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Archive for September, 2013

(Ellington) – A special family-friendly event coming up October 19 will help children and families across southeast Missouri.

Stacy Moe is the Center Director for Whole Kids Outreach in Ellington. She spoke with Ozark Radio News and told us about their upcoming Fall Festival:

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She says that proceeds from the Fall Festival will help support various programs at Whole Kids Outreach:

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Moe says that another event coming up later this year is the Whole Kids Outreach Christmas Store:

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No date for the store has been set at this time. Again, the number for Whole Kids Outreach is 573-663-3257.

(New York) – Over 65 years since the first and only cooking show aired there are now cooking shows on almost every channel at any time of the day. One of the newest shows ‘Knife Fight’ on the new Esquire Network, which aired its season premiere on Tuesday, September 24, takes televised cooking to a whole new level.

Chef Ilan Hall, the host of ‘Knife Fight’ and the season 2 winner of Top Chef, spoke with Ozark Radio News about his new show:

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In the show Hall has celebrity timekeepers and judges such as Jason Lee, Elijah Wood, and the shows producer Drew Barrymore. Hall shared with us what it’s like been surrounded by these celebrities on a daily basis:

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The challenge side of the show comes in when Hall brings in two chefs to compete against each other to make as many dishes in an hour using the leftover ingredients of the day from his restaurant:

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‘Knife Fight’ can be seen every Tuesday night on the Esquire Network at 9/8c. For more information on Hall or his show you can visit the site here.

(Wright County) – A resident of Rolla was killed Saturday after drowning in the Gasconade River in Wright County.

A report from Troop G of the Missouri State Highway Patrol states the accident happened in the Wilbur Allen Conservation Area. Jeremy Hinkemeyer went underwater around 3:25 PM and failed to resurface.

He was pronounced dead at the scene by Wright County Coroner Ben Hurtt at 9:36 PM, and was taken to Craig Hurtt Funeral Home in Mountain Grove.

(Washington) – Congressman Jason Smith has released his Capitol report for this week, discussing his work on ending what he calls Washington’s exemption from Obamacare:

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Ryan Smith hand harvests table grapes at the Missouri State University Fruit Experiment Station at Mountain Grove. He is carefully picking Sunbelt, an all-purpose Concord-like grape that is well adapted to the Ozarks.

Ryan Smith hand harvests table grapes at the Missouri State University Fruit Experiment Station at Mountain Grove. He is carefully picking Sunbelt, an all-purpose Concord-like grape that is well adapted to the Ozarks.

by Marilyn Odneal, Horticulture Adviser

(Mountain Grove) – This year, we are harvesting Sunbelt grapes in the first half of September at the State Fruit Experiment Station at Mountain Grove. Sunbelt, as the name implies, was developed at the University of Arkansas to be the “Concord of the South.” Last year, when the weather was very hot and dry, our Concords did not ripen evenly. The clusters remained a mix of dark blue, red and green berries due to the heat and were difficult to use. Our Sunbelts, on the other hand, ripened evenly and all of the berries in the cluster turned blue at about the same time despite the heat.

Sunbelt is a seeded grape cultivar that was released from the University of Arkansas Breeding program in 1993. Like Concord, its large berries in small clusters are slipskin – the skin does not adhere to the pulp but slips off when squeezed. They taste like Concord too, but generally ripen earlier at Mountain Grove. As far as winter hardiness, Sunbelt is similar to the very cold hardy Concord. The vines are vigorous and easy to establish as long as you keep your eye on weed control and regular watering if needed in the first couple of years after spring planting.

Sunbelt is a good all purpose grape that is easy to harvest. It is not attractive to birds, so netting is not required for protection. It is great for fresh eating and for making juice, jams, jellies and pies. In fact, Sunbelt juice was rated as good to better than Concord. It also can be made into a Concord style wine.

Sunbelt is even more disease resistant than the mighty Concord with moderate resistance to black rot and anthracnose and high resistance to powdery and downy mildews. Japanese beetles may like it, but it has large leaves and can withstand light damage without a problem.

Edible landscapers find Sunbelt very useful in home plantings. Due to its winter cold hardiness, its large leaf canopy, its disease resistance and the fact that the birds don’t care for it, it is an ideal grape to use for arbors and trellises where people gather for shade. Even if you plant it in a row, due to its disease resistance, it will look good even with a low spray or organic production program.

So if you are thinking of planting an all purpose grape that is easy to grow and maintain, consider Sunbelt. It is definitely a great grape for the Ozarks – unless, of course, you are a bird.

Direct comments or questions concerning this column to Marilyn Odneal via email at MarilynOdneal@missouristate.edu; write to Missouri State Fruit Experiment Station, 9740 Red Spring Road, Mountain Grove, Mo. 65711; or call (417) 547-7500. Visit our Web site at http://mtngrv.missouristate.edu.

I spent some time at the business of one of my constituents this week, and the conversations brought up during this meeting continue to resonate with me. The owner and a customer visited with me on a variety of issues dealing with government. The Constitution was brought up, as well as the Framers’ intent on some of these issues. We also discussed the point of the Oath of Office and how public servants are to uphold this sacred document.

I left this visit very inspired. It caused me to reflect on the works of our Founding Fathers two and a quarter centuries ago. Through the blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors, a document was forged. This Constitution laid out for both our liberties and our nation to grow and see better days. On September 17, 1787, this document left the convention to be ratified by the states. Since then, countless oaths have been sworn and affirmed toward its protection and implementation, “… so help us God.” It is humbling to know I have repeated the same oath that both statesmen and soldiers have breathed and lived. I consider the duty of upholding the Constitution to be one of the greatest honors of my life.

“The Constitution…is unquestionably the wisest ever yet presented to men.” –Thomas Jefferson

It’s hard to believe that summer has flown by and that we’re already into fall. As of this writing, we’re finally getting some much needed rain. I’m glad to see the rain get here, along with the more typical fall-like temperatures. This is definitely my favorite time of year!

Although we have been in the interim, your Representative has been busy between hosting the International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) 1000 yard Nationals Championship at our range (Midwest Benchrest), trying to get caught up on property boundary surveys, and visiting with constituents from across the district. Over the last couple of weeks I have enjoyed numerous events, including the Roby Fire Department parade/dinner, the benefit fish fry at the Summersville Mill, Cabool’s Old Tyme Days, and also celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the VFW Hall in Cabool. I was honored to attend a fantastic lunch, after which I then presented a Resolution from Missouri’s House of Representatives to VFW Post Commander Rudy Blahnik. Just remember, it doesn’t have to be Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day for us to say “Thank You.” We owe a tremendous debt to those (and their families) that willingly fight for our freedom, and ANY day is a great opportunity to show our appreciation for their sacrifice.

Veto session:

On September 11, both chambers of the Missouri Legislature were called back into session to consider the Governor’s Vetoes. Of the roughly 1600 bills that were filed during the regular session in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate, 164 were “Truly Agreed and Finally Passed,” and subsequently sent to the Governor (to be signed, not signed, or vetoed). Of these 164, the Governor chose to sign/not sign 135 of the bills (which ultimately enacts them), and to veto the other 29. In the history of our state, there have only been a total of 24 vetoes overridden, with 16 of those 24 coming at a time which only required a simple majority. Today, a 2/3 majority (by both the House and the Senate) is required to override a veto, which equates to 109 votes in the House, and 23 votes in the senate. Of the 29 bills vetoed, 10 were overridden – which is historic given the difficulty in achieving a 2/3 majority on any issue. In this and future reports, I will be detailing a number of bills in which the Governor’s veto was both overridden and sustained.

HB 253 (Tax Cut Bill – veto sustained):

It has been said that the regular session is about “policy” and the veto session is about “politics”; with the months and days leading up to September 11 confirming this statement. I’m not aware of any other legislative proposal (in the regular or veto session) that received as much attention, with as much information and (frankly) mis-information surrounding it. Governor Nixon made this bill the centerpiece of his summer-long campaign to support/sustain his vetoes, travelling the state delivering speeches ridden with flawed reasoning and inaccuracies about the realities of this bill. It is much easier to say that this legislation “will hurt education, seniors, and our mentally disabled,” than to explain the facts of this bill and how it ultimately affect our state revenues and services. The Governor deserves credit for winning the “messaging war,” even if his statement’s weren’t accurate. If you believed or bought into his propaganda, I’m sorry, but you were sold a “bad bill of goods,” which I will detail in the following explanation.

Although this is rather lengthy, I would urge the complete reading of this section to fully understand why I supported HB253. What HB253 would actually do:

Reduces the individual tax rate, for those making over $9,000 from 6% to 5.5%, by reducing the rate by .05% per year over 10 years.

Create a new individual exemption of $1,000 for those making less than $20,000 per year, or for couples filing jointly making less than $40,000 per year.

Creates a 50% business income exemption (phased in at 10% per year, over 5 years) for businesses that are not incorporated (Sole Proprietors, LLC’s, S-Corp.’s – i.e. “small businesses”) and are currently taxed at the individual rate rather than the corporate tax rate.

Reduces the corporate tax rate from 6.25% to 3.25%, by reducing the rate .3% per year for 10 years.

In the event and only if the U.S. Congress passes and the President signs the Federal Marketplace Fairness Act (FMFA – Internet sales tax), the individual personal income tax rate would be reduced by an additional .5%.

The aforementioned reductions are conditional upon a KEY REQUIREMENT that state revenues must INCREASE by $100,000,000 (100 Million) over the previous year’s revenue, for the next phased-in reduction to occur. Despite Governor Nixon’s claims and what many in the educational community believed, based on the provisions within this bill, it is FUNDAMENTALLY IMPOSSIBLE for state revenues to “fall of a cliff” or drop thereby hurting and or reducing educational funding.

To the contrary, I believe that this may be one of the only options of reaching the funding level of the current formula; by improving/growing our economy and the total amount available through attracting new jobs and businesses. Concerning educational funding, it is important to note the following. In the current FY2014, I personally increased school transportation funding through the Budget Committee, and the entire Legislature increased K-12 funding by over $66,000,000. Although these funding INCREASES haven’t received a lot of publicity, they were part of the $400,000,000 unconstitutionally withheld (which will be dealt with in the upcoming session) by the Governor to politically pressure the educational community and other members not to override his veto.

The two problems (“drafting errors”) with this bill revolved around the tax-free status of prescription medications and text books. This occurred through the misplacement of a bracket “[” onto the wrong side of a word in the lengthy FMFA portion of the bill. I (along with every other member of the legislature) bear some culpability for missing this error, but there is more to the story. While we heard in the numerous speeches about how this was going to hurt seniors and students, again, the truth wasn’t part of the messaging. In reality, this was slated to go into effect on January 1, 2015. Had the veto been overridden, one of the first bills passed in January 2014 would have corrected the oversight. Another important issue that was never publicized, deals with the origin of this language. In an effort to work with the Governor on these important issues, this portion of the bill was provided to the bill sponsor by the Governor’s Administration. It may never be known whether this error was intentional or not; but it is important to understand the complete story in context with all of the claims that have been made.

HB 253 was a very structured, measured, responsible approach to reducing the burden of Government upon individuals and small businesses, and would have been a welcome improvement for our stagnant economy, by attracting new businesses to Missouri and stopping the mass-exodus near our State’s borders. It was considerably different than the Kansas tax cut, which reduced the top rate from 6.45% to 4.9%, in one year. As evidenced by this lengthy explanation, it is much more difficult to consider the facts as contained in the bill, rather than to mislead the public with the simple message of “our kids, seniors, and mentally challenged will be hurt.” While there may be those that philosophically disagree with the mindset of growing our economy through reducing the burden of Government upon the individual, it is one of my core beliefs, which is shared by an overwhelming majority of this district. I firmly believe that we as individuals know better of how to spend our money than the bureaucrats of Washington D.C. or Jefferson City.

Governor Nixon stated, “You can support this bill, or support public education; but you can’t support both.”

This is a very complex issue that is difficult to explain, and reminds me of the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.”, because this really is a “he says” versus “we say” type of situation. Based on my legislative actions, and that of the entire Legislature in increasing funding for our public schools, and that of the Governor in “playing politics” by withholding the funding that was slated for many of the needs of our state; the choice is yours in deciding who to believe. I will continue fighting for our school’s funding, and to reduce the government burden/over-regulation of our businesses and hard-earned dollars.

I’ve ran “long” in discussing this issue, so we’ll cover some of the other issues from veto session in future reports.

Contact Information:

As always, please do not hesitate to call or write me anytime with your questions or thoughts on this or any other issue. My Capitol office is 573.751.1490 and my email is Robert.Ross@house.mo.gov. Thank you for the honor to serve as your Representative in the Missouri House of Representatives.

(West Plains) – The Stuart Union Cemetery Association will hold their semi-annual meeting Sunday, October 6 at 2 PM at the Church.

Anyone interested in the Cemetery or the Church building is urged to attend.

(Jefferson City) – The Director of Agriculture, upon the recommendation of the State Entomologist, announced today that the state quarantine regulating the movement of ash wood products has been expanded to include all 114 counties and the City of St. Louis. The change follows findings of Emerald Ash Borers in new, disparate locations during the annual summer survey.

Under Missouri’s expanded quarantine, producers, nursery operations and other horticulture and forestry businesses may transport ash wood and wood products throughout Missouri. Consumers may also move ash throughout the state for their personal use. However, individuals transporting products across state lines must continue to contact USDA-APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine to ensure compliance with existing federal quarantines.

For more information, visit mda.mo.gov.

(St. Louis) (AP) – Even in the age of eBay and Craigslist, there is still room for flea markets.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that in the last few weeks alone, two flea markets have popped up around the St. Louis area.

The endurance of flea markets is a testament to the fact that some people simply want to touch and see things before they make the purchase. Perhaps it also speaks to the overwhelming volume of items on the Internet.

Then there’s that sense of discovering just the right item in a marketplace.

One of the flea markets new to the St. Louis region, in St. Peters, is traditional. Shoppers can find snowman-themed candle holders, cheap purses, sunglasses, baseball cards, random old things from attics or basements. That one is the I-70 Shoppers Fair in St. Peters, open year-round on the weekends.

The second, in the city’s Central West End neighborhood, is something of an upscale version of the old flea market. Modeled after the Brooklyn Flea in New York, the CWE Flea is a bimonthly experiment that began earlier this month with about a dozen vendors selling things such as handmade jewelry, bath products and clothing.

The arrival of the latest two entrants doesn’t mean things are easy for flea markets. The long-running Pevely Flea Market closed a couple of years ago amid financial difficulties. The flea market in Fairmont City, Ill., still attracts about 60 vendors on weekends, but has struggled through the recession, manager Bob Crutchley said.

“It’s getting better,” he said. “But it’s nowhere near where it was five or six years ago.”

Ted Stewart, an organizer of the I-70 Shoppers Fair in St. Charles County, isn’t concerned about online competition.

“There’s nothing that beats going to a flea market and being able to look at the products,” he said. “Besides, not everything is sold on the Internet. Some of the items are too small in dollar amount to make it worth the while.”

Many of his customers are people looking for work and for ways to make ends meet, Stewart said.

One of the vendors is Hank Pilliard of St. Louis County.

“There’s always a market for this stuff,” he said, referring to his mix of old postcards, knives, home decor and vintage kitchen devices.