February 16, 2006

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if I was a greedy newspaper publisher? Well, if you listen to proponents of House Bill 1028, it might seem as if newspapers are simply out for money. The industry has come out in opposition of the proposed legislation that would eliminate the requirement for 2nd, 3rd and 4th class counties to publish a detailed financial statement annually in the local newspaper.

Bottom line is, if passed, House Bill 1028 will cost newspapers money. If the county chooses not to print its detailed financial statement, and instead prints a limited balance statement such as the City of Memphis is allowed to do, it will mean a decline in revenue for the newspaper of as much as $1,400.

Thats a lot of money, so its easy to say that all I care about is the annual check when the newspaper indicates its opposition to House Bill 1028. When I argue the public needs to know where its tax dollars are being spent, you all may still have that $1,400 figure in the back of your heads. Ask yourself, Does he really care about accountability and our right to know, or is he simply worried about his bottom line?

Its okay, I asked myself the same question. In an effort to understand the other side of this issue, I contacted the bill sponsor, Representative Robert T. Johnson of Jackson County with the idea that maybe he would make me see the true reason for proposing such legislation.

Let me preface this commentary by stating there are obviously huge differences between Memphis and Kansas City. Johnsons District is south of Lees Summit and contains seven times as many people as we have here in Scotland County. Missouris First District encompasses five counties, while Jackson County itself consists of 19 different representative districts for its 659,723 residents. So obviously there are some differences.

I was going to argue that one of those underlying differences was newspaper readership. I dont think Im bragging when I say that a majority of folks that live in Scotland County either take the newspaper, have the opportunity to read someone elses or are involved in regular discussions with those who do read the news. This means that the newspaper is a logical (and I would argue affordable) way to get information to the public.

I got the impression that Johnson didnt believe that was the case in Jackson County. The City of Lee Summit, a big part of his district, has a weekly newspaper that has a circulation of just 4,823 in a town of more than 82,000. However, the Kansas City Star does serve the area with a circulation of more than 440,000. Maybe it wasnt readership that was at issue, but just the idea that people did not pay attention to the financial statements in the newspaper. I dont know.

Representative Johnson indicated the underlying factor for his decision to sponsor the bill for the third attempt at passage (it has failed the past two years) was fairness. He stated that it is not fair that only certain political subdivisions are required to publish detailed financial statements.

The Missouri Association of Counties (MAC), a major backer of the bill, takes a similar stance.

Our organization is supporting HB 1028 as a matter of equity, said Dick Burke Executive Director of MAC. Second, Third and Fourth Class counties (97 in total) are the only public entities that are required to publish their financial activities in detailed manner. Schools, cities, the largest counties, and special districts are not.

Being the greedy newspaperman, I jumped on this opportunity and questioned why not make things fair by requiring schools and municipalities to publish detailed financial statements instead of eliminating the counties requirements. Man, I could make a bunch of money if the lawmakers would think that it is important for communities to have detailed knowledge of how their schools and city councils are spending tax money.

Jackson even commented that he would be interested in seeing his local schools detailed financial statements to know for example how much teachers are being paid.

If we want this issue to be fair, then we should not only be fair to the schools, the cities and the counties, but we should be fair to all of us that pay for the schools and the cities and the counties. I dont think that making this information easily accessible to the community by printing it in the newspaper is being unfair.

What is unfair is allowing these tax-based entities to hide from the public behind legislation that is touting fairness.

But dont forget that the newspaper is not only unfair, but we are greedy too.

Cost is also a factor obviously and varies widely around the state, Burke stated.

According to the Missouri Press Association, its members charged anywhere from $219 to $6,803 with the average of the 96 publication costs being $1,409.

It costs Scotland County roughly $1,400 a year to print the financial statement in the newspaper. Thats highway robbery. Or is it?

Stop and consider how much it would cost the county to photocopy 2,300 copies of the 24-page document and mail them directly to these individuals. Maybe that newspaper ad isnt such a bad deal after all. Besides Im sure the county clerks office wouldnt hold that many people at one time.

Printing the county financial statement annually represents .000467 percent of the countys budget each year.

This sparring match has gone on long enough. Its time for the knockout punch.

This isnt about fairness, nor is it about saving money. (If the MAC wanted to do that it might suggest to counties to stop paying their annual dues to the organization, which costs Scotland County taxpayers more than $500 a year.) This is just one more attempt at hiding government from the people.

There is no fairness in allowing counties (cities or schools for that matter too) to hide their finances. I dont believe that my county commission has anything to hide, nor do most for that matter. Yet, if you dont have anything to hide, how can you, with a straight face try to justify this law by saying, everyone else can hide their records, so its only fair we should be able to as well.

While I dont believe House Bill 1028 should be passed, I must remind all of these public entities that the laws do not prevent cities, schools and counties from publishing a detailed financial statement, they just simply allow them to print the abridged balance statements. Help the greedy newspaper industry out. Contact your aldermen, your commissioners and your board of education and tell them that its worth the cost of publication for the constituents to have easy access to their financial statements.

WWII Vet wife’s letter needs to find its way home…

WWII Vet wife’s letter needs to find its way home…

April 27, 1945 Mrs. Vernon Priche; (could be misspelled due to original letter hand written); wrote a letter requesting information about how her husband was wounded, treated and died. He was a soldier in Europe, and a friend of my deceased father, Donald Minster.

I found her letter in my father’s old letters. If there is anyone who knows any relative that may desire the letter, I will be happy to forward it.

The address was; 351 East Madison St., Memphis, MO… in April 1945!

I hate to have someone’s family treasure undiscovered.

Thank God for soldiers and wives like this, so I can enjoy my freedom!

Hopefully,

Alan Minster

1861 Selby Circle, Camarillo, CA 93010

aminster@verizon.net

At Halfway Mark, SCR-I Expenditures at $2.79 Million

The Scotland County R-I Board of Education met in regular session on Thursday, January 12, 2017, at 6:30 p.m.  President Trinity Davis called the meeting to order with six members present.

Superintendent Ryan Bergeson presented a financial report for the district, which recently reached the halfway mark of the fiscal year.

Year-to-date revenues are $2,331,017.41 and expenditures are $2,793,651.66.  The year-to-date deficit is $462,634.25 compared to $440,152.92 at this time last year.

“The deficit will correct itself with the receipt of local taxes received in January,” Bergeson told the board.

Future Projects

The board voted 6-0 to set a special board meeting for January 18 at 7:00 a.m. in the Elementary Art Room to discuss future capital projects and other upgrades for the district.

Building Trades

The board voted 6-0 to accept the low bid proposal of $7,727.00 from Ketchum Heating, Cooling and Electrical for the 2016-17 Building Trades Furnace and Central Air Units including all duct work, thermostat, thermostat wiring, gas line installation, and vent covers.

Update Budget

The board voted 6-0 to amend the budget as presented to reflect a projected ending balance of $18,974.97.  The budget was amended to reflect the current revenues, expenditures, and projections for this fiscal year.

Observe School Board Recognition Week

The week of January 22 – 28 is School Board Recognition Week.  Board members were presented a certificate from the Missouri School Board Association, a proclamation from Governor Nixon, and invited to the elementary carry in luncheon on Friday, January 20.

February Meeting

The next regular board meeting will be Thursday, February 9th at 6:30 p.m. in the Elementary Art Room.

Consent Agenda 

The board voted 6-0 to approve the following items on the consent agenda:

December 8, 2016 Minutes

Approve MSBA Policy Maintenance Agreement

Updated Sub List

Update District Health Services and District Testing Procedural Evaluation Plan

Approve Extended Holiday

Approve Overnight Request

Approve LJ Hart and Co. Underwriting Agreement

Executive Session

The board entered into executive session and the following items were approved 6-0:

Approve December 8, 2016 closed session minutes.

Offer Jennifer Tinkle the 7 hour food service position in the elementary school.

Approve Superintendent Bergeson’s Evaluation.

Move to extend Superintendent Bergeson’s contract through 2019-20.

The meeting adjourned at 9:32 p.m.

Are we entitled to never have to lose?

What if we did away with declaring a winner and a loser in a competition and just gave everyone participation medals?

I vote no on that motion, but it sure seems like that is where we are headed as a society. Instead of recognizing people who work hard and excel at something, it seems like we would rather drag them down and draw them back to the rest of the crowd so that no one feels inferior.

This internal debate arrived in my mind last night at a basketball game as I listened to the crowd react to a lopsided game, which is often what you experience in a varsity basketball tournament when the #1 seeded team takes on the #8 team.

Scotland County’s state ranked girls defeated Marion County 85-19. (For the record I looked back to when Marion County won the state championship back in 2010-11 season. They posted victories like 83-16, 67-13 and 69-19.)

I’ve been on the 19 point-side of that mountain before, and yes it sucks. But after I got over the frustration, I had to ask myself what should have been done differently? I came to the conclusion, I could either get better, or I could get used to it. Sometimes in life you are going to run into a superior opponent. Tip your hat and get ready for the next challenge.

Is it really fair to ask the better team to not play so hard? “Look I know you worked really hard to be this good, but we didn’t, so could you please waste all of your efforts to make yourselves better players, and not showcase your talents to the college scouts in the crowd so that we don’t look so bad?”

Before you say that the coach should play the bench more, let me remind you this is a varsity tournament. There is a junior varsity season for the younger kids. The varsity kids do not get to travel to all the junior varsity games and play extra minutes if the competition level dictates it. These seniors only have so many minutes left in their high school careers. They didn’t make the schedule. They have no control over the competition. They deserve to be able to play, not because they are entitled to it because they are seniors, but because they have put in the time and the effort to be the best players on their team.

Sure you can argue that the better team should back off, and not try so hard. But you have to stop and ask yourselves why we are here in the first place? Do you get any better by only giving 50%. In a tournament, you are trying to win all three games to claim the championship and a plaque for the trophy case. Over the season, you are trying to get better and possibly be able to hoist the conference championship banner, or claim a district title and make it into the state playoffs.

If your best players are only getting to play half a game because everyone else is so worried about beating someone too bad, it can only make it that much more difficult to achieve your goal.

On game nights, there is no practice. So kids are getting their conditioning in via the game, meaning they need to run. If they only play half the game, they are going to be out of shape when they need to be able to play an entire game.

If you are asking them to hold back, and not play so hard, the same thing can happen. When the time comes for them to make a good play, will they be able to, as before they weren’t allowed to try because it might create too large a margin of victory.

Before you send the lynch mob my way – I’m not encouraging calling timeouts late to try to reach 100 points, or demanding the full-court press all 32 minutes. I’m only suggesting that people cut these kids a little slack. They aren’t out their trying to rub it in the face of their opponents. They are simply working to produce the best basketball play possible for every second they have left to be on the court together.

When did we become so entitled?

If one person excels at the workplace, should they be told to slow down, and not work so hard so that everyone else has a chance at the promotion?

How about in the classroom? Do we need to force the top students to the back of the room to play video games, watch movies or sleep instead of paying attention in class and completing their assignments? That way no one makes the honor roll.

Should we move the kindergarteners into calculus and physics classes to bring down the competition level to boost the self esteem of the lower achieving high school students by giving them someone that they can do better than?

No? Then why should the basketball court be any different? I say do your best and forget the rest!

SCR-I School Menus

Breakfast

Thursday, January 19 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Friday, January 20 – Sausage/Gravy/Biscuits, Choice of Cereal, Chocolate Chip Muffin, Banana, Juice/Milk

Monday, January 23 – Pancakes, Choice of Cereal, Sausage Link, Toast/Jelly, Strawberries, Juice/Milk

Tuesday, January 24 – Scrambled Eggs, Choice of Cereal, Hash Browns, Toast/Jelly, Apple Wedges, Juice/Milk

Wed., January 25 – Cinnamon Rolls, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Half, Juice/Milk

Thursday, January 26 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Lunch

Thursday, January 19 – Chili Soup, Broccoli Cheese Soup, Hamburger Bar, Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Pickle Spear, Cheese Stick, Saltine Crackers

Friday, January 20 – Tuna Noodle Casserole, Ham and Cheese Sandwich, Peas/Carrots, Sliced Peaches, Fresh Fruit

Monday, January 23 – Crispy Chicken Strips, Grilled Cheese Sandwich, 5th/6th Grade Chef Salad, Tri Potato Patty, Mixed Vegetables, Sliced Pears, Fresh Fruit

Tuesday, January 24 – School Made Pizza, Bar BQ Meatballs, 5th/6th Grade Taco Bar, Vegetable Sticks/Dip, Applesauce, Fresh Fruit

Wed., January 25 – Country Fried Steak, Chicken and Noodles, 5th/6th Grade Potato Bar, Whipped Potatoes/Gravy, Buttered Corn, Dinner Roll, Pineapple Tidbits

Thursday, January 26 – Spaghetti/Meat Sauce, Chicken Quesadillas, Hamburger Bar, Green Beans, Garlic Bread, Fruit Salad, Fresh Fruit

Scotland County Senior Nutrition Center

MENU

Thurs. January 19 – Roast Pork, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Cranberry Sauce, Wax Beans, Bread, Cake

Friday, January 20 – BBQ Ribs, Parsley Potatoes, Coleslaw, Hot Roll, Strawberry Shortcake and Topping

Monday, January 23 – Chicken Strips, Sweet Potato or Regular Fries, Breaded Tomatoes, Applesauce, Bread Slice, Pudding

Tuesday, January 24 – Tenderloin/Bun/Onion, Lettuce Salad, Cauliflower/Cheese Sauce, Carrot-Pineapple Salad, Rice Krispies

Wed., January 25 – Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Buttered Cabbage, Hot Roll, Fruit

Thurs. January 26 – Liver and Onions or Chicken Pattie, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Bread, Fruit

ACTIVITIES

Thursday, January 19 – Scotland County Health Department blood pressure checks here; Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, January 26 –Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

NEMR Telecom Accepting Applications for 2017 Youth Tour to Washington D.C.

All local high school juniors whose parents or guardians have local service with NEMR telecom can apply for the all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C.

Northeast Missouri Rural Telecom is currently accepting applications for the 2017 Youth Tour to Washington D.C., which will take place June 3  through June 7. The application process is open to all high school juniors whose parents or guardians have local service with NEMR Telecom.

Students must be under 18 years of age at the time of the Youth Tour to apply. In addition to meeting specific eligibility guidelines, the NEMR board is asking student applicants to submit, along with their application, a one-page essay covering the topic: “Why I Should Be Chosen for the FRS Youth Tour.”

The 2017 Youth Tour gives students the opportunity to gain a first-hand look at the telecommunications industry and government process  as they spend four days visiting famous historical sites, including the Washington Monument, The Smithsonian, and much more.

Guidance counselors at each high school in the service area have the application form, or students can request a form by calling Tammy Childers at NEMR Telecom, 660-874-4111 or send an email to tchilder@nemr.net.

Applications and essays should be mailed to NEMR Telecom, Attn: Youth Tour, PO Box 98, Green City, MO 63545 by March 6, 2017.

The Foundation for Rural Service’s (FRS) annual Youth Tour is one of the most visible examples of the foundation’s involvement with, and commitment to, rural youth.  2017 marks the 23rd annual Youth Tour.  Each year, in collaboration with NTCA member companies, FRS brings rural students from across the United States to Washington, D.C. for a four-day tour of the some of the most historical sites in the nation. 

Tigers Top Atlanta 53-10 in Tourney Opener

Scotland County advanced to the semifinals of the North Shelby Tournament with a 53-10 victory over Atlanta on Monday night.

The Hornets dressed just five players, but after the initial tip off, only had four players on the court due to an injury.

Grant Campbell scored 16 points in limited action to lead the Tigers to the win, improving SCR-I’s record to 9-3 on the year.

The game was shortened in the second half to two four minute quarters, with a running clock the entire time, as SCR-I led 39-9 at the half.

The Tigers will take on South Shelby, who bested the host squad 66-65 in a triple overtime thriller to close out Monday night’s action.

27th Annual SPRINT Quiz Bowl Tournament Being Held January 21st

The 27th Annual SPRINT Quiz Bowl Tournament is being held Saturday, January 21, 2017 at the Scotland County R-1 Elementary School.  Ten area schools will be involved in the tournament this year.

This tournament features two divisions of play with 12 teams in each division this year.  Division 1 consists of 5th/6th grade teams and Division II is for 7th/8th grade teams.

Tournament play starts at 9:00 a.m. with the morning round consisting of round robin play; giving each team three games in its pool.  All questions are toss-ups with no bonus questions involved.  This year, Scotland County has one 5th/6th grade team, coached by Kara Wickert and one 7th/8th grade team, coached by Billie Lanham.

For breaks and an intermission between the morning and afternoon rounds, the SCR-1 FBLA and SPRINT organizations will be operating a food stand cooperatively.

In the afternoon round of play, the top eight teams in each division are seeded based on their morning records.  The 1st seed team plays the 8th seed, 2nd seed plays 7th seed, etc.  In this round, the winning teams advance while the losing teams are eliminated.

The Semi and Final Rounds are the top four teams remaining after the first afternoon seed play.  Plaques will be presented for 1st-4th places and individual medals will be given to all the players on those top four teams.

SPRINT instructor and tournament organizer, Denice Blaine, says, “This event uses volunteers from our community, FBLA members, NHS members, SPRINT students, SCR-1 faculty and administrators, all who work together to make this tournament a huge success.  We even have one reader coming all the way from Northwest Missouri State University to help us out. It truly is a group effort.”

The community is invited to come out and enjoy a day of Quiz Bowl trivia!

Tigers Weather Westran Run to Post First Conference Win

Grant Campbell closes down the trap on the Westran ball handler as the Tigers’ full-court press worked to force several turnovers by the Hornets.

A 15-point advantage evaporated in the third period Tuesday night in Westran, but Scotland County was able to rally to post a 73-59 victory and claim the program’s first ever Lewis & Clark Conference win.

After dropping their league debut Friday night at Harrisburg, the Tigers used an 8-0 run to close the third period and kept pouring in the points in the fourth period en route to the win.

The Tigers came out of the gates slow against the Hornets (1-10, 0-2 L&C), falling behind 8-2 before a three-pointer by Elijah Cooley. A three-point play by Lane Pence knotted the score. After Aaron Buford scored on the fast break, Alex Hunolt grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back up and in while drawing the foul. His free throw put SCRI on top 13-9. Cooley’s second three-pointer of the opening frame gave SCR-I a 19-14 lead after eight minutes of play.

Grant Campbell sank a pair of three-pointers to start the second period and Scotland County continued its fast-paced attack, scoring 20 second-period points to pull ahead 39-24 at the half. Buford had six points in the period.

Westran’s Austin Dale caught fire from behind the arc in the third period. His third triple of the quarter cut the SCR-I lead to 46-44 with 2:39 on the clock, forcing an SCR-I timeout.

The Tigers responded with an 8-0 run to close the period. Cooley connected on a three-pointer and Hunolt continued a strong game off the bench with a pair of free throws. Pence closed the run with another three-point play to put the Tigers ahead 54-44.

Campbell closed out a big game with a pair of fourth quarter field goals. He also sank three of four free throws down the stretch. Will Fromm added a pair of buckets in the final minutes as SCR-I closed out the 73-59 win.

Campbell led Scotland County (8-3, 1-1 L&C) with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Buford and Cooley each added 14 points and Hunolt had eight.

Conservation Considerations

The Chill of Winter

by MDC Agent Michael Collins

As the winter is in full-swing in North Missouri, we all know that the weather can turn bitterly cold in a hurry. Those of us who still find ourselves out in the elements need to be prepared for surviving extreme conditions. All of Missouri’s deer seasons have now concluded – however, there are many other activities to be prepared for. Whether you are feeding cattle, enjoying a good rabbit hunt, cutting timber, ice fishing or running your trap lines, planning and preparation will go a long way in preventing an outdoor mishap. In addition, maintaining a calm mind can help you make good decisions when things turn unfavorable. This time of year, two of the biggest dangers outdoorsman may encounter are hypothermia and frostbite. These two conditions are a direct result of exposure to extreme conditions. Let’s discuss these dangers as well as possible prevention measures.

Hypothermia occurs when your body loses heat faster than your body can produce it. This can cause your core body temperature to drop to dangerous or deathly low levels. This condition can be accelerated by environmental factors such as extreme cold, high winds, rain, snow, or immersion in water. Prevention is the key. Be prepared by always having a cold weather survival kit. This kit should contain items such as extra clothing, shoes, gloves, blankets, fire making supplies, water and emergency signaling devices or a whistle. Of course, each person may also include any other items they see fit for emergencies. Dressing in loose layers can help retain body heat, while eating some high-calorie foods may increase your body’s heat production. If you are in the elements and find yourself shivering uncontrollably and have slow, slurred speech, memory loss, irrational behaviors or sleepiness, there is a high probability that you are experiencing hypothermia. If not addressed, you could find yourself in a life-threatening situation. Immediately find shelter and, if wet, remove the wet clothing and replace them with dry clothing. Slowly rewarm yourself or the person experiencing hypothermia by making a small fire, drinking warm liquids, direct body contact and blankets. The majority of body heat is lost through your head, so a hat or covering for the head can also assist in warming and retaining a person’s body heat. It is imperative to contact Emergency Medical Personnel if the hypothermic individual is at or near unconsciousness.

Many times, frostbite can come along with hypothermia. It is important to cover all exposed skin when being exposed to extreme cold temperatures and conditions. This is important because frostbite can occur rather quickly. Frostbite symptoms include a sharp prickly sensation or tingling of the affected skin. As frostbite progresses, a person will feel pain and eventually lose feeling within the affected area. Frostbite can be treated in similar fashion to hypothermia. However, it is important that warming methods such as rubbing, hot water, external heat sources be avoided because they may cause you to burn the affected area. You should seek medical attention if you experience frostbite.

As always, the Missouri Department of Conservation encourages you to hunt, fish, trap and enjoy the great outdoors. Missourians play a great role in driving the conservation of our wildlife resources through generations of outdoor tradition – now and for more to come. Get outdoors and always remember that safety is paramount. Plan ahead and always be prepared for the conditions that you will be venturing into. Be safe and good luck out there.

« Older Entries