December 19, 2013

SCR-I Hires Architect for Possible Early Childhood Center Project

The Scotland County R-I Board of Education met in regular session on Tuesday, December 10, 2013. President George Koontz called the regular meeting to order at 6:30 p.m., with five members present. Sam Berkowitz and Matt McKee were absent.

The board reviewed reports from recently completed interviews with five architectural firms interested in working with the district on a possible construction project for a proposed Early Childhood Center on the district campus as well as various other facility upgrades.

The board voted to select the architectural firm, ACI Boland, subject to negotiation of the final contract. 5-0

The board also voted to authorize the architectural firm to conduct a district facility study, subject to negotiation of final contract.

The facility study will allow ACI Boland’s architects and engineers to review the district’s facilities and would identify and prioritize short term and long term facility needs.

The district recently learned it has been approved for funding through the Missouri Preschool Program (MPP) for 2013-2014.

"The grant will fund an additional early childhood section for our district," said Superintendent Ryan Bergeson. "The MPP program will begin in the second semester of this school year."

The board voted to approve the Missouri Preschool Project and to advertise for an Early Childhood Education teacher.

In other business, Bergeson presented a district financial update to the board.

"At this time, we have received 23% of the budgeted revenues and have expended 38% of the budgeted expenses," Bergeson told the members. He noted the normal rate for expenditures after five months is 41%.

"Year to date, our expenses are $1,976,695.70 and revenues are 1,873,688.03, resulting in a deficit of $608,295.00," he informed the board. "This is in the normal range for this time of year."

Surplus Property

The board reviewed six bids for the 1968 Kaiser Military Jeep that had been declared surplus property by the district. Gavin Hauk held the winning bid for $1,604.

Procedural Evaluation

The board reviewed the District Finance Procedural Evaluation. The district fund balance to start the year was $1,765,115.51 which represents 25.3% of the districts budgeted expenditures.

The current tax levy is set at $3.3356 which is well below the voter approved tax ceiling of $3.69 and the state performance levy of $3.43.

The district has been deficit spending for five year and projects a deficit for this fiscal year.

"We will continue to pay close attention to state and federal funding and legislative issues that could impact our school district," said Bergeson. "We must continue to keep our buildings in good repair, prioritize spending, and provide the best education possible for our students."

Amend Budget

The board voted to amend the budget to update revenue and expenditure projections to reflect the most current numbers available to the district.

The overall projected deficit was increased by $91,736.55. The increase in the projected deficit is due to adding an additional section of Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE). Bergeson indicated that this increase will be reimbursed through federal funds in fiscal year 2015.

Board Workshop

The board scheduled a January Board Workshop for 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 14, 2014.

Buy Board

The board voted to participate in the MSBA Buy Board Program. This program will help compare and reduce costs for materials and supplies at no cost to the district.

Snow Removal

The board voted to solicit bids for snow removal.

Health Care Career Readiness

High School Principal Kenya Fuemmeler reported to the board on Health Care Career Readiness. Ms. Slaughter and Ms. Fuemmeler have been researching options for our high school students to get additional health related experience before graduating. Mrs. Fuemmeler will continue to revisit this at future meetings.

January Meeting

The board voted to schedule the January Board Meeting for Wednesday, January 8 at 6:30 p.m. 5-0

Executive Session

The board voted 5-0 to table the minutes of the November 13th meeting.

The board voted 5-0 to offer the High School Secretary position to Hannah Bishop.

The board voted 5-0 to award the MSBA Belcher Scholarship.

Board of Alderman Agree to Pursue Supplemental Grant Funding for Airport Runway Resurfacing

The Board of Aldermen of the City of Memphis met in regular session on Thursday, October 4, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. in Memphis City Hall.  Mayor William Reckenberg called the meeting to order.  Aldermen present were:  Tom Glass, Chris Feeney, and Lucas Remley.  Others in attendance were:  City Supt. Roy Monroe; citizens Maxine Cook and Laura Schenk; and City Clerk Angela Newman.


Alderman Glass moved and Alderman Feeney seconded to approve the minutes of the September 6, 2018 and September 19, 2018 council meetings.  Vote:  Glass, Feeney, and Remley, all aye.


Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Glass seconded to pay the monthly bills as presented.  Vote:  Glass, Feeney, and Remley, all aye.


Laura Schenk reported the Halloween Safe Stops sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce will be held on October 31st from 4-6 p.m.


Proposed Zoning Map

The Planning and Zoning Committee held a public hearing at 6:00 p.m. prior to the Board of Aldermen meeting.  The Planning and Zoning Committee recommended adoption of the proposed zoning map with the changes requested at the public hearing.  There were no further citizen comments for the Board of Aldermen public hearing.

Highway 15 Coalition

Council further discussed assisting the Highway 15 Coalition in the formation of a Transportation Development District (TDD) and agreed to offer their support.  Council would like the Coalition to seek private funding before committing public funds to the project and would also like to be involved in the planning process for improvements within the city limits.

Request Bids

Council unanimously agreed to request hay ground bids at Lake Showme and at the Airport.  Bids will be opened at the November 1, 2018 council meeting.

Renew Contracts

Alderman Glass moved and Alderman Feeney seconded to renew the following contracts for 2019:  Cemetery Hay Ground, Philip Zimmerman; Lake ShowMe Hay Ground, Chris Mallett; and Opening and Closing of Graves, Sam Redding.  Vote:  Glass, Feeney, and Remley, all aye.

Bill No. 18-13 – Adoption of Zoning Map

City Clerk Newman presented and read by title two times Bill No. 18-13 – Adoption of Zoning Map.  Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Glass seconded to adopt Bill No. 18-13.  Roll call vote:  Glass, aye; Feeney, aye; and Remley, aye.

TAP Grant Application Agreement

An authorization agreement was presented from MECO Engineering Company to produce a 2018 MoDOT TAP Grant Application and exhibits for sidewalk improvements from the Fitness Center along Highway 136 to the downtown square.  Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Glass seconded to approve the authorization agreement in the amount of $2,500.  Vote:  Glass, Feeney, and Remley, all aye.

Airport Supplemental Funding Applications

Airport Engineer Brian Garkie forwarded to the council two project proposals to be considered in the supplemental funding opportunity from the FAA.  The projects consist of the reconstruction of the runway and the expansion of the apron for terminal area development.  There would be no local match required.  Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Glass seconded to move forward with submitting the applications.  Vote:  Glass, Feeney, and Remley, all aye.


City Supt. Roy Monroe reported the water department has finished sewer jetting for the year, with the exception of one area.  A new root cutter for the sewer jetter has been ordered to complete that area.


Alderman Glass reported a request from a citizen for trees to be trimmed that are in the power lines at their residence.

Alderman Feeney asked Supt. Monroe if the ramp at the recycling building could be improved to be longer and wider.  Supt. Monroe will look at the ramp and report back to the council.  Feeney also asked if there were backstops and targets for the archery range.  Supt. Monroe stated there are backstops and targets and he is expecting an additional $5,000 in grant funding to be used toward bags to go in front of the backstops.

Alderman Feeney also asked Supt. Monroe about the street resurfacing process, reported brush along the right of way that needs trimmed, and requested an alleyway be marked if there is a survey on file.

Regular session adjourned at 7:50 p.m.

Alderman Remley left the meeting.

Council met in closed session to discuss a legal issue.

Alderman Feeney moved and Alderman Glass seconded to adjourn from closed session.  Vote:  Glass and Feeney, all aye.

Closed session adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

Local Red Cross Blood Drive Will be Part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – the perfect time to give blood to support cancer patients and others.

Anna Gwinnup, a loving wife, mother, and grandmother, was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in September 2017. Within weeks, it advanced to stage 2, forcing her to undergo a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and multiple surgeries, which required blood products.

Though she was a blood donor prior to her diagnosis, Gwinnup now has a new passion for the cause. “I want to raise awareness about the need for blood to treat cancer,” she said.

Cancer patients may need red blood cell transfusions during chemotherapy, surgery or treatment for complications.

Donors of all blood types are needed to help ensure a sufficient supply for patients this fall, especially after Hurricane Florence and subsequent flooding forced the cancellation of more than 6,000 blood and platelet donations last month.

Local donors will be able to give blood in Memphis on Tuesday, October 16th from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the First Baptist Church.

Make an appointment to donate blood by downloading the free American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

As a thank-you, those who come to donate blood or platelets in October will automatically be entered to win one of five $500 gift cards redeemable at hundreds of merchants. Learn more at

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at or use the Blood Donor App.

Gooden-Emons and Kinney-Zaerr Families Gather

The descendants of Gooden-Emons and Kinney-Zaerr families gathered Sunday September 30, 2018 at the Downing Depot in Downing, MO with 46 family members and guests present from several states.

The Lord’s Prayer was offered by family attending prior to a delicious carry-in basket lunch and the Hog Roast was provided by Randy and Delores Sayre and their grand-daughter Ashlyn Laws.

A new pitch and catch game was played with volunteers. Catchers wore shower caps covered with shaving cream and the pitchers threw cheese curls at the catchers’ shaving cream heads. Those with the most cheese curls stuck in the shaving cream were declared the winner.

A silent auction was held with 18 items donated by family members and funds from the auction will be used to replenish next year’s costs.

The registration candy jar was won by Lori Eidson with a total of 47 pieces of candy.

Those in attendance: Juanita, Lisa Gooden, Colby, Emma Frederick, Deb Gooden, Mindy, Hailey Roberts, Doug, Olivia Robinson, Lancaster, MO;

Ryan, Lori, Abigail Eidson, Moberly, MO; Joyce Frederick, Baring, MO; Melissa, Warren, Evan, Ethan Higgins, Bondurant IA; Lowell, Linda Gordy, Arbela MO; Carla, Alisha McGill, Lon, Barbara, Tegan Creath, Milton IA; Larry, Barbara Sparks, Mystic, IA; Carolyn Rudicil, Edina, MO; Edward, Regina Gooden, Jesse, Connie Gooden, Bloomfield, IA; Jenny, Ashlyn Laws, Glenwood MO; Larry, Karen, Deanna, Dawson Clausssen, Shelbyville, MO; Violet Fulbright, Willard MO; Ron, Mae Emons, Gresham NE; Clarence, Rosalie Kinney, Randy, Delores Sayre, Jim and Janet Fishback, Downing, MO.

Next year’s reunion will be hosted by Randy Sayre and grand-daughter Ashlyn Laws on September 29, 2019.

Court Ruling Raises Voter Registration Concerns

A recent federal court decision regarding Missouri voter registration has made headlines and may be creating unnecessary concerns for Scotland County voters.

A federal judge found that the Missouri Department of Revenue violated the National Voter Registration Act, commonly called the “Motor Voter” law, by not providing all Missourians who changed their mailing address on driver or non-driver licenses an opportunity to also change their voter registration.

According to the Missouri Secretary of State’s office, around August 1st, 2017, the department of revenue revised its change of address process, effectively eliminating the step through which customers could update their address with the secretary of state’s office or local election authority.

To assist the department in complying with the judge’s order, the secretary of state’s office mailed 22,404 notices, which included a voter registration application, to Missourians who changed their mailing address on driver and non-driver licenses with the Department of Revenue between August 1, 2017, and September 26, 2018.

If individuals used the department’s driver or non-driver license change of address procedure online or on Form 4160, they will receive a notification with instructions to check their voter registration information or register to vote.

“We are getting swamped with phone calls from voters who are already correctly registered and are needlessly worrying,” said Scotland County Clerk Batina Dodge.

She stated the notices were a courtesy to anyone who may have changed their address with DOR and expected it to automatically update voter registration info. It doesn’t mean that the recipient’s voter registration addressing is incorrect.

Dodge noted the majority of residents in Scotland County had address changes last year as part of the transition to the new 911 addressing system, meaning they likely received a letter from the DOR. However the county clerk’s office made a concerted effort at the time of the transition to the new 911 addressing system to get all voter registration addresses changed as well. The county also performed a voter registration canvas in February to try to catch any other addressing problems.

Cook Named to Dean’s List at State Tech

State Technical College of Missouri named the Dean’s List for the 2018 summer semester, including Chase Cook of Memphis.

To be placed on the Dean’s List, a full-time student must earn a semester grade point average between 3.5 and 4.0 on a 4-point scale.

Ranked among the best nationally, the State Technical College of Missouri serves a unique role as one of the leading two-year technical colleges in Missouri and the Midwest region.  State Tech has built a reputation as a highly specialized, student friendly college with an exceptional reputation with business and industry.  State Tech stands alone as Missouri’s first and only public higher education institution with a statewide mission devoted solely to technical education at the Associate of Applied Science Degree level.

Rutledge Renegades

Martin Guinn and Reva Hustead went to Canton and LaGrange.

Monday, October 1, 2018 was a very foggy day.  Not much going on.

Reva Hustead and Dorothy Hunolt went to Quincy.

Martin and Reva went to Hannibal and Quincy.

Neta Phillips went to Kirksville and Edina.

Katrina took her great-aunt Neta to Memphis and Kirksville.

Carol McCabe attended the Parade of Champions at band day in Kahoka.  That evening she attended the wedding of Kaitllyn Whitaker at The Grand.

Some of those in this week were Larry Tague, Dale Tague, Neta Phillips, Otho and Dorva Harbur, Martin Guinn, Reva Hustead, Bob and Dorothy Hunolt, Ronnie and Bonnie Young, Levi Zimmerman, and Don Tague.

Living Life Over


Two long-time community activists were honored by the Scotland County Rotary Club as the club’s 2013 Citizens of the Year.  The awards were presented at the club’s annual awards supper and officer installation meeting.

Wilma June Kapfer was honored for her years of service to the Downing House Museum as well as for a career in the nursing field.

Kapfer, a retired nurse, has served as the curator for the museum in Memphis for the past 34 years, overseeing displays on the county’s history while administering tours and supervising fundraising efforts.

An active genealogical researcher, Kapfer also was recognized for her efforts in assisting visitors from far and wide in their searches for family histories.

JoAnn Peters was honored by the Rotary Club as a Citizen of the Year.  A tax accountant by trade, Peters has utilized her financial background in serving as the bookkeeper for a pair of community groups.

Peters volunteers her services for the Memphis Community Players and for Timber Ridge Golf Course of Memphis.


Once again a long line of donors as well as numerous volunteers helped make the most recent Red Cross blood drive in Memphis a success.  Nearly 100 prospective donors went through the doors at the First Baptist Church on October 7th.

Exchange Bank of Northeast Missouri provided the meat and cheese for sandwiches served to donors and the workers.  The Bank of Memphis and the First Baptist Church of Memphis donated cookies for the event.

A total of 84 units of blood were collected at the drive.  Awards were presented to Joan C. Meyer-Kice (1 gal. pin), Robert A. Tinkle and Mikel L. Harvey (2 gal. pin), Edith H. Martin and James Phil Struble (3 gal. pin), William P. McRobert (4 gal. pin), Roger P. Gosney (6 gal. pin), Rebecca M. Martin (8 gal. pin), and David M. Ahland (9 gal. pin).


The Memphis Police Department is investigating vandalism to the portable radar trailer that is on loan to the city police department from the Missouri Highway Patrol.

According to the report, the trailer was reportedly the target of a thrown bottle from a passing vehicle.  The vandalism occurred on Highway 136 in Memphis on October 10th.  The MPD has recovered the bottle and other evidence at the scene.


Some Scotland County corn fields are contaminated with aflatoxin.  Samples from Scotland County have been tested by University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory and they have found aflatoxin at 50 times the tolerance levels for human consumption.

“Aflatoxin is likely to be found in corn that was stressed by drought conditions.  Corn in areas where the rainfall was more normal probably will have less problems,” says Joe McVeigh, Farm Management Specialist.

Historically, drought stress often brings on more field infections of Aspergillus flavus, one of the casual fungi that also produce aflatoxin as a byproduct of the infection.


In a Special Election held Tuesday, October 3rd, by the Scotland County R-1 School District, voters approved bussing of students who live more than one-half mile but less than one mile from school.  The vote was 507 in favor of the proposition and 53 against.

Voters had turned the issue down in an earlier election.  The bussing resumed on Monday, October 9.


Unseasonable warm weather the past few days has presented itself in this area.  Monday was warm reading into the lower eighties and Tuesday was reportedly to have reached the mid-eighties.  Also, brisk southerly winds during the day made the temperatures seem not quite so warm for this time of year.

Predictions are for rain which frequently happens following a “balmy” spell such as we are having.


LeRoy Huff, 17 year old president of the Rutledge Crackerjacks, won top honors in Boys Grooming at State Achievement Day, recently.

In addition to getting a highly prized blue ribbon, he is to be awarded an expensive jacket for being tops in this event.

LeRoy had previously won the county grooming contest July 22nd and the district contest on August 12th.

LeRoy is the son of Mrs. Melba Huff of Rutledge and the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. O.W. McClamroch.


Saturday evening between 7:00 and 11:00 p.m., someone stole 22 White Leghorn pullets from the home of Junior Hunter northwest of Memphis.  They also took about a half barrel of kerosene.

Mr. and Mrs.  Hunter were in Memphis that evening, and when they got home, missed the chickens and kerosene.

Deputy Sheriff, Clyde Evans, was called, arrived at the Hunter home about midnight, and made an investigation of the theft.  No arrests have been made yet.


Land walk on Land Day (photo by Hassan)

I have a sense of time marching on as the season shifts gears from late summer to fall. Liz here, checking in with the latest about Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. This week we had several rain storms, including one loud thunderstorm that kept me up for hours. I am grateful after these storms that my little, straw bale house stays snug and dry in this weather. I haven’t felt the need to fire up my wood stove, which is how I heat my house, but a nip in the air is telling me it won’t be long.

The village feels quiet since the permaculture design course students departed for home. I was in charge of cooking most of the breakfasts during the nine-day course. While it felt fun and easy as I was doing it, since then I’m noticing the spaciousness in my days for unscheduled time: time for sitting and chatting with other Rabbits, time for leisurely sipping cups of good coffee, time for listening to music and playing solitaire, and putting my gardens in order for the winter with cover crops and mulching.

In the wake left by the permaculture design course, I’ve noticed the various cross-pollinations, as it were, from the Rabbits who took the course. Angela was asking around the Thistledown Co-op dinner table if people were interested in a permaculture discussion group (this was greeted enthusiastically by all of us). I took the course several years ago and have been implementing those principles in my own gardens, in Cob’s garden this summer, and in the plans for the sub-community, which will include extensive gardens for food production and livestock.

Cross-pollination at Dancing Rabbit fascinates me: what visitors take away from here and implement in their lives near and far; what Rabbits implement at Dancing Rabbit and how that changes the future of the village; what simply gathering at our co-op dinner tables night after night and exchanging information and ideas does to change our lives.

Speaking of cross pollination, I am currently reading David Fleming’s Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival, and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy. What I instantly loved about this book were the predictions of what might take place in a market economy of the future. These descriptions involve a lot of things already commonplace at Dancing Rabbit: barter, community singing, potlucks, and creating traditions. When communities have fun together and weave favors so thick that no one can keep track anymore and so they don’t, the result is benevolence and trust. I also like Fleming’s concept of the “slack economy,” where there is a return to spaciousness in people’s lives because full employment is not possible. This harkens back to the Middle Ages when communities were bound by work guilds and festivals and merrymaking; creating enough community cohesion to survive at a local level.

Saturday was Land Day at Dancing Rabbit. On Land Day, we celebrated the twenty-first anniversary of our founders’ purchase of the 280 acres where our village is located. As often happens when something is being celebrated at DR, a meal was shared. This time, the Critters Co-op hosted a pancake breakfast with partakers bringing their own pancake toppings. People brought apple slices fried in butter and cinnamon, pressure-canned strawberries, chocolate chips, and yes, maple syrup. Later that day, the rain let up just in time for a land walk.

There was also the squash competition, with prizes for the largest, the best looking, and the so-called “squashiest” squash. (A squash from Cob’s garden won that award!) There was a Land Day potluck (of course) and I have to say, I never get tired of seeing all the smiling faces when we circle up, hold hands, sing a song, and share what dishes we’ve brought.

We sang DR’s version of happy birthday twice during that meal. Here are the lyrics: “Happy birthday to you/We’re so glad you’re alive/You’re a gift from the earth/Bless the day of your birth.” Who wouldn’t want those words sung to them by a crowd of friends and neighbors?

After potluck, there was a Memory Lane gathering. Alline led the group through DR history and others shared stories of the early days. Then, we danced, with Ben as disc jockey.

This week, the village will host the last Visitor Session of the season. We had a nice, long break since the last one and I found myself looking forward to seeing new people come to the village. I cooked their first breakfast and chatted with most of them. People come from all over to live with us for a few weeks and learn the many aspects of our model for sustainable living. I am still struck by how many wonderful people we get to meet.

Inspired by discussions about the goals of the planned sub-community, I began to address my growing dissatisfaction with the amount of garbage I create. I compost food scraps and recycle cans, glass, and paper, but even the number of recyclables I produce is annoying me. As I learned in my permaculture course, there is no “away” with garbage and recyclables; they just move further downstream in the waste cycle. With fewer countries willing to manage US waste and recycling, it seems more important than ever to not produce it in the first place. Elementary, I know. So, I bought wax cloths that are made to act like plastic wrap. They arrived in the mail and sat on the counter for several weeks. In the busyness of life, it is often hard to strategize and then change behavior. I’ll keep you posted, dear reader, on how my new habits manifest.

The subject of enneagram types has been coming up lately in conversations and I found myself hauling out my enneagram textbook, Don Riso and Russ Hudson’s The Wisdom of the Enneagram. Like the true “four” that I am, I eventually ended up re-reading the chapter on type four (individualist, identity-seekers). Every time I pick up this book I learn something new, and this time the section on personal growth stood out for me, particularly the advice that read, “Put yourself in the way of good.” With the tumultuous times we live in, I’m grateful that I live in a place that is good and good for me.

Downing Depot Museum News

The 1959 Los Angeles–Downing Family Reunion, was held at La Brea tar pits. My sister and I are on the fence in the background, with our parents in the front row. A good time was had by all. Photo donated by Carrie Wineinger.

Friday afternoon and the Depot Museum is open. It’s a bit of a rainy day here in Downing. I’m feeling a bit nostalgic and so here I sit thinkin’ about picnics?!? Did your family like picnics?

In recent times, my cousin Norma Lee often told me how much my grandmother, Maude Appaline Barb Green, who we called “Mom,” how much she loved wearing hats and having picnics. That was before my time, but I love hearing those stories—remembering whatever I can, and feeling warm and fuzzy and nurtured just knowing that there were many stories told, even if I don’t remember the details.

The generations before me were pretty much into picnics. Many stories have been told about the tree area in front of Campground Cemetery. I’m told there were frequently folks camping there, Gypsies mostly, or that’s the exciting thing I remember. Gypsies! Before Hwy 136 was built, the road past Campground was the main through-road between Downing and Memphis, Highway 4 I believe.

At times everybody living around Campground and Downing would gather together and have ice cream socials there. Can’t you just see the kids running and playing games? Someone would have brought ice blocks packed in sawdust and burlap bags. When they were ready, the men broke the ice into small chunks, put them in the freezers sitting in washtubs, added salt, then sat down, and started churning. ‘Round and ‘round those handles went. They’d change men now and then to get all the freezing done, while the women set out cakes and pies. Oh, my! I’m sure you’ve heard how good the Downing women of the past—well, and the present, can bake.

Sometime in the 1920s my grandad, Ellot Ishmael Green, and his brother-in-law, Laurence Myers Barb, went to the official opening of Hilburn bridge. It was one of the largest truss bridges in the area at that time. It was an all-day event/picnic and quite the deal, with a huge turnout of folks. Haven’t heard of Hilburn bridge? It’s the bridge on Hwy 15 at the junction with Hwy W going east to Rutledge.

If you’re going to PICNIC, you want to spend the day, you want to take a long ride, maybe visit with some family, or at least look over the countryside and wonder how other folks are doing with their crops, livestock, and such. So those generations before me, my grandparents, my mother, Helen, and her two brothers, Charles and Lee, would prepare a feast and head off for a full day of picnicking. I imagine Laurence and Bessie Barb and their two girls, Norma Lee and Marjorie came along on most picnics. They were like one big family, living just one hill apart in the Walnut Grove school area, south of Downing, just off the county line road. And because Laurence and Bessie were Mom’s brother and Granddad’s sister, all the children were double cousins, but were closer, like brothers and sisters.

Another spot our family often picnicked at was the Barnett statue, south of Memphis. When it was first built, there was a large open area, like a park, surrounding it on three sides. One of my grandmother’s sisters, Ina Mae Barb, was then married to Clair Stice. They lived and farmed nearby, so there would likely be a gathering of family. Mae and Claire had three girls, the first one, Wanda, was born at Vassar Hill. “Inney” would tell her stories of the Civil War fought there and point out the location near the barn where northern soldiers were buried.

You may not realize, but over the years many Downing residents moved westward. And in traveling across country during the 1920s and ‘30s, most every day was a picnic. In our broader family’s case, six to eight separate relatives from three generations, who were born and raised in Downing and surrounds, pulled up stakes and headed west to Hotchkiss, Colorado, or to southern California, near Los Angeles. Once gone, the relocated family seldom visited back home—about every two to three-years, or they sent letters and postcards claiming the wonderfulness of it all, and “wish you were here”. Only my great–grandparents, Joseph Allen and Rosa Ann Myers Barb, encouraged by her brother, took their large family west to Colorado, then returned “home,” a year later, in 1913.

In 1955 my immediate family moved from Illinois to southern California. Mother and I were ever so glad to come back to rural Downing and family each summer. In late summer we would return to the boomtown area of aerospace—Lancaster, Palmdale, Edwards Airforce Base—for my dad to return to teaching and make our living. Apparently even in California Downing folks liked picnics and wanted a connection to home and family, as for many years we attended a “Downing Family Reunion” picnic in LA to visit with seldom seen friends.

Well that’s my take on picnics this rainy fall day. The Museum had four visitors (one for an English report and two looking for parents) and two volunteers came by. We’re happy to have them all. Lena Gallagher brought over a picture for Ann Alexander of four local men, including Ann’s husband and Link Turner, who we wondered about a few weeks ago. Carol Scurlock, Bonnie Hayes, and I had a good discussion on the Locker building’s fire in Downing, just east of I.G. Ruth’s current store—speculating when it was and who bought and sold it afterward. We have pictures of the burned area, but the notes are fading. That is another of our renovation projects.

The Depot Museum, located at Downing Appreciation Days Park, will be open for a last time in 2018 on October 19, from noon to 4 pm. Volunteers will be working there at other unscheduled times, too. If you’d like to volunteer to help with our renovation, please contact Jerry (660-379-2467), Carol (641-929-3915), or Judy (660-342-1454).

Jonathan Holton Earns Spirit of SCH Award 


Employee Experience Committee members presented Jonathan Holton with the October Spirit of SCH Award. Pictured (L to R) are Robert Miller, Olivia Steele, Stephanie Ketchum, Jeanette Fogle, Jonathan Holton, Danni Waterman, and Travis Onken.

The October winner for the Spirit of SCH award has officially been chosen by the Employee Experience Committee at Scotland County Hospital. Jonathan Holton, IT Specialist, was selected by the committee based off of his willingness to go above and beyond what is asked.

The nomination stated, “Jonathan’s demeanor is always kind and he wants what’s best for the hospital.  He’s always willing to do what’s asked, and more.”  Jonathan was presented with a Spirit of SCH certificate, $20 Amazon gift card, and a select parking spot of his choosing.

Jonathan is an IT Specialist for the hospital and applies his education and technical expertise to the implementation, monitoring and maintenance of IT systems for the hospital and three rural clinics and manages a large portion of the social media sites.  He is a 2003 graduate of Scotland County High School and a 2007 graduate from Indian Hills Community College.  He has been employed for five years at the hospital.  He is the son of Alvin and Christy Holton and lives in Lancaster.

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