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December 2017 Home birth story a peaceful beginning Finding freedom dare to dream Favorite gifts real matters

Christmas Tea with the Ladies of Shell Knob

Ho-Ho-Holidays Happy& Healthy

Winter workouts ‘Keep it simple’ tips Local shop feature Connection Magazine | 1

CELTIC CHRISTMAS CONCERT Admission is free, but donations are greatly appreciated! All proceeds will benefit charities in the community.

December 2nd, 7 PM Catholic Campus Ministry Springfield, MO December 15th, 7 PM Temple Baptist Church Marshfield, MO December 16th, 7 PM First Presbyterian Church Mt. Vernon, MO December 18th, 6:30 PM Holy Trinity Church Aurora, MO

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2 | December 2017 A magazine dedicated to Southwest Missourians

PUBLISHER Jacob Brower EDITOR Kyle Troutman Marketing director Lisa Craft

Merry Christmas

ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Sheila Harris James Craig Marion Chrysler

During this holiday season, we wish you all the best.

CONTRIBUTORS Murray Bishoff Meagan Ruffing Lisa Ramirez Darlene Wierman Melonie Roberts Sheila Harris Susan Funkhouser Pam Wormington Brad Stillwell Jared Lankford Julia Kilmer Dionne Zebert Jane Severson Verna Fry Angie Judd Cheryl Williams Sierra Gunter

Financial Advisor

Financial Advisor 103 East Olive, Aurora, MO 65605 417-678-0277 • 1-866-678-0277

802 West Street, Cassville, MO 65625 417-847-5238

PHOTOGRAPHERS Chuck Nickle Brad Stillwell Jamie Brownlee Amy Sampson

Nathan Roetto AAMS®

Jim Haston

Financial Advisor

Financial Advisor

594 North Spring Park Blvd Mt. Vernon, MO 65712 417-466-4620

7 East Broadway, Monett, MO 65708 417-235-8216

DISTRIBUTION Greg Gilliam Kevin Funcannon

Donald E Weber

TO ADVERTISE 417-847-2610 - Cassville 417-235-3135 - Monett Send email inquiries to Mailing address: P.O. Box 40, Monett, MO 65708 Connection is published monthly and distributed free in Cassville, Monett, Exeter, Washburn, Pierce City, Mt. Vernon, Aurora, Verona, Roaring River, Eagle Rock, Shell Knob, Purdy, Wheaton, Freistatt, Marionville, Seligman, Golden and other surrounding areas. Connection is a publication of the Cassville Democrat, The Monett Times and Rust Communications.

Jeramie Grosenbacher, CFP®

Shane A Boyd

Nicole Weber Financial Advisor

Financial Advisor

100 Chapel Drive, Suite B Monett, MO 65708 417-236-2819

603 Dairy St., Monett, MO 65708 417-235-7465

Scott Young Financial Advisor

1418 S. Elliott, Aurora, MO 65605 417-678-2102


Member SIPC

Connection Magazine | 3

Shop Local This Holiday Season! We Have:

• The Latest Fashions • Great Gift Selection • Free Gift Wrapping • Friendly and Helpful Staff

Whitley Pharmacy 101 West 8th, Cassville, “on the Square” • 417-847-2722 or 417-847-2717

Where every customer is special


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4 | December 2017

Jacob Lund |


D e c e m b e r 2017

7 Parenting Column: Holiday happy 14 Bottles & Brews 15 Recipes

19 Healthy Connection: Work it 23 Proud Parent contest 27 Cutest Pet contest 37 Sheila Harris: second installment, Crossing the River

49 Community Calendar 51 Familiar Faces

56 My Connection 58 Parting Shot

Features 10 | Tea Time for Santa

The Silver Bell Tea brings charity and joy to all

20 | Having a baby at home

Neosho mother succeeds in home delivery

24 | Forever Yours

Personalized gift boutique in Cassville

28 | Best Christmas Gifts

Southwest Missouri residents chime in on what moved their hearts

42 | The perfect gift

Family car won in drawing proves vital for generations

46 | Home improved

Local retiree makes dreams on energy-efficient home a reality

Have an idea for a story you would like to see in Connection Magazine? Email it to

JOIN US ONLINE: Cover photo credit: Vera | Connection Magazine | 5

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6 | December 2017

Jacob Lund |

Parenting Column

Staying happy

this holiday season


hether you’ll be traveling or staying home this holiday season, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the chaos of shopping, staying within budget, and checking things off your never-ending to-do list. What if you tried something different this year? What if you made the decision to stay happy this holiday season no matter what was thrown your way? Staying happy might mean something different for everyone, but there are a few things we can all do to set the tone for ourselves before the busyness begins.


Stay hydrated and grab a snack.

It sounds simple, right? A lot of us could save ourselves some running around and crabbiness towards other people with these two simple things. Keep a water bottle and your favorite snack in your car or in your bag at all times to help you keep your energy up. Think about how often you forget to eat or you’re too busy to eat and how you feel hours later when it all catches up with you. This is an easy fix to a common problem.

Connection Magazine | 7


Have a jingle in your head or a motto to live by.

“Take a deep breath, give yourself some extra time in between to-do’s and enjoy whatever moment you’re in.”

It helps to have something to go back to when you’re stuck in traffic or maybe when you run to the mall only to find out the one gift you needed to get was sold out. It helps keep things in perspective when we can’t control the things around us. This can even be listening your favorite holiday CD in the car or at home. Blast that music and put yourself in a good mood.


Do something nice for someone else.

This is the best tip on finding happiness and keeping it. It’s easy to get down in the dumps and feel negative about certain people in our lives and unfair situations we may find ourselves in, but the easiest way to get out of this slump is to go out and do something nice for someone else. It’s the most selfless thing you can do and the nicest thing you can do for yourself.


Spend time with your family.

If you don’t have family that lives nearby, call them. Pick up the phone and call whoever it is that makes you feel good and fills you up on the other end of the line. If calling isn’t your thing, write a good ole’ fashioned letter. Better yet, mail out a Christmas card and tell that person how much they mean to you. If you live close to family, don’t take that for granted. Make plans to spend time together over the holidays.

8 | December 2017


Bake something.

Who doesn’t love cooking? Or, better yet, who doesn’t love receiving something else someone baked for them? Get out your cookbooks or look online for a fun and festive holiday cookie recipe. Whip up a batch of your great grandma’s chocolate chip cookies (you could use these as your snack as mentioned earlier) and give some to a neighbor. Not only will your house smell amazing, but you’ll have dessert already prepared for the next few nights.


Be kind to yourself.

Yes, you read that correctly. This is the hardest thing for a lot of us to do. You want to know one of the best ways to stay happy this holiday season? Be kind to yourself. Let yourself off the hook when you need to and don’t be too hard on yourself. The holidays can be a sensitive time for many with the loss of loved ones, being away from home, a tight budget, unforeseen circumstances and so on. Maybe you make this holiday the first one where you take a deep breath, give yourself some extra time in between to-do’s and enjoy whatever moment you’re in. You may be surprised just how good you feel.

The holidays are Meagan Ruffing’s favorite time of the year to slow down and just be. She loves the cold weather, sending Christmas cards, and doing random acts of kindness in the midst of chaotic schedules. Follow her on social media to see what she’s up to for the New Year and for more tips on how to be happy.

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Connection Magazine | 9

Third annual

Silver Bell Tea ushering in the holidays

Stylish decorating is a hallmark of the Silver Bell Tea. This table offers a tasteful selection of heirloom china as part of the decor for the event. Each table has a unique look and ambiance for the event.

10 | December 2017

Story by Murray Bishoff

The Shepherd Ringers, a handbell choir from the Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Kimberling City, will return this year to again provide entertainment at the Silver Bell Tea at the Central Community United Methodist Church in Shell Knob. (top) Ladies mingle prior to the beginning of last year’s Silver Bell Tea, enjoying the fellowship of the festive occasion.


nce again this year, the Shell Knob Alliance of Churches will hold its Silver Bell Tea, ringing in the holiday season with oldfashioned charm and communal socializing. This year, the event will be held at 11 a.m. on Dec. 5 at the Central Community United Methodist Church in Shell Knob. This fundraiser for the church’s food pantry offers charm, atmosphere and music in the style of Christmases gone by, a perfect opportunity to immerse one’s self in the holiday spirit.

Connection Magazine | 11

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The Silver Bell Tea in Shell Knob supports food pantry This will be the third year for the event, according to co-chairwoman Linelle Dilbeck. In the first year, the tea raised $1,000, then raised $1,050 last year. Also serving as co-chairwomen are Sue King and Dixie Meyer. “You’ll be greeted with a cup of hot cider to sip as you stroll among the beautifully decorated tables and chairs,” Dilbeck said. “Each of the hostesses has decorated her table to reflect the Christmas season and no two are alike. In addition to the holiday tables there will be themed Christmas trees around the room to add to the holiday atmosphere. “As a prelude to the lunch, you’ll be entertained by the Shepherd’s Ringers, a handbell choir from Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Kimberling City. This year we’ve added a benefit drawing for a decorated Christmas tree, a Christmas wreath and a Christmas dinner for four from Harter House for more fun.” A luncheon will begin at noon. Seating is limited, and will be available in advance from the church office, open from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. “What better way to get in the Christmas spirit than to attend a fantastic, beautiful event with your friends and know you’re contributing to the Alliance of Churches food pantry to provide food for those in need,” Dilbeck added. 2

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Connection Magazine | 13

Bottles & Brews

Cerveza Pacifico Clara

A Mexican, pilsner-style beer first brewed when Germans opened a brewery in Mazatlan, Mexico, Cerveza Pacifico Clara gets its name from its location in the Pacific Ocean port city. A typical Mexican beer, golden in color and with a light, crisp taste, Pacifico boats a bold finish and perfect pairing with any sort of seafood, especially from the Pacific.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Sporting pine and grapefruit aromas from whole-cone American hops, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is copper-colored keeper. Mirroring an IPA, the pale ale has a distinctive flavor balanced between hops and citrus, contributing to its smooth finish. On, 2,867 reviewers rated the beer a 91 out of 100, and it earned a 91, or outstanding, BeerAdvocate Overall Score from the website’s founders.

Lagunitas IPA

A craft beer brewed in Petaluma, Calif., Lagunitas IPA was introduced in 1995 and sports a 6.2 percent ABV. The IPA employs 43 different hops and 65 different malts, has a medium flavor and pours a thick, balanced head. On BeerAdvocate. com, 1,642 reviewers rated the brew an 87 out of 100.

14 | December 2017

Baileys Original Irish Cream with Hiland Eggnog With the Christmas season chiming in, nothing is better than traditional holiday eggnog, except for when Baileys Original Irish Cream is added. With a spoon, mix one part Baileys and two parts Hiland Eggnog to create an adult-style chocolate milkflavored cocktail perfect for sipping while chestnuts are roasting on the open fire. For a more traditional recipe, google “Baileys eggnog.”


Try these pleasing treats to brighten your holiday season.

Amazingly Good Eggnog Ingredients 4 cups milk 5 whole cloves 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 12 egg yolks 1-1/2 cups sugar 2-1/2 cups light rum 4 cups light cream 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions n Combine milk, cloves, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and cinnamon in a saucepan, and heat over lowest setting for 5 minutes. Slowly bring milk mixture to a boil. n In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until fluffy. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour mixture into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, or until thick. Do not allow mixture to boil. Strain to remove cloves, and let cool for about an hour. n Stir in rum, cream, 2 teaspoon vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

Eggnog Cheesecake Ingredients 1 cup graham cracker crumbs 2 tablespoons white sugar 3 tablespoons melted butter 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened 1 cup white sugar 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 3/4 cup eggnog 2 eggs 2 tablespoons rum 1 pinch ground nutmeg

Directions n Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. n In a medium bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar and butter. Press into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan. n Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool. n Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. n In a food processor, combine cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, flour and eggnog; process until smooth. Blend in eggs, rum and nutmeg. Pour mixture into cooled crust. n Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. n Reduce heat to 250 and bake for 45 minutes, or until center of cake is barely firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and immediately loosen cake from rim. Let cake cool completely before removing the rim.

Banana Crumb Muffins Ingredients 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 bananas, mashed 3/4 cup white sugar 1 egg, lightly beaten 1/3 cup butter, melted 1/3 cup packed brown sugar 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 tablespoon butter

Directions n Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers. n In a large bowl, mix together 1-1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. n In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins. n Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Connection Magazine | 15

Christmas Stollen Ingredients 1 tablespoon active dry yeast 2/3 cup warm milk (110 degrees F) 1 large egg 1/3 cup white sugar 1/2 tablespoon salt 1/3 cup butter, softened 2-1/2 cups bread flour 1/3 cup currants 1/3 cup sultana raisins 1/3 cup red candied cherries, quartered 2/3 cup diced candied citron 6 ounces marzipan 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions n In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

Grandma’s Gingerbread Pancakes Ingredients

Sugar Coated Pecans Ingredients 1 egg white 1 tablespoon water 1 pound pecan halves 1 cup white sugar 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground dried ginger 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 egg 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 cup molasses 1 1/2 cups water



n Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Grease one baking sheet.

n Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, and cinnamon in a bowl; set aside. Beat the egg in a separate mixing bowl with the vanilla and molasses until smooth. Whisk in the water until completely incorporated. Stir the flour mixture into the molasses mixture until just combined — a few lumps are OK.

n In a mixing bowl, whip together the egg white and water until frothy. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, salt, and cinnamon. n Add pecans to egg whites, stir to coat the nuts evenly. Remove the nuts, and toss them in the sugar mixture until coated. Spread the nuts out on the prepared baking sheet. n Bake at 250 degrees F for 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes.

16 | December 2017

n Heat a lightly oiled griddle over mediumhigh heat. Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto the griddle, and cook until bubbles form and the edges are dry. Flip, and cook until browned on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter.

n In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the egg, white sugar, salt, butter, and 2 cups bread flour; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has begun to pull together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead in the currants, raisins, dried cherries, and citrus peel. Continue kneading until smooth, about 8 minutes. n Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. n Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the marzipan into a rope and place it in the center of the dough. Fold the dough over to cover it. Pinch the seams together to seal. Place the loaf, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. n Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 degrees F, and bake for a further 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow loaf to cool on a wire rack. Dust the cooled loaf with confectioners’ sugar, and sprinkle with the cinnamon.


Dale E. Assing, O.D.

~ Optometrist ~

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Connection Magazine | 17




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Healthy connection

Winter workouts With the winter months approaching, getting outside for physical activity can be difficult. Don’t let the cold weather destroy your workout routine. Keeping up with your activity through the winter months will help maintain and build upon all of your hard work. Aim for 150 minutes of physical activity per week and you will reap the benefits. luengo_ua |

Why should I exercise? • Controls weight. • Exercising promotes weight loss and maintenance through burning calories. The more intense the workout, the more calories you will burn. • Fights against health conditions and diseases. • Regular physical activity helps to prevent or manage diseases and conditions such as diabetes, stroke, metabolic syndrome, depression, certain types of cancers, and arthritis. • Improves mood • Physical activity stimulates chemicals in the brain that can leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. It can also boost confidence and improve self-esteem.

Lauren Bell is working on her masters of science in nutrition diagnostics while

completing the dietetic internship at Cox College. She is originally from Sacramento, Calif., and has a love for cooking, being outdoors, and traveling.

• Boosts energy

Jump rope: No jump rope? No problem! To modify, simply jump in place as if you were using a jump rope.

• Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues, improving your muscle strength and boosting your endurance.

Stair stepping: If you do not have any stairs in your home, a chair or ottoman will work, too.

• Promotes better sleep • Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Just be careful not to exercise too close to bedtime or you may be too energized to fall asleep.

How can I exercise at home? Exercising at home doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are a few exercises that can be completed indoors. Select a few of your favorites to create a great at-home workout.

Plank: Increase the duration of time holding your plank each day. Dumbbell curls and presses: Use water bottles or milk jugs as weights. Fill to a comfortable weight and increase the amount of water as they begin to become easier. Lunges: Add weights for an additional push. Jumping jacks: Make it a habit to do jumping jacks during commercial breaks.

Squats: Add a milk jug to add weight and increase the intensity. Push ups: Can be modified to kneepushups. Walking/jogging: Take a walk around your house, or walk/jog in place while watching your favorite television show. Tricep Chair Dips: Find a chair, bench, or ottoman and place your hands shoulder-width apart. Slide your bottom off the edge of the chair with your legs extended out in front of you, keeping arms extended. Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body until your elbows have reached a 90-degree angle. Once you have reached 90 degrees, push on the bench to straighten your elbows, returning to the start position.

Interested in an instructor-led workout from the comfort of your home? CoxHealth’s Exercise from Home classes offer workouts via computer, tablet, or mobile phone. Low and high impact exercise options available. Contact Nancy Ridgley at 417-354-1280 for more details.

Connection Magazine | 19

Justin and Kayla Ward with 1-month-old son, Patrick, in 2005. 20 | December 2017

Mom advocates for home birth

Neosho woman chooses midwife over traditional hospital experience


hen Kayla Ward of Neosho became pregnant with her first child nearly three years ago, she hadn’t really thought of doing anything other than the traditional obstetrician and hospital route for the duration of her pregnancy and delivery. “Then, several things happened,” Ward said. “A friend of mine, who is a photographer and blogger, described having her second child delivered by a midwife at home. That had never occurred to me, but it sounded so peaceful and like an amazing model of care.” Ward had gone to two prenatal care appointments already, and was not entirely satisfied with the service. “The doctor was fine,” she said. “But appointments usually took about 2-1/2 hours and that was mostly waiting. We were herded through like cattle, and as a first-time mom, I had a lot of questions. I felt rushed, and was given no time to ask.” When she contacted Deborah Smithey, a certified professional midwife in Springfield, and made an appointment, it also lasted about 2-1/2 hours. “But it was all face time,” Ward said. “The experience was completely different. We talked about my concerns. I was able to ask questions. She was an open book. I never felt rushed and she was very helpful.”

Story by Melonie Roberts

Smithey does the usual wellness checks for obstetric patients, including urinalysis, blood pressure and other routine observations concerning the mother’s and fetus’ health. “She has a library of books available for patients to check out until their following visit,” Ward said. The pregnancy went well, but, as

with some things in life, Baby Patrick decided to enter the world a little ahead of schedule. Ward started leaking amniotic fluid in her final weeks of pregnancy and was put on bed rest. “Debbie thought it was false labor,” she said. “She told me I was in bed rest throughout the final weeks of my pregnancy.

Patrick Ward, 2, seated on the lap of his mother, Kayla Ward, enjoyed cake at his birthday party at the park.

Connection Magazine | 21

“My back was hurting. Debbie said sometimes a warm shower would stop false labor, but as soon as I got into the shower, I immediately felt as if I had to get back out. The bed rest never took place. He was delivered the same day.” It was a surprise to Kayla and her husband Justin, to say the least. “I’m a planner,” Ward said. “I wasn’t ready yet. By the time I realized I was in labor, it was only another 2-1/2 hours before he got here. He was a month early. I wasn’t able to get my candles or music playlist ready ... none of that happened. There was no time.” Smithey arrived and soon Baby Patrick was lying in his mother’s arms. “I had to go to the hospital for a couple of hours for observation and fluids,” Ward said. “But that was a fluke. It’s shouldn’t happen again. But the doctors and staff were really nice.” Now pregnant with her second child, she and Justin are using a midwife again. “I’m ready for anything this time,” she said. “It could be a long haul or it could be really quick.” Due in February, Ward is looking forward to another home birth and the quiet atmosphere that can’t be found in a hospital ward with call bells ringing and nurses bustling in every two hours to check vitals signs. “It’s more of a personal, caring experience,” Ward said. “It’s more about patient-directed care choices. I like to plan, know what’s happening and be

Kayla Ward is pictured here with her husband, Justin, and their first child, Patrick, just after his birth in September 2015. After being delivered with the assistance of a midwife, Kayla was taken to the hospital for observation following that birth, but was released within a few hours.

involved in the choices concerning my child. The home birth experience is knowing you have a voice and being respected.” Ward said she is passionate about home birth and shares her experiences with others, should they ask. “I’ve found it to be a very positive experience, but I don’t try to push it on someone else,” she said. “I’ve had some negative reactions, because for many, this is out of the norm. My close friends are more open to the idea.” Patrick is looking forward to the arrival of his sibling. “He’ll pat my tummy and say, ‘Hi, baby,’ and ‘Who’s a good boy?’” Ward laughed. “He’s not a jealous kid, and that is a good thing.” Despite Patrick’s unexpected arrival, Justin is onboard with the idea of

For more information, visit 22 | December 2017

having a second home delivery. “Justin knows I’m much more research oriented,” Ward said. “He trusts me not to just jump into something. And the hospital is only two minutes away. That reassures him.” Ward is happy to have stumbled onto an option that is so right for her and her family. “I might never known that having your baby at home is a thing had my friend not been bragging about it,” she said. “Our society is focused on having a healthy baby, and while that is important, some people are traumatized by the [hospital] experience and choose to never have any more children. You shouldn’t have to fight your providers to stand up for your beliefs and research.” Ward is expecting her second bundle of joy in February. 2

Proud parent

Sky Allison Martinez, 1 week old at the time of this photo, is the U.S. Army daughter of Cesar Martinez and Abigail Aldava of Purdy.

Sky is December’s cutest kid.

Congratulations, Sky!

Are you a proud parent? If so, take this opportunity to show off that cute kid of yours. We invite you to share a photo of your child to be featured in Connection’s very own proud parent cutest kid contest. Photos should be sent in the original JPG format at the highest resolution possible. Remember to include your child’s name, parent’s name, age, city and your contact information. The contest is open to children ages 10 and younger. The photos submitted will be used for the sole purpose of this contest.

Email your child’s photo to Connection Magazine | 23

Forever Yours Embroidery Located at 608 Main in Cassville, makes personalized gifts, for Christmas, and year-round, taking the guesswork out of gift-giving. The shop has endless choices of gifts that can be personalized, or a customer can bring in their own gift to have personalized for a loved one, making it a ‘forever’ gift.

24 | December 2017

Forever Yours Take the guesswork out of gift-giving this holiday with personalized gifts


uring the holiday gift-giving season, finding the right Christmas gift is on everyone’s mind, especially those who seem to have everything, or are just hard to buy for. What am I going to get Mom? Dad? My sister? This season, why not ditch the shop-’til-you-drop routine and stress trying to find what you hope is the perfect gift, and go with a personalized one that will never go out of style, be forgotten, or exchanged — The gift that just can’t touch those on the shelves? Forever Yours Embroidery & Gifts owner Valerie Speer, helps shoppers do just that, because gifts bear the recipient’s name, making it truly theirs. And who, when they open a gift and see their name on it, doesn’t immediately beam with joy and surprise? Her daughter-in-law helped her name the store seven years ago. “We were brainstorming and she said, ‘Why don’t we call it Forever Yours? Because once you put their name on something, it becomes theirs forever.’” The name stuck, and she has been busy since, especially during the Christmas season. “Personalized gifts are special because a lot of thought and love goes into one,” Speer said. “You can’t just pull it off the shelf at Walmart.” The possibilities for gifts are endless, no guessing games here — with mugs, robes, clothing, hats, scarves, purses, bags, kitchen towels, blankets, totes and so much more. And if she doesn’t have an item, customers can bring in a gift they would like personalized.

Story by Julia Kilmer

Connection Magazine | 25

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“I do everything from monogrammed items to personalized to custom items,” Speer said. Although she knew how to sew, she had never tried embroidery, and certainly didn’t plan to start an embroidery business — it found her. “My husband bought me a tabletop embroidery machine in 2003 from a friend who was supposed to teach me, but she passed away soon after we bought it, so I learned on my own and took a few classes.’” It was different from sewing, but she liked it. “I was intrigued,” she remembers. “With an embroidering machine, you have to tell the computer what to do, and it’s more complex. It’s layers of stitches, and a lot of different backers, toppers and hooping systems. With sewing, you guide the material with your hands and your mind.” After enjoying her newfound hobby, an embroidery machine at a store caught her eye. “I told my husband, Keith, ‘They are selling their floor model and I’d really like to have it.’ He said, ‘If you want it, bring it home.’” “I used it to make things for family and friends out my house until, one day, my husband said, ‘It’s time for you to do something with this.’ I didn’t know anything about a business, but he found a building to rent on [Main Street], and told me if I didn’t rent the building, he would rent it for me. He’s very caring and supportive.” And she has been helping shoppers find the perfect Christmas gifts, wedding gifts, birthday and other gifts throughout the year ever since. “It’s God’s store, not mine,” she said. “He opened the doors and he’s kept them open.” The store is located at 608 Main Street. 2

Cutest pet If you think your furry or feathered friend is the cutest in the area, let us know! We invite you to share a photo of your pet to be featured in Connection’s Cutest Pet contest. Email your pet’s photo to Photos should be sent in the original JPG format at the highest resolution possible. Remember to include your pet’s name, city of residence and your contact information.

Meet Boomer. Boomer belongs to Alisha Merritt of Aurora.

December’s winner! Connection Magazine | 27


Christmas present ever C

hristmas, the rosiest holiday in a child’s memory, a bounty of visions and emotions, condenses down to the simplest terms — the ideal gift. While so much of what we give, and what we receive, blends into the fog of imperfect memory, some memories live out, touching a spark that takes us back to a special day, and an emotion that shines on into the present. We asked, then, what was the best Christmas present you ever received?

28 | December 2017

Mark Chapman, in his 40s, Pierce City businessman

played it the rest of the day, and for many years after that. My parents were probably sorry they got it for me, I played it so much.”

Andy Brandt, nearly 40, Shelter Insurance agent in Monett

Tiffany Wignall, in her 20s, executive assistant, Monett Chamber of Commerce

mark chapman “I got a little blue four-wheeler,” Mark Chapman recalled, a gas-powered Yamaha, when he was in the fourth or fifth grade, around age 10. “We usually got our Christmas presents on Christmas eve,” he recalled. “It wasn’t under the tree. The next morning, I saw it in the garage. I was so excited I about did a back flip. “We put in a lot of miles on it, and it lasted for years.” Ginger Johnson, in her 70s, secretary, First United Methodist Church in Monett

Ginger Johnson When she was “probably 12,” Ginger Johnson received her own phonograph player, about two feet square. “My parents had us unwrap all our presents,” Ginger recalled. “I had asked for it. I wanted it so badly that when it wasn’t there, I was in tears. My dad [Hal Johnson] went into the next room and brought it in. I was sitting there bawling. My parents got me some records too. I

Story by Murray Bishoff

Andy Brandt

Tiffany Wignall Tiffany Wignall had to ponder her best gift, claiming her husband, Josh, is “a good gift-giver.” Her favorite gift, though, came as recently as last year, when he gave her a nearly 1-year-old Quarter Horse, whom they’ve named Snookie. “It was kind of a group effort,” she said. “She came through a trade my mom and I worked out. I called it my Christmas present. It wasn’t entirely a surprise, but it was a really good gift.” Snookie made the fifth horse the Wignalls have. Tiffany also becomes “really happy” when she gets tack for her horses, and her favorite stocking stuffer is new socks. Her second favorite gift, she recalled, was an easel for painting that she received from her mother-in-law. But gifts are not the last word. “The most cherished thing is getting to spend time with family,” she added.

An Oakland Raiders football fan, Andy Brandt’s favorite Christmas present came from a group of his friends from Monett who pooled their resources and got tickets for the Oakland RaidersKansas City Chiefs game on New Year’s eve of 1999 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Andy was in his early 20s at the time, home on Christmas break from college. The gift combined as a birthday present as well, which rolled around on Jan.10. “The Raiders kicked a field goal in overtime to win,” Andy recalled. “It knocked the Chiefs out of the playoffs.” Andy had attended professional football games as a child. That occasion started a tradition for him. Now, he takes in a game almost every year.

Connection Magazine | 29

Jeff Meredith, in his 40s, executive director of the Monett Chamber of Commerce

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jeff Meredith Jeff Meredith had no difficulty stretching his memory back to when he was probably 10 and his brother, Chris, was 13. “We got a go-cart,” he recalled. “We’d asked about a go-cart. Our parents told us we were not going to get one. They kept it secret. “It was not under the tree. It was too big. We went to the garage, and there it was. Big gifts were always ‘from Santa.’ By then, we knew there wasn’t a Santa, but we didn’t care. It was a go-cart!” Jeff recalled it was a two-seater and they could ride together. “It went like lightning, or so it seemed to a 10-year-old,” he said. “We got two years of fun out of it. We lived just outside of the city limits. Two years later, we moved into town and couldn’t take it with us, so we sold it to someone in our neighborhood.” Mike Evans, in his 40s, assistant superintendent with the Monett R-1 School District

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Mike Evans

In his 30s at the time, Mike Evans vividly remembers when his wife and daughter collaborated to buy him his first mandolin. “I had played guitar for years,” Mike said. “I’d always wanted to pick up a mandolin and play it, The neck of the mandolin is different from a guitar. Fretted stringed instruments are otherwise pretty similar. “My wife and daughter decided to get me one. It’s not the only one I have now, but I still have it. I really enjoy playing.” Chad Kelly, about to turn 50, horse trainer with the Davidson farms

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Chad Kelly Chad Kelly has always liked a challenge. For a number of years, he has trained wild mustangs for the federal government. Having found success with animals as untamed as wild horses, for a long time he has wondered what he could do with the wildest of horses — a zebra. This Christmas, he will have his chance. His partner of 18 years, Cherie Davidson, just got him a zebra. The gift was big enough that she said it will have to do as his birthday present as well. “It’s something with a lot of power and racing stripes,” Cherie said. “Training a zebra is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Chad said. “I’d like to ride him. We’re getting along now. We’ll see how it goes.”

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Lenore Nielsen, in her 70s, volunteer at Cox Monett Hospital

Lenore Nielsen

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Lenore Nielsen had no difficulty remembering her best Christmas present ever — a puppy. “I was 6,” Lenore recalled. “It was my first pet. My parents told me Santa dropped him off in the middle of the street. The neighbors must have had him. I had to go into the street to get him. He had a big bow on him with my name on it.” The purebred cocker spaniel grew into a medium sized dog. Because he was a purebred, he had a long name from the kennel. “We named him Sir Lancelot. We called him Lance,” she said. He was already Lenore’s favorite Christmas present before she even interacted with him. The dog lived to age 14 and was a beloved companion for many years. Frances Wolf, in her 60s, clerk at V.B. Hall Antique Warehouse

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Frances wolf Frances Wolf has always been a crafts lover, enjoying working with her hands, especially doing embroidery. When she was 10 or 12, she received her favorite

32 | December 2017

Christmas gift. “It was an embroidery set with ironon designs to put on tea towels, dresser scarves or pillow cases,” Frances said. “You can still buy all those things at Modern Variety. I loved it. I was making things for my Hope Chest. I enjoyed doing it for years.” Christmas presents had not been too exciting around Frances’s household. The family had moved to southwest Missouri from Dallas, Texas. The change in weather translated into more practical gifts. “Most of the time we got clothes,” Frances recalled. “One year we got snow boots. Anything was more fun than snow boots.” Frances’s sister, Margie Fenske, played with the embroidery set as well, but didn’t get quite the joy Frances remembers. Another year Frances said her aunt sent a set of Lennon Sisters papers dolls, that they played with for years, made clothes for them and made the most fun they could with them. Ralph Scott, 90, retired Monett school superintendent

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appointed to four churches south of Fort Smith, 50 miles from Ralph’s familiar stomping grounds. His parents sponsored a Methodist youth fellowship group. His mother knew a girl who was president in the group and said she might be a candidate. Ralph wrote to her, but heard nothing back. His mother knew the girl, Mary K., worked at the S.S. Kresge fiveand-dime store in Fort Smith, so Ralph drove down to see her and ask for a date. He offered to take her to a dinner and a movie. She said she was available the next evening. “That was Christmas eve, not a very auspicious start,” Ralph said. They had dinner and a movie, a forgettable one, as Ralph recalled. So there they were in downtown Fort Smith late on Christmas eve, a district dominated at one end by the very large Catholic church, where people were headed in to midnight Mass. “I said to Mary K., ‘You ever been to the Catholic church?’ She said no. I said, ‘Want to go to midnight Mass?’ She agreed. So there we were, two lifelong Methodists, at the service. Of course they did it in Latin. We didn’t understand a word of it. I have no doubt we fell in love that night.” Getting Mary K. home after 1 or 2 a.m. put Ralph on the spot with Mary K.’s mother, who was up waiting for them. He explained quickly that they had been at church. Apparently he did a good enough job because there was a second date, and the following August Ralph and Mary K. were married. This will be their 68th year of marriage. Ralph looks at that Christmas present as one that can’t be beat. 2

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Second story in series

Crossing the river


er first Christmas in the United States was the most lonely and difficult that Yesenia Perez can remember. In Mexico, La Navidad was the most joyous holiday of the year, and was marked by celebrations both solemn and festive. Statues of the nativity were carefully arranged and admired, church services were attended, and songs of adoration were sung. Best of all, large holiday meals and parties were shared with friends and extended family members, many of whom Yesenia saw only on special occasions. None of that happened after their move to the United States in 1994. For 10-year-old Yesenia, the reality of what it meant to leave Mexico finally sunk in that Christmas, and it hit her hard. She was a stranger in a strange land; she now had only her sister and brothers and mom and dad. “For the first time, I realized that I might never see my grandma and my friends in Mexico again,” she recounted, “and I cried.” “I was a kid when we left Mexico, and like any kid, I was excited about doing something new,” said Yesenia, now 33. “It felt like a big adventure.

Magdalena Coralles and her daughter, Yesenia

We were going on a long trip to a new country where I would learn a new language and make new friends. I eventually did all of those things, but there were some really hard times in between. As it turned out, I never did see my grandma again. She died after we left, and we couldn’t even go back for her funeral. When you’re a kid, you don’t think about things like that happening. I’m sure my mother thought about it before bringing us to the United States, though. Looking back, I realize she made some very difficult choices. But she did it for us, for my sister and brothers and me. I know that now.” Magdalena Coralles was 30 years old when she made the decision to leave Mexico with her four young children, and attempt to join her husband, who was legally working in Texas. Twenty-three years later, she’s willing

to share her story of that difficult time. She spoke to Connection Magazine in Spanish, while her daughter helped translate. “Leaving Mexico was the hardest decision I’ve ever made,” Magdalena said. “There were so many things to consider, but more than anything in the world, I wanted to be with my husband; I wanted my children to be with their father. I wanted us to live as a family again.” “I wanted to help my husband financially, too, so we could provide better lives for our children,” she continued. “There was no way to do that in Mexico. There were very few jobs available for men, and none at all for women. But we heard that in the United States there were jobs for both men and women, for anyone who was willing to work hard. And I was willing.”

Disclaimer: With the following story, my desire is not to condone nor encourage undocumented immigration. I wish only to give a voice to those whose life experiences have been different than most of ours. — Sheila Harris

Connection Magazine | 37


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Above: Yesenia’s quinceañera with parents and siblings. Right: Magdalena at 30.

In Mexico, hard work was a fact of life for Magdalena, where feeding her children was a daily struggle. With no refrigeration and no access to fresh milk, their diet consisted primarily of beans and rice, and the few eggs they purchased daily from a nearby market. There was no hope for their circumstances to improve, and certainly no thought of “getting ahead.” Magdalena’s sole focus was on the survival of herself and her children. Looking ahead at a future in Mexico, Magdalena’s choice seemed obvious, as though she really didn’t have one — but it was not a choice made lightly. “My mother didn’t want to break the law,” stated Yesenia, “but when it comes down to a matter of survival, sometimes breaking the law seems like a necessity, especially when you have children to feed.” Attempted border crossings were both expensive and dangerous, with no guarantee of success. It was necessary to hire a family who made it their business to escort people across, and money had to be saved to secure their services. On a night in September, their guide decided the time was right to attempt a crossing. To Magdalena’s dis-

may, her children had to be separated. The two youngest, still toddlers unable to walk far, were put into a van with the children of another family. “When I watched them drive away that night,” Magdalena recalled, “I had no way of knowing if I’d ever see them again.” Magdalena, 10-year-old Yesenia and her 8-year-old brother, Luis, soon embarked on the longest walk of their lives. Under cover of darkness, they stumblingly followed their guide as he led them alongside the southern bank of the Rio Grande for what seemed like miles. “I have never been so frightened in my life,” Magdalena said. “I had no idea how terrifying it would be. I knew that if we didn’t make it that night, I would never have the courage to try it again.” After miles of walking, a possible crossing point was located, but as the guide waded out into the water, he realized it was too deep to navigate and returned to the shore. They continued walking until the guide decided a second try was in order. “I remember that night like it was yesterday, even though it’s been 23 years ago,” Yesenia attested. “Fear is

something you just don’t forget, and it was all around us.” “None of us knew how to swim,” Yesenia continued. “My mother was able to walk across the river, but my brother and I had to be carried, one at a time. Crossing the river was only the beginning, though. Afterward, we walked for more miles and hours, until I could barely put one foot in front of the other. When the guide finally gave the signal that it was OK to stop walking, I remember throwing myself down onto the Texas sand in complete exhaustion.” At the end of that long night, Magdalena, Yesenia and her brother were reunited with the two youngest members of the family. From there, they traveled to the Dallas area, where Magdalena joined her husband, Enrique Corrales. “We stayed in Dallas for a few weeks,” Magdalena explained, “but after living in a small town in Mexico, the city intimidated me. I couldn’t get used to it. We had friends who lived and worked in the Monett area, so we made our way north, and have been here ever since.”

Connection Magazine | 39

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After her arrival in Monett, Magdalena was employed by a local poultry processing plant, where the work was hard, but offered ample opportunity to provide a good life for her children. After years of helping process chicken, she now babysits for her grandchildren, while Yesenia works as the Director of Drury University’s Migrant Program at their Monett campus. She plans to graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree in organizational communications and development. Magdalena, her husband and her children are now all citizens of the United States, through legal processes which were confusing, time-consuming and extremely expensive. But they willingly paid the price, both monetarily and in ways that can’t be easily measured. I asked Magdalena if, after 23 years, she believed that coming to the United States had been the right decision. “Everything in life has a price,” she replied, offering wisdom gained through difficult experience. “It’s hard to assign value to some of the choices we make. I left behind a country and family I loved, and not a day goes by that I don’t miss them. I paid very dearly when I left them behind. They will always live in my heart, but I know I can never go back to the way it was. It wouldn’t be the same. Everything changes.” “I did what I had to do at the time, and I think it has turned out well,” she continued, “and I am very thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to live and work in the United States. I look at my children now, and they are all healthy, happy, responsible adults, and I know that my decision to bring them here played a part in what they have become. I can’t second guess that. I am so proud of all of them. My husband and I couldn’t have given them a life like this in Mexico.” 2



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Connection Magazine | 41

A gift that keeps giving Car won in promotion brings stability to family for nearly two decades


Pictured is the original newspaper clipping in the Barry County Advertiser of Ravin and her mom beside the PT Cruiser she won at only age 3 from a Kids Club promotion at Ramey’s.

42 | December 2017

t was a summer Cassville native Danielle Bose and her family will never forget. The year was 2001, and she was a busy mom going to school and work. Her mother, Janet Bose, then a Southwest kindergarten teacher, helped out by picking up her daughter, Ravin, from Kelly Dixon’s day care each day. Janet’s daily routine included taking Ravin to Ramey’s in Cassville for a snack, where she had signed her up in the Kids Club. “We would go to Ramey’s because we had the Kids Club card and they punched it and gave us a free cookie or apple,” Janet said. “I thought it was a fun thing to do with her.” At the time, the store was having a regional promotion for a new car giveaway, and each time their card was punched, they were entered into the drawing. “I can remember seeing the sign about the car,” Janet said. But they didn’t notice it much; they were just enjoying their visits to the store and their free snack item.

Story by Julia Kilmer

Ravin Newton literally grew up with the PT Cruiser she won from Ramey’s at age 3. Here, she takes a poses during Halloween and before a ball game as a youngster.

Then one day in early June, Danielle received a call from Ramey’s. “I got this call one morning asking for my daughter, who was 3 at the time,” she recalls. “And they said, ‘Congratulations, your daughter just won a PT Cruiser.’” She was shocked. Her mother was out of town with Ravin at the time. “I was gone visiting my mother in Iowa,” Janet said. “Danielle called and told me what happened, and I was flabbergasted. ‘Ravin has a car?’” “I had to wait until my mom got home with Ravin because she had to be present for the photo,” Danielle said. “We went to Springfield to the Kansas Expressway Price Cutter, signed paperwork, and they took a photo with her sitting in the car. The car actually belonged to her. They couldn’t title it to her because she was a minor, but it was her car. I was just the trustee. The only

thing I had to pay for was the tags. All the taxes were paid since it was a considered gift to a minor.” Danielle’s plan was to drive the new Cruiser a while, then sell it and save for Ravin’s college expenses. “It was probably two months later when the head gasket of my car went out,” said Danielle. “So I was like, ‘I think we’re going to drive this one for now.’ Well, life happened, and I drove the Cruiser for 10 years. I loved it. It was perfect for our lifestyle and was amazing. The only thing we ever did was change an alternator all those years. “It gave us stability while Ravin was growing up and the security of not having a car payment, which allowed her to be involved in all her activities. We put a lot of miles on that car. It was a blessing. “Then in November 2010, it died on me, and I didn’t have the money to fix it so I pushed it into the garage,

where it sat a few years. Ravin was 13. She didn’t get her license until she was 17, and it was still sitting there when she started thinking about getting it licensed.” Danielle considered selling it, but by then, they had gotten attached to the car. A friend asked if it would bother her to see someone else driving it around town, and she said, ‘Yes.’ That was her answer. “The whole idea was it was her [Ravin’s] car,” she said. “It was a sentimental thing. It made more sense to us to fix it than go out and buy a new vehicle. So we got it completely overhauled — new engine, tires, and we knew its mechanical history. As a teenager, at first, Ravin wasn’t happy about having an older car, but after seeing the numbers and not having a car payment, she was OK with it. It’s a cool thing for her, because it’s actually her car.”

Connection Magazine | 43

“When I was little, I remember going with my grandmother to get the free apple or donut of the day,” said Ravin, now 19 and finishing her freshman year of college. “I remember walking into Ramey’s the day we got the car [June 12] and seeing it there. Back then, there were little car carts toddlers could sit in. I started to sit in one and my mom was like, ‘No, Ravin the real car is ours, you can sit in it.’ It was definitely a blessing, and the timing. “It’s a great testimony. My mom was a single parent doing everything on her own then got blessed with the car. We did not have to make car payments. I drove it my senior and junior year. Friends would ask why I had ‘Ravin 3’ on my plates, and when I’d tell them, they didn’t believe me until they saw the newspaper article.” Today, the car has more than 190,000 miles. “For a car being 16 years old, it runs so good,” she said last summer. “I would have had to work a very long time for a car if we hadn’t got this one. I can’t stress enough how blessed my family was when we received it. My mom got it at just the right time, took care of it, and gave it to me.” “It has well served its purpose,” said Danielle. Today, Ramey’s in Cassville (now Price Cutter), may not be giving away new cars, but kids can still get a free snack item as a member of the Kids Club, and other perks, too. “We are still involved in the Kids Club,” said Kevin George, Price Cutter store director. “Kids can sign up at the bakery, and every year on their birthday, we’ll mail out a voucher for a free cake and half-gallon of ice cream.” 2

When Ravin became old enough to drive, her mother made repairs to the car Ravin won at age 3, which by that time, was more than a decade old, and has been in the family ever since. Pictured is Ravin in 2015, on the first day of her senior year, who now drives the car and is in college.

The PT Cruiser has been with the family for nearly two decades, through every season in their lives. Here, mom Danielle Bose stands beside it the day of her college graduation from Missouri Southern State University in 2004.

44 | December 2017



February 2017

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April 2017


A magazine dedicated to Southwest Missourians

May 2017

Natural talent

Purdy concert pianist returns to play

diving in

Fear of swimming is no excuse

Rustic industrial ‘Žȱ’›ŽĚ¢ȱ˜ž’šžŽ of Pierce City

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Veterans Treatment Court success stories

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A magazine dedicated to Southwest Missourians



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Circus in Joplin full of spectre


Jo Tate Memorial Ride continues path of success

Crafts man 's trade





McDOWELL GOLD JUBILEE Celebrating music makers SHARING MEMORIES Summers of yesteryear GYPSY VANNERS Horses with a presence

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November 2017

Locals talk about fight club

‘You have nothing to prove’

Love letter to Monett

Hometown memories



Angel Gowns


Volunteer Spirit

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Memories restore us

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Only a small portion of Randall Hutson’s energy-efficient home will be exposed to the elements, due to its efficient design. Part of the home is inside a large shop area, and part, built into the earth, providing efficient insulation of the home.

Retired bass fisherman building home of the future


McDonald County man builds energy-efficient home in Exeter

46 | December 2017

McDonald County man is hoping to move into his new home in Exeter as soon as it is finished. But not just any home — one that will not require a water bill, electric bill or the typical monthly expenses homeowners must write a check for. That’s because it’s an energy-efficient home designed to harness and utilize the power and natural resources of the sun, water, wood and earth, which are, well — free. Randall Hutson is building a two-bedroom, one-bath home, half of which is inside his shop, and the other half, built into the ground. He plans to use solar energy from the sun to provide light and electricity for the home, a wood stove for heating, and rainwater for drinking, cooking, showering and plumbing, using a water system that collects water from the roof and funnels it into a 3,000-gallon water tank inside his shop. Eventually, he won’t ever have to rely on a utility company, be concerned about rate increases, power

outages, or see a utility bill in his mailbox again. Why is he doing this? To live more simply, reduce bills and plan for the future. “I’ve wanted to do this ever since I visited here in the early 1970s,” Hutson said. “I’m trying to get away from a monthly bill. Natural resources aren’t replenishing themselves. It’s all going to disappear one day. There’s so much that is wasted. Some have [money] to pay for it, some don’t. Plus, there is just a lot of abuse and using up of the world’s energy resources. “I think the human race has gotten spoiled. All we have to do is pay the bill. I think there are enough holes poked in the ground [wells], yet water levels keep dropping each year because everyone’s pumping it out.” A retired professional championship bass fisherman, cattle farmer and native Texan, Hutson is selling his farm in the Star Hollow area of McDonald County, where he built a home and has lived since 1986, but likes the idea of being closer to Cassville.

Story by Julia Kilmer

A 3,000 gallon cistern tank will hold more than enough water to meet needs for cooking, showering and drinking, says Hutson.

On a hot, humid July day, Hutson takes a well-deserved break from working on his energy-efficient house. He is tired, but has a smile on his face and a gleam in his eye, thinking about what it will be like to relax in his new living room and not be too cold, too hot, and not have to worry about power outages, high utility bills or rate increases, because when his home is completed, he will be relying on the free resources of nature to heat and cool his home instead of utility companies, and will be free of all monthly utility bills.

Hutson’s house is actually built inside his shop, which he calls his barn, to provide efficient insulation.

Connection Magazine | 47

It will be hard to leave after living there for over 30 years, but he won’t have the burden of taking care of a farm, plus, Exeter is close to town and the golf course, he joked. Hutson has been has been working hard on the home for the last year and a half, doing much of the work himself, except for concrete work and sheet rock. When finished, the home will have a rustic interior and decor with walnut-varnished wood beams and rock accents in the living room and walk-in shower. The small portion of the home that is exposed to the outside elements will feature a brown metal exterior with rock accents. He will put carpet in the living room and bedrooms, and stained concrete everywhere else. He is hooking up to Barry Electric for now, and installing a superefficient Fujitsu air conditioner, but harnessing the power of the sun for electricity is his goal. “Eventually, I will go solar, it’s just going to take a few years. There’s so many things taking place on the technology side,” he said. “It’s so expensive [right now]. But I think in the coming years, solar panels will become more affordable.” The partially berm home is naturally energy-efficient due to its design. “Most of it will be in my barn for insulating purposes, so it won’t be completely exposed to the elements, and it’s also partially underground,” Hutson said. “It’s more economical.” He’s still perfecting the water system, but has done his homework. “If we get 1-3/4 inches of rain, that will fill a 3,000-gallon water tank, and I think our average rainfall here is 38 to 40 inches for the year,” he said. “But it’s not how much rain we get it, it’s how often. I know there will be dry times, but I really think I will get

48 | December 2017

Hutson shows how rainwater will collect in ducts from the roof, then into a large, 3,000 water cistern tank inside his shop. He estimates the simple system will provide more than enough water, based on minimum rainfall percentages of the area.

through. Right now is the driest time of the year, but the tank is full.” The system is also considerably less expensive than digging a well, which Hutson said costs between $12,000$15,000. But, so far, his investment in the water system is less than $2,000, which is quite a savings — not to mention the long-term savings due to the lack of a water bill. Almost reminiscent of what Noah must have gone through when he built his ark, a few naysayers didn’t believe it would work. “When I told people that I was going to use a cistern, they didn’t think it would provide enough water.” he said. “They teased that I might have to run to the fire department to get their water tanker. I think I’m going to get the last laugh.” Hutson has thought of everything — also building a safe room with a concrete ceiling and solid steel door, where he can stay safe during storms. During the colder months, Hutson

will use wood heat. “This will be the real energy saver because it will produce enough heat to keep the house warm,” he said. “Wood heat is pretty efficient, and I won’t have to rely on electricity for heating.” Hutson estimates he can build the home at an investment of about $135,000, which is about the average cost of a mortgage today in the area. As for blazing new trails for other homeowners who would like to live in energy-efficient homes and reduce bills, Hutson is humble in accepting credit for the amazing feat he has accomplished with the home. “It’s not every part, but it’s my part,” he said. What will he do when it’s all finished and he is living in this home, not worrying about what his heating, cooling or water bill will be that month? He is going to enjoy it. “I think I’ll kick my feet up and relax, and think I’ll go fishing.” 2


Photo overlooking a hollow between Seligman and Roaring River, captured by Ruthie Townsend of Seligman.

Dec. 1

 The Cassville Chamber of Commerce First

Friday Coffee will be held at Community Support Systems, 103 South Main Street, from 8-8:45 a.m.

Dec. 2

 The annual Cassville Christmas Parade

along Main Street will be held at 6 p.m.

 The Seligman Chamber of Commerce will

host a dance at the Seligman Chamber Event Center at 7 p.m. Admission is $4 each, and attendees are asked to bring a snack to share. No alcohol or smoking is allowed. For more information, call 417662-3612.

 The Sarcoxie Christmas on the Square be-

gins at 2 p.m. with the business expo. The Christmas parade will begin at 5:15 p.m. At 6 p.m., the Senior Center will open for a Chicken Dinner and the Musical Light Show. The Light Show runs through Dec. 31.

 The City of Exeter will hold its annual

Christmas Parade starting at 1:30 p.m. The annual Christmas Dinner will be held in the Community Building from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Dec. 4

Dec. 9

 The Monett dance will be held Dec. 4 at

 The 64th annual Pierce City Christmas Pa-

 The American Red Cross Bloodmobile

 The Seligman Chamber of Commerce will

the Monett City Park Casino with Evelyn Lock and the Outrider band starting at 7 p.m. The dance theme will be “Cowboy Christmas.” Snacks to share are appreciated. Call 417-632-4297. will be held at the Monett Community Church.

Dec. 5

 Medicare counseling by appointment at

the Cassville Senior Center. Call 847-4510.

Dec. 6

 Medicare D enrollment from 9 a.m. to 3

p.m. at the Monett Senior Center, 405 Dairy Street.

 Blood pressure checks will be available

at the Central Crossing Senior Center in Shell Knob, from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Dec. 7

 Benefit counseling by appointment at the

Cassville Senior Center. Call 847-4510.

Dec. 8

 Free lunch sponsored by Old Town Phar-

macy at the Monett Senior Center.

rade will be held beginning at 5:30 p.m. The deadline for accepting entries is Dec. 5. The theme is “An Old Time Christmas.” For more information, call Becky 417-4893041. host a dance at the Seligman Chamber Event Center at 7 p.m. Admission is $4 each, and attendees are asked to bring a snack to share. No alcohol or smoking is allowed. For more information, call 417662-3612.

 The City of Wheaton will be hosting its an-

nual Christmas parade starting at 6 p.m. Pictures with Santa will be taken prior to the parade 4-5:30 p.m. and after the parade at the Train Depot. Food served after the parade.

Dec. 13

 Free breakfast at the Cassville Senior

Center from 8-9:30 a.m.

 Medicare D enrollment from 9 a.m. to 3

p.m. at the Monett Senior Center, 405 Dairy Street.

 Graces Foot Care and Nells Nails by ap-

pointment at Cassville Senior Center. Call 847-4510.

 Blood pressure checks will be held at the

Monett Senior Center.

Connection Magazine | 49

Dec. 15

 Christmas dinner will be served at the

Monett Senior Center.

 A special Christmas lunch will be served at

the Central Crossing Senior Center in Shell Knob. Dec. 16  The Seligman Chamber of Commerce will host a dance at the Seligman Chamber Event Center at 7 p.m. Admission is $4 each, and attendees are asked to bring a snack to share. No alcohol or smoking is allowed. For more information, call 417662-3612.  The Ozark Festival Orchestra will present

excerpts from Handel’s “Messiah” with community chorus and soloists at First Baptist Church, 602 West St., Cassville.

Dec. 17

 The Ozark Festival Orchestra will pres-

ent excerpts from Handel’s “Messiah” with community chorus and soloists at the Monett High School Performing Arts Center.

Dec. 30

 The Seligman Chamber of Commerce will

host a dance at the Seligman Chamber Event Center at 7 p.m. Admission is $4 each, and attendees are asked to bring a snack to share. No alcohol or smoking is allowed. For more information, call 417662-3612.

Cassville Senior Center  Dominos every Tuesday and Friday at noon. Call

417-847-4510 for more information.  Computer classes are starting at the center.

They will be on Mondays from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Anyone interested must call the center at 417-8474510 to sign up.

Monett Senior Center Regular events:  Pinochle every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 12:30 p.m.  Pitch every Tuesday and Thursday, 12:30 p.m.  Bingo Monday through Friday,12 p.m.

Dec. 18

 Nell’s Nails will be at the Central Crossing

Senior Center by appointment. Call 417858-6952.

Dec. 19

 Christmas dinner served at the Cassville

Senior Center, serving from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 1111 Fair St., Cassville.

 Grace Health Services at the Central Cross-

ing Senior Center in Shell Knob. Call for an appointment, 417-858-6952.

Dec. 23

 The Seligman Chamber of Commerce will

host a dance at the Seligman Chamber Event Center at 7 p.m. Admission is $4 each, and attendees are asked to bring a snack to share. No alcohol or smoking is allowed. For more information, call 417662-3612.

Dec. 27

 WIC will be at the Central Crossing Senior

Center. Call 417-858-2114 for an appointment.

Dec. 28

 The Pierce City Senior Center will hold its

regular monthly dance.

Dec. 29

 Nell’s Nails at the Monett Senior Center, 9



Email it to

Central Crossing Senior Center

20801 YY 15 Road, Shell Knob Regular events:  Alzheimer Support Group meets at 2 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month.  Friends’ Bridge every Friday. Call Quita at 417271-9803 for details.  Cards Galore every Friday, with Pitch beginning at 9 a.m.  Domino Poker every day from 12:45.  Mah Jongg every Monday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Line dancing every Tuesday and Thursday from 9-10:30 a.m.  Quilting for Charity every Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Balance and Flexibility class is held every Monday from 9:30 to 10 a.m.

 Celebrate Recovery meets at the Family Life

 Celebrate Recovery meets at 7 p.m. at the

Center in Cassville every Tuesday at 6 p.m. Meeting at the same time is Celebration Station for children.

Golden Baptist Church on Route J in Golden every Monday of each month. Dinner is served at 6:15 p.m. This is for anyone with hurts, habit or hang-ups.

 The Caring People, a Single Mom’s Support Group, meets the second Monday of each month from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Family Life Center in Cassville. This is jointly sponsored by The Caring People organization and First Baptist Church, Cassville. A meal and children’s activities are provided. The meeting is open to anyone. For more information, call 417-847-2965.  Grief Care Support, sponsored community

support by Integrity Hospice, is held the last Thursday of every month at 10 a.m. in Marionville at Methodist Manor, 205 South College Ave. in the Alice Lounge. Care group is for anyone experiencing grief through loss.  The Aurora Diabetes Support Group meets

the third Wednesday of each month at Mercy Hospital in Aurora in the Private Dining Room at 4-5 p.m. It is free and open to the public. There is no meeting in December.  The Parkinson’s Support Group meets at 2 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 1600 N. Central in Monett on the second Thursday of every month. No charge to attend. Call 417-269-3616 or 888-354-3618 to register.  The Grief Support Group meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month at Oak Pointe of Monett, 1011 Old Airport Road, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. For more information, call Kathy at 417-235-3500.

50 | December 2017

Do you have an event you would like to have featured in our calendar?

 The Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Group of

Cassville meets at 8 p.m. at 1308 Harold Street in Cassville on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays every month.  The Caregiver Support Group meets at Oak Pointe of Monett from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at 1011 Old Airport Road in Monett. For more information, call Kathy 417-235-3500.  The Turning Point AA Group meets at 7 p.m.

at the west corner of Mitchell Plaza on Highway 86 in Eagle Rock on Mondays and Tuesday every month.  Cassville Al-Anon Family Group meets at 8 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Cassville every Thursday of each month.  Narcotics Anonymous meets at 8 p.m. the first

Tuesday of every month in the basement of St. Lawrence Catholic Church, located at the corner of Seven and Cale streets in Monett, 417-442-3706.  Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics

Anonymous group meets at 7 p.m. the first

Tuesday of every month at the First Baptist Church Activity Center, 618 Second Street in Washburn. 417489-7662.

Familiar faces

The 51st annual Apple Butter Days were held on Oct. 13-15 in the Mt. Vernon square.




3 5 9

6 8 7


1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Jason Phelps with Cade in carriage. Nathan Dixon with Callan and Genevieve in carriages Tyler Wells and Robin Braun Front: Abigaile Lietz, Hosannah Lynch, Cheyenne Barnhart, Raven Stovall and Daisy Lara. Second row: Bradley Henson and Suyencha Lee. Third row: Jere Ruiz Diaz, Rachael Lietz, Rodrigo Salas, Will Koehler, Ricardo Paralta and Michelle Riedel. Jack Boyd and Debbie Moore Jim McCann and Rodney Barnes

10 6. Christina McCutcheon and Lena Johnson 7. Front: Heidi and Craig Horton. Back: Jason and Esther Hightower, Heath Horton, Jess Nichols and Jessica Horton 8. Gavin, Brandon and K.C. Fairchild 9. Front: Terry Gunter and Randy Branum. Back: Glenda Gunter and Vikki and Jamin Branum 10. Paul, Carol, Jade and Danielle Severson 11. Ashley Neely, baby Tinley Neely, and Levi Neely

Connection Magazine | 51







The Monett FFA Chapter and Alumni hosted its annual chili dinner and fundraising auction on Nov. 4 at the Scott Regional Technology Center.

52 | December 2017

1. Randy, Karsyn and Melissa Ballay 2. Kathy Long, Keith Burbridge and George Ballay 3. Jadzia Painter, Shelby Coursey and Kalysa McGuire 4. David and Angela Long 5. Dennis Schoon and W.C. Younker 6. Claudia and Ralph Nolan 7. Carolyn and Jim Randall 8. Diana Moore and Mike Ledford 9. Kevin Covington III and Renee Wild 10. Jennifer Hamilton, Destiny Riley and James Hamilton










The Monett Chamber of Commerce hosted its 14th annual Festival of Flavors, Tuesday, Nov. 2, at the Monett Middle School cafeteria. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.


Doris Maurer and Tom Carroll Sire Coy and mom, Jacy Coy Shayla Doss and Amy Mattlage Sherry and Rob Lotufo Charlotte Schoen and Phyllis Whitley Brittany Williams, Chandler Williams and Loretta Huebner Kevin and Laurie Woolfolk Jan Parsons and Kenneth Saloga


Members of the community came out in force to celebrate at the annual Halloween Costume Contest and Chili Supper at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Pierce City on Saturday, Oct. 21.


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Margie and Phil Schad Julie and Nancy Gillogly Rich Cole and son, Oliver Heither and Braidan Reber Front row, from left: Teisha and Lexi McCracken. Back row: Taryn McCracken, Lindsay Mitchell and Pat Mitchell. Marley Gripka






5 Connection Magazine | 53




5 Purdy Elementary School held its annual carnival on Oct. 20.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Sara and Weston Ellison, and Robyn Drake Marsha and Doug Williams Jonah, Phillip and Josiah Meshell Monique and Tommy Ray Liz Long, Alana Tate and Jeremiah Cifuentes

6. 7. 8.

Julie and Ken Terry Freda Wolf and Cindy Holman Todd, Corbin, Rachel and Katrina O’Donald







The First Baptist Church in Monett held its Faith Harvest Festival on Nov. 4 on the church grounds, south of Monett. 54 | December 2017



1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Linda Gaines and Bessie Nowland Sue Barnes and Katie Kaiser Jerry Gaines and David Hobbs Julie Wages and Jennifer McBroom Natalie Wages and Raely Osterloh

Members of the Monett High School Student Council hosted the 44th annual Golden Age Banquet for area senior citizens Thursday, Nov. 16 at the school. Guests enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal of turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, green beans, a dinner roll and a beverage. In addition, guests had the opportunity to enjoy several rounds of bingo.


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.




Burt and Barbara Ward Roger and Virginia Terry Robert and Vicky McGuire Leo and LaJean Morris Jerry and Juanita Marbut Bob and Marilyn Heagerty





5 9


6. Josh Osterloh and John Tallent 7. Carsyn Goetz, Abbey Gaines, Addison Branch and Jase Kaiser. 8. Rebecca Gaines, Mike Gaines and Cassie Branch 9. Willadean Chapman and Brad Krigbaum 10. Larry Henbest and Veronica Kuschel

Connection Magazine 6| 55

My connection

The family of Rod Anderson of Monett took Connection Magazine to Bass Pro. From left: Rod Anderson; son-In-Law Gunnar Watt; daughter and Monett native Lindsay Watt, now of Fayetteville, Ark.; daughter Erin Anderson of Monett; Eva Mudge of Monett, Rod’s granddaughter and Erin’s daughter. Holding the October Connection is Michal Bachman of Abu Dhabi (native of Czech Republic and former foreign exchange student who lived with the Anderson family and graduated MHS in 2003). He is next to his fiancée Daniela Merglova of Abu Dhabi. Janice Anderson, Rod’s wife, is behind the couple.

Local residents took Connection Magazine with them to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Ark. From left: Marjorie Rutledge of Cape Fair, Lou Ann Priest of Cassville, Sue Robb of Warrensburg, Mandy Hamblett of Washburn, and Angie Varner of Washburn. They were on a Making Memories Tours trip. Some of the highlights were in Hot Springs and Little Rock, and the group stayed at Mount Magazine Lodge.

Lynn Lowe and Carolyn Wormington of Monett and Teri Fields of Wentworth took Connection Magazine with them to Kentucky to the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. On the way they stopped in Grand Rivers Kentucky, dining at Patti’s 1880 Settlement. Before returning, they visited with Teri’s family in Ohio.

56 | December 2017

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Coffee Cafe

Breakfast & Lunch Served Daily Monday - Saturday, 6 a.m. - 2 p.m. 200 Washington Ave., Purdy, Mo. (417) 442-3721

Merry Christmas! from


A unique Ozarks experience 2980 Rains Rd., Jane, Mo. • 417-226-1234

Enamelware • Bulk Candy & Spices • Hand-Dipped Ice Cream

We bake for your special occasions! Order now! Breakfast and lunch served Tuesday through Saturday • 6 a.m. - 3 p.m.


30% to 50%

on your energy costs

We insulate new and existing: crawl spaces • attics • foundations • walls • roof coatings

417-737-1206 Josh Copeland • Connection Magazine | 57

58 | December 2017

This photo was captured Samatha Parrigon during the Pierce City football team’s season finale victory at Sarcoxie on Oct. 13. “I can’t remember the score of the game,” Parrigon said. “What I do remember is the fantastic sunset. It was a beautiful night.”

Parting shot


Tires for all vehicles • Full service auto maintenance

Jason Farris Danny Dill


Friendly Tire 417-235-6777 703 US Hwy. 60 Monett, MO 65708

New Patient Special Free Dental Exam and X-rays


Your Locally Owned Independent Bank

Dale A. Kunkel, DDS and Associates 2 Convenient Locations 825 Hwy 60, Ste. H • Monett, MO 65708 P. 417-635-1173 • F. 417-635-1174

Let us be your HOMEtown bank! • Great Service • Committed To Barry County • Decisions Made Locally Wheaton


302 Main Street Jct. 37, 76 & 86 417-652-3204 417-847-4794 Bill Pay & Internet Banking at

2040 LaQuesta Dr • Neosho, MO 64858 P. 417-451-1566 • F. 417-451-5262 You don't have to pay to find out what's wrong… Only to fix it!


Front Street 417-835-8111

Hablamos Espanol Connection Magazine | 59

Connection December 2017  
Connection December 2017