Eugene Field Elementary School will kick of its campaign to improve its school and community playground with a block party 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 8, at the school, 1405 Pearl.
The goal of the Playground Fundraising Project is to provide an area for students and the community to play and engage in physical activity. The project was initiated based on surveys of community members, parents, students and staff.
The celebration will include a variety of family activities, tasty treats, games and contests with prizes. Some of the games will be free and others will require a ticket costing 25 cents. Activities will include a bounce house, cupcake and cookie walk, face painting, a photo booth, raffles, sidewalk artistry and more.
Among the games will be jumbo jenga, ring toss and sponge-in-the-face — with teachers, staff and special guests volunteering to be splattered with a waterlogged sponge.
“As the African proverb states, ‘It take a village to raise a child,’ and we are reaching out to our village of community philanthropists, child advocates, educational supporters and friends to help the family of Eugene Field,” said Eugene Field teacher Annie Massie, a member of the Playground Fundraising Project committee. “We want to welcome anyone and everyone to come celebrate with us. We want you to gather with us and join our vision to make the school and neighborhood better for everybody.”
In the event of rain, the event will be 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 9.
- By ANNIE MASSIE
July hadn’t officially rolled into August before Missouri high school football teams hit the field.
With the season scheduled to begin the earliest it ever has — the first games kicked off Aug. 18 — teams were afforded the opportunity begin practicing at the end of the July. It might seem odd to start so early, but the preparations began months before the school year ended and hot summer days became the norm.
The work took place in the dead of winter, inside musty weight rooms and dingy coaches’ offices. That’s where the players committed themselves to becoming bigger, faster and stronger, and the coaches dissected every second of game film to unearth what went right, what went wrong and what had to change.
Preseason practice is all about implementing those changes.
Hannibal must alter its plan of attack. After three seasons with Shamar Griffith as the workhorse in the backfield, the Pirates are without a bona fide all-state-caliber running back. So they’ll employ a bevy of backs capable of collectively churning out the numbers Griffith did in becoming the program’s all-time leading rusher.
Should the Pirates find a way to make that possible, another state quarterfinal berth isn’t out of the question. They’ve won 22 games the last two years combined and relish another chance to solve the Kearney riddle.
Meanwhile, Monroe City and Palmyra have high aspirations of their own.
Monroe City reached the Class 1 state championship game last season, and although graduation took its toll, it is blessed with a stable of speed and plenty of experience. Last year’s deep playoff run might be the start of a decade of dominance the way the 1990s were, although Monroe City would prefer to change the ending.
Palmyra seeks a better ending, as well. Following back-to-back state semifinal appearances, Palmyra failed to get past the district semifinals last fall, losing to top-seeded Macon on the road. Being aggressive on the ground can change Palmyra’s fortune as a group led by Peyton Plunkett is determined to be able to run the ball against any defense.
Mark Twain has been able to do that the last two seasons, and controlling the clock and the tempo the Tigers are willing to give up. Expect more hard-nosed football in the Eastern Missouri Conference as Mark Twain tries to figure out how to translate regular-season success into a playoff run beyond the district tournament.
Changes are coming, and they’ve been in the works for a while. Soon we will start to see if the moves are worthwhile or the coaches have to revisit their gameplan. Either way, football season is here to entertain us.
That can’t ever start too early, can it?
— By Matt Schuckman
Despite all the graduation losses the Hannibal football team has suffered the last two seasons — two NCAA Division I signees are gone along with the program’s all-time leading rusher — no one around the program is looking at this season as a rebuilding year. Give him time and Pirates coach Mark St. Clair will build a winner, the kind capable of making a run at a third straight state quarterfinal berth.
Here’s what St. Clair has to say about this year’s team:
“The biggest thing for this group is that we have some depth. We feel by mid-year we can really hit it running hard because our depth will provide a lot of competition in practice, and that competition is going to make everybody better. We’ve never been able to platoon, but if we can stay healthy and get some kids to develop by mid-year, we might be close to platooning. That would be a good option to have.
“Right now, we have to see where everybody fits in. We have a running back by committee and several people vying for positions. So we have to create competition, evaluate film and put them in positions to stress them physically and mentally to figure out who can do what. We’ll get things figured out. It may take us a few weeks, but we’ll get them figured out.
“We have a lot of kids who played some last year, even some who started a few games and some who started all the games. We have a decent mixture. What we don’t have is that Shamar Griffith, that true star. What we have is that competition at each position that is going to make everybody better if they just take hold of the competition and what it gives us
“They have to show due respect to the process. I’ve always been big on the process. It’s not what we do Week 1, 2 or 3. If we go back to last year and look at Weeks 1, 2 and 3, we weren’t very good. At the end of the year, we were really good. I’ve always been big on the process, and we just have to get better at doing the little things right.
“A lot of what we do with the option game and our schematic stuff on defense, it takes a little while to gel and to get the timing and the execution the way you want to. We’re always in a hurry to get things in, but you have to be careful about getting your technique, your steps and everything else perfect. That’s especially true on defense.
“We graduated a lot on defense, especially at linebacker. We lost all four starters at linebacker and all four are very good football players. We have some work to do there. By midseason, we think we should be very good on defense. You never know until you get out there and see what kind of personalities you have and how they’re going to handle situations and how much film they’re going to watch and the techniques they’re going to work on.
“We feel good about where we’re at right now, but there are a lot of question marks. We will address those question marks and hopefully come up with some answers that make us successful.”
Aug. 18 at Helias
Aug. 25 Quincy Notre Dame
Sept. 1 at Boonville *
Sept. 8 Mexico *
Sept. 15 at Kirksville *
Sept. 22 Fulton *
Sept. 29 at Moberly *
Oct. 6 Marshall *
Oct. 13 at Columbia Battle
* — North Central Missouri Conference games
The Palmyra football team’s season ended prematurely — by its standards — last fall with an exit in the district semifinals after advancing to at least the state quarterfinals in the three previous seasons. That’s the motivation pushing the Panthers this season as they look to recapture a district championship and return to the state playoffs.
Here’s what Palmyra coach Kevin Miles had to say about this season’s team:
“You always want to win a conference title, of course, but I think a district title is more important because if you win that, your season gets to continue. You can lose the conference, but you can still get out of districts and be successful. I think that’s always one of our goals — to get a district championship.
“The good thing about playing Macon Week 1 is you know you’re going to get a quality opponent Week 1. It forces you to have to work harder to make sure you’re ready to go. With them ending our season last year, that adds a little more fuel to the fire for us to try and get ready.
“With Jacob Kroeger, he’s a different quarterback than we’ve had in the last few years. With Ben (Cheffey) and Brock (Malone), they were both good quarterbacks, and had their goods and bads, their strengths and weak points. Jacob is a different animal all together. He brings us a new excitement to the offense and a new style with what he wants to do. With him and Peyton Plunkett back there along with Braxton Long and Tucker Aeschliman, those four I think will bring some excitement to what we want to do offensively.
“Jacob brings a mentality. He’s a pitcher in baseball, so he’s used to having pressure on him. I think he’s what you call a gamer. He very seldom throws a good ball in practice, but in a game or game situation, he gets the ball where it needs to go. He’s not your stereotypical quarterback that just sits back in the pocket. He plays quarterback and gets things done. His leadership and his tenacity are going to be his strong suit.
“We’ve never been monsters up front, but I think we’ll be very multiple with what we do on offense. Our offense will average between 195 and 230 pounds. They’ll be a mean and tenacious group that will get after it. We want to utilize their speed to get out in space and be more successful.
“I just think for us it’s how we teach and coach defense. It’s a downhill mentality that we preach to our kids on a daily basis if they want to have success on defense.
“I think up front we’ll have Braden Erwin, Parker Lefoe, Jackson Powell, Michael Frankenbach and Brady Barnett as our linemen. They all got experience last year, but they’ll start for us this year. Tucker Aeschliman is another that will come in and play our running back and receiver along with Braxton Long. We have the Neal twins, Braxden and Brayden, that are pretty solid. I think we have a really good junior group and sprinkle in some sophomores.
“I think the strength will be the leadership in our senior group. It’s a small group; there’s only six or seven of them, but they’re a hard-working group, and they’re determined.”
Aug. 18 at Macon *
Aug. 25 Bowling Green
Sept. 1 at Highland *
Sept. 8 South Shelby *
Sept. 15 at Clark County *
Sept. 22 at Louisiana *
Sept. 29 Centralia *
Oct. 6 Brookfield *
Oct. 13 at Monroe City *
* — Clarence Cannon Conference games
The Mark Twain football team reached a district title game for the second straight season last year, but once again fell short. The Tigers are looking to make a third consecutive run to play for a title, but this year it will be done with a lot of new faces in key spots.
Here’s what Mark Twain coach Karl Asbury has to say about this season’s team:
“We do bring back an all-conference offensive lineman in Aidan Epperson. Our quarterback will be Lincoln Talbott. He’s been waiting in the wings the last few years. We have a couple people taking over the running back spot in Jace Barton and Logan Perrigo. It’s their time to shine, and they have to learn on the run. Offensively, we’ve run a lot of the same stuff, but now it’s more detail.
“Lincoln can throw a little better than the other two quarterbacks before him, and he also has a little different of a running style. He can run the ball a little bit and could be more of a dual threat for us. We’ll need to throw the ball a little more because we can’t rely 100 percent on runs and 0 percent passes. We need to open defenses up.
“The challenge is the learning part first. The sophomores we have had success on the eighth-grade team. The talent is there. It’s just the learning curve because you aren’t going against kids your own grade. Those are the things they’ll have to learn. The learning curve will have to be grasped faster. But if they don’t try to do things too fast, they’ll be all right.
“I don’t know if we have set a goal so far. It’s to play as best as they can. If they want to be successful, it’ll depend on how fast they grasp that learning curve. There isn’t going to be a lot of turbo clocks like we’ve had in years past. But there will be a lot of competitive games. That will be the thing — can they compete whether they are up one score or down one score?
“There will be a lot tighter ball games. That could definitely help us when the playoffs come. If they follow the script the coaches have put in front of them, that could be there. The talent is there. They just have to believe in themselves to get that accomplished.”
Aug. 18 at Milan
Aug. 25 Hallsville
Sept. 1 North Callaway *
Sept. 8 at Wright City *
Sept. 15 Bowling Green *
Sept. 22 at South Callaway *
Sept. 29 at Montgomery County *
Oct. 6 Van-Far *
Oct. 13 at Clopton-Elsberry *
* — Eastern Missouri Conference games
The Monroe City football team made a thrilling 2016 postseason run that saw the Panthers finish runner-up in Class 1. Now, the community and the area want to see what Monroe City can do for an encore. Monroe City returns a bunch of players who helped fuel the run to the state title game but know getting back there will be even harder this year.
Here’s what Monroe City coach David Kirby has to say about this season’s team:
“The thing for us this year is put the past in the past. Last year was a special time, but that time has passed. This team is obviously a different team, and they all have to prove to themselves, their coaches and the
“We want to focus on the now. That means getting better every day in practice and continue to improve in our techniques, on offense, on defense and as a special teams unit. That’s how we’re approaching this season.
“When we came in as a staff five years ago, we wanted to set a high expectation for the kids, and we’ve done that. We expect kids to practice fast, practice aggressive and be sharp in what they do. When we have all the kids onboard, we can be pretty successful. That’s been our focus. We haven’t dropped standards just because we had a bad year two years ago or because we had a good year last year.
“When we met with the 2018 seniors, we talked about as a group our favorite part of last year, what was your least favorite part and what does your chapter of the story say? All the kids looked at me and said we have to make sure we don’t talk about last year. It was cool, but it was in the past.
“The kids have put a lot of great effort in. They have a lot of experience on Friday nights, and, because of that, they’re excited. They’re excited to put their stamp on things.
“We want to be able to compete, to put ourselves in spots late in games. We were in every game last year, so we talked about finishing last year. If we can compete and finish games, there will be good things that happen.
“We know we won’t be able to sneak up on people. Two years ago, we started a bunch of underclassmen, but we competed in a lot of games and those kids got a lot of experience. We knew we were a good squad. Maybe other people didn’t, but we expected to go play. We have a lot of pieces back, but they understand they have to elevate their games because there are no easy games in this conference. There are great teams in this conference that compete each week. It’s arguably the best small-school conference in the state, and they’re ready to get after it.”
Aug. 18 at Clark County *
Aug. 25 Macon *
Sept. 1 South Shelby *
Sept. 8 at Louisiana *
Sept. 15 at Highland *
Sept. 22 Brookfield *
Sept. 29 Paris
Oct. 6 at Centralia *
Oct. 13 Palmyra *
* — Clarence Cannon Conference games
Hundreds of museums celebrate the American West — including more than a few east of the Mississippi River. But “True West” magazine says the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum is among the best.
The list of the 10-best American West museums is in the magazine’s September 2017 issue, on newsstands now.
“Mark Twain is one of the most important chroniclers of the development of the West,” says “True West” Executive Editor Bob Boze Bell. “The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum does a great job of showing his life and his work. It’s truly a great Western museum.”
Two-time Spur Award-winning writer Candy Moulton and the editors of “True West” selected the winners for this annual award based on travels, research and firsthand experiences in visiting dozens of Western museums each year.
Moulton cited the museum for its size and scope, including five buildings and two museums that display personal items from Twain’s life as well as a number of exhibits of his times and works.
Top 10 list
“True West” magazine’s list of Top 10 American West museums includes:
10. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum, Hannibal, Mo.
9. Cultural Heritage Center, Pierre, S.D.
8. Silver City Museum, Silver City, N.M.
7. Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park, Tombstone, Ariz.
6. Panhandle Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas
5. Old Cowtown, Wichita, Kansas
4. The Brinton Museum, Big Horn, Wyo.
3. Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, Scottsdale, Ariz.
2. The Witte Museum, San Antonio, Texas
1. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wyo.
The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for its 22nd Annual Champ Clark Heritage Festival on Saturday, Sept. 9, at the Bowling Green square.
The 10 a.m. parade has a theme of Reflections of the Past. The chamber selected the theme to emphasize the efforts of its Downtown Revitalization Committee, which is working to restore the square to its earlier vitality when many businesses were situated there.
The chamber hopes the theme will encourage people to display items or pictures of past events around the square.
Additionally, with Pike County preparing for its bicentennial celebration in 2018, tours of the Pike County Courthouse will take place during the festival.
The event also will include a car show and craft and food vendors, and the chamber again will sell pork loin sandwiches.
New to the festival this year will be a beer garden, where Michael Moore will entertain noon to 4 p.m. and people will be able to play pick-up games of cornhole and washers.
More information is available by visiting bgchamber.org.
Get ready for the Taste of Twain Wine, Food and Beer Festival, which will showcase Missouri and regional wineries; local, state and regional craft breweries; and Hannibal-area restaurants. In addition, there will be two stages of live music, and it all will be surrounded by the historic homes of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum.
The event will be 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, on the grounds of the home and museum at the corner of Hill and Main streets.
Participants may stroll among more than 30 booths of wine, food and beer at the Mark Twain Interpretive Center parking lot and gardens of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home.
Hannibal’s own Cave Hollow West Winery will be at the event with samples of its featured wines, as will be Stone Hill Winery, Missouri’s oldest winery, in Herman. Don Sebastiani and Sons of Sonoma County, Calif., and Spirit Knob Winery of Ursa, Ill., also will be on site. Lost Vineyards will be on hand with samples of its Tiki Sangria.
Hannibal’s Mark Twain Brewery will feature two new beers at the Taste of Twain.
Also participating will be O’Fallon Brewery from the St. Louis area with its new pumpkin brews; Odell Brewery of Fort Collins, Colo., with Oktoberfest-style beers; Urban Chestnut Brewing Company of St. Louis; Sierra Nevada Brewery of Chico, Calif., and Mills River, N.C.; and Bell’s Brewery of Kalamazoo, Mich.
Odell will introduce two new releases — Sunny Rain Golden Tart and Rupture Fresh Grind Ale. A range of beers will be available for sampling, including several pale ales, stouts, sours, porters, brown ales, cream ales and wheat beers.
Other breweries to be represented include Bur Oak Brewery of
Columbia, Mo., Friendship Brewing of Wentzville, Mo., Deschutes Brewery of Bend, Ore., and Lagunitas Brewing Co. of Petaluma, Calif., and Chicago.
Members of the Hannibal Area Homebrewers Association will be on hand to discuss home brewing methods, offer samples and discuss brewing processes for those who may be interested in making their own beer.
A number of Hannibal eateries will provide samples of some of their best dishes. Among those participating will be Mark Twain Dinette, Rustic Oak Grill & Pub, Mark Twain Brewing Company, Badger Cheese Haus, Huckleberry Bakery & Bistro, Ole Planter’s Restaurant, Rumor Has it Bar & Grill and Hannibal Country Club.
Bourbon and cigar lounge
Wood Hat Spirits of New Florence, Mo., will present samples of its award-winning bourbons. Noted as the first craft distillery in Montgomery County, it has the only wood-fired distillery still operating in the country. Cigar connoisseurs will enjoy a variety of cigars available for purchase in the cigar booth.
Taste of Twain will includes two stages of live music, featuring Frate and Mike Moore with a variety of original tunes and covers on the acoustic stage, and the sounds of jazz, rhythm and blues and favorites on the main stage on Hill Street near the Boyhood Gardens.
About the Taste of Twain
Taste of Twain is a fundraiser in support of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum properties. The festival is sponsored by Mark Twain Brewery, Golden Eagle Distributing and Lohr Wines & Spirits of Ladue, Mo. Each guest will receive a souvenir tasting glass, provided by Mark Twain Brewery, and enjoy unlimited tastings.
Wristbands for the event may be reserved, in advance by calling the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum at 573-221-9010, ext. 404. Bands are $25 in advance and will be available at the event for $35. Participants must be 21 years old or older to purchase a band.
Missouri Department of Conservation and the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department will hold a free Discover Nature in the Park event Friday and Saturday, Sept. 22 and Sept. 23.
Friday night, MDC will hold a campout for registered individuals to learn how to set up a campsite and build a campfire; they will have the option to take a night hike to Sodalis Nature Preserve, where they will learn about bats the area supports. On Saturday morning, they will learn to make breakfast over an open campfire.
The Saturday portion will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in and around the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center. Activities will include a National Archery in the Schools Program tournament, a variety of booths where people can attend “how-to” outdoor recreation demonstrations and learn about current conservation issues and opportunities.
Schools interested in participating in the NASP tournament may to call 573-248-2530 for additional information.
Saturday programs will include the following:
• NASP shoot: Watch middle- and high-school students in tournament competition.
• Big game official measuring station: Bring in your trophy game animals to be measured under Boone and Crockett, Pope and Young or Missouri Big Bucks. All North American big game species will be accepted with priority to those most likely eligible for record books.
• Urban wildlife conflicts: MDC Wildlife Damage Biologist Daryl Damron will present information about wildlife conflicts with deer, raccoons, opossum, bats, squirrels and other urban wildlife that commonly present problems to homeowners.
• Filleting stations: Learn how to fillet panfish, catfish, carp and other species and how to store and prepare those fish at home.
• Missouri Bat Census of Bats of Hannibal/Sodalis Refuge: Learn about the United States’ largest Indiana bat colony.
• Children’s crafts and games at Ringer Park: Included will be fish prints, wildlife tracks, backyard bass and casting practice.
• Turkey-calling demonstration: Hear experts perform turkey calls.
• Deer-calling/antler- rattling demonstration: Hear experts perform deer calls.
• Atlatl demonstration: Join Atlatl Madness for a demonstration of how to use this primitive weapon.
Booths the public may visit include:
• United States Army Corps of Engineers
• FKF Commercial Fisheries and Bait
• Missouri Bat Census
• Hannibal Parks and Recreation
• Atlatl Madness
• Missouri Department of Conservation Hunter Education Volunteers
• Missouri Department of Conservation Discover Nature Fishing
• National Wild Turkey Federation
Schools may register for the NASP tournament at nasptournaments.org. To register for Friday Camping in the Park or for a natural resource-related booth, please call 573-248-2530 by 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21.
Hannibal Free Clinic, in cooperation with Hannibal Visitors & Convention Bureau, will host the third annual Rib and Wing Festival noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, at the Mark Twain Cave Complex. Doors will open at 11 a.m.
More than 1,000 racks of ribs — more than double the amount served last year — and 300 pounds of wings will be prepared by 14 barbecue teams.
Performing will be TZer’s2 , noon to 2 p.m., and Steppin’ Back, 2 to 5 p.m. Beverages from Golden Eagle Distributing andRefreshment Services Pepsi will be available for purchase. New this year will be B’s Dream Cream trailer offering ice cream novelties, hand-dipped ice cream and sundaes. Hot dogs also will be available.
Cost for entry and sampling is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 through 12; children younger than 5 will be admitted free.
Tickets are available at the clinic, 160 Progress Road, Hannibal, or at the gate the day of the event.
More information is available at the clinic’s Facebook page or by calling 573-248-8307.
Festival sponsors include DOT Foods, Golden Eagle Distributing, 4 Points Land Surveying and Engineering, Webster Windows and Remodeling, Town Square Media, Swiss Colony, F & M Bank and Trust Company and WGEM. Other sponsors are Doyle Equipment Manufacturing, Rebel Pig, Alarms Systems Inc., Benson Financial Group and Bryan Bartz-Farm Bureau Insurance Agent.
Festival proceeds will support the mission of Hannibal Free Clinic, a volunteer-based clinic that provides basic medical care for uninsured adults between the ages of 18 and 64. All care is provided by volunteers or donated providers, and all support staff are volunteers. Since opening in 2007, Hannibal Free Clinic has provided care to over 1,900 individuals and over 18,000 visits. The clinic also has a medication assistance program that has helped secure over $11.5 million in donated medications from pharmaceutical companies.