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I have trouble taking certain people seriously, particularly the self-appointed foreign policy experts on Facebook who publicly offer bold opinions on what our country should do with Syrian refugees. I suspect that most of these people couldn’t even tell me which countries border Syria witho…

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It’s easy for readers to dismiss major news that doesn’t affect them, anyone they know, or anyone from the town where they live. Case in point, the news articles about and television footage of racially-based protests at the University of Missouri and several other major colleges last week. …

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A recent column I wrote apparently included a confession to a serious crime. At least, that’s what I was told by a frequent hate-emailer and self-proclaimed local legal expert. This individual objected to my claim that I once married a woman just so we could procure cheaper plane tickets fro…

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Quite a few local residents have faithfully attended City Commission meetings during my time covering the news here in Chanute. Some of them were chronic complainers looking for something to grouse about, but plenty of these people genuinely engaged with local politicians to attempt to make …

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Yet another downtown Chanute bar is now a vacant lot with the demolition of the Southside Tavern this week. Even though this beloved historic landmark is gone, the discussion of what to do with its western wall won’t be ending anytime soon. There is another locally-owned building that is att…

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Criminal defense attorneys advise their clients to avoid talking to the media, which is why I was surprised to see Casey Casper walk into the Tribune office last week in advance of his scheduled preliminary hearing.

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It always amuses me when those who express grave concerns about the government controlling the lives of citizens turn around to advocate legislation that calls on the government to do exactly that. This is why I read with great interest a column in our newspaper last weekend by Republican St…

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 One of my favorite pastimes is applying for high-profile jobs for which I have no qualifications, knowing that there is no way I will ever get hired. I have noticed that Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and Ben Carson seem to have a very similar hobby these days. I like the self-discovery that …

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I moved to Chanute four years ago from St. Louis, a city in which a high percentage of local conversations revolve around the fortunes of the local professional team. Whether the Cardinals are winning and losing, who is hitting, who is injured, when and why the manager should be fired are al…

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Plenty of people have asked me about how I feel about Benchwarmers closing since I’ve spent as much time there over the last four years as anyone who wasn’t getting paid to be there. Benchwarmers was one of the first places I went when I moved to Chanute, and I was there at the bar on the la…

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Surprisingly, the St. NFL church that I attend every Sunday in the fall and winter was not invited to participate in this year’s Biblesta parade. The organizers of that event must have lost the phone number and email address.

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People in our community might be too dazed from the overabundance of sun, beer, and funnel cakes at last weekend’s Artist Alley festivities to notice, but October is apparently a very important month in our state now. Much-esteemed Kansas Governor Sam Brownback will be signing an official pr…

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Like all reputable religious institutions, the local St. NFL church that I attend throughout the fall and winter places a great emphasis on holiday activities. Some of the important celebrations that we try to use as an excuse to avoid work responsibilities are obvious, as much reverence is …

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When Chanute was thrust into the national spotlight by the removal of a painting of Jesus from the local middle school, it should have been an important civics lesson for the community. It provided an illustrative example about how the Constitution works, the importance of the separation bet…

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When someone leaves a job, their former co-workers are often expected to pick up the slack in addition to their regular duties. I have been in this situation before so I know how annoying it can be.That is why I have felt so bad recently for Neosho County employees. With several people choos…

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When I was covering sports for the Chanute Tribune, I intentionally never picked sides in the intense rivalry between Kansas and Kansas State. Now that my sports loyalties are no longer a professional issue, I have a slight bit of sympathy for Kansas in football and Kansas State in basketbal…

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I attend church at St. NFL every Sunday during fall and winter. This year, I've started playing fantasy football with a distinguished group of fellow congregants. Fantasy football involves picking a group of professional football players and using the statistics they produce in any given wee…

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I was in “Legally Blonde” for about seven seconds, so I am clearly an expert on the movie business. That is why I am surprised that the Chanute City Commission and the Neosho County Commission didn’t consult with me before they each decided to invest $5,000 of alcohol tax funds towards the p…

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When people in Chanute talk to me about Jesus, they are usually trying to convince me to spend my sleepy Sunday mornings and 10 percent of my income at some local church. However, this week I engaged in many discussions about Jesus during which no church invitations were offered. During thes…

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Packages will occasionally appear on my front porch (addressed to my lovely girlfriend) from various clothing and shoe companies that sell goods online. When I ask my girlfriend about the costs of these apparently important pieces of merchandise, she will give a tortured explanation of how m…

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I recently paid a woman to beat me up for an hour and I feel good about that decision. This wasn’t some “50 Shades of Grey” scenario, nor was I dumb enough to challenge some famous UFC fighter to a bout. Instead, I received a deep-tissue massage.

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Since I have heard that underage drinking is a big problem in this area and I did a fair share of drinking as a teenager, I have considered starting one of those “Scared Straight” programs for local young people who have been caught with alcohol. These wayward teenagers would have to accompa…

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Reading all of the nice words that have been written about Harold Turner upon his death this week has made me hope that there is some mechanism available so newspapers can be read in Heaven. Harold loved being mentioned in the Tribune, and I would hate to think that he would miss this opport…

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Unless someone has lived in every single city in this state for a decent length of time, it would be impossible for any individual to make a usable list of the 10 worst Kansas cities to live in. Since no one would be masochistic enough to attempt something like that, there is no reason for s…

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I skipped out on my strenuous work duties for a few days last week to attend my family reunion in Texas.I would rather see endless arguing, petty bickering, and rehashing of past grudges from my relatives than from local elected officials. Plus, at a family reunion, I can witness this verbal…

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Having Donald Trump run for President as a Republican is the most brilliant political strategy that the Democrats have ever dreamed up. Based on the way other Republicans have reacted to him, I’ve already started investing in enough alcohol and ibuprofen to get through eight years of a Hilla…

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When I watch the Chanute City Commission argue about next year’s budget, my mind flashes back to when I visited this city four years ago to consider whether I wanted to move here. Governing style, tax policies, and budget issues didn’t really factor into my decision back then. I was more swa…

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Saying anything critical about guns in this part of Kansas seems about as unwise these days as loudly endorsing the Donald Trump Presidential campaign in the middle of El Pueblito. People here don’t react well when someone is skeptical of individuals needing to have a deadly weapon within re…

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The local chatter about Casey Casper puts me in a bit of a difficult spot as a reporter because I interviewed this man, I wrote a story about his initial situation and I got to know him and his family a little bit in that process. Also, in the comments he’s left on the Tribune’s Facebook pag…

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Paying attention to the news these days can make the world seem like an awfully scary place, especially during periods where it’s full of divisive rhetoric about racially-motivated shootings, secretive trade deals, and controversial Supreme Court decisions. What is being reported on a more l…

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My estimation of the intelligence of a Chanute resident is automatically driven downward if I see that they have a Confederate flag displayed on their clothing, on their cars, or on the ceiling tile they decorated in their favorite local drinking establishment. Kansas didn’t even join the Co…

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When it comes to issues involving political parties or religious denominations, I feel no need to pick a side or join a team. This tendency wisely keeps my money away from collection plates and political campaigns, so I can spend it on consequential matters like my bar tabs. Less importantly…

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Not many people are willing to stand up for local bar owners, likely because most of their regular patrons can’t seem to stand for very long. However, before this community lets yet another downtown bar turn into a vacant lot that will remain unoccupied for years, something should be said ab…

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In a program with as much tradition in basketball as the University of Kansas, sensationalized sports media outlets and rabid fans are going to brand certain players as the second coming before they ever accomplish anything.

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Like any man who is involved in a long-term relationship with a woman, I am used to being told how wrong I am. Maybe that’s why it bothers me so little when readers of the Tribune contact me about something that I inaccurately wrote in an article. I actually appreciate having the opportunity…

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My lovely girlfriend recently received one of these annoying little Fitbits as a gift and has been using it to make changes in her day-to-day lifestyle. This device monitors her health by expertly estimating how many steps she takes in a day, her calorie intake and outtake, and how much she …

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When I was a snotty young teenager, I thought being 40 made someone old, outdated, and past their prime. That age always seemed to be when people become set in their ways and aren’t quick to embrace new ideas and new technologies. Now that I am about to turn 40 later this week, I’ve had to m…

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The occasional hate mail from the newspaper-reading public has forced me to develop a thick skin when it comes to facing criticism. Occasionally, I will read a comment that really makes me think about the way I approach expressing my opinions in the newspaper. That happened to me late last w…

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As long as I’ve lived in this area, I’ve been offering to give a speech to the graduating seniors at Chanute High School about how they should properly live their lives after receiving diplomas.The local school district has yet to send me an invitation to deliver this sure-to-be-stirring speech.  

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Whenever my job duties here at the Chanute Tribune send me on an overnight trip to luxurious locales like Topeka or Salina, the costs of my meals and my motel room are generously covered by my employer. This process is done without a lot of hassle about where I choose to eat and sleep. As lo…

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It has been difficult readjusting to regular life after last week’s big City Commission election. I’m no longer driving around town staring at campaign signs, hearing accusations about stealing campaign signs, or making wild and inaccurate guesses about who is going to win the election by th…

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People who live outside of our fair state might be under the false impression that many citizens of Kansas openly dislike our Governor, Sam Brownback. This is likely due to the reaction he receives when he shows up at most any large public gathering. Untrained, out-of-state ears may think th…

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For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been busy following the election for Chanute City Commissioners, a journalistic endeavor that involved talking to all of the candidates in the Commission primary and managing to stay awake through the whole Candidate Forum. All of this led to me being at th…

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People often ask me if I miss covering local athletic events. It has been a common question ever since I went from professionally annoying wide swaths of Tribune readers on the Sports pages to doing so on the Opinion page. I always answer this query by pointing out that covering politics in …