Medicine Lodge, Kansas's Locally Owned And Operated Newspaper


KWIBS - From November 24, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

Take it easy on the turkey friends!

Please have your news and advertising to us by 5 p.m. Wednesday for the December 1st issue as we wish to spend time with family and friends! Happy Thanksgiving!

KWIBS - From November 17, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

If you are new to Kansas, welcome to Swinter or Sumter, whatever you want to call it. We only observe fall for 48 minutes here in Kansas between summer and winter. We just go from sweltering hot to bitterly cold overnight.
Kansasís bipolar, would-be fall season can usually be gauged by how long the local newspaper publisher wears shorts to work. Monday, November 10th marked this guyís conversion to long pants for some time to come. Hopefully, no longer than March or April.
Trees at my house went into shock early Tuesday morning and dropped all of their still green leaves on the ground. They looked naked and ashamed.
Sunday was National Get Your Stuff Winterized Day around my house. Yes, I waited until November to put the jetskis away and winterize the boat and to take the aerator out of the pond. Just the day before my son-in-law was standing on the dock in shorts bass fishing. He did catch a nice 5 lb bass that day. We should have figured the weather was about to change by the hoody-sweatshirt the fish was wearing.
In my closet is... chaos. I formed a search party on Monday to locate clothing that didnít have a rock concert theme or the sleeves cut off of them. I was hunting for something in the lower leg covering department that went all the way down to my ankles. Button up shirts were neatly tucked away 200 yards in the back of my closet. To make matters worse, my light bulb burned out sometime in 2006 and I havenít changed it. I just canít find the time. I just grab a flashlight, three days worth of food and water and go in. My family knows what to do if I donít return.
But no matter how cold it is outside, this guy is always prepared to fire up the grill. I keep it right outside my front door where I can run out barefoot, flip a steak and run back in before losing a toe.
Welcome to winter everyone. Meh....

KWIBS - From November 3, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

On Tuesday, October 28th, NASA launched a rocket intended to bring supplies to the International Space Station. The rocket was made by a private company called Orbital Science. It blew up 6 seconds after it launched. Thankfully, it was unmanned and no one was hurt. This company was using a refurbished Soviet era engine made by the Russians nearly 40 years ago.
There were a lot of comments about how our space program is now a big joke under the Obama Administration, but to be fair, this wasnít NASA or American technology, rather a private ďlowest bidderĒ company. It does reflect badly that weíre relying on old Russian technology to get our space station personnel things like toilet paper.
Some of the comments about the story were the best part of the story! Hereís a few that I wanted to share.
ďCommon core at work,Ē Ronald E. King.
ďExact same results as the launch of the Obamacare website,Ē Erin Simmons.
ďInteresting coincidence: Obama wanted more participation from Muslims. They excel at explosions...,Ē Craig Gholston.
ďWell, this is embarrassing! Kind of the way the whole country is going! No more rockets red glare just our rockets bursting in air!,Ē Melissa Olson.
ďGood test run. Put Obama on the next rocket,Ē Mike Mailton.
ďThis administration is bringing our quality down to North Korea standards,Ē Peter Thrush.
ďObama wonít know anything about this until he sees it reported by the media,Ē Roger Trover.
ďIím sure this is George W. Bushís fault,Ē Joe Whittle.
Have a great week!

KWIBS - From October 27, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

It was getting late on Wednesday evening and our youngest son Nick hadnít gotten home from his youth group at church.
Ronda asked, ďDo you know where Nick is?Ē
ďI donít,Ē I answered. It was getting late and I could tell by the look on my wifeís face she was concerned.
ďNo worries,Ē I said. ďIíll send him a page!Ē
A what?
I clearly meant that I would send him a FAX...
I donít know what I was thinking, but my brain must have transported itself back to 1988.
When I was Nickís age we didnít have cell phones. There were phone booths and payphones and they were pretty much everywhere. All you needed was a dime, then a quarter, then a dollar. Then they just disappeared one day. Superman has been lost and unable to find a place to change clothes ever since.
When I was even younger, the moms in the neighborhood would use a crude form of Morse Code using the porch light. When they flickered on and off, it was time to leave or time to get home. I remember one mother who would scream out the front door for her kid and say it was bed time. You could hear her from blocks away.
Isnít it funny how technology and terminology for the technology has changed so much in such a short time. I actually was cleaning out a drawer the other day and found my old pagers. I had carried up to two pagers. I have no idea why. We also released our FAX machine into the wild. We were mostly getting junk FAXes and I just told all of our customers to email us.
Have a great week!
 

KWIBS - From October 20, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

From the time I was just a young kid, there has always been something to be afraid of or worry about...
My first worry or fear I had was probably acne or getting a wedgy in school.


But it was shortly after that I remember Russians and the Americans each had fingers on nuclear launch buttons, ready to destroy each other. About the time I got married, monkeys had spread HIV and AIDS to humans. Then we invaded Iraq and I was afraid I would be drafted. Soon after, terrorists attacked us on our own soil. The stock market crashed a couple of times. Korea and Iran went Nuclear.


And then thereís the regular stuff to worry about like: global-climate-warming-change, tornados, blizzards and ice storms, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanos, meteors, mud slides, swine and bird flu, terrorists with weapons of mass destruction, droughts, flooding, sand storms, crazy people with guns, the president, the government, GMOs, HMOs, looking stupid while dancing, losing Facebook Friends, receding hair line, forgetting to DVR my favorite show, being out of wine, another Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, where I put my keys, the return of spandex, did anyone just hear me pass gas?


Now Ebola?!?!


Please.... Everyone, stop what you are doing and take a deep breath. Stay calm.
My hope is that one day in the future, youíll go back and read this column and laugh because now youíre worried about pending alien invasions.

KWIBS - From October 6, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

Thursdayís massive earthquake in the area completely destroyed my Barbara Streisand album collection....

The 4.4 did noticeably rock our office and lasted long enough for Doris to come in screaming "EARTHQUAKE". I knew something was wrong because my lamp was moving and my leg was either twitching, or the floor was moving.

The phenomena is probably best explained by the fact that God hates Kansas sports, ie. the Kansas City Royals making the playoffs, or the Chiefs beating the Patriots last weekend.

Speaking of God, shortly after the quake, came this loud crack of thunder. I was motivated to offer up a couple of "Iím sorries and please forgive meís." I then went outside to see a lot of people out in the streets looking skyward.

Damages to my office were estimated in the .20-.45 cent range.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From September 29, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

Ronda and I made quite a trek last week. We decided to take in the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield on Sunday, September 21st and then took an unexpected trip to a football game the very next day in Douglass, KS. We put a lot of miles on the truck and we made time to stop in places like Wellington and Oxford, just to look around and see what makes their communities unique.

Getting into Douglass about an hour before the football game on Monday, Ronda and I drove around to see the community. There wasnít much of a business district, but some of the old homes and buildings had some neat architecture. We stopped at a gas station and, as I do in every community I go through, I bought a newspaper.

After talking with the city clerk, I learned that Douglass had a website and I did read about the history of the city and the founder who was shot and killed not long after he had established the city.

The townís historian records only a blurb about the newspaper, "A newspaper was begun in 1879 and was printed off and on under different editors."

That newspaper I bought at the gas station was the Butler County Times-Gazette in El Dorado, KS. There was no real mention of Douglass, KS. I asked around and learned that their city hadnít had a newspaper for the better part of 20 years. I thought that was sad.

What would a town look like that didnít ever have a newspaper at one point? What would the relationships be like between folks living there? It seems like it would be some sort of strange place where everyone walked around with their eyes to the ground not making eye contact, no community organizations existed and no progress had ever been made. The town is essentially dead.

A newspaper is what makes living in a community a special thing. You see, without one, there is no sense of "home". It always amazes me that folks who havenít lived in Medicine Lodge in decades still take our newspaper. Itís a way to keep that connection, even though most times, the names and faces are not as familiar.

If you are a "Days of Yore" fan, you probably enjoy reading about people that are now just a part of our communityís history. If not for a newspaper, there would have been no reference for this column. Without a newspaper, much of the townís history could have been forgotten.

The newspaper has always been the place where a community turned to share its stories, to announce a fundraiser, to share a photo of a grandson who graduated, to thank doctors and nurses for excellent care after a hospital stay, to see a photo of a new business, to find volunteers, to sell a pickup; the list goes on and on.

Iím a third generation newspaper publisher. My Grandpa Bill got ink in his blood back in the 1930s and after both my uncle and my dad operated newspapers, my wife and I started ours in 1991. As a publishing family, weíre closing in on 50 years of continuous newspaper publishing in Medicine Lodge. I am proud of that fact. During all the time in my life spent in and around the newspaper business, I have been fortunate to see so many advancements and changes in the way a newspaper is made. I love community journalism - especially small-town community journalism.

Towns without newspapers suffer an identity crisis in my opinion. With people now using social media for much of their information, you often see a lot of confusion of fact and fiction. Although I love the Internet, I see things like Facebook "news" as a dumbing-down of sharing real news. Donít get me wrong. It has itís place and I use it along side our newspaper, but it doesnít replace the newspaper. Nobody in 100 years from now will scroll down through millions of pages of newsfeed to find when the townís founder was shot and killed. However, they very well could go to their local library, find a microfilm reader or archive of newspapers and read all about it.

October 5-11 is national newspaper week. Its probably not something marked on your calendar and nobody will probably make a big deal about it, but I wanted you to know that it is happening and here I am writing about it.

KWIBS - From September 22, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

I pride myself in thinking I have a good ear for music. I like pretty much all genres and can occasionally even handle some rap music.

So when I heard about the name of this band, it naturally sparked my curiosity and I had to check them out. They were simply called "Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy." Now "Carry" as we call her wasnít around in the time of the speakeasies, but there was still something about that name that made me do a search on the old interwebasphere thing on my desk and what I found made me smile!

Carrie Nation & the Speakeasy is a high energy, acoustic brass n grass 5-piece from Wichita, KS. The band, whose sound has been described as "Öa stagecoach in overdrive", has brought their eclectic blend of punk, bluegrass, and dixieland to packed bars, basements, and festivals across the US since their inception in the spring of 2007. They were a featured act in Winfield at the blue grass festival this past weekend.

"How can we get theses guys in Medicine Lodge?" I asked a buddy of mine from Wichita. And it just so happened that the lead singer from Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy, was engaged to his daughter and living in Kansas City! I got the number and within a week, we had them booked for Indian Summer Days.

This is the perfect venue for this music and I hope will be exactly what the museum needs to jump start fund-raiser efforts to do some much needed maintenance. The concert is being sponsored by The Peace Treaty Association and bean feed by the Lions Club and is a free will event.

This event happens on Friday, September 26 and Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy will share the stage with The Peace Treaty Night Show cast and our very own Carry A. Nation!

Come out for the gun slinging, banjo plucking, bank-robber-hanging, bean-feeding event on Friday night and bring your friends, family and lawn chairs! It starts at 5:30 p.m.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From September 15, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

Some of you can probably relate to this. Is it just me, or does the state fair seem like one long infomercial?

One of my desires to go to the Kansas State Fair is that I only have my glasses cleaned once a year by some "glass cleaning specialist" complete with tatoos and missing teeth in many cases.

I really go for one thing - a Gyro! I used to go for the Pronto Pup, but thatís sort of off my approved menu these days. While eating our Gyros, Ronda and I watched some guy with spray paint and a sheet of cardboard making what some call art and I call a Pink Floyd video. I donít know if it was the paint fumes or the fact he kept lighting his artwork on fire, but he drew a crowd!

Am I the only one that doesnít get a sample of all of the food that the pots and pan peddlers cook up? Some guy wearing a headset microphone and making dumb jokes about his grandmotherís secret pie recipe always seems to make just enough food for the front row or one or two really attractive women in the audience. I never get anything.

I also noticed that many of the booths were exactly the same as in past years. I didnít see anything new that caught my attention, just more vibrating pillows, wood carved vases, and shirts with a picture of your favorite pet on them.

I donít want to sound like I hate the fair because we did have fun, but man, itís difficult to maneuver through the merchant buildings. I think they should have one day dedicated to wagons, strollers and electric mobility scooters - or at least one day banning them. Maybe they could build a chair lift inside the buildings like they have on the grounds and just fly people over the foot traffic.

I promised Ronda that when I become the guy in the scooter chair, I'll stay out of the merchant buildings so I donít hold up the lines of people just trying to get through. Now if she decides to pull me around in a wagon, well, that's another story.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From September 8, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

Let them eat candy!

City Councilman Ron James will be remembered throughout history as the man who overturned the rule that you canít throw candy during parades.

It happened Monday night at City Council..

"I go to hundreds of parades and they can throw candy everywhere, but here. I think itís stupid," he said, so elegantly.

I couldnít have said that better myself Ron!

Ron made the unexpected motion to remove that portion of the language in a memorandum of understanding with the Peace Treaty Association on the upcoming Indian Summer Days parade. Chief Nick Krug, the council and the Mayor all agreed that it was an overcautious rule that was unnecessary.

So for the first time in probably a decade of parades, candy CAN be thrown from floats and vehicles!

I was quite shocked. I was at the meeting and was there representing Peace Treaty for the upcoming Indian Summer Days events. I did not expect or request the memo with the city be amended in anyway. So, to say the least, I was pleasantly surprised by Ronís request to remove that line and approve the agreement!

I will say that this is contingent on parents and children being safe and staying out of the flow of the parade; and those with floats being careful of the children in the streets.

This is going to be great! Thanks Ron and thank you city council!

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From September 1, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

After one of the most amazing harvests weíve ever had with our front yard peach tree, my son decided to buy a book, dig a hole and fill it in with water. You read that right.

No, he didnít need the book to dig the hole, but it took him more than a shovel to dig that hole. He ended up using a pick ax before it was done, but he got that hole dug.

Why did he dig the hole? Because the book told him to.

Joey bought a book on peach orchards. Heís decided that since we have one awesome tree in our front yard, we should have a dozen! The book had a section on the type of ground and soil best suited for growing peaches and how to test the soil. So Joey dug a hole.

Now mind you, I told him, "Why would you need to dig a hole to find out if the soil is right? We have an awesome peach tree growing right there! Obviously, itís the right soil!"

But, I didnít write a book on growing peaches. And although it is an awesome peach tree, it was dumb luck on my part when I planted it 15 years ago. So I sat back and watched Joey dig a hole, fill it with water and watch it drain. Amazingly, he discovered itís the right type of soil to grow peaches!

And now you have the hole story....

 

KWIBS - From August 25, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

I too watched in amazement at the use of force by a militarized police force this past week in Ferguson, Missouri after the shooting death of 18 year-old Michael Brown.

How scary that those sworn to protect and serve us were now pointing guns and launching tear gas at citizens! I'm torn between law and order and the right to free speech. Now before you rush to judgment on this comment understand that burning Quick Trips and throwing Molotov Cocktails are not expressions of free speech. They behaved like criminals in all reality and it demanded a response of force.

Calling in the National Guard and bringing in such a showing of police force was absolutely necessary in this instance. This "peaceful protest" as it was called, was quickly becoming a riot situation that endangered life and property. I believe the response was unfortunate, but very appropriate.

How sad it is that it becomes an issue of race when a white officer shoots a black youth. How sad it is that our media jumps to conclusion and instantly embarks on a hunt for the real killer, a white cop who killed a good boy - that very same good boy who was stealing and shoving a business owner just a short time before the law tried to arrest him and sadly killed him. How did it happen? Was he kneeling to surrender or did he double back and charge at the officer? Eye witness accounts are all over the place. Some had him running away and he was shot in the back, some say he knelt to surrender and some claim he charged the officer. I don't know what the officer was thinking when he pulled the trigger. I just don't know and the reality is, no one has all the facts yet.

The media is all over this and practically has Officer Darren Wilson convicted of murder before the facts are all in. Even Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said "a vigorous prosecution must now be pursued."

As far as reporters being arrested...The reporters were probably warned to stay out of the way during a very volatile situation. It's not a freedom of the press issue to be inserting yourself into harms way when ordered not to. I've gone to car accidents to take photos and been ordered to stand back. I didn't just ignore the law and jump in for a shot. I put on a different lens and waited for an opportunity. Olson got the shot he wanted and probably the attention. Olson and the DOJ should have gone to Chicago over the weekend where 7 were killed and 29 were wounded. But that's not near as cool as one thug in Ferguson and rioting.

Oh, too soon to call that young man a thug? My apologies. I guess you missed that quick shop video.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From August 18, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

Let me say, I love my mom. Thereís no limit to that love as a son should love his mother.

Or maybe there is.

My mom came into the office last week and brought me an advertisement that she had received in the mail. With a smirk, she handed me a brochure for a "Forever Together" Diamond & Birthstone Pendant.

I read with interest:

"Spectacularly emblazoned with both your names and birthstones."

"There is no love exactly like yours. In what may be the most romantic gift ever, you can honor your unique bond with a custom-made diamond pendant. Forever Together is personalized with your names and birthstones in a timeless celebration of what you share."

Unique? More like creepy....

KWIBS - From August 4, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

Love him or hate him, Austin Gilley will be leaving his position as City Administrator at the end of this week.

Austin and I have had a good working relationship. It was rocky at first. We didnít quite see eye to eye on a few things, but I am glad that it did not get in the way of us working together.

I believe the majority of people, who actually got to know him and work with him, appreciate what he had to do - what he was hired to do - do the hard things that were necessary to see Medicine Lodge make progress. He helped Medicine Lodge pick itself up by the bootstraps and do the hard things that didnít get done in the past.

Now weíre on our way. Weíve got systems in place, protocols and the tools necessary to keep moving forward. We can thank Austin for this and we can thank a city council that hired him almost five years ago. Some of those council members are long gone, but it was good leadership and forward thinking that brought him here in the first place.

Iím optimistic about the future of this position. I believe that in todayís world, Medicine Lodge needs an administrator if it wants to keep moving forward, not decline like many communities our size. Thereís a lot of things that happen behind the scenes that normal elected government officials are just not qualified to deal with.

Itís too bad that the position is often a thankless job. I for one do want to thank Austin for at least one thing that occurred during his tenure. Austin made our city government transparent in its operations. As a newspaper guy, I like that. It makes my job easier providing you the news.

In our 23 years writing the communtyís news, itís never been easier to gain access to information. I appreciate that change. I appreciate the attention to detail that Austin made on every project he worked on. I appreciate even when we didnít agree and that when Austin was right or wrong, he was honest about it and we could always work through things.

Austin will do good things in his next job. I have no doubt of this. I wish him and Medicine Lodge the best in their futures!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From July 14, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

Somewhat forgotten by most of America was the news of global surveillance whistle blower Edward Snowden.

Snowden was a former systems administrator that worked for the CIA and did counterintelligence work at the Defense Department. In May of 2013, he left his job and home in Hawaii and flew to Hong Kong where he met with journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, releasing numerous NSA documents to them.

Snowden's leaked documents uncovered the existence of numerous global surveillance programs, many of them run by the NSA and the Five Eyes with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments.

What was rumored for years became factual. Our country has been collecting data and spying on its own citizens for years.

You think I am just a conspiracy theorist?

Within the last year our AFS student Elli Unger traveled to see us from Austria, twice. During the most recent trip she was detained and agents from Customs were able to tell her much about herself and her American family, i.e.. Ronda and I.

Because she didnít have a final destination address, Customs and the NSA investigated and were able to tell her where we lived, what our occupation was and our address simply by scanning her passport. She was cleared to leave after being interrogated the first time, and interrogated and detained for almost 12 hours the second time.

Everything you do electronically is gathered and stored by servers all across the country. The data is analyzed and if flagged by some computer program, investigated by a real person.

Iíve been reading a book by Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras called "No Place To Hide." Snowden's release of NSA material was called the most significant leak in U.S. history. We literally have no place to hide and no right to privacy under the excuse of "National Security."

Americans seem a little uninterested in all of this. Itís almost like they donít care, but look closely at this whole situation with Lois Lerner and the missing IRS emails.

Lerner, now retired and disgraced, is viewed as the central figure in the scandal. Time-wise, this is curious since she was allegedly advised of the practice a year after it began. However, itís also clear that she was ultimately in charge of the review practice, had knowledge of the practice and did nothing to stop it. She may have even encouraged and/or expanded the practice. Itís tough to tell. Itís tough because a number of key pieces of evidence Ė her emails Ė have gone missing.

According to reporting by Forbes, all investigations and inquiries into this have resulted in no criminal charges. Thatís likely because, so far as whatís been made public, thereís no evidence to support that the behaviors, while characterized as "absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate" were criminal.

Last Friday, my computer had a melt down. I lost the ability to access my files on my hard drive. The newspaper was unaccessible and the deadline was approaching to go to press.

Did I panic? Yes, I did, a little bit. Although it was a process I donít want to do on a weekly basis, I was able to recover my files because our little old newspaper invested $900 a couple of years back on a back up system. It took about 2 hours to fix my problem. Maybe it wasnít as big of a deal as an IRS hard drive crashing, but I can recover work from, at the minimum, the past two years. I also have great archives of my email and accounting. Some of my data backed up goes clear back to 1999.

Sadly, the IRS and my government want me and every other American to believe that the IRS canít recover the emails requested by congress from the period of time Lois Lerner has been encompassed in this scandal. (In all fairness, the IRS has provided more than 27,000 emails from Lernerís computer, just not the ones dating from 2010-2011 that are key to an investigation.)

My story has a simple point to it. If I can restore my data and my government can know everything they need to know about me, my business and where my AFS student goes, (simply by connecting the dots from scanning a passport) am I supposed to believe that the IRS is so badly mismanaged and has no oversight that it canít recover lost emails? Does that seem reasonable? Could The Gyp Hill Premiere be more technologically advanced than the IRS?

Put your party affiliation aside for a moment and put on a hat of reason and ask yourself the serious questions about our government.

This article and more about me archived by the NSA and department of defense.

Have a great week.

 

KWIBS - From July 7, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

Iím not purposely trying to be a slacker. The past few weeks have been super busy for us and I just didnít have time to set down and type!

A few weeks back Ronda and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary. Over that weekend we had some special guests, Brent and Tracy Shaw, visited us. They were actually here for a wedding that we were all attending, but we turned it into an opportunity to clear out our refrigerator and catch up on old times.

Brent is a 1986 graduate of MLHS and a long time friend. His mom and dad are Dean and Connie Shaw, former residents of Medicine Lodge, more recently of Wichita and now of Phoenix, AZ.

It seems like each time we get together with Brent and Tracy, the stories really start to flow after a glass or two of wine. This occasion was no different.

Tracy told us this story. Since sheís not from here, sheís fair game:

Tracy and Brent live in a busy suburb of Phoenix where Brent recently retired from the Phoenix Police Department. He received a panicked phone call after the event from his wife while on duty one day. Tracy had locked herself out of the house.

Now weíve all done this before. The only difference was that Tracy was stark naked. She had just gotten out of the shower and stepped out her back door to shut off a running hose in the yard. It was going to just be this quick "out and back in" maneuver (obviously, no reason for clothes), but when she turned around to go back into her bedroom she discovered her dog looking at her through the door. She was locked out and naked. ...Her only way to get back in would be to go around front and enter the code to her garage. Remember, itís a busy suburb of Phoenix, AZ.

She explained to us that the neighbor on one side of her house was a Baptist preacher, the other a complete pervert. She chose the Baptist preacher approach. Tracy found an old window screen and wrapped herself up in it and darted around the front of the house. With heavy neighborhood traffic and her neighbors watching, she made her move and said it seemed like the slowest garage door opening in history. Have a great week!

KWIBS - From June 16, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

The second mouse gets the cheese...

For one mouse, it had become a battle of woman vs. rodent. Tuesday it was, Rodent 2, Woman 0.

It started last week. Ronda came running upstairs screaming that there was a mouse in her laundry room. Sheís embarrassed by the fact that we have a mouse and has threatened me with an inch of my life for reporting it. I have assured her that our readers are not going to judge us because we have a mouse. We live out in the country. Mice happen... Sheís been putting out live traps all week.

This particular mouse was sighted again the next day while Ronda was drinking coffee in the morning. Not only was it sighted, but it jumped a sticky trap so as not to be caught. Ronda witnessed the entire traumatizing ordeal.

When I got up, she reenacted the event where this mouse avoided capture by jumping over the sticky trap. Sheís so cute - my little mouseketeer of sorts. It was at this point that she became obsessed with getting this mouse - dead or alive.

She bought more sticky traps, so many we could have tiled part of our home. She also broke down and bought the snap traps. This mouse was not getting away.

Tuesday evening she set up an "FOB" (forward operating base) in our upstairs living room. She strategically outlined where the traps would be located. Since the morning coffee event, more evidence was gathered damning the mouse that Ronda had now nicknamed "Rambo".

She gathered the family together for a briefing.

"There are traps everywhere," she exclaimed. "Avoid the following areas," she pointed out.

The grim task of setting the snap traps became my duty, since Ronda is afraid of even opening a bottle of champagne or a Pillsburry Grands Biscuit container.

She had purchased some easy load traps that could be reusable. I read the directions carefully after removing the traps from the box.

Step one: Open bait box and put peanut butter inside the marked area.

Step two: Lift the killing bar into position.

Step three: Place trap in trafficked area.

"Killing bar." That got my attention. I carefully put in the peanut butter using a butter knife and lifted the killing bar into position. Then I tested it with the butter knife.

Ronda screamed and I winced a little knowing that this contraption was about to take the life of an innocent mouse that was simply trying to exist.

I licked the peanut butter off of the knife, placed it in the sink and set the traps downstairs. Ronda said that was gross, but come on, the traps were brand new.

She asked, "How do you know they donít test them in the factory?"

I envisioned some scientist with this mouse trap setting it at the end of a maze and a little white mouse being released from a glass beaker.

"Yep, this one works. Wash that peanut butter off the trap and put it in the package for sale," heíd say. "Then grab me another one," while licking the knife clean.

I doubt that, but maybe it was a little gross.

We set the traps down stairs. It was just a waiting game now. The mouse didnít stand a chance. There were 9 live sticky traps and 2 "killing" traps. He would choose his own destiny: slow, sticky, painful or a quick snap.

When I got up the next morning, Ronda was downstairs and she wasnít happy. One of the sticky traps was shredded and the mouse had escaped. This would not stop Ronda, who by this point had become a crazed serial mouse killer. Only she hadnít killed anything as of yet.

With its zany action on a crazy contraption, the popular Mouse Trap game has been entertaining and delighting kids of all ages for 50 years. My wife was about to reinvent the game using house hold items.

After I got out of the shower, she called me downstairs to show me her creation. There was a bucket of water under a table where the boys keep their snacks. A tiny box was placed next to the bucket of water.

"OK, I give up," I said.

She was almost yelling at me like I was stupid at this point, "The mouse will eat the boysí snacks, get thirsty, climb on the box for a drink and then fall in the water bucket and drown"

Iím going to need some good psychiatric advice... and maybe a cat.

UPDATE: Wednesday afternoon the "Killing Bar" served up Ramboís last meal. Ronda had so hoped that her bucket of water would have worked... By the way, tomorrow is our 26th anniversary. I love you Ronda. :) - Also, happy 25th to Dale and Jodi Lonker! Have a great week.

KWIBS - From June 2, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

Junefest is this coming weekend and I want to highlight one of the events for my readers.

On Saturday evening, June 7, Aaron Newman and the OK Caravan will be performing downtown. The evening performer is an act out of Oklahoma City, OK. They have shared the stage and played events and festivals with acts such as Jakob Dylan (Bob Dylanís son) of the Wallflowers, The Lumineers, The Steve Miller Band, Stoney Larue, Aranda, Jason Boland, Graham Colton, Susan Gibson, Johnny Lee, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Dr. Hook, Of Montreal, Tea Leaf Green and Other Lives.

You might be wondering, how did we get such a talented group to play for Junefest? I would love to take credit for that, but it is actually being made possible through a grant from our local tourism committee to bring quality entertainment in to Medicine Lodge.

 

It also doesnít hurt that Iím friends with the bass player.... Mr. Chad Roper is one of the best musicians I have had the pleasure of meeting over the last few decades of being involved with music. Chad was the former bass player of Aranda, which if you read my column, you know Iím a fan. Chadís been a studio musician for years, a model, oil field trash, and a private investigator. Heís married to Associate District Judge Michelle Roper of Beckham County (probably his single biggest claim to fame). Heís also no stranger to the greater OKC area. Currently he is the morning DJ host for 101.7FM KKZU "The Zoo" and I listen to his talk show every morning on the internet and usually shake my head..... This dude and his multi-talented group of guys will surely be crowd-pleasers. I hope you can come out and Iím praying for good weather!

See you at Junefest!

 

KWIBS - From May 26, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

When I was a kid and my dad said, "I want your help on a building project", that usually meant I was going to carry lumber or swing a sledge hammer. I didnít normally look forward to that. As I got older and a little more useful in the construction department, I found myself really enjoying spending time with my dad and building things.

Our last project together was my fence around my house. We built it out of cedar posts and bolted the entire thing together. I think we spent about a week on it. It is quite a fence and itís been there for 15 years now.

One of the biggest things we did together was build a shop on his ground east of town. It started out as a garage, morphed into a beauty shop and after the property sold, became the pastoral offices of Community Bible Fellowship.

A little known fact about your local newspaper publisher: I went to college to learn construction and design. While in school from 1988-1990, I worked with a class who built homes on campus at PCC and then when they were finished, moved them to location. I enjoyed learning the trade and would have gone into that career had it not been for an unfortunate accident I had while roofing my momís house. I fell off of it.

Thus ended my career in construction. I had to learn to do everything with my left hand since my right one was in a cast for 6 weeks. I eventually healed, but have some issues with my right arm still 25 years later.

For the past couple of weeks, I have employed the skills, or lack of skills, of my two sons; and additionally my wife, son-in-law, grandson, neighbors and anyone who would help for an hour or two to build a dock on our pond. At first my boys grumbled, but soon began enjoying seeing the progress happen as we built a pretty impressive and large dock to our spillway.

After a few days, the help started disappearing for one reason or another. It might have been a girlfriend, Teeball practice, a basketball playoff game; whatever the reason, I kept working. Eventually, they felt sorry enough (or I whined enough) that they came back out to help me finish the dock.

Once we had it all stained set it in the water last Tuesday evening, they both had a real sense of accomplishment. I had the joy and pride of working with my boys. It will be project that will most likely out-last me and every time my boys use the dock, they will have the constant reminder of something we built together with our own hands - just like the memories I have about my father each time I see the building we built together when I go to church at Community Bible Fellowship.

Have a great week!

My sons, Joey and Nicholas, not beating each other to death with power tools.

 

KWIBS - From May 12, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

Several weeks ago now, a tragic accident nearly claimed the life of one of our own.

Liz Armstrong Edwards, nearly lost her life while biking on the Isabel Road, a serious reminder of how precious life is and how every day is a gift from God.

Every day we interact with people in our little community. We have so many differences sometimes, that we canít even see the common ground. Our lives intersect and overlap, but we often get so busy, we donít even cherish the little moments that we have together.

I remember my last conversation with Liz about three days before her accident. I was commenting on the produce section at Whiteís and had told her how much I liked the salsa. I also remember asking her about fresh cherries and a recipe I wanted to try. Liz went out of her way to help me find my ingredients.

Liz is slowly recovering, a miricale and amazement to doctors, family and friends. The accident has resulted in a rally to help Liz and Brett through this difficult time. A fund has been set up at The Citizens Bank at 120 East Kansas in Medicine Lodge to help the Edwards as Liz recovers - and she will, but it will take time.

Weíve only barely touched on the story of her accident and process of healing that is to come. It will be a hard road to travel, but one I believe that Liz and Brett are up to.

Liz and Brett have been so strong through this "ripple" in their lives. If you havenít already given a gift to help them, please consider doing so.

If you have already given, please consider giving again. Value the friendships we have in our small town. Keep Brett and Liz in your thoughts and prayers and keep all who are directly involved in the accident in your prayers. Weíre a community of friends and family. No one set out that day with intentions of being involved in an accident like this. We can only use the situation to love each other more by helping.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From May 5, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

We got so filled up last week, I had to take my column out of the paper. I wanted to congratulate the MLHS Class of 2014 on their Graduation (yesterday afternoon).

We had a lot of parties to attend this year. It seems as we get older, we know more and more of these kids graduating.

Every once in a while, it hits you Ė "Man, Iím old." Many of us are having the same experience as we realize the majority of the graduating class of 2014 at MLHS was born in 1991 and 1992, when Clinton was in the process of becoming the 42nd president!

The kids today donít know what life was like before the internet or at least havenít endured the screaming modem connecting through a telephone landline!

Theyíve always had email, but now itís tragically uncool to use an email for anything other than formal correspondence. It has become an archaic form of internet communication and it has been replaced by texting and by social networking sites.

Do you realize most of the kids from the class of 2014 have probably never used cameras with film? We didnít have immediate gratification after taking a round of photos because we couldnít upload them onto your computer. Instead, you dropped the roll off at the drugstore and waited until the photos were developed Ė it was the only way you would see the photo.

When I was a kid, we listened to records on our turn tables and if I wanted it to be portable, I carried my Sony Walkman! Most of these kids probably have never seen a Walkman and listen to their music in digital format.

Itís a different world we live in today and itís the constant change that is exciting. Congratulations Class of 2014. I hope one day you are privileged enough to look back and see the many changes that I have over the 26 years since my graduation from MLHS!

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From April 28, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

Congratulations MLHS Class of 2014!

KWIBS - From April 21, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

Iím one of those people who love dumb facts. When my father-in-law was here a few weeks ago, he insisted on sharing a bunch of useless facts with me, which was quite entertaining. He told me the word "Gringo" was actually derived during the Mexican-American war because Americans would sing the song "Green Grow the Lilacs." The Mexicans could hear the Americans singing it and only picked up "Gringo". Could be true - probably not, but who cares!?!

A friend of mine posted a really dumb and obviously fake fact on the Internet the other day:

"70% of the Earthís surface is made of water," he proclaimed. "The other 30% is made of idiots..."

Now here are some that I canít confirm or deny, but they were entertaining:

When you get a kidney transplant, they usually just leave your original kidneys in your body and put the 3rd kidney in your pelvis.

The United States in World War 2 created a bomb that used bats. The bats would be carrying small incendiary charges and would be released from the bomb in mid air, causing them to fly and scatter to different buildings in the area. The charges would then detonate and set all the buildings on fire. It was tested and proven to be very effective. (In killing Batman, maybe....)

Russia is bigger than Pluto. (Surface area of Pluto: 16.7x10^6 km^2; Surface area of Russia: 17.1x10^6 km^2)

If you melted down the Eiffel Tower, the pool of iron would be less than 3 inches deep (in a square area the same dimensions as the tower base). I canít imagine that anyone could prove this theory.....

There is more fresh water contained in Loch Ness than in all rivers and lakes in England and Wales combined. (I do believe that it also contains more Loch Ness Monsters than all of the rivers and lakes in England and Wales combined.)

KWIBS wastes an average of 1,100 inches of news copy each year.... Have a great week!

KWIBS - From April 7, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

Iím a Facebook user. It began as a way to share photos of my family with family and friends afar.

Almost everyone has Facebook these days and almost everyone has become a "blogger" of sorts, starting discussion groups and forums ranging from politics to religion.

Most posts are just rants. Many of those are just angry, uninformed statements and assumptions about issues that have made people mad.

Most recently a new page was created and I received an invite for it. It is called, "Medicine Lodge Community Issues." Its message states that "This is a neighborly place to share information, discuss local issues, find solutions and build a vibrant community in Medicine Lodge." I promptly joined and read some of the posts by a former resident of Medicine Lodge.

Some of the Medicine Lodge community issues in this post were things like an investigation in Kingman of a homicide, the war on feral swines, an article from the Alva Newsgram on the trash service from 2013, and then the general bashing of local officials.

I made a comment questioning how these were "Medicine Lodge community issues" and also corrected several, so called, "facts" that were posted on this site. I promptly had my posting privileges revoked from the "neighborly place" a couple of weeks ago. Thatís sort of ironic that the newspaper publisher in Medicine Lodge is being censored on a "Medicine Lodge Community Issues" Facebook page for bringing correction to statements posted there - a site that is hosted by a nonresident of Medicine Lodge.

Iím not saddened by that. Iíll be ok. In fact, it proves a point about social media. People donít care about the truth when reporting and there are no "rules" for fairness in cyberspace. The forum only suits the person administering it and if someoneís ideas are not in line, you eliminate those who question your motives.

I pray this isnít the sad future of journalism.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From March 31, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

April fools day is tomorrow. Itís one of my favorite days of the year.

Only in Medicine Lodge will someone slip an early April Fools joke in on you like I had done to me last week.

After getting my groceries I walked out to my truck in the rain. I normally lock my vehicle and hit the remote to unlock it. After my horn tooted, I opened the back door. Before I had a chance to set the groceries in the back seat, this person leaps out of my truck and screams "ROAR"!

Obviously it scared the Ďyou know what out of meí. When I realized it was our friendly local grocery store manager, I busted up laughing.

After I reminded him I was a recent heart patient, we laughed about the event. I love living in a town where people arenít afraid to act like this. We all need a little laughter in our lives, even if it comes with a little adrenaline rush!

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From March 17, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

I wanted to thank the Medicine Lodge Tourism Committee for the new entry signs coming in from the North and East of town. These things look awesome!

If you havenít seen them at night, they are even more impressive. The silhouette of the gyp hills over the bright "Medicine Lodge Est. 1871" really pops.

This group of folks spent a lot of time getting this project done and itís so cool to finally see this project completed.

Great job Medicine Lodge Tourism!

 

KWIBS - From March 3, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

Being a little tight on space last week, I didnít have room to mention a milestone in a life of someone very near and dear to me. My youngest son, Nicholas, turned 16 on Tuesday, February 25.

17 years ago, his mother and I decided we were done having children, but God had different plans for us. What might have seemed like an "Oops" at the time, turned into one of life's greatest blessings - another son. Nick amazes me every day with his talents, his humor and his faith. I'm proud of him and thank the Lord for that kid - that "Oops". I love you Nick. I hope you had a very special 16th birthday!

Speaking of birthdays, a special lady in my life is celebrating one on March 7th. My Mom! Happy birthday Mom. I love you.

? ? ? ?

and speaking of special....

Last weekend Ronda and I went to Oklahoma City to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of two very dear friends of ours. Stan and Becky Tedrow were thrown a surprise anniversary party on February 22nd by their sons Matt and Jim and their families. The Tedrows are well known in Medicine Lodge and had many friends from here attend their special event. We were so glad to have been a part of it! Congratulations Stan and Becky!

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Monday night the Medicine Lodge Area Chamber of Commerce held their annual meeting and recognition dinner. Kudos to Cindy Brungartd for organizing it better than any one-armed-wallpaper-hanger could! ... two arms for that matter!

Thank you to the business community for attending.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From February 24, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

Youíll have to get your morning sugar fix somewhere else. Tuesday morning, The State of Kansas Department of Revenue civil tax agents shut down Daylight Donuts here in Medicine Lodge and in Pratt for not paying their taxes.

Nixon Em, in my opinion, made some of the best donuts since Frosty himself graced Main Street. I was sad to see the "seized" notice on the window.

Local law enforcement assisted in seizing and securing the assets of the donut shop. The dayís donuts were made and closing it meant, they were also seized. The nice lady behind the counter boxed up the donuts and gave them to the agents. Oh the irony....

? ? ? ?

More signs of the Affordable Health Care Act not working: I got two, (2) identical $35,000 bills from the Kansas Heart Hospital last week processed through the new AHCA software. My wife called to find out what that was about.

We were told "not to worry about it" and "ignore the due date." I will have no problem ignoring the February 25th payment due date! (all pending insurance reimbursement...)

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From February 17, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

If you didnít know better, you would have thought that Bob Greer and I hated each other. He would always greet me with some insult and I would fling one right back at him. It was just playful banter.

Bob referred to me as one of his only Christian-conservative-gun-toting-Bible-thumping-Republican friends. And of course I would counter that he was my crazy-Liberal/Socialistic-bleeding-heart-Democrat from Protown-friend.

I met Bob, Publisher of The Protection Press when I was just a teenager in early 1986 working as a pressman at the Index. Bob and Dennies Andersen, Publisher of The Western Star in Coldwater, had a Wednesday print schedule. That usually meant a late night for me, because I canít think of one time they made it to their scheduled print time, on time....

Back then I just thought of him as the crazy publisher from Protection who didnít shut the bathroom door when he used it.

I thought Bob and Dennies hated each other by the way they acted. They didnít. It was the same playful banter that I would inherit one day from hanging out with these deadline delinquent clowns.

Bob was just starting his newspaper. He was in a town that already had an established newspaper, but he had a vision of starting something local that held on to traditional values and focused on local people. It would be about 5 years after I met him that I would follow in his footsteps starting The Gyp Hill Premiere. He and Dennies were both mentors to me.

Bob would come to Medicine Lodge once a month on his way through to "check up on his doctor" as he put it.

His tradition was to tell me how much his circulation had grown, that it was more newspapers than households in Protection, that he had run that no good son-of-a-so-and-so out of town and that he was fat and ugly, but he loved what he did.

He always liked to point out to me, "We started the Press without a single subscriber. It now has 700 readers ó from a town with just 555 population. And circulation continues to grow. Forgive my bragging: but we must be doing something right!"

Iíve never met anyone quite like Bob and I know I never will.

Last year Bob was honored by Kansas Press Association with the Clyde M. Reed Jr. Master Editor Award. He stopped on his way back from Topeka convinced I had something to do with his award.

He asked me, "You gave me the thousand dollars I was given with this award, didnít you?"

I had not given him the money, but he was convinced that I had and wouldnít take me at my word. We argued for what seemed like forever over dinner at the Truck Stop.

I finally said, "Look, if I had an extra $1,000, youíd be the last person I would give it to!"

That ended that argument.

"Do you love what you are doing?" he would always ask.

"Iím one of the lucky ones. I get to do what I love to do and I have a great life and a great family," he would say each time. In fact, it was what he said just over a week ago when he was in my office for our final visit.

Bob did love being a newspaper publisher. He was born for it and he wrote a column each week until he couldnít anymore. When he was "younger" as he put it, he would pound out his columns on a manual typewriter. As his fingers grew more and more arthritic, he took up pad and pencil and someone had to decipher his chicken scratches, but he kept on. He loved reporting the news, especially sports.

Bob just celebrated his 88th birthday at the end of January. He was growing tired and I could tell from our visits that he was wearing out. He knew it too, but would muster up the strength to tell me a story, usually one I had heard at least a dozen times before. Each time he told it though, it was new to me.

I got him talked into telling me all the stories again on Thursday, January 30th. This time I set up my video camera and caught thirty minutes of the most colorful "Bob" memories one could have. I knew in some small sense that it was probably going to be one of the last times I would hear his stories and I am glad I did it.

On Wednesday last week, Bobís wife Wilma called me to tell me that Bob had fallen at the manor where he was recovering from a heart cath procedure. Bob was scheduled to go back to Wichita on Thursday for a follow up which surely included more surgery, but that trip was cancelled. Bob never recovered from his fall and never woke up. I got things in order on Thursday and drove over to Coldwater to their hospital to see Bob. I was hoping to tell him to get his old wrinkly butt out of bed and get back to work, but I was telling him good-bye instead, and I knew it.

Bob passed away Saturday morning. He was one of the good ones and as near to me as a grandpa. I was blessed to know him and even though we were so different, we are so much alike.

Upon every visit Bob would go into my bathroom and steal a roll of toilet paper and then walk up front and steal several copies of The Gyp Hill Premiere.

Heíd hold up my paper and say, "I wipe with these because they are soft on news. The toilet paper is to blow my nose on on my way to Wichita."

During our last visit, he told me that he didnít know how much longer he had left. I told him that if he died after Wednesday, but before my paper came out, that I would scoop him to the story of his death. He countered by saying that if I died and he was left, he would line my casket with the Protection Press.

Here I am holding up my end of the promise. Bobís paper wonít come out until Wednesday with the news of his passing.

Bob left my office that Thursday saying what he always said, "Hey, I love you man - not like the gays love each other. You know what I mean?" I just laughed and told him, "yes, I know what you mean." I loved him too and hugged him. After that he called me some derogatory name and waddle out to his car.

I love you old friend.

KWIBS - From February 10, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

Folks, donít try this at home. Itís been the butt of jokes and movies for decades. Autumn Stivers, daughter of Amanda and Cody Stivers, learned what not to do with her tongue on a metal object when the temperatures are hovering at 6 degrees.

Somehow sticking her tongue on a metal grill sounded like a good idea, but she discovered that she became attached to it. Autumn removed herself from her sticky situation, but left behind part of her tongue... ouch!

 

KWIBS - From February 3, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

My mom knows hows much I love word games and puns. Sheís always forwarding email to me. This one really had me chuckling last week and I wanted to share them with you.

1. The fattest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.

2. I thought I saw an eye-doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.

3. She was only a whisky-maker, but he loved her still.

4. A rubber-band pistol was confiscated from an algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.

5. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

6. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

7. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

8. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

9. A hole has been found in the nudist-camp wall.. The police are looking into it.

10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

11. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

12. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: 'You stay here; I'll go on a head.'

13. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.

14. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab centre said: 'Keep off the Grass.'

15. The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

16. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

17. A backward poet writes inverse.

18. In a democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.

19. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.

20. If you jumped off the bridge in Paris, you'd be in Seine.

21. A vulture carrying two dead raccoons boards an airplane. The stewardess looks at him and says, 'I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.'

22. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says, 'Dam!'

23. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.

24. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, 'I've lost my electron.' The other says, 'Are you sure?' The first replies, 'Yes, I'm positive.'

25. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root-canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.

I hope these made you smile like they did me!

KWIBS - From January 27, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the MCLXXVII Edition of The Gyp Hill Premiere!

Next weekend is the "Big Game" between The Denver Broncos and Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks. Did you see his post-game interview with Erin Andrews? She looked scared!

"I'm the best cornerback in the game," he screamed during the post-game sideline interview. "When you try me with a sorry receiver like (the 49ers Michael) Crabtree, that's the result you are going to get. Don't you ever talk about me!"

Talk, talk talk talk... thatís all that was done last week about the 25 year old cornerback.

Heís good - no doubt and heís intelligent, a Stanford graduate who loves to read. He just gives a crappy interview 15 seconds after a game win.

And what a game it will be this weekend. Iím cheering for Peyton Manning and the Broncos. I would cheer for Peyton on any team. Maybe instead of allowing Peyton Manning to freely use "Omaha" over and over in a game, Nebraska should have trademarked the name! What a missed opportunity, but what a great free marketing tool it has been for Omaha. You know, "Wichita" would work too.

As you know, we canít use the Super "B" word in the paper in any advertisements. Thatís a trademark name.

Trademarked and tenaciously defended by the NFL, the phrase "Super Bowl" (oops!it slipped) is available to just a handful of official sponsors that pay significant amounts for the right to include the name in their marketing efforts. The Gyp Hill Premiere isnít one of them. Everyone else, from national electronics retailers to the corner bar, runs the risk of being threatened with a lawsuit by the league if they use the actual name without permission.

Ok, Iím not officially using it as advertising. Iím just mentioning it. Come on, really? Do you think anyone would read my column and think I needed to use the NFLís "Big Game" as a promotion?

The NFL has two dozen official marketing partners that pay upward of $100 million annually to be affiliated with the league. Again, The Gyp Hill Premiere isnít one of them. Sponsors do include PepsiCo Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., Motorola Mobility Inc. and Castrol Ltd., which is the official motor oil of the NFL. Although there is no specific sponsorship of the "Big Game", NFL sponsors have the right to use the game's name and logo in their own marketing efforts.

Good for them! The Super Bowl is viewed by more than 111 million, as opposed to about 1200 subscribers of The Gyp Hill Premiere.

I sort of figured since I am writing about the Super Bowl, I could get away with mentioning its actual name. Heck, who knows? Maybe the NFL will be publishing this newspaper in a few months after a bitter lawsuit over my column.

But before you start photo-copying my column to send to the NFL, note that journalists are free to refer to the Super Bowl in stories, a right that was assured by a 1992 federal appeals court ruling. Have a great week!

GO BRONCOS!!

KWIBS - From January 13, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

On December 26th all of our Christmas decorations came down. Ronda and I are a little bah humbug when it comes to the season. Itís not that we donít love Christmas, we just donít love being tied to a holiday that begins right around Halloween and ends with us being broke.

Not that I want to keep dragging Christmas on and on, but I ran across an interesting story this past week about Santa Claus being tracked by NORAD. Itís something we all see on TV Christmas eve and I often wondered what started it all.

Did you know that NORAD annually tracks Santa's progress because a wrong phone number was once published in a newspaper advertisement? I know what you are thinking. A newspaper made a mistake???

Supposedly the tradition of NORAD tracking Santa's journey on radar comes from an accident in 1955, when Sears Roebuck & Co published a "call and talk to Santa" phone number that was one digit off from a number at the Continental Air Defense Command (NORAD's predecessor). Although cute, this story smacks of urban legend to me. Was it really so easy, even in 1955, to accidentally contact a colonel at a sensitive military installation, without having to go through security or any receptionist?

It appears to be true.

Ever since the mid-1950s, generations of children in North America (and, since the advent of the Internet, children from all over the world) have eagerly turned to an annual service provided by the U.S.-Canada North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to help them track the progress of Santa Claus every Christmas Eve as he departs the North Pole and traverses the globe in his reindeer-driven sleigh, delivering presents to good little boys and girls around the world.

NORAD's engaging well over a thousand people to provide a yearly Santa-tracking program seems to many like a rather whimsical venture for a staid defense-based agency to be engaging in. And, in fact, NORAD didn't set out to be in the business of providing real-time Santa updates every Christmas Eve: that service came about strictly by accident, the result of a wrong number published in a local department store newspaper advertisement.

Back in 1955, NORAD's predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) was based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. On Christmas Eve of that year, a Sears department store advertisement placed in a Colorado Springs newspaper featured a picture of Santa urging children to "Call me on my private phone and I will talk to you personally any time day or night." Unfortunately, the phone number included in the ad was printed incorrectly, and children who called that number on Christmas Eve found themselves not on the phone with St. Nick but on a top secret line to one Colonel Harry Shoup, the officer on duty that day at CONAD. Rather than informing his juvenile callers they had reached a wrong number and brusquely instructing them to get off the line, Col. Shoup opted to play along and asked his staff to accommodate inquisitive youngsters by providing them with updates on Santa's Christmas Eve progress.

The story of the accidental origins of NORAD's Santa-tracking program has been told and re-told many times over the decades. Here's how Col. Shoup's daughter related it back in 2009:

One morning that December, U.S. Air Force Col. Harry Shoup, the director of operations at CONAD, the Continental Air Defense Command ó NORAD's predecessor ó got a phone call at his Colorado Springs, Colo., office. This was no laughing matter. The call had come in on one of the top secret lines inside CONAD that only rang in the case of a crisis.

Grabbing the phone, Shoup must have expected the worst. Instead, a tiny voice asked, "Is this Santa Claus?"

"Dad's pretty annoyed," said Terri Van Keuren, Shoup's daughter, recalling the legend of that day in 1955. "He barks into the phone," demanding to know who's calling.

"The little voice is now crying," Van Keuren continued. "'Is this one of Santa's elves, then?'"

The Santa questions were only beginning. That day, the local newspaper had run a Sears Roebuck ad with a big picture of St. Nick and text that urged, "Hey, Kiddies! Call me direct ... Call me on my private phone and I will talk to you personally any time day or night."

But the phone number in the ad was off by a digit. Instead of connecting with Santa, callers were dialing in on the line that would ring if the Russians were attacking.

Before long, the phone was ringing off the hook, and, softening up, Shoup grabbed a nearby airman and told him to answer the calls and, Van Keuren said, "'just pretend you're Santa.'"

Indeed, rather than having the newspaper pull the Sears ad, Shoup decided to offer the countless kids calling in something useful: information about Santa's progress from the North Pole. To quote the official NORAD Santa site, "a tradition was born."

From that point on, first CONAD and then, in 1958, when NORAD was formed, Shoup's organization offered annual Santa tracking as a service to the global community. A phone number was publicized and anyone was invited to call up, especially on December 24, and find out where Santa was. Manning those phones over the years have been countless numbers of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps personnel and their families, and for many people, turning to NORAD to find out where Santa is became something to look forward to each year.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From January 6, 2014 - By Kevin Noland

If God had intended me to roller skate, I would have been born with wheels on my feet.

I never was really very good at skating, although I went skating all the time as a kid (mostly for the chicks). I also tried to look cool with a skateboard a couple of times. When I was a kid, the boards were made of wood with skate wheels bolted on. We usually made our own and we crashed hard.

I remember my mom taking me once and she blew me away with her skating skills. My mom could actually skate backwards. I thought she was some sort of freak of nature, but then I saw everyone was doing it, except me. I only did it by accident a couple of times resulting in horrific falls.

On Saturday, January 11, 2014 my Grandson Kycen is turning 4 and someone put the idea in his head that he wants to have a skating party. I checked, he doesnít have wheels on his feet either. I plan on being a spectator at this event.

Happy Birthday Kycen!

KWIBS - From December 30, 2013 - By Kevin Noland 

What an incredible year 2013 was! I reflected on this as I wrote my last column of the year. Itís customary for us to do a "Year in Review" during the last week of the year. I donít do a Christmas letter, but each year I try to put something in the paper about the past year along with the highlights that made the news.

2013 didnít start off so good for me and my family and it almost ended badly for us, but by the grace of God, I got through it and youíll have to put up with me another year!

In January, my dad passed away. Ronald D. Noland was 66 years old. He died on my grandsonís birthday on January 11, 2013. It was a sad, but joyous day because my dad had suffered from dementia and his quality of life had really taken a turn for the worse in the past couple of years. Iíll never forget where I was when the Attica Nursing home called me. I was cheering on the Indians at a home basketball game. It was a cold Friday night. I left to meet the ambulance at Medicine Lodge Memorial Hospital, but the nursing home misunderstood and sent his body to a Harper County hospital. I laughed and cried all at the same time.

I was fortunate to see him Wednesday of that week. When I was about to leave the nursing home, he called out to me as though he wasnít ready for me to leave. I helped him up and we walked to his room where he laid down. I said good-bye, kissed him on his head and left.

At his funeral, my son Joey pointed out that his name was printed "Ronald D. Roland" on the program and the poor Priest who did his mass didnít know any better, so all through his service, his name was wrong. Each time his name was announced, we all started chuckling. I find it ironic that my dad made a living spelling peoplesí names in the paper. Sometimes he got them right and sometimes he got them wrong. He would have thought that was pretty amusing. I miss him every day, but I know he is at peace.

Ronda and I decided we were taking a much needed time off and took a break in March. We have been married for 25 years and took 6 days off. It was the most time off we had ever had. We left home and drove to watch some friends play in a music festival in Austin, TX. Then we drove to Corpus Christi to the beach. Later we drove back up to San Antonio and met up with Rondaís dad and stepmother who were also celebrating their 25th anniversary. They married one month before we did back in 1988.

On our way home, we stopped and visited my Uncle Gary Noland and his family. We had just seen them in January at my dadís funeral, but it was great catching up with them. My Cousin Michelle is a trainer of Equestrian horse riding at Confederate Park Farm in Fort Worth. She competes nationally and if not for an injury, was attempting to qualify to compete in the Olympics.

Our friends Dameon and Gabe Arandaís album "Stop The World" had three songs break the top 30 Alternative Rock charts. We were privileged to see them showcase their music with their record label in Austin back in March and they gave us tickets to Kansas City in May to watch them perform at a festival with more than 55,000 people in attendance. Itís great knowing someone who has worked so hard to be successful in the industry - kind of like another person we know, Martina McBride!

Dameon and Gabe toured with Three Doors Down and Chris Daughtrey and Hinder the first half of 2013. Those brothers came to Kansas a couple of times where I was privileged to run sound for them at a couple of private events. This month, they began recording their third album. Weíre real proud of them and excited to hear it.

In July we learned that Allegiance Communications was closing their Medicine Lodge office. We just happened to be their landlord. After more than 20 years at our 110 N. Main location, we moved one building to the south at 108 N. Main.

The task of moving 20 years of accumulation was a trying ordeal. With the help of my boys and Tim Morford, we got it done in three weeks. Six months later, we still have trouble finding the tape gun and a few office supplies, but we are in and mostly organized.

In September, my wifeís Grandmother Mildred Meairs celebrated her 90th birthday and my Granddaughter Baylee turned 1! Taking photos of the generations of girls in my family was a proud moment!

In late September the Peace Treaty Association revived Indian Summer Days. Several community groups got together and put on a really fun weekend and it reminded us that we have a culture to share that is unique and, with some patience, we can grow it into events to be held during the off years of Peace Treaty.

I wonít lie and Iím not playing favorites with my kids, but this fall I became a high school football junkie as I traveled (what seemed like the world) to see the Friday night lights and watch my Son Nicholas and his teammates play. The new coaches - Josh Ybarra, Judd Dohrmann, Shane Hahn and Mike Stull helped our young Indians to have a new attitude and courage to compete in a very tough league. Iím proud of them all!

Just before Thanksgiving, we lost our Aunt Shirley Peachey from the Sawyer area. Aunt Shirley had spent more than 10 years in a nursing home in Cunningham and didnít know her family anymore. It was sad to let her go, but just like my father, she no longer suffers from her illness. She was once a winner of the Barber County Spelling Bee and was the Barber County Beauty Queen in the 1940s. She was a beautiful and kind spirit - pretty and smart!

Just a week after her death there were 9 obituaries in our newspaper. I could have been #10, but fortunately my condition was caught early and I received the care I needed to make a full recovery. On December 1st, I had some pain in my shoulder that eventually landed me in the Kansas Heart Hospital where I received a lifesaving procedure. Iím fortunate to have had the smarts enough to go to the ER and also had the good fortune of Dr. Meador and his PA Danielle Kelly being there to recognize what was wrong.

So I am almost a month ahead of everyone who will be making a new yearsí resolution to eat healthier and exercise. Having this experience happen at the holidays was not how I wanted to end the year, but I am glad to be here.

? ? ? ?

Now each year I try to make my choice of Premiere Person of the year and give a simple explanation why I chose this person.

This year I want to name Cindy Brungardt as my choice.

This year she became the face of the Medicine Lodge Area Chamber of Commerce and opened "My Happy Place" on Main Street.

Cindy loves to be involved in the community and has been a cheerleader for businesses in Medicine Lodge. Sheís organized several community events this year and as a chamber member and board member, I canít think of another person who could have done what she did.

Cindy receives little recognition and compensation for all of her work. I, for one, along with the Chamber of Commerce, want to recognize her and thank her for all of the hard work she does.

Happy New Year!

 

KWIBS - From December 23, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

First, let me set the tone. Iím not banging away on my keyboard at my desk in anger. Iím actually quite calm and maybe even a little sad.

Every year at about the same time of year we all get to hear about "attacks on Christmas" by various news sources.

I used to get all worked up over someone telling me "Happy Holidays." Now I just say "Merry Christmas" and go on my way. Itís their right to believe in what ever they want and celebrate the holiday season any way they want.

But, itís gotten to the point of ridiculous in some areas of the country. An elementary school in Frisco, Texas is believed to be the first in the state to violate "The Merry Christmas Law" after they banned Christmas trees and the colors red & green from an upcoming "winter" party.

The "Merry Christmas Law", passed nearly unanimously by the Texas legislature this year, allows students and district staff to "offer traditional greetings regarding celebrations, including 'Merry Christmas,' 'Happy Hanukkah' and 'Happy Holidays'." We need laws now to protect colors?

Somehow antireligious/anti-faith groups feel this is a violation of their constitutional rights and are coming up with ways to challenge Christmas celebrations in communities across America.

An atheist billboard in Times Square is telling New Yorkers to take the Christ out of Christmas.

The digital billboard from American Atheists, an atheism-advocacy group, is now running in Times Square asking onlookers "Who needs Christ during Christmas?"

Well, I do for one along with millions of others.

Satanists want to take the war against Christians a step further. The Satanic Temple would like to erect a public monument to Oklahomaís Capitol Preservation Commission for display upon Oklahoma Cityís capitol grounds. Described as an "homage" to Satan, the purpose of the monument is to complement and contrast the Ten Commandments monument that already resides on the North side of the building. The donation offer has been submitted and is currently awaiting the commissionís reply.

More so than these being attacks on Christmas, they are attacks on the Christian faith and it is nothing new. The first attack on Christmas came when Herod the great sought to kill the new born king and sent a hit squad to Bethlehem to murder all boys between the ages of birth and two years old.

The Massacre of the Innocents is the biblical narrative of infanticide by Herod the Great, the Roman appointed King of the Jews. According to the Gospel of Matthew, Herod ordered the execution of all young male children in the "Vicinity of Bethlehem, so as to avoid the loss of his throne to a newborn King of the Jews whose birth had been announced to him by the Magi. In typical Matthean style it is understood as the fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy: "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet, saying, "A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more."

Tell me again that this Herod guy wasnít a believer of prophecy? Of course, some atheist would probably want to challenge the validity of that account.

Needing some faith simply not to believe, Atheism is a religion all its own and is as old or older than Christianity itself. In 2007, 15 percent of Americans considered themselves "unaffiliated" with any religion, according to a Pew Research Center survey. By 2013 , that number had jumped to 20 percent.

That figure includes more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics and almost 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation, according to the study.

Maybe we should give these people their monument? Whatever we do, I donít want to hate them for believing differently than I do.

When it comes to hating religion or religious characters, the focus seems to always be on Christianity.

Author Josh McDowell once wrote, "Why don't the names of Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius offend people? The reason is that these others didn't claim to be God, but Jesus did."

I want to be able to celebrate Christmas without being ragged on by atheists, agnostics or Satanists. Iím not asking them to put up a Christmas tree or go to church on Christmas eve. Iím not asking them to put up a manger scene in their front yard. Just respect me if I do. I just feel like maybe there is an extreme intolerance by nonbelievers towards any expression of Christian faith.

Look, I realize the actual birthdate of Jesus might be in question, but not the meaning of what we celebrate. I donít know about you, but I am celebrating the birth of Jesus this holiday season. I wonít be offended if you just merely want to observe a day of thankfulness and gift-giving. Please donít tread on my faith though. I am sorry if it offends you. Iím not ashamed of that.

And I wish you a Merry Christmas!

 

KWIBS - From December 16, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

Each year I try to include a reminder about the Bill of Rights Day. This year, Executive Director for Kansas Press Association Doug Anstaette submitted a column that I wanted to pass along to my readers.

Thereís a commercial right now that shows a huge cloud of dust and says, "Weíre willing to bet no kid ever grew up with a poster of a Passat on his bedroom wall." Itís an advertisement for a Dodge Charger, a muscle car.

Likewise, few of us grew up with a poster of Virginian George Mason gracing our wall, either.

For sure, Mason was no Miley Cyrus, Mick Jagger, Madonna, Prince, John Lennon or Elvis Presley, some of the top celebrities of the past 50 years.

But what he did for his fellow Americans more than two centuries ago blows away what any "Hollywood idol" has ever accomplished.

Do you like to speak out about your government?

Do you appreciate a free press that can ferret out fraud, abuse, malfeasance and corruption?

Do you freely exercise your right to worship God, or not to worship at all?

Do you relish the fact that you cannot be jailed without cause, that cruel and unusual punishment is banned and that unreasonable searches and seizures are condemned?

Are you happy that your right to bear arms protects you and your neighbors from criminal elements and from a tyrannical government?

If so, then you owe a debt of gratitude to George Mason. For it was this stubborn defender of the individual rights of his fellow citizens who almost singlehandedly guaranteed that our newly minted but flawed Constitution would be amended to include a list of those rights.

We call those first 10 amendments the Bill of Rights, and that is just what they are. These statements indicate our government must be subordinate to our individual rights to freedom, liberty and justice.

Dec. 15 is the 222th anniversary of the day the Bill of Rights was ratified.

Mason never liked politics, but after penning the Virginia Declaration of Rights that was adopted along with the Virginia Constitution, he participated in the Constitutional Convention. Disgusted, however, he refused to sign the new national constitution because it lacked a specific listing of individual freedoms. He went home from the convention disillusioned and as an outspoken opponent of ratification.

Fortunately for us, his stubbornness paid off. Within two years, the Bill of Rights was adopted and we continue today to enjoy the individual freedoms spelled out for every citizen in those first 10 amendments to the Constitution.

Today, we might wonder about the state of our rights. With the revelations about spying by the National Security Agency, drones taking pictures of our every move and little of our private lives seemingly "private" any more, we may wonder if the Bill of Rights really matters today.

It most certainly does. For it is the Bill of Rights that allows us to call into question every move our government makes. It allows us to stand on the street corner or march on Topeka or Washington demanding more accountability from government. It allows us to say "enough is enough" when our rights are in jeopardy.

When government goes too far, we can petition for a "redress of grievances," something few nations across the world allow.

Rest assured, George Masonís stubborn determination helped guarantee those rights to every American, then and today.

No, his poster isnít on our walls and likely never will be, but every time we exercise our individual rights, we create of "living poster" of George Mason.

KWIBS - From December 9, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

Well, I finally got the tour of the new ER and Hospital wing Sunday evening, December 1st. It wasnít exactly how I wanted to see it, but I must say it is impressive!

In 2005 I had some artery blockage that required a heart cath and stents. Almost 8 years later, a clot formed in that same artery and Dr. Meador and his staff got me treated and sent me in for some surgery in the wee hours of Monday morning at the Kansas Heart Hospital.

Itís Wednesday as I write this from my desk, in my office. Iím glad to be here. I know, I need to rest, but the newspaper never stops. As soon as I finish this column, I will go home and rest. Iíll be resting for a couple of weeks, but plan to make a miraculous recovery and be as annoying and obnoxious as before. I do apologize for missing a few basketball games this week and the scrimmage.

Iím so thankful that our community has such a great Doctor, and long time friend, who convinced me to come in and get checked out. Pete Meador only gets recognition in the paper for a once in a lifetime hole in one and for saving my life a couple of times. He deserves better. :)

His PAC, nursing staff and ambulance crew at MLMH are exceptional, professional and kind when treating a patient. Thatís hard to do when the patient is me.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From December 2, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

As many of you, me included, begin our holiday shopping, take note of this interesting story. I read this week written by Will Lerner of "Odd News".

Back in 2008, a lady named Jen Palmer left a negative review of KlearGear.com on the website RipoffReport.com when she never received an order she had placed. Now, almost five years later, sheís still being asked to pay a fine by KlearGear.com for a whopping $3,500. Why? Letís start at the beginning.

As KUTV 2 News reports , Jen claims that in 2008, after she had ordered a "number of trinkets," from KlearGear she waited 30 days but never got the ordered items and PayPal canceled the payment. After attempts to speak with someone at the company failed, she took to RipoffReport.com, complaining "there is absolutely no way to get in touch with a physical human being," and that they have "horrible customer service practices."

Cut to 2010. KlearGear emailed, maintaining Jen violated a non-disparagement clause hidden within the terms of sale:

"In an effort to ensure fair and honest public feedback, and to prevent the publishing of libelous content in any form, your acceptance of this sales contract prohibits you from taking any action that negatively impacts kleargear.com, its reputation, products, services, management or employees."

They said that Jen had 72 hours to remove the post, or face a $3,500 fine. And if they didnít get their money, they would report them to a credit bureau, which in turn would damage their credit rating.

Nervous over the fine, Jen tried to comply. She went to RipoffReport.com and asked them to remove the post. In a sad bit of poetic irony, they told her that they wouldnít do it without receiving $2,000 themselves. It was then that the Palmers decided to fight the $3,500 fine with the credit bureaus. However, KlearGear.com insists itís valid and so now the Palmers are being denied loans for a new car and house repairs. Jen is furious, telling KUTV, "This is fraud. Theyíre blackmailing us for telling the truth." Now in 2013, sheís reaching out to the media for help.

KUTVís investigative segment, Get Gephardt, found that Jen isnít the only person who has had problems with KlearGear.com and found other people have posted bad reviews on Ripoff Report and other similar websites. They spoke with attorney Jeff Hunt, an expert on First Amendment matters. He seemed surprised by this, telling them:

"I think this is outrageous that a company like this would force a consumer to relinquish their first amendment rights to speak about their product as a condition of sale. I've never seen anything like itÖI have a serious question about whether a court would enforce that kind of covenant because it's massively over broad and against public policy."

Get Gephardt tried calling KlearGear.com, but like Jen, wasnít able to speak with someone on the phone. Through email, an unidentified employee wrote them saying it wasnít blackmail, but rather, "a diligent effort to help them avoid [the fine]." Ok.

Jen and her husband say that canít afford an attorney, but are still fighting the black spot on their credit report. In the meantime, theyíre warning others about KlearGearís sneaky terms of sale.

 

KWIBS - From November 25, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

Here we are. Another holiday season is upon us. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate with family and count your blessings.

Iíve really enjoyed the Facebook posts on what people are thankful for. I'm not disciplined enough to write one per day like many of you, but thought a lot about it.

Iím thankful for where I live. Iím thankful for Medicine Lodge.

This morning I woke up in a warm home that I own, in a country where I'm free and considered wealthier than 95% more of my fellow earthly inhabitants. I'm thankful that when I get up, there's coffee waiting for me, clean towels, clean clothes and a clean house. Then I think about being so thankful that my wife and I and our three children are relatively healthy and mentally well and safe in our day to day lives. They go to work and schools where we have instructors and teachers, coaches and administration who share my values and care about their well being.

I am thankful that I'm even blessed with grandchildren, one who also attends schools near where I live and work. Iím so thankful for the joy they bring me and Ronda. I'm thankful I still have one parent who still lives near me and works with us, a father in law and mother in law who are making plans to be closer to us, a grandmother who is 90 years old and still living at home.

Iím thankful for my dog, Hyde! Even when I have a busy period when I donít get to spend a lot of time with him, when I do, heís always happy to see me and gives me unconditional love.

Although I waste a lot of my time on it, Iím thankful for the Internet and technology. Things I am able to do today with the newspaper werenít possible when we started more than 20 years ago. It has helped not just with business, but personal too. I get to keep in touch with friends and loved ones who live far away. I can see them, almost face to face, and talk with them and watch their families grow.

I'm thankful that those who work for us are here to help our businesses succeed and we hope they know that we appreciate their hard work.

I'm reminded everyday how thankful we are to have plenty of food and good water and services in our community. I am thankful for protection and service from local law enforcement, EMTs and fire departments and their volunteers. I am thankful for the doctors and nurses at MLMH who treat us and help when we are sick. I'm thankful that many groups in town are bent in seeing people blessed by their selfless acts of volunteering and giving spirits.

Finally, I am thankful for those whom I love and call my friends and family and pray for other relationships to grow and heal.

I think the thing I'm most thankful for is the sacrifice that Jesus willingly made for me. I thank Him for taking my sins and forgiving them and the many more I will commit and not hold them accountable to me through His grace and mercy.

During the past few weeks, our local ministerial alliance held community Thanksgiving lunches. Each of the pastors echoed my very sentiments. Iím thankful that we got together as a community and had those lunches. I hope they will continue. I posted this on Facebook a few weeks ago, so I was thrilled when Rodney Worsham, Pastor at First Assembly, gave his sermon on the same thing on Tuesday at the last luncheon.

My hope is that you are thankful for many of the same things. At the very least, I'm thankful that you could read this!

Happy Thanksgiving!

KWIBS - From November 18, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

I got this story from Michael Blankenship this week. Itís a great illustration of what runaway government looks like. I hope you enjoy it.

Once upon a time the government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of the desert. Congress said "someone may steal from it in the night," so they created a night watchman position, at the GS-4 position and hired a person.

Then Congress said, "how does the person do his job without instruction?" So they created a planning position and hired two (2) people, one person to write the instructions (GS-12) and one person to do the time studies, GS-11. Then Congress said "how will we know the person is doing the tasks correctly?"

So Congress created a Quality Assurance Position and hired two (2) people, one GS-9 position to do the studies and one GS-11 position to write the report. Then Congress asked, "How are these people going to get paid?" So, they created the following positions, one time and attendance person (GS-9), and a payroll officer (GS-11), and hired two people.

Then Congress asked, "Who will be accountable for all these people?" So they created an administrative position and hired three people, an Administrative Officer (GS-13), an Assistant Administrative Officer (GS-12) and a Legal Secretary (GS-09).

Then Congress said, "Who is in charge of this operation?" So they hired a manager (GS-14). Then Congress audited the position and discovered they were $93,000 over budget. So, they laid off the night watchman.

Remember this quote by Thomas Jefferson: "When the representative body have lost the confidence of their constituents, when they have notoriously made sale of their most valuable rights, when they have assumed to themselves powers which the people never put into their hands, then indeed their continuing in office becomes dangerous to the state, and calls for an exercise of the power of dissolution."

KWIBS - From November 4, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

I remember well when the tall, thin gentlemen came in to my office in October of 1992 and introduced himself as the new owner of Hibbards.

We had only been in business ourselves for a few short months before one of the oldest existing businesses on Main Street changed hands. Hibbards was an anchor on Main Street owned by Dub Rickard.

John Hagood extended his hand in friendship that day. Now some 20 plus years later, he turns the reins over to Lance and Sloane Freeman, who officially took over the business on Friday. Lance wasted no time in extending his hand last week.

I want to personally thank John and Barbara for all of their service to the community and to their customers for all of these years. They have been kind and compassionate and will be missed. John will still be a familiar face behind the counter. Barb says sheís retiring.

Lance and Sloane are eager to become a part of the community. I wish them all the best of success in their new adventure.

? ? ? ?

If I were to write a long embarrassing story about my wife for her birthday, I would be welcoming harm to my physical being.

So, Iíll write a short one.

Twenty years ago we were celebrating her birthday and she proudly proclaimed, "Iím a half of a century old!"

Well, she wasnít and since you all are probably better at math than she "was", you can figure out how old she is now!

My beautiful bride of 25 years celebrated her birthday over the weekend. I love you babe. Youíre almost a half a century old!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From October 28, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

Joey was just 4 years old when he learned to ride a bicycle. We lived out in the country, so me teaching one of the kids to ride a bike was me pushing them down a slight incline in a field somewhere on the ranch. Once we got steering down, we worked on peddling.

I was coming home from Haviland one evening and saw a for sale sign on a little motorcycle near Greensburg and pulled in.

The guy wanted $600 for it and I knew that Joey would just love it. Without the consent of my wife or the use of my brain, I bought that motorcycle, put it in the back of my truck and took it home. Besides, his older sister, Breeann, had her own motorcycle. She was 7. I thought it was a good idea. They would have a great time together.

Joey and Breeann met me in the driveway, so did their mother. She didnít look nearly as excited as me and the kids. I told Joey to go inside and get his leather jacket and gloves. He already had a helmet on when I got there. Heíd been riding his bicycle - safety first..... Did I mention that he had just learned to ride a bicycle two weeks prior to me purchasing this motorcycle? Oh, well he did, sort of.

Joey came out of the house dressed like a member of Hellís Angels, only shorter and cuter.

I put some gas in the motorcycle and fired it up. His sister was already out on her motorcycle driving it around in a counter clockwise circle in our backyard, which was just a mowed field with a slight incline. Itís the same place Joey learned to ride his bicycle. Did I mention that was two weeks before this event?

So we did the quick tutorial on the motorcycle. Gas (makes it go) - check; brakes (makes it stop) - check; kill switch (also will eventually make it stop) - check. That should have been easy enough for a 4 year old, I thought.

He had the biggest smile on his face when I set him on that bike. My intentions were to slowly drive down the yard and have him follow his sister around a couple of times. I would be right beside him, I assured his mother.

But something went horribly wrong.

The smile on his face, and mine, turned to contorted fear as Joey ignored the break-in instructions, giving the throttle a wide open twist. With that, the front tire left the ground and he was off and running with me about 20 feet behind him yelling, "Brakes! Kill switch! Let off the gas!" and finally "Jump!", to which he ignored all.

Joey was full tilt and heading for a 4 wire barbed wire fence in front of him and to his right, and a 2 railed 2" x 6" wood fence to his left. He stayed on course and went straight for the barbed wire and I was praying that all of his leather, helmet and luck would keeping him from ripping to shreds.

At the very last possible minute, in a move that Evel Knievel would have been proud of, Joey took a hard left and missed the barb wired fence. Now he was traveling faster than humanly possible to chase after on foot, all the while I am screaming for him to JUMP! He headed straight for the wood railed fence.

Joey hit that fence going about 25 mph and broke both boards with the front of the motorcycle and his helmet. Heíd managed to end up with the motorcycle on top of him, still spinning at full throttle. I finally caught up to him with his mother closely on my heels. I pulled off the bike and hit the kill switch.

Joey didnít have a scratch on him. He was scared and crying, but nothing was broken, except for the $600 motorcycle I just bought him that afternoon. The fiberglass fender was in 10,000 pieces on the ground and the front tire was bent clear into the frame and engine.

We both got lucky that day. The closest anyone got to actually being injured was me by the hands of his mother.

The motorcycle sat in the garage for a few more years after that. One day, I got out a chain and pulled the forks out of the frame and fired it up. Joey was big enough to ride it now with some respect.

He rode the heck out of the little motorcycle that day with a lot of confidence for someone who had wrecked it pretty badly only a few years before.

My dad and I were out building a fence while Joey was riding up and down a hill near us. Dad and I stopped to marvel at him doing little jumps and racing down the hill. Thatís when it happened. The front tire caught just the right amount of dirt and it sent Joey up and over the handlebars. I couldnít believe what I was seeing. His mother would never forgive me this time. Somehow, with great skill, or dumb luck, he cleared the handlebars and got his feet under him and ran down the hill until he regained control of his momentum. Again, not a scratch on him. His motorcycle tumbled beside him and ended up in a pile at the bottom of the hill.

I remember my dad bursting out into laughter. He was a former MX racer in his younger years. I was a pretty good rider in my day as well, but any spill either of us had ever taken couldnít hold a candle to Joeyís ability to avoid injury.

To this day I donít know whether I am in the running for worldís best father or worldís worst father.

I might get my answer after this column.

Joey survived several more accidents over his teen years like a bad kneeboard experience that left him with a dislocated shoulder. He also ran his car off the road one night on a dirt road, but he wasnít hurt and the truck really wasnít either. The worst injury he probably took was just last year when he went to get his college vaccinations. He didnít do so well with the needles. He passed out after getting the shot and fell down on the sidewalk outside the health department.

Today, Joey turns 21 years old. He almost didnít make it to 21 because of his dadís poor judgment and a few of his own bad decisions. Iíd like to think heís a more cautious and reserved person today because of these near death experiences. Joey, I love you and I hope you have a great and safe 21st birthday.

Happy birthday Joey Knievel.

 

KWIBS - From October 21, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

K. Noland Photo

Chiefs X-Factor visits fans

Sheriff Justin Rugg introduced X-Factor Kansas City Chiefís Fan Ty Rowton to people in North and South Barber on Tuesday, October 15th. Rowton fired up the fans in Kansas City last week when the stadium broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the loudest stadium, hitting 137.5 decibels. Pictured with Sheriff Rugg and Rowton is Mike Roe, local businessman, who was at Kansas City for the record breaking event. Sheriff Rugg has become an avid fan of the Chiefs after the poor performance of the Minnesota Vikings and their 1-4 record.

 

KWIBS - From October 7, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

What a fantastic weekend we had September 27-29. If you didnít attend Indian Summer Days, you really missed out.

This collaborative effort was made possible by many groups and orgainizations coming together and it was a HUGE success. I hope this was the first of many celebrations we can do as a community.

I want to name everyone who did something, but I am afraid I would miss someone. All of you were important to the success of Indian Summer Days whether you were in charge of one of the events or a participant. Thank you to The City of Medicine Lodge Tourism Committee for their funding,

The town had something going on almost every minute of the day. I liked that. I also liked taking photos and videos of people having a good time. I got hundreds of those and you can see them by liking our page on Facebook.

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Thatís kind of a nice segway to my next topic. October 6-12 is National Newspaper Week. It is my pleasure, dream job, to bring you the news each week.

The following editorial is by Caroline H. Little

Newspapers are still the

cornerstone of democracy

Weíve been calling it the end of an era for a long time now.

Itís supposed to be the end of newspapers, according to naysayers who have been predicting their ultimate demise for years. But the facts prove the newspaper industry is growing and transforming rather than dying. Of course, there are always bumps in the road to innovation, but as it turns out, weíre actually in the midst of a promising and exciting time.

Top businessmen and investors such as Warren Buffet, John Henry and Jeff Bezos are demonstrating that newspapers are still lucrative investments. And despite gloomy predictions, our circulation revenue is actually rising.

Weíre experimenting and transforming to match the pace of our innovative and digitally-driven world. Digital and bundled subscriptions accounted for a five percent uptick in circulation revenue in 2012 Ė the first national rise in circulation revenue since 2003.

Newspaper content is now ubiquitous, available and accessed on every platform and device. Recent Scarborough research also shows that across all print, digital and mobile platforms, a full 70 percent of U.S. adults read newspaper content each week. Thatís more than 164 million adults Ė 144 million of whom, still pick up the print copy.

And despite the common perception that the younger, digitally-native generation has abandoned newspapers, this study shows quite the opposite. Some 57 percent of young adults, ranging in age from 18 to 34, read newspaper content in a given week. This is a strong indication that the industry is still a relevant and vital source of information, even to Millennials, who coincidentally also contribute heavily to the growth of mobile readership, which jumped 58 percent over the last year.

The reason for this is simple. With the deluge of information available on the Internet, people of all ages rely heavily on sources they trust to provide accurate content and quickly sift fact from fiction.

Newspapers consistently and reliably provide the most up-to-date, accurate and important news. And our audiences recognize this, rating newspapers as the most trusted of all media forms in a recent Nielsen study. While 56 percent say they trust newspapers, 52 percent trust local television and only 37 percent trust social media.

Todayís technology has only proven how valuable this content is by providing a platform to widen the audience for each story, which can now be taken and repeated, shared, tweeted, condensed and emailed countless times a day.

Newspapers have always been the cornerstone of our society, and that did not change with the digital revolution. Ever since the Philadelphia Evening Post first published the Declaration of Independence, our newspapers have continued to unite us as communities and as a nation. News media connects us through stories, keeping us informed on school board decisions, local heroes, national budgets and international conflict.

The publicís right to know is essential to preserving our unique American democracy, and newspapers serve the vital role of independent watchdogs Ė keeping governments, businesses and other institutions in check. Without a free press that can protect its sources, American democracy will suffer.

The newspaper industry will continue to innovate and transform with the times, just like any other industry. But one thing will never change: Our historic promise to connect, inform, investigate and foster an educated society.

 

KWIBS - From September 23, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

Itís finally here - the weekend weíve been writing about for the past few months. Indian Summer Days officially kicks off on Friday night with a free bean feed at the Stockade Museum, sponsored by Rick Swayden, with music to follow.

Iíve always wanted to write that line: bean feed, with music to follow.... sponsored by my friend Rick Swayden!

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Seriously, this is going to be a fun time. Several organizations have come together to bring you an event packed weekend. Some of the highlights include the Kansas Championship Ranch Rodeo, now in its 25th year.!!! The Rodeo will feature RW Hampton before the show. Donít miss that! Also, for the first time in over a decade, an authentic Native American PowWow will be held in the city park that is free to the public! There will be fun things going on down town all day Saturday that are FREE for the family!!! Over 225 people registered for the all-school reunion, so even if you didnít register, you should see many familiar faces back in town. My hopes are that you will all gather downtown on Main Street at the end of the day for "Lucky People". A personal friend of mine is in the band and these guys are GREAT musicians. You wonít be disappointed! The PowWow continues on Sunday with vendors in the park. Iíve met those in charge of the event and I am excited to see some dancing!

The Peace Treaty Association, Octoberfest Committee, Kansas Championship Ranch Rodeo, MLHS All-School Reunion Committee, The Medicine Lodge Area Chamber of Commerce, Friends of the Feather and The City of Medicine Lodge Tourism Committee welcome you and your friends and family to our town! If itís the first time or the 100th time youíve been here, we hope you find our community to be a fun place to visit!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From September 16, 2013 - By Kevin Noland


Happy Birthday
Baylee!! She turns 1 on  Tuesday, Sept. 17!

KWIBS - From September 9, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

Joe Biden said about President Obama signing his health care bill into law, "This is a big f_ing deal."

That was tacky and unbecoming of a public official. Most would agree that event has spun off chaos nation-wide.

I can hardly compare that to the event that occurred last Monday night. First, I would never compare our cityís government to our nationís government; secondly, our council and mayor would never act like that or say those things, even when many in the community have jeered them publicly over the past year for making the "tough decisions."

"This was monumental," said Mayor Robert Stutler after the city signed the USDA water loan that will help Medicine Lodge to be a vibrant growing community for decades to come.

Iíve read many stories, past and present, about our cityís struggle to grow and most of them have been because of its limited infrastructure - mainly water. This is a hurdle we are about to overcome and with the help of so many professional people, I hope years in the future to read about how this one act changed our city for the good and brought about prosperity for our little community.

Itís a big deal....

KWIBS - From September 2, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

Ronda and I will sometimes take mini-weekend getaways.

Only one time in the history of our marriage and business have we taken 6 straight days off of work, so most of our trips have to be3-4 days in order to meet the deadline requirements of a newspaper. Many of my other newspaper friends experience this same sort of "ball and chain" effect.

The weekend before last we took a quick trip out to Colorado Springs. I did this trip reluctantly and had a sling of excuses of why I didnít want to go including: money, the kidsí schedules, timing, weather, stars not lining up perfectly, but in the end, we went.

It was our first trip together to Colorado. We had both been there before as kids, but that was nearly 28 years ago.

Going west on I-70 does not build excitement while traveling. If not for my oldest son being enrolled at Fort Hays, we may have turned around and gone home. 2 1/2 hours in to this trip was all I needed to remind me that western Kansas has less than interesting scenery. In fact. I napped from Hays to the Colorado line, only getting out of the truck once for a double shot expresso at Starbucks in Colby - even that didnít help.

Crossing in to Colorado, my expectations were high. Since I was 15 the last time I went, my mind had created an image of Colorado where I would be at death-defying altitudes once we crossed the border. I was wrong. It was just more Kansas dragged into Colorado... It was another couple of hours before we could faintly make out a mountain range, but it was worth it. Hereís my (apologetically unfunny) travel guide for the Springs area. We had a few things on our agenda that were "must do".

7 Falls: I counted them. They were all there. Ronda was cold, but the falls were pretty cool at night. I obviously wanted to spit over the side like every other man who ever visited 7 falls. I was also just like every other man who ever visited 7 falls whoís wife said, "NO".

Manitou Springs: Or "Metermaidville". This touristy little place is cool, but be prepared to pay to park EVERYWHERE! if you like art or paintings with pictures of Native Americans, this is the place to go.

Pikeís Peak Cog ride: We pulled in and a nice young man met us at the gate. "Whereís parking," I asked?

He said, "Right over there," pointing to a spot. We took the spot and walked back to the entrance.

"Are you here to ride the cog," he asked? We both answered with a "yes" and he smiled and said, "The last one for today left 20 minutes ago!" Thanks punk....

Cave of the Winds: Hereís a neat place for claustrophobic people like me to go. Be prepared to hear the line, "We take your picture at the beginning so that we can compare it to when we leave to make sure everyone comes out." Oh, and by the way, if you want a copy, itís $10 extra.

Our tour guide claimed that a couple of kids found it in the late 1800s and crawled inside. They heard a strange noise and then their candles blew out. They ran back to town and told everyone, but no one believed them. I didnít believe them either because there was absolutely no wind in there. I came to find out that in later years, the park sealed up the top of the caves that made the "wind" noise to keep out bears and other critters. I was ok with not having any wind.

We bought the package that included the chair zip line ride down the side of the mountain. That was really cool and you could ride as many times as you wanted or your heart could take. For me that was one time. We also could do the "Wind Walker Challenge Course" included in our ticket price.

After we came out alive from the caves with our picture... we went to this scary looking obstacle course with a 600 foot drop into Williams Canyon. I stood at the entrance for 10 minutes asking questions about the harnesses and wanting to know how scary it was. The girl encouraged me to try it and said it would, "build character". After a few more minutes of nudging, I said I would do it and she said, "Sorry, it closed 5 minutes ago. Didnít the ticket people tell you?" Thanks punk....

Now for the things that didnít cost anything and were punk-free!

Garden of the Gods: The area was first called Red Rock Corral. Then, in August 1859, two surveyors who helped to set up Colorado City explored the site. One of the surveyors, M. S. Beach, suggested that it would be a "capital place for a beer garden." His companion, the young Rufus Cable, awestruck by the impressive rock formations, exclaimed, "Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods."

In 1879, Charles Elliott Perkins purchased 480 acres of land that included a portion of the present Garden of the Gods. Upon Perkinís death, his family gave the land to the City of Colorado Springs in 1909, with the provision that it would be a free public park. This is free and the most spectacular thing I have ever seen. If you go, make sure to take advantage of the bathroom near the parking lot because once you leave that area, there isnít another one, or at least a "legal" one on the trail. I didnít take this advice and a few spots along the way, I tried to sneak off the path or climb a cliff to find a flower to water. I would have gotten away with it, but there was someone with a camera everywhere.

The Broadmoor Hotel: You can feel like a rich person and walk around this awesome hotel for free if you park 10 miles away or you can tip the valet guy $5 and heíll bring you back your truck when you ask. Either way, you still feel like a rich person. The view was beautiful and you got a towel and some hand lotion from a guy who hangs out in the menís room in the lobby bathroom.

The odd thing I found about this place was that everyone staying there must have brought their pet along. They had actual employees of the hotel whose job it was to walk guestís pets. Rates start at $320 per night for the cheap rooms.....

New Life Church: This was just a cool experience. If you are into Jesus, rocking praise music and a good message, check this place out. The people were super friendly and first time guests receive a free gift bag. Itís also the only church Iíve ever been to that you can eat lunch at the cafe or buy expresso at their coffee shop.

Leroy and Kathy Weberís house: I canít promise that youíll get the treatment we got, but hereís a nice couple who just moved from the Medicine Lodge area to be closer to their children. Their condo overlooks Garden of the Gods and Pikeís Peak and these two folks are the kindest and most gracious of people you could ever know. Thank you guys for your hospitality.

Monday, we clicked our heals together, I put a book in front of me and in a few short hours we stopped for gas at Colby. Opening the doors, the wind nearly knocked me down and I thought, ahhhhhhh Kansas....

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From August 19, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

I donít care if your child is 4 years old or 21 years old, itís just as hard when you have to send them to school.

We got a double dose of sorts this past week. On Thursday we sent Joey back to Fort Hays State University and on Thursday of this week, weíll be sending our grandson Kycen to his first day of preschool at MLGS.

My little MLGS Indian and my FHSU Tiger!

KWIBS - From August 12, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

Ronda and I have been AFS host parents twice over the years. Once we hosted "Frank" from China and then two years ago we hosted "Elli" from Austria.

They become your children while theyíre here and then they go home, but sometimes they come back! Elizabeth Unger has spent the past three of weeks with us and we took her to the airport on Friday for her flight home.

If youíve every considered AFS or wanted to learn more about it, I would encourage you to look into it. AFS Heartland still needs to place 7 students. There are 6 boys and 1 girl that are still waiting for a host family. It is a great experience for your family. There have been several exchange students over the years that call Medicine Lodge their second home. We love our kids all over the world!

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From August 5, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

We made the move last week to 108 N. Main, just one building south of where we were.

For the past 21 years we had been at 110 N. Main. When our renter left next door, we decided it was time to make the move to the bigger offices.

Right now our offices are a little unorganized, but we have phones and computers and we managed to put out a newspaper this week. Just donít ask me where anything is because I havenít found it yet! Things are so unorganized, it took me nearly 10 minutes to find an envelope to mail a letter on Thursday. Thanks to Tim Morford, Elli Unger, Devin Schaffer, Nick and Joey Noland and the staff here for all of the help moving!

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Itís a sad day when I have to report the death of a colleague.

When I was 13 years old, my dad let me run the big old Goss Community 2 unit web press we had at The Barber County Index. I used to stand on milk crates to be able to reach the roller levers. The first newspaper I ever printed was The Kingman Journal (now called the Kingman Leader-Courier). Bob was a funny little man. He didnít come to Medicine Lodge much, but when he did, he and my dad would either polish off a bottle of scotch in the office or on the golf course. When I turned 14, I had the pleasure of not only getting to print the Kingman paper in the summers, but also drive it over to Bob every Monday and Thursday.

Bob passed away last Monday. It had been years since I had seen him, but I have fond memories of him.

Robert L. "Bob" McQuin, 88, died July 22, 2013 at Harry Hynes Hospice, Wichita.

He was born Aug. 13, 1924, at Chanute, Kansas the son of Charles Newton and Nellie Wheeler McQuin. A longtime Kingman resident, he was the former owner, editor and publisher of the Kingman Leader-Courier.

He was a member of Christ Church Episcopal and Lions Club, both of Kingman; the Kansas Press Association; and was a Red Cross Blood donor.

On Aug. 3, 1947, he married Beverly "Bev" Harnden at Medicine Lodge, Kansas; she died July 7, 2011. Survivors include sons Randall McQuin and partner Robert Motes; Judge Robert Scott McQuin and wife Lorene; daughter Connie Schoenhofer and husband Art; five grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. He was also preceded in death by brothers Charles, Jr., and Richard.

Funeral services were held Thursday, at Livingston Funeral Home, Kingman. Graveside services were 2:00 p.m., Thursday at the Highland Cemetery, Medicine Lodge, Kansas.

Memorials may be made with Harry Hynes Hospice, Christ Church Episcopal and Wheatlands Healthcare Center, all in care of the funeral home:

Livingston Funeral Home

1830 N Main

Kingman, Kansas 67068

Phone: 620-532-3322

-30-

KWIBS - From July 22, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

Some of the rumors you might be hearing about us are true, some are probably not.

It is true that after 21 years of The Gyp Hill Premiere at 110 N. Main, we will be closing the doors. However, we will be opening at our new location next door at 108 N. Main!

One of the rumors that is not true is that I kicked out Allegiance.

Allegiance notified us two weeks ago that they would be closing their local offices in Medicine Lodge. They had closed offices in several other towns and we took this as no surprise. We own that building and rent the one weíre in.

Thatís a long, strange story, but it goes something like this: In 1991 we started the newspaper in George and Janet Palmerís Flower Shop on Washington Street. We quickly outgrew that office and wanted to be a part of Main Street. Ann and Myrlen Bell and Frosty Sill had purchased the building at 110 N. Main, the old Brookís and Spencerís north half.

In the late 1990s, we had the opportunity to buy into the property at 108 N. Main. We leased that building to Multimedia Cablevision, who sold to Cox Communication, who sold to Allegiance Communications. Our lease ran for nearly 14 years. There was no reason to move from our location and I never wanted us to be the reason for an empty building on Main Street.

So, when we got our notice, I called Ann Bell to tell her that we would be leaving. Itís one of the hardest phone calls Iíve ever had to make. Usually, poor Ann gets a call from me because the air conditioner wouldnít come on, the toilet is plugged or some other "pain in the rear" phone call from me, but this was a call I never wanted to make.

Ann has been a Godsend to us. I made her a promise that I would work hard to find her a renter for 110 N. Main, not because Ann needs the money or anything, but because Ann cares about Main Street like I do. She doesnít want to see an empty building.

Within 12 hours of our call, someone noticed that Allegiance had closed and asked me about renting the building. Unfortunately, I had to decline because we were moving in, but I did show her around our current building and Iím happy to say that theyíve made arrangements to open a new business when we get all moved out!

So the work began last week. We anticipate that it will take at least a month to clear out the 21 years worth of accumulation at 110 N. Main and the 14 years at 108 N. Main. I want to thank Tim Morford, Joey Noland and Nick Noland for working so hard for us on this BIG project!

Weíll keep you posted on our progress.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From July 15, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

Itís hot outside and if you are like me, you like to be near or in the water when the sun is shining and the temps are rising.

When I read the following information, I instantly decided my column would be a public service announcement this year. Ronda and I are very aware of the dangers that exist with our responsibilities at Lake Arrowhead and we have been fortunate to only know of one drowning incident in the 50 some years that the resort has been open..

Each year, millions of people enjoy spending time at Kansas lakes and rivers and return home with happy memories to share with others. Sadly, outdoor fun turned fatal for five people who drowned in Kansas waters the first week of July Ė including four who perished over the extended July 4th holiday. This brings the number of people who have been fatally injured or drowned in Kansas lakes, ponds and rivers so far this year to 13. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly half of all drownings in the U.S. occur in natural water settings.

Nine of the 13 incidents occurred when the victims were swimming or wading and were not boating related. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) investigates boating accidents. Only one of the victims was wearing a life jacket. The following list of incidents was compiled from KDWPT and news reports:

July 6 Ė George Willenberg, 38, Hoisington, died at Wilson Reservoir while trying to swim across a cove in the Rock Town area after the boat he was on had mechanical problems.

July 5 Ė Oscar N. Rodriguez-Vargas, 29, Wichita, died at El Dorado Reservoir when he stepped from shallow water into deeper water while wading to a boat drifting offshore.

July 5 Ė Tommy Watt, 15, Clay Center, drowned while swimming in a private farm pond near Longford in Clay County.

July 4 Ė Khai Pu, 27, Thailand, drowned while swimming at the Hillsdale State Park swim beach in Miami County.

July 1 Ė Blake Chavez, 24, Oswego, died when he fell into the Neosho River below the Oswego dam.

June 29 Ė Marcus Marqaiz Hutton, 19, Wichita, died at Cheney Reservoir while swimming with friends after he helped another struggling swimmer to safety.

June 28 Ė James Struthers, 47, Junction City, died after falling from a boat near the city of Milford boat ramp.

June 11 Ė Derek Wheeler, 18, Salina, died at Kanopolis Reservoir after his kayak capsized.

June 10 Ė Nicolas Frazer, 14, Centralia, was fatally injured at Centralia City Lake when he was thrown from an inner tube being pulled behind a boat. He was wearing a life jacket, and was later pronounced dead at Nemaha Valley Community Hospital in Seneca.

June 8 Ė John Freeman, III, 40, Lyons died at Kanopolis Reservoir while swimming near his campsite.

May 27 Ė Travis Webb, 14, Haysville, drowned at Wellington City Lake while wading with friends.

May 26 Ė Vincent Rice, 37, Melvern, drowned at Melvern Reservoir while scuba diving in the area of the Coeur DíAlene swimming beach.

May 18 Ė Robert Duff, Jr., 2, City, fell from a boat and was airlifted to a Topeka hospital where he passed away.

According to Maj. Dan Hesket, KDWPT Boating Law Administrator, drowning incidents may be prevented with a few simple precautions:

Wear a life jacket at all times. Kansas law requires that all boats have one Type I, Type II, Type III, or Type V PFD of proper size, in serviceable condition, not in an enclosed compartment and readily accessible for each person on board. Anyone 12 years old and younger must wear a life jacket at all times when on board a boat. KDWPT strongly recommends that everyone wear a life jacket at all times when boating or swimming. Itís a great way for adults to set a good example.

Swim and wade with caution. Lakes and rivers arenít swimming pools and shouldnít be treated as such. Kansas lakes have wind, waves, underwater obstacles, sudden drop-offs and soft bottoms. Rivers can have deceptively strong currents. Many Kansas lakes also have currents because they were built by flooding a river channel. Also, most Kansas lakes are murky, making it nearly impossible to quickly locate someone who has slipped beneath the surface.

Donít dive into a lake since you canít see the water depth or underwater debris.

Know your limitations. Many people over estimate their ability to swim in open water. No one is drown-proof, no matter how much training or experience they have. Swimming in a lake is strenuous, and even strong swimmers can quickly become fatigued, disoriented, or overwhelmed by wind, waves and currents. Be particularly cautious if you have underlying medical issues or take medications that could impair your abilities.

Donít swim at night and donít swim alone. No one can see you if you get into trouble.

Avoid horseplay and risk-taking. Practical jokes or childish challenges like breath-holding contests have no place while swimming or boating. Most drownings in the U.S. happen to males Ė possibly because they may be more inclined to take risks than females.

Avoid alcohol and other drugs. In addition to impairing a personís judgment about lake conditions, alcohol increases the likelihood a swimmer will tire or become disoriented, hyperventilate, or gasp involuntarily.

Designate a lookout Ė Unlike the local swimming pool, there are no lifeguards on duty on Kansas waters, so itís a good idea to designate someone who can sound the alarm and respond appropriately if a swimmer gets into trouble. Rescuers should not attempt to approach a person struggling to stay afloat unless they are trained to do so. Even strong swimmers can drown trying to help others. Instead, stay on the boat or dock and extend a pole, oar, stick, rope, or clothing to reach the victim or throw something floatable to them.

Learn cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). You could save someoneís life in the time it takes for emergency responders to arrive at a rural location.

Following these precautions can help make your next outdoor adventure a fond Ė rather than a tragic Ė memory for you, your family and friends.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From July 8, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

If you want to feed a man for a day, give him a fish. Teach him to fish naked with a woman and you have a TV show, and people who are incredibly careful with fishing hooks.

One of my favorite networks, Discovery, has created a new series called "Naked & Afraid." I actually watched it by accident as I was watching Nik Wallenda walk over the Grand Canyon on a tight rope. He made it. I got bored and left the living room and when I came back, this show was on. I watched curiously as they blurred out body parts.

At first I was like, "Hey, they stole my idea!" But, actually my idea for a show was "Naked and cooking bacon." So, technically itís different.

The premise of the show? On each episode, a man and a woman have to survive 21 days in the wilderness together: naked, and with nothing but one personal item (I would pick sun screen, a toothbrush or maybe a helicopter). Oh, and thereís no prize involved at the end.

It sounds awkward. So when Shane and Kim met in Costa Rica, they decided to get that out of the way.

"Shane? Iím Kim. Should we talk about the fact that weíre both naked? Just check each other out," Kim quipped. "We might as well do it right now. Diffuse the tension. Yep, yep, yep," Shane replied.

After that, according to the reviews things became less about nudity and more about survival. For me, it never became anything other than two naked people wandering around outside in the jungle trying to catch things to eat. Shane and Kim only ate a few times in the three weeks -- both lost serious weight, and struggled. I canít even do the delicious shake meal replacement program, so I am not considering this as a weight loss program.

Discovery says participants are naked so the show is about the purest forms of survival or as I like to call it, "the purest forms of stupidity."

Yes, there are two naked people there and I am sure they get used to being that, but what about the camera crew? I would hate to be the editing guy who had to blur out all of the nudity for this show.

"No food. No water. No clothes," a narrator says during the opening credits. "Can a man and woman survive alone in the wilderness naked and afraid?"

As promised, the show delivers nakedness and I am sure most of the watching world was afraid of what TV entertainment has come to.

If Discovery gets away with it, it could ruin TV as I know and love it. I can only imagine the spin offs, "Naked and American Pickers," "Naked and Pawn Stars," "Naked Fox & Friends..."

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From June 24, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

Since the invention of the Internet, spreading the news has never been faster, or wronger....

I frequent a couple of local Facebook pages that contain rants from some citizens and noncitizens that make some pretty wild claims. Itís actually quite entertaining for me and Iíve gotten to the point where now I am contributing to the discussion on a couple of the forums.

I just canít help myself.

Published information should be factual and credible, no matter what the venue. If a newspaper made up wild, unsubstantiated claims like you see on Facebook, we would be out of business. Since Facebook is an open forum and not supported by advertising dollars, it is largely held unaccountable for the content.

Spreading misinformation is easy for anyone with a computer these days. I read on Facebook last week that people are leaving our town in what is almost described as an Exodus, and our town is "dieing" (should be dying, but I, more than anyone understand how typos happen.) Businesses and people would not want to come here! There are no jobs!

What? Did I miss something?

The simple truth is that this statement couldnít be further from the TRUTH. We are a prospering town. A town with our own unique struggles, but a prospering town. For years we have seen development and growth in industry. Weíve also got sales tax data to back that up. From a comparative standpoint, 2012 sales tax collections increased 40% when compared with 2009 sales tax collections when they were at their low point. Collections from January to March 2013 are up 150% over the same period last year. Sound much like a dying business community?

No jobs?

There are 11 jobs advertised this week in the paper. Some with educational experience required and some with GED or equivalent and some with no requirements at all. Donít sit at home behind your computer and tell me and the world that there is no one to hire you.

I speak with employers all of the time and their biggest struggle is finding people to work. If you donít have a job, itís not the fault of our economy or business community. Folks need to take a long look in the mirror to find the real problem for not finding work.

People leaving town must mean empty houses, right?

Have you tried to rent property lately? If you havenít, there practically isnít any to rent or buy. Iím guessing when these "people" are leaving the community, more must be coming in to live.

Did you know that as of September of 2012, 455 students were enrolled with USD #254? It is projected by the central office that the number will be 501 at the beginning of this school year!

I can easily count several families, young families - with lots of children, who have moved BACK to Medicine Lodge to make it their home! They are professionals like business owners, teachers and hospital office staff.

Many of these individuals have made some positive rebuttals against those who claim doom and gloom over our community. Theyíve seen other places and they want what Medicine Lodge has to offer.

I would encourage those who donít like it here to simply leave! Thatís right. I said it! Find a better community! Make room for the ones that want to be here!

I might sound a little mad because I am. Issues like, who picks up our trash, zoning and water restrictions do not define Medicine Lodge. They are simply challenges that many communities are faced with. Medicine Lodge is mostly made up of caring and concerned individuals who educate themselves on facts and are not driven to near madness by incoherent rants on Facebook.

So when you read some claim about Medicine Lodge dieing (dying), "the reports of her death are greatly exaggerated."

 

KWIBS - From June 17, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

Our office closed Wednesday afternoon and we all went down to the middle school at 1 p.m. to hear the announcement about the Clarke Challenge.

We made it!

For the past year weíve been reporting on the efforts to match $500,000 offered up by Mr. Clarke and not only did the community match it, it exceeded it - for a total of $607,473!

There was an overwhelming feeling of pride as the announcement was read. The community has truly taken ownership in the hospital and the new construction is currently underway. When the hospital is finished, it will be a state of the art facility that will give back to our community for many more years to come. Congratulations to everyone who helped, and special thanks to the foundation for their creative and hard work towards achieving this goal.

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On June 17, 1988, just a month after I graduated from MLHS, I married my high school sweetheart and my best friend.

Ronda and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary as this newspaper hits the stands. I live a blessed life. I hope she can say the same! Together we have three children and two grandchildren. We couldnít be prouder of our accomplishments and humbled by our failures.

We have an incredible story. Our journey has been full of thrills and spills and God has kept us together through it all.

I look at us all those years ago and I see a couple of kids. I look older, heavier and thinner on top; Ronda is frozen in time, looking as beautiful as the day I took her hand.

I love you Ronda. Happy Anniversary!

 

KWIBS - From June 3, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

Another Junefest went into the history books of Medicine Lodge.

June 3rd was an awesome day and it wouldnít have happened if it hadnít been for one very special lady driving it. Chamber Manager Cindy Brungardt hit a home run with Junefest. As a chamber member and a board member, I canít thank her enough for all her hard work! With her dedication, you can be sure that it will get better in the years to come.

What many people donít know is that there almost wasnít a Junefest. With the chamber recently reorganizing and timing being an issue, there were some who thought maybe the event should be sidelined, but Cindy wouldnít hear of it, and Iím glad she wouldnít take no for an answer.

Thank you Cindy! Youíre doing good things for Medicine Lodge and I hope more people fall in line to help you and encourage you.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From May 27, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

Water supplies are of great concern to our community.

It was one of the main issues I raised when I was running for county commissioner last year, but few seemed interested in talking about it. Recent rains have helped, but we need so much more to replenish underground supplies.

With our responsibilities with Lake Arrowhead, Ronda and I have been to several state level meetings concerning water supplies in Kansas. The news hasnít been good for a few years now and most folks have had a "bury their heads in the sand" attitude about water conservation. Some cities, including Medicine Lodge, have taken initiative in gathering data and monitoring supplies. This is only the beginning to a long process. Many communities in Western Kansas have implemented water rationing and issued "warnings" about their fresh water supplies.

Wichita city officials tackled this subject back in February when they discussed rapidly depleting supplies from the Cheney Reservoir. Wichita draws much of its water supply from Cheney and water levels have been down as much as 40%.

Itís time to talk about water.

The City of Medicine Lodge is holding a public meeting on Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 7 p.m. at the Heritage Center. I would encourage you to attend. The public meeting will be to present you with data concerning water supplies and the concerns our city faces. I believe there have been a few misconceptions about supplies and demand and what the city has been doing to protect citizens.

KWIBS - From May 20, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

I could be upset about Benghazi or the recent IRS scandal, but more so I am upset about the Obama Administrationís recent inappropriate intrusion and interference with the Associated Press.

The governmentís carpet bombing approach to finding their "mole" who leaked what they believed was sensitive information is at the very least a Gestapo tactic to control information going to the press. They donít like us. They consider us the enemy rather than the pesky watchdogs we thought we were. And theyíll stop at nothing, including destroying the news industryís most trusted sources of information, when theyíre searching for evidence to plug leaks.

President Obama originally promised to be the most "transparent" chief executive in our nationís history when he took office in 2009.

The facts are that this president held fewer press conferences by historic standards and seemed to prefer speeches over direct questions from journalists whose jobs are to scrutinize the presidency.

Iím no closet conservative, as many of you know, but I havenít been sitting back waiting for our president to fumble the ball so I could say, "I told you so." This recent revelation is a game changer. Itís confiscation of electronic communication records of several Associated Press reporters (the free press) by our Justice Department.

Doug Anstaett, the Kansas Press Association Executive Director, and two time voter for President Obama changed his tone this week in his editorial, "recent revelations have been disconcerting and, frankly, quite disappointing. They reveal a president ó or at least an administration ó that hasnít always followed its own lofty rhetoric."

He added, "Our system is set up with the press as an independent entity and, it is hoped, an impartial witness and reporter of what government officials do.

We are meant to be the thorn in their side, the burr in their saddle, always trying to keep government honest.

If we are doing our jobs, and government employees are doing theirs, these kinds of confrontations are inevitable.

Even so, weíre disappointed.

We want answers. We want changes.

And we deserve them."

 

KWIBS - From May 13, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

Courtesy Photo

Bob Greer (center), editor of the Protection Press, recipient of the Clyde M. Reed Jr. Master Editor Award. Greer started the newspaper in 1986 after a long career writing for newspapers including the Garden City Telegram.

Congratulations to my friend Bob Greer!

A couple of weeks ago I learned that my friend Bob Greer was to be honored by the Kansas Press Association at their annual convention. Bob had stopped by my office for his monthly, "I need to use your bathroom," stop on his way to Wichita. Heís stolen several rolls of toilet paper and copies of The Gyp Hill Premiere over the past 21 years. Iím not sure what he uses for which.... We always share a few jabs and insults.

He told me he was getting an award. I asked him if his award was for the most mistakes in print made by one newspaper publisher over a lifetime. To my surprise, Bob didnít even know what the award was for. All he knew was that he and his family were summoned to Topeka for the awards ceremony.

My curiosity got the best of me, so I called some people in the know and found out that Bob was awarded the "Clyde M. Reed Jr. Master Editor Award." I couldnít be prouder of my old friend and had only wished I could have been notified earlier so that Ronda and I could share in that celebration.

Bob and I go way back. So far back, Iím almost embarrassed. I was about 16 years old when he started printing his paper with us at the Index. I thought Bob was ancient then. Heís 87 now and still putting out his newspaper in Protection, KS. Heís got a lot of good help, but Bob is still active in writing sports and hammering out a column each week by manual typewriter or hand written scribbles on note paper.

So I asked Kansas Press Association to send me what they had on Bob. I wanted to share his story with my readers. Bob was an inspiration to me to start The Gyp Hill Premiere back in 1991. I so badly wanted to scoop his paper on the story, but out of respect for my old friend. I waited a week!

Bobís first-ever writing effort was as an 11-year-old back in 1937. He was a sixth grader at South Fort Worth, Texas, Grade School. The school decided to start a student paper of its own, producing it on a mimeograph machine. They offered a prize of a free movie ticket (then worth 10 cents!) for naming the paper.

"I came up with the title of "The Broadcast." As a result, I won that show ticket, was made assistant editor, and wrote sports, too. Man, I was a cheese! I was in the newspaper business," he said.

On through junior high and high school years Bob continued to write. He said he just loved journalism, and never wanted to do anything else.

Bob lived in Fort Worth and Dallas; Evansville, Indiana, and spent seven years in California. He lived in Boulder, Colorado, for many years. He attended the University of Colorado for parts of five years there, but never earned a degree.

"Finally I ran out of money, so I took my first full-time writing job at Alliance, Nebraska. I later wrote for daily papers at Scottsbluff, Nebraska (a great town), and Holdrege in that same state," he commented.

Later Bob wrote briefly for a paper published twice weekly at Brighton, Colorado. Then it was on to Lamar, Colorado, for about two years.

Bob was hired to write for the Hutchinson Daily News. When he arrived there, they asked if he would instead go to their daily paper at Garden City, Kansas. Bob jumped at the chance, for it was near Lamar.

He had no plans to stay at Garden City, but 18 years later he was still there. For 12 of those years he worked for Editor Bill Brown: "the best boss I ever had. Six frustrating years after he left the Garden City Daily Telegram, I checked out, too."

In the years which followed, Bob worked two years for the Dodge City Daily Globe, for the Scott City News-Chronicle, and for some other papers. He was finally hired by the Cimarron Jacksonian, a weekly. It was part of a series of papers owned by the folks at Cimarron. Included were papers at Protection, Bucklin and Meade.

He worked for that group for another couple of years, and went to Protection for the first-ever time. "I loved it here and became well-acquainted. After about two years, I was fired by the owner. That was not because I was incompetent. He had a chance to get another editor for less money," Bob remembered.

When that happened, a number of merchants in Protection asked if Bob would consider moving to Protection and starting a weekly paper in competition with the then-existing publication, The Protection Post. Bob says he was reluctant to do so, for the Post had been in existence about 75 years.

But the merchants pledged their support and backing, and so he went down there and started the Protection Press in January of 1986. First Bob went to Cimarron to see if a group of backers in Protection could buy the existing paper.

The owner turned down his offer, even scoffed and added that there was no way that Protection alone could support a weekly.

He was wrong. Twenty years later Bob is still there and the paper is still going on. The owner of the Post shut down that paper less than a year after he and his wife opened the Press in competition.

Thatís the abbreviated version of how Bob got to Protection and how he started a weekly paper.

"I sold an old house I owned in Garden City, and took my whole "bankroll" to invest in the paper here. I also was able to sell stock to several folks in Protection, to help me get underway," he said. "Since then I have paid off all of those "investors," and my little paper is still chugging along."

So is Bob!

He always likes to point out to me, "We started the Press without a single subscriber. It now has 700 readers ó from a town with just 555 population. And circulation continues to grow. Forgive my bragging: but we must be doing something right!"

Bob and Wilma met in 1964 when Wilma was a waitress at the Bus Cafe in Garden City, Kansas. Bob was age 39 when he married Wilma at the county courthouse in Scott City, Kansas, on July 17, 1965. She was just 20 at that time. I kid him for being a cradle robber. Bob was in his sixth year of 18 at the Garden City Daily Telegram. He was sports editor and general reporter there for almost two decades. Wilma later worked at the Continental Inn at Garden City for 12 years. She also was employed for some years at the Chaparral Restaurant in Cimarron, Kansas.

Wilmaís maiden name was Brasher. She was born February 19, 1945, at Altus, Arkansas. She and her family lived in a number of different towns so she attended many schools. Her "stops" included Arkansas; Holly, Colorado; the area around Rolla, Kansas; Big Bow School near Ulysses, and schools in Garden City.

Bob was born at Ft. Worth, Texas, on January 20, 1926. His dad was a baker and was the bakery supervisor for all of the dormitories at the University of Colorado for about 30 years. His father is buried at Boulder, Colorado.

Wilmaís folks were farmers and general workers. Both the Brasher family and the Greers lived in a large number of states.

Bob attended the University of Colorado for more than four years. He has written for some 15Ė20 newspapers during his lifetime.

The Greers moved to Protection, Kansas, in 1986 from Cimarron, Kansas. They started the weekly Protection Press with some help from local businessmen and other supporters. Bob is still churning out stories and tales each week on his manual typewriters and has a weekly column, "Bobbing Along Broadway."

For about 18 years Wilma worked at Donís Place in Protection. In 2004 she became a janitor at South Central Elementary/Middle School in Protection. Wilma loves that job, especially being around the kids.

Bob and Wilma both enjoy walking and have done so for many years. They also enjoy driving back roads and looking at various wildlife and scenic areas.

The Greers have two sons. Gene Greer is employed by the City of Garden City, heading up a crew of some 12 people who do landscaping and other work in the community. Donald Greer, the younger son, is employed by Kennedy and Coe Accounting in Wichita. A CPA (Certified Public Accountant) Don also travels to several nearby states, checking banks and other firms, helping them audit.

I couldnít be any prouder to be his friend. Bob is in inspiration to me. Congratulations!

 

KWIBS - From April 29, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

This week has been a whirlwind for the newspaper. I consider the week of graduation one of the biggest and busiest weeks, annually for our office. The senior edition is one of the most tedious things to construct. Even though class sizes have grown smaller, it takes hours upon hours to gather the seniors information, photos and advertising.

There are so many people who work on this edition: Ronda, Doris and my mom. I do all the pagination work (layout). Itís really a stressful ordeal.

I always think selfishly about how hard we work to get this done each year, but I forget about Cheri Dohrmann. Every year I come calling (whining) to her about not having everything I need to get the edition done. She always pull through for me. Cheri chases down seniors who donít get their information to us, chases down photographers for photos and even shoots some of the kids herself. Without her, there would be no senior edition at all. Thank you, Cheri. I so appreciate your help.

To the class of 2013, I say CONGRATULATIONS! Some of the years to come will be some of the best of your life. Hereís a bit of advice once given to me: Donít expect life to be easy now just because you graduated from high school. Yeah, thatís right. I thought, what???

The tough part is just beginning! Becoming an adult is hard work and youíll long for the days when you were living at home with your parents and your siblings and attending school. Work hard these next few years. There will be ups and downs. Never give up and never surrender! Make your community, your family and your friends proud! Best wishes to your future!

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From April 22, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

"Itís a small world, but I wouldnít want to paint it," - Steven Wright.

Last week the world was shocked when Mondayís Boston Marathon had two bombs explode near the finish line. I kept thinking all day about how thankful I was to live in a safe place where things like that donít happen and when they do, itís not anyone I know. It just turns into another sad world tragedy.

Then I got an email from my mom later that day.

My First Cousin Caitlin Amaral was at the finish line when the bombs exploded. She is an event volunteer. She was uninjured physically, but is obviously shaken up by the carnage that she witnessed.

Because of this connection, I reflected on the craziness of this world. What does it take to push someone to the point where they would want to take an innocent life? This was so senseless. I just canít even rationalize why someone would bomb people watching the Boston Marathon. As the days pass by, it also becomes more evident to me that this was probably something done by a fellow citizen. Most terrorists would want to make a big announcement of their strike against America.

The Boston Marathon isnít a political event. Itís an old race and celebration that falls on Patriotís Day in this city, yet somebody decided it was the place to maim and kill innocent people. Three lives were lost and hundreds were injured.

As strange as this may sound, and please donít take it the wrong way, I was thankful that only three lives were lost. I almost had a moment of satisfaction knowing that whoever did this, failed miserably. It could have been so much worse. This statement isnít meant to take away from the tragedy of this act of terror.

It had almost the opposite effect in my opinion. Instead of instilling terror in the victims, many of them turned into heroes that weíll be admiring for weeks to come. Several acts of courage and bravery actually instill pride in many people who have seen the news reports. Scenes of spectators and racers picking up and carrying the wounded, making tourniquets out of their own clothes and cleaning shrapnel from peopleís foreheads is a reminder of the danger of terrorism from those involved in 9/11 and home grown monsters like the ones who were responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing.

Sadly, weíll probably give up more of our civil rights because of events like these. We should expect tighter security, harsh questioning and body searches.

We wonít ban pressure cookers or duffle bags (like the ones used to make the bomb), but weíll put unreasonable restrictions on law-abiding people who want to purchase a fire arm, which they have a constitutional right to own. We wonít address the problem that we canít enforce morality or goodness in people, but weíll continue to cut funding for mental health and our military and give more jets to countries like Egypt. Then in a few days, months or maybe a year, weíll ask why this happened again. Evil is in the world and itís growing. Itís so sad to have to react to these sorts of crimes of cowardice. I can only hope that God delivers swift justice to those who have no regard for human life and liberty.

Have a great week.

KWIBS - From April 15, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

"Whether the weather be fine, Whether the weather be not, Whether the weather be cold, Whether the weather be hot, We'll weather the weather, Whatever the weather, whether we like it or not" - author unknown.

If you have spent any time in Kansas the past month, you probably noticed that we are experiencing a strange weather phenomena, probably caused by global warming.... or farting cows.

Last Tuesday morning I stepped out my front door in my bathrobe to peek at my thermometer and saw that it was already 67 degrees. I had a big day planned. I grabbed a pair of shorts, a T-shirt and headed out to run some errands for the ranch. By the time I got home that evening, it was 31 degrees and I had been in a snow storm, hail storm, a sleet storm, thunderstorm and had taken shelter from a possible tornado near Pratt.

Soaked, cold and unloading a trailer at 8:30 p.m., still wearing the same shorts and T-shirt I originally thought appropriate for the day, I shook my fist at God and boldly proclaimed, "Thank You Lord for the moisture!"

It is such a blessing to have moisture and I know most of us appreciate it in any form He provides right now.

So if you donít like the weather in Kansas, wait a few hours.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From April 1, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

I want to thank Liz Hanna for clarifying why we did not receive Mrs. Kimballís letter last week.

Gaps in the time between a cancelled city council meeting and the assumption we would receive it through the packet, put a lapse in communication between parties. Liz feels badly about the situation, so please be kind to her! (See below).

Regardless, we did print Mrs. Kimballís letter and we do appreciate that she DID include us in this communication between their group and the city. Iím truly sorry to Jean Kimball for accusing her of "snubbing" the paper. The call from a representative of her group expressing their concern that we wouldnít print the letter is what lead to my questions in a portion of my last column.

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For 60 years a cease-fire agreement was in place between North and South Korea. Last week, North Korea tore up that agreement and a few weeks prior to that threatened to "nuke" Washington in a propaganda video. The whole region seems tense and ready to destabilize. They are testing long range missiles and making all sorts of crazy threats.

It sort of reminds me of tension in our own community. Weíre pretty quick to jump to conclusions and point fingers. Again, I hope cool heads prevail for the benefit of our community! Have a great week!

Correction...

At Monday night's council meeting it was brought to my attention that Kevin Noland did not receive Jean Kimball's letter. This is true, Kevin did not receive it, I did. I was present at the public meeting where Jean read the letter aloud. She gave me a printed copy of it. At this point, Kevin was out of state and the paper for the following Monday was already set. I attempted to call Jean that night to let her know but got no answer. In the mean time, on Monday, March 18 the Council Meeting was rescheduled due to lack of quorum. I saw that Jean's letter was on the Council agenda. I assumed that since her letter to the Mayor and Council was going to be addressed by the Mayor it was being taken care of. Well, you know what they say happens when you assume. So I offer a sincere apology to Jean Kimball and to Kevin Noland. This is a miscommunication that I take responsibility for. Take it easy on me, pregnancy brain is not kind. - Liz Hanna

 

KWIBS - From March 25, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

A week from Tuesday, Medicine Lodge residents have the opportunity to select three city council members. Fortunately for Medicine Lodge, three qualified citizens have stepped up and registered to have their names on the ballot. Norm Clouse and Mike Roe are veteran council members. They both have refiled and newcomer, Nick Burns, is no stranger to our community.

Unless you've paid close attention, you may not know that our city had its share of financial struggles. As recently as 2009, we were rapidly burning up our reserves. It took some brave leadership, professional management and some tough decision-making to put us back in the black.

One of the tough decisions occurred a month ago when the city decided to stop providing the trash service. Nisly Brothers have been given the contract to provide trash and recycling services and have agreed to give a 5% franchise back to the city - a guarantee that the service will operate without liability to the city or its citizens. The decision, one that will benefit: the city economically; its citizens with greater ease of recycling; and the county by extending the life of the land fill, has sparked criticism from a small, but very vocal group of citizens, who now have met publicly to "take back our town". One of their ways of doing so is rumored to be by writing in candidates to take over a majority of council seats. Where were these concerned citizens in January when the deadline to file came and went? This "fired up" group of people are using the trash service change as their call to arms? Some will be angry with me at this statement, but the newspaper isnít here to sugar coat the facts and I canít stay silent. This group would have never formed if it werenít for the issue of trash.

Representatives from this group have also taken a position against the newspaper at times, using public forums to claim that we misquoted them and even going as far as lying about submitting letters for publication and being refused. For the record, only one letter was submitted to the newspaper that was flagged for "refusal", but upon meeting with a representative from this group, it was mutually agreed to be withdrawn and not published. However, a citizen called my office this week claiming they were told I had refused a letter from Jean Kimball. This is a complete fabrication. We never received a letter from Mrs. Kimball. In fact, she was in our office earlier that very day renewing her subscription. We have located the letter that was included in the council agenda packet and have printed it on page 10 this week. Keep in mind, she did not submit it to the paper, but did submit to the city, making it information of public interest. I donít know why she didnít submit it to us, but we will not be accused of something that simply isnít true. I will note that the letter was submitted to the Alva Newsgram (of Alva, OK - not a local newspaper with ties to the community who actually pay taxes here???). No offense to the Newsgram, just wanted to point out that someone felt it necessary for them to have this letter, but not us.

"Taking back our town." That's been a phrase repeating in my head now for several weeks. It has never "not" been our town. We've elected council members to represent us for as long as the city has been founded. As long as I can remember, we donít micromanage every decision that our council makes on our behalf. We don't always agree with decisions that our representatives make, but most often times we misunderstand the needs for those very decisions. For example: several years ago a survey was sent out asking citizens to rank by importance ten things that had been prioritized by the city council. Overwhelmingly, the number one thing was to "clean up the town". Through a series of ordinance changes and enforcement, things are getting cleaned up, but as a result many folks who wanted to have the town cleaned up are now angry to find out that the very properties they own were deemed in need of being "cleaned up"! Somehow, by adopting modern city ordinances (used by hundreds of cities), people are now accusing city officials of blackmail, extortion, criminal behavior, voilating our constitutional rights and fraud.... and by the way, they appear to be mad as heck.

"Back" is the most frightening word in the "take back our town" group's unofficial slogan. There are a lot of things I wish we could go back to like lower water rates (columns about my kids, etc), but again, it's easy for us all to get upset about things like that and not understand why they are the way they are. Pay attention to any local news and you'll hear some pretty frightening claims about rationing of water in places as close as Wichita and statements from the Kansas Water Office that reservoirs are drying up and the recent drought has put many cities at risk of losing their water sources. There are a lot more things I wouldnít want to go back to. I hate the thought of even having to put them into print.

I've strayed a little off topic. My column is to alert you to your responsibility to get out and a vote next Tuesday. We should all be so thankful to live in a country with free elections and rights that protect us as citizens. Sometimes these very freedoms come with consequences that slow down progress, but it is a necessary check and balance of power. None of us would want it any other way.

So please vote with the facts. I have witnessed the strong-armed tactics by this group. I have heard many false statements made to influence voters. Complete fabrications of the truth made to stir discontent and cause confusion are being used to influence your vote. If you believe the misinformation and vote accordingly, you could find that you will be taking our town back - as in backward, not forward.

Please use common sense and vote using the truth when you go to the polls to vote. Our community depends on it.

KWIBS - From March 18,  2013 - By Kevin Noland

Have a great week!

I have the same reaction to Girl Scout Cookies that I have when someone says, "Iíve got this ground-breaking business plan I want to tell you about."

At least no one is going to ask you to buy Girl Scout Cookies and then become a sales person for the product. Unless you are me.

In fairness, I was never really asked to become a Girl Scout Cookies salesman, it just sort of happened. I came to work one morning to find them on display in my office. Naturally, I bought a box, that turned in to a few more sales and then my wife started buying them. Naturally, I told people they were available and pretty soon I was making change for them at the counter. Without warning. I made a couple of big sales before I realized I wasnít even a Girl Scout!

Dorisís granddaughter, Marie, is the actual Girl Scout. She obviously deserves some sort of merit badge for "business practice" because sheís managed to set up a franchise here at The Gyp Hill Premiere!

Now, the cookies will only be on sale for a little while longer and I want them GONE! Not because I am tired of them all over the counter and bench here in our office, but because I am sick of eating them!

Hereís the challenge. If you come in and buy a box of cookies, I will match that $3.50 for that amount off of any new or renewed subscription while the cookies remain. Just mention that you saw this in my column and buy a box (or a dozen boxes). If you buy 12 boxes and want 12 new subscriptions. Iíll honor that too. If you by 100 boxes of cookies and you want to extend your own subscription by 100 years, Iíll knock off $350. Heck, Iíll even buy your 101st box. Just get them out of here.

The thought of eating one more peanut butter cookie just makes me.... want to actually buy another box of peanut butter cookies.

Please. Iím begging you. Help me.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From March 11, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

There's an old sea story about a ship's Captain, who inspected his sailors one day, a few weeks from leaving home and a few weeks away from their next port of call. Afterward, he told his first mate that his men smelled bad.

The Captain suggested perhaps it would help if the sailors would change their underwear occasionally. The first mate snapped a salute and responded, "Aye, Aye sir, I'll see to it immediately!"

The first mate went straight to the sailors' berth deck and announced, "the Captain thinks you guy smell bad and wants you to change your underwear."

He continued, "Now here's what we're going to do...Leo you change with Jerry...Tony you change with Bert, and Bert, and Bob you change with Ed".

THE MORAL OF THE STORY:

Someone may come along and promise to effect "Change", but that doesn't guarantee that things will start smelling any better.

The recent sequestration has me questioning Washingtonís, and primarily the White Houseís, decision to send an economic aid package to Egypt, while laying off air traffic and TSA people around the country and releasing thousands of immigrations violators. I even heard from a former Medicine Lodge resident that his sonís spring break tour of the White House has been cancelled.

I realize that the country wonít suffer too badly from cutting staff to give tours, but where are our priorities when we canít protect vital programs in our country, yet can send $250 million to a people who hate the idea of America? Weíve already promised Egypt $450 million, but we are going to cut 2% from Medicare to our elderly citizens. Weíre going to give money to the country who elected a president with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, sworn to destroy our country, but we are going to cut money from programs like food stamps, education and crop insurance for Americans.

But wait, it gets more maddening...

The administration in recent weeks has made doomsday predictions about the impact of the cuts of sequestration.

A leaked email from an Agriculture Department field officer adds fuel to claims President Obama's political strategy is to make the billions in recent federal budget cuts as painful as possible to win the public opinion battle against Republicans.

According to the partially redacted email, the Agriculture Departmentís budget office and in part states: "However you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be."

So in other words, make it hurt?

Some political strategists say the president hopes the cuts hurt enough to compel Republican lawmakers seeking reelection next year to end them by agreeing to more tax increases.

On Sunday, Gene Sperling, the White Houseís top economic adviser, suggested Republicans would indeed make this decision.

"Our hope is, as more Republicans start to see this pain in their own districts, they will choose bipartisan compromise over this absolutist position," he said.

Keep in mind that the sequestration is an across the board cut of 2% of government budgets - close to 1,200 of them, if I read correctly. Without any flexibility, cash-fat budgets wonít be able to help the cash-strapped under the sequestration deal that both sides agreed to.

Regardless, the American people will continue to be caught up in the middle and it will be those who are already suffering under a financial burden of fixed income and retirement who will be affected the most.

Real sequestration should have started with salaries of The House of Representatives, Congress and our president.

So whatís that smell?

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From March 4, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

What causes wild animals to eat their young and for the ancient civilizations to sacrifice their children?

Snow days...

For almost a week (5 days total), USD#254 cancelled classes due to the 2 feet of snow we received. Three of those five days, Ronda and I were also snowed in with our youngest.

We were sort of caught off guard with the first round of storms that dumped close to 18" in our area. We had enough food to last a normal family about 2 weeks, but with a 15-year-old boy, we had enough for about 3 days.

Fortunately for Nick, he never looked appetizing to us. After three days we made him take a shower and change his clothes even though he didnít want to.

The storms that rolled in early in the week caused us to be a little more prepared. Instead of going to church on Sunday morning we went to Whiteís to stock up on some essentials like toilet paper and corn chips.

When we got to the grocery store, it looked like a scene from The Walking Dead (AMC). The shelves were starting to look thin and bread was almost gone. People shopping looked like scared animals and it dawned on me.... they were all parents of children. It was a premonition. They knew they were about to be trapped inside their homes with hungry children for God only knew how long! We were there too, probably with the same look on our faces. Our shopping turned into a game of full throttle scavenger hunting. Ronda shouted out items on the list as she shopped for her grandma, and I shopped for us.

"Hotdogs!", I thought. You canít have too many hotdogs and they have a long shelf life. Then I drew a blank...

Ronda was all, "Milk, Eggs, Cheese, Lunch Meat," then it went to "blah, blah, blah, youíre about to be snowed in for days on end.

"Cereal!", I said. You might not have electricity and you can have a bowl of cereal. I piled like 5 boxes in one of those double decker, smaller shopping carts.

"Ranch dressing," I heard a voice in my head say. Nicholas puts that on about everything. Heíd probably want some with his cereal. Ladies, donít leave emergency food preparing to men.

I sort of forgot about things like: make sure the generators will start, have plenty of batteries, matches and candles, etc...

When the storm did finally arrive, it was all it was promised to be and then some. We had drifts as tall as vehicles and as long as half a football field. Nicholas and I ventured out in it between fronts.

The power flickered on and off, but we never lost it. Some werenít so lucky. Lake Arrowhead residents were among several without power.

My thanks to the brave folks at Southern Pioneer who walked out in that storm and braved the elements to find the problem and have power restored in just a few short hours. They got their vehicles stuck, but they made it out safely.

I wasnít as big of a moron during this storm as the first one. I had strategically placed the road grader at my house and a tractor at Leroy Webberís house. Brandon Phipps had brought his backhoe home and we had Clarkeís on standby. When it was over Tuesday morning, we looked out in amazement as everything we had cleared on Sunday, was covered again, by as much, if not more snow.

I fired up the grader at about 9:30 a.m. and started defrosting the windows. After about an hour of running, I jumped in and started up the hill. In 30 short feet, I was stuck. I managed to get it stuck in every direction within a 180 degrees spot in the middle of our driveway. Thankfully, Johnny Bowers and Mark Morganstern arrived about an hour later with chains and a backhoe and we returned the grader to its parking place. There was too much snow and too much ice for it to move. It would be a few hours later that things melted enough that I could get up the hill to help with snow removal.

We were one of the lucky few that have a UTV Polaris. After Brandon, Johnny and Leroy opened up some holes, I ventured out to check on people. There were at least three vehicles stuck in various places on the ranch, including the power companyís UTV.

We finally ended up hiring a dozer to punch through the drifts and after a long cold afternoon outside, I came home and took a warm shower and ate some warm food. I took a few moments and glanced at the postings on Facebook. One incredible picture caught my attention that was posted on Duston Hoaglandís page.

 

Someone wrote on facebook Monday night, "I donítí care if school is closed or not tomorrow. My child will be going!" This photo shows the determination of the human parent.

But not so fast....

The human child is also very determined as Laura Nittler remembered, "My Dear Brothers and Sisters...do you remember when we were snowed in and the road grader came through and cleared the roads? We CERTAINLY didn't want to go to school the next day, so we trudged back out and started pushing the snow back in the road. I believe it was the blizzard of 1971! This picture reminded me of that. ENJOY your walk down memory lane, courtesy of your 'favorite' sister! Love you all!"

Have a great week and thank God for the moisture!!

 

KWIBS - From February 25, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

If thereís one thing I am not really a fan of, itís snow. I made an exception this time since we so desperately needed the moisture for our fields and pastures. Thunder snow was pretty cool.

My friend Flint Rucker always says, "At the end of every drought, comes a good rain." Well, Flint, I guess it can be snow too. I know weíre not out of the woods yet, but this was a really welcome weather system that dumped several inches around the area.

I was impressed with city, county and state for getting out early and often ahead of the accumulation. You guys are greatly appreciated for the long hours and hard work.

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Today is a special day for a special young man in my life. Nicholas turned 15 today. Heís my youngest (our baby - he hates that!). Nick and I share a lot of things in common. One thing is our taste in music. Heís been learning to play bass and weíve gone to some concerts together. Iím very proud of the young man heís becoming and I wish him a happy birthday. Love you Nick!

This is Nick with brothers Gabe and Dameon Aranda from the band "Aranda" from December. The Arandas are family friends who recently got a record deal with Wind Up Records and released their new album "Stop The World."

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Iíve heard grumblings to the effect that people donít know what is going on inside our city government. Iím shocked when I hear that since I believe our city is one of the most open governments we deal with as a newspaper. How would you like to have even less information and have more business done in the dark? If state legislatures have their way, this could become a reality.

The following is an editorial from Kansas Press Associationís Doug Anstaett:

You just knew after last yearís brouhaha about the governorís meetings at Cedar Crest that some state legislators would look for a way to retaliate.

Their plan materialized last week in the introduction of two bills, one in the Senate and one in the House, that would eviscerate the underpinnings of the Kansas Open Meetings Act if approved.

Apparently, pesky reporters and nosey citizens who believe in open government are making it difficult for public officials to do their jobs.

House Bill 2336 and Senate Bill 200 would rewrite KOMA in such a way that any gathering deemed a "social event" could be used as subterfuge for public discussion of virtually any issue.

Language in HB 2336 would let every public official in the state of Kansas ó not just legislators ó off the hook if a gathering didnít lead the body or agency to "deliberate specific matters" under their purview. SB 200 would allow such gatherings as long as discussions didnít lead to the formulation of policy or to a vote of the body.

KOMA is not just about how a public official votes; itís about the process that led to that vote. Citizens have a fundamental right to know what influences played a part in a decision, not just whether someone ultimately voted "yes" or "no."

Thatís why we pay close attention to who contributes to campaigns, who pays big bucks to lobby legislators and who shows up at meetings as opponents and proponents of issues.

If such legislation is approved and "social gatherings" are allowed to be used as a cover for previously illegal public discussions of the issues, citizens will be shut out of the political process.

Even more, the "social gathering" opportunities for public officials will skyrocket, emboldening those with influence to peddle and the deep pockets to pay for it.

Letís hope those state lawmakers advocating open government principles prevail over those who would return our political system to the proverbial "smoke-filled rooms" of the past.

Kansans should rise up in protest of this blatant attempt to usurp the power of the people.

Doug Anstaett is executive director of the Kansas Press Association.

 

KWIBS - From February 11, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

Sometimes you think you remember what you said or the way you said it, but sometimes you are just wrong.

Not long ago, I thought it would be a good policy to record audio at some of our meetings. Itís happened several times in the past that someone has accused the newspaper of misrepresenting what or how something was said. On more than one occasion, Iíve had the opportunity to prove exactly what was said by playing the audio from the meeting.

During Mondayís City Trash Hearing held at The United Methodist Church, a couple of citizens used the public forum, designed to discuss support for or against outsourcing trash service, to state that they were misrepresented in the newspaper from the previous Wednesdayís forum. Ronda and I were about 5 minute late for those comments, but played back the audio that Liz Hanna made to hear these accusations the next morning. I also played back this personís comments from the previous Wednesdayís forum to make sure we got it right.

We donít always get it right. Iíll be the first to admit this, but I do wish to apologize to these folks. I am sorry we werenít there to defend ourselves using the same forum you used to accuse our newspaper of misrepresenting your statements and context. Not only did we get your statements correct and in context, we have your newest comments too.

Iíve invited this person to come in to my office to listen to the audio from the meetings. If anyone believes they were not represented correctly from either of the meetings, I invite you to listen for yourselves. Stop in for an appointment. Iíll make sure we have a good crowd to listen and maybe even some popcorn. Like I said, we donít always get it right, but we nailed this one.

Forums and hearings like these are an important part of the process. They are public meetings and treated as such.

Lots of emotion played out among the communityís two meetings over the trash service. I want to say thank you to those who did have the courage to get up and say what they felt - on both sides of the issue. Itís everyoneís right to have an opinion and to be heard, but everyone should follow rules of order and courtesy when attending these meetings. There were those who jeered and booed and interrupted. Everyone will remember who you were. I commend the Mayor and City Councilmen who sat through remarks and attacks against their personal businesses and listened patiently to those citizens who threatened to leave Medicine Lodge. These city officials kept their composure and kept the meetings somewhat orderly.

In my opinion, the biggest news of the evening was completely ignored by those attending the meeting. When the council voted to contract with Nisly for our trash service, most got up and left the meeting grumbling out into the hallway, but one important agenda item remained that most didnít care to hear. By investigating better interest rates and refinancing some of our loans, our city stands to save $74,000 in interest on approximately $1.13 million in four loans, reducing our payments by up to 7 years. The room had pretty much cleared out by this time and only a few people left in the room heard the council move forward on this very important issue.

 

KWIBS - From February 4, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

As much hate mail as this might get me, I have to say I was intrigued by the concern many have about how the city will handle trash services.

I asked a simple question to a post on Facebook last week. It read, "It's not in our town's best interest to hire companies from Hutchinson or Wichita to come do a job that should belong to our citizens!"

I replied, "This would be a good place to discuss the merits, or lack of merits in keeping the trash service local. Since you think it's in the town's best interest, please elaborate. My two pros for outsourcing would be cost savings and curb side recycling."

From that post, a fire raged across the page of more than 100 comments over a 24 hour period before the public hearing that was held on Wednesday evening. The Facebook post was deleted by the administrator of the page later that day.

What surprised me the most was the passion people had to save the cityís trash service. Why wasnít there this same passion and enthusiasm from our cityís residents on so many other issues like water rates, the pool construction, the tourism committee's projects, the Peace Treaty, the city park, the Main Street program, the chamber of commerce, housing additions, etc...? Running for city council?????

It strikes me a little odd that everyone is so excited over the trash issue and were not about these things.

One thing everyone agrees on is that Henry Bland and Keith Miller are great guys who do this city a great service. No one disputes that.

So the questions I would have:

Are we protecting these guys who have provided such quality service to the citizens of Medicine Lodge if we change the way we operate? Will the service provided by an outside source be of equal or greater value to the citizens of Medicine Lodge at a reduced cost? Will it encourage people to recycle more?

I believe the city has made great efforts in responding and answering these questions, but still, many are not convinced.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From January 28, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the MCXXV Edition of The Gyp Hill Premiere!

Next weekend is the "Big Game" between The San Fransisco 49ers and the Baltamore Ravens.

We canít use the Super "B" word in the paper in any advertisements. Thatís a trademark name.

Trademarked and tenaciously defended by the NFL, the phrase "Super Bowl" (oops! I said it) is available to just a handful of official sponsors that pay significant amounts for the right to include the name in their marketing efforts. The Gyp Hill Premiere isnít one of them. Everyone else, like The Gyp Hill Premiere, and from national electronics retailers to the corner bar, runs the risk of being threatened with a lawsuit by the league if they use the actual name without permission.

Ok, Iím not officially using it as advertising. Iím just mentioning it. Come on, really? Do you think anyone would read my column and think I needed to use the NFLís "Big Game" as a promotion?

The NFL has 22 official marketing partners that pay upward of $100 million annually to be affiliated with the league. Again, The Gyp Hill Premiere isnít one of them. Sponsors do include PepsiCo Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., Motorola Mobility Inc. and Castrol Ltd., which is the official motor oil of the NFL. Although there is no specific sponsorship of the "Big Game", NFL sponsors have the right to use the game's name and logo in their own marketing efforts.

Good for them! This "Big Game" is viewed by more than 111 million, as opposed to about 1200 subscribers of The Gyp Hill Premiere.

I sort of figured since I am writing about this "Big Game", I could get away with mentioning its actual name at least once. Heck, who knows? Maybe the NFL will be publishing this newspaper in a few months after a bitter lawsuit over my column.

But before you start photo-copying my column to send to the NFL, note that journalists are free to refer to the Super Bowl in stories, a right that was assured by a 1992 federal appeals court ruling. Have a great week!

KWIBS - From January 21, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

The cards and letters and kind words were so appreciated this past week after the death of my dad.

Some of you shared some great stories in remembering the 20 years he lived in Medicine Lodge.

I received a well timed column from Dr. Amy Clarkson with Hospice this week and it was so appropriate for our family during this time. She really writes a great column. If youíve never taken the time to read her column, please do. Iíve printed it below. Have a great week.

End Notes

Dr. Amy Clarkson is board certified in Palliative Medicine and serves as Medical Director at South Wind Hospice

As humans, we are designed for relationships. We are driven to connect with others, and these connections are the root for many joys and pleasures, but also give purpose to our lives. There is a cost, however, that is demanded for these benefits. That cost is grief. At some point we will lose that relationship, either subjectively or in actuality, as through death.

Grief is a universal experience, not dependent on age, status, gender or intellect, and yet is so individualized that it makes preparing for it and experiencing it hard to generalize. There are some issues that would behoove us to discuss in order to help others, or ourselves, when a loss occurs.

One of the essential needs someone has after the death of a loved one is the opportunity to tell the story of who that person was. This may include the retelling of their death, or the circumstances of their illness, but it may also be memories from the past and accounts of them as a person. The ironic thing is that usually after death, other people donít want to bring the loss up, for fear of creating sadness or being awkward. Once someone said, "After my husband died, he was always on my mind, so the idea that by saying his name, or asking me a question about him would send me into a depressive tailspin is ridiculous!" In truth, those grieving crave the opportunity to talk about their loved one, and are just waiting for someone to bring it up.

This desire to keep the memory alive by retelling the story of their life does not go away in the weeks after the loss, if anything, it gets stronger. The odd notion that a year after someone dies, life should be back to normal, just devoid of that person, is foolish. What better time to ask a friend to tell you some memories about the person whoís gone.

The other important concept in grief is that there are no stages to go through leading to acceptance. There are common aspects of grief people may have depending on the circumstances of the death itself. For instance, some may feel guilt. This may be guilt in the decisions made, or regrets just prior to the event, but can also be survivorís guilt in ĎWhy didnít I go first?í Others feel relief, which can seem abnormal, but usually, if there has been suffering involved its natural to have relief that the suffering is over. Still others get angry, wanting to blame someone or something for the loss. Finally, some feel anxious or helpless, such as with the loss of parents or a spouse whoís provided much support.

The key is that these emotions are normal, and itís possible to feel many all at the same time.

While grief is an expected part of death, if it begins to affect your health, your job, or your relationships it may be time to seek help.

There is a price for relationships, and at some point we all experience grief. By inviting others to tell their stories we can ensure that when our turn comes, someone will be around to listen to us.

 

KWIBS - From January 7, 2013 - By Kevin Noland

I watched with disappointment as the Cowboys blew another playoff chance, losing to the Redskins last weekend.

Even more frustrating was the constant interruption of news about going over the "fiscal cliff."

Quarterback Tony Romo gets paid - $16.8 million

Coach Jason Garrett made $3 million as an assistant coach for the Cowboys, he makes a lot more now.

Owner Jerry Jonesí networth just for his Cowboyís team is about - $2.1 billion. He was worth $3.2 billion in September.

After the game, I got up out of my chair and announced that I was throwing Tony Romo, Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones over the fiscal cliff. Problems solved.

The country could operate an additional one day, debt free!

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From December 31, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas. We did, seeing many family and friends over the past week. The holidays do tend to get a little hectic and it puts a lot of pressure on us to put out that last newspaper of the year in the middle of the holiday season. This year was no different, but I am grateful to my mom and Doris and Ronda for organizing the information that goes in to this special paper reflecting on the year that was.

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Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips. (Proverbs 27:2 ESV)

Every year about this time, I begin the process of putting together our year in review edition.

I search through hundreds, if not thousands, of photos and speed read through each edition to find the biggest news of the year and those that make it.

One of my favorite things to do is to consider who had one of the biggest impacts on our community. I like to call this my "person of the year" column. I realize itís not Time magazine prestigious, but itís my way of saying thank you for being a good citizen.

My pick this year is David Colborn. David is the owner of Colborn Electric, husband and father, volunteer firefighter and friend to many in the community.

Heís creative and brilliant, which was evident if you drove by his house during the holidays. Colborn wired up his Christmas lights and put them to Christmas music that slowed traffic on Walnut Street at night for a month. He said he put a lot of pressure on his neighbors to decorate their houses for Christmas and promises an even bigger show next year. I know the community enjoyed tuning in to his special radio station, parking in front of his house and watching lights chase across his home and yard. We did and we made many trips to his house to show our family and friends.

David is also quick to say "yes" when there is a special need. I usually beg and he gives in quickly. Iíve asked David several times for his help with the down town sound system. The occasional fried speaker or broken wire is no match for Davidís skill.

And finally, David is a humble volunteer. Youíll see his name from time to time mentioned for things like assisting with the schoolís electrical needs with the recent press box project. He wants no recognition. In fact, heís threatened me to not mention of anything heís done in the community in my newspaper, so many times I havenít.. However, I waited patiently for someone else to do that for me. This happened back in May when he and Josh Graham were given recognition by the Mayor and City Council for their acts of courage when they went in to a building structure on March 8th to rescue victims from the smoke and flames.

I could go on and on, but Iím already in trouble with him for this column, but I want to point out that people like David are whatís right with Medicine Lodge. There are many like him and I wish I could mention them all.

So David, Iím real proud of you and glad to call you a friend.

Many may not know David personally, but heís there behind the scenes making Medicine Lodge a better place to live. Now please get to my garage lights project Mr. Colborn!

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On the front page this week, I did something different than from years past in our review of the year. I put a few pictures of just some of the people we lost in 2012. These people made an impact on our community and as I searched, I collected their photos for a small tribute. Again, itís only a partial list, but I hope youíll take time to remember all of the families who lost loved ones in 2012.

Take some time to read this edition and remember the good and the bad of 2012. Itís important to remember our past and to look towards our future as a community.

Have a great week and Happy New Year!

KWIBS - From December 24, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

This is about as far away from a Christmas column as I could travel, but in the shadow of what happened in Newton, CT, I felt it appropriate to share my thoughts about further gun control or weapons banning.

Just a day before the Newton event, China also experienced a tragic school event. In Beijing, a knife-wielding man injured 22 children and one adult outside a primary school in central China as students were arriving for classes, the latest in a rampage attacks at Chinese schools and kindergartens.

Why these attacks on school children? I think the answer is somewhat simple. Those who plan on doing others harm arenít looking for a fight, they are looking for an easy target. School children donít fight back. Places with no defenses are easy targets. Itís a sad fact.

As Megan McArdi wrote in her article "Thereís Little We Can Do to Prevent Another Massacre",

"It would certainly be more comfortable for me to endorse doing something symbolic--bring back the "assault weapons ban"--in order to signal that I care. But I would rather do nothing than do something stupid because it makes us feel better. We shouldn't have laws on the books unless we think there's a good chance they'll work: they add regulatory complexity and sap law-enforcement resources from more needed tasks. This is not because I don't care about dead children; my heart, like yours, broke about a thousand times this weekend. But they will not breathe again because we pass a law. A law would make us feel better, because it would make us feel as if we'd "done something", as if we'd made it less likely that more children would die. But I think that would be false security. And false security is more dangerous than none."

Her complete article can be found at www.thedailybeast.com.

Like McArdie, my guess is that we're going to get a law anyway.

I am sure this column will result in some rebuttal, but I must say that one way to curb this violence is to arm teachers and faculty. Itís radical, I know, but consider if 5-10 teachers in our school buildings were trained in handling and securing weapons. And if it were clearly known that our schools would meet deadly force with deadly force, how many of these situations could have been avoided? Some might argue that this is far too dangerous to put weapons in our schools, but I think itís more of a valid discussion than trying to ban weapons from law abiding citizens. Telling bad guys that these are "gun free zones" does not cause them to walk away discouraged because they canít take their weapon into a school to kill. They are not paying attention to "signs" or laws for that matter, but I promise that if there was a sign posted at our school that said, "Our teachers and faculty are armed and will protect the children of this facility with deadly force," much of this violence and plots to do harm will stop.

Yes, our country needs to do something. Yes, there is too much desensitized violence on TV and in video games. Yes, the mentally ill are often overlooked and underevaluated for detection of violent behavior and yes, there are too many guns in the wrong hands.

We had better start admitting that we have no box big enough to completely contain evil. If someone is bent on hurting someone else, they will do it by whatever means possible. You wonít stop them with a law. Iíve been in bail enforcement for almost 7 years now and my experience is that criminals donít care about laws.

I believe that as a country, we have chosen to make it impossible for God to enter our schools, but easy for a crazy person with harmful intentions.

I realize we canít force people to turn to Jesus or any deity, but we also canít legislate morality. In the event of an attack on our children, if we canít turn the shooter to Jesus in this life, I suggest we help them meet Him face to face.

Weíd like to think weíve advanced to some sort of civility as humans, but deep down we have to know that not everyone thinks it is insane to harm others for no reason, whatever their age. There are sick, evil people in the world and their always will be.

So my hope is that there will be reasonable talks between reasonable people and that reasonable decisions are made. I personally like the idea of arming our teachers, but many others will think itís just more violence and thatís not the answer.

So, itís Christmas. Folks are hurting from this tragic event and I respectfully dedicate this column to the memories of those who lost their life.

Iíd like to leave you with this poem:

Twas' 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38 when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate.

their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there

They were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.

"where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse. "this is heaven." declared a small boy. "we're spending Christmas at God's house."

When what to their wondering eyes did appear, but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.

He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same. then He opened His arms and He called them by name.

and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring those children all flew into the arms of their King

and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace, one small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.

And as if He could read all the questions she had He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad."

then He looked down on earth, the world far below He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe

then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand, "Let My power and presence re-enter this land!"

"may this country be delivered from the hands of fools" "I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!"

Then He and the children stood up without a sound. "come now my children, let me show you around."

Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran. all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.

And i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight, "in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT."

written by Cameo Smith of Mt. Wolf, PA.

I pray that you have Merry Christmas and remember that we celebrate a risen Savior.

Have a great week.

 

KWIBS - From December 17, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

The good news is, weíre not dead, but the bad news is, we could be later this week. If the Mayans got this right, then this will be my last column.

Most who believe in an "end date", believe the Mayans marked December 21, 2012 to be the grand finale. Iím just guessing they ran out of rock to write on or got really bad chiselerís cramp.

I, for one, am ready if this is the end. I went Christmas shopping a while back and charged a bunch of money on my credit card. It will be nice to stick it to them.

Iím a little sad though that I didnít get to finish out my bucket list which included seeing all of my favorite bands in concert (Iím short Weezer and No Doubt), trying to get back into shape, restoring Joeyís 1974 AMC Gremlin, breaking the 100,000 point score on my pinball machine with one ball. Iíve also been putting off cleaning out my garage.

If only I had another year to clean out my garage....

Predicting the end of the world isnít something new and nobody should get too excited about it.

Harold Camping, the California radio host, has made several stabs at the end of the world. He first predicted the apocalypse in 1994, then blamed his miscalculation on a mathematical error. He made another prophecy this year, stating 200 million of us would be taken to heaven May 21, before the Earth was destroyed. He must have forgotten to carry the 1. The world didn't end and Camping went back to the drawing board and decided the Rapture would occur Oct. 21. Well, I guess that was wrong too. I doubt weíve heard the last of his predictions and hopefully, someone has bought him a new calculator.

Some guy named Robert Fitzpatrick spent $140,000 of his savings to advertise the Rapture in New York, and was dumbfounded when life went on as usual on May 22nd. "I do not understand why nothing has happened," he told the Reuters news service while awaiting the end of days in Times Square.

These folks who predict the end of the world say they use complicated (debatable) mathematical formulas they get from reading the Bible. I guess they skipped over Matthew 24:36 when Jesus informs everyone that only His father knows the time the world will end. All they have done with these predictions is to prove my theory that they are as good at math as your average newspaper publisher.

Thereís no doubt that these are eventful days. With everything going on like earthquakes, to tsunamis, to tornados, to a nuclear crisis, to wars and rumors thereof, these are uncertain times. It only leaves one to question how much time we do have left. What if the Mayans are right? What if this is the end of the world as we know it? Did I leave the oven on at my house?

If it is the end of the world, what would you do? Call your loved ones you havenít spoken to in years? Eat 6 plates of food at a local buffet? Try skydiving? Tell everyone off in your last newspaper column? Make your friend pay back that $10 he borrowed from me back in October (Justin Rugg)?

Iím probably going to just sit on my couch, drink some cheap Pinot noir and watch reruns on TV. Iím going to wait it out while making dumb posts on Facebook like, "Due to the lack of experienced trumpeters, the end of the world has been postponed for three weeks."

I think REM sang it best....

"It's the end of the world as we know it.

It's the end of the world as we know it.

It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine."

I guess if on December 22nd weíre all still here, I better spend an extra 5 minutes a day on the elliptical machine and back away from that buffet line. I may also have to clean out my garage...

Have a great end of the world.

KWIBS - From December 3, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

As we get older, we wonder what kind of impression we will leave on this world.

This is a message I received November 16 from Barb Keltner: My Kansas trivia question at the Grade School for library classes this week was "What Kansan was a famous Emporia newspaper editor, and a children's book award was named to honor him after he died?" One of my students answered excitedly, "KEVIN NOLAND!"

Uh, close but this Kansan is dead while Kevin Noland is very much alive and being obnoxious! This Kansan is from Emporia, while Kevin is from ML. This Kansan is "famous" -- while Kevin Noland is legendarily "infamous"! This Kansan is William Allen White! But at least you know you're drumming up some notoriety among the younger set, Kev! ;-)

I almost feel completed... Thanks Barb!

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In the world of competitive sports, athletes are willing to do anything to win. Some take illegal substances, but are some American football players using Viagra?

The world of American football is abuzz after Brandon Marshall, a Chicago Bears player suggested that some players were using Viagra hoping it would give them an advantage during games.

Dr Olivier Rabin, science director at the World Anti-Doping Agency in Montreal, said it is unlikely Viagra does anything to improve football performance in NFL players. He also said there is no evidence the drug might somehow mask the use of steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs.

Regardless, the Bears are being viewed as stiff competition...

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From November 26, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

A couple of years ago, I wrote an article about a friend of mine named Sam Clester.

When I was 13 years old, Sam Clester was the most towering human I had ever met. Standing better than 6í5" to my 5í frame and carrying close to 300 lbs, he was a giant.

Even though imposing, he had a fun nature and gentle goofiness about him that made me love to buck paper for him.

At the time, most kids my age were bucking bales. Yeah, they were tough throwing those 50lb. bales around, but that was nothing compared to bucking paper.

Our paper truck came every few months. When I say truck, I mean semi truck. When I say paper, I am referring to rolls of newsprint that weighed at minimum 998 lbs.

These rolls had to be maneuvered into our building, lined up and lifted on to other rolls in our warehouse with the aid of a roll lift and chain hoist. It was hard work.

Sam would sometimes buy part of our load. He was the owner of The Belle Plaine News and owned the print shop there.

My first encounter with Sam came when my dad told me to help Sam load some rolls up in his truck. I used a small piece of wood scrapped paneling that we referred to as a "cheat" to spin the rolls. At 100 lbs., dripping wet, it was all I could do to spin one of these rolls 20 degrees at a time with a butt-bump.

"Here now, let me show you how to do this," Sam said.

He grabbed that roll of paper and spun it 90 degrees with one shove and no cheat. I was impressed and always remembered this giant from Belle Plaine who could easily handle a 1000 lb. roll of paper in our warehouse.

Seven years later, I was married with a kid and my wife and I were starting our very own newspaper. I needed a place to print my newspaper and called Sam Clester up. He was all about helping me get started and agreed to print our newspaper at his plant in Belle Plaine the second weekend of July in 1991.

Our friendship was solidified in ink, so to say. I watched Samís business grow over the years to the point of him selling off his newspaper businesses and simply becoming a "printer" of newspapers around the area. He went through at least a half-dozen pressmen over the years. I even worked for him for one day as a pressman while his pressman was on vacation. Although I had much experience with web press and sheet fed printing over the years, I had never printed on a News King or a Color King. Sam assured me that it was like, "Riding someone elseís bicycle." I had enough ego (or lack of common sense) to give it a shot.

The agreement was that I could have my paper for free that week, if I printed for him while his pressman was on vacation. Looking back now, that wasnít such a great deal, but I was happy to help out my friend Sam because he had helped me out so many times. I got a quick tutorial on the press one day the previous week and then I was standing in front of this machine the following Monday.

If running this press was like riding someone elseís bicycle, then this was like a unicycle with one pedal and no seat. It kicked my butt.

After wasting more papers than I needed for each of his customers, and barely printing one legible copy of The Gyp Hill Premiere that week, I was a nervous wreck and I quit my one day carreer as his temporary pressman.

For some reason, many small towns had a bar not far from the newspaper office. Belle Plaine had one just to the south and Sam took me there. I had just barely turned 21. I had a few drinks and we put an end to our "free papers for printing" deal. I was out of my league.

Sam understood and let me off the hook. He even discounted my shabby print job that week. I went home with my tail between my legs and we never talked about it again until one day in August of 2010

Ronda and I were on our way to Wichita when my phone rang. It was Sam.

Sam usually only calls when thereís bad news. Things like: the press is broke down or weíre way behind on my printing bill. He wanted to eat lunch and talk face to face. When I hung up the phone, I turned to Ronda and asked, "Are we behind on our printing bill?" We werenít.

Sam met us for lunch and explained that he was selling off his printing business and retiring. I was not surprised by his decision. I was close to the same age that Sam was when we first met. I knew Sam for nearly 30 years.

Ronda and I went to Mulvane last week and ate dinner with family there. Uncle Greg delivered the news that Sam had passed away on Friday, November 9th after a short battle with cancer. I was sad to hear that my giant friend had died and more sad to have not been able to say goodbye. We ran into Sam at Samís Club in Wichita about a year ago. It was sort of a fun joke to have run into him at his own "club". He was good and generous man who I have many stories about. Most I canít tell in the newspaper.

He was one of the people who helped me start the newspaper more than 1100 press runs and close to 22 years ago. I trusted him and his staff to provide our town with a finished product for all of those years. He never let us down and he was there when the times were tough. There were times in the history of this newspaper, that if it werenít for Samís generosity and patience, we might not have made it.

I thanked Sam in person and printed my gratefulness in ink, that one last time - with Samís ink and paper on August 10th, 2012.

In one of our last conversations together, Sam told me that I had courage for going up against the big boys of the newspaper industry when I started The Gyp Hill Premiere years ago. I told him I was just too young and simply too stupid to know better.

He said, "I guess thereís a fine line between courage and stupidity." I agree, but Sam had the courage to stick it out for all these years and weíll never forget his help and always have a special place in our hearts for him.

- 30 -

A quick round of applause for the newly organized Medicine Lodge Area Chamber of Commerce. Some new interest in the organization and some fresh faces are showing up at the monthly meetings. With some time and patience, I believe we will have a viable and proactive group of people involved and making progress for area businesses in and around Medicine Lodge. Thank you to David and Meleah Oxley, Rick Dirks and many, many others who have stepped up and saved this organization. Medicine Lodge is worth it!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From November 19, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

Later this week weíll all be celebrating Thanksgiving with our families.

Last Monday I woke up, rushed around, probably ran out the door forgetting to tell my wife I loved her.

Later that morning, a man you probably donít know told his wife he loved her - for the last time, as she passed away from a stroke she had on November 1st. Her name was Judy Wing. She was just 41. A mother, wife, sister and grandmother.

I first met Judy years ago at the Pratt County Jail through my bail bond business. Judy was the jailís administrator and a good one. She never had a frown on her face in all the years I worked with her. I never heard her say a negative thing, even when dealing with the most difficult defendants.

The news of her stroke came as such a shock to everyone who knew her. First reports were that she would recover, but as the days went on, things got worse and not better.

Facebook delivered the sad news of her passing. Many of us followed her care at Wesley by reading posts from her husband Bobby Wing.

Early Monday morning, Bobbyís first post at around 5 a.m. read: "Rushing to hospital!!! Please pray!!!!"

Bobbyís next post that morning read, "I love you baby!!!!! Fight baby fight!!!!!!!!"

His post around 9 a.m. was, "I will always love you my love!!! I miss you so much!!!!!!!"

My heart broke as I read. Hundreds of prayerful posts flooded Bobbyís page and I sat at my desk and cried for a friend I lost and a man I had never met.

I worked with Judy the day before her stroke. I had come up to bond a young man out of jail on Halloween. Judy and I have dealt with the lowest of lows when it comes to people. It comes with the territory. For some reason we began talking about people and our jobs working with people that are in jail. I had told her I respected how good she was to people coming in and out of the system and she said something that I will never forget.

"Leave people better than you found them," she said with a smile.

I enjoyed working with Judy and will remember her as someone who showed the love of Jesus every day in her life.

I went home shortly after lunch and walked in the house and went straight for Ronda. I grabbed her tightly, kissed her and said, "I love you."

We never know when the end will come, but we have the opportunity every day to live thankfully.

Iím thankful for what Judy taught me and for the opportunity to have met someone with such a kind spirit.

My prayers go out to her family and friends.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

 

KWIBS - From November 12, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

Sflingprall....

I just made that word up. Feel free to use it.

Itís a new word that Kansas should appreciate. Itís not spring, itís not fall itís "Sflingprall."

Recent weather trends have us averaging close to 60 degree weather for November. It should be 47-50 degrees by all accounts.

This strange, warm, dry weather is playing havoc on my wardrobe. I havenít put the T-shirts, shorts and sandals away and I canít get to my sweatshirts and pants during the cooler evenings. I just keep all-weather clothes in my truck and change several times a day back and forth.

If I wear shoes and socks, my feet are on fire all day and if I wear sandals my feet are freezing in the morning.

Oh and "Happyhallowturkmas". I almost forgot. Iím tired of all the holidays getting crammed together beginning mid-October. Joey was home from Hays on October 28th and called me from Great Bend to wish me a Merry Christmas. Their city already had up their decorations and it wasnít even Halloween yet.

Speaking of Christmas, thank Jesus the elections are finally over. Itís bittersweet for a newspaper guy. We love the advertising and increase in paper sales, but itís a lot of stinking work! I was here on election night until just before midnight putting in results on the internet. People hammered the website to see local results. With all of the action, I accidently had a husband and wife competing for the same township position. I caught my mistake and corrected it before too many people saw that.

I made predictions on every election privately to my friends and family. I nailed every one of those predictions. The one election surprise for me was seeing over 3,200 people in Barber County come out to vote. That was pretty amazing.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From November 5, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

Tomorrow our nation decides the all important issue of who the president will be.

Because of the process and Electoral College, our individual vote for president wonít matter much in Kansas. That decision has been all but made for us. Weíre a red state.

On a more close to home race, we will be deciding on issues like who one of our next county commissioners will be, who will represent us in the House of Representatives, state representative, a senator and congressmen and our next county sheriff will also be determined tomorrow.

Iíve got my favorites, as you probably do too. The issues are clear for me and I am not an "undecided" voter. As for President, you are either for Obama or against him. Iím not exactly sure who is actually "for" Romney more than they are against Obama. That being said, I am against Obama and not afraid to tell you. His policies have and will continue to hurt small businesses like mine and I have to vote against him. The jury is out for me on Romney. He gives the appearance of pro-business, but only time will tell - if he is elected. It is important that whoever is elected balance the budget, create jobs and protect our countryís national interests at home and abroad.

Locally, I have interest in several races. So whatís my opinion on the commissionersí race for District Three? Neither candidate is from Medicine Lodge nor has an interest in it. Itís unfortunate that the largest city in the county will only have one commissioner with a Medicine Lodge address seated at the commissionersí table. The options for representation are Bill Smith from Hardtner and Paul Cox from rural Sun City. As a losing primary candidate myself, I have mixed feelings about the winner of this race. I can only hope that whoever wins will consider that the majority of the population is from Medicine Lodge and represents them accordingly.

Several mailers from the Republican Party (my party...) have likened Representative Vince Wetta (D) to Obama and maybe even the devil himself. Iíve been super disappointed in the attack ads at this level. I expect more from my party and from my representatives in the Kansas House. Iíve had multiple opportunities to meet Vince and ask him questions. Heís not promoting Obamaís agenda and as far as I can tell, not supporting the devil.... Even though the mailers didnít say that, they could have. Candidates should run on their merits, not tear down or misrepresent their opponentís record.

One candidate is on the ballot for Barber County Sheriff. Justin Rugg won the primary in August. He is a current Deputy for the department and the countyís K9 handler. The primary election decided between 4 Republican candidates in August. In recent weeks J.C Stevenson, one of those candidates, made known his intentions to now run as a write in candidate.

Itís no secret that I am friends with Justin Rugg. I know him better than most people ever will. Heís a good man and will serve with integrity. Outside of our friendship, I can tell you that his work as a deputy has been outstanding for this county. Iím the areaís bondsman and I see the work of law enforcement in our communities and have no problem identifying him as one of the hardest working people in law enforcement in our area. Justin is young, has a family and a vested interest in Barber County. He does his job and does it well even when it means that some people will not like the outcome of his job. Many of these very people are supporting Stevenson with signs in their front yards.

Mr. Stevenson is also a fine officer and has a long, commendable career. He is twice retired and even though he has stated in campaign materiels that he would work as long as he was capable if written in, the truth is, long-term vision and leadership is what is necessary to protect citizens and property in the county.

What people really get to do on Tuesday, November 6th is to exercise their freedom. This freedom has come with a cost. I remember and thank those who have served our country to protect this freedom. My hope is that you consciously and prayerfully cast your vote and that you have made the issues known and educated yourself on who will best represent you on Tuesday, and for many years to come.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From October 29, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

I watched the Presidential debate last Tuesday. I was not very impressed with either candidate.

Both candidates offer little in real solutions, but as an undecided voter I will not vote for more hope and change. I have a "write-in" in mind, but Iíve always felt that writing in someoneís name is simply a protest vote. The Electoral College leaves little choice for Kansas voters. Weíre a very Red State.

Thursday of last week was probably the windiest day in Kansas I have ever experienced. It is definitely the windy season with the election just around the corner..... I ran over 3 election signs on my way to lunch that were swirling around on the four lane.

Heading north for home, I experienced something Iíve only seen a few times in my lifetime - zero visibility due to dirt. It was only a short distance, but for a minute I just couldnít see anything.

Iíve heard some of the old timers compare our recent drought situation to that of the 30s. Some actual statistics have us even dryer than in those times. Good conservation practices are the only thing that separates us from those days.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From October 8, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

My youngest son, Nicholas, pulled an 1898 Silver Dollar out of his treasure chest and said to me, "Someday, this will be worth a ton of money!"

I laughed.

Nicholas said, "What? What are you laughing at?"

I thought for a moment and then decided he was old enough to handle the truth.

"Itís fake," I confessed.

He was nearly crushed.

In the book "Wild at Heart", Author John Eldredge writes, "The recipe for fun is pretty simple raising boys: add to any activity an element of danger, stir in a little exploration, add a dash of destruction, and youíve got yourself a winner."

I believe it was in the spring of 2008, Nicholas was only 10 years old and we took him with us to Amarillo, TX on vacation during his spring break. Our friends Dale and Michele McCurdy live in Amarillo and their boys are close to Nicholasí age, one just a year older and one a year younger.

Dale set up a day for the whole family (girls included) to go to Palo Duro Canyon to go hiking and artifact hunting.

Dale and I had planned out the adventure part a few hours earlier. While serving in Afghanistan, Dale had acquired several counterfeit silver dollars from the late 1800s. They were pretty good fakes, at least good enough to fool any 10-year-old.

We gave the silver dollars to his oldest son Blake and asked him to go ahead of us and scatter some on the trail where we were hiking. All along the hike we told the boys stories about bank robbers and the posses who chased them up the canyon, gunfights and bloodshed.

Soon enough the boys stumbled onto the coins and went crazy when they found the "booty" from the bank robbery from the story they just heard.

Yes, we made the whole thing up and I had managed to keep it a secret from Nick for 4 years.

Nick was half laughing and half mad when he asked me, "Why would you do this to me?"

The answer was simple: to create an adventure; one that he would never forget. That, and I have a tendency to be a prankster.

"But dad, I have told that story to so many people," he said. "The whole thing was just made up! I thought I was going to be rich off that coin someday!"

I said, "I know, Iím just saving you from the embarrassment of you walking into a pawn shop one day when I am gone and find out that itís counterfeit and worth nothing. Iíd rather tell you the truth now, than you find out we made it up after I am dead and gone."

He thought about it for a while and we both laughed and thought about the fun we had that day. Then he got really serious.

"Dad, you know that from like 5th grade on, I wrote countless essays in school about that day and about the bank robbers and the money?"

Thatís when we really started laughing!

Have a great week.

KWIBS - From September 24, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

As promised, here are the details of the newest addition to our family! Baylee Aleece Schaffer made her grand entrance into the world last Monday, September 17, 2012. She was born at PRMC at 7:25 a.m. and was 20" long and weighed 7 lbs 1.25 oz. She was born with thick hair, long fingers and toes and is the most beautiful baby ever born! (my opinion of course, but backed up by many witnesses.)

Breeann, Devin, and Baylee came home on Wednesday and are settling in just fine. Bayleeís big brother stayed with K-Pa and Mema for a few days and is also back at home. By the looks of this photo, I think Kycen wants to keep her!

KWIBS - From September 17, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

Something big happens today. By the time you read this, I will be a grandpa again. My daughter Breeann was scheduled for a c-section early this morning in Pratt.

Nine months in the making, Baylee Aleece Schaffer made her entrance into the world. I may be hard to reach for a couple of days because cell service on cloud 9 doesnít have 4G yet.

Itís weird writing about an event that hasnít happened. I keep wondering what will she look like, will her big brother like her, will she like me? Iím sure sheíll be beautiful, like her Mom Breeann, like her Mema Ronda, like her Mother Barbara and her Mother Mildred and so on. I bet Kycen likes her too. And Iím guessing sheíll think Iím alright. Kycen will convince her if not.

You can count on a photo next week.

By the way, thank God for some rain!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From September 10, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

Two weeks in a row now that I am ranting on something concerning schools. Thankfully, this time I am ranting about another school.

Last Friday evening the Medicine Lodge Indian Football Team traveled to Wichita to play the Independent Panthers.

First, let me tell you that I know nothing about their school system or policies. This column in only an observation made while at their campus last Friday.

Independent is located on the east side of town, not far from many gated communities. I like this part of town, thereís lots of fancy restaurants and a nice mall and a lot of nicer stores in this part of town. Itís fun to go there and have the selections that we donít get here in good old Medicine Lodge.

We got to the game just before 7 p.m. "Panther Parking" caused us to have quite a walk, which didnít hurt us after eating way too much at Bonefish Grille, near the waterfront.

As we made our way to our side of the field I made a special note that there were two armed Wichita Police Officers posted on Medicine Lodgeís side. I jokingly said, "thatís in case us folks from the sticks get out of hand."

I had heard grumblings earlier in the day that school officials from Independent called our school and told us that we could not grill out for our team and feed them, but we could visit their concessions stands as they announced at least 50 times that night. Another noticeable difference between our schools was a Papa Johnís Pizza trailer parked right outside of the endzone.

It was a tough night for the Indians. The game was brutal and we didnít do so good, but that didnít stop a large group of fans and parents from traveling the distance to watch their Indians play football. For many of us, it was still important to go support the team, even though just hours earlier their coach cancelled the Junior Varsity game in Medicine Lodge scheduled for Tuesday, September 4th for reasons unknown.

So, we took a beating for nearly 3 quarters when the unthinkable happened. Our Quarterback Scott Beecher took a hit and was injured on the field recovering a fumble. As so many times kids playing this sport are injured, we waited for coaches and staff to check him out before moving him. It became obvious after several minutes that he needed emergency care.

There were no ambulances on the field. The two armed police officers did nothing until the announcer asked if there was a doctor in the crowd. Slowly they made their way to the center of the field and called an ambulance. It was almost 25 minutes before sirens could be heard. The ambulance made its way across the campus, but was unable to get anywhere near the field.

You know who responded first? It was our own EMTs from Medicine Lodge who just happened to be in the crowd.

I got more and more frustrated as I watched. At one point I even commented, "If we were in Medicine Lodge, we could have transported every player on the field, one at a time, to the hospital in the amount of time it took to get an ambulance here."

After this incident, Independent and the City of Wichita will need to reevaluate their emergency preparedness plan for their school. Thankfully, this wasnít a life or death situation for one of our high school football players, but it was urgent enough that he should have been transported in a timely manner.

Iím sorry that I am coming down hard on Independent and Wichitaís emergency services, but itís a great opportunity to point out what a great community we have when it comes to emergency services. .

Every home game, look to the north of the field. Youíll notice that we have an ambulance at every game. Some times there are even EMTs in the crowd. These folks are there to make sure that if someone gets hurt, home team or visitor, they will get the attention they need immediately.

So often I hear, "Medicine Lodge doesnít have this, or that." So what.... What Medicine Lodge does have is invaluable when it comes to emergency care. Look at our volunteer fire departments, hospital staff, EMTs, Police and Sheriffís Departments. They are full of skilled people who respond quickly to emergencies. We even have teachers and administrators that are first responders! Iíll take that over the Bonefish Grille at the Waterfront any day of the week.

By the way, Scott is doing ok. We wish him the best in his recovery. Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From September 3, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

One change I noticed this year at parentsí night was a plea from Principal Honas to not be "mad at the cooks" over the food served to our kids.

New federal standards this year require schools to serve more nutritious meals. That means more fruit and vegetables and fewer carbohydrates, a school lunch standard that fills kids up. The new lunch standards, introduced in January by First Lady Michelle Obama under the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, will has been implemented. The standards were created to help fight childhood obesity throughout the nation.

Trust me, the kids are aware of the change and they are not happy about it.

"I was starving by football practice," Nick told me as he woofed down a foot-long from Subway after school, followed by everything in my refrigerator that evening.

And calorie count is down too. The suggested solution? Send some snacks to school with your kids or have lunch delivered, but donít have it delivered in the "Pizza Hut" or "Taco-Tico" packaging. Thatís against the rules. Thankfully, our teachers and administrators know that what our children are being served is just not enough to sustain them throughout the day.

Itís not our administrationís fault. This decision comes from the top, or at least right under the top. When Michelle Obama moved into the White House, she decided to take up the cause of combating childhood obesity. It's an epidemic that affects up to one-third of all children in the U.S., but not mine.

My son is 14 and doesnít have an ounce of fat on him, but thatís because he lifts weights early in the morning and has a vigorous football practice in the evening. He needs a good 3000-4000 calory-a-day diet to keep him alive at his pace. The schoolís 750 calory lunch just doesnít suffice.

No one denies our children need to have a healthy diet, but itís not the governmentís place to decide the menu for my growing son. Iím tired of having the government powers that be tell me how to raise my family and what they should eat. Good little automatons will eat their 1/2 cup of fruit with gusto, because to disobey is inconceivable. Parents welcome the nanny state, it absolves them of responsibility. "Eat your vegetables or I'll tell Michelle Obama" is the 21st century replacement for "wait until your father gets home." Hopefully, there was a father at home....

Whatís next folks? Will I walk in to the Truck Stop and order the big "Western Breakfast" and get three grapes, some whole wheat toast and egg whites? Lord knows I could use to drop a few pounds, but Iím not interested in the governmentís intrusion into even that portion of my life.

Wednesday night, between snarfing down a plate of enchiladas and watching the Republican National Convention, Nicholas said, "I hope they win so we can go back to a decent school lunch." If only it were just that simple.

 

KWIBS - From August 27, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

No, itís not an elaborate prank cooked up by the newspaper publisher as a cruel April Fools joke on the community.

This time capsule is for real. I saw it with my own eyes and handled many of the contents.

Dr. Pete Meador called me on Sunday afternoon and told me about a time capsule that had been unearthed during construction of the addition the Medicine Lodge Memorial Hospital.

My thoughts immediately went back to a fake article I ran when our newspaper print date fell on April 1st. I wrote that a time capsule, similar in nature was unearthed in the parking lot of the courthouse. My prank concluded with the article inviting the public to view the capsule and its contents in the courthouse.

I got a few sneers over that practical joke, but it became a legend of "best pranks of all-times" in my circle of friends, which includes Pete, so you can obviously understand my skepticism when he called me to tell me the news of this find.

"Sure they found a time capsule Pete," I must have said.

I even got an email later that evening from Kevin White, Hospital Administrator, inviting me to see the box and take pictures. I thought that was a nice touch to the possible prank that was being played on me.

Tuesday morning, camera in hand and pride out on my sleeve, I went to the hospital expecting a big group of people lined up to laugh at me for falling for my own past joke, but it didnít happen that way. Instead, there was the box with the contents, weathered, but still there. I saw photos and church programs and document after document of Medicine Lodge history that had been covered for more than 60 years; nearly 20 years before I was even born.

It was very cool. It made me think of the pride in our community that was so many years ago and think about how we have the opportunity to be proud of something again. Mr. Clarkeís challenge to us as a community should be taken seriously. Itís not just a challenge to pledge money for this project, but itís also a chance for us to join together to do something good for our community, just like citizens did in the late 1940s. Letís come together and meet this challenge!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From August 20, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

They grow up so fast. One day theyíre needing help reaching a toy on a shelf, the next day you are putting their belongings on a shelf in their dorm rooms.

Several parents, including Ronda and I, said good-bye to our kids and dropped them off at college last week. Ronda and I took Joey to Fort Hays State University on Thursday. It was a bittersweet moment to see this change in his life.

Iím proud of you Joey. This is how I will always see you!

KWIBS - From August 13, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

You canít help but watch the Olympics, at least you canít at my house because I get home later than everyone else and I canít find the remote to change it.

Iím not anti-Olympics, I just get bored with at after 2 hours. Last Wednesday I got home at around 9 p.m. and my entire family was watching the Olympics. I was halfway watching and playing on my iPad at the same time. While glancing down I missed the winner of one of the female hurdle events.

I asked, "Who won?"

Ronda pointed, "That girl!"

Iím like, "Which girl?"

She said, "She is Russian."

I said, "I bet she was. She was trying to win the race...."

(If you donít get it, read it again slowly....)

And how about Tomas Gonzalez? Seriously, what is up with his arms when he does the horse? I think it might be counterbalance to offset his mustache. Are they not really attached and just flopping around when heís running?

This is a dumb fact, but I found it interesting. One hundred years ago the 1912 Greco-Roman wrestling match in Stockholm between Finn Alfred Asikainen and Russian Martin Klein lasted more than 11 hours. Klein eventually won but was too exhausted to participate in the championship match so he settled for the silver.

At least I wouldnít have been subjected to watching it on TV if I had lived back in that time.

? ? ? ?

The Primary Election is behind us.

I for one, am happy that itís over, but obviously disappointed that I didnít win to represent District 3 in Barber County as a Commissioner.

Tuesday night my family and friends huddled in my office as we waited for results. Before I even knew what they were, I had satisfaction in knowing that no matter what, on Wednesday, I was still going to be all the things I campaigned as: A husband, a father, a grandfather; third generation newspaper publisher, business and job creator, property owner and taxpayer.

There was no doubt that I wanted to bring those experiences and offer a new perspective to the board of county commissioners, but it wasnít my time.

Campaigning is hard work and elections are not fun. This is what I learned from this process. I also learned that despite trying to educate people, they will still have many misconceptions about your reason for running and about who you are.

My favorite misconception came while doing some door-to-door in the final days of the campaign. I stopped at a home and spoke with a husband and wife who did offer their support, but warned that many wouldnít vote for me because my only objective was to build a new hospital.

It struck me odd that people would think that. I do support the hospital projects, but it wasnít high on my campaign priority list. The hospital issue is a "dead horse" issue. No need to keep beating it. The PBC has met, bonds have been ordered, sold and money has been allocated. Architects have been consulted, contractors are here and ground breaks next week. No commissioner elected now or in the future has any say so in that event.

Knowledge is power and those who choose not to educate themselves and get the facts from the sources, rather than on the street, will continue to hold us back as a city, county and country....

Looking forward, I wish the winners of the Primary Election the best and pray that priority be placed on moving our county ahead, not holding it back. A great responsibility has become entrusted to you.

Thank you to each of you for your vote and support. It was a very humbling experience that I will never forget.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From July 30, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

Ronda and I spent last Wednesday with our oldest son on a college road trip.

We went to Ft. Hays State University where we spent the day enrolling Joey.

Many of you know Joey from Whiteís Foodliner. Heís been working there for over two years. Heís probably carried your groceries to the car or helped you find an item in the store.

After graduating from high school, Joey took "time off" from school. He saved his money and took a trip out to New York, went to California and finally to Europe. He came home broke and went back to work with plans to save his money and return to being a student this fall.

We couldnít be prouder to see him preparing for the next chapter in his life. Joey, for now, will pursue a degree in criminal justice and live in the dorms and experience college life. At semester, heíll be broke again and need to find work!

It makes me a little sad to see him leave, but I know heís got a good foundation and has goals he wants to achieve in life. Joey is my second child and first son to leave the home.

Just as Joey is moving away, my daughter and her husband have returned to Medicine Lodge. Breeann, Devin and Kycen are waiting for their new addition to the family. We are expecting a granddaughter on Monday, September 17. (Yep, got it all scheduled unless the good Lord wants her here earlier!).

Weíll also have Nicholas to keep our lives interesting. Heís going to be a Freshmen at MLHS and is very involved in sports. Itís fascinating how life changes so quickly. I treasure every moment of my childrenís lives.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From July 16, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

Transparent and open - thatís what governments are supposed to be.

Last Monday I went to Hutchinson Community College and I attended panel discussion on KORA (Kansas Open Meetings Act) and KOMA (Kansas Open Records Act).

The event was hosted by the Kansas Attorney Generalís Office, KS Press Association and The Sunshine Coalition.

Itís not a big secret that I am running for an elected office and I felt it was important to brush up on some of the rules and see if much had changed.

Iíve been to a lot of meetings like these in the past and didnít expect to learn much, but found that this discussion was an entirely different discussion on the subject of open meetings.

Much of the perspective was from the elected personís point of view. There were several registers of deeds, county clerks and city and county officials at the meeting. What I learned is: most of the time, violations that occur in breaking open meetings rules are simply accidental. Nothing sinister was involved in the violation.

However, the occasional rule breaking does happen when officials try to "do business in the dark,", but generally it is a "tripping over the dog - not kicking the dog" scenario.

Whether or not I become an elected official, it is my responsibility to keep up on the laws that govern open meetings and open records. As Abe Lincoln said, "government of the people, by the people, for the people. This has come to symbolize the definition of democracy itself.

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Thursday evening I went to Hardtner to speak in a candidate forum at the senior center. Iíve been so impressed with the turnout of people who come and have taken an interest. I remember going to things like this (just as a reporter) and only seeing a few people attend, but people are owning their government and taking part in the voting process.

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I wanted to take up a few lines to congratulate John and Barbara Hagood on the new pharmacy. It is beautiful!

They are slowly getting organized and finding their rhythm again. The store is amazing and if you havenít been there, you should stop by. Even if you are healthy!

I also want to welcome (re)new Medicine Lodge residents Breeann and Devin Schaffer and their son (my grandson) Kycen! Itís good to have you guys home in Medicine Lodge!

 

KWIBS - From July 9, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

In a landmark decision, our Supreme Court of the land upheld the congress-passed, president-signed mandate to force everyone to buy health insurance or face a "tax" by the IRS.

Now, I donít understand all of the details, but I do understand this: "The government can now order you to purchase anything or tax you if you donít," said.... NO FOUNDING FATHER. EVER!

I know there are very good provisions in the health care reform act and I know that everyone has a fundamental right to care, but this reform has more problems than fixes.

As we reform, we do dumber and dumber things with health care like: adding millions more to the health care system without adding any new doctors. Or things like......

Working mothers now get a more appropriate place for expressing breast milk than they had before. Employers must provide "a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk."

Nursing mothers also can take "reasonable" breaks during the workday to express milk, as frequently as the mother needs.

You think your wait in line at McDonalds was long. Just wait. Under the law, you would walk into a fast food joint and see calories listed under every menu item -- Big Mac (540 calories), McNuggets (10 pieces- 470 calories) and medium fries (380 calories).

"Letís see... (getting out my calculator)... Iíll take 4.5 McNuggets and 2 French Fries for a total of....."

Oh, if you plan on visiting a tanning booth, plan on paying a 10% tax each time you visit. Iím waiting for congress to tax sun light next.

The good news: Mammograms, physical exams, colonoscopies, vaccinations -- these are among the preventive care services that will be fully covered by insurance companies. You just might have to wait 6 months to a year after scheduling one.

Have you ever been confused by the language in health insurance plans? Well be confused no more!

The health reform law requires health insurers and health plans to provide concise and understandable information about the plan and its benefits. According to the Health and Human Services press release, "The new rules will also make it easier for people and employers to directly compare one plan to another."

It only took 2,700 pages of easy-to-understand law to get that accomplished.

But one of my favorite lines in this reform has been "reduce fraud."

Hereís one way we are doing it.

Congress just announced that a $77-million computer system put in place last summer to combat Medicare fraud had saved taxpayers a grand total of $7,591 through the end of the year.

Woo-Hoo!

With returns like this, the computer system would easily pay for itself in, oh....... a few thousand years. Go ahead and write this investment off as a loss.

Hereís to your health!

 

KWIBS - From July 2, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

For Christmas last year, Ronda asked me for an inversion table.

Her back had been bothering her and we had borrowed Steve and Suellen Bryanís inversion table. Ronda was instantly hooked, so I started shopping around and reading the reviews.

So we bought this torture-looking device that you lock your ankles into and hang upside down sometime in mid-December. I brought the heavy box into the living room with the help of one of the boys and there it sat for about 3 months. Eventually, Ronda got one of the boys to help her haul it downstairs where it remained until last week.

I was so out of whack. My back was hurting and I just couldnít get relief.

I asked, "Hey, whereís that contraption I bought you for Christmas?"

Ronda said, "I had Joey help me take it downstairs and we put it behind the couch since you never put it together for me."

Shame overwhelmed me. Had I really procrastinated for almost 7 months?

So I got motivated (pain will do that for you) and we headed downstairs to get the inversion table.

"This thing is heavier than I remember," I told my wife, who was struggling to help me get it back upstairs.

After a few minutes of groaning, huffing and puffing, we had it back upstairs in the light where I could take a look at what we had. I opened the box and I let out a gasp. This thing was broken down into the simplest form. I swear to God it was nearly molecular in nature.

I felt every last ounce of patience slipping away from me as piece after piece was removed from its shrink wrapped sarcophagus.

This project was not for the faint of heart or for anyone suffering from back pain. I needed pain medicine, possibly a stiff drink and a Ph.D. to put this thing together.

Ronda and I spent the next two hours grumbling and sighing while completing 24 steps of 56 parts to completion. No wait, Ronda graciously held the parts while I did the grumbling and sighing and she talked me through a couple of the steps.

Merry Christmas Sweetheart!

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Congratulations to Doug and Liz Hanna on their recent marriage over the weekend. They made it official! Liz has been writing for us for about a year now and you will remember her as Liz Glomb.

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Even being as hot and dry as it is, we live in a beautiful area. Ronda and I recently returned from a trip through New Mexico and down into El Paso, Texas where we saw some mountains, but mostly desert. When we got back to Barber County, we had a new appreciation of the beauty we have here.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From June 25, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

We decided to "get away from it all" last week. Ronda and I loaded up the truck with 6 days worth of clothes and headed south towards El Paso, TX. Rondaís dad lives there and we were going for a surprise party in his honor.

Leaving for 6 days from our office wouldnít have been possible without Doris Sorg. She did the little things I do that make the big things happen, like getting the paper to press and uploaded to the Internet.

It was our first road trip of this kind in the 24 years weíve been married. Our anniversary was Sunday, so we thought this would be the perfect get away.

We made it a point to pick our stops along the way and we did great sticking to our schedule. Our first stop was in Amarillo, TX to see friends Dale and Michele McCurdy and Bryan and Cindy Goucher. We went on to Santa Rosa, NM and spent the night, seeing the Blue Hole and cruising the old Route 66. On Friday, we stopped in every little village or community we could find between there and El Paso, TX with a stop at White Sands National Park. After two days in El Paso, we hit the road for Carlsbad, NM and pulled into the visitorís center. I hit the trip meter and weíd gone 1120 miles since Thursday.

We put on some warmer clothes and headed one mile down a path, 750í down under the surface. The caves were awesome, but nature was calling after a couple of bottles of water and I went looking for a bathroom.

It was Fathersí Day and the place was packed. You stood in line for everything, but fortunately, the bathroom line was short. When I rounded the corner I ran smack dab into Mike Rutan from Medicine Lodge! I couldnít hardly speak. What are the odds of running into someone from your home town so far away from home?

The Rutans had made a trek across the west which included pulling their Air Stream to the Grand Canyon and through Albuquerque, NM to see Kyle and DeDe Vick, which is Rondaís brother, my in-laws. They actually came to El Paso and we were with the Vicks the day before.

When I came out of the bathroom, Ronda had found Christi and Izzy and their nephew Ben near the elevators. We had Ben take this photo of us. It almost looks like we were vacationing together.

  

So, we sort of "got away from it all", less the Rutans, which were welcome faces 750í below the Earthís surface!

On Sunday night we rolled into Roswell, NM. The nerd in me couldnít resist seeing the UFO museum and alien artifacts from the legendary cover-ups from the 1947 UFO crash site near Area 51.

Ronda and I posed with some "cheesy" aliens and props at this visit. There was much eye-rolling coming from my wifeís direction, but I think she sort of enjoyed it.

This was a short stop along the way before going to Ft. Sumner, NM to see Billy The Kidís grave and museum. This was one of our favorite stops along the way. They have a very nice museum and collection of old west items. The store is owned by a man who is a third generation owner of the familyís museum.

And I had to ask the owner of the museum if Billy The Kid was really killed by Pat Garrett in 1881. He assured me that he in fact did kill Billy The Kid and he was buried at their cemetery in Ft. Sumner.

Something odd had just happened in Ft. Sumner on Saturday. Vandals tipped over the grave marker of Billy The Kid and broke in to the townís museum and stole two long rifles. Reward posters hung all over town for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the responsible parties. I would guess a lynching was about to occur! The town had repaired the damage to the museum by the time we got there on Monday.

Leaving Ft. Sumner mid-afternoon and on our way back to Amarillo, I called our friends Bryan and Cindy (Clarke) Goucher about having dinner with them.

Bryan was at work in Hereford and we made a plan to meet for dinner in Amarillo after we checked into our hotel. A couple of hours of travel put us through Hereford at about 5 p.m. and as we were cruising along the highway 45 minutes outside of Amarillo, a black Chevy truck screamed up beside us, honked and a guy started waving his hand at us. We looked closely and it was Bryan! Maybe not as much of a story as running into the Rutans, but itís still very strange to run into people you know, so far away from home.

Itís not so far fetched, but when it happens it seems like Vegas odds. When I was younger I remember running into a classmate from Medicine Lodge in Boston, MA. Ronda reminded me of a time when she was traveling with our kids in Chicago, IL and she ran into Melvin Thompson at OíHare. I also remember a time that we ran into Dan and Jean McKay while at the Houston, TX airport coming home from Mexico.

So, can you imagine what song was going through my head all the way home from this trip? "Itís a small world." And now itís going through your head!

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From June 18, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

I went to the movies last weekend at the Pageant Drive-In Theater. It was the first movie I had seen at the theater this season.

A few weeks back I had gone to the movies in Pratt at the Barren. When I looked at the screen at Mike Sillís drive-in, I couldnít believe my eyes. This was the sharpest picture I had seen at a movie theater in a long time. The FM broadcast of the movie came across loud and clear in my truck. I had forgotten what a quality place we have right here in good oleí Medicine Lodge.

This was quite the contrast to the Barren. When we went three weeks ago, the picture was dark and out of focus. This was in addition to the fact that the air conditioning was broken. I did complain to the folks up front, but it did no good.

Itís a shame that this could be the last season of the drive-in. I looked around and the place was packed for Men in Black, III. Families gathered in lawn chairs and children laughed and played in the very same place that I did as a kid growing up and going to the movies.

I commend Mike and Amy for the service they have provided to this community. I also pledge my support for their efforts to convert it to the digital upgrade necessary to keep it open.

If you havenít been to the movies in a while, I encourage you to go out and see one of this summerís blockbusters. Mike and Amy have been very timely on getting current movies and like I said earlier, the picture quality was incredible and if you have a decent FM radio in your car, you can hear it loud and clear.

My friend and former resident Kevin Colborn also commented on how cheap the concession stand was in comparison to theaters he goes to in Wichita.

So if you want good quality entertainment, right here in Medicine Lodge, why not go to the Pageant Drive-In. It could be your last chance to see a movie under the stars.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From June 11, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

Putting me in a car for an extended period of time is like removing a baby from its motherís womb and placing it on a cold metal table.

There will be whining and crying.

Weíll see how this goes, but for the first time in my adult life, I am going to pack up the truck and drive an 800 mile trek across the southwest. The destination is personal and a surprise for someone special.

Weíve done a lot of traveling, but rarely by auto. With our limited number of consecutive days off between publications, weíve often chosen to travel by air. When we priced tickets and saw the limited number of destinations from local carriers, we decided to just take "a road trip."

This coming Sunday marks 24 years of marriage for Ronda and I. We rarely get a break from our hectic office and we will take a well deserved rest for several days and see some sites and be by ourselves. Iím looking forward to it! I love you sweetheart and look forward to a little time away with you. ;-)

The on-line edition for June 18 will take a break as well, since I wonít be here to do it. Our on-line flip page PDF viewer will be available. If you havenít taken advantage of this, I urge you to try it out. We have over 100 subscribers now and the viewer allows you to get the newspaper as soon as it hits the streets, so no matter if you live in California or Medicine Lodge, you get the paper without delay! I want to thank Doris for filling in for me this next week and picking up part of my load!

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My son Nicholas just got back from a football camp hosted by OU in Norman, OK. We are so proud of him for going.

He and Caden Rusk attended the camp. During the three day event, the boys got to meet and be coached by NFL players and top coaches across the region. Nicholas called on Friday to say, "Dad, I just shook hands with a former Dallas Cowboyís linebacker and he was wearing a Superbowl Ring!"

I told him that he "must have been retired for quite a while!" Zinger! And Iím actually a Cowboyís fan.

I wanted to thank Clay Rusk for taking the boys down for this once-in-a-lifetime chance to be trained by some of the best in the industry.

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Finally, I received an anonymous letter in the mail last week. I wonít give any of the details about the concerns in this letter. It is my belief that anyone who doesnít have the courage to put their name to something, isnít worth the time or trouble to respond to. If you would like to come in to the office, I would be more than happy to address your issues and concerns.

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Fatherís Day is Sunday. The paragraph above reminds me of my father. He always gave me practical advice about doing the right thing when dealing with people. He hated anonymous letters. Most newspaper people do. If you donít have the courage to put your name to it, it shows your character or lack thereof.

Many of you may not know, but my dad suffers from severe dementia. He just turned 66 a couple of weeks ago. He has struggled for many years with his speech and reasoning and now is in long term care in Attica, KS. His condition has worsened over the past month.

Heís not the witty newspaper man that many of you remember, but heís still my dad.

He made amends for his wrongs when he first understood that his mind was leaving him to disease. He recognized that he was not the perfect father, as none of us are. He also made me realize that I was not the perfect son either. He taught me many other very valuable lessons throughout my life, even when I wasnít trying to learn them.

He was the best dad he could be.

I love him and my heart breaks seeing him struggle to communicate and do the simplest of basic functions. I choose to remember him during the good times, forgive the bad times and accept life as it is for him. Iím grateful to the kind people in Attica who are treating him with respect and dignity and caring for him.

I would like to end with this quote from Charles Wadworth:

"By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks heís wrong.

Have a great week.

 

KWIBS - From May 28, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

Itís part of a story that we didnít cover in the paper. When I say "part", I just left it out. I left it out because one of the guys asked me to.

Now itís fair game and he canít be angry for telling you about it and maybe you actually heard the story.

On March 8, 2012 David Colborn and Josh Graham, MLFD volunteers, entered the burning apartment complex and risked their personal safety to rescue people trapped inside.

Neither really wanted the recognition, but the city has made a proclamation honoring these two guys and I am so glad they did.

For weeks Iíve wanted to tell my readers of their heroics, but promised I wouldnít. I donít really feel like I am breaking the promise since the city paid for a proclamation on page 8 of this weekís Premiere.

A partial quote from this proclamation reads:

 

WHEREAS, with no regard to their own safety, David and Josh went to the aid of others, and;

WHEREAS, by valiantly racing against time, David and Josh did rescue two residents from smoke and fire, and;

WHEREAS, by way of David and Joshís heroism, we do see the greatness within our community, and;

WHEREAS, the City of Medicine Lodge will be forever grateful to David and Josh for their bravery in the early morning hours of March 8th, 2012.

The community is proud of you guys.

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As this community recognizes the selfless act of others, we also mourn the loss of one of our own friends and businessmen.

Laurn Cope was critically injured and passed away last week. He was doing what he always did - work. Laurn was just one of those guys who you had to like. I found this photo of him as I searched my archives. It was from Halloween last year. Iím pretty sure he was successful of getting smiles out of everyone on Main Street during the parade. Hereís one more time to smile because of Laurn.

KWIBS - From May 21, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

I wanted to apologize to Deb Wesley and her ladies at the Clerkís office for unintentionally beating them up last week with my "new countertops" comment.

You guys did deserve new counters and my point wasnít supposed to be against that. It was to state that Home Health was not a priority for Barber County.

The power of the pen can sometimes be a stinger when the meaning wasnít fully expressed.

My grandpa and my dad both used to say, "Donít get into an argument with a person who buys his ink in 55 gallon drums."

I would also say, "Be careful how many ladies you offend in one office at a time! "

Smiles girls. :)

KWIBS - From May 14, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

Somewhere as humans, citizens of our county, we dropped the ball on a vital service.

In a last ditch effort to save it, Home Health was neatly discarded (sold) late 2011. It was passed on to someone else to give it a whirl.

It failed this past week and now the doors are closed for good.

As a county, we can have "special funds" to allow for capital improvements and purchasing things like new counter tops and windows, but we canít find the money to help take care of our elderly. We canít find the resources or management needed to keep a service like Home Health going in our community. Itís no wonder many older people have to move away.

Itís sad and one of many complex problems we face.

 

KWIBS - From May 7, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

Our area has been getting a lot of press in recent weeks and months over the impending oil-boom.

I had heard rumors at the courthouse that even Diane Sawyerís office was interested in doing a peice on our area. Betty Jo Swayden said that someone had called her office and I told her how I would have responded.... She said, "Why didnít I think of that!?!"

I finally got the chance. Friday of last week a fellow by the name of Daniel called me from ABC News. He was a producer from Diane Sawyer's office and wanted to know if I knew of someone from our area who had a "rags to riches" story they could cover. Apparently, news of our "hitting it big" has hit the Big Apple news circuit.

I said, "Well, there's Jed."

He said, "Yes, go on. Tell me more about Jed."

Oh my... I couldnít beleive he was going along with this.

I said, ".....Was a poor mountaineer barely kept his family fed......"

You know the rest.

Funny thing was, the guy didn't catch on for the longest time. I bet I rattled off half the song.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From April 23, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

Several years ago "Frosty" Wayne Sill promised me that I could peek inside the Pastime Movie Theater. He warned me that "it was bad."

I never got that chance before Frosty died, so when I heard Doris was going down to do an interview with Wanda and Linda, I tagged along hoping to see inside the theater.

It had been 30 years since I saw my last flick there. Time has not been on her side, but so many memories came rushing back to my mind.

Restoring the theater is a worthy cause. It will be no easy task, but itís an opportunity to really come together as a community. Itís in the early planning stages and will take a lot of time and a lot of money, but isnít Medicine Lodge worth rebuilding? Thank you for the sneak peek!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From April 16, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

Iíve had the opportunity over the past couple of weeks to see first hand the economic impact being made as a result of the Flat Ridge 2 Wind Farm and the local oil boom.

Wednesday, April 4 Ronda and I went to Harper where we ate lunch with officials from British Petroleumís Wind Division and officials from Sempra.

Governor Sam Brownback was there too and he was very encouraged at the growth of our counties.

Itís exciting to see progress in our area and to know that we are just at the beginning of a good period of economic growth for our area. Itís been a long time coming. Our communities have seen a steady decline in population and valuations. If not for companies like BP, Shell, Sandridge, Osage and Chesapeake, we would probably continue on a steady decline.

Iíve always credited local oil operators for being the backbone and base of our local economy. They are equally as important to the economic growth as the companies Iíve listed above, so please donít think I donít appreciate the importance of their contribution.

Thursday was an interesting day. Early in the week I received an email from Edward Cross, the President of the Kansas Oil and Gas Association. He invited me to tag along with him and Senator Pat Roberts and Mel Thompson on a tour of Osageís horizontal rig west of Medicine Lodge. I, in turn, invited my wife to tag along with me as my copilot.

We met Mel and the Senator at Caseyís and did quick introductions with other media members before caravaning out to the fracking site some 45 minutes away. It was mostly dirt roads and since it had been raining, it was muddy!

I realize I have been beating this horse to death, but the oil industry is going to be good for us in Barber County. We have to look this gift horse in the mouth, so to speak. We have the opportunity for growth for many years to come, but we have to seize the moment. We need planning and we need it now. If the growth in the south part of the county is any indication of what is to come, we must get ready and be proactive and not reactive.

From everything Iíve learned by visiting the people in the industry, I come away with the same realization each time. They want to work with us and they want to help with being a part of the solution. We need to work with them, communicate with them and appreciate what they bring to our area.

Ronda and I want to thank Ben Crouch, Robert Murdock, Edward Cross, and Steve Stanfield for the tour. I also want to thank and recognize Senator Pat Roberts and Mel Thompson for taking the time and showing interest and support in our county during this time of economic growth.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From April 9, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

"Set your phasers on fun!" said the speaker at my very first and last Star Trek convention in 1994.

I just have a need inside me to show people what a nerd I can be. I remember quite well my wife taking me to Wichita to the Star Trek convention where everyone but us was dressed as their favorite Vulcan or Klingon.

I grew up with Star Trek and I forced it upon my family. By the time my daughter was three years old she could recite: "Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Itís five year mission: to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldy go where no man has gone before."

We thought it was cute at the time. Now itís just creepy.

As we walked around the convention center in 1994, my wifeís eyes continued to roll. She said, "How could there be this many nerds gathered in one place?"

She was right. If a bomb had gone off there, no one would have had anyone to repair a personal computer in the future and there would be many mothers with empty basements.

I was actually stunned that there were people that were bigger nerds than I was. I mean, I didnít even think of dressing up for the event.

But hereís a group of geeks that actually know how to make fun of themselves. There were lots of jokes flying around about Trekkie things. I remember this one joke told by Mirna Sirtis who played Counselor Troy on The Next Generation (oh Lord, here I go again showing everyone how nerdy I am.....)

Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Commander Riker and Data were on the bridge of the Enterprise. It was an uneventful day, though tensions with the Klingon empire had been high of late.

Suddenly, Data calls out ''Captain. Klingon Bird of Prey decloaking ahead of us.''

Picard gives a tug on his tunic and says '' It's a good thing, Will, that command wears red.

That way, if we are wounded, the color of the uniform will disguise it and morale won't be affected by it.''

Riker was about to reply when Data called out again... ''Captain. Sensors indicate fifty Klingon Battlecruisers decloaking directly astern.''

Riker looks at Picard and says ''Iíll be in my ready-room putting on my brown corduroy trousers.''

Ah... Live long and prosper fellow nerds!

On a side note: we are having problems with our online flip viewer. The problem is on our end and we are working to resolve it. Watch www.gyphillpremiere.com for more information on our progress. We hope to have it resolved this week. Thanks for your patience!

 

KWIBS - From April 2, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

I had lots of column writers this week and got shorted on space. Sometimes thatís just fine.

I want to wish you all a Happy Easter from our family to yours. Remember weíre celebrating the ultimate in forgiveness.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From March 26, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

I got a personal invite to see what Shell Corporation calls "Arrowhead Station" on Friday, March 16. This "station" is the first horizontal well that Shell and their contractor have drilled in Harper County. With optimism, this will be one of many horizontal wells drilled in Harper County and the beginning of many more in the 7 counties that they are operating in South Central Kansas, including Barber County.

Special thanks to Crystal, Mark, Teresa, Scott and "Bamma" for the great tour! This is an amazing operation. First let me say Shell and the other big operators are good for our local economy. However, I do not want to leave out recognizing our local operators. There are many. They are the backbone of the oil economy for our county. They've been here in good times and bad and will be here for the future, employing hundreds of people in our communities and generating hundreds more jobs for support companies like water truck drivers and roustabout crews. This column is mostly about Shell though, since it was at their invitation that I toured Arrowhead Station.

Our tour started out with a change of clothes. I was given a hard hat, some safety glasses, some steel-toe boots and a fire retardant jump suit. After being fitted, we reviewed some rules for the tour and we headed off southwest of Anthony, KS to the drill site.......

KWIBS - From February 27, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

A few months ago my wife and I got a Coke machine for Main Street.

We did this after Whiteís moved out to the highway and just wanted to provide for our other pop "junkies" on Main Street. Itís been a good edition to our block and weíve been pleased with the response.

Weíve also been pleased that there has been no vandalism to the machine in front of our building, which would be a foolish thing to do since we have a security camera pointing in that general direction.

But we are having one reoccurring problem. Someoneís dog is using the machine as a bathroom break spot and it has me pi**ed off.

Iím a dog lover, so donít think I am angry that a dog has to relieve itself. Thatís just nature and if it is a stray, then I appeal to the city to catch it.

However, I donít think it is a stray.

I watched on Monday as a familiar person in town walked their dog on the West side of Main Street. I observed as they stopped with the dog and allowed it to go to the bathroom on the corner of Mandy Carrís Ultimate Effex building. I was shocked and moved to write this column as a warning.

That is completely unacceptable, unsanitary, rude and it needs to stop. If I see it happen again, I will print your name in my column. If I see your dog urinate on my pop machine, I will have you pay to have it professionally cleaned and disinfected.

Main Street is dog friendly in the respect that we want you to walk your pet here, but if your pet canít make it down the street without urinating on my pop machine or on businesses, then you should walk it elsewhere.

I praise the dog owners in our community who responsibly walk their pets and provide them with exercise and love. For those of you who donít or canít, donít have a pet.

Thanks for reading and have a great pee-free week.

 

KWIBS - From February 13, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

Iím a pretty organized for a guy who is going in 30 different directions each week.

Tuesday evenings is penciled in for cards for 8-9 months of the year. I call it "old man" cards. We play pitch, all kinds of pitch, and the winner does the dishes. I havenít won a game in weeks....

We all said our good-byes last Tuesday after cards and said, "see you next Tuesday." On Thursday I was driving to town and realized, OH LORD, TUESDAY IS VALENTINEíS DAY! Can you imagine me saying to my wife on Valentineís Day, "Have a nice evening honey. Iím going to play cards with the guys!"

Well, I was smarter than that (one of the few moments of smartness I have) and called one of the guys and suggested that we all have dinner with our wives instead of playing cards. He thought that was a pretty good idea! So no dog house for me and the "old man" cards group.

And this being Valentineís Day, I have to make mention of my special sweetheart, Ronda. Iím blessed more than any man to have such a special woman in my life. This will be our 26th Valentineís Day weíve shared together and every year she blows me away with her beauty and grace. Iím the luckiest guy on the planet. I get to see her every day, and work with her side by side. She is my better half, the most precious gift God has ever given me.

"He who finds a wife finds what is good." (Proverbs 18:22)

As busy as we get, we need to be reminded that we are still sweethearts. Valentine's Day is a good day for me to stop and realize how wonderful you make me feel Ronda. Happy Valentine's Day!

Cupid shoots well for me and Ronda! He hit us with perfect aim.

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I attended a regional planning meeting on potential oil activity in our area on Friday, February 3 in Kiowa. These two questions came out of our break out session and I wanted to share them with you:

Question 1. Identify one of the worst things that could happen with the potential oil boom.

Answers: Oil bust, crime, depleted resources, stuck with long term debt, deteriorated infrastructure, impact on the quality of life and the environment.

Question 2. Identify one of the best things that could happen with the potential oil boom.

Answers: Improve infrastructure, increase tax base, revenue growth, and ability to control the exit strategy.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From February 6, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

I would not have believed it if I hadnít seen it for myself.

Joey yelled to his mother, "Hey, I see a mountain lion!"

Ronda put her dish rag down and ran over to the window.

"Heís right! Kevin come look!"

Iím thinking to myself that they are both nuts and probably just see a bobcat.

I got up from the comfort of my couch and looked to see what the fuss was about.

I saw nothing....

Both Ronda and Joey were jumping up and down and pointing at this point.

"Right there! Right there!" They both shouted.

So, I looked again and there it was! It was a mountain lion. He was about 200 yards off our front porch across our pond and walking west across the dam.

I canít describe what an awesome creature this was. It was much larger than I ever imagined one being.

Of course a lot of authorities will tell you that we donít have mountian lions here in Barber County. I know some people who will laugh at that claim and tell you a story or two about their experiences with them on their property.

Very recently the Matt Peek, furbearer biologist with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, confirmed that there are mountain lions in Kansas.

Many of the mountain lions located in the Midwest, and especially to the north in Nebraska, have been identified as sub-adult males, Peek said. Some experts believe as populations of mountain lions in the western United States have increased, dominant males have forced the younger males out of their home ranges.

It was getting dark and we werenít going on his turf this soon, so the next day Ronda and I armed ourselves with some small pistols and went out to see if we could find tracks. By researching the big cats, I found that they have a unique set of pads. We found several tracks in the vicinity of our sighting and we set up some trail cameras in hopes of catching a picture if he comes back by. Hereís a photo to give you an idea of the size.

 

KWIBS - From January 30, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

Iím not inspired at the moment....

There are weeks when columns pour out of my head and then there are weeks like this when I find my mind wandering.

Part of the problem was the beautiful weather we had last week. I looked for every excuse possible to go outside. Every opportunity I took got wrecked by a phone call or actual responsibilities to attend to.

? ? ? ?

Ronda and I got some really cool news last week. Our daughter Breeann called us to tell us that she and her husband are expecting another baby! That will be grand-baby #2 for us!

? ? ? ?

My youngest son, Nicholas, and I went up to Wichita last weekend and stopped in to see Bob Smith. He was still in ICU after his fall on Friday, January 13th (an unlucky day for Bob). Iíve missed his daily greeting on Main Street and it was good to know he was being so well cared for by the doctors and nurses and his niece Stephanie and her husband.

I was really touched by all the cards he had received from the community. Letís keep them coming. If you would, take a moment to tell Bob you are thinking about him and love him.

Bob Smith

929 St. Francis Street

Wichita, KS 67214-3821

 

KWIBS - From January 23, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

It just makes me proud of our community when I see how they come together to help our friends and family in times of need.

A benefit soup supper (chili, soup, crackers, pie, cake, cookies, brownies) for the Donna Hudson and Michelle Eck families will be held February 3, beginning at 4:00 p.m. Donna and Michelle both work at Medicine Lodge Grade School and have both been diagnosed with cancer. All proceeds will be used to aid the families in defraying their expenses.

Their friends and coworkers have organized this event and Iím blessed to see the goodness extended towards others. What a great example this is to the students and to our community.

Also in this weekís paper is the contribution to our fire fighters from the Barber County Cattlemenís Association. They raised money for our area fire departments through private donations at the auction and fund-raiser held last year.

The volunteers of the fire department worked selflessly fighting fires during one of our areaís worst droughts and the protected lives and property while risking their own safety to help their neighbors.

And finally, on this weekís front page is a story about Bob Smith. Bob took a fall down the street from our office just over a week ago and is recovering in a Wichita Hospital from his injuries to his face.

Ronda and I tried to go see him on Monday, but he was not in any condition to take visitors.

Bob is one of those friendly faces that I am thankful to see on nearly a daily basis. No matter what the weather, Bob is out there walking the street and greeting everyone he meets. There are a bunch of folks who didnít get birthday cards in the mail last week because of his absence. Heíll also be missed at the ball games.

I hope he can recover soon and come home. Only time will tell. Get well Bob.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From January 16, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

Short on space this week.....

My grandson turned 2 last Wednesday. Weíd gone up to see him earlier in the week. He loves to show me his room now. He runs out, grabs my hand and says, "Pa, címon!" It cracks me up!

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From January 9, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

Iím going to be completely honest here. Years ago, I used to dread the conservation edition.

Hear me out.

I didnít recognize the importance of honoring the efforts of those who farm and ranch and the process of what it takes to practice conservation.

A few years ago, my wife and I became involved in the operations of M-Bar Ranch / Lake Arrowhead. One of our first tasks was to deal with some drainage and runoff issues. We were sort of thrust into something we knew nothing about. Fortunately, we knew some people who did know what to do and with a few phone calls, a bulldozer and some money, that problem was solved.

With a visit to our ranch this past summer, the local conservation district has made us a plan. Iíll admit, itís one we havenít started yet, but like I said, "itís a plan."

Without these experts and local services we would be lost.

Now I read the articles with interest and I appreciate the efforts of the agricultural community.

I also want to congratulate the efforts of this yearís conservation winners.

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This past week, I procured a piece of printing history. An email crossed my desk on Monday from someone at the Lawrence Journal World.

An older man brought by an antique hand printing press and was wanting to sell it. The folks at the Journal werenít interested in it, but sent out an email to KS Press and soon it landed in my email account.

Iíve always wanted an old printing press to put in my window on Main Street. I was looking for this very item. I made contact with the owner, Richard, who had no idea what he had. He was interested in moving the rather heavy item, but didnít have a computer or a camera or a cell phone that could take a picture, so I had no idea what he had. Even if I was interested in it, how would I get it back to Medicine Lodge from Lawrence?

A simple post on FaceBook asking for some help with getting a photo taken in Lawrence led me to former Medicine Lodge Memorial Hospital PAC Ryan Fleming.

Ryan ran by and snapped some photos and emailed them to me. Within hours I had identified it as an old Chandler & Price Pilot hand press. The old press was probably used by a school district or small office and is about 100 years old.

I called Richard back and we settled on a very reasonable price for the old printing press and on Friday afternoon, Ryan Fleming paid him and loaded it in the back of his car. Because he was coming anyway, he drove it back to Medicine Lodge for me.

The piece is now in our window and is a reminder of the progress made in the printing industry. It is also a tribune to the past generations of my family and their involvement in the newspaper and printing business that began for us in the 1930s.

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For the past 6 months Ronda and I have been host parents to a young lady from Austria. Elli Unger came to live with us in August and now her time with us and her time in The United States is drawing to a close. Elli will return home on Friday, January 13, 2012 to finish her final year of school and then on to university.

Sheís become a member of our family and although life will return to normal for all of us, it will never be the same.

Weíve learned a lot by hosting a student. Things like: the toaster doesnít put itself away; everything is too spicy and we dispelled the claim that there is no public transportation in Kansas (we were public transportation). I think our student has learned a lot too. Things like: donít ask mom and dad to do anything during Sunday afternoon football games; it isnít stupid, itís different and sometimes people go way overboard decorating the outside of their homes for Christmas.

Elli will return home to her friends, mom and dad, brothers and sisters, dog and cat and her boyfriend Mio. Sheíll also have her 18th birthday to look forward to in a couple of weeks and getting her driverís license!

AFS is a great program and opportunity for both families and students to learn a little about the world and about each other. Weíre going to miss you Elli and our prayer is that you take a little of our family home with you. Youíll certainly leave us with a lasting memory of your time with us. We love you.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From January 2, 2012 - By Kevin Noland

For a number of years, I have selected someone in our community as my pick for "Premiere Person of the year." This year was the easiest pick Iíve ever had to make. I picked Sara Whelan.

She was pretty much a household name in 2011 and on my speed dial because of Peace Treaty.

Doris Sorg wrote about Sara in several articles throughout 2011. In one of those articles she writes:

For those unfamiliar and curious about the time-consuming plans leading up to the weekend that Medicine Lodge comes alive with visitors, saloon girls, gun totiní cowboys, Indians and a variety of live entertainment, a definite description is also impossible.

For general questions concerning the planning of the Peace Treaty and the hours on the phone; the number of meetings; a list of things that can go wrong and the responsibility of trying to make everything go right, Sara Whelan, President of the Peace Treaty Board, is the number one person "behind the scenes". Her second Peace Treaty as president, Sara explained, "When one Peace Treaty is over, we continue to meet and exchange ideas for the next one." Whether Sara has a phone or a paintbrush in her hand, her dedication and commitment to the Peace Treaty celebration is an example of the dedication that has enabled the celebration to continue throughout the years.

Sara never asked for any special recognition throughout her service to the community. Sheís probably going to kill me for even putting her photo on the front this week and mentioning her in my column.

I got a chance to work with Sara and other really dedicated people this year with Peace Treaty. I gained a new perspective on what it takes to put this celebration on and the countless hours of volunteering, led up by none-other than Sara Whelan.

She leaves huge shoes to fill on the new board. Thankfully, sheís not going anywhere. Sheís promised us that she would help us see that Peace Treaty continues to be something Medicine Lodge can be proud of. Sheíll be there, working behind the scenes, during the next celebration. You can count on that.

Speaking of Peace Treaty....

Peace Treaty 2011 is my pick for top story of 2011. Of my 40 years in this community, my fondest memories will be of this yearís pageant and celebration.

Many are the reasons for this yearís Peace Treaty being one of my most favorite. The biggest reason is because it was the first time in my life that both of my boys got to play a part in the pageant and both of my boys were in the same scene as me. Another factor was the all-school reunion. This event was what made Peace Treaty for me. Seeing all of my classmates and seeing friends from long ago gave me an overwhelming sense of pride in our community and I hope it did for you as well.

The top of my list for Peace Treaty had to be seeing my classmate and friend jump from a helicopter and parachute down onto Main Street during Saturdayís parade.

Nix White is a retired Navy Seal who graduated from MLHS in 1988. He did something that nobody had ever even thought of doing by jumping into the intersection of Main and Kansas. He did this while Martina McBride sang the Star Spangled Banner. Two of our favorite area celebrities in one place, giving back to their community during Peace Treaty. Thank you both.

2011 was mostly a "good news" year.

Progress was made on the highway as Pat White and his family made good on a promise to build a state of the art grocery store in our community.

This landmark store has hired many new people in the community and brought many new products and services to town. We thank Pat and his family and all of those who made the new store possible.

And more progress...

No one can deny the increase in activity in the town. The recent influx of people is due in part to the oil industry. Weíre being told that we can expect more activity in 2012 and into the future. Itís exciting times in our community and county.

Of course thereís more news than I can mention here in this space. So, I hope you enjoy this edition and look back at the year of 2011. God bless you and have a happy 2012.

 

KWIBS - From December 26, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Ronda poked me and said, "Hey, look over there. Itís Kirstie Alley!"

I looked, and she was right. There just 10 feet away was Kirstie Alley.

We were in the East Mall in Wichita and in one of my favorite stores, Brookstone, when this deal went down.

My wife grabbed me by the arm and said, "Donít bother her," and we walked out of the store.

My mind flashed back 16 years ago when me and my brother-in-law Kyle Vick were in the Plaid Giraffe on North Rock Road one Saturday afternoon.

Kyle said, "Hey, thatís Kirstie Alley over there."

Sure enough, it was and I said, "Iím going over there and getting her autograph. The only thing I had at the time was a Wichita Eagle rolled up in my back pocket. I walked up and said, "Iím a big fan, would you sign this for me?"

Sixteen years ago, Kristie Alley was going through that little weight issue, but still looked pretty darn good.

She smiled and said, "Sure, who do I make it out to?"

I told her my name and watched as she scribbled a greeting to me.

Then I said it.

"I loved you in ĎStar Trek II, The Wrath of Khaní where you played that Vulcan chick."

She looked at me and gave me the "you are a dork" look.

When I realized what a dork I was, I grabbed the paper, said "thanks" and ran out the door.

Why didnít I mention ĎRunawayí, where she was nominated Best Supporting Actress or one of her famous ĎCheersí episodes? No, I had to say something really nerdy.

My mind came back to the present as we walked out into the mall. I stopped and said, "No, Iím going back in there and redeeming myself!"

I handed Ronda my cell phone with my camera cued up and walked to the counter where Kirstie was making her holiday purchases. She was surrounded by an entourage of people in expensive clothing and stiff hair.

I leaned up against the counter and said, "Hey Kirstie, can I tell you a story?"

Everyone got a little tense. I probably looked like your average stalker in my Dallas Cowboys jersey.

"Sure," she said smiling politely.

So I told her about our first meeting, 16 years ago at the Plaid Giraffe. I told her about what a dork I was for telling her I liked her as a Vulcan in Star Trek, that I still had her autograph on my desk and she smiled and said, "Hey, that was my first real performing role in a movie and I donít get that many complements on that one. Thanks!"

I asked her if she would mind taking a photo with me, to which my wife photographer rolled her eyes, but willingly took. Below is a picture of me and my favorite Star Trek Vulcan, Lt. Saavik. Once a dork, always a dork.....

KWIBS - From December 19, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

A few weeks ago, one of our countryís $6 million spy drones (the RQ170) made a somewhat gentle landing in Iran.

Without missing a beat, Iranians declared they shot it down, but later displayed the virtually undamaged craft for its country run media and propaganda machine.

Later in the week, Iran claimed to have decoded our militaryís technology and jammed our signals, landing this supersecret plane after it went astray from a CIA and Department of Defense mission in Afghanistan.

As I understand, once contact with the operators is broken, drones such as the RQ170 are programmed to circle an area until contact is reestablished, sources said. If contact is not reestablished during a pre-programmed period, it is designed to return to base or to self-destruct -- directed through a separate channel or program. A common outcome is that the drone crashes and is burned by its fuel.

Who knows why this didnít happen, but itís obvious that it didnít.

President Obama asked Iran to return the drone. Iran has stated it will not return the drone and that the drone landing in their country and violating their airspace was an act of war in itself.

Iím pretty sure that everyone knows weíre flying these things over Iran and that one of these things was bound to crash or be shot down at some point.

A couple of things that struck me as very odd about this situation was that - we lost this thing in the first place; and that we had no plan to be 100% sure it would be destroyed rather than fall into enemy hands in the case of malfunction. We are (or were recently) the most technologically advanced nation in the world.

Why doesnít this thing have cameras all over it and a button that can be pushed that makes this thing go "boom!". (You would want the cameras for the surprised look on everyoneís faces...)

Iíve offered my assistance to President Obama this week to help resolve the problem.

My letter:

"Dear Iran,

Weíre sorry that one of our remote control planes landed in your desert. We were flying it over here in Afghanistan and it malfunctioned and for some dumb reason, weíve programed it to land gently. Weíre correcting that problem. In the future, if we lose contact with one, they are set to fly over the ocean climb to 30,000í and then nose dive at full speed. Iím not sure yet who is getting fired over the default setting to "auto land".

Weíre pretty sure you didnít shoot it down and we are even more sure that you do not possess the technology to force it from the sky, but consistency and storytelling have never been your countryís strong points.

Weíre asking, kindly and formally, that you return our $6 million spy-plane. Weíll meet you at the border and compensate you for your time and delivery. We realize that it might seem like an unreasonable request, but we want it back. We do have like close to 1,000 of these things ready to go in a momentís notice, but it just doesnít seem right to let you have even one.

Weíll give you a few options:

A) Return it now.

If you wonít give it back by: (insert exact time and date here) weíll destroy it.

Yes, we realize that this would be another act of aggression against your sovereign nation, but if you donít give it back right now weíre going to drop one of those really, really smart bombs with pinpoint precision that will destroy a 100í radius with, hopefully, no collateral damage. We do have compassion for innocent lives. Thatís why weíre going to give you 10 minutes to get out of the way before we drop it.

By keeping our aircraft and accepting and cashing the enclosed check for damages, you have agreed to hold harmless the United States and its interests.

Other options to consider:

B) Return it now.

C) Return it now.

Signed, President Obama"

Well, I read today that Obama actually considered a covert mission to reclaim or destroy the drone, but decided not to because any mission of that nature could be considered too aggressive or an "act of war."

News flash.... Iran has already declared that invading their airspace with a drone was an "act of war."

Seriously, what do we have to lose here?

? ? ? ?

With the Thanksgiving Holiday rushing right into December Christmas celebrations, our psychic abilities dimmed. I got a phone call last week from a reader who asked, "Why wasnít anything in the paper about the vandalism to the Sharon Christmas light display?"

Honestly, I didnít hear about it until last week when this reader called us. Folks sometimes think we just know everything, but often we donít. "Well it was on TV!," the person said.

Well, who called the TV and not the local newspaper?

We ran three stories on the Christmas celebration in Sharon, but no one ever bothered to call us and tell us about what happened with the park.

We have a story this week on page 11. Iím sorry it took this long to cover it. Thatís a sad deal and such a disappointing thing to have happen in any community. I hope the punishment is severe for those responsible. I suggested that those responsible be wrapped in LED lights and be forced to stand in the Sharon Park on display each evening until Christmas.

? ? ? ?

This is the second to the last issue of the Premiere for the year of 2011. Itís also the time we celebrate Christmas in our newspaper and share the letters from the grade school children. I have a few favorite issues I print every year. These last two of the year are my favorites because of the letters to Santa and The Year In Review.

Hereís my favorite letter from Derrek Randels. He writes, "Dear Santa,

I want a feed pickup with red front and flat black bed. Also I want a color maker, and one sock and a skunk also I want a KU real helmet and a ninja set. Wait! Also I want an ipad also two big boxing gloves. Thanks.

Love, Derrek Randels written by Elf Garrett Randels".

One sock and a skunk? Oh my, next year this boy is getting another sock, some tomato juice and a bar of soap.

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I pray that each one of you has a blessed Christmas celebration with those you love and remember what it is that weíre celebrating this time of year: The birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas to you all.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From December 12, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Can you imagine my excitement when my wife handed me the envelope that was addressed from "Settlement Department."

I actually read my mail. I canít tell you the number of class action law suits I have inadvertently become a party to by simply doing nothing.... I didnít even know I was harmed.

Several years ago, I got a settlement check for $930 from an overpayment to my motorcycle insurance company. That was a good one! Last week, I got a settlement check for $18.35 from an attorney who sued Visa. That bought me lunch. This week, I got a check from Ying Ling vs. Ebay Settlement in the amount of, (drum roll........), 14 cents. That bought me nothing and only got my wife crazy stares from the bank tellers when she cashed it.

Seriously? 14 cents? The check itself, the paper, envelope and postage probably totaled closer to $1. Some lawyer made millions and I got 14 cents because Ebay Motors miscalculated some final charges on a Harley I sold on Ebay back in 2002.

From what I read, that was a pretty average amount on the settlement. Some were actually as high as $18,000, but mine was far less.

Hereís the problem....

"Bill" (as weíll call him) recently received a card, letting him know about a class action settlement involving his lawnmower. To be honest, Bill didnít even know that he was a part of this class action lawsuit. He didnít even know there was a problem with his lawnmower.

This class action lawsuit had nothing to do with the productís safety. Billís family wasnít in jeopardy because of his lawnmower. This ridiculous lawsuit was over "claims that the Defendants misrepresented and overstated the horsepower of their lawnmowers and lawnmower engines." Although the defendants deny these claims, they did agree to settle.

In this particular class action case, the lawyers intend to collect over $14 million in fees.

Here is the problem I have with these types of class action lawsuits Ė Bill never knew he was harmed by his lawnmower and I bet the hundreds of thousands of consumers who bought these products between January 1, 1994 and April 12, 2010 never knew they were harmed either. It is a prime example of lawsuits gone crazy. Cases like this one jam the court system and prevent the timely resolution of legitimate claims.

Stupid class action lawsuits are an abomination of the tort system. Tort claims should only be made by people who have actually suffered harm and are not part of an unknown class of individuals who werenít harmed, never once thought they were harmed and did not go out and hire an attorney to file a lawsuit.

KWIBS - From December 5, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Barb Keltner would roll over in her grave. Wait, Barb Keltner isnít dead. She might die when she finds out what I bought last week.

For years Barb and I have had this "good vs. evil" fight over Mac/Apple and PC platforms. She being a Mac fan and me being a PC fan.

I used to joke that they put the handles on the old IMacs so that you could carry them into the repair shop easier or toss them in the landfill without straining to pick them up.

She of course at every opportunity would tell me how wonderful Apple products were and I would give her the "mmm-hmm" man-sound that means I really didnít care.

But thanks in part to the power of marketing, the death of Steve Jobs, the alignment of the planets or whatever else you want to claim did it, last week I bought an Apple Ipad 2.

And I like it.

My son was like, "Why do you need an Ipad?"

Well, Iím sure there is a free application that will help me to deal with teenagers.

Actually, there are a lot of really cool "apps". Most of them are for sale, at a nominal fee, but some are free and are sort of useful.

Take for instance, "Duetsch". This application helps you to learn German. That would be great if I really wanted to learn German, but I donít. However, my son set up my Ipad and installed this little "free" app so every 30 minutes my Ipad automatically turns on and says a German word or phrase. It startles me and Iím annoyed with this, but not smart enough to figure out how to turn it off.

Another "app" is one called "Lightsaber." This practical application allows me to hone my futuristic sword-fighting skills. I am sure this will come in handy in my day to day newspaper activities.

My favorite "app" though has to be the "Paper Toss" application. In this application, you are challenged to throw wadded up paper into a trash can with interference from a fan blowing.

There you have it, Barb. Iím now an Apple user.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From November 28, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

This is a story, too good not to share, about small town living. We are blessed to be able to laugh at ourselves every once in a while. Norma Ricke was good enough to let us reprint this story after a mishap she had at the grocery store last week.

Well, I have gone up and opened the door of a vehicle that looked like mine in front of a store, I have even got inside and sat down in one that looked like mine before I realized it wasn't, but I have never got in, sat down, started it up, and drove home in it, until today! Many thanks to a lovely lady named Bonnie Bailey who only laughed and assured me that it was no big deal when I brought her 2004 maroon Chevy pickup back to White's and exchanged it for mine! Not so much to Norm who kept yelling "THIEF!" at me!

Hereís the story.....

Well, I was in my kitchen cooking lunch with what I had picked up at the grocery store. The shop phone rang and I ignored it knowing Mark would get it, then he could tell whoever it was if he had something or not.

In a couple seconds my cell phone rang and it was Mark. I asked if he was ready to come in and eat lunch and he said, "No, but I am ready for you to jump in Bonnie Bailey's pickup and take it back to her."

Thinking he meant it was a customers and he needed me to help deliver it back to her I asked, "Ok, where does she live?"

He laughed and said," I don't know but she's at the grocery store and would like to have her pickup back!"

And that's when I knew.

I started freaking out and saying "Oh my gosh, am I in trouble?", but of course all he could do was laugh.

I finally hung up on him and went and got into the pickup that looked EXACTLY like mine and started the long drive back to town. I was practically in tears when I pulled in and saw the cop car parked in front of White's.

I very timidly started walking into White's when Norm stuck his head out of their liqour store and yelled, "Thief! Thief!"

Then Charlie Ricke and another lady I assumed was Bonnie came out and they were laughing.

I said "I am so sorry!"

The Bonnie lady gave me a big hug and said it could have just as easily been her. The cop who had been walking towards us must have realized I was just a moron, not a thief so he turned around and got in his car and drove off. THANK YOU LORD FOR THE BLESSING OF LIVING IN A SMALL TOWN!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From November 21, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

I had meetings almost every night last week, so it was late when I made my trek back to the ranch.

Several nights just after mile marker 30 on US281, a very healthy looking coyote sat on the east side of the road to greet me. He startled me a couple of times and I had to swerve to miss him.

He was there in the morning as I went back to work, munching on the carcass of a deer. This is a major crossing for them by the way, with no sign telling them to cross or warning motorists of their crossing. I just know they are there because of the amount of trips I make through there.

The coyote was just an opportunist.

On Wednesday night, we were returning home from the Harper County Oil Summit and we came up on him. Only this time, he was the victim. The poor little guy got creamed by some unassuming vehicle. He became dinner for the crows by Thursday morning.

It just goes to prove itís a crow-eat-dog-eat-deer world out there.

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Speaking of the oil summit...

Ronda and I went to Chaparral High School on Wednesday with Steve and Suellen Bryan. We sort of figured on seeing a few Barber County residents. Imagine our surprise when we saw over 1,000 people in attendance. The Harper County K-State and research center were equally surprised to see the turn out. I donít think anyone realized how much interest there is in the oil activity in our area. Everyone is an opportunist.

The program featured speakers from Chesapeake, SandRidge and Shell. It was informative and has reaffirmed my belief that our area is about to burst at the seams with activity. This will include a boost for retailers, property owners and will also bring in new money to the area for quite a few years. Hopefully, it will make some of you wealthy too!

I think we are all a little bit like that coyote - looking for opportunity. I just hope we donít get eaten by the crows.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From November 14, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

On Thursday, November 3rd President George W. Bush spoke to about 5,000 people at the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting at the Convention Hall in Century II. It was a "bucket list" item for me, but because of ballgames and schedule (and not enough money for the $250 ticket), I had to pass.

An email crossed my desk over the weekend from former Premiere staffer and MLHS graduate Seth Oldham. Seth got a chance to hear the former president speak and shared this blog with me and asked me to share it with my readers.

Getting to the Center of W.

He came in at just the wrong moment. President George W. Bush walked onto stage just two sentences too early to start his night off in Wichita. After confidently back-stepping behind the curtain, he successfully entered the stage thirty seconds later, waving and thanking the energetic crowd.

This was the first of many instances in which the former president caused the enormous crowd to burst into laughter. The former president seemed to let his guard down as he entertained and informed Wichitans last night. His humanness smacked the audience in the face right from the start. His speech began with an anecdote about the day he watched Barack Obama being sworn into the office of the president. He plopped down on his couch and started conversing with his wife.

"Thank goodness that's over." he said to Laura. "I'll finally have some free time on my hands."

"Yes, George," she replied, "Now you finally have the time to do your own dishes."

"Laura. You do realize you're talking to the former President of the United States?" he responded.

"Yes, I do. Just call this your new Domestic Policy Plan."

Wichitans were wooed by the President's southern charm and casual demeanor. Bush even managed to utilize the word "dude" in his speech. Most were disappointed that no "Bush-isms" were coined, but they were impressed with how frequently he made fun of himself. While talking about his book, he acknowledged that most people in D.C. didn't think that he could even read, let alone write. He also cracked jokes about the fateful day that he choked on a pretzel, passed out, and was resuscitated by the President's doctor.

All jokes aside, the former President spoke with incredible honesty about some of the decisions and events that shaped his presidency. At about the middle of his speech, he referenced his decision to send 15 billion dollars worth of aid to Africa to battle the HIV/AIDS epidemic. At the time of this decision, many Americans were upset with his choice to send aid abroad when the U.S. had its own problems to deal with. In one heartfelt sentence, he justified his decision, saying, "As the President of the most powerful nation ever, you must have priorities."

Most audience members had to fight their way through protesters outside chanting, "ARREST GEORGE BUSH." And although they were causing a ruckus, the one word that George Bush yelled during his speech was volumes louder and better received. He spoke of the choice to use faith-based programs to implement the HIV/AIDS prevention programs in Africa and the controversy that it caused because of their conservative and traditional approach. "If you want to tick some people off," he said, "just go to the Lincoln Memorial and yell 'ABSTINENCE' at the top of your lungs."

After wrapping up his speech, the president transitioned into a one-on-one interview with a member of the Wichita Chamber of Commerce. The interviewer asked him several questions, including "What went through your mind on September 11, 2001 and what are your thoughts ten years later?" Bush answered with sincerity and expressed his surprising lack of emotion during the 10 year memorial service. "The service was impersonal," he said. "I was sitting in a bulletproof glass box and watching the service from a distance."

Whether Republican, Democrat, or other, each member of the audience left Century II with a better sense of who George W. Bush is and the rationale behind his decision making during his presidency. His Christian values permeated throughout the entire presentation, but they really shone when he ended his speech saying, "God is Good," to which the Kansas crowd joyfully responded, "All the time!"

Thank you for sharing this Seth.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From November 7, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

 Every day I make my way to town from the north on 281. I watch the sun shine on our sleepy little town and I wonder, "Does Medicine Lodge have any idea what is about to happen to her?"

The oil boom is about to hit our area like a wicked summer storm. Only this time, we know itís coming.

Iíve written about this numerous times, but I need to hammer it home with my readers. Itís coming. Unlike previous oil booms from the past, this wave and the new technology involved, is bringing in one of the worldís largest oil companies. Shell Corporation has made clear its intentions to drill horizontally in our area. With their coming, hundreds, perhaps thousands of jobs will lie in the wake.

Are we getting ready or are we burying our heads in the sand? Will we give up opportunity to cities like Pratt, Kingman, Harper and Anthony or will we grab the bull by the horns and get a piece of this fossil fuel stuffed pie? Some surrounding counties are already feeling the growing pains from the first wave of oilfield workers entering the area. Weíve already missed out on offices for local executives.

Iíve been speaking with some of my friends who I trust and believe are in "the know". We cannot move fast enough to develop housing and infrastructure. During our discussions this week I ran across a story about a similar situation in a community not so unlike our own. Could this be us?

Now hiring: North Dakota oil boom creates thousands of jobs

Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:43 AM EDT

By Catherine Kim and Jessica Hopper, Rock Center

Those hurt hard by the ailing economy are flocking to Williston, N.D., where an oil boom has turned a sleepy prairie town into a place producing thousands of jobs.

"There's opportunity here and that's what we all need is opportunity," said Williston Mayor Ward Koeser. "It's kind of been an oasis for the country. You know, there's a lot of jobs here, good paying jobs in the oil industry."

Williston is situated on the Bakken formation, an oil field that some say will produce the biggest boom in North America since the 1960s. Koeser said that his town currently has 2,000 to 3,000 jobs and they haven't been able to fill the openings fast enough.

"A lot of jobs get filled every day, but it's like for every job you fill, another job and a half opens up," Koeser said.

A job on an oil rig can pay as much as six figures. The starting salary for truck drivers is around $80,000. While the nation's unemployment rate is 9.1 percent, Williston's unemployment rate is less than 1 percent.

Locals say job seekers from all 50 states are heading to the North Dakota town, becoming modern-day pioneers. The town's population has nearly doubled from 12,600 people to 23,000 people.

Patrick Parker hitchhiked from Yuba City, Calif., to Williston. When NBC News spoke to him, he had just $12 in his pocket. Parker, a paving stone layer by trade, has been out of work for two years.

"One of my goals is to make my daughters proud of me," said an emotional Parker. "I want to make them proud because I worked a good job for 10 years and then for it to go away it's just, it just gets to me a little bit."

Parker is one of a dozen people NBC News saw setting up camp or living in their cars in the parking lot of the local Wal-Mart. Williston's housing construction hasn't caught up with its rapid growth.

Parker said the town feels "like the old gold rush town."

Oil was discovered in this part of North Dakota 60 years ago, but it was only recently that oil producers have found a way to get at it more effectively. After drilling about two miles down, they drill horizontally for another two miles through the bed of rock where the oil is trapped. Using a technique called fracking - water, sand and chemicals are shot into the rock formation from that horizontal pipe to create cracks and fractures. From those openings, comes the oil. Those in the oil industry say the tight rock that traps the oil, also prevents it from escaping into the water table during the fracking process.

North Dakota is currently the fourth largest producer of oil in the United States, but that is projected to change soon. A spokesperson for North Dakotaís Mineral Resources Department said that oil production in the state is expected to surpass Alaska and California by 2015 which means North Dakota will be the second largest oil producer in the country soon.

Along with the bounty from the oil boom, come some stresses and strains. A sewage system that's running at full tilt, truck traffic congestion, an influx in 911 calls-those are just a few of the headaches that keep Mayor Koeser up at night.

There is such a large influx of people that thousands are staying in 'man camps'- shipping containers converted into housing units for the workers new to town. When more teachers were hired to deal with the rising number of students, an apartment building had to be built to house the new teachers, Koeser said.

"When we have as many people come here everyday looking for work, where are they going to live," Koeser asked. "How are we going to get water to them and sewer to them and a road to them and power to them and all those sorts of issues. Yeah, it's putting a tremendous amount of pressure on the infrastructure."

Of all the stresses, the biggest strain on the community is truck traffic, the mayor said.

"That's really stressing us, the traffic, a lot of accidents," said Koeser. "In a small community, you're used to getting from one side of town to the other in just a few minutes, that's no longer the case."

The number of accidents in September were double the amount the same time a year ago, the Williston Herald reported.

The surplus of people living in the town coupled with the traffic accidents has led to a drastic rise in calls to 911. Koeser said that the police receive at least 10,000 more calls a year than in pre oil boom times.

"Now keep in mind, you've got, you know, probably 9,000 men living in man camps around the city, not in the city limits, but living around the city and what do they do at night when they're done with work? They come to town and find a bar and want to have a good time, and sometimes get in trouble," Koeser said.

But that means more jobs: the town is adding six new policeman and three dispatchers this year, the mayor said.

Even with the headaches, Koeser said he and Williston's other residents are lucky that the town has become an oasis for job seekers.

"I've lived here most all of my life and I love it. And although we're really being challenged right now, with those challenges come some great opportunities," he said.

KWIBS - From October 31, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Will return...

KWIBS - From October 24, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Last Tuesday evening, a little over 100 people came to The First Christian Church for the communityís first public meeting on Peace Treaty.

Itís good to see so many interested folks. I scanned the room and saw every face being familiar. They were all involved in some aspect. Whether actors, sponsors, board members, committee chairs or just people working with various groups and organizations, they were all part of Peace Treatyís success.

And no one wants it to end.

108 people filled out a survey as to when the next pageant should take place. 33 people want it again in 3 years, 41 want it in 5 years, 28 people want it in six years to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the signing of the treaty in 1867, 6 others had anywhere from 4-5 years.

The current board recommends waiting until 2017 to do the next one, with events in between to build up the excitement for the 150th. I am in favor of this idea. There are so many pros and cons to doing it sooner or later, but the biggest concern I have is, will people still want to come and participate in 6 years? I hope they will.

Three years is just too soon. I can tell you that this community is not ready to begin planning a 2014 event. We would need to start immediately and frankly, a few people need a breather before beginning another one.

Several ideas are floating around for events between the next pageant. One of those ideas was announced on Tuesday. The Indians that participated this year would love to have a pow-wow event in Medicine Lodge. Steve Bryan recommends we pursue that idea. Some other ideas include music events and scaled down performances of the night showís cancan girls.

Whatever we do, we need to first select the people who will lead the next celebration. So far, there are many workers, but few willing to lead. For those who made 2011ís event so succesful: Youíve set the bar high!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From October 17, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

First let me say that this is in no way directed at our local folks at the USPS. These folks do their job to the best of their ability given the resources they have and the shrinking budget.

It is my opinion, one gathered and formed from being a decent-sized customer of the USPS, that this business is in desperate need of a complete revamp in its service.

Recent discussion of closing smaller post offices only frustrates me when I hear talk of ways to make the Post Office more profitable. Each week I read at least a dozen emails from frustrated newspaper publishers across the state in regards to delivery problems.

A perfect example of this comes from a customer in Sharon this week who received his Monday-mailed paper on Wednesday. Now this was normal for this past week with Columbus Day, but for the past several weeks, it was unacceptable. Heís considering dropping his subscription and buying the newspaper over the counter.

Another customer in Alva dropped her subscription to the paper after it took more than two weeks for it to arrive.

Newspapers to New Mexico and California can take as long as 3-4 weeks to deliver.

We have little, to no control of the speed at which the newspaper is delivered. The mailing is done each and every Monday, provided it is not a holiday. The mailing programs we use are certified by the USPS to ensure best rate and delivery.

My final straw this week was an important package delivered to us on Tuesday. This package was shipped 33 days prior and arrived to us, opened and retaped. Inside, half the contents were missing or damaged. Packages inside this package were opened. Someone went through this package while it was in possession of the USPS. No explanation was given to why its contents were lost, stolen and damaged.

There are more reasons that the Post Office is in financial trouble. First, Congress requires that the USPS fund both the retirement program and the health plan at 100%. The average for the S&P 500 funding is 80%. Other federal employees is 41%; the military is 24%; and the some government bureau which requires the USPS to fund at 100% does not fund its plans at all.

Second, itís run by the federal government (and funded by fees). No one can deny the inefficiency of the government. The Post Office is expected to handle 167 billion pieces of mail this year. Thatís a huge number Ė but it represents a 22 percent decline from just five years ago. Also, the Post Officeís total volume is expected to plunge by another 30 percent over the coming decade.

The Internet and corporately owned companies like UPS, FedX and DHL are cutting into their business and providing a faster and in some cases, less expensive solution to mail.

A perfectly stated opinion by Fitsnews read, "Of course itís not just the ongoing decline in mail volume thatís creating this gaping financial hole. Like everything else government does, it delivers packages inefficiently, too. According to the latest data, more than 80 percent of the Post Officeís expenses are devoted to labor costs. By comparison, only 32 percent of FedExís expenses are labor-related.

Like any business who wants to survive, change must occur. Itís not always easy. Years ago, we had issues with the quality of the printing of our newspaper. Our customers wanted a better quality product. We demanded change and got it. It was not the smoothest of transitions. It required a new way of thinking and lot more work than what we thought, but we did it to survive.

I am thankful to our local Post Office for working hard to provide us with the best service available. I hope someone out there is smart enough and determined enough to make this service work without wrecking it even further.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From October 10, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Stop what you are doing and get out a pen and mark this date. October 18, 2011 there will be an informational meeting about Peace Treaty at the First Christian Church Family Life Center at 7 p.m.

If you are interested in the future of this event, I encourage you to attend and learn about what it means to serve this fine association.

I know that many of you want to keep this tradition alive and this meeting will be the first of many to come before planning the next big event for our community.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From October 3, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

The response about the 23rd Peace Treaty has been overwhelming.

Monday evening the Peace Treaty board held a short meeting, a debriefing of sorts, to talk about the pros and cons of the event. The pros definitely won. It might be weeks before we have the final numbers, but it looks like it was around 11,500 in attendance over the three day celebration

My inbox was so packed coming in Monday morning, that it crashed and I had to reboot my computer.

Iíve tried my best to sort through the letters and comments and put them in the paper this week. Surprisingly, I ran across one negative letter about Peace Treaty, but it was obvious that this person poorly planned their trip to Medicine Lodge and it was in no way our fault that she and her family didnít have a good time.

The weekend was a great moral shot in the arm for our community. Everywhere I went this week, someone wanted to talk about how great Peace Treaty was. No doubt, we have some momentum that we can either build on or we can reminisce about the great Peace Treaty of 2011 one day. Itís our choice.

As far as the future of Peace Treaty, it is up to all of us to decide. It looks like it wonít be the last, but for many on the board, itís time for fresh blood.

Everyone on the board agrees it was one of the best celebrations ever and we all enjoyed working together. It was strange going in to this past week without some Peace Treaty task before me. Monday nightís meeting was a climax of several months of planning. It left me with a feeling of real satisfaction and pride in our community. Peace Treaty truly was a product of a town coming together. It doesnít just have to be with Peace Treaty. It can be that successful with everything we do, if we work together.

I hope you enjoyed yourself and I hope you enjoy the letters to the editor this week.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From September 26, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

What a weekend!

Iím actually writing this before it ever happened, but thatís how this business works sometimes. The town could have been destroyed by a freak earthquake, but my paper will say the weekend was a huge success!

It was all accomplished by the many hours of volunteers in our community. Some of them have been visible on the front page of the paper, or you see them actually working during the pageant and other related events. Some were nearly out of sight and out of mind. Those were some of the most important people making Peace Treaty happen.

One of those people was David Colborn. He got little recognition for what he did, but each and every one of us on the board and on committees knows his contribution. David spent countless hours and got the electricity flowing to our vendors, our bands and the pageant grounds. He also got our sound system on Main Street patched up in a couple of spots to help with announcing the parades.

When he first said heíd do it, I donít think he understood the magnitude of the project heíd undertaken. David zipped all around town hooking things up, figuring things out and got it all done before the events took place.

We thank him for what he did for Peace Treaty and the community. His services were invaluable.

At last Mondayís meeting someone said, "Hey, heís our new Ron Ward!" For those who remember Ron, he was the guy that always took care of the electrical needs of Peace Treaty.

Also of great importance was the work that Southern Pioneer did for the association. Thank you to Mark and Brian and Amy for answering all my calls

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I also want to thank my staff here at the paper for working so hard these past few weeks. It has been a little hectic, to say the least, in our office. The week of Peace Treaty we answered a lot of calls and did a lot of running around.

I was gone a good majority of the week with making some of the final arrangements and people stepped up to help me out and I do appreciate it. Thank you to my Wife Ronda, Doris and my Mom Joyce. You guys are the best. Because of the short week for us, much of our photography work is only available online. Go to www.facebook.com and search "The Gyp Hill Premiere" for hundreds of photos of the weekend.

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There are just too many people to thank. Actually, the most important person I can think of to thank is you. If you came and enjoyed the weekend, we thank you for being a part of it. It wouldnít have been Peace Treaty without you.

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2011 Peace Treaty was very special for me and my family. I appeared in the pageant with my two boys, Nicholas and Joey and AFS daughter Elli Unger. It was a cool experience. We leave 2011 Peace Treaty wondering what its future holds. I hope it continues for many more generations.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From September 19, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Are you ready for a fun weekend? Well, weíve got you covered, wagon! Ha! Peace Treaty humor....

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As you felt by the weight of this weekís paper, weíve been very busy. The special section for Peace Treaty is in this weekís paper. Hopefully, you didnít get too upset when you saw that we charged a buck for it. It was a mammoth project with an impressive cost to produce. For the first time in the history of Peace Treaty special sections, we have put out a multi color edition. The cost of next weekís paper will return to the normal 75 cents.

Speaking of next weekís paper.... For the past several weeks I have been stressing out over the September 26th copy of The Gyp Hill Premiere. With it being a Peace Treaty weekend, itís hard to find the time to actually work at our real jobs! I had originally thought about taking an extra day to make the newspaper come out on Tuesday, but when I requested a print date change, I discovered we wouldnít be able to come out until Wednesday, so we decided to stay on schedule.

So for the past week or so, I keep having these reoccurring dreams that we didnít make our press time. I hope these are just bad dreams!

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Here we are, just a few days away from what some have said "could be" our last Peace Treaty Pageant. It seems almost sacrilegious to even utter the word "last and Peace Treaty" in the same sentence.

Iíve been asked many times if this is true and I always have to answer, "You know, it could be, but I donít know." The decision is actually up to me. Itís up to you and everyone else who treasures this event. Peace Treaty can only go on with the support of the many people it takes to put it on. Frankly, some of them are tired, some are old, some are just too busy. The list for reasons to stop the pageant goes on and on.

Keep in mind, the list of reasons to keep it going are bigger than the reasons to stop it, but it still takes countless hours of volunteerism and sacrifice to do this event.

I want to commend Sarah Whelan and everyone on the board and who helps make Peace Treaty possible. It has been such an honor to be a part of the process. My part is so small.

Iíve been to many of the meetings and I always leave with a sense of pride in the people who donate time, money and their blood, sweat and tears to this event. Some of these people say it will be their last time. I can only hope that they reconsider.

I do know this to be true. It will be a fantastic event, rain or shine. So much buzz has been generated that it can be nothing but a success. It might be an ironic marketing twist that this could be one of the top Peace Treaty weekends in its many years in existence simply because so many think it could be the last one.

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Itís going to be such a busy week in our community. I actually had to schedule a place and a time to shower for the three day weekend. Since we live out in the country and I have so many things going on each day, I realized I didnít have time to go home and freshen up after the Pageant.

I play the part of Colonel J.K. Rankin of the US Cavalry. He was one of the many diplomats that attended the original Peace Council. I can only imagine how hot he must have been in his dark blue wool jacket and pants. On top of that, he was surrounded by some irritated Native Americans. That must have been stressful. He probably smelled worse than I do after wearing that outfit for a couple of hours. But still, I owe it to you and everyone else I plan on running into over the weekend to find time to take a shower.

Speaking of seeing people, I so look forward to running into former class mates and seeing old friends over the weekend.

Medicine Lodge thanks you for attending Peace Treaty 2011. We hope you have as much fun this weekend as weíve had planning it out. With your support, it wonít be the last time we get together and remember our history.

Have a great weekend!

 

KWIBS - From September 12, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

I was so mad.

I got my Peace Treaty uniform out of the closet a couple of weeks ago to discover it had shrunk! Iím not sure if just hanging idle did it or if it got wet at some point, or what had happened.

In a major panic, I called a friend to see if she could fix it. Apparently, the problem isnít with my uniform, but with my gut. She laughed and said it must have been my wifeís fault with all of that good cooking. Come to think of it, five years ago it barely fit. Ten years ago it was a snug, but breathable jacket. It had been shrinking for the past decade.

I got on-line and ordered a new one and got an email that it was back ordered 6 weeks, so I panicked again. I finally found an outfit that could ship me one ASAP. Iím keeping my fingers crossed that I wonít be a shirtless Colonel J.K. Rankin at the 2011 Peace Treaty. That would definitely be the end of Peace Treaty!

Peace Treaty is just barely over one week away and I am seeing some pleasing things going on in our community. The City crews have been working very hard to clean things up, painting crosswalks, parking places and curbing and mowing. I commend these guys for their work.

Iíve also seen several others cleaning up their homes and business fronts. Itís good to see so many people showing pride in their community before such an important event.

A couple of weeks ago I had actually considered doing a "worst yard of the week" photo in the newspaper. I had discussed it with several people, all who thought it was a great idea. My wife ended up being the voice of reason. Just think though, about how freaked out you would be to see your trashy yard on the front page of the newspaper. I think it would be very effective.

My son Joey had a day off last week and helped me build our float for the Peace Treaty Parades. This isnít a new float idea. I actually did this very same float in 2001. Itís a giant paper airplane. I originally built this out of some scrap wood and newspapers 20 years ago. It was a big hit and we decided that since weíre celebrating our 20th anniversary this year, it would be a great idea to recreate this.

After the Peace Treaty in 1991, I took the plane to the dump and tossed the plans. Last week I sat down and drew it back out and after Joey saw it, he took an interest in helping me. By the end of the evening we had the whole family working on it. I have one problem though, I donít know how I am going to get it to town.

The 1991 trip the dump is a story all by itself. Tate Henke and I dragged the fake, oversized airplane to the dump one Tuesday afternoon. It did fine at about 25 mph. At 60 mph, the thing actually tried to fly and we ended up picking up pieces of it off of the highway.

 

KWIBS - From September 5, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

You read a lot of things on the Internet that just arenít true. So when I saw the message pasted in all "caps", I thought it was another bogus post. Upon researching it. I found it was completely true.

The message read: NYPD, FDNY AND EMS OFFICERS WERE NOT INVITED TO THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY CEREMONY OF 9/11... MAYOR BLOOMBERG CLAIMS THERE IS NO ROOM FOR THEM... 10 YEARS AGO, THEY WEREN'T INVITED, BUT THEY SHOWED UP WHEN EVERYONE ELSE WAS RUNNING OUT!!! RE-POST IF YOU AGREE THEY SHOULD BE THERE

This protest message, which is currently circulating rapidly via Facebook and other social media sites, claims that first responders to the 9/11 attacks in New York have not been invited to the upcoming 9/11 tenth anniversary ceremony. According to the message, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has stated that there is no room at the event for first responders.

The claims in the message are true and have been confirmed by a number of credible news reports. An August 16 report published on UPI.com notes:

NEW YORK, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- First responders who rushed to the disaster scene on Sept. 11, 2001, are not invited to this year's memorial service at Ground Zero, New York officials confirm.

The service is scheduled for Sept. 11, 10 years after the terror attacks.

In a statement, a spokesman for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Andrew Brent, said the memorial is for victims' families, CNN reported.

An August 17 Fox News report concurs, noting:

New York Ė They were the first ones on the scene when the World Trade Center towers fell on September 11, 2001, but ten years later, the first responders are being told that they will not be invited to take part in this year's tenth anniversary ceremony at Ground Zero.

The city announced earlier last week that due to security and space issues, there would be no room for the first responders.

The move has generated much controversy and has been viewed by many as disrespectful to those brave men and women who risked their lives and health to respond to the disaster. New York officials claim that the 10th Anniversary memorial ceremony will focus on the families of victims. New York Mayoral spokesman, Andrew Brent told UPI that "given the space constraints, we're working to find ways to recognize and honor first responders, and other groups, at different places and times."

Although official invitations were not usually sent to first responders in previous years, they were still free to attend memorial ceremonies if they wished and many have done so. However, 2011 is reportedly the first year in which first responders have been officially advised that they are not invited to the event.

Many other news agencies are reporting that Mayor Bloomberg has declined to invite religious leaders to speak and attend as well. He has asked that there be no prayer in the ceremony. Some say heís given up on the idea after threats by atheist groups to sue the city if religion plays any part at the event.

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I drove past the Peace Treaty barn on Tuesday evening and saw a familiar site. The wagons were out and lined up on the hill. Itís just one of those things that brings a smile to your face when you think about Peace Treaty being just over two weeks away.

Our special section was put to bed last week. It always occurs to me that there was so much more that could have gone in, but weíre always restricted by a deadline to squeeze in a print day for it. Itís a mammoth project that has been months in the making. Whatever happens between now and Peace Treaty that doesnít make the edition will have to be in our September 19th edition. One of those important things is the cast of characters. This evolving list of names is almost always one of the last things to be completed.

We discussed the pageant at Mondayís meeting. There is a lot of excitement at these last meetings before the big weekend. I have enormous respect for everyone who is working hard to make this Peace Treaty the best ever.

There is also a lot of talk about this being the last Peace Treaty. Iím confident it wonít be, but as for the pageant itself, it is unknown. I do know this: October will begin a new chapter of Peace Treaty. Planning will already be under way to keep this tradition alive and well in our community.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From August 29, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

We have just over 3 weeks until Peace Treaty! The time is flying by and getting shorter each day to accomplish a laundry list of things.

Iíve been frantically working on the special section for Peace Treaty. I shouldnít just say "I am working..." My whole office is working on this edition. Itís a monster issue packed with our areaís history.

Not a day goes by that someone doesnít want to talk about Peace Treaty. Almost every day we hear about something new thatís going on during the celebration that we didnít know about. This week was the promotion of the Friends of NRA during Peace Treaty. Twnety-five numbered Henry guns have been manufactured commemorating the Peace Treaty. These things are awesome (and completely out of my budget). There is a story on this weekís front page about the guns and the fund-raising activities of the local chapter of the Friends of NRA.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From August 22, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

So, being a creature of habit, I strolled down to Whiteís last Monday to grab some deli food. I greeted everyone up front and mosied on to the back corner only to say, "what the...?"

There was nothing there. The deli was just one of the early moves that the grocery store made to their new store on the highway. I understood. No deli today. I can live with that.

I just decided to round the corner and get a TV dinner or something frozen I could stick in my microwave.

I got there and I was like, "what the....?"

There was no food in the freezers. I learned that the freezers had been knocked out by the wicked storms that hit our community on Friday, August 12. It made no sense to pour money into freezers that would be abandoned in a week, so the store moved that section as well.

I wandered around the store for another 10 minutes and decided I wasnít really that hungry, grabbed a bag of peanuts and went back to work.

It might seem like an inconvenience to some, but when the move is done and the new store opens, weíre all going to have a better place to shop for food. Iím so gratful to Pat White and his family for making this huge investment in our community. This was no small task and he has been in the thick of things along side store Manager Norm Clouse and his crew.

Whiteís move will happen the first of this week, leaving the old store and the new store closed on Tuesday while they make some final adjustments to inventory. Itís a bitter sweet ending to a store whose presence has alway been in my life time in Medicine Lodge.

Change is sometimes hard, but in this case itís going to be great for our town. Let us not forget that our Main Street still needs your support. We hope another business will go into the old grocery store building.

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Those crazy storms on Friday, August 12 were enough to fill up one of our ponds half way. The drought nearly killed off this pond that has been there for 50 years. That storm was also a heck of an initiation for the newest member of our family. Elli Unger came to live with us on Friday. We drove around the storm so we missed most of it, but saw its aftermath.

Elli is from Austria and will be attending MLHS this fall as a senior. Elli enjoys music and swimming. She also enjoys cooking! Weíre excited about that. She told my boys last week that she was going to make them a "crap", to which my boys were completely confused. We later discovered she meant "crepe".

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From August 15, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Rev. Rodney M. Worsham, Senior Pastor of the First Assembly of God in Medicine Lodge has issued a challenge. His church is having a FREE back to school movie night on August 20th and 21st. He says if he gets 175 people or more in attendance on Saturday he will shave his head. Yes, you read that correctly. He will shave his head.

Thatís something I find interesting and funny all at the same time and I would like to reissue that challenge to everyone here in the newspaper. What could be better than a FREE movie, FREE popcorn, prizes and a guy shaving his head? See The First Assembly of God Churchís ad on page 7 for further information about this event.

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America was saddened by the death of 30 U.S. soldiers who died when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan. We often forget that these men and women are real people with families and loved ones at home. Sometimes the news just blurs for me as I hear about our fallen heroes.

This particular tragedy hit close to home. I learned that one of the soldiers who died in this accident was a Kansan. Bryan Nichols was the pilot, and being a close friend, was in the wedding party of Julie and Seth Kastle. Julie is Doris Sorgís daughter. Both Seth and Julie served with Bryan Nichols in two tours.

A CW2 Bryan Nichols Memorial Fund has been established. Seth and his friends are working with a financial advisor to set up a 529 College Savings plan for Braydon (Bryanís son) with the proceeds. You may donate by visiting www.cw2nichols.bbnow.org

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The Peace Treaty board has been meeting every week now and there are only five more weeks until the big weekend in Medicine Lodge. We are frantically working on our Peace Treaty special edition and this week we will close advertising on this 40 page section with 16 pages of color. Weíre extremely pleased with the response so far. If you are interested in advertising your business and we havenít contacted you, please call Ronda at 620-886-5654.

Have a great week

KWIBS - From August 8, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Our area was blessed with some rain last Wednesday. Reports from Leroy Weber indicate that 1 1/4" fell at Lake Arrowhead.

And unofficially, the temperature dipped to a chilly 99 degrees on Thursday, breaking a 47 day streak of 100+ degree weather! brr...

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On Friday, our family will go to Wichita to welcome Elli Unger to our home and to Medicine Lodge. Ellie comes here from Austria and will be living with us through the AFS program. She is a semester student and will stay through mid-January of 2012.

There are still students who have not been placed in the Heartland area. If you are interested in hosting a student, please call Peggy Schneider at 316-641-7876.

KWIBS - From August 1, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

They were a little jetlagged and shocked at the change in climate, but Joey and John are home from their 23 day adventure in Europe.

While we are having unseasonably warm temperatures, Germany is experiencing the opposite. Many days were rainy and in the 60s there. Joey packed like he was from Kansas - shorts and t-shirts. They were both very cold and had to buy clothes to keep warm.

We met them at the airport on Monday afternoon. They traveled 4800 miles and arrived 2 minutes ahead of their schedule with only one layover in Chicago.

This trip was in contrast to my mother arriving home on Tuesday.... We went back to Wichita to get her at the airport only to find out that her flight from Atlanta had been delayed. As it turns out, she was over 5 hours late landing. Ronda and I spent the day trying to fill in 5 hours. We ate pretty well and we saw a movie, so the trip was not a complete pain. Mom went and visited family in Rhode Island for the past couple of weeks. Weíre happy that Joey and Mom are back home.

I couldnít wait for Joey to get home. He had brought me home two requested items: A giant beer mug and chocolate. I about made myself sick on the chocolate. I havenít test driven the beer mug yet! The Germans donít mess around when it comes to drinking beer. I believe this mug will hold about 3.5 of our 12 oz. beer cans, which is about 2 more than I can actually stomach to drink in one setting.

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You already know this, but weíre just weeks out for our big Peace Treaty Celebration and All-School reunion. Things are progressing quite smoothly as the weekend approaches. Do you have your tickets? Do you have a place to stay?

Have a great weekend!

KWIBS - From July 18, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Well, John Nixon and my son Joey are well into their second week of vacation in Europe. While there, they are visiting former students Max Zinowsky, Simon Wildberger, Christoph Wustner and Nick Gaertner. They also met Johnís new AFS student, Leopold Luz.

This has been a trip of a lifetime for both of them, but especially for Joey. This is Joeyís second "out of the country" experience since a trip he took to Mexico a few years ago. Heís officially been to more countries in his 18 short years of life on this planet than his mother and I have been to put together.

This trip was made possible by Joeyís own hard work. Heís saved his money and worked very hard to be able to go to Europe. Itís also made possible by the friendships heís made with these boys through the AFS program and with our neighbor and friend, John Nixon. When they began planning this trip more than a year ago, I knew it would happen and I knew they would have a great time.

AFS is an incredible program not just for students visiting out country, but also for the families who host them. There is a great need in our own community for host parents for the Heartland Team. If you have an interest in hosting a child for just a few short weeks, months or even an entire year, there is a student to who would be most appreciative and I promise, your family will benefit. Contact:

Peggy Schneider - Volunteer

Heartland Hosting Coordinator for AFS-USA

316 722 5439 Home

316 641 7876 Mobile

peggy.schneider@afsusa.org

Weíll be a host family again this year. Our newest daughter arrives in mid-August from Austria. Her name is Elli Unger. Weíre excited to meet her and share our community with her. Itís especially exciting that it is a Peace Treaty year.

Iíve only spoken with Joey and John a few times since they left on July 2nd. Facebook has been a wonderful way to keep up on their travels and Skype was handy for receiving a phone call from the travelers last week.

Joey said he has sampled some native cousine including horse and beef tar tar. Sounds delicious doesnít it?

John emailed me a photo of himself with Joey and "Lars", who was an exchange student two years ago and lived in Hutchinson, KS. The shot was taken off of Simonís front terrace overlooking their community in Switzerland.

KWIBS - From July 11, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Sometimes we are quick to paint a gloomy picture of our local economy. Hereís a little bit of information that should make you confident in Barber Countyís future.

I recently reported that our county is expecting upwards of $30 million in increased valuation, mostly due to oil and gas production. This week I learned that Pratt County reported their total valuation fell from $129.5 million to $124.6 million. Barber Countyís total valuation is sitting at nearly $136.6 million.

Weíve got more good news!

Oil and gas production in the county will bring in more jobs and even more money in production. Whiteís new grocery store will be opening in the next month. The wind transmission line project is about to begin. The Medicine Lodge Memorial Hospital could be breaking ground on their upgraded facility by October. Southern Pioneer is expanding.

There is so much going on, itís almost impossible to report it all. There are also a lot of things in the works that we canít report about yet, but weíre very excited about.

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My family went to Hardtner this year for the 4th of July. It had been nearly 20 years since I had been there for one of their shows. With the fireworks ban in place, our lake didnít have a night show, so we decided to give it a try. WOW! Thatís all I can say. Hardtner did a bang up job and we sure appreciated how hard they worked to put on such a top-notch event. Thank you to those of you who make that possible for the area. It was truly amazing.

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We reported for several weeks about Sharonís 125th celebration. Although my wife and I didnít make it over during the 4th of July weekend, we saw lots of photos on Facebook. The community put on a great celebration and everyone says they had a blast. Congratulations to the Sharon community for turning 125 years old! What will you do to top that when you turn 150?!?

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From July 4, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

I thought the 4th of July weekend without fireworks would be like Christmas without Jesus, but I guess we made it without the pops and bangs.

Barber County was one of several counties that banned fireworks for the 4th. This is the first year in my lifetime I can remember not having fireworks during the 4th. I know that folks in town were able to shoot them off, but us rural folks were just fine without them. The recent drought has gotten serious enough that drastic measures had to be taken.

It's so hot that I saw two trees fighting over a dog.

It's so hot, today I saw a chicken lay a fried egg.

Some may not realize this, but conditions are so hot and dry that Elm Mills Resort has been ordered to release their hold on their water that flows into Elm Creek.

Iíve lived on M-Bar ranch for 22 years and for the first time, I am witnessing spring fed ponds drying up. A well that is better than 70 years old is not able to pump water for more than about 5 minutes. Even 99 Springs is seeing lower levels than normal for this time of year.

So far the levels at Lake Arrowhead are holding and the springs are still producing, but we desperately need rain. Counties just north of us have received less than normal rain fall, but at least they have gotten some rain.

Levels at the Barber County State Lake are alarming as well. Wells and springs just canít keep up with this grueling heat we seem to have this summer. And remember, itís just now July. Some of our hottest parts of summer are yet to come.

I donít mean to sound depressing. Driving through town you can see how the drought has hit our town. Higher water rates have forced many to cut back on watering their yards and without the rain, much of the townís yards have gone dormant. I know many of you arenít growing gardens this year either.

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UPDATE: We did get some rain on July3rd and it helped, but we need more!

This weekend we saw our son Joey off for his three week tour to Europe. He and John Nixon will be visiting some of the old AFS students that have lived with John the past 4 years.

Europe may never be the same.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From June 27, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Something strange is happening to Ronda and I. It was brought to our attention by our cousins a few weeks ago.

We were sitting on the front porch in our deck chairs and commenting on how beautiful the birds were singing, how we loved to watch the humming birds and just sit on the porch and play with our grandson.

Our cousin pops up and said, "Youíre turning into our parents. You guys are OLD!"

Wait a minute.... Weíre only 5 years older than them. But we do enjoy hanging out with their parents!

It got me thinking. There are warning signs that we are getting older. We just announced that we have been in business in Medicine Lodge for the past 20 years.

There are other indicators:

All my favorite music is now in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart.

90% of the time I actually spend in front of a computer is for real work.

A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer considered "pretty good stuff."

About half the stuff in my shopping cart says, "For fast relief."

One of my most prized possessions is my lawn mower. I can tell you everything about it.

Conversations with people my own age often turn into "dueling ailments."

Dinner and a movie is the whole date instead of the beginning of one.

The clothes I put away until they came back in style are now in style, but I canít fit into them.

I spent last weekend getting intimate with a chain saw after a freakish storm uprooted trees and peeled shingles off of our home north of town. After cutting trees and then spending a few hours on a roof in 100+ heat I realized it takes longer to rest up than it did to get tired in the first place.

The good news is that there are fewer things in life to learn the hard way!

Have a great week and a happy and safe 4th of July!

 

KWIBS - From June 20, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

I renewed my membership to the NRA this past week and I got a gift from them in the mail on Saturday.

I opened the package with great anticipation and pulled out a ball cap that said, "140 Years of Freedom - NRA". I put the hat on with pride and showed my son Nick.

"Nice hat!" he said.

I put it on his head. Nick took it off to adjust the size and looked at the label.

"Hey, this thing was made in China," he said.

Seriously, the NRA canít find a hat maker in America? You speak of freedoms and you donít support your country. I canít tell you how disappointed I am at them and yes, they will be getting a letter from me.

Speaking of China....

China is the largest foreign creditor to the United States, holding more than $1 trillion in Treasury debt as of March. Recent discussion of a U.S default on its interest payments to China has their country up in arms. A default could undermine the U.S. dollar. So, if this hat is a deal-breaker, then by all means, keep buying Chinese hats....

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For the past couple of years, itís been my duty to disrupt the Ruckerís wheat harvest. This year was different though. They worked so fast by the time I got down there, they were done.

Flint and Gary have ground just to the south of us and work with some pretty neat old open-cab style combines that are probably from the late 50s or early 60s. I love to watch those guys work with those machines and I try to go down with a cooler of beverages for them during harvest.

I saw them cutting late Friday evening a week ago and ran home to fill up my cooler. By the time I got there, they were gone.

It appears that much of harvest has been completed for our area. Some got the good news that it wasnít as bad as everyone expected. I know it wasnít good news for everyone though.

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If Iím not careful, this could be my last column. What I am about to write about could be the most controversial thing I have ever written about in my paper.

I stopped in to see our county commissioners on Wednesday of last week to show them a proclamation and ordinance for the City of Guymon, OK in an email to all Kansas media outlets.

I received the email the night before and couldnít sleep all night thinking about it.

The proclamation was implemented last week prohibiting the sale, distribution, firing, igniting, lighting or exploding of any fireworks due to the severe drought.

In recent months we have reached nearly a state of emergency with severe drought conditions all across Kansas, especially so in parts of Western Kansas.

The 4th of July is just a few weeks away and as one of my favorite holidays. I love the displays and I know so many folks that are so responsible with their fireworks, but I am afraid that our area may need to consider restrictions this holiday.

I can already hear my phone ringing and hear the grinding of pencils on paper as you frantically write nasty letters to the editor. Here me out. I donít want anyone to think I am a fun hater. I am just very concerned about how dry it is. I know many of you personally that do a lot in fireworks sales during the summer for the 4th of July and depend on that income, so I write this opinion thinking about how my concerns could affect you.

Weíve seen the devastation in parts of Texas and Arizona and in to New Mexico. Fires that are burning out of control and fire fighters exhausted and overworked. These same conditions are worsening for many Kansas Counties. Emergency funding and lifted restriction for grazing are already in effect for our county as well as surrounding counties.

I am not alone in my concern for public safety during this extended drought. Guymon is only following the example of many counties and communities that are banning fireworks this year. Finney county was the last to join in the ban of sales and discharge of fireworks.

The Garden City Telegram reports fire officials fear they wouldn't have enough manpower to cover all the fires that could occur on the Fourth of July because of the extremely dry weather. The city of Garden City also has canceled its Fourth of July show.

County and fire officials have agreed to ban the sale and discharge of fireworks within county limits during this year's Fourth of July season due to dry weather conditions that increase the likelihood of fires.

On Tuesday, June 14, Governor Rick Perry considered Travis Countyís order declaring a local state of disaster and banning the sale and use of any fireworks. Perry has indicated that he would grant an extension of the order until July 5.

Commissioners also voted unanimously to prohibit certain fireworks - skyrockets with sticks and missiles with fins.

County Judge Sam Biscoe said he signed the order over the lunch break. If drought conditions change, he said commissioners have the authority to lift the disaster declaration and fireworks ban.

Comanche County Commissioners will be meeting Tuesday with their fire chief to discuss similar restrictions and possibly even a ban because of the low amount of precipitation that weíve had in recent weeks and months.

I hope our county and city officials consider the risks this 4th of July and do what is right to protect our homes, property, livestock and our very lives in this terribly dry season.

A few weeks ago, someone in our church asked Dennis Colle to pray for our area to receive rain and he stood up and asked God to give us the blessing of rain. Within 24 hours we got some and we were all so thankful. Dennis, we need you to step up to the plate and pray some more. In fact, we all should be praying for that very same thing. God willing, we can all celebrate another fun and safe 4th of July. If God has other plans, I hope our county commissioners and officials consider some sort of plan for public safety.

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There is an interesting number on this weekís front page. It is Volume 21, Issue 1. This edition marks 20 years for The Gyp Hill Premiere!

The bets were on in 1991. I heard from a friend that one person gave us 6 months before we would be out of business. Another person gave us no more than 1 year. Because of some great people, weíre celebrating our 20th birthday today. There wonít be any big celebrations, just great satisfaction in doing something we love to do - print a newspaper. I remember my Grandpa Bill telling me, "You know, you have ink in your blood?" I always thought that was icky as a child, but now I understand.

We have you to thank most of all. Without our readers and advertisers we wouldnít have made it.

We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From June 13, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

A few of important dates are coming up this week.

June 17, is our anniversary. Ronda and I were married in 1988, making it our 23rd wedding anniversary. I looked on the internet to see what that would be as far as a gift goes and was surprised that it was a silver plate. Ronda and I arenít much on silver, but Iím pretty excited about our 24th anniversary. Thatís the year youíre supposed to give a musical instrument! Iím already thinking about how cool it will be to get a vintage Gibson SG Bass guitar. Itís not really going to be a good year for Ronda. I am the one with the musical instrument fetish.

Just last weekend I bought a trombone and a paddle boat. They are not to be used together. I just stumbled on to them while hitting the Junefest garage sales.

Ronda: "What are you going to do with a trombone?"

Me: "I donít know, but itís so cool."

I have a small collection of things like, slide whistles, harmonicas, guitars, basses, drums, keyboards and even kazoos... Some of them I play, some of them just hang on the walls as decorations. I have always loved music and musical instruments.

I kind of got off track a little bit.

The second important date is June 19, 2011.

Father's Day is coming up this Sunday and I was thinking about the joys and struggles associated with fatherhood.

"Father" is one of those titles that demands respect, but often gets much less. I remember that I was far from the perfect child growing up. I know I gave my father grief.

Now that I am a father (of 21 years now) and a grandfather, I realize that you take the good with the bad and you try your best in every situation to, as the song goes, "teach your children well."

Most ot the time I probably come off sounding like I am nagging and ragging on my kids, but my hope is that they will learn, not only from their mistakes, but mine as well.

Itís a blessing to still have a dad. My dad has struggled with Altzhiemerís for the past several years, but still has some good days. I love you dad. Happy Fatherís Day.

Iím also very blessed to be a dad. I have three great children, a son-in-law and a grandson too. Joey, Bree, Nick, Devin and Kycen: I expect great things from you this year! *wink*. Wouldnít it be great to get that bass guitar now instead of waiting to get it for me and your motherís 24th anniversary? (Worn Cherry finish - item #513285 at Musicianís Friend website if you are interested).

Finally, the last important date is next Monday, June 20th. This date will be Issue 21, Week 1 of The Gyp Hill Premiere. It marks 20 years of publication for us. We thank you for that!

 

KWIBS - From June 6, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

And the headlines read: "Oops, we screwed up." I am speaking of the story on the Johnson family from May 30thís issue. I take responsibility for the mistake. We didnít get the story continued and it sort of just ended on the front page without actually ending. I apologize to the Johnsons and our readers and we have reprinted that story on page 10 of this weekís paper.

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After a long weekend many of us came back to Main Street to discover we had lost a business. Well, we didnít actually lose the business, but it lost its building.

Sometime during the evening or night on Monday, the roof at the Country Club Wellness Center collapsed. I donít mean, ceiling tiles. I mean part of the roof actually collapsed in on some of the exercise equipment and new aerobic flooring that was just installed three weeks ago.

Barb Ransom is the manager for the fitness center and showed us inside on Tuesday morning. You could see the blue sky. Nearly 1/3 of the building collapsed.

It almost feels like the death of a friend, losing a building like this. Fortunately, the fitness center will reopen in the Middle School down in the cafeteria. In the meantime, the building is somewhat condemned and blocked off to prevent injury. It was by the grace of God that no one was in the building when it happened and no one was injured.

The collapse raises new concerns about the condition of Main Street. Aging structures and lack of maintenance is a recipe for disaster. It brought back memories of our buildingís front collapsing back in the early 1990s. It nearly shut us down for 3 months while new fronts were put on this office and our building next door. Close examination showed deteriorating mortar and brick. Wind eventually pulled the faces of the buildings completely away from the walls.

Seeing the fallen roof made me think of what communities like Sun City and Lake City felt when they saw buildings crumbling in their once vibrant towns.

It gives new purpose and drive to the recent Medicine Lodge Main Street program. It seems like a step backwards, but it might be just the thing we need to prove the worth of such a program. Marcia Lawrence recently announced that our town has been officially accepted to the "Inside Track" tier. Itís going to take a lot of work and money, but isnít our town worth it?

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From May 30, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

All I can say to Mr. Harold Camping is, we all make mistakes. Itís not like itís the end of the world or anything.

But if at first you donít succeed, guess again? Now Mr. Camping is predicting October 21 as the new "end of the world" date. His original calculations were off he said, "by a few months." Heís also made predictions in the past. His last one, also incorrect, was for "between September 15 and 27 of 1994."

This so called "Bible Scholar", forgot one very important scripture. Mark 13:32 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

No where did I read, ".. and Harold Camping."

In Acts we read: 1:7 He said to them: It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.

I feel sorry for those folks who invested their money in his false witnessing. I donít feel sorry for anyone who invests in his October 21st prediction. I read where many people had quit their jobs, maxed out their credit cards and gave all of their belongings away.

Speaking of the end of the world, obviously it didnít happen this weekend. Iím sort of glad. I had plans and was out of town. I would really prefer the end of the world to be on a Thursday before deadline. If I had my say of course.

Justin and I and our wives decided it would be fun to drive to Oklahoma City this past weekend and surprise former editor, David Fasgold. We had learned that his band, The Mighty Regulars, was playing in front of the Ford Center for the Thunder vs. Maverickís game on Saturday evening. Secretly, Justin and I had hoped that David would let us play a song or two with them, but that didnít happen! Joey also wanted to try and get a ticket to the playoff game. That also didnít happen!

What did happen was Justin and I helping a man who passed out because of the heat. "Bob" had a ticket and was from Dallas. He fainted and cracked his head open on the concrete. After several minutes, EMTs arrived and took Bob away. We didnít even think about asking to buy his ticket from him.

We got down to Bricktown at about 5 p.m. Saturday. Davidís band was scheduled to go on stage at 6 p.m. We grabbed a bite to eat and made our way through a crowd of more than 20,000 Thunder fans to the front of the stage.

Justin, Doolie, Ronda, Joey and I all hid off to the side of the stage and waited for them to start playing. I pulled a wrestling mask out of my pocket and put it on. It was show time.

I paced back and forth across the front of the stage. David stared at me with a, "who is this weird-o," look on his face.

To be fair, I blended in perfectly with the masked man wearing a cape and riding a bicycle. I also fit in with the clown and the dude with the basketball goal strapped to his head that people where throwing balls at. Finally, I stood right in front of David and sang along with him to Pink Floydís "Time". Halfway through the song, I ripped off my mask and the biggest grin formed on Davidís face. Then Justin came out from behind the speakers and his grin got even bigger. If he had smiled any bigger his ears would have fallen into his mouth. We all gathered in front of David and rocked out to the rest of their two hour show. It was really fun.

The last song David and The Mighty Regulars played was REMís "Itís The End Of The World." I had suggested David play this on Facebook on Friday. The crowd went wild.

Below is a picture of David, Justin and I after the show.

After we said our good-byes, we headed down into the middle of Bricktown. The first place we walked into we ran right into some familiar faces. Matt Tedrow and his wife Carla were coming out of the same club we were going into. Matt is the son of Stan and Becky Tedrow, formerly of Medicine Lodge. We visited the Tedrows a couple of years ago in Oklahoma City.

There are about 1.5 million people in the metro area of OKC and itís pretty incredible to run into someone you know, especially during the injection of thousands more people coming to watch an NBA playoff game. To top that off, Matt told me that he and Carla rarely visit Bricktown and it was just by coincidence that they decided to go out for the evening.

We hung out with Matt and Carla and called it a night just around midnight. Due to the large number of people in town for the playoffs, we had to get a hotel out of the Bricktown area. We stayed at a hotel a few minutes down the road and took a shuttle back to get ready for bed. We all had to be up bright and early to head back to Kansas.

But like most people who were roaming Bricktown all evening, I started getting hungry. I suggested breakfast. Everyone took me up on it except Ronda. By this time it was about 1 a.m. and the only thing open was a Waffle House across the street between two truck stops. We got Ronda back in the room and we headed out for some omelettes!

We ran across the busy intersection when suddenly there were police cars and officers with guns drawn all over the parking lot. We had just missed the actual commotion. Apparently, the short order night cook had a bad evening and decided to take out a large knife and waive it crazily at the customers. He was arrested and taken to jail.

I asked the waitress, "Can we still get breakfast?"

We did get breakfast and a small discount for the inconvenience. We made it back to our rooms for a good nightís sleep and were up and home by noon on Sunday. Crazy weekend!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From May 23, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

We all have things that just drive us crazy. Sane or insane, you can probably think of a few things that really "push your buttons". I had a few that I was thinking about this week, when my mom sent me an email titled, "Whatís the difference between snot and cauliflower?" The answer: Kids wonít eat cauliflower....

Things That Can Drive A Sane Person Insane:

∑ The tiny red string on the Band-Aid wrapper that never works.

∑ You have to try on a pair of sunglasses with that stupid little plastic tag in the middle of them.

∑ The person behind you in the supermarket runs his cart into the back of your ankle.

∑ The elevator stops on every floor and nobody gets on.

∑ You open a can of soup and the lid falls in.

∑ There's a dog in the neighborhood that barks at EVERYTHING!

∑ You can never put anything back in a box the way it came.

∑ Three hours and three meetings after lunch you look in the mirror and discover a piece of parsley stuck to your front tooth.

∑ You slice your tongue licking an envelope.

∑ Your tire gauge lets out half the air while you're trying to get a reading.

∑ You wash a garment with a tissue in the pocket and your entire laundry comes out covered with lint.

∑ The car behind you blasts its horn because you let a pedestrian finish crossing.

∑ You set the alarm on your digital clock for 7 PM instead of 7 am.

∑ You rub on hand cream and can't turn the bathroom doorknob to get out.

∑ You can't look up the correct spelling of a word in the dictionary because you don't know how to spell it. (me)

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From May 9, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

I only get three special columns like this in my lifetime. The first one happened back in 2008 when my daughter graduated.

This is the second time one of my three children will graduate from MLHS. Joey will take those steps across the stage on Saturday with 38 other classmates.

Itís super tough to not be emotionally attached when putting together any senior edition for our paper. Itís even more-so when your kid is in the class.

And what a great group of kids they are. As I placed their senior photos and their baby photos on the page, I couldnít help but to remember some really good moments in these kidsí lives. Because Joey went to school with most of them since preschool, I consider them all family.

Iím especially proud of Joey. My oldest son has grown up to make his mother and I very proud. He may not be at the top of his class, but heís accomplished so much during his high school years. Heíd be too modest to mention any of those things, but I think Iíve earned the right to be proud of him.

Several years back, Joey took an interest in going to Mexico with the UMC youth to help build a home for a pastor and his family in the Sonora Province. It was a life-changing experience for him that made him appreciate the blessings we have in America.

Joey also got very involved with AFS. He was the student president of our local chapter this year. As I write this, heís on a trip to Wichita with his group.

Heís far more courageous than I was at his age. Joey and a friend from Germany even took off over the summer and spent a week in New York City, where he learned to navigate the subway system and busy airports across the country. He also went out to California with Jim and Cathy Colborn for a whirlwind trip up the 101. He paid for all of this by himself, working many long hours after school and on weekends.

He is planning on a trip to Europe after school is out. Heís excited to see friends heís made through AFS.

Joey has always been someone to count on as a hard worker. Heís been employed by John Nixon for the past four years working auctions and has been at Whiteís for the past two years, carrying many of your groceries. I always smile when someone says to me, "You have the nicest son."

Even with all of his travels and experiences, heís unsure about his future. Itís been something weíve discussed and prayed about for a while now. Joey has always told us that he wants to be a beach bum. Whatever he decides to be is okay with me. I couldnít be prouder of him.

The world awaits him and it will be a better place because of him no matter where he goes or what he does.

I love you, buddy. Congratulations to you and the class of 2011.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From May 2, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

It always amazes me that while one part of the country is praying for rain to come, another is praying for it to stop.

Just a short ways east of us, flash floods and deadly storms have riddled the area. Here we barely get a drop. What small amounts we did get is of little use now to area farmers. It wonít be a record breaking year for our area wheat producers.

Iím getting old enough that I remember significant years of precipitation. I donít have all the facts, but I remember back in 1999 we began breaking ground on our home. Weíd just gotten the basement walls poured and the subfloor on in late April. The first of May came and rains didnít stop for over 11 days. I think we got somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 inches that month. It washed out my driveway and broke a small dam on our pond. This year, weíre about to lose that pond to the drought.

But weíre in so much better shape than parts of Texas. In 1999, the same year as our house was built, we took a trip to Amarillo, TX to SCUBA Lake Meredith. The lake is located 30 miles from Amarillo and was a fantastic fresh water SCUBA-diving spot. I just learned a few weeks ago that an ongoing drought in that area has all but dried up the big lake. The area that we dove down to 25í is now dry earth.

The lake has gone down so much, in fact, that a plane reported missing on January 27, 1984 was discovered back in June of 2008. The water had gone down enough that the wreckage appeared. Thatís a lot of water to dry up.

Other parts of Texas have just burned away. Over 1.65 million acres have burned this year. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed. Thatís twice as much ground that usually burns in a given year in Texas. At least two fire fighters have died fighting these fires.

Just down the road from us in Missouri....

Rivers and creeks have already flooded. The Mississippi was at or approaching major flood stage in several communities Easter Sunday. Many dams broke in the area.

The Missouri Department of Transportation reported dozens of road and highway closures in eastern and southern Missouri. U.S. 61 has been shut down due to flooding near the Iowa border, and U.S. 160 was closed in several spots in far south-central Missouri.

All of this and then tornados on Wednesday that killed more than 250 people in 6 states. Just tragic... It leaves one humbled to think of the power of these storms.

Mother Nature is a moody one these days.

 

KWIBS - From April 25, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

I once ran in to Kirstie Alley in Wichita at a gift shop. I was so excited.

Alley is from Wichita and last I knew, her dad still has a place there.

I recognized her, despite the lack of makeup and fancy clothes. She was in gray sweatpants and a white T-shirt. Her hair was pulled back, but it was still Kirstie Alley.

I donít know what came over me. I could have complemented her in her role in Look Whoís Talking, Blind Date, Village of the Damned, or her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I didnít even mention Cheers, which she played Rebecca Howe. I mean, it was one of the most popular sitcoms on TV at the time.

Instead, here's what came out of my mouth: "I loved you in Star Trek II, The wrath of Kahn, where you played that hot Vulcan chick, Lieutenant Saavik." I think I was even wearing a Star Wars or a Battlestar Galactica T-shirt at the time. My brother-in-law was with me and he about ran out of the store. She actually signed an autograph for me across the top of a Wichita Eagle. It's still in a frame in my office.

Iíve never hid the fact that I am a geek. My DVR list on my television gives it away.

- In a fight between William Shatner and Patrick Stewart, I think Shatner would win. However, I think Patrick Stewert would make a fine president in 2012, as long as he isnít serving on The United Federation of Planets Council.

- I learned from Battlestar Galactica that a secton is a Colonial measurement of time and analogous to one Earth week. Its plural form is "sectons". More on this next secton.....

- The recent bravery displayed by the 50 Fukushima Nuclear Plant workers reminded me of the time Spok gave his life at the end of Wrath of Kahn saying, "Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

A dear departed friend of mine, Jo Meador, gave me a poster years ago for my birthday. It was titled, "All I need to know from life, I learned from Star Trek." The poster stills hangs in our storage room in our office.

Seek out new life and civilizations.

Non-interference is the Prime Directive.

Keep your phaser set on stun.

Humans are highly illogical.

There's no such thing as a Vulcan death grip.

Live long and prosper.

Having is not so pleasing as wanting; it is not logical but it is often true.

Infinite diversity in infinite combinations (IDIC).

Tribbles hate Klingons (and Klingons hate Tribbles).

Enemies are often invisible -- like Romulans, they can be cloaked.

Don't put all your ranking officers in one shuttlecraft.

When your logic fails, trust a hunch.

Insufficient data does not compute.

If it can't be fixed, just ask Scotty.

Even in our own world, sometimes we are aliens.

This one is mine, "If you arenít a regular on the show, always ask for any uniform color other than red."

When going out into the Universe, remember, "Boldly go where no one has gone before!"

KWIBS - From April 18, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Mike Roe forwarded an interesting article to me about rural America.that was in the Hutchinson News recently. I contacted John Montgomary, the Newsí Publisher and he has given us permission to reprint the article giving credit to The Hutch News and the writer. We sort of have an "in" with the Hutchinson News. Thatís where The Gyp Hill Premiere is printed each week.

The article is a good read and applies to our area. I was also sent an article from Kansas Governor Sam Brownback this week outlining a Rural Opportunity Zones Bill he recently signed into law. This bill will give incentives to those willing to relocate into rural Kansas. Barber County is one of the counties that qualifies for the incentives. You can read that article on page 13 of this weekís Premiere.

Despite departure trend, small-town residents eye ways to sell rural America

By Amy Bickel - The Hutchinson News - abickel@hutchnews.com

LEOTI - A sign in a window of an empty storefront beckons visitors with a plea: Move to Leoti.

The sign has been there for several years, the maker probably hopeful to attract the attention of a passing motorist in an attempt to stabilize the downward slide in population that has happened for decades in Wichita County.

After all, with farms continuing to disappear from the landscape, leaders in almost every small town dream of getting bigger. They dream of manufacturers bringing jobs, of vibrant downtowns and of families with children populating their schools.

Yet several of the state's agriculture-based communities haven't survived the growing trend - the decline of population as youths turn to the bright lights of bigger cities, never to return.

When population wanes in a town, the bank closes. So does the grocer, the hospital and the hardware store. The ultimate demise, however, is the loss of a school, from which many communities never recover.

It's a fear of any remote Kansas county, said Wichita County resident Terry Woodbury. The rural community promoter, however, see the decades-old trend as a battle that can be won.

That's because there is optimism on the prairie, he said. Residents want to stop the bleeding.

County leaders are developing industrial parks to lure small businesses. Some are addressing needs, such as affordable housing, quality day care and Internet availability. Many have tried to boost community pride and activity, including starting recreation programs and sprucing up main streets.

"I think we are in the latter days of decline because of our attachment to agriculture," said Woodbury, who operates Public Square Communities LLC, a business geared to sustaining rural areas. "We've got Internet. You can come here, have high quality of life, safety, good schools, know the neighbor, drive for three hours and go to Colorado Springs. Rural communities are starting to sell that and believe in it."

"I think we are on the front end of an urban to rural transition."

Smallest county, big plans

Woodbury's assessment comes after nearly a century-long slide for some Kansas counties. From Montana and the Dakotas down to the Texas Panhandle, the rural Great Plains has been losing citizens since around World War II.

In all, 77 Kansas counties have lost population in the past decade, according to census numbers released earlier this month. Of those, 23 saw declines of more than 10 percent. Western counties took the biggest hit, with an increase in only seven counties in this half of the state.

"The irony of rural America is the thing that has built our communities is now depopulating them," Woodbury said of farming. "We are losing people and we have to think different and come up with different economies."

Even in the state's smallest county, Greeley, with 1,247 people, leaders have recognized the issue. Tribune, the county seat, sits isolated in the center of the west-central Kansas county, largely surrounded by crop fields and pasture. It's 86 miles from Garden City and more than 60 from Goodland.

County population peaked in 1960 with 2,087 people. Then decline began, slowly but steadily.

In all, the county has lost 40 percent of its population in the past 50 years, with 18.71 percent coming in the past 10 - the fourth biggest drop in the state.

Those figures might seem grueling to turn around to most people, except Christy Hopkins.

She couldn't deny she wasn't disappointed and a little shocked at the census numbers after five years of hard work, she said as she sat in her office in early March, preparing to leave the next day for a trip to Vietnam with a leadership group.

"We're not giving up by any means," she said matter-of-factly.

The issue isn't one that sneaked up on Greeley County residents. After consecutive years of bad harvest and the acceleration in people moving away, community leaders held a survival meeting in 2004. More than 150 people attended. They hired Woodbury to offer advice and direction.

Woodbury helped develop focus groups on government, education, health care and business. Residents zeroed in on certain areas and began setting goals for the community.

Community leaders have been busy ever since.

They started adult and youth recreation programs. County officials invested some money into building a dairy - eventually attracting a buyer.

Meanwhile, one team of residents helped form a community foundation to serve the interests and goals of the county. Another team is dealing with affordable housing. There is a marketing team, a welcoming team, a health services team and a team for downtown revitalization.

While some businesses have closed, including a company that made hazardous-material trailers, about 17 other new businesses have come to town, including a feedlot, she said.

Residents also voted to unify the county and city governments in 2007. And residents in November passed a bond issue for the school - despite tough economic times, Hopkins said. Meanwhile, those who work for the community, such as referee at games, are paid in "Greeley Bucks," which help support local businesses.

She wished the numbers had reflected growth, she said. However, positive change is happening no matter the numbers.

"We really are doing a lot of things to help stabilize the community," Hopkins said. "We even have an action team focused on business transition assuring that our businesses here today will still be there tomorrow."

While every county will have their own unique plan, Woodbury calls Greeley's efforts exemplary.

"These communities are shifting gears, developing a way past the agriculture mind-set," he said, but added it will take time. "This is not a microwave job. This is slow cooking."

Efforts in other counties

Leaders in other counties are giving the same rallying cry.

Shannon McCormick, who owns Main Street Supply in downtown Lakin in Kearny County, which has nearly 4,000 people, said he thinks the decline of farmers has stabilized.

"I don't know if farms can get any larger," he said, then added, "unless, I guess, we have robots driving the tractors."

Still he noted, some counties, including Kearny, can take advantage of the county's close proximity to a regional hub. For Lakin, it's Garden City, which is just 22 miles away. His county is hoping to begin a program that allows residents to fix up property and, in return, pay the same in property taxes for a period of time.

In Edwards County, population 3,000, officials started a tourism committee to lure in more visitors to the county attractions, such as its national carnival heritage museum, said Economic Development Director Linette Miller.

The county also is addressing affordable housing and fixing up dilapidated properties, she said.

And in the Lane County town of Dighton, which is nearly an hour away from regional hubs like Hays and Garden City, county Economic Development Director Dan Hartman brushes off the current decline, calling it beatable.

He says this as he takes a drive to the site of what some locals have dubbed a "Field of Dreams" - a roughly 60-acre industrial park complete with paved roadways that has one business, an oil well service company.

Hartman, however, said he plans for more, noting he's had prospects considering the site for development.

Other efforts are helping make the town more attractive. Local insurance agent and Main Street business owner John Levin, who serves on the economic development board, said the board is matching up to $1,000 for business owners who do storefront beautification projects. And, Hartman said, by next year, the county should have a community garden.

What Hartman is promoting, he says, is a lifestyle in the state's second smallest county at 1,750 people. Living much of his life in California managing a business, he drove an hour to work each way.

"We don't have a Walmart, but we don't have a crime rate that is sky-high, either," Hartman said. "It's a community where I could sit on the front porch and smoke a cigarette and wave at people I know."

He gets tired of the hubbub "that rural America is dying," he said.

"It's not dying. It's changing," he said, adding that with technology, one can work from anywhere. "The only thing wrong with rural America is the way we talk about it. I personally think we're going to see growth in the next 20 or 30 years."

He pointed to the local classified advertisements, saying they listed seven or eight jobs. But the question is whether the town's college-educated youth will return for that kind of pay. Maybe, Hartman said, leaders can attract college graduates back who have an entrepreneurial spirit, noting there are already two success stories in downtown Dighton.

Young couple Joe and Rachel Schulz are running Joe's family's new pizza restaurant. Joe's sister, Margo, 24, recently purchased the town's flower shop, and sister Michelle, 21, who helps her older sister, plans to open a bakery and coffee shop. She already does some special orders.

Pioneering youth are what towns want to attract, Woodbury said.

"Rural communities have to quit thinking we need to pave a highway of gold to get them back here," he said. "These wonderfully brilliant kids, we don't have to create a job for them. Tell them to come home, bring their job and create it. No one paved the way for my family when they settled in Leoti, Kansas. They paved the way and created it."

Promise in the heartland

There is promise in the heartland, said Laszlo Kulcsar, a Kansas State University professor and director of the Kansas Population Center.

Take Greensburg, for instance, he said. The Kiowa County seat, stricken by a tornado in 2007, has reinvigorated itself into a "green town," attracting youth and technology as the city continues to rebuild.

There's also a new trend for retirees to find a place away from urban cities to retire, he said. Although they don't bring children to populate the schools, they do have a savings they want to spend before they die.

Yet, finding a niche to attract residents is the real key, he said. The slogan of good schools, good hospitals and a slow place of living with limited crime is a dime a dozen.

"There are 30,000 places just like this," he said of rural America. "In the end, these places are going to lose young people no matter what. The question is, how many young people can be retained."

Hartman remains hopeful. He said he's been working with a group promoting a new transmission line being built by ITC Great Plains LLC. The line goes from Medicine Lodge to Spearville and, eventually, the second phase of the project will take the line from Spearville to Axtell, Neb.

That means jobs, he said, whether it is for building the line or the future wind farms that a transmission line could bring. Kansas' abundant wind could be the rescuer for many of the small communities along the way.

Growing a community is possible, Woodbury said, but only with a change of attitude.

He said in the 16 communities he works in, changing attitudes is sometimes one of the top problems to combat.

"Rural people really have to believe they have a future," he said, but added, "The hardest thing for people is to change."

 

KWIBS - From April 11, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Boys and girls, men and women, we just think differently.

Take party planning...

In a little over a month, my oldest son Joey will be graduating from MLHS. With any graduation comes a party and the planning.

We sat down in the kitchen Sunday night and Joeyís mamma made the big announcement, "We need to talk about the graduation party."

Joey and I just groaned.

There is just nothing a man wants to do less than plan a party. Especially a graduation party. Donít get us wrong ladies, weíll go to parties and participate, but we donít really want to be involved with the planning.

Guysí party planning: Cooler, check; Ice, check; Beverage, check; Music, check; Chairs, check.

She made us sit there and name off people we wanted to invite to the party.

I said, "I can more easily name the ones I donít want to invite."

Joey piped in, "I want a band and girls dancing."

Hmm.... so did I. Keep going Joey.

Ronda just glared at us.

"No, I want to know who your friends are and who we want to have over to celebrate your graduation," she said firmly. "I also need to order food, drinks, get napkins, have a cake made, get matching table cloths, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Joey and I just glazed over.

Just when we thought it ended, we were informed of a stop we were making while in Wichita this week.

"Boys, weíre going to Party City", said Ronda.

Party City. Wow, a whole city partying. Joey and I were actually thinking Ďthis could be coolí.

If cool is looking at 40 different colors of napkins, forks and spoons, then Party City is your place. Most men donít care. Weíre content with the clear plastic utensils, cups and plates, but no.

My only contribution to this stop was buying a medal that will go around Joeyís neck that day that says, "Winner".

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From April 4, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Many events in oneís life mark great accomplishments. The birth of children and grandchildren, graduations, promotions, and an occasional big birthday make up the list.

Iíd never really thought about retirement until last week. My mom, Joyce Noland, recently retired after 35 years of working for the same person. An accomplishment that few can lay claim to. My mom worked for Alan Goering shortly after he began practicing law in Medicine Lodge way back in the 1970s. She was with him when he started his own practice in the 1980s and was there when he later partnered with Bob Slinkard. Her last day was March 31st.

Alan and Bob held a very nice reception and dinner for my mom at the Vintage House in Burlington, OK on Friday, March 25th. He said some very nice things about my mom that I know brought tears to many at the table. He also said some very funny things as well.

I commend mom on her loyalty to Alan and I also commend Alan on putting up with my mom for all those years! She was surrounded by her family, coworkers and friends. It was touching to see her honored that way and I canít tell you how proud I am of her. Itís a great accomplishment and I know she will miss her friends and family at Goering and Slinkard. Thank you Alan and Bob for being so good to her.

? ? ? ?

Probably the biggest news this week is the return of Days of Yore. The column, disappeared from the newspaper along with the folding of The Barber County Index back in 2009 and itís always been something our readers have requested. After some thinking, and some prodding from Doris, weíve decided to resurrect it. Doris has spent countless hours combing through microfilm and even our own archives for stories to share with our readers.

? ? ? ?

In preparation for Peace Treaty and it being our 20th anniversary, weíve decorated our window at the office with some newspaper memorabilia. Weíre looking for anything that fits in with our motif. If you have something youíd like to share with us, weíd love to have you drop it by!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From March 28, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

A petition is being circulated to force City Charter Ordinance 19 to a public vote.

Should you sign it?

I donít know.

Jan Bertoglio has started and is circulating the petition. I called her and we got together last week to discuss its merits or lack thereof.

"Itís no good," she said.

The ordinance gives an administrator the authority to make certain appointments and allows for disciplinary actions in accordance with the personnel manual, all of which were passed by a 2/3 vote city council majority.

This move has some folks in the community nervous. Some even believe it was a sneaky move by the council to pass such an ordinance. I suppose timing is everything.

I spoke with Councilmember Roger Lukens last week. He explained there was no intention of this being done quickly or behind closed doors. In fact, we published discussion on this ordinance in at least one paper before it passed. Lukens told me that this ordinance has been one of the visions the council has had for quite some time now.

Perhaps passing it so close to election is what people donít like.

Removing the powers from the mayor and giving them to an administrator is not something our one-and-only mayoral candidate likes. Bob Stutler and I have been discussing this topic over the past few days.

"I donít like it either," he said. I want to have the same level playing field that every mayor before me had."

I see his point and I support Bob whole-heartedly as the new mayor.

The reason I support him is that he is competent to deal with those appointments and issues. Not every past mayor has been able to and we may not have a mayor in the future that is as capable and experienced as Mr. Stutler.

Thus a reason for such an ordinance.

One thing to remember is that regardless of an action by a city administrator, that person still answers to the mayor and council. If they [the council members] donít like the decision, they have the power to remove that administrator and get one that is on board with their line of thinking.

For the record, this ordinance is not the dream child or an evil scheme conjured up by our current administrator. He did not write it. In fact, it comes from an example of the charter ordinance used by the city of Greensburg, KS. According to Austin Gilley, many third class cities in Kansas have adopted similar ordinances.

"Itís an attempt to clear up confusion and accountability," he told me. And it is the direction that our current city council set when beginning the search for a new administrator.

Roger Lukens added, "Before [the charter ordinance] , it appeared that city employees had 7 bosses - the mayor, five councilmembers and the city administrator."

Gilley is indifferent about the ordinance. If it goes through the 60 day protest period without being recalled, great. If it doesnít he assures me and my readers he is "very excited to work with the mayor and new council regardless of the outcome."

The outcome?

Jan Bertoglio says she has more than enough signatures to stop this ordinance from taking effect on April 22nd. The next step will be for a new council to decide whether to put it to a special election in 2012 or let the issue die.

My gut feeling is, it will die.

Should you sign it? I donít know. Do you really understand the motivation behind the ordiinace? Probably not. Do you have all of the facts? I doubt it. Did I sign it? Nope, but I am one of those folks who works and calls Medicine Lodge my home - but lives outside the city limits. I donít have to make that type of decision and Iím sort of glad I donít have to!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From March 21, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Each year, Kansas Press sets aside to remind citizens how important transparency is in our participatory democracy.

This was actually done last week, March 13 through 19, but we were a little rushed with remodeling and trying to leave for a trip to Amarillo. I held it for this week.

Our country was founded on the principle that government is of the people, by the people and for the people.

As Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in his middle 19th century classic, "Democracy in America," the system of self-government we chose for ourselves was unique because we relied on each other, rather than royalty, to chart the course for our nation.

Tocqueville was fascinated that in America, we elected "people like us" to make decisions on our behalf, but we also decided that for democratic rule to succeed, we had to be participants in our own governance.

Sunshine Week, March 13 through 19 this year, was a reminder to elected officials and to those they serve that for Americaís system of government to work, we have to have an informed citizenry. This requires unfettered access to the information necessary to keep us abreast of just what government is attempting to do on our behalf.

I commend the City of Medicine Lodge for their efforts at being a transparent government. Austin Gilley provides us with excellent information on the dealings within the city.

Sadly, while our political leaders often talk a good line when it comes to transparency, many fall short when the rubber meets the road.

In Topeka, for instance, the city is embroiled in a controversy about the apparent theft of scrap metal from a city construction site. The scrap reportedly was sold and the money shared by a handful of city employees.

The city manager and his team decided to handle the incident as a personnel matter rather than a criminal one, even leaving the city council in the dark for six months. Had "transparency" been the rule and not the exception, this controversy most likely would have been handled in a few days. It has continued to boil for six weeks and counting.

When the duly-elected city council members were blocked by city staff from getting access to documents about the theft, the council was forced to vote 9-0 to subpoena documents that had been withheld for "personnel" reasons.

What is wrong with this picture?

Each week, the attorney for the Kansas Press Association gets call after call from local newspaper staff writers and editors fighting roadblocks to information access thrown up by public officials. Whether itís access to agenda packets, minutes or notice of meetings or the abuse of executive sessions, transparency seems to be no more than a campaign pamphlet bullet point for some public officials.

On Thursday (March 17), a bill was heard in the House Local Government Committee that would give cities, counties and school districts the "option" to name their own governmental website rather than their local newspaper as the official publication for public notices.

Never mind that a third of Kansans donít have access to the internet. Never mind that the internet has been proven time and again to be unreliable and susceptible to hacking and manipulation while printed newspapers are verifiable, permanent, more likely to be seen and independent from government.

Itís ironic (maybe appalling is a better word) that this bill was heard during National Sunshine Week. It illustrates that far too many of our elected officials donít understand why they alone should not be in control of public information.

Why is "sunshine" important?

"Publicity," said Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis , "is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants, electric light the most efficient policeman."

Brandeis was right.

If we are to remain a free nation and able to compete with the rest of the world in the 21st century, citizens must be well-informed. To be well-informed, government must operate in the light of day.

Doug Anstaett is executive director of the Kansas Press Association and contributed the information for this article.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From March 14, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

K. Noland Photo

Paint specialist and grandson to Kevin and Ronda Noland, Kycen Schaffer, prepares to do some painting in the office.

Well you may not see it as front page news, but we do.

Our one-month long remodeling project of the front of our office was completed during the middle part of last week.

We ran a little over on our budget, but weíre thrilled with the results! If you havenít been in to see it, weíve recarpeted, repainted, added a wall and put in a HUGE reception area. Doris and Ronda seem comfortable in their new space.

Spending the past few weeks huffing paint fumes, carpet seams and glue, Iím ready for warm weather so we can open the door!

Ronda and I spent countless hours just talking about what to hang on the walls. For years we had the same old pictures that hung, some by tape, to our walls and we wanted something that would scream MEDICINE LODGE. While at a recent Peace Treaty board meeting, I learned there were some of the older posters for sale, so I quickly hooked up with Sarah Whelan and bought all the posters from the time frame we have been in business, which is 1991 through present. With a trip to Hobby Lobby and some nails, weíve created a neat tribute to our townís famed Peace Treaty.

We still have the north wall to decorate. With our limited budget, weíre hoping to do better than some paint by numbers!

Thereís a few people I want to thank.

Thank you Lee Wade for being ever so patient when working with me. Lee is a perfectionist and I am a hurry-up-and-get-it-done-er. Lee helped me get the counter set in place and didnít allow me to cut any corners. Lee also did our finish work and built our wall and doorway.

Thank you Matt and Sean Forsyth. I boasted to them how I had gotten everything out of the front office before they laid carpet and only asked that they help us move it back in. They were much obliged, but I sort of tricked them. The new furniture was the heaviest made since the Egyptians carved out stone tables in 1500 B.C. We had to remove the door and with some grunting and sweating, we got the furniture back in.

Thank you Ann Bell for the new carpet! We love you. :)

And thank you customers for being so understanding while we remodeled! Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From March 7, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Sadly, free speech isnít nice. It is often ugly and hurtful, painful to listen to and intended to cause distress.

But in the United States of America, itís protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. And Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that basic principle in an 8-1 ruling in Snyder v. Phelps, a.k.a., the Westboro Baptist Church case.

Church members and Fred Phelps, their "minister," are infamous for their anti-gay protests at high-profile funerals, most notably, those of servicemen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They believe the wars and casualties are Godís revenge on America for "tolerating" homosexuals. Their shouting of anti-gay epithets and hoisting signs proclaiming "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "God hates fags" are designed to be inflammatory and provocative.

It was a brave act that the father of fallen Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder filed a lawsuit against the church to stop them from spreading their message of hate at the funerals of soldiers killed in battle.

Veterans groups across the nation filed briefs with the Supreme Court in support of Snyder, as did the attorneys general of 48 states. The Westboro gangís actions, their speech is simply hateful and disgusting.

Writing for the court, Chief Justice John Roberts said, "Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and ó as it did here ó inflict great pain. ... (But) we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker."

Just as the Supreme Court ruled more than 30 years ago in 1977 that neo-Nazis could parade through the streets of the heavily Jewishh Skokie, Ill., so too do the Westboro homophobes have their right to protest and to express their views.

I understand the importance of freedom of speech all too well being in the business I am in. I just canít see the point in allowing these whackjobs to protest at funerals of soldiers.

Only one Supreme Court Justice, Alito, had the courage to stand up to the hateful "free" speech.

The others feel itís fundamentally what America is all about.

I dispute that wholeheartedly. This is what America has become and I fear it is still evolving into something even more repugnant.

KWIBS - From February 28, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Several weeks ago, I was inspired to make some changes in our office. After sitting in on the Main Street Medicine Lodge meeting last month, I began to think about the appearance of our office and presence on Main Street.

Weíve been here for 20 years this year and since that time have done little in the way of remodeling. Our desks are old and falling apart. Our carpet is stained, torn and faded. Our window is boring and our signage is showing its age. It was time for a change.

Since it is a Peace Treaty year and since Marcia Lawrence has been somewhat of a cheerleader for the upgrade in appearance of Main Street, we made the decision to do some upgrading in our offices a few weeks ago. Weíre going to kick off this whole Main Street Medicine Lodge right here at The Gyp Hill Premiere. I contacted a friend in Wichita who recently closed down an office at the Epic Center. I bought his receptionist counter and other furniture, which took me most of the day to bring down three stories out of that building. Thank you to John Nixon for allowing me the use of his trailer. Weíve ordered new carpet from Forsythís which is schedule to be in the week of March 7th. Weíve had Lee Wade build us a new doorway, bought primer and paint and weíre going to town!

And the results thus far? Weíre a mess in progress....

Customers entering our store last week were greeted by a folded up section of our carpet and a whole lot of clutter. Most managed not to trip over it. My mom sort of tripped over it, but sheís not considered a customer. As of this writing, our walls are half primed and painted. Most of our furniture is taken out and Doris and Ronda are operating out of boxes. The floor has some sheetrock dust and scraps and the office smells of primer.

In about a week, we will begin assembly of the new reception counter. During this time, we will be a little unorganized and we ask for your patience while we get things back in order. My plan right at the moment, is to move Ronda and Doris into the middle server room and have them share a phone between them for a few days. I hope to have their computers up and running so they can take care of customers.

Weíre planning on being closed Monday-Wednesday(ish), March 7-9, while we put things back together that week.

When we get the inside finished up, weíll be working on the outside of both our building and the Allegiance building. Weíll be doing some cleaning and replacing some signage during the spring and summer. Weíre excited about "spiffying" things up for Peace Treaty and we encourage the rest of our community to do the same!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From February 21, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

My youngest sonís birthday is on Friday. Nick is turning 13! In honor of his 13th birthday, I would like to announce to my readers that he is now a teenager and knows everything!

It reminds me of the sign

TEENAGERS

Tired of Being Harassed

By Your Stupid Parents?

ACT NOW!

Move Out....

Get a Job...

Pay Your Own Bills.

DO IT WHILE YOU STILL KNOW EVERYTHING!

But my little Nicholas doesnít act that way. Although he is becoming a little man and has entered adolescence, he is still my baby boy.

Iíve really enjoyed seeing his, sense of humor develop over the years. Heís got a quick wit, just like his old man. Iím proud of you buddy and I love you. Happy Birthday Nick! Summer is just around the corner!

 

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"Those fluffy towels will bring you nothing but trouble," said Joey this week.

I nearly burned the office down - the second time in the past month for me. The first time it was a tinfoil lined plate in the microwave. This time it was a smell-good candle from Patís called "Fluffy Towels".

Wednesday was just nuts for me. I was on the phone, had one caller holding for me and was trying to fill out paper work on a desk covered in stacks of papers. I slid my candle to the back of the desk to have more room to write and ignited a pile of papers on my desk on fire.

I was calm, cool and collective. While continuing my conversation on the phone with my customer, I calmly said, "Hold just a second sir," and then said, "Doris, could you please assist me for a minute?" as I was holding the phone and flinging burning papers off of my desk, would grab another and blow it out, only for it to reignite. The look on Dorisís face was just priceless. It was a mixture of horror and amazement.

We just began a remodeling project in our office this week. For the next month or so, we are painting, putting in new furniture and new carpet. As Doris was wiping off the charred remains of paper off of my desk she said, "Either remodel or burn the place down, but make up your mind!"

I want to remodel, so they took my candle away from me. Now it smells like burnt fluffy towels in my office.....

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From February 14, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Imagine a government that spoon-feeds it's citizens the information they want them to have, a state that controls the media, controls information about taxpayer funds and how they are spent, government that eventually controls the internet, newspapers, television and radio. It sounds like a communist regime or a bad sci-fi/horror flick, doesn't it?

It might sound like an alarmist's statement, but these things are closer to truth than you think and at least one of these is in the process of becoming reality right here in the state of Kansas.

HB2166 was introduced last week. It is, at best, the state's way of trying to eliminate an independent, proven source of communication that supplies the general public information about local government.

HB2166 gives municipalities, counties and schools an "option" to place these public notices on websites that they would designate as "official publication sources" - an option that would remove the information from the publicís view.

"Why have public notices always appeared in newspapers? It's simple: public notices are meant to be 'noticed.' If you want them to be noticed, you put them where that is most likely to occur," stated Doug Anstaett, Executive Director Kansas Press Association.

This attempt to sanction the placing of public notices on a government website is simply allowing the fox to guard the chicken house. Government should never be in control of its own information. We call that totalitarianism when other countries do it, and it's not a stretch to argue that this bill is a prescription for the worst kind of mischief from government.

Newspapers are the "watchdogs" and "activists" for fair and open government. For hundreds of years newspapers have been the leading source of supplying public notices and safeguarding the public's right-to-know about the actions of our city's, county's, school's and state's actions.

"Newspapers work because they are verifiable, you can't hack them like you can an internet site, they are a permanent record that cannot be altered or lost and they are guaranteed to be accurate by the publisher. In addition, affidavits of publication from newspapers have long been recognized as adequate notice in a court of law. How are you going to be able to guarantee a notice was published online, in a timely fashion and accurately? It can't be done," said Anstaett

It's not the first time that this concept or bill has come up. In fact, I think it's the third or fourth time in recent years. Each time the newspaper community and the general public have put a stop to it. The government waits patiently for complacency and when the time is right, they will pull the wool over our eyes. Lawmakers and some local governments will make the claim that it's all about saving money, but the truth is the average local government spends less than .0005% of its budget publishing notices in newspapers. For example, USD#254ís total budget exceeded $9 million in 2010. The district paid $474 in public notices to this newspaper in that same year. Thatís .00005 of their budget spent notifying the public in our area. Taking that out of their budget would hardly "save" any significant funds.

Giving cities, counties and schools the option of placing their notices on state-run or sponsored websites removes the accountability of government and places the information on potentially hard to navigate sites and removes these legals from the public's eyes and scrutiny of the taxpayers. More than that, many questions arise: who will control the information? how will it be safeguarded and verified? will it be utilized and seen by the majority of the general public? Several more questions will come up.

Each week, the newspaper is printed, mailed, read and recorded for historical purposes. It has been the most reliable source of "hard" information in history and dates back to the birth of our great nation. This bill and these types of actions by our government, in reality, are attempts to eliminate "free" press.

Anstaett fears for the future of small town newspapers.

He said, "In addition, the effect of removing public notices would be devastating to our smaller newspapers. A number of them are hanging on by a thread in today's economy and this would likely spell the end of the road for a number of them. Local newspapers are very important to their communities. We have calculated after discussing this issue with our association members that we would ó conservatively ó stand to lose 50 newspapers in Kansas if public notice income went away. If public notices went away, and with it many newspapers, it would rob the people of Kansas of the information they need to keep an eye on their cities, counties, school districts and other governmental entities."

It's an issue we have and are watching very closely in our industry. Giving government the "option" of accountability is not acceptable in a free nation. Hold your elected officials' feet to the fire. Don't let them remove public notices from newspapers. Budget crunches are not an excuse to hide information from you. You have a right to know.

An "option" for governments to choose internet over newspapers will also give governments an upper-hand when newspapers demand accountability and transparency. Objective, fair reporting could be replaced by timidity and fear of losing important income for many newspapers. A threat of moving these public notices from newspapers to the internet could have a negative influence as to how newspapers report on local governments. It would be strong-arming the media to comply and it is not acceptable or fair to our readers.

This action, if passed, could mean the beginning of the end of the free press. Please contact your local representatives and tell them to stop passage of HB2166.

Two more bills of interest to newspapers and voters were filed Monday by the House Committee on Local Government. One is a good enhancement of both the open records and open meetings act; the other is another attack on public notice and the requirement for publishing certain notices in two or three consecutive weeks, cutting the requirement to one week plus the local government website.

HB 2185 would amend the civil penalties for violating KOMA and KORA to include in those who can bring an action "any person" rather than just the attorney general and county or district attorney. We believe it probably is a bill that won't see the light of day, but it came from a legislator, so it won't hurt to support it. It gives broad power to individuals to pursue KORA and KOMA violations.

The other bill, HB 2189, is a bill designed to reduce the number of consecutive insertions of certain public notices such as for the issuance of bonds, for sheriff's sales, for elections and for delinquent taxes. The bill would reduce those publications to once in the official county newspaper and also on the governmental entity's website.

As you can see, your Kansas legislators are trying to poke holes in a number of statutes on public notices, KORA and KOMA.

Thank you for your support of our newspaper and all of Kansasís newspapers. Kevin Noland, Publisher

KWIBS - From January 31, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Our newspaper turns 20 years old in July of this year.

What reminded me of this event, was a birthday celebrated by a special friend of mine.

Bob Greer, Publisher of the Protection Press, turned 85 on January 20th. He almost forgot another important birthday during that same month, the 25th birthday of his newspaper.

Bob is one of my newspaper heroes. He still hammers out a weekly column in The Press titled "Bobbing Along Broadway". Back in 1986, Bob came to Medicine Lodge with his first edition of The Protection Press. I had the weekly pleasure of printing it on Wednesdays over the next few years until my dad sold the Index in 1990. Bob went into competition with the existing newspaper of 75 years, owned by a large chain. Does that sound familiar? His competition only lasted for a few months before the Protection Post vanished.

Sure, he was a younger, version of himself in 1986, but Bob has managed to keep his wits about him all these years, or kept what little he began with!

Over the past 20 years, Bob has stopped into my office to say "hi", usually monthly, on his way to "check up on his doctor in Wichita." He and his wife Wilma are always welcome visitors, even on the busiest days. He calls me "scooter boy", remembering my love of my Harleys years ago. On his way through, he uses my "facility" and steals a roll of toilet paper - his sense of humor.

Bob started his newspaper up on a wing and a prayer in 1986. He had many years of experience writing and editing, working at several newspapers in Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska.

Bob stated, "Ever since I was a kid of 5-6 years of age, I always wanted to be a newspaper person. I simply am in love with what I do. I am one of the lucky people you will meet: someone who loves what he does. And making big bucks is not one of my priorities."

I think I am a carved out, younger version of Bob Greer (probably a little better looking and more hip too, if you ask me)! Iím blessed to love what I do.

I called Bob just a couple of days before his 85th birthday, as I try to do every year, to tell him I was thinking of him. We talked for a while and he ended his conversation as he always does with, "I love you, old friend", to which I tell him the same.

Bob has been an inspiration to me over the years. Just a little more than 5 years after Bob started The Protection Press, Ronda and I started The Gyp Hill Premiere. Bob has a about 231 more newspapers under his belt than I do. He just printed issue 25, week 52 of The Press. Thatís 1,302 (plus a couple more in the past two weeks). Our number is 1,073 as of this edition.

Bob was recently a featured person on Hatteburgís People. Congratulations to you my old friend. I love you.

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Iíve been spending some time researching my Grandpa Billís newspaper beginnings, as well as my Uncle Garyís and my dad, Ron Nolandís history in the newspaper business.

Although my dad struggles with his speech these days, he lights up when we talk about our newspaper heritage. I asked him when Grandpa started "KWICK KWIBS" this past week. He couldnít tell me, but he gestured that he was very young. My Grandpa Bill bought his first newspaper in 1946. It was the Logan Republican in Logan, KS.

My grandpa continued his columns clear into the early 1970s with The Kinsley Mercury and The Barber County Index.

That "KWICK KWIBS" column spun off into my dadís column called "KWICK KWIBS, Jr." in the early 1970s. In 1988 I remember sneaking into the composing room and replacing a house ad on page two with a column called simply "KWIBS". My dad was not impressed when he got his newspaper in the mail out in Branson, MO. He later relented and let me write my silly column. I continued it even after he sold the newspaper and took it over with me when we started this paper in 1991. Iíve written more than 1,000 since I first started. Guys like Bob Greer and me have "ink running through our veins." We love what we do and the communities we serve. I canít wait until Iím 85 years old and publish my 3,380th issue.....

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From January 17, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Former Editor and band mate David Fasgold and I used to play this silly game called "Shoot it into the sun."

The game was basically this: Anything you didnít like, you could load it on our imaginary rocket ship and shoot it into the sun. The thing you disliked would eventually be burned up and gone forever. We would even occasionally put a person in our imaginary rocket and shoot them into the sun.

Things or people I used to shoot into the sun: Al Sharpton, Barry Manilow, Osama Bin Laden (if we could find him), deadline days at the newspaper, an assortment of grumpy customers, menís pink shirts, sweet 80s mullets and pretty much every Oak Ridge Boys song ever written (Sorry Amy Axline).

I also would take my bills and shoot them into the sun. What could be a better excuse for not paying your electric bill?

"Mr. Noland, we did not receive your August payment for your electric bill."

Me: Oh, that bill.... well, I put that in my rocket and shot it to the sun because I didnít like it.

"Understood Mr. Noland, weíll do much better for you next month."

I thought David and I pretty much had the market cornered on this idea and that one day our plans would come to fruition. Of course this means we would need a cheap way of shooting rockets into the sun and since NASA canít even do that yet, weíre still in a holding pattern.

Last week it was announced that 400 people had volunteered to go on a one-way mission to Mars.

I realize itís not the sun, but itís a start.

I was searching for a nomination form to print several copies off. I had several people in mind for this mission.

Where do I sign people up, I wondered? Then I read "volunteered."

What kind of person would volunteer for a one-way mission to Mars? Well, a man named Peter Greaves has. Greaves is the father of three, and a jack-of-all-trades who started his own motorcycle dispatch company and fixes computers and engines on the side.

"I envision life on Mars to be stunning, frightening, lonely, quite cramped and busy," he told FoxNews.com. "Unlike Earth, I wouldn't be able to sit by a stream or take in the view of nature's wonder, or hug a friend, or breath deeply the sweet smell of fresh air -- but my experience would be so different from all 6 to 7 billion human beings ... that in itself would make up for the things I left behind."

Dear Mr. Greaves,

Congratulations on your decision to join 399 others on a trip to Mars!

Please note: Conditions on the surface of Mars are much closer to habitability than the surface of any other known planet or moon, as seen by the extremely hot and cold temperatures on Mercury, the furnace-hot surface of Venus, or the cryogenic cold of the outer planets and their moons! (Only the cloud tops of Venus are closer in terms of habitability to Earth than Mars is.) Weíve not yet opened up our volunteer department to head to the clouds of Venus.

Thank you so much for volunteering to be shot from a rocket on Earth to Mars. Your trip will take about 8-9 months. Weíll be including all of the entire VHS collection of Mel Brooks movies for your viewing pleasure.

(Notice how I got rid of Mel Brooks and VHS all at the same time?)

In addition to never breathing fresh air again, please also note you will never again eat a steak dinner (at least not one that is from an actual cow or anywhere other than the bagged, dehydrated food we will be sending along). Be advised to dress warmly. The daytime SURFACE temperature is about 80 F during rare summer days, to -200 F at the poles in winter. The AIR temperature, however, rarely gets much above 32 F. On average the highs are expected to be -63įC with a low of -140įC. The lowest temperature ever recorded on Earth was -89.2įC, in Antarctica.

Your telephone calls to home will be a little expensive and involve a 22 minute delay each direction.

Youíll also have to wear a pressure suit and protection from radiation at all times. (Weíll provide you with a way to simply relieve yourself with a device built right into your suit!)

Again, we thank you for your willingness to be one less person on our planet and one of the first to be buried on Mars. We hope your accommodations and possibly short life on Mars will be satisfactory and if they arenít, weíre sorry because you are most likely never coming back.

As we say here at NASA, "donít let the rocket door hit you in the asteroid on your way out!"

Sincerely,

NASA

PS: We also regret to inform you that youíll be traveling with 399 other dudes (sorry no ladies) as based on our recent study (See below).

Six guys are already in a "long journey scenario" going to Mars. These guys are being locked up in a "rocket ship", or in a clubhouse with attractive hardwood floors and are PRETENDING to go to Mars to test the long-term impact of such a journey.

It takes 520 days to go to Mars and back.

"Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

No, weíre not. Weíre only 3 months into this trip. I just told you a month ago how far we were. Shut up David! Watch Blazing Saddles again or look out the opposite window....

Do we really need to do this study? Six men, no women, 520 days. We have something similar to this called PRISON!

These six guys are from a bunch of different countries too and donít even all speak the same language.

These morons are going to emerge in November a year and a half older, with nothing to show for it except an item on their resumes saying, "Most recent employment: Pretended to go to Mars." Yeah, I bet lots of employers are looking for that.

 

KWIBS - From January 10, 2011 - By Kevin Noland

Iím holidazed....

Thatís my new word to start off 2011. Yes, 2011. Wow! We still donít have flying cars. That makes me so mad.

Joey and I took a day off last week to enjoy one final day of his Christmas vacation. We had decided to spend a near fortune on seeing a movie at the new Warren IMAX in Wichita on 21st street. I felt a little violated paying $24 for a movie that originally came out when I was 13-years-old. The movie was Tron. The average price for a movie ticket in 1982 was about $2.50 a person. I think popcorn was still like $10 a bucket though....

When they told me it would be $24 for the two of us to see Tron in 3D on the IMAX, I asked the lady behind the counter if she would take $8 if we just saw it in 1D. She didnít get it.

Nobody seems to have a sense of humor these days.

While in Wichita, we stopped at Walmart before coming home. I had to buy some goofy filter for a humidifier. It was like $10 but all I had was a $100 bill. I handed it to the clerk and she held it up to the light, marked it, gave me the once over and then counted back my change.

As she did this I said, "Wait, stop."

I took each bill she handed me and I held it up to the light.

She asked, "What are you doing?"

I explained that I was examining the money she was giving me to make sure it was real.

She said, "Of course itís real. We already examined it."

I said, "Well, my $100 bill was real and I had already examined it. Obviously, you didnít trust me enough to think I had done that, so why would I trust that the money you are giving back to me is real?"

She sort of glazed over. The people behind me were moaning.

? ? ? ?

On 1-11-11 my grandson Kycen will be 1. I thought this was kind of cool. I think we should celebrate his birthday party at 1:11 p.m.

Happy birthday to my special little guy!

KWIBS - From December 27, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

My brain hurts...

As I poured over the yearís worth of news and determined what would make our year in review and what wouldnít, I couldnít help to marvel at how much "news" there was last year.

Much of the yearís coverage focused on the funding for the countyís two hospitals. Back and forth the commissioners went with the voting public, hospitals and PBC. An offer of $10 million was presented to the hospitals, $6 million is what Medicine Lodge will have to work with. Itís a far cry from the $26.5 million that we voted on not so long ago.

I would have to say that was the most important news story this year. It actually continues to haunt the taxpayers and voters of Barber County. This week a resolution is published for the funding of the hospitals. A new chapter will continue into 2011.

As I have done in the past, I would like to make my nomination for Premiere Person of 2010.

This year I feel the nomination should go to Austin Gilley. Gilley and his family moved here in June and Gilley hit the ground running with many difficult tasks to accomplish with the cityís budget, infrastructure, water rates, cemetery issues and a projected deficit.

He is beginning to turn things around and heís got ideas for the community that will help us grow. He needs the communityís support and appreciation.

Not everyone will be happy with the changes that will come our way. Austin has many projects on his plate and often many who stand willing to criticize and complain and few to complement and encourage him. I want to encourage him.

Iíve had the opportunity to spend several hours working with Mr. Gilley. I can tell you he is sincere in his efforts to help Medicine Lodge. He needs your support in this endeavor. My impression is that he can help this community, if this community is willing to be helped. Show him your support and your support for the city of Medicine Lodge.

And have a great 2011!

 

KWIBS - From December 20, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

As Christmas approaches, I always think about the reason we celebrate this time of year. We celebrate the birth of Jesus. Itís also a time of giving and being thankful for family and friends.

Itís also close to the end of another year in our community. Next week weíll be looking back at our accomplishments and failures for 2010 as we anticipate another flip of the calendar.

We have so much to be grateful for in this community. I want to thank everyone for their support over the past year. We are still in a questionable economic climate. Many people including many businesses have felt the pinch this year. Even though we are all a little tighter than in years past, there is still a spirit of giving and goodness that comes from Medicine Lodge during Christmas time. Take a moment to browse the greetings in our newspaper this week.

Weíre truly blessed to live in a community with so many caring people. We often spend a lot of time grumbling about what is wrong with our community, but during this season, we should look at and be thankful for all that is right with our community.

I hope you take a moment to reflect on your blessings this Christmas season and I hope and pray that Jesus is the reason for your season, as it is mine. - Isaiah 53

Merry Christmas!

Below: My grandson Kycen never knew anyone he didnít like until last Saturday when we took him to see Santa Claus. Oh well, I think Santa will still be good to him this Christmas!

 

KWIBS - From December 13, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

In the newspaper business, you seldom hear when you do something right, but make an error, and everyone will let you know.

Sometimes though you make a whopper. My friend and fellow publisher in Coldwater, KS recently made a great boo-boo on his front page.

Dennise Andersen placed a box on the front left, bottom corner of his newspaper on November 25th that read "Happy Easter". Oops...

I called up and disguised my voice last week and told him I wanted to put an ad in his paper. He said, Iím ready. Go ahead.

I said, Iíd like a small box on the front page around Christmas time that reads "Happy 4th of July." It was quiet for a minute before the cursing and name calling began. Apparently, I did well in disguising my voice, but my sense of humor gave me away. Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From November 29, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

One thing I am always thankful for is Thanksgiving. This year was no different, spending time with family and friends.

We had a dear friend come and spend the holiday with us. Daryl Johnson from Topeka has been grafted into our holiday family. This is our second time spending Thanksgiving with him.

You probably remember Daryl. He was the Superintendent of Schools for USD#254 back in the mid-late 90s. Daryl and his wife Cathy were special people to us and our community. She passed away and Daryl eventually moved back to the Topeka area where he is retired and does some substitute teaching.

Daryl tells me all the time that he has a special place in his heart for Medicine Lodge. It was great seeing him and spending time with him.

? ? ? ?

Medicine Lodge was a busy place the weekend of November 19-21. The Medicine Lodge Area Chamber of Commerce held their annual Christmas Open House and NBCRC held a benefit dodge ball tournament. I attended both and I have to say, I had a great time at both events. Itís fun to see the town getting together and having fun during the holidays and supporting good causes.

? ? ? ?

My 10-month-old grandson is becoming a Ninja. He skillfully knows where and when to hit you to inflict the most pain. My glasses have been the most recent target of his quick hands.

It also amazes me that he went from crawling in an area no bigger than a 10 foot radius, to exploring any and all areas of our home in a matter of weeks. He pulls up on everything that is sturdy enough to support him and if he can move it or pick it up, you can bet it will end up on the floor. This includes candles, cups of water, pictures, plants, etc..

? ? ? ?

With all of the recent controversy on airport security and new security measures being implemented, I ran across this interesting idea.

Here's the solution to all the controversy over full-body scanners at the Airports:

Have a booth that you can step into that will not x-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have on your body. It would be a win-win for everyone, and there would be none of this garbage about racial profiling and this method would eliminate a long and expensive trial.

Justice would be quick and swift.

This is so simple that it's brilliant. I can see it now. You're in the airport terminal and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter an announcement comes over the PA system,

"Attention standby passengers: We now have a seat available on flight number 4665 ....paging maintenance. Shop Vac needed in booth number 4."

? ? ? ?

I read a lot of news copy each week and my mind does strange things with the information I process.

In this weekís issue of the Sheriffís News on page 4, Jesus Montano is reported to have hit a deer on HWY 160. Rumor has it that he got out of the vehicle, found the deer, said, "Be healed," and the deer got up and ran away. Thatís probably just not true.....

? ? ? ?

A lot of times people will take the time to let you know when you are not doing a good job. Seldom does someone take the time to say you are doing a great job.

I thought it should be done this week. Mr. Hanna is the high school band and choir instructor and is rebuilding a program that has declined in numbers and talent over the years. Through football season and most recently at the Christmas Open House on Main Street, Mr. Hanna and his students have shown great promise in their performance.

I want to tell him and his students, GREAT JOB! You guys keep up the good work and we thank you for the great music you are generating.

? ? ? ?

A couple of weeks ago, my oldest son, Joey, went on a little excursion to California. He and Max Zinowsky, John Nixonís AFS student traveled there by invitation from Jim and Cathy Colborn. The Colborns were already in Califonia and invited the boys to fly out for the weekend, share a rental car and a hotel with them and then a flight home.

The boys got to travel the famous 101 from Los Angeles to San Francisco where they finished off their trip with a helicopter tour of the bay area and city.

Joey shared a funny story of how he and Jim Colborn listened to local "rap" talent in the car on the way to San Francisco. Can you imagine Jim Colborn listening to rap music? Itís even harder for me to imagine Jim wanting to spend close to 8 hours in a car with two teenage boys that donít belong to him.

One of the coolest things the boys got to do was stopping to photograph Elephant Seals on the beach. The photos are just amazing and I was so jealous of their trip. Below is a photo that Joey took of Alcatraz. Thank you to Jim and Cathy for bringing him home safely and letting the boys experience the coast!

KWIBS - From November 22, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

My fantasy football team entered Monday nightís game with 7 points for the week. I was playing my evil twin brother, Dr. Ruben Garcia and only had one player left for the evening that needed to put better than 25 points on the board if I had any hope of winning. A nearly impossible feat, I did end up winning, 43-32.

My last guy playing was infamous former Atlanta Falcons Quarter Back Michael Vick. If you remember, Vick plead guilty to illegal dog fighting and spent time in prison and came back to the NFL in 2009.

Now as the Quarter Back for the Philadelphia Eagles, Vick has exploded with talent and a new attitude.

Everyone laughed at me during the 2009 season draft when I picked up Vick. He didnít do much in the 2009 season, but now has emerged as one of the top quarter backs in the league setting a record Monday night with 4 passing touch downs with over 300 yards for the evening against Washington. Adding to that, Vick had 2 touch downs running, for more than 80 yards.

I think Iíll keep him on my team!

KWIBS - From November 8, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

Publisherís note: I in no way am making light of the seriousness of abusing children.

Psalm 127:3-5

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

I spent the past weekend with my children, a son-in-law and my grandson. We spent a total of about 16 hours in the vehicle together. We took our first family vacation together since the last time I said I would never do that again.

So to say, "fill his quiver with them", we did, but my quiver was my Suburban. We set sail from Medicine Lodge late Friday afternoon.

Our mission: To get to Dallas, TX without killing each other, enjoy a football game (hard to do when Dallas is so bad this year), visit family and friends, see the sights and get home (again, without killing each other.)

Itís been 12 years since I have traveled anywhere with a 10 month old baby, but I have to tell you, my grandson was almost a perfect angel. At 10 months, he didnít really have the concept of a "bathroom break" established. Thank God for leakproof diapers and air fresheners.

We made it to our hotel in Dallas on Saturday after spending the night in Oklahoma City. We got up early Sunday and took a shuttle to the Cowboyís Stadium in Arlington and my little Cowboy Kycen experienced his first professional football game.

He was an absolute blast at the game. He cheered no matter who scored or made a penalty. He didnít care. 100,000 people were all there for his enjoyment.

When we got home, I posted some photos on Facebook and the first reply I got was from an old friend from college. He wrote: "Thatís child abuse dressing a helpless baby up in a Cowboyís shirt!"

I know, Cowboys are 1-6 (probably worse after this past weekend), but isnít this little guy the cutest Cowboys fan ever?

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From November 1, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

One of our familyís favorite past times is watching NFL on Sundays.

Once or twice a year, we try to take in a professional football game. Usually, we schedule it around a birthday or two. So, three months ago we bought our tickets for the October 31, Cowboys vs. Jaguars game at the Cowboysí stadium in Arlington, TX.

Now when I say "scheduled around a birthday or two" I mean, Breeann - Oct. 3; me - Oct. 4; Joey - Oct. 28 and Ronda - Nov.3. So, we loaded up the suburban on Friday and ventured to Texas. When I say "we" I mean, me, Ronda, Joey, Nicholas, Breeann, Devin and Baby Kycen. Kycen is a true Cowboys fan. He told me so.

Three years ago when we went to the game, I wore my Tony Romo jersey. The week before the game, he was placed on the injury list with a broken pinky and we didnít get to see him play. Last year, I wore my Jason Witten jersey and he was injured a week before we were to see the game and he didnít play. Monday night, while wearing my Tony Romo jersey again, Romo was taken to the ground by 233 lbs New York Giant Michael Boley, breaking his clavicle on his left shoulder. This will take Romo out of the game for our trip to see the Cowboys, if not for the entire season. Remember when it wasnít cool to wear a Kansas City Chiefs jersey? Thank God those days are behind us for a while.

As of this writing (Thursday, October 28), Iím debating on even wearing a Cowboysí jersey all together. Iím afraid of what it might do to the team, not to mention they are 1-5 and itís sort of getting a little embarrassing with all of the jeers I am receiving.

Part of our trip involved a short visit with Rondaís dad and stepmother. All 9 of us went to the game together on Sunday. We also planned a dinner with my Uncle Gary and Aunt Millie and family who live in Ft. Worth after the game.

Today, Monday, weíre on our way home. My prediction is weíre tired and grumpy. I also predict we had a blast and Iíll probably have some column material for the next weekís edition of The Gyp Hill Premiere.

? ? ? ?

I got to spend a little time with Dennis Blake this week. He and his foster boys are starting a car washing service in the community. The idea is for the kids to earn their own money and for the boys to learn responsibility, respect and to have pride in something they do.

I think itís a brilliant idea and I hope everyone picks up the phone and calls Dennis for an appointment this week. What the Blakes do is short of amazing with these kids. Theyíve had a calling placed on their hearts and they really care about these boys. They washed one of my vehicles Thursday. WOW!

? ? ? ?

In closing this week, Iíd like to wish my beautiful wife a Happy Birthday. Jazz hands baby! I love you. :)

Iíd also like to wish my son Joey a late happy 18th birthday. Happy birthday buddy!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From October 25, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

Will return.....

KWIBS - From October 18, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

This column will be unpopular. Try not to judge me or my motives when reading. Try to keep an open mind.

A couple of issues I am watching November 2nd are liquor by the drink and the referendum to the Kansas Constitution concerning the right to bear arms for individuals.

First: Donít get me wrong, Iím not advocating drinking and driving or promoting any abuse of alcohol when I say I support liquor by the drink. Iíve seen firsthand the devastation that alcohol can cause in families.

This issue isnít about that. This issue is about lost tax revenues by Barber County to surrounding counties when people who do drink decide to take their business elsewhere during construction, harvest and other times when work comes to our community.

Itís true, we send thousands upon thousands of dollars out of our community because we have a membership type status in Barber County concerning purchasing alcohol at a restaurant or club. I would also argue against the fact that liquor by the drink makes it easier for someone to have access to alcohol. Any liquor store or convenience store offers a cheaper and quicker purchase of liquor in our county. Those wanting or choosing to have an alcoholic beverage at a "bar or club" environment look for places that donít force a membership or waiting period and thatís why our hotels, restaurants, convenience stores and other local businesses, including our city and county governments, lose out to Pratt during a migration of workers during times like harvest and the recent construction of the windmills.

The tax money that could be generated from liquor by the drink could stay here and help keep your property taxes lower and help to keep people employed in our communities in Barber County. You could even make the argument that it keeps people off of the highway and in town. As unpopular or misunderstood as the issue might be, I support keeping tax money in Barber County and benefiting local businesses in the process.

Mikeís Sports Bar has raised thousands of dollars for local groups and organizations in the past through fund-raising events at his sports bar. He recently had to stop because of this outdated law in our county. Thatís only one example of how this law has hurt Medicine Lodge and Barber County.

My liberal anti-gun friend should be sending me an email at any moment........

KANSAS: Vote YES on 1 November 2nd! A 1905 ruling from the Kansas Supreme Court interpreted Section 4 of the Kansas Constitution to mean that the Right to Keep and Bear Arms only exists as a collective right for those in the militia or military and no individual right exists. For that reason, the NRA has worked with the Kansas State Rifle Association, Senator Mike Petersen and the legislature, to pass a Constitutional Amendment during the 2009 legislative session, which provides new language that clarifies Section 4 and guarantees an individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms. The language reads: "A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, for lawful hunting and recreational use, and for any other lawful purpose." Our elected officials have done law-abiding Kansans a tremendous service by passing this landmark Constitutional Amendment. Now it is up to YOU to do your part on November 2, 2010 and vote this provision into the Kansas Constitution.

Have a great week

 

KWIBS - From October 11, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

Last week started out poorly for many business owners on Main Street. With seven businesses being broken into in one night, the townís business district was lacking in the moral department. I had spoken with many of the victims of the senseless break-ins and vandalism and all of them felt very violated.

Most had feared the worst. They feared someone local was responsible for the cowardly acts. Later in the week, we learned that it was a random act of theft and vandalism committed by someone from outside our community and the town took a collective sigh of relief. However, it doesnít change the fact that our community took a pretty hard hit last week.

The hardest hit was Cecil Newman and Home Lumber & Supply. It made me angry to see the mess that was left behind and how someone could hurt someone I consider a friend.

I know many who are very grateful for the hard work that local law enforcement have done in cooperation with other jurisdictions. The work was quick and professional. I would like to personally thank Chief Brian Miller for keeping the newspaper informed of the progress made in the investigation. Kudos to MLPD and Pratt PD for their work in solving the crimes.

We as a community now ask for justice to be served out to those who would steal and damage property from our cityís businesses and residents.

Iíll echo Bob Stutler: "We have a right to demand aggressive prosecution."

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From October 4, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

It chaps me a little, but I do understand.

I got a notice for the paper from City Administrator Austin Gilley last week about the upcoming city wide clean up days that are to be held October 18-22.

What frustrated me was the cityís exclusion of commercial properties. The clean up will be for residential properties only.

Iíll be the first to admit that I have used and abused the city wide clean up days in the past, but itís always been a great opportunity to get rid of unwanted chairs, broken desks and various other uncollectible items that our office accumulates over the year.

To solidify my frustration of exclusion, our "commercial property" produces less trash and uses less water than your average resident, yet pays a higher price for the service. Commercial properties are also the ones generally producing tax revenues for the City of Medicine Lodge. And to top that, many people use the back alleys of local businesses to dump their unwanted items in our trash dumpsters or leave big items behind our stores for us to pay to have removed.

One year during clean up days someone dumped a couch behind our office that remained there for weeks because they missed our trash pick up and the city refused to haul it off. I hauled it off at my expense. To this day, there are still items that were dumped off at our office for the last city wide clean up day in the spring that the city did not remove. I had intended on just leaving those items there for this round of pick up, but now I might have to haul them to some unsuspecting residential property to get it hauled off!

In my frustration, I picked up the phone and called city hall on Tuesday morning. Austin wasnít in, but City Clerk Kandi Simmons explained to me that the council had approved Austinís rules for the upcoming clean up.

So I decided to vent to my very-most-favorite council member - Norm Clouse. Poor Norm. He always gets an earful from me whether he wants one or not.

Hopefully Norm wonít kill me for saying this, but being completely honest he stated he didnít like the program at all explaining, "It costs the city a lot of money, time and resources."

I appreciate his honesty, but still think it should be an "all or none" program. I hope my column wonít result in the city pulling the plug on clean up days. It has been a great benefit to the residents, as well as the businesses, of Medicine Lodge over the years.

In closing, I would like to thank the city crew and the city council for providing this service. The city guys work their tails off trying to stay head of the game. They do this extra hauling in addition to their normal duties and we give them little to no credit for the hard work they do keeping our city up and running.

In a time of budget crunching, I realize that providing certain services are difficult for the city. I would suggest that maybe the city consider a special week of clean up for commercial properties.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From September 27, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

On October 3rd, 1989, with just 23 minutes left in the day, my little baby girl was born. When the clock struck midnight, I turned 20 years old and she has been the greatest birthday gift I could have ever asked for every year.

On Sunday of this week, sheíll be 21 years old.

Sheís now a mother and a wife, but sheíll always be my little girl.

Happy 21st Birthday, Breeann. We love you and weíre proud of you!

KWIBS - From September 20, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

I wish I could say that it was completely out of character for me to take a risk like this, but nobody that knows me would agree.

Early morning, Friday, September 10, I cruised out to the airport to check out the powered parachute group that was in town for the weekend.

I made my way over to a guy who looked friendly enough and stuck out my hand and said, "Hi, Iím Kevin Noland, Publisher of The Gyp Hill Premiere."

I proceded to take some notes and pictures of his PPC contraption. Somewhere between my introduction and my leaving, Mr. Terry Clarkson had used his hypnotic powers to convince me to get into one of these contraptions and fly with him that evening. As I got into my truck for the ride back to town, I was both excited and frightened that I had agreed to come back at 6 p.m. that night with my camera in tow to go up 500 feet above town and shoot some pictures before the football game.

I had a hard time concentrating on my duties on Friday. I finally left work at 4 p.m. and went home to "relax" for a moment before coming back to fly with Terry. I found myself putting things in order at my house like I was never to return.

What was I thinking? I guess I wasnít. Iíve always been that person who just couldnít say "No, thank you."

Before I knew it I was on my way to town and at the airport at 6 p.m. My son, Joey, came to video my first and hopefully not last flight.

He must have thought I wouldnít have showed up. Terryís first words to me were, "You made it!" and "Donít worry, Iíve only killed three other people in this thing!"

I chuckled nervously and put on my helmet to test the communications equipment out. I could hear him and he could hear me. Good, I thought. Because I wanted him to hear me clearly when I screamed like a little girl.

Preflight was interesting. Terry examined his machine from all angles and unpacked his parachute. I have a kite made of the same material. I too closely examined every string that connected it to the frame of this contraption. The frame of one of these aircrafts closely resembles a backyard aluminum swing set with wheel barrow style tires attached to it. Included in the middle is a plastic lawn chair for your comfort. A five point harness straps you in.

I jokingly asked, "The seat belt is so your body stays with the wreckage in the event of a crash, right?" He laughed and told me that this was his first flight in this or any other machine like it.

Terry buckled me in and I felt like a 195 lb. infant being strapped into an amusement park ride. As the sweat poured off of my head (because the helmet was hot), I said a little prayer before he fired up the motor powering what looked like a giant box fan bolted to the back of the swing set.

"Are your dental records up to date," he asked?

Before I could say yes, the fan drowned out my words (screams) and we were moving forward, dragging his pretty multicolored parachute behind us.

He looked up and I looked up too to see that the parachute was now directly over us and inflated. We slowed down a bit and then gently lifted off the ground. I took a picture of my family waving at me nervously from the runway in front of the hangers. I figured if they found the camera on the ground and went through the pictures, they would see who I belonged to. Joey was taking a record of my departure with his video camera. I thought to myself, "I hope they arenít playing this video at my upcoming funeral."

Within a short period of time we were in the air. My first order of business was to ask Terry when I could remove my seat belt and get up and roam the cabin, maybe take a bathroom break.

"Sorry, this is an economy flight," he replied over my headset.

I noticed that Terryís hands were free and he was snapping pictures out of both sides of our flying swing set.

My first thoughts were to scream at him, "Keep your hands on the steering wheel man!" Then I remembered he was flying with his feet. Going up and down was as easy as increasing the throttle to his right.

"Here, give it a try," he said. He explained that there was a throttle control to my right as well and this was a training machine to teach people how to fly PPC.

I told Terry that I wasnít qualified to fly this thing and he said, "Neither am I!"

In order to fly I had to release the death grip I had on the frame with at least one hand. I talked myself into letting go with my right hand and grabbed the throttle.

Hmm... It really was easy!

I was loosening up by this time and had let go with my left hand too and the blood flow was returning to my fingers. I wasnít roaming the cabin freely, but I was at least able to grab my camera and start shooting some photos.

We flew over the entire town and even did our own touchdown in the newer part of the cemetery plot behind the high school football field.

"Please donít let us crash here," I prayed to God. "Oh, the irony...."

We bounced gently off the ground and were airborne again within seconds.

We flew over the football game and then near the water tower, which was an interesting perspective at that height. Returning to the airport, I looked down and saw my daughter and her husband in their driveway. They were waving and I waved back. I could see the drive in and before I knew it, we were circling the airport again.

"Iím going to show you how safe these things really are," Terry said. "Iím going to shut off the engine and show you what itís like to have a mid-air stall."

What? We were at about 500 feet.

"NO, thatís really not necessary," I said. Before I could get my sentence completely out, it was dead silent (no pun intended). All I could hear was air rushing in to my helmet. Terry had shut the engine off. It was peaceful and quite. We were floating. We were also falling, but mostly floating.

"You see," he exclaimed. "We can just float down and land from here."

He fired up the engine and our fall slowed to a hover above the ground as we skipped across the grass field.

I was ready for a bathroom break at this point. I was glad to have had the experience and was glad when we were back on solid ground.

I want to thank Terry and his friends for choosing Medicine Lodge for their fly-in and thank him for giving me the experience of a lifetime!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From September 13, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

Even though Monday was Labor Day, I got up early and drove to town to go to work. I was actually excited about the fact I had to work. The brand new Premiere was printed and delivered to my office and despite the fact I built the paper days prior and knew everything in it, I wanted to get a copy and see it for myself.

I was really excited to see what a fantastic job the Hutchinson News printing plant did on the Premiere.

Then suddenly, I got this sick feeling in my gut and thought, "What will I do to top this next week?"

Most of you donít realize that it took three times longer to lay out last weekís newspaper than in weeks past. Changing the format really "ate my lunch", so to speak. I was worn out and tired from the conversion. My head hurt and my mostly sleepless nights were filled in periodically by dreams of screwing something up with the newspaper.

Backing up to Saturday... I spent the morning wrapping up the sports pages and doing corrections. At noon I was ready for my first file transfer to the Hutchinson News servers. I believed it was a success and went home to enjoy the warm weather and lake with my family.

At about 5 p.m. I got a phone call from their computer tech. Nick Hemphill told me that everything looked good, but the photos were all in a very low resolution and wouldnít print well.

I gathered myself up and went to town Saturday night where I spent an hour readjusting photos and uploading them. By dusk, I was given the "all clear". It was in the printersí hands.

So I was very excited about the finished project. I was sitting in my office on Monday without a clue how to follow up the previous edition. Keep in mind, Iíve done this for more than two decades, but for some reason the 1878 story about The Barber County Mail Editor Cochran came to the front of my thoughts.

Legend has it that Cochran put out at least one good edition of The Barber County Mail, before letting his work slide. One of the stories I was told years ago was that Cochran put out his newspaper, to which the town was thrilled with itís stories and advertisements.

He took their complements, let them buy him rounds at the local saloon and kept on partying until deadline of the next week. It was then he realized that he had nothing for the upcoming paper. So I was told that Cochran rearranged some type and stories and put out virtually the same issue as the previous week.

Tom McNeal tells a slightly different story.

"In the early part of the year 1878 a man by the name of Cochran concluded that there was a field for a newspaper in the frontier town of Medicine Lodge. He purchased a Washington hand press from McElroy of the Humboldt Union, together with a couple of racks, a few cases, a well worn font of long primer type and another font of brevier, a few job fonts for advertising purposes, moved the outfit to Medicine and commenced the publication of the Barber County Mail. Possibly Cochran concluded that it didnít make much difference what kind of a paper was published in that kind of a town, or possibly he didnít know how to keep the worn type clean and a decent Ďimpressioní on the Washington hand press, but whatever the reason, the fact was that the paper was generally unreadable. Cochran was a man of fair ability with a rather catchy style of writing, but a good many of his local and editorial observations were lost because it was impossible to read what he had printed. Whether it was the poor print of the paper or the flirtatious disposition of the editor that caused him to become unpopular, I am unable to say, but the fact was that before his first year in the town had expired a number of residents gathered together and decided that he must depart thence in haste and with a promise never to return.

It was also decided that there must be meted out to him punishment commensurate with his offending, and on a decidedly cool night in the month of February, 1879, the regulators took the editor from his humble office, stripped him of his clothing and then administered a punishment which I think was entirely unique and unprecedented in the treatment of editors. There was no tar in the town and not a feather bed to be opened, but an enterprising settler had brought in a sorghum molasses mill the year before and as sorghum generally grew well there, had manufactured a crop into thick, ropy molasses. Owing to the cold weather the molasses was thicker and ropier than usual. The regulators secured a gallon of this, mixed it well with sandburs, which grew with great luxuriance in the sandy bottom of the Medicine, and administered this mixture liberally to the nude person of the editor. I do not need to tell my readers who are familiar with the nature of the sandbur, that it is an unpleasant vegetable to have attached to oneís person. Clothed with this unwelcome covering of sandburs and sweetness, Cochran was elevated upon a cedar rail and carried about on the shoulders of the self-appointed regulators. He privately acknowledged afterward that while this was an elevation and distinction such as no other editor perhaps had ever received, he would personally rather have remained a private and humble citizen on foot. After carrying the shivering and besmeared editor about to their heartsí content, occasionally adding to his general discomfort by bouncing him up and down on the rough and splintered corner of the rail, the regulators told him that he must leave town within twenty-four hours, and never show his face or form there again.

There were other citizens of the town, among them a brother of mine, who, while not particularly enamored with Cochran or his style of journalism, felt that his morals would at least average up with those of his persecutors. They also organized, armed themselves with such weapons as were convenient, and told the editor that he could remain as long as he wished and they would be responsible for his safety. Cochran expressed his appreciation of their kindness, but confessed to them that the atmosphere of the town did not seem salubrious or congenial to him and if they would arrange to purchase his paper and outfit he would seek other climes where it was not the habit to decorate editors with sandburs and sorghum molasses. His proposition was accepted by my brother and his brother-in-law, E. W. Iliff; the Barber County Mail slept the sleep that knows no waking and a new paper, the Medicine Lodge Cresset, was born.

Whichever story is true is debatable. Iím very grateful for all of the kind comments about the new look for the paper. Iím also thankful that the town is not out purchasing large quantities of molasses intended for my demise. At least as of yet!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From September 6, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

Many things in the newspaper printing business have changed since the first printing press was made. Heck, itís changed a lot since Iíve been alive.

Now I am not this old, but as early as 1041, movable clay type was invented in China.

Johannes Gutenberg, a goldsmith and businessman from the mining town of Mainz in southern Germany, borrowed money to invent a technology that changed the world of printing. Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press with replaceable/moveable wooden or metal letters in 1436.

By the 20th century, many advancements were made in printing including the web press, cold set printing and 4 color process printing.

With all of the advancements in the commercial printing business, many small town papers still use technology that first came to the area in the 1950s.

My Grandfather Bill Noland was an innovative risk taker that worked part time hand setting type after school in Mullinville, KS in the 1930s. This work sparked his interest in the newspaper business that now is in its third generation.

After high school, Bill left Mullinville to attend college at Pittsburg, KS. He continued in his interests and studied linotype.

In 1947 my Grandpa Bill and Grandma Ethelyn bought their first newspaper in Logan, Kansas.

By 1958 an opportunity arose and my grandparents purchased a weekly newspaper in Kinsley, KS called The Kinsley Mercury. In 1967 they purchased the Barber County Index.

In the spring of 1967 The Barber County Index was one of the first newspapers in Kansas to place a web press in their shop. After three months the newspaper was completely converted to web. The linotype days were over.

I grew up in the printing business. I know the lingo and can still recall how to operate a Goss Community Press, such as my family owned for 30 plus years.

In 1991 Ronda and I started The Gyp Hill Premiere out of our living room. We quickly moved into a shop on Washington Street and later to our home on Main Street.

We generally printed black ink on white paper, with an occasional spot color throughout the 20 years of this newspaper.

So much has changed since those early days of webpress printing from my grandparentís and dadís print shop.

This week weíve unveiled our new broadsheet format. As a result of the retirement of Sam Clester of the Belle Plaine Printing Company, weíve begun printing our newspaper in Hutchinson, KS with The Hutch News. With this new relationship, we are now able to more easily and affordably provide our readers with full color.

Ronda and I took a tour of the printing facility two weeks ago and I have to say we were impressed. We used to print to paper and then it went to camera and then burned to plate and then to press. Now we will print to file and directly to plate and on to the press. The process offers much higher quality photos to be reproduced without as much "loss" in reproduction.

When we first entered The Hutchinson News offices, we were greeted by aon old Linotype typesetting machine in the lobby.

For years, we had one of these machines sitting in our warehouse. When I was young I used to pretend it was a robot!

A fast Linotype operator might have been able to type 14-16 lines per minute.The machine weighed more than a 1000 lbs and had many moving parts that could have easily taken a finger off in a flash. Along with the moving parts was a boiling pot of hot molten lead! Lead was supplied in "pigs" which were long ingots of lead weighing about 22 pounds each. They had an eye in one end from which they were suspended by a hook and chain above the melting pot. As the level in the pot went down, the pig would be lowered a bit by the chain to keep the level of molten lead constant. The eyes had a gap in them. When the pig went all the way into the lead and the eye melted at the bottom, the two sides would fall into the pot and the chain would rapidly zip up to the top on a counterweight letting the operator know it was time to hang another pig.

This machine was not the user friendly device we now have in the modern day PC.

In fact, this dangerous process nearly killed my Grandpa Bill Noland. He was severely burned on his legs from an accident where this molten lead spilled on him. He endured several painful months of rehabilitation and skin grafting by an accident caused by this printing process.

Terms such as slug (a line of lead), chase, quoin, turtle, Linotype, and even hellboxóexcept for what youíre readingóare never heard in the printing shop anymore, but I can still remember some of them. I even have a few pigs laying around the office somewhere.

Shortly after the demise of the Linotype, "cold set" printing came into being. We had giant machines that set line type that were called Compugraphic typesetting computers. These things were probably 500 pounds and could display about one line of copy at a time. The copy came out in film strips that we would wax up and paste on pages.

When we started our paper back in 1991, we had been away from the Compugraphic machines for nearly a decade. We were in the "modern day" computer age. Still very primitively, we set type on paper instead of film to be waxed up and pasted on pages.

In 1994 we converted everything to full pagination. To this day we set the entire newspaper up on computer. As of last week, we printed each page out on one single sheet of paper.

Now I just see the newspaper on the screen and when it is all done, I send it to a file and an FTP site across the internet.

I think itís neat that I have now been alive long enough to see the complete evolution of newspaper web printing. I can only imagine what the future holds for print. My guess would be a completely digital format. I believe that will be the case in my lifetime.

We hope you enjoy the new format. I would like to thank Nick Hemphill, Greg Jerauld and Gregg Beals of the Hutchinson News for helping us with this conversion. I appreciate all of the help of my staff and family too.

Iím sure the newspaper will evolve much over the next few months as we implement new software and technology. Bear with us as we make these changes and thank you all for your support!

In closing, donít expect my columns to be this long and informing! Iíll soon return to some bizarre subject matter that will leave you scratching your head.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From August 30, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

I got a call from an old friend last Saturday evening. Brent Shaw was in town. His grandmother had passed away and he and his sister April flew in from Phoenix, Arizona to be with their parents Connie and Dean Shaw and attend her funeral.

Brent is a Lieutenant with the Phoenix Police Department. Brent and I have kept in touch since high school. Ten years ago he even met up with me at the airport in Phoenix during a layover to San Diego.

Over the years, we have met up with Brent and his wife Tracey at any given chance that they were in Wichita to see family. It had been a few years since we had last hooked up.

Brent knew it was short notice, but wondered if I had the time to come to Wichita for a visit before he flew home on Monday. It was a request I was happy to satisfy and I needed to come to Wichita anyway to find a guy who had skipped bond on me a month ago. I asked Brent if he would be interested in having lunch and helping me find my guy and he was more than willing to accommodate!

We had lunch on Sunday afternoon and caught up. After our lunch we met up with three Wichita Police officers in a parking lot next to Dillons on South Broadway, a lovely neighborhood....

Brent and I had driven past my defendantís house and saw his car in the driveway. We devised a plan to catch him and as we were discussing this plan with the local police, my guy drove past the parking lot where we were gathered! The Wichita PD was awesome to work with. They were quick to pull my guy over and allowed me to take him, without question, back to Pratt County where his warrant was from.

I got to spend the day with a great old friend and caught a guy who had been causing me a little stress for the past month.

Brent will probably be reading this to his guys he works with in Phoenix.

Thanks for the good time Brent!

? ? ? ?

This is the final week of tabloid format for The Gyp Hill Premiere. Next week, weíll have a brand new look. Weíll go back to a full broadsheet format and will be printing in full color on at least the front and back. Many times throughout the year, weíll have some special full color runs on the inside pages. .

If you are keeping up on my columns, after 19 years of printing in Belle Plaine, KS, our new printing home will be the Hutchinson News. Early in the week Nick Hemphil, The Hutch Newsí IT person, came to Medicine Lodge to help me with some of the conversion.

I had always believed our newspaper was pretty up to date on technology, but quickly learned that we were very out of date on our software and were not compatible with much of the new "print to plate" technology. After 5 grueling hours, we determined that our software and the Hutch Newsí software were slightly incompatible. This means weíre going to be upgrading equipment and software over the coming weeks as well.

On Tuesday, by invitation, Ronda and I went to the Hutch News printing facility and met their production manager, Gregg Beals and Nick Hemphil. They gave us a tour of their state of the art printing plant. Iíve been out of the web press printing business for about 22 years now. There have been a lot of changes in the industry. I was very impressed with their operations.

Our newspaper will actually go to prepress at 8 p.m. on Saturday evenings and will be printed after the Hutch Newsís Sunday edition, sometime around 2-4 a.m. on Sunday morning. The paper will be delivered early Monday at around 3 a.m. Ellis Mayfield will then have the paper in the stores early Monday morning and with luck, in many of your local mail boxes. Those details have yet to be hammered out.

Please bear with us during this change. We may have a few mailing hiccups, but weíll get it straightened out quickly!

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From August 30, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

I have to admit, Iíve had a few moments in my life where I wanted to act just like Steven Slater did two weeks ago.

In case your TV is broken, Slater is the jetBlue flight attendant whose meltdown on the tarmac at JFK after a flight from Pittsburgh Monday, August 9th has made him a folk hero in recent days.

Slater became an overnight celebrity when he cursed out a passenger on the planeís intercom system, grabbed two beers and popped the emergency slide to dramatically quit his jetBlue job.

Undoubtedly the coolest way to quit your job ever, weíve all wanted to take a turn down that slide (under ideal circumstances of course). But to grab two beers on the way out? Simply classic. The ultimate "Take This Job And Shove It" moment.

Upon exiting the plane, with a prelude of cursing Slater said, "I've been in this business 28 years and I've had it."

In just under a week after quitting his job, Slater has been photographed hanging out on the beach, met Barry Manilow and has even been offered his own reality TV show. All this for a guy who flipped out after asking a passenger to sit down (the passenger cursed him out first). Then he was struck in the head by a falling carry on bag.

Slater even has a celebrity fan page with more than 211,000 fans. Groups like "Free Steven Slater" popped up on the web within minutes of the news.

So, is he a hero or a jerk?

Don't misunderstand me. What Steven Slater did was wrong. Very wrong. And he's probably made himself unemployable in his chosen trade as flight attendant or about any job other than clerk at the DMV for that matter.

We all have bad days at the office.

Nobody should "go postal" as the old saying goes. If nothing else, the incident should be a reminder to cranky airline passengers that flight attendants are people, too, with problems of their own. Just because they're the public face of the airline doesn't mean your bumpy flight is their fault. So stay in the upright position and keep the skies friendly.

That goes for dealing with people in about every aspect of life. I canít count the number of times over the past 20 years that people have come into my office to rip my butt about misspelling their names, not getting their paper in a timely fashion or even to just complain about the fact I put my own kidís picture in the paper.

The world would be a better place if we could all just treat each other with kindness and respect. When you donít treat people with kindness and respect, donít be surprised if you run into a "Slater" or two.

Iíve often times wanted to make a public announcement, pull the emergency slide, grab two beers and jump.

? ? ? ?

In just two short weeks, The Gyp Hill Premiere will undergo a huge transformation. Weíll be printing our last tabloid edition on August 30th. This is a great opportunity for you to go out with all of your friends and buy up every last edition to keep as a collectorís item!

Starting Monday, September 6th, weíll publish our first broadsheet on 22" newsprint. Weíre planning a full 4-color front and back page to kick off the new format.

As I stated last week, our printer of 20 years is retiring at the end of the month. With Belle Plaine Printing closing shop, we were forced to find a new home to print the newspaper. Weíve made arrangements with The Hutchinson News to do our printing and with this comes some new opportunities that we are very excited about.

I walked to the back room where we store our archives and looked back at the 10 years of tabloid editions weíve published. Our newspaper originally published as a 32" broadsheet back in 1991. We published on that format until the year 2000 and then we switched to an 11.5" wide tabloid. The new format will measure the same width, only weíll be 22" tall. Currently we are 15" tall. That means youíll have to look at an additional 7 inches per page when reading the new Premiere!

Youíre looking at your paper thinking about that right now arenít you? Go get a yard stick.

Have a great week!

 

 

KWIBS - From August 16, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

When I was 13 years old, Sam Clester was the most towering human I had ever met. Standing better than 6í5" to my 5í frame and carrying close to 300 lbs, he was a giant.

Even though imposing, he had a fun nature and gentle goofiness about him that made me love to buck paper for him.

Yes, I bucked paper. At the time, most kids my age were bucking bales. Yeah, they were tough throwing those 50lb. bales around, but that was minuscule in task compared to bucking paper.

Our paper truck came every few months. When I say truck, I mean semi truck. When I say paper, I am referring to rolls of newsprint that weighed at minimum 998 lbs.

These rolls had to be maneuvered into our building, lined up and lifted on to other rolls in our warehouse with the aid of a roll lift and chain hoist. It was hard work.

Sam would sometimes buy part of our load. He was the owner of The Belle Plaine News and owned the print shop there.

My first encounter with Sam came when my dad told me to help Sam load some rolls up in his truck. I used a small piece of wood scrapped paneling that we referred to as a "cheat" to spin the rolls. At 100 lbs., dripping wet, it was all I could do to spin one of these rolls 20 degrees at a time with a butt-bump.

"Here now, let me show you how to do this," Sam said.

He grabbed that roll of paper and spun it 90 degrees with one shove and no cheat. I was impressed and always remembered this giant from Belle Plaine who could easily handle a 1000 lb. roll of paper in our warehouse.

Seven years later, I was married with a kid and my wife and I were starting our very own newspaper. I needed a place to print my newspaper and called Sam Clester up. He was eager for my business and we agreed to print at his plant in Belle Plaine the second weekend of July in 1991.

Our friendship has been solidified in ink, so to say. Weíve done many hours of bsíing back and forth and Iíve seen Samís business grow over the years to the point of him selling off his newspaper businesses and simply becoming a "printer" of newspapers around the area. Heís gone through at least a half-dozen pressman over the years. I even worked for him for one day as a pressman while his pressman was on vacation. Although I had much experience with web press and sheet fed printing over the years, I had never printed on a News King or a Color King. Sam assured me that it was like, "Riding someone elseís bicycle." I had enough ego to give it a shot.

The agreement was that I could have my paper for free that week, if I printed for him while his pressman was on vacation. I got a quick tutorial on the press one day the previous week and then I was standing in front of this machine the following Monday.

If running this press was like riding my friendís bicycle, then this was like a unicycle with one pedal and no seat. It kicked my butt.

After wasting more papers than I needed for my customers, and barely printing one legible copy of The Gyp Hill Premiere that week, I was a nervous wreck.

For some reason, many small towns had a bar not far from the newspaper office. Belle Plaine had one just to the south and Sam took me there. I had just barely turned 21. I had a few drinks and put an end to our "free papers for printing" deal. I was out of my league.

Sam understood and let me off the hook. He even discounted my shabby print job that week. I went home with my tail between my legs and we never talked about it again until last Saturday.

Ronda and I were on our way to Wichita when my phone rang. It was Sam.

Sam usually only calls when thereís bad news. Things like: the press is broke down or Iím behind on my printing bill. He wanted to eat lunch and talk face to face. When I hung up the phone, I turned to Ronda and asked, "Are we behind on our printing bill?" We werenít.

Sam met us for lunch and explained that he was selling off his printing business and retiring. Iím not surprised by his decision. Iím now close to the same age that Sam was when we first met. Iíve known him for almost 27 years now.

He was one of the people who helped me start the newspaper more than 1000 press runs and close to 20 years ago. Iíve trusted him and his staff to provide our town with a finished product for all of these years and in two press runs after this paper, it will come to an end. Heís never let me down and heís been there when the times were tough. There were times in the history of this newspaper, that if it werenít for Samís generosity and patience, we might not have made it.

I thanked Sam in person and on the phone this week, but wanted to print my gratefulness in ink, this one last time - with Samís ink and paper.

Sam told me that I had courage for going up against the big boys of the newspaper industry and starting The Gyp Hill Premiere years ago. I told him I was just too young and simply too stupid to know better.

He said, "I guess thereís a fine line between courage and stupidity." I agree, but Sam has had the courage to stick it out for all these years and weíll never forget his help and will always call him a friend.

Starting Monday, September 6, we will be changing to a new format and printing with The Hutchinson News. On most Mondays, the newspaper will actually be delivered earlier than normal. If all goes as planned, youíll notice some big and exciting changes for our little townís newspaper.

Have a great week!

- 30 -

 

KWIBS - From August 9, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

As I wrote last week, Joey and Nick Gaertner returned from New York City after a week-long adventure.

The kids had a great time and took some amazing photos.

We looked through a thousand photos last week and weíve decided that Ronda and I should take a trip to New York someday.

Iím proud of you Joey and Iím glad you got to go on such an awesome summer trip.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From August 2, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

At about the time this newspaper comes out, I'll be heading to Wichita to pick up my son from the airport.

Call me a bad parent or consider me for father of the year, but I let my 17-year-old son travel to New York City with a friend for a week long adventure.

The trip was completely planned by my son Joey and his 19-year-old friend Soeren Niklas Gaertner of Germany. Many of you will remember Gaertner as the 2007-2008 AFS student that lived with John Nixon. Nick, as I'll refer to him, came back for a visit this summer, spending 6 weeks here between his last year of high school and his first year of college. He'll be moving to Holland to attend school in a week from now.

Upon learning that Nick would be traveling to see New York City, Joey became interested in seeing the city himself. At first there was protest from my wife, but she came around and they finalized their plans a couple of weeks ago.

Joey paid for the trip with his own hard earned money. He's an industrious young man who saves his money for such an event or to satisfy his fetish for electronics. I'm sure he's broke now..... He's also no stanger to traveling. Two years ago he went to Mexico wtih a local church group. Over Christmas break he toured Washington, D.C. He's been the most adventurous of all of our children. He's even considering a month in Europe after his graduation in the spring from MLHS to visit John Nixon's three former AFS students.

I took the boys to the airport and listened to them as they formed their "bucket list" for their trip. It included the John Lennon Memorial. Joey is a huge Beatles fan. It also included Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, The U.N. Headquarters, The Brooklyn Bridge, St. Paul's Cathedral, Madison Square Garden, two famous art museums, Times Square, China Town, Little Italy and the list went on and on. I couldn't believe the journey these two kids were about to take.

Their flight left at 6 a.m. from Wichita and they arrived safely in New York shortly before noon. On their first day in New York, they conquered the subway, went to the Hard Rock Cafe and then stumbled on to a Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers concert at Madison Square Garden. Tom Petty is one of our favorite musicians and Ronda and I were extremely jealous of their good fortune. They bought tickets from a scalper and saw the sold out concert. Their trip back to their hotel was literally a 10 minute walk.

As scared as I was to send my son/monkey to the concrete jungle, I thought about how much this trip will shape his future. The confidence he gained and the experience he's had will last a life time. I'm grateful to Nick for his guidance and travel experience and for helping Joey see so much on this trip and thanking God for their safe return to Kansas.

KWIBS - From July 26, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

 Our Aunt and Uncle, Greg and Debra Alexander from Mulvane, KS were here this week doing some fishing, kayaking and swimming.

Thursday afternoon they stopped in the office to show us Gregís boo-boo. While fishing he caught more than just a fish. He ran a hook through his finger which resulted in a trip to our local emergency room.

Greg admitted that our ER facilities were lacking, but made a comment that echos with almost anyone who is fortunate/unfortunate enough to end up there. Greg said that, "Iíve never had that kind of attention before from hospital staff."

Thatís what has always made MLMH a great place to be when you need health care.

Two weeks ago we had our grandmother in the hospital, twice in just a week. The hospital was completely full. The staff was busy, working in tight spaces in their ER, but they performed flawlessly in spite of the things that are needed for their facility.

I thought about what kind of message our community has sent them over the past two years as weíve waited for the funding that was voted on back in 2008. If your voice wasnít heard then now is the time for action.

Itís just one of many issues in our county to consider, but because theyíve always been there for us, we should be there for them on August 3rd.

KWIBS - From July 19, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

Len Gratteri and Rod Cook were in Medicine Lodge on Tuesday, July 13 at the Lincoln Library to promote their book: William Sherod Robinson, Alias Ben Wheeler.

Iíve been excited about this book for weeks and was second in line behind Roger Lukens for my autographed copy that day.

The book is an in-depth look at the life of the outlaw we always called Ben Wheeler. Iím not going to spoil it, but the book offers some different insights to the bank robbery and characters involved in one of our townís claim to fame.

The book also contains many pictures and documents about the historic 1884 bank robbery in Medicine Lodge.

I believe the book will be sold at The Medicine Lodge Stockade Museum. You can also get a copy at the Lincoln Library.

? ? ? ?

At the time of this publication, my little girl, Breeann Noland, became Breeann Schaffer over the weekend. She and her new husband, Devin, will be home today from their little honeymoon to Wichita.

Weíll be anxious for them to come home. We baby-sat our grandson, Kycen, all weekend. I am sure heíll be as excited to see his mommy and daddy as we will be!

Congratulations Breeann and Devin!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From July 12, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

Kycen Joseph Schaffer is excited to announce the approaching marriage of his mommy and daddy, Breeann Alaina Noland and Devin Michael Schaffer.

It all started October 3, 1989.

It seems to me that only a few short years ago Ronda and I had a little girl. We helped her learn to crawl and then to walk.

She went to her first day of preschool and then on to kindergarten. We taught her how to ride a bike, then a motorcycle and then to drive a car.

Our little girl matured before our very eyes. She certified in SCUBA, graduated from high school and then left home for college.

Life changed for us after Breeann graduated from high school and moved out on her own. She met a young man named Devin Schaffer. Their relationship soon resulted in a pregancy and earlier this year we welcomed our first grandson into the world. Kycen Joseph Schaffer was born on 01-11-10. The news of Breeann becoming pregnant and not finishing her education was at first devastating to us. In reality, it has been the best thing to ever happen to our family.

Jeremiah 29:11- For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

If Iíve learned anything in life itís, our plans are not our own. We think we know how things will turn out, but weíre often surprised how they actually do turn out!

Devin and Breeann stayed together through the birth of their son and now are getting married next weekend.

Sure their lives might seem a little backwards - meet, have a baby and then get married. Weíve never claimed to be the perfect family. We only claim that God has a perfect plan for our lives.

We are so thankful that Devin loves her. And she has found someone she loves and that he is a good father to their son.

Our little girl is getting her special day on Saturday, July 17, 2010. They will be married in the morning with family in attendence in front of the beach area at Lake Arrowhead. The same lake she learned to swim in, was baptised in and has played at nearly every summer weekend of her life. Her little boy Kycen is loving this same spot only 6 months into his life and Iím sure he will spend many years swimming and playing there.

Who knows what life might bring us next? Maybe one day in the near future, Kycen will be writing a column about his daughter and upcoming marriage.

Life flies when youíre having fun.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From July 6, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

Iím so not a morning person.

So Tuesday, I rolled out of bed and made my way to the coffee pot. It was 7:10 a.m. Thatís when I wake up. My brain wakes up somewhere around 8 a.m. The only portion of my brain to wake up before that controls simple motor functions like breathing, my heart beat, limited vision and hearing and some lower limb activity. To my surprise there was a line in front of the coffee pot. Since I wasnít very focused, I grabbed a cup and looked at the line.

I thought, "Who the heck is this guy in line for my coffee and why is there even a line?"

Upon a closer look, I realized it was my 17-year-old son.

He turned after he had filled up his coffee cup. "Good morning sir."

Iím sure I sounded very grumpy when I said, "Why are you drinking my coffee?"

"I like coffee now!" He said.

Joey was all dressed for work and was sitting down at the counter with his very own cup of "Joe". He had the dumbest grin Iíve ever seen on his face. He almost looked like he was on something.

"This stuff is great," he said, almost yelling. I barely made that out as fast as he was talking.

I just rolled my eyes. Then I thought about my first cup of coffee. My dad had landed a contract for Gibsonís discount stores years ago and we had to pull a few all-nighters printing their sale fliers. I was only a junior in high school, nearly the same age as Joey. I was getting super tired about 5 hours into a press run and one of the people working for my dad at the time poured me a thick cup of black coffee. It was the most terrible thing I had ever injested.

I remember pouring about a cup of sugar and half a gallon of cream in it so that I could stomach it. As the night went on, I was feeling great. So great, in fact, I didnít even go to bed. I left the office and went straight to school!

As the years rolled on, I kept drinking coffee, but lost the urge to have all of the sugar and cream in it. Actually, I had just discovered that it was a lot easier and a lot less work to just drink it black.

My wife and I have a long history of drinking coffee and some very humorous stories about drinking it. Neither of us function without it and will lie, steal and possibly even kill if we donít get it in the mornings. One evening years ago, we spent an unexpected night at our cousinsí house in Wichita. Being an early riser, my wife was the first up and on the hunt for the magic brown fluid we must have.

Not being familiar with our cousinsí house, Ronda searched frantically for coffee. After finding the coffee pot and some stale coffee (our cousins arenít big coffee drinkers) she went in search of the coffee filters. Apparently, the search for coffee filters went on for several minutes before Rondaís survival instincts kicked in. She finally gave up and began thinking of ways to make coffee without the coffee filter.

Minutes later I could smell the coffee brewing and knew it was my cue to get up and partake. Little did I know what she had done.

I poured myself a cup and sat down at the breakfast table. Just as I was about to take a sip she said, "I had to improvise on the coffee this morning."

The cup was nearly at my lips. The aroma filled my nose with joy.

"I couldnít find the filters so I went into the babyís room and searched for something to make a filter with," she said.

"Oh?," I said.

By this time I was flirting with the warmth of the coffee on my lips.

"I got a diaper out and cut out the middle and made a filter," she proudly proclaimed!

I put the coffee down and I know I must have looked scared.

"Whatís wrong," she asked?

By this time our cousin Andy was in the room and overheard her coffee story and ran into the babyís room. He returned with the diaper box and began reading the laundry list of chemicals in the diapers.

The anatomy of a Disposable Diaper: The outer cover of a disposable diaper is made of special plastic that has been formulated to feel like cloth. But it's still plastic, and it is waterproof and coffee proof, so Ronda cut that part off.

The absorbent middle layer, or Rondaís makeshift coffee filter, is the essence of the "magic" disposable. It has a cotton/polyester mesh that covers a chemical powder that will turn into gel when it gets wet and release pleasing fragrance. The gel is supposed to stay inside the diaper but it's common for parents to find gel beads on their baby's skin during a diaper change or in Rondaís case, in the bottom of her cup. The gel will allow for multiple pees, or one good brew, before needing a change. The child will probably not feel wet until the diaper gets very full. And for the coffee drinker? Well, the coffee drinker may or may not become ill, depending on how many cups he or she drinks from the baby diaper coffee filter.

It was an hour later before we made it to Starbucks, but I am proud to say, I made it without drinking Rondaís survival brew.

As I sat and watched my son enjoying his coffee I thought about all the adventures heíll have enjoying this magical drink.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From July 6, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

People are always sending me emails. Most are just jokes, but occasionally I get the "useless facts" message. I read them and then ponder to myself why I need to know these things.

However interesting, they are useless to me in my day to day life. This week I got some facts sent to me titled "interesting". I have put my comments about them in italics and made them even more interesting!

If you are right handed, you will tend to chew your food on your right side. If you are left handed, you will tend to chew your food on your left side. If you are ambidextrous you swallow your food whole.

The Titanic was the first ship to use the SOS signal. It would have sent out an SOSA (save our sorry arses), but they ran out of time.

Bats always turn left when exiting a cave. Most caves have a no right turn lane.

Menís shirts have the buttons on the right, but womenís shirts have the buttons on the left. Menís breasts always turn right when exiting their shirts.

The owl is the only bird to drop its upper eyelid to wink. All other birds raise their lower eyelids. Itís call kniwing.

Roosters cannot crow if they cannot extend their necks. Just like men canít be wrong if they donít open their mouths.

Every time you sneeze some of your brain cells die. Achoo! I just got dumber.

Your left lung is smaller than your right lung to make room for your heart. Your right arm is slightly longer to compensate for the loss in balance.

The verb "cleave" is the only English word with two synonyms which are antonyms of each other: adhere and separate. Really? Whitehouse?

When you blush, the lining of your stomach also turns red. But no one sees or cares about an embarrassed stomach lining.

When hippos are upset, their sweat turns red. Thatís why hippos donít wear white after Labor Day.

The first Harley Davidson motorcycle was built in 1903, and used a tomato can for a carburetor. Harley Davidson immediately discovered that their motorcycles would not run on tomatoes.

The attachment of the human skin to muscles is what causes dimples. I always thought it was ice cream that caused that.

There are 1,792 steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower. You lose count when falling down them.

Human hair and fingernails continue to grow after death. But few dead people continue to go to the barber.

Every day 200 million couples make love, 400,000 babies are born, and 140,000 people die. and 199 million, 600,000 thousand people say, woa... that was close.

Colgate faced big obstacle marketing toothpaste in Spanish speaking countries. Colgate translates into the command "go hang yourself." 4 out of 5 suicide victims have plaque tartar build up.

Large kangaroos cover more than 30 feet with each jump. Small kangaroos say, "weeeeeeee!" It's also common knowledge that kangaroos carry their young in pouches and ants can lift many times their own weight, but few realize that an ant can't lift a kangaroo and kangaroos seldom carry ants in their pouches.

If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle; if the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle; if the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural cause. If the horse has all four legs off the ground the person died trying to sky dive with his horse.

The human heart creates enough pressure while pumping to squirt blood 30 feet!! Once......

Itís a fact: Ancient rock pictures, recently discovered in a prehistoric cave in France, reveal that as early as 2 million years ago, cavemen were really bad at drawing.

I hope youíre smarter for reading this....

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From June 21, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

I didnít have enough room in my column last week to mention a couple of important items in my life. I didnít forget them.

Sunday was Fatherís Day. Iím blessed to have my father still with me and also blessed to have my children, and now a grandson, who love me.

None of this would have been possible without a June 17, 1988 wedding. Ronda and I celebrated our 22nd anniversary last Thursday. I love you Ronda!

Then, quietly, a number changed on our front page this week. Volume 20, Issue 1. This might not mean much to you, but it marks the beginning of our 20th year as Medicine Lodgeís newspaper.

We couldnít have done this without you!

KWIBS - From June 14, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

Iím still reflecting on Memorial Day.

For the past couple of weeks, I have heard such great things about Maj. Robert Stutlerís Memorial Day speech and also had the opportunity to talk with some veterans in our area.

My column may be more appropriate for our 4th of July edition, but this should be a reminder to us all of what our nation has always stood for. I just happened to glance at the calendar and saw that it was Flag Day today.

Last week I received a YouTube video of a former Marine singing what he said was the last verse of the Star Spangled Banner.

Iím 40 years old and I had never even heard that verse. Iím ashamed to say that I didnít even learn in school that we had more than one verse to our National Anthem.

I got on line and read the lyrics that Francis Scott Key penned in 1814. I also read up on Key himself.

from wikipedia:

During the War of 1812, Key, accompanied by the American Prisoner Exchange Agent Colonel John Stuart Skinner, dined aboard the British ship HMS Tonnant, as the guests of three British officers: Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane, Rear Admiral Sir George Cockburn, and Major General Robert Ross. Skinner and Key were there to negotiate the release of prisoners, one being Dr. William Beanes. Beanes was a resident of Upper Marlboro, Maryland and had been captured by the British after he placed rowdy stragglers under citizen's arrest with a group of men. Skinner, Key, and Beanes were not allowed to return to their own sloop, they had become familiar with the strength and position of the British units and with the British intent to attack Baltimore. As a result of this, Key was unable to do anything but watch the bombarding of the American forces at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore on the night of September 13ĖSeptember 14, 1814.

When the smoke cleared, Key was able to see an American flag still waving and reported this to the prisoners below deck. On the way back to Baltimore, he was inspired to write a poem describing his experience, "The Defence of Fort McHenry", which he published in the Patriot on September 20, 1814. He intended to fit the rhythms of composer John Stafford Smith's "To Anacreon in Heaven". It has become better known as "The Star Spangled Banner". Under this name, the song was adopted as the American National Anthem, first by an Executive Order from President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 (which had little effect beyond requiring military bands to play it) and then by a Congressional resolution in 1931, signed by President Herbert Hoover.

Hereís that song --

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,

O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,

Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,

What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,

As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,

In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:

'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore

That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,

A home and a country should leave us no more!

Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand

Between their loved home and the war's desolation!

Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

In the fourth stanza Key urged the adoption of "In God is our Trust" as the national motto. The United States adopted the motto "In God We Trust" by law in 1956.

For years, groups like the ACLU have fought to have that removed everywhere from our classrooms, courthouses and currency.

We live in such a great country. We have so many God given freedoms that we take for granted.

Have a great week!

and Happy Flag Day!

 

KWIBS - From June 7, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

I did something so crazy last week, Iím almost ashamed to write about it. This was completely out of character for me. I took 4 whole days off in a row from work!

For the first time in nearly a decade, I took a very long weekend.

What did I do with all my time off, you ask?

Well, I worked on my jet ski for the kids, changed spark plugs in the boat. I worked on a 4 wheeler for my cousins, I dredged the bottom of the lake looking for my wifeís lost shoe, I aired up floatation toys at the lake, I fixed a sump pump in the basement at the farm house that had quit and flooded everywhere and I baby-sat my grandson!

It doesnít sound like time off, but it was one of the best "Memorial Day" weekends I have ever had. In addition to all that extra work stuff, I watched my kids ski and tube, play baseball and play in the water. I also got to enjoy my grandsonís first weekend of his life at the lake. I just got to hang out with my family and some friends for several days of sun and fun.

I guess the worst thing about the weekend was, it ended.

Bring on summer!

KWIBS - From June 1, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

It's been exactly one year ago since Dorfus CrackTractor played together and the band is preparing to get together for its second annual reunion show here in Medicine Lodge this weekend for JuneFest. For those that remember, Dorfus CrackTractor is a band made up of myself, my former Editor David Fasgold and local Deputy Sheriff Justin Rugg. Our band played events, clubs and venues in the area for about 4 years before taking a break in July of 2007. Back then, gas was inching up over $4 a gallon and David had moved to Oklahoma City, making it hard for us to make enough money even to pay our gas to get to shows in Wichita which was nearly half way for all of us.

Gas is slightly cheaper now and since weíre all still friends, weíve decided to get together and do another show before we forget all of our material. The idea for the second annual reunion stemmed from an email from Jessica Rausch with the Chamber of Commerce last fall.

I called up David Fasgold and Justin Rugg and we set it up for this coming Saturday, June 5th.

If you never caught a show, Dorfus was full of whacky costume changes, part comedy act with parodies of songs and we played a wide variety of music from rock, swing, country, disco and even rap. Some of our costumes (they donít fit anymore!), along with our talent are gone, but weíre still up to playing a street dance for those who remember us and maybe a few who donít!

So, we're keeping our fingers crossed that we still have a few of those fans that will come out and dance on Saturday and welcome David Fasgold back into our community for this one night only event.

We're throwing this together with a short rehearsal the Friday night before, so expect to hear a few minor train wrecks!

This will be a family-friendly show. So, make plans on Saturday to come out see us for Junefest 2010!!

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From May 17, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

On behalf of the paper, I want to take a moment to congratulate the class of MLHS 2010. I also want to take a moment, as a member of the human race, to apologize for not having flying cars by now. I know we were all promised them by the year 2010, but we might have to wait until the class of 2020.

Seriously, congratulations graduates. I know youíre all thinking, "Weíve got to get out of here!" I encourage you to take one day at a time and enjoy life. Youíll grow old faster than you think!

God bless - Grandpa Kev, Class of 1988.

KWIBS - From May 10, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

Itís not too often that we hearabout those who grew up here in Medicine Lodge who do really cool things in life. David Mayfield, son of Trude and Ellis Mayfield, is one of those guys who just gets to do the coolest things! I hear stories about him in movies and meeting famous people from his parents.

Last week, David forwarded me a photo of him and Kenny Rogers together! Now you wouldnít think it, but I actually think Kenny Rogers is pretty cool and I used to listen to his music growing up.

David writes.......

Hey Kevin..I drive Limos part time out here and Kenny was coming to town to do a concert at the Renovated Fox Theater, here in downtown Riverside, originally built in 1929?.." Gone with the Wind " Premiered here in 1939.

Anyway the boss knew I was a country fan, and asked if I would want to drive him.. DUH, I said Heck Yes!! The boss gave his manager my name and phone#.. I got a call Saturday morning 5/1/10 from the manager confirming that I would be driving, and he also indicated that Mr. Rogers was an avid photographer and would like to take some pictures at the Mission Inn (an historic hotel here that dates back to the 1890's) and wanted to know if I could set something up. I told him I would try.. The manager said they were getting on the private jet now, leaving Nebraska, and would be there that afternoon at 4:30p.m.

I was there waiting when the jet pulled up.. Kenny got out and kept eye contact with me as he walked up.. With a big smile, and his hand extended.. he said, " Hi Dave, I'm Kenny Rogers, Nice to meet you."

I told him that it was an honor to meet him and that I had made arrangements for him to take as many pictures as he wanted. He told me thanks - letís go do it..

He spent about 45 mins. in the hotel taking pictures. He later told me that he has 4 books out on all the pictures he has taken, and working on his 5th. We then went to the concert sight. There was a fan standing at the security gate waiting to have some albums signed.. Kenny told me to stop so he could sign them for him.. 6 albums ..and he signed every one of them.

We drove up to the back stage area.. Kenny's manager invited me to come in and han gout with them and watch the show from backstage.. In the green room area, I told Kenny that my Mom and Dad were big fans of his for 40 years or so, and that I used to listen to his albums all the time.. I asked him if I could get a picture with him and he said "Of course". He put his arm around me.. and with a smile said, " You know it was child abuse, your parents making you listen to my music at such a young age!"

I laughed and said, "No way, I love your music". I told him my mom asked for an autograph.. So he grabbed a concert program and wrote, "To: Trude, Where were You ??" and signed KENNY ROGERS.

We then went down stairs to the stage area for the concert. I stood just off stage with his stage manager and listened to that man sing..(HE STILL HAS IT !!!! )

At the end of the night.. I drove him back to his jet.

He thanked me for doing such a great job.. and his manager gave me a couple of bills and said, "Have dinner on Kenny!"

I told him that it was an honor and pleasure to meet and drive for him. He shook my hand again and boarded his jet and flew off onto the night for his next gig.... Below is Kenny Rogers and David Mayfield.

 

KWIBS - From May 3, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

Years of playing in bands and listening to loud music have taken its toll on my hearing. Towards the end of my rock and roll days, I bought wireless in-ear monitors to try and salvage what little hearing I had left.

People say things to me and I usually say, "huh?" and ask them to repeat what they just said.

Background noises really throw me off and going to meetings, I have trouble hearing things, so I purchased a digital recorder to assist me in getting the facts correct. These things work great as long as you can hear what you just recorded....

Last week I attended the PBC meeting at Southern Pioneer here in Medicine Lodge. I took extensive notes and also recorded the meeting. I listened to the recording several times to check my facts and was satisfied with my story after a couple of proofreads. Then on Tuesday morning I got an email saying I had misspelled the name of the company that did the report for the county commissioners and hospital boards. I wrote "Burden Associates". It was "Virden Associates!"

Can someone say, "Beltone?"

? ? ? ?

Monday afternoon we were finishing up at the office and Ronda and I began making plans for dinner.

Earlier last week, I had received a package from California. It was a huge box of fresh avocados! I got them from an unnamed gentlemen that I had bailed out of jail in Pratt County. He expressed his gratefulness with produce from his farm.

My wife and I love avocados, but when you get 40 of them at once, and they all begin to ripen at once, you have to start getting creative. The first thing I suggested is a giant bowl of guacamole le! We did that, but we also decided to have chicken on the grill, wrapped in smoked bacon, with cheese melted over tomato and avocado. mmmmmm.

We were talking about the guacamole and wondering about seasoning and my son Joey pops up and said, "Isle one, left of the peanut butter."

Joey recently became employed by Whiteís and is now a great source in helping us find different items at the local grocery store. Heís also great entertainment when it comes to shopping.

The other day the family stopped at Whiteís after church and as we were taking items off of the shelf, Joey was following us straigtening and arranging the items. He wasnít even working that day.....

So Monday we went shopping to get chicken, asparagus, milk, cheese, tomatos and biscuits. We ended up also purchasing an apple pie, some roasted nuts and a bunch of other things not on our list.

We checked out and drove home to prepare this dinner that had our mouths watering all afternoon. I started up the grill and Ronda began preparing the other entrees. I was inside looking for the chicken to get it seasoned for the grill when my boys came running in screaming, "Dad, FIRE, FIRE!!"

I ran outside to find my grill in flames, an apparant grease fire from last yearís left over grilling. I knew I should have cleaned the grease out before the current grilling season, but I was lazy and decided it would just burn off. And it did.

Calmly, I shut the gas off and pulled the grill away from the house (which sort of warped the siding for the third time since I have lived there). After about 30 minutes the grill cooled down to 400 from its peak that had reached over a 1000 degrees.

That sort of temperature would have cooked the chicken in about 2 minutes..... had we remembered the chicken.

Ronda called the grocery store and we had left the chicken in the bottom basket of the cart, along with our milk. The good news was we didnít pay for the chicken or the milk and they just restocked it. The bad news was, we had all of this other food we had started preparing and we were not making a trip back to town.

I dug around in the freezer and found a sack of half freezer burned chicken and threw it in some warm water for defrosting. Things were not looking good for supper. Ronda was already making noise that we should just go out and eat, but I was determined to fix this meal.

We ate a little later than expected, but our dinner turned out fantastic. I guess the worst thing was that we had to ration our cereal for the evening and next morning, but we had milk to spare!

We also got a good laugh. Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From April 26, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

Last weekend, my Aunt and Uncle from New Hampshire came to town for a visit.

It had been nearly 11 years since I last saw my Uncle Mike, my momís youngest brother.

Not many 40-year-olds can say this. I met my Aunt Laurie for the very first time this past weekend. Sheís lovely and intelligent. She teaches middle school science. Iíve never even met my two cousins Miles and Tristan.

Dare I ever admit a favorite uncle. I have three and they are all great men, with great stories, but I have always been partial to this uncle.

When I was younger and used to visit my Grandpa Joe in Rhode Island, my Uncle Mike gave me special attention and always made sure I had the coolest Christmas presents. To this day, we still get a package from Uncle Mike and Aunt Laurie.

My Uncle, Mike Amaral works for Wildlife and Parks. His exact title is unclear to me, but heís dealt in the area of endangered species for as long as I can remember. The last time I saw him, he was on his way in to Oklahoma to study some kind of poop-eating beetle.

Most recently, he appeared in a segment on the Discovery Channel special about the Appalachian Mountains. He is seen repelling down the side of a mountain to look at a nest of hawks in a crevice.

On one day of their trip to Kansas to see my mother, my sisterís family and ours, he spent some time around our ponds, picking up bugs and trying to observe a water snake that wasnít interested in my uncleís curiosity. I learned what dragonflies look like before they become dragonflies!

Both my aunt and uncle are like walking classrooms. On Monday we went to Hutchinson to the Cosmosphere. During a demonstration on rocketry, my Aunt Laurie sat on the front row of the group and quickly answered all of the questions of the person portraying Dr. Goddard, the father of the U.S. rocket program.

They shared their photos of a recent family trip to Ireland. They also showed me photos of my 17 and 20 year old cousins. Miles is a blacksmith and engineer who recently built a garage near their home. Itís made entirely out of local timber that he designed, milled, jointed and raised himself along with help from his dad and a boom truck. He even made the hinges to the door in his very own blacksmith shop. My cousin Tristan spins wood on a lathe and makes beautiful salad bowls he sells and local fairs.

They hike, fish and love our planet. The miles between us have hindered a close relationship that I crave to have with this incredible family. Their time in Kansas was a real blessing to our entire family. I know my mom, my sister and I couldnít be prouder of them and canít wait until the next time we meet again. Have a great week!

The Amarals in Ireland

 

KWIBS - From April 19, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

I wanted to give a quick, public, compliment to Doris Sorg for the "Grave Tales" series she is doing on Highland Cemetery.

I had a feeling this would be a well received series, but had no idea it would be as popular as it has been.

Doris is doing some digging on this one, pardon the pun. Sheís unearthed some very interesting stories about the history makers of Medicine Lodge, so stay tuned.

If you have an interesting story to share with us about someone interred at Highland Cemetery, please drop us a note, call or email us. Dorisí email is doris@medicinelodge.com. Our phone number is 620-886-5654.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From April 12, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

I love reading stories about crime, especially when they are funny!

As a bailbondsman, I get to hear some pretty funny stories and I usually have to keep them to myself, but this week I opened the Anthony Republican to find a story that made me roll on the floor laughing.

Note: I donít support anyone assaulting another person and donít find that funny. I just found the circumstances of this story very funny and wanted to share them with you.

Reprinted from The Anthony Republican on Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Eveland Charged In Assault Case

At approximately 1 a.m. last Tuesday, March 30, a disturbance occurred at 205 N. Madison in Anthony.

Johnny Gene Eveland Jr., 28, of Anthony, arrived there and physically assaulted resident Deborah Dry, according to Anthony Police Chief John Blevins. Dry knew Eveland but did not want him at her residence, Blevins said.

Blevins said that Eveland assaulted Dry with a Bible for unknown reasons and also grabbed a knife and threatened her life.

When law enforcement arrived, Blevins said, Eveland assaulted an officer before he was finally subdued. The Harper County Sheriffís Office and Harper Police Department assisted the Anthony Police Department with the incident.

Dry was transported to Anthony Medical Center by EMS and treated for injuries sustained in the assault.

County Attorney Laurel McClellan charged Eveland with aggravated burglary, aggravated battery, obstruction official duty, aggravated battery against a law enforcement officer and criminal damage to property.

Blevins said that Eveland was not intoxicated, but tests will reveal if Eveland had drugs in his system at the time of the assault.

Eveland is being held in the Harper County Jail on a $1,000,000 cash or professional surety bond.

? ? ? ?

It is said that the word of God is a double-edged sword, but if you arenít careful with it, itís called assault....

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From April 5, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

I have a very small space to try and introduce some changes in The Gyp Hill Premiere.

After careful consideration, weíve decided to retire "Yep-n-Howdy", a cartoon drawn by Blackfoot Willie since 1991.

Weíve had many requests for a crossword puzzle and a variety / entertainment section for our paper. So this week on page 3, weíre debuting our new entertainment section. At the last minute, I realized that the answer page didnít match up to the puzzles, so please check back next week for the answers! Sorry! Weíll have them in the same edition as soon as we can work it out with the provider.

 

KWIBS - From March 29, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

Things puzzle me from time to time. The recent passage of the massive health care reform bill is one of those things.

How will a government takeover of 1/6 of our economy work out for us? I hope it works out better for health care than it did for social security, the U.S. Postal Service and Medicare and Medicaid.

Without question, I believe there needed to be changes in our system, but I can never believe that a complete government takeover is the best answer.

And call me crazy or simple, but being forced to purchase something seems to go against everything I believe in. I have health insurance. Iím not exactly thrilled with it, but itís what I can afford. If the government makes all of this affordable and gives me more coverage, hoorah! But if it squeezes me or my business even harder, then I canít possibly tell you how frustrated it will make me.

I canít tell you everything thatís in this bill, but I can tell you a few things. One writer about the bill stated, "It's 1,017 pages long and written in an alien form of bureaucratic English that can barely be decoded by earthlings."

A couple of good things I do know to be true about the health care bill:

- It was designed to protect consumers and reduce waste, fraud, and abuse. So, weíll see.

- The Congressional Budget estimates the bill will reduce the deficit by at least $100 billion over ten years. A government estimate... enough said.

The fact remains that it is still a government run program at best and the language isnít clear. No one really knows how this will affect small business owners or people who just canít afford health insurance.

What is clear is that something must be done. The present system is broken. Waiting, or keeping what we have now, are not viable options.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From March 22, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

Iíve always been one to be known as the "practical joker" around the office and at home. Iíve pulled some doozies on my family and employees over the years.

One of my favorites used to be stacking chairs and lumber against the bathroom door when someone was in there and stand in the hallway and watch it all come crashing in on them when they opened the door. Yes, I actually did this and had it done to me several times when David Fasgold worked for me.

Occasionally, a good one is pulled on me and because I am a good sport, I appreciate the quality of a good prank.

My wife gets my esteemed praise this week for pulling a joke on me that I actually told her how to do.

The victim of the joke is the passenger in your vehicle. Weíve all seen semi trucks towing semi trucks. You make sure your passenger is either sleeping, or in my case, reading a book. You come up on the semis (going the same direction of travel as you are) and slam on the breaks and scream! Your passenger will awaken or look up to see a semi truck coming right at them and usually empty their bladder or bowels or both.

Ronda successfully startled me (I did hold my bladder and bowels, but my heart skipped a few beats). We were traveling home from Oklahoma City this weekend and when she screamed, I totally fell for it and screamed a little too. We both got a good laugh. The following photos illustrate how to set it up and what it actually looks like when you pull this joke on your next sleeping or occupied passenger on the interstate.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From March 15, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

People come and go over the years in Medicine Lodge. Some of them make a huge mark on our community. Others disappear without a trace and are long forgotten.

Thursday of last week, I was in my office working, when I heard a costumer speaking with the girls up front. The voice was strangely familiar. I hadnít heard it in quite some time, but it triggered my memory sensors.

I overheard Ronda say, "Oh my gosh! You look so different! Kevin! Come up here and see who is here!"

I already knew who it was by the sound of her voice, so I stepped out of my office.

I couldnít believe my eyes! She had changed so much since I had seen her last. I think you could say with little doubt, that retirement is good!

Now, you are wondering, who is he talking about?

Rather than just telling you, I chased her down to Somewhere in Time to snap a photo. I thought it would be fun to play a little guessing game with my readers. Some of you who have been away for some time, wonít know her, but locally, youíll know this lady if you can only recognize her now!

The only clue you get is this "super" photo I took of her!

If you canít guess who she is, send me an email and Iíll give you this answer: knoland@cyberlodg.com

 

KWIBS - From March 8, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

Call me sick and twisted, but after a week of putting together a newspaper, I sometimes relax by searching the archives of the strange and unusual news events on the Internet.

Last week was a particularly interesting/weird week for news and I thought I would share a couple of the more humorous stories with you.

The first story somewhat surprised me, but being a bail bondsman, I have dealt with a similar situation. I once bailed an 82-year-old gentleman out of jail for a DUI when he got in his car in Wichita, headed for Joplin, MO and ended up in Medicine Lodge, KS. So I guess crime doesn't discriminate on basis of age.

Granny gone wrong....

An 80-year-old woman with a criminal record stretching back to 1955 has been sentenced to three years in state prison for ransacking and stealing cash from a Southern California medical office. Doris Thompson thanked a judge Wednesday for not sending her to Los Angeles County jail, which she doesn't like, and said she deserved a longer sentence. She also told the judge, "God bless you."

State records show Thompson, who has used 27 aliases, has repeatedly been arrested during the past 55 years, mainly for petty theft and burglary. She's gone to jail several times.

Thompson slipped into the medical office on Dec. 19 and stole money from drawers. She pleaded guilty to burglary and was ordered to pay about $1,400 in restitution. She will be eligible for parole in about 18 months.

The following story is true, but I added my own headline for humor purposes.

Never take spit to a sword fight....

Police said the mother of an elementary school student drank a 40 ounce bottle of malt liquor before brandishing a sword in her child's school. The woman, 32, apparently intended to confront the parents of another child who had been in a spitting match with her child the previous day.

According to court records, an employee at Riverview Elementary School in Memphis reported a drunk woman armed with a sword was running through the halls of the school and had threatened to cut her.

Officers who arrived on the scene retrieved a black cane that concealed the blade.

The woman charged with aggravated assault and having a weapon on school property.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From March 1, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

I wanted to take a moment to recognize a few people in our community who have been behind the scenes here at the paper.

You may or may not look at photo credits and bylines in the paper. If you are like some that don't look, you may not realize that we have several people who contribute news and photos to the paper who are not regular staff. We're a small town paper whose success is credited to the people who take pride in our community by sharing news and photos with our readers.

I'm very fortunate to have Daryl Musgrove taking our high school sports photos, Becky Clouse contributing NBCRC and grade school photos and Daryl Honas writing our Lady Indians' sports news. I couldn't do it without you guys and I can't thank you enough!

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From February 22, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

Anyone who has ever entered my office has noticed my "white board" behind my desk.

This board sort of acts as the memory portion of my brain. I keep track of the week's stories and advertising that needs my immediate or future attention.

I also jot down notes like who borrowed a camera or when I have a family birthday coming up.

But one of the most interesting things I keep on my board is when someone says something funny or stupid.

I'm not immune to this part of my board, which comprises more than 30% of the 4'x4' white board. I once said, "I'm going to the store to get a lead of hettuce."

Sometimes these things are just improper uses of a word or combining two words together like, "interflicted". My spell checker is going to go crazy this week.

We all say dumb things from time to time. I actually write them down and sometimes they end up in the paper...

I've kept a running tab on this board since about 2003. Most of my favorites come from my buddy Justin Rugg. Justin seems to have problems with math and English so he's made the board several times. One math problem on my board reads, "3+5=7". Another one of Justin's math problems was "1974+30=2009".

I'm not claiming to be any better at math than him, but I tend to get the easy questions right! However, I have no excuse for my bad grammar and spelling.

Here are some of my other favorites and their proper attributes:

"I was the same age as him in school." - me....

"Oliver bought a zero gravity mower." - Joey

"That's what dugs to your bain." - Doris

"Understandment" - Justin

"Suicide! It just kills me...." - Erin

"That's being a hicaprit." - a local pastor....

"We are well in to the 20th-1st century." - same pastor....

"I was oppositioned by an 80-year-old woman!" - Justin

"The truck made a transmissionish sound." - Justin

"He is bi-social and needs to be on SSI." - one of my bond customers.

"He has a depression hearing at 1:30 p.m." - same bond customer.

"He should win a Pulitzer Surprise!" - Kenny Joe

What started this column this week was a comment my wife made to me. We were watching a program on the History Channel about possible scenarios for the end of the world in 2012 (yes, just 2 short years away!).

Ronda looked at me and said in the most serious voice, "What do you think would happen if Mt. Rushmore erupted?"

I calmly looked back at her and said, "I would imagine pieces of stone presidents' faces would rain down on to the earth killing everyone in their paths."

Obviously, Ronda was talking about Mt. St. Helens or some other volcano, not Mt. Rushmore.

My daughter thought that it was pretty funny for her mother not to know the difference between Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rushmore. My wife asked her, "Oh yeah Breeann? What is Mt. Rushmore?"

Breeann snapped back quickly and said, "It's where the Hollywood sign is!"

Another one on the board......

A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY goes out to my youngest son Nicholas! Nicholas is turning 12 on Thursday, February 25th. Only one more year before you're a teenager buddy!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NICHOLAS!

 

KWIBS - From February 15, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

I took my son Joey to visit with an Air Force recruiter last week. He's expressed interest in the service field after high school and I couldn't be prouder of him.

It blows my mind how fast time goes by. I look back with amazement how quickly my children have grown up and how proud I am of each one of them.

I'll be the first to confess that, as a parent, I have planned each of their futures! That's a little unrealistic I understand, but our hopes for our children sometimes reflect what we wish we could have done with our own lives when we were younger.

So many older folks tell me that if they could do it all over again with what they know now, they wouldn't change a thing! That might be a little unrealistic too. That kind of knowledge would have helped me make some different decisions in life!

As I sat and listened to Joey and his plans for the future a scripture came to mind: Jer 29:11 (NIV) "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From February 8, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

G

Almost everyone takes issue when it comes to having their name misspelled or pronounced incorrectly.

The past 20 years of being the owner of the newspaper has made me especially conscious of that fact. We strive not to make a mistake with a name, but it happens from time to time.

There's one name that we seem to always get wrong in the paper, even though everyone in this office knows how it is spelled.

I was eating lunch on Monday at noon and got a phone call from a gentlemen who was not especially pleased about the spelling of his name in the paper. Granted, all of the letters were there in their proper order. The problem was one letter that was supposed to be capitalized was not.

Now keep in mind that it was only about 1 p.m. The paper had just come out. This is one keen reader!

We did misspell his name. It's a mistake I had made once in the past and after a good tongue lashing, I promised it would never be made by me or my staff again.

Unfortunately, the mistake repeated last Monday. In all fairness (and to pass the buck), neither me nor my staff made the error. The article was submitted by a third party. However, we failed to reproof the material for the spelling of names and opted to just run spell check over the lengthy article.

With my unintentional lack of judgment, came the spelling of one Charles "Degeer".

It should have read Charles DeGeer, with a capital G!

I do feel badly about the error and take partial responsibility for the mistake and would like to dedicate my column this week to Charles DeGeer with a little poem I've written for him.

Ode' to Charles DeGeer......

by his friend Kevin Noland, 2010

Now I'm sure old Charles wasn't really that mad,

But it irritates him to see his name wrong - real bad,

I knew in my gut

When he was chewing my butt,

That he knew I was no college grad.

I plead my case to him over the phone,

The mistakes in the past I did own,

But this wasn't my doing,

Someone else's rear he should be chewing,

Since the article was not even home grown.

And we all know how to spell his name

Because 'round here it's a name of great fame

But it's wrong in the phone book,

Don't believe me? Take a look!

A mistake none-the-less just the same....

Make no mistake his name is DeGeer,

And his name when misspelled instills great fear,

He did use such class,

While ripping my ____,

and his point was made loud and clear!

I'm timing Charles to see how long it takes him to call and comment on this week's article.

Have a great week Mr. DeGeer

 

KWIBS - From January 18, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

Something very cool happened last Monday. Most people probably didn't even notice, but it was a palindrome - 01-11-10. A palindrome is a word, phrase, number or other sequence of units that can be read the same way in either direction. I suppose, the next date to be a palindrome will occur in 11-11-11. The last one would have been 10-11-01.

Now for the really cool thing that occurred last Monday.

Ronda and I became grandparents!

Our Grandson Kycen Joseph Schaffer was born to Breeann and Devin at 3:55 p.m. at Pratt Regional Medical Center.

One of the coolest privileges of my job is getting to print my immediate family's birth announcements. The last one I printed for myself would have been Nicholas on February 25, of 1998. So it's been a while since I got to print a birth announcement and I am very proud to print this one!

Kycen was welcomed to the world by an entourage of family! Maternal grandparents are Kevin and Ronda Noland of Medicine Lodge. Paternal grandparents are Joe and Stephanie Schaffer of Pratt, and Ladonna and Richard Weiss of Germany.

Kycen is the great grandson of Don and Linda Vick, the late Barbara Vick, Joyce Noland, Ron Noland, Carole Schaffer and Linda Coffemann.

He is the great-great grandson of Mildred Meairs!

Kycen's aunts and uncles include Nicholas and Joey Noland, Gage, Libby and Joey Schaffer and Kayla and Cory Degenhardt.

He's got hundreds more cousins, great aunts and uncles - more names than I have space for or even want to try and name. I would surely leave someone out!

Bree had called us on Sunday night and said she was having contractions. We got pretty excited. In fact, we didn't get any sleep that night. As soon as we did relax, the phone rang at 2 a.m. (and Hillary was not there to answer it). Breeann was pretty sure she was in labor. The contractions were closer and closer and by 4 a.m., Breeann, Devin and Miley (their dog) were at our house to drop off Miley on the way to the hospital.

We all congregated at the hospital for what would be a very long day.

After more than 2 hours of pushing, they wheeled Breeann in for a cesarean section at about 3 p.m. Shortly before 4 p.m. on 01-11-10 the little guy came into the world and will surely be a source of joy for so many in his large family.

And because no one else in his family has a column in a newspaper, I have chosen a photo appropriately!

Kycen Joseph and K-Pa (the artist formerly known as Kevin)

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From January 4, 2010 - By Kevin Noland

I'm sure this week's column will constitute someone typing me an ugly email response, but I can take it.

Christmas day's attempted terrorist plot over the skies of Detroit should remind all of us that Muslim extremists still want to kill Americans.

Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab allegedly tried to ignite a device attached to his body as the Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam began its final descent in to the American city on Christmas Day. 280 passengers, mostly American were on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253.

Here are some basic facts about the terrorist himself (yes, he is a terrorist) and the events that unfolded.

Nov. 19: Abdulmutallabís father goes to the US Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, to express concern his son was in Yemen and had fallen under the influence of extremists.

Nov. 20: The US Embassy sends a so-called VISAS VIPER cable with the information that Abdulmutallabís father had provided. The cable is sent to all US diplomatic missions and the State Department in Washington, where it was also shared with the interagency National Counterterrorism Center for review.

Nov. 20: Abdulmutallabís name is entered into the National Counterterrorism Centerís Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment database based on information provided by his father.

Dec. 16: Abdulmutallabís round-trip plane ticket is purchased in Accra, Ghana, for $2,831 in cash, presumably by Abdulmutallab himself, according to Nigerian officials.

Dec. 24: Abdulmutallab reenters Nigeria for only one day to board a flight from Lagos to Detroit, via Amsterdam.

Dec. 25: Abdulmutallab allegedly tries to bring down Northwest Airlines Flight 253 as it approaches Detroit. The plane lands safely, and he is taken to the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., for treatment of burns.

Dec. 27: Abdulmutallab is transferred to a federal prison in Michigan.

Hopefully, he'll never again experience freedom.

Over the past year, we've been conditioned to feel that the war on terror is no longer a priority for our country, but the facts remain clear. Extremists hate America and our values and it's time we start accepting that fact and not worry about hurting people's feelings when it comes to profiling.

Yep, I said the ugly word. Profiling.

We've been doing it for years. It might be uncomfortable to say, but let's face it - profiling would add an extra measure of protection for America's interests.

We have to stop being so PC (politically correct) in this country. I'm not saying remove fundamental rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I'm talking about common sense and scrutinizing those who choose air travel.

I've got other ideas that aren't very popular too, but it could mean protecting American lives and that means more to me than upsetting someone because of their race, color, religion or name.

We've all heard of the "do not fly" list. Why don't we have a "do fly" list? Millions of Americans use air travel for moving about the country and the world every year. Screen these people first. If you have been flying for 20 years, have no criminal background, no association with Islamic fundamentalists or known countries that support terrorism - you get a DO FLY card and you get to go through a special line at the airport for screening. It's like the fast pass at Six Flags. Go straight to the front of the line and enjoy the ride.

If you are a flyer that travels once in a while and have passed basic background checks, then you go in another line that has a little extra security for screening. You might be asked to remove your shoes, belt, be searched for weapons or "no fly" items, but don't worry. It's for your safety.

Finally, if your name can't be spoken without spitting all over, you are on a "watch list", have terroristic connections or are flying from a country that does support known terrorists, then you go to a special line and strip naked, are X-rayed and get a full body search. We're sorry for any inconvenience. You'll get an extra bag of peanuts for your flight.

KWIBS - From December 28, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Who doesn't love exchanging gag gifts year after year?

For twenty-five years, two brothers-in-law traded the same pair of gift pants back and forth between them, each time finding more inventive ways to wrap them.

The one present Roy Collette wasnít looking forward to getting for Christmas 1988 was those darned pants. Yet he knew he was in trouble as soon as the flatbed truck bearing a concrete-filled tank off a truck used to deliver ready-mix rolled up. Sure as God made little green apples, those pants had to be in there. And he was going to have to fish them out, else declare his brotherin-law the winner of a rivalry that had then spanned 20 years.

Being the sport he is, brother-in-law Larry Kunkel thoughtfully supplied the services of a crane to hoist the concrete-filled tank off the flatbed.

Whatís this game, you ask? What was the significance of these pants, and why were two grown men going to such efforts year after year to retrieve them, only to send them off again?

It all began in 1964 when Larry Kunkelís mom gave him a pair of moleskin pants. After wearing them a few times, he found they froze stiff in Minnesota winters and thus wouldnít do. That next Christmas, he wrapped the garment in pretty paper and presented it to his brother-in-law.

Brother-in-law Roy Collette discovered he didnít want them either. He bided his time until the Christmas after, then packaged them up and gave them back to Kunkel. This yearly exchange proceeded amicably until one year Collette twisted the pants tightly and stuffed them into a 3-foot-long, 1-inch wide pipe.

And so the game began. Year after year, as the pants were shuffled back and forth, the brothers strove to make unwrapping them more difficult, perhaps in the hope of ending the tradition. In retaliation for the pipe, Kunkel compressed the pants into a 7-inch square, wrapped them with wire and gave the "bale" to Collette. Not to be outdone, Collette put the pants into a 2-foot-square crate filled with stones, nailed it shut, banded it with steel and gave the trusty trousers back to Kunkel.

The brothers agreed to end the caper if the trousers were damaged. But they were as careful as they were clever. As the game evolved, so did the rules. Only "legal and moral" methods of wrapping were permitted. Wrapping expenses were kept to a minimum with only junk parts used.

Kunkel next had the pants mounted inside an insulated window that had a 20-year guarantee and shipped them off to Collette.

Collette broke the glass, recovered the trousers, stuffed them into a 5-inch coffee can, which he soldered shut. The can was put in a 5-gallon container filled with concrete and reinforcing rods and given to Kunkel the following Christmas.

Kunkel installed the pants in a 225-pound homemade steel ashtray made from 8-inch steel casings and etched Colletteís name on the side. Collette had trouble retrieving the treasured trousers, but succeeded without burning them with a cutting torch.

Collette found a 600-pound safe and hauled it to Viracon Inc. in Owatonna, where the shipping department decorated it with red and green stripes, put the pants inside and welded the safe shut. The safe was then shipped to Kunkel, who was the plant manager for Viraconís outlet in Bensenville.

The pants next turned up in a drab green, 3-foot cube that once was a 1974 Gremlin. A note attached to the 2,000-pound scrunched car advised Collette that the pants were inside the glove compartment.

In 1982 Kunkel faced the problem of retrieving the pants from a tire 8 feet high and 2 feet wide and filled with 6,000 pounds of concrete. On the outside Collette had written, "Have a Goodyear."

In 1983 the pants came back to Collette in a 17.5-foot red rocket ship filled with concrete and weighing 6 tons. Five feet in diameter, with pipes 6 inches in diameter outside running the length of the ship and a launching pad attached to its bottom, the rocket sported a picture of the pants fluttering atop it. Inside the rocket were 15 concrete-filled canisters, one of which housed the pants.

Colletteís revenge for the rocket ship was delivered to Kunkel in the form of a 4-ton Rubikís Cube in 1985. The cube was made of concrete that had been baked in a kiln and covered with 2,000 board feet of lumber.

Kunkel "solved the cube," and for 1986 gift-giving repackaged the pants into a station wagon filled with 170 steel generators all welded together. Because the pants have to be retrieved undamaged, Collette was faced with carefully taking apart each component.

What happened to the pants in 1987 is a mystery, and their 1988 packaging 1989ís packaging scheme brought the demise of the much-abused garment.

Collette was inspired to encase the pantaloons in 10,000 pounds of jagged glass that he would then deposit in Kunkelís front yard. "It would have been a great one - really messy," Kunkel ruefully admitted. The pants were shipped to a friend in Tennessee who managed a glass manufacturing company. While molten glass was being poured over the insulated container that held them, an oversized chunk fractured, transforming the pants into a pile of ashes.

The ashes were deposited into a brass urn and delivered to Kunkel along with this epitaph:

Sorry, Old Man Here lies the Pants. . . An attempt to cast the pants in glass brought about the demise of the pants at last. The urn now graces the fireplace mantel in Kunkelís home.

 

KWIBS - From December 21, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Overly bragging Christmas letters: We have all gotten them. You may have even sent them. David's soccer team led the division. Erica played the lead in the school play, made the honor roll, again, and was elected homecoming queen. Mike got a promotion and a raise along with a large office with a private bathroom. Shelly is quite busy chairing three community charities in between serving in the food line at the homeless shelter.

Well, shucks; if Sally made the Dean's list at MIT while Steven got off with a strict warning and 200 hours of community service for his DUI, which one are you going to write about? Sometimes life is hard to write about.

Do you ever just want to write the truth and slip it in the mail to your family and friends? You can be proud of all the good things in your life, but life isn't always as smooth as one might believe from reading a Christmas letter.

Every year, I say I am going to write a Christmas letter and send out cards and every year, I forget or don't have time.

Since I didn't write a "personal" Christmas letter, mine will be more public and go something like this.....

Hey all,

It's Christmas time and wanted to give you an update on the family.

First off, I am very proud of my kids. I just wanted to get that out up front even though my daughter had to drop out of college earlier this year because she is pregnant, Joey asked me if he could get "black guy" dreadlocks last night and Nicholas is going through a very rebellious, back-talking stage. They're good kids and I couldn't have been blessed with better!

Despite some setbacks in our plans this year, Ronda and I are good and life is good. Ronda is very excited about becoming a grandma. I, on the other hand, am excited about the new baby too, but refuse to be called grandpa just yet. I prefer "K-Pa" the artist formerly known as Kevin.

Breeann and her boyfriend Devin will become parents in just a few short weeks. Devin has a good job and works for the county road and bridge department and Bree does some baby-sitting. They just moved out from the appartment above Taco/Tico and into a small house here in town. The apartment was a great start for them, but Breeann and the baby needed to be on the ground level, especially in inclement weather.

Joey has been working on his levels of Call of Duty..... and his stand-up comic act. He's doing good in school and ran cross country this year. He's been working for John Nixon, helping out with auctions, but would like to find more work. We've been talking about his future plans. He's a junior this year. It won't be long and he'll be graduating.

Nicholas played football this year for the first time and really showed some athleticism. He likes all sports, but I think football is going to be his thing. He's a big Cowboys fan (because his mother and I are) and we took him and Joey to a Kansas City vs. Dallas game back in October. That was a cool experience for him. He's also doing well in school.

Ronda and I aren't big fans of this cold weather snap we've had. I turned 40 in October and had knee surgery earlier this year. I really feel the cold weather now.

The newspaper business is going well and I am still a bail bondsman on the side. We enjoy what we do and most days and going to work is fun for us.

We experience the same challenges, victories, failures and special moments that most people do in life as each year comes and goes.

So now we take a moment to thank you for your friendship and love and remind you why we celebrate this year.

It's so easy to forget what the holiday is all about. If you're like me you have last minute shopping to do, gift wrapping, decorating, parties to go to, school programs to attend, baking, family and everything else that goes along with this time of year.

For me and my family Christmas symbolizes God's love and mercy and the gift of his Son Jesus.

My favorite scripture about this season is in Luke 2, beginning with verse 8: "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Ronda and I may be the worst when it comes to sending out Christmas cards, but we do have bragging rights to what this season means to us and for the blessings of family and friends.

So this is our card to you all - to our friends, our family and our readers. We wish you a Merry Christmas.

We pray that the peace and hope that is Jesus's birth fills your home this holiday.

Kevin, Ronda, Breeann, Joey and Nicholas

ps: Of the 52 weeks out of each year we print a newspaper, the last two weeks of the year are the most hectic for us. Usually Christmas falls somewhere either on a print day, deadline day or smack dab in the middle of it all. We rush around at the paper weeks before, trying to schedule the time off and find ways to get work done in advance so we can produce the last two papers of the year.

We may be shutting the office down a few weeks over Christmas and New Years to spend time with our family and friends. We'll leave a note on the door if we do. If you have news, email me at knoland@cyberlodg.com.

 

KWIBS - From December 14, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Did you hear the collective "groan" on Sunday morning December the 6th?

That was the sound of those who competed in the dodge ball fund-raising event sponsored by NBCRC.

I went to the event all bummed out because my weekend plans changed. Originally, I was supposed to have been out of town and didn't get on a team, but as my luck (or lack there of) had it, I got picked up in a late draft by Norm Clouse.

Without a warm up or even an explanation of the rules, I was throwing, dodging and being hit by flying balls.

But they didn't hurt. There was no pain! That was, until the next day.

OH MY LORD! When was the last time I used that particular muscle group? It is the one that started somewhere at the top of your head and ended at your toe nail.

I limped out of bed for church Sunday, with a sort of shameful satisfaction as I remembered throwing the balls at some people in our community - ones that I had always dreamed of throwing a ball at! The event was a blast and my hat goes off to Becky Catlin and all who helped put this on. What a blast. I can't wait until February for the next one!

? ? ? ?

Please take a moment to read the following column. It's worth your time and why I even bother to put out a newspaper each week.

By Doug Anstaett

Itís not recognized as a national holiday.

We donít get the day off from work.

We donít have throngs of people carrying signs celebrating it ó or denigrating it, for that matter.

And the day doesnít even show up on most calendars.

In fact, if Jay Leno went Jaywalking and asked the average American citizen what we celebrate on Dec. 15 each year, he likely would get nothing more than a blank stare.

Dec. 15?

' have no idea,' would be the common answer. Iím too busy shopping for Christmas presents.

Yet, on that day and virtually every other day of the year, Americans freely exercise the rights that came with the ratification of the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Freedom of speech.

Freedom of religion.

Freedom of assembly.

Freedom to petition government for a redress of grievances.

The right to due process.

The right to bear arms.

The right against self-incrimination.

The right to a jury trial.

And, lest I forget, freedom of the press.

Yes, 218 years ago, the founders accepted almost verbatim George Masonís “Virginia Declaration of Rights” as the bedrock statement of our individual rights as Americans.

George Mason isnít a household name, unless youíre a huge sports fan, especially of college basketball.

While we should put our nationís founders on their own unique pedestal, we canít lose sight of the fact that had it not been for George Masonís dogged determination to get his “Declaration of Rights” accepted as the first amendments to the new constitution, we might not live in a country where we can speak out, hold opinions that others find objectionable or even abhorrent, be considered innocent until proven guilty, exercise our religious beliefs or choose not to believe and assemble for or against an issue without fear of recrimination.

George Mason held back his support of the new constitution, saying that the blueprint for a new nation lacked the absolutely essential ingredients that would place the individual above the state in almost all circumstances.

Had he not done so, we might be living in a very different country today.

So, on Dec. 15, whoop it up a little in celebration of Bill of Rights Day.

And if you happen to go to a holiday party or two, you can impress your fellow guests with your knowledge of the history of the Bill of Rights.

Someone once said they never discuss politics or religion.

What country are they from?

Doug Anstaett is executive director of the Kansas Press Association.

 

KWIBS - From December 7, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Well, we made it through part I of the holiday season.

Key to the celebration of Thanksgiving is gathering with family and friends to partake of a sumptuous feast prepared in honor of the day. Central to that feast (or at least to our common mental image of it) is a roasted turkey laid on a platter before the hungry guests, the bird presented in all its mouthwatering crispy-skinned perfection.

Yet not every aspiring Thanksgiving-maker knows how to properly roast a turkey. The bird proves an utter mystery to some, resulting in many a holiday mishap of a culinary nature.

Luckily, those confounded by the fowl can access a great deal of help by calling a number of turkey preparation hotlines. While some offer only recorded tips on how to prepare and roast the bird, others provide live assistance from trained experts well experienced not only with poultry but with nervous and overwhelmed cooks. Over the years, these talk line mavens have fielded all manner of queries from those bewildered by the fickle bird.

One of the more unusual questions handled by Butterballís Turkey Talk-Line (which the company has operated since 1981) comes from those who have mistaken a well-traveled joke for an actual recipe: They call to ask if they can pop popcorn in the turkeyís cavity during the roasting process. (The jokeís punch line is: "You know the turkey is done when the popcorn pops and blows the rear off the bird.") And no, you canít.

The hotline has heard from a gal who couldnít find the turkey she buried in a snowbank, a guy who wanted to know how to carve his bird with a chain saw, and a mechanic who worried about using motor oil as a baste.

Then there was the young mother who failed to notice her children playing near the oven-ready bird. The kids decided the turkeyís cavity was a good place to park toy cars. Their mom didnít discover Olí Tom was doubling as a garage until after the turkey had been roasted.

Another confused cook called the Butterball line after cleaning her turkey because she wanted to know how to get the metal pieces out.

"Apparently," said one of the Butterball economists, "she had scrubbed her bird with a steel scouring pad." A West Coast woman who had taken anti-bacterial precautions too far called Butterball to find out how to get the bleach sheíd used off her bird. Butterball turkey experts still talk about the Kentucky woman who called in 1993 to ask how to get her dog out of her turkey. It seems the womanís Chihuahua had dived into the birdís cavity and become trapped there. The woman tried pulling the pooch and shaking the bird, all to no avail. A Butterball economist finally suggested the woman carefully cut the opening in the turkey wider to release the captive canine.

The Reynolds Wrap Turkey Tips Line (800-745-4000) took a query from a woman who wanted to know if she could cook her turkey by placing it in a Reynolds Oven Bag, putting it in the window in the back of her car, and letting the heat from the sun bake the turkey. (She was told that would be an uncontrolled heat source and was instructed to use an oven instead.)

The folks at Butterball have also dealt with cooks determined to roast turkeys on the back ledges of their cars. And theyíve had people call to ask if they could cook their holiday birds on radiators. Then there was the bride who had a small, apartment-size range and was worried the turkey would get larger as it cooked (similar to a loaf of bread rising) ó she was fretting she wouldnít be able to get it out of the oven after it was done. Some other howlers include the woman who cleaned out her turkey with a scrub brush, people who thawed their turkeys in the bathtub while washing their kids, and a man looking for a quick way to cook his turkey who put it in the oven on the cleaning cycle.

There are those whose problems are not how to get the turkey out of the oven, but when. Said Nancy Rodriguez, coordinator of the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line in 1985, "One lady in Arkansas had her five-pound turkey in the oven 24 hours ó did we think it was done? Another caller wanted to know the best method for reattaching the thighs and drumsticks when they fall off. His 12-pound turkey had been in the oven since 8 a.m. the day before."

The self-cleaning option offered on a number of ranges has caused its share of Thanksgiving troubles when confused cooks have inadvertently started its cycle while their birds were in the oven. Others have different range-related questions, such as: "Your directions say to roast the turkey, but my oven says only bake or broil; how do I set it?"

Weíll leave it to others to provide the more mundane advice regarding thawing and cooking times, how to prepare the bird for roasting and how to prepare stuffing, and instead offer these useful tips, as gleaned from the experiences of turkey hot line counselors:

Do not leave your turkey on your back porch, either to slow thaw it or to keep it chilled until the big day. Those who have failed to heed this advice have discovered themselves birdless on Thanksgiving morning. Their loss was the local raccoonsí gain ó those masked marauders celebrated the day in fine style.

If you choose to bring home your frozen bird within the car proper rather than in the trunk, do take care to seatbelt the fowlsicle lest a sudden stop transform the star of the upcoming dinner into a weighty frozen projectile.

One woman who failed to belt down her bird was rewarded for her lack of foresight with a broken toe when a sharp tap of the brakes caused the iced fowl to slide off the seat and onto her foot.

 

KWIBS - From November 30, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Topeka, we have a problem...

The holiday season is supposed to be a time of thanksgiving and appreciation, but that's going to be difficult for Kansans.

Last week Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson announced $259 million worth of spending cuts, reducing funds for highway maintenance and education to shore up a troubled state budget.

Parkinson made the cuts in response to a Nov. 5 revenue estimate that foretold a gap of $260 million between state revenues and approved expenditures. Parkinson said he could not promise there wouldn't be further cuts next spring when the next revenue forecast is given.

This is the 5th time reductions have been made to the state's budget and the second year in a row that Kansas has seen revenue declines. It is expected to last out to four years.

We're all going to feel this adjustment in ways that aren't going to be comfortable for us.

These cuts are now going to do severe harm to our public schools, community colleges and universities and the most vulnerable Kansans who are relying on state services to survive this economic downturn.

If you don't believe, take Governor Mark Parkinson's own words to heart, "As a result of these cuts, childrenís classrooms will be overcrowded, creating an environment in which learning is a challenge for every student. Some districts will be forced to lay off teachers and close schools. The arts, athletics and extracurricular opportunities that make our schools and communities great may be a thing of the past."

But it's a business and has to operate like one, unless you are one like AIG who got billions of tax payer money to stay in business and shore up our financial institutions. Much of that money went to pay bonuses. There is so much fraud and mis-use of taxpayer money, you would think that they would build a special prison for those who have abused the system.

I'm appalled that some of this stimulus money can't be earmarked for our public school systems. It's something that is barely talked about.

It's nearly 8 months after a stimulus bill was signed by President Obama. I still wonder if that $787 billion was just a bunch of baloney.

Just a little over 10% of the stimulus money has been spent since being voted in. Of the $787.2 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, $499 billion is for stimulus projects, of which $157.8 billion has been made available and $56.3 billion has been spent. The biggest chunk, $22 billion, has been spent by states for Medicare and Medicaid payments.

If each state could get $1 billion of that stimulus money earmarked for "stimulus projects" and it were used to help our school systems, Kansas could balance their budget and have money left over to start funding programs that would stimulate our economy.

However, this $787 billion is all play money. We don't actually have the money that we're investing in this so called stimulus.

Government has just gotten too big and we're now in a cycle of spending more than we have and I wonder if we'll ever see the end of it.

Although I understand that cuts have to be made, I'm disappointed that we couldn't find them in other places. Education is just too important, and if our future is our children, and we're leaving them this incredible debt to shoulder, then I would think that education would be the last place we would cut. . You can bet that in the coming months we're going to see some critical services and cuts to our most basic everyday lives. One of those cuts is going to greatly affect our schools - the backbone of our community.

We've taken a "bury our heads in the sand" attitude over the past year and have been pretty critical of our school board and superintendent for making cuts and preparing for the "worse case scenario". Well, it's now the worse case scenario and it's time to pull our heads out and put them together for solutions to save our community and our state.

KWIBS - From November 16, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Another Veterans Day celebration in Medicine Lodge has come and gone. This year's program, veterans museum and lunch with a veteran brought students, veterans and the community together.

I've heard it said many times over the past few weeks that this could be the last of the veterans museum due to low attendance. I hate to hear that and I did some investigating for myself.

At 9 a.m. there were 37 students and 14 adults. At 11:25 a.m. there were 65 students and 31 adults. My son Joey said there was a steady flow of people all morning long.

Mr. Hill and his Junior Class have been doing the museum for many years and I would encourage them to keep it up. It's an amazing service to the community and such a cool way to honor our veterans.

The program at the High School was incredible. We have always, for as long as I can remember, had Mrs. Hartley heading up the event. This year she's stepped down, but is still volunteering her services to the district's celebration. I commend her for building this event up and thank her for her tireless service to our veterans.

The student essays and poems were a great tribute to our men and women who have served our country. The music was great, the dedications and the slide show brought tears to many eyes in the audience. I spoke to one veteran who said, "I fought back tears when I looked around the room and saw my fellow veterans standing for their branch song."

This program and the museum have become such an important part of our community, I can't imagine a Veterans Day without them.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From November 2, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

The second wave of the swine flu pandemic is now under way in the northern hemisphere. Case numbers are climbing fast and in some places vaccination has begun.

So what's the big deal? The virus hasn't evolved into the monster that some feared and most cases are mild. Were all those pandemic warnings just scare-mongering?

The Merklein family of Kiowa, probably wouldn't say so. Just over a week ago, their daughter Lauren, 14, became sick and collapsed in her hotel room while on a school trip. She died in a hospital three days later. She had an underlying heart condition, but tested positive for H1N1.

Any flu virus provides a serious threat, especially to the very old, those with underlying medical conditions and the very young. While the swine flu is not MORE virulent than previous strains of influenza, our problem is that of May 2009 scientists had not had time to produce a vaccine. As a result the virus spread more quickly than with 'normal' strains, this is why the swine flu is referred to as pandemic - world-wide.

It is interesting to look at the Spanish flu of 1918. In countries such as USA and UK about 25% of the population were infected. Of those infected approximately 3% died. While the percentages are much lower than I would have guessed, nevertheless the flu caused a huge number of actual fatalities. Just in the USA alone there were 500,000.

There's a lot of talk that the vaccine is unsafe and untested. Myths and worries about the vaccine have spread on talk radio and anti-vaccine Web sites, but Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seemed to debunk them in an interview with the NY Times.

While most people recover, he said, "on average, flu is not a Ďmildí illness. It can make you pretty sick, knock you out for a day or two or three." And in rare cases, he emphasized, it kills.

He rejected suggestions that the new vaccine is untested. Its seed strain was created, grown and purified in the same slow way as seasonal flu shots, which hundreds of millions of people have had, and rapid clinical trials last month showed the same lack of serious side effects.

What about the vaccines? I've had heated discussion with family and friends who are convinced it's more dangerous to get a flu shot than to just let the flu run its natural course.

People's nervousness about swine flu vaccines is understandable. In 1976, after the death of a US army recruit triggered fears of a repeat of the deadly 1918 pandemic, around 48 million Americans were given a swine flu vaccine. Of these, 532 developed Guillain-Barrť syndrome, a paralytic condition caused by rogue antibodies attacking nerve cells. Most people recover from Guillain-Barrť, but not all; 25 died after 1976 and others suffered lasting damage. The 1976 vaccine caused around 10 cases per million vaccinated.

Does this mean it is safer not getting vaccinated? Absolutely not. First, there is the risk of swine flu killing you. Second, what few people know is that flu itself is far more likely to cause Guillain-Barrť than any flu vaccine.

The risk of getting Guillain-Barrť from a flu vaccine is almost certainly less than 1 in a million; the risk of getting it from flu itself is more than 40 in a million. Swine flu is estimated to have killed 800 people in the US already, or more than 2 in every million so far. And during the first wave of swine flu this summer, 1 out of every 20,000 children aged 4 or under in the US ended up in hospital. Still think it's safer not to get vaccinated?

So, you are probably wondering, did I get my swine flu shot? No, unfortunately, I don't fall into a category for qualifying for the shot since it is still in short supply. My pregnant daughter did and my youngest son got his shot last week.

I have asked to be notified when the vaccine is available and I meet the criteria to get one. I too have an underlying heart condition and had an MI (Myocardial infarction or heart attack) when I was just 35 years old. I have some scar tissue and have three stents, but am otherwise healthy.

My prayers go out for the Merklein family in their time of mourning and I encourage everyone to take the flu shot when it becomes available.

 

KWIBS - From October 26, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Next weekend is Halloween and I wanted in the worst way to dress in a hospital lab coat and go as Dr. Garcia, going door to door and making house calls, but I am going to be out of town.

So maybe, Dr. Garcia could dress in shorts and flip flops and go as the local newspaper publisher? It's easy for me to dress up like a doctor, but what does a normal newspaper publisher look like? I dont' know.....

I went to the hospital's disaster training event last Saturday and Dr. Garcia was there. We always joke around about looking alike. One of the program directors was handing out assignments to the personnel at the hospital. Each EMT, nurse or staff member was given an assignment and when they got to me, I just said, "I'm Dr. Garcia's stunt double."

Wednesday is my son Joey's birthday. He's turning 17!

Happy birthday Joey!

 

KWIBS - From October 19, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

If you've ever been in a situation in which you've almost completed an important project, only to have your computer spontaneously crash seconds before hitting the "save" button, you understand how frustrating losing your data can be.

Now, imagine losing all your important files - everything from business files, to family photos, to your tax returns - permanently.

I can't stress the importance of backing up your files, but I can give you an example of why I am so thankful that I do.

Last weekend was the first weekend in about two years that I didn't do a complete backup of the newspaper on Saturday when the corrections were completed. I had to leave town and Doris finished up the paper. My plans were to do the back up and archives on Monday.

When I got back to town on Monday, I noticed my newspaper file was locked up, so I rebooted my PC. After restarting it, I attempted to open the file and it was corrupted. I had lost an entire digital issue of the newspaper. I've been electronically archiving since about 2005 and I have had a couple of issues that have become corrupted in that time.

Fortunately, I had the previous week backed up and only lost about 4-5 ads that were built last week. Our stories and photos are located on separate drives, so they were safe. I opened the previous week's file and rebuilt this week's newspaper. Thankfully, the crash happened after the newspaper had already been printed. It was a mild inconvenience to rebuild the pages, but it could have been a disaster without a recent back up.

There are many devices that can be used for backing up files. CDROMs, zip drives, tape drives, DVDs and my favorite - the flash drive. These little sticks of memory can be purchased for as little as $5 at electronic stores. I have a couple of them and frequently back up my important data, especially my family photos. If you don't have one, you should get one. And if you aren't backing up your files frequently, you should be.

We put an enormous amount of faith in computers to store our information. It only takes a simple flicker of electricity to destroy a day, a week, a month or even a lifetime of information.

What's worse, the modern computer is ever more vulnerable to the imminent threats multiplying on the Internet - everything from adware, to spyware, to viruses.

I don't care how much antivirus software you are running, if you are on the internet, you are vulnerable. Backing your files up is the only safe and sure way that your data will be protected.

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We took a trip to KC last week and took our boys to see the KC Chiefs vs. Dallas Cowboys game on Sunday. It was Nicholas's first professional football game.

Nick is 11 and we watch football on TV every Sunday afternoon. He was pretty excited to be at a live event with so many people. Arrowhead Stadium is a pretty loud, and intimidating place to be and he was overwhelmed with the excitement. The game went in to overtime and ended with the Cowboys walking away with a 26-20 win over the Chiefs.

We were there in our Dallas Cowboy's jerseys. Sorry goes out to you Chiefs fans. For a while it looked like the Cowboys were going to break the Chief's losing streak. We thought we were going to have to take the walk of shame to our vehicle. I was glad that the game was close, but happier that Dallas won.

As we were leaving the stadium Nicholas was still beaming from the event and asked, "Dad, who plays next?"

I responded, "Where?"

He said, "Here!"

We all started laughing and told him the game was over and that it was time to go home.

He is so used to seeing the next game come on TV that he thought there was another game being played right after the Chiefs vs. Cowboys game. When we explained that other teams play at other stadiums he seemed a little disappointed that we weren't staying for another game. It was 35 degrees outside. I'm not sure my toes could have taken another game!

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From October 5, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Well, a very important milestone occurred in my life over the weekend. I turned 40. 14,600 days have passed since my birth....

It sort of crept up on me with little warning and then BAM! I was 40.

I started to panic a little bit about the new age bracket. My 20s were spent being in a band, having children, publishing a newspaper, riding Harleys, getting tattoos and being a little on the wild side.

My 30s were spent being in a band, getting tattoos, publishing a newspaper, mowing the lawn, SCUBA diving, gardening and raising my kids and graduating my oldest from high school.

I know that, God willing, my 40s are going to be spent publishing a newspaper, seeing my two boys graduate from high school, gardening and welcoming my first grandchild into the world in January. I'm pretty sure I am done with tattooing, I've given up my Harley for a ZTR lawn mower, I can't afford to go SCUBA diving anymore and I really am probably too old to be in a band.

It appears that I have grown up! Ha... you only wish.

As I reflected on this, I realized the importance of keeping a journal. It's something we've discussed in our mens' group from church and the more I thought about it, the more important it became to me.

A year ago my dad was diagnosed with alzheimer's. He's pretty good at remembering most things, but there are times he struggles for the words, names and endings for stories and memories. This illness gives me personal motivation to keeping a journal.

So for one week now, I've kept a journal. I am 40 years old and just starting, but I've been cheating for years. I've written a column of some sort or fashion for the past 20 years called KWIBS. It may have only been a once-a-week entry, but it gives some idea of my thought process and things that have been important to me over the last half of my life.

So when I started on September 27, 2009, I had no idea what to write, so I pondered my day and made my first entry. It was only a few paragraphs long, but it detailed friends Dale and Michele McCurdy coming to see me for my 40th birthday. My wife set the whole thing up and it was "mostly" a surprise. I sort of figured out what was going on the day they arrived, but I'm like that. Ronda hates going to see movies with me because I'm always figuring out the endings. I'm a walking movie spoiler....

Later in the week it got easier to make journal entries. I just set a time in the evening after everyone went to bed to type out a few paragraphs about my day and my thoughts.

This one was kind of funny: Tuesday, September 29, 2009. "Ronda and I went out on the deck to drink a glass of wine. I was filling up the hot tub and a moth flew out and got in Ronda's hair. She jumped spilling her wine all over the deck and I hosed it off. She went back inside to finish her wine."

I guess my journal will contain whatever I want to write about - The beauty of the half moon I saw last night, my concerns and hopes for my children, my wife throwing wine across the deck and screaming when a moth got in her hair - whatever is on my mind.

So, I'll add journaling to my list of things I'm doing while in my 40s and I hope to continue that routine for quite a while. It will be something to look forward to along with retirement, AARP benefits, Social Security, the point where my kids stop asking me for money and grand kids start asking me for money.....

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It wasn't just an important milestone for me this weekend. It was also one for my daughter Breeann. Breeann turned 20 years old on Saturday. She's exactly 20 years younger than me by just a few ticks of the clock. She'll only be half my age for this one year of her life and mine. It will be the last time I can say, "I'm twice your age!"

I smile as I write this, thinking about all she'll experience in her 20s, 30s and beyond. I love you sissy. Happy belated birthday to you.

? ? ? ?

One more milestone to talk about.... The Gyp Hill Premiere just printed its 1000th issue two weeks ago. That means over 1,000,000 copies printed. I meant to mention it, but the week it happened I was short on space. It's kind of cool that it happened near my 40th birthday. Also, it's National Newspaper Week!

 

KWIBS - From September 28, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

A school bus carrying a Texas high school swim team slid off a road and into a pond on Monday of last week.

The swim team coach, eighteen students and the driver were able to get out of the bus and swim to safety.

If any of the students were unable to swim to safety, I think you could safely say that it would have been one sorry swim team!

The driver and five students were transported to local hospitals with minor injuries.

Last week ten very courageous Junior Indians took the field against the Douglass Bulldogs who were twenty-nine boys deep. We no longer have enough players for an eleven-man team and from what I understand, we're playing the season - forfeiting our games because of the small number of players out for football this year.

The Indians even resorted to playing eight-man football last week at home, on an 11-man field, adding to their exhaustion. Our Indians are playing with heart, but even the best conditioned team can't take four quarters without rotating players and they get worn down.

So, even though they didn't win their game, they're all winners in our eyes and the Indians and Coaches Cannon and Fischer are to be commended for the effort they are putting out this season.

Keep fighting Indians! We're proud of you!

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From September 14, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

So what, the President wanted to speak to our kids and encourage them to be good students and good citizens. I'm sure many would have been more upset if he'd told them to drop out of school and rebel against the government. You just can't win.

If the Democrats remember, they too had a problem with the President speaking to school children. President George Bush, Sr., took heat from a similar speech on October 1, 1991, from Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington DC. Democrats, then the majority party in Congress, not only denounced Bush's speech -- they also ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate its production and later summoned top Bush administration officials to Capitol Hill for an extensive hearing on the issue.

Sadly both Presidents just wanted to address and encourage school children. I don't think there were any hideous agendas involved.

I did have some fun with it even though our school did not participate in the event. Across America, many schools carried the President's address and 6th graders were asked, "What has the President inspired you to do?"

My youngest son Nicholas is a 6th grader and I had prepped him all week with what I thought would be a really witty answer to his teacher's question. He was to answer, "Vote Republican," but sadly my brainwashing was all for naught. Ha!

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It will forever be known as "stinky day" in our home - the first Monday in September, renamed from the ever popular Labor Day.

Normally a day full of good smells like hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill, this Labor Day started out with the fresh smell of dog poop.

Yes, at 7 a.m. Monday morning, I woke up to the sounds of my wife screaming another word for "poop". I got up to find the largest dog turds I've ever seen indoors, lying neatly in a pile in front of my bedroom door.

For clarification, we don't have an indoor dog. However on this day, in my living room was my 80 lb. German Shepherd who had the look of, "who me?" on his face.

If he could talk, he would have said, "Good morning mom and dad. I couldn't find the coffee or the filters, so I just took a crap in front of your bedroom door."

Our garage door was wide open and inside were three bags of trash spread out in what appeared to be his Labor Day celebration.

Rewinding the day....

Our dog sleeps in the garage so that we don't have to listen to him howl all night long. We had produced several bags of trash during the holiday weekend, which we placed in the garage so that the raccoons didn't get into it..... The night before, Hyde had taken out his share of food from the day's events and left a little bit of a mess. I picked everything up and scolded him. Hyde will only get into a trash sack if the bag is untied. He will not tear open a sack. He just knows better. So I can't really blame him for the night before.

As I put him away on Sunday I told him, "Don't you dare get into this trash." He looked at me and went into his crate and laid down.

Later Sunday evening my oldest son Joey came home with friends in tow at around 11:30 p.m. I was up watching TV. I had locked the front door because the bugs were gathered for their Labor Day celebration and I didn't want them moving their party into my living room. Joey knew to come in the garage door.

Last one in, shut the door. Somebody missed that one. The door between our home and the garage was left wide open and sometime in the middle of the night, Hyde came in and made himself at home. Apparently, no one had showed him where the bathroom was so he just took a stab that in front of our bedroom door was the place to go. So we spent the better part of Monday morning cleaning up dog poop. And if you have ever had an 80lb German Shepherd go #2 in your house, you can relate to the smell it made.

I also forgot to tie the bags of trash in the garage, so I cleaned that up too... again. That didn't smell very good either.

KWIBS - From August 31, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Even though other schools in the area started school as long as two weeks ago, it just seems strange that the summer break is over and it's time for our kids to start learning something again.

Like most parents, Ronda and I enjoyed the extra two weeks vacation, but we are ready for our kids to be back in school and out of our house! lol...

Classes for USD#254 begin on Wednesday. There are several new faces in our district, new classes at different buildings and many adjustments to make with the 2009-2010 school year.

I'd like to take a moment to welcome Dick Wood, chemistry and biology teacher at MLHS, Pete Jelovic, new MLHS football coach and P.E. teacher and Lindsey Ritchie, music and band teacher at MLGS.

It will be challenging for the faculty and staff of both buildings with the recent consolidations, but I have the utmost confidence in them.

I am sending out an SOS here. We don't have a sports writer to cover for MLHS football at present. I believe we're lined up for MLJH football, and MLHS volleyball and cross country. I'm looking for a parent or anyone that goes to the football games that would be interested in writing up the articles. We have an excellent photographer, Daryl Musgrove, but we've just run out of ideas on a sports writer. If you are interested in doing this, please contact our office at 620-886-5654. We love giving the kids the coverage and we know you love reading it! Thanks in advance for your help!

and.... GO INDIANS! Have a great school year!

and Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From August 24, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Occasionally, I've been known to be somewhat opinionated. Correction. My wife just caught that typo and I've been told that I have been known to be VERY opinionated.

My recent rants on the hospital bond situation have left some of my readers asking, "What happened to Kevin's funny columns?"

It's hard to be funny when you are being passionate about the future of your community. Yes, I believe this issue could be a factor in our future success or our future demise. We have to do something. We need to do something and it needs to be sooner, than later.

But I'll give it a little bit of a rest this week to talk to you all about body hair. Yes, body hair. My wife is groaning right now and she's pulled out her red "edit" pen.

I'm not going to get [too] disgusting, I just want to talk mainly about how cool it is to be a guy and have the option of rearranging his own face (for once) and changing appearances by simply growing a beard or a mustache.

Women don't have that luxury, thank God, of simply letting some hair grow on their chin to make them look more distinguished.

My oldest son Joey recently began his 3 month process of growing just enough hair on his chin to be noticed. I only noticed because I was like three inches from his face one day. Sometimes you have to get that close when speaking to your teenagers.

"What's that on your chin," I asked?

"That's my stache," he said proudly.

I'm going to call it his weird beard. Joey thinks it makes him look older, but he's not fooling me. He told me I was just jealous, so I ripped open my shirt and did my best Chewbacca impersonation and said, "grow hair like this and I'll be impressed!"

To which he said, "Oooo, gross dad."

Yeah, so it's 2009 now and chest hair isn't as popular as it was in 1979, but hey, I was only 9-years-old then and couldn't grow hair yet. It figures that chest hair would be out of style by the time I could grow it.

If I only had a time machine......

Joey tried to make out beard-growing to be some awesome feat. Just about anyone with testosterone can do it....

Ladies, please don't try this at home. You and your significant other will not be pleased with the results.

Here is how to grow a beard. On Day 1, do nothing. On Day 2, do nothing again. On Day 3, continue to do nothing. On Day 4, check to make sure that nothing was still being done. Then simply repeat the cycle.

I can remember my first beard. I was twenty, with long flowing hair. It only seemed natural to grow a beard. Truth be told, I did this four-day nothing cycle more by accident while working on my secret identity in the witness protection program, also known as Peace Treaty. Before I knew it, I had the foundation of a growing beard.

Later in life, I shaved it off only to frighten my children to the point they wouldn't have anything to do with me. Over time they accepted that I was their father.

A few years back, I regrew just a Fu Manchu to hide a double chin I was working on at the same time. Now I just have it because it's a part of me that people recognize it, sort of like a trademark. It's like my very own Nike swoosh.

It's weird how hair works for a guy. We are born, many of us bald. We grow some hair on our heads, (then hair grows in *uh-hum* another region), then on our chins, later on our chests. Then some of us start losing the hair on our heads, growing some on our backs, rear ends, toes, fingers and out the ears and our nose!

Life is so cruel.

So in a way Joey and I are both starting hair growing points in our lives, only on opposite ends of the hair growing spectrum.

I have a friend who has a sweet mustache. It was his birthday this weekend. Justin Rugg turned 34 and his mustache turned 30.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From August 17, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

"My mind is already made up so don't confuse me with the facts". - unknown

That quote really stuck with me this past week as I pondered the hospitals' situation.

Friday's commissioners' meeting was far less hostile than the last one and some light appeared that could signal some cooperation between the commissioners and the hospital boards.

And ABC's General Hospital could write a few scripts from our current situation.

The plot:

- A county wide vote in favor of new hospital facilities.

- The commissioners appoint a Public Building Commission whose job was fact finding in nature.

- Thousands of dollars of tax-payer money is spent at the request of the commissioners to guarantee that the price is right.

- This Public Building Commission recommends it and sends it to the commissioners.

- The commissioners do nothing with it.

- Outrage in the communities sets in.

- One of the hospital's administrator is abruptly fired.

- Everyone comes back to the table peacefully. For now....

You just can't make this stuff up. Tune in next week.

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A headline you won't read in this week's Premiere that is a true story. "Lightning victim's pool party and fundraiser rescheduled due to lighting."

It's true. Dakota Lonker's pool party fundraiser was rescheduled after lightning moved in last Monday night.

 

KWIBS - From August 10, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Last week was one of the most stressful weeks I have ever had as a newspaper publisher.

Sadly, my lead story as of Monday was the passing of Bev McCollom. Bev passed away Sunday evening, too late for the Monday edition that was already at the press.

Bev was a dear friend to me and to The Gyp Hill Premiere. She was also a friend to so many others in our community. Her son Jerry told me that even in her final days, she requested a laptop so she could get a Meandering done for the paper.

Bev's death marks a sad chapter in our community's historical and colorful past. She was good enough to document so much history for us in her lifetime.

Bev wrote Meandering for my grandfather, my uncle, my dad and for me. Her column was a highlight every week for me and many of my readers have expressed their sadness that Meandering will no longer be on the back page.

But Bev's story, as important and worthy of front page recognition as it was, was bumped lower on the fold for a shocking story of survival when Dakota Lonker was struck by lightning during a freak storm later that afternoon.

Incredibly, Dakota survived and is now home healing up from what many are calling a miracle. We're glad to hear that he is doing well!

But before the week ended, even Dakota moved below the fold after the county commissioners met Thursday.

Many shell-shocked folks are left wondering the fate of a bond issue passed last November. A lot of people spoke to me about letters to the editor, but in the end only two wrote in. Others wanted to, but want to take a "wait and see" approach.

So, what about the vote? What about the public building commission's vote? What about the taxpayer and hospital money spent so far in what seems to be a waste? What about the needs of our health facilities?

These are all issues that will have to be addressed, sooner than later. We have a vote to form a public building commission. One has been formed and that commission recommended moving forward.

August 14, 2009 the commissioners will meet again for a public hearing on the budget. Some folks have expressed their desire to attend this meeting, but one wonders what good that will do.

I can tell you with little doubt that name calling and yelling at the commissioners will do little to no good. Cooler heads must prevail. You can have a difference of opinion and not turn it into a screaming match.

Some of the most ridiculous statements I have heard this week have come from people outside of our community through KAKE TV's website.

Here's one: Why don't you spend the money on a Life Flight helicopter with crew. That way you can transport those people with critical emergencies to the Pratt medical center which is only about 22 miles away.

Folks, nobody knows better the needs of Barber County than her residents. That includes: other county commissioners or other clerks, other health care professionals or anybody else outside this county. We're unique (not to be confused with eunuch, just a little humor to lighten the mood) in the respect that we have population spread out through our entire county and not congested into one urban setting. We also have good oil and land evaluations.

There are good things going for this county, but we have to seize the day! Carpe diem!

Our declining population is of our own doing. We're simply not giving anyone any reason to come here or to stay here.

Doing nothing at all just isn't an option or in the best interest of the citizens of the county anymore.

I'll be the first to admit I was pretty angry at the outcome of last week's commissioners' meeting. I still believe the voters are owed an explanation and a satisfactory outcome to their vote.

I also still believe democracy took a bad beating here in our county and I hope I am proven incorrect in my assessment last week that democracy is a sham here.

 

KWIBS - From August 3, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

It's an arrogance that you would normally see in some far away country without democracy.... and a short leader with crazy hair.

The majority and the will of Barber County voters was denied on Friday by three county commissioners who had their own agenda in mind when it came to the construction and funding of two hospitals in Barber County.

That agenda seems to be unclear. They project gloom and doom for Barber County with declining population and a national economy with no hope of recovery in site. They predict a national health care reform that will wreck funding for our local hospitals. They are sure they are acting in the best interest of the voters and taxpayers of this county, no matter how we voted.

Never mind that two separate hospital boards and steering committees spent more than two years planning out the needs of each of their respective community's needs for a hospital.

Never mind that these professionals know the business of providing health care and know the requirements to ensure code is met in their facilities.

Never mind the needs of each hospital facility or the needs of health care recipients of Barber County.

Never mind that interest rates are at an all time low.

Never mind that construction costs are at an all time low.

Never mind that a project like this could boost both Kiowa's and Medicine Lodge's economies for 18-24 months and attract more professionals to our communities.

Never mind that the vote in November of 2008 was won 52-48%.

Never mind that our hospitals, in good faith, followed the requests of the commissioners and the Public Building Commission and spent 10s of thousands of dollars getting a guaranteed maximum price from builders.

Never mind that the guaranteed maximum price came in slightly under budget with over runs built in for safety.

Never mind that a Public Building Commission recommended it to the Barber County Commissioners on a 5-2 vote.

People of Barber County, none of this mattered. None of you mattered.

Mr. Garten, Mr. Thomas and Mr. Harbaugh all told me that they do not support this project.

"All along, we as commissioners have had the final say so and individually and as a group, we have chosen not to proceed," stated Garten. "I personally was not willing to vote for two new hospitals in this size of county."

Never mind that a majority of tax payers were willing.

It's not up to them. It's up to three men, elected by a majority of voters.

There is no way to begin calculating the wasted money and man hours that have gone into this project to see it succeed for our hospitals and then ultimately to be shot down by three men.

But they didn't even get that satisfaction. No, there was no vote - simply silence. No record of their real intentions to be recorded in our minutes for all generations to see.

They say there was no agenda, that each of them looked at this with an open mind, but in the end, the evidence speaks clearly as to their intentions. I don't believe they ever expected our communities to pass this. I don't think they ever expected their appointed Public Building Commission to recommend it.

In the end their choices were to pass it, vote it down or simply do nothing.

They did nothing.

Friday, more than 100 people showed up to support the hospitals and many people including Dr. Meador and local Pharmacist John Hagood, spoke in support of the hospital and issuing of bonds, but in the end, Commissioner Mike Thomas motioned to adjourn. Commissioner Paul Harbaugh left abruptly. Commissioner Mike Thomas slipped out quietly and Commissioner Garten faced a crowd of angered and confused taxpayers, voters and hospital employees.

Garten said he would like to see the two communities come together and build one hospital. He already has gotten one of his wishes: The two communities have come together.

Democracy is a sham in Barber County.

 

KWIBS - From July 20, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

I am a nerd.

I humbly embrace this now, and I'm happier for it.

It was only recently that I came out of the "nerd" closet. I've always had a deep affection for science, technology, a short love-affair in my youth for "Dungeons and Dragons". I have the eyeglasses for the nerd look too.

My fascination with the series "Star Trek" is my biggest nerd claim to fame. I've been a fan of the series since I was old enough to watch TV. Now I DVR every episode.

I can form a compelling argument on why TNG is better than DS9 (that's Star Trek for: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for all you other "nerd" people).

Years ago, I dragged my wife and brother-in-law to Wichita to a Star Trek convention. It was awesome. Or at least I thought it was.

There were nerds everywhere and I could have been their king, except for the fact I was the only one not dressed as a Klingon or Vulcan (besides my wife and brother-in-law).

My son Joey is following close in my footsteps. He even wears a shirt that says "Dork" on it. He's not ashamed of his video game addiction, nerdy glasses or the often "pants are too short" moments he has had after a recent growth spurt. Joey's dream car is his 1974 AMC Gremlin. It's parked in the driveway waiting for its day of restoration.

And yes... I have a few Star Trek dolls. I also have the Bionic Man and the Bionic Women (who used to be my girlfriend back in the early 80s, but she didn't know it.) I still have some of my Star Wars characters too.

I love the SciFi Channel! There, I said it. That was very liberating for me.

Who cares if I am a nerd? So, what if I like science fiction movies and TV shows and still play with dolls? I contradict that by sucking at math and by being married and not living in my parents' basement.

I say all this because Seth Oldham was anxious to get away from work and to get out of town last Tuesday. The premiere of the new Harry Potter movie was happening at midnight in Wichita. He says he wasn't going in costume, but it still didn't stop me from pointing out that he too was a nerd.

Yes, Seth is a nerd, or in his case a "Dumbledork". It actually could be the reason that I like this kid.

Live long and prosper....

 

KWIBS - From July 13, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

 

Would the real Dr. Ruben Garcia please stand up?

Fill my eyes with that double vision

No disguise for that double vision

Ooh, when it gets through to me, it's always new to me

My double vision gets the best of me

This is the chorus line to a song written by Foreigner in 1978. I don't have any idea what it means, but I was singing it all day on Wednesday of last week.

The saying goes, "everyone has a twin somewhere in the world - an identical match." Very few ever meet their "double".

I was sure if I had a twin, it would be the "evil twin". Or maybe I was the evil twin. Who knows?

Several months ago, I ran into Dr. Ransom inside the fitness center. He said, "I met your twin brother today. He's going to be the new doctor at the hospital."

Later in the day, a call came from Kevin White, Medicine Lodge Memorial Hospital Administrator. He called to tell me they were hiring a new doctor who had a striking resemblance to me.

That night, Dr. Pete Meador called to tell me that he met the new doctor and he looked just like me. It went on and on for days.

I didn't think there was any way this guy could look like me. First off, he was of Cuban descent. I don't look Cuban, do I?

Months passed and I seldom gave it another thought until, my phone rang on Tuesday. It was Jeff Clarke.

"Dude, I met the new doctor and you guys could be twins," he laughed.

It's an age-old belief with a strange appeal that somewhere on this planet, alive today, is someone who looks like you -- maybe not precisely, but close enough to be your double.

It can be fascinating to imagine. But not everyone is ready to encounter an unexpected twin.

As was the case on Wednesday morning. I was sitting in my office, catching up on work, when I heard footsteps approaching my office. I turned to see who it was and my jaw hit the floor.

"You must be Doctor Ruben Garcia," I laughed.

I thought I was looking into a mirror.

Ruben came in and sat down. It was like a strange family reunion from a separation at birth that probably never happened.

I say probably, but as our introduction went on for nearly two hours, I was wondering if interrogating my parents might be a prudent thing to do!

We decided to go to lunch at Subway. The fun had just begun. In the line, one of the girls making our sandwiches asked me, "Oh, Kevin, is this your brother?"

We both just laughed.

I asked Ruben what he liked to do for fun, what his hobbies were. He likes to SCUBA.... I have been into SCUBA for about 10 years now. This was just too freaky!

On our way out the door, I ran into a lady from Pratt I knew and she did a double take, asking us the same question, "Kevin, is this a family member you've never introduced me to?"

We left Subway and drove back to the office. I pulled behind in the alley and we talked for a few minutes.

Down the alley came my wife looking for a place to park. She saw we were in the vehicle and she pulled up - her mouth wide open....

She too had heard that the new doctor held some shared quality features with me, but she had no idea.

Ruben told me a story about him going in to Home Lumber earlier in the week. A customer in the store struck up a conversation with him. He thought it was odd because the customer was asking him personal questions about his daughter. He even asked if she was getting big! My daughter is pregnant. Ruben's daughter is 4 years old!

I can say in my 39 years of life on this planet, I've never sat across from someone and studied them as hard as I did Ruben on Wednesday. I think he did the same.

As we visited I wondered if looking like me would be a good thing or bad thing for Ruben. I think I definitely have the advantage here. Who wouldn't want to look like a doctor?

We shared a few laughs and took a few pictures that I immediately sent to family and friends. I have to admit, that Ruben is a handsome devil (if he were my evil twin of course).

I encourage everyone to welcome Ruben and his family to town and see for yourself how much we look alike!

Ruben begins his practice on Wednesday at The Medicine Lodge Memorial Hospital.

You never know, it might be me giving you your next exam.....

 

KWIBS - From June 29, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Here's the biggest "boo-hoo" I've heard for quite some time.

Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols is asking for a court-appointed lawyer to help him with a lawsuit complaining about the food he gets in prison.

Nichols claims in his suit that the federal Supermax prison in Colorado is causing him to "sin against God" because he doesn't get enough whole grains and fresh food.

Nichols asked for the legal aid in a document addressed to a federal judge in Denver on Monday.

According to the Associated Press, Amy Padden of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment Tuesday about the suit Nichols filed in March.

Nichols is serving life for conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter in the 1995 federal building bombing that killed 168 people. Timothy McVeigh was convicted of murder and executed.

You can only imagine how sorry I feel for Mr. Nichols and how I hope God forgives us for not giving him enough whole grains. The poor guy must be constipated something terrible.

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Tuesday night, family and friends gathered to say thanks, share a story and honor Max and Gail Ferguson for their many years of friendship and service to our community. The Fergusons will be making their new home in Derby, KS.

As long as I can remember, Max and Gail have been a part of our community. As much as I hate to see them leave, I know they'll always be a part of our town.

Max was a young school teacher when I was in 7th grade. I believe he had been teaching there for about 7 years. John Nixon had him as a teacher his first year in Medicine Lodge back in the mid-70s. That really dates him!

Gail blossomed into one of the best preschool teachers of all times right around the time that my oldest child (Breeann) started school. Each one of my kids attended her preschool and each one of them remember her as one of their most favorite teachers growing up.

Medicine Lodge's loss will be Derby's gain. We'll miss you guys and we appreciate everything you've done for us, our children and our community. Good luck and God Bless!

 

KWIBS - From June 22, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

You might take note of the volume number change on the front page of this week's Premiere. We turned 18 years old today!.

We're old enough to vote!

I remember the very first issue of the Gyp Hill Premiere back in 1991. It had a story about Rick Pyle's bee hive inside his apartment window. It also had a story about Ronda and I starting the paper. We had our beginnings in the old Palmer Floral building on West Washington.

Back then it was just me and Ronda and my daughter Breeann. She was just 1 year old at the time. We had a couple of stringers to write for us. Now we have Joey and Nicholas. We're also expecting our first grandchild in December.

Time flies when you are having fun and we have had fun. In the 18 years since we've been in business, some familiar names have helped us over the years and been a part of our staff: Tate Henke, Cathy Bergner, Jim Emrick, Justin Howlett, David Fasgold, Deana Horn, Doris Sorg, Gimmy Jo (Maize) Rose, Seth Oldham, Casey Long, Deb Kolb, Deb VanRanken, Sharon Bishop, Jenny (Dafforn) Howard, Billy Eliot, Justin Fluke, Chris and Gabe Goering, BlackFoot Willie (cartoonist and illustrator), Joyce Noland (our typesetter and proofreader and mother....), Mandy (Walker) Brozek, Justin Jacobs, Ellis Mayfield (our driver), Rose Mary Shoemaker (fill in proofreader), Barb Keltner (fill in proofreader), Bev McCollom (who writes Meandering), Jason Offutt (who writes As I was saying...), Joe Klock (who writes Like Klockwork), Ellen Knowls Bisson (who writes Bygone Barber County Bylines), John Nixon (who gives us old photos to print from time to time).

There are numerous more columnists and guest columnists that have been a big part of our success over the years. It's about impossible to name them all, but you have our thanks.

Not everyone can say they have a rewarding job that they look forward to doing every day (and there are some days that I struggle). For the most part, this is a great job and it is rewarding to be a part of a great community. So happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us.... you know the rest of the song.

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I was at the grocery store the other day and saw a can of Pringles and thought to myself, "Did the Pringles can come before or after the tennis ball can?"

Because it either went like this: "You can fit Tennis Balls in this Pringles can," or "You can fit potato chips inside this Tennis Ball can." It had to be one or the other.

According to the internet, Dr. Fredric J. Baur was so proud of having designed the container for Pringles... that he asked his family to bury him in one. His children honored his request. Part of his remains was buried in a Pringles can ó along with a regular urn containing the rest... Dr. Baur, a retired organic chemist and food storage technician who specialized in research and development and quality control for Procter & Gamble, died May 4 at 89... He developed many products, including frying oils and a freeze-dried ice cream, for P&G... But the Pringles can was his proudest accomplishment, his daughter said. He received a patent for the package as well as the method of packaging Pringles in 1970.

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Our band, Dorfus CrackTractor, successfully pulled off a reunion show at Mike's Sports Bar on Saturday, June 13, 2009. We "sold out" and "firemarshaled" the joint as one might say.

I can't thank Mike enough for hosting us and to all the people who came out to see us. It was a blast. We'll see you again in a couple of years.

David Fasgold was back in town for our show. We practiced a few songs the night before in the back of the newspaper office. I was surprised at how well we remembered the songs we used to play.

David roamed around the office looking at how things had changed, and how things hadn't changed. He walked into my office and said, "I see you are keeping things exactly as I left them two years ago," referring to my messy office.....

? ? ? ?

This week we say "farewell" or "Zai Jain" to our AFS student Frank (Wang Haiji) from China. We'll be taking a little trip down the Illinois River together this weekend as a send off. If all goes well for Frank, he'll get a student visa and be studying at Washburn University in Topeka in the fall of this year.

We'll miss you Frank.

 

KWIBS - From June 15, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Father's Day is coming up this Sunday and I was thinking about the joys and struggles associated with fatherhood.

"Father" is one of those titles that demands respect, but often gets much less. I remember that I was far from the perfect child growing up. I know I gave my father grief.

Now that I am a father (of 19 years now), I realize that you take the good with the bad and you try your best in every situation to, as the song goes, "teach your children well."

Most ot the time I probably come off sounding like I am nagging and ragging on my kids, but I my hope is that they will learn, not only from their mistakes, but mine as well.

Father's Day is a day to honor your dad. The idea for creating a day for children to honor their fathers began in Spokane, Washington. A woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father's Day while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909.

Having been raised by her father, William Jackson Smart, after her mother died, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora's father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910.

In 1926, a National Father's Day Committee was formed in New York City. Father's Day was recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1956. In 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father's Day to be held on the third Sunday of June. So Father's Day was born in memory and gratitude by a daughter who thought that her father and all good fathers should be honored with a special day just like we honor our mothers on Mother's Day.

Today nearly 100 years have elapsed since the first father's Day was celebrated. Fathers of 1900 didn't have it nearly as good as fathers of today; but they did have a few advantages: In 1900, fathers prayed their children would learn English.

Today, fathers pray their children will speak English.

In 1900, a father's horsepower meant his horses.

Today, it's the size of his minivan.

In 1900, if a father put a roof over his family's head, he was a success. Today, it takes a roof, deck, pool, and 4-car garage. And that's just the vacation home.

In 1900, fathers passed on clothing to their sons. Today, kids wouldn't touch Dad's clothes if they were sliding naked down an icicle.

In 1900, fathers could count on children to join the family business. Today, fathers pray their kids will soon come home from college long enough to teach them how to work the computer and set the VCR.

In 1900, fathers and sons would have heart-to-heart conversations while fishing in a stream.

Today, fathers pluck the headphones off their sons' ears and shout, "WHEN YOU HAVE A MINUTE."

With fatherhood comes the right of passage to use phrases like, "Shut the lights off. Do you pay the electricity bill around here?"

Here's some things you'll never hear your father say.

- Well, how 'bout that?... I'm lost! Looks like we'll have to stop and ask for directions.

- You know Pumpkin, now that you're thirteen, you'll be ready for unchaperoned car dates. Won't that be fun?

- I noticed that all your friends have a certain "up yours" attitude ... I like that.

- Here's a credit card and the keys to my new car -- GO CRAZY.

- What do you mean you wanna play football? Figure skating not good enough for you, son?

- Your Mother and I are going away for the weekend ... you might want to consider throwing a party.

- Well, I don't know what's wrong with your car. Probably one of those doo-hickey thingies -- you know -- that makes it run or something. Just have it towed to a mechanic and pay whatever he asks.

- No son of mine is going to live under this roof without an earring -- now quit your belly-aching, and let's go to the mall.

- Whaddya wanna go and get a job for? I make plenty of money for you to spend!

I hope all of you fathers have a special Father's Day!

 

KWIBS - From June 8, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

I was thinking about the upcoming Father's Day weekend and what Father's Day meant to me. Surprisingly, I wasn't thinking about getting cards from my kids or a great gift. I was thinking about what an honor it is to be a father in this day and age. Many children in our country and in our own community grow up without a fatherly figure in their lives. Even though my parents were divorced when I was very young, I had both my mom and my dad close by.

My life is different now and my children's lives are much different that my own growing up. My wife and I are coming up on 21 years of marriage. I don't know that I have so much "blessed" my children by being their

parent as they are being my children. Father's Day is a great day to celebrate dads everywhere, but I feel my focus should be on my kids right now and I want to honor them with my column this week.

Starting with my oldest to my youngest and then including my son "Frank" who will be leaving us at the end of this month to return to his home in China:

My daughter Breeann is 19 years old and just finished her first year of college at Pratt Community College. She's studying to be an elementary school teacher. She's found out that life is not as easy as she had hoped for. School is tough and she recently learned that she is pregnant. Our family doesn't see this as a failure, but a blessing. We're excited to be welcoming a new member to our family and we're happy to welcome her boyfriend Devin Schafer to our family. He wants to be a good father and provider for her and we're all here to support them and encourage them in this time of change in their lives. Breeann and Devin have recently moved back to Medicine Lodge and we're happy to have them back in our community. Without trying to embarrass Devin, I would like to say he would love to find a job in our community and if you hear of anything, please let me know so I can pass it along to him. He currently commutes back and forth to Pratt.

I'm very blessed to have two sons to carry on my family name.

For the past few days last week, Joey has been working very hard at getting his certification to become a lifeguard at the pool. He and several other kids have been driving to Alva for three days straight to literally swim until they puke, as one student did. Joey learned how hard and what an awesome responsibility it is to be American Red Cross Certified in life saving as a life guard and I am so proud of him. Joey is 16 now. He is really growing into a fine young man. He had a great school year and made good grades and we are hoping he carries this attitude to his junior and senior years at MLHS. Joey has a good work ethic. He's a kind young man who tries to make friends wherever he goes. Joey recently went to Mexico with a group of kids and adults from the Methodist Church and helped build a home for a pastor and his family.

Nicholas is also turning into a little man. Even though he is only 11, Nick has been helping me in the yard by carrying bricks and doing some landscaping. Nick is growing faster than anyone in our family, shooting up a few inches in a short period of time and outgrowing many pairs of pants in the past few months! I'm loving his sense of humor. When not sarcastic, Nicholas is a sharp witted character who never misses an opportunity to make a good joke. Nicholas is very creative and passionate about his interests and he's growing up to be a fine young man with many good friends.

Finally, one of the biggest changes I have seen in one of my children this year, comes from an unlikely candidate. He's not even my real son, but I accept him as such this year as he has become a part of our family. Wang Haiji, "Frank" as we call him, is winding down his stay with us and will be leaving for China in a few weeks. When Frank first got here, he was a bit bashful and reserved. Frank comes from a family of no brothers and sisters and to be thrust into our family with all of its quirks and drama is quite a change from his normal family structure. He has learned to adapt this year and I think he has learned to enjoy brothers and sisters. I know our family will be forever changed by our experience with Frank. I can say with all honesty that from the first time he called me "Dad", I have seen so much change in him. I'm also proud to call him son and I am praying that our family has influenced him in a good way and that Frank will take many of the values and the faith we hold dear back to China with him. We also hope that he'll be returning on a student visa in the fall to go to school at Washburn University.

My family wouldn't be complete or even possible if it weren't for the love of my wife Ronda and the kids' mother. It takes a partnership to raise children and she has been an equal partner with me over the years. We've not always agreed on our parenting style, but we've always agreed that we love our kids and we're proud of them.

These people mentioned above make Father's Day what it is for me. Their gift of life and sharing that gift with me and each other is the greatest gift I could ever ask for.

Finally, the greatest example of a Father's love for his children would have to come from scripture. John 3:16 reads: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

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My mom underwent a knee replacement surgery this past week in Wichita. She's doing very well, despite some pain. The day after her surgery my daughter Breeann and I went up to see her in the hospital. When we got there, I was surprised to see her up and going for a walk! Mom is our proofreader and typsetter here at the paper. I'm hoping we did a good job in catching mistakes this week in her absence! Get well soon mom and get yourself back to work!

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It's been nearly 2 years ago since Dorfus CrackTractor played together and they are getting together for a reunion show here in Medicine Lodge this weekend. For those that remember, Dorfus CrackTractor is a band made up of myself, my former Editor David Fasgold and local Deputy Sheriff Justin Rugg. Our band played events, clubs and venues in the area for about 4 years before taking a break in July of 2007. Back then, gas was inching up over $4 a gallon and David had moved to Oklahoma City, making it hard for us to make enough money even to pay our gas to get to shows in Wichita.

Gas is slightly cheaper now and we've always said we needed to get together and do a show before we forgot all of our material. David called me a few weeks ago and said, "I miss you goofs. Let's play a show together."

I called up Mike Lynch from Mike's Sports Bar and we set it up for this coming Saturday, June 13.

If you never caught a show, Dorfus was full of whacky costume changes, part comedy act with parodies of songs and we played a wide variety of music from rock, swing, country, disco and even rap.

So, we're keeping our fingers crossed that we still have a few fans that will come out and dance on Saturday and welcome David Fasgold back into our community for this one night only event. We're throwing this together with a short rehearsal the Friday night before, but we expect to have a few minor train wrecks! So, make plans on Saturday to come out see us at Mike's!! Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From June 1, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

If you're like me, you've seen the above sign in windows of storefronts for the past few years. Originally, they were designed for restricted areas like courthouses, government offices, schools and lending institutions.

Kansas law prohibits a licensed concealed carry person from entering a property with such signs appropriately displayed.

Several months ago, I completed my conceal carry certification course and obtained my license. In my second line of work (surety agent and bail enforcement), I have decided it is necessary to carry concealed.

Almost three years after the start of a state law allowing people to carry concealed weapons, signs banning guns from privately owned businesses have popped up all over the Kansas area.

Although some stores have posted signs and added "no weapons" clauses to their posted codes of conduct, many small businesses haven't seen the need.

Under the law, concealed handguns are banned from some businesses, including bars and financial institutions. Anyone who has taken a concealed carry course knows where they are allowed to carry their weapon and where they aren't. Businesses and employers can ban concealed weapons from their property by posting a sign that guns are not allowed.

After the class I became more aware of how many of these signs are out there. Certain hotels, coffee shops, office product stores, gas stations and even hair dressers were displaying these signs.

Each time I see the sign a puzzling thought enters my head. Why have these places chosen to prohibit law abiding citizens from carrying a weapon? Why wouldn't they want the protection of law abiding citizens in their store?

Take for example a situation that occurred in Topeka, KS (from KTKA.com: Concealed carry permit holder shoots suspect Story by Jesse Fray. 6:40 p.m. Monday, January 22, 2007.)

An Oklahoma concealed-carry permit holder thwarted a robbery at a Topeka convenience store Friday night, police said.

Police said 57-year-old Michael Mah shot a 17-year-old suspect who was trying to rob the Phillips 66 at 29th and Randolph, after telling him to drop his weapon. The owner of the store, Dean Yee, told police two men ran inside, when one of them pointed a gun at him and demanded money. Concealed weapons advocates said Mah did the right thing.

"The bad guys Ö better be careful who they pick on," said Troy Powell, a retired cop who recently moved here from Texas.

Powell said the shooting is exactly what concealed-carry is intended for.

"The guy was right there on scene and had firsthand knowledge that it was happening," said Powell. "I think he reacted appropriately and probably he couldíve saved that guyís life and his own."

Police said Mah shot the man just once.

"I donít think any of these people that carry-concealed are wanting to do someone in, theyíre just wanting to stop the guy, to keep him from hurting Ö someone else," Powell said.

Mah had a concealed carry permit from Oklahoma, one of 22 states from which permit holders can also carry a weapon in Kansas, police said.

"This incident, it supports that theyíre right," he said. "Concealed carry is a privilege that citizens should have."

End of story...

Sadly, I think many people are uninformed about concealed carry and display the signs without understanding the cons of doing so.

This is a subject that brings out a lot of emotion from people who are for or against gun control / gun rights.

Folks, the people you need to be afraid of aren't the ones that have licenses for their guns or to carry concealed. Criminals aren't paying attention to your signs. In fact, that might just encourage someone who wants to rob you or do you wrong. They see that you don't allow guns on your premises and this emboldens them and possibly makes you an easier target.

It's not like a robber is going to look at the sign and say, "Oh, I'm not going to rob the place. I can't take my gun in there."

There are other ramifcations to this type of signage. Many gun owners and concealed carry people are paying more attention to where they do business.

I was in Wichita last week working on recovering a defendent who skipped court and left the jurisdiction of his arrest. He was caught and returned to the Kingman jail. I was "packing" that day, as I jokingly say. I was thirsty and decided to stop at a convenience store on my way home. I arrived at the door to find a "no conceal" sign on the front door. I turned around to go back to my truck to remove my gun and thought for a moment.

Instead of taking off my gun, I drove down the road and found another convenience store. This one didn't have a sign and got my business. I even spent a little more out of appreciation. They didn't have any idea that I had a weapon, nor did they seem to care.

On a practical side, it's hard to enforce such a ban. How would business owners even know if a customer has a weapon? I am going to abide by the law, however, and I am going to chose carefully where I do my business.

I'm expected to wear shoes and a shirt when I go into a business. Who cares what I have underneath it?

It's one thing to post a no smoking sign. That's benefiting the health of those around that don't smoke and I can respect that, but think about the situation in that story of the convenience store in Topeka. A no concealed sign could have made the difference between life and death.

Perhaps, if you agree with me, you would consider posting the sign below at your business.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From May 26, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but I believe it is the first time in our school's history that both the boys' baseball team and girls' softball team have won regionals and gone to state, together, in the same year!

I want to congratulate all the players and coaching staff for a GREAT season!

As they get ready for state on Friday and Saturday, let'ss send them off with our congratulations and best wishes in winning state!

GO MEDICINE LODGE INDIANS!

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While on the subject of softball and baseball, I would like to thank the coaches and parents for helping our newspaper to cover the games. I've been so grateful for all of the articles and photos that have been submitted.

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We've talked about doing it for the past two years - a Dorfus CrackTractor reunion show.

Justin Rugg, David Fasgold and I have missed hanging out and playing music. We played together in Dorfus CrackTractor for several years before calling it quits in August of 2007. Now, two years later, we're going to get together and play a one night show at Mike's Sports Bar on Saturday, June 13, 2009.

The band had some modest success, playing several venues in South Central Kansas and became a regular house band at places like Mike's Sports Bar, The Port of Wichita and River City Brewery / Loft 150. Dorfus was even selected to play for the grand opening of The Guitar Center in Wichita in July of 2006.

David Fasgold was the editor here at The Gyp Hill Premiere for almost three years. During the week, we'd hammer out stories and newspapers together and on the weekends we'd play music and write silly songs. Justin joined us in 2005 and we became a silly "old-guy" band doing everything from country waltzes to gangster rap, all in effort to get a laugh.

We had some really good times together and I was more than excited when David called me last week to ask about doing a show after such a long hiatus.

I called Justin and we started dusting off equipment and thumbing through more than 100 songs that were in our former set list. We've decided to do the show, without practicing - just winging it!

Over the years together, David, Justin and I did around 70 shows. I was surprised when I picked up my guitar and successfully remembered all but 3 songs in our set from our last show in Wichita on June 29-30 at The Loft 150.

I hope it's like riding a bicycle!

 

KWIBS - From May 18, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

I ran short of time and space this week, but wanted to congratulate Frank and the rest of the class of 2009 at Medicine Lodge High School for their graduation!

One of those graduates will be writing some stories for us this summer! Seth Oldham is a gifted young man who has worked hard to finish school at the semester's end in 2008. He returned this week to graduate with his class after attending college in Wichita. We're excited to have him home for the summer.

Yes, I am a nerd.... I went to see the new Star Trek movie... twice in one week. Can't wait until it comes to the drive-in!

KWIBS - From May 11, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

I spent quite a bit of time going back and forth to the High School this past week in preparation for the graduation section.

The class of 2009 will graduate on May 16 at Krug Field.

This year we'll be at graduation to honor our AFS student Wang Haiji, or Frank, as you have come to know him.

It's now been 21 years since I graduated from MLHS, 22 years since my wife graduated from MLHS and only 1 year since my daughter, Breeann, graduated from MLHS. In two years, it will be my son Joey taking the stage.

As I was preparing the senior's section, I looked at all the kids from my daughter's class and glanced over their "future plans" comments. I mentally noted that quite a few of the kids in her class had changed their majors, schools and lives.

One of those kids whose lives will be changing forever is our daughter Breeann. She's one year into her elementary school education major and she told her mother and me last week that we will be grandparents..... Yep. It's not exactly what we had planned for her, but it was her decision and we'll support her.

One piece of good advice that I did get from a very dear friend was this. "When your child is in trouble, shut your mouth and open your arms." - Thank you Michele McCurdy.

When I found out the news, I can't say that I was following this advice very closely, but over the past few days I have calmed down, spent a lot of time in prayer and accepted that, it is what it is, and it can't be changed. Being angry will not help my daughter's circumstances. I love her no matter what.

Her situation reminded me of a story about another couple. Twenty-one years ago a kid graduated from MLHS, got married and had a little girl a year later. His wife had only been out of school for one year longer. Those kids were Kevin and Ronda Noland, Breeann's parents. They didn't turn out too bad....

That may not have been the plans that my parents had for me, but they were my choices. Looking back, I wouldn't have changed a thing and I know that Breeann won't want to change a thing either.

Fifty-seven seniors shared their future plans for us this week in the special section included inside this newspaper. Some of those plans will change, but all of them deserve our support and prayers for their future.

Congratulations to all of the class of 2009. We're proud of you and wish you best in the future.

Have a great week !

KWIBS - From May 4, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Sorry for being short this week. I was both short on time and space.

I wanted to make a comment on Rose Mary Shoemaker's reception. With much help from the community, her sons put on a great day for her on Saturday, April 25, 2008. She's moved to Texas to be closer to her boys.

Rose Mary is like an adopted grandmother to me. I grew up at the Index, where she worked for my Grandpa Bill, my Uncle Gary and my Dad Ron. She was smart enough to retire before I asked her to work for me!

She has filled in many times for us as a proofreader. So technically, she worked for three generations of my family.

I learned the pain that a pica pole can inflict on a rear end one occasion after persistent pestering. "Rosie" was given the green light to punish me for acting up in the office when I was about 8-years-old. It took one swat for me to yield to her and respect her.

She's done so much good for this community and I am so thankful that so many people came out to share their love and appreciation for her. Good luck. Rose Mary. We'll miss you. There will always be a chair for you in the front office.

KWIBS - From April 27, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

My column this week is congratulatory in nature and maybe a little preachy. I apologize in advance.

Writing the story about Mark Buck (page one) was probably the most fun I've ever had at writing about someone in our community.

I was witness to history for the "Trim-N-Blow". Back in 2000 (seems like way back, now that I think about it), Mark brought in his contraption and I built him a website and did some video work to start the promotion process of his invention.

We were behind our building on Main Street and Mark was demonstrating his invention when he happened to barely touch the pavement. It exploded into pieces and narrowly missed both of us.

When the dust settled and we realized we weren't hurt, we both laughed and I told him that he should rename the product, "The Trim and Blow Up."

I've lost the video, but I'll never forget that.

Mark kept preserving through designs and failures, but never gave up on the idea.

I had actually not forgotten his project, but sort of filed it in the back of my brain somewhere and when he called me last week to tell me that a company was manufacturing his design, I almost couldn't believe it.

In the article, I briefly touched on something Mark said about relationships. To paraphrase at one point he said, "It [being his success] came down to relationships with people."

Mark and I visited about that subject and concluded our interview. Later that night I was pondering the subject of relationships and visiting with my wife about the day.

We are going through The Purpose Driven Life together. It's our third time and I am also doing this study with a friend, Dale McCurdy, who lives in Amarillo, TX. We call or email each day with comments on the day's chapter.

If you've never read the book, it's a good read and a good 40 day study that can be read over and over.

That night we opened our book to Day 16. It is titled "What Matters Most". It deals specifically about relationships.

Rick Warren, Author of The Purpose Driven Life writes in Chapter 16, "Often we act as if relationships are something to be squeezed into our schedule. We talk about finding time for our children or making time for people in our lives. That gives the impression that relationships are just a part of our lives along with many other tasks. But God says relationships are what life is all about."

I hope I did the story justice. It's difficult to describe what an accomplishment this is for Mark and his family. It's a project he has spent more than a decade on seeing to reality and his relationship with people and with God are what helped him find success.

Like he said, he may not get rich, but he can say, "Hey, that's my design!"

I can't begin to describe how difficult this task has been and all of the ups and downs that he and Tina and the boys have probably felt through this process.

Warren also says in his book in this chapter, "... the best way to spell love is "T-I-M-E."

Mark used his dream and this process to spend quality time with his family. They've all shared in this process, including their trip to Sacramento, CA to visit the company that is manufacturing and marketing his invention.

Often we go through life blindly without a purpose. Sometimes we don't appear to have any goals other than to get through another day.

Looking back in my own life, I have had several good ideas that I just never saw through to completion. Sometimes I just lost interest or decided the process was too dificult, so I gave up.

Having a dream or an idea that you see to completion is a great goal to have in life. When you can maintain your focus on a task that seems so unlikely, like Mark has done, and have purpose at the same time, you can accomplish greatness. I think it's cool that he made relationships so important in that process.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From April 20, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

If you don't like what's happen to our school district, there are two things that you can do to solve the problem.

The most important is come up with a way to bring more children into our district. The other is to tell Topeka not to cut funding for education.

Neither solution seems possible right now.

USD#254 has seen a steady decrease in enrollment for several years. Compounded, is the recent cuts made by the State of Kansas.

We're not alone in our troubles. Districts like South Barber, Attica, Chapparal, Coldwater and Haviland are also taking steps in preparation for harder times.

It's now come down to a reduction in force. The most recent and visible cut will be to the health program at our schools. The district cut the school nurse program last week, in another effort to reduce expenses. It's all part of preparing for more declining numbers and less revenue provided by the state.

I want to say a few words about Susan Raleigh and how much my family appreciates what she's done for our children. Most recently, she diagnosed a simple problem with our son that undiagnosed, could have lead to him becoming very sick. She has been the first line of defense in health care of our children for more than 20 years. There will be many low income families in our district that have children who will no longer have this access to health care in our community.

I don't like what's happening to our school district any more than you do. However, before gathering your pitchforks and lynching materials for our school board and superintendent, please try to understand our current financial situation.

Not one of the board members wants to see any additional cuts. Believe it or not, our superintendent does not want to continue down a path of cutting personnel either. There just are few places to cut that won't affect education.

We've done our best at the newspaper to inform the public of the crisis that has somewhat enveloped our school district.

Understand, it could be much worse. Our board of education and our superintendent, past and present, have been very aggressive in dealing with the problem.

The problem is easy math. Less kids = less money. The state isn't helping by cutting education funding. If you don't like it, call Topeka or start making babies. Who knows, maybe last month's snow storm will yield a large class of Kindergartners in the year 2015. Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From April 13, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Apparently, surgery to repair your meniscus is a simple procedure, unless you are a big baby like me.

I had some surgery on my left knee on Tuesday in Wichita and was thinking I would be back to work on Wednesday. Well, I went in for a little while Wednesday afternoon, felt my knee swell up like a balloon and then decided to go back home and rest.

Today (if you are reading Monday) I go back to Wichita to have my bandages removed.

After a couple of weeks of physical therapy and a few more weeks of healing, I should be as good as a guy with a 39-year-old knee that stepped off a ladder one step too soon, who had knee surgery. So ask me how I feel in about a month!

I do want to apologize in advance for anything we missed this week. There were a couple of ball games and a track meet that I just didn't have anyone to cover.

Bless her heart.... Ronda has taken good care of me this week and Doris manned the fort, as always, but to an extra degree without us being here. I appreciate all of you helping me out this week.

This was kind of interesting....

I had been visiting with Randy Hall a week ago last Sunday and he had mentioned he was having his knee replaced. When I asked him when he was having surgery he said, "Tuesday."

"I'm having knee surgery that day too," I answered.

When I asked him where he said, "The Kansas Surgical Center in Wichita."

"Me too," I answered.

It turns out he was checking in to the hospital as I was checking out. I didn't get to see him, but I heard he was recovering and was hoping to be home by Saturday.

I hope you are healing up Randy.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From April 6, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Linda Hartley sent me a note this week and asked if I would print this in the paper.

I think it is something that everyone should read and it makes me proud to know that my daughter has nearly completed her first year of college, majoring in Elementary Education.
Have a great week!

Dear Kevin and Staff,

You know, Teacher Day USA is coming up the first week in May. Can this writing possibly make a difference in our community?

With all the controversy of school closings, 4 day school weeks, staff reduction, budget cuts all over the map, let us not forget the mainstay of education.

I think this assistant principal hit the target. Over 95% of the "good things that happen at school" never get shared.This is mostly due to the discretion of the teachers and staff members who donít want to be recognized. They just want to feel good for the students and classes they have helped through a tough time, a crisis, a loss.

No one knows just how much time, money and love are spent for the students in OUR school system!

The old adage "If you can read this, thank a teacher" gets smiles and nodsÖ.but does it really get said?

Hereís hoping it doesÖand frequently.

Iíd love for you to publish this in the GH Premiere. I know it is lengthy, but it is just the crust of all Real Life Heroes!

Thanks,

Linda Hartley

Real Life Heroes

Teachers as Heroes

An essay written by an assistant principal in Ohio.

By J. Bradley:

"Where are the heroes of today?" a radio talk show host thundered.

He blames society's shortcomings on education. Too many people are looking for heroes in all the wrong places. Movie stars and rock musicians, athletes, and models aren't heroes; they're celebrities.

Heroes abound in public schools, a fact that doesn't make the news.

There is no precedent for the level of violence, drugs, broken homes, child abuse, and crime in today's America. Education didn't create these problems but deals with them every day.

You want heroes?

Consider Dave Sanders, the schoolteacher shot to death while trying to shield his students from two youths on a shooting rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Sanders gave his life, along with 12 students, and other less heralded heroes survived the Colorado blood bath.

You want heroes?

Jane Smith, a Fayetteville, NC teacher, was moved by the plight of one of her students, a boy dying for want of a kidney transplant. So this woman told the family of a 14-year-old boy that she would give him one of her kidneys. And she did. When they appeared together hugging on the Today Show, Katie Couric was near tears.

You want heroes?

Doris Dillon dreamed all her life of being a teacher. She not only made it, she was one of those wondrous teachers who could bring the best out of every single child. One of her fellow teachers in San Jose, Calif., said, "She could teach a rock to read."

Suddenly she was stricken with Lou Gehrig's Disease which is always fatal, usually within five years. She asked to stay on job ... and did.

When her voice was affected, she communicated by computer.

Did she go home? Absolutely not! She is running two elementary school libraries! When the disease was diagnosed, she wrote the staff and all the families that she had one last lesson to teach .... that dying is part of living. Her colleagues named her Teacher of the Year.

You want heroes?

Bob House, a teacher in Georgia, tried out for "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?". After he won the million dollars, a network film crew wanted to follow up to see how it had impacted his life. New cars? Big new house?

Instead, they found both Bob House and his wife still teaching. They explained that it was what they had always wanted to do with their lives and that would not change. The community was both stunned and grateful.

You want heroes?

Last year the average school teacher spent $468 of their own money for student necessities ... workbooks, pencils .. supplies kids had to have but could not afford. That's a lot of money from the pockets of the most poorly paid teachers in the industrial world.

Schools don't teach values? The critics are dead wrong.

Public education provides more Sunday School teachers than any other profession.

The average teacher works more hours in nine months than the average 40-hour employee does in a year.

You want heroes?

For millions of kids, the hug they get from a teacher is the only hug they will get that day because the nation is living through the worst parenting in history.

An Argyle, Texas kindergarten teacher hugs her little 5 and 6 year-olds so much that both the boys and the girls run up and hug her when they see her in the hall, at the football games, or in the malls years later.

A Michigan principal moved me to tears with the story of her attempt to rescue a badly abused little boy who doted on a stuffed animal on her desk .. one that said "I love you!" He said he'd never been told that at home. This is a constant in today's society .. two million unwanted, unloved, abused children in the public schools, the only institution that takes them all in.

You want heroes?

Visit any special education class and watch the miracle of personal interaction, a job so difficult that fellow teachers are awed by the dedication they witness. There is a sentence from an unnamed source which says: "We have been so eager to give our children what we didn't have that we have neglected to give them what we did have."

What is it that our kids really need?

What do they really want?

Math, science, history, and social studies are important, but children need love, confidence, encouragement, someone to talk to, someone to listen, standards to live by. Teachers provide upright examples, the faith and assurance of responsible people.

You want heroes?

Then go down to your local school and see our real live heroes - the ones changing lives for the better each and every day!

"Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression." -Haim Ginott

 

KWIBS - From March 30, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Years ago, an email floated around the internet about an idea that recipients of government welfare programs should be subject to drug testing, like many employers already require.

I always thought this was a good idea. Why should my tax dollars go towards supplying someone's drug habit?

This thought and email are closer to law now than one might think.

On Wednesday, the Kansas House of Representatives approved a measure mandating drug testing for the 14,000 or so people getting cash assistance from the state, which now goes before the state senate. In February, the Oklahoma Senate unanimously passed a measure that would require drug testing as a condition of receiving TANF benefits, and similar bills have been introduced in Missouri and Hawaii. A Florida senator has proposed a bill linking unemployment compensation to drug testing, and a member of Minnesota's House of Representatives has a bill requiring drug tests of people who get public assistance under a state program there.

Lawmakers in at least eight other states want recipients of food stamps, unemployment benefits or welfare to submit to random drug testing.

The effort comes as more Americans turn to these safety nets to ride out the recession. Poverty and civil liberties advocates fear the strategy could backfire, discouraging some people from seeking financial aid and making already desperate situations worse.

Those in favor of the drug tests say they are motivated out of a concern for their constituents' health and ability to put themselves on more solid financial footing once the economy rebounds. But proponents concede they also want to send a message: you don't get something for nothing.

Interestingly enough drug testing is not the only restriction envisioned for people receiving public assistance: a bill in the Tennessee Legislature would cap lottery winnings for recipients at $600.

I'm not sure how I feel about that. Perhaps the legislature should consider a reimbursement situation for those winning $50,000 or more. Luck is an entitlement that should not necessarily be restricted by the government, but I like the idea of, if you get government assistance and then come into some serious cash, maybe you should consider paying the tax payers back before you run out and buy yourself a bunch of useless material items.

There seems to be no coordinated move around the country to push these bills, and similar proposals have arisen periodically since federal welfare reform in the 1990s. But the appearance of a cluster of such proposals in the midst of the recession shows lawmakers are newly interested in who is getting public assistance and how they are using it.

It's a fact, these proposals are coming at a time when more Americans find themselves in need of public assistance.

Although the number of TANF recipients has stayed relatively stable at 3.8 million in the last year, claims for unemployment benefits and food stamps have soared.

In December, more than 31.7 million Americans were receiving food stamp benefits, compared with 27.5 million the year before.

The link between public assistance and drug testing stems from the Congressional overhaul of welfare in the 1990s, which allowed states to implement drug testing as a condition of receiving help.

But a federal court struck down a Michigan law that would have allowed for "random, suspicionless" testing, saying it violated the 4th Amendment's protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

At least six states: Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Virginia all tie eligibility for some public assistance to drug testing for convicted felons or parolees, according to the NCSL.

If your employer can require drug testing, why can't you as a taxpayer ask for the same treatment for people using your hard earned tax dollars for their source of income?

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From March 23, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

I was sad that the Memories of the Medicine Lodge Middle School series had ended last week.

It had just so happened that while discussing it in our office, I came across another memory that had missed the paper. This one came from Fern Heublein. I was so glad she wrote her memories and shared them with us.

Fern's story is on page 10 of this week's Premiere. It will take you back to a simpler time when we actually prayed in school. In fact, they had chapel!

I remember each morning when I was in grade school we would say the Pledge of Allegiance and then we'd have a moment of prayer. I also remembered when prayer turned to a moment of silence and then that moment was silenced all together.

Fern shares her experiences with us from a completely new perspective and one of the most historical looks back at our early school system. Thank you Fern.

Also, thank you to everyone who took a moment to share a memory about the Middle School. The response was beyond my wildest dreams. I expected the series to last 3 weeks at the most. It ended up being enough material to last 10, but we squeezed it into 5 issues.

? ? ? ?

Well, it was certainly a busy weekend in Medicine Lodge. If you timed it just right, you didn't have to pay for food all day on Saturday! Bob and Dorothy Stutler held their grand opening of The Gun Room At The Grand and served food. Later, Mike's Sports Bar celebrated their annual anniversary with free hamburgers. There's no excuse if you went hungry.

Sunday afternoon's reunion and celebration at the Middle School was a success. It was great to see some former teachers and hear some great stories from people who "made a difference" in many peoples' lives, including yours truly.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From March 16, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

As this paper hits the streets, a missions team, made up from folks from Medicine Lodge, are in Desemboque, Mexico.

My oldest son, Joey, is with them.

The team is building a home for a pastor and his family during their spring break while many other students are spending time at ski resorts and amusement parks. I don't think there is anything wrong with that either! I love amusement parks and I understand the tradition of skiing over spring break!

I just wanted to commend these young men and women and the adults that were willing to dedicate their spring breaks to helping others less fortunate than themselves.

I love Mexico and was excited when Joey told me he wanted to go with The United Methodist Church group. I've always loved Mexico. Ronda and I have made many trips to each of the coasts of Mexico as well as the Yukatan and Baja Peninsulas. I even took my daughter to the island of Cozumel after her 8th grade graduation. Most of the people I met from there seemed to be the happiest people on the planet despite not having the luxary that we have in America. This is going to be a great opportunity for our kids to see how good we have it in America.

Mexico hasn't exactly been getting good press lately. Many of the border and resort towns are listed as being "no travel" destinations. Gang related violence has spiked in some areas making them dangerous to visit. Desemboque is not one of those places, however, your prayers for the people on this missions trip would be appreciated.

I'm excited to hear about their trip when they return to Medicine Lodge.

? ? ? ?

Be sure to mark your calendars for this coming weekend. On Saturday, March 21 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Bob and Dorothy Stutler will have their grand opening of The Gun Room at The Grand. Here's your opportunity to see the fantastic work they've done, buy yourself a pistol or a rifle, take in some free food and register for some FREE prizes! They're giving a Ruger 10/22 away at the end of the day, so be sure to go out and support Medicine Lodge's newest business!! Check out their ad on page 3 this week.

Also on Sunday, March 22 from 2-4 p.m., the Medicine Lodge Middle School will hold their reunion for past and present staff. Be sure to go by and say hi to an old acquaintance or a former teacher.

Congratulations to the Medicine Lodge Indians and Coach Ferguson for a great season! You made Medicine Lodge proud!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From March 9, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

It was a busy week and there wasn't much room for me, so I want to take a moment to thank BP Wind Energy and all of the folks at the Flat Ridge Wind Farm for the invite to their Celebration Ceremony on Thursday. Ronda, Doris and I went out and listened to the dedication.

I wanted to commend our local Barber County Economic Development group and the County Commissioners for all of their efforts in seeing that Barber County be a leader in renewable energy for years to come.

The speeches were all great. I especially enjoyed Commissioner Mike Thomas' comments on being able to "now see" that ridge from all over the county. I too have been impressed with how far away you can see the wind farm. I never really noticed it until after all of the wind turbine lights went online a couple of months ago. Now I can see them from my driveway 5 miles away.

Congratulations to the Medicine Lodge Indians on winning Sub-State and good luck to you guys at the State Tournament this week!

One last quick announcement. The Gyp Hill Premiere will now be available at Kiowa Prescription Plus in Kiowa, Kansas. Stop in and see John and buy a paper!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From March 2, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Every small town should be as fortunate to have a Bob and Dorothy Stutler move in to their town.

The Gun Room at The Grand will have her "soft" opening later this week after film crews from The Outdoor Channel finish up their feature. I've had several opportunities to sneak peeks at the progress that Bob is making on his project.

To say that it is spectacular is putting it mildly. Most big cities don't have anything to top what Bob and Dorothy have done with The Grand Hotel.

Even if you are not a gun nut, like me, you'll need to make it a point to visit The Gun Room at The Grand and let "The Major" show you around. I wish Bob and Dorothy the best in opening their new store and thank them again for choosing Medicine Lodge as the home of the finest gun room in the midwest!

? ? ? ?

Medicine Lodge got beat out by Pratt.... again.

After months of construction on the Flat Ridge Wind Farm, BP has set up their offices in Pratt to further gain lease agreements for their project. Barber County Economic Development Director Tina A. Davis told me last week, they did pitch Medicine Lodge to them, but the company wanted to be closer to highways, airport, stores and restaurants.....

Wind Energy and the construction of the transmission line to serve the wind farms will be an economic boost to our area in the coming years. We need to be very aware that Pratt is also interested in this.

Our local economic group is very involved with the transmission project and is hoping Barber County will be the place where they place the sub-station. You might have seen recent ads in our newspaper from ITC or ads from Westar soliciting the KCC for the project. It is proposed on many maps that the line will run right across Barber County.

We can't afford to miss out on these opportunities. Larger communities, such as Pratt, seem to be more appealing because they are progressive, rather than regressive.

? ? ? ?

Our Medicine Lodge Middle School Memories series has gotten bigger than I know what to do with it. I have more than a dozen memories, some quite long, of past students and faculty members of the building to share with my readers. Unfortunately, I may run out of time and space before the reunion happens on March 22nd. The Sunday afternoon celebration will be held from 2-4 p.m. at the Middle School in honor of all of those who have worked there over the years.

I have about 2 weeks left to print the memories before the event happens and I'm just not going to have enough room in the paper. I am considering running some of the remaining memories on our newspaper's website. I've also considered continuing the series out until the end of the school year. I'm interested in reader input on this subject. I had no idea that it would be as popular as it has been. It sure has been fun reading your comments.

I had one memory shared in a "for your eyes only" form from a former student of the building. Apparently, he had nearly burned the building down in a prank (gone bad) and was suspended for the event. It made quite an impression on him. Some of you know who I am writing about!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From February 23, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

The story I wrote about Mark and Marilyn Boyter's headstone got me thinking about how important it is to clearly communicate.

The entire frustration of the Boyters and the cemetery board seems to me to be a complete lack of communication. It wasn't that neither party communicated, but simple factors interfered with the communication. Marilyn didn't receive the correspondence from the board, their attorney or even her's for that matter.

In my fact finding I discovered that the Highland Cemetery Board had claimed they sent Boyter a number of letters directly and through her attorney that she never received, adding to her frustration about the situation.

Unfortunate is putting it mildly. Mistakes are just made.

I got a chance to sit down with Carol Ritter, Sexton at Highland Cemetery. I believe she feels very badly about the incident and wants to do everything humanly possible to resolve the situation.

I believe it was the best example of an "honest" mistake that one can make.

I tried to encourage her by reminding her that we all make mistakes. I even pointed out that the evidence can be found every Monday by reading my newspaper!

Unfortunately, now attorneys are involved and peoples' feelings are hurt. I only hope that it all works out.

Remembering and knowing Mark Boyter, I can say if he could look down on this situation, he'd be shaking his head in disbelief.

Back to communication....

My hopes are that the board of county commissioners and the hospital boards of Kiowa District and Medicine Lodge Memorial Hospital can clearly communicate with each other over the coming weeks and months.

Constituents who voted for the construction of these hospitals also need to communicate. It's very easy to get emotional about the situation, but emotions won't bring solutions. Calm and rational thinking will be the beginning of cooperation.

I think back to just over a year ago when I first heard the idea of the two hospital districts in our county working together to pass a bond issue and I thought, "Not in a million years."

I was so wrong. The idea of working together brought a majority of voters to the decision that building these hospitals was the right thing to do. Now it is up to our commissioners to follow through with the will of the people.

Like I mentioned, their job isn't an easy one and I know they want to do the responsible thing in our current economic climate.

It's going to take cooperation and good communication on the part of the hospitals' boards, constituents and the county commissioners.

? ? ? ?

This week, my youngest celebrates his 11th birthday! Nicholas's birthday is on Wednesday and I wish him the happiest birthday ever!

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From February 16, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

I'm not sure why some things strike me as funny, but I had to share this story with you.

Ronda and I were in Subway last week. We noticed there was a group in the banquet room. Being the nosey-news-man that I am, I wondered what was going on in there.

We took our seat and watched several people going in and out and finally Dale Lonker came out and walked over to our table.

I asked him what was going on the meeting room and he told me that it was a "waterboard" meeting.

The first thing out of my mouth was, "Wow, you guys are torturing someone in there? Do we have like a group of terrorists being held and you guys are in there trying to get intelligence on them?"

"Waterboard, not waterboarding," he clarified.

That sounded far less interesting to me.

Just then, Steve Bowe walked in the restaurant. He said hello to us, went straight into the meeting room and shut the door behind him.

I leaned over to Ronda and whispered, "I'll bet he's doing the waterboarding."

? ? ? ?

By the time you read this Medicine Lodge High School's gymnasium will have a new name: The Bob Dohm Gymnasium. Bob had been a coach at the high school for like 100 years or so and they finally decided to put his name in there. I like Bob. He's a great guy and was one of my favorites in high school because he let us box and wrestle one year and hit golf balls as a part of gym class. Congratulations to you Bob on having the gym named after you.

The school had a big banner made here at our office with Bob's name on it and it was unveiled at Saturday night's game and reunion. (We'll have more pictures of that next week.)

I had visited with Athletic Director Lowell Dohrmann about some alternative names for the gym, but these were all rejected.

The "Bobatorium", The "Bobnasium" and The "Dohm Dome" were a few. Lowell had a couple of other names that apparently were either rejected or not ever discussed with school officials. You'll have to ask him about those!

It would be a real honor to have something in our district named after you. Come to think of it, that would be a great fund-raiser for our school. What if you could have a room named after you for a price or for something you did when you were in school?

If they did name a room after me, it would be something like "The Kevin Noland Detention Room."

? ? ? ?

Our memories of the Medicine Lodge Middle School series is in full swing this week and the memories came pouring into my inbox last week. I sat and thought about all of the memories I had of going to school there from 1981-1984. Some of my teachers included Mrs. Hawkins, Mr. and Mrs. Reneau, Mrs. Taylor, Mr. Hauck and Wanda Groves.

I remember some pretty warm days upstairs as a 7th and 8th grader. We didn't have air conditioning in the school back then. A couple of rooms might have had it, but most of the classrooms were lucky to have windows that opened and a breeze to cool you off on a hot day.

Cold days were quite the opposite. I remember never wanting to sit by the old radiator heaters. Those things would make you pretty toasty sitting next to them.

One memory I had was of choir. Choir was the period after lunch and Mrs. Paul was the instructor back in 1983. I remember one day sitting in the bleachers and the big black grand piano was sitting on the gym floor. Me and my friend Nate Cox had hidden straws and napkins in our pockets from the lunch room.

Every time our teacher would turn and there was a clean shot, we'd launch a spit wad and stick them on the lid of that black piano. Someone finally ratted us out and we got detention for it. It was one of the many memories I had about that old building. I hope you'll share yours with us!

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From February 9, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Wow... This was a newsy week and a busy one here at the paper.

We were without our "Old Faithful" this week. She'll kill me for calling her that. Doris was gone a good part of last week after her daughter and son-in-law had a new baby girl. Congratulations to Seth and Julie Kastle and welcome Reagan!

Another paper in our industry made a startling announcement on Thursday of last week.

After 47 years of publication, The Derby Reporter will close this month. It is also owned by GateHouse Media, owners of The Barber County Index. This announcement by GateHouse is the third newspaper they own in Kansas to fold up.

The newspaper's last day to publish will be Feb. 17, according to a story on the newspaper's Web site and in its Thursday-Friday edition.

I got a chance to speak with Keith Lippoldt, Publisher of The Pratt Tribune last week.

There was some concern over the Index's hard bound editions that dated back several decades and what would happen to them. Last week they were taken to Pratt and stored at the Tribune.

Keith wanted me to assure the community that The Tribune would preserve them and like to see them given to a museum or organization in Medicine Lodge. John Nixon has expressed interest in them and I have given Keith his contact information. I'll try to keep you all up to date as to their status.

? ? ? ?

I wasn't able to attend the meeting a week ago last Friday, but the county commissioners are still discussing the future of our two hospitals.

Erin Jones covered the meeting for us (page 1) and I read with interest some of the commissioners' comments about not moving forward on this.

When I walked into that voting booth back in November and voted for this project, I never thought in a million years that my vote might be trumped if it were to pass. I know many of you feel the same way.

But realistically, times are a tough. They may get tougher.

There seems to be much focus on our current economy and the need for being fiscally responsible. I couldn't agree more, but offer a couple of points when discussing the new hospitals.

Many folks are out of work and interest rates are falling. Building materials are cheaper as well. We can look at this situation in several ways. We can have a gloom and doom attitude and feel that it is not the right time to build or see this as an opportunity to take advantage of the rates and put people to work. Construction on these hospitals will bring contract laborers to our communities. They'll rent houses, buy groceries, buy utilities and services and put some needed money back into our local economy.

If you think this is crazy, look at what the wind farm did for our little town the past year. You could hardly find a house to rent, restaurants were packed and I know of several other local businesses that benefited from the "windies" presence in our community.

We could be at a real crossroads for our county. If we scrap this idea and try and salvage some older plan to add on or repair our existing facilities, only the Medicine Lodge township will pick up that tab for our local hospital.

We voted as a county to build these hospitals and share in the expense of constructing them. The verbage might be confusing about the public building commission and the responsibilities of the commissioners, but I believe that every voter who voted yes, did so with the understanding that if it passed, we would be getting new facilities in both Kiowa and in Medicine Lodge. If that wasn't the case, then voters were horribly misled.

Yes, six months ago oil was over $100 a barrel. It's around $40 now and evaluations are down. Land values seem to be holding in the face of a gloomy national economy. Our school districts in the county are readjusting to budget cuts and declining enrolments.

I think some communities are going to thrive through the recession. Some will suffer and hemorrhage their population for not being proactive in creating a stable economy.

But nobody wants higher taxes either.

So really, how do we look at this situation. Do we see the glass as half full or half empty, or do some of us see it as a glass with a crack in it?

Take a look at where things were two years ago. Look at where they are at now and try to imagine what it will be like in two years from now if we don't do anything.

I commend those officials who have to make these difficult decisions about our future. It's easy to sit behind my computer and make suggestions and comments about other peoples' decisions - It's another to be on City Council, School Board or County Commission and be faced with real numbers and an uncertain future.

I spent a lot of time looking at the state's budget problems this week and how it will affect our school district. Although I am still not a convinced fan of the 4-day school week, I now have a new appreciation for what Mr. Cullen and our school board's job is in the very near future.

The consolidation of the students in the middle school to the high school and grade school is something we have to do in order to survive. That's a quick fix to one problem. It's going to mean job cuts and some scaled back programs.

The next problem we'll be facing is a bigger cut in education next year and with a declining enrollment, more changes are coming. They're not going to be easy changes.

We still need to figure out a way to bring jobs back to this community. Short term job stimulus by constructing new hospitals will put some money back into our local economy, but won't solve long-term population issues.

We need to find ways to attract young families.

I'm grateful that we have a forward looking economic development group in Medicine Lodge. I know they are looking at several options and trying very hard to encourage business in our county.

I am putting this challenge out there. At some point there will be government stimulus money put into play by the government to build infrastructure. Our city and county need to be on the look out for anyway we can get our piece of this pie.

I still think a prison is our answer, but I don't know where to start or who to ask to get something like this going in our county. A federal facility could bring hundreds of jobs to our community.

Think big Barber County!

 

KWIBS - From February 2, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Dozens of people have called and written to me this week concerning the closing of The Barber County Index. The common theme is congratulatory.

One caller said, "You finally won."

Hmm.... It doesn't feel like winning.

My response has been the same each time. There is no contest, there is no prize and I don't feel good about seeing any business close its doors, even my competition's.

Almost 20 years ago my family went into negotiations with a company called Hometown Communications of Destin, FL. The company wanted to purchase several area newspapers in an effort to capture the market for newsprint advertising.

We were told that our newspaper would become even better with all of the backing of this big corporation. My dad sold the paper shortly before I was to head back to college my Sophomore year and I was offered a job there, doing what I always did - running the printing press and managing the print shop.

I dropped out of college and took the job and the next day the new publisher called me into my dad's old office and asked, "If you owned this newspaper, what would you do?"

I remembered that question so clearly. I felt like someone was asking me for my opinion, but really, I was about to be given one. I was only 20 years old at the time and I recall my answer.

"I would continue to do a good job and give the people what they've always asked for - a community newspaper," I told my new boss.

I didn't have a clue how to run a newspaper. I was a printer. I ran the old web press and printed the two Kingman papers, the Coldwater and Protection papers and The Index.

I assumed that's why they hired me. I was wrong.

My new publisher said, "No, we're going to move all of this printing equipment up to Pratt so that it is more centralized. The print shop will close and you need to lay off these people. I was given a list of people to "ax".

My world spun very quickly and within a week, there were forklifts and jack hammers at work disassembling my family's legacy, one press unit at a time. I watched as my grandfather's, uncle's and father's equipment was loaded on to semi trailers and hauled to the great city of Pratt, to its new home, The Pratt Tribune.

Ironically, years later The Pratt Tribune print shop would lose out to a consolidation in McPherson where the Index was recently published.

My duties were clearly laid out at the time. I was to sell advertising. I had quotas to meet for my "territory", Medicine Lodge; and I had to meet them or risk losing my job. The quotas were impossible to meet. I was required to bring in nearly twice of what my family had generated on a quarterly basis, but I met my requirements twice and then as I watched the control of our paper slip away, I decided I was done and I was going back into printing.

After giving my two weeks notice, Ronda and I were approached by several business people in the community who urged me to start a competing newspaper. We said no at first. We had purchased our own print shop, which I was running out of my basement of our home, but the pressure was on and they wouldn't take no for an answer.

A week after I had quit The Barber County Index I was given a $10,000 loan from The First National Bank. Ronda and I bought the minimum equipment needed. We had made contact with a pressman from Belle Plaine. George and Janet Palmer offered us a building to rent. We got some needed help from my friend and fellow Publisher Dennies Andersen of the Western Star in Coldwater and we printed our first newspaper in early July of 1991. Ricky Pyle was on the cover.

So for the past 17 1/2 years we've published a locally owned and operated newspaper in competition with The Barber County Index.

Competition is a good thing, people told us. It made us work harder to please our customers. It was hard competing with several owners with deep pockets over the years, but we love what we do and we try hard to put out the best product we can.

We climbed to the top and outsold our competition despite our resources. They tried to chip away at us with high-priced, 4-color front pages and several writers from the Tribune. They even lowered their ad rates to nearly half of what we did. There were times we were so frustrated we just wanted to quit, but the community kept supporting us. Trying to compete on an even playing field was next to impossible.

A friend gave me advice once when I was frustrated with trying to compete with the resources of the owners of The Barber County Index. In 2 Corinthians 10 he read me "We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the field God has assigned to us, a field that reaches even to you [me]."

That scripture has stuck with me for all of these years.

It stood out again as some of the Index's last words were, "Unfortunately, our superior coverage of news and sports did not translate into advertising dollars," as stated by the publisher.

I don't gloat in the knowledge my competition has gone. In fact I mourn for the newspaper that was in my family for 25 years and for the readers and for its staff. It had always been my dream to one day have it back.

I did make that attempt, but my offer to purchase the paper was not accepted. Any other information is confidential.

So how do I best describe my feelings about the Index closing?

It almost feels like an old friend has died. One that I hadn't had contact with in years. We had drifted apart, and didn't part on the best terms, but I still thought of them as family - like family you didn't send a Christmas card to. It's hard to describe the bitter sweet feeling of the situation.

I believe it is a lesson about the current state of our affairs. If a business, who can boast of more than a century of operations in our town can not survive in this climate, how vulnerable does that make the rest of us?

My focus now will be one of greater responsibility to my community. For more than 100 years several newspapers have had the awesome privilege to bring the news to the citizens of Medicine Lodge and Barber County. We've done that for more than 17 years, but now we have to perform at our very best, with our very best intentions, to be worthy of your readership and support.

We'll need your patience as we adjust.

Even though there were two newspapers in Medicine Lodge, it was still impossible to cover everything that went on in our community. Many people don't realize, but the newspaper can be a 24/7, 365 day a year job. Medicine Lodge is a pretty "newsy" community and if you've ever taken the time to read other newspapers in cities our size, you'll see we've always gone the extra mile to be a good publication.

Now more than ever, we need your cooperation to keep our community's news alive and well.

Since that first paper in 1991, we've seen computers come into the homes and most people have digital cameras. We are so appreciative of the folks who take time to snap a picture and drop us an email about their events when we can't be there. I always appreciate how the schools keep us up on their events through newsletters and emails from teachers. We want to strengthen that relationship. Email us anytime! My email is knoland@cyberlodg.com. In the future, we have plans to expand our newspaper's website to bring news to you in more detail and in a more "as it happens" setting.

Although we did not see eye to eye, J.W. Keene did the very best he could, with what he was given.

This might sound rough, but I believe that the Index closed because the owners, far away in places like New York, really didn't care about Medicine Lodge. I don't believe they ever did. They can say they did, but in the end I think it was always about the money. Only the local staff cared and sometimes they grew frustrated too.

And what is the truest loss?

Ruby Gieswein has been the secretary at the Index since one week before I left their employment in 1991. She's been the only common denominator and most faithful employee that one could be in the 19 years since my family sold the paper.

She did care, and I wish her the best of luck.

Have a great week....

 

KWIBS - From January 26, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

BTW and FYI .. I hate acronyms and abbvs.

What has happened to the way we communicate? I suppose in the day and age we live in, typing on tiny cell phones and dropping each other instant messages on the internet, we've forced our language to also be miniaturized and reduced to poor spellings and symbols for communicating to one another.

I text daily now that my daughter is in college. Gone are the days of simply picking up the phone and having a real conversation. Her schedule and social life leave her little time to communicate any other way. Now I get random messages that might read something like this, "IDK if I m cmn home 2nite or not, 2 tired."

I used to have to call and get a translation, which defeated her texting me in the first place. It's truly like learning any new language and I'm catching on quickly.

I have no problem communicating on these terms under the condition that it is being done because we are not face to face and we are using electronic devices not actually intended for that use. Believe it or not, cell phones were designed for actually speaking to the person you were calling. I do, however, draw the line when communicating to someone face to face.

Someone actually said to me, "FYI" in conversation.

If this is what's in store for us for the future, there's not much hope for our language. English may not be the most beautiful language, it is definitely not as pleasing to the ear as Latin or French, but it has always had a sort of charm. With texting-style language taking over, English becomes even more complicated and even less attractive. If people can learn to take an extra couple of seconds to say "for your information," instead of "FYI," there may be hope for the future of our language.

If this is the case, we're in for a ridiculous-sounding future and we'd better shape up PDQ.... oops.

? ? ? ?

Doing a little follow-up...

I had many comments about my Chinese underwear article a couple of weeks back. On Tuesday of last week, I received a package in the mail, from China! That's right. Frank's dad sent me several pairs of Lang Ben underwear, or men's panties as it translates.

I eagerly opened the box and spread several pair of the underwear on my desk. There's no sense in being modest at this point, since Doris brought the package from the Post Office and insisted on being present as I opened them.

I ushered her out of my office, locked the door and quickly slipped on a pair. To my satisfaction, they fit exactly like I had anticipated and I am now the most comfortable gentleman in town! Well, one of the most comfortable. I told John Nixon about the underwear and brought over a pair for him to see and he finagled one from me. I didn't tell him I tried on every pair first....

 KWIBS - From January 19, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Our new president takes the oath of office tomorrow.

Keeping to his promise, Barak Obama has already begun stimulating the economy. I was sent this article last week, and being a gun enthusiast, wanted to share it with some of my readers.

January 15, 2009

≠Jim Shepherd

(205) 243-3393 cell

Outdoor Wire Names Obama "Gun Salesman of the Year"≠

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ó In recognition of the unprecedented demand for firearms by nervous consumers, The Outdoor Wire, the nationís largest daily electronic news service for the outdoor industry, has named President-elect Barack Obama its "Gun Salesman of the Year". With the selection, Outdoor Wire publisher Jim Shepherd says it is time the firearms industry recognizes the fact that without President-elect Obamaís frightening consumers into action, the firearms industry might be suffering the same sort of business slumps that have befallen the automotive and housing industries.

"Itís credit where credit is due," says Shepherd, "Mr. Obama has consistently voted against individual rights to firearms, appointed a re-tread Clinton administration full of gun banners, and made it plain to antigun groups that despite what he might say to the contrary, heís on their side." That history, along with the unquestioned support of antigun organizations, Shepherd says, has spooked consumers into a buying frenzy for firearms that could be outlawed in another Assault Weapons Ban.

"Manufacturers are months behind on orders for semiautomatic pistols, AR-style rifles, and anything with so-called Ďhigh-capacity magazinesí," Shepherd says, "buyers weíve surveyed across the country seem to have a single explanation for their rush to purchase firearms Ė Obama."

"The buying panic is not limited to people you might be described as aficionados or even Ďgun nutsí. Recently, I was in a gun store when a gentleman came and said heíd never wanted to own a gun before, but wanted to get one while he still could."

Since the November Presidential election, firearms sales have been at unprecedented levels. For December 2008 the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) recorded a twenty-four percent increase in background checks for 2008 (1,523,426) over December 2007 (1,230,525).

This follows a forty-two percent (42%) increase in November 2008, the highest number of NICS checks in the systemís history. Those FBI background checks are required under federal law for all individuals purchasing firearms from federally licensed firearms retailers. In other words, gun sales have never been better.

Sales are so good that on Tuesday, January 6, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) issued a notice to all federal firearms licensees that "an unprecedented increase in demand for ATF Form 4473" had run supplies low enough that dealers were temporarily given permission to photocopy the form until supplies caught up with demand. Completion of a form 4473 is required whenever a federal firearms licensee sells a fire≠arm.≠

As a journalist with more than two decades of national newsgathering experience, Shepherd says heís never seen anything approaching what he calls the "Obama effect". In fact, Shepherd says, gun and ammunition sales are at such frantic levels that they have surpassed the panic-buying of Y2K or anything during the Clinton years when the first Assault Weapons Ban was passed. This time, he says, concerned consumers are buying guns and ammunition in anticipation of Obama Administration actions to prohibit certain types of firearms.

"In 1999, the fear was that computers would shut down, crippling the world," Shepherd says, "Those fears were unfounded. I donít think the fears of an Obama administration banning guns are unfounded. His record speaks for itself. Heís never failed to support an antigun measure, despite saying he supports the Second Amendment."

According to Shepherd, moves to prohibit firearms sales would drastically impact a billion-dollar industry that is not only healthy, but pours more than one hundred fifty million dollars annually into conservation programs through an eleven percent tax collected on guns and ammo.

"The Pittman-Robertson Act provides the vast majority of funding for wildlife agencies at the federal, state and local levels," says Shepherd, "and that money comes directly from the tax levied against gun owners. Damaging the firearms industry wonít just put workers in the gun business out of work, it will severely impact wildlife and conservation efforts nationally. That damage could take decades to repair Ė if it can be undone."

Choosing President-elect Obama as the Gun Salesman of the Year, says Shepherd, is a lot like a good-news, bad-news joke. "His election has driven gun sales into the stratosphere," Shepherd says, "but his opposition to guns and gun ownership may be the biggest threat the industry has ever faced. If he puts scoring political points with antigen groups ahead of economic realities, he will be deliberately putting thousands of people out of work. I donít see that as an economic stimulus plan with much of a future."

"Today, however, the facts are indisputable," Shepherd says, "Barack Obama has spurred gun sales in a time when the entire economy seems to be tanking. If that doesnít make him the gun salesman of the year Ė if not the decade Ė I donít know what would."

 

KWIBS - From January 12, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

I was thinking about something this past week. Back in 1999, some genius invented glasses that you wore with year 2000 on them. You looked through the two zeros. That guy or gal must have thought, "I've finally done it. I've invented something that will be a huge hit every New Year's Eve."

And then it happened - 2009.

I can see the inventer wearing his or her glasses, looking through the zeros with the two and the nine on each side and it finally sinking in, "Oh my! It's over. The dream is over. I can't do this with 2010."

With the new year, comes the resolutions. Wondering what to do with all of that left over body fat? Here's an idea...

A former Beverly Hills, Calif. liposuction doctor claimed to have the environment's best interests at heart when he began fueling his and his girlfriend's SUVs with human fat sucked out of his patients.

Unfortunately the practice was illegal, according to California state health officials.

An investigation by the California public health department revealed that Craig Alan Bittner created "lipodiesel" from his patients' fat and used it to power his Ford SUV and his girlfriend's Lincoln Navigator, Forbes.com reported this week.

"The vast majority of my patients request that I use their fat for fuel ó and I have more fat than I can use," Bittner wrote on his now defunct Web site. "Not only do they get to lose their love handles or chubby belly but they get to take part in saving the Earth."

California law forbids the use of human medical waste to power vehicles. I wonder if Kansas has a law like that?

Bittner's practice, Beverly Hills Liposculpture, closed in November.

Apparently, several former patients have filed lawsuits against the doctor, claiming he allowed his unlicensed girlfriend and an assistant to perform procedures, causing mistakes that left the patients disfigured, attorney Andrew Besser, who represents three of the former patients, told Forbes.com.

If you're not interested in losing weight, or in fact, wanting to attract those of the opposite sex wanting to indulge in fast foods, Burger King Corp. may have just the thing. The home of the Whopper has launched a new men's body spray called "Flame." The company describes the spray as "the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat."

I can hear my wife now, "mmmm baby, you smell like meat."

The fragrance is on sale at New York City retailer Ricky's NYC in stores and online for a limited time for $3.99.

Burger King is marketing the product through a website featuring a photo of its King character reclining fireside and naked but for an animal fur strategically placed to not offend.

Too late... I was offended when you made a meat scented body spray.....

The marketing ploy is the latest in a string of viral ad campaigns by the company. Burger King is also in the midst of its Whopper Virgins campaign that features a taste test with fast-food "virgins" pitting the Whopper against McDonald's Corp.'s Big Mac.

Their (dis) tasteful advertising makes me long for a Big Mac..

Burger King Holdings Inc. shares actually rose 15 cents to close at $20.53 just before the year's end.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From January 5, 2009 - By Kevin Noland

Hello and Happy New Year!

It's time to start messing up your checks by writing the wrong date at the top, if you haven't already done that!

When people find out that we are a host family for AFS, they usually ask the basic questions.

Where is the student from? What has the student told you about his life in his home country? What are some of the differences between where the student lived and the United States. What is the neatest thing you have learned from hosting an AFS student?

We're now halfway through our year with Frank, who's real name is Wang Haiji. Frank is from China.

That's about what I've learned in the past six months!

That's not entirely true. I know that Frank is an only child, a rule that is enforced in China to control an exploding population. Frank's family does not own a car because they have a very advanced public transportation system in their home town. They live in a housing complex that has close to 400 other people in it. Frank's dad is captain of a cargo ship that frequently is at sea and often makes port in the United States. Frank's mom is an accountant. Frank lives in a city along with 6-8 million other people, however, I can't pronounce the name of his city.

I know Frank loves to play basketball, which is played a little bit differently than in the United States, but he is enjoying learning plays and experiencing the level of competition he's unfamiliar with. Frank likes to build models and enjoys reading and studying. He's extremely smart.

With little surprise, Frank is a normal teenage boy, not too much different than my own teenage son.

I've learned that kids are just kids - no matter where they are from. Teenage boys are clumsy. They can be unintentionally messy. They stay up too late, spend too much time on the internet, eat too much junk food, listen to crappy music and have a bad taste in clothing.

I've actually learned a lot of neat things about Frank and Chinese culture.

So what is the neatest thing I've learned? I've learned that Frank and the Chinese have the coolest underwear!

Tuesday evening the boys were gone and Ronda was doing laundry. As she was folding clothes, she held up his underwear and said, "Look at Frank's underwear."

They are so cool. Men, you just wouldn't understand unless you could see them for yourself. These underwear look like they are made for male comfort. You know how a baseball fits so nicely into a broken in ball mitt? or a baby kangaroo fits into his mother's pouch? Well, let that thought sink in a minute.

That's kind of how Frank's underwear looks like they'd feel if I could put them on - and I probably would have tried if my waist wasn't 10 inches bigger around than his.... and don't think I didn't check either. I'm not for sure what size they were because they are in Chinese, but I'm pretty sure it would take a couple of pairs to make one that fit me.

So I got online and I searched for the brand name "Lang Ben" and a bunch of scribbly looking characters that my keyboard doesn't have. I didn't find a match, so I modified the search to include "Chinese Underwear."

This kicked up a bunch of matches which included pictures and descriptions and I found one site that had something similar to Frank's amazing looking underwear.

I clicked on the photo and then clicked for a price and description.

That's when I learned something else about the Chinese culture. They have a difficult time when it comes to translation.

The description of the underwear said, "Men's Panties."

I've got to get me a pair!

I did talk to Frank about his underwear when he got home and told him that I wanted a pair. He got his laptop out and webcamera and spoke with his dad for what I thought was a good half-hour. I should be getting some Chinese underwear in the mail soon!

Poor kid, I hope he doesn't read my column. Let's all keep the fact that I wrote about Frank's underwear our little secret.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From December 29, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

I'm writing this Christmas Eve, eagerly waiting to get home to celebrate Christmas with my family.

I have the news on and I'm half writing and half listening and half thinking about what I might find under the tree later for me. Hopefully, it's a calculator because obviously I can't add.....

Earlier in the week, I had gone to see Dr. Pete. I developed Rednose Reindeer Eye. I made that up. My eye is all swollen and red like Ruldolph's nose, but higher and to the left. I could lead Santa's sleigh and reindeer if only I had peripheral vision and depth perception.

As I got ready to go see Pete at the clinic, I remembered it was December 23 and I should bring him a gift. Like any crafty man, I had made a stack of gifts in the pantry that I had received earlier in the week and grabbed a can of salted nuts and stuck a bow on it from another gift.

I walked into Pete's office and said, "Merry Christmas, Dude!" He said, "Nice regift......"

It's extrasensory development that every man has by the age of 30. He knew this wasn't the first time these nuts had made a round. Still he graciously accepted them and placed them with the other 5 cans of nuts and 20 plates of cookies in his office.

Regifting probably began in cave man days.

"Atouk! Me lunda (that's "love" in caveman language) this rock. Goes with everything Lar own. Thank you Atouk!"

"Yes Lar, me know Atouk got same rock from you last rockmas." (Note, Christmas hadn't happened yet).

Lar then smashes Atouk in the head with the very same rock he regifted and drags Atouk's woman off by her hair.

Did you know that someone is actually keeping statistics on regifting?

2007 Regifting Survey Findings

* Nearly seven out of ten (68%) women regift or are thinking about it (compared with only 47% of men).

* Regifting favorably has increased by 7% in two years. The 2005 survey showed that 54% of the respondents felt it was acceptable. In 2007, that number grew to 58%. 2008's figures aren't even in yet, but you can bet they'll be higher. I've regifted twice already!

* 42% of respondents said they would regift to save money -- compared to only 33% respondents in 2005. 25% of the respondents think that regifting is growing in popularity because consumers are doing it as a way to save on holiday expenses.

* 14% of respondents think that regifting is growing in popularity because it is a form of recycling. See Barb! That's how I recycle!

* Most regifters have good intentions -- 62% regift because they think it is something the recipient would really like. So that means the other 38% are just heartless and unappreciative!

* Regifting is becoming more widely accepted, 60% of respondents think so. Even more telling, less than 10% of respondents claimed they would be unhappy to receive a regift. 18% even claimed they would be happy or amused to be on the receiving end of a regift.

Of course, the number-one regifting rule is - Donít get caught. All other regifting suggestions relate to this primary rule. Getting caught could cause a triple-whammy of regifting shame for you (you are a busted regifter), the person who gets your regift (who knows you didnít buy him anything new) and the first-time gifter (who sees his or her gift given to someone else and now thinks you hated it, which you probably did).

Acceptable Regifting Guidelines

1. The toughest rule of them all: Give the gift with good intentions, just like you would a new gift that you picked out yourself. Give it because you honestly feel that the recipient would enjoy it.

2. Brand new and new-in-the-package items without any trace of wear and tear are suitable for regifting. If it's scratched, dented or torn up, ripped or stained, you're busted.

3. Make sure the gift doesn't still have a tag on it that says, "To Kevin (or insert your name) From Mom".

4. Wrap the gift in nice, new gift wrapping if you can. If you can't, do like I do. I usually stick mine in a gift bag (recycled of course), sticking a new name tag over the old one so as not to alert anyone that it is an old bag. Sometimes I use a staple gun to seal up the bag because nothing says, "This has never been opened before," like a staple.

5. If you know the gift looks like something you had but didnít want, you can be honest. Tell the recipient, "I got this last year, but it really doesnít match my skin tone. I kept thinking that it would be great on you. If you donít like it, feel free to pass it on to someone you think would like it better." But this only works as long as you didn't give it back to the person who gave it to you first.... Which brings me to the last rule of regifting.

6. Keep track of who gave you what to avoid regifting to the original giver, which can be the most uncomfortable situation. I usually try to ship my regifts out of state to family and friends that didn't see me get it.

Dang, I just blew it because they all get the paper.

Happy New Year!

 

KWIBS - From December 22, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

Of the 52 weeks out of each year we print a newspaper, the last two weeks of the year are the most hectic for us. Usually Christmas falls somewhere either on a print day, deadline day or smack dab in the middle of it all. We rush around at the paper weeks before, trying to schedule the time off and find ways to get work done in advance so we can produce the last two papers of the year.

Somewhere in the midst of all of this, it dawns on me that it's almost Christmas again. I'm so caught up in all of the bustle that until I open the file called "Christmas", I nearly forget that it's even here already.

I opened that file last week and started working on the Christmas edition. This issue is my most favorite one to put out.

This issue has the letters to Santa from the grade school kids in it.

One of my favorite letters this year comes from a kid named Andrew. It reads:

Dear Santa,

I want a cowboy gun and a shotgun. Are your reindeer ok? I want to see your reindeer.

Love Andrew C.

I forwarded this message up to Santa and, to my surprise, got a response back.

Dear Andrew:

My reindeer are good right now, but I'm concerned and suspicious about your gun fetishes. I think I'll bring you some toys instead.

Love, Santa

This issue also has the greetings from the merchants of Medicine Lodge and I've always thought of this issue as a giant Christmas card.

And that's good because Ronda and I are terrible when it comes to sending out Christmas cards. However, we've had a pretty good track record of Christmas editions - 17, to be exact.

Most importantly, when we get this issue put together, it's time to stop and reflect on what the holiday we're observing really means.

It's so easy to forget what the holiday is all about. If you're like me you have last minute shopping to do, gift wrapping, decorating, parties to go to, school programs to attend, baking, family (hopefully not baking family) and everything else that goes along with this time of year.

So what does Christmas symbolize for you?

It's an occasion to nearly freeze time for a moment and spend it with family and friends. It's a time for remembering to be thankful for the things in life that are the most important.

For me and my family, it symbolizes God's love and mercy and the gift of his Son Jesus.

My favorite scripture about this season is in Luke 2, beginning with verse 8: "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Ronda and I are the worst when it comes to sending out Christmas cards. So this is our card to you all. To our friends, our family and our readers, we wish you a Merry Christmas. I pray that the peace and hope that is Jesus's birth fills your home this holiday.

So from Ronda, Breeann, Joey, Nicholas and Frank (our AFS student from China), along with myself, we wish you all a.......

Merry Christmas!

 

KWIBS - From December 15, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

Last week auto makers went before congress requesting close to $40 billion in government loans to save the auto industry.

I have mixed feelings about the government bail out. On one hand I believe that our economy might be on the edge of collapse if we allow millions of Americans to lose their jobs. On the other hand I grow weary of corporate executives who are given large salaries only to have their companies go nearly bankrupt and then ask me as the taxpayer to help fix their problems. The real problem I had with this was a threat that the executives made to the American people: Do this, or we'll fold up and the ripple effect will ruin our country.

These kinds of threats should be taken seriously. And if Congress decides to give these companies money, we must hold them accountable. I'm actually glad for the oversight that many are asking for in giving this money. It must be repaid, with interest to the American people.

With that said, I'll be in Washington on Wednesday to testify before congress to bail out the newspaper industry..... kidding, but do you see the dangerous road we're now on?

And what about Main Street businesses? We generate most of the jobs in this country, borrow the most money and provide most of the services that keep our country going. When will we receive our bail out?

In just under 40 days, our new president will take office. He'll have his work cut out for him. I believe there will be a renewed appreciation for how difficult a job this is and hopefully we'll get that change that we were promised during the campaign.

Today, Dec. 15 is the 217th anniversary of an important date in American history. Do you know what it is?

Doug Anstaett, executive director of the Kansas Press Association in Topeka, sent me this editorial.

I know, youíve got a lot on your mind today with the economy tanking, Christmas just around the corner and the pressure mounting to come up with a New Yearís Resolution or two.

But if you can find a few minutes in your busy schedule during the next week, you might want to give a "hip, hip, hooray" to the memory of George Mason. For it was Mason who made sure that the Bill of Rights became the law of the land in the fledgling United States of America on Dec. 15, 1791.

Mason, a Virginian, insisted upon the inclusion of individual rights as part of the U.S. Constitution. He had written the Virginia Declaration of Rights that was adopted along with the Virginia Constitution and refused to sign the new national constitution because it lacked such a listing of individual freedoms. He went home from the constitutional convention disillusioned and as an outspoken opponent of ratification.

Fortunately for us, his stubbornness paid off, the Bill of Rights was adopted and we continue today to enjoy the individual freedoms spelled out for every citizen in those first 10 amendments to the Constitution.

Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. Freedom of the press. The right against self-incrimination. The right to a speedy and public trial. The right to bear arms. The right to a trial by jury. Protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

Those of other rights remain some of our most cherished freedoms more than two centuries later.

These rights have stood the test of time and guarantee every citizen ó even those who hold views the rest of us might find abhorrent ó the right to speak out, the right to be represented in court by counsel, the right to practice any religion or no religion and the right to be safe from unwarranted intrusions into their homes and lives.

The Bill of Rights may not have been on the front burner when our Founding Fathers debated the new Constitution, but George Mason made sure that the country did not move forward without those guiding principles spelled out.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to those who chose not to remain silent, who refused to be intimidated and who stood firm until our nationís foundation was laid properly.

George Mason indeed earned his title of "Father of the Bill of Rights." Join me today in a "hip, hip, hooray."

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From December 8, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

Tough economic times call for thrifty decisions at Christmas time. Surely even the most romantic will think twice about the $86,609 price tag for the items in the carol, "The Twelve Days of Christmas."

That's right. That's this year's cost, according to the annual "Christmas Price Index" compiled by PNC Wealth Management, which tallies the single partridge in a pear tree to the 12 drummers drumming, purchased repeatedly, as the song suggests. The price is up $8,508 or 10.9 percent, from $78,100 last year.

In this tight economy, what's a romantic to do?

The creative, yet cash-strapped consumer, might consider some modifications. After all, who needs dozens of birds?

Instead of two turtle doves ($55) why not two Dove chocolate bars at about buck each? You don't have $4,414 for 10 lords-a-leaping? How about a "Riverdance" DVD? Plenty of crazy leaping there, and it's only about $20. Check at Alco, they can probably get you one. Save a couple grand by skipping the 11 pipers piping and getting a CD of Scottish bagpipe music for less than $15.

Necessity is the mother of invention. So this year, it might pay to be a little more inventive.

While some sources suggest the gold rings actually refer to ring neck pheasants ó apparently, all the birds were for feasting, I would personally suggest a turkey at White's costing around $15-$20.

But sticklers for tradition might also save by procrastinating. With the economy in its first consumer-led recession since the early 1980s and energy prices falling as of late, prices could come down between now and Christmas. Our local merchants are providing big savings this holiday and you'll save on gas too!

PNC Financial Services Group Inc. checks jewelry stores, dance companies, pet stores and other sources to compile the list. While it is done humorously, PNC said its index mirrors actual economic trends.

For instance, gasoline costs topped $4 this summer, driving up shipping costs for many goods. So a pear tree that cost $150 last year will cost $200 this year. (The partridge is up $5 to $20.)

For your bird items in the song, I say buy some bird seed from the Coop and you'll get to see some birds. They may not be partridges or in pear trees or calling birds, but you'll get your birds.

Luxury items are also up, as reflected by the price of the seven swans-a-swimming, which are up 33 percent to $5,600.

Take your significant other to the Barber County State Lake for a view of the ducks and geese for free. It's the next best thing.

But if you just want to spend money the faltering economy has also brought down the cost of some items.

The three French hens (down $15 to $30) and six geese-a-laying (down $120 to $240) reflect declines in food prices.

Guys, nine ladies dancing... you should probably not go there if you want to salvage not only Christmas, but your relationships as well.....

The eight maids-a-milking will cost 12 percent more, $52.40 from about $47 last year, thanks to their second annual minimum wage increase. Good luck finding them. Nobody wants to work for minimum wage anymore.

The 10 lords-a-leaping, 11 pipers piping and 12 drummers drumming are all up about 3 percent, reflecting the general average wage increase.

And nothing is more romantic that 12 drummers drumming.

On another good note the five golden rings fell 11.4 per cent as retailers trim prices of luxury goods in light of all markets a-moaning.

Your best bet is probably to not try and keep up with the 12 Days of Christmas theme, but if you are going to, try and substitute some of the items for things you can buy right here in Medicine Lodge. It will be fun and it will save you money and you'll be supporting your local economy.

I'll bet you're singing that song in your head, aren't you?

Have a great week and Merry Christmas!

 

KWIBS - From November 24, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

A lot of talk around town and in my office this week revolved around the idea of a 4 day school week and consolidating the 7th & 8th graders with the high school and elementary grades at the grade school.

I did my best to present the facts concerning this subject and to be unbiased in my reporting on the subject in an article on the front page this week.

It wasn't easy. Many people I spoke with became quite emotional about the subject and I often wondered what I had gotten myself into. I listened to their concerns and encouraged them to attend the meeting to be held Tuesday, November 25.

I was a student in the district for 12 years and my daughter is a recent graduate of MLHS after attending school in the district for 12 years. My sons Joey and Nicholas are in their 10th and 5th years respectively and I have an AFS student who will graduate in May from MLHS. I've been involved with this school district for the past 33 years in some fashion and will be involved in it for at least another 7 years before my last child will graduate there.

I feel like we've done our part, procreating and getting kids enrolled in our school system so they could be taught and counted for state funding. But my wife and I are getting older now. We're not having anymore babies, that we know of or would have to sue a local doctor if we did.

Our jobs of being the baby-makers in town are over and we've passed the torch on to a new generation of people who need to, well, get busy and make babies!

Seriously, there are three ways to bring more kids into the district: Have them born here, move them here with new families or host students from other countries, like through AFS.

One problem we have is, there aren't as many young people in town having babies. This is due, in large part, that there are not enough jobs for young people to come back to.

That's where the real problem lies for this district's future. We do need to be proactive in finding ways to save our district money, but at the same time we need to be figuring out ways we can create jobs and attract younger families to our community.

It should have been a battle cry for our city and county for many years, but it simply has taken a way back seat to issues like taxes, roads, bridges, water lines and even a new pool for those who are left to use it.

There are glimpses of hope.

The wind farm will bring in a few permanent jobs to our community and two new hospitals will at least guarantee the employment of existing families and perhaps attract a few more, but we need to think bigger.

In years past, many "big" ideas were shot down. One such idea was a pig processing plant. I'm not exactly sure that I would be supportive of this type of industry in our community.

Norm Clouse and I were visiting the other day. Surprisingly, we had been thinking along the same lines. A couple of years ago, I had mentioned to my wife and some friends that a 30-45 bed jail facility could create a needed service for the area and would create a few jobs in town.

Norm took this one step further. He asked "Why not convince someone within the state of Kansas to build a prison here?"

I think this is brilliant.

I know your first thought is, why in the world would we want to bring criminals to Medicine Lodge? Well, you wouldn't believe the numbers we already have living in our community and they are free to roam the streets. At least these folks would be locked up and supervised for the duration of their stay.

Depending on the size of a facility, their temporary homes could create job opportunities for as little as 100 people to as many as 10000 people

Crime is a big industry and it's even bigger in tough times

Maybe it's not the right idea for Medicine Lodge, but it's a forward thinking thought and one of the first I have heard in a long time. It should be pursued.

Back to a 4 day school week plan......

I will be honest, my initial reaction to this proposal was not positive.

I don't want to see anyone in our district lose their jobs or be forced to take pay cuts. It's a difficult time for many, including our school district.

My family lives on the far north corner of the county. My children would have very long days if we went to a 4 day week plan and I know others would too. Already, my kids get on the bus at around 7:30 a.m. on good weather days. I can't imagine how much earlier they would get on and how much later they could get home.

Fridays are our deadline day at the paper. It is impossible for us to run back and forth to our home to transport kids to events.

I guess the biggest issue is my own pride in our district. I don't want to see us move backwards. I want things to be the way they were when I graduated. I know that's not realistic. The high school was nearly at capacity then. I want to see growth, so this reason doesn't really count, but I know it is influencing my choices.

It's obvious something needs to change in order to move us forward and to insure we will have the funds needed to operate our district in future years.

You need to go to this meeting on Tuesday, November 25th and hear what Mr. Cullen has to say and if you don't like it then tell him and tell your board members. If you do like it, tell him and tell your board members, but however you feel, be prepared to be a part of some sort of solution. Let's work together to figure out how we can save money and grow in our district.

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Bob Stuttler was gracious enough to invite me and my wife over to The Grand Hotel to see the progress on the inside. All I can say is WOW! The work is amazing and some people might not realize that Bob and Dorothy will be opening a gun shop on the main floor in the very near future. This won't be your average gun shop. I believe this will attract a high caliber of people (no pun intended).

We'll try and bring you the latest on their progress as soon as it is available.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The Stuttlers are a great asset to our community and they have revived an historic icon in the center of our town and should be shown our appreciation.

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Congratulations to Representative Dennis McKinney on his new job. McKinney has taken the State Treasurer's appointment from Gov. Sebelius for Kansas. He's done such a service to our area and I hope he will be active in finding a replacement for himself. Good luck Dennis and thank you for your great service to our district.

Have a great week and Happy Thanksgiving!

 

KWIBS - From November 17, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

It's a week past Veteran's Day, but there should never be only one day that we honor those who serve our country.

I'm always amazed at the Veteran's Program put on at the High School each year. This year was no different. Despite a few sound glitches, the program was a success.

Thank you to all the area veterans for attending even though the weather was a bit cold and nasty. It's a great thing for our kids to see you all and connect with you on that personal level.

Although she would never want any attention, Linda Hartley has served as this program's organizer for a number of years and has kept it alive and fresh each year. There are so many people that help her - too many to even mention here. They know who they are.

Two of the guest speakers were law makers. Local Representative Dennis McKinney and Congressman Jerry Moran. After Moran spoke, I saw him exit the gym and proceeded to cut him off at the pass.

I found Congressman Moran near an exit and asked him if I could have a minute of his time. I wanted him to know that I appreciated him not supporting the bailout plan and I asked him to hold accountable those who were abusing the money that the taxpayers have given them.

Just last week AIG was caught spending another $330,000+ on high end resorts for some of its executives.
I believe Moran supports the idea of accountability. We'll see what happens over the next few months.

Going back to the subject of veterans, I spoke with my friend Nathan Hunt a while back. Sgt. Hunt has served two missions in Iraq. He lives in Belle Plaine, Kansas with his wife Jeri and their kids Madelyn and Bradon.

Nate broke the news to his family and friends that he is volunteering for another mission. This time in Afghanistan. On Friday of last week, I ran across this news release. It deals with the unit that Nate will be attached to and what their mission is. I found it particularly interesting and wanted to share it with my readers.

KANSAS NATIONAL GUARD WILL DEPLOY AGRIBUSINESS DEVELOPMENT TEAM TO AFGHANISTAN

One of the things the United States is known for is its military might, but a group of Kansas National Guardsmen will soon be demonstrating that there is more to the National Guard than that as they deploy in February 2009 to show the people of Afghanistan how to do something that Kansans are known for: farming.

A joint Kansas Army and Air National Guard team of approximately 60 personnel will go to Afghanistan next year as an Agribusiness Development Team (ADT). The team, comprised of personnel with backgrounds and expertise in various aspects of the agribusiness field, will work in conjunction with the Provincial Reconstruction Team, USAID, USDA, the Department of State and other agencies in Afghanistanís Laghman Province. Their year-long mission is to assist in building capabilities for increased agricultural production, training and services, and improving the safety of food and other agricultural products that are produced and distributed to the Afghan people. They will also assist in the development of sustainable agriculture and other related enterprises that will increase the economic well-being of the Afghans.

The Kansas National Guard will be performing this mission in partnership with Kansas State University over a three year period to build continuity and relationships with local and regional Afghan individuals and leaders.

"This is an incredible mission for our Guard members who are again stepping up to serve," said Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. "And on this mission they are teaching the people of Afghanistan something that will benefit them and their families for years to come."

"Most people know the National Guard as defenders of freedom, but weíre also builders," said Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, the adjutant general. "Sometimes, we build physical things, like roads and bridges, but in this case were helping to rebuild a society. These Kansas Guardsmen will assist the people of Afghanistan to develop and improve their agricultural production and storage, making life a little better for everyone."

"This is a unique opportunity for members of the Agribusiness Development Team to employ both their military and civilian skills in Afghanistan and for the people who need our assistance," said Col. Eric Peck, commander of the first Kansas ADT. "All members of the ADT are training hard to meet the mission requirements from a military perspective. We are also working with our Kansas State University partners to develop a cultural and agricultural training program that will benefit all three of the Kansas-lead teams."

The Agribusiness Development Team program is a joint effort of several federal government agencies and the National Guard. The concept has been successfully used in Central America for approximately 20 years. The first such team was deployed from Missouri to Afghanistan in February 2008 and a second was deployed from Texas in June. Four additional teams, including the one from the Kansas National Guard, will be deployed over a 12 month period.

KWIBS - From November 10, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

Our newspaper did something new last week. I had attempted it once before, but it didn't work as we wanted it to.

On Tuesday, November 4, 2008 our newspaper's website did a live update of election results for Barber County. This was done in real time. Most of our updating took place within 5 minutes of election board reporting.

I was interested in seeing what kind of response we would get from that type of reporting.

I was overwhelmed.

The website received 1289 hits from 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday until 12:15 a.m. on Wednesday. I fell asleep after that and didn't check until the next morning. As of this writing, the election web page received a total number of just under 1700 hits. The website itself had 1219 views.

To put that in to perspective that's almost three times the number of hard copies we sell on the street!

This will open the door to other possibilities for the newspaper's website. We hope to one day have daily reporting and news stories, but we have to be careful to balance our website with our newsprint edition.

The article to the bottom right is from a fellow newspaper publisher, David Powls from Holton. He wrote the editorial to Kansas Publishers and I wanted to share his thoughts with my readers this week.

Have a great week!

Congratulations Barber County

for passing Resolution 2208-10

Take stand, but donít take yourself too seriously

Hello from Holton. At this writing, weíre in the process of printing our Wednesday, Nov. 5 edition with the general election results.

My pick for president (John McCain) mirrored the majority of the stateís voters on election day but lost in the national voting.

A $21.3 million Holton school bond issue that I wrote in favor of failed on election day by a 2-1 margin.

Had I been newspapering in any other county in the Second Congressional District, I would have strongly supported Nancy Boydaís re-election campaign. Her opponent, however, is from Holton and I know Lynn Jenkins will do a fine job at Washington, D.C., too. I editorialized it was a shame that we couldnít send both Boyda and Jenkins to Congress. I believe that.

Another Holton High School graduate, Pat Roberts, won his U.S. Senate race against Jim Slattery. This political race also featured two good candidates.

As newspaper editors, it is tradition for us to step outside the voting booth curtains and tell our readers how we plan to vote Ė knowing full well weíre opening up ourselves to the possible business backlash that can come when a customer (or customers) disagrees with us. Iím sure you know what I mean.

At times like these, I think about the life and times of longtime Garnett newspaper editor George Clasen, now deceased.

I grew up in Garnett. Clasen provided me with my first real newspaper job (an internship). My parents often did not agree with the opinions that editor Clasen voiced in The Garnett Review and Anderson Countian. But when Clasen retired, many Garnett residents, including my parents, commented that they really missed him and his opinions Ė even if they did disagree with him much of the time!

I often write in The Holton Recorder that itís OK for readers to disagree with me and remain on friendly terms with me.

I also often write that the opinions of the paper are printed on the Opinion Page only.

In community journalism, we strive to provide our readers with both sides of important issues Ė in every story Ė all the time.

In fact, a news story is not complete until it provides both sides to every issue.

If weíre doing our jobs as newspaper reporters, readers should not know how we feel about either side of an issue.

Someone a long time ago told me that community journalism is the most difficult career I would ever love. That has been the case for me. As all newspaper editors know, every day in this business brings new stories to write and new advertising messages to sell for the paper.

I believe itís important for newspaper editors Ė especially those of us in smaller communities Ė to continue writing editorials on political issues and races and other important local issues (like school bond issues, for example). There are many places for people in our communities to turn for news these days but not a lot of others willing to take a stand on important community issues of the day.

Some final advice about editorial writing in a small community: Do your homework first. Consult with experts on your subjects. Understand the issue youíre writing about; avoid those issues you donít.

Trust your judgment on whatís best for your community. Never be too stubborn to admit mistakes when you make them.

ÖAnd when your favorite presidential candidate does not win and the school bond you supported fails, donít take it too seriously.

David Powls is president of the Kansas

Press Association for 2008-09.

 

KWIBS - From November 3, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

You'll be thinking, "welcome to the 21st century Kevin."

My wife and I took a little trip last week for her birthday. Her birthday is actually today, but we celebrated a week early because it fit into the Dallas Cowboys' home game schedule!

Our trip included a visit to Deep Ellum, the old warehouse district in downtown Dallas, and a visit to my Uncle Gary's ranch outside of Ft. Worth.

Although Ronda is from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, things have changed some in the 23 years since she's left that area. We knew we'd have to rely on maps and instructions to find the points of interest for our trip.

My buddy Dale McCurdy has used a GPS for years with his traveling to various cities around the country and swears by one. We learned that Dan and Val Dutton had a Garmin Nuvi and we asked if we could borrow it for the weekend. They were gracious and we set out on our trip with this neat little gadget.

All we had to do was enter an address and the lady inside the small device took over navigation for us.

"Drive 1 mile and exit left," she spoke to us.

This was incredible! We were finding everything we needed just be listening to this soft spoken electronic female.

And when we got to where we were going, she was elated! "Arriving at destination," she said! You could practically hear the joy in her electronic voice.

It wasn't long before Ronda detected my affection for my new girlfriend. She would give me directions and I would thank her and soon it was evident that we were becoming friends.

"Should we eat Mexican," I asked Ronda?

"I don't know. Why don't you ask your girlfriend," she huffed.

It was apparent to me that she was jealous of my new friendship.

As with any new relationship, the new began to wear off. After four days of, "Recalculating and Course Correction" I found we were growing apart. We learned that when you don't follow her directions, she gets a little snippy.

Although she was wonderful at getting us around in Dallas, she lacked some necessary skills needed in order for our friendship to grow.

I asked her about politics, she didn't answer. Anywhere I wanted to eat seemed to be fine with her. It was like she didn't really care. Once when I asked for a restaurant she led us to a couple that had obviously been closed for quite some time. There were also a couple of times she intentionally told us to exit where there were no exits.

I could feel the tension growing on our way to our hotel one evening when I told Ronda, "I'll be leaving the girlfriend in the car tonight."

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Look how happy she looks!

Ronda's special weekend in Dallas wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for her Dad and Stepmom Don and Linda Vick, Dale and Michele McCurdy, John Nixon (for watching the boys) and throwing them scraps of food), Joey and Frank (for not trashing our house while we were gone), Sarah and Dwain Richert (for keeping Nick), Grandma MeMe, Dan and Val Dutton (for the GPS/girlfriend, Pete (for his wireless Internet card), the acadamy (for nominating me for this.... oops, wrong speech)........ and my staff here at the Premiere for kicking it up a notch and helping me get the paper done early so we could leave on Friday.

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Ronda! I hope it was the best birthday you ever had. We love you!!!! I love you!!!!

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On an interesting side note to this story, I told my mom last week we were going to stay in Oklahoma City on Friday night to break up the trip to Dallas. She said, "Me too!"

What a coincidence....

I told her we were staying at the Biltmore Hotel and she said, "ME TOO!"

That was too strange.

I told her we were staying in room 229 on the second floor and she said, "We're staying on the ground level."

Wow....That was close! lol....

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We'll be voting for president tomorrow. I don't know how much of a chance McCain has at beating the Obama Money Machine.

You would have thought that Obama would have graciously given McCain some of that extra money he earned in the last days of the election to help him out in the polls, but that would have been a redistribution of HIS wealth! lol.....

We ran into this guy in the parking lot at the Dallas Cowboy's game. He might have something going here......

No matter who wins or how the bond issue turns out this election, on Wednesday, we'll all still be Americans and we'll all still be residents of Barber County. We have to work hard to improve our current situations nationally and locally.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From October 28, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

I've probably written about this before, but October and November are big birthday months in my family. It starts with my daughter, Breeann on the 3rd of October, then I have one the next day on the 4th of October. For my birthday, we went to Amarillo, TX to see Dale and Michele McCurdy's new home and to go and completely destroy my left knee hiking in Palo Duro Canyon! It was a beautiful canyon that I easily climbed. It was going down that got me.

We get a couple of week's break from the birthdays and then it's my son Joey's birthday.

And an important birthday it is for him on Wednesday, October 28th. This week my oldest son turns 16 years old. Along with that right of passage comes his legal driver's license. I'm sure Joey is dreaming of trips to town without making up excuses as to why he is always on a farm errand. Joey, you can unload the livestock and grain out of the back of the pickup and take your first legal lap around the square on me buddy. Happy 16th Birthday!

And then, just a week later, it's my wife's birthday on November 3rd.

Without telling you her age, this year is a particularly dark birthday for my wife. I wanted it to be something more special for her than black balloons and tombstones around her desk, so I contacted her father in El Paso, Texas. Ronda had mentioned to me that she had never been to a Dallas Cowboy's football game and I knew right away that was what we would be doing for her birthday. Ronda's dad hooked us up with tickets and hotel rooms as our birthday gifts and our friends and former Medicine Lodge residents Dale and Michele McCurdy, mentioned earlier, joined us all the way from Amarillo, TX for a tailgating party at Texas Stadium this weekend complete with adjoining seats in the stadium to watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. our beloved Dallas Cowboys, who have strugled the last few weeks with the injury of their Quarter Back Tony Romo.

Romo, Oh Romo, Wherefore art thou throw Romo? Your Dallas Cowboys need you. We had hoped you would play, but I'm betting we watched you on the sideline.

By the time you read this, we'll be on our way back from Texas, where Ronda grew up until she moved to Kansas in the mid-80s. If all goes as planned, we'll have stopped along the way to see some of her old classmates and a stop to see my Uncle Gary Noland. Gary used to be in Medicine Lodge in the late 60s-early 70s running the Barber County Index with my grandfather Bill Noland. My uncle now raises and trains horses in Fort Worth, TX, a far cry away from the days of slinging ink.

It's a trip we've been anticipating since Ronda first guessed what her surprise was going to be for her birthday earlier this month.

You see, it was supposed to be a game where I gave her clues each day to guess what she was getting for her birthday. I gave her three to start with. Here they were.

1). It's more than five hours away.

2). You can sit down or stand up at it.

3). It's inside but it's also outside.

She said, "YOU'RE TAKING ME TO A DALLAS COWBOY'S FOOTBALL GAME!!!"

I guess with age, she has also gained intuition, because I didn't think the clues were that easy!

Ronda's actual birthday is on Monday, November 3rd, 2008. So be sure to wish her a happy birthday. I love you Ronda. I hope you have a great birthday!

It won't be long after that and we'll be celebrating Wang Haji's birthday. "Frank", as we call him, is our AFS student from East China and he will be celebrating his 17th birthday with his host family on November 23rd.

Best wishes to Deana Horn who left us last week for a new job. Erin Jones will be writing for the Premiere starting this week and we're excited to welcome her on board.

Only one more week before the elections. My predictions: Obama / Biden, two new hospitals for Barber County???

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From October 20, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

I'm going to steal some words from one of our readers this week.

Bill Robbins of Pratt called me for our annual conversation about such things as the hospital bond issue, the school district, 99 Springs and Lake Arrowhead roads and the economy in general.

Bill made an interesting point. The stock market woes have forced big oil to lower fuel costs and this benefits Americans. This comes just in time. They'll now be able to afford gas money to drive to bankruptcy court.

The economy isn't looking so good now is it?

Hereís how bad the economy really is. There are now Americans taking jobs away from illegal aliens.

And it is pretty scary looking at our financial problems in this country. Doesnít it make you yearn for the good old days when we were just worried about oil hitting 150 bucks a barrel?

At this writing, I'm afraid to tell you what the market is doing. It dropped almost 800 points one day, picked up 600 the next and then dropped like another 700. I can't even add and subtract quick enough to keep up.

I, like many of you, lost a little bit of my retirement last week on the roller coaster ride that is our stock market. I don't really understand how my money magically disappears when the market goes down. I'm sure that someone out there is smart enough to explain it to me in laymen's terms, but for the moment I'll share my confusion.

When your average person goes to the bank and asks for money for a home, for instance, the bank checks your credit score, looks at your liability vs. collateral, your income and the inside of your colon (in most instances, unless you get one of those sweetheart mortgages I hear so much in the news about). Then they decide whether you are approved, or not, and then you are required to pay back the bank with interest.

When your average person invests in the stock market, companies take your money and, in some cases, pay you dividends on your money. In other cases, they lose it and they don't have to give you back anything. I guess I just don't understand how that is fair.

Short of burying my money in a coffee can in the yard, I really don't know how to invest safely and receive the best return on my money.

But I don't need to panic.

"Knock, knock, knock."

Who is it?

"We're from the government. We're here to help."

Well thank God! The government, in all its wisdom, has bailed out the banks and the system that I still don't understand!

This is irony. Congress said recently, "The days of getting money just for the asking are over!" And then they asked for and somehow got $700 billion.

The reason for the financial problem is simple. Not only is the United States deep in debt, but the federal government itself has access to far less than the $700 billion it has promised. In fact, right now the federal government only has like $51.75 in the bank. Think of the overdraft charges they are going to get on a $700 billion check!

AIG was given $85 billion dollars as well. They're going to get another $35 billion in assistance. Upon this news, their executives followed through with a planned retreat and spent $440,000 at some luxurious spa. Saturday Night Live said it best, "That was kind of like learning of grandma's death, but still having her birthday party three days later!"

We should treat the federal government like I treat my college student daughter. I put a certain amount of money on her debit card every week. If she spends it all before the next deposit, tough. If she has a surplus, good for her!

Well, at least we have someone to blame in all this mess. According to Democrats, it's the Republicans who are to blame and according to the Republicans, it's the Democrats who are to blame. That clears things up for me.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From October 13, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

I'm taking a break from writing this week and giving up my space for a very important announcement about Breast Cancer.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I applaud the efforts of the folks at the Shaggy Shack for their efforts to raise awareness and money for cancer research. I hope you'll take the time to read the story on the main page and the story below.

Have a great week!

American Cancer Society encourages women to take charge of their breast health

Early Detection is Key in Reducing Breast Cancer Deaths

October 6, 2008 Ė As the nation marks the annual National Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, the American Cancer Society is encouraging women to fight breast cancer by taking charge of their personal breast health and supporting efforts against the disease. The Society is reminding women 40 and older about the importance of getting a mammogram annually to detect breast cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage. An estimated 182,460 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to occur among women in the U.S. in 2008, and about 40,480 deaths are expected.

Studies clearly show that early detection of breast cancer through mammography greatly improves treatment options, the chances for successful treatment and survival. Early-stage breast cancer typically produces no symptoms when the tumor is small and most treatable, so it is important that women follow recommended guidelines for finding breast cancer before the symptoms develop. On average, mammography will detect about 80 percent to 90 percent of breast cancers in women without symptoms.

"Survival rates for breast cancer are significantly higher when the cancer has not spread," said Kirsten Bruce, manager, health initiative field support, at the American Cancer Society. "Numerous studies have shown that early detection increases treatment options and can save lives. That is why it is so important for women 40 and older to get an annual mammogram."

The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms and clinical breast exams for women 40 and older and a clinical breast examination at least once every three years for women between the ages of 20 and 39. The Society also recommends magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for certain women at high risk. Women at moderate risk should talk with their doctors about the benefits and limitations of adding MRI screening to their yearly mammogram.

While we do not yet know how to prevent breast cancer, we do know that women who maintain a healthy weight, eat a well-balanced diet, and are physically active 45 to 60 minutes on five or more days of the week can reduce their risk of breast cancer. Also, limiting alcohol consumption can reduce breast cancer risk Ė two or more drinks a day may increase breast cancer risk by 21 percent.

The American Cancer Society and its partner advocacy organization, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM (ACS CAN), continue to engage in activities to increase funding for the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP). This important program provides low-income, uninsured and underinsured women access to mammograms, Pap tests, follow-up care and treatment when needed. Current funding only enables the program to serve one in five eligible women ages 50 to 64 nationwide, and for the first time since the program's inception, fewer women are now being served due to flat funding rates and cuts in funding over the past five years.

This lifesaving program cannot be fully realized if eligible women can not get early detection tests due to insufficient funding. ACS CAN encourages anyone touched by this disease to let Congress know that support for the NBCCEDP is important and that an increase in funding for this program, to $250 million this year, is vital to its continuation. The faster members of Congress make their commitment of support, the better the program can serve more of our mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. To get involved, or to learn more about this effort, please visit http://www.acscan.org/makingstrides.

The American Cancer Society has invested more than $352 million in breast cancer research grants since 1972, and has been an important part of nearly every major breast cancer research breakthrough of the past century, including the use of tamoxifen to reduce the risk of first or second breast cancer occurrences. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network is also active in the fight against breast cancer, mobilizing more than 100,000 volunteers to defeat legislation that would have allowed insurance companies to remove laws guaranteeing cancer screening coverage for women who need it. ACS CAN continues to support legislation that would improve the quality of treatment for breast cancer patients and the quality of life for breast cancer survivors.

The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering, and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, the Society has 13 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across the United States. For more information anytime, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.

ACS CAN is the nonprofit, nonpartisan partner advocacy organization of the American Cancer Society, dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage lawmakers, candidates and government officials to support laws and policies that will make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer. For more information, visit www.acscan.org.

 

KWIBS - From October 6, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

I love a good rock concert. I've paid as much as $150 for a ticket to see the Eagles live back in 2000. That's a lot of money to see a concert, but nothing compared to a ticket to see Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen together.

The entry level tickets are $500 and if you want, you can pay as much as $10,000 to the benefit concert.

Who doesn't love a good benefit concert? Raising money for things like fighting disease, hunger, poverty, saving the planet are all worthy causes.

But this concert isn't about saving anything. It's an Obama fund-raiser.

That's right.

"The Piano Man" and "The Boss", are joining forces to raise money for Obama's campaign.

Obama plans to attend the musical fund-raisers at Hammerstein Ballroom on Oct. 16, the day after Obama's final debate with John McCain at Hofstra University, located several miles outside the city in Hempstead, N.Y.

Good ole Obama - just your regular guy - like everyone can afford $10,000 for a concert ticket.

Is this concert even worth $500? Are you kidding me? WHO in the "middle class", as Obama keeps saying he represents, can afford that? The middle class will not be seeing this concert - only all of those "horrible" people who made more than 250K that Obama wants to tax.

Fortunately for me, these are two of my least favorite artists - EVER. I won't be attending, and it's not just because I can't afford it. It makes me ill to think about any artists gathering to raise money for politics. Poor Obama only raised just over $64 million in the past month.

Of course this is almost as sad as listening to McCain belt out "Bomb-bomb-bomb... bomb-bomb Iran".

? ? ? ?

The Republican National Committee did have a little fun with the Springsteen-Joel concert announcement last Tuesday, at Obama's expense.

"While John McCain is working to bring Republicans and Democrats together, Barack Obama was working to bring rock stars together," RNC spokesman Alex Conant said.

? ? ? ?

Thank God none of the bands I really like care much about stuff like this.

I wish rock stars would come together for worthy causes - not to get a candidate elected. Maybe I could organize some benefits.....,

- "The Cure and Asia - Bailing Out The Banks - 2008"

- "Heart for Hurricane Victims"

- "Fat Boy Slim against Hunger"

- "Big and Rich against Poverty"

- "Britney Spears' `Toxic' - China's Milk and Toys Tour"

- "Duran Duran against Iran"

- "REM's `It's The End Of The World As We Know It' - N. Korean Nuclear benefit"

- "The Beatles `Back in the USSR' - rebuilding Russia's empire - world tour opening in The Republic of Georgia"

- "Snoop Dog for the humane treatment of animals - Special Guest: The Stray Cats"

- "Huey Lewis & The News for unbiased reporting"

- "Simple Plan - to fix our economic problems followed by The All American Rejects"

- "Bon Jovi - 'Wanted Dead Or Alive' find Osama Bin Laden Tour."

- "The Kinks, working out problems in Congress"

- "The Clash `Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now', Iraq 2008 tour"

I could only hope that we all agree that we should leave politics to the politicians and music to the musicians.

So, what am I listening to on my Ipod?

Ironically.....

"The Presidents of the United States of America". Yes, it's a real band and I really like them. You can visit their website and listen to their silly music at www.presidentsrock.com.

Have a great week - Republicans and Democrats alike!

 

KWIBS - From September 29, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

Several folks called me last week concerning an editorial that was written by J.W. Keene, Editor of the Index.

Thursday, September 18, Keene made it clear how he feels about the upcoming bond proposed by the hospitals of Barber County in his column "Another View".

Keene seems to focus his column on the expense and operation of these facilities and the communities' need (or lack thereof) for two hospitals in our county.

He says we should, "flip a coin" and shut down one of the old facilities, in either community and build one new hospital instead of two - with a transfer station, or clinic in the other community.

In October of 2005, I had blockage in my heart that caused me to have an (acute) myocardial infarction, or heart attack. My condition, so rare for my age, was difficult to diagnose and I only had minutes before I was in serious trouble. If not for the doctor and staff at MLMH, I would have died.

I'm grateful that I did not end up at a transfer station where I would have been shipped to another facility to be evaluated again and sent on to another facility. A possible transfer I would have gotten, if Mr. Keene's option was a reality, was a transfer to the mortuary. I was given big-city care in my small-town hospital and I'm alive today to write about it.

We're very fortunate to have competent staff in both Kiowa and Medicine Lodge. I know that neither community would be in favor of giving up its hospital.

So, I do understand the importance of having good health care facilities in my community. It is not only a crucial service for our citizens, but it provides jobs to many families in our county. I guess if we took Mr. Keene's advice, we could shut one hospital down, lay off 30-50 people and have them move away. The schools would lose additional students and their homes would become empty. What would that do to our tax base over 20 years? Heck, maybe we could just shut the entire county down and we could all move to Pratt.....

I've lived here for 36 years. I own commercial and real estate property in Barber County and I pay my taxes, as painful as they are, just like many of you. I don't pretend to like it and I certainly am not in favor of a "bridge to nowhere" project.

But I don't believe that is what we're talking about here.

We're talking about fixing aging hospital facilities and a future investment in our communities. We have seen progress, despite tough economic times. For example, we have a booming oil industry and the new wind farm is bringing money to our local economy. Yes, our population is aging, but this is another reason we should be investing in our county's health infrastructure.

I don't believe that Barber County's hospital future should be left to a coin toss, especially at the suggestion of someone who:

a) doesn't even live in Barber County

b) doesn't own any personal property in Barber County that I am aware of

c) works for a company that doesn't own any real estate in Barber County and contributes very little to the tax base or the local economy for that matter. I'll take that one step further. The Index, who Mr. Keene so boldly writes for, isn't even owned by a Kansas corporation.

I'm also a parent of a college student. I'm neither in the medical field or associated with one or both of the hospitals in question.

"....a legal way to stuff the ballot box...." His comments about parents escorting their college students in for absentee ballots were snide. My daughter has lived here for 18 years and stands to one day inherit oil royalties and property in Barber County.

Even though she is currently away at college, she has every right to vote on an important issue that will directly effect what she will one day pay in taxes. Her address is Medicine Lodge. She was born at the Medicine Lodge Memorial Hospital and went to school here for 12 years. So proponents take note. Your children do have the right to vote - for or against this issue.

Finally Mr. Keene, I offer you the following suggestions:

a) move here, pay taxes here and we'd love to hear your opinion on our community

b) have your company make an actual contribution to this community - rather than take any profit it makes and send it on to an out-of-town, out-of-state owned corporation

c) Pass or fail, leave it to the constituents of Barber County.

Respectfully, Kevin Noland

 

KWIBS - From September 22, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

If two-ply toilet paper is good, then three-ply tissue must be better. At least that's what toilet-paper researchers in northeastern Wisconsin hope.

Yes, there is such a thing as a toilet-paper researcher. And a team of them at Georgia Pacific's Innovation Institute in Neenah has come up with a three-ply version of its Quilted Northern product.

The new product will be launched Monday. The company touts the toilet tissue as "ultra-soft" and says it plans to market the product to women 45 and older who view their bathroom as a "sanctuary for quality time."

Industry analyst Bill Schmitz is skeptical. He said extra layers make toilet paper stronger, not softer, although he said Georgia Pacific may have added extra fibers for softness

How nice, now Exploration Place can have better TP to go with their "poop" exhibit!

That's right, I said "poop" exhibit.....

The sign announcing Exploration Place's newest exhibit features a silhouette of an African hyena at sunset squatting and ........ taking a dump!

Poop.

Manure.

Crap.

Go ahead and giggle, says Christina Bluml, communications manager for the museum.

It's a common reaction to "The Scoop on Poop," a traveling exhibit based on the book by science writer Wayne Lynch. It opened at the museum Saturday.

"The Scoop on Poop: The Science of What Animals Leave Behind" provides a look at the sometimes disgusting, often fascinating world of animal excrement.

If you've never taken in an exhibit at The Exporation Place, it's worth a trip.

Sean McAnarney, my son Joey and I recently went to the "Our Body: The Universe Within," which opened in May at the science center and was scheduled to end Oct. 12. Now the world-famous but somewhat controversial exhibit has been extended through Jan. 11.

I was impressed with the exhibit and a little bit grossed out, but not as grossed out as my son who finished the $25 tour in less than 10 minutes, keeping his eyes to the floor through the maze of body parts. Joey was a nice shade of greenish-white after Sean and I spent about an hour and a half touring the exhibit.

"Our Body" includes 17 full bodies and 150 body parts with cutaway views to allow peeks into the human body's systems -- skeletal, muscular, nervous, digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular, urinary, endocrine and reproductive.

Trust me, unless you are a doctor, medical student or a pathologist, you've never seen the human body like this. A couple of words of advice: 1) Eat before you go, you may not be hungry afterwards and 2) No cell phones, cameras or recording devices inside the exhibit. They mean this and if your phone is out, you will be asked to leave the exhibit. It's out of respect for those who have donated their bodies to this exhibit.

On it's worst day, the exhibit has attracted 150 people- impressive, considering that this is the Exploration Place's priciest exhibit ever at $25 a pop (That made it like a $125 an hour for Joey's tour).

But can the poop exhibit attract more than just flies?

"The Scoop on Poop" leads visitors on an investigation of what poop is and how animals use it -- to build homes, hide from enemies, send messages, cool off and attract mates. It also explores the way wildlife conservationists, paleontologists, farmers, Maasai people and others make use of animal waste.

Turns out, you can learn a lot about an animal by examining what it leaves behind, but I'll bet it's hard to do it with a straight face.

So the exhibit claims it packages its science with hearty doses of humor -- euphemisms, sound effects, even smell effects -- but nothing outrageously gross or offensive, unlike my column.

I, being a guy, am fascinated by the subject matter, but have little interest in paying $8 to view excrement, but that probably won't stop the general public's view of the fun topic - #2.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From September 15, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

In an effort to finding a cause that no one has yet championed, I am going black!

No, not green, black.

For some time now we earthlings have been cluttering up outer space with our litter and not many are paying attention to the damage we are doing to our own orbit.

While we're all busy trying to save the planet from our wasteful habits, we're shooting thousands of objects into our atmosphere every year that could one day rain down on us in fiery destruction or worse, take out our satellite TV. Frightening, isn't it?

We've ignored this problem for far too long and I call on people like Al Gore and Barb Keltner to take a stand against orbiting trash!

But what can we do?

First, we will need some sort of spokesman or mascot. I have a vision of a commercial. In this commercial is an astronaut on a space walk. The camera pans to his face. He lifts his helmet's shield and is seen with a tear in his eye as a space shuttle flies by and another astronaut is throwing trash out the window.

According to studies, nearly 10,000 pieces of space litter were catalogued at the end of 2008. They break into the following categories:

* 40% -- miscellaneous fragments

* 22% -- old spacecraft

* 13% -- mission related objects

* 7% -- operational spacecraft

* 7% -- rocket bodies

* 1% -- McDonald's styrofoam coffee cups

We've been trashing space around our planet since the 1950s and it's an "out of sight - out of mind" mentality.

My wife would say, "If you are done using that satellite in outer space and want to put a new one up there, you should take the old one down first."

Earth has probably been visited by extraterrestrials who thought we were just too messy to make contact with! Or maybe they made the attempt to visit our planet, but were killed by garbage that struck their space ships at some 17,000 m.p.h.

It's not bad enough that we're leaving trash in space. Now countries are turning space into a shooting gallery and making smaller, faster moving pieces of trash for future generations to contend with. For example, China recently shot down a weather satellite that orbited almost 500 miles above the earth.

The worst part about this, though, is that we are now one step closer to seeing the Kessler Syndrome start to manifest itself. The Kessler Syndrome is basically an orbital doomsday scenario that cuts off mankindís access to space for thousands of years. The way it works is, some random collision occurs, creating many bits of space debris in orbit. These debris, in turn, end up hitting other things, shredding them, creating even more debris, in a Domino-like fashion.

Eventually, everything in orbit is utterly destroyed, and the space around Earth is so polluted with space junk that it is impossible to even launch anything anymore, as it would be destroyed by random impacts almost immediately upon exiting the atmosphere.

The scary thing is, the Kessler syndrome is already possible with the current amount of hardware we have in space. Luckily, almost all of it is up there in large controlled chunks, but all it could take is one apocalyptic collision to set a terrible chain of events into motion.

Once the Kessler Syndrome takes effect, the only solution with current technology is to wait it out, letting the space debris hit each other, lose momentum, and gradually burn up in the atmosphere. The process takes thousands of years before low orbit is safe to travel again.

So the next time you see trash, and do pick it up, think about the clutter in space and think about the future generations of young astronauts that probably will only dream of the days that we could go into outer space.

And think about that astronaut with the tear in his eye.

Have a great week and SAVE OUTER SPACE!

KWIBS - From September 8, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

Last week we brought you a feature on Kali Thompson, a 7th grader at MLMS who has decided to play football on the boys' football team.

I congratulate her courage and desire to play the game.

We've tossed around the subject of mixing gender in boys' and girls' sports here in our office this week.

We don't all agree.

But since none of the others in my office have a column space this week, you get to hear my opinion!

I'm all about equal rights for everyone. I mean everyone, but let's not take it too far. This young lady wants to play football. I think there is probably a place on the team for her, but I question how this will promote fair competition in school sports and what it teaches our children.

Whether she provides an advantage or a disadvantage to the team, she's changed the rules of play.

What if we were to reverse roles here? What would happen if a few boys wanted to play girls' volleyball? Would that be okay? Do we now disrupt the normal procedure for all sports and activities in our district to allow cross gender competition?

Already there are issues with allowing Kali to play football. She obviously can't shower with the other boys. Special accommodations will need to be provided to meet her needs.

This is just one of many problems I can see, but it's really not my point.

In communities where there are no other sports offered to girls, I can see girls and boys playing together on the same team - as long as they are playing other teams that are equally balanced with both boys and girls. You see this a lot in the smaller city recreation leagues for games like soccer  and flag football.

America is becoming gender challenged. Take for example the Park Day School of Oakland.

Teachers at the private Oakland elementary school have stopped asking the children to line up according to sex when walking to and from class. They now let boys play girls and girls play boys in skits. And there's a unisex bathroom.

Park Day's gender-neutral metamorphosis happened over the past few years, as applications began coming in for kindergartners who claim they didn't fit on either side of the gender line. One girl enrolled as a boy, and there were other children who didn't dress or act in gender-typical ways. Last year the school hired a consultant to help the staff accommodate these new students.

I hate to sound old fashioned, but this wasn't a problem when I was in school. We didn't need consultants to tell teachers how to deal with being a boy or being a girl. If you weren't sure you were a boy or a girl, the school nurse could tell you.

I realize we live in a more "sensitive" society now, but I don't believe that we should put gender-challenged kids in the same category as special needs students, such as those in wheel chairs. Spending thousands of dollars of taxpayer money to put in a special bathroom for Billy, because he doesn't know if he should stand up or sit down when he uses the toilet, is ridiculous in my opinion! (Start your hate mail here...)

God created man and woman and they are very different. That's evident in nature and offering special treatment and preference to those who feel "out of place" with God-given organs discriminates against everyone else.

I haven't taken the time to sit down and ask Kali, her team mates, her coach or any other faculty or school board official about their feelings on this subject. Everyone may be fine with her playing football. Or maybe everyone is so timid these days that they are afraid of possibility of legal action if she's not allowed to play.

My column absolutely does not question Kali being gender challenged either. I think she just wanted to play football. Unfortunately, we didn't have a girls' football team and there isn't one in the league.

Sadly, I think it's a small step towards complacency and giving in to social acceptance. I assume that years ago the girls volleyball team was created for girls as a way to include girls in sports during football season. I hope we'll have enough girls to keep a team one day in the future.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From September 2, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

I love to go fishing, but I rarely have a good time doing it.

This is one category of my life where I would be stripped of my "father of the year" badge and flogged publicly for my lack of patience if judged.

If I even so much as utter the word "fishing" my kids will go crazy. They love to fish too. Actually, they love the idea of fishing. My boys will spend hours organizing their lures in their tackle boxes and setting up their poles for the big event.

Every fishing experience we have ever had together has ended in disaster, but for some reason, I still make the attempt to have the perfect fishing experience with them.

Joey is almost 16 now and he can pretty much handle himself with baiting, catching and releasing, but if he doesn't catch something within 10 minutes, he's bored and throwing things in the water, scaring off the fish. Nicholas, who is 10, still thinks he needs dad's assistance at baiting the hook, and releasing the fish (if and when caught) and pretty much everything else involved with fishing. Nicholas will marathon fish even if he doesn't catch anything. He will however, change what he's fishing with every other cast and if I don't put the lure on his pole for him, I can pretty much count on it being lost on the first cast.

Last Tuesday Kenny Joe Rinke wanted to go fishing and I decided that since I live 30 yards from a pond, I should probably invite him. Of course, I needed to bring the boys (including Frank, our AFS student from China).

We loaded up the boys, the poles, the tackle and the dog and drove around to the backside of the pond to get ourselves set up. I hadn't been fishing all year and since we'd had so much rain, the pond was overgrown with brush and was difficult to access from the bank on that side.

We had to spend a few minutes tutoring Frank on the fishing pole's operations, but within a few casts he'd figured it out and was just thrilled to cast and have his lure actually land in the water and not in a tree.

We decided to walk around to the other side, closer to our house, where we could actually walk up to the water's edge. To get there, we had to cross through the Amazon jungle. Nicholas and I were in sandals and now covered with chigger bites. The bug spray was back in the truck.

So far, so good.

Joey fished for about ten minutes, didn't get a bite and was bored. He started throwing stuff and caught dragon flies with the fishing net. He walked back to the truck to take a nap.

Nicholas had me rebaiting his hook every five minutes and then broke his pole. He was frustrated because he was itchy and didn't want to walk clear back to the truck to get another pole.

By this time Kenny Joe had caught about 7 bass and was having a great time. I had cast maybe 3 times and had caught nothing. He could see I wasn't having much fun and he put his pole down and opened his tackle box to get me one of his "prize" lures.

At that moment, my dog decided to check out what he was doing and tripped over his fishing pole. The lure hooked him on the right shoulder and he took off running through the trees with my buddy's fishing pole dragging behind him.

Kenny Joe caught up with the pole and attempted to reel in my German Shepherd, Hyde. Hyde zigzagged through some trees and I yelled at Kenny Joe to break the line before he webbed himself in there.

He broke the line and we caught up to my scared dog, who was all tangled up in the trees. Hyde had been hooked pretty good. It was all the way through with the barb poking out the other side. Attempts at pulling the hook back through were futile and only resulted in me getting bit three times.

After getting the dog calmed down, we found some side cutters and we were able to cut the barb off and pull it back through. The dog was fine and we picked up Kenny Joe's pole and went back to fishing.

I had not even cast my pole once and the reel snapped off the pole. I couldn't believe this was happening.

Kenny Joe was up to 10 fish at this point and I was trampling back through the jungle to find another fishing pole, swatting off gnats and other flying, biting insects.

By the time I got there, it was dark, but I could hear laughter coming from at least one of the boys. It was Frank.

Frank was just thrilled to be casting. He didn't catch a thing, but was happy to just make the lure go in the pond.

I am thinking he almost had the perfect fishing experience, less the actual catching the fish part......

Fishing stats:

Fish Bites Lures Broken Poles Trees

Kenny Joe - 10 25 3 0 0

Kevin 0 3 3 1 1

Nicholas - 0 0 30 1 0

Joey - 0 0 2 0 0

Frank 0 1 1 0 4

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From August 25, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

Sunday was a bitter sweet day for Ronda and I and the family.

We packed up my daughter's belongings and moved her to the dorms at PCC. She's now a full time student, living on campus away from home. We realize it's only 30 miles away, but it might as well be a world away.

We helped her unload, went to lunch, an orientation for the parents and then went back to her room to say good-bye. I hugged her and reminded her that we were close if she needed anything and to have fun, but to remember that she was there to be a student and to make good grades.

As we were leaving the dorms Breeann had a sad look on her face.

"Dad, will you call me around 10 p.m. tonight," she asked?

I got a little choked up, hugged her again and we left for home. I couldn't help but think about my little girl sitting on the floor of her dorm room unpacking her things all alone.

Breeann's roommate won't be on campus until late September because she's in the Army, but she has two other girls that share the bathroom in the connecting room.

I watched the clock all day long and paced around waiting for 10 p.m. I wasn't going to call her a minute earlier. Finally, the time was right for my supportive phone call.

It rang, and it rang and it rang. No answer. I tried the dorm room and still no answer.

About ten minutes passed and my phone received a text message.

"Sorry Dad, real busy. Having fun with my new friends. Talk to you tomorrow."

Her home sickness lasted all of about 30 minutes that day. We're so happy that she's having fun.

She called on Monday to tell me that she was doing great, slept well and loved being in College. I told her I missed her and she cut me off saying, "I've got to go Dad, me and my friends are going to a picnic!"

Shortly after hanging up the phone I received another call. The lady on the phone said her name was Peggy Schneider with AFS.

"Kevin, I got your name from John Nixon," she said.

I just groaned.

We had discussed taking an exchange student for the 2009-2010 school year. Our plan was to "take a year off" after getting Breeann off to college.

Peggy explained that she had four students from various countries that did not get placed in homes and since she knew that we were interested in hosting, she wondered if we would take a student.

I politely told her "no".

"Can I at least send you their profiles," she asked?

This is where I could have said no, but I didn't. And now we have a new son and brother, Haiji Wang, or "Frank" as he would like to be called.

It's been a whirlwind week for us. After receiving our daughter's blessing, we had phone interviews, forms to fill out and then an orientation about the AFS program. Frank moved into our home on Wednesday evening and enrolled in school on Thursday morning.

Medicine Lodge is hosting 4 exchange students this year and we'll feature each one of them: Simon, Alex ( this is starting out to sound like the line up of the chipmunks) Manuel and Haiji or "Frank". This week, we'll introduce you to Simon who is from Switzerland and is staying with John Nixon (who indiscriminately gives out people's cell phone numbers.)

I wish I could tell you all about Frank, but we just met Wednesday evening. I can tell you he is from China, speaks very good English and is very, very intelligent. His father is a sea captain and his mother is an accountant. Some of his classes include Physics, Chemistry, Advanced Art and he's taking an upper-level math course. Frank is polite, struggles with combination locks and has a good sense of humor. We're excited to learn about another culture and share in the experience of AFS.

I'll deal with John later.

Have a great week!

 

KWIBS - From August 18, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

This week our family was busy with moving. No, we're not moving. My daughter is.

Breeann has moved to her new home, which is in a dorm room at PCC in Pratt, KS. It's not too far away, but she's no longer home with her mom and dad and brothers. Her brothers aren't complaining, but I'm sure we're all going to miss her.

I sort of feel like the papa bird taking my young chick over the edge of the nest and dropping her (I know, it's usually the mom bird). She'll either have to learn to fly or she'll hit the ground. Oh wait, maybe there's a point to this story that her mother and I are supposed to catch her before she hits the ground!

Anyway, it's an overwhelming experience to have a child leave home.

Breeann is studying Elementary Education. She wants to be a school teacher one day. Study hard, Breeann. You can do it!

Summer break is over and school is back in session. It seems like it went so fast. I want to welcome back all of the students and faculty of USD# 254. We have a lot of new faces in the district. Be sure you stop and make them feel welcome when you see them.

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From August 11, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

Special delivery!

SEATTLE - A 6-foot-tall, 250-pound letter carrier is campaigning for the right to take off his pants. Dean Peterson wants the U.S. Postal Service to add kilts as a uniform option for men.

The idea was soundly defeated in July at a convention of his union, the 220,000-member National Letter Carriers' Association, so Peterson knows convincing management will be an uphill struggle, but at least he'll be comfortable in his kilt, or Male Unbifurcated Garment.

"In one word, it's comfort," he said.

With his build, Peterson said, his thighs fill slacks to capacity, causing chafing and scarring.

And nobody likes chafing and scarring.

Peterson, 48, has Finnish and Norwegian ancestry but not Scottish. He began wearing kilts a couple years ago when his wife brought one back from a trip to Scotland. (A spokeswoman for Britain's Royal Mail said kilts are not allowed as part of its letter carrier uniforms.)

Now Peterson wears them everywhere - to one son's football games, the other son's concerts, shopping and gardening.

"It's the difference between wearing jammies to bed and wearing your work clothes to bed," he said.

Before the convention in Boston, Peterson spent his family's $1,800 economic stimulus tax rebate to mail about 1,000 letters and photographs of him wearing a prototype Postal Service kilt to union branches in every state, Guam and Puerto Rico.

I'm sure that's not what President Bush had in mind to stimulate the economy, but oh well...

"Unbifurcated Garments are far more comfortable and suitable to male anatomy than trousers or shorts because they don't confine the legs or cramp the male genitals the way that trousers or shorts do," he wrote. "Please open your hearts - and inseams - for an option in mail carrier comfort!"

The union's executive committee recommended disapproval, saying there was not enough demand for kilts to be worth the bother of the resolution, and delegates agreed by a large margin.

But Peterson said there are plenty of approved uniform items that very few mail carriers wear, including a cardigan sweater, vest and pith helmet.

Correct me if I am wrong but I think Medicine Lodge actually has a carrier that wears a pith helmet.

Peterson said many convention delegates did express support after his resolution was voted down.

"I got so pumped up after being at such a low that I'm taking this to the next convention in 2010 in Anaheim, Calif.," he said.

You go.... girl, I mean guy.

The writer of KWIBS actually owns a kilt, has worn a kilt several times in public (don't ask, don't tell) and fully supports Peterson's ambitious efforts to make kilts part of the USPS dress code.

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This kind of stuff just doesn't happen to the chess club.....

26 teen cheerleaders rescued from crammed elevator

AUSTIN, Texas - How many cheerleaders can cram into an elevator? Apparently not 26. A group of teenage girls attending a cheerleading camp on the University of Texas got stuck and had to be rescued after trying to squeeze into an elevator at a residence hall Tuesday night.

One girl fainted and was treated at a hospital and released. Two others were treated at the scene.

The elevator doors refused to open after the pack of 14- to 17-year-olds descended from the fourth to the first floor, police said. Responding to a few panicked cell phone calls from the group, police and firefighters summoned an elevator repairman, who spent about 25 minutes extricating them.

Campus officials weren't amused.

"It's dangerous, actually," said a school police spokeswoman, Rhonda Weldon. "They're lucky that that's all that happened."

I wonder if this was the "male" yell leader's idea????

 

KWIBS - From August 4, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

The power of prayer....

Two prayer services were held at St. Louis gas stations to thank God for lower fuel prices and to ask that they continue to drop. Darrell Alexander, Midwest co-chair of the Pray at the Pump movement, says prayer gatherings will be held Monday afternoon and evening at a Mobil station west of downtown St. Louis.

Participants say they plan to buy gas, pray and then sing "We Shall Overcome" with a new verse, "We'll have lower gas prices."

An activist from the Washington D.C. area, Rocky Twyman, started the effort, saying if politicians couldn't lower gas prices, it was time to ask God to intervene.

The group thinks the prayer is helping, saying prices are starting to fall below $4 a gallon.

And I love my job, but not that much.....

Jeff Hornagold loved being a UPS driver.

So when the suburban Chicago man died this week of lung cancer, longtime co-worker Michael McGowan agreed to take him on one last delivery.

McGowan transported Hornagold's body from Davenport Family Funeral Home to Saturday's funeral services in his UPS truck.

McGowan says he plans to keep a picture of Hornagold in his truck until he retires so that they can keep riding together.

Hornagold was a UPS driver for 20 years, and his wife Judy Hornagold described him as "just the happiest UPS man alive."

She says the special delivery was the perfect tribute.

I just wonder who signed for that?

Have a great week!

KWIBS - From July 28, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

Something happened to me. I can't explain it. I don't know if it was a mid-life crisis or some chemical imbalance, but my priorities changed.

For those that know me, you remember me in my youth as the long haired hippy kid that rode a Harley and played in a rock band on the weekends.

Earlier this year, I sold the Harley. It was something I hated to do, but felt that it was the right thing to do in this time of my life.

The band went into retirement almost a year ago now and I've had to readjust my weekend life. It's usually filled up with writing bail bonds, running sound for different events, going to the lake, going to church and my new favorite hobby: mowing the grass.

I used to hate mowing. In fact, when Ronda was pregnant with our first child she had asked me to mow the grass one day. I didn't want to mow the grass. I wanted to go fishing and then ride Harleys with my buddy.

She got so angry at me that she decided to mow it herself. She didn't know how to start the old mower I had, so she got an extension cord and dug out an old electric mower and proceeded to mow our 2 acre lot with it.

A very short time into her mowing project, she saw a small snake. Hating snakes, the 7 month pregnant angry wife decided to kill the snake with the electric lawn mower. She chased it into a couple of circles and ran over the extension cord, causing sparks to fly and the grass to catch on fire.

She's never mowed since and I've never asked her to.

How I went from motorcycles to mowers, I'll never know. Recently I spent hours upon hours researching ZTR mowers (that's zero turning radius mowers for those of you unschooled mower people). There are lots of brands and lots of options to consider. They range in price from as little as $2,000 all the way up to $20,000.

When I began my research, I had only a couple of things I wanted: A comfortable seat and a cup holder. As I started digging a little deeper I discovered I needed more than a 42" cut, less than a 60" cut, a stamped deck, not a forged one, powerful hydrostat drive motors, at least a 20 hp engine and preferably a three blade, belt driven deck.

I was driving my wife crazy.

"Hey honey, here's an ad for a 'Big Dog' mower," I'd say.

"It has........." As soon as I would start rattling off the specifications, she would interrupt and say, "I don't care what it has in it. How much?"

Only $9999.00!

The look she gave me told me I wasn't getting that.

I won't tell you what I paid for my Hustler FasTrack, but I will tell you it was three times as much as my first car and $12,000 less than my last Harley cost.

I didn't have anyone to talk to about my mower fetish. Nobody in my family would give me the time of day.

Then one day Joey had his friend, Oliver Rutan, come over to spend the night. Oliver, who is 15, has his own lawn care business and has some pretty sharp (no pun intended) mowing inventory.

I took Oliver into the garage to show him the mower and an hour later, Joey was begging his friend to come downstairs to play video games.

"Dad, get your own friends," he snapped.

So the next evening I finished up some mowing around the entrance to our property and then decided to drive the mower over to my neighbor's house, John Nixon, and show him the new "Man Machine."

John checked it over, I gave him a quick lesson on operating the mower and he took off. Only he took off as fast as the mower would go with the deck engaged. John mowed his grass, the driveway, a trash dumpster and a small tree before I got him to realize that it would go slower if he wouldn't push the handles so far forward.

I took the mower home where I've turned my yard into a golf resort.

I seriously don't know what happened to me. I was once the care free guy with my hair blowing in the breeze in a leather jacket. Now I am the old guy in flip flops and socks with safety glasses on yelling at the kids to get off his yard.

 

KWIBS - From July 21, 2008 - By Kevin Noland

It was one of those newsy weeks that I couldn't pass up. Perhaps it was the full moon.

Seattle's five problem-plagued public toilets could be yours if you're flush with cash....

You might remember the city installed some self-cleaning toilets a while back. I guess it didn't work out so well. City officials decided to pull the plug on the multimillion-dollar self-cleaning toilet stalls and instead put them on the auction site eBay.

Starting bids are $89,000 apiece.

Neighbors and city-commissioned analysts said the unisex facilities attracted drug users and prostitutes, and were less cost-effective than regular public restrooms.

On May 19, the City Council voted to remove the problem toilets. Council President Richard Conlin said although people were using the high-tech, self-cleaning silver stalls, they also fostered illegal behavior, such as prostitution and drug use.

The German-made automatic, high-tech toilets were installed in 2004 and have cost the city about $5 million. Each has handsfree washing and drying ability and an emergency button that automatically dials 911.

The automated doors on the impact- and graffiti-resistant toilets will close Aug. 1, said Andy Ryan, a spokesman for Seattle Public Utilities. The auction will last for 10 days.

As of Thursday morning, none of the toilets had received any bids.

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A 29-year-old man accused of stealing a bicycle in Boston's North End tried to complete his own version of a triathlon to get away from police.

Police said Jason Duncan of Somerville rode the bike onto the North Washington Street Bridge, jumped off the bridge into Boston Harbor and swam to shore when they tried to arrest him Tuesday night.

He then ran down a harbor walkway before being caught.

Suffolk County District Attorney's spokesman Jake Wark says Duncan pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Boston Municipal Court to one count of larceny over $250. Bail was set at $500.

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An intruder who broke into a Colorado Springs electronics store won't face any charges, even if authorities can find the culprit. Seems no one wants to poke an angry bear.

Colorado Springs police confirm it was a bear who broke a sliding glass door at a Circuit City store Tuesday morning, then went inside to a customer waiting area where surveillance cameras recorded its every move.

The scared bear then ran back out the same broken glass door and headed for a tree.

Authorities say the young adult black bear had become spooked after setting off an alarm at a nearby Fazoli's restaurant.

Circuit City supervisor Dawn Greene joked that the bear probably wanted a new 72-inch LCD-screen television.

No one was hurt, except, perhaps, for the bear.

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A man says he was so consumed by the spirit of God that he fell and hit his head while worshipping.

Now he wants Lakewind Church to pay $2.5 million for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Matt Lincoln says he is suing after the church's insurance company denied his claim for medical bills.

The 57-year-old has had two surgeries since the June 2007 injury but still feels pain in his back and legs.

He says he was asking God to have "a real experience" while praying.

Lincoln says he has fallen from the force of the spirit before but has always been caught by someone.

Lawyers for the church say other congregants saw him on the floor laughin