The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 27, 2013

Preparations for federal cuts in high gear in area

By Roger McKinney

JOPLIN, Mo. — A wide variety of area programs may be affected if the federal cuts known as sequestration happens as expected on Friday.

Steve Stockam, manager of the Joplin Regional Airport, said the cuts will result in the airport’s air traffic control tower being closed, and the loss of its six air traffic controllers. He said flights won’t be canceled, but it would change airport operations and place more responsibility on pilots.

“It doesn’t make the facility unsafe, but it does reduce the level of safety in operating the facility,” Stockam said.

Stan Heater, director of the Area Agency on Aging, said meal deliveries for homebound seniors also will be affected. He said funding is expected to be reduced by about 8.5 percent.

Superintendents of George Washington Carver National Monument and Fort Scott National Historic Site say the cuts will result in reduced services and programs to visitors.

Federal programs for schools, including special education and Title I, which benefit children from low-income families, are expected to be cut by around 5 percent, said Ron Lankford., deputy education commissioner for finance with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

“Every school district is going to be affected,” said Lankford, a former Webb City superintendent.