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March 25, 2011

Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center Moving Forward on New Site

Also Inside: lCancer: From the caregiver’s perspective lThe Rambler: Talks Ozarks lCulture: No place like Poplar Bluff lOp/Ed: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome lExpert: Donuts, mmm

SEMO TIMES 3.25.11 Volume 3 Issue 21 2725 N. Westwood Blvd. Suite 17 Poplar Bluff, MO 63901 573-785-2200

Inside this edition

The Week in Review - 3 The Social Network - 3 Hospital Moving Forward - 4 SEMO News Briefs - 5 Your Local Expert - 6 SIDS - 7 Opinion: Claire Air- 7 Caregiver’s Group - 10 Tech Talk - 11 The Rambler - 11 Fork: McDonald’s -11 Home Sweet Home - 13 Hooked on Science - 15 +bluffee event’s calendar - 15 Scott R. Faughn, proprietor Joe Clark, publisher Tim Krakowiak, managing editor Christy Norman, account executive Mark Cozart, distribution manager Jason DeBerry, intern


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the social network

The Week in Review

It was a bad week for fans of Elizabeth Taylor. The Hollywood star passed away March 23 at 79 years young. Say it ain’t so. It was a good week for Southeast Missouri. Consecutive warm days means summer is fast approaching! We’re watching you like a hawk, Bob Reeves of KFVS-12. Don’t fowl it up for us. It was a good week for Danny Sisco, our blind columnist who was featured on the cover of the 1.27 edition. Sisco is training for a mixed martial arts grappling match to take place next week at the VFW in Sikeston. You are the definition of a hometown hero, Danny. On the M M A tip, it was a good week for Jon Bones Jones. Jones who dominated Mauricio Shogun Rua of Pride fame March 19 to become the UFC’s light-heavy weight champ. Plus he caught a purse snatcher in New Jersey earlier in day with force! Our own Tim Krakowiak has been bragging how this superhero hails from his home turf in upstate New York. Thumbs is not sure we believe him.

current events Section


a dancing kids video lol

thumb wrestling

trailer trash - Powder Mill


It,s Too Late To Apologize video

Ummmm shopping

Club villian music video

how to join our social network:

1. 2. 3.

Become a friend of SEMO Times on Facebook Watch for ‘The Social Network’ questions Reply for a chance to be featured with your profile pic in the newspaper


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News Section

New Hospital near Cemetery Site still a go, PBRMC CEO says Tim Krakowiak Managing Editor Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center officials say they do not anticipate the small private cemetery that recently received public attention on the proposed replacement hospital site on PP Highway to be a deal-breaker. “The property owner and PBRMC respect the situation and are diligently working to find a solution that is acceptable to all parties involved,” read a statement issued Wednesday by PBRMC. “We remain confident and enthusiastic in our proposed hospital and the potential benefits for our community’s health care and economy.” Joe Chapman, who works in the Poplar Bluff funeral industry, has been hired as the mediator by property owner Don Bedell of Sikeston to meet with the survivors of the Shadle Family Cemetery on Monday in an effort to resolve the matter, which could mean removal of human remains, he said. Leading the effort to protect the cemetery, containing an estimated 70 graves, is Georgia Webb, 81, who has multiple family members buried there, beginning with her great-grandparents, George Washington and Anna Shadle. “This conglomerate is so big, I cannot fathom the amount of money that is going to be spent and made,” said Webb, who resides outside of Poplar Bluff. “They can’t even leave one acre for our cemetery?” PBRMC recently obtained options on the 64-acre site from three landowners—Sikeston’s DCB Real Estate Partnership owning the bulk of property—so the hospital can build its seven-story, 425,000-square-foot, $170 million medical campus. John Massey, a consultant in Nashville whose firm has worked with more than 400 hospitals, previously identified the cemetery, and notified Bedell that a solution would be needed before further site development, according to hospital officials. PBRMC is currently in the environmental surveying stage, according to Chief Executive Officer Greg Carda. A public hearing for the certificate of need with the Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee is slated for 9 a.m. May 9 in Jefferson City.

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Carda said he feels confident PBRMC will receive the OK since all replacement hospital projects in Missouri over the past five years have been approved. If all goes accordingly, he added, site work would begin by summer, with the new hospital beginning to care for patients in the first quarter of 2014. “We are excited to be able to expand our services with the new hospital, especially the plans for expansions of the emergency department and intensive care unit,” said Lavah Lowe, PBRMC chief operating officer. “The ER is in many ways the front door to our hospital, as it is the first stop for many of our patients. The expansion of these services in particular will allow for improved patient flow processes, which in turn creates an even better patient experience.” The present hospital facility at its North campus location on Westwood Boulevard is so strapped for space, Carda said, his executive team has exhausted all possible creative solutions. The proposed medical campus would be the single largest corporate investment in Poplar Bluff history, confirmed Steve Halter, president of the Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce. Between 200 and 250 employees will be added, bumping the annual payroll from $44 million to $55 million in the first five years, according to Carda. The property owners of the planned future site—Bedell, Steve Boyers, and Thomas and Sally Dodd—began the six-step process to achieve annexation of 105 acres during the Poplar Bluff City Council meeting Monday. The action is expected to be completed May 2. The request to expand into city limits is mainly so the new hospital can access the Poplar Bluff’s utility grid, the CEO said. Last week, PBRMC put out a press release announcing that it would not seek tax abatement for its proposed facility. On the previously considered development site along Oak Grove Road known as Eight Points, a 25-year tax abatement was secured with an Enhanced Enterprise Zone. When Health Management Associates, PBRMC’s parent company, turned down the Eight Points site

last month, K2 Commercial Group of St. Louis announced it would partner with Medical Properties Trust to bring a competing hospital to Poplar Bluff. An MPT spokesman told the SEMO Times the publicly traded real estate investment trust is “not committed to any particular course of action.” PBRMC’s lease for North campus is up in February 2014 with MPT, with an option for renewal, Carda said. The hospital’s South campus does not have a third-party owner. While Carda, a Poplar Bluff native, said he hopes Eight Points does go forward with its $400 million commercial development, he explained why PBRMC opted out to become the medical anchor. “It took a while to piece together the development along with the total scope of the project, and the cost wasn’t known until fairly late, so at some point it was obvious we needed to look into other options,” Carda said. “In the end, there was still a significant difference in upfront cost associated with the Eight

SEMO Times/Tim Krakowiak Georgia Webb, 81, of Poplar Bluff visits the Shadle Family Cemetery on the proposed hospital site Wednesday.

Points site.” The proposed medical campus will require PBRMC to pay $2.1 million in Butler County taxes annually, and another $400,000 if annexed. More than $1.6 million of the total would directly benefit the Poplar Bluff R-I School Dis-

SOUTHEAST MISSOURI’S NEWS-MAGAZINE OF POLITICS AND CULTURE trict, verified Marion Tibbs, Butler County assessor. According to the PBRMC’s CON filed in February with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the new acute care hospital would have 250 beds, 100 more than PBRMC currently staffs. The majority of the licensed beds—210—would come from South campus, which may be subsequently donated entirely to Three Rivers College. This year the community college began leasing out portions of the building for its nursing and allied health program on Pine Street for $1 annually. “If more space at the downtown center becomes available, the college will certainly be interested in exploring all options,” said Dr. Devin Stephenson, Three Rivers president. “There is a great need for health care workers and training, and our medical community in this region has identified a number of new programs that we have included in our future plans. Start-up and maintenance expenses for programs of this nature are costly and we will need to be creative and wise in our expansions.” Of the 213 beds North campus currently has licensed through the state, PBRMC is proposing to relocate 40 to the new facility and convert the present hospital into the largest rehabilitation and psychiatric provider in the region, adding adolescent and geriatric psychiatric services, and consolidating the existing outpatient infusion program from South campus with the radiation oncology program. The architectural rendering of the state-of-the-art hospital has private patient rooms along the perimeter of the building, each with adequate space for visitors and its own window. Carda noted that one of his favorite design features is that the rooms will not be across from one another, like the current semiprivate rooms, but instead will face the nursing station. “We’re designing the hospital to meet our current needs and on into the future, including expandability potential, with larger rooms and more technology, such that we can better meet the needs of our primary six-county service area,” Carda said. “We intend to make the Poplar Bluff hospital much more of a destination, thus reducing outmigration.” Tim Krakowiak can be reached by e-mailing

News Section

@ Gov. Nixon Appoints Bi-partisan Apportionment Commissions JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon recently appointed the members of the bi-partisan apportionment commissions that will set new boundaries for the 34 districts in the Missouri Senate and the 163 districts in the Missouri House of Representatives, including two citizens of Poplar Bluff: Eddy Justice and Nate Kennedy. Poplar Bluff’s Sisco Slated to Fight April 2 Danny Sisco, a blind mixed martial artist of Poplar Bluff, will have a grappling match against 64-yearold Big Don Davis at 8 p.m. April 2 at the VFW in Sikeston. Friends of Library Fundraiser April 15 The Friends of the Poplar Bluff Public Library group is raffling off three prizes, an iPad, TV and Tyler Hansbrough jersey, to raise money for books, at 5:30 p.m. April 15 during the library’s “download station” grand opening. Three Rivers to Host GED Test in Malden in April Three Rivers College will host the General Education Development test in its Malden center from 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m April 16. The registration period for this test closes on April 8. Library Expands Interlibrary Loan Program Read the full story on the daily fix over at the .com.

daily updates MON - subfeature Tues - local expert WEDs - almost famous thurs- guest column fri - print edition


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Tim Krakowiak Managing Editor

afternoon snack. The Donut House is such a fun and relaxed atmosphere that people of all ages enjoy it. So many people like to just come and meet here and reminisce about their glory days, or even bring their kids in just as their parents had brought them in Mike Cook, years [past]. Owner of the ST: There Donut House seems to be a lot of storytelling that takes place in the Donut House. Can you tell us one of the most interesting tidbits you have heard from a customer? Cook: Back in 2007, we had our grand opening and customer appreciation week. We ran a 99 cent a dozen special and sold over 1,100 dozen donuts on that Saturday by 10 a.m. We had all of our friends and family pumping out donuts. It was unbelievable! We also had a fantastic time with a donut eating contest later that day. We have heard a lot of stories pertaining to these events.

SEMO Times: Besides running the Donut House in Poplar Bluff, we understand you recently opened a Donut House in Malden, plus deliver donuts to several surrounding communities. Could you tell us a little about your donut operation? Mike Cook: The Donut House has so much history here in Poplar Bluff. It was originally started in or about 1954. Most people do not know much about our wholesale operation. We pretty much send donuts out to approximately a 50-mile radius every morning, so you can get our fresh donuts whether you are in Corning, Ark., Advance, Van Buren, or at the junction in Holcomb. ST: What makes for a good donut? Is it the freshness? Is it the toppings and the fillings? Cook: It’s a combination of all of those things. We only use the very best products to make our donuts. There is nothing that compares to a hotglaze donut prepared by Miss Betty on a Friday morning. We also have a secret ingredient in our chocolate icing that makes it so very good. ST: What are some of your most popular and most unique donuts that you bake? Cook: Glaze, cinnamon rolls, chocolate iced custard filled long johns, devil’s food, jelly filled bizmarks, blueberry, fritters, bear claws—we could go on and on and on. ST: From observing the line of cars reaching Westwood Boulevard in the morning, we understand you have your fair share of customers who utilize the drive-thru. But the inside appears to have plenty of regulars as well. What is it about a donut shop that makes it the ideal hangout for all generations, from high schoolers to octogenarTim Krakowiak can be ians? Is it the coffee? Is it the Wi-Fi access? Cook: We always have hot, fresh Folgers. It’s the reached by e-mailing tim@ best part of waking up, and some of our custom- ers really enjoy the Wi-Fi with their breakfast or


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Opinion & Editorial Spring-for-SIDS Day is Next Month

By Katie Howdeshell

SCMCAA Poplar Bluff Full Year Center is the local sponsor for Spring-for-SIDS Day, a fundraising event being held April 29 to benefit the American SIDS Institute. SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is the name given to a mysterious baby killer that takes the lives of between 2000 and 3000 infants each year in the United States. It is the number one cause of death in infants between one month and one year of age. SIDS is sudden and unexplained and even after an autopsy, no cause of death is found. In a typical situation, parents check on their infant whom they think is sleeping only to find their baby dead. Spring-for-SIDS Day is especially important to PBFYC. One of their employees, Katie Howdeshell, lost a baby to SIDS in June 2009. Katie and her husband, Don, were enjoying their son, 2 month and 28 day old, Carter. Carter had recently started smiling at his parents, a smile that melted their hearts. On June 17, 2009, Carter laid down for a nap, and when his dad checked on him, he wasn’t breathing. His mother received the life-changing phone call, and immediately returned home. There was nothing they could do. Following Carter’s death, the Howdeshell’s, who already had a 17-month-old son, chose to have another child, their only daughter, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the older brother she will never meet. They remember Carter daily, but, as a friend once put it, have found a new normal, a day to day life that will never be the same. Every day unfortunate parents all over the world experience this heartbreak. Dr. Betty McEntire, with the American SIDS Institute has worked with SIDS since 1976. “We have seen a tremendous decline in the incidence of SIDS since I began,” she explained. “However, we still cannot tell parents why their infant died. They are left with no closure. “We don’t know the exact cause of SIDS, and there is no way to guarantee an infant will not die,” McEntire continued. “However, there are proven ways to reduce the risk of an infant dying of SIDS. Don’t smoke during pregnancy and don’t let anyone smoke around your baby. Always place your baby to sleep on his or her back in a bare crib. Keep the crib close to the parents’ bed. Instead of using covers, put enough clothing on the baby to keep him or her warm but not too warm.” Full lists of reduction techniques are available at During Spring-for-SIDS Day, employees at PBFYC in exchange for a $5 donation will be given a SIDS information card and a decorative sticker. All employees with Spring-for-SIDS stickers will be encouraged to wear their casual spring outfits.

Spencer takes off on “Claire Air”

By Derek Spencer For a few weeks I have been planning to get off the ground with a piece for the opinion section, and now I’ve found that - literally. As I dive into becoming a frequent contributor to the Times opinion section, our U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is nosediving her chances at re-election in her family’s private plane. It came out this week that Mrs. McCaskill owes an estimated $287,000 in property taxes on her plane, which among other purposes she was using for campaign events. Do not worry folks, this will not put a financial strain on her; she ranks around the 17th wealthiest member of Congress (according to in 2010). But what does this do to her reelection chances come 2012?

attend to, and this is via Twitter. Last January, McCaskill apologized to her mother for just simply quoting a vulgar word in a senate hearing. McCaskill really needs to apologize via Twitter to her mom now for her language the other day: “just sell the d*** plane,” she was caught saying on a conference call. The only thing McCaskill has sold so far are bad excuses and politics as usual. Let’s bring a fresh face and accountable official to public office. I say ground Mrs. McCaskill’s luxury plane and never send it back to Washington, D.C. to represent all of us who actually pay our taxes!

To submit a letter to the editor or become a contributing columnist, e-mail the managing editor Tim Krakowiak at

I would think voters divest in Claire McCaskill like Sarah Steelman divested our public dollars in foreign companies with terrorist ties as Missouri state treasurer. Steelman looks to be McCaskill’s worst nightmare to come out of the Republican primary since she will bring a heavy ethics reform record and platform. While the election is over a year away, McCaskill has some immediate business to


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The Gift Connection

News section

Caregivers Support Group Starting: The Unspoken Story of Cancer Treatment

Tim Krakowiak Managing Editor When Ken Birt tied the knot with Pat Baker in June, after meeting on Match. com several months prior, never did he expect he would become a full-time caregiver on top of being a husband. Days after her then fiancé Ken moved to Poplar Bluff last February, Pat was diagnosed with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer—or lynch syndrome—and had to have two feet of her colon removed, along with a tumor the size of a grapefruit. “First and foremost, I love Pat,” said Ken of Independence. “You don’t sign up for marriage, in sickness and health, with the idea of running for the hills when your luck goes the wrong way.” Ken, who retired from the field of ministry, is going to facilitate a caregiver’s support group on the second Tuesday of every month at First United Methodist Church, beginning at 6:30 p.m. April 12. “The patient’s loved ones shut down a lot of their lives, and pretty soon their world gets small too,” said Charles Buck, First United Methodist pastor. “Ken and Pat realize there is a need for interaction with other people to be supportive, reach that common ground and share that reinforcement that you’re not walking this thing alone.” The first meeting will be organizational. Caregivers and cancer patients are encouraged to come together and listen to the keynote address, and then will break off into private groups. Linda Sue Hammonds, nurse practitioner at Kneibert Clinic, will facilitate the patient assemblage. In May, founder of the United Cancer Assistance Network Lois Bevill and Marcie Lawson, American Cancer Society community manager for health initiatives, have committed to be the featured speakers. “With any severe illness, it always helps to have somebody who has been there to help get through the tough times,” said Dr. Photo provided Robert Oldham, Pat’s oncologist Dr. Rachna Shroff, oncologist at MD An- in Poplar Bluff. “The more chronic derson, gives Pat Birt an examination dur- the disease, the more attention the caregiver needs as well.” ing her second trip to Houston. Besides physical side effects to chemotherapy such as nausea and nosebleeds, Ken explained, the brain seems to be impacted in such a way that the patient is at times unable to think clearly. He referred to the emotional state as “chemo brain.” The patient requires sympathy and understanding throughout treatment, especially during the hair loss stage, Pat noted. “Sometimes the caregiver can become impatient or tired, and not want to hear one more negative about cancer treatment, but every day there will be an issue,” Ken said. “You’re bound to get totally ticked off as a caregiver and as a patient, if you’re human.” He stressed that a caregiver must remain mindful that his or her role is to be an advocate for the patient, attending every appointment and asking the hard questions. Pat was the administrative assistant to chief financial officer Mark Johnson of Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center up until her first major surgery. The position was held open for her for several months, but the disease finally forced her into early retirement in August.

She still has two more growths between her kidneys and vertebrate, but medics have determined that surgery or radiation Photo provided is too risky, Pat and Ken Birt get married before friends and family June due to the proximity 19 in St. Louis. of the aorta going down the backbone. Pat is presently on maintenance treatment infinitely. Since November, Pat has been going to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, one of America’s top cancer hospitals, every two months. Her oncologist in Poplar Bluff works with the medical staff in Houston to administer her chemo. At their home, Ken pointed out, Pat has a candleholder that reads: “The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” “I think right now my purpose is loving and caring for Pat,” Ken stated. “Maybe at another time I’ll have another purpose, but right now that’s where my responsibility lies, and I will see it through.” Tim Krakowiak can be reached by e-mailing


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The Rambler

with Gordon Johnston

“Ozarks” Origin


Tips for Creating Secure Passwords

Newspaper feature writers have a habit of reading my mind. A few years ago I started a collection of “world’s largest” postcards. Well, the postcards were normal size, but they depicted supersized replicas of stuff like prairie chickens, hockey sticks, cheese, balls of string, etc. Immediately, newspapers started running stories chronicling America’s oddball roadside attractions. Before long there was a website—RoadsideAmerica, I think it’s called. I recently wrote a column about peculiar place names (“Peculiar” being one of the places I mentioned), and last week the Springfield News-Leader ran a similar story. A further coincidence, if that is what it is, is that the article includes a paragraph about the origin of “Ozarks,” a topic I had already chosen for this article. Nevertheless, since I have some information that is apparently not widely known, I’m forging ahead. The origins of the word are a bit mystical. Lynn Morrow provides a good overview of the various theories in her White River Valley Historical Quarterly article, “Ozark/Ozarks: Establishing a Regional Term,” which is linked to the Springfield Public Library website. One explanation, no longer taken very seriously, is that it comes from “bois d’arc” (bo-dark), a French phrase for the Osage-orange tree, which Native Americans used to make hunting bows. Some claim the word is an amalgamation of Osage and Arkansas (os-ark). The most widely accepted explanation is that it comes from the French “aux arc” (ohz-ark), short for “Aux Arcansas,” meaning “at the Arkansas,” referring to a trading post on the lower White River where the Arkansas (Quapaw) Indians lived. Morrow’s article argues this quite convincingly. However, I recently discovered another explanation, one that the reference books have so far overlooked or ignored. I was looking for something on a roll of microfilm for the Willow Springs News for 1956 (librarians even today still occasionally do this sort of thing) and ran across this very interesting tidbit in the “Hutton Valley” community news column for April 19. According to the article, titled “Where the Name Ozarks Originated,” “after considerable study,” the Hutton Valley Historical Society “has come up with at least one solution to the mystery.” It doesn’t say how they came up with this, but it seems that a man named Zark Jones had led a group of settlers from “100 miles east of Boston” by oxtrain into the area. The settlers were completely helpless in their new environment, constantly calling out, “Oh, Zark” whenever they wanted him to come solve a problem, until the hills fairly rang with the sound, and it became permanently associated with the hills and valleys of southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. So there you have it. Incidentally if anyone has ever met anyone named “Zark” who was not from the planet Xylon (or even if they were), I’d sure like to know about it.

Passwords are a necessity in today’s technology oriented society. The problem with passwords is that we often forget them. In an effort to remember them more easily we use simple things like our pet’s name or child’s name and birthdate. Because it’s relatively easy for an industrious hacker to find this information, that’s like locking your house and leaving the key under the doormat. Here are some tips for creating a secure password that’s easy for you to remember. •Do not use personal information. You should never use personal information as a part of your password. It is very easy for someone to guess things like your last name, pet’s name, child’s birthdate and other similar information. •Do not use real words. There are specialized tools available to help hackers guess your password. With today’s computing power it doesn’t take long to try every word in the dictionary and find your password. •Mix different character types. You can make a password much more secure by mixing different character types. Try mixing uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters such a ! or &. •Use a passphrase. Rather than making up a random password with mixed character types that’s also not a word in the dictionary, think of a sentence or line for a song or poem and use the first letter of each word to create a passphrase. You can also mix character types to make the password even more secure. For example, “Roses are red, violets are blue” could become rAr!vAb!. •Use a password management tool. These tools store and encrypt usernames and passwords for you. Some will even fill in the information automatically on websites and in applications. •Use different passwords. You should use a different username and password for each application you are trying to protect. That way if a hacker manages to compromise one, the others are still safe. Another method that is less secure, but still better than using the same password everywhere, is to use one username and password for sites that require less security and different ones for sites such as your bank. •Change your passwords. Change your passwords at least every 30-60 days and do not reuse passwords for at least a year. Bret and Judy Ladewig own 1-2-1 Computer Services, which offers computer support, Web design, online marketing services and training classes for small businesses and individuals in Poplar Bluff and the surrounding area.

By Mark Cozart

There is more to food than the taste and look of an item; it’s also the atmosphere and the conversation. McDonald’s offer an invaluable and rich experience for the customer, especially in the early morning hours when the town elders arrive for a cup of coffee. Recently, I sat down to enjoy the new delicious fruit and maple oatmeal when I overheard a customer talk about his war days. The veteran looked the part with a tattoo of an anchor and a small fish, presumably showing off his Navy background. He could barely speak in normal circumstances and often stopped to catch his breath when talking about the news. This time, however, he spoke about World War II in a crisp and clear manner, unaffected by respiratory problems. He shared how the world militaries use to make aircrafts: “They didn’t just explode when you shot them…they fell pretty much in one piece.” The men nodded, and each one shared a war story, stopping a few seconds to take a sip of coffee. I could picture these old war veterans in the yesteryears, complete with military regalia and a smile that spoke of a pride and of a dream. This is an experience that occurs at all three Poplar Bluff McDonald’s locations. For a value meal and a Coca-Cola, you could get a lesson on the human experience, and a crash course on what make this nation so great. Mark Cozart can be reached by e-mailing


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Entertainment section

Culture section

From “Brain Drain” to “Brain Gain” by Tammy Hilderbrand president, Hilderbrand Diamond Company It was American author Thomas Wolfe who wrote a novel published in 1940 entitled, “You Can’t Go Home Again.” The story was about a young author who did what most authors do. He wrote about what he knew. In this instance, he wrote about his hometown. And in telling the truth, some of it was flattering and nostalgic, and some of it wasn’t. The town’s people apparently didn’t like the unflattering parts. That was why the author couldn’t go home again. He definitely was not considered the hometown hero. The phrase took on a whole new meaning with World War II, when so many young men left their small towns and family farms to travel the world thanks to the U.S. involvement in a world war. After the war, many of them chose not to return home. Now the lights of the big cities beckoned with excitement and new opportunities. Ever since, small towns have complained of the “brain drain” phenomena. In other words, many of their brightest and most gifted young people went off to college, and then on to cities and larger communities to have the opportunity to use their educations. It’s true. I saw much of it myself. I was a 1978 graduate of Doniphan High School. Most of my friends and I did exactly that. We went off to college or to larger communities to seek opportunities we couldn’t get at home. It was not a new concept. My mother and dad both left Southeast Missouri to live in St. Louis and then Jefferson City for increased opportunities. I still remember the seemingly endless trips from Jeff City to Doniphan to see my grandparents. In those days the roads were hilly, curvy and a guarantee for car sickness. The scenery was great in Southeast Missouri… other than a lot of the housing seemed to be tar paper shacks. I remember curiously asking my mother about them. I had never seen any in Jeff City. Then, years later, my mother and dad would make the decision to move back to Doniphan. It was a decision made with mixed emotions, I know. The idea of coming home to family was attractive to them. But the idea of a lot less opportunity was not. Still, in the end, they were happy they made the move. Then I graduated from high school and had all the same decisions in front

of me. I did the same thing… moved to more education and more opportunity. But here I am… over thirty years later… back at home. I found out you can go home again. And part of the reason is that there is an interesting new phenomena taking place. Instead of all “brain drain,” I’m seeing a lot of “brain gain.” Southeast Missouri is monumentally different than it was when my mother and dad left. You have to remember… in those days much of Southeast Missouri didn’t even have electricity and running water. I don’t think you could have talked me into moving back home even 10 years ago. There wasn’t any Internet access out in the middle of the woods where my granddad built his place. But finally… things are happening in Southeast Missouri, and in particular in Poplar Bluff. There are now plenty of restaurants and shopping… new highways… new and much better health care. And, of course, Internet. My daughters are now at that age of choosing amongst law schools and undergraduate programs. Most likely, they will leave Southeast Missouri for opportunities. I think every generation feels the need to test themselves against the outside world. That’s healthy. They have to find out how they stack up against the rest of the world. But… after they’ve done that, I hope they will come home again. Because you can come home again. And there is no place like home. SOUTHEAST MISSOURI’S NEWS-MAGAZINE OF POLITICS AND CULTURE

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Entertainment section


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Activity section

6 am Saturday March 26 Poplar Bluff Junior High Cafeteria Kiwanis Pancake Day 6 to 10 pm Saturday March 26 Fays Place Dennis Minner Jr Photography Exhibit 7 pm Saturday March 26 Three Rivers College Tinnin Fine Arts Center An Evening with Mark Twain 8 pm Saturday March 26 The Wine Rack Doug Rees country blues 530 pm Monday March 28 Black River Coliseum Learn to Swim Lessons 7 pm Thursday March 31 Black River General Baptist Church in Broseley Tribute Quartet from Nashville To submit an event go to and click on the +Bluffee tab


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3.25.11 SEMO Times  

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