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Off the record

We need to focus on the next pipeline project

I was one of those stubborn people who just wasn’t going to let the Keystone pipeline exemption go away without a fight. It finally began to sink in Saturday when Rep. Bob Brookens and Sen. Jeff Longbine said — and I heard for the umpteenth time — that nothing could be done.

I now understand there could be fallout with the pipeline company — court proceedings, tax dollars spent for litigation, and the embarrassment.

I still believe one of two things occurred in Topeka — an honest mistake was made that could not be rectified since no one was willing to take the responsibility or legislators purposely approved the exemption knowing full well that the company did not meet the criteria.

To me it still comes back to the pipeline company and legislators doing the right thing but I guess when it comes to politics, that isn’t always possible. It sure rattles my faith in government and big business.

The next big step for state legislators is to make sure this “error” is not made again. This pipeline company is planning a second pipeline. Is the state going to give the maximum exemption again?

Sometimes it’s too late to right a wrong but our elected officials had better make sure the same error isn’t made again that could cost the state, counties, and cities millions in tax revenue again.

Legislators do need to be concerned about the state’s reputation for making good on a promise but these same lawmakers need to make sure they make good on the trust they were given by those who elected them to take good care of our tax dollars.

Decisions should be made in the best interest of the common good, not in the best interest of re-elections.

*****

Sunday sure made us believe spring is just around the corner with thunder, lightning, and hail. It seems early for thunderstorms but the storm that spawned a tornado that hit the courthouse in the 1970s was in early March. The Hesston tornado was the middle of March 1990. But that was when winter began in November instead of late December and January.

Weather forecasters are predicting that this spring will be a stormy one. We hope they’re wrong.

*****

Our friend, Margaret Wilson, brought in a “Memories” column from who knows when that reminds us that public perception isn’t always as it seems.

The excerpt, elsewhere on this page, was about people thinking that when the newspapers come out on Wednesdays, we sit back and relax for a few days before we have to hit the computers again, laying out three more papers on Tuesday.

Well, folks, it doesn’t work that way. We often plan features and stories several weeks ahead. We have a news meeting Wednesday afternoons after the papers hit the stands to talk about the next edition.

Of course, we’re always on our toes and ready for news as it happens as well as sporting events, school happenings, and anything else that’s going on in our communities. Our ears are to the ground to hear what people are talking about and what the local city council, county government, or school district is deciding on any particular day.

We’re the ones who have the opportunity to tell good news of something exciting happening and we’re the one who have to break bad news to our friends and neighbors.

But we don’t mind. That’s what we do as a community newspaper.

We are always open to suggestions. If you have a story idea or a news tip, call or e-mail us.

— susan berg

Last modified March 3, 2011

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