A year ago today, the city of Joplin, Missouri changed. The May 22 tornado not only brought a community together to rebuild and recover, but a nation. Volunteers and donations were sent to Joplin from around the nation and from around the world. Today is a day of remembrance and reflection. Take a few moments to remember those who were lost and reflect on the lessons and triumphs of the last year.
Each individual was affected by the tornado differently. Some lost friends and relatives, other lost their home, and many endured being relocated as their school is being rebuilt. Personally, my former Spanish professor from Missouri Southern State University, Jose Alvarez, lost his life in the storm. He was one of 161 killed that evening. Today we remember them all as Joplin Remembers, Rejoices, and Rebuilds.
Ma De Lourdes Alverez-Torres
Robert M. Baker
Robert E. Bateson
Lathe E. Bradford
Leo E. Brown
Hugh Odell Buttram
Moises N. Carmona
Lois A. Comfort
Keenan K. Conger
James V. “Jim” Cookerly
Randy Edward England
Mark L. Farmer
Betty Joe Fisher
Rick E. Fox
Paul E. Haddock
Caley Lantz Hare
Judy R. Head
Kenneth J. Henson
Russell T. Howard
Wendy A. Istas
Dorothy M. Johnston
Cheryl L. Jones
Billie Sue Little
Nancy A. Martin
Jesse L. McKee
Ladonna S. McPurdy
Angelina A. Menapace
Ronald D. Meyer
Lorna K. Miller
Ray Donald Miller
Suzanne M. Mock
Doris M. Montgomery
Edith L. Moore
Georgia N. Mulkey
James Benjamin John Peterson
Lorretta L. Randell
Virgil T. Reid
Margaret E. Rowe
Judy L. Smith
Lois L. Sparks
Jefferson (Jeff) Taylor
John R. Thomas, Jr.
Margaret A. Tutt
Michael E. Tyndall
Joshua D. Vanderhoofen
Martha Jane Webb
Miles D. Wells
On May 22, it will have been one year since the EF-5 tornado that killed 160 people struck Joplin, Missouri. The city is well on its way to recovery as businesses and homes continue to be rebuilt. Over the next several day, Joplin will honor those who died as a result of the storm and look forward to a bright future. The events are too numerous to list here, including a speech from the President at Joplin High School’s 2012 commencement ceremony on Monday. However, there is a website with all the relevant events and fundraisers running from today through the end of next week.
Over the past year, Joplin has been the recipient of the kindness of thousands of volunteers. Many of the events of the next week are to thank them as well. I went home to Joplin in December and was struck by the destruction, but what struck me most was the determination of the citizens of Joplin to rebuild and the outpouring of support the city has received. I wish I could be there for these upcoming events. May 22 will truly be “1 Day of Unity” in Joplin.
From Google Maps - Clearly Show the Path of the Tornado
Over my Christmas break, I was able to go home to Missiouri for three weeks. This was my first time back in Missouri since Christmas 2010, and my first time to see Joplin since the May 22, 2011 tornado. The first thing I did when I arrived was drive through Joplin. I did not even go home first! I had to see what had happened to the city I knew so well. I was very surprised by what I saw. The debris had been removed and the rebuilding process was well on its way. Down every street there were new houses, reopened businesses and busy construction workers. It was a far cry from the images and live video I watched last May. It was great to see how the community had come together to clean-up and rebuild.
What is most shocking when visiting Joplin is the clear path of the tornado through town. Despite the rebuilding, the absence of trees and houses down most streets between 26th and 14th Streets is eerie. While in Joplin, I visited a number of the familiar sites: Joplin High School, which is currently being torn down, St. John’s Hospital, which is now being torn down, and the homes built by Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (you can watch the Joplin episode here). I visited Cunningham Park and the memorials that have built within the park remember those who died and those who volunteered to clean-up the city.
I took a number of pictures and some of them are in the slide show at the bottom of this post. However, the two images below, I think, are the most important because they best illustrate the devastation. The fist image is from Google Street view showing 20th Street before the tornado. The second image I took looking down 20th Street on January 2, 2012. The difference is astounding.
20th Street from Google Street View
20th Street Today
What was most rewarding about visting Joplin was to see first hand that Joplin is recovering. Everyday there is news of businesses reopening and families returning to new homes. Joplin is not done rebuilding, but after visiting Joplin myself, I am happy to report that the city is well on its way to recovery.
UPDATE: Be sure to read the comment below from one of the volunteers who helped construct the playground equipment pictured in Cunningham Park. He also included a link to a behind-the-scenes video of the construction of this equipment. It is volunteers like him who have helped ensure Joplin’s recovery.
2011 was a busy year for me and for this blog. The Whole Earth Blog began 2011 with a different name and changed names twice before finding one that fit. This year was better than I could have ever imagined for this blog. I started the year with barely 200 visitors a month and ended the year with well over 2,000 per month! I credit this to the expansion of the topics discussed within the blog.
The stats for the year (Views per Month)
I posted on a wide variety of topics from my continuing education, auto news, tech reviews, the retirement of the Space Shuttle program, the Joplin tornado, the SS United States, and tributes to Steve Jobs and Harry Morgan. The popularity of the blog has been on the rise and I am very proud of the variety of posts that I am able to come up with. I thought, to celebrate the end of 2011, I would share the top ten posts of the year. And they are:
10. SS United States: A Ship in Distress
9. The Apple iPad 2 Review
8. Joplin, Missouri Tornado News and Updates
7. Welcome Pottermore
6. Pottermore (Beta): A Full Review
5. Own a Pair of Marty McFly’s Shoes
4. Is the First Generation iPad a Classic?
3. The Legacy of Steve Jobs
2. Who is Laurene Powell Jobs?
1. Graduate School and the iPad
I want to thank everyone for reading in 2011 and am looking forward to 2012 as I complete my college career and enter the “real world.”
After a two year drought, Tiger Woods has won the Chevron World Challenge in style. Woods went onto the 17th hole on Sunday one stroke behind American Zach Johnson. Woods birdied the 17th to tie with Johnson for a shootout on the 18th. Woods’s birdie and Johnson’s par on the 18th was enough for Tiger to claim the victory. Tiger’s win was not surprising as he had been near the top of the leader board the entire weekend.
In interviews throughout the weekend, Tiger expressed that he felt more prepared for this tournament than he had for any other in the last two years, and it showed. Tiger’s stats were not the most steller, but they were enough. He said he felt focused and that he was looking forward to a full schedule in 2012, and I think golf fans are as well.
Joplin held a memorial service this past Tuesday, the six month anniversary of the May 22 deadly tornado, to honor those who died. The tornado destroyed one third of the city and killed 161 people. The memorial service dedicated a plaque, listing all those killed, and a memorial fountain in Cunningham Park. Speakers for the event included Joplin Mayer Mike Woolston and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. Both speakers praised Joplin’s ability to overcome the tragedy and move forward with the rebuilding process.
The city is well on its way to recovery. Many of the business effected by the storm have either relocated, rebuilt, or are in the process of rebuilding. Families effected have also began the rebuilding process. Homes have been rebuilt, including ten homes by Habitat for Humanity and seven homes by ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Joplin has benefited from the services of many volunteers who have cleanup the city and helped in the construction of these seventeen homes. The city is a shining of example of what a community can accomplish when it works together. I will be going home to Missouri over Christmas break and plan to spend a day in Joplin and visit the memorials erected in Cunningham Park. I spent many years in Joplin at Missouri Southern State University and have family there. My ties to Joplin are strong and I am looking forward to returning, if only for a brief visit.
Source: Springfield News Leader
Coca-Cola’s Live Positively program is currently giving away grants to parks around the country. There are many parks in the running, but only the top three get grants. First place gets $100,000, second place gets $50,000 and third places receives $25,000. One of the parks destroyed by the Joplin tornado, Cunningham Park, is in the running. As of July 29, the park sits third in votes! While $25,000 would go a long way, this would be a big boost to the people of Joplin. Please click the link below and vote for Cunningham Park in Joplin, MO.
Cunningham Park following the May 22 tornado
It has been two months since an E-F5 tornado destroyed approximately 30% of the city of Joplin, Missouri. In the last month, the death toll has, sadly, risen to 160 as one more victim died in an area hospital. The city of Joplin took a major step forward in the rebuilding process this week, however, when the city announced it was going to begin issuing building permits. After the tornado, the issuance of building permits was put on hold for private property in many residential areas until the cleanup efforts reached a substantial phase. The Joplin Globe reported this week that 80% of the debris has now been removed. This is due to the extraordinary efforts of the Corps of Engineers and thousands of volunteers who have put in countless hours over the past two months. There are still a few issues to be worked out, the most pressing at the moment being how to handle the upcoming school year since several of the elementary schools and high school were destroyed.
Friends and family have told me that the transformation in Joplin over the past two months has been unbelievable. As the rebuilding process moves forward, the citizens continue to work together. Joplin is well on its way to recovery.
Atlantis reentering the atmosphere yesterday morning.
Yesterday the Space Shuttle Atlantis landed, returning from its final mission into space. This marks the final flight for NASA’s Space shuttle program.
Space Shuttle Atlantis launched for its final time July 8, 2011. It returned to Earth yesterday and will retire at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The Atlantis had an illustrious career. Here are some interesting facts about Atlantis:
-Construction began on March 30, 1980
-Atlantis was nearly 3.5 tons lighter than Columbia
-made 33 flights into space
-first Space Shuttle to dock with the Russian’s MIR
-Deployed the Magellan probe bound for Venus in 1989
-Deployed the Galileo interplanetary probe bound for Jupiter in 1989
-Deployed the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory in 1991
-flew the final servicing mission the Hubble Space Telescope in 2009
-Michael Massimino became the first person to use Twitter in space in May 2009 aboard Atlantis
Atlantis will be missed by me and many other space aficionados, as will the entire Space Shuttle program. I leave you with a picture from Atlantis’ final launch, the last Space Shuttle launch ever, from July 8.
Filed under History, Space
Tonight, at midnight, the final Harry Potter film will be released. I am looking forward to seeing it. Here is a slideshow of all 21 promo posters: