It was a year like any other year, full of news events that caused joy, sorrow, worry, relief and, perhaps, occasionally some anger. Here's a look back at 10 major news events reported by the Rolla Daily News.
It was a year like any other year, full of news events that caused joy, sorrow, worry, relief and, perhaps, occasionally some anger.
Here's a look back at 10 major news events reported by the Rolla Daily News.
1. For the family of Johnathan Shay, the months of February and March brought closure to a mystery that began in July 2015 when the 13-year-old autistic boy disappeared.
Johnathan and a cousin had walked away from the Shay home near St. James. The cousin returned, but Johnathan did not. Searches were conducted for many months, but the child was not found.
In February of this year, Sheriff Rick Lisenbe announced that remains had been found and they were likely Johnathan's. A month later after a forensic examination, that was verified.
2. Construction of the Delbert Day Cancer Institute continued throughout 2016, and it was opened in November and December for public viewing by donors and the public, in anticipation of the first day of treatments on Jan. 9, 2017.
The institute will combine radiation oncology and medical oncology in one building that has been designed and constructed with patient comfort and convenience as the top priorities.
3. Construction of an addition to the Rolla High School began after the High School Annex was demolished during spring break. Concurrently, the administration and faculty began preparing for the transition of the ninth grade to the high school for the 2017-2018 school year, along with the movement of the seventh grade to Rolla Junior School, fourth grades from the elementary schools to the Rolla Middle School and the beginning of early childhood education for about 150 4-year-olds.
4. The Transportation Development District was approved by voting landowners in December. Next step will be the first meeting of the TDD board, set for Jan. 3, and then the issuance of $30 million in bonds to pay for transportation improvements that will help funnel traffic to, as well as provide access for, property that will be the site for the Westside Marketplace.
The bonds will be paid with a 1-cent sales tax.
5. A Danish manufacturer announced in January that it had picked Rolla's former Briggs & Stratton building as the site for its first U.S. factory. Hartmann USA is the name of the company's new American division, and the city of Rolla worked to help the company prepare the building where 50 people will work on a highly automated process of making egg cartons.
The city approved tax abatements and authorized the issuance of $30 million in industrial revenue bonds. The factory is set to open soon after the first of the year.
6. Energy was the theme for a combined set of unrelated events. For one, a "solar farm" was constructed at the Hy Point Industrial Park. It opened and began providing power that later in the year Rolla Municipal Utilities arranged to sell to large industrial users.
Another energy story was the construction of an electric filling station for Tesla cars at the parking lot of the Bandanas Barbecue. Also related to that was the announcement at the most recent Board of Public Works meeting (RMU) that Interstate 44 would be designated an Energy Corridor.
A third energy-related story was the completion of a cooperative venture between the city government and RMU that replaced the street lights with LED fixtures.
7. Rolla MFA opened the doors of a new facility south on Highway 72 in February.
Construction or remodeling for new businesses began this year, and they will open in 2017.
An IHOP, and next to it a Breaktime, are under construction at the junction of Pine Street and Bishop Avenue (U.S. 63).
A Dickey Bub farm and home store was announced as a tenant for the former site of Country Mart in the Forum Plaza in March. Country Mart closed in December 2015 when the owners opened a new supermarket, Price Chopper, on the other side of the shopping center. The city rezoned and made changes to allow Dickey Bub to store and display merchandise outside once it opens, presumably sometime in 2017.
Rezoning was approved in August to allow MoSci to build a large warehouse.
8. Veterans were remembered in Rolla. Monuments to memorialize the U.S. military engagements were set at the Veterans Memorial Park, starting in February and in the fall, the Sons of the American Revolution formally dedicated their monument.
Vietnam Veterans Day was celebrated in March, and veterans of that war were welcomed home.
A Memorial Day service was held here, and then in November, the Veterans Day service was held at the park.
9. There were some fires this year. In January, Rolla city firefighter Chase Butler rescued St. James resident Cassandra Snook from her burning home after he drove by and saw smoke.
A space heater set up to keep the water pipes thawed was blamed for a January fire in a vacant house on Elm Street.
A fire at Emerson Hall on the campus of the Missouri University of Science and Technology in early December was an accident. Investigators said an air conditioning unit on the roof of the building caused the smoke and fire. There were no injuries and no structural damage was reported. The cleanup effort however was extensive and involved the manpower from regional offices of Serve-Pro.
A bomb threat evacuated the Phelps County Courthouse in April.
10. Phelps County Coroner Larry Swinfard died in office in February. He had been coroner since January 1997. Deputy coroner Andy Davis, a long-time law enforcement officer, was appointed to serve until the fall elections. Davis was elected with no opposition.
Here are some other noteworthy news events:
*Rolla Municipal Utilities announced that it would provide rate relief worth nearly $1 million effective with the October billings.
*Former RDN Publisher Floyd Jernigan was named the city's parks and recreation director.
* Bleachers and lights were installed for the track on school property next to the junior high school.
* A task force was appointed by the city for airport business planning.
* Former KTTR owner Robert McKune, long a Rolla civic leader, died.
* A former S&T student pleaded guilty to terrorism for online threats to kill black students at the University of Missouri campus.