By Christy Porter, Managing Editor
Several new businesses opened their doors in Licking and the surrounding area throughout 2020, while they and current proprietors adjusted to the changes caused by the pandemic.
July kicked off with the Licking Independence Day festivities held on Thursday, July 2. The day included a cornhole tournament, raffles, vendors, food, a parade, entertainment and fireworks.
Neighbor helped neighbor with the traditional hay season, fundraisers and food giveaways as people adjusted to the changes wrought by the reaction to the pandemic.
Licking R-VIII began making provisions for the upcoming school year.
The second annual Christmas in July was held at the historic Licking Mill at the end of July.
Several churches continued with their plans to host Vacation Bible School for the kids throughout the summer.
Agricultural and livestock interests were prominently displayed at the Texas County Fair in August, although the carnival event was cancelled. A “Back the Blue” parade flowed throughout the county in support of law enforcement. The August 4 Primary Election was held with over 36 percent turnout in Texas County. Intercounty Electric Cooperative Association’s annual meeting was held with COVID-19 precautions, including mail-in ballots and drive-through voting, instead of the usual group gathering of membership with entertainment, food and vendors.
The first COVID-19 death was reported for Texas County on August 13.
After a delay due to COVID-19, the 2020 – 2021 school year started, with the option of in-class seating or at-home virtual learning for students.
The George O. White Nursery bloomed again with a large, happy sunflower patch.
A barrel-racing event was sponsored in Licking by the National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) with a total of 65 entries.
September opened with a kaleidoscope of butterflies, a sunflower patch on North Main and more new business.
Along with new staff at Licking R-VIII, the baseball, volleyball and cross country seasons began in full swing. Wildcat baseball won the Frisco League Tournament on Sept. 12.
The county saw a rapid increase in COVID-19 numbers and crime offenses continued.
Truck and Tractor Pulls to benefit the local FFA were held on a track on Shafer Road, newly developed by Roy and Shellie Ogden. Another event was held the middle of October.
Gov. Parson again activated the Missouri National Guard on Sept. 24 due to civil unrest.
The first weekend of October, the 57th Annual Rose Holland Trout Derby was held, as was G-Ma Pam’s 6th Annual Walk for Life, which moved to the Kissiar Sunflower Patch this year. The following week was the 70th Annual LHS Volleyball Classic, and the Wildcats fall baseball season ended with an 11 – 6 record.
Marcus Record and Kasey Richards competed and placed at the cross country Fatima Invitational, Richards won the Class 2 District 5 Race on Oct. 30; in November she took fifth at the Class 2 State Cross Country meet.
Light the Night festivities were held on Saturday, Oct. 30. It was the end of an era as the Licking Livestock Auction demolition began.
The General Election was held as planned on November 3 with a 69.83 percent turnout for Texas County. Licking had high turnout as well, with 1,865 voting at our local precinct.
Our veterans were honored at the Memorial for the Fallen on November 11 at 11 a.m. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a school assembly in their honor was not able to be held. The Licking R-VIII fourth grade classes wrote letters and local businesses saluted veterans with a Veterans Special Edition of The Licking News on Nov. 12.
The State of Missouri issued a Public Health Warning in response to an extreme outbreak of COVID-19, and the State of Emergency in Missouri was extended.
Food drives and charitable events continued in preparation for the coming holidays.
Christmas festivities were held the first Saturday of December. The event included the annual parade, themed a “2020 Kind of Christmas,” toy giveaway, vendors at the VFW, a fish fry at Sonshine & Rainbow Dayschool, and the Lighting of the Mill. The Christmas Edition of The Licking News contained greetings from area businesses which included Licking R-VIII second graders’ drawings, and letters to Santa from Licking R-VIII kindergartners, composed by second graders. The alignment of Jupiter and Saturn on Dec. 21, 2020, brought what is known as the Christmas Star. Edgar Springs held their Christmas festivities on Dec. 12.
Licking hired a new City Clerk, Rhonda Kirkwood, following the resignation of long-term clerk and administrator Renee Keaton. An interim city alderman, Erin McConnell, was appointed after Alderman Greg Green relocated outside the city limits.
We would like to express our appreciation to Licking and the surrounding communities for their support of each other and of The Licking News; this includes our subscribers, advertisers, our government officials and our many wonderful columnists.
As we close the challenging year of 2020, we extend our sincerest and best wishes for God’s blessings of health and happiness in the coming year of 2021!