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The on-set of the COVID-19 pandemic dominates early 2020

Editor’s note: this is the first of a three-part series reviewing events in the local area during 2020.

Jan. 1, 2020

Patrick Barns filed to run for city council from Ward 1, leaving only Ward 3 without a candidate at this point.

Jan. 8, 2020

Steve Kerr, Palmyra Middle School principal, delivers lunches during a drive-through pick-up time at the elementary school when students went on virtual learning at home in April.

The Palmyra City Council discussed how to address a preponderance of trailers parked on city streets as well as complaints of numerous unlicensed vehicles around the city. It was noted the trailers pose a traffic hazard due to their lack of visibility at night and the narrowness of the streets and by blocking sight lines at intersection.

After a couple of years of working out details the Marion County Commission is ready to hold a public hearing on the proposed changes to its land use ordinance. The changes define the regulations in ways they have not been defined before, making it easier for the Marion  County Planning and Zoning Commission to determine which commercial rezoning request it should be.

The PHS wrestling team came home triumphant Saturday after capturing the championship of the 53rd annual Vianney Tournament.

Jan. 15, 2020

Loren Graham, who has served as mayor for the past 14 years, was recognized as the Citizen of the Year during the annual Palmyra Chamber of Commerce banquet, while Mark Lohman, who heads the Pride program at Palmyra High School, was named the Educator of the Year.

Others winning awards were Madonna Watters, Volunteer of the Year; Doug and Gayle Voepel, Main Street Lanes, Paint Brush Award, and Bud’s Paint and Body Shop, Business Hall of Fame.

The highlight of the PHS boys wresting team’s Clarence Cannon Conference quad meet was Ross Arch earning his 100th career victory.

Jan. 23, 2020

The Marion County Commission approved an almost $14 million budget during their meeting. The budget includes a 75 cents an hour raise for employees as well as the county starting to make repayments to the Capital Improvement Fund and the General Revenue Emergency Fund for loans from those funds to help pay for the Taylor bridge.

The Palmyra R-I Board of Education accepted the resignation of Lora Hillman, current elementary school principal, during their recent meeting.

Ralls County 911 and Marion-Lewis County 911 have official consolidated public safety emergency communications and 911 dispatching operations by merging its existing staff and resources into a single consolidated 911 Emergency Communications Center.

Jan. 30, 2020

Tony Lenzini crowned Megan Stone as the queen for the Tony Lenzini Basketball Tournament. Her escort was Spencer Locke. Also in the court were Raegan Barnett and escort Kole Dietrich; Rylie McKinney and escort, Abe Haerr; Grace Krigbaum and escort, Mason Roberts; and Jansen Juette and escort, Cooper Hinkle.

For the first time since 2016, the PHS girls basketball team won the
tony Lenzini championship with the boys came in second, losing to Monroe City.

Amanda Lewis participated in a Miss Missouri pageant in St. Charles, where she was crowned Miss Spirit of St. Louis, allowing her to participate in the Miss Missouri pageant in Mexico Mo. in June.

The 10th annual prom dress resale event was again a success with 67 dresses sold, despite adverse weather conditions keeping the crowd down.

A Masonic service will be from 11 to 11:30 a.m.,  for family only and a public memorial service will be at 11:30 a.m., Dec. 23, at Lewis Brothers Funeral Chapel in Palmyra. Pastor Eric Anderson will officiate. Burial will be at Greenwood Cemetery in Palmyra.

Feb. 5, 2020

Palmyra High School will play host, for the first time, to a major all-day Quiz Bowl Tournament Saturday. Twenty-one teams from Missouri and Illinois will participate in what is being billed as the Palmyra Academic Winter Showdown.

If all goes well, Marion County will have seven road projects done by the Missouri Department of Transportation in 2020. Those include pavement improvements on U.S. 61 south of Route F to Highway 168 in Hannibal and safety improvements on Route F near Palmyra.

Palmyra Elementary School held its annual science fair Friday with students displaying their science projects in the school cafeteria. BASF Hannibal Plant employees judged the entries.

Feb. 11, 2020

It took Todd Dorsey and Rebecca Calvin 28 years to get serious about marriage, but it also took the Kansas City Chiefs 50 years to win a second Super Bowl. Of course, they are connected. Not long after the Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV Feb. 2, Dorsey knelt down and proposed to Calvin, and she said yes.  

Thanks to the generosity of a faith-based nonprofit organization and the time of a local pastor, every student at Marion County R-II School will be receiving a pair of name-brand shoes this spring, through the Convoy of Hope project.

Megan Stone hit her 1,000th point of her high school basketball career in the Lady’s Panthers win over South Shelby.

Five youths from Palmyra were winners at the Knights of Columbus Free Throw district level contest recently. They are Tenley Jones, Andrew Illa, Kaitlyn Bode, Ashley Bode and Briggs Brown.

Feb. 19, 2020

The Sesquicentennial building in Flower City Park was the site of the annual Daddy/Daughter Dance hosted by the Palmyra Parks and Recreation Department. The event drew a capacity crowd.

Sarah Easton was hired as the new youth program associate for University Extension in Marion County and is making it her goals to learn about the program and expand it.

Mun Y. Choi, president of the University of Missouri System visited Palmyra last week to speak during the Marion  County Extension Council annual meeting, noting the system wants to make a difference and save more lives with its new NextGen Precision  Health initiative.

Feb. 26, 2020

The annual Pink Out the Gym Night was held Friday with the event raising over $7,500 for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

A Hannibal Boy Scout is planning to do his Eagle award project in Palmyra by helping improve the Palmyra Greenwood Cemetery by placing 86 section markers to make it easier for people to find the graves of their loved ones.

The Palmyra City Council approved the purchase of a used boom truck for $23,100, from Northeast Missouri Electrical Cooperative. The newly purchased truck has a longer boom, providing more capability for use by the electrical department.

Collin Arch brought home the 120 lb. wresting title from the state tournament as the PHS wrestlers finished fifth at state contest.

Both the boys and girls basketball teams finished in second place in the Clarence Cannon Conference.

March 4, 2020

A large crowd attended an open house for the newly renovated ag building at Palmyra High School.

Two races have formed so far for county offices. Steve Begley, current Western District commissioner, is being challenged by Eddie Bogue, while Wendy W. Howe, current public administrator, is being challenged by Melanie Nevels.

PHS Poms completed Feb. 29 with four members named as Academic All-Staters, Kelli Ryals, Nicki Hendren, Belle Biswell and Emma Bainter. The team came home with a second place trophy for their hip hop routine. Also competing were Lena Haerr, Kailyn Crane and Lilly Griffith.

March 11, 2020

Mayor Loren Graham and Pam Behring, a city council member, placed a bicentennial time capsule inside the wall of what will eventually be the new council chambers at city hall.

A Palmyra woman, Ashlee, Sparks, won this year’s John Wood Community College Foundation and WGEM Career Makeover competition, allowing her to take courses and earn a degree at JWCC.

The Palmyra City Council approved a contract for a bank ATM to be placed in Flower City Park. HOMEBANK plans to locate a permanent ATM machine near the Sesquicentennial Building.

March 18, 2020

If the weather cooperates, the remainder of the work to be done on the sports complex at Palmyra High School will be getting underway soon and will cost the district less than anticipated.

Bridgette Ausgpurg, the current assistant principal at Palmyra Elementary School, has been hired as the new elementary school principal for the 2020-21 school year. 

Palmyra Middle School shop class is building a Little Free Library for the elementary school to be involved in a nationwide program that helps promote reading through making books more readily available. The library will be located outside the school cafeteria.

March 25, 2020

The lowest gasoline prices in decades can seem more mocking than welcome during the COVID-19 pandemic as citizens are urged to stay home and off the road in order to blunt the spread of the virus. Gas in Palmyra was 1.65 a gallon.

Both the Palmyra R-I and Marion County R-II school districts have temporarily closed schools for the time being due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Palmyra Superintendent Kirt Malone noted there will be more difficult choices that must be made in the coming weeks.

The Marion County Courthouses were closed to the public until at least April 13, due to trying to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Several other closings and cancellations were noted in Palmyra due to COVID-19 concerns, including city hall, the Palmyra Nutrition Center, Marion County Library, Chamber of Commerce April 14 meeting, Social Security offices and Driver Exam Stations. 

Local churches also altered their in-person service plans or activities. 

April 1, 2020

Community members have been stepping up to make masks for nurses and area hospitals, including Angi Mulhatten, Marcy Hamilton and Teresa Hettinger.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and requirements and recommendations by various federal and state health agency, the Flower Children’s Spring Fling has been postponed.

The United Way of the Mark Twain Area is helping area homebound school students by providing an online reading out-loud program during the COVID-19 pandemic, with new videos posted each week.

The Palmyra Recycling Center now has a new forklift made possible through a grant from the Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments.

April 8, 2020

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Mike Parson issued a statewide “Stay Home Missouri” order which went into affect Monday and lasts through Friday, April 24.

The Palmyra City Council approved an almost $8 million budget during a live-streamed city council meeting 

While the Palmyra R-I School District will remain closed until through at least May 1, plans continue for the 2020-21 school year with hiring continuing, including Marty Smyser as the elementary school assistant principal.

The Marion County Commission vacated a platted but unbuilt street in Philadelphia during a live streamed meeting.

April 15, 2020

The 75th anniversary of the tornado that “rocked” Palmyra on April 12, 1945, was noted in a special article.

Despite the fact most teachers and students were entering unknown territory, the online or distant schooling at Palmyra R-I seems to be going fairly smoothly. Distance learning will continue through this school year as Gov. Mike Parson has ordered schools to stay closed through the remainder of the school year.

Unfortunately for the athletes, the closing of schools also means the end of spring sports for 2020.

April 22, 2020

Community partners are donating 100 hogs, nearly 15,000 pounds of pork, to feed individuals in need in Northeast Missouri, according to the United Way. Joe Kendrick, a Marion County farmer, is spearheading the effort.

The Palmyra R-I School Board adopted the CARES Act Section 125 update and suspended policy to align with COVID-19 emergency legislation and waivers. The adoption will help provide funding to prevent, prepare and respond to the pandemic.

Chris Parsons resigned as the varsity girls basketball coach after eight years, during which time he lead the team to two state quarterfinal games.

April 29, 2020

The Palmyra R-I School district has revised end of the school year plans in light of the pandemic. Graduation is still planed for Thursday, May 21, but will be held at the high school and under strict social distancing restrictions. The junior-senior program has been reset for June 27, but only if large gatherings are allowed by then.

Tanner Nix, a 2016 PHS graduate, was enjoying working on a cruise ship out of Hawaii before seeing the cruise industry flipped upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nix ended up getting sick and was confined to his room with fever, body aches, cold chills and shortness of breath.

According to Superintendent Jason Keilholz, Marion County R-II principal, most of the students have been able to keep up with work even with often limited internet access.

Marion County R-II seniors will be honored at a senior parade on  Sunday, May 10, the original date of graduation.

Missouri’s state of emergency was extended through June 15.