October 26, 2006

Missouri Voters Being Asked To Raise States Minimum Wage

Proposition B on the November 7th ballot in Missouri will ask voters to consider raising the states minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.50.

The ballot language states that a yes vote will amend Missouri statutes to increase the state minimum wage rate to $6.50 per hour, or to the level of the federal minimum wage, whichever is higher. Every year thereafter, the state minimum wage rate will be adjusted based on changes in the Consumer Price Index.

This is great news for the hard-working people of this state, said John Bowman, Treasurer of the Give Missourians a Raise Coalition. We dont have to wait for the politicians to address this issue anymore. Now, the people of Missouri can take matters into their own hands and vote yes on Proposition B to raise the minimum wage.

In May, the Coalition submitted signatures from over 210,000 Missouri voters more than twice the number required in order to place the initiative on the ballot.

However not everyone is in favor of the proposal.

S.O.S. Jobs (Save Our States Jobs) Coalition is opposing Proposition B. Its members, consisting of Associated Industries of Missouri, the Missouri Restaurant Association, the Missouri Retailers Association, NFIB Missouri, the Missouri Grocers Association and the Missouri Merchants and Manufacturers Association, believe any effort to adjust the minimum wage should be initiated at the federal level. The SOS coalition says through federal action, Missouri businesses would be on a level playing field with surrounding states, and not be at a disadvantage in competing for new business opportunities.

By dealing with this on a state basis instead of at the federal level, stated Pat Bergauer, Treasurer of the S.O.S. Jobs coalition, businesses in Missouri will be fighting to maintain jobs and employees against surrounding states with one hand tied behind their back. Raising the minimum wage will leave many employees without a job and no financial means to support their families.

Proponents of the proposition point to a report from the non-partisan Economic Policy Institute, that shows that approximately 256,000 Missourians will receive a raise if Proposition B passes, including 120,000 Missourians who currently make less than $6.50, as well as an additional 136,000 who make slightly more than that, but who will see a bump in their wages due to a spill-over effect.

Supporters also believe that a raise in the minimum wage will generate between $3.3 million and $4.3 million more each year in state revenue, and would pump over $21 million in new spending into the economy.

Opponents are attacking this report, stating that while The Economic Policy Institute managed to find 650 economists who supported raising the minimum wage, the Employment Policies Institute differs in opinion. It points to a survey conducted by the University of New Hampshire revealing that 77 percent (13,860) of labor economists with the American Economics Association believe minimum wage hikes have a negative effect on employment.

Minimum wage opponents could release a thousand studies predicting job loss if Missouri raises the minimum wage. It doesnt change the facts states that have raised the minimum wage have seen no job loss, even in the low-wage industries directly impacted by a raise in the minimum wage, said Sara Howard, Communications Director for the Give Missourians a Raise coalition.

No one can survive on $5.15 an hour, Howard continued. Raising the minimum wage is a long-overdue step that is going to help thousands of Missouri families who are struggling to get by.

Still, opponents of the bill fire back that job loss experienced by low-skilled adults, in particular, is substantial following a minimum wage hike. They site research from Cornell and the University of Connecticut that found a 10-percent increase in the minimum wage results in an 8.5-percent increase in unemployment among adults lacking a high school diploma. Research from economists at Duke, Boston University, and Michigan State University all confirm that low-skilled adults suffer considerable job loss following minimum wage hikes.

Proponents of minimum wage hikes contend that the attendant job loss is minimal and worth it, but theyre ignoring the fact that it is almost exclusively low-skilled adults who lose their job, said Mike Flynn, director of Legislative Affairs at the Employment Policies Institute. Minimum wage hikes end up hurting the very people they are intended to help by jeopardizing the jobs of those most in need of assistance.

Opponents also are questioning the ballot language, specifically how the minimum wage calculations in years following the proposed raise to $6.50

The SOS Coalition asks voters if they understand what the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is, and more importantly what the CPI-W, which is the index identified in Proposition B, is?

They explain that the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes CPIs for two population groups, CPI-W and CPI-U:

The CPI-W (Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers) comprises approximately 32 percent of the total population. Not included in this population are technical workers, self-employed persons and all agricultural jobs. This is the annual increase being identified for Missouri to use in Proposition B.

The CPI-U (All Urban Consumers) covers approximately 87 percent of the total population and includes all lines of work and populations including agriculture, the self-employed, etc. The SOS Coalition states that, while its not being used in our states calculation, this percentage increase better reflects the national increase in the cost of living and runs considerably less than the CPI-W. The group also notes that the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes a break down of the CPI-W, looking specifically at four regions of the nation, the northeast, south, west and midwest. With the Midwest being 25 percent lower for the past year than the other three.

Simply stated, Missouri will be forced to use the cost of living adjustments for large urban areas such as New York City and Los Angeles to calculate our minimum wage increases every year, said Gary Marble, president of Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM), which is part of the Save Our States Jobs Coalition. Not included in those calculations are 68 percent of the population, including agriculture and the self-employed. That certainly isnt clearly stated on the ballot.

Marble questions whether Missouri should have a minimum wage for low skill, entry level, jobs of $8 per hour, which is what proponents are predicting the amount to be in only five years. He adds that it will continue to increase at a rate of over $.25 to $.30 per hour every year thereafter.

He and fellow SOS Coalition members say Proposition B will force Missouris minimum wage to increase annually as the cost of living increases which they feel means that year after year, Missouri companies will find it harder and harder to compete and Missouri will lose jobs.

They point out that Missouri consumers and employees likely will pay the additional costs of a higher minimum wage. Businesses will be forced to increase prices to consumers and employees could have to pay more for health insurance and other benefits to offset the additional costs.

For small businesses, raising prices is not always an option. stated Brad Jones, state director of NFIB Missouri. Having to compete with bigger companies often means operating on razor thin margins just to survive.

Area Students Named to Buena Vista University Graduate & Professional Studies Dean’s List

STORM LAKE, IA – The following area students have been named to the Dean’s List at Buena Vista University Graduate & Professional Studies for terms one and two:

Hilary Harris of Memphis, Mo., who attends Buena Vista University Graduate & Professional Studies Ottumwa location.

Shelbie Jones of Greentop, Mo., who attends Buena Vista University Graduate & Professional Studies Ottumwa location.

Derrick Muntz of Memphis, Mo., who attends Buena Vista University Graduate & Professional Studies Ottumwa location.

Students named to the Dean’s List must have a minimum grade point average of 3.5 for the two terms, based on a 4.0 grade point system, and must have taken at least 12 hours of coursework.

Buena Vista University’s main campus in Storm Lake, Iowa, was founded in 1891, and its Graduate & Professional Studies (GPS) degree-completion program began 40 years ago. Today, the GPS program’s 16 learning locations and online courses have given more than 15,500 graduates the opportunity to expand their potential with a pace, academic rigor, and class sizes that appeal to a wide variety of students. A diverse menu of over 50 different programs and courses designed for working adults delivers options that meet many educational needs, and a variety of class formats make scheduling even more convenient. Visit www.bvu.edu/gps.

Buena Vista University blends liberal arts with real-world experiences, preparing students for lifelong success, especially in the areas of elementary, secondary, and special education; business and accounting; and biological and chemical sciences. BVU is an affordable option for all students and, combined with its academic programs, has led U.S. News & World Report to rank BVU as the third best value school among Midwest Regional Colleges.

Rotary Collecting Shoes for Orphan Soles

shoes feature web

Rotary President, Bill Kiddoo has announced the local Rotary Club will take part in the District 6040 annual shoe drive.  To date, over fourteen years, Missouri Rotarians have contributed 270,528 pairs of shoes and $8,513 in cash.

Shoes and socks collected go to the most vulnerable children around the world.  This includes orphans, children who have lost one or both parents, those who live in institutionalized care, or poverty.

Donated shoes must be new, uppers with shoe strings or Velcro and hard soles and heels.  No open-toed or flip flops are allowed.  Donated cash helps to pay for shipping cost to Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America.  Shoes sizes should be for children ages one to teens.

You may bring shoes or cash to the Rotary Building at noon on any Tuesday, contact any Rotarian, or leave your donation at Cook’s Mens Store. This year’s shoe drive will end on April 16, 2016.

Gundy Named to Culver-Stockton College’s President’s List

CANTON – Delaney Gundy, a junior Art Education major from Gorin, was named to Culver-Stockton’s President’s List for work done during the fall 2015 semester.

To be named to the President’s List, Culver-Stockton College requires students to meet high academic standards. President’s List students have earned a 4.0 GPA and were enrolled in a minimum of 12 hours.

C-SC also announced its Honor Roll for the fall 2015 semester. To be named to the Honor Roll, students must meet high academic standards established by Culver-Stockton.

Local students honored included Ashley Watson of Brashear and Wyatt Kice of Memphis.

Culver-Stockton College, located in Canton, Mo., is a four-year residential institution in affiliation with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). C-SC specializes in experiential education and is one of only two colleges in the nation to offer the 12/3 semester calendar, where the typical 15 week semester is divided into two terms, a 12-week term and a 3-week term.

The C-SC Wildcats are members of the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Azen Jolly Timers Host February Club Meeting

The Azen Jolly Timers met at the Scotland County Hospital on February 3rd at 6 p.m. Alisa Kigar, Communication Specialist from SCH, led the group on a hospital tour.  Following the tour President Brock Aylward called the meeting to order. Pledges were led by Penelope Cline and Kendal Anderson. Roll call was your Super Bowl prediction.

The minutes were read by Bryn Aylward.  Kendal Anderson moved to approve and Abby Doster seconded the motion, motion passed. The treasurer’s report was read by Bailegh Phillips. Penelope Cline moved to pay bills and Brenna Phillips seconded the motion, motion passed.

In the report of project groups the Clover Kids met January 6th at the United Methodist Church and completed terrariums. In new business the achievement event will be March 6th  at the SCR-1 Elementary School. Registration begins at 1:30. Enrollment forms were passed out and are due back to Kristy by February 26th.  Dog school will begin on Feb.22nd and continue every Monday.

Demonstrations next month will be Avery Cowell and Jacob Stott.

Next month refreshments will be provided by Mohrs (snacks) and Justin Cowell (drinks).

Penelope Cline moved to adjourn the meeting and Kendal Anderson seconded the motion, the meeting was adjourned.

Submitted by Bryn Aylward. Reporter

Columbaria, Mapping Among Upgrades Being Considered at Memphis Cemetery

columbaria web

Improvements and upgrades for the municipal cemetery were a focus point of the February 4th meeting of the Memphis City Council. The board of aldermen reviewed a preliminary proposal for the addition of a columbaria, a structure or building that includes niches to house funeral urns for cremation remains.

A proposal is being considered to ad such a structure in the recently completed scattering garden at the Memphis Cemetery. Initial estimates have established costs ranging from $25,000 – $40,000 for stand-alone walls or structures with outside access of 70-90 niches.

Ron Henkenius of Memphis Funeral Home has been working with City Superintendent Roy Monroe to gather information for the proposal.

“Predictions at present, estimate that in 15 years cremation will be selected by 85 to 90 percent of the public,” said Henkenius.

The cost of the columbaria would be recovered over time in the purchase price of niche space, which was estimated between $650 – $800.

The city has been requested to provide digital photography of the proposed site to allow professional rendering of an official proposal, free of charge.

The council also considered a proposal from Midland GIS Solutions for digital GPS mapping of the cemetery.

The Maryville-based company currently is performing GPS mapping of the city’s utility systems.

The proposal calls for digital aerial photography integration into the cemetery mapping GIS program to be used for visual ground reference. The mapping would establish cemetery lot boundaries as accurately as possible using coordinate geometry.

While the proposal would only identify plots by section, block, lot and space numbers, the data base would be available for the city to add additional information, such as the name, plot classification (open, sold, closed, etc.), date of birth, date of death and additional comments.

As part of the proposal, the company would also create an online cemetery mapping program, which if the city chose, could be made available to the public for research purposes.

The bid included a 47,000 price tag for the mapping, $2,500 for the online mapping program, and $1,200 for a one year data hosting agreement for a total cost of $10,700.

The council tabled the bid until further details are received regarding the actual mapping process, and if GPS coordinates will be used to accurately establish all plot sizes and locations, or if the mapping is simply based on descriptions and existing mapping.

Continuing on the cemetery topic, Monroe presented a preliminary estimate for resurfacing the driving surface at the site. Monroe stated preliminary figures were approximately $150,000 for a hot-mix resurfacing of the 1.7 miles of road in the cemetery.

Due to the cost, Monroe suggested considering using city crews to make asphalt upgrades where feasible and added he was working on some preliminary plans to install additional parking areas.

Monroe also reported initial groundwork with the USDA office regarding mapping of possible terrace installation or other upgrades to remedy an expanding ditch issue on the new cemetery ground.

“The experts told us that cemeteries are notorious for runoff issues,” said Monroe. “Because they are mowed and manicured so well, they produce as much as 90% runoff of storm water, which can lead to ditch issues.”

Duley, Hunolt Named to Northwest’s Honor Roll

The Office of the Registrar at Northwest Missouri State University announced the names of students named to the Academic or President’s Honor Roll at the end of the 2015 fall trimester.

To be included on the Academic Honor Roll a student must carry a minimum of 12 credit hours and attain a grade point average of 3.50 or above on a 4.00 scale. Students named to the President’s Honor Roll have attained a perfect 4.00 GPA for the trimester.

Anna A. Duley of Memphis and Andrew M. Hunolt of Baring were named to the Academic Honor Roll.

Bruner Earns MBA Degree at Northwest

The Office of the Registrar and the Graduate School at Northwest Missouri State University have released the names of students who completed requirements for degrees at the conclusion of the 2015 fall trimester.

Degree recipients include: bachelor of science (B.S.), bachelor of science in education (B.S. Ed.), bachelor of technology (B.T.), bachelor of arts (B.A.), bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A.), master of science (M.S.), bachelor of science in clinical laboratory sciences (B.S. CLS), bachelor of science in medical technology (B.S. MT), master of arts (M.A.), master of business administration (M.B.A.), master of science in education  (M.S. Ed.), and education specialist (Ed. Spec.)

Alex Newly Bruner of Downing received his Master’s of Business Administration degree.

Behind the Lens – How To Take A Picture Perfect Self Portrait

by Taylor Lloyd

Let’s face it. Pictures are the best… and the worst. A picture is so unique in that it has the power to transport you back in time to a place filled with fond memories or more often (for me anyway) it can evoke embarrassment (did I really wear that? What on earth was I thinking!?). For better or worse though, pictures are often treasured keepsakes and while I’m strictly more of a nature/ landscape photographer, even I understand the importance of a good portrait. For this reason, I’ll share with you a few tips on how to look your best when it comes to taking your own portrait.

(1) Remember what your trying to capture. While I believe that the difference between a Selfie and a self portrait is that the latter is more thoughtful and time consuming, Self portraits can be anything you want them to be (I mean come on. You’re in charge). They can be a means to capture a flattering authentic image of yourself or an artistic impression of who you aspire to be. They can be goofy or business oriented. Whatever the case may be, being focused on what you are trying to convey in the first place will most certainly improve your portrait.

(2) To achieve flattering portraits (either on you or someone else) is to know what is your best side or angle or features you possess. One thing I strongly believe in is when a face is turned slightly, it will be more flattering than looking squarely straight at the face. The reason being is that an angle gives the appearance of depth and causes the viewer to be more engaged and intrigued in your photo.

(3) Having good lighting is key to creating good portraits. Though take this tip with a grain of salt, though, because everyone has their own opinions on what looks good, for some like to play with other lighting elements to create different feelings. But good lighting will enhance details. With good lighting it is also important to let the light brighten your face. You will want to be having the light source facing you, otherwise you’ll end up with shadows or patchy splotches of sunlight covering your face. Inversely, don’t overexpose your face in the light or else you’ll be squinting and look washed out in the harsh light. Photographing on a cloudy day usually produces great lighting because the clouds act like a giant diffuser, making the sun’s light less intense and more evenly dispersed.

(4) For beginners, starting to shoot yourself at eye level, if not slightly above, is a good angle to start with and having your eyes on the top third of your photo is generally more visually pleasing. More times than not, the eyes are the first thing you notice on a person and with that being said, always make sure the eyes are in focus when taking pictures. Catchlights (the light source you see reflected in the eyes of your subject) are also something that is pleasing to capture in the eyes because it captures the life or spark in a person.

(5) Just like in horror movies, always be aware of what’s behind you. Instead of monsters, it’s the background that should concern you. Background as much as lighting plays an important role in your self portraits. A background that’s not out of focus enough or is too bright distracts the viewer from the main subject and thus loses the point of taking the photograph in the first place. Also be conscious of what you are wearing. Wrinkles or an upturned collar on a shirt can make a photo look sloppy. Unless this is your goal, give yourself a once over before snapping the picture.

(6) Where you position yourself will direct the rest of your photo. It is wise to never crop your pictures right on the joints of your subjects. Your goal should be to elongate and flatter the body and when you crop at the knees, ankles, toes, fingers, elbows, waist, neck, and wrists can make a person look rather stumpy. A good question to ask yourself when you crop (whether in camera or in photo editing) is, “does this look deliberate or does it look like a mistake?”

(7) Don’t be afraid to use props in your photos. Mirrors especially can make an image even more interesting. Holding a mug full of steaming coffee, or a full wine glass for example, will help give the picture a certain mood. Using a prop to stand in your place while you prefocus for your shot is also very useful if you have no other means by which to prefocus.

(8) My final tip is a bit more on the technical side but it might be the most handy. Use a tripod and also put your camera on timer mode. It is also wise to use Continuous Mode (or Burst Mode as some call it). Continuous shooting Mode isn’t just something that DSLRs have – most point and shoot cameras have it as an option also. This mode allows you to take multiple pictures as the shutter button is pressed down instead of the usual single shot you would otherwise get. There are a few variations to this mode, one of them being that your camera has a set amount of pictures it will take in an allotted time. This allotted amount of time is determined by how long of a shutter speed you have. For example, if you have the camera set on Continuous Mode and your shutter is set for a one second exposure, your camera will take the picture for that length of time and then take another photo for the same length of time. Continuous Mode is a great tool when combined with the timer mode. It gives you enough time to get into place and it will take multiple pictures, leaving you with several photos to choose from. Another great tool to throw into this combination is a remote. I have a cheap ($10 off Amazon) remote that has been an excellent device to own and I use it more often than I imagined I would. The reason I love my remote so much is it reduces camera shake when you are taking long exposures and it is also helpful for when you are in position for your portrait and you can’t move from your predetermined spot to press the shutter button down. Another excellent function of the remote is that if your camera is on Auto Focus, using the remote will focus the camera for you, which is crucial when you lack props to take your place where you will stand.

Self portraits can be quite addicting and each one can be vastly different from the last with just a few alterations. Armed with these simple tips, I hope you can better hone your skills at taking self portraits and have fun doing so. Until next time, happy shooting!

Construction Projects Lead Agenda at February City Council Meeting

construction

While the current cold spell may not make it seem like it, the Memphis City Council worked the through its February 4th meeting agenda under the premise that spring is just around the corner. And with the improving weather comes the start of construction season.

The board of aldermen discussed a number of proposed projects being considered for the 2016 construction season.

City Superintendent Roy Monroe reported ongoing legal work surrounding possible ramifications of a joint effort between the city and private property owners adjacent to the municipal light end power plants for the proposed construction of a flood levee.

The partnership idea was born out of shared interests in protecting property that currently is threatened by canal flooding at the west city limits of Memphis, on the north side of Highway 136.

Initially the city was considering construction of a concrete berm surrounding the power plant’s new substation. After learning that adjacent landowners were considering building an earthen levy on the west side of their properties and along the north/south boundary between these properties and the city’s water and power plants,  the parties met to discuss a possible partnership.

Initial discussions were had between the city and the property owners about the possibility of completing an earthen levy along the western borders of the private property and continuing the length of the city property.

Such a proposal would eliminate the need of the private property owners building the levy on the north border of their properties, and would also eliminate the need for the city to build the concrete retaining wall around the substation, which would represent significant savings for the city.

Preliminary discussions between the city and the landowners have centered around initial costs as well as maintenance responsibilities moving forward.

Monroe reported additional concerns have risen regarding potential liability generated by such a levee if flooding occurs on non-protected land on the other side of the canal.

The council asked Monroe to continue to seek legal advice regarding such liability issues, working with the Corp of Engineers and other resources to establish options for moving forward with the project.

PARK BUILDINGS

Monroe reported progress working with the local Boy Scouts as well as the American Legion regarding the possibility of restoring a community building at Legion Park. Such a structure had existed for many years before its deteriorating condition had forced its removal more than a decade ago.

The project is still in the planning stages and will be dependent upon available funding from all three partners.

A proposed shelter and new restrooms at Johnson Park has hit a snag, as grant funding for the project was denied by the Department of Natural Resources.

Monroe reported the City of Memphis was one of 16 applicants for grant funding, and one of just four that did not receive funding.

Last season, the city had placed portable restrooms at the site, but the city will now look into constructing some form of temporary restrooms, with the possibility of later moving the building and using it for storage if and when funding is secured for the larger shelter/restroom project.

MOWER BIDS

The council opened bids for the purchase of two new commercial zero-turn mowers and three commercial-grade trimmers. The low bid of $4,500 was accepted from The Farm Shop, Inc. of Edina for two 2016 EXMARK mowers with 60″ deck and 27HP Kohler engines, and three RedMax Trimmers. The bid price included trade in of two 61″ SCAG mowers.

Bids were also received from Wiss & Wiss Equipment of  Kahoka, Armstrong Tractor, LLC of Donnellson, IA and Garden Spot in Edina.

AIRPORT

Continued maintanence issues with the airport beacon have led to preliminary discussions regarding replacing the lighting system that identifies the airstrip to planes in the air. Preliminary cost estimates ranged from $4,000 to $10,000 to replace the beacon, which is believed to be the original installed in the 1970s.

The airport committee will work on a proposal to be presented to the council at a later date.

Scotland County Hospital Admissions & Dismissals

Scotland County recorded 26 admissions and 26 dismissals from January 29 through February 8, 2016.

ADMISSIONS: 1/31/2016 – Joseph L. Young, Kahoka 2/01/16 – Angela Wiley, Bloomfield, IA; Chyanne Popp, Lancaster; Gracelynn Popp, Lancaster; Jase James Wiley, Bloomfield, IA 2/02/16 – Ashton Pruett, Wayland; Tara Pruett, Wayland 2/05/16 – Roxie B. Miller, Memphis

DISMISSALS: 1/29/16 -Shelby Garrett, Lancaster; Aidyn Lynnae Jackson, Lancaster 2/3/16 – Chyanne Popp, Lancaster; Gracelynn Popp, Lancaster; Angela Wiley, Bloomfield, IA; Jase J. Wiley, Bloomfield, IA 2/4/16 – Tara Pruett, Wayland; Ashton Pruett, Wayland 2/5/16 – Joseph L Young, Kahoka 2/6/16 – Roxie B. Martin, Memphis

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