2020 Year in Review January – June
By Christy Porter, Managing Editor
While many circumstances and our way of life changed dramatically in 2020, the goodness, the stability, and the solidity of our community remained unchanged.
We here at The Licking News appreciated community support and continued to report the good and the bad, and we remained supportive of our local small businesses.
Citizens of our area attempted whole-heartedly to carry on, keeping the “normal” as much as possible, while being preventative in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unfortunately crime was not restricted due to the pandemic. Assaults, domestic assaults, law enforcement assaults, rape, sex offenses, narcotic arrests, unlawful use of weapons, burglaries, stolen goods including vehicles, child fatalities, shooting deaths and murder continued to steal headlines.
The year kicked off January 1 with the annual First Day Hike, locally held at Montauk State Park. The LHS Lady ‘Cats ranked third in the state and Dr. Terry Robertson received an Outstanding Teacher Award. Local Centenarian Roy Cavaness was honored at a birthday gala in January, Mr. Cavaness passed away peacefully at home in May.
In February the Lady ‘Cats and the Wildcats won the Big Cat Classics, and the LHS Academic Team competed at the Sullivan Invitational. Licking R-VIII School District faced issues with their HVAC.
Texas County Museum opened their year in March with new administrators, Gary and Jackie Duncan, after the retirement of Ellen Reynolds. Stetson Stevens initiated proceedings to return a Missouri License Office to Licking, which eventually was not accepted by the state. The school board announced three vacancies to fill, and the Lady Wildcats headed to the Final Four, placing second in state.
Mid-March, the COVID-19 pandemic came to Missouri; Gov. Parson declared a State of Emergency on March 13 and numerous cancellations took place. Due to COVID-19, area schools closed, which eventually extended for the school year. Virtual learning and at-home schooling began. Tax day was extended to July 15 and April elections were postponed. Restrictions were put in place at TCMH facilities, and churches prepared for live streaming services.
By April school administrators were finding new ways to fulfill the needs of area students. The Texas County Health Department issued guidelines for protecting yourself and others from COVID-19.
Lady Wildcat Karlee Holland received All-State honors for Class 3 schools from the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association, along with other honors. Abagail Moncrief and Kylie Taylor were also honored, as well as Coach Steve Rissler.
April 6, 2020, a Statewide Stay at Home order went into effect to continue through April 24. Only necessary activities were to be pursued and only essential workers were exempt. On April 16, the “Stay Home Missouri” Order was extended through May 3.
The Senior Prom was cancelled and Licking R-VIII continued finding alternatives to the traditional seated school attendance and in-person activities.
Our local area became a “Be Bear Aware” zone with a bear sighting on Hwy. C in April.
In response to COVID-19, the first phase of the “Show Me Strong Recovery” plan began in May. People were receiving or expecting their Economic Impact Payment from the Internal Revenue Service.
A storm swept through the Licking area on Monday, May 4, leaving considerable damage.
Health care facilities, many in lockdown since early March, were improvising in continuing to provide for ALL aspects of care for their residents. Family, friends and The Route 63 Car Club honored both staff and residents of Hickory Manor with a car parade in May.
In June, we reported the first Texas County COVID-19 case, confirmed on May 28 as a result of a joint disease investigation and follow-up between the Howell County and Texas County Health Departments.
Governor Parson activated the Missouri National Guard as a result of a State of Emergency Executive Order due to civil unrest.
A beautiful prairie was in bloom at the George O. White Nursery.
Local elections proceeded, with COVID-19 guidelines in place. The election included school board members, who, with serving members, will face tough decisions on repairs needed at R-VIII, especially with the state’s budget restrictions.
The Class of 2020 persevered, graduated and was recognized in very unique ways due to the pandemic.
Food giveaways were conducted to help those in need due to economic loss and the stress of pandemic related challenges.
The Kingtown Cruise In was one of few local events that took place through the summer months.
To be continued….