September 1, 2005

School Board Gives Go Ahead For One-Year 29 Cent Tax Levy Increase

The board voted to raise the levy to $3.65 to maximize state aid, yet is promising to lower the rate next year.
Education is an investment in the future. Now the Scotland County R-I Board of Education is calling for the taxpayers in the district to make an investment in their local education system.

The school board voted 7-0 at the August 25th tax rate hearing to increase the local levy rate to $3.65 for 2005. The move was made in an effort to allow the district to cash in on more state aid over the next seven years while the new foundation funding formula is implemented.

Members made the difficult decision to raise the rate at the same time pledging to lower the levy next year.

The board pointed to the more than $500,000 in added state aid that the move will generate as the decision clincher.

If we raise the rate this year near the maximum to $3.65 we stand to gain over $400,000 dollars of state aid for the district during the phase-in period of the new formula, said Superintendent Dave Shalley. In addition to the $400,000 plus during the phase in, this year there would be an additional $140,000 dollars of state aid generated. This total is over $540,000 for the next seven years from the state in aid to the school district.

The old funding formula was tax-levy driven. School districts across the state receive state aid based on their local tax levy. The minimum levy is $2.75 and the maximum level that can earn state aid is $4.70. Districts may have levy rates higher than $4.70 but no state aid is generated beyond that point. The foundation formula provided the districts with state aid based on the levy rate, basically rewarding schools with higher tax rates with more state aid.

The new state funding scheme is turning toward a student-needs based formula.

During the seven-year phase in period for the new formula, the state will continue to pay aid based on the old tax-rate driven formula. These payments will be based solely on the tax rate established this year.

That allows SCR-I and other districts across the state to raise their tax rate this year and get higher state aid over the seven-year period. The rate can be lowered next year without decreasing the state aid level, which will continue to be based on the 2005 throughout the phase-in process.

Of course the drawback is that local taxpayers will be facing a significantly higher bill this year.

The move required the district to hike the local levy 29 cents from $3.36 to $3.65.

For the owner of a home appraised in the $90,000 neighborhood this translates into about a $50 tax hike. If you own two newer vehicles, the increase will be in the $20-$25 ballpark for personal property taxes. Farm ground will cost roughly $100 more in local taxes for every 500 acres.

The board members agreed the timing for a tax increase is bad considering the difficult farming season combined with high gas prices and high heating costs expected this winter.

Ultimately the governing body looked past the immediate impact and decided the long-term benefit is worth the investment.

The move was made possible by the Proposition C waiver that voters approved for the district in April 2002. The waiver gave the board of education the power to raise the levy as high as $3.69 per $100 of assessed valuation.

At the time the ballot issue was being considered, the school district had pledged to guard this power and raise tax rates with caution. Members agreed that the opportunity to generate half a million dollars in additional state aid warranted a one-year tax increase locally. They expressed hope that the one-year spike would take the place of gradual tax increases over that seven-year span, ultimately rewarding the taxpayers for their investment by replacing some of the local tax revenue with state aid generated by this move.


baby tinkle web

Sarah Neel and Roger Tinkle or Memphis are the parents of a son, Spencer Joseph Rex Tinkle, born April 24, 2016 at 5:20 a.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. Spencer weighed 8 lbs 1 oz and was 19 inches long. Siblings are Zack, Zoe, Sophia and Ryker Tinkle. Grandparents are Larry and Geneva Tinkle of Memphis and Tony and Jerri Maisano of Martin, TN.


baby behrens web

Emmaline Ann Behrens was born on April 4, 2016 at Boone Hospital in Columbia, MO.   She was 10 lbs. and was 22 inches long.  Parents are Jeff and Melissa Behrens and brother Zac Behrens, all of Memphis. Grandparents are Fritz and Janet Gerth of Memphis and Tom and Linda Behrens of Quincy, IL. Great-grandfather is Herb Kauffman of Washington, IL.


baby cochran web

Anna Buckallew and Darrin Cochran of Memphis are the parents of a daughter, CaliRae Marie Cochran. She was born April 22, 2016 at 9:09 a.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. CaliRae weighed 7lbs 5.4 oz and was 20.5 inches long. She was welcomed home by her four-year-old brother, Cash Arrin.. Grandparents are Lonnie and Michaelene (Mikie) Cochran and Susan Buckallew, all of Memphis. Great-grandparents are Stanley Roberts of Logan, IA; the late Virginia Rae Roberts, and Robert and Marie Brown of Memphis.

Alternative Solutions

Young visitor Freya meets the critter crew for the first time. Photo by Christina.

Young visitor Freya meets the critter crew for the first time. Photo by Christina.

It has been a rainy week here, with some crazy thunderstorms and a tornado warning on Wednesday, but it wasn’t enough to dampen the singing or the weeding or the outreach-ing. It takes some pretty rough weather to keep us inside.

Christina here, new resident of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, bringing you news of the green, the magical, and the pig.

Over the weekend, Dan, Javi, and Tereza went to St. Louis for the Earth Day Festival, where they staffed our booth, talking to people about Dancing Rabbit. People were interested in learning about life at an ecovillage. Many didn’t know that we have amenities, but we do indeed have electricity (I am writing on my laptop right now).

The Rabbits answered non-stop questions for the whole nine hours that they were there. People were especially interested in the sense of community and how we interact, and the materials that are used for building here. Apparently people are interested in finding alternative solutions to the problems that they face.  

During the second week of their session, the visitors have been attending workshops, joining in work parties, eating lots of great food prepared by the various kitchens, and visiting with the baby goats. They have formed some strong bonds, and are already figuring out how they can bring what they have learned back to their lives—or how they can bring their lives back to Dancing Rabbit. If you want to visit, we still have three visitor sessions left this year!

On Wednesday night, we had a small turn-out for the weekly song circle. Just my two kids, Max and Emma, as well three other participants. We had just taught the others to sing an old Quaker hymn called “Dear Friend” that Max learned in preschool when we heard the sirens and saw people headed toward the storm shelter in the basement of the Mercantile. As a former New Englander, I am not afraid of rough weather, but when I see the locals heading for shelter during a storm, I follow.

We headed down the wet and dripping stairs into the dark cramped basement. With around fifteen people and four dogs, it was definitely not the most comfortable situation. But as we turned the corner looking for more room to sit down, we heard “Dear Friend” being sung—with harmonies and in a round no less. After a few rounds of that song, the group spontaneously started another. I am new to song circle, so I didn’t know the songs beforehand, but I was mostly able to join in or at least hum along. 

The acoustics in the basement were great, and we found some buckets for seats. My kids each took a seat on one of my legs, and the dog found a place to lie down away from the other dogs. There were more rounds of song, and the time passed quickly.

This is the kind of magical moment that happens here all the time, but that doesn’t make it any less special.

Apparently, my daughter Emma had not had enough of the singing, because when we went to a post-dinner bonfire hosted by the visitors by the old pond last night, she wanted to sing a few more rounds of “Dear Friend”, this time accompanied by a drum circle. After a few rounds of “Have You Seen the Ghost of John” we were all sufficiently mesmerized by the fire and the stars and the croaking frogs. We didn’t talk much but sat perfectly content, drumming more at times and less at others, and adding more wood to the fire.

In my other life, this would have been a once-a-year type experience, but spontaneous song has graced my life twice this week.

In other news, things are green.  

The cabbage, kale, and lettuce are thriving in our little garden, and so are the weeds. I spent about an hour hacking away at some long grass that has been choking out the tiny pea shoots that are bravely making their way up from the ground. I like snap peas, and more importantly, they are a green vegetable that my kids will eat. The prairie is beautiful here, but not when it’s in my garden. I think I might find a pick ax to go at the grass roots later today…  

On Friday, the Critters finally received their much-awaited pig. For the bacon and sausage fans among us, this was an exciting event. But it will be a few months until the pigs are ready for slaughter, and so until then, we have lots of greens and eggs.

We’ll go out to pick those greens when the rain stops, singing out loud or in our heads.

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community and educational non-profit outside Rutledge, MO, focused on demonstrating sustainable living possibilities. We offer public tours of the village at 1pm on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month, April-October; the next is May 14th. Reservations not required. Tours are free, though donations to help us continue our educational and outreach efforts are gratefully accepted. For directions, call the office at 660-883-5511 or email us at To find out more about us, you can also check out our website:

Wesley, Helen Knupp Celebrating 65 Years of Marriage

knupp old web

Wesley and Helen Knupp of Wyaconda will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary with an open-house reception hosted by their children.  The open-house will be from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 15, 2016 at the Christian Church in Wyaconda.  Friends and family are invited to attend. The couple requests no gifts.

Wesley Knupp and the former Helen Sprague were married on May 11, 1951 in Kahoka, MO. They have lived in the Wyaconda area since that time. Wesley and Helen are the parents of the late Clifford (Betty) Knupp of Wyaconda, Ed Knupp of Wyaconda, Crystal (Brad) Bliven of Quincy, IL and Lori (Dan) Doyle of Wyaconda.   They have 9 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Stop by and celebrate with Wesley & Helen on Sunday, May 15, or mail a card to them at PO Box 263, Wyaconda MO 63474.

knupp young web

Weed Eating the Road to Innovation

Members of the Memphis MoDOT maintenance team were honored for this tractor-mounted weed eater innovation helping to streamline roadside trimming.

Members of the Memphis MoDOT maintenance team were honored for this tractor-mounted weed eater innovation helping to streamline roadside trimming.

Memphis MoDOT maintenance team brings home two awards for weed eating upgrade.

HANNIBAL – Every year, teams of Missouri Department of Transportation employees submit entries for the Innovations Challenge competition.

“This is an opportunity for MoDOT employees to bring innovations dedicated toward best practices and being the best value to customers,” explained Amy Crawford, MoDOT’s Northeast District Innovations coordinator and area engineer.

This year the Northeast District had several qualifying entries competing in the showcase and one innovation that brought home two statewide awards – the tractor mounted weed eater, borne in the Memphis maintenance facility.

Shannon Partin, Todd Greenstreet, and Richard Hyde, of the Memphis maintenance facility, and mechanics Robey Farr, Cyle Jones and Payden McCarty, came up with the idea for the tractor-mounted weed eater due to how difficult it was to manually cut around post with the reflectors and the guard rail post with regular weed eaters.

“Our maintenance superintendent was looking for a way to make weed eating easier and faster around the delineators along U.S. 61, and he knew our crew would enjoy the challenge of creating a new product,” Hyde explained.  “This innovation allows us to easily attach heavy duty string to a tractor and closely cut brush and weeds around post with reflectors, guard rail post and cable rail,” he added.  It saves time, money, and cuts down on injuries that occur during regular weed eating such as sprained ankles, back pain and heat exhaustion. This weed eater only requires one operator in the tractor and one employee following behind in a vehicle verses an entire maintenance crew working on foot.

“The tractor-mounted weed eater was used last year to mow from the Iowa state line to St. Charles County on U.S. 61 in just two weeks,” said Richard Hyde, one of the Innovations Challenge winners.   Usually to complete this task in two weeks, it would take several employees from every maintenance facility along U.S. 61 between the Iowa border and the St. Charles County line weed eating.

There was a total of forty-one eligible district and division winners presenting at the Innovations Challenge showcase, and twenty entries competing in the Tool & Equipment Best Practices category.   The tractor-mounted weed eater won in the category of Tool & Equipment Best Practices Award, and also took home the People’s Choice Award, an award voted on by all showcase attendees.  “This innovation is a valuable asset in daily MoDOT operations, and it will be considered by all 174 maintenance facilities throughout the state,” Crawford concluded.

Scotland County Commission Meeting Minutes

Thursday, April 21, 2016

PLACE OF MEETING: Scotland County Courthouse Commission Chambers

The meeting was called to order at 8:30 a.m.

PRESENT WERE:  Presiding Commissioner, Duane Ebeling; Eastern District Commissioner, Danette Clatt; Western District Commissioner, David Wiggins; and County Clerk, Batina Dodge.

Commissioner Wiggins moved to approve the consent agenda; seconded by Presiding Commissioner Ebeling. Motion carried 3-0.

The minutes from April 20, 2016 were presented. Commissioner Clatt moved to approve the regular session minutes; seconded by Commissioner Wiggins. Motion carried 3-0.

Presiding Commission Ebeling reported he attended a pipeline safety meeting in Kahoka Wednesday evening.

The Commission reviewed and approved the 2016 Railroad and Utility Schedule 13s and Form 40 as presented by Batina Dodge, County Clerk.

At 9:30 a.m. Commissioner Wiggins moved to enter executive session pursuant to RSMo § 610.021(3).  The motion was seconded by Presiding Commissioner Ebeling, and carried 3-0.

Commissioner Wiggins moved to exit executive session at 9:36 a.m. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Clatt, and carried 3-0.

The Commission signed the new IV-D County Reimbursement Cooperative Agreement with the Missouri Department of Social Services, Family Support Division as presented by George Cramer.

Bids for bulk diesel fuel were opened and read as follows:

Prairieland FS, Inc. bid $1.891 base price on 2,160 gallons of #1 ULS dyed diesel fuel with Dieselex and $1.621 base price for 37,840 gallons of #2 ULS dyed diesel fuel with Dieselex.

MFA Oil Company presented a bid of $1.7306 base price per gallon of #2 ULSD premium boss dyed diesel fuel.

Commissioner Wiggins moved to accept the bid from FS as lowest and best. Motion seconded by Commissioner Clatt.  Motion carried 3-0.

Seeing no further business, Presiding Commissioner Ebeling adjourned the meeting at 12:00 p.m.

The Scotland County Commission adjourned to meet in regular session on Wednesday, April 27, 2016.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Commissioners Ebeling, Clatt, and Wiggins attended a Northeast Regional Commissioners meeting in Edina.  Speakers included Paula Gough, MoDOT District Engineer; Dick Burke, MAC Executive Director, and Ivan Schraeder, attorney.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

PLACE OF MEETING: Scotland County Courthouse Commission Chambers

The meeting was called to order at 8:30 a.m.

PRESENT WERE:  Presiding Commissioner, Duane Ebeling; Eastern District Commissioner, Danette Clatt; Western District Commissioner, David Wiggins; and County Clerk, Batina Dodge.

Commissioner Wiggins moved to approve the consent agenda; seconded by Presiding Commissioner Ebeling. Motion carried 3-0.

The minutes from April 21, 2016 were presented. Commissioner Clatt moved to approve the regular and executive session minutes; seconded by Commissioner Wiggins. Motion carried 3-0.

The Commission issued a letter of support to the City of Memphis for a recycling grant application being submitted to the Northeast Solid Waste Management District.

Ryan Clark, Road and Bridge Supervisor, discussed current projects with the Commission.

Seeing no further business, Presiding Commissioner Ebeling adjourned the meeting at 12:00 p.m.

The Scotland County Commission adjourned to meet in regular session on Thursday, April 28, 2016

Shocking Hunt

No matter how long you’ve been doing something, there is always a first. This truth goes for turkey hunting and it goes for me.  Let me explain. I had decided at the last minute to go hunting that morning. I was about thirty minutes late but was still able to arrive before the hens flew off the roast. My lateness however, made me guess as to where the turkeys might be. I guessed wrong.

After about forty-five minutes of calling and listening, I decided to move around the farm to see if I could entice a gobble from a listening tom. Finally after another forty-five minutes, I heard one in the distance. He was over two ridges and there was a lot of thick stuff between him and me. He was actually on the next farm over and probably making his way to a popular field. The decision I had to make was to either walk and climb directly toward the sound or to back off, drive my SUV around to the other farm, and try to get set up on him from there. I decided on the latter.

The whole process took probably about thirty minutes. When I pulled in at the other farm the owner was there working. I stopped and talked for a few minutes and then eased out to the location where I was hoping to run into my gobbler.  The field that I was working was about five acres. It was fenced in with barbed wire but there was a small section (about two acres) that was fenced in again with one strand of barbed wire that had been electrified. The electric fence was to keep a young group of heifers from wandering too far off. Since the electric fence was only about two feet high, I had no problem in stepping over it to get where I was going. When I finally made it to the end of the field I proceeded to make some really loud calls with my box call. After a few aggressive calls, the tom gave up his location. He was just below me in the hollow. I quickly set up two decoys and stepped across the electric fence at a corner where the electric fence and the main fence came together. I sat down with my back to a small tree that had grown up in the fence but after extending my gun, I was dangerously close to the electric one. I had no choice but to sit tight. I made one more call and sure enough, that turkey that was once down in the hollow was now on the edge of my field. But since the hill rolled slightly, I couldn’t see him yet.

I eased my gun and propped it up on my knee. My eyes gazed back and forth, looking for a fan or a head, or something. But there was no sign yet. And then it happened. I tried to make a slight adjustment in my position and when I did my gun touched the electric wire! It started in my left arm and immediately shot through my right foot. I jumped, jerked, kicked the small tree like a mule, and after my self-administered defibrillation, I never heard or seen my bird again. I hope that experience is not only my first but my last. My heart won’t take it again.

Gary Miller

Outdoor Truths Ministries

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson, born April 13, 1743, was an American Founding Father who was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776). He was elected the second Vice President of the United States (1797) serving under John Adams and in 1800 was elected our third President.  He was a proponent of democracy and individual rights, which motivated American colonists to break from Great Britain and form a new nation. He produced formative documents and decisions at both the state  and national level. Primarily  of English ancestry, Jefferson was born and educated in Virginia. He graduated  from the College of William and Mary and practiced law. During the American Revolution, he represented Virginia in the Continental Congress that adopted the Declaration, drafted the law for religious freedom as a Virginia legislator, and served as a wartime governor. He became the United States Minister to France in May 1778, and was the nation’s first Secretary of State in  1790 under President George Washington. Jefferson and James Madison organized the Democratic-Republican Party to                oppose the Federalist party during the formation of the First Party System. With Madison, he anonymously wrote the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions in 1798-1799, which sought to embolden states’ rights in opposition to the national government by nullifying the Alien and Sedition Acts. He was a skilled writer and was the author of “Notes on the State of Virginia” (1785). It is considered the most important American book published before 1800. He married Martha Wayles Skelton whose marriage produced six children but only two daughters survived to adulthood. Thomas Jefferson died July 4, 1826 at the age of 83.

From Jauflione Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

Maybe We Could Break Away From Being The Way We Are

I know.  I know that is a rather strange, maybe obscure, title.  It isn’t exactly how I think it should be; but the thread is.  I wish to address those of us who go through our days as if we give them little thought as to how they might advance from dull routine to incredible adventure.

This isn’t all there is.  Life is popping with unpopped kernels of exploration as well as potential.  Yet, we sub or unconsciously settle for less; fewer dreams, smaller hopes. We seem to give up while proceeding onward.

But maybe we could break away from the “going nowhere” indifference that really brings very little satisfaction.  Just maybe we could break into a dream-like world where the fabulous happens and the impossible becomes possible.  After all, that is the walk and the talk of Jesus.

Have you accepted the fact that life to this point is all there is?  Do you believe that it is quite acceptable to love those who love you and hate those who hate you as if nothing can change the latter?  Are you convinced that the “beyond imagination” passage of Ephesians three is broken and, therefore, the way it is…. is the way it will always be?

Have you lost hope? Wonder? Enthusiasm?

I think many have.  I believe mankind-at-large either never knew or else has forgotten to reach for the stars because the wonder of God is out there.

We see others do it.  Why can’t we?  This activity of great hope is as close as flipping the Off switch in our hearts to On.  I witness some stuck in bitterness.  Their days are full of negativity and sarcasm.  Blame is the constant name of their game. But such is glaring error.

We are within a given heartbeat to rethink.  We can rethink our “doom and gloom” attitude by believing that what isn’t yet can become.  This isn’t for some. It is for everyone.

Maybe we could break away from being the way we are?  Well, if the way we are is grumpy, grouchy, and gruntled (as in dis), then a new life awaits.  It doesn’t linger when or if others change… ever.

A renovated experience of being blessed presents itself in immediate possibility by you and me simply believing those rough and negative situations will change once we accept responsibility to take a personal step forward by seeing raw hope in every situation.  Our happiness is never dependent upon the behavior of another.  It is clearly dependent upon how we choose to manage our interior thoughts.

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