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'Ric Flair' attends Chiefs training camp

If you were at training camp Tuesday, you might have seen a guy walking around who looked a lot like wrestling legend Ric Flair.

Standing in his vicinity, you will even have heard some of Flair’s most famous quotes. Why would Flair be attending the Chiefs training camp?

As it turns out, the man behind the mullet is Todd Garrison, a devoted Chiefs fan.

“This is my way to show my appreciation for the greatest team in the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs,” the impersonator said. “It is going to be a great season this year, it is going to be a heavyweight season, let’s just put it that way.”

As it turns out, this isn’t the first time Garrison has donned the Flair attire in support of the Chiefs.

“I went to eight games last year. I went out to the Los Angeles Chargers game last year believe it or not,” Garrison said. “I wore the whole outfit on the plane and everything. People loved it.”

Garrison certainly is committed to the act. He took his persona to the coldest game last season, where the temperature was 11 degrees.

“I will tell you what, that Colts playoff game was really cold. I thought I was going to die,” he said. “I was fine moving around, but when I was waiting in line to get in the stadium it was dire.”

Garrison’s “championship belt” was given to him by his son, and his boots have been with him the entire journey of his character. The “C” stitched on his chest he handcrafted himself.

And he is giving coach Andy Reid the green light if he ever needs help from a former wrestling superstar.

“I am ready. I have hands, return specialists would be for me. I used to run a 4.5,” Garrison said.


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County, state work to ensure farm-to-market road access

RUSHVILLE, Mo. — Despite heavy flood damage in some spots, local and state officials are expressing confidence that lower-volume roads used by farmers will be ready for harvest.

The two members of the Buchanan County Commission responsible for road maintenance told News-Press NOW that upkeep has increased in the wake of this year’s flooding.

“We think we’ve got most of the gravel roads in shape,” said Eastern District Commissioner Scott Burnham, who said just over 20 of the roads under his jurisdiction were under water during the height of the flood. “All are back open.”

The chip seal process crews rely upon to keep water from reaching beneath the pavement has been delayed from its normal season by one month, according to Burnham, who said it’s likely that work will now start in August and last into October.

Burnham’s district includes roads that border the Platte, Third Fork of the Platte, and 102 rivers.

Western District Commissioner Ron Hook said roads around Sugar Lake are once again accessible. Yet S.W. Mud Lake Road — located in an area between Rushville and Winthrop, Missouri — remains closed.

“Everything else is getting graded and (having) silt removed,” said Hook. “We’ll have all the roads in shape before harvest.”

Tonya Lohman, maintenance and traffic engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation Northwest District in St. Joseph, said the state assists counties and communities to ensure all relevant reports on flood-damaged roads are forwarded to state and federal emergency management authorities toward procuring repair funds. Bridges are included in those assessments, which feature inspections by MoDOT dive teams of the underwater structures and surrounding ground.

Yet the ability to further the process remains on hold in some parts of the region.

“You have to wait until the water recedes,” Lohman said. “In Buchanan County, we don’t look too bad.”

U.S. Highway 59 between St. Joseph and Atchison, Kansas — one of the crucial arteries for Buchanan County farmers — has suffered several bouts of flooding this year. Most of the work has involved restoring highway shoulders washed away by the water.

The state relies on a work plan to treat the lettered routes in the counties, said Lohman. The plan covers such tasks as patches, hot mix and culverts.

“We’re just going to patch and maintain the low-volume roads” prior to harvest, she said. “Our goal is to make them safe and passable.”

A high mark of 30 roads were closed at one time or another in Holt and Atchison counties.

“We still have roads that are still covered,” she said, adding that it remains uncertain when the waters will completely recede.

The farm roads in those and other counties suffered pock marks from debris such as fuel storage tanks rushing along with the water. Crews had to remove sand and corn stalks among other debris from the roads, Lohman stated.


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Missouri sees decline in opioid overdose deaths

The opioid and overdose crisis is continuing to be a problem in all states, including Missouri.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently posted data showing a decrease in overdose related deaths across the nation. However, this is not the case in Missouri.

Missouri still is seeing a climb in overdose deaths, but as of this year, there have been fewer opioid-related deaths.

The Northwest Region of Missouri had 13 overdose related deaths in 2018, nine of those were opioid related. This year there have been eight, with only two being opioid related.

Nancy King, a health educator with the St. Joseph Health Department, said that all states need to be cautious with the data and still work to make it a steady decline.

“It’s encouraging to see after many years of dealing with this issue that there’s starting to be a decline in deaths, but we can’t just go off one year and think that it’s going to be better,” King said.

King said Buchanan County is fortunate to have a variety of agencies working to stop this crisis on a daily basis. Some of these agencies are St. Kolbe-Puckett, St. Joe Metro Treatment Center, Family Guidance, Northwest Health Services and Narcotics Anonymous.

“We have so many agencies and people that are invested in trying to create a better community and reduce substance abuse,” King said.

The numbers are going down for opioid deaths, but not overall, which makes King and agencies eager to use more tactics.

One way that King suggests to help is continuing to expand the distribution of NARCAN nasal spray, to help reverse an overdose.

“There’s been a big push across the country for first responders to use NARCAN to help with overdoses to help save lives,” King said.

Agencies are continuing to use aggressive tactics to address the opioid and overdose crisis happening across the country until a steady decline is seen.

Anyone looking for more information on the topic is urged to visit the task force website addictionhelpnow.info.


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What is the future of the I-229 bridge?

The interstate designation for the double-decker bridge that runs along St. Joseph’s riverfront has existed the last four decades, and that designation may be removed in the next 10 years.

Calculated with standard deviation, the top five plans voted on by the public were: no build — keeping the bridge as is, ranked No. 1, and knocking down the top deck (northbound lane) and adding two lanes to the lower deck — creating four lanes, came in second. Third and fourth were two plans that ran a new bridge across the Missouri River.

The fifth option would take away the interstate designation and place a parkway in its place.

The Missouri Department of Transportation has taken that input from the community and is now in the process of creating alternative plans, which will be presented to the public in the fall or winter, according to Shannon Kusilek, MoDOT District Planning planner.

“The no build option, or the rehab existing is going to move forward,” Kusilek said. “And at this point, I think that’s the only alternative moving forward that would keep the interstate designation.”

When developing plans, Kusilek said MoDOT considers a host of topics.

“Traffic, to freight, to safety, to environmental concerns, to riverfront development, you know, land usage,” Kusilek said.

Of the alternative plans, he said the parkway/boulevard idea that would run along the riverfront could connect with Waterworks Road.

The chief plan of the alternatives will be viewed by the Federal Highway Administration next summer. They have the ultimate decision on the matter. Although, if the interstate designation is removed, then future decisions would be out of their hands.

The no build/rehab design would only extend the double-decker’s life by 20 or 30 years. The double-deck portion of I-229 was initially constructed between 1977 and 1986.

The community in St. Joseph voted on the future of I-229 at the Remington Nature Center in April, and then the survey was opened up to the public online afterward.


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