Letters (Oct. 28, 2009)

New league a sad end to a storied rivalry


I have had an opportunity to read your editorial ?Wins and Losses? (Oct. 14) and wanted to take a moment to respond.

First, I want you to know it is with great sadness that we complete our last season in the MCAA. We did everything in our power to stay as a member but it was not meant to be.

For all practical purposes, our school?s athletic history is tied to our competitions and rivalries with the schools in the MCAA, and particularly with Hillsboro. I have always been very proud of our affiliation with the MCAA and the success that a number of programs have had.

The strength of any league is its ability to produce champions from more than one source, and in that sense the MCAA has been exceptional. It is very difficult for me to comprehend that on Feb. 23 I will be making my last regular-season trip to Hillsboro?having made that drive for the previous 20 seasons.

There are of course many differences between the Hillsboro community and our Wichita Collegiate community, but the one thing that I always felt we had in common was our ability to get outside the box and be creative in the ways that allowed us to stay competitive?even during the years when our talent levels were not the best.

The common theme I always felt we shared was the vision that to be the best you have to play the best. We felt that way about our competitions with you when we were striving to get to your level, and I know your coaches and administrators felt that way when it was our turn to be on top.

Your article is a clear example of why Hillsboro is different and why your teams and community will continue on the path of excellence.

I want you to know that I am writing this in no official capacity with Collegiate; my only real point is that I am sorry that a storied rivalry like ours had to end.

Mitch Fiegel



Editor?s note: Trojan fans will recognize the name of Mitch Fiegel as the boys? basketball head coach at Collegiate. He also is the athletic director.


Rate increases are draining residents


I?m not sure on what the government bases its finding that we seniors have not experienced an increase in our cost of living. The cost of living in my world has certainly gone up, and the forecast is more of the same.

For example, my prescription drug coverage is raising its monthly premium by $4, its deductible by $15, and its co-pay by $4. My supplement insurance has already raised monthly premiums twice this year, each time by almost $12.

Gasoline continues to go up almost daily, and where I shop for groceries and clothes, prices continue to increase.

On top of that, we pay mill levies to the city to pay off the aquatic center, improvements to the high school, and construction of a new stadium, among other things. Our city has one of the highest sales tax rates in the state. The construction of a new jail will involve yet another tax.

Now, according to what our city council decided at its last meeting, come January our utilities bill will arrive with an increase of at least $5 monthly for electricity and water. I say ?at least? because at their next meeting, they will decide if we will also pay an additional $8.70 monthly for debt reduction on our wastewater treatment plant.

Now, we?re already meeting our debt payments, but our city manager believes it would be a ?good business decision? if the city could pay off the debt in 20 years instead of 40, which was the original plan, citing the savings of over $2 million in interest.

If we take that logic further, it would be an even better business decision if we could pay off the debt in 10 years rather than 20.

The point is, even though it might make business sense, we just don?t have the resources to do that.

In April ?08, a little over a year ago, on the recommendation of our city manager, the city council voted to increase our monthly utility bill by $30 to $35 for the average household. With the increases recently approved by our city council members, the average household will see a monthly increase of $6.

If the council approves the sewer increase, our monthly utility bills will have increased by $45 within a period of 21 months.

To my way of thinking, that?s a pretty hefty monthly increase for residents to be facing. And we have no assurance that in another year or two, utility rates won?t be going up yet again.

As we know, retirees make up a significant percentage of Hillsboro residents. Let me assure you that, as a retiree, I will not be seeing my ?income? increasing enough to cover all the additional expenses already mentioned. But there are also a number of struggling families living in Hillsboro who already find it difficult to meet daily living expenses. What will higher utility bills do to their monthly budgets?

The truth is, the majority of us who live in Hillsboro and Marion County are not rich people. This is evident in the use that is made of the county food bank and our own Main Street Ministries. It is also evident in the number of students on free or reduced school meals.

If you have concerns about where you?re going to find the money to pay for ever-increasing utility bills, please contact someone on the city council. Let them know that, just as we residents often have to cut back, especially in this economy, they may need to say, ?Yes, retiring the sewer debt early would be good, but unfortunately at this time the city just does not have the money to make higher payments.?

At least that would save us from having to pay $8.70 more on our monthly utility bill.

Karen Wiebe


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