Daily Archives: June 10, 2009

Commissioners discuss when to take breath during Pledge of Allegiance

First they paused.

Then, they discussed the pause.

The Sedgwick County Commission’s first order of business Wednesday was a request to take the pause out of the Pledge of Allegiance. Chairman Kelly Parks said he hoped it would eliminate the “echo” effect:

“It’s come to my attention that when we say the Allegiance there is kind of an echo, so let’s just say ‘one nation under God’ without a pause,” Parks said.

They did. Business went on.

The meeting had just been called to order shortly after 9 a.m.

The commissioners, staff and visitors in the gallery had stood for the invocation, led by Pastor Brent Warkentin from the First Mennonite Brethren Church.

Then, Parks said with Flag Day approaching he wanted the commission to say the pledge without the pause.

There was no other discussion on the matter.

Commissioner Karl Peterjohn said after the meeting Wednesday since he had taken his seat last year, it had become a pet peeve when other commissioners paused as they’d come to the “one nation under God” portion of the allegiance.

“I made the comment that there is no comma after ‘one nation under God,’” Peterjohn said. “I kidded Commissioner Parks. What he did today, he did that on his own. It’s just one of those things. I grew up saying it that way. It is supposed to be that way.”

Commissioner Tim Norton said the request puzzled him.

“You know, I honor the flag. If that is the protocol to say it in a certain meter, I am okay with that. I was very comfortable with the pause, regardless of how some other people learned it. To me, it is a nonissue. Of all the things that are a problem for our community, with the economy and the world, it seemed like a pretty minor detail. I moved on real quick.”

‘We were all pretty frightened,’ Unruh says

Sedgwick County Commissioner Dave Unruh and his family were on vacation in a place he thought was safe and considered “a place of reverence” this afternoon — the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in downtown Washington, D.C. It was 12:52 p.m. He, his wife, Karen, and two teenage grandsons were standing in line. They were  on the museum’s main floor, less than 30 feet from the entrance and gift shop, when an elderly gunman opened fire on the security guards and they returned fire. Unruh said neither he or any of his family members saw the shootings — but they heard them. “We heard one gunshot. We weren’t sure what it was. But it was followed by four or five other shots,” Unruh said. “Right away, somebody said, ‘Hit the floor. Hit the floor.’ We did. We kind of instinctively knew what was going on. We were all pretty frightened.” Unruh said he and his family stayed on the floor for a few minutes, but “it seemed longer than that.” Then, Unruh said, he heard people running down the hall yelling, “Get up and run.” And so, the Unruh family did and fled, along with others, through the museum’s back door.2 “They started evacuating the whole building, which is four stories tall,” Unruh said. “You know, you go through security, metal detectors and have bags checked. This is the Holocaust museum. It’s a place of history and respect, and you do not expect something like that. You think, why do they need the security? And then, somebody does something like this. It is so out of context.”

Sedgwick Commissioner at Holocaust Museum during shooting

David Unruh

David Unruh

Sedgwick County Commisioner Dave Unruh was at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. this morning when a gunman opened fire, killing a  security guard. See TV interview.

More on the shooting.

El Dorado man running for insurance commissioner

TOPEKA – Dave Powell plans to announce his bid for state Insurance Commissioner next week during a two day tour of Kansas.

Powell, 63, and a long-time El Dorado resident will make his initial announcement Monday morning in Overland Park. He will end the day at a Wichita event 4:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Powell started David J. Powell and Associates, LLC in 1998 and provides a variety of insurance options including health, supplemental and life insurance.

In 2002, Powell ran for insurance commissioner but was defeated in the Republican primary.