Bob Mitchell: A one-client professional

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Someone who generally enjoyed being a public servant is with us no longer.

Nolan G. McNeill could well be involved in public service in the beyond.

Nolan, who recently declared himself as a “Democrat and a life-long Methodist” truly loved being in a position to help people and serve his community. His was a one-client professional, working for you — the public.

An early involvement after several years in the furniture-appliance business, he was president of the Cassville Chamber of Commerce when a mutual friend, a Monett attorney, approached us with a proposal that Wells Aluminum would come to town.

Working with Herschel Stehlik for a modular home plant building that was available, the deal was closed and the company, an early venture in obtaining employment locally for a number of years, came to town.

Later, Nolan served as Presiding Judge of the County Court, and during that time, he and County Clerk Rex Stumpff, changed absentee voting procedures, ending years of abuse.

Representing Barry and McDonald counties, Nolan was elected to the Missouri House of Representative, where he was known to not once acting on a patron’s connection with the legislature.

His greatest accomplishment for this area was obtaining funding for the Convention Center at Roaring River State Park. Subsequent legislation was necessary when two architects declared bankruptcy. For his efforts, he never received full credit, as following politicians were quick to claim credit for the accomplishment.

Later, then governor Mel Carnahan had intentions for appointment to his cabinet as Commissioner of Agriculture. The appointment required an appearance before the Ag Committee of the Missouri House, which further required an introduction of McNeill by his home district State Senator. This procedure was denied, so the governor not wishing to go against procedure, withdrew the intended appointment.

Before he left the legislature, it was McNeill’s efforts that established Big Rock State Park on Sugar Creek in McDonald County.

Politically, he had recently served as Barry County Democrat Committee chairman. His party devotion could well have served as his downfall, as a couple of issues in the legislature were pounced upon by leaders of the opposition resulting in a defeat at the polls.

Still, to his credit, his client list was the people of Barry and McDonald counties.

The remainder of his life included involvement as president of the Missouri Seniors Bus Transportation Unit, OATS and devotion to his farming and cattle operation in the Butterfield community.

Six weeks of winter

Without a doubt, the Groundhog had the opportunity to see his shadow last Saturday. His day dawned partly cloudy, with ample brightness to produce a shadow and then a few hours later there was bright sunshine throughout Barry County.

As most know, that shadow that was cast by the rodent at anytime of the day, regardless of how deep it might have been, produces the legend that we aren’t going to get rid of winter early this year.

Actually the shadow deal means there will be winter around for six more weeks. That would put the supposed end around March 20, which just happens to be the first day of spring anyway.

Warning still there

Conditions that exist still constitute a warning to those who are early gardeners. While the warnings are in place, this won’t deter those who frequently lose their seed or plants by putting them unprotected in the ground.

There might even be other planting legends in the air with the presence of thunder in the area during January. Ted Matthews says he believes this means bountiful crops for the coming spring. Then the same happening in the atmosphere this month is known to be a signal that there will be frost on the same date in May. This has actually occurred.

Then those in these parts can well remember the March 1 opening of Roaring River State Park coming around when there were large snow piles alongside the road getting to the park. There have also been openings when it was so frigid anglers were required to dip their rods in the stream to remove the ice that was disturbing their line.

Remember rationing?

Going to Springfield recently, we have never encountered so much traffic before.

The purpose of our trip was to visit Peggy Pearl, widow of John Thomas Pearl, who left us just recently. Tom was a retired Missouri State instructor, grandson of the Talbert family, past dairy operators on property now Wildwood Estates.

Along the way traffic must have been in a hurry as they passed us with considerable, over the speed limit haste.

This brought back the memory of gasoline rationing in World War II when the speed limit was 35 m.p.h., not that this strict speed was observed to the limit, but it sure took longer in those days to make it to where you might be headed

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat. He is a 2017 inductee to both the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame and Missouri Southern State University’s Regional Media Hall of Fame.