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Heroes recognized for saving a life

Photos by Shari Harris
LPD Corporal Kenny Santee, above, and citizen Will Foster, below, each received a Meritorious Service Award from Licking Chief of Police Pat Burton which read, “In recognition of your courageous actions during an emergency situation and with great personal risk, you came to the aid of a fellow human being and successfully saved a human life.” Corporal Santee and Foster, along with a third person, climbed onto the roof and through the rubble of a burning house after it had exploded, to rescue a man who was trapped inside.

At the December 12 meeting of the Licking Board of Aldermen, Licking Chief of Police Pat Burton presented Meritorious Service Awards to two men, LPD Corporal Kenny Santee and citizen Will Foster, who risked their own lives in saving a man who was trapped inside the house that exploded on Myers Street. The December 1 explosion left the building in flames, and rescuers climbed onto the roof and through rubble to reach the man. A third person, who Chief Burton did not identify, was also involved in the rescue.

A fund has been established in the name of Ginger Family Benefit at Progressive Ozark Bank, for those who would like to contribute. The home and contents were a total loss.

In other business, Ms. Lindi Schmitt introduced herself as the new administrator at Hickory Manor. She reported their current census at 39, with another admission expected that evening.

A new ordinance, #658, imposing a sales tax at a rate of three percent on all tangible personal property retail sales of adult use marijuana sold within the City of Licking, was read and voted on at the December meeting and passed, with three “Aye” votes and one “Nay.”

Department Head Reports:

LPD – Chief Burton commented on the response to the explosion on Myers Street. Fire departments, the LPD, MSHP, the Sheriff’s Department, utilities and citizens all worked together to handle the emergency. Burton complimented Mike Wehling with doing a great job responding to the robbery at Casey’s General Store. A property owner has been cited in an effort to get them to clean up a property in town. The department accepted around $35,000.00 worth of equipment donated by the U.S. Attorney General’s Western District Office in Kansas City, which will be used in the new police department. The department will apply for a 2024 ARPA SLFRF First Responder’s Capital Improvements and Inoperable Communications Equipment Grant. It is a 50 percent match grant, which could potentially go toward the purchase of a building to house the police department, upgrades to it, and equipment. The Board agreed that a special meeting would be held, and they met on December 15, and passed an ordinance allowing the City to negotiate a contract to purchase real estate from Texas County Memorial Hospital. The City hopes to acquire the current TCMH Licking Clinic to house the police department.

LRFD – Chief Aaron Greathouse reported that the fire department is applying for the same kind of grant, with in-kind matching money. The money previously spent on the city’s fire truck would be matched with $30,000.00 to buy structural firefighting equipment for the department.

Utilities – Superintendent of Utilities Rodney Sullins reported his department fixed a water main break, likely resulting from the shock waves of the explosion. The department has been hauling sand and gravel.

City Hall – City Administrator/Clerk Rhonda Kirkwood reported that Integrity Engineering, which has the contract for the water project, has sold out to Bartlett West. Terris Cates will remain Senior Project Manager. The Osage Nation requested a KMZ of the shovel test locations, and a KMZ of project boundaries provided to the contractor prior to survey fieldwork for the water project. Archer Elgin has sent letters to six Native American tribes giving them maps of new plans for the sewer project.

The completed audit report was in the council’s packets for their review.

1 Comment

  1. Connie wilber on December 20, 2023 at 5:45 pm

    That was very brave thing they did going into that house. Corp. Santee is very deserving of this honor.
    He came a year ago Dec.23 to our home to tell us our son had passed away in Florida. He was so kind. I’m very proud of him and all of our police.

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