Senator Doug Libla’s Capitol Visitors and District News for January

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The first four weeks of the legislative session are complete. It was great to have a lot of visitors from the 25th district visit Jefferson City. I started off by attending the Baptist’s Prayer Breakfast and Governor’s Prayer Breakfast the opening week. Eddy Justice and Herman Styles of Poplar Bluff both drove up to watch the opening day of session activities. I also enjoyed meeting with Conservation Commissioner Don Bedell about the importance of conservation and different projects in the works.

The Optometric Association had their annual legislative reception and meetings this week. In attendance were Drs. Dan Obermark, Cassidy Obermark, Jim Hunt and Douglas Nosacka. Richard Landers from Poplar Bluff attended the Forest Products Association breakfast. Dr. Wes Payne represented Three Rivers College at the Community College Association president’s meeting. I also enjoyed visiting with Sheri Kennedy and Lisa Gray. They shared some stories about dyslexia.

Bill Robison from Bloomfield attended the Senate Transportation Committee hearing in support of my Senate Bill 623. He stayed to view session as well, and see how the Missouri Senate operates first-hand. It was also nice to see Chris Williams and his son, Austin, from Poplar Bluff. I visited with Jim Harlan, who was in town for the Pharmacy Association meetings.

It was great to meet with Kurt Knodell, Terry Stewart, Lucy Wooldridge Wheeler and Lori Ware Dunlap in my office. They traveled to Jefferson City for the Missouri Realtors conference. We discussed some of the legislation and issues the realtors are working on. I appreciate all the good information, insight and expertise they bring. Jay Decker, from Poplar Bluff, was here with the Certified Public Accounts.

I also had a very productive meeting with Mayor Donnie Brown, City Administrator Richard McGill and New Madrid County Mayor’s Association Economic Development Director Don Lloyd regarding the workforce reduction and Noranda Aluminum. It was also Sheltered Workshop’s Week in Jefferson City, and I enjoyed seeing Angela Hudgens from Caruthersville and Jeff and Diane Arnold from Poplar Bluff.

Additionally, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting with members of the Missouri Corn Growers Association.

Lastly, it was an honor to sponsor the governor’s nominations of Kennett’s Phillip Britt and Dexter’s Ed Gargas to the Southeast Missouri State University’s Board of Regents.

 In-District News

On Jan. 16, I had a great time tonight attending the Van Buren Area Chamber of Commerce Banquet at the beautiful River Centre, located on the Current River. Congratulations to Virgie Alcorn-Evans for receiving the “Lifetime Achievement Award.” Bill Moriarty was also honored with “Citizen of the Year.” Both of these individuals are pillars of the community and an example to all in what community service really entails. Thanks to the Bedell family, Chamber volunteers and banquet workers for the great food and service. It was wonderful to see such a huge turnout of citizens for the banquet and their love for the communities in Carter County each and every day.

The Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce held its annual banquet on Jan. 23, with over 480 people attending. There was great food, as always, from Tasteful Creations. Thanks to Karon Campbell and her team for the wonderful meal. Thanks to Steve Halter and staff at the chamber, plus all the volunteers, in turning the coliseum into “The Great Gatsby” theme; 1920’s era music was professionally performed by instrumentalists Kirk Mondy and Dan Jackson, and vocalist Margaret Orlando.

Congratulations to Betty Absheer, as she was recognized for her many years on the Poplar Bluff City Council. In 1993, Betty was the first female elected as mayor of Poplar Bluff. She has been elected four times since. Betty is well-respected in the community and a great ambassador for the city.

Debby Norris was also recognized as “Volunteer of The Year” award; greatly deserved!

“Citizen of the Year” went to Steve Whitworth. What a family legacy he carries forward. His mother, Evelyn, and late father, Guy, are past recipients. The Whitworth family has been pillars and leaders of the community and business owners for many decades—Whitworth Jewelers is an icon. Steve has carried on the tradition by helping financially, as well as volunteering with many charitable groups. Thank you Steve for all you and your family have done and will continue doing for our great city. He accepted the honor to a well-deserved standing ovation.

“Isn’t it Nice To Live In Poplar Bluff,” Louie Snider – circa 1970 –

On Saturday night, Jan. 30, the Dexter Chamber of Commerce held its annual awards banquet  at the Elks Lodge. What a successful event headed up by Executive Director Hillary Starnes, chamber staff and volunteers. The “Get it Together” cake buffet was astounding, and the meal served by Elks members was delicious. The banquet room was filled with a huge crowd. Thanks to Bill and Connie Hampton for hosting the trivia contest. Congratulations to the Dexter Chamber for another great year; 2016 should be exciting times in Dexter!

Congratulations to all of the award winners!

  • Organization of the Year – Dexter Lions Club
  • Business of the Year – The Loft
  • Industry of the Year – Tyson Foods
  • Educator of the Year – Laura Lee Stone
  • Citizen of the Year – John William Ringer