Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Proper Gangplank

I'd never built stairs before, so I created these tiny steps to get to the gangplank.


Cooper had to stop, turn sideways and then slowly climb down.  It was pitiful.  I went out to Lowes, picked up some runners and whacked out a new set.  I also added in some security in the form of rope handrails.  

It helps.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


For the first quarter of 2013, I joined an intrepid group of leaders from Randoplh County for EXCEL 13. This EXperience in Community Enterprise and Leadship Development is a 90-day journey through city, county & state gov't, local businesses and non-profits.  Imagine peeking behind the curtain to see the engines that run your community. All those questions get answered about tax incentives, municipal bonds, education bills... oh, not your questions?

What about the one that goes like this, "What happens if I flush Buzz Lightyear down the toilet?" 

On that note, did you know it takes approximately 20 minutes for your poo to travel downhill to the water treatment plant and that they just might be able to find that diamond ring you washed down the sink?

Did you know if you have the right Legislative Assistant, you can trek to the top of the Capital Rotunda... and go outside?

For three months, I grumbled and groused about having to carve out another two hours, four hours, two days from my already crazed schedule to visit ____________________ . Only to get to the appointment and find myself completely enraptured by whatever topic we were covering that week. It's a true time commitment; one that, having just started a new job, I probably should have thought through a bit more... but I made it and I'm glad I did.

Seriously, in the paragraph above... fill in the blank. What in Randolph county do you want to see? Who do you want to talk to? At the state level? How about unfettered access to a State Supreme Court Judge for the morning? Who also throws in a tour of his private apartment above the Courtroom and pulls out his brand-new, official portrait... that he hadn't even shown his wife!

I don't have time to go into the details of the 36-hour tour that Ralph Boots, the Community Development Director in Trenton, MO, put together for us. Or all the details of the 48 hours of Capital time that Sam Richardson created in Jeff City.

I was just amazed at the unparalleled access to decision-makers at all levels, at the candor that area school superintendents described their challenges, at the way hidden heros of our public sectors describe their jobs with deep-seated passion. Every week was another opened present of coolness, linking us deeper into bowels of our local economy, education or... well, check out the schedule below. It's a lot to take in.

EXCEL is an MU Extension sponsored program that reaches into 40 communities around Missouri. Each program has a local board that prepares the series and plots the course of events. Our group had 14 participants from every section... from a MODOT engineer to bankers and business leaders.  We spent hours together every week, learning about each other, making connections and drawing correlations. I have a much greater respect for the efforts of public servants and why it takes so blasted long to get anything done.


There are plenty of pix from my experience over here.

Serious shout-outs to all the EXCEL Board members and Dr. Johanna Adams for all their immense work.  I'm still chewin' on stuff we got into.

Visit for more details or to join up in 2015!