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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

Study: Most states lack disaster plans for kids

Thursday, 05 September 2013 02:42 Published in National News

   WASHINGTON (AP) — Eight years after Hurricane Katrina, most states still don't require four basic safety plans to protect children in school and child care from disasters, aid group Save the Children said in a report released Wednesday.

   The group faulted 28 states and the District of Columbia for failing to require the emergency safety plans for schools and child care providers that were recommended by a national commission in the wake of Katrina. The lack of such plans could endanger children's lives and make it harder for them to be reunited with their families, the study said.

   The states were: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia.

   "Every workday, 68 million children are separated from their parents," Carolyn Miles, Save the Children's president and CEO, said in a statement with the group's annual disaster report card. "We owe it to these children to protect them before the next disaster strikes."

   After Katrina exposed problems in the nation's disaster preparedness, the presidentially appointed National Commission on Children and Disaster issued final recommendations in 2010 .calling on the states to require K-12 schools to have comprehensive disaster preparedness plans and child care centers to have disaster plans for evacuation, family reunification and special needs students.

   Idaho, Iowa, Kansas and Michigan do not require any of the four recommended plans, the study found, while D.C. and the remaining states each require one or more of them.

   The number of states meeting all four standards has increased from four to 22 since 2008, the report said. The group praised New Jersey, Tennessee, Nebraska and Utah for taking steps over the past year to meet all four standards.

   Save the Children said it found gaps in emergency preparedness during a year when school shootings devastated Newtown, Conn., Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc along the East Coast and tornadoes ravaged Oklahoma.

   Miles said such disasters "should be a wake-up call, but too many states won't budge."

   A spokeswoman for the National Governors Association declined comment on the report, referring questions to the various states.

Ellisville Walmart saga continues as permits set to expire

Thursday, 05 September 2013 02:08 Published in Local News

   The conditional use permits issued for a proposed new Walmart in Ellisville are set to expire Thursday, and the fate of the project remains unclear.  

   Developer Sansone won a major court challenge to the $50 million project last week, but still has acquired only about eight acres of land and that doesn't include the Clarkchester Apartments.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that contracts Sansone had with some of the complex's nine owners expired in July, and at least two have declined to renew.  

   The city issued a building permit Wednesday and Public Works Director Bill Schwer told the paper Sansone could break ground Thursday on the property it does own.  

   But at Wednesday night's city council meeting, Mayor Adam Paul asked City Attorney George Restovich to find out if the city could legally terminate its agreement with Sansone which includes $10 million in tax increment financing approved last year, before half the council was replaced in the last election.  

   Also Wednesday night, the City Council voted 4-3 to have Restovich draft a resolution terminating long-time City Manager Kevin Bookout, a proponent of the project.  Bookout was also involved in the attempt to oust Mayor Paul earlier this year, but Paul says Bookout's termination isn't about revenge.

 

Menards plan approved for Hadley Township

Wednesday, 04 September 2013 04:48 Published in Local News

   Residents in the southern part of Hadley Township may finally know the fate of their community.  

   The Richmond Heights City Council  Tuesday night unanimously approved a plan for a $63 million Menards development.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the approval includes $15 million in tax increment financing for the redeveloper, Menard Inc., to cover some development costs.  

   The paper reports that by the end of the year, the developers plan to notify property owners of closing dates on their sale contracts.  

   The new retail development will be east of Hanley Road, between of Maplewood’s Walmart development and I-64/40.

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