Monday, April 25, 2011

Former enemies, now friends

Here's an interesting video from YouTube, showing veterans of the Civil War shaking hands with one another.

Did you see the former enemies shaking hands?
We fought the Germans a couple of times; now they're our allies.
We were attacked by the Japs and fought back, dropping two A-bombs on them; now were' sending aid to them.
We sent a lot of young men and women to do in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos; now we trade with them.
We had a Cold War with the Soviets and the Chinese. Now we're friendly with Russia, and the Chinese lend us billions and manufacture most of what we buy and sell.

Why aren't we friendly with Cuba?
And do you think we'll be true to form and eventually be buddies and trading partners with al-Qeada and other Muslim extremists?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Big talk around Rolla is that we are going to get a Starbucks! No one has confirmed it yet, though.I think the big churches in town (I mean the city, since we're just a few hunnert shy of 20,000 now) are going to pray on Easter Sunday for this rumor to turn into the truth. People, especially the newer, more modern types, tell me that if we can just get a Starbucks in here, we'll be seen by outsiders as being a more progressive town and that will bring in even more chain stores and restaurants.We've got an ATT store now. It's across the street from our still-new Walgreens. We've got a Jimmy Johns to compete with Subway and Quiznos.The best news of all is that we're getting a Kohl's! That's very modern. The city dads came up with a progressive scheme that will, for up to 23 years, turn all the city sales tax collected by Kohl's, plus most of the real estate tax, back over to Kohl's. This will pay Kohl's nearly $8 million to build in Rolla. Our modern leaders believe that if you can't attract a business any other way, just pay them tax money to come.We love our chains in Rolla.A long-time downtown clothing store is advertising a "quitting business" sale. Also, rumor is that another long-time locally owned busines is closing; no confirmation on that, but I don't think most modern Rolla people care. The big push among the modern "leaders" is to bring in a Target and an Olive Garden.I am not modern. I'm more concerned about all the crime that is reported, literally daily, on Page 1 of the Rolla Daily News.

My theory is that the growth of crime is feeding the commercial growth and the population growth.I think the Walgreens, ATT and Kohl's business development folks saw the steady growth in crime and the movement of gang members from Chicago and St. Louis to Rolla and decided the town had become a city and was ripe for new stores.I could be wrong, though.But whether crime leads a town to become a city or becoming a city results in a crime-infested town, the truth is: You've got to have crime. And we do. Lots of it.Rolla is becoming modern, urbanized and diversified, and that makes most folks happy. I'm thinking about selling my house and moving.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Studying the Ozarks cavefish

Here's an excerpt from a story on The Joplin Globe's website that I found interesting: Scientists studying rare Ozarks cavefish.

The fish, found only in the Ozarks west and south of Springfield, is about
2 inches long. It is blind, using sense organs on the sides of its head, body
and tail to find food. It lacks pigment. Missouri lists the fish as endangered.
The species, at the federal level, is viewed as threatened.Because they are so
hard to find and observe in their habitat, not much is known about them, but
through a two-year research project for Missouri State University and the
Missouri Department of Conservation, Stephens is attempting to shine a light on
a species that prefers the dark.“There are a lot of unknowns with the cavefish,”
he said. “We don’t have a firm grasp of how far they migrate within their
region. We don’t know how interconnected the sites are where they live. More
genetic testing is needed to see how related they are from site to site. When it
comes to Ozark cavefish, there are lots of questions.”Stephens is the lead
researcher in a study titled “Ozark Cavefish Distribution and Life History
Related to Mining in Jasper and Newton Counties.” It is being funded by the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service. His job is to find cavefish and then ask the property
owner to help protect the habitat.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wet weather means more insects

Here's an interesting piece I ran across, warning us that we're going to have lots of bugs bothering us this summer. I figured as much. From BASF: La Nina sets stage for insect surge:
La NiƱa, the wet winter weather pattern that dumped record rain, sleet and snow across the country in late 2010 and early 2011, has not gone away quietly. Instead, it's being blamed for creating the perfect storm of unwelcomed insects. Termites, ants and other pests thrive in moist conditions, and they're expected to be especially prevalent across America this spring, as record snow packs melt from the Sierra Nevada to Capitol Hill. States from Missouri to Iowa to Wisconsin saw more flooding last year, with thousands of homes damaged by water. In fact, soil moisture conditions over many of these states are categorized as "extremely or very moist" The residual effect this year could be a proliferation of household pests that thrive in damp conditions, such as silverfish and spiders. Moisture also increases the odds of termite invasions, especially in Midwestern states such as Missouri, Iowa, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. This native pest feeds on cellulose materials, including structural wood, wood fixtures, paper, books and cotton, and will even attack the roots of shrubs and trees. In the colder Northern states, carpenter ants are a greater threat to homeowners. There are many other ants in the Midwest, including the invasive odorous house ant, so named because it smells like a rotten coconut if it's smashed. Indoor nests can be found in wet areas, such as bath traps, under toilets, in wall voids near hot water pipes or heaters, and in crevices around sinks and cupboards

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Weather report

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., April 17: Max Tempt.: 57° F Min Tempt.: 38° Present Tempt.: 46° Precipitation: 0.03" Precip. for the year: 12.45" Precip. for the month: 1.98" Relative humidity: 62% --A.C.Spreng

Sunday sermon in song

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Protecting farms and ranches from lawsuits

CBS News reports that our General Assembly has passed a bill that will protect farms and ranches from lawsuits by neighbors who complain about the smells. On the one hand, that sounds great. I've heard of transplants from other states who move into a rural Missouri area and then start complaining about how the farm or ranch down the road stinks. We need to protect the farmers and ranchers, who were there first, from the latecoming transplants. On the other hand, it irritates me when out-of-town or out-of-state companies sneak in, buy up a bunch of cheap land, and then open a confined animal operation. That's what this legislation is really about. It's protection for Premium Standard Farms. You can read the whole store at Missouri lawmakers pass limits on farm lawsuits. Or you can read the following excerpt:

Missouri lawmakers sent the governor a measure Thursday that would limit the money people could win in nuisance lawsuits against agricultural producers and restrict their ability to sue multiple times for issues such as foul odors from large hog farms. The legislation comes after hog-producer Premium Standard Farms warned last year that it might have to leave the state if it continued to be targeted by nuisance lawsuits. Such lawsuits have resulted in multimillion dollar awards against the company, including an $11 million award to a group of 15 northwest Missouri residents. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Casey Guernsey, R-Bethany, said the goal is to protect agricultural producers from being forced out of business by multiple lawsuits."We're not taking away anyone's right to sue," he said. "What it does is limit their ability to come back time and time again to the same lawsuit." The House passed the bill 110-45, with 11 Democrats joining majority Republicans in support of the bill. The Senate passed the bill previously.The measure would only allow people who own at least part of the affected land to file suit against the farming operations. If a farming operation causes a temporary nuisance to another property owner, that person could seek damages based on the decline in the property's fair market rental value. If the property owner filed multiple lawsuits against the same farming operation for the same nuisance, it would be considered a permanent nuisance. Damages for permanent nuisances would be awarded based on decreases in the property's fair market value. Critics say that part of the legislation could allow large-scale hog farms that produce foul odors to move into an area and lower surrounding property values. They said the farming operations, sometimes called concentrated animal feeding operations, could then buy out the surrounding property at the lower price. "Common sense would dictate that when I buy a piece of property that isn't next to a smelly CAFO, as soon as that smelly CAFO moves in, the value of my property will go down," said Rep. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis. "It seems to me that we are offering double protection to the CAFOs." Guernsey said the large farming operations would not try to buy out smaller property owners because fair market values of farmland are continually rising, not falling, even in areas near large farm operations. "The fact of the matter is that rural property values are not declining," he said. Tim Gibbons, a spokesman for the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, said individual landowners who have property next to the large farming operations aren't looking to win large awards in state courts through lawsuits. Instead, he said, the possibility of a large verdict might deter companies from creating a nuisance in the first place. "The liability creates incentive to be good neighbors," he said after the vote. "If you limit that liability so much, then instead of these lawsuits being an incentive for these operations to be good neighbors...then it actually becomes a disincentive." Gibbons also said the legislation was crafted to satisfy its sponsors' parochial interests rather than improve the state's economy as a whole. Premium Standard Farms employs about 1,100 people in the economically struggling communities of northern Missouri. A processing plant in Milan which employs about 1,400 people also gets a majority of its business from Premium Standard.

Although Premium Standard and the processing plant employ a total of 2,500 people, it has put out of business hundreds of Missouri farm families that raised hogs. You can't find a small hog farm anywhere nowadays. So, what do you think? Should Premium Standard be protected? Is having a handful of large-scale confined animal raising operations better than having lots of small farms scattered throughout the state? Do neighbors' rights transcend the rights of the farmer or rancher? Farm lawsuits is HB209. Online: Legislature:

Join the 10,000 Garden Challenge

In Springfield a few years ago, there was something called the 1,000 Garden Challenge. The state leaders liked the idea of growing your own food so much that they started the 10,000 Garden Challenge. How about you? Have you thought about starting a garden this spring? Many of you probably already have some lettuce, onions and potatoes in the ground. Be careful about putting too much tender stuff out, though, for the last frost date here is May 10. From, here are some excerpts about the 10,000 Garden Challenge: Ozarks-Inspired Garden Challenge Grows Statewide
A statewide movement that began with an idea in Springfield is now growing -- in more ways than one. Boyd Elementary kindergarteners spent the morning digging in the dirt at the Midtown School Garden. They showed off their gardening skills to state agriculture director Dr. Jon Hagler. He came to town to talk about the 10,000 Garden Challenge, a statewide effort to get people to plant more gardens. In exchange, the students could win $500 gift certificates. The Garden Challenge idea began in Springfield a few years ago, with locals who wanted to start 1,000 gardens. The state liked the idea, and decided to expand it. Now there's a new category for community gardens. Dr. Hagler says getting people involved in backyard agriculture is good for more than just reducing grocery bills. "You'll be reconnecting families, you'll be reconnecting communities, you'll be reconnecting them in a common purpose," he says. "That is understanding the importance and the goodness that comes in growing your own food."
10,000 Garden Challenge AgriMissouri

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Missouri in the Civil War

I'm old enough to remember the Civil War Centennial, and now here we are 50 years later with the Civil War Sesquicentennial.

A number of websites about Missouri in the Civil War are available. Here are five of them:

Missouri Civil War Sesquicentennial

The Civil War in Missouri

Missouri Civil War

Civil War Traveler

Missouri in the Civil War

Civil War in Missouri Facts

Missouri Digital Heritage

Friend and Foe Alike

Lots of people, perhaps most, don't care for history. But if you're one of the few who realize that life on earth began before you were born, you might enjoy these sites.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Global warming, global darkening

It was warmer yesterday than it was the day before. I think it's going to be warmer today than it was yesterday. That's evidence of something. Democrats want us to pay a tax to fight warmer weather. Also, last night I noticed the moon is smaller than it was the night before. I seem to remember that some time ago the moon was big, round and bright. That's evidence of something. It appears to be on a path that will eventually cause it to disappear from sight. Why are the media ignoring this global darkening? As soon as the Democrats discover it, they'll start fighting for a tax to fight the increased darkness of night.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Daily weather report

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, April 9, 2011 : Max Tempt.: 85° F ; Min Tempt.: 61°; Present Tempt.: 67°; Precipitation: Trace "; Precip. for the year: 10.66 "; Precip. for the month : 0.19 "; Relative humidity: 62%. --A.C.Spreng

Friday, April 8, 2011

New portable radios for Pulaski County Sheriff's Dept.

Here's a news release issued by Pulaski County Sheriff J. B. King on Friday, April 8:

Pulaski County Sheriff J. B. King would like to announce that the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office has received six new portable radios for the use of the deputies. These radios were made possible by a federal grant the department received last year for law enforcement equipment. Each of the new Icom brand radio’s came with a belt holster, extended radio microphone and a spare battery.

The new radios are fully compatible with the required narrow band radio frequency requirement that starts in 2013. In addition they are also compatible with the requirements of proposed future additional split of the narrow band frequency. These radios will be fully functional for many years without the need for an upgrade.

The entire order came to $4,320 and was completely paid for by the Department of Justice grant for law enforcement equipment. The radios have been issued to the deputies and are now in service.

Quote by Sheriff King, “The ability of deputies to immediately and clearly communicate with each other is one of the most critical needs of any police agency. When the deputy is in his car, the car radio is supreme. But when the deputy is on foot, off the roadway and down over the hill the hand held radio is probably the single most critical piece of equipment the deputy has with him at the time. The deputies must have reliable radio communication at all times. These radios are going to give us a big boost in the communication field and will help us better serve the citizens of Pulaski County .”

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Sheriff's View

By Pulaski County Sheriff J. B. King. Welcome aboard for another column. As I start to write this one on a very nice spring day I find myself looking out the window and thinking about going fishing. This is sort of a private a joke because I have not gone fishing since the start of the election campaign of 2004 and it seems like that was at least a couple of decades ago. Ugh! As I start the column on April 3, 2011, at 9:11 a.m. our calls for service/case number count stands at 2,790 for this year. I did not record the calls for service in column number fourteen for 2010 but next week’s column for 2010 showed a total of 2,496 for that week of the year. So we are still ahead of schedule on calls. And this number will most likely not get any better as this year moves forward.Our inmate roster had 62 or 63 names on it for Friday but here on Sunday morning we stand at 68. This simply means that Saturday night in the county was not all that bad. The MSHP brought us a couple of guests for a visit and I think the deputies found one or two more. The jail count ebbs and flows on a daily basis almost as quickly and routinely as the ocean’s tide flow. And that is just a simple fact of life on the corrections front. This brings me to a question I received a few weeks ago about our department news releases. The person wanted to know how and why I did the news releases. The why is simple, the people of Pulaski County want to know what is going on with the criminal world and they want to know that their tax dollars are being effectively spent in the fight on crime. The how is also simple, I have a contact group of approximately 40 plus E-mail addresses set up on my office PC and every news release and column are routinely sent to those 40 plus addresses.I should say that there are several duplications in the list. For example KY-3 TV has their main news address listed but at least two KY-3 reporters have asked that I also send the information direct to them so they are on the list. Any media group that requests gets placed on the list. We even have St. Louis area TV stations on the list. It has to be a fairly big story for them to cover it but we have made the evening news in St. Louis. The list also includes one sheriff (hello Dennis!) from way up north on the Iowa line who wanted to see how I did my columns for the public. The one question my reader did not ask was how do you decide what events are news worthy for release? And that is the hard part. I require the deputies to put a copy of every statement of probable cause they send to the prosecutor in my box so I will be aware of the case. Many of them are simply not news worthy situations. If a deputy makes a traffic stop for a burned out headlight and finds the driver to be driving while revoked (DWR) on his driver’s license he is required to do a PC statement to explain how the DWR charge came about for the PA. This is a serious situation for the person stopped because it can lead to a visit to our jail for few days sentence but it is not something the public at large wants to know about. And there are many other such misdemeanor cases where I simply do not put out a news release unless there is something special about the case. The first example that comes to mind was a recent and routine driving while intoxicated case that we made. I normally do not send out a DWI case. But this time the DWI came with a disturbance where a passenger in the car was arrested, the DWI suspect was arrested for obstructing the deputy and we also found that the family dogs were locked in the car trunk so we added an animal abuse charge. I knew this story would have public interest so I sent it out.As a general rule any felony arrest on view or with a warrant goes out. Most search warrant cases go out. Any pursuit or extended cold case effort goes out. But there are times when I do not send out news. I very rarely send out a release on a suicide case. We had a recent case of incest and while I reported that we worked the case along with a Naval Criminal Investigative Service special agent (NCIS) I did not report the news when the suspect was charged because doing so would have made the identity of the underage victim known to many people. (No, the NCIS agent was not Ziva or Jethro.) My question on these news cases is usually a two part situation. Is this a case that the public would want to hear about? Or would this be a case were publication of the details would enhance the public understanding of the job that our Pulaski County deputies do every week? At last count there were 784 Missouri statutes that required the sheriff to take some sort of action and many of these actions are unknown to the general public. For that matter some of these situations show up so seldom that they are unknown to the deputies. I see part of my news role as trying to help the public at large understand the office of the sheriff. The 784 number does not include the criminal and traffic statutes so we can be a busy bunch of Beavers at all times.I should add that my policy on the release of arrest info and booking photo is much more stringent than what is allowed by court decision. On any felony case your name, address, charge and photo can be released immediately. I choose not to release until a charge has been filed. So far most of the media groups have not fought me on this point. And there you have it, more information on news releases than you ever wanted to know. I am out of words and once again please drive with care and please stay out of my jail. But we will leave a light on for you. The jail bulb burns brightly!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Weather report

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. Sunday, April 3, 2011: Max Tempt.: 71° F Min Tempt.: 41° Present Tempt.: 61° Precipitation: 0.00" Precip. for the year: 10.47" Precip. for the month: 0.00" Relative humidity: 56% --A.C.Spreng