Champion cattle looking for a cool spot.

Lost and found, a dear friend went for a walk in the woods and forgot to come home. She has a chronic neurodegenerative disease that causes memory loss and other cognitive issues that interfere with her daily life. She also has an army of people who love and care for her. It was a relief when she was found safe and an inspiration to see the community rally to find her. is a link to the Alzheimer’s Association where a great deal of important information on the disease can be found, together with resources including a 24/7 helpline at 1-800-272-3900.

There is a Cree Indian proverb that says, “Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.” Recently, the Louisiana State Board of Private Security Examiners rebuffed the North Carolina company known as TigerSwan, citing a legal complaint filed by a similar North Dakota agency charging that the outfit operated in that state without legal permission. It also operated in concert with government to terrorize peaceful American citizens protesting eminent domain for the private gain of corporations in extractive industries. Some of those citizens are still incarcerated after months with no adjudication. A rare positive note in the struggles of Native Americans and other private land owners against corporate interests concerns the Blackfeet Tribe. A majority of tribal members approved the Blackfeet Water Compact and Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement Act with Montana and the federal government. It was four decades in the making and confirms the Tribe’s water quantity and rights, the Tribe’s jurisdiction and its authority to manage those rights on the reservation. Montana’s legislature ratified it in 2009, Congress approved the bill, and it was signed by the President in early January 2017. Good hopes are that the governments of Montana and the United States of America will break with history and honor the treaty. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “As individuals we can influence our government at every level. But we must accept this responsibility. We must know what we think and speak out, even at the risk of unpopularity. In the final analysis, a democratic government represents the sum total of the courage and the integrity of its individuals.” It is the antidote to a kakistocracy. Look that one up. Meanwhile, a Seneca quote is, “While we wait for life, life passes.”

On July 18th Joy Ann Coonts Firrell said to Inez Proctor Davis, “Happy Birthday today sweet, dear Inez! Hope your day is full of family and friends and fun along with cake and ice cream.” The sincere wish accompanied the picture of a cake blazing with fire. “You can still eat the corner pieces if you hurry and blow real hard!” Inez is first cousin to Joy Ann’s grandpa, William Roosevelt Shelton. Lots of people got a kick out of the birthday greeting including Bonnie Brixie Mullens, Cheyenne Alsup-Sermon, and Kristi Towe. Skyline School student birthdays are: Jude Hicks, 1st grade, July 14; A.J. Frey, kindergarten, July 18; Mr. Prock, July 20; Mrs. Gunter, July 23; Grace Crawford, 7th grade, July 25; Jaci Borders, 3rd grade, July 27; Teegan Cannucci, 4th grade, July 27; Mrs. Sartor, July 29, and Eugene Elliot, kindergarten, July 30. One of Vanzant’s favorite singers, the lovely Roberta, has her birthday on the 28th. She sings Ghost Riders in the Sky in such a way that even the most reserved audience member catches herself singing, “Whoopee kia yea! Whoopee kia yo-oo!” Champion’s wonderful mail carrier, the lovely and intrepid Karen Ross, celebrates on the 29th. She delivers. Happy birthday to all of you fine folks, your families and friends love you and want you to know that they think you are all Champions.

You Champions and Skyline folks are reminded that there is an electronics recycling pick up at the Skyline School scheduled for Tuesday, August 1st at 10:00 a.m. Anyone can bring items up to the school the day before. Let them know if you need to bring your things that Monday. The number at the school is 417-683-4874. They will take anything that plugs in. There is a $10.00 fee for recycling televisions, otherwise it is free of charge to get rid of all the electric and electronic things that no longer work or are now obsolete.

Sharon Sanders, who operates the Douglas County Museum, shows off the original checker board from the basement of the Douglas County Court House. It is a handsome, if rustic, homemade affair with a glass cover that will allow it to stand much use yet. There is a table in the kitchen room of the museum where she invites any who think they can beat her at the game to come and give it a try any Saturday between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00.m. She is the official Douglas County Checker Champion. This challenge is likely to be taken up by her old school chum, The General himself. As a teenager, want to hang out in the Mountain Grove pool halls, he once found himself in a situation where he was the only available opponent of an expert. He played until another experienced player arrived and, upon gracefully relinquishing his chair, the expert complimented him, saying, “You play a fair game.” His hero is Vernon Douser, who grew up south of Mountain Grove and became the Missouri State Checker Champion. The current 3-Move State Champion of Missouri is a guy named George Cook. The GAYP State Champion is Wilma Wolverton who is also listed as the Ladies GAYP National Tournament Champion according to the American Checker Federation. The term GAYP is a mystery to a checker neophyte, so if you know what it means, share the information at It is too hot for horseshoes these days, so look for the checker board in the meeting room at the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion. One is reminded of the rivalry between Doc Adams and Festus Hagen on Gunsmoke.

There will be a lot of good food and good music at the Holt 4-H picnic on Friday and Saturday, the 28th and 29th of July. Thereafter, the Skyline Picnic will be on August 11th and 12th. These community picnics give us the opportunity to see people that we rarely see and to participate in supporting vital community entities. 4-H Clubs offer hands-on learning and education programs for kids building skills like responsibility, resiliency and hard work, helping them to succeed in life—head, heart, hands, and health in a lucky 4 leaf clover. The Skyline Area Volunteer Fire Department is there to protect our property and our lives. Volunteers are to be commended for their selfless service.

This long stretch of hot weather has cows looking for the cool in local ponds that are fast drying up. The checker board awaits in the cool comfortable confines of Henson’s Downtown G & G. Sit a spell and visit or read the local papers in the reading room. Cardinals are popular in this part of the world for reasons of baseball and the beauty of the bird. They have been seen carefully harvesting a green tomato horn worm and other insects. Buffy St. Marie sings, “Red Bird, Red Bird, what makes your head so red?” “I been picking your corn so darn long, it’s a wonder I ain’t dead, dead. It’s a wonder I ain’t dead” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

Champion Cardinal on insect patrol.