Governor Jay Nixon Declares State of Emergency in Missouri
St. Louis City trucks clear South Broadway near Chippewa Thursday afternoon as heavy snow continues to fall.
JEFFERSON CITY, MO, (SLFP.com), February 21, 2013 - Gov. Jay Nixon today declared a state of emergency in Missouri in response to severe winter weather that began early this morning, bringing hazardous travel and the possibility of power outages.
The weather system has involved a mix of snow, sleet and ice throughout the state, with forecasts of 10 inches or more of snow in some parts of the state and a wintry mix across many other regions of Missouri.
In a release, Gov. Nixon said, "A severe winter storm continues to bear down on communities across the state. Missouri stands ready to help communities in need and to deploy the resources to keep folks safe. I urge all Missourians to keep a close eye on the weather and avoid unnecessary travel."
The State Emergency Operations Center has been actively monitoring the storm system since yesterday. Gov. Nixon has been receiving updates from his emergency management team, including senior officials from the Missouri Department of Public Safety, Missouri National Guard, Missouri State Highway Patrol and State Emergency Management Agency to assess the current weather situation and review the latest forecasts.
Gov. Nixon has also activated the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan, which allows state agencies to coordinate directly with local jurisdictions to provide emergency services.
Citizens who need disaster information, shelter information, and referrals are urged to call 211. The 211 Service is now available for most areas of Missouri. In areas where the 211 service is not operational, citizens may call 800-427-4626.
Winter Weather Watch Issued for St. Louis Area on Thursday
Weather graphic courtesy of AccuWeather.com
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), February 19, 2013 - The National Weather Service in St. Louis has issued a Winter Storm Watch, which is in effect from Thursday morning through Thursday evening.
The forecast indicates that the precipitation will expand into the area beginning Thursday morning initially as snow or sleet, then continue through the day with freezing rain getting into the mix, especially along and south in Interstate 70. The mix will taper off Thursday evening as freezing rain.
The storm has the snow and sleet accumulation potential of up to 6 inches, along with the potential of up to two tenths of an inch of ice. Winds are estimated at 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph.
The potential for heavy snow, sleet and ice accumulations will have significant impacts on travel. Ice may cause damage to tress and power lines.
With tonight's temperature expected to dip below 20 degrees, the City's Cold Weather Overflow Shelter will open for its sixth night of the season.
Nearly 350 people already have taken advantage of the extra space provided at the 12th and Park Rec Center. The City's Cold Weather Overflow Shelter makes room for homeless men, women and children when other shelters are expected to be at capacity.
There are 75 beds available, but nobody will be turned away.
The City provides this overflow shelter as part of a cooperative project, supported by the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and the St. Louis Crisis Nursery.
WGU Missouri to Offer High-Quality Degree Programs
KANSAS CITY, MO, (SLFP.com), February 17, 2013 - Gov. Jay Nixon has announced that a new partnership between the State of Missouri and nationally recognized, non-profit Western Governors University (WGU) will help thousands of working Missourians obtain an affordable college degree.
Gov. Jay Nixon said on Feb. 15, 2013 in Kansas City that a new partnership between the State of Missouri and nationally recognized, non-profit Western Governors University (WGU) will help thousands of working Missourians obtain an affordable college degree.
The Governor and WGU President Dr. Robert W. Mendenhall were in Kansas City today at the Kauffman Foundation to sign a memorandum of understanding that - together with an executive order also signed today by Gov. Nixon - creates WGU Missouri as a new, state-based online university offering high-quality degree programs. Gov. Nixon first announced he would create WGU Missouri during his State of the State address last month, as one of the means to achieve his goal of increasing the number of Missourians with post-secondary degrees or certificates from 37 percent to 60 percent, so they can get better jobs and meet their full earning potential.
"There are nearly 750,000 Missourians who started college but never completed their degrees," Gov. Nixon said. "Many of them may want to go back to complete their degrees, but haven't. Often, that is because they believe it is too expensive to return to college, or the demands on their time from job or family are too great. That's how WGU, an accredited non-profit university that is putting down new roots in Missouri, can play a tremendous role, especially in expanding access to education to underserved populations. With today's technology offered through WGU Missouri, we can make it easier than ever for Missourians to finish their degrees without disrupting their lives, and help them move up the economic ladder."
"WGU was created by governors to add affordable higher education capacity to state higher education systems with no ongoing impact to state budgets," President Mendenhall said. "The establishment of WGU Missouri will provide working adults in the state with a high-quality option for completing a bachelor's or master's degree on a schedule that fits their lives, at a price they can afford."
WGU has enrolled nearly 40,000 students from across the country since 1997, after being established by the Governors of 19 states. The university offers more than 50 bachelor's, master's and post-baccalaureate degree programs in key workforce areas, including business, information technology, K-12 teacher education and health professions, such as nursing. WGU Missouri will operate under the accreditation of Western Governors University, which is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
The executive order signed by Gov. Nixon directs the appropriate state agencies, including the Missouri Department of Higher Education, to support online competency-based education; to ensure that WGU Missouri students will be eligible to apply for and receive financial aid; and to explore methods for promoting online, competency-based education opportunities.
Indiana, Texas and Washington also have partnered with WGU to establish state-based universities recently. Gov. Nixon said that by adding WGU Missouri, Missouri will add affordable capacity to its higher education system, without ongoing cost to the state. WGU Missouri will be led by a Missouri-based chancellor, and will work under the guidance of an advisory board that will include corporate, community and education leaders from across the state.
The Governor also announced today that WGU Missouri would receive a Community Development Block Grant of up to $4 million to begin operation in the state, including staffing, marketing and other costs associated with its start-up. In addition, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has provided a grant of $750,000 to support the startup of WGU Missouri. After startup, WGU Missouri will be self-sustaining through tuition of about $6,000 per 12-month year, and will require no ongoing funding from the state.
"WGU Missouri is designed to meet the needs of real people with real lives," the Governor said. "How quickly you earn your degree depends on how quickly you master the subject matter, because you advance at your own pace. Instead of paying tuition by the credit hour, students can take as much coursework as they want for a flat rate. This is the flexibility and the affordability that many working Missourians need to finish a degree to help themselves, their family and their community."
Prospective students can begin applying online at Missouri.wgu.edu. WGU Missouri expects that students will be able to begin this spring.
Missouri Botanical Garden to Restore Stome Perimeter Wall
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), February 17, 2013 - A recent grant from the Department of Interior, National Park Service (NPS) through the Save America's Treasures (SAT) grant program will be used for the preservation and rehabilitation of a section of the Missouri Botanical Garden's historic stone east perimeter wall. The section, located along Tower Grove Avenue, stretches from the site of the Garden's Museum Building to just north of the Shoenberg Administration Building.
The Missouri Botanical Garden's 157 year old exterior stone wall has deteriorated over time due to a combination of age and weather along with the impact of traffic vibration, sidewalk relocation and the roots of pin oak trees just outside the Garden wall.
The exterior wall is both a feature of the Garden and a neighborhood landmark which boasts recognizable iconic features designed by Henry Shaw in the 1850s. Additional portions of the stone wall and decorative iron work were added over the years. In order to repair the wall, workers will carefully remove, mark and store hundreds of limestone pieces while a new foundation is constructed. The new mortar used will be permeable, similar to the mortar traditionally used in Henry Shaw's time, allowing water to run though the wall to expel moisture.
The first phase of the project includes removing eight pin oak trees along the wall in the public right-of-way. Tree roots have caused damage and heaving to the wall as well as the sidewalk, creating a safety risk to pedestrians.
Timber from the removed trees will be used for a variety of educational, interpretive and research projects at the Garden.
Following completion of construction, landscaping will be installed which will include shrubs and small canopy trees, creating a clear view of the renovated wall. Some of the plants used in the re-landscaping will be produced from divisions and cuttings from the Garden's plant collections.
During the construction period of approximately six months, the lane furthest west on Tower Grove Avenue will be closed to traffic, and concrete barricades will be used to clearly mark the closed lanes.
The Garden will restore a portion of the wall as closely as possible to its original condition as required by the National Park Service so that it will retain its historic character for years to come.