Linda NealLinda Hines Neal died Monday, July 13, 2015 in Wichita at the age of 69. She was born on January 15, 1946 to Oscar and Georgia Hines. She attended Caldwell schools and was a proud member of the CHS class of 1964. She then graduated from the Wichita Business College.On December 16, 1967, Linda married L.M. Neal, Jr. Their son Lance was born April 1, 1970. In addition to helping L.M. on the family farm. She spent many years of her life working at the Stock Exchange Bank. After her retirement, she continued to be active in the community by helping at The Caldwell Messenger.Linda loved spending time with her granddaughters, Abby and Megan, and enjoyed keeping in touch with high school friends, particularly the members of â€œthe Twits.â€She is preceded in death by her parents Oscar and Georgia Hines and father-in-law Lewis Neal. Linda is survived by her husband, L.M., of Caldwell, son Lance and his wife Dana of Kansas City, KS, mother-in-law Edna Mae Neal, and granddaughters Abby and Megan; brother-in-law Mark and his wife Melinda, brother-in-law Mike and sister-in-law Colleen Massey and her husband Don.Funeral services will be held 10:00 a.m. Thursday, July 16, 2015 at the Schaeffer Mortuary Chapel, Caldwell.Interment will be in the Caldwell City Cemetery.To share a memory or leave a condolence please visit www.schaeffermortuary.infoArrangements by Schaeffer Mortuary, 6 N. Main, Caldwell, Kansas 67022.
The Business Desk of the Daily Observer has credibly learned that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will veto the National Budget Law for fiscal year 2014/15 approved last week by the National Legislature. According to Executive Mansion sources, President Sirleaf will do a line veto of the budget which many economists consider a huge departure from the actual reality of the economy. The lawmakers passed the budget increasing their salaries and benefits amidst the economic challenges in the face of the Ebola crisis.“The segment of the fiscal budget passed by the legislature is not realizable,” said a Liberian public budget analyst, who feels that the lawmakers’ decision to increase the budget above US$500 million is unthinkable at this time.The National Legislature passed the budget last week increasing its re-adjusted revenue envelop from over US$473 million to US$660 million contradicting the actual numbers highlighting declining revenue and huge government deficit.The economy has receded by over 6 percent projected with real gross domestic product (GDP) growth dipping further downward to 0.4 percent due to the ongoing Ebola crisis.Investment and export as well as government spending as functions of the economy have all been hit due to the crisis.Investments have dwindled as contractors and companies declared force majeure and left the country, but this does not stop the government from paying workers and ensuring that public institutions function—-which ultimately creates extra spending pressure on the government as the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak rages.A revenue expert explained how the government would have collapsed had the World Bank and other multilateral institutions and bilateral governments not given direct budgetary support to pay health workers’ salaries and settle other costs.“The best we can do is to operate on core revenue only,” said this expert who preferred anonymity.Tax revenue is the government’s single largest resilience for funding, but with most of the businesses hit hardest by the EVD, revenue projections from them could be contingent upon how fast they recover from the impact of the virus, analysts have said.Apart from the initial draft budget envelop of US$473.2 million, members of the legislature included US$7.047 million as additional revenue from the budget hearing.In addition to this amount, they also made the following adjustments US$24 million core grant, US$50.3 million contingent (grant) revenue and US$70.6 million (core) borrowing as well as US$10 million borrowing (contingent) and US$25 million signature bonuses for oil blocks 6, 7, 16 and 17, respectively. By increasing the revenue envelop of the budget by US$186.9 million and increasing their own allowances and other benefits, many economists are wondering where the government will raise additional revenue from to complete the financing of the budget when deficit is already above US$305 million.Responding to our reporter’s inquest at the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) press briefing on Thursday, Finance Minister Amara M. Konneh announced that the economy is in trouble. “The economy is undergoing serious stress as a result of the Ebola crisis and the need to intervene in further stabilizing the country’s already fragile economy cannot be overemphasized. The government is challenged in dealing with deficit financing. We have a very huge task in dealing with deficit financing because we [government] don’t want to sink our country into another huge debt,” said Minister Konneh. He called for strong fiscal discipline in government as the economy struggles to recover.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) read more
Theresa Collins, left, and Jami Hicks are two of the four business partners behind Pot Luck Events.Marijuana is in legal limbo in Alaska. Multiple bills in the Legislature will determine everything from permits to penalties, and in the meantime municipalities are scrambling find rules that protect the public, but also make room for an emerging industry. A new business in Anchorage is taking its first tentative steps forward navigating the shifting legal landscape.Download AudioInside a brand new private marijuana club air purifiers whir. The room is huge, with a stage at one end, lounge chairs in another, and high ceilings.“We have a bar,” said Theresa Collins before adding, “no alcohol products!”Collins showed off jars of free candy and abundant soda options. “We got our food permit and so we do have a munchies menu–been doing like little sliders, nachos, different kind of munchie items for our members.”Collins is one of the co-owners of Pot Luck Events, a members-only private business hoping to capitalize on Alaska’s expanding legal market for marijuana.“We’re not selling marijuana, we’re selling an experience. We want a safe place for people to come and consume their marijuana products,” Collins explained. “There is no place like this in Anchorage, and people have been asking for it.”As far as anyone knows, the Pot Luck club is doing everything legally. Costumers buy a membership package ranging from $20 for a month, to $500 for a year’s worth of access to events, a VIP lounge, and line skipping.You can bring marijuana as long as it is less that one ounce, but you cannot buy or sell marijuana products inside because so far the state does not allow legal sales. Members are not breaking prohibitions against consuming in public because the club is private. And before even passing coat check, new members are have to show ID and sign a waiver that outlines good conduct. Breaking it gets you kicked out.It is less like a bar to drop into than an events hall hosting parties, cannabis tastings, and assorted special occasions.“We’ve actually had interest for two weddings,” said Collins. “We’re definitely open to any type of event that somebody wants to have, and it doesn’t have to be 420 friendly.”The space’s soft open was last week, “St. Potrick’s Day,” which Collins said went extremely well.Puns aside, marijuana is serious business, and Collins and her partners have invested a lot of money and time making sure they are on the right side of existing rules. It has not been easy. They struggled to find insurance, a space to rent, and are running everything by a lawyer for advice on compliance with city, state, and Federal rules that are changing week to week.“You can operate successfully in a professional way, and still have fun,” explained Jami Hicks, another of Pot Luck Events four owners.On top of raising money and hiring a staff of 15, part of their business plan has been reaching out to neighbors and law enforcement so everyone knows what they are doing. “That was the first thing,” said Hicks, “meet the neighbors, shake hands, find out what the community needs.”Even though the laws on marijuana are a bit murky right now, that does not mean new businesses can operate carte blanche. The Anchorage Police Department recently executed a search warrant on a high profile business allegedly selling cannabis products, with more charges expected.Bruce Schulte is the spokesman for the Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Legislation, and says Pot Luck Events is the kind of business that policy advocates have been hoping would appear after Ballot Measure 2 passed.“They are being good neighbors, they are being very up-front with APD and the fire marshall about what they’re doing, and how many people are going to be on-sight, so I think that’s helping perception, they’re doing everything they can to be model citizens and I think that’s hugely important right now,” Schulte said.With just a few weeks left in the legislative session, several Assembly members of a sub-committee tasked with overseeing marijuana implementation in Anchorage see the prospect of comprehensive state-wide legislation as unlikely. And that shifts the job of regulation to local governments. Which is fine for many officials in Alaska’s largest city. The municipality has already gotten into the particulars of looking at permit structures and public consumption rules. Todd Sherwood is with the city’s legal department, and says they are hoping for more municipal discretion in designing regulations.“Every municipality is a little different, but that’s one thing I would say we generally agree on is we want the maximum amount of local control,” said Todd Sherwood with the municipality’s legal department. “But we just don’t know what we can do until we have a complete package really from the state, and then we can work with that.”Pot Luck Events is just one business getting out in front of the changing circumstances. However, they are not alone. Hicks said they have been contacted by around 50 vendors and businesses about collaborating on events. For now they feel like they have been lucky with how things have come together. They even found a building that is its own advertisement.“When 420 W. 3rd Avenue came up we couldn’t really pass that up,” Hicks laughed. read more