Thursday, May 4, 2017

Wildlife adapts to extreme weather, so don't worry about the animals

We have really been having some weather in our part of the state this week.I missed a day of work at my day job Monday, because I couldn't get to it. The Gasconade River and the Little Piney Creek had covered the interstate over at Jerome and Arlington, so I couldn't get to my job in Pulaski County.

I work at a big-box home improvement store as a manual laborer, so I worked at the sister store in Rolla, closer to my place, on Tuesday and Wednesday, returning to the St. Robert store today.

One of the cats that hang around here  broke the rain gauge before the big storm started, so I don't know how much rain we got here at our place total. I finally had a chance to put a new gauge up yesterday, and I know that that from 6:30 p.m. Wednesday until it quit raining today, we received 1 5/8 inches. All this water causes problems for humans, but it also can hinder wildlife. Don't worry too much about the animals, though. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, wildlife is well adapted to the weather, no matter how extreme. Here's some more from MDC:


Regarding wildlife and flooding, MDC Furbearer Biologist Laura Conlee explained most wild animals move to higher ground when areas begin to flood.

“Many species have the ability to move to higher ground and can avoid flooding and high waters,” she said. “Although there are likely to be localized negative impacts, wildlife populations generally recover over time from these types of extreme natural events.”

MDC Deer Biologist Barb Keller echoed the same message.

“Deer and elk are pretty resilient to these types of events because they’re mobile, and in most cases, move to high ground as flood waters rise,” Keller explained. “Deer and elk are also strong swimmers and are occasionally sighted swimming across rivers as large as the Mississippi and Missouri.”

Keller added that deer fawns and elk calves would certainly be more vulnerable to extreme weather events such as flooding, but the peak timing for elk calving and deer fawning is still a few weeks away.

"Anytime we have a big rainfall event during spring, it’s never a good thing for turkey nesting success," said MDC Turkey Biologist Jason Isabelle.

“That being said, this spring’s flooding does not necessarily mean that we’re in for a poor hatch this year,” Isabelle said. “Weather over the next 4-6 weeks will still have a big influence on the success of this year’s hatch.”

Missouri fish are well adapted to flooding and MDC Fisheries Division Chief Brian Canaday noted the state’s fish populations are resilient.

“During floods, some fish move long distances, while others find refuge in local habitat such as root wads, logs, boulders, and flooded back waters,” he said.

Canaday added that fishing in Missouri will continue to be good.

“Your favorite fishing spot may look different after the flood, but the fish are still there and fishing will still be good in Missouri’s lakes, rivers, and streams,” he said.

As waters recede over the next few days, MDC staff will continue to assess impacts of flooding at MDC facilities, conservation areas, hatcheries, and accesses.

Before visiting conservation areas around state, check the MDC website for area closures due to flooding under CHECK FOR CLOSINGS at mdc.mo.gov.
 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Changing lives out here in flyover country

Out here in the middle of no where, or as we like to say, the middle of everywhere, there is some life-changing science going on.
The Missouri University of Science and Technology is a news-making school, and there is more good news coming out of that campus now.
Here's a recent announcement about a new technology that uses glass to heal wounds. That's right, glass to heal wounds.

A glass-based wound care product that emerged from research by a doctoral student at Missouri University of Science and Technology has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for human use and is now available on the commercial market.
Steve Jung laid the groundwork for the Mirragen Advanced Wound Matrix while earning a master’s degree in ceramic engineering and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at Missouri S&T. Jung is now chief technology officer at Mo-Sci Corp., a Rolla specialty glass manufacturer that continued the product’s development in collaboration with ETS Wound Care, also of Rolla.
“The recent FDA approval is a significant milestone,” says Chad Lewis, president and CEO of ETS Wound Care, a subsidiary of Engineered Tissue Solutions. “We’re opioneering an entirely new therapeutic option for wound care.”
The Mirragen Advanced Wound Matrix is a wound dressing solely composed of microscopic glass fibers and particles that are absorbed by the body. Both flexible and moldable, the wound dressing can be easily customized, while its fiber structure allows Mirragen to absorb fluid from the wound site and facilitate healing.
Keith Strassner, director of the university’s office of technology transfer and economic development, calls the new wound care product a successful example of the real-world benefits of academic research.
“The Mirragen story perfectly illustrates how federal support of university research can translate into broader economic and social benefits,” he says, noting the early support of Jung’s work by a U.S. Department of Defense grant. “Then, we were able to create a strong partnership with Mo-Sci and transfer the technology to allow the company to make the necessary investments in its commercialization and the regulatory approval process.”

The inventor, Steve Jung, is a Rolla City Council member. Mo-Sci was founded by Dr. Delbert Day, the inventor of glass bead technology that has developed into a number of products. His son, Ted Day, is the Mo-Sci CEO who gave the initial seed money for the newly opened Delbert Day Cancer Institute. Ted was also a member of the hospital board and its chairman. Keith Strassner is ending a 15-year run on the Rolla Board of Education.
The point I am making is that not only is S&T changing lives, its people are important servsnt-leaders in our community.
And this blessed life is nestled here in the Ozarks.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Watching a V of geese flying north

When I stepped off the back porch this morning just after 5, I looked up and saw the sky was clear and the stars were shining, at least in the west, my direction of travel for the next 30 minutes or so to get to my day job. The ground was soggy for we had received a heavy rain overnight.
As I set my travel mug of coffee atop my car, I heard a goose in the sky to the South. I head a couple more calls. We have many resident Canada geese here, and I see them year-round at a couple of parks. Consequently, I didn't think much about it as I fumbled for my keys in my pocket with my right hand and hung onto my dinner bucket and Thermos full of coffee in my other.
Then, the goose conversation picked up and was coming in my direction. I looked up and a beautiful big V of geese glided north directly over me. The motion-activated porch light was still on, and the light from the two bulbs lit up the birds' undersides.
They weren't real high, well above the top of the persimmon tree, but not way up there in the darkness.
They made a beautiful sight, and in my morning prayer on the way to work, I thanked the Lord for the opportunity to see the birds, and I thanked Him for the seasons and His creation.
At work, I was telling some co-workers about the geese when Justin, who produces his own outdoors show for local television, said, "Did you notice that one side of the V was longer than the other?"
"Yeah, why is that?" I asked, expecting a semi-scientific answer from a man I consider an outdoors expert.
"Because one side has more geese in it than the other," he said, grinning.
I laughed. We all laughed and shook our heads. And it wasn't even April Fool's Day.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Some snow fell last night




Here is the Rolla weather data for the 24 hour period ending at 0730, March13, 2017

Maximum Temperature:                                                              47° F

Minimum Temperature:                                                               25° F

Present Temperature:                                                                 35° F

Precipitation:                                                                             0.21"

Precipitation for the year:                                                            3.62"

Precipitation for the month:                                                         1.42"

Snowfall/Frozen Precipitation:                                                     0.7"

Snowfall/Frozen Precipitation for the 2016-17 season:                   3.5"

Snowfall/Frozen Precipitation for the year:                                    2.6"

Snowfall/Frozen Precipitation for the month:                                 0.7"

Relative humidity:                                                                      93%


S.R. Fraley
NWS Co-Op Observer

Saturday, March 11, 2017

I look forward to Sunday School

It is Saturday morning, and the temperature is below freezing. Snow and ice are reportedly on the way. It looks like I might miss Sunday School tomorrow. If it is too bad, they will cancel the service, but if it looks the least bit hazadous, I will stay home and read the Bible and listen to bluegrass gospel.
I hope to get to Sunday School and church service, though, for in many ways and for many reasons, my favorite day of the week is Sunday, and Sunday School is about my favorite hour of the week.
"Adult Men" is the name of the Sunday School class. We are all older adult men. At 63, I think I am the youngest. The others are even more wizened. They are farmers who are still farming or ranching, retired mechanics and other men who have worked, and worked hard. One is a retired engineer who was a general in the National Guard. They are all veterans of the military. They are all patriots. They all love and take care of their families. They all love their church.
To my way of thinking, they are the perfect examples of Christian men. I've run across some teaching and preaching on the Internet, though, that would disqualify them from heaven.
They new Christianity is pacificism, and the new teaching is that anyone who has served in the military has put empire before Jesus. That is error, in my opinion.
Men, and now women, who serve in the military do so to protect liberty, so we can continue to serve Jesus, tell others about him, and preach about Him and his principles and share our interpretation of His principles, even when we are wrong.
Because of people who serve in the military, these new-age teachers have the liberty to preach against the military.
The new preachers and teachers apparently believe they are today's best examples of Christ-like living. I prefer the good men who are in my Sunday School class.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Weather threatens peaches and magnolia

The wind is picking up and the temperature is dropping. There is a freeze wàrning box that popped up on my phone yesterday, and the radio has been warning on every newsbreak that snow could accumulate to 2 inches and there might even be some ice.

Well, there go this summer's peaches. And there go the blossoms on my wife's magnolia tree.

Oh, well, better luck, perhaps with next year's Missouri weather.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Is Hobby Lobby coming to Rolla?

I've heard before that Hobby Lobby was coming to Rolla. I remember a few years ago, it was supposedly going in at the old Forum Plaza shopping center, in what was once the JCPenney store, followed by a Goody's store and finally, I think, a furniture store. That building has been torn down and a new, larger supermarket is there -- not a Hobby Lobby.
Early last week, I heard  from a pretty good source that Hobby Lobby was buying, or has bought, or is thinking about buying, the Kmart building. As I'm sure you've heard, Kmart is closing stores across the country.

I think this time, there is credence in the source's tip.

I don't have sufficient credible sourcing to submit a story to the editor of the local paper, but this being my personal blog, I don't feel I must have documentation. This is just a conversation between us. I'm just passing along what I heard, and you can make your own decision.

At the open house the city held last week about the blasting that will be going on for about four months to prepare the ground for the Westside Marketplace, I asked the developer about Hobby Lobby and why it was not going into that new shopping center.

He said Hobby Lobby likes to go into existing structures. "You mean like our Kmart building?" I said. He said, "That would be the kind of building they would look for, and I think your Kmart is either closed or going to be closed, so, yes, that would be a possibility."

He did not have any inside inforrmation about the veracity of the news tip I had received, but his description of the "fit" for the company and the soon-to-be-empty building added credence, as far as I was concerned.

Then just a little while ago, my wife said a friend told her that when she (the friend) went shopping at Kmart today, the check-out girl said, "Well, this place is going to become a Hobby Lobby."

That did it for me. Check-out girls know more than managers about business. I figured as soon as I heard it that the die is cast and we are going to have a Hobby Lobby in Rolla by late summer, early fall, definitely in time for Christmas shopping.

I'm not too thrilled by that. Hobby Lobby will harm at least two locally owned businesses that I can think of, maybe three, maybe even four or five.

But the push in Rolla is for chain-owned stores, not locally owned stores. That's the trend not only here, but in every Ozarks town, it seems. Rolla is a shadow of its former self, in terms of locally owned businesses that give a community character. But, I will also say that I work for a big-box chain store during the day, and I love it. Obviously, then, I am double-minded on this issue.

All I can offer is this: If we are going to get a Hobby Lobby, please continue to do business with the locally owned stores where your neighbors have invested in the commuunity, and pay taxes to support local services.




Saturday, February 18, 2017

Local university chancellor looking for a new and better job

So far, the news that Missouri University of Science & Technology chancellor Cheryl Schrader has been looking for a job has not been in the local paper, the Rolla Daily News.
She is one of three final candidates for the job as president of Wright State University in Ohio.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch posted this to its website back on Feb. 9: Missouri S&T chancellor named finalist for university president post in Ohio.
The Dayton, Ohio, Daily News posted this to its website back on Feb. 7: Wright State names third, final presidential candidate to visit campus.
On Feb. 10, the Dayton website printed brief bios of the three candidates for the job: Wright State could choose next president next week. In that report, I learned for the first time that Chancellor Schrader had been arrested (though never charged) for driving under the influence back in 2009 in Idaho. That's a serious charge, but the authorities didn't think enough of it to follow up, and her performance since has been exemplary, so I don't judge her on it.
I do wonder, though, why she wants to leave S&T. I have always heard that S&T is second only to MIT in engineering education. Even though a president's position is higher than a chancellor's position, it seems to me that she is taking a step down in campus prestige. I guess she knows what she is doing better than I.

Japanese investors buy our town's newspaper

Our town's newspaper is now owned by some rich Japanese.
According to news reports out there in cyberspace, SoftBank, a Tokyo investment company, has bought Fortress Investment Group, a New York private equity firm.
Fortress Investment Group owns Gatehouse Media, which is also called New Media Investment Group (a name that showed up after Gatehouse went bankrupt a few years ago). Gatehouse/New Media Investment Group owns the Rolla Daily News, the Waynesville/St. Robert Daily Guide and the Camdenton Lake Sun. It also owned the St. James Leader Journal, but it closed that paper in 2016.
Here's how the Boston Herald website covered the story: Massachusetts papers in 3.3B deal.
If you open up that link, you'll see how Boston University journalism professor Lou Ureneck assessed the situation for the newpapers:
The value of Gatehouse is a tiny, tiny fraction of the values (of) these companies. My sense is that it’s going to be more of the same: extremely lean news budgets and an emphasis on improving profit margins by reducing the number of reporters and editors.
I would be shocked if there was any reinvestment in these organizations as a consequence of this ownership change. … If Fortress remains in the driver’s seat with Gatehouse Media, we’ll see this continued policy of squeeze, squeeze, squeeze.
Maybe this is why my hours—I work as a part-time local government reporter for the Rolla Daily News—were cut from 20 to 14 per week this week.
As with everything nowadays, this financial transaction has been linked to President Donald Trump by the bigwig, fancy-pants news media. Here's a report on the Boston Business Journals website, Japanese firm to buy Gatehouse parent company for 3.3 billion.
What a hoot!
I came to work full-time for the Rolla Daily News way back in the previous century on Aug. 1, 1984. My title at that time was "assistant city editor" and I worked for Stephen E. Sowers, who was the combination city editor and managing editor. He was in charge of the news/editorial side of the paper. His two brothers handled advertising and business. They and their mother owned the paper, which was started by Edward Sowers, the patriarch of the family. Mr. Sowers had passed away a couple of years before I went to work at the paper.
Then a couple or three years later the Sowers family sold the paper to American Publishing Co., which was part of a Canadian operation called Hollinger, which was owned by Conrad Black, a rich British lord or baron or some other kind of hobknobber.
Over the years, the company changed from American Publishing to Liberty Group Publishing to Gatehouse. Through all of those names, the company has been kind of a dairy operation, I think, more about milking cash from the herd of cash cows across the country than with reporting news.
Back in the days of the Sowers family ownership, some townspeople (not all, of course) complained about the family, especially my boss, Steve. The complainers said the community newspaper needed a new owner. They got a series of new owners, so I hope the townspeople are happy. I suspect, though, that a lot of the old-timers are wishing for the days of Steve and the Sowers family.
When I left my full-time job at the paper in December 2004, I wrote my final column and thanked Steve and the Sowers family. I referred to the then-current owners as a bunch of piss ants. I went back to work part-time in September 2010 and am still hanging on at 14 hours a week. I'll keep my opinions about all this to myself, though you are free to draw your own inferences.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Weather update

The temperature here at 4:45 a.m. is 31, although a Springfield television station is reporting our temperature is 27.