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Road crews busy this weekend

The St. Francois County Road and Bridge Department crews were out in full force this weekend treating the roadways after ice coated the area late Saturday and early Sunday.

Road and Bridge Supervisor Clay Copeland said he and another supervisor were out checking the roads Saturday evening.

“John Gross, the other supervisor, and I started running roads about 5 p.m. Saturday and everything was good, but then at about midnight when we went to check the roads we had to (call) the guys in because things were really slick,” said Copeland. “We called everybody in and were running every truck and every route.”

Copeland said they were able to get the roads taken care of by Sunday afternoon but planned to keep monitoring then through this morning.

“We had four trucks in the ditch that we were able to get out with no injuries and no damage.”

Copeland explained that because the roads were so slick they couldn’t drive the trucks forward in some areas, so they had to drive in reverse and spread aggregate ahead of them for traction.

“So all of our trucks were running their routes Sunday morning,” said Copeland. “It’s been a hairy night to say the least, but there has been no big damages and no injuries and that is the main thing. We are just trying to get the roads safe for everyone.”

Copeland was thankful that the public had been staying off the roads. He added he believes it helped with it being Sunday and most area churches cancelled services.

“It allowed us to get the roads cleared,” Copeland said. “Really, all we can do is put material down. As far as clearing the roads there was nothing to plow. So we just put the aggregate and the salt mix down.”

“Each one of our trucks has roughly 40 miles of road to cover,” Copeland explained. “We will determine whether or not we work (Monday). It is a holiday for us, but we may still be working.”

Copeland said he and Gross planned to run the roads over night and into this morning.

“It is supposed to warm up (today) and all of this should melt because it’s going to get up in the 40s and that will be to our advantage,” Copeland said. “We will just have to monitor the roads and see what happens (in the early morning hours).”

Copeland said putting the material down on the road was all they could do to make the roads not as slick.

“We ran 14 to 16 hours (Sunday) and will regroup (this) morning.”

Missouri State Highway Patrol Spokesperson Trooper Dallas Thompson said they were seeing issues on many area roadways Sunday.

“A lot of St. Francois County and Washington County roads were still partially covered and slick (on Sunday),” said Thompson. “I know overall we have had more than 100 crashes in Troop C so far since the weather hit. They didn’t break down the numbers, so I am not sure how many were in this area.”


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Archery course coming to Farmington

Area archers will soon have a new facility available for honing their skills, provided by the city of Farmington and the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Ground was recently broken at the site off Pimville Road near the city yard waste site, often referred to as the "city farm".

Farmington Parks and Recreation Director Chris Conway said the department has long been seeing interest in an archery facility from the area’s large community of archers, several hundred of whom recently entered to be drawn for the city’s first managed deer hunt.

“We always get messages on Facebook, emails to the office and phone calls asking about the potential to add a site for (archery enthusiast) in the area,” Conway said.

“Greg Beavers, Bud Norman and myself kind of got together and decided the best plan of action to get an archery range in Farmington.”

Conway said workers are constructing a walking archery range with 15 lanes, each able to accommodate shots of up to 50 yards. The city has been working hand-in-hand with the Missouri Department of Conservation on the project.

“We met with them and they walked the course and approved it,” Conway said. “This will be a joint facility — a city facility and a conservation facility. They’ll help us with the finances and they helped us with some of the technicalities with course design. They’ll be helping out with some of the expenses like targets, target shelters and some of the labor that will go into it.”

Work on the project has progressed well since beginning. The lanes utilize mulch from the yard waste site, which is on the same property. "That worked out very well for us,” added Conway.

The next step will be the addition of the targets on the range, with hopes the project will be completed or very near completion in a month.

Conway said the facility will provide the opportunity for competitions, but no such plans have been made as of yet.

“Initially, we’re hoping to add a static range where we could do some competitions and classes,” he said. “That’s still in the works, but nothing is set in stone yet.”

The facility is located off Pimville Road, approximately a half mile from Bray Road.


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Happy Jack hopes to make a difference

A Bonne Terre woman is trying to make a difference in the county for those who have pets and are in need of assistance.

Sharon Keathley has a love of all animals and wanted to find a way to help them. After much thought she started Happy Jack Pet Food Pantry in 2015, a 501c3 not for profit.

“I have done it very slowly and have tried to manage what I am doing,” Keathley explained. “I try to help people every month with pet food. Some get food every month and others just do it when they are dire need of help. Right now I have 20 to 25 people I help regularly every month.”

Keathley said she does help with animal rescues to try and help find dogs a home. She added a lot of these rescues are homeless, they have been dumped or older people have told someone to take them to the pound. Sometimes someone could have died and the family doesn’t want them.

“I thought I could help do something and this is it,” Keathley said. “There are specific qualifications required to utilize the pet food pantry. You have to be a senior citizen or be on government assistance, such as Medicaid or Medicare or have Social Security income. I will also help retired veterans in need, and fire and flood victims. I also offer special emergency service depending on the situation.”

Keathley feels strongly about and promotes spay and neutering of pets. By fixing pets, it helps to prevent overcrowding at shelters and pounds.

“When I deliver the pet food if they aren’t there we leave it on the porch for them,” said Keathley. “I hope to someday have a small shop where I can house the food, bag and distribute it and also sell items to help fund the pantry.”

Keathley said right now she is working out of her home with the pet food, all in hopes of allowing more animals to stay in their homes and out of the overcrowded pounds.

“For a while Tractor Supply in Farmington was donating food and then they stopped,” Keathley said. “I’ve had help from individuals and Family Center in Bonne Terre. Since I’m a not for profit, I have a tax exempt card and Walmart will hold the taxes when I buy food.”

She explained there are many things she could use and any donations such as dog and cat food, pet treats, litter boxes, littler, flea/tick medicine, bedding, collars, food dishes, leashes and more would be greatly appreciated.

“If someone has something they don’t use and it’s in decent condition and can be reused I will take it,” said Keathley. “Also cash donations always help to purchase additional food that is needed.”

She said she is not so busy right now where she needs volunteers at this point, but she will need to have a fundraiser in the near future and will need help.

“My main focus right now is St. Francois County even though I have helped people as far as Fredericktown, towards Potosi and Mineral Point,” Keathley said. “I am just mainly concentrating on St. Francois County right now and hope to expand at some point.”

Keathley said she has a booth at the Route 67 Flea Market at the Fancy Crow in Bonne Terre were she sells refinished furniture and other items to help fund Happy Jack Pet Food Pantry.

“I have tried putting my flyer out everywhere to help with donations and see if there is anyone in need,” said Keathley. “I am down to one big bag of dog food and I will have to beg and scrounge for more. I have a lady who has a dog with no teeth who will only eat Mighty Dog.”

Keathley added she had a girl scout who made pet pillows and cardboard cat scratchers that she donated to Happy Jack Pet Food Pantry.

“If I could get some boy scouts and girl scouts involved that would be great,” said Keathley. “Right now I am just trying to have enough food to supply those in need. I will bag the food and sort it for each person who called for the month’s delivery. Even if I have to buy it myself, they will have food.”

Keathley said she hopes to eventually have a localized place or shop where everyone can come once a month to pick up their food, but right now she is just trying to line out donations for the pantry.

“Any help given would be greatly appreciated,” Keathley said. “There are a lot of people who need help and I want to be able to help them. It’s just hard getting started and getting consistent donations. There are so many out there who need help, but haven’t heard of us.”

Keathley said she hopes in the future Happy Jack Pet Food Pantry will be able to help fund spay and neutering.

“I’ve had people say if someone can’t take care of their pet, they shouldn’t have it,” said Keathley. “Well, they need companionship and sometimes things happen that are out of our control.”

Those who are in need of pet food assistance or would like to make a donation can contact Keathley at 573-330-1423.


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Charged in business burglary

A Caledonia man is being charged with felony charges after police say he was involved with burglarizing a business in Washington County.

Dustin Anderson, 27, is charged with a class D felony of burglary in the second degree and a class E felony of possession of burglar’s tools. He's also being charged with a class E felony of stealing, the charge stemming from an unrelated case.

According to Washington County Sheriff Zach Jacobsen, on Jan. 21 deputies were called to Roy’s Convenience store located at 220 State Highway 21 in Caledonia for a burglary.

“It was reported by employees who arrived to work on Sunday morning and discovered the drive-up window and front door glass were both broken,” Jacobsen said. “It was also discovered that an amount of (money) was missing.”

According to a probable cause statement, the deputy watched the security video footage and saw a man, later identified as Anderson, entering the convenience store by breaking out the drive-thru window with a hammer.

The footage showed that when Anderson climbed through the window he hit a laptop sitting on the counter and knocked it to the floor. The laptop was damaged. The deputy reportedly saw Anderson take the change baskets from beneath the registers in the front of the store.

Anderson took a total of $440 in cash and rolled coins. Afterward he took the hammer and broke out the glass in the front door to make his escape.

Anderson could be seen in the video leaving on foot toward Orchard Lane where he was later located. The entire incident took place at about 12:40 a.m. while the store was closed.

The deputy reported that later in the investigation Anderson’s brother-in-law arrived at the business and asked to speak with a deputy. He told the deputy he had found a backpack filled with rolled coins and several stacks of $1 bills in his house.

He said he wasn’t sure where it came from, but his wife told him about the convenience mart being burglarized and that the only thing that was taken was money. The man gave the backpack to the deputy and it matched the one seen in the surveillance video. The deputy also noted the backpack contained only $315.

Later in the day, after Anderson was arrested, the man reached out to the deputy a second time and told him he found Anderson’s pants and hoodie behind the couch in his house. He said there was also a sizable amount of money in the pants pocket.

That money added up to $125, and when the deputy saw Anderson’s hoodie and shoes, they matched what the burglar was wearing in the surveillance footage.

After looking around Anderson’s residence, the deputy found a wooden hammer that matched the images of the hammer used to break out the windows at the convenience store.

In an unrelated incident, on Jan. 6 Anderson visited a friend and while there he reportedly stole the friend’s chainsaw that was worth $600. He then took the chainsaw to a pawn shop in Park Hills and pawned it for $80.

An officer was able to obtain the pawn receipt, which had Anderson’s signature on it and a copy of his driver’s license.

Anderson is being held in the Washington County Jail on a combined $65,000 bond.


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This Week in the Parkland

Monday

Bonne Terre Council

The Bonne Terre City Council will meet in regular session at 6 p.m. at city hall, located on 118 N. Allen St. The meeting is open to the public.

Bismarck School Board

The Bismarck R-5 Board of Education meets in regular session at 6 p.m. in the elementary school library. The meeting is open to the public.

Desloge Board of Aldermen

The Desloge Board of Aldermen meets in regular session at 7 p.m. in city hall, 300 N. Lincoln Drive. The meeting is open to the public.

Tuesday

SFC Commission

The St. Francois County Commission meets in regular session at 10 a.m. on the third floor of the courthouse annex in Farmington. The meeting is open to the public.

Park Hills City Council

The Park Hills City Council meets in open session at 6 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, located at 9 Bennett Street. The meeting is open to the public.

Leadington Board of Aldermen

The Leadington Board of Aldermen meets in regular session at 6 p.m. in the municipal building, 12 Weir St. The meeting is open to the public.

Bismarck Board of Aldermen

The Bismarck Board of Aldermen meets in regular session at 7 p.m. in the old train depot on Center Street. The meeting is open to the public.

Wednesday

SFC 911 Board

The St. Francois County 911 Board of Directors meet in regular session at 10 a.m. at the 911 Communications Center in Park Hills. The meeting is open to the public.

Thursday

MAC Trustees

The Mineral Area College Board of Trustees meets in regular session at 2 p.m. in the VanHerck Boardroom on the school's Park Hills campus. The meeting is open to the public.

North County Board of Education

The North County Board of Education meets in regular session at 6 p.m. in the administration offices located at 300 Berry Rd. The meeting is open to the public.

West County Board of Education

The West County Board of Education meets in regular session at 6 p.m. in the board of education room, located at 1124 Main Street. The meeting is open to the public.