Saturday, January 29, 2011

Awesome news! West Central Area school's one-act play takes first place at today's sub-section contest

Members of the WCA One-Act play pose with their sub-section championship trophy in the high school auditorium.

What awesome news!

Read all about WCA's championship performance in the one-act competition in next week's Herman-Hoffman Tribune.

The Knights advance to the Section 5A round, held next Saturday (Feb. 5) at A-C-GC High School in Grove City, MN.

Friday, January 21, 2011

MDA Commissioner applauds EPA ruling on increased ethanol use

E-15 approved for all cars manufactured since 2001

Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson says he’s pleased with today’s Environmental Protection Agency approval of the use of E15 in all cars made in the past decade. The federal agency confirmed 15 percent ethanol in gasoline is safe for cars manufactured between 2001 and 2006. In October, EPA approved 15 percent ethanol for all cars manufactured since 2007.

“Today’s EPA action reinforces research findings in Minnesota that blends of up to 20 percent ethanol are compatible with vehicles on the road today,” said Commissioner Frederickson. “This is an encouraging development for Minnesota’s ethanol industry which has been a model for reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.”

Minnesota was the first state to implement an E10 requirement and has laid the groundwork to be the first state to require statewide use of E20 by 2013. Today, there are 21 ethanol plants in Minnesota with an annual production capacity of more than 1 billion gallons.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thoughts by the editor this morning

Waking up with a bitter, 30mph cold wind blowing against the house, I am thankful for a roof over my family's head, food packed in the refrigerator and pantry, and a low monthly heating bill. We say a prayer for the homeless in Minnesota, who are being thrown to the wolves with the Republicans setting the agenda for our troubled state.

Hoffman Commerce and Ag and HEDA annual meeting is held on Tuesday night

The keynote speech at the meeting begins...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Retail Staple Food Prices Edge Higher in Fourth Quarter

Minnesota is below the national average

Retail food prices at the supermarket increased slightly during the fourth quarter of 2010, according to the latest American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Marketbasket Survey.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $46.97 (Minn. - $46.86), up 80 cents or about 2 percent compared to the third quarter of 2010. Of the 16 items surveyed, nine increased, six decreased and one remained the same in average price compared to the prior quarter. The total average price for the 16 items was up $4.07 (about 10 percent) compared to one year ago.

Bacon, eggs, whole milk, sliced deli ham and bread increased the most in dollar value compared to the third quarter.

Bacon increased 68 cents to $4.32 per pound (Minn. - $4.26); eggs and whole milk increased 19 cents to $1.60 per dozen (Minn. - $1.60) and $3.35 per gallon (Minn. - $3.64), respectively; sliced deli ham increased 18 cents to $4.84 per pound (Minn. - $4.41); and bread increased 14 cents to $1.75 for a 20-ounce loaf (Minn. - $1.54).

“Hearty breakfast lovers felt the pinch in the fourth quarter of 2010,” said AFBF Economist John Anderson. “Increased consumer demand for meats and dairy products that began in 2009 continued through the fourth quarter of 2010. Wholesale meat supplies remained tight in the fourth quarter of the year, due to smaller livestock herds and poultry flocks, which also contributed to the retail price increases our volunteer shoppers reported.”

Other items that increased in price since the third quarter were sirloin tip roast, up 9 cents to $3.95 per pound (Minn. - $4.20); shredded cheddar cheese, up 7 cents to $4.16 per pound (Minn. - $4.33); toasted oat cereal and vegetable oil, up 4 cents each to $2.88 for a 9-ounce box (Minn. - $2.92) and 32-ounce bottle (Minn. - $2.49), respectively.

Most items showing an increase in retail price from quarter-to-quarter also showed year-to-year increases. Compared to one year ago, bacon was up 44 percent, eggs were up 4 percent, whole milk was up 10 percent and sliced deli ham was up 11 percent.

“Increasing our nation’s livestock herd to meet the growing demand for meat and dairy products takes time, so we are likely to see retail prices continue to increase for some foods throughout 2011,” said Anderson.

Six foods decreased slightly in price compared to the prior quarter: boneless chicken breasts, down 34 cents to $3.10 per pound (Minn. - $3.73); flour, down 16 cents to $1.99 for a 5-pound bag (Minn. - $2.01); Russet potatoes, down 13 cents to $2.50 for a 5-pound bag (Minn. - $2.21); ground chuck, down 10 cents to $2.83 per pound (Minn. - $2.85); and bagged salad, down 6 cents to $2.69 per pound (Minn. - $2.12).

Orange juice remained the same in price at $2.97 for a half-gallon (Minn. - $3.19).

The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index ( report for food at home. As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped.

“In the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that
figure has decreased steadily and is now just over 20 percent, according to Agriculture Department statistics,” said Anderson.

Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this quarter’s $46.97 market basket would be $9.39.

AFBF, the nation’s largest general farm organization, has been conducting the informal quarterly marketbasket survey of retail food price trends since 1989. The mix of foods in the marketbasket was updated during the first quarter of 2008.

According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 92 shoppers in 29 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in late October/early November.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What an outrageous flurry of lies from Republicans at today's Medicaid signing by Governor Dayton

Jake McMillan was one of the protesters who spoke at the podium at today's signing of the new Medicaid expansion to help pay for the health care of poor and mentally ill adults in Minnesota. He was the final person to speak in opposition to Governor Dayton's executive order.

McMillan stated that what Governor Dayton was doing, by signing onto the expanded health care coverage, will "destroy our society" or something outrageous like that.

Follow this link to read more on Jake McMillan, who is nothing less than a very deranged and dangerous individual connected to an inflammatory gay-bashing group called "You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International, Inc." based in Annandale, MN.

After following that link, you can watch a video clip of the entire event (Dayton's signing of the Medicaid expansion) for yourself.

It's interesting how childish and rude the Republican protesters were during this event. Just as interesting as it was to hear that idiot talk about his 41 years of V.A. medical care, while in the same breath saying how terrible it is that government has to get involved in health care.

To anyone who thinks that you can turn a blind eye to the uninsured in this country, that it doesn't affect you if you have your own health insurance and pay a premium every month...the joke is on you!, assuming you pay a health insurance premium. Hospitals charge health care providers more than the actual cost of providing health care for the insured, so they can pay for the uninsured. To all Republicans out there, you are already paying for the health care of the poor in this country! It is being done so through the horribly inefficient method of providing health care through our hospital emergency rooms.

I'm tired of the constant lies being told about health care in this country.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Border battles tomorrow night: Wheaton/Herman-Norcoss girls basketball hosts Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta in Herman, WCA boys host Brandon/Evansville

On Tuesday night this week (January 4), the Wheaton/Herman-Norcross Warriors girls basketball team will host Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta in a non-conference game at Herman. Tip-off is at 7:30pm.

WHN is 4-4 overall, while MACA is 3-3.

The West Central Area Knights boys basketball team will host Brandon-Evansville in a border battle at Barrett. The B/E Chargers are undefeated at 5-0 thus far in 2010-2011, their best start since the 1990s. The Chargers' last win against WCA in boys basketball was on January 22, 2005 (70-59).