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20 June 2011

Lant: Revitalizing Noel, Week Of Meetings In Jefferson City

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There were approximately forty people present at the River Ranch Meeting Room on Thursday evening to exchange ideas on revitalization of downtown Noel. There are still a lot of us around that remember Noel as being "The Christmas City". Cards and letters from all over the globe were sent to Noel during the Holidays in order to get their unique postage cancellation. There were a lot of ideas exchanged and the general consensus was that a good cleaning up was the best place to start. Some thought that a contest for the youth to draw pictures with their ideas of what main street should look like would generate a lot of interest. The Mayor presented his idea for a minimal property tax and representatives from Tyson were present and pledged their help for future projects. I've been to a lot of meetings of this type over the years but I've never seen such a large group attend an idea exchange and literally everyone there agree to taking the next step and start organizing. With the "Can Do" attitudes I witnessed last week, we can expect to see some good stuff happening in Noel in the near future.

One thing that is hard to ignore is the growing popularity of recreation in McDonald County. It seems to me that a lot of good fun places are being rediscovered. When I first moved to this part of the world back in 1964, one of the first places I visited was Shadow Lake. When Jane and I were first married in 1969, we spent many summer weekends camping in Pineville, Lanagan, or Noel. (We were camping the night the train blew up). I have been trying to visit all the camping and recreation areas and I sure see a lot of folks enjoying the recreation facilities right here at home! Maybe with higher fuel prices we are finding out that we don't have to spend big bucks for motels and theme park tickets when all the good clean family fun we want is right here! Of course, with increased traffic and large numbers of campers, we all have to be more careful. The Commissioners and Mayors have mentioned that there are times that our emergency services are a bit strained. A safety awareness program might be a good service project for one of the Church Youth Groups.

I am amazed at the pace of the clean up in Joplin. If you are not up there for a few days, then drive through the most damaged areas, it's hard to believe how much debris they have removed. Some areas appear ready for new construction already. Many of the damaged shopping areas on Rangeline are soon to be reopened. I think our biggest challenge is providing enough temporary housing. If you know of rentals in your area, please let one of the agencies know about it.

I'm going to be in Jefferson City for a few days this week for more interim training meetings. I'll give a full accounting next week! Until then, I am and remain, in your service

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