June 26, 2008

Natural Disaster Drives Local Family to Riverside Communities

by Toby Champion

Well, Id just finished a chunk of work for a client and needed a break, and to be honest, it all sounded pretty exciting and might just be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a real-life natural disaster in action. So I suggested we throw some stuff into our campervan and drive down the next day. Michelle was up for it, and the plan immediately evolved into an attempt, however small, to help folks out down there with sandbagging or whatever they needed. So later that afternoon I collected a bright-red, fiberglass shovel the Memphis Democrat bought for the trip, and grabbed some gardening gloves and boots to throw in with our usual trip kit.

When we arrived in Hannibal, we learnt from the Hannibal Courier-Post that work on reinforcing the levee had pretty much finished, and that our help was more likely to be appreciated in either of the much smaller towns of Canton, 12 miles north of Quincy - with an aging levee many doubted would hold - and Clarksville, 25 miles south of Hannibal, with only the makeshift levee being built right now. We were tired though, so decided to spend the night in Hannibal for now.

We walked down to the riverside to see how high the river was. There were signs all along, hanging from orange and white tape, demanding we STAY OFF LEVEE, but we thought that just meant stay off the very top, so we pushed the stroller up and peered over the side anyway. Wow. The other side of the river certainly seemed a long way away. Pretty much everything on the other side of the levee was underwater, including most of the Welcome to Hannibal sign. Dramatic, exciting, awe-inspiring, curious and downright depressing all at once.

Pretty soon a cop on a mountain bike approached us and told us we werent supposed to be there, in a firm-but-fair sort of a way. Oops. Down we came, feeling lucky that we were neither ticketed nor arrested. We couldnt figure out what the big deal was about staying away, and were only to discover just why towns are policing their levees so heavily on the last day of our trip.

Michelle took our eight-month-old son Adam back to the motel to get him to sleep, and I continued wandering. It turned out the best place to be in Hannibal to see things close up was on the road-bridge that takes route 79 over Bear Creek to the south of the town. From the top of the bridge I could see the sort of thing you always see on TV during floods: the tops of road-signs and roofs above the water. Eerie, but also, it being just after sunset and with a whopping-great moon appearing above the trees on the south side of town, quite beautiful. When a launch carrying a couple of National Guard guys motored quietly around the walls of the very-much-underwater Clemens Field ballpark, its searchlight bouncing cleanly off the mucky, murky water, it all looked very pretty indeed. It got me thinking about how theres beauty to be found in a lot of otherwise nasty situations. And this is nasty: as I write, 24 people have died in the floods.

On the bridge I met Carol, whod worked the flood with the Salvation Army back in 1993. Despite the levee protecting most of the town that year, it was still a lot of work, handing out mops, disinfectant and food to those whose homes had flooded. She seemed exhausted even by the memory of it all.

Seeing road signs underwater is always an odd sight. Even odder, though, was how Michelle and I both kept noticing road and other signs looking strange throughout our brief trip.

The next morning, after breakfast at the Mark Twain Dinette, we packed up and made a break for Clarksville the long way round, as route 79 was underwater just past the Mark Twain Caves. On the way, discovering that the Champ Clark Bridge taking the 54 across just north of the town was closed, we headed into Louisiana to find out why. We parked just this side of the bridge, and I walked onto the bridge to take a look. I ended up walking the 300-yard round-trip to the other side, and it was a pretty intense experience. Id not walked over the Mississippi before, and to do it when it was this wide, this quiet, and this threatening, was something special. The only company I had on the bridge was a biker who passed me there and back. The bridge, Ive since learnt, has become quite the tourist attraction. Im glad others will be able to have this unusual experience.

Once back on the east side, we drove downtown. This was where it starts getting real. The stuff you normally only see on TV, right in front of you. 3rd Streetthe 79was flooded as far as we could see. A trailer just up from the water, piled with a familys possessions, a king-size mattress plonked on top. Family and friends completing a wall covered in black plastic sheeting round the front of their house: those that arent standing in a green Jon boat are wearing waders. A guy in a pale-blue pick-up with mud stuck on the bottom is handing out white aluminum cans of drinking water to their tired-looking neighbours. And another bunch of family and friends are building a wall around their house, which looks like its on its very own island. To add the feeling that things are a bit rushed, theres a four-foot pile of sand ready to go in bags... the pile is in a foot of water.

When youre watching this kind of stuff on TV, sometimes you wonder how you can help. Maybe make a call, send some money. When I was down there though, I felt like a useless idiot. I wanted to offer to help, but the embarrassing truth is that I did my back in on Monday mowing the yard. I could barely lift my 13-pound baby, let alone a 75-pound sandbag. Michelle was going to have to do the actual helping, and she was hanging out with Adam back on Main Street. Rigid with worries that someone was going to ask me who I was and what I was doing here, I sloped off, past the first of many pipes I saw chucking flood-water out of basements. The arc was about eight-foot long.

At the front of a red-brick building that used to be Louisiana Plastic Inc. Warehouse No. 1, with cute fake windows painted on the sides, there was the whole flood-defence set-up: three feet of sandbags with white 4mm plastic sheet thrown over; two or three bags on top of that; a step-ladder over the whole thing; and a couple of green plastic pipes taking water pumped out. And a mug of coffee sat on top.

By this time I was glad our next and final stop would be somewhere where we knew we could actually help. Just before we left we met Kirsty, a nurse whose daily commute is south along the 79. Were just idiot flood tourists, I explained. Oh, me too. But Im going down to Clarksville next to help with sandbagging. Ooh, so are we! I explained, relieved that she could relate to my feeling a bit silly and excited that suddenly, we were all in it together, teaming up and helping out.

Back in the van, we took the 54 back to Bowling Green, the 61, then WW and W winding through Pike County into picturesque Clarksville.

No chance of being an idiot flood tourist here. Flashing red and blue lights everywhere. A cop stopped us at a roadblock. You here to help? he asked, and suggested we park up the road and wait for a shuttle bus to take us into town. Declining the bus, we walked the few blocks instead, Michelle carrying Adam and me pushing the stroller with the shovel wedged behind our daypack. We were guided by a local through alleys, and the intensity racked up as we approached downtown. National Guard trucks passed loaded with sand, one with I love the army! chalked on the drivers door. Pick-ups carrying filled sandbags and equipment edged by as we detoured onto muddy lawns, our borrowed off-road stroller proving its worth.

Once we hit Howard Street we realized this artists town of 490 residents had become the centre of attention for hundreds of volunteers, scores of National Guard personnel, and the national media. Four satellite trucks, TV cables everywhere, and the roar of three enormous pumps helping prevent the storm drain system from backing up behind the levee. We navigated the stroller through a group of twenty or so young people wearing white tees and yellow headbands, hard at work sandbagging; I later learnt they were inmates brought in to help. We signed in with the AmeriCorps team at City Hall, signed waivers, and tied orange plastic tape around our wrists. Collected some bottles of water, bought some snacks, and headed the long way round to Main Cross Street, where we were to help protect the lumberyard.

Shielded from the river on the east by a makeshift levee eight-feet high, with the water already a few feet up, around twenty folk were hard at work filling and placing bags. When we arrived, they were racking their brains for an Irish drinking song to sing. The only one I know escaped my mind in the heat of the moment, so my first real opportunity to help was dashed already. This lot had clearly been at it for hours, and had formed quite the team. Four bag-filling stations formed a square around a pile of sand, each consisting of a couple 2x4s resting on a pair of sawhorses supporting two upside-down traffic cones with their tops sawed off, acting as funnels into which people shoveled sand into bags held up by a colleague on the far side.

I handed Adam to one of the volunteers, and Michelle got on with some sandbag-holding while I joined Bob Reid on a nearby seat. He clearly deserved the break. Bob helps run the Clarksville Museum, and had been working the last five days to get all of our treasures up above the 93 level. We got five feet of concrete blocks, made a frame from 2x4s on top of them, then turned our display cases sideways and put them on top of that frame. In our office, theres a stairway to a little storage room, over the entryway. You cant walk in their sideways: weve just got it stacked clean to the ceiling... So I have a feeling that everything will Im gonna think positive. Im optimistic that everything will be alright.

Bob boasted that the plantings round the outside of the museum had been planned with the flood in mind: arborist Monica Barker chose species that would survive a flood. Yellowtwig dogwood, stuff like that. So she thought ahead of time. Those plants can resist being drowned for a while.

Charlie Meyers, an employee at the lumberyard and long-time Clarksville resident, explained that quite a few of the helpers were builders who needed the yard to stay in business. The group, I was surprised to learn, had no one in charge, and had previously been helped by some Amish, a Boy Scout group, prisoners, the National Guard and a couple of folks from St. Louis.

So, we did end up helping for an hour or so. Michelle held sandbags, and I even managed to get some action out of that shovel, as you can see in the photo. People seemed to really enjoy Adams presence, which is always nice to see.

When wed had enough, we walked back to the van along the roads wherever possible. We noticed more signs, including one under a foot of water that read ROAD CLOSED 1 MILE AHEAD. The drive on the W back to the 61 was pretty hairy. We were passed by a lot of big trucks carrying sand, and none of them were holding back.

We spent another couple of nights in Hannibalwhere the water had gone down a foot since we were first there, because of breaches upstreamand I watched Worlds Most Amazing Videos and rested my back.

On Friday, with me finally off the Tylenol, we left for home, stopping at Quincy and Canton on the way. The Memorial Bridge is closed as the west end is underwater, and the riverfront park on the Quincy side is under too. I mooched down to the riverfront. I met a tall, black pony-tailed guy with a camera round his neck hanging around a couple of boats getting ready to leave. I asked if he knew where the boats were going. Well, I dont know about that one, but this one is taking me to see my house and farmland, which is all underwater. I gulped. Im sorry. I offered. I appreciate that. Hope it works out in the end, I said. Yeh, in the end, itll be okay. We let him get on with his life and got back on the road.

Our final visit was with Canton, which over the previous week had National Guard and volunteers reinforcing its aging levee. We only spent five minutes or so there, and were struck that the town seemed deserted and that the town is very, very flat indeed. We tried to take a shortcut back onto the 61, but had to stop as the road goes through a break in the levee, and was closed by a wall of sandbags, staffed by a couple of National Guard guys.

That trailer home over there, the owners just upped and left, drove it out with their truck, at three in the morning. And the guards could explain why the levees are being so heavily policed: Some guy in Quincy in 1993 had had this big row with his girlfriend, and didnt want her to come home, so he got up onto a levee and started pulling bags out of it. It gave way in the end, and a lot got flooded. Hes still in jail. That was James Scott, who was convicted of intentionally causing a catastrophe.

As we headed northwest towards Memphis on the 61, we thought wed seen the last of the Mississippi for a while, but several miles on, we were driving with the river right next to us, above us, a mile or two from where it normally runs.

So the Memphis Democrat shovel is still in Clarksville, hopefully no longer necessary, but in a good home nevertheless. Maybe sometime, once things have dried up well pay the place another visit, see the work of some of those artists and figure out where on earth the river was supposed to be that day.

Toby Champion, originally from London, England, relocated to Scotland County a year ago. He, his wife Michelle Day, and their son Adam now call Memphis home.

Hay Ground Bids Approved at December Memphis Board of Aldermen Meeting

The Board of Aldermen of the City of Memphis met in regular session on Thursday, December 7, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. in Memphis City Hall.  Mayor William Reckenberg called the meeting to order.  Aldermen present were:  Tom Glass, Andrea Brassfield, Chris Feeney, and Lucas Remley.  Others in attendance were:  City Supt. Roy Monroe; Utility Supt. Stacy Alexander; City Marshal Bill Holland; citizen Laura Schenk; reporter Rick Fischer; and City Clerk Angela Newman.

Alderman Remley moved and Alderman Glass seconded to approve the minutes of the November 2, 2017 council meeting.  Vote:  Glass, Brassfield, Feeney, and Remley, all aye.

Alderman Remley moved and Alderman Brassfield seconded to approve payment of the bills as presented.  Vote:  Glass, Brassfield, Feeney, and Remley, all aye.

Citizen Participation

Laura Schenk thanked the City on behalf of the Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce for their help in getting the Christmas lights ready for the holiday season.

CDBG Demolition Grant Close-Out Public Hearing

Lucinda Clubb, Project Administrator-Northeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission, conducted a public hearing to close-out the Community Development Block Grant Demolition Grant received by the City.  Demolition of all properties have been completed which included twelve residential structures and one commercial structure.  Clubb will have an audit with Denise Dierks, Compliance Specialist with the Department of Economic Development, in January which will complete the project.

Alderman Glass moved and Alderman Feeney seconded stating the City is satisfied with the demolition work that was completed and agree to move forward with the final steps to close-out the project.  Vote:  Glass, Brassfield, Feeney, and Remley, all aye.

Open Bids – Lake ShowMe Hay Ground

Six bids were received for hay harvesting services at Lake ShowMe.  Bids received were as follows:

David H. Martin – $8.75/large bale; Philip Zimmerman – $15.00/large bale; Larry Jackson – $16.60/large bale; Curtis Mallett – $20.53/large bale;  Chris Mallett – $21.79/large bale; and Mitchell Pence – $17.75/large bale.

Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Glass seconded to accept the high bid from Chris Mallett in the amount of $21.79 per large bale.

BILL NO. 17-25 – Authorize Lake Showme Hay Ground Agreement

Bill No. 17-25 – Authorize Lake ShowMe Hay Ground Agreement – was presented and read two times by City Clerk Angela Newman.  Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Glass seconded to adopt Bill No. 17-25.  Vote:  Glass, aye; Brassfield, aye; Feeney, aye; and Remley, aye.

Open Bids – Opening and Closing Of Graves

One bid was received for the opening and closing of graves at the Memphis Cemetery.  The bid received was from Sam Redding/Clark County Memorial Shop in the amount of $450.  Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Glass seconded to accept the bid.  Vote:  Glass, Brassfield, Feeney, and Remley, all aye.

BILL NO. 17-26 – Authorize Opening And Closing Of Graves Agreement

Bill No. 17-26 – Authorize Opening and Closing of Graves Agreement – was presented and read two times by City Clerk Newman.  Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Glass seconded to adopt Bill No. 17-26.  Vote:  Glass, aye; Brassfield, aye; Feeney, aye; and Remley, aye.

BILL NO. 17-27 – Sewer User Charge Rates

Bill No. 17-27 – Sewer User Charge Rates – was presented and read two times by City Clerk Newman.  Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Brassfield seconded to adopt Bill No. 17-27.  Vote:  Glass, aye; Brassfield, aye; Feeney, aye; and Remley, aye.  The new sewer rates will be effective as of January 1, 2018.

BILL NO. 17-27      

Coverage Acknowledgment With Moperm

Alderman Glass moved and Alderman Remley seconded to approve the coverage acknowledgment agreement with Missouri Public Entity Risk Management Fund.  Vote:  Glass, Brassfield, Feeney, and Remley, all aye.

Total Plan Solutions – Health Insurance Renewal Quote

Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Brassfield seconded to approve the group health insurance renewal with Total Plan Solutions for 2018.  Vote:  Glass, Brassfield, Feeney, and Remley, all aye.

Rates for calendar year 2018 are as follows: Employee – $442.69/month;  Employee/Spouse – $674.47/month; Employee/Children – $546.75/month;       Family – $844.86/month.

The new rates represented an increase of less than $4,000 in total maximized exposure amount from the 2017 rates.

Department Reports

City Superintendent Roy Monroe reported he had contacted Sparks Construction regarding the removal of the ramp at the swimming pool and the cost of a removable ramp but have not heard back from them.

The Department of Conservation is asking for further information on the archery range to possibly construct the range larger than originally planned which could be 90% funded.

Monroe reported the estimated costs to seal coat the parking lots at Johnson Park is $8,914.00.  The salt shed being constructed by the Road and Street department is now complete.  The new transformer bank behind Oakwood Industries has been completed by the Electric Department and the Water Department has been changing out water meters with new electronic read meters.  There will be an inspection by Department of Natural Resources of the recycling building and equipment purchased with Solid Waste Management Funds on Monday, December 11th.

Monroe also reported the brush under the 69kv line outside of town needs to be cut.  Alderman Remley suggested contacting the County to see if they could use their equipment to assist with the project.

Utility Supt. Stacy Alexander reported he had travelled to Quiver River Electric Coop in Troy Missouri, along with Tri-County Electric representatives, to view their new metering system by Landis and Gyr.  Alexander had also attended the quarterly Missouri Public Utility Alliance meeting in Columbia earlier in the day.

Aldermen Reports

Alderman Feeney discussed the City’s policies regarding sewer repairs being done on private property and at what point the City should become involved.  It was agreed that a written policy be implemented to include inspections by City personnel and a copy be mailed to the main contractors doing work in this area to alert them of our policies.  City personnel should also contact any other contractors when they see there will be work done as shown on a Dig-Rite locate order from Missouri One Call.

Feeney also asked about the ability to update our mapping system as needed.  Supt. Alexander will contact Midland GIS to inquire about training on updating the system.

Alderman Glass moved and Alderman Brassfield seconded to adjourn.  Vote:  Glass, Brassfield, Feeney, and Remley.

Meeting adjourned at 7:58 p.m.

Scotland County Senior Nutrition Center

MENU

Thursday, Dec. 14 – Swiss Steak, Scalloped Cabbage, Buttered Peas, Slice Bread, Pudding/Fruit

Friday, December 15 – Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy/Dressing, Green Beans, Cranberry Sauce, Hot Roll, Cherry Dessert

Monday, December 18 – Beef and Noodles, Mashed Potatoes, Lima Beans, Mandarin Oranges, Hot Roll, Cookie

Tuesday, December 19 – Roast Pork, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Sauerkraut, Green Beans, Bread, Cake

Wed., December 20 – Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Buttered Carrots, Hot Roll, Fruited Jell-O

Thursday, Dec. 21 – Turkey Tetrazzini, Tomato and Zucchini Blend, Lettuce Salad, Bread, Fruit Salad

ACTIVITIES

Thursday, December 14 – Card party at 5:00 p.m.

Friday, December 15 – Join us for our Christmas Meal here at the center.

Sunday, December 17 – Center rented today.

Wednesday, Dec. 20 – Board and Business Meeting at 1:00.  Volunteer and Board Christmas Party at 1:30 p.m.  All welcome!

Thursday, Dec. 21 – Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

SCR-I School Menus

Breakfast

Thursday, December 14 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Friday, December 15 – Sausage/Gravy, Biscuits, Choice of Cereal, Apple Cinnamon Muffin, Banana, Juice/Milk

Monday, December 18 – French Toast Sticks, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Fruit Medley, Juice Milk

Tuesday, December 19 – Scrambled Eggs, Choice of Cereal, Hash Browns, Toast/Jelly, Grapes, Juice/Milk

Wed., December 20 – Blueberry Bagel/Cream Cheese, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Apple Wedges, Juice/Milk

Thursday, December 14 – Cook’s Surprise

Lunch

Thursday, December 14 – Chili Soup, Broccoli Cheese Soup, Hamburger Bar, Peanut Butter Sandwich, Pickle Spear, Cheese Stick, Saltine Crackers, Cinnamon Apple Slices, Fresh Fruit

Friday, December 15 – Pizza Roll-Ups, Fish N Cheese Sandwich, Green Beans, Strawberry Shortcake, Sliced Peaches, Fresh Fruit

Monday, December 18 – Crispy Chicken Strips, Mini Corn Dogs, 5th/6th Grade Chef Salad, Macaroni and Cheese, Mixed Vegetables, Mandarin Orange Slices, Fresh Fruit

Tuesday, December 19 – School Made Pizza, BBQ Meatballs/Roll, 5th/6th Grade Taco Bar, Vegetable Sticks/Dip, Peas, Applesauce, Fresh Fruit

Wed., December 20 – Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Chicken Nuggets, 5th/6th Grade Potato Bar, Tri Potato Patty, Creamed Peas, Sliced Pears, Fresh Fruit

Thursday, December 21 – Sack Lunch

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Memphis City Council Approves Major Sewer Rate Increases of 2018

If you’ve ever felt like you flushed money down the drain, well it’s now going to be even more costly. Faced with a looming $4.5 million upgrade to the municipal lagoon and waste-water treatment system, the Memphis City Council on Thursday night unanimously approved a significant sewer rate increase.

The council voted 4-0 to increase the minimum usage charge as well as the cost per hundred gallons for sewer service to take effect January 1st. Currently city sewer customers are paying a monthly $6.70 service charge in addition to $0.27 per 100 gallons of usage. Those rates will jump to a $12.65 service fee with a $0.435 rate per each 100 gallons of use.

Previously the average customer paid $18.58 a month for sewer services for 4,400 gallons of use. Under the new rates, that average cost will jump to $31.79, an increase of 58% .

The price hike came in well below a proposed cost of $57.87 for the average 4,400 gallons of use first suggested during preliminary hearings with the USDA regarding financing the city’s looming sewer upgrades.

Voters approved a $7.9 million levy proposal in April of 2016 authorizing the city to borrow funds up to that amount, leveraging future revenues for water and sewer services to pay for upgrades to the municipal water plant, sewer lines, water tower and lagoon. The issue passed with 76% of the vote.

The city is moving closer to transitioning the lagoon treatment process to a land-application system, which would apply the wastewater to agricultural ground, in an effort to meet growing environmental standards administered by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Part of that process included a recent land purchase adjacent to the lagoon, which will accommodate a large percentage of the proposed irrigation system.

City officials indicated the next step in the process will be improvements to the existing sewer lines in an effort to remedy storm water inflow, which could help reduce the scope of the land-application process by reducing the amount of water entering the system.

While the new rates go into effect at the first of the year, they won’t appear on consumers statements until the February billing cycle, which relates to January usage.

Extension to Host Christmas Music Concert Fundraiser December 20th

A number of local performers are joining forces once again to help out the local University of Missouri Extension Office. Scotland County Extension will host a Christmas Music Concert fundraiser on Wednesday, December 20th at 7 p.m. at the Memphis Theatre.

Lonnie Erwin, Angela Neese, Nathaniel Orr, Harlo Donelson, Paige McClamroch, Schelle Cooley and Cole and Lindsay Tippett will all take the stage to perform a wide variety of Christmas music. The event will also feature a special community ensemble.

Cost of admission for the event is $8 at the door, with all proceeds going to the Scotland County Extension Office. For more info call 660-465-7255.

Rick Fischer Signing Off For Final Time After 35 Years at KMEM Radio

Rick Fischer has been at home behind the microphone at KMEM 100.5 FM for the past 35 years.

Rick Fischer’s very first day at work ended with the broadcaster signing off as KMEM went off the air that night. Now after 35 years broadcasting over those same airwaves after KMEM first took to the air March 29, 1982, Fischer will be signing off for the last time as he closes out a historic broadcasting career with the Memphis radio station.

“It has been a heck of a ride,” said Fischer, who will call it quits at KMEM FM 100.5 on December 29th. “There have been moments of jubilation and celebration and times of tragedy and tears, and everything in between.”

The names Rick Fischer, and KMEM are synonymous for most area listeners, a fact that was almost derailed before it ever got started.

Fischer, who grew up in Luray and graduated from Wyaconda High School, was an aspiring actor, working toward a theatre arts and English degree at Iowa Wesleyan University in Mt. Pleasant, IA.

“I didn’t have any illusions of grandeur,” said Fischer. “I wasn’t planning on packing my bags for Hollywood, but I did have hopes of getting involved in theatre somewhere.”

That wasn’t always the case. Fischer started out his college life in pursuit of a teaching degree with thoughts of possibly becoming a coach as well.

That changed when one of his professors convinced him to take part in one of the school’s theatrical productions.

“I had enjoyed being part of  a few productions in high school, but this was something entirely different, as the college performances drew huge crowds,” said Fischer. “I can still remember, my first line was in a comedy, and the crowd erupted in laughter. I was hooked.”

But while he was taking part in productions like Hello Dolly and Shakespeare’s tragedy Richard III, Fischer got his first taste of radio, doing “some work” for the campus radio station.

“It was just a small broadcast system that went out over the campus phone lines,” said Fischer. “Some of us would get together on Saturday nights and we’d bring our own albums and broadcast.”

But theatre was still the lure for Fischer. After graduating in 1981, he went on the road touring as an actor with the last remaining tent comedy theatre in America, the Tobie and Susie Show, based out of Mt. Pleasant.

“The group used to tour this area, and also played at state fairs in Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Illinois.”

During school Fischer had worked with Showtime Talent, Inc. providing lighting and stage service for country music shows.

Fischer said it was thrilling to work on productions for the likes of Johnny Cash. But it was ultimately a bad experience in the field that ultimately led Fischer back home.

Fischer had contracted to provide lighting and stage services for a Waylon Jennings performance, but the singer was unable to take the stage, and the concert was canceled, causing the promoter to chose not to pay for the stage services.

“Who knows, I may have continued on that path if it hadn’t been for that,” said Fischer. “But after that I came home.”

Fischer was uncertain of his future career path until his mother, Venice Fischer-Barclay, spotted a small newspaper article in the Daily Gate of Keokuk announcing the start of a new radio station in Memphis.

But it went beyond her good fortune, as Fischer had to persevere to nail down the shot at what turned into his life-long career.

“I went to Memphis and met with station owner Sam Berkowitz,” said Rick. “I was persistent, I needed a job”.

Finally after his third round of interviews, Fischer landed the job as the station’s nighttime disc jockey as it prepared to go on the air in 1982.

Roughly a year and a half later, Jim Sears joined the station as its news director, and a spot opened up for the morning DJ services, two life-changing experiences for Fischer.

The two friends spent the next 13 years entertaining listeners with their popular morning show.

“I can’t fully explain how much fun that was,” Fischer said. It was craziness, but a wonderful kind of crazy working with Jim. He was the funniest guy I have ever known.”

The run came to an end after 13 years when Sears was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives. Fischer took over as the station’s news director and then sadly had to report on his friend’s passing in a tragic auto accident less than a year later.

“It was difficult not being able to work with Jim anymore, but when I got the news of the crash that Wednesday before Thanksgiving, that was the saddest day I’ve ever had.”

For the next 20 plus years, Fischer served as news director at KMEM, serving through two sales of the radio station and countless life-changing stories such as the farm crisis and the Flood of 1993.

“I think that is what ultimately drew me to radio and kept me right where I’m at,” said Fischer. “I like being at, or near the center of things when they are happening.”

That was the case one afternoon in Wayland when Fischer was among a throng of reporters present for a campaign stop by presidential candidate Bill Clinton.

He explained how the buses were late arriving and when they finally did appear, it was just momentarily before pressing on to the next stop.

“Clinton answered a few questions before finally getting to me,” said Fischer. “He told me ‘fella it is going to have to be quick, we’re running out of time’. I asked a quick question and in that 60 seconds he convinced me he was going to be the next president of the United States.”

Later Fischer found himself seated across the table from Willie Nelson for an interview with the iconic country music star during a benefit concert event in Unionville.

Over the years he had similar meetings with the Oakridge Boys, Lorrie Morgan and one of his favorite interviews of all time, Aaron Tippin.

“I am very blessed,” said Fischer. “I was lucky enough to be the person in this seat, who got to be a part of all of these amazing interviews and to meet all of these famous folks.”

KMEM also put Fischer front stage for some memorable celebrations via the station’s sports coverage including Mizzou college athletics and St. Louis Cardinals baseball.

Fischer spent nearly 30 years broadcasting Clark County football and was there for the 2008 state championship.

“I can’t do justice trying to explain the joy and the excitement generated by these championship seasons,” said Fischer. “I was at Faurot Field in 1989 for Putnam County’s state championship loss and then I got to experience the ultimate celebration in 2008 at the Edwards Jones Dome in St. Louis when the Indians won it all.”

It was times like this that were at the heart of Fischer’s drive to be a good steward of his community.

“A wise man told me once that the way to make a radio station successful was to support the community and its activities,” said Fischer. “That became a life mission for me. I’ve always tried to be a best friend to this community and an avid supporter of everything that goes on here.”

Fischer said he was blessed to have worked with three different ownership groups which all understood the connection to community. It started with founder Sam Berkowitz, continued under the leadrship of Keith and Ruth Ann Boyer as well as Jeff and Denise Boyer of the Boyer Broadcasting Group, and remains imperative with current owners Mark and Karen McVey and Mark and Lisa Denney.

Now after 35 years behind the microphone, Fischer said it is time to sign off for the final time.

“I have been dealing with some health issues, but let me assure you I’m not dying,” Fischer said. “It has just opened my eyes to the fact that it is time to step away, to finally spend some more time with my family.”

Fischer praised the thankless sacrifices made by his wife, Teresa, over the years to support his career.

“She worked her fingers to the bone and always did so behind the scenes,” Rick said. “I can never repay that kind of devotion.

“When I got married 30 years ago, I told Teresa that I loved her but she had to know what she was getting, and I was already married to this radio station. For all these years my family has waited for me while I was covering the news. Now it is time for me to reciprocate. It is time to do some healing, some resting and to get healthy and it is time for me to make up for some of the things my family has missed out on.”

Lady Tigers Hold Off Putnam County Rally for 50-40 Win

Ashleigh Creek goes high to snag an offensive rebound in the victory Friday night over Putnam County.

It was a night of peaks and valleys for the Lady Tigers, but Scotland County was able to come out on top Friday night at home with a 50-40 win over Putnam County.

SCR-I got off to a great start as Nova Cline had six points before a three-pointer by Katie Feeney gave SCR-I a 9-0 lead and forced a quick Putnam County timeout.

The Lady Tigers kept the pressure on as Feeney and Julie Long both connected on three-pointers. Cline converted a three-point play at the buzzer to give SCR-I a 20-10 lead.

Kaylyn Anders scored six points in the second period and SCR-I looked poised to pull away after Feeney made a steal on defense and converted on the fast break, pushing the lead to 32-18.

But the SCR-I offense went cold, allowing the Midgets to trim the deficit to 33-23 at the half.

That trend carried over into the third period. The Lady Tigers managed just five points during that eight minute stretch, allowing the Midgets to pull within 38-34 heading into the fourth period.

Baskets by Anders and Madie Bondurant gave the Lady Tigers some breathing room to start the fourth quarter before Putnam County rallied to trim the deficit to 42-39 with 4:42 left to play, to force a Scotland County timeout.

The stoppage paid off, as Ashleigh Creek scored in the paint and then sank a pair of free throws. Feeney scored on a drive to the rim and Anders sealed a 8-1 SCR-I run with a bucket in the paint to give SCR-I the 50-40 win.

Cline led Scotland County in scoring with 15 points. Feeney finished with 12 points while Anders posted a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Scotland County improved to 5-2 on the season with the victory.

Pence Powers Tigers Past Putnam County 62-44

Lane Pence poured in 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help power SCR-I past Putnam County.

Lane Pence was a man on a mission Friday night in Memphis as he helped Scotland County power past Putnam County 62-44. The senior had a monster night, pouring in 25 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

Pence went to work right out of the gates, scoring the contest’s first points on a drive to the hoop. That helped fuel a 10-3 SCR-I run that forced a Putnam County timeout with 4:41 left in the quarter.

Will Fromm and Pence combined to score the next nine points for SCR-I, which led 19-12 after one quarter of play.

The second period started a bit sluggish for SCR-I, which didn’t get on the board until the 5:29 mark on a bucket by Brett Monroe. Fromm added back-to-back scores to make it 25-17. Putnam County answered with a 7-0 run before Pence sank a three-pointer. He added a bucket just before the buzzer to extend the halftime margin to 32-24.

The Midgets wouldn’t go away. Putnam County pulled within four before a basket by Stephen Terrill. Pence scored on consecutive inbounds plays to help push the margin back to double digits late in the second period. Jared Dunn sank four free throws, before Monroe scored on an offensive rebound at the buzzer to put SCR-I on top 48-34.

Terrill extended the lead with back-to-back scores to start the final period and SCR-I sealed the game at the free throw line, making 8 of 10 from the line in the quarter, and 13 of 17 on the night.

In addition to Pence’s big night, Fromm finished with 13 points while Terrill had nine and Dunn added seven for the Tigers who improved to 4-2 with the victory.

Milan Spoils SCR-I’s Home Opener With 4th Quarter Rally

Brett Monroe had 11 points in the loss to Milan.

Stepping on its home court for the first time all season seemed to be the cure for Scotland County, which had struggled offensively to start the season. The Tigers jumped out to an early lead Tuesday night versus Milan and maintained that advantage until the fourth quarter when the Wildcats rallied to take the 62-55 win.

In a rematch from the Novinger Tournament championship game just two days prior, SCR-I looked poised to avenge their lone loss of the year. Will Fromm got the Tigers off to a strong start with six points in the opening period as the Tigers led 15-14.

After struggling from long range in the three games at the Novinger Tourney, SCR-I turned things around on their home court. Brett Monroe connected on his second three pointer of the contest to help the Tigers hold a 30-29 advantage at the intermission.

Monroe and Lane Pence both connected from behind the arc in the third period, but Milan’s half-court trap started to take its toll on the SCR-I offense, which managed just four field goals in the fourth quarter. Freshman Dominic Dabney came off the bench for Milan to spark the comeback win. He scored eight of his 13 points in the final period as the Wildcats pulled away for the 62-55 win.

Pence led Scotland County in scoring with 14 points. Monroe, Fromm and Matthew Woods each finished with 11 points as Scotland County fell to 2-2 on the season.

Milan was led in scoring by Eddie Gonzalez with 14 points and Dabney with 13.

Five Tigers Earn Academic All-State Honors as Post Season Awards Announced

Coach Troy Carper spent plenty of time at the podium at his inaugural post season awards banquet as head coach of the Scotland County football program.

Carper was proud to announce that five members of his squad were honored on the Missouri Academic All-State Team.

Recipients must be starters on offense or defense and must score a 25 or higher on the ACT or 1740 on the SAT, or post a 3.5 non-weighted grade point average or higher, or rank in the top 10% of his class.

The Missouri Football Coaches Association (MFCA)  recognized Will Fromm, Parker Triplett, Luke Triplett, Mason Kliethermes, and Stephen Terrill as Academic All-State football players.

Carper also announced the MFCA All-District award winners:

1st Team – Gage Dodge -defensive back, Bryson Orton- defensive line, Will Fromm – quarterback, and Gage Dodge- kicker.

Named to the second team were Jaydan Payne -linebacker, Mason Kliethermes – linebacker and Stephen Terrill – offensive line.

Coach Carper also announced several post  season awards from area media.

The Quincy Herald Whig honored Dodge as a first team performer from the area at defensive back. Named to the Whig’s  honorable mention list were – Orton (DL), Will Fromm (QB), Payne (LB) and Brett Monroe (TE).

The coaching staff also presented several team awards at the banquet. Dodge  was honored as the team’s most valuable player. Fromm was named the offensive MVP while Payne earned defensive MVP honors and Monroe earned special teams MVP honors.

Bryson Orton received “The Big Ugly Award” as the most valuable lineman. The blue collar award for the program’s top scout team players went to Jace Morrow and Branton Burrus.

Conner Harrison was named the program’s most improved player while Kaden Anders received the Iron Tiger Award for the player that demonstrated a consistent work ethic in the weight room.

Stephen Terrill received the Chester Robinson Award,  given to the player showing the most sportsmanship, loyalty, and inspiration, in honor of former Tiger Chester Robinson.

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