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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Joplin Goes Back to School: 3 Months After Tornado, classes in a converted big-box store.

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Joplin goes back to school 3 months after twister

wkyc.com
August 17, 2011
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JOPLIN, Missouri - Seniors and juniors are taking classes in a converted big-box store.
Freshmen and sophomores are in a building across town. The new middle school is in an industrial park. Across Joplin, the schools are still a jumble, with books, computer monitors and unassembled furniture littering unfamiliar hallways.
But as classes resumed Wednesday, students and teachers welcomed the start of another year as a return to something normal - or what passes for normal in a city crippled last spring by the nation's single deadliest tornado in six decades. "You can't pretend like nothing happened," said high school English teacher Brenda White. "But everything is so new here.
Every single thing that is this school is new and different." The twister killed 160 people, injured hundreds more and destroyed thousands of buildings, including Joplin's only public high school. Now after months of cleaning up debris, attending funerals and trying to rebuild shattered lives, it was time to get back to pop quizzes and homework assignments. "It's going to take a while to build everything back, but books are a good start," White said while stocking her classrooms with copies of "The Great Gatsby," "The Kite Runner" and other literary standards, past and present.
The school system was hit especially hard by the May 22 tornado. Seven students and one employee were among the victims, including a senior pulled from his car by winds on his way home from the Joplin High School graduation ceremony. Six school buildings were destroyed, including the high school. Seven other buildings were badly damaged. District leaders quickly realized that they would play a huge role in Joplin's recovery, for reasons symbolic as much as practical.
They expanded the hours and locations of summer school in an effort to give children a reassuring routine - and their parents the time to deal with insurance agents, contractors and social service agencies. They cobbled together a hodge-podge of temporary locations for fall classes, from the old Shopko store at Northpark Mall to a former Missouri Department of Transportation office where the superintendent and other administrators now work.
Rival elementary schools combined, and a middle school found space in an industrial park. Even in a corner of the country where hard work is cherished, the swiftness of the transformation was striking, White said. "I've always known people are strong here. But this has really brought it home," she said. "People are so strong. They just get up, dust off and go to work." Students arrived at the "mall school" Wednesday morning to a bevy of well-wishers holding Joplin High signs and lining the entrance road.
Some teens gathered in modular classrooms, right next to a row of concrete-lined storm shelters. Others lingered in hallways. They raved about the school's college-like feel. Drinks will soon be available from Joplin Joe's coffee bar, and every student could get a free laptop thanks to a donation from the United Arab Emirates worth as much as $1 million. Parents and other relatives were impressed. "It just blows your mind," said Pamela Berry, who accompanied her 17-year-old nephew to a Tuesday night open house. "I want to come back to high school."
The start of classes also offered students a chance to reunite with classmates who had endured the same ordeal. "Everyone is closer, more friendly to each other," said senior Yainer Oviedo, whose mother and six siblings lost their home to the storm.
He now lives with a classmate and still wrestles with his own harrowing memories of huddling behind a flimsy mattress while the tornado roared overhead. "Our whole community has been through a lot," he added. "You look at someone and automatically know what they're going through."
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who toured the school Wednesday, encouraged students to take advantage of their new learning environment. "I hope you use what has been given to you to lift the expectations of Joplin even higher," he said. "While there's been tremendous suffering, there are even greater expectations."
Among those hoping to match those expectations was junior Christopher Jones. Unlike most years, his summer vacation couldn't end soon enough, he said. "I was really just looking for a change," Jones said. At East Middle School, which was relocated to a converted warehouse on the outskirts of town, students agreed that some things were unchanged: Cafeteria food still tasted terrible. Kids got lost on their way to class. And the odor of pet food from the factory across the street was gross.
Younger students, too, said they relate differently to each other - and to their parents - after surviving the disaster. "It brought me a lot closer to my mom," said Madeline Fichtner, 13, who described riding out the storm without initially knowing whether her mother was safe.
School officials brought in additional counselors and trauma workers to help students and families who may still be struggling in the storm's aftermath. "We can build buildings, but the emotional damage that this storm has caused is of a very significant concern and something we're going to be watching closely for months, if not years," Superintendent C.J. Huff said.
Phillip Gloyer, a communication arts teacher who is also a National Guard chaplain, said he planned to tap his divinity school training as well as his expertise in British literature. "I'm just really focused on the kids' emotional health," he said. "A lot of hugs, a lot of encouragement. Asking them to tell their story. That's the best therapy."
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By ALAN SCHER ZAGIER Associated Press
Click Here to Read More.

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Matching Footprints Lead to Arrest of 3 Teens for Burglary in Franklin County Missouri

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Footprints Lead to Burglary Suspects

emissourian.com
August 17, 2011
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Footprints left at the scene of a crime led to the arrest of three teenage boys and the recovery of a "significant" amount of property stolen in two burglaries at the same home.
Investigators obtained evidence after the owner of a home in the 400 block of Perkins Road, in the Anaconda area west of St. Clair, reported a burglary Aug. 2.

The sheriff's office said numerous items were taken from the home including power tools, gym equipment and hunting gear.
Deputies were called back to the home Aug. 15 when a second burglary was reported. During that investigation, deputies found some "unique" footprints left by at least one of the suspects.
While conducting a neighborhood canvass, deputies found similar footprints at a home in the 500 block of Perkins Road and also found a bicycle in plain view that matched one stolen in the earlier burglaries.
That led to the arrest of a 16-year-old boy and the recovery of a significant amount of stolen property. The teen admitted to being involved in the burglary, the sheriff's office said. A 15-year-old boy was arrested at a home in the 700 block of Perkins Road and a 17-year-old suspect was arrested at a home in St. Clair. Additional stolen property was recovered at both residences.

 Click Here to Read More.

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Fatal Car Accident Near St. Clair, I-44 North Outer Road

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Fatal Accident Near St. Clair

by dfox
www.klpw.com
August 17, 2011
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The patrol says 54-year-old Loyd Brown was eastbound at a high rate of speed when he ran off the road on a curve and struck a tree head on. Brown was pronounced dead at the scene.

There was a fatal traffic crash in Franklin County this morning. The State Highway Patrol says the accident happened after one o'clock this morning on the Interstate 44 North Outer Road at St. Louis Inn Road west of St. Clair.

The patrol stated Brown was eastbound in a 1997 Ford Thunderbird at a high rate of speed when he failed to negotiate a curve. The car traveled off the north side of the road and struck a tree head-on. Brown was not wearing a safety belt.
Franklin County Medical Examiner Russell Rost pronounced Brown dead at the scene, the patrol stated.
The Thunderbird was totaled.


Crash Report Details

Crash Information
Investigated By Incident# Date Time County Location Troop
TROOPER B. KARNOWSKI #1338 ASSISTED BY SERGEANT R. MIESNER #916 110275958 08/17/2011 1:10AM FRANKLIN EASTBOUND INTERSTATE 44 NORTH OUTER ROAD AT ST. LOUIS INN ROAD C
Vehicle Information
Veh. # Vehicle Description Damage Disposition Driver Name Driver Gender Driver Age Safety Device Driver City/State Driver Insurance Vehicle Direction
1 1997 FORD THUNDERBIRD TOTAL TO/BY VOGELGESANGS BROWN, LOYD B MALE 54 NO ST. CLAIR, MO. UNKNOWN EASTBOUND
Injury Information
Veh. # Name Gender Age Injury Type Safety Device City/State Involvement Disposition
1 BROWN, LOYD B MALE 54 FATAL NO ST. CLAIR, MO. DRIVER TAKEN TO ST LOUIS COUNTY MORGUE BY RUSSELL FUNERAL HOME
Misc. Information
FATALITY ACCIDENT - VEHICLE 1 WAS TRAVELING EASTBOUND ON THE NORTH OUTER RD OF INTERSTATE 44 AT A HIGH RATE OF SPEED. DRIVER 1 FAILED TO NEGOTIATE A CURVE CAUSING VEHICLE 1 TO TRAVEL OFF THE NORTH SIDE OF THE ROADWAY AND STRIKE A TREE HEAD ON. FATALITY PRONOUNCED AT 0238 HOURS BY M.E. RUSSELL ROST. NEXT OF KIN NOTIFIED.
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Obama 'Takes More Vacations Than Any Human Being I've Ever Seen' - Donald Trump Rips President

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Trump: Obama 'Takes More Vacations Than Any Human Being I've Ever Seen'
nation.foxnews.com
 August 16, 2011
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: I wanted to talk to you about the recent news about Pakistan and China. But first I want to ask you about your tweet. I can't resist. A recent tweet from you, on your Twitter account, says, Barack Obama played golf yesterday, now he heads to a 10-day vacation in Martha's Vineyard, nice work ethic.

DONALD TRUMP: Well, the fact is, he takes more vacations than any human being I've ever seen. They used to complain about George Bush, but I understand he's already exceeded George Bush and we're not even through the year. So he likes vacation.

VAN SUSTEREN: What does -- I mean, obviously, that doesn't sound a -- send a good message if, indeed, the American people think that he likes a, quote, "vacation."

TRUMP: Well, I mean, it sends a bad message. Here we have a country that really is going to hell in a handbasket. Let's not kid ourselves. What's happening to this country is horrible. All over the world, they're talking about it. And we have a president that's constantly -- whether it's Martha's Vineyard or someplace else, constantly on vacation. I mean, all the time he's on vacation! So I think it sends a very, very bad message. We have to work in this country to bring it back


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Washington, Mo. Hospital Seeking Free Publicity?

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Mercy Invites All Area Physicians to Work Together for the "Good of the Community"

by dfox
www.klpw.com
August 17, 2011
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A letter was sent from Mercy officials to all Patients First physicians inviting them to contact Mercy in hopes of creating a new beginning around a common goal of good health care for Washington and surrounding communities.
It’s no secret that the two are each other’s main competition; however, in a letter released from the Mercy organization August 10th, this latest invitation seems to be a more of a peace offering.
Patients First Physicians were invited to contact St. John’s Mercy President Terri McLain, Mercy CEO Lynn Britton, Chief Operating Officer Mike McCurry or Mercy Chief of Staff Tom Riechers to see how they fit in the dialogue. Mercy recently announced its plans for growth in Franklin County, including 236 million dollars in new facilities and services over the next 10 years.
Mercy officials will be on KLPW “The Morning Show” with Diane Jones tomorrow morning at nine-twenty to discuss this in further detail. A copy of the letter sent to all Patients First Health Care physicians is posted under this story.

LETTER:

August 10, 2011
Dear Dr.
On the night of June 28, Mercy held our second annual community roundtable. Our first roundtable event was in the spring of 2010 and began a yearlong master planning process for the ministry in the Franklin County region. This year, almost 200 community members met in Union to review the resulting plan and to give further input to how we can set the future of health for the people of the Washington area.
At this meeting, each of the five of us stood before leaders of our community and committed to invest in a system of care that will be a model for good health – the personal health of friends and families, and the economic health of the community we share.
Since that meeting, we have processed the notes and comments of the participating community members, and once again we see a common theme surface. There is a strong, prevailing desire that Mercy and the physicians of Patients First work together for the common good of the community.
That is why we are writing to you today. We are very interested in talking with you about a future together. We have reached out to your board; now we are reaching out directly to you with the intention of creating a new beginning, and discussing what it could mean to you personally and professionally to align around a common goal of good health for the Franklin County area.
We have also committed to keep community leaders involved and informed as we execute our master plan. Their ongoing feedback is essential and we will be faithful to their active partnership as we move forward. For that reason, we will also be sharing with them that we have reached out to you and invited you to the table.
We firmly believe that ‘community’ is a precious resource, and by working together, we can preserve it for the future. On the following page, you will find a number of ways to contact us, including our personal phone numbers. Please give us a call if you would like to discuss any aspect of our community’s health and how we might work together for the good of the community. We look forward to moving ahead.
Sincerely,
Mike McCurry
Mercy Chief Operating Officer
(314) 628-3423
mike.mccurry@mercy.net
Lynn Britton
Mercy President and Chief Executive Officer
(314) 628-3653
lynn.britton@mercy.net
Terri McLain
President St. John’s Mercy Hospital
(636) 221-2135
terri.mclain@mercy.net
Tom Riechers, MD
Vice President Medical Affairs
St. John’s Mercy Hospital
(314) 795-6478
tom.riechersm.d@mercy.net
Jennifer Scheer, MD
Medical Director
Mercy Clinic Franklin County
(314) 578-7572
jennifer.scheer@mercy.net



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