The Mornin' Mail is published every weekday except major holidays
Thursday, February 17, 2011 Volume XIX, Number 165

did ya know?.

Did Ya Know?...There will be a Red Cross Blood Drive hosted at the Nazarene Church in Carthage Thursday, Feb. 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 2000 Grand.

Did Ya Know?...Singles Reaching Out (West) will have a pot luck and game night Fri., Feb 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the Ulmers Community Room. Everyone invited - For info call Belinda - 359-9986

today's laugh

I am writing in response to your request for "additional information." In block number 30 of the accident report form, I put "poor planning" as the cause for my accident. You said in your last letter that I should explain more fully. I trust that the following detail will be sufficient.

I am an amateur radio operator. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the top section of my new 80-foot antenna tower. When I completed my work, I discovered that I had, over the course of several trips up the tower, brought about 300 lbs. of tools and spare hardware. Rather than carry the now unneeded tools and materials down by hand, I decided to lower the items in a small barrel by using a pulley, which fortunately was attached to the pole at the tip of the tower. Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the top of the tower and loaded the tools and materials into the barrel. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 300 lbs. of tools.

You will note in block number 11 of the accident report form that I weigh 155 lbs. Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the tower. In the vicinity of the 40-foot level, I met the barrel coming down. This explains my fractured skull and broken clavicle.

Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley. Fortunately by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly on the rope in spite of the pain. At about the same time however, the barrel hit the ground. The bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the tools, the barrel now weighed 20 pounds.

I refer you again to my weight in block number 11. As you might guess, I began a rapid descent down the side of the tower. In the vicinity of the 40-foot level, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles and the lacerations or my legs and lower body.

The encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of tools, and fortunately only three vertebras were cracked. I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the tools in pain, unable to stand, and watching the empty barrel 80 feet above me, I again lost my presence of mind.

I let go of the rope…


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


Joplin has been all worked up over the predicted destruction of that town today, but as the day wears on and no catastrophe occurs the shut-ins are beginning to breathe easy, and those who took to the woods for the day are venturing back to town. The exodus of lawyers to Carthage is said to have been unusually great for today’s session of court.

The paper last night devoted a column editorial to the "scare," berating its readers for taking stock in it, assuring them that this is the 20th and not the 16th century, and roundly roasting a certain school teacher who quoted the mouthings of the prophetic piccaninny to his pupils. One child is said to have fainted at "learning" that Joplin was to be swallowed up by an earthquake, and others were generally alarmed when the hard winds began yesterday and day before. The scare was not altogether confined to the children of Joplin, either.

  Today's Feature

Grass in Renewable Energy Production

MFA Oil Company has announced a partnership with Aloterra Energy to form MFA Oil Biomass LLC. The goal of the partnership is to create a vertically integrated supply company that will utilize local farmers to produce a renewable energy crop that provides an alternative clean burning energy source for power generation, agricultural heating and next generation liquid fuels, thereby creating jobs, having a positive economic impact and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

MFA Oil Biomass projects an estimated $150 million annual economic impact from growing this new energy crop, while creating 2,700 new jobs according to a third party study. The new energy crop will be grown by nearly 1,700 farming families.

The formation of MFA Oil Biomass allows MFA Oil Co. to achieve its goal of producing next-generation, renewable energy opportunities, while remaining consistent to the company’s commitment to homegrown fuels. To prepare for this endeavor, MFA Oil has spent the last several years researching numerous energy crops, determining Miscanthus giganteus to be the most promising for several reasons.

In the meantime, the 2008 Federal Farm Bill created the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), a federally-funded initiative that encourages the development of renewable energy sources. MFA Oil Biomass will synergistically combine the benefits of growing miscanthus as a renewable energy source with the BCAP incentives that encourage farmers to grow a biomass crop.

"After researching several biomass crops, including switch grass and giant reed, we decided Miscanthus giganteus provided the best opportunity for creating a viable energy source," explains MFA Oil Co.

President Jerry Taylor. "As good fortune would have it, Aloterra had done its own research and had come to the same conclusion."

Miscanthus giganteus is a warm season perennial grass that is non-invasive, drought and pest resistant, and needs less fertilizer than food crops. A Biomass Crop Options and Supply Chain Feasibility study performed by Missouri Biomass Farmer Supply Chain Consortium found that these qualities lead to minimal run-off into water systems, causing it to be well-equipped for growing on barren land. The grass is also extremely efficient in sequestering carbon from the air. Miscanthus giganteus has been used as a source of heat and electricity in Europe for more than 10 years. It also has been converted into biofuel products such as ethanol and, compared to other ethanol inputs, produces more overall mass.

"Initially, we plan to pelletize the miscanthus output for power generation," says Scott Coye-Huhn, director of business development for Aloterra Energy. "However, the possibility of using it to produce ethanol in the future is vast, since it is projected to produce three times more gallons of ethanol per acre than corn."

The first priority for MFA Oil Biomass is to secure BCAP funding. Under current guidelines, BCAP will reimburse farmers up to 75 percent of planting costs and pay an annual rent payment while farmers

wait for their crops to mature. Once the crops mature, farmers will be eligible to receive two years of matching payments for their tonnage, up to $45 per ton beyond the selling price. Land that is currently in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is excluded from the program.

In January, MFA Oil formed three BCAP project areas: central Missouri, southwest Missouri and northeast Arkansas. With the City of Columbia’s self-mandated 15 percent renewable energy requirement and the University of Missouri’s biomass boiler, which will be online June 2012, the need for the biomass crop in central Missouri is evident. Southwest Missouri offers a considerable opportunity due to the number of poultry growers in the area, many of whom already burn biomass. And, because of its critical groundwater usage area, northeast

Arkansas farmers would benefit from growing miscanthus given that it only requires 24 inches of rain per year once it is established.

About 250 farmers have shown interest in MFA Oil Biomass by signing letters of intent to grow miscanthus on more than 21,000 acres.



By Monte Dutton

For Ragan, Desire to Win Looms Large


David Ragan needs a solid year. His job is likely riding on the outcome of the 2011 season.

The Unadilla, Ga., native is only 25 years old. A year ago, he finished 24th in the Sprint Cup point standings. The problem is that his No. 6 UPS Ford is a part of the Roush Fenway Racing stable, and his teammates -- Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle -- all finished sixth or better.

"We have a lot of expectations for this year," said Ragan. "The last couple years we have been real inconsistent, with a few runs here and there, but we could never get in a rhythm where we knocked off top-5 and top-10 finishes. That is what gets you in the Chase and gets the most points.

"We have got to run a lot of mistake-free races. The biggest thing is that we have our race cars really fast at Roush Fenway racing. I think the engine department is really prepared more so today than they have been in a couple of years. Our race cars are very nice and lightweight and seem to be very fast. That gives us a lot of confidence going into the year, and that is a good thing."

David’s father, Ken Ragan, competed in 50 major NASCAR races in a career that spanned from 1983 through 1990.

"We all put pressure on ourselves because this is an important year for us and for our team," said David. "We want to get Ford back into victory lane and get UPS into victory lane. I want to win a Cup race very badly."

To date, the highlight of the junior Ragan’s career was two Nationwide Series victories in 2009, both occurring at iconic tracks. He won at Talladega, Ala., and Bristol, Tenn.

Ragan gave the off-season paving project, which cost Daytona International Speedway more than $20 million, a rave review.

"In years past here at Daytona, you would get everyone really tight together for a few laps, and then, once the tires started to wear out, the cars would bounce around. ... Now all the cars are going to handle so well that everyone is going to be three by three, on top of each other, all day long. It will be a different Daytona 500 than you have seen in the past, and the last 20 or 30 laps will be totally insane," he said.

Just Jake Talkin'

When I was growin’ up, if I’d run into the store for the folks and not see where they were parked when I came out, Dad would give a couple a short toot toots on the horn.

Other times a neighbor would give the same signal as they passed the house or wanted ta get your attention for a little chat on the side of the road.

I’m reminded of this rather trivial bit of folk lore ‘cause now ever’time someone sets their alarm on their vehicle, the horn gives that same little toot toot as verification that ever’thing is secure.

Anytime I’m out walkin’ and hear that sound I just look by habit expectin’ to see a friendly wave. ‘Course I’m generally disappointed. Nobody gives a toot anymore.

This is some fact, but mostly,

Just Jake Talkin’.

Sponsored by Metcalf Auto Supply

Weekly Columns



Dear Tom and Ray:

I recently drove about a thousand miles without my oil cap. It’s a 2005 Toyota Sequoia, and I was off-road for about 10 days at the same time. When I got home, no oil cap! (Human error all the way.) I checked the oil, and it was good all the way to the "full" mark, and there’s no oil on top of the engine, or even on the underside of the hood. As I drove, I didn’t see any drop in oil pressure or hear any weird mechanical sounds, so I’m wondering what damage (if any) I might have done to the engine, driving all that way without a cap. -- Steve

RAY: You are one lucky fellow. Mostly because of the particular car you own.

TOM: On most cars these days, the oil cap is right on top of one of the valve covers. When the cap is off with the engine running, the oil blasts out of there like the last feeding blasts out of an infant who’s been tossed into the air repeatedly by his father.

RAY: You would have noticed that right away, because the oil spews everywhere, including onto the hot exhaust manifold, where it immediately starts to smoke.

TOM: And if you actually drive around with the cap off on those cars, you easily could lose enough oil to damage the engine.

RAY: On your vehicle, I believe the oil fill is down between the cylinder heads, which is a less lubricated part of the enginem. That’s why little to no oil was lost.

TOM: And it’s unlikely that anything got into the oil fill when you were driving off-road.

RAY: Even if anything did get into the oil fill, it either would sit at the bottom of the pan and get drained out during your next oil change, or it would be caught by the oil screen or oil filter.

Copyright 2011, Heritage Publishing. All rights reserved.