Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Federal government bans religious references on ornaments for 2009 Capitol Christmas Tree

Arizona was given the special privilege this year to provide Washington, D.C., with the 2009 Capitol Christmas Tree. Students from elementary, middle, and high schools were given criteria to construct and decorate 4,000 handcrafted ornaments for the 65-foot tree as a coordinated effort with the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, the Apache Natural Resources Conservation District, the Arizona Public Education Department, students, businesses, and the community.

Guidelines for the ornaments include specifications for their size, weight, composition, and the directive that “Ornaments cannot reflect a religious or political theme… Instead share your interpretation of our theme ‘Arizona’s Gift, from the Grand Canyon State.’” It is also stated that the ornaments “will provide wonderful opportunities for Arizona school children to demonstrate what Arizona means to them… Whether they represent our world-renowned landscapes, our diverse cultures, or other aspects of our state, the ornaments will help convey the particular beauty that is Arizona.” But, if students want to convey that Arizona has a religious significance to them, they are denied the opportunity offered to students with non-religious views.
JMC Ministries Thoughts
How do you have a Christmas Tree without it being about Christ and religious beliefs? This just proves to us that we have no freedoms even when it comes to what we put on a Christmas tree!! The government sends out Criteria literature into our schools and forces our children to follow what they want. If you don't think the government hasn't infiltrated into our school systems they have now. Children are being forced to conform to what the government wants, even on their Christmas tree. What has happened to America? Where has it gone? We don't even recognize it anymore!

Survey: Nearly 17 percent of Ross County Ohio households receive food stamps

CHILLICOTHE -- Ross County ranks among the neediest in the state in the number of households getting food stamps in 2008, according to data made public Tuesday.

One out of 10 Ohio households received food stamps in 2008, an increase from the average of the previous three years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

In Ross County last year, 16.8 percent of households had accepted food stamps at least once in the previous 12 months. That number is 5.7 percentage points higher than the average estimates in 2005 through 2007, according to the surveys.

The 2008 numbers were made available initially only for 38 Ohio counties with populations of more than 65,000. Of those counties, Ross ranked third.

Ross is one of several non-metro counties that are outpacing more populated, urban areas in food assistance rates.

Four of the six counties examined by CentralOhio.com -- Marion, Ross, Muskingum and Richland -- all are in the top 10. Scioto County tops the list with more than one in five households receiving food assistance.

Amy Hanauer, executive director of the advocacy group Policy Matters Ohio, said unlike rural counties, urban areas tend to have pockets of high poverty surrounded by wealth. "When you look at Ohio's rural counties, particularly in southeast Ohio, you see a much higher percentage of the population in poverty," she said.

Looking at the list of counties by percentage of households in receipt of food stamps, Lucas County in northwest Ohio, at No. 7 with 15.3 percent, is the first metropolitan county to appear.

Franklin County, with about 455,000 households and a .3 percent increase in food assistance rates, comes in below the 2008 state average.

"We are seeing some shifts in were the highest foreclosure areas and highest poverty areas," Hanauer said.

She said these numbers are likely to continue to rise as a side effect of high unemployment.


JMC Ministries thoughts

All we can do is ask you to pray for our part of Ohio. It is a hard time for our area. Crime is even up. In 2 weeks there has been 1 bank robbery, a convient store robbed at gun point, and just 2 days ago the Walgreens was robbed at gun point by a man demanding narcotics like Oxi-codine!

We don't live in a big city, or even a suburb, but people are beginning to get desperate. Please pray for us and all those effected.