•   To some, the launch of a new website may not sound like a big deal. But to Jan Morrow, Director of the Ripley County Health Department, it is a huge deal. “Our health department was first opened in 1954 in the basement of the Courthouse with just one nurse and one clerk,” recalls Morrow. The department took a huge step forward in 1964 when it got its own building through Hill Burton funds, with an original cost of about $35,000. Then the building received an addition in the 1990’s. The physical growth was greatly needed to keep up with the caseload growth. “In 1978, we had a caseload of only 75 a month in our WIC program. Now we

    Jan 27,
  • Missouri native Ralph Wayne Freer is an artist whose art reflects his life’s journey. Art is a roadmap of his journey. Like the scenery on a great road trip, his art is always changing. His art has evolved reflecting the people, places, and things that touched his life. His art is featured at “The Flying F Gallery” located north of Poplar Bluff, Missouri. This building, formally the Collins General Store, built in 1894 was originally a farm house in which his mother, Letha Collins Freer, was born and later, circa 1930, converted into a store. When asked how he became an artist, Ralph was puzzled by the question. “I have just always loved art," he answered simply. Numerous relocations associated

    Jul 09,
  • It was the early years for country music videos when a soft-focus, handsome young man by the name of Keith Whitley sent hearts fluttering with his songs of love and loss. Keith Whitley may have left the world early on May 9, 1989, but that does by not mean the world, or his fans, have forgotten him. As a matter of fact, there is currently a growing movement to have Whitley inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Among those involved in the movement is Margie Pate, who is working with many others to earn Whitley the recognition he deserves. “I started this when I found out that Keith wasn’t in the Hall of Fame during writing a song

    Jul 06,
  • They are society’s most vulnerable citizens. Unlike adults, they cannot chart their own course in life yet. According to the State of Missouri, about 23 percent of the state’s children live in poverty. That is a matter of concern, and the Child Concern Center in Poplar Bluff does its best to battle those figures. Child Concern Center Executive Director Derrick Miller has made it is personal mission to help these children and their families. He explains the group was formed in 1975, and to this day exists because of the efforts of its dedicated volunteers. They basically seek to turn one person’s junk into another person’s treasure. The group has a store at 601 Poplar Street, and for every $5

    Jul 05,
  • It’s a busy summer for Maggie Thorn, and I think it is fair to say she is at a major crossroads in her life. She’s ready to go “all-in” for her country music career. Area residents will have the chance to see that first hand Friday at Crabb & Company at Lake Wappapello as she kicks off the holiday weekend with a performance there, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. “I just got back from a tour of Europe as part of my studies,” explained Thorn. “It was really exciting. We were there for 21 days and had the chance to tour Italy, Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic. I was in a group of 20 other Belmont students, and we learned

    Jul 02,
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