June 24, 2015
By Trudy Lieberman
Rural Health News Service
Not long ago my husband showed up with a sandwich for lunch that he bought at a local supermarket. I thought it was going to be our usual: turkey and provolone with lettuce on a hard roll, always plenty for both of us. At $6.50, how could you go wrong?
This time the sandwich was different. It now cost $9.50 and was piled high with turkey and cheese on a roll that was much bigger than what we were used to. In short, it was awful—enough meat and cheese for four people on squishy bread that tasted more like a morning sweet roll. But the bigger serving probably looked like a good deal to a lot of people who thought only about size relative to cost and nothing about size or cost relative to calories.
After surgery on the sandwich, the two of us ate some of it and saved slices of the meat and cheese for later. My guess is most buyers would have eaten the whole thing believing they were getting great value for the money. Maybe they were, but they were also getting at least half the calories most of them needed for the day. Read More
June 24, 2015
By Jim Nowlan
NP Guest Columnist
When I was a graduate student in the 1960s, my professors pointed to Minnesota as a model state—corruption free, collaborative, with values of what’s good for the community trumping what’s in it for me.
These memories from days long past were prompted by a recent column from Eric Zorn in the Chicago Tribune about how Minnesota has its act together, while Illinois struggles, to say the least.
Zorn noted that Minnesota in 2011 upped its highest income tax rate to 9.85 percent for those earning over $250,000 (the rate in Illinois is a flat 3.75 percent). Nevertheless, in 2014 conservative Forbes magazine ranked Minnesota ninth best for business while it put Illinois at 40th.
On all indicators I could put my hands on, our northern neighbor ranked ahead of Illinois. For example, a 2014 ranking of quality of life factors such as health, public safety and income put Minnesota in second place (after New Hampshire) while Illinois was smack dab in the middle among the states.
Social media site Wallet Hub recently looked at 26 metrics such as emotional health and sports participation and came up with a “happiness index.” Minnesota came in second, after Utah, while the Prairie State was again right in the middle, at 25th. Read More
June 17, 2015
By Jim Nowlan
NP Guest Columnist
A crusty dairy farmer friend recently barged into my office and unceremoniously plopped a thick book on my desk. He then harrumphed: “Now you can go out and eat a big steak and have lots of real cream on your strawberry shortcake!”
The 500-page book is The Big Fat Surprise (2014) by Nina Teicholz, an accomplished writer who studied biology at Stanford and Yale and has a graduate degree from Oxford University.
This is not your run of the mill, breezy diet book. It has 335 footnotes and lists almost 1,000 scientific books and articles in the bibliography.
After eight years of research, Teicholz concludes that the low fat, low cholesterol diet, almost deified since the 1950s, was based on inadequate science, which never proved that saturated fat and high cholesterol cause heart disease.
Among those who have apparently changed their perspectives on saturated fats and health is Ronald Krauss, MD, PhD, a giant among nutrition scientists. Krauss concludes, in Teicholz’ words, that eating saturated fat is healthier than eating carbohydrates.
In other words, says Teicholz, “Cheese is probably healthier than bread. And eggs and bacon better than oatmeal.” Read More
A Helpful Community
Over the past 6 months (and many years of research), three cousins started planning a family reunion that we weren’t sure could be done. When I first started contacting the community of Sullivan, we had no idea we would receive all the help that would be given for us to coordinate the 187th Waggoner Family Reunion that was held on May 9 and 10. We started with the American Legion who put up with my many phone calls-then the Chamber who helped with phone numbers. We then sought the Moultrie County Genealogical Society who gave us their time for a full day to allow our families to come and view our Waggoner history at their building and have kept those records available on a daily basis. The Parks Department helped in setting up a location for taking our historic family photo (weather being a concern) and the Elementary School offered their auditorium in case of bad weather. The high school also made arrangements for us to use the track field grandstands for an outdoor picture. Read More
June 17, 2015
By Tyler Harvey
Mo-Do Farm Bureau Manager
As of Sunday, June 14, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) had Illinois corn condition rated at 57% good with 19% of the corn crop excellent. Soybeans are at 90% planted as of this week with a condition rating of 58% good and 12% excellent.
Driving between Tuscola and Sullivan and looking at various crops, the 2015 crop is off to a great start. We have been fortunate thus far not to have the amount of water that has fallen in Vermilion County and other places around the area. NASS has an updated crop report come out every Monday afternoon at 3 p.m. I expect the crop percentages for good and excellent to increase with the overall weather we are having at this time. Illinois, Iowa and Indiana are all reporting similar percentages for both corn and soybean condition. It is still early in the year, but it is off to a decent start. Read More
June 10, 2015
by Jerry Ginther
The aroma of brewing coffee hung in the morning air as many of us viewed the incredible sight before us. It was a cold winter morning in January 1969, although slightly above freezing, as we surveyed the wreckage of a head on collision between two trains. The crash had occurred in the early morning hours that same day at Indian Oaks just a short distance north of Kankakee, Ill. at a junction point where three tracks converged into two. The aroma was the result of a box car carrying coffee being demolished and its contents strewn over the melting snow and standing water puddles.
This train wreck happened about 46 years ago, and I still remember how the visual and olfactory inputs at the scene presented a striking contrast. The smell of morning coffee and the devastation before us just didn’t go together. At that point in time all of the deceased had yet to be recovered. Read More
June 10, 2015
By Jim Nowlan
Based on a couple of days nosing around the state capitol at the end of the regular session of the legislature, which adjourned with a whimper May 31, I sense that Illinois is in for several years of rancorous political conflict. There is a new sheriff in town (Gov. Bruce Rauner), but the old one hasn’t left (House Speaker Mike Madigan).
Maybe a more apt simile is that of the dueling popes of Avignon and Rome, battling for years for papal supremacy around the end of the 14th Century.
After all, there won’t be a single gunfight to the death between Republican Rauner and Madigan, but instead a protracted “Battle for the future of Illinois,” as Rauner terms it, which appears likely to go on for years.
The combatants come from different worlds. Rauner is a businessman from the rarefied high-finance atmosphere of buying and selling companies; he is used to being king of the hill.
Madigan and his protégé, state senate president John Cullerton, are professional politicians, for whom politics is also a business. They have pretty much run the state legislature since the 1980s.
Rauner wants to take them down. Read More
When Should Churches Be Silent?
In regard to the writer of the “Cherry Picking Scripture” letter on the editorial page May 27, I would voice my disagreement. I appreciate the fact that the writer may, in a sense, not object to Christians holding beliefs based on God’s word, but the view that one is “cherry picking” when he picks one sin to object to, when that sin is spoken of less in the Bible than other sins. Would he think, therefore, that if pedophilia or incestuous relationships were being forced upon us, demanding our acceptance of such, as homosexuality presently is, that churches should keep silent? There are more passages of Scripture dealing specifically with homosexuality, such as Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Romans 1 :24-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and 1 Timothy 1:9-10, than with the other two combined. There is no “cherry” on God’s cherry tree that is to be picked. Read More
June 3, 2015
By Jim Nowlan
I worry about weak job growth in Illinois, which has been slower in recent decades than in the nation as a whole as well as in the rest of the Midwest.
Our state still has to recover about a quarter million jobs just to get back to where we were in 2000, while the nation has surged far beyond 2000 numbers.
Illinois did add 51,000 jobs in 2014, yet job numbers in Texas jumped last year by a whopping 458,000—and a majority of the Texas jobs are good-paying ones, not the minimum wage kind, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
Recently the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity asked the consuls general of our 10 largest trading partner nations to provide their perspectives on what our state has going for—and against—us when it comes to economic growth. Read More
Re. to: Cherry Picking Scripture
I appreciated the letter to editor the other day concerning the remarks on “homosexuality.” However, I was disappointed in that there was no mention of some specifics relative to “some local churches” in his critical remarks. He used a “blanket” approach to speak ill of “some local churches” and their accentuation of immoral behavior, but these same “local churches” seemed to have failed to accomplish other, more positive things in the community. Again, we are not told wherein some specific church (or churches) has failed. He remarked, “Instead of focusing on lending a helping hand to those in need, they choose to use divisive and destructive rhetoric that perpetuates hatred and animosity. Why is that?”
It is most unfortunate that in both of his critical remarks (above) he offers no illustrations. Evidently, he wanted to just throw a “blanket” over the issue and hope others would agree and say, “Yeah! That’s right! You are all hypocrites!” He would get much further in a conversation of this sort if he was specific in his concerns. Read More