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Wright announces House run

Farmington businessman Dale Wright has announced his candidacy for the 116th District seat in the Missouri House of Representatives currently held by Rep. Kevin Engler, who will be completing his final term due to term limits in December 2018.

In announcing his run for the 116th district, Wright said “First, I want to publicly thank Rep. Engler for his service to the citizens of our area for the past 15 years in both the Missouri House and Senate. He has served with integrity and commitment to our district and I am honored to have his support.

“After prayerful consideration and with the support of my family, I am announcing my candidacy for the 116th District of the Missouri House of Representatives. Because of my volunteer work through the years and my experience leading companies and balancing large budgets I believe that I am uniquely qualified to serve our citizens in St. Francois, Perry, and Ste. Genevieve County.

"This is an exciting opportunity to represent them and I am grateful for the encouragement and offers of support that I have received from so many people including our local legislators, representatives Engler, Mike Henderson, Rick Francis and Elaine Gannon; former representative Paul Fitzwater; and Missouri Sen. Gary Romine.

Wright said he is looking forward to meeting with and discussing the issues and concerns of the citizens of House District 116 in the course of his campaign.

"I ask for their vote so I can continue the work of protecting the unborn, eliminating extreme regulations that drive jobs out of our state, providing more affordable healthcare to our citizens and providing compassionate assistance to those who cannot help themselves. Unlike our neighboring states, Missouri has a balanced budget every year, thanks to the courageous actions of our legislators. I will continue to support that responsible fiscal policy.”

Wright graduated from the Farmington public school system, earned an AB degree in Business Management from Mineral Area College and completed the Healthcare Business Management Program through the Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University.

He began his career in healthcare management, working at Mineral Area Regional Medical Center in Farmington and later at Phelps County Regional Medical Center in Rolla where he was also a founding member of the Missouri Hospital Association’s Hospital Purchasing Council.

Wright is a past vice president of Health Services Corporation of America, a healthcare consulting company based in Cape Girardeau. He previously served as executive vice president of Ni-Med Inc. — a medical device manufacturer — where he served as the driving force to move corporate operations from St. Louis to Farmington Industrial Park.

Additionally, Wright has served as divisional president and chief contracting officer at Amerinet, Inc., a national healthcare group purchasing organization with contract sales of $7.5 billion. He was co-owner of The Branding Iron BBQ restaurants in Cape Girardeau, Farmington, Jackson and Poplar Bluff until the company was sold to the Dexter BBQ Company.

Wright is co-owner and managing partner of Actalur Group, LLC, a healthcare consulting company based in Delray Beach, Florida, as well as president and COO of Angle Medical Solutions, a medical distributor in Rigby, Idaho.

He currently serves on the Farmington City Council and Farmington Police Personnel Board, along with the Farmington Public Safety and Farmington Public Services committees. Wright is a member of the Mineral Area College Foundation Board of Directors and serves as vice president of its executive committee. Wright has been a member of the MCII Sheltered Workshop Board of Directors for 18 years and served two years as its president.

An active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Wright has a long history of volunteering his time to causes important to him, including the Boy Scouts of America, PTA, Big Brothers and the American Heart Association, as well as supporting local, state, and national election campaigns.

In addition to being listed in the Who’s Who of American Business Executives, he’s been featured in several national healthcare publications and has spoken at national conferences and served on numerous healthcare panels through the years. 

Wright and his wife, Denise, have lived in Farmington for most of their lives and have three children Andrea (Waddell), Aaron, Stephanie (Felker), 10 grandchildren and a great-grandson.

Family pets rescued from fire

Firefighters responded to a Monday morning fire at a Bonne Terre duplex where a number of family pets were rescued from the flames.

According to Bonne Terre Fire Chief David Pratte, upon arriving on the scene of the 9:03 a.m. report of a fire at 2478 Reese St., department personnel discovered heavy smoke coming from the duplex.

“The fire appears to have started accidentally in the kitchen, but the exact cause is still under investigation,” he said. “The homeowner, along with six to eight cats — some of them kittens — along with a dog, a lizard and a snake were removed from the home. Oxygen was given to some of the cats to revive them, which was successful.”

Pratte noted that the animals were removed from the scene and taken to a veterinarian to undergo a checkup, but all seemed to be OK.

He said firefighters remained on the scene for around an hour and a half before getting the fire under control. Pratte reported that the residence received substantial fire, smoke and water damage. The other duplex, however, was left undamaged.

In addition to Bonne Terre, other fire departments responding to the fire included Big River, Desloge, Farmington, De Soto Rural, Goose Creek and Lake Timberline.

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Saying 'thank you' to soldiers

A military support organization is partnering with a local Girl Scout troop to raise funds to donate snack items to service members during the holiday season.

Project Thank You is a program in which Girl Scouts customers are able to donate an additional $5 to go toward providing snacks for military personnel around the holidays through United Services Organizations (USO).

Last year, the program allowed the donation of more than 7,300 cans of nuts and candy through the USO.

“’Project Thank You’ is a community service project that’s developed by Girl Scouts,” Aubrey Hart, a member of local Girl Scout Troop 1328, said. “It’s where customers can donate $5 to provide a nut or candy product to our military troops overseas and also here at home.”

Hart said this year marks the fifth anniversary of the partnership between the USO and Girl Scouts. Additionally, the top 15 scouts in the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri Council in terms of garnering donations will have the opportunity to participate in the USO’s Holiday Block Leave event at St. Louis’ Lambert International Airport.

Project Warrior X Program Director Kandace McFarland said her organization is helping to promote Project Thank You with the goal of increasing donations and the likelihood that a local girl scout will be able to participate in the USO’s Holiday Block Leave event.

“They get to go to Lambert Airport and get to actually hand the stuff out to the troops as they come through the airport, which is really an honor to do that,” McFarland said. “If we can help any of the girls in Troop 1328 to do that, it would just be awesome.”

Project Warrior X is a nonprofit organization that provides support for military personnel, both active and retired.

The Holiday Block Leave event is organized by the USO and provides service members at Lambert Airport entertainment and refreshments during their journey home for the holidays.

Project Thank You began in October and will end Dec. 3. McFarland said she has received help from the Girl Scout troop over the years for multiple military support projects, which is what led to the connection for Project Thank You.

“I used to put together bags for homeless veterans and Aubrey’s Girl Scout troop has helped me several times putting together those bags,” she said. “Aubrey herself has helped me many, many times with military projects. The whole troop has helped gather things and help put things together. They’ve done a lot.”

For information on how to donate, contact Kandace McFarland at 573-915-6015.

“If you think about it, you can waste $5 easily,” McFarland said. “So why not put it towards something that’s going to help somebody? And not only the military, but a young person in Girl Scouts to be able to take part in the honor.”

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Man being sought in Iron County murder

A person of interest is being sought by law enforcement after an early-morning murder, according to a press release from the Iron County Sheriff's Office.

The statement says that Thomas Ventimiglia was shot and killed in Iron Country at approximately 1:30 a.m.

Police are currently searching for William King in connection to the crime. Sources say King has previously stayed in the Iron Mountain Lake area among other addresses. He is believed to be driving a Chevrolet Trailblazer. If you see the suspect do not approach him, contact authorities by calling your local police department or 911.

The investigation is being handled by the Iron County Sheriff’s Office, with support being provided by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Calls made to officials were not returned Monday.