Thumbs up

McPherson County looking to improve safety plans

Thumbs up to those within McPherson County who are working with 18 other counties to secure funds that could save lives in a disaster.

The Moore, Okla., tornadoes gave us all a painful reminder that, in this section of the country, severe weather can destroy without prejudice.

Securing these funds would go a long ways towards building community storm shelters and improving outside warning siren systems that are either outdated or in need of repair.

Heart patients bond over quilt

A sentimental thumbs up to Caden Monroe, 10, and Zander Gorsuch, 9, who have begun to build a friendship after discovering they both suffered from heart defects.

Monroe, who suffers from a life-threatening congenital defect, sought to let Gorsuch, who suffers from a dilated cardiomyopathy and a heart rhythm problem, know he wasn’t alone. He did so by putting together a quilt, similar to the way he received a fleece tie blanket when he had his most recent surgery.

The two have been through something that few others really understand, and knowing you aren’t alone can mean wonders.

First portion of Meadowlark Trail opens

After nearly two decades, and not a small amount of controversy, the first quarter of the Meadowlark Trail officially opened to the public Wednesday.

The public can enjoy the first four miles of the 12.6 mile trail stretching between McPherson and Lindsborg.

This opening has been a very long time in coming, though there are still miles to go before the project from the Central Kansas Conservancy is finished.

Thumbs down

Student loan rates may see a steep hike

Thumbs down to the United States Senate for not being more decisive on how to deal with the looming jump in interest rates for subsidized Stafford Loans.

The loans are set to double July 1 from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, unless lawmakers manage to come together and find a compromise.

A college degree is necessary for students now entering the work force, but the rising cost of tuition leaves those students to take out thousands of dollars worth of loans. This leaves them further and further in debt before they even get their first full-time job.

Keeping the interest rate on loans at a lower level will keep these students from falling deeper into a fiscal hole they may never fully climb out of.

A compromise has come forth from a bipartisan group of Senators, but past actions leave us skeptical anything will actually be accomplished.

Kansas Board of Regents approve tuition hike

Thumbs down to the Kansas Legislature for forcing the Kansas Board of Regents to hike the tuition at the state’s public universities this fall.

With the legislature cutting funding, the universities were forced to pass that loss onto the students. At Pittsburg State University, this equates into an 8.8 percent jump in the cost for a student to attend classes. The other universities range from around 5 to 7 percent in their increases.

As important as it is to have a college education, actions like this are pricing it out of the means of the middle- and lower-classes.

— Chris Swick for the McPherson Sentinel Editorial Board