It is sad that although in a rural area, many of us don't take the time to enjoy the great outdoors that exists just a short distance from our front doors. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1964 Wilderness Act, the conservation bill that enshrined our nation's most pristine wildlands for future generations. The 1964 Wilderness Act, written by The Wilderness Society's Howard Zahniser, created the National Wilderness Preservation System, which protects nearly 110 million acres of wilderness areas from coast to coast.
This week's meeting of the Barton County Commission has provided much to think about. Listening to the county administrator, ABBB auditors and the county's software provider elaborate on the reconciliation and record keeping issues in the Treasurer's Office was nauseating.
"I do not know if everyone realizes how serious the drought situation is for Barton County and the State of Kansas," Barton County Emergency Manager Amy Miller said. She was responding to an announcement from Governor Sam Brownback's office last week updated the state's Drought Declaration for Kansas which now includes all 105 counties either in an emergency, warning or watch status.
What will Kansas do, with thousands of potential voters in limbo? Kansas and Arizona passed laws requiring people to show proof of citizenship if they want to register to vote. But anyone who registers using the federal "motor voter" form just has to say he or she is a citizen. In January, Barton County had 315 "suspense voters," and 200 of those registrations were pending because proof of citizenship had not been submitted.
Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and eastern Colorado are hot and dry. According to the National Weather Service, rain over the last four years, in parts of these states has been less than what fell during a similar period in the 1930s.
Our combat veterans who have served in any war have performed a tremendous service to the U.S. Those who have not served in a war zone can only see glimpses of the horrors faced by our warriors through movies such as "We Were Soldiers" or "Saving Private Ryan."
At least for now, Kansas and Arizona residents can keep registering to vote with a federal form and without having to show proof of citizenship, thanks to a federal appeals court ruling handed down Thursday.