Rural Missouri - October 2012 - (Page 5)

Hart to Heart ‘Vital partners’ in drought relief ecause they have many miles of lines located in often-hostile terrain, electric cooperatives must fight the elements in an effort to keep the power flowing. In recent years, epic battles have been waged against ice storms, tornadoes and floods. Whatever the cause, you can rest assured your electric cooperative has a plan to get the power back on, and that our crews will drop everything to deal with the latest crisis. That was made clear this summer when Gov. Jay Nixon and the Department of Public Safety reached out to the electric cooperatives to assist hardpressed ranchers who needed emergency drought-relief wells drilled on their land. As the governor said in press conferences held at New-Mac, Southwest and Howell-Oregon electric cooperatives on Sept. 10, the drought was no different than other natural disasters that have hit the state. He pointed out that feed for livestock, while scarce and expensive, could be found. But water was a different story. Because of the water shortage, it looked like many of the state’s live- B by Barry Hart stock producers would have to sell off their herds and go out of business. Since Missouri is the nation’s No. 2 cattle state, this would have made a huge impact on the state’s economy. Nixon declared a state of emergency and launched a drought-relief program on July 23 that helped pay for emergency water projects. He also asked Missouri’s electric cooperatives to do everything possible to extend lines to serve new wells drilled under the program. State officials expected around 250 applications for the wells. Instead, more than 11,000 applications were submitted, and 5,800 were approved. These grants paid for 90 percent of the cost for an emergency water project, which included digging a new well, deepening an existing well or connecting to a rural water supply. Most of the wells were in southwest Missouri, where a large number of cattle and poultry operations are located. Electric co-op managers Mitch McCumber at New-Mac Electric, James Ashworth at Southwest Electric and Dan Singletary at Howell-Oregon Electric told me their crews worked all out over the hot summer to get lines extended to these wells. So focused were they on their work that these and several other co-ops were unable to offer assistance when Hurricane Isaac struck. “Whatever the cause, you can rest assured your electric cooperative has a plan to get the power back on, and that our crews will drop everything to deal with the latest crisis. ” Barry Hart Missouri was able to send 105 linemen to help Louisiana’s Dixie Electric Membership Corp. restore power. But they were for the most part from electric co-ops that were not involved in the emergency work back home. By Sept. 10, more than 4,400 of these projects were completed or well underway. That prompted Nixon to travel to these three electric cooperatives to announce he was extending both the state of emergency and the deadline to complete these emergency projects until Nov. 15. The governor called the state’s electric co-ops “vital partners” in this emergency effort. Hats off to Gov. Nixon for helping Missouri’s livestock producers in this time of great need. I’d also like to thank the electric co-op employees for their response to these emergencies, both here at home and in the hurricane zone. By their actions, they fulfilled an important cooperative principle we live by and made us all proud. That’s why Gov. Nixon took the time to thank each cooperative and the linemen individually. Hart is the executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. Guest Column Health-care help for seniors F by Carol Beahan or Missouri seniors, finding health insurance coverage that meets your needs at a reasonable price is often a top priority. And yet, in today’s world of instant information and lightning-fast technology, finding good, solid sources of information to make smart choices about health insurance can be tough. For Missourians on Medicare, help is available through a state-funded counseling service called CLAIM, which stands for Community Leaders Assisting the Insured of Missouri. CLAIM’s volunteer counselors — many of whom are on Medicare themselves — are trained and certified in the various complex areas of Medicare and its wide array of plan options. Perhaps more importantly, CLAIM’s counselors will never attempt to sell anyone an insurance policy. In fact, we don’t accept new counselors who have worked at an insurance agency within one year of their application. This unbiased counseling is especially valuable to Medicare beneficiaries living on a budget, since the various Part D (Medicare prescription drug plans) and Medicare Advantage plans are not one-size-fits-all. People on Medicare should review their plans annually and compare existing plans to others in the marketplace to make sure their choice is best for their health and budgetary needs. The time to do so is coming up. People living with Medicare and those new to it can change their Part D and Medicare Advantage plans during the openenrollment period, which begins Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7. During this period, CLAIM volunteers will personally assist people on Medicare across the state at more than 100 free public enrollment events. At these events, people can work with our trained counselors to compare existing plans and find those that will cover their specific health needs most effectively and affordably. Spots at CLAIM enrollment events tend to fill up quickly, but appointments can be made by calling our toll-free line at 1-800390-3330. We list all of our upcoming events online at Savvy Internet users can download our event calendar to their per- “People on Medicare are looking for the best plans for their health needs. You don’t have to do it alone.” Carol Beahan OCTOBER 2012 sonal mobile devices. If you are not able to attend an event, our counselors will still be able to help. For those with especially tight budgets, there also may be additional help. The Social Security Administration offers financial help to Medicare beneficiaries with especially low income and assets through a program called Extra Help. CLAIM counselors can help Missourians on Medicare determine whether they qualify. That’s an important question, since the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services — the federal agency that administers Medicare — estimates thousands of Missourians may qualify for Extra Help and not even know it. Health care is important to everyone. People on Medicare are looking for the best plans for their health needs. You don’t have to do it alone. Beahan is the director of Missouri CLAIM. If you or a loved one is on Medicare and would like to receive free volunteer counseling, visit or call CLAIM toll-free at 1-800-3903330. 5

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - October 2012

Rural Missouri - October 2012
Table of Contents
The future of food
A grotesque spectacle
Out of the Way Eats
Summon your stomach
Soothing suds
Hearth and Home
Out of the woodwork
Around Missouri
A heart to serve

Rural Missouri - October 2012