Candidates Were In Zoom Forum; Event Reached 1,520 People

From staff reports

Candidates for Ste. Genevieve Board of Aldermen and the Ste. Genevieve R-II School Board took part in a Zoom candidate forum on March 23.

The live-streamed event reached 1,520 people, with 267 post clicks and 30 “likes.”

Ward 1 candidates Susie Johnson, the incumbent, and challenger Amie Dobbs spent a little under a half hour before the four active school board candidates squared off at 6:30 p.m.

University of Missouri Extension engagement specialist Estrella Carmona and Herald editor Mark Evans were co-moderators. It was decided to stick with the virtual forum, like the two forums held in 2020, rather than going back to the traditional public forum format.

In both portions of the forum, candidates were allowed to make one- to two-minute opening and closing statements. In between the moderators asked questions, with each candidates getting two minutes to answer.

The first aldermanic question asked what they felt are the biggest challenges facing Ward 1.

The second question asked what they would do  with a $1 million grant for the city, if they could obtain one.

In the R-II portion of the forum, incumbent David Bova and challengers Jamie Naeger Ballew, Geri Diesel and Larry Pfaff followed a similar format.

The first question asked of the four was, “How can a school district continue to provide quality education when concerns arise over changes in the tax base?”

The second and final question tied in with national concerns over the direction of education. It began with the statement, “Across the country there are many differences of opinion on curriculum and school policies,” then asked, “What is the best way to address those differences amongst parents and district personnel?”

The video can be viewed on the “MU Extension on Ste. Genevieve County” Facebook page.

The election will be April 6.

no insurance company would be willing to state that the  vehicles are street-legal in a policy. The flag requirements fit  Missouri Department of Conservation regulations.

Early on the meeting agenda, St. Mary resident Mark Vogt was scheduled to speak to the board, giving his concerns about changes to the ordinance.

Vogt said he had spoken to Ste. Genevieve police chief Eric Bennett, Bloomsdale Mayor Paul Monia and a member of the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Department concerning their experience with and enforcement of UTV ordinances.

He noted that while turn signals are required on UTVs in Ste . Genevieve, it is “not strictly enforced.”

He  mentioned following a UTV on Highway 61 with no signal lights.

“He made the old traditional hand signal,” Vogt aid. “I knew he was making a right-hand turn. To ne, I don’t think it’s a big issue during day time to have turn signals. It’s a big expense on a UTV. If you get one with all the bells and whistles on it, you’re talking expensive machinery.”

Wyatt interrupted to tell Vogt that he would like to go through the proposed changes and let Vogt and others comment on it afterward. Wyatt added that they were merely taking an ordinance passed by a previous board and tweaking it a little.

“Three or four changes” were all they were making, he said.

“You don’t need a turn signal if you’re only driving in the daytime,” the mayor said. “Hand signals are still legal.”

He added that one thing that was changing required children age 8 and weighing 80 pounds or less has to be buckled in and wearing a helmet if a passenger on a UTV.

Wyatt said signal lights could be ignored if the proposed changes passed, since it would ban nighttime driving in the city, anyway.

Loudenback then suggested that Wyatt’s family was not following safe UTV practices.

“I want to say one thing right now,” Loudenback shouted. “That your grand kids riding that four-wheeler … they go across the street, not wearing a helmet or seat belt.”

He then left the meeting, saying he was “done with this,” and slamming the door.

Debate later took place over the hours of operation allowed for UTVs.

Alderwoman Jennifer Schwartz favored doing away with the daylight-only restriction.