January 6, 2011

Census Reveals 7% Population Growth in Missouri - But Not Enough to Prevent Loss of Congressional Seat

Missouri's population grew by 7 percent to nearly 6 million in the last decade, according to 2010 Census data released recently by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Census, required every 10 years by the U.S. Constitution, reveals the total population of the United States and each state. The information is used to determine the number of Congressional seats in each state, as well as the amount of federal aid each state receives.

Total U.S. population grew by 9.7 percent, increasing from 281,421,906 in 2000 to 308,745,538 in 2010.

Missouri's population grew by 7 percent, far outpacing the Midwest's overall population growth of 3.9 percent. However, that growth was not enough for Missouri to retain all nine of its Congressional seats.

"Although Missouri's population has continued to grow over last decade, it did not grow as fast when compared to other parts of the country, which resulted in the loss of one Congressional seat," said Kelvin Simmons, Commissioner of the Office of Administration for the State of Missouri. "We are disappointed that we were unable to maintain all nine Congressional seats. But the population gain is a clear indication that Missouri is a great place to live and do business, and reflects our outstanding quality of life."

Missouri is one of 10 states that will lose a Congressional seat. The others are: Illinois; Iowa; Louisiana; New York; Ohio; Pennsylvania; New Jersey; Michigan and Massachusetts.

"Today's census announcement confirms that Missouri is a growing state," said Governor Jay Nixon. "While our growth rate of 7 percent over the past 10 years far exceeds the growth rate across the Midwest, we unfortunately fell short of the benchmark for keeping nine seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the coming months, the General Assembly will begin the important process of redrawing congressional district lines, and that process must move forward openly, transparently and fairly."

The Census results also will determine redistricting - the process of revising the geographic boundaries within a state from which people elect their representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives, state legislature, county or city council, and school board.

Shortly after the release of the 2010 census data, state Rep. John J. Diehl Jr., R-Town and Country, held a press conference in his capitol office to discuss the new population numbers and the process that will take place in the coming months to draw new boundaries for the eight remaining congressional seats. As the chairman of the House Special Standing Committee on Redistricting, Diehl will lead the efforts in the Missouri House to use the new census data to create the new congressional district map for the state.

"This is just a preliminary picture of the complete data set we will receive in a few months but it clearly spells out the daunting task we have ahead of us with reapportionment. Losing a seat makes our job that much more difficult but I am confident we will have a process that is fair and equitable and ensures adequate representation for all Missourians," said Diehl.

Reapportionment is a process that has occurred every 10 years since 1787. The 435 seats of the United States House of Representatives will be divided up among the 50 states based on population data provided by the 2010 census. This marks the first time since 1981 that Missouri has lost a congressional seat. Reapportionment that year was a contentious process that ultimately ended up in court. Diehl said he is sure the legislature can work together this time to avoid repeating history.

"We would have preferred to keep all nine seats but we have to play with the hand we've been dealt. The Speaker has tasked us with handling this important process in an open and transparent manner and that's exactly what we plan to do," said Diehl.

Missouri's current nine Congressional Districts include the following: 1st District held by Rep. William "Lacy" Clay, Jr.; 2nd District held by Rep. Todd Akin; 3rd District held by Rep. Russ Carnahan; 4th District held by Rep. Ike Skelton (Rep.-elect Vicky Hartzler); 5th District held by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver; 6th District held by Rep. Sam Graves; 7th District held by Senator-elect Roy Blunt (Rep.-elect Billy Long); 8th District held by Rep. Jo Ann Emerson; and the 9th District held by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer.

Diehl said the House Special Standing Committee on Redistricting will hold public hearings when the legislature convenes in January. The final population data that will be used for creating the new map of Missouri's Congressional districts is expected to be released by the Census Bureau in February or March of 2011.

Census data also determines the distribution of federal dollars back to communities. About 74 percent of all Missouri households reported to the Census Bureau, the U.S. average.

Scotland County had a mail participation rate of 67%-72% for the 2010 census.

For more Census information, visit http://2010.census.gov/2010census/index.php.

Rural Hospital are a Lifeline

by U.S. Congressman Sam Graves

Rural hospitals are a literal lifeline for tens of millions of people across this country. In communities that don’t have enough primary care doctors or health facilities, rural hospitals provide a critical, lifesaving service that otherwise would not be here for us.

Unfortunately, about 80 rural hospitals have closed since 2010. What’s worse, one third of all rural hospitals in the U.S. could close in the next few years. That’s 12 million Americans at risk of losing access to the closest emergency room. A devastating number, and something we can’t allow to continue in rural America.

Cuts to hospital payments have worsened the problem, and as populations decrease in rural communities, so-called “medical desserts” are popping up across rural America. It leaves people living on farms or in small towns dangerously vulnerable to medical emergency – particularly older Americans.

This week, I am joining with my colleague from Iowa, Dave Loebsack, to introduce the Save Rural Hospitals Act. This bipartisan bill looks to reverse the trend of rural hospital closures, in part by eliminating unrealistic federal regulations like the “96 hour rule,” which forces rural hospitals to move a patient within 96 hours in order to get reimbursed by Medicare.

The average rural hospital creates 195 jobs and generates $8.4 million in annual payroll. But more than that, these facilities make communities livable, ensuring a doctor isn’t far away when a medical emergency strikes.

This bill shines a light on the rural health crisis in Missouri and across the country. If we accept this reality – and neglect this much needed conversation – rural hospitals in Missouri will continue to close. This leaves thousands without access to health care, putting lives in jeopardy and affecting every family in Middle America. That’s simply not acceptable.

City Looking to Crack Down on Traffic Violations

Memphis residents are being reminded to monitor posted speed limits. Photo by Maddy Zahn.

With an increasing number of citizens voicing complaints regarding traffic concerns, the Memphis City Council recently agreed to move forward with an increased police presence while also encouraging a lower tolerance level for infractions.

Complaints have centered around speeding, stop sign adherence and non-traditional vehicle usage such as ATVs and golf carts.

“The City of Memphis has not written a lot of traffic tickets, but unfortunately that appears like it is going to have to change,” said Alderman Chris Feeney. “This isn’t about revenue, or being punitive, it is about public safety.”

Police Chief Bill Holland indicated officers have tried to use warnings and have allowed some leeway when dealing with speed enforcement.

Under the new council directive, that tolerance level will be reduced.

“In the past, we may have just flashed our lights at you, or offered a warning when a car was going a little too fast,” said Holland. “Now those cars going 30 in a 20 will likely be looking at a ticket.”

Holland stated the enforcement efforts have been ongoing, with officers performing additional traffic patrols. In an effort to enhance those efforts, a part-time officer has been added to the police force. Justin Allen from Clark County will be joining the MPD, and Holland indicated his initial responsibilities will focus on traffic control. The department has been shorthanded with the departure of officer Jason Ketchum, and Holland said efforts will continue to replace that full-time officer as well.

The council also has discussed the possibility of adding a radar camera system that could be deployed by the department in trouble areas to help deter speeding and produce data on traffic volume and speed habits of motorists.

“We are not turning a deaf ear to citizen complaints,” said Holland. “When we become aware of trouble spots, we increase our presence there, but it takes being in the right spot at exactly the right time to catch the people responsible for the complaints.”

Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit within the city limits is 25 mph. ATV’s, golf carts or utility vehicles are allowed on public streets only by special permit, available at city hall. They may only be driven by licensed drivers and are not to exceed 30 mph regardless if the posted speed limit is higher.

Holland noted that enforcement efforts are difficult with a small force, that typically only has one officer on duty, adding that police presence performing traffic patrol normally turns into a simple deterrent rather quickly as motorists become aware of the law enforcement presence and temporarily reduce speeds or choose alternate routes.

While automated traffic controls such as radar cameras and stop sign video surveillance are not particularly popular with the public, the city council expressed a willingness to at least consider such measures.

“I’m certain I have exceeded a posted speed limit at some time or other,” said Alderman Feeney. “In doing so I could be putting the public safety at risk. So I have a choice, I can either slow down and monitor my speed better, or I can risk paying a ticket.”

The council is hoping the community chooses the first option, but is anticipating it will take more of the later for the initiative to hit home and start to sink in for motorists.

Area Students Named to MU Dean’s List

Several area students were named to the University of Missouri spring semester 2017 dean’s list.

Kathryn Mary Howard of Memphis has been named to honor roll. Howard is a senior student.

Samantha Rachel Tobler, a senior, was named to the 2017 dean’s list for the spring semester.

Jaclyn Wiggins, a junior student in the arts and science school, was named to the honor roll as well.

More Than $988 Million in Unclaimed Property Waiting to be Returned  Statewide

JEFFERSON CITY – State Treasurer Eric Schmitt on June 15th announced the start of an annual effort to return Unclaimed Property to Missourians by publishing the names of owners in Missouri newspapers. Starting June 16, the names of more than 145,000 individuals, families, small businesses, and non-profits with Unclaimed Property will be printed in more than 100 publications across the state.

“Our team works hard every single day to financially empower Missourians by returning the money they are rightfully owed,” Schmitt said. “One in ten Missourians have Unclaimed Property, and this public awareness initiative is one of the many creative ways we work to get abandoned money back to its rightful owners. I encourage all Missourians to visit ShowMeMoney.com to see if they or someone they know has money waiting to be claimed free of charge.”

Missouri law requires these notices be published annually in order to list the names of individuals whose Unclaimed Property valued at $50 or more has been turned over to the State Treasurer’s Office in the past year.

Individuals, families, small businesses, and others can check to see if they have Unclaimed Property on ShowMeMoney.com. They can also sign up for email notifications when new assets come in matching their information and send notifications to family and friends to let them know about money being held in their name.

Treasurer Schmitt has returned more than $13.5 million to over 50,000 account holders since taking office in January. The average Unclaimed Property return is around $300.

Fireworks Season Will Run June 20th – July 10th in City of Memphis

As the Independence Day holiday approaches, the Memphis Police Department is reminding city residents of ordinances related to the discharge of fireworks in city limits.

Fireworks may be discharged from June 20 – July 10th from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. That coincides with the permitted sales period.

Fireworks are prohibited on public property, including parks and the municipal lakes. It is unlawful for any person to discharge any fireworks within the city limits of Memphis, except upon their own property or upon property whose owner has given his/her consent. It is also illegal to recklessly discharge fireworks in such a manner that the explosion of the same will be likely to endanger or cause injury or damage to any person or property within the city limits of Memphis.

Any person violating any of the provisions of the city’s fireworks ordinance shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine not exceeding $500 or by imprisonment in the City or County Jail not exceeding ninety 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment; provided, that in any case wherein the penalty for an offense is fixed by a Statute of the State, the statutory penalty, and no other, shall be imposed for such offense.

Memphis Man Facing Charges Following Motorcycle Crash

A Memphis man is facing numerous charges following a motorcycle crash on Route MM Tuesday evening.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the accident occurred at 7:30 p.m. on June 13th, a half mile south of the Highway 136  intersection, just south of Memphis.

Russell B Matthew, 34, was southbound on Route MM on a 1993 Suzuki 500 motorcycle when the vehicle ran off the right side of the roadway and overturned. Matthew sustained moderate injuries in the crash. He was transported via patrol car to Scotland County Hospital.

Matthew was ticketed for driving while intoxicated, no valid license, leaving the scene of an accident, child endangerment, failure to wear approved headgear and failure to drive on right half of the roadway.

The Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Memphis Police Department and the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office.

Large Hail Storm Pounds Scotland County

Chrissy Myers put the hail to the ruler test, topping out at two inches in diameter.

Some brief power outages and several downed tree limbs  were all that law enforcement had to report following Saturday’s severe weather that hit northeast Missouri, but the real damage reports started rolling in Monday at local insurance offices.

The National Weather Service reported “Severe thunderstorms tracked across eastern Iowa, northeast Missouri, and north central Illinois Saturday afternoon and evening. Large hail, torrential rain, and damaging winds up to 65 mph were reported.  Very large hail fell in Muscatine, IA and Antioch, MO, where golf ball and baseball size hail was reported respectively.”

The heavy rains and high winds did minimal damage in Scotland County, but hail ranging in size from golf ball to as big as baseballs, was reported, leading to hundreds of claims for hail damage to vehicles, homes and businesses.

Local insurance agents and auto body repair specialists indicated it is too early to offer a  solid estimate for storm damages, but several speculated that with anywhere from 300 to 500 damaged vehicles and a smaller number of hail damaged homes and businesses, the total could easily eclipse $1 million.

At approximately 7:15 p.m. Saturday evening, the frozen precipitation hit the City of Memphis. Trained storm spotters reported hail up to two-inches in diameter, with reports and photos of larger bundles of ice making their rounds via social media.

Kris Lister collected this assortment of hail stones at his Memphis residence on Mi-Lor Street.

The storm continued east, with similar damage reports out of Kahoka and Clark County around 7:45 p.m.

More than 2 inches of rain was reported during the storm, with the hail dissipating as the storm left Missouri, but still resulting in significant rainfall in southeast Iowa and eastern Illinois.

Fundraisers Planned for Future Home of Pheasant Airplane

A series of fundraisers have been planned for a local effort to construct a permanent home for the historic Pheasant Airplane. Three separate summer events have been planned by the committee to help secure funds to construct a building on the south end of the east side of the Memphis city square.

Volunteers will be providing the lunch services during the Keith family auction to be held July 1st.

A quilt made by the late Zelda Keith, and donated by her family to the committee, will be raffled off later this summer. Tickets are on sale now for the benefit quilt auction, with the winner to be drawn on Saturday of the 2017 Scotland County Antique Fair.

Tickets will be available from committee members. Secretary Peggy Brown said the committee plans to display the quilt at various area businesses leading up to the raffle, with tickets available at those locations as well.

The group is also planning to host a ham & bean supper in October.

Proceeds from all three events will go into the construction fund. Donations may be mailed to the Scotland County Historical Society – Pheasant Airplane, at PO Box 263, Memphis, MO 63555.

Gorin Man Killed in One-Vehicle Crash in Clark County

A Gorin man was killed and two passengers in his vehicle were injured just after midnight on Sunday morning in a crash in rural Clark County.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, William C. See, 24, was westbound in a 2013 Ford F250 truck on Route D two miles west of Neeper, when the vehicle became airborne at the crest of a hill. The truck ran off the right side of the roadway, overcorrected, and then ran off the left side of the roadway before overturning multiple times. See was ejected from the vehicle. He was pronounced deceased at the scene by Clark County Coroner Ed Wilson.

Two passengers in the truck were injured. Reid R. Harris, 22, of Muscatine, IA sustained serious injuries. He was transported by Clark County Ambulance to Keokuk Area Hospital in Keokuk, IA. Luke A. Sedore, 19 of Alexandria, sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

The Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Clark County Sheriff’s office, Clark County first responders and the ambulance service.

Memphis Red Hats Meet at Keith’s Cafe

The Memphis Red Hats met on Wednesday, June 7th at Keith’s Café.  Hostess Barb Creath gave a reading about veterans followed by funny experiences of people.

Those attending were Vera Monroe, Nancy Eaves, Jean Walker, Shirley Ruth, Marlene Cowell, JoAnn Rood, Nelda Billups, Benjie Briggs, Pat Wiggins, Barb Creath, Marcine Evans and guest, Conner Wiggins.

Marlene Cowell will be the July Hostess.  The meeting will be on July 5th at 5:00 p.m. at the Catfish Place in Arbela.

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