Saturday, December 31, 2011

Our Ozarks New Year's tradition

I went over to the Courthouse this morning to pay my personal property taxes. My real estate taxes come out of an escrow account that I pay into all year with my house payment, and the bank sends that in for me, so I don't even notice it. We drive old cars, so our personal property tax doesn't amount to much. Consequently, I was in a jovial mood at the courthouse this morning, even though I was paying taxes.

Our county collector, a fine public servant as evidenced by his willingness to open the office this morning, a Saturday, so people like me could pay taxes on the last day of the year, was leaning against the door jamb of his office, drinking a cup of coffee and visiting with folks. When he saw me being waited on at the counter by a staff member, he howdied me and then said, "Ozarks Boy, do you have anything exciting planned for New Year's Eve?"

"Well, sir," I said. "I will be carrying on a New Year's Eve tradition that goes way, way back in my family. We did this when I was a lad living at home with my parents. Then when I left home and went out on my own for the first time, I got away from the tradition, but later as a new father, I got back into the tradition and have kept it every since. Family traditions are a fine thing to carry on, and I'm proud to a part of it."

The collector, his interest piqued, said, "What in the world are you going to do?"

I rared back and declared, "I am going to sit down after supper and either watch television or listen to the radio and wait for a broadcast from Times Square in New York City. I'm going to look forward to that big lighted ball drop at midnight (11 p.m. Central Standard Time) to mark the beginning of a new year in the continental United States."

The collector said, "That is the tradition of a lot of families. It is good to be a part of the common culture and heritage of this great land."

"But hold on there," I said. "There is more. As I listen to the radio, waiting on that broadcast from New York City, my eyes will begin to droop and I will begin to doze. At about 9 p.m. I will wake myself up and tell my wife, 'I am a-goin' to bed. You're going to have to see the New Year in without me. Then, she'll say, 'I was just waiting for you to say that.' Then I'll turn off the TV or radio, put the dogs out and wait for them to get done, and then we'll go to bed. I'll be sound asleep at least an hour before that ball drops. Just like my Daddy, his Daddy and Mama before him, my Mama and her Daddy and Mama before her. It is a family tradition to be sound asleep in bed an hour before New Year's in the Eastern Time Zone."

Folks, for a few years as a young adult I would stay awake until midnight (Central Standard Time) having what is commonly called "a good time" with friends.

But I'll confess that I have found it far more satisfying to carry on my family tradition of snoring in the New Year.

Whatever you do, be safe.

Happy New Year.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Give your Christmas tree another life

By David Burton
University Extension

What can be done with the 35 million Christmas trees harvested in the United States after the Christmas holiday?

According to John Hobbs, agriculture and rural development specialist with University of Missouri Extension, those trees can be given a second life.

“A short-term solution can be as easy as taking the tree outdoors and decorating it as a food source for wildlife,” said Hobbs.

After taking off all the decorations, re-decorate the tree with food items that can be eaten by the birds and squirrels. Things like popcorn or cranberries strung together and hung like garland on the tree become tasty treats for squirrels.

Pine cones smeared with peanut butter and hung on the tree become ornament feeding stations for birds.

“You might also consider hanging apple rings or hollowed-out halves of an orange. Hang it in the tree and fill the orange bowl with peanuts,” said Hobbs.

The tree can be set up and secured in a spot in the yard where everyone can enjoy the action as birds and other animals come to check out what kind of treats are available.

“Not only will the tree provide food for wildlife during the cold winter days but it can also be a place where they can hide from the cold winds. It also acts as a stage for all of our winter birds to use to entertain us on cold, winter days,” said Hobbs.

Sinking your Christmas tree in a pond is an easy way to improve fish habitat and fishing.

The tree serves as little coral reef, in that the branches provide substrate for water plants to grow, and cover for minnows and other forms of small aquatic life.

Larger fish are drawn by the shade and the presence of prey.

Another way to dispose of the tree is to offer it up to the chipper and turn it into useable mulch.

“Many municipalities now offer a service to either drop trees off at a central location or have a chipper move through the neighborhoods, picking up trees,” said Hobbs.

“For those living in rural areas, finding a second use for a Christmas tree is a bit easier,” said Hobbs.

Christmas trees make excellent material to build brush piles for wildlife. These piles provide cover for small animals and birds. The animals use the piles to hide from predators, as safe resting places, and to raise their young.

The first step in building a brush pile is to have a base of large material such as logs, or tree stumps. This provides a place for small animals to access the interior of the pile. Then pile on the Christmas trees.

Hobbs said it will take more than one tree to do the job so this is a great project for several neighbors to share.

“Christmas tree disposal doesn't have to be a major problem. There are several environmentally friendly alternatives. Not only are these methods safe for the environment but they provide a source of enjoyment for you and your friends and family,” said Hobbs.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Making a hero of Herod through music

I think I was in junior high when I became acquainted with this song, "Do You Hear What I Hear?", or maybe I was younger. Maybe I was in fifth or sixth grade. I don't recall. I just remember that we learned it for the school Christmas program in Republic.

I definitely remember at the time that the lyrics were screwy. See, I was a Baptist boy, and we Baptists (at least back in that day) took words, especially the words from the Bible, seriously. When the choir got to the verse about the king telling the people everywhere to listen to what he had to say and then proclaimed that they should pray for peace everywhere, I wondered what king they were talking about.

It was confusing to this young Ozarks Boy, for he had been taught in Sunday School that the king at the time of Christ's birth was Herod who was looking to kill the baby, not pray for peace. In fact, according to the gospel account, Herod used information from the Oriental astrologers, the magi or wise men or "three kings," to back date the possibility of the birth of the Messiah and had all the Jewish babies killed who were 2 years old or younger. Although Herod told the Magi he wanted to worship the new king, he was a liar. They figured that out and went a different route without telling him where they found him. It's all in The Bible; you could look it up.

This song did not fit into the gospel account that the young Ozarks Lad had learned at church. But I rared back and sang with gusto anyway, for I was told to, and I was obedient.
Now the song is accepted into the canon of Christian music for Christmas. Here is the version by a contemporary Christian (I think, though I'm not sure, for I don't listen to that music) group:

And here are the lyrics:

Said the night wind to the little lamb
Do you see what I see
Way up in the sky little lamb
Do you see what I see
A star, a star
Dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite

Said the little lamb to the shepard boy
Do you hear what I hear
Ringing through the sky shepard boy
Do you hear what I hear
A song, a song
High above the tree
With a voice as big as the sea
With a voice as big as the sea

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king
Do you know what I know
In your palace wall mighty king
Do you know what I know
A child, a child
Shivers in the cold
Let us bring him silver and gold
Let us bring him silver and gold

Said the king to the people everywhere
Listen to what I say
Pray for peace people everywhere
Listen to what I say
The child, the child
Sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light

The child, the child
Sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Rolla 31 School District is pleased to announce the implementation of a new mass information notificatio system. The program is SchoolMessenger. This program will afford the district and the individual buidings the ability to send messages to parents and guardians via phone, text and email. Important school information such as inclement weather closings or warnings, early release days, security alerts and key event reminders will be cenral to this enhanced communication effort. The system also has additional attendance verification features.
Please know all previous forms of communications for inclement wather (district web pages,, radio, etc.) will continue to be utilized.
On Friday, Dec. 16, parents receiveda test phone call from the district. Weil will also send an SMS text message out that day. if y ou wish to receive SMS text messages from the district in the future, please make sure to ‘opt-in’ when you receive the text. You can do so by replaying “YES” to the test message that you receive. If you do not receive a phone call or text message on Friday, Dec. 16, please contact your student’s school office to review your contact information.
This system uses the student data thaqt is stored in Infinite Campus, our student information system. you will receive additional information regarding the Parent Contact Manager system that will allow you to review your contact information online. it is important that you verify that your contact information is correct (either online or with the school offfice) in order for the system to work optimally for you.
It is our goal to distribute information as quickly, accurately and effectively as possible to parents and staff. The Rolla 31 School District is committed to improving communication and confident that this new tool will increase efficiency so that parents, faculty/staff and students are well-informaed and connected.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The future of newspapers

I used to be the "managing editor" of a community newspaper that was owned by Liberty Group Publishing. I left that paper after 20 years and started a monthly publication of my own (with my wife as partner).

After three years, we shut it down; despite having lots of readership, we couldn't get advertisers to commit to it, so I went to work for a big box store.

Last year, I went back to work part-time for that community newspaper as a reporter. My main job, the one I really like a lot, is for the big box store that specializes in lumber, building materials, hardware, tools and home-improvement merchandise. Nevertheless, I like writing and seeing my work published, so I like working part-time for the newspaper.

The paper was taken over by GateHouse Media after I left. I try to keep track of the financial news about GateHouse Media. Here are some of the recent stories about it. Read them and see what you think.
Bulletin parent reorganizing for Project Apple

Newspaper attempting to sell building to help parent company out of debt

GateHouse Media unveils new organizational structure

GateHouse Media lays off reporters

GateHouse moving ahead with retooling

Everyone knows newspapers are hurting. We may be seeing the end of that form of mass communication. It has happened before. Radio used to be a great medium for disseminating news. It isn't any longer. TV took over.

Now the Internet is taking over the news business. Some newspapers are trying to find a digital niche; some are successful. If you read those links above, you'll see that GateHouse is making a valiant effort. They are laying off reporters and "reorganizing" by starting up new divisions and hiring more managers. That seems backwards to me, but I'm just a simple, lowly reporter.

As a simple, lowly reporter, I work for a county seat daily in a small city of 20,000 and in a county of 40,000. Our full-time reporting staff consists of a reporter who covers cops and courts and county government, and a couple of the small communities in the county. That's it. That's the full-time staff. I fill in around the edges, covering city council, school board, planning and zoning commission, the hospital board, and a few other duties to fill out my 20-hour workweek. This seems to me to be not enough reporting capacity for a county seat daily, but I think it is going to become the norm.

Here's what I think: Eventually, digital newspapers will replace the papyrus you hold in your hand while drinking your morning coffee. These digital newspapers will all be owned by one or two media companies. Maybe GateHouse will be one. These digital newspapers will be staffed by one or one and a half full-time equivalents. Maybe in the metro cities they'll have five or six reporters who get out of the office and cover news (and 15 or 16 editors who sit and look at computer screens).

The benefits of this will be:
1.) You'll get your news immediately, throughout the day with constant updates.
2.) It will likely be free.
3.) You won't have to go searching in your yard for your paper. You won't even have to open your door and bend over to pick up the paper.

Can you think of a few drawbacks for the new digital age of newspapers? I can think of a few, but there's no need to share them, because the new age is coming, no matter what I think of it.

Midnight Music: "Mary Did You Know?"

Friday, December 9, 2011

Do you have what it takes to make decisions for us?

I see in the paper that filing opens Tuesday, Dec. 13, for both Rolla City Council and Rolla Board of Education.

Are you interested in running for public office? Here’s your chance.

Filing opens at 8 a.m. Dec. 13 and will end at 5 p.m. Jan. 17.

People who run for office, even local office, interest me. On the one hand, I admire their desire to serve the public; on the other hand, I’m wary of someone whose ego is so--let’s say “healthy”--that he sees himself fit to decide how to spend millions of your tax dollars, decide the livelihoods of public employees and have both direct and indirect effects on the lives of city residents, in the case of the council, and school children, in the case of the school board.

Do you think you’re so intelligent that you can not only run your own family’s finances but make decisions about other families’ finances, too? If so, you’re a prime candidate for Rolla City Council and Rolla Board of Education.

Filing for the city council is accomplished at the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall.

To file for the school board, go oo the superintendent’s office at Rolla Technical Center (upstairs, Room 224).

We need good leaders, so although I’ll cast a wary eye in your direction, I hope you’ll file.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Buy products made in Missouri to help our economy

Here's a fantastic website about the Missouri economy and a simple way you can do something about it: The We Blueprint.

The first page of the website is frightening. Take a look at the loss of jobs Missouri has experienced in the New Millenium.

You may think you are powerless, but according to, you can help simply by buying more Missouri-made products. The website helps you by listing products that are manufactured in the Show Me State. These products are broken down thus: food, beverages, home and garden, shoes and clothing, pet supplies, automobiles and supplies.

Here's what the website manager says:

We can all agree the U.S. has lost enough jobs. We can't expect the government to do all the work. Millions of jobs depend on us. We are the ones that have the power to keep our jobs in the U.S. and to bring back our jobs to the U.S.
We are 70% of the driving force of the economy. We are going to have to buy back our jobs! We can start by buying products made in our state. We all have a personal stake in this issue, our jobs!

We can make the much needed changes with respect and integrity. With no protesting, no yelling and screaming. We can do it with just the sound of our money being spent on American products. We are the AMERICAN CONSUMER.

A couple of Phelps County companies are listed on the website: Tacony Manufacturing of St. James and Royal Canin of Rolla. Tacony makes vacuum cleaners and Royal Canin makes dog food.

What other Missouri manufacturers can you think of?

Midnight Music: "Good King Wencelaus"

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tonight's Bible reading and prayer

2 Corinthians 4:1-6
Young's Literal Translation

Because of this, having this ministration, according as we did receive kindness, we do not faint,

2but did renounce for ourselves the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor deceitfully using the word of God, but by the manifestation of the truth recommending ourselves unto every conscience of men, before God;

3and if also our good news is vailed, in those perishing it is vailed,

4in whom the god of this age did blind the minds of the unbelieving, that there doth not shine forth to them the enlightening of the good news of the glory of the Christ, who is the image of God;

5for not ourselves do we preach, but Christ Jesus -- Lord, and ourselves your servants because of Jesus;

6because [it is] God who said, Out of darkness light [is] to shine, who did shine in our hearts, for the enlightening of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Tonight's Prayer: Father, help me use my talents to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ.

Texas towns in danger of drying up

Let's pray for these folks, and let's also pray this doesn't happen in Missouri.

Texas towns in danger of drying up finding ... no long-term solutions. An excerpt:

Imperiled towns around Texas are finding short-term solutions to water supply problems brought on by the drought, some just in time to avert a crisis. But finding a permanent solution is tricky, and in many cases, expensive. That makes the plight of finding water doubly difficult: Even if they could find a fix, they also have to find the cash to pay for it.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says there are 11 towns with enough water to last six month or less. It is working to find quick fixes that cost tens of thousands — sometimes millions — of dollars for a few months of water. They hope that is long enough to find and complete longer-term projects, many of which these cash-strapped communities had delayed for years.

For the West Texas town of Robert Lee, there is a $1.55 million price tag to tap into the nearby town’s water supply with a pipeline. A neighborhood near the Louisiana border will pay $50,000 to drop a pump off a bridge into a deeper part of a lake.

An Austin-area community has paid about $10,000 to build a temporary barge to float a pipe over a water-filled hole that saved the town from hauling water, at least for now, said Pat Mulligan, president and manager of the Windermere Oaks Water Supply Company. But if the lake that supplies the area drops another six feet, they will have to haul in water by truck. Then, water bills will increase about 300 percent and residents in the 230-home subdivision could pay $300 a month for water — up from about $120.

Crops rot in fields; no one there to pick them

Food is rotting in the fields, because we don't have enough illegal immigrants to pick it.
That's the news according to this link: Studies, surveys confirm Georgia's farm labor losses. An excerpt:
Another survey conducted this past summer by the Georgia Agribusiness Council (GAC) revealed that 46 percent of those responding were, at the time, experiencing a labor shortage. More than 130 employers from 61 counties across the state participated in the survey, representing different sectors of the agricultural industry, including crop, livestock, greenhouse, landscape and many ag input suppliers.

Of those who had jobs needing to be filled, 24 percent said that fewer workers were applying for the available jobs than in past years, 8.7 percent said that local law enforcement has increased enforcement action towards immigrants, 30.4 percent said the physical demand of the jobs were too difficult for those who seem interested, and 37 percent said that immigrants were concerned with Georgia’s new immigration reform law.

I really hate to see good food go to waste, don't you? What are we going to do about this?

Rolla weather report

Thanks to A.C. Spreng, weather observer for the Rolla NOAA Co-Op Weather Station, for providing this Rolla weather data for the 24-hour period ending at 7:30 a.m. today, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011.

Max Tempt.:
31° F

Min Tempt.: 24°

Present Tempt.: 25°

Precipitation: 0.01"

Snow (new) 0.2

Precip. for the year: 51.84"

Precip. for the month: 0.35"

Relative humidity: 87%

Today's quotation

Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.

Mark Twain

Cranberries: Eat them or decorate with them

By David Burton
University Extension

Cranberries have been making the news lately – seems like they are good for more than just sauce and juice according to Dr. Pam Duitsman, a nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“Cranberries contain about 50 calories per cup, offer a very low carbohydrate snack, lots of nutrition, fiber, and flavor. That brilliant scarlet color also makes them great for decorating for the holidays,” said Duitsman.

That color is caused by the phytochemicals contained in cranberries. Cranberries are very rich in polyphenols, as well as many other phytochemicals, and have been studied in their relation to prevention of cancer, and many studies have shown a variety of health benefits.

“A recent study in the journal of Food Science and Biotechnology backs up some of those claims that cranberries may provide protection against urinary tract infections,” said Duitsman.

Phytochemicals like polyphenols are present in whole plant foods, and have been shown to protect and promote health in a variety of ways. Research shows that when these compounds are isolated from foods (and put into a supplement jar) they don’t offer the same protection found in the whole food.

“If you’re drinking juice, make sure it’s 100% pure cranberry juice,” said Duitsman.

Fresh cranberries are usually available September to December. While they are available fresh at the market, Duitsman recommends purchasing them (avoid bags that have soft or brown berries) and freezing them.

“You can wash them in cool water, sort and pack tightly to freeze. Or, just throw the whole bag into the freezer – remembering to wash them well when you use them. If you want to use them relatively soon after purchasing, store them in a cool place. They last for weeks in the refrigerator,” said Duitsman.

Cranberries are very versatile, and are good for much more than sauce and juice. Dry them and enjoy them in salads or trail mixes. Or, add them fresh before cooking a variety of dishes – from breads to salsas to soups, entrees and desserts.

“They’re a great addition when slow cooking either chicken or pork dishes. However you use them, cranberries will add color, flavor, and a punch of nutrition,” said Duitsman

Today in History

LinkAccording to this website, Today in History December 6,
in 1877, "Thomas A. Edison makes the first sound recording when he recites 'Mary had a Little Lamb' into his phonograph machine."

Was that on a vinyl disk? We've gone from vinyl to reel-to-reel tapes to 8-track tapes to cassette tapes to compact discs. Now young people "download" songs off the internet into their telephones. Amazing.

St. James artist won't quit

Interesting story about a St. James artist on the Columbia Missourian website: Watercolor artist Mary Lou Corn, 83, never stops painting. Here's an excerpt:

The beauty of the world has driven Mary Lou Corn to keep painting for more than 50 years.

Corn, 83, of St. James, works every day, painting watercolors of delicate antiques, exotic fabrics, food, flowers and Ozark landscapes.

She has earned national recognition for her watercolors.

As a signature member of the Missouri and Kansas watercolor societies, the Honor Society of Watercolor USA and the National Watercolor Society, Corn has exhibited her work in national juried shows for the past three decades.

Corn's son and daughter-in-law, John Corn and Sandy Gummersheimer, held a small exhibition on Nov. 20 at their Columbia home. She will be part of a group show, "Bella Arts," being held in March at Rolla's The Centre.

People can also see her work at the Meramec Vineyard in St. James and at the Dunklin Street Gallery in Jefferson City.

Have you ever seen her work?

Midnight Music: "Nuttin' For Christmas"

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tonight's Bible reading and prayer

2 Peter 3:17-18

Young's Literal Translation (YLT)

17Ye, then, beloved, knowing before, take heed, lest, together with the error of the impious being led away, ye may fall from your own stedfastness,

18and increase ye in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; to him [is] the glory both now, and to the day of the age! Amen.

Tonight's prayer: Father, I pray that God will create within me dissatisfaction with my present spiritual condition.

From Open Windows

Ameren's coal ash ponds reported to have problems

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently reported this: Seven Ameren Missouri ash ponds rated "poor".

Here's an excerpt:

More than half of the 12 Ameren Missouri coal ash ponds inspected for structural integrity last year were rated "poor" by the Environmental Protection Agency, which recommended the utility take action to strengthen them.

A nationwide review of coal ash impoundments was prompted by the December 2008 Kingston, Tenn., ash spill, considered among the nation's worst environmental disasters. Summaries of the findings of the inspections were only recently made available on the EPA's website, and the agency has yet to make full reports available because Ameren claims they contain proprietary information.

Ameren doesn't dispute the EPA's findings, but did challenge the "poor" ratings assigned to one ash pond at the Sioux power plant in St. Charles County and all six active ash ponds at the Meramec plant in South St. Louis County, said Mark C. Birk, vice president of generation for the St. Louis-based utility.

What do you think of this news?

Bluegrass music: Bill Monroe Collection by Tony Rice due out in January

Here's something I'm looking forward to hearing: Tony Rice to deliver The Bill Monroe Collection in January.

If you click on that link, you'll learn that a Jan. 31, 2012, release date has been set for Rice's recordings of Mr. Monroe's music. Here's an excerpt:

Over the past year's Bill Monroe Centennial there have been numerous anthologies of various artists doing their versions of his music, restating the enormity of Bill Monroe's legacy on the entire field of bluegrass music. Tony Rice's The Bill Monroe Collection, due out on Rounder Records (division of Concord Music Group) on January 31, 2012, may have a somewhat different impact, in part because it is a collection by one artist only, recorded over a period of some 15 years. The material, consisting of major songs and instrumentals by Monroe, was recorded in a variety of band configurations over these years, allowing guitarist Rice to make his own unmistakable mark on bluegrass music.

For a playlist, click on the link above.

Rolla weather report

Rolla NOAA Co-Op Weather Station

Here is the Rolla weather data from the Rolla NOAA Co-Op Weather Station for the 24-hour period ending at 7:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 5.

Max Tempt.: 45° F

Min Tempt.: 30°

Present Tempt. : 30°

Precipitation: 0.02"

Precip. for the year: 51.83"

Precip. for the month: 0.34"

Relative humidity: 77%

It's time to shop for cattle feed

By David Burton
University Extension

December is here and so is feed shopping time for beef producers according to Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“The dry summer has shortened the forage supply and in all likelihood has altered the quality of hay and silage. Since the old standby, stockpiled fescue, is not as plentiful, more concentrated feeds either in bag, bulk or other forms will be relied on by area producers,” said Cole.

By-product feeds such as corn gluten feed, dried distillers grains with solubles and soybean hulls are becoming more popular and are available.

A good place to locate sources of these supplements is the University of Missouri Extension By-Product Feed list service. It is accessible at on the Internet.

Another list at compares the value of the supplements based on current cracked corn, soybean meal, limestone and dicalcium phosphate prices.

“This allows a producer to look at the relative prices of distillers grains and corn gluten feed (for example) and see which one is the best buy,” said Cole.

The prices and availability are updated each week. The week of Nov. 23 showed 93 different sources of feed items.

“When studying the list, keep in mind freight charges and moisture levels of feeds you might think look cheap that really aren’t when they reach your farm,” said Cole.

Farmers, especially those who have off-farm employment or have cattle scattered several miles apart, should factor in convenience when prices are compared. Pellets or cubes are popular since an investment in feed bunks isn’t necessary.

Feeds in meal form, like dried distillers grain can be fed on the ground in small piles, but research from the University of Nebraska shows around 35 to 40 percent waste compared to bunk feeding. In addition, the bunk-fed steers outgained those fed on the ground by 0.3 pound per day.

“High quality, by-product feeds reduce daily forage needs and allow steers, heifers and cow-calf pairs to make satisfactory gains and produce their normal milk supply in case they are lactating females. A rule of thumb is one pound of feed like dried distillers grains can replace two pounds of roughage,” said Cole.

A drawback with the feed list is the prices are on a trailer load basis. Most cow herds in the region have 50 cows or fewer. According to Cole, a trailer load is more than a producer that size would feed in a year’s time.

“A number of feed stores now provide small bulk quantities of the various by-products. They may also mix together two or three items to meet a customer’s protein or energy request,” said Cole.

Some will blend varying amounts of salt with a palatable feed so it may be self-fed. Adding an ionophore may also be possible which should improve feed savings.

“Shopping for feed may not be as newsworthy as Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but should result in a feed cost reduction and more dollars in your pocket next spring,” said Cole.

For more information, contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Mt. Vernon, (417) 466-3102, Andy McCorkill in Dallas County at (417) 345-7551 or Dona Goede in Cedar County, (417) 276-3313.

AgriMissouri growth is good for everyone

By marketing Missouri products to consumers at home and abroad, the AgriMissouri program has reached new heights this year offering more connections between farmers and consumers. Since January, AgriMissouri has grown from 350 members to more than 1,300 - which represents thousands of products now at the consumer's fingertips at

"We continue to look for ways for Missourians to become more connected to agriculture. Whether it is sourcing a favorite local jam or jelly, visiting a farmers' market or taking the family to a pumpkin patch, AgriMissouri is helping make those connections for families," said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. "It is vital for all consumers to know where their food comes from and to appreciate the importance that we continue to grow food here at home in the U.S."

This year, a redesigned was launched making it easier for consumers to reach locally-grown and Missouri-made products. The site features everything from Missouri wines, chocolates and candies to honey, jams and jellies and a wide variety of beef and pork products. In addition, visitors can also find agritourism experiences including public garden locations, Christmas tree farms, local food restaurants and bed & breakfasts.

Through the AgriMissouri program, our state's agricultural producers and business owners receive marketing, promotional and website support, involvement in the program's bar code cooperative for retail sales, participation opportunities and assistance during special events like the Missouri State Fair and Missouri Governor's Conference on Agriculture, as well as training and educational programs to help their businesses grow.

For producers, the new also means new opportunities to connect with Missourians, through the online directory of products and services, business profiles and pages and social media.

For more information on the AgriMissouri program, or to find a Missouri-made product or destination, visit

Today's quotation

"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Lord Acton, 1834-1902,
in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton
on April 3, 1887

Top 100 books of the year?

LinkI like book list. Here's one that came out a few days ago on the Kansas City Star website.
The Star's Top 100 Books of 2011

Have you read any of those books? Recommend them? Or not?

Today in History: Prohibition Ends in 1933

Prohibition ended at 4:32 p.m. CST today in 1933 when Utah ratified the 21st Amendment, the 36th state to do so, which was three-fourths of the states at that time. Two other states, Pennsylvania and Ohio had ratified it earlier in the day.

The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th AmenLinkdment, ratified in December 1917.

To read more about this event in history, go to Also, you could go to the library and request the Ken Burns series recently aired on PBS.

Senate GOP candidates answer questions

The Springfield News-Leader asked the three GOP candidates for U.S. Senate some questions about the state of the national economy. Here's where you can read their responses: Q&A: Senate GOP candidates discuss economy.

The candidates are Todd Akin, John Brunner and Sarah Steelman (of Rolla). Here's one question and their responses:

Q: Would you support extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits for laid-off workers, something Congress is currently debating?

Akin: "I'm opposed to that. Usually I love any kind of tax cut, but I'm opposed to (the payroll break) because you're taking money out of Social Security...(On unemployment benefits), I think there's a certain point where people have to have an incentive to try and find a job, and when those benefits expire, there's a whole lot more pressure to really find something."

Brunner: "I've gone back and forth. You're in this big hole. People are hurting, you don't want to lay any more pressure on top of people... (But) without having an understanding of what the end-game strategy is, I look at this as a knee-jerk strategy that kicks the can down the road."

Steelman: "I would support just the payroll tax cut... I don't think we should extend unemployment benefits."

Please be sure to click on the link to the News-Leader and read the whole report.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Today's quotation

"I see Bill Monroe in the same light as Miles Davis, absolutely the best . . . as pure as it gets."

Tony Rice

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A few photos from the Christmas parade

Here are five photos from the Rolla Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade today.
Look for more in the Rolla Daily News this coming week and perhaps some on
I thought it was a pretty good parade. There was a mix of secular floats and gospel floats, lots of walkers, motorcyclists, royalty, veterans, horses, cars, both the high school and university bands and Santa and Mrs. Claus.
It was a good time for families with young children, especially. I hope you took your kids.

Rolla's roundabouts make me want to weep

For awhile, there was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth in my car when I tried to navigate the roundabouts. There was no weeping, although sometimes I’ve felt like crying.
In my first encounter, I realized the “dogbone” at exit 184 wasn’t completed and was closed to traffic, so I turned around, drove down Kingshighway to Highway 63 then to Highway E where I drove around that circle, took an exit and ended up turning around in the Church of Christ parking lot. Yes, I had taken the wrong turn off the circle. Go ahead, call me a moron. That’s exactly what I said to myself.
I made my way back to the circle, overlooked the on-ramp and ended up going back to Highway 63, so I could drive to the other Rolla exit, the one without a roundabout (so far). There, I got on the interstate with no problem. I was late to work, of course.
For several days, I continued to drive to the Highway 63 exit and then head west to my day job in St. Robert.
Then one morning, I decided I’d try it again. By this time, the “dogbone” was open, so I drove confidently, entered the traffic circle and soon found myself unhappily motoring toward St. Louis on the interestate. I exited at HIghway E and drove very slowly around that circle, finally managing to find the on-ramp. I was late to work again.
For several days, I continued to go to the Highway E roundabout and to get on the interstate. I became familiar with that circle and was able to drive it with no problem.
Then I was sick one weekend and doctored myslf with numerous over-the-counter remedies. I felt better the following Monday morning, and I figured I would try that doggone “dogbone” again. I discovered that for some mysterious reason I couldn’t find a way to get on the interstate, so I decided I would just drive old Route 66 until I got to Doolittle. For some mysterious reason, I couldn’t figure out how to get onto old Route 66.
I figured I was still feeling the effects of my self-medication, so I said “to heck with this,” or words to that effect, and I went home, called my manager and told him I was feeble-minded, couldn’t get through the roundabouts and to put me down for a sick day. I still haven’t lived that down.
Well, I continued to avoid the “dogbone” for several more days, and then I decided to try it again. I left for work early to give myself time to figure it out. I drove very slowly and managed to go through one circle, cross the interstate and go around the second circle and then head west on the interstate.
Now, why did I have so much trouble over the course of several weeks?
Well, for one thing, I go to work very early. I try to get on the interstate at about 5:15 a.m. It’s dang-gone dark at that time of day; plus, my eyes aren’t what they used to be.
For another, the concept of driving around in circles, going in the opposite direction of where I want to be is foreign to me, and it confused me.
Third, speaking of foreign, the circle is a European contrivance. I’m no fan of Europe, so I fight it in my mind. I guess that affects my driving.
Finally, I’m just old, set in my ways and don’t like to accept new ideas. I don’t find new ideas any better than the old ones, generally speaking, and in the case of the roundabouts, specifically speaking.
Nevertheless, I have just about conquered the stupid traffic circles and feel pretty confident. They don’t make me late for work any more.
They almost killed me one day, though.
On my re-entry to Rolla recently, as I drove up the eastound off-ramp at the 184 exit, a big SUV started heading down the ramp straight at me. I got as far to the right as I could. The SUV did the same. As we passed one another, I looked over at the driver.
It was another old geezer. He had apparently been confused by the roundabout and was headed the wrong way down the one-way ramp. I kept my eye on him in my rear-view mirror and saw him get on the interstate and head east, the correct way, but probably the opposite direction he wanted.
They say the roundabouts are a big improvement. I remain unpersuaded.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Poinsettias are NOT poisonous

By David Burton
University Extension

Go ahead and enjoy poinsettias this winter and forget about the myth of them being poisonous, according to Patrick Byers, a horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“While poinsettias are not good for you and have a horribly bitter taste, the poinsettia is not poisonous to humans or pets,” said Byers. “Most pets or children, if they ever tried a leaf, would spit it out and go no further.”

If a new puppy got overzealous and ate most of the leaves on a plant, it would probably get a stomach ache and throw it all back up, according to Byers, but the plant is not deadly.

Research conducted by Ohio State University found ingesting large amounts of any part of the plant to be non-toxic.

The American Medical Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants states that ingestion of the poinsettia plant may produce vomiting but no toxic effects.

POISINDEX (the resource used by U.S. poison control centers) says that a 50-pound child would have to eat more than 500 poinsettia leaves to exceed the experimental doses.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that out of 22,793 reported cases of eating poinsettia leaves in 1995, no significant toxicity was found.

In case you are interested, here is a list of some plants that are generally considered to be hazardous to your pet’s health: aloe, amaryllis, asparagus fern, azalea, caladium, calla lily, castor bean, clematis, elephant ears, English ivy, foxglove, holly, hyacinth, iris, daffodils, onion, lilies, philodendron, rhododendron, schefflera, tulip, yew, yucca.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

How about a live Christmas tree you can plant later?

By David Burton
University Extension

Planting a live Christmas tree outdoors can offer appeal and added value to the home landscape according to Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

However, before planting a living Christmas tree, some preparations and precautions should be taken to increase chances of tree survival.

“Be sure you have a suitable site for planting the tree. Heavy clay soils are not ideal for planting most evergreen trees because they will not tolerate wet feet,” said Byers.

As a result, some special soil preparation may be needed. The only practical solution is to create a berm or mound of topsoil to assure good drainage.

“It is also important to have enough space for the tree to grow. Pines or spruces should be planted no closer than 25 feet from other trees, unless they are planted in a row as a windbreak,” said Byers.

Byers also notes that full sun will help a good tree shape as it matures. Good air circulation will help reduce the incidence of needle diseases and blights.

The most popular Christmas tree species available locally are the Eastern white pine, Norway spruce, Colorado blue spruce and Alberta spruce.

According to Byers, there are also a few special precautions that should be followed to maximize the chances that the living Christmas tree will survive after planting.

For starters, don’t keep the tree in the house any longer than one week. Warm, low humidity environment in the house causes excessive moisture loss from the foliage and the soil ball.

“You may want to dig the hole prior to bringing the tree into the house. The hole should be about 2-3 times the diameter of the soil ball, but no deeper,” said Byers.
He also recommends covering the excavated soil with a tarp to keep the soil from being too wet when planting the tree after Christmas.

“After Christmas, plant the tree immediately if the weather permits. If not, be certain to place the tree in an unheated garage and do not allow the tree root ball to dry out,” said Byers.

Friday, November 25, 2011

It's mighty hard to be a Christian in Walmart ...

... on Black Friday, the first day of the Christmas shopping season -- or, worse yet, the night before Black Friday.
You'd find far more peace on earth, goodwill toward men and brotherly love if you just went to the nearest bar to drink beer and watch ESPN or Fox Sports or whatever is on.
Why does Christmas need a shopping season?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Does going to church make you more optimistic?

According to this information, Study links religious services to optimism, church-goers are more optimistic. Hmmm. Doesn't seem to work on me. I go to church fairly regularly, but I have a pessimistic view of life. I've always figured it was my fundamentalist upbringing. Or maybe it's because of years as a newspaperman that I'm pessimistic about mankind.

An excerpt:

Regular attendance at religious services is associated with a more optimistic outlook and a lesser inclination to be depressed, compared to those who do not attend services at all, a study concluded on Thursday.

The study's findings supports previous research that religious participation can promote psychological and physical health -- and reduce mortality risks -- possibly by calming people in stressful times, creating meaningful social interactions and helping curtail bad habits.

Those who said they attended services more than once a week in the previous month were 56 percent more likely to be above the median score in a measure of optimism than those who did not attend services, according to the study published in the Journal of Religion and Health.

I guess I need to start going more than once a week.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Farmers market still going strong

Fall is near, so the merchandise at the Big Lots Farmers Market is changing. We were there today and came home with turnips and turnip greens. Going to be some mighty fine eating Sunday. We've got a big squash, too. We didn't get a pumpkin. Maybe next week. Here are some photos of just a little of what's available:

This truckload of pumpkins drew interest and a crowd at the Big Lots Farmers Market.
Another vendor offered a variety of colorful fall goods, including more pumpkins, mums and turnips and turnip greens. Some of those greens went home with us, and will be part of our Sunday dinner.
Homemade birdhouses were sold by this vendor, obscured by the shadow of his canopy tent.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Why Herman Cain will never be elected

Some of my co-workers at my day job like to talk politics during lunch in the break room. A couple of them have lately become enamored with the candidacy of Herman Cain. One told me that if the Republicans would nominate Mr. Cain, he would undoubtedly win. I laughed out loud at that notion.

"Herman Cain is not black enough," I said. "Look at his life. He is an achiever and has accomplished much through hard work. He studied hard in school. He remained focused. He worked hard in business and was selected for management. He eventually worked his way to the top. That will not set well with young black voters and the media, both of whom consider that lifestyle "white." No, sir, Herman Cain is too white to ever be elected in this country."

My co-workers called me a racist, in a joking way, of course. But they insisted I was wrong.
Now here is proof that I, of course, was right. A white man on TV had to school Mr. Cain about what it means to be black. Black men are not supposed to do what Mr. Cain did, i.e. go to school, study hard, make good grades, get good jobs, become business and community leaders. The white man said so. Just listen to the link. » Lily-White Lawrence O’Donnell Lectures Herman Cain On How Black Men Are Supposed To Behave

Friday, October 7, 2011

Benefit bluegrass concert to raise money for Ray Hicks

Bluegrass music will start at noon, Saturday, Nov. 5, at Rolla Elks Club, Highway 63 south, to raise money to help cover medical costs incurred by Rolla bluegrass radio host Ray Hicks.
“Our friend, long-time bluegrass radio DJ and promoter suffered a stroke earlier this spring,” according to an announcement from the show’s promoters, Jimmie Allison, of Midnight Flight, and Bev Spencer, of Beverly’s Hillbillys. “This benefit is to help cover medical costs. Ray has been instrumental in supporting bluegrass for many years. Now we would like to offer our support to him.”
Scheduled to play, rain or shine, are the following bands:
* Beverly's Hillbillys
* Midnight Flight,
* L.D. and the D.Js,
* Matt Strong and the Bluegrass Travelers,
* Rosa String Works,
* Open Range,
* Frank Ray and Friends,
* Highly Recommended,
* The Link Family,
* Rhonda Vincent and The Original RAJE (Rhonda, Allen Jones, Joey Winneman, Earl Hees).
Admission charge is a donation at the door.
Seating available, but bring your chair if you wish.
There will be drawings for goods and services, as well as a silent auction.
Food will be prepared and sold by the Elks.
Building use is donated by the Rolla Elks Club.
You can also mail donations directly to Ray Hicks, 213 E. Booneslick Rd. ,Warrenton, MO. 63383.
If you have questions, call Jimmie Allison (573) 201-3472 or Walter Volz (636) 677-5468.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Force bulbs in fall to bloom indoors in winter

By David Burton
University Extension

To add a bit of color to the dull days of winter plant lovers might consider starting a process known as “forcing bulbs” this fall.

According to Patrick Byers, a horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension, it is possible to get bulbs (like daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, crocus) to bloom indoors during January, February or March.

“Spring bulbs have a chilling requirement which must be met before they will flower indoors so that is why you need to plan ahead,” said Byers.

“Forced bulbs” are those which are induced to flower at something other than their normal time.

The process is relatively simple and involves five basic stages or steps.

Byers says to start with healthy bulbs, a soilless medium that is well drained, and some pots.

Use azalea or bulb pots four to eight inches in diameter. Put several bulbs, of the same variety, in to the pot and then cover them with the soilless medium. Different bulbs have different depth requirements, but generally a portion of the bulb will either be above the soil or no more than one inch below the soil.

“Loose pack the pot, water the bulbs, and then find a way to expose them to cool temperatures (between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 13 weeks,” said Byers.

These temperatures might be achieved in a cool north room, basement, bulb cellar, outdoor trench, cold frame or refrigerator. If a refrigerator is used, food products should not be stored in the refrigerator while the bulbs are being chilled.

“The purpose of the chilling stage is to allow bulbs to produce a healthy root system and to elongate their flower primordium in advance of being forced to bloom,” said Byers.

The actual forcing of the blooms can take an additional three to four weeks. Put the pots in a bright window where temperatures are around 60 degrees.

“When flower buds are almost fully developed, pots may be moved out of the bright window into the living room or other area of the home so they can be displayed and enjoyed,” said Byers. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bible study

Here is the Prayer of Ezra, from Ezra 9:5-15. Read it carefully and think about whether it has any meaning for us today:

5 At the evening offering, I got up from my humiliation, with my tunic and robe torn. Then I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God. 6 And I said:

My God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift my face toward You, my God, because our iniquities are higher than [our] heads and our guilt is as high as the heavens. 7 Our guilt has been terrible from the days of our fathers until the present. Because of our iniquities we have been handed over, along with our kings and priests, to the surrounding kings, and to the sword, captivity, plundering, and open shame, as it is today. 8 But now, for a brief moment, grace has come from the LORD our God to preserve a remnant for us and give us a stake in His holy place. Even in our slavery, God has given us new life and light to our eyes. 9 Though we are slaves, our God has not abandoned us in our slavery. He has extended grace to us in the presence of the Persian kings, giving us new life, so that we can rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.

10 Now, our God, what can we say in light of this? For we have abandoned the commandments 11 You gave through Your servants the prophets, saying: "The land you are entering to possess is an impure land. The surrounding peoples have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness by their impurity and detestable practices. 12 So do not give your daughters to their sons in marriage or take their daughters for your sons. Never seek their peace or prosperity, so that you will be strong, eat the good things of the land, and leave [it] as an inheritance to your sons forever." 13 After all that has happened to us because of our evil deeds and terrible guilt—though You, our God, have punished [us] less than our sins [deserve] and have allowed us to survive — 14 should we break Your commandments again and intermarry with the peoples who commit these detestable practices? Wouldn't You become [so] angry with us that You would destroy us, leaving no survivors? 15 LORD God of Israel, You are righteous, for we survive as a remnant today. Here we are before You with our guilt, though no one can stand in Your presence because of this.

In Old Testament times, the Israelites believed God was at work daily in the life of their nation, blessing it when they were obedient to them, judging and punishing when they were not.

Modern Christians don't believe God is judging or will judge our nation. Should modern Christians rethink that position? What do you think?

Fact or fiction: Slugs are our friends because they eat mold

By David Burton
University Extension

While there is a great body of observation that indicates slugs and snails, eat mold, the essential truth is that it only looks this way because their favorite foods may have mold on them.

“In the home, if someone is concerned about slugs, the bigger issue is that mold and slugs favor moist and cool environments,” said Jeff Barber, housing and environmental design specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

The best way to reduce the mold according to Barber is not to save the slugs, but fix moisture leaks, reduce humidity and/or ventilate areas to avoid condensation.

It is also a good idea to remove food sources for mold like leather, wood, paper, fabric and soap scum from surfaces that might tend to condensate, like basement walls and floors.

“So yes, slugs might eat mold, but we do not want to provide an environment that supports either in our homes,” said Barber.

Weather update

I was looking at The Old Farmers Almanac today. It says for July 23-29, our weather will be sunny and cool. Reckon so?

For more reliable data:
From A.C. Spreng at the Rolla NOAA Co-Op Weather Station, here is the Rolla weather data for the period ending at 7:30 a.m. today, Sunday, July 24, 2011:

Max Tempt.: 101° F
Min Tempt.: 78°
Present Tempt.: 80°
Precipitation: 0.00"
Precip. for the year: 33.58"
Precip. for the month: 3.36"
Relative humidity: 78%

Faith Is the Surest Guide

I didn't make it to church this morning, so I don't have any news to share. I can tell you what happened last week, though.
Pastor Dave Scudder preached from Hebrews 11:24-27 on "Faith Is the Surest Guide." The text speaks of Moses who lived by faith and was an overcomer in his choice of purpose, his choice of reward and his choice of masters. Although he was raised as the son of Pharaoh's daughter, Moses "chose to suffer with the people of God rather than to enjoy the short-lived pleasures of sin" and left Egypt, unafraid of the king for chose God as his master instead.
The songs we sang were "Love Divine, All Love Excelling" (call to worship), "Send the Light," "I Will Sing of My Redeemer," "Praise Him! Praise Him!" and "Whiter Than Snow" (invitation hymn).
Nancy Robertson sang the special music, "One Day Too Late."
Sunday night, Southern Raised sang bluegrass gospel music followed by a fellowship time.

Is the price of gasoline too high?

Like you (probably), I think gasoline is too high, and that if we don't find a way (by drilling more offshore and opening up the Alaska oilfields) to lower the price of crude, high energy prices (along with excessive government spending) will kill our economic engine.

Leave it to an historian to put things in perspective. Larry Wood over at the Ozarks History blog says this:

Yet, when viewed from a historical perspective, the price of gasoline is really not all that far out of line from other goods and services. I can recall paying as little as 17 or 18 cents a gallon for gasoline during the 1960s, but that was during the so-called "gas wars" that were relatively common in those days. The usual price was more like 25 to 30 cents a gallon. Until recently, the price of gas nowadays was in the three dollar per gallon range. So, you might say that gasoline has only gone up by approximately a factor of ten. I can think of many other products that have gone up at least that much. For instance, I recall that the going price for a candy bar when I was a kid was a nickel. Nowadays, a Snickers bar costs over a dollar if you purchase it at the local convenience store. That's a factor of twenty! Things like health care and higher education have probably increased that much as well.
Well, I still think gasoline costs too much, but I encourage you to click on the link to Woods's Ozarks History blog to read more. He has a ton of information there. Now that I've stumbled upon his blog, I will visit it regularly.

Sunday sermon in song

Midnight Music

Saturday, July 23, 2011

It's doggone hot again!

From the Rolla NOAA Co-Op Weather Station, here is the Rolla weather data for the 24-hour period ending at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, July 23, 2011:

Max Tempt.: 102° F

Min Tempt.: 79°

Present Tempt.: 80°

Precipitation: 0.00 "

Precip. for the year: 33.58 "

Precip. for the month : 3.36 "

Relative humidity: 75%


Friday, July 22, 2011

It's doggone hot!

From the Rolla NOAA Co-Op Weather Station, here is the Rolla weather data for the 24-hour period ending at 7:30 a.m. today, Friday, July 22, 2011:

Max Tempt.: 100°F

Min Tempt.: 77°

Present Tempt.: 81°

Precipitation: 0.00 "

Precip. for the year: 33.58 "

Precip. for the month : 3.36 "

Relative humidity: 70%


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wasting money at every level of government

To understand why our nation is in the financial shape it is in today, you need look no further than our own community.
Months ago, our Rolla Downtown Business Association began searching for a way to attract shoppers to the center city on Saturday. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that goal.
I don't know what alternatives they studied, but I know what they decided to do was start a Saturday downtown farmers market called the Homegrown and Homemade Farmers Market. There's absolutely nothing wrong with having a goal of a Saturday farmers market. The problem is this: We already have a farmers market on Saturday morning. It's located next to Highway 63 in the Big Lots parking lot. From personal shopping there for the last two or three years, I know for a fact that it draws several vendors who offer a diversity of homegrown and homemade goods. Parking is quite adequate, for it is in a parking lot. Visibility is good, because it's next to a major highway.
Going into competition with the Big Lots Farmers Market would be foolish, but that's what the RDBA decided to do. The association decided to try a value-added approach by advertising that the Homegrown and Homemade Farmers Market would include musicians and food sales. The association promised a festival atmosphere.
The attempt to put the Big Lots Farmers Market out of business by luring all the vendors downtown failed on the opening day, May 7. No one showed up downtown; at least there was no one there in the middle of the morning when I went down there with my wife on her birthday to listen to some bluegrass music, eat a bratwurst (we hoped) and buy some plants. We left the empty parking lot and headed to Big Lots where several vendors were set up. We bought some plants.
We didn't go back every Saturday, but we checked from time to time throughout May and June. Every time we went downtown, no one was there; instead, there was a crowd at the Big Lots Farmers Market.
Lonna Sowers, president of the RDBA, told me that the next attempt to lure the vendors downtown would be to buy a tent with a grant. The City Council has applied for a $17,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is certain to get it. In fact, Community Development Director John Petersen said the USDA called the city and offered the money because it is "left over" near the approaching end of the fiscal year. That money will be used to buy the tent. It might be here in August or September.
Are you paying close attention to what is going on here?
1. Government has come up with a "need" and is working to "fulfill" it--even though the private sector is doing a more than adequate job.
2. A federal agency has so much money that it looks for ways to spend the leftovers near the end of the fiscal year.
3. Even at the local level we have developed the attitude that people need government direction and that people can't come up with solutions without the government.
4. Our city officials have bought into the mindset that if we don't take the free government money someone else will, so we might as well get our "fair share."
This is just $17,000, but imagine this scenario being played out in all the other cities, counties and taxing jurisdictions throughout the country.
Meanwhile, the grassroots market is populated every Saturday by people who have bought their own canopy tents with no financial help from the government.
Lonna Sowers and others in the government/business coalition seem to think that the farmers market vendors should be swarming to the festival lots site. They don't seem to understand that the vendors want to make money selling their goods; it is not a hobby, but a business. The vendors like the high-traffic location at Big Lots.
For now, a government/business coalition to co-opt and usurp the market has failed, and I can't help but be amused at the "city folks" and their failed attempt to take over the market of the "country folks."
That said, I'm worried that the next step will be the big stick. I worry that the government/business coalition's only recourse will be to adopt a zoning ordinance amendment prohibiting farmers markets from any location in the city limits other than the downtown "festival lots."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My favorite summertime song; maybe my favorite song

I've posted this before, and I'll very likely post it again, for this is my favorite summertime song.
I listen to it in the winter, too. I guess it's one of my favorite songs. Maybe it is my favorite song. Period.
The pickin' is good, the singing is great, and I love the lyrics. You town kids who grew up with air conditioning probably don't understand it, but a poor old Ozarks Boy surely does.
Listen and try to understand the comfort of being a kid, sitting on the floor in front of an oscillating fan on a hot Missouri Ozarks day.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Missouri's Confederate history

Facebook friend James Easterwood shared this video with me. It's fitting in this sesquicentennial year for the beginning of the Civil War, the founding of Rolla and the completion of the Phelps County Courthouse.
Rolla played a major role in keeping the Missouri for the Union. Just a month ago we had a re-enactment of the day in June when the "Dutch" soldiers came to town, took down the Confederate flag and occupied the town, which was the railhead for the Southwest Branch of the Pacific Railroad.
Eventually the Union occupation grew to include two forts, Fort Wyman and Fort Dette.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rush delivering tea to Missouri

Conservative capitalist commentator Rush Limbaugh will go to Joplin Monday along with a "giant semi" trailer load of his Two if By Tea concoction.Link
I heard him talking about it Friday during my lunch hour. I often go out to my car to listen to be indoctrinated by El Rushbo.

The Joplin Globe also had a story about it: Rush Limbaugh to deliver tea to Landreth Park event.

I presume that even though he is a conservative and a capitalist, Rush will give away the tea. That would be the RIGHT thing to do.

Don't miss the farmers markets today

It's going to be hot today, so if you haven't already been to the farmers markets this morning, then get there quickly.

I'm not sure what you'll find downtown at the Homegrown and Homemade Downtown Farmers Market, but the Big Lots Farmers Market at the junction of Highway 63 and Lanning Lane ought to be jumping.

I'm basing that judgment on last week's visit, video of which is shown here.

The Rolla City Council has applied for $17,000 of free government money, and it's pretty certain the feds will give that money to the city. The city will use the money to buy a 40x80 tent to let the Rolla Downtown Business Association use for its downtown market. The city parks department will maintain and store the tent.

Meanwhile, the folks out at Big Lots Farmers Market will struggle along with no support from the government, the chamber, the downtown business association or any important group -- unless you count customers.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ozarks Boy accused of being a racist

As a reporter for the Rolla Daily News, one of my duties is to try to get a "Personal Profile" feature to run each Monday with a picture. That is a lot harder than it sounds. The "Personal Profile" is written by the subjects, who simply write their answers to a questionnaire. I can't tell you how many times I have taken a picture of someone, left a questionnaire with them and never had the answers e-mailed to me, mailed to me, faxed to me, brought by the office to me. They just forget me.
Another Daily News employee offered to help. She turned in a questionnaire that had been filled out by a woman, but did not get a picture to me in time for it to run with the questionnaire. We ran the personal profile WITHOUT picture on Monday, June 20.
Today, 10 days later, when I got to work, my boss told me a woman had called complaining that her friend's personal profile ran without a picture. The caller said it was obvious that the only reason was because the personal profile subject was Black and we are racists. I guess her point was that we didn't want to run a picture of a Black person on Page 1 of the newspaper.
Now, I want to point out that on that same Page 1 on that same date, the main news picture is an RDN staff member's photo of the NAACP's Juneteenth Celebration. More than five Black people are in the photo. Then on Page 6, there are three more pictures of the Celebration with more Black people pictured.
The charge of racism doesn't seem to hold any water. That's because it isn't true.
I'm sorry the personal profile subject's picture didn't run. That was a failure on my part. I was counting on another employee to do as she promised, and she didn't. I should always take all the pictures for the personal profile feature myself, and I will from now on. I'm going to try to find that lady whose picture did not run and take her picture myself.
Accuse me of poor organizational skills, but don't accuse me or my paper of racism.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A couple of requests for Obama

My wife went to Texas last week to attend her 40-year class reunion and see her family. She had a wonderful visit, but was troubled by the lack of rain.

Here in Rolla, we've been flooded this spring. We've received so much rain that the gardens are slow in producing and the farmers markets don't have the produce we'd expect this time of year. The gardeners were late in planting the seeds, and the rain and overcast skies have slowed the growth of the plants. We'll have beans and tomatoes and cucumbers eventually, though. In Texas, their gardens are dried up and withered.

Houston Chronicle: Amid drought, only frustration flows

I got to thinking that there is a solution. Prayer. Gov. Rick Perry already has called on the residents of state to pray, just as the governor of Georgia did when that state experienced prolonged drought. Southern governors seem to turn to God quicker than northern governors.

Maybe what they need to do is petition someone other than God. Maybe they need to ask President Barack Hussein Obama. He is keen on redistribution. He wants to redistribute the wealth from rich corporations and rich individuals to people like me; I support that idea and I encourage you rich people to go right ahead and start sending me some regular checks. I work two jobs, but I'd like to have regular checks from rich people and corporations, too.

Obama needs to redistribute the rain. Missouri has received so much rain that the rivers are flooding. Texas has rivers that have dried up to a trickle. Obama can make the difference. He's a miracle worker, for he killed Osama bin Laden, a terrorist who avoided President George W. Bush and his CIA. I think he can work a miracle with the weather.

So, President Obama, if you are reading this (and I assume you are, for you know everything), I am petitioning you to slow down the rain in Missouri (but don't cut it off completely, our gardens will continue to need significant rainfall every week to 10 days) and send some rain to Texas.

Then after that, bring the soldiers home from Afghanistan and Iraq. Now that you've killed Osama, there's no need for them there, so you can fly the troops home as you promised in your word given during the campaign.

Also, will you make my mortgage payment every month and pay for my gas like you're apparently doing for this woman: