The Mornin' Mail is published every weekday except major holidays
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 Volume XVIII, Number 3

did ya know?

Did Ya Know?... There will be a National Vintage Car Rally on Wednesday, June 24th, from 10:00 AM-1:30 PM. Sponsored by the Carthage Convention & Visitors Bureau and Precious Moments Chapel, the Rally will be in the Precious Moments Parking Area at 4321 Chapel Road. For details, contact CCVB at 417-359-8181.

Did Ya Know?... McCune-Brooks Regional Hospital will be providing the seminar "Summer Fun: Skin Care/MRSA/Swine Flu - What’s A Person to Do??!!" on June 24th from 4:00 to 5:00 PM.

today's laugh

She’s new to football

A guy took his girlfriend to her first football game. Afterward he asked her how she liked the game.

"I liked it, but I couldn’t understand why they were killing each other for 25 cents," she said. "What do you mean?" he asked.

"Well, everyone kept yelling, ‘Get the quarter back!’"

Kids at the Wedding

At a friend’s wedding, everything went smoothly until it was time for the flower girl and her young escort to come down the aisle.

The boy stopped at every pew, growling at the guests. When asked afterward why he behaved so badly, he explained, "I was just trying to be a good ring bear."

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

Bankers Meet At Webb.

Resolve to Uniformly Observe the New Revenue Law Regarding Checks

Some fifty bankers of Jasper County and Galena, Kansas, met last night at the Commercial club rooms ion Webb City for the purpose of taking action and adopting a uniform system for properly observing and putting into operation the late revenue law as it applies to banks and bankers. The New law which goes into effect on July 1 requires that a revenue stamp costing 2 cents to placed on every check. For their own protection and for the protection of their patrons, the bankers decided to receive no checks unless bearing the required stamp which shall be cancelled by the maker of the check. Otherwise trouble and confusion would surely result.

J.A. Mitchell, of the Bank of Carthage, and J.L. Moore, of the Carthage National Bank, were present last night.

  Today's Feature

Lunch Box Stop Tomorrow.

The Hemmings Challenge Vintage Car Rally has selected Carthage as a "Lunch Box Stop City."

Wednesday, June 24th more than 60 competing cars will stop at Precious Moments for lunch. Viewers are welcome to come out and see. "We are honored and excited that the rally staff has chosen Carthage as a Lunchbox Stop," Wendi Douglas, Director of Carthage Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. "Precious Moments is the perfect venue for the rally drivers. It is a peaceful and inspiring place to cool off and stretch their legs. Additionally, we are delighted to invite families and spectators an opportunity to see some amazing and rare cars from the past. The drivers are traveling to and from Springfield and will enjoy our crowd and special festivities we have planned for the day."

Vintage cars dating from 1916-1949 will be on display on Wednesday, June 24, 2009 from 10:30am - 1:30pm with cars scheduled to begin arrival at 11:32. It is open to the public and is free to attend.

For more details, contact the CCVB at 417-359-8181

For Ailing Transit Systems, Stimulus Windfall Is a Mixed Blessing

by David Epstein, ProPublica


When the recession forced the strapped St. Louis Metro to cut her local bus route in March, Emma Perry’s freedom went along with it.

Perry, 58, uses a wheelchair because of a rare neurological disease. For the last six years, the St. Louis Metro’s Call-A-Ride program, which provides door-to-door transit for disabled citizens — so long as they are within three-quarters of a mile of a normal bus route — has granted Perry the independence to go to the library, the movie theater, her health center, the nursing home where she volunteered and the church where she taught and prayed 3 to 5 times a week.

With the nearest route gone, Perry lost her Call-A-Ride service. She’s now largely homebound. "I’ve lost some of my independence," she says. "I’ll never get used to it."

Federal stimulus funds have swooped in to prevent service cuts to healthcare and education, but no such remediation has been granted to public transit. Transit systems nationwide are getting billions for new buses and trains. According to the language of the stimulus bill, however, the money can’t be spent to run them -- to pay for operating costs like wages and fuel. Although national mass-transit ridership is at a 50-year high, a recent survey by the American Public Transportation Association found that 90 percent of transit agencies have cut service or raised fares.

"One of the difficulties is that capital funds are available," said Alane Masui, a spokeswoman for the Sacramento Regional Transit District, "but we need to operate the buses we purchase."

On Thursday, the Senate passed a $106 billion war-funding bill with a partial fix. The bill includes a provision allowing transit agencies to use up to 10 percent of their stimulus money for operating costs. The legislation will now go to President Obama for signing, even though the transit provision has drawn criticism as shortsighted.

"To use money that was supposed to go toward infrastructure investments for simply operating expenses is wrong," said Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, ranking member on the House subcommittee that controls transportation spending. "This is supposed to be a stimulus package for infrastructure, not a bailout for local government."

Latham is concerned that transit agencies will become reliant on the federal money rather, which disappears in two years, rather than finding sustainable local funding sources, or that the government will be prodded to pay for transit operations indefinitely. "There’s nothing more permanent in government than a temporary program," Latham said.

Even with stimulus money newly available for operations, many transit agencies will be balancing services against long-needed upgrades. "Flexibility is welcomed," said Ted Basta, chief of business services for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, "but in our case, it will be which house to rob to help the other side."

The deep trouble for transit agencies has been a decade in the making. Since 1999, urban areas with more than 200,000 people have been barred from using federal transit funds to cover operating costs. President Obama’s stimulus plan carried that theme forth by mandating that the $8.4 billion in stimulus transit funds go only toward capital improvements, essentially construction, repair and new purchases, and not toward filling operating holes, like the $50 million deficit that St. Louis Metro is facing.

When the transit provision becomes law, St. Louis Metro will be able to use $8 million in stimulus funds to cover a portion of the deficit, but it’s not enough to restore all the decimated suburban bus service or the hundreds of jobs that were lost. In March, Metro closed 2,300 bus stops and cut 450 workers.

The stimulus money might be combined with $12 million in new state funds to bring back a third of the lost service. Meanwhile, some of the stimulus capital money will replace rail ties, according to Tom Shrout of Citizens for Modern Transit, a group that advocates expanding St. Louis transit. "That’s fine," Shrout says, "but it doesn’t have to be done now, and we’ll lose riders for years if there’s a service cut."

In New York, the state took evasive action to preempt a $1.8 billion deficit at the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which runs New York City subways and buses and suburban commuter rail lines. Still, the MTA had to boost fares about 10 percent even as it spent stimulus money on a subway line that has been delayed for decades.

The MTA would not comment on whether funds, if they become available for operating costs, would be used to eliminate or reduce fare increases. But even if the entire 10 percent of allowable stimulus spending in the state of New York were used just to repair the MTA’s deficit, it would not fill the hole.

Gene Russianoff, an attorney with the New York City Straphanger’s Campaign, which advocates on behalf of transit riders, supports some of the MTA’s capital projects. But he bemoans the loss of 570 customer service agents in train stations. "The MTA [safety] slogan is ‘If you see something, say something,’" he says. "But to whom?"

In desperation, some transit agencies have shuffled money around, trying to find any way that restricted state and stimulus funds can plug operating and maintenance holes.

The MARTA system in Atlanta faced cuts so steep that officials threatened to eliminate an entire day of service each week. So the Atlanta Regional Commission, an intergovernmental planning agency, agreed to give MARTA $25 million in stimulus funds for "preventative maintenance," which is allowed by the stimulus bill. In return, MARTA will give the ARC $25 million from its own capital projects coffers, money that according to state law could only have been used for new projects.

"It’s this crazy round-robin of trying to find ways to actually operate the transit that got funded in the stimulus," says David Goldberg, a spokesman for Transportation for America, a national coalition of mass transit backers including foundations, AARP, and environmental, bicycle and pedestrian advocates.

In light of the drastic transit cuts in his state, Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-Mo., has proposed federal legislation that would remove the ban on spending transit money for operations in cities of 200,000 or more. "The congressman has signed on to letters to open up some of the [stimulus] money," says Jim Hubbard, a spokesman for Carnahan, "but this would be a long-term fix."

Carnahan’s bill could be a lifeline for agencies like the Sacramento Regional Transit District. California, which is confronting a $24 billion state budget deficit, eliminated public transit funding for the next five years. So SRTD is trying everything, including partnering with Coca-Cola, which will pay to install kiosks with vending machines and advertising at light rail stations.

Despite employee furloughs, a hiring freeze, a MARTA-like shuffling of stimulus money, a fare hike in January – and another one going to a vote on Monday, Sacramento may have to cut service on more than 10 percent of bus routes.

The stopgap provision in the war funding bill will free up $2.2 million in stimulus funds for operating costs. "I would seriously consider using that," said Mike Wiley, general manager and CEO of the SRTD. "The No. 1 priority for us is maintaining our level of service on the street."

Just Jake Talkin'

I suppose on average ever’one has about the same kinda luck. Some good days, some not so good. I suppose most ‘member the bad luck more than those times when ever’ thing went wrong.

My dad always advised given plenty of time for travel, just in case ya had a flat tire. I figure its good advise, even though I can count on one hand the times a tire went down durin’ a trip. Considerin’ the amount a miles driven, the chances are pretty slim.

Some I know are always pessimistic. "It’d be just my luck," they are fond of sayin’. I suppose that kind a thinkin’ keeps ‘em outa trouble in a lota cases, but it seems a lota opportunities are also eliminated. The best advise I’ve heard is to play your game and hope for a little luck. Pay your money and takes your chances.

This is some fact, but mostly,

Just Jake Talkin’.

Sponsored by Carthage Printing Weekly Columns

Deadly Heat Strokes Are Preventable

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: This summer I am running a basketball camp for teenagers. I have not done this kind of work before, and I am a bit leery on a number of issues. One that bothers me is heat injuries. Could you supply some guidelines that I could follow? -- R.W.

ANSWER: Heat-caused injuries rank third as the cause of death in high-school athletes. That might sound overblown, but it’s true. There are not that many sports-related high-school deaths, so that’s one reason heat deaths are ranked so high. One such death is one too many, as heat-related deaths are preventable.

It takes up to 10 days to fully acclimatize to heat. You should assume your campers are not acclimatized. Have them take it very easy in the first few days. Practice sessions on days one to three should be held in the early-morning hours, should be limited to three hours and should not be all that strenuous.

Be sure that water is accessible at all times. In more extended practices, have sports drinks that contain sodium and potassium also available.

Exertional heatstroke is the most serious heat injury. Affected boys or girls might be sweating profusely or have dry skin. They’re weak, dizzy and often complain of headache. Body temperature is 104 F (40 C) or higher. This is an emergency and, if you don’t have the facilities to handle it, make advance arrangements for quick transportation to a hospital.

The child should be taken to a cool place, and all constrictive clothing should be removed. He or she should be covered with wet sheets or sprayed with cold water and be exposed to fans. In the best of circumstances, the child should be put in a tub of cool water. Mental changes are one of the hallmarks of heatstroke. If the child isn’t able to drink fluids, intravenous fluids should be administered.

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