Rural Missouri - March 2013 - (Page 5)
Hart to Heart
Partners for wildlife
by Barry Hart
nyone who has lived in
Missouri for any length of
time knows the state is an
outdoor paradise. No matter
where you live or travel in our state,
Missouri is a great place to hunt, fish
or just enjoy the outdoors.
According to the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, money spent in Missouri on wildlife-related recreation
totaled $2.76 billion in 2011. More
than a million Missourians participate
in hunting and fishing every year.
You won’t find a bigger group of
outdoors-oriented people than the
folks who run your electric cooperative. It’s not unusual to see employees
or directors sharing photos of the big
buck or wild turkey they harvested
when they attend one of our many
This love for the outdoors recently
translated into a big honor for the
state’s electric cooperatives. In February, the Conservation Federation of
Missouri honored Missouri’s electric
cooperatives as the Conservation
Organization of the Year.
The award is the result of a conscious effort by electric cooperatives to
minimize our impact on nature. Obviously, generating electricity, along
with building and maintaining power
lines in rural areas, is going to have an
effect on wildlife and the landscape.
But the leaders of your electric coop want to do everything they can to
protect the environment. They asked,
is it possible to do what we do in a
way that benefits wildlife? The answer
to that — provided in part by the
Conservation Federation — is yes.
Our conservation efforts begin with
an aggressive program
to encourage energy
conservation and the
billions of dollars spent
to install equipment
that protects our environment here in Missouri. This cooperative
philosophy not only is
good for us but good for
our state’s wildlife, too.
Power supplier Associated Electric Cooperative has been honored
for its work reclaiming a
former coal mine, leav-
ing the land in better shape than it
was to begin with. Associated’s power
plant locations have been used as
nesting sites for peregrine falcon and
osprey. It also was honored for its pioneering role in bringing wind power
Missouri’s electric cooperatives
work with a host of wildlife agencies
to find solutions for protecting endangered species, in particular the Indiana bat. This
ongoing effort is being
recognized as a model
of how utilities can find
ways to improve both
the delivery of electricity and the habitat for
Our most recent
efforts include a pilot
project that will look
for new methods of
clearing right of way so
quail, turkey and deer
“Today, deer are plentiful, and everyone has
access to electricity, no matter where they live.”
Missouri’s electric co-ops have
found a natural fit with the Conservation Federation, because in many
cases we are the same people. Those
involved in the conservation movement share the same humble rural
beginnings as the electric co-ops.
When the two organizations got
started in the 1930s, there were few
deer in the woods, and almost no
farms had electricity. Today, deer are
plentiful, and everyone has access to
electricity, no matter where they live.
That’s why we have been proud to
support the efforts of the federation as
it works to improve habitat for wildlife in our great state. We both realize
that improving Missouri’s wildlife
habitat also improves rural Missouri’s
economy and rural communities. The
$2.76 billion spent proves that.
If you see me hiking on a trail,
donating a deer to the Share the Harvest program, dressed in my wild turkey camo or landing a huge trout with
my fly rod, I hope you’ll say hello and
tell me you’re glad your cooperative
is involved in wildlife conservation!
If you send Rural Missouri a picture of
your trophy deer, turkey or fish, tell
the editor to share it with me — I’d
like to see it!
Hart is the executive vice president of
the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.
Awfully young for colon cancer
by Danielle Ripley-Burgess
ome people are told, “You
have beautiful eyes!” or “What
a pretty smile!” each time they
meet someone new.
But for the past 12 years when I
got to know someone I would often
hear, “Wow, you are awfully young for
Just a few weeks after my 17th
birthday, I finally visited a doctor
about recurring symptoms spotted
for years. It started out as something
innocent — a little blood in the stool.
As an active volleyball-playing
teenager, I thought nothing about the
blood. A quick Web search convinced
me I had hemorrhoids, which made
sense for someone my age.
The bleeding would come and go.
But, then it got worse. My schedule
got busier. I stopped eating red foods
like catsup, tomatoes and licorice,
ignorantly thinking a revised diet
made blood go away. Sharp stomach
Finally one day after I confided in
my boyfriend about my “issues,” my
parents caught wind of my problem
and called a doctor. Over the phone,
my general physician’s office knew it
was bad. They immediately referred
me to a gastroenterologist, Dr. Marc
Taormina, who scheduled a colonoscopy within days.
the doctor, expected a
colon tumor to appear
in the scope. I was
diagnosed with stage III
colon cancer (there are
only four stages). Surgeries, chemotherapy
and radiation consumed the following
In between treatments, I studied from
home and shopped for
a prom dress. I insisted
on attending the dance even if I lost
my hair. (Fortunately, I did not.)
I began my senior year of high
school just weeks after my last chemotherapy treatment.
In January 2013, I
celebrated the 12th
anniversary of my
colon cancer diagnosis.
A second recurrence
four years ago reminded me of my fight.
Today, my passion for
health and early colon
screening is amplified.
When people hear
my story, eyes light up
in shock. Yes, I am an
odd case. Most occurrences of colon cancer
do not appear until
“Take every action possible to prevent a cancer
story. Let people focus on eyes and smile
later in life, although the number of
young colon cancer patients continues to grow. But, despite my uniqueness, I am also a poster child for early
cancer screening. I could have avoided
stage III colon cancer by getting an
When I urge others to get screened
either because of their symptoms,
family history or age (everyone over
age 50 needs screened), many roll
eyes and shy away. Trust me, I understand why the line for a colonoscopy
is short. But, my story goes to prove
regular physician visits and cancer
screening is critical . . . and life-saving.
I encourage everyone — young
and old — to be proactive about
health. See a doctor if any concerns or
symptoms appear. Get a colonoscopy
starting at age 50, or earlier if there is
a family history of colon cancer. Do
not use the Internet to determine a
diagnosis. Take every action possible
to prevent a cancer story. Let people
focus on eyes and smile instead.
Burgess, a lifelong Lee’s Summit resident, is a 12-year cancer survivor and
serves on the board of directors for The
Colon Club. She turns 30 this year.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - March 2013
Rural Missouri - March 2013
Table of Contents
Musings in mud
The lure of tying flies
Out of the Way Eats
Queens of the court
Hearth and Home
All about mulch
Rural Missouri - March 2013
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