Clipped From The Salina Journal
Efforts to be wasted? Many of you are aware that at the present time the Army is involved in a Land Use Requirements Study (LURS) and an Analysis of Alternatives Study (AAS) for Fort Riley. Congressman Pat Roberts wrote (July 20, 1990): ".. .announcement of four possible sites prior to the decision as to whether land acquisition is even necessary is premature, at best. As a result of this cart-before-the- horse process, thousands of Kansans are now living with the uncertainty of not knowing if they will be able to stay on their land." It does not seem like a cart-before-the- horse process to those of us who live in or near the proposed acquisition sites. It is our right to know that our land is being considered to add to Fort Riley's 101,050 acres! Once the decision is made that land acquisi-. tion for Fort Riley is necessary/desirable, it may well be too late for us to save our family farms. Jim Robbins in the July issue of "Outside" magazine reports that the military is presently asking for more than 8,000 square miles nationwide: 1.5 million acres in Idaho, 250,000 acres at Fort Irwin, Calif., 975,000 acres for tank training in northern Montana, and 100,000 acres of "prime private farmland in central Kansas." Mr. Robbins adds that the military presently controls about 25 million acres of U.S. public land and with the addition of the proposed land would add 20 percent more to that. Congressional approval is required for the land acquisition. To those of us living in the proposed acquisition areas, the prospect of losing our farmland and our homes is devastating. Is it not ironic that by the action of our own government, many of us would be losing the very way of life that our country has fought to preserve? The end result would be the destruction of homes and farms, churches, schools, small-town businesses, grain elevators. Entire communities would be obliterated so the land could be used for expanded training ranges. On a more personal level, I have tried to erase from my mind the recurring nightmare of an Abrams tank racing across the yard where my grandchildren chased fireflies just a few night ago. Would the beautiful old country home that has been in my husband's family since the early 1900s be razed, burned or bulldozed? I think of our joy in having our adult children with their children return to visit us and of the extended family who love to return to the Frey homestead to visit and eat homemade ice cream on the patio. I think of our livestock operation, built up over the years at great personal cost of time, energy and money — the life work of my husband, Chris. Who will determine the "fair market value" for this? It would be gone, and not by the hand of a foreign invader as we have sometimes imagined could happen. I think of our rural church, established by our forefathers who came to this part of Kansas over 100 years ago to carve out a new way of life. One hundred people meet there each Sunday, coming together in community to share their faith. There are other small rural churches sprinkled throughout the proposed acquisition areas. There are our schools, our little towns. Do these count for nothing? Have people come to be of such little importance that we simply move them out of the way? Are we to join the displaced peoples that help populate the world? Somehow, we believed they were a product of the ravages of war, earthquake or famine. Is it more important to have tanks rolling over our prized farmland than to raise wheat to feed the world? During the past 40 years that we have fanned in north Dickinson County, millions of dollars have been cost-shared by fanners and the government for conservation programs to preserve the farmland. What will the army do with this improved land? What have they done with the large tract they bought in the mid-60s? Will they need more in another 20 years? How many years does it take for land to become "unusable land" when the military uses it for training programs? Are all the efforts to improve the land, the millions spent, to be wasted? One of the strengths of Kansas has been the cooperation between the rural and urban people because they recognize their interdependence on each other. We will all gain as we find an alternative that will allow us to keep that which we cherish. Nine groups have been working very hard to save our farms. They have formed a coalition, "Preserve Kansas, Our Land, Our Lives." I urge you to please, please, contact your representatives in Congress and ask them to consider alternatives to land acquisition. —BONNIE FREY Abilene Penny Geis dependable The first district should choose Penny Geis in the primary election as the Democratic candidate best qualified to serve on the county commission. Penny Geis has the best interests of the community in mind as she makes decisions on the commission. She does not represent the financial or personal interests of any particular sector of the county. She has no ax to grind. When she votes, she takes all the available facts into consideration, studies the issue and then makes a reasoned judgment. Fairness is her trademark. Cooperation is her style. Paying attention to the details of county government is not exciting or glamorous work. But Penny Geis knows that getting the best services for the taxpayer depends upon patiently dealing with the problems of the county road maintenance program, paying attention to the needs of the Leisure Years Center, and carefully studing the equipment expenditures of various county government departments. Penny Geis knows how to do the job. She is dependable. Vote Penny Geis to another term on the county commission. -DANA JACKSON 2440 E. Water Well He rattled their cages It is time to stand up and be counted. We all complain about the sorry fix that our county commission is in, but we don't seem to be able to do anything about it. Well, we have to start somewhere. We have this chance on Aug. 7 to put in someone who deserves the chance to try to straighten out some of the mess. Some of you will not agree with some of the things he does, and all of you may not agree with some of the things he does, but he can't make it any worse than we already have. So, let's give him a chance.