Snow is not in the local forecast yet, but the Missouri Department of Transportation is preparing for the winter months with a statewide drill this Wednesday, November 5th. The drill will test MODOT’s winter battle plan to ensure its readiness to get motorists back on the roadways as quickly as possible after winter storms. During the drill employees will react to a simulated forecast of significant snow for the entire state. Motorists may notice increased numbers of MODOT vehicles on state routes during the drill.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol’s rural crime investigative unit is being honored with a special award. The unit is the recipient of the international association of Chiefs of Police, Thomson Reuters award for excellence in criminal investigation. The award is bestowed upon the law enforcement agency, unit or task force that has shown exceptional innovation and excellence in the area of criminal investigations. The patrol’s rural crimes investigation unit focuses its resources and efforts on crime that targets the state’s agricultural industry and farming communities.
There could be some bad news on the horizon for a Mid-Missouri task force. The Missouri internet crimes against children task force which consists of 12 agencies statewide could get shut down due to a lack of state funding. For the past several years the task force has received a grant of around $1.5 million dollars; however so far this year, no money has been released. Governor Nixon’s office says the reason is due to budget issues. However, his office says the governor will reevaluate restricted spending areas if funds become available.
Governor Jay Nixon has issued an executive order creating a holiday for state employees the day after Thanksgiving. Nixon’s action means state offices will be closed on November 28th. However, public safety and other essential service personnel will remain on the job. State workers had black Friday off the past two years but had to work in 2011.
State lawmakers are finding it difficult to fight a Judge’s order that Missouri must recognize same sex marriages from other states. Recently Attorney General Chris Koster said he would not challenge the court ruling. A number of Republican legislators looked for ways to defend the State’s Constitutional Amendment; however, House Speaker Tim Jones says they didn’t find any.
Jones says Missouri might not be done with the issue as it could come up in the legislature next year. Two additional court challenges against the state’s ban on same sex marriage are still pending.
The Benton County Commissioners are still working on the replacement of the storage building that caught fire last month destroying all of the contents including vehicles and a gas tank that held several gallons of fuel. Commissioners discussed the ongoing communications with the insurance company along with new bids and possible construction to come. The Commission has started the bid process to replace the one ton 4×4 truck that was destroyed in the fire which belongs to road district # 1. The Commission also received several reports from various departments including health insurance and the FLAP grant. The Commissioners wrapped up their meeting with an update from the treasurer.
Tuesday is right around the corner and hundreds of Lake area residents will hit the polls to use the right given to us to elect those we wish to have represent our interests in the community. While many of the area races were decided back in April, there are still a few local issues and several state issues that still need to be voted on. Before you take to the polling areas in your community this Tuesday, take a look at the following sample ballots for our communities: