Right now, 8.3 million seniors experience food insecurity in the U.S., and by 2025, it is estimated that this number will grow to 9.5 million. Enter Meals on Wheels, a nationwide program that delivers meals to the elderly, homebound and disabled. In Douglas County, more than 140 people receive meals from this program and similar programs take place in Osakis, Glenwood, Hoffman and Parkers Prairie. "Some people I deliver to are just afraid," Alexandria's Henry Hyatt noted. "People have forgotten food on the stove and the fire alarms went off.
Politicians have a very nasty thing they have to deal with, and they avoid it as much as they can. It is called a budget, and we have not seen one out of Washington, D.C. for over three years. You may ask, "How can they run the government without a budget?" There are two reasons for that. The first is simple. They just don't want to deal with it.
Most people only see products gleaming and packaged on shelves in stores, rarely are the middle steps to create these products seen.
Honk! Honk! No, that's not a car horn you hear coming from the Wildes' property near Alexandria. It's the playful banter of the couple's pet geese. "We don't really know why we got them, they were just so cute and tiny, they looked like little cotton balls when they were first born," Karrie Wilde recalled. Seventeen years ago, Karrie's husband Jarrod gave her two 2-day-old Brown Chinese geese for Mother's Day. They instantly became attached. Though the couple knew nothing about geese at the time, they never regretted getting them. "I love the geese," Karrie said.
Chances are, if you receive Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or any federal payment, you receive it electronically. More than 90 percent of people getting monthly Social Security benefits already receive electronic payments. If you don't yet, that's about to change. There is a U.S. Department of Treasury rule that does away with paper checks for most federal benefit and non-tax payments by March 1, 2013.
I'm going to get a bit nostalgic for this column, and I hope you bear me the patience to read along. Andy Griffith, one of America's beloved character actors, died recently at the age of 86. Those of my generation can remember Andy from his portrayals of Sheriff Andy Taylor on the Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry RFD. The town and characters were fictional, but there is a bit of Mayberry and the personalities portrayed, in all of us. The weekly TV situation comedy aired from 1960 to 1968, and reruns have been a constant staple of cable TV over the last two decades.
Many vestiges of our area's past are gone forever. Historic buildings have been torn down, burned or fallen down. Main street businesses have either disappeared entirely or changed from pioneer to more modern functions. Some old structures have taken on new purposes because most in their original form would be impractical in the 21st century. Stately old homes have fared the best in small towns and rural areas, but the large timber or frame barns that used to be on every farm are now becoming a rarity.
With winter encompassing six months of the year, golf in Minnesota is only part time - but Alexandria's Scott Dirck wanted to change that. "I want to give golfers a chance to play in the winter and the bad weather - an opportunity they have in the larger cities," Dirck said. In 2010 Dirck was named PGA teacher of the year, in 2008 and 2011 he was named Ping fitter of the year. He has also been recognized as one of the top teachers in the state by Golf Digest Magazine.
Every one of us now owes about $49,000 to the creditors of the U.S. Treasury. That is the amount of our national debt divided by the total U.S. population. If only those citizens who are currently working were to pay for the national debt, each would owe three or four times that amount. Our national debt is primarily the money our government has borrowed and has not yet paid back. In the case of national debt, our government "borrows" money from those who purchase government bonds and from loans garnered from other countries like China, who owns the largest percentage of our national debt.
With communication moving away from letters, telephone calls, and face-to-face contact, understanding technology has become a vital skill. While this is a skill often easily picked up by today's youth, it sometimes proves more challenging for the older population. "I feel like an orphan," said Alexandria's Romayne Strand.