I read The Beatrice Daily Sun article "Worldlawn celebrates new building," from the June 24 issue, and I drove up to Beatrice to attend the public grand opening of the new and expanded Worldlawn Power Equipment on Friday, June 23.

The last time I was in Beatrice was only about eight months ago. I was impressed by the once-empty, old Husqvarna building being transformed into the breath-taking, huge Worldlawn Power Equipment centerpiece in Beatrice, which produces professional and commercial lawnmowers and snow throwers, among other products.

I found the speech by Worldlawn's President, Hardy Shao, quite impressive. Although the company has its parent company in China, the opening of the new facility in Beatrice employs local Nebraskans who sell to local Nebraskans and even some residents in northern Kansas. I have relatives in Marysville, Kansas, Wymore, Blue Springs and Lincoln, Nebraska -- all within easy reach of the facility in Beatrice.

I was impressed by the speech by the mayor of Beatrice, who said we "must keep the economic bus moving in the right direction." I agree. My own family has had ties to Gage County since my great-grandfather and veteran, Charles Marples, moved to rural Blue Springs in 1875. Sadly, he died the next year.

My grandfather, John Marples, grew up around Blue Springs/Wymore. His first marriage ended in divorce in Gage County, then he moved to Oklahoma and then near Phillipsburg, Kan. where he is buried. My late dad, John William Marples, had deep ties to Gage County, which was also the home of his uncles, Will Marples and Harry Marples, and Harry's sons, Wayne H. Marples and William John "Billy" Marples.

As you might expect: both my dad, Bill, and his first-cousin, Billy, had the exact same namesakes. I shook hands with Gov. Pete Ricketts at the Worldlawn Power grand opening. I have know him for years.

I told the Governor it showed where his trade-missions pay dividends. I wish Worldlawn success.

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