ST. LOUIS NEWS TODAY -
Potentially Dangerous Ice Storm Looms for St. Louis Area
Renderings of forecast courtesy Accuweather.com
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), January 11, 2017 - People from Texas to Ohio are bracing for a long-duration ice storm that could turn destructive and cut power to hundreds of thousands from Friday to Sunday.
A shallow layer of cold air in the atmosphere will accompany a storm over the central United States. The storm will produce a swath of freezing rain along a 1,000-mile swath.
As the chilled rain falls on cold surfaces, it will freeze into a glaze of ice. Untreated sidewalks, streets and highways can turn into a skating rink as a layer of clear, smooth ice forms.
The heaviest rain can wash away ice-melting compounds as the storm progresses.
Preceding the main ice storm will be a period of freezing rain and sleet that affect travel in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin during Wednesday night.
"Travel is likely to be hazardous for hundreds of miles along Interstate 35, I-40 and I-70 in the Central states from Friday to Sunday," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio.
Where temperatures remain below freezing and rain falls at a heavy rate, the ice will continue to accrue for a few days. Ice of 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch thick can occur over a broad area.
The thickness of the ice will become substantial enough to weigh down trees and power lines.
"In some areas, the weight of the ice combined with increasing wind later on during the storm could bring down many trees and power lines," according to AccuWeather Lead Storm Warning Meteorologist Eddie Walker.
Cities likely to experience dangerous conditions with possible power outages include Amarillo, Texas; Wichita and Topeka, Kansas; Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri; Springfield, Illinois; Indianapolis; and Columbus and Dayton, Ohio.
"The worst conditions may be centered on portions of northwestern Texas, western Oklahoma and central Kansas, where there is the potential for about an inch of ice to encase the region followed by 30-mph winds," Walker said.
"The ice storm could rival that of late January and early February of 2002 in the region," Rossio said.
The power could be out for days in some communities of the southern and central Plains during and in the wake of the storm.
The ice storm into the weekend could have an impact on the NFL Playoff game between the Steelers and Chiefs in Kansas City, even if temperatures rise above freezing in time for the game on Sunday.
Jay Nixon State Park Offers New Backcountry Experience
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), January 8, 2017 - Missouri's newest state park offers an outstanding backpacking experience in the heart of the rugged St. Francois Mountains. Missouri State Parks has announced the opening of Jay Nixon State Park, 1,230 acres of wooded, rugged terrain that includes opportunities for backpacking with a connection to the Ozark Trail.
Located in Reynolds County, the park's rugged landscape serves as a backcountry access to the Ozark Trail, which links Taum Sauk Mountain and Johnson's Shut-Ins state parks. The park features rugged terrain and unblazed trails, making it perfect for those familiar with wilderness travel and seeking a true backcountry experience. The park also includes a rare mountaintop lake, which is home to bluegill and largemouth bass.
The property was purchased in 2015 with funds received from a Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration settlement with the American Smelting and Refining Company LLC (ASARCO). The Missouri Trustee Council, which includes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, reviewed the proposed purchase at a public meeting on Dec. 18, 2014 at Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park.
Currently, there are no facilities at the state park, which can only be accessed from the Ozark Trail. In the future, basic services such as campsites, water and restroom facilities may be added.
Bordered by Taum Sauk Mountain State Park and close to Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park, Jay Nixon State Park makes a great addition to anyone seeking a backcountry experience.
The park is named for Missouri's 55th Governor, whose support for conservation and state parks has been nationally recognized.
With the addition of Jay Nixon State Park, Missouri State Parks now offers 92 state parks and historic sites.
DESE to Grant St. Louis Public Schools Full Accreditation
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), January 8, 2017 - In one of his final public events as Governor, Gov. Jay Nixon joined St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams and area business, civic and education leaders to applaud the progress the district has made toward full accreditation.
Recently, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) announced that it will recommend that the State Board of Education grant St. Louis Public Schools full accreditation at its January 10 meeting.
The 2016 Annual Performance Report (APR) released by DESE earlier this year showed that St. Louis Public Schools' APR score improved from 43.2 percent in 2014 to 74.6 percent in 2016. Saint Louis Public Schools also showed growth in both English Language Arts and Mathematics from 2015 to 2016. St. Louis Public was upgraded to provisional accreditation in 2012 after having been unaccredited from 2006 until 2012.
"The steady improvement St. Louis Public Schools have made over the past several years is a shining example of what a community can accomplish when it comes together and commits to supporting its students and its schools," Gov. Nixon said in a release. "While we await the State Board's final decision next week, it is clear that thanks to the leadership and dedication of Dr. Adams and his team, St. Louis Public Schools have made remarkable progress and deserve to be fully accredited."
Gov. Nixon made public education a top priority of his administration. Even during tough economic times, the Governor balanced the budget every year while providing record funding for K-12 classrooms and expanding the A+ Scholarship Program to nearly every public high school in the state, including St. Louis Public Schools. Total funding through the Foundation Formula increased by nearly $400 million during Governor Nixon's tenure.
With that higher funding, Governor Nixon demanded accountability and measureable results: learning standards became more rigorous and math and reading scores improved. The high school graduation rate from Missouri's public high schools increased from 78.6 percent in 2011 to 87.8 percent in 2016 - ranking among the top 10 in the nation. The 2016 Annual Performance Report (APR) released by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education showed that none of Missouri's 518 school districts received an APR score in the unaccredited range, even as the learning standards became more rigorous and comprehensive.
"There is always more work to be done, but the improvement being made here in St. Louis is no accident - it's the result of thousands of dedicated students, parents, teachers, administrators - all pulling together to help this district succeed," Gov. Nixon said. "And you have my commitment that while my term as governor will end next week - I will never stop fighting for these schools, this region and every child's right to a quality public education."
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