The Texas State Board of Education recently approved new social studies standards that call into question the separation of church and state.
Voters in the city of Lancaster, Calif., overwhelmingly approved a measure in favor of the City Council’s practice of opening its meetings with prayer.
The House and Senate passed resolutions approving the inscription of the words, “Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C.” and “One nation under God” in prominent areas of new
All of these actions represent, in various forms, reactions and counter-reactions to the decades-long trend toward the removal of religious symbols and expression from the public sphere. The ongoing self-regenerating conflicts are part of the broader “culture wars” in America, pitting those who favor greater inclusion of religious expression in public life against those who favor secularization and a strict separation of church and state. The battles are fought out in the courts, the media and the public square (i.e. “Happy Holidays” vs. “Merry Christmas.”)
The University of Massachusetts Press book, Religious Liberty in America: The First Amendment in Historical and Contemporary Perspective by Bruce T. Murray, analyzes the culture wars in the context of America’s longstanding debate over religion in public life. The controversy, as Murray shows, is nothing new. For more than 200 years, Americans have disagreed about the proper role of religion in public life and where to draw the line between . In this volume, Murray re-examines these debates and distills the volumes of commentary and case law they have generated.
“As an issue that touches almost every human life – in America and beyond – the debates about religious freedom and their applications are far from ‘purely academic’, rather they have real, on-the-ground consequences. It seems necessary then that the history and current concerns regarding religious freedom in America be clearly understood prior to weighing in on the contentious contemporary debates. This is precisely the task of Bruce T. Murray’s 2008 work, Religious Liberty in America; one that he accomplishes with impartiality and insight.”
—Brandon M. Crowe, Ph.D., School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, Arizona State University
(from Reviews in Religion & Theology, History and , Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Vol. 17, Issue 2, 2010)
Monday, May 31, 2010
The rain started about 2:50 or so. That's about the time I was midway through my lunch break. The store provided pizza on this holiday, and I ate some in the employee break room before going out to the car to listen to the radio and read a little. It wasn't raining when I went out; in fact, the sun was beating down the car and I was wondering if maybe I oughtn't to take my book inside to read. All of a sudden, the sun went behind a cloud and the rain started pouring.
It slacked off some by the time I had to go back in around 3:20, but I still got good and wet walking across the parking lot.
I'm not complaining. I don't have to water the plants tonight.
The Internet has cut into those profits, especially money made by newspapers, which are the dinosaurs of journalism. Now, according to Jeff Jarvis, who writes something called the BuzzMachine blog, the government's Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is looking at ways to save big media companies financially, and it doesn't look like this movement will do much to protect the people's right to know what the government is doing to them.
What disturbs me most in this section is that the FTC frets about “difficult line-drawing being proprietary facts and those in the public domain.” Proprietary facts? Is it starting down a road of trying to enable someone to own a fact the way the patent office lets someone own a method or our DNA? Good God, that’s dangerous.
Jarvis takes a look at some of the specifics in the FTC's plan:
* Government subsidies. After saluting the history of government subsidies for the press — namely, postal discounts, legal notice publication, assorted tax breaks, and funds for public broadcasting — the agency looks at other ideas: a journalism AmeriCorps paying journalists; increased funding for public broadcasting; a national fund for local news suggested in Columbia’s report on journalism; a tax credit for employing journalists; citizen news vouchers (a la campaign checkoff); grants to universities for reporting. It also looks at increasing the present postal subsidy (which would only further bankrupt the dying postal service in the service of dying publications); using Voice of America and Radio Free Europe content (aka propaganda) in the U.S.; and enabling the SBA to help nonprofits.
* Taxes. At least the FTC acknowledges that somebody’d have to pay for all this. In one section, the FTC looks at licensing the news: having ISPs levy a fee on us that the government then dolls out to its selected news purveyors — call that the internet tax. It’snothing but a tax and it would support incumbents surely. In another section, it examines the aforementioned iPad tax; a tax on the broadcast spectrum; a spectrum auction tax; a tax on ISPs and cell phones; and a tax on advertising (brilliant: taking a cut of the last support of news in America).
* New tax status. The document spends much space looking at ways to make journalism a tax-exempt activity and suggests the IRS should change its regulations to enable that. It also looks at changing tax law to enable hybrid corporations (“benefit” and “flexible purpose” corporations that can judge success on serving a mission and not just maximizing profits) as well as L3Cs.
It boils down to this one fact: If you think the mainstream media companies are untrustworthy now, wait until the government gets ahold of them.
Moreover, not even your own hometown newspaper will be exempt, because it is very likely owned by a national chain, like the GateHouse chain that owns all the papers around here, that I would bet will have its hand out for government bailouts/subsidies/exemptions/etc.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
After church, I recorded .50 inch and then emptied the rain gauge.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
The current temperature is 85, and that's what it's supposed to be throughout the next week. Hardly enough to warrant the big fan, but I can foresee the mercury creeping up into the 90s. That's the time to bring out the big'un.
Friday, May 28, 2010
A number of fungi can cause foliage diseases on corn, like leaf spots and/or leaf blights, but the method of management all depends on the growth stage of the corn.
“In general, if foliage diseases do not become established until six weeks after tasseling, yield losses are minimal. If a foliar disease is established before tasseling or becomes severe within two to three weeks of tasseling, yield losses may occur,” said Jay Chism, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
The fungi that cause most corn foliage diseases survive in corn residues left on the soil surface.
According to Chism, spores are produced during moist periods and are carried to corn leaves where the infection begins again.
“Disease problems are more severe in fields where corn is planted in fields with infested residue left on the soil surface,” said Chism.
Although most foliage diseases are the result of infested residue in the field, common rust and southern rust are exceptions.
“The rust fungi do not survive on local residue, but are reintroduced into southwest Missouri each season from southern states,” said Chism.
Southern rust pustules are found primarily on the upper leaf surfaces, less frequently on lower leaf surfaces. When southern rust is severe, leaves and leaf sheaths may yellow and die prematurely. Damage tends to be more severe on late-planted corn or late-maturing hybrids.
“Common rust does not typically require control, so it is important to make the correct diagnosis before deciding to apply a fungicide,” said Chism.
Management options for corn foliage diseases include: planting disease-resistant corn hybrids, rotating crops with at least one year between corn crops, managing corn residues and applying foliar fungicides if warranted.
For more information about using fungicides on corn contact the nearest University of Missouri Extension Center or any of these MU Extension agronomy specialists in southwest Missouri: Tim Schnakenberg in Stone County, (417) 357-6812; Jay Chism in Barton County, (417) 682-3579; John Hobbs in McDonald County, (417) 223-4775 or Brie Menjoulet in Hickory County, (417) 745-6767.
The corn fields east of Lamar were scouted by Jay Chism, an agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension, on May 24 and are showing signs of anthracnose, a fungal disease made worse by the region’s wet weather.
“The corn anthracnose is developing on the lower leaves of area corn fields. The disease overwinters on corn residue, so fields planted to corn following corn tend to show more infection,” said Chism.
The fungus is usually splashed up on lower leaves from spring rainfall, although some spores can also be carried by wind. Anthracnose lesions are usually oval to spindle shaped and may merge together to kill larger areas of leaf tissue.
“On many plants the lesions concentrate toward the leaf tip that gives the leaf a fired appearance that might be mistaken for nutrient deficiency or herbicide injury,” said Chism.
Generally, corn anthracnose will stop when weather conditions are drier and warmer. Under favorable conditions (warm, wet weather) anthracnose may move up the plant to the ear leaf.
“For the most part, anthracnose is not a serious problem and fungicides are not recommended this early in the season. If the disease moves up to new leaves, fungicides can be applied later in the season when other foliar diseases, such as gray leaf spot and southern rust may threaten this season’s crop,” said Chism.
It is important that producers continue to scout for insect damage in their own fields.
“I observed leaf feeding from adult corn root worm beetles or spotted cucumber beetles on a few fields this week, but no significant damage that justified control for now,” said Chism.
The MU Extension Center in Barton County has information about foliar fungicides, as well as pictures of viral diseases, anthracnose and recent insect damage posted online at http://extension.missouri.edu/barton.
For more information on this scouting report, or to learn how you can receive it a week earlier by telephone, contact the MU Extension Center in Barton County at (417) 682-3579.
Or you can hear the latest scouting report online at http://tinyurl.com/23swqol.
Thorns, ticks and chiggers can make picking wild blackberries a painful job. But fear not, Jay Chism, an agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension, says there is an option for those who have a taste for blackberries but seek the convenience of picking in a less hostile environment.
“Establishing a few blackberry plants in your own backyard can be rewarding for the home gardener. The best part may be the fact that tame blackberry varieties have larger berries and greater productivity than their wild counterparts,” said Chism.
Before planting blackberries, make sure the selected site has well-drained soil.
“Blackberries will not tolerate having wet feet. On poorly drained areas, berries should be planted on raised beds,” said Chism. “It is also a good idea to eliminate perennial weeds or grasses to avoid competition. Blackberry plants need two to four feet between them.”
The Arapaho, Navaho and Apache blackberry varieties are thornless and do not require a trellis. However, these thornless berries may be smaller and not as sweet. Some of the better thorned varieties are Choctaw, Shawnee, Chickasaw and Kiowa.
According to Chism, the most popular and recommended blackberry varieties can be established by purchasing cultivars developed in Arkansas.
For more general information on the care of blackberries, contact the nearest MU Extension center and ask for these related guide sheets: G6000, “Pruning Raspberries, Blackberries and Gooseberries,” G6012, “Nursery Sources for Fruit Cultivars,” and G6005, “Fruit and Nut Cultivars for Home Plantings.”
For additional gardening advice, or a comprehensive listing of nurseries that sell the Arkansas blackberry cultivars, contact Chism at (417) 682-3579.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Missouri Department of Conservation
Celebrate the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day 2010 on Saturday, June 5, by exploring some of the Show-me State’s 700-plus miles of foot, bicycle and equestrian trails provided by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). The Department offers various types of trails at more than 136 conservation areas and 10 nature and education centers throughout the state. These opportunities include 43 areas with 420 miles of multi-use trails that allow horseback riding and 49 areas with 417 miles of multi-use trails that allow cycling.
Foot traffic is permitted on all designated trails. Cycling and horseback riding are allowed only on designated trails in some areas. Pets are allowed on many conservation-area trails but must be leashed or confined at all times. Pets are not permitted at Nature Centers.
When hiking or riding a trail, follow these tips to help ensure a safe experience:
· Get a map of the conservation area you will be visiting to help get familiar with it.
· Let someone know about your plans, including when you expect to return.
· Check weather conditions and avoid inclement weather.
· Dress appropriately.
· Learn to recognize possible plant and animal hazards such as poison ivy and ticks.
· Follow all area regulations.
· Leave only footprints and take only photographs.
Find a trail near you by visiting your local Conservation Department office, or through our online Conservation Atlas at www.MissouriConservation.org by searching “Trails.” The online database can provide trail information by region, county or type, along with area maps and specific regulations.
MDC Nature Shops also offer “Conservation Trails,” a comprehensive guide to MDC trails that includes maps and facility information, points of historical and geological interest, and flora and fauna you may encounter along the way. Order it online at www.mdcnatureshop.com, or pick up a copy at a Nature Center near you. Cost is $5 plus tax. Get a 15% discount with a Heritage Card.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Notice how many shades of green are present.
I think this photo would make a great poster or a jigsaw puzzle.
It shows how beautiful the Ozarks region is. There are scenes like this all over Southern Missouri.
Unfortunately, lots of out-of-state folks are discovering this beauty and want to own part of it, so developers are buying up these hills, bulldozing most of the trees and putting up houses so Califoreigners and others can live in Missouri.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Missouri Department of Conservation
Discover the lure of Missouri outdoors with Free Fishing Days on June 12 and 13. Each year the Missouri Department of Conservation designates the weekend after the first Monday in June for permit-optional fishing. The goal of Free Fishing Days is to encourage people to sample the state's abundant fishing opportunities. During Free Fishing Days, anyone can fish in the Show-me State without having to buy a fishing permit, trout stamp or trout park daily tag.
Missouri is blessed with more than a million acres of surface water, and most of it provides great fishing. Fly fish for trout in a spring-fed Ozark stream or trotline for monster catfish on Missouri’s Big Rivers. Our waters hold ancient paddlefish and sturgeon, ferocious muskies, wary bass and tasty bluegill, crappie and walleye. More than 200 different fish species live here, and 40 of them are the targets of anglers.
Normal regulations, such as limits on size and number of fish an angler can keep, remain in effect during Free Fishing Days. Regulations are outlined in the 2010 Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations available at bait shops and other stores where fishing permits are sold, or online at www.MissouriConservation.org. Some private fishing areas still require permits on free fishing days, and trespass laws remain in effect on private property.
Public fishing areas are available in every county in Missouri. Many state-owned fishing areas also have special facilities for anglers with disabilities. To learn more about fishing and find local spots, visit www.Missouri Conservation.org and search “fishing” or contact the nearest Conservation Department office.
The 22nd sale of Show-Me-Select bred heifers in southwest Missouri averaged $1,336 on 206 head at Joplin Regional Stockyards, May 21. The market was very steady, but buyer resistance was felt after bids passed $1,300, said Jackie Moore, auctioneer.
“Last week this market weakened,” Moore said. “I could probably have got $100 more per heifer a week or two ago.”
The sale top was $1,600 per head on seven black mottled-faced, F1 Hereford-Angus heifers consigned by John Wheeler, Marionville, Mo.
Among the 13 consignors, Wheeler had the highest average on his 25 head at $1,460, said Eldon Cole, University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist at Mount Vernon, Mo.
Close behind, with a $1,413 average, were John and Janet Massey, Aurora, Mo., who sold eight Angus-Simmental cross heifers. The Masseys have consigned heifers to each of the 22 Show-Me-Select sales since 1997.
All of the heifers are out of herds enrolled in the Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program originated by David Patterson, MU Extension beef reproduction specialist. The yearlong educational program teaches improved reproduction management.
Of the 25 buyers at the Friday night sale, 15 were repeat buyers, who purchased 131 head or 64 percent of the offering. The volume buyer was a repeat customer, J. W. Phillips, Cabool, Mo. He bought 43 heifers.
“Color didn’t seem to make a lot of difference in the buyers’ choices,” Cole said. There were 112 head of straight black heifers that averaged $1,321. The 52 black white-faced or mottled-faced heifers averaged $1,381. And the 42 head of red, red-white faced, brindle heifers averaged $1,318.
There’s always a differing of opinions on whether the true baldies or the black mottled-faced heifers sell best,” Cole said. “The mottles won the price average this sale, $1,410 to $1,35
“Baldies have a predominately white face on a black heifer. The ‘mots,’ as some call them, have spots instead of pure white on the face,” he continued. “Both are out of Herford sire mated to an Angus cow. It’s a case of beauty being in the eye of the beholder.”
The Joplin Regional Stockyards offer both live auction and online bidding. About 25 people followed the sale online, with only two registered as buyers. One of those bid several times and finally purchased four head. He was bidding from Texas, but the heifers’ new home will be in southern Stone County, Cole said.
The next Show-Me-Select Heifer sale in southwest Missouri will be Nov. 19 for spring-calving heifers.
For more information, contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Mt. Vernon, (417) 466-3102; Gary Naylor in Dallas County, (417) 345-7551; and Dona Goede in Cedar County, (417) 276-3313.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Missouri Department of Conservation
Looking for ways to save time and money on outdoor-adventure vacations this summer? Let the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) help you discover nature through a “staycation” in Missouri. Birdwatcher, geocacher, hunter, angler, camper, paddler, backpacker, day hiker, cyclist, horseback rider, or nature photographer -- MDC has something for just about every outdoor enthusiast.
With more than 900 conservation areas (CAs), lake and river accesses and natural areas throughout Missouri, plus 18 nature and visitor centers and more than 80 shooting ranges, the trick is finding the right place.
To help you navigate this dizzying array of opportunities, MDC provides a searchable online Conservation Atlas database at www.Missouri Conservation.org. Just click on “Conservation Areas” under “Quick Links” on the homepage. You can even do a “Detailed Search” for conservation areas by available activities from horseback riding to canoeing or goggle-eye fishing.
You can also filter search results by disabled-accessible offerings, designated trails or shooting ranges.
A search for “boat-in camping along the Missouri River” turns up 17 alternatives, from Atchison County to St. Louis County. Searching for areas where you can bicycle reveals 49 options, from Bollinger County to Buchanan County.
To minimize travel time and expenses, you can narrow such searches to a particular region or county. Regional searches enable “staycationers” to put together vacation itineraries that let them sleep in their own beds every night.
You also can choose to focus your search on available facilities and services, including visitor centers, picnic areas, pavilions, wildlife viewing blinds, boat rentals or primitive campsites. You might choose to spend your vacation visiting all 18 MDC nature and visitor centers around the state.
Or you might want to focus your search on natural features, such as lakes, ponds, glades, forests, springs or streams. An imaginary itinerary might focus on “walk-in camping” on areas with “springs” in the “Ozark Region.” This search combination turns up five areas: Carter Creek CA in Carter County, Fourche Creek CA in Ripley County, Indian Trail CA in Dent County, and Rocky Creek and Sunklands CAs in Shannon County.
Replace “springs” with “designated natural areas,” and the Conservation Atlas directs you to Angeline or Rocky Creek CA in Shannon County, Little Black, Mudpuppy or Sand Pond CA in Ripley County or – once again – to Indian Trail or Sunklands CAs.
Change the search combination to “hiking,” “springs” and “designated trails” gets you 25 choices scattered throughout the St. Louis, Kansas City, Southwest, Ozark and Central Missouri regions.
Boaters and anglers can choose from hundreds of fishing accesses on major lakes and rivers, plus small community lakes. A search for fishing lakes and ponds in the 12-county Kansas City region finds 72 such areas.
With the online Conservation Atlas, you can plan an exciting summer “staycation” tailor-made for your interests and budget. You might even find yourself taking mini-staycations throughout the year.
Friday, May 21, 2010
We won't be losing anything.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Last week, the final gavel fell on the 2nd Regular Session of the 95th General Assembly. This session was long and hard, but I feel that we took several positive and necessary steps to make Missouri a better place to live and work for us all.
Although we dealt with many issues these last five months, there is no doubt that Missouri’s budget crisis took center stage. The terrible economic climate we’ve all been facing in our homes and businesses has been just as unforgiving to the State of Missouri’s revenues. The budget Governor Nixon submitted to the General Assembly in January was over $500 million out of balance by late March as revenue estimates continued to fall. We were forced to meet this challenge head on. That’s why members of the House Appropriation Sub-Committees, which I serve on, and the House Budget Committee under the leadership of Chairman Allen Icet (R-Wildwood) cut over $250 million from the governor’s proposal. This drastic action was followed by that of the Senate Appropriations Committee, under the direction of Senator Rob Mayer (R-Dexter), which cut the rest of the shortfall. These decisions were not easy, but the Republican majorities of both chambers held firm to their pledge not to raise taxes on the millions of Missourians struggling through this economy as well.
One of the bright spots in this difficult process was our ability to maintain 98 percent of our current funding of Missouri’s public schools and 95 percent of our Public Universities. Public schools may not be as big a part of life in some districts as it is here in the 149th, but we have a duty to the children of this State to provide a quality education, and it’s a charge I take seriously. That’s why I and like-minded colleagues fought tooth and nail, both on the floor and behind closed doors, for every dollar due our public schools and institutions. Another bittersweet victory was won on the front of the Career Ladder pay for our teachers. Career Ladder pays our teachers extra for putting in extra work to benefit our students. We were able to secure the funding for this year’s work, most of which had already been completed, but next year is in question and the battle will have to be fought again. Also, we were able to maintain a strong level of funding for the Community Partnership Program, which provides an array of great services to those in need right here in the 149th.
Outside of the budget, the legislature took positive steps to protect the unborn with Senate Bill 793, which will provide the women of Missouri with more information on the choices and procedures available to them. Also, the General Assembly sent clear messages on where the majority of Missourians stand on the most pressing federal issues of the day. We voted on and delivered messages to our congressional delegation and Governor Nixon, expressing opposition to the new federal health care mandates, other unfunded mandates, Cap-and-Trade, and an over-reach of the constitution by the federal government.
Two of the bills I drafted and sponsored, House Bills 2147 and 1662 were also Truly Agreed and Finally Passed. HB 2147 provides the children of recent active duty military retiree’s access to Missouri’s A+ Schools Scholarship Program, which is a continuation of our long-term goal of making Missouri the most military/veteran friendly State in the Union. HB 1662 takes a step to protect our food supply by allowing agricultural animals found carrying a toxin to be quarantined.
One thing we addressed this session that has left me with mixed emotions is ethics reform. The wrong doing of bad actors in our government in recent years has led many Missourians to question our public servants and system, and rightly so. In the House, we drafted and passed the most sweeping ethics and government reform of any legislative body in this nation. It dealt with campaign finance, transparency, “pay-to-play” politics, voter fraud, and government accountability. Unfortunately, the Senate refused to adopt many of the key provisions in the House version. However, the version that passed both bodies will make Missouri government more accountable to its stockholders, you the people.
Unfortunately, this was not the only place the legislature fell short. Although the House passed the Economic Development and Quality Jobs Act in the middle of the session, the Senate remained silent on jobs and economic development. This could have provided Missouri a “leg up” in attracting new and emerging businesses, such as data storage; and keeping us competitive in keeping and attracting traditional job opportunities , such as manufacturing. With Missouri’s unemployment perilously high, I find this unacceptable. If I am fortunate enough to return to the General Assembly, I will make these things a top priority.
It has been a pleasure to serve you in the Missouri House of Representatives. As always I welcome your thoughts and suggestions, so please feel free to contact me at 573-751-5713 or by email at email@example.com.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Missouri Department of Conservation
The fourth Saturday in May marks the opening of catch-and-keep black bass season in Missouri Ozark streams for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass. The Ozark-streams season runs from May 22 to Feb. 28, 2011.
Black bass fishing and possession is open year ‘round for impoundments and areas of the state other than the Ozarks. These other areas are defined as: the Mississippi river, all waters north of the south bank of the Missouri River, the St. Francis River downstream from Wappapello Dam and on streams in that portion of southeast Missouri bounded by a line from Cape Girardeau following Missouri highways 74 and 25, U.S. highways 60, 67 and 160, and the west bank of the Little Black River to the Arkansas state line.
While the daily limit on black bass in most of the state’s waters is six with a possession limit of 12, there are many lakes, rivers and streams with special daily limits, as well as different length limits. It is important for anglers to know the specific black bass fishing regulations for the areas they will fish.
Check pages 58-62 of the Wildlife Code of Missouri for special regulations regarding length and daily limits for specific bodies of water. More information is also available in the 2010 Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations available from fishing permit vendors and online at www.MissouriConservation.org.
Missouri Department of Conservation
The fourth Saturday in May marks the opening of squirrel season in Missouri. Hunters may pursue gray and fox squirrels from May 22 through Feb. 15, 2011, with rifles, shotguns or archery equipment. New to squirrel hunting regulations this year is an increase in the aggregate bag limit from six to 10 and an increase in the possession limit from 12 to 20.
“In the aggregate” means hunters may bag any combination of fox and gray squirrels so long as they do not exceed 10 squirrels total in one day. If hunters bag a daily limit two days in a row, they will have a possession limit of 20 squirrels. After that, they must eat or give away some squirrels before going hunting again in order to stay within the possession limit.
Hunters also may take squirrels with cage-type traps, as long as they label traps with their full name and address. Squirrel traps also must have openings measuring 144 square inches or less, for instance, 12 inches by 12 inches. Hunters must attend their traps daily. The same regulations apply to rabbits and groundhogs during their respective seasons.
Lonnie Hansen, the Missouri Department of Conservation’s resource scientist in charge of squirrel management, explained that squirrel numbers in the Ozarks are somewhat dependent on acorn production.
“Squirrel populations in the Ozarks often fluctuate from year to year, increasing following falls with good acorn production, decreasing following poor production,” Hansen said. “Acorns were scarce during the fall 2009 in the Ozarks, possibly causing some squirrel population declines.”
He added that squirrels have a more diverse and dependable food base in northern Missouri, thanks to corn and other agricultural crops. As a result, squirrel populations are more stable there, and hunting is uniformly good from year to year.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
By R.D. Hohenfeldt
The musical growth of The Link Family was evident during their performance Sunday night, May 16, at Macedonia Baptist Church.
Returning for the second summer bluegrass concert series, the Links showed stronger vocals, tighter harmonies and, especially, cleaner picking.
Of course, this is just what we would expect from a family band that performs and travels together year-round--and is growing up together.
The Lebanon family has been performing bluegrass music for about 10 years, but the oldest, singer and mandolinist Rachel, is barely in her 20s. The youngest, John, is a mere 10, so we're going to see and hear lots more growth in Link abilities.
The Links opened Sunday night's concert with an instrumental, followed by my current favorite in their repertoire, "I Am The Man, Thomas" from their Hold Fast recording.
Other highlights, in my humble opinion:
--"He Bore it All," sung as an a capella quartet number by Rachel, brothers Kyle and Benjamin and mother Becky. The harmonies soared and it ended with a brilliant tag.
--A Celtic instrumental with Benjamin using his banjo as a drum, Rachel playing a pennywhistle, Becky on guitar, dad Lance on bass and Kyle leading on fiddle, along with his wife, Ashley, and younger brother Aaron, also playing fiddles.
--"Prayer Bells of Heaven," one of my favorite bluegrass gospel songs no matter who does it.
The Links also had us laughing with some of their antics. They started the humor by singing "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," followed by Kyle (on guitar instead of fiddle) telling a story about the family, using snippets of TV and movie theme songs to illustrate.
That led into a musical cutting contest between Kyle and Benjamin, which, of course, turned into "Dueling Banjos."
Benjamin later sang a song he wrote a couple of years ago (and he's only about 15 now) titled "Destiny." It's on Links' new CD, The Water Is Wide, which just came in the mail, so that song is likely to become my new favorite Link tune after I hear it a few more times.
The Links perform more than gospel music, but they are uncompromising in their faith in Christ. Benjamin gave a short devotional message near the end of the program that gave us goosebumps. They closed the concert with "I Surrender All."
The Link Family--Lance and Becky, Rachel, Kyle, Benjamin, Aaron and John, plus Lance's wife Ashley and Rachel's husband Landen Keeler, the group's sound engineer--have a lot of years of music and witnessing for Christ ahead of them, the Lord willing. We're looking forward to hearing more from them.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
By Dena Matteson
Ozark National Scenic Riverways
Van Buren, MO - Officials at Ozark National Scenic Riverways have announced the closure of all caves in the park effective immediately. On May 2 bat researchers from Missouri State University found an infectious fungus in five gray bats netted just outside a cave in Shannon County, Missouri. The bats tested positive in a genetics test for the Geomyces destructans fungus, which causes White-Nose Syndrome (WNS). Scars on their wings were a clue that the bats probably were infected over the winter, when the fungus grows on the bats’ faces and skin during hibernation. The cool, damp conditions in many caves provide an environment in which the fungus thrives.
WNS is a serious disease that has been responsible for the deaths of over one million bats since its discovery in New York in 2006. The first occurrence in Missouri, the twelfth state to document the disease, was discovered in Pike County in April. Six bat species were known to be vulnerable, but the recent find is the first known case in Shannon County, and the first case in the federally endangered gray bat.
The westward spread of WNS is believed to occur primarily through bat-to-bat contact, but might also be transmitted on the clothes and gear of humans who have visited an infected cave. Closing bat caves to human entry reduces human disturbance of bats, which exacerbates the mortality rate caused by WNS, and reduces the risk of possible human-borne transmission. WNS does not infect other animals or humans.
The four biologists who discovered the infected bats are graduate students supervised by Dr. Lynn Robbins at Missouri State University and are conducting a bat research project supported by a grant from the National Park Service. They had obtained netting permits from the Missouri Department of Conservation, National Park Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for that purpose.
The cave, owned by the Missouri Department of Conservation, is on the Current River within the boundaries of Ozark National Scenic Riverways. The name and location are withheld to avoid disturbance of the cave, which contains many natural resources and several species of bats. A cave gate on the entrance prevents trespassers from entering.
Ozark Riverways protects over 300 caves within its boundaries. Access to several of these has previously been restricted in order to protect fragile resources and ecosystems. Due to WNS, the park is exercising caution in managing activities that impact caves and bats. Park Superintendent Reed Detring has determined that WNS is an imminent threat to the cave bats in the park and every effort should be made to prevent or slow its spread.
The park is asking visitors to observe all closures and to avoid other caves or passages of caves that may contain hibernating populations of bats.
Round Spring Caverns will remain open to public tours at this time, although the park will implement screening measures and precautions designed to reduce the risk of human transmission of WNS. Visitors should decontaminate all clothing, footwear, and gear upon exiting any cave in order to reduce the possibility of transmitting the disease. For more information regarding decontamination of clothing and cave gear please visit: http://www.fws.gov/northeast/white_nose.html.
According to Detring, this new policy will be reviewed regularly as new information about the spread of WNS becomes available. “The park’s biologists have been working diligently to gather information about WNS since its discovery and to assess the cave resources at Ozark Riverways. We are using the best scientific data at hand to make decisions about our future management actions in this situation. We will continue to gather information and cooperate with other entities in order to protect these valuable resources.”
The discovery of WNS in Missouri, a state with more than 6,300 caves, is troubling to the state’s leading cave resource experts.
“Missouri is home to at least 12 species of bats,” explained Missouri Department of Conservation Cave Biologist Bill Elliott. “They are our front-line defense against many insect pests including some moths, certain beetles and mosquitoes. Insect pests can cause extensive forest and agricultural damage. Missouri’s 775,000 gray bats alone eat more than 223 billion bugs a year, or about 540 tons. They also play a vital role in cave ecosystems, providing nutrients for other cave life through their droppings, or guano, and are food for other animals such as snakes and owls.”
The National Park Service will join other resource agencies in June to begin work on a comprehensive Statewide White-Nose Syndrome Action Plan to address management of this issue.
Ozark National Scenic Riverways preserves the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork Rivers, the surrounding natural resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people. For more information, visit the park website at www.nps.gov/ozar.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
I measured 0.65 on Monday, 0.90 on Tuesday, 0.10 on Wednesday, 0.50 on Thursday and 1.60 on Friday.
That brings the total for this week to 4.45 inches.
Note: All of my rain gauge readings are taken at about 4 p.m. daily.
April 2010 Meeting of the Missouri Conservation Commission
The Conservation Commission met April 15 and 16 at Missouri Department of Conservation headquarters in Jefferson City.
Commissioners present were:
William F. “Chip” McGeehan, Marshfield,
Becky L. Plattner, Grand Pass,
Don R. Johnson, Festus,
Don C. Bedell, Sikeston
· Approved 2010-2011 deer and fall turkey season dates. Season lengths and limits remain unchanged from the 2009-2010 season.
o Archery Deer & Turkey Season Sept. 15 - Nov. 12
Nov. 24 - Jan. 15, 2011
o Firearms Deer Season
§ Urban Zone Portion Oct, 8 - 11
§ Early Youth Portion Oct. 30 - 31
§ Late Youth Portion Jan. 1 and 2, 2011
§ November Portion Nov. 13 - 23
§ Antlerless Portion Nov. 24 - Dec. 5
§ Muzzleloader Portion Dec. 18 - 28
· Approved managed deer hunts for 2010-2011.
· Approved conservation area (CA) deer-hunting regulations.
· Approved the atlatl as a method to take deer during all portions of the 2010 firearms
· deer season except the muzzleloader portion.
· Added Gasconade and Osage counties to the area where unlimited firearms antlerless deer permits are available and where hunting is allowed during the antlerless portion of firearms deer season.
· Approved changes to deer hunting regulations on specific areas, including:
o Goodman Towersite – Changed from statewide to archery-only deer-hunting regulations to address safety concerns.
o Potosi Towersite – Closing the area to deer hunting, since it is not open to the public.
o Franklin Island CA – Changed from statewide regulations to archery and muzzleloader deer methods only to reduce pressure on the heavily hunted deer population.
o St. Stanislaus CA – Changed from managed hunt format to archery methods only to increase hunter opportunity. Daily permits available online and at local CA offices.
o Mussel Fork CA – Changed from bucks-only to statewide regulations in response to the discovery of CWD in a captive white-tailed deer from an adjacent high-fence, private-ranch operation. Allowing hunters to take deer for testing in the future rather than through MDC harvesting is desirable. An initial population reduction that would likely occur under a statewide regulation is also an appropriate CWD management strategy, at least until it is determined if, and to what extent, CWD occurs in free-ranging deer.
o Horseshoe Bend and Piney River Narrows Natural Areas – Changed from statewide to archery-only regulations for safety reasons.
o Neosho Towersite – Changed to archery methods only.
o Shelton Memorial CA – Changed from no deer hunting to archery and muzzleloader methods only.
· Received presentations from:
o James Gordon Lattimore, Mississippi Valley Retriever Club, Defiance, regarding retriever sports and activities.
o Federal Aid Coordinator Dan Zekor regarding Federal Aid and Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs.
o Agricultural Programs Coordinator John Knudson regarding Forest, Fish and Wildlife Funding for Private Landowners.
· Approved the advertisement and sale of an estimated 1,070,000 board feet of timber on 610 acres of Compartments 45 and 46 at Rocky Creek CA in Shannon County.
· Suspended hunting and/or fishing privileges of 23 Missouri residents and two nonresidents for Wildlife Code violations and affirmed actions taken by Missouri courts suspending privileges of three Missouri residents. Those whose privileges were suspended are:
o Ronald L. Abbott, Doniphan, all sport privileges, 1 year
o John W. Barnwell, Rolla, all sport privileges, 3 years
o Joshua E. Brenner, Columbia, all sport privileges, 1 year
o Christopher R. Cartmill, Buckner, all sport privileges, 1 year
o Charles A. Clinton, Barnhart, all sport privileges, 1 year
o Timothy E. Cox, New London, hunting and fishing, until Jan. 27, 2012
o Brett A Dawkins, Breckenridge, all sport privileges, 1 year
o Travis J. Dority, Edwards, all sport privileges, 2 additional years
o Austin C. Fowler, Jackson, all sport privileges, 3 years
o David B. Hand, Eldon, all sport privileges, 3 years
o Donald J. Heming, Hamburg, Iowa, all sport privileges, 6 months
o Jeremy L. Henry, Mansfield, all sport privileges, 6 years
o Steven W. Howell, Kahoka, all sport privileges, 1 year
o Daniel J. Lawson, Mountain Grove, all sport privileges, 1 year
o Jason M. Ledford, Bolivar, all sport privileges, 2 additional years
o Gregory F. Mathis, Dixon, all sport privileges, 1 year
o Royce A. Miller, New London, hunting and fishing, until Dec. 23, 2010
o Nicholas S. Rogers, Winter Haven, Fla., all sport privileges, 1 year
o Kaleb A. Shrable, Caulfield, all sport privileges, 1 year
o John E. Soles, Windsor, all sport privileges, 1 year
o Jess V. Stasiak, Jr., Bland, firearms hunting, until Jan. 27, 2011.
o Brandon M. Steiner, Maysville, all sport privileges, 6 months
o Shane A. Stewart, Mansfield, all sport privileges, 6 years
o Justin D. Strunk,. Cabool, all sport privileges, 3 years
o Cody R. Tannehill, St. Joseph, all sport privileges, 1 year
o Chad R. Taylor, Macks Creek, all sport privileges, 1 year
o Timothy J. Terbrock, Linn Creek, all sport privileges, 1 year
o Jeremy R. Williams, Lynchburg, all sport privileges, 3 years
· Approved the suspension or revocation of all hunting and fishing privileges of 232 people who are not in compliance with applicable child support laws.
· Suspended the hunting and fishing privileges of three Missouri residents and 274 nonresidents under the provisions of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.
· Imposed a hunting privilege suspension of one year for a Missouri resident who injured another person in a hunting incident. The hunter must complete a hunter-education training course before restoration of privileges.
· Set its next regular meeting for May 27 and 28 in Jefferson City.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Hunters checked 2,259 wild turkeys during Missouri’s spring turkey hunting season April 19 through May 9. That is an increase of 429 from last year. The total 2010 harvest, including the youth season April 10 and 11, was 46,204. That is 1,491 more than last year’s total harvest and 5 percent more than predicted by the Missouri Department of Conservation.--Missouri Department of Conservation photo
By Jim Low
Missouri Department of Conservation
Hunters made the most of the final week of Missouri’s 21-day spring turkey season, shooting 8,263 birds. The last week’s harvest boosted the regular-season tally to 42,254, an increase of 429 from last year.
Top harvest counties for the regular season April 19 through May 9 were Franklin with 872, Texas with 755 and St. Clair with 701.
Missouri’s spring turkey season has two parts. Hunters age 6 through 15 shot 3,945 turkeys during the youth season April 10 and 11. This boosted the combined spring turkey harvest to 46,199, which is 1,491 more than last year.
Resource Scientist Tom Dailey had predicted the total harvest would be approximately 44,000. He attributed the 5-percent larger harvest to two factors.
“We had the usual mixed bag of weather during the hunting season this year,” said Dailey, the Missouri Department of Conservation’s turkey expert. “The opening weekend was pretty rough, with lots of wind and rain, and the last Saturday was windy. Other than that, though, conditions were extremely favorable for hunting.”
The second factor contributing to this year’s better-than-expected turkey harvest was a slight increase in wild turkeys’ nesting success in 2009. The Conservation Department measures nesting success by the number of poults – young turkeys – seen with turkey hens during the summer by volunteer observers.
“Compared to the long-term average, last year’s poult-to-hen ratio wasn’t what you would call great,” said Dailey, “but it was slightly better than the two previous years. It allowed turkeys to hold their own in many areas and increase in some others.”
Dailey said he was pleased that this year’s spring harvest did not include a higher-than-normal percentage of young turkeys. “Jakes,” as year-old male turkeys are called, made up 21 percent of this year’s harvest, compared to the historic average of approximately 25 percent.
“Hunters could have shot more jakes this year because we had a few more of them than in recent years,” said Dailey. “Apparently the opposite happened, so we will carry over quite a few jakes to next year. That means more two-year-old birds next spring.”
Dailey said 2-year-old toms are the ones that gobble most, and hunters measure the quality of a day’s hunt largely by the presence or absence of gobbling birds. He said the moderate take of jakes is a good sign for the future.
Also a good sign is the return of more moderate spring weather. Cold and rain reduce wild turkey’s nesting success, and the past few years have set records for both. Dailey said with more normal weather during the summer there is every reason to expect the state’s turkey population to rebound from its current dip.
“I’ve got my fingers crossed,” said Dailey, “and I’m sure lots of other turkey hunters do, too.”
The Conservation Department received reports of four firearms-related hunting incidents during the regular spring turkey season. That is the same number as last year, but none of this year’s incidents was fatal, while one person died last year. Two hunting incidents – neither fatal – were reported during the youth season.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Dave's Garden defines that as
"A (mainly Southern) term used to describe a brief period of cold weather that coincides with the time the blackberries are in bloom, (typically in early to mid May)."
Hilton Pond has an essay from 2006 that goes into more detail in a literary fashion, for those of you who like that sort of thing. Here's an excerpt:
Back here at the Center, "Blackberry winter" may slow things down a bit, but it never gets so blustery that Blackberry blossoms die. The cold snap doesn't last very long and by week's end the weather was almost back to normal for mid-May--allowing all those tiny green Blackberries around Hilton Pond to begin their ripening process. Rest assured we won't forget to think about this week's "Blackberry winter" when we pluck our tasty Blackberry fruit from prickly vines come June or July.
It's been so cool that I turned on the furnace Saturday and I wore a coat to church Sunday and to work today.
Not only is it cold. It's overcast and has been raining. I dumped .65 of an inch from the rain gauge today when I got home from work
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Do you have your hummingbird feeders up and have the feisty little flying fighters found them? They're a hoot to watch.
Feeders are inexpensive at your nearest Lowe's, and making hummingbird nectar is easy. Click here to learn: How to Make Hummingbird Nectar.
While that nectar is cooking, here are a couple of songs for you to enjoy.
First, here's Leon Russell singing "Hummingbird":
And here are the Dixie Hummingbirds singing a gospel song:
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Yes, the U.S. military WILL fire on United States civilians. They did it at Kent State. You judge the future by what has happened the past. They will do it again.
Recall that this was back when Nixon was the president and he was the focus of criticism and protests by various groups, some radical and some not-so-radical. There was a lot of anti-dissident rhetoric coming from the government--even from the president.
And then the Kent State University shootings occurred.
Now move to 2010 and we have Obama as the president. He is the focus of criticism and protests by various groups, some radical and some not-so-radical. There is a lot of anti-dissident rhetoric coming from the government.--even from the president who is portraying all Taxed Enough Already protesters as violent.
Be careful at your next TEA Party.
Suggest drilling for oil in Alaska or offshore and they'll start worrying about spills. Of course, spills are bound to happen, one is in the news today, but so are car accidents and plane accidents and people still take their driver's license tests and buy plane tickets. You just have to live with setbacks, tragedies, accidents and deaths.
Suggest nuclear power, like the Progressive Europeans use, and the Progressives in the United States will worry about what to do with the spent fuel.
Suggest wind, and they'll oppose it because the windmills are ugly and the blades pose a danger to birds.
Suggest anything and they're against it.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce tracks the Progressive naysayers on its Project No Project website.
One of the promises in the development and deployment of new energy technologies is the creation of “green jobs,” and it is a promise we embrace. But the sad fact is all to often these “green jobs” run afoul of “green tape.” Even more unfortunate is that many of the same groups who are thinking globally are often acting locally to stop the projects that would create jobs and reduce CO2 emissions. These "Not In My Back Yard" folks, or NIMBYs as they are called, block energy projects by organizing local opposition, changing zoning laws, opposing permits, filing lawsuits, and bleeding projects dry of their financing. And far from just blocking modern coal plants; the truth is that they really don’t want a wind farm or any other energy source either.Take a look at Project No Project so you can learn what's going on in your state and what you can do to eliminate the roadblock put up by the Progressive naysayers and fault-finders.
Project No Project is an interactive venture that seeks to tell the story of NIMBY and its damaging impact on jobs, infrastructure and economic prosperity. Through Project No Project, the U.S. Chamber seeks to provide the cold, hard truth about NIMBY and radical environmental activism, and make our leaders finally pay attention to this growing problem.
Monday, May 3, 2010
The Goldfinches have been all over the feeders the last week or so, and here are a couple of photos shot by my wife.
They are little hogs, eating out of the black sunflower seed feeder, off the thistle sock,and also out of a thistle seed feeder. I haven't seen any on the suet feeder, but Delaine says she has seen them on the nugget feeder, which is filled with peanut butter nuggets that are kind of like suet.
According to WhatBird.com:
The American Goldfinch's range is fairly large, reaching up to nearly 8 million square kilometers. It can be found in native areas such as Canada, Bahamas, Mexico and the United States. The population of the American Goldfinch is currently believed to be quite extensive, around 24 million individual birds. Due to the large size of this species' global population, the American Goldfinch has an evaluation of Least Concern. This is a downgrade from Lower Risk, which was the rating in 2000. There is not any concern that the population of the American Goldfinch will face immediate decline.
We almost lost one of them right here at the house one day last week. My wife was working at the computer where she heard a "whomp" against the deck window. She walked out on the deck and found a little Goldfinch lying on her back, apparently dead.
Delaine picked the little bird up, discovered it was still breathing and started rubbing it and talking to it.
The bird began to "come to" and stayed in Delaine's hand as she kept on stroking its back and talking to it. Eventually, she got the bird to open up its claws and grab onto a finger. She kept massaging the little bird and talking to it. It seemed to be listening to her, Delaine said.
The bird would not leave her hand, so Delaine finally walked around to the other side of the house where the birdfeeders are and set the little creature on a perch. It was then that the bird "took off like a rocket," Delaine said.
People ought to take a lesson from that little bird, Delaine said. "When you get the wind knocked out of you, just take a little time to recover and then get back up on your perch and take off like a rocket." To that I would add that if you know someone who has had the wind knocked out of him/her emotionally or spiritually, do like Delaine did to the bird and offer some comfort and support. OK, that's enough sermonizing for today.
My wife has a way with animals. Someday I'll tell you the story about the chicken that high-stepped across our deck.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Saturday, May 1, 2010
The Farmers Market held each year at the Phelps County Fairgrounds opened this morning at 7 a.m. and will continued for 21 Saturdays.
The market includes fresh produce, baked goods, canned goods, sewn products, arts and crafts and a fleamakret and swap meet. There was an auction at the fairgrounds this morning.
It's a good place to go and browse. You can even find a new pet.
The earlier you arrive, the more goods you find.
The market closes at noon each Saturday.
Here are some of the vendors who were there this morning. (I got there just before closing.)