December 28, 2006

Missouri Conservation Department Confirms Mountain Lion Sightings

CHILLICOTHE, Mo.-The Missouri Department of Conservation has confirmed the ninth and 10th documented mountain lion occurrences in the Show-Me State in modern times.

The most recent confirmed report of a mountain lion in Missouri came in the form of a photograph taken Dec. 7 by an automatic trail camera. A bowhunter, Joe Neis, placed the camera on private land in Livingston County north of Chillicothe to monitor deer activity. He told investigators he had no idea the cat was in the area before the trail camera captured its image.

Conservation Department Resource Scientist Dave Hamilton announced the confirmation after he and other members of Missouris Mountain Lion Response Team visited the site where the photo was taken and verified that evidence at the scene confirmed the authenticity of the photo.

The photo shows an apparently healthy mountain lion walking past the camera. The cat has dark spots on the insides of its front legs, indicating it is less than 2 years old. Hamilton estimated its weight at 110 to 120 pounds.

The other confirmation was based on an incident that occurred in November on private land in Shannon County. A hunter shot a doe at dusk and decided to wait until the next day to track and retrieve the deer. When he did, he found the carcass had been partially devoured. Closer examination by Conservation Department investigators showed convincing evidence that the wounded deer had been killed by a big cat and then fed upon.

We have long been expecting the next mountain lion sighting in Missouri, said Hamilton. It was overdue. We were averaging about one a year, and we have missed three years. It looks like it is evening out.

The Mountain Lion Response Team, headed by Hamilton, investigates many mountain lion reports each year. The Conservation Department formed the group in 1996 to ensure that all citizen reports are recorded and that timely investigations are conducted where physical evidence may exist. Most reports either cannot be verified or are found to involve other animals, such as dogs, deer, coyotes and bobcats. Surprisingly, house cats often are misidentified as mountain lions.

Dog tracks account for more mistaken reports of mountain lions, said Hamilton. Unlike mountain lion tracks, which seldom show claw marks, dog tracks usually do. That is an easy giveaway. House cats can be tricky for some, though.

Domestic cats body shape and behavior are enough like those of mountain lions to create the potential for mistaken identity. When seen at a distance in an open field, often through the lenses of binoculars, rifle scopes or cameras, the illusion can be convincing.

While part of the team was investigating the two sightings we eventually confirmed, others were following up on a report from Clark County that involved a video tape, said Hamilton. The tape had been around for a year or so and had been seen by a lot of people. It was widely viewed as being a mountain lion, but it turned out to be another of many videos of an ordinary house cat.

Techniques used to tell the difference between photos of mountain lions and house cats include analyzing the ratio of body and head size, thickness of body, the shape of the back when the cat is seated on its haunches, and other body conformation factors.

Those tests are fairly simple to apply to photographs when you are sitting in an office, said Hamilton. Trying to do the same thing with a living animal in the field sometimes is more difficult. It is not surprising that people get fooled.

Mountain lions also are called cougars, pumas or panthers. So far, confirmed sightings support the theory that mountain lions seen in Missouri migrated here from western states. Hamilton noted that young males typically leave their birth areas looking for territories of their own, and often wander hundreds of miles before settling down.

That is consistent with what we have documented in Missouri, he said. A wealth of evidence leads us to believe that Missouri does not have an established, breeding population of mountain lions, just individuals filtering in from the west.

In addition to evidence that cougars found in Missouri are mostly young males, Hamilton points to a significant lack of evidence of an established population in Missouri. In areas with breeding populations, physical evidence is very easy to find, he said. You see lots of tracks. You find deer carcasses with the unique signs of mountain lion kills, and you see cougars of all ages, from cubs to adults, killed by cars. We dont see any of those things in Missouri.

Hamilton also said that with hundreds or even thousands of trail cameras like Mr. Neis in use around the state, if cougars were present in significant numbers, he would expect to see many photos, not just one.

Most telling, says Hamilton, is the extremely small number of road kills in Missouri. Even states with small mountain lion populations record frequent road kills. South Dakota, where the statewide population is estimated at 200 cougars, has had over 20 road-killed in the past two years. In Florida, where the panther population is estimated at 70 to 100, 11 have died on roads this year.

Darrell Land, statewide Florida panther coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, called roadkill an effective sampling method, though regrettably not one that permits returning sampled animals to the population.

Missouris first confirmed mountain lion sighting in modern times came in 1994, when two men illegally killed a cougar near Eminence. Since then, five other cougars have been documented on film and video cameras. Two more, both young males, were killed by motorists. One was killed in the Kansas City area in 2002, the other near Fulton in 2003.

Mountain lions are not the only wildlife that wanders into Missouri from the west. Earlier this fall, the Conservation Department confirmed sightings of at least two elk in northwest Missouri.

Nor is Missouri the only state where dispersing mountain lions turn up. Cougars-mostly young males-also have wandered into Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma after decades of absence. Some of these animals carried radio collars and were known to have traveled up to 700 miles from their original capture sites.

Memphis Man Killed in Crash Near Arbela

A Memphis man was killed and another seriously injured in a two vehicle accident over the weekend in rural Scotland County.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Harley D. Stone, 24, of Memphis was killed when the 2015 Polaris Can Am all-terrain vehicle he was driving collided with a pickup truck on a hill crest on County Road 456 west of Arbela.

The Stone vehicle was eastbound when it crested the hill and met at the center of the road a westbound 2001 Dodge truck driven by Christopher M. Chabert, 29, of Memphis.

Stone and a passenger in his vehicle, Jacob A. Blessing, 21, of Memphis both were ejected from the ATV. Stone was pronounced deceased at the scene at 4:40 a.m. by Scotland County Coroner Dr. Jeff Davis. Blessing sustained serious injuries in the crash. He was transported by Scotland County Ambulance to University Hospital in Columbia.

Chabert was not injured in the crash, which occurred at 4:00 a.m. on May 20th. Chabert was ticketed for driving while intoxicated.

The Patrol was assisted at the scene by Scotland County Fire and Rescue, Scotland County Ambulance and Scotland County Sheriff’s Office.

SCR-I Band to Make ‘Long March’ to Washington DC to Take Part in National Memorial Day Parade

As residents of a rural school district, Scotland County R-I students are used to long bus rides. However on Thursday, some three dozen SCR-I musicians will be boarding a bus for a trip that will exceed their bus mileage for the year, just one-way.

At 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 24th the Scotland County R-I band, along with support staff, boosters and chaperones will be boarding a charter bus departing the SCR-I high school parking lot bound for Washington D.C. The public is invited to line the road to show the band support on its departure.

“Last minute preparations are well underway as the Marching Tigers are putting on the finishing touches on their performance,” said band Director Nathanial Orr. “You may even hear the band marching around town.”

The trip to the nation’s capital is more than 900 miles, with the group expecting to arrive on the East Coast  in time for lunch on Friday.

After the meal with tour manager Barbara Longnecker at Union Station, the group will take a tour of the U.S. Capitol before enjoying dinner at Bertucci’s Italian Restaurant. That evening the group will be treated to a parade at the Marine Barracks featuring the US Marine Band in full dress uniform.

Saturday will feature a full day of tours including stops at Lafayette Square, the White House and the National Archives Building, home of the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

After lunch they will visit Ford’s Theater where President Lincoln was assassinated before touring Arlington National Cemetery to witness the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The evening will conclude with tours of the US Air Force and Pentagon 9/11 Memorials, as well as the Jefferson, FDR and Martin Luther King, Jr. memorials.

The nation’s history will be on display again on Sunday as tour members will visit the Lincoln, and Vietnam and Korean War memorials as well as the US Holocaust Memorial Museum before spending the afternoon at the Smithsonian Institution’s museums. The evening will be capped off at the National Memorial Day Concert on the west lawn of the Capitol. The event will broadcast live on PBS.

Finally on Monday, the band members will get to work, participating in the National Memorial Day Parade.

“The band will be performing ‘Colonel Bogey March,’ a tune featured in ‘Bridge over a River Kwai’,” said Orr. “The color guard will be wearing homemade uniforms representing a different branch of the armed services.  Each member of the guard has a connection as parts of the uniform they will be wearing are from the uniform of their family members.”

Orr said the parade will be televised on the Armed Forces Network as well as streamed on, or

“Due to time constraints and commercial breaks, there is no guarantee that SCR-I will be televised,” he said.

Later that evening, the group will visit the World War II Memorial and place a Scotland County High School wreath at the base of the Missouri state marker.

Tuesday, day 6 of the event, will feature a trip to Mount Vernon, before boarding the tour bus at 2 p.m. for the return trip to Memphis. The group is expected to arrive back home Wednesday, May 30th around 9 a.m.

The trip has been made possible through the hard work of the band students and boosters as well as the generous contributions of local supporters. Work began last May after word was received the band had received the honor of participating in the national event. Numerous fundraisers were held over the next 12 months to fully fund the more than $1,000 price tag per band member for the trip.

Larry Gieseke to Address 72nd Annual Memorial Day Services

Larry Gieseke will be the featured speaker on Monday as the Wallace W. Gillespie Memorial Post #4958 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars hosts the 72nd Annual Memorial Day Services on the lawn of the Scotland County Courthouse.

The services will begin at 10 a.m. with Post Commander Lloyd Erickson and program chairman Donnie Middleton welcoming the crowd.

Veterans Floyd C. Baker and Mike Stephenson will perform the traditional wreath placement at the soldiers’ memorial on the southeast side of the courthouse. Fellow serviceman Bill Camp will lead the gathering in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Sonny Smyser of the Lancaster Church of Faith  will lead the invocation prior to the performance of the National Anthem by the Memphis Community Players, who will also provide additional patriotic music for the service.

Judge Gary Dial will again have the honor of introducing the service’s guest speaker.

Following Gieseke’s speech, veteran Jamie Parker will sing Sleep Soldier Boy.

Following the benediction by Smyser, the VFW members will present a 21 gun salute before the performance of taps by service member Melinda Briggs with ECHO played by Chris Kempke.

The service is open to the public. In case of inclement weather, the program will be moved indoors at the VFW post.

Fifty-Seven Units of Blood Donated at Spring Blood Drive

The spring community blood drive held on May 8th at the First Baptist Church of Memphis resulted in the donation of fifty-seven units of blood to the American Red Cross. We would like to thank all those who took time out of their busy day to come and donate.

Of the sixty-seven people who came out to donate, five were first-time donors: Laura Carr, Reilly Shoemaker, Luke Triplett, Matthew Woods and Mark Zeiset. May this mark the beginning of a lifelong habit of helping others through this life-saving gift.

The following donors are recognized for reaching their respective donation goals: a one-gallon pin was awarded to Harley D. Saulmon and a two-gallon pin, to Mike M. Blain. Carol McCabe earned a five-gallon pin, Sara Frederick earned a seven-gallon pin, and Bruce Childress was awarded an eight-gallon pin. David M. Ahland earned his fourteen-gallon pin. Way to go, Mike! But, the greatest achievement goes to Larry Riney who has reached 20 gallons, which is equivalent to 160 units of blood. This is the average total amount collected from two of our community blood drives. Thanks, Larry, you are an encouragement to us all and remind us that even one committed person can really make a big difference. Let’s be encouraged by their commitment, knowing that we, too, can make a difference, Congratulations to all these who have reached their respective goals and to all first-time donors. Your much-needed donations are greatly appreciated.

Special thanks are in order to Lighthouse of Faith for their generous supply of homemade cookies, to Community Bank for providing sandwiches, to Pizza Hut for donating free pizzas to student donors and to J’s Food for providing orange juice to all donors. And a very special thank you to all the local Red Cross volunteers for making this event possible by serving food and drinks to donors and providing comfort and support to both the Red Cross workers and all who give. God Bless!


Mandi and Chris Cicero, along with sisters, Kara and Alexis, would like to announce the birth of Christina Violet Cicero, born May 2, 2018 at Capital Region Medical Center.  She was born at 3:19 p.m., weighed 7 lbs 14 oz and was 21 ½ inches long.  She is the granddaughter of Wayne and Terri Bulen, Stephanie Cicero, and Kelly Wiles.


Kira Stark of Kahoka and Dante Davis of Kahoka are the parents of a son, Trevon Land Buckner-Davis, born May 12, 2018 at 8:45 a.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. Trevon weighed 6 lbs 8 oz and was 20.5 inches long. Grandparents are Dede Segovia of Kahoka; Steven Stark of Kahoka; Carissa Smith of Keokuk, IA; and Rick Davis of Keokuk, IA.


Justin and Diana Hill of Bloomfield, IA are the parents of a son, Maverick Gabriel Hill, born May 5, 2018 at 8:06 p.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. Maverick weighed 7 lbs 14.8 oz and was 21.5 inches long. Grandparents are Monty and Isle Hill of Bloomfield, IA; Jim and Linda Snowbarger or Marshalltown, IA; and Thomas Upton of Mediapolis, IA.


Bruce and Kendra Small of Memphis are the parents of a son, Abel Forrest Lee small, born May 11, 2018 at 2:36 a.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. Abel weighed 6 lbs 8 oz and was 19 inches long. He is welcomed home by siblings, Mason and Vancel. Grandparents are Bobby and Shelley Small of Memphis; Jodi Heatherly of Memphis; and Kenneth Westfall of Perry, IL. Great-grandmother is Linda Baker of Memphis.

Scotland County Genealogy Society Hosts May Meeting

Terry Arnold vice- president of the Scotland County Genealogy Society called the May 14th meeting to order with 10 members present.

June Kice gave the treasurer’s report.

Old business: Terry Arnold reported on work days.

New business: Bonnie Hayes reported the group’s copy machine will need replaced.

The book sale was discussed for Antique Fair days and the cookie sale will be held again at the Antique Fair, on Saturday as in the past.

A work day was scheduled for Tuesday, June 12th.

June Kice gave a program on the history of Mother’s Day, which was started in the 19th Century before the Civil War by Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virg1na to teach local women to care for their children. Later, others honored Friendship Day, when mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.

Suffragette and abolitionist Julia Ward Howe wrote a Mother’s Day proclamation promoting world peace The official Mother’s Day holiday arose in the 1900’s as the result of Anna Jarvis as a way of honoring sacrifices of mothers for their children.

President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the 2nd Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Terry Arnold closed the meeting.

Refreshments were served by Twyla Stevenson and Marlene Cowell.

Connie Bratton, Secretary

Register Now for SC Tiger Cub Summer Football Camp

Scotland County Tiger Cub Summer Football Camp 2018 will be held July 17, 18 and 19 from 4:00 p.m. – 5:40 p.m.

Kids entering fourth, fifth of sixth grade who are interested in playing football are encouraged to attend.

Coaches Kirk Stott, Nic Hatfield, Matt Buford, Travis Stott, William Parsons, Josh McSparren, and Curt Triplett will work with camp participants on fundamentals of the sport.

Registration forms, camp fee, complete with t-shirt size and parent/guardian signature must be returned to Coach Stott at the High School Office by Thursday, May 31, 2018.

This camp is used to learn basic fundamentals of the Scotland County Tiger football program.

Payment of $20.00 must accompany the entry form. Make checks out to Tiger Cub Football.

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