Present Ghost

Telling stories



In gardens of improbable fruit


Forgotten tomatoes and carrots were gathered at the corners of the raised beds. I thought of taking some while my daughter played in the pond of a community garden in progress.

We came to exchange some books in the Little Free Library at the entrance. For an old cookbook and a self-help book that never helped, we got Wuthering Heights and “Curious George and the Pizza.” She didn’t want to sit on the bench and read with me. Shoveling dirt into the pond was more appealing. Someone had left a spade and a full bucket there, almost as if they knew she’d be coming.

I hadn’t read too many news stories yet, but I knew the neighborhood lore. A 10-year-old girl, maybe even on the ground over which I’d walked, had been raped and murdered two and half years before my daughter’s and my late morning visit.

If I’d remembered that before we skipped over the Little Free Library closest to our home, we might have gone somewhere else. Continue reading “In gardens of improbable fruit”

Maryville residents look for way through violence during tense times

Starting conversation

MARYVILLE, Mo. — With every act of violence committed against law enforcement officers and every video circulated of a person in a minority group killed at the hands of a police officer, tensions multiply and divide.

Now Maryville residents face the fallout, searching for the best way forward.

Nodaway County Prosecuting Attorney Bob Rice held a press conference Wednesday morning to make a public statement of support for law enforcement officials. Rice said he was motivated to do so by violence against law enforcement officers over the past three weeks in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and recently Kansas City.

“As I monitor the events throughout the nation, it seems to me that there are organized calls for violence against police,” his written statement reads.

These “organized calls,” Rice said, come from “certain groups” operating to create chaos.

Although Rice never mentioned the Black Lives Matter movement specifically, other officials around the country blame the group’s rhetoric for increasing anti-police sentiment.

In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke attributed the violence against law enforcement to the movement. Clarke said that since the movement began two years ago, the anti-police sentiment has “fueled this rage against the American police officer.”

Supporters of the movement counter these statements online, in nonviolent demonstrations, and in public statements that Black Lives Matter doesn’t condone violence to anyone. On the movement’s official website, it states, “it is not an anti-police-officer movement” and is not an “anti-white proposition.”

The website does specify that the movement rejects the idea that disrespect is criminal, and that it questions giving officers the “benefit of the doubt when it comes to policing black communities” due to broken trust with law enforcement. Continue reading “Maryville residents look for way through violence during tense times”

Former school hidden under remodeled home

MARYVILLE, Mo. — From the outside, the building on the corner of Water and East Jenkins streets looks like a simple white house, but its bones tell another story.

Today, the residence is nearly unrecognizable as the school for black children of Nodaway County that first opened its doors more than 140 years ago.

Since then, ownership of the building has changed more than half a dozen times. Due to numerous renovations, the structure looks little like the square, white schoolhouse it used to be.

When Tiffany and Ben Scott bought the house four years ago, they considered remodeling it and living there.

“The house we’re in barely won,” Ben said.

The Scotts live in a house directly east of the property now, and they currently rent the old schoolhouse. As they were updating the old Douglass School, they found pieces of the past.

Continue reading “Former school hidden under remodeled home”

Camp for children with cancer builds lifetime relationships

Quality time
Maria Shull of Warrensburg, Mo., and Rachelle  Bailey of Barnard, Mo., were co-companions of Isabel, a 7-year-old girl who spent a good deal of her time at Camp Quality last week dyeing her hair pink every morning and participating in all the water activities she could. Camp Quality of Northwest Missouri is a camp for children with cancer that takes place at Camp Farwesta in Stewartsville, Mo. The camp is the first of its kind in the United States.

STEWARTSVILLE, Mo.— Loud and long sirens blared while emergency response vehicles circled Camp Quality in Stewartsville last week. At a summer camp for children with cancer, hearing any alarms could be frightening. But Wednesday was designated “Law Enforcement Day,” which means that half a dozen public safety officials basically let the children go wild with the horns and PA system in their vehicles.

While one cruiser slowed, a young boy’s voice blasted through the speakers, commanding a group of nursing students from North Central Missouri College to put their hands up. Several in the group laughed and raised their arms in obedience as they were leaving the camp to return to Maryville. Continue reading “Camp for children with cancer builds lifetime relationships”

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: