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Summer, taxes and COVID return

By Dennis Minich

What a pleasure it has been the past few weeks to sit outdoors of an evening and enjoy the summer weather. Way back in the day, we played on summer nights and while I assume it was hot, we never seemed to worry about it. My Dad also loved to sit in the backyard and just look and listen. I never understood that much considering inside the house there was air conditioning and a perfectly good television. Maybe it is having a new porch, or maybe it is more temperate weather, but this year I am starting to understand. There is something peaceful and soothing about listening to the birds and crickets, watching the clouds or just looking at the trees and flowers. No cell phones, no TV, just the sights and sounds of nature.

I guess everyone has their favorite season. Some say spring, some say fall, a few heretics say winter, but I would say most, like me, would pick summer. Of course, the temperature can make for issues. One of my worst problems is I sweat. In fairness, I sweat all of the time, even in the winter. While it might be thought because I am too short for my weight, the fact is my sweating is just one of the traits I inherited in the gene pool. My mother sweated. I have nieces and nephews who sweat. So soggy clothes are a drawback, but summer is so wonderful because of the colors of the world. Bright blue skies, dark green trees and grass and multicolored flowers and birds just make for a wonderful scheme. While spring gets things going and the fall features the colors of things fading away for the year, only in summer can you enjoy the pure abundance of nature. What’s a little sweat?

In two weeks, Harrisonville voters will be asked to approve a one-half-cent sales tax to help pay for emergency medical services. Every issue that comes forward like this makes me cringe because I hate tax increases of any kind for a variety of reasons. I can come up with 100 reasons to say to vote no. In this case, however, I must say this is a “vote yes” kind of deal. While we will provide a look at the proposition next week, I will summarize by saying the ambulance service in Harrisonville is a top-notch program. The program is funded in part by users, but government rules in many cases dictate what can be
charged.

When the costs to operate the program exceed allowable costs, the result is tax payers’ money being used to cover the difference.

If the service was solely for Harrisonville residents, you could argue the money is already being taken from taxes. But statistically, the ambulance service transports more out-of-towners than residents so the local citizens are paying the difference for their needs. It’s a great thing we have this service which can help all in need, but we do need help paying the bills if other city needs like streets and sidewalks are going to be addressed. A sales tax helps gather the money not just from residents, but visitors shopping here as well. So, while it is a new tax, it is probably a smart move to say yes, this time.

For nearly a year I ended every week’s column with an admonition to “please wear a mask.” Again, I am one of those people who hate government dictums trying to interfere in my life, but in this case, I really can’t comprehend the resistance.

When researchers came up with cures for small pox and tuberculosis, the public couldn’t wait to get immunized. COVID
arrived so quickly and information was so disjointed more people became skeptical than accepting. The result is only 30 percent of our county has been immunize and with the D variant rampant, health officials indicate that the county may be seeing as many as 20 new cases every day.

It has been exactly one year since I was hospitalized with COVID. The disease was unlike anything I had in my life. In its aftermath I had to carry oxygen for 10 months and I still suffer from some of the lingering side effects of the disease.

Anyone who says COVID is no big deal doesn’t know what they are talking about. Yes, many people get it with little impact, but the carriers are distributing it to people at higher risk and for them it can have a great impact.

I really like not having to wear a mask everywhere I go. I like the restaurants and stores open. I like I can go to a concert or a ballgame or plan a vacation. All of this became possible because of the vaccine and the more people who got vaccinated, the better the results.

There is one way to keep all of the positives going and that is for more people to get vaccinated. So now my plea is no longer wear a mask, but to please get a vaccination. Don’t do it because the government wants it, don’t do it because you “have to.” Do it because you can and the benefits will be enjoyed by all of us.

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