Thursday, May 13, 2010

McCaskill Introduces Amendment to Protect Seniors from Predatory Lending

For almost three years, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill has been fighting to protect seniors from the predatory lending abuses in the reverse mortgage industry that can drain their hard-earned savings. This week, she introduced an amendment to the Wall Street reform legislation to ensure increased oversight and regulation of the reverse mortgage market and help ensure that America doesn't face another mess similar to the subprime mortgage market collapse.

"While reverse mortgages are great for some seniors, too many of our greatest generation are being hoodwinked by misleading advertisements and predatory lenders looking to make a buck," McCaskill said. "Because these are government-insured loans the taxpayers are on the hook when they default. If we don't put in place some better oversight measures, we're going to end up in a mess worse than we saw with the subprime lending collapse."

A reverse mortgage is a tool for seniors to tap into the equity in their homes, which for many represents their largest asset. These loans are expensive and complicated, and many seniors struggle to understand all the terms and fees. While they can be appropriate for seniors in some cases, they are not a good choice for many others, especially when they are sold alongside other expensive products like deferred annuities that may not be suitable for seniors. Further, because reverse mortgages are federally insured loans, they are often falsely marketed as a government entitlement program. If the loan goes bad, the government is on the hook for the money, not the lender.

Moreover, many now believe the reverse mortgage market resembles the subprime market, a market that substantially contributed to the financial disaster on Wall Street and the real estate collapse. The market for securities backed by reverse mortgages grew from $1.5 billion in January 2009 to $13 billion in March of 2010. Some reports indicate that many subprime lenders have moved into the reverse mortgage market following the collapse of the housing market in late 2008. McCaskill has been fighting to protect<> seniors against the worst abuses in this rapidly growing industry since arriving in Washington. As a member of the Special Committee on Aging, she has held two field hearings<> examining the numerous problems with the industry and passed legislation<> to increase counseling for seniors before they take out a reverse mortgage and restrict misleading advertisements.

Her amendment, which she introduced with Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), chair of the Aging Committee, would create standards for whether a reverse mortgage is suitable for seniors, prohibit misleading advertisements, and increase regulation and transparency of the industry. Specifically, the measure amend the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 (S.3217) to require the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to issue rules to, at a minimum:

* Prohibit misleading advertisements of reverse mortgage products.
* Create standards for whether a reverse mortgage is suitable for a senior, with consideration for o Whether the borrower plans to live in the home on a long term basis o Whether the borrower plans to buy an annuity or other product with the proceeds and whether the costs of the reverse mortgage and annuity outweigh the benefits o Whether the borrower plans to pass the home on to an heir, etc.
* Restrict the cross-selling of annuities, long-term care insurance, or other similar products with a reverse mortgage
* Provide clear disclosures of the cost of a reverse mortgage and the terms required to avoid technical default on a reverse mortgage (such as maintenance and property tax requirements).
* Require seniors to receive counseling before taking out any reverse mortgage (currently, the requirement only applies to federally insured reverse mortgages).

Milan firm sued

A federal class action lawsuit alleging that Farmland Foods did not pay employees for the time they spent getting into and out of safety gear, cleaning it and walking to and from their workstations, also known as "donning and doffing," has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. David T. Butsch of the Clayton, Mo., law firm of Butsch Simeri Fields LLC, along with the St. Paul, Minn., firm of Larson · King LLP and The Farwell Law Firm LLC, of Kirksville, Mo., filed the suit on April 29, 2010. The name of the case is Jacob Ingersoll et al. v. Farmland Foods, Inc., no. 5:10-cv-06046-REL.

Five Farmland employees working in the company's Milan, Mo., processing facility filed suit on behalf of themselves, as well as current and former workers in the facility. The workers allege that federal and state wage-and-hour laws were violated when the company requires employees to be ready to work, with personal protective gear on, when the production line starts running but refuses to pay them for the time spent gearing up at the beginning of the day or cleaning up at the end of the workday. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, "donning and doffing" time is work time that must be compensated. "Farmland's workers are entitled to be paid the full amount of wages they have earned," explains Butsch, "and they want Farmland to revise its pay practices and follow the law." Several recent cases involving donning and doffing demonstrate the savings companies hope to achieve by violating the wage-and-hour laws:

€ In 2007, Gold'n Plump Poultry Inc. agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle donning-and-doffing claims brought by poultry workers in its Minnesota and Wisconsin processing plants. € In 2006, George's Processing Inc. agreed to pay $1.24 million in back pay to its poultry workers in a settlement negotiated with the Department of Labor. € Workers at various meat and poultry processing companies, including IBP Inc. and Perdue Farms, have benefited from settlements and judgments ranging from $8.4 million to $10 million in back pay. Mr. Butsch invites employees of the Milan plant to contact his firm at 314-863-5700 or if they wish to obtain information on the lawsuit and how they can participate. Federal law prohibits an employer from retaliating against any employee who seeks enforcement of labor laws.

McCaskill: Rural Users will see Increased Local Coverage on Satellite Television

As the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 heads to the President for his signature, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today applauded the inclusion in the new law of a measure she fought for during Senate consideration of the bill. Specifically, because of McCaskill’s efforts, the legislation will provide satellite television users with access to local channels in all designated markets. Previously, many rural communities could not get their local tv channels via satellite service. In Missouri, markets that will now have access to their local stations are Kirksville and St. Joseph. Users in all other Missouri markets currently have access to local channels from satellite providers.

“In Missouri, it’s important that people get local news, if for no other reason than to have up to date information about severe weather,” McCaskill said. “This measure will mean people in rural areas will have access to local channels even if they choose a satellite provider.”

In advance of a hearing late last year, McCaskill learned that in certain rural areas of Missouri, satellite providers do not provide access to local channels and instead supply viewers with local news from regions that are not close by, such as New York or Los Angeles. McCaskill believes that local television and local news is extremely important to Missourians.

Satellite providers often cite economic conditions as the reason that they cannot provide local coverage in rural areas. In response, another amendment sponsored by McCaskill that was included in the final version requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to study any economic conditions that may be preventing satellite carriers from providing local coverage in certain areas.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fountain Replaced with Bottled Water

The Worth County Commission voted to replace the fountain with bottled water on each floor level in the Courthouse. Presiding Commissioner Kevin Austin said that the water out of the fountain was not fit to drink and smelled even before the present fountain was disconnected, citing the frequent boil orders and what he said were dirty pipes. He offered to pay for it personally, but the other two commissioners voted to have the county pay for the bottled water after he left the meeting, saying that having bottled water would be more sanitary. The county had a plumber look at the fountain and he told the county that it didn't have a filter and that it couldn't be retrofitted. Austin left the meeting just 45 minutes after calling it to order due to illness. West Commissioner Dennis Gabbert was appointed to take the place of Austin in his absence.

It was reported that the Village of Denver is seeking a grant for a bulldozer, for which they might be eligible for a higher percentage under the USDA grant/loan program. The county is partnering with Denver in the effort; Economic Developer Charity Austin said that she would check into the possibility. It was reported that Caldwell County had gotten a similar grant with one of its townships under this program. Denver is also in the process of getting a loan for a new emergency siren.

Road and Bridge Crew Foreman Jim Fletchall reported that the 2007 Caterpillar grader was broken down and that the county crews were in the process of trying to determine the problem. It was binding in the turntable. Parts needs were discussed and Fletchall reported that the county was ready to start bridge work in a week or so, starting with the Nonneman Bridge. He relayed a request from Larry Scott for ditching and a tube on Road #87. Dennis Gabbert reported that the Batson bottom was rutting, needed ditch work, and needed crowned.

Much of the discussion centered around a permanent solution for the Cook Bridge north of Allendale. The bridge was put in around 1988 and had not been engineered. At the time it was put in, there was no water running underneath, but now, the water runs underneath all the time and runs over the road regularly. Fletchall said that a permanent solution would involve raising the bridge six feet so that it is the highest point and getting brush removed. In the worst-case scenario, the water goes over the guardrails. There had been one low spot which had always overflowed, but it has gotten progressively worse since the flooding of 2007 and 2008.

County Clerk Lisa Hargrave reported that the Courthouse Roof was continuing to leak. While recent repairs had narrowed down the leaking, it was continuing to leak in one area and that a roofer would come in and give an evaluation for the county. East Commissioner Rob Ruckman said that when they originally built the slate roof in the 19th century, it was the best that they had, but that it was not the best solution now. He worried about how the roof would handle hail damage in the event of strong storms.

Jim Fletchall said that a lot of the feedback that he got concerned mud on the roads and trenching work that was needed. Another problem was what to do in the event that phone lines underneath the roads were exposed; East Commissioner Rob Ruckman said to grade them anyway, saying that it was more important to properly crown the roads and fix them up in the long term.

The Commission attempted to seek out bids for fuel, but only got one bidder this time. Previously, the county had automatically gotten its fuel from MFA, but decided to get bids this time in an effort to get a better deal. After commissioners called prospective bidders, the county decided to reject the one bid received and restart the bidding process over again.

Tiger Boys Second at Districts

Worth County's boys finished second at Districts with 88 points, which was 10 points behind Stanberry. They were part of a three-way dogfight for first place as Rock Port was third with 81 points. Mound City was fourth with 64 points and Craig 5th with 61 points.

The Tigers finished 1-3 in the Pole Vault as Zach Harmening won with a leap of 11'6". Harmening elected to go for 12'6 after winning the event, nearly clearing it before knocking down the bar on his way down on one of his jumps. Alex Harmening was third with a jump of 10'6". Worth County then went 2-4 in the Long Jump. Eli Mullock was second in the event with a jump of 18'11.5", which was good enough for second place in the windy conditions. Grant Parman was 4th with a jump of 18'1.25". Both of them will be back and provide the Tiger boys with a steady punch in that event. Zach Harmening narrowly missed qualifying in the Triple Jump as his leap of 37'0.75" was three quarters of an inch behind the fourth place finisher.

Qualifying in the Discus was Brian Hall with a throw of 126'11", which was good enough for second place. Dallas Greenland added a 6th place finish with a throw of 110'10". Hall also qualified in the Shot Put with a throw of 41'6", which was good enough for third place.

The 4x800 Relay Team of Mitch Andrews, Jordan Harding, Dakota Owsley, and Bryce Ross qualified with a second place finish of 9:12.29, which was 12 seconds behind Stanberry. Eli Mullock won the 100 with a run of 11.25; this was four tenths of a second ahead of Mound City's Gage Rosier. Barrett Baker was 6th with a time of 12.12. Mitchell Andrews, after nursing an injury through much of the stretch run of the track season, came back to qualify for the 1600 with a 4th place finish with a time of 5:10.90. The 4x100 Relay Team of Barrett Baker, Dallas Greenland, Alex Harmening, and Bryce Ross was the second relay team to qualify for the Worth County boys with a 4th place finish and a time of 47.62.

Jordan Harding ran one of his best times of the year in the 800 and qualified for it with a time of 2:11.62. That was good enough for 4th place and a trip to sectionals. Eli Mullock punched his ticket to Albany with a win in the 200, beating Mound City's Gage Rosier by 27 hundreths of a second with a time of 23.52. Levi Kalal missed qualifying in the 3200, but still finished with one of his best times of the year with a run of 11:53. The 4x400 team of Mitch Andrews, Jordan Harding, Zach Harmening, and Ryan Smith missed qualifying, finishing 6th with a time of 3:59.00.

On the girls side, Chelsea Ebrus qualified in the Pole Vault with a leap of 7'6", which was good enough for fourth place. That was her best jump of the year. Both Lauren Null and Ebrus had been trying to break the seven foot barrier all year; Null did so at the GRC Meet and nearly cleared 8 feet; it was Ebrus' turn to break the 7-foot barrier Saturday. Brooke Gilland and Jessica Garrett finished 3-4 in the 100 Hurdles as both of them qualified for sectionals. Gilland ran for a time of 17.38 while Garrett finished with a time of 17.45. Both of them will be back next year.

Lauren Null was 6th in the 1600 in a tough field as she did not qualify for the event; she ran for a time of 6:36.34. But the 4x100 relay team of Chelsea Ebrus, Jessica Garrett, Kiley Reynolds, and Brooke Gilland qualified by finishing fourth with a time of 56.40 in the event.

Jacqueline Takes Three at Home Away from Home

Standout Northeast Nodaway athlete Jacqueline Schulte once again outdid herself as she took three first place finishes at the District Track Meet Saturday. Northeast Nodaway does not have a track of its own, but it seems that Jacqueline has found a home away from home as she won her specialty events of the 1600 and 3200 and added a surprise win in the Triple Jump as well. Her two best performances of the year in the 3200 were both at Worth County; she shattered two meet records and set a personal best in the 1600 earlier this year at the Tiger Relays. And at the Early Bird, she established dominance in both the 1600 and 3200 after she had been in several thrilling races in those two events last year.

Things started out innocently enough for Jac as she had two ordinary jumps in the Triple Jump of 30'2" and 31'4" going into the wind. She was not even expecting to qualify as there were four other athletes who had beaten her during the year and only the top four advance from districts to sectionals. But then it was obvious that it was going to be her day as she would go on to do some of her best jumping all year; she jumped 32 feet into the wind and never looked back. All three of her remaining jumps were over 32 feet, with her best jump being 32'8". That was good enough to tie her for first place with Mound City's Taylor Miles, who had finished ahead of her all year in that event. Schulte got the tiebreak in the event as her second-best jump was farther than Miles', who didn't have a second jump farther than 31'4".

It looked like another duel between Schulte and Mound City's Jordyn Pankau was in the offing, but Pankau fell to fourth by the middle of the second lap and didn't even finish the race. It was Rock Port's Abbey Lawrence, running one of her best times of the year, who pushed Jacqueline in the 1600, keeping up with her stride for stride in the first two laps of the race. But Jacqueline steadily pulled away and finished with 5:44.03, which she was pleased with, given the brutal conditions.

But it was the 3200 in which she really shined as she ran away from Rock Port's Lacy Kirkland early and was never threatened. It became a race for Jacqueline against time as she sought to erase the 17-year record held by Jefferson's Dana Luke. She fell behind five seconds at one point after starting off several seconds ahead, but she picked up the pace and erased it by the last lap. Then, thinking that she wasn't going to get the record and just wanting to finish as strongly as she could, she picked up the pace on the final lap even more. As she made the final turn, everyone from all the schools gave her a big round of applause as she came into the straightaway on a dead sprint. And when it was all over, she had set the new District Record with a personal best time of 12:14 -- all done in the wind and the cold.

Teamwise, Northeast finished with a total of 52 points, which was good enough for 5th place. Michelle Schulte missed qualifying in the High Jump as she jumped 4'8", but had more misses and finished 5th in tiebreaks. However, she did qualify in the Long Jump, finishing second to Jefferson's Shanna Welch. She struggled with her location, jumping behind the board much of the event, but got stronger as the event progressed and saved her two best jumps for last. Sarah Teaney got a break in the 300 Hurdles as both of the top two seeds ahead of her faltered; one of them false-started and one of them fell on the 5th hurdle and didn't finish the race. Consequently, Teaney placed in the event, getting 5th and running one of her better times of the year with a 57.17.

Michelle Schulte won the 800 and qualified with a time of 2:32.71. Continuing her duel with Larissa Kirkland and Abbey Lawrence, she took the lead early this time and did not let the Rock Port duo catch her. It was Lawrence who Michelle passed at the last possible moment to win in Rock Port, but this time, it was Kirkland who pushed Michelle, staying 1-2 steps behind her until the final stretch when Michelle finally opened some breathing room. Michelle won with a time of 2:32.71, just over one second ahead of Kirkland. Lawrence was third, almost three seconds behind.

Junior High Boys 3rd in Tight Race at GRC

Worth County's Junior High Boys were third in a tight race for the top at the GRC Meet Thursday. Several different teams had a chance at the crown, but the boys were third, ten points behind the winning Princeton team. Princeton won with 77 points while Albany was second with 75 points and Worth County 67. Hamilton was fourth with 65 points and Stanberry 5th with 58 as five different teams were bunched together within 20 points during the afternoon.

Placing second in the High Jump was Shane Kollitz with a jump of 5'4"; he was one of three people to achieve that jump and was second on tiebreaks. Worth County was able to achieve a 2-3-4 finish in the Pole Vault. Wyatt Rush was second in the event with a jump of 9 feet while Andrew Mullock was third with a jump of 8'6". Placing fourth was Dillon Schrock, also with a jump of 8'6". Placing 6th in the Long Jump was Cole Parman with a jump of 14'5.25". The Tigers placed two in the Discus as Wyatt Rush won with a throw of 102'0.5". Also placing in the Discus was Josh Warner with a throw of 82'11, good enough for fifth. Caleb Mace was 6th in the Shot Put with a throw of 34'7.5".

In the 100 Meter Hurdles, Aaron Green was second with a time of 17.15. Andrew Mullock was 6th in the 100 Meter Dash with a time of 13.50. Worth County won the 4x200 as the team of Wyatt Rush, Shane Kollitz, Andrew Mullock, and Dillon Schrock won by almost three seconds of Maysville with a time of 1:52.16. Dillon Schrock was 5th in the 800 with a time of 2:28.61. Green was third in the 200 with a time of 26.66.

Junior High Girls Win GRC

Worth County's Junior High girls won the GRC Track Meet Thursday and showed that they have a lot of potential to revive the flagging fortunes of the girls' programs after a few down years. The Tigers, who had a series of duels with Gallatin throughout the year, did progressively better against the Bulldogs each time out; this time, they beat them by almost 30 team points. They finished with 116 points to Gallatin's 88. Hamilton, which had dominated the conference in every single sport the last few years, was thought to possibly do so again. But fears that the Hornets would run away with the event like they had so many times in the past did not materialize as their presence actually benefitted Worth County -- they were strong enough to take points away from Gallatin, but they were not strong enough to mount a challenge to Worth County. With the win, the Tigers closed out on a high note as they won all but two of their meets this year. Their two losses were to Class 2 Tarkio, but they got the last word in as they beat the Indians at Rock Port in their third meeting of the year.

It was a day of personal bests for the Ladies in Black starting with the Pole Vault; they placed three people in that event and gave themselves a lead they would not relinquish. Claire Andrews saved her best for last as she got a personal best 8'6" to win the event; she is looking to do even better as she plans to work out extensively at it over the summer. The Tigers seem to have their next big-time pole vaulter as Claire will follow in the footsteps of Jessica Borey, Tiffany Troutwine, and April Miller in that event. Finishing 4th and 5th with jumps of 6 feet were Kristen Andrews and Kaylee Sherer; Sherer had her personal best jump of the afternoon. That showing gave the Tigers 16 points right off the bat.

In the High Jump, Alysa Lyle finished fourth with a jump of 4'2". After the Long Jump, there was a sense that it would be Worth County's day as Katie Mullock jumped a personal best 13'6 1/2" to finish second in the event. Placing second in the Triple Jump was Sydney Thummel with a jump of 27'6". Kaitlyn Davidson had one of her better throws of the year in the Discus with a throw of 69'5.5" to win that event. Davidson also did well in the Shot Put, placing second with a throw of 33 feet.

Worth County used the poles, the short relays, and the hurdles to pull away from the competition and they used a 2-3 showing in the 75 Meter Hurdles to net 14 points. Sydney Thummel was second in the event with a time of 13.69 while Alysa Lyle was third with a time of 13.92. The scary thing about that showing is that both of them are only 7th graders; they figure to provide a solid 1-2 punch in the hurdles at the Junior High level next year.

Katie Mullock took care of her end in the 100, picking up a fourth place finish with a time of 14.78 to net four more points for the Tigers. Then came two of the most exciting races of the afternoon in the 4x200 and 4x100 relays.

In the 4x200, the Tigers were third for the first two legs of the race as Claire Andrews ran the initial leg and Elizabeth Novak ran the next leg. But then Novak and Kaitlyn Davidson engineered a full-speed handoff to put Worth County in front for good and Davidson was able to get the stick to Katie Mullock with Worth County in the lead. Mullock steadily pulled away from the competition and Worth County won easily with a time of 2:02.58. In the 1600, Kaylee Sherer got off to a slow start and was as low as 7th, but she steadily passed runners until she got herself up to fourth with a time of 6:18.21. After that interlude, the Tigers ran the 4x100; they started off in second, but then got a huge burst from Tiffany Davis to put themselves into first to stay. But they had to fend off a spirited challenge from Albany the rest of the way. However, Alysa Lyle and Katie Mullock fended off the challenge and won with a time of 58.22.

Placing third in the 800 was Kristin Andrews with a run of 2:46.54 for the Tigers; she had been a steady source of points in that race all year. Worth County then placed two in the 200 as Sydney Thummel was 3rd and Kaitlyn Davidson 5th. Thummel had a time of 30.11 while Davidson had a time of 30.66. The 4x400 figured to be another duel between Worth County and Gallatin, but it was Maysville who jumped out to a big lead initially. While Worth County finished third, they were witness to the most exciting race of the afternoon as Gallatin constantly chipped away at the big Maysville lead to finally catch them at the final tape by two hundreths of a second. Worth County's time was 4:48.79.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Crop Insect Pest Update

The Statewide Pest Monitoring Network uses traps to monitor crop insect pest activity. The trapping is conducted by the University of Missouri Extension Specialists. You can use this site to monitor the trap counts of various pests that you are interested in. The data can be found at

At the website, you can examine different pests, location and dates that most interest you. The data listed indicates the location, the trap count and the amount of days for which the count represents.

Currently, our local traps indicated some earlier black cutworm moth flights but light in numbers. We had some additional moths move in with the high winds from the southwest. However, again, these are light in number. In these situations, we may have areas in a field that attract moths and cause localized cutting. Monitor corn fields for any cutting activity and spray only if needed. We are fortunate in Northwest Missouri as other areas of the state had significant moth flights.

Also, growers may have used insecticide seed treatments, but the use of these products will not provide adequate control of black cutworm. Be sure to scout your fields.

Other pests one should watch for include white grub and wireworm. These insects feed below the ground. Often the plant will wilt and die. Examine the crown area of the plant for feeding injury.

Now also, is the time to monitor winter wheat and tall fescue for True Armyworm. True armyworm can also cause considerable damage by cutting wheat heads and stripping leaves from fescue. We have caught moths in traps but again low in numbers. However, be sure to scout as these insects can attack a field and leave other fields alone. Once in a field, they will move as a group.

If you have any fields that experience insect damage, please give us a call. This will help us to determine the extent of insect pest activity.

For more information, contact Wayne Flanary at 660-446-3724 or Heather Benedict at 660-425-6434, Regional Agronomists, University of Missouri Extension.

Sheriff Mack addresses Constitution Town Hall in Marceline Missouri

On Saturday May 8, 50 citizens gathered at a town hall meeting in
Marceline, Missouri to learn about our constitutional rights and hear some
American history no longer taught in public schools.

Former Sheriff Richard Mack talked about his battle against federal
mandates in Arizona. During his tenure as Graham County AZ Sheriff, federal
officers informed the sheriffs of the state that they would be required to
enforce the "Brady Bill." This bill required Sheriff Offices to run
background checks at their expense. In 1994, Mack and six other sheriffs
from across the country challenged the Brady Bill and won. In a landmark 5-4
split decision based on the Tenth Amendment; States are not subject to
federal direction. This ruling will likely be used in the constitutional
challenges to the National Health Care bill as Missouri asserts her
sovereignty. The Supreme Court also confirmed that the county sheriff is
the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) in their respective county. This
ruling means that Sheriffs have the power to push back state and federal
orders that are unconstitutional. Mack wrote a book for Sheriffs and their
deputies to teach them about their true power, responsibility and
constitutional law. Every Sheriff in the USA now has a copy of this
book; *County
Sheriff, America’s Last Hope.* It is available for purchase at Sheriff Mack has a new book with a synopsis of Supreme
Court ruling due out June 2010

Kori Anderson and Robin Sackett of the *Appleseed project* told heart
tugging stories from the American Revolution. *The* program is named after
a man who traveled this country, planting apple seeds. Not so he could have
apples, but so future generations of Americans could. Appleseed does the
same, only it's the unique American heritage they plant - because they want
to see it passed on for generations to come. Kori & Robin shared stories of
April 19, 1775; not only of the events leading to the revolutionary war, but
of the individuals who sacrificed to make those events possible. These
stories brought out a range of patriotic emotion - from American pride, two
hundred-plus years later, to sadness – not because of the price paid for
liberty on that first day, but the shameful fact that most Americans have
completely forgotten that price. Read more:

The town hall style event also featured Joyce Riley, host of The Power Hour
talk radio show and Beth Schoeneberg of The Derry Brownfield show

The event was organized by Jim and Laurel Curry.

Event sponsors:

Missouri Campaign for Liberty,

Missouri 912,

The Derry Brownfield Show,

Joyce Riley

US Senate candidate Hector Maldonado

US Senate candidate Chuck Purgason

Legislature Passes Taxpayer Protection Measure

As part of an ongoing effort to protect taxpayers in the state, the Legislature has given final approval to Senate Bill 851, a bill requiring additional notice to the public before local governments can vote on tax increases, eminent domain, or certain districts and projects receiving public funding.

Senate Leader Charlie Shields, R-St. Joseph, said the bill is a simple, but important step that makes sure the public has knowledge and access of public meetings.

“Too often Missourians are the last to know about major decisions that have been made that affect their pocketbook or property,” said Sen. Shields. “By simply requiring public notices to be made four days in advance rather than just 24-hours in advance, citizens will have a better opportunity to participate and share their voices on these important decisions made at the local level.”

Current law requires local governing bodies to only give 24-hours notice before voting on issues regarding eminent domain and tax increases. Senate Bill 851 would require at least four days notice before an entity votes on an issue regarding a tax increase, eminent domain, certain types of improvement or development districts, or tax increment financing. In addition, each public meeting would have to include time for public comment.

The bill had bipartisan support throughout the legislative process. Twenty-six senators from both parties signed on to co-sponsor the legislation.

Senator Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, sponsored the measure. He says it addresses an issue of fundamental fairness.

“While most taxing jurisdictions do the right thing, this legislation ensures that taxpayers have adequate information when local government is seeking to raise our taxes or take our homes,” said Sen. Schmitt. “It also ensures that taxpayers in local communities can have true, fair, and open discussion before a vote is made in these critical areas.”

Senate Bill 851 now moves to the governor’s desk for his signature.

McCaskill Statement on Kagan Nomination

Following President Barack Obama’s announcement this morning that
he has nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to replace retiring Supreme Court
Justice John Paul Stevens, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, a former prosecutor, made
the following statement.

"Elena Kagan is a true legal scholar. She is well respected by her colleagues, both
conservative and liberal, and has shown she has an unparalleled legal mind and a
commitment to public service. Just a year ago, she was confirmed by the Senate with
bipartisan support for a position in which she represents the American people in
front of the highest court in the land, experience I know will translate well to
serving on the other side of the bench,” McCaskill said.

Kagan currently serves as the Solicitor General, representing the United States
Government in front of the Supreme Court since March of 2009. She previously was a
professor of law at Harvard University and the University of Chicago, and served as
the Dean of Harvard Law School from 2003-2009. She also served as Associate White
House Counsel during the Clinton Administration.

Understanding Financial Statements

Numbers on a Page…Ratios…Reports…Income Statements…Balance Sheets. At face value, these documents tell you what happened. However, they can also tell you how to make it happen again, or do it better the next time.

If you’re one of those business owners who have a bookkeeper or a CPA prepare their quarterly taxes for them, you won’t want to miss this financial management training event presented by the University of Missouri Extension.

“Understanding Financial Statements” is a three hour class designed for business owners, managers, and consultants who need to know how to turn financial statements into useful management tools. The class is taught by Tom Kelso, Business Development Specialist for the University of Missouri Extension in Northwest Missouri, and covers the basics found on the income statement and balance sheet and includes information on the various ratios critical to the financial management of a small business. Working through an actual case study will give you hands-on experience in understanding the story the numbers tell.

Cost for this three hour session is $39, and will be conducted at the Buchanan County Extension office, 4125 Mitchell Ave., from 8 to 11 AM, on May 20.

At the conclusion of the seminar, if you need additional assistance, you may arrange to meet with a business consultant.

For more information on how to register for “Understanding Financial Statements,” call: (660) 446-3724.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mullock Returns, Leads Tigers to 2nd in GRC

Eli Mullock came back from an injury and Worth County was able to finish second at the GRC Meet in Albany Monday behind Mullock's two first place finishes in the speed events. Mullock twice beat out long-time nemesis Tyler Brackett in the event. In the 100, Mullock won with a time of 11.41, beating out Hamilton's Dylan Chadwick by 12 hundreths of a second and Brackeyy by 14 hundreths of a second. Brackett got a false start in the 200, opening the way for Mullock again as he edged out Hamilton's Dylan Chadwick and Trevor Dixon to take the 200 with a personal best time of 23.18. That was .37 of a second better than his previous best time.

Competing in the 400 was Grant Parman, running with a time of 1:02.16. Mitchell Andrews did not compete in either the 800 due to his nagging injury, but Jordan Harding was 5th in the 800 with a time of 2:14.15 for the Tigers. Andrews did compete in the 1600, where he finished 5th with a time of 5:17.12.

Levi Kalal finished with his best time of the year in the 3200, shaving 33 seconds off his previous personal best time to place 4th with a time of 11:35.48.

The 4x100 team of Barrett Baker, Alex Harmening, Bryce Ross, and Eli Mullock finished 5th with a time of 48.84. The 4x200 team of Ryan Smith, Jordan Harding, Alex Harmening, and Barrett Baker was also fifth, getting a season-low time of 1:40.59. The 4x400 team of Jordan Harding, Zach Harmening, Ryan Smith, and Bryce Ross finished fifth with a time of 3:52.67. The 4x800 team finished fourth in a tough field as the team of Jordan Harding, Dakota Owsley, Bryce Ross, and Mitch Andrews finished with a time of 9:04.12.

Dakota Owsley had spent the whole year trying to break the 5'4 barrier in the High Jump and he finally did, getting a leap of 5'8 to finish fourth in that event. Zach and Alex Harmening continued their domination of the Pole Vault with Zach getting a leap of 12 feet and Alex getting 3rd with a leap of 11 feet. Zach also finished 8th in the Triple Jump with a jump of 37'9.25", which was six inches better than his previous best time. Grant Parman was 14th with a jump of 33'6.75".

Brian Hall was 6th in the Shot Put with a throw of 39'10". John Hinz also placed, getting a throw of 38'10" to finish 8th. Hall got a personal best throw of 139'11" to finish second in the Discus; Dallas Greenland also got a personal best, getting a throw of 122'6" to finish seventh.

Jacqueline Schulte Breaks Two PVC Marks

Jacqueline Schulte continued to add to her long list of accomplishments as her career at Northeast Nodaway winds down. She broke the Platte Valley Conference records for both the 1600 and 3200 as she got two first place finishes Monday at North Andrew. She added a second place in the Triple Jump and her 4x400 Relay Team got second as well.

In the 3200, Jacqueline's mark of 12:40 broke a record that had stood for 17 years as she was never seriously threatened. In the 1600, she continued her duel with McKenzie Reagan and won the third of her three races with her as she began to pull away from her at around 2 1/2 laps. She won with a time of 5:38. In the Triple Jump, she finished second behind Shanna Welch of Jefferson with a jump of 31'2". The 4x400 team of Katrina Freemeyer, Sarah Teaney, Jacqueline Schulte, and Michelle Schulte finished with a strong second behind Reagan and the DeKalb squad, who was never seriously challenged. Teaney led off the race and put on a strong showing near the end of the first leg to put Northeast into second. Freemeyer fell behind the Jefferson runner, but then put on a strong burst during the middle of her leg to shake her off; she then held off a strong challenge from the Stewartsville runner before handing off to Jacquline. Jacqueline and Michelle Schulte easily put distance on their Stewartsville rivals to claim the strong second place finish with a time of 4:46.

In other action, Michelle Schulte finished second in the 800 behind Reagan with a time of 2:39. She was second in the Long Jump, getting a jump of 14'5" on her last attempt after struggling with her takeoff on the previous attempt. She was also second in the High Jump with a leap of 4'8". Katrina Freemeyer placed in the Triple Jump for the first time all year, getting a jump of 27'5" to put her into sixth place. Sarah Teaney placed sixth in the 100 Hurdles.

On the boys side, Tyler Davis came up just short in his attempt to win the Discus, placing second with a throw of 105 feet. He was third in the Shot Put.

Schulte Signs with SW Baptist

Jacqueline Schulte, the standout guard for Northeast Nodaway, signed a National Letter of Intent to play at Southwest Baptist Friday. She will be the fourth player in Northeast Nodaway girls history to play at the Division II basketball level along with Vicki Schmitz, Linda Schmitz, and Julie Schmitz.

Schulte started all four years of her high school career. She scored over 1,000 points in her career and averaged 18 points per game over her last two years. She made two game-winning shots during the winter season and two more during the summer season. Northeast Nodaway was 21-6 during her junior year and 26-2 during her senior year, finishing the season ranked third in the state behind Jefferson and state champion Montrose. The Bluejays won the Platte Valley Conference title her senior year along with the King City and Northwest Missouri Tournament tournament titles. Northeast also won the King City Tournament in Schulte's junior year on Jacqueline's game-winning shot over DeKalb and the South Harrison Tournament her freshman year.

Jacqueline was named First Team All State this year along with First Team All Platte Valley Conference and All District honors. She also made the second team News-Press squad consisting of small and large school players along with News-Press Player of the Week honors for her performance in the King City Tournament and the KAAN All-Star Squad. She is also a standout in track, where she is undefeated in both the 1600 and 3200 this year.

Southwest Baptist returns most of their players from a squad which won seven out of their last nine games to get into the MIAA Tournament before falling to national powerhouse Washburn in the first round.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tiger Girls Beat Gallatin With Room to Spare

One day after beating Gallatin by 1 1/2 points at Albany, Worth County's girls won this time with room to spare. They finished with a team total of 106 points to 76.25 for Gallatin to win their home meet Thursday.

Placing second in the High Jump was Alysa Lyle with a leap of 4'6" in the high winds.

Claire Andrews continued to break barriers in the Pole Vault. One day after setting a personal best, she broke the meet record and improved her height with a vault of 8'3", good enough to win. That leap would have placed her second in the boys' event. Kaylee Sherer finished fourth with a leap of 6 feet.

Katie Mullock continued to make strides in the Long Jump, this time placing third with a jump of 14'3". In the Triple Jump, Sydney Thummel was fourth with a jump of 28'1".

Kaitlyn Davidson was sixth in the Discus with a throw of 68'1/2". She was fourth in the Shot Put with a throw of 29'7".

In the 75 Meter Hurdles, Sydney Thummel fell and barely finished the race to get 6th, but Alysa Lyle won the event with a time of 13.91. Katie Mullock was 5th in the 100 with a time of 13.87; the times were way down because the direction was changed due to the high winds that day.

Worth County's girls continued to edge out Gallatin in the 4x200. This time, they won with a time of 2:03.18, which was 65 hundreths of a second ahead of Gallatin.

The Tigers placed two in the 1600. Kaylee Sherer placed second again in the mile with a time of 6:25.79. Samantha Thorburn continued her rapid improvement in that event as she was fourth with a time of 6:39.10. That was over 15 seconds better than her Albany time.

Worth County won the 4x100 as the team of Claire Andrews, Tiffany Davis, Katie Mullock, and Alysa Lyle won with a time of 58.31. That was 1.27 seconds ahead of King City, who had beaten them out at Albany.

Placing second in the 800 was Kristen Andrews with a time of 2:45.09. That was a little under three seconds behind King City's Kailey Salmon.

Sydney Thummel was third in the 200 with a run of 30.50 for the Tigers.

The 4x400 team of Kristen Andrews, Elizabeth Novak, Kaylee Sherer, and Sydney Thummel was second behind Gallatin with a run of 4:46.61.

WC Girls Junior High Edges Gallatin at Albany

Worth County's Junior High girls edged out Gallatin at Albany's Junior High Relays as they continued their winning ways last Wednesday despite missing Alysa Lyle and despite being shut out of the 100 and 200.

The Tigers were shut out of the 100. Tiffany Davis was 10th in the 100 with a time of 16.51 in the prelims and Katie Mullock was 11th with a time of 16.65. The times in the 100 were much slower than normal that afternoon.

Kaitlyn Davidson made the finals of the 200 with a qualifying time of 31.78, but then false-started in the finals and did not place. Madison Hawk also ran, finishing with a time of 39.73.

Claire Andrews placed 8th in the 400 with a time of 1:13.81. Elizabeth Novak was 11th with a run of 1:16.26.

Kristin Andrews finished 5th in the 800 with a time of 2:53.63.

Worth County placed two in the 1600. Kaylee Sherer was second with a time of 6:24.93. Placing 8th was Samantha Thorburn with a time of 6:52.68; that was a substantial improvement over her previous best time of 7:25.23.

Sidney Thummel was third in the 75 Meter Hurdles, finishing with a personal best time of 13.87. Samantha Thorburn also placed in the event, getting 8th with a time of 15.24.

The Tigers finished second in the 4x100 as the team of Claire Andrews, Tiffany Davis, Katie Mullock, and Sydney Thummel finished one hundreth of a second behind North Andrew with a time of 58.03. In a race which helped decide the winner of the whole meet, Worth County's 4x200 team of Claire Andrews, Kaitlyn Davidson, Elizabeth Novak, and Katie Mullock beat Gallatin by six hundreths of a second, finishing with a time of 2:05.78. The 4x400 team of Kristin Andrews, Elizabeth Novak, Sydney Thummel, and Kaylee Sherer finished second to Gallatin with a time of 4:45.55.

Elizabeth Novak placed 5th in the High Jump with a leap of 4'2".

Claire Andrews finished with a personal best of 8 feet in the Pole Vault, which was good enough to win the event. Kaylee Sherer also placed, finishing tied for 5th with a vault of 5 feet.

Katie Mullock finished 2nd in the Long Jump. She improved her previous personal best by almost two feet, getting a jump of 14'1 in the event. Madison Davis also competed, getting a jump of 9'5.

Sydney Thummel placed 6th in the Triple Jump with a leap of 27' 2 1/2". Samantha Thorburn also completed, getting a jump of 22'7.

Kaitlyn Davidson was second in the Shot Put with a throw of 29'6. Keyleigh Fish also competed for Worth County, finishing with a throw of 18' 1/2". Davidson won the Discus with a throw of 69'11".

Schulte Outduels Reagan; NEN Girls 5th at Bulldog Relays

Northeast Nodaway's girls took 5th at the Bulldog Relays as Jacqueline Schulte kept her unbeaten streak alive in both the 1600 and 3200 as she has not lost in these two events this year. She survived her toughest challenge yet in the Mile as she began the first of a series of duels with DeKalb's McKenzie Reagan. Reagan had just recently added the 1600 and had gone 5:42 in a previous meet; she is the defending state champion in the 800. Schulte and Reagan went stride for stride for 3 3/4 laps with Jacqueline breaking out to a lead and making it stand up with Reagan just a few strides behind. Finally, on the final turn, the DeKalb coach told Reagan to make her move, but it was Jac who made her move instead, gaining some separation from Reagan and winning with a personal best time of 5:35.79, nearly three seconds ahead of Reagan.

Schulte continued her dominance in the 3200, where she has not been seriously challenged as she beat out DeKalb's Jordan Killoren by over two minutes with a time of 12:33.06.

Michelle Schulte was fourth in the High Jump with a jump of 4'6"; she would then go on to win the Long Jump with a personal best jump of 15'7". She beat out Shanna Welch of Jefferson by three quarters of an inch for the win after Welch had beaten her for much of the year.

Jacqueline Schulte, who had been struggling against the 32-foot barrier in the Triple Jump, finally got in a jump of 31'11 1/2", just short of her mark at Albany and showed that her performance was no accident. That was good enough for third place behind North Harrison's Rachel Thomsen and Welch of Jefferson.

McKenzie Reagan, the defending state champion in the 800, had little competition in beating out Michelle Schulte in that event; Schulte had just as little competition for second place as she finished with a time of 2:36.70 and beat out her third place finisher by over 13 seconds.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Moment with Mike for May 5th, 2010

With two weeks left in the 95th General Assembly the Missouri House gave final approval to a budget that has been the major focus for most of us for the last four months. Thirteen budget bills totaling $23.3 billion for the fiscal year beginning July 1 were agreed upon by both chambers and will be sent to the Governor for final approval. This budget, which is balanced according to current figures, will fund the critical functions of our state government without a tax increase and ahead of schedule. Working together, the Missouri House and Senate reduced the Governors proposed budget by $484 million, making the tough decisions necessary to keep Missouri afloat in this harsh economy. The budget process was completed more than a week in advance of the constitutionally set deadline, an unexpected accomplishment that I have not seen in recent years.
As an education advocate, I was disappointed that we could not fully fund the Parents as Teachers program and that transportation funding for our schools was reduced. However, the Foundation Formula was frozen at current levels and our commitment to education remained a high priority. Total funding for K-12 education will exceed $5.3 billion and spending on public education will climb to 35% of our general revenue. Higher education took a 5.2% cut, less than predicted, and tuition for in-state students will remain the same in public institutions across the state. We were able to maintain the Access Missouri student needs based grant program, which is very important for lower income students, and the Bright Flight scholarship program was funded. This will encourage our best and brightest to stay in Missouri institutions.
Because of our continued efforts to walk that fiscally conservative path, we have been able to keep Missouri in a leadership position when it comes to financial stability. When compared to other states in our great nation, Missouri is staying ahead of the game and operating the best we can while our state revenues continue to decline.
On another note, the Missouri House had the privilege to welcome nearly 200 veterans to the Capitol on Tuesday to be recognized on the House floor and to be honored by our members and their staffs. Specifically, this group was given the opportunity to participate in the Central Missouri Honor Flight, which is a non-profit organization that flies veterans to Washington D.C. to view their memorials and tour our Capitol. This is also done in other parts of Missouri and I have had the privilege of visiting with veterans in Northwest Missouri who have had that privilege in which they so well deserve. We face many difficult decisions in the Missouri General Assembly but our service pales in comparison to what our veterans have done for us. We must hold their honorable service in our hearts and continually thank veterans for all that they have given.
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.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

New Business Opens in Worth

Health problems forced Frank Conley to look at other options for employment and that is when he determined to combine a pastime with a chance to make a living.

“I have chronic back problems which makes it hard to find work,” said Conley, “so I went through Vocational Rehab and decided to start my own business.”

Conley has always enjoyed working on lawn mowers and chainsaws so he decided to become a small engine mechanic. Frank’s Small Engine Repair & Service is open for business near Worth, 22626 HWY. N. He plans to work on lawn mowers, trimmers and chainsaws with the intention to sell them and stock parts in the near future. Conley thanks Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation for helping him with his business plan and spreading the word of his new business.

“It has been a struggle getting everything up and running, but my greatest joy will be making a living for myself.”

NWMEF is an economic development project trained by the Sirolli Institute which serves six counties including Andrew, Atchison, Gentry, Holt, Nodaway and Worth. Services are offered free and are strictly confidential. NWMEF is a not-for-profit organization. For more information about NWMEF, contact Annette Weeks, facilitator, at (816) 262-5158 or You can also check us out on the web at NWMEF is comprised of a Resource Board of more than 60 volunteer board members from each county as well as regional representation. A complete list of board members is listed below.

Age Rules on Kindergarten Could Change

A Senate resolution to combine state education boards would also lower the age that a child must enter kindergarten to 6 years old. Currently, most children begin kindergarten as young 5 years old and have until they turn 7 to begin school. The resolution covers public, private, parochial, parish schools, or full-time equivalent, which opens up the possibility of home schools as well. Funding would also be increased for investigating neglected children who have not begun school. The resolution must be approved by the House and then by voters on the November ballot before becoming law.

Frost Injury in Low Field Areas

Cooler temperatures of this past week caused some isolated frost injury showing in low areas of corn fields. It’s important not to be too quick to judge the extent of the injury.
Many corn fields have been planted early this year and especially with the past two years of wet weather. Growers did not want to get caught planting late. With a lot of corn emerged, there is a higher risk than usual because of the number of acres of corn emerged.
If plants are frosted, give them time to recover before making any decision. Most frost events are not cold enough to damage plants where they will die. Often temperatures must be 28 degrees F or lower for some period of time to kill corn.
If temperatures are no lower than 30 degrees F, then the above ground portion of the plant will be damaged. The growing point of small corn is still below the ground so should be safe from damage. The plant should recover and new green tissue should begin showing with warmer temperatures. It’s best to give plants three to five days after frost to determine the extent of the damage.
Frosted plants will take on a water soaked appearance then the leaves will turn brown. Plants that recover will start by showing new green material emerging from the whorl.
For more information, contact Wayne Flanary at 660-446-3724 or Heather Benedict at 660-425-6434, Regional Agronomists, University of Missouri Extension.

Senate approves consolidating education departments

After several weeks of debate, the Senate cast a final vote consolidating Missouri's two education departments into one department. The move would eliminate the Coordinating Board for Higher Education and the Higher Education Department and create a single entity under the authority of a six-member education board. During the week of April 19, the Senate voted to pass a joint resolution to dissolve the higher education board and combine the departments, but a second joint resolution, which details the number of board members and the power given to the new board, created some contentious debate among senators. Senate President Pro Tem Charlie Shields, R-St. Joseph, said the two resolutions rely upon each other, and passing one without the other would complicate the consolidation. The Senate voted 30-2 to pass the second joint resolution, with Sens. Frank Barnitz, D-Lake Spring, and Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, voting against the joint resolution. Both joint resolutions will head to the House for further debate. Because the merger requires changing language in the Missouri Constitution, voters would get the final say when they vote on the consolidation in the November election.

Treasurer Clint Zweifel announces $529 college savings giveaway

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel (ZWY-ful) announced MOST – Missouri’s 529 College Savings Plan will be awarding a lucky Missourian $529 to put towards saving for college. The winner will be selected from the pool of applicants who enter online for a chance to win at Entries will be accepted from May 1 through May 31, 2010.

"This $529 scholarship will provide valuable aid that could grow over time to help pay for a child's college education," said Treasurer Zweifel, who sponsors the college savings program. "This contribution, combined with the investments made by MOST 529 account owners on behalf of Missouri’s children, has a real impact on education savings and college affordability."

The giveaway drawing will coincide with 529 College Savings Day, which corresponds with the date of May 29. The winner will be notified by phone June 1, 2010. College Savings Day is an opportunity to remind Missouri’s families that saving for college is one of most important things they can do for the students in their lives. Saving even just a little bit of money as early as possible is integral to lowering the expense hurdle of a college education.

"If you start investing $50 per month into the MOST 529 account when a child is born, you could accumulate $16,633 by the time the child turns 18," Treasurer Zweifel said. "Small investments can add up to make a real impact over time on a child's education."

MOST 529 currently has more than 123,000 owners and more than $1.3 billion in assets, an all time high for the program.

To enter the drawing to win the $529 contribution, Missouri residents are encouraged to visit and click on the “529 Day” button. Missouri taxpayers who are age 18 or older may enter to win on behalf of any beneficiary*. The prize money must be invested in an existing MOST 529 account or in a newly opened account in the plan. Winners will be announced June 4, 2010.

MOST 529 has several features that make it an affordable option when saving for college:

  • Start saving with as little as $25. Additional contributions of $25 may be made at anytime.
  • Save on taxes. Contributions and earnings grow free of federal and Missouri state income taxes, and can be withdrawn tax-free when used for the beneficiary's qualified higher-education expenses.*** Plus, Missourians who are account owners qualify for a state income tax deduction on their contributions.****

· Choose from a variety of investments. With options from Vanguard and Missouri-based American Century Investments, account owners should be able to find an investment that matches their goals and comfort level.

For more information about MOST 529, visit or


*Except employees and their immediate families and members of the same household of Sponsor (MOST - Missouri's 529 College Savings Plan), The Vanguard Group, Inc.,

Upromise Investments, Inc., the Missouri's Treasurer's Office and their respective agents or affiliates.

**A plan of regular investment cannot assure a profit or protect against a loss in a declining market. Monthly investments of $50 for a period of 18 years; annual rate of return on investment of 5% and no funds withdrawn during the time period specified. This hypothetical is for illustrative purposes only. It does not reflect an actual investment in any particular 529 plan or any taxes or penalties payable/due upon distribution.

***Earnings on non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax, as well as state and local income taxes. The availability of tax or other benefits may be contingent on meeting other requirements.

****Contributions to the plan in a tax year are deductible from Missouri state income tax, but may be subject to recapture in subsequent years if you make a nonqualified withdrawal.

Investment returns are not guaranteed, and you could lose money by investing in the Plan. Participants assume all investment risks, including the potential for loss of principal, as well as responsibility for any federal and state tax consequences.

For more information about MOST-Missouri's 529 College Savings Plan, call 1-800-962-5168 or visit to obtain a Program Description. Investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information are included in the Program Description; read and consider it carefully before investing. Vanguard Marketing Corporation, Distributor and Underwriter.

If you are not a Missouri taxpayer, consider before investing whether your or the designated beneficiary's home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state's qualified tuition program.

The Missouri Higher Education Savings Program (the "Program Trust") is a trust created by the State of Missouri. When you invest in MOST-Missouri's 529 College Savings Plan (the "Plan"), you are purchasing portfolio units issued by the Program Trust. Portfolio units are municipal securities. The Plan has been implemented and is administered by the Missouri Higher Education Savings Program Board (the "Board"). Upromise Investments, Inc., and Upromise Investment Advisors, LLC, serve as the Program Manager and Recordkeeping and Servicing Agent, respectively, with overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations, including effecting transactions. The Vanguard Group, Inc., and American Century Investments serve as Investment Managers for the Plan. Vanguard Marketing Corporation, an affiliate of The Vanguard Group, Inc., markets and distributes the Plan. The Plan's portfolios, although they invest in mutual funds, are not mutual funds.

Upromise is a registered service mark of Upromise, Inc. Vanguard is a trademark of The Vanguard Group, Inc. Used with permission.

Nixon looks to tax credit reform to solve education budget issues

Gov. Jay Nixon held two public teleconferences April 27 to discuss his plan to reform Missouri tax credits in spite of having less than three weeks left for the General Assembly to take action. During the previous week, the governor met with public school teachers and leaders from elementary and secondary schools as well as community and four-year colleges and universities to discuss making a comprehensive plan for tax credit reform legislation. During the teleconference, Nixon outlined three general ideas for tax credit reform: tax credit caps, accountability and transparency. He singled out two programs, Missouri's historic tax and low-income tax credits, as areas through which the state could save between $150 and $170 million in expenditures with his proposed reductions. With only three weeks left in the legislative session, however, the tax credit reduction bill would have to pass both the House and the Senate before appearing on the governor's desk to be passed into law. Nixon said he is optimistic, and with one of the most seasoned and experienced legislatures Missouri has had in its history, he said he thinks the General Assembly will act swiftly and with support for tax credit reduction.

McCaskill Signs On to Bill to Require Corporations to Disclose Campaign Donations

In response to January’s unprecedented Supreme Court ruling in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that struck down longstanding limitations on campaign contributions from special interests, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill yesterday signed on to co-sponsor legislation that would force corporations to be transparent about their now unfettered political donations and further ban political contributions from foreign corporations and government contractors. The Citizens United decision overturned the law banning independent political ads sponsored by private corporations and unions.

“If special interests are pouring money into political campaigns we need to at least make sure we know where the money is coming from and who is behind the curtain,” McCaskill said.

The legislation, introduced by Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), would require corporations, unions and other organizations that make political expenditures to disclose their donors and be held accountable for any ads they sponsor. It would also ban contributions from foreign-controlled corporations, government contractors and companies that have received government assistance.

Specifically, the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (or DISCLOSE) Act would bring more accountability and transparency to corporate campaign contributions by:

· Banning contributions from foreign-controlled corporations, government contractors and companies that have received government assistance.

· Requiring the head of any organization sponsoring an ad to appear during the ad – similar to the way that political candidates for federal office must appear in their campaign ads. For special interest ads that are funded by multiple organizations, the top five donors would have to be identified as sponsors during the advertisement.

· Requiring corporations and advocacy groups to track political contributions through transparent accounts and to report any donations over $1000 and expenditures from these accounts to the Federal Election Commission and to the public within 24 hours. If an organization chooses not to set up these accounts, all of their donors, even those who aren’t political, would have to be made public.

· Guaranteeing that candidates can purchase air time at the lowest possible rate in the same media markets where attack ads are aired, strengthening a candidates ability to respond to corporate interests’ attacks.

· Prohibiting corporations from coordinating political activities with candidates. A similar ban already exists for public entities and unions.

For a more complete summary of the bill click here.

Foundation Formula Underfunded by $100 million

Missouri's general assembly has passed the 2011 fiscal year budget a week before deadline. The budget approved by the House and Senate cut $484 million from the initial version proposed by Gov. Jay Nixon in January. Nixon had previously said $500 million would need to be cut from his initial proposal, meaning the governor may be required to make additional cuts. One of the major cuts was to education funding, leaving the Foundation Formula for school funding underfunded by about $100 million. In the Senate, Democrats remained largely silent, but House Democrats were vocal in their attacks about the size of a budget that their own governor had recommended. House Minority Whip Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart, called the budget "morally out of balance," while House Minority Leader Paul LeVota, D-Independence, said the House failed to consider ways to generate more revenue for the state.

State Budget Director Linda Luebbering said her office is concerned the budget passed by the legislature relies on measures that have not yet passed, including Medicaid cost containment, changes to the retirement system for state government workers and the elimination of a couple of state holidays for government workers. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Senate appropriations chairman Rob Mayer, R-Dexter, said the state's grim financial situation led to the quick passage of the budget. In a statement released by his office following the budget's passage, Nixon said he looks "forward to going through this budget line by line to ensure that Missourians' tax dollars are spent in the most efficient and effective manner possible."

State of Missouri awarded over $2 million in federal grant funding to improve highway safety

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill announced today that the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s State and Community Highway Safety Grant program will provide $2,903,105 in federal formula grant funding to the Missouri State Government to extend state highway safety program funding.

According to the DOT, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s State and Community Highway Safety formula grant program supports state highway safety programs that are designed to reduce traffic crashes and resulting deaths, injuries, and property damage. This money may only be used for highway safety purposes and 40 percent must be used to deal with local traffic safety issues.

McCaskill believes that federal grants and loans are a positive alternative to earmarks, which in the past have frequently had too little accountability. Competitive merit and need based federal grants and low-interest government loans bring federal assistance to Missouri in an honest and fiscally responsible manner.