September 23 2010

Words on Weather & Climate — September 23, 2010

September 23, 2010 // 0 Comments

The Weather Ain’t Like it Used to Be by CRAIG JAMES How many times have you heard someone say, “The weather ain’t like it used to be”? And I always say, “It definitely isn’t. The climate is always changing.” We all seem to have selective memory about the past, but we are told now that weather extremes are worse than ever. Is that so? Let’s take a look a few weather extremes I imagine most people are unaware of that happened in the United States. The 19th century (1800s) saw many extreme weather events in this county but let’s look specifically at the years 1888, 1896 and 1899. There were two incredible storms in 1888. The first occurred in the Plains and Midwest January 12-13. It is still the worst blizzard of record in Nebraska. Most school children were trapped at school for days. In 24 hours, the temperature fell from 70 degrees to almost 40 below zero. The wind at times was so strong you could not hear voices 6 feet away. Many cattle suffocated due to the fine powdery snow being blown into their nostrils. The second great storm occurred March 11-14, 1888, and has become known as “The Great White Hurricane” or “The Blizzard of 88” that paralyzed areas from Chesapeake Bay to Maine with New York City being hit the hardest. New York City papers reported that in 36 hours: “the snow had fallen to depths of between two to five feet, with drifts piling up over fifteen to thirty feet in many sections of the city.” In some western suburbs, snowdrifts were reported to be as high as 50 feet! Transportation collapsed. Trains on all four of the city’s lines stalled, leaving 15,000 passengers helpless in unheated cars. Trolleys were blown off their tracks in wind gusts estimated over 75 mph. There hasn’t been a storm of that magnitude since. In 1896, there was a brutal heat wave from the Plains to the East Coast. Theodore Roosevelt, then head of the Board of Police Commissioners in New York City wrote: “the death rate trebled until it approached the level of a cholera epidemic; horses died by the hundreds.” Although official high temperatures were mainly in the 90s, the humidity was […]

Caterer back in the kitchen with new ‘twist’

September 23, 2010 // 0 Comments

Twisted Vine open for meals, American Spoon sales, catering by BETH ALTENA Laura (formerly Laura DeWilde) Cummings and Dawn Nelson cooked together for over a decade as the team that brought you DeWilde Catering. After a six-year hiatus the two are back in the kitchen together, this time in downtown Rockford at 51 Bridge Street, the location of Twisted Vine. In addition to offering food, the shop also carries a very extensive line of American Spoon products and some gift and household items. Cummings believes the combination allows her to offer something other restaurants don’t. “I used to shop for American Spoon products in Petosky and would put together a tasty gift bag filled with salsas, spoon fruits (some are sugar free) and pottery for family and friends. It made a wonderful gift that was affordable and fun to customize” said Cummings, She said offering all the components of this “perfect gift” in one location is a nice bonus for people who come in to eat or pick up their favorite American Spoon products. American Spoon is a line of Michigan-made products—salsas, jams, roasting sauces, fruit butters, relishes and more—all made in-state with locally-grown produce. The pottery, of Mayfield Pottery, is also crafted by a local Rockford artist. “We have salsa dishes, vases and assorted “couples pottery,” as well as other beautiful pieces,” Cummings explained. The real attraction, of course, is the food, which will vary so that diners can continue to try new things as well as return for favorites. Cummings explained that this was the way she ran her catering company, providing a variety of meals within clients’ budgets. At Twisted Vine sandwiches, soups, a signature chili (so good!) and salads range from $4 up to the Dam Deal for Two, a whole sandwich, two chips and two side deli salads for $12. Samples are always available in the store as well for those who have not yet tasted American Spoon products or the flavorful menu items at Twisted Vine. “I’m very excited to be back in the kitchen and am committed to providing fresh products from Michigan suppliers,” Cummings said. The name of the business comes from Cummings decision to get back in the catering/food business with the “twist” of a changing […]

Main Street by Roger Allen, publisher — September 23, 2010

September 23, 2010 // 0 Comments

  A weighty observation I feel sorry for families that are broke. I’ve been there, too. A recent TV program featured a nonprofit free food center. Such places fill a genuine need. Its clients seemed grateful but had plenty of complaints about the economy. What bothered me was the number who were seriously overweight. Those people needed free exercise! The bad old days In the bad old days, Americans didn’t have Social Security or Medicare. Today, the minimal-government advocates would get rid of them if they could. The news media often describe the programs as “popular,” and for good reason. Social Security allows dignity and a better life for millions of older Americans. And Medicare, which currently clicks in at age 65, can be, and often is, an actual lifesaver. (In America, we don’t let people die just because they can’t afford medical care—do we?) Helping citizens in their old age is expensive, of course. If rolling back the Bush tax cuts on the very rich would shore up the coffers, I think it’s certainly worth it. My old business partner used to say, “I don’t care about the taxes as long as I make the money.” I say, “If you’re lucky, you’ll get old—and you’ll be very sorry if the bad old days come back.” As the decades turn • ON TURNING 70: You still chase women, but only downhill. • ON TURNING 80: That’s the time of life when even your birthday suit needs pressing. • ON TURNING 90: You know you’re getting old when the candles cost more than the cake. • ON TURNING 100: You don’t feel old. In fact, you don’t feel anything until noon. Then it’s time for your nap.  Free speech A cranky-looking man sat in the front row at a town meeting, heckling the mayor as he delivered a long speech. Finally the mayor could stand it no longer. He pointed to the heckler and said, “Will that gentleman please stand up and tell the audience what he has ever done for the good of the city?” “Well, Mr. Mayor,” said the man in a firm voice, “I voted against you in the last election.”  Authority Louisiana Highway Department employees stopped at a farm to talk with […]

The Tax Attic with Jerry Coon — September 23, 2010

September 23, 2010 // 0 Comments

Bush tax cuts set to expire Congress is really making it difficult to tax plan. Eventually, they will have to make decisions on a number of tax issues. Complicating the matter is that Congress can make a decision by doing nothing. The Bush tax cuts are all set to expire on December 31, 2010. If Congress does nothing, we will revert to the tax laws that were in effect before President Bush and a Republican-controlled Congress enacted them at various times during his presidency. Most of them came into being when the Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Act was passed in 2001. It is highly unlikely that Congress will do nothing. This is not a do-nothing Congress. They have passed a mammoth Health Care Reform bill. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, i.e. the Stimulus Bill, seemed to spend more money than existed in the world in total before about 1900. (Just kidding. I don’t know the real statistic. The real year could be only before 1800.) They recently passed a Small Business Jobs Act that will spend a paltry $42 billion dollars. No, they are not afraid to spend money or to pass bills. They are just reluctant to do something immediately before the coming election that could and would influence the election. Raising taxes, even if it is for 2011, could and probably would influence the election. The Tea Party is just hoping that a Democrat-controlled Congress passes a bill that dramatically increases taxes. I will go as far as to say that they are praying for a dramatic tax increase. I would also be shocked if that happens. What is highly likely is they will pass a bill after the election that will pick and choose what to do with each of the tax cuts. Some will be modified, such as the tax brackets with the 10% tax bracket disappearing. Some will be extended, such as keeping the child tax credit at $1,000 instead of it reverting to $500. Some will be allowed to sunset and go away such as the capital gains in the 15% tax bracket getting taxed at 0%. It will be interesting to see how this all turns out. By not extending any of the relief provisions that […]

Birthdays — September 25–October 1

September 23, 2010 // 0 Comments

25th Betty Houting, Frank Phillips  26th Mildred Bylsma, Emily Harr, Lois Kremers, Dillon Maharry 27th Rich Kogelschatz 28th Pam Middleton, Val Northcutt, Trevor TenBrink 29th Ellen Jean Alkema, Kletis McIntyre  30th Bonnie Bustraan, Amanda Klinger, Michael G. TenBrink, Sandy Venman OCTOBER 1st Kim Bartlett, Aaron Welch, Linda Ruehs

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