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Chronic Wasting Disease is still around in Missouri

Chronic wasting disease or “zombie deer disease” has affected almost half of the United States within the past year.

Missouri has not been so lucky to avoid the disease either, even though it is not as widespread as other states. But getting down to northwest Missouri specifically there are only a couple counties that have issues with CWD.

“The only place in Northwest Missouri is in Linn, Sullivan and Macon counties on the east side. On the west side we have not had too many problems with it,” Mitch Miller, wildlife regional supervisor at the wildlife regional supervisor at the Northwest Regional Office in St. Joseph, said.

Miller wanted it to be made known that if deer are shot and found in those specific counties in our area, then those deer need to be brought in for testing.

How the testing works is that the lymph nodes will be taken out of the deer and sent to a lab in Missouri that can identify it. The hunter will be notified within two to four weeks. Miller advised that no deer meat from the animal in question be consumed until the results come back.

“The research so far has not indicated humans have been able to get it from CWD-detected animals,” Miller said. “And like any other animal, we recommend you not eat it.”

Are there physical signs that point to the disease in the animal?

“No, most of the time the deer will appear healthy. The positive deer that I have seen I could not have thought that deer could have been detected,” Miller said.

CWD can break a deer down over a long period of time. It is not a quick-acting disease, which allows the disease to spread like wildfire if it is not controlled.

“It can persist in a deer for 18 to 24 months possibly. It can get in its system and to their brain where it starts to break them down,” Miller said. “Please report unhealthy deer all throughout the year, not just in the seasons.”

With how the disease spreads it is a good idea to go get your deer checked, even if the deer was not hunted from one of the counties listed in our area known to have the disease.

“We recommend all hunters get their deer tested,” Miller said.


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Beattie Mansion has haunted history

Locals call it the house on the hill, but the Beattie Mansion is also known as one of the most haunted places in the city — or perhaps anywhere else.

Siting solemnly atop a hill and surrounded by a huge rock wall at 1120 Main St., the structure has served many functions through the years. It has been a refuge for the city’s homeless, its aged and its orphaned.

Local psychic Mary Ann Podrasky believes with the mansion’s history of housing distressed souls, some of the spirit and misery of those displaced and unwanted people is left inside the structure today, manifesting in strange occurrences and events.

“It’s known to be very haunted — voices, strange photographs, odd lights, a lot of sounds. I myself have heard a lady humming,” Podrasky said.

When the Beattie Mansion was built in 1854, it was the home of Armstrong and Eliza Beattie.

Armstrong was the city’s first banker and became mayor in 1857. He was elected four more times and holds the distinction of being the only person to serve as mayor of St. Joseph five times.

Armstrong died in 1878 after a sudden bout of cholera. Eliza died two years later. Since the couple didn’t have any heirs, their home was sold to the Ladies Union Benevolent Association, where it became known as a “home for the friendless.” It provided shelter for the area’s homeless and distressed population.

In 1895, the house was converted into the Memorial Home for the Aged. In 1995, LUBA needed more modern facilities for its residents and moved the aged home to another location. After that, the building was temporarily used as a group home for the mentally ill and substance abuse addicts.

The building was sold to private owners in 2004, with plans to turn it into a bed and breakfast facility.

However, according to the Beattie Mansion website, in attempts to renovate the mansion numerous contractors experienced paranormal activity and many refused to return. They reported hearing disembodied voices and seeing shadowy figures and full body apparitions.

A paranormal team was brought in, and it found that Eliza was the most prominent spirit in the house. She is said to roam the second floor of the building guarding the halls. Also on the second floor is a room that houses at least one child spirit who has been heard laughing and yelling.

The first-floor kitchen also is a ghost hot spot with various shadowy child-size and adult-size apparitions waking through the kitchen.

The basement is reportedly the most haunted place in the building. It’s said to house a male entity who has been seen walking the hallways and laughing. That spirit reportedly likes to taunt visitors as well.

Podrasky said that people shouldn’t be concerned about evil spirits when delving onto the paranormal. The Beattie Mansion may be haunted but that doesn’t mean its evil, she said.

“This is not a place where evil is contained, it’s not a place you should fear you should have an open mind towards the history and he true facts and see for yourself,” Podrasky said.

Several ghost-hunting teams and TV shows have featured the Beattie Mansion. It is available for tours and visits to the public.

To schedule a visit to the Beattie Mansion or for general questions, e-mail beattiemansion@gmail.com.

Podrasky scheduled an 18-hour overnight stay for a group on Halloween night this year.

“If you take in the history and take in the current, I think you’ll see that the worlds do overlap,” she said.


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CID sees increase in sales tax revenue

As St. Joseph’s Downtown Community Improvement District closes on its first quarter of the fiscal year, it is showing signs of again bringing in more revenue than budgeted, if trends continue.

The CID was established Downtown in 2011 and a voter-approved half-cent sales tax and a property tax equivalent to 50 cents per $100 of valuation on Downtown property was placed on the district to raise funds for the improvement of Downtown St. Joseph.

Last year, the CID Board budgeted for $55,000 in income from sales tax, based on past amounts, and wound up 112 percent of budget due to unexpected revenues. The same $55,000 was put in the budget this year.

The end of this year’s first quarter, Sept. 30, saw very similar figures to the 2018 fiscal year.

According to financial reports, about $24,023 was collected between July and September of this year, coming in around $54 less than the end of last year’s first quarter.

This amount makes up about 44 percent of the total budgeted income amount.

CID Board Treasurer Joseph Houts said that if the numbers continue the way they did last year, the end-of-the-year income could be higher than the budget expected. He said shopping boosts could be just around the corner, as well as a decline.

“So it looks like we should be over budget, because we’re going into the holiday season and all that and restaurants and businesses Downtown usually generate more sales in that period,” Houts said. “Obviously, when you get after the holidays, I assume this will drop a little bit due to the cold weather.”

Houts said that, if the income does exceed the amount expected, he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the board budgeted for a higher income next year. He said there could be several factors contributing to the extra sales tax revenue, but it appears there are more dollars being spent in the stores Downtown.

“More patronage, is what it is for sure, and there are some new businesses,” Houts said.

He said trends can change and typically, in finance, you want to see a trend for at least three years before making any assumptions, but the numbers do seem to suggest a healthier shopping economy in the district.

“I think it shows strong growth in Downtown, in that respect,” Houts said.

Documents show that net income for the first quarter this year is expected to be 204.5 percent higher than last year, due to fewer expenses.

Expenses totaled more than $33,424 by September of last year, and were $15,421 this year. Major differences in expenses came from grants and outside contracting services.