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:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Newcomers helping Rolla to make "progress"

Rolla is a progressive town of just under 20,000 with many transplants from California and other foreign places who are working hard to make changes, including a 100 percent indoor smokefree ordinance that will be up for first reading at Monday night's city council meeting.

This ordinance will ban all smoking anywhere people work for pay indoors, including private clubs and lodges.

I don't smoke so it won't affect me; hence, I am apathetic. If the newcomers turn to attempting to ban burning wood in my fireplace or using my charcoal grill, I am going to be fighting mad.

A friend of mine, a Californian who moved to a small town outside Branson because who wanted to escape the madness in California, told me electronically:

Banning smoking indoors is the first step. Private clubs and lodges is the second step. Next is banning things like you mentioned in and around private homes.

The Califoreigners have already done that in many cities on government-declared, no-burn days; an' they ain't talkin' leaves, the burning of which is already against the law there.

Don't look now, OB, but they're after you!

I figure it's only a matter of time before some liberal dadburn import/transplant/interloper will go to the city council and start complaining about the smoke from his neighbor's fireplace and/or grill. The silly people around Rolla will jump on board and start the ball rolling to ban all use of wood or charcoal. The council will, of course, go along.

Here's my strategy:

1.) Start encouraging Califoreigners and other rich out-of-staters to move to Rolla. This will:
2.) Drive up the price of houses and land because these wealthy out-of-staters will pay any asking price. Driving up the prices of property will make it worthwhile for me to:
3.) Sell my money pit of a century-old house at a huge profit and
4.) Move way out in the sticks where I belong, where the local government will leave me alone, where I can burn my trash, grill my food and burn wood without fear of someone complaining and where I can live quietly on the money I make off the inflated sale of my house.

How about that strategy?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Confederate flag above Phelps County Courthouse

What a lot of fun we had at the Sesquicentennial celebration held at the Old Phelps County Courthouse today.
Not only is this the 150-year celebration of the founding of Rolla, it's also the 150th anniversary of the completion of what we now call the Old Courthouse.
There was a re-enactment of a secession debate followed by a re-enactment of the seizure of the Phelps County Courthouse by the Union Army commanded by Franz Sigel.

After the Army pulled down the Confederate flag, they started asking for oaths of allegiance. Edmund Ward Bishop, called the founder of Rolla, was the first one to jump and offer the oath.

The Army continued to go around and ask questions. One officer, who was local attorney Charles Hoskins, asked me who I voted for in the last election. I said, "Sir, I am a native of the great state of Georgia," leaving him to draw the conclusion that I voted for Stephen Douglas, the Democrat. "That makes him suspicious," said another officer, who was John Petersen, our city's community development director. They went on and quizzed someone else.

What a lot of fun to "live" in history for a moment. You should've been there.

I'm grateful to all who helped make this event (and Summerfest) possible.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Don't damage the base of your trees while mowing

By David Burton
University Extension

You might be your trees’ worst enemy if you don’t take care when using mowers and weed eaters around them.

“Trees don’t heal from cuts like we do, so a lawn mower scrape, or a trimmer slash, creates a permanent injury” said Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “Once the underlying wood is exposed, you’ve put out a “welcome” sign for diseases and pests to attack your trees.”

Many an older tree has succumbed to internal rot that originated with damage caused years earlier.

According to Byers, there is an easy way to avoid this kind of damage. Remove the grass and weeds from around the tree. Not only will it make it unnecessary to mow near the tree, the tree will not have to compete for the nutrients and water.

Spreading mulch of leaves, grass clippings or straw around trees not only will keep weeds and grass under control, it will give the base of your tree a very attractive appearance. Plus, these organic mulches will help conserve moisture, keep soil temperatures stable, and add nutrients to the soil.

“Damage by mowers and weed trimmers isn’t a tree problem, it’s a people problem. That mighty oak may look invincible, but careless mowing and weed trimming can cause it to die, slowly, from a thousand small cuts,” said Byers.