November 15, 2001

Fair Board To Begin Search For New Racetrack Promoter After Negotiations Fail

More than eight hours of contract discussions evaporated in a split second as former track promoter Ron Anderson walked away from the negotiation table at the November 12 meeting of the Scotland County Fair Board.

The move left the fair board scrambling in an effort to secure the services of a track promoter for next season, and left many members scratching their heads about the process after numerous concessions were granted by the fair board in the negotiation process.

The two sides had first met to discuss a new contract on November 6 when Anderson highlighted a number of issues in the groups proposed contract that he deemed "unacceptable."

Following the first meeting, which lasted well over four hours, the fair board met in executive session to take Anderson's requests under advisement.

The initial proposal had called for a change in the payment schedule, asking for $600 rental payment for each event scheduled at the track. Anderson countered that, stating he should only have to pay $600 rent per week, regardless of the number of events held at the track.

"Anytime you have an event at the fair grounds there is additional wear and tear on the facilities that ultimately costs the fair board more money to repair," fair board president Phil Aylward stated.

Anderson countered stating "You can only have a function down there at the track if you can afford to make ends meet and we sure lacked a lot for paying for the program last year. If the promoter can not make any money there is not a lot of reason to promote."

Anderson did note that he was not anticipating having more than one event per week but he insisted the fair board was not going to tell him he could not do so by charging him additional rent for each extra race.

The second main sticking point was the length of any contract agreement. Anderson was requesting a 10-year lease, while the fair board made it clear it did not want to enter any long term agreement considering the working relationship's difficult times this year as well as the track's history for promoters.

"I will not discuss this without multi-year renewal," Anderson stated. "If you won't even guarantee multiple year renewals we don't need to discuss this any further. A promoter can not build a program without a guarantee. I want to work something out we can all work with. I wanted 10 years, because I wanted to build some things at the racetrack that the fair board doesn't want to invest in. I can not secure financing without some type of guaranteed future at the track."

Fair board president Phil Aylward attempted to explain the board's position on a long-term agreement.

"There has been a lot of animosity between both groups this year, yet we feel that the track has made a lot of big strides," Aylward said. "Lets go on another one year contract, see if we can get along, and then go from there."

Anderson countered by stating the animosity had caused a lengthy delay in the contract negotiations. He said if the board would not agree to an extended contract, he would like the first right of renewal on the contract at a fixed rental rate.

"We have wasted a lot of money because I could not pick up and run with marketing and sales for the track in September," Anderson stated. "Basically I have to start over again this year. I can't keep starting over, it costs too much money."

Both groups agreed that the two sides did not need to like each other, but simply needed to be able to work together in a professional business relation-ship. Each side also agreed that a lack of communication was a major problem this year.

Anderson suggested having a monthly meeting the first Saturday of each month at the racetrack. The fair board agreed to send two different members to the meeting each month to discuss track issues.

A third major issue was the fair board's desire to ban all Sprint Car races due to safety concerns.

Anderson countered stating "I am the promoter. It is not acceptable for the fair board to tell me what we race there. If the race track is not safe to race sprint cars then it is not safe enough to race anything."

Several issues however were agreed upon at the second meeting, after initially being considered sticking points at the initial contract negotiation.

Anderson had asked to have the Saturday night of the Scotland County Fair for races, but agreed to remove that request after the fair board indicated it was not negotiable since that evening is reserved for the fire department's demolition derby.

Anderson also agreed to take on all expenses of mowing the grounds for all events except during the fair. Initially he had requested the fair board handle the mowing duties.

The fair board agreed to lower the suggested contract deposit per Anderson's request to $2,000 from the initial contract level of $5,000.

The fair board removed the original right to termination of the contract as requested by Anderson while also agreeing to rewrite the fuel container requirements per the promoter's suggestion.

The two groups met in the middle regarding the expenses of track repairs prior to the season. Anderson had asked the fair board spend an estimated $11,000 to repair the crow's nest, the flag stand, the grandstands, the catch fence in front of the grandstands, and the guard wall on the back stretch.

The fair board agreed to cover all costs of repairing the grandstands as well as for installing the new catch fence in front of the grandstands while also repairing the flag stand and extending it out over the track to allow drivers better visibility of the flag. The group noted it had already made plans to make the grandstand repairs regardless of contract discussions.

Anderson agreed to pay for the construction of a new concrete guardrail on the back stretch as well as a proposed walk way from the pits to the grandstands.

After further discussing the issue the fair board also agreed to provide 100 gallons of paint for Anderson to use to paint any facilities he wanted to paint at the fairgrounds.

The fair board also pointed out that $300 of each week's rent would be placed in a maintenance fund for use by Anderson to make additional repairs at the track.

However the fair board stipulated that the weekly maintenance fund could not be used to pay any labor costs.

Anderson argued that this defeated the purpose of the fund.

"No labor costs is not acceptable," he said. "I have never claimed to be a non-profit organization. I pay all my help, it is not unreasonable to expect to pay someone to perform the maintenance."

The fair board countered that there was no control over labor costs, and felt the fund could easily be abused, for example by paying an employee $50 an hour to perform maintenance.

Despite the labor issue, both sides agreed upon the repair issues and moved onto other debate.

Anderson had initially refused the concept of allowing the fair board right of inspection at the track, which basically allowed the fair board free admittance to race events. After discussing the issue he agreed to the issue and noted he would provide free gate and pit passes to board members.

Ultimately the final issues boiled down to the track rent structure, the ban on sprint cars and the length of any agreement.

After lengthy discussion of the rent issue, the two sides seemed to reach an agreement that would bridge the gap. Instead of charging per event as initially desired by the fair board, the group agreed to charge $600 per week up to 20 events and then an additional $400 per race beyond 20, with half of both amounts going into the maintenance fund.

In addition the fair board agreed to allow Anderson to hold up to four special sprint car races at the track during the year.

Still neither side could agree upon the contract length. Anderson stated he felt it takes at least five years to build a program and apparently was holding out for either that figure or the annual first right of renewal.

"What are you all worried about?" Anderson asked. "If I pay my rent and hold the specific number of races what do you have to lose?"

"We want this thing to work but we are not going to be trapped into someone shoving something down our throat if it doesn't work out," Aylward stated in response to this argument.

"I felt I did more than I said I was going to this year and look how we ended up in this mess at the end of the year."

Fair board member Jimmie Winn said, "It didn't work this year, so we reworked the whole contract and now we need to be able to see if this new plan will work. Then we can revisit it again next year without having to worry about having it renewed automatically with no control over it"

Despite the opposition to anything beyond a one-year agreement the final concession came from the fair board in the form of an agreement to offer a three-year lease to Anderson.

This decision came in executive session. The meeting was reopened and Anderson was informed of the proposal.

He noted that the fair board still was asking for the right to annually raise the rent as much as 20%. He also questioned why the fair board had shifted the cost of the repairs from the Crow's nest to the promoter's side in the new proposal.

The issues were not discussed as Anderson commented that the deal had been down to two concerns before the last executive session and now had expanded to half a dozen.

At this point Anderson thanked the fair board for its time and walked away from the negotiation tables.

Special Legislative Session to Remedy Issue of Abortion Sanctuary Cities

by Rep. Craig Redmon

This week the House of Representatives is in Jefferson City, answering Governor Greitens’ call for a special session in response to some troubling events of the past few months. In April, a federal judge struck down years of regulations put in place to ensure abortion clinics met a certain standard of health requirements in order to operate in Missouri. In combination with the Abortion Sanctuary City ordinance in St. Louis, it is clear that pro-life Missourians and pregnancy care centers are under attack by abortion advocates from across the state and nation.

In the face of these attacks on pro-life Missourians, Governor Greitens has called a second extraordinary session this summer so we, the General Assembly, can send legislation to his desk to curtail these efforts to undermine our state’s healthcare regulations and to protect the lives of the innocent unborn.

The timing of the judge’s ruling in late April, more than a month after the deadline for new bill submissions, makes this topic wholly worthy of a special session, due to the timing making a full response during the regular session impossible. This session also gives the legislature the opportunity to remedy the issue of Abortion Sanctuary Cities. The Missouri Constitution explicitly gives Governor Greitens the ability to call special sessions of the General Assembly for extraordinary topics. The wiping of abortion regulations and allowing abortion clinics that were closed after failing to meet minimum health and safety standards to resume operation is one such extraordinary topic that requires action.

I am proud to support the health of women. I am proud to stand with the Governor. I am proud to be pro-life.

Last week the Senate passed a bill that would nullify the Sanctuary City ordinance, allow Missouri’s attorney general to prosecute violations of abortion laws, and require annual inspections of abortion clinics. In addition, it creates a set of guidelines requiring certain standards to be met for an abortion clinic to operate. Now the bill moves to the House of Representatives. I was elected as a pro-life legislator to advocate on the side of life, and it is my desire to work with my fellow Representatives to strengthen and pass this legislation in a way to protect Missouri families.

Culvert Replacements Will Temporarily Close Several Routes in Scotland County

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, MoDOT crews will perform culvert work the below routes in Scotland County.

Work will be done on Route M on June 27, with the road temporarily closed just north of Scotland County Route W for a culvert replacement. The road will be closed from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Scotland County Route V will be temporarily closed between 1 mile of Scotland County Route M and 2 miles of Route M for a culvert replacement on June 28th The road will be closed from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Work will be done on Scotland County Route D on June 29, with the road temporarily closed between 3 miles of Missouri Route 15 and 3.1 miles of Route 50 for a culvert replacement. The road will be closed from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Motorists will need to use alternate routes during these times.

Again, this work is weather dependent and could be rescheduled or delayed. For more information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK MoDOT (275-6636). All roadwork is posted on the traveler information map. You can also visit us online at www.modot.org/northeast.

Extension Expert Says Delayed Hay Harvest Calls for Testing

This year’s delayed hay harvest calls for hay testing.

University of Missouri Extension agronomy specialist Anthony Ohmes says farmers benefit from routine hay testing.

Hay quality varies based on forage species, maturity, management, harvest conditions, and insect or disease damage. Guessing the quality of hay fed to livestock could result in lower profits, Ohmes says. Knowing the hay’s nutrient value can help livestock owners decide if animals need supplements.

Ohmes suggests that farmers sample each lot separately. A lot comes from the same field and forage makeup, and is grown and harvested under the same environmental conditions. “Every field and cutting will be different,” Ohmes says.

Use a 12- to 24-inch hay probe, he says. It should be 3/8 to 5/8 of an inch in diameter. Do not grab or hand pull samples. Samples collected that way do not provide uniform results and could lead to misleading values.

Sample multiple bales out of a hay lot. The lot should represent at least 10 percent, or at least 15 random bales.

The sampling method varies for each bale type. On large round bales, take samples on the curved side of the bale and remove the outer layer if moldy. Avoid sampling from the outside of the bale. On large square bales, take samples at a 45-degree angle on the side of the bale or 90-degree angle on the end of the bale. Sample small square bales through the center and end.

Keep each lot separate, Ohmes says. Mix samples in a bucket and fill a quart  plastic bag. Samples perish quickly, so send them to the lab on the same day as the sampling. If this is not possible, keep samples away from direct sunlight and store in a cool, dry place until sending. Freeze high-moisture samples (above 15 percent) such as baleage or silage if they cannot be sent right away.

Mark the sample by date, cutting, location and owner before shipping.

Some MU Extension centers lend probes at no cost. Find information on hay sampling at crops.missouri.edu/forage.

Hay tests cost about $20 each at certified labs throughout the state. You can find information on how to read results at extension.missouri.edu/aginfocus/forage-testing.aspx.

Rural Hospital are a Lifeline

by U.S. Congressman Sam Graves

Rural hospitals are a literal lifeline for tens of millions of people across this country. In communities that don’t have enough primary care doctors or health facilities, rural hospitals provide a critical, lifesaving service that otherwise would not be here for us.

Unfortunately, about 80 rural hospitals have closed since 2010. What’s worse, one third of all rural hospitals in the U.S. could close in the next few years. That’s 12 million Americans at risk of losing access to the closest emergency room. A devastating number, and something we can’t allow to continue in rural America.

Cuts to hospital payments have worsened the problem, and as populations decrease in rural communities, so-called “medical desserts” are popping up across rural America. It leaves people living on farms or in small towns dangerously vulnerable to medical emergency – particularly older Americans.

This week, I am joining with my colleague from Iowa, Dave Loebsack, to introduce the Save Rural Hospitals Act. This bipartisan bill looks to reverse the trend of rural hospital closures, in part by eliminating unrealistic federal regulations like the “96 hour rule,” which forces rural hospitals to move a patient within 96 hours in order to get reimbursed by Medicare.

The average rural hospital creates 195 jobs and generates $8.4 million in annual payroll. But more than that, these facilities make communities livable, ensuring a doctor isn’t far away when a medical emergency strikes.

This bill shines a light on the rural health crisis in Missouri and across the country. If we accept this reality – and neglect this much needed conversation – rural hospitals in Missouri will continue to close. This leaves thousands without access to health care, putting lives in jeopardy and affecting every family in Middle America. That’s simply not acceptable.

City Looking to Crack Down on Traffic Violations

Memphis residents are being reminded to monitor posted speed limits. Photo by Maddy Zahn.

With an increasing number of citizens voicing complaints regarding traffic concerns, the Memphis City Council recently agreed to move forward with an increased police presence while also encouraging a lower tolerance level for infractions.

Complaints have centered around speeding, stop sign adherence and non-traditional vehicle usage such as ATVs and golf carts.

“The City of Memphis has not written a lot of traffic tickets, but unfortunately that appears like it is going to have to change,” said Alderman Chris Feeney. “This isn’t about revenue, or being punitive, it is about public safety.”

Police Chief Bill Holland indicated officers have tried to use warnings and have allowed some leeway when dealing with speed enforcement.

Under the new council directive, that tolerance level will be reduced.

“In the past, we may have just flashed our lights at you, or offered a warning when a car was going a little too fast,” said Holland. “Now those cars going 30 in a 20 will likely be looking at a ticket.”

Holland stated the enforcement efforts have been ongoing, with officers performing additional traffic patrols. In an effort to enhance those efforts, a part-time officer has been added to the police force. Justin Allen from Clark County will be joining the MPD, and Holland indicated his initial responsibilities will focus on traffic control. The department has been shorthanded with the departure of officer Jason Ketchum, and Holland said efforts will continue to replace that full-time officer as well.

The council also has discussed the possibility of adding a radar camera system that could be deployed by the department in trouble areas to help deter speeding and produce data on traffic volume and speed habits of motorists.

“We are not turning a deaf ear to citizen complaints,” said Holland. “When we become aware of trouble spots, we increase our presence there, but it takes being in the right spot at exactly the right time to catch the people responsible for the complaints.”

Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit within the city limits is 25 mph. ATV’s, golf carts or utility vehicles are allowed on public streets only by special permit, available at city hall. They may only be driven by licensed drivers and are not to exceed 30 mph regardless if the posted speed limit is higher.

Holland noted that enforcement efforts are difficult with a small force, that typically only has one officer on duty, adding that police presence performing traffic patrol normally turns into a simple deterrent rather quickly as motorists become aware of the law enforcement presence and temporarily reduce speeds or choose alternate routes.

While automated traffic controls such as radar cameras and stop sign video surveillance are not particularly popular with the public, the city council expressed a willingness to at least consider such measures.

“I’m certain I have exceeded a posted speed limit at some time or other,” said Alderman Feeney. “In doing so I could be putting the public safety at risk. So I have a choice, I can either slow down and monitor my speed better, or I can risk paying a ticket.”

The council is hoping the community chooses the first option, but is anticipating it will take more of the later for the initiative to hit home and start to sink in for motorists.

Area Students Named to MU Dean’s List

Several area students were named to the University of Missouri spring semester 2017 dean’s list.

Kathryn Mary Howard of Memphis has been named to honor roll. Howard is a senior student.

Samantha Rachel Tobler, a senior, was named to the 2017 dean’s list for the spring semester.

Jaclyn Wiggins, a junior student in the arts and science school, was named to the honor roll as well.

More Than $988 Million in Unclaimed Property Waiting to be Returned  Statewide

JEFFERSON CITY – State Treasurer Eric Schmitt on June 15th announced the start of an annual effort to return Unclaimed Property to Missourians by publishing the names of owners in Missouri newspapers. Starting June 16, the names of more than 145,000 individuals, families, small businesses, and non-profits with Unclaimed Property will be printed in more than 100 publications across the state.

“Our team works hard every single day to financially empower Missourians by returning the money they are rightfully owed,” Schmitt said. “One in ten Missourians have Unclaimed Property, and this public awareness initiative is one of the many creative ways we work to get abandoned money back to its rightful owners. I encourage all Missourians to visit ShowMeMoney.com to see if they or someone they know has money waiting to be claimed free of charge.”

Missouri law requires these notices be published annually in order to list the names of individuals whose Unclaimed Property valued at $50 or more has been turned over to the State Treasurer’s Office in the past year.

Individuals, families, small businesses, and others can check to see if they have Unclaimed Property on ShowMeMoney.com. They can also sign up for email notifications when new assets come in matching their information and send notifications to family and friends to let them know about money being held in their name.

Treasurer Schmitt has returned more than $13.5 million to over 50,000 account holders since taking office in January. The average Unclaimed Property return is around $300.

Fireworks Season Will Run June 20th – July 10th in City of Memphis

As the Independence Day holiday approaches, the Memphis Police Department is reminding city residents of ordinances related to the discharge of fireworks in city limits.

Fireworks may be discharged from June 20 – July 10th from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. That coincides with the permitted sales period.

Fireworks are prohibited on public property, including parks and the municipal lakes. It is unlawful for any person to discharge any fireworks within the city limits of Memphis, except upon their own property or upon property whose owner has given his/her consent. It is also illegal to recklessly discharge fireworks in such a manner that the explosion of the same will be likely to endanger or cause injury or damage to any person or property within the city limits of Memphis.

Any person violating any of the provisions of the city’s fireworks ordinance shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine not exceeding $500 or by imprisonment in the City or County Jail not exceeding ninety 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment; provided, that in any case wherein the penalty for an offense is fixed by a Statute of the State, the statutory penalty, and no other, shall be imposed for such offense.

Memphis Man Facing Charges Following Motorcycle Crash

A Memphis man is facing numerous charges following a motorcycle crash on Route MM Tuesday evening.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the accident occurred at 7:30 p.m. on June 13th, a half mile south of the Highway 136  intersection, just south of Memphis.

Russell B Matthew, 34, was southbound on Route MM on a 1993 Suzuki 500 motorcycle when the vehicle ran off the right side of the roadway and overturned. Matthew sustained moderate injuries in the crash. He was transported via patrol car to Scotland County Hospital.

Matthew was ticketed for driving while intoxicated, no valid license, leaving the scene of an accident, child endangerment, failure to wear approved headgear and failure to drive on right half of the roadway.

The Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Memphis Police Department and the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office.

Large Hail Storm Pounds Scotland County

Chrissy Myers put the hail to the ruler test, topping out at two inches in diameter.

Some brief power outages and several downed tree limbs  were all that law enforcement had to report following Saturday’s severe weather that hit northeast Missouri, but the real damage reports started rolling in Monday at local insurance offices.

The National Weather Service reported “Severe thunderstorms tracked across eastern Iowa, northeast Missouri, and north central Illinois Saturday afternoon and evening. Large hail, torrential rain, and damaging winds up to 65 mph were reported.  Very large hail fell in Muscatine, IA and Antioch, MO, where golf ball and baseball size hail was reported respectively.”

The heavy rains and high winds did minimal damage in Scotland County, but hail ranging in size from golf ball to as big as baseballs, was reported, leading to hundreds of claims for hail damage to vehicles, homes and businesses.

Local insurance agents and auto body repair specialists indicated it is too early to offer a  solid estimate for storm damages, but several speculated that with anywhere from 300 to 500 damaged vehicles and a smaller number of hail damaged homes and businesses, the total could easily eclipse $1 million.

At approximately 7:15 p.m. Saturday evening, the frozen precipitation hit the City of Memphis. Trained storm spotters reported hail up to two-inches in diameter, with reports and photos of larger bundles of ice making their rounds via social media.

Kris Lister collected this assortment of hail stones at his Memphis residence on Mi-Lor Street.

The storm continued east, with similar damage reports out of Kahoka and Clark County around 7:45 p.m.

More than 2 inches of rain was reported during the storm, with the hail dissipating as the storm left Missouri, but still resulting in significant rainfall in southeast Iowa and eastern Illinois.

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