The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

March 24, 2013

Midwest sees spring transform into winter weather

Impact minimal in Joplin area

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Few signs of spring were being found Sunday in parts of the Midwest as a snowstorm tracked eastward mostly along Interstate 70, bringing heavy snow and high winds.

Two people who were killed in weather-related crashes were identified, dozens of Palm Sunday services were canceled throughout Missouri, and about 100 flights were scrapped at Lambert Field in St. Louis. Winter storm warnings and advisories were issued for Sunday and today as far east as Pennsylvania.

The storm dumped 7 to 9 inches of snow from eastern Kansas into central Missouri before tapering off Sunday, said Dan Hawblitzel, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in suburban Kansas City.

In Columbia, TV station KOMU was briefly evacuated Sunday morning because of high winds and a heavy buildup of snow on the broadcast tower next to the building. And Gov. Jay Nixon announced he was canceling a couple of events planned for today because of the weather.

The spring storm left 2 inches of snow in the Joplin area, along with freezing temperatures that will linger through today.

The National Weather Service in Springfield is calling for temperatures to hover near the freezing mark today, according to Andy Boxell, a meteorologist at the station.

“It is going to be cold, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some additional refreezing,” Boxell said in a phone interview Sunday.

“Winds will be high, but most of the main snow is gone from the area. The area might see an additional light dusting through Monday, but by and large, most accumulation will stay to the north.”

Joplin police Sgt. Jared Delzell said road conditions Sunday in the city did not require authorities to issue an emergency road condition alert.

“Traffic was light most of Sunday, and it looked like people stayed indoors,” Delzell said. “We did not have to go to emergency road conditions because we were not overwhelmed with calls. We encouraged people to stay indoors, and it looks like residents took that to heart.”

Missouri Department of Transportation crews planned to work around the clock to prevent refreezing, according to Kristi Bachman, a maintenance engineer with MoDOT.

“Crews will continue to treat as necessary,” Bachman said Sunday. “All roads are listed as wet now but are clear. We do have concerns of refreezing and blowing snow through Monday. Even though roads look clear, we want motorists to remain cautious.”

In Kansas City, there was no cause for college basketball fans to be concerned, as the snow didn’t affect the NCAA men’s tournament schedule.

“The snow is not an issue,” said Wynn Butler, 62, of Manhattan, Kan., who was in town with his daughter, a University of Kansas graduate, to watch her alma mater take on North Carolina.

He said his car was in a parking garage, and he could walk from his hotel to the Sprint Center. Butler also figured the roads would be clear before he and his daughter left after Sunday’s game.

“We are right in between the bad weather,” he said.

Authorities on Sunday released the names of two people who were killed in separate crashes. In northeast Kansas, Anthony J. Hinthorne, 40, of Topeka, was killed Saturday afternoon in a single-vehicle crash and rollover on the Kansas Turnpike as snow was falling in Shawnee County, the Kansas Highway Patrol said. Later that night, Joshua J. French, 24, of Naperville, Ill., was killed when he lost control of his vehicle on a wet stretch of Interstate 35 in eastern Missouri’s Clay County.

By early Sunday evening, St. Louis had about a foot of snow and northern suburbs had from 12 to 14 inches, with an additional 1 to 2 inches expected, said Jim Sieveking, a meteorologist in St. Louis.

“The snow intensity is pretty heavy, so the visibility is low,” said Todd Waelterman, director of the St. Louis Streets Department. “So we’ve asked people to stay off the road and let our plows do their job. And people seem to be heeding that warning.”

Some parts of central Illinois had received 6 to 10 inches by Sunday evening, Sieveking said. The storm also was brushing northern Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Snow began falling Sunday afternoon in Indiana, with accumulations of 6 to 10 inches predicted. The system was projected to move into Ohio on Sunday night, bringing between 5 to 9 inches, the weather service said.

The storm was expected to weaken as it moved into Pennsylvania late Sunday, with totals ranging from 3 to 8 inches. Before it exits off the coast of New Jersey tonight, the storm could leave 2 to 4 inches in that state as well as Delaware, northern Maryland and southern New York.

“It’s definitely a wide-hitting system,” Hawblitzel said.

To the west, parts of Colorado and northwest Kansas spent Sunday digging out from 10 to 15 inches of snow that were dumped there Saturday. Southwestern Nebraska got up to 7 inches. Winds gusting up to 45 mph created snow drifts of 2 to 3 feet in the three states, said Ryan Husted, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Goodland, Kan.

“We have pretty much cleared out. Sunny skies. It’s starting to melt a little bit,” Husted said Sunday. Transportation officials reopened several closed highways, including a stretch of Interstate 70 from Denver to Colby, Kan.

1
Text Only
Top Stories
  • 080114 Older worker1_72.jpg Co-workers, friends honor nurse with 50-year career

    Wilma Massey has worked a half century in health care and, even at the age of 74, she’s the first to arrive at work each morning.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Scott Branden Smith 080114.jpg Comatose assault victim dies

    A Joplin man left in a coma from an apparent assault died this afternoon at Freeman Hospital West.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Amendment 7 backers tout safety, new jobs; foes say special interests to benefit

    Billions of dollars are on the line when Missouri voters head to the polls on Tuesday to consider Amendment 7.
    The constitutional amendment, sent to the voters by the Legislature this year, would temporarily increase Missouri’s sales tax by three-quarters of 1 percent, raising an estimated $5.4 billion for the next decade to fund transportation projects. That includes more than $114.1 million in state funds for projects in Newton and Jasper counties, on top of additional revenue for localities that would be raised.
    After the Missouri Department of Transportation downsized in recent years, these projects are now mostly designed and built by private engineers, contractors and laborers — many of whom have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to a campaign effort to sway voters to support the measure.
    Last Monday — eight days ahead of the primary election day — supporters of the measure reported having raised more than $4.1 million for a campaign committee called Missourians For Safe Transportation and New Jobs, which was established last fall to support the measure.
    The International Union of Operating Engineers in St. Louis and Kansas City have contributed nearly $250,000 to the effort. That total was dwarfed by the $649,398 put in by the Industry Advancement Fund Heavy Constructors. Between its Missouri and Kansas companies, APAC — a construction contracting company that specializes in transportation projects — has contributed more than $150,000.
    “The whole idea that money is flowing into the campaign, of course it is,” said Sen. John Lamping, a St. Louis Republican who is opposed to the measure. “It would be a smart business decision to do that.”
    Lamping said the money pouring into the campaign supporting Amendment 7 is indicative of the financial gain the measure bodes for contractors and laborers.  
    Lamping proposed a measure in the Legislature that would redirect one-eighth of existing sales and use tax revenue directly to transportation projects, but he said that measure was rejected by legislative leaders. The coalition “didn’t hear about it,” the outgoing senator said, “because it was my idea instead of someone else’s idea.”
    Lamping, who filibustered a similar measure in 2013, said Republicans have an ideological consistency problem on the issue. He pointed to the Legislature passing a sales tax increase only a few weeks after overriding Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of an income tax cut that will largely help businesses organized as limited liability corporations, like many of the companies that could benefit from the measure. Lamping said that the tax increase will mostly affect taxpayers who did not get a significant tax cut.
    “Who wants a tax cut in Missouri?” he said. “Businesses. (Republican leaders) wanted to make them happy and then they passed a tax cut. This is grand-scale special interest cronyism.”
    The ad campaign being funded mostly by the business interests features paramedics and construction workers claiming the measure would “fix our roads and keep Missouri families safe.”
    “We have a chance to give our highways and bridges the repairs they need,” says one ad, which is running in Joplin and statewide in the lead up to Tuesday’s vote. “We have a chance to fix what’s broken by voting yes on Amendment 7.”
    The commercial uses a lot of words to talk about the benefits of the measure, but two words in particular are noticeably absent from the commercial: “Tax increase.”  
    “The ads don’t mention any of the ballot language,” said Jewell Patek, a spokesman for Missourians For Safe Transportation and New Jobs. “We figure Missourians will see the language when they go to the polls.”
    Patek, a former state representative who now lobbies the Legislature, said he disagreed with Lamping’s notion that Amendment 7 is all about special interest gain.
    “There’s quite a bit to gain for Missourians,” he said. “We have serious road needs. We’ll win or lose by the benefits in Amendment 7. I’m not sure I agree with Senator Lamping’s assessment.”
    If approved, Amendment 7 would prevent an increase in the state’s fuel tax, a funding boost opponents of the amendment like Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and some of the state’s social welfare groups have said would be more appropriate because it could pull in revenue from people who use the roads — like the state’s trucking industry.
    The Missouri Truckers Association’s political action committee has contributed more than $27,000 to the effort to pass the measure. Tom Crawford, president of the association, said his members support the amendment because they see the problems on the road and deal with them every day. And passage of the measure does not mean anyone will stop paying fuel tax.
    “We overpay our fair share on the fuel tax,” he said, pointing to statistics by the American Transportation Research Institute that show truckers have accounted for about 14 percent of road usage while paying for 39 percent of all taxes and fees owed by motorists. “We pay sales taxes just like everybody does on goods and products that people buy in the stores.”
    Crawford said truck companies do not pay state sales taxes on the purchase of trucks, but they do pay a federal tax. “So, we won’t be impacted on new equipment purchase, but other areas of our business will be impacted just like every other taxpayer in the state will,” he said.
    Thomas Shrout, who is helping lead the campaign against the tax hike, said that is not good enough and that Amendment 7 lets truck drivers off the hook. “Under Amendment 7, they wouldn’t have to pay any more,” he said.
    Shrout’s opposition campaign has raised just over $27,000 — less than 1 percent of the total money raised by its supporters. They are targeting their opposition at the state’s urban core by spending money on direct mail and targeted robocalls in the final week.
    “We think using the sales tax to fund road projects is poor policy for the state of Missouri,” he said. “It should be rejected.”
    Shrout said the Missouri Department of Transportation and its supporters should go back to the drawing board and consider some of the other options like campaigning for toll roads or a gas tax increase — both based on road usage.
    Representatives for APAC and the Heavy Constructors Association declined requests for comment.

    Tuesday’s election
    Amendment 7 is one of five measures voters will consider when they head to the polls on Tuesday. Statewide, local election officials reported to the Missouri secretary of state that it was their estimate that about 27 percent of the state’s 4.06 million registered voters will show up to vote, including 25 percent of registered voters in Jasper County and 30 percent in Newton County.

    August 1, 2014

  • Brownback names 3 Kansas Board of Regents members

    Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday named a former veteran Kansas House member and two attorneys to the board overseeing the state’s higher education system.

    August 1, 2014

  • Fair to feature goats, chickens and decorated bras

    Along with the usual fair sights, sounds and smells — livestock, poultry, produce and the like — there will be something a bit unusual at the Cherokee County American Legion Free Fair this year: Decorated brassieres. And pink. Lots of pink.

    August 1, 2014

  • Grant to fund solar energy system for PSU’s Plaster Center

    An $80,000 grant from Westar Energy will fund solar panels to provide both energy and education at the Robert W. Plaster Center, now under construction at Pittsburg State University.

    August 1, 2014

  • Detour in Parsons for bridge work begins

    A portion of south U.S. 59 Highway will close at the Parsons, Kansas, city limits on Aug. 4 for drainage work, asphalt resurfacing and a bridge deck repair project.

    August 1, 2014

  • Autism center to break ground on future home

    Ground will be broken Tuesday morning for the future home of the Bill & Virginia  Leffen Center for Autism at 2808 S. Picher Ave.

    August 1, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our View: Home runs for area

    Baseball fans, there’s something exciting going on today that has nothing to do with the major leagues.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • LIVE BLOG: Little League Regional Tournament

    Athletes and parents from Joplin and Frontenac are headed to Indianapolis for the Little League Central Region Tournament. Follow their progress here.

    August 1, 2014