Greetings, My Fellow Missourians

It’s always welcomed when we have the opportunity to visit with our local U.S. officials.  Both U.S. Senator Blunt and Congresswoman Hartzler have recently been in District 125 for several functions, and I appreciated having a chance to visit with each of them about several issues that have local impact.

Senator Blunt went on tours of the Hickory County Health Department’s new facility and Golden Valley Medical Clinic in Osceola.  During each tour he addressed Alzheimer’s and the desperate need for a cure.  Since Senator Blunt became chairman of the Federal Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies 4 years ago, research funding for Alzheimer’s has almost been quadrupled in the budget bill from $631 million to $2.34 billion.  He stated that every hour Alzheimer’s disease costs taxpayers $21 million dollars with someone new in the U.S. developing the disease every 65 seconds.  AND Medicare and Medicaid currently spend $186 billion caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias…this is 67% of the total cost of these programs.  Therefore, research for a cure or even a small discovery breakthrough would be significant.

Joining us for the monthly Osceola Chamber of Commerce luncheon last Friday, Congresswoman Hartzler addressed the need for broadband internet in our rural communities.  The spending bill that was passed earlier this year in Washington, D.C., includes an additional $600 million in grants and loans to be applied to deploying broadband internet to rural communities that need it the most.  Her amendment to the Farm Bill was included in the House version and would increase the minimum speed requirement for U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service programs to ensure quality high-speed internet will be implemented.  This can definitely benefit our district.

Congresswoman Hartzler also spoke on the need to increase funding to support the military.  The National Defense Authorization Act for 2019 includes a 2.6% pay increase for our service men and women, which is the largest increase in 9 years.  The Act also authorizes funding for B-2 Bomber modifications, A-10 wing replacements, and funding for the B-21 (next generation long-range strike bomber).  These aircraft are all at Whiteman Air Force Base in Knob Noster and only 45 minutes from District 125, which has many family recreational activities to offer the troops and their families.

Governor Parson takes action on drought:

Last Wednesday, Governor Parson signed an executive order declaring a drought alert for 47 counties experiencing severe or extreme drought in Missouri.   Tina Dulaban, District Manager for the Soil and Water Conservation District in Benton County (SWCD), reports there are now 52 counties terribly affected.  While Benton, Cedar, Hickory and St. Clair Counties have been very blessed and are not a part of the drought alert, the entire state is being closely monitored:  U.S. Drought Monitor Map.  Ms. Dulaban and other members of the SWCD participated in a webinar yesterday, August 1st, discussing what is being done by the State of Missouri Soil and Water Conservation Districts to assist the counties in the alert.  She said action includes:  1) Grazing management practices that include a water source development and/or a water distribution; 2) Cleaning out ponds that have previously been paid for under state cost share programs in past years; and 3) Planting cover crops on cropland that can be hayed or grazed.

Missouri farmers are hardest hit in the drought, and as Ms. Dulaban stated, “Livestock forage needs are a huge concern.”  While Benton County and all of District 125 are not a part of the alert at this time, if the U.S. Drought Monitor determines a drastic change in conditions, assistance is ready to be provided.   Benton County SWCD:  660-547-2351, Ext. 3;  Cedar County SWCD:  417-276-3388, Ext. 3; Hickory County SWCD:  417-745-6613;  St. Clair County SWCD:   417-646-8108, Ext. 3.

100-Mile yard sale coming soon:

“Discover More on Route 54” is hosting the Annual 100-Mile Yard Sale scheduled for Labor Day weekend during daylight hours, August 31-September 1, along U.S. Highway 54 including the cities of Nevada, El Dorado Springs, Collins, Weaubleau, Wheatland, Hermitage, Preston, Macks Creek, and Camdenton.   Everyone is invited and encouraged to sell, attend, and ‘Discover More on Route 54!’  Sellers will be responsible for their own yard sale signs to attract motorists. With the increased holiday traffic, it’s encouraged that other non-profits (fire departments, churches, etc.) hold rummage sales & fundraisers at the same time.   

There will be host locations for anyone not living along Highway 54 that would like to participate.  These sites will be posted next week.

RULES for setting up/selling at a host site:

• First come, first setup basis each day;

• Dumpsters located on the property are NOT for public use, please remove everything you do not sell, and be respectful of the host property; and

• The sellers will be responsible for their own sale signs to attract motorists.