctor mirrored this sentiment, saying if someone told him three years ago that he’d be advocating for immunity from drug crimes that he wouldn’t have believed it.

“But then I had a chance to meet some of the families in my district impacted by this fentanyl crisis,” Proctor said. “If you feel as helpless about this problem as I do, this flood of fentanyl that’s coming across our border, this is our chance to do something. This is our chance to keep these folks alive who are dying from this poison.”

As reported in the Topeka Capital Journal

 

Consignment Art Auction is March 30

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The 2024 Spring Consignment Art Auction at the Hutchinson Art Center is just a little over a month away.

This auction will feature over 100 works by local, regional, and national artists, including Jack Stout, Martha Hamilton, Birger Sandzen, and Leyster Raymer.

The auction is Saturday, March 30th. Doors open at 9:00 a.m., with the auction starting at 11:00 a.m. Lunch will be available, there will be plenty of seating, and admission is free and open to the public.

All artwork from this auction will be on display in the Main Gallery from March 15th – 29th. It will be a great opportunity to view the artwork in-person. Additionally, images of the artwork will be available for online viewing on the Art Center website starting in early March.

A portion of the funds raised by this event support future arts programming at the Hutchinson Art Center.

Potato Topper & More

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This spring is definitely going to be a busy time for me, I’m traveling a great deal in March and again in April. For my Northeast Missouri friends, I’ll be speaking for a women’s event to be held April 20th, at the Methodist Church building, in Lewistown. It’s a women’s luncheon; stay tuned to the newspapers and on line for all the details. My speaking theme will be ‘Signs, Samplings & Simplicity.’ I love getting ready to inspire others with my foods and the wonderful journey that’s been presented for me. I’ll be sure to post it here in my column as the details develop.

This weekend I was flustered a couple of times with what I was going to fix for dinner. One meal I wanted to make, and didn’t get to was my mother’s recipe for Baked Potato toppers. What I love about this simple cream sauce is how versatile it can be. Not only can you layer it over a baked potato, but it isn’t too shabby over a bowl of pasta either.

I’ve implemented peas along with ham in my sauce, but there are a great deal more options. Think Easter and leftover asparagus and ham, or perhaps broccoli and ham. All will work quite well in the simple mixture. Each household is different, but creamed peas were always at the table for Easter. First, my brother, Greg, always loved them, and now my son, Phillip, truly enjoys them.

Mom used a sweet onion, but I think for presentation’s sake and taste I would use green onions. They could even be used on top of the potato at serving time. There’s also nothing to stop you from sauteing the onions in a bit of sherry or dry white wine. Mother thickened hers with flour, but cornstarch would also work, just remember to use 1/2, or 3 tablespoons instead of 6 tablespoons.

Well friends, I have mentioned Easter. It’s time to get rolling on your menu, before we blink it will be here. I got out Easter décor this weekend and started in with chores we do in the springtime. I mean with 75-degree weather, it’s pretty hard not to think spring. If you failed to look at the calendar Easter is the last weekend of the month, not April, this year.

It’s time to call my dad and see what he’s been up to, & then hit the hay! Have a grand week, and spend some time doing something for others. Simply yours, The Covered Dish.

Baked Potato Topper

Betty Dance

1/3 cup butter

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

4 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

6 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon black pepper, (could use more)

3 1/2 cups 2% milk or milk of your choice.

1 (8 oz.) creamed cheese, softened and cubed

3 cups cooked, chopped ham

10 ounces frozen peas, cooked & drained

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Sauté onion and mushroom in butter over medium to low heat until translucent/tender, cool. Blend in the flour, mustard, pepper & milk. Cook until the mixture boils and thickens. Over low heat add cream cheese, stirring to melt. Add the ham, peas and Worcestershire sauce. Serve over 5-6 baked potatoes.

You Never Know what You Might be Missing

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I saw an old friend in town the other day and he asked how I had done trapping last year. I told him I hadn’t set as many traps as I’d wanted and thus hadn’t caught as many coyotes as I had planned. I’ll never forget his reply; he told me “I was never a very good trapper. I had a friend that was very good, and I would set twice as many traps as him and I would catch twice as little!” I chuckled at his wording, but it got me to thinking. If I had thrown in the towel every time I hadn’t gotten a deer, or trapped as many coyotes as planned, or caught all the fish I’d wanted I would probably have ceased even going outdoors years ago.

There have been plenty of years when I haven’t harvested a deer or trapped as many critters as I’d wanted, but my biggest challenge has always been my fishing skills, or better yet my lack-thereof. Growing up in Ohio, we enjoyed Lake Erie and one of the many islands in Lake Erie is named Kelley’s Island. Our neighbor was pastor at one of the churches on Kelley’s Island and stayed there in the parsonage during the weekend, and lived next door to us during the week. Because of our friendship, if we went to Kelley’s Island on week days, he let us stay in the church parsonage, so each year we planned a short fishing trip there during the week. One of the fish Lake Erie is known for is the Yellow Perch. They are nothing like our invasive species White Perch here in Kansas and in my book are nearly as good as Walleye as far as eating quality. In the fall the perch would be biting around the island so we planned our trips around that. We sometimes fished from the ferry dock alongside native islanders. I always bought the same bait from the same bait shop and used the same tackle as the native islanders, but sitting 3 feet away on the dock, they would catch 12 fish to my one.

Some years back when Joyce and I still had a boat, we went to Kannapolis fishing with another couple who were both avid fishermen, they in their boat and Joyce and I in ours. They had numerous brush piles in the lake marked on their GPS, so we anchored on each side of a long narrow brush pile. Joyce and I both rigged our rods exactly like theirs, and our boats were so close that at one point they tossed us the exact jig they were using. They caught crappies left and right and the only thing we caught was the rope anchoring the marker buoy.

My points here are, number one, I’m a lousy fisherman, seemingly almost cursed at times, but yet I still go when I can. Point number two is, that although harvesting fish and game is usually the goal when in the field or on the lake, the harvest should not be our sole purpose for being there. On one particular deer hunt during my youth, I was standing in a pre-determined spot in a large woodlot awaiting other hunters walking toward me. I heard rustling in the leaves, and watched as a mother red fox and her family of half-grown kits ran past me just a few feet away. As I recall, I didn’t harvest a deer that year, but would have missed that once-in-a-lifetime-sight had I not been there anyway.

I could fill pages with other stories like that of bobcats that peered at us from a few feet away, or hawks that cruised past us mere feet above the ground and only a stones-throw away, or the beaver that swam beneath my feet under the ice of a frozen creek. The bottom line is that all that would have been missed had we not been there, successful harvest or not. Continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors (successful harvest or not!)

Steve can be contacted by email at [email protected]

Opportunity

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john marshal

Four years ago, students and educators in southwest Kansas began talk of bringing a satellite campus from one of the state’s universities to Dodge City (Fort Hays was mentioned). Students wanted to pursue four-year degrees in the southwest because they wanted to live there. The educators wanted to teach there.

At stake, they said, was the long-term health of communities in the region, an “education desert” in the one quadrant of the state with no four-year public university. The campus at St. Mary of the Plains, a liberal arts college that closed in 1992, was mentioned as a potential site. Legislators yawned.

Many young men and women today pursue college after high school, a degree and a return to farm country. Scholarship applications, informal polls and surveys reveal a pulsating call of home, a longing for places they came to love while growing up.

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Despite indifference in Topeka, there are signs of energy and advantage for farm towns and communities. Among other marks:

‒ Opportunity zones:

A federal plan involving state and local government directs infrastructure improvements, technology upgrades, housing programs and other aid to communities with growth potential. These are often places with an institution of higher learning and a thriving hospital.

‒ Medicaid expansion:

Rural hospitals are not thriving. For five years, Gov. Laura Kelly has offered plans to expand Medicaid for 150,000 Kansans who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to pay for private insurance. This year, Washington would pay 100 percent of the expansion cost for two years; after that, a hospital surcharge pays the state’s ten percent share with no added cost to taxpayers.

Of 102 rural hospitals, 84 reported financial losses because the under-insured or uninsured couldn’t pay their bills. A dozen have closed since 2005, 27 are at immediate risk of collapse and 59 are in jeopardy. Medicaid expansion is to save a vital service for life in rural communities.

In recent polls, more than 70 percent support expansion. Our neighbors ‒ Nebraska, Colorado Missouri, Oklahoma ‒ have expanded Medicaid. Kansas is one of ten states that have not. Legislative leaders in Topeka have refused even to allow debate of the idea.

‒ Property tax relief:

Over the past 20 years, the legislature has sluiced away more than $1.5 billion in property tax relief owed to Kansas cities and counties and ordered by state law. The money, now more than $100 million annually, is derived from the Local Ad Valorem Tax Relief fund, framed in statutes dating to 1937.

Legislators each year have routinely suspended the transfer ‒ 3.63 percent of annual state sales tax revenues ‒ and siphoned the money for dubious purposes, political pets or, lately, a doubling of their own pay.

The governor wants to make amends. Her plan would not cover the 20-year theft, but at least commits $54 million annually to local tax relief. Payments to cities and counties would be apportioned by population and property valuation.

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There are other signs, including support for workforce development and a long-term solution for a groundwater aquifer crisis that threatens farms and cities.

Solar and wind power have taken root across the Smoky Hills and High Plains. A process called “carbon sequestration” to keep carbon out of the atmosphere, gains interest. Corrective farming practices include planting cover crops, leaving organic matter in fields after harvest, rotating in additional crops and managing grazing.

We once climbed out of depressions with government help and local innovation. Invention and change are again on the march in farm country and would blossom, if only Topeka’s leadership had sense enough to back the effort.