Friday, November 6, 2015
Chapter 5 - Episode 9 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
This series of posts on each Friday, henceforth, moving forward during 2015 will continue the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace,” which ended as 1997 began. Earlier, we have seen the community move from January 1997 through December 1998. We now move into January of 1999, in novel format…
Chapter 5 - Peter; Episode 9
[From the end of Episode 8:
They closed their conversation and Christopher continued to stare at the wall of his office, seeing nothing. “Who is Bruce Randolph?” kept buzzing in his head. He didn’t like unknown situations. He didn’t like not being in control of his situation. Hopefully the answers would come, tomorrow. ]
The first McDonald Conservancy office had been opened in what was now known as the Ozarks Communications building in downtown Oak Springs just over a year earlier, Peter realized as he sat at a desk in the small office that was now used by both he and Ronny Cox, the Executive Director (and only full-time employee) of the McDonald Conservancy. Ronny had come on board the previous April after taking early retirement from his position with the state Department of Natural Resources in Rolla. Ronny had been an integral part, as an outside consultant, in organizing the Conservancy under the oversight of Peter and the Bevins Trust. Now early in the third year of its existence, the Conservancy was on schedule with the 5-year plan created as part of the original organization. Already, Ronny kept busy, with the assistance of Peter as Board Chair, and a growing number of volunteers, inside and outside of the family and community, activating and growing the number of activities in the plan. Most were of a seasonal nature, involving nature, so they came up for attention, regularly, the full year around.
Most recently, in August of 1998, the Conservancy had been awarded a grant from the state Department of Conservation (combined State and Federal funds) in an amount totaling $800,000 to implement major segments of that 5-year plan, based on matching funds of donations of land and money already received and anticipated over that time period. The first moneys under the grant had just been received earlier in the month, based on expenditures in the fall, as well as in anticipation of upcoming activities. Ronny was responsible for assuring the proper activities were conducted, that they were properly documented, and that grant administrators at the state were kept informed of their progress on the plan. There were many contingencies to keep track of and keep on top of, as well.
Today, Peter and Ronny were going over final plans for the first phase of the McDonald Conservancy Visitor Center to be built on the east side of State Highway 37, about a half mile west of the Mill on Oak Creek. Phase One would also include two offices, a conference room, a display area and a reception area as well as a small storage area and a modest garage for small equipment, including an ATV to get around the property.
A knock on the door announced the arrival of Matt Winslow who let himself in, as they were expecting him to join them. Matt, oldest son of Karen (Bevins) Winslow, and her late husband, Jason, was President and General Manager of Ozarks Communications, owners of the building in which they were currently located. Ozarks Communications was the successor to Bevins and Winslow ISP (Internet Service Provider) and now held the Cable Contract for Oak Creek Township including the town of Oak Springs in addition to providing Internet services to the entire community as well, which was their first business venture in town.
Peter and Ronny wanted to be sure that they coordinated with Matt to assure that both Internet and Cable services would be available to install in the Visitor Center by the time they hoped to have the building completed late in the summer of the current year. Jensen and Watkins Construction had already been awarded the construction contract and were ready to begin work as soon as the final plans were approved.
In addition, they knew that Matt would soon be in need of their current office space, which he was letting them use temporarily, as a donation to the Conservancy, so they wanted to keep him up to date on plans for the Visitor Center. They would move into the Visitor Center offices as soon as they were available.
Matt, working through the Bevins Trust as a partner in setting up the original Internet Service Provider business back in the summer of 1996, had been fortunate to be able to buy this three story building near city hall at the time they were wiring Internet capability into city hall first for the community before going community wide. At the time, there had been several extra offices on the second floor and apartments on the third floor that were unoccupied. Now, Ozarks Communications was close to occupying all of the space. As more space was needed, they would be remodeling each room to meet their needs. Only Raynor Crimmons, who had an office on the second floor, and an apartment on the third floor, remained. He would be moving out by the end of the current calendar quarter.
After going over the key points of interest to Matt, Peter and Ronny received Matt’s assurance that his crews would be able to install both their Internet and their cable service as soon as the other construction was completed. They agreed to keep in touch, regularly, to assure that they all stayed on schedule with their plans.
[To be continued - next Friday]
"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."
Dr. Bill ;-)