Scott County is preparing for the looming winter weather that’s expected to hit the region tomorrow. On Tuesday, the presiding commissioner, has already mobilized the county road and bridge department for the winter weather forecast for the county. The sand-spreader trucks are ready to go when the weather strikes. Other counties around the region are also gearing up for the winter weather.
One Cape Girardeau insurance agent is in some hot water after accusations of fraud. The Cape agent recently received a cease-and-desist order accusing him of losing more than $241 thousand of a Jackson woman's money in a fraudulent investment scheme after promising to make her "rich" so she could "retire in two years." Manzur Ahmed Mazumder is accused of persuading a co-worker at a Cape Girardeau insurance agency to let him set up trading accounts in her name and make investments for her using more than $300 thousand she pulled from her individual retirement accounts, credit cards, a home equity line of credit and her bank account. The cease and desist order was filed November 18th by Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander's office. The order from Kander's office bars Mazumder from selling investments or offering financial advice and requires him to pay restitution with interest, along with penalties totaling more than $45 thousand. Mazumder has 30 days from the date of the order to request a hearing before the order becomes final.
One 23 year old Cape Girardeau man is charged with three robberies in two different cities. One was at a Cape Walgreens. Bryan D. Ward is in custody on a $250 thousand dollar bond in connection with an armed robbery at Walgreens, and a pair of early morning armed robberies at convenience stores in Dexter. On Monday morning, Walgreens reported a young man came into the store around 7:20, and handed pharmacy staff a demand note for Percocet and hydrocodone. Walgreens employees gave the man a bag containing an opened bottle of oxycodone. He left through the front door, got into a black car and drove away. About 10 a.m., officers learned someone for a welfare check on Ward, who had been making suicidal threats in the past week and was missing. Based on descriptions of Ward and his vehicle, officers connected him with the robberies at Walgreens and two Dexter convenience stores. A search of Ward's car also turned up over $1 thousand dollars in cash, nearly 300 oxycodone pills, a 9-mm automatic handgun loaded with one round, and two yellow plastic store bags, including one containing a large quantity of loose and rolled coins. A warrant for Ward's arrest charges him with one count each of first-degree pharmacy robbery and armed criminal action.
On Tuesday, the Perryville Board of Aldermen approved an ordinance establishing rules for handling city employee complaints of harassment by elected officials. With the new policy, employees must submit their complaints in writing to the city's personnel clerk, who will forward them to the city attorney to present to the board of aldermen in closed session. The city will then investigate, and -- if the complaint is legitimate -- begin the impeachment process. Should the official resign rather than go through the impeachment process, as former police chief Keith Tarrillion did, the findings of the investigation would become public. Tarrillion was charged on October 31st with theft, forgery and making a false report. His case is set for a preliminary hearing December 17th.
A trial is underway for one Perryville man accused of child molestation and indecent exposure involving up to eight victims. 32 year old Keith Allen Heaps, of Perryville faces a total of 17 felony and misdemeanor charges filed in the Fall of 2011. Opening arguments in Heaps’ trial started Tuesday afternoon in Jackson in front of a grand jury. He faces up to 15 years in prison on each of the 10 molestation counts if convicted of the crimes.
A well-known business leader and former mayor in Advance passes away. James Harnes Sr. of Advance, was a highly-decorated Army veteran, civic leader, served as mayor for 17 years and also a prominent businessman. Harnes died Tuesday at the Missouri Veterans Home in Cape Girardeau. He was 94. James was alifelong Advance resident, who took over his family's insurance agency in the 1950s. In 1972, he became an auditor for the Missouri Department of Insurance. He was mayor of Advance from 1992 to 2009. He was a member of the Advance First Baptist Church and the Gideons. He also was a member of the Masonic Lodge AF&AM Lakewood Lodge. Harnes was also a World War II veteran, who spent 20 years in the Army, and later retired as a captain. He served on the Veterans Home Foundation board of directors for many years and volunteered at the Missouri Veterans Home for 20 years.
About 200 foster children in Cape Girardeau, Bollinger and Perry counties will benefit from the “Fill the Truck” event to be sponsored Saturday and Sunday (Dec. 7-8) by the United Way of Southeast Missouri and Wal-Mart in Jackson. The goal is to fill the truck with toys, underwear and socks for children of all ages. The truck will be at the Wal-Mart Supercenter parking lot, 3051 E. Jackson Blvd., from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and from noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Wal-Mart customers are invited to purchase items during their shopping trip and donate them in the parking lot. The Christmas gifts will be distributed by the 32nd Circuit Foster/Adoptive Parent Association. A&A Rental, 1238 Meadowbrook Lane in Cape Girardeau, is donating the truck for the weekend.
A new trail is coming to Cape. Missouri's Civil War Heritage Foundation has secured funding to develop the U.S. Grant Trail south from St. Louis to Cape Girardeau, MO. Currently, the trail spans Northeastern and East Central Missouri, highlighting the path of Ulysses Grant as well as sites of many battles of the Civil War. The Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau played an instrumental role in supporting Missouri's Civil War Heritage Foundation in their efforts to extend the trail southward. Cape Girardeau's rich Civil War history and heritage will be featured in this new driving tour that should be available for public distribution by early spring 2014. The new development of the U.S. Grant Trail from St. Louis to Cape Girardeau is an important step in creating a Civil War tourism experience that would take travelers through all of Grant's 1861 Missouri campaigns.
One person in custody in Cape after police find drugs in a home near an elementary school. Cape Girardeau police and members of the SEMO Drug Task Force searched a home near Franklin Elementary Monday afternoon. Police found an alleged growing operation of mushrooms and other controlled substances. Formal charges are expected to be filed today. Charges are expected to added due to the location of the alleged crimes near the school. The suspect was taken to the Cape jail on Monday.
Winter isn’t officially here yet, but all of Southeast Missouri could soon see a drastic weather change later this week. Forecasters are not yet sure what type or how much precipitation will fall Thursday and Friday when a winter storm is expected to move through the area, but the National Weather Service in Paducah, is fairly confident there will be some accumulation. The storm will likely start with rain and change to freezing rain, then sleet, when it moves into the area on Thursday. Colder air is expected to bring in snow late Friday.
On Monday, the Jackson Board of Aldermen approved a new healthcare agreement with United Healthcare to provide health insurance for the nearly 130 city of Jackson employees. The board chose to switch health insurance providers from Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield to United Healthcare of Maryland Heights, and will also switch to a small provider network. The narrower network excludes Saint Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Some doctors not associated with either Saint Francis or Southeast Hospital however will be considered "in-network" health care providers.
Sikeston city employees and employees of the Sikeston Board of Municipal Utilities will continue to keep their health insurance group for another year. The decision came after a staff recommendation. The Sikeston City Council moved to keep the contract to provide an employee health insurance plan through HealthSCOPE. HealthSCOPE's plan will cost 12 percent more than the current plan.
The need is still great for a new police station in Cape, and city officials have several ideas about how that would happen. However, on Monday they reached a conclusion—there is still much more planning needed before they move forward. The city council's discussion during its study session of recently presented options for a new or renovated station included the opinions of several officials that recognize that a needs study conducted by an architecture firm made a good case for the current and future city police force's needs. The City manager Scott Meyer and staff will be looking at alternatives for some station operations such as housing jail inmates, including house arrest with ankle bracelets and working with other agencies. Another concern of the council is the location of a new station. Thoughts among the council of an alternative location for a new station are focused on cost savings. The total costs associated with renovation or a new building presented by the firm ranged from $12 million to $14 million.
Cape Police are still investigating two home invasion and armed robberies that happened over the weekend. The first incident involved a break-in at the 600 block of South Henderson Avenue after the residents hear knocks at the door. The victims reportedly answered the door to find one man standing at the door and two others waiting near the south side of the residence. According to the victims, the men displayed handguns, ordered the victims inside and took cellphones and an undisclosed amount of cash before taking off on foot. Police do not have any suspects in that case. Late Sunday night, two people at an apartment in the 2800 block of Themis Street heard their front door being kicked in. The residents reportedly saw three men -- two wearing ski masks -- enter the apartment. The victims told police they did not notice anything missing, but as the intruders left, one resident told the other to call police—that’s when one of the suspects fired a shot outside the apartment. No one was injured. All the cases remain under investigation, but do not appear to be related.
Cape Girardeau police arrested a man accused of vandalizing a Cape Girardeau ATM. Someone called to inform police on the case shortly after recognizing the man’s identity from security footage. Police arrested the suspect around 10 a.m. Monday. Surveillance shows the man trying to pry open the ATM at U.S. Bank off of William Street last Thursday. The suspect was not able to get into ATM but did cause extensive property damage. Police released the man pending formal charges.
There will be plenty of tours this Christmas Season, but this one lets you see how area churches decorate for this time of year. The Christmas Country Church Tour is coming up Thursday and Friday, December 19th and 20 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. The tour is free, but a free-will donation will be accepted at each church for its charity. Every church on the tour will be decorated for Christmas and will include greeters, Christmas music and refreshments. You can tour the churches in any order you want. For a complete list of churches and a schedule, check out immanuelnewwells.org.
Cape Girardeau police continue to investigate a shooting that happened early Saturday night near KFC. One person was hurt and taken to a local hospital. Officers were called to the scene just before 5 p.m. When they arrived, they learned the suspect had left the scene and the victim was taken to a local hospital. Police believe the victim was inside a car parked next to another vehicle that backed into the parking space nearby. Three shots were fired into the car, and one bullet hit the victim in the leg. The 20-year-old victim went to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Another female was in the vehicle with the victim, but was not hurt. All suspects are believed to have known each other. An investigation continues. If you have any information, contact the Cape Girardeau Police Department.
The Sikeston Department of Public Safety continues to investigate a shooting. Two males were reportedly shot at a dance at the Sikeston Eagles Club, off of Trotter Street, Friday night. One man was reportedly shot twice in the back and a second man suffered a gunshot wound to the hand. If you have any information on incident, call Sikeston DPS.
A retired, longtime deputy in the Cape Girardeau County Clerk's office is now wanting to sue her former employer. She alleges she was short changed with her benefits by being forced to retire early. Judy Beussink of Jackson had worked for the county more than 46 years when she retired on the last day of December 2011. Beussink and her attorneys, filed a petition for damages against the county in August. The petition accuses the county of engaging in age discrimination by changing a policy regarding retirement dates after Beussink had announced her intention to retire in February 2012. The policy change meant Beussink had to adjust her date to December 31st, 2011, which caused her to lose retirement, health insurance and other monetary benefits. Beussink had announced her February retirement date November 8th, 2011. The change applied only to people older than 40. The action of the county, according to the petition, was a violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act.
Pleasant weather brought out hundreds ofpeople along Broadway on Sunday evening to catch a good view of the 22nd annual Downtown Christmas Parade of Lights.The Old Town Cape event’s theme this year was "Christmas Fun for Everyone" and grand marshals were Drs. Bert and Mary Ann Kellerman. Entries included regional high school bands, churches and fire departments, businesses and not-for-profit organizations. Helping Hands made their first appearance in the parade with their Cape Girardeau float. Old Town Cape offers an ornament every year that's connected with downtown, and this year it features the Oliver-Leming House. To see and purchase this year’s ornament, check out oldtowncape.org.
One family is lighting up Kelso again this Christmas. Brooks and Brandon Clark began planning for their display in 2008 and first lit the display in 2009. It ran in 2010 and 2011, raising $23 thousand for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, two years ago, and after a one-year break, the brothers have added power and 20 thousand lights for a total of 100 thousand. The Clark Family Christmas Lights Show has become a regional attraction, reportedly drawing 200 to 300 vehicles a night during the week and nearly 1 thousand on weekends. You can see it for yourself from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until midnight on weekends through December 31st. Drivers can tune their radios to 87.9 FM to hear Christmas Music along with the display.
Throughout the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the Red Cross continued to assist Illinois residents affected by last week’s tornadoes and severe storms. So far in Southern Illinois, the Red Cross is working with about 60 families to provide help with longer-term recovery needs. Across the state, the Red Cross is assisting more than 1,000 families. Since the tornadoes tore through the state, the Red Cross has provided 55,000 meals and snacks to residents in the hardest-hit communities. In Southern Illinois, those wishing to speak with a Red Cross caseworker about recovery help should call 1-800-272-2984. You can help people affected by disasters big and small by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters. Visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter.
Two Cape men are in custody after a man is shot in the abdomen in Cape Girardeau. 20 year old Trevon Starnes, and 27 year old Lance Lewis, both of Cape Girardeau were arrested. Both are facing several charges including assault and armed criminal action. Police were called to a vacant house where the shooting occurred on November 12th around 4 p.m. The victim was taken to the hospital. Starnes was taken to jail with a $250 thousand dollar cash bond. Lewis' bond was set at $200 thousand. Starnes was arrested earlier this week at a probation & parole office. Lewis was arrested Sunday at a home on Whitener in Cape Girardeau.
Next week, major roadwork will start in Downtown Cape. The work will be in the 200 to 300 blocks of Merriwether Street, where workers will install new five-foot water drainage pipes. The project will continue in phases over an eight month period starting at City Hall, continue north on Fountain Street, west on Themis Street and north on Frederick, Middle and Ellis streets. Closures will happen a block at a time during the project. Affected residents and businesses have been or will be notified. All work will happen south of Broadway. For any questions, contact the City’s Development Services Department at 573-339-6327.
Join Withers Broadcasting starting Thanksgiving Night at 6 p.m. for our Annual Holiday Food Drive at Cape County Park North, off of North Kingshighway. As you drive though the Cape County Park Lights Display, make sure to bring along some non-perishable food items to donate. Withers Broadcasting will be on-location taking donations from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday until December 21st.
The Salvation Army's Home League mission has been serving the community for 30 years and on Thanksgiving, more than 2,100 community members turned out for the meal. Volunteers reportedly fed 2,132 people Thursday – which is a record for the organization, which started hosting a Thanksgiving meal in 1983. Many volunteers often receive services from the Salvation Army and took the opportunity to return the favor, and others have created a family tradition out of the event. A smoker was borrowed from Old Hickory Pits, and volunteers began smoking turkeys in early November. Nearly 80 smoked and two baked turkeys, several pans of stuffing, nearly 30 hams, green beans and desserts were donated by Isle Casino Cape Girardeau, My Daddy's Cheesecake, Schnucks, the 4-H Club and other individual donors.
During the month of November, Monsanto employees in New Madrid and Stoddard Counties are fighting rural hunger as part of a coordinated volunteer effort across the United States where employees live and work. Nearly 15 percent of rural households are food insecure meaning that, there is not always enough food for each member of a family to live on. In southeast Missouri, employees at the Matthews Monsanto site donated their time to help out at the Stoddard County Gospel Rescue Mission and the Southeast Missouri Food Bank.
Students at Notre Dame High School are showing the true meaning of the holiday season by making more than 250 blankets for kids at the Children's Hospital. The project was student-led. One athlete from each sports team led the project for their sport and two senior students spearheaded the entire project. The students were passionate about the project because of what it means for the children who receive the blankets.
Dr. Bill Eddleman, vice provost and dean of the School of Graduate Studies at Southeast Missouri State University, has been named provost at Southeast. The announcement was made following a closed executive session teleconference meeting of the University’s Board of Regents on Tuesday. Eddleman will begin his new duties Jan. 1, 2014. The Provost is Southeast’s chief academic officer and is responsible for eight colleges and schools: Donald L. Harrison College of Business, College of Education, College of Health and Human Services, College of Liberal Arts, College of Science, Technology and Agriculture, School of Graduate Studies; School of University Studies and the Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts. Eddleman was among four candidates identified during a national search process.
Southeast Missouri State University Director of Athletics Mark Alnutt announced Tuesday plans to replace head football coach Tony Samuel, effective November 30th. Samuel had two years remaining on his contract. The decision came around early afternoon on Tuesday, just three days after Southeast completed its 2013 season. Samuel, who became Southeast's 12th head football coach in January 2006, led the Redhawks to their first-ever Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) title and NCAA Playoff appearance in 2010. He was the Eddie Robinson, OVC Roy Kidd and American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Region 3 Coach of the Year after leading Southeast to an overall 9-3 record that season. Since then however, the Redhawks recorded no more than three victories each of the last three seasons, finishing the 2013 campaign at 3-9 overall and tied for seventh in the OVC with a 2-6 mark. Samuel's teams were 31-60 over an eight-year period. Southeast will immediately conduct a national search for a new head coach.
Things are almost back to normal in most areas of Scott County damaged by the tornado and storms last week. Tom Beardslee, emergency management director for the county, reported to the Scott County Commission during their regular meeting on Tuesday, on the results of a third survey of the county. Beardslee has been organizing the surveys of areas damaged by the tornado and storms early last week to keep track of what has been cleaned up and what still needs to be addressed.
Several constituents were able to voice their opinion on ObamaCare on Tuesday evening. U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor who is fighting against the new healthcare law, brought a national urgency for the Republican Party -- to the local area during a roundtable talk with area business executives and doctors in Cape Girardeau. Cantor was in town for a Tuesday night fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri's 8th Congressional District. Smith hosted the roundtable event, which was held at the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce. About 20 people -- most selected by Smith's staff after contacts with his office with complaints about the health-care law were a part of the discussion. Cantor and Smith heard from business owners facing cost increases of 30 percent or more from the previous year for employee health care.
This weekend kicks off the holiday season for many people and many parks will be decked out. Cape County Park North and city parks in Jackson and Perryville, are where free, drive-through tours planned to last beyond the Christmas holiday. Cape County Park has held its annual display since 1987. This year, the number of displays has grown to well more than 100. The lights at Cape County Park North are set to be turned on tonight and will be on for drive-through tours, from dusk until 11 p.m. every night through December 31st. For more info on the displays, contact the park office at 335-4146 or the county commission at 243-1052. In Jackson, those who want to include displays at the city park for the "Lights of the Season" drive-through tour aren't charged a fee. The city is accepting displays for the two-section tour, split by memorial and community displays. Jackson will turn on the lights December 7th after the city's annual holiday parade. For more info on that display, email email@example.com.
Bollinger county could soon see a new 911 system. Last week, the Bollinger County Commission met with representatives from law enforcement, ambulance districts, utilities, school districts, fire departments and others who may need to pinpoint an address quickly. A GIS system is the first step toward eventually providing enhanced 911 service throughout the county. That system would create a uniform mapping system that would give every house or business in Bollinger County a new address through a system designed to grow with the county. The next step will be to hold hearings to answer questions from county residents.
The Affordable Healthcare Act or ObamaCare as most people call it, has continued to bring frustrations to those trying to register on the exchange, and those on the right and left. Congressman Jason Smith in his weekly address, sited a local business that’s feeling the affects of the new healthcare law.
"Ceramo in Jackson is one of the largest American-owned distributors of clay pottery in the country. It’s a family business that started in 1945 and employs around 100 people. Because of ObamaCare, Ceramo’s insurance rates increased by 43% when the plans came up for renewal. After switching insurance providers to a company that would still raise rates by 37%, Ceramo has now received notice explaining that their coverage will be cancelled next August because it does not cover certain benefits required under President Obama’s healthcare law".
Today, you have a chance to voice your opinion, and ask questions about the good and the bad of ObamaCare. Congressman Jason Smith will welcome House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to Cape Girardeau for a roundtable discussion. The meeting will be at Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce, off of North Mount Auburn Road, in Cape Girardeau, today from 4:00 PM-5:00 PM.
Cape Girardeau public schools get an early Christmas present. Over 1,200 ASUS Transformer Book computer laptops arrived at the district office on Friday. The target rollout date for high school students in grades nine through 12 is January 7th. The district plans to distribute the laptops to eighth-graders in August 2014, but may later add seventh-graders. Cape Schools purchased 1,300 ASUS devices for 1,200 students and 100 teachers for price tag of $520 thousand as part of the 1:1 Initiative Program. The teacher devices already have been distributed. The school is working through Southeast Missouri State University to offer graduate credit to teachers undergoing training on the devices.
Sikeston’s old storm sirens are too outdated to serve the city, but may serve as an affordable solution for a smaller community. The Sikeston City Council declared during the city's monthly special briefing session Monday the city's five old storm warning sirens to be surplus property, and will now be up for sale. Other communities in the area "have shown an interest in purchasing these sirens. They will be sold "as is".
An East Prairie man was killed in a single-vehicle accident and the driver is facing charges. 25 year old Bobby J. Counts, was fatally injured in an accident on Saturday afternoon on County Road 413 south of Branley Road. 21 year old Christopher M. Byassee, of East Prairie was driving south on County Road 413 when his vehicle travelled off the right side of the roadway. Byassee's vehicle then struck a tree. Counts, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was pronounced dead at Missouri Delta Medical Center. Byasee is charged with involuntary manslaughter and two counts of second degree assault. His bond is set at $50 thousand and he is currently in the Mississippi County Jail.
A once private campground is now in the hands of Missouri's park system. They recently bought a Shannon County campground from the federal government that had been forfeited after its former owner was convicted on a drug charge. Missouri State Parks bought the more than 300-acre property known as Camp Zoe at auction for $640 thousand plus closing costs. The online auction began last month and ended Friday. The property had belonged to James Tebeau, who pleaded guilty in June 2012 to one federal count of maintaining drug-involved property. The campground was raided during a Halloween 2010 concert that prosecutors stated it had up to 200 dealers selling marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, LSD and other drugs. As part of his plea deal, Tebeau acknowledged he was aware of widespread drug sales on his property but not participating. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Tebeau turned himself in to Yankton Federal Prison in South Dakota in May
Scott City High School is working out a deal with Mineral Area College to offer a several dual credit courses. Classes could start as early as this January. Courses that may be offered are career explorations, computer applications 1 and 2, introduction to business 1 and 2, keyboarding, graphic arts, accounting, Photoshop and personal finance. The high school will have to ensure that its curriculum matches with Mineral Area College's course descriptions. The Cape Girardeau Partnership for Higher Education at the Career and Technology Center includes Southeast Missouri State University, Three Rivers College and Mineral Area College. Southeast and Three Rivers usually are selected for arts and sciences classes, and Mineral Area College offers career and technology courses. To qualify for the dual-credit courses, students would have to be a junior or senior and have a grade-point average of C-plus.
Many children in Scott County will have a brighter Christmas this year. For the second year local law enforcement officers, fire fighters and first responders will be joining forces to help bring some Scott County children gifts this Christmas. Funds are being raised for "Shop With a Hero," which last year, which allowed 40 Scott County children to shop for toys with a local hero. Several businesses in Scott County were asked for the donations to help with the project. Their goal this year is to raise $10 thousand, which would sponsor almost 200 children. Last year children were able to spend about $50 dollars each.
An annual tradition returns to Downtown Cape will this Christmas season. The Glenn House, located on South Spanish Street in Cape Girardeau, will be hosting Christmas tours. The tours begin Friday, November 29th and 30th, and every Saturday and Sunday of December, including Thursday, December 26th and Friday, December 27th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Candlelight tours are Friday, December 13th and Saturday, December 21st from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The house and its carriage house will be decorated and will serve Christmas cookies and cider. Advance tickets are available at the Convention and Visitors Bureau on Broadway for $4. Tickets are also available at the door for $5. Children’s tickets are $2. Group tours are available by appointment.
Changes could soon be coming to one of Missouri’s major scholarships. Governor Jay Nixon is proposing changes to Missouri's Bright Flight college scholarship aimed at encouraging top-ranking high school students to remain in the state for college. The governor told higher education officials in October that he would propose new resources for financial aid and scholarship programs. Nixon stated that he was working to enhance Bright Flight to ensure the best students remain in Missouri for college and beyond. Scholarships are awarded based on ACT or SAT scores. The Department of Higher Education states the scholarship are worth $2,500 per award, which is less than the $3,000 authorized by state law.
A fundraising effort may soon be phased out. Museum officials announced this week that the Stars and Stripes Museum/Library will end one of its longtime fundraisers. As of January 1st, the museum will no longer accept orders for memorial bricks. However, bricks may still be ordered to for a wall slated for construction in the early spring. The decision to discontinue the sale of memorial bricks arose due to a couple of issues: The cost of the bricks has continued to rise while they are sold for the same amount, and it is becoming difficult to find workers willing to donate their time to build future walls. More than 200 bricks are already at the museum in preparation for the next wall. The bricks are $50 each. Orders will be taken through December 31st. Bricks may be purchased at the museum or online at starsandstripesmuseumlibrary.org.
The Missouri Hospital Association Board of Trustees chooses a local leader for their board. Steven C. Bjelich, with Saint Francis Healthcare System President and Chief Executive Officer, was recently chosen as a state alternate delegate to the American Hospital Association Region 6 Policy Board. His three-year term begins January 1st. The nine Regional Policy Boards provide input on public policy issues by the AHA’s Board of Trustees, serve as policy development committees, and identify needs for a region and assist in developing programs to meet those needs. Representatives meet three times a year to foster communication between the AHA, its members and state hospital associations. Bjelich has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Saint Francis Healthcare System since 1999.
25 new jobs are about to open up in Sikeston – the Lock Company, based in Illinois, will locate their manufacturing business in the city. Once their facility is ready, their owner says the jobs will be available within a month or two. The Lock Company makes locks for residential doors.
Students at Southeast Missouri State University will give their say on issues like social media, life after death and ObamaCare in a campus-wide electronic audit. Two electronic voting machines were set up Thursday in the University Center; a faculty member says 120 students will vote in the audit, with the results analyzed by a statistics class.
After weeks of work to build the most efficient model bridges, Southeast Missouri high school students put their bridges to the test Nov. 21 at the completion of MoDOT's 10th Annual Bridge Building Competition. The competition challenges high school juniors and seniors to design and construct the most efficient model bridge using limited materials. Oak Ridge, Chaffee and Ste. Genevieve High Schools received first, second and third place for best overall performance. These schools received cash prizes donated by the Chapter 10 Transportation Employees Association of Missouri. In addition, five students were recognized for building the lightest bridges that carried the greatest loads. Other awards included the most aesthetic bridge, presented to Hannah Steward of Delta C-7 High School; and the computer-based electronic bridge award presented to Morgan Smith of Oak Ridge High School. MoDOT also partnered with Arkansas State University, Southeast Missouri State University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou) and Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, to offer seniors interested in civil engineering up to $10 thousand dollars in scholarships.
Cape’s Mayor Harry Rediger will face a familiar opponent in April’s election as he seeks his second term. Ward 2 will have a primary election February 4th since more than two candidates filed nominating petitions. Ward 1 and Ward 6 are the other areas open for election of a new representative. Walter White, a real estate investor, will make his fourth attempt at the mayor's office in challenging Rediger. Two people, Joseph Uzoaru and Teresa Robinson, are running in Ward 1. The seat is held by John Voss, who will be term-limited in April. In Ward 2, Andrew Bard, Craig David, Rocky Everett and Shelly Moore filed as candidates. In Ward 6, incumbent Councilman Wayne Bowen will be alone on the ballot.
Several government offices for Cape Girardeau County could be moved to the uptown Jackson square with a series plans for consolidation presented to the county commission by an architect Monday. An architect presented three options for county government offices and departments-- all that include building a new courthouse in Jackson along North Missouri and Washington streets. County commissioners hired the architecture firm earlier this year to perform a needs assessment study for county facilities that would serve the area’s needs through 2033.
“Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 2” is currently the headline feature on the Missouri Arts Council website at missouriartscouncil.org/. The anthology is an annual series of writing by military personnel, veterans and their families, and is produced through a collaboration between Southeast Missouri State University Press, the Missouri Humanities Council and Warriors Arts Alliance. The book includes short fiction, essays, poetry, photography, and a new category of interviews with veterans, including author Tim O’Brien.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol, Troop E, announces that starting on Wednesday, November 27th, and on Sunday, December 1, 2013, Troop E officers will take part in the 20-Mile Trooper project in an effort to promote safety and to reduce the number of traffic crashes in the Troop E area. This means Troop E will assign a trooper every 20 miles on Interstates 55 and 57, and on other secondary roads. They aim to place a trooper in close proximity of motorists who may need assistance and to enforce all traffic violations that could cause hazardous traveling conditions. The Patrol is committed to reducing crashes and fatalities through education and enforcement.
A circuit judge schedules a January 2015 trial date Tuesday for a Cape man accused of shooting two people at their apartment after a fight in downtown Cape. 23 year old Kenneth Bell, faces charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in connection with the February 7th shooting deaths of Misty Cole and Shannon James. In court Tuesday, Bell's public defender, requested a hearing for early next year. Judge Benjamin Lewis scheduled the hearing for 9 a.m. February 28th. He set the case for trial January 20th to 23rd, 2015, with jury selection beginning January 14th.
The murder case against a Cape man is now set for trial in September. The announcement came from a judge on Tuesday. 48 year old Joseph, faces charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in connection with the May 30th deaths of his wife, Mary, and 18-year-old son, Matthew, at their home on West Cape Rock Drive. Cape Girardeau County Circuit Judge Benjamin Lewis set the case for trial during the week of September 15th, with jury selection starting September 11th in Cole County. In April, Joseph's name was linked with a Scott County financial exploitation case in which a Cape Girardeau man is accused of taking $220 thousand an elderly couple, telling them he would invest the money in annuities.
The Jackson School District will soon begin accepting candidate applications for three positions on the school board. Filing dates and times were approved during Tuesday's meeting for the April 8th election, with filing to begin December 17th and ending at 5 p.m. January 21 at the district office, off of East Adams Street in Jackson. The office will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Positions up for election are currently held by T. Wayne Lewis, Bruce Thomas and board president Terri Tomlin. Terms run three years.
Missouri's minimum wage will rise by 15 cents an hour in January. The Missouri labor department has set next year's minimum wage at $7.50 an hour. That's a cost-of-living increase over the current $7.35 an hour. A 2006 ballot measure approved by Missouri voters required the state's minimum wage to be adjusted annually based on changes in the Consumer Price Index. The group Missouri Jobs with Justice, which supported the ballot initiative, states the latest increase is good for the economy but still not enough for some families. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry says the wage increase could make it harder for some business to employ people. The increase will make Missouri's minimum wage 25 cents higher than the federal minimum wage.
A Cape man seeks to have his three life sentences overturned. Jamie Orman, her unborn child and her 15-year-old son, Derrick, were killed Oct. 27, 2009, as part of what prosecutors believe was a failed scheme to murder Orman's boyfriend and burn his home to collect insurance money. On Monday, Cape Girardeau County circuit judge William Syler set the trial date for Ryan Patterson's plea for 1:30 p.m. on January 13th to have his conviction overturned. Patterson filed a handwritten motion January 10th in Cape Girardeau County Circuit Court, seeking to have the three life sentences against him vacated, claiming he was wrongly accused. Patterson has requested DNA testing of blood found on Hughes' socks and boots. In an affidavit, he also claimed that, among other things, his attorneys did not call a witness who would have placed him somewhere else at the time of the murders and failed to argue that a footprint found at the scene did not belong to him.
The Cape Public School Foundation is raising money for a new gymnasium scoreboard and several other items for Central High School. Amy McDonald, executive director of the foundation, is raising funds to replace the scoreboard and the message board in the school's gym. The Richard D. Kinder Performance Hall is also set to receive a Steinway piano and new sound shells, for improved acoustics. Their annual Penguin Party, a large foundation fundraiser, is set for February 8th. It includes a dinner, a live and silent auction and a band. Tickets are $50 per person.
Soon senior citizens across our congressional district will be receiving information about Medicare Open Enrollment. During this two month enrollment period, current Medicare beneficiaries can alter their coverage plans and new beneficiaries can sign up for a Medicare plan for the first time. Medicare Open Enrollment begins October 15th and closes December 7th. Congressman Jason Smith commented on the process. "Navigating any federal program can be daunting, and my staff and I are here to assist with this process. By visiting www.medicare.govor calling 1-800-MEDICARE, you learn about the various plans Medicare offers. Should you encounter difficulties in this process, I encourage you to contact one of my district offices. You may call my Cape Girardeau office at 573-335-0101. Moving forward, I will continue efforts to improve seniors’ access to Medicare and fight any actions to deny care or change benefits for our Greatest Generation." Medicare Open Enrollment begins October 15th and closes December 7th.
You could get to see some familiar sites from the area sooner on the big screen than expected. According to a website covering Hollywood, The Wrap, David Fincher’s movie, “Gone Girl,” based on the bestselling thriller by Gillian Flynn, is now set to open in theatres nationwide October 3rd, 2014. The original release date was set for 2015. Ben Affleck stars alongside Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris and “Blurred Lines” model Emily Ratajkowski.
Progress and debate continues for the new proposed I-66 corridor project. A span connecting Cape Girardeau and Paducah, could work in many locations, but the placement of the connection is now a matter of north or south. A formal study of the best corridor for the connecting highway began in March by consulting firms. The area under study includes Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky. The study is expected to take three to five years, then building can start. Potential areas being discussed for construction of the corridors, includes Paducah through Union County, Illinois, to Cape Girardeau; Joppa, Illinois, to Metropolis, to Highway 3; and U.S. 60 to Cairo.
A major announcement was made on Monday at the Cape City Council Chambers at 3 p.m. Cape mayor Harry Rediger announced his future plans yesterday to run for re-election of a second-term for the city. During his speech, Rediger also praised the city's development and progress during his first time. He will run for re-election during April 2014.
Friday at 5 pm, Melaina’s Magical Playground will open at Cape County park North. Melaina Cunningham, the daughter of Jeff and Andrea Cunningham, was born with nemaline myopathy, a disease that causes weakness. They wanted to build a playground for all kids, and not force families to drive to St. Louis to visit the nearest one. Plenty of donations helped cover the 5 years of development 1.2 million dollar cost, as well as two grants from the Department of Natural Resources. The ribbon will be cut on September 27th at 5 pm.
In Sikeston, the 69th annual Cotton Carnival begins tomorrow, with the usual fun activities planned. Pageants begin Wednesday with the Little Mister and Miss Cotton Carnival contests at 7 pm; Thursday, I’ll have the pleasure to emcee the Junior Miss Sikeston pageant at 8 pm; the Miss Sikeston Pageant will begin Saturday at 7 pm. The Parade begins Saturday at 10 am.
At tonight’s Cape City Council meeting, the discussion of sidewalk cafes will be front and center for the downtown area. Discussion will center around the size and proximity to businesses for the cafes that are proposed on Broadway, Water, and Main and Spanish. The proposal states the sidewalk cafes will attract more traffic, both vehicle and foot, and strengthen the economy.
When Missouri legislators override a veto from Governor Jay Nixon, some Missourians will rising payments on some consumer loans. The measure will double the origin fee lenders can offer from 5 percent to 10 percent. Many consumer advocates oppose the new fees; no word when they will kick in.
Remember going to school without the internet and having to use a pay phone to call home? Those days are long gone - in Newport, Kentucky, a town bordering Cincinnati – the school district there will equip all 470 students with iPads in November, using district and state funds. Each iPad costs 400 dollars – administration believes the technology will improve academics and low test scores. Technology will hit home in Cape this week, as well – Tuesday the Cape School board is set to purchase a laptop for every student under the 1 to 1 initiative. If approved, approximately 13-hundred devices will be purchased at a total cost of just over half a million dollars.
Filming for “Gone Girl”, the 20th Century Fox movie being shot in Cape Girardeau, continued through the weekend. Multiple reports say crews were behind Walmart shooting, and Saturday a few streets were shut down to allow for filming. The production company does not promote where scenes are being filmed so as not to attract crowds; they expect shooting to last another 4 weeks.
A new test is set to replace the decades old GED. HiSET, or high school equivalency test, will soon replace the GED, or General Educational Development test, in Missouri. Testing areas are language arts, with reading comprehension and writing, including an essay; math; science; and social studies. The new test HiSET will be all computer-based and requires more critical thinking. It also adds the metric system in the math section. The transition from the GED test to the new HiSET exam, is set to start January 1st, 2014.
If you’re in Cape County, you’ll see a small increase in your 2013 property taxes. After a public hearing Monday, commissioners voted to set this year's tax rate at $0.044 per $100 of assessed property value, up from $0.038 in 2012. Less sales tax revenue growth in the past year, made the change necessary. The tax rate is determined by a county's total assessed valuation and sales tax revenue.
The name and memory of a former Southeast Missouri State University student lives on. The student’s family has raised enough money to endow a scholarship in her name, honoring Meg Herndon, a Southeast Missouri State University nursing student and soccer player who died in September. Her family sold tickets to St. Louis Cardinals games to raise money for an endowed scholarship at Southeast. After numerous fundraisers and donations, the scholarship fund now reportedly totals between $20 thousand and $22 thousand. Southeast will award the scholarship to a female soccer player starting next fall semester.
Sahara Aldridge left the world far too soon in 2007, but her name and life will live on forever in Missouri law. Governor Jay Nixon signed into law Sahara's Law; it allows taxpayers to donate at least one dollar from their state income tax refund to pediatric cancer research. Sahara's parents, Shannon and Amy Aldridge, have been pushing for the law since Sahara's passing. On July 20th, 2013, Hoops 4 Life, an annual 5K fundraiser, will be held to support pediatric cancer research in Sahara's name. For more info on the fundraiser, visit hoopsforlife.net.
Cape Girardeau police and emergency crews responded around 11:30 to a crash at the intersection of South Kingshighway and Southern Expressway. Police state a 63-year-old man from Oran was driving a Corvette when it hit a Mack truck at a high rate of speed. Both vehicles were northbound on Kingshighway. The semi was coming to a stop when the driver of the Corvette swerved to the right to try to avoid hitting the truck, but was not able to avoid a crash. The Corvette hit the right rear of the truck. The driver of the Corvette was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The driver of the semi was from Tamms, Illinois and taken to the hospital with minor, non-life threatening injuries.
Governor Jay Nixon has been concerned legislators would override his veto of an income tax bill he opposes; with that in mind, he froze 400 million dollars Friday that was ticketed for education, building repairs, and state services. Nixon said at a signing for the fiscal year 2014 budget, which came in at just under 25 billion dollars, that the income tax cut would quote undermine our fiscal foundation now and for years to come. Earlier this month, he vetoed a bill that would have phased in a tax deduction over the next five years for business income.
On July 4th, celebrate with the city of Jackson from 7 am til 10 pm at the Jackson City Park. A 5k run/walk will begin the festivities at 7 am, and will be followed by events all day – mud volleyball at 8, car show from 9 til 3, the little miss firecracker pageant at 10 am, and The Southern Brothers band at 7 pm. The pool will be open at 1 pm, as well. For more info on Jackson’s july 4th celebration, contact Rodney Bollinger with the City of Jackson.
After opening in 1969 as a Kroger’s Grocery Store, demolition of the Plaza Galleria began Friday in Cape. 30 years ago it was turned into a shopping center and ice skating rink, with 20 business inside the building at one time. Tom Kelsey, president of Lorimont Place, says he believes tearing it down will enhance the chances a new business is put in its place.
Cape Girardeau has a new police chief – Wes Blair of Lancaster, Texas, has been named by the City in a new release. Blair replaces Carl Kinnison, who stepped down last August. Blair has also served as a federal air marshal and a border patrol agent. He has spent 16 years in law enforcement.
Animal rights protesters took to the McCracken (KY.) County Courthouse Thursday morning, looking for justice over a case of animal cruelty involving three teens. McCracken County Sheriffs report the three teens were taken into custody on charges they found two kittens and bludgeoned them to death on the Lone Oak HS football field. Pictures of the kitten before and after the assault were taken and posted on Twitter; police and animal control officials were contacted shortly after the tweets on Sunday, and confirmed the kitten to be the one in the tweets. Another kitten was found in close proximity to the first one. Very little was left at the scene, save for a heavy rock that had blood residue on it. All three teens have been placed in juvenile detention.
Kenneth Bell of Cape Girardeau has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder from a February 7th shooting; he has now been extra time to find a new attorney after Assistant Public Defender Michael Sato withdrew from the case. Bell admitted in court that he shot and killed Shannon James and Misty Cole after an altercation at 401 South Pacific. The case has been extended to July 8th.
Friday, Clay Waller remained in Cape County prison, but Sheriff John Jordan of the Cape Sheriff’s Department says Waller will soon be handed off to federal authorities. He pleaded guilty at his Thursday hearing to second degree murder of his wife, Jacque Waller, and had already been serving time in a Louisiana prison on internet threats against Jacque’s sister, Cheryl Brenneke. Sheriff Jordan reports it has not been decided in what federal prison Waller will serve his 20 year prison sentence.
48-year-old George Joseph has been charged with two counts of first-degree-murder in the shooting deaths of his wife and son on May 30th on West Cape Rock Drive. 57-year-old Mary Joseph and 18-year-old Matthew Joseph were killed at their home; George Joseph suffered a gunshot wound to his head. The probable cause statement from the Cape Police Department says he was facing financial issues for him and others that caused depression. It adds that Joseph was interviewed about the shootings, and told police there was no need to search for other suspects. He said he shot his wife and son in an attempt to save them from financial shame. Visitation for the Josephs will be from 4 to 8 today at Ford and Sons Mount Auburn Funeral Home, with a funeral Mass at 10 on Saturday at Old St. Vincent's Church. Police have not released a suspect, motive or other details about the case.
Cape Girardeau police officer Darin Hickey reports multiple businesses along Broadway in downtown Cape were all burglarized Thursday morning. Police do not know if the crimes are related, but windows and doors were smashed at two dentist offices, Estate Planning and Elder Law, and Community Day School, along with the law office of Albert M. Spradling the 3rd. Police say some similarities exist between the break-ins, but investigations are on-going.
After being sworn in as Missouri’s newest member of Congress, Jason Smith was back in Cape Girardeau Friday. He stopped by the First Friday coffee event hosted by the Cape Chamber of Commerce before making his way to a meeting with the US Army Core of Engineers to discuss flooding in the area. Smith said he is making the flooding a priority in his first days representing the 8th Congressional District.
After transitioning from two salary structures over the last 4 years, the Cape Girardeau School Board approved a new teacher salary schedule. Superintendent James Welker said the new base salary is 31 thousand 5 hundred, and they aim to raise that base to 35 thousand in a few years. Almost 50 teachers will be shifted to this structure and receive a pay raise; roughly 150 will remain on the previous schedule. For comparison, Jackson R2 school district’s base teacher salary is 32 thousand, 6 hundred.
Clay Waller will serve 20 years in prison for murdering his wife, Jacque Waller, in June 2011. Waller pleaded guilty at his hearing Thursday, the final piece of a plea bargain he agreed to that had 3 previous parts - He tells police where he put Jacque's body, the police and officials can find her body, and then Clay recounts how he killed Jacque. Because of the plea bargain, Clay will not stand trial, and had his charge downgraded from first-degree murder to second-degree murder. The hearing lasted about 16 total minutes, with Waller holding his head down for nearly all of the hearing while wearing the usual orange jumpsuit, long sleeves underneath, socks, sandals, and handcuffs and ankle cuffs. Jacque's sister, Cheryl Brenneke, addressed Clay for about 9 minutes, using what is likely her final time seeing him in person to speak from her heart. After Cheryl finished, a recording of Clay's 7-year-old son, Maddox, was played; in it, Maddox told his dad he was a "big, fat jerk" five times, and said he never wanted to see him again. Every seat in the trial room was filled, with media from all over the state covering the hearing. Waller will spend his 20 years in prison concurrent with time already spent, and will do so in the Missouri Department of Corrections.
The sinkhole that has blocked off part of South Sprigg Street just south of Southern Expressway has widened, forcing crews to return to the site Wednesday. Experts say recent flooding has caused the sinkhole to become larger, and for the time being South Sprigg Street in that area will remain just one lane. Police continue to advise everyone to stay away from the sinkhole. There is no timeframe for when the sinkhole will be fixed.
27-year-old Adrian Settles of Cape Girardeau admitted to robbing the Cape Credit Union February 6th, according to court papers. His plea shows he admitted to one felony count of bank robbery; police say he handed a note to a teller demanding money, then took off westbound on foot. Settles will be sentenced September 23rd, and faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Cape police officer Darin Hickey confirms the identification of 2 of the fatalities in the shooting this morning in Cape – 18-year-old Matthew Joseph, and his mother, 57-year-old Mary Joseph, were killed from gunshot wounds at 1220 West Cape Rock Drive. The father and husband, 48-year-old George Joseph, was being treated for a gunshot wound. Officer Hickey says everyone in the shooting was accounted for, so there is no threat to the community. Officials are still investigating the incident. Autopsies were scheduled for today.
Official press release from the offices of the Cape Prosecuting Attorney, Angel Woodruff, on the fidning of Jacque Waller's remains:
"On Wednesday, May 29, 2013, a body was recovered by law enforcement. It has been confirmed that the body is that of Jacque Sue Waller, who has been missing since June 1, 2011. Because this is an on-going investigation and involves a pending criminal case, there will be no further comment from this office or any other agency."
In the wake of the deadly tornadoes that leveled two elementary schools in Oklahoma, the Scott City School District is building a safe room to protect students in the event of a tornado. The safe room will be an 8 thousand-square-foot visual and performing-arts center that will be built on the west side of the Scott City school building. The new facility will contain steel-reinforced, concrete walls that can withstand an EF5 tornado. The price tag for the facility will be around $1.5 million and the facility will be able to hold more than 1,200 people. It will be open to the community if there's a tornado after school hours. FEMA will share the cost with the school district to build the safe room, and is providing 75 percent of funding through its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. The projected completion date for the safe room is summer 2014.
Closed since 2005, the former Plaza Galleria in Cape on Independence will be demolished, with an aim at selling the near 7-acre lot to retailers or any other buyer. Lorimont Place owns the property, and they say prospective buyers have already popped up. Demolition will take place in the next month.
Marble Hill has a new mayor – Nick Hendricks was appointed by the board of aldermen Monday night. Weeks of discussion preceded the appointment of Hendricks; multiple candidates popped up recently, forcing the aldermen to table the topic for a few weeks. Charles Fisher was also appointed as second ward alderman; it is to be determined when Hendricks and Fisher will be sworn in to their respective positions.
Saint Francis Medical Center receives more national recognition – they have earned Quality Respiratory Care Recognition, a program that helps patients and families make decisions about respiratory quality. Approximately 15% of the hospitals in the USA applied for and received the award, which Saint Francis has received since 2004.
For the last two years, postal service discussions have continued in Southeast Missouri. Recently, some mail boxes in Cape Girardeau have shown changes to 1:30 pm pick up times from the normal 5 pm pick-up, but the Cape Girardeau post office says that collection time hasn’t yet changed, but as of this week, the plan is to change the collection time on July 27th. Mail will be processed and distributed in a plant in St. Louis, forcing the USPS to allot more transportation time.
Marble Hill remains without a mayor after aldermen were unable to agree on a candidate – Multiple members of the board of aldermen supported former Ward 2 Alderman James Sear, but a unanimous vote was not found. Three individuals have shown an interest in the position, forcing the board of aldermen to adjourn the vote until a later meeting.
Doug Austin of Cape Girardeau was awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Senior Service award Wednesday. Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder presented the award to 35 recipients; Austin was nominated by Jackson Police Chief James Humphrey and Julia Thompson of the Cape Parks and Rec Department. Austin has served with many organizations, including the Agency on Aging, Service Corps of Retired Executives, Old Town Cape, and the Chamber of Commerce.
Cape Girardeau police are investigating a burglary from Tuesday morning. Officers responded around 6:15 pm Tuesday to a call a burglary had taken place on the two thousand block of West Cape Rock Drive. Officers have determined the subject damaged a door, entered the residence, and took an undisclosed amount of items. A subject wearing a white shirt and athletic shorts was seen in the area around the time of the burglary. Call the Cape Police at 335-6621 if you have any information.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon continues to battle the House and Senate over handling of the concealed carry weapons permit list – the House and Senate agreed to a budget plan contingent on Nixon’s administration discontinuing copying and scanning of personal documents; Governor Nixon said he will resort to laying off workers in the motor vehicle division, calling the partial-year funding plan “irresponsible” and potentially threatening to the state’s financial future.
Be careful driving on South Sprigg Street – a sinkhole has formed in the 2300 block on the west side, forcing city government to close one lane in that area. As crews work to fix the issue, the lane will be blocked, and signs will be posted to alert motorists. This is the second sinkhole on South Sprigg Street in 3 years.
The Cape Girardeau Sheriff’s Department called for a lockdown of some Jackson schools Tuesday afternoon. Wade Bartels, security coordinator and CFO of the Jackson R-2 School District, announced some schools on the west side of Jackson were briefly locked down; police officers ordered the lockdown, but later allowed the district to open the schools back up. Officials have no released the reason for the lockdown.
The spring series of Old Town Cape’s Tunes at Twilight starts Friday, May 17 at 7 p.m. with Donna Herula.
Herula is a singer-songwriter in the Blues genre. She has been influenced by slide guitar players Johnny Winter, Rory Block and Eric Sardinas. She was a semifinalist in the 2012 Yamaha Six String Theory international guitar competition and placed in the top six of the blues guitarist category among contestants from 58 countries.
Tunes at Twilight is an award winning outdoor concert series held on Friday nights at the Common Pleas Courthouse Gazebo (Lorimier and Broadway) in Cape Girardeau. Families from all parts of Cape and surrounding communities come downtown every week for the free hour long concert for 6 weeks in the spring and 6 weeks in the fall. While Old Town Cape and key volunteers plan and organize the event every year, the premier event sponsor is SoutheastHEALTH. Additional sponsors include Cape Air and FOX 23 KBSI and grant assistance is provided through the Missouri Arts Council.
Future spring performers include Corinne Chapman, Dan Bliss, Dana Cooper, Danny Santos and Stephen Simmons. For a complete line up visit www.oldtowncape.org/events or visit Old Town Cape on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
“We are really looking forward to this season’s lineup! A lot of the artists are returning to Tunes at Twilight as fan favorites and we’ve got a couple new, very talented musicians as well that are sure to impress,” comments booking manager Casey Zimmerman. She and her husband Bruce volunteer for Old Town Cape to ensure the success of Tunes at Twilight.
Rozz Ridings, a regular Tunes at Twilight attendee says, “As a long time resident of downtown Cape Girardeau, I love being able to walk down the street and enjoy music in the neighborhood. It creates a sense of connectivity for residents and draws people from all over to downtown.” Ridings believes that Tunes at Twilight is an irreplaceable tradition in the neighborhood and that Old Town Cape has done a fantastic job in continuing this tradition.
In case of rain, the indoor location will be at Rose Theater on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University. For more information about Tunes at Twilight please contact the Old Town Cape office at 334-8085 or visit www.oldtowncape.org/events.
Old Town Cape is a community driven, nonprofit organization that utilizes the Four-Point Main Street Approach™ to preserve, promote, revitalize and enrich the historic, cultural, and economic landscapes of downtown Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Old Town Is Your Town!
A few days after Speaker of the House Tim Jones addressed concealed carry permit controversy in Cape, three state senators held a public hearing on the same issue. Wayne Wallingford, Kurt Schaefer, and Doug Libla took questions from an audience of nearly 70 people about the Department of Revenue’s sharing of private information. A main issue was whether or not Governor Jay Nixon had broken any laws, but Senator Schaefer did not know. The three senators are in Saint Charles County today for another public hearing.
Over 150 runners came out to support Melaina’s Magical Playland by running in the All Play 5K Run/Walk Saturday. Five thousand dollars were raised by the runners and volunteers; all proceeds will help in bringing the first fully accessible playground to Southeast Missouri. Kids of all ability levels will be able to play together on the playground – to find out more, visit magicalplayland.org.
After hearing a case that originated in Cape Girardeau, the United States Supreme Court has determined police must usually try to obtain a search warrant from a judge before making suspects of drunken-driving submit to a blood test. Missouri and President Obama were seeking an endorsement from SCOTUS that would have allowed a blood test without a warrant. The Court ruled alcohol in a person’s blood is not sufficient reason to dismiss a judge’s approval before a blood test.
Jeffrey Dean Shelton, 46, of Poplar Bluff has been charged with and pleaded guilty to three counts of child porn Wednesday. Shelton is charged with using a cell phone in an attempt to coerce a minor female to engage in sexually explicit conduct, along with possessing child pornography on his laptop. He is charged with abducting a 10-year-old on October 20, and a 5-year-old just four days later. Shelton has a lengthy history of child sexual assault, having served 20 years in prison after kidnapping and assaulting three children in Texas two decades ago. Shelton will be sentenced on July 15.
Doris Wilkinson of Cape Girardeau lost control of her vehicle today and drove it into the front of the Save-A-Lot grocery store on Sprigg Street in Cape. No injuries were reported in the accident, and she was the only occupant of her vehicle as it careened towards the entrance to the store. The store says they suffered just aesthetic damage to the building and remained open while the accident was cleaned up.
By a 29 to 5 vote, the Missouri Senate has banned scanning personal documents when applying for driver’s licenses. The Department of Revenue began scanning birth certificates and concealed weapon permits in December; Governor Jay Nixon announce the DOR would discontinue scanning CCW permits, but Republican lawmakers believed privacy was being invaded. Because the DOR can no longer issue concealed weapon permits, that duty now falls to county sheriffs.
Officer Darin Hickey of the Cape Police Department says officers are investigating a rape that allegedly occurred Friday night. A 29-year-old woman notified the police of the rape around 9 am the next day, and stated the suspect was someone she knew. Officer Hickey said the suspect raped her at a Cape Girardeau residence, and was not in custody as of Monday morning.
21-year-old Jordan D. White of Chaffee was arrested Friday morning for sleeping – it just so happens he was sleeping on a couch at Hutson’s Fine Furniture after breaking into the store. Officers say they smelled alcohol on White, and arrested him with two felonies. Officer Darin Hickey says White was being held in Cape County Jail on a 12-thousand dollar bond.
More than 525 thousand Missouri residents could soon get subsidies for health insurance. A health care advocacy group recently stated that federal subsidies for health insurance will be available starting in 2014. A report released Thursday by Families USA states that more than half the people eligible for the new subsidies will have incomes of 2 to four times the federal poverty level. The insurance premium tax credits are available for people who purchase coverage through a new online insurance marketplace created by President Barack Obama's health care law. The tax credits are expected to directly offset the cost of the premium. Families USA supports the federal health care law and has issued similar reports informing people of the new tax credits in other states.
About 200 Christians of all denominations met at the Common Pleas Courthouse for Good Friday to participate in the Stations of the Cross walk. Covering two-miles and 14 stations that combined biblical and community themes, different groups of men and women took turns carrying the cross as a reminder of the Good Friday and Easter celebrations. A spokesman for the group said their turnout of 200 was similar to previous years, but that they hope to grow it every year.
58-year-old Robert Edward Morgan and his son, 24-year-old Robert Keller Morgan, are in the Bollinger County jail on charges they shot 31-year-old Nichole Morgan in the abdomen. The Bollinger County police report a 9-1-1 call was made Tuesday night stating Morgan had been shot by her father-in-law during a dispute with her husband. Both men had left when authorites arrived, but later returned to the residence and were arrested. The elder Morgan faces first-degree assault charges, while his son faces first-degree domestic assault charges. No court date has been set.
A dumptruck and an SUV collided on Highway 34 in Cape this morning, and police are now searching for the driver of the SUV who took off on foot after the accident. The Missouri Highway Patrol says the SUV pulled out into the dump truck’s path, causing it to overturn into a ditch. The driver of the dump truck was not injured. If you know any information about the driver of the GMC Yukon, contact the Cape or Jackson police department.
From highway upgrades, such as connecting I-24 to I-57, to simply maintaining the current system, attendees at the recent Poplar Bluff listening session shared a variety of ideas for MoDOT's long-range transportation plan.
The session was held on March 21 at Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center, as part of MoDOT's statewide engagement effort-On the Move.
The meeting's host, Tiffany Jenkins, director of marketing and public relations at Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center, kicked-off the program by discussing the importance of transportation in Missourians' everyday lives.
Southeast District Engineer Mark Shelton and Listening Session Facilitator Jeff Glenn then provided the audience with an overview of the state's transportation system, as well as specifics about Southeast Missouri.
"We want Missourians to help us build a strong vision for our state's future," said Shelton. "Together, we will create a vision for a safe and reliable system, while fostering economic prosperity."
Attendees participated in roundtable discussions based on various funding scenarios to discuss MoDOT's challenges, opportunities and priorities.
Shelton explained there will be more opportunities for Missourians to provide comments as MoDOT hits-the-streets and visits each of its 114 counties this spring through a series of mobile tours.
In addition, comments may be submitted online at www.missourionthemove.org. Visitors to the site can also learn about Missouri's current transportation system, track what MoDOT is hearing from Missourians and stay updated on the latest On the Move events.
Cape Girardeau Police continue to investigate a bank robbery at The Bank of Missouri on 1622 North Kingshighway this morning. The call from the bank came in around 10 a.m., and within minutes, police were on the scene. According to employees a white male wearing a baseball cap, a jacket with a hood and several layers of clothing underneath, entered the bank wrote a note demanding money and handed it to the clerk. No weapon was displayed. The subject took an undisclosed amount of cash and fled. No one was injured in the incident. The case is still under investigation and no one is in custody at this time.
This week marks the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the Missouri state flag, which was designed in Cape Girardeau. The three-day showcase began Thursday for the Missouri Flag Centennial Celebration. The flag was designed in 1913 by Marie Watkins Oliver, wife of state Senator R.B. Oliver, at their home at 740 North Street. The home, is now called the Oliver-Leming House. The Flag Centennial Program will be today starting 1:30 and will go through 2:30 p.m. at the Oliver-Leming House. The program is open to the public and will feature speeches and presentations by special guests, including Blunt, Southeast Missouri State University President Kenneth Dobbins, Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder and Penny Oliver-Chapell, great-granddaughter of Marie Watkins Oliver. The Regional History Fair will be from noon to 5 p.m. at Centenary United Methodist Church.
A major plant in the region is shutting is closings its doors. NORDYNE announced Thursday that it will gradually relocate its split system and furnace manufacturing lines to a new manufacturing site in Saltillo, Mexico. The move will reportedly affect around 200 employees in the Boonville and around 500 employees at the Poplar Bluff facility. They will continue to manufacture select heating and cooling systems in the company's Dyersburg, Tennessee plant. Impacted employees will receive severance pay, extended health insurance coverage and job placement services. The Mexico facility is expected to be at full capacity by the end of 2015, with the transition starting early next year.
After arresting Frank L. Snider 4 years ago over flag desecration, a federal judge has ordered Cape Girardeau police officer Matthew Peters to pay 62-thousand dollars in attorney fees from the case. The ACLU represented Snider in 2010 in the case; Snider was arrested for slashing a United States flag in front of his home in Cape. He was awarded 7-grand in December, or 1-thousand dollars for every hour he was in jail. The 62-thousand dollar bill will be split between the State and Peters, but former mayor Al Spradling says insurance will pick up the entire tab.
Facing a potential lawsuit, the Scott County Central School District has reversed its policy on banning same-sex couples from attending prom. SCC Superintendent Alvin McFerren told the Associated Press they adopted the policy over a decade ago to prevent students taking advantage of a cheaper couples rate than individual rate, but that they agreed to revise the policy in the handbook. Stacy Dawson, a male student at SCC High School, asked to take his boyfriend to the prom April 20th, and when his request was rebuffed, the Southern Poverty Law Center came to his defense, arguing the policy violated his constitutional rights. The attorney for the SPLC, Alesdair Ittelson, released the following statement: "We welcome the change that has been reported in the media and Superintendent McFerrens remarks that Stacy will be allowed to attend prom with his boyfriend, although we have not yet received written confirmation that the unlawful policy has been permanently rescinded and removed from the student handbook. If it is indeed true that the policy has been permanently changed, it represents a big step forward for LGBT students in a part of the country that frequently lacks community support for students like Stacy. We applaud Stacy's bravery in standing up for his rights."
Little information is known on two wrecks that blocked up Interstate 55 near Scott City Friday night. Police report the accidents occured around 8:00 pm near mile marker 92. Both lanes southbound were blocked, but both have reopened. Police and investigators say no one was injured in either wreck.
The Cape Central Junior High School Tigers have two new state-of-the-art gymnasium scoreboards thanks to the Electrical Connection. The Electrical Connection, a partnership of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local One and St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), donated and installed the $15,000 scoreboards. The scoreboards will be used for wrestling, volleyball and basketball games.
“The Electrical Connection and its members are first class,” said Terry Kitchen, athletic director for Cape Central Junior High School. “They’ve not only done excellent work for our district, but are dedicated to improving our school community. We’ve got the best scoreboards in southeast Missouri because of the Electrical Connection’s generosity.”
Kitchen pointed out that Electrical Connection members not only supplied the new scoreboards, but also donated services to help install the new scoreboards and move some older scoreboards to a smaller gym.
“We look forward to the Central Junior High Tigers lighting up victories on the scoreboards for years to come,” said Jim Curran, executive vice president of the Electrical Connection. “The scoreboards are our way of saying thanks to the Cape Girardeau School District which has relied on our highly skilled and safe contractors and workforce for a number of successful projects in the district.”
Curran also complimented Total Electric’s Danny and Rodney Miller, the electrical contractor, and IBEW Local One Business Representative Lee Asher for excellence and dedication for the installation of the project.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has accused the Scott Count Central School District for discrimination after a male student was not allowed to bring his boyfriend to prom on April 20th. An SPLC attorney says the school district's policy against same-sex couples attending prom violates constitutional rights. The SCCSD has not commented on the situation, and the SPLC has not indicated whether or not they will pursue legal action.
Senator Claire McCaskill says she’s not afraid of President Obama’s proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to nine-dollars-an-hour. McCaskill says you only have to look as far as Missouri to see the effects of a minimum wage raise.
“The economy is growing, state revenues are up. And our minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage. So I don’t buy into this notion that if you raise the minimum wage that it’s going to cause an economic Armageddon.”
McCaskill says she would favor setting the minimum wage based on a sliding scale, adjusting to inflation. That’s similar to Missouri’s current law.
Five people were taken to a local hospital following a crash in Jackson late Wednesday morning in the 4500 block of East Jackson Boulevard. The Jackson Fire Department says police are still compiling the crash report, and that more details, including the names of the five in the accident, wouldn’t be released until Thursday. The crash caused a delay on the road after 10 am, but did not close it.
Bollinger County Sheriff Darin Shell announced on Tuesday that investigators are looking at several "persons of interest" in connection to the shooting death of 35-year-old Jeffrey Scott Robins, which happened last September. Two deputies have reportedly been assigned the task of investigating events that happened on September 6th. Authorities are searching for someone they believe walked into Robins' unlocked rural home on County Road 834 the afternoon of September 6th and fired one shot into the back of his head as he slept. The sheriff's office is being assisted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Division of Drug and Crime Control, although drugs may not have been a factor.
Buckner Brewing Company in Cape Girardeau, MO will have its final “last call” on this Sunday, February 3rd. Owners Phil Brinson and Mark Sprigg have been brewing beer together since 1998 at the banquet center and brewery at the corner of Broadway and Main Street. The historic downtown building has nearly 23 thousand square feet which have been dedicated to brewing craft beer as well as operating Buckner’s, Ragsdale’s and The River View Room. According to a news release, Sprigg has been planning to move from the area to be closer to his family and Brinson wants to focus his attention on his other venture in Sikeston. All employees have been notified and the owners are contacting individuals who have placed deposits on events in The River View Room to arrange full refunds. The building and brewing equipment are now listed for sale with Jennifer Hendrickson with Murphy Business of Cape Girardeau.
A Cape Girardeau company gets a name change in the New Year. Three companies and announced Monday, January 28th they will be merging and taking a single brand name. National Asset Recovery Services, Inc. (NARS), Pinnacle Financial Group, Inc. (PFG) and Integrity Financial Partners, Inc. (IFP) will now become Integrity Solution Services, Inc. NARS reportedly acquired Pinnacle Financial Group, Inc. in 2010, and Integrity Financial Partners, Inc. in 2011. The announcement brings all three corporate entities under one umbrella and is reportedly the end deal of a two year project to re-work personnel, offices, products, and services across the three businesses.
Cardinals fans had a chance to say goodbye to a sports and baseball legend today, even if they weren't able to make it there in person. The Archdiocese of St. Louis streamed Stan Musial's funeral mass which started at 11 a.m. Saturday, on their website at http://archstl.org. The St. Louis Cardinals also streamed the service on their website at http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com.
The House quickly passed HB110 during this week’s session. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jason Smith (R-Salem), ensures the power to select statewide office holders remains with the people. It makes our law clear that the voice of the people will be heard when filling a vacancy for statewide offices such as lieutenant governor, governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state auditor, state treasurer and US senator. The measure passed with a vote of 115-45.
A female suspect in Cape brought in on a warrant attempted to escape, says a report from Officer Darin Hickey with the Cape Girardeau Police Department. 33-year-old Rosie L. Jackson was being transported at 3:20 pm Thursday when she took off across a parking lot at the CGPD. She was able to escape to a parking lot across the street on Meriweather, but was captured by police there. Jackson is now held on $5,000 bond.
Officer Darin Hickey with the Cape Girardeau Police Department reports 22-year-old Charlesman D. Bobo, an inmate at Cape County Jail, is charged with second-degree assault of a corrections officer. Hickey's report says Bobo assaulted the officer while being placed into a cell Thursday around 10 a.m. The officer had serious, but non-life threatening, injures and was taken to a hospital; Bobo is being held on $25,000 bond.
30-year-old Scott W. Pierce of Cape Girardeau has been in custody since Wednesday on counts of burglary and robbery from two Cape businesses; now, Pierce faces more charges of burglary after revelations he broke into two homes last week and stole items. The new charges show Pierce broke into homes at 207 Kelly Court and 2756 Oakshire Circle. According to online records, Pierce has an initial arraignment scheduled for December 31st, and is currently held on 25-thousand dollars bond.
The southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents has a new leader – Doyle Privett, a bank executive from Kennett, will take over for Donald Bedell on December 31st. Privett is CEO for Kennett National Bank, but has been serving on the Board of Regents at SEMO his appointment in 1994. He also knows a little about being a student at SEMO – he received his Bachelor’s in Accounting from the university in 1973.
30-year-old Richard Wayne Johnson of Sikeston has been charged with kidnapping and assault after he took a boyfriend and girlfriend captive and assaulted the boyfriend. The Scott County Sheriff’s office reports it started Friday night at a bar in Oran, when Johnson and the boyfriend engaged in an altercation, which carried outside. Johnson then forced the couple into his vehicle, and ultimately assaulted the boyfriend by the side of the road. Johnson also threatened the girlfriend multiple times; he is now in custody on 150-thousand dollars bond.
4 Scott County teens were taken to a Cape hospital this weekend after suffering injuries while driving in Blodgett. Missouri State Highway Patrol reports 18-year-old Cody Cochran of Benton was behind the wheel of a vehicle when it swerved across the center line and struck a tree. Three others – 17-year-olds Niculi Phelps and Travis Sehlinger, along with 18-year-old Thomas Ratledge, suffered minor to serious injuries.
With a new legislative session on the horizon, Southeast Missouri officials met in Poplar Bluff last week to discuss economic challenges. Various state senators made their way to join local leaders at Three Rivers College in a roundtable discussion; among the dignitaries were Poplar Bluff Superintendent Chris Hon, Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce President Steve Halter, and Three Rivers VP of Student Success Dr. Angela Totty.
Emergency crews in Cape Girardeau shut down Middle Street after a car accident opened a gas leak Saturday night. The accident occurred around 7 pm between Broadway and Themis streets; police report the driver of the car accidentally accelerated in a parking lot and hit a meter, starting the gas leak. The three people in the vehicle all refused medical attention, and crews had the scene cleared and the gas leak fixed in just under 3 hours.
Holding a 3 pm announcement Wednesday at City Hall, Cape officials announced the purchase of land from Southeast Missouri State University for future business development. Over 55 acres were acquired for $6 million at the intersection of LaSalle Avenue and East Main Street. Recent buzz for land to be used for a technological park had risen a decade ago, but ultimately never went anywhere; in the last year or two, business have inquired about a Cape Girardeau location, and city officials searched for a feasible location. The City laid a down payment of $480,000, and will make annual payments of $460,000 over the next 12 years.