Monday, March 31, 2008

03/31/2008 10:28 PM 22222 People Have Ridden The Bus This Far

Thanks for riding the Bus! No need to tip the driver!

Will City Council Vote Against These Kids?

Before I retired, I was the Southwest Regional Coordinator for the Missouri State Teachers Association. I was involved in a lot of school district levy and bond issue campaigns. I was the treasurer of the 2003 successful Springfield bond issue. I received one of those Star Catcher awards for my work on that campaign. I got the pin stuck in the wood over my work bench in my tool shed. So, I know a little bit of which I speak.

People don't vote against kids in elections. If you can successfully frame the discussion in a school bond issue to be entirely focused on kids and not tax increases or teacher salaries or increasing property taxes, you will have a pretty good chance of success. People won't vote against kids.

Most of the speakers at tonight's city council meeting (I watched it on channel 23 and I spelled the names as I heard them. If I need to correct the spelling of a name, either email me or leave a comment to this post) framed their comments to feature kids. I say most of them did because Stan Melton wanted to let the Ice Park sell beerlike the ball park down the street. He believed beer sales would would increase their revenue and reduce the city subcity. He is probably right. What's a hockey game without beer- boring. The woman who spoke after Melton, Reba Sims, said the parks would cut the pool hours to 4days instead of 5, hurting kids. She said the parks had absorbed $660,000 in mandated raises in the past few years and it wasn't fair to kids to ask them to cut more.

Mayor Carlson, to his credit, said the core mission of the city was to provide minimum basic services and there was considerable debate where the parks department and supporting non-profits fit in that core mission.

Councilman Burlison asked about diverting the park sales tax to fix the pension issue. Some of the tax is going for operations, some of it going for new stuff. I have put forth idea before and, like Councilman Burlison, didn't get a solid answer.

Then, several people spoke against the park cuts, including Rob Baird (non-profits are vulnerable, don't gut them), Terry Reid (don't cut anything that affects children), John Sellars of the History Museum (18.5% of his budget was cut. That 18.5% is only 3/100 of 1% of the total city budget. Cumley didn't seem to understand that, he said we are cutting 7%, not 18.5%, oh well). In between Kevin McAdams suggested selling buildings on a lease/purchase plan. (This worked for school districts, it may work for the city. But it get complicated when the lease nears its end.) Mayor Carlson said prepayment penalties would eat up the gain. Also said some of the properties were on 30 years bonds. City Manager Cumley said it comes to "is Council willing to sell assets."

Tom Martz spoke. He had some good stuff to say that made sense. I was getting a drink while he spoke, but you can read what he had to say on his website. (Tom, if you are reading this, send me a link to your website.) Mayor Carlson asked Martz if he was affliated with any groups, a question he asked of no previous speakers. I thought that was an unnecessary commment, if the speaker was speaking for himself, so be it. If the speaker did not identify himself as speaking for a group, what business was it of the mayor's? It would be akin to wanting to know what political party I identify with before I spoke to council.

Ray Close spoke to the same issues as Martz. Stephanie Montgomery spoke against cutting parks and the zoo. Tom Slate said these cuts would hurt kids and old people. Almost all the speakers against the parks cuts implied that the council was hurting kids by making these cuts. Major Carlson reiterated that parks makes it own mind up what to cut, the city just says cut 7% wherever. Guy Mace spoke against the park cuts, Cindy Stevens spoke against the park cuts. The guy from the Watershed committee spoke against the parks cuts, so did a couple of other people. Basically it was the same message: cutting the parks will hurt kids.

Carl Herd and Fred Ellison also spoke tonight. I am taking their comments out of the order in which they spoke because both of these guys made some interesting and valid point.

Herd said new taxes are not the answer. The best thing that can be done to fix the budget crisis is for the City Council to improve its image. He spoke of the money wasted on the container issue, the matching funds for the square, the Commercial Street TIF and, his personal straw that broke the camel's back, spending $5,000 for a survey to see if the voters would support, a year out, a new sales tax for the fire/police pension.

City Manager Cumley said it was a prudent investment, spending $5,000 to see if the public would be receptive to an election that would cost the city $80,000. Actually, I think it was spending $5,000 NOT to see if the public was receptive to an election but to see if the public WOULD approve a sales tax increase. As I recall, the results of the survey were about even, within the margin of error.

Fred Ellison said that city council and city management were responsible for the shortfall in the pension plan. I agree with that statement. They bear the responsibility. We need to remember that during the next City Council election cycle. Ellison also spoke against a sales tax, it puts an unfair burden on lower income people. I agree with him, a sales tax is a regressive tax. If you make $1,826.00 a week (and we have school officials who do) and you buy $100 worth of gas to fill up your SUV, you are paying less tax than a person who makes $500.00 a week and buys $100 worth of gas for their SUV.

The thing about sales tax is, you sell it to the public by saying that the 'other people' pay for it. Remember the hotel/motel tax? If you don't stay in motels, you don't pay the tax. Ha! just look at these casual encounters ads on the Springfield Craigslist, maybe City Council ought to increase the hotel/motel tax, or start a casual encounters tax? STOP! Before you click on that link to casual encounters, remember the ads contained in that section are placed by adults and are probably NSFW (Not Safe For Work). Dang, Springfield IS the fun place to be!

So, interesting meeting, wish I would have made it in person, I would have had something to say. But nothing appeared to be resolved this evening.

Special to Councilman Wylie, even I know the sales tax rate in Springfield is 7.25%, not the 6.75% or 6.25% you said it was. And the tax you pay on property you own in other towns does not lessen my tax burden one bit.

I would approach this just like I do my family budget. Cut out all the non-essentials. Then, when the bill is paid, we can bring them back. And never forget who got us into this mess. Maybe the City Council and City Management ought to sit down with Mike Cherry for a few sessions.

I have been in this discussion for a long time and I was under the impression that these proposed across the board budget cuts of 7% were to be in effect until the police and fire pension plan stabilized. Then the cuts would be reinstated. Maybe I am wrong, won't be the first time. But I know I am not the only one who got that same message.

The city has a review on the Council meeting on the city connect website. Life Of Jason has his recap of the meeting up and Jackehammer should have it up on her blog soon. All of these blogs are linkable from the links list on the right side column on my blog. The SN-L will have a story on the meeting tomorrow also, I am sure. All of these reports are good reading.

City Hiring Freeze: We Have Ways Of Getting Around Such Things

I received the press release about the hiring of the new Figure Skating Director of the Ice Park. Not a new manager, not a new director, but a new Figure Skating Director. I blogged about it on the blog posting below this one.

I emailed this to LifeOfJason (who I knew received the same press release and would probably blog on it -he did-):

doesn't the parks have a hiring freeze also?
Jeez, the city just doesn't get it, you don't hire an ice skating guy when they are thinking about asking us for a new tax! Jim
Jason emailed me back:
That's a very good question. Jason
I emailed Jason:
Here's what they will say: The hiring process was in the works before the hiring freeze so this position was not affected by it.
What they won't say is that this is a parks position and parks can do any damn thing they want. Notice that parks in cutting the budget, cut back on the swimming pool hours, and stuff that people actually use. They didn't talk about not mowing every week or not building a trike park, they are blackmailing people by taking away things people actually use, instead of cutting back on non-essentials.
I say the best thing for the city to do is to stop everything except for essentials until this pension thing is fixed. And suspend the sales tax for parks and divert it to the pension until it is fixed. That won't happen. Remember how the CIP was rammed through by Manley et all in January?
Yeah, we're getting sidewalks over here, nobody wants them either! Jim
I was close when I wrote that the position was in the works before the hiring freeze took effect. I was closer when I wrote this is a parks position and parks can do any damn thing they want.
Jason emailed the city:
How can the parks hire a new Skate Park manager if there is a hiring freeze? Jason
The city replied:
The hiring freeze only affects General Fund positions. That position isn't paid from G.F. revenue. It's quite likely depending on how things shake out that Parks could be laying off or not hiring people in those G.F. programs that might be cut, but still be hiring other people for programs funded out of designated revenues.
Jeez, this would be funny if it wasn't so sad. The city is saying the ice skating position isn't a general fund position, so it is not subject to the hiring freeze. Isn't all the money we are pouring into the ice skating rink coming out of the general fund? Councilman Burlison's right--sell the dang thing!

ps. I'm just an ordinary guy who gets his information the same way you do....from the electronic and print media, from news releases....from email...and by browsing the web. I read and write postings on what I interpret the message to be. If the information givers think I am not getting their message, then maybe they need to rethink the message.

Hiring Freeze? What Hiring Freeze?

This just in from the Park Board:

The Springfield-Greene County Park Board recently appointed Josiah Modes as its Figure Skating Director for the Jordan Valley Ice Park, 635 E. Trafficway.

Modes has a long history in ice skating, including a competitive career placing at the 1998 U.S. National Championship in pairs. His professional career includes more than 11 years performing in shows at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fla., touring with Disney on Ice throughout Japan and Southeast Asia. He also performed in Germany with his wife Yulia Sudakova, who is an instructor at Jordan Valley Ice Park, for two years as a principal pair team.

Modes' teaching career includes simultaneously running the skating programs for the Skating Club of Maine and the Auburn Parks and Recreation Department, before moving to Springfield with his wife in 2007.

Upcoming Ice Park camps and training will include an eight-week Basic Skills session for skaters of any skill level; a 10-week figure skating camp this June and July; an exhibition show on Aug. 2 with international competitors and national medalist Jonathan Hunt and Ann Patrice McDonough; and a week-long intensive figure skating summer camp July 27 - Aug. 2.

For more information on Jordan Valley Ice Park programs, sessions, or public skate times, call (417) 866-7444 or visit .
Modes and his wife come from Maine where the local newspaper had this story. Peter Bushway, director of Auburn Parks and Recreation, is thrilled to have them.
"They've got some game," he said. Oh wait, never mind, wrong city, wrong parks department.

Here's a reading comprehension hint those of us who ride this short bus, everytime that article cited above mentions a city in Maine and how happy they are to be there, insert Springfield.

Deaver And City Back Up On Container Ordinance

This just in from the city's PIO:

The City Council Community Involvement Committee will meet on Wednesday, April 2 to discuss an administrative delay related to the storage container ordinance.
The meeting will begin at noon at the Busch Building 4th floor conference room.
The Council Committee will consider the input from a number of community meetings to determine how it wants to proceed with the container ordinance.
“I have noted significant improvements in the placement and use of the containers throughout the community and believe we can delay action on this issue for a period of time,” Mayor Pro Tem Gary Deaver said.
Wednesday’s meeting is open to the public; however, it is not a public hearing unless Committee members ask for comments. The Committee has received information from the community meetings on this issue.
The Committee’s purpose will be to provide staff direction on how they wish to proceed regarding the draft ordinance and administrative delay currently in place.
Notice how Deaver does the side step in his comment: "I noted significant improvements in the placement and use of the containers...and believe we can delay action on this issue for a period of time."

WHAT?! Who made him the arbitrator of good taste for the city? He's Sparky, the trash man for crying out loud! This ordinance sucked from the start.

I wish more people would rise up and start shouting about other ill-advised projects this city is starting, like sidewalks on streets that go nowhere? (I heard today that the contracts have been let for the sidewalks and nothing can stop us now.)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

"Holy Homosexuals Batman! The Bus Ain't In Blognet's Top 20 This Week! Should We Be Feeling Blue?"

"Not to worry, Robin. There is no need to feel blue. Life can be said to be a little bit like I-44, some parts are flat and smooth, freshly blacktopped. On other parts, the road is hilly and curvy, the concrete pavement is cracked and the expansion seams are jagged and uneven, making for a rough road. The Bus and a few of his riders just went through one of those stretches, but they can see the end of it now. Yes, the Bus will soon be back!"

For the first time in a quite a while, the Bus is not in blognet's twenty most influential political blogs in Missouri. Southwest Missouri blogs consistently place well on the 20 most influential political blogs in Missouri.

Most of the blogs linked on the right side of this page have been or currently are on blognet Missouri's most influential list. This week Life of Jason is ranked #1, last week the Turner Report was #1 (it's #4 this week). The KY3 Political Blog, Ozark Politics and Branson Missouri are all in the top twenty this week. But not the Bus. Even the blog that blogs about stuff that happened 100 years ago came in ahead of the Bus.

But, it's ok. This past week, life took precedence over blogging.

But now the Bus is back and rrrready to blog! Here's a little something to build the traffic up!Oh yeah, gonna have some races in Greene County!

Special For Anon 8:51

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mary Lou Lee 1928 - 2008

Austin and Trey Lee with their Great-Grandma 'Weezer', near Powersite Dam on Lake Taneycomo, MO, August, 2006.

Mary Louise Lee nee Bansbach, left this life peacefully this morning attended to by her daughter, Mary Jane Mooneyham. Mary Lou was born in St. Louis, MO on April 30, 1928, the oldest of three sisters. She was preceded in death by her parents, Alphonse and Eleanor Bansbach; her two sisters, Evelyn Wells and Carole Lonergan; a grandson, Drew Pridgeon and her husband of fifty-six years, Bob Lee.

Mary Lou is survived by her ten children: Bob, Jim, Tom, Mary, Carol, Jane, John, Ed, Ellen and Joan. She is also survived by fourteen grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Her children appreciate the comfort and solace given to their Mother in her final days by her friends Jo, Beth and Jill and her caregivers Elaine, Gloria, Ellen, Linda and Stephanie.

Five years ago Mary Lou's heart failed and a mechanical valve was installed. Last January, during the ice storm, she contracted pneumonia, was hospitalized and for the rest of her life was tethered to a nasal cannula, plastic tubing and an oxygen tank.

This winter, Mary Lou began to tire quickly and her breathing became labored. She said that as soon as the weather turned and spring arrived, she knew she would begin to feel better. Three weeks ago, she contracted what appeared to be the flu bug that was going around and was hospitalized.

While in the hospital, her doctors told her the mechanical valve had become calcified and was not sealing properly. She was not a candidate for surgery and hospice was indicated. Her son Tom arranged for around the clock care and Mary Lou came home.

Last Thursday, Mary Lou suffered several Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA). She could not understand what was happening to her: she said her body was not doing what she was telling it to do. I explained to Mom what was happening and that by knowing what was coming (more TIAs), we could be prepared for them. She did not like what was happening to her body and she was determined to beat it as she had beat the major stroke she has suffered almost 23 years earlier.

Saturday morning, my brother Tom and I walked down to Mom's home (she lived two doors down from me). As we entered the house, Tom's daughter, Stephanie called out for our help. Mom had suffered another major stroke. This one affected her left side, her leg, her arm, her sight and also gave her tremendous headaches.

We called hospice, the nurse came over, confirmed what had happened and started Mom on the 'comfort pack', the goal being to keep her comfortable and let her passing over be pain free. Mom never regained consciousness. Our sister Jane and some of Mom's friends kept a bedside vigil.

This morning, March 26, 2008, at 5:50 am, Mom left this earthly life. She specifically directed her mortal remains be given to Mid American Transplant Service for organ donation. She asked that what could not be harvested be used for research. What remains is to be cremated and placed with our Dad's cremains in their plot in the National Cemetary at Glenstone and Seminole.

We will have a service when her remains come back from St. Louis, which we expect to be sometime in late April or early May. We are hoping it will work out that we can have it service on her birthday, April 30. If it works out that way, fine, if not, that's ok too.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Parks and Sidewalks

Artist's rendition of $1,377,000.00 Below are two brief descriptions of Council Bill 2008-079. The first one is from the city and the second one is from
10. COUNCIL BILL 2008-079. (Carlson)
Amending the 2007-2008 Parks Department Budget for the City of Springfield, Missouri, in the amount of $1,377,000.00, appropriated from the ¼-Cent Sales Tax Fund for capital projects and development. (No members of the public spoke.)

7:25pm…Council Bill 2008-079. A special ordinance amending the 2007-2008 Parks Department Budget for the City of Springfield, Missouri, in the amount of $1,377,000.00, appropriated from the ¼ Cent Sales Tax Fund for capital projects and development. City Manager Cumley said this money arrived after the budget for the year was received.

Read this

I don't understand this action. If the money arrived AFTER the budget was received, was the money allocated in the budget? Were we spending money before we got it? Or was this just a bookkeeping adjustment?

I received this reply from the City about the sidewalk issue raised in a post earlier:

I just wanted to comment on your post regarding the sidewalk improvements. I saw that the signs had the Neighborhood Assessment logo, so wanted to look into it. The sidewalk improvements are listed as the number one priority from the Fassnight Neighborhood Assessment Workshop and the Portland Elementary PTA.
During the workshops, the neighborhood participants are asked to identify their top priorities. The City tries to address up to four of those top priorities, depending on the funding required, etc. Sidewalk improvements are covered in the 1/4-cent sales tax for capital improvements. So like other areas we've discussed, the funding can't be shifted to the P/F pension fund. It could be shifted to sidewalks elsewhere, but it was the top priority of this assessment process. The assessment workshop was in late 2004 and it's taken this long for Fassnight's turn to come up for the sidewalk improvements. I guess my main points are that this is an example of the City trying to be responsive to the democratic process of the workshops where residents identify and reach consensus on what's best for their own neighborhoods and also that it's not out of the 1 percent general sales tax that COULD be shifted to P/F pension.
Louise Whall
Director of Public Information
City of Springfield, Missouri
(copied with permission of the sender)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

It Don't Take Much To Please Me...

Sidewalk Improvement? How Are You Going To Improve Something We Ain't Got And Don't Want? Improve The Pension Plan First

The neighborhood is abuzz over these three signs that showed up recently in the 1600 blocks of Ferguson, New and Weaver. "Action as Promised". Ok,,,,who exactly did you promise this action to? None of the neighbors I talked while gathering photos for this blog seemed to recall being promised sidewalks on these three streets.

Of the three streets, only Ferguson appears to have big enough front yards to support sidewalks. Just along New Street, on the west side of the street are several big trees that made it though the ice storm. The houses on the east side of the street have small front yards, surely not big enough for sidewalks. The west side yards are bigger, but the trees would have to go to get the sidewalks in. On Weaver, the front yards on both sided of the street are shallow.

None of the neighbors I talked to (seven) were excited about getting sidewalks. All of them asked where the money was coming from and, if given the choice, said they would prefer the money go to the police and fireman pension fund.
Several neighbors wanted to know who decided we need sidewalks in our neighborhood? Because no one remembered being asked that question. (Several neighbors have lived here for over 40 years and don't remember that question being raised either.)

The sign says sidewalk improvements. How are you going to improve something we ain't got and don't want? Take the money and fix the pension fund first.

Easter Sunday, 2008

The following picture is from the April 8, 2007 annual neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt. The weather was perfect, the sun was shining and lots of kids showed up for the egg hunt.
This picture below is from today's egg hunt, March 24, 2008. It was cold, windy and the sun was behind the clouds. Trey Lee hid the eggs, Austin Lee, Blake George and Skyler George searched for them. It was cold and windy.

Easter Sunday, 1955

Bob, Tom, Jim, Easter Sunday, 1955, Shrewsbury, MO.
Our Mother's time on earth is finite. As I have posted before, a heart valve she had replaced several years ago has become calcified and is not sealing properly. Last week she had a succession of TIAs and yesterday, she suffered a significant stroke that immobilized her left side.

Fortunately, my brother Tom and I were at her house when the stroke occurred and we were able to get Mom out of the bathroom and into her bed. Tom's daughter Stephanie called the hospice nurse. When he arrived, he asked if we wanted him to call an ambulance to take Mom to Cox. We told him, "No, just keep her comfortable."

We had talked about this before with Mom and she has a durable power of attorney with Tom, our sister Jane and I as decision makers. Planning it is easy, doing it teared me up. But I'm ok now.

Mom and Dad had ten children. (Our Dad died on October 31, 2003, quickly, at Cox South Hospital.) Bob, 1947, who lives in Tampa, Florida; Jim (me) 1949, I live in Springfield; Tom, 1950, he lives in Marionville; Mary Catherine, 1953, she lives on an island in the western Pacific; Mary Carole, 1954, lives in South Georgia, Mary Jane, 1955, lives out by Wilson's Creek Battlefield; John David, 1959, lives in Naples, FL; Edward Joseph, 1960, lives in Daytona Beach, FL; Mary Ellen, 1962, lives in Naples, FL; and Mary Joan, 1964, lives in Panama City Beach, FL.

She has lots of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. After Dad died, Mom sold everything and moved to Florida. The humidity was too hard on her breathing so she moved back to Springfield. She moved into a nice little home about a mile from us, just behind the Pricecutter on South Campbell.

After the January, 2007 ice storm, she took ill and never was able to bounce back to where she was before the storm. While it may not have been the direct cause of her current health issues, I will always believe the ice storm was a contributing factor.

When a little stone house two doors down from us became available last March, Mom moved into it. Which was a good thing. Trey and Austin (her great grandsons 10 and 8) lived next door, there were nice neighbors all around her and she was frequently out walking the block, pushing her wheeled cart, observing the flowers and trees and visiting with whomever was out in their yard.

Yesterday evening I spoke over her back fence to the young neighbors, Charles and Alexis. For some reason, Mom thought his name was George and that is what she called him. Charles told me he learned to answer to "George". (She called our red-headed Austin, "Kevin" more often than not. I asked her who "Kevin" was, she said he was that little red-headed boy who played hide and go seek with her.)

Our son Jim and his wife had a baby girl, Sophie Grace, last June. Kristin brought Sophie down to my Mom's yesterday afternoon and set her on Mom's bed. Mom rubbed Sophie's leg and foot. Sophie gurgled and talked baby talk. I think my Mom enjoyed Sophie's visit.

Been going through some of our her photo albums and I found this photo of my brother Bob, my brother Tom and I in our grandparents front yard in Shrewsbury. Granny and Man (we called our maternal grandpa "man" because he worked for American Car and Foundry and travelled a lot, when he would come home, my brothers Bob, Tom and I would ask, "who is that man?")lived at 7536 South Murdoch Avenue, Shrewsbury, MO. They had a huge double lot with driveways on both sides. And they had one of the first televisions in the neighborhood. We lived on the street behind them, 7530 Nottingham Avenue.

So, here is a picture in the front yard from 1955, Easter Sunday. ST. Michael, The Archangel's Church was right up the street. This photo was probably taken after Easter Mass and before the egg hunt. I base this on the empty Easter egg basket and clean clothes, we still have our ties and jackets on.

I don't remember the name of the man and woman who lived across the street in the brick house, but there was a vacant lot next to their house that was perfect for playing army and having rock fights. They disagreed and we were told to stay on our side of the street.

To all those who ride the bus: I'll be back soon with my hard hitting base line news, witty commentary and sarcastic outlook on local stories. Meanwhile, I am using this blog as a means to communicate with my out state brothers and sisters.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Three Bansbach Girls From Shrewsbury, MO

April 30, 1944, my Mother's 16th birthday. Her sister Carole, 7 years old, on her right and her sister Evie, 9 years old, on her left. The photo was taken in Shrewsbury, MO.
May 30, 1978, Pleasanton, CA. Eleanor Bansbach's 80th birthday. Mary Lou Lee, 50 years old, Carole Lonergan, 41 years old, Evelyn Wells, 43 years old.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

A TIA is a "warning stroke" or "mini-stroke" that produces stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage. Recognizing and treating TIAs can reduce your risk of a major stroke.

Most strokes aren't preceded by TIAs. However, of the people who've had one or more TIAs, more than a third will later have a stroke. In fact, a person who's had one or more TIAs is more likely to have a stroke than someone of the same age and sex who hasn't.

TIAs are important in predicting if a stroke will occur rather than when one will happen. They can occur days, weeks or even months before a major stroke. In about half the cases, the stroke occurs within one year of the TIA.

What causes a transient ischemic attack?

TIAs occur when a blood clot temporarily clogs an artery, and part of the brain doesn't get the blood it needs. The symptoms occur rapidly and last a relatively short time. Most TIAs last less than five minutes. The average is about a minute. Unlike stroke, when a TIA is over, there's no injury to the brain.

What are the symptoms of a TIA?

It's very important to recognize the warning signs of a TIA or stroke. The usual TIA symptoms are the same as those of stroke, only temporary:

Muscle weakness of the face, arm, or leg (usually only on one side of the body)
Numbness or tingling on one side of the body
Trouble speaking or understanding others who are speaking
Problems with eyesight (double vision, loss of all or part of vision)
Changes in sensation, involving touch, pain, temperature, pressure, hearing, and taste
Change in alertness (sleepiness, less responsive, unconscious, or coma)
Personality, mood, or emotional changes
Confusion or loss of memory
Difficulty swallowing
Difficulty writing or reading
Lack of coordination and balance, clumsiness, or trouble walking
Abnormal sensation of movement (vertigo) or dizziness
Lack of control over the bladder or bowels
Inability to recognize or identify sensory stimuli (agnosia)

It was a rough night last night.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

HOLY MOLY! My Ship Has Come In! I'm Quittin' The Day Job!

Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2008 12:01:38 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Mensah&partners solicitors and advocates" Add to Address Book Add Mobile Alert
Yahoo! DomainKeys has confirmed that this message was sent by Learn more
Subject: Let me know your decision

I am Edwin Mensah,a resident bank attorney with office in Accra capital of republic of Ghana,I write this mail to you having gone through exhaustive inquiries about a certain businessman by the name of Richard Lee, who was resident in Ghana west Africa for several years before his death,this man owned a mining company at Obuase in Asante region unfortunately he was involved in an auto crash together with his wife along Kumasi road in Ghana in march 2004,they both died in the ghastly accident and were buried in Accra municipal cemetery.

This man whilst alive operated account with a bank here in Ghana and when he died the closing balance of the account is 8M EURO.I having been consulted by the authority of this bank to help them produce a relation of this dead customer who will inherit this account as a next of kin,this is a standard procedure, I had resorted to different means of getting at any relation of this customer but have not found any person that matched my search criteria.

I am to report back to the bank soon and they will liquidate this account if I have found no one but I have plans to present you as a next kin to this man,I can comfortably prove that you are a relation of this man which is why I am writing to you asking if you would be interested for us to get this money for ourselves otherwise the bank officials will also take this money for themselves.

We will share this money in the ratio of 50% for me and 50% for you so that at least some part of this clients money would have gone back to his country,you will not need to come down here for this to be concluded unless you wish to come but I will require your data so that I can get the necessary legal documents to authenticate my claim and submit it to the bank confirming you as a next of kin to this man,it is my responsibility to declare this and my decision will be accepted as final.

This transaction between us is considered legal with no risks if and only if you keep this mail and its contents confidential,when the claim is approved,you will be contacted by the bank and informed of the modalities for the transfer of the money to your nominated bank account anywhere in the world but I hope that I would have your sincere cooperation,take care of yourself and have a nice day until I hear from you.

Yours Sincerely
Barrister Edwin J Mensah

P. O. Box M.4431
House no D.324/4 Brewery Road,
Adabraka, Accra Ghana.

This e-mail and any attachments may contain confidential and/or privileged information and is intended solely for the addressee. If you are not the intended recipient (or have received this e-mail in error) please notify the sender immediately and destroy this e-mail.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Beer Is Meant To Be Served Cold, Not Warm.

The SN-L reports today that that woman who shot and killed her husband in December, 2006 for serving her warm beer is now dead. There's a lesson here: don't mess with other people's beer or eggs.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Strong, Impartial Moderator Is A Must

There has been quite a stir in the blogosphere about the recent Springfield Metropolitan Republican Club forum on immigration policy. It has been the subject of a life of Jason podcast, a couple of blogs on Desdinova, a blog posting and comments on Ozark Messenger, a new blog on get rid of jericho, and an opinion piece by George Freeman in Sunday's SN-L.

(If you read blogs, you know how to get to the above mentioned places. The links are on the sidebar of this blog.)

What were the leaders of the Springfield Metropolitan Republican Club thinking? Vincent David Jericho? Tony Messenger? Those two have a history going way back. Putting them together on a forum was an invitation for a fire fight, or perhaps ball fight would be a better term to use. Cojanes or not, this forum was doomed by lack of planning and foresight from the git go.

And Yolanda Lorge....why do I get the feeling she was sucker punched in this discussion? She had everything to lose and nothing to gain by partaking in the forum. She shoulda followed the lead of Michael Ramon and bowed out of the discussion and let Jericho and Messenger duke it out. Lorge has too much class to let herself be dragged down by those two.

Steve Helms, dang Steve, yet another disappointment. Moderators are generally assumed to be impartial. Every high school debater knows the rule of the impartial moderator. A strong nonpartisan moderator is a must. The moderator asks a question, and then the panelists discuss the issue. It is imperative to have a strong moderator to control panelists who try to dominate the discussion.

Remember Steve's visit with David Catanese? How's this for impartiality?

He is most detailed on the immigration issue, calling the illegal flow into our country "unacceptable." He writes that he wants to bring illegal immigration back to a "manageable level." How? He talks about new laws that "encourage" law abiding people to come and discourage lawlessness. That seems vague. But Helms does call for the state to adopt a verification program that many employers use to screen for illegals before hiring them. He says a similar verification system could be used to screen immigrants before they get a driver's license, bank account or enroll in a public school.
LifeofJason makes this note in his blog post that is important: For the record, Steve Helms was NOT the moderator at the event and he was not in a position to control what had happened at the time. I agree with part of that statement. Helms was NOT the moderator. But, as president of the club he was in a position to control what happened at the time. He should have exhibited some leadership qualities, stepped up and restored decorum to the forum. But I don't think he knew how to do that. Or he was too intimidated by Jericho. And I will continue to hammer on him for those reasons.

George Freeman's right, Steve. As president of the Springfield Metropolitan Republican Club, you owe the panelists and the public an apology. If this forum and the lack of leadership shown during the proceedings are any indication of how you are running the circuit clerk's office, the citizens of Greene County deserve better than they are getting.

And Steve, what you did to Jeremy D. Young was inexcusable. He is a bright young man who didn't deserve the treatment he received in your comments.

And now, these oldies but goodies: Show Me The Money! My main man, Fred. When the planets are "lined up right". It ain't never going to go away, look out, here it comes again, watch it now, it's back. Elephants never forget either.

Next April, The Metro Board is sponsoring a forum on the topic of education and vouchers. Remember the rule.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Got My Utility Bill.....

Got my utility bill this month, $357.72. $134.88 for electricity, $198.59 for gas, $13.23 for water and $13.02 for sewer.

My Mother's bill was $219.52 this month. $40.15 for electricity, $154.24 for gas, $11.19 for water and $13.94 for sewer. I don't know why her sewer bill is more than my sewer bill.

Last month my utility bill was $300.25, this month $357.72.
My Mother's bill last month was $191.02, this month $219.52.

I guess we better turn down the thermostat, try to conserve and not use so much gas....What's that you say?.....the more we conserve, the higherthe price of gas?....MOM: SET THE THERMOSTAT WHERE EVER, JUST STAY WARM....

Back To The Basics: A Couple of Couches, A Porta Potty and Lots of Kids

Mike Penprase picks up the story in today's SN-L:

The parade's been going on so long for some people it's hard to recall how long they've been participating.

That was the case for Irish Couch Potatae Tour Bus co-founder Jack Pettijohn until fellow founder Jim Lee reminded him the bus has been in the parade since its inception.

"It's a neighborhood deal," Pettijohn said of a clan that rides in parades aboard a short yellow school bus outfitted with old couches.

"Every year, we try to have something fancy, cutting edge," Lee said. "This year, we decided to go back to the basics. A port-a-potty, a trailer with couches and a bunch of grandkids."

The convenience is functional, Pettijohn explained after a fellow parade participant asked if he could use it.

And this article, by Sonya Hocklander, from the SN-L Weekend:
The big event, of course, is the parade.

One long-standing parade group, the Irish Couch Potatoes, is centered around two families headed by Jim Lee and Jack Pettijohn.

They started participating 25 years ago, Lee says. Today, grown family members and their kids participate, along with anyone else who shows up parade day.

They've pushed lawn mowers, driven in a military vehicle and, in recent years, appeared in a yellow school bus. Everyone dresses in orange and green to throw salted shell peanuts to parade crowds instead of candy.

Says Lee: "We have a wonderful time."

The Irish Couch Potatoe Neighborhood Group expresses its deep thanks to Blackburn Brothers for taking all the crap we give them.

Beautiful Woman

This photo, taken at a farm auction in 1938, captivates me. There are a million scenarios playing, none of which we will know because the recorders are all dead and didn't record the details.
Some suggestions;
1. Her man is bidding on a cow and she is biting her nails in nervousness over whethere he will be the winning bidder.
2. Her man is selling the cow and she is biting her nails in nervousness over whether they will receive a decent price for the animal.
3. She sees her life's dream going under the auction block.
4. She is waiting for a rendevous with a red headed stranger, the father of the kid on the seat next to her.
5. you fill in the blank.
This picture, by Russell Lee (more about him later) -no relation- is framed perfectly. I love it.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

2008 St. Patrick's Day Parade

The Irish Couch Potatoe Tour Bus: Back To The Basics: A trailer, a couple of couches, a porta-potty and a lot of kids. First Place! Thanks to the families for another good day at a parade! Sophie won third place for best dressed Irish Individual.I Love A Parade!

Medium Cool

Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool, shot in 1968 and released the following year, is a complex film with a simple story.

Wexler's chief protagonist is John Cassellis, a punchy and insensitive Chicago television news cameraman (he calls an ambulance for an injured crash victim only after photographing her first) who appears totally oblivious to the responsibilities his profession entails, a man who proclaims to the world, "Jesus, I love to shoot film."

But when Cassellis discovers that his boss has been showing the station's out-takes to the FBI he expresses genuine disgust and is promptly fired.

In the meantime, Cassellis has befriended the pigeon-obsessed Harold, a young boy newly arrived in the city from Appalachian West Virginia and eventually falls for Eileen, the boy's mother (played by Verna Bloom) whose husband has died in Vietnam.

When Harold disappears one evening, the film's memorable climax has Eileen scrambling through the crowds of protestors and police at Chicago's Democratic National Convention as she searches for her child.

To learn more about this film, click here. The above synopsis of the film is taken from here.

Things I Remember About 1968: March 16, 1968 My Lai, Vietnam

I remember this well. March 16, 1968. We were all a little bit crazy then.
War sucks, period. I watched a snake crawl on the edge of a straight razor.

2008 St. Patrick's Day Parade Best Float

The Irish Couch Potatoe Tour Bus: Back To The Basics: A trailer, a couple of couches, a porta-potty and a lot of kids. First Place! Thanks to the families for another good day at a parade! Sophie won third place for best dressed Irish Individual.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Lucky Jimmy is waiting for the sales tax

holiday to spend his rebate check with his best friends, Johnny, Jack and Bud!He got his letter in the mail today! He just wishes the government would have saved the money they spent on the letters seeing as the rebate information is all over the television and added that money to his check. Lucky Jimmy may not be the brightest bulb in the socket, but beauty is only a light switch away. He may buy his gal a purty trinket with his rebate check. Or maybe some glamour shots, you know sort like cheesecake stuff with soft lighting and soft focus-like his gal looks when Lucky Jimmy loses his glasses.Link over here to see the 'special picture' of Lucky Jimmy's girl.

Pension Crisis Worsens! Legislators Propose Sales Tax Holiday

In an effort to boost the economy, our legislative leaders have proposed a sales tax holiday. What this means in real life, is that some whiz bang guys in Jefferson City are hoping I will spend my rebate check during the sales tax holiday, if I am so inclined to spend it at all. What they don't realize is that if I am going to spend it, I am going to spend it. Now, I will just wait until the sales tax holiday to spend it instead of spending it when I get it in the mail. And, since I will be waiting for the sales tax holiday to spend it, I may exercise monetary restraint (delayed gratification) and ask myself do I really want to buy something extravagant or maybe I should just use the rebate on essentials like gas and groceries-which I am going to buy anyhow, except now I won't have to pay sales tax.

Sorry, police and firemen.

Park Sales Tax Generates $3 Million Dollars For Flower Garden

From the Proposed Botanical Garden's website:

As of Dec. 31, 2007, about $475,000 is still needed prior to the 2009 construction start date for the $4.3 million Botanical Center.
The Springfield-Greene County Parks sales tax that was passed in 2006 will generate $3 million to be used toward the construction of the Botanical Center. Another $500,000 is available from the City of Springfield, the Greene County Commission and early donors.
“The passage of the parks tax has made it possible for us to move forward with this project. We have community support and that is evident in those coming forward to help,” said Susan Boswell, chair of the Friends Of the Garden development committee.

I like flowers. I like policemen and firemen too. In fact, I think I like police and firemen more than I like flowers. Until this pension mess is fixed, I think I would much rather spend my sales tax money on police and fireman than flowers, wouldn't you?God bless the police and firemen.

How can something as beautiful as the Ox-eyed daisy, (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum, Asteraceae) be bad for us? The flower is classified in Missouri as a noxious weed.

Recommended Reading: Pension Attention by Bob Mace

Bob Mace's column in this week's Community Free Press:
Pension Attention - by Bob Mace

Technically, it’s a scratched record, not a broken one that repeats over and over. So call me scratched, but as predicted months ago, City Council seeks a tax increase to fund the police and fire pensions they approved and then, for years, ignored. Do we need to increase taxes? Below are findings from the state auditor’s summary. This leads one to the conclusion that the money has been squandered. Read this before going to the polls and voting “No” on the tax increase issue.

“After more than three years and contracting with two developers, the Heer’s Tower project is still in the initial phases. During this time the city pledged public funds to secure private financing for a developer to purchase the Heer’s Tower, paid $693,000 to the developer ... subsequently paid $3.3 million to foreclose on the property, and then sold the Heer’s Tower for $3 million to a second developer.

Additionally, the city’s agreement with the second developer contains unclear terms regarding the city’s hotel/motel room tax revenue. “The city is also constructing two parking garages in the downtown area near the Heer’s Tower and College Station developments costing $17 million and anticipates funding the debt service payments through increased sales tax revenue generated by new downtown commercial developments. However, the terms in the city’s agreement for the College Station development do not appear to adequately protect the city’s financial investment in the project.

“The city has spent over $3 million to purchase a building, furniture, and equipment for a police and fire training facility, but after more than three years the building sits vacant without renovations and approximately $300,000 in furniture and equipment is still stored in the original packaging. Additionally, warranties on some of the unused equipment have expired.Acquiring equipment when it is not immediately needed is a waste of public funds.

“Over $8 million in city funds have been used to subsidize the Jordan Valley Ice Park and Car Park since these two facilities opened. The city’s feasibility study for the Ice Park indicated the park should have been self supporting in the first year of operation; however, income from hockey activities have not developed as projected.”

Here are a couple of observations from “The Edge.” The city, via the airport board, is apparently planning on donating the current terminal rather than selling it. Redesigning the square is, at best, a third-tier priority. The park board has developed a doggie park, a facility for citizens who own horses, and a YMCA-style Chesterfield Family Center and Aquatic Center.

Finally, Jordan Valley Ice Park. Does anybody else find it ironic that while the city was sheeted with a half-inch of ice, television ads were running for some fights being held in the ice arena —sans the ice? Hey, the ice park was the only place in the whole city that was defrosted! Lavish projects and programs, most notably Vision 20/20,led our city into spending money already pledged to the pension funds.

It doesn’t matter if the pensions were too large or not, the Council approved them and then ignored the liability. If Carlson and the Council can’t find a way to reconcile the shortfall other than threatening cuts in our police and fire protection or increasing our taxes, please have them call me or any other marginally intelligent adult. We need to borrow the funds to comply with state law until the big sale. Call Billy Long! He can easily oversee an auction extravaganza to sell truly unnecessary municipal property and raise the money needed for the pension fund.

E-mail Bob Mace at

Storage Trailers, Mayoral Candidates and School Based Clinicians

These are a few of my favorite things
From the SN-L:

Deaver said that's not accurate. He said the city received one complaint in 2002 and 2003, but more during the following years. There were six complaints in 2004 and 2005, and nine in 2007, according to Deaver. Some of those calls were in regards to storage pods, which also would be regulated by the ordinance. Four complaints have already been made this year, Deaver said.
20 complaints since 2002. I think I have read in the newspaper more than 20 complaints about council's lack of oversight and lack of proper funding of the police/fireman's pension, and how the council needs to fix it --without a tax increase (like divert the parks tax maybe?)...What?....oh yeah, it's a lot easier to deal with storage trailers.

You sure you're not running for mayor, Gary?
LifeOfJason: Let’s start with the big question. Are you going to run to replace Mayor Carlson?

Councilman Deaver: Folks have asked me to consider it but there’s a lot of work to do. I really just want to keep doing my job everyday. A decision on future community service would hinge on my mother’s health because that’s a big thing that ties me to the community. I’m an only child and my mother is ninety-six and I really try to make the time to visit her every day so that keeps me tied into the community very closely
From the Comunity Free Press:
Where is
Mayor Carlson? Mayor Pro Tem Gary Deaver presided over his third consecutive City Council meeting on February 25. Mayor Tom Carlson last presided over a Council meeting on January 14 and hasn’t been at a City Council luncheon since January 22. On February 19, City Attorney Dan Wichmer suggested Carlson might be taking some vacation time. Councilwoman Cindy Rushefsky gave another reason he might be avoiding the Chambers and free Council lunches. “I think that he is definitely disengaging and I think he’s allowing Gary Deaver to get some experience at the helm, with the idea that Gary is going to be a candidate for Mayor,” she said.

The Springfield Public Schools Summer 2007 Webnewsletter:
School-Based Clinicians see positive results. Originally funded by a three-year grant in 2004, the program clinicians helped reduce student substance abuse problems by 49 percent and behavioral problems by 38 percent. The clinicians were provided in response to increased incidents of school violence across the country. Clinicians attempt to help students with problem behaviors or who are in difficult life situations. “We give students skills so when a problem comes again they know how to deal with it,” said Ken Kabonic, the SBC at Central High School. “A lot of kids are in school who (otherwise) wouldn’t be in school and we’ve intervened to stop some violence in schools.” Susie Henderson, director of school-based services at Burrell Behavioral Health added: “The School Based Mental Health program has allowed us to deliver mental health services when and where they are needed and before the problems become more serious.” Burrell provides the clinicians.
From today's SN-L:
Board member Michael Hoeman also expressed surprise that administrators didn't recommend funding for 16 school-based mental health clinicians.

Those positions were added to the district several years ago when the district received a three-year federal grant.

When the expired last year, the district was able to work with local legislators to get replacement funding for this year. They worked with Gov. Matt Blunt, who adding funding for the positions in his budget proposal.

Administrators said they found out last week that the proposal for school mental health clinicians had been cut from the state budget proposal, though it's impossible that funding would be proposed again.

Superintendent Norm Ridder said it's possible funding could develop.