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On Oct. 7, barbaric Hamas terrorists stormed into Israel and committed the worst Jewish massacre since the Holocaust. Over a thousand civilians — mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, and babies — were murdered in cold blood by Iran-backed Hamas terrorists. more
An integral part of becoming career ready is on-the-job learning. In an ever-changing career world, internships are valuable opportunities to prepare young adults for the future. Missouri Farm Bureau (MOFB) offers internships in a multitude of departments. From public affairs to accounting, MOFB is a place for students to gain job skills. In fact, this column is a small part of my own Farm Bureau internship. more
Fall days always remind me of the day trips my husband and I would plan on my days off from the library – always to natural areas. We enjoyed the flora and fauna, but on one trip, we really got our money’s worth of both. more
I was dropping off a column, “this, I remember,” at the Quill office, when Vicky Rutter, who works on the advertising staff, told me, “Dennis , I speak to people who read your articles, and they tell me, what they like best is essays about the good old days.” I thank Vicky for the input. more
I have 25 chickens today. more
For many people, persimmons are somewhat unknown as far as fruit goes. I have at least three or more persimmon trees on my property. I have long known of the persimmons’ reputation for forecasting the winter weather but while researching this odd fruit I became curious about other aspects of it. So, I decided to write a comprehensive column this week all about the strange persimmon tree and its odd-looking fruit. more
In the grand theater of urban evolution, downtowns have always occupied a starring role. They are the epicenters of our cities, the thriving hearts that pulsate with life, and the vibrant nuclei that define our communities. But in recent years, a haunting specter has crept into the narratives of many towns and cities across the nation: the decay of their downtowns. Yet, amidst the challenges, there are those in West Plains who are staunchly committed to breathing new life into our beloved downtown. Today, we embark on an intellectual and passionate journey to understand why downtowns are the lifeblood of any community, why their demise threatens the very essence of our towns, and why the resurgence of downtown West Plains deserves our unwavering support. more
The summer of 2023 was one to remember for many farm families in Missouri. We’re accustomed to hot dry summers but my own father, who’s farmed “awhile,” says this is the worst he’s seen it since 1980. While I don’t recall the experience, he baled hay that November for a last-ditch effort to salvage forage where he could. He told me this summer that our farm ponds — which dried down to a muddy, barren mess — are worse than he’d ever seen. more
New titles are regularly being added to our juvenile collection, and it's rewarding to the librarians to see the excitement of the young readers as they check them out. For me, I love that the classics are also still being read. Ageless classic series such as The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, The Boxcar Children, and The Black Stallion, in addition to Little Women and Where the Red Fern Grows are still keeping youngsters, (and those young-at-heart), entertained. more
We have dozens of options for a quick hamburger today, but when I was a boy fast-food hamburgers were not so common, at least not as far as I knew. more
In the Ozarks of Northwest Arkansas, an event that has become synonymous with fall will bring over 100,000 people to a three-story, red, grist mill called War Eagle. There on October 19-22, 2023, visitors from all over the US will converge on the tiny area for the annual War Eagle Fall Arts and Crafts Show. It is actually three shows in one: The War Eagle Mill Fall Arts and Crafts Fair; The Sharps’ Show; and War Eagle Fair. more
To the lovely readers who find solace in the pages of this publication, today I pull back the curtains, inviting you into my own delightful chaos, a world beyond words, notes, and interviews - the whimsically chaotic domain of set building at our very own Avenue Theatre. more
Dear Readers, more
There is nothing more stressful to a farmer than a field of square hay bales all lined up in rows with dark storm clouds in the sky. Growing up, I spent many hours chasing square balers through fields, and all too often spent what felt like days squirreled away in some loft, shoving hay bales in between rafters. 
As the lights dim and the gentle hush of anticipation sweeps through the gathered audience, there's an undeniable magic that blankets the Avenue Theatre. It’s a palpable energy, a vibrant heartbeat that I've come to know, cherish, and vehemently protect in my role as Executive Director. This isn't merely a job or a position of leadership; it is an intimate dance with a building, an institution, that has seeped deeply into the core of my being. more
Didn’t everybody grow up watching the CBS sitcom The Andy Griffith Show? Perhaps you'll remember Andy from when the show debuted in October 1960 and ran until April 1968. It has been in syndication for 62 years on various networks. Generations of Americans have grown up with Barney, Aunt Bee, Opie, Goober and Gomer, Floyd, and the charming city of Mayberry. But did you know that one special part of the show came straight from the Ozarks of Missouri? more
Like many folks of my generation, I tend to see much as it once was, not as it is. more
Every day life, and every day living, I love it. I love the people, all people everywhere! What a joy to just love people! Every person has stories to tell. Some about misfortune, some about ill-will, some about family and especially grandkids, some about work, and some about play and some about… someday! more
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