Monday, December 29, 2008

Interstate 29 in Atchison County closed

The Missouri Department of Transportation has announced that recent freeze and thaw conditions have damaged Interstate 29 in Atchison County at the 107 mile marker south of Rock Port. The northbound driving lane at that location will be shut down beginning immediately with all signs and arrow boards present. The northbound passing lane will remain open. Weather permitting, all lanes should reopen to traffic the morning of Wednesday, December 31, 2008.
MoDOT apologizes for any inconvenience this necessary closure will cause. The public is asked to slow down and drive safely through all work zones.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Moment with Mike for December 31st, 2008

As we prepare to embark on a new year, our State and Nation are facing challenging times. Many of us find ourselves struggling to make ends meet, keep our businesses running and keep our families safe and secure. The fear of losing jobs or financial security, distrust of leaders, and uncertainty of what is to come permeates our thoughts.

Peggy Noonan, an editorialist for the Wall Street Journal, in a recent article, states that the most disturbing undercurrent at “the heart of the great collapse” has become “a strong sense of absence” of leadership, of will, of strength and of character. She points out, however, that this is not the time to “throw in the towel” or accept an attitude of “oh well, I guess we will all go down with the ship”. We must now remember who we are. We are the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world, the leading industrial power of the world and the wealthiest nation in the world. We are the world’s oldest continuing democracy under an enduring Constitution. People still want to come here by the millions to attend our universities, to work in our businesses and to live in our communities. We are still a very powerful , very charitable and very industrious nation.

Ms. Noonan also reminds us that in times of crisis, pain, worry and fear that we have “an extraordinary, brilliant and enduring base.” We are a nation of achievers, of builders, of innovators, of inventors and of leaders. We have the ingenuity, the flexibility, the strengths of a national economy, a labor force blessed with human talent and resources and an American people that have intelligence, integrity and honor.

We have been living beyond our means for some time. That is why bubbles burst, markets drop and fear sets in. What is needed now is not an attitude of fear and distrust. We must re-awaken the American spirit with the ideals, the ingenuity and that drive to succeed, to build and to create that has sustained this nation for well over 200 years. Right here in the Heartland, we are citizens who exemplify that frontier spirit and that drive to succeed.

With your continued support, advice and counsel I am looking forward to the 2009 Session and to working on legislation that will continue to improve the lives of Missourians. Incoming House Speaker Ron Richard has already outlined a “family recovery plan” for 2009 that focuses on pocketbook issues such as job creation, property taxes and raising living standards, all tangible benefits for Missourians. I believe that we can overcome this crisis and show that Missourians are prepared to shoulder the burden, lead the charge and set the standard.

If you have questions, you may reach me at my Capitol number 573-751-9465, at the local district number, 660-582-4014, by email at or by mail at Room 114B State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Jack Remembers for 12-31-08

New Year’s Eve, 1954, the Korean War had ended and the First Cavalry Division had pulled out and was stationed up and down the coast of Japan. I was in "Charlie" Company in the Eighth Cavalry Regiment and we had just moved from Hokkaido to a bombed out Japanese airbase 60 miles north of Tokyo. General Doolittle had bombed the base and bomb craters were still visible everywhere. We had a pass and headed out the gate to Boomtown to celebrate New Years. Boomtown consisted of dozens of Cabarets and had sprung up virtually overnight after we had moved to the old airbase.
After a full night of hooping and hollering, and not in good condition, we headed back to camp. The barracks were located a quarter of a mile or more up a slight hill past the gate and in our condition we were going to have a problem negotiating that hill. After going through the gate we noticed two MP jeeps sitting side by side pointed up the hill toward the barracks area. The only mistake we made was not taking both jeeps. Six of us piled in to one of the jeeps and I drove at a high rate of speed to the barracks. I looked back and there the other MP jeep was not far behind with every red light it had on. We jumped out and by best buddy James R. Heard from Coldwater, Kansas said, "Follow me!" He quickly entered the back door of a well lit barracks visible to the MP that belonged to "Baker" Company. We went through the barracks and out the front door and over to "Charlie" Company to our barracks. We all hopped into our bunks with our clothes on. It was quiet and we could clearly hear the MP’s and the First Sergeant of "Baker" Company ordering everyone to fall out into formation. The Sergeant explained to the troops if they didn’t tell the MP’s who had stolen the jeep, they were all going to take a 25 mile march the next morning on New Year’s Day.
Now I was just a low-life dog-face PFC, but had I been "Charlie" Company Commander, I would have given James R. Heard a medal for going beyond the call of duty and leading his drunken buddies quietly through the "Baker" Company barracks.
Jack can be reached at PO Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075 or

Take Control of Your Finances in Difficult Economic Times

Take Control of Your Finances in
Difficult Economic Times
Let’s face it. We are in a time of economic uncertainty. The news is full of information about the stock market, interest rates, and mortgage foreclosures. What can we do? The good news is that there are ways to maintain control in times of economic uncertainty, according to Dr. Rebecca J. Travnichek, Family Financial Education Specialist with University of Missouri Extension. While no one individual, not even the Federal Reserve chairman, can control the economy and the stock market, let alone predict the direction that they are moving, we can control the ways we think and act. Dr. Barbara O’Neill with Rutgers Cooperative Extension in New Jersey has developed eight ways we can maintain control over our finances when things are seemingly "out of control":
1. Watch Your Spending—In times of economic uncertainty, it’s wise to "live below your means" and practice what economists call "precautionary savings." There is some recent evidence that Americans are already doing this on a large scale. Consumer spending figures are down and, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. savings rate increased to almost 3% of disposable income in the second quarter of 2008, up from 1% or less during the past three years.
2. Prepare a Spending Plan—A spending plan is a written "best estimate" of the cost of future spending and saving. Ideally, a spending plan should balance income and expenses, including regular savings for future financial goals.
3. Tune Out Market "Noise"—People who are experiencing a lack of control put a lot of stock in any information that they hear. Daily financial reports that, by design, report moment by moment market fluctuations, with commentary, feed on market jitters and can cause some people to panic. Consider limiting your exposure to detailed stock market reports (e.g., CNN and CNBC) or, at the very least, keep reminding yourself that you are investing for the long term.
4. Minimize Investment Expenses—Pay attention to the expenses charged by mutual funds. This information is found in the mutual fund’s prospectus, which can often be downloaded from the Internet.
5. Save Money, Be Happy—The insurance company Northwestern Mutual recently conducted a study that found that people who do things that constitute good planning tend to feel happier than those who don’t. Specific practices that made "planners" feel better about life included setting financial goals, taking steps (saving) to achieve goals, and spending within a budget or spending plan.
6. Study Investment History—Financial markets often seem less scary when someone has previously experienced a grueling bear market and/or has learned about the characteristics and historical performance of investments. We know from history, for example, that stocks can be very volatile day to day but, over periods of 10 years or longer, volatility is greatly reduced. A good source of information about investing is University of Missouri Extension’s Investment Basics self-study course. In times of turbulence and change, knowledge is power!
7. Consider Getting Professional Advice—Professional financial advisors can provide perspective to nervous investors during uncertain economic times. They also have many helpful tools, such as software to run retirement income withdrawal scenarios that can estimate how long someone’s money will last. To locate a financial advisor, start by asking for referrals from other trusted advisors such as a CPA or attorney. Friends and co-workers may also have suggestions.
8. Take Care of Yourself—The last thing that someone needs in an uncertain economy is health problems, especially if your job (and access to health insurance) is shaky. Major health "issues" such as diabetes and cancer, are expensive to treat and a drain on household wealth. Put the odds in your favor by taking charge of your health. Specific actions such as losing weight, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking provide many associated financial benefits. Health is, indeed, the greatest wealth.
While the economy seems to be on a roller coaster ride, the best remedy for the motion sickness is to control the things that we can. Research has shown that people who maintain some measure of control over their lives in times of crisis and uncertainty generally cope better and feel less powerless than those who don’t. Making plans, and revising them when needed, is also a characteristic of financially savvy people. Dr. Travnichek hopes that you follow the suggestions of Dr. Barbara O’Neill and become financially savvy in 2009.
For more information on this or any other family or personal finance topic, contact Dr. Rebecca J. Travnichek at the Andrew County Extension Center (816) 324-3147.

Monday, December 15, 2008

NEN Girls Make Statement with 52-22 Rout of Stanberry

Northeast Nodaway's girls made a statement with their 52-22 rout of Stanberry. In what was supposed to be a defensive struggle between two of the better teams of the area. Instead, Northeast's win established them as one of the teams to beat this year while Stanberry, following two losses in the Albany tournament, was left reeling and searching for answers after one of their worst defeats in recent memory.

Blair Schmitz started off the scoring with a shot from the baseline while Jacqueline Schulte added a shot with 5:47 to put Northeast up 4-0. But from there, it turned into a slow defensive struggle for the next three minutes as Stanberry was only able to muster a pair of free throws while Northeast could not manage a bucket. But then Jacqueline Schulte connected from the wing and then Michelle Schulte, as she has done so many times, changed the momentum of the game as she followed with a steal and layup that made it 8-2. From there, Northeast began to pull away as Stanberry could not manage a field gol until the 2:05 mark of the second quarter.

In the meantime, Jessica Redden came off the bench to feed Blair Schmitz a perfect high-low pass and 3-point play to make it 11-4 with 40 seconds left. Northeast tacked on a bucket at the first quarter buzzer as Kristin Sherry hit a layup at the buzzer from another high-low pass. Schmitz, working against a defender four inches taller, started the second quarter scoring with an inside shot to make it 15-4.

Stanberry used a pair of free throws to cut it to 15-6 and there was a brief lull in the scoring; however, Jacqueline Schulte broke the ice with a three-point play on a putback and then Blair Schmitz scored off an Oleze steal. The bench then got in on the act as Emily Bryant posted up a defender to score from inside and then Cammi Hansen stole an errant pass to make it 24-6. Bryant scored four more points in the quarter while Jacqueline Schulte added a pair of free throws after a steal and Schmitz got a feed from Hansen for an inside shot to round out the scoring for Northeast, which led 32-10 at the break. Northeast's pressure defense was in high gear that half, forcing 15 Stanberry turnovers.

Hallie Oleze scored off a backdoor cut after Northeast ran off 1:05 to start the second half, but then Stanberry made a run at Northeast as they scored the next seven points to cut it to 34-17 with 4:03 left. But following a timeout, Blair Schmitz outworked the taller Stanberry players for a putback and Michelle Schulte connected with 2:59 left to stop the run. Stanberry answered Schulte's bucket with a 3-pointer, but Blair Schmitz hit a left-hander from the top of the key, Jacqueline Schulte stole the ensuing inbounds pass and hit two free throws, and Michelle Schulte stole the ensuing inbounds pass and Northeast was off to the races again. Kristin Sherry got a putback and then Hallie Oleze's shot from the top of the key was a dagger that left Northeast up 48-20 after three quarters of play. Michelle Schulte got a putback and got a steal and drive to round out the scoring for Northeast and trigger the running clock.

Miracle Finish Allows NEN Boys to Beat Stanberry by 1.

Northeast Nodaway boys got all three of their big men back Friday, and one of them, James Burns, played his best game of the year. And yet they still needed a miracle finish in regulation in order to beat Stanberry 53-52 in overtime Friday. Coach Charlie Burch was the first to say that his team was fortunate to win. With the return of three players to the lineup, there was bound to be a learning curve as the players were getting used to each other again, and such was the case Friday night.

Northeast Nodaway was seemingly finished after Stanberry made two free throws with 16.9 seconds left to put themselves up 46-42, but the Bluejays, who had turned the ball over on their last three possessions, brought the ball down the court really quickly and found Colby Wiederholt all alone for a seven-footer with 8.8 seconds left to make it a two-point game. Josh Wideman had driven the lane and had kicked it to Wiederholt for the bucket. When Stanberry missed two straight free throws, that left the door open. Wideman took full advantage as he brought the ball up the court really quickly and found Marshall Coffelt all alone under the basket for a layup at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

The bucket was the first for Coffelt, and he was not done. The Bluejays fell behind by two, but Coffelt made a move around a defender to tie the game and then hit a shot from the top of the key with 1:30 left to put Northeast up 51-48. Cody Luke scored from inside to make it 51-50, but after a Northeast turnover with 40 seconds left, Stanberry missed three tries to take the lead and then Tyler Davis hit two free throws to put Northeast up 53-50. Cody Luke hit a putback to make it 53-52, and then with 15.1 seconds left, Northeast threw away the inbounds pass to give the Bulldogs a chance to win it at the end. Luke took the ball and drove right down the middle of the lane, right at Northeast's big men and threw up a layup which rolled halfway around the rim before dropping out, and Northeast Nodaway was home free.

Northeast got all three of their big men back. Tyler Davis, playing at half strength on his injured ankle, still was a force as he put up 15 points. James Burns matched Davis with 15 points and played his best game of the year; Coach Burch said that Burns had a lot of potential and that the best was yet to come from him.

The game was very evenly matched, as Stanberry was the superior ball handling team and made better decisions on the floor, but routinely could not finish shots against the taller Bluejays; Burns, Davis, and Farnan all altered a good percentage of everything thrown up. Stanberry led 8-2 in the early going before Davis hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to spark a 7-0 run that put Northeast back in front. Neither team led by more than two until the three minute mark of the second quarter, when Davis hit another 3-pointer and Burns added a putback; Colby Wiederholt would connect with a baseline 3-pointer which gave Northeast its largest lead of the game at 24-17. But Stanberry chipped away thanks to their outside shooting and caught the Bluejays by the end of the third quarter. They led for much of the fourth until Bobby Welch hit a pair of clutch free throws with 1:56 left to tie it at 42.

Northeast Girls Rout Former Player's Team.

Northeast Nodaway's girls were matched against Ashley (Pride) Yount, coaching the North Nodaway Mustangs. Yount was one of many strong post players that Northeast Nodaway has produced, leading the Bluejays to their last trip to the Final Four in 2002 after coming close in 2001 along with Abbie Steins and Heather Wiederholt and Talina Cannon and Megan Wiederholt. But, coaching against the Bluejays for the first time, Yount could not find the answers as her alma mater routed the Mustangs 59-35 in Tuesday night action.
The Mustangs could do no right in that game, while Northeast could do no wrong. North Nodaway, which had been a hot shooting team against Worth County, could not hit the broad side of a barn against the Northeast pressure; they forced 41 turnovers against Worth County with their press the night before; however, Northeast broke the Hopkins press with ease, getting som easy layups against it in the first quarter, and forcing them out of it for the rest of the game; the Bluejays forced 15 first-half turnovers of their own in building a 39-11 lead.
Jacqueline Schulte started off the scoring for Northeast by scoring off a steal and then scoring off a Blair Schmitz steal. Once the bench got in on the act, Northeast pulled away; Hallie Oelze scored on a fast break against the press off a feed from Cammi Hansen and later got a steal and drive. Emily Bryant came off the bench to score a layup off a missed shot on the other end and later, Blair Schmitz, who was sprawled on the ground, nonetheless got off a pass to Bryant for a layup to make it 12-2. North Nodaway cut it to 12-6; however, Northeast pushed the ball up the floor with eight seconds left and Schmitz hit a layup at the buzzer to make it 14-6 after one quarter of play.
Michelle Schulte opened the quarter with a pair of free throws after going coast to coast. While she only had two points in the period, Kristen Sherry played a strong floor game for Northeast as she ran the floor and created an easy layup for Hallie Oelze; she would later get a quick outlet to Michelle Schulte for a layup after getting a defensive board and then run the floor for a layup. Michelle Schulte had back to back steals which turned the game into a rout as Bryant and Schmitz got layups out of her efforts. Trailing 28-11 with 2:09 left in the half, North Nodaway called a timeout to try to stem the bleeding, but it was Northeast which closed out the half on a strong run as Rachel Runde came off the bench to give the Bluejays a spark. Runde fed Schmitz on a high-low play and would find Bryant all alone after stealing an inbounds pass; Jacqueline Schulte would convert a 3-point play to close out the half. Runde showed that she was one of the most improved players from the first game, as she constantly harassed North Nodaway's leading scorer, Kylie Schulter, into mistakes and turnovers on defense.
Northeast continued to pull away in the third quarter and led by as much as 53-13. Hopkins tried to pack it inside to shut down the post play of Blair Schmitz; however, that just opened scoring opportunities for Kristen Sherry and Jacqueline Schulte from the outside. Schmitz added a bucket of her own and Oelze connected from the high post. North Nodaway scored the bulk of their points against Northeast's second, third, and fourth string late in the game.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Extension Ag Updates Scheduled

Extension County Ag Updates Scheduled
Area growers should plan to attend the County Extension Ag Updates scheduled December 16 through the 19th. The meeting will start at 8AM and conclude by noon.
The morning will start with latest information regarding crops. Fungicide use, new herbicide products, GMO crops and new technology will be just a few of the topics. Attendance of this portion of meeting will also satisfy requirements for Private Pesticide Applicator training with additional discussion of labeling.
At 11:00AM, Jim Humphrey, livestock specialists will discuss ways to reduce costs of feed rations; Bob Kelly, Ag Business, will discuss high input prices and Tom Fowler, horticulturalist will update the group on Emerald Ash Borer.
Please join us at one of the following meetings Tuesday, December 16 at the Conley Building in Maysville; Wednesday, December 17 at the Courthouse meeting room in Plattsburg; Thursday, December 18 at the Clasby Building in Savannah and finally on Friday, December 19 at the Rolling Hills Library located at 1904 N. Belt in St. Joseph.
For more information, contact Wayne Flanary, Regional Agronomist, University of Missouri Extension at 660-446-3724.

Sheridan Christian Church News for December 10th, 2008

I certainly appreciated all who came out to help decorate the church for the Home Tour last Saturday. It would have been a really cold job most all last week, so I was glad to get it done. Thanks also to those ladies who spent the afternoon giving the tour and fixing a beautiful table of cookies, etc. Last Sunday afternoon, a crew got the stable and pens set up for our annual Live Nativity Scene which will be going on Wednesday, December 17th between 6 and 7 p.m. We will also be having a free soup supper for the community during that time. At 7:00 that night, the children will present their Christmas program. Everyone is welcome and urged to come and invite someone to come with you.
There was a huge stack of boxes of gifts which will be given to the children in Mexico at the back of the sanctuary on Sunday. Folks are also shopping for gifts for families in our community who are needing help this Christmas with gifts for their children.
Christmas Eve services will be held again this year at the church at 7 p.m. Wednesday, December 24th.
On Wednesday, December 31st, New Year’s Even, Sheridan Christian Church families and guests will be reading through the Bible for 24 hours. A sign up sheet is at the back of the church for times. It will be starting at 5 p.m. and go to 5 p.m. New Year’s Day. The youth will have a lock-in that night, all night with games, fun, and God’s word for the whole family. See Bart Hinz, associate pastor, if you can help.
The big ice storm last year started on December 10th. It was a memorable one with electricity off for over a week for most of us. I hope and pray this winter will not be as bad as last.
We have several folks needing prayer this month, including Jerry Dignan, Richard Brand, Cheryl Allee, and Jay Sanders. Let’s remember our service men and women who are not able to be home for the holidays.
With all the parties, shopping, families getting together, let’s be sure to remember God’s greatest gift of His Son, which is the REAL REASON for the season.