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Updated: 4 years 46 weeks ago

Rural libraries struggle for public funding

Sun, 04/10/2016 - 5:54pm

The Barry-Lawrence Regional Library proposed a tax increase that would have helped them keep up with new technology and the changing demands of their patrons.. Voters rejected the measure on Tuesday.

The small library system serves 2 counties. Patrons include an increasing number of people applying for jobs or doing homework online on the public computers and free Wi-Fi.

"They either don't have access to the internet or they can't afford the internet, so the library is their hub for everything," says library administrative assistant Joyce Frazier.

The library has been pinching pennies since their last tax funding increase 26 years ago.

"We've talked about it for several years, we had hoped because the economy was kinda on an upswing that this would be a good year to ask for that," says Frazier.

Frazier says the library already cut hours, staff, books, and other materials.

The proposed 7 cent property tax increase was meant to restore services, expand internet access, and provide a new library for Monett.

"It was definitely something that I wanted to support, and I'm sad to hear that it didn't pass," says Monett library visitor Jessi McSpadden.

McSpadden is worried literacy could take a hit in her town.

"Whenever people hear taxes, they think 'it's gonna cost me a lot of money' or 'I don't use that and why should I have to pay for it', and honestly there's a lot of things in the library I don't use but I still feel I should pay for it because it helps the people I live around," says McSpadden.

"We have always tried to be very responsible with our money, but everybody knows if your income stays flat and your expenses continue to rise, sooner or later, cuts have to be made," says Frazier.

Frazier says it's unlikely they'll put this issue on the ballot again anytime soon, because it costs them several thousand dollars to put the issue on each county's ballot.

Moss, Carpenter hit 3-run HRs as Cardinals top Braves 12-7

Sun, 04/10/2016 - 5:51pm

Brandon Moss and Matt Carpenter hit three-run homers and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Braves 12-7 on Sunday to keep Atlanta as the only NL team without a win. The Braves (0-5) also lost right-hander Dan Winkler, who suffered a fractured right elbow while throwing a pitch in the seventh. He left the mound in obvious pain after throwing a pitch behind Randal Grichuk. The Cardinals completed the three-game sweep despite a poor start from Adam Wainwright, who allowed five runs in five innings. After rallying for a 7-6 lead in the eighth, the Cardinals put the game away with five runs in the ninth to score 12 runs for the second straight day. Aledmys Diaz hit a two-run double off Jose Ramirez in the ninth before Carpenter's three-run homer.

Gore scores on wild pitch in 10th, Royals beat winless Twins

Sun, 04/10/2016 - 5:39pm

Speedy pinch runner Terrance Gore streaked home on a wild pitch with two outs in the 10th inning, scoring with a headfirst slide to lift the Kansas City Royals over the winless Minnesota Twins 4-3 Sunday. The World Series champion Royals rallied for two runs in the ninth to tie it, then dropped the Twins to 0-6. This is Minnesota's worst start since the Washington Senators moved to the Twin Cities in 1961. Christian Colon drew a leadoff walk in the 10th from Trevor May (0-1). Gore then made his first appearance of the season, running for Colon, and dashed to third on May's throwing error on a pickoff attempt. May retired the next two batters and issued a walk. With a 1-2 count on Lorenzo Cain, May threw a breaking ball that bounced off catcher John Ryan Murphy's chest protector and skittered to the right side of the plate. Gore beat Murphy's throw to May covering the plate. May slammed down his hand in frustration after Gore scored.

Springfield received smaller state sales tax check in April

Sun, 04/10/2016 - 2:13pm

Springfield will cash a smaller check from the state of Missouri this month.

The city’s April 2016 1% general sales tax check from the Missouri Department of Revenue is down 3%, or $112,213, compared to the amount budgeted. The check reflects sales processed by the state in March from transactions made primarily in February.

The sales tax check was $3,604,464, compared to the budgeted amount of $3,716,677.

When comparing to the same month last year, April receipts were up $233,281, or 7% over April of 2015. On a year-to-date basis, revenues are up 5% over budget, or $1,815,413.

Sales tax revenues makes up the city’s main source of revenue to fund vital services, such as police and fire operations. In Springfield, approximately 60% of revenue in the General Fund comes from sales tax and use taxes.

Supreme Court gives juvenile killers get chance for parole

Sun, 04/10/2016 - 12:57pm

A Missouri Supreme Court ruling last month opens the door to possible parole for a Jasper County man and 80 other inmates who were convicted as juveniles of first-degree murder.

The court on March 15 ordered that all juvenile offenders sentenced to life without parole be granted a hearing after serving 25 years. The was in response to a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said allowing only one sentencing option for juveniles convicted of first-degree murder was unconstitutional. Earlier this year, the high court said its earlier ruling was retroactive. The Joplin Globe says that means Joseph Dayringer, who was 16 in 1987 when he was sentenced to life without parole for fatally stabbing his Joplin neighbor, could get his first chance at parole -- possibly this year.

Navy, Coast Guard test their nerves at Fort Leonard Wood

Sun, 04/10/2016 - 11:46am

You don’t find many Navy sailors or Coast Guardsmen on duty in land-locked Missouri.

However, the base offers unique training opportunities for the Navy and Coast Guard at the U.S Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School, E.F. Bullene CBRN Defense Training Facility. Fort Leonard Wood is the best place for them, said Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Wesley Lairson, learning site director, Navy Chemical, Biological and Radiological Defense School.

"This is the only place where the joint services can do practical, hands-on, chemical-agent training," he said. "This is a vital part of our training for our Sailors."

Navy and Coast Guard enlisted damage controlmen, Navy officers serving in the damage control assistant position and Coast Guard CBRN-Explosive officers, are the students of the 10-day Shipboard CBR-D Operations and Training Specialist Course.

Navy Chief Petty Officer Rudy Morales, course manager, said the Sailors who come through this school are not training for a new job, but training to increase job skills. Damage controlmen on a ship are primarily responsible for damage control, ship stability, firefighting, fire prevention, and CBR defense.

"Part of their job would be to assist and train the crew in proper donning and issue of equipment," Morales said.

"When they get to their ships, they will be the subject-matter experts, even given the short amount of training they have completed here," Lairson added. The course, which averages 150 students per year, is expected to add an additional five training days, to include more hands-on training with equipment.

Aside from the location, another unique aspect for the Navy and Coast Guard is the use of calcium hypochlorite, or HTH, as a decontamination agent. No other service uses HTH, Lairson said.

Using the CDTF for live-agent training is the final aspect of the course and gives students the opportunity to put all of their training together, and to build confidence in their suits, Morales said.

For Coast Guard Reserve Lt. Douglas Dresnek, force protection and CBRN-E officer at San Francisco’s Coast Guard Port Security Unit 312, the opportunity to "go live" with VX and sarin nerve agents was a little bit scary.

"You definitely get amped up a little bit," he said. "Every time you suit up and go real with a live agent or chemical exposure, it's one of those things that as much as you train and drill or exercise, there is a 'pucker factor' when you know there is live agent sitting on the table in front of you."

Petty Officer 1st Class Nicholas Jones, damage controlman on the USS Preble out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, agreed.

"It's nerve-wracking because that's a live nerve agent," he said. "You read about all the things that can happen from this, and they drop it less than three feet away from you."

Getting the opportunity to go into the CDTF and train with live nerve agents is an experience Lairson believes is the best way for these Sailors and Coast Guardsmen to be able to train on their ships and have first-hand experience that the techniques and equipment work.

"In my opinion, there is no replacement for that hands-on training. It is very valuable," he said. Besides the experience of working with a live agent, Dresnek said he would take with him the confidence in the equipment, and try to pass that onto his crew.

"My role is to glean what I can and take it back to develop a more robust training plan," he said. "My challenge now is to take that back with me, lead the training and make sure that my petty officers have that same confidence."  

Arkansas lawmakers return to Capitol, with focus on budget

Sun, 04/10/2016 - 10:08am

Days after wrapping up a session focused on the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion, Arkansas lawmakers are meeting again to tackle the state's budget and a renewed fight over the program that is covering thousands of low-income residents. The House and Senate are set to convene Wednesday for an abbreviated fiscal session where they'll work on the state's budget for the coming year. Part of the session will include a fight with opponents of the hybrid expansion who have vowed to block its funding. Here's a look at the fiscal session and the issues facing lawmakers in the coming weeks: ___ WHAT'S A FISCAL SESSION? Before a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2008 requiring the Legislature to meet annually, the state's budget was crafted every two years by lawmakers. Now, the Legislature meets in odd-numbered years for a general session where they can address a wide range of issues and in even-numbered years to focus primarily on fiscal issues. The Legislature can take up non-budget bills during the fiscal session, but doing so takes two-thirds support of the House and Senate. THE BUDGET PROCESS During the session, lawmakers will take up dozens of appropriations bills for Arkansas agencies that authorize state spending. Most of these appropriations bills require a three-fourths vote in the House and Senate. In the final days of the session, legislative leaders and Gov. Asa Hutchinson will negotiate the proposed Revenue Stabilization Act that will go before the House and Senate. That measure will fund these agencies based on the state's expected revenue. In other words, agencies that are considered a higher priority will be funded first based on the revenue. HUTCHINSON'S BUDGET Hutchinson has proposed a $5.3 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, with a $142.7 million increase in state spending. The bulk of the spending increases Hutchinson proposed would go toward the Department of Human Services, with the governor proposing nearly $112 million in new funding. The state's Medicaid program would receive $88 million of that, and $20.4 million would go toward the state's child welfare programs. Hutchinson also proposed increasing funding for the state's schools by $23.7 million. The proposal doesn't restore the cuts that lawmakers approved in the current year's budget, which had reduced spending by 1 percent for most agencies other than Medicaid, public schools and prisons. ANOTHER MEDICAID FIGHT? This session will be marked by another fight over the future of the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion. Lawmakers last week approved Hutchinson's plan to rework the expansion by wide margins, but shy of the three-fourths support the Medicaid budget bill funding the program will need. The program uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for more than 250,000 low-income residents. Hutchinson has urged fellow Republicans who want to defund the program to avoid a Washington-style shutdown fight and has noted the program won the support of most Republicans and all Democrats in the Legislature. The program's opponents are pushing for a separate vote on the program, rather than it being part of the Medicaid budget. Hutchinson has warned that ending the program would mean a budget deficit of at least $100 million. COMPETING BUDGET IDEAS Hutchinson's budget proposal isn't the only one lawmakers are likely to debate during the session. One Republican lawmaker has proposed cutting funding to the Arkansas Educational Television Network, War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock and the state's colleges and universities. Democrats say they're hoping to find ways to restore some of the cuts legislators made last year to public libraries, after-school programs, aging programs and community health centers, among other services. HOW LONG WILL THIS LAST? Fiscal sessions, under the state constitution, are shorter than the general sessions that occur in odd-numbered years. Legislators have 30 working days to wrap up, though with a three-fourths vote they can stay up to 45 days. So the longest the session can run is until May 27.

MO could be one of the first to adopt policies allowing for daily fantasy sports

Sun, 04/10/2016 - 8:11am

Lawmakers are advancing legislation to make Missouri one of the first states to adopt policies allowing for daily fantasy sports.

A bill passed by the Missouri House last week would require daily fantasy sports sites to pay a $5,000 annual fee, ban workers with insider knowledge from playing, and limit the games to those 18 and older.

The measure would exempt the operations from gambling laws, which opponents say is unfair.

At issue is whether daily fantasy sports are based on skill or luck.

Truck crashes into house in north Springfield

Sun, 04/10/2016 - 8:02am

A small truck crashed into a house on N. Kansas Expressway in Springfield Saturday afternoon. 

A Springfield Police sergeant said the driver was northbound on Kansas.  A witness said the driver was changing lanes, and came too close to another vehicle. The driver appeared to overcorrect, left the road, drove through two yards and hit a house in the 2100 block of N. Kansas Expressway. 

No one was home at the time. 

The driver was taken to a local hospital for treatment of injures that did not appear to be life threatening. 

VIDEO: Family Outdoor Adventures: Missouri Caves

Sun, 04/10/2016 - 7:48am

Continuing our spring series on fun family outdoor adventures, KY3 Photojournalist Thomas Leonard ventures underneath the Cave State in search for family fun and some interesting Ozarks history.

PHOTOS: Family Outdoor Adventures: Missouri Caves

Sun, 04/10/2016 - 7:26am

Continuing our spring series on fun family outdoor adventures, KY3 Photojournalist Thomas Leonard ventures underneath the Cave State in search for family fun and some interesting Ozarks history.

Martinez leads Cardinals to 12-2 win over struggling Braves

Sat, 04/09/2016 - 10:37pm

ATLANTA (AP) — Pitcher Carlos Martinez drove in two runs, matching the total he allowed in six innings, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat Julio Teheran and the winless Atlanta Braves 12-2 on Saturday night.

At 0-4, Atlanta is the only NL team without a victory this season.

Martinez (1-0) allowed two runs on four hits and three walks.

The Cardinals have scored a combined 19 runs while winning the first two games of the weekend series. They were held to only seven runs in three losses at Pittsburgh to open the season.

Kolten Wong had three hits, scored two runs and also reached on one of Atlanta's two errors. Aledmys Diaz had two hits, including an RBI off John Gant in the eighth.

Teheran (0-1) gave up four earned runs on six hits and four walks in four innings. He also threw two wild pitches.

Kennedy impressive in Royals debut, beats Twins

Sat, 04/09/2016 - 10:36pm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Ian Kennedy pitched impressively into the seventh inning in his Kansas City debut and the Royals hit their first three home runs of the season to beat the winless Minnesota Twins 7-0 Saturday night.

The Twins fell to 0-5 for the first time since the Washington Senators moved to Minnesota in 1961.

Kennedy (1-0), signed by the Royals to a five-year $70 million contract in January, limited the Twins to five hits — including four singles, before being pulled after 109 pitches with two out in the seventh.

Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain hit successive home runs in the fourth for the first hits off Twins left-hander Tommy Milone, while Kendrys Morales homered in the sixth off Casey Fien.

Milone (0-1) allowed four runs and four hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Cats have room to roam at shelter in Springfield

Sat, 04/09/2016 - 10:13pm

An animal rescue group is hoping a new way of presenting cats will be easier on the animal and make them more adoptable. C.A.R.E. has opened several rooms where four to five cats will live while they wait to be opted. C.A.R.E. staff members say the rooms give the cats more room to roam and more time to socialize with other cats. They say that's a vast improvement over keeping the cats in cages.

C.A.R.E. held a grand opening of its refurbished cat living quarters at its building at 1328 W. Sunshine. C.A.R.E. says families interested in adopting cats have an easier time interacting with the animals when they are in the larger room. The C.A.R.E. shelter is open everyday from 10 am to 6 pm.

"When cats come into the shelter and they sit for long periods of time in a cage and they only get played with a few times a day, they will kind of get depressed, they gain weight, and they don't get the exercise or the stimulation they need," said Anna Yendez, C.A.R.E. staff member.  

Teenager missing Saturday evening in Fair Grove found safe

Sat, 04/09/2016 - 9:19pm

Search teams have found a missing teenager from Fair Grove.

Dylan Rodgers, 15, disappeared from an area of Highway KK and Farm Road 181 in northern Greene County.  Deputies tell us the boy is autistic.  

Officials say the boy was found 400 yards away from his house near a creek. Rodgers has made attempts to leave his home in the past. 

The boy was cold but in otherwise good condition. He was examined by medical personnel and was taken home.


Video Forecast: scattered storms tonight

Sat, 04/09/2016 - 8:03pm

Showers and a few storms will affect the region overnight but much of Sunday looks dry.

Silver Dollar City hosting its final World Fest

Sat, 04/09/2016 - 7:17pm

Get a handful of kettle corn and take a seat at any of the theaters at Silver Dollar City and get a taste of international culture during their last year of World Fest.

It's one of Silver Dollar City's most popular events. For 22 years, the Branson theme park has hosted a variety of entertainers from around the globe for World Fest each April.

But this is the final visit for many of the groups.

"We look forward to it each year," says Barbara Shaw, director for Sticks on Steel, a steel drum performance group from Trinidad and Tobago which has been a fan favorite for many years at World Fest.

"You know it continues to amaze me how people respond to the music," says Shaw.

"Over the past 22 years many of us have created a lot of memories and a lot of relationships with some of these performers the steel drummers from Trinidad first appeared here 21 years ago," says President of Silver Dollar City Attractions, Brad Thomas.

"For this last festival, I just want to make sure that folks who come to the show really leave fulfilled, they leave happy," says Shaw.

There are also new shows for this year's festival, including a dance troupe from Poland.

Colorful costumes and traditional music from Hawaii to Ecuador to the Czech Republic mean even the performers themselves get to enjoy learning about other cultures.

"I've just felt that wow, if we could just send this love and this fantastic vibration that takes place here in World Fest, if we can send that out to the world you know what a fantastic world this would be," says Shaw.

Next year World Fest will be replaced on the calendar with a new event currently being developed by the park. Thomas did not offer an explanation for why World Fest is being replaced, but said the "exciting new event" will be announced this fall.

New Drury president meets and greets

Sat, 04/09/2016 - 6:42pm

Final "World Fest" begins at Silver Dollar City

Sat, 04/09/2016 - 3:19pm

It’s the end of the world as we know it at Silver Dollar City.

The Branson attraction is marking the beginning of the grand finale run of its World-Fest. Performers from around the world joined hands with guests in a “Worldwide Circle of Friendship” to open the event Saturday.

WATCH: Silver Dollar City's World Fest opens with music

For more than two decades, World-Fest has brought thousands of performers from around the globe to the Branson theme park. This final festival runs through May 1, featuring international culture, music and dance, presenting new entertainment and bringing back all-time guest-favorites. Silver Dollar City plans to replace the event next spring with a new event park officials promise will be even bigger.

World Fest includes the new show Slàsk, a 35-member music and dance troupe from Poland; Cirque Zuma Zuma, a 28-member heart-pounding-intense African circus showcase; and Island Fire with world-champion Fire Knife Dancers from Tahiti & Samoa. Also featured are steel drummers from Trinidad and Tobago, and groups from Ireland, Ecuador and the Czech Republic.  

Lottery crowns 51st millionaire in Arkansas

Sat, 04/09/2016 - 2:21pm

You might call it Area 51 for Jo Jones of Lonoke, Ark.

Jones became the 51st million-dollar Arkansas Scholarship Lottery winner since the Lottery launched in 2009. Jones won playing a $20 $1,000,000 Golden Ticket instant ticket.

Jones said she plays scratch-offs “just a little.” While on a lunch break, eyeing the $20 ticket, Jones decided to, “go for it.” She didn’t scratch it right away, but when she did, she thought the win “must be something else.”

Jones said she got out of her vehicle, started pacing, and called her daughter — who wisely told her to make sure to sign the back of her ticket and not to lose it. Then, Jones “went back to work. That’s all I know to do,” she said. “I’ve been working all my life!”

Jones said the Golden Ticket may help her golden years, with plans to spend some of the prize on a new truck and to “try to retire.”

This is the second of four million-dollar prizes to be claimed on the $20 $1,000,000 Golden Ticket instant ticket. The convenience store that sold the ticket will receive a $10,000 commission.