Emergency Management Director reflects on weekend weather

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Emergency Management Director Tony Day reflected on the weekend's winter weather during the Saline County Commission meeting Tuesday morning, Jan. 17.

Day praised MoDOT on treating the roads early on and said he thought there were no motor vehicle accidents reported anywhere in the county during the weekend.

"It wasn't as severe as they said it was going to be, which is great," Day said. "I was afraid it was going to be really busy and the ambulance was actually really slow. I mean it was quiet; which is great because usually weekends are always busy for us."

"I think that early warning had kept people in," Presiding Commissioner Kile Guthrey added.

Day agreed and said that with everyone reporting the possibility of being stranded for a few days allowed people to be prepared.

"It was actually a good thing for me," Day said. "I found some things that need to be fixed, that for something like this, we're not quite ready for."

Day said there are several assisted living homes that need better plans when dealing with a storm such as the one that was predicted. He said some have generators, and he will be talking with those that don't to assist them.

"I've got some plans for them," he added. "The propane powered generators they can get for $5,000 to do power enough to keep people in place."

He said the best bet would be to come up with a plan to keep people in place, because transporting residents would be difficult in an ice storm.

The Salt Fork YMCA was also set up to open as a Red Cross Shelter in case the storm did cause power outages. Day said he had talked with the Y about preparation and had two people set up to run the shelter if it was needed.

"It was a good feeling that when all this was coming, we did have the generator in place at the Y," Guthrey added.

Day is still working toward plans for Red Cross shelters in nearby towns.

County Clerk Debbie Russell announced that today is the last day for candidate filing, with several entities asking additional questions and needing further information. Certification will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 24.

Guthrey asked Russell to elaborate on the time frame and process for absentee voting.

Russell said there are several options for those concerned about making it to the polling place.

For those who are unable to go to the polling place, absentee voting is available via mail after an application is filled out. A family member can go to the clerk's office to fill out an application for a ballot to be mailed on behalf of that individual, and she stressed the importance of providing a valid mailing address.

"I'll try to make that a little more public, so they can be facilitated," she said. "We have four polling places available at the Martin (Community) Center and opportunity for absentee voting in the office."

"And all of your facilities have to be handicap accessible," Auditor Tara Vogelsmeier added.

Russell concluded by saying that she enjoys talking with anyone who has any questions.

"I'm never offended by any questions," she said. "We have to inform and educate people because what they see or what they think is they maybe don't know the availability of places."

In other business, Southern Commissioner Monte Fenner announced that he received confirmation from MoDOT that bridge 48 over Camp Creek will be rebuilt.

"We are very pleased that MoDOT allowed us to do that this year," he said. "This will be a total of six BRO bridges in six years."

He estimated the iron bridge was built in 1919.

The bridge is just short of a mile north of Highway 41, on the line between the Arrow Rock and Camp townships, according to Northern Commissioner Richard Clemens.

Fenner said Engineer Rich Rhodes will finalize the paperwork later in the day.

Contact Jessica Crabtree at jcrabtree@marshallnews.com

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