For generations, the people of Waynesville looked to the auto repair shop at the intersection of Branner Avenue and Depot Street as a place to get oil.
With all the attention paid to downtown Waynesville’s bustling Main Street, the Frog Level Historic District is often overlooked by tourists and the town board alike.
Lately I’ve been hanging out at The Open Door in Frog Level and I have to admit, it’s my new favorite joint in town. After my mom passed, I began to feel overstimulated in traditional settings like ballgames, street festivals, and even crowded restaurants. All the noise, clanging, and happy sounds were so discordant with my melancholy; I would leave feeling exhausted and agitated.
Waynesville town leaders plan to broker a sit-down between Frog Level merchants and the Open Door soup kitchen in coming weeks to discuss an on-going conflict over a loose-knit band of homeless people who spend their days loitering and drinking on the streets.
I don’t know if it reaches the magnitude of a moral dilemma, but I feel for the Frog Level merchants who appeared before the Waynesville town board recently. They came seeking help in dealing with the patrons of The Open Door soup kitchen that’s located in the historic business district.
The soup kitchen clientele, needless to say, are the most needy among us — some are poverty-stricken, others suffer from mental health issues, others have drug and alcohol problems — and so it is bound to come off as callous if you say you want to be rid of them.
Spend a few hours on the streets in Frog Level, and the heartwarming stories flow like water.
Theoretically, a new homeless shelter that opened across town in Hazelwood last fall should have made things better for Frog Level’s homeless plight.
Teri Siewert picked up a pink Hello Kitty alarm clock by the cord and dragged it out from under the bushes behind her classy art gallery on the outskirts of downtown Waynesville.
“You wouldn’t believe the stuff we find,” she said. “You’ll see wine bottles, you’ll see beer bottles, you’ll see discarded clothing.”
Bouncing around her gallery like a rubber ball, the energy of Teri Siewert is contagious.
“The ambiance here is something you can’t buy or make, it’s either there or it’s not, and it’s definitely here,” she said.
By Melanie Threlkeld McConnell • Correspondent
For most of Yvonne Wadham’s 64 years, horses were her life, on a big scale, a 22-acre California ranch kind of scale, where she raised and showed horses, brokered high-priced horses, and taught children how to ride — lots and lots of children.