July 31, 2007

Let’s Just Talk

Posted in General at 12:48 pm by thevoicesofstuart

mouths_small1.jpgBy Peggy Schlichter

It is time to talk about something different.  I am tired on the usual stuff. 

So here is a chance to start your own discussion.

Anyone have a cool project going on?

Need to talk out an idea?

Let’s see where this goes.

July 30, 2007

Income Tax: Do We Really Have To Pay?

Posted in General at 12:42 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

I remember through the years hearing different stories about people challenging the government over the requirement to pay income tax.  Most were written off as cranks, kooks, nutcases and weirdos.   Most were convicted and sent to jail.  Many were considered to be tilting at windmills.

While surfing the web yesterday I stumbled across a Google Video that caught my eye.  Then it caught my attention enough to take a peek and see what it was all about.  The next thing I knew a hour and a half had passed and I was left thinking that maybe those folks weren’t quite so crazy after all.  Well maybe crazy when it comes to taking on the Federal Government and the IRS.  Never the less it was interesting.

Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to research the tax code laying out everything in a logical, (if you can ever call the tax code logical) well documented, and cohesive manner. The result was proving that paying income tax on salaries is not required.  It tracks every criteria from the constitution through the statutes and regulations that comprise the law.

Amazingly enough it is not mind numbing, confusing or unintelligable.  In fact at some points I wished that it moved a little faster.  But the reinforcement by review at different points allows you to reconsider what you thought you knew about Income Tax.

You will need a high speed connection to watch the film and about an hour and a half of time.  Its called “Theft By Deception – Deciphering The Federal Income Tax”.

After watching this I searched for other information on the IRS dispute and noticed a post on c/net’s News.com from July 2006 about Aaron Russo’s documentary “America – From Freedom to Fascism”. If you are not familiar with who he is you will surely remember the two movies he directed, The Rose and Trading Places.  C/nets review on the subject provides an overview and balance about the documentary.

At this point I remembered the Democracy Countdown post I did a while back and figured it was worth a peek also.  After searching the web to find a copy I made some supper and sat down to watch.

This documentary talks about the IRS and the US Tax Code, the Federal Reserve Banking System, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips, 9/11 info, the Patriot Act, the Real ID Act passed last year and several trade agreements.

All in all it provides a different perspective that you would not normally get form established news sources.  Again watching this requires a high speed connection and time.

Let it be known that I am not a Libertarian.  I am not suggesting anyone not pay taxes.  I do not wish to start a revolution or any other uprising.  I am not even sure I buy into all that I heard. I simply offer this as a different point of view that is thought provoking and interesting for those of you who wish to consider events that bear an impact our lives, freedom and future.

After watching I would be interested in what you think.

July 28, 2007

Is This Stuart Iowa?

Posted in General at 4:06 pm by thevoicesofstuart

This is a comment submitted from New Virgina – Iowa 

Is this Stuart IA? I am looking to move here and I stumbled upon this blog. If so, I am concerned about the services of the town. What kind of library do you have and is the director any good? Also, how would you rate the service of your police department?

Who wants to answer?

First The Eggs, Now The Mailbox Bashing

Posted in City News at 10:07 am by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

stinkers.jpg

It seems the stinkers are at it again.  Two mailboxes on S. Park got bashed Thursday night.  One not so bad but one with the side caved in.

Please don’t give them any ideas. 

July 27, 2007

Right-Of-Ways and Eminent Domain

Posted in Sidewalks at 3:11 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

It seems that there is some concern about right-of-ways and eminent domain by some readers.

To refresh your memories please see this previous post on sidewalks and right-of-ways.

Sidewalks and Trails cannot be the same path. 

I have not seen the engineering plan for the proposed trail.  Without seeing the exact route location of where the trail is going it will do no good to speculate.

Go here for infomation on Iowa eminent domain laws.  This is the best all inclusive site I could find giving a complete overview of Iowa law with out boring you with the Iowa Code.

July 26, 2007

Mechanical Failure Leads To Stuart Bypass

Posted in City News at 10:32 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

Here is a copy of the article from the Adair County Free Press about a problem at the Stuart Treatment Plant on Monday.

Has anyone else heard about this? 

The time of the incident is probably why the information missed the cut-off for the Herald this week.

Treatment Plant Problem

July 25, 2007

I Think They Need A New Proof Reader

Posted in City News at 7:49 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

Reading the Stuart Herald tonight I happened across the Legal Notices and discovered the Notice of Hearing and Letting for the proposed walking/bike trail. 

Here is the excerpt from todays Stuart Herald. 

Notice anything?

Excerpt From Proposal 

This should cut the price tag down considerably. 

Tightrope anyone?

What’s With All The Eggs?

Posted in my thoughts at 3:06 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

That’s right eggs. 

Last week the Police Station and a patrol car got egged.  Today I go to lunch and hear that the City Hall and Morrisons car lot got egged last night.  That’s right folks we have a stinker running around town throwing eggs.

All kidding aside, I have to wonder if this is just another symptom of what a shallow hold the current police situation has on the overall security and protection of citizens and property.  Now don’t go crazy on me here because I am not saying it is any one persons’ fault.  One person did not put the police department in their current situation.  It took the city council to do that.  

Without the benefit of having any current police statistics to look at it is hard to quantify the current situation.  There have been no monthly police statistics submitted to the City Council since December 2006.  I have to wonder if the City Council will care now that City Hall has egg on its face, so to speak.

July 23, 2007

Joint Meeting Of Depot Restoration Committee & Historic Preservation Commission

Posted in Agenda at 4:27 pm by thevoicesofstuart

DEPOT RESTORATION COMMITTEE

HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION

JOINT MEETING

TUESDAY, JULY 24, 2007

CITY HALL

7:00 P. M.

Welcome to new members

Doris Bench will update us on the Depot

Preservation Commission will give an in-depth review of:

1 – Bates-Adams building (present Ruppert Funeral Home)

2 – The Ryans of Stuart

3 – The old Hotel Stuart

Any of the general public interested in the above topics are welcome to attend.

General discussion.

July 21, 2007

I Apologize, I Misspoke

Posted in City News at 12:59 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

I apologize to all readers and to the city.  Without stopping to think about what I actually knew for fact I posted information that I cannot guarentee as true.  I have removed the post.

What I can say as true is that there is a civil lawsuit between Josephine Weston and the City of Mitchelville is recorded on Iowa Courts Online.  This is public information available to anyone who wishes to look. 

There has been no council meeting that I know of. 

Again, I apologize.  

July 19, 2007

My Thoughts On The Monday Night Meeting

Posted in my thoughts at 11:43 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

Why are they so afraid of a referendum? 

The simple answer is that they know their priorities are skewed, and if asked, the citizens will not approve these expenses at this time.    

So let’s look at where the city stands on projects right now and the implacations of carring forward with skewed priorities.   

We need a new bath house.  That is a given.  But do we need the current configuration and price tag for a facility that is used 4 months out of the year? 

The current configuration price tag is $500,000. for the bath house.  

This will be the anchor building for a proposed aquatic center that had a estimated price tag of $1.3 to $1.6 million depending on the option chosen.  Included in that total was an estimated price tag of $400,000. for the bath house.  So under the current situation the new total cost for the aquatic center is now $1.4 to $1.7 million. 

Fundraising so far has raised $90,000. which is really 2 years of L.O.S.T monies being saved by the city to help fund the aquatic center.  No other amount has been mentioned to date on the results from other fundraising efforts.

The $300,000. USDA zero interest loan is only accessible if the entire project is funded. 

Funding the entire project is not an option at this time because of other city needs being forced on them.  (Their words, not mine.)

So what are the other “city needs” being forced on them.  

Please keep in mind that the current available bonding capacity of the city is just under $4 million.  And that a new city hall is the only project currently recognized by the bonding attorney as qualifing for Urban Renewal/Economic Development TIF monies.  Not a trail or bath house or any of the other current proposed projects.  Additioinally any TIF monies used count against bond capacity limits.  Using a Annual Appropriation Provision on TIF and General Obligation Bonds is a option available to help limit the amount included in figuring the available bond capacity each year.  Under that provision the only amount that counts against bond capacity is the portion being paid each year.  The downside to that provision is that it is easy to over obligate the city’s ability to meet all bond payments annually by mistaking the available bond capacity and over borrowing.  If that happens and the city cannot make its annual bond payments it will be forced to unincorporate and return to township status.  While the upside gives the benefit of stretching the bond capacity.  While this option is legal it requires caution in its use.    

The city has been given 90 days to come up with “a plan” to address the remedy of ADA Compliance Issues to the satisfaction of the DOJ.  This plan will require actual implementation this time so a good portion of bonding capacity will be used.  At this time the committee has had one meeting.  They have asked Forrest Aldrich to look at the Masonic Temple and evaluate it.  No other evaluations were requested.  Until such time that the committee does more evaluations and recieves estimates for other options the funding requirement is unknown.  If new facilites are built the price tag could run somewhere in the $2.5 to $5 million range by the time you figure the different configurations/options possible and decide on the best solution, temporary relocation costs, demolition, construction and other fees.  This is the worst case scenario but is best used for planning purposes until better info is obtained.  The upside to this is that we would have new facilities allowing every citizen access to city govenment and community services everyday.  The downside is that the price tag will seriously reduce our available bond capacity for other infastructure needs.  Serious research and discussion is a must to develop a workable plan that will not wipe out the bond capacity, satisfy ADA compliance and allow for other infastructure needs.  This type of consideration is what I need to see to gain confidence in the councils ability to effectively steer the city. 

What are the other current city needs not being discussed or planned for at this time:  sewer/storm drain upgrades, extensions, repairs,  street and sidewalk improvements, repairs, and  water line replacements, to name a few.

What other current projects are in the process of being funded at this time:  

The reconstruction of 3 blocks of N. Division Street with a price tag of $575,000. which was unplanned or budgeted for but is a bonafide need. 

A Walking/Bike Trail with a estimated price tag of $100,000. for phase one with intent to go directly to phase two with a estimated price tag of $140,000 which is a nice to have item.  The project is being done in asphalt and no estimates or provisions for annual maintainence have been programed.

Then there are the projects that are still being paid off.  While I have not done a lot of research on this the total is only 12% of our bonding capacity which does not endanger the ability to really make some much needed changes in infrastructure.

All in all, these considerations require a concerted effort to develop a workable plan.  Disturbingly I have not seen effort in this direction.

Why is that?         

July 18, 2007

A Little History Lesson

Posted in General at 6:24 pm by thevoicesofstuart

I received this from a friend of mine today and thought it was a interesting read.  Some you may already know these origins, some you may not.  Either way enjoy.

In George Washington’s days, there were no cameras. One’s image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted. Arms and legs are “limbs,” therefore painting them would cost the buyer more.  Hence the expression, “Okay, but it’ll cost you an arm and a leg.

As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths only twice a year (May and October)! Women kept their hair covered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. They couldn’t wash the wigs, so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell, and bake it for 30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term “big wig.” Today we often use the term “here comes the Big Wig” because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.

In the late 1700s, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded down from the wall, and was used for dining. The “head of the household” always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor Occasionally a guest, who was usually a man, would be invited to sit in this chair during a meal. To sit in the chair meant you were important and in charge. They called the one sitting in the chair the “chair man.” Today in business, we use the expression or title “Chairman” or “Chairman of the Board.”

Personal hygiene left much room for improvement. As a result, many women and men had developed acne scars by adulthood. The women would spread bee’s wax over their facial skin to smooth out their complexions. When they were speaking to each other, if a woman began to stare at another woman’s face she was told, “mind your own bee’s wax.” Should the woman smile, the wax would crack, hence the term “crack a smile” In addition, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt. Therefore, the expression “losing face.”

Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and dignified woman, as in “straight laced” .. . . Wore a tightly tied lace.

Common entertainment included playing cards.  However, there was a tax levied when purchasing playing cards but only applicable to the “Ace of Spades.”  To avoid paying the tax, people would purchase 51 cards instead.  Yet, since most games require 52 cards, these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren’t “playing with a full deck.”

Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what the people considered important. Since there were no telephones, TV’s or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars. They were told to “go sip some ale” and listen to people’s conversations and political concerns. Many assistants were dispatched at different times. “You go sip here” and “You go sip there.” The two words “go sip” were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and, thus we have the term “gossip.”

At local taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid’s job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming.  She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in “pints” and who was drinking in “quarts,” hence the term “minding your “P’s and Q’s.

In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon. However, how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one problem…how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate called a “Monkey” with 16 round indentations. However, if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make “Brass Monkeys.” Few land lubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would come right off the monkey. Thus, it was quite literally, “Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.” (All this time, you thought that was an improper expression, didn’t you.)

July 17, 2007

Interesting Evening (Updated)

Posted in Council Meetings at 8:10 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

Everyone can rest easy Stuart BP’s Liquor License was renewed without a hitch.

The Bath House project received several  setbacks when the council was notified that the USDA zero interest loan money would not be available for use on the project.  It seems that the grant was written for the Aquatic Center as a whole.  Unless they intend to go forward on the entire project the USDA money will not be released.  Without the grant money the cost of the bath house is $500,000. which exceeds the $400,000. limit for general obligation bonding and requires a referendum (ballot vote) for approval. 

A representative from Ruan Securities was on hand to talk to the council on their options for funding the bath house.  He explained that there were 3 options available to the council:

1.  Proceed with the referendum for the full amount of $500,000.  General Corporate Purpose Bond on the November ballot.  This option requires a 60% “yes” vote by the public to proceed.

2.  Pay down the project to just under $400,000. and proceed with the General Corporate Purpose Bond to fund the project.  This option is subject to reverse referendum.  Reverse referendum means that the public has 15 days from the date of the council vote to approve the bond to submit a petition to force the bond to referendum anyway.  The petition requires the signatures of 10% of the registered voters of the city.  

3.  Amend the Urban Renewal Plan to include all the proposed city projects and TIF the project.  This option eliminates the requirement for either type of referendum and allows the council to proceed imediately.  There are obstacles to this option.  In previous talks with the city’s bond attorney last week the Ruan Securities representative stressed that of all the proposed city projects the only project the bond attorney recognizes as qualifing under the Urban Renewal/Economic Development provisions is the new City Hall.   He also proposed that the comfort level of the bond attorney might be increased if the bond paperwork was accompanied with letters from every city business owner stating they believe the project will increase their business, entice more families to move to town and deter families from leaving town for another community. 

The council chose to go with option 3. 

The contract was voted approved pending acquisition of spending authority.

Attorney Bump notified the council that they may be asked in the future to approve additional attorney fees for outside council representing several city employees.  He will be representing the mayor and the city but felt that it would be a conflict of interest on his part to represent the employees also.  When asked why it was necessary for representation he informed the council that the Ombudsman Office has required their attendance in Adel for depositions regarding the actions of the mayor and a city employee.  No charges have been filed at this time.  When asked what the investigation was about Attorney Bump said they were the result of citizen complaints.

Update Info:

Two new police officers were recommend and approved for hire.  They are:

Josephine Weston – hired at $31,000. with a increase to $31,500. after re-certification.  Her previous position was eliminated by budget cuts.  She has been in private business with her husband in W. Des Moines for the last 13 months.  Based on the time out of certification she is required 24 hours of in-house training to be re-certified. 

David Reha – hired at $29,000. with a increase to $30,000. after re-certification.  For the next three years he will receive a $500. annual increase along with the regular cost-of-living increases as incentive to remain here.  He is currently a certified officer in Colorado.  ILEA is checking to see how much of the Colorado certification credits are transferable to Iowa.  Depending on their decision he may only have to take the short course of 8 weeks in Waterloo or it is even possible that he can “test out” to re-certify. 

Both are required to relocate and establish residence within the city limits by the end of 6 months. 

Both have current MMPI scores and have signed waivers for access to the information.

Both were getting criminal history checks done today.   

July 14, 2007

Special Meeting, Stuart City Council

Posted in Agenda at 1:31 am by thevoicesofstuart

STUART CITY COUNCIL
SPECIAL MEETING
TENTATIVE AGENDA
MONDAY, JULY 16, 2007
6:30 P.M
COUNCIL CHAMBERS

1.)        CALL TO ORDER

2.)        AGENDA APPROVAL 
        
3.)        STUART BP LIQUOR LICENSE

4.)        SWIMMING POOL /BATHHOUSE PROJECT

            A – RESOLUTION NO. 07-25C APPROVING CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT AND BOND

5.)        POLICE DEPARTMENT

6.)        ADJOURNMENT

July 13, 2007

How About Those Fairs!

Posted in General at 3:13 pm by thevoicesofstuart

Submitted by Anonymous for discussion.

What do you enjoy most about the county or state fairs?  What would you like to see more of at the fairs?

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