New London Park Days

  • By Kelly Wilson
  • 26 Apr, 2017

New London Park Days is the annual two-day fun-filled and family-friendly festival built on small-town pride. For more than 30 years people have come together at the Ralls County Courthouse square and surrounding streets for Park Days to enjoy food and music and other entertainment and more.

This year’s event will be June 2 and 3.

Entertaining at the event includes the following:

• 2 to 3 p.m. Friday, Cory Combs.

• 3 to 4 p.m. Friday, Frate.

• 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Part Time Gypsies.

• 9 p.m. to midnight Friday, Steppin’ Back.

• 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Riverside.

• 9 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Catfish Willie.

Among the weekend’s traditions are the Miss New London Pageant, a full-scale carnival, arts and craft vendors, a parade, a baby contest, a classic car cruise and the annual Mr. Lovely Legs competition.

More information and a schedule of events are available at


• Saturday, 8 a.m. 5K Run/Walk. The run begins at New London Elementary School and follows a course through the city’s streets, returning to the school. There are several age categories, and awards will be given to the top male and female finisher in each category. Preregistration is recommended.

• Saturday, 1 p.m. Cornhole tourament. The 64-team, double-elimination tourney, which will take place at Ruth Roy Wright Park on Fourth Street, a block west of the courthouse, will be played according to the rules of the American Cornhole Association. It is open to those 16 years old and older. The entry fee includes a souvenir can koozie. Registration forms are available at, at New London 66 in New London, by calling Mike or Laurie Means at 573-985-7891, or via email at      

• Saturday, 3 to 6 p.m. Food, Wine and Craft Beer Festival. Held on the courthouse lawn, the fest includes tastings from wineries, breweries and restaurants from throughout Missouri and Illinois.


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By Kelly Wilson 29 Jun, 2017

National Tom Sawyer Days originated in 1956 with the first Tom Sawyer fence-painting contest sponsored by the Hannibal Jaycees and the first Tom and Becky contest sponsored by the Hannibal Chamber of Commerce. The original event took place in May and was an outgrowth of a tour of 1,200 St. Louis children sponsored by KETC-TV, a St. Louis-based educational TV station.

The contests were planned to add color to the event. In 1959, the event was moved to July 4 when Independence Day was proclaimed “Tom Sawyer Days” through a joint proclamation of Hannibal Mayor Clyde Toalson, Missouri Gov. James T. Blair and Illinois Gov. William Stratton. Moving the event combined all of the Tom Sawyer activities with the Hannibal Jaycees’ annual fireworks display, creating one grand holiday.

In 1961, National Tom Sawyer Days was born through a joint congressional resolution sponsored by Missouri U.S. Sens. Stuart Symington and Edward Long and Missouri U.S. Rep. Clarence Cannon. The chartering resolution stated the celebration is dedicated to the recognition of that most lovable, yet unpredictable phenomenon of our American society, the small boy and his fascination for the big river as immortalized by Mark Twain. Here, amid the echoes of the Tom Sawyers and Huck Finns of Samuel Clemens’ day as the events of the past are re-enacted, people discover that the charm preserved by the author still lives in every boy or everyone who ever was a boy. 

The fence-painting contest is the core event of National Tom Sawyer Days and includes several days of events. All local contestants compete in the first event to advance to the national contest. A second event is held for contestants from all across Missouri who advance to compete in the national contest. The national event is the final event. The winner of the national event receives the governor’s trophy, which may be presented to his state’s governor and displayed in the state capitol for one year. The trophy is returned each year for the next contest. 

The national fence-painting contest is a three-part event with contestants receiving points for authenticity of costume, speed and painting quality. Contestants are encouraged to read “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” to attempt to capture a realistic look for their costume. These areas are judged by local dignitaries, distinguished guests and the previous year’s champion. 

By Kelly Wilson 29 Jun, 2017

The fifth annual Missouri vs. Illinois All-Star Baseball Game will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 22, at Clemens Field, 403 Warren Barrett Drive. If conditions are poor Saturday, the game will be moved to Sunday, July 23.

Admission at the gate will be $8, and ages 5 and younger will be admitted free. Gates will open at 6 p.m.

The game will feature the top 40 seniors representing 22 high schools from Hannibal, Quincy, Ill., and the surrounding areas.

The game is sponsored by Benson Financial Group of Hannibal and Shottenkirk Toyota and Refreshment Services Pepsi, both of Quincy. 

Team Missouri

Bowling Green Gaven Comley, Jorden Billings, Josh Gibson and Trey Nichols

Canton Cooper Hudnut and Josh Kermoade

Clark County Addison Sprague and Cory Shatley

Hannibal Chandler Moffitt and Scot Roberts

Highland Isaac Brown

Knox County Hays Klocke, Isaiah Prebe, Josh Hamlin and Kyle Strange

Mark Twain Bailey McMillen, Cory Kunkel and Loren Carlisle

Monroe City Austyn Nevels

Paris Collin Crook

Head coach: Jerry Jerome, Clark County

Team Illinois

Beardstown Mackiel Ruiz

Brown County Carter Lewis and Keaton Wort

Central Lane Marlow

Griggsville-Perry Ian Smith

Illini West Jonah Burt

Pittsfield Austin Ator and Korbyn Personett

Quincy Ben Schroeder, Derek Green and Drake Green

Quincy Notre Dame Johnny Ray

Southeastern Cole Eilers

Triopia Isaac Werries

Unity Brodie Dunker and Jarett Dunker

Western Aleck Hively and Austin Ward

West Hancock Caleb Adams and Will Fox

Head coach: Robin Lewis, Beardstown

By Kelly Wilson 29 Jun, 2017

In July 1867, in a small, three-room cottage on Denkler’s Alley in Hannibal, a child was born. John and Johanna Tobin welcomed their daughter, whom they named Margaret, into their growing household which included two older daughters, Katie and Mary Ann, and a son, Daniel. Katie, the oldest of the Tobin children, was thrilled with her new baby sister and immediately formed a close bond that would endure throughout their lifetimes.

Who could have known that this small, red-haired baby would one day live a life of wealth, adventure, political and philanthropic pursuits and heroism that the Tobin family could have never dreamed? Who would have thought the legendary life of Margaret Tobin, better known as the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown, would continue to be celebrated nearly a century after her death?

Although the exact date is not certain, scholars believe that Margaret’s birth date was July 18, 1867; this year marks the 150th anniversary of her birth. Margaret lived in the little cottage on Denkler’s Alley until the spring of 1886, when, as a plucky 18-year-old, she boarded a train at Hannibal’s Union Depot and made her way to the mountains of Colorado to live with her older brother, Daniel. Margaret dreamed of a life beyond the restraints she felt in Hannibal. Being poor, Irish and female, she faced virtually no opportunities to rise above her socioeconomic class. Margaret had big ideas, big dreams and a big personality, all of which required broader horizons than the one she was raised near along the shores of the Mississippi River.

To learn more about the amazing life of Margaret Tobin Brown, people should visit the Molly Brown Birthplace and Museum in Hannibal. The cottage on Denkler’s Alley demonstrates not only the conditions in which the Tobin family lived during America’s Reconstruction after the Civil War, but also houses exhibits detailing her life in Colorado, her marriage to James Joseph Brown, the circumstances surrounding his sudden wealth in the gold mines of the Rocky Mountains, and, of course, her heroism during the sinking of Titanic in 1912.

This summer, to commemorate Molly’s 150th Birthday, the Muny Opera in St. Louis will stage a production of “The ‘Unsinkable’ Molly Brown,” running July 21 to 27. Although this musical is a highly fictionalized version of the life of Margaret Tobin Brown, Lisa Marks said it would be her honor to join Margaret’s great-granddaughter, Helen Benziger, at the opening night performance. At the request of the staff of the Muny Opera, they have been invited to participate in events to share the remarkable true story of Margaret Tobin Brown’s life and legacy – which, of course, began in a small three-room cottage in Hannibal. 

— By Lisa Marks

By Kelly Wilson 29 Jun, 2017

Hannibal Regional Intensive Care Unit recently received a Top Performance Award from the Society of Critical Care Medicine’s ICU Liberation Campaign.  

The ICU Liberation ABCDEF Bundle Improvement Collaborative has teamed up with 77 U.S. ICUs committed to improving outcomes for patients and families by reliably implementing the A-F Bundle. Participating hospitals work with a team of leading national and regional experts to:

• Optimize pain control and reduce sedative exposure and time on mechanical ventilation.

• Increase length of time that patients are free of delirium and coma.

• Improve team approach to early mobilization.

• Engage families to participate in the care and healing of their loved ones.

• Validate compliance and improvement through use of an online data collection tool.

• Enhance teamwork through implementation of evidence-based care.

• Engage with many leading experts who have demonstrated improved patient outcomes through the ABCDEF bundle of care.

• Create partnerships with other institutions doing the same improvement work across the United States.

The ABCDEF elements are as follows:

A : Assess, prevent and manage pain.

B : Both SAT (spontaneous awakening trials) and SBT (spontaneous breathing trials).

C : Choice of analgesia and sedation.

D : Delirium — Assess, prevent and manage.

E : Early mobility and exercise.

F : Family engagement and empowerment.

Within the ABCDEF bundle, the “C” element — choice of analgesia and sedation — focuses on constructing a safe and effective medication regimen for the management of pain and agitation in critically ill adults, consistent with ICU pain, agitation and delirium recommendations.

Hannibal Regional was awarded the Top Team Performance Award for the “C” element.

Dr. Pranav Parikh, ICU medical director and administrative leader of the ICU Liberation group, said, “We are happy to have achieved excellence for the ‘C’ element, and continue to strive for excellence in the other five elements.”  Despite the conclusion of the collaborative, work will continue on all elements.

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 multi-specialty physician group delivering primary, specialty and express care services at multiple locations in northeast Missouri. For more information on Hannibal Regional Healthcare System, visit 

By Kelly Wilson 29 Jun, 2017

Hannibal Regional Hospital received Saving Sight’s 2016 Excellence in Eye Donation Award, honoring the hospital for achievements in providing the gift of sight to those needing a cornea transplant. Overall, the hospital achieved a 70 percent consent rate for eye donation in 2016. Staff at Hannibal Regional Hospital helped to facilitate 10 eye-donation cases, which resulted in 10 individuals receiving restored sight through a cornea transplant.

“We are proud to have achieved a 100 percent referral rate, and will continue to work diligently to honor the organ and tissue donation wishes of our patients. We value our partnership with Saving Sight. We are always humbled to learn of those whose sight has been restored because of this program,” said Patty Brawner, vice president of  nursing at Hannibal Regional.

“Children see to learn, parents watch their children grow and older adults maintain independent lifestyles thanks to the vision made possible through corneal transplants each year,” said Tony Bavuso, CEO of Saving Sight. “We are grateful to our partners at Hannibal Regional Hospital who believe in our mission to change lives by saving sight, and work with our courageous donors and donor families to make the precious gift of sight possible for countless individuals.”

With the help of hospital partners like Hannibal Regional Hospital, Saving Sight provided corneas for more than 2,900 corneal transplant recipients in 2016. Each year about 48,000 individuals in the United States require a cornea transplant to restore vision that has been lost due to disease, disorder or injury. For more information or to learn about becoming an eye, organ and tissue donor, please visit

Saving Sight is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to change lives by saving sight. Founded in Columbia, Mo., in 1960, the organization introduced eye donation and the gift of sight to Missouri. Today, Saving Sight operates community healthy vision programs that serve more than 100,000 people worldwide each year with offices located in Missouri and central Illinois. For more information, please visit

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 multi-specialty physician group delivering primary, specialty and express care services at multiple locations in northeast Missouri. For more information on Hannibal Regional Healthcare System, visit 

By Kelly Wilson 29 Jun, 2017

Ride Cool at the Ramp Park is returning Saturday, July 15.

The Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department and Hannibal Clinic Health Services will start providing helmets to the first 100 attendees at 10 a.m.

Entry to the park will be free throughout the day.

“We are looking forward to collaborating with the Ramp Park community to host a unique summer event that will celebrate their athleticism and skills,” said Mary Lynne Richards of Hannibal Parks and Recreation. “And the energy from the crowd really helps pump up the competitors.”

Blake Robertson, 18, of Hannibal, plans to compete.

“Ride Cool gives you something to work toward, something to compete in to see how much you’ve progressed,” said Robertson, who added he loves going to Ramp Park. “It’s a good way to burn off energy with your friends.”

Richards said, “It’s a fun spirit at the Ramp Park. They really look out for each other and are always encouraging each other.”

Registration for skateboard, scooter and bike competitions begins at noon, and competition starts at 1 p.m. Master of ceremonies will be Casey Otto of P9 Entertainment.

Prizes for the competition will be provided by Coolbyke Bicycle Shop and Pedal’rs Bicycle Shop. 

Spectators are welcome to watch from shaded bleachers behind Ramp Park. Tom and Becky will be on hand to help hand out helmets and award prizes.

The Ramp Park concession stand will be open, along with the Pepsi Wagon. 

By Kelly Wilson 29 Jun, 2017

The final two productions of the season at Bluff City Theater present different perspectives on family yet arrive at a similar conclusion — family has a way of pulling people back no matter what.

Perhaps it is because both plays are considered autobiographical depictions of the authors’ lives. Separated by half a century and an entire continent, two authors — one male, one female — sought to bring meaning to the bond defined by who we are and from where we came.

“Emily: The Musical” is based on the series of novels by Canadian writer Lucy Maud Montgomery. Emily longs to escape her island home and become a great writer. As she is buffeted by fate and failure, she realizes her home and family are the bedrock upon which her dreams are built. It is only when she writes about them that her writing shines. “Emily” is a warm, uplifting ode that aims to make us feel glad to be alive and to have people we love and who love us back.

In “The Glass Menagerie,” Tom, also a writer, yearns to escape his life of factory work, a dramatic mother and emotionally fragile sister. Tom escapes but is pulled back over and over again in his mind. The play is based on Tennessee Williams’ life. His bittersweet story is about people trapped by the same love and inability to be honest.

Bluff City Theater has assembled a creative team and cast to present these two stories.

Jennifer Stewart (“The Heiress,” “Best of Enemies”) returns to direct “Emily: The Musical.” Stewart, an accomplished musical theater performer, has come full circle as she appeared in the original Canadian production of this adaptation in 2002 as Ilse Burnley. Supported by Musical Director Colin Healy (“C’est la Vie”) and Choreographer David Jamieson (“Oliver!,” “Alice in Wonderland”), she will direct a cast of 16 performers, including members of the Bluff City Theater Young Company, drawn from local amateurs.

This is the American premiere of “Emily: The Musical.” Performances run June 29 to July 8.

Director Sydnie Grosberg Ronga, well known to New York and St. Louis theater-goers for her critically acclaimed work, will direct “The Glass Menagerie,” her first production with Bluff City Theater. She brings a fresh insight into Williams’ masterpiece with a decidedly younger cast than has been traditionally seen in professional theater. In Grosberg Ronga’s vision, Tom is in his mid-20s, Amanda her mid-40s and their dynamic is complex. Amanda, who sees the world through rose-colored glasses, cannot imagine why Tom chafes at being expected to stand in for his long-absent father.  

“The Glass Menagerie” opens in preview on July 20 and runs until July 29.

For tickets and information, visit, or call 573-719-3226. Tickets are $26 each, $15 for youth 14 and younger or buy a 4-ticket Flex Pass for just $95. More information about Bluff City Theater is available at 

By Kelly Wilson 29 Jun, 2017

Featured member artist Debra Myers brings a love of color and fluidity to a wide range of media: watercolor, print-making, acrylic, oil, pastel and encaustic. When looking at her portraits, landscapes and abstracts, it feels as though you are entering into a story — an open-ended invitation to join the scene being offered to you. Her work has a soft yet vivid quality. She moves so deftly from medium to medium because she teaches her students at Culver-Stockton College to do the same.

She never doubted her passion for art, even as a child. English assignments became illustrated adventures; math allowed boredom to be endured by artistic compromise. Her parents, who never had the opportunity to go to college, were aghast at her desire to choose such an ill-fated major as art. Even extended family, friends and neighbors saw little benefit for a first-generation college student to study art.

Adjusting to the practicalities of life, and her parents’ wishes, she garnered K-12 education credentials and still wanted to be a pure artist. One day during her mother’s vigorous spring cleaning, she brought the subject up.

“I want to get a master’s degree in art,” she said to her mother. This time her mother said, “You need to do what’s right for you.”

It became, perhaps, the most important blessing of her life, as her mother suddenly passed away the next day. And Debra, having her mother’s blessing, returned to college, got her MFA and ventured into a fulfilling life as an artist — and a teacher. She did not leave teaching behind. In fact, this year she won Culver-Stockton College’s Helsabeck Award for Teaching. Perhaps she was honored because she touches her students lives at every juncture whether it is in the studio, preparing for a Culver-Stockton gallery art exhibit, supporting an independent study or simply being there the way her teachers, and her mother, were once there for her.

An opening reception will be at Alliance Art Gallery 5 to 8 p.m. July 8. The reception coincides with the Hannibal Second Saturday Gallery Night. 

— Bella Erakko

By Kelly Wilson 29 Jun, 2017

When you think of the Fourth of July, you think of our nation’s birthday and everything that goes with it. It is a call of celebration.

This day is dedicated to our freedom gained at the blood of our forefathers to end Britian’s rule while obtaining our independence. We became a sovereign nation responsible for our own successes and failures. The Constitution was drawn and a Declaration of Independence was proclaimed. A rag-tag army of poorly trained, poorly fed and poorly equipped settlers, farmers, sailors, tradesmen and businessmen amassed forces and defeated the most powerful army of the time.

This country was founded on fortitude, blood, sweat and a human will to succeed. Thanks to their endeavors, our flags of freedom still wave 241 years later. Today we still stand tall as a nation. Thank you, patriots.

Patriotism is still alive and well. Many people have no idea what patriotism really is. It is often taken for granted, or it goes unnoticed. A veteran recognizes patriotism. The American veteran is the heartbeat of patriotism.  

Patriotism presents itself in various forms in this great nation. A Fourth of July parade honoring our independence and our veterans is patriotic. Patriotism is also the little child waving a tiny American flag at an event. It is people who volunteer to organize, fund and escort Honor Flights for our aging veterans. It is monuments erected to memorialize our warriors. It is the family that has an American flag in its yard or on the porch every day of the year commemorating the sacrifice of our warriors both alive and deceased. It is children child saying the Pledge of Allegiance with a hand over their hearts. It is the man who removes his hat with his hand on his heart when a flag is unfurled. It is a soldier’s salute to our flag. It is also the young men and women who enlist in our armed services to protect our homeland against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Patriotism is also the widow presented with a blanket placed atop her husband’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery, crying as her children hug the white cross headstone of their fallen warrior. Patriotism is also women like Mrs. Sullivan from Waterloo, Iowa, who lost five sons during the dark days of World War II in a matter of moments while they selflessly sacrificed their lives for our nation.

Patriotism is far more than a word. It is a tribute to all who have sacrificed so we may enjoy “life, liberty and the pursuit of   happiness.” We continue to this very day to see those dedicated to the success of this great nation while many others try to tear it down.

I am beyond thankful to be born an American. I am proud of my father who served in two wars, my brother-in-law who served in Vietnam and my son who served in the 27th Fighter Tactical Wing of Spec Ops. All veterans are heroes today and forever.

I just ask that this year that you enjoy festivities and celebrate with your friends and families. I just request that you to please take a moment to remember the real meaning of this holiday. Share the meaning with the young people in your lives as an act of rememberance. Many of your countrymen are buried on foreign soil, never to return home to their loved ones so you and your family may live in freedom’s glorious light.

God bless our veterans, our country, our freedoms, and Old Glory — long may she wave. Happy Fourth of July, Americans! 


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 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 


• 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

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