April 15, 2004

City Utilities Take Step Forward In Technology World

The Memphis City Council approved the gradual transition to automated meters for both water and electricity service that will dramatically reduce the utilities meter-reading requirements.
Technology often can reduce workload, but not many businesses have the opportunity to transform three weeks of work into an afternoon stroll around town. That is exactly what the City of Memphis is hoping to do with its newly approved automated utility meters.

In a special meeting March 16, the City Council voted 3-0 (Alderman Mike Stone was not present at the meeting) to move forward with a plan to install the new meter system. The proposal calls for the transition of the towns water and electricity meters into new units that will generate an electronic signal, which will allow the meters to be read by a handheld unit.

The project will cost an estimated $275,000 to install new automated meters as well as the transmitters on the existing electronic meters for the more than 1,000 customers of the citys water and light services.

Obviously we are not going to do this overnight, stated Superintendent Dennis Howard. We are going to space this out over the next three to five years both for budgetary reasons as well as the fact that we dont want all of these meters to come on line at the same time. You should change a water meter about every 10 years, so we dont want to put in all new meters now and be faced with replacing all 1,000 meters at the same time again in 10 years.

Currently the water department has already installed approximately 500 automated meters over the past several years. To make these meters compatible with the electronic reader, a transmitter must be installed on each unit at a cost of $105 for each piece.

The remaining 500 plus water meters must be purchased at a cost of $190 ($85 meter and $105 transmitter).

Right now we have 50-percent of the city covered by automated meters, Howard stated. Eventually, everyone will have a remote meter, meaning they will not be bothered each month when we come to get a reading.

The meter reader will no longer have to enter the home to take a meter reading. Nor will the employee have to worry about pumping water out of the meter pit or trying to find the pit when there is a snow covering.

That is obviously one of the biggest benefits of this system, Howard said. We wont be bothering residents to read their meters. The handheld unit can pick up the signal from as far away as 800-feet, in most circumstances the worker wont even have to get out of the truck.

The water superintendent pointed out that this will save the city a tremendous amount of man hours. Currently it takes approximately three weeks to record the meter readings for the city. Howard said the new system could cut that time down to a couple of hours each month.

The time savings is just one of the benefits. The automated system will cut down on billing mistakes and meter re-reads, as the hand-held unit transfers the data directly into the citys billing software, eliminating the need to manually enter the numbers each month.

The new system also will streamline the billing process. Previously the customers bill may have been read on the first day of the month and then not until the 15th day on the next month. With the new, quicker system, billing will be more consistent with a standard 30-day measurement period.

The convenience issue can not be overlooked for the reading process either. Snow in the winter, and rain in the spring make it difficult to manually read water meters that are located in tiles or meter pits in the yard. In February, with a foot of snow on the ground, the meter reader would have to use a metal detector to locate the pit cover and then would have to shovel off the snow to get to the meter to take a reading. They then would have to re-bury the pit to insure the water line did not freeze up. In a wet spring, the reader often has to use a pit-pump to remove water from the pit so that the meter can be read.

Now the meter reader simply will have to walk or drive past the property and receive the electronic signal.

That also will help the meter reader avoid inconveniencing the property owner. They wont have to worry about tracking mud into the home or avoiding the dog.

The city is moving forward with a Census model meter. Not only does the same company manufacture all the components of the meter, the units offer a 10-year battery warranty with extended coverage up to 20 years.

At the special meeting, the city council agreed to purchase 500 new automated electric meters, which include the transmitter, at a cost of $120 per unit. The city received a $20 discount per unit for buying in quantity. The mass purchase also allowed the city to receive the $14,500 package including the meter reader, a new touch-reader, software and the docking/recharging base for the units at a cost of just $2,000.

We used to start reading meters on the first of the month and wouldnt get done until the 15th or the 20th, Howard said. We had 10 different meter books and now this one little hand-held machine will replace them all.

The new machine will not immediately replace any city employees. Howard said the saved man hours will be put to work elsewhere in the department. However he noted that when members of the department began retiring or left the job for other positions, that the city could consider leaving those openings vacant because of the time savings generated by the new system.

Ultimately with all the time it saves the two departments, the improved accuracy and eventually the salary savings, this will definitely pay for itself over time, Howard said.

Downing House Museum Complex News

The Museum Complex has had a very busy summer. We have been fortunate to have some great volunteers who have worked this summer providing tours and updating and cleaning the buildings and displays. Volunteers who have given their time are: June Kice, Gwendolyn Lohmann, AnnaLynn Kirkpatrick, Lynnette Dyer, Melissa Miller, Natalie Miller, Holly Harris, Marie Ebeling, Sandra Ebeling, Janet Hamilton, Elaine Forrester, Diana Koontz, Ruth Ann Carnes, Julie Clapp, Rhonda McBee, and the US Bank employees. We are still gathering aluminum cans to raise funds for the upkeep of our grounds. Thanks to everyone who takes the time to drop those off at the museum and to Elaine Forrester for gathering cans from several local businesses and community friends. Angel Arnold has kindly offered to take the cans with Iowa markings to the recycle center in Bloomfield, Iowa.

A summer thunderstorm brought down some very large tree branches, so the old maple on the front lawn of the Downing House received a much needed trim. Joel Kapfer donated the use of his power lift for Robert Waddell to clean and trim all of the trees in the front lawn. We have also began to refurbish the Rose Garden. It is a work in progress, but we hope to plant new roses in the near future. The local Boy Scout group worked at putting new sand into the brick sidewalk in the garden to maintain it.

The front of the Museum Complex is now illuminated with new outside lighting. Lamp posts and LED lights light the front of the Downing House and the Boyer House. This was made possible by memorial gifts given in memory of Florine Forrester.

The Carriage House is being furnished and is beginning to take shape. We have several tools, blacksmith items, and farm items displayed. New blinds have been hung in the Memphis Depot to help prevent sun damage to items that are found inside on the west side of the historic building.

The Museum Complex will be open on Friday and Saturday during the Scotland County Antique Fair from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  We will not be charging admission, but will ask for free will donations from patrons. We will be displaying several antique quilts in the Downing House music room and parlor on the first floor of the museum. The gift shop will be open with our coverlets, rugs, and museum memorabilia available to purchase. We are once again hosting the Lawn Party. Lunch will be served by the Rutledge School Restoration Society. Serving will begin as soon as the parade concludes. The menu includes pulled pork, cheesy potatoes, green beans, salads and desserts. The Heritage Band will be playing on the lawn for entertainment.

If you haven’t been to the museum complex lately, please come by for lunch and tour our wonderful facility, see our new carriage house and view our beautiful quilts. We have some wonderful local history to share.

Birding Season

Birding season is quieting down, although I am still enjoying my baby blues and the busy hummingbirds. Most of my sugar consumption goes to hummingbirds. They are hungry.

If you are planning to set up a nice bird feeding station, now would be a good time to measure it off and kill the grass, plant shrubs and get it mulched before winter.  Pick out the feeders that you want to get placed and get ready for an exciting winter of bird feeding.

It is a well known fact that I live in the area that Tom Horn was born and lived for a time.  As I have written, he left home when he was 13 and never looked back. By the time he had been gone from home for a year,  he was on Beaver Head Creek, in the heart of Indian country and could speak Mexican fairly well.  His feelings were so different and his life was so different from the way it was when he left home that it seemed to Tom that he had been on the stage line all his life.

During some of his travels, he was hired as a scout and interpreter.  He would be drawing $100 a month. He and the guy he worked with even had the occasion to speak to interpret for Geronimo. He also worked helping return Indians to the reservations, helping them get blankets, rations, and other needed items.

Horn’s next job was in 1879 helping furnish beef to the Indians for $150 for one month.  The Indians he was dealing with were the Chiricahua. San Carlos was near the Gila River and so was Camp Thomas where Horn did some of his dealings. At this time of turmoil, was the beginning of the Indian War. He continued to translate and guide officers through this Indian war.  Early on in 1881, the Indians and Mexicans were always in turmoil. Horn was very intelligent and knew how to deal with both Mexicans and Indians. More to come later.

Continue mixing up your sugar water 1/4 c. sugar to one cup water, keep it fresh, and no need to fill the feeder completely up. No need to add red coloring, and no need to boil. I would not recommend using anything but granulated sugar, organic raw sugar will not sweeten the same and will also spoil faster.  Until next time, good bird watching.

SCR-I Board of Education Approves Tax Rate Increase

money grad

After eight years of deficit budgets, the school board increased the tax levy to $3.50,  well below the $3.69 voter-approved ceiling.

The Scotland County R-I School District ended an eight-year pattern of deficit spending and is looking to a bump in next year’s tax levy to help start a new trend.

The SCR-I Board of Education met August 18th and unanimously approved a tax rate increase for the 2016-17 school year. The board set the 2016 levy rate at $3.50, an increase from $3.3928 in 2015.

The hike is expected to generate an additional $110,000 in revenue that Superintendent Ryan Bergeson indicated will be utilized in helping to meet maintenance and facility costs.

“Basically we felt like we were in a position where we really need the added revenue to help us to continue to provide quality educational opportunities for our kids,” said Bergeson.

The revenue increase represents what amounts to a 1.7% budget increase overall for the district, which forecasted expenditures of $6.328 million in 2016-17.

The district has benefited from positive balances, which allowed it to weather nearly a decade of deficit spending.

But faced with growing maintenance needs as well as facility upgrades, Bergeson said the board decided to move forward with the tax rate increase, while choosing to still remain well below the voter approved tax rate ceiling.

More than a decade ago, local voters approved a $3.69 tax rate ceiling, a rate the board of education has never reached, instead offering voluntary rollbacks every year since the ceiling was established.

“I would estimate that these levy rollbacks have saved taxpayers around $2 million over the past several years,” said Bergeson.

The state also plays a role in the levy rate. The Hancock Amendment sets limits on the rates at which tax revenues can increase. For school districts, that specifically correlates with local assessed valuations, meaning if new construction or other upgrades cause significant increases in the total assessed valuation of the tax district, the district’s tax rate ceiling is lowered to try to prevent revenue windfalls that weren’t intended.

In 2016, the adjusted tax rate ceiling for SCR-I is $3.5949, meaning the board took a voluntary reduction of more than nine cents when establishing the current tax rate.

In 2015 the SCR-I tax rate went down to $3.3829 to account for a nearly $9 million increase in the district’s assessed valuation coming through the addition of the former Gorin R-III district. The tax rate in 2014 was $3.43.

The Gorin annexation also brought in some additional revenue in the form of the district’s existing cash balances, which helped SCR-I break the deficit budget trend as well.

“I think we were going to be close without it, but it definitely was a big boost that helped us meet some of our transportation needs,” said Bergeson.

With the Gorin balance transfer, SCR-I closed the 2015-16 fiscal year with $6,802,127.68 in revenue. With expenditures of $6,394,274.93, the district had a surplus year of $407,852.75.

Bergeson noted that a big chuck of that surplus has already been put into play with the recent purchase of three new buses and a fourth used bus.

“With a total of 18 buses in the fleet, we have a constant need for upgrading,” said Bergeson. “This one-time revenue increase from Gorin helped us address that in a significant fashion.”

The superintendent indicated that the district spent nearly $300,000 on the bus upgrades, a point of emphasis for the district, which has replaced 10 of the oldest buses in the past several years.

The remainder of last year’s surplus, combined with the added tax revenue from the levy increase will be used to meet the district’s day-to-day expenses with an eye toward looming upkeep and repairs as well as facility upgrades.

“The heating and air conditioning system at the elementary school is one issue we will likely be looking at,” said Bergeson. “Obviously we also have facility needs, and we’ll be considering all of our options on how to provide more classroom space and on how to house our early childhood programs.”

BOND ISSUE

In other business, the board addressed the August election results. Board President, Trinity Davis, appointed a Facilities Committee to continue working to address facility needs for the school district.  Davis appointed George Koontz, Jamie Triplett, herself, Ryan Bergeson, Erin Tallman, and Kirk Stott to the committee.  The first meeting was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Monday, August 22.

BLEACHERS

The board voted 6-0 to purchase the bleachers for the softball and baseball fields at a total cost to the district of $5,000.  The total cost of the bleachers was $10,000 and the Scotland County R-1 Booster Club agreed to contribute $5,000 for the upgrade.

BOARD MEETING

The September Board Meeting is set for Thursday, September 8, 2016 in the Elementary Art Room.

EXECUTIVE SESSION

The board approved Tia Hamilton as Junior High Cheerleading Coach and Shelby McAfee as Volunteer Cheer Coach.

Dr. Larry Wiggins Inducted into Missouri 4-H Hall of Fame

Missouri 4-H Foundation Chair Dr. Marla Tobin (left) with Scotland County 4-H volunteer Dr. Larry Wiggins. Photo by Amanda Stapp.

Missouri 4-H Foundation Chair Dr. Marla Tobin (left) with Scotland County 4-H volunteer Dr. Larry Wiggins. Photo by Amanda Stapp.

“Making the best better” for generations of Missouri 4-H Club members, Dr. Larry Wiggins of Memphis was inducted into the Missouri 4-H Hall of Fame on Aug. 13 at State Fair Community College in Sedalia.

He was among 54 inductees from 40 counties establishing a legacy totaling 1,594 years of service to 4-H. More than 400 family members and friends attended the 10th annual event.

Dr. Larry Wiggins has dedicated more than 40 years of service to Scotland County 4-H. In the early 1970’s, he and his family were charter members of the Jolly Jacks and Jills 4-H Club, which remains one of the largest clubs in the county today.

Dr. Wiggins was the veterinary science project leader from the early 1970’s to the 1990’s, and held many of his project meetings during his small animal clinic, providing an incredible opportunity for 4-H members to witness a variety of animal science lessons. Today, he still welcomes 4-H and FFA members to visit his clinic for learning opportunities and job shadowing experiences.

The Missouri 4-H Foundation recognizes individuals who have created a legacy of service to 4-H by honoring them with membership in the Missouri 4-H Hall of Fame, said Rachel Augustine, associate director of development for the Missouri 4-H Foundation.

“These volunteers have played a vital role in helping our youth develop essential life skills that will empower them to become strong leaders in the 21st-century workforce,” she said. “We are proud to honor their legacy of service to Missouri 4-H.”

The annual event is sponsored by FCS Financial and the Missouri State Fair in partnership with the Missouri 4-H Foundation.

“Our University of Missouri Extension 4-H youth faculty and staff work in partnership with our volunteers to see they have the support needed to empower youth to succeed as future leaders,” said Dr. Ina Metzger Linville, program director, MU Extension 4-H Center for Youth Development. “Dedicated faculty and staff, committed volunteers, and spirited 4-H’ers will continue to learn and grow together to help our youth and communities thrive.”

For more than 65 years, the Missouri 4-H Foundation has been managing funds for the MU Extension 4-H Youth Development Program, providing higher education scholarships and recognizing 4-H volunteers. MU Extension 4-H is a community of more than 260,000 youths from across Missouri learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.

Bar B Saddle Club Holds August Meeting

The Bar B Saddle Club of Bible Grove held their monthly meeting Monday, August 15th at the Club House.

Final plans were made for the horse and ATV’s Poker Ride. Discussion was held regarding the arena work and materials. Also, horseback riders are needed for the parades in Memphis on Saturday, August 27th (Antique Fair) and in Downing on Saturday, September 10th (Downing Appreciation).  All are welcome to come and ride with the Saddle Club.

The next meeting will be Thursday, September 1st at 6:00 p.m. at the Club House.

Scotland County Genealogical Society Holds August Meeting

The Scotland County Genealogical Society met Monday, August 8th with eight members present plus one new member.  Darlene Johnston called the meeting to order.

The secretary gave her report.  There wasn’t a treasurer’s report to give.

Under new business, Alisa Kigar inquired if we would like Dr. Heather Martin, a new member of SCH staff, to present a program.  Everyone agreed this sounded like a good program and she will be presenting at the September meeting.

There was no old business to discuss and President Johnston closed the meeting so the program could begin.

Bonnie Hayes gave the program this month on getting your DNA testing done through Ancestry.  We learned that 50% of our DNA comes from both our parents and that 50% of their DNA comes from each of their parents, and so on.  When getting back the results of your DNA, you will have a chart showing how different segments of DNA might have been passed down to each generation.  Siblings can have different segments than what you have.  Genetic inheritance is random and sibling’s ethnicity results are a great example of this.

Several members of the Genealogy Society have done the DNA testing so curiosity getting the best of me; I decided to give it a try to see what is in my blood line.  I know there is Irish and English so in a few weeks, I will know more.  If anyone would like more information about this, they can go in on Ancestry.com or ask a member of the Genealogy Society for help.

This was a good program and many thanks to Bonnie Hayes for having this program.

Following the program, refreshments were served by Darlene Johnston.  Thanks to Darlene.

The Genealogical Society would like to invite anyone to come to their meetings which are held once a month on the second Monday of each month at 1:30 p.m.  The meetings are held in the Genealogy Building across from the Memphis Fire Station.

Submitted by Terry Arnold, Secretary

SCR-I School Menus

Breakfast

Thursday, August 25 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Friday, August 26 – Sausage/Gravy Biscuits, Choice of Cereal, Blueberry Muffin, Banana, Juice/Milk

Monday, August 29 – Donuts, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Fruit Medley, Juice/Milk

Tuesday, August 30 –Pancakes, Choice of Cereal, Sausage Link, Toast/Jelly, Strawberries, Juice/Milk

Wednesday, August 31 – Ham/Cheese on Croissant, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Fruit Medley, Juice/Milk

Thursday, September 1 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Lunch

Thursday, August 25 – Spaghetti/Meat Sauce, Chicken Wrap, Hamburger Bar, Green Beans, Garlic Bread, Fruit Salad, Fresh Fruit

Friday, August 26 – Walking Taco, Fish Square/Bun, Diced Tomatoes, Cottage Cheese, Sliced Peaches, Fresh Fruit

Monday, August 29 – Crispy Chicken Strips, Corn Dog, 5th/6th Grade Chef Salad, Potato Rounds, Mixed Vegetables, Mandarin Orange Slices, Fresh Fruit

Tuesday, August 30 – Chicken Patty/Bun, Cheeseburger/Bun, 5th/6th Grade Taco Bar, Oven Ready Fries, Peas, Sliced Peaches, Fresh Fruit

Wednesday, August 31 – Salisbury Steak, Beef and Noodles, 5th/6th Grade Potato Bar, Whipped Potatoes/Gravy, Broccoli/Cheese Sauce, Dinner Roll, Sliced Pears, Fresh Fruit

Thursday, September 1 – Beef‘N’Tator Bake, Chicken Quesadillas, Hamburger Bar, Green Beans, Dinner Roll, Strawberries.

Lady Tigers Prevail 3-1 in Extra Innings to Win Season Opener

Julie Long puts down the sacrifice bunt during the Lady Tigers’ season opener at Putnam County on August 22nd. SCR-I picked up the 3-1 victory.

Julie Long puts down the sacrifice bunt during the Lady Tigers’ season opener at Putnam County on August 22nd. SCR-I picked up the 3-1 victory.

It took a little longer than normal, but the Scotland County softball squad opened the 2016 season in the win column with a 3-1 victory at Putnam County that took 10 innings to decide.

SCR-I jumped on top 1-0 in the top of the first inning. With one out, Stevi See crushed a double to left field which would have been out of most fields. The junior catcher came in to score on a two-out hit by Ashleigh Creek.

The lone run looked like it might hold up as Creek was perfect through two plus innings before a two-out hit and a walk created a scare in the bottom of the third. But she was able to coax a comebacker out of Kori Hornaday to end the threat.

Unfortunately, the SCR-I offense went completely quiet after the opening frame. Kendall Ingersoll retired six straight batters before See launched a deep flyball to center field that was misplayed for a two base error.

But the Lady Midgets’ pitcher worked out of the jam, going on to retire seven straight batters.

SCR-I’s best threat came in the sixth inning when Abi Feeney reached on an error. She stole second base and moved to third when the throw skipped into centerfield. But See ripped a liner down the third base line that was snagged by Jordan Holland at the bag to easily double off the runner and end the threat.

That proved costly, as Putnam County finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth. Kennedy Childers led off with a double. Following an SCR-I error that allowed Sara Webb to reach, Putnam County used a sacrifice bunt followed by an RBI groundout by Riley Rouse to knot the score at 1-1.

SCR-I was unable to take advantage of a leadoff walk to Kaylyn Anders in the eight, and then left two runners in scoring position in the ninth inning after a base hit by See and an error that allowed Creek to reach base.

After a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh, Creek retired nine straight batters.

SCR-I finally broke through in the 10th inning. Anders walked to start the rally. Katie Feeney followed with a base hit. Abi Feeney reached on an error to load the bases with one out. See delivered a sacrifice fly to leftfield. Anders tagged up and beat the throw home. An errant throw to third trying to get Katie Feeney, allowed the freshman to come all the way in to push the lead to 3-1.

Creek worked around a leadoff error to retire the heart of the Putnam County order to secure the win.

See led the offense, going 2-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Creek was 1-4 with an RBI.

Creek picked up the win, allowing one unearned run in 10 innings of work. She allowed just four hits and walked one while striking out six.

19th Annual Ag Day Golf Tournament at Timber Ridge

J & J Ag Equipment Sales is hosting the 19th Annual Ag Day Tournament at Timber Ridge Golf Course on Friday, September 9, 2016.  Sign-in opens at 9:00 a.m. with a 10:00 a.m. shotgun start.

The tournament is an 18 Hole, 4 Person Scramble.  Cost per team is $360 and includes lunch and beverages all day.  Teams are encouraged to sign-up early to reserve a spot and can pre-register by contacting Randy (660-216-7306), Kris (660-341-0465, or the golf course (660-883-5341).

In addition to free food and drink, there will be a silent auction and games.  The Hole in One contest is being sponsored by Pepsi, The Farm Shop and Gas & More.

Timber Ridge Golf Course is located on Hwy 15, south of Memphis.

Area Moving On Program to Meet August 30

The Scotland County Area Moving On Program will hold their monthly meeting on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at the Methodist Church starting at 11:30 a.m.  After lunch, the group will travel to Edina to the Baker Cemetery.

If you have suffered a loss, the Area Moving On group helps provide support through caring confidential visiting and fellowship with others than have lost love ones by sharing support and friendship with each other.  This is a monthly meeting with the time and meeting place decided on by those attending.

For more information or to arrange for a ride, please call Nelda Billups (660-328-6367), Laura Schenk (660-465-7363) or Chris Tinkle, Program Coordinator (660-465-7322.

Local sponsors of the program include The Daisy Patch, US Bank, Rose Hardware, Payne Funeral Chapel, Memphis Funeral Home, Countryside Flowers, Community Bank of Memphis, and Exchange Bank of Northeast Missouri.

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