KOMU.com http://www.komu.com/ KOMU.com Top Stories Top Stories en-us Copyright 2018, KOMU.com. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Fri, 25 May 2018 HH:05:ss GMT Synapse CMS 10 KOMU.com http://www.komu.com/ 144 25 Columbia Regional Airport to add new security screening line http://www.komu.com/news/columbia-regional-airport-to-add-new-security-screening-line-94839/ http://www.komu.com/news/columbia-regional-airport-to-add-new-security-screening-line-94839/ Top Stories Thu, 24 May 2018 11:41:30 PM Johannah Grenaway, KOMU 8 Reporter Columbia Regional Airport to add new security screening line

COLUMBIA - On Thursday, the Columbia Airport Advisory Board announced the TSA approved a security screening lane to open by the end of July. 

TSA calculated numbers based on how busy the single lane currently gets and one of its ideas was to add a second screening line to keep people moving.

Columbia's airport manager, Mike Parks, said the new project will take out one or two lines of chairs currently in front of the already existing screening lane, but he said the benefits of moving people through faster will offset the loss of some chairs.

One of the board members mentioned his own experience at the airport saying it's "like a zoo" in the mornings trying to get to his flight.

Parks said the extra lane will be on the west side of the airport where the car rental counters are now. He said both Hertz and Enterprise are on board to move just a bit.

"We are very excited that TSA is providing this service as we continue to grow," Parks said. "This service will help expedite screening for our current and future customers."

One woman who travels in and out of COU frequently to visit her daughter said she's never dealt with long lines.

"I have only been here once when it was busier and I wouldn't really call it busy and I think the flow was satisfactory," Yvonne G. said. 

Parks said both airlines are doing well as far as business in and out of Columbia.

"We had over 10,000 passengers fly out of COU in April," Parks said. "These numbers make it very apparent that the mid-Missouri community sees the benefits of the free parking, great connections, and a great customer service experience."

The board also discussed the recent increase in hotel tax revenue from 4 percent to 5 percent. For the 2017 fiscal year, the airport received about $490,000 from that 1 percent increase. 


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Investigation underway after early morning crash http://www.komu.com/news/investigation-underway-after-early-morning-crash/ http://www.komu.com/news/investigation-underway-after-early-morning-crash/ Top Stories Fri, 25 May 2018 8:47:42 AM David Estrada, KOMU 8 Reporter & Melody Cox, KOMU 8 Digital Producer Investigation underway after early morning crash

COLUMBIA - Missouri State Highway Patrol is investigating an early morning crash on I-70 Westbound.

It caused major backups during the morning commute.

Authorities say a Walgreens semi-truck rear-ended another semi for unknown reasons after 1 a.m. a mile from exit 117 going west.

"The driver in the vehicle behind me was able to get out before the vehicle became fully engulfed. He received minor injuries, was not transported by EMS. The driver of the other vehicle did get transported to the hospital," Corporal Matt Halford said.

When crews arrived at the scene, they found a semi fully engulfed. Only one lane of I-70 was closed, but traffic was slow near the accident.

Crews opened the closed lane after 7 a.m.

One driver is in the hospital with unknown injuries. The other driver was not taken to the hospital.

(Editor's note: This story will be updated with the latest information.)


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Adult learners defying odds by receiving diplomas http://www.komu.com/news/adult-learners-defying-odds-by-receiving-diplomas/ http://www.komu.com/news/adult-learners-defying-odds-by-receiving-diplomas/ Top Stories Thu, 24 May 2018 9:43:52 PM Kamaria Braye, KOMU 8 News Adult learners defying odds by receiving diplomas

JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) through the Mid-Mo Adult Learning Center honored 25 adults at their graduation ceremony in Jefferson City on Thursday.

Those recognized received honors for passing the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET). Some students were also honored for passing their U.S. Citizenship test, and English as a Second Language learners were recognized for being inducted into the National Adult Education Honor Society.  

Aura Velasquez, a  graduate, said now that she got her diploma she can help motivate others to achieve their goals. 

"I feel proud and accomplished, I feel inspired to continue my education and be a better example for my daughters and any girls out there who have been stopped for life reasons," she said.

AEL is a free, grant-funded program. Jefferson City Public School's serves as its host agency. AEL classes are offered in Jefferson City, Fulton, Eldon, Versailles, and California. 

Stephany Schler, Mid-MO Adult learning center director, said the program has been going on for at least 35 years, and about 550 students are enrolled in classes. She says this program ultimately helps these adults reach the goals they set for themselves.

"When they pass their HiSet, when they get that equivalency, it is amazing, they're so proud of themselves and it opens so many doors for them. And that's the most filling thing for them to be able to go out and be productive members of society," she said. 

Missy Ellsworth, a parent of a graduate, said in the past her son has struggled to receive educational help for his learning needs.

"We moved here from Mexico, Missouri. And he was in the alternative school there, he didn't have the support there that he does here, buy no means do I want to say there a bad school, he just didn't get the support," Ellsworth said.

She said with AEL her son is able to pursue he goals of going into the military. 

The ceremony included speeches by Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin, JCPS Superintendent Larry Linthacum and Judith Ntimpa, a 2014 graduate.

Schler said as they move into the future they hope to work closer with Jefferson City Public Schools because of their large literacy initiative, and JCPS parents. 

"We really want to reach out to more parents in the community, parents of our students that are in K-12 schools, and help educate them so they can educate their children, and be helping our communities with literacy," she said. 

Schler said the program runs August to June and alongside education staff help adult learners with child care, and transportation to class.


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Health officials warn of tick season ahead of holiday weekend http://www.komu.com/news/health-officials-warn-of-tick-season-ahead-of-holiday-weekend/ http://www.komu.com/news/health-officials-warn-of-tick-season-ahead-of-holiday-weekend/ Top Stories Thu, 24 May 2018 8:21:05 PM Sierra Morris, KOMU 8 Reporter Health officials warn of tick season ahead of holiday weekend

COLUMBIA- May is known for Mother’s day, Memorial Day and in Missouri, the start of tick season.

“May, June and July are our prime months for tick-borne illness in Missouri," said Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

DHSS said the warmer weather causes ticks to be more active. The department advises anyone going outdoors this weekend to take precaution against the tiny insects.

The Lone Star tick, American Dog tick and the Deer Tick are the three main ticks found in Missouri. All three of them are brownish colored, but they vary in size.

Kurt Mirtsching encounters ticks all the time. He said sometimes he has to deal with the insects multiple times a week. 

“I’m probably a little bit careless with it because I just grew up with it. But it would be a very good idea to be a little bit more cautious and do the things that the experts say,” Mirtsching said.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services advises people going out this weekend to use insect repellent with at least 20% DEET. Officials recommend checking for ticks while outside and again when you get back in, and change clothes is possible.

If a tick is found, use tweezers to pick them off. After discarding the tick, people should wash their hands and the bite with soap and water.

Dozens of tick borne diseases have already been reported in 2018. The DHSS reports 37 cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and 14 cases of ehrlichiosis throughout Missouri.


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Missouri Highway Patrol offers tips on boating safety for Memorial Day weekend http://www.komu.com/news/missouri-highway-patrol-offers-tips-on-boating-safety-for-memorial-day-weekend/ http://www.komu.com/news/missouri-highway-patrol-offers-tips-on-boating-safety-for-memorial-day-weekend/ Top Stories Thu, 24 May 2018 6:55:30 PM Alayna Chapie, KOMU 8 Reporter Missouri Highway Patrol offers tips on boating safety for Memorial Day weekend

LAKE OZARK -  The Missouri State Highway Patrol is encouraging people to practice safe boating ahead of Memorial Day weekend.   

The three most recent boating accidents have happened before the peak of the summer season. 

Sgt. Scott White said they will have officers on the lake and they will be working extended shifts. He said drivers must pay attention to their speed on the lake.

"Speed is critical, make sure that you adjust your speed for the conditions of not only the water, but also the weather and if it's nighttime hours and especially at night, if you can't see what's in front of you, you need to make sure you slow down," said White. 

White also said nighttime boat navigation can be difficult even for the most experienced boat captains, so slowing down and using extreme caution applies to all skill levels. 

"We implore people to make sure they have a sober captain and there's a lot of options at the lake, you can have somebody drive your boat, you can call a water taxi or even a land taxi. So there are options out there for boat operators," said White. 

The manager of Pirates Point, a boat rental service, said situational awareness is a big factor when boating. 

"Knowing what is going on around you more than just what's in front of you. Knowing if a boat is coming up behind you while your running down the lake," said Adam Morris. "If you're going to be backing out of a slip look all the way around you before you back out. And be aware of your situation." 

Missouri law requires children under seven to wear a life jacket, and for boaters to have an accessible life jacket on board for every occupant.


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Detailed vehicle checklist recommended before holiday travel season begins http://www.komu.com/news/detailed-vehicle-checklist-recommended-before-holiday-travel-season-begins/ http://www.komu.com/news/detailed-vehicle-checklist-recommended-before-holiday-travel-season-begins/ Top Stories Thu, 24 May 2018 12:20:32 PM David Estrada, KOMU 8 Reporter Detailed vehicle checklist recommended before holiday travel season begins

COLUMBIA – More than 36 million drivers will hit the road during Memorial Day Weekend, according to AAA.

Just in Missouri, 783,000 people will travel by car this weekend. That's 33,000 drivers more than Memorial Day weekend last year, AAA said.

The American Automobile Association expects 4.7 percent more drivers this year compared to 2017.

Getting Ready for the Trip

Driver Bruce Shockley said he once got stranded on the highway because he didn't check the belts and tires on his car.

"Now I know to check just about everything in the car that moves," he said.

The service manager at Plaza Tiger Service on Smiley Lane, Ty Ingram, said tire pressure and tire tread are some of the most important things drivers should check before they start their holiday travels.

"Make sure that you have your turn signals, everything that you have for Missouri safety inspection, that brakes are okay," he said.

Ingram said drivers can find the right tire pressure indicated inside their vehicles.

"Most vehicles have your sticker located on the driver door jamb," he said. "Just open it up and usually it's in a yellow print, sometimes it's in a white print."

Drivers' Failing Grade on Safety Measures

"Two-thirds of American drivers have never proactively had their car battery tested, one in five do not know how to change a tire, and four in ten do not carry an emergency kit in their vehicle," AAA said in a press release.

Ingram said drivers should take extra precautions when doing long trips, including always having a charged cell phone with them.

"You wanna make sure that you have all of your backup supplies, your spare is okay, pressured up," he said. "Make sure you have your jack tools, just in case you have a flat or something on the side of the road."

Shockley also said drivers should get ready themselves for a long drive.

"You need to get as much sleep as possible, so you can be awake and you won't be drowsy or anything," he said.

Saving Money on the Road

AAA said gas prices were 33 percent higher this April than in the same month of 2017. In Missouri, the average gas price is 2.72 cents, 60 cents more than last year.

Ingram said there are ways drivers can save money.

"For fuel economy, the best thing is, of course, like your air filter" he said. "Around a hundred, 90 thousand miles, or something like that, you wanna go ahead and see about getting a tune-up done." 

Ingram said when drivers come back home from their trips they should do another round of checks on their cars.

"You might be due for a tire rotation, or possibly due for an oil change after a long trip," he said.

 

 


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Testimony at Greitens hearing centers on recording, $100,000 cash payment http://www.komu.com/news/testimony-at-greitens-hearing-centers-on-recording-100-000-cash-payment/ http://www.komu.com/news/testimony-at-greitens-hearing-centers-on-recording-100-000-cash-payment/ Top Stories Thu, 24 May 2018 11:31:49 AM Evan Dodson, KOMU 8 Reporter Testimony at Greitens hearing centers on recording, $100,000 cash payment

JEFFERSON CITY - In sometimes heated testimony, members of a Special House Investigative Committee looking into the Eric Greitens scandals heard about $120,000 in cash payments related to the release of the recording at the center of the blackmail allegations.

Attorney Al Watkins represents the ex-husband of the woman Greitens said he had an affair with in 2015, before his election. The ex-husband secretly recorded a conversation with his then-wife, during which she described a sexual encounter with Greitens.

Watkins said, in addition to giving the FBI the recording last year, he provided the FBI photos of cash he received in January of this year from The Missouri Times publisher Scott Faughn related to the audio recording.

Watkins says Faughn paid him $100,000 and told him the money came from a wealthy out-of-state Republican.

“I wanted to make sure it wasn’t dirty money, drug money, something that would give rise to problems,” Watkins said.

In his own testimony Wednesday, Faughn declined to say where he got the money.

Watkins told the committee the money was given to him in two payments of $50,000 - both of which came in all cash. One payment was made Jan. 8 and the other Jan. 9, according to Watkins.

He said he was also given an additional $20,000 from Faughn. Watkins said half was used for legal expenses, and the remaining $10,000 to “get his family out of town.”

Watkins said when he received the money from Faughn, he assumed it came from an anonymous donor. However, for accounting reasons, he said he recorded that Faughn had just given him the money.

He said Faughn gave him the money to release the recordings of the woman who accused Greitens of sexual misconduct and her ex-husband. Watkins said the recordings “were not part of a crime.”

“The tape, in my opinion was of zero value,” Watkins said. “It was of a very hurt woman, in a heart wrenching confession to her husband.”

The testimony was marked by a few testy exchanges.

While responding to a question from Rep. J. Eggleston, R-Maysville, Watkins said, “If you wanna hear my answer, you gotta shut up.”

Rep. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, chastised Watkins, saying, “You’re not just telling Mr. Eggleston to shut up, you’re telling the 36,000 people that sent him here to shut up.”

Watkins apologized to the committee later, and said he was sorry he was being rude.

Watkins expressed his distaste of the governor several times throughout the testimony. Before leaving, he said he wouldn’t leave his wife or daughter alone in the same room with Greitens.


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Holts Summit extends police coverage to New Bloomfield http://www.komu.com/news/holts-summit-extends-police-coverage-to-new-bloomfield/ http://www.komu.com/news/holts-summit-extends-police-coverage-to-new-bloomfield/ Top Stories Thu, 24 May 2018 5:50:41 PM Holts Summit extends police coverage to New Bloomfield

HOLTS SUMMIT - After two months without a police department, New Bloomfield finally has one thanks to the city of Holts Summit.

The Holts Summit Board of Alderman voted to approve the Holts Summit police department to cover New Bloomfield Thursday night.

However, the decision has some residents in Holts Summit worried. Long time resident Stan  said he hopes the decision does not leave residents in Holts Summit less safe.  

"If they would ever go into New Bloomfield, I think it would hurt our protection here in Holts Summit a little bit," he said.

Holts Summit police chief Kyle McIntyre said he doesn't think the extended coverage will put a strain on police resources. 

"We usually have a bare minimum of two officer on at any given time. During the day there is a few more administrative staff and a detective. I don't think it will put a strain, there will still always be an officer in Holts Summit," he said.

New Bloomfield resident Mike Lowe said he is excited for Holts Summit police to help out.

"I am really in favor of it because they can enforce the local ordinances and that stuff where the county can't," he said.

Lowe said enforcing local ordinances is an important policing need in New Bloomfield.

"That's a big, big part because that's where we get most of our tickets from, the local ordinances like speeding, not staying at stop signs long enough. Not a lot of people feel that's not real important but it is," he said.

In exchange for six months of coverage, New Bloomfield will pay Holts Summit $20,000. McIntyre said if New Bloomfield wants to continue coverage, the contract will have to be renegotiated.

"It's a trial period. The kind of contract we're looking to enter into expires December 31 at midnight. So if they wanted to continue our services, the contract would have to be renegotiated for next year," McIntyre said.

If everything goes to plan, Holts Summit officers will begin patrolling New Bloomfield in mid-June.


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MU settles defamation lawsuit involving Athletic Director Jim Sterk http://www.komu.com/news/mu-settles-defamation-lawsuit-involving-athletic-director-jim-sterk/ http://www.komu.com/news/mu-settles-defamation-lawsuit-involving-athletic-director-jim-sterk/ Top Stories Thu, 24 May 2018 4:54:51 PM Annie Hammock, KOMU 8 Interactive Director MU settles defamation lawsuit involving Athletic Director Jim Sterk

COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri has agreed to pay $50,000 to settle a lawsuit filed after Athletic Director Jim Sterk said fans of the South Carolina women's basketball team used racial slurs and spit on his players after a game in January.

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley sued for defamation saying Sterk's comments suggested she promoted a racist atmosphere.

In a press release Thursday, Sterk said, “I do not believe Coach Staley would promote such conduct, and I sincerely apologize to her for those comments."

In the same press release, Staley said she accepts that apology.

"I look forward to moving past this with a continued spirited but positive competition amongst our programs," she said.

Half of the settlement will go to pay for Staley's attorneys and the other $25,000 will be donated to her non-profit foundation INNERSOLE, which provides new sneakers to children who are homeless or in need.


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Missouri rape kit audit finds thousands of untested kits http://www.komu.com/news/missouri-rape-kit-audit-finds-thousands-of-untested-kits/ http://www.komu.com/news/missouri-rape-kit-audit-finds-thousands-of-untested-kits/ Top Stories Thu, 24 May 2018 3:23:27 PM Brittany Mobley, KOMU 8 Reporter Missouri rape kit audit finds thousands of untested kits

JEFFERSON CITY -  A report on a statewide rape kit audit shows that there are at least 4,889 untested sexual assault kits in Missouri.

Attorney General Josh Hawley held a press conference announcing the number of untested kits and statewide changes that will come soon. Hawley said the audit was in response to a letter he received from a victim who had gone nearly 30 years without answers. 

He said the victim "had the rape kit completed but the kit had never been tested and she says what an incredible feeling of despair and hopelessness that this caused and also deep sense of frustration from her going through this attack and yet not being able to see her perpetrator brought to justice.”

To conduct the audit, the Attorney’s General’s office gathered information from 266 law enforcement agencies, 66 separate health care providers and the states five crime labs. However, Hawley said there may be many more kits than the ones reported. 

"That number may well be higher because not all of the responding agencies were able to quantify the number of sexual assault kits in their possession," Hawley said. Also, some law enforcement and health agencies did not respond to the audit. 

Hawley said there was a lot of miscommunication that played a role in so many kits going untested. He said healthcare providers lack clear guidelines about how to notify or transmit these kits to law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement personnel are unsure about when to transmit these kits to crime labs. Both labs and law enforcement agencies are unaware of how long to retain the kits once tested and what precisely to do with them.

Hawley said his office has worked to come up with specific guidelines to make sure future rape kits are processed in a timely manner. “We owe it to the victims to test every kit we possibly can and to make every effort to bring attackers to justice,” he said.

Health care providers will be required to transmit rape kits to law enforcement within 14 days of their collection. Law enforcement will then need to transmit those kits to a crime lab within 14 days of receipt. Kits will be retained for 30 years or until the associated case is closed.

Keeping up with the kits has also been an issue, Hawley said his office will create a tracking system that will allow all parties to know where the kits are at all times.

Colleen Coble, the CEO of The Missouri Coalition against Domestic and Sexual Violence, believes these new requirements will better reflect respect for victims.

“I think this is a very important new start to more fully coordinating all of the different levels of system responses to ensure that we respectfully treat rape victims at every point of their engagement with those they’ve gone to for help," Coble said.

Coble said moving forward the best thing to do is to pay closer attention to the needs of victims. 

“I think that being very much centered at all times on what the survivors of sexual assault in the state of Missouri need from us, that that is really where we go from here,” Coble said.


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Family planning group says new Trump administration rule is a "gag order" http://www.komu.com/news/family-planning-group-says-new-trump-administration-rule-is-a-gag-order-/ http://www.komu.com/news/family-planning-group-says-new-trump-administration-rule-is-a-gag-order-/ Top Stories Thu, 24 May 2018 3:56:27 PM Olivia Gerling, KOMU 8 Reporter Family planning group says new Trump administration rule is a

JEFFERSON CITY – The U.S. Department of Health and Senior Services made changes to a family planning program, which the Missouri Family Health Council says will “undermine” its ability to fully brief patients on their options.

“This proposed rule essentially gags providers from giving medically accurate information to their patients,” said Michelle Trupiano, the council's executive director. “This jeopardizes patient care and undermines medical ethics.” 

Organizations that receive Title X funding may now choose not to mention abortion as an option for medical care unless the patient directly asks about it. But a press release from the White House says the new proposed rules do not gag anyone:

“Instead, it would ensure that taxpayers do not indirectly fund abortions. Contrary to recent media reports, HHS’s proposal does not include the so-called ‘gag rule’ on counseling about abortion that was part of the Reagan Administration’s Title X rule.”

The Missouri Family Health Council said the proposed rules are “dually harmful, negatively impacting both the Title X provider network, as well as the delivery of timely, accurate health care information to Title X clients.” 

KOMU 8 News reached out to the Missouri Republican Party, which did not respond. The Missouri Right to Life group also didn't get back to KOMU but does have a statement from its president Steve Rupp on its website:

“We thank the House and Senate for the pro-life language in the budget to prevent our tax dollars from being used for abortion and for the many great programs that were funded in the appropriations bills like alternatives to abortion, show-me healthy babies and a new pilot program to help pregnant and post-partum moms get over drug addictions.” 

 


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Trump cancels summit, citing 'open hostility' by North Korea http://www.komu.com/news/trump-cancels-summit-citing-open-hostility-by-north-korea/ http://www.komu.com/news/trump-cancels-summit-citing-open-hostility-by-north-korea/ Top Stories Thu, 24 May 2018 10:09:32 AM The Associated Press Trump cancels summit, citing 'open hostility' by North Korea

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he thinks Kim Jong Un wants to do "what's right" but says it's up to the North Korean leader to seize the opportunity.

Trump says the dialogue between the U.S. and North Korea was good until the North shifted back to its usual belligerent tone. The president says he understands why that happened, but declined to elaborate.

Trump has canceled a summit with Kim planned for June 12 in Singapore, citing the "tremendous anger and open hostility" in a recent statement by the North. But he has left the door open to meeting on that or another date.

The president adds: "We'll see whether or not that opportunity is seized by North Korea."

Trump said in a letter to Kim released by the White House that, based on the statement, he felt it was "inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting." Adding his own threat, he said that while the North Koreans talk about their nuclear capabilities, "ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used."

In the Korean statement that Trump cited, the North referred to Vice President Mike Pence as a "political dummy" for his comments on the North and said it was just as ready to meet in a nuclear confrontation as at the negotiating table.

Trump said his letter: "If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write."

He said the world was losing a "great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth" now that their June 12 summit has been canceled. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo read the letter during a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday.

Republican Sen. Cory Gardner told The Associated press that Trump's national security advisor, John Bolton, described the letter as a "wake-up" to Kim, who had shown a change in attitude after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The senator cited the North Koreans' refusal to return phone calls to the administration and turning down high-level talks with South Korea.

He said North Korea had shown a "lack of seriousness" in negotiating on denuclearization.

The president had agreed to the historic sit-down in March after months of trading insults and nuclear threats with the North Korean leader. But after criticism from North Korea, Trump cast doubt this week on whether the meeting would happen.

A White House official said it was incorrect to focus on the "dummy comments" about Pence. The official said the North Koreans had threatened nuclear war in their statement released Wednesday night and no summit could be successful under these circumstances.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

White House officials have privately predicted for weeks that the summit could be canceled once or twice before actually taking place, owing to the hard-nosed style of the two leaders. Trump has seemed to welcome chatter of a Nobel Peace Prize, but that has yielded in recent weeks to the sobering prospect of ensuring a successful outcome with the Kim.

Trump's allies in Congress applauded the president, saying he was justified in pulling out of the meeting.

"North Korea has a long history of demanding concessions merely to negotiate. While past administrations of both parties have fallen for this ruse, I commend the president for seeing through Kim Jong Un's fraud," said Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who said the nation's "maximum-pressure campaign on North Korea must continue."

This spring, scoring a diplomatic win with Pyongyang had become Trump's top focus.

That had been a far cry from his bellicose rhetoric, issued both on Twitter and from the rostrum of the United Nations last fall. Trump threw off ominous taunts of raining "fire and fury" on the North while belittling its leader as "Little Rocket Man, alarming many global capitals and much of Washington's national security establishment and increasing worries about nuclear war. But Trump believed his outside-the-box behavior would bring Kim to the negotiating table.

Drawn to big moments and bigger headlines, Trump has viewed the North Korea summit as a legacy-maker for him, believing that the combustible combination of his bombast and charm already had led to warmer relations between North and South.

He immediately agreed to the proposed meeting, conveyed by South Korean officials, accepting it before consulting with many of his top national security advisers. And earlier this month, when welcoming home three Americans who had been detained in North Korea, Trump used a televised, middle-of-the-night ceremony to play up both his statecraft and stagecraft.

Some observers raised concerns that Trump was risking legitimizing Kim's government by agreeing to meet him on the world stage without evidence of denuclearization or other concessions. But Trump had bet big on the summit, telling one confidant that he believed a deal with North Korea, rather than in the Middle East, could be his historic victory.

White House officials also believed that a triumph on the Korean Peninsula — something that has eluded the United States for generations — could bolster Trump's approval ratings, help inoculate him against the investigations swirling around him and trickle down to help Republicans in this fall's midterm elections.

Trump also said he had spoken to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis about the cancellation and that the U.S. military is prepared for what he called a "foolish or reckless" act by the North.

A spokesman for the Pentagon's Joint Staff, Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, told reporters the U.S. military will be ready for any North Korean provocation such as a missile launch. But he said the state of vigilance by the U.S. military in South Korea has not changed, with no new preparations or actions since Trump's announcement. He said U.S. forces are in a "boxer's stance," prepared to defend themselves and South Korea.


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Killer in 2016 Moberly murder pleads guilty, gets life in prison http://www.komu.com/news/killer-in-2016-moberly-murder-pleads-guilty-gets-life-in-prison/ http://www.komu.com/news/killer-in-2016-moberly-murder-pleads-guilty-gets-life-in-prison/ Top Stories Thu, 24 May 2018 8:37:53 AM Steve Lambson, News Content Manager Killer in 2016 Moberly murder pleads guilty, gets life in prison

RANDOLPH COUNTY - A Huntsville man pleaded guilty to murder on Tuesday and received a life sentence with no chance for parole as punishment.

Joseph Kertz, 29, killed Kevin McCuispon of Hallsville in October 2016. Police found McCuispon's body after going to a home for reports of gunfire. Inside, they had to extinguish a small fire, believed to have been set by Kertz.

Kertz was charged with several crimes, but all except the murder charge were dropped. The judge sentenced him to life in prison with no parole.

Kertz is already incarcerated at the South Central Correctional Facility in Texas County. He pleaded guilty to having weapons in the Randolph County Jail. In February 2017, jail officials found a pen cap with a screw inserted in it, as well as a flat piece of sharp metal in Kertz's cell.

Two other people were charged in connection with the murder. Ethan Longbine and Brittney Bowen each pleaded guilty to attempted robbery in January 2018. They had not been sentenced pending the outcome of Kertz's trial. No dates have been set for either person's sentencing.


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5000th dog finds a home through Puppies for Parole program http://www.komu.com/news/5000th-dog-finds-a-home-through-puppies-for-parole-program/ http://www.komu.com/news/5000th-dog-finds-a-home-through-puppies-for-parole-program/ Top Stories Wed, 23 May 2018 7:51:37 PM Kevin Ko, KOMU 8 Digital Producer 5000th dog finds a home through Puppies for Parole program

JEFFERSON CITY - A statewide program bringing together prisoners and puppies is celebrating a major milestone.

A four-month-old redbone coonhound named Ellie is the 5000th adopted dog from the Puppies for Parole program. It pairs inmates with adoptable dogs for intensive one-on-one training.

Jefferson City Correctional Center will host an event marking the milestone on June 1, according to a news release from the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Ellie originally came from the Grabb Animal Shelter in Fulton and was trained at Algoa Correctional Center in Jefferson City.

She was also in Socialization Training for Animals' Reentry into Society, also known as S.T.A.R.S.


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Missouri Chamber report highlights statewide skills gap, outlines solutions http://www.komu.com/news/missouri-chamber-report-highlights-statewide-skills-gap-outlines-solutions/ http://www.komu.com/news/missouri-chamber-report-highlights-statewide-skills-gap-outlines-solutions/ Top Stories Wed, 23 May 2018 5:41:26 PM Monica Madden, KOMU 8 Reporter Missouri Chamber report highlights statewide skills gap, outlines solutions

JEFFERSON CITY - A new report by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce identifies challenges in the Missouri workforce. 

The report, WorkForce2030, launched Monday as a way to address some of those issues and make Missouri more economically competitive. Some of those challenges listed were stagnant workforce growth, a widening skills gap and job preparedness. 

WorkForce2030 lists a detailed action plan for how to address these problems. The goal is to improve the weaknesses by 2030.

The chamber hired Gallup to survey more than 1,000 employers in Missouri to help understand what the workforce climate is like. Here were some of the results:

  • 44% of employers reported satisfaction with the state's availability of skilled workers.
  • 30% agree that Missouri attracts or can retain top talent.
  • 15% agree that high schools are preparing students for the workforce.

The skills gap came up multiple times in the report. 

"Employers are having a hard time filling open positions and it's across the board, not just in entry-level jobs," said Steve Smith, president of Job Point, an employment center in Columbia.

The study says the skill gap exists on several fronts. Soft skills, basic knowledge and technology skills are three areas employers said were often lacking. 

"We have a lot of employers calling us and just saying if you have people who will show up on time each day and work well with other, we'll train them," Smith said. 

Dan Mehan, president and CEO of the chamber, said that the skills gap is a problem that needs to be addressed.

"If our future workforce aren't ready for the jobs of today, that employer will look for other places to locate," Mehan said. "That leaves less opportunities for all Missourians."

The action steps for improving worker skills were mostly centered around targeting youth and starting with educational programs.


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Homemade explosives found in Cole County man's home and car http://www.komu.com/news/homemade-explosives-found-in-cole-county-man-s-home-and-car/ http://www.komu.com/news/homemade-explosives-found-in-cole-county-man-s-home-and-car/ Top Stories Wed, 23 May 2018 3:54:06 PM Sarah Hempelmann, KOMU 8 Reporter Homemade explosives found in Cole County man's home and car

COLE COUNTY - Cole County deputies say a man accused of having pipe bombs was cooperative when they asked to search his home and car.

The sheriff's department said it conviscated pipe bombs, a detonation cord and drug paraphernalia from the two locations.

Charles McBrearety was pulled over Wednesday night after backing out of his driveway and almost hitting a Cole County patrol car, according to a probable cause statement.

Deputy Andrew Wolken said McBrearety consented to a search. Wolken said he found two pipe bombs and drug paraphernalia in the car.

The statement says McBrearety's home was then searched with consent. Two more pipe bombs were found, in addition to the detonation cord and more drug paraphernalia, deputies said. The probable cause statement said McBrearety showed deputies where to find the items.

According to the probable cause statement, "the devices were indeed homemade explosive devices and would have discharged if the fuse would have been ignited."

Wheeler said the sheriff's office immediately called in the FBI, as well as the Missouri State Highway Patrol Bomb Squad, which made sure the pipe bombs were made safe for removal. 

McBrearety was in Cole County Jail facing felony charges of unlawful possession of a weapon and a misdemeanor of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. 

The probable cause statement said McBrearety "had a criminal history containing violation order of protection of adult, narcotics related charges, traffic offenses, forgery, and theft."

McBrearety claims he made the explosives to be used at the race track where he works. 

A pipe bomb is "a piece of copper tubing that has been pinched on both ends and it's filled with gun powder," said Cole County Sheriff John Wheeler. "And then they will put a fuse in it, light the fuse and it blows up."

When informed of the arrest, one neighbor said he was concerned about the children in the area. 

"I'm also surprised because I think there were kids right up there in that trailer," neighbor John Freeman said. "It's pretty stupid stuff."

CORRECTION: The story previously said it was the Missouri State Highway Patrol that was involved, but it is actually the Missouri State Highway Patrol Bomb Squad. The correction has been made. 


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House special committee continues reading of witness transcript http://www.komu.com/news/house-special-committee-continues-reading-of-witness-transcript/ http://www.komu.com/news/house-special-committee-continues-reading-of-witness-transcript/ Top Stories Wed, 23 May 2018 3:12:25 PM Joshua Kranzberg, KOMU 8 Executive Producer, Kamaria Braye and Shelby Lofton, KOMU 8 Reporters House special committee continues reading of witness transcript

JEFFERSON CITY - The House Special Investigative Committee continued reading the transcript of the testimony of the woman involved in the affair with Gov. Greitens.

The committee started reading the 700-page report on Wednesday, which included sexually graphic details about the encounters between the governor and the woman, known as "K.S."

Around 1 p.m., Scott Faughn started his testimony. Faughn is a publisher for The Missouri Times newspaper, and is accused of paying $50,000 to Al Watkins, the lawyer of the woman's ex-husband.

Faughn's attorney, Chuck Hatfield, sparred with Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, about the details of the payment.

At one point, Barnes asked Hatfield how Faughn came to have $120,000 in cash. Hatfield responded by advising Barnes not to "get into the internal workings of [my] company."

Barnes then asked Faughn how he felt "about taking advantage of Witness 1." Faughn argued he only asked Witness 1 (the woman involved with the governor) for an interview and she declined.

Faughn also said he's never spoken to the ex-husband of the woman involved in the affair.

Rep. J. Eggelston, R-Maysville, asked Faughn how he was able to get $50,000 in cash delivered to Watkins. Faughn responded by saying it was put in "a pretty small legal document." Faughn paid Watkins two $50,000 payments.

Faughn added, "I had no idea this was going to be a criminal matter."

Committee members repeatedly asked Faughn how he had such a large sum of cash, but Hatfield advised him to not answer the question, saying he felt it was "wholly irrelevant."

Rep. Barnes mused that "there's a lot of incredulity on the front end and back end of the story."

Hatfield said not discussing financial matters is not untruthful, comparing it to a public official not releasing their tax returns.


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Judge rules President Trump can't block critics on Twitter http://www.komu.com/news/judge-rules-president-trump-can-t-block-critics-on-twitter/ http://www.komu.com/news/judge-rules-president-trump-can-t-block-critics-on-twitter/ Top Stories Wed, 23 May 2018 7:10:45 PM The Associated Press Judge rules President Trump can't block critics on Twitter

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge ruled Wednesday that President Donald Trump is violating the First Amendment when he blocks critics on Twitter because of their political views.

U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan stopped short in her written decision of ordering Trump or a subordinate to stop the practice of blocking critics from viewing his Twitter account, saying it was enough to point out that it was unconstitutional.

"A declaratory judgment should be sufficient, as no government official — including the President — is above the law, and all government officials are presumed to follow the law as has been declared," Buchwald wrote.

The judge did not issue an order against Trump, and the plaintiffs did not ask for one. But in cases like this, plaintiffs can, in theory, go back and ask for such an order, and if it is not obeyed, the violator can be held in contempt.

Buchwald said she rejected the assertion that an injunction can never be lodged against the president but "nonetheless conclude that it is unnecessary to enter that legal thicket at this time."

The case was brought last July by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and seven individuals blocked by Trump after criticizing the Republican president.

Kerri Kupec, a spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, said in an email: "We respectfully disagree with the court's decision and are considering our next steps."

Jameel Jaffer, the Knight Institute's executive director, said in a release that his organization was pleased.

"The president's practice of blocking critics on Twitter is pernicious and unconstitutional, and we hope this ruling will bring it to an end," he said.

Comedian Dana Goldberg, who says she was blocked by the president but was not a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said she looks forward to getting access restored.

"As a comedian, I really feel like it's my job right now to speak truth to power. I have a voice and a platform to use it, and I would rather challenge him on every false and misleading statement than stay silent. It will save me some time if I'm unblocked. I can just check his Twitter feed instead of Google his morning tirades," she said.

The lawsuit was filed after Trump blocked some individuals from @realDonaldTrump, a 9-year-old Twitter account with over 50 million followers, after each of them tweeted a message critical of Trump or his policies in reply to a tweet he had sent.

Justice Department lawyers had argued it was Trump's prerogative to block followers, no different from the president deciding in a room filled with people not to listen to some.

Buchwald ruled that the tweets were "governmental in nature."

"The President presents the @realDonaldTrump account as being a presidential account as opposed to a personal account and, more importantly, uses the account to take actions that can be taken only by the President as President," the judge said.

The judge noted that another defendant, Daniel Scavino — the White House's social media director and an assistant to the president — can unblock those followers without the president needing to do it himself. The judge dismissed Sarah Huckabee Sanders as a defendant in the case after it was established she does not have access to Trump's account.

Buchwald also said she recognized the impact on the individuals by Trump's action was not "of the highest magnitude." She said the First Amendment protects people even from trivial harm.

After a hearing this year, the judge had suggested that Trump mute rather than block some of his critics. At the time, a Justice Department attorney agreed that muting would enable Trump to avoid a tweet he doesn't want to read.

Twitter users can block people, which prevents them from seeing the user's feed while logged in. Or they can mute the person, which keeps the user from seeing that person's tweets and reply messages in their feed.


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Former California police chief accused of stealing, forgery http://www.komu.com/news/former-california-police-chief-accused-of-stealing-forgery/ http://www.komu.com/news/former-california-police-chief-accused-of-stealing-forgery/ Top Stories Wed, 23 May 2018 2:15:51 PM Steve Lambson, News Content Manager and Alayna Chapie, KOMU 8 Reporter Former California police chief accused of stealing, forgery

CALIFORNIA - The Moniteau County prosecutor filed criminal charges against the former California police chief Wednesday.

Former police chief Michael Ward, 47, faces two counts of stealing and one count of forgery. The charges come following an investigation by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

California Mayor, Norris Gerhart, said two weeks ago he had a conversation with Ward about a discrepancy regarding police department accounts. Shortly after that conversation, Ward walked out and gave Gerhart a letter of resignation, effective at the end of May.

Mayor Gerhart told KOMU 8 he then instructed Ward to resign at the end of the same day. 

"He was a man I fully trusted and I am just very disappointed at this time," said Gerhart. 

According to court documents, Interim Police Chief Dale Embry took inventory of the department's equipment on May 4. During the process, he said he determined a handgun, an AR-15, and two holographic sights were missing. Investigators said Ward bought the AR-15 and holographic sights with department funds between September 2016 and August 2017. 

Ward then allegedly sold the guns to a pawn shop in Jefferson City; the serial numbers of the sold guns match those of the guns missing from the police department.

The probable cause statement said Ward also forged time sheets for a new officer on probation. At the time, according to the document, Ward and the officer were in a relationship, and he allegedly forged the documents to make it look like the officer worked full time in order to get medical leave.

Authorities talked to the officer with whom Ward had been in a relationship. When asked about the medical leave, she said she thought Ward donated his paid time off to help her get paid during the leave.

Moniteau County Prosecutor Shayne Healea requested a special prosecutor be appointed due to a conflict of interest. Judge Aaron Martin appointed Morgan County Prosecutor Dustin Dunklee as the special prosecutor.

Mayor Gerhart says he is confident in Interim Police Chief Dale Embry's ability to lead the department. 

"He has plenty of experience, he is doing the job very well and we have a group of qualified officers working with him," said Gerhart. 

Embry has been with the city of California police department for 17 years. 


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Gov. Greitens makes appearance at gun competition http://www.komu.com/news/gov-greitens-makes-appearance-at-gun-competition/ http://www.komu.com/news/gov-greitens-makes-appearance-at-gun-competition/ Top Stories Wed, 23 May 2018 3:40:21 PM Johannah Grenaway, KOMU 8 Reporter Gov. Greitens makes appearance at gun competition

HALLSVILLE - The NRA Bianchi Cup happens every year in Missouri, however this year, embattled Gov. Eric Greitens made an appearance.

The Green Valley Rifle and Pistol Club in Hallsville hosted the shooting competition, drawing people from all over the world. Competitors of all backgrounds and ages practice multiple disciplines of shooting. 

As competitors were shooting targets, Gov. Greitens joined the crowd of spectators.

The governor went on a tour of the gun range, shook hands and talked with competitors, and even took a turn shooting targets.

Members of Greitens' staff agreed to an interview with the governor, but encouraged KOMU 8's reporter to focus solely on the event, adding that the governor would not discuss other topics.

KOMU 8's Johannah Grenaway asked Gov. Greitens if he would comment on the special session currently underway at the Capitol.

"Our focus is really on working for the people of Missouri and delivering on our promises of more jobs and higher pay, safer streets and better schools," Greitens said. "And that's why we're so happy to be out here today really helping to showcase what's going on in mid-Missouri and the fact that people from all over the world are attracted to come here."

The House Investigative committee is on its second day of hearings to evaluate the Governor's alleged misconduct. Committee members are reading through 700 pages of testimony from a Grand Jury in St. Louis.

The shooting competition in Hallsville continues through Friday. 


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