MRPC News Release

Oct. 31, 2016

For immediate release:
Contact Bonnie Prigge, 573-265-2993


Osage County residents honored with MRPC volunteer awards

 OSAGE COUNTY—Osage County residents Ronald Hoffman of Linn and Mark McClane of Belle among those honored for their volunteer services during Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s (MRPC) 2016 Annual Dinner on Oct. 20 at the Belle-Bland Community Center in Belle. The organization 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. Hoffman was nominated by the Osage County Commission.

A retired senior master sergeant, Hoffman served in the United States Air Force for 32 years. From his military service to being the scoutmaster of a local Boy Scout troop, he is described as one of the hardest working and most dedicated people you will ever meet. Hoffman is relentless in his involvement with emergency response and preparedness in the Linn community.
He has been fire chief for the Linn Fire Protection District for over 12 years. When he is not wearing his chief’s hat, he serves as a full-time paramedic for Cole County EMS in Jefferson City. He also serves as the operations chief for the Osage County Emergency Operations Center, contributing greatly to its success. Hoffman also  inspires others to engage in volunteer service. As a volunteer, he has donated his time and talent to help the Linn Lions Club and Skills USA, engages in church organizations, provides outstanding behind-the-scenes support for the community and has outstanding leadership skills.

Maries and Osage counties share Osage Arts Community (OAC) Executive Director Mark McClane, as the city is split from east to west. Belle Mayor Steve Vogt and Osage County Presiding Commissioner Dave Dudenhoeffer nominated McClane for the MRPC honor.

Through the OAC and his own time, McClane coordinates activities, provides venues for artists and other events in the Belle area. OAC has recently acquired many dilapidated buildings and houses in the Belle area, and McClane is working with artists to physically renovate each one, including the Cultural Center. Others have been converted into housing for artists, art education classes or performance venues.

McClane is also a member and past president of the Maries County R-2 Foundation Committee. He has donated to the Community Scholarship Program, coordinated a group of volunteers focused on getting a school levy passed for a new elementary school, and spent countless hours meeting with civic groups and going door-to-door. Through the OAC, he has also helped with the city’s beautification through the tree planting project and flag project.

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.

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.

   Others honored include:

·      Carma Labbee of Potosi, nominated by Debby Bust, MRPC board member;
·      Carol Hofstetter of Bourbon, nominated by Mary Heywood, MRPC board member;
·      Owensville M.O.B. (Making Owensville Better), nominated by John Kamler, Owensville mayor;
·      Barb Schaller of Belle, nominated by Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze and Belle Mayor Steve Vogt;
·      Owensville M.O.B. (Making Owensville Better), nominated by John Kamler, Owensville mayor;
·      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 were:

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

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 at or on Facebook at


MRPC Chairman and Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze (left) honored Ronald Hoffman at MRPC’s annual dinner and awards ceremony. Hoffman is flanked by Osage County Commissioner Presiding Dave Dudenhoeffer (third from left) and Associate Commissioner Larry Kliethermes. The Osage County Commission nominated Ronald for the award.


MRPC Chairman and Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze (left) presented a volunteer award to Mark McClane of Belle (second), executive director of the Osage Arts Community. Belle Mayor Steve Vogt (third left) and Osage County Presiding Commissioner Dave Dudenhoeffer (right) nominated Mark for the award.


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