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Here’s to April, puzzles and prognostications

By Dennis Minich

Today is April 1 which is actually one of my favorite days of the year. It has nothing to do with April Fools’ Day because frankly I find that tradition a little outdated and even more so, the waste of perfectly good pranks because people are expecting them.

No, the reason I love April 1 is it officially means March is over and for a variety of reasons, I hate the month of March. April offers spring, it offers hope, it marks the beginning of great things. March is very much winter’s hangover and 31 days to survive to get on to the good stuff.

Today has the added bonus of being baseball’s opening day. While I scoffed at last year’s imitation of a season, this year things look to be different, maybe a little-more normal and hey, on opening day every team has a chance of contending. Of course, in the case of Kansas City we might be a year or two premature of getting too excited, but for right now, we are in the thick of it.

I think there are going to be some major changes in the days ahead so this is also a good chance to clean up a few pieces of leftover material before we move on to new things.

First off is one last brief comment on the Metropolitan Community College ballot initiative before voters in Harrisonville and Ray-Pec next week. The comparison has been used that the owner of a $200,000 house would face about $80 more per year in taxes for the district.

Some folks have commented they don’t have a $200,000 house. So, to break it down, that is simply a comparison. Your $100,000 house would get hit for another $40 and any other property, including cars, trailers and boats will all also get taxed, so virtually everyone has a dog in this fight. It’s a bad proposal and I hope everyone votes no.

Next, at Valentine’s Day I wrote about the delightful jigsaw puzzle my girlfriend gave to me last year. I noted it was not yet finished. I am now very proud to announce that this past weekend, just 13 months and two weeks after starting this 300-piece abomination, we put the last piece into place and now have a magnificent aerial view of the Country Club Plaza. Now I cannot decide whether to break it down and put it away, keep it forever sitting on my dining room table or have it bronzed and mounted as a tribute to our perseverance.

Although it is too early to fully claim that winter is over, chances are any winter damage in April is brief and minor (I may have jinxed that), but if winter is over, I want to officially proclaim myself as the premier weather forecaster in Kansas City.

In November, in response to many of the TV guys making their predictions, I made mine. I wrote: “while I have forgotten most (all actually) of the information which was contained in my meteorology class, I do have some anecdotal evidence to support my prediction. When I first started at the other county paper about 30 years ago, I remember many stories being shared about “El Niño,” a weather pattern which affects a bunch of the world, including North America. The predictions were for the worst, but the El Niño winter seemed to be milder than many thought.

“So I started watching for El Niño’s, and it has been my observation we have mild winters when “The little boy” occurs. A few years later I started hearing about “La Niña” which translates to “The little girl.” Now one would think it would be totally opposite from El Niño, but observationally, those years have seemed a little better than normal also, cold, but dry. When we get really hit is when it is neither. It seems like in those neutral years we get slammed.

“I was afraid this year was a neutral year, so I was bracing for the worst. But last week, the magic words, “La Niña” were spoken, hence I predict cold but dry.”

Ta-da. According to the National Weather Service, Kansas City gets about 18.8 inches of snow annually. I checked and most of the TV guys predicted near normal or over-normal winters in terms of snow. The best I can make out on the weather service’s website, Kansas City got about 11.1 inches of snow this year. And it was colder than normal, especially in February. With science like this, I might just have a career change possibility.

Sunday is Easter and for the first time in a while, many folks are planning to get out and be with family. Enjoy the holiday, enjoy the happiness the story of Easter brings us and be happy.

Finally, while things are improving it’s still important to please wear a mask.

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