I want to state right away that I am the vice president of “Friends of Jim.” This is the organization in charge of Jim the Wonder Dog’s legacy. It also runs the Welcome Center/ Museum here in Marshall. Our building abuts the southern edge of the Wonder Dog Park.
I needed to say that first, as I attended the “Ol’ Drum Festival” in Warrensburg on Saturday, April 14. It was a cold and blustery day, and even though spirits were high, it was a tough day. I got there after the opening ceremonies and spent some time at the Democrat’s booth there.
Jim will have his day on Saturday, May 19, here in Marshall.
There is a bit of history involving the two dogs, as well as one of the dogs on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, but Jim and Ol’ Drum keep vying for the limelight.
There have been wranglings about which would be named the state of Missouri’s Official Dog for years, but the issue was finally resolved last year when a compromise was reached. Jim is the state of Missouri Wonder Dog, while Ol’ Drum is the state of Missouri Historical Dog. It is all official, with proclamations residing in Marshall and Warrensburg, so now the state has room for both dogs and their fans.
It was in the interest of inter-dog diplomacy that I attended Ol’ Drum’s Festival. It was at the historic Johnson County courthouse property, and it was an enjoyable time, regardless of the weather.
I am also involved with Great Circle, the organization that merged and is now in control of Butterfield’s in Marshall. If I am successful in my bid for state representative, I will try to get onto the Mental Health Board, as I was a dentist with the Marshall Habilitation Center, as well as at UMKC’s school of dentistry for a time. I have also been associated with Butterfield’s Youth Services, both pre-merge and post-merge. I am a past president of the Butterfield Board of Directors, so I have roots there, as well.
Another board that I want to be involved with is the Dental Board as a representative. I feel qualified to sit there, as well.
Whether I get on either board, one of my goals is to try and get dental screenings for veterans who have no dental insurance. I feel that these screenings could be lifesaving in some instances, and at the very least, can help determine an individual’s dental needs. Once that happens, we can try to get that individual some help and take care of his or her needs. This could be done along the same lines as the Early Childhood Screening program.
I think it could be done in a revenue neutral way by giving participating dentists one hour of continuing education credit per year with a minimum of participation by them. Our veterans deserve this, and it would not be that difficult to implement as it can piggyback on an existing program.
As I stated, I would like to sit on the Mental Health Board as well, as I am not so sure that federal money is going to be there in the long term for the current waiver home situation. I hear from people in the administration that all is well, but they used this same line before the Hab Center was closed, even though they knew it was going to happen at least three years prior to the closing.
They had their dog and pony show, with tours of both Marshall’s and Higginsville’s facilities, asking various prominent people — such as mayors and city administrators, along
with various civic leaders — to give their opinions on which facility should be closed. I was there during the tour, watching as the people were carefully guided along so that their opinions would be assured. They got to see the worst of Marshall, and the best of Higginsville.
I want to get on that board to make sure that this sort of thing does not happen again.
My other interests are, of course, economic development with the major thrust being to promote our agri-businesses. Anyone in the area knows that this is our area’s major economic base, and we must continue to do everything we can to promote and secure that base, keeping our farmers and associated businesses as viable as we can.
There are people working for these interests at the federal level, and I want to integrate and promote these interests locally as much as possible.
In other news, I went to the new candidate’s forum on April 24 in Warrensburg, where we learned how to keep the Missouri Ethics Commission happy in matters pertaining to campaign finances. I had to learn a lot of this the hard way, as I developed my committee immediately after filing in February, and no matter how many online tutorials one watches, nothing can compete with having a knowledgeable person right in front of you to answer your questions.
I am chafing at the bit to get going house to house, but the weather has not been kind until this week, so I am ready to put on my best pair of shoes and start walking.
I hope to see many of you very soon.