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.

Two Winners Named in Rose Hardware $500 Shopping Giveaway

Bill Hall of Memphis receives his $500 shopping spree from Rose Hardware owners Scott and Angela Westhoff.

Bill Hall of Memphis receives his $500 shopping spree from Rose Hardware owners Scott and Angela Westhoff.

The Christmas season just got a little more golden for Rose Do it Best Hardware and James “Bill” Hall of Memphis and Debbie Goff of Arbela.

On Monday, November 21, 2016, Bill Hall and Debbie Goff were chosen as the winner of the Rose Do it Best Hardware $500 Shopping Giveaway.  Bill and Debbie were selected at random from more than 1,500 entries submitted at the store from August 29-November 15, 2016.

Store owners, Scott and Angela Westhoff said that Rose Do it Best Hardware is delighted to provide two of its customers with the opportunity to make their fall/winter projects a little more exciting.  “Everyone has a few extra chores this time of year, and we’re glad that Bill and Debbie will be able to choose whatever tools and supplies they need to get the job done.  We thank all those who entered the giveaway for their participation.”

Debbie Goff of Arbela receives her $500 shopping spree from Rose Hardware owners Scott and Angela Westhoff.

Debbie Goff of Arbela receives her $500 shopping spree from Rose Hardware owners Scott and Angela Westhoff.

Rose Do it Best Hardware is located at 109 South Main on the west side of the Memphis square, and has been serving customers in the area for over 75 years.  Rose Do it Best Hardware offers a complete line of hardware, plumbing, electrical, paint, housewares, and tool supplies for everyone from the do-it-yourself homeowner to the professional.  Rose Do it Best Hardware has been a Do it Best Corp. member since August 2002.

Based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Do it Best Corp. is the only full-service U.S.-based, member-owned hardware, lumber and building materials buying cooperative in the home improvement industry.  With annual sales of $2.99 billion, Do it Best Corp. is the second largest co-op in the industry, serving 3800 member-owned stores in the United States and in 53 countries.

Scotland County School Foundation Issues First Round of Grants

SCR-I instructors Kara Wickert, Angie Cochran and Lora Eggleston are pictured with Scotland County School Foundation representatives Ellen Aylward and George Koontz receiving a mini-grant from the foundation to fund a proposed field trip for the school’s book club.

SCR-I instructors Kara Wickert, Angie Cochran and Lora Eggleston are pictured with Scotland County School Foundation representatives Ellen Aylward and George Koontz receiving a mini-grant from the foundation to fund a proposed field trip for the school’s book club.

The Scotland County School Foundation recently awarded its first round of four classroom mini-grants to teachers at SCR-1 elementary and high school.

The grants can be awarded up to the maximum amount of $250.

In the elementary school, Lori Bish requested funds to purchase a mini iPad and case for her students’ use in the classroom.  With the iPad her students can listen to stories, play interactive educational games and also learn the world of technology at their workstation time.

Also at the elementary, Kara Wickert, Angie Cochran and Lora Eggleston, 6th grade book club teachers, requested funding for a field trip to the St. Louis Holocaust Museum.  The field trip is a follow-up to a unit where students read Passage to Freedom and Prisoner B-3087, as well as other holocaust stories.  Their reading has led the students to pursue research into America’s involvement in World War II and other information about the period of history.

At the high school, FACS instructor Jenna Ketchum submitted her grant application to help with the cost of a cheese-tasting lab for her dairy unit in the Foods II class.  Mrs. Ketchum purchases a variety of 70-75 types of cheese for the students to taste and compare flavors, textures, colors, dryness, etc.

Also at the high school, Terri Slaughter requested funding for the purchase of books to use in her Anatomy class entitled The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, about the life of a poor, black tobacco farmer known to scientists as HeLa, whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for the development of the polio vaccine, gene mapping, etc. The Anatomy unit will also cover topics of medical research and bioethics.

If you would like to contribute financially to the work of the Scotland County School Foundation, please contact Ellen Aylward at 660-216-9951 or Chris Kempke at 465-7255.  The Scotland County School Foundation is a 501 (c)3 non-profit corporation with the sole mission to provide educational opportunities to the students, teachers, and staff of the Scotland County R-1 School District, beyond those that can be provided by the District itself, and to promote and encourage the highest standards of educational excellence and achievement.

$175,000 Loan, Grant Finalized for New Memphis City Sanitation truck

trash-truck

Grant and loan funding for a new waste disposal truck were finalized at the December 1st meeting of the Memphis City Council with some good news for customers of the local service.

Interest rates for the $150,000 loan from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) lowered during the closing period for the loan, dropping from 2.875% to 2.375%, creating approximately $400 a month in savings for the Memphis Community Betterment Organization (MCBO), which is securing the funding on behalf of the Memphis City Sanitation.

In addition to the loan, USDA is also providing a $25,000 grant to MCBO to help meet the needs for a new trash truck. The USDA helped secure the low interest rates for the seven-year loan that will allow the city to replace its lone trash truck. Proceeds from residential and commercial refuse collection fees will be used to repay the loan.

Disability Insurance

In other business, the Memphis City Council approved the addition of a short-term disability policy to the insurance coverage offered by the city to its employees.

The policy will aid employees who have an injury or illness that forces them to miss more than seven consecutive days and having exhausted all other sick leave and paid vacation. It will provide a disability payment of 67% of the employee’s base bi-weekly wage or salary. The benefit may be paid for a maximum of 90 days per calendar year.

Law Offenses

The council also brought policy and codes up to date with a new Chapter 215 of the city code book dealing with law offenses.

Passage of Senate Bill 491 and House Bill 1371 by state law makers created several changes to state statutes dealing with crime and punishment and these changes are reflected in the new Chapter 215.

Passed in 2014, the state law changes were the first to Missouri’s criminal code since 1979. Among the changes are stiffer penalties for crimes against children and for fatal drunk driving incidents while reducing penalties for marijuana possession.

Levee

Superintendent Roy Monroe indicated that efforts to pursue a possible earthen levee to protect the city’s light and water plants from future flooding has run into issues with the Missouri Corp of Engineers regarding potential changes to be made to wetland areas.

The city is considering constructing the levee on private property west of the facility as a more cost efficient alternative to building cement flood walls around the city’s main electric substation, which lies east of the Fabius River, which in the past decade has twice flooded enough to threaten the facilities.

Park Shelters

Monroe also reported that the city’s grant application for funding to replace several deteriorating shelter houses at the city parks, was denied by the state.

The council instructed Monroe to seek building estimates for installing metal structures instead of the current wooden construction plans that were proposed in the grant application.

If more economical alternatives can be identified, the council agreed that the city should pursue local partnerships with community groups to seek funding to continue the necessary upgrades in the municipal park system to help expand public opportunities for recreation.

Local Efforts Helping to Bring Christmas to More Families

christmas-gifts-web

Less than 15 shopping days until Christmas! Letters to Santa Claus are being written and children are dreaming of presents under the Christmas tree. But in Scotland County, plenty of people are also remembering that it is better to give than receive.

A number of programs targeting area needy families are ensuring that everyone in Scotland County has a Merry Christmas.

The Christmas Wish program, a joint effort of the Scotland County R-I schools, Scotland County Divisions of Children and Family Services, ShopKo, Dollar General and J’s Foods and headed up by the United Methodist Church of Memphis, wrapped up efforts on December 5th to fill the Christmas lists of local families in need.

Patrons were able to adopt an anonymous child, picking their wish list off the Christmas tree at ShopKo, and completing the shopping for a child in need. Gift cards were also purchased thru J’s to provide a holiday meal and other food stuffs for families.

Project coordinator Stacy Browning of the UMC stated that local efforts helped fulfill the Christmas Wish for 42 families, including 118 children. That number was up slightly from 2015 when 38 families and 100 children were reached.

The gifts will be presented to the families and children on December 12th.

 If you missed out on supporting the Christmas Wish, Ignite Ministries is hosting a similar Toys Under The Tree event on December 17th.

Church leader Les Richmond indicated that 35 families, with just shy of 100 children, were aided by last year’s program.

Donors provide gifts and financial support to the project, which provides one main gift of approximately $35 in value as well as additional smaller “stocking stuffer” items.

Parents can pick out the gifts for their children and have them wrapped right there at the church.

Toys Under the Tree will be held Saturday, December 17th from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

“If you need help putting Christmas gifts under the tree, there are lots of people in Scotland County that want to help,” said Richmond.

According to the Missouri Community Action Network, the poverty rate in Scotland County is 16.3%. In neighboring counties, that number is 18.2% in Schuyler, 15.7% in Clark, 19.4% in Knox and 26.9% in Adair.

All are above the 14.8% level for the state, where 875,495 Missourians are at 100% or below the Federal Poverty Level, which for a family of four is $24,250. Roughly 30% of those in poverty are children.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 was the high water mark for poverty in the state, when 16.2% of the population lived in poverty. The mark was declined each of the past three recording periods.

The United States Department of Agriculture reported Missouri’s food insecurity rate at 15.2% in 2016, meaning that more than 1 in 7 of the state’s residents at times has problems accessing adequate food.

That is one of the driving forces behind the local Tiger Packs program, which provides nutritious breakfasts, lunches and snacks on weekends for children who are eligible for the free breakfast/lunch program offered through the public school system.

Sponsored in part by the Scotland County Ministerial Alliance, the program currently serves more than 80 children in the Scotland County R-I school system and the Head Start program.

The program was supported by a fundraising drive at the recent Community Thanksgiving Service as well as by the local Boy Scouts, who have been collecting donations at public events such as the recent Christmas Bazaar in Memphis.

The local giving efforts aren’t limited to children.

The Scotland County Care Center and Residential Terrace offers the Angel tree program, which allows community members to adopt a resident(s) at the facilities to help wish them a Merry Christmas.

Started nearly a decade ago, the Angel ornaments on the tree feature information about a resident, with gift ideas, including dietary restrictions.

Tammy Hammond, activities director at SCCC said the number of angles ranges from 60 to 75 each year, with community members as well as SCCC staff and family, providing gifts of bath products, snacks, games, reading materials and clothing.

“This year we have 64 angels on the tree,” said Hammond. “Boy are the residents surprised and uplifted when they see their package.”

Edina Boy Hurt in Crash Near Rutledge

An Edina boy suffered minor injuries in a one-vehicle crash in Scotland County on Saturday just before noon.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Natalie T. Clark, 16 was eastbound on County Road 200, three miles southwest of Rutledge, when the 1997 Oldsmobile Aurora she was driving went off the left side of the roadway and overturned. A passenger in the vehicle, Thomas F. Reel, 5, sustained minor injuries in the crash.

Reel was transported by private vehicle to Northeast Regional Medical Center in Kirksville for treatment of his injuries.

Both of the vehicles occupants were wearing safety devices.

The Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office.

Respawn Video Game Center Opens on the Memphis Square

video-game

Respawn Video Game Center is the newest business to open its doors on the Memphis Square.  They are located on the southeast corner at 101 E. Monroe.

The new gaming center, owned and operated by Chris and Sheena Nichols, opened their doors Saturday, November 19th with an All-Night Gaming Party.  The next All-Night Gaming Party is scheduled for New Year’s Eve from 10:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.  Admission for the all-night event is $25 which includes free Casey’s pizza.  Beverages and snacks will also be available for purchase at the Center’s snack bar.

The All-Night Gaming Parties work like a lock-in.  In order to stay without a guardian, children must be nine years or older.  Parents must leave contact information and any child who desires to go home early, parents will be contacted for pick-up.

Regular hours for the Gaming Center are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 2:00-10:00 p.m., Friday from 2:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m., Saturday from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m., and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

There is a variety of pricing options including hourly ($7/hour, $15/3 hours, and $25 unlimited play).  Membership options include Silver, Gold, and Platinum pricing.  Party Packages for birthdays and other group events are also available.

Additionally, Chris and Sheena are offering an Honor Roll Program.  If students bring in their current Honor Roll certificates, they will get a free hour of play!  Also, area Church Youth Groups, accompanied by Youth Group Leaders, are able to play free on Thursday evenings from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

The gaming center is fully stocked with 15 Xbox One Systems and 15 full HD TVs.  All the Xbox systems are live and LAN connected.  There is also a full surround sound headset for each system and near 100 games to play, including the newest releases.

Chris and Sheena moved to Memphis about five years ago from Terre Haute, Indiana.  Sheena is originally from Memphis and they decided to return to this area so their son, Caiden, could grow up in a small town.  Caiden is currently in the fourth grade.  Chris and Sheena have another son, Jaxon, who is four years old.

Chris is also an LPN at Scotland County Hospital and is continuing his education to receive his RN.  Sheena is an RN and currently the Director of Nurses at the Scotland County Care Center.  Sheena is also continuing her education to receive her Clinical Nurse Specialist degree.

The couple’s purpose for opening Respawn Video Game Center was to give parents an affordable, close, and supervised activity center and another option for hosting birthday parties and other group events.

For all these details and more, call Chris at 660-223-3956 or visit their Facebook page at Respawn Video Game Center.

SCR-I School Menus

Breakfast

Thursday, December 8 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Friday, December 9 – Sausage/Gravy Biscuits, Choice of Cereal, Blueberry Muffin, Banana, Juice/Milk

Monday, December 12 – Waffles, Choice of Cereal, Cinnamon Biscuit, Apple Wedges, Juice/Milk

Tuesday, December 13 –Scrambled Eggs, Choice of Cereal, Hash Browns, Toast/Jelly, Apple Wedges, Juice/Milk

Wednesday, Dec. 14 – Ham/Cheese/Croissant, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Apple Wedges, Juice/Milk

Thursday, December 8 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Lunch

Thursday, December 8 – Spaghetti/Meat Sauce, Chicken Quesadillas, Hamburger Bar, Green Beans, Garlic Bread, Sliced Peaches, Fresh Fruit

Friday, December 9 – Tuna Noodle Casserole, Grilled Chicken Patty/Bun, Potato Rounds, Buttered Corn, Strawberry Shortcake, Fresh Fruit

Monday, December 12 – Chicken Patty/Bun, Juicy Burger/Bun, 5th/6th Grade Taco Bar, Oven Ready Fries, Tomato Slices and Pickles, Sliced Peaches, Fresh Fruit

Tuesday, December 13 – School Made Pizza, Bar BQ Meatballs, 5th/6th Grade Taco Bar, Vegetable Sticks/Dip, Green Beans, Applesauce, Fresh Fruit

Wednesday, Dec. 14 –Sliced Turkey, Sliced Ham, Whipped Potatoes/Gravy, Candied Sweet Potatoes, Buttered Corn, Dinner Roll, Cherry Cheese Cake, Fresh Fruit

Thursday, December 15 – Chili Soup, Broccoli Cheese Soup, Hamburger Bar, Peanut Butter Sandwich, Cheese Stick, Saltine Crackers

Scotland County Senior Nutrition Center

MENU

Thurs. December 8 – Creamed Chicken/Biscuit, Tomato and Zucchini Blend, Lettuce Salad, Bread, Fruit Salad

Friday, December 9 – Hot Beef Sandwich, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Buttered Carrots, Strawberry Shortcake/Topping

Monday, December 12 – Tenderloin/Bun/Onion, Sweet/Regular Fries, Pineapple, Cauliflower Vegetables, Cake

Tuesday, December 13 – Sausage/Biscuits/Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Applesauce, Ice Cream

Wed., December 14 – Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Pickled Beets, Hot Roll, Fruit

Thurs. December 15 – Ham and Beans, Onions, Fried Potatoes, Carrot-Pineapple Jell-O Salad, Cornbread, Peanut Butter Cookie

ACTIVITIES

Thursday, Dec. 8 – Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 15 – Scotland County Health Department here for blood pressure checks.  Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

BABY ZEISET

Steven and Janice Zeiset of Memphis are the parents of a daughter, Shalyn Janae Zeiset, born November 29, 2016 at 2:15 p.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. Shalyn weighed 7 lbs 0.8 oz and was 21 inches long. Siblings include Levi, Verlin, Kendon, Devon amd Ronald.

December Birds

December is here, along with all of the festivity, decorations, family gatherings, shopping, office parties, church programs, caroling, cookie exchanges, craft shows, I could go on and on.  Sometimes it seems we get our schedules so full, we do not leave time for ourselves, meditating, celebrating the birth of Christ and a simpler time.

I love to decorate, but sometimes finding myself getting stressed trying to get it all done.  This year, in the back of my mind, I keep saying less is more. Between shopping trips, Christmas plays, a girls’ night out or two, church programs, preparation for the holidays, before you know it the holidays are over.

I am not of the mind set to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving, as I do a lot of fall decoration, so I always strive to get the decorations up around the first of the month.  Hasn’t our weather been awesome.

I am so enjoying our extended fall.  Although it’s chilly this week, we still have fairly mild weather.  I have a great many birds on the trail, but not feeding anything at the house,  sparrows are my only visitor, with an occasional House Finch, Gold Finch, and Woodpecker.  I have a few Blue Jays, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers enjoying my corn feeder.

I have an abundance of beautiful pine cones.  Anyone need a gift idea for a bird watching friend, coat one in peanut butter or a cheap butter spread and dip or roll in mixed bird feed. Birds love this.

Another fun recipe for a good bird mix is as follows:  1 cup lard, 1 cup crunchy peanut butter, 2 cups cornmeal,  2 cups old fashioned oats, 1/2 c. Flour, 1/2 c. Sugar, 1/2 c. Raisins, 1/2 c. Ground corn, 1/2 c. Peanuts. Warm lard and peanut butter in microwave and mix with all other ingredients. This can be frozen as suet or fed on a platform feeder.

Enjoy making and giving homemade gifts this year.  Until next time, good bird watching.

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