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The Marshall Democrat-NewsRoute 66 New Mexico Fall 2006
LETTERS -- The Marshall Democrat-News
First United Methodist Church History, Take 1First United Methodist Church History, Take 2
First United Methodist Church, Marshall, Missouri, 1842-2012 | 2013
This book is a comprehensive history of the church. The large 8½ x 11 inch, hard cover book of 226 pages and over 230 photos covers the 170 years of the church’s existence. Readers may be surprised to learn that when those original Methodists met in 1842, Marshall was not only on the frontier, but there were only 26 states in the union. The book covers the building history of the church, lists all pastors and has biographical sketches of most, and describes church organizations and ministries. It also describes the role of the church and its members in the community and nation over the last 170 years. The book has an every-name index of the almost 1800 people named in the text; this will be of great benefit to present and future genealogists.

Price: $35.00. For mail orders add $4.00 for S&H. The book is available at the First United Methodist Church, 225 E Arrow Street, Marshall MO 65340; phone: 660.886.9697, email: fumc@socket.net.
 
Yoak, Take 1Ancestors and Descendants of Lloyd and Mary Adams Yoak
2013 | Hardback | 301 pages | 198 photos | About 8½ x 10¾ inches

This is a genealogy and history of the author's maternal grandparents who lived in Central West Virginia. It contains 12 pedigree charts, a cousins chart to aid in determining relationships among descendants, brief biographies of Revolutionary ancestors and an every name index with almost 2400 names.

Limited supply. Available at $35.00 each plus $4.00 if shipped. Contact the author at erichards@windjammercable.net or 660.886.3123.
 
Troy, Take 1The Remarkable Men of Troy
2010 | Softcover | 60 pages | 41 photos

This is the story of the Troy, West Virginia Chapter of the Future Farmers of America which existed for only 18 years from it establishment until lost through school consolidation. Although Troy High School had only 75-80 students in 9-12 grades, within four years after chartering, the chapter was awarded a national gold emblem as one of the top in the nation. Within ten years, chapter members from Troy had held four state FFA offices including state president. Members earned the State Farmer Degree at almost 15 times the state average. The chapter's accomplishments are recounted here to preserve the record and provide inspiration to future FFA members and chapters.

Sold out. Available on CD. $10 postpaid. Contact the author at erichards@windjammercable.net or 660.886.3123.
 
Cows, Classes & Co-Eds; My Two Years at Potomac State | September 2009
222 pages | Paperback | Well illustrated

This is the author's memoir of two years at a junior college of less than 400 students in a small Appalachian town in the early 1950's. The first year he lived, worked and cooked his own meals on the college dairy farm; the second he spent in Davis Hall, the only men's dorm. | This memoir of college life provides a glimpse of a time when football was played without face masks, phone numbers had only five digits, co-eds had to be in the dorm by 9:00 p.m. and engineering students moved about campus with slide rules dangling from their belts.

Reviews: Local author captures overlooked moments of history, Eric Crump, Editor, The Marshall Democrat-News, 2/22/2012 College students during the 50s will appreciate this account of one student in West Virginia. Filled with details and memories including dorm rules and adolescent antics, this book takes senior adults back to a simpler, but comfortable time. (Authorene Phillips)

Sold out. Available on CD. $10 postpaid. Contact the author at erichards@windjammercable.net or 660.886.3123.
 
Troy, Take 1Descendants of WILLIAM S. RICHARDS of Harrison County, West Virginia
2004 | Hardback | 218 pages | Numerous photos

This is a genealogy and history of the descendants of the author's paternal great-great-grandfather from his marriage in Harrison County, Virginia (now West Virginia) in 1823. It contains a cousins chart to aid in determining relationships among descendants, brief biographies of Revolutionary War ancestors and an every name index with over 3000 names.

Sold out. Available on CD. $10 postpaid. Contact the author at erichards@windjammercable.net or 660.886.3123.
 
LETTERS published in The Marshall Democrat-News
Why does the community not overwhelmingly support new school construction? 3/20/2014

The Marshall Public School Board has again submitted for public vote a proposal for a new facility to replace four elementary schools. This is the fourth similar proposal in the last 10 or so years. The first three proposals received successively less support each time submitted. This is a bit surprising in that most communities place such a priority on education that they tend to accept school board proposals for bond issues and tax levies. This is especially bewildering in Marshall. I have found this to be a progressive community. In my 24 years of residence we have seen community support for a new YMCA, hospital, justice center, Nicholas-Beasley Aviation Museum/Martin Community Center, establishment of 911 service and extensive remodeling of the courthouse.

Why then does the community not overwhelmingly support new school construction? There are probably many reasons. However, "mistrust of the Board of Education" is the number one problem as identified by the Citizen's Advisory Committee. (The Marshall Democrat-News 12/17/13) Let me suggest some reasons why this may be true.
  1. The board has evidenced poor decision making in such matters as erecting and shortly razing a building, allowed deficit spending to reach $1.5 million over a three-year period and then firing the superintendent for spending which the board either approved or failed to monitor.
  2. Inadequate or incomplete building proposals (failure to reveal true full cost of new facilities.)

Mistrust of the board is only intensified by actions related to this proposal, which give the appearance of trying to outmaneuver and/or mislead citizens by:
  1. Buying land and prematurely signing it as the location of the (as yet unapproved) new Marshall Elementary School. Some see this as a challenge (dare) to voters to turn down the levy.
  2. Asking for a tax levy increase instead of bond issue to evade the legal limit for bonded indebtedness, and the legal requirement for a 57.5 percent majority vote to pass. The proposed facility is expected to cost about $42 million. That is almost twice the bonded indebtedness allowed by state law for Marshall School District. There is a reason why state law imposes those limits. Further, some voters may not realize that the levy applies to personal property as well as real estate.
  3. The superintendent inaccurately stated that there had been no tax levy increase in 40 years. (MDN, 2/11/14, 3/6/14) Residents are well aware that voters approved a $0.31 tax levy increase for operating funds in 2003. This was an exact match for the bond levy that expired in December 2002.
  4. Selection as member of, and a spokesman for, the Citizens Advisory Committee, a non-resident of the Marshall school district who will be unaffected by the outcome and cannot even vote on the proposal.
  5. Focusing on age of existing facilities. Buildings being too old, is not, per se, a salable idea. The courthouse is considerably older than any school building, and there has been no suggestion that it be razed and replaced.

Further, the recent unfavorable report on student achievement suggests that the board should focus their attention on education. The board is just as accountable for student achievement as for facilities. It is regrettable that for so many years, students and teachers have had to use temporary housing, but that is not the cause of disappointing student achievement.

It is well established that, on the average, home-schooled children do better academically than public school children. There are many reasons for this, but it is not because home-schooled children have a $42 million facility and equipment at their disposal. There is ample evidence that spending money on buildings does not equate to improved student performance. Kansas City provides a convenient nearby example.

Some will not support this project because the tax levy has no sunset. Since this is not a bond levy with a specific purpose, the funds may be used any way the board sees fit. Remember the gasoline tax increase a few years ago to build four-lane highways across the state. The tax is still there but the highways aren't.

There were 12 teachers in my family in my generation, including my own tenure as a high school teacher and university department head. I support education. I voted for some of the previous proposals. Marshall Public Schools deserve our support. But, I can't support this method of funding (a 48 percent tax levy increase) to provide $45 million of public funds to this board for this project.
Voters should question actions of current Marshall School Board as they consider how to vote in upcoming election. 4/1/2008

We are fortunate that a number of people always come forward and offer themselves as candidates for public office. The school board is one of these. By definition, in offering their services, candidates are also offering to assume the obligations, duties and responsibilities attendant to the office sought, and to give due diligence to their performance.

We have reason to question the manner in which the current board has exercised it's responsibilities.

First, it took 3½ years for the board to respond to the fiscal problem of over spending. And, not until the overspending had reached almost 1.5 million dollars.

Second, Dr. Gordon was assigned responsibility for overspending and fired. The real culprit is the board which allowed it. The board cannot claim lack of knowledge as they must approve the annual state report which discloses the financial status of the district. Each of the last three years that report has shown expenditures exceeding income.

Third, Dr. Gordon exercised his right to a public hearing pending his dismissal. He received a hearing of dubious merit. While it may have met legal requirements, only lawyers in attendance would know that. Many residents feel the hearing did not pass the fairness test.

Fourth, reportedly the Board incurred about $90,000 in expenses for legal fees, interim superintendent salaries and search fees attendant to dismissing Dr. Gordon and hiring a replacement. Most people would question why, if a change was to be made so abruptly, existing management could not have sufficed until a new superintendent was hired. The University of Missouri was able to operate with existing personnel while seeking a new leader, why not the Marshall School District?

These events follow earlier misjudgments when the board advanced three building proposals which the electorate found wanting. That was in addition to a building which the Board approved and erected, then shortly found unsuitable and had dismantled.

We have an election on April 8 at which three board members will be elected. It does make a difference whom we elect. Be informed and vote wisely.
Government failure to effectively address illegal immgration problem puts nation at risk for bigger problems. 2/19/2008

My friend Chuck Hird has put a very human face on the problem of illegal immigration and the impact of potential legislation on individual illegal immigrants. (Democrat-News 1/31/2008).

Some will surely want to take a broader look at the problem and it's impact on the 300 million or so legal residents. By U. S. Census estimates illegal aliens now number more than two times the total of all U. S soldiers mobilized during WWII. Just the yearly increase in illegals is four times the number of all allied forces that landed at Normandy on D-Day during World War II.

Few can deny that this influx has had an impact on all of us. And there is no end in sight.

In the absence of a Federal solution, a number of state and local governments have attempted to provide their own remedies. Missouri appears ready to join them.

A large unassimilated population of a single ethnic group portends difficulties such as now experienced in Canada, Ireland and Iraq and which led to the partitioning of India to create Pakistan and Bangladesh.

There is an axiom that if you want more of something you reward it. Upwards of 85% of the U. S. Population do not want to reward or otherwise encourage this illegal activity.

There are frightening similarities between this situation and that leading up to the Civil War. Feelings are strong among the citizenry and Congress has been unable, or unwilling, to effect a solution.

Mr. Hird notes the lack of Christian hospitality by the state of Oklahoma and now potentially Missouri. He may be right. Whether an act is Christian applies to our individual actions; this test cannot be considered by government, courtesy of the American Civil Liberties Union and the U. S. Constitution.
 
The Blue Swallow Still Flies
Blue Swallow Motel, Take 1
The Blue Swallow Motel has welcomed Route 66 visitors since 1939.
Reprinted with permission of
Route 66 New Mexico Fall 2006 | Vol 14 No 2
Like many 67-year-olds, the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico is still active and on the job. It was built in 1939 by architect and builder W. A. Huggins to serve travelers on the Mother Road (Route 66) and it has been in continuous use ever since.

The Blue Swallow may well be the most famous motel in the world. It certainly is the most photographed according to Bill Kinder, one of owners. Not only has it been listed in the State and National Register of Historic Places since 1993; it is also listed in the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, by Patricia Schultz, which was published in 2003. It has been used as a backdrop for a number of movies and TV shows. In fact three production companies are scheduled to be there this summer. Unfortunately no record has been kept of those movies and shows or the famous people who have stayed there.

But, as with most 67 year olds, life has not always been easy. Mr. Huggins had to sell the property at a loss at the beginning of WW II as gas and tire rationing limited travel on Route 66. But the motel survived and in 1958 came into the hands of Lillian Redman, a former Harvey House Restaurant Girl. She operated it for almost 40 years and is perhaps the most famous proprietor. Mrs. Redman saw it through the construction of Interstate 40 whose completion bypassed the city and took with it a great part of her customer base.

The present owners are Terri Johnson and Bill Kinder. During a recent remodeling all eleven rooms were updated with Beautyrest mattresses but the original 1939 dial telephones were retained. In another bit of nostalgia some black and white TVs were also kept. All rooms have quilts and in a nod to the present they also have internet access. There are antiques throughout. For instance an antique sewing machine is used as a TV stand in one room and a vintage floor model radio is used in another. Each room has a different decor.

Terri and Bill can accommodate you with a queen size bed, two double beds or a suite of two rooms. The sign out front invites prospective guests to inspect the rooms. You can also view some rooms on their web site at www.blueswallowmotel.com. Rooms are budget priced at just $33.95 for a single and $36.95 for a double. But if you want the suite that will set you back $74.95 for two Queen sized and one double bed. Bill says guests always say they are going to get up for an early start but the good mattresses cause them to sleep in.

Blue Swallow Motel, Take 2
Recent improvements include locked garages, new Beautyrest mattresses and internet access.
Blue Swallow Motel, Take 3
Bill Kinder and Terri Johnson welcome you to the Blue Swallow. Visit their website at www.blueswallowmotel.com.

 

When you check-in one of the first things you will notice is the 1950s era cigarette machine, an old fire extinguisher and other antiques in the office. And hospitality! Where else will lodgers be treated by the proprietor to a photo of themselves under the famous sign; not to mention a private locked garage by their room. On leaving guests get an autographed postcard with a nighttime shot of the motel featuring the neon lighted blue swallow.

 

They are always thrilled to see quests arrive in a vintage vehicle. The day we visited Bill was excited to point to the 1948 Studebaker pickup truck parked in one of the garages by a guest who arrived the previous day.

 

A stay at the Blue Swallow is a must for Route 66 nostalgia buffs. Especially in 2006. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the designation of U. S. Highway 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles. Tucumcari claims to be the heart of the Mother Road. On June the city hosted the Mother Road Rally at the Quay County Fair Grounds and in July the 6th Annual Route 66 Celebration at the Tucumcari Convention Center.

 

One place you can still get your kicks on Route 66 is the famous Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico. But you better make your reservations about a week in advance.
 
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