October 13, 2005

Pepsi-Cola Marks End of An Era As Bottling Line Closes

Thursday marked the end of an era as the Pepsi-Cola Memphis Bottling Company officially closed its bottling line after more than 70 years in service. The move completed the transition for the local company to strictly a distribution center for northeast Missouri and southeast Iowa.

The writing had been on the wall for several years as the bottling line saw declining production due to changes in the industry.

We were bottling such a small percentage of what we sell annually, said company president Mike Johnson. That combined with the maintenance costs on the aging machinery made this a fairly simple matter of economics. For the past several years our competitor had a dramatic cost advantage over us with high speed lines and near capacity volume.

In June the company discontinued its 10-ounce glass returnable bottle line, leaving just 20-ounce and 2-liter plastic bottles as the two items filled at the plant. The company only filled Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew and Diet Mountain Dew in these two sizes.

To my knowledge we were the last bottler standing as far as glass returnables were considered, Johnson said.

The line closure follows the industry trend that saw similar facilities close in Oskaloosa, IA, Brookfield and New Haven 15 years or more ago. The business has transitioned to much larger production companies that in turn supply the various regional distributors.

To be honest, I dont know of a smaller bottling facility than what we had, Johnson stated. There may be one out there, but Im sure they are faced with the same economic factors that ultimately led us to this decision.

He noted that the facility in Marion, IL was one of the smaller bottlers that he was aware of, and it is at least 20-times larger than the Memphis plant. Generally the industry is transitioning to corporate bottlers, with just one or two large producers per state.

The rising cost of equipment had limited the company in the number of products the plant could handle. The growth of the industry added to the problem with the ever-changing bottle sizes and a growing number of varieties of soda.

Concerns about the longevity of the machinery also led to the decision to close the line. Johnson stated the current bottling line was purchased in 1985. In 20 years the technology has changed dramatically from the existing stainless-steel conveyer system to the modern air-jet driven machines for the lighter plastic bottles.

I use the analogy of an old car, with the line being like your old Ford, Johnson said. It was at the point when you get in it every morning you dont know whether or not it is going to start, and how much its going to cost to fix the next problem.

While the move was obvious as far as economics, it was still a difficult choice for the company as a total of six employees were laid off in the process. Other workers on the bottling line were transitioned into other positions.

The company offered a severance package for the years of service from each employee and also pledged to provide assistance in an effort to find other employment opportunities.

Panthers Power Past SCR-I 10-0 Behind Three Home Runs

Runs continued to be hard to come by for Scotland County as the Lady Tigers were shutout for the second straight contest, falling to Salisbury 10-0 on Friday night on the road.

The Lady Panthers Bryn Woolridge was dominant in the circle, limiting SCR-I to just two hits. She also got the job done at the plate, smacking a pair of home runs. Her solo shot gave Salisbury a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

The Lady Panthers tacked on a pair of tallies in the bottom of the second to extend the lead to 3-0.

SCR-I threatened in the top of the third. Katie Feeney worked a base on balls and moved into scoring position on a base hit by Kylee Stott before Woolridge got out of the jam unscathed.

Kaitlyn McMinn worked out of a tough spot in the fourth inning after the first two hitters reached base safely, to keep the game close at 3-0.

Salisbury took advantage of three Scotland County errors in the bottom of the fifth to blow the game open with five runs, and chase McMinn. Hanna Anders was able to work out of the jam.

The Panthers weren’t as nice to the freshman hurler in the bottom of the sixth, when Woolridge cracked her second homer of the contest before catcher Abigail Gebhardt blasted a walk off homer to end the game by the 10-run rule.

McMinn took the loss for SCR-I, surrendering eight runs, three earned, on eight hits and a walk while striking out one. Anders was charged with two runs on two hits in two thirds of an inning of work.

Woolridge limited SCR-I to just two hits and three walks while striking out eight.

The loss drops Scotland County to 7-9 on the year and 3-5 in the Lewis & Clark Conference.

Historical Figures to Great Guests at Evening at the Museum

Ready to take an evening stroll? The Downing House Museum is hosting an “Evening at the Museum – A Candlelit Tour of the Past”. This walking tour showcases 11 local historic costumed characters who will tell their stories by lantern and candlelight at the Downing House Museum Complex at 311 South Main Street, Memphis, Missouri on Friday and Saturday October 18th and 19th at 7:00 p.m.

Come listen and enjoy stories told by Memphis Community Players portraying local historical characters. Characters will include William G. Downing who will greet the audience to begin the walking tour. William came from Virginia in 1837 and later built the 14 room brick mansion in 1858. Ella Ewing, Missouri’s Gentle Giantess will provide a narration of her life in Scotland County and while touring with Barnum Bailey Circus. Pernell Batts Barnett’s father, James, will talk of his son who is represented by the “Soldier in the Field” statue located on the north side of the Memphis Depot. Another favorite character from the area is Tom Horn, a legendary bounty hunter who was paid to hunt down cattle rustlers.

New to the tour this year is J. Harvey Mott, the materializing spiritual medium who lived in Memphis in the mid to late 1800s. Also making an appearance will be Jesse Stice who will retell the tale of the hardships endured as one of Scotland County’s first settlers in the 1830s. Another new character is Charles Mety who shares his experiences as the superintendent of public buildings when Scotland County’s courthouse was built in February 1844. Edward Kutzner, Civil War veteran, will speak of his service in the Missouri Militia at Hannibal, MO. in charge of 1,000 men. Also making an appearance will be Dr. Uda Belle Garrison, Scotland County native who promises life changing health treatments using Vaporized Mineral Fume Baths.

A biographical sketch of James Tippett, educator and local children’s author, will be will highlight growing up in Scotland County. The final character will present facts about the orphan train and a story of a local boy who was on a train and how he came to live in the northeast Missouri area.

Tickets will be $5 and on sale at the Memphis Theatre. Box Office times are 11:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. on October 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, & 19 until sold out. You may call the theater during these dates and times at (660) 465-2277.

Light refreshments on the lawn will follow the performance. In the event of severe weather, the performances may be presented at the Memphis Theatre. Information will be made available on the days of the performance if needed. The evening is made possible by the Memphis Community Players and a US Bank Foundation Grant that encourages providing local cultural activities for all ages.

Lady Tigers Earn #3 Seed in Class 1 District 9 Softball Tournament

The Missouri State High School Activities Association 2019 fall softball playoffs will kick off next week with district play.

Scotland County is the #3 seed in the Class 1 District 9 Tournament to be hosted in Edina October 16 -19.

The Lady Tigers will take on the #2 seed Knox County at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 17th.

The #5 seed Marion County will play the #4 seed North Shelby at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 16th. The winner will advance to play the #1 seed Canton at 5 p.m. on Thursday, October 17th.

The district championship game is scheduled for Saturday, October 19th at 2 p.m.

The district 9 champions will advance to take on the district 10 winners on October 23rd. District 10 features Atlanta, Brashear, Green City, Schuyler County, La Plata and Novinger.

City Moving Forward With Purchase of New Safety Equipment for Work Crews

The Board of Aldermen of the City of Memphis met in regular session on Thursday, October 3, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. in Memphis City Hall.  Mayor William Reckenberg called the meeting to order.  Aldermen present were:  Tom Glass, Jobe Justice, Chris Feeney, and Jenny Aldridge.  Others in attendance were:  City Administrator Allen Creek; Utility Supt. Stacy Alexander; City Marshal Jeremy Head; Philip Wilson, McClure Engineering; Brian Fifer, McClure Engineering; Cantril Truck & Trailer representatives; citizen Laura Schenk; City Attorney Brett Bozarth; and City Clerk Angela Newman.

Water Plant Project Change Order

Philip Wilson, McClure Engineering, and Utility Supt. Stacy Alexander proposed a change order to the water plant project.  Alexander recommended changing from welded steel tanks to stainless steel tanks.  Alexander’s concern was the water plant would have to go through the winter months with one clear-well tank, due to the demolition of the other tank.  Steel tanks have an epoxy coating that would have to be done again in 20 years at a current cost of $150,000 – $200,000 per tank.  The stainless-steel tanks would not have the epoxy coating, but are an additional cost of $78,000.  Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Justice seconded to authorize Utility Supt. Stacy Alexander to sign a change order if the warranty of the stainless-steel tanks are at least 20 years.  Vote:  Glass, Justice, Feeney, and Aldridge, all aye.

Request Bids – Lake ShowMe Hay Ground & Cemetery Hay Ground

City Clerk Newman requested council approval to seek bids on hay ground located at the Cemetery and Lake ShowMe.  Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Glass seconded to request bids on the Cemetery hay ground and the Lake ShowMe hay ground.  Vote:  Glass, Justice, Feeney, and Aldridge, all aye.

Renew Contracts

Contracts presented for renewal were as follows:

Opening & Closing of Graves – Sam Redding

Lake ShowMe Hay Ground – Chris Mallett

Airport Hay Ground – Chris Mallett

Alderman Glass moved and Alderman Feeney seconded to approve renewal of the contracts for the 2020 calendar year.  Vote:  Glass, Justice, Feeney, and Aldridge, all aye.

BILL NO. 19-17 – Approve Contract with Visu-Sewer

City Clerk Newman proceeded with the first reading of Bill No. 19-17 – An Ordnance to approve a contract with Visu-Sewer.  Alderman Glass moved and Alderman Feeney seconded to approve the first reading.  Roll call vote:  Glass, Justice, Feeney, and Aldridge, all aye.

City Clerk Newman proceeded with the second reading of Bill No. 19-17.  Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Glass seconded to approve the second reading.  Roll call vote:  Glass, Justice, Feeney, and Aldridge, all aye.

Bill No. 19-17 passed and becomes Ordinance No. 1133.

BILL NO. 19-18 – An Ordinance Approving a ROW Agreement with Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone

City Clerk Newman proceeded with the first reading of Bill No. 19-18 – An ordinance to approve a Rights-of-way agreement with Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Company.  Alderman Glass moved and Alderman Justice seconded to approve the first reading of Bill No. 19-18.  Roll call vote:  Glass, Justice, Feeney, and Aldridge, all aye.

City Clerk Newman proceeded with the second reading of Bill No. 19-18.  Alderman Justice moved and Alderman Feeney seconded to approve the second reading.  Roll call vote:  Glass, Justice, Feeney, and Aldridge, all aye.

Bill No. 19-18 passed and becomes Ordinance No. 1134.

Liquor License Application – Keith’s Café

A liquor license application from Keith’s Café for the sale of intoxicating liquor of all kinds by the drink and Sunday sales was presented for approval.  Alderman Justice moved and Alderman Feeney seconded to approve the application.  Vote:  Glass, Justice, Feeney, all aye; Aldridge, abstained.

REPORTS

City Administrator

City Administrator Allen Creek presented three quotes for two dump beds on trucks in the water department and road and street department.  Quotes received were as follows:

Maxwell Trailers & P/Up Accessories – Columbia, Missouri – $15,230.00

Cantril Truck & Trailer – Cantril, Iowa – $15,548.00

Knapheide Truck Equipment – Quincy, Illinois – $20,464.00

Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Glass seconded to accept the bid from Cantril Truck and Trailer in the amount of $15,548.00.  Vote:  Glass, Justice, Feeney, and Aldridge, all aye.   (The Cantril Truck & Trailer bid provided more options).

Three quotes for two tilt trailers were presented for consideration as follows:

Cantril Truck & Trailer – Cantril, Iowa – $6,030.00

Carter’s Trailer Sales – Kirksville, Missouri – $5,925.00

Emel Sales – Baring, Missouri – $6,169.00

Alderman Glass moved and Alderman Justice seconded to accept the bid from Cantril Truck and Trailer in the amount of $6,030.00.  Vote:  Glass, Justice, Feeney, and Aldridge, all aye.  (The Cantril Truck & Trailer bid was a 2020 model; the Carter’s Trailer Sales bid was a 2019 model).

Creek also presented quotes for safety equipment for the water and sewer department.  Three quotes for a man lift were presented as follows:

Jendco Safety Supply, Inc.  – $9,265.15

Industrial Safety Products – $9,902.08

Core & Main – $11,071.10

Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Glass seconded to accept the bid from Jendco Safety Supply, Inc. in the amount of $9,265.15.  Vote:  Glass, Justice, Feeney, and Aldridge, all aye.

Quotes for shoring equipment were as follows:

Core & Main – $19,185.00

North East Shoring – $16,400.00

Iron Lot, LLC – $17,795.84

Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Glass seconded to accept the bid from North East Shoring in the amount of $16,400.00.  Vote:  Glass, Justice, Feeney, and Aldridge, all aye.

Creek reported he would like to sell the old bucket truck.  The truck is no longer useable for electrical work as the bucket is not certified.  Council unanimously agreed.

Hamburg’s are expected next week to begin trimming trees.  St. Clair surveying has been contacted for legal descriptions and sewer easements for various properties.  An itemized cost to repair a damaged sewer line on South Adams on September 18th due to fiber in the line was presented to the council for their information.  Creek stated he would continue to document any repairs of this kind. 

Creek further reported crews have dug up the sewer on Short Street, replacing the line and repairing a protruding lateral; sewer jetting has begun; chip sealing project for the fall is almost complete; installed pad mount transformer at county shed; and speed bumps were installed at HUD Housing.  Tri-County Electric has agreed to install a taller pole at the end of Browning Street so city crews can continue to switch over to a 7200v line.   Crews are also working on framing in the new transformer at the substation and checking phasing with the other transformers, as well as working on hooking up the used 5000 kva transformer from Palmyra.  Crews have also recently begun in-putting their fuel logs in the PubWorks fleet maintenance software.  The water plant is currently closed from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday during construction.

Allen Garrett had attended a recycling conference in St. Louis last week.  The conference fee and travel expenses were paid for by NEMO Regional Planning Solid Waste Management.  Garrett was able to secure a few new contacts for recycling and is following up with each for more information.  Creek reported he is gathering more information on a baler that would produce a 1000 lb. bale of plastic.

Creek requested permission to try out a GPS vehicle tracking system in the police trucks.  Cost of the system through AT&T is $9.99 per month with fee equipment and installation included.  Other systems ranged from $17 per month to $19.99 per month.  Council unanimously agreed to the request.

Creek presented a self-evaluation form and an employee evaluation form.  Creek plans to implement the self-evaluation this fall with the employee evaluation scheduled for next July.

Utility Supt. Alexander reported RPM/Off Road Tire is proposing a solar install of 58 kwh’s.  Alexander stated anything over 10 kwh’s is required to have board approval.  Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Glass seconded to approve the solar installation.  Vote:  Glass, Justice, Feeney, and Aldridge, all aye.

City Marshal Head gave a monthly report for the police department and also reported the body cameras, tasers, and reporting system are all in place and being utilized. 

City Clerk Newman requested permission to proceed with the purchase of a new copier and an upgrade to the utility billing software, as budgeted.  Alderman Justice moved and Alderman Feeney seconded to approve the purchase of a Toshiba copier/scanner/fax/printer from Pro-Tech in the amount of $3,569.00 and the upgrade of the utility billing software in the amount of $18,100.00.  Vote:  Glass, Justice, Feeney, and Aldridge.

Aldermen Reports

Alderman Glass reported that another round of recycling grants will be opening up soon.  There will also be infrastructure grants available in the spring and Kirksville is discussing putting in a transfer station.  Glass will update the council as more information is received.

Alderman Justice asked that an old electrical pole behind the Frank Winegar property be replaced.

Alderman Feeney reported on information he had received regarding the implementation of a municipal seat belt law.

Adjourn

Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Glass seconded to adjourn into closed session pursuant to RSMo. 610.021(1) – legal actions, causes of action or litigation and communications between a public governmental body and its attorneys.  Vote:  Glass, Justice, Feeney, and Aldridge, all aye.

Meeting adjourned into closed at 8:55 p.m.

Closed Session

Council met with City Attorney Bozarth.

Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Glass seconded to adjourn from closed.  Vote:  Glass, Justice, Feeney, and Aldridge, all aye.

Closed session adjourned at 9:20 p.m.

Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Glass seconded to adjourn.  Vote:  Glass, Justice, Feeney, and Aldridge, all aye.

Meeting adjourned at 9:20 p.m.

Switch to Stainless Steel Clear Wells Will Expedite City Water Plant Upgrades

In an effort to expedite installation and avoid higher maintenance costs in the future, the Memphis City Council authorized a work order change on the $3.5 water system upgrades project to allow for the purchase of two new stainless steel clear wells.

At the October 3rd meeting, the council unanimously approved the roughly $78,000 change order to upgrade from the originally proposed welded steel clear wells.

“The main issue relates to the epoxy coating for the welded steel wells,” said Utilities Superintendent Stacey Alexander. “The plan called for demolishing one of the tanks this fall and replacing it. However it appears unlikely that the epoxy coating would be able to be installed until next spring, leaving us operating one just one clear well for several months.”

Phillip Wilson of McClure Engineering also noted that welded steel clear wells would ultimately require recoating, with an estimated cost of between $150,000 to $200,000.

The original cost estimate to replace the clear wells was approximately $500,000. Switching to stainless steel will bump that cost up to more than $575,000.

The council agreed to move forward with the proposed change contingent upon the warranty length for the stainless steel clear wells, noting as long as the new materials were guaranteed for a period of time that would extend beyond the coating lifetime, it would prove to be a cost savings long term.

The epoxy covering is installed on both the interior and exterior of the welded steel models.

“The clear wells are already in pretty bad shape, so we were not looking forward to a process that would have left us running on just one for several months,” said Alexander.

Lady Tigers Jump On Brookfield 4-1 Before Rains Hit

Baileigh Phillips hauls in the fly ball in right field in the win versus Brookfield.

The Scotland County softball team finally turned things around on Saturday in the second round of the Schuyler County Tournament when the skies opened up and rain forced the cancellation of the remainder of the day’s events.

After dropping the opener 7-1 to Atlanta, SCR-I found its offense versus Brookfield, jumping out to a 4-1 when the rains halted play in the top of the fourth inning. The Lady Tigers were credited with the victory.

SCR-I jumped on top with two runs in top of the first inning. After a one-out single by Hannah Feeney, Abby Curry delivered and RBI base hit. Baileigh Phillips followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0.

Brookfield took advantage of an SCR-I error to plate an unearned run of Hanna Anders to trim the lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the inning.

The Lady Tigers tacked on two more tallies in the top of the second. Morgan Blessing reached on an error followed by a base hit by Katie Feeney. Hannah Feeney and Kylee Stott delivered RBI singles to extend the lead to 4-1.

That proved to be the final as Anders blanked Brookfield over the next two frames before the game was called due to lightening.

Anders notched the victory, limiting Brookfield to one unearned run on two hits and a walk while striking out two.

Hannah Feeney led the offense going 2-2 with a walk, an RBI and a run scored. Phillips and Curry each went 1-2 with an RBI.

Downing Man Arrested on Murder Charge Following Shooting

Law enforcement officers gather outside the residence on Bard Street in Downing where 26-year-old Kolton W. Baker was shot to death Friday evening. (Photo courtesy of the Schuyler County Times)

An alleged series of confrontational conversations via social media turned fatal Friday afternoon in Downing where a 26-year-old man was murdered and his girlfriend injured during a shooting.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Kolton W. Baker, 26, of Downing died as the result of a gunshot wound sustained in a shooting incident at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Friday, October 4th in Downing at a residence on Bard Street near the 12th Street intersection.

A second victim, Tiffany Triplet, 24, of Kirksville sustained a gunshot wound to the leg and was transported to University Hospital in Columbia for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

The Patrol was contacted by the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office at 5:41 in reference to the shooting. An officer from the Queen City Police Department also responded to the scene along with the Schuyler County Ambulance and first responders.

Shortly after the shooting, Takoda L. Reese, 20, of Downing, voluntarily turned himself in to the Schuyler County Sheriff’ as the party responsible for the shooting.

Takoda L. Reese, 20, of Downing, is facing a felony murder charge.

Reese has been charged with the class A felony of murder in the 1st degree, felony armed criminal action and class B felony assault in the 1st degree.

Reese is being held in the Schuyler County Jail on a $500,000 cash only bond. Initial arraignment was held on October 7th with Judge Kelly Lovekamp.

City Enters Four-Year Contract With Visu-Sewer for Camera Work, Cleaning of System

Lights, camera, action. It might not be a high-budget film per Hollywood standards, but the City of Memphis is set to  spend more than $180,000 over the next four years for video work related to the municipal sewer system.

On October 3rd, the City Council unanimously approved a contract with Visu-Sewer of St. Louis to provide closed circuit television (CCTV) inspection of the city’s roughly 75,000 linear feet of sanitary sewer. As part of the process, the service provider will also perform jetting services to clean the sewer lines while also vacuuming and removing debris from the system.

The agreement calls for a minimum of 18,750 linear feet of sewer to be cleaned and digitally reviewed this fall, with the remaining lines to be completed in years two, three and four of the contract.

The inspection process will provide the city with digital video of the entire system as well as database reports on the lines that will allow the city to prioritize areas for repairs and upgrades as it works to make improvements to the sanitary sewer.

Part of the contract with Visu-Sewer is professional analysis by the company regarding severity of any structure defects detected and recommendations for future pipeline rehabilitation, including estimated costs.

The project will include service to roughly 66,000 feet of sewer main pipe ranging in width from 8 to 12 inches, another 4,500 linear feet of six-inch service lines and just shy of 4,000 linear feet of 15-inch main trunk line.

Local Section 106 Notice

Wireless Investment Partnership, LLC intends to construct a communications facility or tower at 18920 W. Lindell Rd, Memphis, MO; 40° 27’ 58.72” N, 92° 10’ 55.89” W.  Wireless Investment Partnership, LLC proposes to build a new 303’ lattice self-support tower.Wireless Investment Partnership, LLC is publishing this notice in accordance with Federal Communications Commission regulations (47 CFR § 1.1307) for Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  Parties interested in commenting on the potential effects on historic properties of this Federal undertaking or with questions on the proposed facility should contact Wireless Investment Partnership, LLC, Tammy Tresch, 5055 Highway N, Suite 200, Cottleville, MO 63304, (636) 922-3400, tammy.tresch@networkre.net.

Lightning Bug Logic

One summer evening, Leonard, the lazy lightning bug, was lazily flying around at an altitude of about five feet above the forlorn, tortured surface of State Route T.

Yeah…lazy Leonard felt safe at this altitude, because ya see, Route T is so bad that the traffic has to slow down to traverse the rough fissures and craters along most of the really rough road!  Especially down by the creek, east of Bible Grove, MO.  This is where the “action” is in the lightning bug culture.

Leonard had a “crush” on Betty Beacon.  The trouble was that Leonard was kind of “slow geared”, to say the least!  So, Betty Beacon wasn’t particularly interested in lazy Leonard.  Betty did think he had a cute glow as lazy Leonard looped around though!

“Careful Leonard!” yelled Grady Glowplug,  Leonard’s friend.  “Ya gotta watch out for vehicles at this altitude, ya know!”

“I know,” said Leonard yawning.  “But the traffic crawls thru here.  It’s too rough for most folks to drive fast thru here.  I’m cool!”

Leonard was right.  Most drivers could only make progress, as if they were navigating a cow path in Botswana, or Togo, or Albania, or Paraguay, or Nepal, or Zululand!

So, Lazy Leonard lollygagged along, just coasting, while trying to get a signal from Betty Beacon to “come on down” by the creek, to hang out, or something.

What Leonard and Grady Glowplug didn’t realize at that moment was that a “desperate housewife” driving a 2005, burgundy, GMC Denali, was hurtling down the road at a frightening speed!

This was one of those “desperate housewives” that actually speeds up to cross railroad tracks!  She’s been known to charge thru the potholes in a bad parking lot with reckless abandon, laughing all the way! “ho, ho, ho!”

About this time, Betty Beacon’s friend, Charmin Electra, said, “Let’s give those boys something to think about, Betty!”  Charmin Electra lit up like a Christmas tree!  And, so did all the other lovely lady lightning bugs!

Now, the reason that State Route T was in such bad shape, was that all the money in Missouri seems to flow toward St. Louis, K.C., Branson, and Springfield, like it was being sucked down the darned drain!

I guess rural Missouri doesn’t carry much “clout” with the “powers that be” in Jeff. City.  The “Big Shots” would have meetings and study pie charts to determine where to spend tax dollars. Listen in…

“What is this insignificant little blip on our nice pie chart?”  It doesn’t even look like a wedge!  More like a porcupine quill!”  “Route T?”  “Well, this year, they only get three 5 gallon buckets of asphalt, and four wheelbarrow loads of gravel!”

“We need to build overpasses in K.C., and underpasses in St. Louis, and more intertwining color coded bypasses in Branson, and skyways in Springfield!”

“Let them eat cake!”

Now, back to Route T.  Our desperate housewife is zooming down the really, rotten, rutted road as if it was the German Autobahn!  Her theory is that if you can get up enough momentum, you can fly over the potholes, rather than fall in them!

She may be right.  Her vehicle has over 286,000 manical miles on it!

Fred Firefly joins Leonard and Grady Glowplug.  They are excited about the ladybug lite show!  When Fred exclaims, “Look out you guys!  There’s a car coming!”  Milo Meal Moth scoffs at Fred Firefly, “I got all the time in the world!  Traffic really slows down thru here!  I’m really attracted to those headlights though.”

SPLAT!

“Eew!”  “That was a juicy one,” the desperate housewife says, kind of grossed out!

Luckily, thanks to Fred Firefly, Leonard and Grady escaped to a higher altitude, just in time!  But, Milo Meal Moth met his Maker!  He got creamed on the windshield!  He should have listened to Fred.

Later…I’m trying to wash the dried bug juice off the windshield of a 2005 GMC Denali.  The last place I stopped in N. Kirksville to get gas, the windshield washing container was bone dry!  So, now I’m watching the attendant of another gas station watch me try to clean the dried bug juice with the “slurry” of bug juice that he has so generously provided.

“Why doesn’t the jerk buy some gas,” he’s thinkin!

As I’m smearing the windshield, I remember that I recently voted for a rather “Pricey” gas tax.  The tax called for ½ to go for roads and ½ to go to the Missouri Highway Patrol.

It failed.

So now, I’m thinkin, “I wonder what would happen if we passed a gas tax increase that would be less than one that failed, but that would go mostly for roads?”

It’s like “fix the damned roads!  They are dangerous!  People are dying!”  Then the law enforcement, which are good folks, would have roads that they could drive on to enforce!  Then we could do some funding for their needs later.  I hope the “powers that be” in Jefferson City would remember the rural roads!  I know, that’s ‘aiming kind of high’.

Epilogue:

Catching up on our flashing heroes since this story was told…Leonard the Lazy Lightning Bug married Betty Beacon, after a whirlwind courtship of 20 minutes!  They had a multitude of children.

Fred Firefly married Charmin Electrra, who became famous!  They reside in Hollywood Holler, CA.

Good ‘ole’ Grady Glowplug stayed a bachelor, happily watching Route T traffic go by…just “bumping” along.

Davis M. Burrus

Note: 5 lightning bugs, 6 meal moths, and 1 screech owl lost their lives during the telling of this tale.

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