THE SAUNA JOURNAL MONDAY, MAY 7. 2001 AIL Tom Bell Editor & Publisher Opinions expressed on this page are those of the identified writers. To join the conversation, write a letter to the Journal at: P.O. Box 740 Salina.KS 67402 Fax: (785) 827-6363 E-mail: SJLetters® saljoumal.com K -rf 'ii Quote of the day "We want to educate people and inform them to try to get rid of stereotypes." Alexander C Schorn Ja Salina Central (Student and vice ' president of the Gay-Straight Alliance, a group that aims to extinguish Intolerance of gays and lesbians Calling all trucks THEKSIIE Fire protection THE ARGUMENT An expensive lesson for public officials T •^en minutes can pass pretty quickly But 10 minutes must have seemed an eternity for members of. the Peterson family as they watched a fire move from a garage to their house at 1500 S. Marymount. An emergency call had been placed to 911, but the dispatcher alerted a volunteer- based rural fire department five miles away because it appeared the house was located in the county In reality the house was in the city limits. And a city fire station was just one mile up the road. Once called, it was on the scene in less than two minutes. Officials are still tracking down how such a mistake could have been made. Early indications are that 911 computers were not changed after the property was annexed into the city in 1999. When the 911 call came in a computer screen indicated the home was in the county. And dispatchers are trained to rely on displayed information. That's likely a good policy in most cases. But this was a borderline situation. And transcripts of 911 tapes show the home's status was questioned five tim6s before city firefighters were summoned — and they were called to action only after the fire threatened the house next door. It is apparent that there was confusion and disagreement over whether or not the Peterson's home was within city limits. But location really shouldn't matter. Common sense teUs lis that safety counts more than boundaries when a home is on fire. It shouldn't matter which fire department is manning the trucks. Saving structures — and, in some cases, saving lives — is more important than borders. This tragic story may have a positive result. It may force city and county governments to establish a consolidated approach to fire fighting where the closest and best equipped units are sent to fires. Of course, the best possible solution is to consolidate city and county public safety departments across the board. Then these potentially life-threatening mistakes would not even happen in the first place. — Tom Bell Editor & Publisher • EDITORIAL NOTEBOOK The aging face of America N ew census data shows that the fastest growing age group in the United States is the centenarian. Growing faster than children under 5, Gen-Xers or baby boomers, the 100 and over cfowd will put a different face ofi America. An aging face. i Unfortunately, it's not one at governments are taking seriously while planning for the future. By the year 2050, when the oldest baby boomers will reach 100, it is anticipated that there will be a million centenarians to be counted. Make that counted, clothed, fed, medicated and transported. Barring a catastrophic comet annihilating the earth or an epidemic that fells millions in their tracks — neither of which Congress or state legislatures can count on — the demands of this nation will change dramatically in the coming few years. I In its governance, Congress hps not been willing to prepare for the inevitable tax burden, pj-^ferring instead to leave tljiose difficult and expensive problems to congressional members down the road. State governments are no better. But what of individual communities? Will there be sufficient low-maintenance housing available in which these most senior residents can live independently? What kinds of activities will be available to keep them active and healthy? Will schools consider using them, picking their brains for the living history books that they are? Is the health-care community preparing ' for the onslaught? Are modes of transportation being planned now to move a huge over-70 group that doesn't/shouldn't drive, but wants to stay active? And in the buy-now, pay-later, forget-the-savings-account world of many baby boomers, who wiU pay for all of this? Especially as the centenarian population numbers severely outstrip those of the tax-paying working group? Census numbers are taken for a reason. It would be nothing short of dereliction of duty for elected officials to ignore what they see — an aging face. — Ann K. Charles The Parsons Sun T TORY NOTIONS Schools should be commerce-free Successful capitalism requires more than just the desire to acquire W ASHINGTON — Children, according to one ebullient marketer, are "born to be consumers," they are "consumer cadets" in whom "the consumer embryo begins to develop in the first year of existence.'.' Ex- ^ cited by evidence that children as young as 12 months are capable of "brand associations," and guided by the principle of KGOY (kids getting older younger), marketers study "marketing practices that drive loyalty in the preschool market" and "the desires of toddler-age consumers." A marketer says, "When it comes to targeting kid consumers, we at General Mills follow the Proctor & Gamble model of 'cradle to grave.' ... We believe in getting them early and having them for life." Another marketer advises, "Advertising at its best is making people feel that without their product, you're a loser. Kids are very sensitive to that." Sophisticated behavioral studiesj(e.g., "The Nag Factor," "The Art of Fine' Whining") suggest how to turn children into controllers of parents. Lifetime Learning Systems, an innocuously named company specializing in partnerships between businesses and schools, says "School is ... the ideal time to influence attitudes." At school children are comfortable and susceptible to prompt ings. Hence Channel One, a commercial satellite network serving, if that is the mot juste, 12,000 schools. T CONTRIBUTING EDITOR GEORGE F. WILL Tlw Washmglon Post Channel One tells advertisers that it is "viewed by more teens than any other television program." It provides 10 minutes of news (broadly defined, to include weather, sports, natural disasters, features and promotions for Channel One) and two minutes of advertising. Children in schools with Channel One spend time equivalent to a full instructional week watching it. Children ages 4. to 12 spent almost $27 billion at their own discretion in 1998, and they are thought to have directly influenced $187 billion in parental purchases and to have indirectly influenced another $300 billion worth. Teen-agers spent $100 billion and influenced the spending of another $50 billion, so we should perhaps be grateful that advertisers spend "only" $5 billion on advertising aimed at children. But gratitude did not motivate the authors of "Watch Out for Children: A Mothers' Statement to Advertisers," from which the statements and statistics above are culled. It is published by The Motherhood Project of the Institute for American Values, which is the source of excellent monographs about "the renewal of marriage and family life and sources of competence, character and citizenship." The report suggests a dreamy "code for advertisers" (e.g., no advertising that promotes "an ethic of selfishness") and some bromides about attentive parenting. However, the report's considerable value is in sensitizing readers to how desensitized the country has become about encroachments of commerce where it does not belong — in schools, especially At the birth of this commercial Republic, in which the perennial problem of turbulent passions was to be solved by subsuming them in enterprise, John Adams, hardly a complacent optimist, expressed a cheerful expectation of stately long-range progress: "I must study politics and war, that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain." Two cen-' turies later, such a sense of the steady ele-' vation of the American mind seems too serene, in part because of the pull — the relentlessly downward pull — of popular culture, including the forces of commerce.: In 1976, this Republic's bicentennial, Daniel Bell, a sociologist at Harvard, the university that helped furnish Adams' capacious mind, warned about "the cultural contradictions of capitalism." Capitalism, he said, depends on certain stern virtues, such as asceticism, thrift, industriousness,; self-denial, deferral of gratification. But capitalism produces social surpluses, which beget luxury which begets material-' ism, self-indulgence, acquisitiveness, instant gratification. "It is striking," Bell wrote 20 years later, "that in every major city in the world, from New York to Helsinki to Tokyo, every large department store one enters displays cosmetics and fragrances spread across its ground floor" Striking, that is, because "the tension between asceticism and acquisitiveness" has been resolved in favor of the latter Even more striking evidence of the self-corruption of capitalist culture is this: Once charged with countering the self-centeredness and egotism that de Tocqueville called democracy's temptation, schools are becoming case studies in the commodification of everything. It is fortunate, sort of, that advertising is so ubiquitous: It is akin to wallpaper, even audible wallpaper — always there, but unnoticed. But advertising in schools subverts a lesson children should learn there — that commerce, although valuable, is subordinate to other values. Which is why schools should be commerce-free zones. The old building on Main Street Bennington building that was once a church is still doing the Lord's work T he old building on Main Street in Bennington is still serving the Lord. It was more than 40 years ago — our children were still small — when we moved out near this small town. It had several churches, a grocery store, two cafes, a meat locker, a grain elevator, a hardware store, a drug store and a pool hall. It also had a bank, which has grown bigger over the years. Many of these buildings are still here, but there have been changes. We no longer have a drug store or a hardware store, and the cafe carries some groceries as well as serving meals. The little building which was once a church now serves the seniors of the town, and is still doing God's work. There are many retired people around here, and they meet there for fellowship and every day delicious meals are served. There once was a lady who once worked in Geissert's Grocery, and she would ask the BETTY PRICE for llie Saliim loiimat "new" people if they went to church. We hadn't changed churches as yet, but when she said, "We need you," our membership was transferred there. Living several miles from the nearest neighbor and wanting to learn more about God, also needing fellowship, we found the little old building a haven in the storms of life. Many years have gone by folks have come and gone, some have grown up and come back for the class reunions, but the little building on Main Street has stayed. My husband recently celebrated a birthday and we were invited to come and let the seniors honor the April birthday folks. It was nice to be back in that little sanctuary, with the communion rail still in place and the big old overhead fans turning. What a nice time we had visiting with those we had never met, and renewing the friendship with those who once worshipped at that little building on Main Street. As I listened to the cowboy band that was there to entertain the folks, I looked at the beautiful stained glass windows that had been purchased with the Sunday school children's door-to-door candy sales. The sun shining in those stained glass windows cast many colors across the room and the old building was rocking with country song. I later stood on the spot where the choir used to stand, and I remembered the DOOIMESBURY day that I looked into the eyes of the picture of Jesus on the wall and He looked back at me. I was strangely changed. The vocalists would step forth, and they would use their talent to glorify God by singing praises to His Holy name. There was a peace to be found there, and it brought peace to my heart as I remembered. 1 thought of the many saints who had worshipped there and were now gone to rest in Jesus. Grace, Mary, Myrtle, Mr Waite, and many more who went there to that little church, years before we went there. The Bible tells us that we are God's temple and in 1st Corinthians 6:19-20 it says: "What! Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." I experienced the "new birth" in that little old building on Main Street. Sometimes I wonder how many others became believers there. Only God knows, but one day we will see Him and not be looking through these human eyes, for we will have a new body Hallelujah! I believe it. How about you? • Betty Price is a Bennington farrnwife and a member of the Salina Journal Board of Contributing Editors. By G.B.TRUDEAU JZI6HT AFTB /S. lATBSraiBC' /NSANB.'
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