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Veterans speak to students about 9/11

Local veterans visited area schools on Monday, holding ceremonies to reinforce the importance of remembering the events and aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The Desloge VFW Post 2426 first visited West County Elementary, then held a ceremony for middle and high school students in the West County gymnasium. High School Principal Eric Moyers explained the reason for the ceremony to the gathered students, briefly describing the events of the attack.

“And since that time, we take time out of our day to remember those people whose lives were lost that day,” Moyers said. “It was the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil in American history. And hopefully, we never see another day like it.”

West County Senior Jacob Briley then led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and a brief video from newscasts on Sept. 11, 2001 was shown. Moyers then asked for a moment of silence in remembrance of the lives lost during the attacks and introduced Dennis Sweet of the Desloge VFW Post.

Sweet thanked the students for their respect during the ceremony, saying their behavior is indicative of the area’s dedication to community and respect of the country. He said this is directly attributable to the faculty and staff of the West County School District.

“I remember September 11, 2001,” Sweet said. “It was a Tuesday morning, in the 70s with a breeze. It was a nice day. Average news stories seemed to be talking about shark attacks in the Caribbean. It was a slow news day.”

He recounted being in a meeting at work when somebody entered the room and told everyone to get to the TV, where the images of the first plane’s damage were being relayed. Sweet said from his time in the military and with special operations units, he recognized the situation as a terrorist attack immediately.

“I was in the Air Force from ’78 to ’82,” he said. “Then I got out out for a little bit and in ’91 I went back into the Army. I ended up joining a special operations group. We trained for situations like that. When it first happened, I recognized it.”

Sweet told the students that he the re-enlisted, feeling a need to do something. In the wake of Sept. 11, Sweet said he served in around 15 countries, including Iraq.

“I lost friends, I witnessed destruction and I watched my men die,” he said. “And all this was to fight the people who brought the planes to the towers.

“This day is important to remember. Because we have to remember what we lost that day — it started a new era. Most of you didn’t experience the change, but it’s important for us to come together.”

While the Desloge VFW was holding ceremonies in the West County School District, the Leadington VFW Post 5741 was making similar rounds in the Central School District. Their last stop was at Central High School, where veterans and auxiliary personnel held a flag-raising ceremony around the school’s flagpole.

Post Commander Bill Henson spoke to the encircled students, asking for any student born before Sept. 11, 2001 to raise their hands. After surveying the raised hands, he said the ceremony was meant to ensure the memory of the attacks does not die with those who saw it unfold on TV.

“Today, Monday, Sept. 11, we commemorate the events that happened 16 years ago on Sept. 11 2001,” Henson said. “Most of you were not born 16 years ago, but many of your older brothers and sisters, as well as your parents remember that day quite well.”

The flag was raised over the crowd and Henson asked for student volunteers to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Two girls volunteered, leading their classmates as the flag was raised.

Henson then spoke to the students about the importance of remembering the attacks of 16 years ago and the lessons America was forced to learn in their wake.

“On this day in 2001 nearly 3,000 Americans died in New York City, Arlington, Virginia and Pennsylvania,” Henson said. “We, the American people, were given a cause on this day in 2001 to unite. And we united in the face of danger and adversity and with the resilience of the American spirit.”

He stressed the sacrifice made by first responders during the attacks, those who put their own lives at risk to attempt to save others. Despite the fear and pain caused by the attacks, Henson said they caused America to rise to the occasion and become even better than it had been before.

“Americans put aside their differences by coming together and showing the power of patriotism by reaching deep into their souls and finding the strength to love and help their neighbor, no matter the color of their skin, their religious background or how much money they had,” he said. “None of that mattered. All that mattered was that we were all Americans and we would stick together.”

Henson said the lessons learned that day and in the days that followed still echo through the hearts and minds of Americans, even those who were not alive during the attacks. He said those lessons can be boiled down to treating one another with kindness and love.

“We must have the courage to do the right thing and protect and defend each other,” he said. “We have to put aside our differences and care for each other’s equality, which sometimes means sacrifice.

“I hope you will keep these thoughts in your mind as you hear more about 9/11 this week. If you ever have any questions, please feel free to ask your parents, your teachers or a friend. We feel blessed to have you as students. You are the future of this country.”

After the ceremony, Henson and representatives of the Leadington VFW presented Central High School administrators with an American flag in remembrance of 9/11.

Area VFW Posts are also planning POW/MIA ceremonies later this week; Desloge’s ceremony will be on Sept. 15, while Farmington and Leadington ceremonies will be held on Sept. 16.


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City council hears updates

The Bonne Terre City Council heard updates on the current water issue and several other projects throughout the city.

Bonne Terre City Administrator Jim Eaton said they had some issues with water discoloration and having to bleed the lines.

“We are in the process of having Midco Diving & Marine, an underwater construction contractor, here in the morning to take some samples out of our water tower to analyze,” said Eaton. “Hopefully we have under control what’s been our problem in the past.”

Bonne Terre Public Works Superintendent Shawn Kay said they had the tank cleaned on Jan. 25 this year, so prior to the start of the treatment plant, the tank was cleaned.

“Another thing I would like to add is when we were having the issue we tried to work through the process with Tonka Water Systems,” said Kay. “They eventually had to send a serviceman out and he found there was a valve that was not functioning properly and that was what was causing our problem.”

Kay further explained that the valve was not operating correctly during the backwash cycle and that is what made the water turn the color that it did.

“We have a suspicion there is some of the manganese in the bottom of the tank, but as long as there is no upset in our system it should stay there,” said Kay. “Hopefully after tomorrow it will be gone and we can move forward with treating our water and having the radionuclides out.”

Building Inspector/Code Enforcement Dwayne Hackworth said they had a radionuclide test last week and those were sent off to see how the production of the system is working.

Eaton said that specific test will take 90 days to get back, but they will be addressing it in closed session to further discuss the issues they had been having.

“The next item would be we have been working with MoDOT in trying to get the area of Benham Street or Highway 47 realigned to take better care of the traffic patterns,” said Eaton. “This is from new Highway 67 over up past Casey’s.”

Eaton said the other thing they are doing is working with an engineer to try to improve the intersection of Highway 47 on Berry Road to control the water that is flowing through there and is creating a real problem in the lift station.

“So that project is going on and there is some state money that is available out there,” said Eaton. “We will have to put in a little bit money, but it will be well worthwhile if we could accomplish what we need to do.”

Eaton added he didn’t know if he overstepped his authority, but when Lead Belt Materials was in town, he had them pave the area by the post office where the drop box is located.

“It was a place that collected water and had a serious bump in it,” said Eaton. “The total amount we spent was $3,100 on that particular project. They did it while they were here for the same price per ton.”

Eaton said he didn’t want to be out of line, but it really needed to be done.

Bonne Terre City Attorney Seth Pegram said it would be just an amendment to the current contract, because it was an addition to another maintenance procedure and didn’t require a bid.

“Lead Belt Materials did a nice job out at Northwood/Hedgeapple Lane,” said Eaton.

Kay said if everything goes well they will have the striping done on that this week and the project will be complete.

“I’m sure you all remember that the Environmental Protection Agency was going to foot the bill for that because their dump trucks used it to haul their material to the depository,” said Kay. “Since they tore up the road a bit, they agreed to correct it. So we have to get it finished to be reimbursed for that project.”

Kay said after they broke all the numbers down they came in under on the original bid for all the road projects they had done.

Eaton said the next thing on his list was the business license list and thanks to the police department and the city clerk, it’s down to one business who hasn’t taken any action.

“Big Charlie’s Appliances is the business who didn’t comply and it creates an ongoing issue of ill feeling among another person who has a building that is similar to it,” said Eaton. “I think at this point we have done everything we can do, but we went from nine, down to one. I think it is a good accomplishment.”

Eaton said the final thing he wanted to touch on was the Park View Apartments and thanks to Kay they have Charter Communications doing the wiring.

“Hopefully we will be able to have cable service in there by the end of the month and will gear toward using that as our grand opening day,” said Eaton.

Kay said it has been a long process and he made countless phone calls to try to make it happen. He added they should have the inside wiring done this week and they were supposed to start the outside wiring last week.

“I have not seen them out there and will be in touch with the local Charter representative to keep on him until we make this happen,” said Kay. “It was some folks higher up the line, the local folks have been very cooperative in trying to make this work for the city. It was the folks in St. Louis who we were having some problems with getting them to sign the paperwork.”

Kay understands it is a very expensive project for Charter, so they were having trouble getting them to sign to allocate the money.

“They have already done the bulk of the inside wiring,” said Kay. “Each bedroom is getting an outlet and the living room. The initial 10 are done and ready to go. They have done most of the inside of the other 53 apartments and they are going to run the outside wiring in at two locations.”

Also during the meeting, the council approved a couple ordinances, one making the Historical Society an official board that will operate much like the parks board and another ordinance setting a flat $50 fee for a business license, with a penalty if paid late.


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Groomer helps dogs displaced by Harvey

A local dog groomer is doing her part to help victims of the hurricane in Dallas that are often overlooked — rescue dogs.

Tonya Naumann, owner of V.I. Pups Grooming in Desloge collected donations Monday, and donated from the day’s profits toward a rescue operation in Dallas called Dallas DogRRR (rescue, rehab, reform).

Naumann said she saw the effects of Hurricane Harvey on the rescue operation in a Facebook post and thought she could do something to help.

“I saw them on Facebook, and saw that they’d flooded,” Naumann said. “When they released the floodgates, they didn’t have a lot of notice and the dogs were in standing water — they lost everything.”

Naumann had the help of not only her staff, but her sister, Misty Rice who runs a grooming shop of her own.

“My sister, she’s a dog groomer,” Naumann said. “She has a shop over in Catawissa. She came with donations from her customers and she’s donating her time today. All the proceeds go to the rescue.”

This is the first charity donation of this type that Naumann has made, though she said she also grooms strays and shelter animals at no charge. After seeing the situation the dogs in Dallas had been put in, she said she felt the need to do her part.

“I just wanted to do something for the dogs,” she said. “Everybody’s always jumping in and helping the people, but the dogs need help too.”

She estimated that by the end of the day, they would have collected just under $1,000 to donate toward Dallas DogRRR, saying the funds would go toward helping the organization rebuild what was lost in the flooding.

For more information about Dallas DogRRR, visit them on Facebook or at www.dallasdogrrr.org.


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Area loses long-time businessman

A familiar face with a name synonymous to good service died on Friday.

Bill Hall owned and operated Bill Hall’s Phillips 66 for 47 years before retiring on Dec. 31, 2001. He began managing his own full-service service station on Sept. 2, 1954.

Hall died on Sept. 8 at Presbyterian Manor in Farmington. He was 92 years old.

This spring, Farmington Mayor Larry Forsythe presented Hall with the first Distinguished Citizen Award – a new recognition created by the mayor following his election into office in April.

“Bill Hall is Farmington,” Forsythe said, recognizing Hall’s more than four decades in the business. “I thought the city needed something to honor an individual … I came up with the Distinguished Citizen Award. I wanted everyone to know who he was and what he’s done.

“When I thought of the award, he was the first person I thought of (to designate as a recipient).”

Hall is remembered as a person who would always lend a helping hand and was noted for his yard and flower garden.

Forsythe said Hall often helped water the hanging baskets in downtown Farmington after his retirement.

Before his retirement in 2001, Daily Journal Managing Editor Doug Smith – at the helm of the Farmington Press at that time – wrote a feature story on Hall’s pending retirement.

“To those who patronize his business he's a friendly face and a constant friend in an ever-changing world,” Smith wrote at the time. “One of his first customers still trades with him. Literally thousands of different customers have passed through his parking lot.

"He's an example of what many say a businessman should strive to be. He has worked a lot of 16-hour days and kept his shop open 7-days-a-week for years. He can't recall the last time he had more than four days off in a row.”

Hall enlisted in the Marine Corps at the age of 17 in 1943. He served a three-year stint in the South Pacific and eventually returned home to work as a parts manager for a local garage. He was called back to duty for a year-and-a-half when the Korean War began to escalate.

Once back home, Hall went into business for himself. He first operated a service station near the intersection of what is now Route OO and Hwy. 32. Six years later, he and the Phillips Petroleum Co. entered a new partnership at the current store location.

As his business grew, so did his family. He and wife June, who died in 2015, raised three children, Keith, Kent and Kim. Both Keith and Kent washed windshields at the station as soon as they were big enough to reach the middle of the glass. June kept the books for the business.

A stop at Hall's traditionally meant having gas pumped for you, the windows cleaned, oil checked if needed, and even a hand washing of the exterior. Hall hired local high school boys to wash cars, sometimes having as many as five working at a time. Repairs were also made, by appointment.

Hall moved to Farmington at an early age where he attended St. Paul Lutheran School and Farmington High School. He was a lifelong member of St. Paul Lutheran Church of Farmington.

Survivors include his three children, Keith (Emily) Hall of Brandon, MS, Kent (Jennifer) Hall of Farmington and Kim (David) Hillyard of Imperial; three grandchildren, Michael (Becca) Hall, Megan (Jason) Coleman and Mitchell Hillyard; five great grandchildren, Andrew, Blake, Easton, Peyton, Colten plus one grandchild on the way; and a host of in-laws and other extended family members.

Friends may call at Cozean Memorial Chapel from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday with a memorial service beginning at 7 p.m. with Reverend Jacob Pollard and Reverend Bob Webb officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or to Presbyterian Manor’s Good Samaritan Fund. A tribute video can be viewed at cozeanfuneralhome.com.


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Park Hills, Leadington hold meetings tonight

The Park Hills City Council and the Leadington Board of Aldermen will each hold meetings tonight.

Park Hills

The Park Hills City Council will meet in regular session at 6 p.m. tonight in council chambers to hold public hearings and to consider several bills and requests.

The council will first hear public opinion regarding a special use permit request to operate a day care facility on Adams Street and come to a determination related to the specific criteria for the special use permit.

A public hearing will also be held regarding vacating an alley located at 1312 Main Street. The council will then consider an ordinance to ratify vacating said alley.

The council will receive a report from City Administrator Mark McFarland, who will discuss the Parks and Recreation Department, street and sidewalk work, utilities and other city matters. Mayor Daniel Naucke will then receive committee reports.

In unfinished business, the council will receive an update on a memorial plaque for city hall.

In new business, the council will consider an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement to purchase a utility truck and an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with Lead Belt Materials for street paving.

The council will consider a request from the Downtown Park Hills Association for the use of a parking lot for the organization’s annual Trunk ‘n Treat. A request to seek Traffic Engineering Assistance Program funds through MoDOT will also be considered.

The council will discuss IT services and Pimville Road regarding state route designation.

An ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission will be considered. Health insurance plans for the 2017-2018 year will also be considered.

The council will consider an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with the International City/County Management Association for employee retirement plans. Also to be considered will be a wage increase for the 2017-2018 fiscal year and an ordinance providing for retaining a city counselor. The council will also receive a report from the city attorney.

This meeting will be open to the public.

Leadington

The Leadington Board of Aldermen will meet in regular session at 6 p.m. tonight in the municipal building at 12 Weir St.

According to the tentative agenda, in old business, the board will discuss a dump trailer. In new business, the aldermen will consider a letter of engagement from Gilmore Bell, a letter of agreement with SEMO, cellphones and the Southeast Regional meeting.

Ordinances to establish a TIF Commission, liquor amendment and C-1 Commercial Regulations amendment will also be discussed.

The meeting is open to the public.