Saturday, January 14, 2012

Soybean & Corn Growers Meeting January 23rd

The Missouri Corn Growers Association and Missouri Soybean Association will be holding an information meeting for local growers. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 23, beginning with registration at 8:15AM. The meeting will be held at the Ramada Inn in St. Joseph and the meeting will begin at 9AM. The meeting is open to all growers and growers of surrounding states.
The keynote speaker of the meeting will be Dan Basse, president of Ag Resource, from Chicago. This is a great opportunity to hear what is happening in the markets and what to look for the coming year. His company is recognized as one of the worlds leading market services.
The program starts with a legislative update by Congressman Graves. This is a great opportunity to obtain an update of what is happening in Washington and what issues the Congress will be dealing with.
Next will be Dr. Tamara Jackson, University of Nebraska Plant Pathologists, will discuss Goss’s wilt and provide a corn fungicide update. Goss’s wilt is a devastating corn disease that is moving eastward.
Estate law changes are important with land ownership. Steven Briggs, Attorney of Law will discuss changes and provide an update.
Recovery and management of flooded soils will be next on the program. The topic will be handled by Wayne Flanary, Regional Agronomist, University of Missouri Extension.
Gary Marshall and Gary Wheeler with the Missouri Corn Growers will provide an update on work that is being conducted by the organization for its members.
After lunch provided by area agricultural business sponsors, Alan Dutcher, University of Nebraska Climatologist will provide insight into the 2012 weather and its impact on growing season. Our keynote speaker, Dan Basse, will be last on the program providing opportunity now only for informative presentation but also an opportunity of growers to ask questions.
For more information, contact Morris Heitman at 660-442-3726, Missouri Corn Growers Association Board member or Kevin Hurst at 660-736-4894, Missouri Corn Merchandising Council Board Member.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Jack Remembers -- Don't Give a Fig

Recently I did an article copying a critical letter sent to me by a person who would not sign his name. I had several responses to the column and published one letter written by a nice woman by the name of Judi Hale. I also published comments from the former Mayor of Oak Grove, John Humphrey.

Since then, I have received two more anonymous letters from this same person who is now also criticizing these two people.

“What’s that with your old buddy the Mayor. Wasn’t that a bit strong? You don’t know me, he doesn’t know me. I don’t give a fig if you know the President, my opinion still stands.” About Judi he says, “I’m not spineless or am I bitter and whatever the good sister called me, and shame on her. I say, she needs to go say a few ‘Hail Mary’s’. Oh, by the way sister, Jesus does see every spot because we are to be spotless.” One thing about it, his last statement in the letter is, “See you in Friday’s paper.”

In response to the following letter, I have written “Jack Remembers” since 1997, and am approaching 750 articles. They have never been compiled and I am not even sure we could find them all. We also now have a website,

Hello Jack

My husband and I both enjoy your weekly articles in The Concordian as we lived those same years (he is 75 and I am 72). It’s one of the first things we look for in the paper and when it’s missing we are disappointed. I’ve been saving a stack of papers with the intention of clipping all these articles out one day and putting them in a scrapbook, but I would rather buy a book if you would put all these in a book. Then I could buy your book, get you to autograph it and pitch the newspapers in the recycle bin.

Have you written any books with your life stories that you publish in newspapers? We’d like very much to have one.

Thanks, Wanita and Archie Wayne Blumhorst, Slater

Jack can be reached at PO Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075, or, or visit

Great Northwest Days Sets Legislative Agenda

As legislators are gearing up for a new season in Jefferson City, so too are the citizens of Northwest Missouri. Over the past few months, the Great Northwest Day at the Capitol Steering Committee gathered and prioritized legislative issues for the region’s annual visit to the state capitol city on January 31-February 1, 2012.

At this event, approximately 350 people from the 18-county region will visit Jefferson City to make their regional voice heard in a single, cohesive message. Great Northwest Day’s legislative platform for the upcoming event includes the following priorities:

· Transportation and Infrastructure Funding: Maintain adequate funding to service and maintain our highways and lettered routes as well as support efforts to reconstruct levees in the areas affected by recent Missouri River flooding.

Consider tools to enhance the efforts of the Missouri Department of Transportation and continue support of county transportation efforts such as Bridge Replacement Off-System (BRO) and County Aid Road Trust (CART) programs. Additionally, support resolutions to encourage the Federal Government, United States Corps of Engineers to dedicate additional resources to rebuilding flood protection levees along the Missouri River.

· Statewide 9-1-1 Wireless Emergency Services: Design a complete, detailed, and integrated plan that includes a user fee on wireless devices for upgrading statewide 9-1-1 emergency services.

· Unfunded or underfunded mandates on local entities: Local governments and educational institutions are a mainstay of our society. As such we encourage State leadership to resist efforts to erode fiscal support of local city and county governments as well as our institutions of primary and higher education.

The criteria for reviewing regional issues included legislative impact, overarching regional impact, non-partisan perspective and timeliness of concern. Local issues were collected by County Coordinators and then compiled by a volunteer committee. Those issues were then regionally defined and sent back to County Coordinators and the steering committee for additional input before being established as Legislative Priorities for the event. The three priorities will be monitored as Great Northwest Day nears, and the message to legislators will be further refined during that time.

Great Northwest Day at the Capitol is an annual legislative event that includes introduction on the Missouri House and Senate floors, time with legislators, an educational luncheon, and an evening event inviting all of Missouri’s legislators and department heads to meet with citizens from the Northwest Missouri region.

Worth County Elementary Awards, 2nd Quarter

4th Grade: Natalie Carlson, Merrideth Spiers, Kristin New, Liz Young.
6th Grade: Ryan McClellan, Grace Schottel, Keegan Warner, Shelby Steele.
4th Grade: Gabe Latham, Kaylee McElvain, Lauren Moore, Tanner Parman, Regan Allee, Evan Funk, Anna Gladstone, Johnny Mancuso, Hannah McElvain, Zoey Morin.
5th Grade: Grace McElvain, Bryant McCord, Caleb Parman, Jessi Badell, Ashlyn Barnett, Abbi Caddenhead, Wyatt Frese, Kennedy Galanakis, Haley Hunt, Wyatt Latham, Issac Alarcon, Jeremy Wimer, Jacob New, Drake Simmons.
6th Grade: Cade Allee, Chase LaFollette, Drew Martell, Aubrey Ragan, Jimmy Raymond, Dallas Steele, Darbi Weddle, Will Engel, Mason Hawk, Jayden Mancuso, Drake Kinsella, Kayla Luschen, Bobby Lynch, Wayde Parman.
4th Grade: Natalie Carlson, Merridth Spiers, Evan Funk, Anna Gladstone, Hannah McElvain, Ethan Thomas.
5th Grade: Jessi Badell, Haley Hunt, Drake Simmons, Jeremy Wimer.
6th Grade: Chase LaFollette
Kindergarten: Robby Findley, Kolton Smith.
First Grade: Hailey Adwell, Elizabeth Brown, John Galanakis, Asher Morin.
Second Grade: Cooper Chapman, Aydan Gladstone, James Gladstone, Molly Miller, Lincoln Moore, Rebecca Parman, Chandler Rennells, Cooper Simmons, Jackson Smith
Third Grade: Keelin Engel, Reid Gabriel, Allison Larison
Fourth Grade: Avery Gabriel, Gabe Latham, Lauren Moore, Daniel Craven, Anna Gladstone, Jenna Smith, Ethan Thomas, Liz Young
Fifth Grade: Issac Alarcon, Kennedy Galanakis, Bryant McCord, Rilee Rush
Sixth Grade: Aubrey Ragan, Keegan Warner

Clerk to Move Fletchall Precinct Line

Presiding Commissioner Findley called the meeting to order at 9:03 am.

1. Commissioner Rob Ruckman made a motion to approve the amended minute. Clerk Owens changed the word dozer to the word grader in Jim Fletchall report. Commissioner Dennis Gabbert seconded. All in favor, motion carried.
2. Commissioner Rob Ruckman reported the gas prices from MFA as gas $2.999 and diesel $3.629
3. Treasurer Linda Brown presented the Weekly Balance Sheet.
4. Lee Dumke came to discuss his brush letter. Commissioners agreed to let him do one area now; from the barn to the existing clean area, then do the next area in October.
5. Rick Ridge, James Ridge, and Max Garrett came to discuss CR 35/Elk Avenue. The commissioners explained the emergency rock program to them.
6. Road and Bridge Supervisor Jim Fletchall report:
· The road crew got the bridge out and tube in on CR 249/150th road.
· Fletchall called about getting an appraisal on the grader, he was told that the best way is to take the highest price and the lowest price on Machine Trader and average them together to get a price.
· Fletchall called Tom Weller from Great Bend Kansas about loader buckets. They have some in the $300.-$500. price range.
7. Rip, from Metal Culverts stopped by to discus tube needs for the county.
8. Commissioner Rob Ruckman made a motion to adjourn at 11:35 pm. Commissioner Dennis Gabbert seconded. All in favor, motion carried.

Presiding Commissioner Ted Findley opened the afternoon session of the meeting at 1:45.
9. The commissioners looked over the budget and discussed a new county barn with Jim Fletchall.
10. Clerk Roberta Owens presented a proposal to move the precinct line between East and West Fletchall to remove the jog that was put in place back when the Firehouse was used as a polling place. The line now runs down Main Street to 3rd street, and then goes west two blocks, south one block, and then east two blocks to reconnect to Main Street. There are no voters in the area that it will affect. The State no longer requires the polling place be on a line between the two areas. Commissioner Dennis Gabbert made a motion to move the district line so that it comes straight down Main Street. Commissioner Rob Ruckman seconded. All in favor, motion carried. Clerk Owens will check with the County Attorney to see what else needs to be done to complete the project.
11. Commissioner Dennis Gabbert made a motion to adjourn at 5:00 pm. Commissioner Rob Ruckman seconded. All in favor, motion carried.

State tax revenues drop below projections

State revenue collections dropped more than two percent last month compared to December 2010 according to the General Revenue report released Thursday.

The 2.1 percent drop is unwelcome news to a General Assembly already faced with a budget shortfall of nearly $455 million from the last fiscal year. State Budget Director Linda Luebbering described the revenue report with one word -- "bad."

Overall, year-to-date General Revenue collections saw a 1.2 percent gain compared to the last fiscal year. The gain, however, is still small compared to the estimated 3.6 percent revenue growth for fiscal year 2012 projected by top budget officials a year ago.

The hardest hit revenue area in 2011 was in corporate income tax receipts, which dipped 10.5 percent for the month of December. Sales tax receipts dipped 4 percent last month despite the Christmas holiday shopping season.

The fiscal year 2013 budget was already facing a decrease of $650 million from last year due to the use of one-time federal money that has now run out. The state budget took another hit when matching federal funds for Medicaid reimbursement decreased, leaving a $90 million hole.

The 3.9 percent projected revenue growth would bring $285 million to help offset the projected shortfall. Luebbering expressed confidence in the government's ability to handle the crisis.

"I don't really talk about it in terms of a shortfall because when the governor presents his budget it will be balanced," Luebbering said.

In order to combat the budget hole, Luebbering said that Medicaid cuts would be on the table despite some restrictions imposed by the federal government.

When states accepted money to help balanced their budgets in 2009, the federal government prevented them from cutting many Medicaid benefits, including cuts in eligibility. One state--Maine--is defying the federal government by cutting eligibility, a cut Luebbering said will not happen in Missouri.

"We would not want to jeopardize our federal money we get for the Medicaid program," Luebbering said.

Missourians will get their first glimpse into solving the budget shortfall when the Governor presents his budget plan Jan. 17. The General Assembly then has until May 11 to pass the 2013 state operating budget.

Education is cited as the top issue for Missouri's 2012 session

The top leaders of Missouri's legislature cited education funding as the "must-pass" issue for the 2012 session in interviews before the start of the legislative session.

"I've been here eight years and every year that we try to fix the broken schools with a different idea and all you hear is 'no.' And what ends up happening is that we get the status quo and we shuffle thousands of kids through failing schools," House Speaker Steve Tilley said in an interview the day before the start of the legislative session.

Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer was just as forceful. "We must also address the revolving door of dropouts and failed policies in our state's two largest school districts: St. Louis and Kansas City. Both have a decades-old cycle of failing their students," Mayer said in an address to the Senate on the legislature's opening day.

Under state law, children in those unaccredited districts have the right to attend schools in any other district -- an issue that has raised concerns from St. Louis County school districts.

One alternative idea proposed in the Senate would to split up one or both of the urban districts among the outlying, accredited suburban districts.

Other lawmakers have proposed alternatives to public schools for students in the unaccredited districts.

On the first day of the session, Tilley added some school-choice proponents to the House Education Committee.

But the "school choice" or "voucher" idea was rejected decisively by the House in the past.

In 2007, the House defeated a proposal pushed by then-Gov. Matt Blunt to provide tax credits for parents in St. Louis and Kansas City to send their children to private schools.

The House Education Committee Chair, Maynard Wallace, R-Thornfield, a former school superintendent and principal, was among the opponents. More than one-third of the House Republicans along with an overwhelming majority of Democrats voted against the Republican governor's plan.

Also facing the state lawmakers is a problem funding the School Foundation Formula, which allocates funds among local school districts.

The goal of the formula, to equalize per-student spending among school districts, has failed because the state has been unable to sustain the level of funding increases required to achieve that goal.

Past efforts to fix the formula have run into opposition from legislators representing richer districts that would suffer state funding reductions in order to shift money to poorer districts.

A group of lawmakers has been working on crafting a new approach. However Mayer conceded that some opposition remains in his chamber's GOP caucus.

Missouri's General Assembly begins, legislative leaders cite the budget, education and business as the top agenda.

In opening-day addresses on Wednesday [Jan. 4], the top leaders of Missouri's House and Senate cited similar issues as top priorities for lawmakers to resolve -- education funding, the budget and pro-business legislation.

The legislature's regular session begins just a few months after lawmakers failed in the summer special session to pass the governor's package of business tax breaks for economic development.

Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer said that failure has created an incentive for the regular session. "A lot of legislators, including myself, were disappointed that we didn't get done what we wanted to during special session and that gives us the incentive to get some things done in this new session," Mayer said.

Both Mayer and House Speaker Steve Tilley stressed bi-partisan cooperation in their opening-day remarks.

"In seven years, I've done my best to foster bi-partisanship," Tilley told his colleagues. "When I go back to private life, my fondest memories will not be the bills I help pass or even the fights we won on the floor. Instead, it will be the moments of friendship I shared with both Republicans and Democrats, both House members and Senate members."

On the Senate side, Republican Mayer had the Senate's Democratic leader, Victor Callahan, join Republican leaders in the pre-session news conference.

Both Mayer and Tilley are serving their final year in their chambers -- blocked by term limits from seeking re-election.

The one note of partisan disagreement came on the Republican leaders' push for swift passage of a pro-business agenda.

"You're not going to bring back prosperity by lowering the middle class's wages and taking away their rights," Callahan said.

Among the biggest challenges facing lawmakers will be to balance the budget with what budget officials estimate will be a $500 million or larger shortfall in revenue.

For the last few years, the state has been balancing its budget with federal economic recovery money that has been used up. In addition, the federal government is lowering the share of funding it picks up for Medicaid that covers health care costs for the lower income. The federal government also has restricted states from making cuts in the program.

Legislative budget leaders have warned that higher education likely will suffer the brunt of the resulting budget cuts. In December, Gov. Jay Nixon's administration floated the idea of borrowing money from the state's larger universities to help cover the budget shortfall. The idea quickly was rejected by legislative budget leaders and ultimately was dropped by Nixon.

Nixon is scheduled to present his budget plan to lawmakers on Jan. 17. The legislative session adjourns in mid-May.

Republican legislative leaders vowed that tax increases were off the table for dealing with the budget shortfall.

Missouri Master Naturalist class offered in St. Joseph

The Loess Hills Chapter for the Missouri Master Naturalist program will offer training sessions for those interested in volunteer service to conservation.

Master Naturalists assist with wildlife and fisheries habitat improvements, guided hikes, special events and educational presentations. The program is a partnership between participants, the Missouri Department of Conservation and the University of Missouri Extension Service.

An informational meeting about becoming a Master Naturalist will be held at 6 p.m. on Jan. 31 at the MDC Northwest Regional Office, 701 James McCarthy Drive on the Missouri Western State University campus in St. Joseph.

To become a certified Master Naturalist, a participant must attend classes, donate 40 hours of approved volunteer service and take eight hours of advanced training within one year. Initial training includes classes in subjects such as ecology, native plants and wildlife.

The Loess Hills Chapter training will be held from 5:30 to 9 p.m. each Tuesday evening starting on Feb. 28 and ending on May 22. The training also includes field trips as well as classroom sessions. There is an initial $100 fee for chapter membership to cover the costs of books and activities.

For more information or to request an application, contact T.J. Peacher at 816-271-3100 or

Make 2012 Your Year to Save Money

It’s hard to believe another holiday season has come and gone; and a new year begun. According to Dr. Rebecca J. Travnichek, Family Financial Education Specialist with University of Missouri Extension, a new year often brings new resolutions to improve your health and your wealth. The new year also tends to highlight diminished bank accounts and larger than anticipated credit card statements. Are you determined to take care of your finances and save money in 2012? Not sure how to go about changing your financial situation? The website,, has numerous publications to help you KEEP your hard-earned money and become more financially stable is 2012.
Here are four such resources to get you started:
Whether you’re just starting out, or considering retirement, “Money Tips for all Ages” provides great guidance. It is designed to meet you where you currently are in life, be it a teenager learning about income; running your own household in your 30s, 40s, and 50s; or wondering how to best manage your golden years.
Regardless of your age or how much money you have, it’s important to know about your credit report–how to access it, and what it means. “Credit Reporting 101” will guide you through obtaining your free credit report, and making changes, should you find any errors.
Normally, you choose a bank to help keep your money safe and to build savings faster. But make sure you’re alert for hidden fees and penalties, as “Bank Accounts are Changing.” A good place to start looking for costs you can avoid is to find out if there is a limit on the number of checks you may write each month or on debit card transactions.
There are lots of ways to save when using your credit card or getting a bank loan. “51 Ways to Save Hundreds on Loans and Credit Cards” encourages you to set up automatic payments from your checking account to help avoid accidental late fees on a credit card, or to consolidate multiple student loans into one with a lower interest rate.
University of Missouri Extension also has numerous resources and workshops to help you manage your money, save for retirement, recognize scams, identify predatory lending practices, protect your identity, and much more. For more information, contact your local University of Missouri Extension office or email me at