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2014 Year in Review

Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2014 at 1:31 pm

document-89The Vandalia Leader’s top stories as they appeared during 2014.
January 1
Gene Ann Dixon is set for her retirement after 34 years of service with the City of Vandalia.
Audrain County has been chosen to receive more than $7,000 to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county.
January 8
The Audrain County Farm Bureau held its 17th Annual Legislative Banquet.
Cold temperatures hit the area, even reaching minus 11 degrees.
Major Jason Brezler, a former classmate of The Vandalia Leader’s General Manager/Editor Ron Schott, gets discharged from the Marine Corps as his story reaches national television channels like CNN.
January 15
Miss Missouri Shelby Ringdahl helps Van-Far celebrate Charter + Week with her visit.
Director Meredith Corrado enjoys working on Rural Surgeon Films Project with help from her dad Dr. Joseph Corrado.
Christina Schalk faces second degree murder chargers in death of a Perry woman.
January 22
Mexico’s April Davis had three children under the age of 8 removed from her home after the discovery of her dirty house that included human feces being all over her walls, floor, and crib.
Community R-VI crowned Madison Wieberg as queen and Nick Gastler as king during Homecoming.
A contract is amended between the City of Vandalia and Dayne’s Waste Disposal to allow curbside pickup of limbs.
The Second Christian Church holds an MLK Celebration event.
The City of Laddonia’s Board of Aldermen approve motion to purchase a 2004 Crown Victoria for a police cruiser to be used by a soon-to-be-hired officer.
FCCLA students collect 132 pairs of jeans to be distributed to homeless shelters with needy teens.
January 29
Audrain County Collector Kate Becker deems the satellite office in Vandalia as a success after it took in $484,872.75.
Community R-VI School Board to vote on a $1.25 million bond as it results in a no tax increase for patrons in the district.
Local musicians Joey Ringhausen and Dylan Stubblefield have gone viral with their now popular song “Small Town Livin’.”
February 5
Katie Calcaterra enjoys success of Mary Jane Lane suspenders.
February 12
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg calls John Berlin, whose wife is Vandalia native Lisa Largent, after online video plea requesting “A Look Back” movie to be made for their deceased son Jesse Berlin.
Vandalia native Andre Salmon enjoys time at Super Bowl with his pupil, Sylvester Williams, who plays with the Denver Broncos.
Vandalia Area Fair raises more than $11,500 with annual auction.
WERDCC names Lisa Carlisle the Employee of the Year.
Leah Wendel, longtime postmaster in Martinsburg, retires after 25 years with the United State Postal Service.
February 19
Van-Far holds “Paint It Pink” event.
Farber Police Officer Jason Maskey resigns as he moved from the area.
Community R-VI student Megan Schmeling wins first place award for “Emerging Talent” in Art Show at William Woods February 26
ACE Hardware is set to open business on March 10.
Teachers Gary Fowler and Taryn Dameron resign from district, effective June 30.
Eight Mexico residents arrested in drug bust.
Vandalia Recreation Corporation receives Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) grant.
Community R-VI Secondary Principal Dale Marshall resigns from district after four years.
March 5
Mike Wormsley, formerly of Vandalia, gets kidney from a teaching colleague from a Lawrence, Kansas Middle School.
Vandalia’s Driver’s License Office is set for a move to Main St.
March 12
ACE Hardware officially opens in Vandalia as President and CEO of Niemann Foods, Richard Niemann, is present for a “soft opening.”
March 19
Louisiana shooting results in arrests made in Vandalia.
Rev. Bob Balwanz retires after serving 33 years behind the pulpit.
March 26
Website is launched for Eastern Audrain Library/YMCA Project, which is
Donation levels are established for a new concession stand at Vandalia’s South School Park.
Van-Far Elementary students Aubrey Bunge, Brogan Wheeler, Caitlynne Flowers, and Labron Jackson gets a visit from Missouri’s first lady Georganne Nixon as their artwork was on display at the Capital in Jefferson City in the rotunda. Their teacher is Jenniffer Hanson.
April 2
Mayor Ramon Barnes is set to finish his term as Vandalia’s mayor after serving 22 years, as his name is not on the April ballot.
April 9
Vandalia elects Ralph Kuda, Jr. as its newest mayor.
Laddonia Rural Fire voters approve a tax levy while patrons in Community R-VI School District pass no-tax increase bond issue.
Vandalia native Justin Swank wins Best Biscuit Bakers Contest held by Hardee’s.
April 16
City of Farber to hold special election after write-in candidate has same number of votes as incumbent.
Community R-VI investigates alleged teacher/student abuse.
License Office officially opens at new location in Vandalia.
Van-Far’s Bryan Mink takes third in Class 2, District 13 Scholar Bowl districts.
Community R-VI students Mason Sims, Madison Wieberg, Kaleb Harris, Julie Hale, and Lindsey Gastler take third in Regional Envirothon.
April 23
End of an Era for Vandalia as Mayor Ramon Barnes honored for years of service with special ceremony.
Van-Far R-I School District hires School Resource Officer.
Community R-VI parents share their concerns with the school board in regards to an alleged abuse scenario between a 5th grade teacher and student.
The Vandalia Leader wins three top ad design awards in the 2014 Missouri Ad Managers’ Association Best Ad Contest.
Van-Far P.E. teacher Kelly Orf eats a worm and was duck taped to a wall after students raised more than $2,700 through the 1st Annual Fitness For Heart event.
April 30
Andrew Thompson was found guilty of sex crimes in Audrain County.
Audrain County R-VI FFA and Van-Far FFA students wins several awards at state convention. The Audrain County R-VI FFA Meats Team of Julie Hale, Courtney Bertels, Mason Sims, and Lindsey Gastler wins state contest.
Martinsburg holds annual Martinsburg Cruise Night.

Read the rest of the Year in Review for 2014 in the December 31 issue of The Vandalia Leader or purchase an electronic edition at