Union Pacific Railroad will strengthen Illinois' and Missouri's transportation infrastructure by investing more than $20 million in the rail line between Chester, Ill., and near Scott City, Mo. The project, funded entirely by Union Pacific without taxpayer dollars, began May 31 and is scheduled to be completed by early November.
The railroad will replace 39,400 railroad ties, install 11,100 tons of rock ballast, replace a half-mile of rail in various curves and install nearly 23 miles of new rail. In addition, crews will renew the surfaces at 62 road crossings. The project is one of nearly 1,500 Union Pacific will complete across its 32,000-mile network this year to help improve train operating efficiency, reduce motorist wait times at crossings and enhance safety.
"Union Pacific helps link businesses with consumers, suppliers and markets across the nation and around the world," said Donna Kush, Union Pacific vice president -- Public Affairs, Northern Region. "In addition to helping move customers' goods more safely and efficiently, our investments support communities by reducing traffic congestion, facilitating industrial development and promoting economic expansion."
A new water gate recently was installed in the subsurface drainage and subirrigation system at Southeast Missouri State University's David M. Barton Agriculture Research Center.
USDA-NRCS assisted university officials in installing the system that will serve as a new tool for area producers who use drainage/subirrigation systems. The water gate is a pressure float value system, which provides water table management without the need for stoplog boxes emerging above the surface of producer fields.
With the new system, producers can ensure they can manage their soils' water tables for nutrient retention, as well as yield increases. In the past, farmers had to be cautious in driving equipment and plowing around the boxes in order to avoid hitting them, said Dr. Mike Aide, chairman of Southeast's Department of Agriculture.
Aide said the water gate already is in operation, providing water table management for a field of corn. Southeast is using the water gate to subirrigate corn by maintaining a water table at the bottom of the root zone. Aide said this is the first large-scale field having these subirrigation applications anywhere.
University researchers will test and monitor the performance of the gate for a year, evaluating it during both drainage and subirrigation, Aide said. USDA-NRCS will assist Southeast with the testing.
Big River Telephone reached its goal for the number of units it wished to collect during last week's blood drive. The drive took place June 3 at Jat Big River's Cape Girardeau office.
The blood drive was open to Big River employees and the public. Enough blood was donated to save the lives of many. The drive consisted of a few walk-ins that spotted the American Red Cross bus at the Big River office and also donors that heard the drive advertised on the radio. All donors who participated were given an American Red Cross T-shirt. The need for blood is very high and Big River is appreciative of everyone who was able to attend.
Michelle Johnson with the American Red Cross spoke with Lauren Dirnberger, marketing associate of Big River Telephone, and said, "A big, huge 'Thank You' to you and your company. Fifty-one lives could be saved from your donations. We are especially grateful that you help us during the month of June. We are starting into the season that we struggle to collect enough blood, so your timing is wonderful."
Scott City, Mo.