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County clerk announces retirement

Long-time County Clerk Mark Hedrick has announced his impending retirement at the end of his current term.

At the end of Hedrick's term — which runs through Dec. 31, 2018 — he will have served a total of 16 years. Prior to that he served several years as presiding commissioner after being appointed to the post.

Asked why he decided to announce his decision to retire when he still has more than a year left in his term, Hedrick said, "I wanted to let everyone know so they will have the opportunity, if they want, to file in February for county clerk ... they would know that I would not be running."

As for why he has decided to retire after this term, Hedrick said, "Primarily because of my age — I'll be 70 at the end of this term — and I want to enjoy my grandkids and spend more time with my wife while I still feel good."

After so many years spent in service to the county, Hedrick isn't leaving his post without feeling some remorse.

It has been an honor for me to serve the people of the county for all these years," he said. "I'll miss being a part of the people who work here — both elected officials and the employees. It has been and continues to be a pleasure."

Presiding Commissioner Harold Gallaher said not having Hedrick in the position is certainly going to be a change.

"I stressed to Mark that I'm going to miss him," Gallaher said. "How many times during a meeting do I look at Mark and say, 'OK, how do we handle this?' I'm going to have to break in someone new and that won't be something that will happen quickly."

kevin jenkins / Kevin R. Jenkins, Daily Journal 

Bismarck School students, from the youngest to the oldest, took part in the annual Halloween Parade held Tuesday morning down Highway 32. Parents and other relatives watched the parade from the sidewalk as the excited kids, dressed in a wide variety of creative costumes, marched to city hall. Several communities, schools and churches hosted special events. Find galleries of photos from area events at

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Road adoptions cut county costs

After a request from a Bismarck High School teacher was read during the recent St. Francois County Commission’s meeting asking that her class be allowed to become an Adopt-A-County Road participant, Commissioner Patrick Mullins took a little time to talk about the program’s history and importance to the county.

The letter, written by Amy Hubbs, who is a specialist with Bismarck High School’s Jobs for America’s Graduates — a school-to-work transition program focused on helping at-risk youth graduate from high school — expressed her group's desire to “adopt” the entire 1.2 mile length of Kings Road, the original highway to Bismarck.

“The commission started this program back in June of 2010 and our first group to participate was on May 17, 2011,” Mullins said. “With this group of youngsters we now have 13 groups participating in the program. We are responsible for around 390 miles of county roads. So, with this addition, our volunteers are picking up trash on 25.3 miles of county road.”

Mullins listed some of the cost savings received by the county through the Adopt-A-County Road Program.

“You need two high-visibility signs, trash bags and safety vests,” he said. “That cost equates to around $200. On normal trash pick-up you would have six guys at almost $20 an hour with a fuel cost for a dump truck and passenger vehicle that could easily reach $100. So, the total value on any given day could be around $1,200 a day. I know that’s a fixed cost, but still — we’re saving money.”

Commissioner Gay Wilkinson interjected, “That’s if we were doing it …”

Mullins answered, “Yes, that’s if we were doing it. So, the cost of maintaining these roads for trash pick-up would be higher if it wasn’t for the volunteers picking up a total of 25.3 miles of county road. That’s just to let you know that. I’m going to send this person the contract and a thank you letter — and they are in contact with Ben Sabastian. So, thanks again to Bismarck High School JAG specialist Amy Hubbs and her volunteers.”

After accepting Mullins’ report, the commissioners approved pay schedule recommendations for the new positions of deputy clerk 4; chief deputy 4; field appraiser 4; and secretary 3 that were submitted by County Clerk Mark Hedrick after he held a special meeting with the county commissioners, officeholders and department heads last week.

Reading from his recommendation, Hedrick said, “When an employee has been in the deputy clerk 1, chief deputy 1, field appraiser 1 or secretary 1 position for a period of five years, the officeholder or department head may recommend that the employee be advanced to deputy clerk 2, chief deputy 2, field appraiser 2 or secretary 2 position.

“When an employee has been in the deputy clerk 2, chief deputy 2, field appraiser 2 or secretary 2 positions for a period of five years, the officeholder or department head may recommend that the employee be advanced to the deputy clerk 3, chief deputy 3, field appraiser 3 or secretary 3 position.

“When an employee has been in the deputy clerk 3, chief deputy 3 or field appraiser 3 or secretary 3 positions for a period of 10 years, the officeholder or department head may recommend that the employee be advanced to the deputy clerk 4, chief deputy 4 or field appraiser 4 position.”

Hedrick also noted that any change in position, other than multiple level positions, must be presented to the county commission showing why the change is justified. He also stressed that all officeholders and department heads need to prepare job descriptions for all of their office or department positions by the end of 2018.

In other action, the commissioners voted down a request by County Public Administrator Gary Matheny asking that two employees in his department be promoted and receive pay raises.

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'Fun Run' in honor of Ericka Wade

Funds raised from a 5k Family Fun Run taking place this weekend in memory of a young woman brutally murdered almost seven years ago will be donated to the Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis for the sponsorship of a room in her name.

The 6th Annual Ericka Wade Foundation 5k Family Fun Run will take place at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the El Tapatio restaurant, located at 605 Walton Drive in Farmington. Same day registration opens at 7:30 a.m. Online registration is also still underway at

According to foundation officer and Wade's brother, Brian Bates, there will be raffles held Saturday for two Yeti Coolers and a Henry Golden Eagle lever action rifle.

All of the proceeds raised that day will benefit children with medical needs through our sponsorship of the Ericka Wade Foundation Inpatient Room at the hospital," Bates said. "The reason we decided to support the Shriners Hospital when we started the foundation back in 2012 was because Ericka was a patient there when she was young.

"She was born with a club foot and so the first five years of her life, they took many trips up to Shriners Hospital. Ericka had multiple surgeries there and they treated her and our family so well that we decided that this was a cause that we would love to support."

Ericka’s life was cut short on Nov. 30, 2010 — just two weeks after her 20th birthday — when she was lured from her home and brutally murdered. The Ericka Wade Foundation was started by the young woman's family to affect a positive impact on the lives of others in her name.

"In 2015 (the foundation) pledged to raise $50,000 in support of the new facility and Shriners commitment to pediatric orthopedics," Bates said. "As a result of the foundation's commitment, during its new facilities dedication on May 17, 2015, Shriners christened one of the six new inpatient rooms as the Ericka Wade Foundation Inpatient Room.

"Over the last five years our runs have raised over $40,000 for Shriners thanks to our loyal supporters and we hope to possibly make our goal this year.”

In 2014 we had the opportunity to sponsor the room because the Shriners were building the brand-new hospital in the city. Basically, the deal is that you have to pledge to raise $50,000 over a six-year period to sponsor a room."

According to Bates, the Wade family is anticipating this weekend's race to be the best they've ever sponsored.

"We're expecting another big crowd this year," he said. " We just want to raise another good amount of money for Shriners Hospital."

Bates also encourages the community to drop by El Tapatio’s anytime Thursday when a portion of the day’s sales will be donated to the foundation.

“For those who love Mexican food like I do, it’s an easy and enjoyable way to give to a good cause.”

kevin jenkins / Provided by Ericka Wade Foundation 

Saturday's 6th annual 5k Family Fun Run, sponsored by the Ericka Wade Foundation, will once again be raising funds for Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis.

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Park dedication set for Nov. 4

A time and date have been set for the dedication ceremony honoring an important part of one area community’s history.

The city of Farmington is holding a dedication ceremony of the St. Luke’s African Methodist Episcopal Church Park at 2 p.m. on Nov. 4.

The park, located at the corner of Franklin Street and Third Street near downtown Farmington, was the site of the St. Luke’s A.M.E. Church.

The property was donated to the city by former Farmington City Councilman Bill Matthews and Charles Matthews in February of 2014.

At that time, then-mayor Mit Landrum told the council the land was the site of the first African Methodist Episcopal Church west of the Mississippi. The gift of the land was given by the brothers for the city to develop the site into a memorial park in honor of the African-American families who played an integral part in the history and development of Farmington.

All that remains at the site are the concrete steps once leading to the front door.

Farmington Parks and Recreation Director Chris Conway said the board discussed the design of the park by request of Mayor Larry Forsythe.

The memorial park will be a “passive” park – meaning, there are no recreation-type swings or other items related to what one typically considers with a park.

A member of the tree board is a landscape architect and helped create an initial design. The design uses both Ivory Silk trees and boxwoods.

“People walk by … they can sit and reflect,” Conway said. “What’s neat about the design of the park is that the trees are going to outline the foundation of the original church.”

Two stone benches are to be placed within the tree line as well.

The boxwoods are planted in the altar area of the church.

“They are to symbolize (altar location),” he said. “They are going to be staggered in a way to see the depiction.”

The Matthews’ family has been invited to participate in the ceremony. During the Oct. 12 Farmington City Council meeting, Mayor Forsythe said some are traveling from out of state to take part in the event.

The ceremony is open to the public.