Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Colton's--a taste of Texas?

The other night my wife and I went to the new restaurant in Rolla, Colton's Steak House and Grill.

It tries to be very Texas-style.

Two Texas flags fly above the front door. Inside, there's a neon outline of The Lone Star State. There's a sign inside the front door that says something like, "We'z in Texas." The printed menu has a legend about the founder of Colton's, mythical Texas Ranger J.T. Colton.

The headquarters of Colton's is in Arkansas, and a check of the website shows there are no Colton's restaurants in Texas.

"Everybody wants to be a Texan," says my wife, a native of Texas who wasn't too impressed with the fare. She prefers the food of Matt's Steakhouse, a locally owned restaurant between Rolla and St. James.

She's apparently in the minority, though, for the place was packed, and every time I drive by there, the parking lot is full. Rolla residents and interstate travelers (probably a lot of Texans among them) love the faux Texas atmosphere.

It's a great marketing strategy.

Are you a Christian or a Christ follower?

There's a young man at work who likes to talk to me about the Christian life. He isn't a Christian, although I think he grew up going to church. He now rejects the notion that Jesus is the Son of God and our Savior and Lord. He laughs at creation and says science is more reliable than the Bible. He believes in God, the grand architect of the universe, but he pooh-poohs the concept of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus. He believes everyone who is good will go to heaven. Of course, he believes he is a good person who will go to heaven.

And he is a decent young fellow in many ways. He cares about some people, and will go out of his way to help them. Others he doesn't care so much about.

He likes to bait me. I told him that I would never try to get him to change his mind about Jesus. He said, "You'd like for me to believe in him, though, wouldn't you." I said, "Well, of course, but you are an adult, intelligent and a free moral agent. The choice is yours, not mine. You've heard the gospel many times. You know the gospel better than a lot of Christians. It's up to you, not me, to accept it, and I'm not going to try to force or coerce or badger you into believing it."

He shut up for awhile, and then started baiting me again. I told him, "Friend, I have become a true Calvinist. I believe in election and predestination. Some are elected to damnation, some are elected to salvation. I've obviously been elected to salvation, because I believe in the Jesus way so thoroughly. You have been elected to damnation. You don't believe because you can't believe. You're going to hell and there's nothing you can do about it. So go ahead and enjoy what time you've got here."

He said, "I can't believe you just said that." We didn't talk about Jesus for a long time.

I like him and enjoy talking to him about things he sees on the History Channel. He likes to talk about ancient astronauts and alien visitations to Earth. These concepts have apparently been accepted as facts by the History Channel, for there are so many shows about them.

The other day he started in about Jesus. I told him that he sounded like a post-modern, post-evangelical, emergent/emerging church member. He asked what that was. I told him that I had been reading on the internet about the changes in the evangelical churches and had discovered the new church movement is something more to his liking.

"You could very easily fit into a new post-modern church. The emerging church members don't call themselves Christians. They call themselves Christ followers. They see Jesus as a great teacher and role model. They call him savior and lord but they have redefined those terms to mean that he saves our lives and transforms us because he is our model for life, like the Buddha."

I explained that the Christ followers don't see each of us as sinners who need salvation. That's a false teaching of fundamentalists like me, according to the post-modernists. Instead, they see us all as good people who need to see ourselves through Christ's loving eyes as good people worth dying for.

Christ followers should teach others about their value by being missional, i.e. doing good works to help others live better here on earth. Post-modern missionaries don't talk to people about sin and salvation through the blood of Jesus. In fact, the blood of Jesus is, to the emerging church member, a macabre, ghoulish topic of conversation.

Moreover, I told him, the emerging post-modernists believe all religions are equal. To say that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no one can approach God except through him is an exclusivist error, according to them; you can approach God through Islam, Buddhism and other religions. Christianity, which was earlier called The Way, is just one way. Any way is the right way; it's just a different way. There are many roads leading up the mountain. Faith is universal.

"Go Google 'emerging church,' " I told my friend. "One good source is Jesus Creed. You can learn to be a Christ follower."

A day or two later, he came back and told me that he had indeed Googled 'emerging church' and had done quite a bit of reading. He said that he had found a lot of agreement. He said that he doubted he'd try to find an emerging congregation to join up with, though. "What would be the point?" he said.

Well, lots of young people enjoy the get-togethers at modern churches, as this report indicates: Non-denomination religion gaining ground among youth. If you read the article, you'll notice there's no messiness about sin, salvation, blood of Christ or trusting and obeying for there's no other way. It's all fun.

Young people will choose fun over faith every time.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Too cold

It's warmer today, but it's been cold enough for this to happen this winter.

I stole this from another blog, the Jesus Creed.

Here is the Rolla weather data for the 24 hour period ending at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 13:

Max Tempt.: 54° F

Min Tempt.: 27°

Present Tempt.: 40°

Precipitation: 0.00 "

Precip. for the year: 2.21 "

Precip. for the month : 1.71 "

Relative humidity: 51 %

We thank A.C.Spreng, of Rolla, for this information.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Weather data

Here is the Rolla weather data for the 24- hour period ending at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 6:

Max Tempt.: 42° F

Min Tempt.: 21°

Present Tempt.: 32°

Precipitation: 0.00 "

Precip. for the year: 1.93 "

Precip. for the month : 1.43 "

Relative humidity: 79 %

From A.C.Spreng

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Good food, good music at Pancake Day

We went to Kiwanis Pancake Day this morning and had a tremendous time. Delaine and I each got three pancakes and two sausage patties. Well, I got some extra sausage patties, for I am a fan of the swine.
Delaine ate her three pancakes and saved the sausage patties to bring home to her "babies."

I ate my pancakes and four sausage patties. Then some kids came around with more sausage, and I got that. Then some more came around with pancakes and I got some more of that. Then came another round of sausage. I finally called it quits out of embarrassment.

We enjoyed watching and listening to Beverly's Hillbillies play bluegrass. Now, the Kiwanis Club announced it would be Jimmie Allison and Friends, and that's what I put in the paper. Jimmie was there, all right, but it was really Beverly Spencer's band, of which Jimmie is a part.

A highlight of that performance was when some old boy who I don't know jumped up and commenced to jig-dancing. It was good to see that the Baptists and the high-falutin' folks who have been here a long time and the highbrow transplants who are moving in have not killed at least one Ozarker's spirit. Some children then joined in and danced, too.

What a great morning it was.

Yes, it is sideways. I can see it as well as you can. I held the camera sideways to get the full frame and now I don't know how to rotate it. If you're so smart, tell me what to do. Otherwise, don't criticize. Thanks.

Weather data: another 3.3 inches on top of what we had

Here is the Rolla weather data for the 24 hour period ending at 7:30, Feb. 5:

Max Tempt.: 34° F

Min Tempt.: 15°

Present Tempt.: 21°

Precipitation: 0.24 "

Snow (new) 3.3”

Precip. for the year: 1.93 "

Precip. for the month : 1.43 "

Relative humidity: 92%

This data comes from Dr. A.C. Spreng, the Missouri University of Science & Technology professor who compiles Rolla weather data daily for the National Weather Service.

Friday, February 4, 2011

46 elk captured, health protocols in progress

Catch includes spike bulls and several pregnant cows

By Jim Low
Conservation Department

Forty-six animals that will form the nucleus of Missouri’s restored elk herd are in a holding pen in Bell County, Kentucky, undergoing veterinary testing and treatment. By the end of the week, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will start the clock on a 90-day quarantine period designed to ensure they are healthy and ready for a new life in the Ozarks.

Crews made up of personnel from MDC and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources finished trapping operations Jan. 22, using two corral-type traps in separate locations. They baited the traps with alfalfa hay, corn and sweet feed. The traps were equipped with remotely controlled gates, allowing workers to watch the traps from a distance and close them when elk were inside.

MDC hoped to capture 50 elk this year. That challenge was complicated by the need to trap only cow elk, their calves and 1.5-year-old bulls, known as “spikes” because of their unbranched antlers. Spike bulls will be 2.5 years old next fall, when cow elk in Missouri are ready to breed.

“Mature wild bull elk are too strong to work with safely in captivity without sedation,” said MDC Elk Project Manager Ron Dent. “Sedation carries more risk for the animals, and without sedation big bulls pose a danger to workers and other elk in a confined space.”

Trapping crews had to experiment with techniques to exclude mature bulls from the traps. They also had to work through technical hitches with the automatic gates.

This year’s catch includes seven spike bulls, 21 adult cows, 10 yearling bulls, four yearling cows and four female calves. Nearly all the mature cows are expected to be pregnant.

State and federal officials conducted the first round of veterinary testing Tuesday. Elk were guided through a “squeeze chute” like those used for working domestic livestock. Once confined in the chute, each elk received an injection to kill internal and external parasites. Workers then shaved a small patch of skin on the animals’ necks for a tuberculosis skin test and to draw blood for other disease testing. Veterinary health protocols approved by the Missouri State Veterinarian are more stringent than any that apply to livestock brought into Missouri.

After veterinary health work-ups, the elk were fitted with ear tags and with passive integrated transponder (PIT) identification tags.

MDC workers will check the tuberculosis skin tests Friday. Then MDC can start the clock on a 90-day quarantine period. The holding pen is surrounded by a perimeter fence that prevents contact with free-ranging elk or deer.

A three-month quarantine leaves time for MDC to bring the elk to a holding pen at Peck Ranch CA in Carter County and let them acclimate to their new surroundings before being released to the wild. The acclimation period will allow biologists the opportunity to observe elk and fit them with them with GPS collars.

The elk are being protected from poaching or disturbance by curiosity seekers. This protection will continue at the holding site at Peck Ranch. Dent said this is critical to the success of the elk-restoration effort.

“These are wild animals,” he said. “They are highly susceptible to human disturbance. We stay away from the holding pen as much as possible, because the elk can become very nervous if they hear, see or smell humans nearby. They can injure themselves if they bunch up or try to jump the fence. That is why we do not allow news media or other visitors at the trapping site. The same will be true when we bring the elk to the holding pen at Peck Ranch.”

Conservation Action--January 2011

From the Department of Conservation:

The Conservation Commission met Jan. 27 and 28 at Conservation Department Headquarters in Jefferson City. Commissioners present were:
Becky L. Plattner, Grand Pass, Chair
Don R. Johnson, Festus, Vice Chair William F. “Chip” McGeehan, Marshfield, Member, Acting Secretary

The Commission:
Received a Regulations Committee report, including a Missouri Elk Restoration update from Deputy Director Tom Draper.
Received a Resource Science division report from Division Chief Mike Kruse.
Received an Information Technology report from IT Services Chief Douglas Fees.
Received a Smallmouth Bass Management report from Fisheries Management Biologist John Ackerson.
Honored the following individuals for outstanding service as the 2010 State Hunter Education Instructors of the Year:
Hunter Education Volunteer Instructor Barry Cagle, St. Louis Region;
Bowhunter Education Volunteer Instructor Randall Vandegrift, Southwest Region;
Conservation Agent Instructor Willie Carr, Southwest Region;
Department Staff Instructor Andy Rhodes, Southwest Region.
Received a Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation report from MCHF Executive Vice President Rick Thom.

The Commission:
Approved entering into a contract with Kissick Construction Company, Inc. of Kansas City, Mo., for the construction of a new Sullivan-area workstation on the Meramec Conservation Area in Franklin County at a total estimated cost of $393,128.
Approved entering into a contract with Micro-Comm, Inc. of Olathe, Kansas, for the construction of a monitoring system at the Roaring River Fish Hatchery in Barry County at a total estimated cost of $440,402.
Approved the conveyance of approximately 1.71 acres of Settles’ Ford Conservation Area in Bates County to Bates County for bridge replacement over Peter Creek and associated roadwork.
Authorized the advertisement and sale of:
Estimated 753,396 board feet of timber located on 370 acres of Compartment 38, Rocky Creek Conservation Area in Shannon County;
Estimated 1.17 million board feet of timber located on 659 acres of Compartment 27, Sunklands Conservation Area in Shannon County.
Approved the nominations for Master Conservationists and nominations for induction into the Missouri Conservation Hall of Fame.
Suspended all sport privileges of 10 Missouri residents for Wildlife Code violations and affirmed actions taken by Missouri courts revoking hunting privileges of four Missouri residents. Those whose privileges were suspended or revoked are:
Daniel L. Ammerman, Archie, all sport, 1 year;
Randy E. Barnes, Ellington, all sport, add 6 years to current suspension;
Ryan A. Daugherty, Norwood, all sport, 6 months;
Clayton R. Dotson, Jr., Purdy, all sport, 1 year;
Bear J. Elliot, Mountain View, all sport, 3 years;
Adam R. Gaggens, Russellville, all sport, 1 year;
Austin R. Keeney, Rolla, all sport, 1 year;
Darin A. Lankford, Buffalo, all sport, 4 years;
Eldon E. Luckey, Frohna, all sport, 1 year;
Ryan A. Nash, Lone Jack, all sport, 2 years;
Douglas L. Byrn, Downing, hunting, revoked until Oct. 18, 2011;
Logan D. Byrn, Downing, hunting, revoked until Oct. 18, 2011;
Jerad M. Fuller, Memphis, hunting, revoked until Oct. 22, 2011;
Revoked the commercial deer-processing permit and privileges for Holt Butcher Block – Keenan Williams, Holt, until the facility comes into compliance with all applicable Department of Agriculture requirements.
Approved the suspension or revocation of all hunting and fishing privileges of 354 residents and six non residents who are not in compliance with applicable child support laws.
Suspended privileges of one Missouri resident and 222 nonresidents under the provisions of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.
Imposed a hunting privilege suspension of three years for a Missouri resident who inflicted injury to another person by firearm while hunting. The hunter must complete a hunter-education training course before restoration of privileges.
Reinstated all hunting privileges of James R. Ross, Warrensburg.
Confirmed the Conservation Commission’s next regular meeting will be held March 4, 2011, in Jefferson City.

Archery deer, turkey harvests down in the Ozarks

Abundant acorns made hunting tougher for deer and turkey hunters

By Jim Low
Conservation Department

Missouri’s 2010-2011 archery deer harvest dipped by 17 percent, following a trend seen during the various portions of firearms deer season. The fall turkey harvest also declined.
Bowhunters checked 43,281 deer during the archery deer and turkey season Sept. 15 through Nov. 12 and Nov. 24 through Jan. 15. That is 8,691 fewer than during the 2009-10 archery season, which set a record high.
Top archery deer harvest counties were Jackson with 980, St. Louis with 898 and Jefferson with 876. The combined 2010-11 firearms and archery deer harvests total 274,794, a decrease of 8 percent.
Resource Scientist Lonnie Hansen, the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) deer expert, attributed the decrease in archery deer harvest to the same factors that held down the 2010-2011 firearms deer harvest.

Hansen said archers shot 25 percent fewer deer in the Ozark Region during the 2010-11 season than the previous season. The Ozark Region firearms deer harvest was down 21 percent from the previous season. Overall, the Ozarks’ 2010-11 deer harvest was down 22 percent. The reason, according to Hansen, was a good acorn crop.
“We knew going into the season that hunters would have a tough time,” said Hansen. “Acorns were abundant in southern Missouri this year, and that meant deer didn’t have to move around much to find their preferred food. That makes deer harder for hunters to find.
“I have heard some people say we use acorns as an excuse when the harvest is down. But if you look at data from the past 20 years, the correlation between big acorn crops and reduced deer harvests is unmistakable.”
The reduced deer harvest in the Ozarks has a silver lining, according to Hansen.
“What happened in the Ozarks was exactly what we expected,” he said. “We shot the deer hard down there in 2009-10, so we had fewer deer to start with. Then we got an abundant acorn crop, so naturally there was a reduced harvest. Next year, if we have a moderate acorn crop, you can expect to see the Ozarks’ deer harvest jump back up as the region’s deer herd continues its slow, long-term growth.”

Hansen said offsetting factors kept the deer harvest in northern Missouri very close to last year’s figure. Deer numbers in many parts of northern Missouri have declined in recent years, but a delayed effect of weather in 2009 propped up the 2010-2011 harvest.
Bowhunters checked 13 percent fewer deer in northeastern Missouri during the 2010-11 season. However, the firearms deer harvest was up 3 percent in the region. The combined archery and firearms harvest in the northeast region topped the 2009-10 figure by a narrow margin, just 235 deer.
The situation was much the same in northwestern Missouri. The archery deer harvest there was down 12 percent from 2009-10, but firearms deer hunters shot 2 percent more deer. Northeast Missouri’s combined archery and firearms deer harvests beat the 2009-10 deer figure by a nose, just 32 deer.
Hansen said northern Missouri’s deer harvest might have been smaller if hunters had enjoyed better conditions in 2009.
“We had a very wet fall in 2009, and farmers had a dickens of a time getting crops out of the field. There was still a huge amount of standing corn during the November portion of firearms deer season, and that gave deer lots of places to hide. The November hunt normally produces well over 80 percent of the firearms deer harvest. In 2009, it fell to 78 percent. That meant we went into 2010 with more deer than we would have if the weather had been more normal.”

Hansen said the decrease in northern Missouri’s deer harvest over the past few years is clear evidence that MDC’s efforts to get a handle on deer populations are working. Reaching that tipping point ushers in a new era in deer management in the Show-Me State, which Hansen said he finds exciting.
“The downturn is something we have been expecting and watching for,” he said. “As we develop recommendations for future deer seasons, we will re-examine things like the availability of antlerless permits. We also are going to look for innovative ways to help deer hunters and landowners manage local deer herds. They have direct experience with deer in their areas, and ultimately control the number and kind of deer harvested in their areas. Deer management is going to become much more collaborative, and local than in the past.”

The 2010-2011 archery turkey harvest was 2,184, down from 3,298 the previous season. Top harvest counties during the archery season were Greene with 66, Texas with 46 and Franklin with 43. The total harvest from the 2010 youth and regular spring hunts, the fall firearms season and archery season was 54,311, down 3.7 percent from 2009-10.
Resource Scientist Jason Isabelle is the Conservation Department’s wild-turkey expert. He said the Ozarks’ abundant acorn crop probably also made turkeys harder to hunt. Another significant factor was poor turkey reproduction for the past few years.
“Wild turkey productivity has been extremely low in recent years,” said Isabelle. “When you couple below-average poult production with an abundant acorn resource, you have some difficult conditions for harvesting wild turkeys with archery gear.”
In addition, Isabelle said some hunters probably recognized that turkey numbers are down and chose not to take part in the fall hunt, preferring to wait until spring. He said this seems especially likely in northwestern Missouri, where production was up 34 percent in 2010, but the archery turkey harvest was substantially lower than last year.
Although turkey numbers are down in some parts of the state, Isabelle said hunters still can expect some outstanding hunting opportunities during the 2011 spring season.
“Despite some challenging hunting conditions in recent years, turkey harvest in Missouri is still among the highest of any state in the country,” said Isabelle. “Even when conditions are tough, Missouri still offers some of the best turkey hunting that can be found anywhere.”

Morning weather data

Here is the Rolla weather data for the 24 hour period ending at 7:30 a.m., Feb. 4, 2011:

Max Tempt.: 23° F

Min Tempt.: -1°

Present Tempt.: 15°

Precipitation: 0.00 "

Precip. for the year: 1.68 "

Precip. for the month : 1.19 "

Relative humidity: 60%

Thursday, February 3, 2011

This morning's weather data

Here is the Rolla weather data for the 24-hour period ending at 7:30 a.m., Feb. 3:

Max Tempt.: 18° F

Min Tempt.: -1°

Present Tempt.: -1°

Precipitation: Trace

Snow (New): Trace

Precip. for the year: 1.19 "

Precip. for the month : 1.19 "

Relative humidity: 81%

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The wisdom of scientists

On this date in 2007, the world's leading climate scientists said global warming has begun, is "very likely" caused by humans and will be unstoppable for centuries.

No problems traveling inside Rolla

Neither yesterday nor today did I have any trouble getting to work at my part-time job in Rolla--once I got the car unsealed. Yesterday it took about an hour to: 1.) get through the ice shield and into the car, 2.) clear the windshield, backglass and windows so I could drive safely. It took me less than 5 minutes to get to the office. Getting into the car and getting it cleared wasn't so time-consuming this morning. It also took very little time to get here, for the streets had been plowed very well.

The interstate right around Rolla is in much better condition than it is in most of the rest of Southern Missouri, according to this map. I ought to be able to make it to my full-time job in St. Robert Thursday with no problems.

Rural roads aren't in such great shape, though.

Pancakes would be good in this kind of weather

I just finished a hearty breakfast of scrambled/fried eggs and buttered toast. I forgot to buy any bacon or sausage, so I had no pork meat with my breakfast.

I'll tell you what would really have been good on a cold and snowy day like this one: a heaping plate of pancakes and sausage, with plenty of butter and syrup, and ice cold milk to wash it all down. Mighty fine, mighty fine. If that sounds good to you, I'll tell you where we can get a plate. In fact we can get two or three or more, if we want.

Rolla Kiwanians are going to have their annual Pancake Day from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Rolla High School cafeteria. Tickets are $5 in advance and $6 at the door. Find a Kiwanian; each one is carrying loads of tickets to sell.

Saturday will be perfect weather for pancakes, and the Kiwanians always put on a good feed for the community. They've been doing it for decades, so they've got it down to a fine art. Maybe I'll see you there.

Missouri snow depth

Here's a page purporting to show Missouri snow depth. I can't vouch for its accuracy, although it looks like it's about right for Phelps County, doesn't it?

Not as bad as they said it would be

We've got sleet and snow on the ground and it is mighty cold, but it is not nearly as bad as the weather forecasters said it would be.

So far, the power has stayed on, and it looks like it will continue, for I think the storm is over. All it's going to be now is cold, dang cold.

I heard three days ago that it was going to be a combination of the ice of 2007 and an 1880s-style blizzard like Laura Ingalls Wilder described in her book, The Long Winter.

Then two days ago I heard it was going to be a winter storm like we got in 1912. I'm old, but I don't remember that. That's even before my parents' time.

Then yesterday I heard it was going to be like the winter of 1951, which again was before my appearance on this globe.

I said I'd adopt a wait-and-see approach. I've waited and I see a typical Missouri storm for February.

The weather boys and girls got us all stirred up.

Well, at least we've all got enough bread and milk to last us awhile.

The difference between Republicans and Democrats

Jimmy Stewart explains the benefits of being a Republican.
Henry Fonda, with his hand out, learns the benefit of being close to a Republican.