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Year in Review - January through April

Editor's Note: The Farmington Press begins at look back at 2017. Following are the months of January through April.

JANUARY

The Farmington Knights Basketball team started the new year after claiming the eighth Central Christmas Tournament title for the boys basketball team, taking down top seeded Hillsboro 49-45 on Dec. 30.

The year began on a sad note with news of 17-month-old Thomas Wade Zahner dying from his injuries sustained after a vehicle accident at a private residence.

A light to moderate snow blanketed the area on Jan. 6—leading to a day off of school for students and teachers.

Freedom Waste began a new program called "The Hub" to help with hand-to-hand recycling. Donations are accepted of items given away—free of charge—to those who may need a particular item.

On National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, members of the Farmington History Museum organizing committee opened a special exhibit at the Farmington Public Library.

Perhaps the biggest project for the city of Farmington in 2017 is the major upgrades planned for the West Sewer Treatment Plant, the Karsch-Hillsboro sewer interceptor main and refurbishing sewer mains with cast in place pipe.

A group of Farmington citizens are working to make sure the area advances into the future while remembering the past. Pattie Smith and Jessie Williams are two members of the Farmington History Museum committee and discussed possible locations for a museum.

Officials and crews with the city of Farmington were making preparations in advance of the winter weather expected to begin in the hours following the council’s regular meeting on Jan. 12. Plans called for the use of the Farmington Civic Center in case of possible power outages.

A tax round-table held by U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, R-District 8, provided about 20 area tax professionals, business owners and individuals an opportunity to discuss problems they've encountered with the current U.S. tax code, as well as the solutions they would like to see as Congress makes plans to implement tax reform this year. The meeting was held by Smith, who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, in a meeting room at Ozark Federal Savings & Loan in Farmington.

Filings for the April municipal election closed on Jan. 18, with the following races in city seats up for a vote. Ward III Councilman Dennis Smith and Ward I Councilman Larry Forsythe filed for mayor. Mayor Mit Landrum would not seek re-election. Filing for the open seat in Ward I was incumbent John Robinson. Filing for the seat in Ward II were Perry Willmore and incumbent John Crouch. No one filed for the open seat in Ward III. Filing for the seat in Ward IV was Vanessa Pegram and Andrew Hardy. Kevin Kellogg, Ben Campbell and Julie McCarver filed for city attorney.

The Farmington Board of Education received five filings for board members: Farmington Board of Education incumbents Angela Hahn, Amanda Farrell and Howard A. Hoehn filed to run for reelection to their seats, as well as Russel D. Leek and Jerry L. Freeman.

The Farmington R-7 School Board would hear an update on the recently completed Black Knight Fieldhouse as well as a wrap-up of the projects nearly completed from the no-tax increase bond issue. The Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting at the complex later in the month. Farmington High School was nearing the conclusion of the 2014 bond issue construction projects with the addition of a new science wing.

The cadets from the Farmington Air Force JROTC with the Fredericktown Army JROTC joining forces would co-sponsor a special event before the Jan. 31 varsity basketball game honoring local veterans.

Following a strong academic tradition, 31 Farmington High School seniors who took part in the dual credit program during their tenure at the high school would graduate this spring with their associate's degree - a record number of students for the program. In addition to the students graduating with their associates, four students will be graduating with 42 college credit hours.

Sixteen young ladies were vying for the title of 2017 Sweetheart Queen. Candidates included Kaity Conaway, Emily Barnhouse, Lucie Trokey, Abbey Winch, Megan Miller, Taylor Collins, Grace Gilliam, Shayla Reagan, Hailey Swain, Lillian Smith, Gracie Trokey, Olivia Savage, Megan Wade, Rebecca Colligan, Alayna Berry and Katherine Banger. Lucie Trokey would be crowned queen during coronation ceremonies.

Among the items discussed at the Jan. 23 Farmington City Council meeting was the city-wide cleanup held following the Jan. 13 ice storm. Public Works Director Larry Lacy said his staff estimated the work would take three weeks – when, in fact, they expected to be finished by Jan. 27.

FEBRUARY

The Farmington Civic Center would once again host an AAU gymnastics event featuring athletes from Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas. Hoping to create an annual gymnastic event, Parkland Gymnastics and Metro Gymnastic Meets (MGM) will hold the Linda Hershey Gymnastics Classic on Feb. 18-19.

Wade Welch, a 1990 graduate of Farmington High School, is an architect for Hoener Associates. Welch was the principle architect and designer on many of the 2014 bond issue construction projects, but specifically Black Knight Fieldhouse.

Authorities were looking for a man who stole a UTV from local business early Feb. 7. Scott D. Parr, 33, of Fredericktown, would be charged with a class B felony of assault in the second degree special victim, felony armed criminal action, a class D felony of tampering with a motor vehicle in the first degree, class D felony of burglary in the second degree, class E felony of property damage in the first degree and a class E felony of resisting arrest by fleeing.

The Farmington Civic Center held its first "Daddy Daughter Dance" on Feb. 3 at the Centene Center.

Farmington Mayor Stuart “Mit” Landrum was presiding over his final few Farmington City Council meetings. Earlier this year, Landrum expressed he would not seek a third term for the mayoral seat. He reflected on his years in the office in an article in the Farmington Press.

Proceeds from the 2016 Help the Hungry Bake Sale and related fundraising activities brought in $67,000 to help feed the community. Members of the committee gathered to present checks for $33,500 each to representatives from the Farmington Ministerial Alliance and St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantries.

The question of where a new St. Francois County morgue may be located appeared to be answered during a public hearing prior to the Farmington City Council meeting on Feb. 9. An application for a boundary adjustment was submitted by St. Francois County on behalf of Parkland Health Center at the Mineral Area Park located on Weber Road. The property would be divided, with the portion of the pharmacy for the former Mineral Area Regional Medical Center to be donated to the county for a morgue.

Another item approved during the meeting was a contract with MC Power Company for an interconnection and operating agreement for a solar farm. Farmington is one of five cities selected from the Missouri Public Energy Pool (MoPEP) for the solar farm. Mark Krawczyk with MC Power spoke to the council about the solar farm, which will be 15 to 20 acres in size with 9,000 panels.

The winners in the downtown Farmington banner contest were announced. More than 500 entries were received for the Art Blooms banner contest, sponsored by the Mineral Area Council on the Arts and the city of Farmington.

A break in winter weather led the city to scheduling of work on some city streets, which included paving of Alexander Street, Westgate Drive and Hillsboro Road (north of Wallace Road).

The Farmington Press opened the doors to a new chapter on Feb. 16 with the opening of the offices at 227 E. Columbia St. in downtown Farmington.

The Farmington Board of Education made quick work of a light agenda, entering a contract for a telecommunication audit and recognizing students. The board approved a request from Don Eaton, director of business service, to enter into contract with SpyGlass Inc. for a telecommunication audit to seek recovery for any over payments made by the school district.

An area near downtown Farmington is undergoing a transformation as crews began tearing down five homes in the area of Main Street and Spring Street. Four of the five homes located in the area were identified as dangerous buildings through a city ordinance found under the building codes which defines the steps to declaring a dangerous property – which entails notifying the owner and giving a 30-day time period for repairs or intent of repairs to be initiated.

Farmington Middle School Counselor Tess Moore was awarded the Jefferson County School Counselor Association "Counselor of the Year" award on Feb. 10 at the association’s annual meeting. In September, Moore would receive state honors for her work.

Kaitlyn Noll, her husband, Eric, and their three-year-old twin boys, Joseph and Michael, were introduced as this year’s Ambassador Family for the Farmington March for Babies, scheduled for April 20 at Long Park in Farmington.

Farmington Mayor Mit Landrum presents a plaque to Dr. Charles Rorex in recognition of his five years of service on the Farmington City Council. Landrum expressed his apologies for the delay in the honor. Rorex served on the council from 1998 to 2003—at which time he was elected mayor.

MARCH

Bud Norman was honored with a surprise luncheon from his coworkers in recognition of his 40 years with the Parks and Recreation Department in Farmington.

A Farmington youth has received recognition for his video game creation. Kai Peck, 12, was announced the grand prize winner of the Kids as Video Game Makers 2017 competition. Kai had his game, poster and art featured at the Bloxels Booth at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California.

For the last 12 years, as students entered the doors at Farmington Middle School, they were always certain to run into Principal Dr. Dorothy Winslow. She would retire at the end of the school year.

A number of businesses, schools and other organizations are reaching out to the citizens in Perryville following the Feb. 28 tornado. Among those businesses is Auto Plaza Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Farmington. The Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce launched “Perryville Twister Relief” to assist the numerous victims of the tornado. Students from St. Paul Lutheran High School would travel to the area to help in clean-up efforts.

In a ruling handed down by the Supreme Court of Missouri on Tuesday, the cases against David G. DePriest and his sister Natalie DePriest were returned to the St. Francois County Circuit Court for further proceedings after the court vacated the sentences imposed by now-retired Circuit Judge Kenneth W. Pratte in November 2013.

Crews with the Farmington Parks Department constructed a pergola in an area of Engler Park sure to be picture-perfect for a wedding venue. Farmington Parks and Recreation Director Chris Conway said a portion of land adjacent to Thomas Lake at the park became available after clearing the land around the lake.

A Farmington man was jail after a police pursuit. Thomas A. Wallace, 31, of Farmington, was arrested on a number of outstanding warrants, with additional charges expected to be filed at the time.

Much of the discussion at the March 19 Farmington City Council meeting was regarding a boundary adjustment and rezoning request by a local businessman. Rafi Kthiri is the owner of Rafi’s Lawn Service in Farmington. In July of last year Kthiri purchased a home with an outbuilding at property located at 713 Janey Dr. After acquiring the property, Kthiri began to use it for his lawn service, which violates the zoning regulations of that location. The council also heard the Fiscal Year 2016 audit report from Greg Shinn with Shinn, Thurman & Company. Shinn reported the city received a “clean, unqualified” opinion in the report – the best opinion a municipality can receive.

Adding to Farmington High School’s list of honors, the Air Force JROTC instructors and cadets received top honors during a unit evaluation at the high school.

The Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce held the “Business and Community” luncheon featuring the two mayoral candidates for the city.

The Farmington High School Theatre Guild opened a four-show run of the iconic musical comedy, “Once Upon a Mattress,” beginning on Thursday at the Centene Center.

The Farmington Board of Education quickly worked through a heavy agenda to approve the purchase Chromebooks and a sound system for the Black Knight Fieldhouse, as well as recognize students for their achievements. Among the items the board took action on was the approval of $138,750 for the purchase of 750 Chromebooks from Riverside Technologies.

Farmington High School will be sending 11 students to the Missouri HOSA State Leadership Conference on March 27-28 at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla.

Dr. William Miller will retire after 31 years of service to First Baptist Church of Farmington. Miller would deliver his last sermon in May.

Those wanting to be a write-in candidate for the council seat in Ward III were required to file a “Declaration of Candidacy” at the St. Francois County Clerk’s office. In the event there is not an eligible write-in candidate, the council would appoint a resident from Ward III to fill the seat until the April 2018 municipal election.

Farmington Police Chief Rick Baker gave his yearly report to the council. In his report, Baker said in 2016 the department responded to 16,525 calls for service – a 5 percent increase in calls for service from 2015.

The Farmington City Council voted to deny a boundary adjustment and rezoning request by a local businessman. The request for rezoning by local businessman, Rafi Kthiri, the owner of Rafi’s Lawn Service in Farmington, was unanimously denied by the city council. In addition, the council also denied his request for a boundary adjustment to merge the two adjacent properties Kthiri owns at 713 and 709 Janey Dr.

A video was shared on Facebook of Farmington Presbyterian Manor resident Marsha Odle singing “You Are My Sunshine” with employee Amanda Blackmon. After the video was shared, the response was beyond what anyone at the facility imagined.

Farmington High School WYSE team will be sending three students to the state competition on April 18 at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

APRIL

Award-winning comedian Chonda Pierce brought her southern inspired family brand of comedy to Farmington on April 8 at the Christian Life Church.

Farmington Press Managing Editor Shawnna Robinson presented Barbara Viitanen of the Memorial United Methodist Church’s Mum’s Café with this year’s Daily Journal/Farmington Press Citizen of the Year Award during the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce “Celebration of Success” awards banquet. Other award presentations included: Mark Toti-Lifetime Achievement Award; Mit Landrum-KREI/KTJJ 110 Percent Award; Corben Crites-Kiwanis Youth Leadership Award; Roger Dollinger-St. Francois County Rotary Service Above Self Award; Jerry Weems-KFMO/B104 Super Service Award; Laura McLean-Downtown Development Association’s Spirit Award; Chip and Debbie Peterson-Downtown Pride Award; and Belgrade State Bank-Tradition and Progress Award.

The new MERS Goodwill retail store in Farmington was scheduled to open to the public on April 20. The store is located near Panera Bread and Lowe's in Farmington.

Farmington's new mayor would be Larry Forsythe. Forsythe, the Ward I councilman, received 660 votes while Ward III Councilman Dennis Smith received 636 votes. There were five write-in votes.

Voters also chose Julie McCarver (435) as the new city attorney, beating Kevin Kellogg (395) and Ben Campbell (412). Elected to Ward 2 was John Crouch (341), beating Perry Willmore (108). Elected to Ward 4 was Vanessa Pegram (220), beating Andy Hardy (134).

Ward I Councilman John Robinson was unopposed in his race. There were no candidates filing for the seat in Ward III. In addition, no one filed a "Declaration of Candidacy" to be considered as a write-in candidate for the seat. There were, however, 29 "write-ins" for the seat, with a four-way tie. Wayne Linnenbringer, James Bulllis, Cynthia Reeves and David Bishop received three votes each. Bullis and Reeves indicated they were not interested in serving and signed a sworn affidavit indicating as such. Linnenebringer and Bishop both indicated they were interested in holding the seat and – as agreed upon by both gentleman – held a coin toss to determine who would hold the seat. In his last official duty as mayor, Landrum tossed the coin which landed heads up – meaning Linnenbringer would hold the seat.

In the race for the Farmington R-7 School Board, it was incumbents Angela Hahn (1,159) and Howard A. Hoehn (952) along with newcomer Jerry L. Freeman (1,170) elected for a three-year term.

The countdown started for “The Farm Town Get Down” – Country Days 2017 in Farmington.

Offering a wealth of fresh produce and just as many smiles, the Farmington Farmers Market kicked off another season on April 8.

Plans were announced that members of the Three Rivers Baptist Church, located approximately five miles north of Farmington just off Route D, would be celebrating the church’s 185th birthday on May 7.

The Farmington Correctional Center held its annual Crime Victims’ Rights Ceremony on April 6 under the rotunda of the administration building

There were plans in the works for the former Mineral Area Regional Medical Center and Sharo Shirshekan will take ownership of the building during the month.

The city of Farmington received a grant from the Missouri Public Energy Pool (MoPEP) on April 13 to support upgrades to the city’s electric system. Farmington’s grant award of $256,252 will be used toward the cost of recent improvements to the city’s electric system. The MoPEP grant helps the city with expenses related to the city’s new substation on Woodlawn Drive, built to provide for the city’s increased new needs for commercial power.

The seventh annual “Run/Walk with Walker” for the Walker Johns Childhood Cancer Foundation was held on April 15 at Farmington High School. The foundation is named in memory of Walker Johns, son of Kenny and Kelly Johns

Jeff and Sheila Krekeler were introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Country Days 2017. The weekend concert announcement included Friday’s line-up of the trio Restless Road and headliner Walker Hayes. Saturday’s concerts feature local favorite Route 67, followed up by Steel Woods and headlining artist Michael Tyler.

Neighbors in a residential area of Farmington where a commercial rezoning request was denied last month were at the Farmington City Council meeting seeking information on the property. The residents of Janey Drive were present to address their concerns that Rafi Kthiri was continuing to operate his lawn care business at the property even after the rezoning to commercial was denied.

Representatives from the city of Farmington, Farmington R-7 School District and the Farmington High School boys’ tennis team gathered at the tennis complex near Engler Park for a special occasion. The complex was officially named the Mayor Hager Tennis Complex after the late Mayor Floyd Hager.

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