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.

Public Service Commission Sets Hearing Schedule for Liberty Utilities Proposed Rate Increase

Seeking to increase revenues by $7 million while also consolidating its three delivery districts into one, Liberty Utilities will be appearing before the Missouri Public Service Commission in a series of hearings beginning in May.

Formal evidentiary hearings are scheduled for May 21-25, 2018 and May 30-June 1, 2018 in the natural gas rate case filed by Liberty Utilities (Midstates Natural Gas) Corp. d/b/a Liberty Utilities.

The Commission will hold local public hearings in this case. Those hearings will be announced when dates, times and locations have been finalized.

On September 29, 2017, Liberty Utilities filed a natural gas rate case with the Missouri Public Service Commission seeking to increase annual natural gas revenues by approximately $7.5 million, of which approximately $500,000 is already being recovered from customers through the Infrastructure System Replacement Surcharge (ISRS). This results in a net increase of approximately $7 million. The ISRS appears as a separate item on the monthly bills of Liberty Utilities customers.

According to the Liberty Utilities filing, the proposed rate increase for a residential customer with average usage would be approximately $2.06 a month in the Northeast District (NEMO); approximately $14.09 a month in the Southeast District (SEMO); and approximately $7.62 a month in the Western District (WEMO). In this case, Liberty Utilities also seeks to consolidate its three rate districts, NEMO, SEMO and WEMO, into a single district with a uniform delivery charge.

Liberty Utilities provides natural gas service to approximately 53,400 customers in 25 Missouri counties (Adair, Bates, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Cass, Dunklin, Henry, Iron, Knox, Lewis, Macon, Marion, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Pike, Ralls, Ripley, Schuyler, Scotland, Scott, St. Clair, Stoddard, Wayne and Worth).

The initial public hearings will be held in Room 310 of the Governor Office Building, 200 Madison Street, Jefferson City. The Governor Office Building meets accessibility standards required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any person who needs additional accommodations to participate in these hearings should call the Public Service Commission’s hotline at 1-800-392-4211 (voice) or Relay Missouri at 711 prior to the hearings.

Downing Board Receives Update on Water Meter Replacements

The Board of the City of Downing convened at 6:00 p.m. on December 4, 2017 with Mayor Alan Garrett presiding. Present were Aldermen Ray Bange, Gene Bruner, Hannah Poe, and Bill Anderson, City Clerk Carol Dryden and Water/Waste Water Operator Larry Smith.

Copies of the agenda, minutes of the previous meeting, water/waste water report, deposits and disbursements, account balances and a revised sewer budget were given to those present.

Mayor Alan Garrett called the meeting to order.

A motion to approve the agenda was made by Bill Anderson and seconded by Ray Bange and carried unanimously.

A motion to approve the minutes from the previous meeting was made by Ray Bange and seconded by Bill Anderson and carried unanimously.

A motion to approve the bills was made by Bill Anderson and seconded by Ray Bange and carried unanimously.

Water/ Waste Water Report: Have replaced about 60 meters with our new ones still several to go. Larry is trying to find more rings and lids so we have some extra when needed. Hopefully Larry and Bill will be able to get the ditch measured that the lagoon runs into this week.

Street Maintenance: Need to work on roads there are several in town that have pot holes and dips. This needs done as soon as possible.

Cemetery: Discussed making changes to the ordinance in regard to flowers in the cemetery. Still have some research to do, so will discuss this and decide how we want to proceed next month.

Old Business: Had some mistakes on Sewer Budget, so revised for the board to look over. A motion was made to approve the new sewer budget by Bill Anderson and seconded by Gene Burner and carried unanimously.

New Business: Checking on getting some new Christmas decorations for the city. Will check on prices and discuss next month.

Complaints and other business that the Board Members have been made aware or by their constituents: The only complaints that have been made is on the condition of several streets which has been addressed.

Positive Thoughts: It is almost Christmas and we want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

A motion to adjourn the meeting at 730 p.m. was made by Bill Anderson and seconded by Gene Bruner and carried unanimously.

Submitted by Carol Dryden, City Clerk

Winners Drawn for Rose Hardware Inc Shopping Spree

Two Local Winners Take Home $500 Each

The Christmas season just got a little more golden for TWO Rose Hardware Inc. customers.

On November 15th, the names of Anna Mae Good and Amy Carleton were drawn as winners of the Rose Hardware Inc. $500 Shopping Giveaway. Anna Mae and Amy were selected at random from more than 1000 entries submitted at the store from August 28-November 13, 2017.

Both Good and Carleton are loyal Rose Hardware Inc. customers and were THRILLED when contacted about their winning.  Good exclaimed, “That’s the best news I’ve heard all day,” and Carleton declared, with great appreciation, “This is truly an answer to prayer.”  Good and Carleton have hopes of completing some fall/winter projects with their winnings.

Scott and Angela Westhoff, Rose Hardware, Inc. owners, said that they are delighted to provide two of their customers with the opportunity to make their fall/winter projects a little more exciting.  “Everyone has a few extra chores this time of year, and we’re glad that Good and Carleton will be able to choose whatever supplies they need to get the jobs done.  We thank all those who entered the giveaway for their participation.”

Rose Hardware Inc. is located at 109 South Main on the west side of the Memphis square, and has been serving customers in the area for over 80 years.  Rose Do it Best Hardware offers a complete line of hardware, plumbing, electrical, paint, and housewares for everyone from the do-it-yourself homeowner to the professional contractor.  Rose Hardware Inc. is also a leader in Milwaukee power tool sales and service in Missouri and has been a Do it Best Corp. member since August 2002.

Based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Do it Best Corp. is the only full-service U.S.-based, member-owned hardware, lumber and building materials buying cooperative in the home improvement industry.  With annual sales of $3 billion, Do it Best Corp. is the second largest co-op in the industry, serving 3,800 member-owned stores in the United States and in 53 countries.

Conservation Groups Help Hire New Land Management Specialist for Region

Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, and its partners are pleased to announce the expansion of the Missouri Farm Bill Biologist Partnership with the hiring of three new positions throughout the state. The biologists – Wes Buchheit, Bryan O’Connor, and Wesley Hanks – will assist landowners in designing, developing, and funding habitat improvements on private lands through a unique partnership with the Missouri Department of Conservation and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Created in 2004, the Farm Bill Biologist Partnership has provided a valuable benefit across the country to landowners who are interested in voluntary conservation program enrollment. Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever biologists possess the knowledge of federal, state, and local programs to assist landowners in finding the right program to meet their personal habitat and land use goals. Since 2012, Missouri Farm Bill Wildlife Biologists have put over 150,000 acres of high quality wildlife habitat on the ground with Missouri landowners.

Wes Buchheit –  Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist in Jackson, Missouri. Buchheit, a native of Perryville, will provide conservation assistance to farmers and private landowners in the state’s southeast region to directly benefit bobwhite quail, monarch butterflies and other upland wildlife species in the diverse 3-county area of Perry, Cape Girardeau, and Bollinger. He can be reached at wbuchheit@quailforever.org or 573-517-8860.

Bryan O’Connor – Working for Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever in Clark, Lewis, Knox and Scotland counties, O’Connor will be responsible for land management and conservation assistance throughout northeast Missouri. For more information about private lands conservation programs in northeast Missouri, contact Bryan O’Connor at boconnor@quailforever.org or 308-750-2267.

Wesley Hanks – Working in Washington, Franklin, and Warren counties, Hanks will be assisting private landowners with Farm Bill programs. Hanks comes to us from the Missouri Department of Conservation, where he has been working on several conservation areas since 2012. For more information about scheduling a farm visit, contact Wesley Hanks at whanks@quailforever.org or 573-301-9672.

Green City Ends Lady Tigers Title Streak With 52-43 Defeat in Novinger Tourney Championship

Nove Cline puts up the shot over the Green City defender.

A nearly decade-long domination of the Novinger Tournament finally came to an end on Saturday in Novinger as Scotland County saw its nine-year championship streak snapped in the Novinger Tournament as a talented Green City squad proved too much to handle in the title tilt.

The Gophers (4-0) advanced to the Class 1 Elite 8 a season ago led by freshman Brooke Littrell. If Saturday has anything to show, Littrell, now a sophomore, is posed to lead the Gophers even further in 2018, as she poured in 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to help lead Green City to a 52-43 win over SCR-I.

The Lady Tigers jumped out to a 6-2 lead behind a a pair of baskets by Katie Feeney. But the Gophers battled back as Kassi Straley netted a pair of three pointers, forcing SCR-I out of its double-team defense versus Littrell.

That opened up a little more space for the sophomore, and she took advantage, connecting on nine of 10 shot attempts in the paint. She also sank 10 of 11 free throws.

The latter resulted in some serious foul trouble for the Lady Tigers, who saw starters Ashleigh Creek and Kaylyn Anders both forced to the bench early with three fouls.

A solid game from Nova Cline helped keep SCR-I within striking distance. The junior center had back-to-back field goals in the paint to follow a three-pointer by Madie Bondurant. Green City still was able to lead 27-17 at the break.

The margin grew to as many as 17 early in the third period before Creek was forced back to the bench with her fourth foul.

Cline continued to carry the load in the paint for SCR-I, which also got solid minutes from Micah Cooley and Khloe Hamlin who helped rally to a 42-30 deficit to end the third period.

But SCR-I could never get the lead below double digits. Feeney had a pair of field goals to start the fourth period, but she fouled out with three minutes left to play. Creek and Anders soon joined her, leaving the bench full of starters, but empty of any substitutes.

Cline finished with 13 points to lead Scotland County (2-2). Feeney added 10 points and Bondurant had eight.

Lady Tigers Knock Off Newtown-Harris 52-20 in Tourney Opener

Katie Feeney puts up the runner in the win over Newtown-Harris.

After a tough start to the season, Scotland County turned the tables on the competition Tuesday night at Novinger, blasting Newtown-Harris 52-20 in the opening round of the Novinger Tourney.

SCR-I’s pressure defense forced 32 turnovers and allowed the Lady Tigers to get off twice as many shots as the opposition.

Scotland County jumped out to a 15-4 lead in the first period and never looked back.

Ashleigh Creek and Nova Cline led the Lady Tigers on the night, pouring in 14 points apiece as SCR-I dominated the paint. Creek also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

SCR-I built a 28-9 lead at halftime behind the stifling defensive performance. Katie Feeney had five steals on the night and Madie Bondurant had a solid game on defense as well as Newtown Harris shot just 30% on the night.

Feeney finished with eight points and also dished out five assists while Bondurant added eight points on the night as well for a balanced scoring attack.

SCR-I outscored Newtown-Harris 12-2 in the third period to put the game away.

The Lady Tigers improved to 1-1 on the year with the win, advancing to the semifinals to take on Atlanta..

Tigers Overcome Slow Start to Get By Gophers 45-42

Calling Thursday night a slow start for Scotland County may not do justice to the Tigers’ difficult debut that saw SCR-I score just 10 points in the game’s first 16 minutes.

Fortunately for Scotland County, the team’s defense kept the team in the game, allowing for a second half comeback to advance the Tigers to the tourney title game with a 45-42 win over Green City.

Will Fromm got the Tigers off to a solid start with back-to-back scores that built a 4-0 lead and forced a quick timeout by the Gophers less than two minutes into the contest.

SCR-I’s shooting went south after the stoppage. A basket by Jared Dunn on a drive to the basket were the lone points the remainder of the first period. Fortunately the defense allowed just six points to keep the score knotted.

Lane Pence sank two free throws to open the second period and give SCR-I an 8-6 lead. The scoreboard  worker got a lengthy break, as neither team scored over the next five minutes until Pence scored on an offensive rebound to extend the lead to 10-6 with less than three minutes remaining in the first half.

Green city closed out the second period on a 9-0 run to build a five point advantage at the intermission.

Scotland County got things going on offense in the third period, matching the entire first half output in less than two minutes. Stephen Terrill had a pair of baskets and Pence drained a three pointer as Scotland County pulled ahead 20-19.

The shooting cooled off from there, as SCR-I managed just five more points in the period, all on free throws, allowing Green City to pull back ahead 30-26.

The Tigers got the transition game going in the fourth period. Football fans saw Fromm connect with Brett Monroe on plenty of touchdowns this season, but the tables were turned to start the fourth period as Monroe played quarterback on the basketball court, finding a streaking Fromm with a beautiful full-court pass that gave SCR-I a 32-30 lead with 5:11 left to play.

Matthew Woods also got into the act, scoring six points on fast breaks, as SCR-I poured in 19 points down the stretch to finish off the 45-42 comeback victory.

Pence led the way with 17 points on the night. Fromm finished with 12 points as the Tigers improved to 2-0 and advanced to take on Milan in the championship game of the Novinger Tournament.

Milan’s Pressure, Depth Too Much for SCR-I In Tourney Championship

Brett Monroe extends around the Milan defender to get the shot up on a drive to the hoop during the first half of Saturday’s championship game.

Any shot at a fourth quarter rally clanged away Saturday night in the championship game of the Novinger Tournament, as Scotland County struggled through a brutal eight minutes of foul shooting that allowed Milan to march away with a 64-42 win.

The Tigers made just 4 of 15 foul shots in the fourth period as Milan maintained  a double-digit lead the final three periods of a whistle-filled contest.

SCR-I fell behind 16-9 in the first period as Milan’s three-quarter court trap wreaked havoc in the passing lanes, making it a difficult task for SCR-I simply to advance the ball past midcourt.

Eight different Wildcats got into the scorebook in the first period as former SCR-I coach Andrea Dabney used her team’s depth to keep the pressure on SCR-I.

The Tigers were saddled with foul trouble most of the contest, with leading scorers Will Fromm and Lane Pence forced to the bench early in the first half.

That allowed Milan to extend the lead to 22-9 early in the second quarter before Brett Monroe ended an 8-0 Milan run with a three point lead. Stephen Terrill and Matthew Woods added baskets in the paint, but Milan went on to a 28-18 halftime lead.

Fromm and Pence both connected on three-pointers as Scotland County tried to rally in the third period. But Eddie Gonzalez answered, scoring eight of his game-high 20 points in the quarter to help Milan extend the margin to 43-30.

SCR-I continued to battle foul trouble in the second half as three starters finished with four fouls, and sub Parker Triplett fouled out.

That helped Milan put the game away from the free throw line. The Wildcats made 8 of 10 from the foul line in the final eight minutes to contrast SCR-I’s shooting woes from the charity stripe.

Fromm finished with 14 points to lead Scotland County in scoring. Terrill had a season-high nine points while Pence was held to seven. Scotland County dropped to 2-1 on the season.

Big Second Quarter Sends SCR-I On to Tourney Title Game

Khloe Hamlin and Julie Long put the full-court press on the Atlanta guard during Scotland County’s win over the Hornets Thursday in the Novinger Tournament.

A huge second quarter proved to be the difference on Thursday night at the Novinger Tourney as Scotland County outscored Atlanta 19-5 en route to a 56-42 win to advance to the championship game.

SCR-I built a 9-8 lead in the first period behind the interior play of its post players. Ashleigh Creek had the team’s first four points before Nova Cline and Kaylyn Anders each added field goals. A free throw by Micah Cooley gave SCR-I the one-point lead after eight minutes of play.

The second period was all Scotland County. Katie Feeney got the run going with a steal and a layup. SCR-I worked the offensive glass for a pair of put-back scores by Anders and Khloe Hamlin. The Lady Tigers then found the range from deep as Creek and Madie Bondurant each connected on three-pointers, helping give Scotland County a 28-13 lead at intermission.

The Lady Tigers pressured Atlanta into 31 turnovers on the night. Feeney had seven steals in the contest and Creek had five to lead to some easy transition opportunities for SCR-I.

The duo helped push the lead to 20 points. Feeney converted on a three-point play to open the third period. Creek connected on a jumper and then drilled another three-pointer before Feeney capped off the run with a steal and nifty step-through move to finish on the fast break and make the score 42-22.

Atlanta made things interesting with a couple of late runs. The Hornets pulled within 12 to start the fourth period before Feeney scored on a drive to the hoop. Bondurant then delivered with a steal and a score in transition. Feeney ended a 6-0 Atlanta run with back-to-back scores before Bondurant again came up with the theft on defense, leading to a fast break bucket that helped SCR-I hold on for the 56-42 win.

Feeney led Scotland County in scoring with 13 points. Creek finished with 12 points and Bondurant added 10 as the Lady Tigers improved to 2-1 on the season.

Tigers Slam Newtown-Harris 64-18 in Season Opener

Scotland County got the basketball season off to a flying start, literally, on Tuesday night in the opening round of the Novinger Tourney. Matthew Woods punctuated a huge first quarter versus Newtown-Harris with a two handed slam dunk on the fast break as the Tigers easily rolled to the 64-18 victory.

Woods had eight first period points as the Tigers jumped out to the 21-6 lead.

Jared Dunn and Lane Pence each had a pair of field goals in the second period as Scotland County extended the margin to 37-10 at the intermission.

Will Fromm took over in the third quarter, scoring nine of his game-high 17 points as the Tigers grew the lead to 54-18.

SCR-I outscored Newtown-Harris 10-0 in the final eight minutes with a running clock to post the 64-18 win.

Joining Fromm in double digits were Dunn and Pence both with 10 points, as Scotland County improved to 1-0 on the year.

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