By: Ernie Wren

As we enter the new year, here are my “Top 10” predictions for Southern Boone in 2024.

  1. Recognizing the difficulties in finding and managing police chiefs, the Ashland City council votes to contract with Kelly Temporary Employment Services to provide for future law enforcement leadership needs.
  2. Lakeside Ashland announces the purchase of four new 50-ft. tall surround sound speakers to accommodate scheduling an AC/DC concert.
  3. Ashland Public Works meets public recycling needs by mailing all residents maps to convenient recycling drop-off points in Columbia.
  4. Mayor Dorise Slinker proclaims Ashland as the new “Pizza Capitol” of the USA, noting that Buffalo, New York’s 17.9 pizza parlors per 100,000 residents is dwarfed by Ashland’s four per 5,000 (which equates to 80 per 100,000).
  5. To increase its general festival revenue, Ashland attempts to annex Hartsburg for its Pumpkin Festival, but fails.
  6. In retaliation for Ashland’s annexation attempt, Hartsburg aims its fabulous Independence Day fireworks show at Ashland, thus kicking off what becomes known in the future as the “Southern Boone Fireworks Wars.”
  7. MoDOT announces that Ashland has met the “Buy 4 Get One Free” roundabout program requirements and will build the free one at Broadway and Main streets.
  8. Ranken Technical College, in keeping with its promise to meet local needs, announces a new business program designated “Food Truck Operations.”
  9. The Ashland Optimist Club announces it will now admit pessimists as part of its “all-inclusive” philosophy.
  10. The Southern Boone School District solves its substitute teacher shortage with its new “Teach Fridays Receive Free Rectangle Pizza” marketing initiative.

I hope you have enjoyed these “predictions,” and I’d like to give a special shout-out to my proofreader, contributor, and wife Danna Wren for her assistance in this and many other articles. These predictions are of course meant to be in good humor. Southern Boone is growing at a fast rate, and with that comes the expected growing pains.

In my years as Associate Dean at Columbia College, we operated under the great leadership of Dr. Gerald Brouder, who reinforced to everyone that in all we do, we maintain “civility and respect.”

Likewise, as we move through this next year, my hopes are that we can maintain “civility and respect” and work together to overcome any hurdles encountered. Danna and I would like to wish all of you a wonderful New Year in which health and happiness prevail for you and your family and friends.

“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower