CLOSED Missouri Routes 11 and 151 in Knox County

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CLOSED Missouri Routes 11 and 151 in Knox County
Visitor (not verified)
Sat, 07/31/2021 – 11:00

HANNIBAL — MIssouri Routes 11 and 151 are closed due to high water.  Please use alternate roads and never drive through flooded water.  For updates go to www.modot.org.

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Sat, 07/31/2021 – 06:59

St. Charles County COVID-19 update: 39,514 confirmed cases, 602 deaths as of July 30, 2021

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St. Charles County Government and the Department of Public Health staff are working closely with local, regional, state and federal partners to investigate COVID-19, monitor individuals who may have been exposed to the virus and READ MORE

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St. Charles County Food Inspection Scores: Chuck’s Hot Chicken, Texas Roadhouse, Fazoli’s, Bemo’s and more

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The St. Charles County Department of Public Health monitors more than 1,300 food service providers in St. Charles County. (The City of St. Peters conducts its own inspections.) Routine inspections are conducted by specialists with the department READ MORE

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COVID Stops Here campaign highlights pro-vaccination message from Sen. Roy Blunt

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The Missouri Chamber’s COVID Stops Here campaign is collaborating with U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt on a direct appeal to increase vaccination rates in Missouri. In a new advertising campaign launching Sunday, Aug. 1, Sen. Blunt asks Missourians READ MORE

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U.S. House Dems to unveil revamped voting rights bill named for the late John Lewis

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WASHINGTON — House Democrats plan to next week unveil a new version of legislation named after the late Georgia civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis that could protect voting rights across the U.S.

During a Friday press conference, House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina said that House Democrats are expected to introduce a revised H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights and Advancement Act, on Aug. 6. That is the same date that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Clyburn said that many House Democrats are in favor of including provisions that would bolster the Voting Rights Act by establishing a new formula to require all 50 states to get special permission from the Justice Department before making any changes to voting laws or putting in place new voting requirements.

Democrats and the White House have repeatedly criticized new laws passed by Republicans at the state level that contain a variety of voting restrictions.

“There’s tremendous sentiment in our caucus for expanding preclearance to all 50 states, and that is because 48 states have either proposed or passed… restrictive laws,” Clyburn said. Preclearance would mean getting federal approval for changes in voting laws.

He said that means that many of those states would not have been covered by earlier preclearance requirements because they don’t have a history of discrimination.

The House in the last session of Congress passed another version of voting rights legislation named for Lewis, but it was not taken up in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Senate negotiations

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who chairs the Senate Rules & Administration Committee, said Thursday that the Senate is currently working on a voting rights package that includes strengthening the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and senators are close to a deal.

An elections overhaul known as the “For the People Act” would undo many of the recent voting laws put in place by Republican-led states. It passed the House, but Republicans blocked it in the Senate earlier this year.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at the press conference with Clyburn, said she has not seen the voting legislation that the Senate is currently working on, but added that the House would be ready to quickly pass H.R. 4 once it’s introduced.

If the House adjourns for recess as scheduled Friday, though, that may not happen until lawmakers return in September.

“This is the highest priority for us,” Pelosi said. “The sanctity of the vote, the basis for a democracy and the assault on the democracy that is being perpetuated across the country, in states across the country, to suppress the vote in a way that just undermines the strength of our democracy.”

Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are expected to meet soon with President Joe Biden about further action on voting rights.

Flurry of state laws

The flurry of restrictive voting legislation spurred by Republican state legislatures is due to the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, where Joe Biden won several states, including Georgia and Pennsylvania, that former President Donald Trump won in 2016.

Georgia has become known as “ground zero” in the fight for Democrats to protect voting rights as the state recently passed a restrictive voting bill that eliminates drop box locations, and makes it illegal to hand out food and water to a voter within 150 feet of the polling place or 25 feet of any voter standing in line, the same distances from which campaign activity is barred, among other restrictions.

The Biden administration directed the Justice Department to sue the state over its newly passed voting law. Senate Democrats earlier this month held a field hearing in Georgia, headed up by Klobuchar, on voting rights.

As of July, state Republican lawmakers have introduced more than 400 bills with restrictive voting provisions across 49 states, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Of those 18 states, 30 laws have been enacted with restrictive voting provisions.

Before the Section 5 preclearance requirement of the Voting Rights Act was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013, it covered nine states and a handful of counties and municipalities with a history of discriminating against voters of color.

Those states included Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Certain counties included in the preclearance requirement were in New York, Florida, North Carolina, California and South Dakota.

GOP support?

Clyburn said Friday that there is some Republican support for H.R. 4.

“How much Republican support, we don’t know,” he said. “But we do believe that we have a very good product.”

However, during a June U.S. House Judiciary panel hearing on H.R. 4, Republicans argued that reinstating the preclearance section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act was unnecessary because there is no discrimination in voting.

Democratic state legislators have pressed Congress to pass federal voting rights protections, outlining their struggles to fight voter restrictive laws put forth by Republicans at the state level.

Texas Democrats recently fled the state to halt a special session called by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to pass a restrictive voting law.

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After COVID cases tripled in July, Delta continues its spread through Missouri

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A man in a red shirt is shown standing and speaking to a woman seated at a table outside a COVID-19 vaccination clinic Thursday in Columbia.

The month of April was a good one for the Dallas County Health Department.

It was the second straight month with less than one new COVID-19 case per day. Vaccinations opened to everyone on April 9.

When a handful of cases pushed active infections to 11 on April 30, the message on social media was to remain calm.

“There may be several different reasons why this is happening,” the department posted on Facebook, repeating advice health officials have delivered since the pandemic began – wear a mask, observe social distance and stay home if symptoms appear. 

“Let’s keep up the good work we know how to do, Dallas County! Be kind to one another & wash your hands!”

But infections increased, to 1.7 cases per day in the first two weeks in May. Then 3.7 per day in the second half of the month.

It was enough to give Dallas County, with about 17,000 people northeast of Springfield, the state’s eighth highest per capita infection rate for the month.

After holding steady for a while, cases spiked in the second half of June. The Delta variant surge had arrived

It was already filling hospitals in Springfield and elsewhere in southwest Missouri as regional cases rivaled numbers from the worst winter outbreak.

A 22-county region of southwest Missouri, with less than one-sixth of the state’s people, has recorded almost one-third of the new COVID-19 cases since May 1. The Delta variant was first detected in the state in wastewater samples from Branson in early May.

A few weeks later, cases began to climb.

On June 1, the seven-day average of reported cases stood at 400 per day. On Friday, the seven-day average was more than six times higher, at 2,600 per day.

The 58,069 cases reported in July so far is the most since January and fifth most of the 17 months since the first case in March 2020. It is more than three times the number reported in June.

In Dallas County, the June infection rate was double that of May. For July, it has nearly doubled again. Since May 1, more than 3.6 percent of the county’s population has tested positive, fifth highest in the state.

And in June, the tone changed on social media.

“We can’t keep messing around and pretend that numbers aren’t going up,” a June 18 post stated. “Just last month this time the numbers were two active cases, not 44. Please don’t act like this is just going to go away.”

And on June 23, something new appeared in the increasingly direct messages. 

As we are closing for the day, here is where we stand,” that evening’s post on Facebook stated. “Active Cases – 60, of those 10 are children under 18, 4 are hospitalized.”

Two figures in silhouette, one adult-sized and one representing a child, are presented against a blue background with numbers superimposed, 70 on the adult figure and 14 on the child. The graphic illustrates the impact of COVID-19 infections on children in Dallas County, Missouri, and represents the number of active cases on June 30.

The Dallas County Health Department used this graphic with its June 30 report to emphasize the impact the Delta variant was having on the county’s children. (Dallas County Health Department via Facebook)

As of Thursday afternoon, children under 18 were one-fourth of the county’s 77 active cases.

By highlighting the data about children, Administrator Cheryl Eversole said, she was addressing two concerns. The number of juvenile cases was higher than she had seen, and parents were not taking enough precautions.

We are seeing parents that are allowing their kids to go to camp for a week, going to vacation bible school, all these things, and the hosts of these events are not requiring masks,” Eversole said.

With no children under 12 vaccinated and fewer than one-third of those 12 to 17 who are eligible receiving a dose, children easily spread the virus to their parents and grandparents, she said.

“Sure, they are not in a hospital, they are not on ventilators,” Eversole said. “But what happens when they go to grandma and grandpa’s, or go to the family reunion.

“They aren’t feeling good, but it’s fine, they are well enough to go. Now you have just exposed your older, more frail family members and what is going to happen then?”

Disease, death and disputes

At the end of June, University of Missouri professor of immunology Marc Johnson made a sobering prediction.

“I am assuming our overall state case numbers are going to double or triple in the next few weeks,” Johnson said.

Johnson, who has been analyzing wastewater samples since last summer to determine levels of COVID-19 in local communities, wasn’t wrong. With one day remaining in July, there have been just over three times as many new infections this month.

One more day with cases equal to the month’s average so far and July will go down as the fourth-worst of the pandemic in Missouri. The only time cases were higher was in November, December and January.

Johnson expects cases to continue to rise. If nothing changes in coming weeks, he said Thursday, the peak would likely be in mid-August. 

“But things are not staying stable,” Johnson said. “People are going back to school so all bets are off.”

Since Johnson made his forecast, the state health department has reported almost 60,000 new cases. Almost half the local health departments in the state have seen infection rates above 1,000 cases per 100,000 residents, compared to nine in June.

Infection rates in five local health departments exceeded 2,000 per 100,000 for July. 

And since May 1, 12 have experienced more than 3,000 cases per 100,000 residents, with three above 4,000 per 100,000.

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Hospitals have filled, with inpatient totals rising from a low point of 628 on May 23 to 1,921 on Tuesday. Net new admissions are averaging 40 per day.

Hundreds have died, but the true number for July won’t be known for several months.

State death reporting lags weeks and even months behind because the state health department waits for death certificates to be checked against case reports before adding them to the official count. As of Tuesday, local health departments around the state were reporting almost 1,100 more deaths than the state.

The official state death total was 9,650 on Friday, up 339 during July. But 90 of those reported deaths occurred before July 1, including one from January.

For the 22 southwest Missouri counties hit hardest by the Delta Variant, the state health department has reported 144 deaths during July. That is barely more, however, than the deaths experienced in the two largest hospitals in Springfield, CoxHealth and Mercy.

They have endured at least 139 COVID-19 deaths this month.

Erik Frederick, chief administrative officer at Mercy Hospital, tweeted that the deaths are hard on his team, the same as during the winter. But there were no vaccinations at that time.

“The difference now is that most of this could be prevented,” Federick tweeted. “That adds an extra layer of anguish.”

And in a tweet on Thursday, CoxHealth CEO Steve Edwards urged people to wear masks and for local officials to mandate them.

“Politicians, please listen to science, not the angry mob,” Edwards wrote. “I know it takes courage.”

Rather than pull together, however, it has seemed that state and local officials are fighting over how severe the problem is and what to do about it.

One of the hardest to convince that the state was reaching crisis levels, it seems, was Gov. Mike Parson.

On May 19, two weeks after the Delta variant was first detected in wastewater, Parson celebrated the low case numbers the state was experiencing.

“Missouri has now seen 13 consecutive weeks of stable COVID-19 case counts. This is great news and shows that our administration’s balanced approach to fighting the virus and economic recovery is working!

At the end of June, when case counts had doubled in the intervening six weeks, Parson noted “a few counties in Missouri that are continuing to experience an increase.”

Michele Shull of the Columbia-Boone County Public Health and Humane Services Department is shown in a blue T-shirt using a syringe to draw out a dose of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine from a vial.

Michelle Shull of the Columbia-Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department draws a dose of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Thursday at a clinic for Columbia’s homeless residents. (Rudi Keller/Missouri Independent)

It wasn’t until July 21, with cases running 150 percent higher than the end of June, that Parson stated the reality on his Twitter account. By that point, Springfield had asked for an “alternative care site” to relieve pressure on hospitals and Parson had reluctantly agreed to offer incentives to get vaccinated.

Parson in the meantime picked fights with President Joe Biden’s administration, accusing it of plans to send “agents door-to-door to compel vaccination” and with Springfield over the alternative care site.

At first, Parson said the state “would most probably fill the request,” then sent the paperwork back because it didn’t state the request properly. On Thursday, after waiting another two weeks for action, Springfield canceled the request.

Parson said it was canceled because case numbers had fallen in the region. Springfield officials said it was because of the delays and because local hospitals had found emergency space.

The governor wasn’t the only statewide official fighting over COVID-19 issues as July comes to a close. St. Louis and St. Louis County reimposed mask mandates this week for indoor spaces and were immediately sued by Attorney General Eric Schmitt

When Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said he would order masks be worn in his city starting Monday, Schmitt threatened another lawsuit.

“Dude, the order hasn’t even been filed yet. What are you suing about?” Lucas responded on Twitter. “Do you want us to just schedule a debate on Fox News so you can get the press? I’m down!”

McClure’s warning

In the middle of July, during an appearance on the CBS Sunday news show Face the Nation, Springfield Mayor Ken McClure issued a warning to the rest of the state: 

“My message is that the surge is coming,” McClure said. 

In the intervening two weeks, daily case counts have declined in Greene County and many other southwest Missouri counties but soared in other parts of the state. In the week before McClure spoke on July 18, the state added 13,386 cases. In the seven days ending Friday, the total was 18,202, more than all of May and just 996 below the total for June.

In the seven jurisdictions that make up the Missouri portion of the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area, cases are up 33 percent in the past seven days.

On the western side of the state, case rates have grown even faster. In the seven days through Friday, the 10 counties in the Missouri portion of the Kansas City MSA have seen a 44 percent increase over the previous week.

As of Friday, the overall infection rate for Missouri in July was 943 cases per 100,000 residents. If cases statewide in August match the July rate for the 22 southwest counties that have been hardest hit, the state will add more than 114,000 new infections and it will be second only to November for total cases.

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The wastewater analysis can identify which COVID-19 strains are circulating in a community, and the most recent mapping report of samples collected the week of July 12 shows 46 communities where the Delta variant is dominant.

The analysis can also detect when cases are about to spike. 

“With our tool, when we have seen an increase in the viral load of 40 percent or greater in one week, it is followed by a 25 percent increase in cases, at least,” Jeff Wenzel, chief of the state health department’s Bureau of Environmental Epidemiology, said in late June.

Johnson said he’s watching Platte City, in Platte County of northwest Missouri, and Sikeston, in Scott County in the Bootheel. Both are showing big increases in viral loads in their wastewater, he said.

The July infection rate in Platte County is up 600 percent from June. In Scott County, it has increased 686 percent.

Platte County’s health board will discuss a mask mandate at its Tuesday night meeting, health department spokesman Aaron Smullin said.

“We don’t have any directive or anything prepared, we are just looking at data and that sort of information,” Mullin said. “We have some folks that are queued up to speak about the potential of a mandate or directive.”

In Scott County, the health department has added one employee and increased the hours of another to keep up with contact tracing, said Diana Knutson, a registered nurse with the department.

She’s worried about two big public events coming up soon – the Sikeston Rodeo, which starts Aug. 11, and the Semo District Fair, which begins Sept. 11.

“We will just have to wait and see,” Knutson said.

In the meantime, health officials said they will continue to push vaccinations. As of Thursday, average daily shots stood at 11,604 per day, up 45 per day from the level on July 21, when Parson announced the state incentives.

The problem with vaccine resistance can be shown in a number of ways. In Dallas County, the health department canceled two vaccination clinics, it said on Facebook, “due to lack of interest.” 

What the hell is wrong with these people?” one person posted in response. “Do they all WANT to die?”

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Missouri treasurer criticized federal pandemic spending after getting $1.3M in PPP loans

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When he announced he was running for state Auditor on Thursday, Missouri Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick vowed to fight back against liberal politicians who have “used the pandemic as cover to justify spending trillions of dollars of borrowed money to fund their socialist agenda.” 

What he failed to note was that the company he founded has been the recipient of more than $1.3 million of that federal pandemic relief funding. 

MariCorp U.S, a boat dock repair firm on Table Rock Lake in Shell Knob that Fitzpatrick founded as a teenager, received two loans through the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) designed to help small businesses meet payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first loan, for $694,562 and received in April 2020, has been forgiven. 

The status of the second loan, for $646,071 and received just three months ago, has not been publicly disclosed

According to the database of PPP loans maintained by ProPublica, the first loan was to maintain 54 jobs. The second was to maintain 60 jobs. Loans can be forgiven if companies meet criteria that includes not laying off employees during a defined period.

Fitzpatrick’s campaign defended the federal funding, saying the loans were needed because “the government broke the economy, and MariCorp U.S., like millions of other businesses, was faced with laying off employees with families.”

The campaign drew a distinction between pandemic relief signed into law by former President Donald Trump and subsequent relief signed into law by President Joe Biden.

“There is a clear difference between the socialist proposals coming from liberal politicians and the Trump administration’s paycheck protection program, which received near unanimous support in Congress in order to keep people employed,” said Steele Shippy, Fitzpatrick’s campaign adviser. 

PPP was established in April 2020 under the CARES Act. The goal was to provide aid to businesses in order to prevent mass layoffs as the economy faltered under the strain of the pandemic.

A year later, and a month before Fitzpatrick’s company got its second loan, Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, which extended the PPP program

While some economists have questioned its success, arguing it primarily aided businesses that were not at risk of going under, the program gets credited with preventing millions of job losses and deeper economic catastrophe.  

From nearly the beginning of the program, politicians — particularly members of Congress — have faced scrutiny for receiving PPP loans

Last year, Republican U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Harrisonville — whose family owns multiple farms and equipment suppliers — also drew scrutiny for receiving PPP loans. The Kansas City Star reported earlier this month that Gov. Mike Parson received a $6,288 PPP loan for his cattle farm in Bolivar. 

Fitzpatrick, 33, was appointed state treasurer and sworn into office in January 2019. The office was vacated by Eric Schmitt, who Parson appointed to serve as attorney general after the resignation of Josh Hawley to take a seat in the U.S. Senate.

He won a full term in November 2020, handily defeating Democrat Vicky Englund by 31 percentage points.

He announced he was running for state Auditor on Thursday, a day after donating $250,000 to his own campaign committee. 

Shippy said MariCorp U.S. supports nearly 70 families and generates “millions of dollars in payroll and tax revenue each year.” 

The company qualified for a PPP loan, Shippy said, and accepted the money in order to “protect the families relying on it for a paycheck.

“The company used every dollar of the funding received under the program to pay employees,” he said, “and thankfully has not laid off a single employee during the pandemic, despite the skyrocketing costs of labor and materials.” 

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Situation Report

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The most recent Situation Report issued by St. Charles County Regional Emergency Management

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Closure extended for eastbound U.S. Route 36 ramp to Route 759

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Closure extended for eastbound U.S. Route 36 ramp to Route 759
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 07/30/2021 – 14:10

Additional ramp closures along U.S. Route 36 planned

St. Joseph, Mo. – Contractors working with the Missouri Department of Transportation had originally planned to reopen the ramp from eastbound U.S. Route 36 to Route 759 today, July 30. Weather delays require the ramp to remain closed through the weekend. It could reopen as early as the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 2, however, the ramp could remain closed into Tuesday, Aug. 3. Motorists will need to continue to use alternate routes until the ramp reopens.
Another closure to complete safety improvements at the ramp, including guardrail, is planned in mid-August. Notice will be provided prior to that closure.
In addition, the contractor has planned three additional ramp closures for Monday, Aug. 2, during daylight hours:
Westbound U.S. Route 36 to northbound Interstate 229
Westbound U.S. Route 36 to Route 759
Southbound I-29 to westbound U.S. Route 36
All work is weather-permitting, and schedules are subject to change.
MoDOT asks drivers to work with us by always buckling up, keeping your phone down, slowing down and moving over in work zones. Know before you go and check what work zones you might encounter at traveler.modot.org.
Also at modot.org, sign up online for work zone updates. Information is also available 24/7 at 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) or via social media.
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Fri, 07/30/2021 – 10:06

Ramp closure planned next week at St. Joseph Avenue and Interstate 229

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Ramp closure planned next week at St. Joseph Avenue and Interstate 229
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 07/30/2021 – 14:10

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – Contractors working with the Missouri Department of Transportation plan to close the ramp from U.S. Route 59 (St. Joseph Avenue) to southbound Interstate 229 on Tuesday, Aug. 3. The ramp will remain closed around-the-clock through Friday, Aug. 6, for guardrail work. During the closure, motorists will need to use an alternate route.
All work is weather-permitting, and schedules are subject to change.
MoDOT asks drivers to work with us by always buckling up, keeping your phone down, slowing down and moving over in work zones. Know before you go and check what work zones you might encounter at traveler.modot.org.
Also at modot.org, sign up online for work zone updates. Information is also available 24/7 at 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) or via social media.
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Published On

Fri, 07/30/2021 – 10:08

Planned Road Work for Northwest Missouri, Aug. 2 – 8

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Planned Road Work for Northwest Missouri, Aug. 2 – 8
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 07/30/2021 – 12:20

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – The following is a list of general highway maintenance and construction work the Missouri Department of Transportation has planned in the Northwest Missouri region for the week of Aug. 2 – 8.
All road closures and planned roadwork may be viewed on the Traveler Information Map at http://traveler.modot.org/map/.
Inclement weather may cause schedule changes in some of the planned work. There may also be moving operations throughout the region such as pothole patching, mowing, striping, signal work, etc., in addition to the work mentioned below.
Andrew County
Interstate 229 – Resurfacing project from I-29, north of St. Joseph, to Route 371 (mile marker 14 to 3) through mid-September. A 10-foot width restriction is in place.
I-29 – Bridge replacement project northbound over Hopkins Creek (mile marker 58) through October. Traffic is head-to-head in the southbound lanes. *Focus on Bridges project
Atchison County
I-29 – Bridge replacement project over Nishnabotna River (mile marker 122 – 124) through September 2022. Traffic is head-to-head in the southbound lanes. More info: https://www.modot.org/atchison-county-interstate-29-nishnabotna-river-bridge-rehabilitation *Focus on Bridges project
Route 111 – Resurfacing project from Route E to Route 111 Spur (Holt County) through August. This included intermittent CLOSURES for pavement repairs. More info: https://www.modot.org/atchison-and-holt-county-flood-damage-repairs
Route BB – CLOSED for a resurfacing project through August. More info: https://www.modot.org/atchison-and-holt-county-flood-damage-repairs
Route TT – Resurfacing project through August. This includes intermittent CLOSURES for pavement repairs. More info: https://www.modot.org/atchison-and-holt-county-flood-damage-repairs
Route A – Resurfacing project through August. This includes intermittent CLOSURES for pavement repairs. More info: https://www.modot.org/atchison-and-holt-county-flood-damage-repairs
Route D – Resurfacing project through August. This includes intermittent CLOSURES for pavement repairs. More info: https://www.modot.org/atchison-and-holt-county-flood-damage-repairs
Route Z – Resurfacing project through mid-August. This includes intermittent CLOSURES for pavement repairs. More info: https://www.modot.org/atchison-and-holt-county-flood-damage-repairs
Route V – Resurfacing project through August. This includes intermittent CLOSURES for pavement repairs. More info: https://www.modot.org/atchison-and-holt-county-flood-damage-repairs
Route U – Resurfacing project through mid-August. This includes intermittent CLOSURES for pavement repairs. More info: https://www.modot.org/atchison-and-holt-county-flood-damage-repairs
Route W– Resurfacing project through mid-August. This includes intermittent CLOSURES for pavement repairs. More info: https://www.modot.org/atchison-and-holt-county-flood-damage-repairs
I-29 – Pothole patching from Route A/B (mile marker 116) to Route W (mile marker 99, Holt County), Aug. 2 – 6
Route J – Pothole patching from U.S. Route 59 to U.S. Route 136, Aug. 3
Route 46 – Pothole patching from Route 113 (Nodaway County) to Route EE, Aug. 3 – 4
Buchanan County
I-229 – Resurfacing project from Route 371 to I-29, north of St. Joseph (mile marker 3 to 14), through mid-September. A 10-foot width restriction is in place.
U.S. Route 36 – Guardrail, pavement repair and resurfacing from the Missouri River to 0.75 miles east of Route AC through August. A 12-foot width restriction is in place.
U.S. Route 36 – Eastbound ramp to Route 759 CLOSED for guardrail work, July 15 – Aug. 2. This is an around-the-clock closure.
I-229 – Concrete replacement north and southbound from I-29 to 22nd Street, weekdays July 12 – Aug. 15
I-229 – Striping, Aug. 2
I-29 – Southbound ramp to westbound U.S. Route 36 CLOSED for guardrail work, Aug. 2, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
U.S. Route 36 – Westbound ramp to northbound I-229 CLOSED for guardrail work, Aug. 2, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
U.S. Route 36 – Westbound ramp to Route 759 CLOSED for guardrail work, Aug. 2, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
U.S. Route 59 – Southbound ramp to I-229 (St. Joseph Avenue to I-229) CLOSED for guardrail work, 7 a.m. Aug. 3 through 5 p.m. Aug. 6. This is an around-the-clock closure.
Caldwell County
U.S. Route 36 – Resurfacing and pavement repair through Caldwell, Livingston and Linn counties through August. There will be intermittent lane closures with a 14-foot width restriction.
Old Route 36 – Pothole patching from Hamilton to the Livingston County line, Aug. 2 – 6
Carroll County
Route Z – CLOSED until further notice from Route C to County Road 217 due to damage caused by a roadway slide and ongoing geological studies.
Chariton County
Route 139 – CLOSED for a bridge replacement project at the Grand River Overflow Bridge through mid-August. More info: https://www.modot.org/chariton-county-route-139-grand-river-overflow-bridge *Focus on Bridges project
Buchanan Street in Brunswick – CLOSED for a culvert replacement at U.S. Route 24, Aug. 2, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Route KK – Bridge deck repair project at the Little Chariton River Bridge west of Route 5, Aug. 3 – 6. This will be an around-the-clock lane closure.
Route Y – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from York Road to West Wind Road, Aug. 4, 7a.m. to 3 p.m.
Route FF – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from Allen Road to Snapp Road, Aug. 5, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Clinton County
Route 116 – Shoulder work from Plattsburg to the Caldwell County line, Aug. 2 – 6
Daviess County
Route 190 – Driveway culvert replacement from Granite Avenue to Harbor Avenue, Aug. 2
Route AA – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from Cord Avenue to Elmwood Avenue, Aug. 2 – 3, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily
I-35 – Concrete replacement project from 1 mile north of Cameron (mile marker 56, DeKalb County) to U.S. Route 69 (Exit 61, Winston), Aug. 2 – 6. One lane will remain closed around-the-clock.
Route CC – Pothole patching at Route 6, Aug. 3
Route AA – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from Forest Avenue to Flint Avenue, Aug., 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
U.S. Route 69 – Shoulder work from Route C to I-35, Aug. 4 – 5
DeKalb County
U.S. Route 36 – Pavement repair, guardrail improvements, and resurfacing westbound from east of Route 31 to Route C and eastbound from Route 33 to the Grindstone River through August. A 12-foot width restriction is in place.
U.S. Route 36 – Pavement repairs eastbound from Maple to Route M at Osborn, Aug. 2 – 4
Routes F and H – Pothole patching, Aug. 2 – 5
I-35 – Concrete replacement project from 1 mile north of Cameron (mile marker 56) to U.S. Route 69 (Exit 61, Winston, Daviess County), Aug. 2 – 6. One lane will remain closed around-the-clock.
Route D – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from Route E and Liberty Road, Aug. 5, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Gentry County
U.S. Route 169 – CLOSED for a bridge deck replacement project over Middle Fork of the Grand River, near Gentry, through August. More info: https://www.modot.org/route-169-and-route-ee-bridge-deck-replacement *Focus on Bridges project
Route N – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from U.S. Route 136 to East 315th Street, Aug. 4, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Route Z – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from Route H/A at Berlin to County Road 570, Aug. 4, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Grundy County
Routes 139, E, JJ and VV – Shoulder work, Aug. 2 – 6
Harrison County
Route HH – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from Route 46 to 110th Lane, Aug. 3, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Holt County
Route 111 – Resurfacing project from Route 111 Spur to Route E (Atchison County) through August. This includes intermittent CLOSURES for pavement repairs. More info: https://www.modot.org/atchison-and-holt-county-flood-damage-repairs
I-29 – Pothole patching from Route A/B (mile marker 116, Atchison County) to Route W (mile marker 99), Aug. 2 – 6
U.S. Route 159 – Bridge approach work at the Little Tarkio Bridge, east of Route P, Aug. 4
Linn County
U.S. Route 36 – Resurfacing and pavement repair through Caldwell, Livingston and Linn counties through August. There will be intermittent lane closures with a 14-foot width restriction.
U.S. Route 36 – Bridge maintenance, westbound, at the Big Turkey Creek Bridge, Aug. 2 – 5. A 12-foot width restriction will be in place.
Route 139 – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from Bartok Road to Balkan Road, Aug. 2, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Route 139 – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from Nolan Road to Nation Road, Aug. 3, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Livingston County
U.S. Route 36 – Resurfacing and pavement repair through Caldwell, Livingston and Linn counties through August. There will be intermittent lane closures with a 14-foot width restriction.
Route 190 – Environmental work at the Thompson Creek Bridge through August
U.S. Route 36 – Bridge deck repair project, westbound, at the Grand River Overflow Bridge west of Chillicothe. One lane at the bridge will remain closed from 7 a.m. Aug. 2 through 8 a.m. Aug. 3.
Route U – Pothole patching from Route A to Route 190, Aug. 2 – 3
Route A – Pothole patching from Route 190 to Route W, Aug. 4
Route Y – Pothole patching from Route W to Route 190, Aug. 5 – 6
Nodaway County
Route 46 – Pothole patching from Icon Road to Route 113, Aug. 2 – 6
Route A – Bridge maintenance at the Nodaway River Bridge, Aug. 2 – 6. This is an around-the-clock lane closure with temporary traffic signals. A 10-foot width restriction is in place.
Routes AF and V – Pothole patching, Aug. 2 – 6
Route TT – Culvert repair, Aug. 3. The road will be narrowed to one lane with flaggers directing motorists through the work zone.
Route 46 – Pothole patching from Route 113 to Route EE (Atchison County), Aug. 3 – 4
Putnam County
Route AA – Pavement repair, Aug. 2 – 6
Sullivan County
Route PP – CLOSED for a railroad crossing replacement project from Route 139 to Route W, 7 a.m. Aug. 3 through 2 p.m. Aug. 4
Worth County
Route M – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from U.S. Route 169 to Poplar Avenue, Aug. 2, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Route B – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from Route W to East 190th Road, Aug. 5, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

* Focus on Bridges project: Indicates a bridge is included in Gov. Mike Parson’s $351 million Focus on Bridges program, which will repair or replace 250 bridges across the state.
 
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Districts Involved

Northwest

Published On

Fri, 07/30/2021 – 08:15

Traffic Alert: Crews will close I-670 the weekend of August 7-8

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Traffic Alert: Crews will close I-670 the weekend of August 7-8
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 07/30/2021 – 11:30

JACKSON COUNTY – MoDOT Kansas City is in the process of replacing the Baltimore Ave. Bridge over I-670. In order to install the new bridge girders, crews will need to close both directions of I-670 between I-70 and I-35 the weekend of Aug. 7. Only one direction of I-670 will be closed at a time. Motorists must find alternates routes during this time. All work is weather permitting.
Saturday, Aug. 7 – Closure of westbound I-670
Crews will close westbound I-670 between I-70 and I-35 beginning at 6 a.m. until approximately 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7.
The following ramps will also be closed during this time:
The ramp from eastbound I-70 to westbound I-670.
The ramp from northbound U.S. 71 to westbound I-670.
The ramp from 10th St. to westbound I-670.
The ramp from westbound I-70 to westbound I-670.
Sunday, Aug. 8 – Closure of eastbound I-670
Crews will close eastbound I-670 between I-35 and I-70 beginning at 6 a.m. until approximately 8 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 8.
The following ramps will also be closed during this time:
The ramp from northbound I-35 to eastbound I-670.
The ramp from southbound I-35 to eastbound I-670.
The Truman Rd. ramp just past Broadway to eastbound I-670.
The ramp from Wyoming St. to eastbound I-670.
Please be patient and considerate to your fellow motorists. Use the zipper merge and take turns at merge points.  Please remember that all work zones are NO PHONE ZONES. Buckle up. Phone down. Arrive Alive. For potential impacts to traffic, please review KC Scout cameras at http://www.kcscout.net or consult our real-time traffic partner, WAZE.
Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
 For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.  MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for work zone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).
 
 

Districts Involved

Kansas City

Published On

Fri, 07/30/2021 – 07:27

Culvert Pipe Replacement to Begin on Route 68

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Culvert Pipe Replacement to Begin on Route 68
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 07/30/2021 – 10:20

PHELPS COUNTY – As part of an ongoing improvement project taking place on Missouri Route 68 in Dent and Phelps Counties, crews plan to close a section of Route 68 next week.A contractor working for the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) will close Route 68 at the intersection of Route 8 south of St. James on Monday, August 2, in order to replace a box culvert and culvert pipes at that location. The road will be closed through August 14.Motorists will need to find alternate routes. Signs will be in place to alert travelers of the closure. MoDOT appreciates the patience of motorists.This work is weather permitting and could be delayed. For more information and updates about this project or other transportation-related matters, please call 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/modot-central-district. Follow the MoDOT Central Missouri District on Facebook and Twitter for project updates.
 
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Districts Involved

Central

Published On

Fri, 07/30/2021 – 06:15

Bridge Maintenance to Impact Travel on Route FF

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Bridge Maintenance to Impact Travel on Route FF
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 07/30/2021 – 10:05

LACLEDE COUNTY – Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) bridge crews will be making repairs to the Laclede County Route FF bridge over Bear Creek next week.The repairs will require the bridge to be closed while work takes place. Crews will close the bridge Monday morning, August 2, and reopen it by Tuesday evening, August 3.Motorists will need to seek an alternate route around the closure area. MoDOT appreciates the patience of motorists traveling through the work area.This work is weather permitting and could be delayed. For more information and updates about this project or other transportation-related matters, please call 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/central. Follow the MoDOT Central Missouri District on Facebook and Twitter for project updates.
  
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Districts Involved

Central

Published On

Fri, 07/30/2021 – 06:02

TRAFFIC ALERT: Nighttime Traffic Slowdowns/Stops on U.S. Route 60 (James River Freeway)

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TRAFFIC ALERT: Nighttime Traffic Slowdowns/Stops on U.S. Route 60 (James River Freeway)
regan.mitchell
Fri, 07/30/2021 – 09:35

In Springfield August 3 for Sign Removal Work

What: U.S. Route 60 (James River Freeway) traffic slowed and possibly stopped for short periods of time between Glenstone Avenue & U.S. Route 65 in Springfield

When: 12:01 a.m.-6 a.m. Tuesday, August 3

Details: Contractor crews are removing tresses and signs over Route 60 in Springfield. This is part of the U.S. ROUTE 60 (James River Freeway) Widening Project. For more information about this project, click here.

Traffic Impacts:

Law enforcement officers slowing and stopping east- and westbound Route 60 traffic for short periods of time
Drivers urged to find alternate routes. No signed detours are planned.
Electronic message boards located near the planned road work will alert drivers to any changes in the work schedule
Check MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map for road closings/traffic impacts
(Weather and/or construction delays will alter the work schedule)

END 
(For more information, call MoDOT in Springfield at 417-895-7600 or visit www.modot.org/southwest) 
(Follow MoDOT’s Southwest District: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram |YouTube)

(Take the Challenge! Buckle Up/Phone Down)

Districts Involved

Southwest

Published On

Fri, 07/30/2021 – 05:30

Spectators welcome, racer registration open for Red Bull bike event at Kinetic Park

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Whether you’re a spectator or racer competing in St. Charles County’s most exciting biking event of the year, you don’t want to miss all the action on the largest asphalt pump track in the nation! READ MORE

The post Spectators welcome, racer registration open for Red Bull bike event at Kinetic Park first appeared on 70 West Sentinel.

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New agreement helps SCC business students transfer credits seamlessly to UMSL

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A new partnership between the University of Missouri–St. Louis and St. Charles Community College will put community college business administration students on the right track to earn a bachelor’s degree from UMSL. Under a new articulation agreement, READ MORE

The post New agreement helps SCC business students transfer credits seamlessly to UMSL first appeared on 70 West Sentinel.

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Wentzville Police Blotter: June 11 – 17, 2021

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The following reports for June 11 – 17, 2021 were supplied to 70 West Sentinel by the Wentzville Police Department. The term “arrest” is used in the Wentzville PD’s database to refer both to actual READ MORE

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Springfield officials: Cancelled request for temporary hospital not sign COVID crisis abated

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A request for a temporary hospital was canceled because the state was too slow to act and local providers made emergency accommodations, not because the Delta variant crisis has diminished, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department said Thursday afternoon.

Gov. Mike Parson cited a decline in cases in Greene County and surrounding areas when his office announced the alternative care site request had been withdrawn. The Springfield health department pushed back, saying it was incorrect to cite falling cases and hospitalizations as the reason.

In fact, on Thursday alone, 267 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the area — the second highest figure the health department has reported since the start of the pandemic.

The highest census was at 271 six days ago on July 23.

Thursday afternoon, Parson’s office announced that the local health department and Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management had withdrawn a request for funding to set up temporary hospital beds so existing hospital space can be dedicated to caring for the most severely ill.

A news release from the governor’s office said local officials “believe current state efforts to boost health care capabilities are sufficient to meet existing needs,” adding that a site was ready to open as early as next week.

It went on to note that while cases are still high overall, new cases in Greene County have dropped by 24 percent in the last seven days compared to the previous week.

Katie Towns, right, director of the Springfield-Green County Health Department, conducts a briefing Tuesday on rising COVID-19 cases. (Screenshot from Springfield-Greene County Health Department livestream)

But shortly after, Springfield-Greene County Health Department Director Katie Towns said in a statement that local healthcare partners had to forge ahead to establish sufficient capacity through hiring additional staff and repurposing existing space as they awaited the state’s help to address the immediate need.

“Because this additional capacity allows us to address our current surge, and knowing that an alternate care site was at least another week away from being operational, there is no longer an immediate need for an alternate care site,” Towns said.

“This decision was not made in response to falling cases or hospitalizations,” she later said, noting 32 deaths due to the virus have been reported by the health department so far this month.

Mike O’Connell, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said he had nothing to add Thursday, and referred to the state’s COVID dashboard to exemplify Greene County’s recent decline in cases.

Spokeswoman for the governor’s office and Department of Health and Senior Services did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.

The increase in new cases seemingly has begun to abate in southwest Missouri. In the seven days through Thursday, the state health department data shows a 13 percent decline in cases over the previous seven days for 22 local health departments in the southwest with almost 1 million people.

From 4,706 cases from July 16 to July 22, about 670 a day, the region reported 4,077 cases in the past seven days, or 582 per day.

Per-capita infection rates, however, remain far above the state as a whole. For the month so far, the region is double the state rate. The difference has narrowed as other regions endure the Delta variant surge and the southwest rate of 417 cases per 100,000 was only 52 percent above the state rate over the past seven days.

Thursday’s clarification from the local health department was the latest public dispute over the alternate care site request.

The health department first issued a call for a site over two weeks ago on July 14, and discussions had been underway prior, Aaron Schekorra, a spokesman for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department previously said. At the time, local hospital officials said they hoped the site could be operating in a matter of days. Parson previously said the state would “for the most part probably” fulfill the request and suggested local CARES Act funds may help cover the costs.

But paperwork issues had made it necessary for the request to be resubmitted and was received on July 19 by the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA). 

Last week, SEMA elevated the request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The application issues led to confusion, with a CoxHealth CEO Steve Edwards telling reporters the application for a site had been “rejected,” according to the Springfield News-Leader. Parson and state officials clarified at a press conference last week that the application had never been turned down, and Parson called reports it had been “total misinformation.”

“Within 24 hours, almost every bit of that request had been answered or was in the process of being fixed,” Parson said. “The propaganda that was being said down there about something being rejected was totally that.”

A day later, Parson announced that the state would be fulfilling other parts of Springfield’s request and sending “ambulance strike teams” with 10 advanced life support ambulances, 20 medical personnel, two strike team leaders and one logistics specialist to support transport of COVID-19 patients in Springfield. The request was fulfilled by the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management.

According to Thursday’s news release, the ambulance strike teams covered nearly 19,000 miles transporting 87 COVID patients to hospitals outside of Springfield through Wednesday, with some roundtrips taking over nine hours.

In addition, a Monoclonal Antibody Centralized Infusion Center that was established with state assistance served 88 patients from last Friday through Wednesday.

The governor office’s news release touted the collaboration as “a model to utilize” as the state continues to see a rapid spread of the Delta variant. Towns said the health department was grateful for the state’s assistance through the strike teams and antibody center, which was fulfilled in “a timely manner” and helped create more capacity.

“We hope that other communities and the state have learned just how quickly this Delta variant spreads and how quickly our healthcare systems can be overwhelmed,” Towns said. “We are grateful for the resilience and swift action of our overwhelmed healthcare partners.”

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Mike Parson joins legal effort to convince Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade

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Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has added his name to the growing list of GOP elected officials asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

Parson and 11 Republican governors submitted an amicus brief on Thursday in a Mississippi case weighing whether state laws that ban abortions before fetal viability are constitutional.

The governors, led by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, argue that the regulation of abortion should be left up to the states.

“A state may permit abortion. A state may ban abortion. A state may chart a middle ground,” the brief said, later arguing that taking the issue out of federal politics “should lower the proverbial temperature in these debates. No longer would abortion define the confirmation process for Justices. No longer would the issue dominate presidential campaigns.”

The case centers around Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The state originally argued the law complied with existing precedent. But last week, Mississippi’s argument was reframed to ask the court to overturn its decision in Roe that women have a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy before the fetus is able to survive outside the womb.

Lower courts blocked the Mississippi statute. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case last year, just months after Justice Amy Coney Barrett replaced Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the court

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley filed his own amicus brief in the case earlier this week.

Throughout his time as governor, Parson has taken a firm anti-abortion stance.

His department of health attempted to shut down the state’s only abortion provider — a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis — by refusing to renew its license. The clinic sued, and an administrative law judge ruled the denial was improper.

Parson replaced the administrative law judge who ruled in Planned Parenthood’s favor last month.

He also signed legislation in 2019 criminalizing abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest. A federal injunction has blocked the law from going into effect, and the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis will review whether it is constitutional.

More recently, his efforts to convince lawmakers to extend a tax on hospitals and other healthcare providers that is crucial to Medicaid funding earned him the criticism from anti-abortion advocates. They wanted the tax to include language prohibiting Planned Parenthood from being a Medicaid provider, something Parson fought against out of concern it could put the state out of compliance with federal law.

In their brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, Parson and his fellow GOP governors argue the court should “take this opportunity to correct the mistakes in its abortion jurisprudence and recognize that the text and original understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment have nothing to do with abortion.”

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Spire claims ‘fatal consequences’ if feds allow St. Louis pipeline to be shut down

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The largest natural gas utility in Missouri claims its customers could face “potentially fatal consequences” if it is not allowed to continue operating a pipeline in St. Louis while a federal commission reconsiders its earlier approval. 

The Spire STL Pipeline, an affiliate of Spire Missouri, petitioned energy regulators earlier this week for a temporary emergency certificate to keep transporting natural gas on the pipeline for now. 

Spire’s STL Pipeline, a 65-mile gas pipeline from Illinois into Missouri, has been in operation since 2019. But it faces a ruling from a federal court panel saying regulators improperly granted approval to the pipeline. 

The company maintains the pipeline was a necessary step to improve reliability. Without it, Spire claims as many as 133,000 customers could have lost gas service during a February cold snap that forced hours-long electrical outages in Kansas City and wreaked havoc in Texas.

“Due in large part to the STL Pipeline, St. Louis avoided those impacts,” Spire STL Pipeline says in its filing. “The (Federal Energy Regulatory) Commission must assure that customers who depend on this important gas infrastructure are not suddenly left without it — particularly as another winter season approaches.”

Now, Spire is asking regulators to let the pipeline keep operating while the federal commission deals with the order from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which struck down the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of the pipeline and remanded the case to FERC for further review. 

State regulators with the Missouri Public Service Commission opened an investigation Thursday into Spire’s petition, citing the company’s warning of service shutdowns.

“Loss of the STL pipeline will have a detrimental impact on the health and safety, the prosperity and the property of the St. Louis community, particularly the communities that are most vulnerable,” said Sean Jamieson, general counsel for the STL Pipeline.

Jamieson said without the STL pipeline, up to 175,000 Spire customers would be at risk of losing service when temperatures dip below 9 degrees. At that point, the utility would have to pull from its reserves. If it had to deplete reserves completely, he said, service for as many as 400,000 customers could become unreliable at temperatures as warm as 38 degrees. 

“So the gravity of the circumstances is severe,” he said.

Before the pipeline, Jamieson said, Spire Missouri was largely dependent on natural gas purchases from Texas and Oklahoma, which have become more competitive in recent years. The pipeline allowed the utility to diversify the regions it was buying natural gas from. After it became operational, the company had less need for capacity on pipelines from Texas and Oklahoma and stopped purchasing it. Now, it doesn’t have access to that capacity. 

Spire’s pipeline first won approval in 2018 from FERC, which then denied a request from the Environmental Defense Fund for a rehearing. The nonprofit appealed FERC’s approval in January 2020, saying the agency had not rigorously studied the need for the pipeline. 

In a statement Thursday, EDF’s senior director and lead counsel on energy markets and utility regulation, Natalie Karas, said the court ruled FERC “failed to consider evidence of self-dealing and failed to demonstrate the pipeline was necessary.” But Spire STL chose to proceed anyway, Karas said. 

“This is a problem of Spire STL’s own making,” Karas said. “No one has suggested that service to St. Louis customers should be compromised. At the same time, customers must be protected from costs and risks associated with unnecessary infrastructure.” 

Such an authorization, Karas said, “should be carefully scrutinized based on facts, not fear.” 

Pipeline history 

Spire announced its intent to build the pipeline in 2016 and invited natural gas “shippers” to enter contracts for the gas the pipeline would transport. None committed, according to the appeals court order. 

Under the Natural Gas Act, for FERC to issue a certificate for a gas company to build, it must find that the pipeline “is or will be required by the present or future public convenience and necessity.” 

But with no outside companies to work with, Spire entered a “precedent agreement” with one of its own affiliates for 87.5% of the pipeline’s capacity. 

FERC approved a certificate for the pipeline in 2018, and EDF requested a rehearing, which FERC denied. EDF then appealed the decision.

The three-judge panel agreed with EDF, saying the nonprofit had “identified plausible evidence of self-dealing.”

Jamieson said the pipeline company has until Aug. 6 to request a rehearing by the court of appeals. He did not say directly whether it planned to do so but that it would pursue all regulatory and legal paths to secure energy reliability for St. Louis.

If there is no rehearing, he said, the timeline for when the pipeline could have to shut down — if it doesn’t have an emergency certificate from FERC — could vary.

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Jay Nixon will not run for Missouri’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2022

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Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon put the rumors to bed on Thursday, announcing in a tweet that he will not run for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate next year.

Considered by many to be the party’s best shot at flipping the seat currently held by retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, Nixon said in a statement that he has “truly enjoyed the positive changes in my life and fitness since completing 30 consecutive years of public service.

“I am not running for U.S. Senate,” he said. “I choose a different path.”

Nixon, 65, is scheduled to headline a fundraiser for the Clay County Democratic Party next week. The planned appearance super-charged speculation that he was pondering a return to politics.  He’d been talking to longtime aides, friends and acquaintances, gaming out the 2022 landscape and weighing his options.

But on Thursday, he closed the door on a political comeback.

“I always thrived on policy more than politics,” he said. “My post-governor involvement on a myriad of matters is not filtered through a partisan lens — that is liberating and I want it to continue.”

A Democrat who served two terms as governor and four as attorney general, Nixon began fielding calls from national party leaders the moment Blunt announced his retirement in March.

His decision not to run leaves several contenders still in the mix.

Marine Corps veteran Lance Kunce of Independence, activist Tim Shepard of Kansas City, former state Sen. Scott Sifton of Afton and entrepreneur Spencer Toder of St. Louis have filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission to run for the Senate in 2022.

On the Republican side, disgraced former Gov. Eric Greitens, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, attorney Mark McCloskey and U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler have formally entered the race — with a litany of other Republicans publicly pondering a run.

 

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Traffic Alert: Survey work will cause ramp closures as part of Buck O'Neil Project

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Traffic Alert: Survey work will cause ramp closures as part of Buck O’Neil Project
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 16:40

CLAY/JACKSON COUNTIES – The Missouri Department of Transportation will make the following traffic changes as part of the Buck O’Neil/US 169 Missouri River Bridge replacement project. All work is weather dependent.
Crews will close the ramp from eastbound I-70 to 6th/Broadway Blvd. from 9am until 3pm, Tuesday, August 3 surveying work
Crews will close the ramp from Beardsley Rd. to 6th from 9am until 3pm, Tuesday, August 3 for surveying work
 
This is all part of constructing a new Buck O’Neil Bridge that can be reasonably maintained, while providing a safe, connected and accessible transportation facility that improves system performance.   
 
The new Missouri River Bridge will cost close to $220 million dollars to construct and expected to be completed by 2024.
 
The current Buck O’Neil Memorial Bridge is a triple arch bridge carrying U.S. Route 169 over the Missouri River, and serves as a key regional connection between downtown Kansas City and communities north of the river. While safe, the bridge is nearing the end of its projected service life.
 
Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
 
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.org/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity. MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for workzone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).
 

Districts Involved

Kansas City

Published On

Thu, 07/29/2021 – 12:37

Scott Fitzpatrick announces run for Missouri Auditor

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Scott Fitzpatrick, the 33-year-old Missouri Treasurer and former House budget chairman, announced Thursday that he will seek the GOP nomination for state Auditor in 2022.

And a day earlier, in a sign that Fitzpatrick may self-finance his 2022 run, he cut a $250,000 check to his campaign committee. He’d previously reported $100,000 cash on hand as of July 1.

Less than a year after winning his first full term as state treasurer, Fitzpatrick is the first major candidate to announce his intention to run for the only statewide off in Missouri currently held by a Democrat.

The incumbent Democrat, Nicole Galloway, announced she wouldn’t seek another term last month.

So far, no Democrat has stepped forward to seek the office. Two other Republicans — House Speaker Rob Vescovo and state Rep. David Gregory — are said to be considering the race.

Gov. Mike Parson appointed Fitzpatrick as treasurer and he was sworn into office in January 2019. The office was vacated by Eric Schmitt, who Parson appointed to serve as attorney general after the resignation of Josh Hawley to take a seat in the U.S. Senate.

He won a full term in November 2020, handily defeating Democrat Vicky England by 31 percentage points.

Under the Missouri Constitution, Fitzpatrick is eligible to run for re-election as treasurer for one more term in 2024.

Before becoming treasurer, Fitzpatrick served in the Missouri House, including a stint as chairman of the influential House budget committee. In 2003, Fitzpatrick founded MariCorp U.S. as a boat dock repair firm on Table Rock Lake in Shell Knob, Mo. In 2006 he expanded the company’s reach to include manufacturing and installation of new docks and boat lifts.

In a post announcing his candidacy on Facebook, Fitzpatrick said he will rely on “my experiences to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse while holding politicians and bureaucrats responsible for how they spend Missourians’ hard working money.”

The post Scott Fitzpatrick announces run for Missouri Auditor appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

Shannon, Texas Counties Seal Coat Operation to Impact Traffic on Route JJ

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Shannon, Texas Counties Seal Coat Operation to Impact Traffic on Route JJ
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 15:30

WILLOW SPRINGS – Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) crews will be making driving surface improvements in Shannon and Texas counties next week.
Starting on Wednesday, August 4 through Friday, August 6, a seal coat treatment will be used to create a smoother driving surface on Route JJ between Route 106 in Texas County at Summersville, Missouri to the end of state maintenance in Shannon County.
Crews will close one lane between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. each day. Flaggers and a pilot car will be in place to guide traffic through the work area.
Seal coats are a pavement repair process that is used by MoDOT on roads with lower traffic volumes to maximize available resources and extend the life of a roadway. Hot emulsion oil is sprayed onto the surface of the road, followed by finely ground rocks which are then compacted to adhere to the roadway. Excess material is swept off the surface, leaving an improved roadway that will hold up longer against the elements.
The method costs about one third the amount of a traditional asphalt overlay. Along with a smoother driving surface for travelers, the treatment keeps water from penetrating the surface, extends the life of the roadway up to seven years, and provides improved traction.
Drivers are encouraged to slow down in work zones, obey all traffic signs and give crews on the road plenty of room. Delays are possible and MoDOT says they appreciate the patience of travelers while the work takes place.
Work is weather permitting and could be delayed. For more information about this project or other transportation-related matters, please call 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast. Follow the MoDOT Southeast Missouri District on Facebook or Twitter for project updates.

Districts Involved

Southeast

Published On

Thu, 07/29/2021 – 11:29

Shannon, Texas Counties Seal Coat Operaton to Impact Traffic on Route K

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Shannon, Texas Counties Seal Coat Operaton to Impact Traffic on Route K
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 15:25

WILLOW SPRINGS – Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) crews will be making driving surface improvements in Shannon and Texas counties next week.
Starting on Monday, August 2 through Wednesday, August 4, a seal coat treatment will be used to create a smoother driving surface on Route K between Route KK at Akers Ferry in Shannon County to Route KK in Texas County at Hartshorn, Missouri.
Crews will close one lane between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. each day. Flaggers and a pilot car will be in place to guide traffic through the work area.
Seal coats are a pavement repair process that is used by MoDOT on roads with lower traffic volumes to maximize available resources and extend the life of a roadway. Hot emulsion oil is sprayed onto the surface of the road, followed by finely ground rocks which are then compacted to adhere to the roadway. Excess material is swept off the surface, leaving an improved roadway that will hold up longer against the elements.
The method costs about one third the amount of a traditional asphalt overlay. Along with a smoother driving surface for travelers, the treatment keeps water from penetrating the surface, extends the life of the roadway up to seven years, and provides improved traction.
Drivers are encouraged to slow down in work zones, obey all traffic signs and give crews on the road plenty of room. Delays are possible and MoDOT says they appreciate the patience of travelers while the work takes place.
Work is weather permitting and could be delayed. For more information about this project or other transportation-related matters, please call 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast. Follow the MoDOT Southeast Missouri District on Facebook or Twitter for project updates.

Districts Involved

Southeast

Published On

Thu, 07/29/2021 – 11:24

Route 25 in Stoddard County Reduced for Culvert Replacement

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Route 25 in Stoddard County Reduced for Culvert Replacement
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 14:55

Route 25 in Stoddard County will be reduced to one lane as Missouri Department of Transportation crews replace a culvert under the roadway.
This section of roadway is located between Route M and Route AB.
Weather permitting, work will take place Monday, Aug. 2 and Tuesday, Aug. 3 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area.
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast.
 
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Districts Involved

Southeast

Published On

Thu, 07/29/2021 – 10:55

Route WW in Stoddard County Reduced for Culvert Replacement

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Route WW in Stoddard County Reduced for Culvert Replacement
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 14:40

Route WW in Stoddard County Reduced for Culvert Replacement
SIKESTON—Route WW in Stoddard County will be reduced to one lane as Missouri Department of Transportation crews replace a culvert under the roadway.
This section of roadway is located between County Road 436 and County Road 442.
Weather permitting, work will take place Monday, Aug. 2 and Tuesday, Aug. 3 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area.
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast.
 
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twitter.com/MoDOTSoutheast
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Districts Involved

Southeast

Published On

Thu, 07/29/2021 – 10:39

Overnight ramp closures along portions of I-35, I-670, I-70, and U.S. 169 beginning July 29

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Overnight ramp closures along portions of I-35, I-670, I-70, and U.S. 169 beginning July 29
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 14:35

JACKSON COUNTY –  MoDOT will be making pavement repairs in the area in downtown Kansas City beginning on Thursday, July 29. There will be lane and complete ramp closures. The following ramp and lane closures are scheduled for this week:
Thursday, July 29
Crews will close the ramp from southbound I-35 ramp to eastbound I-670 beginning on Thursday, July 29 beginning at 8 p.m. until approximately 5 a.m. the following morning.
Crews will close the ramp from northbound I-35 ramp to eastbound I-670 beginning on Thursday, July 29 beginning at 8 p.m. until approximately 5 a.m. the following morning
Crews will close the ramp from the eastbound I-670 to Central St./downtown KC beginning on Thursday, July 29, at 8 p.m. until approximately 5 a.m. the following morning.
In addition to this ramp closure, there will be various lane closures in the area.

Friday, July 30
Crews will close the ramp from westbound I-70 to northbound U.S. 169 beginning Friday, July 30, at 7:30 p.m. until approximately 6 a.m. the following morning.
Crews will close the ramp from northbound I-35 to eastbound I-70 beginning on Friday, July 30, ay 7:30 p.m. until approximately 6 a.m. the following morning.
Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity. MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for workzone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

Districts Involved

Kansas City

Published On

Thu, 07/29/2021 – 10:31

Biden executive order to promote competition in agriculture is a good first step

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Earlier this month, President Joe Biden issued an executive order that takes significant action to reduce the trend of corporate consolidation, increase competition and deliver concrete benefits to America’s consumers, workers, farmers and small businesses.

The Missouri Rural Crisis Center, a statewide farm and rural membership organization representing the interests of independent family farms and rural communities, has long led the call for action to stop further corporatization and concentration within agriculture and our food system.

President Biden and his administration’s commendable effort to level the playing field and increase fairness and competition within our food, livestock and agricultural industries is a hopeful first step in addressing the corporate control of our food production, processing and distribution that has threatened our economies, national security, water and air, climate and democratic process.

The status quo has severely impacted our ability to have a safe and secure food system, endangered the livelihoods of independent family farmers and has extracted huge amounts of wealth from our rural communities.

For example, today, most of the hogs in the United States are owned or controlled by enormous factory farm corporations (50% of the hog market is controlled by two foreign-owned meatpackers — Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods and Brazilian-owned JBS).

Over the last three decades, factory farm corporations (the biggest now owned by foreign corporations with ties to foreign governments) have put hundreds of thousands of independent hog producers out of business–which resulted in putting thousands of local independently owned processors out of business.

A family farm system is the solution.

We need strong action to combat the corporate concentration and vertical integration of our food supply. The COVID-19 pandemic clearly demonstrated the fragility of this corporate model by its inability to adequately respond to the unfolding crisis. Plant shutdowns and slowdowns caused record high meat prices for consumers at the supermarket while independent family farm producers received low prices for their livestock.

The truth is that we need more family farmers and more local processors in our food system. We need policies that lift up diversification and decentralization of our food supply, for the betterment of both farmers and consumers and for the future of food security.

The executive order focuses on strengthening and enforcing antitrust laws, which is a strong first step in decentralizing our food system and promoting independent family farmers instead of a few multinational corporations that have no accountability to our nation, natural resources or communities.

It also instructs the U.S Department of Agriculture to close the loophole that allows for imported livestock and meat to be labeled as “Product of the U.S.A.”, which is needed. Furthermore, we are also demanding that Congress reinstate mandatory country of origin labeling in support of U.S. beef producers, and consumers’ right to choose U.S. raised beef.

Future farm and food policies also must include: addressing the ability of farmers to get cost-of-production from open and competitive markets, ensuring that consumers have access to food at fair prices, stopping corporate factory farms from exploiting taxpayer-funded programs and protecting farm and food industry workers from corporate exploitation.

As a fifth generation family farmer and the executive director of an organization that fights for family farmers every day, I strongly support this executive order and this action by the Biden administration, which takes the first necessary step towards an open, fair and competitive market in support of family farmers, rural communities, workers, consumers and our natural resources. Now, it’s our task to hold Congress and the Administration’s feet to the fire to take the next steps towards fairness in our food system.

Together, we can rise to the challenge.

The post Biden executive order to promote competition in agriculture is a good first step appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

Route J in Mississippi County Closed for Pavement Repairs

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Route J in Mississippi County Closed for Pavement Repairs
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 14:05

SIKESTON?Route J in Mississippi County will be closed as Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform pavement repairs.
This section of roadway is located between Route K and Route 62.
Weather permitting, work will begin at 6 a.m. Monday, Aug. 2 and will re-open at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 3. Open to local traffic only.
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area.
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast.
 
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Districts Involved

Southeast

Published On

Thu, 07/29/2021 – 10:02

Roadwork Scheduled for Routes in Macon and Chariton Counties

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Roadwork Scheduled for Routes in Macon and Chariton Counties
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 13:15

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, MoDOT crews will be performing pavement work on routes in Macon County. See below for locations and additional information
Macon County Route UU – August 2, the road will be closed from U.S. Route 36 to the end of State Maintenance between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. while work is being completed.
Macon County Route WW – August 3, the road will be reduced to one lane from Missouri Route 129 to the Linn County line between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. while work is being completed. Flaggers will be used for traffic control.
Chariton County Route P – August 4, the road will be reduced to one lane from Missouri Route 129 to the Macon County line between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. while work is being completed. Flaggers will be used for traffic control.
Macon County Route P – August 5, the road will be reduced to one lane from U.S. Route 36 to the Chariton County line between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. while work is being completed. Flaggers will be used for traffic control.
Macon County Route VV – August 10, the road will be closed from U.S. Route 36 to the end of State Maintenance between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. while work is being completed.
Macon County Route Z – August 11, the road will be closed from U.S. Route 36 to the end of State Maintenance between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. while work is being completed.
Motorists will need to use caution when traveling through the work zone or use alternate routes. For more information on this and other roadwork in your area, you can visit us online at www.modot.mo.gov/northeast, or call our customer service number at 1-888 ASK MoDOT (275-6636).
MoDOT’s mission is to provide a world-class transportation system that is safe, innovative, reliable and dedicated to a prosperous Missouri.  Please do your part to help us achieve a safe system by wearing your seat belt every time and putting your phone down while driving…for your safety and our workers.  Take the pledge – Buckle Up, Phone Down.

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On

Thu, 07/29/2021 – 09:10

Roadwork Scheduled to Temporarily Close Routes in Shelby County

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Roadwork Scheduled to Temporarily Close Routes in Shelby County
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 13:15

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, MoDOT crews will be performing pavement work on routes in Shelby County. See below for locations and additional information
Shelby County Route A – August 2-3, the road will be closed from Route DD to U.S. Route 36 between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. while work is being completed.
Shelby County Route TT – August 4, the road will be closed from Route DD to U.S. Route 36 between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. while work is being completed.
Shelby County Route DD – August 5, the road will be closed from Route TT to Missouri Route 151 between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. while work is being completed.
Shelby County Route Y – August 9, the road will be closed from Missouri Route 151 to the end of state maintenance between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. while work is being completed.
Shelby County Route FF – August 9, the road will be closed from U.S. Route 36 to the end of state maintenance between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. while work is being completed.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes. For more information on this and other roadwork in your area, you can visit us online at www.modot.mo.gov/northeast, or call our customer service number at 1-888 ASK MoDOT (275-6636).
MoDOT’s mission is to provide a world-class transportation system that is safe, innovative, reliable and dedicated to a prosperous Missouri.  Please do your part to help us achieve a safe system by wearing your seat belt every time and putting your phone down while driving…for your safety and our workers.  Take the pledge – Buckle Up, Phone Down.

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On

Thu, 07/29/2021 – 09:11

Roadwork Scheduled to Close Routes in Adair County

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Roadwork Scheduled to Close Routes in Adair County
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 13:15

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, MoDOT crews will be performing pavement work on routes in Adair County. See below for locations and additional information
Adair County Route J – August 2-10, the road will be closed from Missouri Route 11 to Route A between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, while work is being completed.
Adair County Route A – August 9-17, the road will be closed from Route J to U.S. Route 63 between 6:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, while work is being completed.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes. For more information on this and other roadwork in your area, you can visit us online at www.modot.mo.gov/northeast, or call our customer service number at 1-888 ASK MoDOT (275-6636).
MoDOT’s mission is to provide a world-class transportation system that is safe, innovative, reliable and dedicated to a prosperous Missouri.  Please do your part to help us achieve a safe system by wearing your seat belt every time and putting your phone down while driving…for your safety and our workers.  Take the pledge – Buckle Up, Phone Down.

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On

Thu, 07/29/2021 – 09:11

Roadwork Scheduled to Close Routes in Scotland County

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Roadwork Scheduled to Close Routes in Scotland County
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 13:15

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, MoDOT crews will be performing pavement work on routes in Scotland County. See below for locations and additional information
Scotland County Route BB – August 10, the road will be closed from Missouri Route 15 to the end of state maintenance between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. while work is being completed.
Scotland County Route EE – August 11-12, the road will be closed from Missouri Route 15 to the end of state maintenance between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. daily while work is being completed.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes. For more information on this and other roadwork in your area, you can visit us online at www.modot.mo.gov/northeast, or call our customer service number at 1-888 ASK MoDOT (275-6636).
MoDOT’s mission is to provide a world-class transportation system that is safe, innovative, reliable and dedicated to a prosperous Missouri.  Please do your part to help us achieve a safe system by wearing your seat belt every time and putting your phone down while driving…for your safety and our workers.  Take the pledge – Buckle Up, Phone Down.

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On

Thu, 07/29/2021 – 09:12

Roadwork Scheduled to Close Route F in Marion County

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Roadwork Scheduled to Close Route F in Marion County
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 13:15

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, August 10, 12, 16 & 17, MoDOT crews will be performing pavement work on Route F in Marion County. The road will be closed from U.S. Route 61 to Route E between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. while work is being completed.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes. For more information on this and other roadwork in your area, you can visit us online at www.modot.mo.gov/northeast, or call our customer service number at 1-888 ASK MoDOT (275-6636).
MoDOT’s mission is to provide a world-class transportation system that is safe, innovative, reliable and dedicated to a prosperous Missouri.  Please do your part to help us achieve a safe system by wearing your seat belt every time and putting your phone down while driving…for your safety and our workers.  Take the pledge – Buckle Up, Phone Down.

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On

Thu, 07/29/2021 – 09:13

Roadwork Scheduled to Temporarily Close Routes in Ralls County

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Roadwork Scheduled to Temporarily Close Routes in Ralls County
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 13:10

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, MoDOT crews will be performing pavement work on routes in Ralls County. See below for locations and additional information
Ralls County US 61 Outer Road (Sawyer Drive) – August 2-3, the road will be closed between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. while work is being completed.
Ralls County US 61 Outer Road (Thatcher Drive) – August 2-3, the road will be closed between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. while work is being completed.
Ralls County US 61 Outer Road (Stable Drive) – August 5, the road will be closed between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. while work is being completed.
Ralls County US 61 Outer Road (Ideal Villa Place) – August 5, the road will be closed between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. while work is being completed.
Ralls County US 61 Outer Road (Selby Lane) – August 9, the road will be closed between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. while work is being completed.
Ralls County US 61 Outer Road (Luther Manor Road) – August 9, the road will be closed between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. while work is being completed.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes. For more information on this and other roadwork in your area, you can visit us online at www.modot.mo.gov/northeast, or call our customer service number at 1-888 ASK MoDOT (275-6636).
MoDOT’s mission is to provide a world-class transportation system that is safe, innovative, reliable and dedicated to a prosperous Missouri.  Please do your part to help us achieve a safe system by wearing your seat belt every time and putting your phone down while driving…for your safety and our workers.  Take the pledge – Buckle Up, Phone Down.

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On

Thu, 07/29/2021 – 09:06

Bridge Maintenance Scheduled to Temporarily Impact Traffic on U.S. Route 24 in Randolph County

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Bridge Maintenance Scheduled to Temporarily Impact Traffic on U.S. Route 24 in Randolph County
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 13:10

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, August 2-5, MoDOT crews will be performing bridge maintenance on U.S. Route 24 in Randolph County. The route will be reduced to one lane approximately one-half mile before the bridge over East Fork Salt River until approximately one-half mile after the bridge between 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. daily while work is being completed.
Motorists will need to use caution when traveling through the work zone during this time. For more information on this and other roadwork in your area, you can visit us online at www.modot.mo.org/northeast, or call our customer service number at 1-888 ASK MoDOT (275-6636).
MoDOT’s mission is to provide a world-class transportation system that is safe, innovative, reliable and dedicated to a prosperous Missouri.  Please do your part to help us achieve a safe system by wearing your seat belt every time and putting your phone down while driving…for your safety and our workers.  Take the pledge – Buckle Up, Phone Down.
 

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On

Thu, 07/29/2021 – 09:07

Roadwork Planned to Temporarily Close Route E in Montgomery County

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Roadwork Planned to Temporarily Close Route E in Montgomery County
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 13:10

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, Aug 2-5 & 9-12, MoDOT crews will be performing roadwork on Route E in Montgomery County. The route will be closed from Route O to Route DD between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. daily while work is being completed.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes during these times. For more information on this and other roadwork in your area, you can visit us online at www.modot.mo.org/northeast, or call our customer service number at 1-888 ASK MoDOT (275-6636).
MoDOT’s mission is to provide a world-class transportation system that is safe, innovative, reliable and dedicated to a prosperous Missouri.  Please do your part to help us achieve a safe system by wearing your seat belt every time and putting your phone down while driving…for your safety and our workers.  Take the pledge – Buckle Up, Phone Down.

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On

Thu, 07/29/2021 – 09:08

Roadwork Scheduled for Route E in Schuyler County

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Roadwork Scheduled for Route E in Schuyler County
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 13:10

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, August 2-5, MoDOT crews will be performing pavement work on Route E in Schuyler County. The route will be closed from Route A to U.S. 63 between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. each day.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes. For more information on this and other roadwork in your area, you can visit us online at www.modot.mo.gov/northeast, or call our customer service number at 1-888 ASK MoDOT (275-6636).
MoDOT’s mission is to provide a world-class transportation system that is safe, innovative, reliable and dedicated to a prosperous Missouri.  Please do your part to help us achieve a safe system by wearing your seat belt every time and putting your phone down while driving…for your safety and our workers.  Take the pledge – Buckle Up, Phone Down.

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On

Thu, 07/29/2021 – 09:09

Traffic Alert: Nightly pavement work will cause various lane closures on 92 Hwy in Platte Co

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Traffic Alert: Nightly pavement work will cause various lane closures on 92 Hwy in Platte Co
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 13:00

PLATTE COUNTY – The Missouri Department of Transportation will make the following traffic changes as part of a pavement repair project. All work is weather dependent.
 
Crews will close various eastbound and westbound lanes of 92 Highway between Running Horse Rd. and Marshall Rd. from 7pm until 6am nightly, beginning Monday, August 2 and continuing through Saturday, August 7 for pavement repair work.                                        
Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
 
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.org/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity. MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for workzone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).
 

Districts Involved

Kansas City

Published On

Thu, 07/29/2021 – 08:57

Fight over mask orders growing at rate to rival Missouri Delta variant cases

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Shannon County vaccination clinic sign

Politicians are fighting over masks. 

Public health officials are begging people to get vaccinated. 

And meanwhile the Delta variant continues to spread almost unchecked in the state. 

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones defended their mask mandates during separate appearances Wednesday. Page held a press conference stating that the county rule stands despite a vote Tuesday night to rescind it, while Jones told NPR’s Here and Now that low vaccination rates and high infection rates demand action.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who filed a lawsuit Monday to block the St. Louis-area mask mandates, vowed a similar tactic on Wednesday in Kansas City, where a new mandate is set to go into effect next week. 

In addition, Schmitt also filed for a temporary restraining order in his St. Louis lawsuit.

“Page and (Faisal) Khan’s refusal to withdraw their Mask Mandate is an act of stunning defiance of state law,” the motion for a restraining order states.

Across the state in Kansas City, Mayor Lucas told reporters he will submit the order to Schmitt’s office for advice on any missing legal authority.

But he hinted that he thinks Schmitt, who is running for the U.S. Senate, has a different agenda.

“You know, after a while, it’s just hard to care, right?” Lucas, a Democrat, said of the Republican attorney general. “I mean, it’s the biggest load of malarkey I think I’ve ever seen for the attorney general, who is a lawyer, to actually tweet about filing a lawsuit about something that hasn’t even been filed yet.”

“You know, after a while, it’s just hard to care, right? I mean, it’s the biggest load of malarkey I think I’ve ever seen for the attorney general, who is a lawyer, to actually tweet about filing a lawsuit about something that hasn’t even been filed yet.”

– Quinton Lucas, Mayor of Kansas City

In southwest Missouri’s hard-hit Dallas County, health Administrator Cheryl Eversole said a recent dip in cases there isn’t enough for her to believe the Delta variant surge has passed. She worries she still hasn’t seen the cases from exposure at a local fair and that new infections will follow the Ozark Empire Fair that begins Thursday in Springfield.

“I think this is going to be like a mountain range,” Eversole said of Delta variant cases. “It is not going to be one mountain standing alone. You are going to have peaks and valleys until you get enough people vaccinated. We need to have 70 or 80 percent of the people vaccinated before we can say we  have this under control.”

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In Dallas County, 30 percent of the people have initiated vaccination and 25.1 percent are fully vaccinated. That is far below the 47.5 percent statewide who have at least one shot and 41 percent who are fully vaccinated.

In seven days, the county has added 72 cases, down from 97 in the previous seven days. But while Dallas and a handful of counties are seeing declines, the state Department of Health and Human Services reported 17,214 cases statewide in the past seven days, up almost 15 percent. Of the extra 2,203 cases, nearly 60 percent have been reported by five local health departments – St. Louis, Kansas City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County and Jackson County.

The state health department reported 2,948 additional COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. The seven-day average of reported cases stood at 2,459 per day, up 11 percent in a week and 209 percent from June 28.

In health briefings Tuesday, officials in Springfield and St. Louis described the battle they are waging as the summer surge of Delta variant cases stress hospitals and health departments.

Daily case numbers have stabilized in Greene County at about 200 per day. Daily cases are declining in Joplin and in Webster County but continue to rise in Stone and Taney counties surrounding Branson.

The county health department has recorded 32 deaths this month, Springfield-Greene County Health Director Katie Towns said in a Tuesday briefing.

“Since we are continuing to see high case numbers, it is unlikely that we have reached the peak in fatalities,” she said.

Springfield Greene County Health Department Director Katie Towns stands at a podium addressing reporters while a translator for the hearing impaired signs. The setting is a government meeting room with teal walls and an American flag to the left of the podium.

Katie Towns, right, director of the Springfield-Green County Health Department, conducts a briefing Tuesday on rising COVID-19 cases. (Screenshot from Springfield-Greene County Health Department livestream)

Steve Edwards, CEO of CoxHealth reported that 19 patients died over the weekend in that company’s care and Brent Hubbard, chief operating officer of Mercy Health, said his hospital group recorded 17 deaths over the weekend.

“Please make the time to get your vaccination,” Hubbard said. “Please spare your family the heartbreak we are seeing in our hallways every day.”

Hubbard asked anyone who is not fully vaccinated to wear a mask. He said he realizes they are uncomfortable, especially in summer.

“They are a lot less uncomfortable than being on a ventilator,” he said.

Besides St. Louis, St. Louis County and Kansas City, no other health department jurisdiction in the state have mask mandates or other restrictions on gatherings.

The orders direct that everyone over age five wear a mask while in indoor public places. The St. Louis and St. Louis County orders are open-ended, while the Kansas City order will expire Aug. 28 unless extended. The masks will help limit the spread of COVID-19 while people receiving vaccines now build up immunity, said Clay Dunagan, BJC HealthCare’s chief clinical officer on behalf of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force.

People receiving the two-shot vaccines must wait three to four weeks between shots and full immunity is not achieved until about two weeks after the second shot, Dunagan said. That means the St. Louis region is “weeks to months away from getting where we need to be.”

Vaccinations have increased in the week since Gov. Mike Parson announced an incentive program with $10,000 prizes. As of Tuesday, the state averaged 12,527 shots a day over the previous week, about 50 percent higher than the rate at the beginning of the month.

Without a change in the trajectory of Delta variant infections, Dunagan said, St. Louis area hospitals could be facing numbers equal to or exceeding the highest of the pandemic. Over the previous seven days, he said, hospitals were admitting 55 new COVID-19 patients per day, on average.

Hospitalizations statewide have risen steadily since late May. As of Sunday, there were 1,727 inpatients and the number was increasing 33 per day, on average. Hospitalizations peaked in late December, with 2,862 inpatients, and ICU availability fell to 11 percent in early December. ICU bed availability statewide stood at 18 percent on Sunday.

“I am looking at these numbers with some alarm,” Dunagan said. “The path forward looks like it could equal, it could exceed what we saw in the holidays unless we take some preventive action.”

In the political fight over masks, opponents are making the issue personal freedom while supporters are arguing that they want to limit spread of the virus during a campaign to increase vaccinations.

“This mask mandate is about politics & control, not science,” Schmitt tweeted in his threat to file a lawsuit in Kansas City. “You are not subjects but citizens of what has been the freest country in the world & I will always fight for you.”

The surge in cases in the Kansas City region is more severe than in the St. Louis area, but Lucas as recently as Sunday on CBS’s Face the Nation said he would not impose a mask mandate. That changed when the CDC recommended masks be worn indoors by everyone in regions with low vaccination rates and high transmission rates.

“This is a huge problem,” Lucas said Wednesday. “Our doctors have been telling us it’s a problem for a while. Today, we are taking real steps to make sure that we address that concern long term. That to me is the most important issue. 

For Jones, the issue is gaining time. Vaccination rates among Black Missourians lag about 20 percent behind rates for whites.

“African-Americans are 20 percent of those vaccinated in the city and 80 percent of new cases,” Jones said. “We are hoping that people will look out for each other and make the health and safety of each other and their loved ones paramount above all else.”

Parson, on Twitter, said the CDC revision of its recommended mask policies will upset momentum in vaccinations.

“This self-inflicted setback encourages skepticism and vaccine hesitancy at a time when the goal is to prevent serious illnesses and deaths from COVID-19 through vaccination,” Parson wrote.

The post Fight over mask orders growing at rate to rival Missouri Delta variant cases appeared first on Missouri Independent.

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Respect the Load. Share the Road

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Respect the Load. Share the Road
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 11:55

Commercial motor vehicle awareness campaign to run in August

JEFFERSON CITY – Respect the Load. Share the Road. That’s the message you’ll be seeing across Missouri August 2-22 in a statewide campaign urging drivers to drive safely around large trucks and buses. In turn, commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers will be reminded to obey traffic laws, use their seat belts, slow down and pay attention.
“There were 130 people killed involving a CMV in 2020, with over 80% being drivers or passengers of other vehicles,” said Jon Nelson, MoDOT assistant to the state highway and traffic engineer. “Please don’t risk your life by driving aggressively around big trucks and buses.”
Commercial motor vehicles make up 20% of Missouri’s interstate traffic, carry goods from coast to coast and are a vital part of our nation’s economy. They also provide critical services many Missourians rely on every day. When crashes involving CMVs happen, the disproportionate size of the large truck versus a car means those crashes can often involve serious injuries, or worse. Research shows that in most of these crashes, drivers of passenger cars unnecessarily endanger themselves by not paying attention and driving aggressively around CMVs. That’s why it’s so important for all motorists to drive safely around CMVs. Respect the Load. Share the Road.
The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety offers the following tips for driving safely around CMVs.
Don’t cut off large trucks or buses. Make sure you can see both of the truck’s cab lights in your rearview mirror before moving back into your original lane.
Stay out of the “No Zone.” Large trucks and buses have large blind spots on either side and up to 200 feet behind a vehicle. Pass only on the left side. Don’t linger in a blind spot. Do not tailgate large trucks and buses.
Watch your following distance. Keep a safety cushion around large trucks. Can you see the truck’s side mirrors? If not, the driver cannot see you.
Anticipate wide turns. Large trucks and buses need extra turning room.
Be patient. Large trucks and buses accelerate slowly and may use speed limiters.
MoDOT continues to work toward a goal of zero roadway fatalities and urges all who travel in and around the Show-Me State this summer to buckle up, put the cellphone down, slow down and never drive while impaired. Whether driving through a work zone, sharing the road with motorcyclists or cruising around city streets with pedestrians in the area, slowing down and paying attention can help save lives.
For more information on commercial motor vehicle safety and Missouri’s new strategic highway safety plan, Show-Me Zero, and how everyone can participate, visit www.savemolives.com.
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For more information, call MoDOT at 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) or visit www.modot.org. To receive the latest statewide news and text alerts, signup for e-updates.
 
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Thu, 07/29/2021 – 07:52

MO 291 intersection work moves into Phase 3 on Aug. 3

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MO 291 intersection work moves into Phase 3 on Aug. 3
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 11:50

JACKSON COUNTY– MoDOT Kansas City is in the process of making intersection improvements at the intersections of MO Route 291 and Scherer Rd./Thompson Dr. and 16th St. in Lee’s Summit. The third phase of construction begins on Tuesday, Aug. 3, at approximately 6 a.m. This phase includes signal installation at MO Route 291 and Scherer Rd./Thompson Dr. This work will impact the outer road, Market St., 16th St., and Scherer Rd./Thompson Dr with new pavement operations, signal lighting installations, and resurfacing work.
There will be signed detours:
Scherer Rd. will be closed at MO Route 291
Motorists headed west on Thompson Dr. should turn north (right) on MO Route 291, then follow SW Persels Rd. to the west (left), turn south (left) on SW Jefferson St., and then continue west (right) onto Scherer Rd.
Motorists headed east on Scherer Rd. should turn north (left) onto SW Jefferson St., then head east (right) on SW Persels Rd. back to MO Route 291. Motorists should head south on MO Route 291 and turn east (left) on to Thompson Dr. to continue to Thompson Dr.
Access to the outer road (Market Street) will also be closed at Scherer Rd.
This project has four total construction phases:
Phase 3 (beginning August 3 to late September) will impact the outer road, Market St., 16th St., and Scherer Rd./Thompson Dr. with new pavement operations, signal lighting installations, and resurfacing.
Phase 4 (beginning in late September) will include the removal of the median at 16th St.
Project improvements include the installation of turn lanes and traffic signals at the Scherer Rd./Thompson Dr. intersection and also include the addition of right turn lanes and the removal of the median cross over and left turn lanes at the 16th St. intersection. Motorists can expect to see various lane closures in the area during construction. This project is anticipated to be complete by Oct. 2021. All work is weather permitting.
Please be patient and considerate to your fellow motorists. Use the zipper merge and take turns at merge points.  Please remember that all work zones are NO PHONE ZONES. Buckle up. Phone down. Arrive Alive. For potential impacts to traffic, please review KC Scout cameras at http://www.kcscout.net or consult our real-time traffic partner, WAZE.
Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.  MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for work zone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636)

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Thu, 07/29/2021 – 07:49

Route K in Reynolds County Reduced for Pavement Repairs

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Route K in Reynolds County Reduced for Pavement Repairs
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 11:45

Route K in Reynolds County will be reduced to one lane as Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform pavement repairs.
This section of roadway is located from County Road 422 to Route K.
Weather permitting, work will take place Monday, August 9 through Thursday August 19 from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily.
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area.
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast.
 
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Thu, 07/29/2021 – 07:42

Route BB in Ripley County Closed for Pavement Repairs

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Route BB in Ripley County Closed for Pavement Repairs
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 10:20

Route BB in Ripley County will be closed as Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform pavement repairs.
This section of roadway is located from Route 160 to County Road BB-2.
Weather permitting, work will take place Monday, Aug. 2 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Open to local traffic only.
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area.
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636), or visit www.modot.org/southeast.
 
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Thu, 07/29/2021 – 06:19

TOTAL CLOSURE of portion of I-435 for 67th St. bridge work TONIGHT, July 29

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TOTAL CLOSURE of portion of I-435 for 67th St. bridge work TONIGHT, July 29
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 08:50

Portion of I-435 to be reduced to one lane on July 31

***HAPPENING TONIGHT***
JACKSON COUNTY – MoDOT Kansas City is in the process of replacing the 67th St. bridge over Interstate 435. In order for crews to place the bridge girders, there will be a TOTAL CLOSURE of I-435 between MO Route 350 and U.S. 71 beginning at 8 p.m. TONIGHT, Thursday, July 29, until 5 a.m. the following morning. Southbound I-435 traffic is advised to use MO Route 350 around the closure. Northbound I-435 traffic is advised to use I-470 around the closure during this time. U.S. 71 is also recommended as an alternate route.
Fans traveling to Kauffman Stadium for the Kansas City Royals baseball game at 1:10 p.m. on Thursday, July 29, should not be impacted.
This work will also close the following ramps during the Thursday evening closure of I-435:
The ramp from northbound U.S. 71 to northbound I-435
The ramp from Bannister Rd. to northbound I-435
The ramp from 87th St. to northbound I-435
The ramp from 95th St. to northbound I-435
The ramp from Gregory Blvd. to northbound I-435
The ramp from MO Route 350 to southbound I-435
The ramp from Eastwood Trafficway to southbound I-435
The ramp from 63rd St. to southbound I-435
Crews will also reduce I-435 in the area to one lane in both directions beginning at 5 a.m. on Saturday, July 31, until approximately 3 p.m. that afternoon. These lane closures are to set bridge deck panels and overhangs.
All work is weather permitting.The existing bridge was built in 1965 and rehabilitated in 2007. The structure is nearing the end of its service life necessitating the need for replacement.
Please be patient and considerate to your fellow motorists. Use the zipper merge and take turns at merge points.  Please remember that all work zones are NO PHONE ZONES. Buckle up. Phone down. Arrive Alive. For potential impacts to traffic, please review KC Scout cameras at http://www.kcscout.net or consult our real-time traffic partner, WAZE.
Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
 For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.  MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for work zone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

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Thu, 07/29/2021 – 04:46

Route JJ in Ripley County Closed for Pavement Repairs

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Route JJ in Ripley County Closed for Pavement Repairs
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 07/29/2021 – 08:40

Route JJ in Ripley County will be closed as Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform pavement repairs.
This section of roadway is located from Route 160 to County Road 142E-28.
Weather permitting, work will take place Monday, Aug. 2 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Open to local traffic only.
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area.
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636), or visit www.modot.org/southeast.
 
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Thu, 07/29/2021 – 04:39

Timberland grad receives national leadership recognition

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Students from Timberland High School competed at the Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL) National Leadership Conference held July 1-2 virtually this year due to the pandemic. Recent Timberland graduate Margret Pilkinton won READ MORE

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St. Charles County highway lane closures/work zones for July 29 – August 4

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The Missouri Department of Transportation has announced the following work zones and road/lane closures for the upcoming week (Thursday, July 29 through Wednesday, August 4, 2021), weather permitting. For more on roadway closures due to READ MORE

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Section of I-70 in Wentzville to be closed this weekend

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Overnight closure between Wentzville Parkway and Highway W on Friday and Saturday will allow for installation of bridge girders for the David Hoekel Parkway.

For the complete story from the Post click on the title at the top of this article.  Help support LOCAL journalism by subscribing to the Post Dispatch by clicking HERE

Route F in Iron County Closed for Culvert Replacement

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Route F in Iron County Closed for Culvert Replacement
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 07/28/2021 – 17:05

Route F in Iron County will be closed as Missouri Department of Transportation crews replace a culvert under the roadway.
This section of roadway is located between County Road 164 and County Road 165.
Weather permitting, work will take place Wednesday, August 4th from 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area.
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast.
 
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Wed, 07/28/2021 – 13:01

Eric Schmitt lawsuit targeting St. Louis mask mandates riddled with data errors

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In his lawsuit challenging mask mandates in St. Louis and St. Louis County, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt questioned the effectiveness of past COVID-19 restrictions there.

“Despite having the most restrictive and unconstitutional orders in Missouri, St. Louis County and St. Louis City suffered some of the highest COVID-19 case rates and death rates in Missouri,” the lawsuit filed Monday states.

The problem is that it is wrong. 

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services data shows both St. Louis and St. Louis County cumulative case rates are lower than the statewide rate. And both are in the bottom half of the 117 local health departments reported by the state.

Both have death rates above the statewide average, but neither is in the highest 25 percent of local health departments.

The mistakes in the rankings aren’t the only problems in the petition. An analysis by The Independent found several other places in Schmitt’s 37-page filing where data comparisons are questionable, either because they mix state and local data or omit entire classes of cases.

Asked for more information on how the data was chosen, Schmitt spokesman Chris Nuelle did not provide any explanation on Tuesday.

“We filed a thorough, detailed lawsuit to seek relief for the people of St. Louis, and will do so expeditiously,” he wrote in an email. “We are confident and proud of our suit.” 

The St. Louis County Health Department cannot comment on the lawsuit’s characterization of the COVID-19 data, said spokesman Christopher Ave, because it will not comment on any aspect of the case. A spokesman for the St. Louis Health Department did not respond to a telephone message.

The results from comparing data reported locally by any single county with every other county’s state data are unreliable because local data often does not match state data. Local health officials get test results sooner, and may report cases based on different criteria, than the state.

The state reports cases identified by the long-swab PCR test and cases identified by the quicker antigen test. The data is reported separately as “confirmed” and “probable” cases, but that is a distinction without a difference.

Some local health departments, like St. Louis, only report PCR cases on their dashboards. Others, like Boone County, report PCR and antigen cases without separating them. And still others, like St. Louis County, report PCR, antigen and “probable” cases of people with COVID-19 symptoms living in the same household as a case identified by testing.

The state dashboard generally does not agree with local data and hasn’t since early in the pandemic. St. Louis reported 23,706 total PCR cases on Tuesday; the state reported 23,239. Boone County reported 20,673 cases Tuesday; the state reported 20,114. And St. Louis County reported 106,864; the state reported 100,444.

The same is true for deaths. St. Louis reports 538 deaths locally while the state has recorded 481. Boone County lists 118 deaths locally and 100 on the state dashboard.  St. Louis County is reporting 2,299 deaths compared to 1,937 in the state report.

When The Independent compiled local reports in March for comparison to the state dashboard, it found local health departments were reporting about 80,000 more cases and 1,100 more deaths than the state health department data showed.

The biggest reason for the differences found in case totals in March was that the state health department was not reporting results from antigen tests. When those cases were added, it increased the state count by 81,206.

As of Tuesday, local health departments were reporting just under 10,000 more cases than the state health department website shows. The lag in death reporting at the state levels remains, with local health departments reporting 10,693 deaths, 1,071 more than the state data showed.

The problems with Schmitt’s data are illustrated by one comparison that mixes state and local data and omits the state data for antigen cases entirely.

Schmitt asserts that St. Charles County, which “never imposed a government mask mandate,” has a lower overall infection and death rate than neighboring St. Louis County. That is true only if the local data for St. Louis County is compared to state data for St. Charles County and no notice is taken of the antigen case rate.

A comparison that only uses state data, with antigen data included, shows the infection rate in St. Charles County is about 12 percent higher than St. Louis County. Comparing data from the local dashboards shows an even larger gap of 16.5 percent.

Schmitt’s lawsuit seeks an order declaring that the mask mandates are “arbitrary and capricious,” violating state law and constitutional rights. The St. Louis County Council voted 5-2 Tuesday night to overturn the order, but County Executive Sam Page on Wednesday said the vote exceeded the council’s authority.

“I want to make it clear that a mask mandate remains in place in St. Louis County,” Page said.

The CDC on Tuesday revised its guidelines to recommend masks in indoor spaces in areas where the transmission rates are high and vaccination rates are low. 

Kansas City will announce a mask rule Wednesday, Mayor Quinton Lucas wrote on Twitter.

“I will return Kansas City to a mask mandate indoors based upon national and regional health guidance and discussion with other Kansas City leaders,” Lucas wrote.

Schmitt, who is seeking the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, made it clear he does not believe mask mandates are effective or legal.

“This continued government overreach is unacceptable and unconstitutional, especially in the face of a widely available vaccine,” Schmitt said in a news release announcing the lawsuit. “There is absolutely no scientific reason to continue to force children to wear a mask in school.”

A scientific analysis of mask mandates, however, reached a different conclusion. On July 3, 2020, St. Louis and St. Louis County imposed mask mandates, while the surrounding region of St. Charles, Franklin and Jefferson counties did not.

The counties were on a similar trajectory of increasing cases prior to the mandate, said Enbal Shacham of the College of Public Health at St. Louis University. The study found that masks lowered transmission within three weeks.

“Ultimately we found that St. Louis and St. Louis County consistently had a 40 percent reduction in cases (compared to the neighboring counties) and it did not increase,” she said.

To make the comparisons, Shacham and her colleagues, Stephen Scroggins and Matthew Ellis, with the College of Public Health, and Alexander Garza, former chief of the St. Louis Pandemic Task Force, used the state health department data. The data was reliably comparable, she said.

“You can’t compare these infection rates if they don’t have the same infection reporting,” Shacham said.

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Curious about construction? Traffic light too long? Ask the Road Crew

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Ask the experts from the Missouri Department of Transportation, St. Louis and St. Charles counties and St. Louis City your questions about highways and roads. The live chat starts at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

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A Look Back with the County Executive: St. Charles County's Beginnings, Part 1

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Missouri celebrates its bicentennial this August – but did you know that St. Charles County is actually older than the state? Our beginnings go back to 1769 when Louis Blanchette settled in this area, which he called “Les Petites Cotes” – Village of the Little Hills. The settlement was later renamed “San Carlos Borromeo” in 1791 by Manual Perez, Spanish Lieutenant Governor to honor Charles IV of Spain with the name of his patron saint, Bishop Carlos Borromeo. St. Charles County was officially organized more than 20 years later.
The trickle of American settlers coming to the San Carlos District at the invitation of the Spanish authorities before 1804 became a steady stream after the Louisiana Purchase, and a river after the pacification of the hostile Indian tribes. United States administration and American political institutions completely replaced the Spanish administrative, legal and land-ownership systems.
People in the District of San Carlos first heard that the United States had purchased Louisiana in the late summer of 1803, and Upper Louisiana was turned over to Amos Stoddard, the representative of the United States, on March 9, 1804. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark took time out from their trip preparation to attend a lavish celebration in St. Louis marking the transfer. Since December, the pair had been assembling men and supplies at Wood River, on the east bank of the Mississippi river, for their expedition up the Missouri River. The Corps of Discovery broke camp May 13, 1804, and under Clark’s guidance proceeded to St. Charles, where they stopped to await the arrival of Lewis. On May 20 he arrived from St. Louis with Stoddard, Auguste Chouteau and other prominent citizens of the territory. Crewmembers Pierre Cruzatte and Francois Labiche joined the Corps of Discovery in St. Charles, where there was a night of partying. Next day they heard charges against several of the men, including John Collins who was charged, "1st. for being absent without leave,—2nd, for behaveing in an unbecomeing manner at the Ball last night,—and 3rdly, for Speaking in a language last night after his return tending to bring into disrespect the orders of the Commanding officer." Collins was found guilty on all charges and given 50 lashes.1 Charles Herbert, Etienne Malboef, Jean Baptiste Lajeunesse, Pierre Roy and Jean Baptiste Deschamps, all of whom resided in St. Charles, were boatmen for the expedition, while several of the other boatmen had ties to the community. James Mackay provided the expedition with some maps, while Dr. Seth Millington, a local physician, sold castor oil to the crew.2
While concerned with exploration of unsettled western land, President Jefferson also needed to ensure the transition of settled lands to American control. While he put William Henry Harrison, governor of Indiana Territory, in charge of Upper Louisiana, he did not make it a part of Indiana Territory, since the Northwest Ordinance had outlawed slavery there. The president recommended to Harrison that the existing governmental divisions be retained, and the governor recognized the districts of St. Charles, St. Louis, St. Genevieve, Cape Girardeau, and New Madrid. Each of the five districts had a Court of Common Pleas, a Court of General Quarter Sessions, a probate court, and individual justices of the peace. Jefferson commissioned Return Meigs, Jr. as commandant of St. Charles. He commissioned Francois Saucier, Arend Rutgers, Daniel Morgan Boone, Francois Duquette and Robert Spencer, “or any three of them,” to hold a Court of Common Pleas for the District of St. Charles. Duquette leased the old Spanish fort in St Charles to the Court of Quarter Sessions for use as a jail. After President Jefferson appointed James Wilkinson governor, the territorial government began functioning on July 4, 1805. Jefferson also appointed Commandant Return Meigs Jr. of St. Charles, judge of the Superior Court, making him a member of the territorial legislature along with John B. C. Lucas and Rufus Easton.3
In addition to a new form of government, the French-speaking inhabitants of the St. Charles District were also educated in the spirit of American liberty. In 1808, attorney John Heth gave a “Fourth of July Oration” in St. Charles, explaining:
We have met to celebrate a day in commemoration of the Independence of the United States of America; a day on which the goddess of liberty waved in the air with hilarity, the glorious banner of liberty, the workmanship of the gods; a day on which the fair daughters of America rejoiced with gladdened hearts, in concert with their protecting patriotic heroes; a day in which Great Britain was seen in sackcloth and morning (sic): a day the name of which alone palsies the highest mirth.”4
Several American settlers were more in need of patriotic speeches. Aaron Burr was disappointed when Rufus Easton showed no interest in his conspiracy to create an independent country in the transappalachian region. There is evidence, however, that Joseph Blennerhasset of St. Charles County attempted to recruit several associates from the county for the unsuccessful plot.5 Congress established a Land Commission to validate land titles, nullified all land grants made after Oct. 1, 1800, and sanctioned the use of force to remove unauthorized settlers from the public land. These measures were a real threat to the French ruling elite, who immediately petitioned Congress for changes. Rufus Easton explained in a letter to the president that the petition did not represent the wishes of the general public, but only those of a small group seeking confirmation of questionable land claims. Two factions emerged concerning the land title question. One faction supported Governor James Wilkinson, and included the territory’s French inhabitants and the Americans with the largest Spanish land claims. Edward Hempstead of St. Charles was one of the leaders of this group, known as the “Junto.” Thomas Hart Benton, who arrived in St. Louis in 1815, joined Edward Hempstead and built a law practice around the defense of technically defective Spanish land titles. Benton filed suit in 1817 on behalf of St. Charles Borromeo Parish, seeking to establish good title to certain lands also claimed by recent American arrivals Andrew Wilson and Uriah Devore. The opposing group was composed almost entirely of Americans who had arrived since the purchase, including a group of young and energetic American lawyers who sought advancement through land speculation, as well as politics. One of them was David Barton, who arrived in St. Charles from Tennessee in 1809. He had close ties to St. Charles, residing there for several years and serving as judge from 1815 until 1818 in the circuit that included St. Charles, St. Louis and Washington Counties. Another was Edward Bates, who came to Missouri in 1814, practiced law with Rufus Easton, was the younger brother of Territorial Secretary Frederick Bates, served as prosecuting Attorney for the circuit that included St. Charles County, and became a political opponent of Edward Hempstead.6 After their successful return, President Jefferson appointed Meriwether Lewis territorial governor, and William Clark Indian agent for the territory. It took Lewis over a year to arrive at his post and, when he committed suicide in 1809, the president replaced him with Benjamin Howard. That same year, the push for second-class territorial status began, and Congress made the Territory of Louisiana the Territory of Missouri in 1811, thus avoiding confusion with the recently admitted State of Louisiana. Congress authorized the voters to elect a territorial legislature composed of a House of Representatives and a Council. John Pitman and Robert Spencer represented the people of the District of St. Charles in the 13-member House of Representatives. The House nominated eighteen citizens, from which the president chose nine to serve on the Council for five-year terms. Benjamin Emmons III and James Flaugherty represented the District of St. Charles in Council. Voters elected Edward Hempstead the territorial delegate to Congress in 1812.7 The pace of American immigration to St. Charles County picked up after the Louisiana Purchase. As these settlers came into contact with Native American tribes, the primary concern of the territorial government became public safety, as the residents of scattered settlements in St. Charles County were in constant fear of Indian raids. When Sac and Fox warriors killed some settlers in northern St. Charles County, tribal leaders turned over one of the guilty warriors and asked Governor Harrison to pardon the other three, and release a fourth on a technicality. These negotiations, deeply rooted in the custom and tradition of the “middle ground,” were opposed by the military commander of the regular troops in the district, who demanded that the crimes be prosecuted. Nevertheless, Harrison, whose main concern was the cession of Indian lands, obtained a presidential pardon for the Indians. He also negotiated a treaty with a delegation from the Sac and Fox tribes, who ceded a vast area between the Mississippi, Illinois and Wisconsin rivers, as well as a sizable portion of their hunting grounds on the west bank of the Mississippi River, which included all of the present Missouri counties of Ralls, Pike, Lincoln, Warren and St. Charles, along with parts of Marion, Shelby, Monroe, Audrain, and Montgomery counties. The treaty stated, “As long as the lands that are now ceded to the United States remain their property, the Indians belonging to said tribes, shall enjoy the privilege of living and hunting upon them.” The 1804 Sac and Fox Treaty contained other contradictory statements, and some tribes contended that the delegation did not have the authority to cede the land.8 At this early stage, the inhabitants of the St. Charles District and vicinity were not at war with the tribes, but the tribes were at war with each other, and American settlers sometime got caught in the middle. In spite of a treaty signed in St. Louis in 1805, hostilities continued between the Osage and a confederation of Algonquian tribes led by the Sac and Fox. Indians killed one French and nine American settlers in the District of St. Charles between 1805 and 1808. The governor threatened to cut off all trade and supplies for the Osage, but the situation did not improve. With worsening relations between the United States and Great Britain increasing the threat of Indian attacks from the north, the federal government worked to ensure the loyalty of the Osage to the west. The Superintendent of Indian Trade sent an expedition, under the leadership of George Sibley, to set up a new trading post at the mouth of the Osage River in 1808.9 Sibley was under orders from Washington to, “Be conciliatory in all your intercourse with the Indians and so demean yourself toward them generally, and toward their chiefs in particular, as to obtain and preserve their friendship and secure their attachment to the United States.”10 William Clark and a company of dragoons from the District of St. Charles under the command of Nathan Boone began an overland march to join the expedition at the proposed trading post. When the party arrived at their intended destination, the Missouri Gazette reported, “It is with heartfelt pleasure that we announce the patriotism displayed by the St. Charles troop of horse, a few days ago; they offered their services to accompany General Clark up the Missouri, in order to protect and assist in the building of the intended Fort.”11 A treaty was negotiated in which, in addition to other sessions, the Osage ceded all lands north of the Missouri River. When war came against the British and Indian tribes to the north, the treaty guaranteed the security of the left flank of the Missouri settlements.12
Governor Lewis also placed the militia on a war footing, ordering the enrollment of 41 riflemen, and construction of a series of blockhouses, in the District of St. Charles. He stationed the 3rd Regiment of the Territorial Militia in St. Charles, under the command of Colonel Timothy Kibby. The governor’s policy was not as successful along the Mississippi River, where he had to dispatch volunteer companies of militia to relieve the garrison at Fort Madison. As early as 1805, the Sioux had suggested a confederation of ten Indian nations that would unite with the British to defeat the “white devils.” The British declined to join the proposed alliance until war broke out between Great Britain and the United States in 1812.13 The prophet Tenskatawa and his brother Tecumseh had, for several years, been carrying on a desperate war against the American settlers in the Wabash region in what is now Indiana. Indian attacks on the frontier were becoming widespread by 1809, and the people of the St. Charles District had learned that Tenskatawa was inflaming the tribes against the American settlers. Settlers remained on edge and, in 1811, Governor Howard traveled to St. Charles as part of an inspection tour to select sites for further fortifications in the event of war. When the war came, local residents receive the news with mixed feelings. Meeting in St. Louis and St. Charles, they adopted a series of unanimous resolutions supporting the war, and calling upon the national government to supplement local military resources. The Sac, Fox and other tribes in the Mississippi River country, made common cause with the British. Under the leadership of Blackhawk, their base of operations was on the upper Mississippi River near the mouth of the Rock River. Companies of rangers formed in St. Charles County and proceeded to the northern frontier of the state. Secretary of State James Monroe commissioned Nathan Boone to command one of the companies.14 The biographer of Nathan Boone notes, “In July 1812, the editor of the Louisiana Gazette hailed Boone’s Rangers as ‘Spartan Warriors,’ who deserved well of their country. However, had an Indian army moved into Missouri, Boone’s Rangers would have needed to be Spartans to stop them, because as late as June 6, only 241 regular soldiers were stationed on the Mississippi.”15 Court records indicate none of the witnesses could appear at a trial that same July, “thro fear of Indian hostilities.”16
Since Congress had given the territorial governor the power to organize counties in those areas cleared of Indian title, Governor William Clark organized St. Charles County on October 1, 1812, making no mention of northern or western boundaries. A year later, the first territorial legislature fixed those boundaries to conform with the 1804 Sac and Fox Treaty – a line on the Missouri River beginning opposite the mouth of the Gasconade River, and extending due north to the Mississippi River. The legislature also provided, “That if the Indian title shall be extinguished to any land bordering on the north or west of the county of St. Charles, in the recess of the General Assembly, it shall be the duty of the Governor for the time being by proclamation to annex the same to said county – and the territory so annexed shall, to all intents and purposes be within the limits and compose a part of the county of St. Charles.”17

1.“The Missouri Reader, The Lewis and Clark Expedition, Part I,” Ed By Helen Devenau Finley, MHR, Volume 42 Issue 3, April, 1948, 249
2. Peg Tucker, “A Rendezvous with America’s Future Greatness,” Times Past, Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring, 1984, 14. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 18, 2004, Metro Section; Jo Ann Brown, “New Light on Some of the Expedition Engages,” We Proceeded On, August, 1996, 19.

3. 1885 history 125; Banner-News, December 17, 1948; Foley, A History of Missouri, 1683-1820, 88-89. Return Meigs Jr. previously served as a judge in the Northwest Territory and chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court. He later served as a governor, a United States senator and postmaster general of the United States. Ibid. 98-99.

4. John Heth, “Fourth of July Oration,” Gazette, August 2, 1808, cited in Francies L.McCurdy, “The Genius of Liberty,” MHR, 334.

5. Dennis J. Hahn, “Rufus Easton, Attorney, Public Servant, and First Postmaster,” St. Charles County Heritage, February 27, 2000, 4; 1885 history, 208; Banner-News, March 1, 1934.

6. Foley, A History of Missouri, 1683-1820, 94. Rufus Easton was also appointed the first postmaster of St. Louis and served in that capacity from 1805 until 1814. Primm, Lion of the Valley 115; History of St Charles County, 206-207; “Three Missouri Statehood Fathers,” MHR, January 1980. 267; Cain, Lincoln’s Attorney General, 7, 19.

7. When the Corps of Discovery returned to St. Charles 132 days after its departure, Lewis and Clark were guests at the home of Basil Praulx. Gregg, “A Brief History of St. Charles,” 1. See Daniel T. Brown, Westering River, 207; 1885 history 186-188. Benjamin Emmons III, senior member of the first Council, was a native of New England, while James Flauherty was a native of Virginia. John Pittman had gained fame as a colonel in the 15th Missouri State Militia. His family came from Pennsylvania, by way of Virginia. The fourth member, Robert Spencer, was an early pioneer to the county and the first judge of the Court of Common Pleas for the District of St. Charles. Ibid.

8. Place Names, Western Manuscript Collection, HSM; Foley, A History of Missouri, 1683-1820, 92; Daniel T. Brown, Westering River, 160; Foley, A History of Missouri, 1683 to 1820, 94; Flynn, St. Peters at its Best, 34.

9. 1885 history 150; Hurt, Nathan Boone, 54.

10. Hurt, Nathan Boone, 54-55.

11. Ibid., 59.

12. Ibid., 76.

13. Ibid. 78. Richard White, Middle Ground, 512.

14. Hurt, Nathan Boone, 79-81. Tenskatawa rose to power after 1809 by exploiting the hostility that had been developing and resurrecting the doctrine of the common ownership of land. He threatened village chiefs with death for their cessions to the Americans and preached a return to the old ways. Richard White, Middle Ground, 18. Foley, A History of Missouri, 1683-1820, 152; 1885 history, 96.

15. Hurt, Nathan Boone, 91.

16. William Thompson v. Jacob Coons, February 1811, St. Charles County Circuit Court Records.

17. Floyd Calvin Shoemaker, Missouri and the Missourians, Vol.1, (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company 1943), 219.

County Council 101

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I’ve been a member of the St. Charles County Council for 10 years. The County Council is the legislative body of County Government. While each Council member has different views and perspectives, we all agree that we’re here to make St. Charles County an even better place to live. This month, I thought it would be helpful to explain, for those who don’t know, how the Council works and how you can stay in touch and be involved.
The Council consists of seven members, one member elected by the voters in each of the seven council districts. Council members are elected by voters of St. Charles County for a four-year term, with terms of office beginning in January. The Chair and Vice-Chair are elected each January by the members of the Council. Detailed information about the powers, duties, and procedures of the County Council is located in the Legislative section of the County Charter [https://ecode360.com/27771688] .
Our regular meetings are where our work takes place. They are generally held at 7 p.m. on the second and last Monday of each month, except on holidays, in the Executive Office Building at 100 North Third Street in downtown St. Charles. Meetings follow an agenda, which includes an invocation, Pledge of Allegiance, roll call, public presentations, and often there is the introduction of, and public comments on, Conditional Use Permit bills. Within each zoning district, the County’s Unified Development Ordinance specifies a range of land uses that zoning standards allow, as well as a list of more restrictive conditional uses. The more restrictive uses must be reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Commission first, and then by the County Council, on a case-by-case basis for Conditional Use Permits. Conditional Use Permit bills that are introduced at one meeting will be up for final passage at the next meeting.
Next, there may be public hearings with public comments on the agenda for items such as traffic regulations, plans for citizen input, and, on an annual basis, the County budget. Then, there is time for other public comments. To speak, visitors must fill out an information card with the Council staff before the start of the meeting. Each speaker is allowed three minutes. A maximum of six speakers can talk about any given topic or agenda item, alternatingthree in favor and three opposed. The Council cannot discuss topics or agenda items with speakers or have open discussion on a subject during the public comment part of the agenda; however, Council members and staff can, and do, follow up with the speakers on topics they address after the meeting or at a later date.
After public comment is a report from the County Executive, approval of purchases and nominations/appointments, and then bills are introduced and passed. Bills that are introduced at one meeting are up for final passage at the next unless the bill is tabled for discussion at a later time. This process gives members time to review the bill and ask necessary questions before voting.
Want to stay in touch with the County Council and what we’re doing? Here’s how:
Sign up on the County website [https://www.sccmo.org/NotifyMe] to receive email alerts when the County Council agenda is posted before each meeting. You also can access agendas and minutes online [https://www.sccmo.org/AgendaCenter/SCCMO-County-Council-1] .
Attend meetings in person.
Watch County Council meetings live or watch past meetings on the County’s YouTube channel, SCCMO-TV [https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLuD7_4agcbaKVmS3hFPPMB_2LOi4wJOeD] .
Of course, we want to hear from you, our constituents, about issues and concerns. You can contact any one of us by email at any time – visit the Council Members webpage [https://www.sccmo.org/1352/Council-Members] for our email addresses. If you don’t know which County Council district you live in or who your County Council member is, visit the County GIS Mapping Service [https://maps.sccmo.org/public_web_map/?showLayers=JS_votinginformation_1777;JS_votinginformation_1777_7] . Zoom in to where you live or enter your address in the upper right corner of the map. You also can contact the County Council office at 636-949-7530 or by email [mailto:council@sccmo.org] .
Thank you for reading, and I hope we hear from you soon!

Here’s why the CDC recommends wearing masks indoors even if fully vaccinated

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A sign advertising protective face masks is taped in the window of a coronavirus pop-up store.

Vaccinated people need to mask up again, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On July 27, the CDC recommended that everyone in areas with high COVID-19 infection rates wear masks in public indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

It’s a reversal from the CDC’s May 2021 advice that the fully vaccinated could leave their masks at home and brought U.S. guidelines more in line with World Health Organization recommendations.

The Conversation asked Peter Chin-Hong, a physician who specializes in infectious diseases at the University of California, San Francisco, to help put into context the science behind the changing messages.

What science supports masking after vaccination?

Masks help stop the spread of the coronavirus. They’re a literal layer between you and any virus in the air and can help prevent infection.

The reason public health officials are calling for more mask-wearing is that there is clear and mounting evidence that – though rarebreakthrough COVID-19 infections can occur in people who are fully vaccinated. This is particularly true with emerging variants of concern. The good news is that COVID-19 infection, if it does happen, is much less likely to lead to serious illness or death in vaccinated people.

Some conditions make a breakthrough infection more likely in a vaccinated person: more virus circulating in the community, lower vaccination rates and more highly transmissible variants.

If vaccinated people can get infected with the coronavirus, they can also spread it. Hence the CDC recommendation that vaccinated people remain masked in indoor public spaces to help stop viral transmission.

Where will the guidelines apply?

The CDC mask recommendation targets areas in the U.S. with more than 50 new infections per 100,000 residents or that had more than 8% of tests come back positive during the previous week. By the CDC’s own definitions “substantial” community transmission is 50 to 99 cases of infection per 100,000 people per week, and “high” is 100 or more.

Los Angeles County, for example, far surpassed that mark in mid-July, with more than 10,000 coronavirus cases per week.

Using these criteria, the CDC guidance applied to 63% of U.S. counties on the day it was announced.

Who’s actually protected by masking recommendations?

The recommendation that fully vaccinated people continue wearing masks is primarily intended to protect the unvaccinated – which includes kids under age 12 who are not yet eligible for vaccines in the U.S. The CDC further recommends masking in public for vaccinated people with unvaccinated household members, regardless of local community transmission rates.

Unvaccinated people are at a substantially higher risk of getting infected with and transmitting SARS-CoV-2, and of developing complications from COVID-19.

How do new variants like delta change things?

Preliminary data suggests that the rise of variants like delta may increase the chance of breakthrough infections in people who received only their first vaccine dose. For instance, one study found that a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine had an effectiveness of just 34% against the delta variant, compared with 51% against the older alpha variant in terms of warding off symptomatic disease.

The data is more reassuring for those who have been fully vaccinated. After two doses, the Pfizer vaccine still provides strong protection against the delta variant, according to real-world data from Scotland and a variety of other countries; and in preliminary studies out of Canada and England, researchers noted only a “modest” decrease in effectiveness against symptomatic disease, from 93% for the alpha variant to 88% for delta.

Other recent preliminary reports from highly vaccinated countries like Israel and Singapore are sobering, however. Before the delta variant became widespread, from January to April 2021, Israel reported that the Pfizer vaccine was 97% effective in preventing symptomatic disease. Since June 20, 2021, with the delta variant circulating more widely, the Pfizer vaccine has been only 41% effective in preventing symptomatic disease, according to preliminary data reported by Israel’s Ministry of Health in late July. An analysis using government data from Singapore demonstrated that 75% of recent COVID-19 infections were in people who were at least partially vaccinated – though most of them were not severely ill.

In all reports and studies, however, vaccines remain very good at preventing hospitalizations and severe disease due to the delta variant – arguably the outcomes we most care about.

All of this emerging data supports the WHO’s global recommendation that even fully vaccinated individuals continue to wear masks. Most of the world still has low vaccination rates and uses a range of vaccines with variable efficacies, and countries have different burdens of circulating SARS-CoV-2 virus.

With U.S. case counts and breakthrough infection numbers headed in what public health officials consider the wrong direction, it makes sense that the CDC would modify its masking recommendations to be more conservative.

What conditions in the US warrant masking up (again)?

It makes sense that the CDC didn’t immediately change its recommendations to fall in line with the WHO’s June guidelines. With an overall high countrywide vaccination rate and a low overall COVID-19 hospitalization and death burden, the U.S. has a COVID-19 landscape very different from that in most of the world.

Additionally, some experts worried that an official message that the vaccinated should don masks might dissuade unvaccinated individuals from seeking vaccines.

But as President Joe Biden put it on July 27, “new research and concerns about the delta variant” are behind the CDC’s change in masking recommendations.

Some locations are seeing further increase in community transmission, even among vaccinated people. New preliminary research yet to be peer reviewed suggests the delta variant is associated with a viral load a thousand times higher in patients than seen with older strains. And early reports show infected vaccinated people with the delta variant can carry just as high an amount of virus as the unvaccinated that they can in turn spread to others.

The shifting recommendations don’t mean that the old ones were wrong, necessarily, only that conditions have changed. The bottom line? Masks do help cut down on coronavirus transmission, but it’s still vaccines that offer the best protection.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The post Here’s why the CDC recommends wearing masks indoors even if fully vaccinated appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

COVID Vaccinations Available for the Community

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As the COVID-19 Delta variant becomes more prevalent throughout the country, the St. Charles County Department of Public Health (DPH) continues to provide multiple opportunities for residents to receive the vaccine.

For the complete story from St. Charles County click on the title at the top or click on the post link above

What Do I Do If…? Who Do I Call When…? Answers to Common County Switchboard Questions

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With more than 30 departments and divisions in St. Charles County Government, our switchboard operators receive a wide variety of calls every day, but some stand out as most frequently asked about topics.

For the complete story from St. Charles County click on the title at the top or click on the post link above

More Ways to Play Are On the Way!

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New reasons for kids and families to love St. Charles County Parks are coming soon! Dynamic new playgrounds are in the works at Indian Camp Creek and Broemmelsiek parks.

For the complete story from St. Charles County click on the title at the top or click on the post link above

MoDOT TRAFFIC ALERT: Missouri Route 248 Bridge CLOSURE Over Flat Creek

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MoDOT TRAFFIC ALERT: Missouri Route 248 Bridge CLOSURE Over Flat Creek
regan.mitchell
Wed, 07/28/2021 – 14:30

Northwest of Cassville August 3-5, 9-12 For Daytime Bridge Repairs

Where: Missouri Route 248 Bridge CLOSED over Flat Creek northwest of Cassville

When: 8 a.m.- 3 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, August 3-5, & Monday-Thursday, August 9-12 (Bridge open nights and weekends)

What: MoDOT crews will make repairs underneath the bridge

Traffic Impacts:

Route 248 bridge CLOSED over Flat Creek northwest of Cassville
Bridge CLOSED during daytime hours
Bridge OPEN nights and weekends
Drivers will be able to get to driveways and entrances on either side of the bridge, but will not be able to travel over the bridge
Drivers urged to find alternate routes. No signed detours are planned.
Electronic message boards located near the planned road work will alert drivers to any changes in the work schedule
Check MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map for road closings/traffic impacts
Weather and/or scheduling conflicts could alter the work schedule.

END

(For more information, call MoDOT in Springfield at 417-895-7600 or visit www.modot.org/southwest) 
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(Take the Challenge! Buckle Up/Phone Down)

Districts Involved

Southwest

Published On

Wed, 07/28/2021 – 10:25

Nodaway County U.S. Route 71 intersection improvements complete

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Nodaway County U.S. Route 71 intersection improvements complete
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 07/28/2021 – 13:15

St. Joseph, Mo. – Intersection improvements on Nodaway County U.S. Route 71 are now complete. The improvements began in the summer of 2020 as part of the expansion to the Northwest Missouri State University’s Wright Farm facility. Crews hired by the university, working through a permit issued by the Missouri Department of Transportation, were able to complete the project today, removing temporary traffic signals and restoring access to Icon Road.
MoDOT asks drivers to work with us by always buckling up, keeping your phone down, slowing down and moving over in work zones. Know before you go and check what work zones you might encounter at traveler.modot.org.
Also at modot.org, sign up online for work zone updates. Information is also available 24/7 at 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) or via social media.
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Take the Challenge! Buckle Up/Phone Down
###

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Northwest

Published On

Wed, 07/28/2021 – 09:12

All roads lead to the present in Bicentennial Edition Map

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All roads lead to the present in Bicentennial Edition Map
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 07/28/2021 – 13:00

JEFFERSON CITY – The Bicentennial Edition of the Official Missouri Highway Map celebrates 200 years of travel in the Show-Me State. You can pick up your free copy August 12- 22 at the Highway Gardens Expo Center at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia or contact your local MoDOT district office.
“More than a million people have requested or picked up a printed Missouri highway map over the past two years,” said MoDOT Director of Transportation Planning, Eric Curtit. “We print 1.3 million maps every two years. While many travelers rely on their smartphones or other GPS systems to get around, a lot of people don’t have these options.”
Among other advantages, the paper map allows motorists to plan their route without having to worry about cellphone coverage or data drops, Curtit said.
The Bicentennial Edition souvenir map features a brief history of travel in Missouri, beginning before the state was ratified on August 10, 1821, through frontier days and into the state’s modern era with 33,830 miles of state-maintained routes, 4,800 miles of railroad tracks, 1,380 miles of Interstate highways, 125 public-use airports and 15 public ports.
The map is also great for locating public-use airports, hospitals, colleges and universities, national forests, state parks and conservation areas.
If you can’t make it to the fair, you can order a state map by calling 1-888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) or request a map online at modot.org/official-state-highway-map.
Interesting facts about the map
There are more than 4,000 highway shields and 1,500 towns shown on the front of the current map.  More than 60 separate features are shown in this new map.
Data sources for the map’s many features include the Missouri Department of Transportation, several Missouri state departments and various other agencies, including: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the USGS National Map, Environmental Sciences Research Institute and the Missouri Spatial Data Information Service.
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For more information, call MoDOT at 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) or visit www.modot.org. To receive the latest statewide news and text alerts, signup for e-updates.

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Published On

Wed, 07/28/2021 – 08:56

St. Louis Work Zones for July 29 – August 4

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St. Louis Work Zones for July 29 – August 4
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 07/28/2021 – 11:25

I-70 in Wentzville closes overnight Friday and Saturday

ST. LOUIS – Commuters wanting to travel overnight this weekend on Interstate 70 in Wentzville may encounter potential delays. All eastbound and westbound lanes will be closed overnight Friday, July 30 and overnight Saturday, July 31, weather permitting.
 
The lanes will close at 10 p.m. Friday, July 30 and reopen by 7 a.m. Saturday July 31. All lanes will close at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 31 and reopen by 8 a.m. Sunday August 1.
 
Westbound traffic will detour onto the new interchange exit and entrance ramps. Eastbound traffic will exit at the Foristell/Highway T exit and follow the detour on Veterans Memorial Parkway to Wentzville Parkway to access eastbound I-70.
 
In addition, starting at 8 p.m. Friday, July 30, crews will close the northbound I-270 ramp to westbound Route 370 for nine days. Commuters traveling northbound on I-270 can detour using Missouri Bottom Road to westbound Route 370.
 
For more on roadway closures due to construction, additional work zone information and real-time roadway weather conditions go to http://traveler.modot.org/map.  For real-time traffic, visit www.gatewayguide.com. All work is subject to change and may be shifted due to inclement weather.
  
Motorists should be aware of the following on-going closures:
I-64, St. Louis City, three lanes closed eastbound across the Mississippi River at the Poplar Street Bridge until October.
I-64, St. Louis City, Ewing bridge over the interstate is closed until late August.
I-64, St. Louis City, one left lane closed eastbound and westbound under Ewing until late August.
I-44, St. Louis County, one lane closed westbound between I-270 and Bowles through early 2022.
I-270, St. Louis County, eastbound I-270 off-ramp to Washington Street/Elizabeth Avenue closed until fall-2021.
I-270, St. Louis County, one lane Dunn Road at Washington/Elizabeth closed until fall.
I-270, St. Louis County, northbound and southbound West Florissant over I-270 closed until August.
I-270, St. Louis County, one right northbound lane at the exit to the westbound I-44 closed until mid-August. The exit will remain open (except for the weekend of July 23-26).
Route 67, St. Louis County, northbound ramp to westbound I-270 closed till mid-2022.
Route 67, St. Louis County, the ramp from southbound to eastbound Route 340 is closed until late August 2021.
Route 340, St. Louis County, the ramp from eastbound to northbound Route 67 is closed until late August 2021.
Route 364, St. Louis County, the southbound lanes of Bennington Place are closed over the route until late August.
Veterans Memorial Parkway (I-70 Outer road), St. Charles County, closed between Lake St. Louis and Rue Petite Drive until late July.
 
Please see the list of daily road closures, weather permitting:
 
Thursday, July 29
I-44, St. Louis County, 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound from Lindbergh to Bowles.
I-44, St. Louis County, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., one lane closed eastbound at Watson ramp to Geyer Road.
I-44, St. Louis County, 11 p.m. to 4 a.m., westbound ramp to southbound I-270 will be closed.
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., one eastbound and westbound lane closed from Old Halls Ferry to Washington/Elizabeth.
Route 141, St. Louis County, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., one southbound lane at Route 364 closed.
Route 67, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in both directions at Olive.
Route 67, St. Louis County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one lane closed northbound and southbound between I-70 and Route D (Page).
Route 180, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between I-170 and Route 67.
Route 30, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound at Mackenzie and Sappington/Denny.
Route 340, St. Louis County, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound over Lindbergh.
I-70, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound ramp at Bryan Road.
Route 94, St. Charles County, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between Walnut Springs Drive and Neal Lane.
Route 364, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane eastbound and westbound at Heritage Crossing.
Route 185, H & AT, Franklin County, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. one lane closed during a rolling striping operation.
Route 50, Franklin County, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between Progress Parkway and I-44. Flaggers will direct traffic through the closure.
 
Friday, July 30
I-44, St. Louis County, 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound from Lindbergh to Bowles.
I-44, St. Louis County, 11 p.m. to 4 a.m., westbound ramp to southbound I-270 will be closed.
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., one eastbound and westbound lane closed from Old Halls Ferry to Washington/Elizabeth.
I-270, St. Louis County, 8 p.m. for nine days, northbound ramp to westbound Route 370 will be closed.
Route 141, St. Louis County, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., one southbound lane at Route 364 closed.
Route 67, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in both directions at Olive.
Route 67, St. Louis County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one lane closed northbound and southbound between I-70 and Route D (Page).
Route 180, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between I-170 and Route 67.
Route 30, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound at Mackenzie and Sappington/Denny.
Route 340, St. Louis County, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound over Lindbergh.
I-70, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., up to two lanes closed eastbound and westbound between Bryan Road and Highway K.
I-70, St. Charles County, 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., all lanes eastbound and westbound closed between Wentzville Parkway and Highway W/T.
Route 94, St. Charles County, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between Walnut Springs Drive and Neal Lane.
Route 364, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane eastbound at Heritage Crossing.
Route 185, H & AT, Franklin County, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. one lane closed during a rolling striping operation.
Route 50, Franklin County, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between Progress Parkway and I-44. Flaggers will direct traffic through the closure.
Saturday, July 31
 
Route 180, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between I-170 and Route 67.
I-70, St. Charles County, 9 p.m. to 8 a.m., all lanes closed eastbound and westbound between Wentzville Parkway and Highway W/T.
Sunday, August 1
No Schedule Closures
 
Monday, August 2
I-44, St. Louis County, 2 a.m. to noon, Yarnell Road under I-44 will be closed from Soccer Park to Rudder.
I-44, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane close on South Outer Road from Route 141 to Maritz.
I-44, St. Louis County, 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound from Lindbergh to Bowles.
I-44, St. Louis County, 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., one lane closed on North Outer Road from Route 141 to Lone Elk. Flaggers will direct traffic through the closure.
Route 141, St. Louis County, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., one southbound lane at Route 364 closed.
Route 67, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in both directions at Olive.
Route 67, St. Louis County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one lane closed northbound and southbound between I-70 and Route D (Page).
Route 180, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between I-170 and Route 67.
Route 370, St. Louis County, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., westbound ramp to southbound I-270 will be closed.
Route 30, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound at Mackenzie and Sappington/Denny.
Route 340, St. Louis County, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound over Lindbergh.
I-70, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., up to two lanes closed eastbound and westbound between Bryan Road and Highway K.
Route 94, St. Charles County, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between Walnut Springs Drive and Neal Lane.
Route 364, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane eastbound at Heritage Crossing.
Route 185, H & AT, Franklin County, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. one lane closed during a rolling striping operation.
Route 50, Franklin County, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between Progress Parkway and I-44. Flaggers will direct traffic through the closure.
 
 
Tuesday, August 3
I-44, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane close on South Outer Road from Route 141 to Maritz.
I-44, St. Louis County, 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., one lane closed on North Outer Road from Route 141 to Lone Elk. Flaggers will direct traffic through the closure.
I-44, St. Louis County, 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound from Lindbergh to Bowles.
I-270, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., one eastbound and westbound lane closed from Old Halls Ferry to Washington/Elizabeth.
I-270, St. Louis County, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., moving operation one lane closed eastbound from Route 370 to Route 367.
Route 370, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., moving operation one lane closed eastbound from Route 94 to I-270.
Route 370, St. Louis County, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., westbound ramp to southbound I-270 will be closed.
Route 141, St. Louis County, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., one southbound lane at Route 364 closed.
Route 67, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in both directions at Olive.
Route 67, St. Louis County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one lane closed northbound and southbound between I-70 and Route D (Page).
Route 180, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between I-170 and Route 67.
Route 30, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound at Mackenzie and Sappington/Denny.
Route 340, St. Louis County, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound over Lindbergh.
I-70, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., up to two lanes closed eastbound and westbound between Bryan Road and Highway K.
Route 94, St. Charles County, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between Walnut Springs Drive and Neal Lane.
Route 364, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane eastbound at Heritage Crossing.
Route 185, H & AT, Franklin County, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. one lane closed during a rolling striping operation.
Route 50, Franklin County, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between Progress Parkway and I-44. Flaggers will direct traffic through the closure.
 
 
Wednesday, August 4
I-44, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane close on South Outer Road from Route 141 to Maritz.
I-44, St. Louis County, 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., one lane closed on North Outer Road from Route 141 to Lone Elk. Flaggers will direct traffic through the closure.
I-44, St. Louis County, 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound from Lindbergh to Bowles.
Route 141, St. Louis County, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., one southbound lane at Route 364 closed.
Route 67, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in both directions at Olive.
Route 67, St. Louis County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one lane closed northbound and southbound between I-70 and Route D (Page).
Route 180, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between I-170 and Route 67.
Route 370, St. Louis County, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., westbound ramp to southbound I-270 will be closed.
Route 30, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound at Mackenzie and Sappington/Denny.
Route 340, St. Louis County, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound over Lindbergh.
Route 94, St. Charles County, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between Walnut Springs Drive and Neal Lane.
Route 364, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane eastbound at Heritage Crossing.
Route 185, H & AT, Franklin County, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. one lane closed during a rolling striping operation.
Route 50, Franklin County, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in each direction between Progress Parkway and I-44. Flaggers will direct traffic through the closure.
 
###

Districts Involved

St. Louis

Published On

Wed, 07/28/2021 – 07:23

TOTAL CLOSURE of portion of I-435 for 67th St. bridge work OVERNIGHT on July 29

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TOTAL CLOSURE of portion of I-435 for 67th St. bridge work OVERNIGHT on July 29
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 07/28/2021 – 11:05

Portion of I-435 to be reduced to one lane on July 31

JACKSON COUNTY – MoDOT Kansas City is in the process of replacing the 67th St. bridge over Interstate 435. In order for crews to place the bridge girders, there will be a TOTAL CLOSURE of I-435 between MO Route 350 and U.S. 71 beginning at 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 29, until 5 a.m. the following morning. Southbound I-435 traffic is advised to use MO Route 350 around the closure. Northbound I-435 traffic is advised to use I-470 around the closure during this time. U.S. 71 is also recommended as an alternate route.
Fans traveling to Kauffman Stadium for the Kansas City Royals baseball game at 1:10 p.m. on Thursday, July 29, should not be impacted.
This work will also close the following ramps during the Thursday evening closure of I-435:
The ramp from northbound U.S. 71 to northbound I-435
The ramp from Bannister Rd. to northbound I-435
The ramp from 87th St. to northbound I-435
The ramp from 95th St. to northbound I-435
The ramp from Gregory Blvd. to northbound I-435
The ramp from MO Route 350 to southbound I-435
The ramp from Eastwood Trafficway to southbound I-435
The ramp from 63rd St. to southbound I-435
Crews will also reduce I-435 in the area to one lane in both directions beginning at 5 a.m. on Saturday, July 31, until approximately 3 p.m. that afternoon. These lane closures are to set bridge deck panels and overhangs.
All work is weather permitting.The existing bridge was built in 1965 and rehabilitated in 2007. The structure is nearing the end of its service life necessitating the need for replacement.
Please be patient and considerate to your fellow motorists. Use the zipper merge and take turns at merge points.  Please remember that all work zones are NO PHONE ZONES. Buckle up. Phone down. Arrive Alive. For potential impacts to traffic, please review KC Scout cameras at http://www.kcscout.net or consult our real-time traffic partner, WAZE.
Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
 For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.  MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for work zone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

Districts Involved

Kansas City

Published On

Wed, 07/28/2021 – 07:05

Missourians told to repay federal unemployment can seek waiver

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      The Missouri Department of Labor this month announced a waiver process for those Missourians who received federal unemployment assistance and were then told they had not been eligible for it.  Over the past few days it sent notices to Missourians who may be eligible for such a waiver.       Any Missourian who believes they … Continue reading “Missourians told to repay federal unemployment can seek waiver”

Eagle Project donates blankets to SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital – Lake Saint Louis

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SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital – Lake Saint Louis was recently the lucky recipient of fleece blankets made by Zachariah Alrashdi. He chose to make the blankets as part of his Eagle Project. Zachariah saved READ MORE

The post Eagle Project donates blankets to SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital – Lake Saint Louis first appeared on 70 West Sentinel.

For the complete story from 70 West Sentinel click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

GIS Disclaimer

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Disclaimer about the use of data provided by St. Charles County Geographic Information Systems

For the complete story from St. Charles County click the title at the top of this post or click on the post link above.

House committee to review emails between Missouri lawmakers and Circle of Hope owners

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Rep. Jered Taylor and Rep. J. Eggleston

A Missouri House committee investigating the state’s response to reports of abuse and neglect at youth residential facilities will be reviewing years of emails between two fellow GOP lawmakers and boarding school operators who are now facing nearly 100 felony charges.  

The emails — obtained through an open records request by House Minority Leader Crystal Quade and turned over to the House Special Committee on Government Oversight on Tuesday — show Stephanie Householder, an owner of the reform school Circle of Hope Girls Ranch in southwest Missouri, in regular contact with Republican Rep. Mike Stephens of Bolivar and Sen. Sandy Crawford of Buffalo.

Householder, who was charged with 21 felony counts earlier this year, kept the two lawmakers apprised of local law enforcement and child protective services investigations, relayed allegations of abuse and shared positive testimonials from students and parents.

In response, Stephens — whose district includes Circle of Hope — offered the assistance of the two lawmakers. He also shared his perspective directly with Department of Social Services officials.

Rep. Jered Taylor, a Nixa Republican and chair of the House Special Committee on Government Oversight, said the committee’s inquiry has not expanded into fellow lawmakers. But the committee will be reviewing Stephens’ and Crawford’s emails.

“When Rep. Quade says that she’s going to give us the records, there’s probably a reason, and we probably need to look at it,” Taylor said. “I’ll be able to know a little bit more once I see it.”

The committee’s inquiry has resulted in a series of hearings since March which have broadened in scope to include both licensed and unlicensed facilities, layoffs of Children’s Division employees and the department’s underreporting of findings of abuse and neglect.

Quade, a Springfield Democrat, said she filed the requests after Stephens’ and Crawford’s names were raised in closed-door hearings the committee held in April. She said GOP leadership, including Taylor and House Speaker Rob Vescovo, was made aware of her records requests before she filed them. Vescovo’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

The Independent learned of the Democrats’ inquiry through a separate records request. The emails were subsequently provided under Missouri’s Sunshine Law.

Rep. Crystal Quade

Members of the House Democratic Caucus look on as Minority Floor Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, addresses the media on the final day of the legislative session on May 14, 2021. (photo by Tim Bommel/Missouri House Communications)

Quade said she couldn’t comment on the context or provide any details about the confidential testimony that inspired her records requests. Nor would she specify who was providing testimony to the committee, citing concerns that individuals providing information to the committee may lose their jobs.

But she said the testimony raised enough concerns within the committee to warrant the unusual step of filing records requests for the emails of her legislative colleagues.

“The last thing that I want to have happen is elected officials potentially interfere with any sort of investigation that our Children’s Division staff are working on, again, with the goal of keeping our kids safe,” said Quade. “These emails show that there, at a minimum, (is) a relationship and potential involvement in these claims.”

In an interview with The Independent, Stephens said he was simply trying to advocate for his constituents and called the Democratic records request “an obvious fishing expedition.” Stephens said his situation is not typical, noting that prior to becoming his constituents, many youth residential facilities were customers of his pharmacy business for years.

He called accusations of applying political pressure to interfere with child abuse investigations “the farthest thing from the truth.”

“I am not trying to undo, or get in the way, or anything,” Stephens said. “These people are people that I’ve known, that I’ve worked with, that I’ve dealt with, and they have a story to tell. And they are my constituents. And I think it’s more than proper for me to speak up in their behalf, as long as it is made clear that I am in no way trying to proclaim their innocence.”

Crawford did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Adam Woody, the Householders’ attorney, said he is not familiar with the specifics of the emails and is not in a position to comment.

Child welfare advocates, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, said they were not surprised by the boarding schools’ outreach to lawmakers seeking their support. 

However, they were concerned by the lawmakers’ level of involvement during an ongoing investigation, which they said is not typical in their experience. They were ultimately discouraged, they said, that kids were not being believed.

“I do think it’s the responsibility of the legislator to balance their pre-existing relationship with the party and the allegations of child abuse and not take a side,” said a child welfare advocate, who asked their name not be used over concern it would impede the state’s progress on the issue.

Another advocate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of concern about how it would impact their organization’s ongoing relationships with legislators, described the facilities’ cultivation of community support as an intentional tactic to mislead.

“What these organizations have done over time is groom their communities and legislators to see them as valuable entities within their communities because that gave them access to children,” the advocate said. “And they used the community goodwill that they had as a shield and as an ability to limit accountability and oversight.”

Circle of Hope

Circle of Hope Girls Ranch, which was shutdown after law enforcement removed girls from the property last August, is located in Humansville in southwest Missouri in both Stephens and Crawfords’ legislative districts.

An investigation by The Kansas City Star into Christian boarding schools found that Circle of Hope had six substantiated reports of abuse and neglect. But despite that, former students at Circle of Hope said their calls for help were ignored, and described enduring horrific emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

DSS officials said state statute provided them little means of oversight because the facility was operated by a religious organization and therefore exempt from licensure.

In March, Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s office charged Stephanie Householder, along with her husband Boyd Householder, with a total of 102 criminal charges, all but one of them a felony. They have pleaded not guilty. The Householders were released on bond Friday due to alleged health issues, including contracting COVID, and are on home confinement as they await a pending trial, The Star reported.

For years prior to their charges, the Householders had been keeping Stephens and Crawford informed about ongoing investigations and allegations of abuse.

Stephens said in an interview that he has known the Householders for years and has visited Circle of Hope Girls’ Ranch several times.

“They’ve always been very, very nice people. But Stephanie can be stern,” Stephens said. “Were boundaries crossed at times? Did things happen that never should have? I cannot know.”

He has previously said he never received a complaint about the facility or the Householders. Asked if he ever felt it was necessary to notify the authorities when hearing of the allegations Householder relayed, Stephens said law enforcement was already investigating at the time.

“The process was already way in motion by the time I was aware that some of this was going on,” Stephens said.

Emails with lawmakers

Rep. Mike Stephens

Rep. Mike Stephens, R-Bolivar. (photo by Tim Bommel/Missouri House Communications)

In a May 11, 2018, email — the earliest one Househoulder sent to Stephens and Crawford that was included in the records request — Householder recounts being interviewed separately for over an hour by child protective services and a Cedar County Sheriff’s deputy.

That deputy, who has since retired, recently testified that she wasn’t permitted to talk to many students in 2018 as part of an earlier investigation, The Star reported.

Householder wrote in the May 2018 email that she was notified she was a suspect in a criminal case the deputy was pursuing. She recounted being asked about mental health treatment for students, methods the Householders used and refusing allowing medics to treat or speak with a girl who passed out — an interaction Householder disputed.

“She even asked if we felt we were God. Our attorney stopped this questioning,” Householder wrote.

Later that day, Householder reached out to parents informing them that during the questioning their daughter was named a victim. Householder wrote to them that her attorney asked the parents’ speak about girls being forced to lose weight and issue a statement about a social worker not returning their calls.

Householder sent both parents’ testimonies to Stephens and Crawford.

Nineteen days later, on May 30, 2018, a Missouri Highway Patrol sergeant opened an investigation into allegations of abuse at the facility. Despite the monthslong investigation that included interviewing more than a dozen former students and staff, charges were never filed, The Star reported.

In a late July 2018 email to Stephens, Householder shared a finding from the Department of Social Services. The document was not included in the records produced in response to the records request.

“As you will see, it shows the girls make up lies to get their own way,” Householder wrote, noting one girl’s testimony was the “truthful” one over another’s.

“That looks like very good news,” Stephens wrote back later that afternoon, “If not absolute exhortation.”

Stephens went on to express hope that the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office would soon “follow suit” and that he would like to believe the episode “will create a clearer understanding on the part of officials in dealing with these situations but I am fast (losing) faith in them.”

“God Bless you for the wonderful work you have devoted your lives to. Please let me know if I can assist you in any way,” Stephens wrote.

In addition to receiving updates directly from Householder, Stephens indicated in emails that he was kept informed about the Householders’ case through attorneys at the Kirksey Law Firm, which previously represented the couple.

In late February 2019, Householder shared updates with Stephens on her family’s situation. She and her son, but not her husband, had received discovery requests “from CPS,” she wrote.

“We think they are fishing for ways to ‘hang him,’” Householder wrote of her husband.

Stephens replied he would try to keep up with her case “with Jay even though he’s very limited on how much he can tell me,” in reference to Jay Kirksey, the owner of Kirksey Law Firm in Bolivar.

Kirksey did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

On May 26, 2020, Stephens received a meeting notice for a phone call conference scheduled with Householder for two days later.

On the day of Stephens scheduled meeting with Householder, he sent an email congratulating David Wood, a former state representative from Versailles who was leaving the House of Representatives to become the new Children’s Division director at the time.

“I often found behind a caring facade, personal agendas,CYA and… sometimes retribution,” Stephens said of agency employees. “I’m sure there are many sincere people in the agency trying to do an impossible job and I don’t intend to sour the air.”

I think it’s more than proper for me to speak up in their behalf, as long as it is made clear that I am in no way trying to proclaim their innocence.”

– Rep. Mike Stephens

In an interview, Stephens said he encountered a “screw you attitude” when trying to advocate for facilities.

Stephens characterized the response he’s gotten when reaching out to DSS to advocate for these facilities as, “You’re just a bunch of goddamn politicians and meddling in something you don’t know about, and I’m not about to bend to political pressure, so go away.”

Rebecca Woelfel, a spokeswoman for DSS, said all meetings between Stephens and the department have been respectful. She reiterated the department can’t discuss information relating to specific child abuse and neglect investigations with legislators, citing state statute that keeps most details confidential.

Quade said whether lawmakers intend to exert influence or not, it’s inevitable by the nature of their title and role.

“We determine whether or not these directors and Children’s Division employees get paid. We oversee their budgets. They are ultimately accountable to us, the legislature,” Quade said. “And so I think that it is completely out of line for an elected official to involve themselves.”

On July 31, 2020, Householder reached out to Stephens again and said parents had taken their daughter out of the facility.

“The father refused to sign any paperwork and refused to allow his daughter to fill out our form the girls fill out as they leave denying abuse,” Householder wrote.

Another girl who was kicked by a horse and hospitalized had been questioned about the facility’s treatment by a social worker, Householder wrote.

The girl was allegedly asked if handcuffs and neck braces were used as punishment at the school, if food was rationed and if students massaged Boyd Householder’s head or were alone with him, Householder wrote to Stephens.

The charging documents for Boyd Householder, filed seven months after the July 31 email, described using neck braces, handcuffing minors’ arms behind their back, including pushing one down the stairs after doing so, and restraining a minor on the ground and force feeding them crackers, among other incidents.

In addition to 55 counts of child abuse and neglect and two for endangering the welfare of a child, he was also charged with nine counts of second-degree statuary sodomy, six counts of second-degree statutory rape, six counts of sexual contact, and a misdemeanor count of child molestation.

A few weeks after Householder’s late July email to Stephens, about two dozen girls would be removed from the facility.

The emails from Stephens’ office also show a former boarding school student reached out in October 2019 asking him to investigate allegations of abuse at Agape Boarding School in Stockton in Cedar County.

In February, the Missouri Highway Patrol opened a criminal investigation into allegations at the school, which is also in both Stephens and Crawford’s districts.

The Attorney General’s Office was directed by Gov. Mike Parson to assist the Cedar County Prosecuting Attorney in an investigation into abuse allegations at Agape in March. It has since recommended charges, The Star reported Friday.

“Please exercise your authority wisely and end child abuse from this institution,” the former student wrote. “This rests in your hands.”

Stephens said he was not aware of the former student’s 2019 email and that it had passed his attention.

‘At this point, it is out of my hands’

Sen. Sandy Crawford with Agape Boarding School Students

Sen. Sandy Crawford, R-Buffalo, pictured with Agape Boarding School students and staff at the Missouri Capitol in 2014 when she was a state representative. (Screenshot of email)

Emails produced from Crawford’s office date as far back as 2013, when Capitol newsletters that span her time as a state representative mention visiting with Agape students and staff who visited the Capitol. Some show photos of her smiling next to them.

More recently this year, Crawford encouraged constituents with positive experiences of the boarding schools to reach out and share them with the Attorney General’s office.

Crawford wrote in an April 1, 2021, email that she was familiar with Agape, having visited it a couple of times. She shared the concerns of a couple who credited the school with turning around their son’s behavior.

“As you know, this matter has been turned over to the Attorney General. At this point, it is out of my hands,” Crawford wrote.“I certainly hope the truth comes out in this investigation.”

This past session, lawmakers passed legislation that for the first time requires background checks for facility staff and volunteers, notification with DSS of facilities’ existence and compliance with health and safety standards. The bill also puts in place mechanisms to allow parents unencumbered access to their children and a process to remove children from facilities in instances of suspected abuse or neglect.

Gov. Mike Parson signed the bill into law earlier this month. DSS is working to draft regulations to implement the new law.

Stephens voted in favor of the bill. Crawford was one of nine senators to oppose it, arguing that while the recent changes to the bill that included stronger due process provisions made her feel better about it, she still had reservations, especially about intruding on religious facilities. 

Crawford stressed during Senate debate that she does not want to protect anyone who hurts a child, but she felt lawmakers had not heard from the “hundreds” of families who had benefited from the religious boarding schools.

“This is kind of a fight between good and evil. Who’s good and who’s evil,” Crawford said at the time. “And I think the courts will sort out some of the particulars…”

A day after her vote against the bill, Crawford’s office received an email from a woman who said her son is related to the Householders. She wrote that she had visited both Agape and Circle of Hope, and worked at a sister school of Agape. 

“There was something about the place that made my skin crawl,” she wrote of Agape.

“It may be easy to frame this issue around religious freedom but that is not what these facilities are about,” she wrote, later adding: “I witnessed how religion can be used to control and abuse.”

Committee’s next steps

Since the legislative session adjourned in May, the House Special Committee on Government Oversight has not yet held any additional hearings. Taylor said he expects the committee will meet again within the next month or two, noting there are still DSS employees interested in testifying to the committee.

As for reviewing the emails, Taylor — who shares a Capitol office suite with Stephens — said he did not believe it was in the committee’s purview to look into the actions of individual lawmakers, noting if there was any potential misconduct the House Ethics Committee would handle the issue.

“That’s not our role as our committee is set up to do,” Taylor said. “Our committee is set up to hold government departments within our state accountable.”

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Signal Improvements at US 61 and Cape Rock Drive/Kiwanis Drive Intersection in Cape Girardeau

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Signal Improvements at US 61 and Cape Rock Drive/Kiwanis Drive Intersection in Cape Girardeau
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 07/27/2021 – 21:15

Flashing Yellow Arrow to Ease Traffic Flow

SIKESTON—Flashing yellow arrows will be installed at the intersection of U.S. Route 61 and Cape Rock Drive/Kiwanis Drive in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
“The Missouri Department of Transportation analyzed traffic in this area, and the addition of flashing yellow arrows will help increase efficiency,” said MoDOT Traffic Studies Specialist Grant Bowers. “The new signals will signify that drivers turning left should yield to oncoming traffic.”
The signals will also display a solid green arrow when left turning traffic has the right of way. A solid yellow arrow will indicate drivers should prepare to stop or complete the turn if in the intersection.
“By using the flashing yellow arrow, traffic on Kiwanis Drive will have more opportunities to turn left,” said Bowers.
The new signals will be activated the night of Monday, Aug. 9, weather permitting.
For more information, please contact Bowers at (573) 380-3859, District Traffic Engineer Craig Compas at (573) 472-5310 or MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (275-6636). A video of signals with flashing yellow arrows is also available at: https://youtu.be/H6-hcgWt7co.
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Southeast

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Tue, 07/27/2021 – 17:14

Workforce Development Board – Executive Committee Meeting

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Event date: August 4, 2021
Event Time: 08:00 AM – 09:30 AM
Location:
212 Turner Blvd.
St. Peters, MO 63376
Description:
Meeting will be virtual via Zoom Meeting
https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84359738322?pwd=ZjVoK0J0cExPZVZiazliMlZscFFnUT09

For the complete story from St. Charles County click the title at the top of this post or click on the post link (above).

Missouri housing commission sets hearings on low income housing tax credits

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The plan to speed up redemption of low income housing tax credits to increase their value to investors will be the subject of two public hearings Thursday by the Missouri Housing Development Commission.

The hearings, to be conducted online, will be the last chance to comment on the plan before it goes before the commission for a vote late in August. The commission approved the draft unanimously on July 15 and the final version will govern the distribution of tax credits later this year.

Under the proposal, half of the state tax credits issued will be in the accelerated redemption program and half will be issued in the traditional format of equal amounts over 10 years.

Registration is required for the hearings, with the first to start at 11 a.m. and the second starting at 6 p.m.

State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, who has promoted the plan as a way to put more money into developments, said he doesn’t think he will hear anything that would change his mind.

The first pilot program, covering 20 percent of the credits issued, was included with the 2020 plan and increased the average market value of the credits included by 16 percent, a report from a subcommittee led by Fitzpatrick concluded.

“So far, none of the comments have been negative,” Fitzpatrick said Monday. “I would have to view any comments that were negative on face value but with skepticism of why now instead of some time over the last year.”

So far, the only significant questions being raised by the plan are from lawmakers who question the commission’s authority to alter the redemption schedule.

“We never empowered the MHDC to take these kinds of liberties with the program,” said Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring.

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The 10-member commission includes four statewide officials, the governor, lieutenant governor, state treasurer and attorney general, and six members of the public appointed by the governor.

The commission subsidizes construction of apartments for low-income senior citizens, families and the homeless by issuing tax credits that can be sold to investors looking to cut their state tax bill.

They are issued in conjunction with federal tax credits and the amount of state credits, by law, can equal the state’s federal allocation for the year. Because of political controversy over the cost and the low market value of state credits, the commission did not issue any credits in 2017, 2018 or 2019 and only 70 percent of the allowed amount in 2020.

When the commission met in December, it had $173 million in federal credits and $121.1 million in state credits available and awarded credits to 36 projects to build or renovate 2,234 low-income units throughout the state. 

The credits for each project are redeemable over 10 years and the project must remain as low-income housing for 30 years. 

Prior to the introduction of the pilot program last year to accelerate redemptions, the credits matured in equal amounts each year for 10 years after the project was filled with renters. Because that meant investors had to wait up to 12 years for a return, they demanded steep discounts over face value.

A state auditor’s report from 2014 found that investors pay an average of 42 cents for each $1 worth of credits. Fitzpatrick’s committee reported that credits issued earlier in 2017 brought, on average, 57 cents on the dollar.

The projects with accelerated redemptions, which allow about 71 percent of the credits issued to be redeemed in the first five years, found investors willing to pay an average of 67.5 cents for each $1 worth of credits.

The commission needs another year to make sure those gains in value are because of the early redemption program and not some other factor, Fitzpatrick said. That is why only half of this year’s credits will be issued with accelerated redemption schedules.

“The proof is in the pudding, as they say,” Fitzpatrick said. “We will just have to see what happens.”

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If the program continues to bring higher prices for the credits, that is a good result, Eigel said.

“I am a reform guy,” Eigel said. “I think they are probably identifying things we actually should be looking at.”

Lawmakers can give the program a more robust analysis and put the commission on firmer legal footing by revising laws governing it, Eigel said.

“The changes are going to have an impact on the cash flow of the state, that does have a fiscal impact,” he said. “I would much rather those changes coming from the legislature, who are ultimately the ones to determine state finances.”

In recent years, credit redemptions have cost the state as much as $169 million. Final figures are not available for the fiscal year that ended June 30, but through March 31, $88.9 million had been redeemed, the lowest amount by that point in the year for at least five years.

The hearings Thursday will be led by commission staff and will go as late as necessary to hear all comments, Brian Vollenweider, spokesman for the commission, wrote in an email.

No date has been set for the commission vote, but Fitzpatrick said he expects a meeting to be scheduled for late August.

Anyone who wishes to comment in writing must do so by Friday by sending an email 2021QAP@mhdc.com or writing to MHDC Rental Production Department, 920 Main Street, Suite 1400, Kansas City, MO 64105.

The post Missouri housing commission sets hearings on low income housing tax credits appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

Missouri’s public universities should mandate COVID-19 vaccines for the fall semester

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Missouri has become the latest battleground in the war against COVID-19. Not only are we battling the Delta virus and its uncontrolled spread, we are also battling the clock — or should I say calendar?

The summer is quickly passing and before too long we will be back in the fall. Thus entering another cold and flu season, headlined by a global pandemic. The one thing Missourians have working for us is a miracle of science: vaccines. 

Both Pfizer and Moderna have proven their worth in the time of the Delta variant, the severity of COVID cases and the spread of the highly contagious variant rests squarely within unvaccinated populations. However, Missouri is still overwhelmingly unvaccinated. Therefore, the chief actor to fight back against the Delta variant, and protect our state as our cooler months approach, must be schools.

Specifically public universities. 

Recently, a federal judge upheld Indiana University’s vaccine mandate, stating that under the Fourteenth Amendment, the school had the authority to require a vaccine, in an emergency situation, out of interest in defending the campus and public good.

With this ruling public universities in the state of Missouri should follow suit and begin mandating the vaccine for the fall 2021 semester.

Not only is there now legal justification, Missouri is seeing spikes that we haven’t seen since before the vaccines were available.

Furthermore, according to the New York Times COVID map, the counties that house three major state schools — the University of Missouri, Missouri State and Truman State — are all high risk or hot spot counties (Boone, Greene, Adair). This means that as the school year starts, these communities that are already under attack from this virus will fill up with students from across the state. We will only see an increase of cases and a worsening of the situation in college towns.

With all of this in mind, there is no reason the vaccines should not be required to attend a public college in the state of Missouri. The vaccines are safe, effective and our best defense at slowing the speed of the virus and its variants. 

The post Missouri’s public universities should mandate COVID-19 vaccines for the fall semester appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

New Bridge Opens on Missouri Route 149 Near Connelsville

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New Bridge Opens on Missouri Route 149 Near Connelsville
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 07/27/2021 – 14:35

HANNIBAL – Motorists now have the opportunity to drive across the new bridge on Missouri Route 149 at Shuteye Creek, located near Connelsville in Adair County. The bridge closed in May to undergo replacement. The new bridge is holds two lanes of traffic and is 24-foot wide with shoulders.
This bridge is included in Gov. Mike Parson’s $351 million Focus on Bridges program, which will repair or replace 250 bridges across the state.
MoDOT’s mission is to provide a world-class transportation system that is safe, innovative, reliable and dedicated to a prosperous Missouri.  Please do your part to help us achieve a safe system by wearing your seat belt every time and putting your phone down while driving…for your safety and our workers.  Take the pledge – Buckle Up, Phone Down.
For information about other projects, please view the interactive traveler map online at www.modot.mo.gov/northeast.

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Published On

Tue, 07/27/2021 – 10:30

Route MM New Madrid County Closed for Pavement Repairs

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Route MM New Madrid County Closed for Pavement Repairs
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 07/27/2021 – 14:25

Route MM in New Madrid County will be closed as Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform pavement repairs.
This section of roadway is located from Route D to County Road 621.                            
Weather permitting, work will take place Monday, August 2 beginning at 7 a.m. and will re-open Thursday, August 5 at 5 p.m. Open to local traffic only.
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area.
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast.
 
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Southeast

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Tue, 07/27/2021 – 10:24

Missouri Notifying Individuals of Possible Waiver of Recovery from Federal Unemployment Overpayments

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Jefferson City, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has implemented a process for claimants to apply to the Division of Employment Security (DES) for potential waiver of the recovery of non-fraud federal pandemic program unemployment benefit overpayments. Notices to eligible claimants began mailing out last week and are available in the “Correspondence” tab of UInteract, Missouri’s online unemployment benefits service.

MoDOT Plans Virtual Public Hearing to Discuss Route 67 (Future I-57) in Butler County

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MoDOT Plans Virtual Public Hearing to Discuss Route 67 (Future I-57) in Butler County
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 07/27/2021 – 13:20

MoDOT Accepts Public Input on Planned Improvements

SIKESTON—The Missouri Department of Transportation will hold a virtual public hearing to discuss a proposed project to upgrade U.S. Route 67 in Butler County to four lanes in preparation for Future I-57.  
The virtual public hearing will be held Tuesday, Aug. 3 from 4 to 6 p.m., with formal presentations beginning at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. The same presentation will be delivered at both 4 and 5 p.m. to provide attendees with multiple opportunities to join the discussion. Throughout the online hearing, there will opportunities for attendees to ask questions or share comments. Attendees can join the virtual public meeting on Aug. 3 by visiting www.modot.org/futureI57. 
The proposed project includes upgrading Route 67 to interstate standards from the Route 160/158 interchange south of Poplar Bluff, Missouri to the Missouri/Arkansas state line. The entire project limits are broken down into five phases: Phases 1A and 1B, as well as Phases 2-4.
Phases 1A, 1B and 2 are funded and will be the focus of the public hearing. Phase 1A received funding through Governor Mike Parson’s cost share program. Phases 1B and 2 were funded thanks to a cost share between MoDOT and the City of Poplar Bluff. This was made possible after Poplar Bluff voters approved a ballot measure led by the Highway 67 Corporation to help fund the expansion in August 2019.
Improvements will extend from the Route 160/158 interchange to County Road 352 through the currently funded phases. The Route 160/158 interchange will be reconfigured with two roundabouts in place of the current loop ramps in the northwest and southeast quadrants.
Funding is not yet secured for Phases 3 and 4; schedules will be determined as funding becomes available.
Interested persons may review the project in more detail and share their thoughts at www.modot.org/futureI57. Individuals interested in attending the virtual public hearing may visit www.modot.org/futureI57 to join on Aug. 3.
Comments will be accepted through Tuesday, August 24, 2021.
For more information, please contact MoDOT Project Manager Tim Pickett at (573) 472-9003 or Area Engineer David Wyman at (573) 380-2913.
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Districts Involved

Southeast

Published On

Tue, 07/27/2021 – 09:15

Kansas City only Missouri school district reporting it teaches ‘critical race theory’

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Mary Byrne

A survey of over 400 Missouri school districts found only Kansas City Public Schools reported that it uses a curriculum that both teaches lessons about critical race theory and includes the 1619 Project.

Two other districts reported that they utilize the 1619 Project in their curriculum.

The results of the survey, administered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), come a week after a handful of parents and teachers opposed to critical race theory decried its teaching in schools before a committee of lawmakers — even as the state’s commissioner of education said the academic concept is largely not taught throughout K-12 public schools in Missouri.

The survey was requested by state Sen. Karla Eslinger, R-Wasola, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday about the survey’s findings.

Over the course of two weeks from July 12-23, DESE asked school districts two questions: whether their board-approved curriculum includes lesson about critical race theory and whether it includes the 1619 Project by The New York Times, which detailed the United States’ legacy of slavery.

In total, 425 responses were received, with nearly all schools answering “no.”

A spokeswoman for DESE did not respond to a request for comment on the survey’s findings or how the department plans to use the results.

Heather Fleming, the founder and director of In Purpose Education Services and founder of Missouri Equity Education Partnership, said the survey results counter the narrative of widespread indoctrination and exemplify that lawmakers’ and opponents’ focus on the issue is a “red herring.” 

However, she felt that it would ultimately be used by lawmakers to benefit their political agendas.

“What these people are saying is they don’t even want to look at where there’s a cog missing in our system,” Fleming said. “They don’t even want to examine our systems critically.”

Critical Race Theory & The 1619 Project in Missouri LEAs (1)

Experts have said that the academic concept of critical race theory, which is intended to acknowledge how racial disparities are embedded in U.S history and society, is being misconstrued by conservative lawmakers who have sought to ban it.

Katie Rash, a St. Peters mom and volunteer grassroots coordinator for the Missouri chapter of No Left Turn in Education, said she felt the survey was not a reliable method to gauge the extent to which schools teach the concept because it asked districts to self-report.

Rash, who spoke out against critical race theory at a hearing lawmakers held last week, said she felt the department should have asked more specific questions, like whether specific concepts, terms or literature are taught.

“I think it’s different understandings,” Rash said of how people define critical race theory. “And I think in some cases, it’s outright deception.”

It’s a point Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin, a Shelbina Republican and chair of the Joint Committee on Education, echoed, saying that the topic is currently so controversial she thinks “most schools are going to deny they have anything to do with it,” but would still implement its tenets in other ways.

“I’m not sure that it’s a real in-depth look,” O’Laughlin said in an interview with The Independent. “I have about a half-a-foot tall stack of evidence of these kinds of things going on in the schools, taken from school websites. So I guess I’m able to figure out things that DESE can’t figure out.”

The few districts that did answer yes to either question were in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas.

The Hazelwood School District in Florissant said it did not teach lessons about critical race theory, but that the 1619 Project is used in three classes.

In a 4th grade and 8th grade social studies class the series is a resource to help teach about the arrival of enslaved Africans in Jamestown, with students given a reading of two paragraphs in the 8th grade class.

In a 9th grade U.S. history course it’s mentioned in a suggested learning activity where former President Donald Trump discusses it and the 1776 Project, the district wrote.

In response to the 1619 Project, Trump formed a “1776 Commission,” that issued a report that the Trump administration described as “a dispositive rebuttal of reckless ‘re-education’ attempts that seek to reframe American history around the idea that the United States is not an exceptional country but an evil one.” A separate “1776 Project” curriculum was also developed by civil rights activist Robert Woodson as a counter to the 1619 Project.

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Kansas City Public Schools, which was the only district to answer yes to both questions, said the district offers an African-Centered College Preparatory Academy, a magnet school for elementary and secondary students. The school board also recently approved a $5,000 1619 Education Project grant that aimed to help two teachers implement the project’s lesson plans in summer school.

Columbia Public Schools, whose board also recently voted to approve a grant under the same program, answered no for both survey questions.

The School District of University City said the 1619 Project has been used by a teacher during a unit of study but that it had not been approved by the school board.

City Garden Montessori in St. Louis marked no to both questions and said it does not use the term critical race theory.

“However, our mission and our curriculum do incorporate anti-bias, antiracism. We discuss systemic racism in our curriculum,” the district wrote, adding that the 1619 Project was also shared with teachers as a resource.

Glenwood R-8 School District in West Plains didn’t teach either resource, but made their feelings about the topic known.

“We believe Critical Race Theory is erroneous,” the district wrote. Then added about the 1619 Project: “We don’t consider it factual either.”

The debate over critical race theory has dominated local school board meetings in Missouri in recent months and often enters the debate on how districts teach diversity in the classroom.  The Show-Me Institute, a conservative think tank, has filed a series of open records requests with districts across the state to determine if critical race theory is taught within them.

During a Joint Committee on Education hearing last week, opponents called it “psychological abuse of our children funded by taxpayers.” Lawmakers also drew criticism after no witnesses who testified to the committee were Black.

Fleming, who is Black, said she hopes to get an opportunity to have her voice heard at future hearings and highlight the impact of racism on the mental health of Black children.

O’Laughlin said the committee will meet again in the future and that she would be interested in hearing from people with views on how critical race theory is beneficial. She said she expects lawmakers to revive attempts to ban the teaching of critical race theory again next legislative session come January.

The consensus on what exactly fell under critical race theory varied, with Rash pointing to terms like white privilege as emblematic of its components and saying that she feels it teaches that society will never move past systemic racism.

“And I disagree with that,” Rash said. “I think we can get past it, if we haven’t already.”

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But Fleming said the academic concept is being used as a buzzword to drive hysteria without people understanding what it truly is.

“What our schools are teaching is equity. What schools are teaching is fairness in our society. What our schools are teaching is cultural competency among our students, so that they can be prepared for the future,” Fleming said, later adding:  “And I don’t understand what is so upsetting about that.”

The post Kansas City only Missouri school district reporting it teaches ‘critical race theory’ appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

Traffic Alert: Pavement work will cause lane closures on I-35 in Clay Co

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Traffic Alert: Pavement work will cause lane closures on I-35 in Clay Co
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 07/27/2021 – 11:00

CLAY COUNTY – The Missouri Department of Transportation will close two lanes of southbound I-35 at mile marker 31.6 (near 189th St.) from 7am, Wednesday, July 28 until 5pm, Monday, Aug. 2 for pavement repair work. All work is weather dependent.
 
Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
 
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.org/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity. MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for workzone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).
 
 

Districts Involved

Kansas City

Published On

Tue, 07/27/2021 – 06:55

Route N in Mississippi County Closed for Culvert Replacement

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Route N in Mississippi County Closed for Culvert Replacement
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 07/27/2021 – 10:35

Route N in Mississippi County will be closed as Missouri Department of Transportation crews replace a culvert under roadway.
This section of roadway is located between Route O and County Road 214.
Weather permitting, work will take place Monday, Aug. 2 beginning at 7 a.m. and re-open on Tuesday, Aug. 3 at 4:30 p.m.
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area.
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast.
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Districts Involved

Southeast

Published On

Tue, 07/27/2021 – 06:31

Florida Company Pays $100,000 into Investor Protection Fund; Returns Money to Missouri Investor

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJuly 27, 2021 Contact: JoDonn Chaney, (573) 526-0949

Florida Company Pays $100,000 into Investor Protection Fund; Returns Money to Missouri Investor
 Jefferson City, Mo. — Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s Securities Division issued a consent order against Florida-based WCO

MoDOT Plans Virtual Public Hearing to Discuss Route 67 (Future I-57) in Butler County

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MoDOT Plans Virtual Public Hearing to Discuss Route 67 (Future I-57) in Butler County
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 07/27/2021 – 10:05

MoDOT Accepts Public Input on Planned Improvements

SIKESTON—The Missouri Department of Transportation will hold a virtual public hearing to discuss a proposed project to upgrade U.S. Route 67 in Butler County to four lanes in preparation for Future I-57.  
The virtual public hearing will be held Tuesday, Aug. 3 from 4 to 6 p.m., with formal presentations beginning at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. The same presentation will be delivered at both 4 and 5 p.m. to provide attendees with multiple opportunities to join the discussion. Throughout the online hearing, there will opportunities for attendees to ask questions or share comments. Attendees can join the virtual public meeting on Aug. 3 by visiting www.modot.org/futureI57. 
The proposed project includes upgrading Route 67 to interstate standards from the Route 160/158 interchange south of Poplar Bluff, Missouri to the Missouri/Arkansas state line. The entire project limits are broken down into five phases: Phases 1A and 1B, as well as Phases 2-4.
Phases 1A, 1B and 2 are funded and will be the focus of the public hearing. Phase 1A received funding through Governor Mike Parson’s cost share program. Phases 1B and 2 were funded thanks to a cost share between MoDOT and the City of Poplar Bluff. This was made possible after Poplar Bluff voters approved a ballot measure led by the Highway 67 Corporation to help fund the expansion in August 2019.
Improvements will extend from the Route 160/158 interchange to County Road 352 through the currently funded phases. The Route 160/158 interchange will be reconfigured with two roundabouts in place of the current loop ramps in the northwest and southeast quadrants.
Funding is not yet secured for Phases 3 and 4; schedules will be determined as funding becomes available.
Interested persons may review the project in more detail and share their thoughts at www.modot.org/futureI57. Individuals interested in attending the virtual public hearing may visit www.modot.org/futureI57 to join on Aug. 3.
Comments will be accepted through Tuesday, August 24, 2021.
For more information, please contact MoDOT Project Manager Tim Pickett at (573) 472-9003 or Area Engineer David Wyman at (573) 380-2913.
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Districts Involved

Southeast

Published On

Tue, 07/27/2021 – 06:03

TRAFFIC ALERT: Route 65 CLOSED Under Route 83 Near Warsaw at Night Aug. 2 & 3 for Bridge Work

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TRAFFIC ALERT: Route 65 CLOSED Under Route 83 Near Warsaw at Night Aug. 2 & 3 for Bridge Work
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 07/27/2021 – 10:05

Where: U.S. Route 65 under Missouri Route 83 south of Warsaw
When: 6:30 p.m., Monday, August 2 until 7 a.m., Tuesday, August 3 and 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, August 3 until 7 a.m., Wednesday, August 4
What: Contractor crews will be setting forms in preparation for pouring concrete on Route 83 bridge deck/driving surface over Route 65
Traffic Impacts:
All lanes of Route 65 CLOSED in both directions under Route 83 while crews are working on bridge deck/driving surface over Route 65
Route 65 drivers will be detoured up and over the northbound and southbound ramps at Route 83
Signs and message board will alert drivers approaching work zone
Drivers are urged to seek alternate route
Weather and/or scheduling conflicts could alter the work schedule.
Additional Project Information: This work is part of a project to remove the bridge deck/driving surface of the Route 83 bridge and replace it with a new surface. In addition, new guardrail will be installed at the ends of the bridge.
The bridge is expected to remain closed until mid-September to complete the work. 
 
(For more information, call MoDOT in Springfield at 417-895-7600 or visit www.modot.org/southwest)
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(Take the Challenge! Buckle Up/Phone Down)

Districts Involved

Southwest

Published On

Tue, 07/27/2021 – 06:04

Southbound I-35 ramp to eastbound I-670 closure scheduled for July 27 at 8 p.m.

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Southbound I-35 ramp to eastbound I-670 closure scheduled for July 27 at 8 p.m.
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 07/27/2021 – 09:45

JACKSON COUNTY – MoDOT Kansas City will close the ramp from southbound I-35 to eastbound I-670 TONIGHT, Tuesday, July 27, at 8 p.m. until approximately 5 a.m. the following morning. This closure is for pavement repairs. Motorists must find alternate routes during this time. All work is weather permitting.
Please be patient and considerate to your fellow motorists. Use the zipper merge and take turns at merge points.  Please remember that all work zones are NO PHONE ZONES. Buckle up. Phone down. Arrive Alive. For potential impacts to traffic, please review KC Scout cameras at http://www.kcscout.net or consult our real-time traffic partner, WAZE.
Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
 For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.  MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for work zone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

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Tue, 07/27/2021 – 05:41

Missouri Route 17 in Howell County to Close for Summer Fest

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Missouri Route 17 in Howell County to Close for Summer Fest
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 07/27/2021 – 09:40

WILLOW SPRINGS – Route 17 in Howell County will be CLOSED for Mountain View’s Summer Fest. 
The closure is located from Pine Street to Oak Street in downtown Mountain View, Missouri.
The closure will take place Saturday, August 7 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The area will be marked with signs.  Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area.
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast.
 
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Tue, 07/27/2021 – 05:35

St. Charles County COVID-19 update: 49.5 percent of residents have initiated vaccination

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St. Charles County Government and the Department of Public Health staff are working closely with local, regional, state and federal partners to investigate COVID-19, monitor individuals who may have been exposed to the virus and READ MORE

The post St. Charles County COVID-19 update: 49.5 percent of residents have initiated vaccination first appeared on 70 West Sentinel.

For the complete story from 70 West Sentinel click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

Fuel shortages drove February blackouts, Southwest Power Pool investigators find

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KANSAS CITY — Rolling outages that left thousands without power in February were driven overwhelmingly by fuel shortages — especially in natural gas, executives with the Southwest Power Pool said Monday.

This winter, sustained frigid temperatures across the Midwest and South forced huge demand for energy while the weather made generators struggle to keep up. The Southwest Power Pool, a regional transmission organization spanning 17 states, twice instructed its member utility companies, including Evergy, to shut off customers’ power or “shed load” in order to keep the grid stable and avoid uncontrolled outages like those seen in Texas.

For five months, SPP has been reviewing the events of February and coming up with a plan to not let it happen again. Its most urgent action items center on better predicting how much energy it will have and ensuring the fuel it needs shows up on time.

“If we’d have had anywhere close to what we historically have seen, we would not have had to shed load,” said Lanny Nickell, executive vice president and chief operating officer for SPP.

Overall, at the height of the cold snap, SPP had 39,777 megawatts of power available compared to a five-year average of 55,733. Prices for energy rose above $4,300 per megawatt hour compared to $18 normally. To keep the lights on, SPP relied heavily on imports from other regions across the country.

But its own fuel sources varied in reliability. Fewer than half of the gigawatts of electricity created by natural gas that SPP counted on showed up on Feb. 16, the height of the outages. Coal generation was off by almost 25%. Wind, however, met its “accredited capacity,” meaning it was available at the level SPP forecasts. SPP officials said previously there were wind outages, but that wind power they didn’t count on helped offset that. 

SPP officials delivered a similar message in preliminary remarks to the Kansas Corporation Commission earlier this year: that natural gas, normally reliable as a power generator that can be turned on quickly to meet peak demand, was a huge problem. 

But the Monday update, where SPP staff presented their comprehensive review to the organization’s board, narrowed in on the industry more and asked SPP staff to come up with policies to help the transmission group ensure natural gas will be there in the future. 

Staff recommended and the SPP board approved a list of recommendations, including that it will advocate for improvements to policies in the gas industry. 

But one SPP board member said the organization’s review didn’t go deep enough. 

Tom Kent, a member of SPP’s board and president and CEO of the Nebraska Public Power District, the state’s largest utility, said SPP’s review should have included why the network was short on fuel.

“Why was lack of fuel the largest contributor?” Kent said. “For example, was it because of the weather and wells were frozen, pipelines were frozen — or was it because of the fact that we went through rolling blackouts and interrupted load to gas pipeline pumping stations that require that?”

Nickell said the shortages of fuel emerged before the SPP implemented blackouts — not as a result of the blackouts.

SPP’s plan calls for coordination with the gas industry to develop better trading practices that allow electric utilities to access gas on short notice to use when demand is high. 

SPP also will review its own practices when it comes to accrediting different types of power. 

“Accredited capacity” is the amount of a given type of power SPP expects to rely on. For example, it accredited 22 gigawatts of coal power during the storm.

But on average over the past five years, SPP has only had 20 gigawatts available. And during the storm, production fell to 17.

The same was true for natural gas, only more dramatic. SPP accredited 30 gigawatts of natural gas. On average, it only has 25. On Feb. 16, it was only 13.

SPP’s review is only one facet of regulators’ and industry executives’ ongoing investigation into the February breakdown.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is expected to issue a report, and state regulators are already dealing with how to spread out extraordinary energy costs stemming from huge spikes in natural gas prices during the cold snap.

Evergy customers in parts of Missouri may be paying off costs from the storm for 15 years. In Kansas, natural gas companies are starting to petition state regulators to recoup costs from customers over time

At the same time, SPP board member Geri Huser, chairwoman of the Iowa Utilities Board, said there’s still more to learn.

“I do not think or believe that we actually know what all the issues are, and I think it will be a long period of time before we know who benefitted, what problems were created, how they were created and how we resolved them,” Huser said.

The post Fuel shortages drove February blackouts, Southwest Power Pool investigators find appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

Inspection closes westbound lane of Discovery Bridge, pedestrian-bike crossing

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Only one westbound lane of the bridge will be closed at a time this week, but the biking and walking trail is off limits through Friday.

For the complete story from the Post click on the title at the top of this article.  Help support LOCAL journalism by subscribing to the Post Dispatch by clicking HERE

Lake Saint Louis Police Blotter: June 10 – 16, 2021

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The following reports for June 10 – June 16, 2021 were supplied to 70 West Sentinel by the Lake Saint Louis Police Department. A report of an arrest or charges filed is not an assumption READ MORE

The post Lake Saint Louis Police Blotter: June 10 – 16, 2021 first appeared on 70 West Sentinel.

For the complete story from 70 West Sentinel click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

Josh Hawley urges Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade in Mississippi abortion case

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Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley joined with two of his GOP colleagues on Monday to file an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to overturn the the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

Hawley, a Yale Law School graduate and former Missouri attorney general, has said before that he could only support Supreme Court nominees if they agree with him that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided.

Now, along with GOP Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas, Hawley has filed a brief in a Mississippi case weighing whether state laws that ban abortions before fetal viability are constitutional.

The case centers around Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The state originally argued the law complied with existing precedent. But last week, Mississippi’s argument was reframed to ask the court to overturn its decision in Roe that women have a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy before the fetus is able to survive outside the womb.

Lower courts blocked the Mississippi statute. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case last year, just months after Justice Amy Coney Barrett replaced Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the court

In addition to Roe v. Wade, Hawley is asking the court to overturn Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that said states may not impose an “undue burden” on the right to abortion before fetal viability.

“Roe and Casey should be overruled,” Hawley’s brief says, “and the question of abortion legislation should be returned to the states.”

The argument is playing out while while a federal appeals court considers the constitutionality of Missouri’s even more strict abortion ban.

In 2019, state lawmakers approved a bill criminalizing abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest. The wide-ranging bill also bans abortions if they are being sought solely because of a prenatal diagnosis, test, or screening indicating Down Syndrome or the potential of Down Syndrome in an unborn child.

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis deemed the law unconstitutional in early June. There is nothing an individual can do under Missouri’s law to obtain an abortion after the eight-week cutoff, the ruling said, creating an undue burden that makes the law “categorically unconstitutional.”

But in an unusual move, the appeals court decided to review that decision, putting the case before all 18 judges of the 8th Circuit Court. An injunction blocking the 2019 law remains in effect. 

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who is running for U.S. Senate, had vowed to appeal the original decision to to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The post Josh Hawley urges Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade in Mississippi abortion case appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

Wentzville Board of Aldermen July 28 agenda: New vision statement and Menard’s, again

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The Wentzville Board of Aldermen will meet on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 at Wentzville City Hall. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and is open to the public. On the agenda: Consent agenda: Minutes, resolution READ MORE

The post Wentzville Board of Aldermen July 28 agenda: New vision statement and Menard’s, again first appeared on 70 West Sentinel.

For the complete story from 70 West Sentinel click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

Right lane closure scheduled for westbound U.S. 24 at MO 291 on July

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Right lane closure scheduled for westbound U.S. 24 at MO 291 on July
Visitor (not verified)
Mon, 07/26/2021 – 20:05

JACKSON COUNTY – MoDOT Kansas City will close the right lane of westbound U.S. 24 at MO Route 291 beginning at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, July 27 until approximately 5 p.m. Crews will be replacing a light pole on the northwest corner of U.S. 24 and MO Route 291 during this time. All work is weather permitting.
Please be patient and considerate to your fellow motorists. Use the zipper merge and take turns at merge points.  Please remember that all work zones are NO PHONE ZONES. Buckle up. Phone down. Arrive Alive. For potential impacts to traffic, please review KC Scout cameras at http://www.kcscout.net or consult our real-time traffic partner, WAZE.
Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.  MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for work zone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

Districts Involved

Kansas City

Published On

Mon, 07/26/2021 – 16:04

‘This could be prevented’: Springfield hospitals report 27 COVID deaths over the weekend

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Two Springfield hospitals reported 27 COVID-19 related deaths over the weekend — and 132 so far this month — as the surge of infections caused by the highly contagious Delta variant continues to burn across the region. 

Steve Edwards, CEO of CoxHealth in Springfield, tweeted Monday morning that “we have lost 15 more lives to COVID from Friday-Sunday at CoxHealth. We have lost 72 so far in July. All unvaccinated.”

At nearby Mercy Springfield, there were 12 COVID-19 deaths, according to Erik Frederick, the hospital’s chief administrative officer. That brings the total number of COVID deaths at Mercy Springfield to 60 since July 2, he tweeted. 

“This is very hard for our team,” Frederick tweeted. “I said the same last year. The difference now is that most of this could be prevented. That adds an extra layer of anguish.”

Meanwhile on Sunday, Lake Expo published a letter to the community from administrators at Lake Regional Hospital in Osage Beach detailing the toll of the virus in recent weeks and pleading for people to get vaccinated. 

We have experienced 22 COVID-related deaths in the past 23 days,” the letter said. “That’s 22 grieving families who have looked to our team for answers and support, a heartbreaking burden for our caregivers who have dedicated their lives to healing.”

While the two Springfield hospital systems were dealing with the more than two dozen deaths, the state Department of Health and Senior Services COVID-19 dashboard recorded only a single death, in Butler County, since it was updated Friday morning.

And while the Springfield and Lake of the Ozarks hospitals together have recorded 154 deaths this month, the health department dashboard has recorded 164 total for the month. The Independent found in March that the state report showed more than 1,100 fewer deaths than local health department reports

That gap is still evident in the New York Times tally from local health departments, showing that more than 10,000 Missourians have died of COVID-19 since March 2020. The state health department official count of deaths from COVID-19 was 9,558 as of Monday morning.

The Delta variant surge is also showing no signs of abating. On Monday morning, the state health department reported 1,115 new COVID-19 cases. The seven-day average of reported cases is 2,406, up 16 percent from a week ago and 210% from a month ago.

!function(){“use strict”;window.addEventListener(“message”,(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data[“datawrapper-height”]){var t=document.querySelectorAll(“iframe”);for(var a in e.data[“datawrapper-height”])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}();Forty-seven percent of Missourians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 41 percent are fully vaccinated, according to state data. Nationally, 57 percent have received at least one dose, and 49 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hospitalizations statewide stood at 1,682 as of Friday, rising on average 35 per day. Those are the same levels they were in October when hospital administrators begged Gov. Mike Parson for a statewide mask mandate

Parson ultimately refused to issue a mandate last year. And on Monday, he took aim at the renewed local mask mandate in the St. Louis area. 

With all indicators pointing towards the Delta surge moving toward the state’s urban centers, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced the area would become one of the first in the country to reinstate a mask mandate. 

“For those who are vaccinated this may feel like punishment, punishment for doing the right thing,” St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, a Democrat, said at a news conference Monday. “I’ve heard that and I feel that frustration. While the vaccination can protect against serious illness, it can’t protect you from being infected with COVID-19 and passing it onto someone else, someone who may be more vulnerable.”

Parson joined a chorus of criticism of the move, saying on Twitter that enacting mask mandates “when we have the vaccine is ignoring the real solution and eroding public trust.”

“These policies that don’t consider vaccination status reduce the incentive of getting the vaccine and undermine its integrity,” Parson tweeted. “The vaccine is how we rid ourselves of COVID-19, not mask mandates that ignore common sense.”

The governor’s critics were quick to note that he signed legislation last month that banned any effort to require proof of a COVID-19 vaccination to access public services, more commonly referred to as vaccine passports. 

Parson has also stopped short of a full-throated call for vaccinations, couching his public statements with criticism of government overreach and mentions of individual responsibility.

Joining the governor in opposing the St. Louis area mask mandate is Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who vowed during several media appearances over the weekend to file a lawsuit to stop the mandate from being implemented. 

“Our freedoms are on the line,” Schmitt, who is running for U.S. Senate, tweeted

Meanwhile in Kansas City, which reports only 38.8 percent of its population as vaccinated, Mayor Quinton Lucas said during an interview with CBS’ Face the Nation that every major city is wondering if it’s time to return to mask mandates. 

“We have thought at this point thus far that it is not necessary for Kansas City,” he said.

Instead, Lucas said, the goal must be to get more people vaccinated — noting that most COVID-19 hospitalizations are made up of the unvaccinated. 

“So breaking through to that population, and I think when you think about that population, maybe about half of our unvaccinated folks are those that want to fight and think that this is all just fake,” he said. “But there’s another half of folks that just haven’t done it yet for whatever reason. So we are trying to make sure that we push that message.”

Kansas City is considering requiring all 5,000 city employees to be vaccinated, Lucas said, adding that he would “encourage more American businesses, more American local and state governments to consider that as an important step for how we can show how important it is to our jurisdictions.”

The Independent’s Rudi Keller contributed to this story.

The post ‘This could be prevented’: Springfield hospitals report 27 COVID deaths over the weekend appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

Route AB in Cape Girardeau County Closed for Railroad Maintenance

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Route AB in Cape Girardeau County Closed for Railroad Maintenance
Visitor (not verified)
Mon, 07/26/2021 – 15:25

Route AB (Nash Road) in Cape Girardeau County will be closed as contractor crews perform railroad maintenance.
This section of roadway is located between County Road 219 and County Road 218.
Weather permitting, work will be underway Thursday, July 29 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area.
For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit www.modot.org/southeast. 
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Mon, 07/26/2021 – 11:21

Overnight ramp closure from eastbound Interstate 670 to Central Street will occur July 27 and 28

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Overnight ramp closure from eastbound Interstate 670 to Central Street will occur July 27 and 28
Visitor (not verified)
Mon, 07/26/2021 – 15:25

 
 
JACKSON COUNTY –  MoDOT will close the ramp from eastbound Interstate 670 to Central Street/Downtown will occur from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Tuesday, July 27 and Wednesday, July 28 for pavement repairs.
 
During that time, the far left lane of I-670 leading up to the ramp will also be closed.
 
Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
 
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity. MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for workzone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Published On

Mon, 07/26/2021 – 11:23

July 26, 2021 | COVID Vaccinations Available This Week

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St. Charles County offers convenient COVID-19 vaccinations. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. Call 636-949-1899 to schedule appointments or for more information.

Additional upcoming events are planned and will be announced soon.

For the complete story from St. Charles County click on the title at the top or click on the post link above

As holdout Missouri joins nation in monitoring opioid prescriptions, experts worry

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This story was originally published by Kaiser Health News.

Kathi Arbini said she felt elated when Missouri finally caught up to the other 49 states and approved a statewide prescription drug monitoring program this June in an attempt to curb opioid addiction.

The hairstylist turned activist estimated she made 75 two-hour trips in the past decade from her home in Fenton, a St. Louis suburb, to the state capital, Jefferson City, to convince Republican lawmakers that monitoring how doctors and pharmacists prescribe and dispense controlled substances could help save people like her son, Kevin Mullane.

He was a poet and skateboarder who she said turned to drugs after she and his dad divorced. He started “doctor-shopping” at about age 17 and was able to obtain multiple prescriptions for the pain medication OxyContin. He died in 2009 at 21 from a heroin overdose.

If the state had had a monitoring program, doctors might have detected Mullane’s addiction and, Arbini thinks, her son might still be alive. She said it’s been embarrassing that it’s taken Missouri so long to agree to add one.

“As a parent, you would stand in front of a train; you would protect your child forever — and if this helps, it helps,” said Arbini, 61. “It can’t kill more people, I don’t think.”

But even though Missouri was the lone outlier, it had not been among the states with the highest opioid overdose death rates. Missouri had an average annual rank of 16th among states from 2010 through 2019, as the country descended into an opioid epidemic, according to a KHN analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data compiled by KFF.

Some in public health now argue that when providers use such monitoring programs to cut off prescription opiate misuse, people who have an addiction instead turn to heroin and fentanyl. That means Missouri’s new toll could cause more people to overdose and leave the state with buyer’s remorse.

“If we can take any benefit from being last in the country to do this, my hope would be that we have had ample opportunity to learn from others’ mistakes and not repeat them,” said Rachel Winograd, a psychologist who leads NoMODeaths, a state program aimed at reducing harm from opioid misuse.

Before Missouri’s monitoring program was approved, lawmakers and health and law enforcement officials warned that the absence made it easier for Missouri patients to doctor-shop to obtain a particular drug, or for providers to overprescribe opiates in what are known as pill mills.

State Sen. Holly Rehder, a Republican with family members who have struggled with opioid addiction, spent almost a decade pushing legislation to establish a monitoring program but ran into opposition from state Sen. Rob Schaaf, a family physician and fellow Republican who expressed concerns about patient privacy and fears about hacking.

In 2017, Schaaf agreed to stop filibustering the legislation and support it if it required that doctors check the database for other prescriptions before writing new ones for a patient. That, though, sparked fresh opposition from the Missouri State Medical Association, concerned the requirement could expose physicians to malpractice lawsuits if patients overdosed.

The new law does not include such a requirement for prescribers. Pharmacists who dispense controlled substances will be required to enter prescriptions into the database.

Dr. Silvia Martins, an epidemiologist at Columbia University who has studied monitoring programs, said it’s important to mandate that prescribers review a patient’s information in the database. “We know that the ones that are most effective are the ones where they check it regularly, on a weekly basis, not just on a monthly basis,” she said.

But Stephen Wood, a nurse practitioner and visiting substance abuse bioethics researcher at Harvard Law School, said the tool is often punitive because it cuts off access to opioids without offering viable treatment options.

He and his colleagues in the intensive care unit at Carney Hospital in Boston don’t use the Massachusetts monitoring program nearly as often as they once did. Instead, he said, they rely on toxicology screens, signs such as injection marks or the patients themselves, who often admit they are addicted.

“Rather than pulling out a piece of paper and being accusatory, I find it’s much better to present myself as a caring provider and sit down and have an honest discussion,” Wood said.

When Kentucky in 2012 became the first state to require prescribers and dispensers to use the system, the number of opioid prescriptions and overdoses from prescription opioids initially decreased slightly, according to a state study.

But the number of opioid overdose deaths — with the exception of a slight dip in 2018 and 2019 — has since consistently ticked upward, according to a KFF analysis of CDC data. In 2020, Kentucky was estimated to have had the nation’s second-largest increase in drug overdose deaths.

When efforts to establish Missouri’s statewide monitoring program stalled, St. Louis County established one in 2017 that 75 local jurisdictions agreed to participate in, covering 85% of the state, according to the county health department. The county now plans to move its program into the state one, which is scheduled to launch in 2023.

Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the county department, said he has no doubt that the St. Louis program has “saved lives across the state.” Opioid prescriptions decreased dramatically once the county established the monitoring program. In 2016, Missouri averaged 80.4 opioid prescriptions per 100 people; in 2019, it was down to 58.3 prescriptions, according to the CDC.

The overall drug overdose death rate in Missouri has steadily increased since 2016, though, with the CDC reporting an initial count of 1,921 people dying from overdoses of all kinds of drugs in 2020.

Khan acknowledged that a monitoring program can lead to an increase in overdose deaths in the years immediately following its establishment because people addicted to prescription opioids suddenly can’t obtain them and instead buy street drugs that are more potent and contain impurities.

But he said a monitoring program can also help a physician intervene before someone becomes addicted. Doctors who flag a patient using the monitoring program must then also be able to easily refer them to treatment, Khan and others said.

“We absolutely are not prepared for that in Missouri,” said Winograd, of NoMODeaths. “Substance use treatment providers will frequently tell you that they are at max capacity.”

Uninsured people in rural areas may have to wait five weeks for inpatient or outpatient treatment at state-funded centers, according to PreventEd, a St. Louis-based nonprofit that aims to reduce harm from alcohol and drug use.

For example, the waiting list for residential treatment at the Preferred Family Healthcare clinic in Trenton is typically two weeks during the summer and one month in winter, according to Melanie Tipton, who directs clinical services at the center, which mostly serves uninsured clients in rural northern Missouri.

Tipton, who has worked at the clinic for 17 years, said that before the covid-19 pandemic, people struggling with opioid addiction mainly used prescription pills; now it’s mostly heroin and fentanyl, because they are cheaper. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Still, Tipton said her clients continue to find providers who overprescribe opiates, so she thinks a statewide monitoring program could help.

Inez Davis, diversion program manager for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s St. Louis division, also said in an email that the program will benefit Missouri and neighboring states because “doctor shoppers and those who commit prescription fraud now have one less avenue.”

Winograd said it’s possible that if the state had more opioid prescription pill mills, it would have a lower overdose death rate. “I don’t think that’s the answer,” she said. “We need to move in the direction of decriminalization and a regulated drug supply.” Specifically, she’d rather Missouri decriminalize possession of small amounts of hard drugs, even heroin, and institute regulations to ensure the drugs are safe.

State Rep. Justin Hill, a Republican from St. Charles and former narcotics detective, opposed the monitoring program legislation because of his concerns over patient privacy and evidence that the lack of a program has not made Missouri’s opioid problem any worse than many other states’. He also worries the monitoring program will lead to an increase in overdose deaths.

“I would love the people that passed this bill to stand by the numbers,” Hill said. “And if we see more deaths from overdose, scrap the monitoring program and go back to the drawing board.”

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

The post As holdout Missouri joins nation in monitoring opioid prescriptions, experts worry appeared first on Missouri Independent.

For the complete story from MissouriIndependent.com click on the title of this article or click on the "post" link above

MoDOT: Greene County Route ZZ & Farm Road 182 Near Wilson's Creek National Battlefield

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MoDOT: Greene County Route ZZ & Farm Road 182 Near Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield
regan.mitchell
Mon, 07/26/2021 – 14:55

Focus of Virtual (Online) Public Meeting August 9-18

Greene County – The public is invited to a virtual (online) public meeting starting Monday, August 9, to learn more about plans to build a roundabout Greene County Route ZZ and Farm Road 182 west of Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield in 2023, the Missouri Department of Transportation said.

The meeting will include a 10-day comment period beginning Monday, August 9, through Wednesday, August 18, and can be accessed at https://www.modot.org/online-public-meetings.

For those unable to access the online meeting, they are encouraged to contact MoDOT’s Southwest District Office at 417.895.7600 and accommodations will be made to share the information and gather feedback.

The Greene County Route ZZ/Farm Road 182 Roundabout project’s estimated total cost is $1.3 million.

Construction of the new roundabout will take place sometime in Spring of 2023.

END 
(For more information, call MoDOT in Springfield at 417-895-7600 or visit www.modot.org/southwest) 
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(Take the Challenge! Buckle Up/Phone Down)

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Mon, 07/26/2021 – 10:51

New law aims to help get more services to homeless teens in Missouri

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Trysta Herzog owns a successful marketing business in Springfield.

But when she was a teenager, she was homeless. At 15, Herzog and her older brother decided that living with their stepfather who was addicted to heroin was not the safest place for them.

Learning from other teens like her, she knew she couldn’t tell her teachers that she was staying on a friend’s couch or living out of her car. If she did, they would report her parents to the state for child abuse and then put her in foster care or a residential living home for teens.

“I didn’t want to go into the system, knowing that they had the power to strip me from my autonomy,” said Herzog, who now volunteers with FosterAdopt Connect at the Springfield location. 

Not being able to tell her counselors what was going on made it much harder for them to help her, she said.

Now Herzog is part of a task force in Springfield working to open a drop-in center for struggling teens — a one-stop shop for resources like employment assistance, tutoring, housing assistance and transportation.

But in order for that to be successful, they needed state legislators to change part of the law that mandates service providers to report parents for abuse or neglect simply because their teenagers choose not to live at home. 

“Our hands are tied,” she said, “if we as mandated reporters have to report that they are homeless.” 

This month, Gov. Mike Parson signed legislation that will, in part, free up groups like FosterCare Connect to provide homeless teens, 16 and older, with more services. 

The bill alters when providers are mandated to report child abuse, stating that the fact that a teen is unaccompanied is, in and of itself, not sufficient basis anymore. 

“This legislation will allow us to serve a vulnerable population of youth who too often fall through the cracks,” said Allison Gregory, executive director of FosterAdopt Connect’s Southwest Resource Center. “Without the fear of being reported, teenagers will be able to trust that they can enter our doors and get the critical services they need.”

The language was part of an omnibus bill to protect “vulnerable persons” containing about 20 provisions, including a measure to prohibit schools from using certain types of restraining or seclusion methods on students, mandating that schools accommodate breastfeeding mothers and allowing parents to record school board meetings. 

The package of laws goes into effect on Aug. 28. 

The change in the mandated reporting law comes at a crucial time, with the pandemic increasing the number of homeless families and the federal eviction moratorium ending on July 31. 

The child welfare system is already beyond capacity, said Gwen O’Brien, director of advocacy and prevention at Kansas City’s Synergy Services, an agency that provides families respite from violence. 

Service providers across the state can now step in and provide homeless teens with immediate assistance without involving the state’s Children’s Division, which investigates cases of abuse.

“This is not the most appropriate way to use those very limited resources that exist within the division,” she said, “when we have agencies in the community, like Synergy, that have the potential to work with that family.”

Getting the word out 

Synergy Services’ youth alley is a designated Safe Place. (Photo courtesy of Synergy Services)

Libraries. Schools. YMCA’s. QuikTrips. These are all “Safe Places,” which is a national program of designated places that children can go if they are in crisis or need food and other services. 

But oftentimes, homeless teens won’t walk in the door at all, said O’Brien, noting that Synergy is among the service providers licensed to retrieve the children at the Safe Place locations.

“We don’t want people, youth, families, anybody to be afraid of the child welfare system,” said O’Brien, who previously worked in the state’s Children’s Division for 10 years. “It’s not that. It is that we can offer the services that a youth would need to overcome homelessness, without involving the child welfare system.”

The biggest challenge after Aug. 28 will be making sure the state’s hotline employees and the service providers are all aware of the change to the law. It will also take time for teens to hear about the new provision and trust that they won’t be reported.

“What we are doing is trying to raise awareness within the provider community of this change,” said Craig Stevenson, director of policy and advocacy for Kids Win Missouri, one of the groups that lobbied for the provision.

Kids Win Missouri is a nonprofit formed in 2018, after previously being an arm of the progressive think tank, the Missouri Budget Project. This is the group’s second successful attempt to get legislation passed that impacts homeless teens. 

In 2020, the group led a coalition of providers in lobbying for a law mandating that homeless children or unaccompanied youths aren’t charged a fee or required to have the signature of their parents or guardians for copies of birth records. 

“They can’t do anything in life if they don’t have a copy of their birth certificate,” Stevenson said. “But because they’re minors, they weren’t able to get a copy on their own.”

Rep. Brenda Shields, R-St. Joseph, talks with Emily van Schenkhof, executive director at Missouri Children’s Trust Fund, and Craig Stevenson, policy director at Kids Win Missouri. (Photo by Lauren Ranney.)

Previously homeless children could get access to health care but not mental health services, he added. The 2020 bill changed that as well, and also made homeless children eligible for MO HealthNet benefits.

The coalition of providers came together again this year to push for this change in mandated reporting. A mandated reporter still must report suspected abuse or neglect of the youth, and the change only applies to children 16 or older.

The group found a “champion” in state Rep. Patricia Pike, R-Adrian, who was a school counselor for many years. State Sen. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, filed a companion bill. 

“As a high school counselor, I witnessed the needs of our at-risk and unaccompanied youth,” said Pike in a statement. “Addressing barriers for homeless youth to receive services will result in improved personal well-being and will assist them with the skills to become self-sufficient, independent adults.”

That’s a point that Herzog says is crucial. She was lucky enough to go to an alternative high school, where her teachers were able to guide her in the right direction and provide lots of support. She went to become a journalist after college, and not that long ago, she was the director of communications for Greene County.

“How can we set them up for success, whether that’s foster care if that’s needed or if it is just empowering them and giving them the tools to be successful adults?” Herzog said.

The teenage years are a challenging time for anyone to navigate academics, identify a potential career path, and learn self-care methods to get through tough times and emotions.

“We all struggled with this, whether we were 20 at college or 35 reinventing ourselves,” she said. “How can we see that their struggles are compounded by all of these other factors? And what can we do to help them?”

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Ongoing fight for voting rights shows how the weeds of aristocracy are alive and well in America

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America just recently commemorated its birthday, Independence Day, celebrating freedom from the oppressive monarchy and aristocracy from which its forefathers fled.

But the weeds of aristocracy — the stubborn and relentless efforts to choke out equal representation — could not be more evident than in the recent surge across the country to make it more difficult for American citizens to exercise their right to vote.

The Declaration of Independence is unequivocal about the principles on which this nation was founded and what should guide it moving forward.

We are familiar with these famous often repeated words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

How is the consent of the governed determined and received? Through the right and act of voting. How a citizen casts that vote should have been settled long ago. Furthermore, the process should be the same for everyone.

But how has that fundamental principle enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, and proclaimed and outlined in the Constitution of the United States and its amendments, fared during the last 245 years? The American Revolutionary War freed us from the rule of a monarchy and aristocracy, establishing the United States as the first modern constitutional democracy. America has fared well in some areas. In many other areas, not so well. Especially the bedrock principle that “all men are created equal.”

Since its adoption, it has been very clear that the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence applied primarily to wealthy white men. The ongoing fight around voting rights is the greatest evidence of how deeply the weeds of Aristocracy are embedded in how America grows or fails to grow and achieve equal representation for all.

Look at what the journey has been when it comes to exercising the most basic right of voting. We only need to remember that white women — not all women — didn’t get the right to vote until 134 years after the Constitution was ratified, with the passage of the 19th Amendment.

The fight for Blacks to get and exercise the right to vote has been a bit more arduous. While the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, passed in 1870, barred denying voting rights based on race, it left the door open for states to determine the specific qualifications and requirements for voting. This door allowed southern state legislatures, particularly, to use all kinds of hurdles — poll taxes, literacy tests, guessing how many jellybeans were in a jar — to disenfranchise a majority of Black voters.

It took Blacks 179 years after the Constitution was ratified, and long after the passage of the 15th Amendment, to be fully granted the right to vote with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

But the issue is still not settled.

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Fast forward to today. The weeds of aristocracy are blossoming in many state legislatures who are passing restrictive laws in efforts to stunt the desires of new voters and choke out millions of eligible, legal and needed votes to carry out the will of the people.

Despite the rights and privileges the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution proclaim are endowed to all citizens, the non-aristocratic citizens are the most at risk for being denied them — Blacks and other people of color, the poor and the elderly.

Their equal representation, their voices, stand to be weakened and silenced by the growing weeds of aristocracy that are seizing and taking over their fundamental right to, freely and without obstruction, cast their vote.

So how do we counter, if not permanently stop, this onslaught of efforts to impede equal representation? How do we go about ensuring that every legal and eligible citizen is able to cast their vote?

There are major legislative efforts working their way through the halls of Congress to protect the right to vote. Whether or not meaningful federal legislation will find success remains to be seen.

There are those who are adamant about leaving the details of the requirements and how votes are cast up to individual states as it has been since the adoption of the Constitution.

But what has that practice gotten us? To a place where all these new rules and regulations are emerging and being passed whether they are warranted, needed or not. In the meantime, this bifurcated approach to preserving the most critical and defining element of a healthy democracy is putting the future of our democracy at grave risk.

The Constitution has been amended a number of times to protect and improve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for its citizens. Is it time for the Constitution to be amended to clarify once and for all the qualifications and the requirements for voting across all states and for all elections and electoral processes? Wouldn’t that be the best way to ensure and safeguard equal representation for all?

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Amending the Constitution is a major deal. In addition to getting legislation through Congress, any amendment requires ratification by 38 states before it becomes law. Major change takes time. But given what is happening in many states, the timing to pursue a Constitutional amendment is now.

Such an amendment would go a long way to discourage and stop the weeds of aristocracy from proliferating, at will, to suppress America’s growth toward a better and stronger democracy.

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TOTAL CLOSURE of portion of I-435 for 67th St. bridge work OVERNIGHT on July 29

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TOTAL CLOSURE of portion of I-435 for 67th St. bridge work OVERNIGHT on July 29
Visitor (not verified)
Mon, 07/26/2021 – 10:30

Portion of I-435 to be reduced to one lane on July 31

For more information, contact Lairyn McGregor, 816-607-2152
July 26, 2021 – For immediate release       Reminder: TOTAL CLOSURE of portion of I-435 for 67th St. bridge work OVERNIGHT on July 29Portion of I-435 to be reduced to one lane on July 31
JACKSON COUNTY – MoDOT Kansas City is in the process of replacing the 67th St. bridge over Interstate 435. In order for crews to place the bridge girders, there will be a TOTAL CLOSURE of I-435 between MO Route 350 and U.S. 71 beginning at 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 29, until 5 a.m. the following morning. Southbound I-435 traffic is advised to use MO Route 350 around the closure. Northbound I-435 traffic is advised to use I-470 around the closure during this time. U.S. 71 is also recommended as an alternate route.
Fans traveling to Kauffman Stadium for the Kansas City Royals baseball game at 1:10 p.m. on Thursday, July 29, should not be impacted.
This work will also close the following ramps during the Thursday evening closure of I-435:
The ramp from northbound U.S. 71 to northbound I-435
The ramp from Bannister Rd. to northbound I-435
The ramp from 87th St. to northbound I-435
The ramp from 95th St. to northbound I-435
The ramp from Gregory Blvd. to northbound I-435
The ramp from MO Route 350 to southbound I-435
The ramp from Eastwood Trafficway to southbound I-435
The ramp from 63rd St. to southbound I-435
Crews will also reduce I-435 in the area to one lane in both directions beginning at 5 a.m. on Saturday, July 31, until approximately 3 p.m. that afternoon. These lane closures are to set bridge deck panels and overhangs.
All work is weather permitting.The existing bridge was built in 1965 and rehabilitated in 2007. The structure is nearing the end of its service life necessitating the need for replacement.
Please be patient and considerate to your fellow motorists. Use the zipper merge and take turns at merge points.  Please remember that all work zones are NO PHONE ZONES. Buckle up. Phone down. Arrive Alive. For potential impacts to traffic, please review KC Scout cameras at http://www.kcscout.net or consult our real-time traffic partner, WAZE.
Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.
 For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.  MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for work zone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

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Mon, 07/26/2021 – 06:28

COVID-19 vaccination clinic set for Winghaven Branch Library on August 9

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The St. Charles City-County Library District and St. Charles County Public Health will offer a COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic with FREE Pfizer vaccines at the Library Express at Winghaven Branch on Monday, August 9 from 3:30-6:30 READ MORE

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In Memoriam: St. Charles County Obituaries, July 11 – 17, 2021

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The following obituaries were posted by local funeral homes from July 11 – 17, 2021. Click or tap the link provided to access the obituary on the funeral home’s website. Baue Funeral Homes Marlene Davidson, READ MORE

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Hundreds being held in Kentucky, Indiana jails on St. Louis charges

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Over 200 people facing federal charges in St. Louis have been moved to Kentucky and Indiana due to the lack of space in local jails.

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Crews to close all lanes of I-70 in Wentzville overnight Friday and Saturday

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The lanes will close at 10 p.m. Friday and reopen by 7 a.m. Saturday. All lanes will again close at 9 p.m. Saturday and reopen by 8 a.m. Sunday.

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Health department, residents work together to ‘Block the Bite’ in St. Charles County

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Mosquitoes can be both a nuisance and a health concern, as their bites may spread diseases to people and their pets. Working together, St. Charles County residents and the Division of Environmental Health and Protection’s READ MORE

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Wentzville Police Blotter: June 4 – 10, 2021

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The following reports for June 4 – 10, 2021 were supplied to 70 West Sentinel by the Wentzville Police Department. The term “arrest” is used in the Wentzville PD’s database to refer both to actual READ MORE

The post Wentzville Police Blotter: June 4 – 10, 2021 first appeared on 70 West Sentinel.

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