A river runs through it

  • By Kelly Wilson
  • 23 Feb, 2017

Next generation of cruise ships keeps Hannibal riverfront busy

It would be difficult to over-estimate the impact of the first commercial steamboat churning its way upstream past Hannibal around 1825; the few residents who would have seen this landmark event might have thought it a sign that their world was about to change forever. Even today, that sense of wonder exists for those who come to the riverfront to find a 3- to 5-story vessel docked at the western bank of the Mississippi, like a floating hotel.  

Just as the establishment of a national highway network and safer, faster, more comfortable cars and trucks enabled the population of cities to spread into suburbs and “exurbs,” the steamboats allowed the opening of the upper Mississippi to be more accessible to trade – leading to more jobs and settlements to the north of St. Louis. Before the use of steam engines, travel north of the Missouri River confluence would have been challenging, since the river depths are much shallower and it is prone to freezing over in winter.

A packet — or   transport — riverboat, eased trade between St. Louis and destinations north such as lead-mining giant Galena, Ill. Moses Bates, who was   pivotal in the founding of Hannibal and Galena, used Hannibal as a stopover point; it did not hurt that the region provided raw materials such as limestone, salt and other minerals to make it a profitable port. Packet boats were not restricted to supplies, rather they tended to carry just about anything necessary for life along and off the river – building materials, livestock, people, household goods, etc.

Steam power

Steamboats made the process of transport and settlement faster, which caused a growth spurt along the river. By the 1850s, accounts peg the number of ship dockings in Hannibal at greater than 1,000 annually. Railroad expansion would take some business away from the river, but not until well after the end of the Civil War. By the end of the 1800s, the rails would claim more of the passenger trade as fares would become more affordable, yet “excursion” boats remained an option into the mid-20th century.  

The decline of riverboat cruises along the upper Mississippi for years could not be pegged to just one factor: aging vessels too expensive to repair and economic recessions pushing down demand did not help the business, either. The resurgence of cruises that include Hannibal as an attraction began in 2012, and the forces behind this are a bit more clear. First, heritage tourism is booming. This tourism is based on a love of history more than simple amusement, such as traveling the Mississippi to understand the river itself as well as its role for settlers and traders. Second, Americans can enjoy the luxury of a cruise without having to obtain a passport.   In addition, themed cruises provide an experience not easily matched by other types of travel packages, featuring on-board historians, excursions at different stopovers and suites with views of the landscape.

Here come the cruisers

The American Queen Steamboat Co., whose namesake vessel is the largest steamboat ever built, began running routes in 2012. The American Queen — with a capacity of 435 people — stops six to eight times per year.

This year, the company is introducing a smaller ship named the Grand Duchess, claiming it is the first all-suite paddlewheeler built in the U.S., capable of accommodating 166 guests. The Grand Duchess is scheduled for five stops between late July and late August, with her sister ship visiting twice.  

American Cruise Lines initiated its St. Louis to St. Paul, Minn., routes almost simultaneously. Its Queen of the Mississippi boat, like the new version of the American Queen, was built specifically for use on the Mississippi River. The Queen of the Mississippi is designed to hold 150 passengers, and its brand-new counterpart, the America, can service 185 people. Together, the two are scheduled to make 17 stops from July through October; up from an average of 10 to 12 routes per season.  

A third player in the market will begin its cruises this year: the Louisiana-based French America Line will roll out its 150-capacity all-suite Louisiane ship at the end of June, scheduled to make eight stops through September. This raises the total of projected visits to 32 from 17 in 2016, though anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of scheduled stops may be canceled because of river conditions and other factors.

Nature of the river

The nature of the river north of St. Louis is often what dictates the number and timing of these 8- to 10-day cruises. Shallow depth, a network of 28 lock and dam systems, late season flooding and dredging issues can conspire to make the window for travel much shorter than that of the lower Mississippi, where cruises are possible year-round. Also, demand is higher for the warmer climate of the south, where companies have scheduled twice as many routes as those in the north. Finally, the cost of a cruise may limit the number of visitors: prices per person can range from $2,000 to up to $4,000 for a two-bed suite, and trips from New Orleans to St. Paul can exceed $9,000 for a fortnight.

Who takes these trips? While some tourists from overseas are attracted to the cruise packages, the majority of customers are U.S. citizens more than 50 years of age who are drawn to this type of travel as much as the destination. A 2015 survey of cruise ship travelers shows that roughly 40 percent have taken multiple cruises. The average income for those taking river cruises is more than $100,000 per year. In essence, the type of tourist coming by boat to Hannibal is distinct from the demographics of those who come by other means.

This economic impact of this is not easy to estimate. If the scheduling holds, more than 5,000 visitors will be brought here who may not otherwise have found their way here. Since many dockings are limited to 5 hours or less, spending is somewhat dampened.

The Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with feedback from passengers, has been able to influence the companies enough that at least one trip from each major liner has spent a full day here each of the last two years.  

The cruise market opens Hannibal to a type of tourist not available to every river town, and the publicity and advertising   offered by the companies costs the individual communities nothing.

What about Viking?

One notable omission from the cruise schedule is Viking. One of the biggest and highest quality cruise liner companies in the world, Viking had made headlines in the area in 2014 — though rumors were surfacing before then — that it would begin its own venture onto the Mississippi by 2016, planning 28 stops in Hannibal. Now, the company is hopeful that it can deploy up to six ships, two at a time, by 2018.

The delay is because of a law enacted in 1920 called the Jones Act that requires any ship used to transport people or goods between ports inside the U.S. to have been built in an American shipyard and be entirely American-owned.  

As of late 2016, Viking was still working on a shipyard and fulfilling the other requirements.

More communities are taking advantage of the increased traffic as a way of boosting tourism through the original social network: word of mouth that spreads when travelers head home. 


Sharron Daniel of Australia poses under the Mark Twain sign at the Hannibal docks. Photo by Michael Kipley




July 16: 9-day voyage, July 23 to July 31, starts in St. Louis with destination of Red Wing, Minn. Theme is Mark Twain.

July 31: 9-day voyage, July 29 to Aug. 6, starts in St. Louis with destination of Red Wing, Minn. Theme is Mark Twain.


Aug. 10: 16-day voyage, Aug. 5 to Aug. 20, starts in Minneapolis with destination of New Orleans. Theme is the Mighty Mississippi.

Aug. 20: 23-day voyage, Aug 13 to Sept. 4, starts in Minneapolis with destination of New Orleans. Theme is the Mighty Mississippi.


Sept. 23: 9-day voyage, Sept. 16 to Sept. 24, starts in Minneapolis with destination of Alton, Ill. Theme is Life on the Mississippi.



July 30: 9-day voyage, July 23 to July 31, starts in Minneapolis with destination of St. Louis. Theme is Mark Twain.


Aug. 1:   9-day voyage, July 30 to Aug. 7, starts in St. Loius with destination of Red Wing, Minn. Theme is Life on the Mississippi.

Aug. 13: 9-day voyage, Aug. 6 to Aug. 14, starts in Minneapolis with destination of St. Louis. Theme is Life on the Mississippi.

Aug. 16: 9-day voyage, Aug. 13 to Aug. 21, starts in St. Louis with destination of Chicago. Theme is Architecture and the Arts.

Aug. 26: 9-day voyage, Aug. 20 to Aug. 28, starts in Chicago with destination of St. Louis. Theme is Chicago Blues.



Aug. 11: 7-day voyage, Aug. 5 to Aug. 12, starts in St. Paul, Minn., with destination of St. Louis.

Aug. 27: 7-day voyage, Aug. 26 to Sept. 2, starts in St. Louis with destination of St. Paul, Minn.


Sept. 8: 7-day voyage, Sept. 2 to Sept. 9, starts in St. Paul, Minn., with destination of St. Louis.


Oct. 8: 7-day voyage, Oct. 7 to Oct. 14, starts in St. Louis with destination of St. Paul, Minn.



Sept. 1: 7-day voyage, Aug. 26 to Sept. 2, starts in St. Paul, Minn., with destination of St. Louis.


Sept. 3: 7-day voyage, Sept. 2 to Sept. 9, starts in St. Louis with destination of. Paul, Minn.

Sept.15: 14-day voyage, Sept. 9 to Sept. 23, starts in St. Paul, Minn., with destination of New Orleans.


Oct. 4: 7-day voyage, Oct. 3 to Oct. 10, starts in St. Louis with destination of St. Paul, Minn.

Oct. 16: 7-day voyage, Oct. 10 to Oct. 17, starts in St. Paul, Minn., with destination of St. Louis.

Oct. 18: 7-day voyage, Oct. 17 to Oct. 24, starts in St. Louis with destination of St. Paul, Minn.

Oct. 30: 14-day voyage, Oct. 24 to Nov. 7, starts in St. Paul, Minn., with destination of New Orleans.



July 30: 8-day voyage, July 29 to Aug. 6, starts in St. Louis with destination of St. Paul, Minn.  


Aug. 27: 8-day voyage, Aug. 26 to Sept. 3, starts in St. Louis with destination of St. Paul, Minn.  


Oct. 8: 8-day voyage, Oct. 7 to Oct. 15, starts in St. Louis with destination of St. Paul, Minn.  


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By Kelly Wilson 31 May, 2017

Join the Rotary Club of Hannibal for a fun-filled day of music, brews and food at the fourth annual Fiesta del Sol.  

The event will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 24, at Central Park. It is co-sponsored by Wade Stables, P.C., the Hannibal Convention & Visitors Bureau and Mark Twain Distributing.

Each year’s event features a select craft brewery, and this year’s event will be a double-header of sorts — spotlighting Missouri Boulevard Brewing Co. of Kansas City and Kraftig Brewing Company of St. Louis.

Beverages from Boulevard Brewing will be featured noon to 2 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m., with a Kraftig sampling 2 to 4 p.m.  

The first Boulevard sampling will feature its Smokestack Series of beers that are hard to find outside of the Kansas City area.

All samplings are included with the price of admission. Boulevard also will have a brewer on hand throughout the day to discuss the brewery’s history and process.    

Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the gate. Tickets are available at County Market locations in Hannibal, Quincy and Palmyra or online at hannibalfiestadelsol.com. Children 17 and younger get in free.  

Food vendors and other merchants offering crafts and clothing will fill Hannibal’s tree-lined Central Park; there will be vendors with activities and items for children as well. Missouri Bat Census will be on hand to provide information about Hannibal’s Sodalis Nature Preserve and endangered bats in Missouri.

Details about the event may be found at facebook.com/RotaryFiestadelSol/. 


• 11 a.m. to noon

Singer/songwriter Murray McFarlane

• Noon to 1:30 p.m.

Singer/songwriter Frate

• 1:30 to 3 p.m.

Singer/songwriter Liz Bentley

• 3 to 5 p.m.

Burnt Toest performing indie rock

• 5 to 7 p.m.

Al Holliday and the East Side Rhythm Band performing rhythm and blues

• 7 to 9 p.m.

Kent Burnside with the Flood Brothers performing blues and rock

By Kelly Wilson 31 May, 2017

It’s a music festival. It’s a home-brew competition. It’s a vehicle show. It’s a race. And it’s a fundraiser for a good cause.

Brew Skies Music Festival will take place Saturday, June 10, at Mark Twain Cave and Campground, 300 Cave Hollow Road, and proceeds will benefit Hannibal Nutrition Center.  

“This is the ultimate summer music festival and beer-tasting adventure in Northeast Missouri. A wide variety of musical genres will be represented, with many original singer-songwriters as well as tributes to some musical greats,” organizer Jason Gregory said, adding six different musical groups will perform 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Twenty or more homebrewers from the Midwest will face off in an annual competition organized by the Hannibal Area Homebrewers Association.

Sampling will be noon to 2 p.m. and is included with the price of a general admission ticket to the festival.

Hannibal’s Mark Twain Brewing Co. will host the HAHA Homebrew Competition.

“Mark Twain Brewing has been an important supporter of the local homebrew community. Without their support we wouldn’t be able to bring in some of the musical acts and provide such a strong lineup of performers,” Gregory said.

Joining Mark Twain Brewing at the festival will be Bell’s Brewing Co. from Kalamazoo, Mich. Mark Twain Brewing and Bell’s brewers will serve as judges. The Judge’s Choice winner will receive a trip for two to Bell’s Brewery in Michigan.

Prizes will be awarded for Best of Show — along with a second and third place — and a People’s Choice award.  

Cars and more will be on display at the festival’s Vintage VW Meet-Up 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Owners of vintage Volkswagens are expected.

“Festival-goers will be able to check out the best of air- and water-cooled Volkswagens at this informal, nonjudged gathering,” Gregory said, adding that more than 50 vehicles from eight states have confirmed their participation.  

The festival promises no shortage of food. The menu is extensive and includes lobster, steak, chicken tacos, gourmet grilled sandwiches, tenderloin and catfish sandwiches, specialty hot dogs and a range of barbecue dishes. No outside food or drink is permitted.

The all-ages festival is family friendly, and children ages 12 and younger get in free. Children’s activities will include a petting zoo from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., VW painting with the Hannibal Arts Council, photos with Herbie, face painting and more.

A 5K run will begin at 8 a.m., with an awards ceremony at 9:30 a.m. The course begins and ends at Mark Twain Cave.  

Prizes will be awarded to the top two male and female participants overall, and the top two male and female finishers in each age group. Proceeds from the race will benefit Eugene Field Elementary School’s efforts to raise money for a new playground area for the school and its neighborhood.

While there is some seating, attendees are welcome to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets. Large tents will offer shelter in the event of rain.

Parking is limited. Attendees are encouraged to use shuttle service from Hannibal Trolley Co., 220 N. Main St. Cost is $3 one way for the five-minute trip. Service will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday and continue until 30 minutes after the final performance.

More information and tickets are available at hannibalbrews.com. Tickets are $10 online and at County Market Stores in Hannibal, Quincy and Palmyra until June 1. Tickets are $15 after that date. 


• 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Frate                          

• 1:30 to 3 p.m. Arkansauce

• 3:30 to 5 p.m. The Flood Brothers  

• 5:30 7 p.m. Urban Pioneers      

• 7:30 to 9 p.m. The Mulligan Brothers  

• 9:30 to 11 p.m. Sean Canan’s VooDoo Players perform Bob Dylan and Grateful Dead  

By Kelly Wilson 31 May, 2017

The 22nd annual Hannibal Cannibal is right around the corner — Saturday, July 1.

Registration is open, and you may register online at hannibalcannibal.com. Forms also are available at the concierge desks at Hannibal Regional Hospital and Hannibal Regional Medical Group, and the offices of Hannibal Regional Foundation.

Register before June 19 for just $25. Those registering for the Cannibal will receive a performance T-shirt, cinch sack race bag and a custom finisher’s medal.  

The race includes something for everyone — a 5/10/15k run, a 5k walk and a fun run for children ages 10 and younger. The race will begin at 7 a.m., with the fun run following the race at 9 a.m.  

Proceeds from this year’s race will support the Cherish Campaign, which is raising money to assist the expansion of Women’s Health Services at Hannibal Regional — a crucial element in meeting the health needs of the region. Offering a continuum of services and resources for all ages of women and their health needs is invaluable to growth and success in this area.  

For the fifth consecutive year, Advance Physical Therapy will serve as official race sponsor.

More information is available at hannibalcannibal.com or 573-629-3577. To stay updated on the Cannibal, find us on Facebook under Hannibal Cannibal, on Twitter @CannibalRace and now on Instagram at Hannibal_cannibal_race.    

By Kelly Wilson 31 May, 2017

The Tom and Becky Program invites you to the 2017 Tom and Becky Dinner Cruise, scheduled Monday, June 19.

Hosted by the 2017-18 Tom and Becky Goodwill Ambassadors, the annual event raises money to support the Tom and Becky Program, and gives people an opportunity to meet Hannibal’s current, past and incoming Tom and Becky Ambassadors while cruising the Mississippi and enjoying an evening of stories, entertainment and food.    

Tickets for the Tom and Becky Benefit Dinner Cruise are $41 for adults, $22 for children ages 6 through 12 and $5 for children ages 2 through 5. There is no charge for children younger than 2 years old.

Tickets may be purchased from any of the 2017-2018 Tom and Becky finalists: Linnea Brown, Brooklyn Haye, Kendel Locke, Claire Martinson, Jade Thomas, Colton Broughton, Andrew Catalpa, Elijah Dexheimer, Samuel Hirner and Eric Hudson, or through the Tom and Becky Program by calling 573-221-9010, ext. 404.

For more information on the cruise or how you can help support the Tom and Becky Program, contact Melissa Cummins at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum at 573-221-9010, ext. 404. 

By Kelly Wilson 31 May, 2017

Jim’s Journey: The Huck Finn Freedom Center, Hannibal’s newest museum, highlights the courage and accomplishments of — and gives dignity to — Hannibal’s nameless, invisible ancestors who labored as slaves in our community.

On Monday, June 19, Hannibal will celebrate Juneteenth with an event that commemorates the date — June 19, 1865 — when the last 200,000 slaves were freed in Galveston, Texas, with the arrival of federal troops.  

On that day in 1865, a spontaneous celebration of emancipation was born. Yes, it was more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation. To avoid compliance, tens of thousands of slaveholders fled to Texas to keep their slaves, a process known as refugeeing. Whites also came from neighboring states in droves, believing their slave property would be safe in Texas, the last frontier, where slaves continued to be bought and sold.   Although estimates vary widely, historians believe that after 1863 between 50,000 and 150,000 refugeed slaves were brought to Texas.  

Hundreds of miles east and months earlier the Missouri State Convention delegates passed the 1865 Emancipation Proclamation Ordinance. Because Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation did not apply to loyal slave states, Missouri became the first slave state to free its slaves — more than 114,000 men, women and children. Newly freed slave responses ranged from exhilaration and celebration to incredulity and fear. The fears proved justified as nearly 25 percent died in the first 5 years post emancipation, beset by homelessness, starvation and disease.

By 1845, Hannibal had achieved city status and by 1860, the population had more than doubled, making it the second largest city and third commercial center in Missouri.

The history and culture of slavery in the Hannibal area are told in Terrell Dempsey’s book “Searching for Jim: The Untold Story of Slavery in Sam Clemens’s World.”  

Dempsey writes:

“Like land, slaves were a valuable asset — traded, inherited, rented, bought and sold. ...   An important source of city and state income amounting to more than 20 percent of Marion County revenue.”

Slaves worked as household help and field hands, skilled tradesman, railroad builders, nursemaids,   miners and riverboat laborers and much more, contributing to Hannibal’s fiscal success and growth. The life of the slave was brutal, replete with laws that regulated the slave’s life from cradle to grave. 

This year's Juneteenth

Hannibal’s first Juneteenth Celebration was June 1997. Marsha Mayfield, co-founder of Parents and Youth Reaching For Educational Excellence and Cultural Togetherness, aka PYRFEECT, was its most ardent sponsor. The group sponsored years of family-oriented events, celebrating with parades, picnics, marches, plays, dances, workshops and educational opportunities. Mayfield says that “the festival has always served as a venue to educate and bring a multicultural purpose and feel to the community. This year will mark 20 years of observance. While PYRFEECT has been dissolved, its mission educating/uplifting/serving youth continues.

This year’s celebration will start at B&B Theatre, which will be screening “The Children’s March,” a story of how children can make a difference leading positive social change. The film will begin at 3 p.m. for children in grades four through 12. It is sponsored by Kids in Motion; for ticket information, contact Amy Vaughn at Douglass Community Services, 573-221-3892.

From 4 to 5 p.m., all are invited to a community scavenger hunt sponsored by Jim’s Journey; prizes will be awarded for first, second and third places.

The event will conclude at Jim’s Journey, 509 N. Third St., with museum tours, a soul food cooking demonstration and a cookout.

Coming together to bring to the community the Juneteenth event, free and open to the public, are B&B Theatres; Branson L. Wood, Attorney at Law; Continental Cement; Douglass School Reunion Committee; Douglass Community Services; and Jim’s Journey. 

— By Faye Dant

By Kelly Wilson 31 May, 2017

Sometimes passion surprises even the creator. 

One day, this month’s Alliance Art Gallery guest artist Minetta Heidbrink found herself literally stunned into photography when she visited the Valley of Fire in Nevada. Yes, of course, like every other American, she had pointed-and-shot hundreds of pictures: family, vacations, flowers. But now, the camera became a source of creativity. On that day, the brilliant orange glowing stones, the dusky sage, the brilliant blue sky with clouds texturing her newfound world, she began to click, and click, and click. Soon she hungered for wilderness.

“That got me to travel,” she said. Canada. North America. Mountain climbing. Though she had traveled to China, Japan and other places, those were pre-passion moments.

Minetta moved up from point-and-shoot to today’s Nikon D800 with its full-frame features, and a Luminex for its lightweight portability. Photography, for her, has become a form of fine art. In today’s world, with a camera embedded in every phone, and people snapping scenes at fast-food speed, she relishes digitally enhancing her images.

“People do not want straight-up photography. They say to themselves, ‘I can take that picture,’ ” she said. 

Minetta pushes herself to find the deeper expression of the image, connecting the emotional impact she experienced when photographing the image to her enhancement techniques. In some strange way, the photograph becomes so much more than a recorded image; it becomes an expression of beauty or nostalgia or quietness.

Recently she began harvesting gray slate shingles from old New Orleans homes, adhering her images to them. To see pink lupines from a mountain meadow against the slate draws the viewer right into being on a granite-topped mountain. The effect of photography and stone does not stop in the wilderness. Old New Orleans homes and scenes from downtown Hannibal couple with the slate to take you back in time, to quietly be in and with the image she has so beautifully captured. 

By Kelly Wilson 31 May, 2017

When Quincy attorney Talmadge “Tad” Brenner began his day on June 11, 2016, he didn’t realize his life would flash in front of his eyes in a matter of hours.

Brenner was enjoying a Sunday afternoon motorcycle ride on his 1952 Vincent.

“The coolest bike made in the ’50’s,” Brenner said.

He was finishing his ride, getting ready to pull into his driveway when he was rear-ended by a semitrailer. Within minutes an ambulance arrived. He had many traumatic injuries — so severe he was transported by helicopter to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Both shoulders were broken, and he had sustained a crushed pelvis, nine broken ribs, broken heel, bleeding kidney and spleen, four broken vertebrae and a collapsed lung.   Rehabilitation would be essential in order for him to fully recover.  

His stay at Barnes lasted 12 days.

“I remember thinking, ‘Where do I go from here? I know I need rehabilitation.’ ”

While at Barnes, he was visited twice by a representative of Hannibal Regional Inpatient Rehab services.

“They offered to take care of me, and they wanted to take care of me,” Brenner explained. He knew he would need physical therapy and rehab for his severe pelvic injury.  

The Inpatient Rehabilitation staff at Hannibal Regional provides innovative treatment approaches to assist patients in returning to a normal lifestyle. The comprehensive team provides individualized and goal-oriented treatment programs specifically for older adults. The patient is treated physically, emotionally and socially. The goal is to return patients to their optimum level of function and open the door to better quality of life.  

Brenner made his decision to receive care at Hannibal Regional.

“I felt very comfortable making my commitment to use the Hannibal Regional Inpatient Rehab facility.   On several different occasions I had heard through word of mouth what a great facility it was, and that is what influenced me to make the right choice. I knew this would be a critical phase to my recovery, and I was confident in what I was about to embark on,” Brenner said.

An ambulance transported him from St. Louis to Hannibal.

“I felt very welcomed from the beginning. Everyone who I came in contact with knew me and my case very well,” he said.

Brenner received several hours of physical and occupational therapy daily. During his 10 days as a patient at Hannibal Regional, he practiced walking up and down stairs, learned to use a walker, worked on flexibility and endured strengthening exercises.  

“The physicians, nurses and therapists I worked with daily were skilled, personable and compassionate. The patient-to-staff ratio was extremely good. This was a critical phase in my recovery, and they went out of their way in every aspect. The quality of care was astronomical,” Brenner said.

“I now take a spin class and do Pilates. Recovery is a real process. The staff were always working for me and with me. I can’t imagine better anywhere else than at the Hannibal Regional Inpatient Rehab,” he added.

Hannibal Regional serves residents of the Tri-State area from more than 10 locations and includes Hannibal Regional Hospital, Hannibal Regional Medical Group and Hannibal Regional Foundation. Hannibal Regional Hospital is a 99-bed, acute care hospital providing comprehensive health and wellness services. Hannibal Regional is recognized as one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Coronary Intervention care and was also honored with the Healthgrades 2017 Joint Replacement Excellence Award, placing Hannibal Regional among the top 10 percent in the nation for joint replacement procedures. Hannibal Regional is the only hospital in Missouri to receive both achievements two years in a row, 2016 and 2017. In addition, Hannibal Regional is recognized by Healthgrades with a 2016 Outstanding Patient Experience Award, putting it in the top 15 percent in the nation for this category. Hannibal Regional Medical Group is a growing multispecialty physician group delivering primary, specialty and express care services at multiple locations in Northeast Missouri. For more information on Hannibal Regional Healthcare System, visit hannibalregional.org. 

By Kelly Wilson 31 May, 2017

Hannibal Regional is pleased to announce that Complete Family Medicine soon will become part of Hannibal Regional Healthcare System.

In eight short years, Complete Family Medicine has expanded to five locations spanning more than 80 miles along U.S. 63 and has nearly 100 employees.

“The landscape of health care has changed dramatically over the past eight years, and with those changes have come many obstacles. As we looked at organizations, we knew we wanted to find one that would allow us to better serve our patients, enhance our resources, allow freedom to think outside the box and bring Complete Family Medicine value and longevity. Once we met with and saw their mission and vision in action, we knew that Hannibal Regional was the right choice,” said Dr. Justin Puckett, medical director at Complete Family Medicine.

As a service of Hannibal Regional, Complete Family Medicine will continue to deliver the excellent standard of care the community relies on, provided by the same great team of physicians and staff.

“Hannibal Regional is honored to have the opportunity to help serve the patients of Complete Family Medicine,” said Todd Ahrens, president and CEO of Hannibal Regional Healthcare System.

“The physicians and staff at Complete Family Medicine exemplify our R.I.S.E. values of respect, integrity, service and excellence. It’s our vision to be the trusted guide to better health – every patient, every time. Together, we will be guiding even more patients to better,” Ahrens said.

Hannibal Regional Healthcare System serves residents of the Tri-State area from more than 10 locations and includes Hannibal Regional Hospital, Hannibal Regional Medical Group and Hannibal Regional Foundation. Recognized by Healthgrades with a 2016 Outstanding Patient Experience Award, Hannibal Regional is in the top 15 percent in the nation for this category. In addition, Hannibal Regional has also received the 2017 Coronary Intervention Excellence Award, placing it in the top 5 percent in the nation for coronary interventional procedures, and a 2017 Joint Replacement Excellence Award from Healthgrades, which places it among the top 10 percent in the nation for joint replacement procedures.   Hannibal Regional Medical Group is a growing multispecialty physician group delivering primary, specialty and express care services at multiple locations in Northeast Missouri. For more information on Hannibal Regional Healthcare System, visit hannibalregional.org.  

Complete Family Medicine is a physician-led medical clinic with six on-staff providers who deliver family medicine, internal medicine, osteopathic manipulation and urgent care services. With locations in Kirksville, Lancaster, La Plata, Moberly and Macon, Mo., Complete Family Medicine is focused on the long-term health needs of the region and making health care convenient in our communities. For more information on Complete Family Medicine, visitcfmcares.com. 

By Kelly Wilson 31 May, 2017

The results of the Sodalis Nature Preserve bat census reveal both good and bad news.

There are nearly 44,000 more of the federally endangered Indiana bats living at the preserve since the last census count in 2015, the February census showed, but white nose syndrome, the likely culprit, has dramatically reduced the other species of bats in the same two-year period.

The numbers of the gray bat, also federally endangered, dropped from 570 to 31, and the threatened northern long-eared bat went from having 83 living at the preserve to none. Three other species saw drops of 50 percent or more in numbers, as well as bats that were unidentified as belonging to a particular group.

“We have known since the previous census that white nose syndrome was at the preserve,” Missouri Bat Census Director Kirsten Alvey-Mudd said.

The disease, first documented about 2007, is a fungus found on the muzzles and wings of hibernating bats, U.S. Geological Survey research shows. It has a 90 percent to 100 percent mortality rate on affected bats.

“The northern long-eared bat has been hardest hit by white nose syndrome,” Alvey-Mudd said. “It’s sad. We’ve only seen seven northern long-eared bats in the entire state this year.”

As for the gray bat, Alvey-Mudd is not as concerned about its population numbers.

“We’ve had a mild winter, and warm weather causes them to emerge from hibernation to seek out a colder environment,” she said. “This could be the reason for the fluctuation in numbers. Across the state, their population numbers are stable.”

Hannibal has one-third of the world’s population of Indiana bats, and to see the endangered species increase in size is encouraging to Alvey-Mudd.

“We’re happy in regard to that. Gating that area has made it much more conducive for them to return and raise their young,” she said.

In February, about 40 people took part in the survey. They counted hibernating bats in the former limestone mines for about four hours. Conservation officials take a census of bats every two years. 

— By Ashley Szatala

By Kelly Wilson 31 May, 2017

Summer is a time for fun and relaxation for most, but can be a painful time for others. Doctors have seen sharp increases, sometimes a rise of as much as 30 percent, in patients who develop kidney stones during the warm summer months. 

The most common reason kidney stones develop is dehydration. 

“As the temperature rises we sweat more, and without proper hydration, the body’s fluids become more concentrated with dietary minerals, such as calcium,” said Dr. Steven Cockrell, urologist with Hannibal Regional Medical Group. “This increases the risk that the minerals will concentrate into stones.”

It also is important to know that even forming a stone just once increases your risk by 50 percent of forming additional kidney stones.

“The easiest way, particularly in the summer, to prevent kidney stones, is to drink plenty of fluids,” Cockrell said. “An easy way to determine if you are drinking enough fluid is to pay attention to how often you are using the restroom. If you aren’t using the restroom every couple of hours, you aren’t drinking enough.”

If you experience any symptoms of kidney stones — extreme, sharp pain in the back or side that will not go away, blood in the urine, nausea and vomiting, cloudy or odorous urine, frequent urination, a burning feeling when you urinate, fever and chills — you need to see a doctor. To diagnose kidney stones, a doctor will do a physical exam and may perform additional tests — intravenous pyelogram, CT scan, urinalysis, blood test and/or a renal ultrasound. Forms of treatment for kidney stones include shock waves, ureteroscopy or watchful waiting for spontaneous kidney stone passage. To schedule an appointment with Cockrell call 573-629-3500.

As part of the Hannibal Regional Healthcare System, the Hannibal Regional Medical Group is a growing multi-specialty physician group continuing to expand primary and specialty care services to meet the health needs of Northeast Missouri residents. Hannibal Regional Medical Group has locations in Bowling Green, Canton, Hannibal, Louisiana, Monroe City and Shelbina, as well as an Express Care clinic and a Vision Institute in Hannibal. 

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