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Sheriff’s department gets new K-9

The St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department will be receiving a new K-9 for their department in coming weeks, all thanks to an anonymous donor.

Board of Directors of St. Francois County Joint Communications Chairman Ron Bockenkamp presented a check to St. Francois County Sheriff Dan Bullock on behalf of the donor who wished to remain nameless.

“I am presenting a check to the sheriff in the amount of $50,000, to be used to purchase and equip a K-9 for the sheriff’s department,” said Bockenkamp. “This initial check will cover some of the initial upfront costs.”

Bockenkamp explained the sheriff’s department has already ordered a new car and it will be specially equipped for the police dog. It will also cover the cost of the construction of a kennel at the home of the officer.

The sheriff has already selected the officer who will be the K-9 handler and the dog is already in the country completing some training.

“I have talked to the trainer who trains the dogs for the Secret Service and the FBI and he says this is the best dog he has ever seen,” said Bockenkamp. “The future cost for training of the dog, the cost of the dog and any other items ... there will be a second installment of money available to the sheriff’s department.”

Bullock said the donor has offered to cover everything for the dog, including food, vet costs and more.

“We are very excited about getting our new K-9 program started and I am proud of Nathan Glore for stepping up to the plate to be a K-9 handler. I know it’s something he has wanted for a long time, but we hadn’t been able to afford it. This is going to afford us that opportunity, otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to afford this.”

Bullock added it could have been several years before they could have raised enough money to get a K-9 for the department. He said they have had K-9s in the past and the dogs have done good work.

“It’s time to start a new program and this is going to be wonderful for us,” said Bullock. “It’s a plus for law enforcement and the citizens of St. Francois County. It’s been close to two years since the sheriff’s department has had a K-9 on the force and we are looking forward to it.”

Currently Desloge is the only police department in the county with a K-9. The Farmington Police Department is working to get two in the near future.

“This will be good for law enforcement in general across the county,” said Bullock. “As always we certainly will work with the cities, state and other law enforcement in neighboring counties. We are really proud to have this opportunity and we certainly appreciate our donor who is making this possible.”

Glore is excited to have the opportunity to be a K-9 officer. He said this is the reason he got into law enforcement.

“I have been an officer with the sheriff’s department for nearly 10 years and I am just ecstatic,” said Glore. “One day we were looking into doing fundraising to raise the money ourselves and the next day we were basically told not to worry about it, we have someone who is going to take care of everything and we don’t have anything to worry about.”

Glore said since that day everything has progressed so quickly that it is almost unbelievable. He added on the day they talked to donor, they ordered the dog.

“We got on a website and picked the dog after watching videos,” said Glore. “They sent a money order for the dog the next day and he was on his way. There are not enough words to thank the sheriff for putting this together.”

Glore stressed that this is a career goal for him and a lifelong dream. He has always wanted to be a K-9 handler and now that dream is quickly becoming reality.

“I can’t wait for him to get here,” said Glore. “His name is Teo (Tay-Oh) and he will be up there for training for a couple of weeks. I will then pick him up and we will start our training together. There are certifications you have to pass and he is going to be a dual purpose K-9.”

Teo will be certified in narcotics, tracking and suspect apprehension, and evidentiary searches. Glore also has to learn a new language because Teo is trained in Czech and it’s easier to teach him a new language, than teach the dog a whole new language.

“He’s from Czechoslovakia and has been speaking Czech all his life, so I’ll have to learn a new language,” said Glore. “There are some things I have to go through, like being able to communicate with the dog and not only to talk to him, but read his body language and understand him.”

Glore said once Teo completes his training in St. Charles he will know what he is supposed to do.

“It’s me they have to retrain. They will train me to know what my dog means when he is doing things,” said Glore. “There is an association, the National Association for Police Working Dogs, and once we are done with training, a judge will come out. You have to prove you can handle the dog and your dog is competent in what he knows how to do.”

Glore said they will give him a certificate and each year after that he will have to recertify.

The sheriff's department has already received their new K-9 car and they are waiting on the equipment they ordered to outfit it for Teo.

Sharing memories about the mines

On Saturday, the Missouri Mines State Historic Site in Park Hills had a number of special guests who came to reflect on their own careers in the mines and to pass along their knowledge of the industry that gave the Lead Belt its name.

The Annual Mines Open House gives the community the opportunity to come to the museum for free, while also having the additional resource of actual men who worked in the mines and used some of the equipment on display.

One such man is Charles Sitzes, now 92, who worked for the St. Joseph Lead Company for almost half of his life.

“I worked for the company for 40 years, almost to a day,” Sitzes said. “I was hired Sept. 2, 1944 and retired Sept. 1 1984.”

Sitzes said he did a number of jobs for the company before being moved down into the mine to work. For about a year, he ran a mainline locomotive, which was used to haul ore between the mine and the mill.

Once, while working on a 50-food ladder, Sitzes fell and broke 14 bones. The fall landed him in Barnes Hospital for about nine weeks. When he came back, he worked for a while as a machinist, then a sheet metal man, and finally a blacksmith.

“So I did about all the jobs,” Sitzes said. “Except I never did get on a St. Joe shovel. The St. Joe shovel — you had to be top-priority to get that job.”

Sitzes said the St. Joe Shovel, which is on display in the Missouri Mines State Historic Site Musuem, was really what put the St. Joseph Lead Company on the map.

“It’s the piece of equipment that really made St. Joe,” he said. “It was first made in the early 20s, and it’s the reason St. Joe survived and a lot of other companies didn’t.”

Sitzes said the 220 volt shovel was used the whole time the mines were active in Park Hills, but were replaced by diesel shovels when the company moved the focus of its operation to Viburnum.

Touring the museum, Sitzes explained how each machine was operated and for what purpose, occasionally stopping to tell a story or two, like the time a worker greased the rails to see what would happen, causing a foreman’s vehicle to run into a wall. Luckily for the man who greased the rails, Sitzes said with a laugh, the foreman was uninjured.

When all the area mines were in operation, Sitzes said you could travel underground from Leadwood to Delassus through the company’s tunnels, which connected the mines.

Being 92, it’s difficult to make it to the mines for every annual event, but Sitzes said he does his best to be there when he’s able. He said there’s not a lot of guys like him, who worked in the mines in the era that he did, but he’s more than willing to share his memories and knowledge of the 40 years he spent there.

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SFCAD crew will assist with hurricane relief efforts

A local emergency medical crew will be assisting with Hurricane Irma relief efforts. 

At about 8 p.m. Saturday, the St. Francois County Ambulance District (SFCAD) received a request from FEMA to send three ambulances and one support vehicle for Hurricane Irma relief efforts. 

Administrator David Tetrault, Supervisors TJ Isgrig and Mike Dodson, and Paramedics Lewis Miller, Jorden Flieg, Jessica Watkins, and Kevin Jones are staging at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. 

Isgrig reported on social media that Tallahassee is in the line of the hurricane Monday but they will all be safe inside the buildings at Florida A&M University.

“It is due to the support of our board and medical director that allows us to do this type of work for all of our communities in need,” Tetrault said. “We know if a crisis hits home our colleagues in emergency medical services with ambulances will be there for us.”

“This has been the third time we have been deployed to assist in other disasters in the country,” Terault said. “We are honored and willing to assist in the time of need.”

Tetrault said that they always do their best and the board of directors makes sure that they are able to help but yet still make sure the community is covered at home.

According to the Associated Press, Irma made landfall just after 9 a.m. Sunday at Cudjoe Key, about 20 miles outside Key West. 

Irma arrived as a Category 4 storm but by late afternoon had weakened to a Category 2 with 110 mph winds. A storm surge of over 10 feet was recorded in the Keys, and forecasters warned some places on the mainland could get up to 15 feet of water.