Sneak peek, Nov. 21, 2019

A screenshot from an 8mm film, likely shot in the mid-1940s, shows a group of friends at the old Micatto Farm in the Hillsboro area. Documentary filmmakers hope Jefferson County residents will share information about the farm.

■ Five people suspected of vehicle break-ins around the county have been arrested, and authorities believe they may be part of a larger group coming from outside the county to steal from unlocked vehicles here. The Sheriff’s Office has connected four of those suspects, all of St. Louis, to thefts from vehicles on Nov. 13 in the Castle Heightssubdivision off Old Antonia Road in Imperial, Sheriff’s Office Capt. Gary Higginbotham said. Those four suspects were arrested the morning of Nov. 13 following a manhunt and police chase in Imperial. Higginbotham said the Sheriff’s Office received reports about similar vehicle break-ins in the Arnold and Imperial areas early Monday morning (Nov. 18). According to those reports, three men rode around in a car through Imperial neighborhoods and two of the men would get out of the car and pull on vehicle door handles. See Tony Krausz’s Page 1 story.

■ The Festus R-6 School District reports that 23 students had confirmed cases of pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, since an outbreak began there last month. However, fewer students are showing symptoms than earlier in the outbreak and district officials hope it has peaked. In addition, two Hillsboro R-3 School District students have been diagnosed with whooping cough, Superintendent Jon Isaacson said Tuesday. No confirmed cases have been reported anywhere else in the county. See Kevin Carbery’s story.

■ If you remember something – anything – about the old Micatto Farm in the Hillsboro area, a couple of documentary filmmakers want to speak with you. It was more of a weekend retreat than a working farm, but the Micatto family owned about 60 acres near Sandy Church Road and Jarvis Road from the 1930s through the 1960s. While the house was spartan, the property had a spring-fed, in-ground swimming pool that hosted several family get-togethers. The reason Geoff Story and his co-producer, Beth Prusaczyk, are looking for people with recollections about the Micatto property is because it’s been identified as the primary site where gay men gathered for pool parties – the subject of the documentarians’ film called “Gay Home Movie.” See Steve Taylor’s Page 1 story.

■ The Jefferson County Council has pulled in the reins a bit on an ordinance that would prohibit horses in most county parks. The County Council voted 4-3 Nov. 12 to table an ordinance that would ban horses in all county parks except for Big River Saddle Club Park in Dittmer and, once it is developed, Beck Park in the Eureka area. The council had voted 5-2 Oct. 28 to give preliminary approval to the action. Councilwoman Renee Reuter (District 2, Imperial), one of the two dissenting votes on Oct. 28, made the motion Nov. 12 to table the ordinance so council members can digest information that was presented previously in the meeting. No date was specified for when a second vote might be taken on the ordinance. See Steve Taylor’s story.

■ About 750 people turned out for the annual Leader Holiday Shopping Spree, held Saturday at the Quality Inn in Festus. “I think most of the vendors were pleased,” Leader publisher Pam LaPlant said. “We are just happy we’re able to provide an opportunity for people to come out and shop with our local craftspeople and businesses.” More than 30 vendors were on hand, offering everything from small, inexpensive gifts to big-ticket, one-of-a-kind items. See Laura Marlow’s story.

■ Crystal City Board of Education members were scheduled tonight (Nov. 19) to discuss the possibility of switching to a four-day week next school year, Superintendent Steven Barnes said in a letter posted on the district’s website. The school board also was set to discuss and vote tonight on whether to place a tax measure on the April 7 ballot that would allow the district to reallocate funds, he said. Barnes said on Monday that discussions about a four-day school week are preliminary, and the earliest a decision could be made on that would be at the Jan. 21 board meeting when the 2020-2021 school calendar is expected to be set. See Kevin Carbery’s story.

■ The city of Arnold will turn off the lights at the shared workspace it operates. Corridor 55, which opened in 2014, will close when the city’s lease on the space at 112 Richardson Crossing ends at the end of April. On Nov. 7, City Council members unanimously voted to approve an eight-month lease for the property. According to that lease agreement, Arnold will pay $18,800 to cover the rental fees for September and October, which hadn’t been paid at that time, and to keep the establishment open until April 30. See Tony Krausz’s story.

■ Can the cavern between red and blue political believers be bridged? The Leader is searching for some Common Ground, and is enlisting the help of frequent letter writers to find some. The Editorial section in the Nov. 21 and Nov. 27 editions will explore the concept.

■ In Sports, read the story on Hillsboro High boys soccer team’s 4-1 quarterfinal loss to Webster Groves, and Sports editor Russell Korando’s recap of the last competitions of the 2019 fall sports season.  

*** Time to buy your turkey! After Nov. 21, look for your next Leader on Wednesday, Nov. 27, a day early because of the Thanksgiving holiday.