MRPC News Release

For immediate release
Nov. 7, 2016

For more information, contact
            Bonnie Prigge at (573) 265-2993

MRPC honors volunteers at the 2016 annual dinner,
awards ceremony

Hermann resident awarded Eugene E. Northern award

PHELPS COUNTY— Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) honored 12 volunteers at its 2016 Annual Dinner on Oct. 20 at the Belle-Bland Community Center in Belle. MRPC’s highest honor––the Eugene E. Northern award––was presented to Hermann resident Betty Hartbauer for her volunteer efforts in her community.

Each year, MRPC honors residents of the eight-county Meramec Region who volunteer their time, talents and support to their communities and charitable causes.

The MRPC External Relations committee selects award winners after being nominated by an MRPC board member. Gasconade County Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel nominated Hartbauer for the Eugene E. Northern award.

The Northern award is given to a volunteer who demonstrates lifelong community service. Northern, a former Rolla Mayor, was a Missouri circuit judge who was dedicated to his community and went beyond the call of duty.

Hartbauer is currently president of three different organizations that either preserve or perpetuate the city of Hermann’s German heritage, including the Historic Hermann, Inc., which is headquartered in the historic German school building and museum, Hermann Maifest Committee, where she coordinates annual festivals that include 30 vendors or more and the local Wall Dog chapter, where she coordinates professional artists, both local and from the entire Midwest, paint retro advertising murals. Hartbauer has demonstrated leadership and enhance tourism through her untiring efforts within the community.

Also honored were:

  • Carol Hofstetter of Bourbon, nominated by MRPC board member Mary Heywood;
  • M.O.B. (Making Owensville Better), nominated by Owensville Mayor John Kamler;
  • Barb Schaller of Belle, nominated by Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze and Belle Mayor Steve Vogt;
  • Mark McClane of Belle, nominated by Osage County Commissioner Dave Dudenhoeffer and Belle Mayor Steve Vogt;
  • Carma Labbee of Potosi, nominated by Debby Bust, MRPC board member;
  • Ronald Hoffman of Linn, nominated by Osage County Commission;
  • Pulaski Young Marines of Waynesville, nominated by Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman;
  • Betty Layman, nominated by Crocker Mayor James Morgan, and
  • Leo Dickey of Belgrade, nominated by Caledonia Chairman John M. Robinson, III.

   The youth volunteers honored this year were:

  • Evan Thierry, nominated by Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze and Belle Mayor Steve Vogt.
  • Josh Sirois of Salem, nominated by Dent County Presiding Commissioner Darrell Skiles.

MRPC staff service awards were also presented during the evening to MRPC Executive Director Bonnie Prigge for 25 years of service; Teresa Murdie, housing inspector/coordinator, for 35 years of service; Maria Bancroft, business loans specialist for 10 years of service.

Housing inspector Chuck Cantrell was also honored as MRPC 2016 Employee of the Year, a selection made by MRPC staff. He inspects rental units through the Phelps County Public Housing Agency (PHA) and provides work write-ups and inspection services for housing renovation projects. He also does lead and asbestos inspections and helps with the maintenance of the MPRC building and cars. Cantrell was nominated by his co-workers because of his willingness to help others and his ability to remember every detail and discuss his work. He willingly accepts additional duties and projects and volunteers to help where needed, and customers compliment on his professionalism.

Meramec Regional Development Corp., the loan board that works in partnership with MRPC, presented its Lender of the Year award to Maries County Bank. Brandon Licklider of the St. James branch accepted the award on behalf of the bank.

Some 179 people attended MRPC’s annual dinner. Several area cities, businesses and board members donated items for the silent auction, which was held during the reception. The reception was sponsored by Maries County Bank, Legends Bank and Mid America Bank, all of Belle.
MRPC Executive Director Prigge served as master of ceremonies and was assisted by Chairman Ray Schwartze, Maries County presiding commissioner. Vogt, Schwartze and Dudenhoeffer provided welcoming addresses. Vice Chairman Marvin Wright, presiding commissioner of Washington County, assisted with awards.

Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 24, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.

To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website atwww.meramecregion.orgor on Facebook at


MRPC award recipients include (front row, left) Carol Hofstetter of Bourbon, Betty Layman of Crocker, Barb Schaller of Belle, Betty Hartbauer of Hermann, and Carma Labbee of Potosi; (middle row) Mark McClane of Belle, Evan Thierry of Belle, Leander Corbette of Waynesville, representing Pulaski Young Marines of Waynesville, Taylor Ahring of Owensville with Make Owensville Better (M.O.B.), Bernie Sirois of Salem (accepting on behalf of his son, Josh Sirois), Megan Dunlap with M.O.B., Brandon Licklider with Maries County Bank (accepting the Lender of the Year Award), and Ronald Hoffman of Linn; and in back, M.O.B members Michael Lahmeyer, Brannon Bracato, Tyler Ahring and Ronny Young.


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