KOMU.com https://www.komu.com/ KOMU.com Eclipse Impact Eclipse Impact en-us Copyright 2020, KOMU.com. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Mon, 17 Feb 2020 HH:02:ss GMT Synapse CMS 10 KOMU.com https://www.komu.com/ 144 25 Jefferson City eclipse turnout lower than expected https://www.komu.com/news/jefferson-city-eclipse-turnout-lower-than-expected/ https://www.komu.com/news/jefferson-city-eclipse-turnout-lower-than-expected/ Eclipse Impact Mon, 21 Aug 2017 5:53:08 PM Amber Sipe, KOMU 8 Reporter Jefferson City eclipse turnout lower than expected

JEFFERSON CITY – Jefferson City eclipse events officially ended Monday evening and, according to Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau Communications Manager Katherine Reed, turnout was not as high as expected.

The National Eclipse Task Force told the city to be prepared for a double in population on Monday, August 21.

As a result, the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau took two years to prepare for 50,000 people.

“I think realistically, we saw around the 20 to 30 thousand mark here today, but it’s still a great turnout.”

Reed said volunteers, city organizers and state organizers worked well together to provide events beginning Saturday evening.

Ultramax Tees was one of the booths set up on the Capitol lawn. Employee Bailey Barnes said, “We definitely were way busier than I thought we would be. We were non-stop.”

Barnes said about 2,000 people visited the tent for t-shirts each day and they had to shut down so they could enjoy the event without working.

“Getting to watch NASA do their live broadcast, the events across the river in north Jefferson, the live entertainment, the bands were great, and then totality hearing everyone cheering in the streets, it was just amazing,” said Reed. “So I think it went better than we expected.”

Reed said MoDot prepared people for heavy traffic throughout the weekend and on Monday, but it ended up being lighter than expected.

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Solar eclipse tourism could bring more than $1 million to Columbia https://www.komu.com/news/solar-eclipse-tourism-could-bring-more-than-1-million-to-columbia/ https://www.komu.com/news/solar-eclipse-tourism-could-bring-more-than-1-million-to-columbia/ Eclipse Impact Wed, 23 Aug 2017 3:39:01 PM Daniel Litwin, KOMU 8 Reporter Solar eclipse tourism could bring more than $1 million to Columbia

COLUMBIA – The solar eclipse has come and gone, and Columbia is saying the once-in-a-lifetime event brought around $1.36 million into the city.

For now, Columbia’s Convention and Visitors Bureau can only approximate based on two city-sponsored events Monday at Gans Creek and Cosmo Park.

The bureau reached this estimate by calculating the number of cars at each event, which gives an idea of how many people were in attendance.

“We had about 2000 parking spaces full at Cosmo Park. If you put those numbers together, about three and a half people per car, that’s roughly about 8000 people,” said Convention and Visitors Bureau director Amy Schneider. "At Gans Creek we had about 250 spaces full. That’s about 875 people."

The bureau's multiple marketing effectiveness studies shows people spent around $537 this weekend.

So that figure combined with more than 2500 vehicles, and it appears Columbia did quite well during the eclipse.

“What we’re looking at when we talk about a party spend is lodging, any restaurants they may have gone to the day before, retail, gas spent,” Schneider said.

This estimate doesn’t take in to account the city's 470 Airbnb rentals or attendance at any other events.

“From conversations, I know city parks were filled as well as multiple other events with visitors that also contributed to the economic impact in the city,” Schneider said.

Hotels in Columbia were just as full as the city's parks and events.

"It's just like a graduation weekend," said Steve Bales, general manager of the Wingate Hotel.

The Wingate Hotel was 100 percent booked for the eclipse weekend and made around $18,000. Bales, president of the Columbia Missouri Hospitality Association, said hotel managers across the city were so booked, they were "banking on no-shows."

"[Managers were] asking 'hey, do you guys have any rooms available in case we have to walk some people,' because a lot of them oversold for the event," Bales said.

Though this is just the first estimate, Schneider said she’s not complaining from the result.

“Anyone would think $1.3 million is good,” Schneider said. “We didn’t know what to expect, so we were very pleased with the numbers that were there.”

"Events like this help us support all the hoteliers, the restaurants, the taxis. It's good for the economy," Bales said.

Final numbers for the solar eclipse’s economic impact should be available in late September after sales and lodging taxes are calculated.

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Columbia optometrists see patients concerned about eclipse-related eye damage https://www.komu.com/news/columbia-optometrists-see-patients-concerned-about-eclipse-related-eye-damage/ https://www.komu.com/news/columbia-optometrists-see-patients-concerned-about-eclipse-related-eye-damage/ Eclipse Impact Thu, 24 Aug 2017 6:27:48 PM Zara McDowell, KOMU 8 Reporter Columbia optometrists see patients concerned about eclipse-related eye damage

COLUMBIA - The five optometrists at Columbia Eye Consultant Optometry have seen an influx of patients worried they damaged their vision after Monday's solar eclipse.

Dr. Jeff Gamble said, "In the last two days we've had approximately seven to eight patients who have called in suspecting they might have damage to their eyes."

Gamble said they have not found any cases of solar retinopathy, or when radiation from the sun touches the retina causing damage to eyes; however, symptoms of eye damage from the eclipse usually do not show up until 24-48 hours after the incident.

Derek Thompson, MU Health Care media relations coordinator, said the MU Health Care facilities have seen five patients with eye damage from the eclipse.

"After you've had a light flash and there's that residual image, if you had that for 25 to 30 minutes after viewing the eclipse, you were looking at it long enough to have done damage," Gamble said.

Gamble said patients who experience damage to their eyes from the eclipse will have symptoms of blurred visions or missing areas, but will not experience any pain or discomfort, because there aren't any pain receptors in the back of the eye. Gamble said part of the reason people experience eye damage is because they don't know when they are hurting their eyes, so they don't know when to stop looking at the sun. 

"If you think back to when you were a kid and you had a magnifying glass and you went out in the backyard to try to burn a hole in a piece of paper, that power in the magnifying glass that took the sun's energy and focused it onto a spot is essentially what your eye does as well," Gamble said. "The front surface of the eye of the cornea and the lens inside your eyes are essentially magnifying glasses."

Hallsville resident and Columbia Eye Consultant Optometry patient Ben Benskin said he did not want to take a chance on eye damage.

"I've got eye problems to start with, and I didn't want to take a chance on anything, so I made sure I had the glasses on all the time," Benskin said.

Gamble said the only way to tell if there is damage to a patient's eye is to have an optometrist take a look but, "the vast majority of individuals are going to be fine."

Gamble said many patients asked the optometrists about eye damage before the eclipse happened. Columbia Eye Consultant Optometry handed out 11,000 eclipse glasses to area schools and patients, with directions on how to safely use the glasses.

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Couple uses Airbnb to provide extra lodging for the eclipse https://www.komu.com/news/couple-uses-airbnb-to-provide-extra-lodging-for-the-eclipse/ https://www.komu.com/news/couple-uses-airbnb-to-provide-extra-lodging-for-the-eclipse/ Eclipse Impact Thu, 17 Aug 2017 6:32:41 PM Michael Rizzo, KOMU 8 Reporter Couple uses Airbnb to provide extra lodging for the eclipse

COLUMBIA - Hotels in Columbia are already over 95 percent full for the upcoming eclipse weekend. 

Megan McConachie, Strategic Communications Manager for the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Columbia will see a major increase in people.

"We’re kind of saying that if the weather is nice, it is definitely not out of the question that Columbia’s population could double that day," she said.

This means visitors may need to look elsewhere for a place to stay.  

Gary Smith and his husband Randall Kilgore owned a bed and breakfast for seven years before moving to Columbia to slow down their lives. However, Smith said they soon realized something was missing.

"We had missed that element where you get really sit down at breakfast over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine in the evening and visit with the people and where they are from and what they are doing," he said.

“Randy, my husband communicated with Airbnb, which is the company, and set up our profile, and within about two hours we received our first phone call,” he said.

They have been renting out their guest room since last October, and Smith said the eclipse weekend was booked well in advance.

"The people who made this with us originally did this back in March, so that was about six months ago," he said. "Now, we didn't know that the eclipse was happening. You're encouraged to be able to have a little higher price on those high demand weekends like football games and things like that, so these people were way ahead of schedule. When they booked they got a good deal.”

Unfortunately, the original guests had to cancel, but the spot did not stay open long.

“After they cancelled, we got a call within the hour,” Smith said.

Smith, who said they will be providing eclipse glasses for their guests, thinks the Airbnb can make the eclipse a cool experience. 

"It’s a homier environment," he said. "You get to connect with the guest, some people like to do that, and it’s a more, perhaps, relaxed kind of situation because they can go out on the patio right from their room and put their glasses on and just sit down, have something to drink and enjoy the experience."

Smith and Kilgore aren't the only people renting out rooms this weekend.  Airbnb said in a press release that it is seeing a 375 percent increase in visitors compared to last week in Missouri.

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Jefferson City, Cole County to waive liquor license fees for eclipse https://www.komu.com/news/jefferson-city-cole-county-to-waive-liquor-license-fees-for-eclipse/ https://www.komu.com/news/jefferson-city-cole-county-to-waive-liquor-license-fees-for-eclipse/ Eclipse Impact Thu, 17 Aug 2017 5:16:21 PM Nick Allen, KOMU 8 Reporter Jefferson City, Cole County to waive liquor license fees for eclipse

JEFFERSON CITY - It just got a lot easier to serve alcohol over the forthcoming eclipse weekend in Jefferson City. 

Jefferson City and Cole County governments took away their respective Sunday liquor license fees for this coming Sunday only. 

The city council approved a bill amendment Thursday evening that will allow liquor vendors to eschew the $50 fee bars would have had to pay to serve alcohol on the day before the eclipse. 

Jefferson City lawmakers anticipate a large influx of celestial watchers to descend upon the city in the weekend preceding the big event. They said they wanted to make it easier for liquor vendors to stay open while the tourists are in town. 

Mayor Carrie Tergin said she wants everyone to be open for the big sales day. 

"We're anticipating a record number of visitors here in Jefferson City, and there are some establishments that typically aren't open on Sundays, so we want to make it as easy as possible for them to decide to do that," Tergin said. 

Thursday's bill amendment came on the heels of Cole County's efforts earlier in the week. 

The county commission met Tuesday to dissolve its $200 annual fee for bars that want to open up shop this Sunday. 

Interested Jefferson City bars will still need a $200 Sunday liquor license from the state, something Tergin said no one will be able to get around. 

She did say she hopes the city level fee waiver for this coming Sunday sets a precedent for a permanent termination of the fee. 

One Jefferson City bar owner said he is pleased the city is looking out for its small business owners. 

"We have to pay a lot for our liquor licenses, so this is going help a lot of the newer bars that might not be able to swing the expense of being open on a Sunday. They're not getting punished by having to sit out on what will surely be a big sales day," said Mark Schnieders, owner of Hook's Double Play Bar. 

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William Woods campus closed to general public on solar eclipse day https://www.komu.com/news/william-woods-campus-closed-to-general-public-on-solar-eclipse-day/ https://www.komu.com/news/william-woods-campus-closed-to-general-public-on-solar-eclipse-day/ Eclipse Impact Wed, 16 Aug 2017 10:40:44 AM Kristen Reesor, KOMU 8 Digital Producer William Woods campus closed to general public on solar eclipse day

FULTON - The President of William Woods University announced Wednesday that the university's main campus in Fulton will be closed to the general public on Monday. Aug. 21 is the first day of fall semester classes and coincides with widespread viewings of the solar eclipse. The eclipse is expected to bring thousands of visitors to the area.

“Although we prize our standing as a good neighbor and solid member of the Fulton community, our top priority is the safety and convenience of our students, faculty and staff,” university president Jahnae Barnett said. Barnett said the university is unable to safely accommodate the possibility of hundreds of additional people on campus to view the eclipse, especially in terms of traffic, parking and facilities.

William Woods University will also have a limited number of eye protection glasses that are reserved for members of the university community.

Students, faculty, staff and alumni are welcome on campus Aug. 21. The university asks members of the general public to attend eclipse watching events elsewhere.

People will have opportunities to experience the eclipse in other ways, courtesy of the university:

The Mildred M. Cox Gallery is hosting an exhibit called Light and Shadow, with more than 50 art pieces honoring the eclipse. The exhibit is on display Aug. 15 to 25, with an opening reception and awards ceremony on Aug. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Assistant professor Joe Kyger from the science department will use the university’s telescope to view the eclipse. Look for his video to be posted on William Woods University social media following the eclipse Monday afternoon.

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Missouri is the most popular Midwest state for eclipse-goers using Airbnb https://www.komu.com/news/missouri-is-the-most-popular-midwest-state-for-eclipse-goers-using-airbnb/ https://www.komu.com/news/missouri-is-the-most-popular-midwest-state-for-eclipse-goers-using-airbnb/ Eclipse Impact Tue, 15 Aug 2017 3:04:55 PM Jacob Cavaiani, KOMU 8 Digital Producer Missouri is the most popular Midwest state for eclipse-goers using Airbnb

COLUMBIA - Missouri cities along the path of totality during the eclipse will earn a combined $556,000 in supplemental income, short-term lodging service Airbnb said.

The website said Columbia was expected to welcome 469 Airbnb guests; Jefferson City, 74; Hermann, 73.

The 3,750 total expected guest arrivals would represent a 376 percent increase compared to the week prior, Airbnb said.

Missouri is the most popular midwest state for eclipse-goers, and St. Louis is the 5th most popular city along the eclipse's path, Airbnb said.

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How to safely capture the solar eclipse with photography https://www.komu.com/news/how-to-safely-capture-the-solar-eclipse-with-photography/ https://www.komu.com/news/how-to-safely-capture-the-solar-eclipse-with-photography/ Eclipse Impact Mon, 14 Aug 2017 7:40:58 PM Jasmyn Willis, KOMU 8 Reporter How to safely capture the solar eclipse with photography

COLUMBIA - Mid-Missourians have been preparing for the eclipse for quite some time. Totality will only last for a few minutes, but do you know how you can capture the eclipse with photography?

KOMU 8 News talked to several photography experts. Missouri School of Journalism Professor Brian Kratzer said the first step in photographing the eclipse is wearing eclipse glasses.

"So you kind of have to think about the solar glasses for your eyeballs the same way that you can think about a solar filter for your sensor inside of your camera. If you shoot with a longer telephoto lens, it’s going to magnify the size of the sun, which is great because your going to make that sun look larger."

Kratzer said using a telephoto lens also magnifies the light that comes into the lens

"And so that light, that direct sunlights going to hit that sensor and could easily fry it," Kratzer said.

Creve Coeur Camera photography salesman Nick Monahan said it's essential that people use a filter on their camera when shooting the eclipse. 

"Or else think about an ant on the ground, and you have your magnifying glass and get the sun on it. It’s going to burn the ant up, same thing for your sensor. Make sure you have your filter on there because it will fry your sensor, and your awesome expensive camera is going to be destroyed because you ruined your sensor," Monahan said.

Monahan also said photographers should not look through their lens while taking pictures.

"Make sure you put it on what’s known as 'live mode' or put it on the LCD on the back because if you're looking right at it, you're going to destroy your eyes as well. So make sure you're looking through your screen and not through your view finder because if you do that then obviously it’s going to hurt your eyes and just be safe."

Monahan said everyone needs to wear glasses while shooting.

"Wear your glasses, wear your glasses while you shoot. It’s not one of those things where I’ve got a solar filter on my camera, I don’t need glasses," Monahan said. "No, you need both." 

Co-owner of Wildflower Photography Katie Barnes and the other photography experts said eclipse viewers should consider protecting the sensor in their smart phones as well. 

"So if you have a smartphone you can just hold the glasses in front of your camera, hold an extra pair of glasses in front of the camera lens," Barnes said.

Apple said cell phone users can photograph the eclipse without any filters over the lens.

NASA created a guide for photographing the eclipse with cell phone, consumer and professional cameras.


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Weather community prepares for the eclipse https://www.komu.com/news/weather-community-prepares-for-the-eclipse/ https://www.komu.com/news/weather-community-prepares-for-the-eclipse/ Eclipse Impact Wed, 9 Aug 2017 3:13:21 PM Stephanie Lorenc, KOMU 8 Reporter Weather community prepares for the eclipse
PLEASANT HILL - With the total solar eclipse right around the corner, KOMU 8's weather team wanted to talk with another weather expert about the impacts weather will have during this event and the role the weather community plays in alerting visitors. 
Albert Pietrycha, NOAA National Weather Service science and operations officer, said because of the calendar, to expect hazy, hot, humid conditions, especially for out-of-town guests. 
"The people coming in from cooler areas or drier from the far west need to make sure they have plenty of food and water to stay hydrated during the event. That's something we really pay attention to, to look out for your friends who are not from this area."
Considering it is a once in a lifetime event for many people, Pietrycha said the National Weather Service is closely working with many agencies and emergency services to make sure people traveling near and far distances are receiving up-to-date information.
"We're going to be staffed up for it to help answer phone calls and if the weather were to be bad we'll take care of that. The other part of it is days leading up to it and during and after is where we are already in close communication with many emergency managers to help them manage their resources and what they may or may not expect for contingencies and things like that. We'll be reaching out to them."
Pietrycha said the National Weather Service is already prepared if a severe weather event were to happen in the days before, during or after the eclipse.
"The emergency managers are already ahead and have been for a long time planning contingencies and what to do and where to put all these people, how to get the message out, so they're working on that aspect of it. Where we come in is to get that information to the emergency managers and first responders where they'll take it from there and act accordingly so people can avoid getting hurt and be in the safest possible conditions."
The KOMU 8 First Alert weather team will give up-to-date forecast predictions leading up to the big event; starting Thursday, August 10th during the KOMU 8 Show Me Eclipse Special at 6:30pm on KOMU 8.
Read full Show Me Eclipse coverage at KOMU.com/Eclipse.

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Solar eclipse could affect your pet's behavior https://www.komu.com/news/solar-eclipse-could-affect-your-pet-s-behavior/ https://www.komu.com/news/solar-eclipse-could-affect-your-pet-s-behavior/ Eclipse Impact Mon, 7 Aug 2017 3:46:35 PM Kenton Gewecke, KOMU 8 Chief Meteorologist Solar eclipse could affect your pet's behavior

COLUMBIA - I've had numerous questions about the effects the upcoming total solar eclipse may have on pets and animals. Here's the scoop:

Is there a safety concern? Not particularly. Animals know not to look at the sun - that won't change on the day of the eclipse. Their eyes will be okay. Remember, the only reason it's a safety concern for humans is because many people will look at the sun during the partial eclipse and without proper protection it will damage our eyes.

However, animals may become scared or anxious due to the shadows and the event in general, so it may be a smart idea to have them on a leash if outdoors.

How will animals react? Many will act as if it is nighttime and begin their evening activities and preparations. Birds, bats, frogs and others have been documented as acting as if it is dusk, nighttime, and dawn around totality. This can be very interesting to watch - so be on the lookout! Your pets may even act as if it is nighttime.

For answers to many (if not all) of your eclipse questions refer to our Eclipse Deep Dive. All of our eclipse coverage can be found at KOMU.com/Eclipse.

Watch the KOMU 8 Show Me Eclipse Special this Thursday at 6:30pm for a step-by-step guide of what to look for, expect, and how to be safe during the total solar eclipse August 21st. 

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City buses to stop services during eclipse, school buses running regularly https://www.komu.com/news/city-buses-to-stop-services-during-eclipse-school-buses-running-regularly/ https://www.komu.com/news/city-buses-to-stop-services-during-eclipse-school-buses-running-regularly/ Eclipse Impact Mon, 7 Aug 2017 11:31:00 AM Kevin Ko, KOMU 8 News City buses to stop services during eclipse, school buses running regularly

COLUMBIA - As people plan for the solar eclipse on Aug. 21, getting around could be a problem for those who depend on public transportation.

The City of Columbia will temporarily suspend bus services. However, school buses for Columbia Public Schools and Jefferson City Public Schools will operate as usual.

Barry Dalton, the public information officer for Columbia Public Works, said both Go COMO and Para-Transit will stop running from 12:30 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. Tiger Line, which is a free shuttle service for MU students, will not be in service from 12:45 p.m. until 1:30 p.m.

"There will be a suspension of the Go COMO bus service on August 21st for safety reasons," Dalton said. "Our traffic engineers are anticipating heavy traffic. So we're asking if you could follow our lead, plan ahead, and try not to be out on the roads during the eclipse."

Several major school districts in mid-Missouri aren't as concerned with anticipated traffic during the eclipse. Michelle Baumstark, the community relations director for Columbia Public Schools, said that while some buses may be re-routed to avoid viewing areas in Columbia, it would be "just another day" for school bus transportation.

"A normal dismissal is planned," Baumstark said in an email. "About 10 schools dismiss around 2:30 - 2:50, an hour plus after the eclipse. The bulk dismisses at 3:20, tw hours after the eclipse. The last dismissal is at 4:00."

Amy Berendzen, director of school-community relations at Jefferson City Public Schools, said the school district is expecting more traffic but would not be making any changes.

"It's business as usual, but we are expecting delays," Berendzen said. "We'll ask for patience, but we ensure that students will get home safe and sound."

The Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates more than 100,000 tourists will be in Columbia for the solar eclipse.

For answers to all your eclipse questions refer to our KOMU 8 Eclipse Deep Dive.

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AT&T brings in temporary cell towers for eclipse turnout https://www.komu.com/news/atandt-brings-in-temporary-cell-towers-for-eclipse-turnout/ https://www.komu.com/news/atandt-brings-in-temporary-cell-towers-for-eclipse-turnout/ Eclipse Impact Mon, 31 Jul 2017 11:42:09 AM Lydia Nusbaum, KOMU 8 Reporter AT&T brings in temporary cell towers for eclipse turnout

COLUMBIA - Tens of thousands of people are coming to mid-Missouri to watch the solar eclipse in August, and AT&T is deploying three temporary cell towers to help keep up with load on wireless.

Chris Lester, an AT&T senior public relations manager, said many people will want to use the network, so the company wanted to increase its coverage in the area. 
"The total eclipse runs through a lot of rural areas where our cell coverage is not as good as an urban area so we decided to help those things as best as we can,” Lester said.
AT&T is sending out nine temporary cell towers across the nation for the solar eclipse. Three of these will be put in Missouri. They will be located in Columbia, Owensville and Washington. 
"Missouri is going to have the largest number of cell on wheels deployed on the day of the eclipse,” Lester said. “We expect those deployments will boost our capacity at those sights at an average of 160 percent.”
Gabe Huffington, the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department parks services manager, said one of the towers will be located at Cosmo Park next to the Nickell Shelter.
“There won’t be a lot of intrusion in park activities. We know the eclipse is very important to our community," Huffington said. "We are glad to accommodate it."
He said the tower would probably be set up this week and will be there for three weeks. 
“They are anticipating a large number of people in Columbia. They are making sure they have enough cellular capabilities to satisfy all the customers and citizens,” Huffington said.
AT&T usually puts the temporary towers out when it expects a surge in the number of people in an area.
"It could be a big concert event or festival or football games, things like that, where you don’t see a consistent level of data demand every day, but where you anticipate a surge because of a large congregation of people," Lester said.
He suggests people wait to upload videos and photos until after the eclipse ends. 
“The smart move is be in the moment, be present, take your photos and your videos and all that stuff, and then upload it later,” Lester said. 
He said that would make it easier on the towers, but is "also just a cool way to live."
Read full #ShowMeEclipse coverage at KOMU.com/eclipse.

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State workers in Jefferson City get day off for the eclipse https://www.komu.com/news/state-workers-in-jefferson-city-get-day-off-for-the-eclipse/ https://www.komu.com/news/state-workers-in-jefferson-city-get-day-off-for-the-eclipse/ Eclipse Impact Fri, 28 Jul 2017 12:44:17 PM The Associated Press State workers in Jefferson City get day off for the eclipse

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri state workers in Jefferson City are getting an extra holiday this year — Aug. 21, the day of the solar eclipse.

State officials said Friday that with up to 50,000 visitors expected in Jefferson City to see the eclipse from one of the best viewing spots in the nation, state workers in non-essential jobs in the capital city will get the day off.

State workers elsewhere in Missouri will have to report to work.

The eclipse will be visible in 14 states diagonally from Oregon to South Carolina, and parts of Missouri offer some of the longest periods of total darkness. A large festival is planned for the Capitol grounds in Jefferson City.

It will be the first solar eclipse visible coast to coast since 1918.

 See full coverage of #ShowMeEclipse at KOMU.com/eclipse.

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Law enforcement prepares for the solar eclipse https://www.komu.com/news/law-enforcement-prepares-for-the-solar-eclipse/ https://www.komu.com/news/law-enforcement-prepares-for-the-solar-eclipse/ Eclipse Impact Mon, 3 Jul 2017 8:08:11 PM Jasmyn Willis, KOMU 8 Reporter Law enforcement prepares for the solar eclipse

COLUMBIA - People around the nation and internationally plan to make Mid-Missouri their destination to view the solar eclipse.

MoDOT estimates there will be one million people in Missouri to view the eclipse. Strategic Communications Manager for the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau Megan McConachie says people from around the world are contacting her about the eclipse.

“I’ve been in contact with people from Canada to Italy to people from 10-15 different states who are going to be coming in and have chosen Columbia as where they would like to view the eclipse," McConachie said. "Initially we were kind of looking as like this will be a football Saturday on a Monday, but we think it’s actually going to be a lot busier than that.”

In Columbia, the eclipse festivities will be held at Cosmo Park, but no one knows exactly how many people to expect. 

“That’s one of the unique things about this event. It’s really hard to estimate how many people that we’ve going to be able to have,” McConachie said. “We’re going to say that there will easily be up to 100,000 people in the Columbia area.”

The eclipse also occurs on the same day college students start classes.

“So at this point we don’t really have anything to compare it to," McConachie said. “So we really are encouraging people to not be out on the streets driving if they can, or if they are to give themselves a significantly larger amount of time then they normally need to get there. So we really are preparing for an immense amount of traffic.”

McConachie said the Conventions and Visitors Bureau has been working with first responders to have emergency plans in place.

“An event of this size needs its own safety plans, so that’s something we put together,” McConachie said. “Everything from lost and found to if there’s a large-scale incident. So that’s something we want to our public safety officials to review. Which they have, and they're really happy with what we put together.”

The Columbia Police Department declined to share its preparations for the eclipse.

“It’s definitely going to be Columbia and Jefferson City that sees a huge influx of people,” McConachie said. “For those interested in the NASA aspect they may end up in Jefferson City.”

NASA will broadcast the eclipse from Jefferson City.

Jefferson City Police Caption Doug Shoemaker says with more people in the city, the department will have more officers out.

“What does change is that we bring in additional personnel, quite a few additional personnel, pretty much all of our personnel to do other things associated with this particular event whether its traffic control, whether it’s a security function,” Shoemaker said.

MODOT said it will have more motorists assist vehicles out to help drivers during the eclipse. If your vehicle breaks down in Missouri you can call *55. MODOT also has an app that shows accidents and road conditions.

Fulton also has a series of events throughout the weekend and the day of the eclipse. However, public information officer Darin Wergin said it’s still in the works of planning how it will patrol.

“Again, those plans are still something that needs to be ironed out, Wergin said. “We don’t have any concrete plans right now. We’re still a little less than two months away from the event, and so it doesn’t really take a lot planning to be ready for an event like this.”

Captain Shoemaker said the community plays a part in making sure the solar eclipse goes smoothly.

“Of course we always encourage with any large scale event, if anybody sees something suspicious that they call us and let us know,” Shoemaker said. “We expect our community to help us out in that regard, so this event is not unlike any other in that way. So we’ll be here. We’ll be out in force. We hope it goes well.”

 You can view tips from MoDOT below and learn everything you need to know about this huge event at komu.com/eclipse.

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Jefferson City Conventions and Visitors Bureau gets more funding for eclipse https://www.komu.com/news/jefferson-city-conventions-and-visitors-bureau-gets-more-funding-for-eclipse/ https://www.komu.com/news/jefferson-city-conventions-and-visitors-bureau-gets-more-funding-for-eclipse/ Eclipse Impact Mon, 3 Jul 2017 1:25:15 PM Lindsay Hornecker, KOMU 8 Reporter Jefferson City Conventions and Visitors Bureau gets more funding for eclipse

JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City's Convention and Visitors Bureau received extra funding from the city on Monday to help with infrastructure expenses for the eclipse events happing in August.

The Jefferson City Council passed a motion at its July 3 meeting to help the bureau.

Diane Gillespie, Executive Director of the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau, asked the council for their financial support after a short presentation on the events surrounding the eclipse, which happens August 21.

“Today what was authorized is really an agreement where the city can work with the Convention of Visitors Bureau to see what some of those needs are to help support the event,” said Carrie Tergin the Mayor of Jefferson City.

“We’re looking at some parking assistance, some shuttle expenses, port-a-potties, signage, that type of thing,” said Gillespie.

The eclipse is expected to bring in thousands of visitors from across the country to Mid-Missouri, which sits right on the path affording the best views.

“We are told that our population could double, so and then we’ve also heard any where from 10 to 50 thousand people," said Gillespie. "So we are looking at it as another July 4 event, and with that event there is anywhere from 50 to 75 thousand people that come through that time period, so that’s kind of how we’re basing this event on."

The city’s support of the event can also be compared to that of the Independence Day celebrations.

“Much like the city supports Salute to America the July 4th festivities, we contribute every year to that event, so this would be very similar because we imagine it would be on the same scale, but we really can’t imagine because it’s a once in a life time it’s never happened," said Tergin. "We’ve never had a total eclipse during our lifetime here in Jefferson City, so we are just gauging that the Salute to America festival as kind of something similar where we prepare for thousands of people to come in."

NASA will be directly involved with some of the city's events on August 21. The organization chose Jefferson City to be one of seven cities to host a live broadcast of the eclipse. NASA is also sending two astronauts and a traveling exhibit to the city.

"We’re looking at putting together a breakfast with the astronauts," said Gillespie. "We are talking to them about possibly being able to do an additional Q & A session...on probably Sunday; Monday, the focus will be the actual eclipse taking place."

"The event is going to be amazing and so as a city we realized we also want to contribute and we need to to be supportive of something that is going to bring thousands of people to our community," said Tergin.

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Locals hope to benefit from anticipated crowds on solar eclipse weekend https://www.komu.com/news/locals-hope-to-benefit-from-anticipated-crowds-on-solar-eclipse-weekend/ https://www.komu.com/news/locals-hope-to-benefit-from-anticipated-crowds-on-solar-eclipse-weekend/ Eclipse Impact Thu, 15 Jun 2017 2:00:08 PM Austin Howard, KOMU 8 Reporter Locals hope to benefit from anticipated crowds on solar eclipse weekend

COLUMBIA - With the rare solar eclipse fast approaching, locals are promoting their roles in businesses to keep money in Columbia.

Businesses like Uber and Airbnb allow local people to keep the money they earn by providing ride services and homes for those visiting.

As of June 14, about 75 percent of hotels in Columbia have been reserved for the weekend before the solar eclipse according to Megan McConachie from the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau.

This gives Airbnb owners like John Lohmann an incentive to bring visitors to his home.

“I didn’t really realize how big of a deal this eclipse was until the last few weeks. I definitely jacked up my rates a little bit for that weekend,” Lohmann said.

For that weekend, Lohmann bumped the prices up to $400 per day as opposed to the usual $150 per day. The money isn’t the only thing that keeps Lohmann continuing his Airbnb though.

“It’s like running your own little hotel. It’s definitely a lot of work, more so than a normal rental, but if you have a flexible schedule like I do with real estate then it’s not bad. It’s amazing how many different types of people are coming to Columbia for all sorts of random stuff.”

“The great thing about Airbnb is everyone is accountable. Because of the rating system, hosts are constantly trying to make their place nicer and guests are on their best behavior to avoid negative reviews,” Lohmann said.

And for those looking to use their home for an Airbnb, Lohmann leaves these tips:

  1. Make sure you have the time to turn it over. “Like I said, it’s like a hotel. You have to switch the bedding, clean the place, wipe everything down,” Lohmann said.
  2. Make sure it’s a new, updated place.
  3. Make sure you have a little bit of patience.
  4. Be ready to adapt on the fly.

For busy weekends like this, transportation is at a premium, as well as safety. The city of Columbia has issued 400+ licenses to be Uber drivers in the past year.

Uber driver Nikki McClure spends many of her weekends coming from Centralia to drive people around in Columbia.

McClure utilizes a Facebook page to continue her business with Uber to connect with passengers she has had.

She made the page because she says she enjoys the connection with her passengers.

“I’ve had quite a few different experiences. Many good. I have gained friendships through Uber with my passengers because I have my 'normals' where I pick them up every day. It’s like we’ve known each other for 10 years,” McClure said.  

For her, being an Uber driver is as much about safety and accessibility as making connections for those who are coming to visit from various locations.  

“If you fly in, you’re going to need to get to your hotel or wherever you’re staying. If you call an Uber, then we’re right there in 3-5 minutes,” McClure said.

“If you want to go out to the bars and have a good time while you’re here, you can always call an Uber so you don’t have that DUI or end up killing somebody.”

The Columbia Convention and Visitor’s Bureau is anticipating more than 100,000 people in the city the day of the solar eclipse and urges everyone to be patient and safe around Columbia.

See complete Show Me Eclipse coverage all summer at komu.com/eclipse and every Wednesday on KOMU 8 News at Six.

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Columbia sets solar eclipse budget https://www.komu.com/news/columbia-sets-solar-eclipse-budget/ https://www.komu.com/news/columbia-sets-solar-eclipse-budget/ Eclipse Impact Mon, 5 Jun 2017 6:05:04 PM Samantha Kummerer, KOMU 8 Reporter Columbia sets solar eclipse budget

COLUMBIA - The budget for August's solar eclipse events is set and awaiting the transfer and appropriation of the funds by the Columbia City Council. 

The Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau obtained $25,500 through business sponsorships. 

Sponsorships from businesses like Columbia Water & Light and University of Missouri Health Care will cover expenses like tent and sound system rental and signage. 

CVB Strategic Communication Manager Megan McConachie said the bureau began talking to local business in late 2016. 

McConachie said solar eclipse events will help the city and the community. 

“That influx of tourist over the weekend and then on Monday, that is absolutely beneficial to our community, and we really think its great that the community is sponsoring this and supporting this. So we definitely want to give them something they can be proud of," McConachie said. 

The events planned from Aug. 19 through Aug. 21 will take place throughout Columbia, but the main events will be at Cosmo Park and Gans Creek Recreation Center. 

This will be the first event of its scale the CVB has planned. 

“For us this is definitely a unique experience both in planning and as far as the eclipse, this is never going to happen again while any of us are alive," McConachie said. 

McConachie said the bureau has reached out to other cities in the path of totality and worked with Columbia Parks and Recreation to plan the event. 

“The main event and attraction is the eclipse, but we want to make sure that everything that is surrounding that has a really fun Columbia-feeling atmosphere as well,” McConachie said. 

The funds were first heard at Monday night's city council.

Between now and August, the city still has logistics to work out now that it knows the scale it can work with. Along with final planning, the city also wants to continue to promote the events. 

“There is still a lot of people just in our city who don’t know that the eclipse is going to be happening, so we want to get the word out of course. A, that it’s happening and also how to view it safely,” McConachie said. 


Programming note: KOMU 8 has a summer series, Show Me Eclipse, which will detail all the ways the total solar eclipse will afftect mid-Missouri. Watch every Wednesday on KOMU 8 News at Six.

Read more stories about how this total solar eclipse will impact mid-Missouri on our official page.

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Leader of solar eclipse task force: "We need to be ready" https://www.komu.com/news/leader-of-solar-eclipse-task-force-we-need-to-be-ready-/ https://www.komu.com/news/leader-of-solar-eclipse-task-force-we-need-to-be-ready-/ Eclipse Impact Thu, 1 Jun 2017 3:25:52 PM Annie Hammock, KOMU 8 Interactive Director Leader of solar eclipse task force:

COLUMBIA - Dr. Angela Speck says if there's any one thing to know about the coming total solar eclipse is that it's coming, "whether we want it to or not."

"It's going to happen, and so we need to ready, in any way that means," said Speck, who is a professor at MU and the co-chair of the American Astronomical Society's Solar Eclipse Task Force.

The Columbia Convention and Visitor's Bureau estimates around 100,000 people will converge on the area for the Aug. 21 event.

Speck said it will be like homecoming meets Roots and Blues and BBQ meets True/False, "all at the same time but all over town."

She said residents should think ahead about logistics they typically take for granted, like eating, and suggests residents stock up on food.

"There's going to be way more people here than graduation weekend and it's going to be impossible to get to restaurants."

Speck's task force has been working with transportation departments and other city agencies all along the eclipse's path.

"When you talk about dealing with the sort of traffic and people coming in, that cuts across all sorts of different agencies," she said.

Speck said a key goal of the task force is to make sure everyone is prepared.


Read more stories about how this total solar eclipse will impact mid-Missouri on our official page.

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Solar eclipse will impact economy as tens of thousands come to region https://www.komu.com/news/solar-eclipse-will-impact-economy-as-tens-of-thousands-come-to-region/ https://www.komu.com/news/solar-eclipse-will-impact-economy-as-tens-of-thousands-come-to-region/ Eclipse Impact Wed, 31 May 2017 12:23:13 PM Carolina Brigagao, KOMU 8 Reporter Solar eclipse will impact economy as tens of thousands come to region

COLUMBIA - Local business in Columbia are preparing for a sizable increase in tourists in August.

Columbia is within the Ribbon of Totality, the path of the total solar eclipse through the United States. The center of that ribbon is called the Ideal Line, and Columbia lays in that path. 

"This is one of those truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. We don't get to say that very often," said Megan McConachie, communications manager for Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB).

CVB estimates that during the weekend of the eclipse, the city will get more then 100,000 tourists from all over the the world. She said it is "a great number for that time of year."

McConachie said the CVB is expecting the eclipse to have a big impact on the local economy.

"This influx of people is going to really affect our tourism-related businesses, our hotels, our restaurants, our shops downtown, gas stations. All of those places are going to see a big influx of visitors. And so that has a really strong economic impact on our community over a very short period of time," she said.

Some local businesses heard the news of the solar eclipse years ago, and decided to plan big-scale events. That includes Andrew Sharp, co-founder of Logboat Brewing in Columbia. 

"I think there is a lot of excitement building," he said.

The brewery is hosting 'Sip with the Eclipse,' a three-day event with music and a new signature black ale. 

"We have a pretty big party planned, with some of our favorite bands and new release of a black ale. So, we are expecting, I think right now, we have over one thousand people interested in the event on our Facebook page. We have high hopes," Sharp said.

Serenity Valley Winery in Fulton started prepping for the eclipse as soon as it heard of the event more than a year ago, according to its co-owner Regina Ruppert.

"I had calls from Minnesota, from Chicago, Wisconsin, quite a few different locations," she said.

Paul Huesgen, bar manager at Flat Branch Pub and Grill, said the restaurant plans to make the eclipse an extension of another event in July. 

"We will kinda take a continuation of what we are doing for the Fourth of July. Right across the street, is where they shoot off the fire works. So, we got the best seat in the house. So, we figured it's going to be the same for the eclipse. We will probably fence off the parking lot. I think our brewers have some specialty beers in the works, and our chefs are working on some sort off features for that day," he said. 

Lakota Coffee Co. manager Andrew DuCharme said he is already thinking about what the shop is going to do. 

"I think it will be huge. We are going to have a huge influx of people in town. People are going to need to be eating going to be drinking," he said. "We do have some plans. I haven't decided yet what we are going to do. But we will definitely be doing something for sure." 

McConachie said local businesses, especially those downtown, should be prepared.

"All those local businesses are going to be making sure they have additional staff on hand. We have a lot of hotels that are seeing lots of reservations for Sunday and Monday night in August. It's pretty unique. And so we are already seeing some of those benefits of this eclipse tourism as we are getting closer," she said.

As if the heavy flow of tourists isn't enough, that week will be the start of a new year for many schools.

"The universities, both at Mizzou and William Woods and Westminster, are staring back to school that Monday. So, that influx of people, plus those who are coming specifically from out of state or even throughout Missouri for the event is going to be impressive I think," Ruppert said.

CVB is using its crowd estimates as it plans several eclipse-related events. But, McConachie said the predicted number might change if Columbia doesn't have a good weather forecast for that day.

"Of course, a lot of it depends on the weather, if Columbia is going to be sunny that day, if the sky is going to be clear," she said. "However, if the weather is not ideal that day, there are going to be people moving along that line of totality trying to seek out a clear spot."

The bureau has been preparing for the eclipse for more than a year, with events planned for Bear Creek Trial and Cosmo Park.

"Starting on Sunday, there is a 5-K, there is a bike ride, a music festival. So, we want to make sure we are getting people out to the park on Sunday, and then on Monday of course," McConachie said. "And for our eclipse enthusiasts, we are directing them down the Gans Creek Recreation Area, where there will be fewer services but also fewer people and it's a little bit closer to the ideal line of totality."


See complete Show Me Eclipse coverage all summer at komu.com/eclipse and every Wednesday on KOMU 8 News at Six. 

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