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Kids do count -10/22/2014, 10:31 AM

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In praise of hunting -10/22/2014, 10:30 AM

What is a CID? Will it work for mall? -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

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Kansas Speaks -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

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The most important election in your lifetime -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

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Kansas farm interests -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

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Kansans deserve better -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Officially killing Americans -10/17/2014, 10:27 AM

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Roberts is right choice -10/16/2014, 10:01 AM

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Redbelly's future -10/16/2014, 9:52 AM

Kansas deserves better -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

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New bullying problem for schools: parents -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Cheerios, marriage equality, the Supreme Court -10/13/2014, 9:49 AM

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Federal funding -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Teacher indoctrination -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

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Non-partisan politics -10/9/2014, 9:49 AM

Teen driver safety week Oct. 19 to 25 -10/9/2014, 9:04 AM

FHSU party -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

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Let the women serve -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Time for new direction -10/8/2014, 9:49 AM

Improving Kansas economically -10/8/2014, 9:35 AM

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A reason to celebrate -10/6/2014, 9:20 AM

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Find another school -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

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School facilities -10/1/2014, 9:27 AM

Look ahead, not back -10/1/2014, 9:27 AM

Secret Service needs to step up its game -10/1/2014, 9:27 AM

Roosevelts were true leaders -9/30/2014, 9:18 AM

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Expect some sort of change in Topeka -9/30/2014, 9:18 AM

'A tale of two countries' -9/29/2014, 9:59 AM

The last of the Willie Horton ads? -9/29/2014, 9:59 AM

Finding answers to the future of Kansas -9/28/2014, 2:20 PM

College: Where religious freedom goes to die -9/28/2014, 2:20 PM

Honoring Hammond -9/28/2014, 2:20 PM

Do statistical disparities mean injustice? -9/26/2014, 9:53 AM

World university rankings -9/26/2014, 9:52 AM

Kansas experiment -9/26/2014, 9:52 AM

Two anti-choice parties -9/25/2014, 10:03 AM

Not in the same old Kansas anymore -9/25/2014, 10:03 AM

Domestic violence -9/25/2014, 10:03 AM

Back to war we go -9/24/2014, 9:55 AM

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Emma Watson looking for a few good men -9/24/2014, 9:54 AM

Renter runaround -9/23/2014, 7:32 PM

Enough is enough -9/23/2014, 9:02 AM

Life of politics in the state -9/23/2014, 9:02 AM

What is and is not child abuse -9/22/2014, 9:30 AM

Cannabis politics and research -9/22/2014, 9:30 AM

Future of The Mall -9/21/2014, 6:14 PM

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State education rankings -9/19/2014, 9:52 AM

Kobach gone wild -9/19/2014, 9:52 AM

Bias prevents civil discussion of education issues -9/18/2014, 9:35 AM

Immigration is American -9/18/2014, 9:35 AM

Costs to states not expanding Medicaid -9/17/2014, 10:14 AM

Medicare threats -9/17/2014, 10:12 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
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Can-do attitude

Published on -8/14/2014, 9:27 AM

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A century ago when this state consisted mainly of farm and ranch families, it was a common sight to see neighbors helping neighbors. They swapped farm machinery. They loaned labor back and forth to work harvest thrashing crews. A barn raising presented another opportunity for friends to help build and support the community.

Since Kansas was settled, farmers and ranchers have supported their communities. They've always appreciated main streets that are bright, clean and well-maintained. They've actively participated in the school system, served on the county planning board, taught Sunday school and worked with other community organizations and activities. Farmers and ranchers have been part of the fabric that has made Kansas the viable state it is today.

Some people have the mistaken belief government can control the economy and provide a better life for its citizens. This is unrealistic. Both for theoretical and practical reasons, governments are unable to control the economy or create jobs.

Kansans know this. Our communities never have stood idly by and waited for the federal government to care for them. Instead, they have formed alliances to tackle community issues, foster business development and ensure an environment where they will continue to grow. Consider towns storm-ravaged by tornadoes such as Greensburg to see evidence of this.

Still, with the number of farm families dwindling each year, it is not enough for rural Kansas communities to have and follow a strategic plan for economic development. Such communities must not forget they need institutions that bring farmers into the communities on a regular basis.

This means places where rural and townsfolk can gather. This means a place where they can talk about mutual interests -- children, the high school football team, the remodeled library -- just about anything that relates to the welfare and well-being of the area.

Restaurants, grocery stores, a church, active participation in the school system and involvement in farm and community organizations are all ways to rekindle interest. Leaders must, however, be willing to live in and become part of the community.

Vibrant communities thrive and grow when farmers retire in their towns or become actively involved in local affairs. Farmers, ranchers and businesses remain the key to growth and vitality in any rural area.

Agriculture always has been the crucial ingredient driving the economic machinery of our state. Kansans are proud of the leadership our agricultural community provides. Working together rural and urban, with progressive community leadership, we can improve our standard of living and the quality of life in Kansas.

John Schlageck is a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas. Born and raised on a diversified farm in northwest Kansas, his writing reflects a lifetime of experience, knowledge and passion.

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