Rural Missouri - July 2013 - (Page 5)

Hart to Heart Eternal vigilance in the Capitols T by Barry Hart bhart@amec.coop here’s an old saying about electric cooperatives and politics that guides a lot of what we do at the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives: “We were born in politics, and we will die in politics without eternal vigilance.” One of our chief duties is to monitor legislation in the Missouri and U.S. Capitols. Our mission is to watch for legislation that could be harmful to electric cooperatives and rural people. Likewise, we want to help pass legislation that will help keep rates low and improve life for rural people. This year alone there were more than 2,100 bills filed by the Missouri legislature. AMEC staff closely monitored 325 bills. Of these many bills, 155 were passed and sent to Gov. Nixon. There were three bills passed that will be especially beneficial to your electric co-op. Senate Bill 1, which addressed workers’ compensation, will ensure the Missouri Electric Cooperative Insurance Plan can continue to save millions for your electric cooperative. Our thanks to Rep. Todd Richardson and Sen. Scott Rupp for their work on this one. Senate Bill 157 will toughen state law to fight metal theft that is plaguing electric co-ops. House Bill 117 will add transparency to the initiative and petition process while still allowing citizens to bring up legislation on their own. This measure was sponsored by Rep. Tony Dugger and Sen. Mike Parson. Another measure we watched carefully was HJR 11, better known as the “Right to Farm.” Missouri is now the second state to pass a constitutional amendment that, if approved by voters in November 2014, will ensure out-of-state interests won’t be able to tell us we can’t farm. With agriculture being our No. 1 industry, that’s unacceptable. This measure passed thanks to the efforts of Rep. Jason Smith, Rep. Bill Reiboldt and Sen. Parson. While the state legislative session has ended, we continue to keep our eyes on Washington, D.C. where we assist the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, your advocates in Washington. This month, our focus will be on Fourth of July festivities that celebrate the beginning of this great democracy. That our nation has survived for so many years is due in large part to the involvement of its citizens. While we all enjoy the freedoms this nation offers, we must “That our nation has survived for so many years is due in large part to the involvement of its citizens.” Barry Hart also accept the responsibilities that come with it. One of these is to vote in elections, exercising our duty to elect those who will represent us in our government. Another important duty is to stay involved in the legislative process. For several years we have been working to build a grassroots army of electric co-op members. Your past involvement helped us successfully fight off cap-and-trade legislation that would have raised your rates 75 percent. Our grassroots army generated more than 650,000 messages to Congress with one central theme: keep electricity affordable. Under the leadership of Jo Ann Emerson, the new CEO of our national association, we will be doing even more in the area of grassroots advocacy in the coming months. We will need the help of all of our members if we will continue to be successful in Jefferson City and Washington, D.C. Your local co-op will be your contact for your involvement in the future army. Stay tuned as we let you know the changes coming! Hart is the executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. Guest Column Honor flight brings peace to veterans T by Mary Paulsell info@ruralmissouri.coop he veteran was apprehensive about the trip. His walk was shaky; he often used a cane. He tired easily and needed frequent rest stops. The idea of going on such a long journey with strangers made him uncomfortable. But his wife wanted him to go. His daughter helped him with the application. His son volunteered to drive him to Columbia. He agreed to attend the pre-flight meeting, and if he changed his mind, he’d cancel so someone else could take his seat. At the meeting, he met his guardian, a veteran like himself, and the other veterans making the trip. His World War II veteran cap matched many worn by the others. He wasn’t the only one with a cane. Some used wheelchairs. A few used oxygen. Doctors and nurses went along, as well as firefighters and younger veterans. There would be plenty to eat and drink and frequent rest stops. He started to feel stronger and less anxious. Early on flight day, he joined other veterans for breakfast. Then just as he had when he stepped on board the troop train 70 years ago, he stepped onto the bus and hoped for the best. He started chatting with other veter- ans, and before long, he started to feel like he was making new friends. The flight was uneventful, but he wasn’t prepared for what happened next, when he and his fellow veterans were greeted by hundreds of travelers clapping and cheering as they made their way through the terminal. On the bus into Washington, they ate lunch and watched a video about the World War II memorial. Then, suddenly there before him was the amazing structure he had just seen on the screen. “Welcome to your memorial,” someone said. He started to feel proud. Complete strangers thanked him for his service. He took photos and posed for more. He stood before the wall of 4,000 gold stars, one for every 100 men and women who had given the full measure during the war. As the tour continued to other war memorials and Arlington National Cemetery, where in somber silence he remembered the fallen, he tried to brand each image into his memory so he could reflect on it later. He started to feel thankful. On the return flight, letters from home were somehow magically delivered to him at 30,000 feet. He reflected on family, career and community. He read the words again and again — unspoken emotions that the years had preserved in the hearts and minds of those who loved him. He started to feel appreciated. “As he passed beside the flags, escorted by those who had waited not just hours, but years, to welcome him home, he started to feel at peace.” Mary Paulsell JULY 2013 Among the day’s greatest surprises was the enormous crowd gathered at the hotel in Columbia, the hotel that had seemed too far away at the end of a flight that had seemed too overwhelming for him. As he passed beside the flags, escorted by those who had waited not just hours, but years, to welcome him home, he started to feel at peace. For on this one mission that he had waited decades to complete came the answer he had sought since he had set foot back on American soil in 1945. Had they made a difference, they who served, sacrificed, suffered and not returned? Had they done enough, been enough, fought enough? Would anyone care? Was the history dying with every veteran who lived it? Had they been forgotten? As he listened to the cheering of the crowd, leaned over to kiss his wife, saw the tears in his daughter’s eyes and felt his son’s hand on his back, he knew. And he started to feel like he was finally home. Paulsell is president of Central Missouri Honor Flight. The group has made 22 flights to Washington, D.C., carrying nearly 1,300 veterans. For more information, visit www.centralmissourihonorflight.com or email centralmissourihonorflight@yahoo.com. 5 http://www.centralmissourihonorflight.com http://www.centralmissourihonorflight.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - July 2013

Rural Missouri - July 2013
Contents
Comments
Columns
That old-time religion
Natural nest
Long-distance lead
Outdoors
Out of the Way Eats
Hearth and Home
Keep it cool
On the banks of Bull Shoals
Retro renovations
Infamous ancestry
Around Missouri
Marketplace
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - July 2013

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