October 8, 2015

Missouri’s unclaimed property auction generates nearly $100,000

Nearly $100,000 was generated last week during Missouri’s annual unclaimed property auction. State Treasurer Spokesperson Meghan Lewis says 2,000 items were auctioned off.

A woman bids on an item at the unclaimed property auction in Columbia

Missouri unclaimed property auction

“More than 200 individuals viewed the auction lot items. So, we are pleased with the overall results,” said Lewis.

The largest single winning bid was a Rolex watch for $2,900. Other items of interest included a set of China Panda coins sold for $2,600 and a set of Krurgerrand coins sold for $2,400.

Lewis urges the rightful owners of all items auctioned off to claim their proceeds.

“Unclaimed property for these safe deposit box owners or their heirs will be held in perpetuity at showmemoney.com for them to claim,” said Lewis.

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel holds nearly $900 million in unclaimed property for about five million owners. The safe deposit box items are the only pieces sold at an unclaimed property auction. The safe deposit boxes represent less than 1% of the overall total of unclaimed property protected by Zweifel’s office.


Missouri’s fall colors expected to have good year

Missouri is predicted to have an average to above average year for fall colors. In good seasons, Missouri’s fall color slowly changes from mid-September to peak in mid-October.

Fall color on a Monroe County Farm, courtesy of the Missouri Department of Conservation

Fall color on a Monroe County Farm, courtesy of the Missouri Department of Conservation

Weather is a factor in how colorful the trees and shrubs are in the fall. The more sunshine during the day, the more red color is produced. The red and purple colors come when sugars are made during warm days, then trapped in the leaves during cool nights. If the weather is cloudy and the nights stay warm, there won’t be as much vivid red in such trees as maple, sweet gum, oak, and dogwood.

Trees lacking water during the growing season might drop their leaves before they color. If Missouri gets too cold early on, that kills the leaves before they can show off their colors.

In the fall, shorter days and cooler nights mean the green fades and yellow can be seen in such trees as hickory, ash, birch, maple, sycamore, cottonwood, and sassafras.

Resource Forrester Cory Gregg with the Missouri Department of Conservation said maple trees have the best coloring.

“Around the river bluffs is where you are going to find more maple. So that’s generally where you are going to try to focus as far as finding good fall color,” said Gregg. “In the urban areas, there’s a few other species. We’ve got all kinds of different ornamental species that you can find that have different colors. Another big one would be sweet gum.”

Gregg said sugar maple, red oak and ash trees in rural areas show the best colors, while sweet gum trees are one of the finest in urban areas.

For the best colors, Gregg said you can’t go wrong along one of Missouri’s major rivers.

“That’s probably where you are going to have a little more maple mixed in. You’ll have plenty of oak, hickory, ash and other species,” said Gregg.

Gregg expects leaves to turn colors and also start dropping heavily in mid to late October.

Annual USDA report on hunger gives Missouri a poor ranking

The US Department of Agriculture says Missouri has the second highest percentage in the nation of households without enough food to eat. USDA’s Household Food Security in the United States report finds that almost 8% of Missourians fall into the “very low food supply” category, which ranks only behind Arkansas. Missouri has an overall food insecurity rate of nearly 17%, which is tied for seventh highest in the nation.


Food bank donations

Feeding Missouri state director Scott Baker said Missouri has had similar rankings before in the USDA’s annual report on hunger. He says hunger will continue to be prevalent in Missouri until its existence is recognized and deliberate, coordinated steps are taken to address it.

“Many people just cannot understand that hunger is real in Missouri. Going hungry is not something you are going to talk about with your neighbors. It’s something that you are going to hide. It’s not something you are going to be bragging about,” said Baker. “We really think the first step in solving hunger is just the acknowledgement that it exists. It exists in every county in the state of Missouri. There are a lot of misconceptions about what hunger looks like and where it might be.”

Baker says there’s as much of a hunger problem in rural Missouri as there is in urban communities.

He says food banks in Missouri continue to be stretched in their response to the hunger problem. According to the most recent “Hunger in America” report for Missouri, nearly 60% of partner food programs in the state reported an increase in the volume of clients being served. Last year, Missouri’s food banks distributed over 122 million pounds of food to a network of nearly 1,500 pantries, shelters, and kitchens.

Search resumes for men missing from ’52 Alaska military plane crash, including two from Missouri (PHOTO GALLERY)

The search has resumed for the remains of servicemen killed in a military plane crash in Alaska in 1952. Two of those still missing are from Missouri.

Air Force Airman 3rd Class Wayne Dean Jackson of Downing (left) and Army Technical Sergeant Leonard George Unger of Gerald

Air Force Airman 3rd Class Wayne Dean Jackson of Downing (left) and Army Technical Sergeant Leonard George Unger of Gerald

Last year remains recovered from wreckage embedded in the Colony Glacier were identified as belonging to 17 of the 52 men that died when a C-124 Globemaster cargo plane nicknamed “Old Shaky” crashed into Mount Gannett on November 22, 1952. Those remains were returned to those men’s families.

Two servicemen still unaccounted for are from Missouri; Army Technical Sergeant Leonard George Unger of Gerald, and Air Force Airman 3rd Class Wayne Dean Jackson of Downing, were on that plane. Their families told Missourinet last year they hoped those men’s remains will be found.

The wreckage has been carried by the glacier to a site roughly 15 miles from where the crash occurred. It was spotted in 2012 and each summer since then, a joint military team has gone to the site to recover wreckage and any human remains that can be found. Due to the terrain and weather it is only accessible about two weeks out of the year, and only by helicopter.

Air Force Tech Sergeant John Gordinier was with the team that landed at the site Monday. He says it’s a treacherous site, with crevices in the ice that stretch down “as far as the eye can see,” on a glacier that is always moving, but he says there is good reason that in spite of the danger, teams keep returning.

“We’re always taught from day one, being in boot camp, you never leave a man behind,” Gordinier told Missourinet. “Even though it’s been 60 years, to be able to provide closure to the families, to be able to give them that sense, to give them the ability to bury and do a full honors funeral that they deserve, that’s why we do it.

“[Bringing these servicemen home is] an honor to do,” Gordinier added.

He says time is of the essence, however, as the glacier empties into Lake George. Any remains and wreckage that are not recovered could be lost if they reach the lake.

“It really, ultimately is what the glacier is allowing us to see and allowing us to collect,” said Gordinier. “There’s plenty underneath the ice still, so ultimately it comes down to what we’re able to see, because it’s not like we can go out there and just dig through the ice and look for other remains or debris.”

If the team finds any human remains, the military will begin the process of attempting to identify them.

The recovery mission is a joint effort of the Alaskan Command, Alaska National Guard, active-duty military members and civilians.

Time capsule removed from Missouri State Capitol Cornerstone

A piece of history that was hidden in the Missouri State Capitol Cornerstone in 1915 was revealed Tuesday.

A time capsule from 1915 was extracted from the Missouri State Capitol Cornerstone on June 9th, 2015.

A time capsule from 1915 was extracted from the Missouri State Capitol Cornerstone on June 9th, 2015.

Just inside the Office of Administration within the cornerstone was a time capsule, placed there during the Capitol building’s construction.

Director of Communications Ryan Burns said historical records showed where it was located, but the time capsule was actually seven feet above ground.

“There’s a stone that you can see from the exterior of the building that’s engraved, but we weren’t completely certain once we came to the inside of the building where we would be able to access that stone at,” said Burns.  “We started with an approximate location to chip away at some of the items that were blocking the limestone and the cornerstone, and then we used a concrete imaging device to actually locate where the time capsule was within the cornerstone.”

Burns said it took crews weeks to find it.

“We had contractors coming in and we had to cut through different layers of HVAC, ductwork, there was some clay tile, limestone, until we could finally reach the time capsule and cut a cavity out to remove that time capsule,” said Burns.

Burns said archivists will examine the capsule’s contents and attempt to preserve them for potential display.

“We will be taking it along to the health lab here in Jefferson City to store for safekeeping until we open the capsule,” said Burns.  “It looks to be soldered shut on the outside, so that will become part of our conversation that we have with the archivists in the coming weeks as to the best method of opening a copper box that has been soldered shut and left for a 100 years, so as to not damage or disturb the items inside.”

Burns said historical records show it includes copies of old newspapers from St. Louis, Kansas City, and Jefferson City.

“There was a Holy Bible that was inside,” said Burns.  “A copy of the laws that actually created the Capitol Commission and authorized the construction of the Capitol building.”

2015 marks the 100th Anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone.  A new capsule will replace it at a celebration July 3.

Governor Jay Nixon is urging Missourians to help pick out what should go into the new time capsule that will remain sealed until 2115.  Ideas can be submitted online at Mo.gov/TimeCapsule or on Twitter using the hashtag #MOTimeCapsule.