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County thanks Jim Watkins and Dwayne Kirchhoff for years of service

As the 18th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, approached last
week, the Cape Girardeau County Commission thanked two longtime servants of the
county for their service in helping keep residents safe: Jim Watkins and Dwayne

Watkins spent the past 20 years serving the Cape Girardeau
County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Alliance. He joined the CERT
Alliance as a volunteer in 1999. In 2008, he took the position as training
coordinator. In that position, Watkins “demonstrated outstanding leadership and
vision in expanding the CERT program by educating and promoting emergency
preparedness and safety,” states a Commission Commendation presented to Watkins
by Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy on Sept. 9.

The commendation also states Watkins “went above and beyond
to equip people in our community for disasters and hazards in Cape Girardeau

Watkins also has served as the community development
coordinator at the Community Caring Council, community coordinator of the 21st
Century Community Learning Center, program coordinator for United Way’s Success
By Six, and health and safety instructor for the American Red Cross.

Kirchhoff spent the last 38 years serving the East County
Fire Protection District. For the past 11 years, he was fire chief and
president of the Cape Girardeau County Firefighters Association.

According to the Commission Commendation which Tracy
presented him, Kirchhoff “demonstrated outstanding leadership and vision in
developing a professional team at the East County Fire Protection
District.” He “has long been a strong
advocate for fire and injury prevention both for the public and the
firefighting staff” and “has provided excellent stewardship, leadership, and uncompromising devotion to duty throughout his tenure.”

Both Watkins and Kirchhoff were wished good health and
happiness during their retirements.

In other action

• New courthouse: On Monday, IT Director Eric McGowen
described telephone system enhancements for the new courthouse.

During Thursday’s meeting, Paul Koeper reported that work on
the south parking lot may begin this week.

There has been some discussion with the contractor about
building the connection between the new courthouse and the jail. A meeting will
be held with the Sheriff’s Office as to how the connection will take place. At
that time, they will have to penetrate the wall of the jail. The connection is
expected to be made in the next three to four weeks.

Meanwhile, sheet rock is being hung and, before long,
windows will be installed.

• New park pavilion: The Commission agreed to solicit bids
for materials for a new pavilion to be constructed where the wooden pier once
stood along the lake shore in South County Park.

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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