Dan Wehmer - Publisher's Pen

Dan Wehmer

Sometimes good ideas walk in your door.

That was the case Thursday when George Fitzcharles came by the office.

Fitzcharles is new to Seymour; he arrived in town about a year ago.

He’s perhaps known to those who know him through his fiancé, Lisa Guthery, who has owned DLS Gifts on the northeast corner of the city square for more than two decades.

Over the past year, Lisa and George have worked tirelessly on the historic downtown building. It looks wonderful. There are new windows, a remodeled interior.

Currently, the building’s second floor is being renovated for living quarters.

While she still has her gift shop, tanning and accounting businesses (Lisa is a certified public accountant), George offers cellular-phone and computer repair as a new service.

But that’s not the only thing George does.

A U.S. military veteran originally from California who studied architectural drawing in college, as George spent time in Seymour and on the city square, he noticed a void.

“Young people here need healthy outlets for things to do,” he said.

He’s right.

His idea?

“I’m looking at building a skateboarding park,” George explained. If and when built, it would be located inside the city limits. It likely would also include a BMX bike park to create more activities.

“Skateboarding saved me as a kid growing up,” he said.

If his plans go forward, it will be created as a non-profit business. He’s got several designs, which plays to his background in architecture.

“This will be built for the kids, and I’ve seen a lot of early interest when I talk about it with young people,” he noted.

Now he wants to take another step.

He’s soliciting all local interest.

To that end, George Fitzcharles wants to hear from you, good or bad, thumbs up or down. He’s interested in hearing your ideas about a joint skateboarding and BMX park, which would have an estimated price tag of about $140,000 for the skateboarding and $80,000 for the BMX bikes.

His number is 417-234-7995.

Call or text him.

In the interim, stop by square and see the work done at the DLS building.

The upcoming Seymour Apple Festival is an ideal time to visit. If you’ve not yet met George, do so.

* * * * * *

Reading time, three minutes:

Free $2 bills.

Two months from now, a 75-cent levy increase will be on the Nov. 5 ballot to benefit the Seymour R-II School District. If passed, it will generate an estimated $400,000 in annual revenue.

The money is badly needed.

Fun fact ... because of declining school enrollment, the local district likely is looking at a deficit budget this school year. I know that wasn’t the budget approved in June before new Superintendent Steve Richards took the reins, but that’s reality.

Our tax levy is $2.75 per $100 of assessed valuation.

That’s the bare minimum allowed by law. It’s the lowest rate in the state.

I’ve been in Seymour for 25 years. Came here with next to nothing. Built a business with Seymour’s support. This community has become my home, where I choose to live, where I want to live.

Reason for that is because Seymour does nothing at the bare minimum. This community built a new library. Built a new YMCA. Built an indoor pool. Rebuilt its historic Owen Theatre. Has the best small-town festival in the state. The list goes on.

Now our school needs our help.

• Bob is back.

A couple a months ago, Seymour Police Chief Bob Paudert let city officials know he was looking to step back a bit from the department in a reduced role.

That included turning over a few duties.

His hiatus was short lived.

Effective this month, you’ll see Paudert more.

His role has expanded. And that’s a good thing.

For those interested in Seymour’s history, the Seymour Historical Committee — “ramrodded” by Delores Matney and Helen Lamb — will set up during the Seymour Apple Festival in front of the Citizen office.

The group will be selling its new 2020 calendars, focusing on the history of Seymour’s churches.

It’s a cool calendar for a nifty price tag of only $5.

Stop by during the festival.

While here, grab one of our new, free 12-inch rulers.

Maybe next year I can afford yardsticks.

Dan Wehmer is the Citizen’s editor, publisher and owner. He can be reached at 417-935-2257 or via e-mail at citizen@webstercountycitizen.com.

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