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October 23, 2013     Sentinel Tribune
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October 23, 2013

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SENTINEL TRIBUNE W , I00!WPOINT Wednesday, October 23, 2013 Page 4 BETWEEN By Tom Merchant - Sentinel Tribune THE LINES Affordable Care Act ... Well the Affordable Care Act is rolling out despite the Tea Party&apos;s misguided efforts to stop it. It seemed ridiculous that a small portion of the Republican Party was able to bully their way to force moderate Republicans to fold to their childish whims. They hurt not only their party, but did considerable damage to the economy as well. I heard yesterday the Tea Party is targeting several of their own party for defeat in the next election for voting to end the budget stalemate. Senator Mitch McConnel (R) of Kentucky is one of those targeted. He is very highly rated in his state, so although I seldom agree with him, I feel he would be a far better person to have in the senate than a Tea Party radical. I know there are some species that will attack their own kind, but I find it despicable when it happens among humans. I am not writing this primarily as a defense for the Affordable Care Act or if you will "Obamacare." I really don't care if you are for it, against it, or indifferent to it. But it is the law of the land, duly passed and upheld by many court challenges at several levels including the Supreme Court. It seems the biggest problem with the roll out has been with the web site not working as it should, although thousands of people have been able to make it work, and reportedly at relatively low cost. Oh by the way -- how many times has Microsoft rolled out sys- tems with dozens if not hundreds of glitches, and most recently had to recall their latest update, because it had so many glitches in it. Also those people are supposed to be the most technologically advanced as anyone, except maybe Apple. Well they have six months to enroll, so I am sure it will be fixed soon, and life will go on. Also there are still other ways of getting coverage through the telephone and in person. The unfortunate part of that is they have done a lousy job of informing people these alternate ways of getting insur- ance through the exchanges. Like perhaps some newspaper advertising! Newspapers in general are still the number one reliable source for information. I think after this last government shutdown debacle, it is time for both parties to start working immediately to solve these budget prob- lems for a more long term fix and not just start dealing with it a few weeks before the deadline. Yesterday morning, before church, I watched Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer. He had Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, and Democrat Senator Mark Warner on the program, both agreed to an extent that the two parties, along with President Obama ,could get together and find common ground in solving the budget for a longer term. Let's hope that cooler heads will prevail and that our government can start working to solve more serious issues that affect all of us, and not just those who have the strongest political voice in Washington. Have a great week and do good! Now is the time to prevent ice dams and costly home repairs The time to prevent ice dams from forming is now--before the snow flies and settles on your roof. The problem. Ice dams are primarily caused by the presence of warm air in the attic, combined with snow on the roof and the right weather conditions. When heat leaks into the attic it melts the underside of the snow on the roof, which then flows down the roof surface until it reaches a cold spot (such as the eaves or soffit) where it forms a frozen dam. The ice buildup can back up under the shingles, damaging them and allowing water to leak to the ceilings and walls below. Anywhere there is a penetration into the attic space (around wires, plumbing vents, light fixtures, chim- neys, knee walls) there is the poten- tial for air leaks. Inadequate insula- tion, especially near the eaves, is also a contributing factor. The solution. To avoid ice dams, attic air leaks must be sealed with caulking or expanding spray foam, and attic insulation should be installed to a minimum R-50 as space allows. A first step to solving ice dams-- and to making your home more energy efficient--is to have an advanced energy assessment. The assessment will use equipment such as infrared cameras to identify air leaks and will offer action steps to prevent ice dams. Advanced energy audits can be facilitated by your gas or electric utility and members of the Minnesota Building Performance Association ( <http://> ). Once the prob- lem areas are detected, get bids from several licensed contractors and have the work done. The Division of Energy Resources (DER) offers a fact sheet on ice dams called "Solving Ice Dams < energy/images/IceDamFacts.pdf> ." For more information on ice dams and ways to conserve energy in your home, check out the DER energy guide "Home Envelope <http:// Building-Envelope-Guide.pdf> " (pages 10-11). Subscribe to the Sentinel Tribune i rural AI Ba00. . . "Stories from the BaH Cave" The road to lawn darts is filled with potholes It was back when I had the ener- gy to want things. And I had no compunction about asking for them. I wanted lawn darts. I had to have them. I asked my mother if I could have lawn darts. She told me that I'd put an eye out. That was a long version of "no." Mothers leamed to say such things in Mom School. She thought that ownership of such things brought one to the brink of madness. I thought that the denial was a stumble on the march of progress. A guy named Marvin Stone pat- ented the paper drinking straw in 1888. The straws are good, but no straw ever sucked as much as not having lawn darts. It had been another tough day of third-grade schooling. We'd spent much of the morning learning big words like "a," "an," and "the." Uffda! The school cafeteria used dispos- able paper cups, conical jobs with sharp, pointed ends that nestled comfortably in metal holders. As I watched a classmate fill a paper cup with water, I had an idea. As I made my way outside for recess (a glorious respite from the stresses of an academic life), I grabbed one of those paper cups. Outside, I found a small stone and placed it in the bottom of the closed-end funnel. I mashed down the big end of the cup and then twisted it so that the rock was locked in place. This done, I tossed the paper cup dart into the air. It zoomed upward before reaching its zenith and falling back to the earth where it stuck in the ground. It doesn't get much better than that for a young boy. We kids were on our own during recess in those days. The teachers were happy to be rid of us and didn't hover around us in the playground. They were inside the school. I believe recess had been developed for their benefit, not ours. I suspect that there is a church somewhere that teaches that heaven is recess. I quickly made a game of the darts. I fashioned fallen tree branches into small squares. They were the targets. If the paper cup dart stuck in the middle, it was a ringer similar to that in horseshoe competition. W e kept score, and,- held tournaments. Paper cups darts were even better than lawn darts. One day, I was having a perfect day. I'd gotten every word right in a spelling test and we'd had tater tot hotdish for lunch. Recess rocked. No matter how I launched the paper cup dart, it landed in the exact center of the twigged square. I could toss it right-handed, left- handed, behind my back, with my eyes closed, and it didn't matter. It was a finger every time because I was having a perfect day. I threw the paper cup dart so high that it became a Fourth of July fireworks. Kids oohed as the dart zoomed upward and aahed when it began its descent. I threw it so high that first-graders fell over backwards attempting to see it at its peak. I pointed out the location where the dart was going to stick just as Babe Ruth might have pointed to where his home run was going to land. A crowd gathered. Even the fifth and sixth graders showed up. They were street-smart, world- weary kids. It was hard to impress them. They were impressed. Even the fellow who farmed near the school and the custodian showed up to watch. Life was good. I thought that this was just the first of endless perfect days that would constitute my life. As I tossed a paper cup dart so high that I should have contacted the FAA in case there might have been a jet airplane flying in that area, I discovered that my dreams of a perfect life would not be com- ing true. I threw the dart high and it came down and struck one of my friends fight on the top )his noggin. He'd obviously suffereda brain cramp as he'd been standing smack dab in the middle of the targeted square. The chances of those two points, the point of his head and the point of that dart intersecting in a large playground, were infinitesimal, but it happened. My friend wasn't seriously injured, but my perfect day came to a screeching halt. It became illegal to possess a paper cup outside the school cafete- ria. Perfect lives are found only in fairy tales. Paper cup darts are not found there. AI Batt 2013 71622 325 St. 1-1, MN 56042 Sentinel Tribune Thomas Merchant Junette Merchant Joan Spielman (ISSN 8750-3905) Managing Editor Office & Production Ad Representative & Office Published every Wednesday at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 Periodicals Postage Paid at Westbrook. 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