The Morrison Chamber of Commerce would like to express their sincerest gratitude to all of the businesses, organizations, school groups, churches, and individuals that participated in the 26th Annual Morrison Christmas Walk celebration. Those that attended the two-day celebration were treated to a truly community event, including the lighting of the Christmas tree, live nativity, lighted parade, Christmas Tree Walk Auction, church suppers, entertainment, refreshments, and warm hospitality.
Winners of the Christmas Walk Parade were Best Decorated Vehicle – Resthave Nursing & Retirement Home; Best Entry by a Community Group – Kids for Christ; Best Entry by a Business – Morrison Community Hospital EMS; Most Spirited Entry- Henry C. Adam Memorial Library; and Best Use of Theme - Morrison Elementary School.
Trees that were recognized in the Christmas Tree Walk Auction were Best of Show – Vegter Steel Fabrication, Kelly Vegter decorator; Honorable Mention – Morrison Schools Foundation, Heather Bush decorator; Most Creative – Morrison Community Hospital – Administration Department decorators; Traditional Christmas – Resthave Nursing & Retirement Home, Tawnya Bottoms & Marcia Blean decorators; and Highest Bid on a Tree – Fat Boy’s Bar & Grill, Heather Bramm decorator. Winners are reminded to pick up their trees at the Chamber of Commerce Office. Proceeds benefit “Banners for Main Street.”
This year’s Christmas Walk would not have been possible without the assistance of these generous sponsors: Morrison Auto Supply, Inc., The Dancer’s Hut, CGH Morrison Health & Vision Center, Wells Fargo Bank, Community State Bank, The National Bank, Farmers National Bank, Sterling Federal Bank, Whiteside News Sentinel/Shawver Press, The Prairie Advocate News, Ashford University, and the Dunlap Lodge #321. Special thanks to the City of Morrison Public Works Department, Maurits & Jost Insurance Agency, Morrison Police Department, Nelson’s Electric, Rick’s Auto Body, Brethren in Christ Church, Santa & Mrs. Claus, Santa’s elves, the parade judges and line-up volunteers, parade announcer Brian Zschiesche, Mayor Everett Pannier, Eric Phend, Sharon Habben, and Christmas Walk Committee Members: Nance Anderson, Jean Eggemeyer, Jan Roggy, Diane Garcia, Heather Toppert, and Stephanie Vavra.
Morrison Chamber of Commerce
Friday, December 06, 2013—another day that will “live in infamy.”
It’s been reported that on the day before the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, December 07, 1941, the Obama Administration said it will give the okay for wind farm companies to kill or maim eagles for up to thirty years without penalty.
In 1789, George Washington became our Nation’s first President and the American Bald Eagle became our Country’s official bird. Almost 150 years later the American Bald Eagle was protected under the National Emblem Act of 1940.
President John F. Kennedy later wrote: “The Founding Fathers made an appropriate choice when they selected the bald eagle as the emblem of the nation. The fierce beauty and proud independence of this great bird aptly symbolizes the strength and freedom of America.”
The destruction of the symbol of our great country, the United States of America, is going to be allowed because of the greed of the wind energy industry (owned by China, Spain, Ireland, and who knows what other countries), and the desire of the President to go “green.” I’ve really developed a strong distaste for that color.
Countless young Americans have died fighting to protect our nation, which has as its emblem this wonderful bird. I wonder what the veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Viet Nam War, the Gulf War, and the currently enlisted young men and women still fighting and being killed, might think about the Administration’s decision?
Hospice of the Rock River Valley Thank You
Twenty-four years ago, a group of community members joined forces to create the first Festival of Trees benefiting Hospice of the Rock River Valley. Now, the Festival of Trees event continues as a tradition encompassing the entire Sauk Valley area.
The Festival of Trees would not be possible without the contributions given by the generosity of the communities we serve. Hospice of the Rock River Valley says thank you to all businesses, organizations, volunteers, decorators, chairpersons, sponsors, donors and the general public for the generous amount of time, talent, and financial support given to the Festival of Trees. We realize your resources are limited and precious and we truly appreciate your expressions of support in an effort to help us continue helping others.
The proceeds from the Festival of Trees assist Hospice of the Rock River Valley, a United Way partner agency, in providing care and support to the terminally ill and their families at no cost. The professional staff and team of volunteers have offered expert and compassionate care for over 30 years to those during a most vulnerable time. Services include nursing care, social work, pastoral and bereavement services, volunteer support, inpatient and respite care, music therapy, as well as medications, medical supplies and equipment. Although Hospice services are reimbursable, the reimbursement does not totally cover the actual costs of providing our full range of Hospice services. This is why Hospice of the Rock River Valley relies heavily on community support to maintain our commitment of not passing on costs to our patients or their families.
On behalf of the staff, board of directors and volunteers, please accept our sincere and heartfelt thank you. Please know that through your generosity, you have helped to provide hope and compassionate care to your fellow community members.
We wish you and yours happiness throughout this holiday season.
Pope Francis and the Economists
By Dr. Alejandro Chafuen
The recent economic statements by Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (EG)read as a call for a “Third Way” economic system ruled by experts and people of good will. Pope Francis writes, “Growth in justice requires more than economic growth, while presupposing such growth: it requires decisions, programs, mechanisms and processes specifically geared to a better distribution of income, the creation of sources of employment and an integral promotion of the poor which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality.”
Pope Francis does not call for the socialization of the economic system and he does not point to any totalitarian country as a model. He states that this is “not a social document” and recommends the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church as a more substantial guide for study and reflection. Nevertheless, as he did not include references to point 42 of John Paul II’s seminal encyclical Centessimus Annus, which legitimizes a free-enterprise system based on a rule of law respect of human dignity, and as Francis’ language sometimes seems hostile to free markets, many Christian economists, and policy pundits, are alarmed. Several have questioned if the Pope has been negatively influenced by the Peronist culture of Argentina. Peronism has, as one of its pillars, an economic system that falls between socialism and capitalism. Juan Domingo Peron was an early champion of the Third Way.
In EG, the Pope reaffirms that the Church does not have a “monopoly on the interpretation of social realities or the proposal of solutions to contemporary problems.” Within the hierarchy of the Church, many different economists are consulted. One economist who has a strong influence on the Vatican is Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, who some credit for dressing the Third Way economic system in academic garb.
There is no doubt, however, that Stiglitz’s writings had an impact on the second most influential Argentine at the Vatican: Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Science. Stiglitz was appointed to the academy in 2003 and had been chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton. John Allen, a respected Vatican observer, wrote in 2003 that Stiglitz, “in that capacity, will help guide Vatican policy on global economic issues.” Allen also added that Stiglitz was a personal favorite of Sánchez Sorondo. During a program sponsored by the Acton Institute, I had the privilege of sitting next to Sorondo and he told me that Stiglitz was indeed his favorite economist. John Allen further added: “Stiglitz argues that the Clinton team made a mistake by accepting that the government should stay out of economic policy, leaving the finance sector to dictate the rules of the game. Stiglitz is thus likely to bolster what has already been the strong line of John Paul II, that public authorities must intervene in economic affairs to ensure that the benefits of globalization work for the common good.”
Most of the statements on economics coming out of the Vatican that disturb free-market champions have been preceded by similar statements from noted economists. Such is the case with Francis’ apostolic exhortation. The paragraph that has garnered the most critical comments from market-oriented scholars is the one chiding the notion that economic growth will always “trickle-down” and “inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.” It is hard to find an economist who would argue that there are no exceptions to this theory. We can easily find high rates of growth coexisting with injustice and lack of inclusiveness. China and India are good examples.
The use of the word “trickle-down,” difficult to translate and usually used to denigrate the free economy, has opened the door for many discussions. It is likely that EG was originally written in Spanish. The Pope used the term “derrame” (spillover). Scottish philosopher and political economist Adam Smith wrote about the “universal opulence which extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people” in a “well-governed society.” When translated, “derrame” has been used for Smith’s word “extend.” Smith never defended “the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation.” He did not have an absolute “trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market” and he understood the importance of a well-governed society.
An incomplete litany of other laments and economic admonitions from the Pope include: “a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system”; accepting “the dominion of money over ourselves and our societies”; the “dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose”; the “widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion”; and “the invasion of ways of thinking and acting proper to … cultures which are economically advanced but ethically debilitated.”
Since the publication of EG, Catholic economists have been providing answers and criticisms to each of these points. We can note that empirical studies show that economic freedom is the best antidote to corruption. Also notable is the work of free-market scholars of great prestige, such as the late Wilhelm Roepke, who created blueprints for a “Humane Economy.”
The best contribution that free-market champions can make is to become outstanding and convincing economists so that influential leaders incorporate all economic truths into their moral admonitions. A good example to follow is that of Gary Becker, the Nobel Laureate from the Chicago School, who has been a member of the Pontifical Council of Science longer that Stiglitz. Becker’s sound economic research and his respectful demeanor during meetings at the Vatican earned him that spot. The writings of Nobel Laureates from other schools of thought sympathetic to free enterprise, such as F.A. Hayek and James Buchanan from the Austrian and Public Choice schools, also deserve more attention from the Vatican.
Juan Carlos de Pablo, one of the best professors at the Pontifical Catholic University in Buenos Aires, where I studied and taught, told his classes that, “if economists do not know economics, how can you blame the bishops for their economics?” Pope Francis has acknowledged the role of the laity in many areas, not only economics. Those of us who are Roman Catholics and are convinced about the economic and moral superiority of the free economy have a duty to engage the Vatican in a fruitful and respectful dialogue.
— Dr. Alejandro A. (Alex) Chafuen ‘84 is president of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation and a member of the board of advisors for The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. (The opinions expressed by the author are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Grove City College, Atlas Economic Research Foundation, or their boards of trustees.)
By Brian Stewart
IL State Representative, 89th District
Pension Reform is certainly the topic of the week in Illinois, but then again it has been and will continue to be the primary driver of the economy in Illinois for years to come. The General Assembly has been debating pension reform for more than a year now. The pension conference committee met for months before the four legislative leaders negotiated a final proposal. The debate was long and emotional on both sides and by now everyone in the state knows that the Conference Committee Report #1 to SB1 was passed in both the House (62-53), and the Senate (30-24) on Tuesday. Additionally, the Governor has promised to sign the bill immediately. Despite the lengthy negotiations, I do not believe this pension reform proposal will pass constitutional scrutiny and therefore voted NO.
The state’s pension systems are not in trouble because of any action by our state employees or teachers. They paid their required pension contributions into the system and deserve their pensions. We face a $100 billion unfunded pension liability because past Governors and General Assemblies diverted funds from pension systems to pay for overspending elsewhere.
The Governor and General Assembly have a constitutional responsibility to adequately fund the state’s pension systems and guarantee pension benefits of current state employees. There are very few retirees with lavish pensions. Most retired state employees and teachers receive a pension that averages less than $30,000 per year, and teachers do not receive social security.
I suspect as soon as the Governor signs the bill, lawsuits will be filed to protect the hard-earned benefits of teachers and state employees. The legislation will end up being litigated in the courts, costing the taxpayers even more money.
Real pension reform will not be easy or inexpensive for both retirees and taxpayers. However, this bill fails to resolve the whole problem in our state retirement systems and unfunded liabilities. SB1 is not a comprehensive and lasting solution for this state and it is unlikely that the state will be able to make the growing annual contributions necessary to restore the pension system to fiscal health without increasing taxes. Further, there are no guarantees that future Governors or legislatures will not violate the funding proposal. Regardless of where you stand on the bill there are parts that are both positive and negative. The entire bill was 327 pages and can be found for your reading pleasure online at ]http://www.ilga.gov, and on the left hand side of the webpage just type in “SB1” under the box that indicates search by number.
I also wanted to mention again that over the past week I received almost 1,000 calls, e-mails, and visits from those retirees being affected by the proposed changes and take every one seriously. I appreciate your feedback and thoughts and even though I may not have had the chance to speak or reply to each one of you, your input was considered.
In conclusion, I will continue to support all of the public employees of our state and will work to insure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. In the words of Rick Perry, “as Americans, we realize that there is no taxpayer money that wasn’t first earned through the sweat and toil of one of our citizens”.