Don't change judge selection method

To The Sun:

I am writing to strongly disagree with the Dec. 5 editorial by guest author Stephen J. Ware of the University of Kansas School of Law. He wants politicians (specifically the Kansas governor) to have a more significant roll in the selection of appellate judges.

He admits "appellate judges of Kansas are tremendously important lawmakers." The long term success of our political system relies upon the separation of powers between judicial, legislative and executive (governor). The very last thing we need is for our governor to have more authority in the appointment of judges whose major responsibility is to interpret laws. This puts the fox in to the hen house.

Watch for Gov. Sam Brownback to try to change our current appellate judge appointment process. He now has control of the governor's office, Senate and House, and wants to also gain control of the court system, appellate and supreme. We must have a check and balance to our government.

"The political leaning of appellate judges, rather than trial judges, are especially important because appellate judges have much more power over the direction of the law," writes Ware. Therefore, I say, watch out, Kansans, do not allow Brownback to change how appellate judges are nominated. — ROBERT E. BRANDENBURG, Parsons

Math program praised

To The Sun:

I was pleased to see the article about teaching young people about measuring and fractions. Roger Daniels is to be commended for his effort.

As a manufacturer in the woodworking industry, I know the importance of measuring skills. I don't think there is any form of manufacturing that doesn't require the ability to measure and understand fractions or decimals. In today's world many companies must have employees with knowledge of metrics.

Labette County has recently taken on a huge industrial development project at the former Kansas Army Ammunition Plant. If this is to have success in the future, we will have to have a workforce that can read well, measure and have life skills.

I sincerely hope this emphasis continues as it will contribute greatly to the future success of our entire community. — E.F. "SONNY" ZETMEIR, president, Grandview Products, Parsons

Holidays are busy time for Red Cross

To The Sun:

Thanks to those who have contributed toward Hurricane Sandy. As you see on the TV, families are still recovering from this terrible disaster, and it’s through all of our assistance that the Red Cross will be able to continue to its mission in providing financial and emotional assistance to these victims. I would like to specifically thank Power Flame, that when we called businesses in town for help, they were the first to respond. We appreciate our local businesses that not only help keep jobs in our area, but also help in times of crisis. All financial donations help and we appreciate those who have chosen to set aside what they could to help others. 

On the local front, as many of you know, winter is the time of the year for house fires and ice storms, and in the spring comes flooding and tornadoes. Last year, our Labette County American Red Cross volunteers responded to 42 disasters in Labette, Cherokee and southern Neosho counties. The Red Cross is there when natural disasters occur; we also provide financial assistance and connections with loved ones to our members of the U.S. military; we work with many organizations in our county to provide compassion and direction when assistance is needed; provide preparedness courses to children and adults; and, finally, we facilitate blood drives to ensure life-saving blood is available to those in need. 

I recently spoke with a woman who lost her home to a fire, and she commented that she didn’t know that there was a group like the Red Cross that would help. The Red Cross provided her with a place to stay, blankets, basic necessities and money for her family of seven to go buy food and clothing. Another service that we were recently honored to help with in the last month was for a member of the U.S. military.  His wife lost her mother, and she needed her husband home.  He was notified and was able to make it home and back to base through the financial assistance of the Red Cross. That is the kind of assistance that you, as contributors, are supporting.

The Red Cross is only able to serve because of the generosity of your donations.  One of our volunteers had a prominent Parsonian tell her that Red Cross was a joke. I’m not quite sure why that person made this comment, but I can tell you that the Red Cross is quite alive and performing services in our area, and across our nation. Those people who have been served by the Red Cross can vouch for the fact that assistance when all is lost is no laughing matter, and although we pray that our area is kept safe from disasters and harm, disasters do happen, and when they do the American Red Cross is there to provide immediate help.

I would especially like to mention and give appreciation to our volunteers Erlene Cares and Jonathan Tower. Erlene has coordinated our Parsons community blood drives for more than 10 years now, and works very hard to make sure we have volunteers, food and donors to make each blood drive a success. If you’ve ever been to a blood drive at the First Christian Church, you know that goodies served are delicious, and the people are very friendly.  I encourage you to come and thank Erlene with me by giving blood this month if you can.  Call 1-800-RedCross to schedule your appointment. And I thank Jonathan for his dedication to the American Red Cross, victims of disaster, and those who wish to become certified in health and safety courses such as first aid and CPR.  Last year, Jonathan was titled, our “night watchman,” because he is the first Red Cross responder to any disaster in our area, day or night, and goes above and beyond to make sure if someone needs to be Red Cross certified in a course, they have the opportunity to do so and in the timeframe in which it is needed. Our community and our Red Cross are blessed by caring individuals like Jonathan and Erlene. 

If you would like to be a part of assisting our mission, call or visit us from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday or call 421-4150, or you can send checks to P.O. Box 817, Parsons. We wish you a merry Christmas, and God bless you with a safety, comfort and joy this season. — MINDY KIMREY, Labette County service center manager

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