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Arkansas House advances bill to help restart executions

POSTED: 08:58 AM CDT Mar 27, 2015 
Arkansas execution

Arkansas House members have endorsed a bill aimed at helping restart executions in the state by allowing different drugs to be used in lethal injections and shielding the drugs' source.

Lawmakers advanced the bill to the Senate Thursday in a 73-3 vote. It would allow the Department of Correction to either use a barbiturate or a combination of three drugs for executions. The agency would also be barred from releasing who makes or supplies the drugs.

A lawyer for some death row inmates say the secrecy provision in the bill violates a 2013 agreement with the Arkansas attorney general's office and would open the state up to a lawsuit if passed.

A spokesman for the attorney general's office says the agreement shouldn't prevent the Legislature from amending the law. Clinic Frostbite informationIncome tax returns free clinics in SpringfieldRead: Springfield Police Dept.'s 2014 statistics sent to FBITHE LIST: The complete list of 2015 Oscar nominations First NightCookbooksFood poisoning symptomsSafe and Sanitary HomesConsumer Alert: Vehicle owners with defective airbags should take action now

2 brothers admit mail fraud for K2 sales

POSTED: 12:53 PM CDT Oct 16, 2014    UPDATED: 01:49 PM CDT Oct 16, 2014 
Fake pot K2 spice

Two brothers from Laclede County pleaded guilty to mail fraud and money laundering charges in federal court.  The scheme involved more than $1.2 million of synthetic marijuana, commonly referred to as K2, from a store in Lebanon.

Eric Reynolds, 32, of Lebanon pleaded guilty this week to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. His brother, Stephen Reynolds, 35, of Eldridge, pleaded guilty in August to his role in the mail fraud conspiracy and to one count of money laundering.

Stephen Reynolds is the owner of Lucky’s Novelties in Lebanon, which distributed K2.  Eric Reynolds is employed at Lucky’s Novelties.

By pleading guilty, Eric and Stephen Reynolds admitted they participated in a conspiracy to commit mail fraud from March 1, 2011, to Dec. 11, 2012.  They defrauded the Food and Drug Administration and the public by using mail deliveries in a conspiracy to distribute several products that were labeled as “incense” or “potpourri” and “not for human consumption,” when in reality these substances were synthetic marijuana intended for human consumption as a drug.

Between Sept. 15, 2011, and July 25, 2012, Eric and Stephen Reynolds deposited $1,245,761 in proceeds from the distribution of K2 into bank accounts and a safety deposit box. Based upon DEA undercover purchases, they charged approximately $1 for every 300 mg of K2. Therefore, they distributed approximately 373 kilograms of K2.

Eric and Stephen Reynolds must forfeit to the government $1,167,990, which they obtained in proceeds from the distribution of K2, real estate in Eldridge, funds in bank accounts, approximately $128,000 that was seized from Stephen Reynolds’ residence and a safe deposit box, a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee, a 2007 Ducati 1098 motorcycle, three pistols, two rifles and a shotgun.

Missouri Voter RegistrationTour of Kitchens LINK: Springfield PD Domestic Violence figuresCost-of-raising-a-child calculator (from U.S. Dept. of Agriculture)MU grandparent study

Officers cleared in fatal shooting of armed woman

POSTED: 11:19 AM CDT Aug 06, 2014    UPDATED: 12:35 PM CDT Aug 06, 2014 
Shooting scene near Sunshine Street at Missouri 360

Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson on Tuesday said he will not file charges against the four law enforcement officers involved in the shooting death of an armed woman in May.

Greene County Sergeant Robert Pounds, Deputy Justin Adamson, and Springfield Police Officers Marc Stevens and Jason Bohannon fired shots at 50-year-old Tracey Lynn Liniger on May 13 at a storage business where she worked on May 13. Officers responded to the business after two men reported Liniger had fired shots at them.

In a letter to Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott and Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams, Patterson writes, “Ms. Liniger knowingly raised her firearm and pointed it toward the officers. At that time, the officers reasonably believed that they were in imminent danger of death or serious physical injury. The officers’ use of deadly force in response to Ms. Liniger’s hostile act involving the threat of imminent death or serious physical injury was reasonable.”

Patterson added that law enforcement officers are not required to allow a suspect to actually shoot the firearm at them before returning fire.

In a statement, Arnott said, “We have analyzed the situation, as we do with all cases, and are implementing some additional training for officer safety purposes. Although the result in this incident is unfortunate, law enforcement officers are faced with these types of situations on a daily basis, making split-second decisions to ensure the safety of the citizens we serve.”

Family members told reporters immediately after the shooting that Liniger was suffering from a terminal illness at the time of the shooting and had been severely depressed.

LINK: Springfield Reunion ClubGreene County CollectorRight to Farm proposed Missouri constitutional amendmentMoDOT Project ListFord Mileage Rebates

Blunt, GOP leaders continue criticism of new EPA rules

POSTED: 08:12 AM CDT Jun 04, 2014 
Coal fired power plants

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt is keeping up the drumbeat against new EPA regulations.
During the Senate Republican Leadership Stakeout Tuesday, Blunt criticized President Barack Obama’s announcement this week regarding Environmental Protection Agency regulations on coal-fired power plants.

Blunt co-sponsored the “Coal Country Protection Act,” which U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R ) Kentucky, introduced to block President Obama’s proposed regulation on existing power plants unless appropriate agencies can prove it will not eliminate jobs, cost our economy, increase electricity prices, or reduce electricity reliability.

Trail of Tears markers unveiled in Stone County

POSTED: 03:34 PM CDT May 31, 2014    UPDATED: 04:59 PM CDT May 31, 2014 
Stone County Trail
CRANE, Mo. -

The Trail of Tears can now be better remembered along its path through Southwest Missouri. The National Park Service and the Stone County Historical Society unveiled 15 new Trail of Tears National Historic Trail signs at the Old Wire Road Conservation Area, north of Crane.

“The National Park Service is proud to be a part of this collaborative effort to install signs marking the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail through Stone County, Missouri. This effort will help all Americans to understand and appreciate this important but painful and often hidden episode of our shared history." says Superintendent Aaron Mahr of the National Park Service’s National Trails Intermountain Region.

The National Park Service works with communities and partners across the trail to increase awareness of the Trail of Tears. The National Trails Intermountain Region administers the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. The trail’s purpose is to commemorate the 1838-1839 forced removal of the people of the Cherokee Nation from their homelands in the eastern U.S. to Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma.

55-year old soldier graduates basic at Fort Leonard Wood

POSTED: 07:28 AM CDT May 30, 2014 

Fort Leonard Wood Photo


When most men his age are thinking retirement, Sgt First Class John Taffe was going back to basics - in a big way.

After 10 weeks of training at Fort Leonard Wood, Taffe, a 55-year-old Soldier, graduated from Basic Combat Training.

During physical training Taffe set high standards for his much younger battle buddies. He graduated with a physical fitness test score of 331 out of a possible 300 - the second highest in the company.

"Because of my age and rank, I felt like I had to prove myself a little more in some cases," Taffe said.

Taffe started Basic Combat Training at Fort Leonard Wood in March.

"I don't think I have ever sent a Soldier to Basic Combat Training who could outrank his drill sergeants," said Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Karr, Recruiting Center Alameda, Calif., commander.

Taffe began his military career in 1977 with the U.S. Navy. Most of his time was spent as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal technician, diver, parachutist and instructor. He served for almost 14 years before being released from active duty in 1991 with the rank of chief petty officer or E-7 equivalent.

When he returns to California, Taffe plans to join his Reserve unit and return to his job as a security specialist at the U.S. Coast Guard in Alameda.

Springfield-based bank purchased by Arkansas firm

POSTED: 11:02 AM CDT May 28, 2014    UPDATED: 11:45 AM CDT May 28, 2014 
Money 3

Pine Bluff-based Simmons First National Corporation has announced that it is buying Springfield, Missouri-based Liberty Bancshares in an all-stock transaction valued at more than $206 million.
The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter and is subject to approval by shareholders.
Through the end of March, Liberty had assets of $1.1 billion, loans of $811 million and deposits of $885 million.
Simmons First Chairman and CEO George A. Makris says Liberty's expertise in small business lending will enhance commercial offerings.
Liberty Chairman and CEO Gary Metzger called the merger a "win, win, win situation."

Arkansas advises hepatitis C testing for baby boomers

POSTED: 10:47 AM CDT May 28, 2014 

Arkansas has a warning for baby boomers about hepatitis C. An estimated 38,000 adult Arkansans may be living with the blood borne virus that harms the liver. It contributed to at least 1,538 deaths in Arkansas between 1999 and 2012. To put this number into perspective, Hep C has contributed to more deaths than HIV in Arkansas each year since 2006. To reduce the number of Arkansans who may be faced with irreversible liver damage or early death, the Arkansas Department of Health recommends all adults discuss Hep C testing with their doctor.

It is recommended that all people born between 1945 and 1965 get tested for Hep C. Injection drug users, people who received a blood transfusion before 1992, and several other at-risk groups should also be tested. Those who fall into these groups should talk with their doctor about getting tested for Hep C, even if they do not feel ill. The majority of people with Hep C often do not know they are infected. Testing can help identify infected people before irreversible liver damage occurs. Hep C is known as the “silent killer” because many people have the infection for decades and experience no symptoms. However, Hep C typically develops into a chronic infection and eventually destroys the cells of the liver. It is a major cause of cancer and cirrhosis and is the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States.

“Hep C is a very serious illness and early detection and treatment are the only way to avoid permanent liver damage and possible death,” said Dr. Gary Wheeler, Medical Director for Infectious Disease at the Arkansas Department of Health.

Before 2013, Hep C was treated with drugs that caused side effects such as flu-like symptoms and depression, and required injections of interferon for nearly one year or longer. Now, treatments for Hep C are more effective, easier to tolerate and shorter in duration. If you are currently living with Hep C, ask your doctor about new treatment options. Your doctor will be able to decide when treatment should begin.

Road closed this week around Table Rock Dam

POSTED: 07:20 AM CDT May 26, 2014    UPDATED: 07:43 AM CDT May 26, 2014 

It will be a little tighter squeeze for drivers around the Table Rock Dam this week.
One lane of Highway 165/265 between Table Rock Lake's dam and spillway will be closed from 7 a.m. till 4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Thursday to conduct a bridge inspection.

If you are traveling in this area, please expect delays, and operate cautiously around equipment and work crews.

Officials at the Army Corps of Engineers Table Rock Project Office say they regret any inconvenience this may cause, and ask for the public cooperation during the inspection. Officials ask travelers to plan alternate routes and allow extra time to reach their destinations.

UPDATE: Teens now safe, mom in custody

POSTED: 12:32 PM CDT May 25, 2014    UPDATED: 06:17 AM CDT May 26, 2014 

Vernon County Sheriff


Authorities in the Ozarks have now found both teenaged siblings reported missing Sunday safe, and arrested their mother. 14-year-old Christopher Otter and his 15-year old sister Haley are safe and 36-year old mother, Kelly Otter is in custody.  The Missouri Highway Patrol issued an Endangered Persons Advisory out of Nevada, Mo. for the teenagers Sunday morning.

The Patrol reports the two went willingly with their mother, who does not have legal custody. Police say Kelly Otter has a history of drug abuse and multiple warrants for her arrest.

Health officials give hepatitis update, vaccinations in Springfield scare

POSTED: 11:43 AM CDT May 22, 2014    UPDATED: 02:24 PM CDT May 22, 2014 

VIDEO: Health Department gives Hepatitis A briefing; begins vaccinations


The Springfield Greene County Health Department opened a special vaccination clinic on Thursday morning to treat people who may have been exposed to Hepatitis A while eating at the Red Robin restaurant in Springfield.

Dozens began lining up at about 9:30 Thursday morning at Remingtons event center on Republic Road at Kansas Expressway.  Some came to the clinic with small children, concerned they may have been exposed to the disease.

The health department says 5,000 people may be at risk of getting sick. The health department says, if you ate at the Red Robin on South Glenstone Avenue in Springfield between May 8 and May 16, you should get vaccinated against hepatitis A.

Not only were people in line concerned about the spread but volunteers say people from all over the country have been calling the health department's hotline with questions.  So far they say they've taken more than 500 calls.

The health department ordered 4,000 vaccinations for the people who may have been exposed. Remingtons will host the free immunization clinic on Thursday until 6 p.m. and Friday from 7 a.m. to noon.   It's at 1655 W. Republic Road.

Mercy will also offer vaccinations at the Smith Glynn Callaway Clinic at 3231 S. National Ave. on May 24-26 from noon to 4.

CoxHealth will also offer vaccinations at urgent care at the Turner Center at 1000 E. Primrose St. from noon to 4 on May 24-26 (Saturday - Monday).

If you have any questions about hepatitis a, you can call (417) 829-6200 for answers.

It will be staffed until  7 p.m. Thursday and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.

Fire badly damages home in northern Springfield

POSTED: 11:03 AM CDT May 21, 2014    UPDATED: 12:07 PM CDT May 21, 2014 
1200 N. Rogers Fire

A vacant house in northern Springfield suffered significant damage after a fire on Wednesday morning.  Fire crews answered the call just after 9 a.m. and found the burning house in the 1200 block of North Rogers Avenue.

Investigators say the fire started in the rear of the house, where they found an open door.  A fire marshal is investigating.

One fire fighter suffered an ankle injury while on the call.

Diabetic pharmacist sentenced to jail for fatal crash

POSTED: 08:24 AM CDT May 21, 2014 

A Missouri pharmacist who was suffering a diabetic episode during a fatal accident has been sentenced to 120 days in prison.
A Jefferson County judge on Tuesday ordered 52-year-old Thomas Griggs to serve the "shock time" for a February 2013 crash that killed Londa Crump of Crystal City.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Griggs told officers he remembered getting lost on Interstate 55 that day but doesn't remember anything about the crash in Crystal City.
Prosecutors said Griggs didn't properly manage his blood sugar levels that day.
Griggs' attorney, Ethan Corlija, said Griggs followed his doctor's advice on using insulin to manage his Type 1 diabetes.
Griggs pleaded no contest in February to second-degree involuntary manslaughter.

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Reeds Spring man killed in crash near Branson

POSTED: 05:14 AM CDT May 15, 2014    UPDATED: 06:18 AM CDT May 15, 2014 
New Generic Crash

A crash north of town killed a man from Reeds Spring.

The highway patrol says Richard Kidwell ran a stop sign on highway 248 and slammed into a rock bluff Wednesday night. 

Troopers say Kidwell, 30, wasn't wearing a seat belt.

Blunt, McCaskill demand answers on Missouri VA hospital

POSTED: 08:13 AM CDT May 14, 2014 
Blunt Visits FLW

Office of Sen. Roy Blunt


Missouri Senator Roy Blunt has called for an investigation into recent reports of delays and inefficiencies in mental health treatment for veterans at the John Cochran Veterans Affairs Hospital in St. Louis. Blunt’s remarks came after he sent a letter with fellow Missouri senator Claire McCaskill to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and the VA St. Louis Health Care System to demand answers for Missouri’s veterans.

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