April 4, 2013

MDC, Federal Agents Snag Major Paddlefish Poaching Operation

Local conservation agents were among the officers involved in a huge operation that resulted in more than 100 citations and arrests following a two-year investigation into illegal taking and selling of paddlefish and paddlefish eggs. Photo courtesy of MDC

Known as the "Paddlefish Capital of the World," Warsaw, Missouri, is a favorite area for many of Missouri's approximately 16,000 sport paddlefish snaggers because of its location along the Osage River.

Agents with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), including Scotland County agent Gary Miller, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) discovered that the Warsaw area is also a favorite location for paddlefish poachers.

A cooperative undercover investigation by the two agencies recently resulted in more than 100 suspects from Missouri and eight other states being issued citations and/or arrest warrants for state and federal crimes related to paddlefish poaching.

Missouri's official state aquatic animal, paddlefish are an ancient species. Also called spoonbills, they can grow up to seven-feet long and weigh 160 pounds or more. Paddlefish are valued as a sport fish for both their size, and for eating. Paddlefish are also valued for their eggs, or roe, which are eaten as caviar.

The section of the Osage River running along Warsaw in Benton County is a paddlefish hot spot because it is blocked upstream by Truman Dam. When spawning paddlefish reach the dam, their route is blocked and their numbers increase dramatically. This dramatically increases sport anglers' chances of snagging the big fish with a random jerk on a fishing line equipped with large hooks.

This concentration of female paddlefish laden with eggs also makes Warsaw a prime location for paddlefish poachers to get the fish eggs for national and international illegal caviar markets.

"The national and international popularity of Missouri paddlefish eggs as a source of caviar has grown dramatically in recent years," said MDC Protection Chief Larry Yamnitz. "This is a result of European sources of caviar having declined from overfishing of the Caspian Sea's once plentiful and lucrative beluga sturgeon, another species of fish known for its caviar."

Caviar is a delicacy created by preserving fish roe in special salts. According to MDC, about 20 pounds of eggs or more can be harvested from a large, pregnant female paddlefish. Retail prices for paddlefish caviar vary. A current common retail price is about $35 per ounce.

"Caviar prices in illegal or black markets also vary," Yamnitz said. "A common black-market price is about $13 an ounce. Therefore, a single large female paddlefish with about 20 pounds of eggs is carrying about $4,000 worth of potential caviar for black market sales."

Over the course of March 13 and 14, approximately 85 conservation agents of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), 40 special agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USWFS), and wildlife officers from other states contacted more than 100 suspects in Missouri and eight other states to issue citations, execute arrest warrants, conduct interviews and gather additional information regarding a paddlefish-poaching investigation.

The effort included eight individuals indicted for federal crimes involving the illegal trafficking of paddlefish and their eggs for use as caviar. Other states involved were Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

The arrests and citations were the result of a multi-year joint undercover investigation by MDC conservation agents and special agents of the USFWS involving the illegal commercialization of Missouri paddlefish and their eggs for national and international caviar markets. The undercover investigation ran during the spring 2011 and spring 2012 paddlefish seasons, March 15 through April 30. It was based out of Warsaw, Missouri. Additional MDC conservation agents and federal agents supported the undercover operation.

"Sport anglers may only catch two paddlefish daily and the eggs may not be bought, sold or offered for sale," Yamnitz explained. "Extracted paddlefish eggs may not be possessed on waters of the state or adjacent banks and may not be transported. Paddlefish and their eggs may be commercially harvested only from the Mississippi River."

He added that through the undercover operation, agents were able to identify suspects engaged in wildlife violations involving the illegal purchase, resale and transport of paddlefish and their eggs, document other violations of the Missouri Wildlife Code in addition to the core investigation, and determine that paddlefish eggs harvested in Missouri were being illegally transported out of the state for redistribution.

Federal crimes tied to the poaching involve violations of the Lacey Act. The Act makes it a federal crime to poach game in one state with the purpose of selling the bounty in another state and prohibits the transportation of illegally captured or prohibited wildlife across state lines.

MDC and the USFWS worked with the Benton County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, the Benton County Sheriff's Department and the U.S. Department of Justice on the investigation.

Identification of suspects in violation of state wildlife charges is pending legal filings. Copies of the federal indictments may be obtained from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Kansas City.

The investigation began with tips from the public about illegal activities.

"Individuals from the Warsaw area first alerted us to potential paddlefish poaching in the area," said Yamnitz. "We are grateful to them, and encourage anyone spotting suspected illegal fishing or hunting activity to contact their local conservation agent, or call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-392-1111, 24 hours a day. Callers may remain anonymous and rewards are available for information leading to arrests."

Paddlefish are highly valued by both sport anglers and commercial fishermen. Through Missouri Department of Conservation stocking efforts at three large reservoirs, Missouri offers some of the best paddlefish snagging fisheries in the U.S. The reservoirs are at Lake of the Ozarks and its tributaries, Harry S. Truman Reservoir and its tributaries, and Table Rock Lake and its tributaries, primarily the James River arm.

Without MDC's stocking of these fisheries, and other paddlefish management practices, paddlefish numbers would sharply decline in Missouri's reservoirs, reducing opportunities for sport snaggers.

In the past, paddlefish were naturally abundant in Missouri, but their numbers declined because of channelization, damming, impoundments and other river modifications. These modifications have greatly diminished the natural habitat paddlefish need to reproduce in the wild.

Today, paddlefish in Missouri must be stocked. The Missouri Department of Conservation stocks about 45,000 hatchery-produced 10-12-inch-long paddlefish fingerlings each year in Missouri's three main paddlefish locations: Table Rock Lake, Truman Lake and Lake of the Ozarks.

Paddlefish can grow to a length of about seven feet, weigh up to 160 pounds or more, and live 30 years or more. Females grow larger and heavier than males. It takes about 6-8 years for a paddlefish to reach legal harvest size (34-inches) in Missouri's large reservoirs. Female paddlefish reach sexual maturity at 8-10 years and spawn every 2-3 years. Male paddlefish reach sexual maturity at 4-5 years and spawn annually. The egg masses of female paddlefish can be up to 25 percent of their body weight, with a large female paddlefish carrying about 20 pounds of eggs, or roe.

Paddlefish live mostly in open waters of big rivers and were historically found in the Mississippi, Missouri and Osage rivers, along with other streams. Paddlefish spend most of the year dispersed throughout large reservoirs and rivers until warm spring rains increase flows and raise water temperatures, which prompts the big fish to swim upstream on their spawning run. Spawning runs occur in late spring at times of increased water flow. It is triggered by a combination of daylight, water temperature, and water flow.

For more information about paddlefish, visit www.mdc.mo.gov.

Eight Indicted for Trafficking of Paddlefish 'Caviar'

WASHINGTON -Eight individuals face federal charges stemming from a joint U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Missouri Department of Conservation investigation of interstate and international trafficking in paddlefish "caviar," the Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division and the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri announced. Arkadiy Lvovskiy, Dmitri Elitchev, Artour Magdessian, Felix Baravik, Petr Babenko , Bogdan Nahapetyan, Fedor Pakhnyuk, and Andrew Praskovsky have been charged in four, separate indictments in the Western District of Missouri for acts that occurred in 2011 and 2012.

The American paddlefish (Polydon spathula), also called the Mississippi paddlefish or the "spoonbill," is a freshwater fish that is primarily found in the Mississippi River drainage system. Paddlefish eggs are marketed as caviar. Paddlefish were once common in waters throughout the Midwest. However, the global decline in other caviar sources, such as sturgeon, has led to an increased demand for paddlefish caviar. This increased demand has led to over-fishing of paddlefish, and consequent decline of the paddlefish population.

Missouri law prohibits the transportation of paddlefish eggs which have been removed or extracted from a paddlefish carcass. Missouri law also prohibits the sale or purchase, or offer of sale or purchase, of paddlefish eggs. There are also several restrictions on the purchase and possession of whole paddlefish in Missouri.

Among other things, the Lacey Act makes it unlawful for any person to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire or purchase fish that were taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of any law or regulation of any State, or to attempt to do so. Such conduct constitutes a felony crime if the defendant knowingly engaged in conduct involving the purchase or sale, offer to purchase or sell, or intent to purchase or sell, fish with a market value in excess of $350, knowing that the fish were taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of, or in a manner unlawful under, a law or regulation of any State.

Arkadiy Lvovskiy, 51, of Aurora, Colorado, Dmitri Elitchev, 46, of Centennial, Colorado, Artour Magdessian, 46, of Lone Tree, Colorado, and Felix Baravik, 48, of Aurora, Colorado, were charged with conspiring with each other, and others, to violate the Lacey Act, and with trafficking in paddlefish and paddlefish eggs in violation of the Lacey Act. The indictment alleges that in the spring of 2011 and 2012, the defendants traveled to Warsaw,

Missouri, where they engaged in multiple, illegal purchases of paddlefish and processed the eggs from those paddlefish into caviar. After processing the paddlefish eggs into caviar, the defendants transported the caviar from Missouri to Colorado. The indictment further alleges that, during the interstate transportation, the defendants engaged in counter-surveillance efforts in order to avoid being detected.

Petr Babenko, 42, of Vineland, New Jersey, and Bogdan Nahapetyan, 33, of Lake Ozark, Missouri, were charged with conspiring with each other and other individuals to violate the Lacey Act, and with trafficking in paddlefish and paddlefish eggs in violation of the Lacey Act. The indictment alleges that between March and April 2012, the defendants traveled to Warsaw, Missouri, where they engaged in multiple, illegal purchases of paddlefish and processed the eggs from those paddlefish into caviar. After processing the paddlefish eggs into caviar, they transported the caviar from Missouri to New Jersey.

Fedor Pakhnyuk, 39, of Hinsdale, Illinois, is charged with two counts of trafficking in paddlefish and paddlefish eggs in violation of the Lacey Act. According to the indictment, in the spring of 2011 and 2012 Pakhnyuk traveled from Illinois to Missouri for the purpose of obtaining paddlefish eggs. The indictment alleges that Pakhnyuk procured paddlefish eggs by purchasing them, and by performing processing services for other persons in exchange for a share of the processed eggs. After processing the paddlefish eggs into caviar, Pakhnyuk transported the caviar from Missouri to Illinois. The indictment alleges that Pakhnyuk also attempted to form an enterprise with other individuals that would market processed paddlefish caviar at markets in Chicago, Illinois.

Andrew Praskovsky, 40, of Erie, Colorado, is charged with two counts of trafficking in paddlefish and paddlefish eggs in violation of the Lacey Act. According to the indictment, in March and April 2012, Praskovsky twice traveled to Warsaw, Missouri, for the purpose of purchasing paddlefish. After processing the paddlefish eggs into caviar, Pakhnyuk transported the caviar from Missouri to Kansas. The indictment alleges that, in April 2012, Praskovsky attempted to export some of the paddlefish eggs in checked luggage on an international flight departing from Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC. The paddlefish eggs were seized at Dulles, as paddlefish eggs may only be exported if they are accompanied by a valid permit issued by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

If convicted, the individual defendants face a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and a $250,000 fine per count, as well as forfeiture of any vehicles that were used during the commission of the crimes.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Missouri Department of Conservation, with assistance by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys James B. Nelson and Adam C. Cullman of the Department of Justice's Environmental Crimes Section and Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence E. Miller of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri.

An indictment is a formal accusation and is not proof of guilt. Defendants are presumed innocent until and unless they are found guilty.

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 www.speedshiftTV.com.

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 missouriclaim.org. 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 insurance.mo.gov.

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 LHumphreys@ussec.org

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 gerthfuneralservice.com.

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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