Daily Archives: Jan. 30, 2007

Board members get educated

One of the main criticisms of former state education commissioner Bob Corkins was that he had no educational experience and, by extension, didn’t know what the state’s education issues were.

But according to a media advisory sent to The Hall Monitor from the Kansas State Department of Education, neither do the board members.

The media advisory announces a meeting with Brenda Welburn, executive director of the National Association of State Boards of Education. The organization has been contracted to help find the state education commissioner.

The topic of the meeting:

“Mrs. Welborn and State Board members will discuss the results of the environmental survey conducted by NASBE to define the top education issues in Kansas.”

The national organization will base their discussions based on conversations with board members, the governor, legislative leaders, businesses and education organizations.

A House Divided

As Kansas Senator Sam Brownback runs for President, we can’t help but note the Senator’s conversion to Catholicism from his Methodist farm roots. His wife, Mary Stauffer Brownback, and their children remain members of the Topeka Bible Church. Brownback was brought into the Catholic Church by an Opus Dei priest. Interfaith families are often posed with many challenges. Given his high profile, The Hall Monitor wonders if this may be an issue that could create further challenges.

The Stauffer family helped create the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas, and the family has owned major newspapers in Kansas, including the Topeka Daily Capitol.

Annual meeting becomes a "church" rally

If anybody can turn an annual business meeting into a church service, it’s Brian Black, president and chief executive of the Urban League of Kansas.

On Monday, during the league’s meeting at Botanica that drew more than 300 people, Black used Psalms 23, “The Lord is My Shepherd,” to illustrate the tougher times he’s experienced in his attempts to guide the league in moving more people to the economic mainstream.

Black said there were times he felt like he’s walked through the “valley of the shadow of death” alone. But all he needed to do, he said, was to pause, look around and see that he wasn’t alone. Surrounding him were other nonprofit organizations and business people who he’s since joined hands with. Now they’re walking together, supporting and promoting one another’s mission.

To this, Black received a rousing round of applause and hearty “Amens.”

Bel Aire’s mayor race could be bitter

Two former mayors — Harold Smith, mayor from 1991 to 1998; and Gary O’Neal, mayor from 1999 to 2005 — have both filed against each other in Bel Aire’s April 3 general election. At issue for the 6,500-resident community is how to market the city’s vacant land and work on reducing the local debt load.. Within the past five years the community has rapidly grown.

Police union: Council candidates wanted

Well, the deadline to file for mayor and city council has passed, but the police union is still looking.

Aside from incumbents on the council, who are well aware of the Fraternal Order of Police’s political clout, the union didn’t hear from many other candidates. So they took out an ad in today’s Eagle requesting a candidate who is “pro public safety, can prioritize the spending of tax dollars, and who believes the police deserve a fair contract.”

They’ve been getting calls all day.

“We’ve heard from a couple of the sitting council member and the mayor,” union president, Sgt. Chester Pinkston, said. “We haven’t heard near enough from the rest of them and we’re obviously looking at who we want to endorse for this.”

The FOP represents more than 600 employees — employees whose families have not been shy in supporting the department (as seen in their most recent protest, which included moms, dads, kids and dogs). Typically, the union endorses a candidate after the primary, but Pinkston says that members tonight will discuss an earlier endorsement this year.