Pharos-Tribune

February 2, 2014

FRIEND: Cold weather continues, propane costs rising


Pharos-Tribune

---- — This January winter weather is making everyone weary and frustrated. All the snow and extremely low temperatures remind many of us of the blizzards of the ‘70s. I think we should all be thankful and appreciate the workers who plow the snow, keep the power on, transport and stock grocery shelves, deliver the mail and haul feed for livestock. The conditions outside are dangerous and tiresome.

These conditions can also necessitate police, fire and EMS to venture to the scene of an accident or incident.

Let’s all recognize the long hours, cold temperatures and fatigue these workers experience and thank them. Oh, and never forget that patience is a virtue!

Several people have commented on the snow days being missed by our school children. There is some latitude available to administrators concerning “make-up” days, but it is important that our children have the most exposure to class time possible. I am confident that the decision makers will do what is best for our children.

Recently, I received a copy of a letter sent to the Miami County Economic Development Corp. from the Indiana Department of Transportation.

It was a “good news” letter informing the officials that Grissom Air Reserve Base has been officially included in the Indiana inventory of airports. Efforts had been made for years to make this happen, to no avail. In the 2013 legislative session, I filed a bill to make it happen by statute. My office received an almost immediate visit from INDOT telling me legislation was not necessary, and Grissom could be included if the proper information was submitted. The Grissom folks presented the information, and INDOT lived up to their word. Congratulations to both entities. This situation is important because it opens the door to more state and federal funding opportunities.

It has been brought to my attention that people in the LP gas business and their customers are suffering through a “low supply, high price” situation.

I spoke to my supplier, and she confirmed that it truly is a crisis, especially with a winter that has had record low temperatures. Some suppliers are retrieving excess LP gas from farm grain dryer tanks just to keep customers from running out and being cold. I have learned that the U.S. is the leading exporter of LP gas, and the companies are honoring contracts in foreign countries causing the shortage and extremely high prices. My supplier first filled our tank for less than $2.00 a gallon, but the last load she received this week cost her $5.40 a gallon. Now, I am a free market guy, but this situation just smells bad. Some businessmen are getting fat, and the consuming public is being gouged!

The Senate has added an amendment to Senate Bill 1, exempting sales tax collections on propane costing over $2.50 a gallon. The credit would be retroactive to the beginning of January upon passage of the bill. I support this idea and think this is a good start. I am working on alternative measures as well that will provide some relief for Hoosiers.

The marriage amendment, HJR3, passed out of the House Tuesday but was amended prior to the final House vote. The amendment removed the second sentence of HJR3, so it currently states that only marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. I believe that Hoosiers should have the right to vote on this important issue. HJR3 passed out of the House chamber 57-40 and now moves to the Senate for consideration.

The entire House honored a 90-year-old World War II veteran, Jim Dolan, with a resolution this week. Mr. Dolan served as an Army Air Corp. gunner on many forays in New Guinea.

He also was a Democratic doorman for the House of Representatives. What an interesting man!

I congratulate him on his life of service to the nation, state and family.

Recently, I attended an open house to recognize the years of service of Mr. Jim Yates to the Miami County REMC. Jim has been a long-time friend and acquaintance who has been very active within the community. Besides his REMC duties, Jim found time to be a pilot, bicyclist and diver. He is an interesting man, and I wish him the best in retirement.

I know he will still be active on boards and committees.

This session is flying by. Please watch and stay informed because things happen quickly. It’s your government, stay involved.

Bill Friend, is a Republican representing District 23 in the Indiana House of Representatives. You can reach him at 317-232-9831.