May 8, 2008

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if the media was responsible for snipers? Now Im not saying that newspaper or television stations are training terrorists, but as more and more journalistic endeavors add public blogs and open access for unrestricted commentary I do believe we are facilitating character assassination at the very least.

In the digital era, our news is becoming much more readily available, not only in measures of time, but also in ability for consumers to interact. I believe this can be a good thing.

The Memphis Democrat encourages our readers to be active in reporting the news and also ask for consumers to feel free to share their opinions with us and the public.

The latter can be done by any author willing to follow a few simple guidelines, the most important of which, is signing your name at the completion of a letter to the editor.

The opinion piece can not make false statements of fact. The truth will set you free, and also will save a newspaper from a lawsuit. Nor can an opinion piece slander or libel an individual or entity. Granted, this is the gray area for most, particularly when government or public figures are involved as the law offers less protection to such the price of fame I guess.

A common misconception is that a letter to the editor must meet with the editors approval. Note to prospective writers, that would really limit our editorial pool, if authors had to agree with the newspaper owners opinion all the time. Thats why we put that little disclaimer on the editorial page from time to time, denoting that these opinions do not necessarily represent the opinions of the newspaper itself.

Sorry that may be a little confusing. Heres the policy in a nutshell dont lie, and dont make unverifiable accusations against others, and most importantly sign your name at the bottom.

You take away that final step and all the other rules go out the window. To me, this is the linchpin for the entire process. If you want to use my medium to share your thoughts with the public, the least you can do is put your name behind your opinion.

To often today, that isnt the case. With public message boards and open commentary found on more and more websites, including more and more media outlets, journalists are falling prey to the bottom line, trying to keep the public happy while destroying an important principal (not to mention the outlets integrity if you ask me).

I dont waste a lot of time on such message boards, nor do I give much thought to the anonymous comments found behind many of todays news stories. Thats because nearly every time I do, I get aggravated by what I see.

Such forums are free game for character assassinations and blatant misinformation. Im not saying that is all these types of outlets are good for, but at least this is a very unattractive side effect.

I often get news tips via e-mail. Many times these are simply links to local stories that have been broken by various other area media outlets.

I was looking at one such submission a few weeks ago and was shocked by the public commentary that followed the news story.

Sure I was appalled by some of the content, but I was far more discouraged that such material was even allowed by the media outlet, and then was located just lines below the real news.

Just inches below the facts as presented by the television station was totally wrong information signed by local bystander or some other fictitious pen name.

So this outlet where people turn for the news, is spreading anything but the news. People always joke that you cant believe everything you read in the newspaper. Well I hope they keep that thought in mind when viewing such garbage as is often disguised as news on these types of forums.

People should be free to share their opinions. But your right to freedom of expression ends at the tip of my nose. Thats what slander and libel laws are all about.

The media is supposed to work to protect the public from such crimes, not openly promote the offenses by offering up their viewers, listeners or readers to anonymous opinion that they obviously could care less about being fair or even factual.

Do these media outlets not have a legal advisor? Maybe the law has changed since I went to journalism school, but I was always taught that the author bears the bulk of the responsibility in libel and slander cases, but when none exists then it seems like the outlet takes the brunt of the prosecution.

My philosophy remains if you dont believe in what you are saying enough to sign your name to it, then it isnt worth the paper it is written on, or in this case the message board, comment post, digital blog

Local Students Graduate From Truman State University 

KIRKSVILLE, MO — Jordan Dunn of Bible Grove and Emily J. Ebeling of Memphis were among the students to graduate from Truman State University during spring commencement. Truman conducted graduation ceremonies May 12.

KatRina Burgess of Memphis also graduated with a Masters Degree in education.

Founded in 1867, Truman is Missouri’s public liberal arts and sciences university. Truman has the highest graduation rate among the state’s public colleges and universities. U.S. News & World Report has rated Truman as the No. 1 public university in the Midwest region for 21 consecutive years, and Washington Monthly ranked Truman as the No. 4 master’s university in the nation.

CPWSD#1 Announces Billing Changes

The Scotland County Consolidated Public Water Supply District #1 recently announced changes to its billing system as part of the recent meter upgrades for the rural water service provider.

CPWSD#1 of Scotland County would like to notify all of our customers they will now be receiving a monthly bill for their water service,” said office manager Kelly Frazier. “If you do not receive your bill by the 10th of the month, please call the office at 465-7200.

The company is also now offering online payment options through Payment Service Network (PSN).

CPWSD#1 will no longer accept debit or credit card payments in the office. Those types of payments will need to be made online through the Payment Service Network.

The company also noted there is no charge to pay by check in the office. Payment Service Network does charge a $1 check fee to use its electronic bill pay services.

Frazier noted that PSN had mailed information to customers, and while the mailer indicated the wrong state, the other information was accurate, including the website for registration. Customers can go online to register their account or can call PSN to set one up.

In addition to the billing changes, the rural water district announced it is now offering leak alert services. Customers can register their cell phone number with CPWSD#1, either by calling the office or submitting the cellular phone number and the service provider with their next payment. Once registered, customers will be able to receive text alerts if a water leak is detected in their service.

The rural water board expressed its appreciation for their customers patience and understanding during the recent transition to the new electronic meters and new billing system.

Scotland County Elementary School Releases 4th Quarter Honor Roll

Scotland County R-I Elementary School has released the fourth quarter honor roll for students in third through sixth grade.

Students named to the A honor roll in class 3A were Layla Baker, Kelsey Buckallew, Katelyn Burkholder, Kenna Campbell, Kwayde Hamilton, Javis Hauk, Morgan Jackson, Emery Kirchner, Elizabeth Lamb, Marshall McKee, Aria Mishra, Payden Rulon, Lily Wheeler, Hannah Whitney, and Sadie Williamson.

Named to the B honor roll were Emily Bergheger, Matyson Buford, Ian Dawson, Gavyn Dodge, Eddie Koser, Kallee Kratzer, Craig Pflum, and Silas Williams.

Students in class 3B earning A honor roll status included Braylon Campbell, Avery Cowell, Alexys Davis, Laney Doster, Colin Hatfield, Deana McKinney, Kenzington Miller, Ava Remley, Nathan Seaver, Cohen Small, Ciara Smith, Jacob Stott, and Maezy Swearingen.

The B honor roll included William Green, Kaley Kerkman, Sadie Soltis, and Cason Talbert.

The A honor roll for fourth grade class 4A consisted of Austin Ambrose, Evan Arnold, Keeley Brown, Lillian Frederick, Charlee Holland, Eleena Justice, Drayven Koser, Wesley McSparren, Lane Pflum, Levi Stott, and Letha Ward.

Named to the B honor roll were Kadence Burnett, Elizabeth Butler, Kamdyn Forest, Jayden Gerren, Mathew Heck, and Tayte Richmond.

Earning a spot on the A honor roll in class 4B were Dane Blessing, Carter Clatt, Kahlee Justice, Mason Myers, Lillian Reese, and Kaleab Stewart.

The B honor roll recipients were Landon Blake, Clinton Hale, Ryan Harvey, Autumn Huber, Sadie Jackson, Zada Ketchum, Trent Mallett, Macy Nolt, Carman Robinson and Haven Stoddard.

The A honor roll for class 5A consisted of Casidey Altobelli-Frederick, Hannah Campbell, Will Darland, Sadie Dilliner, Emma Gist, Jaci Knupp, Merit Miller, Layne Stott, Makyla Swearingen, and Beau Triplett.

Named to the B honor roll were Grayson Chance, Aden Drummond, Kwyn Hamlin, Owen Hassell, Karimah Jebreel, Mason Mallett, Kayden Miller, Caiden Nichols, and Destynee Small.

Earning a place on the A honor roll in class 5B were Cody Briggs, Taylor Egenberger, Brooklynn Fuller, Cherakee Hancock, Kassidee Jack, Brenna Phillips, Kendall Small, Marcus Smith, and Serina Vickers.

Logan Buford was named to the 5B B honor roll along with Reese Cook, Ariana Edwards, Megan Frederick, Kevin Henn, and Mason Parsons.

In class 5C, the A honor roll consisted of Bristol Alexander, Owen Brown, Larkyn Justice, Kennedy Middleton, Paton Miller, Jack Siegfried, Kylie Small, and Megan Wolfe.

Named to the B honor roll were Austin Curry, Vince Dale, Dylan Dawson, Holly Mauck, Rylee Pflum, and Desera Sweezer.

The class 6A A honor included Hugh Baker, Jadin Fuller, Kallen Hamlin, Clarence Koser, Hattie Mumford, Tori Peterson, Carlee Smith, and Fawntana Wells.

Named to the B honor roll were Mazy Dodge, Kaiden Foster, Madigan Frederick, Payton Frederick, Elias Hatfield, Nicholas Holt, Graydon Justice, Chloe Krise, Charlotte McRoberts, Janail Miller, Hailey Small, Matison Tinkle, and Alexis Wolfe.

In class 6B the A honor roll recipients were Emma Anders, Kendal Anderson, Corbin Blessing, Mariah Buckallew, Hunter Holt, Makynlee Jack, Taydem Morton, Carson Miller, Kennady Sapp, Emma Tinkle, and Mariah Vaughn.

Earning a spot on the B honor roll were Brooke Campbell, Chason Campbell, Kyndra Cochran, Alice Darland, Cynch Davis, Amiah Durham, Emma Harvey, Kaylee Hobbs, Lathan McAfee, Breyonna Mitchell, Piper Thompson, and Tanner Valle.

JOHN W. EGGLESTON (2/16/1948 – 6/15/2018)

John W. “Johnny Bill” Eggleston, 70, of rural Memphis, Missouri passed away Friday morning, June 15, 2018, at his home in the Brock community. The son of Austin Evert and Mildred Lough Eggleston, he was born February 16, 1948 at Ottumwa, Iowa.

He grew up on the family farm and attended the Scotland County R-1 School system graduating with the class of 1965.

John met and married Diane Kaye “Dee Dee” Schlotter on November 6, 1971 and he found a team player that helped him throughout his entire lifetime.

After he graduated from high school he went on to attend the Northeast Missouri State College and graduated in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Industrial Education. He had completed continuing education and accreditation in engineering, cooperative leadership and agriculture. John served in the U. S. Army from 1969 – 1971 serving a one year tour in Vietnam. Upon his discharge from the Army they moved to Kansas City and went to work as a certified structural engineering technician for the Black and Veatch Consulting Engineers there. In 1974, John and Dee Dee returned to Memphis, MO where John and his brother Stan were owner/ operator of Eggleston Farms. A corn, soybean and hay operation and owner/operator of John and Dee Enterprises, LLC., a seed and electronics sales business.

John joined the Board of Directors of Tri-County Electric Coop in Lancaster, MO in 1976 and completed his tenure there in 2011 serving as president of the board. He served as a director and past Chairman of the AMEC District II Rural Electric, Vice-President of Northeast Power Cooperative, director and secretary/treasure of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperative and director on the State Rural Electric Legislative Committee. He earned the NRECA Credentialed Cooperative Director Certificate and also the NRECA Board Leadership Certificate. He was a member of the Action Committee for Rural Electrification and the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives Political Action Committee. He was well known by both legislative parties at the state and national levels.

John was president of the POET Biorefining-Macon (Missouri’s first ethanol plant) and Northeast Missouri Grain Processors, LLC, vice-president of POET Biorefining- Ladonia and manager on the POET Biorefining- Cloverdale, Indiana LLC board from 1994 and until retiring in August 2017. He was the past director of the Missouri Institute of Cooperatives and was founding director of the Missouri Renewable Fuel Association. He also served as a director of the Missouri Corn Growers Association, a member of the Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri Soybean Association.

He was preceded in death by his son, Damen Eggleston, his parents, grandmother-in-law, Mary Drake, his father-in-law, Robert Schlotter and his brother-in-law, Bob Cox.

Survivors include his wife: Dee Dee Eggleston of the home; a brother: Stan (Patty) Eggleston; a sister: Jane Eggleston; a sister-in-law: Sharon Cox; his mother-in-law, Marilyn Schlotter; 3 nieces: Sara Eggleston, Julie (Micheal) Monroe and Jada Eggleston; a nephew Eric (Deb) Cox along with many other relatives and close friends, including his special friends Bob Henselman and Jimmy Curry.

In lieu of flowers Memorials are suggested to the Wallace W. Gillespie, V.F.W Post # 4958 of Memphis and can be left at or mailed to the Payne Funeral Chapel, 202 E. Madison St. Memphis, Missouri 63555.

A visitation was held Monday evening from 4 to 7 p.m. with the family receiving friends. As per his wishes cremation rites were accorded and there are private disposition plans at a later date.

Online condolences may be sent to the Eggleston family by logging onto www.paynefuneralchapel.com.

Arrangements were entrusted to the care of the Payne Funeral Chapel in Memphis.

Hite Named to Missouri S&T Honor List

ROLLA, MO – Missouri University of Science and Technology announces the names of students who made the honor list for the Spring 2018 semester.

Evan R. Hite, a sophomore engineering student from Memphis, was named to the list.

To be included on the honor list, students must have carried a minimum of 12 hours and had grade point averages of 3.2 or above out of a possible 4.0.

Founded in 1870 as the University of Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy, Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a research university of more than 8,800 students and part of the four-campus University of Missouri System. Located in Rolla, Missouri, Missouri S&T offers 98 degree programs in 39 areas of study and awards bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in engineering, the sciences, business and information technology, the humanities, and the liberal arts.

Show-Me State All Stars Fall Short in Classic All Star Games

Lane Pence, (front row , left) represented Scotland County in the McDonald’s/Herald Whig Classic All-Star game on the Missouri team.

It was the final showing for Scotland County R-I graduates Lane Pence and Ashleigh Creek, and unfortunately the Show-Me State didn’t fare well as Illinois picked up a pair of victories in Saturday’s McDonald’s/Herald-Whig Classic all-star basketball games.

Pence suited up for the Missouri boys who were 76-68 losers to Illinois. The Land of Lincoln continued its dominance in the boys action, improving to 33-2 overall in the 35th Annual event.

Pence scored five points and grabbed five rebounds for the Missouri squad, which trailed by as many as 16 points before closing out with a late run. Six-foot-five center Ben Amos of Quincy High School was crowned the games’ outstanding player, with a game-high 20 points to go along with six rebounds.

Peyton Plunkett of Palmyra won the Show-Me State top player award, posting a team-high 16 points and 10 rebounds in a losing effort.

The Show-Me State girls did not fare any better, falling to Illinois 71-58 in the games played at the Student Activity Center in John Wood Community College after a HVAC issue forced a venue change from Quincy University’s Pepsi Arena.

Creek finished with six points and eight rebounds for the Missouri squad.

Molly Penn, a 5-10 graduate of Quincy Notre Dame, was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player after posting a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Clark County’s Carrisa Bevans was named Missouri’s Outstanding Player after scoring 11 points to go with six rebounds.

Memphis UMC Welcomes Reverend Mary Lou Toft as New Pastor

The United Methodist Church in Memphis is excited to welcome and introduce Reverend Mary Lou Toft who will be serving as their new pastor beginning July 1st.  Rev. Toft is currently serving in Mt. Vernon, MO.

Reverend Toft is a Divinity School graduate with a degree in Theology.  She has been an Ordained Elder for the past fifteen years and has pastored and been in mission work for three years in Australia and New Zealand.  She was the first woman in Texas to be the Field Representative of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and has developed her ministry with years of being a Youth Pastor in United Methodist Churches in Missouri.

Reverend Toft’s earlier education includes a B.S. degree in Health and Physical Education from the University of Missouri.  She also earned a degree from Baylor University in Guidance and Counseling.  Her work experience includes 11 years as a high school guidance counselor, as well as coaching basketball, softball, and soccer.  Her hobbies include scuba diving and working with her three Alaskan Husky dogs.

DEBRA L. MARTIN (7/23/1964 – 6/9/2018)

Heaven opened and Debra Martin returned to God’s arms on Saturday, June 9, 2018 at 8 p.m., passing away at South Hampton Nursing Home in Columbia, MO at 53 years of age from prolonged degeneration of the heart and lungs.

Debra was born July 23, 1964 at Keosauqua, IA, the daughter of Charles Downing of Memphis and Carol Ann Rockhold of Arbela.

Debra was preceded in death by her grandparents, Nori and Beulah Rockhold of Arbela, MO and Victor and Irene Downing of Memphis.

Those surviving to cherish Debra’s memories are her mother, Carol of Clark County; her father Charles and family of Memphis; sisters Lorinda Murphy of Salem, IA, and Tammy of Memphis; plus a host of aunts, cousins and friends.

At Debra’s request, she has been entrusted to Gerth Funeral Service of Memphis for cremation. A short graveside memorial service will be held Sunday, July 8, 2018 at 3:30 p.m. at the Memphis Cemetery for family and friends.

KENNETH LEE BEELER (10/30/1935 –  6/13/2018)

Kenneth Lee Beeler, 82 of Kirksville, Missouri, formerly of Lancaster, Missouri, passed away on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at the University of Missouri Hospital in Columbia, Missouri.

The son of Herbert Orville and Mary Pearl (Elschlager) Beeler, he was born on October 30, 1935 in rural Lancaster, Missouri.  On May 28, 1954, Kenny was united in marriage to Marilyn Adams and to this union four children were born, Marcia, Kevin, Kurt and Lana.  On February 8, 1996 in Laughlin, Nevada, Kenny was united in marriage to Lucille Margaret (Hurd) Branscomb.

Survivors include his wife, Lucy Beeler of Kirksville, Missouri; his children, Marcia Vanlaningham and husband, Bobby of Kirksville, Missouri, Kevin Beeler of Fayetteville, North Carolina, Kurt Beeler and wife, Roberta of Lancaster, Missouri and Lana Ridgeway and husband, Jim of Kirksville, Missouri; two stepchildren, Donna McElroy of Kirksville, Missouri and Brian Branscomb and wife, Sissy of Jacksonville, Missouri;  17 grandchildren, Dustin, Cody and husband, Jared, Amanda, Kristen, Marissa, Tyler and wife, Whitney, Cecily, Chelsea, Natalee, Allison, Zane, Mandy and husband, Thomas, Hannah, Harley, Becca and husband, Darin, Kara and husband, Robert and Beth and husband, Chris; eight great grandchildren; Gage, Harper, Taryn, Allison, Lucas, Marshall, Caroline and Benjamin; one nephew, Jim Beeler and wife, Mary Ellen Beeler of Lancaster, Missouri; one niece, Trina Feuerborn of Blue Springs, Missouri; other family members and a host of many good friends.

Kenny is preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Marilyn on May 30, 1994; one grandson, Zachary Ridgeway; one brother, Forrest Junior Beeler; one nephew, David Eugene Beeler and one beloved cat, “Messo”.

Kenny enlisted in the United States Army serving during the Korean Conflict and received an honorable discharge. While he was in the United States Army, Kenny worked as a land surveyor.

Kenny was employed by Dial Printing where he did printing press work.  He was located in the Quad Cities, Kansas City, Missouri and Omaha, Nebraska areas.  He was later an owner of an auto parts store located in Unionville, Missouri, Princeton, Missouri and Lancaster, Missouri for a number of years.

Kenny loved his family, was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather and was a hardworking man. His hobby was working on and restoring old cars not only for himself but for friends as well, one piece at a time!

Funeral services were held on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at the Norman Funeral Home in Lancaster, Missouri with Sonny Smyser, Pastor of the Schuyler County Church of Faith officiating.  Music was special CD selections of “One More Day”, “One Piece At A Time” and “When I Get Where I’m Going”.  Visitation was held prior to the funeral services at the Norman Funeral Home in Lancaster, Missouri.

Pallbearers were Tim Welte, Thomas Bridgeman, Randy Whitlow, David Lamb, George Kethe and Steve Pearson.   Honorary pallbearers were Rex Beeler and Edward Lanham.

Burial was in the Arni Memorial Cemetery in Lancaster, Missouri with military rites being conducted by the Schuyler County American Legion Post 0784.

Memorials have been established for the Arni Memorial Cemetery in Lancaster, Missouri.

Online condolences may be expressed to the family by logging on to normanfh.com. Arrangements were under the direction of the Norman Funeral Home of Lancaster, Missouri.

CATHERINE RALPH (8/17/1934 – 6/17/2018)

Catherine Faye Ralph, 83, of Memphis died Sunday morning, June 17, 2018 at the Scotland County Care Center.

She was born the daughter of Wayne and Edith May (Couch) Ralph on August 17, 1934 at the family home in Scotland County.   She lived on the family homestead until moving to the Scotland County Care Center in October 2009.

Catherine attended the South Barker rural school.  She was a valuable helper to her parents, assisting in the hayfields and gardens.    She took care of all her family and was a good friend to many.   Catherine had a great love for cats and cared for many during her lifetime.

She was preceded in death by her parents and a brother-in-law, Lowell V. Jackson.

She is survived by her sister, Beulah Jackson of Memphis; nephew, Larry and wife Shellie Jackson of Memphis; great-nephew, David and wife Jodie Jackson of Memphis; great nieces Sadie, Morgan and Brooke Jackson, all of Memphis; and a special friend, Diane Kight, of Memphis.

Funeral services were held June 20 at the Gerth Funeral Chapel in Memphis with burial in the Memphis Cemetery.   Officiating the service was Leon Buford.   Gene Brown, Jed Jutte, Tony Martin, Brian Briggs, Richard Briggs and Jake Briggs served as pallbearers.

Memorials are suggested to the McAdow Cemetery or the Scotland County Care Center Activity Department and can be left at or mailed to the Gerth Funeral Service, 115 S. Main St., Memphis, MO 63555.

Condolences may be sent to the family of Catherine Ralph by signing the online guest book at gerthfuneralservice.com.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Gerth Funeral Service.

« Older Entries