Editor’s note: This is part one of two looking back at 2016. The months of July through December will be featured in the Jan. 5 edition of the Farmington Press.
Hunt’s Dairy Bar celebrated its 60th anniversary in January. The drive-in restaurant has been in the same location on Ste. Genevieve Ave. since it was opened in 1956 by Lillian “Pete” Hunt. As the local landmark has grown in popularity it has remained in the family. Natives of the area have made lots of memories at Hunt’s. The words of fans were summed up in a January Farmington Press article: “If you had a car, you went to Hunt’s. If you had a date, you went to Hunt’s. If you just wanted to ‘hang out,’ you went to Hunt’s. Everyone went to Hunt’s!”
Construction to prepare the site for the Menard’s store in Farmington began Jan. 4. The news confirmed long-time rumors about the retailer’s consideration of our area. The Farmington building was proposed to cover 207,851 square feet with a 42,352 square foot lumber warehouse. In keeping with its original plans the store includes a full-service lumberyard with a covered warehouse, garden center, grocery and pet department, appliances, and several great displays, as listed by Jeff Abbott, promotions manager/spokesperson.
Also in the month, acquaintances, friends and family members flowed in and out all evening at the retirement ceremony for Cecil Hulsey at the Farmington Library. The long-time, well known businessman, owned and operated Coldwell Banker-Hulsey Real Estate in downtown Farmington before deciding to sell it upon his decision to retire. The Doe Run native who served in WWII, would reside in Farmington with his wife Jean.
Truman Kindergarten and W.L. Johns Early Childhood Centers combined and moved into the new Farmington R-VII School District facility built just for them. The grand opening ceremony was held in for what is now known as Truman Learning Center in January.
The decision was made to cease operations at the Parkland Hospital Weber Road facility effective at 7 a.m. on Jan. 19. This closure included the emergency department and the Adult Behavioral Health unit.
The Missouri Department of Economic Development announced Jan. 13 that industrial plastics manufacturer PolySol was relocating its headquarters from Michigan where it was founded nearly two years ago to Farmington, where it plans to create 17 jobs and make a $150,000 capital investment in the community.
The final total for the Help the Hungry Bake Sale reached $62,000 – once again surpassing the total of the previous year and showing the generosity of the community to help those in need.
Chloe Barton, representing HOSA, was named the 2016 Sweetheart Queen. First runner-up was Rebecca Colligan, representing World Cafe. Second runner-up was Corinna McFall, representing Team Spirit.
Farmington Press Reporter Craig Vaughn was awarded the “Heartland Hero” by Washington-Franklin Elementary Principal Dr. Lori Lamb during the Farmington R-7 Board of Education meeting.
Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a privately held national retail chain of craft and home decor stores, was set to open a new store in Farmington. Construction was underway on this new 51,000 square-foot building located at Highway 67 and Maple Street.
The Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce marked its 75th anniversary of support to the Farmington business community, in February.
Farmington High School Hall of Fame nominee acceptance began in February, as well. Superintendent Matt Ruble formed a committee of alumnae to help oversee plans for the Hall of Fame display to occupy the main lobby of the field house.
Farmington is a safe place to live and do business – and the 2015 Crime Statistics report presented by Police Chief Rick Baker during the Feb. 22 Farmington City Council meeting had the numbers to prove it. The chief said a statistical snapshot of a day for the Farmington Police Department would show the department answering 43 calls, generating 10 incident reports, working two to three accidents and making an average of three arrests.
After more than a year of hard work, Farmington’s new grand piano was formally introduced to the public in a musical extravaganza at 3 p.m. on March 20 at the Centene Center.
The Centene Center stage was transformed into 1830s Paris as the Farmington High School Theater Guild presented Victor Hugo’s epic story of redemption and forgiveness in the timeless classic “Les Miserables” on March 17-19.
It was announced “Denim & Diamonds” was the theme for the 38th annual Farmington Country Days, set for June 3-5.
Farmington Fire Chief Todd Mecey gave the 2015 report for the Farmington Fire Department during a Farmington City Council meeting. Mecey said the department responded to 2,216 call for service in 2015, up 209 from the previous year. The department’s five year average is 2,079.
Ward IV Councilman Garett Boatright said he was approached by individuals with the Farmington Pet Adoption Center about what steps were needed to further develop a dog park for the community.
Brayden Armes, a fifth-grader at St. Joseph Catholic School in Farmington, won his chance to go to the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition after scoring a first-place finish on March 5 at the Seventh Annual Three Rivers College Southeast Missouri Regional Spelling Bee by correctly spelling the word “harrumph.”
Chris Conway, the new Parks and Recreation director for the city, was introduced by Farmington City Administrator Greg Beavers.
Legendary “Tonight Show” band leader and trumpeter Doc Severinsen performed for the local audience at the Mineral Area College’s 30th Annual Jazz Festival at the Farmington Centene Center in March.
Construction on the outer walls of the new field house at Farmington High School were well underway in March. The structure now complete, is home to a large gymnasium, band room, choir room, golf team practice room and etc., and is thanks to a voter approved bond issue in 2014.
During the March Farmington School R-7School District Board meeting came the announcement and recognition of the transportation department’s 100 percent safety inspection rate for 2015. Transportation Supervisor Stacy Williams said upon receiving board congratulations, “Our department does a tremendous job of keeping our buses going and keeping our children safe.”
Jamie LaMonds was selected as this year’s “Southeast Regional Assistant Principal of the Year” by the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals.
The Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce celebrated contributions of many during the “75 Years of Success” awards banquet on April 1 at the Centene Center. Among those honored was Cecil Hulsey, who was presented the Daily Journal/Farmington Press “Citizen of the Year” award.
Farmington voters gave their support to two propositions on the April ballot. Proposition 1 – dealing with the continuing application and collection of local sales tax on the titles of motor vehicles, trailers, boats and outboard motors purchased from a source other than a licensed Missouri dealer – passed by a vote of 407 “yes” votes to continue the tax with 214 “no” votes. Proposition 2 was for an extension of the tourism tax charged on hotel rooms in the city of Farmington. It was passed by a vote of 401 “yes” to 194 “no” votes. The seat in Ward IV was the only contested race, with incumbent Mark Kellogg defeating challenger Bart Goetz by a vote of 129 to 20.
Running for a one-year term on the school board were incumbent Amanda Farrell, who was appointed to fill a vacant seat until the election, and Nathan Huckaba. Farrell won the one-year board seat. With two incumbent seats not contested, board members Joan Sullivan would remain in their seat for another three-year term.
Family, friends and the community members participated in the Walker Johns Childhood Cancer Foundations’ Run/Walk and raised more than $9,000 in April. They also started a bone marrow donor registry drive and successfully registered more than 40 potential donors.
Hobby Lobby opened its doors to customers during the month of April. Work continued on the 207,851 square-foot Menards on the west side of the city.
During the April 25 Farmington City Council meeting, Finance Director Michelle Daniel reported March sales tax receipt numbers were more than 10 percent over the sales tax receipts from the previous year.
A beautiful spring day made the perfect backdrop for the March of Dimes “March for Babies.” The walk raised more than $30,000.
A bush was planted in front of Washington-Franklin Elementary to honor MaKennah Barron, 8 who lost her battle to cancer on April 26. MaKennah was a student at the school. The Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce teamed up with the school and planted a butterfly bush to celebrate MaKennah’s life.
Team Spirit, a group comprised of concerned students, were awarded a $500 grant from the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety for their efforts to make sure everyone “Arrives Alive.”
Great weather and the chance to spend the day fishing brought young anglers from around the St. Francois County to Hagar Lake for the Farmington Parks and Recreation Wiggle and Giggle Fishing Derby on May 7.
The Farmington Educational Foundation presented more than $20,000 in scholarships to 16 Farmington High School seniors on May 10.
The St. Paul Lutheran High School graduating class of 2016 would be remembered as the first class to complete all four years at the new high school. Seniors Maria Barlow, Emily Brakefield and Stephanie Whanger graduated on May 21.
Farmington High School graduation included honoring the memory of two classmates who had passed on. The grads heard words of inspiration from several speakers including class president, salutatorian, valedictorian and keynote, Dr. Brian Reeves. Some of Reeves’ parting words advised them to “be like the Egyptians, stare into the abyss and accept who you are because everyone has worth.”
Farmington Mayor Mit Landrum alluded to the fact the talk will be chicken in coming weeks for the Farmington City Council as officials with the city were drafting an ordinance which would allow residents to have chickens in the city limits. The May 23 meeting of the council was the shortest in Landrum’s seven year tenure as mayor. Following the meeting, he was asked what was on the horizon in June for the council. “One thing I know is going to be on the agenda is the chicken ordinance,” Landrum said. “We are finally going to trot that thing out.”
Gary Berblinger, who led the Park Hills Daily Journal, Farmington Press and Democrat News as publisher since 2008, announced May 27 he would retire on July 1 after 43 years in the publishing industry.
Country Days kick started the month with a prayer breakfast led by the mayor. The full list of “Denim & Diamonds” themed events included pageantry, music, crafts, food and of course rides. Downtown area businesses opened their doors for several free children’s activities and treats, as well. Serving as Mr. and Mrs. Country Days 2016 were Larry and Carrie Joseph.
In June, Bill Henson, of Farmington was one of 34 winners of the 2016 Lieutenant Governor’s Veterans Service Award. The award recognizes Missouri veterans who provide exemplary community volunteer service, according to the announcement from Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder. His office received more than 700 nominations leading up to the award.
The Farmington City Council approved a measure allowing residents to have chickens on their property. The approval came with a few regulations including coop placement, and a prohibition on the ownership of roosters.
In a meeting that lasted just a few minutes, the Farmington R-7 Board of Education approved a working budget on June 28.