Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Wakefield Bridge Replacement Starts First Week of January

Starting the first week of January, and lasting approximately 3 months, the Wakefield Bridge will close for demolition and reconstruction. The bridge is located on Wakefield Ave near the power plant, and crosses Richland Drainage District Ditch No. 4. Wakefield Ave will be closed to through traffic from Euclid Ave west to State Route BB/Brown Spur Rd. Access to the power plant and residences along Wakefield Ave will be maintained throughout the project.

Throughout Missouri, bridges are inspected every two years by MoDOT. After the most recent inspection of the Wakefield Bridge, the load limit was reduced from 40 tons to 10 tons due to deteriorating conditions caused by wear and tear on the bridge structure. The total replacement of the bridge is projected to cost $407,000, and 80% of that money is coming from MoDOT/FHWA Surface Transportation Program grants. The remaining $81,400 is coming from City of Sikeston funds.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Chief Juden named President of Missouri Police Chiefs Association

Sikeston Public Safety Chief Drew Juden was named President of the Missouri Police Chiefs Association last week. Chief Juden has worked for Sikeston DPS for over 35 years, and now oversees all police and fire operations for the city. Congratulations, Chief Juden, we are privileged to have you protecting our community!

Three Rivers College Set to Open in January

I had the pleasure of touring the new Sikeston Campus of Three Rivers College yesterday. Three Rivers staff has been moving from their old building into the new one over the past couple of weeks, and students will begin attending class at the new building on January 12. Enrollment will be around 500 students this semester, and ultimately is hoped to increase to 1,500 - 1,800 students. The state-of-the-art new facility features a library, 4 computer labs, a FEMA certified safe room and more. One of the most exciting elements is the simulator lab for the nursing program, where students will learn in a simulated hospital environment using modern medical equipment and computerized dummies. See below for some pictures of the new facility.  

Front of building, pre-landcaping
Administrative offices
Atrium at front entrance
Simulator lab for the nursing program
Science lab
Science lab
Overlooking the atrium
Computer lab
Conference room (doubles as FEMA certified safe room)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Leaf Collection Starts November 17

Are you wondering what to do with all those leaves in your yard? The city’s leaf collection program runs from November 17 – December 12. Please visit our Leaf Collection Program webpage to learn where to put your leaves and what dates they will be picked up in your neighborhood. Below are pictures of the Sports Complex and our leaf machines. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

City Hall Service Project

About 30 city staff and family members volunteered an hour of time a couple weekends ago to pick up litter along Stallcup and School St. We picked up 20+ bags of trash and had a great time together. We hope to do this every month or so and make a visible difference in the community. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Building Trust Through Transparency: The New Sikeston.org

Today the city's new website, www.sikeston.org, went live. It's the same web address as before, but with a new modern look and lots of new information. In my job I try to build trust through transparency - with my employees, with my bosses (the City Council) and with the public. The city website helps me do that. We've been working hard to get as much information as we can up on the website, and will continue to do more. Here are some things you can find at www.sikeston.org

  • Budgets
  • Audits
  • City Council Meeting Agendas and Minutes
  • Bid and Purchasing Information
  • Document Center
  • Map Center
  • Event Information
  • City Calendar
  • Complaint Form
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Employment Opportunities
  • Community Links including the Chamber of Commerce, Historic Downtown Sikeston, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and more.
Additionally, the new website is optimized for mobile technologies like tablets and smartphones, because more people than ever use their mobile devices as their primary means to access the internet. Please check out the new www.sikeston.org; and I hope you'll find what you are looking for! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Cotton Carnival

I experienced my first ever Sikeston American Legion Cotton Carnival last night, and I have to say that it was awesome. My kids rode a bunch of rides, and we ate some deliciously unhealthy food - ribbon fries with cheese, fried Snickers, and fried Twinkies! The carnival is going on at the Jaycee Rodeo Grounds every evening this week starting at 5:00 p.m., and Saturday starting at noon. On Saturday morning the Cotton Carnival Parade starts around 10:00 a.m. and travels west on Malone Ave starting at Pine St. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Blazing Colors

The Sikeston Parks and Recreation Department hosts the Trailblazers Walking Club, which is sponsored by the Scott County Health Department and funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health. There is also a Jr. Trailblazers Club for kids ages 6-12. Both clubs meet at the Clinton Building and utilize the adjacent walking trail and park for activities. The goal of Trailblazers is to promote health through exercise and nutrition. Last week the Jr. Trailblazers took part in a "color run" where they jogged or walked on the walking trail, and passed through a few "color zones" where they where sprayed with colored powder! For more information on Trailblazers, visit http://www.sikeston.org/departments/parks/trailblazers.html.     

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Greenbrier Ditch Cleanout

After unusually heavy rains this winter caused some localized flooding, the city began analyzing our ditch systems for both maintenance and design issues. The first major ditch cleanout project we have taken on is the Greenbrier Ditch. Decades of tree growth and silting in of the ditch had diminished its capacity to hold and move water. The city engaged an engineer to draw up bid specs for removing the vegetation and restoring the ditch channel to its original size. Below are some photos of the progress of this project.  
This photo is taken from the railroad tracks, facing east. This is what most of the ditch looked like before work began. This portion of the ditch will be completed after the portion west of the tracks, which is shown in the remaining photos. 
This photo is taken from the railroad tracks, facing west, and shows the ditch after the initial pass clearing the trees. 

After cleaning out the debris, this is the ditch immediately west of the railroad tracks. This portion still needs to be "mopped out," i.e. have the channel and banks cleaned up and properly graded.
This is near the far western end of the ditch, where the ditch has been restored to its original dimensions and grade. This photo is taken standing at the bottom of the ditch.
This is the same portion of the ditch as shown in the photograph above, except the photo is taken from the bank above the ditch.  

This is the stilling basin where water collects after leaving the Greenbrier Ditch. Work is still ongoing here. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Public Safety Open House

The Sikeston Department of Public Safety (DPS) will hold an open house for their new headquarters building on Saturday, July 19, from 10:00 a.m. -4:00 p.m. The building will be open for tours, and several police and fire vehicles will be on display. DPS started working out of the building in July 2012, but final touches, including construction of the public parking lot, have only recently been completed. 

Below are a few pictures of the building, including a photo of the department's July 4 shift change briefing, before officers headed out to the streets for the evening shift. Thanks to these officers for sacrificing time with their families on this and other holidays to help keep the rest of us safe. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Corporate Games Completed!

I posted about the Sikeston Corporate Games previously, but since then I have participated in a few more events myself, and the games have all wrapped up. Below are photos from the fishing contest (I was skunked), the horseshoes contest (I lost both matches) and golf (where we finished a respectable 6th place). Congratulations to Orgill, who dominated the competition to win the overall championship. Pictures of the winners of each event can be found at http://www.sikeston.org/departments/parks/photo_gallery.html

Friday, June 13, 2014

Music in the Park

On Fridays in June, Historic Downtown Sikeston organizes Music in the Park, held from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. in Malone Park. There is usually BBQ for sale and some free goodies for the kids. The picture below is from a couple weeks ago. Tonight Anna Catherine DeHart will be playing. Anna is an up and coming Nashville hopeful who opened for Kenny Rogers a couple weeks ago!

Sikeston Corporate Games

Every other year, the City of Sikeston organizes the Corporate Games, a friendly competition among employers in Sikeston and the surrounding area. The costs to the city are minimal, and are mostly covered through sponsorships. Teams compete in events such as volleyball, softball, horseshoes, tennis, triathlon, canoe races, fishing, golf, and tug of war. The photo below is from Trivia Night, which sadly, the City of Sikeston team on which I competed was not triumphant. Perhaps predictably, the Sikeston Public Schools team took home the trophy! The famous dogs category really tripped us up...

Monday, May 19, 2014

Pre-Memorial Day Cemetery Walk-Through

In early May every year, a few weeks before Memorial Day, I plan to walk through the city-owned cemetery to assess its condition and ask my staff to make any needed repairs before the holiday. Our park maintenance staff, of course, is doing this throughout the year, but I want to make sure I take a regular walk-through as well. All of the lots in our cemetery have been sold for quite some time, so we have an occasional funeral service and regular maintenance needs, but we basically just try to keep the cemetery nice and tidy for mourners and other visitors. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cubs Scouts Scared Straight!

A few weeks ago I took the Cub Scouts on a tour of the headquarters for the Department of Public Safety. Sikeston has a joint police/fire department that also operates the 911 service. The scouts saw everything from the bomb squad and mobile command units, to the dispatch center, to the prisoner holding cells. 

Jaycee Crawfish Boil

We attended our first Sikeston Jaycee Crawfish Boil over the weekend. They had a free petting zoo, inflatables, and train rides for the kids, and of course live music and crawfish for everyone! This is one of the Jaycees' big community fundraising events every year, the other being the nationally famous Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo in August. http://www.sikestonrodeo.com/  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

April showers bring... April flowers!

Driving home from church today we saw these flowering trees and had to come back for some pictures. This is on Allen Blvd just south of Salcedo Rd. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Your Vote Counts!

Let me start by saying that I am biased toward local government (as opposed to state or federal government). I think as much government should be pushed down to the local level as possible. Why? Because local government services have the biggest day to day impact on constituents. Because you can get involved and make a difference at the local level. And because it is the most transparent and accountable level of government. For example, if you don't like how the city government awards a bid, you can actually talk to the decision makers. You can come to city hall and talk to me. You can call the Mayor or a Councilman. You can come to a Council meeting and make your voice heard. Compare that to the federal government. If you don't like how a contract was awarded by a federal government agency, how hard do you think it will be to talk to anyone who actually has any sway over the decision?  

Tonight was the City Council reorganization meeting, where the newly elected City Councilmen were sworn in and seated on the Council, and the Council nominated members to serve as liaisons to various city advisory boards and committees. Congratulations to Bob Depro who was re-elected to an at-large Council seat, and to John Graham who was elected as Ward 2 Representative. Did you know that one of those elections was decided by just ten votes? At the local government level, your vote really does count, and can really make an impact on the direction of your city. That's one of the things I love about local government. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Spring Cleaning

It's spring in southeast Missouri, which means flower are growing, the grass is starting to green up, and it is time for some spring cleaning! The City of Sikeston and Sonny's Solid Waste sponsor a couple of events in April and May to help residents clean up their properties and get rid of unwanted items that may have accumulated over the winter. Check out our webpage for the Spring Curbside Clean-Up, when residents can put out bulky items on their trash day and have them picked up. Also check out our Community Clean-Up webpage for information on dropping off bulky items and yard waste at the City's compost site. Those two websites list the dates of the events as well as some restrictions on certain items. 

The flower below, by the way, is part of a garden next to City Hall that is lovingly maintained by one of our employees and his wife. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Making the Most of Interruptions

As city manager, there are some days when I feel like I can't get any “real work” done because of all the other issues that come up unexpectedly and take me away from my planned tasks. I read an article this morning that helped me think differently about those interruptions. The author of the article argues that leaders should take advantage of interruptions “to lead impactfully, to set expectations, bring clarity to an issue, or infuse a problem with energy and insight.” I think that's great advice for a leader in any organization. I think it's even applicable in family life.  http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/03/turn-your-next-interruption-into-an-opportunity/

Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring Storm and Sunset

A couple sometimes under-appreciated things about living in the flatlands are storm clouds and sunsets. Tonight we were at the Complex for soccer practice when a light rain fell for about two minutes. There are numerous playgrounds scattered throughout the park, and I had the younger kids at one of them while the older kids practiced with their team. As the rain began to fall I rushed the younger kids to the van only to have the rain stop and the sun burst forth from below the clouds as it set. For a few minutes it brightly lit up the fields and produced a beautiful rainbow.