August 10, 2006

Rising Electric Bills Are Shocking Memphis Residents

Why are our rates so much higher than everyone else around us? That was the question restaurant owner Kelly Nelson poised to the Memphis City Council on August 3rd regarding growing electric bills. And she wasnt the only one asking the question. Nelson presented a petition, demanding the city address the high rates, complete with 267 signatures.

And we just started the night before last, Nelson said regarding the popularity of the cause. So you know there are plenty more people interested in this issue.

Customers in the City of Memphis have witnessed electric rates increase from the base rate of $0.0877 per kilowatt hour (kWh) established back in 2001 to the most recent adjusted cost of $.1321 per kWh in June 2006. That represents an increase of roughly 33 percent.

The City Council attempted to explain to the public at the meeting, that this increase is 100-percent related to the cost of energy.

The increase you have seen in your bill is caused by a surcharge that the city is collecting so it can meet its expense to buy the electricity, stated Alderman Chris Feeney. The surcharge simply allows the city to collect nearly as much as what it is turning around and paying to the electricity provider. We cannot sell the electricity to the customer for less than it costs the city.

Therein lies the problem. Since 2001 when the current rate level was established, the price of electricity for the City was $0.0482 per kWh in October. In November and December that rate fell below the established base rate, meaning citizens saw a negative surcharge, or in essence, received a rebate because of the low rates.

Since then the rates have been on the rise. By July of 2004, citizens were paying a $0.0097 per kWh surcharge as the cost of buying power had risen by nearly a penny per unit. Recently the cost crunch has become extreme, creating the latest surcharge of more than four cents per kWh.

Local customers are not alone in the dilemma. Fellow MoPEP member, Palmyra has implemented two price increases, totaling more than 33-percent in the past 12 months, including a 25-percent price hike approved in May.

In June 2001, the last time power rates were adjusted in Memphis, the city set the rate at $0.0877 per kWh after the minimum charge of $7.71 for the first 50 kWh. Of that base rate, $0.0437 was established as base power cost factor, meaning roughly half the customers electric bill would pay for the actual electricity. The other half of the revenue was earmarked for overhead, including salaries and equipment for the light plant and line crew. This is a basic industry standard, with most power providers maintaining a 50/50 split between their cost of electricity and overhead to provide the necessary services.

The rate also established a surcharge to be added to a customers bill monthly. That surcharge is the difference between the base rate established for the cost of electricity back in 2001 ($0.0437) and the average of the previous three months actual energy cost.

In April 2006, the City of Memphis paid an average of $0.0823 per kWh for its wholesale power. In May that rate was $0.0909 and in June it dropped back to $0.0817 per kWh.

The costs from the three months are averaged, dividing the total price paid for the power by the total number of kWh used in the city (minus the electricity consumed by the city itself to power the light and water plants, the cemetery, the swimming pool, city hall, the police department and fire station, street lights and various other public holdings). That produces the base energy cost, which in June was $0.0881.

So in July 2006 customers not only were paying the normal $0.0877 per kWh, they had the added surcharge of $0.0444 per kWh. The city paid an average of $0.0881 per kWh for power sold to customers, creating the surcharge ($0.0881 base rate $0.0437 = $0.0444 per kWh surcharge).

It is a confusing process that prompted one citizen in attendance at the meeting to tell the council it has done a very poor job of communicating the problem with its customers.

Discussion on the bill increases stalled when prospective solutions were discussed, as most were in agreement there is no quick fix to the issue.

One resident questioned why the city does not generate its own power.

Light Plant Superintendent Mike Ahland explained that the plants generators are not nearly as efficient as those more modern facilities at larger plants. He said, while the city has the capacity to produce electricity in emergency situations or during high peak demands, it is not cost efficient to generate on a regular basis. He estimated it would double the current cost of electricity if the city used its diesel-fueled generators to meet the entire demand.

However Ahland noted that by simply maintaining the capacity to generate, the city receives a demand credit of more than $10,000 a month from the electricity provider.

Since 1996 that provider has been the Missouri Public Energy Pool (MoPEP), a cooperative consisting of 26 Missouri cities joined together under the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC), a state-wide Joint Action Agency specifically authorized by state law to operate as an electric utility for the benefit of the combined requirements of the members.

Established by six charter members, the MJMEUC has grown to a membership of 56 consumer-owned systems ranging in size from 700 to 87,000 meters. These municipal and cooperative electric systems serve 347,000 retail customers, and have a combined peak load of over 2100 MW.

MJMEUC may construct, operate and maintain jointly owned generation and transmission facilities for the benefit of members. The Commission has the authority to enter into contracts for power supply, transmission service, and other services necessary for the operation of an electric utility.

MoPEP, which is run by the MJMEUC, consists of the cities of Albany, Bethany, Butler, Chillicothe, El Dorado Springs, Farmington, Fayette, Fredericktown, Gallatin, Harrisonville, Hermann, Lamar, LaPlata, Macon, Monroe City, Odessa, Owensville, Palmyra, Rock Port, Rolla, Shelbina, Stanberry, Trenton, Unionville and Vandalia.

In 1991, when Memphis joined MoPEP, the city council authorized the contract with the new entity based on electric rates well below the wholesale power contracts being offered by area electric cooperatives.

One director of an area cooperative indicated that the city took what was an excellent deal at that time, saving customers on their electric rates.

Now, since rates through MoPEP have risen, the city is faced with some difficult obstacles in finding a solution. The most difficult mountain to climb is the MoPEP contract itself, which requires a member to give five years notice before leaving the power-buying group.

Even if the city did escape its MoPEP contract, there are fewer options available than back in 1996. Most of the electric cooperatives no longer offer wholesale power contracts, meaning the city has limited options to replace MoPEP, even if it legally could.

Based on the current situation, the city has some limited options to offer relief to our electric customers, stated Alderman Feeney. We can cut our costs, which means likely cutting some services or other expenses. We could also possibly lower rates by using the citys reserve funds earmarked for system improvements and repairs. Or, we can attempt to change suppliers, but our contract and the existing options will make that extremely difficult. None of these are perfect solutions.

Mayor Roger Gosney asked the citizens to consider making efforts to conserve electricity to help lower their expenses while the city strives to resolve the problem.

Trust me, we are working on this issue, but it doesnt appear as there is a quick fix, he stated. We cannot promise you anything, except that we are going to try to help. Remember we are all customers too.

2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Cattle Show

 

Taylar Eggleston-Wood exhibited the Grand Champion Female of the 2016 Junior Cattle Show with her cow and calf entry. She is pictured with her sister Tasha and SC Fair Queen Calesse Bair.

Taylar Eggleston-Wood exhibited the Grand Champion Female of the 2016 Junior Cattle Show with her cow and calf entry. She is pictured with her sister Tasha and SC Fair Queen Calesse Bair.

 

Kassie Bulen took home the Grand Champion and Reserve Champion Rate of Gain trophies from the 2016 Junior Cattle Show. She is pictured with her grandfather George Bulen.

Kassie Bulen took home the Grand Champion and Reserve Champion Rate of Gain trophies from the 2016 Junior Cattle Show. She is pictured with her grandfather George Bulen.

 

Hannah Dunn exhibited the Reserve Champion Market Animal of the 2016 Junior Cattle Show. She also showed the Grand Champion Bull.

Hannah Dunn exhibited the Reserve Champion Market Animal of the 2016 Junior Cattle Show. She also showed the Grand Champion Bull.

 

The Class 1 Showmanship winner from the 2016 SC Fair Cattle Show was Jessica Huff.

The Class 1 Showmanship winner from the 2016 SC Fair Cattle Show was Jessica Huff.

 

The Grand Champion Market Animal of the 2016 SC Fair Junior Cattle Show was exhibited by Jared Dunn.

The Grand Champion Market Animal of the 2016 SC Fair Junior Cattle Show was exhibited by Jared Dunn.

 

Jillian Crane took home the Class II Showmanship Award from the 2016 Junior Cattle Show.

Jillian Crane took home the Class II Showmanship Award from the 2016 Junior Cattle Show.

 

Tasha Eggleston-Wood exhibited the Reserve Champion Bull of the 2016 SC Fair Junior Cattle Show.

Tasha Eggleston-Wood exhibited the Reserve Champion Bull of the 2016 SC Fair Junior Cattle Show.

 

The Dairy Showmanship Award went to Corbin Kirchner.

The Dairy Showmanship Award went to Corbin Kirchner.

 

Megan Kirchner showed the Grand Champion and Reserve Champion Dairy Females and the Grand Champion Dairy Steer during the 2016 Junior Cattle Show.

Megan Kirchner showed the Grand Champion and Reserve Champion Dairy Females and the Grand Champion Dairy Steer during the 2016 Junior Cattle Show.

 

The Reserve Champion Female of the 2016 Junior Cattle Show was exhibited by Will Montgomery.

The Reserve Champion Female of the 2016 Junior Cattle Show was exhibited by Will Montgomery.

 

2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Sheep Show

Luke Triplett (assisted by Abby Blessing) showed the Grand Champion Pair of Market Lambs at the 2016 Junior Sheep Show.

Luke Triplett (assisted by Abby Blessing) showed the Grand Champion Pair of Market Lambs at the 2016 Junior Sheep Show.

 

Avery and Gabe Shultz showed the Reserve Champion Pair of Market Lambs at the 2016 Junior Sheep Show.

Avery and Gabe Shultz showed the Reserve Champion Pair of Market Lambs at the 2016 Junior Sheep Show.

 

The Grand Champion Market Lamb of the 2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Sheep Show was exhibited by Taylar Eggleston-Wood.

The Grand Champion Market Lamb of the 2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Sheep Show was exhibited by Taylar Eggleston-Wood.

 

The Grand Champion Ewe of the 2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Sheep Show was exhibited by Sadie Davis.

The Grand Champion Ewe of the 2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Sheep Show was exhibited by Sadie Davis.

 

Morgan Blessing earned the 2016 Junior Showmanship award for the Junior Sheep Show.

Morgan Blessing earned the 2016 Junior Showmanship award for the Junior Sheep Show.

 

Brianna Kraus showed the Reserve Champion Ram at the 2016 Scotland County Fair.

Brianna Kraus showed the Reserve Champion Ram at the 2016 Scotland County Fair.

 

Katie Miller exhibited the Champion Katahdin at the 2016 Sheep Show.

Katie Miller exhibited the Champion Katahdin at the 2016 Sheep Show.

 

Clara Davis showed the Grand Ram at the 2016 Scotland County Fair. She also received the Grand Champion Rate of Gain award for the show.

Clara Davis showed the Grand Ram at the 2016 Scotland County Fair. She also received the Grand Champion Rate of Gain award for the show.

 

Baleigh Phillips exhibited the Grand Champion Rate of Gain exhibit (two exhibitors tied for the top rate of gain) at the 2016 Junior Sheep Show.

Baleigh Phillips exhibited the Grand Champion Rate of Gain exhibit (two exhibitors tied for the top rate of gain) at the 2016 Junior Sheep Show.

 

The Reserve Champion Ewe of the 2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Sheep Show was exhibited by Abby Blessing.

The Reserve Champion Ewe of the 2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Sheep Show was exhibited by Abby Blessing.

 

Kaylyn Anders was named the Round Robin showmanship champion of the 2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Sheep Show. She also claimed the Senior Showmanship honor and exhibited the Reserve Champion Market Lamb. Kaylyn is pictured with 2016 SC Fair Queen Calesse Bair.

Kaylyn Anders was named the Round Robin showmanship champion of the 2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Sheep Show. She also claimed the Senior Showmanship honor and exhibited the Reserve Champion Market Lamb. Kaylyn is pictured with 2016 SC Fair Queen Calesse Bair.

2016 Scotland County Junior Goat Show

The Charles B. Green Memorial Award ($150 toward the purchase of a goat) at the 2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Goat Show went to Hailee Darcy. She is pictured with 2016 SC Fair Queen Calesse Bair.

The Charles B. Green Memorial Award ($150 toward the purchase of a goat) at the 2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Goat Show went to Hailee Darcy. She is pictured with 2016 SC Fair Queen Calesse Bair.

 

Anna Triplett was crowned the Round Robin showmanship champion at the 2016 Junior Goat Show. She is pictured with 2016 SC Fair Queen Calesse Bair.

Anna Triplett was crowned the Round Robin showmanship champion at the 2016 Junior Goat Show. She is pictured with 2016 SC Fair Queen Calesse Bair.

 

Beau Triplett earned the Junior Showmanship award at the 2016 Junior Goat Show. He also exhibited the Grand Champion Doe.

Beau Triplett earned the Junior Showmanship award at the 2016 Junior Goat Show. He also exhibited the Grand Champion Doe.

 

The Reserve Champion Rate of Gain Trophy for the 2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Goat Show went to Dane Blessing.

The Reserve Champion Rate of Gain Trophy for the 2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Goat Show went to Dane Blessing.

 

Hugh Baker showed the Grand Champion Buck at the 2016 Scotland County Fair. He also exhibited the Reserve Champion Wether and the Reserve Champion Doe.

Hugh Baker showed the Grand Champion Buck at the 2016 Scotland County Fair. He also exhibited the Reserve Champion Wether and the Reserve Champion Doe.

 

Jenna Blessing exhibited the Grand Champion Market Wether of the 2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Goat Show.

Jenna Blessing exhibited the Grand Champion Market Wether of the 2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Goat Show.

 

The Champion Rate of Gain Trophy for the 2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Goat Show went to Kara Mallett. She also showed the Reserve Champion Buck.

The Champion Rate of Gain Trophy for the 2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Goat Show went to Kara Mallett. She also showed the Reserve Champion Buck.

 

Nova Cline earned the Senior Showmanship award at the 2016 Junior Goat Show.

Nova Cline earned the Senior Showmanship award at the 2016 Junior Goat Show.

2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Dog Show

Carlee Smith and Bullet won the Beginner Novice 13 & Under division.

Carlee Smith and Bullet won the Beginner Novice 13 & Under division.

 

Tasha Eggleston-Wood earned the Overall Showmanship and Showmanship 14 & Over trophies as well as the Agility 14 & Over win at the 2016 Junior Dog Show. Clara Davis and Skippy won the pre-Novice 13 & Under division.

Tasha Eggleston-Wood earned the Overall Showmanship and Showmanship 14 & Over trophies as well as the Agility 14 & Over win at the 2016 Junior Dog Show. Clara Davis and Skippy won the pre-Novice 13 & Under division.

 

Clara Davis and Skippy won the Pre-Novice 13 & Under division.

Clara Davis and Skippy won the Pre-Novice 13 & Under division.

 

Anna Triplett and Mazy took top honors in the Canine Agility 13 & Under class at the 2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Dog Show. The duo also earned the Showmanship 13 & Under trophy.

Anna Triplett and Mazy took top honors in the Canine Agility 13 & Under class at the 2016 Scotland County Fair Junior Dog Show. The duo also earned the Showmanship 13 & Under trophy.

 

Erica Yarbrough and Buster took first place in the Pre-Novice 14 & Over class.

Erica Yarbrough and Buster took first place in the Pre-Novice 14 & Over class.

 

Taylar Eggleston-Wood and Dan won the Novice II 14 & Over category with a score of 185 out of 200.

Taylar Eggleston-Wood and Dan won the Novice II 14 & Over category with a score of 185 out of 200.

Sealing Operations Will Temporarily Close Route B

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, August 1, MoDOT crews will temporarily close Scotland County Route B between the Iowa state line and U.S. 136 from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for sealing operations.

Please use alternate routes during this time.

Again, this work is weather dependent and could be delayed or rescheduled. For more information contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK MoDOT (275-6636). All roadwork is posted on the traveler information map. You can also visit us online at www.modot.org/northeast.

August 2nd Election to Decide School Tax Levy, Two County Races

vote

The August 2nd primary election will decide a pair of Republican races for local offices and also will feature the return of a tax levy issue for the Scotland County R-I School District.

Local voters who take the Republican ballot in the open primary election, will decide the party’s nomination for County Assessor. Incumbent Jim Ward faces a challenge from Lisa Grubb for the party’s nomination for the position.

Residents in the western district of Scotland County will also have the chance to decide the Republican nominee for Western District Commissioner. Incumbent David Wiggins is being challenged by George Owings.

While the Democratic and Republican ballots feature a number of state races for U.S. Senator, Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer and Secretary of State, the lone other local issue to be decide is Proposition 1. The school district tax-levy question will appear on all ballots. Individuals not wishing to cast a Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or Constitutional Party may select a non-partisan ballot, which will only have the Proposition 1 question.

Proposition 1, if approved, would allow the Scotland County R-I School District to borrow $3.3 million to build an early childhood development center and make other upgrades at the high school and elementary school. The process would be funded by a $0.33 debt service levy increase.

Voters previously had turned down a $4 million tax levy question from the school district in April by a 628 to 505 margin and a $5 million tax levy proposal was shot down in November 2014.

This spring the Scotland County R-1 School Board of Education used results from more than 200 public survey responses to help fashion the current levy proposal. The board scaled back some of the original proposals after more than 20% of the survey respondents indicated they did not support particular points in the initial bond issue, particularly spending on extracurriculars such as a new all-weather track and new lights for the baseball, softball and football fields.

Many of those items were removed from the current tax levy proposal, helping to lower the total cost to $3.3 million and decrease the tax levy hike from $0.40 to the current proposed levy rate increase of $0.33.

Scotland County Senior Nutrition Center

MENU

Thursday, July 28 – Meatloaf, Mixed Vegetables, Cauliflower/Cheese Sauce, Bread, Peach Crisp

Friday, July 29 – Catfish Nuggets, Macaroni Salad, Baked Beans, Cornbread, Strawberry Shortcake

Monday, August 1 – Chicken Strips, Scalloped Cabbage, Buttered Corn, Bread, Apple Crisp

Tuesday, August 2 – Tenderloin/Bun, Onion Slice, Pasta Veggie Salad, Green Beans, Watermelon and Cantaloupe

Wednesday, Aug. 3 – Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Spinach, Wheat Roll, Jell-O Fruit

Thursday, August 4 – Taco Salad, Lettuce, Beans/Chips, Tomatoes, Peas, Applesauce, Cookie

ACTIVITIES

Thursday, July 28 – Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, August 4 – Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

Heat Wave, Visitors, and a Sad Farewell

Althea hugging a duck. Photo by Ben.

Althea hugging a duck. Photo by Ben.

Howdy. Ben here, bringing y’all news from the storm-swept prairies, soggy draws, and humid homes of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. It certainly has been an eventful week here, though to be honest I haven’t had an uneventful one yet in my four years of time on farm. I’ll just stick with the formula y’all have come to expect and give you the weather report first.

We’ve spent the past week enduring a nasty heat wave here, with temps pushing towards a hundred degrees Fahrenheit, intense humidity, and still, stale, boggy air. The top eight inches or so of our swimming pond are unsettlingly warm, like broth. The fish might not bite under such conditions, but the crawdads are really nipping my toes these days during my daily cool downs at the old swimmin’ hole.

The sole motivation for completing my afternoon chores is the mere thought of our animals running low on fresh water. Come three in the afternoon, the barnyard is reminiscent of a ghost town, ducks and chickens peering from beneath the shade of cedars and sheds, the pigs nearly completely submerged in their wallows.

Other telltale signs that this is the height of summer include the whine and drone of cicadas, the emergence of partridge peas out in the field, and a sudden abundance of blackberries, perhaps the most I’ve ever seen since I’ve been here. In our kitchen co-op we’ve had enough for pie, wine, and consistent, daily snacking. Still, there’s more on the way. The paths are speckled with blackberry scat, perhaps belonging to possum or raccoon.

The only thing I’m more abundant in than berries is flies. It has been a banner fly year. I’m not sure if you’d call it a good fly year, or a bad fly year, but let’s just say there’s a fair few of ‘em. Appreciative as I am of all forms of biomass, I could stand to have fewer flies tickling my ankle hairs and landing on my baby during naps, but I’ll just remain thankful I’m not a goat on pasture, as they’re also seeming quite annoyed, stomping and shaking in the midday sun. Bring on the spiders, I say.

The mud daubers agree, as they busily take clay from our cob buckets and construct nests stuffed with paralyzed little orchard spiders, the living meals for their young. Such strange, fascinating things, these itty bitty critters do.

As of yesterday evening the sweaty, nasty, dense haze of summer moved out for now, pushed along by a swift, torrential storm, complete with corn-flattening winds. Here at Critter Kitchen, dinner was about to be served. In addition to our usual crew of diners, I was preparing a meal for about a dozen or so visitors. Dinner would be the usual fare, turnip fritters, collard greens, and pintos. Yum yum.

Keep in mind that our kitchen is outdoors, and has only one wall. Caleb hollered down from his tree house that a storm would be blowing in shortly, but being tired of this same old story (we’ve had many rains inexplicably navigate around us this year), I shrugged it off as I added yet more grease to my turnip cakes.

Then came the rumble and roar of thunder, a creaking of tree limbs, and intense, horizontal rain. The sorta rain that hurts. Five-gallon buckets, cloth diapers, feed sacks, tin cups, leaves and thorny little sticks all started whipping about. I might’ve seen a chicken set a flight record.

This is about the time all the visitors showed up. After a few moments of sorting out the sensible and unsensible desires of this crew, most folks headed to our root cellar on the count of three. It can fit a lot of people when there’s no food in there.

Eventually, the severe weather subsided, I checked on the toilet paper, the livestock, the rain gauge, and dinner, in that order, and after a few more moments spent picking up and drying off our plates, we had a swell time eating greasy turnip patties, joking and dripping wet.

While some folks have a preference for slightly more formalized get-to-know-you type activities and conversations, these are the kinds of bonding moments that I appreciate about our visitor sessions: sharing in the experience of the natural elements, be they as pleasant as the taste of wild berries, or rough as the late July heat followed by an intense gullywasher. Nobody, as far as I figure, makes it through Dancing Rabbit without at least a little mud on ‘em. You ought to come on and try it some time. The mud you have at home ain’t quite the same.

After a storm, especially a windstorm, a common sight in our village is helpers. A handful of folks will usually walk about, check on people, animals, tents, and homes for signs of damage, and help out if an outhouse needs propped up, or if some laundry needs to be found somewhere out there in a three-acre radius, or if some scattered chickens or goats need herded. I’d like to think of us as a community of helpful doers. No one can probably help me with my windblown tomatoes, or my wet toilet paper, though.

Sadly, I must announce that one of our helpful doers has passed into the next cycle of existence. Dennis Hoffarth, my neighbor and good friend, and a very helpful doer well before Dancing Rabbit was even an inkling of an idea, was laid to rest here one week ago.

Anyone who’s spent time with Dennis can tell you that he was a tireless worker for change, a dedicated builder of hope, and the sort of idea man who was willing to walk his talk. That is not to mention that he was a truly fun friend to work with, and funny as hell, too.

I can only attempt to memorialize Dennis from my own point of view, as I know his impact was felt in innumerable ways, by innumerable people. I will probably always think of him when I’m riding or tuning a bike, training my left hand to saw as well as my right, or hoisting an improbably large object into the air.

In my first year here at DR, I had the opportunity to work on the frame and foundation of Robinia, the home he built with his partner Sharon, and in that time I was introduced to concepts as mundane yet useful as shims and kerfs, and some greater, deeper ideas, about how to treat people and the planet with thoughtfulness and respect. I myself, and many others, will miss his wit, observations, and ideas. I aspire to be near as helpful a doer as he was.

For a person dedicated to cooperation, Dennis did things against the grain, at least when that was beneficial for all of us. One of his major pursuits in that department was practical, functional bicycling. Before it was cool for grown adults to ride around on bikes (ok, it’s always been cool, just not hip), Dennis was talking that talk, and walking it too.

Maybe peddling the pedal, would be the appropriate wordplay. He paved the way for whippersnappers like me to ride bikes safely and meaningfully. That’s why it seemed obvious that he ought to be brought to his final rest by bike. Supported by many friends, family, and neighbors, Dennis took his final ride last Monday morning, as well-secured cargo on our community bike trailer. Many helpful doers made preparations for the burial site and ceremony, and even more were on hand and available for the necessary help and support in Dennis’ final days. I lack the words for all y’all. Maybe just thanks, and I’m sorry, and love you.

An ecovillage, by definition, is meant to be a fully featured settlement. We have the occasional need of midwives, and yes, the occasional need of undertakers. A few hours after Dennis was laid to rest, our July visitor session began, and although we had let them know by email and phone what the community was going through, I am sure that many of them became more immediately aware that Dancing Rabbit was in a place of tenderness and mourning. I hope that they see it as a place of great caring, too.

Death sure can be scary, and it is coming for all of us at some point. What happens after that ain’t none of my business.  I’d like it to come for me in a place like this, where the experience can be shared and felt more equally, where we can be as present for the dying as we can be for the children growing up in the world that the dying have given us.

And Dennis wanted to give us a better world for growing up in. I cannot help but look at my own kids, one of them fierce, free, and occasionally sweet, the other one basically either sleeping, laughing, or crying, but typically drooling, and hope that all of us together are going to build the world that others have so thoughtfully dreamt up for us. Happy trails, neighbor.

* * *

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community and educational nonprofit outside Rutledge, MO, focused on demonstrating sustainable living possibilities. We offer public tours of the village on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month, April-October; the next is Saturday, August 13th at 1 pm. 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 dancingrabbit@ic.org. To find out more about us, you can also check out our website: www.dancingrabbit.org.

Area Families Stepping Up to Meet Needs of 57 Foster Children

Efforts of local families are meeting the needs of 57 area foster children in Scotland, Clark and Schuyler counties, but more foster parents are needed.

Efforts of local families are meeting the needs of 57 area foster children in Scotland, Clark and Schuyler counties, but more foster parents are needed.

In Clark, Schuyler, and Scotland Counties there are currently 57 children who are not able to live with their own family due to safety concerns.  Foster families provide a safe, comfortable and caring haven for these children during this traumatic time.  Staying connected to familiar and reassuring things, such as friends, school, and routine activities, helps lessen the stress and change a child must cope with in his or her young life.

“It is through the commitment of foster parents that children who have been abused or neglected are able to remain in their community in a safe and nurturing environment,” said Rachelle Curry, MSW, Circuit Manager.

Unfortunately, remaining in the community is not always an option if a foster family is not available when a child comes into care. Some children must go to a neighboring community, far from the community they know.

“We are always in need of more families who will open their hearts and homes to children in Clark, Schuyler, and Scotland counties,” said Curry. “Foster parents make children feel safe, nurtured, and loved, and they provide support for children and families during a challenging time in their lives.”

Anyone can apply to become a foster parent in Missouri, as long as they are 21 years old and willing to go through the training and assessment process.  That process includes background checks, health screenings, financial discussions and home assessments.

“You don’t have to be married or own your own home,”‘ said Curry. “As long as your housing and income are stable and meet licensure standards and there is room in your home and heart for more family members, you are likely to be approved.”

There are other ways to support children living in foster families in your community, and Curry said she and her staff will be happy to work with community members to explain how to donate items or personal time to support children in foster care.

To learn more about foster foster parenting or ways to get involved, visit http://www.MOheartgallery.org or call Laura Babington at 660-727-3393, ext 229, or 1-800-554-2222 for more information.

“The Missouri Children’s Division would like to thank everyone in Clark, Schuyler, and Scotland Counties for their generosity and support of foster families during our foster parent appreciation activities this year,” said Curry. “We have outstanding foster parents and it was a wonderful opportunity to recognize their dedication to helping children in foster care.”

Recently a local a pool party was held to demonstrate appreciation to foster parents and the children they are supporting. The following local businesses donated to help make it fun and memorable event: Casey’s General Store, Community Bank of Memphis, Exchange Bank of Kahoka, Memphis Pizza Hut, Scotland County Ministerial Alliance, Scotland County Pharmacy, People’s Bank of Wyaconda, Shelter Insurance – Tim Bertram, and Vigen Memorial Home of Kahoka.

Edina Woman Hurt in Crash Near Baring

An Edina woman was injured in a one-vehicle crash near Baring early on Monday morning. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Jessica L. Leckenby, 37, suffered moderate injuries in the crash that occurred at 6:35 a.m. on July 25th.

Leckenby was southbound on Highway 15, two miles south of Baring when the 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer she was driving went off the right side of the roadway and struck a ditch before overturning. Leckenby was flown from the scene by Air Evac helicopter to Northeast Regional Medical Center in Kirksville.

The Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Baring Fire Department, Knox County Fire and Rescue, and the Knox County Ambulance Service.

The vehicle sustained total damage and was removed from the scene by Lakeside Towing of Memphis.

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