The Douglas County Herald from Ava, Missouri on July 6, 1989 · 1
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The Douglas County Herald from Ava, Missouri · 1

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Ava, Missouri
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Thursday, July 6, 1989
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1
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VO- Single Copy 25 Cents USPS 160-320 DEVOTED TO THE INTERESTS OF ALL THE PEOPLE OF AVA AND DOUGLAS COUNTY ONE HUNDRED AND THIRD YEAR Ava, Missouri, Thursday, July 6, 1989 NUMBER 37 Douglas County Fair Opens Next Wednesday The 1989 Douglas County Fair will open next Wednesday, July 12 and run through tne weekend, with entertainment planned every night. A new patio stage is being added to the fairgrounds, located just west of Highway 5, near the State Highway maintenan e building Popular entertainment will be conducted on the stage as well as in front of the grandstands. There will be no admission to either of the entertainment areas. The popular Sammy B Good, from KSPR channel 33, will be here on Wednesday night to entertain the kids and adults Then on Thursday night, Mark Sparks, billed as a "one man sideshow will entertain on the stage. His act includes a magic show, juggling, and fire eating Mark has been seen at the Chameleon Theatre in Springfield, and many are familiar with his program Grandstand entertainment Thuisday will be a treeing contest sponsored b) Boogei County Coon 1 lunters Association. Amber will be the stage entertainment on Friday night, and grandsta' d activity wul feature the 4x4 and Historical Honey Branch Re-opens, Expands Park Honey Branch Cave is one of those places quite common in the Ozarks that has been there forever, but is just being discovered by a lot of people, including those who live close by. Nestled cozily away in the lulls of western Douglas County Honey Branch Cave is being re-introduced to the public after a few .years of idle solitude Juanita Sheets, a oe'eandant of the Swearengin u.ly that has owned the cave pro,-erty for many years, savs has no desire to make Honey Branch Cave a large, . ou.inercial attraction But s'v lakes nude in sharing the lusioric relic with the public, just the same. Juanita and Irvin Sheets recently purchased the cave property and are laborously returning it ?o the showplace it was some 20 years ago before it slipped out of the Swearengin family for a time Juanita's son, Keith Biown, also is actively involved in the property's redevelopment and promotion, while also working m Springfield Located just over a mile off Highway 14, 16 miles west of Keith Brown stands beneath to unusual rock formation known as "The Elephant Rock in Honey Branch Cave. tractor pull. Amber comes to the Douglas County Fair with high acclaim, and is said to feature, a voice you'll remember forever. Amber has entertained crowds at restaurants and rodeos, county fairs and shopping centers, from Oregon and Branson, and brings with her a long list of references from satisfied sponsors Amber's reputation as a terrific singer and charming personality earned her a spot on the program at the 1989 Douglas County Fair Aim performing on the stage on Friday night will be local bluegrass, country, and gospel performers including Big Creek Bluegrass and the Good News Singers, Ava; Kings Travelers, Marshfield; and Gospel Lights, Lebanon. On Saturday night the patio stage will feature music by Bob Holt and the Newberrys, with square dancing by the Booger County Square Dancers Robin Robertsons dance classes will also perform on the stage on Saturday night The big grandstand feature on Saturday night will be the ever-popular Saturday Night Smasn-Up demolition derby. The demolition derby never Ava and 10 miles east of Sparta. Honey Branch Cave's lighted commercial tour covers about 1,700 feel of the most accessible 'jassag"way. The guided tour takes about an hour The cave actually has well over a mile of passageway for those who are more daring and dont mind crawling through narrow openings and an occasional pool of water. Biown says he has seen every inch of the cave, and vows there are some spectacular views in some of the less accessible areas of the cave While the cave is clearly the featured attraction, antiques and family heirltxnns collected and retained by Juanita down through the years help tell the story of Honey Branch Cave. These items are distributed throughout the property, in restored cabins that are available for overnight lodging Theres a two-room log cabin that dates back to 1885 which was tom down and moved from Arden to be reassembled on the cave property With the loft, the cabin will easily accommodate 1 The cave recently re-openea u I a tourist attraction in western Douglas County ajter having been closed for some 1 7 years. seems to lose its popularity as both local ana non-local drivers get their bangs out of smashing up the cars they have spent weeks getting ready for tne competition. Entertainment both on the stage and in the arena will begin at 7 p.m. each evening. Gate admission is $3 for adults and 1 for children ages 6 to 13. Children under 6 will be admitted free each night, and everyone will be admitted free on Tuesday night for a special preview of the Bluff City Shows carnival. Ride wristbands will be available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for $5, and on Friday and Saturday nights for S6. Single tickets and books of tickets will also be available. EXHIBITS All general exhibits are to be in place by 7 p.m Tuesday, July 11. Perishable items will De judged Tuesday evening with the remainder of the general exhibits to be judged Wednesday morning. Judging of the livestock will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday with sheep and swine, and will continue at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, July 13 with junior and open dairy, and at 9 a.m. Friday with junior and open beef. a family. Then there is also a larger, one bedroom cabin that can handle up to nine persons, or a two-bedroom house which is convenient for two families. There is also a camping area and an RV park which is being expanded this summer. The park operators welcome terit or pickup campers, and has public restrooms and showers for them. A continental breakfast offers biscuits and honey for overnight guests. A stream which runs out of the cave to form a waterfall at a second entrance feeds a large lake that is stocked with largemouth bass, catfish and bluegill. The stream, appropriately known as Honey Branch, overflows the lake to ran into Swan Creek about a mile away. And just where did the name Honey Branch come from? Juanita Sheets explains that when her father, Roy Swearengin (also known as L R. Swearengin) and his brother, Floyd, were young, their mother would get the boys up early and say, Get up, Roy and Floyd, were going to Honey Branch to rob the bee trees." Honey Branch Cave was known as Trotters Cave until 1955 when Roy and Clara Swearengin purchased the property from the heirs of Charlie Trotter. The property had been homesteaded in 1895 by Roys great aunt, Caroline Trotter, and her husband who came to this country from Jackson County, Term. When Roy Swearengin finally got a chance to buy the property, Juanita recalls that her dad told her, Im going to change the name of the cave." Asked what he would call it, she says he replied, Why, thats Honey Branch. After Clara Swearengin died in 1969 and Roy in 1970, Juanita and her two sisters sold the property. The sisters took their portion of the estate in cash and Juanita took her share in antiques, many of which can still be seen there today. THE CA VE "Our eyes have met, Our lips not yet, But look out ol boy, Ill get you yet." That poem, scratched on the walls of Honey Branch Cave years ago by Minnie Brown of Ongo, is representative of the history contained in the natural cavern. Names and dates etched on the walls tell of many excursions and courtships - that took place within tne confines of Honey Branch Cave, long before it bore a commercial name. Kelle Ann Ambulance Board Will Meet July 11 The board of directors of the Ava Area Ambulance District will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 11, at the 1 Douglas County Courthouse. Cave Area The deeper ones ventures into the cave, the more graffiti is to be found. And many names familiar to the Dogwood, Depew, Ongo and Keltner areas can be found. Although each name and date contains a piece of history, perhaps the one that bears the most significance in history is that of Jesse James, which is dated 1871. Cave owner Keith Brown said he and members of his family knew the name was there from pictures contained in the memorabilia collected by his mother, Juanita Sheets But it took four days of desperate searching to find the name because some unknowing individual had scrawled a writing over a portion of the name, making it difficult to locate. Besides the writings that are scratched into the cool, moist walls of the cave, there are also writings which Brown believes were burned on with carbide lights many years before the day of battery-powered flashlights. A unique feature of Honey Branch Cave is the flat ceiling which runs almost the entire length of the navigable tour route. Brown says the flat ceiling is a layer of limestone, with the cave having been formed by an underground stream One of the more interesting rooms in the cave is called the Square Dance Room and the remains of an old piano, carried in around the turn of the century, remains on a natural "stage" at one side of the large room It is said that Springfield musician Slim Wilson, and others, played music for dances held there. Along the cave tour, Brown will also stop occasionally to point out another bear ted, usually located in a secluded offshoot from the main passageway. Long after the tears had evacuated Honey Branch Cave, these bear beds were used by area families as an ideal place to store their potatoes for the winter. EGG ROASTS A popular event that was apparently unique to the Honey Branch Cave area in the early 1900s was the egg roast. Juanita Sheets says she never did roast eggs herself, but she has heard of others tell about them. Juanita remembers that her father was interviewed by Lucille Upton Morris for an article on egg roasts that appeared in tne Springfield newspaper in April, 1956. And when Delores Swearengin heard this story was developing, she coaxed Juanita, "Be sure and tell the Continued On Page A-Twelve - Workman Fraud Scheme May Be Working In This Area A fraud scheme is believed to be working in this area, according to information reaching the Herald It is said that suspects have allegedly approached " elderly people, offering to exterminate termites from their homes, then upon completion of the work, charge unusually high prices for the service. The first report of such a scheme was reported in the Wright County area, but Ava Mayor Bud Norman says similar activity has been evident in this area. It is advised that residents be suspicious of unknown or out-of-town companies attempting to perform services such as extermination. Should residents become suspicious of such individuals, they should contact the Ava Police Dejiartment, 683-2931; or the Douglas County Sheriff s Department, 683 4167. Tournament To Benefit Cancer The Douglas County Unit of the American Cancer Society will sponsor a co-ed softball tournament July 15 and 16 at Ava Fairgrounds All proceeds of the tournament will go toward the American Cancer Society, Douglas County unit Only co-ed teams may enter this tournament, with a donation of $80 fier team requested For more information, persons may call 683-6118 days, or 683-2578, or contact Dr Scott Mason Break-In At Davis Car Lot The Douglas County Sheriff s Department is investigating a break-in that occurred at Davis Used Car Lot sometime during the Fourth of July holiday. Sheriff Roldan Turner said vandals broke into the show room at the agency and took various items including car stereos and other car parts. An estimated 2,500 people or more attended the big Independence Day celebration at Squires last Saturday night. Foul Play Is Suspected 24-Yet-()ld WoMn Missing Since IFridy The Dogwood community west of Ava is reeling this week in a state of shock, fear and disbelief over the disappearance of a 24-year old woman from that neighborhood last Friday evening. Kelle Ann Workman was last seen around 6:15 pm Friday evening while she was mowing the Dogwood Cemetery at the Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, located at the junction of Highway 14 and Douglas County Route Z, about 14 miles west of Ava. When family members began looking for Kelle later that evening after she did not return home, her late-model Oldsmobile Cutlass was parked in the church yard with the keys in the ignition, and the lawnmower was sitting idle in the cemetery. Douglas County Sheriff Roldan Turner said the mower's gas tank was about half full of gasoline. Officers said the machine had been turned off and the engine was cool when the officers first arrived. Officers and friends searched through the night Friday and hundreds of neighbors and law enforcement officers joined the search on Saturday as people combed the wooded area in all directions from the church, hoping to find some clue of the young ladys disappearance. No clues were touna. The search continued through the weekend, on foot, on horseback, and from the air, with no evidence revealed that would lead to the girls location. While searchers were scanning the woods surrounding the area, officers from the Missouri Highway Patrol and the Douglas County Sheriffs Department were interviewing individuals in the community. Sheriffs deputies split up and drove every road in the area, stopping at each house where someone was home to ask questions that might shed light on the investigation. Literally hundreds of persons have been questioned, according to Turner. To put an end to some of the many rumors developing from the investigation. Turner said Wednesday that no one has been arrested for anything in connection with the Workman case, although several individuals have been brought in for questioning "We still believe foul play is involved," said Turner Wednesday at the sheriff s office. Officers and family feel foul play was involved because too many facts relating to the young ladys disappearance are "just not like Kelle". Those who know her methods say she would not have left her car parked at the church with the keys in the ignition, nor would she leave the mower sitting in plain sight near the highway Friends also say Kelle is a shy individual who would never leave with a stranger This photo shows some of the big crowd gathered in front of the game booths. There was also musical entertainment without putting up a fight. There was no evidence of a struggle at the scene Kelle is described as six-foot-one, 130 pounds, with straight, blonde, shoulder length hair and green eyes She was last seen wearing white or light colored shorts, a T-shirt believed yellow in color, and old Nike tennis shoes with a red stnpe on the sides. Kelle is the daughter of Stanley and Joan Workman, who live a short distance from the church where Kelle was $10,000 Reward Offered For Information About Kelle Stanley and Joan Workman believe foul play is involved in the disappearance of their daughter, Kelle Ann Workman, and are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons involved. Kelle is described as six feet, one inch tall, 130 pounds, with straight, shoulder length blonde hair, and green eyes. She is 24 years of age (DOB 9-22-64), but looks younger, according to her mother. Anyone with any information about Kelle should contact the Missouri State Highway Patrol or any law enforcement agency Kelle was last seen at about 6: 15 p m. on Friday, June 30. at the Dogwood Cemetery, located about 14 miles east of Ava on Highway 14 at the junction of Douglas County Route Z. She was mowing the cemetery at that time. She was last seen wearing white or light colored shorts, a T-shirt, believed yellow in color, and old Nike tennis shoes with red stripes on sides Information may be given to the Douglas County Sheriffs Department, 417-683 4167, or any law enforcement agency House Fire Called "Suspicious" Firemen Are Busy During Past Week The Ava Volunteer Fire Department has been busy during the past week, with a pair of fires at the same house being termed "very suspicious by authorities. Investigators from the j Division of Fire Safety were ! called to Ava twice in a three- ' day penod because of the suspicious nature of two j separate fires at the Virginia 1 Cudworth home at 201 S E 5th Street The first fire at that location brought firemen out around 1 am. Friday morning, June 30 That flame was extinguished with major damage being isolated to the rear portion of the two-story house Then at 3 a m Sunday, firemen were called to the same location and this time the fire was in the upper floor of the house, and in another section of the building not damaged by the earlier fire Tom Woods, chief of Ava's volunteer fire department, only said that the fires were suspicious in nature and made no other comments since the incident is under investigation by the state. No one was home when the fires were reported by neighbors. In the meantime, a tential disaster was avoided ast Saturday evening when a pO! las gasoline pump at the Signal throughout the evening, as : well as games and contests for young and old alike, with a the and Station in northwest Ava was wrenched from its base, causing a gasoline leak. The fire department responded the the sene, but there was no blaze The pump was ripped from its stand when a motonst drove away without first removing the nozzle from his vehicle, according to reports Last Monday morning, just before 7am., firemen were called to the Town & Country Supermarket when an automatic fire alarm detected smoke in the back of the store As it turned out, the smoke was coming from an incinerator at the back of the store and there was no fire. Then at about 1L45 pm. Tuesday evening, firemen were called to Some Drive-In on North Jefferson Street where the contents of a trash dumjjster was ablaze That fire was quickly extinguished with no damage other than to the container WEATHER last seen. She mowed church lawn regularly, did other household jobs for indivduals in the area. On the day she disappeared she had gone to the cemetery to mow, and had stopped oft at a nearby store, where she also worked weekends, to buy oil for the mower. According to information gathered by the sheriffs department at this time, she was last seen at the cemetery at about 6:15 p.m. Friday, June 30. frr prim evenings JO: 50. Myay capptng tne activities at about

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