You are the owner of this page.
A1 A1

District time draws closer, Sports, A9

top story
Fitness trail planned

The Desloge Board of Aldermen heard a presentation by City Administrator Dan Bryan on the proposed construction of a fitness trail when it met in regular session Monday night at city hall.

Bryan provided board members an overview of the estimated $270,000 project, which will be largely paid for by an 80/20 Recreational Trails Program grant through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources that the city will be applying for at the end of this week.

"While the city's portion of the cost would be $57,000, only $30,000 will be a cash contribution and the other $27,000 will come through in-kind labor and use of our equipment here within the city," Bryan said. "When I went to the grant workshop last month, they indicated that if you make it past the first round of selections, we should hear something by May, I would think.

"If we get news earlier that we've been eliminated, then that's unfortunate — but I hope to hear that we make the initial cut and we're still in the running. If we get a phone call that someone wants to come down and take a look at what we want to do, then that's a real good sign."

Bryan explained that the plan is to put in a paved trailhead along the road that goes through City Park and join up by the tennis courts with the existing Walnut Trail.

"There will be a couple of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant parking spaces and access to just a little over a quarter-of-a-mile of new trail," he said. "At the trailhead itself we will have an outdoor drinking fountain. We're using recycled materials in this project, so we'll have a recycle bench there, too.

"We'll have a bike rack and all kinds of amenities along the opening there, along with lighting right there at the beginning of the trailhead. We're also going to have three exercise stations scattered throughout the trail. The thought is we're going to have approximately three pieces of outdoor fitness equipment at each station, so we're going to have a total of nine pieces of equipment. I think there's a total of four benches, six lights and a couple of trashcans along the way, so it's really going to be a beautiful addition to that park. It has been well received."

Bryan said the proposed project will also address stormwater issues in a nearby subdivision.

"Some of the folks in the Brim Street neighborhood get some pretty significant runoff from storm water when we have a big rain event," he said. "So, what we're going to do is incorporate a little bit of a stormwater project through there, as well. There will be a couple of inlets — one within the park and one will be within one of the property owner's backyard.

"We're going to have to obtain a water easement from one property owner in order to get the project to Brim Street and then connected to the existing stormwater there on Brim Street. That's a big factor, too. We can kind of improve some of those issues, as well, through this project."

Bryan said community response has been positive, with comments and suggestions being received by the city on its Facebook page, as well as others.

"We've got a letter of support from North County's athletic director," Bryan said. "He's expressed if we do get this trail, that the school district is going to implement it into their physical fitness curriculum for the school year. The middle school and high school cross country teams will be utilizing the fitness trail to enhance their training for those sports, as well.

"I got some feedback from a local healthcare professional, too. She expressed the health benefits that this fitness trail would have on Desloge residents and visitors alike. With it being ADA compliant, it spans across all ages, all abilities, so it would really be open for everyone to enjoy."

According to Bryan, the city has received a letter of support from State Rep. Mike Henderson expressing his support for this project.

"He really feels it will be a plus for the city, the park and the surrounding communities," Bryan said. "It is one of those things that you've really got to look at. It's going to be a one of a kind. The closest fitness trail to Desloge is in Farmington, but it's 11.5 miles away. Then, out at Terre Du Lac — a private community — they have outdoor fitness equipment, but it's not open to the public.

"This is really going to fill that void where there's public access and it's ADA compliant. For me the one plus is that it crosses all economic backgrounds. It will be free of charge for the public, so there's not that burden of a family or somebody having to pay for a gym membership. I think it's going to be a really nice addition."

During the mayor and aldermen reports, it was discussed that the Casey's General Store at 1100 N. Desloge Drive will be closing at the end of the month. While an official reason hasn't been given by the company, the board seemed to think it was due to the location and small size of the store compared to others in the area.

"I sure hate to hear that a long-time business like Casey's is closing in the city," said Alderman Chris Gremminger.

In other action, the board amended city personnel practices, approved a number of ordinances, OK'd the purchase of two furnace bids for the fire department, began its annual review of water rates and chose street lights for the Desloge Drive Project.

top story
Council discusses progress

The Park Hills City Council met in regular session Tuesday evening to hold a public hearing and approve several ordinances.

The council first opened the floor for public comment regarding a request for a special use permit to construct a two-family duplex in an R-2 single family residential zoning district at 700 Dix Avenue.

City Attorney Ed Pultz explained the criteria that the council should examine when considering the approval of the special use permit before Mayor Daniel Naucke opened the floor for public comment. Dustin Wyatt, the owner of the property said he saw no problems with the criteria and so declined to comment. No other public comment was made.

The council unanimously approved the special use permit to Wyatt.

Next, City Administrator Mark McFarland gave the council his report, saying that there are a lot of things going on in Park Hills.

First, he said that he and Dooley Politte, director of the Parks Department, were beginning to look into replacing a city van. He said the bathrooms in Elvins Park were coming along and city employees had met with Ameren officials regarding lighting to be placed in Haney Park.

McFarland also raised the topic of bringing back the Fourth Fest on the Fourth of July, suggesting that the council think about the idea in coming months. He said he thought it would be best to start slowly and gauge public interest in the return of the event.

McFarland said the Street Department had been busy, trimming trees downtown and gauging the damage caused by tree roots to sidewalks downtown. He also said that the street department did a great job during the recent ice storm, quickly clearing streets for traffic.

Referring to the recently discussed Neighborhood Watch Program, McFarland said that Detective Mike Kurtz of the Park Hills Police Department had been assigned as a liaison between the public and the police department.

McFarland said Kurtz had suggested that the councilpersons of each ward select a “captain” from within their ward to head up the program in their respective portions of the city.

He said the fire department had also been busy recently, painting and cleaning the firehouse and installing a recently donated kitchen stove. McFarland said the fire department is still in need of additional volunteer firefighters, encouraging those interested to reach out to the fire department, Chief John Reeves or City Hall.

After last month’s drastic drop in sales tax revenue, McFarland said February’s numbers were slightly more encouraging, with revenue up 6.7 percent over last year’s numbers. The increase translates to a $32,000 increase.

In a report from the Public Works and Utility Committee, Councilman John Clark gave the council an update on work being done and areas of need.

Among the items discussed, Clark said in the committee’s meeting with the mayor and city officials, the need for cleaning litter in the city was discussed.

“That’s something I think that you all agreed we need to work towards and get some sort of a schedule,” Clark said. “Whether it’s our prison crews that we use to do this work, or a combination of all the work groups on a periodic basis to patrol and monitor these areas and make sure that they’re clean and to make sure that when you come into our town, it looks nice. I think that’s something we need to work toward.”

After Clark’s report, Naucke said he agreed about the need to continually monitor litter and that city crews had indeed been spending time picking up trash in recent days.

“As a councilmember, I would like to encourage the residents of Park Hills to also help with that, with their properties and things like that,” Clark said. “That makes such a big difference, if people help us.”

Clark also reported on his meeting with the Senior Aid Association, saying that conversations had been held about increasing insurance rates at the senior apartments downtown. Clark said the apartment’s management had discussed the possibility of being covered on city insurance, as it would save considerable money.

In council discussion, Councilman Duane McAllister asked if city crews could regularly mow grass surrounding the Parkway Drive exit off of U.S. 67. McFarland said the ground being referred to should technically be kept up by MoDOT and that attempts to encourage more frequent mowing have gone largely unanswered.

Councilman Tom Reed asked about a series of delinquent, damaged or seemingly abandoned homes in city limits, inquiring where the city was at in pursuing any remedy or action.

“We’ve got a list from several councilman, and all those you mentioned are on that list,” said Community Development Director Robert Sullivan. “We’re going to hit the high-profile homes — ones that are a danger to the public or anybody getting on the property. Those processes are not things that happen overnight.”

Sullivan said there are legal as well as municipal factors to be considered when proceeding with action on such homes.

Next, Economic Development Director Anna Kleiner introduced a proposed ordinance that would authorize the mayor and city clerk to execute an agreement with Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Engineering related to a traffic study at the intersection of Taylor Avenue and Marty Drive.

Kleiner said the project would not exceed $10,000, with $8,000 of the cost being reimbursed by MoDOT and the results of the study needing to be submitted to MoDOT by April 14. The council approved the ordinance.

The council next approved an ordinance proclaiming the April election of five total councilpersons. In Ward 1, Michael “Adam” Bowers is running for a two-year term and Alan Coleman and Ben Lashley are both running for a one-year term. In Ward 2 David W. Easter, Duane McAllister and Chris Myers are running for a two-year term. In Ward 3 Edward L. Hart and Richard L. House are running for a two-year term. In Ward 4 Steven Weinhold and Charlie Naucke are running for a two-year term. The council approved the election proclamation.

The council next voted to submit grants for the police department, written by Det. Sgt. Todd Inserra for overtime and equipment costs.

The council also voted to move the scheduled monthly meeting of the planning and zoning commission to the third Thursday of the month to allow for more efficient approval of proposed projects.

The council also voted to approve ordinances to extend deadlines related to the St. Joe trailhead at the Fairgrounds Drive project, due to delayed action by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Chamber announces new leadership

The Farmington Regional Chamber Board of Directors has announced Laura Raymer and Candy Zarcone have been selected as co-directors of the organization.

The chamber board recently voted to amend the structure of the organization, removing the position of CEO/president after the resignation of Dick Womack who led the chamber since November 2015.

“We are excited to begin a new chapter in the Farmington Regional Chamber and are confident we have the right team to do so,” said Board Chairman Phil Brockland. “With the experience, passion and talents of Raymer and Zarcone, we are prepared to take the organization to a new level. While the restructuring may seem a bit unique, we believe it to be an exceptional opportunity for our chamber, our community and our region.”

Raymer has served in a variety of capacities with the chamber since 1994. Her roles have included committee chair, ambassador, board of directors, chamber president/chair and foundation chair. Raymer served as administrative assistant of the chamber from 2004 to 2006 and returned in May of 2015 overseeing Operations and Member Engagement.

In her new role as director of Events and Program Marketing, Raymer will focus her skills on organization and event management.

“The Farmington Regional Chamber has a long and profound history and I’m excited to continue our work as we look to the bright future of our region” says Raymer.

A Farmington High School alumnus, Raymer has served in numerous non-profit positions throughout the years including president of the Downtown Farmington Organization, director of the Farmington Ministerial Alliance, board member of the St. Francois County United Way and Farmington Education Foundation.

Raymer lives in Farmington with her two children, who will graduate from FHS in 2019. In addition to theatre, movies, and reading she loves to take advantage of the abundant nature that surrounds the Parkland.

“This area is filled with beauty and most of all, amazing people," she said.

Zarcone has been a part of the Farmington community since 2007 and has been active in the Farmington Regional Chamber for many years, most recently serving as Public Relations coordinator with the organization since August 2017 in a part-time capacity. Her expertise in non-profit organizations includes promotion and networking for various agencies through both volunteerism and employment.

Most recently, Zarcone worked at LIFE Center, Inc. for five and a half years as the Employment Training coordinator. Previously, she served as public relations director for the Parkland Pregnancy Resource Center and was employed at Young Faith in Christ and the St. Francois County Community Partnership.

Presently, Zarcone serves on the Board of Directors for Serenity HospiceCare, Visions of Hope Training Program, Friends In Action Clubhouse and the St. Francois County Mental Health Board. In 2015, Zarcone received the KFMO/B104 Super Service award at the Farmington Regional Chamber Awards of Excellence ceremony for her work within the community.

In her new full-time position of cirector of Member Engagement and Business Development, Zarcone will utilize her extensive background in non-profit work to grow the organization for the betterment of its members.

“Working one-on-one with our members and organizations is exciting. We have such a variety of trades and talent in our area it is no wonder this region continues to grow. I’m honored to be a part of that growth and will work every day to bring additional resources to our community,” said Zarcone.

Prior to moving to Farmington, Zarcone was a leader for 14 years at the regional and national levels for Protestant Women of the Chapel, an Armed Forces chaplain-sponsored ministry to military wives. She is a graduate of Rhema Bible Training Center and King’s Way Missionary Institute.

Zarcone has three grown daughters and in her spare time enjoys hiking, reading and attending art-related events.

“I am blessed to be a part of this historic organization and look forward to serving the Parkland," she said.

top story
Police chase ends in arrests

A police pursuit involving a stolen vehicle from Jefferson County ended with a crash and two arrests Monday evening on U.S. 67 near Doubet Road.

Bonne Terre Police Chief Doug Calvert said at 5:54 p.m. a vehicle was called in as a possible stolen Dodge Challenger from Jefferson County.

“We still don’t know who called it in, but they saw it at BP gas station and they noticed it because it was on Facebook,” said Calvert. “They called Central Dispatch and the officer found and confirmed the vehicle was stolen out of Jefferson County.”

Calvert added his officer and a county deputy got behind the vehicle on Benham Street and turned on their lights and sirens. Before they topped the hill by the BP gas station the car took off.

“It was a white Dodge Challenger and they failed to yield, turning south on U.S. 67,” said Calvert. “Other agencies south of us were notified and Central closed the channel. Desloge assisted in the pursuit and county was right behind our officer. I don’t know how many units they used.”

Calvert wasn’t sure what other agencies may have assisted.

“They chased the car and somebody, possibly a state trooper, set up spike strips in Farmington,” Calvert said. “I told my officer to terminate at the county line, because speeds were getting too high and they were approaching the Madison County line. Also if they took Karsch Blvd. ... because I didn’t want them chasing a car with the stoplights.”

Calvert said the Challenger continued south on U.S. 67 and spun out and ran into the cables at Doubet Road. He said nobody was hurt.

Calvert added a woman, identified as Cassandra Beck, 30, of Crystal City, was wanted on several felony warrants out of Jefferson County. He said they also arrested a man, David Rosenzweig, 34, of St. Louis, who had warrants out of Festus.

“She resisted at the scene and they didn’t tase her or anything, they just cuffed her,” said Calvert. “She didn’t want to go and they found drugs on her and in the car as well. They found what we believe to methamphetamine and marijuana.”

Calvert said after she was taken to the county jail she complained of shoulder pain. She was released and taken to Parkland Health Center where she was checked out.

“She was given a 'fit for confinement' and was taken to the St. Francois County Jail where she is housed at his time,” said Calvert. “She is being held on the felony warrants and I am sure Jefferson County will come get her at some point.”

Calvert said as far as the stolen Challenger, it will held at the tow company until the reporting police agency processes it or releases it. He said the car has damage to the rear back bumper. 

Calvert said they will be seeking charges through the state for tampering with a motor vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest, careless and imprudent driving, speeding and more.

breaking top story
Search continues for inmate

At approximately 10:13 a.m. Tuesday inmate Jacob Dylan Martin, Department of Corrections No. 1248981, a minimum-security inmate, walked away from a Missouri Department of Transportation work site approximately 18 miles south of Patton while on work release from Potosi Correctional Center.

Local law enforcement and the Missouri State Highway Patrol are working with the Department of Corrections to apprehend Martin.

The K-9 unit from Farmington Correctional Center was dispatched, and the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT) was activated.

Martin, a 22-year-old white male, is 5 feet 10 inches tall and 164 pounds. He has brown hair and blue eyes. Residents are asked to contact local law enforcement or the Missouri State Highway Patrol if they see him.

Martin is serving a five-year sentence for two counts of first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle, second-degree burglary, and theft/stealing in Franklin County as well as a concurrent three-year sentence for attempted first-degree tampering in Marion County. He has previous convictions for driving while intoxicated, shoplifting and resisting arrest.

Martin was received by the Missouri Department of Corrections Sept. 30, 2016, and was transferred to Jefferson City Correctional Center Feb. 23, 2017. He was transferred to a minimum security unit in Potosi Correctional Center for work release Sept. 26, 2017.