Galena is toward the top of the list of hot spots in Kansas for a destination casino, according to researchers looking at the most lucrative areas for expanding the state's gaming venues.

It is estimated by the Maine research firm Christiansen Capital Advisors that a Galena casino has the potential to bring in $240 million annually from gambling patrons in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma as well as, of course, Kansas. It would be more profitable than a casino in the Kansas City area, undoubtedly because of the proximity of Missouri's popular riverboat casinos along the Missouri river.

The choice of Southeast Kansas as a potential site for one of the five "world-class destination casinos" being proposed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is surprising. And, yet, it would be difficult to fault the notion that a border-town casino, with all the glitz of Vegas and assorted games of chance and skill, would be a magnet for gamblers from nearby states.

Would Kansans authorize a series of state-run casinos? The numbers say yes, according to the survey. It found that 55 percent of residents in the state support expanded gambling and only 38 percent are in opposition. Those should be impressive figures for supporters of Sebelius' plan.

Of course, all of this is conjecture. The Legislature hasn't put anything on the ballot yet. But the concept of a big-time casino in neighboring Galena offers an intriguing prospect for the economic health of the region and poses some challenging infrastructure problems.

Naming a highway

State Rep. Ron Richard's plan to honor the late Earl Carr, a former mayor of Joplin and a retired chemical engineer whose technical knowledge made him an invaluable resource for the community, is about to become a reality. The Missouri House has approved a bill to name a stretch of the yet-to-be-completed Range Line bypass the Earl Carr Memorial Highway.

A member of the Joplin City Council for 14 years and mayor from 1997 to 2000, Carr left a lasting imprint on the community. Not only was he instrumental in pursing economic development and downtown revitalization, but he was dedicated to finding ways to stimulate growth and improve the quality of life in the community. He served as chairman of the Environmental Protect Agency Superfund Citizens' Task Force set up to protect children from health risks posed by Joplin's history of lead mining.

Carr was an unflagging supporter of building the bypass on the east side of Joplin to take traffic pressure off congested Range Line. Naming the highway for him is even more appropriate because of his efforts to obtain an Environmental Protection Agency grant to clean up a former mining site through which the roadway will run and to encapsulate chat from that area under the bypass pavement so that it can pose no further contamination risk.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, has agreed to help win approval. The Earl Carr Memorial Highway would be a fitting tribute for Carr's many contributions to Joplin.

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