The Kansas City Star, Sept. 9
Kansas must deal with prison abuses
A federal investigation finding "rampant" sexual misconduct and abuse of inmates at the Topeka Correctional Facility for women shamed the state. In response, officials now say they have taken the necessary actions to prevent the problems from recurring.
Like all citizens in America, inmates have constitutional rights. No one should suffer abuse from correctional staff or other prisoners.
Thomas Perez, the assistant U.S. attorney general for civil rights, last week noted the findings of a critical Justice Department investigation in a letter to Gov. Sam Brownback. Perez warned that U.S. Attorney Eric Holder could file a lawsuit if the Justice Department thinks the state is not correcting the problems. However, Kansas Department of Corrections Secretary Ray Robert said that the May 2011 Justice Department audit did not "account for the strides and successes" at the prison in the last 16 months. The changes include additional staffing, increasing the number of security cameras from 250 to 350, providing training to staff, volunteers and inmates, and hiring a prison rape elimination act coordinator in January to ensure the safety of the nearly 700 inmates.
Concerned citizens rely on the state to make needed improvements ensuring the safety of the incarcerated women. State officials must continue to work with the Justice Department to ensure that sexual abuse and other problems do not recur. A civilized society expects its government to fairly and humanely punish lawbreakers. Anything less must not be tolerated.
The Hays Daily News, Sept. 7
Slap on the wrist
Considering the severe sanctions imposed on Penn State University after Jerry Sandusky's perverted criminal activities came to light, the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph should consider itself fortunate.
In Happy Valley, well-respected and high-ranking figures lost their jobs for glossing over the assistant coach's repeated acts of pedophilia. Financial penalties and post-season bans will affect Penn State for years. Such was the outrage created by the notion that anybody would turn a blind eye to the sexual abuse of children.
Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn discovered Thursday his penalty for failing to report suspected child abuse under his watch. The bishop was handed two years of probation, although if he follows through on court-ordered conditions, the guilty verdict will be wiped from his record. The conditions include Finn attending training on abuse reporting, instructing others in the diocese to report suspicions of such activity, and for the diocese to pay $10,000 to counsel victims of abuse.
Finn was acquitted on a second count and the court dropped two charges against the diocese itself.
The bishop's case was brought forward after the Rev. Shawn Ratigan pleaded guilty to producing and attempting to produce child pornography. That priest faces a sentence of life imprisonment.
Aside from the troubling notion of simply not reporting any suspected child abuse, was the time period involved -- 2011. Since 2002, the Catholic Church has been dealing with child molestation issues in a very public manner. Billions of dollars have been spent compensating victims, prompting many dioceses to go bankrupt. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to improve safety for children. Hundreds of clergy have been removed and barred from any church work.
It's not a new issue. Particularly not for Judge John Torrence, who handled Bishop Finn's trial. The judge is a member of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, part of the same diocese.
Finn -- and the diocese -- dodged a bullet on this one. We can only pray the lesson is learned.
The Topeka Capital-Journal, Sept. 6
Cancer foes raise the ante
The University of Kansas Cancer Center and member hospitals of the Midwest Cancer Alliance are not resting on their laurels now that the cancer center has earned National Cancer Institute designation.
Rather, several of the MCA hospitals, including Stormont-Vail HealthCare, are doubling down on investments they have made to ensure results of their work are accessible to cancer patients.
The Midwest Cancer Alliance is a network of hospitals, physician groups, research institutions and cancer support and patient advocacy organizations. Its goal is to promote networking among cancer care professionals, advance cancer research and enhance patient access to cancer resources and clinical trials.
Earlier in this space, we recognized the years of effort The University of Kansas Cancer Center devoted to earning the NCI designation, which was announced in July. Now, we recognize the contributions of hospitals that supported the effort and their continuing devotion to making the results of the best cancer research available to those who can directly benefit from it.
Stormont-Vail HealthCare, Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, Truman Medical Centers and The University of Kansas Hospitals have been contributing $500,000 a year to assist The University of Kansas Cancer Center in its quest for NCI designation. Cancer center director Roy A. Jensen said the NCI designation wouldn't have been possible without the hospitals' participation.
Earlier this week, those four hospitals announced they were raising their annual contribution to $1 million.
All the hospitals deserve much credit for their past and future work with the cancer center and Topekans should feel proud that one of their local hospitals has played a vital role in assisting the cancer center through the NCI designation period and continues to play a role in research projects and bringing the results of that research to patients.
The importance of medical research cannot be overstated, but the real value of that research cannot be realized unless it reaches patients. The University of Kansas Cancer Center, MCA member hospitals and other MCA members know that and apparently are ready to work harder than ever to bring the benefits of their research to those who need it.
Stormont-Vail HealthCare has been developing a research project to evaluate the impact of a community-based care program and offering clinical trials designed by researchers at the cancer center. Other hospitals that are raising their financial contribution to $1 million annually are participating in different research projects and clinical trials.
We would say it looks like a great team effort, but it has been that for years. The players are just raising the stakes and deserve credit doing so.
The Hutchinson News, Sept. 6
Celebrating 100 years
Welcome to the 100th Kansas State Fair. Not the 100th anniversary of the State Fair but rather the 100th fair. Next year, we'll celebrate the anniversary.
Confused? We'll explain and that will help you understand why fair officials are rolling out the red carpet for two consecutive years to celebrate one of Hutchinson's stellar events.
But first, welcome to Hutchinson and the Kansas State Fair. We're sure you won't be disappointed by any of the fair offerings. And we've ordered up some cooler temperatures, at least for the first few days of the 10-day fair, to tempt you to stroll just a little longer while you're on the fairgrounds.
We know there are plenty of foods - some healthy and many, like chocolate-covered bacon, that might make your heart stop beating for a second - to woo your taste buds.
And if you're looking for a particular vendor, or food, or an interactive map to help you navigate the fairgrounds, then The News and K-State have the perfect toy - make that, tool. For you smartphone users out there, just scan the QR code in this editorial. Others can visit hutchnews.com/fairmap and obtain the same information contained within the QR code.
Now about that anniversary thing. Think about the day you were born. That began your first year of life. Same with the fair - the 1912 fair began the first of 100 years of fairs.
A year later, 1913, was the first anniversary - or birthday, if you will - of the fair. So 2012 is just a dress rehearsal for the 100th anniversary of the Kansas State Fair in 2013.
Still confused? No worries. No one has needed a reason - or an anniversary - in the past to enjoy the diversity of food and exhibits at the Kansas State Fair.
And, again, welcome to Hutchinson and the 100th Kansas State Fair.