2012 News Year-in-Review
Here's KHMO's annual look back at the biggest news stories of 2012.
Segment 1: City of Hannibal
We begin our examination of 2012 through the eyes of Hannibal City Manager Jeff LaGarce. It was a busy year with street overlays, Paris Gravel project completion, Airport improvements, the U.S.61 and West Ely intersection upgrade, as well as the culmination of the Stardust Drive extension. The Main Street sidewalk project and pigeon abatement stirred some controversy but alternate solutions are being ironed out. The Murphy Motors building recently purchased may soon be sold to entrepreneurs who have plans that fit the synergy of the historic downtown area. Budgets are tight with Sales Taxes revenue somewhat less, but the City Manager is optimistic about 2013.
Jeff LaGarce Audio:
Segment 2: Politics in a General Election Year
2012 saw many politicians campaign in the area, from Presidential Primary candidates such as Rick Santorum, to U.S. Congressman Sam Graves, who inherits the northeast part of Missouri in 2013 due to redistricting. Graves easily won election in November with 65 percent of the vote, and now represents the entire northern third of the state. Through 2012, northeast Missouri was represented by Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, who will now represent the new 3rd District in east central Missouri.
A majority of Missouri voters chose Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, but in the end the nation chose President Obama. However, Democratic Missouri Governor Jay Nixon won reelection with 54 percent of the vote over Dave Spence.
Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s campaign for re-election brought her to the Hannibal area more than once this year. McCaskill addressed charges that her voting record was too liberal for most Missourians, saying she is not afraid to go against her own party when it is warranted and her record is one of a moderate.
McCaskill’s Republican challenger was Congressman Todd Akin, whose quote during a TV interview about legitimate rape and resulting pregnancy resulted in a firestorm of criticism, and national scrutiny.
A “NO McCaskill” bus tour across Missouri made an effort to drum up support for the embattled Akin, making a stop in Hannibal in late October. Speakers included conservative author and speaker Phyllis Schlafly. But the damage was done; in the end, 55 percent of Missouri voters chose McCaskill to retain her Senate Seat, while Akin picked up 39 percent.
Redistricting also made for an interesting race for State Representative in Northeast Missouri, with two incumbents facing off against each other due to consolidation of districts. Democrat Tom Shively represented the 8th District of northern Missouri including Macon and Shelby Counties, while the 6th District of Northeast Missouri is represented by Republican Lindell Shumake. The two men ran for the newly created 5th District in northeast Missouri, with Shumake garnering 56 percent of the vote. Shumake points to religious freedom and veterans' issues as his key legislative accomplishments in 2012, and says Tort Reform, Use Taxes, and Paycheck Protection are some of the issues he expects to see the Legislature tackle in 2013. He also says there may be some legislative action regarding state run health insurance exchanges,as part of the Obamacare mandates for 2014.
Audio of Segment 2 includes cuts of McCaskill, Akin, and an interview with State Rep. Lindell Shumake:
Some other November races of note, Pike Countian Jim Hansen is the new State Representative in House Dist. 40. Hansen narrowly defeated incumbent Paul Quinn from Monroe City. Both candidates expressed support for a new Mississippi river bridge at Louisiana, something MODOT also sanctions but says funding is not there. Dist. 40 includes Pike, Monroe, and Ralls Counties. Speaking of Ralls County, an upset there in November saw incumbent Sheriff Paul Forney lose to challenger Gerry Dinwiddie.
YIR Seg3: School Highlights, Tourism, and More...
Hannibal Public Schools saw eight million dollars of capital improvement projects come to a close in 2012. Superintendent Jill Janes talks about completion of Mark Elementary and the Early Childhood Center and more…Sadly, with school violence much in the news of late, our discussion turned to the issue of increasing law enforcement presence in schools.
In other school news, Hannibal LaGrange University inaugurated its 17th President in 2012. Anthony Allen takes the helm, replacing the retiring Woodrow Burt.
And Moberly Area Community College broke ground recently for a new facility to be located just off Highway MM west of Hannibal.
In 2012 new President and CEO Todd Ahrens joined the Hannibal Regional Healthcare system, after the retirement of John Grossmeier.
The weather continued to make news in 2012, this time the absence of snow and rain throughout the year made for drought conditions, nightmares for farmers, and unusually low water levels even on the Mississippi, affecting barge navigation. Hannibal Filter Plant stats show average annual precipitation totals nearly 40 inches; the year 2012 came in just over 23 inches.
On the subject of Tourism, riverboat cruisers made several stops in Hannibal this year, the Queen of the Mississippi and the American Queen docked in Hannibal, and the American Queen ended up with extended stays due to Lock and Dam issues to the south.
The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012 and welcomed award winning actor Hal Holbrook to town, for two important reasons. Holbrook brought his “Mark Twain Tonight” show to the stage of Hannibal High School, with wit and humor that transcends time. Sunday, November 18th, Holbrook was presented the first ever Mark Twain Lifetime Achievement Award at the Museum Gallery.
Holbrook has portrayed Mark Twain longer than even Samuel Clemens used the pen name.
And technology continues to change the way we live and work. Recently, Hannibal Police Chief Lindell Davis showed the City Council the new cameras his officers now wear. Davis told council members the funding for the thumb sized clip-on cameras came from a grant.
And on the subject of crime, the Midwest continues to be a hotbed for meth labs, and the meth problem continues to significantly increase in our area.
It certainly was a bad day for the Pike County Missouri Sheriff’s Department last Sept 8th, when 5 prisoners escaped from the jail. Three made it as far as Oklahoma before being apprehended. All five were eventually accounted for and back behind bars.
And a gruesome murder trial resulted in a life sentence for Calvin Pettey in 2012, after he was found guilty of killing his fiancé, Sandra Fugate in Hannibal in 2010. Now the 3rd part of the love triangle, girlfriend Rebecca Kirk faces her own charges of tampering with evidence.
Well that brings the news part of the Year in Review to a Close…But, before I go, no news cast would be complete without somehow using the two most overused words of 2012—Fiscal Cliff... (You'll just have to listen to the end of the audio to see how I use it!)
Segment 3 Audio includes: Superintendent Jill Janes, Actor Hal Holbrook, Police Chief Lindell Davis, and...a mystery voice at the end...you'll just have to listen to find out...
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!