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New Emergency Water Valve Pays Off After Water Main Break

By Mark Evans

Ste. Genevieve Herald

Less than a month after an emergency valve was installed  at Highway 32 and Progress Parkway to connect city and county water sources, the valve was put to use.

A water main break August 16 on Progress Parkway led to the need to use the new emergency valve. Designed to let county water users in that part of town switch city water during a water issue, or vice versa, it worked perfectly.

“In less than a month it’s already paid off,” Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson said at last Thursday’s County Commission meeting.

The county was awarded a $65,528 Delta Regional Authority grant to help pay for the valve, last fall.

The city’s water comes through Alliance Water Resources and most of the county’s from Public Water Supply District No. 1.

Nelson said the commissioners will soon be ready to sign final paperwork for the grant.


Susie Johnson read a short letter to the commissioners at the start of the meeting, expressing disappointment that they don’t wear face masks at the meetings. She stressed that she was expressing her opinion as a private citizen, not as a Ward 1 alderwoman.

“In the last few weeks, we have seen our Coronavirus numbers rising. One month ago, on July 20, we had 33 confirmed positive cases. As of yesterday, that number is at 84,” she said. “For months we have heard from our own County Health Department, as well as numerous state and federal agencies, that we should wear face coverings while in public places and when social distancing cannot be observed. St. Francois County’s health department announced this week that due to community spread, their hospital is nearing its maximum capacity.”

St. Francois County, while Ste. Genevieve County  had 79 cases a few days earlier, had 674 cases.

“I am not suggesting a mandate,” she said. “I am simply requesting that you encourage the simple acts of wearing a mask, practicing conscientious hygiene and observing social distancing, and that you do these things yourselves and lead by example, whether in this building or anywhere else in public. The citizens of, and visitors to, our county should see caring, compassionate leaders who have the health of this wonderful community in mind.”

Nelson replied that the commission “has supported the health department from Day One.”

“We had the authority to give them the authority to do things we don’t have the authority to do,” he said.  He added that he usually wears a mask in public, but that it remains an individual’s choice.


Bob Herbel, a resident of northern Ste. Genevieve County, brought an issue before the commissioners.

A Vietnam veteran and amputee, he has been unable to renew his personalized handicapped plates for his vehicle.

One issue has been that his mailing address is Festus and Jefferson County requires proof of a emissions inspection to renew plates.

He outlined his frustrating runaround with the Missouri Department of Revenue, which handles licenses and plates.

The county license office having been closed since arch has been especially hard on Herbel. He tried to take care of his business at the Festus office, but had to take a number and faced about a two and a half hour wait. Unable to stand that long, he had to leave.

By now, his tags have expired.

Nelson, associate county clerk Karen Stuppy, County Assessor Linda Wagner and Lori Meyer of her office and County Collector Claudia Stuppy all pitched in to help   straighten out the situation. It had included documents supposedly mailed by the DMV, but never received by Herbel. He had also been told he needed a letter from a doctor, stating that he was still disabled. He quipped that his lost leg wasn’t likely to grow back, making the doctor’s visit unnecessary.

Part of the  problem was  that Herbel’s latest vehicle,  bought in 2017, had not been registered one year.

Stuppy spoke to Sheri Payne of the DMV on the phone, who said Herbel’s tags and new plates would go out the next day’s mail.

Herbel, although displeased at having to pay some late fees and penalties expressed gratitude to all that had helped him, saying they “had been just outstanding.”

After he left, Randy Ruzicka, Republican candidate for Second  District commissioner, praised the commissioners and county staff.

“Kudos to you for that Herculean effort,” he said.