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Year in Review: Bonne Terre marks 150th in 2014

The Bonne Terre City Council and the Bonne Terre Chamber of Commerce had a busy year with the celebration of Bonne Terre’s 150th anniversary. The school board started several projects as a result of the bond issue passed by voters early in the year.

Here’s a month-by-month overview of the council, school board and chamber’s activities in 2014:


The council swore in Mariah Prasuhn as deputy city clerk and the main topic of discussion was the recent problem with the postal service. City Administrator Larry Barton brought to the council’s attention that there would be a postage increase and they were also being told they would have to separate the water bills and bar code them.

An early-morning fire destroyed the food storage area at the Bonne Terre Senior Center. They lost 95 percent of their food and paper products in the fire. They also lost two chest freezers, a walk-in cooler, and a stainless steel refrigerator.


The North County Raiderettes headed to the state championships in Kansas City for the first time in nearly 10 years. The 2013-2014 Raiderettes were made up of 14 athletes that perform at all football games, boys and girls basketball games, as well as various community events.

There were several fires throughout the month, but one off Highway 47 was more memorable than others. A total of 12 departments responded to assist, and while on scene a Park Hills firefighter suffered a back injury from falling off a ladder. He had reportedly suffered some fractures of bones involving his spine.


The North County Primary staff did everything in their power to make 7-year-old Summer Warren’s wish to ride over a rainbow on a unicorn come true. Summer was a first-grader undergoing treatment for an inoperable, cancerous tumor wrapped around her brain stem. The art teachers, Miss Dalton, and volunteers from the community came forth to help to make our gym into a great castle and Crystal Miller and her family brought the horse for free and they donated their time and efforts to make everything work. The story of “Summer’s Fairytale Wish” received international attention from media outlets around the world.

A family of four from St. Louis was traveling through St. Francois County heading to visit family and friends in Arkansas when they lost control on the icy roadway and totaled their vehicle, losing April, their family pet. The family received an outpour of support through Facebook and the local community and after nearly a week April was reunited with her family.


The North County Board of Education had three board seats open for a three year term that was on the April ballot. Jerry Reed, Ted Eaton and Jamie (James) Crump were the winners of the seats.

A no-tax-increase $7 million bond issue proposal was placed on the April ballot to seek funds to make improvements to the North County school district’s buildings, grounds and equipment. The bond issue passed and there was an extension but no increase of the current $1.1836 per $100 assessed valuation of real and personal property.

The council heard a detailed presentation on a proposal from Ron Roper for disc golf to be added to the Bonne Terre City Park. Roper gave a proposal touching every aspect of the disc golf course all the way down to the low maintenance and no cost for labor to install the course.

St. Joseph Home and School Association in Bonne Terre presented their Sixth Annual Spring Wine Tasting and Silent Auction. There were 17 kids enrolled in the school and the fundraiser helped support them in their final school year by helping pay salaries, bills and any other expense. The school administration had announced in early March that they would have to close their doors due to declining enrollment and struggling financially.

The Bonne Terre Fire Department held an Autism Awareness Pancake Breakfast at the Senior Center. They were able to raised roughly $2,800 with the assistance of super heroes, a couple of Jedi Knights, fire trucks and an endless amount of pancakes. In addition to all that, they had people donating money from their “cold water challenge,” which was a popular thing at the time.


A car and two grain trucks caught fire after a car and pickup truck collided at the intersection of Hillcrest and Route K by Huskey’s Feed Store. The occupants exited the wrecked car, it rolled down a hill and into the side of a grain truck which was parked next to another grain truck. The fuel tank on the first truck ruptured and caught fire. Firefighters quickly responded and worked to extinguish the blaze.


The North County School Board held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new and improved football field. They remediated the surface and replaced it with a new artificial turf field. The funding was through the bond issue that passed in April.

Travel Channel stopped by the mine to film a new series called “World Access” hosted by Don Wildman and was due to air in the fall. Wildman gave the Daily Journal an exclusive interview and said that he has heard about the mines all his life and now that he has seen the mines, it is 10 times better than he expected.


An oversized birthday cake made its appearance next to the electronic sign in Bonne Terre off Route K by U.S. 67. The cake appeared as part of the 150th anniversary of Bonne Terre and was created and donated by Lila Williams and Peggy Kohler.

Bonne Terre Chamber Executive Director Dana Plunkett said it was donated to the city to be displayed in honor of the town’s anniversary.

The chamber held their annual Bonne Terre Fourth of July Festival, which went off with a bang. They had a parade that was themed with the cities 150th Anniversary, “Honor the past and celebrate our future,” then had a festival in the park, followed with fireworks in the evening.


Plunkett resigned from her administrative position with the organization and stepped down from the Bonne Terre City Council Ward 4 position as well.

The Bonne Terre Drag Strip opened to the public. Owner Jarrod Keen had purchased the former Bonne Terre Sand Drags and started making several improvements to the property in June. He built a 1/8th mile asphalt track with a concrete launch area.

Bonne Terre was ranked the fourth safest city in Missouri according to They conducted their own independent research and compiled that with the FBI’s 2012 Crime Statistics to bring the top 50 safe cities in Missouri. Before making their list they considered 446 cities and narrowed it down based on population and strict criteria in regard to violence and property crime.


Mario’s shut their doors after serving the community for over a year and a half. Mario’s opened in January of 2013 and they opened the Farmington location in March, which has a slightly different menu. The Farmington location remained open.

St. Francois State Park celebrated their 50th anniversary with the “Pike Run Hills Festival.” People from all over region and beyond attended the festival which offered free activities for kids and adults alike. This was the first time they had ever done a living history event and the first time they have had an event this big in Jamie Hubert’s nine years with the park as Park Naturalist.

The Bonne Terre Community Betterment Committee and Bonne Terre Chamber of Commerce put together a series of events to close out the community’s 150th anniversary. They had guest speaker Chris Desloge at the Bonne Terre City Hall Auditorium, the chamber held their 22nd Annual Dinner Auction, a movie night at the City Hall Auditorium, the Bonne Terre High School All School Reunion and a City Wide Yard Sale.

The council voted to approve Andrea Richardson, the new candidate for the Ward 4 position. She was sworn in during the meeting and took her seat on the council, replacing Plunkett who resigned in August.


Alliance Division Manager Terry Merritt went over the sewer department operations report with the council and pointed out that under the treatment part of the report one of the concerns was the bio-solids. They were soliciting bids to see what it was going to cost for the removal and they had the issue of Turkey Creek, one pump out of the three wasn’t working. The main concern he expressed was the bio-solids the city has on hand. They continue to request the increase to the city’s sludge removal budget. To avoid future environmental issues more bio-solids must be removed.

The Bonne Terre Fire Department has done several community events throughout the year for the residents of Bonne Terre. For Halloween they had a haunted fire house, complete with a costume contest, hot cocoa, popcorn, hot dogs and a haunted bay to walk through.

The school board discussed the progress of the primary and intermediate buildings projects. They expected to be able to inhabit the new gym facility and the new classroom facilities on the west wing by semester break. There had been a lot of visible changes going on around the schools and is scheduled to be complete in March.

The Bonne Terre Chamber hired Ron Allen as the new executive director. With extensive business background including his experience in accounting, web designing, IT training, property manager, customer service and general business knowledge, the chamber felt he was a good fit for the position.


Feminine Touch owner Patricia Murphy requested permission to install a “drive-thru” at her business. MoDOT had sent her their regulations as to how they needed to proceed in modifying the area and had given her their approval. The council gave their approval for Feminine Touch to install the lane.


The month started off with the Bonne Terre Apartments along the side of city hall going up for auction. They had sat for nearly nine years as noticeable improvements came in waves. The council stressed concerns during the December council meeting of the apartments being auctioned off since they shared a wall with them.

The North County Board of Education made big changes by entering into an agreement with the county’s salt pilot program. They were the first school district to take this step, which will allow them to purchase salt through the county at cost. It will save the school money in the long run since they own a salt spreader and won’t be purchasing the more costly pallet of bags of salt as they had in the past.

The demolition of the Berry Bridge began in early December and changes could be seen by mid-month. The county had closed down the bridge in 2006 on the state’s recommendation because it posed a danger to the county. Once completely removed they hope to get back on the MoDOT eligible list and hope to secure funding to rebuild it in the future.

This giant birthday cake was placed at Benham Street and Raider Road next to the electronic sign to let everyone know it was Bonne Terre's 150th Anniversary.

This giant birthday cake was placed at Benham Street and Raider Road next to the electronic sign to let everyone know it was Bonne Terre’s 150th Anniversary.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or

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