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Victoria Kemper, Daily Journal 

King Wyatt Hurley and Queen Blayke Maxwell are crowned Saturday night during “Life is Sweet” Sweetheart Coronation ceremony sponsored by Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) organization at Fredericktown High School. The ceremony, held in the gymnasium, was followed by a dance.

Shawnna Robinson, Daily Journal 

Anita Alsup shows her oil painting, titled "Grateful," following the Art is Ageless reception on Friday. The portrait, created from a photograph of a friend, is named the "Best in Show" for the event.

View additional photos online at

Event showcases artists

A reception honoring a lifetime of talent for local artists was held Friday afternoon at Farmington Presbyterian Manor.

The Art is Ageless program encourages Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America residents and other area seniors ages 65 and over to express their creativity through an annual art competition and exhibit. The program began in 1980.

Anne Allen, in her first year as marketing director at Farmington Presbyterian Manor, said it was an “honor and privilege” to have the 75 pieces of art work shared by the competitors.

“It’s inspiring to see the beautiful pieces these seniors have created,” said Allen. “The joy it brings to them and others is wonderful, and that’s something we want to celebrate and share with the entire Farmington community.”

Anita Alsup’s piece titled, “Grateful,” was named “Best in Show” at the reception honoring those entering this year’s event. This is her second time to receive the designation for a piece of her artwork.

Shawnna Robinson, Daily Journal 

Anita Alsup shows her oil painting, titled "Grateful," following the Art is Ageless reception on Friday. The portrait, created from a photograph of a friend, is named the "Best in Show" for the event.

View additional photos online at

Alsup of Ste. Genevieve said the painting was based on a photograph of her friend.

“She owns ‘Stella and Me’ — the restaurant in Ste. Genevieve,” Alsup said. “I saw this photograph of her — truthfully, she was going to see a Dolly Parton show so she was truly grateful. I thought it was amazing.”

Having an interest in art is something Alsup said she’s had for most of her life. But, as a busy working mom with six children, there was the time needed to focus on the craft.

After retiring from work as a supervisor and management in warehousing, she began a faux finish and stenciling business – a field she worked in for 14 years creating art on the walls of homes and businesses.

“I became a little shaky on the ladder, so to speak, so I took an interest in art,” she said. “Jim Wilson, actually, a professor at Mineral Area College, came over (to Ste. Genevieve), and I took a painting workshop from him. He encouraged all of the group — anybody that was over 65 — to come over to MAC and be a part of the Senior Scholar program.

“I was really interested in that, looking for something to do, so I started oil painting.”

She would take more workshops over the years. Most recently, Alsup said she’s enjoyed creating works in her own home studio – “I love being in my own place, in the zone. It takes me to another place,” she said.

During her time with the Senior Scholars group, Alsup said she discovered how many begin to face obstacles in this season of life — loss of loved ones, illness, problems with memory. And, she found the role art plays in helping individuals through those times.

“I think painting or any type of work — it’s so great the Presbyterian Manor gives everyone over the age of 65 the opportunity to show their work,” she said, “because, it’s just real important for our well-being to do stuff with our hands.”

“Sunshine” by Wanda Webb was named the “People’s Choice” at the event. Webb, from Ste. Genevieve County, said the inspiration for the art — which was created on four separate pieces — came from a photograph in a magazine.

Shawnna Robinson, Daily Journal 

Wanda Webb's piece, titled "Sunshine," is named the "People's Choice" at the Art is Ageless event at Farmington Presbyterian Manor.

Webb, an art student of fellow competitor Vada Galvan, said the class decided to paint the sunflower using their own interpretations after viewing the picture.

“We thought it was going to be really easy, just slap this on and do this and do that,” she said, “and, that slapping took six months to get it right.”

She’s been painting about 11 years, but feels she’s still not as good as she needs to be. But, Webb said the painting is therapeutic for her.

“It takes me a little longer. I have shakes in my hands, so sometimes it takes me a long time to make a straight line,” Webb said. “But, the painting days are relaxing … you get into what you’re doing and forget all your troubles."

Art is Ageless Art Exhibit is held at all Presbyterian Manor communities in Kansas and Missouri. Those who took first place in their division or earned Judge’s Choice and Best in Show are invited to compete against artists from the other 18 communities. The winning artwork will be highlighted in the 2019 Art is Ageless calendar.

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Farmington council hears reports

Farmington Fire Chief Todd Mecey presented his yearly report during the Farmington City Council meeting on Monday.

Mecey noted there were 2,378 total incidents for the department in 2017 — a drop of two from the previous year.

Of those incidents, 53 percent were for EMS calls. Fifteen percent were for good intent/service, 9 percent for false alarms, 6 percent were for vehicle accidents, 5 percent each for structural fire and other fire, and 3 percent each for mutual aid and other hazards.

Mecey noted the impact the Alternative Response Vehicle — which is used for medical calls — has made in the department’s response time. The vehicle is currently staffed with two firefighters 12 hours per day, four days a week.

Of the 503 calls handled by this crew, there were 275 simultaneous calls — with 123 of those calls handled by the Alternative Response Vehicle crew.

Mecey noted it would be important for the city to work toward the possibility of increasing the Alternative Response Crew in the future.

Farmington Mayor Larry Forsythe thanked Mecey and his crew for their work.

“We are truly blessed as a city for the people we have working for us,” Mecey said. “The people truly care and are very dedicated.”

Read more about Mecey’s report in the Thursday edition of the Farmington Press.

Ward I Councilman John Robinson announced during the Public Services report that businessman Sharo Shirshikan is donating funds for the addition of a K9 officer for the Farmington Police Department, bringing the total to two. The K9 is expected to join the force this spring.

Finance Director Michelle Daniel was asked by Mayor Forsythe to go over what makes up the utility bills.

During the first billing cycle of the year, there were two factors playing into the recent bill cycle.

First, the laptop the readings were loaded on crashed which required a new set of readings, with one week added. Secondly, the temperatures were below normal for the time period.

Farmington City Administrator Greg Beavers said the loss of data meant the re-read of meters added six to eight days on the normal bill — which, he noted, means that many days less on this cycle.

“We have not raised electric rates in Farmington in a number of years because of investments that have been made through our MoPEP pool on rate stability on our wholesale costs, we don’t anticipate a raise in quite a while,” he said. “When your bill is higher than normal, it’s because your usage is higher than normal or is an anomaly like we had with the billing cycle.”

Daniel spoke on the availability of budget billing, which gives a known amount billed each month based on an average.

Daniel urged any resident with questions or concerns about their bills to call the office for help.

“Call us. That’s what we’re there for,” she said. “You’re going to get the best information. If you’ve got a question on your bill, we’ve got the phone number right there with our hours. Give us a call. That’s the only way we can fix it.”

Art Goodin, unit chief of water pollution control for the southeast regional office of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, presented a certificate recognizing the city and, most notably, the Public Works department for work to reduce inflow and infiltration into the city’s sewer system.

Also in attendance was Regional Director Jackson Bostic.

Goodin explained “I and I” is when ground and stormwater gets into the sewer system — therefore increasing the amount of water needed to treat. He noted the city has spent almost $3 million in the last few years to address the issue.

He noted the most recent statistics show that, even though there was an increase in the amount of rain in 2017, there was less flowing through the stormwater system.

“You all are leaders in this area,” Goodin told the council. “We think you have good vision here and you know that infrastructure is important to build your city and grow your economy and to help us, help you protect the environment.”

Forsythe commended the work of Public Works Director Larry Lacy and the water and sewer department employees, along with the community’s support for the work of the city for the recognition.

Ward II Councilman John Crouch noted it was important to note the city is spending a total of nearly $7 million in sewer improvements in 2017 and 2018.

In other business, the council held a second readings and gave unanimous approval to two ordinances – one amending the chapter regarding zoning regulations to fix an incorrect labeling of a zoning from OP-1 to OP-2, and the second an ordinance accepting a final record plat for 806 W. Columbia St. with Chris and Alison Sprung for widening of a sidewalk to increase safety in that area.

A first reading by title only was held for an ordinance designating school zones. Read more about the ordinance in this week’s edition of the Farmington Press.

The council action also approved the following items listed under consent agenda: a contract with Shannon & Wilson, Inc. for groundwater monitoring and final risk assessment at the Farmington Regional Airport; contract with Jviation, Inc. to remark airfield pavement markings and airfield pavement maintenance; contract with Bazan Painting Co. for water park pool sandblasting; and a contract with Townsend Tree Service Company LLC for 2018 tree and shrub trimming and removal.

A resolution for a contract with Redmond & Sons for 2018 excavation and hauling was removed from the agenda and will be placed on the agenda for the March 8 council session.

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Prosecutor to review newborn's death

An area woman who was taken into custody after her newborn died could be facing charges this week after the prosecutor reviews the case.

St. Francois County Sheriff Dan Bullock said they were finishing up the reports Monday to submit to Prosecuting Attorney Jerrod Mahurin and his office for review.

“We are leaving it up to him to decide what charges are appropriate for the case,” said Bullock. “We had a lot to type up after all the interviews we did while investigating what happened. We hope to have the charges filed in the next couple of days.”

Roberta Baker, 36, of Bonne Terre, was taken into custody for a probation and parole warrant out of Jefferson County Friday morning after police were called to her house 1400 block of Highway 47 for an unresponsive infant.

The St. Francois County Ambulance District responded to a premature delivery at the home and the baby was deceased when they arrived. The baby was taken to Parkland Health Center North and then was taken to have an autopsy performed.

Baker was questioned about her baby, along with several others. The autopsy revealed that that the 2.5 pound baby boy was alive after birth and had already been fed at least once. It was also determined that the baby was born anywhere from 28 to 30 weeks into the pregnancy and was just a few hours old when he died.

In an earlier interview, Bullock said it didn’t appear that Baker had killed the baby, but the baby may have died because it was neglected and not taken care of properly.

It was also discovered during the investigation that she had not been to the doctor and she didn’t know how far along she was in her pregnancy. Bullock also said that Baker didn’t call the police, someone else did.

This is a developing story and the Daily Journal will bring more details as they become available.

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Henderson to seek re-election

Mike Henderson, R-Desloge, has announced his intention to run for re-election as state representative for the 117th District, which covers a large portion of St. Francois County, including parts of Bonne Terre, Park Hills, Farmington, Desloge, Leadwood and Bismarck.

In 2016 he was elected to his first two-year term in the Missouri House where he has served on the Workforce Development, Corrections and Small Business committees.

Prior to his entry into politics, Henderson spent 31 years as a teacher, coach and administrator in public education prior to retiring from the North County School District as assistant superintendent in July 2014.

He graduated in 1983 from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky, and completed both his Master’s in Educational Administration and Specialist Degree in Educational Administration at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau.

The representative is married to Cheri Shelton Henderson. The couple has two adult children, Amanda and Sean, as well as a grandson, Charlie.

Asked what he is most proud of having accomplished during his first term in office, Henderson said, “First, through my voting record I have demonstrated that I vote for what’s best for our district and put other political things to the side.

“Second, I’m proud to have learned the way things work in Jefferson City and hope get some good legislation enacted this year.

“Third, is the ASARCO funds. I’ve been working on this since the beginning of last summer. The funds were meant for the Big River Watershed. As we know, a lot of them went to buy state parks. I’m not against state parks, but I didn’t think that money should have been used to purchase them.”

According to Henderson, he has sponsored a bill that would set up a third-party land trust to help people navigate the sometimes arduous process of getting projects approved by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“This will allow people to access the ASARCO funds for anything from bank restoration to municipal improvements,” he said. “I know that Farmington, Park Hills and Bonne Terre have a project they’re working on already and hopefully we’ll be able to help them some through this.

“If I'm re-elected, I’ll make it my goal to do everything that I can to help people get that $24.5 million that’s left of this remediation from the lead to hopefully make our area safer and better.”

Whether it's been working in the local school or representing this area in the Missouri House of Representatives, Henderson enjoys making a positive difference in the lives of others.

“It has been my pleasure to serve our community as an educator and given me great satisfaction to represent the people of St. Francois County," he said. “I can assure that if given another opportunity to represent the 117th district I will continue to support the education of our children, expansion of good jobs and ensure the voices and opinions of the people are heard.”

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Pursuit ends in river

A high-speed pursuit over the weekend resulted in one man being arrested after he drove into a flooded river and then swam from his vehicle.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Spokesperson Cpl. Juston Wheetley said a trooper was on Highway 8 late Saturday night when he saw a vehicle that appeared to be speeding.

“He verified the vehicle's speed at an excess of 90 mph and he attempted to stop the vehicle,” Wheetley said. “The vehicle pulled to the shoulder for a short time and then sped away going east on Highway 8.”

Wheetley said the suspect, later identified as Adam L. Martin, 29, of Rolla, turned onto Mounts Road in Washington County and due to the heavy rains the low-water crossing in the area was flooded.

“He attempted to continue on the roadway through the flooded waters and the vehicle stalled,” said Wheetley. “That is when he exited the vehicle and swam on across the flooded area and we were able to catch him just a short time later.”

Wheetley said the vehicle was in the water, but he didn’t know how far it was in or if it was swept away. He did know they were able to recover the vehicle from the water.

“Martin did have multiple warrants out of Franklin County. He was revoked and will be facing several felony charges from us,” said Wheetley. “I’m not sure if anyone assisted our officer or if agencies were on standby.”

Wheetley explained that when one of them is in a pursuit they contact their dispatch and they have a team there who will monitor the situation. Then others will be in contact with the surrounding departments while one stays in direct contact with the officer.

“They may have been in contact just to have others on standby for just in case, listening to what is going on,” said Wheetley. “He was arrested and was taken to the Washington County Jail.”

Martin is being charged with suspicion of driving while intoxicated, resisting arrest by flight and driving while revoked.

He is being held in the Washington County Jail on warrants out of Franklin County for failure to appear, driving while revoked, no insurance and failure to register a motor vehicle.