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Heather Gates, Ep. HG 32, Heather Became More Active in the Community

Updated on November 6, 2018
Homeplace Series profile image

Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

They decided to go see Dracula at the Community Theater

Scene from a College Production of Dracula
Scene from a College Production of Dracula

January 1997 Activities of Heather Gates

After hearing about the success of the opening night performance of “Dracula” at the Community Theater production at Ozarks Community College, Heather and her friends, Kari and Karla Kinne, decided they would go see it rather than a movie on Saturday night. Brian’s father, Don Kirk, a local lawyer, played the key role of Professor Van Helsing in the production. The College did a fine job of combining selected local talent along with the college students for each of their productions. Sometimes these were adults, sometimes children, but it always seemed to add something special to the theater productions. They did enjoy the performance as much as they expected. They looked forward to the next production from the Community Theater.

Heather was invited by her father to accompany him to the Annual Chamber of Commerce dinner the last Saturday in January 1997. It celebrated the accomplishments of the prior year, 1996, by the local business community as well as set the stage for the coming year. This year there had been an award presented that was not given out every year. This was the Oak Star Award from the Chamber. This year it was given to Lisa Flanders-Howell, Vice President at the Oak Springs Savings Bank. She was presented the award for her 1996 efforts as the business person leading the United Way effort. It had been the most successful campaign in the 23 year history of the United Campaign in the Oak Springs area. She was also noted as being very active in several other local charitable activities as well. When she accepted the award, she was accompanied by her husband, City Manager, Jacob Howell, and their 4-year-old son, Thomas Howell.

At the January meeting of the Oak Springs Historical and Genealogical Society there was much interest and discussion of the manuscript found by Penny Nixon in the Oak Springs Enterprise office back room. All agreed that it was a valuable local historical document regarding the founding of the local community and should be preserved and the contents made available to the general public. The original committee of five was expanded to nine to work with the Enterprise in determining how this would be possible. [You, my readers, can take part in this effort at www dot patreon dot com slash HomeplaceSagas. Join us Today.]

They Announced a Split of Agricultural and Conservation properties

Rural landscape like that of the Oak Creek valley
Rural landscape like that of the Oak Creek valley

The Bevins Trust Made Their Reorganization Official in a Public Announcement

Heather was mildly surprised at how much discussion the announcement created, even at school. Of course, from discussions with Paul, she was already familiar with the plans, but realized those not directly involved found the changes announced nearly profound. The operations of the Trust were being split between the for-profit Bevins Corporations to operate the agricultural aspects of the business and the not-for-profit McDonald Conservancy to manage selected properties that were not directly involved in such activities. These were primarily pasture and forest properties as well as the properties located along various streams. Trust properties would be donated to the Conservancy, over time, in accordance with current tax laws.

Heather understood that by separating the McDonald Conservancy properties they would become eligible for local, state, and Federal grant funds that would allow better conservation practices and provide certain tax benefits to the family, as well. She knew that this was becoming common practice around the country, but this was new knowledge to many local people. The new Conservancy would had six public members on it’s governing board along with three board members from the Bevins Trust. They would also be hiring an independent Executive Director in the coming months for the McDonald Conservancy. Peter Bevins would lead the organizing of the Conservancy under these terms.

Bart Bevins was named CEO of the Bevins Corporation. Karen (Bevins) Winslow would continue as Chair of the Bevins Trust. In the announcement, she noted that this restructuring had been in the planning stages for several months and the implementation would take place over the opening several months of 1997. Further announcements could be expected in coming months.

Two Nuptial Announcements Were Made

Wedding rings represent changes in the community
Wedding rings represent changes in the community

Social as well as Business Announcements Continued

The Bevins Corporation hosted a Valentine’s Day party at the Homeplace Country Inn Heritage Room on Friday evening, February 14. At the party, two couples announced nuptial-related dates in the future. Scott Gates and Rachel Nixon announced their official engagement with a wedding planned for September. Further, Dr. Jennifer Bevins and Brian Kirk announced their June Wedding date set for June 14.

Early in March, Matt Winslow, President and CEO of Bevins and Winslow ISP, Inc., announced that effective April 1, 1997, the company name would be changed to Ozarks Communications, Inc. (OCI). This change was noted as a result of rapid growth of the company, extension of the area served as well as new services being offered. OCI was now offering cable television services as well as Internet access services, he said. The company was also now positioned to provide telephone services to communities.

As Chair of The Bevins Trust, Karen Winslow announced the formation of a Central Office for The Bevins Trust and affiliated companies, effective April 1. The new Central Office would be headed by Susan Winslow, Vice-President of Administrative Services. This action was noted as an integral part of the restructuring announced the prior month. The Central Office would consolidate all accounting, finance, human resources, benefits administration and risk management activities of the units and companies being served. Susan Winslow was quoted as saying this centralized office would result in more efficiency and set the stage for more effectiveness in each of these administrative services. The Central Office would be housed in The Bevins Trust building, next door to City Hall. This building also housed the Ozarks Communications, Inc. offices and shops. This announcement was a surprise to Heather, but she could see how important it could be. She certainly was pleased to see Susan get such a responsible position. Paul had mentioned some changes being discussed, but not this resolution. Heather was proud to be even a small part of such a dynamic business organization.

Author’s Note

This series of stories in the life of Heather Gates, a fictional character in The Homeplace Saga series of family saga, historical fiction stories (home blog found at thehomeplaceseries dot blogspot dot com), is being created as a way to use a minor character in the early writings to expand those stories and share details omitted in those earlier writings within the original overarching themes. These newly included details may have been left out of the earlier stories through editing or they may have seemed unrelated to central themes at the time. With the expansion of the entire Saga, over the years, it has become obvious that filling in some of the gaps in the story for overall better understanding of the individuals, their families, and their interactions would be useful to The Homeplace Saga body of work in total. The first thirty episodes ran in parallel with the timeline of the “Christmas at the Homeplace” novel. This episode represents stories following the end of the novel. These will run in parallel, starting with January 1997, with stories previously published on the home blog that run monthly into early 1999. This provides the opportunity for new insights of events to be shared.

Video Book Trailer

Video Book Trailer

Video Book Trailer


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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      8 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Dora. We know that community is so important. Thank you for your comments! ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      8 months ago from The Caribbean

      The community is alive with many social and business activities, making it easy for anyone as involved as Heather in community affairs to relate.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      8 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you for your visit and comment, Bill. It is nice to have her back for regular episodes.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Heather is a kindred spirit. For whatever reason, I relate to her, and that makes following her all the more enjoyable.


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