Todd and his wife, Betty, float along.

Sorry – I have been missing in action for a month. And it’s not because of floating season.

I had big plans for a surprise post and related announcements in mid-March, but events here and around the world overtook those plans. They no longer seem timely or appropriate in the spirit of our current reality.

They included the release of my second trilogy, “Children of the Creek,” a sequel to the Ozarkian Folk Tales Trilogy, and a series of book signings and presentations — eight in total over a 30-day period. All of those events, including my traditional book release and inaugural signing at Mother’s Brewing Company, are postponed until things get calmer.

I also intended to launch a new Facebook Page, Ozarks River Ranter, that focused on the beauty of Ozarks’ waters and threats to them, with a few float trip stories sprinkled in. I’ve put that on hold as well, though the threats aren’t going away. When I do get it up and running, I hope you will share with your friends, and that it will engage many who care in our community in contributing their views and stories. Again, post-Corona.

I can report some good news, to those of you who may have missed it. The sewage lagoons at the Buffalo River CAFO have been emptied and cleaned, if the latter is even possible.  

More stunning, however, is where the contractor has dumped it. Would you believe just north of the Arkansas – Missouri border, in my home county of Taney. How can this be? I am outraged! 

It was as much as 2 million gallons of liquid hog feces and urine. And it presents the same problems as where it is being transported from: Stench, and threats to water quality in the Ozarks, on top of our limestone Karst topography. Equally concerning is that there were no laws broken or regulations violated in doing so, according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. 

Because there aren’t any?

We’ve removed the threat from the Buffalo National River watershed, and relocated it to lake country and the water-based economy that supports the region. Where are the lawmakers and regulations that should be protecting us?

A new group will join others in beginning to ask that question more loudly. The Ozark Society, which was formed more than half a century ago to protect the Buffalo from being dammed, is rejuvenating its Schoolcraft Chapter right here in southwest Missouri under the capable leadership of Loring Bullard, formerly Executive Director of the Watershed Center of the Ozarks. This is a voice that will soon be heard. We just need more. And louder.

By way of update, Cheryl Marcum, Cedar County activist, reports that Judge Green has still not ruled on their joint lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of SB 391, which strips all local control over CAFOs, including health ordinances, from county governments around the state.

Cedar County, you may recall, is home to Stockton Lake, a major source of drinking water for Springfield, and will lose protections afforded by their health ordinance if the lawsuit is not successful. There is a lot riding on Judge Green’s decision. Not surprisingly, both the plaintiffs and the State of Missouri have indicated they will appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court if unsuccessful. Stay tuned, and fingers crossed.

Finally, it was just reported that the EPA has announced a nationwide waiver of environmental rules for the indefinite future because of the virus pandemic, providing what one observer called “an open license to pollute.” Sounds like business as usual for this administration.

Certainly a national and global health pandemic has pushed other important matters to the sidelines for the foreseeable future. But they will still remain when some semblance of normalcy returns. And in the meantime, April in the Ozarks, with all of its beauty and high, clear water to float and fish issues a siren call. I hope you are able to slip out and sip of its spring bounty for grounding in a world gone topsy-turvy.

And if you really want to escape from the seriousness of the moment to more crazy characters and tall tales, you can jump the book releases and signings to and order “The Children of the Creek Trilogy,” direct from my publisher. I’ll leave you with this: 

“’But then again,’ she smiled back at herself, ‘it’s all fiction, isn’t it?’

“…I sure as hell hope so,’ whispered Sheriff Sephus Adonis into Randi’s ear.”
Page 235
Life is a River
Book Three
Children of the Creek Trilogy
Got your interest yet?  Happy April Fools Day and stay safe in these crazy times!

Coming next, May 1, 2020 – ON A LIGHTER NOTE?