Camp Missourinet: Day Three

It’s one above in Hell.

Michigan.

It’s six below in Jefferson City, Missouri.

As we write this, it is minus 14 in Chillicothe, minus a dozen in St.Joe and at KCI. Kirksville has a wind chill of 28 below.

Missouri has frozen over more than Hell has.

There is a certain urgency for the state and local road crews trying to clear the roads. The highlight of the entire winter social season is at risk. The idea of watching the Super Bowl alone, which means actually watching the game for some folks, is frightening. And this year the parties will assume even greater social as well as psychological value. They’ll be the first time large numbers of people can get together and try to outdo each other with blizzard stories.. So to the beleaguered road crews: Keep up your great work. Do More. The entire social fabric of Missouri could be at risk if people can’t get to their Super Bowl parties.

Sports director Bill Pollock’s car, which was featured on yesterday’s blog, is free of the snow. A wrecker winched it out yesterday.

He was able to get home to the little town of New Bloomfield, north of Jefferson City last night, and furthermore was able to get home. The Missourinet’s Ryan Famuliner will be in the newsroom for the first time since Tuesday now that the street in front of his house in Ashland is as clear as his driveway. Farm broadcaster John Perkins was able to sleep in his own bed last night after spending the night on the floor of the farm director’s office. And our general manager parted with the corporate credit card last night to let the Missourinet news director spend the night in a hotel where the bed was a lot better than the floor of the owner’s office although he waged a night-long skirmish with the motel pillows. By the time the alarm clock went off this morning, two of the pillows had been vanquished to the floor and two more were seriously wadded up.

What is it about motel pillows?

It was a nice room. The biggest problem was that the television insisted on showing the Missouri Tigers losing another road game. But not to worry. We figure they’re just saving their energy for Lawrence.

Normally, this would be the last day of the legislative work week. The blizzard trapped several of them in Jefferson City although most have been able to head home as the road crews did their work yesterday. Just because the House and Senate stopped debate on Tuesday, don’t think your elected representatives and senators have been spending their time in Jefferson City have been sitting in their offices watching Law and Order reruns. What these folks do on the House and Senate floor is probably the smallest part of the work they do. The down time caused by lack of floor sessions and committee meetings has given them time to do more constituent services, read bills, and do a lot of things they get little credit for doing when they’re not in the spotlight of floor debate. For year we have asked lawmakers to keep a record of how much time they spend in their jobs as “part-time” legislators. One of these days, some will. And some of those who are cynical of politicians might be surprised how hard they work in their “part-time” jobs.

We talked to the postal service yesterday. Valerie Hughes, who does USPS PR from STL, assured us that the mail is going through as much as possible but postal patrons could help. If they can reach their curbside boxes they might shovel the snow away from the curb enough that the delivery person can reach the mail box from the vehicle. Make sure the lid isn’t frozen shut. For people with mail boxes by their front doors, she says, it would be nice if you’d shovel off the steps and maybe clear a path to the sidewalk. She also said that mail delivery people fill another role. Most of them have gotten to know their customers and the daily contact is important in learning if everything’s okay with the customer.

We check about twenty newspapers every morning. One thing we’ve noticed in the last couple of days is a dwindling amount of crime stories. Part of it might be that those of us in the reporting biz focus so much of our attention on weather at times like this. But, after all, that’s what all of us–reporters and normal people alike–are thinking and talking about. And why should criminals want to be out in this stuff any more than the rest of us?

But we can almost guarantee you that sooner or later there will be a crime story something like this:

“Police in (fill in the blank) have arrested a man who stole (fill in the blank–probably a flat-screen TV since we’re so close to the Super Bowl) from a neighbor’s house. Detectives who made the arrest say they followed his footsteps in the snow to his home.”

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