Baby crawler, Sneak Peek, Sept. 12

Averi Mueller of Herculaneum, 11 months, stops just inches short of the finish line in the Twin City Days Baby Crawling Contest and is not a happy princess. 

■ Caleb Garrett of Pevely is half the guy he used to be – and he couldn’t be happier. The Herculaneum High School senior has lost more than 160 pounds and dramatically increased his overall health in the year following his 2018 stint at Camp Jump Start in Imperial. “I can now do things I have never done before,” he said. “I can dunk a basketball and do flips. “The camp is hard work but it all pays off.” Caleb, now 17, took part in the four-week camp session last summer, building healthy habits that have enabled him to keep the weight off and grow even more healthy over the past year. See Laura Marlow’s Page 1 feature story.

■ The number of fatal opioid overdoses continues to rise in Missouri, with Jefferson County experiencing a disproportionate number of those deaths, health officials report. Jefferson County had 3 percent of the state’s population in 2017 but 8 percent of the fatal opioid overdoses that year, the Jefferson County Health Department reported. In 2017, Missouri saw 951 people die from opioid overdoses, and 73 of those were in Jefferson County. In 2018, the state had 1,132 fatal overdoses, including 103 in Jefferson County, the Department of Health of Senior Services reported. See Katelyn Mary Skaggs’ Page 1 story.

■  At long last, Todd Tracy is on the right side of the river. Tracy, 49, a native of southern Illinois, said he’s been seeking a job in Missouri for the last few years and finally got one last week. He is the new executive director for the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation, filling the job that has been vacant since March 18, when David Dews, 59, died. Dews, the former city manager of De Soto, started that job Jan. 1, 2018. Tracey, who lives in Potosi, began work as the EDC director on Sept. 3. See Steve Taylor’s story.

■ A former member of the Jefferson County Parks Board has filed suit against the Jefferson County Council after it voted to buy a 1.06-acre piece of property to expand the High Ridge Civic Center. Linda Schroeder of Byrnes Mill filed the suit June 27 in Jefferson County Circuit Court opposing the council’s decision to spend $43,000 to buy the vacant piece of land next to the Civic Center, 2800 Horrell Lane, which is part of the county’s parks system. Schroeder, a longtime member of the county’s Parks Board, which governs Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Department activities, resigned in protest of the purchase and spoke against it at council meetings. See Steve Taylor’s Page 1 story.

■ Adult mosquitoes found in Hillsboro have tested positive for West Nile Virus – the first positive test in Jefferson County this season, according to the Jefferson County Health Department. Judy Tufts, the Health Department’s emergency response supervisor, said it’s unusual to be this far into the summer with no other mosquitoes testing positive for the virus. But more positive tests are expected. See Katelyn Mary Skaggs’ story.

■ What does it take to qualify for a medical marijuana card. See Katelyn Mary Skaggs’ firsthand account of the process in the Editorial section this week, and an extra batch of letters.

■ Sports editor Russell Korando dispels a rumor in his Sept. 12 column. Despite buzz to the contrary, Festus senior Abby Rickermann plans to play basketball at Festus High this school year. The Sports section includes coverage of football and softball.

*** Twin City Days and the Jefferson County Rodeo were great fun. Now it’s time to gear up for Arnold Days, Sept. 19-22.

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