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Saturday, July 12, 2014

It could always be worse

Sunday, November 1, 2009

(Photo)
Bud Hunt publisher Daily Dunklin Democrat
Enough already

I doubt there are any among us who are concerned about drought conditions in southeast Missouri or northeast Arkansas right now.

One farmer, who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, made the comment last week that it occurred to him he had been watching a lot more college football this year than he could remember in the past. Then it also dawned on him why that was the case.

"I'm usually in the field working this time of the year," he said. With nothing else to do on yet another wet, rainy day he told a group of us he was headed home.

"I'm going to draw the shades closed and just sit and watch a cowboy movie," he allowed. Later in the week he told us Gene Autry never looked so good riding across the plains in pursuit of the bad guys. I hope there were no scenes of Gene riding through the rain in the movie, otherwise our farmer's attempt at escaping his troubles for a couple of hours would have been in vain.

John Robertson forwarded me a commodity report that stated most of the country had already received 200% of normal precipitation for the month.

It could always be worse.

Vivian Helton, the DDD's unofficial, but much appreciated historian, sent along this timely clipping from the October 24, 1913 edition of the weekly Dunklin Democrat.

"A conference of great importance to land reclamation was held at Sikeston recently when supervisors, engineers and attorneys for the Little River Drainage District, the St. Francis Levee District and the St. John's Levee and Drainage District convened to consider matters that related to the three districts.

"Concerning the conference, Commissioner Nolen says:

"'The three drainage districts contain about 1,400,000 acres of land that are being reclaimed by the construction of systems of levees, drains, reservoirs and other works.

"'The Little River Drainage District is the largest of the three, containing 540,000 acres. Its plans have been thoroughly developed, some of the work of construction being in progress.

"'The district is composed of lands in Cape Girardeau, Wayne, New Madrid, Dunklin, Pemiscot and Stoddard counties.'"

The Cape Girardeau Republican (a newspaper) reported that the general manager for the drainage contractor had arrived in town from Buffalo, N.Y., to begin making arrangements for digging of the diversion channel there. The work was scheduled to begin around the first of the year.

"The diversion channel is the big part of the drainage work. It will be a river in itself for a great distance. The work will start at the river, which is about three miles below town."

Without those efforts almost 100 years ago we would be concerned about finding a "high dob" to stand on with as much rain as we've had around here over the last month. And, it's because of that work long ago we have all this rich farmland in the first place that is now a concern for our farmers.

* * *

Political stuff, sorta

Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what the people considered important. Since there were no telephones, televisions or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs and bars.

They were told to "go sip some ale" and listen to people's conversations and political concerns. Many assistants were dispatched at different times. "You go sip here" and "you go sip there." The words "go sip" were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and thus, we have the term, "gossip."

That, my friends, is the wit and wisdom of Ron Myers, passed along to me some time ago.

There is no indication from Ron's submission that politicians of that era were any more willing to heed what their assistants brought back than politicians of today are listening. With polls showing less than half of Americans - some polls as low as 35% - in favor of Obamacare, Congress still seems to keep pushing the idea forward.

I am more and more becoming convinced the proposals being pushed are about "insurance reform" and not healhcare reform. I also remain convinced the over-arching objective here is control of the medical and insurance industries and not reform.

We've seen government take over most of the domestic automotive industry, a large part of the financial and banking industry already. Once the proposed legislation passes we'll then see a "healthcare czar" and an "insurance czar." Neither of whom will have had any confirmation or have gone through the vetting process from Congress.

And, the clock is ticking. Several months ago I suggested the major objectives were being pushed to get done before midterm elections in 2010. Two gubernatorial races to be decided next Tuesday appear to be making the case.

The Republican candidate in Virginia has a double-digit lead in the polls and in New Jersey most polls show the incumbent Democrat in a traditionally Democratic state neck-and-neck.

* * *

Out of gas

Last Saturday morning the Waterfowl Festival held its first 5k run in conjunction with the event. I suppose these things are called "5k" because we like to round numbers. The 5k equates to 3.1 miles.

Having bought a new treadmill last July I thought the timing would work out about right and I would run in my first 5k.

Charolyn Hilburn was in charge of organizing the run. At one point I think her husband, Charley, who kinda served as ramrod of the festival along with a lot of help from a lot of good folks, was skeptical as to whether or not Charolyn would be able to put it together and have a good showing.

For the record, there were 122 registered participants. I think Charolyn gets a gold medal for her efforts. Although, I also think she needs a math lesson, 'cause it sure seemed like I ran a lot longer than 3.1 miles. When Randy Morgan and Jerry Paul Combs passed me - blew by me, actually - in that last mile I was convinced someone had moved the finish line.

My daughter has recruited me to join her in a 5k in Cape Girardeau in December. Cape Girardeau means hills. This will probably not be pretty, but then again neither was last Saturday. My goal will be to finish and not have her drag me across the line.

Bud Hunt is publisher of the

Daily Dunklin Democrat, Daily Statesman, Delta News-Citizen, Missourian-News and

North Stoddard Countian.