There is talk once more of a medical school coming to Joplin; maybe to Missouri Southern State University. While there are many hurdles to jump, I hope it happens. Just such a thing seems to have been on Dr. Bruce Speck's radar for some time. As president of Missouri Southern, he is to be congratulated and encouraged, as are many folks who are, no doubt, dealing with this issue. As I recall, there was talk of a medical school in 2009, but several things, including a blow-up by the faculty at Southern, apparently put an end to talk of a medical school. Hopefully, it will go through smoothly this time.

I can envision dozens of young people going to medical school, if given a chance. The other benefits of the school should be welcomed by everyone. Such a school will provide jobs; support local healthcare people such as nurses, doctors, first responders, etc.; benefit the economy and it would, in many ways, expand the health care of everyday citizens.

Let's keep our fingers crossed.

The Civil War group at Newtonia received several books recently so I decided that was a chance to do some reading on the subject. The first book I chose included three selections of Civil War subjects. One selection was a segment of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Another was Tales of Soldiers and Civilians by Ambrose Bierce, and the third part was Stephen Crane's great novel The Red Badge of Courage.

The Red Badge of Courage was first in the box, so I began there. I don't remember having read it before. It was written for young people and it was a favorite of boys in my day —not girls. So this was my first time through it.

In the book, the young man who is the central character goes off to fight for the Union. After a while with no action, he begins to think about actually fighting. He becomes very concerned about whether he can stand and fight. He is constantly thinking about it. He is almost possessed with the struggle between fighting and running. He asks his fellow soldiers about it. He wants to know if they will fight or run, or as he puts it, will they "skedaddle" at the sound of cannons or the smell of gunpowder.

I'm sure nearly every man who has gone to war asked the same question. Most did not "skedaddle."

I exchanged e-mails last week with Bryan Arroyo, former director of fishers for the Fish and Wildlife Service. He now is the assistant director of international affairs for the service. He works mostly with other nations on treaties and agreements. One of his responsibilities is stopping the illegal exportation of wildlife. This means he tries to prevent trading in live animals or ivory or skins of endangered species. Bryan loves his new job, but it keeps him very busy. He is preparing now to spend three or four weeks in Bangkok, Thailand, where an international conference is set for March.

I'm glad Bryan is in that position. He will be a credit to our country.

Kay Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.