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Provided by Kerry Glore 

Members of Farmington Elks Lodge 1765 will ring the bell for the United Way of St. Francois County. Pictured are (from left) Greg Rau, Sid Bloom, Wink Rickus, Jeff Momot, Mike Barks and Charles Black. A kick-off for the bell ringing campaign is set for 4 p.m. on Nov. 17 at Qdoba, located at 708 W. Karsch Blvd. in Farmington.

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Bake sale helps two local food pantries

In 2006, a group of volunteers lead by Chris Landrum set out to make a difference in Farmington.

Landrum had a vision to hold a community-wide bake sale with the proceeds given to the Farmington Ministerial Alliance and St. Vincent DePaul food pantries.

From that vision came the Help the Hungry Bake Sale. Since that first sale, nearly $400,000 has been raised for the two organizations.

This year’s sale is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 18 at the St. Joseph Catholic School gymnasium.

In 2016, the bake sale and related fundraising activities brought in $67,000 to help feed the community.

The event features much more than an opportunity to purchase delicious baked goods. The café opens at 8 a.m., serving hot breakfast items such as egg casserole, biscuits and gravy, homemade cinnamon rolls and coffee. Doors open for the bake sale at 9 a.m., which features a variety of baked goods from across the Parkland.

Among the treats offered are Coca-Cola Cupcakes – baked by the mother and daughter team of Jennifer and Anna Sikes.

The two began preparing baked goods for the sale about eight years ago when Anna was 4 years old.

Now, at the age of 12, Anna said the bake sale is a favorite activity for her and her mother.

“It won’t feel like Thanksgiving unless we do it,” Anna said, with Jennifer adding it has become a part of their holiday celebrations.

Jennifer said the signature item Anna bakes is from a special cookbook by the soft drink company.

“They sell immediately,” Jennifer said. “That is the one thing she does (each year).”

Anna said she is excited about the possibility of baking stained glass cookies for this year – something she plans to practice on before the big baking night.

“You smash up hard candies – like Jolly Ranchers – that are clear until they are really fine and then you cut out sugar cookie dough so you have a place to put the crushed up Jolly Ranchers and then it turns into a stained glass design,” she explained.

Jennifer said the cookies will be a real effort “so we’ll probably stick to more traditional” items on the side in addition to the cupcakes and cookies.

Her mom said they've been asked to package the cupcakes individually this year due to how quickly they sell out.

Jennifer said most importantly through all of this is the life lesson learned through participating with her daughter – a lesson of being “missions-minded” Anna said her mother taught her from the beginning.

“Since we ourselves are so blessed, we feel it is our job to bless others,” Anna said. “And we feel like we can really do that and we love to bake, so it just works out perfectly.”

Also on tap this year are the silent auction, holiday décor raffle, free cookie decorating and – beginning at 10 a.m. – the live auction with auctioneer Mark Toti.

Landrum said some items of interest in this year’s auction include an autographed football by Gary Pinkel; Kendra Scott jewelry set from Krekeler Jewelers; basket of homemade jams, jellies, chocolates, and pastries from world renowned pastry chef Nathaniel Reid; an autographed baseball from former St. Louis Cardinal Matt Adams; as well as four rounds of golf at Osage National Golf Course in Lake of the Ozarks.

More items can be found at

The “Cookin' Clergy” contest begins around noon, featuring a friendly competition between local ministers and pastors.

Closing out the day at 1 p.m. is the announcement of the winners in the silent auction and holiday décor raffle.

Also for sale this year will be poinsettias grown by Dr. Chad Follis, associate professor in Horticulture at Mineral Area College, and his students. Take-out orders of chili and chicken salad will also be available.

A preview of what the bake sale has to offer will take place at the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce “Business and Community Luncheon” on Nov. 16, with an auction of Nancy Sullivan's famous carrot cake along with Ruby Gifford's famous German Chocolate Cake.

For more information on the bake sale, contact Landrum at 573-760-5207.

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Army Culinary Team visits UniTec

Two instructors with the U.S. Army Joint Culinary Center of Excellence in Fort Lee, Virginia visited culinary students at UniTec Career Center in Bonne Terre Tuesday morning to give a demonstration on cooking and discuss options with the military.

UniTec Chef Instructor Shannon Pyatt said they had a two-man team of culinarians out Tuesday. They flew in from Virginia and they spoke to the students about culinary opportunities in the military.

“They also got into the kitchen and did a demo for them,” Pyatt said. “They did a dish to show them the kind of things you can do in the military and what they offer culinary-wise. They were also able to inform the kids about their options for the culinary industry.”

Pyatt said she was approached about the idea by a recruiter when he came to UniTec last week. 

“This is a new program. They are flying them out to different areas and these two sergeants are actually instructors for the culinary program in the military,” said Pyatt. “He thought I might like to have them out and he managed to get them out here pretty quickly. We are very excited about this opportunity. We have a lot of students who really want to go into the culinary industry.”

Pyatt said with this being a smaller area, it is a little more difficult as far as schooling and opportunities. 

“I think that UniTec is great stepping stone and building block for their culinary,” Pyatt said. “They will get their ProStart Certification while in this class, which is something I actually earned in college. They will have a head start with that and it will help them, whether they go into the military or college, because we have articulation agreements with some colleges.”

Pyatt said the colleges will accept credits and certifications from UniTec.

“Since this is Veterans Day week, we are doing a lot to honor our military. We will be serving a lunch on Friday,” said Pyatt. “Every year the Culinary Arts Program makes a lunch that is free for veterans and their spouses. We are making an Italian buffet this week for our veterans to come in. It’s from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.”

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SFC to receive county achievement award

The St. Francois County Commission has learned that the county will be presented one of two 2017 County Achievement Awards by the Missouri Association of Counties (MAC) at the organization’s annual conference being held Nov. 20 at Osage Beach.

In a letter sent to Presiding Commissioner Harold Gallaher last month, MAC Executive Director Dick Burke wrote that it was his “distinct pleasure” to inform the county that it was being recognized for its execution of a plan to recycle tax money for the creation of a morgue.

Gallaher told the Daily Journal that he couldn’t be more pleased that the county is receiving the honor.

“The Missouri Association of Counties asked us to tell them of our innovative method of developing a morgue without cost,” he said. “You know the story, but our county had been using a private morgue service for decades and that service was about to end due to the consolidation of our two area hospitals. The building housing the morgue was to be closed and it fell to the county to see that the service was continued.”

Gallaher noted that the construction or purchase of a building to house the morgue would have cost the county around a million dollars and required two years to complete.

“We had neither the time nor money to do so,” he said. “We were on a short budget and had precious few weeks to finish the project. Talks with BJC/Parkland Health Center led to their donation of the 26,000-square-foot building located at 1101 Weber Road in Farmington. We then converted a portion of one of the wings into a morgue, making it several times bigger than the morgue then in use under the belief that ‘if we build it, they will come.’ The morgue was out of service for a grand total of one day. That was the day the equipment was moved from the old to the new areas. The morgue has been in constant service at the new location since June of this year.”

According to Gallaher, at that time St. Francois and 19 other counties were using the private morgue service.

“Now, with increased size, better storage space and additional amenities, other counties are joining those already using the morgue,” he said. “The private service still operates the morgue, but St. Francois County receives payment for each autopsy performed. So, the increasing number of autopsies from these additional counties increases our income.”

Along with the new morgue facilities, the question remained about how the county could best use the additional space in the massive building.

“We quickly realized that we were paying rent for office space, as were other entities,” he said. “We started converting the doctor's offices into legal offices by the removal of extra cabinetry and plumbing, as well as changing paint colors and other things. Much of this labor was provided free of charge by donating those items to employees and an area school that removed the items and hauled them away.

"It was a thrill to watch our maintenance people handle this project. They learned to paint, install floors, repair drywall and do other jobs to speed the pace and minimize costs. All of this was done with an eye on the budget while still producing quality workmanship."

And what is the end result of all that effort?

“We now have a beautiful office building,” Gallaher said. “Our county was short of meeting rooms, so we added two to that site and will start scheduling our meetings — and those of our tenets — in those areas. There is still about 30 percent of the building available for county use for things such as storage and even the possible movement of some of our other offices into that facility. In this manner, we can increase our efficiency and effectiveness.”

Gallaher said the “big picture” is that the county received a large building in excellent condition and at no cost which now allows for the collection of rent from outside sources, along with saving a substantial amount of money because of not having to rent space elsewhere.

“This total income, when combined with income from the morgue, is enough to pay the annual operating costs of the building,” he said. “This is a great thing for the county.”

Gallaher said attendance at the conference is required by law and that every Missouri county will be represented when the award is presented.

“We are going to be thrilled to represent St. Francois County residents at the awards ceremony when we receive this significant recognition of achievement,” he said.

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More details released about Washington County shooting

The Washington County Sheriff's Department has released the name of a man shot and killed late Tuesday evening. 

The man has been identified as Jeffrey Lee Ribble Jr., 25, of Cadet.

Washington County Sheriff Zach Jacobsen said the man's brother-in-law was placed into custody following the shooting but has since been released pending further investigation.

Deputies were called to the 11,000 block of Red Rock Rd. Tuesday evening for “person down/nature unknown” call. While responding they learned that a person had been shot. 

“When deputies arrived at the scene, they located the shooter, Ribble and Ribble’s sister,” said Jacobsen. “The arriving deputies located Ribble in a heavily wooded area near Red Rock Road ... The sister and her husband are cooperating with the investigation and were transported to the sheriff’s office for questioning.”

Jacobsen said through the investigation it was determined that the brother-in-law had an unrelated warrant so he was arrested but later released.

“The investigation is still ongoing and the sister was interviewed and released,” Jacobsen said. “The next of kin also has been notified. The person was located on a trail in the woods and was shot in the chest area, with what we believe to be a .22 long rifle, but at this point there were several weapons seized.”

Jacobsen said so they aren’t sure if it was the rifle or a pistol that was used, but they have no reason to believe at this point that anyone is in any danger. He added they believe it was an isolated incident.

An autopsy was scheduled and performed Wednesday afternoon on Ribble. The investigation is still ongoing. 

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King makes first court appearance

An Iron County man was arraigned Wednesday morning for the murder of Thomas Ventimiglia, 35, who was shot and killed in Iron County at approximately 1:30 a.m. Monday morning.

Iron County Sheriff Roger Medley said William “Billy” King, the shooter, hasn’t said much or talked to them about what happened.

“We interviewed him yesterday after he was brought in and the only thing we did get, was that he did shoot him,” said Medley. “It’s not really clear as why he shot (Ventimiglia) or some of the circumstances of what happened.”

Medley doesn’t believe they will get anything more out of him since he now has a public defender and they advised him not to talk.

“He was arraigned this morning before Judge Sid Pearson on the charges of first-degree murder, armed criminal action and felon in possession of a firearm,” said Medley. “Wayne County Judge Randy P. Schuller was filling in for our judge who was out and he signed off on the initial warrants.”

According to police reports, early Monday morning at 1:30 a.m. on Highway 21 near the intersection of County Road 96 Ventimiglia, was shot and subsequently died from an apparent gunshot wound to the chest.

On Tuesday morning King’s vehicle was found abandoned at Snow Hollow Lake and at 1 p.m. King was found a short distance away from where the murder occurred near the intersection of Highway 21 and Route N.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol found him and brought him into custody. Medley said King basically gave himself up because he was cold and was wet.

“He didn’t really have any place to go and was still in the area where he spent the night,” said Medley. “He just never left the general area. He was just ready to give up and get warm.”

Medley added when then the shooting occurred, King was in his SUV and Ventimiglia was standing outside of it.

King is being held in the Iron County Jail with no bond.