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The Mighy Mo will see rising waters once again

Heavy rains up in the northern states and potential record releases from dams and levees that lead into the Missouri River have been causing problems in Nebraska and Iowa this past week.

After already brutal spring and summer flooding periods and two federal declarations this year, another wave is making its way down south.

“And to have three federal declarations for flooding would be incredible,” Bill Brinton, emergency management director of Buchanan County, said. “It would be unprecedented.”

The 2011, record floods in Missouri were caused by the releasing of record-breaking amounts of water. In that year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers doubled the amount released per day than the most that ever had been released before. That is what will cause the rise in water levels for the third time this year and it could break the release records from 2011.

The water we have already gotten this year has just been getting close again to normal levels, and the levees have holes in them.

“If you look at it in the past month or so, the water levels have been near the old record almost all along the whole time,” Brinton said. “It is just getting back now. Like they said the other day, it could be catastrophic.”

When the flooding starts here again the most vulnerable areas are north of U.S. Highway 59. That highway had been closed for a good amount of late spring and early summer with all of the flooding the area has received.

Some neighborhoods and homes could be in danger, which is a familiar sight back from 2011.

“The main thing is that the people who live in that area, especially in Lewis and Clark Village, need to be paying attention to river levels,” Brinton said. “In 2011 they had water in their houses for 96 days.”


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'Deficit of trust': At UN, leaders of a warming world gather

UNITED NATIONS — The planet is getting hotter, and tackling that climate peril will grab the spotlight as world leaders gather for their annual meeting at the United Nations this week facing an undeniable backdrop: rising tensions from the Persian Gulf to Afghanistan and increasing nationalism, inequality and intolerance.

Growing fear of military action, especially in response to recent attacks on Saudi oil installations that are key to world energy supplies, hangs over this year’s General Assembly gathering. That unease is exacerbated by global conflicts and crises from Syria and Yemen to Venezuela, from disputes between Israel and the Palestinians to the Pakistan-India standoff over Kashmir.

All eyes will be watching presidents Donald Trump of the United States and Hassan Rouhani of Iran, whose countries are at the forefront of escalating tensions, to see if they can reduce fears of a confrontation that could impact the Mideast and far beyond. Whether the two will even meet remains in serious doubt.

“Our fraying world needs international cooperation more than ever, but simply saying it will not make it happen,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. “Let’s face it: We have no time to lose.”

This year’s General Assembly session, which starts Tuesday and ends Sept. 30, has attracted world leaders from 136 of the 193 U.N. member nations. That large turnout reflects a growing global focus on addressing climate change and the perilous state of peace and security.

Other countries will be represented by ministers and vice presidents — except Afghanistan, whose leaders are in a hotly contested presidential campaign ahead of Sept. 28 elections, and North Korea, which downgraded its representation from a minister to, likely, its U.N. ambassador. Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled plans to attend and are sending ministers.

Last week, Guterres repeated warnings that “tensions are boiling over.” The world, he said, “is at a critical moment on several fronts — the climate emergency, rising inequality, an increase in hatred and intolerance as well as an alarming number of peace and security challenges.”

With so many monarchs, presidents and prime ministers at the U.N. this year, “we have a chance to advance diplomacy for peace,” Guterres said. “This is the moment to cool tensions.”

Whether that happens remains to be seen. Many diplomats aren’t optimistic.

“It’s a challenging time for the United Nations,” said China’s U.N. ambassador, Zhang Jun, whose nation is embroiled in a protracted dispute with the United States over tariffs. “We are faced with rising of unilateralism, protectionism, and we are faced with global challenges like climate change, like terrorism, like cybersecurity.”

“More importantly,” he said, “we are faced with a deficit of trust.”

As the world’s second-largest economy and a member of the U.N. Security Council, “China firmly defends multilateralism, and China firmly supports the United Nations,” Zhang said Friday.

But divisions among the five council members — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France — have paralyzed action on the eight-year conflict in Syria and other global crises. On global warming, the Trump administration remains at odds with many countries.

This year, the U.N. has stocked the agenda with a “Youth Climate Summit” ahead of a full-on climate summit for world leaders on Monday. That’s all happening before the leaders hold their annual meeting in the horseshoe-shaped General Assembly hall starting Tuesday morning.

Guterres will give his state-of-the-world address at the opening, immediately followed by speeches from Trump and other leaders including the presidents of Brazil, Egypt and Turkey. Iran’s Rouhani is scheduled to address the assembly Wednesday morning.

The United Nations is also holding four other summit meetings — on universal health coverage, progress on the 17 U.N. goals to combat poverty and preserve the environment, new ways to finance economic development, and the situation of developing island nations on the front line of what the U.N. calls a climate emergency.

Guterres has long stressed the links among climate change, conflict and poverty.

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said data shows “how much we have to do on poverty and the other goals.” The U.N. message, she said, is simple: “It’s time to ratchet up the action that we need to have at the country level.”

Though the summit meetings are public, much of the business of the high-level week takes place behind closed doors. According to U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric, there were 630 requests for meetings in the United Nations. Hundreds of other one-on-one and small-group meetings will take place at hotels, at U.N. missions and at lunches and dinners.

Indian U.N. Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said, for example, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar will spend at least half an hour with presidents, prime ministers or foreign ministers of about 75 countries as part of the country’s “much more intensive” engagement.

On the key issue of a possible meeting between Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss the Aug. 5 decision by Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government to strip disputed Jammu and Kashmir of semi-autonomy and statehood, Akbaruddi said: “There has to be an enabling environment before leaders meet.”

“Today the talk that is emanating from Pakistan in certainly not conducive to that enabling environment,” he said.

Khan, for his part, said last week that his government will not hold talks until India lifts a curfew in Kashmir and reinstates the disputed region’s special autonomous status.

On most pressing global issues, Akbaruddin — like many others — did not paint an appealing picture.

“We meet in the context of greater competition rather than cooperation, less collaboration, more rivalry,” he told reporters Friday. “The climate — other than on climate change — doesn’t seem to be conducive for collaborative and cooperative effort. And that’s the harsh reality.”


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Nation has turned corner in energy independence

Sudden gasoline price increases can usually be explained. Last week’s uptick, for example, stemmed directly from an attack that set on fire part of a large oil facility in Saudi Arabia.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina aggravated already elevated pump prices by knocking some Gulf of Mexico oil rigs out of production. Between August and September that year, gas prices in the Midwest went up an average of 37 cents, topping out at $2.83 a gallon.

The next year, with no hurricane in sight, the prices went even higher, settling in at just below $3 for two months. Without a clear natural culprit, a poll showed that 42 percent of Americans believed the former oilman in the White House, President George W. Bush, had something to do with this inflation.

So anxious did the Republican majority in Congress become that an idea floated that spring of passing a $100 gas price rebate to at least 100 million taxpayers.

That November in 2006, Republicans in Congress suffered mightily from the consumer dissatisfaction, Democrats winning control of the House and Senate. The link between Washington and any individual gas pump seemed complete.

Times have changed. American energy producers, accustomed to playing second fiddle to imports, have experienced a renaissance.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the nation exported an average of 944,000 barrels of crude oil each day in January 2006. Last month, American producers exported an average of 8.3 million barrels daily.

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt celebrated the fact last week that the nation has put itself in a position to withstand an energy hit like the attack against the Saudis.

“The United States is setting new energy records,” Blunt said at a press conference with other GOP Senate leaders. “We’ve made real steps forward in the last three years on more American energy of all kinds.”

He listed increases in wind, solar, nuclear and other energy sources. “September and October (2018) were the first two months in 37 years where the (United States) produced more energy than we used,” the Republican senator said.

“It’s a big change in our dependence on other countries. It obviously has lots of impact on how our economy looks at the rest of the world.”

His Missouri colleague, Sen. Josh Hawley, hailed the increased capacity of the American energy generators.

“Thank goodness that President Trump has allowed our energy sector to grow,” the Republican said in a call with News-Press NOW last week.

“Thank goodness that we now have some energy independence and we’re not beholden to what goes on in the Middle East in the way that we were for decades and decades in the past.”

He cited the opportunity available for energy companies in the United States.

“We need to continue American production at full throttle,” Hawley said.

President Trump, meeting at the White House last week with Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain, said he had a conduit for lowering pump prices.

“I would call the Crown Prince and I’d say, ‘You got to help us out. You got to get some more,’” the president said. “And all of a sudden, the oil starts flowing, and the gasoline prices are down. No other president can do that. No other president was able to do that, or maybe they didn’t try.”


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Need for senior housing expected to increase

Demand for senior housing facilities will drastically increase over the next few years, according to Marcus & Millichap’s First Half 2019 National Seniors Housing Report. The U.S. population of those 75 years and older is expected to grow by 5 million people.

St. Joseph is no exception to the trend. Three new senior living communities are expected to be finished within the next one to two years to fill demand for senior housing.

JES Holdings has begun construction of Woodbine Meadows, a 48-unit senior housing complex for individuals 55 and older, at 102 S. Woodbine Road next to Suddenlink.

New York developer Calamar hopes to build a senior housing complex on North Village Drive. The developer is in the process of purchasing five acres of land east of the YMCA north campus from Buchanan County, where it plans to build a 134-unit living community.

Catholic Charities Kansas City-St. Joseph has broken ground on St. Charles Place, a 38-unit senior housing complex at 3240 Pear St. Both St. Charles Place and Woodbine Meadows offer low-income housing and are funded using tax credits from the Missouri Housing Development Commission.

Catholic Charities Chief Executive Officer Chris Ice said the need for low-income housing is felt across the board.

“There’s no doubt that affordable housing is a major issue nationwide,” Ice said. “You can see the heightened need with the homeless that are on the streets. What you don’t see is those elderly that are struggling to find affordable housing, and that’s what we’re targeting.”

According to the National Council on Aging, over 250 million Americans ages 60 and older are economically insecure, meaning they live at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level ($29,425 for a single person).

“It’s mostly a factor of people just not having the income to continue to sustain any types of living,” Ice said.

Another factor is the changing family model, according to Ice. Although the number of multigenerational households is rising, not every senior has family who is able to care for them.

“Some of these seniors may not have local family members in the community anymore. We’re a pretty mobile society,” Ice said. “My grandparents moved in with my parents when they got elderly. That’s not happening in our day and age as much.”

Despite three new senior living communities coming to St. Joseph, Ice predicts there will be a demand for more.

“Just looking at our limited, subjective assessment at this point, we know that there’s two projects going into St. Joe. And we know that won’t completely fill the need,” Ice said. “I know from my conversations with the MHDC there are other locations being looked at.”

For more information about St. Charles Place, contact saintcharlesplace@dalmarkgroup.com or call (816) 298-4673.