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Shawnna Robinson, Daily Journal 

The marker for the toll gate on the plank road was moved years ago after an expansion of Karsch Boulevard in Farmington and was found "hidden in plain sight" by members of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Daughters of American Colonists who were looking for the stone marker. A rededication ceremony for the marker is set for 11:30 a.m. today.

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Locals' families survive Texas floods

While most Parkland residents have been emotionally touched by watching TV and social media videos of the victims of record-breaking flooding along the Texas Gulf Coast from Hurricane Harvey, there are more than a few in the area who are seeing the homelessness, grief and loss through the eyes of family members who live in the affected area and are trying to piece their lives back together one day at a time.

One of those people is Janice Wooldridge of Farmington who has been sharing her daughter-in-law Becca's blog on her Facebook page that vividly describes the ordeals faced by the young woman and her husband Eric as they grappled with the horrors and hardships of living through what is being described by climate experts as "a thousand-year flood."

"Becca blogged four days and by day two I was bawling my head off," she said. "They have pictures they took with their GoPros and, because I now live back in Farmington, I guess they wanted to show me and the insurance people.

"They ended up with like three feet of water in their home. On day one everybody was thinking, 'Oh, it's not going to happen to us, but let's go move my car to my mom's side of town that never floods.' It flooded and her car is totally gone and her mother's house looks like in the pictures I've seen that the water was up past the door."

Eric and Becca have only been married a year, so they had wedding gifts as well as other possessions they had to get boxed up. In her blog, Becca described the rain as it got heavier and the nearby bayou was at its brim. Eric and his father had gotten the couple's generator up and going in case they lost power and important belongings were placed up high.

Day two started with Becca being awakened by Eric from a nap. He told her water was beginning to seep into their home. As the water rose to the couple's shins, they began to look for ways to get to higher ground. They tried to lift their bed and couch higher before they left. Once both were secure, the two finished packing a to-go bag and left their home to stay with nearby friends, not knowing if they'd ever return.

As conditions worsened and Eric went out to rescue people in the neighborhood using a kayak, Becca fell to her knees, cried and prayed for God to protect her husband. A close friend called and reminded her of God's love, grace and promises and not long afterward, Eric returned safe and sound.

"He's a big dude — he's 6-foot 6-inches and in good shape — so he was able to physically help some people and that makes me so proud," Wooldridge said. "They are very well connected in the area they live in because my son does volleyball coaching and he played international league for five years. He has a presence and is respected by the kids.

"He coached this one kid — and they reached out to him after all this was over and asked, 'What do you need, Eric?' He told them, 'Well, until we can get State Farm to settle with us, we might be able to get my car dried out — it got water in it, but not up to the wires. We're hoping for that, so we'll have one car. They came over there and pulled up in a really nice convertible.

"Then they had to get the stuff out of the house that belonged to them so it didn't mold. About eight or nine people descended on them and they started pulling their stuff out. They were about to sign a contract on an apartment that they hadn't even seen because they were desperate and somebody called his dad from volleyball and said, 'I have had my (townhouse) on the market — it's a four floor town home overlooking downtown Houston — and it hasn't sold. Do you know of anybody who is displaced.' Eric's dad said, 'Yes, I do — my son.' Sight unseen Eric rented it from them. So, theirs is a good story and it ended up well. They have very little damage other than deductibles and waiting and that sort of thing."

Another Parklander who has experienced the heartache of watching family members deal with the severe flooding in Houston is Candy Zarcone.

"My one sister just moved into a brand new home," she said. "They had it built and moved into it just a few months ago. They had to evacuate because the water was rising on both sides of their house. They didn't get flood insurance because they were told that the whole city would have to flood before their house would be flooded.

"She hasn't gone back to her house, so she doesn't know what it's condition is yet. The water was up to the driveway when they left and one of their two cars was parked in the driveway — that was their son's truck. They couldn't even get out in the truck. She sent me a picture of what they got picked up in, but it never came through.

Zarcone said her sister, along with her family, were taken to a shelter in Mount Belleview, but were turned away.

"The shelter said, 'You can't stay here tonight. This is basically a temporary stopping place.' So they ended up going to a friend's house and they stayed there. A storm surge had been predicted that night, which is why they left, but whether or not that actually happened or not, we don't know."

Zarcone has a second sister and their mother who also lives in the affected area.

"My mom is in a senior apartment complex on the third floor, but she's right on Sylvan Beach. There was no water anywhere around. She said, 'You would never even know there was any flooding.' You could see the beach from her apartment, but there was a chemical spill just a few miles from her house and at one point they said they were to shelter in place and to close all windows and doors, turn off their air conditioning — and so they did have that going on. Fortunately she had all of her medications and plenty of food to sit it out.

Zarcone's sister is a registered nurse at a rehab facility and lives in Galveston.

"She has three grown children, but two of the family members have some pretty severe medical needs," she explained. "She was staying with her son and daughter-in-law in their apartment and her grown daughter was there with them, along with her 21-year-old son with cerebral palsy.

"My nephew has a 3-year-old that has a severe genetic disorders with lots of seizures. He doesn't walk or talk. He's got all kinds of medical equipment, suction equipment, medication — all of that — so, they weren't sure what they were going to do. The water was rising. The first night they had 14 tornadoes around them that were spotted and the sirens were going off every 10-15 minutes. They didn't sleep all night long.

There was an apartment above them that was empty and so they called Candy to get her opinion on whether or not they should move up there.

"I said, 'Heck yes! This is not an ordinary situation! You've got to do what you've got to do.' They didn't really want to take the baby, understandably, into a shelter situation where they didn't know about the cleanliness. His immune system is compromised. They also had pets they were worried about if they had to go to a shelter.

"The night they were having the tornadoes, the water was rising. The parking lot completely flooded, so in the middle of the night they went around and woke up the other residents and had them move their cars. They drove them up on the grass so that they were practically at the front door of their apartment. It got to the back wheels of their cars.

"She did say a bayou had overflowed and there was an alligator swimming around in the parking lot."

While the flooding is some 800 miles away, it's not too far to be of assistance. This week a group from Assymetric Solutions, a firearms and special security training company with operations southwest of Farmington, sent several heavy duty vehicles and volunteers down to help with rescue efforts. They also collected bottled water and other items to deliver upon arrival. Other local groups are in the planning stages for fundraisers and collection efforts to help those dealing with the aftermath of the devastating storms.

The Daily Journal will continue to report on local collection efforts and fundraisers in coming days and weeks. 

Kevin Jenkins, Daily Journal 

Five-year-old twins Bentley and Brody Compton, of Park Hills, have a blast at the opening night of the Desloge Labor Day Picnic in City Park. Unseasonably cool weather brought out a larger than normal crowd for the start of the popular four-day event that continues through Monday.

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Coach's gift to players has some district patrons concerned

A shirt distributed to Farmington football players has raised concerns with some parents and district patrons, at least one of whom considers the shirt to overstep competitive spirit and cross into the realm of being inappropriate.

Tony Brinkley said his son came home wearing the shirt around the beginning of August, immediately grabbing his attention. The front of the shirt reads  “Black Knight Hogs,” and the back of the shirt reads, “FRIDAY NIGHT... TIME TO GET A LITTLE PISSY”.

Farmington Athletic Director John Bacon said an assistant coach has shirts made for the portion of the team he coaches each year, and did so again this year. He said about 16 players were given the shirt in question.

“It’s going to be worn only at practices and at games under their shoulder pads and jerseys,” Bacon said. “The players understand this refers to an attitude of aggressiveness that is kind of appropriate for football, but not appropriate for other situations ... which is why they’ll be wearing them just at practice and games and team situations, but won’t be wearing them at school or out in the community or anything like that."

Brinkley said he understands the idea of trying to pump up a football team, but he thinks it should be done without employing language that students couldn’t use in the classroom. He is also skeptical of the idea of high school boys not wearing the shirt elsewhere just because they were told not to do so.

“I talked with the principal first,” Brinkley said. “I spoke with him, and that’s what I was trying to get across — that it was inappropriate. I thought it was very inappropriate for a school to reflect that kind of language.”

Regardless of where they are worn, Brinkley said he doesn’t like the message conveyed by the shirt.

“I think it’s a bad reflection upon our school and our football team,” Brinkley said. “In my day it would never have been permitted.”

Bacon said the players will be keeping the shirts, but will also receive shirts expressing the same sentiment with different wording to be worn in public.

The shirts were not paid for with school funds, according to Bacon.

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North County breaks in new field

North County’s Lady Raiders took to the new softball field for the first time Friday afternoon after a brief ribbon cutting ceremony near North County Primary School with members of the board of education.

Athletic Director Chad Mills said the project has been in the works for more than a year, with the final product being something of which the district and community at large can be really proud.

“For over a year, we’ve been working on this,” Mills said. “It’s a domino effect— one group can’t come in until the other group’s job is over. And everybody did a wonderful job. But because of that domino effect, it took a little while because each group was waiting on the others to finish. But we’re really proud of the facility.”

The facility can be used for both softball and Cal Ripken League baseball, with adjustable base distances. Mills said a lot of the features of the new field can be attributed to input from Superintendent Yancy Poorman.

“Dr. Poorman spearheaded the design of the field,” Mills said. “He’s been all over the country watching summer baseball over the years, so he’s noticed what he’s liked at other fields and has brought that back to our field here in Bonne Terre.”

The long hours of work that went into the field have produced a facility that was truly worth the wait, according to Mills.

“We feel like it’s a first-rate facility,” he said. “I love the flag poles in the outfield, and we’ve got water fountains in the dugouts. We’ve got the whole setup, and I think it’ll be a nice place for not only our team but for the community.”

While there was some work done by contractors that the district didn’t have the capability to undertake, Poorman and Mills said a great deal of work on the project was handled by district staff.

“Our maintenance staff is incredible,” Mills said. “Kenny Hambrick with maintenance and Sherry Porter and her group, they just do a great job. That allowed us to do a whole lot of it in-house.”

The Lady Raiders took the field against the East Carter Lady Redbirds for the first home game on the new field.

Charged for driving and drug offenses

A Potosi man faces several charges stemming from a November 2016 traffic stop in Washington County, according to a probable cause statement obtained from the Washington County Prosecuting Attorney’s office.

Records reflect that Ricky Turntine, 30, of Potosi, was pulled over on Nov. 11, 2016 by a Washington Sheriff’s Department deputy for a license violation. Turntine was driving a Chevrolet truck but the license plate was registered to a Ford.

Turntine informed the deputy that he did not have a license because his driving privileges had been suspended. Additionally, he could not provide proof of insurance.

The deputy received permission to search the truck and found a digital scale with white residue, several unused baggies, two baggies containing a crystalline substance, two bags with white residue, and a bag containing six oval pills.

Turntine was arrested and the substances were sent to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Laboratory for analysis. The crystalline substance and powder tested positive as methamphetamine, while the pills were identified as Morphine.

Turntine is charged with three class C felony charges of possession of a controlled substance, one class D felony charge of possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to use, and three misdemeanors related to the traffic stop.

He was jailed on a $45,000 bond.