Notes from the front lines

(Things worth a passing mention but not quite prime time material.)

 People driving past the airport at Vichy, a few miles north of Rolla, have been seeing for decades some DC-3s  parked at the far end of the runway.  The planes have been deteriorating for a number of years and a tornado in 2008 did terrible damage to them. 

It turns out one of those planes has quite a history. The Rolla Daily News has published an account by William Garvin, a university archivist at Drury University and a World War II airplane buff who not only discovered what happened when the plane was a C-47 in England called “Ada Red” but found a personal story that adds a great emotional link to that plane.

The plane is in its eighth decade of life and is in sad shape now but there have been worse examples of old planes that have been restored.  Maybe somebody will read his story from the Rolla paper and will come  up with the big pot of money to rescue this piece of history as a tribute to those who flew it–and those who jumped out of it at a critical time.


Now, on to the usual political stuff that appears in this space.  Governor Nixon has vetoed HB253 and those who believe it does not have the fatal flaws he claims are in it promise to override the veto in September.

A lot of the discussion about the absolute necessity to cut corporate taxes, an important component of the bill, focused on Missouri’s need to counteract Kansas’ big tax cuts that supposedly are sucking businesses and jobs out of the Kansas City area.  Interestingly, the governor cited a letter from a prestigious council of CEOs in Kansas City who say the bill is not needed.  It was signed by Donald Hall.  That’s a name that carries a lot of clout in that region. 

The Kansas City Star observed last Monday that the Kansas Legislature finished its session at last by seemingly admitting the huge tax cuts made last year that triggered so much angst in the Missouri legislature this year were a mistake, at least to some degree.  This year the Kansas legislature approved jacking up the state sales tax to 6.15%, almost two percentage points more than Missouri’s 4.225%.  Kansas also has reduced its state standard income tax deduction and ended some deductions for itemized  things to ease the blow to state services and institutions that were becoming apparent since last year.

Look for a discussion in September from opponents about whether the vetoed bill should be overriden in the face of Kansas apparently saying it had gone at least somewhat too far.


Bob Hunter died this week.  He was the Chief Engineer at the state highway department before it became the Missouri Department of Transportation.  The Chief Engineer was the top official in the department—although Governor Hearnes tried to have a Director for a few years.  Of course that was in the days before motorists thought 30 mpg was average and a lot of gas tax money could be raised to fuel road and bridge building.  

The department pointed out in the news release announcing his death that his 35-year career covered the years before the first concrete was poured for something called an interstate highway system (the first two projects, by the way, were started here in Missouri) to the years when interstates and non-interstate four-lane roads were everywhere.  

The Missourinet always found him good to work with and we appreciate his long service to Missouri.

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