■ Montanna Meyer and Laurel Baechle, co-workers at Harter Bakery in Arnold, got an early Christmas present on Thanksgiving weekend: Fame and glory. Bakery manager Meyer, 28, of Pevely and decorator Baechle, 29, of Kimmswick appeared in an episode of the TV cooking competition show “Sugar Rush Christmas,” released on Netflix on Nov. 29. See Laura Marlow’s Page 1 story.
■ Christopher B. Buechting, 46, has been sentenced to 28 years in prison after being convicted of murdering his live-in girlfriend, Angela McDonald, in 2017 at their Festus-area home. After a three-day trial in September, a jury found Buechting guilty of second-degree murder, a class A felony, and Jefferson County Circuit Court Div. 5 Judge Victor Melenbrink issued the 28-year sentence on Dec. 2. “We asked for the maximum – 30 years to life – and the judge gave him 28, so we are satisfied with the outcome,” Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Trish Stefanski said. “He will be held accountable.” Buechting was accused of beating McDonald on Jan. 22, 2017, seriously injuring her. The next day she was taken by helicopter to Mercy Hospital St. Louis in Creve Coeur, and she died there Jan. 25, 2017, at the age of 39. See Kevin Carbery’s story.
■ The Hillsboro Fire Protection District will place a 50-cent tax levy increase on the April 7 ballot, mainly to cover the cost of adding firefighters but also to help fund construction of a new fire station to replace House 1. That house would be built on a 1.8-acre piece of property along Business 21 the Hillsboro R-3 School District plans to sell to the fire district. The property is part of the 45 acres the school district bought for $990,000 from Comtrea in the fall. The small parcel sits between Bridle Ridge Driveway and the First Baptist Church of Hillsboro and is across the street from Hillsboro Fire’s Station No. 1 at 120 Fifth St. Comtrea called the property Bridle Ridge, although it is still commonly known as “Hall Farm.”
■ Festus City Council members voted 5-2 Dec. 18 to deny a rezoning request from developers who want to convert an old church building into an apartment complex at 1401 W. Main St. That building previously housed Renewed Spirit Community Church, the Grace Center and the New Hope Lutheran Church. The decision to deny the rezoning request seemed to sit well with the majority of the 20 or so people who attended the meeting, including several who spoke against the request to change the property’s zoning from R-1 to R-4.
■ John Brazeal is leaving his position as Fox C-6 School District’s chief financial officer. Brazeal, 63, informed the district Nov. 25 of his plan to retire. His final day at Fox is scheduled to be March 31, said JP Prezzavento, Fox communications and instructional technology coordinator. See Tony Krausz’s story.
■ Ed Moreno’s office has all the professional clutter of someone who’s attended, coached and been an administrator at the same high school for more than two decades. A 1996 graduate of Hillsboro, Moreno was the head coach of the baseball team for six years, an assistant coach for the football team for three and has been the activities director for 11. Moreno’s loyalty to the Hillsboro Hawks “brand” was recently spotlighted when last month he was voted the Missouri Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Southeast athletic director of the year. See Sports editor Russell Korando’s Dec. 24 column.
■ Laura Marlow writes the Editorial section column this week – reflections on how “imperfect” Christmas presents can be the best of all.
*** Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Leader!