November 12, 2009

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

I found may way back to the woods over the past few weeks, spurring a return to the editorial well too.

The youth deer season was very interesting in our home. My daughters reminded me that sometimes I trudge forward like I have blinders on. I returned from the gun shop with a tag for 10-year-old Abigayle. I later returned from the gun shop with a tag for eight-year-old Katie and a third trip landed me with one for six-year-old Hannah.

This marked the first year more than one Feeney youth took part in the two-day kids season. I took Abi Saturday morning and evening. I was proud of the veteran hunter, as she passed on a few bucks that didnt meet her standards established last season with a mature buck.

Katie earned her stripes Saturday afternoon with an eight-point buck. Im not sure what she was more pleased about, getting her first deer, or the knowledge she wouldnt have to get up early again the rest of deer season.

That opened up a slot for Hannah. She proved she was ready for the challenge by besting all four girls (yes Mom too) in a sharp-shooting demonstration before the hunting season. Sighting in the girls gun from 75 yards allowed all of the kids to leave the mark on the target. They were all inside the circle, but Hannahs shot was spot-on bullseye. Im writing this as if you havent already heard, but I think she may have shown the target to every individual in the county to display her proud moment.

I took both Abi and Hannah Sunday evening to the mobile blind proudly labeled the condo stand. The fully enclosed blind was built on a raised platform on the base of an old grain wagon.

The first hour or two were uneventful, leaving Hannah snoring on the floor while Abi was busy reading a book. We went to work when a 130-class eight-pointer crashed through the draw chasing a doe. Abi and I watched the buck tromp around for 15 minutes.

After that bit of excitement, Abi got down to get a drink. When I looked over at her, I happened to peer out the front window and noticed a much nicer buck roughly 100-yards from us, sneaking through a low-water crossing in search of a date.

By the time she was up and ready, the big 10-pointer had passed through and was chasing his girlfriend down the ditch. I told Abi to stay ready as the high-speed chase could easily make a U-turn and return. Sure enough the ditch drag race returned. And the buck stopped broadside of us in the ditch roughly 75-yards away. The light was leaving us, and the cover was fairly thick. Shooting a red-dot scope, is nice and easy for a kid, but it doesnt offer any magnification, nor allow any extra light in, two more negatives weighing against a 10-year-olds shot.

Abi did the wise thing, she showed restraint. Instead of taking a wild shot, she continued to work to try and line up a good shot. When she finally got on the deer, he decided to come closer, exiting the ditch. As he headed straight at us, he stopped his exit to work a rub on a tree on the edge of the ditch. All we could see was that big rack running up and down, as the rest of his body was below him on the slope of the ditch.

I heard Abi whisper enough already, as the deer wasted what little precious light we had left. Finally he bolted out of the draw as the doe wandered back into the picture. Now he was trotting broadside of us, but at pace difficult to follow. I was sounding the grunt call louder and louder as Abi was imploring me to make him stop. Finally I dropped the tube and shouted something close to a grunt that got the big guy to halt, but only momentarily.

I saw Abis shoulders slump when he made it to the grass line and disappeared. Im all too familiar with the emotions that she was dealing with. I was proud to see her perk right back up as she told me how great a hunt that had been. Anyone who has hunted knows that feeling of disappointment, but she shrugged it off and said that buck wouldnt be as lucky next time.

As we packed up the gear, Hannah finally came out of her hibernation. She awoke to ask he sister if she had got anything. I wasnt sure she was fully alert as she half heartedly listened to Abi retell her encounter as we packed up our gear, but she took in enough of the pertinent facts to tell her older sister Well you should have woke me up, I would have shot him.

Maybe theyll get another chance this weekend.

Rural Hospital are a Lifeline

by U.S. Congressman Sam Graves

Rural hospitals are a literal lifeline for tens of millions of people across this country. In communities that don’t have enough primary care doctors or health facilities, rural hospitals provide a critical, lifesaving service that otherwise would not be here for us.

Unfortunately, about 80 rural hospitals have closed since 2010. What’s worse, one third of all rural hospitals in the U.S. could close in the next few years. That’s 12 million Americans at risk of losing access to the closest emergency room. A devastating number, and something we can’t allow to continue in rural America.

Cuts to hospital payments have worsened the problem, and as populations decrease in rural communities, so-called “medical desserts” are popping up across rural America. It leaves people living on farms or in small towns dangerously vulnerable to medical emergency – particularly older Americans.

This week, I am joining with my colleague from Iowa, Dave Loebsack, to introduce the Save Rural Hospitals Act. This bipartisan bill looks to reverse the trend of rural hospital closures, in part by eliminating unrealistic federal regulations like the “96 hour rule,” which forces rural hospitals to move a patient within 96 hours in order to get reimbursed by Medicare.

The average rural hospital creates 195 jobs and generates $8.4 million in annual payroll. But more than that, these facilities make communities livable, ensuring a doctor isn’t far away when a medical emergency strikes.

This bill shines a light on the rural health crisis in Missouri and across the country. If we accept this reality – and neglect this much needed conversation – rural hospitals in Missouri will continue to close. This leaves thousands without access to health care, putting lives in jeopardy and affecting every family in Middle America. That’s simply not acceptable.

City Looking to Crack Down on Traffic Violations

Memphis residents are being reminded to monitor posted speed limits. Photo by Maddy Zahn.

With an increasing number of citizens voicing complaints regarding traffic concerns, the Memphis City Council recently agreed to move forward with an increased police presence while also encouraging a lower tolerance level for infractions.

Complaints have centered around speeding, stop sign adherence and non-traditional vehicle usage such as ATVs and golf carts.

“The City of Memphis has not written a lot of traffic tickets, but unfortunately that appears like it is going to have to change,” said Alderman Chris Feeney. “This isn’t about revenue, or being punitive, it is about public safety.”

Police Chief Bill Holland indicated officers have tried to use warnings and have allowed some leeway when dealing with speed enforcement.

Under the new council directive, that tolerance level will be reduced.

“In the past, we may have just flashed our lights at you, or offered a warning when a car was going a little too fast,” said Holland. “Now those cars going 30 in a 20 will likely be looking at a ticket.”

Holland stated the enforcement efforts have been ongoing, with officers performing additional traffic patrols. In an effort to enhance those efforts, a part-time officer has been added to the police force. Justin Allen from Clark County will be joining the MPD, and Holland indicated his initial responsibilities will focus on traffic control. The department has been shorthanded with the departure of officer Jason Ketchum, and Holland said efforts will continue to replace that full-time officer as well.

The council also has discussed the possibility of adding a radar camera system that could be deployed by the department in trouble areas to help deter speeding and produce data on traffic volume and speed habits of motorists.

“We are not turning a deaf ear to citizen complaints,” said Holland. “When we become aware of trouble spots, we increase our presence there, but it takes being in the right spot at exactly the right time to catch the people responsible for the complaints.”

Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit within the city limits is 25 mph. ATV’s, golf carts or utility vehicles are allowed on public streets only by special permit, available at city hall. They may only be driven by licensed drivers and are not to exceed 30 mph regardless if the posted speed limit is higher.

Holland noted that enforcement efforts are difficult with a small force, that typically only has one officer on duty, adding that police presence performing traffic patrol normally turns into a simple deterrent rather quickly as motorists become aware of the law enforcement presence and temporarily reduce speeds or choose alternate routes.

While automated traffic controls such as radar cameras and stop sign video surveillance are not particularly popular with the public, the city council expressed a willingness to at least consider such measures.

“I’m certain I have exceeded a posted speed limit at some time or other,” said Alderman Feeney. “In doing so I could be putting the public safety at risk. So I have a choice, I can either slow down and monitor my speed better, or I can risk paying a ticket.”

The council is hoping the community chooses the first option, but is anticipating it will take more of the later for the initiative to hit home and start to sink in for motorists.

Area Students Named to MU Dean’s List

Several area students were named to the University of Missouri spring semester 2017 dean’s list.

Kathryn Mary Howard of Memphis has been named to honor roll. Howard is a senior student.

Samantha Rachel Tobler, a senior, was named to the 2017 dean’s list for the spring semester.

Jaclyn Wiggins, a junior student in the arts and science school, was named to the honor roll as well.

More Than $988 Million in Unclaimed Property Waiting to be Returned  Statewide

JEFFERSON CITY – State Treasurer Eric Schmitt on June 15th announced the start of an annual effort to return Unclaimed Property to Missourians by publishing the names of owners in Missouri newspapers. Starting June 16, the names of more than 145,000 individuals, families, small businesses, and non-profits with Unclaimed Property will be printed in more than 100 publications across the state.

“Our team works hard every single day to financially empower Missourians by returning the money they are rightfully owed,” Schmitt said. “One in ten Missourians have Unclaimed Property, and this public awareness initiative is one of the many creative ways we work to get abandoned money back to its rightful owners. I encourage all Missourians to visit ShowMeMoney.com to see if they or someone they know has money waiting to be claimed free of charge.”

Missouri law requires these notices be published annually in order to list the names of individuals whose Unclaimed Property valued at $50 or more has been turned over to the State Treasurer’s Office in the past year.

Individuals, families, small businesses, and others can check to see if they have Unclaimed Property on ShowMeMoney.com. They can also sign up for email notifications when new assets come in matching their information and send notifications to family and friends to let them know about money being held in their name.

Treasurer Schmitt has returned more than $13.5 million to over 50,000 account holders since taking office in January. The average Unclaimed Property return is around $300.

Fireworks Season Will Run June 20th – July 10th in City of Memphis

As the Independence Day holiday approaches, the Memphis Police Department is reminding city residents of ordinances related to the discharge of fireworks in city limits.

Fireworks may be discharged from June 20 – July 10th from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. That coincides with the permitted sales period.

Fireworks are prohibited on public property, including parks and the municipal lakes. It is unlawful for any person to discharge any fireworks within the city limits of Memphis, except upon their own property or upon property whose owner has given his/her consent. It is also illegal to recklessly discharge fireworks in such a manner that the explosion of the same will be likely to endanger or cause injury or damage to any person or property within the city limits of Memphis.

Any person violating any of the provisions of the city’s fireworks ordinance shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine not exceeding $500 or by imprisonment in the City or County Jail not exceeding ninety 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment; provided, that in any case wherein the penalty for an offense is fixed by a Statute of the State, the statutory penalty, and no other, shall be imposed for such offense.

Memphis Man Facing Charges Following Motorcycle Crash

A Memphis man is facing numerous charges following a motorcycle crash on Route MM Tuesday evening.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the accident occurred at 7:30 p.m. on June 13th, a half mile south of the Highway 136  intersection, just south of Memphis.

Russell B Matthew, 34, was southbound on Route MM on a 1993 Suzuki 500 motorcycle when the vehicle ran off the right side of the roadway and overturned. Matthew sustained moderate injuries in the crash. He was transported via patrol car to Scotland County Hospital.

Matthew was ticketed for driving while intoxicated, no valid license, leaving the scene of an accident, child endangerment, failure to wear approved headgear and failure to drive on right half of the roadway.

The Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Memphis Police Department and the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office.

Large Hail Storm Pounds Scotland County

Chrissy Myers put the hail to the ruler test, topping out at two inches in diameter.

Some brief power outages and several downed tree limbs  were all that law enforcement had to report following Saturday’s severe weather that hit northeast Missouri, but the real damage reports started rolling in Monday at local insurance offices.

The National Weather Service reported “Severe thunderstorms tracked across eastern Iowa, northeast Missouri, and north central Illinois Saturday afternoon and evening. Large hail, torrential rain, and damaging winds up to 65 mph were reported.  Very large hail fell in Muscatine, IA and Antioch, MO, where golf ball and baseball size hail was reported respectively.”

The heavy rains and high winds did minimal damage in Scotland County, but hail ranging in size from golf ball to as big as baseballs, was reported, leading to hundreds of claims for hail damage to vehicles, homes and businesses.

Local insurance agents and auto body repair specialists indicated it is too early to offer a  solid estimate for storm damages, but several speculated that with anywhere from 300 to 500 damaged vehicles and a smaller number of hail damaged homes and businesses, the total could easily eclipse $1 million.

At approximately 7:15 p.m. Saturday evening, the frozen precipitation hit the City of Memphis. Trained storm spotters reported hail up to two-inches in diameter, with reports and photos of larger bundles of ice making their rounds via social media.

Kris Lister collected this assortment of hail stones at his Memphis residence on Mi-Lor Street.

The storm continued east, with similar damage reports out of Kahoka and Clark County around 7:45 p.m.

More than 2 inches of rain was reported during the storm, with the hail dissipating as the storm left Missouri, but still resulting in significant rainfall in southeast Iowa and eastern Illinois.

Fundraisers Planned for Future Home of Pheasant Airplane

A series of fundraisers have been planned for a local effort to construct a permanent home for the historic Pheasant Airplane. Three separate summer events have been planned by the committee to help secure funds to construct a building on the south end of the east side of the Memphis city square.

Volunteers will be providing the lunch services during the Keith family auction to be held July 1st.

A quilt made by the late Zelda Keith, and donated by her family to the committee, will be raffled off later this summer. Tickets are on sale now for the benefit quilt auction, with the winner to be drawn on Saturday of the 2017 Scotland County Antique Fair.

Tickets will be available from committee members. Secretary Peggy Brown said the committee plans to display the quilt at various area businesses leading up to the raffle, with tickets available at those locations as well.

The group is also planning to host a ham & bean supper in October.

Proceeds from all three events will go into the construction fund. Donations may be mailed to the Scotland County Historical Society – Pheasant Airplane, at PO Box 263, Memphis, MO 63555.

Gorin Man Killed in One-Vehicle Crash in Clark County

A Gorin man was killed and two passengers in his vehicle were injured just after midnight on Sunday morning in a crash in rural Clark County.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, William C. See, 24, was westbound in a 2013 Ford F250 truck on Route D two miles west of Neeper, when the vehicle became airborne at the crest of a hill. The truck ran off the right side of the roadway, overcorrected, and then ran off the left side of the roadway before overturning multiple times. See was ejected from the vehicle. He was pronounced deceased at the scene by Clark County Coroner Ed Wilson.

Two passengers in the truck were injured. Reid R. Harris, 22, of Muscatine, IA sustained serious injuries. He was transported by Clark County Ambulance to Keokuk Area Hospital in Keokuk, IA. Luke A. Sedore, 19 of Alexandria, sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

The Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Clark County Sheriff’s office, Clark County first responders and the ambulance service.

Memphis Red Hats Meet at Keith’s Cafe

The Memphis Red Hats met on Wednesday, June 7th at Keith’s Café.  Hostess Barb Creath gave a reading about veterans followed by funny experiences of people.

Those attending were Vera Monroe, Nancy Eaves, Jean Walker, Shirley Ruth, Marlene Cowell, JoAnn Rood, Nelda Billups, Benjie Briggs, Pat Wiggins, Barb Creath, Marcine Evans and guest, Conner Wiggins.

Marlene Cowell will be the July Hostess.  The meeting will be on July 5th at 5:00 p.m. at the Catfish Place in Arbela.

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