Like No Other! A Look Back At 2020

By: 
Anita Campbell
County Reporter
 As the year 2020 draws to a close, we at the Enterprise flipped through the files of the big stories here in Benton County.   The top story of the year was COVID-19 as the deadly virus wreaked havoc on Benton County as well as the rest of the world.  According to the Benton County Health Department, 29 citizens lost their lives to COVID-19 during 2020.  As of December 28, 2020 there were 1360 people who tested COVID positive and 1217 who had been released.
In January 2020, Phillip Johnston, 67, of Climax Springs was killed after the driver of a pickup hit him Wednesday night, January 8. Troopers say Johnston got out of his vehicle to help Gerald Beck, 49 of Climax
Springs who was standing on Highway Z south of Coffman Bend Drive. A third man, Sean Johnston, 43, of Climax Springs also stopped to help out. The patrol says the pickup hit the three men at 9:48 p.m.
After two years as the Warsaw North School principal, Caleb Petet has accepted a position as Superintendent of the Climax Springs School district for the 2020-2021 school year.
Petet had been a principal for five years.
Also in January, Warsaw Area Chamber of Commerce President Jessica Kendall announced that Director Mac Vorce would be leaving the organization on February 1. Vorce had been at the helm of the Chamber since 2017 and had been widely credited with its revitalization.
In February, approximately 400 people visited the Chamber of Commerce sponsored Fishing and Hunting Expo held at the Warsaw Community Building this past weekend. There were 25 vendors who greeted visitors with information about all the great things about living at the lake. Vendors of all kinds of lake life products were on hand.
Marlin Hammond of Lincoln, representing the Kaysinger Conference, presented William Smart of Cole Camp with a plaque and an autographed basketball for 51 years of service at the Kaysinger basketball tournament on February 8 at State Fair Community College.
WHS seniors Aubrie McRoberts and Parker Love were crowned as the Courtwarming Queen and King between the varsity boys and girls games on February 7.  Juniors Zachary Sharp and Haven Collins were crowned as the Princess and Prince.
On Saturday, February 15 at approximately 4:30 PM, Nathanial L. Madson 24, of Warsaw, scaled the chain link fence and negotiated a five inch gap in the razor wire to gain his freedom. Madson’s partner Zakary J. Seaman 18, of Blairstown, MO, picked him up in a waiting vehicle and fled a short distance before being taken back into custody. Madson was being held on a cash bond for another county on forgery charges and a cash surety bond here in Benton County for evading resisting arrest. 
Warsaw High School FFA members hosted a good crowd at the Eighth Annual FFA Chili Supper/Workers’ Auction on February 29 in the Warsaw Community Building.   FFA Adviser Stan Adler was extremely happy with the turnout.
FFA collected $2,440 on the workers’ auction with FFA member Haven Collins bringing the highest bid at $290 for four hours of work.
According to the Friends of FFA the chili supper brought in $1,500 which included hog raffle ticket sales and chili supper dinner tickets.  
In March, The Cole Camp Board of Education selected the next superintendent of schools. During a meeting held on Thursday March 5, the board voted 7-0 to employ Mr. Steve Hubbard as superintendent, effective July 1, 2020. Mr. Hubbard was currently serving as superintendent for the Diamond School District.
Seniors Kiersten Grobe and Aidan Comer were crowned Queen and King of the Ozark Echoes Ball on March 7 in the John Boise Middle School gym.  Juniors Gabrielle Porter and Grady Miller were crowned Princess and Prince.
On March 13, President Donald Trump declared a national coronavirus emergency. Missouri Governor Mike Parson declared a state of emergency on the same day in response to the spread of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). St. Louis Public Radio announced the first case of SARS-CoV-2 in Missouri on March 8, and as of press time nine cases had been confirmed in the state. At 10 AM on Tuesday, March 17, the Benton County Commission proclaimed the existence of a disaster emergency throughout the county.  The Commissioners met on March 16, with the mayors of Warsaw, Lincoln, and Cole Camp, school officials, the Benton County Health Department, Emergency Management.  The officials released a statement the same day stating that “As a result of the Governor of Missouri’s State of Emergency Declaration, the school districts of Warsaw, Lincoln,and Cole Camp will suspend session effective immediately…” Because of the CDC’s guidance, in regard to cancellations of gatherings in excess of 50 persons, all school activities are canceled, unless otherwise notified. Warsaw’s Mayor Eddie Simons has asked the public to limit travel, and announced that the Community Building is closed until further notice, but business will continue as usual. The basement door on the west side of the building will remain open for residents who need to conduct business in the basement office.“The upstairs of the Community Building is closed,” said Mayor Simons. “But City services will continue and City employees in the building and in the field are still working.” 
Also in March numerous other closings took place in the county. Nursing homes closed their doors to visitors, and J & D Pharmacy closed its lobby to customers, but still provided services at its drive-thru window. UMB and Hawthorn Banks closed their lobbies, but provide services through online banking, drive-thru windows, and still conduct person-to-person services by appointment. Hawthorn, still made loans, and offered ATM services, safety deposit boxes and more. The Benton County Food Pantry, reported that the Pantry was closed until further notice. The local Pantry received its food from a Food Bank in Columbia and that facility closed until further notice. 
City of Warsaw employees moved out of the Community Building early in March. Their new offices are within walking distance of the Community Building, in the old United Missouri Bank building, located at 201 E. Main Street. The Chamber of Commerce and Warsaw Police Department will remain in the Community Building and the city will continue to rent it out, opening it up for more public usage.
On March 25, 2020, Farmers Bank of Lincoln and Lincoln Bancshares Inc., Lincoln and Warsaw, announced the sale of Lincoln Bancshares Inc. to Community Bancorp, Inc. and Community National Bank & Trust, Chanute, Kansas. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2020.
After 38 years in banking, Senior Vice President of UMB of Warsaw Ann Porter retired on April 3.
Most of Ann’s family was involved in banking.  Her grandfather (Pete Lumpe) went to work in the People’s Bank in Lincoln during the Depression then was offered a position at the Community Bank in Warsaw when the Farmers and Trader’s Bank closed after the crash of 1929.      Ann’s father Ken Kammeyer (wife Betty Lumpe) and her uncle Jerry Lumpe also served as officers in the bank until the bank was sold to UMB in 1980.
Ann went to work at UMB in 1981.      Ann went to work for UMB as a teller then moved on to bookkeeping, new accounts, personal banker, compliance officer, controller then Senior Vice President and Branch Manager.
Stanbury Uniforms, Inc. of Warsaw employs about 40 local people. Although the company had been making uniforms for 100 years in the state, in April COVID-19 recently caused company leadership to add homemade style face masks to its productions to donate to the medical community and first responders.
Warsaw’s very own Cosmic Coffee was named as the Best Breakfast/Brunch restaurant in Missouri according to the April 2020 edition of Rural Missourian. The restaurant, owned and operated by Shannon Noland, has been a favorite dining spot since Noland started serving breakfast in 2013.
With all the closures created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Cosmic Coffee has managed to stay open by serving customers through the drive through facility.
Warsaw’s Aldermen agreed to close Drake Harbor and strongly encouraged citizens to stay home at their April 2 meeting.  Both actions were due to COVID-19 and were based on a desire to avoid crowds.
Following Governor Parson’s announcement of in person school closure for the remainder of the school year, the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) announced the cancellation of all remaining post-season events for the 2019-2020 school year.
Weeks before anyone was thinking about their spring gardens, Warsaw High School FFA members were planting and fertilizing seeds to produce a variety of plants for their annual plant sale.  They had no idea that March 13 would be the last day they worked in the greenhouse on the WHS campus.
Since March 13, FFA advisor Stan Adler has been taking care of his students’ projects to get them ready for the plant sale.    Adler has spent many days potting the plants and now they are ready to be purchased and planted in a garden.
Plants were sold on May 2.
Those who wished to buy plants had to remain in their cars and Adler brought the plants out to the cars.
At their May 4 meeting, the Warsaw City Board agreed to cancel the Jubilee Days event for 2020.  They will however, allow the Queen Contest to take place as in former years with the expectation that social distancing will be followed by contestants.  This was the first time Jubilee Days was cancelled.
Also in May Katy Trail Health Center started COVID testing on any individual who requested testing. 
Echo Michelle Lloyd, 47, of Edwards was reported missing on May 23.  Echo was last seen on Mother’s Day.  
The Warsaw School Board elections were postponed until June because of the COVID restrictions.  Board members Amie Breshears and Tracey Spry were re-elected while Leslie Grace was elected to serve her first term on the Board.  Board member Adam Arnett was elected by the R-IX Board to serve as President of the board.
On Monday, July 20, Walmart headquarters in Arkansas required customers entering any of its stores nationwide to wear some form of face covering.  Walmart’s Corporate Communications office explained that medical and non-medical masks, cloth masks, bandanas and the like were acceptable.
Approximately 275 people gathered in the Warsaw Community Building July 18 to attend the Tenth Annual Quarter Mania sponsored by the BSJ (Bourbon Street Jesters) Cancer Fighting Team.  “I have been raising money for cancer since 2005 and I am amazed at how the community and many others continue to support us,” said Sharon Guess, BSJ team member. 
From garage sales to crafts shows to the Quarter Mania event, the BSJ works all year to raise money to help in the search for a cure for those who suffer from cancer.  “Our help doesn’t just come from Benton County.  We receive donations of items and money from Benton and Pettis Counties as well as many generous donors in the Kansas City area.
Although Jubilee Days 2020 was canceled, the Jubilee Days Queen, Princess, Jr. Miss and Little Miss contests were held in the Warsaw Community Building on July 22 and 23.
On Wednesday, Morgan Branson, daughter of Michelle and Justin King and Wayne and Suzi Henry, was crowned as the 2020 Jubilee Days Queen.  Morgan also won Best Talent.  
First runner up was Jazzmyn Swisher who also won Top Interview, Most Photogenic, Best Sash and Miss Congeniality.  
Second runner up was Kaylee Lawson.  
Alexus Brown won Best Dress.
Alysia Yoder was crowned as the 2020 Jubilee Days Princess.  She also won Top Interview.
First Runner up was Breanna Burriss who also won Most Photogenic and Best Dress.
Second Runner up was Morgan Burriss who also won Top Talent.
Naomi Yoder won Miss Congeniality. Jovi Robertson was the Sash winner.  
On Thursday night, Amelia Roberts won the Jubilee Days Jr. Miss crown.  Roberts, the daughter of Dr. Amber Campbell and Gary Roberts, also won the Sash Award and the Top Interview Award.
First Runner-up was Cecilia Shinn.  Shinn also won Miss Congeniality and Top Talent.
Second runner up was Riley Nevius.  Nevius also won Most Photogenic.  Chloe Yoder won Best Dress.
Trinity Fajen was crowned as the Jubilee Days Little Miss.  Fajen also won Best Costume and Best Dress.
First Runner-Up was Lillianna Domer.  
Second Runner-Up was Jessica Domer.
Gracelyn Bradshaw won Little Miss Personality and Miss Photogenic.  
Grace Long won Top Interview and Hayley Hinkle won Best Sash.
“I appreciate the help from countless volunteers who worked to pull off our 2020 pageant,” said pageant chairperson Crystal Bates.
All four of the winners will ride in the 2021 Jubilee Days parade along with winners from 2021.  They will also represent Warsaw at various functions throughout the year.
After weeks of discussion and planning, the Warsaw Class of 2020 celebrated graduation on July 25 at 10 AM in the WHS gymnasium.
The top two graduates were the speakers at the 2020 graduation.
Valedictorian for the Class of 2020 was
JessicaDwyer, the daughter of Steve Dwyer and Lisa Dwyer.
Salutatorian of the Class of 2020 was Andrea Merritt, daughter of Doug Merritt and Elizabeth White.
The first death in Benton County due to COVID-19 was reported by the Benton County Health Department on July 28.
School began at the Warsaw R-IX and Lincoln R-II School Districts on Tuesday, August 25.
Cole CampR-I School District had a soft opening beginning with grades 9-12 on Monday, August 24; middle school on Tuesday; K-4 on Wednesday; and the remainder of students on Thursday. All schools are also abiding by guidelines given to them by the Benton County Health Department (BCDH).
Despite the Pandemic and a change in date, the Twenty-ninth Annual Benton County Rodeo sponsored by the Shawnee Masonic Lodge #653 went off without a hitch on September 4 and 5.  
Madi Glor of Cross Timbers was crowned the Benton County Rodeo Queen on Saturday night.  Savanna Winkler of Lincoln was crowned Princess and Daylen Winkler of Lincoln was crowned as the Little Miss of the Rodeo.  Both Winkler girls were also the scholarship winners of $200 each for selling the most rodeo tickets.
The Cole Camp Fair opened on September 10  with the Grand Parade of Floats.  All activities were held outside because of COVID.
Also in September Warsaw’s Johnny and Kelli Eierman were both recognized with the Diamond 9 Award at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame baseball and softball awards ceremony.  They were the first ever married couple to be presented the award.
The Benton County Sheriff Eric Knox and his wife Joy were involved in a motorcycle accident on the Mile Long Bridge just outside of Warsaw in October. Sheriff Knox and his wife were thrown off the motorcycle when the rear tire of their motorcycle began to shred.  They were transported to Columbia by helicopter.
On November 3, a record number of voters turned out for the United States Presidential election.  President Donald Trump was defeated by former Vice-President Joe Biden for the office of President.
On November 7 and 8, the Warsaw High School music and drama departments presented “The Addams Family Musical” on the WHS stage.
As December 2020 rolled around, former Warsaw Chamber of Commerce director Mac Vorce returned to his position.  
The Benton County Health Department received 975 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, December 17.  This was ordered in advance for Benton County Healthcare workers and long-term care residents and staff.  After the order had been placed the decision was made by the federal government that long-term care residents and staff would be vaccinated by Walgreens and CVS pharmacies.
Due to logistics and storage requirements Benton County Health Department would not have been able to use the vaccine in the allotted time frame required by Pfizer, so the vaccine was redistributed to Bothwell Regional Health Center that had the required  storage equipment.  Bothwell is vaccinating all the Benton County residents that fall under Phase 1a  (High-risk health workers and First Responders) of the Phased Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccines.
According to Benton County Health Department Director Linda Viebrock, the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer must be stored in a low grade freezer then when it is thawed it must be used within six hours.  Since Benton County does not have the correct freezer, the vaccine was sent to Bothwell Hospital in Sedalia to be stored.
A four-year-old girl died Sunday morning December 20 at a residence between Cole Camp and Lincoln.  Benton County Sgt. Chris Wilson responded to a call near Buckskin Lane around 12:40 AM Sunday.
“Investigators found a deceased 4-year-old girl up in her bedroom. She was beaten from head to toe,” said Benton County Sheriff Eric Knox.
According to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, James Mast, the 28-year-old father, told authorities his daughter “had been beaten, submerged in a pond, then left to freeze on the bank before being taken back into the residence.”
Two others were also beaten and severely injured, including Mary Mast, 28, the mother of the child who died and the child’s two-year-old brother. Both are being cared for in an area hospital.
Authorities arrested two in the investigation, including Ethan Mast, 35, and Kourtney Aumen, 21, of a neighboring residence. 
“It’s an ongoing investigation and there may be more charges pending for more people by the time we finish our investigation,” said Knox.
Ethan Mast and Kourtney Aumen have been charged with murder in the second degree, felony assault in the first degree and sexual abuse in the first degree.  They are presently being held in the Benton County Jail in Warsaw.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the incident.  Ethan Mast and Aumen will appear in court after the first of the year. 
As we approach 2021, we at the Enterprise wish you a Happy New Year and ask you to keep reading The Benton County Enterprise, your local news source.

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