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.

Rotary Hosts SCR-I Football Coaches

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Members of the football coaching staff from Scotland County R-1 High School recently presented a program to the members of the Scotland County Rotary Club.  The Head Coach is Mikel Gragg and assistants are Troy Carper and Rod Sears.  Coach Gragg reported that there are 30 boys on the team and two are injured and unable to play.  There are 13 seniors on the team.  Mr. Carper is the defensive coach and Mr. Sears works with special teams. In the classroom, Mr. Gragg teaches Jr. High & High School PE.  Mr. Carper teaches Life Skills and Mr. Sears teaches high school math classes.  The football coaches are pictured with local Rotarian and school superintendent, Ryan Bergeson.

Patrol Discusses Bus Safety

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Elementary Guidance focused on safety during the month of September.  Sgt. Brent Bernhardt discussed Bus Safety with SCR-1 kindergartners.  We can ALL help keep our students safe by slowing down and stopping when we see the flashing lights and stop signs.  Thank you bus drivers for your service!  

MHS Class of 1956 Reunion

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1956 GRADUATING CLASS HOLDS 60 YEAR REUNION – A total of 23 class members of 1956 graduating class of Memphis High School met at the Scotland County  Fitness Center to celebrate their 60th class reunion. A delicious dinner was catered by the Rutledge School Restoration Society.  Traveling the farthest was Dean Hicks from Las Vegas,  Nevada, followed by Bill Smoot and Suzanne  Smoot (Leach) traveling from Billings, Montana.  A good time was enjoyed by all. Pictured in the front row (L to R) are Evelyn Magruder (Prebe), Marilyn Dunn (Prebe), Joyce Aylward (Kiddo), Joann Rood (Carlson), and Edna Gundy (Miller). Middle row (L to R) are Marietta Fowler (Ferris), Betty Ann Lefler (Walker), Leon Kerr, Joanna Shelly (Peck), Suzanne Smoot (Leach), and Ruby Hanson (Pample). Back row (L to R) are Kenny Nelson, Dean Hicks, Barbara Smith (Adams), Jerry Bland, Carol Scurlock (Simerl), George Rude, Bill Smoot, Audrey Glass, Larry Howe, Larry Harrington, and Phil Aylward.

Rush to Preach at Kahoka

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Rev. Terry Rush  will be the guest speaker at the Kahoka Christian Church on October 2, 2016. Terry began his ministry at Kahoka Church of Christ in 1974.  He has been pastor of the Memorial Drive Church of Christ, Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the past 39 years. He and wife, Mary, have three children who are also involved in Christian Ministry. Rev. Rush has a long standing association with the St. Louis Cardinal Baseball team, including playing at their Legends Camps and being spiritual mentor to a number of current and former players and coaches. October 2 will be a special “Baseball Sunday”.  Everyone is invited to wear their favorite Team Jersey, or to simply come-as-you-are. Please help welcome Terry Rush back to Kahoka. Services start at 10:30 a.m. Everyone is welcome.

Conservation Considerations – Archery Season 2016

by MDC Agent Michael Collins

Fall is right around the corner and so is everyone’s favorite time of the year. Between the ‘Friday Night Lights,’ Football Sunday, cooler weather, bonfires and last but not least, pursuing that trophy buck that you’ve been watching all year – this is truly a special time of the year. Archery season is here and it’s time to wipe the dust off of your hunting gear, check to see if everything is up to par and to hone your archery skills.

This year, the dates for Archery Deer and Turkey Season are September 15 through November 11, and November 23 through January 15. The legal shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise, to one-half hour after sunset. During this season, hunters may use longbows, compound bows, hand-held string releasing devices, atlatls, recurve bows of any draw weight, and crossbows. Yes, crossbows, too. Beginning this year, hunters are now allowed to hunt deer and turkey with a crossbow. In the past, hunters needed a hunting methods exemption in order to use one – however, this is no longer the case. Your archery equipment may be outfitted with any illuminated sights, scopes and quickpoint sights. Hunting with the aid of an artificial light, possession or use of night vision or thermal imagery devices, use of any sighting device that casts a beam of light on game, and use of electronic calls for deer and turkey or through the use of bait is illegal and will result in a citation. After harvesting a deer or turkey, hunters are required to notch the month and day of harvest, along the margins of their permit. Hunters are also required to keep their permits with them at all times while hunting.

The season limits are as follows: Hunters may harvest two turkeys of either sex and both may be taken on the same day, may not exceed the limit of 2 antlered deer (all seasons combined), and can fill any number of Archery Antlerless Deer permits in all counties except Iron, Reynolds, Butler, Scott, New Madrid, Mississippi, Dunklin and Pemiscot counties.

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 – for now and more to come. Be safe and good luck out there!

For more information go to mdc.mo.gov, see the 2016 Fall Deer & Turkey pamphlet, contact the Northeast Regional Office or contact Conservation Agent Michael Collins at (660) 216-1374.

Roll Clouds

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Roll clouds were part of an amazing sunrise in Scotland County early Tuesday morning, September 13th.  A roll cloud is a low, horizontal, tube-shaped and relatively rare type of arcus cloud, a category of low cloud formations.  Roll clouds form near advancing cold fronts.  A downdraft from the advancing storm front can cause moist warm air to rise, cool below its dew point, and so form a cloud.  When this happens uniformly along an extended front, a roll cloud may form.  They differ from shelf clouds by being completely detached from a thunderstorm base or other cloud features.  They usually appear to be “rolling” about a horizontal axis.

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Former Pastors to Speak at First Christian Church Centennial Homecoming

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Phillip Gore and Tim Hawkins, former ministers of the Memphis First Christian Church, will be the speakers for the Sunday, October 2, morning worship service as the Church hosts Homecoming Services to celebrate the completion of the current church building (located on the corner of Jones and Main Streets) which was completed in 1916.

Gore, who grew up in Vandalia, preached his first sermon at age fifteen.  He graduated from Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry.  In January, 1998, Gore became minister of Memphis First Christian Church where he served until 2000.  He is owner of Phillip Gore Design and designs web sites and creates digital art.  Gore and his wife Lanaya have four children. They currently live in San Antonio, Texas.

Hawkins, who served as youth minister and then senior minister at First Christian Church from 1994 to 1997, now resides in Boston, Massachusetts with his wife Stephanie and their four children.  He is Executive Director of Sojourn Collegiate Ministry and has been with the group since 2006 helping college and university students on their journey back to God.  Hawkins is pastor of Reunion Christian Church, Somerville location.

Former Memphis resident Terry Rush will speak at the closing service on Sunday afternoon (October 2).  Rush has served the Memorial Drive Church of Christ congregation in Tulsa, Oklahoma, since July of 1977, and also serves as the coordinator of the Tulsa Workshop. He is the author of seven books including, “The Holy Spirit Makes No Earthly Sense” and “The Miracle of Mercy”. Rush is an avid St. Louis Cardinal baseball fan and has a unique ministry of playing baseball in legends camps with former St. Louis Cardinal old-timers since 1984. He and his wife Mary have three adult children; their two sons are in full time ministry.

There will also be services on Friday, September 30, and Saturday, October 1, (see schedule of services ad published in this issue of the Democrat).  Special music for the services will be provided by the Gateway Singers and Paul Burton and Mercy’s Bridge Band, a country gospel group.

The Planning Committee for the Church Homecoming celebration will share historical information about First Christian Church as part of the three special services and host fellowship times with snacks, a barbecue, and luncheon for  the congregation, the community, and friends to enjoy.

Voters Reminded Last Day to Register to Cast November Election Ballot is October 12th

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Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Those words by former President Roosevelt ring true, for those who chose not to vote as well as those who fail to properly register.

Scotland County Clerk Batina Dodge reminds prospective voters that the deadline to register to vote in the November 8th general election is October 12th.

Missouri law states that any citizen of the United States who is a resident of the State of Missouri and seventeen years and six months of age or older shall be entitled to register and to vote in any election which is held on or after his eighteenth birthday. (115.133, RSMo)

Prospective voters can register in person in the county clerk’s office in the Scotland County Courthouse. Dodge says individuals simply need to bring with them a copy of a birth certificate, a Native American tribal document, other proof of United States citizenship, a valid Missouri drivers license or other form of personal identification at the time of registration.

You can also register to vote online at the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office https://www.sos.mo.gov/.

An application may also be printed from the website or obtained at the county clerk’s office, completed and mailed to Scotland County Clerk’s Office, 117 S. Market, Street Suite 100, Memphis, MO 63555.

Not only is the application used to initially register to vote, but the short one page form also needs to be completed when voters move to other jurisdictions, or change their address on a current voter registration within the same jurisdiction, or change the voter’s name.

“If a voter needs to change his or her address or name, a new voter registration application must be filed with the local election authority,” said Dodge. “Please note that voters who do not update their addresses before election day may be sent to a different polling place depending on their new address.”

To check your voter registration, contact the office of Batina Dodge, Scotland County Clerk, at (660) 465-7027 or visit https://www.sos.mo.gov/.

Bushel Basket Open House Highlights Local Orchard’s Tasty Products

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by Andrea Brassfield

Richard Zimmerman and his family hosted an Open House for their business, The Bushel Basket, on Saturday, September 17th.  They also own Evergreen Sharpening and are located south of Memphis (take HWY 15 to the first gravel, then 1.5 miles west).

At the Bushel Basket, the Zimmermans are busy producing honey and growing apples, peaches and strawberries.

The family started their fruit orchard five years ago and have eight varieties of apples including Ginger Gold, Crimson Gala, Honey Crisp, Cortland, Crimson Crisp, Sun Crisp, Gold Rush and Pink Lady.  The Honey Crisp apples have already completed their growing season.  They also have two varieties of peaches including Baby Gold and Red Haven.  This is the second year of apple production and the first year for peach production.  The past two years, the winters were too harsh for the peach blossoms which are not quite as hardy as the apples.

Additionally, the Zimmermans have added more strawberry plants to their gardens and hope to have enough production next spring to begin selling.

Another part of their apple production includes custom washing, polishing and pressing not only for themselves but for other apple growers as well.  Their delicious apple cider is sold in gallon and half-gallon jugs.

Another tasty treat found at the Bushel Basket is honey and can be purchased in a variety of sizes.  The Zimmermans currently have four hives in production as well as neighbors who add to their honey supply.

Honey harvesting takes place twice a year, in August and October.  A brood box is the nest where the queen bee lays up to 2,000 eggs per day.  There are anywhere from 20,000 to 70,000 bees per colony with only one queen bee.

Another interesting fact about these amazing little creatures is that one ounce of honey would provide one bee with enough energy to fly around the world.  Also, it takes twelve bees their entire lifetime to collect one teaspoon of honey; 556 bees a lifetime to collect one pound of honey from approximately two million blossoms!  With this in mind, it is easy to see where the term “busy bee” comes from!!

The Bushel Basket is not the only family business owned by the Zimmermans; they also have owned and operated Evergreen Sharpening for the past seven years.  They sell Echo brand chainsaws, new chains, and some accessories.  They also sharpen chainsaw chains, saw blades, drill bits, kitchen knives, pinking shears and sewing scissors.

Mr. Zimmerman works full-time at Raytec LLC here in Memphis, however during his busier harvest times, he works four days a week in order to spend more time with his fruit orchards and honey production.

Business hours are Monday, Friday and Saturday all day and “by chance” on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Downing House to Host ‘Evening at the Museum – Candlelit Tour of the Past’

The Downing House Museum Complex received a $2,000 grant from the US Bank Corporation for the purpose of “providing opportunities to enhance the cultural and artistic lives of communities in which we live and work”.  Rhonda Mathes and Beverly Shelley are pictured presenting the grant, on behalf of US Bank, to Rhonda McBee, museum volunteer.  The grant is being used to purchase props, supplies and costumes for the upcoming “Evening at the Museum – A Candlelit Tour of the Past”.

The Downing House Museum Complex received a $2,000 grant from the US Bank Corporation for the purpose of “providing opportunities to enhance the cultural and artistic lives of communities in which we live and work”. Rhonda Mathes and Beverly Shelley are pictured presenting the grant, on behalf of US Bank, to Rhonda McBee, museum volunteer. The grant is being used to purchase props, supplies and costumes for the upcoming “Evening at the Museum – A Candlelit Tour of the Past”.

The Downing House Museum Complex, as part of the Scotland County Historical Society, recently received a $2000 grant from the US Bank Corporation. US Bank’s guidelines for the grant specified that the grant should be used to provide opportunities to enhance the cultural and artistic lives of communities in which we live and work. With this in mind, the Downing House Museum applied for the grant in order to provide a new cultural activity for our community. The grant will enable the Museum to purchase props, supplies and costumes to host a fall event at the location at 311 South Main Street in Memphis, Missouri – “EVENING AT THE MUSEUM – A Candlelit Tour of the Past”.

Join us for a unique evening walking tour of the museum complex while enjoying narratives from the past provided by fascinating residents from the Downing House, the Memphis Depot, the carriage house, summer kitchen and the Boyer House. Residents will be portrayed by volunteers from the Memphis Community Players and will include such characters as Ella Ewing, William G. Downing, Tom Horn, a barber in the barbershop, a blacksmith working in the carriage house, the ticket master at the Memphis Depot, kitchen servants, Dr. Keethler, a one room country school teacher, and a Civil War soldier, They will tell stories from their lives while living in the buildings of the museum complex. You will learn little known facts and details that will open your eyes to our local history and the residents that have had an impact on our community. Candlelit tours will be offered on Friday and Saturday October 14th & 15th and will begin at 7:00 p.m. The tour will last approximately 75 to 90 minutes and are $5 per person. Tickets will be available for purchase at the Memphis Theatre on October 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 2016 from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. for $5 each or you may call the theatre during those times to reserve a ticket. The theatre phone number is (660) 465-2277.

Discover our local history, the mansion and buildings, and the architecture and artifacts that give the Downing House Museum Complex its distinctive character. It is a museum of Scotland County’s history with many stories to tell; tales of amazing local citizens complete with period furnishings and artifacts from our past. The Downing House was built in 1858 and was listed on the National Historic Register in 1979. It sits one block south of the town square on South Main Street in Memphis, Missouri.

Submitted by Rhonda McBee

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