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2022 Year in Review Part I: COVID-19 emergency comes to an end

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The year 2022 was a year of change for Jackson and the surrounding area. The COVID-19 pandemic continued to have lingering effects, but they became less as the year rolled on. Let’s look back at some of the events of this past year as reported in the CBJ.


Cape Girardeau County’s Storm Water Management Plan went into effect Jan. 1.

Former State Senator and State Representative Wayne Wallingford of Cape Girardeau began his duties as director of the Missouri Department of Revenue on Jan. 3. He had been appointed by Gov. Mike Parson.

Many people across the country were angry and frustrated by policies of the current administration in Washington. Here in Jackson, a man flew a flag in front of his home that displayed the president’s last name preceded by an objectionable four-letter word. A neighbor complained about the flag to the Board of Aldermen Jan. 3, but was told that the City could do nothing about it — flying that flag was a First Amendment right. Later, police officers politely asked the man if he would take down his flag out of consideration for his neighbors, and he did.

The Jackson Marching Chiefs went to Disney World and performed on Thursday, Jan. 6, in the Magic Kingdom parade.

Meanwhile, back home, the Jackson R-2 School District made a $4 million payment in a lawsuit involving the construction of the event center. The School Board on Jan. 11 reduced the COVID-19 quarantine time line.

On Jan. 13, the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri officially changed its name to Southeast Missouri Pets and held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new adoption center.

On Friday, Jan. 14, the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated 100 years by holding its annual banquet once again in person at the Jackson Civic Center. John N. Thompson was awarded the R.A. Fulenwider Meritorious Community Service Award.

The next day, Saturday, Jan. 15, the Cape Girardeau Nature center launched its “Year of Color.” Crafts, games and programs were color coded and participants received different colored beads throughout the year, depending upon the activity.

It was announced in January that the Southeast Missouri Food Bank planned to open a facility in the old Sappington Outdoor location on East Jackson Boulevard.

The Cape Girardeau Public Library announced that it would celebrate its 100th anniversary with events throughout the year.
On Jan. 25, the Jackson R-2 School Board met in a special Zoom meeting to eliminate COVID-19 contact tracing and revise the district’s COVID-19 reentry plan.


Temperatures plummeted below freezing on Wednesday, Feb. 2, turning rain to sleet and causing ice to build up on roads before two inches of snow fell overnight and all day Thursday. Most businesses, along with county and state offices, closed Wednesday afternoon and remained closed until Monday, Feb. 7.

The winter weather did not prevent the Jackson R-2 Foundation from holding its 12th annual Red and Black Affair fundraiser Saturday, Feb. 5.

JHS students Eli Fox, Sadie Middleton, Aubrey Hepler, Emma Shields and Cameron Crawford were named to the All-State Choir.

Retiring Parks and Recreation Director Shane Anderson was recognized for 24 years of service at the Feb. 7 meeting of the Jackson Mayor and Board of Aldermen.

At the same meeting, discussions were held about partnering with MoDOT to build a roundabout at Hwy. 61 N. and Deerwood Drive. Some aldermen preferred to have traffic signals installed, but when traffic signals were suggested to MoDOT, the idea was turned down and plans to construct a roundabout continued the rest of the year.

The following night at the Jackson R-2 Board of Education meeting, it was announced that there was a decline in student and staff illnesses after school buildings were closed Jan. 21 and 24 in response to a rise in illnesses, including COVID-19, the flu and strep throat.

The school board also started the process to add a sixth student resource officer (SRO) from the Jackson Police Department for the upcoming school year and announced that the strategic planning process was underway.

On Tuesday, Feb. 15, Maryann Reese announced her resignation as president and CEO of Saint Francis Healthcare System. CFO Justin Davison became interim president immediately, and later was named president and CEO.

The Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center and it Board of Trustees eased the face mask requirement for county residents on Feb. 25. Masks were no longer recommended, although people with symptoms of COVID-19 were encouraged to continue to wear them.

The Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization held its February Annual Feb. 26 with the theme, “We Will Raku.” (Raku is a Japanese style of pottery.)

Also on Feb. 26, the new Cape Girardeau VA Health Care Center opened to begin serving area veterans.


It was announced at the March 1 Jackson R-2 School Board meeting that Janelle Pope would be the new associate superintendent of secondary education and human resources. The former middle school teacher replaced Matt Lacy, who would take over Terry Gibson’s position as chief financial officer. Gibson had announced that he was moving to the Kansas City area at the end of the school year.

John Mehner began his duties March 1 as vice president for the Office of Economic and Workforce Development at Southeast Missouri State University. Mehner had previously been director of Cape Area MAGNET and president of the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce.

On March 3, Executive Director James Bolin cut the ribbon to celebrate the opening of the new Academic Building on the campus of Adult and Teen Challenge Mid America. The original building had been destroyed by fire Oct. 4, 2020.

Gas prices jumped 20¢ at a time in early March, starting out at $3.59, until they hit a record high of $3.99 on Thursday, March 10. Although local gas prices stayed below the $4 mark, the national average hit $4.10, also a record high. The increase was blamed on Russia curbing its oil flow after invading Ukraine.

Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe visited JSE Surplus, an area gun shop, on March 11 to purchase a Missouri Bicentennial AR-15. Only 200 of these rifles were made locally in honor of the state’s bicentennial. Kehoe bought No. 48 because he is the 48th lieutenant governor and is the spokesman for “made in Missouri.”

Robert Gilligan replaced John Mehner as president and CEO of the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce.

Work began on replacing the low water single-lane bridge called “Hubble ford” in the middle of Jackson City Park. The old bridge was removed in March.

On Wednesday, March 23, Mayor Dwain Hahs presented a proclamation to the Jackson Senior Center for celebrating 50 years of the Meals on Wheels Program.

At 4 p.m. that same day, the Cape Girardeau Sheriff’s Office received a call from a citizen reporting multiple vehicle break-ins near Fruitland. A witness followed the suspects in his car until the suspects started shooting at him. No injuries were reported.

Two juveniles were pursued by law enforcement into Jefferson County, where they were arrested when their vehicle became disabled.

On March 24, Gov. Mike Parson came to Southeast Missouri State University to head up a roundtable discussion on workforce development. Missouri businesses had been struggling to find workers since the COVID-19 shutdowns in 2020.

On March 25, Ross Furniture held a reception for Eddie Ross, who retired after 40 years in the furniture business.

On March 30, Gov. Mike Parson announced an end to the COVID-19 crisis in Missouri. He said the state would shift to an endemic phase of the pandemic on April 1. A whole-of-government emergency had been in place for more than two years.

On Thursday, March 31, the Jackson R-2 Board of education announced that Michael Martin would replace Janelle Popp as principal of the middle school. He had been assistant principal there since 2013.

(To be continued next week.)

Gregory Dullum has worked for The Cash-Book Journal for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming the editor in May 2017, he was production manager, circulation manager and reporter. Before moving to Cape Girardeau in 1988, he was editor of the Saint Louis Park Sailor, a weekly community newspaper in suburban Minneapolis, MN. A native of Minnesota, he returned there after graduating with distinction in 1978 from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, with a degree in mass communications. His wife, Marie, whom he met in college, is a native of Zalma, a small town in southeast Missouri. They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. Gregory may be reached at

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