Tarkio Mayor Mark Staten gave an update on city happenings, as well as on Tarkio Renewal.
Community Hospital-Fairfax COO Ann Schlueter gave an update on the hospital and all the services it now provides.
ACDC Director Monica Bailey quizzed the luncheon attendees on all the ways ACDC provides support to local businesses.
The Atchison County Development Corporation (ACDC) held the first of its community luncheons of 2023 Wednesday, March 8, at the Tarkio Nutrition Center. ACDC’s mission is to initiate, stimulate, and facilitate opportunity in Atchison County through economic and community development. These luncheons are a way for ACDC to update the communities they work in about all that’s happening in the community and county as a whole.
ACDC Board President Lori Seymour welcomed all in attendance and led everyone in a prayer as attendees dined on a delicious meal provided by the center.
Mark Staten was the first guest speaker of the day. Mark is the mayor of Tarkio, has been a teacher for 29 years, spending 18 of those years in providing education to Tarkio’s youth, is in the Tarkio Renewal organization, helps his son, Quin, run Q & M Snowing & Mowing, and does a lot of community service in his “free” time. Mr. Staten spoke about Tarkio Renewal’s grants to help Tarkio citizens improve the outside of their homes and businesses. He also spoke about the amazing things the Tarkio Parks & Recreation Board is doing to improve the city’s sports facilities, as well as provide a number of fun-filled and entertaining events for people of all ages. Tarkio has a new city clerk, Danielle Madron, and Mayor Staten spoke very highly of her work ethic and attitude, and ability to get things done. He encouraged people to thank her for her hard work. Mark has put a lot of his own personal time in to help clean up the town and has encouraged others to do the same, and he has noticed that everyone’s efforts are working. He reported that since encouraging everyone to “walk the block” and pick up trash, even outsiders who drive through town have been telling him how much better Tarkio looks. He reminded everyone to do what they can in helping clean up the town, helping their neighbors who maybe can’t physically clean up their property, and to help keep the focus on the good. There are a lot of good things going on in Tarkio. He also reminded everyone that the Atchison County Health Department and Connections Counseling and Wellness will be hosting a Mental Health Day street fair May 20 and encourages everyone to attend. Mental health support is slowly, but finally becoming a main point of care in this nation and Tarkio is lucky to have so many people, businesses and organizations that make it a priority for everyone. On that note, attendees in the room thanked Mark for his years of service in not only providing a great education to our youth, but providing mental stability and friendship to all who enter the halls of Tarkio R-I. Mark will be retiring at the end of this school year.
Ann Schlueter, Chief Operating Officer of Community Hospital-Fairfax (CH-F), was up next to talk about health care and all that county residents are offered through the hospital’s services. Ann is a Tarkio High School graduate and returned to our community 20 years ago. She has been a huge supporter of our youth and community’s economic development, as well as the improvement of our health care system. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, doctor offices and hospitals have seen a major staffing shortage. CH-F has not gone untouched, but has worked hard at keeping that number low. They have also been adding several new ways for locals to receive care. The latest is a wound clinic, which has been very successful so far. The hospital has created a patient portal for patients to receive updates on their health quickly after visiting the doctor or hospital and they are working on implementing text reminders for doctor’s appointments. CH-F’s specialty clinics are staying busy. They include orthopaedic, cardiology, neurology, psychiatry, OB/GYN, urology, oncology, surgery, vascular, and intervention radiology. They have started having Saturday clinics and Ann encouraged everyone to use them for urgent care needs. Community Hospital-Fairfax is a private, not-for-profit, acute care hospital. It is the mission of Community Hospital-Fairfax to provide “Extraordinary Care for Every Person, Every Day.”
Monica Bailey, ACDC Director, took the floor last and updated everyone on ACDC’s involvement in the community and county. ACDC was organized in the 1970s as a volunteer board. Since 1995, board members and full-time staff have worked to improve the business climate in Atchison County.
ACDC does a lot to help existing businesses, as well as bring new ones in. It provides Business Improvement Grants, a matching grant program that supports projects that improve the aesthetics, safety, and/or function of existing businesses. Over the years, ACDC has been able to offer more grants than it originally began providing. It also recognizes new businesses and businesses who have made a huge improvement to the community, such as by expansion. ACDC hosts a ShopAC event the third Thursday of every November, encouraging Atchison County businesses to stay open late and hold sales and special activities, while ACDC hosts a giveaway for those who shop at all the participating locations. ACDC has also created a ShopAC Facebook page, where businesses can share specials, sales and deals. ACDC also focuses on the youth in the county, as they are our future community members, leaders, and business men and women. ACDC provides scholarships to Tarkio Tech and two year and four year institutions, as well as Youth Beautification Grants for youth to receive funds to help beautify an area in need. This year, the Tarkio FCCLA Chapter used this grant money to paint a mural and hang it on the side of the building at 401 Main Street. ACDC also holds job shadowing days for juniors and seniors and a junior professionalism workshop to teach students how to properly apply for jobs and how to conduct themselves in a professional manner. The organization also sponsors a Careers on Wheels event that provides students with a first-hand look at career opportunities in the county that utilize vehicles to get the job done (for example, police and fire department cruisers and trucks, ambulances, tow trucks, funeral service hearses, Missouri Department of Conservation boats, etc.). ACDC is also looking into recognizing businesses that add jobs or products to their existing staff and inventory. ACDC Director Monica Bailey and other members of the Atchison County community attend Great Northwest Day at the Capitol, which focuses on counties meeting Missouri legislators, as well as letting everyone know what is going on in that specific area of the state. This year, Atchison County’s Great Northwest Day theme was “Solving the Puzzle of Atchison County One Piece at a Time” and the booth was selected as the second place winner.
Monica wrapped up the meeting by taking questions and thanking everyone for attending and the Tarkio Nutrition Center for providing a delicious meal and great area in which to meet.