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BobbyRadford / Courtesy of Angela Zolman 

Students work together to get the job done. 


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Nominations for 'Best of ...' begins Monday

The Daily Journal’s third annual Best of the Parkland contest kicks off Monday.

The contest began two years ago and had dozens of businesses in St. Francois, Madison, Washington, Iron and Ste. Genevieve Counties recognized by the public for outstanding products or services.

This year the public once again has the opportunity to nominate businesses in more than 100 categories ranging from best food, places to shop, services, auto and home services and more.

Anyone can nominate any business they feel deserves the recognition and the readers will then vote on the nominated candidates.

Nominations begin Monday and end on March 4.

The nominations for each category can be made by visiting www.dailyjournalonline.com/contests/

If nominations do not fit an existing categories, a new category will be created.

Once the nomination period is complete, voting for the "best of" in each category will take place from March 23 to April 5, accessible by the same web address as the nomination form.

"Nominations will appear in an insert in our print editions, as well as the online editions," said Daily Journal Media Manager Donny Cheatham. "Then you just need to go back in after March 23 and cast votes for your favorites in each category."

You can vote once per day per category, so return repeatedly to help assure your favorites are named "Best of the Parkland" for 2019.

Winners will be revealed in the April 27 edition of the Daily Journal, the May 1 edition of the Democrat News and the May 2 edition of the Farmington Press.

Nominated businesses will be promoted on social media, and should promote themselves on social media and directly to patrons through mentions about the contest encouraging patrons to vote for them.


Mark Marberry, Daily Journal 

Police investigate a murder scene on South Washington Street in Farmington where a local man was gunned down by an acquintance, who later killed himself as police closed in on his location.


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More details emerge from murder/suicide

Two Farmington men are dead after a squabble over a borrowed car turned into a murder/suicide Thursday night.

According to Farmington Police Chief Rick Baker, victim Shane Littlejohn, 39, of Farmington, was shot and killed in an incident on South Washington Street.

Officers were dispatched to a gunshot incident at 8:30 p.m. According to the report, the shooter, Justin Brooks, 35, also of Farmington, drove up to the victim and a witness who were on the side of the road working on a vehicle.

The witness stated that Brooks yelled a few things at Littlejohn and then fired three shots and drove off.

According to authorities, Littlejohn was pronounced dead on the scene from an obvious gunshot wound to the head.

The witness was able to identify the shooter and a stop and hold was issued. In addition, authorities were able to ping Brooks’ approximate location using his cell phone signal.

According to the report, authorities learned that Brooks owned a storage shed in Delassus, just outside Farmington on Highway 221.

At approximately 9:30 p.m. officers arrived at the storage shed and announced their presence. The report states that officers then heard a single gunshot, and upon entering the storage building found Brooks dead, apparently as the result of a single gunshot wound to the head.

According to Baker, authorities found a single shell casing from an SKS semi-automatic rifle at the scene on South Washington Street. In addition, Baker said, sheriff deputies found two additional shell casing in the vehicle at the storage shed ... which is consistent with the witness hearing three shots fired.

Baker said an autopsy will be performed on Littlejohn to determine if there are any additional gunshot wounds. An autopsy will not be performed on Brooks, however, Baker said a toxicology screen was requested which can take four to six weeks to receive results.

“There is not really going to be an ongoing investigation,” said Baker, “... as this situation is pretty well tied up. It is unfortunate that two individuals lost their lives.”


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A 'chivalrous' win

How do you spell success? It’s spelled b-e-e.

Thirty three of the area’s top middle school spellers took part in the district bee this past week. This annual MAJHAA conference event was held in North County High School’s auditorium.

Competitors arrived early to register and draw their number order. Then they found seats inside the auditorium to anxiously await the start of the bee.

Pamela Marler, a seventh grader from Farmington, sat with her mom as she tried to calm her nerves before the start of the contest. She said it was her first time at the bee and she was “really nervous but excited.”

Moderator and North County Middle School teacher Tasha Hennrich welcomed the spellers and their guests. She asked contestants to wave congratulations to one another for making it to the district competition, and then she and Kate Dillon, judge, explained the rules. Hennrich told students they could ask for words to be repeated, the word’s origin, part of speech or definition. They could even have the word read as part of a sentence. Spellers started off with a practice round and then it was game time.

First up was West County’s Jacob Lawson with the word eliminate. Lawson first competed in the bee as a sixth grader and returned this year as an eighth grader.

Spellers met round one with confidence, spelling words like captivity, dollop, spectators, Venus, jerkily and swiveled.

Less than a half hour after starting, spellers were already in the midst of round two. They spelled words like hoisted, ruefully, recognition, banishment, penalty, writhing, garret and mockingly. Grace McMillen, from Central, didn’t let what seemed to be an unknown word intimidate her. With her hands on her hips as she asked for the definition of her word, she met the task with confidence and determination and successfully spelled furled.

Round three began with 13 remaining spellers. Words included fulcrum, conservatory, alabaster, paramedic, culprits, peasantry, antagonism and fiddle faddle. Paul Clark from Farmington correctly spelled fugitive before advancing to the next round, while Hollie Reinagel from Arcadia Valley tackled the word humanitarian. Jackson Sutton, from Fredericktown, correctly spelled percussion.

The top 10 spellers started round four, and the difficulty of words increased. Lawson began the round by successfully completing the word diabolical. Wren Blount, of Arcadia Valley, had the word abolition, while fellow AV student Katelyn Strange had martyr and Reinagel got sepia. Other words of the word included garbanzo, diminutive, extricates, couriers and clavicle.

When round five came, seven spellers remained: Lawson, Jaiden DeClue of North County, Blount, Strange, Mallory Rottler and Adam Allen of Ste. Genevieve, and Reinagel. This round’s words included things like lustrous, relinquish, Pad Thai, juniper and indelible.

Round six had six spellers with words like clichés, promenade, salutation, gondolier, cologne and garrison.

With round seven, the contest was down to the top three participants: Lawson, DeClue and Strange. They were given the words dervishes, galleon and treacle.

And then there were two: Lawson and DeClue. The contest bounced back and forth between these two to make it to the 12th round. They confidently spelled words like bronchitis, velveteen, antecedents, sumptuous, dissertation, chloroform, kelpies and Prague.

Then when Lawson missed the word balsam and DeClue correctly spelled that word, along with chivalrous, she was declared the spelling bee champion for the second year in a row.

Participants included Wren Blount, Hollie Reinagel and Katelyn Strange, Arcadia Valley; Savannah David, Hannah Hale and Zoie Thompson, Bismarck; Grace McMillen and Kaitlyn Johnson, Central; Paul Clark, Tessa Hand and Pamela Marler, Farmington; Dylan Ferrell, Kiera Lett and Jackson Sutton, Fredericktown; Isabella DiFiori, Noah Eads and Emma Pashia, Potosi; Emmelei Boyer, Megan Bricker and Katlyn Coleman, Kingston; Jaiden DeClue, Mason Lay and Sophia Telles, North County; Adam Allen, Lindsey Crump and Mallory Rottler, Ste. Genevieve; Bethany Bridgeman, Eli Rawlins and Molly Stetina, Valley; and Quintin Flint, Jacob Lawson and Thomas Mackay, West County.


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Jail worker arrested for sex with inmate

A Bonne Terre woman has been charged with having sexual contact with an inmate while working at the St. Francois County Jail.

Tiffani Webb, 23, of Bonne Terre, was charged with felony sexual conduct with a prisoner or offender by an employee of the probation and parole, jail, prison or correctional facility.

According to a report by a detective with the St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department, on Jan. 23 an inmate identified as Jason Adams admitted that he had sexual contact with an employee of the jail.

The report states that Adams said the incident happened Jan. 11 at approximately 10 p.m. The inmate told the detective that Webb removed him from his jail cell and escorted him to the medical room, where she performed a sex act on him.

Jail records reveal that Webb did remove Adams from his cell on the date in question and escorted him to the medical room. The two were in the medical room for approximately seven minutes before Webb returned Adams to his cell.

In addition, Adams produced multiple letters that Webb had written him while he was incarcerated at the facility. The report states the letters were sexual in nature.

According to the investigative report, in a Jan. 25 interview with Webb she admitted she did write Adams the letters and that they did contain sexual content. She also confessed that she removed Adams from his cell, took him to the medical room and performed oral sex on him before returning him to his cell.

Webb was arrested and booked. She is currently out on a $5,000 bond and is to have no contact with any inmate of the St. Francois County Jail or enter any St. Francois County Jail property.