Saturday, January 31
Approximately 88,000 still remain without electricity on Friday after this weeks devastating ice storm that hit portions of Arkansas. Electric officials say they are making slow but steady progress as the total amount of those without electricity stood at 111,000 on Wednesday. Many area shelters in the Mountain Home and Harrison area remained full.
About 19,000 still remain without power around Harrison and over 4,000 in the Mountain Home area. In Fayetteville 14,000, Springdale, 7,200 and Rogers, 3,500 remained with out electric as of Friday afternoon. Electric officials report that it will be at least a week for many before power is restored. For rural areas the wait could be much longer.
Here are a couple of links with photos from the ice storm.
Springdale Morning News
Thursday, January 29
The responses are lengthy and I debated about editing it, but I feel that the reader is best served by getting the whole response in context. Our thanks to Dr. Speck for his answers.
DONNA: Is it true that pay cuts for teachers will include being paid by the number of students in the classrooms?
DR. SPECK: There may be several issues that are related to your question, so perhaps it is best if I explain the way we pay our faculty. All full-time faculty teach 12 hours per semester or 24 hours per year. Exceptions include faculty with administrative duties who receive a reduction in their teaching load for performing other duties. A faculty member’s annual salary, by contract, is based on the 24-hour teaching load.
Any particular class has restrictions regarding the number of students for that class. (Technically, we talk about sections of a class because many of our classes, such as English 0101, have multiple sections.) Thus, we generally have a floor for a section because we need a minimum number of students to make the class. That floor is not absolute because the Vice President for Academic Affairs can approve an exception to the floor. We tend to have ceilings for sections for one or two reasons. Either we limit the number of students because only so many seats are available in a classroom or we limit the number of students because we recognize that pedagogically we would not be offering students the best education if a professor had to teach, for example, 100 students in one section to learn how to write.
Historically, Southern has not systematically analyzed issues related to class size. We are engaged in that analysis now, and it should be possible to increase the number of students in many classes by two or three and not violate the fire code requirements for classrooms. By increasing class sizes, we are not changing professors’ pay. Professors will still receive the same salary for which they are contractually due.
However, we have approached Internet courses differently. To jump start Internet courses, Southern enticed professors to teach online by offering them a headcount bonus. For example, an Internet course might have a ceiling of 20 students, but because the physical capacity for an Internet course is not tied to seats in a brick-and-mortar classroom, theoretically, a very large number of students can be enrolled in an Internet course. Thus, we paid professors $25 per credit hour for every student over 20. For a three-hour course, a professor would earn his or her regular pay for the course plus $75 for every student over the 20 ceiling. (When I say “regular pay” it’s important to note that a professor could teach an Internet course as part of his or her 12-hour load per semester or as an overload. Overload pay is calculated at the adjunct rate of $600 per teaching load hour or $1,800 for a 3-credit class, so by teaching an overload, a professor would receive payment beyond the contractual amount for the 12-hour load.) After this semester, we will raise the ceiling for Internet classes and reduce the per-credit-hour bonus.
We are also changing the way we pay summer school, which is not included in any professor’s regular contract. That is, summer school is a separate contract and universities almost universally are not required to offer summer school and professors cannot be required to teach summer school. Again, the summer school rate will decrease and the number of students per class will increase.
DONNA: Will you personally be taking a pay cut?
DR. SPECK: If we enact a campus-wide pay cut, my pay will be cut along with everyone else’s.
DONNA: Can you explain to the readers the role of the Board of Governors?
DR. SPECK: The Board of Governors (BOG) is composed of people who are appointed by the Governor of Missouri. No more than half of the members of the BOG can represent any one political party. The BOG hires the president of the university and provides oversight to the president. The president has the authority to operate the university on a day-by-day basis under the general direction of the BOG. Thus, the BOG, when it passed a $2.6M deficit for this budget year, asked the president to trim $.5M from the deficit. The BOG did not say how to trim the budget. The BOG has the authority to set the rate for tuition and fees, but SB 389 has placed limits on the BOG’s ability to raise tuition. The president is not a voting member of the BOG because he or she reports to the BOG.
DONNA: Please give us your thoughts as to why the child care center and the soccer programs were terminated.
DR. SPECK: As we have attempted to reduce deficit spending, we have asked units across campus to provide us with ideas about how they could reduce costs. Concerning the child development center, we knew that the university was subsidizing the center by over $100K a year. Thus, after we had received money from parents for their children to attend the center, we had to add $100K to ensure that the center could operate. Last year, I think it was during the summer, Glenn Coltharp told us that one of the employees was leaving for another job, so we took that opportunity to reconsider how to reduce costs. We cut our subsidy to $80K. However, as we began to realize that the economy was declining, we intensified our efforts to reduce costs, and in consultation with Glenn, we determined to close the center. I was told that we were offering an excellent service, but we would price ourselves out of the market if we attempted to increase costs to parents to break even. With about 30 students, it’s easy to see that $80K would be spread heavily to each student’s fees.
Concerning the men’s soccer program, Sallie Beard, our Athletics Director, had begun an analysis of the athletic programs last fall. Eliminating a sport is tricky because we have Title IX requirements regarding gender equity, so Sallie pinpointed several sports that could be eliminated. She recommended men’s soccer because it is a non-conference sport. That is, men’s soccer is not a MIAA conference sport, so we have significant travel expenses to ensure that our men play in places like New Mexico and Colorado. We are not losing money on men’s soccer, so our argument is not that we are saving costs by eliminating the sport. Rather, we are attempting to take our resources and determine where we can use them most effectively. By eliminating soccer, we are cutting the expenses associated with the program (travel, personnel costs, etc.), and we are asking our other sports programs to increase their roster of athletes so that we retain the student numbers in our other sports programs, while eliminating the expenses associated with maintaining the soccer program. I also understood that we will transfer the four student scholarships that were assigned to soccer to our other sports programs. Sallie’s reasoning made sense to Terri, John, and me, so we approved her recommendation.
We are in the process of looking at all aspects of the university, so you can expect to see other changes in our various programs. Our best guess at this point is that we will end the budget year with a $2M deficit. We will have greatly reduced our reserves, our savings account, and we must discontinue deficit spending. That means we have to come up with $2M in recurring savings for the next budget year to balance our budget and discontinue dipping into our reserves to cover normal operating expenses. But the $2M is not the whole story. In addition, if the Governor’s proposal for no increase in tuition and fees is approved by the legislature, we will have to find ways to cover increases in our normal operating costs. And another variable is enrollment. Stable enrollment for fall 2009, given fall 2008 figures, would be helpful. A drop in enrollment would compound our problem. An increase in enrollment would be very helpful. The bigger the increase the more the help. We also do not know whether we will have a withholding for this budget year. If the state withholds 5%, we will need to find approximately $1.25M from this year’s budget.
~~ Please leave comments below!
Wednesday, January 28
Tuesday, January 27
" 'We went and looked at supermarket samples where high fructose corn syrup was the first or second ingredient on the label,' he said. These 55 different foods included barbecue sauce, jam, yogurt and chocolate syrup. 'We found about one out of three had mercury above the detection limit,' Wallinga said."
Please check out the following link for more information on this study. Is there anything we can eat anymore?
Show-Me Opinions would like to thank Cherish, from Oak Grove, Arkansas (Carroll County) for a look at some pictures she just took from the storm. This looks eerily similar to what we experienced in Southwest Missouri in January 2007. We are wishing everyone down in the heaviest precip zone much luck.
My question is this: What does a board of governors do then? Maybe someone can fill me in. The MSSU website gives the qualifications for its members, but fails to mention what they do. So that leads me to the dictionary. Here is what the dictionary defines a governor as : "a person charged with the direction or control of an institution." Hmmm... doesn't seem to me like the MSSU Board of Governors fits that definition.
So, the Board doesn't have any control on the direction of the Univesity? That is what it sounds like to me. Either that or they just aren't wanting to be associated with the decisions being made by Dr. Speck. Of course, could you blame them?
Monday, January 26
Sunday, January 25
Here is the statement from the Weather Service on what to expect:
...ICE STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM MONDAY TO MIDNIGHT CST
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SPRINGFIELD HAS ISSUED AN ICE
STORM WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM MONDAY TO MIDNIGHT
CST TUESDAY NIGHT. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.
FREEZING RAIN LEADING TO ICE ACCUMULATIONS OF UP TO ONE INCH ARE
EXPECTED FOR AREAS ALONG AND SOUTH OF A LINE FROM ANDERSON
TO EMINENCE. SLEET WILL ALSO OCCUR THROUGHOUT THIS EPISODE OF
FREEZING RAIN AND SLEET WILL COMMENCE OVER FAR SOUTHERN MISSOURI
MONDAY EVENING...CONTINUING IN INTERMITTENT FASHION THROUGH
TUESDAY EVENING. THIS WINTER STORM WILL EXIT EAST OF THE REGION
SOME LOCATIONS OF FAR SOUTHERN MISSOURI WILL EXPERIENCE HIGH
IMPACTS FROM THIS EPISODE OF WINTER WEATHER. SIGNIFICANT ICE
ACCUMULATIONS ON ELEVATED SURFACES SUCH AS TREES AND POWER LINES
WILL CAUSE POWER OUTAGES. ROAD SURFACES WILL ALSO BECOME ICE
COVERED. INTERESTS ACROSS FAR SOUTHERN MISSOURI ARE URGED TO
IMMEDIATELY PREPARE FOR THIS ICE STORM...AND MONITOR UPDATED
FORECASTS AND STATEMENTS ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN
One of the projects that has been keeping me so busy at work is the launch of our new website. My partner Kristin (the brains behind the operation) has put an enormous amount of time and energy into creating not only a fun but also an educational place for those that love to cook and entertain.There will be plenty of cool contests and prizes, you will also have the opportunity to learn about organic and all natural spices. Plus we have a couple of celebrities that will be joining us!!!!
We are about two weeks away from going live,
So... if you have a cooking video that you would like to share with us, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The video needs to be no longer than 2 minutes and can be serious or funny.
Come join the fun!
This morning's Springfield News-Leader profiles the brave soul who has already accomplished many things in his life. This gig is just one more to add to the resume. He was the world record holder in kayaking, a director of a community symphony, and has been bit by a shark.
Because of CBS guidelines, we aren't allowed to know ahead of time how well he did, but judging by what he has already gone through in his life... I would say he is a prime candidate to win the game.
Saturday, January 24
Move over Janet Jackson! There is a new queen of wardrobe malfunctions in town. Russian figure skater Ekaterina Rubleva was in the middle of her routine with her partner and things seemed to be going great. They were... until her partner, Ivan Shefer, began to twirl her. That is when her top began to slide down, exposing more of Ms. Rubleva than anyone attending the European Championships expected to see. The two finished the routine seemingly unphased, but began to show emotion after leaving the ice.
The saddest part of the story? The pair finished in 12th place. Apparently, even flashing the judges with her breasts wasn't enough to place them in the top 3. Said one judge about the performance, "I was very underwhelmed." Inquiring minds want to know... to which part of the performance was he referring?
Thursday, January 22
I don't know if I should wonder this out loud or not, but is this the beginning of the end of MSSU? I am not specifically just referring to these cuts, but if you have been following the cuts at the campus it is difficult to comprehend how long these types of decisions can continue to come down from the top.
Here's a novel idea Dr. Speck... why don't you take a pay cut? Oh wait, that's right. You would rather pass along the incovenience to the single mothers who needed the child development center so they could continue their education. Well, here is an idea: maybe those mothers should look elsewhere to a college or university that cares about their well being. I realize times are hard and the decisions made in this financial environment are never easy, but I haven't seen one indication that you are willing to make sacrifices to your cozy lifestyle but you would rather pass the burden along to your faculty, staff, and students.
Maybe I missed something... and if so, someone please point me to the proof. Until then I am sticking by my thoughts. I once thought so much of MSSU... what a wonderful campus with excellent resources and an ambitious mission. I can't say I think so highly of what it is quickly becoming under the current leadership.
CNN is reporting this evening that New York Governor David Patterson will announce his selection for Hillary Clinton's Senate seat replacement tomorrow. This comes just about a day after Caroline Kennedy announced that she was withdrawing her name from consideration for the seat. Many political insiders believe that Kennedy removed herself after she was informed that she would not be selected.
That leaves open the question... who will fill the Senate seat?? Reuters is reporting tonight that the seat has basically boiled down to 2 people: Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Representative Kirsten Gillibrand. Neither one of these selections would be as much of a lightning rod as would have the selection of Ms. Kennedy.
There are other rumors and speculation as to why Kennedy withdrew her name from consideration, but I am not going to speculate about that for now. We must now wait and see who the new Senator will be.
Wednesday, January 21
A quick check of MGE's website confirms this news and says that it would save the average customer $23 a month on their bill. I am thoroughly impressed that there is a company out there that is acknowledging the drop in wholesale prices and is passing some of that savings on to the consumer. That kind of business philosophy isn't very common these days.
Thank you MGE!
I have been thinking a lot lately about the ramifications if Roy Blunt runs for Senate and wins. That leaves open one of the most protected US House districts in the state, if not the nation. The question that has to be asked is this: who would run for that seat?
There is a lot of buzz that Matt Blunt might make a run for the House and it is very possible that he could win it. It is likely the only district in Missouri that would still elect him. But, if not Blunt, who?
I don't know the answer to that question, but here is my hope: that both sides would run strong candidates for the position. I don't know if the Democrats are willing to risk throwing a term-limited Sara Lampe into the mix, but she would be a formidable force. Republicans could run someone like Gary Nodler or Jack Goodman and have a lot of success. I just don't want the 7th district to become an afterthought to both of the parties.
I am curious as to who you would be interested in seeing run for the seat if Roy Blunt vacates it. Please comment below.
Sunday, January 18
Yesterday, my blogging compadre decided to stub her pinky toe on her bed (or as she describes it "trying to move the bed with one toe"). Now it is likely broken. 24 hours after the incident she is hobbling around like a granny and is moving slower than her daughter who is in her final days of pregnancy.
Oh how quickly things can change... we're hoping for a quick and speedy recovery for you! ;-)
Tuesday, January 13
Monday, January 12
Beck took the time to thank viewers and his family in a letter posted on KY3's website. You can check out the letter by clicking here.
While I am glad that Brandon is better from a health standpoint, KY3 is healthier with Brandon's arrival back to the morning program. I am sure that many viewers would agree that an Ozarks Today without Brandon Beck really isn't the same Ozarks Today that everyone has become accustomed to.
Is it just me or does there seem to be more helicopter and private plane crashes lately? Maybe this has taken the place of shark attacks or school shootings that media will really focus on for a couple of months and then never report on those situations again.
Sunday, January 11
I need to locate a couple of wooden barrels. The kind that look like the old barrels pirates used on their ships. I have seen the whiskey barrels but they are pretty expensive. So, if anyone could point me in the right direction I would greatly appreciate it!!!
Thursday, January 8
Several names have been bantered about already. On the Democratic side, the only name that seems to be surfacing is Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. While other names have been whispered about in the past, including State Auditor Susan Montee, Carnahan appears to be the only serious contender on the Democratic side.
The situation isn't as clear on the Republican side. Three names have already been mentioned as seriously considering a run. Those are Jim Talent, Sarah Steelman, and Roy Blunt. Beyond those three, other names have been publicized in the media. They include Kenny Hulshof, Gov. Matt Blunt, and JoAnn Emerson.
The only definite no I see on any of these lists is Matt Blunt. He is very unpopular and many believe we will learn more about his email scandal once he leaves office. This pretty much would eliminate him from running. The rest of the pack is not so cut and dried.
If I were betting, I would say that the inside track goes to Talent or Steelman for the Republican nomination. But I am not a betting man. It will be interesting to see where the chips fall as the weeks and months progress. Only one thing is for sure, if the Republicans want to keep this seat their nominee has to not be as bruised or as beaten up in the primary as Hulshof was in the race for governor.
Tuesday, January 6
So again I ask, how? How could two grown people just simply decide he has ran away and that's that or better yet, do they really expect the police or the rest of us to say, ok, sorry we bothered you?
The story did not specify who reported the now 19 year old missing, but chances are good that it wasn't the adoptive parents. Chances are even better that no matter where he is at today, he's in a much better place!
Monday, January 5
If you are a fan of Ted Keller, Tom Trtan, and Jill Gilardi then you will like the fact that they have set up a weather forum on their homepage to discuss the weather happenings. The forums haven't been up and running very long so it may take a while for the activity to pick up, but it is definitely a good idea/concept.
One of the most difficult things about the message board is the fact that it is hidden within the site. You can check out the site by clicking here.
A couple of things to consider for the week ahead:
1) Who will be the new Cabinet nominee to replace Bill Richardson?
2) Will SW Missouri ever see any snow?
3) How long will Israel remain in Gaza?
4) Will Roland Burris be seated this week in the US Senate?
5) Can the Lady Bears ever win again?
Feel free to prognosticate today if you have the answers. Have a good day!
Sunday, January 4
You can catch up with a little bit of Mr. Carnesi by clicking this link.
None of the injuries reported at the bar were serious, but many of the customers complained of hangovers this morning. Luckily for the bar owners, they can't be held liable for those.
In reading some of the comments on Ky3 by viewers regarding the new laws here in Missouri, most of the comments seem to center around how hard it was to make ends meet. One person leaving a comment told readers how he owned three cars had a great job, lots of money and then went on to call them all losers.
While I certainly don't agree with leaving such a comment about how well off one may be or putting one down because they are not, I also don't agree with expecting the government to fix our financial hardships anymore than they should be fixing the car industries hardships. But, my point is this... long way around to get to my point.
No amount of money can buy the most precious things that we have, as John Travolta and his wife Kelly so tragically found out this week. They lost their 16-year old son Jett, who died when he suffered a seizure and hit his head. This family had plenty of material things and money to do whatever they wanted, yet it could do nothing to help save their son.
So, the next time you brag about all you have or complain about all you feel you should have but don't, remember where your real wealth lies. As for me, I would rather eat a peanut butter sandwich in the dark surrounded by my family than to eat a lobster dinner with money to burn and alone.
Friday, January 2
There was a letter to the editor in a local newspaper today that really got me fuming. The letter writer, whom I will refer to as Jo to keep his or her good name from being tainted by their lack of understanding about public safety, believes that we should not blow tornado sirens for the duration of a warning. Yes, you read that correctly... Jo believes that you should sound the siren for a few seconds and then not sound it again unless they see rotation or a tornado on the ground. So far I am giving Jo the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he/she feels that the sirens make people cry wolf or are ineffective, or some other logical argument. Nope...
Let me quote Jo: "When they blow the sirens I can't hear my tv . . . or worst of all, I couldn't hear a tornado if it was right on top of me. " (Does Jo live in a bird nest? I live close to a siren and I am pretty sure I can still hear my tv. Besides that, I am not for sure that finishing up the last five minutes of Days of Our Lives is as important as taking shelter! It is a tornado warning for heaven's sake! Besides, the person in danger at the end of the show always is rescued in the first five minutes the next day. Save yourself the time, won't you?)
But Jo isn't finished. "I understand that you need to let the people know about the possibility or threat of severe weather, but to constantly blow the sirens is, in my opinion, overkill." What a novel idea! Let's just blow it for thirty seconds or so and then shut it off. That wouldn't confuse people! No!!!!! No one would think the threat was over and head on with their lives. But wouldn't that 30 seconds of sirens interrupt the introduction of Today's Special Value on QVC? I bet tornado sirens have contributed to the recession we are in today. Darn those annoying things!
But I digress. Here is my point. In May 2003 the city of Monett had the policy that they would only blow the sirens during a Tornado Warning if there was rotation spotted, much like Jo suggested in his/her letter. By the time spotters relayed the information that a tornado had touched down in Pierce City and the sirens began to sound, that same tornado was traveling just a mile north of the city limits. Some of the sirens couldn't sound because the power had already been lost. Had that tornado have traveled one mile further south, lives would have undeniably been lost because of the city of Monett's decision to only blow the sirens once they saw something. After May 4, 2003, the city revised its policy (and for good reason).
Tornado sirens aren't designed to be the only method of warning, but they have become an essential component to warning the public. I am sorry that Jo's priorities lies in his/her favorite programs and not on the safety of the public. Well Jo, here is a suggestion... why don't you invest in DVR? Then you can find out what happens to John, Marlena, Bo, and Hope whenever those noisy sirens aren't interrupting your precious tv time.
This news is a little old, but is still worth mentioning. Sara Sheffield is no longer working for KY3. The news was delivered last week to a shocked group of viewers. The reason behind Ms. Sheffield leaving is simple... she has been married to anchor Ethan Forhetz since April and because the couple are now expecting a bundle of joy they felt it was the perfect time for her to change her name on-air to Sara Forhetz. So, while the title of this blog post was merely to catch your attention, it is technically true. While Ms. Sheffield no longer works for the station, Mrs. Forhetz looks to be reporting for KY3 for years to come.
Congrats to Sara and Ethan... and we look forward to having a new addition to the KY3 family in June.
The Chart is an award-winning publication from MSSU and is worth checking out. The site hasn't been updated since the fall semester ended, but it will pick back up when the new semester begins. I am adding it to our Sites To See on the left and hope you will check it out.
Thursday, January 1
And oh... HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
UPDATE: I have put all the links back in the left column.