July 24, 2003

Scotland County Audit Paints Positive Picture Despite Minor Issues

No one likes to hear the word audit (except maybe auditors) but it is a regular occurrence for public bodies such as city and county governments. Scotland County recently underwent an audit of the 2001 and 2002 fiscal years by the office of Missouri State Auditor Claire McCaskill as part of the regularly scheduled state reviews.

The audit was performed by Arthur White & Associates, L.L.C., Certified Public Accountants and was officially filed with the state on June 30. The audit was performed on the special-purpose financial state-ments of various funds main-tained by the county.

Overall the county received a positive report for the two fiscal years, which combined represented more than $5.2 million in expenditures and $5.5 million in revenues that left the county with a positive budget balance of more than $700,000 at the end of the 2002 year. The County Commission indicated it was pleased with the audit results and noted that appropriate steps were being taken to remedy the issues pinpointed by the report.

The county received a positive report with only a few issues of noncompliance with the government auditing standards.

Several issues were strictly record keeping suggestions passed on by the auditors.

State statutes require the county publish an annual financial statement in the local newspaper. The audit noted that the county has published the required statement but indicated the published report did not include all county funds.

The Scotland County Commission took the issue under advisement and noted it would make the necessary efforts to insure all funds are included in the annual financial statement for publication.

The audit also noted that state statutes prohibit local governments from making expenditures beyond the approved budget for the fiscal year. The audit noted that the county has exceeded budgeted amounts in different areas and recommended the county commission not authorize disbursements in excess of budgeted amounts. The report noted that in extenuating circumstances over expenditures are allowable but should be fully documented with the budgets properly amended and then forwarded to the state auditor's office.

Another point raised by the auditors was the control over county disbursements. The auditor noted the county commission uses a single stamp to approve payments. This stamp is easily accessible to the staff of the county clerk's office and while there were absolutely no signs of improprieties it still represented a lack of security.

The audit also noted that invoices were often not approved by the county clerk's office, nor were they cancelled as paid.

The report recommended better controls over cash disbursements and noted the failure to approve invoices, cancel invoices and limit access to the warrant approval stamp increased the risk of errors or irregularities. It went on simply to recommend that the commission either eliminate the stamp and approve warrants by signature or to limit the access to the stamp to only the county commission while also suggesting the county clerk insures that all invoices are signed and canceled appropriately to insure the proper paperwork procedure.

The county officials were in complete agreement with the recommendations.

The final bookkeeping issue related to fixed assets. The county is required to maintain a fixed assets list for all major equipment and property purchases or dispositions. The audit indicated that no purchases have been recorded on the fixed assets list since 1993 nor have any sales of county property been recorded since that time.

The county noted this was an oversight and indicated the list would be brought up to date.

The audit report went on to address the county's purchasing procedures. In particular the report sited several county purchases where there was no documentation or evidence that bids were sought prior to purchases being made.

Under Missouri Statute all purchases that exceed $4,500 are required to be done by bid with documentation being maintained for all vendors from whom bids were requested as well as all following bid information.

The audit noted that more than $225,000 in road rock was purchased without a bid process. Other purchases that did not seem to meet the law include $14,500 in steel beams, $6,080 in road and bridge supplies, $5,900 in truck repairs, $5,460 for courthouse repairs and $9,530 for pipe.

The County Commission countered the issue by noting that the remoteness of the region often limits the county in potential suppliers.

The auditor indicated that if circumstances are deemed to warrant a purchase without a bidding process that the issue must be documented to insure legal compliance.

Other issues reported in the audit included improved computer security as well as a documented policy for payments of expenses incurred by the county's prosecuting attorney's office.

The auditor noted that computer programs controlling property taxes, payroll and disbursement systems are not adequately restricted, meaning personnel in the county clerk, treasurer and collectors offices will be required to utilize passwords to prevent unauthorized access to the materials by other individuals.

The county is working with the software manufacturer to update the systems to include passwords and additional security.

The county also is in the process of securing an annual agreement with the prosecuting attorney's office to determine actual office expenses and the percentage of time the office is used for county business to allow the county to generate an appropriate formula for reimbursement of these costs.

The audit noted that during the 2001 and 2002 year prosecuting attorney Susan Henry's unsupported expense reimbursements were not reported on her W-2 as required by law.

The problem centers around the fact the prosecuting attorney does not maintain an office in the courthouse and throughout the years the number of past prosecuting attorneys have simply operated out of their private law office with the county paying a set allowance for office expenses, including utilities, postage, telephone, library/upkeep, etc. The process has been in place for numerous years but the auditor suggested the payments be based on actual expenditures documented by the office as opposed to a set monthly rate.

The final audit recommendation regarded minutes from the county commission meetings. The report noted that meeting minutes often lacked sufficient detail of discussions and votes taken. Items such as bid solicitations and selections, transfers between funds and various other decisions were not always documented to the fullest degree. Finally the auditor recommended the minutes be prepared in a more timely manner to allow for the documents to be reviewed to insure accuracy.

The county agreed to make efforts to improve the record keeping process for the meetings.

Suspect in Memphis Stabbing Remains at Large

Curtis Anthony Cousins, 34, is being sought on a class A felony assault charge following a stabbing incident Tuesday morning in Memphis.

Law enforcement are still searching for a man involved in a Tuesday morning stabbing in Memphis.

According to the Memphis Police Department, Curtis Anthony Cousins, 34, is being sought for questioning regarding an altercation Tuesday morning at a Dial Court residence that left a Memphis man hospitalized with multiple stab wounds.

Investigators indicated they were notified of the incident at 7:04 a.m. by the Scotland County Hospital, which was treating the victim in the emergency room.

Police determined the incident occurred at #5 Dial Court, stemming from an altercation between the two men. Court documents indicate that the victim allegedly confronted Cousins in the garage of the home, regarding his interactions with a family member. An altercation ensued during which the stabbing allegedly occurred.

Investigators determined that Cousins fled the scene in a black Mitsubishi Lancer 4-door car with Iowa license plates.

Scotland County Prosecuting Attorney Kimberly J. Nicoli has filed a class A felony assault in the first degree charge against Cousins.

Cousins is also wanted out of Washington County, Iowa on a warrant stemming from an earlier arrest for possession of controlled substances, marijuana and methamphetamine.

Cousins is known to have violent tendencies as well as to abuse drugs and alcohol. He is to be considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information of his whereabouts, or with sightings of the vehicle, is asked to contact the Memphis Police Department at 660-465-2151.

Ministerial Alliance Considering Options to Replace Close Closet Building

The Scotland County Ministerial Alliance met on March 14 at the Lutheran Church. Those in attendance were Mark Appold, Karen Biggs, Marie Ebeling, Dan Hite, Pamela Glasgow, Jack Sumption, and guest Paul Milliken.

Chaplain Paul Milliken of the Hospice of Northeast Missouri was present to discuss services provided by the Hospice. People with terminal conditions with a life expectancy of six months or less are candidates for the Hospice services.

The Good Friday Service will be held at First Presbyterian Church on March 30th at 7 p.m.  All participants in the service are asked to be at the church in dark colored attire at 6:30 p.m. that evening.

The. Clothes Closet suffered significant damage from the hail storm during this past summer. Insurance will pay for a new roof. It is in bad shape structurally and it was suggested that SCMA to consider the insurance pay out to become part of a building fund for a new building. There will be estimates on this issue in future meetings.

The Memphis Chapter of the FreeMasons intend to have a poker run this coming summer to raise funds for the Tiger Packs.  Tiger Packs are the weekend food provision for elementary children.  The group offered their kitchen to SCMA to host a fundraiser breakfast on the same day as the poker run. A decision was made not to have the breakfast due to lack of time and volunteers.

Next meeting of the alliance will be Wednesday April 11, at 1 p.m.

SC Genealogy Society Hosts March Meeting

The Scotland County Genealogy group held their monthly meeting Monday, March 12th with eight members present.  The secretary’s report was given and approved followed by the treasurer’s report given by June Kice,

Under Old Business, Marlene Cowell reported that their audit of books went great and thanked Ronda Davis.

Under New Business, Bob Hunolt donated a picture he had of the Oak Forrest School from 1890.  Additionally, a motion was made by June Kice to meet at 5:30 p.m. as a trial for the June meeting.  The motion was seconded by Marlene Cowell.  Twyla Fulk made a motion to purchase a book titled Ring the Fire Bell.  The book is about the hospital in Keokuk, Iowa before and during the Civil War.  Marlene and June seconded the motion.

A program was given by June Kice on Ring the Fire Bell.  The book was about the transport of wounded soldiers on the Mississippi to the hospital in Keokuk to be treated.  They would ring the fire bell when steamships were bringing wounded soldiers and the Ladies Aid Society for Veterans would meet them.

The meeting was adjourned following the program and refreshments were served by Connie Bratton.

Everyone is welcome to attend our meetings on the second Monday of the month at the Genealogy Building.

Submitted by Connie Bratton, Secretary


Calvin and Ada Marie Hoover of Rutledge are the parents of a son, JaRon Ardell Hoover, born March 5, 2018 at 4:31 p.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. JaRon weighed 5 lbs 12.6 oz 20.5 inches long. Grandparents are Robert and Rachel Hoover of Rutledge;; and Luke and Ada Mae Hoover of Rutledge.


Jonathan and Alison Woods of Floris, IA are the parents of a daughter, Nina Rosella Woods, born March 10, 2018 at 11:12 p.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. Nina weighed 7 lbs 7.8 oz and was 20 inches long. Grandparents are Tony and Dolly Benge of Floris, IA; Robert and Holly Woods of Squaw Valley, CA; and Ron and Lovie Parker of Floris, IA. Great-grandparents are Arlie and Alana Woods of Reedley, CA; and Irene Chalberg of Floris, IA.

Tiger Fall to Knox County in Campus Bowl Tourney Finale

An impressive run through the preliminaries came up just a bit short for the Scotland County campus bowl team which had to settle for runner-up honors at a recent tournament.

The Tigers pounded Fayette 340-100 in the preliminary rounds. Stephen Terrill led the way answering 12 toss-up questions and Adam Slayton added five.

Harrisburg fared no better as SCR-I dispatched the Bulldogs 390-100. Terrill was top scorer with 13 correct answers while Jacob Kapfer added seven and Slayton and Andrew Ebeling each had four.

Scotland County secured a top seed with a 390-140 win over Paris to round out the opening round. Terrill again topped the scorebook answering 16 toss-up questions with Ebeling adding eight.

SCR-I made quick work of Salisbury in the semifinals, pounding the Panthers 290-110. Terrill answered 12 toss-ups in the win.

The Tigers jumped out to an 80-60 lead over Knox County after one period of play in the championship contest. The Eagles turned things around in the second period, outscoring SCR-I 150-50 and never looked back in posting the 360-220 win.

Terrill was the leading scorer for SCR-I with eight answers and Kapfer finished with four.


This week I had the opportunity to pick up a couple of historical items from a friend in Kahoka.  She wanted to transfer them to the Downing House from the Clark County Museum.  I have enjoyed the history of the Scotland County schools, and a Granger yearbook.

I am also interested in the history of Etna, our little town nearby.  There is not much left there anymore; memories of the church, school, Tom Horn, and the Etna Cemetery, which I might add is well kept and mowed by Eddie Knupp of Wyaconda. It is located north of Etna and is on a rolling hillside.

The school was located just north of the curve in Etna, on the gravel road going north. All that attended has so many memories of that school and classmates. The church site is kept nicely as well by Larry Mohr.  Some of us locals try to keep it neat and decorated.

As with many small towns, at one time, it was quite the busy place. In 1870, there three general stores, two doctors, one drug store, two blacksmith shops, a hotel, two shoe shops and of course, a saloon.  In 1871, the largest hotel in Scotland County, was opened in Etna.  Also, a furniture factory there.  A German by the name of Hettemdofer was owner and made furniture and caskets for all of northeast Missouri. Later, Etna was known as the Hoop Hole. In the fall, 10-15 men would locate there and shave hoops for barrels. The work generally lasted until spring.  The barrels were used for molasses, meat and vinegar.  The two shoe shops that I mentioned made practically all of the shoes for people in this part of the state.

The church was also a large part of Etna. In 1866. The Methodist Church was built in Etna. The church was a large part of the community. One of the trustees was Louis Ruth, the great-grandfather of Duane.  The Ruth’s were owners of the farm that we live on now. It has been in our family many years. Louis Ruth was listed as a local preacher, also. Duane’s grandparents, Charles and Ida (Ruth) Ebeling were married in the Etna Church.

For those of you who are wondering, I am still watching the birds, and hope you are too.  Get those bluebird houses ready.  I cleaned all of mine out yesterday, and hope to see some hints of blues soon.  Until next time, good birdwatching.

My Great Frustration With People 

Urrggh!  People!  Ever feel frustrated with “them”?  And, why is that?  Because they are stupid, sinful, dopes, or just plain annoying?  Could be.  But, I wish to bend your justifiable (?) irritation toward a correcting possibility.

I experience incredible frustration with people.  I have for years…well, decades.  Yet, it’s not from a thread of criticism.  No.  Mine is due to the truth that everyone is more amazing than they believe.  However, too many live in a much lesser life than has been the plan all along.

Our prisons are full of wonderful individuals who possibly never got the reinforcement as to their deep and personal wonder. But it’s not just prisoners. Far too many are reporting to work today as boss or supervisor or employee with the feeling of drudgery; a feeling that they aren’t all that important.

My great frustration with people is not in blame nor is it in any form of criticism.  Mine is a matter against me…. I don’t know how to reverse their insecurities and senses of sheer inadequacies.  My great frustration is that these wonderful individuals have bought into a lie somewhere along the way that they don’t count.  The result is a lifestyle of just getting by.

My hope for people is that each can move past the past.  Those who have hurt you, injured you, neglected you?  So have you to others.  Our hopes are strong and embedded within the same dimension; believing that the resurrection power of God can lift us into a steady walk of happiness, productivity, and beautiful difference-making!

We are limited, never by another person, only by our broken ability to focus on the wonder of now.  Egotism is not our destiny so don’t go there.  Confidence is.  Jesus is our confidence.  Mine (and yours) alone without Him is destined to repeated misery warmed over.

So in our frustration, may we become a determined lot to build others; not tear down, lift others; not sink, and cheer others; not discourage.  We all need this… every… day.  Go. For. It.

Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry was one of the major figures of the American Revolution and is best known for his words, “Give me liberty or give me death,” delivered in a speech to the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775. In his speech to the Convention, Henry put forth a proposal that Virginia counties should raise militias to defend themselves, believing that war with Great Britain was imminent. Many of the delegates to the Convention were hesitant to approve any measures that might be viewed as hostile toward Great Britain, while still hoping for a peaceful reconciliation with the British. Word had not yet reached the colonies that King George had rejected the Continental Congress’ petition for redress of grievances. Henry’s impassioned speech and the support of Richard Henry Lee and Thomas Jefferson helped to pass the resolution by a few votes. Less than a month later, British troops and colonial militiamen clashed at Lexington and Concord, resulting in the first casualties of the Revolutionary War. Patrick Henry was a lawyer, orator, and statesman who dedicated most of his life to Virginia politics. He was an early critic of British authority and a leader in the movement of the American colonies toward independence. He served as a member of the House of Burgesses, as the first governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and was a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses. Patrick Henry also played a crucial role in securing men and arms for George Washington’s Continental Army.

From Jauflione Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

Hear it All

I was taken aback the other day during a morning turkey hunt. The rain had persisted all night and into the early morning hours. It wasn’t until about 8:30 that the sun broke through the clouds. It seemed every living thing had been waiting with anticipation for that hour. The rain had allowed the early risers to sleep in, but the sun sounded the alarm for all to get up. The sounds that morning were too numerous to describe. Each creature began its communication without waiting its turn. It sounded like one big cacophony without having any rhyme or reason. I didn’t notice that morning how each sound was different but how closely each sounded like the other. Sometimes the cadences were different, but the pitch was nearly identical. And I wondered how each hearer was able to distinguish between its kind and another kind and even how each could tell the differences of their own kind. And then I thought about God.

I wonder how many folks bowed their head to pray this morning. People from Maine to Montana; from New Mexico to North Carolina; and from Connecticut to California. And I wonder how many in other countries did the same – all speaking to God at the same time but in different languages. And I wonder how God sorts them all out. It really is amazing how God can not only hear all of us at the same time but  He does not miss one utterance of despair, one urgent cry for help, or one uplifted plea for direction. He is not only our God but He is your God. He is not only our God, He is my God.

Just as I don’t understand how nature works in perfect order and design, I also don’t understand how God can make perfect order out of every single prayer that goes up. But I must believe it by faith. The Bible says a sparrow doesn’t fall to the ground without Him noticing. When I remember that I have no problem knowing that even though millions of prayers are knocking on the doors of heaven, God will distinguish each of us as His special and unique child and will be equally excited to hear from us and to give us His very best.

Gary Miller

Outdoor Truths Ministries


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