CITY RECEIVES “WEEPING WATERS” AWARD

City of Springfield representatives Thomas E. Rykowski, Assistant City Attorney (left) and Steve Shanholtzer, Right of Way Supervisor, (right) receive Weeping Waters Conservation Award and keys to property known as The Place of Weeping Waters from Wanda Sue Parrott, writer who has Chickasaw blood and sometimes writes under the pen name “Prairie Flower.” Settlement transaction was Feb. 2 at Meridian Closing Co., Springfield.
Photo by Rick J. Muenks
(Springfield, MO—2/5/09) The City of Springfield has been named recipient of the first “Weeping Waters” Conservation Award given by Amy Kitchener's Angels Without Wings Fdn. for its acquisition Feb. 2 of the non-profit literary organization's flood-prone headquarters at 203 E. Washita St., Springfield.
       The settlement ends a high-profile controversy between writer/flood victim Wanda Sue Parrott and the city which began with major flooding in July 2000 and continued annually through Dec. 2008. According to Wanda Sue Parrott, who presented the certificate and keys to her property to city representatives Thomas E. Rykowski, Assistant City Attorney, and Steve Shanholtzer, Right of Way Supervisor, the award was dually named.
       She says, “My home office was titled The Place of Weeping Waters, which was what Native Americans called the Springfield-Greene County area before white settlers claimed it, but it's also a metaphorical reference to the historical Trail of Tears."
       Parrott says that during the federally enforced relocation of Eastern Cherokees who went through Springfield in 1839, an alternate route was established along what is now Campbell Ave. and Sunshine St., extending onto her property.
       “Congressman/author O.K. Armstrong researched two detachments that arrived in Springfield at the same time,” Parrott says. “Instead of going west on what is now I-44, one detachment of around 1000 people came south to the retention pond at Campbell and Sunshine. There, the starving Cherokees restocked their water and fished to supplement their meager rations. This detachment turned west and met up with the other detachment that preceded it somewhere around Monett.
       “The pond where they camped was drained and homes were built on the grounds during the housing boom of the mid-1950s.” Parrott says her parents retired here in 1970 and she inherited their flood-basin house in 1997. “By then, every time we had heavy rain we flooded with stormwater and sewage. It truly became a living place of weeping waters.”
       The Weeping Waters Award was established to commemorate Native Americans who lived in this area before 1850, their lands, customs and history, as well as contemporary conservation and other humanitarian subjects of general interest, especially those that can be expressed literarily and artistically. According to Wanda Sue Parrott, "We are open to contributions and ideas, especially those that would honor Native Americans and raise public awareness of their presence, both past and present, in this community."
       The first Weeping Waters Conservation Award was given to show appreciation to the City of Springfield for its planned reclamation of the former headquarters of Amy Kitchener's Angels Without Wings Foundation: restoring it to a natural water basin and retention pond.
       Principal activity of the foundation is sponsorship of the National Annual Senior Poets Laureate Poetry Competition for American poets age 50 and older, an internationally recognized event now in its 17th year.
       Wanda Sue Parrott's legal representative is Rick J. Muenks, Springfield. For further information and/or details, contact him at 417-866-6503 or by e-mail at rick@swvaluation.com

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