Need a Job?

Do you need a job, or know someone who does? Are you unhappy with the job our elected officials are doing? Some of their jobs will be up for grabs this year, all you have to do is file as a candidate and get enough votes. Do you think that you can do their jobs better than they can? Let us know and we’ll help you get started. Here is a list of the opportunities in Itasca County and the City of Grand Rapids:

  • County Commissioner District 1. Salary $33,823.14.
  • County Commissioner District 3. Salary $33,823.14.
  • County Commissioner District 5. Salary $33,823.14.
  • County Attorney. Salary $108,712.54.
  • County Auditor/Treasurer. Salary $109,005.08.
  • County Recorder. Salary $68,876.01.
  • County Sheriff. Salary $101,479.19.
  • Judge.
  • Soil and Water Commissioner District 4.
  • Soil and Water Commissioner District 5.
  • Grand Rapids Mayor. Salary $800/month.
  • Two positions on the Grand Rapids city council. Salary $600/month.

Do you feel confidant that you could be successful at one of these jobs? Do you think that our local governments need to change? Do you disagree with any of our current policies and think there is a better way? Let us know and we’ll help you through the filing process.

Either go to our contact us page and send us a message there, or e-mail me directly at mikevroman@grandrapidsvoice.com.

Thank You.

Mike Vroman.

Is Our Economy Being Sacrificed?

Is our economy being sacrificed to someone else?

An article came out the other day in the “Politics In Minnesota” publication which promised to be quite good. Unfortunately, I do not have a subscription to this publication, so I could only read the first paragraph. Rather than pay the fee, I decided to research the story for myself. For those who have a subscription, or who would like one, here is the link to their article.

In researching my article, I used as a source the newly released “Iron Range Fiscal Disparities Study.” The charts which you will find below are all from this study.

Our first chart should give everyone pause when our future is considered.

MnDoRfiscal disparities1

Looking at this chart, you will see that the three lines representing the private sector were all going up until the TARP/housing bubble crisis. After that, they have all declined at varying rates. Now look at the public utility line. Starting in 2010 this line started going up at nearly a 45 degree angle.

What does this mean? Our economy has not recovered as evidenced by the decline of all areas of the private sector listed, but the public sector, measured in percentage of Net Tax Capacity, has grown dramatically. Our government expenses have gone up at the same time that our private sector is making less money to pay for it.

The second chart shows the growth in fiscal disparities from 2001 to 2014.

MnDoRfiscaldisparities2

Of note in this chart is that negative numbers indicate amounts given in fiscal disparities and positive numbers indicate amounts received.

In 2001, Itasca County surrendered $22,296, while St. Louis County received $229,585.

In 2014, Itasca County was charged $1,638,449. (a 7349% increase!) while St. Louis County received $2,275,062.

You may ask, ” Who decides what these amounts are going to be?” or, “Who is responsible for supervising this system?” The answer: “St. Louis county administers the Iron Range Fiscal Disparities program.” This quote directly from page 7 of the report. The largest recipient of the proceeds also gets to administer the program. Convenient, isn’t it?

On to our last chart.

MnDorfiscaldisparities3

On the left are the top ten contributors of 2001, the right 2014. The largest contributor in 2001 put in $66,262. The largest contributor of 2014 will put in well over ten times the 2001 amount, or $909,283. Seven on the top ten contributors for 2014 are from Itasca County. Do you live in one of these areas? Are you aware that the fiscal disparities portion of your taxes do not benefit you, but are sent to someone else instead, most likely in St. Louis County?

Why is Itasca County forced to help support St. Louis County when even the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is supporting a reduction in business taxes based on their findings that taxes hurt the economy?

Is our economy being sacrificed for the economy of another county?

Mike Vroman.

Who Cares About Liberty?

Minnesotans have long prided their state as being among the best to live in regarding things such as quality of life, world class health care, and some of the best outdoor activities around, but what about Liberty?

Here are samples of what some other states are doing:

  • Missouri. A bill is in the works to make it a felony to enforce any federal gun laws.
  • Maryland. A bill has been introduced to cut off material support to the Maryland NSA center.
  • New Hampshire. Two bills are being considered to protect the people from surveillance.
  • Idaho. The state Senate has unanimously voted to ban enforcement of federal gun laws.
  • Wisconsin. Their Senate has voted to restrict the use of drones.
  • Tennessee. There is a bill to nullify the federal hemp ban, and there is also an effort to cut off material support from the Tennessee NSA facility.
  • Kentucky. The state Senate voted to nullify Agenda 21.
  • Alaska. Two anti-NSA spying bills are being considered.
  • California. They are also considering an anti-NSA spying bill.
  • Oklahoma. They have a firearms freedom act, and they are considering an bill opposing NSA spying.
  • Arizona. Arizona has a 4th Amendment Protection Act and they are considering an NDAA nullification bill.
  • Washington. They are working on an anti-drone bill and a bill to nullify the federal hemp ban.
  • Utah. They also have a 4th Amendment Protection Act, and are trying to cut off material support to the giant NSA facility in their state.

All of these states, and more, have in common the fact that in their legislatures there are some elected representatives who are willing to fight great odds to help secure and maintain the freedom of the people in their states. They care about Liberty.

What about Minnesota? The only bill I have heard of so far which falls loosely into the above set is one which has been proposed to allow the use of medical marijuana. The reason I say it only loosely falls into the set of bills and laws above is that it will not receive any significant opposition, but will still likely garner a large number of votes for the author at the next election.

If the stories in the main stream press are to be any indication, the big focus of the Minnesota legislature will be on the huge bonding bill, with which they can borrow more money to continue their spending programs, and tax increases, including a proposed wholesale tax on gasoline. According to a story from WCCO state Senator Scott Dibbs and state Rep. Frank Hornstein have both indicated that they will introduce bills to authorize this wholesale gasoline tax.

Why are other states trying so hard to protect the freedoms of their people, but our representatives here are seemingly focused mostly on continuing the status quo of taxing and spending?

Who cares about Liberty?

Mike Vroman.

Crowdfunding and Being Neighborly.

Here is a story from earlier this week which tells of an injured person receiving a house built largely through donations. It is a good example of what we can do for each other when we have the opportunity.

Crowdfunding May Help Complete House for South St. Paul Man Injured in Hit-and-Run | KSTP TV – Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Thinking about this for a few days while I was deciding how best to post this story, I remembered stories I heard a couple of years ago right after the summer storms which did so much wind damage in our area, with neighborhoods in and around Grand Rapids being especially hard hit.

I decided not to repeat any of the stories myself, as there were so many instances of neighbors coming together and helping one another out, that by telling some stories and leaving others out I feel as if I would be doing a disservice to the ones I failed to mention.

Who has stories that they would like to tell? Not only of this incident, but of any instance of people helping one another?

Mike Vroman.

The Final Journey.

I found this story on Facebook last night. I know nothing about it or the source it came from, and do not even know if it is true or not, but if it is not true, it should be. Read for yourself.

 

Letter from an airline pilot: He writes:

My lead flight attendant came to me and said, “We have an H.R. On this flight.” (H.R. Stands for human remains.) “Are they military?” I asked.

‘Yes’, she said.

‘Is there an escort?’ I asked.

‘Yes, I’ve already assigned him a seat’.

‘Would you please tell him to come to the flight deck. You can board him early,” I said..

A short while later, a young army sergeant entered the flight deck. He was the image of the perfectly dressed soldier. He introduced himself and I asked him about his soldier. The escorts of these fallen soldiers talk about them as if they are still alive and still with us.

‘My soldier is on his way back to Virginia ,’ he said. He proceeded to answer my questions, but offered no words.

I asked him if there was anything I could do for him and he said no. I told him that he had the toughest job in the military and that I appreciated the work that he does for the families of our fallen soldiers. The first officer and I got up out of our seats to shake his hand. He left the flight deck to find his seat.

We completed our pre-flight checks, pushed back and performed an uneventful departure. About 30 minutes into our flight I received a call from the lead flight attendant in the cabin. ‘I just found out the family of the soldier we are carrying, is on board’, she said. She then proceeded to tell me that the father, mother, wife and 2-year old daughter were escorting their son, husband, and father home. The family was upset because they were unable to see the container that the soldier was in before we left. We were on our way to a major hub at which the family was going to wait four hours for the connecting flight home to Virginia .

The father of the soldier told the flight attendant that knowing his son was below him in the cargo compartment and being unable to see him was too much for him and the family to bear. He had asked the flight attendant if there was anything that could be done to allow them to see him upon our arrival. The family wanted to be outside by the cargo door to watch the soldier being taken off the airplane. I could hear the desperation in the flight attendants voice when she asked me if there was anything I could do. ‘I’m on it’, I said. I told her that I would get back to her.

Airborne communication with my company normally occurs in the form of e-mail like messages. I decided to bypass this system and contact my flight dispatcher directly on a
Secondary radio. There is a radio operator in the operations control center who connects you to the telephone of the dispatcher. I was in direct contact with the dispatcher. I explained the situation I had on board with the family and what it was the family wanted. He said he understood and that he would get back to me.

Two hours went by and I had not heard from the dispatcher. We were going to get busy soon and I needed to know what to tell the family. I sent a text message asking for an update. I
Saved the return message from the dispatcher and the following is the text:

‘Captain, sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. There is policy on this now and I had to check on a few things. Upon your arrival a dedicated escort team will meet the aircraft.
The team will escort the family to the ramp and plane side. A van will be used to load the remains with a secondary van for the family. The family will be taken to their departure area and escorted into the terminal where the remains can be seen on the ramp. It is a private area for the family only. When the connecting aircraft arrives, the family will be escorted onto the ramp and plane side to watch the remains being loaded for the final leg home. Captain, most of us here in flight control are veterans.. Please pass our condolences on to the family. Thanks.’
I sent a message back telling flight control thanks for a good job. I printed out the message and gave it to the lead flight attendant to pass on to the father. The lead flight attendant was very thankful and told me, ‘You have no idea how much this will mean to them.’

Things started getting busy for the descent, approach and landing. After landing, we cleared the runway and taxied to the ramp area. The ramp is huge with 15 gates on either side of the alleyway. It is always a busy area with aircraft maneuvering every which way to enter and exit. When we entered the ramp and checked in with the ramp controller, we were told
That all traffic was being held for us.

‘There is a team in place to meet the aircraft’, we were told. It looked like it was all coming together, then I realized that once we turned the seat belt sign off, everyone would stand up at once and delay the family from getting off the airplane. As we approached our gate, I asked the co-pilot to tell the ramp controller we were going to stop short of the gate to
make an announcement to the passengers. He did that and the ramp controller said, ‘Take your time.’

I stopped the aircraft and set the parking brake. I pushed the public address button and said, ‘Ladies and gentleman, this is your Captain speaking I have stopped short of our gate to make a special announcement. We have a passenger on board who deserves our honor and respect. His Name is Private XXXXXX, a soldier who recently lost his life. Private XXXXXX is under your feet in the cargo hold. Escorting him today is Army Sergeant XXXXXXX. Also, on board are his father, mother, wife, and daughter. Your entire flight crew is asking for all passengers to remain in their seats to allow the family to exit the aircraft first. Thank you.’

We continued the turn to the gate, came to a stop and started our shutdown procedures. A couple of minutes later I opened the cockpit door. I found the two forward flight attendants crying, something you just do not see. I was told that after we came to a stop, every passenger on the aircraft stayed in their seats, waiting for the family to exit the aircraft.

When the family got up and gathered their things, a passenger slowly started to clap his hands. Moments later more passengers joined in and soon the entire aircraft was
clapping. Words of ‘God Bless You’, I’m sorry, thank you, be proud, and other kind words were uttered to the family as they made their way down the aisle and out of the airplane.

They were escorted down to the ramp to finally be with their loved one.

Many of the passengers disembarking thanked me for the announcement I had made. They were just words, I told them, I could say them over and over again, but nothing I say will bring back that brave soldier.

I respectfully ask that all of you reflect on this event and the sacrifices that millions of our men and women have made to ensure our freedom and safety in these USA, Canada, Australia New Zealand, England.

Foot note:

I know everyone who has served their country who reads this will have tears in their eyes, including me.

Please send this on after a short prayer for our service men and women.

They die for me and mine and you and yours and deserve our honor and respect.

‘Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us..bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need.. In Jesus Name, Amen.’

Just send this to people in your address book. Do not let it stop with you. Of all the gifts you could give a Marine, Soldier, Sailor, Airman, & others deployed in harm’s way, prayer is the very best one.

GOD BLESS YOU!!! Bring the rest home safe and sound. We need to be there for them now more than ever.