Archive for Thursday, April 1, 2004

Letters to the editor

April 1, 2004

Baker supports Habitat

To the editor:

Many Baker University students, faculty and staff members were disturbed by the decision of three Baldwin City Council members, Ted Brecheisen, Nancy Brown and Ken Wagner, to vote against waiving any of the about $4,100 in permit and connection fees for the Habitat for Humanity house to be built in Baldwin City.

This decision came in spite of the fact that the majority of citizens support the project to give Diane Kennedy and her family, who are Baldwin City residents, a house to live in.

The First United Methodist Church raised $20,000 to help build the house. Two local banks donated $5,000 each. A local heating and air conditioning service, construction equipment operator and plumber plan to donate their time, service and equipment for the construction of the house. Many other citizens have given private donations and are prepared to volunteer their services. Baker University students, staff and faculty have also demonstrated financial and volunteer support. The community is behind the construction of the house.

The three council members did not only overlook the will of their constituents when voting. They ignored the model that has been set by other communities that have built Habitat for Humanity houses.

The city of Lawrence uses grant money to cover the entire cost of the permit and connection fees for its Habitat for Humanity homes. Eudora city council members recently voted to do the same for their first Habitat for Humanity home, and they also decided to donate the lot for it to be built on.

The three council members who voted against the waiver should have more closely considered voters' interests before making this irreversible decision.

Tara White

Baker University student

P.O. Box 65

Baldwin City, Kansas 66006

(785) 766-6228

(785) 594-8410

There was tons of talent

To the editor:

The Lumberyard Arts Center Project was the fortunate recipient of the proceeds of "Panoply," a citywide talent show held last Friday night. The event netted more than $780 for the Arts Center project with more than 150 people in the audience (despite being up against the KU game)!

The L.A.C.P. is extremely grateful to so many, including the 31 contestants. Our deepest appreciation also goes to the students who organized the production: Angie Bacon (who doubled as accompanist), Dustin Commons, Derek Flory, Dylan Hay, Karrie Potter, Kelsey Schiller and their adult "assistant," Sally Hoffsommer-Brecheisen. We are very fortunate to have Sally H.B. as a member of the Funding Committee for the Arts Center.

This whole event could not have happened without the talents of the production crew: technical director -eff McLaughlin; stage managers -kye Reid and Paul Minor; media - Brian Gerstner and Derek Flory; tickets - Angela Bogner and Laura Beaulieu. We appreciate the generosity of Baker University and Dr. John Buehlern allowing the use of Rice Auditorium. Special thanks also to Baldwin High School. If you were there, you know the comic talents of emcees Phil Wagner and Cy Kueffer added a whole other dimension to the event. Tom Holland generously gave of his time tossist Phil and Cy in emceeing the show.

Thank you to judges Michael Paull, Nancy Trober and April Williams and thank you to the accounting firm of Jason R. Moch, Esq., for tabulating the judges ballots. We were also treated tohe music ofxtremely talented Gloria Roach and Alonzo Beardshears, who entertained us while the votes were being tabulated. They were fabulous!

This event was a real community effort -- exactly what the Lumberyard Arts Center Project wants to foster in Baldwin City.Thank you all for making this happen and we certainly look forward to the second annual Panoply in 2005.

Sandy Cardens

Diane and Jim Niehoff

LACPo-founders

A tale by Don Mueller

To the editor:

Because it was a secret meeting, there was no Signal reporter presence. In the interest of full disclosure, I submit the following report of the March meeting of the Disgruntled Society.

First item of business: the proposed change of the town's name from Baldwin City to Stingyville. Indict a whole town on the basis of the vote of three individuals, someone asked? "Especially when the wife of one of the council members who voted against waiving permit fees for the coming Habitat house promptly took out her checkbook and wrote a $500 check to Habitat!" The name change proposal died for lack of a second.

Next came the we-mustn't set a precedent argument for discussion. If we waive taxes for one group, we must do it for every group. It was then that a dignified lady who had been silently listening and knitting spoke up. "Does the city tax the sale of Girl Scout cookies? (Shocked silence). Does the city exact taxes on admission to school athletic events?" Aha, said a number of attendees. It was the first of several Aha Moments.

A letter from the Lawrence Home Builders Association was read for the benefit of the one member who had missed it. The writer suggested that if Habitat's fees were waived, other builders would have to pick up the slack. Someone had heard that this might amount to $37. "That would stop someone from building a $150,000 home," someone asked? "Most new homes cost more than that," said another. Still on the subject of who would pick up the cost of $4,000 that Habitat was charged, someone said that in a town of about 4,000 members, this would amount to about a cent a person. (No one questioned these amount. Members of the Disgruntled Society don't like to be exact.)

At this moment a member of the Scrooges Anonymous leaped to his feet. "Habitat, humbug," he cried. "A poor excuse for robbing a man of his pocket change every 15 years." He was quietly ejected from the meeting. The members weren't through with the Home Builders Association. "If all these dire things happen when you waive fees, how come Baldwin City is the only town or city in the entire state of Kansas that has voted against Habitat's request," they asked? As far as anyone knew, nobody had gone bankrupt as a result of this simple act of generosity.

There was nothing to say after that. The meeting was adjourned, to readjourned in at Espress Yourself where a bowl on the counter received donations for Habitat. Every single Disgruntled member contributed. And did it with a singular sense of satisfaction.

Don Mueller

Baldwin City

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