Joplin officials to discuss tornado
Saturday, June 4, 2011
JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — Joplin officials are planning a public meeting Monday to hear what residents need to help recover from losses suffered in the May 22 tornado.
City Manager Mark Rohr said a public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday in Taylor Auditorium at Missouri Southern State University.
The Joplin Globe reports information about debris removal, how the tornado recovery is proceeding and what assistance is available will be provided at the meeting.
Rohr says he’s encouraging anyone who suffered damage in the tornado to be at the meeting.
The city’s van and trolley system will provide free transportation for those who need it to get to the meeting.
The city has also announced two of the city pools will offer suffering residents a chance to take a break and cool off free of charge Saturday and Sunday. They had been scheduled to open during the Memorial Day weekend but that was delayed because of the tornado.
A pool near St. John’s Regional Medical Center was heavily damaged and will be closed for the entire season.
A 31-year-old police officer who was struck by lightning while helping after the Joplin tornado has died.
Riverside Police Chief Greg Mills says 31-year-old officer Jefferson “Jeff” Taylor died Friday at a Springfield hospital, where he had been a patient since he was hit by lightning the day after the May 22 tornado.
Mills says Taylor, who was one of a dozen emergency responders from the Kansas City suburb who volunteered to go to Joplin. He says Taylor was the first Riverside officer ever to die in the line of duty.
Taylor had undergone successful skin graft surgery and was being treated for other complications when he died.
He joined the Riverside department in 2005 and was the Officer of the Year in 2008.
Some Joplin bond agents say they won’t post bail for people arrested for looting from the area devastated by the May 22 tornado.
Bond agent Don West says he and other agents don’t want to do business with people who would steal from those who lost everything in the tornado.
Debby Wingo, who manages another bonding company, tells The Joplin Globe that she’s allowing her agents to decide but she and most of her agents won’t help suspected looters.
Not all bail bond agents agree. Agent Drew Wheeler says everyone is sympathetic to tornado victims but the suspected looters are still innocent until proven guilty.
Most of the alleged looting cases are being handled as misdemeanors in municipal court.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has asked the federal government to pay the full cost of repairing public buildings and infrastructure damaged by recent floods and tornadoes.
Nixon said Friday that his request is based on the historic devastation caused by a tornado that killed at least 138 people in Joplin and flooding that swamped hundreds of thousands of acres in southeast Missouri.
In disasters, the federal government typically pays 75 percent of the cost of repairing public facilities while state and local governments pay the rest. Nixon says if the federal government won’t cover the full cost, it should at least pay 90 percent. That would be the same ratio it is paying for expedited debris removal following the Joplin tornado.
Sen. Roy Blunt also has sought full federal reimbursement.