The Top Hannibal News of 2014
A look back at some of the top local news stories we've covered over the past twelve months.
A major drug operation by Hannibal Police in August resulted in charges for twenty-six individuals. Sixteen of the arrests were meth-related, and seven arrests were related to heroin possession or production. There were two arrests on marijuana charges and one arrest related to prescription medication.
The Hannibal Police Department made three arrests in June related to stabbings that took place in Huckleberry Park. Two victims were identified and received treatment at Hannibal Regional Hospital. 21-year-old Lauren Sinclair of Hannibal, 24-year-old Zachary Kuntz of Eolia, and 18-year-old Aaron Weatherby of Vandalia were arrested in connection with the incident.
The Hannibal Jaycees decided to bring national-level entertainment to America's Hometown for National Tom Sawyer Days. County recording artist Josh Thompson headlined opening night at Tanyard Gardens to a packed house. Thompson is a Wisconsin native known for country hits like ‘Cold Beer With Your Name On It,’ ‘Won’t Be Lonely Long,’ ‘Beer on the Table,’ ‘Way Out Here’ and ‘Comin’ Around.’
Many Hannibal residents received their first introduction to the Steampunk literary genre in 2014. The new Big River Steampunk Festival drew participants from around the region to downtown Hannibal, in addition to curious onlookers, during Labor Day Weekend. “From what we can tell, this is going to be the first continuing Steampunk festival, or convention, in the state of Missouri," said festival organizer Ken Marks.
On the one-year anniversary of the 2013 murder of Abel's clerk Adrienne Arnett, Hannibal Police announced that three more arrests had been made in connection with the case. 26-year-old Krystal Tresler, 27-year-old Cuda Dodd and 23-year-old Amanda Lehenbauer were charged with second degree murder in Arnett’s death.
Marion County Prosecutor David Clayton announced that a September traffic violation resulted in one of the largest marijuana busts in the county’s history. 38-year-old Julisa Ramirez of Boston, Massachusetts was arrested just west of Hannibal. Officers reportedly seized over 140 lbs. of pot, $6,000 in cash, prepaid money cards and ledgers related to the marijuana's origin and final destination.
Hannibal’s official Tom and official Becky for 2014 – 2015 are John Maune and Riley Stevenson. The Tom and Becky program is open to interested seventh graders in Hannibal who compete by giving speeches, interviews, and by completing two written tests: one on Mark Twain and one on Hannibal. The Tom and Becky finalists serve as ambassadors for the city, and the official Tom and Becky are named during a July 4 ceremony in Central Park as one of the highlights of National Tom Sawyer Days.
An Illinois man was killed in July just east of Hannibal on I-72 in Pike County. Authorities believe 47-year-old Dennis Coffman was killed by his half-brother, 28-year-old Joseph Coffman, following an argument between the two men. Joseph Coffman was charged with first-degree murder.
A change in leadership is coming for the Hannibal Cavemen in 2015. Former general manager John Civitat announced that he and his wife will be moving back to the Lake of the Ozarks area. The team has named Greg McVey, former Quincy University baseball coach and former Quincy Gems general manager, Civitat's successor. Coach Jay Hemond is scheduled to return to the team in 2015.
And then there's this... In March, Hannibal Police were called to City Hall on reports of peace disturbance brought on by a man's body odor. The story was picked up by the Associated Press and received some national attention.