Friday, February 26, 2010

Police Chief Chat

True Heroes. Many times the media talks about sports athletes and movie stars as being heroes. I believe they are good at their jobs, but this does not make them a hero. Littleton, Colorado: A gunmen entered the middle school parking lot and began randomly shooting at students. He had just wounded two students, when math teacher David Benke, who was assigned to parking lot detail, sprung into action! Benke, fearing another “Columbine” type situation, disarmed the 32-year-old gunman, then with the help of another teacher, tackled him and pinned him to the ground, ending what could have been a much more violent encounter. These are true Heroes!

Sadly this type of situation seems to be on the rise not only in Colorado, but in all parts of our country. It never ceases to amaze me how some people can arm themselves with a weapon and just begin shooting at innocent victims, especially children! The frequency of these criminal acts have prompted law enforcement agencies to not only adapt their training, but also their way of thinking when responding to this type of call. The Rolla Police Department began our own active shooter training program several years ago, and most recently began offering the training to surrounding jurisdictions as a way of getting all of us on the same page. We pray that we never have this type of situation but we also feel the need to be prepared if we do. Thank you David Benke and your co-worker for ending this terrible nightmare!

On a lighter note, this week’s Volunteers in Police Services (VIPS) spotlight is focused on Anthony Giacolone. If the last name Giacolone sounds familiar, it should as Anthony is none other than VIPS Coordinator Vince Giacolone’s son. Anthony is a chip off the old block in that he assists our patrol division with school and business patrols, vacation security checks, neighborhood patrols and call assistance. Anthony was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and has been living in Doolittle since 2000. Anthony is a reserve police officer with that city and has been doing that service for 3 years. He is married and has a son and the entire family enjoys bow and rifle hunting, Cardinal games and spending time with each other. Anthony says that he was attracted to VIPS through his law enforcement background. He says he wanted to extend his service to the Rolla community and feels that the VIPS program is a wonderful experience and he feels honored to participate. Thanks Anthony for all you do!

This week’s Rolla Police Department Facebook site “Employee of the Week” winner is Animal Control Officer John Redshaw! John was born and raised in southern California, then moved to Salem, Oregon where he graduated from high school and enlisted in the U.S. Army. John served as a heavy equipment operator and combat engineer until 1984, at which time John separated from the Army and moved to Rolla to take a position with the Missouri National Guard. John retired from the Guard in 2002 and accepted an Animal Control Officer position with the Rolla Police Department in 2003. John is married and has one son who resides in Europe. John enjoys fishing, woodworking, camping and family time! Congratulations John on winning “Employee of the Week!”

On Wednesday night, Rolla Police Explorer Post #170 held their bi-monthly meeting here at the Rolla Police Department. Law Enforcement Exploring is a division of the Boy Scouts of America and is a volunteer program for young men and women between the ages of 15 and 21 yrs who are interested in learning more about law enforcement. The cadets meet twice a month and receive training on different aspects of a law enforcement officer’s role in the community. The cadets also participate in real life situations and community events that help build character, a sense of responsibility and community involvement. This week the Patrol Division provided the cadets with hands on training on traffic stop safety, traffic direction and control, and emergency response. If you are interested in learning more about our Explorer programs contact explorer post advisors Spo. Tony Lauth or Spo. Chrissy Smith at 308-1213!

The Department of Public Safety requires that all officers complete a minimum of 48-hours of continuing education every 3 years, to maintain their peace officer certification. All but 24 hours of this training may be in-house, but the remainder must be from an outside entity. These hours total 1,392 training hours per year to cover all of the officers in our department. If we were to set a goal to have all new officers certified in all our basic requirements, the officer would spend 28% of duty time in training. To comply with the minimum industry standards, the police department should be allocating 51 hours per year per person to maintain the required basic certification. This equals over one full week per year, dedicated to training alone. While this does not sound like a lot of training time, you will also need to consider call volume, shift work, schedule shortages and vacations, the training schedule is difficult to accomplish.

The total training time to meet the minimum industry standards for re-certifications, SWAT and continuing with in-service training of 1500 hours per year totals 4, 065 hours. Based on 2007 figures, training and travel costs and assuming 5 new officers are trained, the cost per year for the training is at a minimum of $150,000.00. In other words, we are investing a significant sum of money in employees, but with high turnover rates, we are not seeing a reasonable return on that investment. We currently have officers who are certified instructors in the following classes pepper spray, police tactics, handcuffing techniques, baton, Taser, ground fighting, police radar, use of force, active shooter response, defensive driving, breathalyzer, field sobriety testing, flash bang deployment, patrol rifle instruction and shotgun certification. These classes are provided in-house to reduce travel and lodging expenses and overtime costs.

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

Monday, February 22, 2010

Show Me Green Sales Tax Holiday approved by City Council

Going green is something that the Rolla City Council is backing up with action as they demonstrated at Monday’s Rolla City Council meeting. The City Council unanimously approved an ordinance allowing the 2010 “Show Me Green Sales Tax Holiday” to apply to the local sales taxes of the City of Rolla between April 19 through April 25.

In essences, the Show Me Green Sales Tax Holiday encourages the purchase of certain qualifying energy efficient appliances by exempting them for sales tax, and thereby reducing the consumer’s cost for such appliances. By offering incentives that reward consumers for being energy efficient, it is hoped that consumer awareness will help reduce energy consumption across the state, and have the added benefit of promoting retail sales activity in the Rolla area.

Qualifying appliances, which must be Energy Star certified, include clothes washers and dryers, water heaters, trash compactors, dishwashers, conventional ovens, ranges, stoves, air conditioners, furnaces, refrigerators and freezers. An Energy Star certified appliance is any appliance approved by both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The ordinance, however will not apply to any retailer when less than two percent of the retailer’s merchandise offered for sale qualifies for the sales tax holiday. In such instances, the retailer will offer a sales tax refund in lieu of the sales tax holiday.

After five months of sales tax remittances (October 2009 through February 2010), the City of Rolla has a positive sales tax growth of .31%, which is in the black, but off budget by.7% year-to-date, as the City Council set a goal of 1% growth in sales tax revenue for the current fiscal year budget.

Improving energy efficiency throughout our community, including City facilities, is something the City of Rolla is very committed to. To be successful, a green community needs to consider a variety of ways its citizens and businesses can reduce its carbon footprint, and promote an environmentally friendly way of living. Engineers from Siemens Technologies, Inc. are currently conducting an energy audit, consisting of the mechanical and electrical systems at Rolla City Hall, the Rolla Police Department, the Rolla Fire Stations #1 and #2, The Centre, SpalshZone, and the City’s three wastewater distribution systems. The assessments will range from lighting and water improvements to aeration system upgrades, and new energy efficiency systems, equipment and technology.

While all of the above mentioned energy saving initiatives are related to indoor activities, the City is also co-sponsoring outdoor energy saving programs such as the upcoming “Healthy Yards for Clear Streams” FREE workshop series. The City of Rolla’s Public Works Department and Phelps County Extension will host the workshops during the first three Mondays in March (March 1, 8 & 15) at 6:30 p.m. at The Centre (1200 N. Holloway Street). For more information or to register, please call Phelps County Extension at 573-458-6260.

In closing, I’d like to extend my thanks and appreciation to the members of the Public Works Department who have done a yeomen’s job clearing our streets of snow over the past four weeks. Rolla has received its fair share of snow this winter, and the members of the Public Works Department are to be commended for their diligence, hard work and efficiency. We appreciate all you do!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Police Chief Chat

This week has been one to remember! We were faced with some unusual situations, some potentially dangerous situations and then some rewarding situations as well. On top of everything else, we handled 629 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 19 accidents, 10 frauds, 50 hang up 911 calls, 2 suspicion of narcotics, 12 disturbance calls (domestic or other), 35 traffic complaints, 23 assists of other agencies, 4 funeral escorts, 3 trespassing calls, 127 traffic stops, 28 security checks, 24 arrests.

On Wednesday of this week at approximately 9:45 a.m., Central Dispatch received a call from the family member of a 56 year old male, reporting that the male was bi-polar and schizophrenic and may be having problems with his medication. The family member stated that the male was very depressed and had barricaded himself in his apartment. Family members feared that the male would harm himself if not treated. Spo. Luke Kearse and Pto. Casey Chapman responded to the address in the 1200 block of N. Pine St. and contacted family members at that location. The officers made several verbal attempts to convince the male to open the door and come out to talk with them, but met with negative results. Fearing that the male may have weapons or may harm himself or others, the SWAT team and staff members were called to the scene, as well as Cpl. Derrick Dillon who is certified in negotiation. Cpl. Dillon established a line of conversation with the barricaded male, and for several hours, tried to convince the male to open the door. The male refused.

Access was gained to an adjoining apartment through the cooperation of neighbors, and a plan was devised that included the use of a pole camera, the introduction of non-lethal tear gas and the SWAT entry team. The plan was initiated and within a very short time, the male was safely removed from the apartment and transported to a treatment facility. This situation was particularly difficult in that we had a barricaded male with mental issues that prevented rational behavior and thinking. We were unsure whether or not the male had weapons in his possession or if he would use them on himself or our officers. The combined cooperation between Rolla Fire and Rescue, Phelps County EMS personnel, the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department and Rolla Police and SWAT ensured that the male was safely removed and that all officers, fire and EMS personnel present, went home safely as well! Great job to all!

On Wednesday morning, officers received reports from 4 business owners, that sometime overnight, person(s) unknown, forced entry to their businesses and stole several items including cash. Investigating officers requested assistance from the Division of Criminal Investigations who completed the investigation. I am proud to announce that by the end of the week detectives have arrested 2 individuals for the business burglaries and have recovered some of the missing property. Great job to Patrol and DCI!

This week’s Volunteers in Police Services (VIPS) spotlight is focused on Steve Volz. Steve was born and raised in Indianapolis, and came to Rolla in 1988 to accept a position with the Bureau of Land Management, as a geologist. Steve is married and he and his wife Deborah have 2 grown children. Steve enjoys playing his recorders, volunteering with the boy scouts and flint knap! Steve says that he believes volunteering is the lifeblood of a strong community and that VIPS provides that opportunity for him to serve. Steve helps us with home security checks, school, business and neighborhood patrol. Steve says that he and his wife believe moving to Rolla was a great decision! Thanks Steve, for all you do!

Our Facebook “Employee of the Week” winner is Staff Sgt. Rick Williams. Rick was born and raised in St. Louis and moved to Rolla in 1970. After 1 year he moved to St. James where he graduated high school. Rick then enlisted in the US Army and served 3 years at Ft. Leonard Wood as a motor transport operator. In 1978 Rick accepted a position with the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department where he served 22 years. In 2000, Rick left the Sheriff’s Department and joined the Rolla Police Department where he now serves as Division Commander of Emergency Services. Rick and his wife have 2 boys, Alex and Lucas. Alex has just recently become a Rolla Police Explorer. Congratulations Rick on Employee of the Week.

In closing, I would like to remind you to visit our Facebook site for up to date happenings, announcements and important information! Our fan base is now up over 1, 450 fans so thank you for subscribing and checking us out! I would also like to add that we are still in need of good volunteers from the community for our VIPS program. If you are interested in joining the program or would like to learn more about it, contact Dennis Noel or Vince Giacolone at 308-1213.

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

City joins initiative to to promote sustainable environment

Rolla is blessed with some of the most beautiful scenery, forests, parkland, streams and landscapes in the entire country. Fresh air, clean water, and healthy creeks and streams are all aspects of a sustainable community where the environment is treasured as much as all the other cultural, educational and recreational assets that make Rolla one of the top places to live in the entire country.

In an effort to ensure that Rolla’s environment remains healthy and sustainable, the City of Rolla’s Public Works Department has joined the Missouri Water Utilities Partnership Initiative (MoWUP), along with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Missouri University of Science and Technology, Siemens and 10 other Missouri communities.

Through this partnership the City of Rolla is committed to promoting a safe, clean and sustainable environment in the most fiscally responsible manner while continuing to provide quality, cost-effective infrastructure for the citizens of Rolla. Through this initiative, the City’s Public Works Department, is developing a plan to achieve a 25% overall reduction in electricity consumption in all currently city owned and operated facilities; and reduce inflow and infiltration in the City’s wastewater collection system by 50% within the next five years. The City intends to accomplish this goal by partnering with Siemens Building Technologies, Inc., which is currently conducting a detailed, technical energy audit of City-owned facilities. From the audit, Siemens will prepare a list of potential energy conservation measures the City can use to save energy.

Included in the energy audit will be a detailed evaluation of the City’s three wastewater distribution systems, Rolla City Hall, Fire Stations #1 and #2, Rolla Police Station, The Centre and Splashzone. The assessments will range from lighting and water improvements to aeration system upgrades, and new energy efficiency systems, equipment and technology.

The Public Works Department, with City Council approval, would also like to engage a consultant to update the City of Rolla’s Wastewater Capacity, Management, Operation and Maintenance Plan with an emphasis on systematic evaluation and elimination on inflow and infiltration within the wastewater collection system. During this process a formal audit plan would be designed to monitor the progress and effectiveness of energy usage reduction methodologies. The in-house audit findings would then be used to enhance the City’s Energy Management Plan, which is intended to identify energy saving opportunities, and provide sustainability training for both City employees and the Rolla community at large.

The City’s commitment to a sustainable environment has also lead to the support and promotion of the “Healthy Yards for Clear Streams” FREE workshops. The City of Rolla’s Public Works Department and Phelps County Extension will once again team up together to host the workshops during the first three Mondays in March (March 1, 8 & 15) at 6:30 p.m. at The Centre (1200 N. Holloway Street). The “Healthy Yards for Clear Streams” program was developed by the University of Missouri Plant Sciences Division and University Extension to educate the community about non-point source water pollution and effective ways to prevent pollutants from entering waterways. All workshops will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., except the final one, which will last until 9 p.m. For more information or to register, please call Phelps County Extension at 573-458-6260.

In closing, please remember that this Monday, Feb. 15 is Presidents’ Day and Rolla City Hall will be closed. The Rolla City Council meeting, normally held the first and third Monday of the month, will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m. Also please remember that the Environmental Services Department will be picking up Monday’s trash on Tuesday and Tuesday’s trash on Wednesday.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Police Chief Chat

We hope you had a great week and avoided any mishaps with all this snow. I know our Patrol Division and Central Communications have had their hands full with weather related mishaps. Last week the Rolla Police Department handled 799 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 36 accidents, 76 hang up 911 calls, 14 disturbance calls (domestic or other), 39 traffic complaints, 29 assists of other agencies, 6 transient aid requests, 94 traffic stops, 40 security checks, 36 arrests, 11 stealing reports, 5 funeral escorts, 16 check the well being or try to contact calls. The increase in traffic accidents is due to the increase in inclement weather. Please remember, if you must drive in inclement weather use extreme caution!

This week’s volunteer spotlight is on VIPS volunteer Keith LeCroix. Keith was born in Decatur, Alabama, but has lived in Missouri since 1999. Keith is an instructor/writer for the Dept. of the Army Civilian Police Academy, based at Fort Leonard Wood. Keith joined our Volunteers in Police Services program because, as Keith says “Rolla is a great place to live. I have traveled all across the U S and comparatively speaking, Rolla has tremendous community spirit. I feel that giving back to the community helps others that live here. I enjoy staying close to my chosen profession of law enforcement. I have been trained in all aspects of emergency services and still enjoy helping others in time of need.” Keith performs vacation security checks, school patrols and assists the patrol division on occasion. His hobbies include hunting and fishing and just about anything outdoors. Thanks Keith, for all you do!

This week’s winner of the “Employee of the Week” campaign on our Facebook site is Senior Patrol Officer Jason Copeland. Jason grew up in Blue Springs, Missouri, but was a frequent visitor to Rolla as most of his family is here. Jason attended college in Arizona where he met his wife Estera. In 2005 the Copeland’s moved to Columbia, Missouri so Jason could attend the Law Enforcement Training Institute to become a certified police officer. Jason and his family moved to Rolla in 2006 to take a position with the Rolla Police Department in May of that year, and has served proudly ever since. Jason is a firearms instructor, a member of the SWAT team and a police motor officer. Congratulations Jason in securing “Employee of the Week!” Be sure to visit our Facebook site and vote for your favorite Rolla Police Employee. Tell us who your favorite officer, telecommunicator, or employee is your favorite and why. Each week the winning Employee is spotlighted here in this column and also on our Facebook site, so be sure to check in often!

As you may have heard, Lowell Aughenbuagh, age 47, of Odell, IL., who was recently charged in Phelps County for terroristic threats, was taken into custody in McCook, IL., after a 12 hour standoff with local police and the ATF. You might remember reading about Aughenbaugh after searches were conducted by the Rolla Police Department and the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department where a weapons cache was discovered in Rolla and Phelps County. At the time, Aughenbaugh had allegedly made threats to family members that he planned to come to Rolla, kill his estranged wife, his son and blow up the Rolla Police Department. In this recent incident an arrest warrant was issued and an attempt to serve that warrant at Aughenbaugh’s business, led to the stand-off. Fortunately no one was injured in the arrest.

In closing, I would like to welcome all of our 1,263 Facebook fans to our Rolla Police Department site. It is our intent to provide you with interesting topics, a look into our day to day operations, upcoming events, personnel spotlights, pertinent up to the minute crime and weather information and occasional trivia and other challenges. Please feel free to offer ideas and opinions on the site and let us know what you like and how we can make the site better.

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

Monday, February 8, 2010

Public participation needed for important upcoming meetings

Community involvement and participation have always been one of hallmarks of a healthy and prosperous City, and here in Rolla there will be ample opportunity to show your community spirit by attending some of the community meetings that are scheduled for the upcoming week.

A series of important, educational meetings begin this Monday, Feb. 8 with a special Rolla City Council Workshop that begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Rolla City Hall Council Chambers (901 N. Elm Street) to review and provide an update on the multi-phase Rolla West project. The focus of the discussion will be primarily on the proposed Bryant Drive extension at Kingshighway, which will ultimately serve as one of the gateway entrances to the new Missouri S&T Innovation Tech. Park. A development agreement among the City of Rolla, Missouri S&T, McDonalds, Fairground Chevrolet and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to make this project a reality is being circulated for final signatures and approvals.

On Tuesday, Feb. 9 you are encouraged to attend the Missouri Historic Route 66 Project Public Meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Phelps County Courthouse, Community Room (located at 200 N. Main Street). Mark Stauter, Treasurer of the Phelps County Historical Society, reminds us that Historic Route U.S.-66 played an important role in the development of Phelps County, and that Route 66 has achieved Scenic Byway status in Missouri, as indicated by the "blue" historic byway signs now posted along the route. Mark says the next step is for Phelps County to achieve national scenic byway status, including designation as an All-American Road. This designation will qualify the roadbed, and the properties along it, for Federal funding for preservation, restoration, and tourism development.

The Phelps County Historical Society will serve as the host institution for the public meeting on Feb. 9 concerning the development of a Corridor Management Plan (CMP) for Route 66 that is being developed by the Great River Associates of Springfield. Similar public meetings will be held in 10 counties along the path of Route 66 in Missouri. Mark says the completed Corridor Management Plan will set forth guidelines (not restrictions) for the preservation, protection, and enhancement of the Missouri Historic Route 66 corridor and that it will be a milestone in the historic preservation effort in Phelps County. For more information regarding this meeting, please call 573-458-6000.

On Thursday, Feb. 11 there will be a very important meeting regarding the Missouri Transportation Alliance, and future funding for transportation improvements. The Community Meeting for the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) District 9 will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Council Chambers at Rolla City Hall. Good attendance and discussion is extremely important, as there is no area of Missouri for which this discussion is more important at this point in time.

And if you love homemade pancakes and the company of good friends and neighbors, you don’t want to miss the annual Kiwanis Pancake Day on Saturday, Feb. 13 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m in the Rolla High School cafeteria. The food, entertainment, and service are top notch, and I think just about everyone in the community attends this popular event.

Looking ahead to the following week, Rolla City Hall will be closed for Presidents’ Day on Monday, Feb. 15. The City Council meeting usually held the third Monday of the month will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Rolla City Hall. Please remember, due to President’s Day, Monday’s trash will be picked up on Tuesday.

In March we’ll kick off the month with another City Council meeting on Monday, March 1 at 6:30 p.m. That same evening will be the first of three FREE Healthy Yards for Clear Streams workshops held Monday, March 1, 8, and 15 at 6:30 p.m. at The Centre, located at 1200 N. Holloway Street. On Wednesday, March 3, the City of Rolla will join the Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce and other businesses and organizations at Rolla Day at the Capitol in Jefferson City. On Monday, March 8 the City, together with Rolla Channel 6, will host the Rolla Candidates Forum. The Rolla Community Teachers Association (RCTA) Candidates Forum will begin at 4 p.m., followed by the Rolla Municipal Candidates Forum at 6 p.m.

To punctuate the festivities in March, don’t forget the annual St. Pat’s Day parade on Saturday, March 13 at 11 a.m. on Pine Street in downtown Rolla. Just look for the street that is painted green in the downtown area, and you’ll have a front row street.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Police Chief Chat

This week, my staff and I met with local funeral directors to discuss our procedures when assigning patrol officers as funeral escorts. This is a service that we feel is not only a service to the community in the way of traffic safety but also a comforting and respectful message to the grieving families that the Rolla Police Department cares. Our biggest concern was the fact that there are times when there are only 3 patrol units on duty and with our typical call volume, it is difficult to provide this service as much as we would like. One solution of course would be to hire additional officers, but with the current budget constraints, that is not likely. Another solution considered was to assign the escort requests to our Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) personnel. The VIPS patrol cars are clearly marked and are equipped with emergency lights and siren and if our volunteer force is kept to or exceeds our current level, we should have the available manpower to provide this service. The primary concern of the funeral directors is the inattentiveness or indifference of some motorists in regards to laws governing the safety and respect shown to funeral processions. State law states that motorists shall not drive through or in between moving vehicles who are displaying headlights and flashers and traveling in a funeral procession. State law also prohibits passing of a funeral procession that is in motion. Violators may be subject to arrest! Let's remember state law and show respect for funeral processions.

Speaking of VIPS volunteers, our spotlight this week will focus on Don Rowland. Don was born in Salem, Nebraska but has resided in Rolla for the past 32 years. Don’s retired in 1996 from the Civil Service where he spent his last 3 years as a Physical Security Specialist (Crime Prevention Specialist). Don has been married to his wife Nikky for 52 years and they have 3 children, 8 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren! Don became interested in the VIPS program because, as he says “I was always taught to appreciate and support law enforcement. After receiving a heart transplant in 2003 I have been looking for a way to “pay back” some of what I have received. I thought volunteering to help the police department would be a way of partially doing that. Also, I was impressed with our Police Chief and what he is trying to do for Rolla!” Don works closely with our Criminal Investigation Unit where he establishes data, then analyzes the information and disperses that information to the proper police personnel. Thanks Don for all you do!

Our next featured spotlight will be on Senior Patrol Officer Chrissy Smith, who was voted “Officer of the Week’ on our Facebook site. Chrissy was born and raised in Salem, Missouri and began her law enforcement career as a jailer with the Dent County Sheriff’s Department in 1997. In 1998 Chrissy accepted a position in our Dispatch Center as a telecommunicator. Chrissy served in that capacity until 2005 when she applied and was appointed as a patrol officer. Since being assigned to the Patrol Division, Chrissy has served as a field training officer and is also one of our Explorer Post Advisors. Her current duty assignment is in our Traffic Division where she works traffic complaints, traffic enforcement and accident investigation. When Chrissy is off duty she enjoys spending time with her family. Congratulations on your win Chrissy!

This past week we had a meeting with the staff of Volunteers In Police Service (VIPs), to discuss any issues, our goals and objectives and what we need to do to get us to the next level of service to the community and to the team at the Rolla Police Department. The meeting went well with several great ideas that we are going to follow up on. As I mentioned last week, we will be conducted a recruitment drive beginning in the next couple weeks, seeking volunteers to join our VIPS program. We have a very good group of volunteers on board but still need others to supplement the intended programs we would like to provide. Currently we are seeking volunteers that have an interest in criminal investigation. Our plan is to create a diverse group of citizens within our VIPS program to work hand in hand with our Criminal Investigations Unit by conducting follow-up investigations, interviews, neighborhood canvass operations and investigative photography. If you have time on your hands, are interested in serving your police department and your community and are interested in this type of assignment, contact Dennis Noel or Vince Giacolone at 308-1213.

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

Monday, February 1, 2010

Healthy Yards For Clear Streams Workshops begin March 1

With the typical unpredictable winter weather we experience this time of year in Rolla it may seem a bit early to start thinking about ways to make our yards, and subsequently the community’s streams and creeks healthier. But then again, for those who would rather see spring arrive in Rolla sooner than later, I’m going to mention early-on an important FREE workshop series that is sure to get you thinking about spring weather, green grass, and flowers blooming again.

The City of Rolla’s Public Works Department and Phelps County Extension will once again team up together to host a series of FREE, public workshops called “Healthy Yards for Clear Streams,” during the first three Mondays in March (March 1, 8 & 15) at 6:30 p.m. at The Centre (located at 1200 N. Holloway Street in Rolla).

The “Healthy Yards for Clear Streams program was developed by the University of Missouri Plant Sciences Division and University Extension to educate the community about non-point source water pollution and effective ways to prevent pollutants from entering waterways.

In the Ozarks we are blessed with reliable annual rainfall, deep aquifers, and clear streams and rivers. But we can't become complacent. Our water resources are also threatened by multiple sources of pollution. We can take action in our own homes and yards to contain runoff and keep pollutants from reaching streams.

Join us this March, on the first three Mondays, to learn how to have "Healthy Yards for Clear Streams” and attend the following FREE workshops at The Centre:

Session 1, March 1: •The "Why" Connection: Where Is Your Watershed? •Maintaining Healthy Lawns While Protecting Streams, Best Turf Varieties for Missouri, and What to Do About Pests
Session 2, March 8: •Building Healthy Soils that Hold and Retain Moisture
•Put the Right Plant in the Right Place and Use Chemicals Safely
Session 3, March 15: •Native Plant Rain Gardens and Rain Barrels: Using the Free Water From Your Roof •Compost, Bokashi, and Worm Farms: How to Improve Soil and
Keep Organic Waste Out of the Landfill

All workshops will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., except the final one, which will last until 9 p.m. For more information or to register, please call Phelps County Extension at 573-458-6260.

In closing, I’d like to mention that the City of Rolla Fire & Rescue has recently partnered with The Dance Studio in Rolla, and Coldwell Banker The Baker Group to announce “Step Up” – a shoe drive to benefit Soles4Souls, Inc. the Shoe Charity: Project Haiti.

In an effort to further help the victims of the Haitian earthquake, Rolla residents are invited to “Step Up” and recycle their ‘gently worn’ shoes for those people in need. The shoe drive will be held through Thursday, Feb. 11. Soles4Souls accepts all types of shoes: dance, athletic, running, dress, sandals, pumps, heels, work boots, cleats, flip flops.

Shoes may be dropped off at The Dance Studio, 1100 Hwy. 72 East, Monday thru Thursday, (5-7 p.m.); Coldwell Banker The Baker Group, 1025 Kingshighway, Monday thru Friday, (8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and the Rolla Fire & Rescue, 1490 E. 10th Street, Monday thru Friday, (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.). The local contact for this drive is Miss Megan at (573) 364-0696 or you may contact Rolla Fire & Rescue at (573) 364-3989.