MRPC News Release

For immediate release
Oct. 31, 2016

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

Gasconade County residents honored with
MRPC volunteer awards

Betty Hartbauer awarded MRPC’s highest honor

GASCONADE COUNTY—Hermann resident Betty Hartbauer was awarded Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s highest award, the Eugene E. Northern award, and the Owensville M.O.B. (Making Owensville Better) was among those honored for their volunteer efforts during MRPC’s 2016 Annual Dinner on Oct. 20 at the Belle-Bland Community Center in Belle. MRPC also honored 10 additional volunteers and service organizations for their contributions to communities during the event.

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, and Owensville Mayor John Kamler nominated the M.O.B.

MRPC’s highest honor––the Eugene E. Northern award––was presented to Hermann resident Betty Hartbauer. 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. This honor is kept a secret until announced at the annual dinner, so Hartbauer was not aware that she was receiving an award at the MRPC event.

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.

The M.O.B. has the sole goal of improving the Owensville community by getting the area’s youth involved and active by playing sports and doing charitable works. The group was created in the summer of 2014 and gathers weekly to play Ultimate Frisbee at the school Administration Building field and do a community service project.

Initially, the projects were much smaller and completely funded by a few people. As the M.O.B. has grown, they have held numerous fundraisers and received donations that have allowed them to take on larger scale projects. Projects include cleaning Luster and Winter Parks; repainting the basketball goals at the administration building; mulching trees in Memorial Park; working the ice cream stand at the fair; pulling weeds and planting bushes at OHS Dutchmen Field; painting pavilions and replacing basketball nets at Buschmann Park; restoring the racquetball courts at Winter Park; hosting the First Annual Ultimate M.O.B.  Frisbee tournament that included a food drive for Helping Hands Center and hosted a music festival.

Others honored at MRPC’s annual dinner include:

•  Carol Hofstetter of Bourbon, nominated by MRPC board member Mary Heywood;
•  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 Luge Hardman, Waynesville mayor;
•  Betty Layman, nominated by Crocker Mayor James Morgan, and
•  Leo Dickey of Belgrade, nominated by John M. Robinson, III, Caledonia mayor.

          The youth volunteers recognized 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 Chairman and Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze (left) presents MRPC’s highest award to Betty Hartbauer of Hermann (center) at the MRPC awards dinner on Oct. 20. Hermann Mayor Larry Miskel (right) nominated Betty for the award.

MRPC Chairman and Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze (left) presents members of Make Owensville Better (MOB) with an MRPC volunteer award during MRPC’s awards dinner on Oct. 20. Owensville Mayor John Kamler (right) nominated the group for the award.


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