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First day hikes planned

Each year Missouri State Parks offer the public a way to get back to nature and encourage everyone to participate in their first day of the year hikes.

St. Francois State Park Naturalist Mary Crowell said they are planning on having two first day hikes this year: one for senior citizens and moms with their young ones, and a traditional hike.

“The first one we will have is a stroller walk,” said Crowell. “It will be for those who are either little ones in strollers or early walkers or toddlers. Also if any senior citizens want to join us, we are going to do the walk at 9:30 a.m.”

Crowell said it will start at the ball field and they will walk the old portion of the road. She said everyone may remember they used to have a low-water bridge and they had a new one built, so it bypassed a portion of the original road.

“So that old section of road from the low-water bridge to the new bridge is closed and we will walk down that and come back up,” said Crowell. “It will be nice and easy and it’s paved. This is our first time having a stroller walk and it’s a great way to get moms and little ones out.”

Crowell said later that afternoon at 1 p.m. they will have the traditional hike at the Mooners Hollow Trail. She added it’s a much longer trail, about two and three-quarters of a mile long.

“You will have to cross the creek at the beginning and the middle of the hike,” said Crowell. “There are also some springs you will cross over, so depending on how cold it is we may see a little bit of water or may see some ice on the trail.”

Crowell said she looked at the weather for that day and there is a chance for some snow. She said she would put it on their Facebook page by that morning if the hikes are still on or not.

“If it’s covered in snow we probably won’t be able to do the stroller walk,” said Crowell. “I think if there is just a little bit of snow we could probably still do the hike, but the main issue will be the road getting into the park.”

Crowell said the idea is to get everyone off on the right foot because a lot of people have New Year’s resolutions to exercise more or lose weight.

“So this is a way to get a jump-start on exercise, get outside and bring the New Year in with other people who enjoy nature,” said Crowell. “Both events are listed on our state park webpage and Facebook page.”

St. Joe State Park Specialist Sandy McCain said they will have their hike at 10 a.m. at the Blankshire Trailhead and it will be a two-mile hike.

“It will last about two hours and it will consist by a gradual uphill walk through a wooded terrain, followed by a return downhill along a paved surface,” said McCain. “Any interested parties need to be prepared and dress for cold weather and rocky surfaces.”

McCain said as in years past they will have hot chocolate and coffee at the office afterward. Mark Hodges is the interpretative technician that works at the mines state historic site and he will lead the hike this year.

McCain added if anyone needs questions answered prior to the event they can contact Hodges at 573-431-6226.

“Even in years past we have always had a lot of people participate,” said McCain. “Some days it was really nice and sunny and others was snow-covered. It really gets people back to nature and lets them realize how nice the woods are this time of year.”

McCain suggests everyone wear good sturdy boots and dress for the weather.

In its seventh year, the annual event is part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes effort, which gives people the opportunity to start the year off right with an outdoor hike at a state park. A list of state parks with guided First Day Hikes and other related activities is available at

“Anyone who wants to kick off 2018 in a fun, healthy way outdoors can do so with a First Day Hike at one of our 36 hosting parks,” said Ben Ellis, director of Missouri State Parks. “We encourage everyone to join us in this growing annual tradition of getting a head start on a year of outdoor adventures.”

According to a press release from Missouri State Parks, nationwide last year, more than 62,000 people took part in guided hikes that covered more than 114,165 miles on 1,300 different First Day Hikes in state parks across the country.

Details on every state’s 2017 hikes are located at As in the past, participants are encouraged to log their adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes. 

Hang on to your coats!

While the Parkland has received little more than a light dusting of snow over the past week, the weather outside can still be described as "frightful" as temperatures have dropped to the single digits in recent days - and there's going to be very little relief for southeast Missouri over the next week.

According to the National Weather Service, the coldest air of the season thus far arrived in the region on Wednesday morning, as expected. Early morning temperatures were in the single digits above and below zero in parts of the state.

With such cold temperatures, even a relatively light wind is enough to produce dangerously cold wind chill values. With the arrival of a weak disturbance from the northwest Wednesday, precipitation stayed to the far north of the Parkland.

The northwest flow aloft will leave the door open to significant cold air intrusions the upcoming weekend and into early next week. Our current bout of very cold air will also be slow to exit and so the Parkland is going to see cold temperatures for the foreseeable future.

Friday is looking to be the warmest day of the week with temperatures possibly breaking the freezing mark in a few areas - but then the next Arctic air mass looks like it's going to invade our region once again. Weekend max temperatures look very similar to what we are dealing with now and could be colder once the strength of air mass is determined.

The Arctic air mass is expected to dominate the region from Saturday through Monday night and it's looking increasingly likely that the area could see an extended period of dangerous wind chills of 15 below zero or lower for many areas north of Interstate 70. It looks like temperatures may take an upward tick on Tuesday, but it's still going to be very cold.

With the cold comes the announcement that the Farmington Civic Center is open as a warming shelter through Sunday and possibly longer, if needed. The civic center is open during normal operating hours 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

The need for an overnight shelter will be determined by the extent that the cold weather affects the area and public need. Persons needing an overnight warming shelter should call the Farmington Police Department at 573-756-6686 or St. Francois County Central Dispatch at 431-3131 to make arrangements. 

Here's the NWS forecast for the coming week:

Today will be partly sunny, with a high near 27 and an east wind around 5 mph - becoming light and variable in the afternoon. The evening skies will be partly cloudy with a low around 14 degrees, with a light and variable wind.

Friday will be partly sunny, with a high near 34 and a calm wind becoming northerly around 5 mph. the evening will be mostly cloudy, with a low around 14.

Saturday is forecast to be partly sunny, with a high near 21. In the evening, there will be a 20 percent chance of snow after midnight and a low around 5.

Sunday will still see a 20 percent chance for snow before noon. It will be partly sunny and cold, with a high near 19. In the evening, skies will be partly cloudy and temperatures are expected to dip down to only 3 degrees.

New Year's Day will be mostly sunning and cold, with a high near 20. Expect partly cloudy skies in the evening, with a low around 6 degrees.

Tuesday is expected to be mostly sunny, with a high near 26.

For the latest weather information - including NWS advisories, watches and warnings - check the Daily Journal website at

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Fire destroys mobile home

Firefighters responded to a call at 4:21 p.m. Wednesday reporting a house fire at 2456 Watson Road between Doe Run and Park Hills.

Arriving upon the scene in 17-degree weather, the Doe Run Fire Department found a portion of the mobile home fully engulfed in flames. According to Capt. Colt Grimes, the blaze quickly spread throughout the rest of the house.

"We were hurting for water at the initial time," Grimes said. "We had Bismarck [Fire Department], Farmington, Pilot Knob and Park Hills come in to assist us. There were no injuries."

Firefighters and other responders on the scene had to tread carefully because water dripping from the hoses on the tankers was freezing within seconds after hitting the ground, making for very slippery conditions.

Grimes said the Missouri State Fire Marshal's Office had been contacted, however, it was uncertain whether or not an investigator would be coming to the scene to determine the cause of the fire.

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Several injured in area crashes

A Fredericktown man received minor injuries in an accident involving two stationary vehicles on Tuesday, according to a report from the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

The report states that Albert Minghi, 58, of Fredericktown was travelling south on US 67 near Route A at 6:17 a.m.

According to the report, Minghi’s 2002 Ford F-150 traveled off the left side of the roadway and struck a 2014 Freightliner, which then struck a 2007 GMC 2500. The report lists no driver or injury information for the two stationary vehicles.

Minghi received minor injuries and was transported by private conveyance to Parkland Health Center. He was wearing a seat belt.

Minghi’s vehicle was totaled while the Freightliner sustained moderate damage and the GMC sustained minor damage. The F-150 and Freightliner were towed from the scene while the GMC was driven from the scene.

A one-vehicle accident Wednesday morning in Washington County left one woman with moderate injuries, according to a report from the Missouri Highway Patrol.

The report states that Kimberly Rose, 31, of Richwoods was travelling west on Route H east of Cooper Road when the 1997 Toyota Avalon she was driving traveled off the right edge of the road and struck several trees.

Rose received moderate injuries and was transported to St. Anthony’s Medical Center by Washington County ambulance.

Rose’s vehicle was totaled and towed from the scene.

In an unrelated accident on Wednesday, two individuals sustained serious injuries in a one-vehicle accident in Ste. Genevieve County.

The report states that Tyler Litterest, 22, of Ste. Genevieve, was travelling north on Interstate 55 north of mile marker 163 at 8:34 a.m. when the 2012 Dodge Challenger he was driving traveled off the left side of the road.

The vehicle traveled into a ravine, struck the ground and overturned. Litterest and a passenger, Danielle Brady, 25, of St. Louis, both received serious injuries. Brady was transported to Barnes Jewish Hospital by Air Evac and Litterest was transported to Mercy Hospital by Survival Flight.

The vehicle was totaled and towed from the scene.

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Man accused of making threats

An area man is charged with several felonies after police say he threatened to harm his children along with other people and himself.

Dillon Hahn, 21, of Leadington, is charged with two class D felonies of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree and a class E felony of harassment in the first degree.

According to a probable cause statement signed by the Bonne Terre Police Department, on Dec. 16 an officer was called to a home off North Long Street about a person stating he was going to kill his children.

The mother of the children called police after Hahn came to her house with their two children in his vehicle. The woman told the officer Hahn pulled into her driveway and almost hit her vehicle. She said Hahn then backed up and hit the neighbor’s car.

She also told the officer Hahn accelerated his vehicle quickly and drove off in a dangerous manner. She said Hahn then called her and said he was going to kill their children, kill some people in Park Hills, blow her head off and then kill himself.

The officer talked to one of the woman’s neighbors who saw what happened and said Hahn pulled into her driveway and then backed up, hitting a vehicle. He also told the officer that Hahn was burning his tires extremely loud as he drove up the road. The neighbor felt Hahn was being reckless.

Hahn’s phone pinged in Ste. Genevieve and the officer was able to reach Hahn on the phone. Deputies with the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Department took Hahn into custody and the children were found safe.

During an interview, Hahn told the officer that he went to get diapers from the mother of his children and while there he saw another man and got mad. He also said his foot slipped off of the clutch and he rolled backward.

He told the officer he didn’t know he hit a vehicle.

Hahn is being held on a $50,000 cash-only bond in the St. Francois County Jail.