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Sidney Herald
Sidney , Montana
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March 3, 2019     Sidney Herald
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March 3, 2019
 

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SUNDAY, FEB. 3, 2019 ditoriol SIDNEY HERALD Herold offers new chapter to provide you with best coverage Journalism has taken some serious hits in the past few weeks. First, the Catholic School teens in Washington DC wearing the “MAGA” hats and all of the misreporting. Second, the massive lay- off of journalists by our country’s largest news- paper owner, Gannet. There is a war on local journalism, right when we need it most. The new term is “news desert.” And it means exactly what it sounds like. More than 900 com- munity newspapers have shut their doors since 2009. Small communities all over the United States are in a news desert. Let’s think about that for a minute. Even if you are not a weekly reader ’We want to continue sharing the unique flavors at this region with our readers, but we have to ensure that we have the resources to serve our community.’ Kelly Miller Publisher of the Sidney Herald or the Round-up, where would you go to get meet- ing dates? Where would you read about city council or county com— missioners? Who would be the watchdog of local government? Not just our Quintet .what .abput coverage of state gov- ernment? And let’s not forget local sports and community events. I hear it all the time- the younger generation doesn’t read the newspa- per. That’s OK. It’s not the physical form of the newspaper we need. It’s the NEWS. It’s the local journalists. The Sidney Herald will introduce digital sub- scriptions on Wednesday, Feb. 6, to help provide the resources needed to ac- . commodate the growing number of readers who access sidneyheraldcom. Offering free access has helped build the web- site’s readership over the last 10 years into the most visited in Richland County, Montana with more than 960,500 page views in the past 12 months. But the realities of business are driving change. While the newspaper industry’s initial re- sponse to the internet was to offer their con- tent free online, this is not a sustainable busi- ness model. Like any other business, what we produce has value. This move to digital subscrip- tions recognizes that value. It will help us meet the rising cost of continuing to provide the quality local news that readers have come to expect. For nearly 110 years From www.history.com FEB. 2 On this day in 1887, Groundhog Day, featur- ing a rodent-meteorolo- gist, is celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, it gets scared and runs back into its burrow, pre- dicting six more weeks of winter weather; no shadow means an early spring. Groundhog Day has This day in history since 1908, the Sidney Herald has delivered news _ par- ticularly local news — that cannot be found elsewhere. No other media outlet can match the Sid- ney Herald coverage of local government, sports, businesses, public safety, interesting neighbors in Sidney, or where to go and what to do. We want to continue sharing the unique fla- vors of this region with our readers, but we have to ensure that we have the resources to serve our community. Beginning Feb. 6, digital subscriptions will open a new chapter in the Sidney Herald’s story as a local business. This new approach, often referred to as a “metered paywall,” allows for dif- ferent options based on a person’s level of news consumption. Our new‘system will have little effect on the thousands of occasional visitors to sidneyherlad. com or to subscribers to the print edition, who will continue to have complimentary access to the website for the duration of their sub— scription. But frequent, dedicated online readers will notice restrictions on the website that put some content off limits to nonsubscribers. Visitors to sidneyher- ald.com will be allowed to view three articles P91” “110.1%? 9503‘?- . Publiser I Kelly Miller they. Sign-.111)..er .our. e.- .. . newsletter they can View an additional two stories. After that, a subscription will be required at $3.95 for unlimited access, in- cluding the e-edition and archived content from past editions. There will continue to be a significant number of free features on the website. All visitors to sidneyheraldcom will have full access to the home page, plus some breaking news events. Reader polls, classified and retail advertising, public notices, special sections and the online calendar of events will be accessible to all. The Sidney Herald is offering a special deal that includes mail deliv- ery of the print edition for $52 for a year — $6 per month — for new or exist- ing subscribers prior to the launch of the web- site’s metered paywall. These print subscrip- tions will come with free access to sidneyherald. com for 12 months. This specials will run through the end of February, 2019. We want to make this transition as easy and af- fordable as possible. We appreciate the longtime support of the Sidney Herald in this commu- nity, and we look forward , to continuing our role as Richland County’s go-to source for local news. its roots in the ancient Christian tradition of . Candlemas, when clergy would bless and distrib- ute candles needed for winter. The candles rep- resented how long and cold the winter would be. Germans expanded on this concept by selecting an animal the hedge- I SEE A BLUE DRESS! I SEEASMiRKrNG, OBNo xrovs, White KrD NEARtNG A ’MAGA CARI] \' , 'v.~,, I HEARA LOUD DRth ,/ H BEtNeBANGEDrNHrsFAcE evA CONFRONPA'GONAL ; TROUBLE-MAKING ’ naive AMEchArirr Running prescription drug ’interference' BY PETER J. PITTS CENTER OF MEDICINE FOR iHE PUBLIC lNiERESi Is the direct federal negotia- tion of drug prices a good idea? Consider the “non-interference clause” that currently prohibits such actions in Medicare Part D the federal program that subsidizes prescription drugs for seniors. A repeal of the non-interference clause would result in a sharp increase in Medicare drug prices and a substantial decline in pa— tient choice. The non-interference clause empowers private insurers to ne- gotiate drug prices with manufac- turers and prohibits government officials from getting involved. So far, private insurers that offer Part D plans have had great success in keeping pharmaceutical prices down. The Congressional Budget Office observed that Part D plans have “secured rebates somewhat larger than the average rebates observed in commercial health plans.” Nearly 9 in 10 enrollees are happy with their Part D plan. A full 90 percent of enrollees say ’Nearly 9 in IO enrollees are happy with their Part D plan. A full 90 percent of enrollees say that their plan is easy to use and that their preshription spending would be higher without Part D coverage.’ Peter J. Pitts Center of Medicine for the Public Interest Doing away with the non-inter- ference clause would disrupt the program. For starters, the move “would have a negligible effect on federal spending.” According to the CBO, to achieve any significant savings, the government would have to fol- low through on its threats of “not allowing [certain] drug[s] to be money. That would be a raw deal for patients. The average Part D plan provides access to more than 95 percent of the top 200 Medicare Part D Drugs. Should Part D plans drop medi- cines from their formularies to cut costs, Medicare Part D as we know it would cease to exist. And this coverage disruption would send America’s 44 million Part D enrollees scrambling to maintain access to the medications they need. Patients who rely on drugs that are dropped from their Part D formularies will be forced to pay , for them out-of-pocket. Others could be forced onto new thera- pies entirely. Facing higher out- of-pocket spending, some patients could abandon their treatment regimens. And when patients stop taking their medications, their condi- tions worsen and overall health- care costs rise. In other words, the President’s reform would backfire —— threaten- ing patients and sending health expenditures through the roof. that their plan ise'asy to use and that their prescription spending would be higher without Part D coverage. prescribed.” In other words, the govern-H ment would drop some drugs from Medicare’s coverage to save . Peter J. mistreated Associate . , Commissioner, is'President oi the Center lor Medicine in the Public interest. Beef demond up, but cottle prices down BY BILL BULLARD CEO, HALF USA A recent news release posted on a website hear- ing the Beef Checkoff Logo and titled, “Beef Demand . . . It’s Been A Very Good Year” states that “2018 retail beef demand is 15 percent higher than in January 2012.” This is touted by the beef industry as great news for the cattle indus- try. If that is true, then cattle prices should have increased over the same period. After all, accord- ing to the beef indrntry, increasing beef demand means good prices for retail beef, which will, like water, trickle down to reward every sector of the beef supply chain, including the live cattle producer. But that did not happen. Instead, fed cattle price fell nearly 5 percent during the same period that beef demand increased 15 per- cent. This is an inverse relationship - exactly opposite of what a com- petitive market would dictate. This indicates some- thing is terribly wrong with the structure ofl the cattle industry’s mar- kets. The 2012 average 5Larea‘ fed cattle price of $122.96 per cwt should have increased in 2018 rather than decrease to a $117 per cwt price (through November). While beef demand is not a measure of actual beef consump- tion, it does measure consumers’ willingness to purchase the available supply of beef at various prices. So, as retail beef prices increase while beef supplies increase, the beef demand mea- sure also increases. The fact that retail beef prices have in- creased is widely known. Retail beef prices increased dramatically, during that period by about a dollar per pound. All fresh retail beef prices increased from about $4.69 per pound in 2012 to about $5.69 per pound in 2018 (through November). What is less known is that while domestic beef production declined by more than 2.2 bil- lion pounds from 2012 through 2015, fueling the historic cattle price rally of 2013 through 2014, the beef industry tried to stop that rally by dramatically increas- ing imports of beef and cattle in 2014 and 2015. ‘ And stop it they did. When these near record imports were added to domestic production, the decline in domestic beef production was substantially offset by ' the dramatic increase in imports, which by the beginning of 2015 had effectively eliminated the competitive forces that were driving cattle prices upward. Expectedly, cattle prices collapsed under the weight of near- record imports and in the ensuing years (2016-2018), a combi- nation of increased domestic production and continued high import levels caused total beef supplies to eventually, exceed 2012 levels. So, yes, beef supplies did in- crease while consumers continued paying higher prices for beef, causing beef demand to increase by an impressive 15 percent. Cattle .prices, however, continue to suffer from the ongoing pressure of undifferentiated im- ports, which are direct substitutes for domestic supplies. These imports effectively increase the total beef supply in the US; but even so, retail beef prices remain strong. In fact, the spread between the price cattle producers receive for their cattle and what consumers are willing to pay for beef is now the widest in history. In 2012, that spread was $2.39 per pound. In 2018, it was $5.91 per pound (through November). This informs us that someone along the beef supply chain is now receiving a substantial share of the revenues from beef sales that used to flow to cattle produc- etters poliy ers. In other words, there is now a dam somewhere across the cattle or beef supply chains that is pre- venting revenues from trickling down to cattle producers, as would be the case in a competitive market. The important point for cattle producers reading this piece is that the someone who has captured more than their competitive share from the value of beef 7 _Is Not You! a For several years now , the beef packers have been capturing unprec- edented margins. This is ’ because cattle prices re- mained unresponsive to increasing beef demand. In fact, retail beef prices have remained at or near the same levels they were four years ago, when fed cattle prices were around $160 per cwt and lighter feeder cattle prices were well over $200rper cwt. It is time for some serious, critical think- ing about the structure of the cattle market by cattle producers . . . before it is too late. Bill Ballard is the CEO of R-CALF USA, the nation’s largest non-profit trade association exclusively representing the US. cattle industry. The Sidney Herald welcomes letters to the editor. Whether litical, a prob- lem in the city or n'eighborhood, or to pat someone on the ck, let us know what’s on your mind. All letters must include the writer’s signature, address and daytime telephone number. We do not publish anonymous letters. Letters are sub'eci to editing for spelling, clarity or ength. Be sure of your facts. It is impossi le tor the newspaper to verily information in every letter. hog as a means 0f l D We reserve the right to select which letters are published. One letter per PredICting weather- month unless in response to another letter. ' once they came to ,5 The Herald will not ublish letters critical of individuals or businesses unless America, German set- tlers in Pennsylvania such letters deal wit issues involvinp taxpa ers lunds. i letters submitted to the Sidney Hera d may e published or distributed in t' (1 th tr d't' , ' 33.3325. the; sviiitlcligd REGION SINCE I908 532227.31?"°”'° ‘°""" from hedgehogs F0 Kelly. Miller, Publisher M9" '0 “‘9 Edit" groundhogs, which were . ’ Sidney Herald plentiful in the Keystone BillVandor Weele, Editor 310 2nd Ave. N,E. State. . r ' " Sidney, Mi 59270 new i‘smuw may