Written by Hillsboro Free Press Tuesday, 26 April 2011 15:46
Thank you for giving blood at recent drive
Thank you to everyone who participated in the American Red Cross blood drive April 11; 65 people came in to share their life-giving blood. We can feel proud we did our duty and helped to secure lifesaving blood that is available for patients in hospitals throughout our area.
As a blood donor or volunteer, each of you has helped the Red Cross fulfill its mission of a safe and ample blood supply. Hospital patients rely on us and we delivered.
We hope you will all look forward to saving more lives at our next drive June 13. If you would like to help, call either Gladys Funk at 947-3517 or Shirley Kasper at 947-5719.
Time to question ‘our fair share’ of the pie
Is being fiscally responsible an attack?
I realize that trying to decide where the budget should be cut is a touchy subject. There are hundreds of programs out there that are funded by the taxpayers. And everyone believes that their program is the most important. After a while these programs become so ingrained in our society that we can’t seem to see a life without them.
Public education is a good and wonderful resource. So are the Parents as Teachers and Head Start programs and many others, all funded by the taxpayer. And then there are the countless other programs that I don’t want to support yet am forced to, but that is another story.
Yet when the money isn’t there to support these programs, it just isn’t there.
In the private sector, there is no choice as to whether you take a cut or not. Many are taking salary cuts and deductions in benefits in order to keep a job. We have certainly had to make changes in our home in regard to spending and I have had to reprioritize. Maybe it is time, well passed time, for our elected officials to do the same.
Why do we as a people expect government money to pay for all of these programs? What happens when there are more people using these programs than can possibly pay for them?
What we seem to forget or just never really consider is where the money comes from.
My mother was under the opinion that “You pay your taxes. You have a right to those services. Go use them!” But every time I use one of these programs I am telling the government that I want them to take care of me, and in response, the government raises taxes to cover the cost of taking care of me.
When it comes to “getting our share” of the state or federal budget, we seem to have an attitude that says “the government owes it to us.” We forget that “we the people” are the government. And for every tax dollar I require to take care of me, my neighbor had to pay it in taxes.
So what is the solution? Well, I don’t have one. But I have had to ask myself some probing questions like: What is my responsibility to my fellow taxpayers? How much of a burden am I on the state deficit? On the national deficit? How much of my life is funded by other taxpayers?
I know I have little to no control over how the budget is spent. Neither side of our two-party political system fully represents me and they are the ones who decide how to spend my money. But I can be responsible for me. Just as I, individually, can be responsible for my use of natural resources, I can decide how much of the publicly-funded resources I use.
It seems to me that we, as a people, are not very good stewards of our resources. That includes our natural resources as well as our finances. We want what we want and to justify our wants we call them “necessities.” We’ll worry about the cost later, if ever.
If I am irresponsible with our natural resources, my children inherit a dying world. If I am irresponsible with public resources, my children inherit a national deficit.
Maybe our “need” for many of these programs is a reflection of our failure as a people to meet the concerns of each other, but that, again, is another story.
I have been guilty of taking a piece of the “public education pie.” My children have been enrolled at the Learning Center taking Conversational Spanish with Julie, the site director, for a number of years. It is something I could not offer them personally in our home-schooling and so I decided to take advantage of this government-funded program. This relationship eventually led to me applying for and taking a position as a para.
As my mother pointed out, I pay my taxes and have a “right” to a piece or two of the pie. But I want to forgo my rights so as not to be a burden on the system and I want to apologize for being a part of the problem. We will not be using these services next year.
Having come to this decision for me and my children, I recognize that everyone has different priorities and needs in their lives. And we all have different opinions on the most beneficial and efficient way to spend the budget. But I think a change in the way we look at government programs and the way they are funded is becoming necessary in these economic times.
I will still be driving on the streets and highways that are publicly funded, I will still be on the Hillsboro EMS crew which is publicly funded, I will still call the police when I need them, which are publicly funded, I will support our military (even when I disagree with our elected official’s decisions) which is publicly funded.
But I will also look more closely at me and the burden that I pose to my fellow taxpayers before I blame others for all of our budget woes.
welcomed us here
When I was living in Colby, I would refer to this area as “Old Country.” I would use this in conversation with people whose last names were Herbel, Goossen, Steinle, Friesen, Willems, Epp, Unruh, Wiens—you get the picture.
When Patty and I decided to move to Hillsboro, they understood very well when I told them that we were moving back to the old country.
My father was born in Moundridge and my mother in Inman. We lived northeast of Canton prior to moving to Mingo. I remember my father and mother helping younger couples that had started farming and the interaction with the old-timers.
Some of my favorite times were hauling in hay. There were two wagons going with about eight neighbors helping and we would just get done in time to do chores. When I was too small to lift the bales I would run along and turn the bales over so that the strings were up, then graduated to driving the tractor (730 John Deere had a hand clutch) at around age 7, and later, of course, came throwing the bales.
Noon meal or dinner, as we called it on the farm, was always looked forward to. Not necessarily because of my mother’s cooking. It was always wonderful there was just more of it—fried chicken with all the trimmings of the farm.
And most importantly, cream pies, cherry pie, cherry cobbler, the list goes on. Nothing like completing the circle of unity with a full belly. I guess that’s where potluck comes from.
My mother and father didn’t have much money. With two brothers and two sisters, we always had plenty to eat and were well groomed. My parents rarely missed a sporting or school event and that was running a dairy farm.
I reflect back and am completely amazed to how they managed it all. Still haven’t figured it out.
When my grandparents, Jonas and Agnes Decker, were still alive, we would go to Moundridge following chores, have a whopping get together for Christmas and return to Mingo.
I was too young to notice and it was before Interstate 70, but when we got home, it must have been the Chore Fairy who did the work at home that day. My father fixed most everything himself. That is good and bad because I still try to do that myself. Dad did a pretty good job.
When I went back to college in Colby, I was volunteered to manage a movie theatre for an elderly couple. The owner, Don Phillips, was a retired attorney that was very politically connected in his younger years. Through his life, he and his wife, Arliss, were entwined in the community.
I would spend hours talking to Don about the community and history. I asked why he didn’t pursue a political career? He said, “Once you become politically entrenched you can’t help your community.”
The most important thing Don told me was that a community cannot stand alone. It takes a region to grow. This came from a man who was born, lived and died in Colby. I respect Don a lot.
I would like to mention one more gentleman, Dave Jennings. He was a graduate from Oakley were I went to school. He owned a men’s clothing store in Colby. I didn’t go in much, but if I wanted something nice and I wanted it done right I would go to him. He never would forget your size.
Physicians from Denver that came to the specialty clinics would buy their clothes from him. During a Chamber lunch before Christmas one of the local business owners might as well said to Dave, “How can we get people here from other communities to suck the money out of them?”
I was so glad Dave was there because I am not very politically correct and I started to speak when Dave interrupted
He said he would like to have people come year-round and shop at his store.
To me the Old Country was defined by my heritage, a way of life. I did not see it as bounded by city limits, townships, counties or last names. This is a wonderful area to live in.
My wife and I are very happy to be Hillsboroans and Marion Countians. Citizens of Hillsboro sounds too romanistic. I like to make words up, makes me sound like I know what I am talking about. The community has made us feel very welcome. Thank you, Hillsboro.