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Local missionary, Michelle Richee, is preparing for her final mission journey to Pakistan, India and potentially more locations.

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Flue fire damages home

A fire damaged a home in between Bismarck and Park Hills on Wednesday.

Bismarck Fire Chief John Colwell said they were dispatched to a residence on Highway 32 near Hampton Hollow Road after 6 p.m. When they arrived there was heavy fire coming from the rear of the home and it had extended into the attic. 

He said no one was home at the time and no one was injured. There was significant smoke and water damage throughout the residence. 

They remained on the scene for two hours and were assisted by firefighters from Leadwood, Doe Run, Farmington, Park Hills, Pilot Knob with Leadington covering their firehouse. 

"It started from a flue fire from a wood-burning stove," he said. 

This was the first flue fire the department has responded to this winter but he said they are very common. He said it is important to maintain and clean flues every year. 

Heating equipment is involved in one in every five home-fire deaths in the U.S.

Space heaters are the most dangerous. Each year, space heaters cause about one-third of home-heating fires and 80 percent of home-heating fire deaths.

“If we could all learn to heat our homes safely and not misuse space heaters, the reduction in fire injuries and deaths would be amazing,” State Fire Marshal Tim Bean said. “Each year, common mistakes contribute to the majority of heating fires, and they put families and responding firefighters in extreme danger. We urge Missourians to take simple steps to protect their families.”

Marshal Bean offered these heating safety tips:

Keep at least a three-foot safety zone around heating equipment. This means nothing flammable (including drapes, furniture and electronics), and no children within that three-foot zone.

Never leave space heaters on when people leave a room or go to bed.

Always use only the type of fuel specified by the manufacturer for fuel-burning space heaters.

Never use ovens or other devices not intended to heat homes to try to warm your house.

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First snow causes few issues

The first significant snowfall of the season arrived Wednesday night in the Parkland as had been forecasted by the National Weather Service and it began to move out of the area by midday Thursday.

While a few straggling flurries continued throughout the day throughout the area, no additional accumulation of snow was added to the 1 to 2.5 inches of snow that fell in most parts of the Parkland.

Students in St. Francois and neighboring counties received an unexpected day off when concerns about the approaching storm convinced local schools that, despite Tuesday’s false alarm, this was going to be the real thing — and it was, kind of.

Initial forecasts regarding potential snowfall in southeast Missouri started in the range of 1-3 inches and eventually increased to the possibility of 3-5 inches two days out from the storm. By Wednesday, however, some NWS predictions of expected snow accumulation began backing up to a total of about an inch.

While a lot of Parkland residents were hoping for a “big” snowstorm, there were many others who preferred that the entire system bypass the area. While the storm didn’t totally miss this part of the state, it gave both groups a little bit of what they were asking for.

The area received enough snow where it was noticeable and led to the closing of schools but wasn’t enough to cause dangerous driving conditions for motorists. In fact, by daylight Thursday, Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), county and city snowplows had done a good job of clearing U.S. 67, as well as major roadways and streets.

There were several slick spots here and there — especially on bridges and overpasses — and neighborhoods that hadn’t been pretreated or cleared after the snowfall continued to provide some difficult driving situations on hills and steep driveways. By Thursday afternoon, major roads were in fine shape and motorists were able to drive normally again.

As of press time Thursday evening, only one school closing had been announced for Friday. The Fredericktown School District canceled classes due to unsafe conditions on backroads. It appeared all of the other area schools would be open.

All-in-all, the situation could have been much worse — for both those who wanted snow and those who didn’t. Temperatures will rise into the low 50s today and Saturday before a week system moves through the Parkland, bringing with it a 40 percent chance of light snow.

NWS is predicting less than an inch of accumulation and by Sunday afternoon things should be clearing up. Highs will make it into the 40s Monday and Tuesday before a warmup begins on Wednesday.

For the latest NWS weather forecast, watches and warnings, go to the Daily Journal website at

kevin jenkins / Kevin R. Jenkins, Daily Journal 

Two veterans enjoy a free Thanksgiving meal served Thursday courtesy of the Mineral Area Community Elks Lodge 2583 in Desloge. The organization has provided them with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for more than 20 years. Although snow kept a number of veterans away this year, those who did attend enjoyed great food, fellowship and entertainment.

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