Blogs & News Articles

Re-Dedication of the Audrain County Courthouse

web-courthouseIMG_2443A Re-Dedication of the Audrain County Courthouse Grounds and Memorials will be held on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 16th at 10:00 AM. The ceremony will begin on the east side of the courthouse lawn with the raising of the flag.  Residents of Audrain County are encouraged to attend this historic event.

There will be many organizations from throughout the county participating in the event including 3175 MP Det1 First National Guard, Mexico, Audrain County VFW Post 3772, Vandalia VFW Post 2173, Mexico American Legion Post 26, Martinsburg American Legion Post 552, Laddonia Legion Post 510 and the Missouri Military Academy Choir.

The re-dedication will include the Lady of Liberty, Audrain County Veterans Memorials and the Exercise Tiger Memorial. The planning for the courthouse and grounds renovation began over three years ago and was completed May 1.

Mexico Chamber Newsletter May

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Fricks Market Earns Merchandising Award

Fricks-68-smallerPosted in The Missourian: Saturday, April 25, 2015, 6:32 pm | Updated: 8:14 am, Wed Apr 29, 2015.

Fricks Market, in Union, recently received a 2014 Excellence in Merchandising Award from the Springfield Division of Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. The recognition came during a ceremony in Branson on April 7.

The division honors one grocery retailer for excellence in merchandising or marketing in each of 10 categories. Fricks earned the Excellence in Merchandising Award in recognition of its outstanding salesmanship and presentation of AWG Brands items.

Owner, Jennifer Newbanks, together with the store manager, Michelle Kohler, and Kyle Kohler, grocery manager, accepted the award on behalf of the store following a short video presentation highlighting the store’s overall merchandising excellence in the category.

Winners of the division awards also are eligible to compete in the AWG Corporate Excellence in Merchandising Awards presented during the wholesaler’s annual meeting held in Kansas City, Kan.

“Independent retailers work very hard to be the best in the grocery business every single day,” said Tim Bellanti, senior vice president and division manager of AWG-Springfield. “It is with great pride that we recognize those merchants who excel in the critical areas of merchandising that make them unique and special in their marketplace.”

Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. is headquartered in Kansas City, Kan., and is the second-largest retailer-owned grocery wholesaler in the United States, serving more than 3,400 member grocery stores in over 30 states via its seven grocery distribution centers.

AWG-Springfield serves about 360 stores in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Illinois, and Oklahoma.

Read more about Frick’s Market.

Commission moves Forward with Federal Process on Old Bridge

By Josh Mitchell, Missourian Staff Writer | Posted: Saturday, February 21, 2015, 1:00 pm

What will happen to the old Bend Road bridge remains unclear. The nearly 100 ­year ­old bridge near Pacific has been controversial as county officials move forward with a plan to tear down the bridge even though a local nonprofit group has expressed interest in preserving it as a hiking and biking trail. The bridge is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, according to the Historic Bridge Foundation of Austin, Texas. Since the county is using federal money for the new bridge project, that means the county has to go through a federal Section 106 process under the National Historic Preservation Act before tearing down the old bridge. The new bridge project includes $150,000 in federal money to tear down the old bridge. The new bridge will be south of the existing bridge meaning the old one is not in its way. The Magi Foundation of Pacific has said it would like to preserve the old bridge, but the county commission has rejected the group’s interest and voted to move forward with demolition. But the Magi Foundation has vowed to keep up its efforts to save the bridge despite the county’s rejection.

This week, the county commission approved a contract amendment with Cochran Engineering of Union for $4,750 to get the federal process underway. The work will be done by Cochran’s sub-consultant, SCI Engineering of Union. Presiding County Commissioner John Griesheimer said part of the federal process involves making the old bridge available to be taken over by another party. However, just because a group makes a proposal to take the bridge, Griesheimer said it is his understanding that the county does not have to accept it. “It’s still our bridge,” Griesheimer asserted. Therefore, if a group makes an offer and the commission does not think it is in the best interest of the county, then he thinks that the offer can be rejected.

He said he does not think there is any way there can be dialogue started between the county and the Magi Foundation to preserve the bridge as a trail. “There is no support here for that bridge to remain,” Griesheimer said. Property owners near the bridge don’t want the bridge, and the county does not want to “saddle” the sheriff’s office with the responsibility of patrolling the bridge, Griesheimer added.

Moreover, keeping the old bridge presents other liability concerns for the county, Griesheimer said. If the city of Pacific wanted to take the bridge, the county would be glad to turn it over if the city annexed all the way to the bridge so the county would not have to provide the law enforcement, Griesheimer said. If someone wants to dismantle the bridge and move it, the county would consider that, he said. Steve Myers with the Magi Foundation could not be reached for comment Friday morning. The Section 106 process will include the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation being invited by the Federal Highways Administration to take part in the consultation. “It’s just part of the federal highway procedures that need to be done in order to follow through with whatever is going to be done with that bridge,” said county Highway Administrator Ron Williams. Williams added that the county would like to get the process started soon, adding that the county wants to bid out the new bridge project later this year. It could take three to four months to get the Section 106 process done, he said, adding that the county is at the mercy of the federal agency. “It’s a process, but it’s going to have to be followed,” Williams said.

Work to Begin Soon on Congress Street

By Pauline Masson, Pacific Editor | Posted: Thursday, February 26, 2015, 5:30 pm
Work will begin next month to rebuild a 12¬block stretch of Highway N (Congress Street) as part of a three¬phase project to improve the street from Fourth Street to the city limits. The $942,027 project, stretching from Fourth Street to Hawthorne Subdivision, will take six months to complete. N.B. West, St. Louis is the contractor.

Cochran Engineering designed the project. East¬West Gateway Council of Governments (EWGW) approved the federal funds in the February 2013 funding round. Improvements will include asphalt road resurfacing, concrete sidewalks, concrete curb, new concrete approaches to residences, pavement striping and traffic control. Some lane closures will be allowed for portions of the work, however, the contractor will be required to maintain two¬lane, two¬way traffic and provide portable traffic signals to control traffic flow. The city engineer will receive paving schedule plans and approve the work prior to commencement and will be notified ahead of time when the single lane traffic plan goes into effect.

Although this is the second Highway N improvement project, the work is designated Phase Three. “The Highway N phases were conceptualized in numeric order,” said Dan Rahn, city engineer. “However, due to the availability of funding and shifting schedules, they are being constructed out of order.” Phase 1, which included new sidewalks, curbs, and storm sewer improvements from Hawthorne Subdivision to Indian Hills Subdivision, was conceptualized first and completed in late 2012. Phase 2 was to continue sidewalks and improvements from Riverbend School (Indian Trail) out to the city limits (Myers Farm Lane).

This phase, which would extend the improvements as far as they could go inside the city limits, originally was to be designed and constructed without federal funds and be paid for solely by the city. After the Congress Street phase was applied for, the sidewalk extension project was deemed too expensive to be funded solely by the city and was abandoned for a later date. Officials should know by April of this year if the funding will be granted.

In February 2014 the city applied for funds for a fourth phase, which would have included the Riverbend School to Myers Farm Lane sidewalks along with an asphalt overlay for the remaining unimproved portion of Highway N, which would have cost over $1 million. When EWGW denied that grant and advised the city that due to diminishing federal funds that projects over $300,000 to $400,000 would not be approved, the city went back to the Phase 2 sidewalk project. The city has since applied for federal funds for the sidewalk project or Phase Two, which will hopefully be funded in the FY 2016¬19 round of grants.

“The good news is that all of these roads continue to be eligible for federal funding,” Rahn said. “But due to the decrease in funding, we will have to take smaller bites as we progress with road improvements. “All in all I think the city has done a great job of utilizing federal funds for the last several years,” he said. “Consider this, since 2011, we have secured federal funding for $9.6 million worth of improvements at a total cost to the city of $2.1 million, including the three projects that are awaiting construction. That’s a cost of 22 cents on the dollar and a total of about $526,000 per fiscal year (2011¬15).”

Board OKs Services Pact on Energy Loan

By Keith E. Domke St. Clair Missourian Editor | Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2015, 10:00 am

St. Clair’s aldermen approved a professional services contract last week between the city and Cochran Engineering regarding energy loan improvements at three locations. The board unanimously approved the ordinance centering on the agreement with Cochran Engineering for $24,350. “This was part of the energy loan discussions we’ve had,” Assistant City Administrator Travis Dierker told the aldermen.

The amount of the contract came in under the budgeted amount of $28,000, Dierker said. Under terms of the deal, Cochran will provide mechanical, electrical and plumbing design services for heating, air conditioning and lighting upgrades at city hall and improved lighting at the senior center and wastewater treatment plant. Last month, the city found out it had been approved for an energy loan through the Missouri Department of Economic Development to make the improvements.

The loan totals $259,180. A resolution passed by the board last month authorized the city’s participation in the energy loan program. Payments will be made through the energy savings the city will receive through the upgrades. The energy loan program is separate from the solar project the city is working on through SunVest Solar. According to information presented, capital expenditures on top of the loan are $122,166.29, according to Cochran documentation. Estimates were that through the loan and energy program, the city will be getting the upgrades for about 20 cents on the dollar.