November 14, 2002

Current Conflict Reminds Local WWII Veteran Of His Service Time

While the war against terrorism in Afghanistan may no longer be the top story in the news, continued glimpses of the country have had a special meaning for one Scotland County man.

Video images of the caves the U.S. Special Forces have found in the mountains of the Middle East country sparked memories of similar caves that this soldier experienced more than 50 years before in the mountains of the Philippine Islands.

"I saw television coverage of these caves in Afghanistan where the terrorists have been hiding and fighting with our troops and it made me think back to similar caves we ran into during World War II," said Joe Neese, Jr. "I know what it was like back then so it makes me really think about our boys over there today and what they are going through for us."

At the same time, as the country was commemorating Veterans Day, Neese was proud to reflect on the military tradition dating back to his father, and now including his grandson.

Neese, a farmer who lives near Rutledge, served in the United States Army during WWII. He served two years with the 32nd Division, which was engaged in 654 days of combat during the Pacific Campaign.

His time in the army began at Camp Roberts in California. He was drafted into the service along with five others from Scotland County. He went to boot camp with Don Tague, Carson Parrish, John Shibley, Robert Gray and Fracis Swearingen. After graduating from boot camp March 20, 1944 Neese, Parrish and Gray went on to the Pacific while the other trio went to Europe.



Joe Neese, Jr. is a veteran of World War II, serving two years in the Philippines as well as in the occupational army of Japan.


After being shipped over seas Neese's service began in New Guinea. It was here that he lost touch with his two hometown friends as the men were assigned to different companies. Neese continued on to Leyte and Luzon in the Philippines. His travels also involved a transfer as he moved from L Company to become a member of the 128th Recon in Leyte.

It constituted a big change as he shifted to become a member of a 24-man unit responsible for some difficult tasks.

"We spent a lot of time behind enemy lines," Neese said. "We were responsible for checking enemy movements, directing artillery strikes as well as making maps."

As Platoon Sergeant, Neese said he quickly became friends with all the men in the small unit.

"We were all very close to each other," he said. "With the kind of work we did, there was a lot riding on the guys you were going in with so there definitely was a strong bond."

The bond wasn't the only strength that the men had to rely on.

"There were never more than eight men in a patrol so we had to carry a lot of fire power with us," Neese said. "The Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) and the Tommy Guns were the weapons of choice."

Every day of service was a challenge but Neese said the most difficult task by far was the taking of the Villa Verde Trail, which twisted its way 24 miles from the Lingayen Plain to the mile-high peaks of Luzon's Caraballo Mountains. It proved to be the chosen ground of the Japanese as they dug in to make their last stand in the Philippines.

During this epic battle, Neese and his men traveled all over the mountain gathering information against the enemy and establishing travel routes for U.S. troops. They enlisted the aid of the Igorots, a tribe of mountainmen who befriended the U.S. cause after being terrorized by the Japanese occupation force.

Neese said, while the Igorots were short, they were stocky and were well suited to the labor at hand, often hauling loads of more than 100 pounds on trails that were not fit for an ox cart. While they were often used to pack in essential supplies for the troops, their most precious cargo was often wounded U.S. soldiers who were taken from the front back to the U.S. camps for medical treatment.

It was one of these patient transfers that connected Neese back with Carson Parrish.

"We were preparing to move out on a Recon trip when I heard my name being called out from a line of stretchers being hauled into the camp by the Igorots," Neese said. "I went over and there was Carson Parrish, and it was the first time that I had seen my friend since we had shipped out."

Parrish was by far not the only U.S. soldier injured in the fight for command of the trail. The 32nd Division fought for 119 consecutive days taking control of the region on its way to the Cagayan Valley.

During the Villa Verde Trail fighting 1,985 U.S. soldiers were killed with more than 5,000 soldiers injured. Over that same period more than 28,000 Japanese casualties were recorded during horrific fighting in the Philippines.

The key to the victory on the Villa Verde Trail was when the 128th and the 32nd Recon Troop seized Imugan Village, opening the trail wide open all the way to the Cagayan Valley, basically ending the 100 plus day battle.

Just a few months later as MacArthur was accepting Japanese envoys on the Battleship U.S.S Missouri, the 128th was receiving the surrender of General Yamashita, the Japanese Philippines commander who had become known as the Tiger of Malaysia.

It was on the way to the peace talks that the 32nd Division lost commander Merle H. Howe, the second regimental commander to be killed in action.

Neese said the loss hit home for him as Howe was a well liked leader. After the war Neese corresponded with Howe's son who was seeking information about his father's service time.

He was happy to have been of service to the young man. Yet, Neese expressed gratitude that he was able to pass on his own story to his son and his grandson as well as others who were interested in reading this article.

All 11 Lady Tigers Score in 85-21 Win Over Marion County

Eleven players suited up for the Scotland County Lady Tigers on Monday night in the opening round of the North Shelby Tournament, and all 11 girls got into the scorebook as the #1 seeded SCR-I squad dispatched Marion County 85-23.

Despite a dense fog outside that made travel difficult for spectators, SCR-I cut right to the point, jumping out to a 17-0 lead. Calesse Bair and Maddie Brassfield sank three-pointers on SCR-I’s first two possessions. Abi Feeney scored on the fast break and Ashleigh Creek cleaned up SCR-I’s first miss, with an offensive rebound and put back. Chelsea Wood scored on the fast break to extend the lead to 12-0 and force a Marion County timeout at the 5:48 mark of the first period.

Brassfield and Bair each connected from behind the arc again and Madie Bondurant came off the bench to sink a three-pointer. Creek closed out the first period onslaught with a three-point play to put SCR-I ahead 28-3.

Bair poured in eight quick points to start the second period as the lead grew to 40-5 with 5:17 left in the first half.

Nova Cline came off the bench and scored a pair of field goals in the paint. Julie Long sank a jumper and Sadie Davis drilled a three-pointer as the lead grew to 54-11 at the break.

Bair closed out a big night, scoring 10 points in the third period, including her fourth three-pointer of the contest.

Long and Cline continued their solid efforts off the bench, each scoring a third period field goal. Abby Blessing and Kaylyn Anders also got into the score book with field goals as the lead grew to 78-17.

Wood closed out her best scoring performance of the year with a pair of field goals to start the fourth period as the varsity got in a couple more minutes on the court before coach Cory Shultz went back to the junior varsity squad to close out the 85-23 victory.

Scotland County improved to 11-1 and advances to play South Shelby in the semifinals. Bair led the way with 24 points and Wood finished with 18. Creek hit double digits for the second straight game, finishing with 13.

Bible Grove Native Wins Heart of Texas Championship Title

Philip Padget recently competed in the Heart of Texas Championship held in Waco, TX. He is pictured here with the roping partner he drew for the team roping event. He competed with over 270 other teams in his division and won the Championship title.

by Andrea Brassfield

Philip Padget, Bible Grove, MO native and 1997 Scotland County R-1 graduate, recently won a championship title at the annual Heart of Texas Championships held in Waco, Texas January 6-8, 2017.

This United States Team Roping Championship (USTRC) is set up in different divisions from open to number eight.  Upon entering, each roper is assigned a number based on their skill set.  The sum of your number and your partner’s number cannot be higher than the number of Roping you’re entering.  For this event, Philip won the number Eight and his class had a little over 270 teams competing.

Upon asking Philip, to give me some background information about his rodeo experiences, he very humbly admits he has won 28 belt buckles, though “not all of these are for first place and not many give cash prizes.”  Therefore, he added, “That being said, I am very far in the hole (LOL) but anybody that owns a horse and says that they have made money are complete liars!”

Philip started riding at about the age of two and says he had amazing parents that always made sure he had a quality horse to ride.  He didn’t start roping until he was around 18 years old.  His first roping experience was at the Coffey Arena in Downing, MO.  He fondly gives credit to three men, Mike Grey, Les McCarty, and JL Newland, who were his influences and helped him learn this rodeo sport. “These men and the way they played the sport will always be stuck in my mind,” says Philip, “and I was hooked.”  “But my greatest influence, even though he never competed in an arena, would have to have been my father, one of the best cowboys that ever threw a leg over a horse.”

During his time as a student at SCR-1, more than 20 years ago, Philip was very active in FFA and he gives credit to FFA Advisor, Bill Cottrell who helped him out with equine studies so he could better familiarize himself with these animals.

Philip says he tried to play basketball and football, but once again humbly declares, “I was a horrible athlete. Thank you, Dave Shalley, for understanding!”

A few years after graduation, Philip joined the United States Air Force and was stationed at Peterson Field in Colorado Springs.  He has moved all around the country, but eventually settled in Texas about 10 years ago.  He lives in Tyler, Texas and owns a small roofing and construction company while also working for another company as the sales manager/project manager.

Philip keeps very busy roping, attending events most weekends.  He followed his last win with a competition in Oklahoma City on January 15th and plans to compete in Hamilton, Texas this weekend, January 21st.  He tries to jackpot every weekend at a roping event somewhere.  After all, “This is Texas,” he says, “you can rope every day if you want to.”  Philip practices three to four times a week.  And as far as his future goals go, he has already accomplished one by making the shoot-out in Oklahoma City in October.  His next goal is to make the World Series Finale in Las Vegas in December.

It doesn’t sound like his roping legacy will stop here either.  “With the help of their amazing mothers, I am raising two future national finals qualifiers…Mason Padget and Pace Padget,” states this proud father.

Finally, as far as his horse goes, Philip describes 13 year old Tex whom he purchased from a boys ranch in New Mexico, as an amazing animal.  “Although we’ve had our ups and downs, he is an absolute athlete and I’m very lucky to have him!”

After visiting with Philip, I suspect in the 20 years since graduating from SCR-1, he has learned that life has a way of moving us to unexpected places and into great adventures; some that live up to our dreams and goals, others that require flexibility and compromise, and even some that might feel a little like being thrown from a horse…leaving us to stand back up, dust off, and try again!

When I first contacted Philip about his win in Waco, telling him we would like to feature him in an article, his response was, “Wow, I’m flattered!  And would absolutely be interested!  My heart is still in Memphis, Missouri!”  His sentiment reminded me of the lyrics from a song by Mark Patterson, “I leave the hills that I have known, the woods and meadows I have roamed.  The journey calls and I must go, but I will never be far from home.”

From all of us “back home” we wish you and Tex the best of luck in all your future roping endeavors!!

Two Area Men Seriously Hurt in Early-Morning Crash

Two area men suffered serious injuries in an early-morning accident in Scotland County on Friday, January 13th at 6:25 a.m.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Noel K. Meier, 58 of Kahoka, was westbound on Highway 136, one mile west of Highway A, in a 2001 Dodge Dakota when the vehicle impacted the tow unit of a eastbound 2014 Peterbuilt semi that was eastbound and trying to make a left hand turn. The semi was driven by Charles G. Cook, 36, of Keokuk, IA.

Meier and a passenger in his vehicle, Delbert E. Hoage, 65, of Keokuk, IA, sustained serious injuries in the crash. They were both flown from the scene by Air Evac Helicopter and transported to Blessing Hospital in Quincy, IL.

Cook was uninjured in the crash. His vehicle sustained moderate damage while the Meier vehicle was totaled. Both were removed from the scene by Lakeside Towing of Memphis.

The Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office, Scotland County Ambulance, Gorin Fire and Rescue and Air Evac.

WWII Vet wife’s letter needs to find its way home…

WWII Vet wife’s letter needs to find its way home…

April 27, 1945 Mrs. Vernon Priche; (could be misspelled due to original letter hand written); wrote a letter requesting information about how her husband was wounded, treated and died. He was a soldier in Europe, and a friend of my deceased father, Donald Minster.

I found her letter in my father’s old letters. If there is anyone who knows any relative that may desire the letter, I will be happy to forward it.

The address was; 351 East Madison St., Memphis, MO… in April 1945!

I hate to have someone’s family treasure undiscovered.

Thank God for soldiers and wives like this, so I can enjoy my freedom!

Hopefully,

Alan Minster

1861 Selby Circle, Camarillo, CA 93010

aminster@verizon.net

At Halfway Mark, SCR-I Expenditures at $2.79 Million

The Scotland County R-I Board of Education met in regular session on Thursday, January 12, 2017, at 6:30 p.m.  President Trinity Davis called the meeting to order with six members present.

Superintendent Ryan Bergeson presented a financial report for the district, which recently reached the halfway mark of the fiscal year.

Year-to-date revenues are $2,331,017.41 and expenditures are $2,793,651.66.  The year-to-date deficit is $462,634.25 compared to $440,152.92 at this time last year.

“The deficit will correct itself with the receipt of local taxes received in January,” Bergeson told the board.

Future Projects

The board voted 6-0 to set a special board meeting for January 18 at 7:00 a.m. in the Elementary Art Room to discuss future capital projects and other upgrades for the district.

Building Trades

The board voted 6-0 to accept the low bid proposal of $7,727.00 from Ketchum Heating, Cooling and Electrical for the 2016-17 Building Trades Furnace and Central Air Units including all duct work, thermostat, thermostat wiring, gas line installation, and vent covers.

Update Budget

The board voted 6-0 to amend the budget as presented to reflect a projected ending balance of $18,974.97.  The budget was amended to reflect the current revenues, expenditures, and projections for this fiscal year.

Observe School Board Recognition Week

The week of January 22 – 28 is School Board Recognition Week.  Board members were presented a certificate from the Missouri School Board Association, a proclamation from Governor Nixon, and invited to the elementary carry in luncheon on Friday, January 20.

February Meeting

The next regular board meeting will be Thursday, February 9th at 6:30 p.m. in the Elementary Art Room.

Consent Agenda 

The board voted 6-0 to approve the following items on the consent agenda:

December 8, 2016 Minutes

Approve MSBA Policy Maintenance Agreement

Updated Sub List

Update District Health Services and District Testing Procedural Evaluation Plan

Approve Extended Holiday

Approve Overnight Request

Approve LJ Hart and Co. Underwriting Agreement

Executive Session

The board entered into executive session and the following items were approved 6-0:

Approve December 8, 2016 closed session minutes.

Offer Jennifer Tinkle the 7 hour food service position in the elementary school.

Approve Superintendent Bergeson’s Evaluation.

Move to extend Superintendent Bergeson’s contract through 2019-20.

The meeting adjourned at 9:32 p.m.

Are we entitled to never have to lose?

What if we did away with declaring a winner and a loser in a competition and just gave everyone participation medals?

I vote no on that motion, but it sure seems like that is where we are headed as a society. Instead of recognizing people who work hard and excel at something, it seems like we would rather drag them down and draw them back to the rest of the crowd so that no one feels inferior.

This internal debate arrived in my mind last night at a basketball game as I listened to the crowd react to a lopsided game, which is often what you experience in a varsity basketball tournament when the #1 seeded team takes on the #8 team.

Scotland County’s state ranked girls defeated Marion County 85-19. (For the record I looked back to when Marion County won the state championship back in 2010-11 season. They posted victories like 83-16, 67-13 and 69-19.)

I’ve been on the 19 point-side of that mountain before, and yes it sucks. But after I got over the frustration, I had to ask myself what should have been done differently? I came to the conclusion, I could either get better, or I could get used to it. Sometimes in life you are going to run into a superior opponent. Tip your hat and get ready for the next challenge.

Is it really fair to ask the better team to not play so hard? “Look I know you worked really hard to be this good, but we didn’t, so could you please waste all of your efforts to make yourselves better players, and not showcase your talents to the college scouts in the crowd so that we don’t look so bad?”

Before you say that the coach should play the bench more, let me remind you this is a varsity tournament. There is a junior varsity season for the younger kids. The varsity kids do not get to travel to all the junior varsity games and play extra minutes if the competition level dictates it. These seniors only have so many minutes left in their high school careers. They didn’t make the schedule. They have no control over the competition. They deserve to be able to play, not because they are entitled to it because they are seniors, but because they have put in the time and the effort to be the best players on their team.

Sure you can argue that the better team should back off, and not try so hard. But you have to stop and ask yourselves why we are here in the first place? Do you get any better by only giving 50%. In a tournament, you are trying to win all three games to claim the championship and a plaque for the trophy case. Over the season, you are trying to get better and possibly be able to hoist the conference championship banner, or claim a district title and make it into the state playoffs.

If your best players are only getting to play half a game because everyone else is so worried about beating someone too bad, it can only make it that much more difficult to achieve your goal.

On game nights, there is no practice. So kids are getting their conditioning in via the game, meaning they need to run. If they only play half the game, they are going to be out of shape when they need to be able to play an entire game.

If you are asking them to hold back, and not play so hard, the same thing can happen. When the time comes for them to make a good play, will they be able to, as before they weren’t allowed to try because it might create too large a margin of victory.

Before you send the lynch mob my way – I’m not encouraging calling timeouts late to try to reach 100 points, or demanding the full-court press all 32 minutes. I’m only suggesting that people cut these kids a little slack. They aren’t out their trying to rub it in the face of their opponents. They are simply working to produce the best basketball play possible for every second they have left to be on the court together.

When did we become so entitled?

If one person excels at the workplace, should they be told to slow down, and not work so hard so that everyone else has a chance at the promotion?

How about in the classroom? Do we need to force the top students to the back of the room to play video games, watch movies or sleep instead of paying attention in class and completing their assignments? That way no one makes the honor roll.

Should we move the kindergarteners into calculus and physics classes to bring down the competition level to boost the self esteem of the lower achieving high school students by giving them someone that they can do better than?

No? Then why should the basketball court be any different? I say do your best and forget the rest!

SCR-I School Menus

Breakfast

Thursday, January 19 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Friday, January 20 – Sausage/Gravy/Biscuits, Choice of Cereal, Chocolate Chip Muffin, Banana, Juice/Milk

Monday, January 23 – Pancakes, Choice of Cereal, Sausage Link, Toast/Jelly, Strawberries, Juice/Milk

Tuesday, January 24 – Scrambled Eggs, Choice of Cereal, Hash Browns, Toast/Jelly, Apple Wedges, Juice/Milk

Wed., January 25 – Cinnamon Rolls, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Half, Juice/Milk

Thursday, January 26 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Lunch

Thursday, January 19 – Chili Soup, Broccoli Cheese Soup, Hamburger Bar, Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Pickle Spear, Cheese Stick, Saltine Crackers

Friday, January 20 – Tuna Noodle Casserole, Ham and Cheese Sandwich, Peas/Carrots, Sliced Peaches, Fresh Fruit

Monday, January 23 – Crispy Chicken Strips, Grilled Cheese Sandwich, 5th/6th Grade Chef Salad, Tri Potato Patty, Mixed Vegetables, Sliced Pears, Fresh Fruit

Tuesday, January 24 – School Made Pizza, Bar BQ Meatballs, 5th/6th Grade Taco Bar, Vegetable Sticks/Dip, Applesauce, Fresh Fruit

Wed., January 25 – Country Fried Steak, Chicken and Noodles, 5th/6th Grade Potato Bar, Whipped Potatoes/Gravy, Buttered Corn, Dinner Roll, Pineapple Tidbits

Thursday, January 26 – Spaghetti/Meat Sauce, Chicken Quesadillas, Hamburger Bar, Green Beans, Garlic Bread, Fruit Salad, Fresh Fruit

Scotland County Senior Nutrition Center

MENU

Thurs. January 19 – Roast Pork, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Cranberry Sauce, Wax Beans, Bread, Cake

Friday, January 20 – BBQ Ribs, Parsley Potatoes, Coleslaw, Hot Roll, Strawberry Shortcake and Topping

Monday, January 23 – Chicken Strips, Sweet Potato or Regular Fries, Breaded Tomatoes, Applesauce, Bread Slice, Pudding

Tuesday, January 24 – Tenderloin/Bun/Onion, Lettuce Salad, Cauliflower/Cheese Sauce, Carrot-Pineapple Salad, Rice Krispies

Wed., January 25 – Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Buttered Cabbage, Hot Roll, Fruit

Thurs. January 26 – Liver and Onions or Chicken Pattie, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Bread, Fruit

ACTIVITIES

Thursday, January 19 – Scotland County Health Department blood pressure checks here; Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, January 26 –Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

NEMR Telecom Accepting Applications for 2017 Youth Tour to Washington D.C.

All local high school juniors whose parents or guardians have local service with NEMR telecom can apply for the all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C.

Northeast Missouri Rural Telecom is currently accepting applications for the 2017 Youth Tour to Washington D.C., which will take place June 3  through June 7. The application process is open to all high school juniors whose parents or guardians have local service with NEMR Telecom.

Students must be under 18 years of age at the time of the Youth Tour to apply. In addition to meeting specific eligibility guidelines, the NEMR board is asking student applicants to submit, along with their application, a one-page essay covering the topic: “Why I Should Be Chosen for the FRS Youth Tour.”

The 2017 Youth Tour gives students the opportunity to gain a first-hand look at the telecommunications industry and government process  as they spend four days visiting famous historical sites, including the Washington Monument, The Smithsonian, and much more.

Guidance counselors at each high school in the service area have the application form, or students can request a form by calling Tammy Childers at NEMR Telecom, 660-874-4111 or send an email to tchilder@nemr.net.

Applications and essays should be mailed to NEMR Telecom, Attn: Youth Tour, PO Box 98, Green City, MO 63545 by March 6, 2017.

The Foundation for Rural Service’s (FRS) annual Youth Tour is one of the most visible examples of the foundation’s involvement with, and commitment to, rural youth.  2017 marks the 23rd annual Youth Tour.  Each year, in collaboration with NTCA member companies, FRS brings rural students from across the United States to Washington, D.C. for a four-day tour of the some of the most historical sites in the nation. 

Tigers Top Atlanta 53-10 in Tourney Opener

Scotland County advanced to the semifinals of the North Shelby Tournament with a 53-10 victory over Atlanta on Monday night.

The Hornets dressed just five players, but after the initial tip off, only had four players on the court due to an injury.

Grant Campbell scored 16 points in limited action to lead the Tigers to the win, improving SCR-I’s record to 9-3 on the year.

The game was shortened in the second half to two four minute quarters, with a running clock the entire time, as SCR-I led 39-9 at the half.

The Tigers will take on South Shelby, who bested the host squad 66-65 in a triple overtime thriller to close out Monday night’s action.

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