Eight Missouri ministers accused of sex abuse in Southern Baptist Convention report

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Parkade Baptist Church in Columbia, Missouri, was where Dale G. Johnson was formerly a youth director before he was sentenced in 2016 to prison for child sex crimes. He was one of several people with ties to Southern Baptists who were named in a report out Thursday (Kristofor Husted/The Midwest Newsroom).

The Southern Baptist Convention on Thursday released a once-secret and lengthy list of accused sex abusers — several of whom are in the Midwest — within the denomination.

The 205-page list is a compilation of ministers and other church workers who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. The list is described as a “fluid, working document” that was also incomplete but largely pulls information about abusers from published news reports.

The publication of the list comes after the release Sunday of a 300-page report by an independent investigator that described how leaders of the Southern Baptist denomination for decades have received reports of sexual abuse committed by church workers, pastors and others. But those reports were largely kept secret and, rather than acting upon and investigating reports of sexual abuse, denomination leaders sought to intimidate and vilify victims and their advocates.

“The whole thing should be seen for what it is,” wrote former Southern Baptist Convention executive committee member and general counsel D. August Boto in an internal email that was published in the report. “It’s a satanic scheme to completely distract us from evangelism.”

The crisis rocking the Southern Baptist denomination this week is similar in many ways to what the Catholic church continues to face. Leaders in both faiths systematically hid information about sexual misconduct, appeared to show more concern about their own legal liability than the victims and at times failed to expel accused abusers from positions of authority.

In 2007, Father Thomas Doyle, a Catholic priest credited as one of the first to warn of his own denomination’s clergy sex abuse crisis, wrote a letter to SBC leadership conveying his concern that Southern Baptist leaders were repeating the failures of the Catholic church in dealing with sex abuse.

Doyle was told, “Southern Baptist leaders truly have no authority over local churches,” a response that Doyle regarded as dismissive, according to the investigative report. 

That same year, at the SBC convention in San Antonio, Oklahoma pastor Wade Burleson made a motion to create a database of Southern Baptist clergy who had been convicted or credibly accused of, or had confessed to sexual abuse. The proposal was meant to “assist in preventing any future sexual abuse or harassment.”

The database proposal appeared to go nowhere, according to the report, and witnesses at the convention recalled little about it except to express their opinion that it would “violate local church autonomy.”

Ultimately, a staffer for the SBC executive committee since 2007 had maintained a list of accused ministers and church workers, but it was kept hidden from the public and even SBC executive committee trustees, according to the report.

Southern Baptist leaders said publicizing the list of credibly accused abusers represented “an initial, but important, step towards addressing the scourge of sexual abuse and implementing reform in the Convention.”

“Each entry in this list reminds us of the devastation and destruction brought about by sexual abuse,” said a joint statement from Willie McLaurin and Rolland Slade, both SBC executive committee members. “Our prayer is that the survivors of these heinous acts find hope and healing, and that churches will utilize this list proactively to protect and care for the most vulnerable among us.”

Lawyers for the SBC executive committee researched the list of accused abusers, taking steps to verify information it contained. It left unredacted entries about alleged abusers that could be confirmed, while redacting entries where someone was acquitted or did not have a final disposition, as well as information that could identify victims.

Missouri men feature prominently on the list. They include:

  • Robert Michael Black, a former pastor of New Home Baptist Church in St. Joseph, who solicited sex over Facebook from a police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl. He pleaded guilty in 2011 to attempted child enticement, served five years in prison and was released.  
  • Joseph Edmund Conger, former pastor of New Life Baptist Church in Cole Camp and First Baptist Church in Climax Springs, who was convicted in 2009 and sentenced to seven years in prison for statutory sodomy for an incident with a teenager in 2003. 
  • Michael Alan Crippen, a pastor at First Baptist Church in Duenweg, received a nearly four-year prison sentence for possessing child pornography. 
  • Shawn Davies, a youth minister who worked in Greenwood and Ferguson, pleaded guilty in 2005 to several counts of sodomy, pornography and other charges and received a 20-year sentence to serve alongside a 10-year sentence for separate abuse charges in Kentucky.  
  • Dale Gregory Johnson, former youth director for Parkade Baptist Church in Columbia, pleaded guilty in 2016 to sodomy and child pornography charges.
  • Terry McDowell, former pastor at Gateway Southern Baptist Church in St. Louis, pleaded guilty to molesting a 3-year-old in 2011 and received a suspended 10-year sentence.
  • James Niederstadt, a former pastor at Vinson General Baptist Church in Malden, received a 25-year sentence in 2000 following a conviction for forcible sodomy against a teenage girl who lived with him. 
  • Travis Smith, a pastor at First Baptist Church in Stover and former youth pastor at Pilot Grove Baptist Church, received a four-year prison sentence in 2016 following convictions for statutory rape and other charges stemming from multiple victims. 

This story comes from the Midwest Newsroom, an investigative journalism collaboration including IPR, KCUR 89.3, Nebraska Public Media News, St. Louis Public Radio and NPR. For more in-depth news from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, we invite you to follow us on Twitter.

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St. Charles police seek 'armed and dangerous' Montgomery County officer

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St. Charles police are searching for a Montgomery County, Missouri, officer accused of stalking his ex-girlfriend and releasing nude images of her.

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St. Louis, St. Charles County take aim at pothole backlog

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St. Louis streets officials say a concentrated effort last week reduced the city’s big backlog of potholes. Meanwhile, St. Charles County’s executive is proposing a $20 million plan to tackle potholes and other pressing road maintenance needs.

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

Flash of GOP unity created a Missouri 2nd District even Harry Potter can’t turn blue | Opinion

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The 2nd Congressional District as approved by lawmakers for the 2022 elections (Screenshot of Missouri House map).

In 1992, Jim Talent was a nerdy, 30-something policy wonk with wire-rimmed glasses and a head of brown anchorman hair looking to skip a rung on Missouri’s political ladder and win a seat in Congress.

He did it, edging one-term Congresswoman Joan Kelly Horn 50%-48%, a win attributed in no small part to the selfishness of two political giants, Democratic Congressmen Richard Gephardt and Bill Clay.

When the results of the 1990 census came in and state legislators began the redistricting process, there were three congressional districts comprising St. Louis city and its suburbs, all held by Democrats. One of them, Rep. Horn, won her seat by just 54 votes and desperately needed the overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature to shore up her district.

The legislature wasn’t interested. 

Nearly 40 years of Democratic congressional control had made top D.C. Democrats fat and happy, and the prospect of losing a single seat must not have alarmed them — or at least, not enough to cross two power players like Gephardt and Clay. 

Instead, with Clay and Gephardt’s quiet assent, the legislature threw Horn to the wolves. While Horn lost a nailbiter, Clay won 68%-32% and Gephardt won 64%-33% in their adjacent districts.

While I wasn’t close to the situation — being a high schooler at the time — based on anecdotes from those who were and basic geo-political logic, it seems clear that Gephardt and Clay could’ve teamed up to strengthen Horn’s position. 

Clay could’ve taken some of Gephardt’s turf in St. Louis city and ceded some Democratic North St. Louis County suburbs to Horn. 

Gephardt could’ve given up then-heavily Democratic turf in inner-ring suburbs that, alongside Clay’s North County offering, could’ve provided Horn’s victory margin.

Declining to do so gave Talent an opening, and he would ultimately end up a United States Senator.

In 2022, another nerdy, 30-something policy wonk with wire-rimmed glasses and a head of lush Harry Potter hair was looking to skip a couple rungs on Missouri’s political ladder and win that same U.S. Congressional seat — a seat that by 2020 saw the nation’s closest presidential contest, with Trump edging Biden by just 115 votes.

Ben Samuels, former candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2nd Congressional District (Campaign photo via Facebook).

But Ben Samuels won’t represent Missouri in Congress this year, or probably ever.

Even after a legislative session of nasty internecine infighting, Republicans got their shit together (barely) at almost the last possible minute and passed a map to shore up Ann Wagner’s district in the way that Clay and Gephardt could’ve done 30 years ago for Joan Kelly Horn.

They did this by lopping some Democratic-trending mid-St. Louis County suburbs off of the 2nd District and extending it out into fast-growing, conservative exurban Franklin and Warren Counties.

And just for good measure, they took care to draw Samuels out of the 2nd District by a single block — like golf, politics is a game of inches — making life even harder for a candidate already fighting to establish his hometown bona fides. 

As an outsider with no record wh raised well over $1 million for the race, Samuels constituted just enough of a threat that Republicans likely figured, “We’ll almost certainly beat him, but why not try to keep him from spending all that dough that could juice Democratic turnout in competitive state House races across that district?”  

And it worked. With Joe Biden at 40% and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee accordingly focused much more on defense (incumbent protection) than offense (seats like MO-2, where they played the last two cycles), Samuels saw the writing on the wall.

The reason Samuels probably won’t ever make it to Congress from Missouri is not that he isn’t bright, hard-working or amply-funded. Indeed, over the past year, he demonstrated all of those things.

The main reason is that our current supermajority Republican legislature is unlikely to change hands before the next redistricting. And with St. Louis County continuing to trend blue — thanks to the national Republican Party’s embrace of Donald Trump and hard-right positions on salient cultural issues like guns and abortion — Republicans will likely continue shrinking the St. Louis County percentage of the 2nd congressional district in order to insulate their party from a blue wave.

Once legislators finished their work and the data-driven Samuels re-evaluated the district, it became clear to him that even a sprinkling of Harry Potter’s floo powder could not turn the 2nd District blue this cycle.

And the only Democratic-leaning district in the St. Louis region will remain the 1st District, now represented by Cori Bush and — with its majority-minority primary electorate where the white voters lean left — a poor fit for a center-left candidate like Samuels.

This is not to say that if Clay and Gephardt had behaved differently in 1991, Ben Samuels would be en route to the U. S. Senate a la Jim Talent. 

It is merely to point out the vagaries of politics, and in particular, the redistricting process, which is like a game of musical chairs in which — at least for Missouri Democrats — your opponents control when the music starts and stops. 

There are other future political options open to Samuels. But for now, at least, the options for talented Missouri Democrats appear to be further constrained to the state’s blue islands of St. Louis city and County, Jackson County and Boone County. 

Perhaps Greene and St. Charles County will join those ranks in coming years as they continue to grow and diversify. But until Democrats can rebrand and rebuild well enough to at least compete in places like Franklin and Warren County, meaningful opportunities for growth are limited.

The post Flash of GOP unity created a Missouri 2nd District even Harry Potter can’t turn blue | Opinion 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

Planned Roadwork for Northwest Missouri, May 30-June 5

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Planned Roadwork for Northwest Missouri, May 30-June 5
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 16:30

 
Route P – Pavement repair, May 31 – June 3
Route UU – CLOSED for a roadway sealing project, June 1, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
DeKalb County
U.S. Route 36 – Resurfacing project westbound from east of Taylor Road to east of Route AC (Buchanan County) through mid-July. Some lane closures may remain in place around-the-clock. (Contractor: Magruder Paving, LLC)
I-35 – Resurfacing project from U.S. Route 69 (Exit 68, Daviess County) to just north of Exit 52 in Cameron (Clinton County), through mid-August. The road will be narrowed to one lane around the repair sites and paving operations, including some single-lane, around-the-clock closures. A 12-foot width restriction is in place. (Contractor: Herzog Contracting Corp.)
Gentry County
Route B – CLOSED for a bridge replacement project from 257th Street to 245th Street at the Grantham Creek Bridge, through July. More info: modot.org/gentry-county-route-b-grantham-creek-bridge-project (Contractor: Widel, Inc.)
Harrison County
Route A – CLOSED for a bridge rehabilitation project over I-35 through September. More info: modot.org/multi-county-bridge-deck-replacement-project (Contractor: Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc)
I-35 – Bridge rehabilitation project at the Pole Cat Creek Bridge at mile marker 90, south of Bethany, through October. A 12-foot width restriction is in place. More info: https://modot.org/harrison-county-interstate-35-pole-cat-creek-bridge-project  (Contractor: Widel, Inc.)*
Holt County
U.S. Route 59 – CLOSED under I-29 for a bridge deck replacement project through August. Access at the I-29/U.S. Route 59 interchange at Exit 92 near Craig will be impacted. More info: modot.org/holt-county-i-29-bridge-deck-replacement-over-us-route-59. (Contractor: Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc.)
U.S. Route 159 – Bridge rehabilitation project at the Big Lake Overflow Bridge, west of Route 111, through July. Traffic will be narrowed to one lane at the bridge, with temporary traffic signals and a 13-foot width restriction in place. More info: modto.org/holt-county-us-route-159-big-lake-overflow-bridge-rehabilitation. (Contractor: Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc.)
U.S. Route 159 – Pavement improvement and flood remediation project from the Missouri River to Route 111, north of Forest City, through December. From may 31 through June traffic at the intersection of U.S. Route 159 and Route 111 near Big Lake will be redirectd to a one-lane bypass with temporary traffic signals. (Contractor: Phillips Hardy, Inc.)
Route 111 – CLOSED for a pavement improvement and flood remediation project from U.S. Route 159 to just north of the railroad crossing at the southern end of Big Lake, through June. (Contractor: Phillips Hardy Inc.)
Route B – Drainage work from Route 120 to Road 245, June 1
Route 111 – Culvert replacement at Amber Drive, June 2
Linn County
U.S. Route 36 – Pavement repair from east of Brookfield to the Macon County line, May 31 – June 2.
Livingston County
Route C – CLOSED until further notice at the Shoal Creek Bridge due to deterioration. A bridge replacement project is currently scheduled to be part of MoDOT’s November 2022 letting.
Route A – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from 515th Street to 511th Street, May 31 – June 1, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily
Route N – CLOSED for pavement repair, June 1 – 3, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
Route U – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from Route A to County Road 505, June 2, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Nodaway County
U.S. Route 136 – CLOSED at the Long Branch Bridge, east of Ravenwood through August. A signed detour is in place. More info: https://modot.org/nodaway-county-us-route-136-bridge-projects (Contractor: Phillips Hardy, Inc.)*
Route AD – CLOSED for pothole patching from Route B to Galaxy Road, June 1 – 3, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
Sullivan County
Route TT – Pothole patching, May 31 – June 1
Route Z – CLOSED for pothole patching June 2 – 3, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily
Worth County
Route PP & YY – Drainage work, May 31 – June 1  

* Indicates 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.
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Districts Involved

Northwest

Published On
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 12:29

MoDOT Issues Emergency Lane Closure of Eastbound I-44 over Meramec River

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MoDOT Issues Emergency Lane Closure of Eastbound I-44 over Meramec River
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 15:55

ST. LOUIS – Motorists traveling eastbound I-44 over the Meramec River near Eureka should be prepared for delays over this holiday weekend.  MoDOT has issued an emergency closure of two right lanes for emergency joint repairs. Crews will be working 12-hour shifts into the weekend until it is safe to reopen the lanes.
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Districts Involved

St. Louis

Published On
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 11:50

MoDOT closes two right lanes of eastbound Interstate 44 for emergency road repair

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MoDOT closes two right lanes of eastbound Interstate 44 for emergency road repair
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 15:55

ST. LOUIS COUNTY – Drivers using eastbound Interstate 44 to head downtown to the St. Louis Cardinals or St. Louis Blues game may encounter significant delays as crews conduct an emergency bridge expansion joint repair on I-44 eastbound at the Meramec River near Eureka.
Only the left lane of eastbound I-44 will remain open during the repair. The two right lanes of eastbound I-44 will be closed. The closure is expected to remain in place throughout the Memorial Day weekend for this emergency work.
 
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Districts Involved

St. Louis

Published On
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 11:52

Single-lane drops at westbound Interstate 70 and Route 13 scheduled for June 1 and 2

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Single-lane drops at westbound Interstate 70 and Route 13 scheduled for June 1 and 2
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 15:15

LAFAYETTE COUNTY –The Missouri Department of Transportation will close single lanes on westbound Interstate 70 from 6 a.m. Wednesday, June 1 through 12 p.m. Thursday, June 2.
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.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
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 11:10

Road to Close for Culvert Replacement on Route ZZ in Audrain County

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Road to Close for Culvert Replacement on Route ZZ in Audrain County
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 15:05

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, June 1, MoDOT crews will be performing a culvert replacement on Route ZZ in Audrain County. The road will be closed at County Road 343 to County Road 378 between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes for closures during these times. Signs and message boards will be in place to alert motorists, as all work is weather dependent, and schedules are subject to change. 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).
Spring is here and work zones are popping up in Missouri.  Be in the know before you go! All work zones are online at www.modot.org/northeast, and you can receive the latest news about road work in your area by signing up for e-updates, receiving emails or text messages about road work that’s happening on the roads, projects or counties you want!

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 11:01

Road to Close for Culvert Replacements on Routes in Monroe County

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Road to Close for Culvert Replacements on Routes in Monroe County
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 14:55

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, MoDOT crews will be performing culvert replacements on routes in Monroe County. See below for locations and additional information
Route Z- May 31, the road will be closed at Route D to Route O between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Route E- June 2, the road will be closed at County Road 670 to County Road 669 between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes for closures during these times. 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).
Spring is here and work zones are popping up in Missouri.  Be in the know before you go! All work zones are online at www.modot.org/northeast, and you can receive the latest news about road work in your area by signing up for e-updates, receiving emails or text messages about road work that’s happening on the roads, projects or counties you want!

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 10:52

Road to Close for Pavement Work on Routes in Shelby County

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Road to Close for Pavement Work on Routes in Shelby County
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 14:35

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, MoDOT crews will be performing pavement work on routes in Shelby County. See below for locations and additional information
Route M- June 6-7, the road will be closed at Missouri Route 151 to Missouri Route 15 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Route MM- June 9, the road will be closed at Missouri Route 151 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes for closures during these times. Signs and message boards will be in place to alert motorists, as all work is weather dependent, and schedules are subject to change. 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).
Spring is here and work zones are popping up in Missouri.  Be in the know before you go! All work zones are online at www.modot.org/northeast, and you can receive the latest news about road work in your area by signing up for e-updates, receiving emails or text messages about road work that’s happening on the roads, projects or counties you want!

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 10:34

Road to Close for pavement work on Route J in Montgomery County

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Road to Close for pavement work on Route J in Montgomery County
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 14:15

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, MoDOT crews will be performing pavement work on routes in Montgomery County. See below for locations and additional information
Route J- June 1-2, the road will be closed at Route N to South Turkey Ridge between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Route J- June 6-7, the road will be closed at South Ridge Road to Short Road between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Route J- June 8-9, the road will be closed at Short Road to Whiteside School Road between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes for closures during these times. Signs and message boards will be in place to alert motorists, as all work is weather dependent, and schedules are subject to change. 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).
Spring is here and work zones are popping up in Missouri.  Be in the know before you go! All work zones are online at www.modot.org/northeast, and you can receive the latest news about road work in your area by signing up for e-updates, receiving emails or text messages about road work that’s happening on the roads, projects or counties you want!

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 10:10

Drawn out of district, Democrat drops out of suburban St. Louis congressional race

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Ben Samuels, former candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2nd Congressional District. (Campaign photo via Facebook)

Democrat Ben Samuels on Friday became the second Missouri congressional candidate in a strong position for their party’s nomination to abandon a campaign because of newly drawn district maps.

Samuels, the leading fundraiser in the 2nd District Democratic primary, announced he was quitting the race because his home is now within the 1st District.

“After months of dragging its feet, the Missouri General Assembly passed a new congressional map with no regard for fairness or representativeness,” Samuels said in a news release. “Instead, they drew a map designed to give Ann Wagner a ‘more secure’ district and to draw me out of it.”

Wagner, a Republican, has represented the 2nd District since 2013. Samuels had raised more than $1.1 million, and had almost $840,000 on hand by March 31. Of the two other candidates in the Democratic primary, state Rep. Tish Gunby, D-Ballwin, had raised $313,681 and Ray Reed had not reported any donations.

Wagner had $1.8 million on hand March 31.

Samuels joins state Rep. Sara Walsh, R-Ashland, on the list of candidates who ended their campaigns after the district maps were finalized. Walsh was seeking the GOP nomination in the 4th District. The final map put her home and legislative constituents into the 3rd District.

When Samuels filed for office on Feb. 22, the Missouri Senate was already locked in a filibuster begun by a minority of Republican senators demanding changes to a House-passed map that would allow the GOP to win seven of the state’s eight districts.

Political professionals expected no change to the current partisan alignment of six Republicans and two Democrats under the original House map and none are expected under the final version now in effect.

The 2nd Congressional District as approved by lawmakers for the 2022 elections. (Screenshot of Missouri House map)

Before the new map, the 2nd District included most of St. Louis County and portions of St. Charles and Jefferson counties. In the last two elections, Wagner had received less than 52% of the vote and, in 2018, only 49.5% of the vote in St. Louis County.

The new district lines shift the district to the west, with a larger portion of St. Charles County plus reliably Republican Franklin County and Warren County south of Interstate 70.

Every map debated by the legislature shifted his home into the 1st District, Samuels said. In some instances it was by less than a block, he said. But he believes the intent was clearly to draw him out of the race.

“The legislature intentionally drew maps not to be representative of the community, or to create representative and fair outcomes, but just to achieve a desired political outcome, making it significantly harder for a Democrat to win,” Samuels said in an interview. “It is a fundamentally different race.”

There may be a legal challenge to the map based on whether the districts are compact, but it would not succeed in time to alter the boundaries for this year’s elections, Samuels said.

Three lawsuits challenging the old map, two in Cole County Circuit Court and one in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Missouri, were filed when it appeared lawmakers would not be able to agree. The Cole County cases have been dismissed and the federal lawsuit is in the process of dismissal.

Samuels said he intends to make prorated refunds of his remaining campaign cash, and if any money remains he will use it to help elect Democrats in other races.

The party should work on appealing to rural voters, he said.

“We can’t have a shot at winning elections in a lot of the state,” he said, “if Democrats can’t communicate with people in rural areas.”

The post Drawn out of district, Democrat drops out of suburban St. Louis congressional race 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

Road to Close for Pavement Work on Route U in Marion County

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Road to Close for Pavement Work on Route U in Marion County
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 14:00

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, May 31-June 2, MoDOT crews will be performing pavement work on Route U in Marion County. The road will be closed at U.S. Route 36 to Route C between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes for closures during these times. Signs and message boards will be in place to alert motorists, as all work is weather dependent, and schedules are subject to change. 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).
Spring is here and work zones are popping up in Missouri.  Be in the know before you go! All work zones are online at www.modot.org/northeast, and you can receive the latest news about road work in your area by signing up for e-updates, receiving emails or text messages about road work that’s happening on the roads, projects or counties you want!

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 09:58

USDA relaxes conservation program rules to boost crop production

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Certain landowners are paid by the government to remove their land from agricultural production (Photo courtesy of the Farm Service Agency).

Agricultural landowners who are not renewing their agreements this year with the federal government to keep their land out of production have the ability to put that land back to work earlier, a potential boost to wheat and other crop production amid global shortages, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday.

Those who have land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program now have the option to terminate their contract early if they are in the final year of the contract. Under normal circumstances, landowners would have to wait until October to put the CRP land back into production or would be required to repay the money they’ve received from the program.

 

“They can now voluntarily terminate without penalty for those acres that are coming out of that program,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told a U.S. Senate committee on Thursday, “so that they’d be in a position to do work now on that land, to either prepare it for a crop or to potentially think about other crops that can be grown during the course of the winter.”

He said the equivalent of about 1 million acres of agricultural land is leaving the program this year — the difference between the acres that are expiring and the newly enrolled acres this year. In March, about 22.1 million acres were actively enrolled, according to USDA data.

President Joe Biden has warned that people “are going to starve to death” if millions of tons of wheat and corn in Ukraine is unable to be exported because of the ongoing Russian invasion, which began more than three months ago.

Ukraine is a significant producer and exporter of those crops, much of which is sold to African nations. Ukrainian officials have accused Russian troops of destroying farms and stealing grain and equipment. It’s not yet clear how much the war will affect Ukraine’s crop production this year.

Agriculture groups such as the American Farm Bureau Federation have been pining for months for the USDA to release CRP farmland back into production without penalty to help boost the global food supply.

In letters to CRP landowners this week, the USDA offered early terminations to those who hadn’t renewed their enrollment.

Russian President Vladimir “Putin’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine has cut off a critical source of wheat, corn, barley, oilseeds and cooking oil, and we’ve heard from many producers who want to better understand their options to help respond to global food needs,” Zach Ducheneaux, administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency, said in a press release Thursday. “This announcement will help producers make informed decisions about land use and conservation options.”

CRP contracts typically last for 10 to 15 years. Landowners set aside the land to reduce soil erosion and improve water quality and wildlife habitat, and the government pays them per acre. Those rental payments vary widely, depending on where the land is located.

Payments for Iowa land have the highest average at about $234 per acre, according to a recent USDA report. Payments for Nevada land were the lowest at about $10 per acre.

Landowners can end those contracts whenever they chose, but they must repay the rental payments with interest and face a potential additional penalty. The USDA periodically offers early termination without repayment or penalty. In 2017, the department offered it to certain landowners to encourage land sales to new farmers and ranchers.

“I think it’s a great step in the right direction, but I believe that we can do more,” U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Arkansas, told Vilsack during a Senate agriculture committee meeting Thursday, which was convened to address the challenges facing farmers and rural communities.

Boozman said early terminations should be more broadly offered to CRP participants to “allow potentially millions of acres to return to food production.”

Vilsack said the USDA is seeking to balance short-term and long-term global food concerns — especially as they pertain to climate change — and that CRP’s emphasis is on less desirable agricultural land.

“We basically have been focusing on highly erodible areas,” Vilsack said, “areas that are not particularly productive.”

Senator calls for supplemental crop insurance 

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack holds a press conference with reporters on Feb. 24, 2022 (Screenshot of virtual press conference).

Sen. John Hoeven, R-North Dakota, said the USDA should offer to supplement potential crop insurance payments to farmers who are late to plant this year.

Corn planting in North Dakota has been severely delayed this year by wet weather. Just 20% of the state’s corn had been planted as of Sunday, compared to the five-year average of 66%, according to a recent USDA report.

Wednesday was the final planting day to get full crop insurance coverage for most of the state’s counties. Hoeven worries that some farmers might not plant because it’s too financially risky.

“In a time of food inflation, we want as many of them as possible planting a crop,” he said.

Vilsack said he would consider the proposal.

USDA data show that corn planting in at least 11 states is behind the five-year average, including most of the top-producing states. Iowa leads the country in corn production and, thanks to a stretch of favorable weather, was close to catching up with the five-year average on Sunday. Still, there are concerns that early planting delays will affect yield potential.

Minnesota, a major corn producer, had planted 60% of its corn compared with the five-year average of 86% as of Sunday. Soybean planting was also significantly delayed in that state and in North Dakota.

This story was originally published by the Iowa Capital Dispatch, a States Newsroom affiliate.

The post USDA relaxes conservation program rules to boost crop production 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 TRAFFIC ALERT: Nighttime Lane & Ramp CLOSURES at U.S. Route 60 (James River Freeway)

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MoDOT TRAFFIC ALERT: Nighttime Lane & Ramp CLOSURES at U.S. Route 60 (James River Freeway)
regan.mitchell
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 12:25

in Springfield Monday, May 31-Friday, June 3 for Paving

Project
U.S. Route 60 (James River Freeway)/Glenstone Avenue Interchange Project

Where: U.S. Route 60 (James River Freeway) between U.S. Route 65 and Glenstone Avenue in Springfield

When: 8 p.m. – 6 a.m. Monday, May 31 – Friday, June 3

What: Contractor crews to pave the westbound and eastbound auxiliary lanes of Route 60. This is part of the U.S. Route 60 (James River Freeway)/Glenstone Avenue Interchange project.

Traffic Impacts:

Eastbound and westbound U.S. Route 60 (James River Freeway) lane closures between U.S. Route 65 and Glenstone Avenue in Springfield
Westbound Route 60 (James River Freeway) to Glenstone Avenue exit ramp CLOSED for 2-3 hours as crews tie new pavement to exit ramp
Route 60 open
Crews will work nighttime hours
Crews and equipment close to traffic in areas
Signs and message boards will alert drivers approaching the work zone
Drivers should look for an alternate route
Check MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map for road closings/traffic impacts
END

(For more information, call MoDOT in Springfield at 417-895-7600 or visit www.modot.org/southwest) 
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Districts Involved

Southwest

Published On
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 08:24

Three Carroll County routes to close

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Three Carroll County routes to close
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 12:00

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – Crews from the Missouri Department of Transportation plan to close three Carroll County routes Tuesday, May 31 for a sealing operation. The following locations will be closed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Motorists will need to use an alternate route:
Route JJ from Route DD to Route W
Route K from Route JJ to Route D
Route DD from Route D to Route JJ
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.
While 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  
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Northwest

Published On
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 07:59

Rolling slowdowns scheduled for U.S. 50 at Chipman Rd. on June 1

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Rolling slowdowns scheduled for U.S. 50 at Chipman Rd. on June 1
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 09:40

Project
U.S. 50 Over Chipman Rd.

JACKSON COUNTY – Crews will be setting bridge girders at U.S. 50 and Chipman Rd. as part of a bridge replacement project in Lee’s Summit beginning at 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1. This work will require occasional rolling slowdowns along eastbound and westbound U.S. 50 near Chipman Rd. Motorists will encounter short delays in the area during this time while crews deliver and stage the girders. All work is weather permitting.
These bridges have reached the end of their service life and must be replaced. In addition to the new bridges, sidewalks will be provided on both sides of Chipman Rd. through the interchange providing new critical connections for pedestrians. Once the bridges are complete, the project will move in to Phase 3 will include roadway resurfacing and ADA improvements on Chipman Rd.

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. For full details, visit our project webpage.

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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Kansas City

Published On
Fri, 05/27/2022 – 05:35

St. Charles County judge opts for life term instead of death sentence for ex-sheriff's deputy

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A St. Charles County judge has ordered a former Dent County sheriff’s deputy to serve the rest of his life in prison for a 2011 murder.

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

County Executive Ehlmann Proposing $20 Million To Fix Potholes Throughout St. Charles County

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St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann today announced he is proposing an aggressive initiative to fix potholes throughout the county, including the replacement of more than 10,000 slabs of concrete and miles of asphalt roadways.

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

Missouri AG seeks to dismiss suit alleging the office under Josh Hawley broke Sunshine Law

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Soon after being sworn in as Missouri attorney general in 2017, Josh Hawley and his taxpayer-funded staff began using private email to communicate with political consultants who would go on to run his successful 2018 U.S. Senate campaign (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images).

A Cole County judge on Thursday heard arguments over whether staff in the Missouri attorney general’s office, while it was being run by now-U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, used private email accounts in order to subvert the state’s open records laws.

A lawsuit filed in 2019 by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee alleges Hawley’s office violated the Sunshine Law when it withheld emails between Hawley’s taxpayer-funded staff and his political consultants during the 2018 campaign for U.S. Senate. 

The suit asks the court to impose civil penalties against the attorney general’s office for “knowingly and purposely” violating the Sunshine Law. 

On Thursday, the Missouri attorney general’s office argued to Cole County Judge Jon Beetem that despite the fact that the emails pertained to public business, they should not be considered public records. 

That’s because the conversations took place using private email accounts and were never stored on government servers. 

“It’s not disputed that the emails were related to public business,” Jason Lewis, an assistant attorney general under Hawley’s successor, Eric Schmitt, argued Thursday. “But they are not public records. There was no retention here.”

The lawsuit stems from a records request the DSCC made in September 2017 for communications between staff in the attorney general’s office and Hawley’s political consultants. 

Hawley’s office denied the request in a letter to the DSCC in October 2017, stating the office “searched our records and found no responsive records.”

But a year later, an investigation by The Kansas City Star revealed that communications did exist

The Star reported in October 2018 that soon after he was sworn in as attorney general, Hawley and his staff began using private email rather than their government accounts to communicate with out-of-state political consultants who would go on to run Hawley’s U.S. Senate campaign. 

Hawley’s campaign consultants gave direct guidance and tasks to his taxpayer-funded staff and led meetings during work hours in the state Supreme Court building, where the attorney general’s official office is located. 

Among those included in the private email discussions was Daniel Hartman, who was the attorney general’s office’s custodian of records. 

Hartman being involved in the conversations is significant, said John Geise, an attorney representing the DSCC. 

“The attorney general’s office cannot defeat the Sunshine Law’s requirements by having the custodian of record storing some records on his personal email,” Geise said Thursday. 

Geise argued Hawley withheld the records from DSCC because he didn’t want embarrassing information to become public before the election. 

The revelation that Hawley and his staff were using private email to coordinate with his political consultants set off accusations that he had illegally used public resources to benefit his Senate campaign. 

The Missouri auditor’s office concluded in February 2020 that Hawley may have misused state resources. But the audit stopped short of formally saying Hawley broke the law, saying widespread use of private email and text messaging in the office made it impossible to determine definitively. 

The attorney general’s office didn’t officially retain the records, Lewis said, until December of 2018. That’s when Hartman printed them out and brought them into the office to scan them in order to turn them over to the Missouri secretary of state’s office, which was conducting an investigation into the matter. 

Beetem raised the issue of retention several times to Geise Thursday, questioning whether emails about public business were automatically public records if they were never retained by the office. 

It’s similar logic to Beetem’s 2019 decision in a lawsuit over former Gov. Eric Greitens’ use of a self-destructing text message app. He ruled in that case that since the texts were automatically deleted, and therefore never retained, there could not have been a violation of the Sunshine Law

But Geise said Thursday that Hartman knew, or should have known, that responsive records existed. And because of his role in the office as custodian of records, Geise said, the fact that they were in his possession means they were retained. 

If Beetem were to side with the attorney general’s office, Geuse argued, “government agencies would simply shift all communications to private email to avoid the Sunshine Law.”

Beetem took no action Thursday.

The post Missouri AG seeks to dismiss suit alleging the office under Josh Hawley broke Sunshine Law 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

Holt County Route 111 to close Tuesday, May 31

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Holt County Route 111 to close Tuesday, May 31
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 17:35

Part of U.S. Route 159 pavement improvements

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – After the Memorial Day holiday, a pavement improvement and flood remediation project on U.S. Route 159 will close Holt County Route 111 and narrow U.S. Route 159. The Missouri Department of Transportation has contracted with Phillips Hardy, Inc. to complete the project which will be constructed in multiple stages.
Below is the planned schedule of work, weather permitting:
Now: Bypass construction around the intersection of U.S. Route 159 and Route 111
Traffic impacts
• Single-lane closures may be necessary
May 31 – end of June: Intersection improvements to raise the roadway grade of U.S. Route 159 to meet the level of the railroad crossing on Route 111.
Traffic impacts:
• U.S. Route 159 traffic will be redirected to a single-lane bypass with temporary traffic signals in place
• Route 111 will be closed from U.S. Route 159 to just north of the railroad crossing. Motorists will need to seek an alternate route.
June 27 – Aug. 5: Concrete repairs and sealing from the Little Tarkio Creek west of Fortescue to Route 111 north of Forest City.
Traffic impacts
• Single-lane closures may be necessary
July – mid-September: Ditch clean-out and roadside grading
Traffic impacts:
• Single-lane closures and temporary traffic signals, done in three segments, progressing east to west:
1. From the Little Tarkio Creek to Route 111
2. From Route 111 to the Big Lake Overflow Bridge
3. From the Big Lake Overflow Bridge to the Missouri River
 
Sept. 19 – Dec. 8: Erosion control installation
Traffic impacts:
• Single-lane closures and temporary traffic signals, done in three segments, progressing west to east:
1. From the Big Lake Overflow Bridge to the Missouri River
2. From Route 111 to the Big Lake Overflow Bridge
3. From the Little Tarkio Creek to Route 111
Dec. 9, 2022 through April 21, 2023: Winter shutdown
Also scheduled to begin after the Memorial Day holiday is the rehabilitation of the Big Lake Overflow Bridge on U.S. Route 159. The roadway will be narrowed to one lane with a 13-foot width restriction at the bridge through July. Temporary traffic signals will be in place to direct motorists through the work zone. The Missouri Department of Transportation has contracted with Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc. for the bridge rehabilitation project.
All work is weather-permitting, and schedules are subject to change.
The Big Lake Overflow 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 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.
While 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
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 13:34

MoDOT Plans to Improve Route 21/72 in Iron County

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MoDOT Plans to Improve Route 21/72 in Iron County
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 16:25

Online Community Briefing: Share Your Thoughts!

SIKESTON—The Missouri Department of Transportation plans to improve Route 21/72 in Iron County. Improvements will extend from Route E near Arcadia, Missouri to Route 49 near Glover, Missouri.
Five curves will be improved along the project limits. The project includes an overlay, adding edgeline rumble stripes, widening four horizontal curves and making improvements to the horizontal curve at Royal Gorge. Right of way acquisition will be required at the four curve widening locations and possibly at the Royal Gorge curve location.
The project is expected to be let in April 2023, with construction beginning as early as summer 2023.
Flaggers will guide traffic through the work zone as the overlay is completed. Widening work will be completed adjacent to the existing roadway. During work at Royal Gorge, a one-month road closure is possible.
Completion is anticipated in spring 2024.
Interested persons may review the project in more detail and share their thoughts at https://www.modot.org/route21Iron. Comments will be accepted through June 16.  
For more information, please contact Project Manager Pete Berry at (417) 469-6242 or Area Engineer Chris Crocker at (573) 380-1658.
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Districts Involved

Southeast

Published On
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 12:23

Remote voting in the U.S. House hits a second anniversary, but it may be its last

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Democrat U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver led the way in Missouri with 143 votes by proxy. That was followed by Republican Billy Long with 89 (Russ Rohde/Getty Images).

The post Remote voting in the U.S. House hits a second anniversary, but it may be its last 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

EB U.S. 60 in Butler County Reduced for Bridge Repairs

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EB U.S. 60 in Butler County Reduced for Bridge Repairs
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 15:45

SIKESTON― Eastbound U.S. 60 in Butler County will be reduced as Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform bridge repairs.  
This section of roadway is located between Route DD and Highway 51 near Fisk, Missouri. 
Weather permitting, work will take place Tuesday, May 31 through Wednesday, June 1 from 8 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, 05/26/2022 – 11:44

Extension of mental health, substance use health care for new Missouri moms in limbo

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Lawmakers and advocates say they first learned of the state’s decision to pause expansion of postpartum coverage when contacted by The Independent about it last week (Roberto Westbrook/Getty Images).

Threats of a filibuster in the Missouri Senate this year extinguished a proposal to extend health care for new moms to a full year after giving birth. Few realized at the time that it also dealt a blow to a program lawmakers passed in 2018 designed to help pregnant women recover from substance abuse.

In February, Missouri’s Medicaid program notified the federal government it was pressing pause on the implementation of a program lawmakers authorized four years ago to expand health care coverage of substance abuse treatment for low-income women from 60 days after their pregnancy ended to 12 months.

State officials cited two main reasons for not moving forward.

Voter-approved Medicaid expansion was expected to decrease the number of women who could be served under extended postpartum coverage. And lawmakers at the time were considering an expansion of postpartum coverage to allow for full benefits to be provided.

“As we all know, that did not happen,” said Sen. Jill Schupp, a Creve Coeur Democrat who worked on the legislation, “which is disappointing on a multitude of levels.”

Todd Richardson, the director of Missouri’s Medicaid program, paused the expansion of substance-abuse coverage in a Feb. 7 letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.  Lawmakers and advocates say they first learned of the letter when contacted by The Independent about it last week.

The setback is the latest in a years-long effort to expand the length of time low-income pregnant women receive health care, which advocates hope will help curb Missouri’s maternal mortality rate that ranks it in the bottom quarter of states nationwide.

“It literally means that we’ll lose the lives of some mothers that we didn’t have to lose,” said Sheldon Weisgrau, Missouri Foundation for Health’s vice president of health policy. “That’s the disappointing part of this.”

It literally means that we’ll lose the lives of some mothers that we didn’t have to lose.

– Sheldon Weisgrau, Missouri Foundation for Health’s vice president of health policy

Asked whether the department plans to resume its implementation of the extended substance use coverage in light of the legislature failing to pass the more comprehensive coverage, Caitlin Whaley, a spokeswoman for DSS, said the department, “plans to regroup with CMS on the issue of postpartum coverage waivers now that the legislative session has concluded.”

DSS is still working to calculate how the implementation of expanded Medicaid coverage will impact the number of people estimated to be eligible, Whaley said.

Advocates said the silver lining is that due to the federal public health emergency still being in place, Medicaid recipients have been allowed to keep receiving health care coverage even if their eligibility has changed. And they’re optimistic the passage of a comprehensive postpartum extension will be imminent when lawmakers return next session.

“Hopefully, with a little bit of a new landscape that might have better luck next year,” said Casey Hanson, the director of outreach and engagement for Kids Win Missouri, a coalition of organizations that advocate for child well-being.

Pressing pause

The extended health care coverage for pregnant women with substance use disorders was originally expected to go into effect at the start of January. A spokeswoman for DSS did not clarify if any residents were covered by the new program or if it failed to get off the ground as planned.

Advocates said while they were disappointed to see the implementation of the extended substance use coverage paused, they hope to see it resume.

This year, lawmakers allocated $1.4 million in the department’s budget to go toward funding the extension of coverage for women with substance use disorders, and “there’s, as far as I’m concerned, no reason to hold that up,” Schupp said.

Funding for the program has been included in the department’s budget since 2018, when lawmakers passed a bill authorizing the extension.

That year, DSS data indicated nearly 8% of women on Medicaid who gave birth were diagnosed with a substance use disorder. Of the 28,762 births covered by Medicaid, 684 women with substance use disorders lost their benefits or transitioned to coverage that did not cover treatments for substance use after the 60-day postpartum period, the Department of Social Services wrote in its 2020 application to CMS.

Substance use disorders contributed to 54% of pregnancy-related deaths in Missouri in 2018, according to the Pregnancy Associated Mortality Review Board’s most recent report.

Rep. Sarah Unsicker, D-Shrewsbury, said she hopes to see DSS resume implementation of the coverage, noting that nearly two-thirds of pregnancy-related deaths in Missouri occur between 43 days and one year after giving birth.

“We need to make sure women are covered for a year after childbirth,” Unsicker said.

‘Please, let’s get this done’

Sen. Jill Schupp

Sen. Jill Schupp,a Creve Coeur Democrat who worked on legislation expanding postpartum coverage under Medicaid (photo courtesy of Senate Communications).

The delays aren’t new for the department, which previously didn’t take steps to implement an extension of postpartum mental health coverage lawmakers had authorized in 2020.

Schupp previously said the department had given conflicting answers as to why, and the department said last fall it hadn’t submitted a waiver to CMS because lawmakers failed to appropriate a specific line item of funding.

Schupp said DSS has since indicated that CMS would like to see states pass the comprehensive coverage, rather than taking a piecemeal approach. Under the American Rescue Plan Act, states have been given five years to take advantage of the option.

As of mid-May, 13 states have already extended postpartum coverage to a full year and another 16 states are planning to, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on national health issues.

“I’m just throwing up my hands saying, ‘Please, let’s get this done,’” Schupp said of extending postpartum care.

With hopes pinned this year on passing the comprehensive postpartum coverage, a specific line item was not included in DSS’ budget to fund the mental health coverage extension. Funding for the full postpartum benefits was removed from the final version of the budget lawmakers passed.

“The saving grace has been the public health emergency,” Weisgrau said. “In normal times, I think the delay would have been much more damaging.”

For now, Missourians who are receiving health care coverage through the state’s Medicaid programs have been able to remain covered during the federal public health emergency — which federal officials indicated last week would be extended for at least another 90 days past its July 15 expiration date, according to CNN.

Once that ends, states will begin the process of reverifying recipients’ eligibility, where residents may be moved to new programs they may now qualify for, like expanded Medicaid, or risk losing their coverage.

“We don’t know when that emergency is going to be called and end,” Schupp said, “and we want to make sure that we know that these women and their children and their families are going to continuously have what they need.”

The post Extension of mental health, substance use health care for new Missouri moms in limbo 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

Clear Creek Bridge Replacement Begins Next Week

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Clear Creek Bridge Replacement Begins Next Week
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 14:40

PHELPS COUNTY – Contractors working for the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) will begin the process of replacing the Phelps County Route B bridge over Clear Creek on Wednesday, June 1.The bridge is located south of the Gasconade County line. The existing Clear Creek structure was built in 1934 and the condition of the bridge has reached a point where replacement is necessary.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.Route B will be closed while the work takes place. The bridge is scheduled to reopen in late August. Motorists will need to use an alternate route.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, Instagram and Twitter for project updates.
 
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Districts Involved

Central

Published On
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 10:35

MoDOT to close a lane on Pershall Road starting next week

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MoDOT to close a lane on Pershall Road starting next week
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 14:35

ST. LOUIS – Drivers who regularly use Pershall Road between New Halls Ferry Road (Route AC) and West Florissant Avenue should be aware of a lane closure starting next week. Starting at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, June 1, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) will close the westbound lane of Pershall Road for six months.
During the six-month closure, only one eastbound lane in this section of Pershall Road will remain open to traffic. After construction is completed, this portion of Pershall Road will reopen as a two-lane eastbound only outer road. 
Signed detours will direct motorists from New Halls Ferry Road (Route AC) to access Dunn Road to travel westbound to West Florissant Avenue.
The closure and construction work are part of the $278 million I-270 North Project infrastructure upgrades. To stay updated on the status of this closure and to view a project overview and graphic displays of planned construction, please visit the I-270 North Project website at: www.i270north.org.  Travelers can also contact MoDOT’s customer service center at 1-314-275-1500 or the I-270 North Project Team at:I270North@modot.mo.gov.

Districts Involved

St. Louis

Published On
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 10:33

U.S. 62 in New Madrid County Reduced for Drainage Repairs

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U.S. 62 in New Madrid County Reduced for Drainage Repairs
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 14:25

SIKESTON—U.S. 62 in New Madrid County will be reduced as Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform drainage repairs.  
This section of roadway is located from U.S. 61 to Route W, near Howardville, Missouri.  
Weather permitting, work will take place Tuesday, May 31 from 7 a.m. to 2 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
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 10:23

Thoughts and prayers of a different kind | Opinion

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Americans get the government they are willing to tolerate, so after all these thoughts and prayers, it’s time to demand more (Photo illustration by Getty images).

After the school shooting in Texas, I realized that I was about the only columnist in America that didn’t talk to my kids about within 24 hours of event.

Sure, I’ll cop to being a mediocre parent, but not for that reason.

Instead, after years – literally decades – of reporting, editing and reading stories about guns being used against children, I’m completely numb. The trauma barely registers and that’s, at best, tacky to say. But, it’s also an urgent indicator of the necessity to do something. That I check social media to see which blusterpot politician can talk about praying and thinking good thoughts is so cynical, while the thought of losing a child to gun violence should consume my attention.

Quite frankly, I am sick and tired of “thoughts and prayers” response.

To quote kids today: Just stop.

If anyone was sincerely committed to thoughts and prayers, the situation would have been radically changed by now. I say this as a gun owner who supports basic checks on our freedom to own guns. Freedom is anarchy and chaos without some measure of responsibility. And, our unyielding worship of guns borders on pathological.

If politicians were sincere about the “thoughts” part, they’d think through the pain of the parents, the loss of innocent lives and devise reasonable solutions and safeguards. After all, guns are like automobiles, implements that can be used to improve our lives, but without reasonable rules and safeguards, they’re killing machines. And yet, every time some politician urges that ol’ “thoughts and prayers” line, they never oblige us with any kind of meaningful thought, discourse or discussion on what they pondered as families planned funerals for their grade-schoolers.

Count me in when it comes to wanting to hear more about their thoughts in relation to school shootings, and why they seem incapable of even the most basic protections.

As far as the prayers portion of the “thoughts-and-prayer” approach, might I suggest the problem isn’t with the approach, but the technique?

Here’s what I mean: Maybe politicians are so used to using their mouths that even during the personal act of praying, they’re not listening. Maybe instead of talking to God, they should listen more.

As much as I would like for politicians not to implicate God in the bargain every time they talk about praying, maybe the problem is too much talking. And even though it’s dangerous, bordering on blasphemous, to assume to know how God may respond in any situation, I would like to think if all those politicians were really praying so earnestly and fervently that they would hear the unmistakable sound of the holy urging them to take action to protect the little children.

After all, it was Jesus who rebuked his disciples saying, “Let the little children come to me; do not harm them.”

For all the biblical ambiguity that exists, Jesus is repeatedly clear on what happens to those who hurt children.

I cannot imagine that even if, in those half-moments of silence as politicians are catching their breath while feverishly praying, God interjects and says, “Protect the Second Amendment at all costs.” That seems incongruent with the same religion that discuses turning swords into ploughshares.

Using the phrase “thoughts and prayers” is a disservice to both, which are vitally important during this discussion. Yet those clever politicians have figured that it is a magical incantation which thwarts more substantive questions from the public hungry for action. Because, you know, no one would be so brazen as to question a politician’s sincerity during a national tragedy. No one would suggest their words are hypocritical, pandering or insincere.

Well, almost no one.

I am dismissing and rejecting any politician – Democrat or Republican – who offers thoughts and prayers as the antidote to gunning down children.

It’s as meaningless and nonsensical as prescribing meditation and scripture for DUI accidents.

Americans get the government they are willing to tolerate, so after all these thoughts and prayers, it’s time to demand more. Leaving it to God is punting responsibility, shifting the problem of gun violence from humans to the supernatural. It has allowed far too many politicians to embrace religion and killing, two ideas diametrically opposed to each other.

Sadly, I fear God has plenty of other work keeping him occupied right now, like welcoming in nearly two dozen children and people who were cut down early in the wake of the Texas tragedy. And I just hope for them and their families that Jesus’ words about kids are absolutely true: For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

This commentary was originally published by the Daily Montanan, a States Newsroom affiliate.

The post Thoughts and prayers of a different kind | Opinion 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

Rep. Fitzwater bids the House ‘farewell’

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Representative Travis Fitzwater (R-Holts Summit) is leaving the Missouri House due to term limits. Before the close of his final regular session he thanked his family and colleagues. “Our shared humanity should transcend politics.  We should be human to each other even though we disagree.” “We are but a mist, and I think it’s helpful … Continue reading “Rep. Fitzwater bids the House ‘farewell’”

Mark Twain Lake Route U Boat Ramp in Monroe County to Close up to 60 Days

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Mark Twain Lake Route U Boat Ramp in Monroe County to Close up to 60 Days
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 11:45

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, immediately following Memorial Day weekend, Tuesday, May 31 marks the start of the 60-day closure of the Route U Mark Twain Lake boat ramp in Monroe County, located one-half mile from Missouri Route 107, just west of Florida.
Work continues to progress on the project, including roadway embankment slide repairs and multiple culvert replacements, at this location. Mark Twain Lake will be inaccessible from Route U as the road will be closed from MO 107 extending approximately one mile west.  While this closure is in place, lake access is available nearby, approximately 1.25 miles north, on MO 107.  
A signed detour has been in place since last July when a section of the road collapsed due to unstable soil conditions.  The detour will remain in place while work is being completed.   Schedule changes could occur due to weather or material availability.
The $822,543 contract was awarded to Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc., for the grading, pavement and culvert replacement project earlier this year. 
Be in the know before you go! All work zones are online at www.modot.org/northeast, and you can receive the latest news about road work in your area by signing up for e-updates, receiving emails or text messages about road work that’s happening on the roads, projects or counties you want!

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Published On
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 07:42

Outer Road 55 in New Madrid County Closed for Pavement Repairs

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Outer Road 55 in New Madrid County Closed for Pavement Repairs
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 10:50

Sikeston― Outer Road 55 in New Madrid County will be closed as Missouri Department               of Transportation crews seal the roadway with a mixture of rock and oil..  
 This section of roadway is located from Route AA to County Road 408. 
 Weather permitting, work will take place Tuesday, June 14 through Thursday, June 16 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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Published On
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 06:48

Reminder: Lane closure scheduled for portion of southbound I-35 beginning May 31 – June 10

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Reminder: Lane closure scheduled for portion of southbound I-35 beginning May 31 – June 10
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 10:15

 
CLAY COUNTY – Scheduled permit work will require the closure of the left lane of southbound I-35 (this is a two lane stretch of interstate) from approximately MO Route 291 to just north of MO Route 152 beginning at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31, until approximately Friday, June 10. Buckeye Pipeline will be making repairs to a pipeline in the area. The closure will remain in place 24 hours a day and is expected to cause delays to traffic in the area. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead or seek alternate routes. All work is weather permitting.
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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Kansas City

Published On
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 06:12

MoDOT to close WB I-70 at Taylor June 3-6

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MoDOT to close WB I-70 at Taylor June 3-6
Visitor (not verified)
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 09:55

ST. LOUIS – Drivers heading out of the city of St. Louis on Interstate 70 the weekend after Memorial Day may want to consider alternate routes or allow extra time as the department closes the westbound interstate.

This is the second closure needed at westbound I-70 between Carrie and West Florissant Avenue to complete girder repairs to the Taylor Avenue bridge over the interstate, starting at 8 p.m. Friday, June 3, weather permitting.

The ramps from Adelaide and Carrie to westbound I-70 and the ramp from westbound I-70 to West Florissant Avenue will also be closed, starting at 7 p.m. June 3.

All lanes and ramps will be reopened to traffic by 5 a.m. Monday, June 6.

Detours for westbound I-70 and for southbound West Florissant Avenue will be marked.

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St. Louis

Published On
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 05:54

2022 Listing of Bridges that Qualify for Federal Funding

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2022 Listing of Bridges that Qualify for Federal Funding
rodney.braman
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 09:33

2022 Eligible Bridge List

MoDOT has compiled the annual listings of nonstate bridges that qualify for federal funding.  These listings can be found on our website at the link provided below.  The 2022 listing is the second one that is based on eligibility criteria being Poor Condition using NBI data. 

2022 Bridge Eligibility Listing – Poor Condition | Missouri Department of Transportation (modot.org)This information was compiled from a query of the March 2022 submittal of National Bridge Inventory (NBI) data to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).  The NBI data was updated before the submittal with bridge inspection information from the most recent inspection cycle.  This updated data was provided to us from the bridge inspectors in central office as well as the districts. It is assumed that replacement is the best option for a structure that is classified as Poor Condition.  This doesn’t preclude a county from doing a major rehabilitation on a structure instead of replacing it.  It will be up to the engineer of record for the county to determine the best solution at each structure site and ensure that it meets the overall goals of the program. 

MoDOT is currently updating their process to distribute local bridge funds.  We anticipate announcing this new process in the very near future.  Once the process is released, a call for projects will be issued.  We recommend that local agencies review their eligible bridges on the poor listing and start working with your region’s planning partners to prioritize your bridges needs that will be submitted once the call for projects it issued. 

Published On
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 09:37

Thousands without power throughout St. Louis region; weekend weather looks brighter

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More than 9,000 Ameren customers in the bistate area were without power Wednesday night as scattered storms were rolling through the area.

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

Disc Golf

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St. Charles County Parks have disc golf courses to enjoy the popular sport.

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

Frustrated Democrats call for GOP help on federal gun laws after mass school shooting

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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images).

The post Frustrated Democrats call for GOP help on federal gun laws after mass school shooting appeared first on Missouri Independent.

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FDA chief cites ‘egregiously unsanitary’ conditions at Michigan baby formula plant

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An FDA official defended the agency’s response to reports of ‘egregiously unsanitary’ conditions that have shut down production of baby formula, leaving shelves nearly empty across the U.S., like this Chicago store in January. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images).

The post FDA chief cites ‘egregiously unsanitary’ conditions at Michigan baby formula plant appeared first on Missouri Independent.

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Nearly 1 in 5 Missouri GOP lawmakers belongs to far-right Facebook groups, study says

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“The findings show how deeply the far-right has penetrated state politics,” says Devin Burghart, executive director of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights.

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

Outer Road 55 in Scott County Closed for Pavement Repairs

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Outer Road 55 in Scott County Closed for Pavement Repairs
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 05/25/2022 – 16:50

Sikeston― Outer Road 55 (Sandywood Lane) in Scott County will be closed as Missouri Department of Transportation crews seal the roadway with a mixture of rock and oil.  
 This section of roadway is located from Route H to the end of Sandywood Lane. 
 Weather permitting, work will take place Monday, June 13 through Thursday, June 16 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
Wed, 05/25/2022 – 12:49

Lane closure scheduled for portion of I-35 at 19th Street on June 2

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Lane closure scheduled for portion of I-35 at 19th Street on June 2
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 05/25/2022 – 16:25

 
CLAY COUNTY – MoDOT Kansas City will close the left lane of both northbound and southbound Interstate 35 at 19th Street for median work beginning at 7 a.m. until approximately 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 2. This work is part of the I-35 and 19th Street interchange project in Kearney. All work is weather permitting.
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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Kansas City

Published On
Wed, 05/25/2022 – 12:22

Route E in New Madrid County Closed for Pavement Repairs

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Route E in New Madrid County Closed for Pavement Repairs
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 05/25/2022 – 16:20

SIKESTON—Route E in New Madrid County will be closed as Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform pavement repairs.  
This section of roadway is located from Route H to County Road 480. 
Weather permitting, work will take place Monday, June 6 through Thursday, June 9 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
Wed, 05/25/2022 – 12:18

Buchanan County I-229 and Route 759 ramps to close next week

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Buchanan County I-229 and Route 759 ramps to close next week
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 05/25/2022 – 15:00

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – As part of a bridge rehabilitation project along Interstate 229, the Route 759 (Stockyards Expressway) ramps at I-229 are scheduled to close to all traffic next week.
Below are the planned closure dates for each ramp:
Northbound Stockyards Expressway ramp to northbound I-229: June 1 – 22
Southbound I-229 ramp to southbound Stockyards Expressway (Exit 5): June 3 – 22
The Missouri Department of Transportation contracted with PCiRoads, LLC to complete the bridge rehabilitation project. All work is weather-permitting, and schedules are subject to change.
This project also includes the following ongoing and upcoming I-229 ramp closures:
Edmond and Charles streets: closed through June 16
Felix and Francis streets: closed May 26 – June 14
During the closures, motorists will need to use an alternate route.
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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Traveler Information Map
http://traveler.modot.org
 

Districts Involved

Northwest

Published On
Wed, 05/25/2022 – 10:57

St. Charles County Parks Opens New 3.5-Mile Portion of Dardenne Creek Blueway

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St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann couldn’t wait to go out in the boat yesterday. It was a trip he’d been waiting for years to take on what is now the completed first phase of the Dardenne Creek Blueway.

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

St. Charles County Parks Opens New 3.5-Mile Portion of Dardenne Creek Blueway

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St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann couldn’t wait to go out in the boat yesterday. It was a trip he’d been waiting for years to take on what is now the completed first phase of the Dardenne Creek Blueway.

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

Potholes rattling your car? Curious about construction? Ask the Road Crew, 1 p.m.

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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.

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

Rep. Jason Chipman’s farewell to the House

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Representative Jason Chipman (R-Steelville) is leaving the Missouri House due to term limits. Before the close of the final session of his time in the chamber he bid farewell and reflected on his time. “There are some of these colleagues that I will never see again after I’m done here but I know that at … Continue reading “Rep. Jason Chipman’s farewell to the House”

Rep. Grier says goodbye to the House

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Representative Derek Grier (R-Chesterfield) is not pursuing another term in the Missouri House. Before the close of his last session he said goodbye to his colleagues, staff, and constituents. “I am so grateful to each one of you.  There are so many good people here in this room; so many people that care deeply about … Continue reading “Rep. Grier says goodbye to the House”

Missouri ranks 7th in electric vehicle use, but access to charging remains a key barrier

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Missouri was recently ranked seventh in the nation when it came to the number of registered electric vehicle drivers and charging locations, with 6,740 registered electric vehicles across the state and 985 electric vehicle charging stations available (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images).

This story was originally published by the Kansas City Beacon.

Beto Lugo-Martinez is a grassroots activist who advocates for clean air. A big part of his work is fighting the expansion of “gas guzzling” vehicles and making sure that historically underserved communities receive infrastructure updates, partly to encourage driving an electric vehicle in Kansas City.

Kansas City is no exception to the growing nationwide popularity of electric vehicles, which are known as EVs. As more affordable models hit the market, Lugo-Martinez, the executive director of the nonprofit CleanAirNow, is focused on ensuring equitable access to infrastructure, including charging stations.

“We can just invest and put charging stations everywhere, but if we’re not really worried about investing in communities that are most impacted, we’ll be missing that mark again,” he said.

Missouri was recently ranked seventh in the nation when it came to the number of registered electric vehicle drivers and charging locations, with 6,740 registered electric vehicles across the state and 985 electric vehicle charging stations available.

Evergy, the utility provider for much of the Kansas City metro, has played a role in the installation of many of the area’s electric vehicle charging stations.  But the region still has gaps when it comes to electrification.

Census tracts with lower median income often lack public charging options, and the disparity is especially clear on Missouri’s side of the metro. Charging location data from the Department of Energy shows a concentration of stations in the Kansas City’s downtown, financial and Power and Light districts, which are among the city’s most affluent areas, based on Census data.

In the area surrounding the Country Club Plaza, another generally high-income neighborhood, public EV charging stations can often be found only a block away from one another.

Also, public electric vehicle chargers are most often found west of Troost Avenue, which has represented Kansas City’s racial dividing line for decades. East of Troost, home to many of the city’s low-income residents, electric vehicle charging appears more sparse, with only a fraction of the charging station availability that residents to the west enjoy.

Waiting game ensues

(Getty Images).

Under the federal infrastructure law, Missouri can expect to receive $99 million over five years to support the expansion of EV charging in the state. Another $2.5 billion is set aside for states across the country to apply for grants for EV charging.

Electrification infrastructure created some controversy in the Missouri legislature this year. The House passed a bill that would have prevented local governments from requiring owners of buildings to install EV charging stations, unless the cities or counties were willing to foot the bill. Ultimately the bill didn’t progress to a Senate vote.

The Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) in Kansas City, whose goals are to create “resource efficiency, environmental health and economic vitality,” is fielding some of the money (which will often require a 50% local match) to communities to expand their electrification infrastructure. Much of that work centers around helping cities electrify their vehicles or public buses, which emit pollutants when roving around cities all day. The MEC is also using a small grants program to help municipalities that may not have the funds to match federal dollars.

Miriam Bouallegue, the sustainable transportation manager at MEC, said the nonprofit is trying to assess the needs of the metro as the money flows in.

“How do we define who’s underserved? How do we measure that? How do we target those folks without relying on past definitions that were developed for other types of infrastructure that don’t really relate?” she said.

“Most people that drive an EV are charging their car overnight in their house,” Bouallegue added. “However, if you don’t have a garage, or maybe you do, but maybe your garage was built in the 1940s and has no electricity in it— it’s really more of a shed. Then you might not be able to charge your vehicle as easily or simply as someone who can just pull into their normal spot and plug in.”

Independence, whose utilities are not provided by Evergy like the rest of Kansas City’s, has fewer charging stations than other areas in the metro, but the demand appears to be lower.  Joe Hegendeffer, deputy director of Independence Power and Light, said that many of Independence’s charging stations go unused on a day-to-day basis.

Centerpoint Medical Center’s stations, for example, have high use because the hospital’s staff often plugs in during the day.

“But charging stations at Cable Dahmer [Arena] are real hit and miss,” Hegendeffer said. “Ninety percent of the day when you drive by it, there’s nothing going on there. So they’re not being utilized.”

Lugo-Martinez is working on getting community members specialized training on electrification, so the push can come from the ground up.

“One of the other things that we’ve been looking at is creating some pathways for local community members to get involved in green economy, green energy, and get specialized training around EVs, building infrastructure for it in homes because then that can create that pathway for it,” he said.

Lugo-Martinez said the group is also lobbying lawmakers to provide further rebates or incentives for drivers to switch to electric, so lower-income communities aren’t left behind in the push toward electrification.

A changing electric vehicle landscape

Electric vehicles can save consumers money in the long run. Charging is generally much cheaper than gasoline, and maintenance costs are usually lower compared to gas-powered vehicles.

The initial purchase price of an electric vehicle, however, remains above that of its gas-powered equivalent.

But industry forecasts suggest electric vehicles will become more affordable and commonplace in the years to come, as production volume grows and technology improves.

Bloomberg’s annual Electric Vehicle Outlook report from last year predicts a steep increase in passenger EV sales in the next few years, though China and Europe are likely to continue dominating in that department.

But American automakers have put down large investments in the transition to electric. Ford is aiming for up to half of its vehicle volume to be battery-powered by the end of the decade with a $30 billion investment. General Motors has promised 30 new EVs between 2020 and 2025 in a $35 billion investment.

“That’s a ton of money, a ton of support,” said Nick Voris, senior manager of electrification products and services at Evergy. “That support is going to manifest itself in terms of a greater variety of EVs, which of course are going to appeal to a larger base of customers.”

Federal, state and local governments have also offered tax credits and other incentives to encourage the transition to electric.

In Kansas City, Evergy offers rebates for developers looking to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure on the Kansas side. The utility is awaiting regulator approval for similar incentives on the Missouri side.

Evergy’s Clean Charge Network has also played a key role in Kansas City’s initial build-out of charging infrastructure. By the time the bulk of that project was complete, about six years ago, the utility had placed about 1,000 chargers around the city.

Since then, Evergy has installed a few dozen more, but has largely taken on a supporting role as private developers take responsibility.

“The industry is turning toward private developers, and, more specifically, private developers that are recipients of grant funding,” Voris said. “Those folks are going to be doing the vast majority of public charging station build-outs for the foreseeable future.”

As the public utility for the Kansas City region, Evergy still helps developers in the planning process. Slight tweaks to infrastructure planning can make chargers more energy- and cost-efficient, and Evergy offers guidance in those decisions.

But as private developers focus on bulking up the Kansas City metro’s charging availability, return on investment remains paramount. That gives Evergy the opportunity to fill the void in places where return on investment might not be as great, Voris said.

“Going forward, that is an area that we, the utility, are going to be much more focused on,” he said. “We, as a utility, have an obligation to ensure equitable access.”

Low-income neighborhoods may be less likely to embrace the transition to electric — largely due to a price barrier. A lack of public charging infrastructure in those communities, where multifamily homes are common and garages are less so, adds further impediment.

A Blast Point study last year found that consumers “ready to buy” an electric vehicle landed in the middle- to higher-income brackets, with an average income of $150,000. That group also tends to be college-educated and living in single-family homes, which are more accommodating to private charging than multifamily dwellings like apartments.

Blast Point found that low-income consumers don’t regard electric vehicles as favorably as more affluent drivers do. This group is more likely to not own a vehicle at all, often relying on public transit or other more affordable means of transportation.

Kansas City Councilwoman Melissa Robinson, whose District 3  includes some of the city’s most impoverished neighborhoods, said she is continuing to prioritize education and electrification of the city’s fleets, as well as energy-efficient public transportation.

“We’re talking about electrification or electric vehicles where people are making $12,000 to $18,000 a year. How does that make sense? It doesn’t,” Robinson said “So we cannot get around this conversation without talking about having a robust public transit option to help people get from point A to point B.”

Lugo-Martinez said that an equitable infrastructure for electric vehicles has to be part of the overall picture.

“We’re seeing that where there’s wealth, of course it’s easier for them to put these stations in,” he said. “This disinvestment is really still creating that inequitable distribution of infrastructure. Because again, we’re investing in the communities that are OK already and literally catering to them.”

He added: “I would just love to see the utilities step it up, and say, ‘Hey, let’s invest and see what happens.’ I think they just need to take that chance on a community, right? And see what we can do and start from there.”

This story is part of a series on climate change in the Kansas City region produced by the KC Media Collective to support and enhance local journalism so every person in Kansas City can lead a richer life. Members of the KC Media Collective are KCUR 89.3, American Public Square, Kansas City PBS/Flatland, Missouri Business Alert, Startland News and The Kansas City Beacon. 

The post Missouri ranks 7th in electric vehicle use, but access to charging remains a key barrier 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

Summer hurricanes, wildfires and storms loom as FEMA faces pressure to step up

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Climate-induced weather disasters include record wildfires in the West, record-setting heat waves and droughts, and aggressive hurricanes. Here, smoke plumes and hurricane clouds are visible at once (photo courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory).

WASHINGTON — Another grueling summer disaster season is arriving, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency is under intense pressure even as its portfolio balloons, it pleads for more money from Congress and criticism comes on several fronts.

The agency manages more than 300 disaster declarations a year, a dramatic increase from the average of 108 disasters it responded to just a decade ago. For 2022, the disaster outlook is daunting.

Wildfires are expected to burn through millions of acres as Western states struggle with another spring drought, with so-called prescribed burns by the U.S. Forest Service slammed after they were blamed for devastating New Mexico fires this spring. A busy Atlantic hurricane season is on track to wreak havoc well into the autumn.

Tornadoes are forecast to continue destroying homes and businesses throughout the Central Plains as COVID-19 numbers, once again, tick up, adding another complicated layer to disaster response.

“That is the world we’re living in now. The storms are more frequent. The storms are more intense. And we need to be ready,” FEMA Deputy Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery David Bibo told States Newsroom in a late April interview.

Hurricane season

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual Atlantic hurricane forecast, released Tuesday, predicts another above normal season.

NOAA administrator Rick Spinrad noted while discussing the forecast that the United States has “just experienced two extremely active hurricane seasons, marking the first time on record that two consecutive hurricane seasons exhausted the list of 21 storm names.”

This year’s Atlantic hurricane season, he said, would likely bring at least 14 named storms with a minimum of six of those turning into hurricanes and at least three of those hurricanes turning into major storms that reach Category 3 or above.

FEMA pays close attention to NOAA’s forecast when predicting hurricanes’ effects.

The agency prepositions supplies like food, water and generators that communities typically need immediately following a natural disaster. But Bibo noted that people should have emergency supplies of their own and know what natural disasters are most likely to hit them, so they can have a plan in place.

Americans should know how they’ll get information about evacuation orders, where they’ll evacuate to and how they’ll reach loved ones in an emergency, he said.

“It only takes one hurricane or one wildfire in your community to really have a dramatic effect on people’s lives,” Bibo said.

Wildfire recovery

The aftermath of the East Troublesome Fire in Colorado in October 2020 (Thomas Cooper/Special to Colorado Newsline).

Helping Americans recover after a wildfire is a significant part of the FEMA mission, though combating wildfires on federal lands falls to the U.S. Forest Service, which is part of the Department of Agriculture, and Interior Department.

Randy Moore, chief of the Forest Service, told members of Congress in late April the agency was “preparing for another long and arduous fire year made worse by continuing severe drought across the West.”

“Last year we had 29,000 firefighters fighting fires, primarily in the West, and it still wasn’t enough,” he said. “We have to be really aggressive and forthright in trying to reduce the conditions that are a root cause of these fires out there.”

The U.S. Forest Service is using a new 10-year strategy to try to address what it calls a “full-blown wildfire and forest health crisis.”

The proposal suggests a “paradigm shift” for the agency, moving towards logging and prescribed burns to deal with the build-up of forest density that has contributed to worsening wildfires.

“We need to thin Western forests and return low-intensity fire to Western landscapes in the form of both prescribed and natural fire, working to ensure that forest lands and communities are resilient in the face of the wildland fire that fire-adapted landscapes need,” the report said.

Moore cautioned the Forest Service, responsible for 193 million acres of forests and grasslands, needs at least $20 billion more in the years ahead to hire sufficient firefighters, pay them well enough to ensure wildland firefighting as a career and to address a maintenance backlog that can exacerbate wildfires.

The bipartisan infrastructure law from last year provided about $3 billion for wildfires, but Moore said that’s just a “down payment” on the work that needs to be done.

“This is just not nearly enough to really get at the problem,” Moore said.

But Ohio Republican Rep. David Joyce, the ranking member on the House panel in charge of funding the Forest Service, said he had “serious concerns about the scale of increase.”

“As the nation faces record inflation, we must be extremely cognizant of the financial decisions we are making, as to not saddle our future generations with unnecessary economic burdens and debt,” Joyce said. “Like all Americans, the federal government must live within its means and doing so will require us to make difficult choices and discern wants from actual needs.”

Prescribed burns

The Forest Service’s use of prescribed burns has also come under scrutiny in recent months.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the agency was remiss when it ignited a prescribed burn in her state on April 6 that later turned into the Hermits Peak fire.

“For me, it’s negligent to consider a prescribed burn in a windy season, in a state that’s under an extreme drought warning statewide,” she said. “So I think that it is likely that Congress and most of our federal partners accept that there is significant federal liability.”

Federal officials have opened a review of the prescribed burn, but have so far declined to publicly release the plan that’s supposed to be put together before intentionally lighting a wildfire.

Lujan Grisham said there wouldn’t be any more prescribed burns in New Mexico while the wildfires continue to burn.

Financial strain

FEMA is also asking Congress for more money in the coming years to address the ever-increasing number of disasters it responds to annually.

U.S. lawmakers provided the agency with $23.9 billion for the current fiscal year, a $2.19 billion boost from the prior year.

But still more is needed, officials say, leading FEMA to request Congress increase its funding during the next fiscal year, slated to begin in October, to $25.1 billion in discretionary spending.

FEMA officials have yet to testify on Capitol Hill about the request, though some lawmakers are questioning the way the agency responds to natural disasters and how it revised the National Flood Insurance Program.

A handful of Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation they say would address “systemic inequities” in who receives FEMA support.

“For decades, we have seen low-income communities and communities of color left behind after a disaster strikes,” said Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat. “It’s past time that the federal government — and particularly the Federal Emergency Management Agency — makes disaster assistance equity a real priority to reduce barriers to recovery.”

FEMA has taken some steps under the Biden administration to address how it distributes federal disaster relief. That includes broadening the types of documents individuals could use to prove they owned or rented a house ahead of a disaster.

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FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell told U.S. House lawmakers in April that policy changes made last year when FEMA was heading into hurricane season led to “42,000 homeowners being eligible for disaster assistance from us that we would have previously denied.”

“I think making these simple policy changes that we did last year made a tremendous difference,” Criswell said, adding FEMA is looking at making other long-term changes to continue building equity into disaster response.

The new policy allows homeowners or renters to use state motor vehicle registration forms and utility bills to prove where they lived ahead of a natural disaster.

Thompson, chair of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee, said that while he’s glad the Biden administration has made “many positive changes,” he wants to see the new programs made permanent and for FEMA to expand on its efforts.

The bill would require the FEMA Administrator to work with the Housing and Urban Development secretary and Small Business Administration administrator to create and implement “a process to ensure equity” throughout all programs.

Flood risk

Homes and businesses are surrounded by floodwater on March 20, 2019 in Hamburg, Iowa (Scott Olson/Getty Images).

FEMA has also tried to improve equity by overhauling how the National Flood Insurance Program determines a home’s flooding risk and what it charges homeowners for a policy.

The program, known as Risk Rating 2.0, is the most significant update to flood insurance premiums since the NFIP began in 1968.

The updated pricing, which took effect April 1, calculates a homeowner’s flood insurance premium by their property’s specific risk, not the flood zone they’re in.

Under the former system, FEMA said “policyholders with lower-valued homes [were] paying more than their share of the risk while policyholders with higher-valued homes [were] paying less than their share of the risk.”

“Because Risk Rating 2.0 considers rebuilding costs, FEMA can equitably distribute premiums across all policyholders based on home value and a property’s unique flood risk,” the agency said.

The change led to an increase in monthly costs for 77% of people with flood insurance with 7% of people paying between $10 – $20 more a month and 4% paying more than $20 more per month, according to FEMA.

But the new system has infuriated some U.S. lawmakers, including Louisiana Republican Rep. Garret Graves.

During a hearing with the FEMA administrator last month, Graves said he believed the agency was discriminating against people in several states due to the “huge surge in flood insurance rates.”

He noted some of his constituents had their annual flood insurance costs go from around $600 to $7,000, $8,000 or $9,000 per year.

“I’m having a lot of trouble understanding how you can be talking about equity and addressing marginalized or underserved communities, when FEMA is administratively thrusting these types of actions on our constituents,” Graves said.

FEMA Administrator Criswell said that the new flood insurance premiums ensure that “individuals that have homes that are in lower risk areas are not subsidizing homes that are in higher risk areas.”

What’s more important than that, Criswell said, is that now “homeowners truly understand what their risk is, which means that they have a better idea of how they can plan to protect their family.”

Weather and climate disasters

Last year the United States dealt with 20 billion-dollar weather and climate disasters that led to 688 direct or indirect deaths, according to a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

The storms caused about $145 billion in damages, with Hurricane Ida, which made landfall in Louisiana in August, contributing to $75 billion, the mid-February winter storm and cold accounting for $24 billion and the Western wildfires causing $10.9 billion.

The frequency and severity of extreme weather events during 2021 was “concerning because it hints that the extremely high activity of recent years is becoming the new normal.”

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Three broad factors are leading to the increase in weather and climate disasters, including more assets at risk, vulnerability and “the fact that climate change is increasing the frequency of some types of extremes that lead to billion-dollar disasters,” the report said.

The report, published in January, notes that climate change is “supercharging the increasing frequency and intensity of certain types of extreme weather that lead to billion-dollar disasters — most notably the rise in vulnerability to drought, lengthening wildfire seasons in the Western states, and the potential for extremely heavy rainfall becoming more common in the eastern states.”

Rising sea levels are also exacerbating storm surge flooding from hurricanes.

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Missouri Supreme Court weighs impact of merit system changes on labor contracts

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The law in question is one of two major bills passed in 2018 at the urging of then-Gov. Eric Greitens to limit the rights of public employees. One bill, which required some employee unions to receive annual approval to withhold dues from paychecks, was declared unconstitutional last year by the Missouri Supreme Court (Jason Hancock/Missouri Independent).

Three state employee labor unions hoping to preserve the merit system for their members told the Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday that a law passed in 2018 doesn’t alter existing contracts.

Under the law, most state employees lost protections that included grievance procedures to protest disciplinary actions and a requirement that the state have a good cause – such as unexcused absences or subpar performance – to fire someone.

Instead, workers who are not employed supervising prisoners or caring for residents of state institutions became at-will employees who can be fired at any time.

“At-will employment is the least protection you can have in Missouri,” assistant attorney general Maria Lanahan reminded the court.

The law is being challenged by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME; the Communications Workers of America, or CWA; and the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU. 

Each had contracts that required merit-system protections for the covered employees. Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem ruled last year that the contracts remained in force until renegotiated.

Attorney Loretta Haggard, who represents the unions, told the court that because the law was silent on union contracts and because the state constitution prohibits laws that impair the obligation of contracts, the protections can be retained in new contracts.

“The state would have you believe that a ruling in favor of the unions would be an utter calamity,” Haggard said.

While the unions asked the court to uphold Beetem’s ruling, the state is asking for it to be reversed. The state cannot negotiate over something the legislature abolished, assistant attorney general Maria Lanahan argued.

“If provisions of the collective bargaining agreement have become contrary to law, the state has to go back to the table and renegotiate,” Lanahan said.

AFSCME represents employees of several agencies in two bargaining units — craft and maintenance positions and direct care. CWA represents employees in the Social Services and Health and Senior Services departments and the Office of Administration. SEIU represents probation and parole employees and patient care professionals in the Corrections and Mental Health departments and the Missouri Veterans Commission.

The law is one of two major bills passed in 2018 at the urging of then-Gov. Eric Greitens to limit the rights of public employees. One bill, which required some employee unions to receive annual approval to withhold dues from paychecks, was declared unconstitutional last year by the Missouri Supreme Court. 

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In his ruling, Beetem upheld the law as it applies to state workers not represented by existing contracts. But because the state acted as if it did alter those contracts – by refusing grievance hearings or termination protests – the state unconstitutionally violated the collective bargaining rights of represented workers, Beetem ruled.

Beetem also ordered agencies with employees represented by the unions to negotiate in good faith “without constraint” from the law over merit-like protections.

The federal civil service system, with examinations to determine job qualifications and protections against firing when executive power changes party hands, was launched in the 1880s. Similar protections were extended to state workers in penal and eleemosynary institutions – hospitals and residential care centers – and “other state employees as provided by law” in the 1945 Constitution

The legislature in 1945 included most state employees, except those in the Department of Revenue and a handful of other agencies, in the merit system. The 2018 law withdrew the coverage from all employees except those constitutionally mandated for coverage and altered the system for hiring by eliminating the need for competitive examinations.

During the hearing, the judges tried to determine how far lawmakers could go, and what was negotiable, in labor contracts. Agreeing to negotiations means bargaining in good faith, Judge Mary Russell said, asking how that could occur without give-and-take. 

“You can come to the table and go through the motions of negotiating, but how does that result in good-faith negotiations to resolve differences?” Russell asked Lananan.

In filings with the court, the state argued that keeping the requirement for merit system protections in place would be absurd.

“Grievance procedures are incompatible with mandatory at-will employment because when employees ‘may be discharged for no reason or any reason not prohibited by law,’ there is no basis on which a tribunal could review an employee’s grievance,” the brief stated.

In questioning to Haggard, Judge W. Brent Powell asked what kind of laws are acceptable restrictions on what can be included in an agreement.

“If we say the statute doesn’t affect collective bargaining, are we also saying the law against strikes is also subject to collective bargaining?” Judge W. Brent Powell asked.

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Haggard said it would be wrong to inject hypotheticals into the decision, adding that a law against strikes, while limiting the scope of collective bargaining, is acceptable because it advances the state’s interest in public safety.

The court did not rule Tuesday. It is generally several weeks to several months after arguments before the court issues opinions.

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Governor Parson Makes Two Appointments to Missouri Ethics Commission

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Governor Parson Makes Two Appointments to Missouri Ethics Commission

johnathan.shiflett

Wed, 05/25/2022 – 10:44

May 25, 2022

Jefferson City

Today, Governor Mike Parson announced two appointments to the Missouri Ethics Commission.
Kathie Conway, of Wentzville, was appointed to the Missouri Ethics Commission.
Ms. Conway was elected to the Missouri House of State Representatives in 2010 and served until she was term limited in 2018.  Prior to to her election as State Representative, Ms. Conway was an investigator for Sedgwick Claims Management Services in the St. Louis area. She was also an investigator for the Missouri Real Estate Commission in addition to other independent investigation work throughout her career. She earned her Bachelors of Science in law enforcement administration from Western Illinois University.
William Villapiano, of Houston, was appointed to the Missouri Ethics Commission.
Mr. Villapiano has been a Minister with Faith Fellowship since 1984. He was also the President of Houston Ministerial Alliance for 19 years. He is an ordained minister through the Association of Faith Churches and Ministers International (AFCM). Mr. Villapiano serves as the Chairman of AFCM’s Executive Committee, leading a team that oversees regional directors and ministers from across the United States, Canada, and international missionaries. 

Stay Alert for the Summer

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Stay Alert for the Summer
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 05/25/2022 – 11:05

Memorial Day marks the start of the 100 deadliest days on the roads

JEFFERSON CITY – This weekend marks the start of a busy travel season and a historically deadly time on the nation’s roadways. And with construction season in full swing, the Missouri Department of Transportation is urging drivers to stay alert this summer.
During last year’s “100 Deadliest Days of Summer,” which spans the summer travel season between Memorial Day and Labor Day, 333 people were killed in Missouri traffic crashes. Distracted driving, excessive speed and following too closely were three of the main causes of crashes, particularly in and around work zones.
“With more places to be, more people on the roads and more construction work across the state, it’s crucial to stay alert behind the wheel,” said Becky Allmeroth, MoDOT’s chief safety and operations officer. “Whether you’re sharing the road with motorcyclists, driving around city streets with pedestrians in the area, or traveling through a work zone, slowing down and paying attention can save lives, including your own.”
With the heavy holiday weekend traffic, MoDOT will suspend work zones with routine lane closures beginning at noon on Friday, May 27, through 6 a.m. on Tuesday, May 31, but major work zones with permanent lane closures will remain in place. Drivers are reminded to pay attention to warning signs, obey the speed limit and put their phones down.
Some of the major work zones with permanent lane closures in place over the holiday weekend include I-35 in Kansas City, where all northbound lanes from 12th Street (Exit 2W) through the I-70 interchange will be closed for bridge reconstruction. In St. Louis, the eastbound lanes of I-255 over the Mississippi River are closed, and all traffic shares the westbound bridge with two lanes in each direction. Additionally, a multi-year project is underway from mile marker 22-33 on I-270 in northern St. Louis County. Motorists can expect construction on the route and its eight interchanges. In Pulaski County, one eastbound and westbound lane of I-44 will be closed at mile marker 166.8 (Trophy Lane) over the weekend for bridge rehabilitation work.
MoDOT advises motorists to plan ahead by using the Traveler Information Map at traveler.modot.org, which provides the latest road conditions, including closures, work zones and incidents. A mobile map app is also available for smartphone users, or motorists can call MoDOT’s 24/7 customer service toll free at 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (275-6636).
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. For more information on Missouri’s strategic highway safety plan, Show-Me Zero, and how everyone can participate, visit 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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Wed, 05/25/2022 – 07:01

St. Louis Work Zones for May 26 – June 1

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St. Louis Work Zones for May 26 – June 1
Visitor (not verified)
Wed, 05/25/2022 – 10:30

ST. LOUIS – The Missouri Department of Transportation will limit work on interstates and state highways starting at noon on Friday, May 27 to help people travel around the state during this Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Traffic will still be restricted in areas where there are permanent barriers.  If required, crews will close lanes where needed for emergency maintenance.  Most restrictions will remain in place until 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 31. 
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, one lane eastbound and westbound near Jefferson closed through mid-2022.
I-64, St. Louis City, one lane westbound at the entrance ramp east of Jefferson to Forest Park Avenue closed through mid-2022.
I-55, St. Louis City, two lanes southbound closed from Gravois to Virginia until December 2022.
I-55, St. Louis City, the ramp from Lafayette/Truman ramp and the ramp from Cherokee to southbound I-55 closed through December 2022.
I-55, St. Louis City, northbound lanes closed at 3200 Broadway and Arsenal exit.
I-55, St. Louis City, northbound two left lanes closed from Carondelet to Arsenal.
I-55, St. Louis City, two lanes northbound closed between 4500 Broadway and Gravois until December 2022.
I-55, St. Louis City, left two southbound lanes closed from Gravois to Loughborough.
I-70/44, St. Louis City, express lanes and the ramp from the express lanes to Broadway are closed until September 2022.
I-70/44, St. Louis City, Biddle on ramp to 70/44 closed until September 2022
I-70, St. Louis City, southbound Broadway bridge over the interstate is closed until spring 2023.
I-44, St. Louis County, one lane eastbound and westbound will be closed at Big Bend in Kirkwood until September 2022.
I-255, St. Louis County, one lane closed eastbound and westbound over Mississippi River bridge until fall 2022.
I-255, St. Louis County, eastbound Koch Rd. ramp closed until fall 2022.
I-270, St. Louis County, one lane of Dunn Road between Old Halls Ferry and New Halls Ferry closed.
I-270, St. Louis County, one lane of Pershall between Knollway and Washington/Elizabeth will be closed through summer. Westbound traffic will no longer be able to use this section of Pershall.
I-270, St. Louis County, the ramp from eastbound to northbound Route 367 will be closed until late September.
I-270, St. Louis County, one lane of westbound Pershall between New Florissant and Hanley Road will be closed until November 2022. Westbound traffic will no longer be able to use this section of Pershall.
I-270, St. Louis County, starting at 8 a.m., the westbound lane on Pershall between Hanley/Graham and New Florissant will be closed. When the roadway reopens in November 2022, it will be converted to one-way eastbound.
Route 67, St. Louis County, northbound ramp to westbound I-270 closed till mid-2022.
Route 67, St. Louis County, the ramp from northbound to eastbound Route 340 is closed through mid-2022.
Route 67, St. Louis County, one northbound and southbound lane closed north of Route 94.
Route 100, St. Louis County, just west of Hanley closed through late August.
Route 100, St. Louis County, one lane in each direction in Rock Hill near Deer Creek closed through mid-June.
Route 100, St. Louis County, one lane in each direction in Brentwood near Mary Avenue will be closed through late September.
Route 370, St. Louis County, 8 p.m. May 11 through late May, one right lane closed eastbound west of the Mills Mall exit.
Route 67, St. Charles County, one lane northbound closed north of the Missouri River through summer 2022.
Route 94, St. Charles County, the ramp from westbound Route 364 to eastbound Route 94 closed through summer 2022.
Route 364, St. Charles County, the ramp from westbound to eastbound Route 94 will be closed through summer 2022.
Route 61/67, Jefferson County, one northbound and southbound lane closed from north of Richardson Rd. to Telegraph.
Route 47, Franklin County, northbound and southbound will be reduced to one lane over Interstate 44 through September. In addition the ramp to westbound I-44 will be closed, and the ramps from westbound and eastbound I-44 to Route 47, and the ramp from Route 47 to eastbound I-44 will be closed to left-turning traffic through September.
 
Please see the list of daily road closures, weather permitting:
 
Thursday, May 26
I-44, St. Louis City, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., westbound exit to Broadway will be closed.
I-255, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., one lane on Koch Road at I-255.
I-270, St. Louis County, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound at Lindbergh.
Route 100, St. Louis County, 6 a.m. to noon, one lane closed westbound from Big Bend to Sappington.
Route 100, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., one lane closed eastbound from Sappington to Big Bend.
Route 180, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound or westbound between I-170 and Lindbergh.
Route 180, St. Louis County, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound between I-170 and the St. Louis City limits.
I-70, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., two lanes closed eastbound on Blanchette Bridge.
I-70, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound from Wentzville Parkway to Warren County.
Route 67, St. Charles County, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., one southbound lane closed north of Route 94.
Route 94, St. Charles County, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., one lane closed on Muegge over Route 94.
Route 94, St. Charles County, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound at Muegge.
Route D, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in each direction from Route T to Route Z. Flaggers will direct traffic through the closure.
Route F, Jefferson County, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., one lane closed in each direct from Route O to St. Joseph Hill Road.
 
Friday, May 27
I-270, St. Louis County, 8 a.m. to noon, one lane closed eastbound and westbound at Lindbergh.
I-255, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to noon, one lane on Koch Road at I-255.
Route 100, St. Louis County, 6 a.m. to noon, one lane closed westbound from Big Bend to Sappington.
Route 100, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to noon, one lane closed eastbound from Sappington to Big Bend.
Route 180, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to noon, one lane closed eastbound or westbound between I-170 and Lindbergh.
Route 94, St. Charles County, 7 a.m. to noon, one lane closed on Muegge over Route 94.
Route 94, St. Charles County, 7 a.m. to noon, one lane closed eastbound and westbound at Muegge.
Route D, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to noon, one lane closed in each direction from Route T to Route Z. Flaggers will direct traffic through the closure.
Route F, Jefferson County, 6 a.m. to noon, one lane closed in each direct from Route O to St. Joseph Hill Road.
 
Saturday, May 28
            No Scheduled Closures
 
Sunday, May 29
            No Scheduled Closures
 
Monday, May 30 – Memorial Day
            No Scheduled Closures
 
Tuesday, May 31
I-64, St. Louis City, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound from Ewing to 22nd
I-270, St. Louis County, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound at Lindbergh.
Route 100, St. Louis County, 6 a.m. to noon, one lane closed westbound from Big Bend to Sappington.
Route 100, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., one lane closed eastbound from Sappington to Big Bend.
I-255, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., one lane on Koch Road at I-255.
Route 180, St. Louis County, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound or westbound in various locations near the Metrolink.
Route 180, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound or westbound between I-170 and Lindbergh.
Route 180, St. Louis County, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound between I-170 and the St. Louis City limits.
Route 370, St. Louis County, 8 p.m. for two weeks, one lane closed on eastbound ramp onto northbound I-270.
I-70, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., two lanes closed eastbound on Blanchette Bridge.
I-70, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound from Wentzville Parkway to Warren County.
Route 94, St. Charles County, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., one lane closed on Muegge over Route 94.
Route 94, St. Charles County, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound at Muegge.
Route 94, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound from Route 364 to I-64.
Route D, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed in each direction from Route T to Route Z. Flaggers will direct traffic through the closure.
Route 21, Jefferson County, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., one lane closed northbound and southbound at Lowry Lane.
Route F, Jefferson County, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., one lane closed in each direct from Route O to St. Joseph Hill Road.
Route JJ, Franklin County, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., one lane closed in various locations.
 
Wednesday, June 1
I-255, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., one lane on Koch Road at I-255.
I-270, St. Louis County, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound at Lindbergh.
Route 100, St. Louis County, 6 a.m. to noon, one lane closed westbound from Big Bend to Sappington.
Route 100, St. Louis County, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., one lane closed eastbound from Sappington to Big Bend.
Route 180, St. Louis County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed eastbound or westbound between I-170 and Lindbergh.
Route 180, St. Louis County, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound between I-170 and the St. Louis City limits.
I-70, St. Charles County, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane closed westbound at Blanchette Bridge.
I-70, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., two lanes closed eastbound on Blanchette Bridge.
I-70, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound from Wentzville Parkway to Warren County.
Route 67, St. Charles County, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., one southbound lane closed north of Route 94.
Route 94, St. Charles County, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., one lane closed on Muegge over Route 94.
Route 94, St. Charles County, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound at Muegge.
Route 94, St. Charles County, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., one lane closed eastbound and westbound from Route 364 to I-64.
Route 21, Jefferson County, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., one lane closed northbound and southbound at Lowry Lane.
I-44, Franklin County, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., one lane closed eastbound at Route 50.
Route JJ, Franklin County, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., one lane closed in various locations.
 
 
 
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Districts Involved

St. Louis

Published On
Wed, 05/25/2022 – 06:28

Christian Hospital paramedic dies after collapsing under equipment in St. Charles gym

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A Christian Hospital Emergency Medical Services paramedic died during an early morning workout at a gym in St. Charles, police said.

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Phone records blast holes in Eric Greitens’ conspiracy claims, attorney says

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Eric Greitens shown addressing reporters on filing day, is accused of child and spousal abuse by his ex-wife, Sheena Greitens. (Madeline Carter/Missouri Independent).

Phone records show Sheena Greitens didn’t talk to Karl Rove, Mitch McConnell “or any person working for these men” in the weeks before she made explosive allegations of child and spousal abuse against Eric Greitens, her attorney said Tuesday.

Sheena Greitens’ call logs and text messages for the period Feb. 1 through March 22 were subpoenaed by her ex-husband in an effort to show she lied about the abuse to undermine his campaign for U.S. Senate. 

Helen Wade, Sheena Greitens’ attorney, wrote in a statement to The Independent that the subpoenaed records were turned over last week. The information contained, Wade wrote, contradict Eric Greitens’ assertions that his ex-wife conspired with his political enemies to lie in an affidavit made public on March 21.

“The records subpoenaed by Eric Greitens refute his repeated public statements accusing Dr. Sheena Greitens of coordinating with political operatives in the preparation and filing of her affidavit, and of leaking that affidavit to the press,” Wade wrote.

The affidavit, and the subpoena, are part of the ongoing child custody dispute between the Greitens, who were divorced in 2020. They are due to be in court Friday in Columbia, when Associate Circuit Judge Leslie Schneider will hear arguments over whether the case should be handled in Texas courts, where Sheena Greitens now lives, or remain in Boone County.

Eric Greitens resigned the Missouri governor’s office in June 2018. He launched a campaign for Missouri’s open U.S. Senate seat last year. 

Eric Greitens’ attorney Gary Stamper, wrote in an email that his review has uncovered contacts that Wade and Sheena Greitens will have to justify in court.

I have repeatedly said that ‘a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes,’” Stamper wrote. “The denial proffered by Dr. Greitens’ attorney ignores one, or more, easily identifiable calls.”

Stamper declined to give details on the calls he has identified but said he would question Sheena Greitens about them if she takes the stand Friday.

The Associated Press published the first story about the March 21 affidavit shortly after it showed up on the updated docket of the case in the online court filing system known as Casenet. 

Former Missouri First Lady Sheena Greitens

“Contrary to what has been repeatedly asserted by Eric Greitens, his attorneys and his political campaign, the records show absolutely no contact between Dr. Sheena Greitens and Karl Rove, Mitch McConnell, or any person working for these men,” Wade said in her email to The Independent. “These records further reflect no contact between Dr. Sheena Greitens and the Associated Press, which rebuts the allegations made by Mr. Greitens, his attorneys and his political campaign that she provided her affidavit to the AP prior to it becoming available to the public on March 21, 2022 at 9:26 a.m.”

The immediate issue Friday is whether Schneider will send the case to Texas. If either Sheena Greitens or Eric Greitens testify, it will be the first time they have been questioned about the allegations and it would be the first time Eric Greitens has made any statement under oath about them.

All of Sheena Greitens’ accusations have been made in sworn statements. She could face perjury charges if she has lied.

Sheena Greitens has been seeking to move the case since last year, after Eric Greitens launched the Senate campaign intended to be his political comeback. 

The case is in Boone County Circuit Court because Sheena Greitens lived in Columbia at the time she filed for divorce because she was on the faculty of the University of Missouri. A scholar who specializes in studying North Korea, she is now an associate professor at the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Eric Greitens was elected governor in 2016 and resigned June 1, 2018, amid allegations of violent sexual misconduct and an investigation of his campaign finances.

A Missouri House committee was considering whether to recommend his impeachment. Greitens agreed to resign as part of a plea deal with the St. Louis prosecutor to dismiss a felony charge stemming from allegations he stole from a veterans charity.

In the affidavit filed March 21, Sheena Greitens alleged Eric Greitens knocked her down and confiscated her cell phone, wallet and keys during a 2018 argument so she would be “unable to call for help or extricate myself and our children from our home.”

As his political problems increased in the first half of 2018, Sheena Greitens said in the affidavit, her ex-husband repeatedly threatened to commit suicide unless she showed “specific public political support” for him. As a result, she and others were so concerned they limited his access to firearms on at least three occasions that year. 

“I started sleeping in my children’s room simply to try to keep them safe,” Sheena Greitens said in the affidavit. 

In November 2019, the affidavit states, one of their sons came home from a visit with Eric Greitens with a swollen face, bleeding gums and loose tooth and said his father had hit him. The affidavit states Greitens said it was an accident while roughhousing. The tooth later had to be surgically removed.

In statements to the media, on social media accounts and in campaign fundraising appeals, Eric Greitens accused his wife of conspiring with his political enemies.

“I want to tell you directly, Karl Rove and Mitch McConnell,” Greitens said in a video tweeted March 25. “Hear me now. You are disgusting cowards. And we are coming for you.” 

And friendly conservative sites published stories crowing about Greitens’ victory over his foes when Schneider agreed to allow the subpoena for Sheena Greitens phone records. “BUSTED: Judge Gives Eric Greitens Access to Ex-Wife’s Phone Records Following RINO Smear Job,” a headline on Big League Politics declared.

While she allowed Stamper access to Sheena Greitens’ telephone records, Schneider denied subpoenas for phones owned by Catherine Linkul, who is Sheena Greitens’ sister, and Austin Chambers, manager of Greitens 2016 campaign. A request for a subpoena of Karl Rove’s telephone records was dropped before Schneider could rule.

The path to McConnell, according to Greitens supporters, is Linkul, who works for Pathway Public Affairs, a Republican consulting firm led by Phil Cox, a board member of a PAC linked to McConnell.

In the statement, Wade said the records showed regular contact with her sister and Chambers, who is a personal friend. But that doesn’t equal a conspiracy, Wade said.

“Contrary to the statements of Mr. Greitens’ attorneys and campaign,” Wade wrote, “the records of Dr. Greitens’ communications are not indicative of any sort of collaboration with her sister, with Mr. Chambers, or with any other person.”

The post Phone records blast holes in Eric Greitens’ conspiracy claims, attorney says appeared first on Missouri Independent.

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Environmentalists decry proposed ‘permit lite’ for some Missouri coal ash ponds

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The Labadie Energy Center sits on the Missouri River in Franklin County (Courtesy of Ameren Missouri).

A push by Missouri regulators to change permitting requirements for coal ash ponds has environmental groups worried important safeguards will be lifted and toxic chemicals and metals could leach into groundwater with few protections.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is seeking to move some ash ponds from stringent, site-specific permits to the general permit with few limitations or monitoring requirements. Environmentalists argue the move would give utilities legal cover to keep polluting. DNR says the general permit does not represent a relaxing of requirements for the sites.

“It allows for the continued leaching of pollutants in perpetuity into the groundwater, into the rivers and into the streams of Missouri from coal ash dumps,” said Tara Rocque, assistant director of the Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic at Washington University in St. Louis.

Rocque and about 20 Missouri residents, environmental advocates and attorneys decried the proposal during a public comment session on Tuesday. 

“It’s DNR’s job to protect human health and the environment, not to help industry figure out how to circumvent environmental laws,” said Ted Heisel, a Eureka resident.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ proposal would cover ponds where utilities dump toxic waste from coal-fired power plants. 

In a solid waste forum in February, a DNR official called the proposal a “permit lite.” 

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Brian Quinn, a spokesman for DNR, said in a statement that the comments saying the permit would be less stringent than site-specific ones reflects “a misconception by the public.” 

“This draft permit was proposed only for sites that have completed a robust assessment and demonstrated that the waste mass will not impact groundwater or surface waters of Missouri,” Quinn said. “Sites with ongoing contaminant issues would not be eligible for coverage under the draft proposed permit.”

Coal ash ponds can leach toxic chemicals — including lead and arsenic — into groundwater. The ponds are often located in river floodplains, raising the specter of possible pollution to Missouri’s major rivers.

Under a U.S. Supreme Court decision issued in 2020, entities discharging potential pollutants into groundwater must get a permit if the discharge is the “functional equivalent of a direct discharge from the point source into navigable waters.” 

In the case of at least one coal-fired power plant owned by Ameren, environmentalists have argued that means the coal ash ponds need permits because groundwater is flowing from near the plants toward the Missouri River. 

Rocque said the move to a general permit appears to be an attempt to help utilities circumvent that court decision.

The department said Tuesday that coal ash pits at that plant, Labadie Energy Center, are not eligible for the proposed new general permit.

The proposed permit says specifically that it does not require regularly scheduled groundwater monitoring, though coal ash pits may be subject to it under separate regulations.

“How exactly does DNR intend to discover environmental problems or water quality changes without monitoring at the site?” Rocque said. 

Rocque said in an interview that she found through a Missouri Sunshine Law request that the department intended for the permit to apply at the Chamois Power Plant in Osage County and a chemical plant in Louisiana, Missouri. 

She said Tuesday that more documents produced by the department showed the permit was also under consideration for the Meramec Energy Center, slated for closure this year. 

In a statement, Ameren Missouri’s senior manager of environmental services, Craig Giesmann, said the ash basins pose no risk to the public. He said the utility developed a plan to address groundwater issues. 

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“As we get closer to the end of safely closing the basins, we’re utilizing industry-leading technology to remove up to 99% of trace metals from groundwater,” he said. This proactive step goes beyond what is required. Long after the work is complete, we plan to continue our extensive monitoring and reporting of groundwater information.”

He added: “My Ameren Missouri co-workers and I live in these communities, too. We’re invested in being good environmental stewards, and it’s important for us to get this right.”

DNR was also criticized during Tuesday’s meeting because some of the information online concerning how Missourians could join the virtual public hearing was incorrect. Quinn said the department was investigating and, if it determines stakeholder input was prevented, it could consider holding another public meeting. 

Officials said at the end of the hearing that they would take the public’s comments into consideration before issuing a final decision on the permit.

The post Environmentalists decry proposed ‘permit lite’ for some Missouri coal ash ponds appeared first on Missouri Independent.

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Resurfacing underway on Daviess County U.S. Route 69

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Resurfacing underway on Daviess County U.S. Route 69
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 05/24/2022 – 16:45

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – A resurfacing project on U.S Route 69 in Daviess County is underway. The Missouri Department of Transportation has contracted with Herzog Contracting Corp. to complete the project which extends from Route C to just north of Interstate 35. Crews completed concrete patching and plan to begin paving this week, weather permitting.
Motorists will be directed through the work zone by flaggers and a pilot car. Workers will be present during daylight hours, Monday through Saturday, weather permitting. A 12-foot width restriction will be in place for the duration of the project, which is scheduled to be complete in late June.
All work 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.
While 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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Take the Challenge! Buckle Up/Phone Down
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Traveler Information Map
http://traveler.modot.org/map

Districts Involved

Northwest

Published On
Tue, 05/24/2022 – 12:42

Man who fatally shot wife in St. Peters hospital has also died

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John Robey, 94, was able to carry a gun into his wife’s hospital room because Barnes-Jewish St. Peters does not use metal detectors, police said.

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Hitachi Energy to expand in Jefferson City, investing approximately $10 million and adding 75 new jobs

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May 24, 2022Jefferson CityHitachi Energy, a global technology leader serving the utility, industry and infrastructure sectors, announced today it will expand in Jefferson City, investing approximately $10 million and adding 75 new jobs. Hitachi Energy’s expansion will allow for increased operations at the facility owned by the company, which has had a presence in the state’s capital for 50 years.

Speaker Pro Tem Wiemann says goodbye to the House

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House Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann (R-O’Fallon) is leaving the Missouri House after 8 years due to term limits. Before the end of the final regular session of his House career, he spoke to his colleagues and staff. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of individuals in this building that I’ve made what … Continue reading “Speaker Pro Tem Wiemann says goodbye to the House”

Rep. Bailey bids farewell to the House

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Representative Dottie Bailey (R-Eureka) is not pursuing another term in the Missouri House. Before the close of business on her last regular session in the chamber, she spoke to her colleagues and House staff. “Being a voice for liberty, America, and all that she stands for has been my pure joy, greatest pleasure, and one … Continue reading “Rep. Bailey bids farewell to the House”

Some 68 years after Brown v. Board, similar foes continue fighting progress | Opinion

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A tour group observes the Brown v. Board mural on the third floor of the Kansas Statehouse, April 26, 2022 (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector).

During a 2014 symposium marking the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Topeka Board of Education decision, a statement from one of the plaintiffs offered what today feels like prescient insight. Many of the Virginia plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit, feared integration and would have preferred separate and actually equal.

Many historians consider Brown one of the high court’s five most consequential decisions. The landmark ruling struck down 1896’s Plessey v. Ferguson ruling solidifying segregation in schools and the concept of “separate but equal.” Nevertheless, the opposition has persisted.

As we approach Brown’s 68th birthday, and the seating of the Supreme Court’s first female African American jurist, much of this age-old fight feels so familiar.

For many, the decision remains a proud moment for the nation, a moment where America not only aligned itself with its soaring egalitarian narrative, but where it also acknowledged a tragic failing it had long tried to keep hidden.

According to a news release about the symposium, convened at the University of Kansas, “in addition to establishing integration in public schools, the case was a significant step toward changing a broader dynamic of discrimination in the years and decades that followed. The ruling revolutionized the legal framework for race relations, extended the protection of equal rights to all and inspired oppressed peoples around the world to become advocates of freedom and equality.”

Images from a 2014 symposium marking the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Topeka Board of Education decision (photos by Mark McCormick).

Langston Hughes once wrote, “America has never been America to me,” but for a fleeting moment, many in Black America thought America might finally “be” for them.

But that moment proved short-lived.

Symposium presenter Hasan Kwame Jeffries, an associate professor of history at The Ohio State University argued that society had underestimated segregationist resolve, pointing to a dedicated, three-pronged resistance movement that included grassroots protests, legal filings and the establishment of private schools.

Theodore Shaw, the former head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, referred to Brown during his remarks at the symposium as “Hallowed, but hollow,” and said New York City schools were as segregated today as they were before Brown.

But then, there was John Stokes, one of the Virginia plaintiffs.

He explained to me and my son, whom I’d brought along, that Virginia plaintiffs made up 75 percent of the Brown plaintiffs and many of them, himself included, simply wanted school officials to honor their promise of “equal” schools.

Mr. Stokes said he knew the white, Southern, often government-sanctioned terror that marked the era would collapse on them as soon as they attempted to enter the schools. The thought of that terrified him, he said.

In our society, white resistance is regarded by many as patriotic (Jan. 6, for example).

Mr. Stokes did not underestimate the resolve. He’d seen it up close.

Consider the continuing hysterical claims that school officials have embedded Critical Race Theory (a graduate-level study) in grade school curriculums, that diversity makes white children feel bad, and that certain books should be pulled from library shelves.

Proponents of these breathless claims have leveled violent threats at school board members, school administrators and classroom teachers nation-wide.

Meanwhile, white flight into wealthy suburbs created homogenous neighborhoods with housing costs beyond the means of most Black families, meaning schools there will resemble the neighborhoods. The spread of private, Christian schools invulnerable to Constitutional appeals to equality has continued.

All this, while claiming a wholesome innocence.

This year, according to The Grio website, of the 47 senators voting against Ketanji Brown Jackson’s appointment to the Supreme Court, 25 had voted for her less than a year ago for lower judicial positions. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham had voted for her twice.

Jackson will have to wait until late June or early July to take her seat, but she’ll land on a court seemingly more hostile to civil rights and civil liberties than the Earl Warren-led Court that handed down the Brown decision almost seven decades ago.

Things have changed somewhat, but this environment still feels so familiar.

Noted scholar W.E.B. DuBois once said, “Either the United States will destroy ignorance or ignorance will destroy the United States.” After decades of running and with many decades to go, not only have we not pulled away from ignorance, we’re still running neck-and-neck.

This commentary was originally published by the Kansas Reflector, a States Newsroom affiliate. 

The post Some 68 years after Brown v. Board, similar foes continue fighting progress | Opinion 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

Ramp closure scheduled for southbound I-29 to northbound I-35 on June 2

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Ramp closure scheduled for southbound I-29 to northbound I-35 on June 2
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 05/24/2022 – 10:25

For more information, contact Lairyn McGregor at 816-607-2152
May 24, 2022 – For immediate release:
Traffic Alert: Ramp closure scheduled for southbound I-29 to northbound I-35 on June 2
CLAY COUNTY – MoDOT Kansas City will close the ramp from southbound Interstate 29 to northbound I-35 for shoulder repair work beginning at 8:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 2. Motorists will need to seek alternate routes during this time. All work is weather permitting.
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
Tue, 05/24/2022 – 06:20

Hillyard to expand in St. Joseph, investing more than $50 million and retaining more than 200 jobs

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May 23, 2022St. JosephHillyard, Inc. announced today it will expand in St. Joseph, investing more than $50 million and retaining more than 200 high-paying jobs in the area. The expansion of the leading manufacturer and distributor of cleaning and hygiene solutions will redevelop an existing downtown location.

100-Mile Yard Sale Kicks Off This Week; Drivers Urged To Use Caution

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100-Mile Yard Sale Kicks Off This Week; Drivers Urged To Use Caution
Visitor (not verified)
Tue, 05/24/2022 – 08:15

SIKESTON—Visitors and residents will be out in full force along Route 25 Memorial Day weekend in search of bargains at the 100-Mile Yard Sale, but MoDOT wants you to remember the greatest savings of the event could be a life.
“It’s a fun weekend that people look forward to each year,” says Traffic Engineer Craig Compas, “but we want people to remember that there’s more traffic and more congestion along Route 25 this weekend than any other and drivers need to keep that in mind.”
MoDOT will do its part to bring the safety message to the forefront.  Message boards will be in place along the route to alert drivers of the unusual traffic patterns and promote safe driving.
“We really want drivers to be alert—to be aware of their surroundings, to be aware of sudden stops and to look for pedestrian traffic,” Compas says.  “While we want everyone to enjoy themselves, we ask that people also be as safe as possible.”
For more information, contact Compas at (573) 472-5310 or call MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636).
###

Districts Involved

Southeast

Published On
Tue, 05/24/2022 – 04:11

Active case of tuberculosis diagnosed in St. Charles middle school

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Someone at Hollenbeck Middle School in St. Charles has been diagnosed with active tuberculosis, health officials said, noting there is no cause for concern.

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​​Federal watchdog’s report sheds new light on scope of Missouri’s missing foster kids

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In Missouri, there were 1,780 instances of foster kids going missing over the course of a two-and-a-half-year period, a federal watchdog found (Screenshot of HHS OIG report).

A report published Monday by a federal watchdog sheds new light on the scope of missing foster kids in Missouri, an issue that infuriated state lawmakers last year and led to accusations that Department of Social Services leadership was failing to take accountability.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General reported that there were 1,780 instances of foster kids going missing in Missouri over a two-and-a-half year period that spanned July 2018 to December 2020.

Four percent of all children in Missouri’s foster care system went missing during that time. Across the country, there were 110,446 missing children episodes, underscoring a nationwide problem.

In Missouri, the average time a child was missing was 37 days — with nine states’ averaging over 50 days. On average, a child went missing from foster care in Missouri two times, with some states reaching an average of five and seven times.

“The number of days is quite concerning,” said Rep. Sarah Unsicker, D-Shrewsbury. “I don’t know whether during that time frame we were putting sufficient resources into finding missing kids.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Social Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday on the report’s findings.

Kids who go missing from foster care are at a higher risk of experiencing harm, substance use and trafficking, according to the report.

A previous audit of Missouri’s Children’s Division found that several missing foster kids had used drugs and a few became pregnant. In one instance, a child had been sex-trafficked in as many as four states while missing.

DSS historically has shown that it needs a watchdog, given problems that it’s had in the past. I’m much more confident in the new directors. But I think that it helps to have them know that there’s an eye on them. And we’re not just letting these children disappear.

– Rep. Sarah Unsicker, D-Shrewsbury

Last year’s report by the Office of Inspector General found Missouri failed to sufficiently reduce children’s risk of going missing from the foster care system and frequently failed to notify local and federal authorities they were missing. Last year’s report found 978 children were missing at some point from Missouri foster care in 2019.

The findings sparked outrage from lawmakers last year, who pressed officials for answers at subsequent legislative hearings on the issue. Since then, the Children’s Division — which oversees the state’s foster care system — is under new leadership, as is the department as a whole.

Rep. Dottie Bailey, R-Eureka, said conversations with the new Children’s Division Director Darrell Missey contributed to her removing a provision in legislation earlier this year that would have allowed $50,000 fines to be issued against providers who failed to report a child in their custody was missing.

“He has a heart for these kids. And we see change coming,” Bailey said during House debate in April, “so I took the $50,000 penalty provision out of this bill in good faith that I do trust him and he gives me hope for that department and shaping it up.”

The bill, which also would have raised the age of a missing child to 18 in an effort to ensure law enforcement take such reports, passed the House unanimously in May but failed to gain traction in the Senate in the session’s final weeks.

Unsicker said she believes under new leadership the department has come to the table to try to make changes, but still hopes to see lawmakers pass reforms to ensure the department is accountable.

“DSS historically has shown that it needs a watchdog, given problems that it’s had in the past,” Unsicker said. “I’m much more confident in the new directors. But I think that it helps to have them know that there’s an eye on them. And we’re not just letting these children disappear.”

Unsicker said she was concerned that the number of missing foster children has increased in recent months.

Since February, the number of kids in Children’s Division custody listed with the status of “RUN” has hovered at 100 or more, with 110 kids with the designation in February. That’s since dropped slightly to 100 as of April, according to the Children’s Division’s latest figures.

The issue of labeling missing kids with the “RUN” designation was highlighted in last year’s report as an area that makes it difficult to determine if a child is truly missing and their whereabouts are unknown versus children in an unauthorized placement that officials are aware of. 

In the Department of Social Services’ budget passed earlier this month, lawmakers included $8 million for the development of a new, comprehensive child welfare information system.

A dozen states, though not Missouri, reported that some of the children who went missing ultimately died. In California, a 15-year-old was found dead of a suspected drug overdose three days after going missing.

States varied in how they defined a missing child, with some reporting them as soon as they learned a child is missing while others required a 24-hour waiting period. A handful of states had created special units to specifically locate missing children, while a dozen only required the foster care provider or state agency to contact law enforcement in the case of a missing child, according to the report.

“Without ensuring that missing children are accurately and expeditiously reported, state agencies lack assurance that all appropriate agencies are promptly initiating searches for missing children,” the report read.

The report made no recommendations, but expects it will be used to help improve outcomes. The report could not conduct comprehensive analyses on factors such as race and the precise status of missing children, in part, because of incomplete and incomparable data received from states.

The federal watchdog noted it also has an ongoing audit of states’ reporting to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

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The post ​​Federal watchdog’s report sheds new light on scope of Missouri’s missing foster kids appeared first on Missouri Independent.

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Meet the Falcon: AI-powered license plate readers multiply as police tool in St. Louis suburbs

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A traffic surveillance tool has been described as a ‘game changer’ by St. Louis area police, but has critics.

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EPA watchdog launches probe into incidents linked to popular Seresto pet collar

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Since Seresto was approved for use in 2012, the collar has been the subject of at least 86,000 incident reports, including more than 2,300 reports involving pet deaths (Getty Images).

This story was originally published by Investigate Midwest.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general is reviewing the agency’s handling of the tens of thousands of reported incidents of harm linked to the Seresto flea-and-tick collar, the agency announced Thursday.

The EPA Office of Inspector General said it plans to determine whether the agency’s response “provides assurance that the collars can still be used without posing unreasonable adverse effects to human health and the environment” and whether the EPA adhered to pesticide registration requirements in approving the popular Seresto collar, the office said in a letter to Michal Freedhoff, the assistant administrator of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

Since Seresto was approved for use in 2012, the collar has been the subject of at least 86,000 incident reports, including more than 2,300 reports involving pet deaths.

Keri McGrath Happe, the spokeswoman for the collars’ manufacturer, Elanco Animal Health, said the collar is safe.

“Elanco unequivocally continues to stand behind the safety profile of Seresto as a proven solution to help protect dogs and cats from fleas and ticks,” she said. “We support all agency review processes.”

In March 2021, an Investigate Midwest and USA TODAY investigation revealed that the product at that time was subject to more than 75,000 incidents associated with Seresto – the most of any product in EPA history.

Following that story, a Congressional subcommittee launched an investigation into the collars and asked Elanco to temporarily recall the collars, which are the company’s top-selling product. Elanco has declined.

The EPA — in response to a petition from the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity — has opened an official review of the product. The EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs is also under an internal review after whistleblower complaints of internal corruption.

Earlier this year, an Investigate Midwest/USA TODAY investigation found that, for years, agency officials have raised concerns that the EPA’s process for reviewing incidents is flawed and has resulted in the use of products that pose dangers to pets and humans. EPA scientists said they were told to keep their concerns off email. The agency also said it has no process for reviewing incidents.

Elanco has continued to defend the collar. The company said the rate of complaints has declined since the product was put on the market in 2012. Elanco — which bought the entire Bayer Animal Health unit, including Seresto, from the German pharmaceutical giant in 2020 for $7.6 billion — has said its own extensive studies into the product show that the incidents of harm reported by pet owners are likely related to other factors and not the collar itself.

Elanco did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The EPA also did not respond immediately.

It is not clear when the inspector general plans to conclude its evaluation. The office said it is following a directive from top EPA management to ensure the safe use of chemicals.

Investigate Midwest is a nonprofit, online newsroom offering investigative and enterprise coverage of agribusiness, Big Ag and related issues through data analysis, visualizations, in-depth reports and interactive web tools.

The post EPA watchdog launches probe into incidents linked to popular Seresto pet collar appeared first on Missouri Independent.

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May 23, 2022 | Upcoming COVID Vaccination Events

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St. Charles County offers free and convenient vaccinations to eligible individuals for all authorized COVID-19 vaccines. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome in some cases. Call 636-949-1899 to schedule appointments or for more info.

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

Capitol Perspectives: Possible reasons for Missouri’s legislative dysfunction

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After Republicans took control of the legislature in 2003, party-line votes became more common in Missouri’s General Assembly — for both parties (Jason Hancock/Missouri Independent).

This column was inspired by a discussion with Missouri Independent Reporter Rudi Keller the day after the 2020 legislative session adjourned.

We reminisced about earlier years when there seemed to be a more intense focus on the specific details of public policy rather than ideology and pondered what caused the change.

Has it been the growth of a stronger ideological focus for many legislators? Or did a decline in legislative focus on policy details lead to more emphasis on ideology?

Years ago, the legislature had frequent committee meetings between the annual legislative sessions.

Without the pressure of full-chamber sessions to promptly act on pending bills, committees have more flexibility to devote hours on intensive hearings and detailed discussions about specific state issues.

Those extended sessions provided legislators, their staff and reporters with a far deeper understanding of major state issues.

Maybe if legislative debate and filibusters put more focus on policy details it might reduce the ideological warfare that was such a major factor in this year’s session.

But I’m doubtful.

The two major political parties have become so ideologically divided that the warfare of values has become a far greater factor in the legislative process.

Political campaigns have become dominated by an effort to fire up the ideological base rather than help the general public understand the complicated issues facing the state.

A decline in campaigns based on the details of public policy leads to a less informed general public from whom legislators seek electoral support.

I’m not arguing that policy details were not discussed and debated in this last legislative session.

But the long-winded ideological arguments often drowned out policy discussion.

Compounding the problem is the growing ideological divide between the two parties in the legislature.

At one time, there were fiercely conservative Democrats in the legislature and equally committed moderate Republicans to a degree that would be unimaginable today.

A decline in campaigns based on the details of public policy leads to a less informed general public from whom legislators seek electoral support.

For me, one of my strongest memories of that era was western Missouri Democratic Sen. Harold Caskey.

The late senator was the legislative leader who led the fight for Missouri’s current law allowing concealed weapons.

He was the Senate handler for the bill in 2003, one of only four Democrats to vote for the bill, the only Democrat to vote to shut off a filibuster of fellow senators to allow the vote and just one of three Democratic senators who voted to override the Democratic governor’s veto of the bill.

As an aside, Caskey joked with me that he was the only member of the chamber without a conflict of interest on the issue because his blindness would prevent him from getting a concealed-weapons permit.

But Caskey was far from a conservative ideologue. He sponsored legislation to expand educational services for the lower income, allow earlier release of non-violent criminal offenders and require health insurance to cover hearing aids for children.

Further, he was a true policy wonk, as he demonstrated in his leadership with the education funding bill. It’s one of the most complex and almost incomprehensible legislative issues I’ve covered.

Caskey’s history demonstrates the profound change in Missouri’s legislature since he was forced out by term-limits after 2004.

After Republicans took control of the legislature in 2003, party-line votes became more common in Missouri’s General Assembly — by members of both parties.

My database of major, news-worthy roll-call votes which goes back to 1995 shows a dramatic increase in party-line votes after Republicans took control of both chambers in 2003.

In every year since GOP control, on the key issues of my database, Republicans voted with a uniformity approaching or exceeding 90% each year.

A similar conformity was demonstrated by Democratic votes, but far from the magnitude of Republicans.

For long-time Missouri statehouse reporters, these numbers are not a surprise. For some time a growing partisan divide on public policy issues in the legislature has been become increasingly apparent.

What has caused Democrats and Republicans to become more in lock-step with their party colleagues?

Is it term limits? Does it reflect campaigns that focus on ideological rather than substantive policy issues? Is it a reflection of a process that has less focus on the complicated details of public policy? Is there a stronger pressure on legislators to vote the party line?

Or, is it more a reflection of the decline in the number of moderate legislators in both parties?

Most likely, I suspect, it is a combination of those factors.

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Opioid death of son inspires first agenda item for Democratic Senate candidate

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Democratic Senate candidate Trudy Busch Valentine is making opioid addiction the first issue for a detailed policy proposal from her campaign. (Darwin Brandis/iStock Getty Images Plus)

Matt Valentine was 499 days sober in a court-supervised diversion program when painkillers taken for a broken nose triggered a long-term addiction. He died of an overdose in August 2020.

When beer heiress Trudy Busch Valentine announced her campaign for U.S. Senate, she pointed to her son’s 2020 overdose death as a key motivation for deciding to enter politics. A web ad launched on Mother’s Day delved into Matt’s story

And now, Valentine is making action on the national opioid epidemic her first significant policy proposal since joining the race in March.

“The day before he died, he had surgery for a broken nose,” Valentine said in an interview with The Independent. “And then I think he went back on to some opioids for pain. And that led him to wanting more and that and what he took killed him.”

Matt 36, was one of 1,375 Missourians who died of an opioid overdose in 2020. Missouri ranked 32nd in the nation for drug overdose death rates in 2020, the state Department of Health and Senior Services stated in a recent news release, and drug overdose was the leading cause of death for Missourians aged 18 to 44.

Deaths from overdoses of all drugs are up 38% since 2016, with deaths from opioid overdose up 71% and from synthetic opioids up 132%.

Matt didn’t know, Valentine said, that the drugs he purchased were laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 20-times stronger than heroin.

“Everyone today in Missouri and America needs to know that all these drugs are laced with fentanyl, and that you can’t even take a chance of experimenting with these drugs, because they can kill you, first time.”

Valentine, one of the heirs to the Busch family fortune estimated in 2020 at $17.6 billion, has never run for office before. Since she entered the race, opponents in the Democratic primary have criticized her for failing to identify specific policies or make appearances at grassroots events.

In a series of tweets May 5, St. Louis businessman and Democratic candidate Spencer Toder asked Valentine to respond with her qualifications for the Senate.

“I’d ask in person, but despite having run for this seat for a year and spoken at over Dem 100 events and gatherings, I’ve never seen you at one,” one of the tweets stated.

Valentine’s twitter account has recently shown her campaigning in a parade and attending an abortion rights rally.

The proposals released Monday target helping addicts recover by using leverage in the federal payments for Medicaid to increase rates to providers, quicker access to treatment and expanded use of telehealth. 

“If they can get into a system of being treated, they can get the help they need,” Valentine said. “There are medications now that people can take to prevent the high or whatever you get from taking an opioid. That’s huge.”

To fight the flow of drugs into illicit use, Valentine is calling for increased federal support for local police and training to use anti-overdose drugs to save lives. The proposals ask for more support for fighting distribution networks and holding pharmaceutical companies liable for marketing that has increased addiction.

“I want to have treatment, of course, but you know, there’s got to be something about preventing this from happening,” Valentine said. “We don’t want the crime from addiction.”

Opioid overdose deaths exceeded traffic deaths in Missouri for the first time in 2016, with 908 opioid deaths compared to 872 traffic deaths. Since that time, opioid deaths have increased five times faster than traffic deaths.

Deaths from opioid overdose increased 30% nationally in 2020, from 70,300 in 2019 to more than 91,000, in 2020, according to the National Institutes of Health

A large amount of funding for addiction prevention and treatment is flowing to states and the federal government from settlements with pharmaceutical companies. One of the biggest, involving Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma, is being held up over provisions in a bankruptcy settlement that would exempt members of the Sackler family, owners of the firm, from personal liability.

An appeal over the settlement, worth about $10 billion, was argued in April but no decision has been released. It has sparked a debate over whether bankruptcy law should be used to shield shareholders in closely-held companies from liability.

“They’re not held responsible for the increase of opioids and I think that’s totally wrong,” Valentine said. “I think they need to be held responsible.”

One way would be to require an education campaign to combat opioid addiction and warn about the danger of drugs purchased illegally, Valentine said.

Valentine, Toder, Air Force veteran Jewel Kelly and Marine veteran Lucas Kunce are the most organized of the 11 Democrats on the Aug. 2 ballot. But polling shows none of the candidates have made a strong impression on Democratic voters. KMOV last week reported a survey that gave Kunce 10%, Valentine 8% and no other candidate more than 3%, with 63% undecided.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt is giving up a seat that Republicans have held for 36 years and the GOP primary has generated far more attention, with 21 candidates in all and six major candidates.

Former Gov. Eric Greitens, who is attempting a political comeback after resigning in disgrace in 2018, was leading the GOP field with 26% in the KMOV poll, followed by Attorney General Eric Schmitt at 17% and U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler polling 11%.

A poll taken at the same time for Missouri Scout  by Remington Research, a firm owned by Schmitt’s consultant, Axiom Strategies, showed Schmitt with 29%, Hartzler with 23% and Greitens polling 21%.

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Route 51 in Perry County Reduced for Center Turn Lane Additions

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Route 51 in Perry County Reduced for Center Turn Lane Additions
Visitor (not verified)
Mon, 05/23/2022 – 15:00

SIKESTON—Route 51 in Perry County will be reduced to one lane with a 10-foot width restriction as construction crews perform center turn lane additions. 
This section of roadway is located from Route T to Old St. Mary’s Road in Perryville, Missouri. 
Weather permitting, work will take place Monday, June 6 through Tuesday, November 1 from 7 a.m. to 7 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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Published On
Mon, 05/23/2022 – 10:59

Route 53 in Butler County Reduced for Drainage Repairs

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Route 53 in Butler County Reduced for Drainage Repairs
Visitor (not verified)
Mon, 05/23/2022 – 14:25

SIKESTON—Route 53 in Butler County will be reduced to one lane as Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform drainage repairs.  
This section of roadway is located from County Road 309 to County Road 608, near Poplar Bluff, Missouri.  
Weather permitting, work will take place Tuesday, May 24 from 8 a.m. to 3 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, 05/23/2022 – 10:24

Rep. Bill Kidd farewell

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The legislative term of Representative Bill Kidd (R-Buckner) is coming to a close. As his final session as a member of the House wound down, Kidd bid his colleagues farewell. “You will be a picture on the wall, the desk will be given back to someone else, it will be time for you to give … Continue reading “Rep. Bill Kidd farewell”

Highway 80 in Mississippi County Reduced for Edge Rut Repairs

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Highway 80 in Mississippi County Reduced for Edge Rut Repairs
Visitor (not verified)
Mon, 05/23/2022 – 13:00

SIKESTON – Highway 80 in Mississippi County will be reduced to one lane as Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform edge rut repairs.   
This section of roadway is located from County Road 803 to Route AA. 
Weather permitting, work will take place Monday, May 23 through Friday, May 27 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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Mon, 05/23/2022 – 08:56

Meet the Falcon: AI-powered license readers multiply as police tool in St. Louis suburbs

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A traffic surveillance tool has been described as a ‘game changer’ by St. Louis area police, but has critics.

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

Lane closure scheduled for westbound I-70 at Route 13 May 24-25

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Lane closure scheduled for westbound I-70 at Route 13 May 24-25
Visitor (not verified)
Mon, 05/23/2022 – 12:30

 
LAFAYETTE COUNTY – MoDOT Kansas City will close the right lane of westbound Interstate 70 at MO Route 13 for patching work beginning at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, May 24, until approximately 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25. Motorists are encourages to plan ahead or seek alternate routes during this time if necessary. All work is weather permitting.
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, 05/23/2022 – 08:25

Missouri legislators load up state’s official calendar with awareness days

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State Rep. Shamed Dogan sponsored legislation that ballooned into a bill creating 58 new designations recognizing various people, communities and causes (Tim Bommel/Missouri House Communications).  

The bill started out as just one word. 

“Literally adding the word ‘Captain’ to the David Dorn Memorial Highway on Highway (State Route) 180 here in St. Louis County,” said Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin. 

When they named the highway in his honor last year, legislators accidentally left out the title for Dorn, a retired St. Louis police captain who was shot and killed while working security in 2020. And the Missouri Department of Transportation can’t fix the highway sign until it’s fixed in legislation. 

By the time the Senate passed it last week, the bill was nine pages long and had 58 new designations recognizing various people, communities and causes.  

Missouri is now poised to add several designations honoring communities of color to its official calendar, after Missouri legislators sent Dogan’s bill and one another similar bill to the governor’s desk last week. 

Upon the governor’s signature, Missouri will become the seventh state to officially recognize February as Black History Month — joining Alaska, California, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, and South Carolina. 

Legislators also officially designated the month of November as Native American Heritage Month and September 15 to October 15 as Hispanic Heritage Month. And they made Juneteenth, a commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States on June 19, a public holiday.

Honoring Black History Month was the initial reason for a bill sponsored by Rep. Mark Sharp, D-Kansas City. 

Before the Senate passed Sharp’s bill in April, senators added amendments recognizing Black leaders, including former St. Louis County state Rep. Betty Thompson and St. Louis-native Ethel Hedgeman Lyle who helped found the Black sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha on the campus of Howard University in 1908.

They also designated the third week of September as Historically Black College and University Week, recognizing the state’s two HBCUs, Lincoln University in Jefferson City and Harris Stowe State University in St. Louis.

Dogan’s bill includes honoring U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, former St. Louis County Councilwoman Hazel Erby and several war veterans, firefighters and law enforcement officers.

“One of the things that people lose track of when we do quote unquote ‘symbolic bills’ like this is that symbolism really does matter,” Dogan said. “Who you honor matters, what you honor, and what you choose to bring awareness to, really does matter.” 

Awareness for various diseases make up a bulk of the bill, which Dogan believes could save lives by helping people get diagnosed with diseases that wouldn’t normally be on their “radar screens.” 

One of the things that people lose track of when we do quote unquote ‘symbolic bills’ like this is that symbolism really does matter. Who you honor matters, what you honor, and what you choose to bring awareness to, really does matter.

– Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin

Included in the bill are myasthenia gravis, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, sickle cell disease, tardive dyskinesia, polycystic ovary syndrome, uterine fibroid, lupus, breast cancer, hydrocephalus and scoliosis. 

October 1 is designated as Biliary Atresia Awareness Day, which is a rare congenital liver disease. Not only was it meant to bring awareness about the condition, but also to remember Annistyn Kate Rackley, a Pemiscot County child  who was killed by the deadly December tornadoes and who had the disease.

Dogan said the provision that’s close to his heart was offered by Sen. Doug Beck, D-St. Louis County, to designate March 26 as Epilepsy Awareness Day. 

“I have family members and good friends of mine who’ve had epilepsy,” he said. “Being able to spot people who are having seizures and knowing how to properly respond to it, again that’s something that can potentially help save people’s lives…just by making people aware of the signs of a seizure.”

Dogan was also excited about another bill that passed this session that would require teachers to take training on how to respond to potential seizures among students with epilepsy.

Honoring school counselors, school bus drivers, farmers and ranchers and victims of coronavirus is also part of the bill. 

While Sharp is pleased Black History Month will be recognized statewide, he was disappointed that his bill to ensure that school districts observe Black History Month did not make it to the finish line. 

A wide-ranging education bill sent to the governor last week includes a measure to designate Holocaust Education Week in April for sixth graders and up. 

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will develop a curriculum framework, in consultation with the Holocaust Education and Awareness Commission, for a pilot program beginning in the 2023-2024 school year.

Sharp said he strongly supported it.

“It’s a great thing we ought to be doing,” Sharp said. “But we know that there are schools in this state somewhere that aren’t recognizing Black history during February the way they ought to. And the same could be said about Native American heritage in November.”

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The abortion debate is filled with misinformation, hypocrisy | Opinion

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Should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, it will be a decision that 70% of Americans disagree with, according to a compilation of data collected by the Pew Research Center (photo by lucky-photographer/iStock Images).

Embedded in the protracted abortion debate are many existing conditions and facts that are often omitted or distorted, along with blatant hypocrisy when it comes to promoting and protecting the wellbeing of millions of women and children already among us.

Whether you take to the street in protest, seethe in anger or shutter silently in fear, there are big elephants in the nation’s room that cannot be ignored.

Rampant misinformation.

We need to shine a light on the many facts that get lost or misrepresented in the current debate on whether the nearly 50-year-old landmark Supreme Court decision, which legalized abortions, should be allowed to stand.

One would think that abortions have been constantly on the rise since the Roe v. Wade decision. But according to an NPR fact-check report, the current rate of abortion is lower now than it was in 1973 when the decision was made.

In fact, the rate of abortion has been on a fairly steady decline, with the highest rate occurring in1980.

Another misrepresentation is the impression that the decision to have or not to have an abortion is a situation that only low-income women or women of color confront.

According to the Center for Disease Control, of the women receiving abortions in 2018, nearly 39% were white women, 34% were Black women and 20% for Hispanic women.

What is misleading about those numbers is that the rate of abortion among middle class and well-to-do women is not included since they access abortion services through their private physicians, not Planned Parenthood or other public health providers where statistics are reported.

Therefore, there is a percentage of women who get abortions that is unknown.

Despite a majority of Americans, nearly 60%, believing abortions should be legal, the issue is still being fought in court, at the ballot box and in state legislatures.

But, why? And why does the issue seem to loom larger today than in recent decades?

Could it be that the issue of abortion has also fallen victim to the unprecedented partisan political divide that has this nation in its grip?

Should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, it will be a decision that 70% of Americans disagree with, according to a compilation of data collected by the Pew Research Center.

The Supreme Court is not supposed to be influenced by public opinion polls and politics. But is that true?

What about the impact of religion on the abortion issue? The facts show that the majority of women who get abortions have some religious affiliation.

Irrespective of the reasons driving the changes in laws and public policies when it comes to our children, born or unborn, there are glaring contradictions in the concern for the overall health and well-being of expectant mothers and the children.

You need not look very far to see the hypocrisy that is unavoidable and laid bare.

Millions of women and girls who find themselves pregnant and want to have their babies often cannot access good prenatal care. The infant mortality rate is still unacceptably high in the United States among Blacks and low-income women.

What about the millions of children living in poverty?

As of 2019, the most recent year where Census data is available, more than 10 million (1 in 7) children live in poverty. That number has likely increased since the COVID pandemic. It is also true that Black and low-income children are most affected.

Access to quality childcare, adequate healthcare services, early education and protection from neglect and child abuse remain major challenges for too many of the nation’s children.

Where is rage, the outcry, the demonstrations and marching in the streets for the millions of expectant mothers and children who are struggling and suffering among us?

The United States ranks 39th among other nations when it comes to the overall health and well-being of its children.

Are their lives less valuable, less precious than the unborn?

Where is the comparable outrage?

When it comes to providing and protecting the reproductive health of women, can there really be a restrictive federal or state law or policy that should be applied to all? Should a woman be forced to give birth irrespective of how that child was conceived, irrespective of the mother’s health status or risk?

Despite the issue of whether a woman has a right to choose to become a mother, what kind of support is readily available for that mother to successfully provide that child a good quality of life?

Many of the states that would force a woman to have a child are the same states that are fighting Medicaid expansion.

Resolving the issue of whether abortion should or should not be allowed is not cut and dry, nor can the issue be easily solved with restrictive, punitive policies drenched in political and partisan biases.

If the Supreme Court decides to declare Roe v. Wade unconstitutional and leave it up to each state to decide its own policies about abortion, the other important issues regarding the quality of life for women and children in this country may never get the attention, support and resources they need.

We need not let misinformation and hypocrisy throw us back to the time of the jurist Judge Alito quotes in his leaked Supreme Court opinion, 17th century Sir Matthew Hale, whose writings and reasonings have influenced the courts and caused disrespect, injustice and harm toward women for hundreds of years.

And by default, our children.

What should be just as important is the care and wellbeing of women and children already here. When will that become a top priority, defended and promoted with equal fervor as that for the unborn?

The post The abortion debate is filled with misinformation, hypocrisy | Opinion appeared first on Missouri Independent.

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MoDOT: Mt. Vernon Street (Missouri Route 14) Widening Project in Nixa

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MoDOT: Mt. Vernon Street (Missouri Route 14) Widening Project in Nixa
regan.mitchell
Mon, 05/23/2022 – 09:45

Set to Begin Week of June 6

Project
Mt. Vernon Street (Route 14) Widening

Nixa, Christian County – Drivers can expect lane closings, traffic shifts, and possible delays on Mt. Vernon Street (Missouri Route 14) in Nixa when a widening project begins the week of June 6, the Missouri Department of Transportation said.

Mt Vernon Street will be widened to five lanes – two lanes in each direction with a center-turn lane – between Fort Street and Tiffany Boulevard. This project includes resurfacing Route 14 between east of Tiffany Boulevard in Nixa and 32nd Street in Ozark.

Here’s a look at the project:

Widen Route 14 to five lanes between Fort Street and Tiffany Boulevard (two through lanes and a center turn lane)
Resurface Route 14 between east of Tiffany Boulevard in Nixa and 32nd Street in Ozark
Improve sidewalks and traffic signals in various locations
Install new storm drains and add curb and gutter along Mt. Vernon Street
Project website: Mt. Vernon Street (Route 14) Widening
Traffic Impacts:

Phase 1 of Route 14 and Main Street Intersection Improvements:
Intersection of north Main Street and Route 14 (Mt. Vernon Street) will be CLOSED
Intersection of south Main Street and Route 14 (Mt. Vernon Street) is open
Traffic will be in a head-to-head configuration in the Route 14 eastbound lane and turn lane
There will be no signal at the intersection of Route 14 and Main Street

Phase 2 of Route 14 and Main Street Intersection Improvements:
Intersection of south Main Street and Route 14 (Mt. Vernon Street) will be CLOSED
Intersection of north Main Street and Route 14 (Mt. Vernon Street) is open
Traffic will be in a head-to-head configuration in the Route 14 westbound lanes
There will be no signal at the intersection of Route 14 and Main Street
Phase 2 of the Route 14 and Main Street intersection improvements will be completed in the fall 2022

Lane closings along Route 14
Traffic shifts away from work areas
Side streets and sidewalks CLOSED at times
Business entrances closed half at a time or closed one at a time, if two or more entrances exist
Crews and equipment close to traffic
Drivers will encounter flaggers and pilot cars directing them through the work zone between Nixa and Ozark. Drivers should wait for the pilot vehicle before proceeding through the work zones or before entering the work zones from a side road.
Weather and/or construction delays will alter the work schedule.

The project is scheduled for completion by May 2023.

The prime contractor is D & E Plumbing & Heating, Inc., Nixa

Estimated total cost: $5.4 million

END 
(For more information, call MoDOT in Springfield at 417-895-7600 or visit www.modot.org/southwest) 
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Published On
Mon, 05/23/2022 – 05:41

MoDOT hosting ONLINE public meeting June 1-15 regarding I-29 bridge replacement over 72nd Street

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MoDOT hosting ONLINE public meeting June 1-15 regarding I-29 bridge replacement over 72nd Street
Visitor (not verified)
Mon, 05/23/2022 – 09:35

Project
I-29 Bridges over 72nd Street

 

PLATTE COUNTY – MoDOT Kansas City will be hosting an ONLINE public information meeting regarding an upcoming bridge replacement project involving the Interstate 29 bridges over 72nd Street in Platte County. Those interested in learning more, viewing plans or submitting comments and/or questions about the project can do so online on the project webpage between Wednesday, June 1, and Wednesday, June 15, 2022. Please note that NO formal presentations will be made.

For those unable to access the information online, project materials are available by request at the MoDOT district office located at 600 NE Colbern Rd. in Lee’s Summit, MO. Customers may contact Project Manager Heather Barrows by calling 816-607-2209 or e-mail at heather.barrows@modot.mo.gov.

MoDOT will be replacing the I-29 twin bridges over 72nd Street beginning in 2023.  These bridges carry six lanes of traffic through Kansas City and have reached the end of their service lives. This project is scheduled to let in January 2023 with construction beginning in approximately that spring or summer. It is anticipated to be complete by the end of 2023. This project is projected to cost $6.9 million and is funded through both state and federal funds.

Correction: Traffic control is still being considered at this time and details will be available soon.
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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Published On
Mon, 05/23/2022 – 05:33

Lane closure scheduled for portion of southbound I-35 beginning May 31-June 10

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Lane closure scheduled for portion of southbound I-35 beginning May 31-June 10
Visitor (not verified)
Mon, 05/23/2022 – 09:25

CLAY COUNTY – MoDOT will be making repairs on a pipeline that will require the total closure of the left lane of southbound I-35 from approximately MO Route 291 to just north of MO Route 152. This closure will begin at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31, until approximately Friday, June 10. The closure will remain in place 24 hours a day and is expected to cause delays to traffic in the area. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead or seek alternate routes. All work is weather permitting.
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, 05/23/2022 – 05:21

Police: 94-year-old fatally shoots wife, injures himself at St. Peters hospital

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A 94-year-old man fatally shot his 93-year-old wife and then shot himself in a hospital room here on Sunday, police said.

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

The abortion debate is filled with misinformation, hypocrisy | Opinion

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Should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, it will be a decision that 70% of Americans disagree with, according to a compilation of data collected by the Pew Research Center (photo by lucky-photographer/iStock Images).

Embedded in the protracted abortion debate are many existing conditions and facts that are often omitted or distorted, along with blatant hypocrisy when it comes to promoting and protecting the wellbeing of millions of women and children already among us.

Whether you take to the street in protest, seethe in anger or shutter silently in fear, there are big elephants in the nation’s room that cannot be ignored.

Rampant misinformation.

We need to shine a light on the many facts that get lost or misrepresented in the current debate on whether the nearly 50-year-old landmark Supreme Court decision, which legalized abortions, should be allowed to stand.

One would think that abortions have been constantly on the rise since the Roe v. Wade decision. But according to an NPR fact-check report, the current rate of abortion is lower now than it was in 1973 when the decision was made.

In fact, the rate of abortion has been on a fairly steady decline, with the highest rate occurring in1980.

Another misrepresentation is the impression that the decision to have or not to have an abortion is a situation that only low-income women or women of color confront.

According to the Center for Disease Control, of the women receiving abortions in 2018, nearly 39% were white women, 34% were Black women and 20% for Hispanic women.

What is misleading about those numbers is that the rate of abortion among middle class and well-to-do women is not included since they access abortion services through their private physicians, not Planned Parenthood or other public health providers where statistics are reported.

Therefore, there is a percentage of women who get abortions that is unknown.

Despite a majority of Americans, nearly 60%, believing abortions should be legal, the issue is still being fought in court, at the ballot box and in state legislatures.

But, why? And why does the issue seem to loom larger today than in recent decades?

Could it be that the issue of abortion has also fallen victim to the unprecedented partisan political divide that has this nation in its grip?

Should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, it will be a decision that 70% of Americans disagree with, according to a compilation of data collected by the Pew Research Center.

The Supreme Court is not supposed to be influenced by public opinion polls and politics. But is that true?

What about the impact of religion on the abortion issue? The facts show that the majority of women who get abortions have some religious affiliation.

Irrespective of the reasons driving the changes in laws and public policies when it comes to our children, born or unborn, there are glaring contradictions in the concern for the overall health and well-being of expectant mothers and the children.

You need not look very far to see the hypocrisy that is unavoidable and laid bare.

Millions of women and girls who find themselves pregnant and want to have their babies often cannot access good prenatal care. The infant mortality rate is still unacceptably high in the United States among Blacks and low-income women.

What about the millions of children living in poverty?

As of 2019, the most recent year where Census data is available, more than 10 million (1 in 7) children live in poverty. That number has likely increased since the COVID pandemic. It is also true that Black and low-income children are most affected.

Access to quality childcare, adequate healthcare services, early education and protection from neglect and child abuse remain major challenges for too many of the nation’s children.

Where is rage, the outcry, the demonstrations and marching in the streets for the millions of expectant mothers and children who are struggling and suffering among us?

The United States ranks 39th among other nations when it comes to the overall health and well-being of its children.

Are their lives less valuable, less precious than the unborn?

Where is the comparable outrage?

When it comes to providing and protecting the reproductive health of women, can there really be a restrictive federal or state law or policy that should be applied to all? Should a woman be forced to give birth irrespective of how that child was conceived, irrespective of the mother’s health status or risk?

Despite the issue of whether a woman has a right to choose to become a mother, what kind of support is readily available for that mother to successfully provide that child a good quality of life?

Many of the states that would force a woman to have a child are the same states that are fighting Medicaid expansion.

Resolving the issue of whether abortion should or should not be allowed is not cut and dry, nor can the issue be easily solved with restrictive, punitive policies drenched in political and partisan biases.

If the Supreme Court decides to declare Roe v. Wade unconstitutional and leave it up to each state to decide its own policies about abortion, the other important issues regarding the quality of life for women and children in this country may never get the attention, support and resources they need.

We need not let misinformation and hypocrisy throw us back to the time of the jurist Judge Alito quotes in his leaked Supreme Court opinion, 17th century Sir Matthew Hale, whose writings and reasonings have influenced the courts and caused disrespect, injustice and harm toward women for hundreds of years.

And by default, our children.

What should be just as important is the care and wellbeing of women and children already here. When will that become a top priority, defended and promoted with equal fervor as that for the unborn?

The post The abortion debate is filled with misinformation, hypocrisy | Opinion 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

Cleanup underway in aftermath of eight tornadoes that hit St. Louis region

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Cleanup was underway Friday from a storm system that spawned eight tornadoes throughout the St. Louis area, downing trees, flooding roads and disrupting power.

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

Ramp from eastbound U.S. Route 36 to southbound Interstate 229 now open

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Ramp from eastbound U.S. Route 36 to southbound Interstate 229 now open
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 05/20/2022 – 16:25

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – Crews from PCi Roads, LLC, working with the Missouri Department of Transportation, reopened the ramp from eastbound U.S. Route 36 to southbound Interstate 229 this afternoon. The ramp was closed earlier this month as part of a bridge rehabilitation project along I-229.
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.
While 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
###
Traveler Information Map
http://traveler.modot.org
 

Districts Involved

Northwest

Published On
Fri, 05/20/2022 – 12:20

Road to Close for Patching on Route BB in Knox County

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Road to Close for Patching on Route BB in Knox County
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 05/20/2022 – 16:00

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, May 31-June 2, MoDOT crews will be performing patching operations on Route BB in Knox County. The road will be closed at Plevna to Route M between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes for closures during these times. 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).
Spring is here and work zones are popping up in Missouri.  Be in the know before you go! All work zones are online at www.modot.org/northeast, and you can receive the latest news about road work in your area by signing up for e-updates, receiving emails or text messages about road work that’s happening on the roads, projects or counties you want!

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Fri, 05/20/2022 – 11:59

Road to Close for Resurfacing on Route J in Montgomery County

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Road to Close for Resurfacing on Route J in Montgomery County
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 05/20/2022 – 15:35

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, June 1-2, MoDOT crews will be performing resurfacing operations on Route J in Montgomery County. The road will be closed at Missouri Route 19 to Short Road between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes for closures during these times. 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).
Spring is here and work zones are popping up in Missouri.  Be in the know before you go! All work zones are online at www.modot.org/northeast, and you can receive the latest news about road work in your area by signing up for e-updates, receiving emails or text messages about road work that’s happening on the roads, projects or counties you want!

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Fri, 05/20/2022 – 11:32

Road to Close for Culvert Replacements on Routes in Randolph County

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Road to Close for Culvert Replacements on Routes in Randolph County
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 05/20/2022 – 15:15

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, MoDOT crews will be performing culvert replacements on routes in Randolph County. See below for locations and additional information
Route P- May 31, the road will be closed at Route NN to County Road 2760 between 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Route P- June 1, the road will be closed at County Road 2760 to County Road 2778 between 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Route NN- June 2, the road will be closed at Route P between 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes for closures during these times. 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).
Spring is here and work zones are popping up in Missouri.  Be in the know before you go! All work zones are online at www.modot.org/northeast, and you can receive the latest news about road work in your area by signing up for e-updates, receiving emails or text messages about road work that’s happening on the roads, projects or counties you want!

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Fri, 05/20/2022 – 11:14

‘Anything’s on the table’: Missouri legislature may revisit contraceptive limits post-Roe

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Under current Missouri law, access to birth control in Missouri would not be affected if Roe v. Wade is overturned. But reproductive rights advocates expect it to be an area lawmakers will try to limit (Robin Bravender/States Newsroom).

By the time state lawmakers return to the Capitol next year, nearly all abortions could be illegal in Missouri.

With a trigger ban already on the books that would go into effect if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the GOP supermajority that controls the Missouri legislature is already mulling what types of policy changes they hope to pursue in a post-Roe world.

Reproductive rights advocates worry the next fight could be over access to contraceptives, which a group of conservative state senators unsuccessfully pushed to limit for Medicaid recipients last year.

“There are some that I think are okay and some that I don’t believe in,” state Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, said of contraceptives, “especially the morning after pill and things that come after conception. So I think anything’s on the table.”

Under current Missouri law, access to birth control in Missouri would not be affected if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Sam Lee, a longtime lobbyist with Campaign Life Missouri, said he has heard little desire of passing limits on access to birth control.

“I don’t see a ban on the use of contraceptives having any chance of passing in Missouri,” Lee said.

But the Missouri Senate did vote last year to ban common forms of contraceptives, like levonorgestrel, commonly called the “morning after” pill, and some intrauterine devices, or IUDs, from being paid for by the state’s Medicaid program.

The vote took place as part of an effort to renew an essential tax on hospitals, nursing homes and pharmacies, known as the federal reimbursement allowance. After the amendment limiting access to contraceptives was passed, the bill was set aside. The federal reimbursement allowance was ultimately renewed a few months later without the language targeting contraceptives.

A bipartisan coalition of the women of the Senate were credited with coming together to find a path forward and beating back the provisions targeting contraceptives. But half the Senate is up for election this year, and if Roe is overturned, a vote on contraception may not play out the same way, said Maggie Olivia, a policy manager with Pro-Choice Missouri.

“I can’t say with confidence that a similar kind of coalition would come together and do the right thing again,” Olivia said.

One of the senators who voted for the contraception amendment last year, but ultimately supported the FRA’s passage without that language, was non-committal about how that vote would turn out in the future.

“I think we’ll have to cross that bridge when we get there,” said Sen. Elaine Gannon, R-De Soto. “I support pro-life. I’ve always been pro-life. I’ll never change my position on that.”

Scope of restrictions

In the wake of the leaked draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion, questions have swirled on how states will treat contraceptives, miscarriages and in vitro fertilization if Roe v. Wade is overturned and divisions have arisen within the anti-abortion movement on just how far laws should go.

In Louisiana, the state’s Right to Life chapter opposed a law that would have allowed those who receive an abortion to be criminally prosecuted and face life in prison if convicted. The legislation was ultimately amended to remove the provision and others that would have outlawed certain forms of birth control and criminalized parts of the in vitro fertilization process, according to the Louisiana Illuminator.

Missouri Right to Life was among over 70 organizations that signed onto a letter last week urging lawmakers nationwide to refrain from criminalizing those who receive an abortion.

Women in Oklahoma and Texas have been charged with manslaughter and murder after miscarriages and self-induced abortions. A bill filed this session by Sen. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, that did not gain traction would have allowed patients to be held criminally responsible “for the death or attempted death of her child” for receiving an abortion.

Reproductive rights organizations in Missouri have made clear that access to contraceptives would not be immediately limited if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

“We don’t want folks to be so afraid that they start taking their own IUDs out,” Olivia said, “or they don’t go see a doctor when they maybe should out of fear about their birth control or emergency contraception or their fertility care.”

It’s a point Lee echoed, stressing that the Missouri law that defines life begins at conception has not been interpreted by courts to restrict access to contraceptives and in vitro fertilizations or impact miscarriages.

“It hasn’t and it never will,” Lee said, “And it didn’t before Roe vs. Wade, when we had abortion laws on the books since 1825.”

Missouri courts have upheld murder and manslaughter convictions and wrongful death judgments against third parties for causing the death of an unborn child, such as in the cases of the murder of pregnant women.

In 2007, a Missouri Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a child endangerment charge after a woman’s son tested positive for marijuana and methamphetamine after his birth, pointing to the provision of state law that bars women from being prosecuted, “for indirectly harming her unborn child by failing to properly care for herself or by failing to follow any particular program of prenatal care.”

That same year, however, a St. Charles County Circuit judge declined to dismiss a charge of involuntary manslaughter after a woman’s daughter was born with acute intoxication and died. The woman ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to substance abuse treatment to avoid a seven-year prison sentence.

Olivia said it’s an underlying fear that may hinder people from getting medical help when they need it.

“Even if these laws don’t explicitly say, ‘We’re coming after miscarriage management,’” Olivia said, “in effect, the fear is really what is so dangerous for these folks, and is gonna keep people from seeking care that they really need.”

The post ‘Anything’s on the table’: Missouri legislature may revisit contraceptive limits post-Roe 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

Road to Close for Resurfacing on Route V in Clark County

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Road to Close for Resurfacing on Route V in Clark County
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 05/20/2022 – 15:00

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, June 2, MoDOT crews will be performing resurfacing operations on Route V in Clark County. The road will be closed at the Iowa State Line to Missouri Route 81 between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes for closures during these times. 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).
Spring is here and work zones are popping up in Missouri.  Be in the know before you go! All work zones are online at www.modot.org/northeast, and you can receive the latest news about road work in your area by signing up for e-updates, receiving emails or text messages about road work that’s happening on the roads, projects or counties you want!

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Fri, 05/20/2022 – 10:56

Road to Close for Culvert Replacement on Route Y in Schuyler County

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Road to Close for Culvert Replacement on Route Y in Schuyler County
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 05/20/2022 – 14:55

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, May 24, MoDOT crews will be performing a culvert replacement on Route Y in Schuyler County. The road will be closed at Grandview Ave. to Coon Road between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes for closures during these times. 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).
Spring is here and work zones are popping up in Missouri.  Be in the know before you go! All work zones are online at www.modot.org/northeast, and you can receive the latest news about road work in your area by signing up for e-updates, receiving emails or text messages about road work that’s happening on the roads, projects or counties you want!

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Fri, 05/20/2022 – 10:52

Road to Close for Patching on Routes in Shelby County

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Road to Close for Patching on Routes in Shelby County
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 05/20/2022 – 14:50

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, MoDOT crews will be performing patching operations on routes in Shelby County. See below for locations and additional information
Missouri Route 151- May 23, the road will be closed at Route KK to Clarence between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Route K- May 24-26, the road will be closed at Route N to Shelbyville between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes for closures during these times. 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).
Spring is here and work zones are popping up in Missouri.  Be in the know before you go! All work zones are online at www.modot.org/northeast, and you can receive the latest news about road work in your area by signing up for e-updates, receiving emails or text messages about road work that’s happening on the roads, projects or counties you want!

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Fri, 05/20/2022 – 10:48

Planned Roadwork for Northwest Missouri, May 23-29

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Planned Roadwork for Northwest Missouri, May 23-29
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 05/20/2022 – 14:35

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 May 23 – 29.  
MoDOT will limit road construction on Memorial Day weekend to accommodate expected increased holiday travel. Work on most maintenance and construction projects that would impact traffic will be suspended at noon Friday, May 27, and resume at 6 a.m. Tuesday, May 31. Some long-term traffic impacts will remain in place.
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, in addition to the work mentioned below.
Andrew County
U.S. Route 59 – CLOSED for a bridge rehabilitation project over Interstate 29 at Exit 65 through late May. Access at the interchange will be restricted. More info: https://www.modot.org/andrew-county-us-route-59-bridge-over-interstate-29-rehabilitation  (Contractor: Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc.)
U.S. Route 169 – Ditching work at Woodbine Road, May 23
Route Y – Ditching work at County Road 4, May 24
Route T – Ditching work west of I-29 overpass, May 25
Atchison County
I-29 – Bridge replacement project over the Nishnabotna River (mile marker 122 – 124) through early August. Traffic is head-to-head in the northbound lanes. (Contractor: Phillips Hardy, Inc.) More info: https://www.modot.org/atchison-county-interstate-29-nishnabotna-river-bridge-rehabilitation *
U.S. Route 136 – Pothole patching from the Brownville Bridge to Route M, May 23 – 27  
Route EE – Pothole patching from Route 46 to 300th Street, May 23 – 27  
Buchanan County
U.S. Route 36 – RAMP CLOSED for a bridge rehabilitation project. The ramp from eastbound U.S. Route 36 to Route 759 (Stockyards Expressway) will remain closed through mid-July. (Contractor: Comanche Construction, Inc.)
U.S. Route 36 – Resurfacing project westbound from east of Route AC to east of Taylor Road (DeKalb County) through mid-July. Some lane closures may remain in place around-the-clock. (Contractor: Magruder Paving, LLC)
U.S. Route 36 – Bridge rehabilitation project over the Missouri River through November. One lane is closed each direction with a 12-foot width restriction. (Contractor: Comanche Construction, Inc.)
I-229 – RAMPS CLOSED as part of a bridge rehabilitation project. The ramps at Charles Street and Edmond Street (Exit 6A) will be closed through June 16. (Contractor: PCi Roads, LLC)
I-229 – RAMPS CLOSED as part of a bridge rehabilitation project. The ramps at Felix Street and Francis Street (Exit 6A) will be closed May 26 through June 14. (Contractor: PCi Roads, LLC)
Cook Road – CLOSED at the bridge over I-29 for maintenance, May 23 – 24, 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Gene Field Road – CLOSED at the bridge over I-29 for maintenance, May 24 – 25, 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Caldwell County
U.S. Route 36 – Resurfacing project eastbound from the DeKalb County line to Hamilton through mid-June. Some lane closures may remain in place around-the-clock. (Contractor: Magruder Paving, LLC)
I-35 – Resurfacing project from just north of Exit 52 in Cameron (Clinton County) to U.S. Route 69 (Daviess County), through mid-August. Road will be narrowed to one lane around the repair sites and paving operations, including some single-lane around-the-clock closures. A 12-foot width restriction is in place. (Contractor: Herzog Contracting Corp.)
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. A repair project was awarded to Mera Excavating, LLC during the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission’s April meeting. Construction is currently scheduled to begin later this summer, and by contract, all work is to be completed by Dec. 1, 2022.
Route 139 – CLOSED for a bridge rehabilitation project at the Hurricane Creek Bridge through mid-June. (Contractor: Capital Paving & Construction, LLC)
Route W – CLOSED for a roadway sealing project from U.S. Route 65 to Route D, May 23, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Route JJ – CLOSED for a roadway sealing project from Route DD to Route W, May 23 – 26, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Route DD – CLOSED for a roadway sealing project from Route D to Ray County line, May 24 – 26, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Route K – CLOSED for a roadway sealing project from Route D to Route JJ, May 24 – 26, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Chariton County
Route U – Pavement repair, May 23 – 27
Clinton County
I-35 – Resurfacing project from just north of Exit 52 in Cameron to U.S. Route 69 (Daviess County), through mid-August. The road will be narrowed to one lane around the repair sites and paving operations. Some of the single lane closures may remain in place around-the-clock. A 12-foot width restriction is in place. (Contractor: Herzog Contracting Corp.)
U.S. Route 69 – CLOSED for an intersection improvement project from Route 116 to 251st Street through August. More info: modot.org/clinton-county-us-route-69-and-route-116-intersection-improvement-project (Contractor: Amino Brothers Co.).
Route 116 – Intersection improvement project at U.S. Route 69 through August.
No access to U.S Route 69 south of the intersection through the end of the project.
No access to U.S. Route 69 north of the intersection and no access to Route 116 from U.S. Route 69, either direction.
Route 116 traffic will be diverted to a single-lane bypass road through mid-July. Temporary traffic signals will be in place.
More info: modot.org/clinton-county-us-route-69-and-route-116-intersection-improvement-project (Contractor: Amino Brothers Co.)
Daviess County
Route Z – CLOSED for a bridge rehabilitation project at the Sampson Creek Bridge, west of Pattonsburg through mid-June. More info: modot.org/multi-county-bridge-deck-replacement-project (Contractor: Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc.)
I-35 – Resurfacing project from U.S. Route 69 to just north of Exit 52 in Cameron (Clinton County), through mid-August. The road will be narrowed to one lane around the repair sites and paving operations. Some single lane closures may remain in place around-the-clock. A 12-foot width restriction is in place. (Contractor: Herzog Contracting Corp.)
Route UU – CLOSED for a roadway sealing project, May 25 – 26, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
DeKalb County
U.S. Route 36 – Resurfacing project westbound from east of Taylor Road to east of Route AC (Buchanan County) through mid-July. Some lane closures may remain in place around-the-clock. (Contractor: Magruder Paving, LLC)
I-35 – Resurfacing project from U.S. Route 69 (Daviess County) to just north of Exit 52 in Cameron (Clinton County), through mid-August. The road will be narrowed to one lane around the repair sites and paving operations. Some single lane closures may remain in place around-the-clock. A 12-foot width restriction is in place. (Contractor: Herzog Contracting Corp.)
Gentry County
Route B – CLOSED for a bridge replacement project from 257th Street to 245th Street at the Grantham Creek Bridge, through July. (Contractor: Widel, Inc.)
Harrison County
I-35 – Bridge rehabilitation project at the Pole Cat Creek Bridge at mile marker 90, south of Bethany, through October. A 12-foot width restriction is in place. More info: https://modot.org/harrison-county-interstate-35-pole-cat-creek-bridge-project  (Contractor: Widel, Inc.)*
Route Y – CLOSED for a roadway sealing project, May 25 – 26, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
Holt County
U.S. Route 59 – CLOSED under I-29 for a bridge deck replacement project through August. Access at the I-29/U.S. Route 59 interchange at Exit 92 near Craig will be impacted. More info: modot.org/holt-county-i-29-bridge-deck-replacement-over-us-route-59. (Contractor: Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc.)
Linn County
U.S. Route 36 – Bridge maintenance eastbound at the Marceline Rail Road bridge, May 23 – 26, 8:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Bridge will be narrowed to one lane.
Livingston County
Route C – CLOSED until further notice at the Shoal Creek Bridge, due to deterioration. A bridge replacement project is currently scheduled to be part of MoDOT’s November 2022 letting.
Route A – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from 515th Street to 511th Street, May 23 – 25, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily
Route N – Pothole patching, May 23 – 27
Route U – CLOSED for a culvert replacement from Route A to County Road 506, May 26, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Nodaway County
U.S. Route 136 – CLOSED at the Long Branch Bridge, east of Ravenwood through August. A signed detour is in place. More info: https://modot.org/nodaway-county-us-route-136-bridge-projects (Contractor: Phillips Hardy, Inc.)*
Route NN – CLOSED for pothole patching from Route EE to Liberty Road, May 23, 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Route N – CLOSED for pothole patching from 410th Street to 390th Street, May 24 – 25, 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
Route Y – CLOSED for pothole patching from Route A to 365th Street, May 26, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Putnam County
Route M – CLOSED for bridge maintence at the Medicine Creed Bridge, May 23, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sullivan County
Route TT – CLOSED for pothole patching, May 23 – 26, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
Worth County
Route PP & YY – Ditching work, May 24 – 25
Route YY – Pothole patching, May 24 – 27

* Indicates 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.
###

Districts Involved

Northwest

Published On
Fri, 05/20/2022 – 10:30

Road to Close for Culvert Replacements on Routes in Monroe County

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Road to Close for Culvert Replacements on Routes in Monroe County
Visitor (not verified)
Fri, 05/20/2022 – 14:35

HANNIBAL – Weather permitting, MoDOT crews will be performing culvert replacements on routes in Monroe County. See below for locations and additional information
Route E- May 23, the road will be closed at County Road 680 to County Road 670 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Route Z- May 24-25, the road will be closed near County Road 770 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Route Z- May 26, the road will be closed at County Road 706 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Route Z- May 31, the road will be closed at Route D to Route Z between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Route D- June 1, the road will be closed at County Road 669 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Route D- June 2, the road will be closed at Route O between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Motorists will need to use alternate routes for closures during these times. 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).
Spring is here and work zones are popping up in Missouri.  Be in the know before you go! All work zones are online at www.modot.org/northeast, and you can receive the latest news about road work in your area by signing up for e-updates, receiving emails or text messages about road work that’s happening on the roads, projects or counties you want!

Districts Involved

Northeast

Published On
Fri, 05/20/2022 – 10:34

Missouri proposes ‘permit lite’ for leaking coal ash dumps | Opinion

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The Labadie Energy Center sits on the Missouri River in Franklin County (Courtesy of Ameren Missouri).

Our environmental safeguards are being decimated by none other than the agency meant to protect us from pollution, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Staff from DNR met secretly with corporations and consulting firms before releasing a proposed rule that would drastically reduce oversight at coal ash dumps by allowing them to continue leaching toxic pollutants into groundwater, rivers, and streams. Missourians collectively have the power to stop this terrible proposed permit from going forward by making our voices heard during the public comment period and virtual hearing, scheduled for May 24, 2022.

DNR has a history of allowing Missouri’s influential utilities to operate above the law.

This time, DNR proposes that coal ash dumps, which it knows are contaminating groundwater, move from a tailored site-specific permit to a lax general permit. The proposed general permit for coal ash dumps was referenced as “permit lite” by DNR staff because it lacks important criteria, like groundwater monitoring and contaminant discharge limits, that are required with a site-specific permit.

The “permit lite” comment was made during a meeting with representatives from regulated businesses. DNR’s approach to coal ash contamination is akin to ignoring a festering wound in the hopes that it will just go away.

All coal-burning power plants in Missouri have leaking, unlined coal ash disposal sites that discharge contaminants into groundwater. None of these leaking sites comply with federal liner requirements, meaning groundwater pollution will pose a greater risk over time.

Coal ash contains toxic metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury. These contaminants cause brain and nervous system damage, heart and kidney problems, and cancer. Sensitive populations, like infants and children, are covered in the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services human consumption warnings of fish with these contaminants.

“Master general permits, as opposed to site-specific permits, are issued to multiple locations where activities are similar enough to be covered by a single set of requirements,” according to DNR.

So you may find it odd, like we do, that DNR says its proposed coal ash general permit would only cover two to ten toxic dumps throughout the state. The coal ash dumps for which this permit would be applicable are closed sites that are decades old, meaning they’re at higher risk of groundwater contamination because of the age of the ash deposits that have been leaching for years.

The problem with DNR’s proposed general permit for coal ash dumps is that Missouri is a large state with diverse geology.

General permits include facilities like car washes and water released from swimming pools — things that are substantially similar. Local soils, geology and the proximity to, and hydrological relationship with, neighboring creeks, rivers, and groundwater varies significantly from New Madrid to Kansas City.

Additionally, the size, quantity, and nature of the contaminants at each coal ash dump vary from site to site, meaning that a general permit will lack the type of specificity needed to properly monitor these toxic dumps. The proposed general permit is written in such a way that the public has no way to know what standards DNR will require at each site. The public deserves more transparency, not less, from DNR.

The real purpose of this proposed permit is to get around a recent Supreme Court decision that says water pollution that flows from groundwater to surface water — like at the coal ash ponds lining Missouri’s river floodplains — are governed by the Clean Water Act. And, according to the Clean Water Act, such water pollution is unlawful unless permitted. The “permit lite” DNR proposes is a workaround that allows groundwater and surface water pollution with impunity.

We need clean closure of coal ash dumps because they remain a constant threat to water quality, wildlife and human health. These are toxic dumps located in floodplains of Missouri rivers, where floods are more frequent and severe because of climate change.

For now, it is essential that we work together to compel DNR to withdraw its improper general permit for coal ash dumps in our state’s floodplains. We can make this happen because folks throughout Missouri who value clean water are powerful when we work together.

The post Missouri proposes ‘permit lite’ for leaking coal ash dumps | Opinion 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

Freedom of speech is under attack in public schools, U.S. House panel told

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The House Oversight and Reform Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee held the hearing to examine the impact of new state laws that bar educators from discussing American history, race and LGBTQ+ issues in K-12 public classrooms (Jon Cherry/Getty Images).

Students and teachers told U.S. House members during a Thursday hearing that their right to talk about race and LGBTQ issues in public schools is being silenced due to an onslaught of new state laws as well as pressure on school boards from right-wing advocates.

“To be crystal clear, this is about disrupting and destroying public education,” James Whitfield, a former principal in Texas and one of the witnesses, told lawmakers.

The House Oversight and Reform Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee held the hearing to examine the impact of new state laws that bar educators from discussing American history, race and LGBTQ issues in K-12 public classrooms.

Florida recently passed a “Don’t Say Gay” bill that prohibits discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation in public classrooms in kindergarten through third grade and allows it only when age-appropriate among older kids. One of the witnesses, Jennifer Cousins, a mother from Orlando, said the legislation would mean her children would be prevented from speaking about their older sibling, who is nonbinary, in the classroom.

“Laws like Florida’s officially named ‘Parental Rights in Education’ seek to erase (LGBTQ people’s) existence for our youngest of children, who by nature are already more open to learning about diversity and accepting one another despite their differences, and definitely deny parents like me a safe learning environment for my children,” Cousins said.

Teenagers from Texas, Michigan and Ohio told House lawmakers that the constant attacks from right-wing advocacy groups and lack of support from school administrative officials are taking a toll on their mental health and affecting their education.

“Teachers are being vilified,” Elle Caldon of Dallas County, Texas, said.

She told a story about how stickers supporting LGBTQ pride, showing rainbows or flags, were scraped off classroom doors in her school without an explanation. When Caldon’s teacher pushed school officials to give a reasoning, her contract was not renewed, Caldon said.

States limit discussions of race

An analysis by Education Week found that since January 2021, 42 states have  introduced legislation or other measures to restrict the teachings of critical race theory, or discussion of race and sexism in the classroom.

Critical race theory is not taught at the K-12 level, but Republicans at the state, local and federal level have drummed up the false narrative that children are being taught an academic theory – that is meant to study how race intersects with the legal field — in the classroom.

Claire Mengel of Hamilton County, Ohio, told House members about how their school’s Diversity Day was canceled, an optional event where students, who need to get parental permission to attend, could listen to speakers from different cultures and backgrounds.

Mengel said they and their classmates soon discovered that the newest school board members ran on a platform opposed to critical race theory and canceled the event.

“Our event is not about CRT, our event is about diversity,” they said. “The school board brought politics into our schools when they attacked our event. Their actions have harmed our education, our mental health, and our community.”

Krisha Ramani of Oakland County, Michigan, pointed to the recent book bans across the country and argued that young people like herself have the capacity to talk, debate and hold tough conversations.

“For the parents of those who may disagree with these various perspectives, banning books for all students infringes on their own right to hold conversations about the social landscape,” she said.

Second congressional hearing

This is the second of the subcommittee’s hearings on attacks on freedom of speech. In early April, the panel examined why thousands of books, predominantly written by marginalized authors, have been banned from public schools, and the impact of those actions on students and teachers.

“The classroom censorship laws being passed and proposed are the hallmark of authoritarian regimes — removing anything from the public sphere that does not comport with a strict party-line and then demonizing it,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat and the chair of the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee, said in his opening remarks on Thursday.

Suzanne Nossel, the chief executive officer of PEN America, said her organization has tracked books that have been banned in classrooms and in libraries since 2021. PEN America is an organization that advocates for the freedom of speech.

She said there is a “wave of censorship that is engulfing our classrooms.”

Nossel said a report by PEN America found from July 2021 to the end of March this year, more than 1,500 books were banned in 86 school districts in 26 states.

The witness tapped by Republicans, Virginia Gentles of the Independent Women’s Forum, argued that parents should have the choice to not send their children to public school and should be provided with vouchers to send their children to private institutions that have a curriculum with which they agree.

Gentles is the director of the Education Freedom Center at IWF, a right-wing public policy group that is backed by the Koch brothers.

Whitfield said that type of rhetoric is “a ploy to divert public school dollars to subsidize private education in the name of ‘choice.’”

“Educators who pour their heart and soul into the growth and development of young people have been placed squarely in the crosshairs of political groups who are determined to destroy public education,” he said.

Whitfield, who is Black, had to resign from his job after he was accused of promoting critical race theory due to a letter he wrote to students about the summer protests of 2020 following the murder of George Floyd. He was the school’s first Black principal.

Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, the top Republican on the panel, said she felt state and local governments should be able to make their own decisions about classroom curriculum and that students should be focused on education and not difficult topics such as race.

“Our children’s innocence should be protected and prioritized,” she said.

The post Freedom of speech is under attack in public schools, U.S. House panel told 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 Traffic Alert: Chestnut Expressway (Loop 44) and Haseltine Road Scheduled to OPEN to Traffic

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MoDOT Traffic Alert: Chestnut Expressway (Loop 44) and Haseltine Road Scheduled to OPEN to Traffic
regan.mitchell
Fri, 05/20/2022 – 13:05

Project
Chestnut Expressway Rebuild

Where: Chestnut Expressway (Loop 44) and Haseltine Road scheduled to OPEN in west Springfield

When: 5 p.m. Friday, May 20

What: Contractor crews have completed work on eastbound Chestnut Expressway (Loop 44) and the Haseltine Road entrance south of Chestnut Expressway. Roads will be open and Chestnut Expressway will be back to its five lane configuration at 5 p.m. today. Starting at 9 a.m. Friday, June 3, crews will shift traffic back to the head-to-head configuration in the eastbound lanes of Chestnut Expressway as crews begin work on the westbound lanes. This is part of the Chestnut Expressway Pavement Improvement Project Between I-44 and Broadview Place.

Traffic Impacts:

Chestnut Expressway (Loop 44) OPEN to five lane configuration in Springfield at 5 p.m. Friday, May 20
Haseltine Road entrance OPEN at Chestnut Expressway in Springfield
9 a.m. Friday, June 3, crews will shift traffic back to the head-to-head configuration in the eastbound lanes of Chestnut Expressway
Check MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map for road closings/traffic impacts
END

(For more information, call MoDOT in Springfield at 417-895-7600 or visit www.modot.org/southwest) 
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Districts Involved

Southwest

Published On
Fri, 05/20/2022 – 09:00