Hog at the Trough? by Greg Walters
Thus was born Raytown’s first “Gateway” intersection.
For their participation in the project BHA Group was given quite a few tax credits and tax abatements from the State of Missouri.
The City of Raytown threw in a property tax abatement in the form of a 15 year abatement on the property tax levy for the grounds (but not the building) owned by BHA. Area water users saw an increase in their monthly water rates as well. When the street was rebuilt it was discovered that the 50+ year old water lines needed replacing. Guess who got to pay for that. If you guessed the residential water users, you are correct!
Part of the tax abatement contract between Raytown City Hall and BHA Group required a certain number of people be employed at the building.
At its last meeting City Finance Director Jeremy Wilmoth informed the Board that the current tenants of the building have fallen below that mark.
Now BHA Group would like to rewrite the contract to extend their tax abatement to include the building as well as the property for the next five years.
So let’s get this straight. The city kept its end of the bargain. The State of Missouri has kept its end as well.
BHA reneged on the contract requirements. Now they want a larger abatement as a reward!?!
The improvements to the property and the intersection have been completed. BHA has fallen short on delivering on jobs for the Raytown area (which, according to Mr. Wilmoth's statements at the last meeting of the Board, they blame on a weak economy). It is interesting note that there has not been any public discussion on what will happen to the requirement if the economy improves.
The City of Raytown and the State of Missouri have kept their end of the agreement. There is no reason to sweeten the deal for BHA. Tax abatements are not an entitlement. The City of Raytown should put the brakes on the tax give-aways they have become so fond of issuing under the Bower Administration.
Tax Abatement Explained . . .
We heard an explanation of how property tax abatements work that bears repeating. We repeat the story here for a few members on the Board of Aldermen who seem to have trouble grasping the consequence of their actions with regards to tax abatements.
Let’s say four people decide to buy an apple pie. The pie costs $1.00. So each person would pay 25 cents for their portion of the pie.
Now, let’s say that one of those buying the pie is given an “abatement” of his cost.
The pie still costs $1.00.
Instead of it being split four ways, with each person paying 25 cents . . . the cost is now split three ways.
Each person still receives a quarter of the pie. Because of the abatement, only three are paying. So those three remaining people paying for the pie will each pay 33 cents.
The person with the abatement still gets a quarter of the pie, but he pays nothing for it.
ASK PETE . . . a column dedicated to gardening
Its time! Finally we can plant tomatoes.
Tomato plants have a root system that extends out a considerable distance, like maybe some three feet in all directions. So you can see that planting in a hanging sack or a container of any kind becomes difficult.
You may do so, but water requirements will be high and fertilizer needs will be greater than if planted in soil. When fertilizing, pick a fertilizer that has a low amount of nitrogen (the first number of the 3 numbers on the label). Nitrogen will cause a plant to grow large at the expense of setting fruit.
You will need to decide whether you want a determinate or indeterminate tomato plant. The determinate plant will only grow a certain period of time and then die whereas a indeterminate plant will grow til frost kills it. Determinate tomato plants do not grow as large and can be grown without staking. Determinate plants are usually quicker growing and will bear earlier, yet may die out in Sept. On the other hand, I have seen indeterminate varieties grow to 15 or more feet tall. The label should tell you which kind of plant you are buying.
When picking out your plant, you should look for a plant that is short, not thin and leggy. In addition the color should be a dark green. You will find many plants that are tall and leggy and when you remove the roots from the container they come in, you will find the roots are twisted around and around the ball of dirt. They are root bound and if your plant is as described, then you should pull the roots out as otherwise they will continue to grow in circles restricting their growth.
When you plant the tomato, remove the leaves except for the top four.
Then bury the stem all the way up to the leaves. Roots will form on the buried stem giving you extra strength. This will especially help if you have a leggy, root bound plant.
After planting the tomato, wrap a strip of aluminum foil around the stem.
This will keep the cutworms from cutting the stem. Do this the same day as planting. Many people can relate to having their crop, sometimes their complete crop, cut down the first night after planting.
If you mulch around your plant, this will help keep the moisture at a constant level keeping cracking to a minimum. You need to add calcium to help prevent blossom rot. This may be bought or you can use crushed egg shells spread around the plant. These eggshells may help keep slugs and some pests at bay.
Many people add Epson Salts to their fertilizing program which will help the flavor of the fruit.
There is no taste more satisfying then a fresh homegrown tomato.
The Salamander Returns!
Our President, Barack Obama, is in a class all his own. When pushed to the brink he always comes through.
This time it was a birth certificate. The Salamander can hardly wait for the next bit of ”Presidency in action.”
The birth certificate helped settle what was a long-festering question. Obama is President of the U.S. If people want a change, all they have to do is wait about a year and a half and then make their decision.
It is amazing how Mr. Obama has an ability to rationalize anything he does. He could give Bill Clinton lessons.
Speaking to the press about his birth certificate, the President pontificated:
“We don’t have time for this kind of silliness.”
He continued that his preference was “not to comment” on “sideshow issues.”
He went on to say “some enormous challenges are out there.”
It was downright inspiring. Real, big-time high-sounding non-political talk from our leader.
BUT – AND IT IS A BIG, BIG “BUT.”
Right after telling us all we should pay attention to the important things and not struggle over minor pronouncements he went right out to meet the big challenges.
In case you don’t take the Star, this correspondent will tell what happened.
First, he flew to Chicago to appear on a TV talk show. Upon completing his pilgrimage to Oprah Winfrey’s sign-off, he hurriedly left the studio.
There were, afterall, “big challenges to be met.”
Mr. Obama then sped to Air Force One. He flew to New York City to attend not one, not two, but three dinner fundraisers to finance his re-election campaign.
The election is 24 months away but, as the President said, “We should not waste time on silliness.”
The Salamander has no report on how much money the dinners raised. For the man who puts first things first, you can bet the meals were less than spectacular.
Wax On, Wax Off by Jenn Walters
Before I realized how injured I really was, I was mistakenly still working out post-marathon. I thought that as long as I didn’t run, I would recover and be fine. We’ve since found out that was flawed thinking, but I had a good month or two there where I embraced my new non-running freedom with new workouts galore. From regular sweat (and cursing) sessions with Jillian Michaels’ workout DVDs to time on the elliptical to a live Zumba class, I had a somewhat painful blast catching up on some of the activities I didn’t have time for during marathon training.
I also tried not one but two forms of mixed martial arts. The first? A form of self defense called Kasie. Kasie, which I can’t find anything about online but my instructor swore it was what trained Christian Bale to be so quick in the Batman movies, is all about protecting yourself and getting the heck out of the way. Which is perfect for a girl who wants to be more confident when going out to her car at night or spending an evening or two alone while the hubby is away on business. The moves were simple and easy to remember—no flipping dudes over or anything super impressive—but they used your elbows to do enough damage to get you out of a pickle or really freaky situation.
The other class I took was based off of a reader suggestion: Krav Maga. This class was a little more showy and one HECK of a good workout. Krav Maga is used by military people all over the world and involves just about anything gnarly you can imagine: striking, grappling, wrestling, crotch-kneeing, it’s all far game. The class I took was in a weird, industrial part of town and the building looked and felt a little like a bunker. Appearances aren’t everything though. Because I didn’t just learn moves in this class, I got to practice them. On people with pads. While yelling. And not like normal yelling. Like primordial “OMG, did I just sound like that?” yelling. It was fun and kind of liberating. It was most definitely a workout, too. It’s amazing how intervals of screaming, punching, kicking and kneeing can really take it out of a girl. In a good way.
Now, have I had to use my new-found skills? Thankfully, no. But I feel more confident and empowered knowing that I have them in my back pocket to pull from if something were ever to happen. (Get more self defense tips!) And it just reinforces my love and appreciation of workouts. Even though I can’t go out and run or really do anything with my legs right now, I will soon. Using your body regularly not only feels good, it makes you a more capable human being. Whether it’s sprinting away from a bad situation or even being able to carry that huge bag of groceries without batting an eye, working out isn’t just about looking good. It’s about doing good, for yourself!
Have you ever tried mixed martial arts or taken a self-defense class? Tell us about it! And, for the record, the booty is getting better. I hope to be up and running (literally) soon!
Jenn Walters and Erin Whitehead jointly publish Fit Bottomed Girls. To read more of their thoughts on lifestyle choices and fitness go to http://www.fitbottomedgirls.com/
Last Week's Poll Results:
Should the Mayor Pro-tem be elected by the Board of Alderman or appointed by the Mayor with Board approval?
60% . . . Elected by the Board
40% . . . Appointed by the Mayor
To post a comment click on the word comments below: