Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Late First Half Run Sinks Tiger Girls

A late first half run sunk the Worth County girls in Summer Jam action Tuesday night as they fell to Tarkio 35-25. Worth County played evenly with a Tarkio squad that has everyone back besides Denise McEnaney for most of the first half, but Tarkio scored twice in the last minute of the half and used a 16-2 run to sink the Tigers.

The game featured five ties in the first half as neither team could take control. Rebecca Moore got a putback while Kacey Smyser cut straight down the lane for another layup. Liz Novak drove right down the lane for another one while Alysa Lyle lobbed one into Claire Andrews. Freshman Kaitlyn Davidson showed some of her speed by jumping a pass and turning it into two free throws. Allie Buffington got behind the Tarkio defense for a layup as the game was tied 12-12 before Tarkio went on their run.

The Indians led by as much as 28-14 as Worth County only scored two points in the first 11 1/2 minutes of the second half before Rebecca Moore showed some guard skills with a drive and floater to break the funk. Claire Andrews got a drive and pullup from the free throw line and Kaitlyn Davidson threw a long outlet pass that led to a Kristen Andrews layup. Rebecca Moore did all she could to get the Tigers back into the game as she followed by grabbing a loose ball and passing it to Claire Andrews for an open look while sprawled on the floor. Rebecca got a steal and then fed Liz Novak and then Liz tipped a pass that Rebecca stole and turned into a free throw that cut it to 32-25 with one minute left. But then Abby McEnaney hit a 3-pointer for the dagger and Worth County could not catch up.

The Tigers have gotten to where they have improved on their athleticism and defense and will get some much needed size as well; Kaitlyn Davidson and Alysa Lyle made their freshman debuts. Another freshman, Sidney Thummel, will provide a lot of guard help while Worth County returns their leading scorer from last year in Liz Novak, now a sophomore. The Tigers will be very young this year with a lot of freshmen and sophomores who will receive active playing time. The challenge for Worth County will be to figure out how to get some scoring, which was one of their main problems last year. They were in many of their games and won three of them; however, their goal for this year will be to improve their scoring. They made some strides towards that Tuesday night as they got balanced scoring as three different players led with six points and seven different players hit the scoring column.

New NEN Girls Coach Sees Positive Signs Despite Loss

New Northeast Nodaway coach Vance Profitt told his players last Tuesday night that he saw a lot of positive signs despite a 42-32 loss to Nodaway-Holt in girls action at Summer Jam. He said that he was proud of the way that they played evenly with the Trojans even with Megan Rosenbohm out on the floor for Nodaway-Holt in the second half.

Michelle Schulte returns for her senior year; the Bluejays were way behind until the tiny but deadly version of the Schulte family made one of her game-changing plays when she knocked a defender backwards about 10 feet and got the layup midway through the first half after Nodaway-Holt had opened the game with a 15-3 run and had continued to pull away. That seemed to snap the team out of their stupor as they played evenly with Nodaway-Holt the rest of the way. Michelle would go on to score 14 points for the night; she had another play where she muscled her way up against a much taller girl after grabbing an offensive board and getting on the line; she had another highlight film play in she squeezed through gaps that only she could have and got to the rim for a layup. Besides Michelle, the rest of the scoring was really spread out with several people getting into the scoring column.

Rachel Runde is the other senior on the squad; provided ballhandling as well as one play where she muscled her way over a defender and her shot bounced several times off the rim before rolling in.

The lone junior on the squad, Kristan Judd, has a freshman sister in Bailey who is taller and just as physical than Kristan; the Judd Squad routinely got into wrestling matches with the Trojan players for rebounds and Bailey added some rejections as well. Kristan had a nice step-through move for her part.

Northeast figures to be one of the most physical teams in the area this year as their two smallest players in Michelle Schulte and Rachel Runde back down from nobody; Michelle even jumped center against one of Stanberry's six-footers last year. Together with the Judd sisters and the fierce sophomore Taryn Farnan, who earned some playing time towards the tail end of her freshman year, they will be difficult for anyone to play against win or lose. Farnan is the sister of Bryce Farnan, one of the dominant post players in the area on the boys side last year. Vance Profitt's teams at North Nodaway were always scrappy and even handed Stanberry a surprise loss in another game Tuesday night, so the new coach will have a lot to work with.

The Bluejays have a strong sophomore base. Two years ago, during their 8th grade year, this bunch lost many of their initial games but then fought back and beat some of the teams that had beaten them earlier in the year and won six out of their last seven games to finish with a winning record. This bunch could do a lot of damage towards the end of the year; they knew despite the loss that there were a lot of good things out there and a lot to look forward to. Besides Farnan, Sarah Bliley looks like a candidate to break out as she calmly knocked down a couple of outside shots; she is one of the most improved players from last winter. Claudia Wiederholt and Kerrigan Adwell could develop into ball-handlers while Claudia is working on an outside shot.

Of the freshmen, Brianna Riley showed the most promise as she knocked down an outside shot; she is a gunslinger and a forward who is not afraid to be physical. Kristen Wiederholt and Kacey Wiederholt also played hard as well.

Blockton Birthdays & Anniversaries for June, 2011

June Birthdays
2 Paul Matheny
4 Jim Winemiller
5 Danny Brown
5 Larry Ray Key
7 Jimmy Young
8 Deb Bonde
8 Annabelle Brown
8 Dean Cobb
8 Levi Henson
8 Mark Lawrence
8 Toni Hull
9 Bernice Matheny
11 Sasha Weaver
12 Jim Beemer
13 Neila Henson
13 Brian Hunt
13 Lyndell Streebin
14 Pat Dukes
15 Jeremiah Spencer
16 Rhonda Ridge Burton
17 Andrea Green Milligan
18 Frances Smith
18 Velma Walters
20 Breanna Mahers
21 Harold Norris
21 Jessica Cavin Brown
21 Clint Johnson
22 Kenneth Dukes
22 Everett King
22 Mary Melvin
23 Donna Jennings
27 Michelle Christensen
28 Lynn Schoenmann
28 Lonnie Troncin
28 Scott Marcum
29 Crystal Wall
30 Jason Brown
30 Jayme Van Patten

June Anniversaries
1 David & Mary Kay Loutzenhiser
1 Joe & Linda Everhart
2 Doyle & Jane Saville
3 Lyndell & Carol Streebin
5 Lloyd Cecil & Alice Ridge
5 Roger & Lisa Ridge
6 Drexal & Lora Wall
7 Jerry & Karen Kemery
9 RJ & Jennifer (Skinner) Peters
11 Leo & Loretta Dillon
11 Jeff & Rhonda Quick
12 Bob & Karyn Graham
13 Bill & Sharon Farrens
14 Mark & Marci Friedman
14 James & Becky Carlson
15 Delbert & Shirley Molt
15 Wayne & Ann Poore
16 Clint & Destiny Drake
20 Steve & Neila Henson
20 Harold & Jackie Norris
23 Stan & Lynette Amrine
26 Earl & Connie Drake
27 Kevin & Tami Blunt
29 Kyle & Mendi O’Riley
29 Chris & Katie Constant


Second Harvest Community Food Bank is preparing to help those affected by the flooding in Atchison County, Missouri. The Atchison County commissioners have recommended residents at the Missouri River Bottom evacuate because the water is predicted to go over the levy within the next week. The evacuation warning includes all areas of Atchison County west of I-29.

Second Harvest will provide food and personal hygiene items to anyone displaced due to the flooding. Those seeking assistance will need to present identification from the Atchison County area. Second Harvest has over 100 agencies in Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri. All of these agencies will also assistant those affected by the flooding. For a complete list of agencies, visit http://ourcommunityfoodbank.org/get_help.

For more information, call Second Harvest at 816-364-3663.

Stephen Pickering Injured in Accident South of Grant City

One person received minor injuries in a one car accident Saturday south of Grant City. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports that a 1996 Plymouth Neon driven by Stephen Pickering of Gentry was southbound on 169 when he crossed over the center line, went off the east side of the roadway, and over an embankment, coming to rest facing south. Pickering was taken by the Worth County Ambulance to the Northwest Medical Center in Albany. Pickering was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. The Neon received minor damage and was towed from the scene.

Worth County Sheriff's Report for June 1st, 2011

5-24 -- Worth County Sheriff's Department (WCSD) checks registration for Grant City resident.
5-24 -- Grant City resident reports a prank call.
5-25 -- Person from Sam Graves' office in to meet with Sheriff.
5-27 -- Report of horses out on 46 highway west of Grant City.
5-27 -- Report of a truck with unsecured load going south on 169.
5-27 -- Report of cattle out at Route B and 170th Road; owner notified.
5-27 -- WCSD investigates 911 hangup call.
5-27 -- WCSD serves papers on Worth County resident.
5-27 -- Report of horses out on 46 west of Grant City.
5-28 -- WCSD and Missouri State Highway Patrol investigate accident on 169 and 190th Road.
5-28 -- Report of rowdy people in front of a bar in Grant City.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Brad Lager's Capitol Report: Honoring Those Who Defend Our Liberties

This year as we enjoyed the long weekend, I hope you were able to take a few minutes and think about the true meaning of Memorial Day. This is a time when we pay our respects to those who have paid the highest price and given their lives for our country. It is a time when we acknowledge the debt that we owe to those men and women who have given it all to defend our freedom.

This year, as we think about those who have and those who are currently defending this great nation, it has a special meaning. In recent weeks, our nation has been reminded of the resilience, perseverance and determination that make up our military forces when a special team brought justice to those responsible for the worst terrorist attack in our nations history. In today's world, we are reminded that freedom comes cloaked in uncertainty, and America relies on her sons and daughters to defend her liberty.

Although we pray that each and every one of our military men and women come home safe, the reality is that on this Memorial Day we will once again add new names to the list of those who have died while in service to our country. These men and women proudly carried the American flag and defended the ideals and values for which it stands. The cost of independence is high, and we must not forget the brave souls who have sacrificed for America so that we may maintain our freedoms, our liberties, and our way of life.

Please take time to remember and give praise to those in our families, our communities, and our country who have and may still be serving this great nation. I ask you to remember and honor those who have already given their lives for our nation, those who currently defend our country, and the families who are suffering because of the absence of a loved one. Most importantly, I ask you to remember and pray for all those who fight to defend this great nation as together we joyfully rise to acknowledge them, salute them, and may God Bless them.

As always, please feel free to call, email, or write with your ideas or concerns. The Capitol number is (573) 751-1415, my email is brad.lager@senate.mo.gov and my mailing address is Room 422, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

June is Men’s Health Month

Anchored by a Congressional health education program, Men’s Health Month is celebrated across the country with screenings, health fairs, media appearances, and other health education and outreach activities.
The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. This month gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury. The response has been overwhelming with thousands of awareness activities in the USA and around the globe.
Why designate a month of the year to raise awareness regarding men’s health?

· Men die at higher rates than women from the top 10 causes of death and are the victims of over 92% of workplace deaths. (BLS)

· In 1920, women lived, on average, one year longer than men. Now, men, on average, die almost six years earlier than women. (CDC)

· “There is a silent health crisis in America...it’s that fact that, on average, American men live sicker and die younger than American women.”----Dr. David Gremillion, Men’s Health Network

· Women are 100% more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men. (CDC 2001)

· Depression in men is undiagnosed contributing to the fact that men are 4 times as likely to commit suicide.

General Health Clinic encourages you to wear blue this month in support of Men’s Health Month. The Clinic welcomes most major insurances along with Medicare and Medicaid. Payments by cash, credit cards, and debit cards are accepted. The clinic is located at the junction of highways 148 and JJ in Hopkins, Missouri. The office will be open Saturday, June 11. Appointments can be made by calling 660-778-3209. General Health now offers Botox and Dermal Fillers.

Go to www.menshealthnetwork.org or http://www.menshealthmonth.org/ for more information concerning men’s health and Men’s Health Month.

Norman Runyon Speaks at Isadora Memorial Day Services

Norman Runyon spoke at the Isadora Memorial Day services Monday as around 20 people came to mark the occasion. Huey Rowen opened with prayer and Runyon began by noting that his ancestors came to Worth County in the 1850's to seek a better life for themselves and their children and settled near where Isadora is today. They fought in the Civil War with one of them siding with the North and another siding with the South; it was something they never talked about at the dinner table to preserve harmony. "The ones who are buried here are the ones who took care of us and made us what we are today," he said. "They took us to church, taught us right from wrong, and told us about Jesus."

Runyon asked, "Why would they do that? Because they loved us. Jesus gave his life for the same reason." He said that some day, it would be our turn to be there and before we do, we would walk around a lot and remember those who are buried. "Be thankful for what they did," he encouraged. Norman then read the following poem by Kelly Strong, "Freedom isn't Free:"

I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,And then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?
How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't free.
I heard the sound of taps one night,
When everything was still
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That taps had meant "Amen,"
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn't free.

Debbie Thummel closed the gathering with the playing of "Taps."

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sheridan Seeking Donations for New Community Building

The City of Sheridan and the Sheridan CBC are seeking donations for a new community building to replace the old schoolhouse. It will be built south of where the schoolhouse is now and will replace the schoolhouse and the current city hall building. The schoolhouse has had problems with leaky roofs that the CBC says they are unable to fix and the city hall building is having problems with the back end and has had to prop up the floors in recent years. Mayor Leland Wake, talking to the Sheridan Alumni Reunion, said that they were going to try and do it all through private donations and that they were going to see how much they could raise in the next two months. It will serve both the CBC and the City of Sheridan. Wake said they were shooting for a building by next year.

The Sheridan Alumni Association voted to move the class pictures that are currently in the school to the City Hall until a new building was built; Wake said that it was OK with the city if they were put there. The association also voted to donate up to $500 for the new building and move next year's celebration to the Sheridan Christian Church. Incoming president Shirley Wall Winemiller said she had talked to the church and that they said it was OK.

Outgoing President John Young thanked David Parman for getting the school ready for the last 10 years as well as Jay Sanders, Karla Parman, and other volunteer workers. He also thanked Chandra Hopkins for her work as treasurer; there have only been four treasurers in the history of the association including Essie Bainum and Ruth (Young) Beezley.

Larry Dowis, Frank Dowis, and Arvetta Terry were recognized from the Class of 1951. Shirley Wall Winemiller from the Class of 1961 named all the class of 1961. Recognized were Winemiller, Sharon Van Skyock, Carl Farrell (deceased), Carolyn Anderson, Connie Hawbeck, Larry Hibbs (who said he was a paid tourist), Janet Girrard, Marianne Girrard, Charles Auten (deceased), Harlan Harrell, Eloyce (Finch) Cossins, Elbert Risser, Burl Huff, Arva West, Frank Shupe (still a barber in Tarkio after all these years), and Jerry Wiley. Two people who went to class with them but did not graduate with them were Gary Dennis and Ken Hensley (deceased).

The oldest graduate present was Pauline Cooper Wells of the Class of 1941, followed by Warren Lester of the Class of 1942. Oakley Risser of California was the farthest away. Elected as officers for next year were Shirley Wall Winemiller (President), Jay Sanders (Vice President) and Chandra Hopkins (Treasurer).

Mozingo Lake to Host Area 4-H Camp

A 4-H camp for the region will be held at Mozingo State Park from Wednesday, June 1st to Friday, June 3rd. It is being put on by Holt, Nodaway, Atchison, and Worth County 4-H clubs and is open to the rest of the region as well. The Missouri Department of Conservation will come one day to do lessons on fishing and fishing lines. There will also be arts and crafts, walking, and nature. There are five youth cabins there as well as a huge dining hall. There will be 40 kids from around the area attending including 8 from Worth County. They will be supervised by 8 adult counselors.

One Inch Rain, Pea Sized Hail Hits Sheridan

Around one inch of rain and pea sized hail hit Sheridan Sunday morning at around 7-8 a.m. There were high winds associated with the storm as well. There was no damage to cars. The storm started with extremely high winds, followed by the rain and a round of hail before stopping around 8. This is the second heavy rainfall that the town has had this week. More storms were forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday while high winds were forecast for Monday. Temperatures are expected to get into the 90's later this week.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Worth County Progress Organization Meeting for May 10th, 2011

Worth County Progress Organization met Tuesday, May 10, 2011, at the Economic Developer’s Office. President Amber Monticue presided. Charity Austin reported on progress on the gazebo to be built on the Northwest corner of the Courthouse lawn. Volunteers from the community will start construction on May 14. The Progress Organization will serve the meal at the Harold Downing sale on June 25. Workers will be needed since that is the same weekend as Sheridan’s Old Defiance Days.

Debbie Roach and Bridget Gibson reported on the Sesquicentennial planning meetings held since the last monthly meeting. They handed out tentative schedules.

Rescheduling the upcoming Golf Tournament was discussed to move it away from the scheduled Sesquicentennial activities and appeals for funds. If a later date is available, it will be rescheduled for July.

The next regular meeting will be June 7, 2011, at 6 PM at the Economic Developer’s office in the basement of the Grant City Hall. The meetings are open to all interested people in the county.

Dallas Greenland Celebrates 16th Birthday at Sheridan Park

Dallas Greenland celebrated his 16th birthday at the Sheridan Park Saturday and plenty of people were present to help him celebrate. Among the people present were Lori Jo and Gene Groom, T.J. Stephens, Eli Mullock, Katie Mullock, Wyatt McClain, Logan Ridge, Brian Hall, Gina and Craig McNeese and Bryson Scott, Troy Hawk, Brandon and Amber Hawk, Karla, Gavin, and Mason Hawk, Jack Hawk, and Jackson Rush.

Old Cars and Tractors at National Cattle Dog Finals

There were plenty of old cars and tractors at the National Cattle Dog Finals on Day Three of the competition. The Dukes of Hazzard car got a lot of attention and there were several others to look at. There was a race car there as well as an old Ford with the slogan, "Real trucks don't wear bow ties." It seems Ford was already developing a brand image of rugged toughness back in those days. Morris Carpenter of Redding had two of his old tractors there, a 1948 Allis Chalmers and a 1952 Case. John Campbell of Mount Ayr brought his 1949 Farmall and Dave Irving brought his 1947 Farmall Cub; both men decorated their tractors with patriotic flags to mark Memorial Day. Daryl Stevens brought his Farmall Super K Loader while Dan King of Redding brought his McCormick W-9.

Among some of the local folks who came were Tiffany Troutwine along with niece and nephew Sydney and Travis; Breanna Harker was there selling her six puppies along with three which belonged to Don Null. Harker's puppies were 3/4 Collie and 1/4 Australian Shepherd. Null's puppies were purebred Beagles. Also in attendance were Jeff Quick of Redding, Andy Welch, John Campbell of Mount Ayr, Dan King of Redding, Rusty Nail, Ken and Linda Gray Smith and some of their family including Susie Smith and Erica Smith and Delbert and Hazel Jackson. Delbert showed off a wooden knife made by Len Green; the Grant City Assembly of God preacher is not only a preacher and musician and golfer, he is a woodworker as well. He does all sorts of woodworking projects. The knife that Delbert has is made of 100% wood with no metal springs whatsoever.

Among groups and businesses that set up shot were American Legion Post 443 out of Blockton, Kettle Corn, Farmers Cooperative (which raffled off some dog food), and Connie's Corner Embroidery, which could embroider jackets for customers while they waited.

As before, people from all over the country were present. Rick Strohl and dog "Dusty" were from Bowie, TX. Another contestant was from Washington. The day was a challenging day for the contestants as the cattle were much more interested in licking the salt block and grazing than they were in being herded by some strange dog. One of the contestants said, "I can't believe you did that!" in frustration as the cattle ran right back through the chute after the dog had just herded them in. "It was so frustrating," said another contestant.

Although the dogs were always restless and excited at times, there was no problem with dogs running onto the field -- dogs always know their owner's voice and whistle. But it takes a special dog to be able to master the art of herding cattle. They have to know when to bite the cattle on the legs to get them going and be willing to risk being trampled on; if they are afraid of being attacked by the animals, there is no chance for them at all. All the contestants have different styles of commanding their dogs; some try and hurry the process along while others were in no hurry but were simply taking their time and letting the cattle and the dog get used to each other.

There was a BBQ contest Sunday; several of the contestants for that were already getting set up. A cowboy church with Jim Warner was held Sunday morning. There was one day of running left before the prizes were awarded.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Wall Linking Hy-Vee and Nielsen Buildings Torn Down

Dennis Adams and three volunteer workers tore down the wall linking the former Hy-Vee building and the Nielsen Building, which collapsed last fall. Charles Sanders and Greg Miller and his son were helping Dennis. Work progressed on the disposal of the rubble as much of the rubble from the Nielsen Building, which was condemned by the city, was removed.

President Obama on the Special Relationship between the US and UK

My Lord Chancellor, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Prime Minister, my lords, and members of the House of Commons:
I have known few greater honors than the opportunity to address the Mother of Parliaments at Westminster Hall. I am told that the last three speakers here have been the Pope, Her Majesty the Queen, and Nelson Mandela -- which is either a very high bar or the beginning of a very funny joke. (Laughter.)
I come here today to reaffirm one of the oldest, one of the strongest alliances the world has ever known. It’s long been said that the United States and the United Kingdom share a special relationship. And since we also share an especially active press corps, that relationship is often analyzed and overanalyzed for the slightest hint of stress or strain.
Of course, all relationships have their ups and downs. Admittedly, ours got off on the wrong foot with a small scrape about tea and taxes. (Laughter.) There may also have been some hurt feelings when the White House was set on fire during the War of 1812. (Laughter.) But fortunately, it’s been smooth sailing ever since.
The reason for this close friendship doesn’t just have to do with our shared history, our shared heritage; our ties of language and culture; or even the strong partnership between our governments. Our relationship is special because of the values and beliefs that have united our people through the ages.
Centuries ago, when kings, emperors, and warlords reigned over much of the world, it was the English who first spelled out the rights and liberties of man in the Magna Carta. It was here, in this very hall, where the rule of law first developed, courts were established, disputes were settled, and citizens came to petition their leaders.
Over time, the people of this nation waged a long and sometimes bloody struggle to expand and secure their freedom from the crown. Propelled by the ideals of the Enlightenment, they would ultimately forge an English Bill of Rights, and invest the power to govern in an elected parliament that’s gathered here today.
What began on this island would inspire millions throughout the continent of Europe and across the world. But perhaps no one drew greater inspiration from these notions of freedom than your rabble-rousing colonists on the other side of the Atlantic. As Winston Churchill said, the “…Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, Habeas Corpus, trial by jury, and English common law find their most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence.”
For both of our nations, living up to the ideals enshrined in these founding documents has sometimes been difficult, has always been a work in progress. The path has never been perfect. But through the struggles of slaves and immigrants, women and ethnic minorities, former colonies and persecuted religions, we have learned better than most that the longing for freedom and human dignity is not English or American or Western –- it is universal, and it beats in every heart. Perhaps that’s why there are few nations that stand firmer, speak louder, and fight harder to defend democratic values around the world than the United States and the United Kingdom.
We are the allies who landed at Omaha and Gold, who sacrificed side by side to free a continent from the march of tyranny, and help prosperity flourish from the ruins of war. And with the founding of NATO –- a British idea –- we joined a transatlantic alliance that has ensured our security for over half a century.
Together with our allies, we forged a lasting peace from a cold war. When the Iron Curtain lifted, we expanded our alliance to include the nations of Central and Eastern Europe, and built new bridges to Russia and the former states of the Soviet Union. And when there was strife in the Balkans, we worked together to keep the peace.
Today, after a difficult decade that began with war and ended in recession, our nations have arrived at a pivotal moment once more. A global economy that once stood on the brink of depression is now stable and recovering. After years of conflict, the United States has removed 100,000 troops from Iraq, the United Kingdom has removed its forces, and our combat mission there has ended. In Afghanistan, we’ve broken the Taliban’s momentum and will soon begin a transition to Afghan lead. And nearly 10 years after 9/11, we have disrupted terrorist networks and dealt al Qaeda a huge blow by killing its leader –- Osama bin Laden.
Together, we have met great challenges. But as we enter this new chapter in our shared history, profound challenges stretch before us. In a world where the prosperity of all nations is now inextricably linked, a new era of cooperation is required to ensure the growth and stability of the global economy. As new threats spread across borders and oceans, we must dismantle terrorist networks and stop the spread of nuclear weapons, confront climate change and combat famine and disease. And as a revolution races through the streets of the Middle East and North Africa, the entire world has a stake in the aspirations of a generation that longs to determine its own destiny.
These challenges come at a time when the international order has already been reshaped for a new century. Countries like China, India, and Brazil are growing by leaps and bounds. We should welcome this development, for it has lifted hundreds of millions from poverty around the globe, and created new markets and opportunities for our own nations.
And yet, as this rapid change has taken place, it’s become fashionable in some quarters to question whether the rise of these nations will accompany the decline of American and European influence around the world. Perhaps, the argument goes, these nations represent the future, and the time for our leadership has passed.
That argument is wrong. The time for our leadership is now. It was the United States and the United Kingdom and our democratic allies that shaped a world in which new nations could emerge and individuals could thrive. And even as more nations take on the responsibilities of global leadership, our alliance will remain indispensable to the goal of a century that is more peaceful, more prosperous and more just.
At a time when threats and challenges require nations to work in concert with one another, we remain the greatest catalysts for global action. In an era defined by the rapid flow of commerce and information, it is our free market tradition, our openness, fortified by our commitment to basic security for our citizens, that offers the best chance of prosperity that is both strong and shared. As millions are still denied their basic human rights because of who they are, or what they believe, or the kind of government that they live under, we are the nations most willing to stand up for the values of tolerance and self-determination that lead to peace and dignity.
Now, this doesn’t mean we can afford to stand still. The nature of our leadership will need to change with the times. As I said the first time I came to London as President, for the G20 summit, the days are gone when Roosevelt and Churchill could sit in a room and solve the world’s problems over a glass of brandy -– although I’m sure that Prime Minister Cameron would agree that some days we could both use a stiff drink. (Laughter.) In this century, our joint leadership will require building new partnerships, adapting to new circumstances, and remaking ourselves to meet the demands of a new era.
That begins with our economic leadership.
Adam Smith’s central insight remains true today: There is no greater generator of wealth and innovation than a system of free enterprise that unleashes the full potential of individual men and women. That’s what led to the Industrial Revolution that began in the factories of Manchester. That is what led to the dawn of the Information Age that arose from the office parks of Silicon Valley. That’s why countries like China, India and Brazil are growing so rapidly -- because in fits and starts, they are moving toward market-based principles that the United States and the United Kingdom have always embraced.
In other words, we live in a global economy that is largely of our own making. And today, the competition for the best jobs and industries favors countries that are free-thinking and forward-looking; countries with the most creative and innovative and entrepreneurial citizens.
That gives nations like the United States and the United Kingdom an inherent advantage. For from Newton and Darwin to Edison and Einstein, from Alan Turing to Steve Jobs, we have led the world in our commitment to science and cutting-edge research, the discovery of new medicines and technologies. We educate our citizens and train our workers in the best colleges and universities on Earth. But to maintain this advantage in a world that’s more competitive than ever, we will have to redouble our investments in science and engineering, and renew our national commitments to educating our workforces.
We’ve also been reminded in the last few years that markets can sometimes fail. In the last century, both our nations put in place regulatory frameworks to deal with such market failures -- safeguards to protect the banking system after the Great Depression, for example; regulations that were established to prevent the pollution of our air and water during the 1970s.
But in today’s economy, such threats of market failure can no longer be contained within the borders of any one country. Market failures can go global, and go viral, and demand international responses.
A financial crisis that began on Wall Street infected nearly every continent, which is why we must keep working through forums like the G20 to put in place global rules of the road to prevent future excesses and abuse. No country can hide from the dangers of carbon pollution, which is why we must build on what was achieved at Copenhagen and Cancun to leave our children a planet that is safer and cleaner.
Moreover, even when the free market works as it should, both our countries recognize that no matter how responsibly we live in our lives, hard times or bad luck, a crippling illness or a layoff may strike any one of us. And so part of our common tradition has expressed itself in a conviction that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security -– health care if you get sick, unemployment insurance if you lose your job, a dignified retirement after a lifetime of hard work. That commitment to our citizens has also been the reason for our leadership in the world.
And now, having come through a terrible recession, our challenge is to meet these obligations while ensuring that we’re not consuming -- and hence consumed with -- a level of debt that could sap the strength and vitality of our economies. And that will require difficult choices and it will require different paths for both of our countries. But we have faced such challenges before, and have always been able to balance the need for fiscal responsibility with the responsibilities we have to one another.
And I believe we can do this again. As we do, the successes and failures of our own past can serve as an example for emerging economies -– that it’s possible to grow without polluting; that lasting prosperity comes not from what a nation consumes, but from what it produces, and from the investments it makes in its people and its infrastructure.
And just as we must lead on behalf of the prosperity of our citizens, so we must safeguard their security. Our two nations know what it is to confront evil in the world. Hitler’s armies would not have stopped their killing had we not fought them on the beaches and on the landing grounds, in the fields and on the streets. We must never forget that there was nothing inevitable about our victory in that terrible war. It was won through the courage and character of our people.
Precisely because we are willing to bear its burden, we know well the cost of war. And that is why we built an alliance that was strong enough to defend this continent while deterring our enemies. At its core, NATO is rooted in the simple concept of Article Five: that no NATO nation will have to fend on its own; that allies will stand by one another, always. And for six decades, NATO has been the most successful alliance in human history.
Today, we confront a different enemy. Terrorists have taken the lives of our citizens in New York and in London. And while al Qaeda seeks a religious war with the West, we must remember that they have killed thousands of Muslims -– men, women and children -– around the globe. Our nations are not and will never be at war with Islam. Our fight is focused on defeating al Qaeda and its extremist allies. In that effort, we will not relent, as Osama bin Laden and his followers have learned. And as we fight an enemy that respects no law of war, we will continue to hold ourselves to a higher standard -– by living up to the values, the rule of law and due process that we so ardently defend.
For almost a decade, Afghanistan has been a central front of these efforts. Throughout those years, you, the British people, have been a stalwart ally, along with so many others who fight by our side.
Together, let us pay tribute to all of our men and women who have served and sacrificed over the last several years -– for they are part of an unbroken line of heroes who have borne the heaviest burden for the freedoms that we enjoy. Because of them, we have broken the Taliban’s momentum. Because of them, we have built the capacity of Afghan security forces. And because of them, we are now preparing to turn a corner in Afghanistan by transitioning to Afghan lead. And during this transition, we will pursue a lasting peace with those who break free of al Qaeda and respect the Afghan constitution and lay down arms. And we will ensure that Afghanistan is never a safe haven for terror, but is instead a country that is strong, sovereign, and able to stand on its own two feet.
Indeed, our efforts in this young century have led us to a new concept for NATO that will give us the capabilities needed to meet new threats -- threats like terrorism and piracy, cyber attacks and ballistic missiles. But a revitalized NATO will continue to hew to that original vision of its founders, allowing us to rally collective action for the defense of our people, while building upon the broader belief of Roosevelt and Churchill that all nations have both rights and responsibilities, and all nations share a common interest in an international architecture that maintains the peace.
We also share a common interest in stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. Across the globe, nations are locking down nuclear materials so they never fall into the wrong hands -- because of our leadership. From North Korea to Iran, we’ve sent a message that those who flaunt their obligations will face consequences -– which is why America and the European Union just recently strengthened our sanctions on Iran, in large part because of the leadership of the United Kingdom and the United States. And while we hold others to account, we will meet our own obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and strive for a world without nuclear weapons.
We share a common interest in resolving conflicts that prolong human suffering and threaten to tear whole regions asunder. In Sudan, after years of war and thousands of deaths, we call on both North and South to pull back from the brink of violence and choose the path of peace. And in the Middle East, we stand united in our support for a secure Israel and a sovereign Palestine.
And we share a common interest in development that advances dignity and security. To succeed, we must cast aside the impulse to look at impoverished parts of the globe as a place for charity. Instead, we should empower the same forces that have allowed our own people to thrive: We should help the hungry to feed themselves, the doctors who care for the sick. We should support countries that confront corruption, and allow their people to innovate. And we should advance the truth that nations prosper when they allow women and girls to reach their full potential.
We do these things because we believe not simply in the rights of nations; we believe in the rights of citizens. That is the beacon that guided us through our fight against fascism and our twilight struggle against communism. And today, that idea is being put to the test in the Middle East and North Africa. In country after country, people are mobilizing to free themselves from the grip of an iron fist. And while these movements for change are just six months old, we have seen them play out before -– from Eastern Europe to the Americas, from South Africa to Southeast Asia.
History tells us that democracy is not easy. It will be years before these revolutions reach their conclusion, and there will be difficult days along the way. Power rarely gives up without a fight -– particularly in places where there are divisions of tribe and divisions of sect. We also know that populism can take dangerous turns -– from the extremism of those who would use democracy to deny minority rights, to the nationalism that left so many scars on this continent in the 20th century.
But make no mistake: What we saw, what we are seeing in Tehran, in Tunis, in Tahrir Square, is a longing for the same freedoms that we take for granted here at home. It was a rejection of the notion that people in certain parts of the world don’t want to be free, or need to have democracy imposed upon them. It was a rebuke to the worldview of al Qaeda, which smothers the rights of individuals, and would thereby subject them to perpetual poverty and violence.
Let there be no doubt: The United States and United Kingdom stand squarely on the side of those who long to be free. And now, we must show that we will back up those words with deeds. That means investing in the future of those nations that transition to democracy, starting with Tunisia and Egypt -– by deepening ties of trade and commerce; by helping them demonstrate that freedom brings prosperity. And that means standing up for universal rights -– by sanctioning those who pursue repression, strengthening civil society, supporting the rights of minorities. We do this knowing that the West must overcome suspicion and mistrust among many in the Middle East and North Africa -– a mistrust that is rooted in a difficult past. For years, we’ve faced charges of hypocrisy from those who do not enjoy the freedoms that they hear us espouse. And so to them, we must squarely acknowledge that, yes, we have enduring interests in the region -– to fight terror, sometimes with partners who may not be perfect; to protect against disruptions of the world’s energy supply. But we must also insist that we reject as false the choice between our interests and our ideals; between stability and democracy. For our idealism is rooted in the realities of history -– that repression offers only the false promise of stability, that societies are more successful when their citizens are free, and that democracies are the closest allies we have.
It is that truth that guides our action in Libya. It would have been easy at the outset of the crackdown in Libya to say that none of this was our business -– that a nation’s sovereignty is more important than the slaughter of civilians within its borders. That argument carries weight with some. But we are different. We embrace a broader responsibility. And while we cannot stop every injustice, there are circumstances that cut through our caution -– when a leader is threatening to massacre his people, and the international community is calling for action. That’s why we stopped a massacre in Libya. And we will not relent until the people of Libya are protected and the shadow of tyranny is lifted.
We will proceed with humility, and the knowledge that we cannot dictate every outcome abroad. Ultimately, freedom must be won by the people themselves, not imposed from without. But we can and must stand with those who so struggle. Because we have always believed that the future of our children and grandchildren will be better if other people’s children and grandchildren are more prosperous and more free -– from the beaches of Normandy to the Balkans to Benghazi. That is our interests and our ideals. And if we fail to meet that responsibility, who would take our place, and what kind of world would we pass on?
Our action -– our leadership -– is essential to the cause of human dignity. And so we must act -– and lead -– with confidence in our ideals, and an abiding faith in the character of our people, who sent us all here today.
For there is one final quality that I believe makes the United States and the United Kingdom indispensable to this moment in history. And that is how we define ourselves as nations.
Unlike most countries in the world, we do not define citizenship based on race or ethnicity. Being American or British is not about belonging to a certain group; it’s about believing in a certain set of ideals -- the rights of individuals, the rule of law. That is why we hold incredible diversity within our borders. That’s why there are people around the world right now who believe that if they come to America, if they come to New York, if they come to London, if they work hard, they can pledge allegiance to our flag and call themselves Americans; if they come to England, they can make a new life for themselves and can sing God Save The Queen just like any other citizen.
Yes, our diversity can lead to tension. And throughout our history there have been heated debates about immigration and assimilation in both of our countries. But even as these debates can be difficult, we fundamentally recognize that our patchwork heritage is an enormous strength -- that in a world which will only grow smaller and more interconnected, the example of our two nations says it is possible for people to be united by their ideals, instead of divided by their differences; that it’s possible for hearts to change and old hatreds to pass; that it’s possible for the sons and daughters of former colonies to sit here as members of this great Parliament, and for the grandson of a Kenyan who served as a cook in the British Army to stand before you as President of the United States. (Applause.)
That is what defines us. That is why the young men and women in the streets of Damascus and Cairo still reach for the rights our citizens enjoy, even if they sometimes differ with our policies. As two of the most powerful nations in the history of the world, we must always remember that the true source of our influence hasn’t just been the size of our economies, or the reach of our militaries, or the land that we’ve claimed. It has been the values that we must never waver in defending around the world -- the idea that all beings are endowed by our Creator with certain rights that cannot be denied.
That is what forged our bond in the fire of war -- a bond made manifest by the friendship between two of our greatest leaders. Churchill and Roosevelt had their differences. They were keen observers of each other’s blind spots and shortcomings, if not always their own, and they were hard-headed about their ability to remake the world. But what joined the fates of these two men at that particular moment in history was not simply a shared interest in victory on the battlefield. It was a shared belief in the ultimate triumph of human freedom and human dignity -– a conviction that we have a say in how this story ends.
This conviction lives on in their people today. The challenges we face are great. The work before us is hard. But we have come through a difficult decade, and whenever the tests and trials ahead may seem too big or too many, let us turn to their example, and the words that Churchill spoke on the day that Europe was freed:
“In the long years to come, not only will the people of this island but…the world, wherever the bird of freedom chirps in [the] human heart, look back to what we’ve done, and they will say ‘do not despair, do not yield…march straightforward’.”
With courage and purpose, with humility and with hope, with faith in the promise of tomorrow, let us march straightforward together, enduring allies in the cause of a world that is more peaceful, more prosperous, and more just.

Opinion: Spring Contrasts

By Dr. Marvin Folkertsma

Madison, Wisconsin’s winter follies relinquished their national attention to Tuscaloosa’s tornado in April, events along the Mississippi in May, and finally to the most recent twister in Joplin, Missouri, where genuine suffering puts into perspective tenured teachers who are learning that they must actually pay a fraction of their healthcare costs. Fitting substitutions, these last two; call this a progression from decadence to renewal and resilience, in that order. While public-sector unions’ diatribes against Governor Walker don’t exactly bring to mind the turpitude of France’s pre-revolutionary aristocracy, whiffs of decadence radiate from their collective persona.

What is decadence, exactly? An online dictionary describes it in terms of “moral deterioration, decay, turpitude, unrestrained or excessive self-indulgence”—all of which capture the unions’ ethical condition, particularly the “excessive self-indulgence” part. Jacques Barzun devoted a lengthy volume to the subject, From Dawn to Decadence, in which he stated that “when people accept … the absurd as normal, the culture is decadent.” A kinder expression for the word “absurd” is “not sustainable,” especially applied to public-sector union benefits, but both point to the same condition. “We ask government workers to make a 5.8 percent contribution to their pensions and a 12.6 percent contribution to their health-insurance premium, both of which are well below what other workers pay for benefits,” Governor Walker stated in March. For that, he was compared to the KKK and other depraved aspects of American culture.

Indeed, the greatest contribution to our national discourse by Wisconsin’s civil servants was the chanting of an Orwellian, Animal Farm-like equivalent to “four legs good, two legs bad.” This was offered in the relative comfort of the state’s capitol building, and to the plaudits of many in the national press. “Shame, shame, shame,” they hollered, when they actually deserved the “blame, blame, blame” for contemptuous indifference to the public welfare in deference to their own demands. There is a name for such perfervid selfishness—it’s called decadence. In short, don’t seek self-sacrifice for the greater good among public-sector unions in Wisconsin; it’s all about me, me, me.

Leaving the Badger State behind and entering Tuscaloosa’s landscape is a sobering contrast, redeemed by countless tales of Americans from every part of the republic coming forward to rebuild, repair, and restore that stricken city. Indeed, live videos of the tornadoes that devastated the city put to shame the best efforts of the wizards at Industrial Light and Magic; Spielberg and Lucas could not have provided more stunning portrayals. These came with actual costs in terms of lives lost and property destroyed—first in five states including Alabama, and now in Missouri, where the Joplin twister was responsible for the highest death toll from a tornado in more than half a century.

The wake of the cyclones resembles a battleground: "I've grown up my entire life here in the city of Tuscaloosa, and today when I went out after the storm there were parts of the city that literally I didn't recognize from the destruction that came upon from these tornadoes," Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox told CNN. But the devastation also spawned scores of websites—do a Google search to find out how many—and dozens of celebrities, all devoted to raising funds, offering assistance, and otherwise helping residents rebuild their shattered homes, neighborhoods, and businesses. Care for a fresh breath of altruism? You’ll find it in Tuscaloosa; you’ll find it in Joplin.

But if sheer mental toughness is your cup of tea, travel to Mississippi and Louisiana. Streaming videos that show inhabitants of the Atchafalaya Basin being inundated by the Mississippi’s floodwaters demonstrate American resilience at its best: determination to prevail in a tragic context that often hints at altruism. ABC News reports that Kate Buchanan, a resident in the path of approaching floodwaters, and who likely will lose her home as well as her business, had this to say: “Everybody is stoic, they understand. People in New Orleans got it a few years ago. There’s a lot fewer people here. These folks are made of much sterner stuff here. We’re not going to whine and cry.” Another resident affirmed that “people are strong here, they are going to rebuild better than ever.”

To which an observer may only say, Wow! After all, it is the farms and homes and small towns of America’s Kate Buchanans that are being sacrificed for the greater good of forestalling potential catastrophes downstream that could obliterate Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The residents who endured these natural disasters grasp this matter, and the rest of America may express admiration and plaudits, while reaching into their hearts, pockets, and workdays to offer assistance. Those hearty and brave souls in the path of Mississippi’s frightening torrents, along with their cousins in Tuscaloosa and Joplin, know the difference between comfort and hardship, between rhetoric and sacrifice—unlike the folks back at Madison, Wisconsin.

All of which leads to the conclusion that the American spirit that embodies altruism, self-sacrifice, and generosity remains alive and well, if you know where to look for it. The best news is that you really don’t have to look very far.

— Dr. Marvin Folkertsma is a professor of political science and fellow for American studies with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. The author of several books, his latest release is a high-energy novel titled "The Thirteenth Commandment."

Work Days Planned for Pool Bathhouse

A Special meeting was held Tuesday May 24th, 7:00 p.m. at City Hall.
Present: Mayor Debbie Roach, Aldermen: Cathy James, Catherine Runde, Dennis Downing, and Bruce Downing. Clerk; Ayvonne Morin, Bridget Gibson, Craig & Gina McNeese, Bryson Scott.
Mayor called meeting to order.

Reorganization of Board: Dennis Downing made motion to reorganize duties, Catherine Runde department will be gas department, Cathy James, Pool/Parks, Dennis Downing, Streets/Bruce Downing: Water/Sewer/SW, Catherine Runde, seconded, motion carried.

Pool/Bathhouse: Dick VanVactor was present to give update on bathhouse project.
Dennis Downing made motion to bid out for labor only for sidewalks at the pool, city will supply materials: concrete, fill & rebar, Catherine Runde, seconded, motion carried.
Dick stated after the roof is on, they have volunteer work days on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, at 6:00 p.m. for anyone who is interested in volunteering.

Concession Lease: Catherine Runde made motion to charge $25.00 a week this season, to
lease the concession area, Cathy James, seconded, motion carried.

Cathy James made motion to adjourn and go into closed session pursuant to: 610 (3) employees, Catherine Runde, seconded, motion carried.

Closed Session: Cathy James made motion to hire three more lifeguards at minimum wage, Brooke Adams, Destiny Hern, and Bryson Scott, Catherine Runde, seconded, motion carried.

Cathy James made motion to adjourn closed session and meeting, Dennis Downing, seconded, motion carried. Meeting adjourned. 8:30 p.m.

Closed session minutes taken by Mayor Roach.

A Moment with Mike -- Missouri RX Extended

It has been over two weeks since we finished the first session of the 96th General Assembly where there were 149 bills that passed through the process and were sent to the Governor’s desk for signing. The summary of these bills was 193 pages long. We accomplished our goal of balancing the state budget without raising taxes and there were many initiatives that will affect the lives of Missourians. However, each of us would have a different opinion on the importance of a bill and what that affect may be. I will try to outline some of these bills in the coming weeks to give a better understanding of the content and consequences.

A bill that passed during the final week of the legislative session will help not only disabled Missourians but also low-income seniors. This bill will extend the highly successful Missouri Rx Plan. This program helps bridge the gap for approximately 226,000 low-income seniors and disabled residents so they can afford their prescription medications. There was much debate on whether to fund this $20 million dollar program and I received many letters and calls from concerned seniors. Funding was maintained and the program, which was set to expire this August, will continue on until 2014.
Another piece of legislation that passed in the final moments of the 2011 legislative session will expand gun rights for Missourians. This bill will lower the age requirement to carry a concealed gun from 23 to 21. Missouri put the age requirement of 23 into effect when the original concealed carry law was implemented in 2003. According to the National Rifle Association, that requirement is the highest among states that allow residents to carry a concealed weapon. Most states have an age requirement of 21, while some allow citizens as young as 18 to carry a concealed weapon. To help ensure the safe use of these weapons, the bill also increases the training requirements for an individual seeking a concealed gun permit.
A bill that did not receive a lot of attention but one that will make a profound difference in the lives of many will overhaul Missouri’s domestic violence laws for the first time in four decades. The bill approved was based on suggestions that came from a specially created task force organized by our state attorney general’s office.
One of their most important suggestions was a change to how Missouri handles orders of protection. Under this bill, judges will have additional authority to customize the terms of protection orders based on the particular facts of the situation. The legislation also ensures people seeking a protection order will not be charged filing fees when asking courts to enforce the orders.
Another important change contained in the bill will remove an expiration date for a program created in 2007 that gives victims of sexual assault, rape, stalking and domestic violence an alternative mailing address. The purpose of the program is to prevent abusers from tracking down victims through mail or public documents. It allows victims of abuse to have mail sent to the secretary of state’s office under the alternative address and then forwarded to their home. We want to continue to provide every protection we can to these victims and this legislation will help us to do that.
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 mike.thomson@house.mo.gov or by mail at Room 401B State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

Home Equity Loans: Do the Benefits Out Weigh the Costs?

Welcome to the Financial Success Spotlight, providing financial management information to help move your family toward financial success. This is Dr. Rebecca Travnichek, Family Financial Education Specialist with University of Missouri Extension, with this week’s spotlight.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) this week issued tips to help you shop for a variety of bank products and services by carefully evaluating your needs, contacting multiple institutions and reading the fine print before making a decision. In a special edition of the quarterly FDIC Consumer News, which is entitled “Shop and Save...at the Bank: A Buyer’s Guide to Finding the Right Loan, Credit Card or Deposit Account.” This publication provides information, strategies, and alternatives related to a variety of loans and credit sources.

According to Dr. Rebecca J. Travnichek, one loan, a home equity loan, can be an economical way of borrowing money because the interest rate is typically low and, for many people, the interest paid will be tax deductible. Home equity is the difference between the value of your home and how much you still owe on the mortgage(s). For example: if your home is appraised to be worth $250,000 but you owe $200,000 on your mortgage, your equity is $50,000. There is also a big risk involved with home equity loans. As with any mortgage loan, if you cannot make your payments, you can lose your home. FDIC recommends you consider a home equity product as a last resort. You should explore all other borrowing options first.

FDIC Consumer Affairs Specialist C. Lee Page says, “If a home equity product is not repaid, a creditor likely can foreclose on the home‒to sell the property to pay off what is owed.” Unfortunately, if the debt is not covered by the house sale, you will be responsible for making up the difference. For these reasons, you may wish to seek the assistance of a banker, financial planner or another advisor to research other funding sources.

Given the risks, it’s also best to limit your use of a home equity product to necessities, such as home improvements that will enhance the value of your property. You don’t want to risk your home by using the equity loan to pay for non-necessities, such as a vacation or a new TV.

There are two basic types of home equity products. One is a home equity line of credit, which allows homeowners to borrow up to a maximum amount, usually at a variable interest rate. The other option is a traditional “second mortgage,” which is a one-time home equity loan for a lump sum, typically with a fixed monthly payment.

The goal of FDIC Consumer News is to deliver timely, reliable and innovative tips and information about financial matters, free of charge. The Spring 2011 edition can be read or printed at www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnspr11.

For more information on this or any other topic, contact your local University of Missouri Extension office or email me at TravnichekR@missouri.edu. This has been Dr. Rebecca Travnichek, Family Financial Education Specialist for MU Extension with this week’s Financial Success Spotlight.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Obama Officials Outline Plan to Fight Gas Prices, End Foreign Oil Dependency

The House Oversight Committee conducted a hearing on the high gas prices last Tuesday with Chairman Darrell Issa claiming that President Obama was seeking to impose $8 per gallon gas and EPA Secretary Lisa Jackson and Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes saying that the Obama Administration was doing all they could do bring down gas prices.

Issa said that the problem was that Obama was trying to regulate what he was unable to legislate and trying to impose his environmental agenda. He said that the problem was that the country would be stuck trying to import fuel from hostile governments and impeding job creation. Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, on the other hand, said that we have a duty to leave a better planet to future generations. Recalling the devastating BP spill last year, he said that "there was nothing we could do but wait and pray for 87 days" until the spill was finally contained. He said that the spill in question devastated a Gulf economy that was already hit hard by Katrina and that it cost the region $100 billion per year. On top of that, he said that the high gas prices were making it harder for people to get to work. Quoting various sources including the American Petroleum Institute and Moody's, he said that it was not fair for Issa to blame Obama and that it was simply "a blatant attempt to score political points."

Cummings said that the Obama Administration was doing all it could to address the problem of high gas prices and that the one thing that they could do that would provide the most immediate benefits would be to crack down on what he said was rampant speculation that was driving up oil prices. Obama has already appointed a task force that is in the process of investigating that.

EPA Chief Lisa Jackson said that Americans were suffering at the pump and that, quoting Exxon, said that it was a product of high oil prices worldwide. Addressing calls to increase oil production, Ms. Jackson said that there was only so much that the country could do to address oil prices since they could never control more than a fraction of the world's oil reserves but that it was still better to buy American oil than it was to buy foreign oil.

Jackson said that oil production levels in the US are at their highest since 2003. She described the permitting process as a fast one that rarely got appealed or overruled and that the White House was doing all they could do expedite new oil permits. She said that another solution would be "Fracking," which she said would lead to a 50% increase in natural gas production. She said that natural gas production would be cleaner than current methods.

Despite the current high gas prices and the current state of the economy, Ms. Jackson said that the EPA still had a core mission to protect the environment as mandated by Congress; therefore, she said that the EPA would continue to step in and act if there was drilling that was a threat to residents. But she said that another thing that the EPA was doing was tightening up fuel mileage standards, which Jackson said would save billions of gallons of oil and thousands of dollars of savings to the American people in gas costs. She said that biofuels would further reduce consumptions.

David Hayes of the Department of Interior said that there was no quick fix to the present high gas prices and that it was better to follow a long-term energy plan than to panic when gas prices go up and then "hit the snooze button" when they go back down again. He said that the US has already done much to address high gas prices, including for the first time in US history, approve permits for utility-scale renewable energy projects around the country and offshore. He said that the US has already started making progress in getting the country off foreign oil; for instance, the amount of oil that the US has imported has gone from 57% in 2007 to under 50% now. Domestic offshore production has gone up by one third and onshore oil production has gone up 5%. He said that the US was committed to cutting back on foreign oil even more over the next few years.

Hayes said that there was ample opportunities to make even more headway because there were millions of acres both onshore and offshore that were available for development but that have not been used yet. He said that the government was continuing to schedule new lease sales and that they were looking at ways of creating more incentives for oil companies to participate. He said that the US was back in business in the gulf, saying that the permitting process was moving along just as fast as it was before the BP spill.

Test Results Negative for Equine Disease in Missouri

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has investigated the outbreak of an infectious virus affecting horses in several states, including Utah. Missouri does not have any confirmed or suspected cases of the infection at this time.

"We take animal health concerns very seriously and are following stringent biosecurity practices to protect Missouri's equine population," said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler, a lifelong horseman. "Horse owners should not be concerned for the welfare of their animals, but we encourage them to continue vigilant monitoring of their stock for signs of any illness."

On May 16, Missouri's State Veterinarian was notified that three horses had returned to a Boone County farm after being exposed to Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy during a show in Odgen, Utah. The horses were immediately isolated and placed under a veterinarian's care.

In additional, Missouri's State Veterinarian placed a hold order on the farm May 16, preventing animals at the facility from being transferred elsewhere.

Test results were negative for isolates of the EHV virus, and the horses showed no symptoms of infection.

Symptoms of EHV infection include: fever above 102 degrees, decreased coordination, nasal discharge, urine dribbling, loss of tail tone, hind limb weakness, loss of balance and lethargy.

EHV may affect horses, donkeys, llamas, mules and alpacas. It does not affect humans or cattle. However, humans may spread the virus on hands and clothing.

The approximately 30 horses on the property remain under close observation, including twice-daily temperature checks. None have shown symptoms of EHV infection.

Events, including horse shows, trail rides and other equine gatherings may proceed at the discretion of the group hosting the event. The Missouri Department of Agriculture recommends that organizers consider event details, including the number of participants from outside Missouri, when making decisions and that a licensed veterinarian inspect all equines upon their arrival to the event facility.

Owners with questions about the condition of their animals should contact their veterinarian or the Missouri Department of Agriculture's Division of Animal Health at (573) 751-3377.

For more information on the Missouri Department of Agriculture and its programs, visitmda.mo.gov.

Senator Blunt On Budget Votes: It’s Time To Work Together To Right Our Nation’s Economy

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) issued the following statement today in response to the four budget votes this evening, all of which failed to pass:

“While I did not agree with any of these budget proposals in their entirety, I voted to continue the debate on the plan introduced by my colleague, Senator Pat Toomey, and the House Republican budget because they both represent good starting points for this critical debate.

"Clearly, the worst option that we voted on tonight was President Obama’s budget, which every U.S. Senator – including every member of the President’s own party – voted against.

“Unfortunately, this process did not move the debate forward, and Senate Democrat leaders have failed to pass a budget in more than 750 days. Meanwhile, American families and job creators continue to face great uncertainty as the President and his party threaten to raise taxes to cover the billions of dollars in new spending contained in the President’s budget blueprint.

“It’s time to move forward and work together to right our nation’s economy. That means establishing a plan that balances the budget in the next decade, encourages private sector job creation, and provides greater certainty for small businesses struggling to make ends meet.

“None of these decisions will be easy, but everything should be on the table. We owe it to the families and job creators in Missouri and across America to rein in Washington’s spending and start paying down our debt.”

Carnahan Seeks Return of Over $6 Million to Investors from Missouri Pet Food Company

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan today announced a Cease and Desist Order against Frank Renick and his companies in Montgomery City, Mo., for allegedly selling more than $6 million in unregistered stocks and bonds, and for allegedly misleading at least 700 investors in more than four states about those products.

According to the Cease and Desist Order issued by officials in Carnahan’s Securities Division, Renick organized a series of corporations, including Spectrum Pet Care, Inc., Spectrum Pet Foods, Inc., and SPC Brands, Inc., to manufacture and sell natural and organic pet food and treats, as well as pet care and animal health care products. However, some of the investments were not registered and Renick allegedly failed to disclose to investors that Spectrum had little revenue. Renick also allegedly used his investors’ funds to pay off previous investors and to pay personal expenses.

“My office will continue to go after everyone who misleads Missourians into investing with them,” Carnahan said. “Anyone offering an investment first must register with my office and fully disclose what they are selling. Before you turn over any of your savings, call my Investor Protection Hotline to make sure the offer is legitimate.”

According to the order, Renick told investors that Spectrum Pet Foods would “go public” and its stock value would double at that time, and that the stock could be sold back to the company at any time. The order alleges that Renick is currently attempting to raise funds in the State of California under the business name Consolidated Food Group, Inc., in order to pay back those individuals who invested in Spectrum.

Renick convinced a 62-year-old St. Louis resident to both personally invest $20,000 in stock and purchase $25,000 in Spectrum bonds through the St. Louis resident’s corporation, according to the order. The order also states that at different times from 2007-2010, Renick told the investor that Spectrum was going to merge with an international pet food and candy manufacturer, that he had meetings set up with a billion-dollar agriculture and home improvement retailer, and a worldwide convenience store chain contacted Renick about putting Spectrum products in 3,300 stores. Securities Division investigators contacted the agriculture retailer, which said Renick scheduled a meeting but didn’t show up, and the convenience store chain, which said that the company hadn’t placed Spectrum products in its stores and never agreed to do so.

The order also states that a 74-year-old Kansas City, Mo., resident invested $20,000 with Renick in a Spectrum bond after seeing an advertisement about the opportunity in a newspaper. Renick allegedly told the investor that Spectrum was doing “wonderfully” and would sell products at major, national stores. He is charged with failing to tell the investor of the risks of the investment or the financial condition of the company and with failing to honor the terms of the bond.

Renick and his companies face up to $40,000 in penalties and costs, and the possibility of being ordered to pay in excess of $6 million in restitution to harmed investors. Respondents have 30 days to request a hearing and contest this matter. The Securities Division is cooperating closely in this matter with other law enforcement and government agencies.

For more information regarding investments and fraud protection, or for information regarding a company or representative, visit the Secretary of State’s online Investor Protection Center at www.MissouriSafeSavings.com or call the toll free Investor Protection Hotline at 1-800-721-7996.

Three Initiative Petitions Approved for Circulation for 2012 Ballot

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan today announced that two initiative petitions relating to citizen initiative petitions and one initiative petition relating to prevention of racial profiling have met state standards for circulation.

The ballot titles for the two petitions relating to citizen initiative petitions read:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to prohibit the repeal or amendment by the General Assembly of a statute enacted by citizen initiative passed by the voters of Missouri, except by either a three-fourths vote of the members of each house or a vote of the people through a referendum or unless such statute explicitly provides that the general assembly may repeal or amend it by a majority vote of the members of each house?
The proposal is estimated to result in no direct costs or savings to state and local governmental entities.

The petitions, which would amend Article III of the Missouri Constitution, were submitted by Ms. Anne Adams, P.O. Box 190201, St. Louis, MO 63119.

The ballot title for the petition relating to prevention of racial profiling reads:

Shall Missouri law be amended to require law enforcement agencies to take steps to prevent racial profiling that include implementing a complaint process, requiring corrective action for violators, and providing certain information about traffic or pedestrian stops to the Attorney General for an annual report to the Governor, legislature and law enforcement agencies?
Compliance with this proposal may result in state and local law enforcement agencies purchasing/upgrading computer software or purchasing cameras for law enforcement vehicles. Those costs will vary by agency based on prior expenditures for these items and compliance decisions made.

The petition, which would amend Chapter 590 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, was submitted Citizens Against Racial Profiling, Michael Moore, PO Box 220314, St. Louis, MO 63122, 314-617-8714.

Before any statutory changes can be brought before Missouri voters in the November 2012 election, signatures must be obtained from registered voters equal to five (5) percent of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor's election from six of the state's nine congressional districts. For constitutional changes, signatures must be obtained from registered voters equal to eight (8) percent of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor's election from six of the state's nine congressional districts.

Signatures on behalf of all initiative petitions for the 2012 ballot are due to the Secretary of State’s office by no later than 5 p.m. on May 6, 2012.

Before circulating petitions, state law requires that groups must first have the form of their petition approved by the Secretary of State and Attorney General. The Secretary of State then prepares a summary statement of no more than 100 words and the State Auditor prepares a fiscal impact statement, both of which are subject to the approval of the Attorney General. When both statements are approved, they become the official ballot title.

Opinion: Constitutional Amendment Filed to Protect Missouri Voters

by Your Vote Counts

In response to the continued attempts of a handful of career politicians to overrule the will of Missouri voters, the Voter Protection Alliance has filed a constitutional amendment to provide greater protections for voter-approved initiatives.

The Voter Protection Act would require a three-fourths vote in both the House and the Senate, or a vote of the people by referendum, in order for the legislature to repeal or amend a citizen initiative. The group plans to gather signatures to qualify the measure for the November 2012 ballot.

State legislators in Jefferson City have been working to repeal or weaken citizen-approved ballot measures on issues such as puppy mills, clean energy, school funding and minimum wage. The Voter Protection Act fact sheet has more details on these repeal efforts. The Voter Protection Act is a response to these threats to the voting rights of Missouri citizens. The measure has been endorsed by groups from the left to the right who are concerned about protecting the will of the people and the integrity of the ballot initiative process, including Citizens in Charge, The Humane Society of the United States, ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), Americans for Tax Reform, National Taxpayers Union, U.S. Term Limits, Stop Child Predators, and Americans for Limited Government.

“A narrow legislative majority should not override the vote of millions of Missourians,” said State Representative Scott Sifton, D-96, who supports the Voter Protection Act and has introduced a similar measure in the legislature. “The time has come for the Missouri Constitution to protect the will of the voters.”

The Voter Protection Act would provide constitutional protections for citizen ballot initiatives similar to those that exist in other states. The measure still allows the state legislature to exercise its legislative authority, and if there are major problems with an initiative they will be able to build consensus for a three-fourths vote. But it adds a layer of accountability and a higher threshold so the will of the people cannot be simply discarded with a narrow vote of the legislature.

Missouri is one of only ten states that allow the state legislature to amend or repeal an initiative statute at any time after its adoption by a simple majority of both houses. A number of other states—including Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming—limit the legislature’s ability to unilaterally ignore the will of the voters.

“Elected officials should be accountable to the voters, not the other way around. Yet, the Missouri legislature has too often amended or completely overturned initiatives adopted by the voters,” said Paul Jacob, president of Citizens in Charge. “Citizens need to protect their votes so career politicians in Jefferson City cannot simply substitute their judgment for the wisdom of Missouri citizens. With the Voter Protection Act, the voice of the people will not be so easily drowned out in the capitol.”

“The Missouri Senate has voted to repeal the puppy mill measure passed last November before the law has even had a chance to take effect, just as lawmakers tried to repeal the voter-approved ban on cockfighting,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “If politicians are so easily able to defy the will of the voters and dismantle these measures, than what other issues will be next?”

“This amendment insures that when ‘We the People’ speak through the initiative process, the politicians can't silence our speech,” stated Joe Maxwell, a Mexico, Mo. hog farmer, and former lieutenant governor, who supports the amendment.

“When Missourians pass a ballot measure, their vote should be respected. That’s why we need to pass the Voter Protection Act, which will require legislators to reach a 3/4ths vote of the legislature or get voter approval before amending or repealing a voter-enacted measure,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Protecting initiative rights is critically important for Missouri taxpayers.”

“The proposed measure limiting the power of the General Assembly to undo laws enacted by the people is one of the most important steps that can be taken to ensure a truly limited and responsive government,” said Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government. “All too often those in power ignore the people and act as though a popular initiative vote is merely ‘advisory.’ Politicians are servants of the people, not the other way around. Americans for Limited Government wholeheartedly supports and endorses the Voter Protection Act.”

“The proposed Voter Protection Act is a vital move to ensure the people of Missouri keep their right to enact laws by initiative,” said Phil Blumel, president of U.S. Term Limits. “Politicians have long craved the ability to kill the initiative rights. The enactment of the Voter Protection Act is crucial to the defense of the fundamental principle on which our nation was founded. All term limits supporters in Missouri should strongly back this amendment and I encourage all citizens to enact this common sense reform.”

"The popular initiative process has proven to be a vital and valuable tool for citizen activists seeking to limit taxes and spending,” said Duane Parde, president of the National Taxpayers Union. “Unfortunately too many elected officials would rather see this tool tossed away or fall into disuse. That's why the Voter Protection Amendment truly can be called the Taxpayer Protection Amendment."

“Missourians should be confident that their vote will be honored,” said ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. “The ballot initiative process, such as with Proposition B, reflects the power that concerned citizens have to participate in legislative reform, and lawmakers shouldn’t be permitted to subvert the judgment of voters in favor of special interests.”

“Missouri politicians should be ashamed of themselves for attempting to overturn the will of the voters,” said Stacie Rumenap, president of Stop Child Predators. “Kudos to everyone who’s supporting the Voter Protection Act which should help remind our elected officials they’re accountable to voters, and not the other way around.”

The main section of the Voter Protection Act would add the following language to the state constitution:

“A statute enacted by citizen initiative pursuant to this article shall not be repealed or amended by the general assembly, except by either a three-fourths vote of the members of each house or a vote of the people through a referendum or unless such statute explicitly provides that the general assembly may repeal or amend it by a majority vote of the members of each house. This section shall apply prospectively to actions of the general assembly relating to statutes enacted by citizen initiative pursuant to this article, whether the initiative statute was enacted before or is enacted after the effective date of this section.”

More information is available at protectvoters.com.