MRPC News Release

Nov. 12, 2009
For immediate release

For more information, contact:
Bonnie J. Prigge, (573) 265-2993 

Dixon’s Carol Carson Honored with MRPC Volunteer Award
MRPC celebrates 40 years of service

Carol Carson of Dixon was among the volunteers honored at the 40 th Annual Dinner celebration of the Meramec Regional Planning Commission, held Nov.9, 2009, at the Havener Center on the Missouri University of Science and Technology campus, Rolla. Each year, MRPC honors residents from Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties who have exhibited outstanding voluntarism and community service.

Carson serves as an elder and chairman of the board at the First Christian Church Disciples of Christ in Dixon and serves on the board of directors of the Dixon Area Caring Center. Carson serves as vice chair of the St. Robert Interstate Plaza Transportation Development District, serves on the Dixon Economic Growth Committee and serves as secretary of the Pulaski County Growth Alliance, of which she is a founding member. She is currently working with Dr. Karl Burgher’s MS&T engineering class as project manager for the city of Dixon, who was chosen as a project site for this semester’s class. She is a member of MRPC’s Community Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) advisory committee, the Meramec Regional Development Corporation (MRDC) board and the Pulaski County Enhanced Enterprise Zone. Carson has two children and six grandchildren.

“Carol Carson is dedicated to making Dixon and Pulaski County an even better place to life and that shows through her volunteer work,” said MRPC Vice President Russell Scheulen of Osage County, who assisted with the awards presentation.

MRPC also presents its highest honor, its annual Eugene E. Northern Award, to a volunteer who has demonstrated lifelong community service. Northern, a former Rolla mayor, was a Missouri Circuit judge that was dedicated to his community and went beyond the call of duty.

To his surprise, George Barnitz was honored with the Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s highest volunteer award.

“Even if you are not from Dent or Phelps County, many of you have probably heard of George Barnitz through his association with cattle farming, rural electric or 4-H. George Barnitz’s life epitomizes community service and volunteerism,” said MRPC Vice Chairman Russell Scheulen in making the announcement.

Barnitz is currently president of Dent County Livestock Education Association and serves on the Dent County Industrial Development Authority, Missouri Cattlemen Foundation, Dent County Beef Day committee, UMC Wurdock Farm Advisory Committee and has served as a 4-H leader and mentor for nearly 40 years, currently serving as a judge for 4-H Achievement Day.

In the past, Barnitz has served 10 years as president of the Intercounty Electric Cooperative Board member, was president of the Dent County Cattlemen’s Association, was a member of the Dent County Fair Board and Phelps County Fair Board, was president of the Dent Phelps R-III School Board and the Salem MFA Board of Directors, was a member of the Rolla Schools A+ Advisory Committee and was a member of ASCS and Dent County Soil and Water Board.

Barnitz was nominated for the award by Dent County Presiding Commissioner Darryl Skiles. The recipient of the award remains confidential until the announcement at the Annual Dinner

In addition to Carson and Barnitz, MRPC honored eight other area residents for volunteer services: including:

• Tim Allen of Caledonia, nominated by Caledonia Chairperson Robert Vinyard;

• Juanita Butler of Vichy, nominated by Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze;

• Terry Bruno and Byron Burke of Lenox, nominated by MRPC At-Large Commissioner Kraig Bone;

• Vicki Frazier of St. James, nominated by Laura Antolak, MRPC At-Large Commissioner for Small Business;

• Terri Rowden of Leasburg, nominated by Mary Heywood, MRPC At-Large Commissioner for Unemployed;

• Darlene Weber of Irondale, nominated by Washington County Presiding Commissioner Robert Reed; and

• Taylor Allen, a youth from Freeburg, nominated by Osage County Presiding Commissioner Russell Scheulen.

The guest speaker for the evening was MRPC Executive Director Richard Cavender, who along with past chairpersons, recounted MRPC’s 40-year history. MRPC was officially designated by then Gov. Warren E. Hearnes on Jan. 23, 1969.

Three MRPC staff members were honored with years of service awards: Connie Willman, planning and development manager, was recognized for 15 years of service, and Ruth Whitaker, receptionist and senior secretary, and Richard Cavender, executive director, were each honored for 30 years of services.

Lesley Bennish, MRPC’s grant administrator, was honored as Employee of the Year for 2009, a selection made by MRPC staff.

Meramec Regional Development Corp., the loan board that works in partnership with MRPC, presented its Lender of the Year award, to Phelps County Bank. MRDC Chairman Tom Klebba presented the award to David Connell of Phelps County Bank.

Some 186 people attended the dinner, which was hosted by the city of Rolla and Phelps County. Sponsors for the event were the city of Rolla, Rolla Regional Economic Commission, Rolla Community Development Corporation, Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce, St. James Winery and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.

MRPC Chairman Laura Antolak served as master of ceremonies and was assisted by Vice Chairman Russell Scheulen of Osage County.

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


MRPC Board Chairman Laura Antolak, right,
presents the MRPC volunteer award to Carol Carson.


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