By Rolla Mayor Bill Jenks, III
Despite the seemingly endless 100-degree days and draught conditions we are facing in South Central Missouri, the Rolla Downtown Farmer’s Market, easily identified by the big blue shade structure that keeps everyone protected from the sun, has become a big attraction every Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 12-noon.
In fact, it’s expanding so much that vendors have filled the entire shade structure, some are setting up their own tents, and others bringing in trailers full of watermelons and honey dew melons for folks to buy. Some of the tomatoes for sale are so big, they could pass for small cabbages. You can even buy them by the box. The corn on the other hand, though plentiful, popular among shoppers, and reasonably priced, reflect the toll the draught and heat have taken on some of the vegetables that haven’t fared as well. On the other hand, homemade jellies, jams and preserves, delicious home baked bread, and just about every kind of locally home-grown vegetable are all for sale at the market. The vendors, who are all local, are very pleased with the amount of customers they are seeing, and some, who travel as far away as Salem, look forward to the market every Tuesday. I would say it sounds like the Downtown Farmer’s Market has become quite a success, and judging by the numbers of folks coming and going on a Tuesday morning, and the positive comments from the vendors at the market, the Downtown Farmer’s Market is a must visit. It will remain open every Tuesday through October.
While we are on the topic of the effects the heat is having on our area, and most of the Mid-West, I’d like to express my concern and understanding to the agricultural, farming and ranching community in Phelps County that have had to endure and overcome one of the worst draughts, and long stretches of hot weather we have seen in a very long time. Governor Jay Nixon and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently declared all 114 counties in Missouri as primary natural disaster areas due to the drought that is destroying crops throughout the state. One of the benefits of the disaster declaration is that it gives farmers access to federal assistance and low interest loans.
We are all being impacted by the draught, and extreme temperatures, some more than others, and the probability of fires starting is at an all time high as well. Of course the County-wide burn ban will remain in effect until we receive enough rain and moisture to lift the ban. I urge everyone to use caution, and be very mindful of the dry, hot temperatures, that provide the kind of environment where accidental fires can erupt very easily. In addition, people smoking in automobiles should be sure not to throw their cigarettes out of the vehicle as this may cause a natural cover fire that can get out of control, destroy property, and endanger fire fighters who have to respond to the incident in this extreme heat. The firefighters will be responding to an incident that is totally preventable and un-called for.
In closing, I would like to remind the community that there will be an Open House this Wednesday, July 25 (5-6 p.m.) in the Council Chambers at Rolla City Hall (901 N. Elm St.) to discuss the proposed County Hills development located off Rolla Street between Victoria Lane and Christy Drive. The project is a single-family housing project, being proposed by the Springfield based developer, Housing Plus, LLC. The project consists of 34 single-family homes, with approximately 1,350-square-feet of living space. The Country Hills Development project is designed to fill a much-needed gap in available affordable single-family homes in Rolla. The project will serve families at or below 60% of Rolla’s median income as well as families needing affordable workforce housing in the 60% to 80% median income bracket. For more information, please contact John Petersen, in the Community Development Department, at 364-5333.
Enjoy the weekend and have a safe week!