May 31, 2001

Representative Sam Berkowitz Calls 2001 Legislative Session A Success

The Memphis Democrat may have been a little out of place among the "big boys" covering the final day of the Missouri State House of Representatives. However the Scotland County newspaper was in agreement with the likes of the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Associated Press, that it was a productive legislative session that came to a close May 18.

First District Representative Sam Berkowitz agreed that the law making session provided numerous improvements for citizens of his district as was the case for the entire state.



The Missouri House of Representatives concluded the 2001 legislative session after posting big victories for the state's schools and working families.

"On the first day of session, we set forth an agenda dedicated to public education and the working families of Missouri, with a strong commitment to bipartisanship," said House Speaker Jim Kreider, D-Nixa. "Based on our accomplishments during this past session, I think we have proven that we can work together for the benefit of all Missourians."

One of the most significant accomplishments during the year was the completion of the state budget, said Speaker Kreider, noting that budget negotiators were required to find a half billion dollars to trim from state departments. But even in a tight budget year, he said, the House approved a $78 million increase for Missouri schools.

"In my view, the funding of public education is among our most important duties in state government," said Speaker Kreider. "We must maintain a quality educational system to give our students the education they deserve."

The House also approved revisions to the Criminal Asset Forfeiture Act (CAFA), which requires all assets seized from drug busts and other criminal activity to be dedicated to a school building fund. Governor Holden has signed the measure into law.

With more than 200 bills reaching final passage, members of the House can truly say they had a busy session. But its leaders say the session was not only busy, but successful as well.

"I'm here to brag on the members of this House," said Speaker Kreider at a news conference following the final day of the legislative session. "They worked hard and the citizens of Missouri were well served by the Missouri House of Representatives."

"We went to work in the Missouri House and got some important legislation passed for the good of the people of Missouri," said Minority Leader Catherine Hanaway. "We were also successful at stopping some potentially harmful legislation. And while there were disappointments along the way, I think you can say we had a good session for the people of Missouri."

Speaker Kreider pointed to bills on women's health, the .08 drunken driving limit, redistricting and the budget as particular successes of the House.

He also pointed to the successful passage of trans-portation funding, accountability in transportation, and the spending of proceeds from the national tobacco settlement as bills that passed the House, but then stalled in the Senate.

Rep. Berkowitz echoed these sentiments, indicating his frustration in the inability to get the Governor's transportation bill passed. He noted the plan would have created significant improvements for northeast Missouri, including funding for projects on Highways 61, 63 and 36.

Berkowitz also noted his disappointment in the failure of the prescription drug plans that would have provided financial aid for elderly citizens to meet the growing costs of medicine.

"I think that is a topic that will be addressed at the special session in September," Berkowitz said. "Hopefully we can get a plan together to help these people so they will not have to go another year having to decide whether to spend their limited resources on medicine or other everyday necessities."

The House passed legislation creating the Pharmaceutical Investment Program for Seniors (PIPS), a prescription drug coverage plan for low-income senior citizens. In spite of early approval by the House, the measure failed to gain passage in the Missouri Senate.

Despite the transportation and prescription drug issues, Berkowitz praised the work done this year in the House, including productive work across party lines.

Lawmakers from both parties worked together to craft bills on lowering the state's drunken driving level from .10 to .08. They also worked together to pass legislation on agriculture, health care, veterans issues, senior citizens, education, insurance and the budget.

"From day one, we said our party's priority was to make government work for the people of the state of Missouri," said Rep. Hanaway. "We worked hard with members from the other side of the aisle and accomplished a great deal."

"I want to commend Leader Hanaway and members of her caucus, they were cooperative and worked hard with us," said Speaker Kreider. "This was a House that was united on many issues, and one which provided strong leadership on a number of important issues. I look forward to continuing our relationship and our commitment to hard work next year."

This session of the Missouri Legislature will be known as the session that dealt with a giant hole in the budget and began historic debates on transportation and the uses of the state's share of the national tobacco settlement. It could also be known for legislation that touches ordinary citizens' lives.

House Bill 762, the Well Women's Health Initiative, is an example of such legislation. It requires health insurance providers to include obstetrical/ gynecological coverage, to annually notify enrollees of cancer screenings covered under the health care plan, and to cover contraceptives if the enrollee requests.

"The women of Missouri now truly have a health care package that will encompass their lives from child bearing age until menopause," said Rep. Joan Barry, the sponsor of HB 762.

"We are so pleased that this will come to pass after so long. The winners in this are the women of Missouri."

House members also took a stand against drunken driving, by lowering the state's threshold for drunken driving offenses from .10 to .08. The bill (HB 302) was a result of more than five years of effort by Rep. Craig Hosmer.

"It's one of the biggest things that we have done for public safety and the safety of our highways in the eleven years I have been a member of the House of Representatives," said Rep. Hosmer. "This is a good bill, it is good public policy, and it's good for the safety of the people who travel our roads and highways."

"We're losing lives and highway dollars by not having .08 as our state law," said bill co-sponsor Rep. Sam Gaskill referring to the federal government's withholding of millions of dollars in highway funds from the state each year for not enacting the low drunk driving standards. "It makes no sense to carry on with opposition when so many studies point to the fact that everyone is inebriated and lacks good judgement at .08."

Another bill that was a long time coming was House Bill 328, legislation that requires health care insurance providers to, within 45 days of a claim, provide a complete description of all information necessary to process the entire claim.

The legislation also allows a person who has filed a claim for reimbursement for health care service to file a civil action against a carrier for violation of the "prompt pay" provision. Rep. Tim Harlan handled the bill that some say has been around since 1993.

"It's finally time for the state to take a stand on this issue," said Rep. Harlan. "There is no good reason for insurance companies to leave consumers dangling on whether or not their claims will be paid."

Elementary school students who read below grade level are the target for legislation passed in Senate Bill 319. Under an amendment passed by the House, local school districts are required to come up with a plan for helping students improve their reading bills. The new provisions do away with mandatory grade retention policies under existing law.

"Our children need to read at least at grade level to succeed anywhere in school," said House bill handler, Rep. Connie Johnson. "This legislation mandates that the individual school districts take action to make sure their students learn to read."

"The important thing about this legislation is that it gives districts local control about how to best handle individual students who fall behind," said Rep. Charlie Shields, a key supporter of the House amendment. "We now no longer mandate that a student should be held back an entire grade because of their reading, but instead we now mandate the district take action to help that student."

Missouri House members also tacked important legislation on to a Senate agriculture bill. The Farmland Protection Act (an amendment to Senate Bill 462) will help protect farmers who own land near and around developments. The bill has several provisions aimed at keeping cities and real estate developers from swallowing farmland from owners who are not ready to sell. The act was sponsored in the House by Speaker Jim Kreider and Rep. Luanne Ridgeway.

"With cities encroaching more and more into our rural areas, we need to do all we can to protect the family farms, which are our heritage," said Rep. Ridgeway. "Farm families should not be disadvantaged just because a developer wants to build a subdivision out in the country."

House members also remembered the state's military veterans by passing House Bill 207. It allocates a portion of the Veterans Commission Capitol Improvements Trust Fund to fund matching grants for veteran's service officer programs, provide medallions for the state's World War II veterans, and provide $10 million for the expansion and renovation of the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City.

"This is a way our generation can express our thanks and appreciation for all these veterans have given us," said bill sponsor, Rep. Carson Ross. "A worthy theme, taken from one of our veterans' service organizations, is to 'honor the dead by serving the living.'"

Finally, House members reached out to stop felons from being released from jail if there are out-standing warrants for their arrest in the memory of a little boy from Independence. By sending House Bill 144, "Jake's Law", to the governor, the House paid tribute to Jake Robel, a six-year-old boy, dragged to death by a car-jacker who had been erroneously released from a north central Missouri jail just hours before.

"We need to make sure law enforcement is more careful before releasing prisoners back on to the street," said HB 144 sponsor Dennis Bonner. "What happened to Jake should never happen again."

Four SCR-I Grads Earn Academic All-Conference Honors

The Tri-Rivers Conference announce the 2015-2016 Academic All-Conference award winners. To be eligible for this award, students had to be of senior standing and completed their 7th semester of secondary school attendance; achieve a minimum ACT composite score of 22; and have participated in a minimum of one conference-sanctioned activity during their senior year.

Each nominated student received a combined score which includes GPA, ACT composite score, and number of Tri-Rivers Conference activities participated in during their 11th and 12th grade years. The top 16 student scores qualify as “Academic All-Conference”.

The 2015-16 TRC All Academic winners are Zach Boatman, Andrew Hodge, Tim Jones, Skyler Sullens, and Marissa York of Knox County; Sara Christine and Amber Vannoy of North Shelby; Courtney Guffey, Hunter Halley, and Lauren Renner of Putnam County; John Davenport and Nathanial Wheeler of Schuyler County; Joshua Adams, Morgan Alexander, Caleb Doubet, and Megan Kice of Scotland County.

Tigers Bring Home 11th, 13th Place Finishes at State Track Championships

track web

A pair of Scotland County entries in the Missouri Class 2 state track championships were unable to make it to the medal podium over the weekend but wrapped up the 2016 season with strong showings.

The Tigers 4×800 relay team finished 11th overall, but still set a school record with a time of 8:35.51.

College Heights Christian High School’s team took the state title in a time of 8:12.26 followed by Cleveland NJROTC, Russellville, Penney and Woodland. Also reaching the podium were teams from Summit Christian Academy, Crane and Clever.

The SCR-I team consisted of Caleb Doubet, Riley Kliethermes, Tristen Kice and Zach Doubet.

The team finished fourth in the Class 2 District 1 & 2 sectional meet in a time of 8:45.86 to qualify for state among the top 16 teams in Missouri.

Kice also competed in the 400 meter dash. He ran a time of 52.92 in the preliminaries, finishing sixth in his heat race and failing to qualify as one of the top eight individual times, finishing with the 13th best time.

Madison Davis of Skyline was the top qualifier in a time of 49.75. The senior went on to claim the state title the following day, to defend his state title, besting the field in a time of 48.95. Matthew Christhoffer of Clever was second followed by Jonathan Johnson of College Heights, James Allen of Cleveland NJROTC, Malcom Elmroe of Lafayette County, Kenan Brooks of Father Tolton, Justin de la Torre of Bourbon and Noah Hahn of Scott City.

Kice had qualified for state with a fourth place finish at the Class 2 Sectional 1 event held at Troy Buchanan High School.

Zach Doubet finished seventh in the 1,600 meter and 3,200 meter runs at sectionals. The Tigers’ 4×400 team also finished seventh as did Bryson Orton in the shot put.

The Lady Tigers also had three athletes finish in the top at sectionals. Katelyn Talbert was seventh in the 400 meter dash while Abby Blessing finished seventh in the high jump. Khloe Hamlin was eighth in the triple jump.

Scotland County Commission Meeting Minutes

Thursday, May 12, 2016

PLACE OF MEETING: Scotland County Courthouse Commission Chambers

The meeting was called to order at 8:30 a.m.

PRESENT WERE:  Presiding Commissioner: Duane Ebeling; Eastern District Commissioner, Danette Clatt; Western District Commissioner, David Wiggins; and County Clerk, Batina Dodge.

Commissioner Wiggins moved to approve the consent agenda; seconded by Commissioner Ebeling. Motion carried 3-0.

The minutes from May 11, 2016 were presented. Commissioner Clatt moved to approve the regular session minutes; seconded by Commissioner Wiggins. Motion carried 3-0.

Gene Berry, City of Gorin Alderman, called requesting assistance for exposed wells on abandoned properties in Gorin.  The Commission advised Berry to contact the Missouri Municipal League for guidance.

The Commission contacted Roy Monroe, City of Memphis Administrator, regarding trimming trees in the courthouse lawn.  The Commission, Monroe, and Curtis Mallett inspected the trees.

Seeing no further business, Presiding Commissioner Ebeling adjourned the meeting at 12:00 p.m.

The Scotland County Commission adjourned to meet in regular session on Wednesday, May 18, 2016.

 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

PLACE OF MEETING: Scotland County Courthouse Commission Chambers

The meeting was called to order at 8:30 a.m.

PRESENT WERE:  Presiding Commissioner: Duane Ebeling; Eastern District Commissioner, Danette Clatt; Western District Commissioner, David Wiggins; Deputy County Clerk, Nancy McClamroch.

Commissioner Wiggins moved to approve the consent agenda; seconded by Commissioner Ebeling. Motion carried 3-0.

The minutes from May 12, 2016 were presented. Commissioner Clatt moved to approve the regular session minutes; seconded by Commissioner Wiggins. Motion carried 3-0.

Commissioners approved an invoice to Quincy Mack for rock trailer.

Invoice #150523-010-5 to Shaefer, Kline & Warren for professional fees on Bridge #1460007 was approved by Commission.

Ryan Clark, Road & Bridge Supervisor, visited with Commissioners about Road and Bridge issues.

Seeing no further business, Presiding Commissioner Ebeling adjourned the meeting at 12:00 p.m.

The Scotland County Commission adjourned to meet in regular session on Thursday, May 19, 2016.

Tigers Fall Short in Bid to Defend  District Title

Gage Dodge slides around the tag at home plate to score the Tigers lone run in their 2-1 loss to Canton in the District  championship game.

Gage Dodge slides around the tag at home plate to score the Tigers lone run in their 2-1 loss to Canton in the District championship game.

Scotland County’s baseball season came to a close Thursday night in Edina as the Tigers fell to Canton 2-1 in the Class 2 District 6 championship, a game in which SCR-I simply could not catch a break.

The Tigers missed by inches of taking the lead in the first inning. Gage Dodge walked to start the game. With two outs, Grant Campbell lined a deep drive down the right field line that went off the fielder’s glove just as he was crossing the line and was ultimately ruled a foul ball. If fair, the drive would have plated Dodge, but he was stranded at first when Campbell struck out. That became the theme of the evening as SCR-I left nine runners on base in a contest where the out hit the opponent eight to two.

Canton took advantage of an error in the bottom of the first to jump on top 1-0 when Josh Kermoade doubled to right field to plate Koy Smith.

Lane Pence singled with one out in the second. Courtesy runner Elijah Cooley was held up at third when Ryan Slaughter laced a double in the right-center field gap. Canton got out of the jam when Aaron Blessing lined out to second base and Cooley was doubled off third on the play.

SCR-I pulled even in the third inning. With one out, Dodge singled. Aaron Buford followed with a base hit before Will Fromm singled to right field and Dodge beat the throw home to tie the score at 1-1.

Logan Brown was hit by a pitch to start Canton’s third inning, but he was gunned down by Pence trying to steal second.

Canton took the 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth. A one out single by Kermoade started the rally. A  pair of wild pitches moved him into scoring position. After a two-out walk to Lavion Wilson, Aaron Buford was called for a balk when he faked a pickoff throw to third base and then threw to first base. The move was widely used in  Major League Baseball until a rule change in 2013 made it a balk.  That was the call by the umpires, allowing Kermoade to come home.

The Tigers threatened again in the fifth inning. With two outs, Buford walked before Fromm singled to center field. Campbell legged out an infield single to load the bases, but Justin McKee was retired on a ground out to end the threat.

Pence narrowly missed tying the game when he crushed a double off the left field fence to start the sixth inning. But he was stranded at second as Lance Logsdon retired the next three hitters.

The Canton hurler retired the side in order for just the second time of the night in the seventh inning to secure the 2-1 win for his team.

Buford took the loss on the mound despite allowing just two hits and three walks while striking out six.

Logsdon held SCR-I to one run on eight hits and two walks while striking out 10.

Pence went 2-3 for SCR-I and Fromm was 2-4 with the lone RBI.

The Tigers finish the season with a 14-4 record.

Canton (18-0) advances to take on District 5 champs Clopton (10-9). The winner will take on the victor of the Westran (13-6) and Vienna (17-8) contest featuring the district 7 and 8 champions.

Rutledge Renegades

Our sympathies to the family and friends of Roger Gipson.

Charlene Montgomery and Neta Phillips went to Kirksville.

Don Tague is home from Albuquerque, NM where he attended the graduation of his granddaughter, Dr. Jennifer Crawford.

Naomi Kidd-Schwandt’s grandson, Alak Schick, from Chicago, came and stayed the weekend.

Tary and Yukiko from Woodbridge, VA came and helped his mother, Bette; celebrate her 92nd birthday at Zimmerman’s. They came on Tuesday and went home on Friday.

Tary and Yukiko also ate breakfast at the Gingerbread House with cousins Virginia Woods and Verlee Dauma.

Luke and Anna Mae Horning went to New York to his nephew’s wedding.

Reva Hustead and Teddy Ammons went to Palmyra.

Betty Wiley’s 92nd birthday was on Wednesday, May 13. She celebrated at Zimmerman’s on Friday, May 19. Those attending were: Tary and Yukiko Wiley, Neta Phillips, Marjorie Peterson, Oren and Celina Erickson, Bob and Dorothy Hunolt, Erma High, Irwin Zimmerman, and Charlene Montgomery.

Some others in this week were: Otho and Dora Harbur, Ronnie Peterson, Martin Guinn, Reva Hustead, Alyson Ewald and daughter Cole Mazziotti, Dale and Lisa Tague, Don Tague, Tamara Tague, Milt Clary, Ronnie and Bonnie Young.

Spurgeon, Thomas Wed in Ottumwa

spurgeon wedding web

The First United Methodist Church in Ottumwa, IA was the setting for the March 19th, 2016 wedding of Erica Thomas and Joseph Spurgeon.

The Rev. Jon Disburg conducted the ceremony. The bride of Ottumwa, IA is the daughter of Jonny Thomas and the late Vicki Fetters. Grandparents are the late Alvin and Beulah Thomas and Gene and Velma Fetters.

The groom of Granger, MO is the son of Rob and Carolyn Spurgeon. Grandparents are Junior and Betty Smith of Luray, MO and Shirley and the late Dean Spurgeon of Granger, MO. The wedding party consisted of Cassie Hammack, matron of honor; Katie Maher, Bridesmaid; Craig Wittstock, best man; Daniel Spurgeon, groomsman and brother of the groom.

Ushers were Ryan (Kip) Auld and Zach Sheeley. Ring bearer was Drake Spurgeon, nephew of the groom. Flower girls were Auralynn and Annelise Spurgeon, nieces of the groom.

The reception was held at the Elk’s Lodge in Ottumwa, IA.

The couple enjoyed their honeymoon in Cancun, Mexico.

Memorial Day

Many people associate Memorial Day with the start of the summer season, a long weekend to enjoy picnics and barbecues, an occasion to go shopping and take advantage of the special sales, and a time to place flowers on the graves of family members. While there is nothing wrong with any of those activities, they do not fulfill the objective for which Memorial Day was established. The first observance of Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was held on May 30, 1868, to remember and honor the lives lost during the Civil War. The observance was organized by the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union Veterans headed by Maj. Gen. John A. Logan. After World War I, Memorial Day was expanded to become a day of honor and reverence for all the men and women who died fighting in all wars. If we count the number of deaths of those who have died in service to this country, the number would be somewhere around 1.1 million. In 1968 the traditional May 30th date of Memorial Day was changed when Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The law, which took effect in 1971, changed the date of Memorial Day to the last Monday in May. Take time this Memorial Day to remember and honor the men and women who gave their last full measure in service to their country.

From Jauflione Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

Uncertainty

Another turkey season has come and gone. I spent the last several days chasing two gobblers that teased me every day until the season was officially over. They showed up each day within two hundred square yards of the previous day. Sometimes I would just sit in my truck waiting for them to come out into their strutting area. I would then plan my strategy that included both stalking and calling. Several times I decided on an ambush. Other days it was more of a traditional approach. And even though I did kill one there a few days earlier, these two were too smart for me. I couldn’t believe I could know so much about these birds, hunt them for several days in a row, and yet come up empty handed. I noticed during a stretch of several days, I would constantly think about how to go about tagging one of those birds. It seemed it was always on my mind and even though I was confident in each new plan I devised, they always came up short.

We are all good at making plans. They are always based upon what we know – or what we think we know. We especially do this when it comes to the things of God. Most people take the influences of family, friends, work, and the media, and form a plan for what they believe about God, His ways, and even their hope for Heaven. They have formed their belief system on what someone else has told them and the only thing they have weighed its genuineness against, is if it sounds and feels right. That is a dangerous gamble. Each one of my plans to kill a turkey sounded and felt right. They were based on the knowledge I had from what I saw and heard from those gobblers and from what I had learned from my hunting experiences and from other hunters as well. But each plan failed because none were guaranteed. In our spiritual life uncertainty does not have to rule our minds.

The Scriptures give us the measure for everything we see, hear, and feel. They allow us to test if what we feel has backbone or is it just an untrustworthy emotion. They also allow us to lay what we see and hear alongside its pages to make sure our eyes and ears are not deceiving us. They give us the guarantee that we all want in life and in death. Don’t wait for a pastor or priest to open the Word of God for you. Open it for yourself. Learn from it. Know it. It will give you the surety you need for this life and the next; because life is a lot more fun when you don’t have to wonder about the things that really matter.

Gary Miller

Outdoor Truths Ministries

www.outdoortruths.org

ELIZABETH PULLIAM (1/30/1930 – 5/18/2016)

obit pulliam web

Elizabeth Pulliam, 86 of Corder, Missouri died on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, at her home.

Born Thursday, January 30, 1930 in Memphis, Missouri, she was the daughter of the late Baptist Hardy and the late Ethel Rice Hardy. She married Keith Moore Pulliam on October 9, 1949 and he survives of the home.

She graduated from Memphis High School and received her teaching certificate from Northeast Missouri State Teachers College. She taught school at the Cone country school in Scotland County.

Elizabeth and Keith farmed and raised their four children in Kirksville, MO and Harrison County, MO until they moved back in 1994 to be near family in Higginsville area.

Elizabeth was a homemaker most of her life and enjoyed sewing, floral arranging, gardening, baking and ministering to the needs of others. In later years she enjoyed traveling to visit distant friends and family.

She was a member of First Baptist Church in Higginsville. She taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School and enjoyed working with the children.

Surviving are her husband Keith;  two sons, David (Vickie) Pulliam of Corder, MO and Robert (Gina) Pulliam of Montrose, CO; two daughters, Rebecca (Michael) Jusbasche of Houston, TX and Joyce (Bruce) Kosmiski of Kirksville, MO; one brother, Orval (Diane) Gardine of St. Charles, MO.

She was preceded in death by one infant son, Michael Lee Pulliam; two brothers, George  Richard Keith and Everett Keith; and one grandson Brett Kosmiski.

Funeral services were held Saturday, May 21, 2016 at First Baptist Church located at 1907 Peach St. Higginsville, Missouri with Robert Pulliam and Camden Pulliam officiating. Gina Pulliam served as pianist, with Alison Agnew as soloist and Elizabeth’s granddaughters serving as vocalists.

Interment will be in Greensburg Cemetery in Greensburg, MO.

Memorial contributions may be sent to Lafayette County Cancer Coalition or First Baptist Church Building Fund.

Online condolences may be made to the family at www.hoeferfuneralhome.com

Slowing Down the Busy

Katherine slows down and takes a break from preparing lunch to build sandcastles with Althea. Photo by Katherine.

Katherine slows down and takes a break from preparing lunch to build sandcastles with Althea. Photo by Katherine.

Tereza here… slowing down amidst the hectic-ness.

Yes, I know it’s spring turning to summer. That the weather has been mostly amazing, with sunny days that are warm but not too hot, and with enough rain that not too much watering needs to happen. I know that warmer days are usually busier days.

And I hear the birds singing and squawking their joy and fear as their babies flop and flap their wings as they leave the nest, and that not all those babies make it out there in the big cruel world. I see the gardens bursting with new growth, plants both wanted and unwanted, and feel the pull in the back of my legs from an hour’s over-vigorous weeding.

I know that another crop of visitors will be here soon, which means more fully scheduled days for me, and I ask myself why I didn’t use all those days of less-pleasant weather to clean my house? And how can such a tiny house need so much cleaning anyway?

So yes, I totally get that we have a lot on our plates, individually and collectively, right now. But nevertheless I am choosing to slow down, and even in the busiest moments to try to remember to take a deep breath and feel the calm underneath it all.

I’ve interspersed quotes throughout this update from Terry Tempest Williams, from an interview in Yes! Magazine. I encourage you to join me in pausing at each of them to reflect on your own pace, your own place, your own choices…

“I think about those words that you’re bringing to the conversation: humility, discernment, sacrifice. I think it circles back to the notion that survival, now, becomes a spiritual practice.” –Terry Tempest Williams

Mmmmmmm…

Something I miss from my years spent living in cities, and from my occasional visits to larger population centers, is hearing a wide variety of languages and accents. Happily enough, without my having to go anywhere, one Friday night at community dinner there were three international folk in earshot: Lucie, a guest from Canada whose first language is French, and our own Rabbits Erica, from Italy, and Javi, from Spain.

Not long after, Karambu, a woman from Kenya who is visiting the States, came for a short visit as well. She gave a presentation in the Casa called “Reclaiming Wastelands: A new story mind-set.”  It sounded very interesting and I’m bummed I wasn’t able to attend. Laura at Red Earth found an online video version of it, so I watched some of that instead. Dee said she enjoyed practicing her Swahili with Karambu, which I’m also sad to have missed.

Also this week, Hassan’s frequent guest Brady was here for a few days, bringing with him his friend Svenja, who lives in Germany. I enjoyed our dinner conversation very much, especially the bits about British vs. American English, which is a topic Erica (current Italian teacher) and I (former EFL teacher), chat about semi-regularly. She asked me about the word “pram” and, while I know it from my time in Australia as a child, I had to poll the crowd: Do most Americans know this word? Answer: nope. Or at least most Americans at that table didn’t. So you’ll know, though, British pram or perambulator = American baby carriage or stroller.

“And that’s where I find my calm returning. That’s where I return to the place where my voice deepens, and I’m no longer residing in the hysteria of politics. That’s where my grounding is.” –Terry Tempest Williams

Last Thursday I joined a number of other community folk at Woodhenge, Rae and Illly’s lovely timberframe home, where Rae hosted a gathering to listen to a webinar entitled, “‘The Power of Conflict for Building Connection and Community,” sponsored by Transitions US. The presenters were Jacob Corvidae, former Rabbit and Board member, now with the Rocky Mountain Institute, our own Ma’ikwe, ED of DR’s nonprofit branch, and Alyson Ewald, former Rabbit and Board member, now at Red Earth Farms. It was fun and informative, and popular enough that I hear they are considering follow-ups.

Conflict is something I don’t exactly enjoy (I’m one of those who struggled with a suggested rename of the Conflict Resolution Committee to Conflict Celebration), but I do firmly believe that if we want to do better as a species we darn well need to learn to work with conflict in better ways. Our culture teaches us plenty about how to “do” competition, winning and losing, mockery and scoffing, but significantly less about how to really “be” in compassion, caring, empathy, and connection…

“And it comes back to this: Have I had eye contact with another species today? Be it a chickadee or a praying mantis in the garden or our dog? Or each other?” — Terry Tempest Williams

Ted, Sara, and Aurelia were away on a camping trip much of the week, so the Ironweed kitchen scene was a bit sparser. I made a point of stopping by their house several times a day to see/pet/love their cat, Gromit (er, thanks, autocorrect, for the giggles by suggesting “grandma” for that word…).

Most of the year Gromit is a happy indoor-outdoor kitty, but for a few months a year he’s on lockdown, along with most of the other cats who are avid hunters, in an attempt to protect vulnerable ground-nesting bird species. (Not all hunters are kept in lockdown, mind you– it continues to be a contentious area in our pet policy. Kudos to you, Ted, for dealing with the annoyance of keeping a cat in who so desperately wants to be out, especially since I know you don’t agree with the policy…)

Gromit wasn’t always very excited to see me, which I later realized was because many other people were also stopping by. It was fun to get at least a little bit of excitement from him every now and again, though. Apparently I need a regular dose of kitty cuddles. Or being utterly ignored by a feline. I’m kind of a sucker for cats that way. We’re both glad his family is back– we missed them!

“…I think it also has to do with slowing down so we can listen and hear and remember who we are and who we are not.” — Terry Tempest Williams

A few final snippets, and then I’m off to be busy, um, I mean to slow down even more today….

I’ve really been enjoying our writers group. We’re such a diverse group with such different interests that it makes for a lot of very good feedback. If the poet, the science fiction fan, the nature writing fan, the artist, and the English teacher all agree on something in your writing, maybe you should listen.

Song circle hasn’t been happening that regularly of late, but it finally did this week! It was Critter wexer Kelsey’s first time, and she seemed to love it. Mae, Althea, and Arthur were there too, though amazingly enough Arthur spent the entire time sleeping in his pram. (No, not really, he was in a bassinet, but see what I did there? Just wanted to reinforce the earlier vocab lesson…)

New residents David and Mary moved in to Strawtron this week — welcome! Having missed their visitor session and most of their recent short visits, I’m looking forward to getting to know them in the months to come.

Another event that I’m sorry to have missed was Javi’s firefighter training! Happening in the Common House after dark one night, it involved Hassan hiding a giant doll somewhere in the building, and then Javi, wearing all his gear, crawling methodically through the building to find and rescue the doll. I’ve heard there’s a video, but haven’t yet seen it. And admit to wondering what there might be to see in the dark…

Last, but by no means least, it was Erica’s birthday on Sunday! It was her third birthday in a row at DR, the first occurring when she was a visitor. This time Alline brought cupcakes to the WIP (week in preview) meeting, where we sang the DR birthday song and happily ate cupcakes, chocolate with bright pink frosting. Later Stephen and Erica brought out “chocolate salami” — even I, huge chocolate fan that I am, hesitates at the name, but it’s made of chocolate, lots of dairy, and graham crackers — very tasty. Dan was selling the first strawberries of the season from his garden and they went nicely with the salami, I must say.

“There has to be joy, right? People think, ‘Oh, this is so dire.’ It is dire. But there has to be joy. There has to be humor, There has to be friendship.” — Terry Tempest Williams

 Until next time, wishing all of you joy, humor, and friendship!

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community and educational non-profit outside Rutledge, MO, focused on demonstrating sustainable living possibilities. We offer public tours of the village at 1 p.m. on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month, April-October; the next is this Saturday, May 28th. Reservations not required. Tours are free, though donations to help us continue our educational and outreach efforts are gratefully accepted. For directions, call the office at 660-883-5511 or email us at dancingrabbit@ic.org. To find out more about us, you can also check out our website: www.dancingrabbit.org.

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