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February 28, 2017 • Headline News
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Save the date!
Osgood to host circus May 15

The Ripley County Park and Recreation, along with the Osgood Area Kiwanis have signed a contract with the Kelly Miller Circus for the exhibition of an all new 2017 show. The circus will roll into town on Monday, May 15. Everyone is invited to come out and watch the animals being unloaded and fed and witness the raising of the giant big top. Activities will begin early circus morning and the tent will be raised at approximately 9:00 a.m. Guides will be furnished for school groups and anyone attending. The traditional “old style” circus will present performances at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Support the Osgood Area Kiwanis and buy your tickets in advance and save. The 2017 season promises to be more exciting than ever with many new acts and entertainers to amaze and amuse you. Come out and enjoy a day of full filled excitement at the circus!

Local author teaches kindness
Children’s book is about the birds!

Sandy Day Howard

“Everyone is different. Look at me! I don’t look like you, and you don’t look like me. That’s fine. In fact, that’s what makes the world go ‘round.”

Paige Byard holds a copy of her first published book.SANDY DAY HOWARD PHOTO
Paige Byard holds a copy of her first published book, Mrs. Ackley’s Birds, from the comfort of her easy chair. The children’s book about birds is a must read.

In a newly published children’s book, author Paige Parker Byard, Versailles, enlists the help of a backyard full of birds and other unique characters to relay a multitude of messages to kids about diversity, kindness, teamwork, responsibility and determination. “Mrs. Ackley’s Birds” is a short story about a little lady whose backyard was restored to its former glory thanks to a little help from some of the neighborhood’s ‘residents’. The numerous critters living in and around Mrs. Ackley’s backyard work together to help the elderly woman who has fed and cared for them throughout the seasons. Through the experience, they grow both together and separately, finding that each has a unique ability that can help enhance the talents of others.

Looking at the birds through the windows in her home, Byard talked about how Mrs. Ackley’s Birds came about. The author is an energetic, witty little woman whose wheels one can almost see turning behind her beautiful dark eyes. Her tiny stature is only a mask on her vivid, expressive personality. Her smile illuminates the room as she speaks , and her words are neither boastful nor vain but expressive and intense.

“I had struggled with reading as a child. It wasn’t the sounding of the words, but more the comprehension of what I read that I had trouble with.” explained Byard. “But,” smiled the author,” I could always dream up a story!”

Byard and her husband Gary met in Paige’s native California when Gary was stationed in the service there years ago. Paige and Gary married and moved back to Gary’s hometown where they raised their daughter Callie. Callie, now with a husband and children of her own, has instilled a love for reading in her own children, a gift that Byard admires. “I was thrilled when my grandchildren became such good readers! I was in awe of them, they read everything!”

Byard says that many early mornings when her husband, an avid fisherman, would hook up his boat and leave for the lake, she would sit in her dining room and watch the birds out her window. There would be birds on the ground, birds in the trees, some on the birdbath and others eating from the feeders she had hung for them. She wondered what her little feathered friends were thinking….what they were ‘saying’ to each other on cool crisp mornings and on sunny afternoons there in her backyard. “I was fascinated by the noises they made.”

For several years, writing her first book was on her ‘bucket list’. Paige had the story of ‘Mrs. Ackley’s Birds’ in her head for years, but because of work and responsibilities, she had never taken the time to actually write. Once she retired, Paige says she made time to put her thoughts into words.
The book is dedicated to her grandchildren, Adam and Lauren Huntington. It is illustrated by Robbie Everage and edited by Nancy Durham.
Byard thanks all her friends for their help and is excited to have accomplished this goal.

Practical Money Skills

Having trouble paying your heating bill? LIHEAP could help.

by Nathaniel Sillin

The chill of winter can be offset with the pleasure of curling up inside a warm home. Turning on the heat and settling into your favorite chair to open a new book or watch a movie feels even better when snow falls or rain patters against the windows. Unfortunately, some families have to choose between paying high winter utility bills and buying groceries or gas for their cars. The necessity of food and transportation often wins. Fortunately, there are assistance programs. One such program, the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), helps low-income households with heating or cooling costs, during an energy-related crisis (such as a shutoff notice from your utility) and with weatherization improvements.

If you, a parent or a friend are struggling to make ends meet this winter, LIHEAP and similar programs might be able to help keep your home warm.
Apply as soon as you can if you think you’ll need assistance. The federal government provides the funding for LIHEAP, but the programs are run at the state level. The money gets distributed on a first-come-first-served basis and states give priority to households with children, elderly or disabled members. Often the largest benefits are awarded to the homes with the most need.

States open their winter applications at different times, and you should apply for LIHEAP right away if you think you’ll have trouble paying for heating.
LIHEAP won’t cover your entire utility bill, but it can help keep your home warm. LIHEAP’s heating benefit is only intended to help you pay to heat your home. For example, if you’re heating unit runs on gas, the program will contribute towards your gas bill, but not your electricity bill.

You might only be able to receive a benefit once every 12 months, but it can make a big difference for your finances. For the fiscal year 2014, the most recent data available, over 5.7 million households received heating assistance and it offset an average 45.9 percent of recipients’ annual heating costs.
Qualifying for LIHEAP assistance. States, tribes and territories have some control over the services, qualifications, aid limits and application process for the LIHEAP program in their area.

You can review each state’s income eligibility for the fiscal year 2017 on this table. The state or local organizations that distribute funds also consider applicants’ utility costs, family size and location. Renters and homeowners could be eligible for LIHEAP assistance, but you might not qualify if you have subsidized housing. Being qualified doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get assistance. Each state receives a set amount of funds for the year, and on average only 20 percent of qualified household receive benefits.

How to apply for LIHEAP. Often you’ll apply for LIHEAP at a Community Action Agency (CAA), local non-profit organizations that help administer federal, state and local grant programs. Some states let you complete the application online, otherwise you may need to mail, fax or hand in an application.
The Office of Community Service’s website has contact information for each state and territory, including a link to a website where you’ll find state-specific eligibility guidelines and program information.

As part of the application process, you may need to share identifying and financial information, including:
• Recent utility bills.
• Recent pay stubs, or a profit-and-loss statement if you’re self-employed.
• Documentation for other income, such as Social Security benefits.
• A lease or property tax bill as proof of your address.
• Your Social Security number.
• A list of people living in your home, their relation to you, dates of birth and incomes.
• A copy of a utility termination notice, if you received one.
• Your energy provider’s information.

If you’re having trouble with your state’s website, or want to help someone who isn’t computer savvy, you can call the LIHEAP Clearinghouse’s National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) at 1-866-674-6327 (TTY: 1-866-367-6228).

Bottom line
When the temperature drops, heating costs can quickly rise. You shouldn’t have to suffer, and LIHEAP could help provide much-needed financial aid. You can look for additional assistance programs using the search tool. Also look into state-based programs and payment plans or assistance from your local utility.

Nathaniel Sillin directs Visa’s financial education programs. To follow Practical Money Skills on Twitter:

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