Through the Years, Jan. 31

50 years ago

Feb. 6, 1974


Possibly the first official step toward formation of an ambulance district to serve the southern half of Barry County will be taken Friday when local emergency services officials meet with a federal program coordinator to investigate possibilities. Cherry Warren, chairman of the not-for-profit South Barry County Emergency Rescue Service, said a session was set with officials and Jim May, regional coordinator from Springfield. Currently under consideration by the group would be a 12 township district that would include some 9,600 residents inside its bound-aries. The township arrangement would be similar to the South Barry County Hospital District. A major change from the hospital operation could be the elimination of Wheaton from the ambulance service, since a private operation covers that area in this service. Added to the district in Wheaton’s place possibly would be the Jenkins community. Other townships involved would include: Ash, Butter-field, Flat Creek, Exeter, Liberty, Mineral, Roaring River, Shell Knob, Sugar Creek, Washburn, and White River. Assessed valuation of the district would be similar to the hospital, which is $16 million. This produces approximately $24,000 annually on a 15c per $100 valuation levy. Federal officials have previously set two ambulances for the Cassville area due to miles covered. The city of Cassville is in the process of securing these vehicles. Ambulance service as currently operated through the emergency service by LeRoy Rouse, is not producing sufficient revenue to insure efficient operation. Rouse has been operating the service since October, but as in other areas, additional funds are needed. Warren said Friday’s meeting would include Tom Cardin, local attorney, who has agreed to assist in the formation of the district. County Clerk Chester Snider is assisting with compiling of county information. The Barry County Court has agreed to call an election on the proposal in conjunction with school balloting April 2. Warren said petitions would be circulated by the emergency service corporation in townships involved to make the election call possible. He said these sheets would probably be out after meetings later this week. The emergency corporation board will be in a planning session tonight (Wednesday) according to Steve Burch, vice-president of the group.


Highway 37 from near Cassville to Seligman was literally slick as grease Tuesday night, according to Corporal Daryl Eckhoff of the Missouri Highway Patrol. A leaky transport carrying animal fat was the cause of the condition… not freezing weather. Eckhoff said a 40,000 gallon transport headed for Gentry, Ark., apparently developed a leak about a mile south of the four-way stop at Cassville. For a way the contents were only in the southbound land of traffic. By the time the vehicle reached Seligman, both sides of the road were covered. Area crews of the Missouri highway department were called out to sand the route to permit traffic to continue. Eckhoff said it was first thought the truck had been damaged as a result of trucker protests in the area, but closer examination determined the leak was caused by natural causes. As the material cooled on the highway it was “just like a skillet of grease, and just as slick as it could be,” Eckhoff said. The problem was discovered about 10:30 Tuesday evening but quickly remedied by highway crews.


The city of Cassville has begun a project of improvement at the municipal building on South Main here, according to Mayor Bill LeCompte. Being done by Willie Bowman, Noel Brock and Tunney Bowman, the work will include provision for parking vehicles from the rear of the structure, general overhaul of doors and eventual repainting and waterproofing of the exterior of the building. The project will cost approximately $4,000.

40 years ago

Feb. 8, 1984


Jim Land, a 16-year veteran with the Cassville post office, will become postmaster on February 17. Land was notified this week by regional Postal Department officials of his pending appointment. He will replace Gene Ledgerwood, who retired last summer. Phil Wade, who has been officer- in-charge of the postal facility here since July 30, has been appointed to the post-mastership at Thayer.


Money collected from camping fees at area Corps of Engineers parks in 1983 was up about nine percent from 1982 collections, Army Corps of Engineers officials recently. said Camping fees collected at Little Rock District projects totaled more than $1.3 million in 1983, up from about $1.2 million collected in 1982. The 1983 figures are nearly $400,000 more than 1981 collections. Most of the money from the fees remains in southern Missouri and Arkansas and is used along with other budgeted funds for maintenance and park improvements at the district’s 14 lakes and 10 navigation pools. Total visits to the district’s projects, which include overnight camping and a variety of free daytime recreational visits, were 42.8 million. This was down slightly from 43.1 million visits in 1982. Table Rock Lake, which straddles the Arkansas- Missouri line recorded the largest number of visits and fee collections in the district. Nearly 6.7 million visits were recorded and more than $275,000 in fees were collected. Greers Ferry Lake collected the second highest amount of fees in the district, about $241,000 while Beaver Lake had the second highest number of visits, nearly 5.4 million. The third spot was flip-flopped with Greers Ferry having nearly 5.3 million visitors and Beaver Lake collecting more than $212,000 in camping fees. Bull Shoals Lake and Nor-fork Lake each broke the four million visit mark with more than 4.2 million and four million visits, respectively. Seven other corps projects in the district were in the seven digits for 1983 visits. A visit is counted when a person enters one of the district’s 180 parks for one or more recreational activities during a 24-hour period. If the same person visits a different project during the same 24-hour period, that visit also is recorded. Fishing was the number one reason people gave for visiting the district’s projects with sightseeing close behind. Swimming ranked next, and boating placed fourth. Camping edged out picnicking for the fifth most popular activity.


Exeter city council action Monday night announced a new fire rating for the city, which results in constant updating of fire fighting equipment by the community’s volunteer force. Mayor Ed Hodgson and Dollie John-son, city clerk, also reported a new tax levy would appear on Exeter’s April 3 ballot. Council was informed that the city’s fire rating had been changed from a class 10 to a class 8 rating, to become effective in May, 1984. The new rating can mean lower rates for both business and residential insurance. passed by the council. One ordinance concerned a new $1.25 per $100 valuation for a period of four years. This levy will be placed on the April 3 ballot for voter approval. A new liquor ordinance was passed, approving a fee of $87.50 for a city license. A report was given by Dr. Mary McGee on Community Development Block Grants. A resolution was passed with the intent to seek funding through this program. The mayor was authorized to pursue activities in an attempt to secure funding. Council decided to provide access to a telephone for volunteer firemen while attending meetings at the city’s fire hall. Upon recommendation of the mayor and city clerk, the city’s finances will be rearranged to take advantage of higher income percentages. The changes will also result in better bookkeeping practices.

30 years ago

Jan. 26, 1994


When it rains it pours, so it would seem on the economic development front in Cassville as Justin Boot Co. of Ft. Worth, Tx. announced this (Wednesday) morning they would build a third building here. Gary Liggett, company president, made the announcement to mayor Rolland Meador and Bill Easley, vice-chairman of the Industrial Development Corporation. The Justin decision ended several weeks of negotiations between city government and the IDC. Cassville will provide Justin an approximately seven acre building site in the Industrial Park. The IDC will provide tax incentives to the company based on about 40 jobs staying in this community. Justin, who had also considered a Carthage location for the warehouse- component manufacturing facility, said in early meetings with local officials, that trained employees at the present facility, would play a big part in final decisions. Carthage had offered an existing building and Enterprise Zone tax enhancements. Cassville has no such zone attraction and has decided not to make further efforts in this direction. Plans of Justin, which were headed toward finalization the rest of this week is to build a 35,000 to 40,000 square foot facility at the industrial site, shooting for a July 1 availability. Possibilities of putting the facility on the north end of plant one on West 11th street came to an end when excessive costs were involved in removing possible water problems during periods of heavy rain. Mayor Meador had instructed city engineers to investigate the possibility, resulting in cost estimates of moving utilities and providing draining running higher than city and company funds available for such projects. Some 30-40 jobs will remain in the Cassville area under Justin operations. The 7,000 square foot component plant north of plant one on West 13th Street, will be converted to an equipment storage and repair facility, according to James Latshaw, plant manager. Justin’s employment range in Cassville with the two plants is about 550 persons. The Texas based firm came here in 1981 purchasing the old Jumping-Jacks Shoe Co. from International Shoe Co. The plant subsequently acquired the old Garrett Manufacturing Co. across County Road to the west. In this acquisition the IDC provided tax incentives for a five-year period. Contracts between city government, the IDC and Justin will be completed this week. Cassville has agreed to provide the site, just west of Luck “E” Strike USA, install a previously planned entrance off Sale Barn Road and run adjacent utilities to the building. Justin had stated previously that the facility now scheduled in Cassville would be used as a receiving point for materials that would eventually be distributed to plants here, Sarcoxie and Carthage. Component manufacturing for boots will be increased here and provided to other Missouri plants. Currently the Justin plants here included one 45,000 square foot manufacturing facility with a 20,000 square foot warehouse and a second 45,000 square foot manufacturing plant. The company previously stated no substantial employment increase was planned in the facility, but the jobs would stay in Cassville.


At 6 p.m. fire at an abandoned gasoline storage area and warehouse on East Ninth Street was quickly extinguished by the Cassville fire department. Chief Millard Andrews said the department “got a lot of water on the fire and cooled the area quickly or there could have been real problems.” Formerly part of the Jack Pew Oil Co. out of McDonald County, the facilities have been at the location near Flat Creek for a good number of years. Another local oil company owner estimated there might have been this or similar facilities at the location over 50 years. Andrews said there were no explosions during the fire, although it is thought there still might be gasoline in three large bulk tanks. Promptness of getting a lot of water on the fire for about 20 minutes could have avoided a much more Serious situation. City attorney Don Cupps said Tuesday city government was looking into the abandoned facilities. “We anticipate contacting the owners as quickly as possible in getting something done.” Cupps did not explain what might be done or what cleanup might be accomplished. There aren’t any records here concerning how long the bulk tank operation that consisted of deliveries from Cassville to dealers, farm accounts or lake facilities, had been closed. There were no injuries in the blaze that was turned in just before 6 p.m. Andrews said part of the department’s problem with getting closer to the blaze at first involved an arcing power line that burned at the entrance to the building. Although meter for service had been removed, the line was hot and required shutdown at a transformer on East 10th Street be accomplished by Barry Electric Co-op crews.