A 62-bed shelter has opened its doors on the grounds of the former Mineral Area Regional Medical Center in Farmington to help meet a growing need in the community for temporary housing for the homeless. The now-vacant 98-bed osteopathic hospital located at the corner of Weber and Wallace roads closed its doors in January 2016, just nine months after BJC HealthCare purchased the property and ultimately consolidated operations into Parkland Health Center’s Liberty Road campus. The Mineral Area Regional Medical Center property and buildings were eventually purchased by local businessman Sharo Shirshekan who in turn donated it to East Missouri Action Agency (EMAA).
No one was seriously injured when a vehicle struck a residence on Kinley Drive in Farmington Wednesday morning. According to Farmington Police Department, the 16-year-old female may have suffered a medical issue while operating a 2001 Ford Taurus. The officer stated that the driver failed to negotiate the corner at Dewey and Westgate and struck a tree and then the residence at 28 Kinley Drive. According to the officer, the residence suffered cosmetic damage to the exterior and some minor interior damage. The city building inspector has been called in to investigate structural damage to the building.
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The Farmington City Council heard a progress report on the construction of an all-inclusive playground at Engler Park when it met in session Dec. 29 at city hall. Addressing the council was Colin Rogers, Brockmiller Construction vice president and member of the Play It Forward in the Parkland All-Inclusive Playground Committee. “We have been working on this project for at least a couple of years, I think,” he said. “We have recently put out a proposal packet for playground designs, and we got three respondents.
A mobile home fire early Friday morning on Weber Road in Farmington brought out several local fire departments to the scene. The call came in at 4:24 a.m., with firefighters arriving at the home at 901 Weber Road. Farmington Fire Chief Todd Mecey said they found heavy fire in the north end of the building and had it under control in 20 minutes. “One occupant escaped with minor injuries,” he said. The cause of the fire is undetermined and under investigation at this time. The Farmington Fire Department was assisted by Doe Run, Park Hills and Wolf Creek fire departments.
When it comes to education, it’s a different world at the Farmington School District’s Dayse Baker Learning Center (DBLC), where Dr. Mike Rickermann presides over his fourth year in what he calls a “non-traditional learning environment.” Rickermann’s official title is director of student options and alternative programs, but he doesn’t like to call his curriculum an alternative. “I try not to use the term alternative school because it has a negative connotation; that’s where the bad kids go,” he said. “That is the furthest thing from the truth.”
A large contingent of Butterfield Gardens residents turned out Thursday night for the Farmington City Council meeting at Long Memorial Hall with concerns about a new proposed development creating traffic issues on Route D. The council held a public hearing on the matter and held the first reading during the presentation of legislation.
Farmington City Administrator Greg Beavers took a look back at the city’s accomplishments in 2021 and then spent some time looking ahead to projects on the board for 2022. While Covid-19 is still an overriding issue in so many ways, Beavers saw patches of daylight in 2021 and hopes that 2022 will bring even better news for Farmington.
The Farmington Police Department arrested a suspect Friday evening on multiple charges, including felony drug possession, after an altercation with responding officers. Farmington Police Chief Rick Baker stated that at about 6:15 p.m., officers responded to a disturbance in progress on the parking lot of O’Reilly’s Auto Parts at the corner of Karsch Blvd. and Middle Street. “Dispatch informed the officers that one of the vehicles involved was a blue Nissan passenger vehicle,” he said. One of the officers tried to get the driver’s attention. The driver backed the vehicle into the patrol vehicle in an attempt to flee. The driver continued to pull forward and back into the patrol vehicle several times until an officer was able to break the driver’s side window, open the door and remove the driver. A search of the vehicle revealed a felony amount of marijuana, numerous pills, drug paraphernalia and U.S. currency.
Holding its official ribbon cutting on Jan. 11, Scooter’s Coffee, 401 Karsch Blvd., is operating at full steam, serving coffee and drinks daily to the Farmington area. Jackson, Missouri, residents Bart and Keri Vandeven are Scooter’s franchisees, and Farmington is the fourth store they’ve opened so far. Bart spoke in glowing terms about how business in town has taken off. “Farmington’s a great community,” he said. “We built our first store in Jackson, where we live. When we came up here, the atmosphere and the people seemed just like the kind of people we are used to from where we’re at.”
The Farmington City Council met last Monday in regular session, where they covered a variety of issues that included new entrance signs to the city, implementation of new management software at city hall, and the hiring of officers and firefighters for the police and fire departments. City Administrator Greg Beavers gave the council an update on the tourism board’s efforts to provide new entrance signs to the city. “One of the signs will be on MoDOT’s right-of-way on 67 Highway,” he said. “The city will have to enter into a maintenance agreement with MoDOT. The tourism board cannot.” Beavers said the city has been in discussions with MoDOT about where to install the southbound US 67 sign and has yet to reach an agreement on the location. “As soon as we can get to a happy place with MoDOT, I’ll put the applications in for the city for construction, and the council will have to approve the maintenance agreement,” he said.
Former Fox 2 news anchor John W. Brown spoke with the Farmington Press about the recent release of the second edition of his book, “Missouri Legends: Famous People from The Show Me State.” in recognition of last year’s Missouri Bicentennial. The 314-page softcover book offers brief and entertaining vignettes about Missouri’s many historical figures, politicians, business leaders, sports figures, actors and entertainers, and miscellaneous celebrities of all kinds — and there’s a lot more than you might expect.
The Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce has named Deena Ward as its new director of events. She is filling the vacancy left when former director of events Cassie Thomas became director of the United Way of St. Francois County at the first of the year.
A “by-invitation-only” formal prom, “Night to Dream,” is being held from 6-9 p.m. Friday evening at Farmington’s Centene Center. Students from area schools that qualify to participate in the Special Olympics have been invited to attend the event that has been planned especially for them. The “Dream Night Prom Experience” has been organized by New Heights Church, along with the Farmington and North County school districts. New Heights Church Pastor Rocky Good has been spending a large amount of time coordinating the event. “When I was in college, I worked at a camp for the handicapped,” he said. “I have been involved with this population in different ways. They’ve been a part of my life since childhood. We’ve invited 14 different schools to participate in the whole region. Our strategy is for each of the schools to provide a ‘buddy’ — somebody from their school to come be their buddy for the evening.
Farmington residents and businesses using city power aren’t likely to see any rise in their electricity rates anytime soon, according to City Administrator Greg Beavers who discussed a recent study of the city-run electric utility during a brief meeting of the Farmington City Council held Feb. 10 at Long Hall.
The East Ozarks Audubon Society held a meeting Jan. 18 at the Farmington Public Library featuring a presentation given by Rose Mier about the Missouri Bumblebee Atlas Project. Last summer, Mier and her husband volunteered for the project and had two surveys where they captured bumblebees and identified their location, species and what type of plant they were pollinating when captured.
Cedarhurst Assisted Living Facility in Farmington held a Valentine’s Day banquet on Monday, Feb. 14, for residents that featured a special meal, the crowning of a king and queen, and entertainment provided by Alan Berry. The residents and staff had a great time and are looking forward to celebrating together again next year.
The Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce Business and Community Luncheon held Feb. 17 at Centene Center featured guest speakers from Parkland Health Center (PHC) who spoke about the new cardiac cath lab at the hospital. PHC President Annette Schnabel told the crowd that PHC celebrates Heart Month, but in a different way than people celebrate Valentine’s Day. “The celebration for us is kind of about the anatomy and physiology of the heart’s performance,” she said.
The General Federation of Women’s Clubs Monday Club of Farmington is in the process of applying for the National Register of Historic Places for the Long House in Farmington. Karen Kleinberg, president of the Monday Club, is asking the public for information on the Long House as part of the application process. “They are focusing on how the Long House has been used since the 1950s when the ladies from the Monday Club kind of saved it from being torn down,” she said. “They’re going in under social history as to how they want the house to be put on the register. In order for that to happen, I need to learn more about how the house has been used.”
The Farmington City Council heard a presentation on industrial growth given by Chip Peterson, president of the Farmington Industrial Development Authority, when it met in regular session Feb. 28 in council chambers at city hall. Peterson began by offering a brief overview of the Farmington IDA’s history. “The IDA has been around for 30-plus years,” he said. “It’s changed form a little bit through the years. The idea is that it is an arm of the city that is separate from the city, so wherever we issue revenue bonds or work with outside industry, it’s an interesting format we’ve got. A good example is the land for the industrial park itself was donated by the state. The city then donated that to the IDA.”
While installing an HVAC unit, Farmington School District maintenance staff overturned a bucket truck resulting in injuries Wednesday afternoon. Farmington Fire Chief Todd Mecey said they were called at 1:57 p.m. to Lincoln Intermediate School. “When we arrived, we had one patient,” he said. “The patient was transported by ground to Mercy South Hospital by St. Francois County Ambulance.”
The Farmington Police Department is investigating a late-night shooting incident that occurred Wednesday. The Farmington Police Department responded at 11 p.m. Wednesday to a reported shooting incident at an apartment on East Harrison Street. Police Chief Rick Baker explained there are few details on the incident at this time. According to the report, the 41-year old-male resident and his wife told police that they heard a knock at the door, he opened the door, and a masked subject shot the resident in the leg and then ran off. The victim was airlifted to Mercy Hospital St. Louis for treatment of the injury.
The Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce’s monthly Business and Community Luncheon featured Jeremy Key of WeManage Tech, who spoke about cybersecurity and how to prevent software hacks of businesses. “We do a lot of help desk, a lot of cybersecurity, basically small business, city and county support,” he said. “I’m here to talk about cybersecurity and mostly social engineering. The weakest link is people. I kind of geek out on learning the psychology behind social engineering. We have a lot of types of social engineering.”
Farmington resident Laura (Yothers) Newman was recently named March Patriot of the Month by the Sarah Barton Murphy Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Newman is a retired Air Force staff sergeant who grew up in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, as part of the Pennsylvania Dutch community. She spoke about her upbringing in a relatively sheltered, hardworking environment and how she chose a career in the military.
Two candidates are running for the Ward 1 seat, and two others are running for the Ward 4 seat on the Farmington City Council. The election will be held Tuesday. Incumbent Adam Parks and Abigail Jonson are running for the Ward 1 seat. Garett Boatright is running against incumbent Keli Keutzer for the Ward 4 seat.
City Administrator Gregory S. Beavers announced last week that Doug Stotler has been appointed to the position of Farmington Parks and Recreation director. The position has been vacant for the past three years following the resignation of Chris Conway, who accepted a position with the city of Ballwin, Missouri’s parks and recreation department.
“Mr. Stotler comes to Farmington with a lifetime of experience in program and facility management and community engagement,” said Beavers. “He will be a tremendous asset to the parks & recreation department.”
April is Autism Awareness Month, and in honor of the occasion, Hope 4 Autism is holding its annual Autos 4 Autism Car Show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in the courthouse annex parking lot in downtown Farmington. Trophies will be awarded in the following classes: Vehicles 1939 and older, Vehicles 1940 to 1959, Vehicles 1960 to 1979, Vehicles 1980 to 1999, Vehicles 2000 and newer, Special Interest, Best in Show, and Club Participation.
Five candidates are running for two seats on the Farmington School Board Tuesday. The terms are for three years. They are Dylan Nicholson, Kerry Noble, Duane Hampton, Jeff Lawson and Derek Gollaher.
The Farmington Fire Department was dispatched to the report of a fire at Convenience Barn on Ste. Genevieve Avenue Sunday night. Chief Todd Mecey said at 6:55 p.m. Sunday, a customer forgot the fuel nozzle was still attached to their SUV and drove off. Instead of the hose breaking, the whole pump was pulled off of the fuel island. “There was an ignition that set the single set of pumps on fire,” he said. “There was no damage to the building. We were able to extinguish it within five minutes of arrival.
As part of the evolution of its curriculum to better assist graduating students going into all fields of employment, the Farmington R-7 School District will be offering different types of diplomas for graduating seniors starting with the class of 2026. There will still be a standard diploma as in the past; however, there will be an available Latin Honors endorsement, Advanced Career endorsement and Advanced College endorsement. College and Career Advisor Dr. Brian Reeves says it’s a part of highlighting career pathways aside from college preparation.
Visions of Hope’s Autos 4 Autism will be holding its seventh annual drag race April 16 at the Bonne Terre Drag Strip. Luanne Honerkamp, executive director of Visions of Hope, noted that the drag race is the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year for Hope 4 Autism. “It is attended by anywhere from 1,000-1,200 people,” she said. “We have people from other states come just for this event. A new thing this year is we had some of the sponsors step up to be payout sponsors for over $6,000 total for the day. Hopefully, that will bring in more people for the drag race.”
Plans are well underway for the upcoming Country Days weekend returning to downtown Farmington June 3-5. According to Candy Hente, Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce executive director, there is already a contest online for the biggest event the organization puts on during the year. “To choose the 2022 Country Days parade grand marshal, we have a contest online with five different non-profits that have been nominated,” she said. Voting ends Tuesday. The five nominated organizations are Life Center for Independent Living (L.I.F.E. INC.), Farmington Pet Adoption Center, East Missouri Action Agency (EMAA), United Way of St. Francois County, and Help the Hungry Bake Sale.
The Farmington Fire Department battled a fire at 142 Hickory Street Friday morning. Fire Chief Todd Mecey said the call came in at 6:16 a.m., and they arrived on the scene in approximately three minutes. “Fire was showing in the attic,” he said. “It took crews about 20 minutes to have it under control. The house was occupied at the time of the fire, but they were able to escape on their own before we arrived.” Mecey said the home suffered extensive damage and will probably be considered a total loss.
During the Farmington City Council meeting Thursday evening, Police Chief Rick Baker presented his annual police report, listing the crime statistics for 2021. “The Farmington Police Department responded to 20,504 calls for service in 2021, a 7% increase from 2020,” he said. “From the calls for service, the police department generated 3,388 incident reports, a 5% increase from 2020. From those incident reports, the officers made 992 arrests — that’s approximately 2.7 arrests per day.” Baker said that the department responded to 778 motor vehicle crashes, a 17% increase from the previous year. They also had 4,655 traffic stops, a 9.5% increase from 2020,” he said. “From those traffic stops, they made 1,651 traffic summons, and 4,721 warnings were issued.” The department arrested 35 motorists for driving while intoxicated and nine motorists for other alcohol-related incidents such as underage possession, etc. Farmington police investigated 85 drug-related incidents and made 108 arrests. Baker stated that methamphetamine possession was the most prevalently abused drug, although there were several incidents involving possession of marijuana, fentanyl, heroin and prescription medications.
During its April 25 meeting, the Farmington City Council heard a plan by the mayor and city administrator to build a separate structure to primarily house city business services due to a lack of space in Long Memorial Hall. The discussion began during Councilman Vanessa Pegram’s Administrative Services Committee report in which she informed the council that the committee had discussed the city’s “ever-growing need for more space” in Long Memorial Hall, which is used as Farmington’s city hall. The committee members also discussed whether or not more downtown property needed to be purchased for the construction of a new structure or the renovation of an existing one.
The Farmington High School will have a “forest” of activities as part of its prom event being held April 30 for the 2022 graduating class in downtown Farmington. At 6:45 a.m., North Jefferson Street will be closed, and Columbia Street will be closed from Long Hall to South Washington to allow for the set up of the many activities planned for the day’s event. Starting at 7 p.m., the “Enchanted Forest” of activities on the square will include fortunetellers, live statues, caricature artists and a photo booth for attendees.
In recognition of April’s designation as Autism Awareness Month, Visions of Hope held its annual Autos 4 Autism Car Show and seventh annual Autos 4 Autism Drag Race as the nonprofit organization’s primary fundraising efforts for the year. The car show took place April 2 on the St. Francois County Courthouse Annex parking lot in Farmington. The drag race — which is traditionally the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year — was held April 16 at the Bonne Terre Drag Strip. The proceeds from both events totaled $51,500 — up almost $10,000 from the $42,002 that was raised last year.
Farmington High School held its annual drunk driving accident recreation Friday on the school’s front parking lot. The 2022 senior class witnessed the scenario of prom students coming upon a two-vehicle accident involving other prom students who had been drinking. One student was declared dead on the scene and transported away in a hearse. Other students were taken by ambulance to an awaiting Air Evac helicopter. Another student, the driver of one of the vehicles, was being subjected by police to a field sobriety test and was subsequently arrested for driving while under the influence.
As part of the INCubatoredu Program for young entrepreneurs at Farmington High School, there will be a Final Pitch Night where three teams will pitch their best product or service to a panel of judges. Slated to begin at 6 p.m. May 11 in Truman Auditorium, Pitch Night is modeled after the ABC TV series “Shark Tank.” The winner of the three teams will receive a monetary award for Best Overall Start-Up.
Leading Farmington High School’s Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Program for his final year, Air Force Senior Master Sergeant (Ret.) Earnest Heflin will go through his second or final retirement at the end of this school year. Having started with the program in January 2010, Heflin will complete his 13th year of guiding young cadets through high school.
Visions of Hope held its intern graduation program May 2 at the Farmington Library. The 2022 interns are Sienna Gage, Mason Stegall, Zachary Joyce, Caleb Morris, Garrett Gann, and Tyler Redmond. Volunteers were also recognized at the event. According to Founding Executive Director Luann Honerkamp, the volunteers are a key piece to the flow of all that needs to be done at Dress 2 Impress to ensure customer and client needs are met. Honerkamp said the organization couldn’t do any of what they do without the “generous hearts of those who donate the precious commodity of their time, talents, skills and love.”
Farmington High School will celebrate the graduation of 264 seniors Sunday afternoon as they take their first big step in moving on to the next stage of their lives. Commencement begins at 2 p.m. in the Farmington Civic Center, directly across the street from the high school on Black Knight Drive.
This year’s Mr. and Mrs. Country Days are longtime Farmington business couple Harold and Phyllis Hastings. Country Days returns to downtown Farmington Friday through Sunday with a number of activities. Harold and Phyllis will appear in their roles of Mr. and Mrs. Country Days during Friday night’s SERVPRO Country Days Parade, as well as other venues throughout the event.
The theme of the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Business and Community Luncheon was all about education, with three representatives from three education institutions speaking at the May 19 program in Centene Center. Jeff Cauley, director of UniTec Career Center in Bonne Terre, updated the crowd on recent events and planned expansions.
Farmington High School held its first Senior Awards Breakfast May 20th in the field house. The event honored seniors graduating with an associate of arts degree from Mineral Area College or a 42-hour block certificate. The students were presented with a certificate and honor cord.
Farmington High School’s INCubatoredu class teams held their final pitch May 11 at Truman Auditorium before an audience and three judges who were called the board of directors. The teams were formed in October of 2021 and a Mentor Match Meeting was held where more than 40 community business members attended and listened to the student’s initial business ideas. The three finalists were PartyNow!, HonorRollEDU and Taffeine. After extensive deliberations, the board of directors selected HonorRollEDU as the winner that received $2,000 to apply to their business. In an unexpected twist, the board was so impressed with the other two businesses that they awarded them $500 each.
Another Farmington Country Days has ended its weekend run, having brought plenty of fun, food and entertainment back to the downtown area. Candy Hente, executive director of the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the annual event, had nothing but good things to say about the entire weekend. “This is probably the smoothest Country Days we’ve had since I’ve worked at the chamber office,” she said. “The weather cooperating was, of course, a huge factor in that. We had perfect temperatures for people to be outside and enjoy everything, so we’re super-pleased.
Larry Forsythe, mayor of Farmington, presided over 51 Farmington fourth graders in his second annual Mayor’s STEM Project held Tuesday morning at the Farmington Public Library. Along with Forsythe, Librarian Travis Trokey and seven teachers from the Farmington R-7 School District assisted the children with assembling a battery-powered cart kit as a way to encourage kids to take up the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. Forsythe said one of his favorite things to do as mayor is to give back to the kids in the city.
State Representative Mike Henderson, R-Desloge, provided an overview of the 2022 Legislative Session when he served as guest speaker at the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce Business and Community Luncheon held June 16 at the Centene Center.
The inaugural year of the INCubatoredu business curriculum taught at Farmington High School was deemed a big success. Christy Pierce, business instructor at the high school, guided four student teams through the year as they set up actual, real-world businesses with the guidance and advice of Farmington business leaders. Farmington is the first school district in Missouri to teach INCubatoredu, an advanced business course normally used in much larger school districts.
Most people in Farmington know Dan Combs for three things: Little Caesar’s Pizza, The Moonlight Bike Ride during Country Days and massive old Chryslers, Dodges and DeSotos. Having more than a dozen cars in his collection, his true interest is 1959 Chrysler products. As a result, Combs’ main garage has more tail fins than an aquarium. “It’s all about the fins,” he said. “I’m a fin guy. I love these fins, and they look like they’re in motion sitting still. I’ve got two Chryslers, three DeSotos and two Dodges.”
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