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Cuba Free Press
Cuba, Missouri
July 24, 2003     Cuba Free Press
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July 24, 2003

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4A July 24, 2003 Opinion The Cuba Free Press Fair keeps getting better and better Thanks to some great preparation by the fair board and the city of Cuba, the tremendous efforts of hundreds of volunteers and some cooperation from Mother Nature, the 2003 Crawford County Fair has to go down as the best ever held at Hood Park, and perhaps the best one ever. The new fairgrounds were in the best shape they've ever been! The new main stage was won- derful, the added restrooms were a blessing and the work the city did on mowing, trimming and land- scaping made the whole fair experience much more pleasurable. That's not to say there weren't some problems this year. We've herd several complaints about the parking situation, especially from those who were trying to get out of the lot Friday night. Some had Guest Editorial vl r -- ':. ,-, .... So you think you've got probl By Jack Stapleton Jr. Missouri News and Editorial Service Most of us are aware of the existence of a vast sea of prob- lems within our great big world that go unnoticed for more than a few hurried sec- onds every year. Their pres- ence is noted, if only obliquely, and then our minds shift to others that are more interest- ing or sensational. Chances are your attention has only briefly shifted to the problems faced by several thousand of our fellow citizens who are either the victims or deeply affected by an illness known as autism, a progres- to wait as long as 45 minutes to leave. And not to pick on this week's letter writer (it sure sounds like she didn't have much fun at the fair), but the fair was certainly not "much, much better" when it was at the old ball park. It was cheaper, but it certainly wasn't better! Just look at the events currently being held at Hood Park that were not and could not have Just been held at the old Thinking location. Those include a demolition derby, Rob truck and tractor pull, Viehman bull bash and loggers rodeo. Where could we have held those events at the old park? I remember once they held a mini-rod pull on the ball field and about half the town threw a fit because they thought it would damage the infield! On a few other notes: the main stage is so much better than the old amphitheater there's almost no comparing the two; the food stand and eating are much better; the 4-H, Boy Scout, flower show and Home Ec divisions' display areas are far superior (and air conditioned); and the livestock area (espe- cially with some improvements made over the last two years) is serving the exhibitors much better than it did at the old fairgrounds. The "good old days" at the old fairgrounds were good then, but they wouldn't be good now. That area couldn't even begin to handle the size of the fair now, or the size of the crowd that is attending it. A better plan for going to the fair may have made the experience better for this week's letter writer. Here are a couple tips from a seasoned fairgoer: 1. Buy a season pass and then use it. This year they were $15 for those 12 and older (kids under 12 were free). That gets you into the fair all four days. If you paid to get in just one night, then it probably wasn't worth it. Go at least two or three nights to get the full experience without costing much more. 2. When it comes to the carnival rides, buy your kids an armband. For $8, your kid could ride all the rides they could get on Thursday evening and Saturday afternoon for four hours. My kids only rode rides on Thursday night. It cost me $24. I bought three armbands and two season passes for the fair at a grand total of $54. For four of us over the four days of the fair, that amounted to about $3.38 per person, per day. Considering dur- ing that*time we had the opportunity to see two nights of tractor/truck pulling, a demolition derby, bull bash (which was great), loggers rodeo, prince and princess contest, queen coronation, livestock exhibits, ride four hours of carnival rides, see 4-H and other exhibits and enjoy musical entertain- ment every night, I'd say that was a pretty good deal. Heck, I couldn't even get two of my kids into Six Flags for one day at that price. Judging from the huge crowd that was at the fair Thursday and Saturday nights (I missed Friday), I'd have to say many people were more than pleased with this year's fair. Every year since the fair moved to Hood Park, it has gotten a little bet- ter. I am looking forward to finding out what the fair board has in store for us next year. See you at the fair in 2004! sive disorder characterized by impaired communication, extreme self-absorption and a virtually total detachment from reality. Never heard of it, you say, and no wonder. It's an illness that strikes the very young among us, an illness with the only "recovery" being an ame- lioration of some of its terrify- ing symptoms, and speaking quite honestly, one that fails to entice even a smidgen of sym- pathy from the uninitiated observer. When I listed "impaired communication" it's possible you interpreted this as being little more than a child who stutters or one limited by physical and mental powers, or both. Autistics, and their fami- lies, should be so lucky. The condition renders its victims no luxury of instant compas- sion or natural appeal but instead bestows burden the rest of society regards .as irri- tating, bothersome and totally devoid of compassion. Rather than display the endearing qualities that accompany the rest of childhood/adult re- tardees, autism evokes quali- ties that repel understanding and sympathy, turning the innocent into annoying exam- ples of self-obsessed, irritating personalities determined to avoid the niceties of human interaction. Autistics display the charac- teristics of a spoiled child whose existence takes on a world of its own and one char- acterized by loud, overbearing speech and behavior. The dif- ference between the two is that the autistic has been unable to mature to a point of acceptance and, instead, displays a kind of Fair- ly disappointed after he described the son's behavior, I realized there was a far more dramatic, far more compelling condition than I had ever been aware. When I inquired what was being done for the young pre-teen, the answer was almost as shock- ing as the illness: nothing. When I asked about possible clinical assistance, the answer was again: nothing. I wish it could be said that the Great State of Missouri immediately launched pro- grams that would care for, treat and mitigate the pain of autistic children, but you know better than that, don't you. It took years and years, a chal- lenge that was easier as the result of a small St. Louis County church group with some compassionate benefac- tors whose families had been directly impacted by autism. The job of launching a program within the mental agency was made easier the appearance of autistics at a leg ing on enabling their presence was convince lawmakers of perate need. The state's program gradually expanded years since then, and along came this S shocker: a reduction in one-time reduction of 11 cent mandating a reduction in staffing and ment, with absolutely tion to the 2,100-patient gram now do less for more dren. For hundreds children, their families: parents, the months seem like years and patients will be as today's political com behavior that is anathema in an orderly society. Different than the extreme- ly lovable and loving charac- teristics of the mentally retarded, those unfortunate enough to be diagnosed as autistic can be classified as anti-social, irritating and, exposed long enough, totally distracting to members of their family circle and others around them. I confess I never heard of the illness until about the fourth year on the state's Mental Health Commission and only then by accident. A friend in the state judiciary casually mentioned one day that he hadn't had a decent night's sleep for years, spend- ing night after night with his young son. At first I thought he was referring to a child with some physical ailment that commanded his attention, but LETTER TO THE EDITOR I would like to express my disappoint- ment with the Crawford County Fair. My family and I attended Friday night's fes- tivities at Hood Park. First of all we thought that the entry fee to get into the park was outrageous. Ten dollars a person was a bit too much to pay, and we don't even feel that the fair is worth that. We did enjoy watching the demolition derby until one of the officials ripped off the stick of a Cuba driver who was trying to re-enter into the pits. We thought this was uncalled for by the official, and we left NATUP00L Your Thoughts ly found the ticket booth, we were out- raged at the prices asked for tickets. Each ride averaged about $3 per kid to ride. Ridiculous! We bought the 22 tickets--we had three kids with us, two of them got to ride two rides, and the youngest only got to ride one ride. I had three tickets left over--not even enough to ride a ride. After our disappointment with that, we went over to see the livestock exhibit, the highlight of our evening. The kids enjoyed seeing the livestock and being able to interact. Then it started to pour down rain. Every ride was shut down as well as all the games.-We left the park at 10 p.m. No-SOFTBA ? in disgust and vowed to never go I just hope that the Crawford Fair Board will take to heart that the only parent out here who is with the fair and the outrageous i you must pay to have a end note: the fair was much, when it was over at the old ball Sincerely, Elizabeth Mueller & Share your views... The Free Press welcomes comments and suggestions from our readers will consider for publication any letter or article submitted. To be publisl letters must be signed and include an address and daytime phone nu the demolition derby and proceeded to the fairgrounds so our kids could ride the The publication of any letter or article does not necessarily reflect the ot rides, ion of this newspaper. We reserve the right to edit any letter or reject letter article submitted. Letters should be 200 words, or less. Imagine our surprise when we couldn't or _ even find the ticket booth! When we final- Mail: Letter to the Editor Fax: (573) 885-3803 tT Cuba Free Press E-mail: - h PO Box 568, Cuba, MO 65453] July 24, 2003 Volume 44 Number 9 " ................... | **^_. n........ 5UBSCRIPTIoNRATES ) Wl ." { CRAWFORD CO. MISSOURI OTHER J 2 years $54.00 2 years $72.00 2 years $90. Single Tax 4.04 Tax 5.38 -" ..... N0' CopyPdce Ipay $S8.04 i |pay $77.38] I CUBA FREE PRESS I I0 SOUTH BUCHANAN CUBA, MISSOURI 65453 PHONE 573-885-7460 Publisher & Editor ROB VIEHMAN Circulation JANICE RANSOM Advertising SANDY MORICE Printing RUSS NEW Post Office Publication No. 565-180 Address all communications in care of the Cuba Free Press, P.O. Box 568. ] Periodical Class Postage paid at Cuba, Missouri. Published weekly each I Thursday morning at Cuba, Mo. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to 70 I year $30.00 I year $40.00 I year $50 CUBA FREE PRESS, P.O. Box 568, Cuba, MO 65453.  Tax 2.24 Tax 2.99 H0 7S I Pay $32.241 I r S42.991 J