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24 October 2011

Lant: Neosho Ag Team Wins Nationals, MoDOT Makes More Progress Than Special Session

I just heard great news! Mike Aldridge, Ag instructor at Neosho and his team of students just captured the National Agronomy Championships. We certainly are fortunate to have educators in our area with this kind of expertise and dedication. Those students just participated in something that they can be proud of all their lives. My hat is certainly off to all of them.

Since our last report we spent Sunday afternoon in Kenny Underwood's backyard for a birthday dinner. Kenny is The McDonald County Recorder of Deeds and the only man I've ever known that cooks for two days to provide lunch for everyone that attends his birthday celebration. There were at least 200 people there and everyone got all they wanted to eat plus some of the best desserts in Southwest Missouri! I can't wait for Kenny to be a year older.

Tuesday evening we went to the Developmental Disabilities Banquet in Joplin. One of this year's honorees was Mark Lindquist who was working in a group home in the direct path of the tornado. Mark is unquestionably the most heroic person I have ever met. He took his three patients to an interior room, covered them with a mattress and then laid across the mattress and told the boys to pray. He awoke a week later in the hospital with horrific wounds. His ordeal was only beginning, as he contracted the fungus infection in his wounds and nearly died from the effects of it. Mark was at the banquet with his two rescuers who drove from Alba with what had to be Divine Guidance directly to the pile of rubble covering Mark. One of the young men, Staff Sergeant Michael Byers commandeered a pickup and driver to transport Mark to Freeman Hospital. When they picked him up, bones literally fell from his shoulder! Mark and his two rescuers were sitting with us at a front table and enjoying good food and companionship just five months later. If that's not inspirational, I don't know what is.

Wednesday and Thursday we were in Jefferson City for the continuation of Special Session. We passed a couple of resolutions and voted nearly unanimously to send our Economic Development bill [SB8] to conference committee with the Senate. If the Senate agrees to confer, we may yet get an additional jobs bill. The Capitol maintenance crews have been busy all summer and have completed some much needed repairs. DOT has also been busy and the new by-pass on Highway 5 is nearly complete.

Thursday evening we were at the Civic Center for the Talkington Foundation event. The Talkington Foundation is devoted to drug and alcohol intervention and recovery. The room was filled with civic and business leaders who support the foundation. I feel like it is worth mentioning that their goal is to save lives and families and provide second chances. They are always ready to welcome everyone who has a problem and is ready to solve it. I can't think of many things more worthwhile of our support.

Friday we ended our week at the 75th Anniversary celebration of our Newton County Courthouse. The ceremony was well attended with standing room only in the courtroom for the awards. The celebratory lunch on the lawn was better attended however, with excellent food and enjoyable conversation on a perfect fall day.

It looks like this week is going to be another busy one with a possibility of yet another trip to Jeff City. I'll give you a full accounting next week. Until then, I am and remain in your service.

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