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Addressing the McDonald's turn and recalling school closings from the olden days
At the Mike
Mike - At the Mike
Mike Marzolf
Ahh, the McDonald’s turn. I brought this up in my column a few years back. This is something that has always, well, been a pet peeve of mine.
I think it rubbed off on those around me as my daughter Katelyn was very aware of it as well. In fact, if we would go there early in the morning or late at night with no traffic in sight on 10th, she still would not let me turn in that way. We always crossed over on Harrison to enter.
I must say I never considered the sharp left turn availability west of the turn lane.
Anyway, I feel somewhat vindicated by the attention now on it although I realize my opinion had nothing to do with. Doesn’t matter, I feel better anyway.
Now if we can just get a water tower, my life would be complete.
I would like one somewhere in town. This is the only town lived in a town without one. Shoot, I moved to Great Bend from Pratt where they have a hot and cold water tower. Up in Glen Elder, it sits on top of the hill so you can see the Christmas star on it for miles and miles during the holiday season.
It’s been explained to me why there isn’t one here and is no need for one but I don’t care. It doesn’t even have to be filled up with water. I just want a water tower somewhere in town for identity purposes.
I shall now get down off the soap box. Hopefully it’s not slippery, I am wearing my crocs.

Prep Thoughts
Things really couldn’t have gone much better for area boys’ basketball teams this past week.
First, how about them Panthers. Great Bend did what not many thought it could do by winning the Bluestem Classic in El Dorado. And GBHS did it with only one serious challenge.
A 21-point win over Circle was followed by the only close game of the weekend, a 60-52 win over No. 1 seed and then 3rd ranked Kapaun. Great Bend led most of that game, by as many 12 in the fourth, before holding on for the win. In the championship game, GBHS flat put a whoppin’ on Collegiate, 60-35.
I’m telling you, there are some 5A teams in the West starting to pay real close attention to what is going on in Great Bend. Slipping into the top four in the West standings is not a stretch at this point.
Larned and Hoisington continue to roll along on the hardwood.  The duo have to be among those in the discussion as teams to watch in what is looking more and more like a wide-open Class 3A. Larned cruised through the St John Mid-Winter Classic and Hoisington, ranked No. 7, did likewise in its own Winter Jam.
The two will battle head-to-head in February before heading off to different sub-states. By the way, both sub states are brutal. Half of the Top 10 in the latest 3A rankings are in those two sub states. And that doesn’t count the unranked Indians at 10-2 this season.

Former Barton Athlete/Coach update
Steve Forbes and his East Tennessee State men’s basketball team just keep getting it done. The Buccaneers are now alone at the top of a very good Southern Conference with a 7-1 mark and 18-3 overall. Currently, ETSU is riding a 5-game winning streak.
The Bucs are ranked No. 4 in the weekly College Insider Mid Major Top 25. Gonzaga leads the way followed by St. Mary’s, Yale then ETSU. Fellow SoCon teams North Carolina Greensburg and Furman are also in the Top 10. East Tennessee State is receiving votes in the AP Top 25 as well.
A big game looms Saturday for ETSU as Greensboro comes to town for a 3 pm tip. The game can be seen through ESPN+.

And Finally
There were some disappointed people Tuesday morning when they awoke and checked the school closings. Disappointed in Great Bend at least. Hoisington, Ellinwood and Central Plains had a late start, but, still, there was school.
To the west and south of Great Bend, several schools were closed for the day, including Larned, and the Stafford County trio of St. John, Stafford and Macksville.
I know there is a group in town that complain Great Bend never closes but as I recall just more than a week ago it was 428 that shut down first, setting forth what was a domino effect that saw every school in the area close down.
And then there is the whole bus routes and all but everyone’s heard that drill before I’m not here to debate that.
No, the last two sets of delays and closings made me think back to my days in grade school and the excitement that maybe school will close for the day.
It made me realize how much easier getting that information is now. Shoot, most, including Barton, sends out a text. That is instant. Websites, emails, there are a host of ways to find out now.
I remember sitting at the kitchen table waiting for the radio to read a list of closings. If you missed the list, you had to wait another 10 or 15 minutes to hear them again. Heaven forbid someone talked during the list.
That provided a real moment of holding your breath and hoping to hear USD 272 is closed. It also led to many kids getting taken to school only to realize there was no school that day.
But let me tell you, for those who complain about 428 not shutting down enough, let me take you back to the 70’s and 80’s. It literally took a full sheet of ice or probably 8-10 inches snow in that era to shut down school.
Usually all a good snow meant in grade school was I was going to have to walk those three blocks to school through it. Oh wait, no three miles, not three blocks. Okay, it was three blocks, but still.
If I remember right, they would even have school and run no bus routes back in the olden days. It was up to those in the country to find a way to get the kids to town on their own. Many times that didn’t happen.
Those days were usually spent doing a lot of nothing since so many kids missed. Often playing basketball in the gym all day. It was pretty much a baby-sitting day is what it was.

So enjoy that instant access to school closing knowledge. But it will never provide that intense lottery-reading type moment of the olden days.

Mike Marzolf is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune and his views don’t necessarily reflect those of the paper. He can be reached at