The Caledonia Argus http://hometownargus.com The Caledonia Argus covers community news, sports, current events and provides advertising and information for the cities of Caledonia, Eitzen, and Brownsville; Independent School District 299 and Houston County, Minnesota. Thu, 26 Mar 2015 18:33:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Arlene Holty http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/26/arlene-holty/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/26/arlene-holty/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 18:33:47 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37779 ArleneHolty_rgbArlene Bertha Holty, age 96, a resident of Watkins Manor, Winona, Minnesota, went to be with her heavenly father on March 24, 2015.

Arlene was born September 28, 1918 in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin to Joseph and Edna (Logan) Tikal. She was the oldest of three children.

Arlene met and married J. David Holty on August 6, 1938 in La Crosse, Wisconsin. They had six children. They lived and raised the children on the family farm in Caledonia, Minnesota. They lived there for 37 years until retirement.The farm was home to many family members that would come and visit and stay. Arlene always had time to play games with her grandchildren.

After retirement they moved to Houston. They would go to Mackinac Island where David loved to drive on carriage tours and Arlene  worked in a fudge factory. They moved to Winona in 1978. They spent many winters in Zapata, Texas.

Arlene is survived by her daughter, Gail (Ron) Modjeski, Winona; three sons, Robert (Jennie) Holty, Edgerton, Wisconsin; Arnet, Black River Falls, Wisconsin; and Tim (Donna) Holty,  Meridian, Idaho; daughter-in-law, Ruth Holty, Onalaska, Wisconsin; 16 grandchildren; 30 great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren.

Arlene was preceded in death by her parents; husband, David; two sons, John and Allen; one grandchild, Chad; sister, Dorothy Luce; and brother, Earl Tikal.

Funeral services will be held Monday, March 30 at 12 p.m. at Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church in Spring Grove. Burial will be in the Bethany Evangelical Free Church Cemetery, rural Houston. Friends may call Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. at Watkins Manor in Winona and on Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m. at Calvary Evangelical Free Church in Spring Grove and from 10 until time of service at the church on Monday.

Roble Funeral Home of Spring Grove is assisting the family with arrangements.

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Oil Prices: Forget a Rebound http://www.adviceiq.com/content/oil-prices-forget-rebound http://www.adviceiq.com/content/oil-prices-forget-rebound#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:30:58 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?guid=e44ae709a32f5d652106e9ef5204d5fa With the price of oil slashed in half since last summer, we keep hearing predictions that a reversal is waiting in the wings. Forget it. The showing of another energy product, natural gas, shows us why: Ever-improving technology keeps prices low, amid more efficient and cheaper production methods.

The price action of natural gas likely gives us clues about where oil prices are headed over the next several years. Natural gas prices used to be somewhat correlated with oil’s. After reaching peak levels in 2008, both natural gas and oil prices collapsed on weak demand in the recession. While oil prices rebounded over the next five years from about $40 to $110 per barrel, natural gas prices trended even lower.
 
Shown below are natural gas spot prices overlaid on the gas rig count – the number of drilling rigs. These rigs drill vertically (down), horizontally (to the side) or directionally (at a slanted angle). The chart shows natural gas prices declining from $12.69 in June 2008 to about $3 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) lately.

Macintosh HD:Users:aiqinc:Desktop:unnamed.jpg

Since the 2008 peak through the end of February, the U.S. gas rig count fell from 1,606 to 280, almost an 83% decrease. Yet U.S. dry natural gas production has increased from 1,681,469 million cubic feet (mcf) in mid 2008 to 2,303,935mcf at the end of 2014, a 37% production increase. (Dry natural gas is after producers processed it for distribution to consumers.) Basically, innovation made U.S. energy producers better, faster and cheaper at extracting gas from shale formations.
 
That’s why what happened with gas may be the best predictor of what is likely to happen in the oil market. Gas and oil in the U.S. are often extracted from shale formations. Fracking and other technology improved dramatically in the gas fields, causing increased productivity to drive prices lower. The implication: U.S. petroleum engineers will adapt to $50 and $60 oil prices by continuing to improve extraction technology and efficiency.
 
Since last October, when the oil-rig count hit a record of 1,609, the tally dipped to 922, according to a survey from oil services company Baker Hughes. The price of oil a year ago was roughly $100 per barrel and today around $50.
 
The prolonged depressed pricing in the natural gas market is an enormous red flag to those who believe oil prices will “correct” to higher levels in the next couple of years. It is also a reminder of the importance of technology innovation in the United States – and how productivity enhancements can create growth in unlikely areas. Not too long ago, meaningful extraction from shale formations seemed improbable. Then came the fracking revolution.

If you knew in 2008 that the natural gas rig count was going to fall so drastically, a forecast of gas production rising by 37% and prices falling by 76% made no sense. In investing, considering what seems improbable often pays off. As Warren Buffett stated in his most recent letter to shareholders: “The dynamism embedded in our market economy will continue to work its magic.”

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Nicholas Atkeson and Andrew Houghton are the founding partners of Delta Investment Management, a registered investment advisory firm in San Francisco, and authors of the new book, Win by Not Losing: A Disciplined Approach To Building And Protecting Your Wealth In The Stock Market By Managing Your RiskAdditional market commentary and investment advice is available via their websites at www.deltaim.com and www.deltawealthaccelerator.com

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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With the price of oil slashed in half since last summer, we keep hearing predictions that a reversal is waiting in the wings. Forget it. The showing of another energy product, natural gas, shows us why: Ever-improving technology keeps prices low, amid more efficient and cheaper production methods.

The price action of natural gas likely gives us clues about where oil prices are headed over the next several years. Natural gas prices used to be somewhat correlated with oil’s. After reaching peak levels in 2008, both natural gas and oil prices collapsed on weak demand in the recession. While oil prices rebounded over the next five years from about $40 to $110 per barrel, natural gas prices trended even lower.
 
Shown below are natural gas spot prices overlaid on the gas rig count – the number of drilling rigs. These rigs drill vertically (down), horizontally (to the side) or directionally (at a slanted angle). The chart shows natural gas prices declining from $12.69 in June 2008 to about $3 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) lately.

Macintosh HD:Users:aiqinc:Desktop:unnamed.jpg

Since the 2008 peak through the end of February, the U.S. gas rig count fell from 1,606 to 280, almost an 83% decrease. Yet U.S. dry natural gas production has increased from 1,681,469 million cubic feet (mcf) in mid 2008 to 2,303,935mcf at the end of 2014, a 37% production increase. (Dry natural gas is after producers processed it for distribution to consumers.) Basically, innovation made U.S. energy producers better, faster and cheaper at extracting gas from shale formations.
 
That’s why what happened with gas may be the best predictor of what is likely to happen in the oil market. Gas and oil in the U.S. are often extracted from shale formations. Fracking and other technology improved dramatically in the gas fields, causing increased productivity to drive prices lower. The implication: U.S. petroleum engineers will adapt to $50 and $60 oil prices by continuing to improve extraction technology and efficiency.
 
Since last October, when the oil-rig count hit a record of 1,609, the tally dipped to 922, according to a survey from oil services company Baker Hughes. The price of oil a year ago was roughly $100 per barrel and today around $50.
 
The prolonged depressed pricing in the natural gas market is an enormous red flag to those who believe oil prices will “correct” to higher levels in the next couple of years. It is also a reminder of the importance of technology innovation in the United States – and how productivity enhancements can create growth in unlikely areas. Not too long ago, meaningful extraction from shale formations seemed improbable. Then came the fracking revolution.

If you knew in 2008 that the natural gas rig count was going to fall so drastically, a forecast of gas production rising by 37% and prices falling by 76% made no sense. In investing, considering what seems improbable often pays off. As Warren Buffett stated in his most recent letter to shareholders: “The dynamism embedded in our market economy will continue to work its magic.”

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Nicholas Atkeson and Andrew Houghton are the founding partners of Delta Investment Management, a registered investment advisory firm in San Francisco, and authors of the new book, Win by Not Losing: A Disciplined Approach To Building And Protecting Your Wealth In The Stock Market By Managing Your RiskAdditional market commentary and investment advice is available via their websites at www.deltaim.com and www.deltawealthaccelerator.com

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Recognizing Tax-Scam Callers http://www.adviceiq.com/content/recognizing-tax-scam-callers http://www.adviceiq.com/content/recognizing-tax-scam-callers#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:30:56 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?guid=7557ffca232e1b60eb94901a3344f399 While the Internal Revenue Service may not be your favorite federal agency, criminals posing as IRS representatives are unquestionably the much bigger problem. Here’s what to know to protect yourself.

Scammers set increasingly treacherous traps for swindling taxpayers’ assets, identities or both. Favorite targets are those most likely to fall for the trickery and least able to afford it:  older adults, immigrants and widows or widowers.

Even if you’re not in any of these categories, don’t let down your guard. Tax scams can happen to anyone. In February, scammers even called the home of the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, the state’s head taxation official. As Forbes blogger Kelly Phillip Erb wrote while recommending that all taxpayers be on high alert: “It’s tax season. That, unfortunately, also means that it’s fraud season.”

The current popular scam goes something like this: Someone claiming to represent the IRS or the U.S. Treasury Department calls or emails claiming that you owe money, are in general tax-related trouble or must take some immediate action (usually send them money) – or else.

Callers may also know a lot about you: your name and those of family members, a portion of your Social Security number or additional contact information. Often, scammers stole such information via Internet phishing.

Differentiating a fake IRS representative from the real deal may at first seem hard. One of your key defenses: Know how the U.S. tax agency actually engages in legitimate queries and, just as important, how it does not.

If you defraud the U.S. government, you may indeed incur fines, penalties and, in extreme cases, even jail time. None of these happens in an out-of-the-blue instant, though. Here are five actions the IRS will never take at the initial stages of a tax problem:

  1. Call to demand immediate payment or call about taxes you owe without first mailing you a bill.
  2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  3. Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  4. Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement to arrest you.

If you or a loved one receives a call involving any of the above tactics, you can bet it’s a scam. Your best responses:

  • Hang up. Just as you never politely converse with a burglar in your home or a thug on the street, there’s absolutely no need to stand on formalities here.
  • Report the call. Notify the IRS to help prevent others from succumbing to the scam. If possible, note the caller’s number.

Unfortunately, for every tax scam averted, others pop up. The IRS list of top tax schemes spans phone and Internet fraud to fake documents and crooked tax return preparers. To stay on top of the latest news, regularly visit the IRS tax scam/consumer alert page or talk to your financial advisor with questions and concerns.

We all benefit when we stand together against tax scams.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Sheri Iannetta Cupo, CFP, is a principal of SageBroadview Financial Planning with offices in Morristown, N.J., and Farmington, Conn. The SageBroadview blog covers a wide range of financial planning and life topics.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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While the Internal Revenue Service may not be your favorite federal agency, criminals posing as IRS representatives are unquestionably the much bigger problem. Here’s what to know to protect yourself.

Scammers set increasingly treacherous traps for swindling taxpayers’ assets, identities or both. Favorite targets are those most likely to fall for the trickery and least able to afford it:  older adults, immigrants and widows or widowers.

Even if you’re not in any of these categories, don’t let down your guard. Tax scams can happen to anyone. In February, scammers even called the home of the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, the state’s head taxation official. As Forbes blogger Kelly Phillip Erb wrote while recommending that all taxpayers be on high alert: “It’s tax season. That, unfortunately, also means that it’s fraud season.”

The current popular scam goes something like this: Someone claiming to represent the IRS or the U.S. Treasury Department calls or emails claiming that you owe money, are in general tax-related trouble or must take some immediate action (usually send them money) – or else.

Callers may also know a lot about you: your name and those of family members, a portion of your Social Security number or additional contact information. Often, scammers stole such information via Internet phishing.

Differentiating a fake IRS representative from the real deal may at first seem hard. One of your key defenses: Know how the U.S. tax agency actually engages in legitimate queries and, just as important, how it does not.

If you defraud the U.S. government, you may indeed incur fines, penalties and, in extreme cases, even jail time. None of these happens in an out-of-the-blue instant, though. Here are five actions the IRS will never take at the initial stages of a tax problem:

  1. Call to demand immediate payment or call about taxes you owe without first mailing you a bill.
  2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  3. Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  4. Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement to arrest you.

If you or a loved one receives a call involving any of the above tactics, you can bet it’s a scam. Your best responses:

  • Hang up. Just as you never politely converse with a burglar in your home or a thug on the street, there’s absolutely no need to stand on formalities here.
  • Report the call. Notify the IRS to help prevent others from succumbing to the scam. If possible, note the caller’s number.

Unfortunately, for every tax scam averted, others pop up. The IRS list of top tax schemes spans phone and Internet fraud to fake documents and crooked tax return preparers. To stay on top of the latest news, regularly visit the IRS tax scam/consumer alert page or talk to your financial advisor with questions and concerns.

We all benefit when we stand together against tax scams.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Sheri Iannetta Cupo, CFP, is a principal of SageBroadview Financial Planning with offices in Morristown, N.J., and Farmington, Conn. The SageBroadview blog covers a wide range of financial planning and life topics.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Basic Ways to Save http://www.adviceiq.com/content/basic-ways-save http://www.adviceiq.com/content/basic-ways-save#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:30:54 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?guid=b1a166aa950bfcc75d7f2ae07073ccd1 For those who struggle to save, here’s a tip: keep the money out of your reach.

I recently watched “Living on One,” a documentary about four college students’ efforts to spend a summer in Guatemala living on a dollar a day, as half of the citizens of Guatemala in poverty. The film explores the personal finance habits of people who have a hard time earning enough money to live on, much less save.

My favorite segment of the film discusses the concept of savings clubs, a popular strategy in less-developed areas of the world. Typically, a group of 12 people each agree to save $12 every month. However, instead of putting it in their own piggy bank, they contribute their $12 of savings to the group.

Then, one of the members keeps the full sum of $144. The person taking the lump sum alternates each month, so that consequently, every member of the club receives $144 once per year. If someone fails to contribute $12 during any given month, the group kicks that member out. He or she can no longer collect the $144.

I find these savings clubs fascinating because they highlight the most important and basic strategies to successful saving: eliminate your access to the funds you set aside, and create a motivation to place savings ahead of spending.

In the arena of personal finance, an occasional large sum is more valuable than several small ones. We spend smaller amounts of money more spontaneously, such as on nice dinners, but we are more likely to use a large lump sum to fund meaningful goals. In Guatemala, it can be a stove to cook food. Here, a car or a down payment on a home.

The savings club also forces members to prioritize savings by imposing a punishment. Most people earn a salary, pay bills, have fun and save the rest. Unfortunately, they have little, if any, left after all their expenses. A simple solution: You save first as soon as you receive your income and find a way to live off what is left.

Your employer-sponsored retirement plans, like 401(k)s, 403(b)s and 457s, has the same features as a savings club. You contribute relatively small sums consistently, and you don’t have access to the funds. You face a 10% penalty if you withdraw the money early. Further, a 401(k) forces you to save by taking the contribution out of your paycheck before you even receive it, so that you are certain to reach your monthly savings goal.

Of course, employer-sponsored retirement plans are superior to the primitive savings clubs because they allow you to invest in stocks and bonds, so you can achieve not only savings but growth on those savings.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Lon Jefferies, CFP, MBA, is an investment advisor with the fee-only financial planning firm Net Worth Advisory Group in Sandy, Utah. You can find Lon on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Contact him at (801) 566-0740 or lon@networthadvice.com.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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For those who struggle to save, here’s a tip: keep the money out of your reach.

I recently watched “Living on One,” a documentary about four college students’ efforts to spend a summer in Guatemala living on a dollar a day, as half of the citizens of Guatemala in poverty. The film explores the personal finance habits of people who have a hard time earning enough money to live on, much less save.

My favorite segment of the film discusses the concept of savings clubs, a popular strategy in less-developed areas of the world. Typically, a group of 12 people each agree to save $12 every month. However, instead of putting it in their own piggy bank, they contribute their $12 of savings to the group.

Then, one of the members keeps the full sum of $144. The person taking the lump sum alternates each month, so that consequently, every member of the club receives $144 once per year. If someone fails to contribute $12 during any given month, the group kicks that member out. He or she can no longer collect the $144.

I find these savings clubs fascinating because they highlight the most important and basic strategies to successful saving: eliminate your access to the funds you set aside, and create a motivation to place savings ahead of spending.

In the arena of personal finance, an occasional large sum is more valuable than several small ones. We spend smaller amounts of money more spontaneously, such as on nice dinners, but we are more likely to use a large lump sum to fund meaningful goals. In Guatemala, it can be a stove to cook food. Here, a car or a down payment on a home.

The savings club also forces members to prioritize savings by imposing a punishment. Most people earn a salary, pay bills, have fun and save the rest. Unfortunately, they have little, if any, left after all their expenses. A simple solution: You save first as soon as you receive your income and find a way to live off what is left.

Your employer-sponsored retirement plans, like 401(k)s, 403(b)s and 457s, has the same features as a savings club. You contribute relatively small sums consistently, and you don’t have access to the funds. You face a 10% penalty if you withdraw the money early. Further, a 401(k) forces you to save by taking the contribution out of your paycheck before you even receive it, so that you are certain to reach your monthly savings goal.

Of course, employer-sponsored retirement plans are superior to the primitive savings clubs because they allow you to invest in stocks and bonds, so you can achieve not only savings but growth on those savings.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Lon Jefferies, CFP, MBA, is an investment advisor with the fee-only financial planning firm Net Worth Advisory Group in Sandy, Utah. You can find Lon on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Contact him at (801) 566-0740 or lon@networthadvice.com.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Population Growth’s Elixir http://www.adviceiq.com/content/population-growth%E2%80%99s-elixir http://www.adviceiq.com/content/population-growth%E2%80%99s-elixir#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:30:46 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?guid=9260dc14bd7e182618c467eee8a8559b Will the world’s economy keep growing? Despite the doomsters’ wails, the answer is: Yes, it will. Why? Largely because the world’s population is growing. Sure, some individual nations lag (particularly those with shrinking populations). But an examination of the demographic data shows that the overall global outlook is encouraging.

The other morning, I was listening to Bloomberg Radio as I took my second grader, to school. The radio news program discussed Islamic State terrorists’ killing a Japanese journalist. Then it moved on to Eric Garner, who died in New York from a police chokehold.

My son piped up from the backseat and asked me, “Dad, why do so many people die every day?”

I answered, “Lots of people die every day, but even more people are born.”

He then pointed out, “But dad, they never talk about that part on the news.”

This conversation got me thinking about one of my favorite Warren Buffett investment themes, the ever-growing economic pie.

I wrote about the economic pie in December, but I didn’t go into exactly why the pie continues to grow over time. One of the primary reasons, of course, is our expanding population.

My conversation with my son piqued my curiosity. Later that morning, I did some research. I learned that, according to the Ecology Global Network, there are about 131 million births per year on earth. That’s approximately 360,000 babies born every day.

The same study shows that there are 55 million deaths each year, or approximately 151,000 per day.

My son was worried that with so many people dying that the earth might run out of people. But clearly that’s not a problem.

Let’s put these numbers into context:

  • About three football stadiums (assuming a stadium holds 50,000) full of people die every day.
  • About seven football stadiums full of people are born every day.

This explains why we’ve seen our global population balloon from 1900, when there were about 1.6 billion people, to today’s approximately seven billion. By 2030, there should be over eight billion people on earth, according to the Ecology Global Network’s population estimates.

While all this information answers my second grader’s original question, it happens to be an integral component of why the world’s economic pie continues to grow. More people demanding more goods (i.e., houses, cars, food, technology, medicine, fuel, etc.) creates and ever-increasing demand to supply those goods. That means companies will continue to meet that expanding demand, hence their earning have the opportunity to grow over time. Thus, the pie gets bigger.

Indeed, there are clearly more variables to a growing economic pie than just population increases, such as innovation, the education system, improving worker productivity, more intelligent use of data, and the list goes on. However, as a tailwind to economic growth, nothing beats the growth of a population.   

Take a look at some stats, from 2010 to 2014, from WorldBank.org for the GDP growth and Trading Economics for the population growth:

  • United States of America
    • Average annual gross domestic product growth over five years: 2.25%
    • Average yearly population growth over five years: 0.75%
  • China
    • GDP: 8.5 %
    • Population: 0.4%
  • India
    • GDP: 6.5 %
    • Population: 1.25 %
  • Italy
    • GDP: minus 0.5%
    • Population: minus 0.1%

Notice, the only country with negative GDP growth was Italy, which is also the country with negative population growth. Coincidence?

With all the detailed minutia that hits us every day, remember that it’s very often the simplest concepts that are the most important. Ultimately, our children have nothing to worry about when it comes to the world running out of people, and the economic pie will continue to grow.  

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Wes Moss, CFP, is the chief investment strategist for Capital Investment Advisors and a partner at Wela, both in Atlanta. He hosts “Money Matters,” a live financial advice show on Atlanta’s News 95-5 and AM 750 WSB Radio. In 2014 Barron’s Magazine named him as one of America’s top 1,200 Financial Advisors. His newly released book, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think published by McGraw Hill, is available on Amazon, iTunes and at your local bookstore.

Wes writes weekly about personal finance in the “Bargain Hunter Section” for AJC.com, the site of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Wes is also the editor and writer for About.com’s Personal Finance blog. Connect with Wes on Twitter at @WesMoss365 and on Facebook at Wes Moss Money Matters. You can also visit his website, WesMoss.com to learn more about Wes, and take his complimentary Money and Happiness Quiz.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Will the world’s economy keep growing? Despite the doomsters’ wails, the answer is: Yes, it will. Why? Largely because the world’s population is growing. Sure, some individual nations lag (particularly those with shrinking populations). But an examination of the demographic data shows that the overall global outlook is encouraging.

The other morning, I was listening to Bloomberg Radio as I took my second grader, to school. The radio news program discussed Islamic State terrorists’ killing a Japanese journalist. Then it moved on to Eric Garner, who died in New York from a police chokehold.

My son piped up from the backseat and asked me, “Dad, why do so many people die every day?”

I answered, “Lots of people die every day, but even more people are born.”

He then pointed out, “But dad, they never talk about that part on the news.”

This conversation got me thinking about one of my favorite Warren Buffett investment themes, the ever-growing economic pie.

I wrote about the economic pie in December, but I didn’t go into exactly why the pie continues to grow over time. One of the primary reasons, of course, is our expanding population.

My conversation with my son piqued my curiosity. Later that morning, I did some research. I learned that, according to the Ecology Global Network, there are about 131 million births per year on earth. That’s approximately 360,000 babies born every day.

The same study shows that there are 55 million deaths each year, or approximately 151,000 per day.

My son was worried that with so many people dying that the earth might run out of people. But clearly that’s not a problem.

Let’s put these numbers into context:

  • About three football stadiums (assuming a stadium holds 50,000) full of people die every day.
  • About seven football stadiums full of people are born every day.

This explains why we’ve seen our global population balloon from 1900, when there were about 1.6 billion people, to today’s approximately seven billion. By 2030, there should be over eight billion people on earth, according to the Ecology Global Network’s population estimates.

While all this information answers my second grader’s original question, it happens to be an integral component of why the world’s economic pie continues to grow. More people demanding more goods (i.e., houses, cars, food, technology, medicine, fuel, etc.) creates and ever-increasing demand to supply those goods. That means companies will continue to meet that expanding demand, hence their earning have the opportunity to grow over time. Thus, the pie gets bigger.

Indeed, there are clearly more variables to a growing economic pie than just population increases, such as innovation, the education system, improving worker productivity, more intelligent use of data, and the list goes on. However, as a tailwind to economic growth, nothing beats the growth of a population.   

Take a look at some stats, from 2010 to 2014, from WorldBank.org for the GDP growth and Trading Economics for the population growth:

  • United States of America
    • Average annual gross domestic product growth over five years: 2.25%
    • Average yearly population growth over five years: 0.75%
  • China
    • GDP: 8.5 %
    • Population: 0.4%
  • India
    • GDP: 6.5 %
    • Population: 1.25 %
  • Italy
    • GDP: minus 0.5%
    • Population: minus 0.1%

Notice, the only country with negative GDP growth was Italy, which is also the country with negative population growth. Coincidence?

With all the detailed minutia that hits us every day, remember that it’s very often the simplest concepts that are the most important. Ultimately, our children have nothing to worry about when it comes to the world running out of people, and the economic pie will continue to grow.  

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Wes Moss, CFP, is the chief investment strategist for Capital Investment Advisors and a partner at Wela, both in Atlanta. He hosts “Money Matters,” a live financial advice show on Atlanta’s News 95-5 and AM 750 WSB Radio. In 2014 Barron’s Magazine named him as one of America’s top 1,200 Financial Advisors. His newly released book, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think published by McGraw Hill, is available on Amazon, iTunes and at your local bookstore.

Wes writes weekly about personal finance in the “Bargain Hunter Section” for AJC.com, the site of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Wes is also the editor and writer for About.com’s Personal Finance blog. Connect with Wes on Twitter at @WesMoss365 and on Facebook at Wes Moss Money Matters. You can also visit his website, WesMoss.com to learn more about Wes, and take his complimentary Money and Happiness Quiz.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Ethel Dewey http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/26/ethel-dewey/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/26/ethel-dewey/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:20:04 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37769 Ethel M. Dewey of Eyota Minnesota, formerly of Houston Minnesota, age 95, passed away March 24, 2015.

Ethel is survived by her daughter Bonnie Albers, Eyota; son John (Debra) Dewey, Houston; nine grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and 22 great-great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held April 1 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Schleicher Funeral Home in Plainview, Minnesota.

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Board flirts with removal of public comment period http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/25/37766/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/25/37766/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 18:31:08 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37766 Board flirts with removal of public comment period

By Zachary Olson
The Caledonia Argus

Tensions remain high over frac sand mining in Houston County. After strong disapproval from citizens, the County Board meeting on Mar. 24 discussed the possibility of eliminating the public comment period.
The citizen’s animosity stemmed from a Mar. 17th 3-2 vote against Commissioner Justin Zmyewski’s proposition to add language that would have banned sand frac mining in the existing ordinance. But the board now feels they are under personal attack, and that hostility has crossed the line.
“Our public comment period has gone from suggestions and concerns, to lobbying, to intimidations, harassment, incivility, and the creation of a hostile work environment for our employees,” Board Chairman Steve Schuldt said.
Mike Fields, an outspoken critic of the Boards’ recent decisions, commented on the accusations.
“Personal attack is the last refuge of a scoundrel. We’re allowed to criticize how our employees are doing their jobs,” Fields said,  “If we’re talking about how they’re doing their job, that is not a personal attack. That’s a professional attack.”
The citizens of Houston County feel they aren’t being heard from or taken seriously by their County Board.
“There is no interaction, no exchange of ideas,” a citizen said in front of the board, “we feel like we’re talking to a wall most of the time.”
The meeting began easy mannered, but didn’t stay that way as the public comment period inevitably picked up steam. One citizen was escorted out of the room by the Deputy Sheriff, and another, Gretchen Cook, used painters tape and a sticker to cover her mouth, exposing three bold-faced letters on the sticker- BAN.
Sheriff Mark Inglett chimed in on the issue: “Everyone in this room needs to act like adults. And ma’am,” he turned and addressed Cook with her mouth taped shut, “I’m sorry if you disagree with me but I don’t feel you’re acting like an adult right now.”
Cook responded to the act after the meeting, and expressed her personal displeasure with the board.
“They were planning on taking our public comment period away. How else can we speak as a public to our county board?” Cook said.
Commissioner Theresa Walter alleviated most tension in the room.
“Our goal is to bring us back to professional and civil. To each other, to our constituents, and to our people,” Walter said, “I think we could continue with the public comment period but we need to control it more and bring some more professionalism back to the board.”
The board agreed unanimously, but Board Chairman Schuldt reinforced, “If there can’t be some decent décor, then it has to end.”
In order to continue a public comment period, the Board requested law enforcement be on site for every meeting, as chaos consistently ensued when none was present. Sheriff Inglett fears his department is too understaffed to meet the Boards’ requirement, meaning an appearance every Tuesday would require an officer wok overtime, a proposal which was met by the board.
“I look at it from a security aspect. If you have to pay a little bit of overtime to ensure everybody’s security, so be it,” Zmyewski said.
Although the public comment period remains, so do the same fears from the citizens. They fear pre-existing loose mining regulations will prove faulty with the implementation and intensity of frac sand mining.
“The idea of going from the status quo to a vastly increased level and intensity of mining is simply horrifying,” asserted Fields, “But this has gone way beyond frac sand mining. This is about governance and the breakdown of democracy in this county.”

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Transporation http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/25/transporation/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/25/transporation/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:31:44 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37763 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 299
INVITATION TO INTERESTED SERVICE PROVIDERS
Student Transportation Services
Caledonia Area Public School Disrict
Independent School District No. 299
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that Independent School District No. 299, located at 511 West Main Street, Caledonia, MN 55921, in cooperation with Independent School District No. 297, located at 113 2nd Avenue, Spring Grove, MN 55974, will receive until 1:00 PM CDT, April 29, 2015, written quotations from qualified service providers interested in being considered as the District student transportation services provider for up to four (4) years commencing with the school year 2015-16.
NOTICE: The Districts will conduct an informational meeting for interested service providers at the Caledonia District Office at 10:00 AM CDT, Monday, April 13, 2015 to review the specifications and the District transportation services and address items of interest.
General Specifications may be obtained by contacting the District Office of Independent School District No. 299, Caledonia, at the above address or calling 507-725-3389, or by contacting the District Office of Independent School District No. 297, Spring Grove, at the above address or calling 507-498-3221.
Written quotations must be mailed or delivered on or before the above date and time, to: Ben Barton, Superintendent of Schools, Independent School District No. 299, 511 West Main Street, Caledonia, MN 55921.
After reviewing the written quotations, the District may request or enter into direct negotiations with one or more qualified student transportation service provider(s) for a student transportation services contract(s) with terms, rates and provisions agreeable to the District. The District, at its sole discretion, may award a contract to more than one interested qualified service provider.
Independent School District No. 299 is using the written quotation and direct negotiation process established by the Minnesota Statute 123B.52, Subd. 3 for the procurement of this contract, and disclaims usage of any other contract procurement options allowed under applicable law. The School District reserve the right to reject any and all quotations and waive irregularities therein, and further reserves the right to award a contract to the lowest responsible service provider(s) that is in the best interest of the Districts.
Ben Barton
Superintendent of Schools
Published in
The Caledonia Argus
March 25, April 1, 2015
366567

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February 17 http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/25/february-17/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/25/february-17/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:30:12 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37761 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 299
Abbreviated Board Meeting Minutes
February 17, 2015
The Board of Education of Independent School District No. 299, Caledonia, Minnesota, met in a regular school board meeting in the Elementary School Media Center. The meeting was called to order by Chair Kelley McGraw at 6:00 p.m. The Pledge of Allegiance was said. The school board members present were Jared Barnes, Amanda King, Kelley McGraw, Jean Meyer, Michelle Werner, Jimmy Westland, Spencer Yohe and student school board representative Emily Ranzenberger. Also present were Superintendent Ben Barton, Paul DeMorett arriving at 6:25 p.m. and leaving at 6:40 p.m., Gina Meinertz, Nancy Runningen, Barb Meyer, Karen Schiltz, Dan McGonigle, Janelle Field Rohrer, Chief Kurt Zehnder, and Josh Gran.
Moved by Jean Meyer, seconded by Amanda King to approve the agenda as presented. Motion carried by a unanimous vote. Moved by Spencer Yohe, seconded by Jimmy Westland to approve the consent agenda including: Ratifying the contract for Jackie Johnson as the assistant boys and girls golf coach beginning the 2014-2015 school year at II/0 years at $1,879.32; Approval of January 20, 2015, Regular School Board Minutes; Approval of the February 11, 2015, School Board Retreat Minutes; Approval of February 28, 2015, Financial Report; Approval of February, 2015, Bills Due for Payment in the amount of $534,264.81 including check numbers 58125 through 58242; Open Meeting and Closed Meetings Policy #205; Public Participation in School Board Meetings/Complaints about Persons at School Board Meetings and Data Privacy Considerations Policy #206; Development, Adoption, and Implementation of Policies #208; Public and Private Personnel Data Policy #406; Tobacco-Free Environment Policy #419; Gifts to Employees and School Board Members Policy #421; Staff Development Policy #425; and School Weapons Policy #501. Motion carried by a unanimous vote.
Member Michelle Werner introduced the resolution authorizing a flexible learning year. The motion for the adoption of the foregoing resolution was duly seconded by Amanda King. On a roll call vote, the following voted in favor: Jared Barnes, Amanda King, Kelley McGraw, Jean Meyer, Michelle Werner, Jimmy Westland, and Spencer Yohe. The following voted against: None. Whereupon said resolution was declared duly passed and adopted. Moved by Jean Meyer, seconded by Jared Barnes to adopt the 2015-2016 school calendar as presented. Motion carried by a unanimous vote.
Moved by Spencer Yohe, seconded by Jimmy Westland to adjourn the meeting at 7:27 p.m. Motion carried by a unanimous vote.
These minutes are only a summary and complete minutes are available at the school district office or on the school district website at www.cps.k12.mn.us
Published in
The Caledonia Argus
March 25, 2015
364798

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April 9 Rock http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/25/april-9-rock/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/25/april-9-rock/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:29:51 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37759 WINNEBAGO TOWNSHIP NOTICE OF QUOTES
Winnebago Township will receive quotes until 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 9, 2015 for crushed rock and ice control rock for township roads. Crushed rock to be delivered on or before July 31, 2015. Farmers wishing to purchase crushed rock at quote price may do so at delivery time set by successful bidder. Any surcharges must be included with the quote. Quotes opened at the Eitzen Fire Station (west door) at 7:30 p.m., April 9. The business whose quote is accepted must also provide ice control rock. Joyce Staggemeyer, Clerk.
Published in
The Caledonia Argus
March 25, April 1, 2015
361100

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Spending on Happiness http://www.adviceiq.com/content/spending-happiness http://www.adviceiq.com/content/spending-happiness#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 20:00:34 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?guid=b7dfb8acd21311a436dd08ef94a70a14 Giving money to people you love probably makes you happy. Spending money on others also probably makes you happier than spending it on yourself, just as spending money on experiences makes you happier than spending money on things. So does that mean you should max out your credit card to take your entire family on a cruise? Not exactly.

Conventional wisdom holds that some kinds of spending are linked to happiness. Andrew Blackman recently cited some actual substantiating research in his excellent Wall Street Journal article, “Can Money Buy You Happiness?

Before you pull out the plastic and start shopping, though, keep one important point in mind: Spending to create happiness must come from your discretionary money.

This is cash that's available to spend after you pay all such fixed expenses as rent, loan payments, utilities, retirement contributions, building emergency reserves, insurance premiums and the like. Discretionary spending can include luxuries or extras like eating out, vacations, gifts, entertainment and gadgets. It also can include items that may be necessities or fixed expenses, such as housing, vehicles, clothing, and food.

For example, a car is a necessity for most people in South Dakota, where I live. A well-maintained 10-year-old Toyota Avalon with 90,000 miles can transport you just as effectively as a new model. The older car costs around $10,000; the new one costs around $35,000. The $25,000 difference is discretionary spending.

If you want more discretionary money for happiness spending on such things as giving or experiences, you might spend more frugally on necessities. The other option – borrowing – generally doesn’t work. Research confirms that borrowing and debt create an unhappiness that pretty much cancels out any happiness from spending.

As Elizabeth Dunn, associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and co-author of Happy Money, says in the Journal article: “Savings are good for happiness; debt is bad for happiness. But debt is more potently bad than savings are good.” Dunn found that spending on others usually produces the greatest happiness and that the perceived effect of the gift, not the dollar amount spent, matters.

Even though we tend to view tangibles as offering more value, the memories and learning we gain from experiences also actually provide more happiness. Creating experiences can involve buying actual stuff: baseball equipment with the intention of playing with your children, for example, or a camper to hit the woods with your family. Of course, buying stuff for creating experiences only creates happiness if you use it and the mitts don’t gather dust in your basement or the abandoned camper rust in your backyard.

After reading research on the value of spending on giving and experiences, I came up with possibly the ultimate happiness-spending scenario: Give an experience that includes both the recipient and the giver. Maybe, if you can afford it out of discretionary money, taking the family on that cruise isn’t a bad idea after all.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq

Rick Kahler, MSFP, ChFC, CFP, is a fee-only planner and author. He is president of Kahler Financial Group in Rapid City, S.D. Find more information at KahlerFinancial.com. Contact him at Rick@KahlerFinancial.com, or 605-343-1400, ext. 111.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialtInvestment Questions y, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Giving money to people you love probably makes you happy. Spending money on others also probably makes you happier than spending it on yourself, just as spending money on experiences makes you happier than spending money on things. So does that mean you should max out your credit card to take your entire family on a cruise? Not exactly.

Conventional wisdom holds that some kinds of spending are linked to happiness. Andrew Blackman recently cited some actual substantiating research in his excellent Wall Street Journal article, “Can Money Buy You Happiness?

Before you pull out the plastic and start shopping, though, keep one important point in mind: Spending to create happiness must come from your discretionary money.

This is cash that's available to spend after you pay all such fixed expenses as rent, loan payments, utilities, retirement contributions, building emergency reserves, insurance premiums and the like. Discretionary spending can include luxuries or extras like eating out, vacations, gifts, entertainment and gadgets. It also can include items that may be necessities or fixed expenses, such as housing, vehicles, clothing, and food.

For example, a car is a necessity for most people in South Dakota, where I live. A well-maintained 10-year-old Toyota Avalon with 90,000 miles can transport you just as effectively as a new model. The older car costs around $10,000; the new one costs around $35,000. The $25,000 difference is discretionary spending.

If you want more discretionary money for happiness spending on such things as giving or experiences, you might spend more frugally on necessities. The other option – borrowing – generally doesn’t work. Research confirms that borrowing and debt create an unhappiness that pretty much cancels out any happiness from spending.

As Elizabeth Dunn, associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and co-author of Happy Money, says in the Journal article: “Savings are good for happiness; debt is bad for happiness. But debt is more potently bad than savings are good.” Dunn found that spending on others usually produces the greatest happiness and that the perceived effect of the gift, not the dollar amount spent, matters.

Even though we tend to view tangibles as offering more value, the memories and learning we gain from experiences also actually provide more happiness. Creating experiences can involve buying actual stuff: baseball equipment with the intention of playing with your children, for example, or a camper to hit the woods with your family. Of course, buying stuff for creating experiences only creates happiness if you use it and the mitts don’t gather dust in your basement or the abandoned camper rust in your backyard.

After reading research on the value of spending on giving and experiences, I came up with possibly the ultimate happiness-spending scenario: Give an experience that includes both the recipient and the giver. Maybe, if you can afford it out of discretionary money, taking the family on that cruise isn’t a bad idea after all.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq

Rick Kahler, MSFP, ChFC, CFP, is a fee-only planner and author. He is president of Kahler Financial Group in Rapid City, S.D. Find more information at KahlerFinancial.com. Contact him at Rick@KahlerFinancial.com, or 605-343-1400, ext. 111.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialtInvestment Questions y, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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3 Steps to an Emergency Fund http://www.adviceiq.com/content/3-steps-emergency-fund http://www.adviceiq.com/content/3-steps-emergency-fund#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 18:30:23 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?guid=42f2e926096697b664efbf9b25549ce2 If you lose your job tomorrow, do you have enough money to pay your rent next month? Bad things can happen. Start an emergency fund in three simple steps to cushion you in times of trouble.

Saving an emergency fund can sound like a daunting task. You may think you don’t even need one. But imagine if you had a serious emergency right now. How much is in your bank account? How can you afford an extra $1,000 obligation?

Emergency funds help protect you in case of any event, big or small: car repairs, your basement flooding or even a wild turkey in your living room. When an unexpected expense pops up – somehow it always seems to be at the most inconvenient times – you have something to fall back on.

Decide how much. You should have at least one month worth of your net pay saved in your emergency fund. Once you hit this goal, bump it up to three to six months. For couples who make similar incomes, I recommend about three months. But for people who are single or the sole breadwinner, you might want to aim for six months.

If you’re a contract employee whose income is less stable, you should save a little more to cover months when you earn less. You should also focus on saving more if you have dependents or planning on adding to your family. Your emergency fund should be able to cover a large deductible or co-pay in case of a family hospitalization.

Select an account. The key to an emergency fund is accessibility. Cash, savings accounts, money market accounts and high-yield savings accounts are all liquid, accessible and extremely low-risk, but some options are better than others.

Money market accounts typically offer a higher interest rate, meaning your money grows faster than in a typical savings account. True, the return is just a fraction of 1%, but better than nothing. In addition, you can withdraw and write checks from your money market account, making it very accessible. A high-yield savings account is very similar.

I like Ally Bank and CapitalOne 360 for places to stash your cash. These are online savings accounts that offer some of the highest interest rates on money market accounts.

If you don’t feel comfortable housing your money anywhere else but your local credit union savings account, keep it there. The bottom line is you want to be able to access your emergency fund quickly when you need it.

Set up direct deposit. The most effective way to save for your emergency fund is by setting up automatic withdrawal from your checking account. Consider starting out with $100 a month and increasing from there if you can. One of my favorite tips is to change your direct deposit at work, sending a portion of your paycheck directly to your savings account. If you don’t see it, you don’t spend it.

Remember, you don’t have to fully fund an account all in one go. Save what you can, even if it’s small, but prioritize your goals so that your emergency fund receives the most attention.

Having an emergency fund allows you to ward off financial catastrophe without draining other accounts, interrupting progress on other financial goals or forcing you into debt. It’s the best tool to help you build financial security and, eventually, independence.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq

Sophia Bera, CFP, is the founder of Gen Y Planning and is the top Google search for “Financial Planner for Millennials.” She works virtually with people in their 20s and 30s across the country as she builds a location independent practice. She is a contributor for the AOL Daily Finance website and has been quoted on various websites and publications including Forbes, Business Insider, Yahoo, Money Magazine, InvestmentNews, Financial Advisor magazine and The Huffington Post. Sophia is a sought-after speaker and presenter and in her free time enjoys performing as an actor/singer and traveling the world. Follow her on Twitter @sophiabera or sign up for the Gen Y Planning Newsletter to stay up to date on financial articles geared toward Millennials. She’s also the author of What You Should Have Learned About Money, But Never Did: A Gen Y Guide to Empowered Personal Finance (Kindle edition).  Oh, and she’s not your father’s financial planner.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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If you lose your job tomorrow, do you have enough money to pay your rent next month? Bad things can happen. Start an emergency fund in three simple steps to cushion you in times of trouble.

Saving an emergency fund can sound like a daunting task. You may think you don’t even need one. But imagine if you had a serious emergency right now. How much is in your bank account? How can you afford an extra $1,000 obligation?

Emergency funds help protect you in case of any event, big or small: car repairs, your basement flooding or even a wild turkey in your living room. When an unexpected expense pops up – somehow it always seems to be at the most inconvenient times – you have something to fall back on.

Decide how much. You should have at least one month worth of your net pay saved in your emergency fund. Once you hit this goal, bump it up to three to six months. For couples who make similar incomes, I recommend about three months. But for people who are single or the sole breadwinner, you might want to aim for six months.

If you’re a contract employee whose income is less stable, you should save a little more to cover months when you earn less. You should also focus on saving more if you have dependents or planning on adding to your family. Your emergency fund should be able to cover a large deductible or co-pay in case of a family hospitalization.

Select an account. The key to an emergency fund is accessibility. Cash, savings accounts, money market accounts and high-yield savings accounts are all liquid, accessible and extremely low-risk, but some options are better than others.

Money market accounts typically offer a higher interest rate, meaning your money grows faster than in a typical savings account. True, the return is just a fraction of 1%, but better than nothing. In addition, you can withdraw and write checks from your money market account, making it very accessible. A high-yield savings account is very similar.

I like Ally Bank and CapitalOne 360 for places to stash your cash. These are online savings accounts that offer some of the highest interest rates on money market accounts.

If you don’t feel comfortable housing your money anywhere else but your local credit union savings account, keep it there. The bottom line is you want to be able to access your emergency fund quickly when you need it.

Set up direct deposit. The most effective way to save for your emergency fund is by setting up automatic withdrawal from your checking account. Consider starting out with $100 a month and increasing from there if you can. One of my favorite tips is to change your direct deposit at work, sending a portion of your paycheck directly to your savings account. If you don’t see it, you don’t spend it.

Remember, you don’t have to fully fund an account all in one go. Save what you can, even if it’s small, but prioritize your goals so that your emergency fund receives the most attention.

Having an emergency fund allows you to ward off financial catastrophe without draining other accounts, interrupting progress on other financial goals or forcing you into debt. It’s the best tool to help you build financial security and, eventually, independence.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq

Sophia Bera, CFP, is the founder of Gen Y Planning and is the top Google search for “Financial Planner for Millennials.” She works virtually with people in their 20s and 30s across the country as she builds a location independent practice. She is a contributor for the AOL Daily Finance website and has been quoted on various websites and publications including Forbes, Business Insider, Yahoo, Money Magazine, InvestmentNews, Financial Advisor magazine and The Huffington Post. Sophia is a sought-after speaker and presenter and in her free time enjoys performing as an actor/singer and traveling the world. Follow her on Twitter @sophiabera or sign up for the Gen Y Planning Newsletter to stay up to date on financial articles geared toward Millennials. She’s also the author of What You Should Have Learned About Money, But Never Did: A Gen Y Guide to Empowered Personal Finance (Kindle edition).  Oh, and she’s not your father’s financial planner.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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When Securities Diverge http://www.adviceiq.com/content/when-securities-diverge http://www.adviceiq.com/content/when-securities-diverge#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:30:06 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?guid=52685dff986cbcde276ce98301d5c31a One standard financial planning trope is that you should be diversified. Your stocks may drop during a bad economic spell, but your bonds will hold steady or increase in value, thus offsetting the equity slide. Alas, that hasn’t worked very well recently.

During the financial crisis, almost all asset classes moved in lockstep – down. That gave diversification a bad name. Lately, the different asset types are not tightly correlated, to say the least. But this time, that is of little benefit.

Returns are more muted in 2015, ranging from a slight loss to middle single digits, depending on the asset class. That is true even within different stock sectors. Still, there is no common path they follow.

What has happened within the global financial markets during 2014 and this year is something Wall Street calls divergence. In other words, asset classes move in opposite directions.

It was during the middle of 2014 when divergence started in this current market cycle. International markets (both the developed and developing economies) along with specific U.S. markets, such as small and mid-sized US stock indexes along with those for high yield (junk bond), all began to diverge from the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Macintosh HD:Users:aiqinc:Desktop:EAFE1.jpg

 

Macintosh HD:Users:aiqinc:Desktop:SMID.jpg

The S&P 500, which comprises large U.S. companies, was one of the few major indexes to continue to advance all through 2014. One way investors view divergence is that risk is increasing, and therefore market participants wish to lower risk and sell particular assets. This process is what Wall Street calls, taking risk off the table. We saw this in 2014. People went for the presumed safety of the S&P 500 and U.S. Treasury bonds.

To be sure, indexes that lagged in 2014 did so because global investor appetite for risk flagged. An interesting Investment News article on diversification in 2014 noted that, using research firm Morningstar’s five model asset allocation – which range from conservative to aggressive – you would have returned 5.2%. In other words, diversification last year didn’t let you beat the S&P 500.

Periodically markets diverge from one another. Often it occurs toward the top of market cycles, as the economy looks iffy. I think 2015 qualifies as such a time. Notwithstanding the high valuations of traditional stock and bond asset classes today, a diversified portfolio will at times outperform broad market indexes and at other times, underperform. Last year was an example of where the diversified portfolio underperformed, but it won’t be the last.

Look how things have swung, although not showing a clear pattern.

The once-hot emerging markets, as tracked by the MSCI EM index, were down 1.8% in 2014 and are up only slightly this year, to 1.4%.

Developed nations, outside the U.S. and Canada (which the MSCI EAFE index follows) had a poor showing last year, when they lost 4.9%. But this year, amid more optimism in Europe and Japan, their bourses are doing better. The index is up 6.3%.

Meanwhile, the Russell 2000, representing small companies, trailed large- and midcaps in 2014 with 3.5%. But as small-caps aren’t as exposed to U.S. multinational companies, which lately have suffered because the strong dollar shrinks overseas profits, in 2015 has advanced at a relatively more robust pace, 5.4%.

And the champs of last year are not doing as well this time. The S&P 500, for instance, was up 13.7% last year and this year it’s a mere 2.4% ahead.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

David Gratke is chief executive officer of Gratke Wealth LLC in Beaverton, Ore.
 
AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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One standard financial planning trope is that you should be diversified. Your stocks may drop during a bad economic spell, but your bonds will hold steady or increase in value, thus offsetting the equity slide. Alas, that hasn’t worked very well recently.

During the financial crisis, almost all asset classes moved in lockstep – down. That gave diversification a bad name. Lately, the different asset types are not tightly correlated, to say the least. But this time, that is of little benefit.

Returns are more muted in 2015, ranging from a slight loss to middle single digits, depending on the asset class. That is true even within different stock sectors. Still, there is no common path they follow.

What has happened within the global financial markets during 2014 and this year is something Wall Street calls divergence. In other words, asset classes move in opposite directions.

It was during the middle of 2014 when divergence started in this current market cycle. International markets (both the developed and developing economies) along with specific U.S. markets, such as small and mid-sized US stock indexes along with those for high yield (junk bond), all began to diverge from the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Macintosh HD:Users:aiqinc:Desktop:EAFE1.jpg

 

Macintosh HD:Users:aiqinc:Desktop:SMID.jpg

The S&P 500, which comprises large U.S. companies, was one of the few major indexes to continue to advance all through 2014. One way investors view divergence is that risk is increasing, and therefore market participants wish to lower risk and sell particular assets. This process is what Wall Street calls, taking risk off the table. We saw this in 2014. People went for the presumed safety of the S&P 500 and U.S. Treasury bonds.

To be sure, indexes that lagged in 2014 did so because global investor appetite for risk flagged. An interesting Investment News article on diversification in 2014 noted that, using research firm Morningstar’s five model asset allocation – which range from conservative to aggressive – you would have returned 5.2%. In other words, diversification last year didn’t let you beat the S&P 500.

Periodically markets diverge from one another. Often it occurs toward the top of market cycles, as the economy looks iffy. I think 2015 qualifies as such a time. Notwithstanding the high valuations of traditional stock and bond asset classes today, a diversified portfolio will at times outperform broad market indexes and at other times, underperform. Last year was an example of where the diversified portfolio underperformed, but it won’t be the last.

Look how things have swung, although not showing a clear pattern.

The once-hot emerging markets, as tracked by the MSCI EM index, were down 1.8% in 2014 and are up only slightly this year, to 1.4%.

Developed nations, outside the U.S. and Canada (which the MSCI EAFE index follows) had a poor showing last year, when they lost 4.9%. But this year, amid more optimism in Europe and Japan, their bourses are doing better. The index is up 6.3%.

Meanwhile, the Russell 2000, representing small companies, trailed large- and midcaps in 2014 with 3.5%. But as small-caps aren’t as exposed to U.S. multinational companies, which lately have suffered because the strong dollar shrinks overseas profits, in 2015 has advanced at a relatively more robust pace, 5.4%.

And the champs of last year are not doing as well this time. The S&P 500, for instance, was up 13.7% last year and this year it’s a mere 2.4% ahead.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

David Gratke is chief executive officer of Gratke Wealth LLC in Beaverton, Ore.
 
AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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“Mysteries of the Driftless” shown at Caledonia High School http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/24/mysteries-of-the-driftless-shown-at-caledonia-high-school/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/24/mysteries-of-the-driftless-shown-at-caledonia-high-school/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:41:46 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37751 Diana Hammell/ The Caledonia Argus  George Howe with his Emmy awarded to the film, “Mysteries of the Driftless,” by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Diana Hammell/
The Caledonia Argus
George Howe with his Emmy awarded to the film, “Mysteries of the Driftless,” by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Mysteries of the Driftless, a locally-produced documentary film was shown in Caledonia at the High School auditorium on Friday, March 20 as part of the Caledonia Community Education program. George Howe, a producer of the film, explained to those present that one of the reasons for making the film was that so few people knew the secrets of the driftless area in which we live.

The documentary film, a production of Untamed Science and Mississippi Valley Conservancy, features a team of explorers and scientists as they reveal the majesty and allure of the Driftless Area using a stunning combination of filmmaking and genuine adventure.

What strange forces spared one isolated region along the Upper Mississippi River from the repeated crushing and scouring effects of massive continental glaciers during the last 1.6 million years? What pre-Ice Age throwbacks survived here in this unique refuge that holds more Native American effigy mounds, petroglyph caves, strange geological features, and rare species than anywhere in the Midwest? A team of science filmmakers explores these questions and more in this captivating new adventure documentary about the Driftless Zone.

The documentary was directed by two award-winning filmmaking scientists: biologist Rob Nelson from North Carolina and geologist Dan Bertalan from the Madison, Wisconsin area.

Most of the others involved with the film are from the greater La Crosse/Winona area. Tim Jacobson, formerly of La Crosse, and George Howe, a resident of La Crescent, conceived of the idea for the project, identified the shooting locations, and served as the executive producers. Jacobson led the fundraising to cover production costs, while Howe was on camera leading the exploration of the Driftless landscape. Jacobson continues to manage marketing and distribution of the film.

Others starring in the film include archaeologist James Theler, Ph.D., author/archaeologist Robert Boszhardt, the late UW geography professor Jim Knox, DNR ecologists Armund Bartz and Darcy Kind, Tim Yager of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and Abbie Church of MVC.

George Howe, a local biologist and environmental educator, expressed enthusiasm about the effectiveness of the film as a teaching tool. “Even long-time residents of the area can learn a tremendous amount from this short film, and they can have a lot of fun at the same time. Learning should be fun,” Howe continued. “We made this a true adventure of exploration for the viewer, and we injected plenty of humor. I’m proud of this film and very interested in exploring ways that we can use it to draw people toward deeper ecological knowledge and caring for the environment.”

Rob Nelson, CEO of Untamed Science said, “I’ve lived in a lot of pretty places – Hawaii, Miami, Australia, Montana, Colorado –places people go to for beautiful scenery. In those places you have certain expectations. The great thing about the Driftless is that it catches you by surprise. People don’t usually go to Northern Iowa for amazing scenery. I think that makes floating down a river like the Kickapoo that much better –you think, ‘Boy, I just found a hidden treasure.’”

Filmmaker Dan Bertalan said, “If there’s one thing that impacted me the most in making of this film, is the sheer amount of natural wonders the Driftless has to discover that lay hidden with the region. It’s just a matter of knowing where to look and what to look for. In fact, it’s almost embarrassing as a filmmaking scientist living in Wisconsin that I’ve traveled the Driftless Area for years, just skimming over the veneer, never realizing all the genuine natural and historical mysteries that lay hidden within the ridges and valleys there. And each natural mystery that we tried to unravel during the expedition only generated more questions about what happened here over the past couple million years. This film will definitely open people’s eyes with some startling revelations.”

DVDs can be purchased from Mississippi Valley Conservancy.

More information about the documentary can be found at

www.untamedscience.com/mysteries-driftless-zone

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Consent agenda approval tabled with 2-2 vote http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/24/consent-agenda-approval-tabled-with-2-2-vote/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/24/consent-agenda-approval-tabled-with-2-2-vote/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:40:01 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37749 By Daniel E. McGonigle

General Manager

The Caledonia Argus

The Houston County Board failed to approve the consent agenda during their Tuesday, March 17 regular meeting.

When resolutions from Black Hammer Township urging commissioner Dana Kjome to vote to adopt the Houston County Planning Commission recommendations on changes to the zoning ordinance were placed in the consent agenda, the matter will be kicked down the road.

With commissioner Teresa Walter absent, commissioner Kjome and Justin Zmyewski voted against approval of the consent agenda, while commissioner’s Steve Schuldt and Judy Storlie voted to approve.

As the motion failed, some items of the four consent agenda entries were on a just released agenda for the March 24 agenda.

The consent agenda from the March 17 meeting contained the following items: 1) Correspondence and/or resolutions from Spring Grove, Wilmington and Winnebago Townships supporting Section 27 Mineral Extraction and Mining Ordinance as proposed by the Planning Commission. 2) Information regarding legislative action to reduce EDA terms to three years. 3) Report of HUD Section 8 and Family self-sufficiency participants. 4) Resolution from Black Hammer Township urging commissioner Kjome to vote to adopt the Houston County Planning Commission recommendations on changes to the zoning ordinance.

Other items

• Brian Pogodzinski spoke regarding a needed detour while work is done on CSAH 13. He thought that the work would take about four months to complete.

• Human Services gave an update.

• Tess Arrick-Kruger gave an update on personnel items including the resignation of a highly appreciated social worker.

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NIA to partner with Caledonia schools http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/24/nia-to-partner-with-caledonia-schools/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/24/nia-to-partner-with-caledonia-schools/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:39:28 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37747 By Daniel E. McGonigle

General Manager

The Caledonia Argus

The Caledonia school board voted to approve an agreement with the newly formed Neighbor’s In Action to provide the agency with the use of space at one of its buildings.

While the specifics are still being discussed, the agencies view the partnership as a win-win for all those involved.

“We think it provides our students with the opportunity to volunteer within the community, values we want to establish within our students,” superintendent Ben Barton noted.

The agency, which has a similar partnership with the La Crescent school district, will staff an office located in the school on a part-time basis.

For a small fee, Caledonia schools will provide NIA with use of the space as well as access to the necessary office support systems, i.e. use of a copier, fax line and internet, as well as access to a phone line.

“In lieu of the in-kind things, like the heat and electricity, I think the impact will be minimal,” Barton said.

The board felt, therefore, that the fee for such a service should be minimal.

The agency is getting off the ground after a request was made by the county’s public health director Mary Marchel after seeing a need. NIA will provide in-home assistance such as snow removal, yard work, window cleaning, small repairs, as well as indoor cleaning and other services, all provided by volunteers.

In addition to opportunities for students to volunteer, community members are welcome to provide their own personal expertise to help those residents who might have a need.

“We want to keep people in their homes,” said Sandy Graves, director of NIA.

A part-time staff position has been filled and the partnership was among the last steps towards getting the program off the ground.

Graves felt that things should be up and rolling in Caledonia sometime around Neighbors Day which is an event organized by the Caledonia Rotary Club and this year is scheduled for April 18.

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Data practices request presented to the county attorney http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/24/data-practices-request-presented-to-the-county-attorney/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/24/data-practices-request-presented-to-the-county-attorney/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:38:41 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37745 By Daniel E. McGonigle

General Manager

The Caledonia Argus

In an effort to obtain a list of the 47 mines that are currently being utilized in the county, Houston, Minnesota resident Kelley Stanage submitted a request for information to the county’s designated data practices compliance official, county attorney Sam Jandt.

“I have been requesting the information of environmental services director, Rick Frank, since January 21, 2015,” Stanage told the county board. “Specifically, I am requesting the list of the 47 mines that are currently being utilized in the county.’”

Stanage said that Mr. Frank referred to this number during an email exchange that the two had on January 21. She also cites comments planning commission chairman Dan Griffin made regarding the same number of operative mines in the county during the March 3, 2015 county board meeting.

“Mr. Frank has sent me several things, none of which identified the 47 active mines,” Stanage said. “Because both Mr. Frank and Mr. Griffin have referred to the fact that there are 47 active mines in the county, one can only assume they have identified which 47 mines are active, so this information must be readily available.”

The request came pursuant to the Data Practices Act, Minnesota Statute Section 13.03.

Heard during the public 

comment period:

“I am concerned about the efforts-in connection with the draft ordinance-of three of you to loosen regulations on non-conforming mines. State statute 394.36, Subd. 2 reads, in part, that the board may regulate to ‘control’ and ‘provide’ for the gradual elimination’ of non-conforming entities. Houston County’s Zoning Ordinance, Section 9, non-conforming uses, 0110.0901 Intent and General Application, Subd. 2, says the ordinance is not intended to ‘encourage {the} survival’ of non-conforming uses. In other words, the county ordinance and the state statute are in agreement: non-conforming uses are not to be protected, but rather eliminated. Given that agreement between state law and county law, it is hard to understand why some of you have insisted upon loosening the restriction on non-conforming mines in the new draft ordinance. That seems to defy the sense of the law. If the point is to eliminate non-conforming mines, why not hold them to tighter standards than the regularly permitted mines?

When you insist on weakening the standards applicable to non-conforming mines, you are acting contrary to both state statute and the county’s own ordinance. You are, in fact, attempting to avoid the law, to act contrary to the law, to act illegally. Why?

-Bets Reedy, Money Creek.

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Two community forums planned on frac sand mining http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/24/two-community-forums-planned-on-frac-sand-mining/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/24/two-community-forums-planned-on-frac-sand-mining/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:37:58 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37743 Two community forums on the ongoing controversy over frac sand mining are planned for Houston County. “Voices from the Front Lines; The Continuing Effort against Frac Sand Mining in Houston County” will feature presentations that explain how and why frac sand mining should be prohibited in Houston County.

Experts will explain the legal justification for a ban and how frac sand mining is connected to the larger issue of hydraulic fracking for oil and gas. Each program will feature beautiful aerial photos of our region and of the destruction that frac sand mining may cause. Both programs will be followed with audience discussion. Refreshments will be served.

The first forum will be held on Saturday, March 28 in Spring Grove from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Spring Grove Fest Building.

The second forum is planned for Tuesday, March 31, in Caledonia at the City Auditorium from 7 to 9 p.m.

These forums are sponsored by Houston County Protectors and the Houston County Government Accountability Project. More information on these events and the ongoing controversy over frac sand mining is available at www.houstoncountyrealitycheck.com

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Finding the faces lost in Vietnam http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/24/finding-the-faces-lost-in-vietnam/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/24/finding-the-faces-lost-in-vietnam/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:37:24 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37739  ‘Faces Never Forgotten’

needs help in honoring

Vietnam War casualties 

 

Submitted The 1,071 soldiers from Minnesota who died in Vietnam are among the 58,282 names on The Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C. Faces Never Forgotten campaign is collecting the stories of 15 Minnesotans not yet catalogued.

Submitted
The 1,071 soldiers from Minnesota who died in Vietnam are among the 58,282 names on The Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C. Faces Never Forgotten campaign is collecting the stories of 15 Minnesotans not yet catalogued.

By Sam Schaust

Murphy News Service

Minnesota is on track to join the ranks of four other states in memorializing those who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.

The Faces Never Forgotten campaign began as a Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) project and has gained traction with Americans nationwide. The campaign set out to find a photo and a short biography for each of the 58,282 names carved on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C.

Through extensive research, VVMF has taken the stockpile of names from the Vietnam Memorial Wall and broken them down by casualty date and military branch, and then by hometown for each man and woman. The collection can be seen online at http://www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces/. All of the photos and stories will also be included in the Vietnam Wall Education Center, to be built next to the wall later this decade.

Minnesota has been extraordinarily cooperative in bringing humanity to these heroic names, said Andrew Johnson, a volunteer for VVMF and National Newspaper Association board member. “It began with at least 1,071 names needing photos, and right now it is down to only 15.”

Wyoming was the first state to complete its list, followed by New Mexico and then North and South Dakota. States with larger populations still have hundreds of unknown identities, although similar Midwest states, like Wisconsin (with 64 names to go), are further from their goal than Minnesota.

“On Feb. 23, we passed the 40,000 mark,” said George DeCastro, program coordinator of Faces Never Forgotten. “We get a lot of response from newspaper clippings. Between mail, email and website submissions, up to 10-15 photos are given each day.”

VVMF is aiming to uncover as many of the pictures and stories behind the names by Memorial Day this year. However, DeCastro hopes to ultimately have the project finished before the planned education center across the street from the Vietnam Memorial Wall is built in 2019.

“When the center is built, you will be able to browse those profiles,” DeCastro said. Loved ones will be forever on display within the construct of the new underground education center.

Of the 15 Minnesotans still be sought, two are listed with Coon Rapids as their hometown: Leroy E. Peterson and Eugene M. Rick. The others are: Donald J. Jacobsen of Montevideo, Allen J. Ritter of Moorhead, Melvin Stockdale of Moorhead, Lawrence H. Harris of Wilmar, Gerald J. Johnson of Round Lake, Kenneth J. Honek of East Grand Forks, Joseph S. Herron and Bruce D. Olson both of St. Paul, and five from Minneapolis: Richard V. Blackburn, David W. Erickson, Dennis W. Ferguson, William G. Moncrief and Richard W. Smith.

“We want to humanize them by showing where they grew up, getting a story from their parents, or who they went to prom with…pretty much anything,” said Reed Anfinson, a Benson, Minnesota, newspaper publisher and member of the National Newspaper Association. “Hopefully someone will recognize some of these remaining names and at least put us in touch with their family.”

To publish a photo (and accompanying biography) to any one of the missing names, contact George DeCastro at 202-393-0090 (extension 128) or by email (gdecastro@vvmf.org). Submissions can also be made at vvmf.org/how-to-submit.

Sam Schaust is a journalism student at the University of Minnesota.

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Soup or Salad? http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/24/soup-or-salad/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/03/24/soup-or-salad/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:33:07 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37737 By Angela Denstad Stigeler

Since you never know what spring will be like, it’s good to have a couple of options in how you prepare your ingredients. This recipe is sort of like throwing an extra blanket over a Caesar salad. So if you can sense your guests might better appreciate a little something warm, despite all cheerful assertions that spring is in the air, you can easily turn those same salad ingredients into a lovely spring soup.

Sautéed Romaine lettuce forms the base, along with onion and garlic, which flavor the stock. For a heartier soup, you can include a bit of cubed chicken, as well. But the real delight is the lemony broth, which elevates this from the realm of the ordinary. Just as egg yolk is the secret to an authentic Caesar salad dressing, eggs whisked with lemon juice create the sprightly soup. Mixing the eggs with the acidic lemon juice prior to adding them to the hot liquid makes for a velvety broth, much different from the striated effect of an egg drop soup. It’s a clever way to add creaminess and protein to the meal, without excess fat. Topped with fresh croutons and a grating of Parmigiano, it’s the perfect soup for early spring. Whether you serve it as a meal or a first course of a family feast, you’re sure to find it’s a super salad—as a soup!

Romaine and Egg Soup

3 slices rustic bread, cut into ¾-inch cubes (about 3 cups)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 small head Romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)

1 quart low-salt chicken or vegetable stock

3 large eggs

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Finely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomato, for garnish (optional)

Freshly grated Parmigiano cheese

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450 degrees. On a small rimmed baking sheet, toss the bread with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Spread the cubes in a single layer and toast until golden, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the Romaine and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes more. Add the chicken or vegetable broth, a teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the eggs and lemon juice, then whisk the mixture into the hot soup.

Divide among bowls, top with croutons, Parmigiano shavings and sun-dried tomato.

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