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Wet Snow Forecast for St. Patrick's Day from St. Louis to Cincinnati
Graphic for St. Patrick's Day courtesy Accuweather.com
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), March 16, 2013 - Winter is not giving up without a fight from St. Louis to Cincinnati with a snowy St. Patrick's Day shaping up for Sunday.
Colder air has erased the 73-degree warmth that gave St. Louis a taste of early May on Friday and is knocking on the doorstep of Cincinnati.
With that cold air in place, the stage will be set for snow to spread from the mid-Mississippi Valley to the Ohio Valley late tonight through Sunday, while a chilly rain falls to the south.
The snow, mixed with rain in the beginning, should commence along the I-70 corridor in the mid-Mississippi Valley late tonight. In addition to St. Louis, this includes the Missouri cities of Columbia and Jefferson City.
After starting St. Patrick's Day in these communities, the snow will expand eastward to southern Ohio, including Cincinnati, on Sunday with the heaviest snow falling in the afternoon.
AccuWeather.com meteorologists expect a general 1 to 2 inches of snow to accumulate through Sunday, but are concerned for locally higher amounts.
Even without the locally higher totals, the snow through Sunday will be enough to cause problems and headaches for travelers.
Motorists should prepare for roads, including Interstates 44, 55, 64 and 70, to become slippery for a time, while airline passengers may face flight delays.
Sunday's travel troubles will come even when the strong March sun typically hinders snow from covering roads. However, that only refers to lightly falling snow; heavy snow can overcome the sun's strength.
See related story: Ancient Order of Hibernians Saint Patrick's Day Parade
Governor Nixon Pushes Plan to Strengthen Medicaid
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon
ROLLA, MO, (SLFP.com), March 10, 2013 - Gov. Jay Nixon visited the Technology Development Center at Missouri University of Science and Technology's Innovation Park in Rolla to discuss the benefits of his plan to bring the dollars Missourians send to Washington back to strengthen Medicaid in Missouri, as well as the costs of sending these dollars to other states. The proposal would bring $5.7 billion to Missouri and provide health coverage to an additional 300,000 Missourians over the next three years - at no cost to the state.
"Non-partisan business groups throughout the state, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, support this plan because they know that bringing the dollars Missourians send to Washington back home will protect taxpayers, create jobs, and reward work," Gov. Nixon said. "Across the country, other states are stepping up to seize this opportunity. If we fail to act, those jobs and those investments will go to those other states: they'll get the benefit, we'll get the bill."
Last fall, a study by the University of Missouri found that bringing these dollars back to Missouri to strengthen Medicaid would create 24,000 new jobs in Missouri in 2014 alone. Gov. Nixon's proposal also rewards work by giving working Missourians who simply cannot afford health insurance access to basic health coverage. Under the proposed expansion, low-income Missourians who can't afford health insurance and earn less than 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level - or $32,500 a year for a family of four - would be eligible for coverage.
As a result of this clear economic benefit, a growing coalition of business and economic development organizations have endorsed the Medicaid expansion, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce; the chambers of commerce in Bolivar, Branson, Cape Girardeau, Columbia, Hannibal, Independence, Kansas City, Kirksville, Lee's Summit, Sedalia, Springfield, St. Louis and West Plains; the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City; the Associated Industries of Missouri; Kirksville Regional Economic Development Inc., and Columbia Regional Economic Development Inc.
"As one of the area's largest employers, we recognize that strengthening Medicaid is critical to ensuring the long-term viability of rural hospitals like ours," said John Denbo, CEO of Phelps County Regional Medical Center. "We also know that with nearly one out of five people in Phelps County living below the poverty level, making sure low-income Missourians have access to preventative health care makes good fiscal sense for taxpayers everywhere."
Recent studies have also shed light on the high costs of failing to move forward. Hospitals currently receive payments from the federal government for treating uninsured patients, payments that will be cut back dramatically, regardless of the state's decision on Medicaid. If Missouri turns down the federal dollars designed to compensate for those cuts by expanding coverage, hospitals will be forced to cut jobs and reduce services - while families and businesses are shouldered with higher premiums. The Missouri Hospital Association estimates that passing up this opportunity to strengthen Medicaid will cost the state 9,000 jobs and increase health insurance premiums for families and businesses by more than $1 billion.
The impact on Missouri's mental health system would also be significant. In a report released earlier this week, the Missouri Department of Mental Health found that turning down the federal dollars available to strengthen Medicaid will limit access to mental health services and weaken public safety, as hospitals respond to federal cuts by eliminating psychiatric inpatient beds.
"Republican governors in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota and Ohio are putting partisan politics aside and embracing this opportunity to strengthen Medicaid and create jobs in their states," Gov. Nixon said. "Sending our tax dollars to these other states will hurt our economy, increase costs for families and businesses, and weaken public safety. That is why we must move forward now and strengthen Medicaid the Missouri way. The costs of inaction are simply too high."
Metro Completes $10 Million Interlocking Project
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), March 10, 2013 - Metro has completed the $10 million light rail interlocking project near the UMSL South MetroLink Station, located at 7798 Natural Bridge Road in St. Louis County.
Kicking off in fall 2011, the construction project involved the installation of a new universal crossover between North Hanley and Page, allowing trains to cross from one track to the other. The construction of the new interlocking system will give Metro the ability to support single track operations and operate with shorter customer delays during scheduled and unplanned service disruptions.
Prior to the construction of the UMSL South crossover, the closest interlocking system was four miles away. Any work that needed to be completed to the tracks had to be scheduled after service hours or with the use of bus shuttles. The new system is designed to help Metro reduce operations and maintenance costs and more effectively maintain the rail system while minimizing system delays.
In addition to the construction of the interlocking system, work on the project included the building of a sidewalk, a new access road and signal house and significant drainage improvements adjacent to the alignment. Funded by approximately $8.5 million dollars in American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) federal economic stimulus funds, $1.1 million in other federal funding and $289,000 in local financing, the project helped to create 270 jobs.
Contractors who worked on the interlocking project included R.V. Wagner, Railworks, Progress Rail, Midvale Electric, Herzog Technologies, Wissehr Electric and Stantec.
Metro also utilized its own skilled workforce to assist with various elements of the project, helping to reduce costs and accomplish the original scope of the project within the allowable timeframe for expending ARRA funds.
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