Archive for Opinions

Column: Leavenworth Road prepares for parade Sunday

by Lou Braswell

Have you heard there is a parade coming to Leavenworth Road?

It is no rumor, it is happening Sunday, Sept. 17.

The parade will start at 72nd Street, with those entries not walking. The walkers will join in according to their assigned parade spot at 64th Street, with the parade ending at 51st Street.

Our judges’ stand will be in front of Welborn Elementary School. Judges this year will be Kevin Steele, Jean Steele, Kristin Love and Russ Love. Russ Love also will be our announcer.

The Washington ROTC will present the colors, followed by Makynzie and Camryn Sanchez singing the national anthem. The girls are the granddaughters of Ralph and Janet Golubski.

Our parade marshal for 2017 is Superintendent Cyndi Lane of the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools. She has been a judge of our parade many years, and this year she is leading the parade.

Following the parade will be the Showcase of Bands, with the high school bands performing on the Welborn Elementary lower grounds. The bands will show pride in the community and we will show pride in our young.

Also, the day will start with a breakfast. The Knights of Columbus will serve breakfast at Christ the King Church’s Davern Hall, 53rd and Leavenworth Road. There will be pancakes, eggs, sausage, biscuit and gravy and drink (coffee or orange juice) for a suggested donation of $5. The breakfast will be from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Our parade theme this year is “You + Us = Success.” It takes all of you along with us to show that “Together We Can, Together We Will.”

On Sunday, Sept. 17, start your day with breakfast, followed by the annual parade and the Showcase of Bands.

Lou Braswell is the executive director of the Leavenworth Road Association.


Column: Taking another look at cleaning up Welborn Lake

Plans are being made to clean up the algae in Welborn Lake, although currently, funding is a snag.

Window on the West
Opinion column

by Mary Rupert

Some years ago we did stories about the algae covering Welborn Lake at 48th and Leavenworth Road, and the situation doesn’t seem to have changed too much since then.

While some areas of the private lake look like they are being taken care of, such as the flowers under the sign and areas that are trimmed, so much green algae now covers the lake that it would be hard to imagine anyone being able to do anything there.

At one time in its history, the lake was a resort spot for vacationers close to an interurban line stop. Visitors enjoyed fishing and swimming there. Now it would be impossible to see any fish if there were some in the lake.

Lou Braswell, executive director of the Leavenworth Road Association, said this week that she is trying to find a way to clean up the lake. Funding seems to be the snag.

“We’ve been working at it for the last seven years, just trying to come up with some kind of plan,” she said.

She has some plans, but financing is needed, she added. One plan would be to have the lake cleaned out, then install some solar-powered fountains there to aid the movement of water, Braswell said.

“It’s privately owned, where the hangup comes in,” she said. A neighborhood association used to own the lake, but it more or less dissolved and the people who live in the area are the owners of the lake, she added. There is a new association of homeowners at Welborn Lake that would like to get the Unified Government involved in helping to clean up the lake.

After the lake is cleaned up, people at the lake want to put rock on the banks, Braswell said, and someone has agreed to haul the rocks to the lake.

While Braswell said it is true that certain kinds of carp eat algae, that has been tried at Welborn Lake and it didn’t work. There is so much algae there that it has taken the oxygen out of the water so fish can’t survive there, she said. Blue-green algae is a very serious health risk for humans and animals.

Those interested in making Welborn Lake look better, including the Leavenworth Road Association, currently are trying to help get donations toward the cleanup, she said.

Edwin Birch, Unified Government spokesman, said what makes giving funds to the cleanup difficult is that the UG does not own Welborn Lake, and it is owned by residents who live there.

There have been conversations with the UG and residents on how much it would cost to seal the lake or clean it, he said. There will be more discussions later, but nothing has been decided yet, he added. He was unsure if anything could be done with public funds because it was private property.

Braswell said she understands how it might be difficult for the UG to provide any kind of funding, since it is private property.

“But we are going after some money at different places,” she said, “hoping once we get started, people will see the effort is there. We do have people willing to contribute materials and labor, it’s just getting the rest of it in line, after it’s cleaned up.”

Update: A conservationist has contacted the Leavenworth Road Association today and offered his services for free to clean up the pond, with the LRA providing about $150 for the chemicals needed, Braswell said. The conservationist, whose father lives in Wyandotte County, saw a story about it on Fox4 News and volunteered to help.

To reach Mary Rupert, editor, email

Plans are being made to clean up the algae at Welborn Lake, although currently, funding is a snag.

Plans are being made to clean up the algae at Welborn Lake, although currently, funding is a snag.


Column: Editor wants to connect with community

Opinion column

by Murrel Bland

Colleen McCain Nelson said she came back to the Midwest because she missed the connection with the community.

Nelson, who recently was named a vice president and the editorial page editor for The Kansas City Star, spoke at the monthly luncheon meeting of the Congressional Forum last Friday, Aug. 18, at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

About 50 persons, mostly members of the Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce, attended.

Nelson comes from Washington, D.C., where she covered The White House and presidential politics for The Wall Street Journal. She also worked for the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, The Wichita Eagle and The Dallas Morning News where she won a Pulitzer Prize for editorials. The award praised the editorials for “depicting the stark social and economic disparity between the city’s better-off northern half and distressed southern half.” Nelson grew up in Salina, Kan.

Nelson explained that The Star’s editorial writing staff, which deals with informed opinion, is independent of its news coverage staff. She said that she was pleased that she was able to choose an excellent staff including Dave Helling, Steve Kraske, Mary Sanchez and Derek Donovan, who were existing columnists at The Star, and a newcomer, Melinda Henneberger, who was with The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and USA Today.

Nelson said she appreciated being asked to talk to the Congressional Forum. One of her goals is to reach out to the community to get a better understanding about local issues. She said she has had conversations with Kansas City, Kansas, Mayor Mark Holland about the need to eliminate blight.

One member of the audience complained that The Star has fewer and fewer pages with little or no coverage about Wyandotte County. Nelson blamed the rise of the internet that is taking away advertising dollars from traditional print newspapers. She said that although The Star has an electronic edition, most of its revenue comes from print.

A couple of other audience members challenged Nelson about the “town hall” meeting The Star’s editorial staff writers will sponsor for U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder Aug. 22. Rep. Yoder has held several telephone conference calls to reach voters during his tenure in Congress. The complaint was that this meeting, promoted by a four-color ad in The Star and on its website, showed favoritism to Rep. Yoder. Nelson justified the effort as a way to connect an elected representative with the community.

Things certainly have changed at The Star since the days some 50 years ago when I worked there. In the mid-1960s, more than 1,500 employees worked at the headquarters building at 1729 Grand Ave., in Kansas City, Mo. The newspaper had multiple editions in the morning and afternoon. The Kansas City, Kansas, office had more than 20 employees at 827 Minnesota Ave. (now a printing company). Today there is one edition a day and only an estimated 250 employees work at the newspaper’s headquarters.

One of the things I do for Business West is visit local units of government in Wyandotte County, urging elected officials to hold the line on property taxes. (I have yet to meet anyone who believes he or she is not paying enough in property taxes.) These local units of government have budgets that total more than $1 billion.

In attending these meetings during the past few weeks, I saw a reporter from The Star only once. That was at a meeting of the Board of Trustees of Kansas City Kansas Community College. The reporter was there only to report about the controversy concerning the placing of Doris Givens, the president of the college, on administrative leave.

I read in The Kansas City Business Journal that The Star is considering the sale of its buildings, including its historical headquarters location. The estimated value of these buildings is $40 million. The plan would be to move news, advertising and editorial offices to its press building near Grand Avenue and Truman Road, according to The Business Journal.

The Star is owned by The McClatchy Company which has struggled financially for the past several years. Its stock closed last Friday at $6.17 a share. That is an improvement, however. The last time I checked on its stock several months ago, it was worth about $1 a share.

Nelson is married to Eric Nelson, The Star’s assistant managing editor-digital. Both are graduates of the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas, Lawrence.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is executive director of Business West.