Thursday, May 26, 2011

Army Specialist Bradley Melton to be honored by Rolla community

   The City of Rolla will pay tribute to and honor Army Specialist Bradley L. Melton formerly of Rolla, who died May 16, 2011 in Zabul province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device. Specialist Melton, age 29, was assigned to Brigade Troops Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
   Rolla Mayor Bill Jenks, III is also encouraging the Rolla community to show their support and respect for Specialist Melton upon and after his arrival to Rolla National Airport on Friday, May 27 at 2:15 p.m. Rolla National Airport is located 13 miles north of Rolla just beyond the town of Vichy off State Route 63 and Hwy. 28. Family, friends and members of the U.S. Army, VFW, veterans, and Patriot Guard Riders will be present at Rolla National to show their support and pay tribute to Specialist Melton. 
   After his arrival at Rolla National Airport, Specialist Melton will receive a police escort from the State Highway Patrol, Maries County Sheriff’s Department, Rolla Police Department, Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, and Patriot Guard Riders to Rolla via State Route 63 South. The City of Rolla Fire and Rescue and Rolla Rural Fire Protection District will display a 35-foot-long American flag across State Route 63 at the Rolla city limits located near Lowe’s.
   Specialist Melton will again be recognized and honored by the City of Rolla and Rolla community on Tuesday, May 31 following a funeral service, which will begin at 1 p.m. at Null and Sons Funeral Home. The Rolla Police Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, and Phelps County Sheriff’s Department will provide a police escort and the Rolla Fire and Rescue and Rolla Rural Fire Protection District will again display the 35-foot-long American flag as the funeral procession will make its way to Flat Grove Cemetery located off V Highway just past Kokomo Joe’s and Hypoint Industrial Park. The Rolla community is also encouraged to visibly show their support and honor Specialist Melton by lining the streets and highways as he passes through the City and Rolla community.

Rolla community reaches out to Joplin, MO

By Bill Jenks, III, Mayor of Rolla
  Just when we thought some of the worst storms and destructive tornados of the year had occurred, a six-mile-long path of destruction devastated most of Joplin, Missouri last Sunday evening.
   Both the American Red Cross and National Guard were mobilized soon after the tornado touched ground on May 22, 2011 in Joplin.  News reports state that as of Wednesday, May 25 125 people have lost their lives in Joplin, and more than 7,000 buildings have been destroyed, including entire neighborhoods, St. John’s Regional Medical Center, Joplin High School, Joplin Middle School, two Joplin Elementary Schools, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Academy Sports, and numerous other businesses, large and small.
   The response and outpouring of support from Missouri communities and bordering states to this natural disaster has been overwhelming. Realizing that many residents of Rolla have relatives, friends and loved ones who reside in the Joplin area, I am heartened to know that the support, aid and outreach from the Rolla community once again has been tremendous as well.
   Although I’m not fully aware of all the response teams, church groups, and outreach efforts that have or are making their way with aid to the Joplin area from Rolla, I am aware that the mass casualty trailer from Phelps County Regional Medical Center was deployed to the Joplin area, as well a four-member team with the Rolla Homeland Security Communications/Command Post. This group is providing communications systems such as satellite phone, radio communications, and internet connectivity for the AmeriCorps Volunteer Group, comprised of about 300 volunteers. This group is operating out of the Missouri Southern University campus located off of Newman Road. In addition, Rolla Police Officer Roberto Rizo, who is formerly of the Joplin area, has been working there all week on behalf of the Rolla PD. Officer Rizo has been assisting the Joplin Police Department with Search and Rescue efforts, and other duties as assigned.
   There are also numerous agencies, businesses and organizations in the Rolla area that are collecting non-perishable items, and monetary donations that will be sent to those impacted by the horrific tornado that destroyed nearly 70 percent of the Joplin area. Denny Ford Lincoln Mercury of Rolla is also helping coordinate a local community driven effort to provide basic supplies to the thousands of people in Joplin. Many individuals and businesses want to donate items, but don’t know how they will get them to Joplin. Denny Ford has stepped forward and will be collecting desperately needed items for the Joplin area through Friday, June 3.  Deliveries will be made as items are collected and deliveries will continue as long as items are donated and/or needed. A special request has been made to please refrain from donating used clothing as the Joplin region has already received an enormous supply of used clothing. Immediate needed items are monetary donations, cleaning supplies, trash bags, non-perishable food items, pet supplies, personal hygiene items, first aid kits and extension cords. Also needed are new and unopened packages of socks, underwear, etc. and baby supplies such as formula, diapers, and wipes. All donated items must be brand new and unopened. If you have any questions, please contact Denny Ford at (573) 364-1211.
  In closing I’d like to remind everyone SplashZone, Rolla’s outdoor water park, located in Ber Juan Park opens today, Saturday, May 28 from 12-noon to 6 p.m. and will remain open throughout the summer months Monday through Friday (noon-7 p.m.) and Saturday and Sunday (noon-6 p.m.). Closing day at SplashZone is Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5.  SplashZone is one of the great vacation bargains at $4.50 per person and one of the local summer favorites in Rolla and Phelps County. For more information for special events, private rentals, swimming lessons and other information, please call 364-8222 or 341-2FUN. The summer hours at The Centre, Rolla’s 63,000-square-foot health and recreation complex, (also located in Ber Juan Park), have gone into effect. Hours at The Centre are Monday through Friday (5:30 a.m.–9 p.m.); Saturday (8 a.m.–5 p.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m.-5 p.m.).
   With the Memorial Day weekend upon us I would like to remind everyone that Rolla City Hall and the Environmental Services Department will be closed on Monday, May 30.  Monday’s trash will be picked up on Tuesday and Tuesday’s trash will be picked up on Wednesday, and there will be no special pick ups on Wednesday. The Centre will be open Memorial Day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and SplashZone will be open from 12-noon to 5 p.m. Also on Memorial Day, May 30, the Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Memorial Day service beginning at 10 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park, located on Southview Drive off Hwy. 72. The service is open to the public, and provides a great opportunity to pay tribute and homage to the millions of brave men and woman who, throughout the years, have protected our nation in time of war and peace.
   Please don’t forget to mark your calendar for next weekend for the Route 66 Summerfest and Rolla’s Sesquicentennial Celebration. Rolla’s day-long Sesquicentennial Celebration begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 4 with a Walk Through History at Rolla City Hall. Friends and relatives from other states are already making plans to stay at area hotels, and attend both the Route 66 Summerfest activities on June 3 and 4 and Sesquicentennial festivities on June 4. For a complete schedule of events for both Summerfest and the Sesquicentennial Celebration, please visit or pick up a flier at Rolla City Hall or the Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Center. We are expecting a very large attendance next weekend, and know that both events will be enjoyable, and memorable. Have a safe and enjoyable week, and be sure to stay aware of changing and dangerous weather conditions through the media and your weather radios. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Environmental Services Dept. to close May 30 for Memorial Day Holiday

The City of Rolla Environmental Services Department will be closed on Monday, May 30 in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.
   Monday’s trash and recycling will be picked up on Tuesday and Tuesday’s trash will be picked up on Wednesday. There will be no special pick ups on Wednesday.
  If you have any questions, please call 364-6693.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Summer Reading Program begins June 7 at Rolla Public Library

    The Rolla Public Library Summer Reading Program begins Tuesday, June 7 as children up to age 12 will travel around the world, learning about different people, places and cultures through stories, activities and crafts.
    The Summer Reading Program, which will be held in the Leola Millar Children's Addition on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. from June 7 through July 28, is free of charge.
   For more information, please call 573-364-2604 or stop by the Rolla Public Library at 900 North Pine Street.

Gov. Nixon appoints Mayor Bill Jenks to Small Business Regulatory Fairness Board

   Governor Jay Nixon has appointed Rolla Mayor Bill Jenks, III and Megan Piazza Bittle of St. Louis to the Small Business Regulatory Fairness Board.
   The board ensures that Missouri state agency rules and regulations do not create an unfair burden for small businesses. Appointments to the Small Business Regulatory Fairness Board do not require Senate confirmation.
   Since 2000, Bittle has been the co-owner and chief operating officer of RSI Kitchen and Bath; she currently also serves as chairman of the National Kitchen and Bath Association Multi-Branch Retailer Council. The Governor has appointed her for a term ending April 30, 2014.
   Mayor Jenks is serving his second elected term as Mayor of Rolla, and previously served as a Rolla City Council representative and on several City of Rolla boards and commissions. Mayor Jenks is the president of Jenks/Long Insurance, and has been active with numerous civic organizations. The Governor has appointed Mayor Jenks for a term ending April 30, 2014.
    “I have always been a big supporter of the small business community,” said Mayor Jenks after hearing of the appointment. “Serving on this state board will be an honor.”

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Police Chief Chat

This past week, the Rolla Police Department handled 727 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 23 arrests, 7 alarms, 24 accidents, 35 traffic complaints, 103 traffic stops, 19 disturbance (including domestics), 13 suspicious nature, 18 assists of other agencies, 8 narcotics violations, 4 public relations contacts, 17 security checks, 48 animal control calls, 4 mental health calls and 14 field interviews. This call total is down 15 calls from last week but with a load of narcotic arrests, a potential jumper on the Vichy Road bridge and a multi-agency pursuit of a rifle wielding shooter, it was yet another busy week!

Next week, May 15 – 21, 2011 is proclaimed as National Police Week! In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. The Rolla Police Department will proudly display a black banner across our shields and fly the blue ribbon on our patrol cars in remembrance of those fallen men and women of law enforcement who gave their all in support of their communities. Please join us in keeping the officers families in your prayers.

On Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at approximately 3:30 pm Central Dispatch received a report of a male attempting to jump from the Vichy Road overpass. Responding officers discovered a disgruntled male perched on the outside of the safety fence over Interstate 44. Immediately, traffic was stopped in both directions and Vichy Road was blocked. Officers from our Negotiations Unit were dispatched and were successful in convincing the individual to climb back onto the bridge. The male was not injured and was referred to the appropriate treatment facility.

On Thursday, May 12, 2011 at approximately 8:36 a.m. a male identified as Cody Nathaniel Willcoxon attempted to enter the main gate at Fort Leonard Wood, armed with an AK-47 assault rifle. Efforts to detain Willcoxon at the gate were unsuccessful and he fled the area in his vehicle which is described as a silver passenger car. Members of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Deparment and the St. Robert Police Department gave chase as the suspect began firing the rifle at them. The suspect headed eastbound on I-44 and continued to fire on the pursuing officers as they traveled toward Rolla. Officers along the route made several attempts at deploying spike strips in an effort to stop the suspect but met with negative results. The pursued suspect continued east on I-44 then exited at the west overpass at Rolla where he continued to shoot at Rolla Police Officers and members of the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department. One of the officers was able to return fire striking the suspect vehicle but it was unclear whether the suspect was injured. The suspect led the pursuing officers through Rolla before striking a concrete barrier on the Missouri S&T campus and disabling his vehicle. Willcoxon was able to retain his AK-47 rifle and fled on foot into a university owned building. Pursuing officers set up a perimeter around the building and the Rolla Police Department S.W.A.T. team was activated and used to clear the building. The consequential search of the building confirmed that the suspect was still at large.

Following the building search, officers discovered an AK-47 rifle discarded under a parked vehicle in a campus parking lot near the building the suspect was seen entering. This weapon was believed to be the same as that of the suspect but it was unclear whether the suspect was armed with additional weapons. Additional support arrived from all other law enforcement agencies and a command post was established in the parking lot at Colton’s Restaurant. Bishop Avenue was closed off between Cedar Street and 14th in an effort to keep motorists out of the search area. Inspection of the suspects disabled vehicle indicated that he may be injured but the true extent of the injuries was not known. Major intersections were manned and the S.W.A.T. team began searching the wooded area between the university campus and I-44. Rolla City Fire and Rescue provided the use of the mobile command post and telecommunicators from Central Dispatch began emergency dispatch operations on site. Rolla public schools, the Phelps County Regional Medical Center and the university assumed lock-down status and local businesses in close proximity to the search area were searched.

At approximately 9:46 am., Central Dispatch received a report from a citizen on Crinoidal Court which was just north of the search area, that a male matching the description of our suspect, forced entry to their residence and stole a 2003 Ford Taurus. The suspect changed clothing and fled the area in the stolen Taurus. The residents were not injured but did state that the suspect was bleeding. Officers were dispatched to the location and processed the crime scene. Information and the description of the stolen vehicle was dispatched to local and regional law enforcement agencies. Helicopters and fixed wing aircraft were requested and arrived and began searching the area. For the next couple hours officers were rotated through various fixed locations and others were assigned as rovers covering most of the Phelps County area. The FBI arrived on scene and began researching information on the suspect in an attempt to possibly identify destinations the suspect may attempt to pursue. Family members of the suspect were identified and contacted and provided additional intelligence and contact information. Local and regional news media was on hand and provided with up to date suspect information and operational goals as they progressed.

At approximately 12:45 am. Central Dispatch received information from a motorist that may be following the suspect vehicle south on US 63 near Edgar Springs. The motorist described the stolen vehicle and provided play by play location information which was relayed to responding officers. After a short time Missouri State Highway Patrol officers were able to locate the suspect in the stolen Taurus and were able to apprehend him without incident. The suspect had suffered a minor injury prior to apprehension and was treated by emergency services personnel before being transported back to Rolla. The stolen Taurus was recovered and processed by crime scene investigators. The entire operation was then discontinued and a debriefing took place at MSHP Troop I Hq’s where officers and representatives from several differing agencies were apprised of the situation and thanked for their assistance. Fortunately no officers or assisting personnel were injured in this potentially deadly operation. The suspect was transported to the Phelps County Jail where he was incarcerated pending warrant application on several felony complaints for his multi-jurisdictional tirade! I would like to thank Sheriff Rick Lisenbe and the members of the Phelps County Sheriff’s Dept., Cpt. Leann Kenley and members of the MSHP at Troop I and other Troops across the State, Director Rick Hanrahan and members of the PCRMC Dept. of Public Safety, Director Christine Laughlin and members of the Missouri S&T Police Dept., Fire Chief Robert Williams and members of Rolla Fire and Rescue, Agent Pat Cunningham from the FBI, members of the St. Robert Police Dept. and Pulaski County Sheriff’s Dept., members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, members of the US Forestry Service, members of the South Central Drug Task Force, and finally staff and members of the Rolla Police Department and last but certainly not least I would like to thank you the community, for your patience and understanding as we worked through this emergency situation. If I failed to mention anyone who helped us through this ordeal, it was not intentional. As I have mentioned many times in the past, we, the citizens of Rolla are extremely fortunate to be able to rely on such a diverse, professional group of law enforcement agencies that work closely together to keep our community safe. Without this dedication to duty and combined partnership, we would not be nearly as successful in our mission.

In closing, I would like to announce a new tool we have recently added to our Rolla Police Department FaceBook site. The “Community Action Team” tab has been activated to keep the public up to date on what the Community Action Team is doing to combat crime in our community. Simply click on the tab on the left of the column and you are there. The Community Action Team is Mayor Bill Jenks’ task force established to combat serious crime in our town. This task force is a partnership between the police department and agencies within the community. The Community Action Team is comprised of representatives from the State of Missouri Probation & Parole, State of Missouri Division of Social Services, Phelps County Juvenile Office, Phelps County Regional Medical Center, Phelps County Anti-Drug Committee, Rolla Public Schools, Rolla Housing Authority, Ministerial Alliance and private counseling services. Their mission statement is as follows: The Community Action Team brings together community members in partnership to help insure the safety of our citizens. To develop ideas and strategies on how to enhance the quality of life in our community through proven principles of effective law enforcement and community policing. Such efforts will ensure the criminal element of our resolve to eradicate those involved in criminal gangs and the sales of illegal narcotics in our community.

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

Saturday, May 14, 2011

City seeks input on P.A.C.E. Program

   The City of Rolla is seeking input and feedback on an innovative energy saving program called Property Assessed Clean-Energy (PACE). Information regarding the program, which is being implemented in Missouri and 23 other states, was presented and discussed on behalf of the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) at the April 18 and May 2 City Council meetings.
   As stated on the PACENOW Website at, PACE is a bipartisan local government initiative that allows property owners to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for their homes and commercial buildings. Interested property owners opt‐in to receive financing for improvements that is repaid through an assessment on their property taxes for up to 20 years. PACE financing spreads the cost of energy improvements such as weather sealing, insulation, energy efficient boilers and cooling systems, new windows, and solar installations over the expected life of the measures and allows for the repayment obligation to transfer automatically to the next property owner if the property is sold.
   PACE is unique in that it has the potential to create badly needed local jobs; use private capital (not taxes or government subsidies); save money for building owners and increase property values; it’s voluntary – not a government mandate; and promotes energy security without driving up energy costs.
   Missouri State Statute allows for the formation of an independent board (Clean Energy Development Board) that is responsible for administering the PACE program. To do this, however, it is required that a sponsor city or county authorize the initial formation. Once formed, the Clean Energy Development Board becomes totally independent of that city or county, and by design, would expand into that regional planning commission. The Meramec Regional Planning Commission has solicited a survey to all cities and counties in their eight-county region asking if any city is interested in pursuing this program.
   In an effort to better estimate and help determine the interest level among residents and businesses in the Rolla and Phelps County area regarding the possibility of implementing the P.A.C.E. program, the City would like to hear from the public regarding your thoughts and opinions on this program.
   If you would like to comment on the P.A.C.E. program, or if you have additional questions regarding the program, please contact the City of Rolla’s Administration Department at 426-6948 or e-mail John Butz, City Administrator, at
   Have a safe week!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Motorists advised to note signal changes along Kingshighway

   The City of Rolla Public Works Department advises motorists to be aware of and note the traffic signal changes along Kingshighway in Rolla. The new traffic signal at Bryant Drive and Kingshighway will be put into service on Monday, May 9, 2011. The signal at Fairgrounds Road and Kingshighway will be removed. Bryant Drive will also be open north to Fairgrounds Road.
   Please use caution when traveling along Kingshighway as motorists become accustomed to these changes in traffic patterns.
   For more information, please call the Public Works Department at (573) 364-8659 or visit