September 26, 2013

Writing Takes Former Memphis Resident to United Kingdom

Former Memphis resident Janet Trueblood Baldwin Heptigs writing took her to the United Kingdom this summer to study at the renowned Exeter College.

Writing has taken Janet Trueblood Baldwin Heptig a long way from her roots in Scotland County but never as far as it did this summer.

The English teacher who now calls the St. Louis area home, was named the region's English Speaking Union Fellow. The prestigious honor allowed her to travel to the United Kingdom to study for three weeks.

Janet was the guest of Exeter College, Oxford, the fourth oldest college of the university, which was founded in 1314 with a tower from the late fifteen-century (1492) still anchoring the quadrangle.

"The course began with a formal dinner straight from a scene in Harry Potter," said Janet. "In the old classically decorated, candlelit room, the seated students rose upon the entrance of the gowned faculty and after a few introductory words, the meal began."

The Missourian joined a diverse group of students from Australia, Germany, Poland, Sri Lanka, Nairobi, and the USA. Most of the 50 students in the program were writers with only a few teachers in the program. And there were just a few English Speaking Union fellows.

"Each day, I would walk the well-worn steps tread upon by many before including masters such as J.R.R. Tolkein, Philip Pullman, and Richard Burton," Janet said.

She attended classes entitled "Learning from the Masters" & "Developing Creative Writers", each two hours long, twice a week with assigned homework taught by published professors. Janet also heard daily lectures on topics such as radio drama, publishing children's literature, how to get an agent/ publisher, digital publishing, working with an editor, travel writing, memoirs, crime fiction, poetry, published writers about the writing process, the creative process, what makes a romance novel work, screenwriting for Hollywood, journalism in today's world, bookselling in today's world, and competitions to get published.

"I personally wrote daily from micro fiction to a 2,500 word original short stories to a 2,000 word literary analysis," said Janet. "The experience has changed the way I look at how something is written when I read as well as how I write. I intend to both live these new skills and to share them with students."

It wasn't all work for the teacher. Janet said she was able to have her husband, Joe Heptig, and youngest daughter, Diane Baldwin of Los Angeles, joined her in exploring Oxford, the Oxfordshire countryside (including the village where Downton Abbey is filmed), and London when she wasn't in class or doing homework.

"And all of this started in Mrs. Leeper's kindergarten class at the old elementary school there in Memphis," she said.

Janet Heptig is a 1974 graduate of Scotland County R-I. She went on to earn a bachelor's degree from Truman University in Secondary Education/ Social Studies with a minor in Language Arts. Her master's degree was from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in Secondary Education with an emphasis in Gifted and Talented Education, and Janet also holds a doctorate degree (Ed. D.) from Saint Louis University in Educational Leadership. She is also a National Board Certified Teacher (2000, Early Adolescent Generalist, 2010 renewed).

She currently teaches Gifted Honors English at Pattonville R-3 High School and also serves as an adjunct professor at Fontbonne University.

Janet is the daughter of Bob Trueblood of Arbela and Lela Trueblood of Memphis.

Price Tag Growing for City Manhole Rehabilitation

Ongoing sewer manhole repairs in the City of Memphis have uncovered a variety of issues. This manhole will likely have to be rebuilt due to a number of fiber optic conduits that were inadvertently bored into the structure at some point.

Less than a fourth of the way into a project to rehabilitate some of the most deteriorated manholes in the municipal sewer system, the City of Memphis is seeing the price tag for the project dramatically increase.

“The manholes are in worse shape than we anticipated,” said City Administrator Allen Creek. “Seven of the eight that have been worked on have required more repairs than originally expected.”

Creek explained at the November 7th Memphis City Council meeting that the agreement for Spectra-Tech for the manhole rehab called for an additional $1,000 for the construction of floors and “benches”. Creek noted that seven of the eight manholes worked on thus far did not have a floor and thus required the creation of a new base. That worked included the creation of a bench, which he explained as basically a channel for the flow of the sewage.

The city has a three-year agreement with the service provider to rehab some of the oldest manholes in the municipal system.

“Basically the process involves pressure washing the existing manholes, removing the old, iron steps which are no longer safe, and then  coating and sealing the interior to prevent leaks and inflow,” said utilities superintendent Stacy Alexander.

He indicated the first stage of the rehab involves a number of old brick manholes that date back more than 100 years to the original system construction.

Creek indicated the cost overrun likely will cause budget issues at the end of the rehab project, when the council will have to either approve additional funding or lower the number of manholes to be rehabbed.

Much of the initial work has been completed on North Street.

Creek praised the efforts of the city’s water and sewer department in the process.

“Randall (Aldridge) and Lathan (Watson) have done a great job identifying these issues,” said Creek. “During the process where they have been cleaning and jetting the sewer lines, they have tagged all of the manholes in need of repairs and further inspection.”

Series of Claims Result in Premium Hike for City’s Insurance Coverage

After a series of claims in the past decade, the City of Memphis is anticipating a roughly 12% premium increase from liability and equipment insurance.

Representatives from Hawkins/Harrison Insurance met with the Board of Alderman at the November 7th city council meeting to discuss options. Initial premium estimates from MOPERM came it at just shy of $73,000 for the municipal vehicle fleet, equipment and liability coverage for its buildings and services. That represented a roughly 10% increase.

“Plain and simple, the issue is claims,” said Chase Brenizer of Hawkins Harrison. “Standard premiums typically are calculated based on the past three to five years, but municipalities use a 10-year window. And over the past 10 years, the city has paid out at a 190% rate, so it is easy to see why premiums are going up.”

 In the past decade, the city’s insurance has made six figure payouts on a pair of liability issues, one related to the swimming pool and one related to a vehicle accident involving the fire department. The hail storm two years ago also caused significant damage to city property, with the municipal electric department also sustaining a loss related to some wiring deficiencies that were blamed for some private property losses.

While the cost to maintain the existing coverage was quoted at a roughly $10,000 cost increase, the agency representatives highlight other saving opportunities for the city.

Brenizer introduced some options for safety training made available through Hawkins Harrison and its affiliates which likely would produce discounted rates once successfully completed by the city. He indicated the services are offered free of charge.

Memphis account managers Shirley Bair and Denise Probst also highlighted some potential cost savings by addressing deductible levels as well as reducing coverage for older vehicles and structures.

They explained the city currently maintains a $500 deductible for both comprehensive and collision coverage on its vehicles

City officials will be scheduling a workshop with the agents to review the municipal fleet for the purpose of eliminating full coverage on some of its older vehicles and equipment. The meeting will also focus on reviewing building valuations to insure adequate coverage for newly renovated structures such as the water plant while possibly identifying cost savings through reduced coverage for facilities, such as the former light plant, which no longer house significant equipment or services.

The city hopes to identify cost saving opportunities before the end of the month to allow adjustments to the application, as the new premiums will take effect January 1, 2020.

Living Life Over


Hunting involves finding the target, which requires a good aim.  When nearly 500 outdoor enthusiasts gathered at the Scotland County Fitness Center on November 1st, organizers weren’t setting their sights on fundraising or membership drives.  Instead, the Christian Sportsmen’s Association had one goal, to help aim guests towards Jesus Christ.

The guests were treated to a roomful of more than a dozen vendors that created a tradeshow environment, with spectators browsing through taxidermy, outdoor gear, and much more.

More than $12,000 prizes were given away throughout the evening, ranging from hunting and fishing accessories to the top prize, a Polaris 570 4×4 four wheeler.

The event was supported by offerings from man y of the local churches as well as individual contributions.


With the opening of the firearms deer hunting season this weekend, the first half of the archery season comes to a close.  Bow season closes during the 11-day firearms session.

The season officially opened September 15th and already Scotland County hunters have arrowed 446 deer as of November 9th.  In roughly the season’s first 55 days, hunters checked in 238 does, 52 button bucks and 156 antlered bucks in Scotland County.

Statewide hunters have harvested 36,250 deer, including 11, 392 antlered bucks.


The Scotland County Fire Department responded to a report of a grass fire at the Lynn Kirkpatrick building site on Ridge road at approximately 12:10 p.m. November 3.

Four firemen responded to the call taking two fire trucks to the scene.  The firemen quickly brought the fire under control.

The fire department responded to another grass fire at the same site the following day.  Four firemen responded to the call at 10:30 a.m. taking two fire trucks to the scene.  The fire was quickly dowsed.


On November 2, 1989, a meeting was held at the Scotland County Public Library. Present were members of the Library Board, Librarian Cherry Berges, the building committee, and Mr. and Mrs. Bryon Whiston.  Also in attendance was Gary Warner, architect with Warner-Nease-Bost Architects, Inc., of Kansas City, MO.

A contract was signed for the construction of the new library with Whiston Construction Company of Canton, the lowest qualifying bidder.  Work is to begin as soon as possible, weather permitting.  A project completion date has not been announced.


On Monday, November 19, a special day of fellowship and thanksgiving will be held at the First Assembly of God Church here in Memphis.  A former pastor, the Rev. Wayne Welbourne, will be featured speaker in the 3:00 service of which Presbyter Clyde Murphy of Quincy, Illinois, will be in charge.

At 5:00, a fellowship supper will be held at the Community Center on Cornelius Street.  This is hosted by the ladies of the church.  Guests will include many area pastors and church people.

The 7:30 service will be the highlight for the church.  District Superintendent of Northern Missouri Assemblies of God, A. W. Pettet, will bring the evening message as well as assist in the mortgage burning and dedication of the church.  Mayor Harold Davis, Jr., will also be an honored guest as well as various former pastors of the church and denominational leaders.

This will be a special time of rejoicing for this congregation after much sacrifice and dedication.  Pas


Ask anyone at Scotland County R-1 High School what year it is and they will tell you, it’s the Year of the Tiger.  At this time of year, two things are happening that make this year special.

First, the start of the 1969-70 Basketball season.  The story of this year’s team is “Potential Unlimited”.  With the return of height and speed from last year’s regional champions, the prospect of another regional crows in excellent.

The second happening is something relatively new.  A rebirth of an old-fashioned thing called “School Spirit”.  With a pledge to back the teams and the school, a record 200 students have taken membership in the Tiger Pep Club, an organization whose purpose is to promote school spirit through good school citizenship.


The 1959 Census of Agriculture, now under way in Scotland County, will bring up to date farm statistics last collected in 1954, when the farm census revealed the following facts:

The value of products sold in 1954 by farm operators was $5,796,708.

The value of all crops sold was $2,809,655, and included $2,806,210 for field crops $545 for vegetables, $2900 for fruits and nuts.

The value of al livestock and livestock products sold was $2,986,201 and included $280,521 for dairy products, $327,825 for poultry and poultry products, and $2,377,855 for livestock and livestock products.

The value of forest products sold from the country’s farms was $852.


Mrs. W. B. Scott and Mrs. Mayme Wagner went fishing for blue gill at the Poole pond Tuesday afternoon.  Fishing with a pole and line and a small hook and baiting with worms, Mrs. Scott got a good bite which wasn’t a blue gill.

She managed to get the fish up on the rocks near the dam before the small hook came out of its mouth, but not before she saw the size and kind of fish.

Before the fish could get back into the water, Mrs. Scott had landed it.

The fish, a blue cat, weighed 7 3/4 pounds.


Wednesday morning there was quite a lot of duck hunting going on within the city limits of Memphis.  However the hunting was being done without the aid of guns or other artillery.

Tuesday night, a large bunch of ducks came over town and were blinded by the lights and flew exceedingly low, many of them striking the limbs of trees and wires, breaking their wings and otherwise crippling them.

JAMES “JIM” DERRICK RACEY (4/2/1968 – 11/4/2019)

James “Jim” Derrick Racey, 51, of Sherwood, AR, passed from this life Monday, November 4, 2019.

He was born Tuesday, April 2, 1968 in Hannibal, Missouri.

Jim was a member of First United Methodist Church in Jacksonville for more than twenty years. He was very active with his church family, devoting many hours of his time to the Youth Group and Praise Team where he played the drums faithfully. For the last few years Jim spent his time visiting and caring for others, especially his dear friend, Alice Goss. He treasured the outdoors, especially hunting trips with his sons and dad. One of his greatest joys was spending time with his family at the lake. He was a handyman who could fix anything.

Jim was a loving husband, father, son, brother and friend who will be missed by all who were privileged to know him.

He was preceded in death by grandparents, Paul and Peggy Racey; grandmother and step-grandfather, Lillian and Wayne Glasgow; great-grandmother, Dorothy Doss; mother-in law, Linda Paulsen fathers-in-law, Gerry Paulsen , Darrell Gay and step-father, Jack Cathcart.

Surviving him are his loving wife, Felicia Racey; sons, Paul and Austin Racey both of Sherwood; mother and brother, Linda and Jeffry Racey of Farmington and father, Steven Racey (Jodie York) of Lancaster, Missouri. Other survivors include aunts, Sally Eggers of Columbia, Missouri, Connie Courtney of Memphis, Missouri, Judy Wilcox of Shelbyville, Missouri, Phyllis (Laddy) Barber and Becky McDaniel of Batesville, Judy Boland of Slidell, Louisiana, Marilyn (Leland)  Tippett of Bovey, Minnesota along with numerous loving cousins and a host of brothers and sisters in Christ.

Memorial services will be 11:00 a.m., Saturday, November 9, 2019 at First United Methodist Church in Jacksonville with Pastor Nathan Kilbourne and Pastor Charles Scott from H.E.L.P Ministries of Mansfield, Texas officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Memorials in Jim’s memory may be made to Jacksonville First United Methodist Church Praise Team or Youth Group.  Arrangements by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home. (501) 982-2136. 

LAWANDA L. ROCKHOLD (4/26/1928 – 11/1/2019)

LaWanda L. Rockhold, 91 of Memphis, passed away on Friday, November 1, 2019 at the Scotland County Care Center.

LaWanda was born on April 26, 1928 the daughter of Ober and AuDeen (Adams) Lichlyter, in Augusta, KS. She graduated Augusta High School in 1945.

LaWanda’s first marriage gave her two daughters. Then on July 10, 1954 she married Virgil L Rockhold, “Rocky,” in Wichita, KS. He preceded her in death on December 4, 1985.

Born in a loving home the eldest of four, she learned to help and work very young growing up on a farm learning good common sense. LaWanda’s first two years of school she had to ride a horse 3 or 4 miles by herself. Her first job, at 14 years young, was making candy in a small factory, in a barn. Her job required her to be able to pull taffy on a huge hay hook. LaWanda also worked as a telephone operator, which was a huge board with many plug-ins. After this she became a secretary at the VA in Wichita, KS. Once settling down on the farm LaWanda worked at Shellor-Globe for about a year.

After Virgil’s Air Force service came to an end, they moved to a farm in Scotland County. Their home was “Poverty Knob.” Only staying there one year, LaWanda worked tirelessly with many chores on the farm along with raising children. She drove tractors and worked in the fields.

LaWanda learned her expert cooking skills while helping prepare meals for very large threshing crews in the wheat fields. Everyone loved her cooking. In the Gorin school district she was widely known for her homemade donuts in the concession stands. LaWanda won the Gorin Citizenship Award, and she was very proud of that accomplishment. She also made many, many mints for grandchildren’s weddings. Her family was quite fond of her mile-high angel food cakes, divinity & fudge (which melted in your mouth), cinnamon rolls, & bread to die for. She made many meals in loving preparation of family and friends coming over.

LaWanda also did a lot of sewing, specifically for family. She sewed everything from school clothes, to bridesmaid dresses, to a wedding dress, to patching many overalls. She even took Rocky’s Air Force coat and cut it all up to make two small coats for the twins when they were about two years old.

In her leisurely time (ha!) she loved having family and friends over to play basketball, pool, and ping pong. She also played many games such as Boggle, Skip Bo, Buttons, Pitch, etc. Rarely did she ever lose. LaWanda was great at jigsaw puzzles and crosswords as well.

Survivors include Janice (Donald) Yates of Revere, MO; Sharon (Ray)Flint of Crystal River, FL; Randy (Kim) Rockhold of Golden, IL; Brent (Teresa) Rockhold of Arbela, MO; Kevin Rockhold of Oakland Park, FL; and Denise (Mike) Cooper of Wever, IA; 13 grandchildren: Rowdy (Kyla) Yates, Revere, MO, Robert (Heather) Yates, Konawa, OK, Valleri Dennis, Maumee, OH, Jessica (Matt) Kliethermes, Memphis, MO, Jenifer (Brandon) Gronhoff, Springfield, MO, Rachel (Micah) Buesking, Box Springs, GA, Roman Rockhold, Quincy, IL Sarah (Josh) Foster, Quincy, IL, Jake (Dikeasha) Rockhold, San Antonio,  TX, Vince (Shana) Rockhold, Wentzville, MO, Chris (Thomas) Yarbrough, Kansas City, MO, Billy (Paul) Yarbrough, Kansas City, MO, and Alice Harvey, Wever, IA; 27 great grandchildren, and 8 great, great-grandchildren; Sister: Theta Harvey, Laramie, WY; brother: Bob(Helen) Lichlyter, Central Point, OR; Sister’s-in-law Pauline Beck, Martha(Lafe) Martin, Ruth Ellen Sears, Lilly Turpin, and Carol Richards.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, a granddaughter, Melissa R. Flint, two grandsons, Rodney B. Yates and Jason M. Rockhold, one brother, Jim Lichlyter, sisters-in-law, Leona Lichlyter, Ilene Bequette, Ila Mae (Franklin), brother’s-in-law, Ray Harvey, and Gene Rockhold.
    Memorials in Lieu of flowers are suggested to the Granger Cemetery Association and may be left at or mailed to the Payne Funeral Chapel, 202 E. Madison St., Memphis, MO 63555.

Funeral services were held Tuesday morning, Nov. 5, 2019, at 10:00 A.M. Memphis with Pastor Mark Drummond officiating. Interment followed in the Granger Cemetery at Granger, MO.

Pallbearers were Rowdy Yates, Robert Yates, Vince Rockhold, Roman Rockhold, Chris Yarbrough, and  Billy Yarbrough.

Online condolences may be sent to the Rockhold family at Arrangements were entrusted to the care of the Payne Funeral Chapel in Memphis.

Why Sheep Need a Shepherd

Admittedly, I’ve written about this topic before. Yet, living as a part of a magnificent church flock, I continue to find some of the intricacies to sheep eyesight to be most fascinating. The reason sheep need a shepherd is that their eyesight is a problem. Due to the eye formation from early lambhood, they are not able to see forward clearly.

The main difference between human and sheep eyes is the ability to focus. Humans are able. Sheep? Not so much.

Sheep lack a human element known as the fovea. Too, their eyes are located higher as well as more to the side of the head where ours is frontal as well as a bit more centered. Sheep are advantaged in peripheral vision while humans have increased depth perception.

A sheep is able to see best when it lowers its head; as in grazing. While nibbling on the grass it possesses a range of 300 degrees vision as it literally keeps an eye out for predators from the side as well as from behind while enjoying its noon-day graze.

Due to such eyesight structure, as sheep tend to be on the move, they peer more into where they’ve been than where they are going. This would explain why ditches and steep slopes are a perpetual threat to this woolly animal.

It is no mystery as to why the Bible references Jesus as the Chief Shepherd and his followers (us) as the sheep. We sheep tend to make forward effort by perpetually looking behind to see where we’ve been. How it went back there tends to be our guide as to where we are going. In Sheep-lingo, this makes sense; even when Shepherd voice would oppose.

This concept is a challenge for us for we (with our sheep eyes) insist that we see quite well. Yet, our true and godly vision is seriously dependent upon that of the Chief Shepherd for he is the one who knows how to rescue and protect the flock.

May we, the church, remain devoted to following the Shepherd’s lead for his ways are higher while many of our ways are proposed due to what we’ve seen while looking back. I love the thought. I’m grateful Jesus sees what we can experience in the future.

Due to our backward eyesight, God gave us a new ability to see.

It’s called faith. We are expected to walk by faith and not by… not by sight. Now we are reminded a bit more as to why.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson (April 23, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from (1801—1809). Previously, he had served as the second vice president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. The principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism and individual rights, motivating American colonists to break from  the  Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation; he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level. During  the American Revolution, he represented Virginia in the Continental Congress that adopted the Declaration of  Independence, drafted the law for religious freedom as a Virginia legislator, and served as the second Governor of Virginia  from 1779 to 1781. He became Minister to France 1785, serving under President George Washington from 1790 to1793. As president, Jefferson pursued the nations shipping and trade interests against Barbary pirates and the aggressive British. He  organized  the Louisiana purchase, almost doubling the country’s   territory. Jefferson was reelected president in 1804. His second term was beset with difficulties at home, including the trial of former vice president Aaron Burr. American foreign trade was diminished when Jefferson signed the Embargo Act  of 1807, responding to British threats to U.S. shipping. In 1803, Jefferson began a controversial process of Indian tribe removal to the newly organized Louisiana Territory. He signed the Act prohibiting Importation of slaves in 1807. After retiring from  public office, Jefferson founded the University of Virginia.

From Jauflione Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

Quiet Moments

I’ve often noticed how deer live mostly in a quiet environment. Even this morning I watched one particular city dwelling doe begin to get a bit nervous when the noise of traffic began to surround her. She quickly moved to a quieter place. Not only do they prefer a soundless surrounding, but most of the time deer do very little vocal communication. It is easy to see how well this characteristic serves the deer. When it’s quiet, any small or unfamiliar sound will cause them to be on alert. There is really much to be said for a life full of quiet moments.

Then there’s this time of year. A time when communication is at its highest and every form of it is used including sounds. Grunting, bleating, wheezing, and even the echo of fighting, send certain messages to all deer within an earshot. It is not coincidence that during the most important time of the year for a deer, and during a time when relationships are paramount, communication is important. And much can be said about this as well.

If you think about it, while relationships may begin from a number of ways, they are only enhancing to our lives if they involve communication.  For instance, you may have a sister which means your relationship was not instigated by you or her but by birth, but if you never talk to that sister or communicate in any way, your relationship with her will never be meaningful and in fact will dissolve back to the very basics of a simple bloodline. Every healthy and beneficial relationship will be made up of heartfelt, open, and transparent communication. And without it, we are only fooling ourselves into thinking everything is alright.

In our spiritual lives, communication is the test of whether our connection with God is staying on the fringe of a basic relationship or if our daily life is being constantly enhanced by this kinship. During the most important periods of our life this communication will be the difference between living abundantly and existing meagerly. Don’t be too prideful to communicate with God. Tell him what’s on your heart. He wants to hear and give you clear direction. Remember, sometimes being quiet may keep you safe but it may also keep you from the people and places God has in store just for you.

Gary Miller

Outdoor Truths Ministries

Scotland County Commission Meeting Minutes

Thursday, October 31, 2019

PLACE OF MEETING: Scotland County Courthouse Commission Chambers

The meeting was called to order at 8:30 a.m.

PRESENT WERE:  Presiding Commissioner, Duane Ebeling, Eastern District Commissioner, Danette Clatt, Western District Commissioner, David Wiggins, and County Clerk, Batina Dodge.

Commissioner Wiggins moved to approve the consent agenda; seconded by Presiding Commissioner Ebeling. Motion carried 3-0.

The minutes from October 30, 2019 were presented. Commissioner Clatt moved to approve the regular session minutes; seconded by Commissioner Wiggins. Motion carried 3-0.

The Commission audited and signed checks.

At 10:30 a.m. Commissioner Clatt moved to enter executive session pursuant to RSMo § 610.021(1).  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wiggins and carried 3-0.

Commissioner Wiggins moved to exit executive session at 10:43 a.m.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Clatt and carried 3-0.

The Commission signed court order 64-2019.

Seeing no further business, Presiding Commissioner Ebeling adjourned the meeting at 12:00 p.m.

The Scotland County Commission adjourned to meet in regular session on Wednesday, November 6, 2019. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

PLACE OF MEETING: Scotland County Courthouse Commission Chambers

The meeting was called to order at 8:30 a.m.

PRESENT WERE:  Presiding Commissioner, Duane Ebeling, Eastern District Commissioner, Danette Clatt, Western District Commissioner, David Wiggins, and Deputy County Clerk, Nancy McClamroch.                                 

Commissioner Wiggins moved to approve the consent agenda; seconded by Presiding Commissioner Ebeling. Motion carried 3-0.

The minutes from October 31, 2019 were presented. Commissioner Clatt moved to approve the regular session minutes; seconded by Commissioner Wiggins. Motion carried 3-0.

The executive session minutes from October 31, 2019 were presented. Commissioner Clatt moved to approve the regular session minutes; seconded by Commissioner Wiggins. Motion carried 3-0.

The Commission reviewed overtime reports for General Revenue and Road and Bridge.

The Commission approved Progress Invoice #12 for BRO-B099(22), and Progress Invoice #6 for BRO-B099(23).

Kathy Kiddoo, Treasurer, presented a monthly settlement of funds to the Commission.

Discussion was held regarding county holidays.  The Commission decided to close county operations at 12:00 p.m. on December 24, 2019.

Commissioner Clatt moved to enter executive session at 10:50 a.m. pursuant to RSMo § 610.021(1).  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wiggins and carried 3-0.

Commissioner Wiggins moved to exit executive session at 11:05 a.m. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Clatt and carried 3-0.

The Commission received a request for mileage reimbursement for attending training from the Deputy Assessor.  Since there was no unencumbered budget balance from which to reimburse the expense, the Commission ordered payment from the Assessor’s office expense line item.

Seeing no further business, Presiding Commissioner Ebeling adjourned the meeting at 12:00 p.m.

The Scotland County Commission adjourned to meet in regular session on Thursday, October 24, 2019. 

Reap what you sow

by Avi Maistri

As fall turns frigid here at Dancing Rabbit, I’ve been thinking a lot about the phrase, “You reap what you sow.” Avi here. I’m a fall kind of guy. I like the slowing down; the coziness; and the harvesting of and reflecting on what was from the current year, while bringing into greater focus what we wish will be in the following year. 

Kyle’s rental property, the Gnome Dome, dressed for the cold in the first snow of the season.

I’ve never met a person who didn’t have a lot of wishes for what life could be like if only things were different. Myself included. 

A few months ago, I discovered that some of my neighbors here at DR have a pessimistic view of optimism and optimists. As a self-identifying optimist, it was confusing to me. I always thought optimism was something to aspire to. I didn’t take their dismissal personally. I share the concerns I heard about Polly Anna-ism and ungrounded magical thinking. That type of self-deception doesn’t make things better. I’ve found it generally seems to prolong a painful reconciliation with the facts of life. 

But grounded optimism? That’s the fuel the future runs on. One of my neighbors has a sign outside of their garden, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” We all want the experience of being gifted with a better tomorrow, but too often we don’t bother sowing the seeds of our dreams and visions today. Soil preparation is hard work, to say nothing of weeding and pest management. 

My wife and I just depleted our savings in the process of applying for her green card and hiring a lawyer to help us do so. We haven’t yet figured out how to replenish that savings within the context of life here at Dancing Rabbit, where we’ve essentially treaded water financially since moving here in April, though our quality of life took a steep upswing — go figure. 

We accomplished our mission for the year. We sowed seeds of changing continents and countries, living close to the land and other people, creating and participating in systems we feel proud and fulfilled to be a part of. It wouldn’t have happened without a grounded optimism that we could actually find a home to raise a family in, where we wouldn’t feel a need to shelter our children from the world they were born into. We want to believe we can feel joyful about bringing them into a world that fosters their freedom, creativity, and growth; a world that kindles the light of their souls. I think we found that place at Dancing Rabbit. 

It feels sad to me knowing that some amount of my neighbors don’t have that same feeling about our community. For them, it’s no longer a safe haven after the child sexual abuse scandal that rocked our community this year.

Of course, there’s no place we can go to escape the dark side of human nature. Wherever we go, there we are. To think otherwise would be foolish, naive optimism that misses the mark.

Life is a sexually transmitted disease with a 100 percent mortality rate. We were born to struggle to survive and then die. 

I need to be in touch with my anxiety and heed its wisdom. It tells me when I’m messing around and neglecting the hopeful seeds I’ve sown. It tells me when I’m being self-destructive. It shows me what’s actually important to me. 

Everyone wants a life full of what’s important to them, the aforementioned better tomorrow, myself included. No one wants to know when they’re not doing the things that are likely to bring that result about; easier to feel sorry for ourselves for living in the lackluster today. 

As I plan my garden for 2020, I have decisions to make. What will I sow? What’s worth tending to when the summer drought hits and the prairie weeds vigorously threaten to crowd everything out? Daring to answer that question is what it means to be optimistic. Knowing we’ll reap next fall what was sown in the spring is what it means to be a realist. 

Would you like to see Dancing Rabbit firsthand, and meet some of the interesting folks that live here? Swing by on Thursday evening between 4:00 and 8:00 p.m. for a delicious handmade pizza and a cool glass of beer at our eco inn, the Milkweed Mercantile. Check Google Maps for the best directions from your location. We hope to see you there.

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