NEW ORLEANS — Thousands more bedraggled refugees were bused and airlifted to salvation Saturday, leaving the heart of New Orleans to the dead and dying, the elderly and frail stranded too many days without food, water or medical care. No one knows how many were killed by Hurricane Katrina’s floods or how many more succumbed waiting to be rescued. But the bodies are everywhere: hidden in attics, floating among the ruined city, crumpled on wheelchairs, abandoned on highways.
WASHINGTON — Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist died Saturday evening at his home in suburban Virginia, said U.S. Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg. A statement from the spokeswoman said he was surrounded by his three children when he died in Arlington. He was 80.
As gas prices soared to nearly $3.20 a gallon Friday, many Columbia residents have resorted to hoarding gas, causing a run on the local supply of gas containers. “They’ve been selling as fast as I can get them in,” said Tracy Lakey, manager of the Tire and Lube Express at the Wal-Mart Supercenter on Conley Road. “Customers have been asking for them all day.”
Columbia hospitals were compiling lists on Saturday of volunteer health care workers willing to help staff a medical shelter in the Gulf Coast region, according to the Missouri Hospital Association. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is establishing 40 medical centers to help hurricane survivors, and Missouri hospitals are prepared to provide additional staff if necessary.
For approximately 300 years, residents of the New Orleans area have been struggling to keep their heads above water. The city’s landscape, on average, falls six feet below sea level. Levees, man-made constructions of clay, silt or sand, are built to protect residents from the surrounding bodies of water — Lake Pontchartrain, the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River. In 1726, these levees ranged from four to six feet tall. By 1858, there were more than 1,000 miles of levees, up to 38 feet high, surrounding New Orleans. In 1926, the Army Corps of Engineers declared that future floods were preventable. Yet flood waters continue to cause damage. Hurricane Katrina is one of five debilitating hurricanes in the past 60 years to challenge human resilience in the city nicknamed “The Big Easy.”
The Boone County Office of Emergency Management is relaying rescue information to the U.S. Coast Guard. Since the disaster struck last week, the office has received more than 20 calls from local residents with information about hurricane victims in need of emergency rescue.
The city of Columbia could send up to four firefighters and four sanitation workers to help in the disaster area. City Manager Ray Beck said his office is examining city ordinances to see whether the City Council needs to amend them on Tuesday to send workers out of state.
Missouri officials are seeking unoccupied housing in attempt to provide shelter to hurricane refugees. “We are doing a survey right now of developers, but so far it looks like we have identified 267 units throughout Missouri that would be available,” said state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who is also chairwoman of the Missouri Housing Development Commission. Income limitation requirements and non-transient requirements for qualified low-income housing projects have been temporarily suspended nationwide.
Westminster College in Fulton is offering to cover tuition and housing for up to 20 students displaced by the hurricane. At least one student evacuee will begin classes Tuesday and two others will start Wednesday, the college reported. As of Friday, seven students had inquired about enrollment. The college’s contribution is $8,385 per student, including a semester’s worth of tuition and housing.
The Army Reserve has established a new call center for reservists and their family members. The toll-free number is 877-464-9330. From a military phone, call DSN 367-9330. Phones were to be staffed 24 hours a day.
With the rise in gas and oil prices from the war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina, Missouri residents also can expect a rise in their heating bills. Ameren UE, the natural gas distributor for Columbia, filed a request in mid-August with the Missouri Public Service Commission to increase the Purchased Gas Adjustment, or PGA. This adjustment makes up about two-thirds of an average heating bill. It is determined through market conditions of supply and demand. The rest of the bill is regulated by the commission.
The Boone County chapter of the American Red Cross on Saturday issued a call for help to anyone interested in assisting the victims of Hurricane Katrina. About 70 potential volunteers filled a small room at the Boone Electric Cooperative building on Range Line Street for an information session on how they can get plugged into local and on-site relief efforts.
A woman was in critical condition at University Hospital on Saturday after sustaining injuries in an automobile accident near Exit 117 on Interstate 70 on Friday afternoon. Erin Allen, 23, of St. Louis, was traveling east at about 2 p.m. when her car went into the median, said Capt. Gale Blomenkamp, a spokesman for the Boone County Fire Protection District.
Researchers at MU’s College of Veterinary Medicine received a $320,000 endowment diagnostics. Lab director James Cook said the gift will fund projects, personnel and equipment to diagnose arthritis early in order to treat and possibly cure it.
The Rock Bridge High School special education teacher accused of inappropriately touching a male student does not work for Columbia Public Schools anymore. Superintendent Phyllis Chase said it was her understanding that Judith Burke, 51, of Hartsburg, no longer worked for the district. Burke was on paid leave during the investigation of allegations made by a 16-year-old student. She was arrested at school last month on suspicion of second-degree child molestation.
The Boone County Sheriff’s Department and Missouri State Highway Patrol stopped 377 vehicles during a joint weekend sobriety checkpoint near Ashland. The operation lasted from 10 p.m. Friday until 3 a.m. Saturday on southbound Highway 63 at New Salem Lane. It resulted in 11 arrests: six for driving while intoxicated, one for driving with a suspended or revoked license, one for minor in possession of alcohol and three warrant events, according to a news release from the sheriff’s department.
Within a day, the local American Red Cross chapter transformed Calvary Baptist Church on Ridgeway Avenue into a shelter for Hurricane Katrina refugees. Red Cross organizers couldn’t provide estimates on Saturday of how many people have sought help at the shelter since it opened Thursday night, but Frank Barfield, a volunteer member of the local Red Cross board of directors, said 23 refugees have been sleeping in the shelter.
Nearly 30 members of a family that evacuated from New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina hit were not sure they had place to stay Friday when they headed to Columbia. By evening they had food, a roof over the heads and beds to sleep in thanks to the coordinating efforts of the First Ward Ambassadors. Nathan Stephens, ambassador of public relations, said the First Ward group secured food from local pizza restaurants and rooms at two Columbia hotels within hours of hearing the family was coming.
KANSAS CITY - This was nice. All summer Brad Smith had heard the questions in post-practice interview sessions.
KANSAS CITY - Gary Pinkel is known for coaching mistake-free, disciplined football. During Pinkel’s first four seasons as coach at Missouri, his offenses had the fewest turnovers in NCAA Division I-A football. MU allowed the least penalty yards in the Big 12 Conference last season and 10 yards to Arkansas State in its 52-20 win in Columbia last year.