With recent completion of the 911 communications center construction and renovation project in Park Hills, the St. Francois County 911 Board of Directors held a dedication ceremony Wednesday morning at which the center was renamed in honor of long-time 911 Executive Director Alan Wells.
Its official name is now the Alan Wells St. Francois County Joint Communication and EOC Center.
Prior to moving outdoors for the ceremony, Wells presented 911 Board Chairman Ron Bockenkamp with an official gavel to use in the onsite meeting room where the board will hold its meetings in the future.
"Due to our board chairman having a recent birthday, we'd like to present him with an official gavel," Wells said. "Now you can officially open the meeting with it."
Bockenkamp thanked Wells and the board for his gift and then recessed the meeting for the dedication service and unveiling of the 911 center sign outside.
Standing in the communication center parking lot along with Wells and board members Desloge Police Chief James Bullock, Bonne Terre Fire Chief David Pratte, Mark Allen and Ginger Taylor, Bockenkamp said, "For years, I've known Alan Wells as a personal friend. I knew he was over the 911 dispatchers and I knew that they dealt with police and fire and ambulances.
"Until I became involved to the extent that I am now, I had no appreciation for the depth of knowledge that he has as it relates to the activities of the 911 facility. Another thing I became aware of that I didn't know is the respect that he's held in by local, state and national 911 people. As this endeavor has progressed, his skill, his knowledge and his input to this board has been invaluable.
"Probably over a year ago, I polled the board to ask them if they would support the dedication of this facility to Alan Wells. To the person, the board members unanimously endorsed that. So, at this time I'd like to ask our folks up on the hill to unveil the sign, dedicating this facility to Alan."
Wells, who was unaware of the honor up until that point, became deeply moved as the sign's covering was removed.
"Wow, you got me!" he said. "What an honor. Thank you. It's been an honor to have this board and the previous boards and being part of this spoke of the wheel of public safety for the 25 years that this has been operating.
"Thank you for this. I'm not deserving. It's the staff that makes this process work every day that is deserving of this facility, as well as the taxpayers who have allowed us to do this with their dollars.
"I can't say enough about the people that do that job day in and day out, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Never stops. So, they are the ones that are deserving of this facility."
He thanked the board for this honor and privilege.
"Thank you for giving us the equipment - the facility - and the tools so that they can do their job to save life and property. That's what we're here for.
"We were struggling before conversion of landline over to the sales tax that allowed this to happen. The board has been unbelievable to work with as they made the right decisions, the good decisions while we worked through the process of upgrading the facility and technology. Wow! Thank you. Thank you very much."
The ceremony ended with the board members each offering their remembrances of having worked with Wells through the years and their happiness in seeing the facility named in his honor.
Bockenkamp also offered up his appreciation for St. Francois County Associate Commissioner Patrick Mullins who served as 911 board chairman before the move to a sales tax form of funding.
"Patrick and the board did an admiral job getting the county 911 through a difficult time financially," he said. "They made the tough decisions that made today possible and I offer him my sincere appreciation for that."
The Mineral Area College Little Theater Guild begins a three-day run of the Arthur Miller play "All My Sons" tonight at the Fine Arts Theater on the college's Park Hills campus.
Curtain for Thursday through Saturday is at 7 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Reserved tickets are available at the MAC bookstore or at the door. Adults are $7 and students and seniors are $3.
Set during the years following World War II, the story follows the plight of two families, the Kellers and the Deevers, who are tied together through a business partnership between the families' patriarchs, Joe Keller and Steve Deevers, and a romance between their son and daughter.
During the war, Keller and Deever ran a machine shop which knowingly made defective airplane parts, leading to the death of 21 pilots. Both men were sent to prison, but Keller is exonerated from all charges and goes on to make a lot of money during the war. The twin shadows of this catastrophe and the fact that the young Keller son, Larry was reported missing during the war dominates the action.
"I think this play is much more appealing than Miller's ‘Death of a Salesman,’" said Chuck Gallaher, MAC theater director. "It still deals with a relationship between a father and a son, which seems to be a common theme with Miller, but I think people can relate to this play more.
"First, in ‘Death of a Salesman,’ Willie Loman is a door-to-door salesman. There are not too many of them around today, so I don't know if many people can really relate to his passion. I just think this is a much better play."
Gallaher also commented that the appeal of Miller's writing is his ability to write in the voice of the common man.
"I think he writes in the way people think, the way they talk and to their emotions," Gallaher said. "Theatrically, it is something everyone can identify, so people keep going back to his work."
In addition to Miller's theme of family relationships and loyalty, the appeal to "All My Sons" — at least to Aaron Gamble, who plays Joe Keller — is Miller's ability to write for an older man.
"Miller is one of the few playwriters who knows how to write in the mindset of an older man," Gamble said. "With Miller's plays, he writes about the act of being an older man and that is what makes his plays. They are real people."
The cast includes Joe Keller: Aaron Gamble, Potosi; Kate Keller: Greta Balasz, Park Hills; Chris Keller: Jordan Duncan, Farmington; Ann Deever: Hannah Duncan, Farmington; George Deever: Danny Montgomery, Desloge; Dr. Jim Bayliss: Ian Miller, Desloge; Sue Bayliss: Brianna Brickey, Perryville; Frank Lubey: Logan Fitzwater, Bonne Terre; Lydia Lubey: Addy Hall, Farmington; Bert: Christon Hahn, Farmington.
A police chase ensued in Bonne Terre Tuesday afternoon when individuals were spotted stealing packages off porches.
Bonne Terre Police Chief Doug Calvert said the water department supervisor noticed two men and one woman in a red Dodge Intrepid were circling houses and going door to door. Calvert said he reported it to police because it looked suspicious.
“One of them went to take a package off somebody’s front porch and put it in their car,” said Calvert. “He stayed with them, followed them, got their license number and took off after them while they went out Old Bonne Terre Road.”
Calvert said they were finally able to catch up to them and turn on their lights and sirens. He said they contacted Desloge Police and they were set up at the bridge.
“They failed to yield and let the female out by Lead Belt Gun Club,” Calvert said. “I took off after her into the field, where she gave herself up. All of three of them are from De Soto. The two men ran from Desloge Police, but I’m not sure exactly where they chased them all, but they ended up at Walmart.”
Desloge Police Chief James Bullock said they were notified Bonne Terre was in pursuit.
“The two guys continued into Desloge where my guys got on them,” said Bullock. “They led the pursuit to Walmart, where one was apprehended in the parking lot and the other one ran into the store. My guy pursued on foot and it just so happened that one of my off-duty reserve officers was inside Walmart.”
Bullock said when he saw what was going on he snatched the guy and put him on the ground. They were then able to take him into custody.
“We will be filing traffic charges and possibly fleeing and resisting arrest,” Bullock said.
Calvert said the 41-year-old man and 39-year-old man were booked and went to jail for theft and several traffic charges. He added the 45-year-old woman had warrants out of Jefferson County. All three will be charged with stealing and resisting arrest by Bonne Terre.
He added the woman claimed to have medical issues so she was taken to the hospital and was later released.
An area man is being charged in a child pornography case after the Missouri State Highway Patrol Division of Drug and Crime Control accessed files linked back to the man.
Kenneth “Kenny” Carrow, 53, of Bonne Terre, is charged with a class B felony of promoting child pornography and two class B felonies of possession of child pornography.
According to court documents, officers with the Division of Drug and Crime Control were conducting an online investigation on Jan. 21 when they found a file that was being made available online.
The officer downloaded the file that was being made available through Carrow’s IP address and it contained several photographs that appeared to have been captured from a video. The officer described the photographs showing a girl 8 to 10 years old who was nude and posed in an inappropriate manner.
The officer said in the report that by using public records, he was able to determine the IP address was registered to Charter Communications. On Jan. 30, the officer received information back from Charter, based on the search warrant that was sent to them for the IP address for Jan. 21 at 9:02 a.m. and 9:07 a.m.
The information received consisted of Carrow’s name, address, account number, phone number and two email addresses, which included his work email.
On Feb. 13 officers contacted Carrow at his home in the 100 block of Mound St. in Bonne Terre with a search warrant. The focus of the investigation and search was to locate child pornography. After making contact with Carrow, it was determined that he lives at the house by himself.
Carrow was read his Miranda Rights and was interviewed on the spot while investigators searched his home. During the search, investigators found a desktop computer and several external hard drives.
It was noted that one hard drive was found hidden under his waterbed and when asked about it, Carrow said he hid the hard drive as they were knocking on his door. He also said he hid it because he thought they were there to talk to him about the television shows he had been downloading from the internet.
The computer and hard drives were previewed on scene and file sharing software was found on the computer. The reporting officer said he saw deleted files on the hard drives, which appeared to be child pornography.
The officer also reviewed two of the files that were located. The first file was a video that was nearly three minutes long and showed girls who appeared to be 12 to 14 years old partially unclothed.
The other video was also three minutes long and showed girls who were naked around the same age as the other video.
MSHP Public Information Officer Shawn Griggs said the Digital Forensics Investigative Unit or DFIU, which is a section of the Division of the Drug and Crime Control, were the ones conducting the investigation.
“They are partly funded by the Missouri Department of Public Safety State Cyber Crimes grant and Missouri Internet Crimes against Children Task Force,” said Griggs. “They are part of the Division of the Drug and Crime Control and they handle these types of investigations.”
Griggs added the Division of Drug and Crime Control encourages internet users to promptly report anyone who attempts to engage in unwanted, inappropriate or sexualized communications with children to the patrol or local law enforcement.
To report any such behavior, the MSHP can be reached at 636-300-2800 or Central Dispatch can be reached at 573-431-3131.
Carrow is being held in the St. Francois County Jail on a $150,000 bond.
Upon Mayor Dustin Winick's request, a vacancy on the Leadington Board of Aldermen was filled Tuesday night by local businessman Gary McKinney, owner of the Keystone Villas apartment complex.
He was appointed to fill the spot left by Brad Luckey, who was elected to his first term as alderman in April 2017 but resigned in October after moving from the city. McKinney is running unopposed for Luckey's one-year unexpired term in the April 3 municipal election.
Following the board's passing of the motion to place McKinney on the board, City Clerk Debbie Eggers led him in the oath of office and he took his position at the aldermen's table.
Winick informed the aldermen that the Woodlawn Drive Widening Project was denied a Community Development Block Grant, but said he intended to contact Margaret Yates, grant administrator with the Southeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission, to find out if the city can submit a reapplication.
Winick told board members that no bids had been received for the Penny Lane lighting project, but said he met with an Ameren employee about it and believes the city can do the job. Winick said he would find out what the price will be to add a third light to the project and bring it to the March meeting.
In a discussion held regarding Woodlawn Cemetery lawn care, Winick listed work that could be performed through the Prison Work Release Program. Alderman Casie Braddy made a motion to put the cemetery lawn care out for bid and the motion carried. A motion by Alderman Debbi Matthews was approved to put up for sale a piece of Park Hills property bequeathed to the city for the amount of $7,500.
Police Chief Dustin McKinney's request for the $2,337 purchase of software to be used with the department's mobile workstations was approved, along with two laptop mounts at an approximate cost of $140 each. A motion to cover the cost of police training at Mineral Area College for four full-time Leadington officers was also approved.
In other action, Street Department Supervisor Jackie Johnston's request to attend mosquito control training was approved; Good Friday was added as a paid holiday; the number of sick days for city employees was increased from four to five; and the city voted to opt out of the Show Me Green Sales Tax Holiday.