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home : archives : archives June 24, 2016

On and Off The Mountain/Stephanie Grubert Editorial

 In like a lion, out like a lamb. I guess we are still on the lion’s side of the weather in Mountaintop. With many gray dreary days on record and some precipitation, snow, ice or rain, a constant reminder that we are not getting out of our seasonal weather just yet. March is still wood burner weather and the golf courses are closed.

The spring that arrived on March 1 is called Meteorological Spring. It is based on temperature, not the Earth’s tilt. It follows the three coldest months of the year, or Meteorological Winter. Those months are December, January, & February. In March, temperatures begin to warm away from the cold of winter. March April & May make up what we call Meteorological Spring. Mountaintop is slowly warming. Our snow will not linger and the days are above freezing. We eased into winter and now we are easing out. It happens every year.

The newly formed Mountaintop Garden Club is not waiting for the snow to disappear entirely. About 15 members braved the rain and ice to come out to hear Master Gardener Rosanne Nardone offer her gardening tips at the Rice Township Municipal Building last week. Roseann has a beautiful one-acre perennial garden at her home in Slocum.
Organizer Michele Millington says, “The club has 39 Garden Club members, and the phone is still ringing! We want to do some activities like beautification, plant sales, and trips this year. Our next meeting will be March 26 at the municipal building.”

I’m ready to dig into my gardening chores come April. Last year I procrastinated and barely got my seeds and plants in the ground. Not so this year. I have already lined up George Albright for the tilling as soon as the ground is ready.
I enjoy planting flowers too, mostly colorful annuals near my front porch and along my walkway. I have some bleeding hearts that have been growing for more than 10 years that come back every year. The daffodils never disappoint me either. Tulips won’t last more than 3 seasons, but lilies and iris are another traditional flower that thrive in my beds. Gardening is exercise for the body and food for the soul. There is so much stretching and lifting that a gym workout doesn’t compare.

By the end of the month we will begin to see color in our yards. We’ve only got a couple of weeks until the Vernal Equinox and Astronomical Spring on or around March 20, signaling when the Earth’s tilt on its axis is neither toward nor away from the sun. On this day, we see an equal amount of daylight. And it marks the time when the Northern Hemisphere will tilt toward the sun for 6 months our days will get longer as we head toward summer.

This Sunday is also the first day for Daylight Savings time. Be sure to turn your clock ahead one hour on Saturday night March 9. We will have that extra hour of daylight in the evenings, just in time for the new golf season. Sunset will 7:05 p.m. on Sunday March 10. I enjoy the change of seasons. Each one is unique and you know whatever happens it won’t last forever.

There has been a lot of fearful rhetoric in the news about the “Sequestration” that was signed into law by Barack Obama two years ago insuring mandatory spending cuts to deal with an out of control spiraling Federal budget. Obama never thought the cuts, which have been described as drastic, would ever come to be.

But just how “drastic” are they. Basically for every $100 the government spends, they will now only spend $98. Think of it like going out to dinner. If you go to McDonalds and take the family the $25 price you can spend will be 50 cents less.
Obama got his tax increases in January, where all wage earners saw a 2% increase in their payroll withholding. The so-called richest Americans got to pay more into the Federal treasury too.

Every time the discussion turns to trillions and billions of dollars I get lost. My counter knows about hundreds and thousands. It’s all a matter of zeros. A thousand has 3 zeros, a million has 6 and a billion has 9 and equals 1,000 million. A trillion has 12 zeros. So lets do some math.

Barack Obama submitted a 2013 budget that has total revenue of $2.902 trillion, expenditures of $3.8 trillion and a deficit of $901 billion, or 2.3% of what he is asking for. When it comes to billions and trillions it’s all in the decimals. I don’t see why the Federal government can’t get along with the $2.9 trillion in revenues that they are already on board to receive. Enough is enough.

In our area programs that are on the chopping block include government contractor businesses, and federal aid to law enforcement programs. That’s not to say that all funding will be withheld. It is only a percentage and a small one that that.
Government simply does not have the revenues to keep every program on the books running at 100%. Neither does business.

Obama’s agenda is spending more of our money on projects that should be left to the free market. Economics 101 is anchored in the law of supply and demand. Do we want to be told what car to buy, what medical procedures we can have, what drugs the government will pay for? Is that the role of government? Not the government that I am paying for.

I have a small business that relies on advertising sales from other small businesses and subscriptions from my readers to exist. When I lose a subscriber or an advertising customer I need to be innovative to replace that revenue from somewhere else. I can’t simply print up more money to keep my small business afloat. That is essentially what the Federal government has been doing for the past four years. Printing up money is adding to the debt. There is no saving for a rainy day. We are already in the mother of all storms on the financial front. And the Federal government will not show up to rescue the Mountaintop Eagle for any reason.

You can read analysis of our country’s financial situation in any newspaper in the land. My simple math, for every $100 spent before will now be $98 shows a net cut of $2. Now, that we can understand. And it is only a very small start.

Rice Ramblings
Rice Township will hold their monthly meeting Tuesday March 12. At least that’s what’s on the schedule. There could be other public meetings called at any time. The morning meetings the board has held in the past few months were not for emergencies. Business could have waited for the regular meeting where more public participation is generally seen.

Rice Chief Bob Franks released information to the news media last week that there have been a rash of daytime burglaries in the Township and neighboring Nuangola Borough. Police Chief Robert Franks said the department investigated two burglaries and one attempted break-in in Rice Township and two similar burglaries in Nuangola Borough. All incidents occurred during the daytime hours. Rice and Nuangola residents should be alert for strange vehicles in their neighborhoods and to call 911 immediately with a description of the vehicle. We can all be the eyes and ears of the police to keep crime out of our community.

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