Remember well-being of all other children


Considering the recent events in Virginia, I am reminded of a true story about a woman who held high office in another state. She was a widow, raising handsome twin sons as a single mom.

This accomplished mother devoted her life to her boys, providing the best educational opportunities and a nurturing, safe home.

In the customary spring ritual of the boys? senior year, they attended high school prom. As the young couples stood with classmates waiting to enter the dance, a carload of teen boys passed in the street nearby.

A gunshot erupted from the car window, not directly hitting any of the bystanders. However, the bullet ricocheted off the building and passed through the heads of both twins, killing them simultaneously.

It would be hard to imagine the grief experienced by their mother. In later reflection, she said, ?In caring so much for my children, I forgot something very important. I forgot that the well-being of other children could affect the well-being of my own.?

In conjunction with the state release of Kansas KIDS COUNT data by Kansas Action for Children, Communities In Schools of Marion County Inc. hopes to encourage discussion by providing policymakers and citizens with benchmarks of child well-being.

For the most part, children in our county are protected by excellent school systems and safe communities. Contrary to some perceptions, very few teens smoke, binge drink, or break the law.

However, more than one of every three children lives in a low-income household; and our county teen violent death rate?primarily due to vehicle accidents?is consistently higher than that of other rural counties and the state as a whole.

While most Marion County children are doing well, there are some who are not. It is important to remember that the well-being of every child is important.

Linda Ogden, exec. director

Communities In Schools of Marion County Inc.


Wheat growers need direct-payment plan


Discussion has recently popped up about changing the structure of the Farm Bill, even eliminating the direct payment.

Wheat growers have only received the direct payment over the term of the last Farm Bill, so I would like to lay out why wheat growers are actually supporting an increased direct payment.

First, the decoupled direct contract payment is the least market-distorting program in the farm-policy arsenal. Because the direct payment avoids market distortion as much as possible, it is also the most World Trade Organization-friendly program in farm policy.

As a commodity that exports almost half its domestically produced product, being trade-friendly is extremely important.

Most important to wheat growers over the past five years, the direct-payment program is the only program that assures a safety net in times of drought or other complete crop losses.

Other than crop insurance, this is all that can carry a grower into the next year if Mother Nature deals an uncontrollable fatal blow.

While wheat growers continue to support the three-legged safety net, the direct payment has been the most beneficial program for us, and we see the merits it has. Now is the time to raise the rate of the Farm Bill?s most predictable program, to be equitable among all crops.

Please join me by contacting your Members of Congress and telling them why this program is so important to you.

Paul Penner, Hillsboro

Vice president, Kansas Associa?tion of Wheat Growers

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