Family YMCA Celebrates Kids Day.
The Fair Acres Family YMCA
invites the Carthage community to participate in
YMCA Healthy KidsŪ Day, on Saturday, April 18.
The nations largest health day for children
and families, YMCA Healthy Kids Day includes fun,
engaging and creative activities for children and
families and promotes year-long wellness and
healthy living. YMCA Healthy Kids Day events are
free and open to all.
"As families struggle to
balance lifes daily demands and persevere
during an economic downturn, it is important that
we reach beyond our YMCA facility to the entire
community," says Dana Redburn, Membership
and Fitness Director. "In Carthage,
weve been doing this with the annual YMCA
Healthy Kids Day event for more than 5 years.
Through this event, the Fair Acres Family YMCA
and our partners have given our neighbors the
opportunity to take their minds off daily
stresses, and instead have fun and focus on
positive sustainable healthy lifestyle changes
together, as a family."
This year, activities will
include a kids health carnival, coloring
contest, and healthy snacks.
YMCA Healthy Kids Day will be
celebrated across the country at more than 1,700
YMCAs. Last year, more than 700,000 attendees
participated in YMCA Healthy Kids Day events
nationwide. This years activities vary and
may include exercise demonstrations, family
fitness activities, health screenings,
educational fun projects,nutritious food
demonstrations and more. Educational take-home
materials for parents will also be provided by
community organizations that serve children. In
addition,YMCA Healthy Kids Day is supported by
the following national donors: Disney
Channels Playhouse Disney, Eli Lilly and
Company, Huggies Little Swimmers Brand,
Northwestern Mutual Foundation and Tropicana.
YMCA Healthy Kids Day is also
supported by the American Cancer Society,
American Diabetes Association, American Heart
Association, Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, and the National Association of
Chronic Disease Directors. In addition, the Fair
Acres Family YMCA is proud to host
representatives from Parents as Teachers, McCune
Brooks Hospital, Carthage Fire department,
Carthage Ambulance, Jasper County Health
Department, Jasper County Sheriff Department,
Carthage Library, Safe Kids, Headstart, and the
Carthage Police Department.
For more information about YMCA
Healthy Kids Day, call Fair Acres FamilyYMCA at
AIG Repay Taxpayers?
Theres a lot to be mad at
AIG about: the retention bonuses to executives,
the secretive payments to banks and other
counterparties, the risk-taking that nearly sank
the company in the first place.
But shouldnt we relax?
After all, isnt AIG going to pay it all
back in the end?
Thats the $180 billion
question. AIG once said with certainty that the
payback was no problem. Now, the company is
"We remain reasonably
confident that we can repay what we have borrowed
from the government," AIG spokeswoman
Christina Pretto told ProPublica.
A growing chorus of analysts,
experts and former AIG employees is questioning
whether the governments current plans to
sell off AIGs assets -- ranging from their
profitable insurance subsidiaries to the art deco
building near Wall Street -- will ever recoup the
$49 billion in loans, and the other tens of
billions of investments the public has poured
into the hemorrhaging insurance company.
Perhaps the biggest problem:
Potential buyers know AIG is in a corner, so they
can play hardball.
"They are forced to sell
assets but they are known to be a distressed
seller, so its hard for them to get a good,
or even a fair price," said Cliff Gallant,
an analyst who covers AIG for Keefe, Bruyette
& Woods. "Its definitely going to
be difficult for them to get what they want, for
the government to get the loan repaid."
Complicating things, Gallant
said, is that AIG employees are leaving in large
numbers, further devaluing the business.
"People are the franchise," he said.
AIG nonetheless has managed to
sell some subsidiaries. Its off-loaded a
small Canadian life insurance subsidiary, a bank
and a larger specialty insurance company called
Hartford Steam Boiler.
Analysts have criticized those
sales -- which netted about $1.1 billion -- as
bad deals for AIG and taxpayers. They were a
"drop in the bucket," said Rob Haines
at CreditSights, in an interview with UPI.
Meanwhile, AIG has struggled to sell other,
Despite flogging them for
months, the company failed to find buyers for its
flagship subsidiaries -- the American Life
Insurance Company and the American International
Assurance Company, which operate overseas. When
AIG announced record-breaking losses in early
March, it ditched plans to sell the pair and
handed them both to the Federal Reserve in
exchange for another $29 billion loan.
Pretto said "the reality
of the market environment was the main
driver" behind the revised plan.
AIGs former CEO, Maurice
"Hank" Greenberg, has condemned the
current strategy. Greenberg was forced to resign
in 2005 amid an investigation of accounting
improprieties at AIG. He remains a major AIG
shareholder and is involved in litigation with
"Fire-sale prices will
bring taxpayers, who now own almost 80 percent of
AIG, only pennies on the dollar for their
investment in AIG," Greenberg wrote in
testimony last week to the House Committee on
Oversight and Government Reform. "The
largest asset sale to date [Hartford Steam
Boiler] took place at a fraction of the
assets purchase price and at a small
multiple of book value."
Even in good economic times,
selling AIG would be no easy task. Analysts say
it is one of the worlds most complicated
conglomerates, with more than 1,500 subsidiaries
in more than 50 countries.
"Theres no company
that compares to the size and complexity and
spread of different businesses as this
company," said Joyce Sharaf of the insurance
company rating agency, A.M. Best Co.
subsidiaries are interconnected through an
intricate web of agreements and guarantees that
make them highly interdependent.
One of its largest property and
casualty companies, National Union Fire Insurance
Company of Pittsburgh, has "unconditionally
and irrevocably" guaranteed to pump more
than $17 billion into a dozen other AIG
subsidiaries all over the world, if they need the
money. Another U.S. subsidiary, the American Home
Assurance Company, has promised up to $120
billion to other subsidiaries, according to
company filings with state regulators.
AIG says its trying to
unwind some of the guarantees, which some
analysts have criticized in past assessments of
"The U.S. property and
casualty companies guarantee the life
operations," wrote three Deutsche Bank
analysts in a controversial 2005 report that led
them to downgrade their rating of AIG. "We
are not sure how much sense that makes."
Not only do AIGs
subsidiaries swap capital guarantees, but the
parent company also guarantees a large number of
the subsidiaries. Rating agencies cited AIG
corporates guarantees as a key factor in
the subsidiaries AAA credit ratings. But
the Deutsche Bank analysts called that
"AIG, the parent, is just
a holding company and its strength and only
source of cash flow to bondholders and
shareholders comes from its subsidiaries,"
they wrote. Viewed on their own, few of the
subsidiaries deserved their high ratings,
according to Deutsche Bank, which no longer
covers AIG. "We know that the domestic life
operations ... were not AAA rated before their
acquisition by AIG," the analysts wrote. Nor
were several other large non-insurance companies,
like the aircraft lending business for which AIG
is reportedly seeking $5 billion from the Federal
Now, taxpayers effectively have
taken over those guarantees. If the government
withdraws that support, it could jeopardize the
ratings of many of those subsidiaries, according
to Sharaf of A.M. Best.
"Government support is
absolutely critical to the ratings," she
In other words, AIG is caught
in a Catch-22. Breaking up the company requires
undoing the guarantees. But undoing the
guarantees risks reducing the value of the
companies and makes it less likely that AIG will
be able to repay the taxpayer.
Former CEO Greenberg has made
the same point.
"In my judgment, the
current plan will not pay the taxpayer
back," he told the House panel this month.
"The primary objective should be to create
conditions that allow AIG to repay the taxpayer
of course, and rebuilding AIG is the best way of
NOTES from Hyde House
by Sally Armstrong,
Director of artCentral
Time is passing quickly, and we
will soon be removing the current exhibition of
floral photography by Joplin photographer Mary
Ann Soerries and replacing it with a brand new
artist! Last year we enjoyed very much having
three new, young art instructors participate at
our kids artCamp. Among those was Martha
Goldman, currently of Joplin.
We will be featuring
Marthas unusual multi-media work in May, in
a show entitled
Fairytale". Martha tells us that most of her
subject matter is linked with personal life
experiences growing up in the fuzzy, pastel world
of suburban Kansas City in the 1980s. Nurtured in
those surroundings of manicured lawns, with her
large family of "plush friends", she
often draws inspiration from those long ago days.
Into her art, she incorporates the knowledge and
practice gained from the University of Kansas,
where Martha obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in
Painting in 2004. While in Kansas, she
participated in group shows, including the KU
Scholarship Show. For the last few years she has
been working as a substitute teacher in the
Joplin school system, in addition to working on
her art. She has her multi-media art displayed in
several local galleries and enjoyed a show in
Springfield last year at the "Good Girl
Gallery" in the downtown arts district.
Martha contributed work last year in the Annual
Membership Show here at artCentral, and we are
looking forward to featuring her unusual pieces
once again. Next week I will tell you more about
her style and specific pieces. Meantime, come and
see us this Easter weekend, Friday or Saturday,
the last days of our current show. I will be
moving a group of Mary Ann Soerries work to
the Atrium Gallery next week, so they may be
enjoyed there as well.