The Mornin' Mail is published every weekday except major holidays
Friday, December 11, 2009 Volume XVIII, Number 122

did ya know?

Did Ya Know?... The VFW Men’s Auxiliary will hold a turkey shoot every Sunday, from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. at the Post at the intersection of 96 & 171 highways. Public Invited, male and female.

Did Ya Know?....Saturday Jam at Red OakII every Sat. from 5 p.m. till 9. All acoustic instruments welcome.

Did Ya Know?...The First United Methodist Church, 7 & Main will hold their annual Holiday Breakfast and cookie walk on Sat. Dec. 12. 8 a.m. to noon. All you can eat breakfast $4 per person

today's laugh

Nothing is fool-proof to a talented fool.

Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.

I intend to live forever - so far so good.

Borrow money from a pessimist - they don’t expect it back.

My mind is like a steel trap - rusty and illegal in 37 states.

Quantum mechanics: The dreams stuff is made of.

A Chronological Record of Events as they have Transpired in the City and County since our last Issue.


W.C. Betts, of This City, Appointed a Deputy Revenue Collector.

W.C. Betts, the well known traveling man of this city, has just received the appointment of deputy revenue collector under F.E. Kellogg at Kansas City. Mr. Betts has resigned his position as traveling salesman for the Loose Bros. Cracker Co. and will begin his new work on the first of January. His headquarters will be in Carthage.

H.A. Mehnert, proprietor of the Newland hotel, has gone to Morrillton, Kan., where he was married to Miss Blanch L. Shelton, a leading and accomplished young lady of that town, last night. The ceremony took place at the home of the bride’s parents. After the evening nuptial banquet, Mr. and Mrs. Mehnert left for St. Louis and will return via Kansas City on a bridal tour. They will be at home at the Newland hotel to their friends after January 4.

  Today's Feature

Flu Vaccine for All.

The Jasper County Health Department has announced that the H1N1 vaccine is now available to anyone ages 6 months of age and above. People no longer have to be in a priority group.

There will be a clinic on Tuesday, December 15 from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. at the Jasper County Health Department, 105 Lincoln, Carthage

This clinic is by appointment only. There is no cost for the vaccination.

Those children under 10 years of age that have received one dose of the vaccine should receive a second dose as long as it has been 28 days from the first dose. Both types of H1N1 vaccine will be available (injection or nasal mist).

The Department says it got in a "nice big shipment" of the vaccine and will administer to anyone that makes an appointment. This clinic is not limited to Jasper County residents.

Call if there are questions or to schedule an appointment: 417-358-3111.

McCune Brooks will have the vaccine available from 7 to 9 a.m. also on Tuesday. No appointment necessary, $10 admin fee.


Thousands of Stimulus Reports Missing, Resulting in Potential Undercount of Jobs Created

by Michael Grabell, ProPublica

An $8 million federal stimulus contract to repair Glacier Point Road in Yosemite National Park is among thousands that didn’t have the required reports filed. Photo by Leonardo Pallotta.

Eagle Peak Rock and Paving created and saved 32 jobs thanks to an $8 million federal stimulus contract to repair Glacier Point Road in Yosemite National Park.

But you won’t find that on, the government’s Web site for tracking stimulus money.

You also won’t find the eight employees hired by Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport in Kentucky, or the 46 jobs claimed for some $65 million in grants awarded to the Louisiana Department of Social Services.

The three are among thousands of recipients who didn’t file the required reports detailing what they did with stimulus money and how many people they hired or retained.

With mounting criticism over the accuracy of jobs numbers, the White House budget office is scrambling to identify recipients who didn’t report. Vice President Joe Biden said last week that the missing information is unacceptable. And the government’s stimulus watchdog, Earl Devaney, who oversees, promised to post a list of non-filers in an effort to embarrass them into complying.

The stimulus act provided no explicit consequences for those who didn’t report, though agencies can cut off recipients from future federal funding. Devaney has called on Congress to add penalties, such as fines.

The missing reports stand to add thousands of jobs to the current tally of 640,000 created or saved by the stimulus. Tracking down the missing reports is also critical for the Obama administration to meet its pledge of unprecedented transparency with stimulus money.

In an effort to show the public how taxpayer dollars are spent, Congress required all recipients of stimulus money – including contractors, local governments and nonprofits – to file quarterly progress reports on a government Web site. The reports must contain about 100 pieces of information, including how the recipients have spent the money, how many jobs – and what types – they have created or saved, and how far along the project is.

The first report was due Oct. 20. After the deadline, recipients are locked out of the system and can no longer file reports or make changes until the next reporting period, in January.

To find out who didn’t comply, we compared the reports on with all the contracts, grants and loans that federal agencies have previously said were paid for with stimulus money. Even after eliminating common mistakes, such as different names or amounts, more than 2,500 recipients appear to have never sent in their required reports, accounting for at least $2 billion in unreported stimulus money.

The White House budget office said the number of missing reports could be even higher. It estimated that recipients have failed to file up to 10 percent of the reports on Currently, the site lists 131,000 reports and $159 billion in overall stimulus spending.

"If there are thousands of people who haven’t filed reports, that sheds some doubt on the total," said John Irons of the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank focused on labor issues. "There are people who are trying to throw mud on the whole thing. This would add fuel to that fire."

Several stimulus recipients – including Eagle Peak, the Owensboro airport and Louisiana social services – said they tried to file but were beset by technical glitches. They told similar stories about having trouble uploading the report, trying to resolve the issues with government agencies and then being locked out of the system when the deadline passed.

"The first time we submitted the report, there were some missing boxes and it got sent back," said Kareen Duvall of Las Vegas Paving Corp. "When I went back to make corrections and resubmit through the federal Web site, it wouldn’t let me submit. The time had expired."

But the government watchdog that runs, officially named the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, isn’t sympathetic to people who had technical problems. Spokesman Ed Pound said federal agencies hosted numerous Web seminars leading up to the deadline. The board extended the deadline by 10 days and had 60 people answering technical questions by phone and Internet chat.

"You have to take the time and follow the instructions to do it," Pound said. "I don’t think that’s asking too much of people when they’re receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in money from the federal government."

Devaney, the oversight board’s chairman, told us he plans to use the bully pulpit of the Web site to shame non-filers.

"Every opportunity I have to embarrass somebody for not reporting, I’m going to take advantage of that," he said.

Recipients who didn’t report range from agencies as large as the Louisiana Department of Social Services, with a $1.2 billion annual budget, to tiny Blue Ridge, Ga., tucked into the Chattahoochee National Forest, with just six employees at city hall.

Trey Williams, spokesman for Louisiana social services, said the agency realized it had a problem with its contractor registration number back in August and tried for months to resolve the issue with the Recovery Board help desk, the White House and the IRS.

"When we couldn’t file the report by the deadline, we went ahead and submitted the report via hard copy, and were told it had to be submitted online and could not be submitted again until it opened again for the next reporting period," in January, he said.

Blue Ridge’s city clerk, April Grizzell, said she filed the city’s report on $12.9 million in loans to increase rural water service. But the computer system bounced it back while she was out with swine flu, and by the time she returned, it was too late. is also missing reports from the entire government of American Samoa, which received a blanket waiver from the White House after a tsunami struck the island two days before reporting started. Pat Galea’i, American Samoa’s stimulus czar, said the island has created or saved hundreds of jobs.

While recipients reached by ProPublica say they didn’t intentionally skip filing, the Recovery Board is on the lookout for signs of people who may be hiding something.

Bob Whitmer, the director of the Owensboro airport, said he was very concerned about missing the deadline because of the airport’s previous problems with the federal government. It has been cited for poor administration of grant funds in 10 of the past 11 annual audits, according to a report this summer by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s internal watchdog. But Whitmer said he, too, had computer problems, and the help desk never responded to an e-mail.

"There was a lot of effort there," he said. "We were trying to make sure we did this right and got our information in on time."

In addition to technical problems, there also seems to be some confusion about when the reporting requirement kicks in. Many contractors told ProPublica that they didn’t file the reports because they hadn’t received any money yet and work hadn’t begun.

For contractors, a signed contract doesn’t necessarily signify the start of the project, said Mark Weisensee of the James W. Fowler Co., which is building a $16 million fish hatchery for an Indian tribe in Washington state. The company still has to finalize plans and go back to the agency for approval to actually begin work. And competing bidders have a window to protest the contract and put the job on hold, which is what happened with the fish hatchery.

But the White House budget office said recipients are required to file as soon as the contract is signed.

Still, the federal government should do more to help contractors with the reporting process, said Ken Worthan of Eagle Peak Rock and Paving, the contractor on the Yosemite road project.

He said he went online to fill out his report but it kept bouncing back with errors. After calling to resolve those problems, he filed the report and got a confirmation that it had been accepted. But he then needed a code to upload it. He said he requested one but never got it.

"We’re trying to report the information they requested as best as we can," Worthan said. But "if they’re not getting the information, it’s not going to be real accurate. They’re not going to be able to sit in front of everybody and say, ´Well, this is how many jobs we created.´

Just Jake Talkin'

I’m afraid I may be in violation of City Code. From time to time I’ll walk out my front door and there may be three or four cats from various parts of the neighborhood loungin’ on my porch. Sometimes they like to lay just outside my fenced back yard and make faces at my two dogs.

Here’s my concern. Accordin’ to City Code, ya can’t have more than five dogs and cat’s total. In another part of the Code it defines owner as any person owning, keeping or harboring one or more animals. An animal is deemed to be harbored if it is fed or sheltered for three consecutive days.

I don’t feed the cats, but I’m thinkin’ they sneak in the fence and grab a few bites of dog food ever now and then, then take shelter on the front porch. I can always argue that no one ever really owns a cat.

This is some fact, but mostly,

Just Jake Talkin’.

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ART NOTES from Hyde House

by Sally Armstrong, Director of artCentral

The art is down and delivered to the buyers, or has been picked up by the artists, and today was a wonderful time had with nearly the entire board as well as two of our three advisors, Jerry Ellis and Sandy Higgins. It was our monthly board meeting, and I set the table in a formal way in the dining room under the beautiful crystal chandelier for a first annual Christmas luncheon, and appreciation for board members and advisors alike. Each received a small gift from me, a hot lunch was served before the meeting, and I think all enjoyed a time together as we continued discussion and planning of the year ahead. Kristin Huke, board member and commercial designer, has designed a great eye-catching logo for the 25th anniversary that we will use in our publications and mailings as well as advertising, and a promotional poster is being planned as well. Our calendar is finalized, and includes something for everybody--- ceramics, sculpture, weaving, oil painting, photography, jewelry, a wonderful array of artists both singly and in group shows. I hope to hold at least four adult workshops in the winter and early spring as well. Tomorrow I will hang work by both Theresa Rankin and April Davis in our Atrium Gallery at the Sirloin Stockade annex gallery, and remove the work by Mary Lou Reed. I thank her for allowing her things to be up over there, and look forward to having the new work up through the holidays. If you missed seeing our most recent show, go by and take a look at some of the paintings by these two great women artists, Rankin and Davis. We are now officially closed for 2009, though I will be keeping some office hours through the remainder of December. January will be closed as we prepare the gallery and facility for the 2010 season, and I thank all who participated in any way this past year. It has been a successful year in that we had an underwriter for each and every show and increased our membership. I hope to achieve new goals in 2010!

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