Appreciates Rep. Barborak
To the editor:
Thank you Rep. Nick Barborak. The people of Columbiana County finally have the ability to speak directly with the person elected to represent them in Columbus. Since you have been in office I had the opportunity to meet with you in Columbus to discuss several issues.
You listened to my concerns and provided an update on issues specific to Columbiana County. On May 23 I attended the town hall meeting you had scheduled at the CCCTC. Again you took over an hour to hear and discuss the many issues before us. The people have a representative! The past representative would not meet with me in Columbus. The one and only time he did respond to my concerns it took him over 30 days to do so. Those days are gone, thankfully.
Super Kids Race was a success
To the editor:
The eighth annual Quakertown Super Kids Race was held June 1. The race is a soap box derby for special needs children. We had another successful year: great weather (even a rainbow), great crowd, lots of kids and sponsors.
Thank you to all of our sponsors and volunteers, there are too many to mention but we could not hold this event without the help and cooperation from many groups and individuals.
A special thank you to the Salem Police and Fire departments, who not only helped with the race but also took part in a special race, the police department vs. the fire department. Congratulations to the Salem Police Department and Office Mike Garber who prevailed and to Mike Bryant for being a good sport. Watch for this to become part of our annual event.
We also had the first adult race with Leeanne Varner of Columbiana as the winner.
Thank you to the parents of the children involved for taking the time to make sure they were included. Also, thank you for sharing your special children with us. Many people put in a lot of time to hold an event like this but the smiles on the faces of the Super Kids is worth every minute.
Thanks from Salem Lions Club
To the editor:
Salem Lions Club would like to thank all of the individuals and participants in the AMBA Wellness Program held on May 18. We would like to see those individuals next year.
We are also holding a 5-K run and 1-mile walk at Waterworth Memorial Park this year on July 20. You can register by calling Andy or Mary Ann Dzuracky 330-332-4931 by July 1.
We are having a Chinese auction at the 5-K run with donated items such as: Auto Zone, Packard Museum, Scrappers baseball tickets, Pro Football Hall of Fame, YSU football and basketball tickets, Williams & Associates, Pittsburgh Steelers autograph of Troy Polamahu, Youngstown Phantoms, Akron Aeros baseball tickets, Cleveland Indians baseball tickets, Cleveland Browns autograph football, Pittsburgh Pirates tickets.
Again, thank you to all those participated in making the AMBA Wellness programs a success.
Anyone who would like to be a member of the Salem Lions Club can call Mel Lippiatt 330-337-9975 or Andy and Mary Ann Dzuracky 330-332-4931.
ANDY and MARY ANN DZURACKY,
Farmers should consider CRP
To the editor:
Valley farmers should consider offering some of their land to United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
The CRP awards government rental payments on a competitive basis to farmers who forego crop planting and implement conservation practices on some of their acreage. For many farmers, the program may present an opportunity to derive income from less-productive land. USDA is holding the 45th competitive sign-up for the program until June 14.
CRP contracts are awarded for planting non-crop cover plants to stop erosion, provide wildlife habitat, and protect water resources. Aside from the rental payments, benefits of the program may include enhanced hunting opportunities, higher property values due to aesthetic improvements, and increased soil, water and air quality. Producers can also improve yield averages and avoid erosion compliance issues by taking some less-generative or highly-erodible land out of production.
In order to be eligible, the acreage offered for conservation must either be located in a state or national Conservation Priority Area (CPA) or have a soil Erodibility Index (EI) over eight. Trumbull County is entirely within the Great Lakes national CPA. Also, for farms outside state or national CPAs, an EI score over eight is not uncommon. Visible sloping could signify an EI score over eight. Farmers can visit their local county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office, where staff will utilize Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to evaluate the EI of the land in question or determine the precise location of the acreage with regards to conservation priority areas.
The land offered also must have been under the control of the owner or operator for the 12 months preceding the sign-up (with some exceptions including cropland passing through estate) and must have been planted four of the six crop years from 2002 to 2007, unless the land is subject to an expiring CRP agreement.
USDA will work with interested farmers to develop a conservation plan. Ultimately, USDA assigns each conservation offer an Environmental Benefit Index (EBI). USDA staff will help farmers increase the competitiveness of their offers by advising on the cover to be planted, environmental benefits to be attained, schedules for plan implementation and other details. At the close of the sign-up, USDA will determine the cut-off EBI score. All offers to the program scoring higher than the cut-off will be accepted to the CRP.
When enrolling in the CRP, the farmer must agree to the maintenance necessary to maintain the specified cover. This may involve tasks such as pest and weed control.
If you think the CRP may be a good opportunity for you, visit your local FSA office by June 14 at 1834 S. Lincoln Ave., Salem, by June 14.
Former Green Township resident
'Hams' can play vital roles
To the editor:
Despite the internet, cell phones, email and modern communications, every year whole regions find themselves in the dark. Tornadoes, fires, storms, ice and even the occasional cutting of fiber optic cables leave people without the means to communicate. In these cases, the one consistent service that has never failed has been amateur radio. These radio operators, often called "hams" provide backup communications for everything from the American Red Cross to FEMA and even for the International Space Station.
Youngstown's hams will join with thousands of other amateur radio operators across the United States and Canada showing their emergency capabilities. Over the past year, the news has been full of reports of ham radio operators providing critical communications during unexpected emergencies in towns across America including the California wildfires, winter storms, recent tornadoes in Oklahoma, the Boston Marathon and other events world-wide. When trouble is brewing, amateur radio's people are often the first to provide rescuers with critical information and communications.
On the weekend of June 22-23, the public will have a chance to meet and talk with Youngstown's ham radio operators and see for themselves what the amateur radio service is about as hams across the USA will be holding public demonstrations of emergency communications abilities. This annual event, called "Field Day" is the climax of the week long "Amateur Radio Week" sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL www.arrl.org), the national association for Amateur Radio. Ohio Governor, John Kasich, recently signed a resolution declaring that June 22-23 be recognized as "Amateur Radio Operator Appreciation Days" throughout Ohio.
Using only emergency power supplies, ham operators will construct emergency stations in parks, shopping malls, schools and backyards around the country. Their slogan, "When All Else Fails, Ham Radio Works" is more than just words to the hams as they prove they can send messages in many forms without the use of phone systems, internet or any other infrastructure that can be compromised in a crisis. More than 35,000 amateur radio operators across the country participated in last year's event.
"The fastest way to turn a crisis into a total disaster is to lose communications," said Allen Pitts of the ARRL. "From the earthquake and tsunami in Japan to tornadoes in Missouri, ham radio provided the most reliable communication networks in the first critical hours of the events. Because ham radios are not dependent on the internet, cell towers or other infrastructure, they work when nothing else is available. We need nothing between us but air."
In the Youngstown, Ohio area, the Western Reserve Amateur Radio Club (WRARC www.wrarc.net) will be demonstrating amateur radio at the Elser Metro Airport, 10800 Sharrot Road, North Lima, Ohio 44452 on Saturday, June 22, 2 p.m. EDT to Sunday, June 23 at 2 p.m. EDT. They invite the public to come and see ham radio's new capabilities and learn how to get their own FCC radio license before the next disaster strikes.
Amateur radio is growing in the U.S. There are now over 700,000 amateur radio licensees in the U.S., and more than 2.5 million around the world. Through the ARRL's Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) program, ham volunteers provide both emergency communications for thousands of state and local emergency response agencies and non-emergency community services too, all for free.
To learn more about amateur radio, go to www.emergency-radio.org. The public is most cordially invited to come, meet and talk with the hams. See what modern amateur radio can do. They can even help you get on the air!
Why pretend to have debt limit?
To the editor:
The debt ceiling is a concept devised to ensure that the country does not fall too far into debt. It defines the amount the nation is allowed to borrow. By the Treasury Department's count, since 1960 the spending addicted Congress has acted 78 times to raise the debt limit. At this point one might ask, why even pretend to have a debt limit?
The current debt ceiling is $16.694 trillion. To grasp how massive that amount is, 16.7 trillion dollars is a stack of 100 dollar bills covering a football field as tall as the Statue of Liberty. 16.7 trillion seconds is 529,000 years.
Somewhere around the end of December and the beginning of January our federal government eclipsed the $16.7 trillion debt limit. At that time, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner sent a letter to Congress alerting them that "extraordinary measures" must be taken so that Treasury can continue funding obligations made by Congress.
One of these extraordinary measures is the Treasury Department will begin to redeem a portion of existing treasury securities held by the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund. In other words, the federal government's failure to address deficit spending has once again brought the nation to the brink of default. The Treasury Department's response has been to pillage federal employee retirement funds to pay for our government's fiscal irresponsibility.
Why is this significant you ask? Isn't this the same thing they have been doing to Social Security for the past 50 years? Exactly, the chickens have come home to roost for federal employees.
For the Secretary of the Treasury to take retirement funds from protected accounts to pay debt obligations, begins a journey down a very treacherous road. The long-term ability of our federal government to operate is being jeopardized by Washington's current massive government spending.
Let us take Social Security as an example. Social Security has a trust fund and according to the Social Security trustees, that trust fund is supposed to have $2.6 trillion in it. In the late 1960s President Johnson created the "unified budget" to disguise the real cost of the Vietnam War and the Great Society War on Poverty. Johnson did not want to ask for tax increases to pay for these government programs and by adding surpluses from Social Security to the general operating budget, that money would make the federal budget appear balanced.
Thus, contrary to what the politicians tell us, there isn't a pile of money waiting for you to retire. The Social Security Trust Fund doesn't hold any assets of value. The truth is, the FICA surplus is invested in Treasury Bonds. What is wrong with that you ask? It means that workers give money to the federal government, which in turn spends it. In return, the trust fund receives government bonds (IOUs) that represent promises to repay the money. In effect, it gives workers a claim on future income tax receipts. When the time comes, the federal government will have to pay up using current tax revenues. But there is no guarantee that Social Security payments will take priority over all the other debt obligations the government has accumulated.
Let me reiterate, if you think all that money you are paying into FICA every week is sitting there waiting for you to collect, you are mistaken. The big government politicians have squandered it on wasteful programs and the redistribution of wealth. They redistribute it from you to someone else, without your permission unless you voted for the big spending liberals, and when you need it at retirement time it won't be there.
To prove this is the truth, July 2011 Barack Obama told CBS News' Scott Pelley that he cannot guarantee that Social Security checks will go out as planned if Democrats and Republicans fail to reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling. Obama said, "I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3 if we haven't resolved this issue, because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it."
If there are real assets in the trust fund, then Social Security could mail the checks, regardless of what Congress does about the debt limit. The fiscal solvency of the general budget should have nothing to do with Social Security payments. Obviously, this is not the case.
Back to the original report that the federal government is now spending the retirement funds of federal employees, at some point the government will not have the revenue to meet all the obligations that are piling up under our current leadership and will no longer have any programs left to plunder to make up the difference. We need to stop the charade of believing the government is acting responsibly. If we don't, millions will retire with only a fistful of empty promises.
Our nation needs to come to grips with spending and live within its means. We as citizens are not permitted to spend more than we make year after year and as an extension, neither should we as a collective nation be permitted to do so. The only way to control Washington's spending habit is to enact a Balanced Budget Amendment that forces the government to spend only what they collect. Twice in the 1990s a Balanced Budget Amendment came within one vote of passing. In 2006, the states were only two petitions short of calling a Constitutional Convention to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment. Can you imagine how much better off we would be as a nation if our national debt was only $1.4 trillion instead of $17 trillion?
If the government doesn't stop squandering our tax dollars on unconstitutional endeavors that are little more than vote buying schemes, there will be little chance that it will be able to make good on the trillions of dollars of Social Security IOUs leaving millions to fend for themselves in their golden years.