KOMU.com https://www.komu.com/ KOMU.com Continuous News Continuous News en-us Copyright 2018, KOMU.com. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Wed, 19 Dec 2018 HH:12:ss GMT Synapse CMS 10 KOMU.com https://www.komu.com/ 144 25 Former addict praises Boone County's drug court, 20 years after it began https://www.komu.com/news/former-addict-praises-boone-county-s-drug-court-20-years-after-it-began/ https://www.komu.com/news/former-addict-praises-boone-county-s-drug-court-20-years-after-it-began/ Continuous News Tue, 18 Dec 2018 6:41:07 PM Monica Madden, KOMU 8 Reporter Former addict praises Boone County's drug court, 20 years after it began

COLUMBIA - A year and a half ago, Rhonda Watson found herself at a crossroad: Go to prison or go to a drug treatment court.

She chose the latter part, and now says she is "very grateful."

Watson celebrated her graduation from Boone County drug court's treatment program on Tuesday, along with nine other people. 

The program was celebrating its 20th anniversary. Casey Clevenger, the treatment court commissioner for the 13th Circuit, said such programs exist "because they work." 

The treatment courts are an alternative to standard probation models like prison or jail. The goal is to help offenders reintegrate into a life of recovery, stay in recovery and become productive members of society. 

The intention of treatment programs differs from punitive methods in that it focuses on rehabilitation with individualized plans designed to help the offender have a stable recovery and stop criminal activity altogether. 

Watson said she didn't want to go to prison when she violated probation on drug charges, so she asked for the treatment court. She said her life would have been completely different had she served time.

"I would've got out and started using again and I didn't want that. I have two little grandbabies and I want to watch them grow up. I don't want to see them grow up from jail and I don't want them to see me high," she said. 

Watson started using drugs shortly after her mother died and after her children moved out of the house.

"I just felt like there was no use for me," she said. "I had nothing to stay clean for." 

Throughout her addiction, Watson said, her children stopped talking to her and she distanced herself from her family. It wasn't until she faced court and was going to go to prison that she chose the drug program to get clean instead. 

Watson said she wants people to know that getting clean isn't easy and isn't always a choice.

"You have to want it. If you don't want it, it's not going to work." she said. 

Clevenger said she usually sees major progress in participants during the third month, out of 15 months total.

"Many people come into drug court, they're very angry," she said. "But then they get involved in the treatment and start to see the benefits of living life sober," she said.

When offenders graduate from the program, there is still a network of support available for them in case they face moments of weakness. 

"There's so many resources and the support team is amazing," Watson said. "You can call them any time talk to them about anything, they don't judge you." 

Since the drug court started in 1998, more than 1,000 participants have graduated. Clevenger said, going forward, the goal is to further expand the program.


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Man sentenced in conspiracy that included 27 robberies https://www.komu.com/news/man-sentenced-in-conspiracy-that-included-27-robberies/ https://www.komu.com/news/man-sentenced-in-conspiracy-that-included-27-robberies/ Continuous News Tue, 18 Dec 2018 6:12:06 PM The Associated Press Man sentenced in conspiracy that included 27 robberies

KANSAS CITY (AP) — A 24-year-old Missouri man was sentenced to 25 years in prison without parole for participating in a conspiracy involving at least 27 armed robberies, which ended when police fatally shot one suspect.

Deonte Collins-Abbott, of Grandview, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court. He admitted to committing eight armed robberies in February and March 2016. Collins-Abbott said he and co-conspirators robbed businesses in Blue Springs, Independence, North Kansas City, Raytown, Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas.

In March 2016, Collins-Abbott and two other men robbed a Walgreens in Blue Springs, Missouri.

Collins-Abbott and Jermon Seals, of Shawnee, Kansas, were confronted by police when they left the store. Police say Seals was shot when he pointed a gun toward officers.

Three other men are awaiting sentencing in the case.


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ABB bought by Hitachi, impact on Jefferson City site unclear https://www.komu.com/news/abb-bought-by-hitachi-impact-on-jefferson-city-site-unclear/ https://www.komu.com/news/abb-bought-by-hitachi-impact-on-jefferson-city-site-unclear/ Continuous News Tue, 18 Dec 2018 4:53:22 PM Ryan Takeo, Managing Editor ABB bought by Hitachi, impact on Jefferson City site unclear

JEFFERSON CITY - This week Hitachi announced a takeover of ABB, worth a purchase price of $11 billion.

It's unclear what impact the announcement will have on ABB's Jefferson City plant. ABB is the sixth-largest employer in the city with 700-plus employees.

Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce President Randy Allen said he was surprised by the decision, but didn't have any further comment at this time.

In a press release, ABB said the takeover would save the company $500 million.

Zachary Lauf, of Lauf Equipment Sales, works right across the street from ABB. He's hopeful the factory stays in the community, like it has for 25 years.

"We hope they choose to stay around here, they've been a good neighbor for us, so we like having them around they've been really good to be in the area. So yeah we hope they stick around and continue to grow around here," Lauf said.

Hitachi and ABB expect the deal to close in the first half of 2020.


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Former city employees are frustrated with salaries, lack of action https://www.komu.com/news/former-city-employees-are-frustrated-with-salaries-lack-of-action/ https://www.komu.com/news/former-city-employees-are-frustrated-with-salaries-lack-of-action/ Continuous News Tue, 18 Dec 2018 3:18:33 PM Natalie Rice, KOMU 8 Reporter Former city employees are frustrated with salaries, lack of action

COLUMBIA - Retired employees of the Columbia Electric Utilities are frustrated with the city for its lack of action in implementing better policies towards their employment and salaries.

On Monday, the group released a report stating the changes they'd like to see made, and why they are essential. In the report, they expressed how they believe this matter to be crucial towards Columbia’s overall infrastructure and asked the city why no action has been taken.

Six months ago on June 18, the retired employees attended a city council meeting where they discussed the issue of a loss of experienced line workers to other utilities. The group says this is due to non-competitive pay, and is asking the city to provide incentives to high performing employees through merit raises and establish competitive salaries.

Merit-based pay, or an increase of pay for high-performance employees, is something Jim Windsor, the retired assistant director of utilities, says is necessary.“Throughout the city, very high performers have left to go to other places because they are not seeing their their work ethic rewarded,” said Windsor.

City Councilman Mike Trapp believes the line worker issue is “complex,” and needs time for a proper evaluation so that the city manager's office can look at salaries for line workers using a contract agency to determine that the city is paying a comparable rate of pay.

Part of the reason he says the city hasn't been able to address these concerns is because of overall city budget funds. “we haven't been able to do raises because of shortages,” said Trapp.

He also doesn't agree with their demands for a merit-based pay policy. “We have a policy of treating universality so everyone gets a raise or no one gets a raise.”

Windsor believes that mentality is leading to more workers leaving.

“When you can't [reward hard workers] you lose those people, and that just makes no sense,” he said.

Since June, ten workers have left, eight of which chose to start working for different electrical companies that pay more, such as Boone Electric or Howard Electric. The decrease of electrical utility workers for the city means that there are fewer responders to problems like power outages or repairs.

The city has employed contract workers to fill these gaps.Windsor said that contracting crews are twice as expensive as in-house crews, and doesn't understand how the city claims there is no funds for raises.

“How wasteful does the city council want to be in terms of the funds we are paying out?” said Windsor.

Trapp agrees that the issue is important and needs to be addressed, but says that the city needs time to assess the changes.

“We’re going to collect the data, we’re going to put a report out, and we’re going to make a policy level decision to direct the city manager through the budget negotiations, but it’s really unlikely that we’ll be able to address the issue until next year’s budget so we just ask folks to be patient,” said Trapp.

The city will decide on a new budget in September. Until then, Trapp doesn’t believe there will be any new developments.


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Activists concerned by prosecutors joining police union https://www.komu.com/news/activists-concerned-by-prosecutors-joining-police-union/ https://www.komu.com/news/activists-concerned-by-prosecutors-joining-police-union/ Continuous News Tue, 18 Dec 2018 2:40:58 PM The Associated Press Activists concerned by prosecutors joining police union

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Supporters of criminal justice reform are questioning a move by assistant prosecutors in St. Louis County to join a police union, as well as the timing of the vote just weeks before a change-minded prosecutor takes office.

Assistant prosecutors and investigators voted Monday to join the St. Louis Police Officers Association, a union known for its fierce and unyielding loyalty to officers.

The vote came just a couple of weeks before the first-ever African-American person elected as St. Louis County prosecutor, Wesley Bell, replaces Bob McCulloch, who gained a reputation as a tough law-and-order prosecutor in nearly three decades in office. Bell easily defeated McCulloch in the August Democratic primary and ran unopposed in November. He takes office next month.

Bell spent three years as a city councilman in Ferguson, the St. Louis County town where a white officer fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black and unarmed, in August 2014, setting off months of often-violent protests.

Bell ran as a reformist. He opposes the death penalty, wants to direct more people with minor drug crimes to treatment instead of jail, and wants to eliminate cash bail for people accused of low-level crimes. He has said he will stand behind officers as long as they act appropriately, but those who step out of line should be held accountable.

John Chasnoff, an activist who has pushed for more police accountability in the St. Louis area, said the timing of the union vote is not coincidental.

"People have to put two and two together here and see that we have a new person of color coming into that office who's been elected on a platform of reform," Chasnoff said. "For the office to react that way sends a clear message that prosecutors are rejecting the community's clear mandate that came out of the election."

Jeff Roorda, business manager for the police union, declined comment. McCulloch's office did not return a message seeking comment.

Bell, through a spokeswoman, declined an interview request. He said in a statement that he supports the rights of prosecutors to organize.

"The choice of the police union raises some questions, though we will work in good faith to minimize any cost to taxpayers or conflicts with the police union that this could present," Bell said. He added that he remains "committed to fulfilling the promises for change that St. Louis County voters resoundingly demanded with my election."

Webster University criminologist Remy Cross called the union vote "a shot across the bow" aimed at showing Bell that his staff supports McCulloch's hardline approach to dealing with crime.

Cross characterized the message of the vote this way: "You can come in and you can say you're going to shake things up, you can say you're going to change stuff, but maybe not."

Prosecutors' membership in a union is rare but not unheard of, Cross said. Across Missouri, assistant prosecutors in Jackson County, which includes Kansas City, are members of a firefighters union.

The St. Louis Police Officers Association represents St. Louis city officers. St. Louis County officers are part of a separate union, so the county's police and prosecutors won't be members of the same union.

Still, Rashad Robinson, president of the civil rights group Color of Change, said the prosecutors' membership in any police union presents the risk of conflict of interest — especially in the St. Louis area that has been the subject of intense scrutiny since Michael Brown's death over how police interact with black residents.

"So to align themselves with a police union is deeply troubling because they are supposed to be independent," Robinson said.


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Missouri approval for Grain Belt Express power line still uncertain https://www.komu.com/news/missouri-approval-for-grain-belt-express-power-line-still-uncertain/ https://www.komu.com/news/missouri-approval-for-grain-belt-express-power-line-still-uncertain/ Continuous News Tue, 18 Dec 2018 1:34:08 PM David Estrada, KOMU 8 Reporter Missouri approval for Grain Belt Express power line still uncertain

JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Public Service Commission held the first of two formal hearings to determine whether an interstate power transmission project meets requirements of convenience and necessity. 

The hearings come after the Missouri Supreme Court sent back the Grain Belt Express Clean Line case to the commission for its approval. The hearings are a chance for the parties involved to address any changes on the evidence in the case. 

Grain Belt Express' attorney Karl Zobrist said he believed after the hearings the service commission would conclude the project "is both necessary and convenient for the public."

"We believe that this project promotes the public good," he said. "We have the commitment of a major utility, MJMEUC. We provided enhanced landowner protections. We believe we have the support from a variety of Missouri businesses."

Invenergy is seeking to buy the transmission project from Grain Belt Express. The agreements to sell and buy have been signed, but the public service commission would also have to authorize that deal. 

Missouri Landowners Alliance's lawyer Paul Agathen challenged Zobrist's claims, regarding the applicant's (Grain Belt Express) ability to carry on the project. 

"All along Grain Belt has been relying on the qualifications of Clean Line's personnel," Agathen said. 

Missouri Farm Bureau's attorney Brent Haden also challenged the project. He said there could be potential negative effects for farmers, regarding the use of eminent domain. 

"When somebody who's in the middle of harvest, in the middle of planting, in the middle of calving season has to come in and take time to come out of the field, talk to a lawyer they don't want to be talking in the first place, spend their money to get a lawyer they don't want to hire in the first place, to then turn around and fight a battle with a corporation who's taking their land, who shouldn't have that right or that privilege to begin with," he said. 

Invenergy's spokesperson Beth Conley said if the service commissions authorizes the company to buy the transmission project they would make sure to protect the property owners' rights. 

"Invenergy has a long history of developing projects in close coordination and cooperation with landowners, farmers and ranchers across the United States and around the world," she said. "We would bring that same level of commitment to Missouri landowners and Missouri host communities that we have dedicated to every project that we have developed."

Another issue discussed in Tuesday's hearing was the funding for the project. Michael Skelly, Clean Line Energy's board chairman, said the company alone does not have the $3 billion to develop the transmission line and relies on investors, such as Invenergy. 

"Our plan throughout the nine years that we have been working through this has been to bring in resources to the project's efforts as those resources are needed and as the project moves forward," he said. 

Even if the deal with Invenergy doesn't come through, Skelly said he is confident the Grain Belt Express project would still happen. 

"We are moving toward a much cleaner energy mix and the cost of renewable energy continues to drop," he said. 

The second formal hearing would take place on Wednesday. 


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Trump administration moves to ban bump stocks https://www.komu.com/news/trump-administration-moves-to-ban-bump-stocks/ https://www.komu.com/news/trump-administration-moves-to-ban-bump-stocks/ Continuous News Tue, 18 Dec 2018 12:28:59 PM The Associated Press Trump administration moves to ban bump stocks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration moved Tuesday to officially ban bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly like automatic firearms, and has made them illegal to possess beginning in late March.

The devices will be banned under a federal law that prohibits machine guns, according to a senior Justice Department official.

Bump stocks became a focal point of the national gun control debate after they were used in October 2017 when a man opened fired from his Las Vegas hotel suite into a crowd at a country music concert below, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The regulation, which was signed by Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker on Tuesday morning, will go into effect 90 days after it is formally published in the Federal Register, which is expected to happen on Friday, the Justice Department official said.

The official wasn't authorized to discuss the matter publicly ahead of the regulation's formal publication and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

In March, President Donald Trump said his administration would "ban" the devices, which he said "turn legal weapons into illegal machines."

Shortly after the president's comments, the Justice Department announced that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to define bump stocks as machine guns. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sought public comment on the proposal, drawing more than 35,000 comments.

The amended regulations reverse a 2010 ATF decision that found bump stocks did not amount to machine guns and could not be regulated unless Congress changed existing firearms law or passed a new one. In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting, there was a growing push by some members of Congress to ban bump stocks, but no legislation was passed. At least 10 states have sought their own restrictions on the devices.

People who own bump stocks will be required to either surrender them to the ATF or destroy them by late March, the official said. The change has undergone a legal review and the Justice Department and ATF are ready to fight any legal challenge that may be brought, the official added.

The amended rule was met almost immediately with resistance from gun rights advocates, including Gun Owners of America, which said it would file a lawsuit against the Justice Department and ATF in order to protect gun owners from the "unconstitutional regulations."

"These regulations implicate Second Amendment rights, and courts should be highly suspect when an agency changes its 'interpretation' of a statute in order to impair the exercise of enumerated constitutional rights," the organization's executive director, Erich Pratt, said.

Police said the gunman in the Las Vegas massacre, Stephen Paddock, fired for more than 10 minutes using multiple weapons outfitted with target scopes and bump stocks. Paddock fatally shot himself after the shooting and there were 23 assault-style weapons, including 14 fitted with rapid-fire "bump stock" devices, strewn about the room near his body on the floor of his 32nd-floor hotel suite at the Mandalay Bay casino-hotel.

The largest manufacturer of bump stocks, Slide Fire Solutions, announced in April that it was going to stop taking orders and shutting down its website. The remaining stock of the devices is now being sold by another company, RW Arms, based in Fort Worth, Texas.


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Charles Erickson seeks release from prison for Kent Heitholt murder https://www.komu.com/news/charles-erickson-seeks-release-from-prison-for-kent-heitholt-murder/ https://www.komu.com/news/charles-erickson-seeks-release-from-prison-for-kent-heitholt-murder/ Continuous News Tue, 18 Dec 2018 10:16:29 AM Steve Lambson, News Content Manager Charles Erickson seeks release from prison for Kent Heitholt murder

BOWLING GREEN - Charles Erickson, who is serving time in prison for the 2001 murder of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt, says his detention is unlawful and he should be set free.

Erickson filed a petition on December 11 in Pike County, where he is being held at the Northeast Correctional Center, seeking a writ of habeas corpus, a legal method to determine whether detainment is lawful or not. He was convicted in 2004 for Heitholt's murder, along with Ryan Ferguson. Ferguson's conviction was later vacated in 2013.

The 98-page petition claims Erickson's "frailties and experiences" made him susceptible to coercion by Columbia Police, who the petition claims got Erickson to falsely confess and plead guilty.

"Now after almost fifteen years in prison, Charles seeks the same justice as Ryan [Ferguson] and petitions this court for a Writ of Habeas Corpus," the petition said.

It continues: "The only reason Charles became, and now remains, incarcerated is that aggressive police and prosecutors exploited his vulnerabilities, including his past experiences, psychological disorders, youth, cognitive dysfunction, and substance abuse, to coerce Charles to confess and plead guilty to a crime he did not commit. Some of the methods they used included: wrongfully withholding exculpatory evidence, unlawfully fabricating evidence they would use to deceive Charles into falsely believing he committed crimes, and applying unconstitutional pressure that deprived him of the volition and knowledge necessary to offer a constitutionally adequate guilty plea."

The petition concludes Erickson deserves habeas corpus relief to fix the injustice of his wrongful detention due to "a defective guilty plea," and claims Erickson is innocent of the crimes for which he is serving prison time.


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Columbia man convicted of assaulting relatives files motion of acquittal https://www.komu.com/news/columbia-man-convicted-of-assaulting-relatives-files-motion-of-acquittal/ https://www.komu.com/news/columbia-man-convicted-of-assaulting-relatives-files-motion-of-acquittal/ Continuous News Tue, 18 Dec 2018 9:05:36 AM Steve Lambson, News Content Manager Columbia man convicted of assaulting relatives files motion of acquittal

COLUMBIA - A man awaiting sentencing for attacking his grandparents filed a motion Friday, seeking acquittal on one of the three assault charges he faces.

A jury found Brian Kelley guilty in late November of three counts of domestic assault; Kelley was found not guilty of conspiring to commit murder. Authorities arrested him after learning about an apparent plot to kill Kelley's grandparents and hide their bodies.

Kelley is scheduled to be sentenced for the assault charges in late January.

His motion claims the court erred in overruling a number of objections or motions by Kelley's defense team, as well as in granting various motions by the state. It requests the court either grant an acquittal on the one domestic assault charge or give Kelley a new trial on that charge.


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Man accused in death of infant son pleads guilty https://www.komu.com/news/man-accused-in-death-of-infant-son-pleads-guilty/ https://www.komu.com/news/man-accused-in-death-of-infant-son-pleads-guilty/ Continuous News Tue, 18 Dec 2018 8:55:15 AM Steve Lambson, News Content Manager Man accused in death of infant son pleads guilty

CALIFORNIA - A Fortuna man pleaded guilty Friday to charges related to the 2017 death of his young son.

Matthew Hamm was charged with murder and abandonment of a corpse after deputies found the child's body in Hamm's home. Court documents said the body had been burned.

Hamm first told investigators the boy choked and died, but later admitted to hitting him with a mug after the child spilled some water. He said he was mad a family member hadn't come to pick up the boy.

Hamm is scheduled to be sentenced in mid-February.


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Missouri woman who drove car into Kansas River pleads guilty https://www.komu.com/news/missouri-woman-who-drove-car-into-kansas-river-pleads-guilty/ https://www.komu.com/news/missouri-woman-who-drove-car-into-kansas-river-pleads-guilty/ Continuous News Mon, 17 Dec 2018 6:34:53 PM The Associated Press Missouri woman who drove car into Kansas River pleads guilty

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Missouri woman who told police she intentionally drove into the Kansas River while trying to kill herself and her two young children pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

Scharron Dingledine, 26, of Columbia, entered the plea Monday in Douglas County Court in Lawrence, Kansas. As part of the plea, she won't be eligible for parole for 25 years, The Lawrence Journal-World reported .

Prosecutors say Dingledine drove a car into the Kansas River near downtown Lawrence in August. Rescuers pulled Dingledine and her 1-year-old son, Elijah Lake, from the water but were not able to save her 5-year-old daughter, Amiyah Bradley. Her body was recovered from the river the next day. Elijah was critically injured.

A probable cause affidavit released in the case says Dingledine told police that she had a fight with her boyfriend, she was voluntarily admitted to a psychiatric hospital for several hours on Aug. 2, one day before she drove her car into the river in downtown Lawrence, about 160 miles (260 kilometers) west of her hometown of Columbia.

After she was released from the hospital, her boyfriend agreed to take her to a shelter. But when he stopped at a store, Dingledine drove off in his car, with the children inside, she told detectives. She later stole another vehicle near Columbia and drove to the Kansas City area, where she spent the night in the vehicle. She drove to Lawrence Aug. 3 and was "feeling depressed and worried about the consequences of her actions" on the previous day, according to the affidavit.

The document said she drove to the Kansas River, parked and let the children walk around and put their feet in the water. She said she decided the river was a good way to kill herself and she decided to kill the children "because she didn't want anyone else to have them."

She told detectives she accelerated into the river while the children were unrestrained in the front seat. She said she knew neither child could swim and "would likely die," according to the affidavit.


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Denico Crawley sentenced to 105 years https://www.komu.com/news/denico-crawley-sentenced-to-105-years/ https://www.komu.com/news/denico-crawley-sentenced-to-105-years/ Continuous News Mon, 17 Dec 2018 6:06:06 PM Blythe Nebeker, Digital Producer Denico Crawley sentenced to 105 years

COLUMBIA- Denico Crawley, the man convicted of murder stemming from the case of Quenten Hurt, was sentenced to 105 years in prison today.

A jury found Crawley guilty of second-degree murder, armed criminal action, assault and drug possession in November. 

Hurt was shot and killed in 2017 at the I-70 and Highway 63 Connector. 

The driver, Chelsea Hyde, was also shot three times and investigators said she had an intimate relationship with Crawley prior to the incident. 

Earlier this month, Crawley's defense team filed a motion for a new trial, citing court errors. 


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Jury trials for defendants in Carl DeBrodie case to be rescheduled https://www.komu.com/news/jury-trials-for-defendants-in-carl-debrodie-case-to-be-rescheduled/ https://www.komu.com/news/jury-trials-for-defendants-in-carl-debrodie-case-to-be-rescheduled/ Continuous News Mon, 17 Dec 2018 5:45:41 PM Naomi Klinge, KOMU 8 Digital Producer Jury trials for defendants in Carl DeBrodie case to be rescheduled

CALLAWAY COUNTY - A jury trial for two defendants in the death of Carl DeBrodie has been postponed, according to court records.

A pre-trial hearing for defendants Sherry Paulo and Mary Paulo was expected to be held today, but court records indicate the hearing was rescheduled. The jury trials were expected to be held Wednesday for Sherry Paulo and Thursday for Mary Paulo, but they were delayed.

A hearing to reschedule the trials has been set for Monday, Dec. 24. 

DeBrodie's body was found in a storage unit in Fulton over a year ago. According to court documents released May 30, Debrodie endured extensive physical abuse leading up to his death. His body was found encased in concrete a week after he was reported missing. Police believe he was actually missing months before it was reported.


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Early winter snow means high demand for salt https://www.komu.com/news/early-winter-snow-means-high-demand-for-salt/ https://www.komu.com/news/early-winter-snow-means-high-demand-for-salt/ Continuous News Mon, 17 Dec 2018 4:09:33 PM Kamaria Braye, KOMU 8 News Early winter snow means high demand for salt

ST.LOUIS - Missouri salt supply usage is at a high since early snowfall hit the midwest in November. 

In early December, Tom Sanders, the Moberly Public Works Director, told KOMU the city already used a large amount of its salt supply.

“We hadn't put any of material out this time last year and we’re already at half of our year's capacity," Sanders said.

John Gunther of Gunther Salt Company in St. Louis told us his company salt preparation process.

"For the winter product the salt for snow and ice melting, we typically are packing that product in the summer. We wanna have all of our inventory ready to go before the winter starts," Gunther said.

November was the fourth coldest since records began in 1889 in Columbia.

November 8th and 12th broke two daily snow records. 

Gunther said many organizations place orders as they see fit. He also explains the average shipping time for his company to deliver bag and bulk salt.

"The turnaround time for bags is one to three to four days. With the bulk salt that we are delivering to municipalities and school districts and hospitals and commercial snow-plowers, we can deliver those next day," Gunther said.

Public works supervisors from Jefferson City, Fulton, Mexico, and Columbia have said they have enough salt for upcoming snow.


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Columbia City Council closer to select hiring firm to find new city manager https://www.komu.com/news/columbia-city-council-closer-to-select-hiring-firm-to-find-new-city-manager/ https://www.komu.com/news/columbia-city-council-closer-to-select-hiring-firm-to-find-new-city-manager/ Continuous News Mon, 17 Dec 2018 2:37:52 PM David Estrada, KOMU 8 Reporter Columbia City Council closer to select hiring firm to find new city manager

COLUMBIA - Council members agreed to narrow down the number of hiring companies who applied to be in charge of searching for the new city manager by the end of the week. 

The following firms submitted an application to be in charge of the search process:

  • EFL Associates
  • Serpico Talent Solutions
  • The Novak Consulting Group
  • Strategic Government Resources
  • Springsted Waters Executive Recruitments
  • Management Partners
  • CPS HR Consulting
  • GovHR USA
  • Slavin Management Consultants

Instead of coming up with a list of three or four finalists, council members decided to rank the companies, individually, and send that information to human resources by Wednesday. 

Mayor Brian Treece said the hiring firm would help combine the input of all council members on what they are looking for in the next city manager. 

Treece also said the council is looking for a firm who would also incorporate the citizens' input into the hiring process. 

"We have a very engaged citizenry here that wants to have an input on how we select the next city manager," he said. "One of the questions I have is what is that public input process, how  are we going to gather that public input and communicate that to the city council."

In selecting a hiring firm, Treece said he is considering who each firm would gather as potential candidates for the city manager job. 

"To me, that's probably a city manager of a town that has slightly smaller population than Columbia that is looking to move up or perhaps the deputy city manager of a city with a larger population," he said. 

At a Nov. 26 council special meeting, Margrace Buckler with the city's Human Resources Department said the hiring firm would take care of background checks, interviews, contract negotiation and employment agreement. 

It would also create a report with a smaller pool of recommended candidates for the council to choose from.  

In 2005 and 2010-11, the city used an external hiring firm to hire a city manager. The last search cost Columbia $26,000.

Buckler said the current search for a city manager could cost between $20,000 - $30,000.

On Jan. 3, council members would conduct closed meetings with three or four hiring firms. From those companies, council members would also choose one firm to hire. 

After that, city council would vote on a resolution to approve the contract with a hiring firm at the Jan. 21 meeting. 

Mike Matthes announced his resignation on Nov. 20. Six days later, city council authorized a mutual severance agreement with Matthes and appointed John Glascock as interim city manager. 

Matthes served as city manager since May 1, 2011.


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Driver uninjured after semi-truck crashes into front lawn https://www.komu.com/news/driver-uninjured-after-semi-truck-crashes-into-front-lawn/ https://www.komu.com/news/driver-uninjured-after-semi-truck-crashes-into-front-lawn/ Continuous News Mon, 17 Dec 2018 2:16:18 PM Daniel Perreault, KOMU 8 Reporter Driver uninjured after semi-truck crashes into front lawn

COLUMBIA – Emergency crews spent most of Monday morning removing a semi-truck from a front yard after it veered off the road.

Around 9:30 a.m., a semi-truck veered off of West Broadway and ended up on its side near Thistledown Drive. Crews spent most of the morning working to remove the truck.

The truck was finally towed away just after 12:30 Monday afternoon.

Residents who lived nearby said the crash shook them. Mary Withrow watched it from her window.

“I just happened to look out right when it veered off into my yard,” Withrow said. “I was shaken up, but I ran outside to make sure he was okay.”

Columbia Police said the driver was okay and walked away from the crash without any injuries. After the crash, Withrow said drivers were stopping on the side of the road to help the truck driver.

“They were stopping everywhere and running towards the truck,” Winthrow said. “They were climbing on top of it to help him out of the cab.”

Like Winthrow, the truck driver was also shaken up after the crash. Winthrow invited him into her house while they waited for first responders to arrive.

“He was in shock,” Winthrow said. “I tried to talk with him and ask him about his family and try to get his mind off of it.”

Winthrow said she felt for the driver and was praying for him.

Police said it was not clear what caused the semi-truck to veer off the road.

For Winthrow, the scene Monday morning was a familiar one. It is not the first time Winthrow has had a vehicle end up in her front yard.

“Three cars have run into our yard,” Winthrow said. “They’ve barely missed hitting our cars.”

Given the history of crashes, Winthrow said she would like to see a curb installed to prevent more cars from drifting into her grass.


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Demolition will close parts of Missouri Boulevard https://www.komu.com/news/demolition-will-close-parts-of-missouri-boulevard/ https://www.komu.com/news/demolition-will-close-parts-of-missouri-boulevard/ Continuous News Mon, 17 Dec 2018 1:34:06 PM Natalie Rice, KOMU 8 Reporter Demolition will close parts of Missouri Boulevard

JEFFERSON CITY - Motorists are advised to avoid the area near Missouri Boulevard this evening, from the intersection of West Dunklin Street to the U.S. 54 East on/off ramps due to a full closure from the demolition of a pedestrian bridge. The work will take place during the hours of 8:00 P.M. Monday to 7:00 A.M. Tuesday.

Capital Paving and Construction LLC is removing the bridge as part of their demolition work taking place at the old St. Mary's Hospital property.

Drew Leary, the project manager, said that the number one priority is the "safety of the traveling public and [their] employees."

The Chicago based group, Farmer Holding Company is planning to redevelop the site with the help of tax increment financing, and will choose to build a $44.6 million project involving Lincoln University or a $30.9 million project with only commercial space. The Jefferson City Council approved the plans in August 2017.

The project entails rebuilding portions of the hospital by reusing some of its existing portions. FHC is anticipating to establish a complex with retail, restaurant and office space.

Travelers shouldn't worry about the project cutting into their morning commute. "Everything that is going to inhibit motorists will be taken care of tonight," said Leary.  


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Girl accidentally slain as parents attend Christmas party https://www.komu.com/news/girl-accidentally-slain-as-parents-attend-christmas-party/ https://www.komu.com/news/girl-accidentally-slain-as-parents-attend-christmas-party/ Continuous News Mon, 17 Dec 2018 12:00:48 PM The Associated Press Girl accidentally slain as parents attend Christmas party

FLORISSANT (AP) — Authorities say a 12-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his 6-year-old sister in suburban St. Louis while their parents were attending a Christmas party.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that police say Maliyah Palmer was shot in the head Friday night in Florissant after her brother found a 9 mm handgun in a dresser drawer in his parents' bedroom. Maliyah died later at a hospital.

The children's 16-year-old sister was watching her younger siblings at the time.

Police initially released a statement describing what happened as a "tragic accident" and said no charges would be filed. But on Monday, Chief Timothy Lowery said the statement was premature and that prosecutors would make the ultimate charging decision after the investigation is complete.

Lowery said the situation was "tragic and terrible."


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Missouri poacher ordered to repeatedly watch 'Bambi' https://www.komu.com/news/missouri-poacher-ordered-to-repeatedly-watch-bambi-/ https://www.komu.com/news/missouri-poacher-ordered-to-repeatedly-watch-bambi-/ Continuous News Mon, 17 Dec 2018 10:18:16 AM The Associated Press Missouri poacher ordered to repeatedly watch 'Bambi'

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A Missouri poacher has been ordered to repeatedly watch the movie "Bambi" as part of his sentence for illegally killing hundreds of deer.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that David Berry Jr. was ordered to watch the Walt Disney movie at least once each month during his year-long jail sentence in what conservation agents are calling one of the largest deer poaching cases in state history.

Prosecutors say the deer were killed for their heads, with their bodies left to rot.

Berry was convicted in southwest Missouri's Lawrence County of illegally taking wildlife. Three relatives and another man also were caught in connection to the poaching case. They've paid $51,000 in fines and court costs.

Berry also was sentenced to 120 days in jail in nearby Barton County for a firearms probation violation.


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Missouri Public Service Commission holds hearing for Grain Belt Express https://www.komu.com/news/missouri-public-service-commission-holds-hearing-for-grain-belt-express/ https://www.komu.com/news/missouri-public-service-commission-holds-hearing-for-grain-belt-express/ Continuous News Mon, 17 Dec 2018 8:20:55 AM Jacob Cavaiani, KOMU 8 Reporter Missouri Public Service Commission holds hearing for Grain Belt Express

JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Public Service Commission held a hearing on the Grain Belt Express on Tuesday.

In July, the Missouri Supreme Court sent the project back to the commission so it could determine "whether Grain Belt’s proposed utility project is necessary or convenient for the public service."

A document from Grain Belt Express submitted to the Public Service Commission said the transmission line would deliver wind energy from western Kansas, "allowing load-serving entities and buyers in Missouri and elsewhere to be able to purchase this low-cost, renewable energy."

The power would be transported into Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and states farther east, according to the document.

The document said the project would bring 500 megawatts of power to Missouri. The remaining 3,500 megawatts would go to the other states

The line across 206 miles of the state would run through the central Missouri counties of Chariton, Randolph and Monroe, according to the proposed route map.

Marilyn O'Bannon, whose parents' farm is located on the proposed route, said she does not feel it is right for the Grain Belt Express "to get the right of eminent domain to take our farmland."

"This isn't going to benefit us in any way," she said. "It is going to hurt agriculture, which is the No. 1 industry in Missouri." 

O'Bannon said landowners along the proposed route have united over the last five years in opposing the project.

"So it's been five years, five years of having a dark cloud hanging over our heads," she said.

Renew Missouri, a nonprofit focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency policy, said it "generally supports" the project because it would bring more renewable energy to the state, according to its executive director.

James Owen said there is no efficient way to deal with energy, but there is "absolutely a public need."

Owen said he sees both sides of the argument, since transmission lines were placed on his family's farm a few years ago.

The document submitted to the commission said the Grain Belt Express would create more than 1,500 jobs in Missouri during the construction phase. It could create as many as 28 permanent jobs in the state, according to the document. 

In total, the project would cost about $2.35 billion. Of that figure, $525 million would be attributed to Missouri, according to the document. 


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