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Oak Hill School was a one-room school located five miles north of Summersville. I have a photo of the school and students from 1915, but I'm not sure when the school was actually built. Many locals still remember attending school and activities there over the years. more
I’ve been a paid writer most of my life — 49 of my 76 years. more
In this column, I am going to pick up with my Martin family history. James Pinkney Martin and his wife, Elizabeth, were my three times great-grandparents and were the fourth generation of Martins to live in the United States. In 1854, they homesteaded land in a very isolated area on the Bryant’s Fork of the White River in Jackson Township. This is near the community of Sycamore and the old Hodgson Mill. They would eventually populate the area with a large number of Scots-Irish Martin descendants. more
Seriously, where does the summer go? How does it always seem to slip by me so quickly? It’s nearly the end of July, and I feel like I’ve barely had time to look up since May. It's like I blinked, and two months just vanished into thin air. No hikes, no river trips, and I’m pretty sure the last time I really touched grass was back on Memorial Day weekend. more
Dear Readers, more
In elementary school, we all learned about the three equal, but separate, branches of government: the legislative branch to create our laws, the judicial branch to interpret the laws and the executive branch to implement the laws as written. However, much of that governmental lesson was turned on its head 40 years ago, with the U.S. Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) Chevron ruling. That decision instructed the courts to defer to federal agencies’ arguments about the scope of their own authority, multiplying the power of federal agencies and growing the regulatory burden on farmers and ranchers. more
Newspaper reporters don’t typically get much respect as writers. more
Recently, I was told by two different people that they read my column faithfully and really like it. Granted, it was at my church, but I really appreciated their comments. And I have heard this from people who are outside of my church or family. One woman told me that her husband never reads anything except my column. I understand this because my husband never reads anything either- and that includes my column. I would feel insulted, but I know the only thing he reads is an instruction manual or the news on his phone. more
Usually, this little corner of the newspaper is where I share my lighthearted musings, those random thoughts that don’t quite fit anywhere else but still feel worth sharing. Maybe it’s the concert I went to or the memories of my dad. It’s a space for the quirky, the light, and the often “pointless” thoughts that make life interesting. But today, dear readers, I need to veer off that path a bit. Don’t worry, I’m not about to dive into the murky waters of political endorsements or bashing, this column will never be a playground for political nonsense. But I did see something last night that troubled me deeply, and I think it’s worth discussing together. more
Although my colleagues and I keep busy year-round deciding the cases that come before us, many people may not be aware of the Supreme Court of Missouri’s many administrative responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is making sure attorneys conduct themselves ethically in providing legal services to the public.  more
Letters regarding political candidates to be voted on in the Aug. 6 primary elections must be submitted prior to 9 a.m. July 19. The July 20 issue of the West Plains Gazette will be the last date of publication of political letters to the editor, as absentee voting will begin July 23. more
A new novel to our branch, “Things I Wish I Told my Mother” is the story of a mother and daughter learning how to love and talk to each other – before it’s too late. more
Some days I want to give up writing, especially in pleasant seasons when I might otherwise be doing something useful outside. more
To call someone a liar in the Ozarks would be not only extremely rude but might be considered “fightin’ words.” But as Vance Randolph said in his book, “We always lie to strangers” Tall Tales in the Ozarks (1951) there is no harm in “spinnin’ a windy” or “sawin’ off a whopper.” He also said that there’s no harm in it “unless you tell it for the truth. Nobody is deceived except for tourists and furinners when a tall tale is told.” more
Progress is a funny word, isn't it? Webster defines progress as "1. : to move forward : proceed. 2. : to develop to a higher, better, or more advanced stage." But progress isn't just about definitions; it's about the tangible changes we see around us and the spirit of growth that propels our community forward. It's about the new businesses that open their doors, the old ones that expand, the community projects that bring us together, and the public art that adds color and joy to our lives. more
During July in the Ozarks, you’ll see a few combines rolling through the hills and valleys of cattle country. Farmers are harvesting fescue seed that will eventually seed someone's yard or hayfield. The small combines, Gleaners and an old pull behind Allis-Chalmers in our case, were once a beast in their own right, but they pale compared to the size and power of new harvest equipment. When these old machines were "put out to pasture," they found a second life harvesting fescue.  more
Dear Readers, more
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