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Teachers study the Bootheel, rest of Missouri during tour

Friday, June 21, 2002

"We feel very fortunate to have the tour visiting." - Pansy Glenn

SIKESTON -- Approximately 45 teachers are broadening their Missouri knowledge by participating in the 2002 Missouriana Study Tour, which visits several Missouri cities from June 17-28. Their destination this weekend: Sikeston.

"We feel very fortunate to have the tour visiting," said Pansy Glenn, director of the Sikeston-Miner Convention and Visitor's Bureau. "It's such an honor."

The Missouriana Study Tour is a 12-day bus tour that offers studies about various businesses and industries of Missouri. The tour includes visits to businesses, historical sites and areas of interest in Kansas City, Butler, Stockton, Springfield, Sikeston, Cape Girardeau, St. Louis, Jefferson City and many other locations. Teachers from all over the state travel with the tour.

This isn't the first time the annual bus tour has coasted into Sikeston. Glenn said the tour makes a stop in Sikeston every other year. The educators will learn many new things during their state tour, and especially during their visit in Sikeston, she predicted. The teachers arrive today and leave Sunday.

According to Glenn, one of the main attractions the teachers will tour is the rice mill, Louis Dreyfus Corp. in Marston. They've been very, very helpful with the tour, Glenn said.

Carl McGoldrick, general manager of Louis Dreyfus Corp., said he views the opportunity as one to educate others about the rice industry in the area. "Most people north of Cape Girardeau don't even know there's a rice mill in Missouri. And some people in the area don't even know," he added.

Louis Dreyfus doesn't actually sell the rice at retail, McGoldrick explained, but they do run it through the mill and remove the bran off of the rice to make it the white rice used in several food products, such as Kraft Minute Rice and Kellogg's Rice Krispies.

"Every year the number of rice-producing acres increases," McGoldrick said. "Rice is a crop that is growing (in popularity) in this area. It's a better alternative for farmers."

McGoldrick expects Louis Dreyfus to give the teachers an interesting two to three hours. The visit will consist of viewing the milling process, feeding the teachers lunch, showing a slide-show presentation and giving away bags of rice.

"We'd like for them to leave here with something more than they already knew," McGoldrick said.

Among other Sikeston attractions the traveling teachers will visit this weekend are the Sikeston Depot and the Dorena Hickman Ferry. Glenn's sure the teachers will grab a bite to eat at Lambert's Cafe at some point during the stay and probably spend some time shopping at the Sikeston Factory Outlet Mall, she said.

Marilyn Grant, who will give the Sikeston Depot tour, said she hopes the group gains an appreciation for the unique variety of agriculture in Southeast Missouri.

Grant also said she plans on informing the teachers about coming attractions because they might want to return when they have more time on their own. Grant said she will discuss the civilian air base, the 50th anniversary of the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo, the 75th anniversary of the Red Pepper Pep Club and many other items.

"Sikeston's always been on their tour list," Glenn explained. "They just love the great Southern hospitality we have here."

The tour is sponsored by the Missouri (State) Chamber of Commerce and Central Missouri State University.