by Elaine

What does it take to get that feast on the table?

November 24, 2010 in Community by Elaine

The Indiana Farm Bureau came out with their annual estimate of the cost of Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people. It is up $1.86 from last year. Even so, it is down $1.84 from the highest annual cost posted in 2007, which was $47.63.
The Indiana Farm Bureau figures are based on an informal survey of grocery stores statewide. With all the sales offered by grocery stores at this time of year, I wondered if the estimates included those or not. So I conducted my own informal survey of local stores. The prices I included were the regular prices, not the sale prices, which did substantially reduce my bill. See Table 1 for the results.
Okay, so depending on where you shop, the estimate from the Indiana Farm Bureau is not that out of line with what I found in the grocery stores last weekend. But I do contend that providing that bottom line number is a bit misleading. I say that because, unless you can buy just two eggs, ¼ cup of flour or a teaspoon or two of the spices, you have to spend much more to get everything you need to prepare a Thanksgiving feast. I put together a list of items I thought would be needed to prepare all of the above plus a dish or regular ol’ mashed potatoes – because it just isn’t Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes in my house. (See Table 2)
The results indicate you should be prepared to add about another 50 percent to the cost of the dinner, unless you can borrow ‘just a couple things’ from your neighbors. With all the concern about the cost of everything, we are all thankful to be able to put such a feast on our tables this Thursday – and to give what we can so that others less fortunate can partake as well.
Enjoy the feast, don’t forget to save a few dollars aside for the antacids and plop, plop, fizz, fizz and take time to show those around you how much they mean to you. Happy Thanksgiving.

What would Wendell eat for dinner?

November 24, 2010 in Living by Wendell Fowler

Nary a day goes by that I don’t remind my wife how utterly blessed she is to have me as her housemaid, er… husband. I work at home so when she triumphantly returns home from her job I have her cup of green tea prepared, dinner on the table, the laundry washed but not folded (I still can’t grasp the folding technique), daily clutter picked up, and have tended to our critter’s needs. That’s 7,300 dinners not including breakfast, but I’m not counting.
She laments the lack of healthy dinner selections at the university’s fast-food court options and hospital cafeteria where everything is cooked to oblivion, swimming in sauce, or fabricated beyond nutritional recognition. We’re always abashed at the irony of the presence of a burger joint in the lobby of a hospital, when science supports that fast food dinners destroy little children’s health. Greed forever trumps moral sensibilities. Typical dinner foods like Iceberg lettuce salads doused with bottled dressings, limp pasta assaulted with overcooked veggies and heavy cream, mystery burgers, fried chicken cackling in pork fat, 400-calorie each chicken wings, or an unoriginal salad bar evoking the curiosity, “Did they wash the produce before they plopped it into the salad bar?” There are always chunks of over-cooked farmed salmon or low grade fish from Thailand. Farm raised salmon are not fed their celestially designed diet, so if you’re seeking the Omega 3 EFA’s, tough luck. Farmed Atlantic Salmon are fed un-holy corn and cow byproducts from factory farms. Not what our creator planned. Deprived of their innate diet, salmon can’t produce the EFA’s we seek to prevent heart disease and strokes. Read the rest of this entry →

Waiting out the winter

November 24, 2010 in Outdoors by Carol Michel

The first seed catalog showed up in my mailbox earlier this week, right on schedule and on the same day I planted the last of the spring-flowering bulbs in the garden. On the back patio, two large brown tarps cover the bigger clay pots that are too heavy to carry around to the garage and the outdoor furniture, hopefully protecting them from snow and ice. Read the rest of this entry →

Torry's top ten sure-fire sales gimmicks to guarantee a big crowd in your store this Friday

November 24, 2010 in Torry's Top Ten by Torry Stiles

10. Offer the best products at the best prices and hope the Walmart lawyers don’t find out about it.
9. Start your big sales earlier: If the competition opens at 5 a.m. open your doors… oh, say … Tuesday.
8. Bring in clowns, actors, sleight-of-hand artists. Election Day was just a little while ago and there are several in need of work.
7. Sabotage your competition’s sound system so that it continuously plays Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.
6. Rent a bunch of those searchlights. Use the Batman logo just to keep people guessing.
5. Run a fake advertisement under your competition’s name offering a bunch of stuff they don’t sell.
4. Wait for the big crowd to form outside. Let them rush in and head to the rear of the store. Lock the doors.
3. Rent one of those inflatable bounce-y houses. If the sale is a bust at least your staff can have some fun.
2. You can always claim the price in the ad was a typographical error … Just get them in the doors and SELL! SELL! SELL!
1. Free beer.

Good music crosses generations

November 24, 2010 in Opinion by Mike Redmond

The other day, I was reminded of something so important that I can’t understand how I lost track of it to begin with.
I was getting dinner at that restaurant named after a group of guys who number more than four but less than six. I got the usual: one of their exceptionally good cheeseburgers (with everything) and an order – well, they call it an order but it’s more like a truckload – of the best fries I’ve had that weren’t homemade. Oh, and a Diet Coke. Gotta watch my calories, you know. Read the rest of this entry →

I’m thankful to have an ally

November 24, 2010 in Opinion by Kevin Kane

Unscientific studies show that about 75 percent of community newspaper columns published this week will contain the phrase “this year I’m thankful for…”
Well label me yet another statistic – sort of. Read the rest of this entry →

Be thankful for the bumps in the road too

November 24, 2010 in Opinion by Sherri Coner-Eastburn

A dear friend of mine and I were trekking toward Florida not long ago, talking like we always do, until we barely had spit left. One of the topics was about how the pain we survive in our lives always leads to something wonderful. Time and again. Read the rest of this entry →

Perry Township Schools faces possible big budget cuts

November 24, 2010 in Front Page News by Sarah Woodruff

The Metropolitan School District of Perry Township (MSDPT) Public Budget Meeting was hosted at Perry Township High School at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 22. The atmosphere for the budget meeting was both tense and filled with sincere concern for the school system. The Perry Township School system is facing a $10 million dollar deficit. In response to this deficit, Superintendent Dr. Thomas Little has organized a Community Advisory Panel which includes people of the community, school teachers, retirees, school parents and student leaders. The meeting tonight discussed the budget problems and possible community solutions to the budget.
Dr. Little opened the meeting sharing how appreciative he was of the high attendance. He also discussed the recent violent outbreaks at Southport High School and assured the community that extra security measures are being taken at this time. He stated that there will be zero tolerance for the current behavior at Southport High School. He also introduced the MSDPT School Safety Strategy which is on their website.
Dr. Little introduced the School Board Members and the Community Advisory Panel. He said the ultimate goal from this meeting is to gather information and get community input. “We love Southport, we love Perry Meridian High School. We will support our schools,” Little said.
Chuck Stumpf, a member of the Community Advisory Panel shared a disturbing statistic. “In seven years Perry Township is projected to have a budget of $81 million,” Stumpf said. The real challenge for the community and the school system is to see how to handle this kind of budget. “If this is not handled properly, the excellent schools we have today may not be the case in 2016,” Stumpf said.
The Community Advisory Panel suggested that a referendum could be a possible solution. They also communicated that if a solution is not found, there are possible consequences that include having to combine Southport and Perry Township High School as one high school, students’ families pay for all extracurricular activities and cutting out additional programs such as art, music and physical education.
Perhaps the biggest voices in the Community Panel came from the students themselves. Senior Class President of Perry Meridian High School Chris Sweeney expressed his passion for a solution to the budget problem especially as a student. “If only every student could be in the position I am in now (being a member of the community advisory panel), it could spark more interest,” Sweeney said.
Senior Class President of Southport High School Jonathan Goodwin also shares this passion and believes consequences such as combining both high schools will ultimately affect the schools’ culture. “I believe this would eliminate the culture between Perry Meridian High School and Southport High School,” Goodwin said. He believes having pride in your own school and keeping the friendly rivalry between the schools is important to the schools’ morale.
The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m. with a sense of hope and a strong sense of urgency to solve this budget crisis. The School Board Members are open to the opinions of the community and ultimately want what is best for the students. School Board member Jon Morris said, “We are going to be very careful and look carefully before we recommend a referendum.”
School Board Member Chuck Mercer said, “We are at a critical point in Perry Township. We have to take this very seriously. If we do take a referendum like the community advisory panel suggests, we need the community support.” Mercer ended the meeting with a closing remark for the community to look at what is best for the educational system. “One other fact I want you to remember is 65 percent of people who live in Perry Township are 65 years or older. Many have grandchildren. My favorite thing is a saying which is: This is why old men plant trees. And if we do this we are all going to be planting a tree that all of us may not sit under. This would be for the good of the community.”
For more information and to see a video of the meeting and meeting minutes; check out the Perry Township School District Website at websites.msdpt.k12.in.us/.

Recommendations on the table

Eliminate Choice program transportation ($161,000)
Eliminate central office administrator and secretary ($155,000)
Eliminate take home vehicles ($47,500)
Consider a general fund obligation bond referendum. The panel believes that a general fund bond referendum is in the best interest of Perry Township students and the community. The panel urges the school board to take the appropriate steps to put the referendum on the ballot as quickly as feasible.
Share the following statement with all employee groups; “We recognize that compensation expenses for all employees constitute 89 percent of the general fund budget and the panel has no authority or legal control over these expenses since they are negotiated between the MSDPT Board of Education and the Perry Education Association. We strongly encourage the Board of Education and the Perry Education Association to balance future changes in compensation to the fluctuations in general fund revenue and to reflect the general economic environment while giving priority to retaining existing programs and reinstituting programs previously eliminated.”
MSDPT meeting notes

Holiday shopping tips from Greenwood Park Mall

November 24, 2010 in Front Page News by Submission For The Southside Times

Pick shopping times wisely.  Best time to shop is on midweek mornings at 11 am.  Peak shopping is Saturday afternoons. 
You can call stores from home and have particular items put on hold. Read the rest of this entry →

A primer on new health care act

November 18, 2010 in Personal Finance by Steve Maple

No matter if you call the law
“Obamacare” or use its proper
name, “The Patient Protection
and Affordable Care Act,” you
need to know some of its basic
provisions. Read the rest of this entry →