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2022 Year in review Part IV: the COVID-19 pandemic emergency comes to an end

A county highway department tanker truck was filled with water in Jackson on Oct. 4 and driven to Saint Francis Medical center to resupply its water tower when a major water main broke in Cape Girardeau. Submitted photo

The state of emergency that had existed for more than two years in Missouri came to an end April 1, 2022, but the COVID-19 pandemic continued to have some lingering effects throughout the year.

We conclude our review of the top stories of 2022 that appeared in the CBJ with the fourth quarter (October-December).

October

Hundreds came out to the Jackson Civic Center on Saturday, Oct. 1, to explore vehicles in the annual Touch-a-Truck event sponsored by the Jackson Community Outreach Board.

Meanwhile, Jackson Backyard BBQ was held in City Park. Now in its third year, it had outgrown its first two venues at the Ground-A-bout and the old courthouse lawn.

A 14-inch water main broke in Cape Girardeau on Monday, Oct. 3, and it put the entire city under a boil-water advisory until Friday afternoon. To assist her neighbor and boost her water pressure, the City of Jackson opened a valve connecting the two city water systems and nearly emptied one of its water towers into Cape’s water system.

Missouri First Lady Teresa Parson visited the Cape Girardeau County Pachyderm Club at the Jackson Civic Center on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

Music filled Uptown Jackson that same day as a parade of 10 high school bands marched through the streets prior to participating in the 78th Jackson Band Festival.

The first-ever Vernon Huck Golf Tournament was held at Bent Creek Golf course on Friday, Oct. 7. Named for a former JHS principal who died May 5, the tournament raised more than $10,000 for JHS student scholarships.

Oktoberfest began that Friday evening. Saturday, in addition to being the second day of Oktoberfest, was also the first ever “Spend the Day in Jackson” event. Activities were held in various locations, including the Iron Mountain Railway, the Old Pioneer

Flea Market, Heartland Harvest Market & Antiques and Lazy L Safari Park.

There were two ribbon-cutting ceremonies on Thursday, Oct. 13. SEMO NASV, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2022, officially opened its new location at 147 N. Lacy Street in Jackson. The Lutheran Home in Cape Girardeau cut a ribbon to mark its 50th anniversary.

The next day, Friday, Oct. 14, best-selling author April Henry visited three Jackson schools.

A week later, on Friday, Oct. 21, the Missouri Court of Appeals held a docket at Notre Dame Regional High School.

That evening, Jackson inducted its second athletic hall of fame class. The class included Jack Litzelfelner (Class of 1946), Truman Blackman (Class of 1953), Allen Welker (Class of 1955), Larry Schloss (Class of 1963), Mike Kistner (Class of 1965), Bruce Collier (Class of 1976) and Ron Cook (Coach from 1982 to 2003).

Input was sought from the public by the firm of Houseal Lavigne at several community meetings Oct 24-26 in order to update the City of Jackson’s comprehensive plan.

A report of possible gunfire forced a lockdown of Nell Holcomb School Thursday morning, Oct. 27. The incident turned out to be a domestic dispute that took place in a home a short distance from the school and was not school related. The school was locked down out of an abundance of caution until just before noon.

November

In the Nov. 8 election, Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing for recreational marijuana, and Missouri Attorney Gen. Eric Schmitt was elected to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt.

The Missouri Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Jackson R-2 School District on Tuesday, Nov. 8, effectively ending a long-running lawsuit over electrical work during the construction of the JHS event center. The school district did not have to pay compound interest, which could have cost the district another $5.6 million.

Veterans Day was celebrated Friday, Nov. 11, in Jackson with a choir concert at Jackson High School in the morning and a parade through Uptown Jackson in the afternoon.

Long 93-foot girders arrived by truck for the West Mary Street bridge over Hubble Creek on Tuesday, Nov. 15. This low-water bridge was being replaced by the same firm that replaced the low-water bridge in the middle of City Park, Putz Construction of Millersville.

On Thursday, Nov. 17, the Cape Girardeau County Commission chose Penzel Construction Co. of Jackson as the winning bidder for the construction and design of an addition to the county jail. (The other bidder, Little Dixie Construction Co. of Columbia filed a protest on Nov. 28, because both companies had received the same financial score. Penzel had received a technical score of 54 points, seven points higher than Dixie.)

Also on Nov. 17, members of the SEMO Mudcats and area residents met with County Commissioner Charlie Herbst to object to the proposed location for a new Emergency Management building in Klaus Park. They claimed the location would consume much of the only open green space in the park. The commissioners reconsidered and announced their selection of a different location on Dec. 13.

December

Uptown Jackson held its annual Christmas parade Sunday, Dec. 4, with the theme of “A Toyland Christmas.” For the first time ever, there was a “Merry Main Street Mile” race a half hour before the parade. Participants ran the parade route. Following the parade, Santa was again available for photos. (He was not available for photos during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

MoDOT held a public meeting Tuesday, Dec. 6, at Gordonville Elementary, to discuss plans for a roundabout at Route K and State Hwy. 25 in Gordonville. Construction may begin in the summer of 2023 and completion is anticipated in the winter of 2023-24.
Jackson High School held “Ye Olde Madrigal Feaste” Dec. 8-10 at Bavarian Halle.

On Tuesday, Dec. 13, the Cape Girardeau County Commission announced it had purchased land for its new Emergency Operations Center in the southeast corner of LaSalle Avenue and I-55.

That same day, Nicholas John Proffitt, 44, of Cape Girardeau, pled guilty to federal hate crime charges for setting fire to the Islamic Center at 298 W. End Blvd., in Cape Girardeau, on April 24, 2020.

On Saturday, Dec. 17, about 1,400 wreaths were laid on the graves of veterans in the second annual Wreaths Across America event held by the John Guild Chapter of the DAR with the help of a lot of volunteers.

Retired U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt spoke at the graduation ceremony at Southeast Missouri State University that day. He was presented with the Vandiver Show Me State Award in recognition of his public service and commitment to the university.

Winter came with a vengeance just before Christmas as the temperature dropped below freezing on the afternoon of Thursday, Dec. 23, turning rain into snow that blew in strong wind gusts causing hazardous driving conditions. The temperature continued to plummet until it went below zero, forcing many businesses and county offices to close from Thursday noon until Tuesday morning (Monday was observed as a holiday because Christmas was on Sunday).

About 1,300 residents on the west and north sides of Cape Girardeau lost power during that bitterly cold Thursday night when Ameren Missouri suffered a transformer fire in a substation.

Temperatures warmed above zero, but thy lingered below freezing, so the area experienced a white Christmas.

At 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 28, Jackson Fire Rescue was dispatched to a fire at Jackson Bowling Lanes.

On Saturday night, Dec. 31, the year 2022 packed its bags and left. Area residents prepared to welcome a new year. When 2022 began 365 days ago, COVID-19 was on everyone’s minds and a state of emergency still existed. As the year progressed, the state of emergency was cancelled, restrictions were lifted, face masks all but disappeared, and annual events were again held live. By the end of the year, things were almost back to normal everywhere, and Covid-19 had pretty well disappeared into the mists of distant memories.

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 cashbook@mvp.net.

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