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From the Archives

1993 – 30 years ago

A man in the County Jail for parole violation yesterday afternoon scaled the rickety metal fence that surrounds the jail’s exercise area and disappeared into the depths of Farmington. He was apprehended about 9 last night on Taylor Street, after a six-hour search involving numerous area law enforcement agencies and personnel. James T. Green, 20, of Poplar Bluff was among a group of about 10 prisoners allowed into the exercise area to witness warm spring weather. Green, who has been described by officers as “quiet, he kind of kept to himself,” was spotted climbing the tall, metal-link fence by Jailer Larry Campbell about 2:45. Campbell ordered Green down. Green refused and clambered over three strands of rusty barb wire — slanted inward — and dropped over the fence and over a shorter fence that closely parallels jail property.

It was an evening of recognition as Farmington Elementary PTA President Ann Taylor presided over her last meeting last week. Taylor, who served as president of the organization for the last two years thanked teachers, principals, and particularly Michael Barks, director of elementary education, for supporting the PTA during her tenure. Near the end of the meeting Taylor was presented with a silver tray in recognition of her efforts with the organization and two years as president.

The Joint Communications Board on Friday fired Chet Hall as director of St. Francois County’s recently enacted 9-1-1 emergency dispatch center in Flat River. The action followed Hall being sentenced to prison Thursday by a Kansas judge. Hall was sentenced to from one to two years on each of two felony charges, to run concurrently, but was granted probation with the stipulation he spend 30 days in the Johnson County Jail. Hall, director of the county’s Joint Communications Center, pleaded guilty March 29 to perjury and unemployment fraud. Under a plea bargain, the prosecution dropped a third felony charge.

A state grant worth over $1 million to make safety improvements at Farmington Regional Airport was awarded the city Wednesday, said Jim Dismuke, assistant city administrator and economic development coordinator. Dismuke was notified by phone that the Missouri State Block and Airport Capital Improvements grants were awarded. The money involved totals $1,047,600. Airport manager Larry McCormick said he learned of the availability of the money Wednesday. According to officials, the runway will be widened from 60 feet to 75 feet, the ‘hump” in the runway will be removed, and the strength of the runway will be increased from accommodating 10,000 pounds to 12,500 pounds.

Christians across the United States gathered to pray Thursday, as part of the National Day of Prayer. Included in the Day of Prayer was an event called Meet at City Hall, sponsored by the American Family Association. A number of St. Francois County residents met outside of city halls to pray. The National Day of Prayer, which dates back to the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration, was revived by Shirley Dobson of Focus on the Family Ministries. Many of the Christians who prayed expressed concern for the nation as a whole, as well as its government and the shrinking religious freedoms Americans enjoy. The American Family Association mailed out numerous brochures, urging local groups to contact their city governments about prayer Thursday.

On Feb. 28 — 73 days ago — a newborn female was found dead in a Farmington tool shed. St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney Gary Stevenson said yesterday the investigation into the incident is still continuing. Stevenson said there’s no new information he can release at this time. Officials have previously said a determination in the matter will be related to a report on the death by the St. Louis Medical Examiner’s Office.

1973 – 50 years ago

Farmington’s City Council, working to keep abreast of the city’s rapid growth, voted Monday night to buy a $50,000 piece of property for future duty hall, for fire and police station expansion and agreed to meet two times a month from now on instead of the single monthly meeting. The Council also heard a resignation from Third Ward Councilman Dick Dugal, who said that the press of business responsibility had forced his decision. On Tuesday, however, Dugal reconsidered and withdrew the resignation, which had never been accepted by the council.

One-hundred-and-ninety-two seniors will participate in Farmington High School’s Baccalaureate services on Sunday afternoon, May 20, at the school’s gymnasium. The program will begin at 2:30 in the afternoon. Father Albert Rehme, Community Coordinator of Pastoral Services at Farmington State Hospital, will address the graduates and their friends and relatives. Also participating in the program will be three seniors: Dona Evans giving the Invocation, Jay Stewart reading the Scripture, and Joe Koppeis giving the Benediction. Commencement exercises will be held the following Tuesday, May 22, on the high school football field, beginning at 8:00 p.m. Two school board members, John Wyatt and Hugo Cozean, will present diplomas to the graduates, and a candle lighting ceremony will follow. The last day of school for Farmington seniors will Wednesday, May 16.

Dr. George Watkins would like to do it all over again — but maybe stay longer next time. “It sounds sort of funny, but I really kind of hated to come home. We had some interesting cases coming up,” he muses. Dr. Watkins, a Farmington surgeon, returned April 22 from a month’s residence at Chiang Mai, Thailand as a volunteer surgeon on the staff of a Presbyterian Hospital. Chiang Mai is a city of about 110,000 people. It is in northwest Thailand and near the Burma-Laos border. “The hospital itself was pretty sophisticated,” says Dr. Watkins. “It had 280 beds, electricity, running water, and the two operating rooms were modern.”

A Farmington man is up and around at John Cochran Hospital in St. Louis this week with a functioning kidney from a 16-year-old accident victim working within his body. Alfred “Jake “ Thomure, 218 North Alexander, the victim of a kidney disease, was told by hospital authorities on Friday, April 27, that they had a transplant that matched. The operation was performed at John Cochran the following day and on Sunday the transplant began to function.

Twenty-one graduates from Farmington schools will receives Associate of Arts degrees at Mineral Area College. They include Teddi Ballhausen, Nancy Bequette, Michael Burch, Fern Cole, David Cromer, Phyllis Elders, Candy Hawkinson, Darrell Hinkebein, Pamela Howlett, Deborah James, Maureen McClintock, John Moynihan, Gail Overall, Gary Phelan, Kimberly Plummer, Dennis Rogers, Robert Schindler, Mary Shannon, Deborah Starnes, Deborah Thomas and Michael Thurman. Farmington graduates who will receive Associate in General Studies degrees include: Donna Cash, Michael Henson, Robert Vogelsang, Kenneth Wade, and Linda West. Farmington graduates who will be presented Associate of Business degrees are David Baker, Carolyn Barnes, Donna Cash, Judy Graham, Lorna Hahn, Carol Politte, Thomas Ritter, and Dale Wright. Farmington graduates who will be presented Associate of Business degrees are David Baker, Carolyn Barnes, Donna Cash, Judy Graham, Lorna Hahn, Carol Politte, Thomas Ritter, and Dale Wright.

The Farmington Community Teachers Community Teachers Association held their annual spring banquet at the VFW Hall Thursday night, May 3. Approximately 170 persons were in attendance. Three teachers, introduced by their present principals and presented gifts by the CTA, were honored for their service to the school system upon their upcoming retirement. They were Mrs. Margaret Best — Middle School, Mrs. Lillian Wichman — Doe Run Elementary, Mrs. Bernice Hahn Franklin Elementary. Mrs. Opal Wright, Director of Elementary Education paid special tribute to Mrs. Lettie Burris who this year was honored on the district level for her contributions to education.

1963 – 60 years ago

BIlI Glessing and Richard Thurman, both of whom have played with winning and powerful basketball teams the past four or five years, will be honored in a community wide banquet at Memorial Methodist Church on Tuesday, May 4. The celebration, being directed by the athletic committee of the Chamber of Commerce, will be jointly sponsored by the Quarterback Club, the Kiwanis Club, the Rotary Club, the Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Lions Club. St. Louis Hawks basketball coach Harry Gallatin will be the speaker for the banquet.

The Missouri Press Association on Saturday named 44 Missouri weekly newspapers as recipients of Its annual Blue Ribbon Awards for all-round excellence. The Farmington Press and The Farmington News were included in the group, The awards were presented by Donald H. Sosey, editor and publisher of the Palmyra (Mo.) Spectator. The Blue Ribbon Awards were made at the annual meeting of the Missouri Press Association in connection with Journalism Week.

According to reports reaching The Press, the large pine tree at the intersection of the Highway 67 bypass and Potosi street in Farmington had a close call last week. The following report was prepared for publication by a spokesman for the Chamber of Commerce: “Woodman, Spare That Tree” is the motto for the week as far as Farmington is concerned when early last Saturday morning Miss Mary Ledbetter glanced from her window and discovered the beautiful Norway pine was about to be cut down. Almost literally putting herself between saw and tree, she implored the workman to hold off until she could sound the rallying alarm which she did in admirable and effective fashion. Mrs. K. C. Weber came to the rescue along with Mayor Woodard and prevailed upon Mr. Glen Crabtree to wait until State Highway authorities could be contacted to see if something could be worked out and save the tree.

Paul Dugal was elected president of the Farmington Lions Club for the coming year and other officers of the organization were announced this week. Others elected are: first vice-president, W. K. Giessing; second vice-president, Jim Boyd; third vice-president, Bruce Starnes; secretary, Ray Marler; treasurer, George Gedge; Tall Twister, John Hartshorn; Lion Tamer, Harry M. Blevins; board members, one-year term, Charles Hyler and Leroy Wade; two-year term, Morris Harrington and Dr. Reynierse.

St. Francois County beauties will be competing in the Miss St. Francois County Pageant at the Flat River Field House on Saturday night. At stake will be a $150 scholarship, four trophies, and the opportunity of competing in the Miss Missouri Pageant at Springfield in June. Production Manager, Robert Fowler has announced the pageant will follow the traditional Miss America format with the contestants being judged on stage in public. The local beauties will appear in formals and bathing suit competition and perform three minutes each to display special talents. Fowler said the stage would be complete with an approximately 50-foot ramp so spectators would have an unimpeded view of all the proceedings. From Farmington High School, Linda Sales, Lou Ella Huitt, Lavena Mayberry, Jeane Spencer, Karen Putman and Nancy Grey; from Farmington, Clara Rickard and Dianna Whitaker, a student at Murray State College, Murray, Kentucky.

1953 – 70 years ago

Heads of Missouri’s mental hospitals pleaded Monday for more salary money if they are to put into effect a proposed patient rehabilitation program. Most of them admitted that because of the tight labor market they would not be able to start July 1 with a fully extended staff of doctors, nurses, attendants and special workers the program would require. They said it would take from six months to a year to get under way. That would mean they could get along on less than the salary money the House approved in an appropriation bill earlier.

Fliers from all over the Mid-West will converge upon Missouri on June 12th, 13th, and 14th to participate in the first Missouri Air Tour in commemoration of the Golden Anniversary of Powered Flight. This tour is sponsored by the Greater St. Louis Chapter of the National Aeronautic Association, Missouri Flying Farmers, Missouri Chapter of the Ninety Nines, Missouri Aviation Operators Association, St. Louis Chapter of W.N.A.A., Aircraft Owners & Pilots Club of Cape Girardeau, and the Aviation Section of the Missouri division of Resources and Development.

Many Farmington people saw their first helicopter Monday when a Coast Guard HO3S stopped at the Farmington airport for refueling. Aboard the craft were Lt. R. W. Brunk and AD3 George Fennell, an observation team based at Traverse City, Mich., temporarily assigned to St. Louis. They were inspecting government-impounded waters in this area, including Bull Shoals, Wappapello, Clear Water, Norfolk and Forsythe to see that people are remaining a safe distance from the dams.

1943 – 80 years ago

Weingarten Internment Camp was honored last Friday morning with a visit from the Governor of Missouri, who took time out from a trip to the southern part of the state for his first view of the camp. Accompanying Governor Donnell were Mrs. Donnell, Brigadier General C.W. Gaylord — Adjutant General, State of Missouri, Colonel Lawrence Conrad — District Commander, Missouri District, Captain Lloyd Stamwood of the Missouri State Guard, and Captain Hanson of the State Highway Patrol. The visit was rounded out with a chicken dinner at the officers’ mess where opportunity was afforded to meet all the officers at this camp.

Glenda McDowell, 13, of Fredericktown Route Four, was killed almost instantly about 9:30 last Thursday night when the car in which she was riding with her father, James Monroe McDowell, crashed into a truck on Highway 61 near Libertyville. The accident occurred just South of the Marion Johnson filling station grounds. The McDowell car was traveling South, evidently over the center line. As McDowell swerved his car to avoid the approaching trucking coming North, he was unable to get his car over far enough and it crashed into the heavier vehicle. His car, an old model Nash, was completely crushed in front, and both he and his daughter were thrown through the windshield and car top. The father suffered serious injuries, including a fractured skull. Both the father and daughter were terribly cut by the glass.

Capt. Elroy Brady and approximately fifteen members of Company E, local unit of the Missouri State Guard, are still stationed at Illmo, Missouri, where they have been since Wednesday of last week after they were called out by Governor Donnell to prevent interruption of construction work on an oil pipeline during labor trouble. There has been no serious trouble since the boys arrived on the scene and it is only to be hoped that the matter will soon be straightened out so that the Guard may return home.

Now that the Second War Loan Drive has reached its successful termination, and the nation has settled down waiting to be informed of the amount over-subscribed, it is time to take stock of what has been done and make plans for the job ahead of us. It is an assured fact that the Second War Loan Drive, the largest borrowing campaign ever attempted, will exceed all expectations. This is truly the spirit of Americans; give us a job; given us a chance and then watch our speed. The Axis had us picked as a soft people. They thought we were too interested in making money out of war to be interested in putting our money into a war.

Work is well-progressed on cleaning up the local Masonic Cemetery and a great improvement has already been made in its appearance. The committee in charge of the project states that could still use more money for the badly-needed beautification and any person who has not yet made a donation should hand their contribution to W.M. Harlan at their earliest convenience.

Miss Ethel Rogers, of Knob Lick, narrowly escaped serious consequences last Friday when her car was caught in a fast current as she attempted to cross a low water bridge. The accident occurred about five o’clock in the afternoon at the bridge in Knob Lick. The current swept the car off of the bridge into water about five feet deep. A crowd quickly gathered and a rope was thrown to Miss Rogers and with the aid of it she was able to wade to shore. The car was pulled out about five hours later when the water had subsided somewhat.

1933 – 90 years ago

The Farmington Public Schools will close on Friday, May 19th, with the exercises coming in the following order: The baccalaureate service of the high school will be held in the high school auditorium on Sunday evening, May 14th, at 8 o’clock. The sermon will be preached by Rev. F. Q. Crockett of the Farmington Baptist Church. Rev. Crockett will be assisted in this service by the Junior Class leading in the musical numbers, and by his cooperating pastors of Farmington. The Eighth Grade Exercises will be held on Thursday evening, May 18th, in the high school auditorium. This program will begin at 8:00 o’clock and will be under the direct supervision of Miss Nellie Halter. Some 55 or 60 eighth-grade pupils will receive their Certificates of Attainment at that time. The class is presenting a spirited play entitled “Happy School Days.”

An extensive search has been carried on in Big River, north of Desloge, since last Saturday in an attempt to find the body of the two-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Omer Mahurin, who is thought to have drowned in the swollen stream while at play in that vicinity last Saturday. The Mahurin family live on the old Milford farm across Big River from the Desloge No. 3 Mill. On last Saturday the father and other members of the family crossed the ford near their home in a wagon, intending to drive into Desloge. Mrs. Mahurin and the oldest daughter went to a nearby field to pick greens. The young child was left near the house playing with several children of neighbors. On returning home at noon, the mother noticed that her child had disappeared.

H.C. Mell, proprietor of the Mell Hardware and Furniture Store, announces in this issue an all-day free cooking school and demonstration to be held in the Ryan Building directly opposite the post office on next Wednesday, May 17th. The cooking school will begin at 2:30 in the afternoon. The display of special kitchen equipment will be open all day. The women are cordially invited to attend. There will be a demonstration of “cooking with cold,” an interesting lecture on food preservation and preparation, and demonstrations on how to prepare delicious salads and desserts. Everything is free, including recipes, souvenirs and refreshments.

Dorothy, eight-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Cowley, narrowly escaped serious injury upon last Friday evening when a pellet from an air rifle in the hands of little Buddy Carleton, struck her face and glanced up into her left eye. Dorothy was standing by an open window of her home. Buddy and Dorothy’s younger brother were playing outside when the gun was discharged. The pellet’s full strength was spent when it hit her cheek bone, glancing up to her eye. Dr. Watkins removed the shot and no permanent ill effects are expected.

A report was received at the sheriff’s office yesterday afternoon stating that Mrs. Emma M. Crocker had fatally shot her husband at their filling station, eight miles north of Bonne Terre on Highway 61. No details were given at the time and the local officers immediately left for that point to take charge of the situation. The Crockers had been having trouble for some time. The wife recently filed suit for divorce, which was set for trial last Wednesday, but was continued.

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