Thursday, January 28, 2010

Police Chief Chat

I hope you had a great week and were able to avoid our winter weather woes! This past week has been somewhat busy in that we had several officers undergo cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training that was provided by Spo. Tony Lauth, who is a certified instructor. Most of the officers have already received some type of training in this life saving measure, but in some cases it has been a while so we decided to host the training. As you can probably imagine our patrol officers as emergency responders are in a position quite frequently, where they are the first to arrive on a medical emergency scene and it becomes necessary to administer aid until the EMS personnel arrive.

On Sunday, January 24th, 2010 at approximately 4:20p.m., Central Dispatch was notified of a robbery which had just occurred at the Country Mart grocery store located on Forum Drive. It was reported that a female age 51 of Rolla, had just had her purse stolen from her while she was shopping inside the store. It was reported that a male suspect snatched the victim’s purse, then ran from the store where the suspect got into a vehicle which was parked just outside the store and fled the scene.

An observant witness to the incident, followed the suspect vehicle while contacting Central Communications by cell phone. The witness kept telecommunicators abreast of the exact location of the suspect's vehicle as it was trying to escape. Noticing that they were being followed, the suspect vehicle eventually pulled off to the side of the road in rural Phelps County and one of the suspects got out of the car on foot. The suspect vehicle then fled from the area. The witness who had been chasing the suspect stayed with the suspect until officers from the Rolla Police Department and the Phelps County Sheriff's Department arrived on the scene and arrested him. Arrested was Joseph L. Howell age 30 of Rolla.

A few minutes later, a trooper from the Missouri State Highway Patrol located the suspect vehicle in this incident and detained the two additional suspects for Rolla Police Officers. Later the two additional suspects were arrested in connection with this incident. They were identified as Jonathan R. Baker age 23 and Jacqueline R. Baker age 22, both of Rolla. Joseph L. Howell, Jonathan R. Baker and Jacqueline R. Baker were all arrested for 2nd Degree Robbery and were later incarcerated in the Phelps County Jail pending warrant application. Had it not been for the keen eye of this Good Samaritan and the willingness to try to help a fellow citizen, this case may not have been solved. The Rolla Police Department wants to thank this individual for having the initiative to do what he did and provide precise details and locations which ultimately allowed us to apprehend all three of these suspects and retrieve the stolen purse. Great job to the brave witness, and to the responding officers from the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol and Rolla Police Department. The charges for which Joseph L. Howell, Jonathan R. Baker and Jacqueline R. Baker were arrested are merely accusations and are not evidence of guilt. Evidence in support of the charges must be presented before a court of competent jurisdiction whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

On Tuesday of this week, Central Dispatch received a call of a distraught female who may be attempting to harm herself in the 1900 block of N. Walnut. Cpl. Derrick Dillon, Spo. Jason Copeland and Spo. Frank Hawkins were the first to arrive on the scene and discovered a female inside a residence who had collapsed on the floor and was lethargic and nearly unresponsive. Officers, fearing for the safety of the female were able to force entry to the residence and allow EMS personnel access to the victim, who was transported to the Phelps County Regional Medical Center and treated. The female is expected to recover. Great job guys!

This past week our “Officer of the Week” campaign featured on the Rolla Police Department Facebook site produced a new winner. This week’s “Officer of the Week’ is telecommunicator Bob Nichols. Bob received the highest number of votes submitted by our Facebook fans to elect him to this week’s honors. Bob was raised in St. James where he graduated high school in 1978. Bob attended Linn Technical School before being hired at the Rolla Police Department in 1980 as a police dispatcher. In 1982 Bob became a patrol officer and served as a field training officer, traffic officer, accident reconstructionist, advanced driving instructor and breathalyzer trainer. Bob was promoted to the rank of Corporal and then to Sergeant where he served as a shift supervisor until his departure from law enforcement in 1995. Bob secured employment with Brewer Science and remained there over 14 years before returning to the Rolla Police Department as a telecommunicator. Bob is married and enjoys spending time with his family, hunting and fishing, watching sports and Nascar.

Each week I will feature one of our volunteers from our Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) program. This week’s volunteer spotlight is on Dave Reynolds. Dave is originally from the state of Arkansas and has lived in Rolla the past 4 years. Dave recently retired as Lieutenant and assistant Division Director of Motor Vehicle Inspection with the Missouri State Highway Patrol where he served over 30 years. Dave is married to his high school sweetheart of 46 years and enjoys fishing, hunting, amateur radio operation and gardening.

Of the VIPS program, Dave states: “When I became aware, the Rolla Police Department was beginning the VIPS program. I felt it would be an avenue where I could share my law enforcement experience, as well as give some of my time to community service.” Dave assists our patrol division with vacation security checks, school and neighborhood patrols, traffic direction and officer presence. Dave also participates in special events, community awareness and recruitment. Dave says “I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to assist the Rolla Police Department, through the VIPS program, in their efforts to provide a safe environment to the citizens of Rolla.” Thanks Dave for all you do!

In closing, be sure to visit our Facebook site and continue to let us know better ways to help us better serve our community!

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

Monday, January 25, 2010

Police Chief Chat

I hope everyone had the opportunity to enjoy the 3 day weekend and were able to spend quality time with friends and family. This week’s column will feature our first weekly edition where we will spotlight one of our 9 current Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) volunteers. Our first featured VIPS volunteer is not only our first volunteer, but so far, is our first and only female volunteer. I am speaking of none other than Katherine W. Mattison! Katherine joined our program in February of 2009 and expressed an interest in providing courtesy calls to our crime victims. This is a very valuable service to our agency in that we learn from the victims how they felt they were treated during this intense time and also learn how we can better serve them in the future. Katherine has a lengthy background in administration and has been employed with the Department of Geological Sciences & Engineering at Missouri S&T for over 31 years! Katherine lists her reason for joining VIPS as an opportunity to assist officers of the Rolla Police Department in a capacity that is not possible with such busy schedules. She correctly describes the courtesy call program as a vehicle to show the caring side of RPD. Katherine is originally from Birch Tree, Missouri but has been in Rolla since 1968. She is a St. Louis Cardinal fan and also supports MS&T basketball. Thanks Katherine, for all you do!

Our next featured spotlight is Cpl. Derrick Dillon of our Patrol Division. Derrick took 1st place in our Officer of the Week campaign featured on our Rolla Police Department Facebook page last week. Derrick grew up in Rolla and was hired at the Rolla Police Department as a patrol officer in January of 2004. Derrick graduated from the Law Enforcement Training Institute in Columbia with a certification in law enforcement in April of 2004. In April of 2006 Derrick was promoted to Senior Patrol Officer then to Corporal in September of 2006. Derrick serves as assistant shift supervisor and is a SWAT Team member. Derrick is also a Certified Chemical Munitions Instructor and Hostage Negotiator. He is married and has 4 children and enjoys carpentry, sports, photography and spending time with his family. Congratulations on your nomination for Officer of the Week!

Last week Spo. Jason Copeland and Spo. Jaime Solis initiated a traffic stop on an individual for a driving offense. When the officers approached the vehicle they detected the odor of marijuana. Investigation led to a consensual search of the suspects residence and with the assistance of Cpl. Derrick Dillon, Pto. Jessie Hoyt and Pto. Steve Roukie, several items considered drug paraphernalia and a quantity of marijuana was seized. 2 Missouri S&T students were arrested and later released on summons. Great work guys and gals!

On Thursday of this week, Allen C. May age 24, of Rolla was sentenced to 46 months in prison on federal charges of possession of child pornography. May plead guilty in September of 2009 to three felony counts of possession of child pornography. He appeared in court on Thursday before United States District Judge Donald J. Stohr for sentencing. In a separate unrelated case, Allen May’s father, James H. May age 51, of Rolla was sentenced to 41 months in prison on 5 felony counts of possession of child pornography. James May plead guilty in September of 2009 to felony possession of child pornography. Both defendants will be subjected to a lifetime of supervised release after serving their prison terms.

This case was brought as part of the Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May of 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. United States Attorney Richard G. Callahan commended the work on the case by the Rolla Police Department, Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the Regional Computer Crimes Education and Enforcement Group and Assistant United States Attorney Rob Livergood, who handled the cases for the US Attorney’s Office.

Have a great week!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

City sets stage for benchmark year in 2010

The signs that 2010 may be a benchmark year for Rolla were made clearer at Monday’s City Council meeting when the City Council unanimously approved several items of business that could very well have a far-reaching impact on the City’s economic future and quality of life.

The City Council approved a request for an ordinance establishing a zoning overlay district to include the Rolla Arts and Entertainment District, and a subsequent ordinance to amend the Rolla 2020 Comprehensive Plan Update by incorporating the Rolla Arts and Entertainment District (RA&ED) Urban Conservation and Redevelopment District Plan. These ordinances, which include the identification of boundaries for the RA&ED, will not only give stature and prominence to the new district, but also encourage the preservation, enhancement, expansion and integration of the arts and associated cultural activities, including arts-related support uses, within the area defined as the RA&ED. The overlay district also will provide a mechanism to tailor policies and regulations to address problems unique to the district that can unnecessarily delay desirable redevelopment.

During the challenging economic times we are facing as a community, it is noteworthy that the overlay district is intended to expand business and job opportunities by helping Rolla become a destination point for visitors. The designation also will strengthen the design character and identity of the district as a place devoted to promoting the arts and entertainment. Study after study shows that community’s across the country that have strong arts and cultural venues (i.e., theatres (Rolla has two), performing art centers, art galleries, antique shops, historical museums, etc.) tend to enjoy a higher quality of life, attract more visitors, and enrich the community.

With activity and interest building in the new Rolla Arts and Entertainment District, where the new Benton Square development, Ozark Actors Theatre (Cedar Street Center), and Orvall Reeves Art Gallery are located, the City’s Public Works Department identified the need for ample off-street parking – specifically parking for employees and special events. The department’s proposal for Phase 1 of the Rolla Arts & Entertainment Public Parking proposal was approved by City Council at Monday’s meeting. The Phase I parking improvements include numerous parking spaces in the parking lot located at the corner of 5th and Cedar Streets, and at the corner of 8th and Cedar Streets.

While the new RA&ED is a significant step forward toward making Rolla a “destination city”, it was equally noteworthy at Monday’s City Council meeting that the City Council approved a motion to sign a Scope of Services agreement under the DREAM (Downtown Revitalization Economic Assistance for Missouri) program with the Missouri Department of Economic Development. Rolla was selected in October 2009 to participate in the DREAM program – one of five communities selected in October 2009. The DREAM program was created to help small and mid-sized communities acquire the necessary expertise to advance downtown revitalization objectives based on the planning reports described in the Scope of Services and to help communities navigate through the various downtown revitalization, business development, and residential resources available through state government.

It is most encouraging that over $5 million in private investment has been made in the City’s downtown business district; over $3 million in private investment in the new Benton Square development, and hundreds of thousands more in the construction and renovation of several key businesses and restaurants in the area. Commercial construction and development has increased significantly in Rolla over the past year, and early indications in January 2010 point to a benchmark year for our community.

In addition to the new overlay district for the RA&ED, the DREAM Program, and two new parking areas for the RA&ED district, the City also is excited about the future redevelopment of the proposed Bryant Drive intersection that will provide the gateway entrance to the new Missouri S&T Tech Park, and improve traffic mobility on Kingshighway and Fairgrounds Road. Agreements between the City of Rolla, McDonalds, Missouri S&T, Fairground Chevrolet and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) for this intersection improvement are being drafted and upon completion, will set the groundwork for this significant project, which should begin sometime this spring.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

City’s GIS software provides updates on City stats

The year 2010 marks a new decade that not only reminds us that we are in a Census year that is very important to the City of Rolla, but also that it’s time to update City statistical information that is beneficial to businesses, and the Rolla community at large. And if you love trivia, especially Rolla trivia, you will want to continue reading this article.

Thanks to a recent upgrade (as of Jan. 12, 2010) to the City’s GIS (Geographical Information System) by the City’s Engineering Division, much new, and valuable information and statistical data is now available to the public and can be viewed on the City’s Website at : It is listed under the heading “City land use” and it’s titled “land use statistics (jan 2010).”

For instance, do you know how many miles of City maintained roads there are in the City of Rolla? If you guessed 110.36 you are correct. Of the 110 miles, 7.94 miles are considered principal arterial; 6.73 miles, minor arterial; 2.37 miles arterial; 30.36 miles, collector; and 81.63 miles, local streets. How about the number of square miles in Rolla? Did you guess 11.83-square -miles? If you did, you were correct again. That number includes 7,574 acres. The original town plat of Rolla consisted of 206 acres, so you can easily see how much our City has grown since it was officially incorporated in 1861.

If you really enjoy trivia you might like to know that Rolla also has 69.67 linear miles of sidewalk and 13.02 linear miles of bike trails, which are included primarily within the ACORN Trail pedestrian/bike trail system.

Before 1900s there were 7.56 miles of sewers in Rolla. Today there are over 131 linear miles of constructed sewer lines. How many linear miles of storm sewer do you think there are today in Rolla? If you guessed 61.18 linear miles you would be right again! This also includes 3,348 sewer manholes; nine sewer lift stations and three storm sewer treatment plants. Can you name all three of these? They are the Southeast Treatment Plant (off Hwy. 72 South); Southwest Treatment Plant (off Martin Springs Outer Road) and the Vichy Sewer Treatment Plant (located on Vichy Road, on the north side of I-44). For the fanatical trivia buffs, and Geological engineers out there, Rolla’s geographical coordinates are Latitude, 37dN; Longitude, 91dW.

Would you happen to know how many miles of waterways exist in Rolla’s corporate limits? If you guessed 13.27 miles you would be correct. There are exactly 10 waterways in Rolla, consisting of the Burgher Branch, Burgher Branch Tributary; East Fork Burgher Branch; Deible Branch; Dutro Carter Creek; Spring Creek; Love Branch; Little Beaver Creek; Green Acre Branch and Little Dry Fork. The watershed basins that effect Rolla include: Spring Creek (1,118 acres); Burgher Branch (3,174 acres); Dutro Carter (2,096 acres); Deible Branch (1,417 acres); and Martin Spring Branch (1,076 acres).

The population of Rolla in 1990 was 14,090. In 2000 it was 16,367. The projected population for Rolla in 2008 was 18,438. The City is hopeful, that the results of the 2010 Census, which will take place in March of this year, the City’s population will reach the 20,000 mark, bringing many new opportunities for economic development, retail expansion, grant funding and overall status to our community.

In closing I’d like to remind everyone that Rolla City Hall will be closed this Monday, Jan. 18 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr.s’ Birthday. The Rolla City Council meeting, which is ordinarily held the first and third Monday of the month, will be held Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall (901 North Elm Street). The City of Rolla Environmental Services Department will also be closed Monday, Jan. 18 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday. Monday’s trash will be picked up on Tuesday and Tuesday’s trash will be picked up Wednesday. There will be no special pick-ups on Wednesday. If you have any questions, please call 364-6693.

For more information, please visit

Friday, January 15, 2010

Police Chief Chat

I hope you had a great week and were able to avoid any weather related mishaps or extreme cold temperature situations. Our patrol division reported a modest decrease in weather related traffic crashes which reflects directly on the community exercising caution during extreme weather conditions. With weather related traffic crashes in mind, I would like to share with you, an email sent to me from Communications Supervisor Paula Volkmer addressing a 9-1-1 call received from an individual involved in a traffic crash and how the call was handled by the 9-1-1 Dispatch Center. Paula writes:

Yesterday at 0836 we took a cell 911 call from a gentlemen that had been involved in an accident while traveling from Rolla to St. Robert. He thought he could see the interstate, but had no idea where he was or when he had the accident, except that he had been on his way home the night before. (His wife had called the PD earlier inquiring if we had had any contact with him, that he had been expected home last night around midnight). He was laying across his pickup truck seat, unable to move, believed he had two broken legs, bleeding from the ear and was in the trees. His horn didn’t work so there was no way for him to signal to passing motorists. He was unable to describe anything he had last seen and just said he had gotten lost. The dispatcher was able to use the coordinates from his cell phone (info we didn’t have till this past year) and from the time the phone rang to the time the ambulance crew was speaking to him at the vehicle was 22 minutes. The coordinates were within 7/10’s of a mile (coordinates pinpointed 170.8 and he was located at the 170.1).

Paula continues: I just wanted to say “Good Job” regarding your cell 911 call Monday morning. Alicia, you did a great job staying with your caller, getting the little information he could provide, assuring him help was on the way and obviously most importantly navigating the computer system to FIND your caller. Tabitha and Amy, this had to be a group effort, getting responders on the way, calling his wife and trying to direct responders to coordinates for a vehicle that was over an embankment, that obviously hadn’t been seen since he went over the edge the night before.

I too would like to echo Paula’s thoughts and commend telecommunicators Alicia Hill, Tabitha Stanley and Amy King on a job well done. Needless to say, I am very proud of our Central Dispatch staff and realize how fortunate we the citizens of this community are, to have such a resourceful group of professionals, dedicated to keeping our community safe! Great job and thanks for all you do!

This past week, we have added 2 new volunteers to our Volunteers in Police Services (VIPS) Program. The volunteers are former Rolla Fire and Rescue Fire Marshall Larry Seest and Rolla area Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine Keith Peterson. Larry Seest comes to us after serving over 30 years with Rolla Fire and Rescue and also served as a reserve Deputy Sheriff with the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department. Larry has an extensive background in public service and will be a valuable asset to our VIPS team. Larry will be providing school and neighborhood patrols, assisting with special events and participating in our many public relations programs. Welcome aboard Larry!

Keith Peterson and his wife Diane are the owner’s of Peterson Chiropractic and Acupuncture Clinic in Rolla. Keith enjoys weightlifting, indoor cycling and just about any type of physical activity. Keith too will be a valuable asset to our VIPS team and will be providing school and neighborhood patrols, assisting with special events and participating in our many public relations programs. Welcome aboard Keith!

As you may already know, our Volunteers in Police Service Program is off to a great start. At the present time we now have 9 volunteers assigned to the VIPS unit. These volunteers are quality folks from right here in our community, who realized that they had something to offer to their Police Department and to their community and have proudly joined our ranks. Beginning next week, I will introduce you to each one of our volunteers by featuring a brief biographical summary and photo so you will know them when you see them in your neighborhoods. Our volunteers perform a very valuable service to our agency and we truly appreciate their efforts. If you are interested in learning more about the VIPS program, contact our VIPS Director Dennis Noel, or VIPS Coordinator Vince Giacolone at 308-1213.

On Sunday, January 10, 2010, Patrol Officer Leann Robertson received information through Crimestoppers, that a wanted person was walking somewhere between Steeplechase Drive and the Lee’s Chicken restaurant in Rolla. Officer Robertson checked the area and located an individual matching the description of the suspect walking near the Forum area on Hauck Drive. Officer Robertson contacted the suspect who denied his true identity and provided identification of an attorney from Festus, Missouri. Sgt. Jeremy Martens and Cpl. Tim Mayfield arrived on the scene to assist Robertson and also provided a photo of the wanted suspect. The photo matched the suspect and he was placed under arrest and incarcerated in the Phelps County Jail. Investigation revealed that the false identification provided by the suspect was actually stolen from the victim’s vehicle in Festus, Missouri. Good job to Robertson, Martens and Mayfield in locating this wanted person and getting him off the streets of Rolla.

In closing, I want to remind you to check our Facebook site for upcoming events, top news stories and severe weather information. Also be sure to sign up to receive information first hand from out Rolla Police Department Twitter site.

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

St. Pat’s Day Parade set for March 13 in downtown Rolla

The annual St. Pat’s Day Parade, one of the oldest and most celebrated St. Pat’s Parades in the state of Missouri, will be held Saturday, March 13 at 11 a.m. on Pine Street in downtown Rolla.

One unusual aspect of the St. Pat’s Parade is that the surface of Pine Street is actually painted green beginning at 6:30 a.m. the day of the parade. The St. Pat’s Street Painting Event, sponsored by the St. Pat’s Board, includes the volunteer services of several students from Missouri S&T that apply the water-based green paint with large mops, and buckets so Pine Street properly painted green for the parade later that morning at 11 a.m.

St. Pat’s Court will arrive at the bandshell in the City’s Downtown Festival Park on Wednesday, March 10 at 12-noon. St. Pat’s Court Arrival begins at 11:15 a.m. at the south end of Pine Street where they will proceed through the downtown area to the bandshell at 12-noon.

The St. Pat’s Coronation and Knighting Ceremony will be held on Friday, March 12 at 9 p.m. in Leach Theatre, located in the Castleman Hall Performing Arts Center on the Missouri S&T Campus on 10th Street.

The 101st St. Pat’s Ball, sponsored by the Ladies of Coterie, will be held Saturday, March 13 at 6 p.m. in the St. Pat’s Ballroom at the Havener Center, located on the Missouri S&T Campus. The St. Pat’s Ball honors a great Rolla tradition with a delightful evening of dinner and dancing on the Missouri S&T Campus. To make your reservations to attend, visit

The tradition of St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in Rolla for over a century. St. Patrick, the patron saint of engineers, marked his first Rolla celebration in 1908 on what was then the Missouri School of Mines campus. Engineers rallied around St. Pat and began what is now one of the most noted and oldest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the nation.

For more information regarding the St. Pat’s Parade and related events and festivities, please visit the St. Pat’s Board homepage online at

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rolla Animal Shelters "Name the Ferrets Contest"

Download entry form here

The public is encouraged to participate in a “Name the Ferrets Contest” for the two beautiful ferrets that are the official mascots at the Rolla Animal Shelter located at 1915 Sharp Road in Rolla.

The two winners of the contest, which ends on Jan. 25, will receive a free gift certificate from Panera Bread in Rolla, and the bragging rights for naming the ferrets.

Anyone interested in participating in the contest can fill out an entry form at the Rolla Animal Shelter, or e-mail the proposed mascot names to Inge Wilson, Animal Control Manager, at Please include your name and contact information when submitting entries. Entry forms should be either dropped off or mailed to the Rolla Animal Shelter at 1915 Sharp Road, Rolla, MO 65401.

The winners of the contest will be notified shortly after the contest ends on Jan. 25. The Rolla Animal Control Division in the Rolla Police Department looks forward to your participation and winning entries. A special thanks goes to Panera Bread for providing the free gift certificates to the winners of this “Name the Ferrets Contest.”

2010 Census Jobs available

The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting temporary, part-time census takers for the 2010 Census. These short-term jobs offer good pay, flexible hours, paid training, and reimbursement for authorized work-related expenses, such as mileage incurred while conducting census work. Best of all, census takers work right in their own communities.

Census taker jobs are excellent for people who want to work part-time, those who are between jobs, or just about anyone who wants to earn extra money while performing an important service for their community.

Hundreds of thousands are needed for temporary jobs

Conducting the census is a huge undertaking. Hundreds of thousands of census takers are needed nationwide to help locate households and conduct brief personal interviews with residents. Most positions require a valid driver's license and use of a vehicle. However, use of public transportation may be authorized in certain areas.

Your community is counting on you

Every 10 years, the Census Bureau takes a snapshot of our population, determining how many people reside within the nation's borders, who they are, and where they live. The results help determine your representation in government, as well as how federal funds are spent in your community on things like roads, parks, housing, schools, and public safety. As a census taker, you'll play a vital role in making sure that everyone is counted.

Bilingual speakers are encouraged to apply

All census takers must be able to speak English, but people who have bilingual skills are needed in communities where a large number of residents primarily speak other languages. If you have the appropriate language skills and cultural knowledge to communicate well in your community, we encourage you to apply.

Apply today by contacting your Local Census Office or by calling 1-866-861-2010 .

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Attend January workshops on landscaping with MO plants

Landscape professionals and enthusiasts are invited to attend “Landscape Design with Missouri in Mind” from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Jan. 29 or 30 at the Rolla Technical Center, 500 Forum Drive. The Jan. 29 workshop is for landscaping professionals. The Jan. 30 workshop is for gardeners, homeowners and other landscaping enthusiasts.

Each workshop will provide practical in-depth information on landscaping with native plants to create beauty and to support biodiversity. The workshops will focus on landscape design techniques, plant selection, installation methods and maintenance practices.

“Landscape Design with Missouri in Mind” is sponsored by Grow Native! and Rolla Public Schools. Grow Native! is a cooperative program of the Missouri departments of Conservation and Agriculture to help protect and restore our state's biodiversity by increasing conservation awareness of native plants and their effective use.

Author Dave Tylka will open the workshops with his presentation, “Native Landscaping – A Natural Way to Spice up Life.” Tylka will use his book, “Native Landscaping for Wildlife and People,” as the foundation of his presentation. As part of their registration fee, workshop participants will receive copies of the MDC companion book, “Tried and True: Native Plants for Your Landscape.”

MDC Natural History Biologist Lee Hughes will present “Know the Lay of Your Land.” Amy Hamilton of Hamilton’s Native Outpost will present “Put Plants in the Right Place.” MDC Private Land Conservationist Sarah Egly will present “Reconstructing Prairie.” MDC Resource Forester Mike Fiaoni will present “Native Trees for Landscapes Large and Small.”

The workshops will end with a hands-on application session that creates landscape designs for sites at the Rolla Technical Center. Participants also have opportunities to win prizes and visit with exhibitors displaying and selling related products and services.

Seating is limited. Registration deadline is Jan. 15. The registration fee, which includes lunch, is $25 if received by Jan. 8 and $35 after.
To register, visit For more information, contact the Missouri Department of Agriculture at 866-466-8283,, or

RPD staff to participate in Safety Fair Jan. 23 at AL West Nissan

AL West Chrysler in conjunction with Premier Security Consultants, is hosting a FREE Safety Fair as a part of their customer appreciation days on Saturday, Jan. 23 from 12-noon until 4 p.m. The event is open to the public and will be held at AL West Nissan, 2540 North Hwy 63, in Rolla, MO.

Premier Security Consultants will have booths covering the following topics: Safety While Traveling Alone/As a Family; Safety for the Single Female; Self Defense Mindset; Self Defense Options (OC spray, Taser, and others); and Legal Aspects of Self Defense/CCW.
AL West will have a booth where instruction is provided on how to change a tire as well as the opportunity to practice under the instruction of one of their mechanics.

The Missouri Highway Patrol will be present with their roll-over simulator, and Vince Giacolone, with the Rolla Police Department’s VIPS program, will be present to discuss VIPS (Volunteers in Police Service).

The instruction at the booths will start every 30 minutes beginning at noon and run approximately 20 minutes. Attendees are encouraged to visit as many booths as they wish.

Beginning at 1:30 p.m. the booths will be reconfigured to provide women and young ladies instruction in: Strikes; Escape From Grabs; Escape from Chokeholds and Ground Fighting. Once again these booths will run every 30 minutes until 3:30 p.m. allowing interested parties to be able to attend all four booths. It’s not mandatory to attend all booths, but the most benefit will be achieved by attending all four sessions. The day will conclude with demonstrations of OC in self-defense applications and a civilian TASER.

Premier Security is a family-run business composed of three full-time law enforcement officers with a combined 30 years of experience. Their lessons and techniques are based upon this combined experience and what they teach their families after seeing what works and doesn’t work in the real world.

For additional information, please contact David West at or (573) 467-0003 or Jeremy Martens at or at (573) 201-9775.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Public Works crews ready for season's first snowstorm

The snowstorm that hit the Rolla area this week was a gentle reminder that we all need to be prepared for possible hazardous weather conditions that affect both road and driving conditions for everyone.

Be assured that the City’s Public Works Director, Steve Hargis, and snow removal crews were well informed of the storm through Accuweather reports, and preparing their fleet of snow removal trucks and salt spreaders to clear the roads well in advance of the storm – working 24 hours a day to get the job done.

Although it’s always hard to predict how much snow the City will receive during any given snowstorm, the Public Works Department is none-the-less up to the challenge of clearing the snow from the City’s 100 miles of streets, municipal parking lots and the many City facilities located around town such as Rolla City Hall, the Rolla Police Department, the two Rolla Fire and Rescue Stations, The Centre, Rolla Recycling Center, Vehicle Maintenance, Sanitation, Rolla Animal Shelter, Street and Traffic buildings, etc.

The main thoroughfares throughout town such as 10th Street, Forum Drive, Pine Street, Salem Avenue, Soest Road, Pinetree, etc. are first roads to be plowed, followed by the many side streets throughout town. Please be patient and be assured that the street that you live on in the City will be plowed as soon as conceivably possible, and that the Street crew works 24 hours a day to ensure the snow is removed as quickly and efficiently as possible.

As we begin the first weeks of a new decade (2010) I thought it would also be appropriate to mention again that our community’s success is based on the power of everyone working together. One sure way we can all help to make this community stronger and enhance our quality of life is very simple. The year 2010 is a census year, and by filling out and mailing back your 2010 Census form, which will be mailed to every household in Rolla during the month of March, we can ensure our community reaches the 20,000 population mark that I think better represents our City’s true population levels. Furthermore, the information collected helps ensure that we get the resources that we need and deserve.

Every year, the federal government can allocate more than $300 billion to states and communities based, in part, on census data. What’s at stake for our community is the loss of $1,300 per year for every person not counted for the next 10 years. This means we could lose out on vital resources for our friends, neighbors and our family.

Census data also determines how many seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives.

With only 10 questions, the 2010 Census questionnaire is one of the shortest questionnaires in history and takes just 10 minutes to complete. Census questionnaires will be delivered or mailed to households via U.S. mail in March 2010. Our community has a lot riding on this and it’s up to each of us to do our part, so please fill out your census form on April 1 and mail it in.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Police Chief Chat - Mark Kearse

The Rolla Police Department welcomed in the new year with a bang! This past week was a busy mixture of high profile arrests, criminal prosecutions, severe weather and budget concerns. Before reporting on the new events of 2010, as promised, I will provide a few stats derived from our patrol division activities during our New Year’s Eve operation. For the 24 hour reporting period, the patrol division consisted of 3 shifts of 4 officers per shift on days and evenings, and 5 officers on midnight shift for a total of 13 officers patrolling. The results of those shift activities include 187 calls for service, 32 traffic stops and 2 accidents, netting 18 arrests including 3 arrests for driving while intoxicated. The stats show that out of the 32 driver’s stopped for various traffic violations during the period, 3 were impaired. These numbers show a tremendous effort from you the community, in drinking responsibly and not getting behind the wheel impaired. Thank you!

Last week officers from the Rolla Police Department received complaints from family members of an Illinois man, who threatened to come to the Rolla area to kill his estranged wife and other family members. According to family members the suspect also purportedly threatened to shoot law enforcement officers and even bomb the police department. We learned that the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department had received similar intelligence so we combined efforts with them, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Division of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms along with several Illinois law enforcement agencies. The investigation revolved around 47 year old Lowell D. Aughenbaugh of McCook, Illinois who was formerly from Rolla and alleged to have several weapons and ammunition at his disposal.

On Sunday morning, the Rolla Police Department received a call that Aughenbaugh had just stolen a vehicle from a family member in Rolla and fled the scene. After a concentrated search by several area officers, Senior Patrol Officer Ben Tinsley returned to the scene to contact witnesses and spotted Aughenbaugh and another male in the suspect vehicle. After a short pursuit and a brief standoff Aughenbaugh was arrested and charged with Making a Terrorist Threat with Reckless Disregard and Causing the Evacuation/Closing of a Building. Bond was set at $100,000.00. A multi-agency investigation led to the search of several properties in Aughenbaugh’s control and the seizure of nearly 100 weapons, over 300,000 rounds of ammunition and a number of items closely associated with the manufacture of explosive devices. This investigation is still on-going and of course the charges for which Mr. Aughenbaugh has been arrested, are merely accusations and are not evidence of guilt. Great job to all officers and agencies involved!

We also learned this week that 2 Phelps County men were sentenced on multiple federal charges stemming from an investigation that began in 2008. Douglas Braidlow age 50, of Doolittle, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and marijuana, and one count of conspiracy to tamper with a witness by attempted murder. Jimmy Seest age 49 of Rolla was sentenced to 15 months in prison after pleading guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Great job to all law enforcement agencies involved in getting 2 more predators off the streets!

Senior Patrol Officer Tony Lauth, our Explorer Post coordinator, has asked me to announce that the Rolla Police Department Explorer Post 170 is now accepting new applicants to the program. The Explorer Post is a branch of Boy Scout Troop 170, but is open to both boys and girls age 15 -20, who are interested in basic law enforcement, education, character building and leadership. Police Explorers serve as a community relations effort between the police department and the youth in the community. Police Explorers assist the police department in many ways such as event security, crowd control, traffic control and other community service events. They also participate in neighborhood patrol, traffic enforcement and many other functions to better prepare them for future roles as productive and active citizens and community members. The program offers youth with the desire, to see first-hand many of the day to day operations of the police department. Many of our current police officers began their career as a Police Explorer. If you are interested in learning more about this program contact Senior Patrol Officer Tony Lauth at 308-1213.

In closing we would like to wish Telecommunicator Lori Thurman, great success in her new position with the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department. Lori has been an asset to the Central Communications Division where she served, and especially to the Rolla Police Department. We will miss her cheerful personality, quick wit, dedicated professionalism, and wish her the best in her new family. Good luck Lori, drop by anytime!

And finally, we now have over 580 fans/friends on our Facebook site and the number grows almost daily. Be sure to check out the site at: for all the latest happenings, events, stories, photos and personalities that are taking place right here at your police department! And please be sure to visit our friends on Rolla Fire and Rescue’s new Facebook site. This site too is filled with interesting photos, events and safety info. Good job guys!

Have a great week!

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010 to be promising year for Rolla

If the momentum that has been generated in 2009 for our community with the City’s DREAM (Downtown Revitalization Economic Assistance Missouri) designation, Benton Square Development, Arts and Entertainment District and the implementation of the first phase of Rolla West is any indication of what 2010 is going to be like then the beginning of the next decade looks promising for Rolla.

Like most cities and communities throughout the state, Rolla and Phelps County both have had our share of challenges with the downturn in the national economy, and the effects it has had on sales tax revenues, employment and future job creation. But as you look around town, including the downtown area, and along Hwy. 63 North with the new businesses and restaurants that are coming in, and the existing businesses that are renovating, it is encouraging to see new growth and development.

If 2009 was a year of developing and maintaining momentum for the revitalization of the City’s downtown business district, implementation of the first phase of the multi-phase Rolla West project, and the establishment of a new Arts and Entertainment District, then 2010 may well be the year of partnerships and collaboration.

The City, more than every before, is forging strong and productive partnerships with Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce, Rolla Regional Economic Commission (RREC), Rolla Downtown Business Association, Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC), Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), Missouri Highway Commission and Missouri Department of Economic Development. And during challenging economic times, there is no better place to be than in collaboration and partnering with other institutions, organizations and agencies that will provide the resources, insight, ideas and leverage to make things happen that might not otherwise be possible.

We are truly blessed in this community to have one of the world’s leading technological and research universities (Missouri S&T), cutting edge, high tech industries such as Brewer Science, Inc. and Mo-Sci Corporation, two theatres (Ozark Actors Theatre and Leach Theatre), outstanding arts and culture, a state of the art, 63,000-square-foot recreation complex at The Centre, blue-ribbon schools, a regional hospital (Phelps County Regional Medical Center), outstanding health care facilities (St. John’s Clinic and The Bond Clinic), a vast park system with over 30 parks and 10 miles of pedestrian and bike trails, and some of the strongest and most active service clubs and community organizations in the country.

Now, just imagine when the new Benton Square Development is completed, a new Arts and Entertainment District formed, the revitalizations of the downtown business district accelerated through the DREAM Initiative, and the improvements implemented for the new Bryant Drive intersection at Kingshighway that will be one of the gateway entrances to the new Innovation Tech Park at Missouri S&T. The momentum is there, the collaborations and partnerships are in place, and the energy, innovation and commitment to move forward are there. We have much to look forward to in 2010.

In closing, I’d like to wish everyone a safe, memorable and peaceful New Year. Lets make 2010 the “10” that we know we can be together as a community. Happy New Year!