Sunday, January 25, 2009

Environmental Services name change official

The next time you need to order a blue recycling bin or make an appointment to use the City’s new Household Hazardous Waste Facility, don’t be surprised when someone answers the phone and says you have reached the City’s Environmental Services Department.

The official name change from the former Solid Waste Department to Environmental Services was finalized during Monday’s City Council meeting. A motion was made, seconded, and unanimously approved, for the rules to be suspended for the need for a second reading of the City Ordinance that officially authorizes the naming of the new department.

While it will probably take awhile for residents to adjust to the new name change, the staff and members of the newly named Environmental Services Department have been going green for so long that it will seem like a natural progression for this department.

The divisions that comprise the Environmental Services Department will still remain as the Sanitation and Recycling Divisions, and there will be no other real changes in this department resulting from the name change. One of the many improvements made by this department, however does include a new outdoor recycling exhibit located at the south end of the Recycling Center located at 2141 Old St. James Road.

The exhibit, which is made entirely of recycled materials, includes a large, handicapped accessible picnic table, message board, and composting area. The exhibit is useful not only as an educational tool for students and groups who tour the Recycling Center, but also as an example of the many ways that recycled materials are put to good use.

The next time you are stopping by the Recycling Center, which is open 24/7, and free to anyone interested in recycling, you may want to check the new exhibit out. You may be surprised how durable, attractive and useful recycled items can be. If you are interested in scheduling a tour of the Recycling Center, please call 364-6693 or stop by the Recycling Center anytime Monday through Friday during normal business hours. Environmental education is an important part of what the Environmental Services offers as part of its commitment to serve the Rolla community.

The process of changing the names on the Environmental Services Department’s trucks, vehicles, buildings, signs, etc., will be phased in over several months to minimize the cost associated with the name change. The total cost to implement the new name change is under $1,000.

In closing I’d like to announce another City event that will be held this spring in downtown Rolla. Public Works Celebration Day will be held on Saturday, May 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the City’s Downtown Festival Park next to the bandshell and Frisco Caboose.

Hosted by the City’s Public Works Department, it is the official kick-off for Public Works Week May 17 through May 23. The popular and well-attended event includes children's activities, educational displays, large equipment that children can climb on and explore, free hotdogs, sodas and popcorn, and lots of free activities. The entire event is free and open to the public. Be sure to bring your cameras for all the wonderful photo opportunities.

For more information, please call (573) 364-8659.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Crosswalks made for pedestrian safety

Public safety, and especially pedestrian safety is a topic I think we all agree is at the heart of a healthy, prosperous and peaceful community. With thousands of students enrolled in the Rolla Public Schools system, at Missouri University of Science and Technology, numerous other community colleges, and an active downtown business district, Rolla has more than its share of pedestrian traffic throughout the day. For this reason, I would like to emphasize how important it is that motorists yield to pedestrians at crosswalks in town.

Missouri Revised Statutes (Chapter 300, Model Traffic Ordinance, Section 300.375) state that “When traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.” Rolla’s Municipal Ordinances (Chapter 27, Section 27-89, Motor Vehicles and Traffic), state that motorists shall proceed cautiously, yielding the right of way to any pedestrian within any crosswalk. Bicycle paths, such as the 9-mile-long ACORN Trail also have pedestrian cross walks and again motorists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in all cross walks. Local law enforcement officers will be on the look out to arrest offenders.

Some of the most heavily traveled streets by pedestrians in Rolla, but certainly not all, include Pine Street, Kingshighway, Bishop Avenue; 6th through 18th Streets, Forum Drive, Salem Avenue, Soest Road, Pinetree Road, Lanning Lane and Holloway Street. Of course these areas are where the majority of students from the Rolla Public School system, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Metro Business College, Webster College, Rolla Technical Institute, Drury University and other colleges and schools attend classes every day. There also is heavy foot traffic in the downtown business district and along Kingshighway, and Bishop Avenue where numerous restaurants, fueling stations and businesses are located. Whenever you see a marked crosswalk either at an intersection or cross street, or are in a heavily pedestrian traveled area of the City, please use additional caution, be vigilant, and prepared to yield to pedestrians. A safe community, is the best kind of community.

In closing, I would to extend my congratulations to Scott Caron, the City’s Recreation Director, who was honored at the Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce Annual banquet on Jan. 10 as the recipient of this year’s Annual Achievement Award. As Chairman of the last year’s Tour of Missouri Local Organizing Committee, Scott worked tirelessly to ensure that the Tour of Missouri Stage 4 Race was one of the highlights of the internationally acclaimed professional cycling event.

I would also like to remind everyone that Rolla City Hall will be closed on Monday, Jan. 19 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday. The City’s Sanitation Department will also be closed on Jan. 19. Monday’s trash will be picked up on Tuesday and Wednesday’s trash will be picked up on Thursday.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Environmental Services name change underway

“Going green” is something the City of Rolla has been emphasizing and focusing on for the past several years. So it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that the formerly named Solid Waste Department is in the preliminary stages of becoming the more aptly named “Environmental Services Department.”

The process to initiate the name change and re-branding of the department, headed up by Environmental Services Director, Brady Wilson, was put into motion at Monday night’s City Council meeting, Jan. 5. During his discussion of the proposed name change to City Council, Brady explained that over the past 10 years the Solid Waste Department has evolved with changing regulations, new technology and the community’s needs and desire for a more green approach to disposing of various materials. If you have ever visited the Rolla Recycling Center located at 2141 Old St. James Road where the Environmental Services Department is based, you may have noticed just how popular and common it is for residents and members of the greater Rolla community to recycle on a regular basis. The abundance of the little blue recycling containers that line the curbs around town are further evidence of the Rolla community’s interest and support of the City going green.

In addition to the curbside pick-ups that we are accustomed to, the Environmental Services Department now offers increased recycling opportunities, electronic waste management, household hazardous materials management, asbestos consultations, environmental education, and most recently, a new outdoor exhibit located at the south end of the Rolla Recycling Center’s parking lot.

The Environmental Services Department’s new name and brand will reflect more accurately the comprehensive “green” approach the department and the community has taken to improve Rolla’s environmental footprint. It will also portray a more positive image of the department’s activities. A City ordinance to officially rename the department in all Rolla City Code references will be brought before the City Council at the Jan. 20 and Feb. 2 City Council meetings at City Hall.

The process of changing the names on the Environmental Services Department’s trucks, vehicles, buildings, signs, etc., will be phased in over several months to minimize the cost associated with the name change. Existing stocks of letterhead, business cards, business envelopes, etc. will be used up before the new Environmental Services Department name is used on these items as well. The total cost to implement the new name change is under $1,000.

In closing, I am including a list of important dates in 2009 for the Environmental Services Department that you can refer to throughout the year. This list is also posted on the Environmental Services Department’s homepage at www.rollacity.org/waste.

2009 Environmental Services
“List of Important Dates”

Jan. 19, 2009 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Monday’s trash will be picked up Tuesday; Tuesday’s trash will be picked up Wednesday
Feb. 16, 2009 – President’s Day: Monday’s trash will be picked up Tuesday; Tuesday’s trash will be picked up Wednesday
April 4, 2009 – Citywide Spring Clean Up: Saturday – Citywide clean up day (residential only).
May 25, 2009 – Memorial Day: Monday’s trash will be picked up Tuesday; Tuesday’s trash will be picked up Wednesday
July 4, 2009 – Independence Day: Friday’s trash will be picked up Thursday; Thursday’s trash will be picked up Wednesday.
Sept. 7, 2009 – Labor Day: Monday’s trash will be picked up Tuesday; Tuesday’s trash will be picked up Wednesday
Oct. 3, 2009 – Citywide Fall Clean Up: Saturday – Citywide clean up day (residential only)
Nov. 11, 2009 – Veterans Day: No special pick-ups on Wednesday
Nov. 26, 2009 – Thanksgiving Day: Thursday’s trash will be picked up Wednesday
Dec. 25, 2009 – Christmas Day: Friday’s trash will be picked up on Thursday; Thursday’s trash will be picked up on Wednesday
For more information, please contact the City’s Environmental Services Department at (573) 364-6693.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Police Chief Chat - Mark Reynolds / Kent King / Missing child

Police Chief Chat

Good morning! I hope you had a great week. My week was not so great. On Sunday I learned that my friend and fellow law enforcement officer Sgt. Mark Reynolds had passed away. Mark was a 17 year veteran of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and was very well known and respected here at the Rolla Police Department. Mark was always there to lend a hand whether it be in the wee hours of the morning assisting officers on a traffic stop, backing the patrol division on dangerous calls or just stopping by to see how things were going. Mark was a true professional and was a proud and dedicated law enforcement officer. We will miss him!

I also learned this week that Dr. Kent King had 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 for 19 years. Dr. King devoted his entire career to the education of our youth and is remembered by all as a very kind and caring man. Dr. King was gracious enough to take time out of his busy schedule to accept the offer to be our guest speaker at our last D.A.R.E. graduation and it was quite a thrill for not only the students and faculty but also the guests of honor and parents to have him address the graduating class. Dr. King’s passing hits very close to home in that his daughter Traci is married to our own Lt. Doug James. Dr. King will be truly missed!

This week Telecommunications Supervisor Stayce Smith conducted a 40 hour Basic Communications Training session here at the Police Department for area telecommunicators. The course offered basic radio techniques and procedures, basic operational skill training in incoming calls for assistance, 9-1-1 calls, operator and criminal history inquiries and other police related inquiries. The class was attended by members of our communications division and members of the Missouri S&T Police Dept.

This week Dennis Noel our volunteers in Police Service Coordinator Is starting his presentations to civic groups on recruiting volunteers. He conducted his first presentation to the Optimist Club on Wednesday and will be continuing with other civic groups over the next several months. VIPs is a national program to get volunteers to work with the police department in assisting the department in duties that we just don’t have the time or manpower to do. If you want to make a difference and serve your community we can use your help in many areas. I believe that VIPS is a very important program to get the Police department and the citizens to join together in taking care of this community, we can not do it alone. The duties consist of making phone calls, answering phones, patrolling, following up on minor crimes and the list goes on. A person wanting to become a VIPS can contact Dennis Noel at 364-1213 to get more information, so join us and make a difference. In the near future Dennis will be going door to door contacting business’s just to say hi and to get to know what’s going on in the community, so that we can keep up with changes in the area. So please welcome him in your door so we can get to know each other.

I wanted to share just one of our many calls we go on and to thank those employees involved for an outstand job. (Thanks Sgt. Rapier, Telecommunicator Jamie Jones , Pto. LeAnn Robertson, Rolla City Fire, Phelps Ambulance, MSHP, S & T PD, Lt. Smith and the detectives!)The department had a call of a missing six year old from his back yard late one evening. Cpl. Adam Myer quickly organized who was doing what, got extra personnel there and made what turned out to be a valuable contact, in the neighbor who’s back yard is shared with the missing six year olds yard. Considering the bitter cold and fast approaching nightfall, time was obviously of the essence.

While officers were responding and searching communicator Trina Duarte searched for registered sex offenders in that area. She came up with an address for an offender that was in the very close proximity to where the neighbor told Cpl. Myer that he had seen Alex headed. After getting out of a field he was searching Cpl. Myer quickly responded to that address only to find it was no longer the residence of the offender….but coming down the stairs inside the house was a little boy….you guessed it….the missing child! He was visiting his friend that lived there…If you can believe that stroke of coincidence.

This was a great example of the resourcefulness on the part of everyone involved, they worked as a team and 30 minutes later Alex was thankfully returned to his mother safe and sound.

Great job everyone!

Chief Mark A. Kearse

Monday, January 5, 2009

City Talk - Looking back on 2008 as winning year for Rolla

As we turn the corner on 2008, and begin to consider the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, I would like to wish all of you a safe, memorable and prosperous New Year.

Unemployment figures and the overall state of the national economy aside, Rolla has finished 2008 in much better condition than many communities throughout Missouri and the nation. More importantly, though, we as a community continue to grow and prosper in some very visible areas throughout the city. The most dramatic changes are seen along Martin Springs Drive in the Blues Lake area where the new three-story 105,000-square-foot St. John’s Clinic is being constructed, along with other new businesses and the construction of St. John’s Parkway that is further solidifying Rolla’s stature as a major medical and health care provider for South Central Missouri. The dramatic development and growth of this area, which is benefiting from the construction of the new Southwest Treatment Plant located a few miles west on Martin Springs Drive Outer Road, should serve as a catalyst to attract other businesses such as retailers, restaurants and the like.

The dramatic transformation of the intersection at Ridgeview Road and State Road 63 and Highway 72 is another example of the growth and prosperity we have seen in 2008. The renovation and enhancement of several buildings on the east side of State Road 63 North, including the greatly expanded Kia dealership with I-44 frontage, has provided yet another magnet to attract motorists along I-44. Add to these very visible developments the positive headway that is being made on the Rolla West Master Plan, the new Innovation Tech. Park on the Missouri University of Science and Technology campus, continued improvements to the City’s 100-miles of streets and roads, and a total upgrade of the City’s stormwater and wastewater systems, and 2008 in retrospect was a winning year for Rolla.

When I begin thinking about 2008 as a winning year, it would be difficult not to reflect on the City’s successful d├ębut as a host city for the international cycling event, the Tour of Missouri, on September 11, 2008. For a city of our size to successfully host the Stage 4 Start of one of the premiere professional cycling events in the country, was truly a winning event on numerous fronts. The Rolla community benefited not only from a marketing and promotion perspective by achieving state, national and international recognition, but also from an economic perspective as thousands of tourism-related dollars were generated in hotel/motel bookings, restaurant sales, and untold grocery, fuel and retail sales. The Tour of Missouri helped to put Rolla and St. James, which hosted the Stage 5 finish on Sept. 12, on the global map. We are hopeful that with the recent bid application submitted to Medalist Sports by the Tour of Missouri Local Organizing Committee chaired by Scott Caron, the City’s Recreation Director, that Rolla will be selected again as a host city for either a stage finish or stage start.

And while it is too soon to predict just how much of an impact the global financial markets, the downturn in the housing market, and other leading economic indicators have had on Rolla, the City’s revenues from sales tax are up 2.27% after the first quarter of FY 09 (last 3 months of 2008). The City experienced a 1.8 % drop in sales tax overall in fiscal year 2008. The City’s Fiscal Advisory Committee, which met over a 6-month period in 2008, addressed several fiscal policy recommendations that were adopted by the City Council to help meet the financial challenges facing the City in the months and year’s to come.

Many positive opportunities and developments are on the horizon for our City of 18,000-plus, and the regional center of South Central Missouri, so let’s keep the momentum going into 2009.

In closing, I’d like to remind everyone that City Hall will also be closed Monday, Jan. 19 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday. The regular Rolla City Council Meeting scheduled for the third Monday of the month will be held Tuesday, Jan. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Rolla City Hall (901 North Elm Street). Monday’s trash will be picked up Tuesday and Tuesday’s trash will be picked up Wednesday.

Wishing you again a safe and prosperous New Year!

Mayor Bill Jenks, III