Sunday, April 25, 2010

Input from community welcomed and encouraged

The City of Rolla continues to welcome and encourage input and feedback from our residents and the Rolla community. That is why the Rolla City Council welcomes comments from citizens and visitors alike during the Citizen Communication portion of every City Council meeting.

In addition, the City Council recently extended the invitation to various community partners such as businesses, corporations, associations and service clubs to periodically make presentations during City Council meetings. The first such presentation was given at Monday night’s City Council meeting by one of the community’s well known residents and businessmen, Jim Sowers, who is president of the Rolla Community Development Corporation (R.C.D.C.). Mr. Sowers gave about a 10-15 minute overview of the R.C.D.C., its history, mission, goals and purpose. His presentation was very well received by the City Council, and I hope it was as beneficial to our citizens as it was to the City Council.

Other community partners who have been invited to make special presentations during Council meetings include Fort Leonard Wood, the Rolla Downtown Business Association, Rolla Animal Control, Rolla Public Schools, County-wide Communications 911 Committee, Phelps County Regional Medical Center, Rolla Library Board, Community Partnership, and Missouri S&T. Other community partners who also have been invited to make presentations include: Holloway House, ACORN, Brewer Science, MoSci Corporation, University Extension Office, Licking Tournament, Coachlite Lanes, Rolla Lions Club, Audubon Society, U.S.G.S., U.S. Forest Service, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Division of Geology and Land Survey, and elected officials who could periodically provide legislative updates.

In addition to providing input during the Council meetings, which are held the first and third Monday of the month in the Council Chambers at Rolla City Hall, there are suggestion boxes located in the lobbies of City Hall and at The Centre, Rolla’s Health and Recreation Complex (located at 1200 N. Holloway Street). Comment sheets are available next to the suggestion boxes so you can either take them with you or write down your comments while remaining anonymous if you wish to. You can be assured that all of the comments received are promptly reviewed and will remain confidential. If you would like a reply from City Administration or The Centre regarding your comments, please include your name and contact information such as a home phone number or e-mail address, so we can get in touch with you.

I am also available to meet with residents and members of the community at my office at Rolla City Hall (901 N. Elm Street) on Monday and Thursday mornings from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Please feel free to stop by my office on the third floor, or contact Millie Street, the City Administrator’s Executive Secretary, to make an appointment to visit with me as well.

In closing, I’d like to thank everyone who participated in this year’s Rolla Municipal General Election and for your vote on April 6. I am very much looking forward to working with the new City Council. It was my privilege and honor to welcome both new and returning City Council members at Monday night’s City Council meeting and to present Certificates of Appreciation plaques to outgoing Council members Sue Eudaly and Donna Hawley for their dedicated service to the City and Rolla community. Updated information and photos of the Rolla City Council is available on the City’s Website at

Friday, April 23, 2010

Police Chief Chat

This week, we handled 821 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 24 accidents, 51 - 9-1-1 hang up calls, 29 disturbance calls (domestic or other), 38 traffic complaints, 18 assists of other agencies, 190 traffic stops, 39 arrests, 3 missing or runway persons and 3 abandoned vehicles. So, as you can see, another busy week!

Also this week, in an effort to clear an abundance of Rolla Municipal arrest warrants, Central Dispatch has issued a challenge to each shift of the Patrol Division to attempt to clear by service, as many of the warrants as they can before the deadline of May 15th. So far, the telecommunicators are in the lead with 10 warrants cleared as compared to the Patrol Division’s 3. We will keep you posted on the progress. Rolla Municipal warrants are arrest warrants issued by the municipal court for defendants charged with a violation of Rolla city ordinances.

On Wednesday of this week, Cpt. Jason Smith and Lt. Jim Macormic traveled to Springfield, Missouri for the annual Missouri Intergovernmental Risk Management Association (MIRMA) Employment Practices Seminar. The seminar covered topics having to do with Police Personnel Management such as Hiring and Firing, Employee Discipline, Sexual Harassment and Discrimination, Employee Rights and Expectations and many other topics. Guest speakers on the preceding topics included Vanessa Cavalla who is the account executive for the HELPLINE program for MIRMA, W. Dudley Carter, who is a principle in the St. Louis based law firm of Behr, McCarter and Potter, P.C., and Richard Behr of the same firm who has over 17 years of experience defending professional negligence cases including medical and legal malpractice. The seminar was a one day event hosted by MIRMA.

At last Monday’s City Council meeting we had the opportunity to say goodbye to retiring city council members, Ward 3 Representative Sue Eudaly and Ward 6 representative Donna Hawley! I would like to personally thank each of these women for their time and dedicated service to not only the citizens in their respective Wards, but also to the entire City of Rolla. Thank you ladies for your service. We also had the opportunity to welcome 2 newly elected council members Geoffrey Horning who will be representing Ward 3 and to Tony Bahr who will be representing Ward 6. We welcome you to city government and appreciate your interest in serving the citizens of Rolla. Welcome aboard! In other business, the city council approved to allow the Rolla Police Department to apply for several Missouri Department of Transportation grants, which will enable the police department to conduct driving while intoxicated enforcement operations, hazardous moving violation enforcement operations and also provide funding for necessary equipment such as radar units, in-car camera systems and possibly traffic enforcement vehicles. In 2009 the Rolla Police Department received $25,000.00 in traffic grants. This year we received $45,000 in grants and for 2011 our requests will exceed $95,000.00

In support of Operation F.R.I.E.N.D (Forming Relationships in Each Neighborhood) and the Neighborhood Watch Program we will be announcing dates and locations of our upcoming Town Hall Neighborhood Watch/CERT informational exchange meetings. For Operation F.R.I.E.N.D. the entire city was divided up into 32 individual “beats” or districts and then an officer was assigned to each district. The focus of the operation was for each officer to become familiar with the layout, citizenry and day to day life practice of the residents within the district. The officer would spend as much time as possible in their assigned areas to be better in tune with what criminal element the area was most susceptible to realize. These 32 districts were then included in much larger Neighborhood Watch “Zones” that were created by dividing the City of Rolla into 3 somewhat equal areas. During the month of May, we will hold a Neighborhood Watch/CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) meeting in each of the 3 “Zones” that are free and open to the public. Topics discussed will be the Neighborhood Watch Program, the advantages, philosophies and why they work, and also to introduce the CERT program that will offer training to everyday citizens such as Fire Safety, Disaster Medical Operations and Light Search and Rescue Operations. We hope we can better prepare a core group of citizens to be ready to take action in the event of a catastrophic situation where professional emergency services responders may not be able to be on scene immediately! We will announce the Town Hall meeting dates and locations next week!

In closing, we would like to recognize and congratulate this week’s Employee Spotlight Amanda Jones! Up until Saturday, Amanda was known as Amanda Rogers! On Saturday she married Ron Jones who is an officer with the St. James Police Department. Amanda and Ron stay busy with Ron’s daughter Allie and Amanda’s nieces Cadey and Elizabeth. Amanda is a graduate of St. James High School and most of her family lives in Vichy, Missouri. Amanda does a great job keeping everything under control on the evening shift. Though she has only been here since July of 2008, Amanda has progressed quickly. Amanda does a great job with her callers and is able to keep her cool through the most stressful situations. She has had the misfortune of working in dispatch the night her house caught on fire. Though she did not take the initial call, you can imagine how stressful that must have been. She was able to keep her cool and continue working until we could get a back - up dispatcher in to take over for her! She is truly a professional and we are proud to have her on our Central Communications team!

We would like to congratulate the new Mr. & Mrs. Ron Jones and we wish them both the best!

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

Sunday, April 18, 2010

City’s online presence expands with Facebook, Twitter and Blogs

The City of Rolla’s dynamic online presence is growing from our original Website to include Blogs, Facebook and Twitter, which can all be reached from the City’s official Website at

In addition to providing residents and visitors alike with timely, up-to-date information regarding City news and events, a lot of these new online venues provide a more interactive forum, which allows feedback and dialogue to occur.

If you are not yet a fan of the City’s new Facebook page, I encourage you to join by simply visiting the City’s Website at and clicking on the blue Facebook icon, which is half way down on the right hand side. Just click on the Facebook icon and it will take you directly to the City of Rolla’s Facebook page where you can follow the City’s latest Facebook posts and conversations. You can likewise click on the Twitter icon and Blog icon and follow the City on Twitter and all of the blogs we post on a regular basis. The “F.T.B.” icon combination greatly expands the City’s communication offerings, and reflects the City’s continued efforts to keep our residents and community abreast of City services, programs, events, news, while also providing an opportunity for readers to comment and give feedback on posts.

City departments such as Police, Fire and Rescue, Animal Control, and The Centre, have had an expanded online presence on Facebook for many months – all with growing fan bases, and can all be reached from their various department Web pages, which you can access from the City’s Website at
In closing I’d like to remind everyone that the 2010 “Show Me Green Sales Tax Holiday” is just around the corner on April 19 through April 25. 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. 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.

I’d also like to remind everyone that the Environmental Services Department will once again be participating in the 9th Annual Rolla Earth Day Celebration on Thursday, April 22. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. outside the Missouri S&T Havener Center. This year’s theme is “Be Green, Keep our Planet Clean.” Rolla Earth Day Celebration is a free event that includes children’s activities, educational exhibits, live music, door prizes and more.

I hope you are enjoying the wonderful spring weather we have been having, and taking full advantage of the City’s 31 parks, 11-mile pedestrian/bike trail system, and the 1.3 million-acre Mark Twain National Forest that surrounds our great community.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Police Chief Chat

Another busy week in that we handled 758 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 23 accidents, 60 9-1-1 hang up calls, 34 disturbance calls (domestic or other), 44 traffic complaints, 18 assists of other agencies, 10 fingerprint requests, 4 transient aids, 93 traffic stops, 29 arrests and 22 suspicious nature calls. I worked evening shift last night so that I could see what’s going on and to be with the troops. When I came in at 2:30 pm, the Narcocs Unit had already seized two separate meth labs. We then served a search warrant for a stolen weapon at 5:00 pm and seized more drugs. A second search warrant was executed on a meth lab on Heller street at 6:00 p.m., netting 3 arrests. And finally, a third search warrant was served on Bray at 11:00 pm, where methamphetamine and meth lab items were seized and one suspect arrested. So in all, four meth labs were taken down yesterday, seven suspects were arrested and a stolen gun was recovered! Special thanks to our Narcotics Unit on a job well done.

This week, we will be honoring two very special facets of the Rolla Police Department our Central Communications Division and the Animal Control Division. For Central Communications this week is “National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week” where each year, the second full week of April is dedicated to the men and women who serve as public safety telecommunicators. It was first conceived by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County (Calif.) Sheriff's Office in 1981 and was observed only at that agency for three years. Members of the Virginia and North Carolina chapters of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) became involved in the mid-1980s. By the early 1990s, the national APCO organization convinced Congress of the need for a formal proclamation. Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced what became H.J. Res. 284 to create "National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week." According to Congressional procedure, it was introduced twice more in 1993 and 1994, and then became permanent, without the need for yearly introduction. If you follow our FaceBook site or read this column you will know firsthand why this group of dedicated men and women deserve recognition. These true professionals work around the clock 24/7 taking emergency calls and directing the proper agency response. They work weekends, holidays and birthdays covering rotating shifts over a 24 hour period and are expected to perform their duties professionally whether it is 2:00 p.m. or 4:00 a.m. Here is a list of the telecommunicators that serve you in Central Dispatch: Paula Volkmer, Stayce Smith, Scott Olds, Chuck Satterfield, Amy King, Tabitha Stanley, Tony Craft, Matt Goss, Jamie Jones, Susan Vogeler, Alicia Hill, Trina Duarte, Amanda Rogers and Clint Capps. Thank you for all you do!

Coincidentally, this week also happens to be “National Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week!” The National Animal Control Officer’s Association has declared the second full week of April as a time when we show appreciation towards the hard-working men and women of Animal Control that risk their lives and spend huge amounts of personnel resources including time away from family and friends while serving the public like all the other public safety and law enforcement agencies involved and empowered with the same duties. The men and women of the Rolla Animal Control Division are dedicated professionals who not only rid our neighborhoods of dangerous domestic and non-domestic animals, but also offer a safe haven for family pets that have wandered off or become lost. Drop by the Rolla Animal Shelter sometime and say hello to our ACO staff who includes: Inge Wilson, John Redshaw, Roy Taylor and Janet Ray. Thank you for all you do!

The following excerpt is from Telecommunications Supervisor Stayce Smith on the kind offerings received from Telecommunications Week and Animal Control Officers Week. Stayce writes: This week in honor of National Telecommunicator’s Week and Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week, our staff received a special treat from the Metro Business College Massage Therapy Program . Julie Phillips brought over 4 of her students this week to offer free chair massages for our Animal Control Officers , Phelps County Sherriff’s Dept. info techs and telecommunicators from the Rolla Police Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol and Missouri Science & Technology Police Department. This was the perfect opportunity for the students to get some practice and our employees to get “de-stressed”. We really appreciate the participation of Julie Phillips and her students: Brandy Stone, Kendra Cross, Briana Bewig and David Pinnell.

The Metro Business College Students were not the only ones who showed their appreciation this week. Telecommunicators were treated to lunch on Thursday by my Command Staff and me. Our Communications Chief made homemade pizzas for her staff and though I don’t want to offend any of our local pizzerias………….. I must say her pizza is some of the best ever! Members of Phelps County Ambulance stopped by on Wednesday with fruit baskets for each shift of dispatchers . Students from Mrs. Lauth’s first grade class at Mark Twain sent over pictures and thank you notes for dispatchers. The City of Rolla Fire & Rescue launched a Facebook campaign to get 1000 “LIKES” for dispatch. The ladies of Behind the Badge prepared goody bags and Comm. Chief Volkmer decorated the Communications Center. I know our staff really appreciates everyone’s support. Thanks to everyone who helped make this week so special for our employees!

The next excerpt if from Spo. Tommy Davis. Tommy writes: On April 11, 2010, Spo. Chrissy Smith, Spo. Tommy Davis, Pto. Steven Gray and Pto. Chris Reeder responded to the 700 block of E 7th Street for a report of a possible burglary in progress. Upon arrival officers observed a male exit the residence carrying items. When he saw the police, he dropped the items and ran. While PTO Gray and PTO Reeder chased the first male suspect, SPO Smith and SPO Davis chased after a second male suspect. SPO Smith and SPO Davis located and arrested the second male suspect a few moments later, after he had tried hiding from the officers. Officers obtained information reference to the first male that ran and were able to identify him and make and arrest. Further investigation revealed that the property from the burglarized residence had been distributed to several different locations. Officers were able to identify three suspects and recovered several items from four different residences around Phelps County.

The Rolla Police Department would like to thank the neighbors in the area who called the police. Without the assistance of the observant citizens in the area, officers would have had a difficult time locating the suspects and gaining some of the victim’s property back. Thank You.

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

City receives $337,067 grant from DNR and approval on EZZ

I was very pleased when the City was notified recently that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has awarded a $337,067 Wastewater and Water Treatment Efficiency Grant to the City of Rolla through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) monies. The Rolla City Council, at the March 15 Council meeting, unanimously approved a motion to move forward with the submission of and future awarding of the grant monies from the DNR and U.S. Department of Energy.

The Energize Missouri Community Block Grant is part of a $456,862 project that staff is proposing for energy efficiency improvements at the Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant where a more energy efficient blower system will be installed. This specific project includes $16,443 of in-kind costs with a cash match from the City of $103,352.

Steve Hargis, the City’s Public Works Director, is estimating that this project will help to save the City approximately $52,000 a year in electric costs, resulting in a simple payback of 8.7 years. This project is part of the larger energy audit project Mr. Hargis and the City has been working on with Siemens Building Technologies during the last several months. Mr. Hargis will bring details of this project, along with several others totaling about $2 million, to the Council for consideration in April.

The Wastewater and Water Treatment Efficiency grant application was prepared by Anne McClay, Project Coordinator in the Public Works Department. She and Mr. Hargis submitted the application and they are to be commended on the thorough package they submitted and the money they have subsequently help save the City of Rolla and our residents.

In another piece of very good news, the City was recently notified by David Kerr, Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, that the City’s application to establish an Enhanced Enterprise Zone (EZZ) within the City of Rolla and part of Phelps County has been approved! As a result of this, Rolla will be able to utilize this new program to support its economic development efforts. The EZZ committee, which was comprised of city and county officials, and representatives from the Meramec Regional Planning Commission, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Mo-Sci Corporation, and the Rolla Regional Economic Commission, worked diligently for many months on this important EZZ application. I commend and appreciate all of their hard work and efforts.

All of this good news is on the heels of Rolla being selected among only four other communities in the state as a DREAM (Downtown Revitalization Economic Assistance Missouri) Initiative community, and the creation of the new Rolla Arts and Entertainment District (approved in February 2010 by City Council), which will be anchored by the new Benton Square Development. For more information regarding the DREAM Initiative (, or the newly approved EZZ, please contact John Petersen, the City’s Director of Community Development, at 426-6970 or at

In closing I’d like to remind everyone that the 2010 “Show Me Green Sales Tax Holiday” is just around the corner on April 19 through April 25. 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.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Police Chief Chat

With Spring break and Easter Sunday behind us, it is time to get back to the daily grind of work, school and life. We hope you had a safe Easter and if you traveled, a safe return home. This week, once again has been busy in that we handled 929 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 24 accidents, 1 runaway juvenile, 77 9-1-1 hang up calls, 29 disturbance calls (domestic or other), 48 traffic complaints, 38 assists of other agencies, 4 assaults, 8 fingerprint requests, 6 transient aids, 92 traffic stops, 30 arrests, 4 leaving without paying for fuel, 16 stealing calls and 58 security checks.

On Friday, Volunteers in Police Services (VIPS) Coordinator Vince Giacolone, (VIPS) Division Commander S/Sgt. Rick Williams and I traveled to Jefferson City, Missouri for the first Missouri Volunteers in Police Service Foundation (MOVIPS) organizational meeting. The purpose of the foundation is to bring together diverse partners working in conjunction to increase citizens and community involvement with law enforcement in partnership to reduce the fiscal burden on local governments through the use of civilian volunteer resources within the State of Missouri. This program will be governed by dividing the state into regions in line with the Missouri State Highway Patrol troop designations or zones. Each zone will install a coordinator who will be responsible for introducing the Volunteers in Police Services philosophy to communities and law enforcement agencies who are not yet involved in this program.

This week’s featured employee spotlight will be Communications Supervisor Stayce Smith! Stacey is one of three Communications Supervisors in our 911 Center. She has been with us for almost 14 years now! She originally took a position in dispatch “until she could find something she liked better”. Little did she know just how much we would grow on her! Stacey oversees the training program in dispatch and that is one of her favorite parts of her job here. She takes a lot of pride in making sure our staff is prepared to handle all of the tasks that are thrown their way. Last year Stacey was presented with the George Major Award for Trainer of the Year by the Missouri Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials. Stacey says she is blessed to work with such an amazing group of people. She is very proud of all of the emergency personnel that she dispatches for and the members of the team she dispatches with. Though Stacey is a Rolla “import”, her parents, the late Bland Smith & Dorothy (Matlock) Smith are both natives. She is the mother of three Rolla Bulldogs! Her daughter Jasmine Hall is a freshman at Missouri State University. Lydia Hall is a flutist in Rolla’s Marching Bulldog Brigade and her son, Todd plays football and basketball for Rolla Junior High , as well as soccer for the Rolla Knights. I guess that explains what she does when she is not dispatching. Stayce, thanks for all you do!

If you follow our Facebook site you were sure to see the blog describing the recovery of the missing Rolla Lion’s Club guardian lion! The lion was discovered near the edge of the Lion’s Club property and properly placed back on guard at the Rolla Lion’s Club Den. We feel that the announcement posted on Facebook by area law enforcement agencies led to the recovery of this property. That is one of many advantages of the Facebook program and one of the reasons law enforcement agencies are taking advantage of the utilization of the community, by keeping the public informed of events and happenings that affect us all. Thank you to all our Facebook fans who follow not only the Rolla Police site, but also the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department and Rolla Fire and Rescue Facebook pages. It is our goal to keep you up to date on any events or situations that affect our community. We are very pleased that the property was returned to the Rolla Lions and thank them for all they do!

S/Sgt. Rick Williams has asked me to announce that the 2010 Law Enforcement Torch Run t-shirt campaign was a great success and that we not only met our goal of selling $1,000.00 in t-shirts, but exceeded that mark by over $500.00! The Law Enforcement Torch Run t-shirt campaign is one of many Torch Run events hosted throughout the year, by the Rolla Police Department to benefit our Special Olympic athletes. We also participate in the actual Torch Run that will be held in May and host a trivia night in October. We would like to thank all of you for your continued support in helping us help the athletes!

The 2010 Route 66 Summerfest celebration is just around the corner and with the Summerfest comes the 3rd Annual Fire Truck Pull hosted by the Rolla Police Department and Rolla Fire and Rescue. The Fire Truck Pull will be held on Saturday June 5, 2010 at 4:00 p.m. on 8th Street in front of Meek’s Lumber. The pull consists of teams of up to 10 pullers attempting to pull a fully equipped fire truck a known distance in the best time. This year all proceeds from the Fire Truck Pull will benefit the Veteran’s Memorial Park located on Southview Drive. This park was dedicated in 2009 to all of our surviving veterans and those that gave their lives for our freedom. This year our featured guest emcee will be Rolla Mayor Bill Jenks, and in addition we are hearing rumors that there may be a local fitness guru who will attempt make an attempt at a solo pull! If you would like to enter a team, you may have up to 10 members, and the cost is $100.00 per team. We encourage local businesses, health clubs, government agencies, citizens and veteran’s to enter a team for this great cause. For more information or to enter a team, contact: S/Sgt. Rick Williams at 308-1213! Thanks for helping us help the veterans!

In closing, I would like to include and entry from Communications Supervisor Stayce Smith. She writes: Several of our Telecommunicators are going back to 1st grade this month! They will be visiting first graders at several area schools to teach the kids when and how to dial 911! They use a nationally recognized program called Red E. Fox 911 for Kids. We have been doing this program in the schools for several years now. Friday, I will be visiting Mark Twain Elementary. Next week Alicia Hill, Amy King , myself and Jamie Jones will be visiting Truman Elementary and St. Patrick’s. Wyman Elementary and St. James Elementary will be later this month. This is an important program for the kids and a great chance for our telecommunicators to interact with the community. We appreciate the schools for giving us this opportunity.

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

Monday, April 5, 2010

Police Chief Chat

Well, it finally feels like Spring is here. The milder temperatures and plenty of sunshine has lured the masses out of their winter shelters and scattered them throughout our parks, neighborhoods and community. The bike trails are full of walkers, joggers and cyclists, the tennis courts and ball fields are filling up with sports enthusiasts eager to get in shape for the upcoming seasons and our children, out of school on Spring break are out in numbers enjoying the weather. Of course, with all this activity comes the need for motorists to pay special attention in neighborhoods, at intersections and around city parks.

The warmer weather is also an attraction to area bicyclists. There are many bicycle enthusiasts in which include cyclists who ride for health and fitness, riders for pleasure and children. Regardless of why you ride, please be aware of the laws pertaining to riding bicycles safely in our community. By city ordinance, bicycles are not to be ridden on sidewalks in the Downtown business district. Cyclists need to be sure to always wear a protective helmet, obey all traffic laws, always follow the flow of traffic and stay to the right as safely as possible, be especially alert at intersections, wear brightly colored clothing, stay alert at all times, be predictable and never ride at night without ample lighting and reflective clothing.
Motorists need to use caution and “Share the Road” with area cyclists. Pass with care and pay special attention around bike paths and park areas!

Be wary of pedestrians, runners, joggers and walkers who will also be taking advantage of the warmer weather. Runners/joggers/walkers also need to follow a few safety tips to keep your activities safe. Be sure to stay on sidewalks whenever available and if none are present, always travel as close to the edge of the road as possible facing oncoming traffic. Be sure to wear bright colored or reflective clothing while running to make motorists aware of your presence. Never use earplugs or music devices while jogging to avoid missing warning sounds such as approaching vehicles or car horns.

Another warm weather attraction is motorcycling. Motorcycling is very popular in the Rolla area and within the past 2 to 3 years we have seen an marked increase in the smaller scooters and pocket rocket type motorcycles in the community. These vehicles although very popular are some of the smallest vehicles on the road and are easily overlooked. Motorcyclists need to follow some basic safety tips to ensure their safety while operating in traffic. Remember to always wear a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved safety helmet, even though they are not required on scooters with an engine displacement of less than 50 cc’s. Wear bright or reflective clothing and be sure to activate your headlight at all times day or night! When riding in a group ride in a staggered formation and when approaching an intersection close up the gaps to reduce traffic congestion. Motorists inherently are watching for cars and trucks and quite often will overlook motorcyclists and bicyclists.

This week’s employee spotlight will feature Telecommunicator Jamie Jones! Jamie has been with us since September of 2005. She came to us from Pulaski County Sheriff’s department where she had dispatched for two years before joining the RPD team. Jamie is the daughter of Burton and Sandy Fritchey of Dixon, MO. She and her husband Mario Jones have been married for four and half years. They are the proud parents of two dogs, Molly and Havyn. Though they do not have any other children yet, Jamie is very close to her nephew Jayrn Brown who is a 2nd grader in Dixon. Jamie spends a lot of time cheering Jaryn on in baseball, soccer and basketball! Jamie is blessed to come from a very close family and despite their busy schedules, they are able to find time to keep those ties close. Not only is Jamie one of our most experienced dispatchers, she is also one of our most talented! She loves to sing and as she says, she can “make a song out of most anything”. She puts her talent to good use at the Dixon Assembly of God Church where she is Director of Praise & Worship. Jamie’s professionalism, positive attitude, integrity and sense of humor make her an MVP on the RPD team. We are lucky to have her!

In closing, we members of the Rolla Police Department would like to wish you and your family a Happy Easter and if you are traveling this weekend, please remember to drive safely for a happy return!

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Exercise your right to VOTE on Tues., April 6

The year 2010 for the City of Rolla and many cities throughout Missouri is significant not only because of the budgetary and economic challenges we are facing, and the quality of life we are trying to secure for our children and future generations, but because it is a Census year and a year of many important considerations.

I have mentioned often, as have other members of our community, of the importance of filling out and mailing in your 2010 U.S. Census forms, and what a difference it will make to our community in the years to come. We are counting on you, so please be counted. An equally important action you can take in 2010 as concerned and active citizens, is to exercise your right to VOTE this coming Tuesday on April 6 during the Rolla General Election.

In addition to the Rolla Municipal Election, which includes numerous contested races, please remember that you will be asked to also vote on two other very important ballot issues that will have a long lasting impact on our community. The two ballot issues I am speaking of are the proposed Phelps County Emergency Dispatch Sales Tax known as Proposition 911 and the Rolla Public School District Proposition.

Proposition 911 is the Phelps County Sales Tax of ¼ of one percent being proposed by the Phelps County Commission to REPLACE the existing 15% land-line surcharge applied to local telephone service. The Rolla City Council approved at the March 1 City Council meeting a resolution endorsing the Phelps County Emergency Dispatch Sales Tax, and more information on this proposition is available online at

The Rolla Public School District Proposition, which is a no tax rate increase proposition, will require a 4/7 majority vote to approve the current debt service levy to remain unchanged at 25 cents which will fund an $8.3 million bond proposal to construct and improve three important projects at Rolla High School, Rolla Middle School and Rolla Junior High School. Funding for the projects will include $8.3 million from the bond proposal and $1 million from the RPS district capital projects fund. More information on this important proposition is available online at

Polls will open on Tuesday for the Rolla General Election at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. For more information regarding polling locations and ward maps, please visit You may also contact Carol Daniels in the City Clerk’s office at Rolla City Hall, 901 North Elm Street, at (573) 426-6942 or online at

Please do your part as citizens who care about the future of our great community, and VOTE on Tuesday, April 6.