The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2011 Joplin tornado

October 17, 2012

Empire District Electric Co. dedicates rebuilt substation

Saying he was “familiar with praying in this space,” the Rev. Justin Monaghan, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, gave the blessing Wednesday morning as Empire District Electric Co. dedicated its rebuilt substation near 26th Street and Moffet Avenue.

The substation was “little more than a heap of metal and mangled wire” after the May 22, 2011, tornado, noted Martin Penning, vice president of commercial operations for the Joplin-based utility. The EF-5 tornado was so powerful that it moved a transformer that weighed 126,000 pounds.

“We believe the previous transformer had been scooted on its pad four to five inches,” he said.

Two new transformers, each of similar weight, were brought in this summer. They convert power from the 69,000-volt transmission line to 12,000 volts for distribution lines used by residences and businesses in the area.

Penning said it is important to bring the substation on line as the area rebuilds. City figures indicate that more than 75 percent of the residences destroyed in the storm have been rebuilt or are under construction.

Empire officials have said the substation was the last major component of the company’s rebuilding stemming from the tornado.

The wrecked substation was part of an estimated $20 million to $30 million in damages to Empire’s infrastructure. Six substations were damaged, as were 4,000 poles, 1,000 smaller transformers and 100 miles of electric line. Penning put the cost of rebuilding the destroyed substation at about $7 million.

The site for the substation increased after the storm, taking in part of the property that previously belonged to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, its elementary school and parish center, all of which also were destroyed in the storm. The church has announced plans to rebuild near 32nd Street and Central City Road.

Empire paved and finished off a parking lot adjacent to the large iron cross that has become one of the iconic symbols for many after the storm.



Empire upgrade

SUBSTATION 59 at 26th Street and Moffet Avenue, originally constructed in 1927, is one of about 175 substations owned by Empire District Electric Co.

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May 2011 Joplin tornado
  • Local new-home construction catches up to previous pace

    After a slow start early in this fiscal year for Joplin, the construction of new houses has resumed at the pace that existed in fiscal year 2013, when permits for new houses averaged more than 16 per month. Since November, the beginning of Joplin’s fiscal year, permits for 118 houses have been issued for a total cost of $12.8 million. The average value has been about $108,000.

    June 11, 2014

  • 052212 unity walk1_72.jpg SLIDESHOW: One year later, One day of unity, updated Photos from a day of events commemorating the May 22, 2011 tornado anniversary

    May 22, 2012 1 Photo

  • 060314 Farmers rebuild 1_72.jpg Farmers Insurance writes manual based on experience from Joplin disaster recovery

    Joplin’s housing recovery from the 2011 tornado is one for the books. Jeff Dailey, CEO of Farmers Insurance, announced Tuesday that not only will Farmers Insurance stick with Rebuild Joplin to repair and replace the homes left on the local group’s waiting list, but the company also will kick off a similar recovery effort today for the city of Sea Bright, New Jersey, based on a book it has written to expedite disaster recovery that is based on its experience in Joplin.

    June 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • r052214butterflygarden.jpg New park feature opens on tornado anniversary to encourage healing

    Cunningham Park has become an emotional place for Pamela Praytor. The name of her son, Christopher Lucas, is engraved on a monument that stands in the park in memory of the 161 people who were killed in the May 2011 tornado. “Even though I cry when I come, it’s OK,” she said. “It’s part of the healing.”

    May 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • r051214greenbldgs3.jpg Home, business cited as examples of energy efficiency, strength

    Ramona and Charles “Hugh’’ Shields were not the least bit reluctant on Monday to open their new house in the tornado zone to a bunch of strangers who had a lot of questions. “I used to live in a house where I had to wear two pairs of socks in the winter to keep my feet warm — not anymore,’’ said Ramona Shields. “This house is nice and warm in the winter, and nice and cool in the summer.’’

    May 12, 2014 2 Photos

  • Mercy Health System to receive $23 million FEMA grant

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide Mercy Health System of Joplin with $23 million in public assistance funding by the end of the year. The disaster relief was announced Friday by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.

    April 25, 2014

  • Respond With Love flower.jpg Joplin pays it forward with flowers; residents asked to return bulbs ‘fostered’ for other towns

    Suzan Morang’s front yard bloomed brightly last year from a colorful array of bulbs that she will happily pass on to someone else this year. Morang, 1207 Xenia Court, is a participant in America Responds With Love, a national nonprofit organization that distributes bulbs to disaster-stricken cities.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creator of Joplin-based ‘Dear World’ exhibit features Boston bombing victims in new work

    The messages written on the skin of some Boston Marathon victims may be different, but Joplin residents will recognize the handwriting. Robert X. Fogarty, the creator of the “Dear World: From Joplin with Love” exhibit, took his signature style of photography and inspiration to Boston. Fogarty traveled to Joplin in 2011 and took pictures of community members with inspirational messages written on their bodies in black ink.

    April 21, 2014

  • r041414wildwood.jpg Opening of nursing home another recovery milestone

    Gladys Dutton has done a lot of things in her life, but Monday’s dedication of the Communities at Wildwood Ranch nursing home marked a first. “I’ve never cut a ribbon before,” she said. “I hope I do a good job.” Dutton was one of four residents to participate in the opening of the $8.5 million nursing center that eventually will be home to 120 people.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin Redevelopment Corp. preparing for first property sale

    The first sale of property from the Joplin Redevelopment Corp. to Wallace Bajjali Development Partners is scheduled for May 16. The city staff will be working to prepare for that sale, it was discussed on Tuesday at a meeting of the JRC.

    April 9, 2014

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