The past year has been filled with triumphs and tragedies, celebrations and concerns, development and debate across our community. As your community newspaper, the Daily Star-Journal has chronicled these local events and issues as they have unfolded. As 2019 comes to a close and 2020 gets underway, we are going to revisit some of the stories that played out during the past 12 months. This is the fourth of four installments in our “2019 Year in Review.”

Friday, Dec. 27, 2019: A look back at January to March;

Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019: A look back at April to June;

Friday, Jan. 3, 2020: A look back at July to September;

Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020: A look back at October to December.

Stories included in this year in review are listed by the month in which they appeared in the newspaper. All of the stories listed here, and many more, can be found in the DSJ’s online archive at and through the DSJ NOW app.


• The 2019 Burg Fest closed out September in downtown Warrensburg. The event was held Sept. 27 and 28 in conjunction with UCM’s Family Weekend. It was ended early Saturday afternoon due to storms that moved into the area late in the day.

• The annual Johnson County Heart Walk serves as a celebration of strides made in heart health and as a way to raise heart disease awareness. The event took place Sept. 20.

• After 17 years, a Henry County resident can once again walk thanks to the ReWalk exoskeleton. In February 2002, Air Force veteran Jeff Carneal suffered a spinal cord injury after falling from a ladder. After working with Western Missouri Medical Center’s rehab center for 10 years, Carneal was chosen to take part in a study in which he is provided a ReWalk exoskeleton through the Department of Veterans Affairs and reports how it has affected him physically, mentally and emotionally. Carneal said the wearable exoskeleton is equipped with a button on his wrist that turns the motors located at the hips and knees when he presses it.

• The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Detective Division received the Child Safe of Central Missouri 2019 Outstanding Agency Award in recognition of its service to children.

• Joining the more than 4 million people protesting around the world, 41 Warrensburg residents participated in the strike for climate change Sept. 20. Participants gathered on the Johnson County Courthouse lawn to share their concerns. The worldwide strike was organized primarily by teenagers who skipped or walked out of school as part of the protests.

• Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2513 celebrated the post’s selection as an All-American Post at a special dinner Oct. 2. “This selection is a testament to the team effort put forth by members of the post,” Post Commander Scott Humphrey said. “It is truly an unprecedented achievement in the post’s 87-year history.” During the 2018-2019 service year, Post 2513 donated nearly $6,000 and 1,600 hours in community service to organizations and veterans.

• In August, two Ebola treatments were deemed effective enough to replace ZMapp as considered the standard for treating Ebola. One of the treatments, REGN-EB3, was developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in conjunction with Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which included Melissa Willis, who grew up on a farm outside of Warrensburg and graduated from Crest Ridge High School in 1988 and University of Central Missouri in 1992.

• UCM President Roger Best announced the appointment of former Missouri Sen. David Pearce to the newly created position of executive director for governmental relations.

• The University of Central Missouri expects its plan to launch a new esports team to be a big hit, providing both a competitive outlet for current students while also serving as a future recruitment tool.

• The Missouri Council for Public Health Nursing awarded its Public Health Leadership Nursing award to Ronda Davis, a registered nurse who serves as public health coordinator for Johnson County Community Health Services, at the annual Missouri Public Health Conference meeting.

• Nothing remained of Woods Chapel United Methodist Church after a fire Oct. 10. The church hosted a homecoming service in the parking lot on Oct. 13.

• Warrensburg Community Development Director Barbara Carroll confirmed a Culver’s, a fast food restaurant, will open at 906 Simpson Drive just north of U.S. Highway 50.

• Warrensburg Superintendent Scott Patrick announced he would retire in June 2020.

• Following her husband’s cancer diagnosis, Amber Patterson worked with her coworkers at Serenity Salon and Spa to organize Cut for a Cause on Saturday, Oct. 5, where a fundraiser was held for the Pattersons before Amber followed through on a fundraising goal to shave her head.

• American Legion Matthews-Crawford Post 131 hosted a celebration Oct. 5 at the Missouri Veterans Home — Warrensburg in honor of the American Legion’s 100th anniversary. The American Legion Auxiliary also celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

• Warrensburg Middle School Principal Jim Elliott was recognized as the Middle School Principal of the Year in the central region by the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals on Sept. 30 during its fall conference.

• Western Missouri Medical Center announced Oct. 11 that Renee Twenter, RN, BSN, MBA, was appointed chief operating officer.

• Western Missouri Medical Center hosted its seventh annual Ladies’ Night Out event Oct. 15 to promote breast cancer awareness and raise funds for the WMMC Foundation while showcasing a multitude of health and beauty goods and services for attendees to enjoy.

• Where classic cars once stood, an array of Hot Wheels, diecast cars, vintage toys and collectibles took their place Oct. 19 at the former Happy Days Dream Cars location, 812 E. Young Ave. Friends and collectors Richard Kelleher, Warrensburg, and Carl Smith, Lenexa, Kansas, united to host the first West Missouri Diecast Cars & Toy Show in Warrensburg.

• The Board of Education voted to approve the Debt Service Levy Resolution that, if approved, would be used for improvements to the district. The issue will be on the April 7 ballot for voters in the Warrensburg School District. The resolution asks to increase the debt service levy from 72 cents per $100 of assessed valuation of real and personal property to 82 cents per $100 of assessed valuation of real and personal property.

• A classroom in the UTT Building officially has a new name to celebrate the 30-year career of Conan Castle, a professor emeritus of the University of Central Missouri. Faculty members, alumni, current students and community members celebrated the official designation of the Conan Castle Choral Room with a concert and reception Oct. 13 in the Hart Recital Hall.

• The Holden Senior Center is the latest community group to receive funding — a check for $4,000 — through the West Central Electric Cooperative Round Up Foundation, according to Foundation President Dennis Knipmeyer.


• The Warrensburg School District named Andy Kohl as its new superintendent. Kohl takes on the responsibilities of superintendent effective June 30, 2020.

• The first snow of the season hit Johnson County Oct. 30 into Oct. 31.

• Warrensburg Police Chief Rich Lockhart announced the department has body and dashboard cameras for every officer and patrol vehicle.

• The City Council voted in favor of authorizing refinancing of the Hawthorne Neighborhood Improvement District debt at its meeting Oct. 14.

• Youth ruled the day on Oct. 19 at the Youth Festival at Retrograde Charitable Toy Museum. Community agencies and members united for the free event for youth.

• Mallory Hall and Brinlea Rhyne of Johnson County were two of 68 Missouri youth to participate in a clothing construction and consumerism contest during State 4-H Fashion Revue on Oct. 19 at the University of Missouri campus.

• The Johnson County 2019 Century Farms — the Thomason Family Farm and the Bob and Norma Jean Grainger Farm — were recognized during the annual awards banquet of the 4-H program.

• Educators from all levels of academia gathered Oct. 25 for the ribbon cutting of the new Legacy Suite on the second floor of the Lovinger Building at the University of Central Missouri. The Legacy Suite is part of the celebration of the College of Education’s 100-year anniversary at UCM.

• The UCM School of Aviation celebrated its 50th anniversary Oct. 25 and 26.

• One University of Central Missouri student was found dead while another student was arrested after the UCM Department of Public Safety responded to a report of an accidental discharge of a firearm Nov. 4 at an on-campus apartment. DPS stated the incident resulted in the death of Stephon Abron, a student from St. Charles. The investigation resulted in the arrest of UCM student Jeremy Manley on a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

• In preparation for the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day, the Missouri Veterans Home hosted a Branch of Service Week Nov. 4 through 9 that included Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Women in Service days. The week included demonstrations, presentations, displays, a movie, special meals, a fly-over and lots of music.

• The wait for the next Wings Over Whiteman was shortened as it was announced in November that the event would be hosted again in June 2020. The 2019 Wings Over Whiteman was credited for moving the date of the event, previously scheduled every other year.

• Off-duty Johnson County Fire Protection District No. 1 firefighter Carl M. Monteer, 61, Chilhowee, died Nov. 11 from injuries sustained in a single-vehicle rollover wreck in the 600 block of Southwest Highway F in rural Johnson County. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports Monteer lost control on the ice-covered roadway causing the vehicle to travel off the side of the roadway, strike a ditch and overturn onto the driver’s side, facing north.

• With notice given just days prior, residents of the Fraternity Complex at the University of Central Missouri met with representatives of the university housing staff in November to discuss why residents had until the end of the week to move into other residence halls. Residents of the complex, home to the fraternities at UCM, received an email Nov. 10 which stated the complex was no longer viable for student housing due to an essential heating unit failing and residents would be reassigned to rooms in the Ellis and Fitzgerald dormitories for this semester. The complex was closed previously in 2015 due to mold.

• Dollar General was under construction in November on a new store at 266 S.E. Highway 2 in Leeton with an anticipated grand opening celebration scheduled for spring 2020. Construction officially began in October 2019.

• Johnson County Collector Ruthane Small announced that she would retire effective March 2, 2020, after 28 years.

• Johnson County made its final payment toward the construction cost of the Johnson County Justice Center on Oct. 28, about 18 years after its construction. The final check total was $434,211.

• Businesses and interviewees switched places Oct. 17 for the first-ever Warrensburg School District Reverse Job Fair at Warrensburg High School. Twenty-six special education students from four schools put together signs and presentations explaining their strengths for mock interviews with area businesses.

• About 20 tribes were represented during the fifth annual Trading Moon Pow Wow on Nov. 2 at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center at the University of Central Missouri.

• Community members braved the weather Nov. 11 to honor those who have served and are serving our country during the Veterans Day program at the American Legion Post 131. The American Legion Post 131 and VFW Post 2513 hosted the event. Col. Matthew Calhoun, the vice commander of the 131st Bomb Wing of the Missouri Air Guard at Whiteman Air Force Base, was the guest speaker.

• After a week full of events celebrating the various branches of the U.S. military and the veterans who served in them, the Missouri Veterans Home — Warrensburg hosted a presentation celebrating the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day on Nov. 11. Jeremy Ämick was the keynote speaker.

• After seeing a dog roam Warrensburg for a couple months, community members helped capture and find a new home for Phantom, a black lab.

• In memory of the late David Mudd, family members and community members united to donate to help fund the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s “If I Could Just Go Back” campaign.

• Western Missouri Medical Center Auxiliary was selected as the 2019 Auxiliary of the Year — Category II, which represents auxiliaries of a hospital with between 31 and 100 licensed beds by the Missouri Association of Hospital Auxiliaries.

• Holden’s Linda Smithson won a new roof through Aspen Contracting’s Cover 4 Others program.

• The Missouri Department of Economic Development awarded three organizations, including the Whiteman Area Leadership Council, a total of $167,000 through the Military Community Reinvestment Grant Program.

• After helping feed and care for the individuals at RISE Community Services for five years, RISE Cafe Kitchen Manager Jenna Adkisson handed the position to Sheyla Corcoran. RISE Cafe hosted a party to celebrate Adkisson’s five years of service and welcome Corcoran to her new position Nov. 20.

• The Warrensburg Schools Foundation hosted a number of fundraisers and activities to help raise funds for Warrensburg schools during the 12th annual Dinner and Auction on Nov. 16. Foundation Executive Director Judy Long said the foundation’s estimated net total for the funds raised throughout the night was $42,366.

• High winds, up to 62 miles per hour, were reported Nov. 26 into Nov. 27 throughout Johnson County.

• Meeting a need for training and certification of law enforcement officers, the Missouri Safety Center at the University of Central Missouri and State Fair Community College are collaborating to provide opportunities to interested individuals in Sedalia and the surrounding area. A memorandum of understanding that makes this possible was signed earlier in 2019. It enables the Central Missouri Police Academy, housed within the Missouri Safety Center, to deliver an 18-hour certificate program on the SFCC campus. The program begins Jan. 14, 2020, and following coursework, testing and graduation will be completed by Sept. 19.

• Demonstrating why the University of Central Missouri has a national reputation for its criminal justice program, a team of CJ students accomplished what no other team has done in the history of the American Criminal Justice Association Region III Competition. For the 18th consecutive year, UCM’s Lambda Alpha Epsilon — Gamma Epsilon Delta chapter captured the regional Sweepstakes Trophy. This win guarantees students an opportunity to compete for the national title, which UCM has claimed continuously for 17 years.

• The Johnson County Economic Development Corp. hosted its 13th annual Partnership Appreciation Celebration on Nov. 14 at the Johnson County Fairgrounds to show its appreciation for the partners it helps serve as well as the investors and volunteers who help make the projects possible.

• As the community shifted from the season of thanks to the season of giving, the Courthouse Christmas Tree stood fully decorated on the Johnson County Courthouse Lawn. The 20-foot red cedar was donated and installed by the county and was decorated by members of the Warrensburg Public Works crew.


• Ryan Seever, a body technician at Warrensburg Collision in Warrensburg, was named Shop Worker of the Year by FenderBender Magazine, a leading monthly business-to-business magazine for collision repair. He was awarded a plaque in front of hundreds of his peers and colleagues Oct. 1 at the annual FenderBender Management Conference in Minneapolis.

• The Johnson County Ambulance District Announced it would lease part of its building at House Two to the Johnson County Emergency Agency for its new office location.

• County residents packed the downtown Holden sidewalks to get a look at the Holden Holiday Lighted Parade at 5 p.m. Nov. 30. The parade was part of the Holden Area Chamber of Commerce’s Customer Appreciation and Small Business Saturday.

• Warrensburg Public Works Director Slim Coleman said he is prepared to retire after nearly 35 years of service.

• The Big Brother Big Sister Big Auction raised nearly $22,000.

• The city of Warrensburg hired a new finance director, Marcella McCoy. Matthew Lue is the city’s former finance director.

• The city of Warrensburg completed the update of its Americans with Disabilities Act Transition Plan to identify barriers to accessibility in all city-owned facilities and programs and establish time and budgetary goals to make corrections.

• Michael Sawyer, Ph.D., was appointed as the new dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Central Missouri.

• Filling a position that is critical to student learning at the University of Central Missouri, Lisa Toms, Russellville, Arkansas, was named vice provost for academic programs and services.

• Orlando Hatfield, a marketing student from the University of Central Missouri, claimed the Gold Award in the Customer Service Role Play category at the 2019 State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition on Nov. 8 at UCM. Hatfield, Union, Missouri, earned the recognition and $1,500 by competing against teams from 11 schools from across the country. Hatfield and Logan Lee, a marketing major from Centerview, also competed in the Sales Role Play and Marketing Presentation. Each received $1,000 individual awards for participating in the competition. The UCM Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies in cooperation with State Farm hosted the annual competition.

• Waterway Carwash made a corporate gift leading to a new collaborative space with the goal to aid University of Central Missouri students in the career-building process. Called the Peer to Career Support Center, the new space is situated near the library area in the Career Center, located in Ward Edwards Building, Room 1200. The center is being funded with a $15,000 gift provided by Waterway Carwash, a business headquartered in St. Louis, which has sites located in major cities throughout the Midwest.

• Bullet holes and bullets were found Dec. 1 and 5 by residents of two houses in the Cayhill subdivision. Lt. Jeff Reynolds said two bullet holes were found. One went through a garage door and was found lodged in a bag of soil in the garage. The other went through the east wall of the house and was found lodged in a west interior wall. Warrensburg Police Chief Rich Lockhart said the holes in the houses were determined to be from rifle rounds from different directions and most likely from hunting in nearby fields and wooded areas.

• The Warrensburg police and fire departments’ Dec. 6 blood drive with the Community Blood Center resulted in the staff from the blood center collecting 137 units of blood. The WPD and WFD hosted five blood drives this year, resulting in the blood center staff collecting a total of 619 units of blood. In total, 561 units of blood were collected in 2018.

• Johnson County Community Health Services partnered with the Johnson County Cancer Foundation, gifting more than $55,000 to help provide support for hospice-eligible individuals with a terminal diagnosis in Johnson County.

• The Johnson County Community Health Services Board of Trustees appointed Terri Bradley to serve as interim administrator of the health agency. It was announced Bradley would continue to serve the agency as the financial director while filling the role of administrator on an interim basis. The appointment of an interim was due to the resignation of Anthony Arton, who left the agency to pursue opportunities outside of the organization. Arton served as administrator for Johnson County Community Health Services since April 2016.

• Western Missouri Medical Center received the Mission: Lifeline Bronze Referring Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association for the treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks.

• Top leaders at the University of Central Missouri and State Fair Community College ceremonially signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Dec. 5, launching a new part-time police academy in Sedalia. UCM President Roger Best and SFCC President Joanna Anderson signed the MOU highlighting both institutions’ collaborative efforts to deliver the 18-credit-hour certificate program at SFCC.

• A week and a half before Christmas, Mother Nature gifted Johnson County with between 4 and 7 inches of snow on Dec. 15.

• Candidate filing for the April 7, 2020, election opened Dec. 7.

• The Johnson County Republican Women’s Club donated more than 900 stamps to the Missouri Veterans Home in Warrensburg. The donation allowed the veterans to mail letters and cards to loved ones.

• A second winter storm hit Johnson County on Dec. 16. This brought the two-day snow total to between 4 and 10 inches of throughout the county.

• Johnson County Emergency Management Agency Volunteer Juanita Moore and JCEMA Deputy Director Cassidy Poteet received approval as members of the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Medical Assistance Team (MO-DMAT-1) and Missouri Mortuary Response Team (MO-MORT-1) in August and November, respectively.

• Missouri American Water presented a check to the Warrensburg Fire Department on Dec. 18 in the amount of $1,200 as part of the company’s annual Firefighter Grant Program.

• Jason A. Meuschke prepared to release the 100th episode of his podcast, “The Sample Chapter,” on Christmas Eve.

• One person died and another was seriously injured in a wreck the afternoon of Dec. 22 on U.S. Highway 50. A report from the highway patrol states the wreck occurred when a tow unit from Bonnie J. Seymour’s, 44, Knob Noster, eastbound 2016 Ford unhitched, crossed the lanes of traffic and struck a westbound 2015 Jeep, driven by Walter Shannon, 63, Warrensburg, head on. After impact, the 2015 Jeep traveled off the right side of the roadway. Johnson County Coroner Clark Holdren pronounced Walter Shannon dead on the scene at 2:45 p.m.

• Chilhowee Superintendent Troy Marnholtz was named the new assistant superintendent for support services in the Warrensburg School District.

• With three new officers and one new K-9, the Warrensburg Police Department had four new faces on the force. Officers Nicolo DiBernardo, Ryan Day and Daniel Cotter were sworn in during a badge pinning ceremony Dec. 9 in the Council Chambers, 200 S. Holden St., and the badge pinning of WPD K-9 Neegan was later that evening at the City Council meeting.

• Larry P. Kinder, 70, Warrensburg, was charged with three class A felony charges of first-degree child molestation.

• More than 65 people showed their support at the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce’s ribbon cutting for the completion of the Western Missouri Medical Center Foundation’s donor wall and “Advancing Cancer Care, Closer to Home” project on Dec. 10.

• Dale and Megan Duncan donated $7,500 to the University of Central Missouri from the Spencer C. Duncan Make It Count Foundation.

• Three commencement ceremonies were conducted between Dec. 13 and 14 at the Multipurpose Building for Fall 2019 graduates at the University of Central Missouri.

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