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Last year was a very busy and productive year for Farmington. Here are some of the things that happened in 2017.

January

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.

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 tax roundtable 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.

The Farmington 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.

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.

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 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 overpayments made by the school district.

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

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 the prior 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 would vote to deny the request later in the month. 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.

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

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.

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.

April

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.

Farmington's new mayor will 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 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.

There were plans in the works for the former Mineral Area Regional Medical Center and Sharo Shirshekan to 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.

Representatives from the city of Farmington, Farmington 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.

May

After 26 years of coaching basketball, Farmington High School varsity basketball coach Justin Callahan retired from the game. During Callahan's career, he coached his teams to a district championship and a trip to Columbia for the final four tournament.

Drawing a huge crowd once again, the Farmington Parks and Recreation’s Wiggle and Giggle Kid Fishing Derby returned for its 31st year on May 6 at Hager Lake.

The Farmington School District named Farmington Middle School teacher Casey Burch as the 2017 “Teacher of the Year” during the district’s annual luncheon.

During May 12 Farmington City Council Meeting, Nancy Krekeler was presented with the "Jack Sebastian Award” for her work at the OAKS Senior Center.

The Farmington Board of Education used its final meeting of the school year to recognize students, staff and faculty during this past school year.

With friends and family watching from the bleachers at the Farmington Civic Center, the Farmington High School Class of 2017 graduated 263 members.

The Farmington Middle School garnished another award at the close of the school year as they were presented the Promising Practices in Character Education Award from Character.org for its development and implementation of the ICE - an Intensive Character Education program.

St. Paul Lutheran High School held the third commencement ceremony. The class of 2017 had 16 students participating in the ceremony.

A storm with 70-plus mile an hour straight ripped through Farmington and most of the Parkland area bringing down trees, powerlines and hundreds of Farmington residents without power – some for more than 24 hours.

The Truman Learning Center was awarded the prestigious FutureBuilders Early Childhood Education "Program of the Year" by the Missouri School Board Association.

June

Farmington residents kick-started summer during the 39th annual Country Days with a theme of “The Farm Town Get Down." Jeff and Sheila Krekeler were 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.

The Farmington Police Department announced the death of Figo, the departments K-9. Figo, 10, died after a brief illness and served for eight years with Corporal Brad Williams.

A Farmington teenager, Christopher C. Watson, 19, drowned on June 11 as he tried to swim across the Black River at Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park.

The Farmington City Council approved a contract with Bloomsdale Excavating Company, Inc. for replacement of the interceptor main starting at the east sewer treatment plant on Highway 32, running the full length of Karsch Boulevard to Washington Street and up Hillsboro Road. This began the second and third phase of a multi-phased wastewater improvement project in the city.

Missouri Speaker of the House Todd Richardson, R-152, was the featured speaker during the Farmington Regional Chamber June luncheon.

The Farmington Board of Education approved an increase in the salary base of both the certified employee salary and the classified employee salary schedule.

The Farmington City Council approved an ordinance for a contract with the Missouri Department of Transportation for sidewalks and crosswalks at two busy intersections, located at Potosi Street and Walton Drive intersections with Karsch Boulevard.

July

Farmington residents received word that Sugarfire Smoke House would be making Farmington home for one its latest franchises.

The city of Farmington held its annual Fireworks Display in Engler Park on July 4. The show last more than 30 minutes and was the biggest one to date.

The Public Works Department announced the phases for road work on Liberty Street near Parkland Health Center. The construction caused the road to be closed for several days.

The Farmington City Council approved an ordinance designating 211 N. “A” St. as “Historical Property” during the July 13 meeting. The ordinance led the building becoming the new home of the Farmington Museum.

During the Farmington Board of Education July meeting, the board discussed the benefits of a new program at the high school level. Pathway to Prosperity would, amongst other things, develop an apprentice program with local companies.

Kevin Ross, a 1983 Farmington High School graduate, was nominated for an Emmy® for his work on the hit Netflix drama series, “Stranger Things.”

The Farmington City Council took a moment during the July 24 meeting to remember a former council member Maurice Harrington, 89, who had passed away.

On July 31, the Public Works department began construction of a new sewer trunk line along a portion of Karsch Boulevard from St. Francois to Michigan Street.

August

On Aug. 4, demolition began on Farmington’s original McDonalds, located on Karsch Boulevard. The old restaurant would be torn down to make way for a new and improved facility which opened in November.

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill held a public town hall on Aug. 11 at Long Memorial Hall.

Helping students be safe, Belgrade State Bank donated solar eclipse glasses to local school districts including Farmington. Visitors from all over the world descended up Farmington and the Parkland area as the first total eclipse in more than 400 years. Area schools and business were closed to watch the two-plus minutes the day turned to night.

September

The Farmington Water Park hosted “Hot Dippity Dog” – the annual farewell event to the summer season.

The Farmington Black Knight Marching Band hosted the 20th annual Farmington Marching Invitational on Sept. 16 at Haile Memorial Stadium.

A group of residents were in attendance at the Farmington City Council meeting on Thursday to express their concerns over the sale of close to 170 acres near their homes on the city’s east side. The Presbyterian Children’s Home submitted a final record plat dividing the property into 11 lots — nine of which would be auctioned off for future development. Among the residents' concern was the possible location of a Pine Street extension that would go along the back of their property line.

Farmington City Council approved a resolution allowing City Administrator Greg Beavers to submit a grant application to the Missouri Department of Transportation Cost-Share Program for the purpose of funding construction of a J-turn intersection at Perrine Road and U.S. 67.

The Farmington Downtown Development Association, with the help of the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce, hosted the annual Fall Festival on Sept. 30.

During the Farmington Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Matt Ruble announced the high school’s girl softball team would be switching to the Southeast Missouri Conference in the fall of 2018.

The Farmington City Council approved the budget for the fiscal year 2017-18 during regular session. This year’s budget is right at $47 million - $46.7, to be exact.

October

The groundbreaking for the new solar energy farm in Farmington was noted as a “red letter day” for Farmington. Representatives from the city, Farmington IDA, MC Power Companies, Missouri Public Utilities Alliance, and financer Gardner Capital, Inc. were on hand for the ceremony at the site, located off Korber Road near Route H.

The city council discussed leasing of Wilson-Rozier ballfields to the Farmington School District for the four months of baseball season. The lease would be a token amount of $1. The high school ball teams would have exclusive rights to the field during that time, as well as be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep – something normally taken care of by city crews.

A ribbon cutting ceremony marked another milestone in healthcare for the area with Parkland Health Center officials dedicating the newly expanded emergency department. The expansion added 6,300 square feet to the existing emergency department.

Harvest Night drew a large crowd in downtown Farmington.

November

The dedication ceremony for the St. Luke’s A.M.E. Church Park was held. The park, located at the corner of Franklin Street and Third Street near downtown Farmington, was the site of the first African Methodist Episcopal Church west of the Mississippi. The property was donated to the city by former Farmington City Councilman Bill Matthews and Charles Matthews in February of 2014.

Farmington businessman Dale Wright announced his candidacy for the 116th District seat in the Missouri House of Representatives currently held by Rep. Kevin Engler, who will be completing his final term due to term limits in December 2018.

Just a few hours after the close of the Help the Hungry Bake Sale on Nov. 18, it was announced a preliminary total of $68,304 was raised from the sale and other fundraising activities held throughout the year. The money is divided and donated to the Farmington Ministerial Alliance and St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantries in Farmington.

Farmington City Administrator Greg Beavers delivered the "state of the city" address during the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce "Business and Community" luncheon.

According to Superintendent Matt Ruble the district was looking at parcel of land once owned by the Presbyterian Children’s Home on Pine Street. The land - a total of more than 160 acres - was sold at auction in October. During the board’s regular session, the proposal for the both the leasing and the refinancing was unanimously accepted. Ruble said the land could be used for a new intermediate or middle school.

The Farmington City Council heard an update on the community’s TIF Districts during the Nov. 27 meeting. There are two active TIF Districts in Farmington – Karsch Boulevard and Downtown Farmington district, implemented in 2004, and Highway 67 district, implemented in 2005.

December

The streets of downtown Farmington were bursting with Christmas spirit as people braved the cold temps and blustery winds for the annual Farmington Christmas Parade. With a theme of "Storybook Christmas," the parade was sponsored by Krekeler Jewelers and hosted by the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce.

An ultralight aircraft crashed near the Farmington Regional Airport and new solar farm on Dec. 6. Corporal Juston Wheetley with the Missouri State Highway Patrol said witnesses reported seeing the pilot, a 46-year-old Farmington man, crawl from the aircraft. The pilot was airlifted to Mercy St. Louis by Air Evac. 

Officer Josh Shearrer and K-9 Officer Ringo, a three-and-a-half year old Dutch Shepard and Belgium Malinois, have been riding together as partners on the night shift.

Officials with Unico Bank hold a ribbon cutting on Dec. 6 at the Farmington branch, located at 755 Weber Rd.

The Farmington City Council approved a special session of bow deer hunting during their regular session meeting on Dec. 18.

Sara Parker Pauley, director of the Missouri Department of Conservation, speaks during the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce Business and Community Luncheon at the Centene Center on Dec. 21. Pauley also held a question and answer session after the luncheon.

A local group of people got an extra holiday gift from the Missouri Lottery Powerball game after matching all five white ball numbers drawn in the Dec. 23 drawing. The plant was buzzing at US Tool in Farmington after it was discovered that a group of approximately 166 people had won the Powerball.

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