Thursday, December 31, 2009

Police Chief Chat - Mark Kearse

Chief Chat

Happy New Year! The Rolla Police Department had a great, but very busy 2009 and are looking forward to the challenges and opportunities, 2010 will bring. We hope each and every one of had a joyous holiday and welcomed in the new year in a safe and responsible manner. As you can probably imagine our patrol division was very proactive during the holiday season in an effort to ensure our streets and neighborhoods were safe. I will present some stats from their efforts in next week’s column. As I mentioned, 2009 was a very busy year for the police department and this week’s column will feature a glimpse of 2009 as we present the year in review.

In January, we said goodbye to former Phelps County Sheriff Don Blankenship after 20 years of service and welcomed the newly elected Sheriff Rick Lisenbe into our law enforcement community. Sheriff Blankenship was a true asset to the Sheriff’s Department and made many improvements over the years to bring the agency to where it is today. Sheriff Lisenbe was certainly not new to the law enforcement community as having served as Deputy Juvenile Officer, Sheriff’s Deputy and as Sergeant with the Missouri State Highway Patrol before being elected as Sheriff. This past year has been very productive in the detection, apprehension and successful prosecution of hundreds of criminals, predators and other undesirables that have been preying on our community. This success is owed to the combined efforts of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Forest Service, South Central Area Drug Task Force and the Rolla Police Department. We are very fortunate to be able to serve in a community where the community and all these agencies work together for a common cause. On a sad note, in January we also lost 2 great men from our community to illness. Sgt. Mark Reynolds, a 17 year veteran of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, passed away after a brief illness. Mark was a friend and true professional and we miss him. We also lost Dr. Kent King who passed after a lengthy battle with cancer. Dr. King was the Commissioner of Education at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and also served as the Superintendent of Rolla Public Schools.

In February, our Volunteers in Police Services unit was up and running with Dennis Noel and Vince Giacolone at the helm. Noel and Giacolone traveled to service clubs, civic groups, radio talk shows and many other venues spreading the word on the organization and soliciting volunteers to help us complete our mission. To date we now have a very solid base of volunteers who perform vacation security checks, neighborhood and school patrols, data entry, crime victim liaison services, special event support and many other duties. In February we also purchased computer software to upgrade our departmental computer system. Sgt. Wayne Rapier and Cpl. Derrick Dillon successfully completed Crisis / Hostage negotiation. That month we partnered with Fidelity Communications to offer emergency messaging on Cable Channel 6.

In March, we were hit with a snowstorm that wreaked havoc on the community, the patrol division and Central Dispatch. We received over 200 calls in just 5 hrs. and responded to 39 traffic mishaps! This situation was very fitting as March is Disaster Preparedness Month. We did not need to do a tabletop exercise! We also responded to a 9-1-1 call in the 600 block of Curtis drive where he caller reported a home invasion and shooting. One suspect in the case was shot and was treated and released. 4 suspects in the case were arrested.

In April, we were hit again with an untimely snowstorm. Fortunately the road crews reacted promptly and cleared the roads for travel. April also featured National Telecommunications Week where appreciation is shown to telecommunicators in our Central Dispatch who work around the clock to keep our community safe. We also observed National Animal Control Appreciation Week where our Animal Control Officers are revered for their service to the community. In April our newest records clerk, Christy Ford was welcomed to our Rolla Police family.

In May, we observed National Police Week where the nation remembers and pays tribute to the men and women of law enforcement who have given the supreme sacrifice in the performance of their duties. During this time law enforcement officials, police survivors and members of the community attend candlelight vigils, police officer memorial dedications and many other functions to pay their respects to those who gave all. In May, the Central Communications Division was also awarded the 2009 Bramlett / Light award for their untiring dedication to preserving the safety and well being of the community. This award is named in honor of 2 former Rolla Police Chiefs and is awarded at the annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Banquet offered by the Rolla Optimist Club.

In June, we held an open house in our building for the grand opening of the Volunteers in Police Services / Behind the Badge offices that are now housed where the former Channel 16 studio was located. In June we partnered with Rolla Fire and Rescue to host our 2nd Annual Fire Truck Pull to benefit Special Olympics. This event was held during the Rolla Chamber of Commerce Rt. 66 Summerfest. That month, Cpl. Derrick Dillon, his wife Missy and the Behind the Badge organization partnered with the Wal-Mart Supercenter to donate 2 bicycles to a single mom and her daughter to replace bikes stolen from them.

In July, the Rolla Police Department and the American Association of Retired Persons hosted a driver’s safety course for senior citizens. We also hosted regional Active Shooter Training at the Rolla High School with several area law enforcement agencies in attendance.

In August, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, South Central Area Drug Task Force, US Forestry Service and the Rolla Police Department concluded an 18 month undercover drug operation with the arrest and apprehension of over 140 suspected area drug dealers and manufacturer’s. The arrests were the result of a cooperative investigation by all the aforementioned agencies and orchestrated in 3 separate warrant round-up sessions. This operation netted more arrestees than any operation of this type to date in Missouri’s history.

In September, the Rolla Police Department and VIPS assisted with the Tour of Missouri bicycle race that traveled through Rolla for the second year in a row. This month the Rolla Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team took part in the 3rd Annual Central Missouri Tactical Officers Association regional training camp held at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. Also this month marked the final transformation of our police vehicle fleet from the white car with blue stripe theme to the newly acquired black and white traditional paint scheme for higher visibility and better recognition. Our own Detective (handsome) Hank Harper was featured on a Discovery Channel documentary spotlighting his apprehension of an armed robbery suspect in a 1999 case.

October was National Crime Prevention week and we hosted our 1st Annual Celebrating Safe Communities event with attendance of our officers at block parties and social gatherings in our community to support Neighborhood Watch. The Rolla Police also hosted our 9th Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics. Sgt. Ken Moberly was elected to represent the Troop I region as a member of the Law Enforcement Traffic Safety Advisory Council. This month we were forced to change our business telephone number to 573-308-1213 due to the continuous influx of telephone calls requesting information on the Ashley Flores Amber Alert hoax.

November brought our VIPS organization to state wide recognition when Dennis Noel and Vince Giacolone were invited to represent the Troop I region as board members of the Missouri Volunteers in Police Service Foundation (MOVIPS). We were also awarded $10,000.00 in the 2009 Byrne-Jag Local Solicitation Grant to be used to purchase flashlights and overhead light bars for the patrol cars. We also welcomed Warren Hogan to our RPD family as our new Parking Control Officer.

In December, the Rolla Police Department opened a Facebook and Twitter internet account to provide another venue for community awareness of upcoming events, weather reports, criminal activity and Amber Alerts. The website also welcomes citizen and community input on improvements or ideas for better service to the community. Also this month, the N. Bishop branch of the Town and Country Bank was held up by a lone gunman who fled on foot with an unspecified amount of cash. Professional action by the bank personnel and quick response of area law enforcement prevented injuries during the robbery. Investigation by the FBI and our Criminal Investigations Unit revealed that the suspect in this crime may also be suspected in similar robberies in 3 other cities in Missouri. As I said, 2009 was a busy year and provided challenges and opportunities we hope to use to better serve this great community.

Have a great year!

Chief Mark Kearse

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Police Chief Chat - Mark Kearse

Merry Christmas from your friends here at the Rolla Police Department! We hope you had a great holiday and were able to spend good quality time with friends and family. We have had a busy and event filled week here at the department which is quite the norm this time of the year. Before I begin this week’s column I would like to take a moment to thank the citizens, church groups, businesses and service clubs for all your kind offerings to the Rolla Police family during each holiday season. It seems like there is not a day that goes by that someone is not bringing in baked goods, candies and fudge and even complete meals to our men and women working around the clock to keep our community safe. Thank you for your kindness and support!

On Friday, December 18th, 2009 at approximately 9:14 am the Rolla Police Department received a 911 call indicating that there had just been an armed robbery at the Town and Country Bank located at 1804 North Highway 63 in Rolla. Officers from the Rolla Police Department, Phelps County Sheriff's Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation responded to the scene. Upon arrival it was determined that a heavy set, white male had robbed the bank at gunpoint then fled on foot with a definitive amount of cash. Fortunately, due to the bank employee’s professionalism and training, no one was injured during the robbery. This case is currently under investigation by our Criminal Investigations Unit and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In the days since the robbery, it is now believed that the suspect in this crime is also suspect in similar robberies that occurred earlier this year in Sedalia and Moberly, Missouri. The suspect not only matches the description of the suspect in the previous cases, but also utilizes the same method of operation. We feel is it just a matter of time before this social predator is brought to justice!

On Thursday, December 3, 2009 we received a report of a residential burglary that had occurred in the Oak Knoll South area of our community. The reporting resident had returned home after a brief absence and discovered their home broken into and several items missing to include jewelry and firearms. Officers from our patrol division responded and were provided with possible suspect vehicle information by the victim and other members of that neighborhood. The investigation was turned over to our Criminal Investigations Unit who continued to follow-up on the leads which led to the arrest of suspect Travis Knife age 25 of Rolla. A search warrant was served on Knife’s residence with most of the stolen property from the burglary located and recovered. Knife was charged with Burglary and Felony Stealing and incarcerated in the Phelps County Jail where he later was released on $25,000.00 bond. I would like to commend the investigators from the Criminal Investigations Unit, our responding patrol officers and last but not least the victims in this case and their alert neighbors who postured up in Neighborhood Watch fashion and assisted law enforcement in solving this case and keeping their community safe. Of course, in regards to Knife, these charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

The Rolla Police Department is now on Twitter. Twitter is an email notification system that we will be using to keep the public informed of upcoming events or incidents that we feel important to the community.To receive this information you will need to go to to open a free account. Once you have opened your account, use the search engine provided to locate the Rolla Police Department (RPD) sign in to receive the notifications. The Twitter site follows on the heels of our establishment of a Rolla Police Department Facebook account activated a couple weeks ago. We are using Face Book and Tweeter to keep the community informed of events such as; severe weather conditions, bank robberies, wanted persons, disasters, crime alerts, events and event reminders, missing children and persons, crimes in progress, and many other areas. In addition, we would like to open communication to citizens of the community and receive thoughts and feedback on our day to day operations, so be sure to sign up and be in the know! The City of Rolla Fire and Rescue, the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department and Missouri State Highway Patrol also have Facebook sites up and running so be sure to visit those sites as well!

Have a great New Year’s and please remember to drink responsibly and never drink and drive!

Chief Mark Kearse
Rolla Police Department

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ashley Flores Missing Child Hoax

Initial reports in the media and on the Internet of the missing 13-year-old Philadelphia girl named Ashley Flores have proven to be nothing more than a very bad hoax, according to numerous law enforcement agencies and credible news outlets.

Despite conclusive evidence that the original missing person report and Amber Alert regarding Ashley Flores was a hoax concocted by a kid's prank, the Rolla Police Department still receives hundreds of calls every day regarding her status.

A variety of searches through law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigations, New Jersey State Police and Philadelphia Police, and numerous missing child websites such as The Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), confirms there has never been an official report of a missing girl named Ashley Flores.

The Rolla Police Department is trying to spread the word that although Ashley Flores may exist, reports of her disappearance were an unfortunate internet hoax. Pranks such as these are not only illegal, but also hamper and interfere with communications and law enforcement operations.

For more information, please go here or call Lt. Doug James at 573-308-1213

Lt. Governor Kinder Presents 2009 Tour of Missouri Economic Impact Study

Third annual race proves to be most successful
BRANSON, MO – Oct. 1, 2009 - Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, chairman of the Missouri Tourism Commission and Tour of Missouri, Inc., presented economic impact results from the 2009 Tour of Missouri during a meeting of the Missouri Tourism Commission today in Branson.

"The 2009 Tour of Missouri was met with tremendous support all across our state and I am proud to report that the numbers prove the same," said Lt. Governor Kinder. "Over 4,000 volunteers worked tirelessly to showcase Missouri across the globe as a world-class tourist destination. We were blessed with great weather through the entire week and, even though we visited smaller towns on this year's revised route, spectators from all across the world helped us surpass last year's success to once again make the Tour of Missouri the largest sporting event ever held in our state."

Throughout the week, 500,000 spectators were estimated to have watched the race at one of the 11 host cities or somewhere along the 600 mile route which passed through many communities in Missouri. In 2008, an estimated 434,000 spectators saw the Tour at some time during the seven stages. In 2007, there were nearly 368,000 spectators who watched the race.
The total economic impact by spectators during the seven-day event was $38.1 million, that's up from $29.8 million in 2008 and $26.2 million in 2007.

"This year's race was a huge success thanks to the tremendous efforts of each of our host cities, corporate sponsors, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri Department of Transportation and spectators from across the world," Lt. Governor Kinder said. "I am very pleased that for the state's investment of $1.5 million in the Tour of Missouri, we were able to return over $38 million to communities in our state."
During the course of the seven day event, the average out-of-state visitor spent over $220 per day during their visit. In planning their trip, 83% of non-Missourians said the Tour of Missouri was the reason they came to spend time in Missouri. The average out-of-state visitor spent more than four days in the Show-Me State.

The Tour of Missouri also showcases Missouri to a global audience via live coverage on the Internet and on television.
This year, the Tour's official website,, received hits from visitors in 153 countries and territories. An estimated audience of 5.6 million people watched nightly highlight shows on the Versus television network and an estimated 1.4 million people watched highlight shows on Fox Sports Midwest and Fox Sports Kansas City.

Following the 2008 Tour of Missouri, the International Cycling Union, the sanctioning body for professional cycling, raised the ranking of the Tour of Missouri to a prestigious 2.HC ranking, making the event one of the top five races outside of Europe. The increased international appeal helped attract seven pro tour teams who competed just weeks before in the Tour de France.
The 2009 Tour of Missouri economic impact study was conducted by IFM Sports, an international leader in sports marketing and research. IFM is a global company based in Germany with American operations based in St. Louis, MO.

IFM Sports conducted the economic impact study for the 2008 Tour of Missouri. They have also provided similar reports for groups such as: Major League Baseball (MLB), the International Cycling Union (UCI), the International Tennis Federation and the National Basketball Association (NBA), among many other professional sporting organizations.

At today's Missouri Tourism Commission meeting in Branson, Lt. Governor Kinder pledged his support for a 2010 race and urged fellow commissioners to also support bringing the event back for a fourth year.

Contact: Gary McElyea

Rolla selected for 2009 DREAM Initiative by Misosuri Dept. of Economic Development

City officials in Rolla have a vision for its downtown: Make it the best place possible – a full-service, mixed-use destination that is known for its unique character, and is welcoming, safe and accessible for citizens and visitors of all ages.

They will get the chance to make that dream a reality. The City of Rolla is one of five Missouri communities selected by the Missouri Department of Economic Development to participate in the 2009 DREAM (Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri) Initiative, a program designated to help communities to more efficiently and effectively engage in downtown redevelopment and revitalization efforts.

Brookfield, California, New Haven, and Savannah were the other communities inducted during the fourth round of communities selected for the initiative. They were selected from a total of 16 applicants.

"Small towns are a vital part of our Missouri way of life, and they’re critical to our economic prosperity, said DED Interim director Katie Steele Danner. "Awarding DREAM Initiative status to these communities is evidence of DED’s continued commitment to working with communities to create new opportunities that will transform our state’s economy for the future. The DREAM Initiative is a successful tool DED can bring to the table to assist with these communities’ economic development efforts."

Rolla city officials will use the designation to:

  • Address the three primary downtown entrances, particularly the north entrance to the downtown area on Pine Street.
  • To obtain a better mix of retail, including those attractive to students.
  • improve/increase downtown nighttime activities.
  • Increase downtown marketing efforts.
  • Address downtown parking issues.
  • Improve downtown traffic flow.
  • Strengthen the Rolla Downtown Business Association.
  • Address street lighting problems.
"The City of Rolla is thrilled beyond words to be selected as a 2009 DREAM community in Missouri," said Mayor Bill Jenks. "The Rolla City Council and Rolla community are 100 percent committed to the continued revitalization of our historic downtown area."

The DREAM Initiative’s goal is to provide Missouri’s small and mid-sized towns the same access to economic development tools as larger communities. Selected communities become active members of the DREAM Initiative for three-years and gain prioritized access to state supported programs through ongoing cooperation among several unique agencies and funding sources. Programs include technical and financial assistance for infrastructure improvements, historic preservation, affordable housing, community services, business development and job creation.

The DREAM Initiative supports a comprehensive approach to concentrate resources and available tools to allow communities to accomplish their broad-based and long term revitalization and redevelopment goals more quickly than ever before. In addition, all 16 applicants will benefit from the initiative as well. They will receive:
  • technical assistance
  • exclusive invitations to a series of revitalization training opportunities and seminars
  • the chance to learn about existing redevelopment programs, how they work and how to best access available tools
Applications were evaluated by representatives from the three DREAM Initiative partners, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the Missouri Development Finance Board and the Missouri Housing Development Commission. The evaluation process included confirming applications were complete and attention to community capacity, vision, opportunity for private investment, broad community support and a comprehensive approach.

Previously, Aurora, Boonville, Cape Girardeau, Caruthersville, Chillicothe, Clinton, Excelsior Springs, Farmington, Fulton, Hannibal, Hermann, Kennett, Kirksville, Lamar, Lebanon, Louisiana, Macon, Maryville, Mexico, Neosho, Poplar Bluff, Sikeston, St. Joseph, Sedalia, Strafford, Trenton, Warrensburg, Washington, Webb City and West Plains were named DREAM communities. Together, they have received more than $168 million in state financial assistance to rebuild, revitalize, and rejuvenate their downtowns.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Special Olympics "Trivia Night" is big success

The Rolla Police Department and Special Olympics – Missouri would like to thanks everyone who helped make the 9th Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run "Trivia Night" a success.

There were 8 teams competing for the Championship Trophy held by team "Ground Chuck" who claimed the 2007 and 2008 championships consecutively. And for 2009, the Championship trophy once again goes to the defending champions "Ground Chuck’ for the 3rd straight year. Team "Ground Chuck" is comprised of attorneys, business men and woman, and Missouri S&T faculty. "Ground Chuck" will once again be awarded the traveling trophy and will secure free berth to the 2010 "trivia night"!

The teams competing in 2009 were Ground Chuck, Phelps County Bank, Williams, Robinson, Rigler and Buschjost law firm, Department of Natural Resources, Rolla Radiology, Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, John’s Firestone (Rolla PD), and Linda Richards and the (Definite Maybe’s). Even though only one team is declared "Champion", we believe all our teams are champions at heart!

We would like to thank our special guest master of ceremonies, Rolla Mayor Bill Jenks, for an excellent job! We would also like to thank the Rolla Elk’s Lodge and staff, Pizza Inn, Lee’s Chicken, Imo’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza, Papa John’s Pizza, Casey’s General Stores, Wal-Mart Supercenter, Little Caesar’s Pizza, Tater Patch, Key Sport, Family Center, Bank of America, Fidelity Communications, McDonald’s of Rolla, Citizen’s Bank of Newburg, Family Video, Blossom Basket, Kent Jewelry, Tara Day Spa, Auto Zone, Missouri Cellular and The Lord’s Library.

In addition we would like to thank Rolla Police Chief Mark Kearse, Lt. Doug James, Kerri Shults, Scott Olds, Mimi Olds, Michael, Alex and Samantha Deblasi, Joyce, Alex and Lucas Williams, the Rolla Lioness Club and The Rolla Daily News.The Law Enforcement Torch Run "Trivia Night" is one of several events hosted by the Rolla Police Department each year to benefit Special Olympics, and probably the most fun. Thank you for all your support and we will see you again in 2010.

Filing continues through Jan. 19 for 2010 Rolla Municipal Election

Filing for the City of Rolla’s 2010 General Municipal Election, which will be held April 6, 2010, begins on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009 at 8 a.m.

The positions open for election this year include: Mayor (four-year term); one Council Representative for all six wards (two-year term); City Prosecuting Attorney (two-year term); and Municipal Judge (two-year term).

Persons wishing to file their candidacy for any of the above-listed positions may do so between 8 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009 and 5 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010 in the Rolla City Clerk’s Office at City Hall (901 North Elm Street). Municipal candidates are not charged a filing fee.

The Mayor's office must be filled by a candidate with the following qualifications: at least 30 years of age, a citizen of the United States and a resident of the city for two years at the time of his/her election.

City Council seats must be filled by candidates with the following qualifications; at least 21 years of age prior to taking office, a citizen of the United States, an inhabitant of the city for one year, and a resident of the ward which he/she is elected for six months at the time of his/her election.

The City Attorney's office must be filled by a candidate with the following qualifications: a person licensed to practice law in the State of Missouri and be a resident of the city.

The Municipal Judge's office must be filled by a candidate with the following qualifications: a licensed attorney qualified to practice law within the State of Missouri, a resident of the city of Rolla and must be between the ages of 21 and 68 years.

For more information, please contact Carol Daniels in the City Clerk’s Office at (573) 426-6942 or at

Town & Country Bank Robbery

On December 18th, 2009 at approximately 9:14 am the Rolla Police Department received a 911 call indicating that there had just been an armed robbery at the Town and Country Bank located at 1804 North Highway 63 in Rolla.

Officers from the Rolla Police Department, Phelps County Sheriff's Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigations responded to the scene.

Upon arrival it was determined that a heavy set white male had robbed the bank and displayed a pistol while doing so. The robber left the bank on foot with an unreleased amount of cash. No one was injured during the robbery.

A description of the Robbery Suspect is:

White male
Heavy set
Approximately 5'10" – 6'00" tall
Wearing a blue button up shirt, black coat, black ball cap, blue jeans and work boots
Carrying a grey or green bag similar to a small duffle bag or soft sided tool bag

The bank robbery is currently under investigation by members of the Rolla Police Department's Division of Criminal Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

Anyone having any information pertaining to this bank robbery is encouraged to call the Rolla Police Department at (573) 308-1213.

Rolla Asphalt donates big to Veterans Memorial Park paving project

A very generous donation from Rolla Asphalt of $37,000 in materials and labor to pave the new parking lot at Veterans Memorial Park located on Southview Drive in Rolla is a testament that great things can be accomplished in a community when everyone works toward the common good for all – especially when it comes to our U.S. veterans on Veterans Day.

(Pictured are members of Rolla Asphalt and Yoakum Dump Trucking generously donated both materials and labor (more than $37,000 worth) while paving the new Veterans Memorial Park parking lot on Friday, Nov. 6. The 10-acre park is located on Southview Drive off Hwy. 0 in Rolla).

An asphalt paving crew lead by Darren Morris and Tom Pierce of Rolla Asphalt, together with the efforts of Stacy Yoakum, owner of Yoakum Dump Trucking, repaved the large parking lot in preparation of the Dedication of Veterans Memorial Park on Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 11 a.m.

"Rolla Asphalt and Yoakum Dump Trucking stepped up to the plate not only for our Veterans whom we are honoring at the Dedication on Nov. 11, but also the entire Rolla community," said Rolla Mayor Bill Jenks, III, who will be the master of ceremonies at the Dedication on Nov. 11. "I can’t thank these two companies enough for this huge contribution to the first phase of Veterans Memorial Park."

In addition to the work performed by Rolla Asphalt and Yoakum Dump Trucking on Friday, thousands of dollars more in labor and materials were donated by Capital Quarry and Smith Sand & Gravel, LLC (donation of white rock for the base); Daniels Construction Company (hauling of rock); Maggi Construction (installation of curbs, gutter and parking lot entrance) and Rolla Ready Mix (concrete for the curb and gutter). "A special thanks also goes to all of these businesses who gave generously towards the project," said Mayor Jenks.

The members of the City’s Public Works Department also spent many months, and even some weekends grading and preparing the 10-acre park and parking lot."The Public Works Department should be applauded for the outstanding job they have done to prepare the first phase of the park for the dedication on Nov. 11," said Mayor Jenks.

The entire Rolla and Phelps County community, along with surrounding cities and counties, are invited to attend the dedication of Veterans Memorial Park this Wednesday, Nov. 11 (Veterans Day) at 11 a.m. on Southview Drive (located off Hwy. 72).

A copy of the program for the dedication is available on the City of Rolla’s Website at

Environmental Services Dept. launches new 24-7 hotline

The City of Rolla Environmental Services Department has implemented an information-only hotline that can be accessed 24/7. Residents can call this line to learn about holiday schedule changes, changes in seasonal services such as yard waste collection, availability of mulch/compost, special events, etc.

To access the information hotline, please call 573-341-1168.

Return to City of Rolla homepage.

Burgher Branch residents to benefit from reduction in 100-year floodplain

The City of Rolla Public Works Department, together with Allgeier, Martin and Associates, Inc., is notifying residents who live along the Burgher Branch and its tributaries, that the 100-year regulatory floodplain in their area has been revised effective Dec. 16.

This revision, which was a result of all the stormwater management improvements made by the Public Works Dept. over the last five years, means that most of the residents who live along the Burgher Branch and its many tributaries, will be able to either eliminate or see a reduction in, their current flood insurance. The revised floodplain Letter of Map Revision distributed by FEMA on July 31, 2009 became final on Dec. 16, 2009.

Please be aware if you live in the Burgher Branch area that the extent of your property in the floodplain may have changed, and flood insurance rates may be changed accordingly.

The area of Dutro Carter Creek is under review with FEMA and the Spring Creek Tributary will be submitted for review in January 2010.
If you have any questions, please contact Joseph Wilson at Allgeier, Martin and Associates, Inc. at 573-341-9487.

Return to the City of Rolla homepage

Marcia Mayo recognized for outstanding service by Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District

Marcia Mayo, Recycling Specialist in the City of Rolla’s Environmental Services Department, (pictured left), received an award of outstanding achievement from the Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District in the field of Solid Waste Management.

The award, which was in the category of “Public Employee,” was presented to Marcia by Scott Murrell, District Chairman, at the Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet held at the Meramec Regional Planning Commission in St. James. Marcia has dedicated the past 12 years to supporting and improving the Rolla Recycling Center, and always goes above and beyond to assist the residents of Rolla with their recycling questions and concerns.

Marcia educates the public and visiting groups by providing tours, making presentations on recycling and working on special projects. (Photo by Bonnie Prigge, Assistant Director, Meramec Regional Planning Commission).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Train-pedestrian fatality unfortunate tragedy

If you hadn’t already heard of the train-pedestrian fatality that occurred on Tuesday morning just west of the Rolla Street and 4th Street rail road crossing near the Phelps County Courthouse, I would like to say how unfortunate this tragic incident was, especially as we head into the holidays. My sincere condolences and sympathies go out to the family, friends and neighbors of 21-year-old Tommy R. Lee, who was a resident of Edgar Springs.

I would like to reiterate what Captain Jason Smith mentioned in an article in the Rolla Daily News on Wednesday regarding the use of extreme caution while walking near railroad tracks and crossings. Please refrain from walking on or close to any rail road tracks so that we can avoid future tragic accidents like this one. It is not only dangerous, but also illegal for the public to walk either on or near the railroad tracks.

Trains and their frequent passage through the City of Rolla at various times throughout the day are part of our community’s history, heritage, and you could say culture – as we co-exist with train traffic, and need to make allowances for their existence.

Saturday’s Rolla Christmas Parade was filled with the joy and festive mood that makes the holiday season in Rolla so special and memorable for so many folks. And the 15th Annual Christmas at the Old Courthouse was as equally an uplifting and joyous occasion. Our thoughts and prayers go out this weekend and throughout the holidays for Mr. Lee’s loved ones, friends and family members.

In closing I’d like to remind everyone that the City of Rolla Environmental Services Department will suspend the regular collection of yard waste as of today, Dec. 19, 2009. The collection of yard waste (leaves, grass clippings and small sticks) in brown paper bags will resume in March, 2010. Residents wishing to dispose of these materials during the winter suspension can use the composting facility located at the Phelps County Transfer Station, or arrange for a special pick up. For more information, please contact the Environmental Services Department at 364-6693.

We also encourage everyone to “think green” during the holidays. So instead of placing your wrapping paper in the trash, recycle it! The Rolla Recycling Center accepts most types of wrapping paper, and will take boxes as well. You can either put the paper and boxes out for collection with your weekly recycling or bring it to the Recycling Center.

Lastly, I would like to remind everyone to ‘shop local’ during the holidays whenever possible, as local purchases will benefit our community, businesses, employees, and of course, our economy as a whole. The best gift you can give this community and yourself over the holidays is to invest in it! Have a safe week and safe holiday season!

Monday, December 7, 2009

DREAM Initiative to open doors for community

If you haven’t already made plans for this morning, Saturday, Dec. 5, I encourage you to attend the Rolla Christmas Parade which begins at 10 a.m. on Pine Street in downtown Rolla. But don’t just plan to attend the Christmas parade, because directly after is the 15th Annual Christmas at the Historic Old Courthouse from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.It too is a must attend event that is sure to get you in the holiday spirit.

Many activities will be held on Saturday in Rolla’s historic downtown area, which was the topic of discussion at the recent DREAM (Downtown Revitalization Economic Assistance Missouri) Initiative Initial Assessment meeting held Monday, Nov. 30 in the Council Chambers at City Hall. The day-long meeting, which was facilitated by Russell Volmert, Associate Director of Peckham Guyton Albers & Viets, Inc. (PGAV), a prominent urban consulting company based out of St. Louis and John Petersen, the City’s Director of Community Development, and members of the Missouri Department of Economic Development. Members of the Missouri Development Finance Board and Missouri Housing Development Commission were also among the DREAM Team who provided assistance throughout the meeting.

The meeting, which was open to the public, was attended by numerous area leaders, including State Representative Dan Brown, 149th District, Rolla downtown business owners, merchants, members of the Rolla Downtown Business Association, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce, Rolla Regional Economic Commission, Phelps County Historical Society, Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC), and the City of Rolla’s Community Development, Public Works and Administration Departments.

The City of Rolla was one of only 5 communities in the state of Missouri inducted as members of the 2009 DREAM Initiative, and I was honored to be presented that day by the State/PGAV DREAM team members with a framed certificate signed by Governor Jay Nixon designating Rolla as an official 2009 DREAM Initiative inductee. The entire Rolla community, including all of our downtown merchants, business owners, and especially the members of Rolla’s Downtown Merchants Association, MRPC, and Engineering Management Graduate students at Missouri S&T should be especially proud of this designation and what it means to the future of Rolla’s downtown area, Missouri S&T and our community as a whole.

The DREAM Initiative will consist of a three-year planning program which will result in a 5 - to 10-year vision to enhance and revitalize downtown Rolla. This will be accomplished by providing technical planning assistance by PGAV and the Missouri Department of Economic Development that will culminate in a downtown strategic plan.

One of the main goals of the DREAM initiative is to make Rolla a destination City not only in Missouri, but the Midwest – a town that is vibrant, friendly, attractive and is a safe destination that is known for its diversity and unique character. Another important goal is to unite the Missouri S&T campus with Rolla’s downtown, and to work collaboratively with the University to rejuvenate the downtown area. Fortunately the City already enjoys a strong town and gown relationship with Missouri S&T, and I can only see it getting stronger through the DREAM Initiative and other partnership opportunities that are in the wings.