The Top Local Stories of 2007 - Part I

We are not sure where, how or why; just that 2007 has flown by. The days are past, time never again to find. The memories past, only baggage left behind.


Oakwood Golf Course owners Gordon and Carolyn Ziegler announce intentions to close the 75-acre course with the resignation of course manager Doug Witham. The course, which opened east of town in 1985 after relocating from property surrounding the airport, is Houston’s only golf course.

TCMH hosted an open house for the new $1.4 million, 10,000 square foot medical office complex that began construction in November 2005.

Fort Leonard Wood officials contemplated closing its south gate at night, its link to the Pulaski County facility from northwest Texas County. An irate crowd said the reason, dollars and cents, didn’t make enough sense. Officials decided to keep the gate open.

More than 200 attended the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce banquet celebrating 100 years of service to the community.

For the fourth year in a row, the Houston School District received a “Distinction in Performance Award” from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, based on achievement on the Missouri School Improvement Program performance standards.

A victory yell for coach Brent Kell, Lady Tiger’s basketball coach who celebrated his 300th victory!

The Salvation Army reported Houston bell ringers rang in a total of $14,898 in December 2006.

Don Troutman has become the longest serving county clerk in office in Missouri. He took office Jan. 1, 1979. Roof repairs begin on the Texas County Courthouse with a $77,000 contract to West Plains Roofing Co.

Drawings were unveiled for a new Houston branch of the Texas County Library. Plans call for the 7,200 square foot structure to form the upper level of the storm shelter under way in downtown Houston.

Houston missed the bullet when an ice storm cut a slash through Texas County leaving many without power.

Three Lady Tigers will be changing to Lady Grizzlies. Seniors Viki Castleman, Lexie Malam and Trezha Malam signed to play volleyball for the Missouri State – University West Plains volleyball team.

Firewood for sale, $40 a rank or $35 for dry cordwood.

The Houston Community Foundation has awarded its first grant to the Texas County Library. The new organization is looking forward to providing a means for individuals to give tax-deductible gifts that will affect Houston now and in the future.

The Texas County sheriff’s department answered 1,791 calls, including four homicides in the past year. Sheriff Carl Watson said 754 people were booked into the county jail.


Demolition of apartments for the expansion of Emmett Kelly Park and the former Houston Redi-Mix plant is scheduled for cleanup. The old Haney Market will get roof repairs in readiness to become the Houston Welcome Center. A walking trail will encompass the property.

TCMH reports a healthy bottom line ($497,710) in spite of top cuts in Medicaid reimbursement.

About 400 people consumed walleye, hush puppies, fried potatoes, coleslaw beans and apple pie at a fish fry, which raised $2,500 for The Ani mal Shelter of Texas County.

Icy weather and two years of drought have left hay in short supply for Texas County farmers.

The controversial plan to sell public forest land to fund public schools has resurfaced in President Bush’s budget plan. Texas County’s 316 acres of Mark Twain Forest is included as part of the 21,588 acres to be included in Missouri. Opponents say the one-time infusion is a temporary fix to a permanent problem.

Webster New English dictionaries were presented to fourth graders at Houston Elementary by the Houston Optimist Club.

The buzzards, 200-300, returning to their annual roost near the Piney signal the death of winter and the coming of spring.

The Girl Scouts delivered 17,328 boxes of cookies!

Students at Wellspring Christian School were among those placing in the 11th annual Central Ozarks Chess Tournament in West Plains.

Houston school board approved a tuition increase to $4,300 and accept ed the proposal from Aaron Griffin, head basketball coach to drop Houston participation from the annual Blue and Gold Tournament in Springfield.

Hamilton Seed suffered the loss of a three-level barn when seed-clean ing equipment ignited a flame which quickly consumed the building.

Texas County Technical Institute held sessions of “eBay, Buying and Selling.” Statistics say more than 440,000 sellers make a full or part-time living selling on eBay.

Houston’s Oakwood golfers will see green again this year, due to rais ing of donations and membership to keep the course open for another year.

Milling, paving and lighting a taxiway at Houston Memorial Airport will be some of the improvements included under a $300,000 grant.

Houston Lady Tigers are 2006 Tri-SCA basketball champs!


The Houston FFA held a petting zoo for children in conjunction with the National FFA Week.

Follow ing the lead of schools in the South Central Association conference, the Hous ton board of education employed a curriculum coordinator. Audrey Kell, current high school princi pal, was hired for the posi tion.

eecc A c s p f t F $ For Sale: Feeder pigs, $35 each; four gilts, $75 each.

According to the National Weather Service, Missouri experienced a re cord year with 102 tornadoes in 2006. An additional storm siren was pur chased for the Houston area.

Interior work begins on the new storm shelter with Gentry Construction Co. of Houston completing its portion of the nearly $1 million project that is paid primarily with FEMA funding.

Newspapers in Education (NIE), the program in which the Herald is provided to third, fourth and fifth graders weekly, provides exposure, read ing and learning activities while using the newspaper as a tool.

Original associates, Sheila Walker and Wilma Roach, of the Houston Wal-Mart Supercenter were honored in conjunction with the 30th anniver sary of the outlet’s operation in Houston.

Houston girls’ basketball coach Brent Kell is SCA coach of the year.

High school fastpitch softball will make its debut on a Houston field thanks to the dream of Craig Pounds who worked to make it happen.

Officers are combing rugged and wooded areas in northwest Texas County in search of 60-year-old Neldon Neal, accused in the murder of Judy S. Lewis.

The police blotter reports high gas prices seem to be contributing to theft at the pumps: three incidents of motorists leaving without paying.

Sales tax, considered to be a good barometer of economic activity, was down this month but up $3,526 since the first of the year.

Texas County Memorial Hospital has a new “kid friendly” room with baseball décor and furniture that will make parents more comfortable.

Chris Edwards from Versailles has agreed to become Houston’s third football coach in three years. The Tigers, coming from a 0-10 last season, are looking for leadership.

“WHERE IS NELDON NEAL?” The manhunt continues over rugged terrain with the help of dogs, helicopters and additional personnel.

City council approved a bid for the construction of a west side pavilion at Pine Lawn Cemetery.


Five-year-old Noah Cantrell pulled a five-pound bass out of a pond near Duke with his Scooby Doo fishing pole.

Houston second graders traveled to Springfield to attend the Shriners’ Circus. Freddie and Pat Adey sponsored the trip.

Lawmen discover where Neldon Neal has been living in a log, supplied with food and camping gear by three women.

Texas County head count by the U.S. Census Bureau shows 23,566 in July 2006, up 300 from the 2000 census.

A recent cold snap has devastated many shoots and blooms that had emerged in the prior warm spell. There will be no peaches or apples.

Houston Lady Tigers have their first win in their new softball program. It was a 12-11 victory over Mansfield.

Austin McCoy, a sixth grader from Plato was a semi-finalist in the Mis souri Geographic Bee at Columbia College, Columbia.

The Kelly-Miller Circus preformed at the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce Fairgrounds.

The Texas County jail stood at an all-time high capacity since the facil ity was constructed in 1977.

Turkey season opened with a dramatic drop from last year. Overall, 94 turkeys were checked the first day, down from 136 the previous year.

Members of Troop 155 are sending an estimated 155 boxes of Girl Scout cookies and a copy of the Herald to Echo Company in Iraq.

It was the warmest and coldest temperatures recorded in Missouri in 118 years and three weeks apart. April 7, Joplin recorded 19 degrees.

Intercounty Electric Cooperative is encouraging its member to switch from the traditional incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs to promote energy efficiency.

Neldon Neal is profiled on the web site of America’s Most Wanted and featured in the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

The Mountain Grove fruit station reports the worst damage in 50 years.


Local authorities recovered a nearly complete methamphetamine lab that had been dumped along a road near Raymondville. Items included a generator, dry ice, starter fluid, acid, a funnel and breathing apparatus.

The 20th Annual Kelly Festival brought clowns all around!

Two fires on consecutive nights resulted in the deaths of two women.

Members of the Red Hat Mamas made a trip to Roby to meet with the Radiant Red Rays and agreed, “what happens in Roby, stays in Roby.”

The hunt for Neldon Neal is 60 days old and has brought national attention with plans for American’s Most Wanted television program.

Sales tax is up $8,824 from the same time last year.

New postage rates go into effect with a 41 cent first class stamp. The seventh annual Show-Me Model T Ford Tour passed through this area with 50 original, restored Model T Fords from more than 10 states participating. Neldon Neal’s luck ran out on his 62nd day of run_ning from the law. He was taken in a remote area with out resistance, where he had camped under a rock. New leaders, Ben Yocom, high school principal, and Scott Dill, middle school principal, are new on Houston campus. The Houston baseball Tigers ended a long drought with winning the first district title in 15 years and the sixth ever, by beating Mansfield.

Houston High School graduating seniors received approximately $704,000 in scholarships and other aid.

Tommy Nevill, Cabool, and Sarah Warner, Houston, were named “Aca demic All-Stars Honorable Mentions” by the Springfield News-Leader.

Landscaping has begun for the new Texas County animal shelter on East Highway 17.


Several big construction projects receive city approval: $280,549 improvements at Houston Memorial Airport, a $10 million justice center at Grand and Spruce and addition of a turn lane on Sam Houston Blvd.

The Houston baseball Tigers take fans on a joy ride as they took second in their first state final, making a magical comeback before losing 13-10 to Blair Oaks in the MSHSAA Class 2 championship game.

$3.09 gas at the pump is giving Texas County residents heartburn.

The Herald Web site is receiving record traffic with 50,490 visitors in May who looked at 157,181 pages of information.

Potato leafhoppers and grasshoppers are bugging farmers on top of their ice and drought worry.

Five Houston teachers retired with a combined total of 130 years of teaching experience: Jenny Grimm, 30 years; Janie Fraser, 25; Jeanie Rohrer, 22; David Woosley, 25; and Rita Jensen, 28.

As the nation celebrated Father’s Day, Sgt. John Blair celebrated beside his son, Spc. Dustin in the 35th Engineer Brigade. They have the dangerous task of clearing roadways of dangerous improvised explosive devices. “As any father in the military would be, I am very proud to have served during a time of war with my son, “said John, who lives at Elk Creek.

An 11 lb. 3 oz. turnip grew in the garden of Vicky Warthen of Licking.

The eighth annual Texas County Relay for Life raised more than $61,000 for the American Cancer Society around the Houston school track.

More than 25 chamber of commerce members attended a tour of Fort Leonard Wood.

The U.S. 63 and Business 60 intersection re-opened ending a long-time problem of visibility.

Jacob Wallace brought in a 26.4 pound head of cabbage.

More than 3,000 gathered at the Licking City Park for the 71st annual meeting of the membership of Intercounty Electric Cooperative.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply