Be prepared for severe weather

The 2012 Kansas Severe Weather Awareness Week is March 12 to 16. Finney County will kick off Severe Weather Awareness Week on Monday by hosting the Severe Weather Awareness/Storm Spotter training in the Finney County EOC, located in the basement of the Finney County Law Enforcement Center, 304 N. Ninth St. There will be two sessions, one at 3 p.m. and another session at 7 p.m.

On Tuesday, Finney County will test the tornado sirens at 10 a.m. in Finney County. The statewide drill will be that afternoon at 1:30 p.m. during which the Emergency Alert System will broadcast across television and radio stations as well as the NOAA All-Hazards (formerly known as just weather) radios. This provides residents in Finney County two opportunities to test their own tornado safety plans. If your business participates in either the morning or afternoon drill please contact our office and let us know how it went.

The outdoor siren system is just that, an outdoor notification. These sirens are not meant to be heard indoors. An excellent notification system in your house, business or other building is a NOAA All-Hazards Radio. These radios are available in local stores and can be programmed using Specific Area Message Encoding. This allows you to program in only the counties you want to receive messages for severe weather watches and/or warnings, Amber Alerts, Hazardous Materials Warnings, Shelter in Place Warnings, Law Enforcement Warning, etc. Other sources for notification include TV, radio, text messaging and email alerts.

If you have any questions or if we can be of assistance, contact our office, Finney County Emergency Management. We are located in the basement of the Finney County LEC; phone number is 272-3746 and email is ema2@ficolec.org.

GILBERT VALERIO,

Garden City

Valerio is assistant coordinator of Finney County Emergency Management.

A time to change political climate

Time for a new forecast in the Kansas political climate. For middle and upper-class Kansans, it's been a dry year. For the poorest residents of our state, it would appear the drought has just begun. Gov. Brownback and his Tea Party supporters have determined that not one drop of relief should fall on our state's economically disadvantaged families. First, it was denying legal immigrant children access to food stamps by "reformulating" the means by which such benefits are granted. (According to SRS numbers, more than 1,000 families across the state became "food insecure" as a result of this move.) The compassion drought in Topeka continued when it became clear that the governor intended to raise state income taxes on those Kansas families who make less than $25,000 a year by more than 5,000 percent. (That's a comma, not a period.) Seen alongside a $50 million cut to public schools, often the last bastion of hope for struggling children, these moves make it clear that no relief for the poor is in sight. There is but one hope left: That Kansans begin to see that while we can't control the weather, we can control the political climate, and it's time for a new forecast.

RYAN BURROWS,

Satanta

Tourney coverage comes up short

I believe if your paper cannot do any better job of covering the area sub-state basketball tournaments than you have, then you just as well quit trying. You have a big article on one area team that lost. You covered Holcomb and Scott City well, but seems that your staff does not realize that southwest Kansas extends past the east edge of Garden City. Oh wait, I forgot about South Gray, you always have been in love with them. I don't mean any disrespect to any of the area teams, it is a huge accomplishment to make it to state. Ingalls girls basketball team has been ranked first in the state for a lot of the season. They won the regular season league championship in one of the toughest leagues in the state, they won their sub-state for the second season in a row, and a person has to look pretty hard in your paper to find any coverage on them. I guess I am a little partial, but seems like your paper has its favorites. I can only hope that you do a better job of covering state tournaments, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

TIM WHIPPLE,

Garden City

No challenge in showing ID

We have to show a photo ID when we buy gas, cash a check and sometimes get into work. Are we disenfranchised? So, if you have nothing to hide, why is showing a photo ID a problem when you vote? When did it become an act of discrimination to safeguard our most important democratic duty? Perhaps those who oppose the idea of providing verification of citizenship are counting on votes that may not be legitimate.

GREGORY H. BONTRAGER,

Hutchinson