Rensselaer’s Farmer’s Market

(This is the second of three posts from my 60th high school reunion this June)

Most Rensselaer residents do not live there to seek fame and fortune.  They value  the intimacy of  community, relationships going back generations and the shared experience of earning a living through one’s own skills.

The Saturday morning local Framer’s Market illustrates these common motivations.

It opens every Saturday from 7:30-11:30.  Each participant pays $10 for a parking space size stand on the County Courthouse square.  Or one can pay $40 for the entire season.

The Market is self-managed (a coop model) with  a two-page Policy and Vendor contract.  The purpose reads:  The Framer’s market is to provide a retail business outlet (not wholesale) for local growers/producers of goods or to market their products. Established retail businesses are ineligible under Market policies.

There is an annual Call Out meeting in early spring to approve the policy and  contract which each vendor signs.  All must be full time residents of Japer County or an adjacent county, be 18 years of age or accompanied by an adult.

The Market Master is Brandy Luttrell who monitors the operations each Saturday, collects the $10 fee and insures the rules regarding signage, cleanliness, sales tax and booth locations are followed.   Prior to becoming the Master, Brandy was herself  a vendor.

The Local Vendors

Stephanie Davisson’s booth was the first in line the Saturday we visited.   She grows and sells flowers,  Lavender Lane cachets both dried and fresh.  But this is just one of her many local endeavors.

She is the choral instructor at Rensselaer High School.   Another responsibility is the Youth Leader and church organist on Sundays at the First Presbyterian Church.

Her Rensselaer roots go back generations.  Her uncle is Terry Davisson who was my sister’s classmate in 1961. He was accepted at West Point but left after his father died.  He played football at St. Joe’s and tried out for the Dallas Cowboys.   I was next to him at left end when he was on offense as left tackle. On defense the coaches positioned him opposite the other team’s toughest player whether that was as a lineman or linebacker.

Terry died in an auto accident  in 1977 at the age of 34. RHS established an annual football memorial scholarship award which reads: In honor of Terry Davisson former Rensselaer athlete, teacher and coach for his desire to instill in young people the dedication to live up to their potential, now matter what their potential was. 

Local  Offerings

The Adam’s family booth is two sisters.  They sell seasonal produce from their 5 ½ acre farm to earn money in the summer.   They also raise rabbits, ducks and chickens for eggs, goats for milk and other occasional  small livestock.  The girls do the farming as the parents both have full time jobs.

One booth sells  frozen meat.  The price list shows  the marks  of inflation!

Working while waiting for sales.

A local wood carver.

Baked goods and jellies are numerous.  I bought a bread loaf, biscotti and dandelion jelly.

Homes for birds including one in denim.

The morning’s end.

This brief Saturday commerce event is a microcosm of the larger town. We bought our share of local goods, but what we remember most was the conversations.   People are enthusiastic about this opportunity to show and sell their handiwork, and talk.

Tomorrow: Transforming Rensselaer with public art murals.

Learning from  My High School Experiences  or, Back Home Again In Indiana

(Note:  the next three blogs were inspired by attending my 60th high school reunion in June.  For most Americans, these years are the most widely shared common participations  of our lives. These posts are a perspective on their influence  later in life.)

The teenage high school years are times of ever-expanding new life experiences.  However it may take decades before one understands the significance of these happenings as an adult.

Would attending my 60th high school reunion in Rensselaer, Indiana be worth the time and effort?  I was in RHS only 2 ½ years there before  transferring to Springfield, Il in the middle of my junior year when my Dad took a new job in the town in which he grew up.

I’d probably not recognize anyone.  Had kept in touch with just two classmates. The only planned group event was a Saturday evening meal, with many whom I would be meeting for the “first time.”  Would this just be a nostalgia trip?

After the weekend, one classmate shared a note which characterized her feelings.  Even though my time in Rensselaer was much shorter at five years, her words also captured my experience:

The 60th anniversary milestone caused me to reflect on the blessings of the first 18 years of my life.  My family, friends, schools, church and community provided a sense of security and belonging that I never questioned or doubted. The emphasis on self-discipline, hard work, integrity, wise choices and faith provided a solid foundation on which my whole life has been built.  I am so  grateful that I was–and always will be–an Indiana farm girl.  

Rensselaer in Perspective

The reunion  reminded me that who we are today is deeply influenced by where we came from.  It also called attention to why the cooperative model’s roots were first planted in farming communities across America.

Rensselaer is a farming town, the county seat of Jasper County.   On google maps, It is 84 miles from Chicago. It was sufficiently remote and lacking  big city attractions that Chicago Bear’s owner George Halas held the team’s summer training camp at St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer from 1944-1974.  The athletes ate in a basement cafeteria under the campus’ large chapel building.  There were strict curfews.  Nothing to distract.

The College was founded in 1889 but due to financial deficits was closed in 2017.  The campus is intact today waiting for its next evolution.

St. Joe’s chapel  bell  still rings each quarter hour. Cornfields bind the college on three sides while the sports grounds on the campus’ south side snuggled up next to the parking lot for the town’s bowling  alley.

The Town’s Foundation

Rensselaer’s economic base is agriculture.  Farming requires patience; nature can’t be hurried.  Results accrue from persistence and hard labor.  Time is measured daily from sunup to sun down. The  changing seasons mark the longer passages of time.

Rensselaer is the country seat for Jasper County which had a negative .2% population growth over the last decade.  In contrast the US population increased 6.5% and Indiana’s 4.1%.

The town’s  population is just over 6,000. In the 2020 census, the county’s population is 91.2% white (non-Hispanic) and the demographic group increasing the most  is Hispanic/Latino which comprise 6% of the population.

That probably explains why there are now four Mexican restaurants in town versus none when I visited ten years earlier for the 50th reunion.

One even featured a mural of Mexican artist Frida Kahol on the inside of a newly opened restaurant.

Farming is the Priority

Several new businesses have opened in the town in the last decade, but farming is still the economic foundation.

The largest non-farm related businesses/employers opened after 2000 and include:

  1. Franciscan Healthcare
  2. Sealy Mattress Corp
  3. Talbert Manufacturing Inc
  4. Donaldson Co
  5. Conagra Foods
  6. Rensselaer Care Center
  7. Walmart

Businesses are hiring.  Conagra’s Orville Redenbacher popcorn facility is looking for people by offering $20-$34 per hour, a 9% 401 K match, paid maternity leave, gym membership and a $1,500 perfect attendance bonus.

McDonalds is aggressively seeking help with the slogan We Need YOU and starting pay of $12 per hour.

Five banks have branch offices in Rensselaer.  First Trust Credit Union had a branch but closed it ten years ago.  Their former office now houses the town’s bakery.   The five banks’  total deposits  as of June 2021 were  $363 million, a 16% increase over the prior twelve months.

The High School Experience

My 1962 high school class graduated 106.  Six decades later the high school’s 2022 senior class was just one more.  Becoming bigger is not a primary goal of the community.

High school is the most widely followed experience in town.

The old high school building  is gone, replaced by a new single level sprawling campus surrounded by  multiple sports fields and courts on the edge of  town.

Sports are a major high school commitment with ten boy’s and girl’s teams. In my one varsity junior year there were just three boy’s sports (track, basketball, and football) and  no girl’s teams.

Today there is a full-time athletic director but most of the coaches are part time, with jobs outside the school system. In the last three years two RHS girls placed first in the state’s track meet in shot put. The boy’s football team won the state championship for division 2 (the next smallest out of 6 divisions) in 2014.

The school produced two plays this past year, the musical Aida and a Shakespeare production.  The seniors in the art class are able to paint and attach their work to the ceiling tiles around the school.  They can paint their own spaces in the car parking lot.  But no painted senior cords, the tradition in my era.

Instead of Latin, Spanish is now the  foreign  language option. Classes are offered for future farmers and  technical trades including welding .  The welding course was over subscribed so the school installed  two more stations for the class. These students can walk right into local jobs one teacher said.  Between 80-90% of seniors go on to further education.

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Religion and Politics

Religious options continue to expand in the community, both longstanding and new denominations.  Twenty three churches are listed for Rensselaer in the Worship Guide of the local advertising  handout.

My dad was minister at the First Presbyterian Church which is celebrating its 175 anniversary this year but is trying to find a full time pastor.  The church yard contains the family grave for the person after whom the town is named:  James Van Rensselaer.

Rensselaer had two local newspapers in my era.  The six-day afternoon local paper was called the Rensselaer Republican.   The weekly was the Jasper County Democrat.  The Republican is now a once-a-week publication covering multiple towns and counties across northern Indiana.  The Democrat no longer exists.

In the 2020 Presidential election Trump received 74%  and Biden 25% of the vote in Jasper County.  Statewide the totals were closer: 57% to 41%

The town’s most famous politician was Charlie Halleck who served  in Congress from 1935-1969 and was House Minority leader from  1959 to 1964.  He gave a speech nominating Wendell Willkie, a fellow Hoosier,  as the Republican candidate in 1940.  In 1948 he was thought to be a vice presidential option for Thomas Dewey who instead chose governor Earl Warren of California as his running mate.

As House Minority leader Halleck would partner with Senate Minority leader Everitt Dirksen to become the Washington face of the Republican party in their news  conferences called the Ev and Charlie Show.   Halleck opposed the social liberal programs of the democrats.  But supported the Vietnam War and the several Civil and Voting rights Acts of the 50’s and 60’s.

Conservative  Shared Values

Even as wind turbines now add a new source for farm income and new businesses open in town, change occurs slowly.  Making a living from the land  is for most farmers a lifelong commitment to a place.

Tradition matters. Summer events include tractor pull contests, vacation bible school (VBS), family picnics in the covered park shelters, summer plays (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), baseball and a full schedule of public library events.

Following Its Own Time Line

Indiana is divided into two time zones.  Rensselaer is part of the northwestern counties that follow central time.  The rest of the state and most big cities are on EDT.

Farming shapes the pace of change.  Work flows with the seasons. Planting crops is a partnership with nature.  It is not a manufacturing process to produce  a product.

Nature’s output is at a different rhythm than the speed of the modern Internet economy.  Growth must be nurtured and is always subject to forces outside one’s control.

This timeless human endeavor creates respect for the land and those who depend on it. Values of endurance and resilience are essential.  Results come from consistency, not scaling up or being first to market.

Farming creates community through a shared destiny.  For many farmers it is a multi-generational ambition. Their fondest  hope is that their children will take over the family business.  The You-Only-Live-Once (YOLO) mindset is contrary to the deepest instincts of farmers.

This conservative temperament is not limited to farming.  It can be a foundation for a well-served life  in any occupation or place. That I believe is what my classmate meant when writing she was glad to have been an Indiana farm girl.

In following articles, I will share an unusual public mural art effort in Rensselaer and visit the Saturday Farmer’s market.  Both capture the town’s enduring spirit.  And why it survives.

A 60th RHS reunion after dinner photo

My best high school friend was Dale Garriotte.  We shared sports together, delivered  newspapers on our bikes and both ended up in the Navy.

Chip and Dale in 1961 during Easter weekend finishing up our junior year.

Chip and Dale at the 60th RHS reunion:

The Supreme Court’s  Roe Reversal and a Lesson from Credit Union history

Back to the Future

Noah Regan’s cartoon below portrays the logic of the Supreme Court’s overturning the Roe v. Wade precedent.

Supporters of the decision openly assert this puts the US back to what the situation was 50 years ago.  The “freedom to choose” right will now be a state by state determination.   The legal circumstances will vary widely in every jurisdiction.   Even within a single state, the decision could be modified anytime there is new political leadership elected.

Women and their partners will find themselves in an ever changing legal and/or criminal status.   This was an overt political decision.  The courts and lawyers demonstrated their profession’s singular ability to present arguments about woman’s rights that are completely contradictory to each other.  Therefore the solution will be political, not legal.

A Credit Union Perspective

How does a Supreme Court decision that goes against both precedent and common sense get changed?

Two of the current justices were involved in the NCUA vs. First National Bank and Trust case decided in February 1998 in a 5-4 decision written by Justice Clarence Thomas.  The lawyer presenting the NCUA-credit union position was John Roberts, now Chief Justice of the Court.

The court ruled that the NCUA’s interpretation of       § 109 of the Federal Credit Union Act (FCUA) that: “federal credit union membership shall be limited to groups having a common bond of occupation or association, or to groups within a well-defined neighborhood, community, or rural district” -permitted federal credit unions to be composed of multiple, unrelated employer groups, each having its own distinct common bond of occupation” was incorrect.

NCUA General Counsel Bucky Sebastian in 1983 had interpreted, and the Board agreed,  that in section 109 the word “groups” was plural, and therefore authorized multiple group charters.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Bank position that the NCUA’s decision was contrary to law because § 109 unambiguously requires that the same common bond of occupation unite each member of an occupationally defined federal credit union.

Justice Thomas wrote: “the NCUA’s interpretation makes the statutory phrase “common bond” surplusage when applied to a federal credit union made up of multiple unrelated employer groups, because each such “group” already has its own “common bond,” employment with a particular employer. If the phrase “common bond” is to be given any meaning when the employees in such groups are joined together, a different “common bond”-one extending to each and every employee considered together-must be found to unite them.”

This Supreme Court also overruled a district court’s decision that NCUA had correctly interpreted § 109 following the Chevron precedent of deferring to Agency discretion when implementing a Congressional statute.  Note:  this week the Supreme Court is expected to announce a decision which may modify the Chevron precedent.

The Credit Union Response

This FOM ruling would have put federal credit unions back into the legal and practical world of 1934 when the Federal Act was passed.   The court decision ignored the entire history of credit unions and the evolution of financial services under deregulation.   Common sense and real world events made the court’s finding both impractical and a potential end to the federal chartering option.

For decades almost all state systems had much more flexible common bond regulations than NCUA’s.   If the ruling stood, there would have been a wholesale conversion to  state charters.

Credit unions mounted a coordinated and united campaign to change the federal law to continue NCUA’s common bond interpretation that had been followed for almost 20 years.  The result was the passage of the Credit Union Membership Access Act (HR 1151) by congress and signed by President Clinton on August 7, 1998.  This action preserved the NCUA’s FOM regulations albeit with a new set of regulatory requirements under the label of Prompt Corrective Action.

In this situation the state system was  where consumer’s freedom to select a coop financial option was preserved.

Women’s Rights

In the Roe decision, the return to the states to determine what rights a women has, will have the opposite effect of the credit union example.

The Court’s decision echoes an earlier time in our history:  “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” Lincoln warned Americans. “I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided.”

The credit union case is very different in scope and political significance.  However both decisions show the Court’s willingness to turn back the clock, to ignore real world consequences, and throw issues back to the political process.

The common thread in these retro interpretations is the role of Justice Thomas.  He wrote the credit union opinion and assigned the Roe one.

The Roe reversal will, as in the credit union circumstance, require political action.   The court’s abortion  decision resolves nothing.  Like the credit union case, it will eventually come back to congress.

Looking at Gas Prices: Facts and Interpretations

The St. Louis Federal Reserve’s economic research unit (FRED) has published two brief articles this past week analyzing trends in gas prices, both recent and long term.

Both provide evidence for those who would seek to turn the debate political about the increases.

The first article is the Long Term Trend in gas prices.  The analysis has two conclusions:

  1. Average annual CPI inflation from 1990 to 2021 was 2.4%, while average annual gasoline price inflation was 3.9%.
  2. Increased demand for gasoline is not likely the primary reason for gasoline price increases over the past decade, however. It increased from 62.9 million gallons in 1990 to 80.4 million gallons in 2006 but began to decrease in 2006. In 2019, U.S. motor gasoline consumption was 80.9 million gallons—only 0.5 million gallons more than motor gasoline consumption in 2006.

The macroeconomic result is that expenditures on motor gasoline made up a smaller percentage of GDP in 2019 (1.7%) than they did in 1990 (2.1%).

Feathers and Rockets: The Consumer’s Disadvantage

The second analysis tracks the relation between the price of oil and gasoline at the pump.

The article’s conclusion:   When oil prices shoot upward, gas prices rise with them. And when oil prices fall, gasoline prices also fall; but they can fall at a slower rate. Economists refer to this market dynamic as “asymmetric pass-through.” A more colorful description of the phenomenon is “rockets and feathers.”

The chart in the article is dynamic allowing the user to focus on recent changes.  This phenomenon doesn’t occur every time oil prices fall, but can be seen in recent months: at the beginning of December 2021 and at the end of March 2022.

Why Members Are Angry

How one interprets the charts and data in these articles will probably influence which political interpretation  for higher prices a person is inclined to believe now.

Both articles highlight the reality of retailer market power and consumer search costs as reasons why many members (consumers) feel so frustrated by the seeming monopolistic pricing patterns when paying for gas at the pump.

Their anger is more than high prices.  It is the absence of  “consumer sovereignty” (choice) the supposed  hallmark of a market economy.

 

Thursday Thoughts

The Goal of Enough

“Enough looks inward at need, rather than outward at want, like consumerism does. Enough pumps the brakes when we are no longer hungry, or cold, or alone.

“Consumerism floors the accelerator, because there is always someone, somewhere to chase, fueled by consumerist envy.

“My father — a top-tier über-consumer — used to read stories about billionaires and critique out loud what he called “abstract levels of wealth”. “How many pairs of pants can they wear at once?! How many cars can they drive?!” In the next breath, he would chuckle about the six bagfuls of suits he just gave away, because his enormous closets were overstuffed, and “it got a bit crazy”.  (quote from a column by Richard Rohr)

The response to consumerism by Sister José Hobday (1929–2009), a modern Franciscan:

“Simple living is not about elegant frugality. It is not really about deprivation of whatever is useful and helpful for our life. It is not about harsh rules and stringent regulations. To live simply, one has to consider all of these and they may be included to some degree, but simple living is about freedom. It’s about a freedom to choose space rather than clutter, to choose open and generous living rather than a secure and sheltered way.

“Freedom is about choices: Freedom to choose less rather than more. It’s about choosing time for people and ideas and self-growth rather than for maintenance and guarding and possessing and cleaning. Simple living is about moving through life rather lightly, delighting in the plain and the subtle. It is about poetry and dance, song and art, music and grace. It is about optimism and humor, gratitude and appreciation. It is about embracing life with wide-open arms. It’s about living and giving with no strings attached. . . .

“Simple living is as close as the land on which we stand. It is as far-reaching as the universe that makes us gasp. Simple living is a relaxed grasp on money, things, and even friends. Simplicity cherishes ideas and relationships. They are treasured more because simplicity doesn’t cling nor try to possess things or people or relationships. Simplicity frees us within, but it frees others, too. . . . Simple living is a statement of presence. The real me. This simplicity makes us welcome among the wealthy and the poor alike. . . .”

Two Experiences of Being Black in America

These two poems by African Americans were written over 100 years ago.  Their messages of hope endure.   Even today, their words are timely and timeless.

Emancipation

Paul Laurence Dunbar

September  1890

Fling out your banners, your honors be bringing,
Raise to the ether your paeans of praise.
Strike every chord and let music be ringing!
Celebrate freely this day of all days.

Few are the years since that notable blessing,
Raised you from slaves to the powers of men.
Each year has seen you my brothers progressing,
Never to sink to that level again.

Perched on your shoulders sits Liberty smiling,
Perched where the eyes of the nations can see.
Keep from her pinions all contact defiling;
Show by your deeds what you’re destined to be.

Press boldly forward nor waver, nor falter.
Blood has been freely poured out in your cause,
Lives sacrificed upon Liberty’s alter.
Press to the front, it were craven to pause.

Look to the heights that are worth your attaining
Keep your feet firm in the path to the goal.
Toward noble deeds every effort be straining.
Worthy ambition is food for the soul!

Up! Men and brothers, be noble, be earnest!
Ripe is the time and success is assured;
Know that your fate was the hardest and sternest
When through those lash-ringing days you endured.

Never again shall the manacles gall you
Never again shall the whip stroke defame!
Nobles and Freemen, your destinies call you
Onward to honor, to glory and fame.

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We Are Marching

Carrie Law Morgan Figgs

1922

  1. We are marching, truly marching
    Can’t you hear the sound of feet?
    We are fearing no impediment
    We have never known defeat.
  2. Like Job of old we have had patience,
    Like Joshua, dangerous roads we’ve trod
    Like Solomon we have built out temples.
    Like Abraham we’ve had faith in God.
  3. Up the streets of wealth and commerce,
    We are marching one by one
    We are marching, making history,
    For ourselves and those to come.
  4. We have planted schools and churches,
    We have answered duty’s call.
    We have marched from slavery’s cabin
    To the legislative hall.
  5. Brethren can’t you catch the spirit?
    You who are out just get in line
    Because we are marching, yes we are marching
    To the music of the time.
  6. We are marching, steady marching
    Bridging chasms, crossing streams
    Marching up the hill of progress
    Realizing our fondest dreams.
  7. We are marching, truly marching
    Can’t you hear the sound of feet?
    We are fearing no impediment
    We shall never know defeat.

 

Thursday’s Thoughts– Within and Outside Credit Unions

Scott Budde, President of Maine Harvest FCU on paying board members, term limits and incubating new charters.

  1.  I think CU board members should be paid at least something and have term limits. I used to view the long tenures and unpaid work as strengths – and sometimes they are – but there are too many downsides that lead to some of the decisions you’ve questioned. Plus much of it is unglamorous work.
  2.  On small CU’s and new charters, I used to think the solution to new growth in CU’s lay in a better chartering process. But I think there are limits to how much easier chartering can be given the regulatory framework everyone has to live in.

Now I think the solution is to develop some sort of full legal structure for an existing CU to “incubate” a new CU, thereby giving scale, expertise, and resources to allow it to focus on its own FOM.

It would have to come with some sort of indemnification and segregation of capital but that could be figured out. Then a new CU could eventually break off into a separate charter or be folded into the parent CU or keep the same arrangement.

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Blogger Scott Galloway on Tik Tok and its dominance of social media.

Elon Musk’s manic toggling between shit-posting and falsehoods have distracted us from what is the ascendant tech firm of 2022. TikTok now commands more attention per user than Facebook and Instagram combined. Downloaded more often than any other app for each of the past five quarters, it was the world’s most visited site in 2021. TikTok has 1.6 billion monthly active users — more than Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn combined. 

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A reader’s response to the Guardian Score process to monitor examination and other regulatory contacts.

At least four state regulators already survey their credit unions after every exam.   The content is both structured and open ended.  The four states are Louisiana, Arizona, Washington and Connecticut.

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Writer and documentarian Jared Brock on Capitalism.

Rules-free-market unfettered capitalism is a terrible idea.

Capitalism is the private ownership of everything for private profit.

Most people love a good little bit of capitalism; even those brave We Are The 99% Wall Street occupiers owned their tents and bandanas.

I love owning (or rather, stewarding) my own socks and shoes.

Admit it: Most of you love owning your phones.

But I’ve been to North Korea and have seen first-hand what happens when people own nothing, including their own clothes. It’s terrifying.

Capitalism’s biggest flaw is that people love money, and capital quickly becomes sovereign over democracy. It’s like capitalism is loaded with an IED, a handmade dirty bomb that’s ready and willing to blow itself up.

As we have seen time and again, if private ownership capitalism isn’t strictly governed by real democracy, it quickly falls into corporatism, oligarchy, feudalism, or worse.

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The CO-OP Park in Albuquerque New Mexico is now open year round.  Last Friday,  raised garden boxes were put in at the park. The kids from Little Forest Play School  helped plant and had a blast. Is this about the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?  (from Denise Wymore)

Field Notes  for Thursday

The Employment Challenge

From CEO Bill Burke’s May 2022 report to his team at Day Air Credit Union, Dayton, Ohio.  The opening comment:

Best Place to Work

“It’s a crazy employment market out there right now.  A fair number of companies (mostly in the service industry) have increased their minimum wage.  This is being done to recognize that inflation has taken hold (no one uses the word “transitory” anymore) and we’re reminded of that inflation every time we fill our fuel tanks or go grocery shopping.

“As a Best Place to Work, we try to have a firm finger on the pulse of the economic environment.  Last fall we adjusted the grade level of 24 positions throughout the organization upward, 20 by one grade and four by two grades.  We’re carefully reviewing all grades again – don’t be surprised to see a big announcement  of another revision of some salary grades as we respond quickly to the  inflationary environment we find ourselves in.

“What some people are not seeing in the news is how many companies are laying off staff.  A fair number of direct competitors in our market, mostly in the mortgage arena, are laying off people because mortgage volume is decreasing.  A hallmark of a Best Place to Work is not worrying about layoffs.

“Unlike some area banks and credit unions, Day Air Credit Union has never laid off an associate.  How many companies have adjusted salaries upward each and every year?  Another indication of being a Best Place to Work.

“While we have every intent of continuing these practices – never any layoffs and always an annual salary increase – we can never say never.  There are no guarantees for the future; but we can celebrate the great track record of the past and be very confident that it will continue.

“What has to happen to ensure that Day Air remains a Best Place to Work?  The Credit Union will  continue its culture:  a good workplace environment, promotion from within, recognizing a job well done, growing the gain-share plan, providing opportunities for advancement, offering a robust array of benefits, having fair policies and processes–doing what we’ve always done.

“Each associate will continue living the mission by: being purpose-driven, engaging members, providing solutions to their financial needs, increasing our share of the member household wallet, and above all act in accordance with our core values: integrity, compassion, engagement and empowerment.

Thank you for making Day Air a Best Place to Work.”

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Members Left Out of Merger

A reader responds to the Cap Com merger with State Employees (June 1 blog) and NCUA’s role:

“A comment from a management person at one of our credit unions this morning to one of our field reps:  “Our member’s don’t know it yet, but we will be merging with XYZ credit union in the fall.”

“A sad testimony to how seriously the member vote, and the member’s will, is taken. NCUA knows about the pending merger, but no one has yet cued in the members.”

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Three Credit Unions In a World Alliance

Two New Members Join the Global Alliance for Banking Values


The GABV has welcomed two new members to the network: vdk bank, based in Ghent, Belgium, and Australian Mutual Bank, which operates in the state of New South Wales, Australia.

The GABV’s ever-growing network has now reached a total of 67 members from 44 countries that share a common goal to transform finance for good. Meet them

The three US credit union members are Clearwater CU (Montana), Verity CU  (Washington), Vermont State Employees (proposing to merge) plus the National Cooperative Bank (Virginia).

The Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) is a network of independent banks and banking cooperatives with a shared mission to use finance to deliver sustainable economic, social, and environmental development.

Founded in 2009, the GABV comprises 67 financial institutions operating in 44 countries across Asia-Pacific, Africa, Latin America, North America and Europe. It serves more than 60 million customers collectively, holds over USD 200 billion of combined assets under management, and employs 80,000 co-workers.

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Inflation and Recycling

From Rensselaer, IN where I will attend my 60th high school reunion on June 11. (rensselaeradventures.blogspot.com )

“I took in some aluminum cans last week and was surprised that the price the scrap yard was paying was 70¢ a pound. I have never seen it that high. It takes 30 to 35 cans to equal a pound, so the scrap value of an empty can is about 2¢.

“That takes me back to my boyhood when an empty pop or beer bottle could be returned for 2¢. Back then most pop and beer came in bottles that were returned and reused. We did not find many because back then a postage stamp for a letter was 3¢ and a candy bar was 5¢; most people kept their empties.”

It reminds me of the summers my brother and sisters would go to the corn fields to pick up corn ears the automated pickers had missed.  We earned $1 per gunny sack full of corn.

 

Memory and Hope:  Memorial Day 2022

From the golden fields of grain in Ukraine to the classrooms of Uvalde, Texas it is hard not to feel deep sadness at the self-inflicted tragedies of life.

Wilfred Owen’s poem Futility  captured this feeling during WW I in which the poet lost his life on November 4, 1918: :

Move him into the sun—

Gently its touch awoke him once,

At home, whispering of fields unsown.

Always it woke him, even in France,

Until this morning and this snow.

If anything might rouse him now

The kind old sun will know.

 

Think how it wakes the seeds—

Woke once the clays of a cold star.

Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides

Full-nerved, still warm, too hard to stir?

Was it for this the clay grew tall?

—O what made fatuous sunbeams toil

To break earth’s sleep at all?

Where is Hope?

The irony of memory is that lives transcend tragedy when we remember the people whose loss leaves a deep crevice in our soul.  Especially those who gave us life and purpose when we faced our own uncertainties.

The most important event during the day when deployed in the Navy is mail call.   That is a reminder of the reunion everyone longed for.

(Returning from Operation Golden Dragon, Yokosuka, Japan 1970.  Mary Ann and Lara greet our brief stop to replenish before going back to sea. USS Windham County LST 1170 in background.)

Today an individual’s presence may not be physical, but  the  meaning they gave to our lives endures.   That is how hope overcomes tragedy.