May 17, 2007

Ex Naval Pilot Honoring Shipmates for 61st Consecutive Memorial Day Service

On Monday, when Charles Harris steps to the podium, salutes the flag and leads the gathering in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, it will mark the 61st consecutive time the former Navy pilot has performed the service at the Memphis Memorial Day Service.

Many folks do not realize how close that impressive streak of services came to never even getting started.

I easily could have been one of those folks we remember every Memorial Day instead of the one up there leading the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance, Harris said.

He is referring to the fateful date of March 19, 1945 when more than 700 of his fellow seaman lost their lives when the aircraft carrier was struck by bombs from a Japanese strike. The ship was less than 50 miles from the Japanese mainland at the time of the attack.

Ensign VF-5 Charles E. Harris was below deck, asleep at the time of the attack.

He had flown the final flight the previous evening and was recovering from the late evening of work when the bombs struck the aircraft carrier.

I actually slept through the initial part of the fight until MAN ALL BATTLE STATIONS screamed across the loud speaker, Harris said.

Even then he was uncertain of what was going on.

Hey this was the U.S. Navy, they are always up to the task, so even after the alarm sounded I was not worried, he stated.

That all changed when he and a companion hit the main deck and saw the bomb damage and numerous sailors injured and dying.

It was an unbelievable sight, the smoke and the fire and all of the damage, Harris said. There were bodies floating in the water as far as you could see.

The two pilots quickly returned below deck to don their life vests before returning to the war zone to lend a hand.

They manned a fire hose, sticking it through a large hole in the flight deck, attempting to douse the flames below. Those efforts were cut short when a magazine exploded below deck sending the sailors scurrying for cover.

Later Harris went to work emptying shells from one of the five-inch gun turrets on the deck as it returned fire.

He was among numerous men rounded up by Medal of Honor winner, Lieutenant Commander Joseph T. OCallahan, S. J., USNR, the ships chaplain. He organized Harris and other sailors and pilots into rescue crews and firefighting groups.

Ultimately Harris and his fellow pilots were ordered off the USS Franklin onto the USS Santa Fe, which had pulled aside of the heavily damaged carrier.

The Captain of the Santa Fe yelled at us to drop our hoses and get off the ship, Harris recalled. He said you guys arent firemen, youre pilots and right now you are not expendable.

The airmen used a downed radio mast to crawl across the gap between the two ships.

They were among the roughly 700 survivors, who by all accounts helped save the USS Franklin not to mention the more than 200 injured sailors who survived the attack.

The heroes received a warm welcome on the Santa Fe. Harris recalls that the men had worked for 24-hours straight on the burning boat with nothing to eat but sardines.

They opened up kitchens and gave us a Thanksgiving dinner in March, Harris recalled.

The USS Franklin was placed in tow by the USS Pittsburgh before ultimately regaining enough power to travel to Pearl Harbor.

Not long after the ships return to Hawaii, Harris tour of duty came to a close in 1946.

He had entered the Navy just four years earlier, when he was only 19-years of age.

I was young enough that I had to have my parents signature to allow me to enlist, he said.

Charles noted that his mother refused to sign the papers but his father finally conceded.

He first went to Fremont, NE, for his Civilian Pilot Training. It was then off to Springfield for his secondary pilot instruction. Harris moved on the St. Marys College in California for his pre-flight work before ultimately ending up in Pensacola, FL, for his flight instruction.

He initially was assigned to the VF-5 fighter air group at Almeda, CA, before shipping out aboard the USS Franklin on February 3, 1945.

That deadly day in March wasnt the only brush with death that Harris faced.

While on a reconnaissance mission, flying a search for a downed Army general, Harris and his wingman, were summoned to the aid of a fellow pilot. They both were able to shoot down any enemy fighter pilot. The feat earned Harris the US Navy Air Medal.

The duty struck Harris as ironic, considering that he was able to accomplish the task while piloting an F6F Hellcat plane, which is made for air reconnaissance.

I flew 10 different types of planes in the Navy, Harris said. I flew a Corsair on fighter missions, yet I was in a Hellcat when I actually shot down the enemy plane.

Soon after his enlistment ended in 1946, Harris returned home from World War II. He took up a position in the family business, working in the parts department at the Harris Motor Company garage.

Charles and his wife Nancy have five children. The couple still calls Memphis home, allowing Charles to continue to don his naval uniform and lead the crowd each year at the Memorial Day service.

SC Little Paw’s to Host Fall Fest October 29th


Would you like your children, daughters or sons, to have a great day of fun, dancing and playing group games with the Scotland County High School Little Paws?  Then mark October 29th on your calendar because from 9:00 a.m. -2:00 p.m. at the Scotland County High School, a day of learning large group and small group routines, and playing games with the SC Little Paws is something your child can look forward to.  The day will also include snacks and cheek cheers.

Parents are encouraged to attend their child’s performance of their routine at 2:00 p.m.

The cost for the day will be $15, which includes a t-shirt and snacks.  The children will need to bring a sack lunch.

Please sign up by October 21st so we can make sure each child receives a t-shirt.  The pom clinic is open to all girls and boys from three years to 8th grade.  Call Marie Brown at 465-2036 to register or with any questions.

We will also have our Yummy-Lix Lollipops available to the children for fifty cents each if they are interested.  And if you did not receive a pom calendar we will have some available for $5 each.

Hope to see you and your child/children on the 29th!

Downing House Hosts Candlelit Tour of the Past


The Downing House Museum Complex and members of the community hosted an “Evening at the Museum – Candlelit Tour of the Past” this past weekend, October 14th and 15th.  Approximately 240 people attended the event, raising $1,200.00. Volunteers portrayed various characters and wrote their own dialogue for the two-night performance.  Characters included: a one-room school teacher (Lois Quenneville), William Downing (Joe Fulk, who also provided the welcome), Dr. A. M. Keethler (Harlo Donelson), Ella Ewing (Teresa Cotton), the Depot ticket master (Tom Cotton), Tom Horn (Jeff Dyer), a Civil War soldier (Chris Kempke), a barber (Larry Riney), Granny Green (Anna Lynn Kirkpatrick), and a blacksmith (Frank Wineinger).  Tour guides for the evening included Lynette Dyer, Rhonda McBee, Leslie Clark, Mary Ann Kirkpatrick, Janet Hamilton, Brooke Wineinger, Angie Wentworth, Elle Wentworth, Melissa Miler, Gary Miller, Angela Westhoff, Scott Westhoff, and Jan Slayton.  Box office volunteers were Debbie Seamster, Ruth Ann Cairn and Pam Shalley.  Sheila Berkowitz made the flyers, tickets and videotaped the event.  Pam Shalley served as photographer.  Elaine Forrester provided refreshments including cookies, punch and wassail and Alisa Kigar’s 4-H group donated some of the cookies.







Photos by Pam Shalley

Hospital Pharmacy Celebrates National Pharmacy Week      

Scotland County Hospital Pharmacy staff members (L to R) Dani Waterman, CPhT, Matt McKee, RPh, and Jennifer Laws, BSPS will be honored as part of National Pharmacy Week October 16-22.

Scotland County Hospital Pharmacy staff members (L to R) Dani Waterman, CPhT, Matt McKee, RPh, and Jennifer Laws, BSPS will be honored as part of National Pharmacy Week October 16-22.

The Scotland County Hospital’s Pharmacy Department is celebrating National Pharmacy Week, October 16 –  22.  Pharmacy Week acknowledges the invaluable contributions that pharmacists and technicians make to patient care in hospitals, ambulatory care clinics, and other healthcare settings.  During Pharmacy Week, Scotland County Hospital celebrates and recognizes the significant role that our Hospital Pharmacy plays as a member of the healthcare team.

The Hospital’s Pharmacy Department is staffed by Matt McKee RPh, Director of Pharmacy, Jennifer Laws BSPS, Supervisor of the Pharmacy Department and Danielle Waterman CPhT, Certified Pharmacy Technician.  No matter the time of day or night, our physicians can write an order for a medication for our in-patients and the medication will be administered promptly after interactions have been checked, thanks to the staff in the Pharmacy Department and their cooperation with the physicians and nurses at Scotland County Hospital as well as the staff of Scotland County Pharmacy and Blessing Hospital pharmacists.

Many patients and their families are not aware that the Hospital’s pharmacy staff play a critical role in preventing medication errors, collaborating with other disciplines to optimally manage patients medication needs, improving safety and patient outcomes, and advising prescribers on the best drug choices, all while maintaining the proper inventory to meet the needs of the patients.

Although medicine can make you well, it can also harm you if it is not taken the right way. That’s why you need to know all you can about all the medicine you take. While you’re at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis, MO, the pharmacy staff is here to make sure that you receive the best and safest medications that aid you in your comfort and recovery.

Scotland County Speedway to Host Memphis Fall Nationals this Weekend


Racing action will return to the Scotland County Speedway this weekend for the annual Memphis Fall Nationals. The local track will host a two-day show October 21st and 22nd featuring modifieds, stock cars, sportmods, hobby stocks, sport compacts and late models.

With temps expected be in the high 60’s as highs and around 50 for the lows, the racing will continue this weekend at the Scotland County Speedway for the Fall Nationals,” said promoter Mike Van Genderen. “This show has been a huge tradition for many years and has become one of the favorite shows for many racers.”

Curt Marks of Dubuque Moving and Storage has added to the late model purse, making it $1,000 to win, which should add to the field of fastest cars at the speedway.

The track will host open practice for all classes from 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday.

Hot laps will start at 7 p.m. on Friday night and at 6 p.m. for Saturday’s show.

With modifieds, sportsmods, stock cars and now late models all vying or a $1,000 top prize, the track is expecting a large car count as the 2016 racing season winds down across the Midwest.

The races will also be broadcast live on Speed Shift TV at

Cayden Carter captured victories on both nights of the Memphis Bottom Heavy Nationals held at the start of the month at SCS with his 10C modified. The Oskaloosa driver will be looking to keep his streak alive.

Tommy Elston was the winner in the late models while Jason Cook and Jeff Mueller staged a battle in the stock cars, splitting the wins.

More than two dozen sportmods participated in the Bottom Heavy Nationals, with the stock cars and modifieds also more than 20 racers, numbers the Fall Nationals should duplicate or exceed.

Grandstand tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for students. Pit passes will be $30 nightly or $55 for the two-day show.

For more info contact Mike Van Genderen at 6441-521-0330.

Missouri Department of Insurance Offers Free Assistance To Seniors During Medicare Open Enrollment 

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Insurance is encouraging Missourians eligible for Medicare to review their plan options and costs during this year’s open enrollment. To help Missouri consumers choose a plan that best meets their needs, the department offers free assistance through the CLAIM program.

CLAIM provides unbiased help to Missourians on Medicare and their caregivers. During the annual open enrollment period, which runs October 15 through December 7, consumers can change their Part D drug coverage or Medicare Advantage plans.

“Plans and prices can change from year to year and what you had last year may not be what is right for you this year,” said John Huff, director of the Insurance Department. “Contacting a CLAIM counselor could result in better coverage, more savings or both.”

Missouri consumers can ask questions by phone or arrange one-on-one counseling by calling 1-800-390-3330 or visiting The website also offers a list of free open enrollment events that CLAIM is hosting throughout Missouri during open enrollment.

CLAIM can also assist consumers, who have limited income, determine if they qualify for programs to help lower the cost of prescription drugs.

Consumers with complaints or questions about insurance can call the department’s Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-726-7390 or visit

About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration

The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals. The department’s seven divisions work to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.

Haunted House/Safe Stops Coming Soon!


by Andrea Brassfield

With Halloween less than two weeks away, local organizations are preparing activities for area trick-or-treaters.  On Thursday, October 27th, the Scotland County Care Center is hosting their first annual Haunted House.  The event will be open from 5:00-7:00 p.m. and admission is a free will donation.  The Haunted House will be located at the front entrance/activity room of the Care Center.  Everyone is invited.

The Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce is also hosting their annual Safe Stops on Monday, October 31st from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Children may visit Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce members for Trick-or-Treating.

You will see a bright orange flyer at participating businesses which have treats for the costumed little ones.  Crossing guards will also be posted at each corner of the Memphis Square where most of the members will be set up.

There are several MACC members who do not have a store front on or near the square, but do have treats at their business locations on Highway 136 and Highway 15.  Names of the participating MACC businesses will be published in the Memphis Democrat.  Only those businesses with an orange flyer are officially recognized as a Safe Stop.  A parent or adult should accompany the children.

As a reminder, Harlo Donelson is offering a Halloween Candy Buy Back.  The dental office will pay $4.00 per pound for your goodies, $3.00 he will give to you and $1.00 will be donated to the reading program at the elementary school.

Along with the candy and costumes comes the need for added caution as youngsters venture out onto the streets to trick-or-treat.  Drivers are asked to be extra safe this weekend.  Popular trick-or-treating hours are from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those times.

Children should be reminded to walk with an adult, remain on well-lit streets, if sidewalks aren’t available, walk on the far edge of the roadway facing traffic, and never cross between parked cars or out of driveways.

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween!!!

Chinese Delegates Agree to Buy $2.1 Billion More U.S. Soybeans

DES MOINES (Oct. 14, 2016) – Six weeks ago, Chinese buyers committed to purchase nearly $1.8 billion worth of U.S. soy, totaling 146 million bushels of U.S. soybeans. Friday, Chinese buyers made an even larger commitment, signing contracts worth $2.1 billion of U.S. soy, or 5.1 million tons.

The new commitments were signed at a ceremony held in Des Moines and attended by seven of the top Chinese buyers of U.S. soy, Chinese commerce officials, top Iowa state officials and representatives from the U.S. soy industry. The signing ceremony was hosted by the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and the Iowa Soybean Association. Governor Terry Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey were in attendance.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad talked about the trust, honor and respect that have helped foster the long relationship between Chinese president Xi Jinping and U.S. soybean farmers, sharing a photograph that shows the Chinese leader’s first visit to Iowa in 1985. “It’s pretty neat to have the president of China call you an ‘old friend,’” he stated.

This year, U.S. soybean farmers are projected to export a record amount of soy and soy products, up from 62.88 million metric tons of soy and soy products, valued at $27.7 billion, in 2015. International buyers are turning to U.S. soy for a variety of reasons, including its quality, sustainability and reliability, to name a few.

China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-products (CFNA) president Brian Zhenhu spoke about the trade collaboration between the U.S. and China. “This signing ceremony is just one manifestation of our cooperation,” he said.

These sentiments were echoed by the U.S. soy industry. “We were honored to be joined by a group of Chinese provincial officials and crush company representatives, who traveled 7,000 miles to meet with U.S. exporters to sign 16 purchasing agreements,” said Jim Miller, USSEC chair, American Soy Association (ASA) director and Nebraska soybean farmer. “These agreements are an example fo the strong partnerships between the U.S. soy value chain and the international buyers who purchase our crop.”

The U.S. Soybean Export Council connects U.S. soybean farmers with opportunities to improve human nutrition, livestock production and aquaculture. This mission is accomplished with a science-based technical foundation and a global network of partnerships including soybean farmers, exporters, agribusiness and agricultural organizations, researchers and government agencies.

For more information, contact Lisa Humphreys at (636) 449-6040 or

RICHARD W. BILLINGS (8/23/1946 – 10/17/2016)


Richard Wayne Billings, 70, of Gorin, died Monday, October 17, 2016 at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis.

He was born the son of Ross “Shorty” and Stella Margaret (Davis) Billings on August 23, 1946 on a hill in Scotland County.

Richard graduated from Wyaconda C-1 High School.   He joined the United States Army, attaining the rank of Sergeant, before being discharged in 1972.

He married the former Beverly Marie Hicks on May 28, 1988 in Kirksville.   She survives.

Richard worked as a machine operator at Metzler Automotive in Keokuk.  He was member of the United Steel Workers #444. Upon retirement, he devoted his time to farming.

He was a member of the American Legion and a former member of the Bible Grove Saddle Club.

Richard had a special interest in cattle, AC tractors, and his dog Ruby.   He was fond of his horses, cows, and dogs.   He always looked forward to reading the NEMO Trader when it came out.   Richard especially enjoyed spending time with his family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Tom Billings; and a stepson and stepdaughter-in-law, Chris and Cindy Van Hoozen.

He is survived by his wife, Beverly, of the home; his children, Lesia (Rick) Hunziker and Les (Erin) Billings of Kahoka and Kimberly (Kevin) Carr of Warsaw, IL; stepchildren, Jennifer (Troy) Esser and Shawna Stone and special friend, Bubba Hauk, of Memphis; grandchildren and step-grandchildren, Raelynn, Logan, Lauren, Vince, Garrett, Wyatt, Clint, Laura (Craig), and Trent (Amber); step grandchildren, Nichole (Jimmy), Caleb, John, Whitney, Emma, Grace, Phillip, Katie (Colton), Mason, Kenny, Jaycen, Heather (David), Carrissa (John), Nakiya, Kody and Kaleb; 22 step-great-grandchildren; numerous brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and friends.

Funeral services will be at noon on Thursday, October 20, at the Gerth Funeral Chapel in Memphis with Shawn McAfee, pastor of the Peaksville Christian Church, officiating.   Burial will follow in the Etna Cemetery.

Military rites will be performed by the Wallace W. Gillespie Memorial V.F.W. Post #4958 of Memphis.

Visitation is prior to the service, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Thursday, at Gerth Funeral Home.

Memorials are suggested to the Scotland County Cancer Fund or the Clark County Local Cancer Fund and can be left at or mailed to the Gerth Funeral Service, 115 S. Main St., Memphis, MO 63555.

Online condolences may be sent to the Billings family by signing the online guest book at

Arrangements are under the direction of the Gerth Funeral Service.



Proud parents Zach and Jessica McBee of Memphis are happy to announce the birth of their daughter Payton Leigh McBee on October 1, 2016 at Northeast Regional Medical Center in Kirksville, Missouri. Payton weighed 7 pounds, 14 ounces and was 21 1/2 inches long. Grandparents are Jim and Rhonda McBee of Memphis, Valerie Bair and Patrick Hines of Memphis, and Doug Bair of Kansas City. Payton is the McBee’s first child.

Scotland County Health Department Schedule

Thursday, October 20 – Clinic hours from 8:00-9:00 a.m. for immunizations. A nurse will be available at the Scotland County Nutrition site to do blood pressure checks.

Friday, October 21 – Clinic hours from 8:00-3:30 for fasting blood sugars, cholesterols and blood draws, immunizations, nail care, flu shots, etc.

Tuesday, October 25 – Clinic hours from 8-9:00 a.m. for fasting blood sugars and cholesterols and blood draws and from 12-2:30 p.m. for immunizations, blood pressure checks, nail care, flu shots, etc.

Thursday, October 27 – Clinic hours from 8:00-9:00 a.m. for immunizations.

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