Daily Archives: April 21, 2013

Acts of bravery, dedication amid tragedies

The bombings in Boston and the explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas, again showed Americans the bravery and dedication of law enforcement and other first responders. Boston police and medical personnel rushed to the bomb site to aid victims. Then local and federal law enforcement worked nonstop to identify and apprehend those responsible. In Texas, firefighters and other emergency responders gave their lives trying to prevent the explosion. Other acts of heroism occur every day in this country but often go unnoticed.

Still want to be like Texas?

Is Gov. Sam Brownback sure that Kansas should be like Texas? An annual report by the Texas Legislative Study Group lists some of that state’s poor performance measures, including that it’s first among states in the percentage of population uninsured, 50th in percentage of pregnant women receiving prenatal care in first trimester, first in amount of hazardous waste generated, 50th in percentage of population who graduated from high school, 47th in average SAT combined scores, seventh in percentage of children living in poverty, third in percentage of population with food insecurity, 44th in median net worth of households, and 50th in per capita state spending on mental health.

Kansas making progress on its infant-mortality problem

In a week full of awful news, one story stood out as hopeful – the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the infant-mortality rate dropped 10.5 percent nationally and 15.6 percent in Kansas between 2005 and 2011. The state has done good work in recent years trying to address its comparatively high rate of infant deaths, including by convening a Kansas Blue Ribbon Panel on Infant Mortality. Together with the March of Dimes and other private efforts, state leaders need to keep up the study of infant deaths and be aggressive in targeting medical factors such as congenital abnormalities, preterm births and sudden infant death syndrome. For example, Kansas Health and Environment Secretary Robert Moser recently announced an initiative to cut the premature birthrate from 11.2 to 10.3 percent by the end of 2014.

So they said

“I think we’re all Bostonians this week.” – Sedgwick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn (in photo), at last week’s commission meeting

“It just reminds you that with public service comes the real possibility that you could be a target.” – Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., about the letters possibly contaminated with ricin that were sent to President Obama and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

“Imitation is the finest form of flattery.” – Mike O’Neal, president and CEO of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, on Missouri legislation to slash individual income taxes on business income