Picked Up Along the Way . . . - The Missourian: Opinion

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Picked Up Along the Way . . .

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Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014 2:30 pm | Updated: 12:50 pm, Thu Oct 23, 2014.

The selection of local historian Ralph Gregory to be the grand marshal of Washington’s 175th birthday parade in May is meeting with general approval, according to comments fired our way. No one in the history of Washington has compiled the pure amount of historical data that Ralph has. He also revived the local historical society after it had been nearly inactive for many years. Much of Ralph’s historical research came from old newspapers, of which he has quite a collection. His zest for accuracy was unmatched.

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Jim Tayon, one of the founders of Franklin County Honor Flight, contacted us from Plano, Texas, where he was visiting retired Col. Lloyd Stephens, who was Jim’s math teacher at Ritenour High School in St. Louis. Col. Stephens, who was an artillery forward observer in World War II, was one of the “original seven” who Dave Hall, Larry Davis and Jim took on the county’s first Honor Flight in 2007.

Jim related that while visiting Col. Stephens, who is recovering from hip surgery, he wheeled him outside to enjoy the sunshine. “When he saw the American flag billowing fully in the Texas wind, he pulled his arms out from underneath his covers and had to salute Old Glory. He would have stood were he able. Forever the patriot!” Jim said.

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A copy of a recent column in the Kansas City Star by Steve Kraske was sent to us by a newspaper editor/friend. The commentary had to do with a number of political items. One of them is about State Sen. Brian Nieves. Kraske wrote:

“The state of Missouri. Sen. Brian Nieves, a Washington Republican, announced this week he won’t seek re-election. Volatile. Unpredictable. Intensely partisan. Strident. He’s the type of guy, one lawmaker said, ‘who just might turn around and slug you any minute.’ Good riddance.”

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It is good news that the Washington Economic Core Restructuring Committee is going to give top priority to a residential blend to the downtown area. Committee members said they would like to see the Washington 353 Redevelopment Corporation become involved in a redevelopment project or two in the downtown section. There are vacant lots. The success of the Rhine River project has been an inspiration that could lead to other projects.

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It’s an eternal battle: For counties to be reimbursed funds for holding prisoners charged with state crimes. The latest proposal would give the counties $22.58 per day per prisoner instead of the present $19.58. It costs Franklin County about $45 a day now to house a state prisoner. Seeking a more realistic payment from the state has been going on for 50 or more years.

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Except for passage of a property tax hike for Scenic Regional Library, we had a ho-hum election Tuesday. To say it was unexciting would be the understatement of the year to date in 2014.

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Sen. Claire McCaskill, at a Senate hearing the past week on the confirmation of a new commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, sought answers from the nominee on possible solutions to navigation problems on the Missouri River that have a negative impact on the economy. The nominee is Vice Admiral Paul F. Zukunft. He promised to look into problems cited by McCaskill.

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Bob Priddy, dean of the correspondents at the state Capitol, sent this out on his blog: Senate debate twice within the few days has turned into shouting matches that so violated Chamber decorum that the bills being discussed were withdrawn from discussion until the combatants got a grip on themselves or other senators got a grip on them. The situation became so ugly in one of the incidents that the Senate stopped all activity until the participant could be taken off the floor and, we are told, restrained by other senators until some level of sanity was resumed. It wasn’t that long ago that the Senate was a place where grown-ups served.