SEMO TIMES - Nov 6, 2014 Edition

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A Twofer Worth $2.7M

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Southeast Missouri’s News and Entertainment Community

In Remembrance of


November 6, 2014

Brittany Maynard’s “Death With Dignity”

Page 12-13

Hays The Music Store

Page 5, 10

Guitars, Gear and Ghosts?

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1899 N Westwood #218, Poplar Bluff, MO 63901


Brian Becker - Publisher Tammy Hilderbrand - Reporter Toni Becker - Columnist Rachael Herndon - Creative Director

Scott Faughn - President Steve Hankins - Reporter Peter Tinsley - Sales DeAnna Strubinger - Sales


To advertise, call:

Peter (573.718.7518) or DeAnna (573.776.3818)


From the Publisher’s Desk I grew up in Williamsville on a large family farm. When I was young our farm was 2200 acres and two-thirds of it was forested with beautiful Missouri hardwoods and evergreens. I loved to ride my mini-bike through the woods on the old Forest Service roads or walk across the ridge to my cousin Kenny’s house. Toni and I lived in the old family homestead when we were first married. A friend from Israel, who had grown up in Oklahoma, came to visit. The second he stepped out of his car he bypassed me and went straight to one of the many huge old oak trees in our yard. My 68 year old friend, David, bear-hugged most of the trees in our yard but his arms could not make it but half way around most of them. He said that in both Israel and Oklahoma, he seldom saw such old oak trees and he wanted to breathe in their history. Though the sight was odd, my memory of that day has lasted. When I heard of the 100-year-old sycamore tree cut down at Roxie and Maud in Poplar Bluff, my heart instantly recalled David’s tree embraces. That sycamore was a sapling only a few feet tall when the men of its community were called to fight in WWI; on the day Pearl Harbor was bombed, that tree stood about 30 feet tall while our nation mourned; and when thousands of lives were lost on September 11, 2001, that tree was working on its 85th ring of life. Though it is stating the obvious, 100-year-old trees are not easily replaced and I am pleased that the city of Poplar Bluff took action to prevent this from ever happening again. Some things, like tall, old trees, ought to be protected, not thrown away.

Brian Becker, Publisher



THIS ISSUE CONTENTS Page 4 Christmas Open House at Artfully Framed Page 5, 10 In Remembrance of Trees Page 6 RSVP: Volunteering To Enrich Life Page 7 A Twofer Worth $2.7M Page 8-9 PB Artist’s Guild Page 12-13 Brittany Maynard’s “Death With Dignity”






7-8 8 11









Page 13 Howling at the Moon



Page 14 Wisdom From The Woods


Page 15 Hays The Music Store - Guitars, Gear and Ghosts?




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By Tammy Hilderbrand POPLAR BLUFF – Artfully Framed will be hosting its 8th Annual Christmas Open House this weekend. Owner Barbara Pelton says that many people have come to view her Open House as their official kick-off for the holiday season. “We have up to 200 people visit our store for this event,” said Pelton. Hours for this year’s event are 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov.7, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8. Pelton said that a favorite feature of her event are her theme-decorated Christmas trees. “Most of our ornaments are

hand-crafted from artisans from this area, and we have some from around the world,” she explained. Some of the themes included this year are the Religious Tree, the Peacock Tree, and trees featuring mermaids, Santa’s Workshop, and the “Frozen” Tree. “We usually repeat themes for about half of our trees,” explained Pelton. “That way people who have themed trees can continue to add to their personal collections of ornaments.” Pelton said hers is not the only Christmas open house being held this weekend. As a matter of fact, she and several other business owners are working hard to encourage people to support local businesses.

Christmas Open House at Artfully Framed “We’ve partnered with five other businesses in town through the Chamber of Commerce, and we are spreading the word about how important it is to shop locally,” said Pelton. The other local businesses also having open houses this weekend include Reblessed, New Leaf, Rob’s Flowers and Whitworth’s Jewelry. “If someone visits all six of the participating stores, they can have their participation card punched. Their name then goes into a drawing for a $500 Chamber Check. Pelton feels shopping local, whether at her store or others, is the best way to support a community’s local economy and, at the same time, find gifts that are unique and personal. “People are always surprised at how much variety we have in our store,”

said Pelton. “The temperatures have dropped a little. A Christmas Open House is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit,” said Pelton. “People can come in, pick out some great gifts, get their own home ready for the holidays and have fun enjoying some snacks and drinks with friends and family. It’s just a very fun and joyful atmosphere.” At her store, patrons will receive a free gift with any purchase over $20, and those who spend $50 or more will get 20 percent off their entire purchase. “We will also have door prizes,” said Pelton. “We do our best to make this a fun experience for everyone.”



In Remembrance of By Tammy Hilderbrand


Since then, a lot of Approximately 100-year-old sycamore tree cut down with no real threat to the power lines people have taken POPLAR BLUFF – Joni Mitchell wrote a up the cause of trees survival of our planet. If trees don’t sur- Townsend Corporation vehicles that are song called “Big Yellow Taxi” back in 1970. because we really don’t want to have vive, neither do humans. often seen at tree trimming and removal The lyrics poke fun at the absurdity of a to pay to see them in a tree museum. In Missouri, trees are center stage this sites as “death squads for trees.” They, civilization where we “paved paradise and Through much environmental education time of year, putting on a color show that with municipal utilities orders in hand, are put up a parking lot.” we’ve learned that trees are vital to the beats anything an artist can paint. still butchering city trees in the name of Even Poplar Bluff recently got into pro- safe-guarding utility lines throughout the Looking upstream along Black River from the intersection of Saxon and tecting trees when the Poplar Bluff City city. Ashcroft, Schaller Hardwood’s building can be seen in the background Council approved an ordinance to protect So, the question is, why? trees through a more ecologically sound According to the ordinance, a board way of balancing trees and utilities in the was to be appointed to oversee these city. activities in order to safeguard trees and Ordinance 7741 was passed on Octo- prevent unnecessary cutting. The direcber 20, 2014, and with it, the city vowed tion from Poplar Bluff City Manager Heath to develop a board to oversee the plant- Kaplan was that no more cutting is to be ing, maintenance, and removal of trees, done until the board is in place to oversee shrubs and other plants in the city. The the process. ordinance went into effect with its signing. Kaplan noted that recently a complaint But several citizens of Poplar Bluff have came in about a tree being trimmed on complained that the ordinance is not being Barron Road. Kaplan said that Angela observed by city utility crews and those White, who is a horticulturalist and arborthe city has contracted to prune trees to ist with the city’s Parks and Recreation keep utility lines safe. Department, was dispatched to the scene One Poplar Bluff woman described the



LEFT: Jennifer Rosener


Volunteering To Enrich Life By Tammy Hilderbrand POPLAR BLUFF – There are about 33 million retired Americans. While some are in poor health, many of them are in relatively good health, and still very capable of serving their communities. That’s the idea behind RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program). “The local chapter of RSVP was started in Poplar Bluff in 1973,” explained Jennifer Rosener, director of the Poplar Bluff program. That was just two years after the program was launched nationally. “We started as a non-profit organization for volunteers aged 55 and older,” said Rosener. Now it has become one of the largest volunteer organizations locally and nationally. “Locally we have about 210 volunteers. They help out at our hospital, UCAN, Child Concern, the VA Hospital, Twin Towers, and the North Side Nutritional Center,” said Rosener. She said the average age of a Poplar Bluff RSVP volunteer is 75 years old. She noted they have more female volunteers than males, and many of the males got started in the organization because of their wives. “Just because a person is retired from their career does not mean they don’t want to still be active in their community and to feel that they are contributing to the community and making a difference,” explained the director. RSVP also has an RSVP Chorus that performs at area nursing homes. Saturday the group was hosting its

annual Crafts Fair at the Black River Coliseum. “This is our major fundraiser for the year,” she said. Money is raised through the dollar admission at the door, and the booth fees paid by crafts people and organizations who rent their booth space inside the coliseum. Rosener said RSVP gets some help from local businesses, and is always open to more local involvement in the organization. “Most of our money comes through federal funds, but every cent we obtain from local businesses and fundraisers is also very important,” she reiterated. Early in the day Saturday, a light crowd made their way through the BRC showroom looking for unique Christmas gift ideas, despite the chilly temperatures outside. Attendance at the event grew as the day progressed. When the group first held the crafts shows 15 years ago, they tried to time it for Thanksgiving weekend. Since then, she said, Thanksgiving weekend has turned into a major retail shopping weekend, so they moved the crafts show earlier into the calendar. Rosener has been director of the program since 2007, and says it has come to occupy a special place in her heart. “I really like to work with seniors, and I love helping people,” she said. This year 42 vendors were in place for the crafts show. “All of the items here are hand-crafted. We feel that is important to keep it as an authentic crafts show of local artists’ work,” said Rosener, adding

that other non-profits also use it as a cial benefits. way to do their own fundraising. Those who volunteer have lowDelores West of Poplar Bluff was er mortality rates, greater functional one of the many RSVP volunteers ability and lower rates of depression. helping out at the crafts show Saturday. She has been volunteering with RSVP for about ten years. “I started volunteering after my husband passed away,” she recalled. “At that point, I really needed something to just Artwork at the recent Crafts Fair sponsored by RSVP make me get out of the house.” Volunteering provides participants with So she joined friends that were al- increased physical and social activity. ready involved in the RSVP Chorus Those who donate about 100 hours visiting and performing at the local per year are the most likely to have nursing homes. She said the group positive health outcomes. performs weekly at about eight area Rosener agrees volunteerism nursing homes, picking a different among seniors will become increashome for the performance each week. ingly important as the Baby Boomers– “You can tell the people really appre- the generation of 77 million Americans ciate us coming,” she smiled. “Some of born between 1946 and 1964–reach them even sing along with us.” their retirement years. Because of the She said she’s no longer sure who is baby boomer phenomena, its estimatbenefitting the most by her volunteer- ed volunteers aged 65 and older will ing. likely increase by about 50 percent “It’s important to feel like you are over the next 13 years. contributing to your community, no Rosener said her volunteers donate matter what your age,” said West. anywhere from a few hours a month to A scientific study backs up her 40 hours per week. hunch that volunteering is good for “The more volunteers we have, the her. Over the past two decades there more we can help our community,” has been a growing body of research concluded Rosener. that indicates volunteering provides Those interested in volunteering or health benefits to those who donate donating resources may contact RSVP their time, as well as the obvious so- for more information at 573-776-7830.



A Twofer Worth $2.7M Please continue to send in your ideas regarding You Paid For It stories, especially ones outside the city of Poplar Bluff. Certainly government financial ineptitude exists past the green signs that mark its borders. We’re happy to receive stories that detail wise governmental expenditures as well. This week’s “You Paid For It” (or YPFI for short) is a twofer worth over $2.7M. First, a quick one from the recently published newsletter issued by the Poplar Bluff City Manager, Heath Kaplan. On Nov. 4, Kaplan released an eleven-page document “to provide information to our community regarding financial decisions I have made thus far and the reasoning behind those decisions.” The final six pages of the document include 18 responses to non-factual information reported in the editorial of the Rust-owned daily (also known as the DAR). Buried on page eleven, an amazing fact about Health Insurance reads: Last year the decision was made (past city manager) to fund the plan at rates that were 35% lower than the recommendation. This one decision underfunded the Health Insurance Internal Service Fund by $1,718,304.12.

It appears that former City Manager Doug Bagby gambled with the City’s Insurance Fund and lost big. That’s a $1.7M mistake…and You Paid For It!

Our second YPFI, has to do with the City of Poplar Bluff’s use of the half-cent sales tax for Capital Improvements. The tax was created by ordinance in 1989 to pay for the Black River Coliseum. The original tax had a sunset date but, like all taxes, government works hard to protect its income sources. In 1995, City Council voted to make the half-cent sales tax permanent. Using a Sunshine Request, SEMO TIMES received a copy of the expenditures from the funds generated out of this capital improvement sales tax since 2008. O v e r the past 6 years, the city has expended $11,849,071.63 from these tax revenues. The findings appear to show the previous administration did not use the tax funds solely for capital improvements. The city policies state that if an item is less than $1500, it is not a capital improvement but an operating expense. The total of items in the list which cost less than $1500 each is $474,892. After a cursory review of the ledger listing over 1700 purchases using this sales tax fund, here are a few examples that do not appear to make the CapEx cut:

Motor Fuel Gasoline $45,638 Motor Fuel Diesel $104,400 Motor Pool [parts] $105,180 Special Investigations $68,330 Mowers $33,840 Though capital improvements are at best defined by grey areas of justification, one cannot find fuel in that grey area. Fuel is an operating expense. The parts labeled “Motor Pool” were purchased from area stores like O’Reilly Automotive, Auto Tire and Parts, Orscheln, and others. 99 of the 131 items listed were purchased for less than $500. As for other items in the list above, we included “Special Investigations” on the list because it’s one of those things that make you go, “Hmmmmmmm.” Lawn care is available as a service-forhire, so the decision to own and maintain lawn mowers is typically a maintenance cost and not considered a capital improvement. One item on the list that seemed strange was dated 12/9/2009. It was a payment to Southern Bank for $25,000 for “Tools,equipment,inve.” Unaware that Southern Bank sold tools and equipment, we’ll attempt to go through their drive-thru the next time a pair of pliers is needed. (One would hope this is actually mis-


labeled and is some sort of debt repayment.) A total of $645,853 of the fund was paid to Smith & Company (that equates to more than 5% of the total expenditures). $463,820.09 of that amount is listed as “Oak Grove Road Project” and the remaining as “Other Improvements” and “Overlay Program.” There is not enough information to determine how much of these fees can technically be considered capital improvements. Road repairs of cracks and potholes are considered by most government entities as maintenance of capital assets and, therefore, an operating cost. At least $55,000 appear to be expended for the repair of streets. SEMO TIMES’ rough calculations estimate that over a million dollars of the funds expended in the last 6 years from the sales tax revenues probably do not qualify as Capital Improvements. For the exact total of potentially misappropriated funds to be calculated, the city would actually have to do an internal audit of the account. With assurance that the new City Manager will prevent such activity from happening in the future, we cannot see any beneficial outcomes of an audit. But one thing is for sure about the $1M in potentially misappropriated dollars… you paid for it!


Margaret Harwell Art Museum

The Poplar Bluff Artist Guild’s Regional Art Exhibit is on display for the month of November, with artists offering their best in many media divisions, including acrylic, oil, mixed media, graphic arts, three dimensional, watercolor and miniature. The museum owes its existence to another area artist, the late Margaret Harwell, who was an amateur artist, businesswoman, and civic leader of Poplar Bluff. When she died in 1977, she left a part of her estate to the City of Poplar Bluff to establish a center for art classes and exhibits. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m., and 1-4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Tours can be made by reservation, and there is no admission. The museum is located at 421 N. Main Street in Poplar Bluff. The phone number is 573-686-8002.




10 TREES, CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5 to talk to the trimmers. They told her they were unaware of the recent ordinance dealing with tree trimming. Kaplan said he thinks the problem is one of communication. Evidently Municipal Utilities Manager Bill Bach had not yet passed on information about the new ordinance to the crews doing the work. Kaplan said that will soon be remedied. In the meantime, citizens like John Stanard continue to voice their concern for how trees are treated in the city. “I was really happy to see this ordinance passed,” said Stanard. He noted this was not the first time such an ordinance was proposed. “About six years ago, people from our community who were concerned about how tree trimming was being done in the city got together, researched the topic and came up with suggestions based on what other cities were doing to protect their trees,” said Stanard. The measure never gained any momentum with the former city manager or the city council. When the new city council was elected and City Manager Kaplan came into office, Stanard says the group re-visited the issue of the ordinance and found support for it. “I’m not a tree-hugger sort of person,” explained Stanard, “but I do think it is important to save our community’s trees and manage them well for aesthetic purposes and for ecological purposes. There has to be a balance.” He said he understands the need to protect utilities but contends that a much better job can be done to both protect utilities and save trees. It comes down to education. “The city utilities contractor has not been using the best pruning practices,” said Stanard. “And in many cases they are just cutting down the entire tree.” He was especially disturbed to see a sycamore tree believed to be well over 100 years old cut down. The tree was cut down at Roxie Road and Maud Street. “A lot of people considered that as a landmark tree, and I personally remember that tree as a child,” said Stanard. “It was in an open area. It was no threat to utilities. I measured 47 feet from the stump to the utility wire.” He recalled the day that tree was taken down. A woman stopped her car to talk to him about it while he was snapping photos of the felled tree. “She was just sick about it,” said Stanard. Another practice that has disturbed Stanard is that often private property owners have been told that trees in their yard are not an immediate utilities problem but could become a problem in the future. “These crews encourage people to have the tree taken down because the city will bear the cost of it,” said Stanard.

“Obviously this was not done to protect utilities,” said Stanard. “So I really can’t conceive of why they would do that. Nature created a perfect system for battling erosion, and we should respect that.” Ruth and Ronnie Cline have fished along that section of the river for years, but now cannot traverse the shaky footing of the rip-rap. The Clines said they used to

and that cutting of all trees is put to a halt until it can be done correctly. “To lose a tree is to lose a piece of our community’s history,” concluded Stanard. “That is something that should not happen unless there is no alternative.”

They took all the trees And put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people A dollar and a half just to see ‘em JONI MITCHELL Big Yellow Taxi “In my opinion, that is abuse. Many of these people did not realize they had a choice in the matter.” The result is Poplar Bluff, a city named in honor of its trees, is becoming increasingly treeless. “Even if the tree is not cut down, when it is not pruned correctly, it will die [over the next 25 years],” said Stanard. He noted that a sugar maple on his street was recently pruned in such a way that not only made the tree look odd, but made it more dangerous because it is unbalanced. “It was a beautiful tree. And there was no reason to have pruned it in that way,” said Stanard, shaking his head. He’s also very disturbed at the number of trees that have been cut in the Pike Creek Valley and along the banks of the Black River. In a verse straight out of “Big Yellow Taxi,” the city took out all the trees along the banks of the river which then exposed the banks to erosion. To stop erosion, the city put in rip-rap, at thousands of dollars in expense, for a problem they created themselves.

catch “enough catfish for us” along the bank but now there’s no shade from the sun’s heat for them or the fish. Stanard noted that it is important to pro- A tree trimming company, hired by the utilities tect the city’s trees not just department, improperly pruning trees even after for aesthetic reasons but the new city ordinance was in place for economic ones as well. “One of the first things a company or people do when they are If trees could talk, they could tell much looking at locating in a town is to look at about the generations of humans they the town aesthetically. No one wants to observed. live on a Moonscape. They could tell about the children who “We need to have an attractive tree played beneath their shade in summers scape to entice more families and more past and climbed them for a better view business to Poplar Bluff,” said Stanard. of their world, and the little critters that Trees are important because they made their homes in them. keep our community more comfortable But perhaps the sadder story is told by slowing down the wind and creating by the trees that were chopped down or shade. Even more importantly, the trees mangled. Those trees tell the story of huclean the air and infuse it with the oxygen mans who were short-sighted. we need. Because as the song goes, “You don’t He hopes that City Manager Kaplan know what you got ‘til it’s gone.” gets the board charged with overseeing the care of the city’s trees formed quickly,



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Brittany Maynard’s “Death With Dignity” By Toni Becker 29-year-old Brittany Maynard was living on borrowed breath. She was told that the days that stretched out before her were going to be few and fraught with debilitating illness and agony. On New Year’s Day of this year, just fifteen months after her wedding, Brittany was diagnosed with stage IV terminal brain cancer. With no hope in her heart for a cure, only a plan for dying on her own terms, she placed a lethal dose of pills upon her tongue and chose which remaining breaths would be her last. On Saturday, surrounded by her mostloved ones, she said goodbye and went to sleep never to awaken again. What should have been a first year of marriage filled with hope and dreams for the future became a nightmare from which she could only have wished to somehow awaken. Instead of being able to realize their newlywed dreams of building tomorrows, they found themselves researching ways to either extend the days Brittany had remaining or….not. Brittany chose to “die with dignity.” Brittany made her plight an interna-

tional story through advocating for end of life organizations such as Compassion & Choices, a nonprofit organization “committed to helping everyone have the best death possible.” She became a household name when she announced that she had chosen November 1, 2014 as her death day to spare herself and her family from the final stages of her terminal brain cancer. The news was met with predictable compassion for her circumstance mixed with either repugnance or respect. Videos were released capturing some of her journey as her cancer progressed with testimony of her whys and hows to ensure that her story somehow lends courage to others who find themselves in her sad shoes one day. The phrase, “die with dignity,” solicits passionately-charged reactions that span the spectrum of belief systems. The very idea elicits deeply-held judgments regardless of personal experience with one’s own looming death or the death of a loved one. Brittany and her husband, Dan Diaz, along with a few family members, moved to Oregon from their home in California to be able to end her life on her terms

through the provisions of the Oregon Death With Dignity Act. Washington, Montana, Vermont and New Mexico are the only other states where “aid-in-dying,” otherwise known as “assisted suicide,” is legal. Advocates for “aid-in-dying” maintain that every individual has the right and should be given the option to decide how and when their lives should end should they be faced with a terminal illness. They seek to campaign for greater national access to end-oflife medical assistance for terminally ill, mentally competent adults who request medication to shortcut their dying process. Organizations like Compassion & Choices stated efforts seek to increase patient control over unwanted medical interventions at the end of life; pass

more legislation to further the aid-in-dying movement; normalize end of life language using “aid-in-dying” over the more common “assisted suicide”; and expand the end of life choice movement. Words like “brave” and “courageous” are attributed to the ones who choose to die by their own hand instead of allowing the natural, though often horridly brutal, course of life to extinguish itself. Opponents of aid-in-dying believe that taking one’s own life is suicide (defined as the intentional act of taking of one’s own life). Whether it is rooted in a faith-based belief or a natural, moral vein, many people cringe at the very idea of pulling that proverbial trigger. The decision is too bold, too final and conjures up unsettling questions about


SEMO TIMES the here-after. Throughout Brittany’s public demise, social media hosted frenzied discourse from those who’ve suffered the natural ravages of disease either personally or in a loved one’s wake. Gut-wrenching testimony continues to pour in from people who’ve arrived on the “other side” of ravaging disease, neardeath or eventual death of loved ones to proclaim that even in the trenches of wasting disease and pain, life is precious and worth living until the last breath is naturally drawn. They jealously guard the use of descriptors such as “brave” and “courageous” for those who traversed naturally through life’s end. Many people of Christian faith, for instance, passionately conclude that God who granted them life, also delivers them through the dying process, whatever that may hold. To them, all life is sacred whether sublime or sad; robust or rickety; well or weak. Many Christians believe that life on earth is but a pass-through to an eternal destination where there isn’t even time that marks a life-span, nor is there any more sadness, sickness, pain or death. There is judgment for the life lived and choices made while among the living….. Brittany Maynard ended her life last Saturday. She’s gone but her chilling story will live on, fueling heated debates over end-oflife issues for years to come. Faced with the future in light of the knowledge that her moments remaining would be few and filled with suffering, she laid down in her family bed in her little yellow house in the embrace of those she loved the most. After ingesting the poison pills, Brittany drew her final breaths. The reality is that there isn’t anyone alive today who isn’t living on borrowed breath. We live. We die. Brittany wasn’t the first to face a terminal diagnosis and she won’t be the last. The questions remain: Can you take your own life if faced with a terminal illness? Apparently, yes, if you live in, or move to, the right state. As a culture and individually, the deeper and more cutting questions remain as unsettling as they were last Friday: Would you?; Could you?; Should you?

Howling at the Moon Last year’s event

By Tammy Hilderbrand POPLAR BLUFF – Those who long to take a walk on the wild side will have that opportunity tomorrow night at the Sixth Annual Howling at the Moon event hosted by the Animal Welfare Alliance of Southeast Missouri. The event takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Westwood Center. Catering will be provided by Maya’s and “Thin Blue Line” will provide the entertainment. Sponsors for the event include Coffman & Company, Key Drugs, Hicks Animal Hospital, the Ripley County Veterinary Service, Budweiser, First Midwest Bank, Dental Arts Group, and Pack’s Do-It Center. Charlotte Craig, organizer of the event, says that a silent auction will also be included in the evening’s festivities, and all money raised through the event will go towards establishing a no-kill shelter for the area. The $30 donation will include food and drinks, as well as the entertainment. Donations are tax deductible. Tickets are available at the door, Key Drugs and the Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce. Craig said one of the highlights of the evening will be an unveiling of the newly developed floor plan for the animal shelter to be built just north of Poplar Bluff. Though establishing the no-kill shelter is a primary goal of the AWA, the group helps with every day pet care to keep the pet population under control and healthy.

“We offer financial aid to families to help them get their pets spayed or neutered,” explained Craig. The AWA was formed in 2008 and has already accomplished much. In addition to buying the property for the no-kill shelter and providing vouch-

ers for spay and neuter procedures, the group bought bedding for all 30 dog cages at the Poplar Bluff Animal Shelter. The group maintains and replaces the bedding as needed. The group also assures that puppies are provided with distemper/parvovirus vaccinations at the shelter.

The group maintains a website to keep the public informed ( Donations to the group can be made online. “We need all the help we can get,” said Craig. “We spend about $650 per month on vaccinations and spay/neuter vouchers. And half of all donations go into our general construction fund for our no-kill shelter.” The shelter will house stray and abandoned pets, Craig says the group tries to find homes for every pet. “We’ve made a lot of connections with a lot of animal welfare organizations throughout the Midwest, and we have about 50 volunteers that help us foster animals and find permanent homes for them,” said Craig. AWA has a board of directors made up of fourteen people from various professional backgrounds: Charlotte Wolpers Craig, Nancy Strack Abernathy, Carol Swain Lewis, Julita Michel, Zdena Zajickova-Hudson, Steve Whitworth, Mary Ann Rathe, Joyanne Githens Bates, Carla Letassy, Karen Coleman, Jim “Bo” Jeffers, Marge Van Praag, Genise Denton and Robin Powell. “The one thing we all have in common is a love for animals,” said Craig. “Nothing is better than finding a loving home for a pet that has been struggling to get by without a home.”


OUTDOORS By Paul Woods I have always heard that history repeats itself and after the past week, I am a stronger believer in that happening. Sixty years ago on Halloween, Elaine York and Paul Woods were united in marriage. Very few people that I know would venture into the marriage on a date like that as there are all kinds of ghosts and goblins associated with Halloween. We met at a church sponsored Halloween party at the Priest farm on Township Line Road. We hit it off and after two years of dating, decided to make it a permanent venture and to remember our first encounter by setting our wedding on that same holiday. (And besides, it would be easy for me to remember my anniversary date.) Just about the only thing I can remember about that particular Halloween 60 years ago was the weather. It was bitter cold with a strong north wind. The next morning, the temperature had dropped to 8 degrees above zero. We did something I had planned without Elaine’s knowledge: a little duck hunting trip. Believe it or not, I carried her across a slough to the area that I figured to bag a duck or two. I manage to get a hen mallard. Elaine had received a Good Housekeeping cookbook at one of the bridal showers and it contained recipes for cooking wild game. For wild ducks, it called for stuffing the body cavity with apples and pinning strips of bacon to the breast before baking. It was as good as Mom cooked. As was written about last week, she was her dad’s fishing buddy and also held small game that he cleaned after a successful hunt. Before getting tied down with three kids 15 months apart, she did some fishing and even tried squirrel hunting but she had trouble locating the squirrels in hickory trees. Her hunting ventures were not as successful but she did catch her share of fish when she went. The hunting and fishing tradition continued in our family as the two boys both were brought up with hunting and fishing training. Both sons were good at fishing. While looking for pictures for our 60th anniversary celebration, lots of pictures turned up of successful catches and kills recorded on film. I visited with one of my formed DAR workers

Mills Iron & Supply, Poplar Bluff, Mo

the other day. When Bob Thacker opened the door and welcomed us in, one of the first things he said was “I sent the picture of Herb (Piper) to Bill (Herb’s son) the other day.” Another find of Elaine’s in her photo search was a newspaper clipping of a former neighbor, Walt Weisbrod and the 80 pound alligator snapping turtle. He caught it in Black River on a trotline many years ago. Weisbrod and his son Charles (both now deceased) were fishing in the Clay Banks area about three miles north of Poplar Bluff. Back in those days, large alligator snappers were frequently caught in both Black and St. Francis rivers. Those turtles are on the endangered species list at the present time. The most recent large one that I have heard of was caught by Leroy Romine on upper Black River. He showed it to a boat load of anglers as they came by where he was tied. He had the turtle on a rope and one of those in a boat took a paddle to get the turtles head where he could see it and lost a chunk of his paddle as the turtle bit it. Leroy said after the game warden checked it, he turned that monster loose. I don’t know if it was weighed or not, but it was a big one. Most hunters this weekend had a young person in the woods trying for a deer but there was very little hunting in our particular area. My wife and I heard one rifle shot near the house but it wasn’t very close as I know the wind brought the sound to us, making it appear closer than it actually was. My intentions were to go with my great-grandson, Brayden Glass, but with the wind blowing and the leaves drying out I didn’t think he would have any luck. Besides, our two families were better employed cutting firewood. We have 11 days coming up that we hopefully will put meat in the deep freezer. There is one UKC wild coon hunt that is in reasonable driving distance of our area. Summersville will have a hunt November 8 with entries closing at 7:30 pm. It is a hunt only. A few years ago they had an active club but I haven’t seen advertisements on any event there in quite a while. I’ll leave you with this parting thought: It is never too early to think about safety for the upcoming firearms deer season.



Hays The Music Store

Guitars, Gear and Ghosts? By Steve Hankins POPLAR BLUFF – Most folks would agree that music can be spiritually uplifting. But one musical instrument store in downtown Poplar Bluff might be the haunted home of spirits that lift and toss objects around for fun, longtime employees and owner said. The Beigley Building that houses Hays the Music Store at 401 Vine Street was spared from destruction in 1927 when a formidable tornado ran roughshod over the area. The building was utilized to serve the many traumatized people who found themselves injured - or worse - as a result of the cataclysmic event. “It really was nearly beyond belief,” said Allen Gallamore, longtime employee at Hays. “There were 102 people killed. “They stored the bodies here in this building,” he continued. “I can imagine that being a very emotional, traumatizing thing.” Which might explain bizarre aural outbursts that hail and howl from seemingly nowhere. Folks at Hays hear guttural growls and the spooky sound of footsteps “all the time,” Gallamore said. But the existential weirdness doesn’t end for the musically-gifted crew with the history of dead body storage or pres-

ent-day howls and groans. Some claim they’ve witnessed guitar tuning pegs wind and unwind themselves. Folks report feeling as though they’ve been “touched” but no one is around them. Just plain uproarious calamity and chaos, some of it even caught on tape, is proof that spooks from the dark side plague the store, Gallamore noted.

And perhaps one dead little woman, with a King Kong-sized monkey on her back, still swings by occasionally, Gallamore explained. “Nora Edwards,” he said. Sometime between 1927 and 1930, Edwards, a heroin-addicted lady of the evening, was tried for her offenses inside the haunted building, which served then

ABOVE: Early photo of what is now Hays Music Store BELOW: Allen Gallamore points to where he witnessed the unexplainable

as a courthouse and jail of sorts, Gallamore said. “I’ve heard she was suffering from withdrawals,” he said. “That comes with the depression and anxiety we all know about now. “She probably was pretty sick,” Gallamore continued. “Probably tired of living enough to hang herself here with her scarf.” That particular space within the building is currently host to rehearsal and instruction studios, and an office used by metal guitar wizard Danny Williams. “Danny came hustling out of there,” Gallamore said. “Pale; scared out of his mind. “A chandelier that’s been up there for a longtime was swinging hard, back and forth,” Gallamore added, crossing his arms and fidgeting just a little as he recounted the terrifying event. “So hard it hit the ceiling. I saw it. Greg Hays saw it. Obviously Danny saw it. So yeah, this place can be described as haunted. No doubt.” Ghost hunters from near and far have inspected and investigated; poked and prodded around. That doesn’t minimize the effect other-worldly phenomena has on Gallamore, who seems to have accepted the inevitability of apparitional anarchy ghosting up the joint. “We all enjoy working here, and being here,” he said. “Just not alone.”