Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 88
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for May 17, 2001

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Dear Editor

During the last couple of weeks I have had the opportunity to participate in several tourism promotion events and have driven through a number of towns - specifically Marshall, Moberly, Fayette & Boonville. In each of these towns I saw efforts to restore the original appearance of late Victorian downtown buildings. And I saw something extra in one town – something that will draw visitors to its downtown area. The town was Marshall and the something extra was their Jim the Wonder Dog park.

Jim the Wonder Dog was an area sensation in the 1930s. He reputedly could understand and follow instructions in several languages, find makes of cars, types of trees, etc. Jim’s owner lived in Marshall and Jim is buried there. Not too long ago, the people of Marshall decided that Jim would be a good attraction worthy of honor. So they built a little park downtown, with a small fountain and goldfish pool and a circular brick walkway with a plaque displaying part of Jim’s history every 30 feet or so. Many of the bricks are engraved, most in memory of beloved pets.

Here in Warrensburg, we have a much stronger hook with Old Drum, but we use it poorly. Main Street wants to build a memorial brick walkway around the statue, preferably to allow people to honor beloved pets. Our far-sighted County Commission said OK to the walkway but NO to honoring pets. Certainly, a brick near Senator Vest’s ode would be much more attractive to dog lovers worldwide than the “Jim” garden in Marshall, but they’re getting the donations and our walkway is unbuilt. I wonder how our County Commission would react to an on-line petition garnering them negative attention worldwide?

I’m glad that the Blind Boone group is working with the City rather than the County. If the County Commission had anything to do with it, we’d still be discussing whether it’s a good idea to remove the brush rather than preparing for an exciting music festival (that’s June 2nd – see the website for details and schedule).

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