Local and state talking points


K-State observing Banned Books Week

This week is Banned Books Week and K-State Libraries, Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society and the English Department are co-sponsoring a series of events in observance. Events will include readings from surprising banned books, such as “Hunger Games” or “To Kill a Mockingbird,” at Bosco Student Plaza, a showing of the “Hunger Games” film at Manhattan Public Library and a panel discussion over censorship in K-State Student Union’s Little Theatre.

Daniel Ireton, assistant professor and undergraduate and community services librarian at K-State Libraries, was quoted in K-State Today saying that Banned Books Week is hosted by the American Library Association in celebration of the First Amendment and the freedom to read. The purpose is to understand the impacts censorship has on education.

Unemployment dropping in Manhattan

The Kansas Department of Labor released the unemployment figures of Manhattan as of August, which are at 4.7 percent. This is a 1 percent drop from August 2013 and an even greater drop from July 2014 at 5.1 percent, according to 1350kman.com. This is a reflection of how the state is doing, according to Lana Gordon, secretary of labor. Private sector jobs are increasing, making the unemployment rates drop for the state.

Unemployment is still a problem for many Americans, according to a survey by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

The Kansas City Star reported that though the economy is slowly recovering, about 3 million people remain in a long-term job searches extending longer than six months. This has strained many savings and retirement accounts, forcing many to either retire early, push back their retirement or just cut spending around the house.

Support groups for the unemployed teach them about networking through Internet sites and other job hunting tips.

Kansas Attorney General asks for lawsuit dismissal

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is asking a state court to dismiss a lawsuit challenging a school-funding law passed in April by the Kansas legislature, according to a press release from Schmidt’s office.

Schmidt filed the motion after the Kansas National Education Association filed a lawsuit in August.

Schmidt said the motion is the state’s formal response to the lawsuit.

“At it’s core, KNEA disagrees with the Legislature’s policy choice to amend the Kansas statutes regarding teacher dismissal and termination of teacher contracts,” Schmidt said in the release. “Rather than attack the issue directly, the KNEA raises an abstract challenge to the process by which the Legislature enacted the law.”

The Topeka Capital Journal contacted Marcus Baltzell, director of communications at the KNEA, for comment.

“We believe our complaint is clear and will wait until the process takes its full course before comment further,” Baltzell said in the Capital Journal article.

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