Fri, 26 February
CONNIE WHITLOCK

CONNIE WHITLOCK

Sunday, 21 February 2021 19:29

Processing a Tragedy

Last week was pretty traumatic for our small town of Pleasant Hill, Missouri. In a moment, two young lives were lost after going over the center line in a car north on 7 Highway at a time when roads were covered with ice and snow. I passed the emergency vehicles on 7 Highway as they raced to the scene.
I went on back to the Times building to wait for information as it came in. I didn't want to disturb those working the accident scene. I guess reporters and other news stations will show up at scenes, but I have never found that to be helpful.
That night, I was working on the website at home when my daughter opened our bedroom door and said, "It was Chloey!" I wasn't sure what she meant at first and then it dawned on me. I put it together. I had seen all of the speculations all over the internet about an accident but had no idea it was fatal.
The shock was all over my daughter's face and all night she was texting her friends, trying to process what had happened. It's been a hard weekend watching her go through the grieving process and I am sure the rest of the girls are feeling the same.
Dan Bucher, owner of the Creamery, and I were communicating by messenger. He was in disbelief. He said that he had just given Reyna a raise. It was tough waiting for information to come in, and it finally did the next morning. I thought about whether or not to put the news on the Times' social media pages. I knew the rest of the world was going to, and that Pleasant Hill should know first from its own community news source.
I remember Chloey. She was a fun, charismatic, and joyful spirit. She called me "mom" a couple of times and joked that she was going to move in. It is hard to believe her life was snatched away so young, and our prayers go out to the family and to all her friends. Now, we as a community have to pick up the pieces and figure out how to help these youngsters process their loss and find a way to remember their friends that meant so much to them.
I will always remember how wonderful it was to see the community come together to raise funds for the families. The hearts are warm in Pleasant Hill. This community is special and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else in the world.

Thursday, 18 February 2021 06:50

Two Teen Girls Die in Crash in Pleasant Hill

Two teens from Pleasant Hill Missouri, Reyna Oliver and Chloey Schorr, passed in a car wreck yesterday on 7 highway. According to official police reports, Schorr was traveling Northbound on 7 and a 2020 Freight Liner and 2017 Jeep were traveling Southbound. Schorr crossed a centerline of the road and side swiped the Jeep. Schorr's vehicle started rotating and was struck by the Freight Liner. Both girls were pronounced dead on the scene by firefighter, Jake Williamson, at 5:50 pm. 

Monday, 15 February 2021 11:52

A Bus Full of Nuts

Finding things to do for Valentine's day was challenging this year.  Bob and I usually go out on the town or do something special, but this year just had a different feel. This past year, I have spent many Wednesdays having lunch at No Worries Saloon on Cedar, and over time made many friends.  A few weeks ago, we were brainstorming something we could do for fun.  So we beyond the middle-aged group of nuts decided to rent a party bus, which was much like the OATS bus with the words "party bus" painted on it. 
On Sunday, at 2 pm, fourteen of us piled in this bus and had three locations we were going to visit. Our first stop was a place in East Lynn called Fuglys.  It is an old church that was renovated and made into a bar.  At first, I was like, a church made into a bar?  Isn't that wrong in some way?  Then, when walking in, there were families sitting at the tables eating lunch and friends playing pool.  It was a nice place to be and we made friends with other patrons quickly.  Bob and I ordered their potato skins and a glass of wine and felt the cozy warm feeling of the bar with some good friends.  
Next, we traveled down the frosty back roads to the Frog Pond in Peculiar.  Another great hole in the wall full of loyal, friendly people from another small town.  In this bar, we were given our own room to sit or move around as we liked.  We sat and visited, talked about family, COVID, and just life.  
The last bar was in Belton, it was called Brewbakers.  This bar was huge but didn't have very many people in it on Sunday.  Maybe it was because it was in a bigger town, but it definitely didn't have the same cozy, friendly feel as the other two, so we all decided to go back to Fuglys to top off our night.  
Friends, a bus, and a few country good old fashioned bars with country music and good old fashioned fun.  It was a good Valentine's day and it was good to get out with friends that we love so much.  

Monday, 15 February 2021 11:31

A Man with a Dream

Ever have a big dream and you just really wanted to go for it? Well, that's what Dan Bucher, owner of the Creamery, did a few years ago when he started his new business in Pleasant Hill, Missouri. Bucher is a high-energy, tough, passionate, and loyal personality and anyone can tell he knows where he is going. He is making his mark in his own community and even reaching outside its boundaries.

Bucher loves the restaurant business and was the general manager for Houstons, a restaurant chain serving American cuisine.  While he was there, he learned from the ground up every position in the industry of restaurant hospitality. Bucher spent time learning to cook quality meals and how to care for every detail from the kitchen to the dining room and then took his experience to venture out and open his own restaurant in Pleasant Hill. 

His journey started out with an ice cream shop offering ice cream cones and sundaes, serving high-quality ice cream shipped from Florida. Rumors in town spread about this new shop, and pictures of ice cream filled social media. Bucher's venture was definitely a hit. When he felt his success in the ice cream business, he decided to open a restaurant serving American cuisine to Pleasant Hill. Pleasant Hill enjoyed the quality hamburgers, prime rib, steaks, and much more.

Bucher, with the full support of his wife Nicole, was on his way to building his business and then the pandemic of 2020 gave the restaurant business a challenge that they will never forget. "The people of Pleasant Hill were very supportive," said Bucher. The Creamery was able to rise out of the ashes of COVID quickly by offering curbside and special holiday deals for hungry customers to bring home. 

Due to Cass County being one of the few counties with no COVID regulations, the Creamery saw patrons as far as the city of Topeka. Now the buzz went beyond Pleasant Hill, and Dan Bucher decided that it was time to expand again. In 2020, he took the section he was using for a gun shop and turned it into a full bar. "It is full every weekend," said Bucher.

Bucher has high expectations of his staff and service is at the top of his priority.  "When an employee leaves, they always come back," said Bucher. Executing a lunch or dinner service he explained is high energy and staying on top of it takes everyone doing their part well.

In 2021, the Creamery also started serving breakfast on the weekends. So from breakfast to dinner and ice cream for dessert, the creamery is in full throttle for the city of Pleasant Hill and beyond. 

 

Saturday, 06 February 2021 20:55

Feb. 10 - not done - (C) 2021 Court Warming

Freshman
Tyler Wise
Abby Wildham

Sophomore
Mason Hicks
Kallyann Ross

Junior 
Trey Wilham
Jayda Whitaker

Wednesday, 27 January 2021 12:13

Forward Thinking

I talk to people all of the time about the future of Pleasant Hill.  Some say they would love to see it have some bigger and better stores and conveniences and others just want it to stay a small town.  I say, why can't we have both?  Growth is inevitable, I mean, you can't stop people from continuing to move here and moving that population number up on the sign coming into town.  It is going to happen.  This is an opportunity to decide what our long term vision is for Pleasant Hill.  
If we have the right planning, we can decide now what it will look like with 20,000 or 40,000 people instead of just letting it happen to us.  We can make a plan, and try to keep that small-town feel downtown. It all takes a bit of planning and deciding. 
I grew up in Olathe Kansas and when my family first moved there it was a small town.  It wasn't as small as Pleasant Hill, but small enough where it was still quaint.  Now, to me, it is one big ugly city that houses manufacturing buildings and companies.  The main drag is crowded and hard to navigate and takes half an hour to get from one side of town to the other. I sure don't want Pleasant Hill to become something like Olathe. 
We can decide what kind of industry we want to attract, how our streets and roads will be expanded, and figure out alternative routes.  Where do we want our new schools, businesses, and are we going to keep everything downtown.  
It will take some forward-thinking and being open-minded, but we can decide now who we will be in 20 years and in 30 years.

Monday, 25 January 2021 11:41

Mirage

I watched an old movie last night called Mirage with Gregory Peck. The story was about a man who apparently had amnesia, but knew something he shouldn't and was being chased by some guy with money and power. I love Gregory Peck and was fully engaged in the storyline. This morning, I started to think about the movie and my mind started to make a comparison to it and what goes on in the world today. Now, I am going to ruin the movie for you, so if you want to watch it before reading on, reader beware; I am going to spoil it for you. 

This movie ends in the evil getting his due, and wouldn't it be great if real life always worked out like that. Peck's character really wanted to help with world peace, and he was working for a man that he thought had the influence and the mission that lined up with getting to that goal. Something foul happened and caused him to have amnesia, and he is just trying to figure things out. Throughout the film, people that were working for the bad guy would try to convince him he wasn't who he really was, while also trying to get information from him. During his amnesia episodes, he was also confused and muddled in his mind. 

I feel like that when it comes to politics these days. I don't know sometimes if I am coming or going, who I am, or what is the truth. Sometimes, I wonder if people, in general, have amnesia and have forgotten who they are as a nation. And there are upper echelons trying to convince them they are someone different than who they really are. Who do you trust? Who do you listen to? Where can I firmly plant my yes and no? Then, I realized that the tactics used against Peck's character in the movie were very narcissistic in nature, and maybe they are used in politics as well. 

I wonder if a group of people can use these tactics in harmony without even realizing they are doing it. Or maybe they are fully aware. Who knows? There are a couple of tactics used by a narcissist that I recognized in the movie. Gaslighting was one of them, and that is a manipulative tactic that can be described in different variations of three words: “That didn’t happen,” “You imagined it." Others I recognized were blanket statements and generalizations. Deliberately misrepresenting your thoughts and feelings to the point of absurdity. Narcissists weave tall tales to reframe what you’re actually saying as a way to make your opinions look absurd or heinous.

It seems that logical conversations do not happen much anymore. It is difficult to even get down to the truth since these tactics are being used on us every day. Many citizens have just given up and don't pay attention anymore, which can lead to people with not so good intentions taking advantage of people. I know I get weary of it, and I am sure that if one person who might be living with a narcissist would get weary of it, it doesn't surprise me that a whole nation could, too. 

 

Monday, 25 January 2021 10:49

Missouri Beef Queen Crowned

On January 9th, the Missouri Cattle Industry Convention was held at Osage Beach, Missouri, had its 53rd annual trade show and these are the top three winners for Missouri Beef Queen, all were from our congressional district. El Dorado Springs' Avery Schiereck was crowned the 2021 Beef Queen, with Krayson Leonard (El Dorado Springs) and Shaye Siegel (California, Missouri) crowned first and second runner-up, respectively.

"I am so proud of these young ladies for competing and promoting agriculture. Agriculture is an important industry for our state and Missouri ranks second in the nation in cow-calf operations. I am happy to see so many young people from our district participate in this endeavor and wish them well as they promote beef and educate others about beef production." said Vicky Hartzler

Hartzler also said, "Events and traditions such as these which showcase our remarkable youth make me truly honored to represent Missouri’s Fourth District."

Avery Schiereck from El Dorado Springs, Missouri, was crowned the 2021 Missouri Beef Queen at the 53rd Annual Missouri Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show. Schiereck represented the Cedar County Cattlemen's Association and is the daughter of Jarod and Amanda Schiereck and she received a $1,000 scholarship.   

Representing St. Clair County Cattlemen's Association was Winning first runner-up was Krayson Leonard and she received a $500 scholarship. Representing Cooper County Cattlemen's Association, was second runner-up Shaye Siegel and she received a $250 scholarship. Last, representing Franklin County Cattlemen's Association was Lillian Gildehaus who won third runner-up. 

All contestants gave a speech on the beef industry topic and were interviewed by a panel of judges. The Missouri Beef Queen will be representing the Missouri beef industry at livestock shows, conferences, and events in 2021.   

    

 

 

Not all providers listed have doses

While the state is expanding who is eligible to receive their first dose, there isn’t enough vaccine in the state to cover everyone within those categories.

 
 

Wondering where to go to get a coronavirus vaccine in Missouri? On Friday, the state launched an interactive map detailing where over 1,100 providers are located across the state.

But not all locations identified on the map as providing the vaccine actually have vaccines on hand to administer. And reports that the federal government has already exhausted its supply of reserve COVID-19 vaccines could hamper efforts in Missouri to quickly expand the number of residents with shots in arm.

“Before contacting a vaccinator on this map to coordinate your vaccination, please understand that many vaccinators are still awaiting supplies from the federal government,” the map notes.

Among the providers listed is the Sullivan County Health Department in Northern Missouri. On Friday, Deborah Taylor, the administrator of the Sullivan County Health Department, said that her department has yet to receive its first vaccine shipment.

The department was approved as a vaccinator a couple of weeks ago, Taylor said, and worked with other providers in the region to submit an order for a shipment of Pfizer vaccine.

“We’re just waiting,” Taylor said.

It’s an issue providers are facing across the state. Currently, a request for doses does not mean an order will be approved, due to the state’s limited supply.

Members of the state’s vaccine planning and distribution team stressed Thursday that while the state is expanding who is eligible to receive their first dose, the state hasn’t received enough vaccine from the federal government to cover everyone within those categories.

Starting Thursday, first responders and other healthcare workers can now receive their first dose after the state activated the first tier of  “Phase 1B.” On Monday, tier two will begin, allowing residents 65 years and older and people with certain underlying health conditions, like cancer or Type 2 diabetes, to be vaccinated. 

The two tiers contain over 40 percent of the state’s population, with an estimated 2.7 million people.

The state is still working through vaccinating all of the roughly 500,000 frontline healthcare workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities who are in “Phase 1A.” The state’s vaccine distribution and planning team said Thursday that an estimated 35 to 40 percent of Phase 1A has received their first dose, with about 18 percent of long-term care facilities residents and staff having received that initial shot. 

Juanita Welker, the administrator of the Bollinger County Health Center, said her health department had not yet ordered any doses, because residents in her area weren’t yet eligible under Phase 1A. Health departments were informed of the newly activated tiers on Thursday morning, and since the state’s announcement, “the phone’s ringing off the wall,” Welker said.

Requests for doses must be submitted to the state by 5 p.m. on Wednesdays, but the state didn’t announce it was expanding eligibility for the vaccine until Thursday. That means some providers may not see a vaccine shipment for at least another week — and that’s if their order is approved.

“It kind of caught us off guard,” Welker said of Thursday’s announcement. “Notice would have been helpful — at least a week.”

Adam Crumbliss, the director of DHSS’ Division of Community and Public Health, said on a call with vaccinators Thursday that the limited supply will continue to be a “rate limiter.”

“…Simply because we’re moving into a new tier, does not mean that we have suddenly developed a new vaccine supply chain,” Crumbliss told vaccinators. “We’re still constrained in what we have.”

Lynelle Phillips, the president of the Missouri Immunization Coalition and vice president of the Missouri Public Health Association, said the state faces “a big distributive justice challenge.” It must weigh when competing groups will receive the vaccine, like people who are high-risk because exposure could make them sicker versus those who are high-risk for potentially more widespread exposure.

“You have to — in public health decision making — justify why the 80-year-old with Type 2 diabetes who never goes anywhere gets vaccinated first, before the very healthy 21-year-old that’s returning to campus that could potentially spread COVID all over the place,” Phillips said. “It’s just a real conundrum.”

The map unveiled Friday marks the first comprehensive look at who has been approved to offer the vaccine throughout the state. Earlier in the week, local public health departments had said they had not yet been told by the state who else was providing the vaccine.

Scott Clardy, the assistant director of the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services, said earlier this week that the department worked on its own to determine who else was a vaccinator in the area.

“We don’t have the full picture. And it’s certainly not due to a lack of trying,” Clardy said Wednesday, later adding: “We’d like to know how much vaccine has been sent into Boone County. We’d like to know how many people in Boone County have received their first or second dose.”

Many health departments have recently launched surveys to assess residents who were interested in receiving a vaccine, and gather contact info to notify them when doses were available. Both Boone County and St. Louis County received their first shipment of 975 Pfizer doses last week.

The St. Louis County Department of Public Health had nearly 100,000 responses to its form in about five days, Christopher Ave, the department’s spokesman, said earlier this week. In Boone County, over 9,200 responses had been received as of Wednesday afternoon, Clardy said.

In Sullivan County, the health department posted on its Facebook page to let residents know that there was no need to call the office. The department would reach out when supply is available.

“You just have to leave everything kind of up in the air,” Taylor said.

State officials said the decision to move into additional tiers was in light of a “significant increase” in expected vaccine supply following the Trump administration’s announcement that second doses would not be withheld.

However, The Washington Post reported Friday that when Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced that the federal government would be releasing the second doses that were held back, no such reserve existed.

It’s unclear how this may affect Missouri’s distribution plan. A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Senior Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

Kelli Jones, a spokeswoman for Gov. Mike Parson, said that on Wednesday, both Azar and Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, encouraged governors to activate next phases and vaccinate those 65 years and over and others with high-risk medical conditions.

“We cannot wait until we are at 100 percent uptake in Phase 1A before we move on to Phases 1B and 1C. We need to start offering vaccine to these other priority groups now. This is my recommendation; it is not a directive,” Redfield wrote in a letter to governors provided by Parson’s office.

Missouri’s state health officials have previously urged providers to request that the federal government send allocation estimates at least a month in advance to facilitate better planning on the ground.

“We continue to urge our federal partners to fulfill their commitment to allocate additional supplies of vaccine into Missouri to be provided to our population,” Jones said. “Distribution plans will continue to be based upon available supply.”

Monday, 18 January 2021 14:48

Freedom to Speak

This week we are celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. and I printed his "I Have a Dream" speech in commemoration. I feel that his words never get old and are always relevant, especially in times like we are living in now. Because of free speech and a platform, Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech was able to be heard even by those that didn't politically agree with it. Free speech was vital to his mission and is vital to any thriving society.

In the past few weeks, we have all heard the stories about social media banning this person or that person or even whole companies claiming they were fact-checking or the users were inciting violence. That very well may have been a good reason and we all have policies for our platforms. When I had a social media platform, I had mine. It's perfectly understandable to want to define who you are as a company, and I believe any company should have the freedom to do so. Here is the problem that I have with the current situation and why I feel that it is very dangerous to our future as citizens. 

There are about three companies in the U.S. that have servers that handle the bandwidth needed to have a social media platform as large as Facebook or Twitter. They have built up their wealth and their market and gained power in doing so. There are only a few companies that handle the app stores and have basically cornered that market to the point where smaller companies depend on them for distribution. Competition has become very difficult. The power these companies have to come together and bully smaller companies concerns me deeply.  It is almost as if we have a few monarchies in power that are even beginning to influence our government. King William Gates, King Jeffry Bezos, King Mark Zuckerberg, and others have decided what we are going to say, hear, and read, even on other platforms. They have sent out their decree and it is now done. No one will be able to just switch companies, they want to make their company the only decision-maker in the world, and any company not following their lead will be eliminated.

I don't care who you are, how you vote, or your beliefs, if these companies are able to continue to follow this road, there will be a day where there will be something you feel you need to say, and it will be banned. There might even be another Martin Luther King Jr. out there that someday will not be able to have the freedom to say what's on his mind.

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