What the heck? Out of nowhere it’s fall.

What the heck? Out of nowhere it’s fall. We went from 100 degree days to frost in about two weeks. I can’t say I’m not glad to see cooler weather, but I sure have a lot of chores to finish before winter.

We were invited by the Conservation Department to visit the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery last week. They gave us a wonderful tour of the facility which is located at the base of Table Rock Dam. At 8 a.m., there were already a lot of fishermen in the river trying their luck on the elusive rainbow and brown trout. We were then taken into the hatchery and allowed to participate in spawning about a hundred thousand trout. I would highly recommend taking a tour of this wonderful state park and enjoying the numerous exhibits. There were a few snakes in cages and I’m not sure whether Jane or Billy Long stayed farther away from them. Suffice it to say, neither one of them have any love for our slithery friends.

We were at Mark’s Wholesale for a ribbon cutting Thursday. They are located on Highway 43, north of Southwest City. They have a great store with something for about anyone. There are several aisles of knick knacks, pottery items, costume jewelry, and clothing for the ladies and several aisles of tools for the guys. Really something for everyone! We left there and went to Joplin to the Museum Complex for a Civil War exhibit. There were displays and newspaper clippings from the Civil War era that showed our area’s participation in the war effort of both the North and the South. It is well worth the time to visit.

On Saturday, we were at Anderson at the Pit Stop Convenience Store for the “Friends of DFS” for Newton and McDonald county pancake feed. The manager of the store, Lou Wright, along with Roger and Sandy Hughes, served up a fine breakfast for a terrific cause. Any time we can do something to help abused and neglected children, it is more than worth the effort. Hat’s off to the great volunteers for helping this effort.

This is also the time of year when many of our grade schools have “carnivals.” The purpose of most of these festivals are to raise much needed funds for all the classroom extras that normally fall to the P.T.O.’s and teachers own pocketbooks for purchase. We all have a grade school close by and we can really make a difference by getting involved. For those of us who no longer have kids in school, it will really do your heart good to go visit and watch the youngsters.

Many seniors choose to volunteer at their grade schools as everything from “greeters” to tutors. One thing is for certain, education is the key to the future and the more we can do to insure a good experience for our children and grandchildren, the better their chances for the future are.

I’ve probably rattled on enough for this week, until next time, I am, and remain, in your service.

Bill Lant represents the people of Southwest Missouri in the Missouri House of Representatives. Contact him locally at 437-8223 or at his Jefferson City office at (573) 751-9801 or email him at bill.lant@house.mo.gov.