July 7, 2015

More rain, flooding this week means more danger for drivers

More rain this week means more flooding, and more danger of getting caught in a flood while driving.

Emergency responders and experts recommend never driving into high water, and avoiding driving at night when flooding is possible.  (photo courtesy; National Weather Service)

Emergency responders and experts recommend never driving into high water, and avoiding driving at night when flooding is possible. (photo courtesy; National Weather Service)

Flash floods cause more deaths in the U.S. than any other weather phenomenon and more than half of those deaths are vehicle-related. Some deaths have already occurred in flash floods in Missouri this year and more flooding is happening with repeated rain this week.

Connie Burnham with the University of Missouri Extension says once a person is caught in a flash flood while driving options are limited, but getting out of the car is recommended.

“From there you just hope that you’re going to be able to either ride it out where your vehicle is going to stay upright and it’s not going to cover it, which it could, or that you’re going to be able to get to some kind of safety by trees and limbs that might be hanging out or something that you can grab onto that will stabilize you,” said Burnham.

She says the best thing to do is to avoid travel when flooding is possible, particularly at night when high water could be hard to see in time to stop.

“Even those roads that you’re traveling on, that you normally travel on, may become flooded very quickly,” said Burnham. “If it’s dark, you first of all don’t know if there’s a road in front of you, or you don’t know that there might have been debris that was coming with the water.”

Burnham also advises never intentionally driving into high water.

Law requires meningitis vaccinations for students of Missouri colleges

Students at Missouri colleges must now be vaccinated for meningitis under a state law that took effect July 1.

The Missouri State Capitol (Photo courtesy:  Missouri House Communications.)

The Missouri State Capitol (Photo courtesy: Missouri House Communications.)

Dr. Susan Even with the Mizzou Student Health Center says a person who develops meningitis can get sick very quickly and the early symptoms might look like a case of influenza. The infection actually causes an inflammation in the brain and spinal cord.  Even says infants, middle schoolers and 16 to 22 year olds are most susceptible to meningitis.

She says the new law makes sense for colleges.

“Young people who are in close contact with one another, whether they’re in college residence halls or in other close settings in classrooms are also at high risk,” said Even. “Parents or maybe even physicians in outlying towns across the country may not be as aware of the potential impact of a case of meningococcal disease.”

Even says Princeton, the University of California Santa Barbara and the University of Oregon have experienced meningitis outbreaks in recent years.

Missouri Capitol cornerstone re-dedicated (AUDIO)

On June 24, 1915, the cornerstone of the Missouri State Capitol was laid. In that cornerstone was sealed a time capsule that was opened last month. Today, Missouri marked that anniversary with a ceremony honoring the importance of the Capitol, and announcing what would go in a new time capsule to be opened in 2115.

(from left) Former Missourinet news director and master of ceremonies Bob Priddy, Governor Jay Nixon, Senator Mike Kehoe, Missouri Supreme Court Judge George W. Draper III, and Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin on the stage at the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the laying of the Missouri State Capitol cornerstone.

(from left) Former Missourinet news director and master of ceremonies Bob Priddy, Governor Jay Nixon, Senator Mike Kehoe, Missouri Supreme Court Judge George W. Draper III, and Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin on the stage at the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the laying of the Missouri State Capitol cornerstone.

Former Missourinet News Director Bob Priddy emceed the ceremony. He asked people in the crowd to remember that even as the previous Capitol building burned in 1911, an effort began to make some town other than Jefferson City the State Capitol.

Several power senators and other officials met that night to begin a campaign to counter that effort.

“On August 1, 1911, the bond issue went to a vote. It needed two-thirds approval. It got 75-percent for the bonds to pay for the construction of a building here in Jefferson City, the permanent state capitol city,” said Priddy. “That building, that vote, this cornerstone signifies that the seat of government would be secure to Jefferson City for as long as there is a Missouri.”

Governor Jay Nixon (D) recalled that the legislature passed, and he signed, a bill that will see the state invest $40-million in work on the Capitol. He called on present and future state leaders, including himself in his own challenge, to build on that investment and to work to preserve and protect the Capitol.

The plaque that will be placed to mark the re-dedication of the cornerstone.

The plaque that will be placed to mark the re-dedication of the cornerstone.

“A century ago those who designed and constructed this Capitol building – the third one in Jefferson City … envisioned it serving the people of Missouri for many generations, and so it has,” said Nixon. “Let’s stay true to our responsibility for both this generation of Missourians and for those generations to come after us.”

The original cornerstone was re-commemorated in a ceremony by Freemasons from the Grand Lodge of Missouri and the M.W. Prince Hall Grand Lodge. A new plaque was also unveiled, marking today’s ceremony.

Governor Nixon had invited Missourians to nominate items to be put into the new time capsule, and today he announced what those items will be.

Those will include a copy of Priddy’s book, The Art of the Capitol, baseballs autographed by the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals, an I-Phone, emblems from Ford, Chevrolet, and GMC, and a photo of the aftermath of the May, 2011, Joplin tornado.

AUDIO:  Hear Bob Priddy’s remarks at the rededication ceremony

AUDIO:  Hear Governor Jay Nixon’s remarks at the rededication ceremony

Check back with this story for a complete list of the items that will go in the new cornerstone time capsule.

Missing Rolla Teens Found Safe

The two missing Rolla teenagers have been found by authorities. The O’Fallon Police Department said they received a tip that indicated the juveniles were in St. Louis. Tania Bowman and Savannah Mitchell were released to their parents.

METADATA-START

Rolla Teens Tania Bowman and Savannah Mitchell

Authorities in central Missouri’s Phelps County were searching for the teens, who had been missing since Thursday. They were thought to be headed for St. Louis to meet someone, possibly someone involved in criminal activity.

Phelps County Sheriff Richard L. Lisenbe thanks the other law enforcement departments and the public for assistance with this case. Lisenbe says due to cooperating agencies, the case had a swift and safe ending.

SLU law Professor, Missouri Catholic Conference leader don’t expect suits seeking same-sex marriages in churches

Some religions don’t recognize same-sex marriage, and some think now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled same-sex marriage is legal, those churches could be targeted by lawsuits seeking to make them recognize or even perform such unions.

Saint Louis University Law Professor Marcia McCormick

Saint Louis University Law Professor Marcia McCormick

Saint Louis University Law Professor Marcia McCormick thinks it’s unlikely such a suit would survive a motion to dismiss, which is generally one of the first steps in response to a lawsuit.

“There’s clearly a first-amendment right that religious organization have to not be compelled to do things that interfere with their religious beliefs,” McCormick told Missourinet.

She said it is likely such a suit would have to be brought by a member of the church being sued.

“Generally speaking, people can only bring a lawsuit if they’ve personally been injured by the actions of the defendant, and it’s hard to see how someone outside of the Catholic church or even outside of a particular parish could be injured by a decision of the church unless they want to get married by that church, and really do want to get married by that church, and have asked and have been denied,” said McCormick.

Missouri Catholic Conference executive director Mike Hoey agrees with McCormick in that he doesn’t expect such lawsuits to be filed.

Missouri Catholic Conference executive director Mike Hoey

Missouri Catholic Conference executive director Mike Hoey

“I think that’s kind of a hysterical reaction,” said Hoey. “The [Catholic] church doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage and I don’t see any way that the government’s going to force priests or the Catholic Church to marry same-sex couples because it’s not part of the tenants of the Catholic Church, just like they wouldn’t force the Catholic Church to marry someone of a different faith. Those are decisions to be made by the churches themselves.”

Hoey calls such predictions an overreaction, and says when they don’t prove true, people will pay less attention to what he thinks is a real concern.

“I think the real question now becomes what’s going to happen to religious institutions that have objections to same-sex relationships?” asks Hoey. “What happens to a Catholic college that has marriage housing? Do they have to include same-sex couples, or if they don’t, do they lose tax-exempt status? What happens to a parish hall … are they now going to be forced to rent it out for a same-sex ceremony, and if they don’t, would that be considered discrimination?”