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.
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.
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.
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.
The amount spent on art in state buildings should be limited, according to Representative Mary Franson, R-Alexandria. Currently, an appropriation for construction or alterations of state buildings can include up to 1 percent for works of art. Franson wrote a bill that would limit that to the smaller of 1 percent or $100,000. It passed through a House committee Wednesday on a divided voice vote. "I believe $100,000 is a reasonable limit," Franson said.
This is the fourth column in a series about the "three-legged stool of government." This column is part of the government leg of that stool and is a continuation of the previous column. It continues to astound me how many politicians and U.S. citizens feel the government should get more tax revenue - just not from them. Why do we typically want others to pay for benefits we receive? I guess it is part of the human condition called greed.
"When most people think of hunger, they think of starving children in Africa, but there is hunger right here in Alexandria," noted Jefferson High School (JHS) senior Ellen Lanman. Currently in Alexandria, 20.7 percent of the population lives under the poverty line and 7.4 percent are unemployed. "We wanted to help out and make an impact on people, which is what our service learning project - Empty Bowls - is all about," Lanman added. This student-run service learning project is a fundraiser to collect money for the food shelf, as well as raise awareness about poverty in Alexandria. This pr
"It was always my dream to work in a professional test kitchen," former Alexandria resident, Jennifer Kalinowski said. "I've been fascinated by recipes and cookbooks for as long as I can remember." Kalinowski, a graduate of Jefferson High School in Alexandria and daughter of Jerry and Carol Kalinowski, had her first taste of cooking from her childhood cookbook, a hand-me-down from her mother: the second edition of Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook. "My mom still has that book and we still make cookies from it every Christmas," Kalinowski noted.