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.

$175,000 Loan, Grant Finalized for New Memphis City Sanitation truck

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Grant and loan funding for a new waste disposal truck were finalized at the December 1st meeting of the Memphis City Council with some good news for customers of the local service.

Interest rates for the $150,000 loan from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) lowered during the closing period for the loan, dropping from 2.875% to 2.375%, creating approximately $400 a month in savings for the Memphis Community Betterment Organization (MCBO), which is securing the funding on behalf of the Memphis City Sanitation.

In addition to the loan, USDA is also providing a $25,000 grant to MCBO to help meet the needs for a new trash truck. The USDA helped secure the low interest rates for the seven-year loan that will allow the city to replace its lone trash truck. Proceeds from residential and commercial refuse collection fees will be used to repay the loan.

Disability Insurance

In other business, the Memphis City Council approved the addition of a short-term disability policy to the insurance coverage offered by the city to its employees.

The policy will aid employees who have an injury or illness that forces them to miss more than seven consecutive days and having exhausted all other sick leave and paid vacation. It will provide a disability payment of 67% of the employee’s base bi-weekly wage or salary. The benefit may be paid for a maximum of 90 days per calendar year.

Law Offenses

The council also brought policy and codes up to date with a new Chapter 215 of the city code book dealing with law offenses.

Passage of Senate Bill 491 and House Bill 1371 by state law makers created several changes to state statutes dealing with crime and punishment and these changes are reflected in the new Chapter 215.

Passed in 2014, the state law changes were the first to Missouri’s criminal code since 1979. Among the changes are stiffer penalties for crimes against children and for fatal drunk driving incidents while reducing penalties for marijuana possession.

Levee

Superintendent Roy Monroe indicated that efforts to pursue a possible earthen levee to protect the city’s light and water plants from future flooding has run into issues with the Missouri Corp of Engineers regarding potential changes to be made to wetland areas.

The city is considering constructing the levee on private property west of the facility as a more cost efficient alternative to building cement flood walls around the city’s main electric substation, which lies east of the Fabius River, which in the past decade has twice flooded enough to threaten the facilities.

Park Shelters

Monroe also reported that the city’s grant application for funding to replace several deteriorating shelter houses at the city parks, was denied by the state.

The council instructed Monroe to seek building estimates for installing metal structures instead of the current wooden construction plans that were proposed in the grant application.

If more economical alternatives can be identified, the council agreed that the city should pursue local partnerships with community groups to seek funding to continue the necessary upgrades in the municipal park system to help expand public opportunities for recreation.

Local Efforts Helping to Bring Christmas to More Families

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Less than 15 shopping days until Christmas! Letters to Santa Claus are being written and children are dreaming of presents under the Christmas tree. But in Scotland County, plenty of people are also remembering that it is better to give than receive.

A number of programs targeting area needy families are ensuring that everyone in Scotland County has a Merry Christmas.

The Christmas Wish program, a joint effort of the Scotland County R-I schools, Scotland County Divisions of Children and Family Services, ShopKo, Dollar General and J’s Foods and headed up by the United Methodist Church of Memphis, wrapped up efforts on December 5th to fill the Christmas lists of local families in need.

Patrons were able to adopt an anonymous child, picking their wish list off the Christmas tree at ShopKo, and completing the shopping for a child in need. Gift cards were also purchased thru J’s to provide a holiday meal and other food stuffs for families.

Project coordinator Stacy Browning of the UMC stated that local efforts helped fulfill the Christmas Wish for 42 families, including 118 children. That number was up slightly from 2015 when 38 families and 100 children were reached.

The gifts will be presented to the families and children on December 12th.

 If you missed out on supporting the Christmas Wish, Ignite Ministries is hosting a similar Toys Under The Tree event on December 17th.

Church leader Les Richmond indicated that 35 families, with just shy of 100 children, were aided by last year’s program.

Donors provide gifts and financial support to the project, which provides one main gift of approximately $35 in value as well as additional smaller “stocking stuffer” items.

Parents can pick out the gifts for their children and have them wrapped right there at the church.

Toys Under the Tree will be held Saturday, December 17th from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

“If you need help putting Christmas gifts under the tree, there are lots of people in Scotland County that want to help,” said Richmond.

According to the Missouri Community Action Network, the poverty rate in Scotland County is 16.3%. In neighboring counties, that number is 18.2% in Schuyler, 15.7% in Clark, 19.4% in Knox and 26.9% in Adair.

All are above the 14.8% level for the state, where 875,495 Missourians are at 100% or below the Federal Poverty Level, which for a family of four is $24,250. Roughly 30% of those in poverty are children.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 was the high water mark for poverty in the state, when 16.2% of the population lived in poverty. The mark was declined each of the past three recording periods.

The United States Department of Agriculture reported Missouri’s food insecurity rate at 15.2% in 2016, meaning that more than 1 in 7 of the state’s residents at times has problems accessing adequate food.

That is one of the driving forces behind the local Tiger Packs program, which provides nutritious breakfasts, lunches and snacks on weekends for children who are eligible for the free breakfast/lunch program offered through the public school system.

Sponsored in part by the Scotland County Ministerial Alliance, the program currently serves more than 80 children in the Scotland County R-I school system and the Head Start program.

The program was supported by a fundraising drive at the recent Community Thanksgiving Service as well as by the local Boy Scouts, who have been collecting donations at public events such as the recent Christmas Bazaar in Memphis.

The local giving efforts aren’t limited to children.

The Scotland County Care Center and Residential Terrace offers the Angel tree program, which allows community members to adopt a resident(s) at the facilities to help wish them a Merry Christmas.

Started nearly a decade ago, the Angel ornaments on the tree feature information about a resident, with gift ideas, including dietary restrictions.

Tammy Hammond, activities director at SCCC said the number of angles ranges from 60 to 75 each year, with community members as well as SCCC staff and family, providing gifts of bath products, snacks, games, reading materials and clothing.

“This year we have 64 angels on the tree,” said Hammond. “Boy are the residents surprised and uplifted when they see their package.”

Edina Boy Hurt in Crash Near Rutledge

An Edina boy suffered minor injuries in a one-vehicle crash in Scotland County on Saturday just before noon.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Natalie T. Clark, 16 was eastbound on County Road 200, three miles southwest of Rutledge, when the 1997 Oldsmobile Aurora she was driving went off the left side of the roadway and overturned. A passenger in the vehicle, Thomas F. Reel, 5, sustained minor injuries in the crash.

Reel was transported by private vehicle to Northeast Regional Medical Center in Kirksville for treatment of his injuries.

Both of the vehicles occupants were wearing safety devices.

The Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office.

Respawn Video Game Center Opens on the Memphis Square

video-game

Respawn Video Game Center is the newest business to open its doors on the Memphis Square.  They are located on the southeast corner at 101 E. Monroe.

The new gaming center, owned and operated by Chris and Sheena Nichols, opened their doors Saturday, November 19th with an All-Night Gaming Party.  The next All-Night Gaming Party is scheduled for New Year’s Eve from 10:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.  Admission for the all-night event is $25 which includes free Casey’s pizza.  Beverages and snacks will also be available for purchase at the Center’s snack bar.

The All-Night Gaming Parties work like a lock-in.  In order to stay without a guardian, children must be nine years or older.  Parents must leave contact information and any child who desires to go home early, parents will be contacted for pick-up.

Regular hours for the Gaming Center are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 2:00-10:00 p.m., Friday from 2:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m., Saturday from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m., and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

There is a variety of pricing options including hourly ($7/hour, $15/3 hours, and $25 unlimited play).  Membership options include Silver, Gold, and Platinum pricing.  Party Packages for birthdays and other group events are also available.

Additionally, Chris and Sheena are offering an Honor Roll Program.  If students bring in their current Honor Roll certificates, they will get a free hour of play!  Also, area Church Youth Groups, accompanied by Youth Group Leaders, are able to play free on Thursday evenings from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

The gaming center is fully stocked with 15 Xbox One Systems and 15 full HD TVs.  All the Xbox systems are live and LAN connected.  There is also a full surround sound headset for each system and near 100 games to play, including the newest releases.

Chris and Sheena moved to Memphis about five years ago from Terre Haute, Indiana.  Sheena is originally from Memphis and they decided to return to this area so their son, Caiden, could grow up in a small town.  Caiden is currently in the fourth grade.  Chris and Sheena have another son, Jaxon, who is four years old.

Chris is also an LPN at Scotland County Hospital and is continuing his education to receive his RN.  Sheena is an RN and currently the Director of Nurses at the Scotland County Care Center.  Sheena is also continuing her education to receive her Clinical Nurse Specialist degree.

The couple’s purpose for opening Respawn Video Game Center was to give parents an affordable, close, and supervised activity center and another option for hosting birthday parties and other group events.

For all these details and more, call Chris at 660-223-3956 or visit their Facebook page at Respawn Video Game Center.

SCR-I School Menus

Breakfast

Thursday, December 8 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Friday, December 9 – Sausage/Gravy Biscuits, Choice of Cereal, Blueberry Muffin, Banana, Juice/Milk

Monday, December 12 – Waffles, Choice of Cereal, Cinnamon Biscuit, Apple Wedges, Juice/Milk

Tuesday, December 13 –Scrambled Eggs, Choice of Cereal, Hash Browns, Toast/Jelly, Apple Wedges, Juice/Milk

Wednesday, Dec. 14 – Ham/Cheese/Croissant, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Apple Wedges, Juice/Milk

Thursday, December 8 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Lunch

Thursday, December 8 – Spaghetti/Meat Sauce, Chicken Quesadillas, Hamburger Bar, Green Beans, Garlic Bread, Sliced Peaches, Fresh Fruit

Friday, December 9 – Tuna Noodle Casserole, Grilled Chicken Patty/Bun, Potato Rounds, Buttered Corn, Strawberry Shortcake, Fresh Fruit

Monday, December 12 – Chicken Patty/Bun, Juicy Burger/Bun, 5th/6th Grade Taco Bar, Oven Ready Fries, Tomato Slices and Pickles, Sliced Peaches, Fresh Fruit

Tuesday, December 13 – School Made Pizza, Bar BQ Meatballs, 5th/6th Grade Taco Bar, Vegetable Sticks/Dip, Green Beans, Applesauce, Fresh Fruit

Wednesday, Dec. 14 –Sliced Turkey, Sliced Ham, Whipped Potatoes/Gravy, Candied Sweet Potatoes, Buttered Corn, Dinner Roll, Cherry Cheese Cake, Fresh Fruit

Thursday, December 15 – Chili Soup, Broccoli Cheese Soup, Hamburger Bar, Peanut Butter Sandwich, Cheese Stick, Saltine Crackers

Scotland County Senior Nutrition Center

MENU

Thurs. December 8 – Creamed Chicken/Biscuit, Tomato and Zucchini Blend, Lettuce Salad, Bread, Fruit Salad

Friday, December 9 – Hot Beef Sandwich, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Buttered Carrots, Strawberry Shortcake/Topping

Monday, December 12 – Tenderloin/Bun/Onion, Sweet/Regular Fries, Pineapple, Cauliflower Vegetables, Cake

Tuesday, December 13 – Sausage/Biscuits/Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Applesauce, Ice Cream

Wed., December 14 – Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Pickled Beets, Hot Roll, Fruit

Thurs. December 15 – Ham and Beans, Onions, Fried Potatoes, Carrot-Pineapple Jell-O Salad, Cornbread, Peanut Butter Cookie

ACTIVITIES

Thursday, Dec. 8 – Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 15 – Scotland County Health Department here for blood pressure checks.  Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

BABY ZEISET

Steven and Janice Zeiset of Memphis are the parents of a daughter, Shalyn Janae Zeiset, born November 29, 2016 at 2:15 p.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. Shalyn weighed 7 lbs 0.8 oz and was 21 inches long. Siblings include Levi, Verlin, Kendon, Devon amd Ronald.

December Birds

December is here, along with all of the festivity, decorations, family gatherings, shopping, office parties, church programs, caroling, cookie exchanges, craft shows, I could go on and on.  Sometimes it seems we get our schedules so full, we do not leave time for ourselves, meditating, celebrating the birth of Christ and a simpler time.

I love to decorate, but sometimes finding myself getting stressed trying to get it all done.  This year, in the back of my mind, I keep saying less is more. Between shopping trips, Christmas plays, a girls’ night out or two, church programs, preparation for the holidays, before you know it the holidays are over.

I am not of the mind set to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving, as I do a lot of fall decoration, so I always strive to get the decorations up around the first of the month.  Hasn’t our weather been awesome.

I am so enjoying our extended fall.  Although it’s chilly this week, we still have fairly mild weather.  I have a great many birds on the trail, but not feeding anything at the house,  sparrows are my only visitor, with an occasional House Finch, Gold Finch, and Woodpecker.  I have a few Blue Jays, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers enjoying my corn feeder.

I have an abundance of beautiful pine cones.  Anyone need a gift idea for a bird watching friend, coat one in peanut butter or a cheap butter spread and dip or roll in mixed bird feed. Birds love this.

Another fun recipe for a good bird mix is as follows:  1 cup lard, 1 cup crunchy peanut butter, 2 cups cornmeal,  2 cups old fashioned oats, 1/2 c. Flour, 1/2 c. Sugar, 1/2 c. Raisins, 1/2 c. Ground corn, 1/2 c. Peanuts. Warm lard and peanut butter in microwave and mix with all other ingredients. This can be frozen as suet or fed on a platform feeder.

Enjoy making and giving homemade gifts this year.  Until next time, good bird watching.

City of Downing to Pursue Grant For Water System Upgrades

The board of the city of Downing convened at 6 p.m. on December 5, 2016 with Mayor Alan Garrett presiding. Aldermen present were Dan Buford, Bill Anderson and Rodney Newland. Also present were Larry Smith and Carol Dryden.

Copies of the agenda, minutes from previous meeting, budget for 2017, water/waste-water report, deposit & disbursements and account balances were given to the board members.

Mayor Alan Garrett called the meeting to order.

A motion to approve the agenda was made by Bill Anderson and seconded by Dan Buford and carried unanimously.

A motion to approve the minutes from previous meeting was made by Dan Buford and seconded by Dill Anderson and carried unanimously.

A motion to approve bills was made by Dan Buford and seconded by Rodney Newland and carried unanimously.

Melody Whitacre of Northeast Regional Planning Commission reported she is going to help pursue a grant to upgrade the Downing water system. She informed the board they would need to get an engineer to complete a PER report before they can precede. She told the board DNR has a program to help secure funding. Carol will call and get the information needed.

Larry Smith discussed the different types of water meters that could be bought to replace the old ones.

Smith was informed about some roads that needed some work and also discussed a tube that is being run over and smashed. The board talked about ways to get this fixed and came up with a plan so this won’t happen in the future,

The cemetery received a gift from Betty Smith

The board discussed the budget for 2017. Bill Anderson made a motion to adopt the budget and seconded by Rodney Newland.

A motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:15 p.m. was made by Rodney Newland and seconded by Bill Anderson and carried unanimously.

Submitted by Carol Dryden, City Clerk

Scotland County 4-H Hosts Annual Recognition Event

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Scotland County 4-H held the organization’s annual Recognition Event on November 5, 2016.  The evening began with a carry-in supper.  There were 74 members, parents, and other 4-H supporters in attendance.

Clover kids each received a completion pin, certificate, and a free personal pan coupon from Pizza Hut: Unit 1 – Denny Black, Laney Doster, Tracy Huber, Cora Ketchum, Zada Ketchum, Alyssa Kirchner, Lanie Mallett, MaKenna Musgrove, Jacob Stott, Hannah Whitney.

Unit 2 -Layla Baker, Hannah Montgomery, Avery Cowell, Cason Talbert, Javis Hauk.

Unit 3 – Wesley McSparren, Emery Kirchner, Trent Mallett.

Each member who filled out a project record for the year received their year completion pins.  The pins were sponsored by Exchange Bank.

First year pins – Brenna Phillips, Dane Blessing, Shelby Troutman, Kadence Burnett, Aden Drummond, Mason Mallett

Second Year pins – Beau Triplett, Letha Ward, Julian Valle, Tanner Valle.

Third year pins – Penelope Cline, Kendal Anderson, Katie Miller, Bryn Aylward, Abby Doster, Baileigh Phillips, Brianna Kraus, Ethan Blessing, Corbin Blessing, Hugh Baker, Elsie Kigar.

Fourth year pins -Eric Mohr, Lauren Triplett, Eli Kigar.

Fifth year pins – Will Montgomery, Sadie Davis, Clara Davis, Kilee Bradley-Robinson.

Sixth year pins – Bobbi Darcy, Jenna Blessing, Morgan Blessing, Anna Triplett.

Seventh year pins – Haley Darcy, Nova Cline, Conner Wiggins, Abby Blessing.

Eighth year pins – Kyle Mohr.

Ninth year pins – Lane Pence, McKaela Bradley, Keenan Bradley.

Eleventh year (final) pins – Tasha Eggleston-Wood, Taylar Eggleston-Wood.

Leaders are recognized for being a first year leader and for every five years of service. These pins are also sponsored by Exchange Bank.

First Year – Patricia Miller, Dennis Blaine, Renee Blaine, Corry Ward.

Five Year – Amy Talbert.

15 Year – Debbie Payne.

Each year at Achievement Event we have a table setting competition.  The top formal and informal settings are given gift certificates.  The formal award was given to Katie Campbell and the informal award was given to Lauren Triplett.  They were sponsored by Countryside Flowers and Bradley Insurance.

Eleven members filled out a recognition form.  They are divided into 3 age groups 8-10, 11-13, and 14 & over.  They each received $10 cash and a 4-H cinch bag sponsored by the Scotland County 4-H Council.  They also received pins for their various project accomplishments.  The forms were judged by leaders from Lewis County. Lane Pence – Shotgun; Katie Miller – Cake Decorating, Sheep, and Clothing; Lauren Triplett – Horse, Sheep, and Swine; Abby Doster – .22 rifle and Swine; Eli Kigar – Beef and Shotgun; Kendal Anderson – Foods; Conner Wiggins – Beef and .22 rifle; Anna Triplett – Dogs and Goats; Bryn Aylward – .22 rifle, Clothing, and Swine; Elsie Kigar – Beef and Foods; Beau Triplett – Goats and Welding.

Katie Miller’s 8-10 year old recognition form was picked to advance to regional competition and Anna Triplett’s 11-13 year old form was also selected to go onto regional competition.  They each received picture frames for their accomplishments.

Kendal Anderson was chosen as the recipient of the Farm Bureau Cookbook Award.  Her recognition form was chosen as the best in Foods.

Junior Achievement awards are also selected from the members who completed recognition forms.  This award can only be won once.  It is awarded to a boy and girl under the age of 13.  These awards were sponsored by US Bank and Community Bank of Memphis.  They received tumbler cups with their names engraved on them.  The girl was Elsie Kigar and the boy was Beau Triplett.

The Outstanding Member is also selected from the completed recognition forms and can only be won once.  This year’s outstanding member was from the Jolly Jacks and Jills 4-H Club and is active in Beef and Shooting Sports.  He is twelve years old and his parents are Jim & Alisa Kigar.  2016 Scotland County 4-H Outstanding Member is Eli Kigar.  He received a plaque and a cash award sponsored by FCS Financial, Miles Cameron and Sandra Arnold, Bank of Kirksville.

Shooting sports ribbons were given out for the State Shoot.  Those receiving blue ribbons were:  Bobbi Darcy, Abby Doster, Jared Dunn, Eli Kigar, Kyle Mohr, Brenna Phillips, Magnum Talbert, and Luke Triplett.  Red ribbons were earned by: Kendal Anderson, Brock Aylward, Bobbi Darcy, Baileigh Phillips, Kyle Mohr, Brenna Phillips, Kylie Small, Katelyn Talbert, and Shelby Troutman.  White ribbons were given to the following: Victoria Huber, Brenna Phillips, Shelby Troutman, Victoria Ward, Eric Yarbrough, and Erica Yarbrough.

The Scotland County 4-H Council selects a Friend of 4-H Business and Individual.  This year’s recipients were Scotland County Livestock Auction and Chris Kempke.  We would like to thank them for all the support they give the 4-H program in Scotland County.

Gorin Go Getters 4-H Club was named Outstanding Club in Scotland County for 2016.

Submitted by Carlee Smith, Reporter

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