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Absentee Voting Begins for April Elections
2/26/2024
Absentee voting has begun for Missouri's elections in April. Some of the measures voters could see on the April second ballot include bond issues, school board contests and some municipal elections. State officials urge residents to cast their absentee ballots in person if possible and to do so three weeks ahead of the April election.



MO Lawmakers Consider Bill Allowing Pregnant Woman to Divorce
2/26/2024
Missouri is one of only four states that make it illegal for a woman to finalize a divorce while pregnant but a Platte County state representative is trying to change that. Missouri, Arizona, Texas and Arkansas prevent a woman from obtaining a divorce if they're pregnant. The law is intended to protect children but State Representative Ashley Aune [[ AW-nee ]] says more often, it places pregnant women in abusive situations. Aune is sponsoring a bill that says pregnancy cannot prevent a judge from finalizing a divorce or a separation.



A-T-and-T Customers Nationwide to Receive Five-Dollar Credit
2/26/2024
A-T-and-T is going to give all of its customers a five-dollar credit because of the company's wireless outage that hit its network last week. The Dallas-based company announced this weekend the five-dollar credits will hit customer accounts within the next two billing cycles. The outage affected about three-quarters of the company's 290-million customers Thursday. Police in Columbia saw their response times slowed down because they had to respond in person to calls they'd normally handle over the phone. Fire officials in Jefferson City say they experienced minor but sporadic issues from the outage.



MO Senate Passes Bill Making It Harder to Change State Constitution
2/26/2024
Missouri state senators have passed a measure that would make it harder for citizens to change the state constitution. The measure passed along a party line vote in the Republican-dominated senate. The proposed bill would require a statewide majority and a majority vote in five of Missouri's eight congressional districts to pass a change in the state constitution.



Jefferson County Man Charged with Threatening to Shoot Local Officials
2/26/2024
An Imperial man is facing charges after authorities say he threatened to shoot several municipal judges in Jefferson County as well as anyone who tried to stop him. The defendant -- 37-year-old Anthony Stratmann Junior -- is also charged in a recent incident in which he allegedly tried to overtake a marked police cruiser and arrest the officer driving it. Deputies say Stratmann accused authorities of murdering his family members and covering it up.



Accidents
2/24/2024
Three injured in a two vehicle accident in Franklin County. The state patrol says it happened at 1:50 Friday afternoon on Highway 100 at Highway T. The patrol says 86-year old Mervin Wright of St. Louis failed to yield to a car driven by 43-year old Tonya Batchelar of Catawissa and they collided. Batchelar suffered minor injuries and Mervin Wright and passenger, 84-year old Alma Wright of St. Louis, suffered moderate injuries.

Motorcycle accident in Gasconade County sends a man and woman from Houstonia, Missouri to the hospital.  It happened at 2:30 Sunday afternoon on Highway 100 at Highway J West of Hermann.  41-year old Donnie Hood was Westbound on a Harley when he travelled through a curve, ran off the road and overturned down an embankment.  Donnie Hood and passenger, 40-year old Angela Hood suffered moderate injuries.  



Franklin County Sheriff's Department-Missing Persons Report
2/24/2024
On February 16th, 2024, the Franklin County Sheriff's Office was contacted in reference to two missing adults. The reporting party explained, she had not seen nor heard from her nephew identified as 28 year old Lloyd McKinney or his girlfriend identified as 29 year old Brittany Arnold for a period of two weeks. Both parties were known to be homeless but were living in the 600 block of Oakmont Drive in Lonedell, Mo before a fire destroyed a tent they were inhabiting. Family had discovered the tent burned down on the day of February 9th, 2024. Family of Brittany Arnold reported they normally had contact with her every other day but had no recent contact since the fire. Through the investigation, contact was made with a subject who advised it was rumored that the couple had been given a ride to the area of a 7-11 gas station on Jamieson Avenue in St. Louis, Mo and dropped off at some point during the second week of February. Deputies are working to substantiate this information. No one has had any recent contact with either party. Lloyd McKinney is described as a white male 28 years of age, 5'09, 200 lbs, with short brown hair, short goatee and brown eyes. He has a tattoo’s “TECH9" on his left forearm and "CHAZ" on his right forearm. Brittany Arnold is described as a white female 29 years of age, 5"05, 140 lbs, long brown hair, and green eyes. She has a tattoo on her left wrist in print "Brayden". Anyone who has had contact with these individuals is encouraged to contact with Franklin County Sheriff's Office and speak with a road patrol supervisor.



MO State Senator Announces Bid for Lieutenant Governor
2/24/2024
A state senator from Springfield has announced he's running for Missouri lieutenant governor. Republican State Senator Lincoln Hough faces a crowded primary field. He says he's running because he wants to get things done at the state capitol. He cites his accomplishments in office, including his sponsorship of an income tax cut two years ago and investments in the state's infrastructure.



Bill to Crack Down on Fentanyl Traffickers Advances in MO Legislature
2/24/2024
A bill that would crack down on fentanyl traffickers in the state has advanced in the Missouri legislature. The bill would increase penalties on anyone convicted of selling fentanyl and would lower the amount of fentanyl considered a federal offense. The Missouri House Committee on Crime Prevention and Public Safety heard a presentation on the bill yesterday.



Jobless Claims in MO Fall
2/24/2024
State labor officials say jobless claims in Missouri fell last week. New jobless claims across the state fell to 19-hundred-61, a drop from 28-hundred-55 the week before. Nationwide, the number of unemployment claims -- typically viewed as a reflection of the overall labor market -- fell to 201-thousand last week -- a drop of 12-thousand from the previous week.



MHP Reports Increase in Deadly Crashes at Lake of the Ozarks Increase in '24
2/24/2024
Missouri Highway Patrol officials say the number of deadly crashes at the Lake of the Ozarks has increased this year. The patrol says in one area of the lake, eight people have been killed in traffic accidents this year -- up 30 percent over last year. Most of those victims were not wearing seat belts. Missouri law requires anyone riding in the front seat must wear a seatbelt but in the back seat, only children under 16 years of age are required to buckle up.



AT&T Outage Affects MO Customers
2/24/2024
Yesterday's service outage by A-T-and-T affected Missouri customers in various ways. Police in Columbia saw their response times slowed down because they had to respond in person to calls they'd normally handle over the phone. Fire officials in Jefferson City say they experienced minor issues from the service outage but they were sporadic. Officials with Boone Health as well as MU Health Care say they were aware of the outage but that it did not affect care at the hospitals.



Man Admits To Murder, Is Killed By Police
2/24/2024
A man facing a murder charge for killing his girlfriend in his semi in Foristell has died following a three-hour standoff with police in West Alton. St. Charles County Police say Clyde Young called authorities yesterday morning and admitted to shooting Amy Delacruz during an argument. Police found Delacruz dead in a Freightliner semi on North Service Road. Young then called St. Charles authorities and agreed to meet them at a Phillips 66 gas station. After three hours of negotiations Young went to his truck to retrieve a gun and fired on police. An officer returned fire and killed Young with one shot.



Waino To Perform At Iconic Opry
2/24/2024
Former Cardinal pitcher Adam Wainwright is warming up his vocal cords for his country music debut at the iconic Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. Wainwright's first single of his post-baseball career "Time To Fly" is set for release today. He'll be shooting a music video in Florida next week. Wainwright will take the stage at the Opry on March 9th.



Accident
2/23/2024
A St. Louis man was injured in a one vehicle accident in Franklin County. The state patrol says it happened after one o'clock this morning on Interstate 44 in Pacific. The patrol says 36-year old Zachary Noll was fleeing an attempted law enforcement stop when he lost contol on the Pacific exit ramp and struck the concrete barrier. Noll was taken to Mercy in Washington by Meramec Ambulance with moderate injuries.



Genealogy Program Celebrates Black History
2/23/2024
In celebration of Black History Month, the Missouri History Museum is hosting a genealogy workshop. The program is presented by the St. Louis African American History and Genealogy Society. It is this Saturday, February 24th from 1 to 3 p.m. at the History Museum. People can learn how to research their ancestry and create a family tree.



MO Lawmakers Consider Bill to Incentivize Five Day School Weeks
2/23/2024
Missouri lawmakers are considering a bill that would encourage more school districts to return to five day weeks. Right now, some 170 of the state's 500 districts operate on four-day schedules. State Senator Doug Beck's bill would require districts with more than 30-thousand residents to hold school for five days, unless voters choose a four-day week. Beck's bill would provide increased funding for teachers' salaries for school districts that hold five-day weeks.



MO Lawmaker Proposes Overturning Permitless Carry Law
2/23/2024
In the aftermath of the deadly shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs'' Super Bowl celebration, a Missouri lawmaker is proposing doing away with the state's permitless carry law. Kansas City State Representative Ashley Aune says she wants the state to require anyone who wants to carry a gun in public to have a permit. Aune says she's a gun owner but she thinks permitless carry is dangerous. She admits her idea faces an uphill fight in the Republican-controlled legislature.



Deaths of Mother and Four Children in Fatal Ferguson House Fire Ruled Murder-Suicide
2/23/2024
St. Louis County Police say the fire that killed a mother and her four children in Ferguson early Monday morning was a murder-suicide. Police say the mother -- 38-year-old Bernadine Pruessner -- set fire to mattress in her home in the 500 block of North Clay Street. She had left a note that said she planned to take the lives of herself and her children. The children were her nine-year-old twin daughters, a five-year-old son and a nearly three-year-old girl. The family's dogs also died.



Accident
2/22/2024
A Robertsville woman is one of four injured in a two vehicle accident in Washington County. The state highway patrol says it happened at nine o'clock Wednesday morning on Highway 47 at Highway A. 69-year old Lucinda Cowsert of Robertsville failed to yield to oncoming traffic and collided with a car driven by 43-year old Denver King of Potosi. Cowsert suffered serious injuries while King and two passengers, a man and woman from Potosi, suffered moderate injuries. They were all taken to Mercy South.



St. Clair Man Charged with Domestic Assault
2/22/2024
On 2-18-2024, deputies responded to the area of the 100 block of East Independence Dr. in Union in reference to a domestic which had occurred inside a vehicle. The victim stated a verbal argument turned physical when the suspect grabbed her face and made her head strike the passengers window which resulted in her nose bleeding. A witness had observed the vehicle stop and the victim trying to exit the vehicle, but the suspect pulled her back in and proceeded to strike her several times in the head and neck. Deputies placed the suspect under arrest for domestic assault and transported him to the Franklin County Detention Facility. Charges were applied for, and a warrant was issued charging George S. Wetteroff Jr, a 31 year old male from St. Clair with Domestic Assault 3rd Degree. His bond was set at $50,000 cash only. All subjects are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.



Gerald Man Sentenced to Jail for Child Abuse and Domestic Assault
2/22/2024
On 1/10/2020 our Office was contacted by Springfield MO Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) about a child abuse investigation of a toddler that occurred in the Gerald area of Franklin County. A detective was assigned and responded to Springfield Mo. to meet with the victim and family. The investigation found that the mother and child had fled Gerald to her friend's home in Springfield after dropping her boyfriend off at work to escape a domestic violence situation, in which her 2-year-old was injured. The Detective Bureau conducted their investigation and submitted their report to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for review. An arrest warrant was issued on 3-17-2020 for Mr. Deric Anthony Rugen for those charges. On 10/02/2023 a bench trial was conducted with Honorable Judge Hellmann in which Mr. Rugen was found guilty and a sentencing hearing was scheduled. On Wednesday, 02/14/2024 Deric Rugen was sentenced to 15 years for ABUSE / NEGLECT OF A CHILD (Class B Felony) and 7 years for DOMESTIC ASSAULT 2ND (Class D Felony) in the Department of Corrections. I would like to thank the detectives assigned to the case and the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for their time and dedication to helping keep children safe.



MoDOT to close Route E for pipe replacement on Monday, February 26
2/22/2024
The Missouri Department of Transportation will close Route E during the day on Monday, February 26 for a cross culvert pipe replacement. Crews will close Route E between Horstman Road and Big Branch Road from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes during the closure. All work is weather permitting. For more on roadway closures due to construction, additional work zone information and real- time roadway weather conditions go to http://traveler.modot.org/map. For real-time traffic, visit www.gatewayguide.com.



MDC reminds anglers that catch-and-keep trout season starts March 1 at trout parks
2/22/2024

March 1 marks the annual opening of catch-and-keep trout fishing in Missouri at the state’s four trout parks: Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, Montauk State Park near Licking, Roaring River State Park near Cassville, and Maramec Spring Park near St. James. The catch-and-keep season at the trout parks runs through Oct. 31. The daily limit is four trout, and the possession limit is eight for all four parks.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) operates trout hatcheries at all four parks and will stock about 20,000 trout among the four parks for opening day. MDC will continue to stock the trout parks daily during the catch-and-keep season, totaling more than 800,000 trout annually at the four trout parks and about 1.5 million trout annually statewide.

Trout anglers need a daily trout tag to fish in Missouri's trout parks during the catch-and-keep season. The cost of a daily trout tag is $5 for adults and $3 for those 15 years of age and younger. Daily trout tags can only be purchased at each of the four trout parks. MDC encourages trout anglers to have the correct amount of cash for daily tags if possible.

Missouri residents 16 through 64 and nonresidents 16 and older also need a fishing permit in addition to the daily trout tag. A daily fishing permit is $8. MDC encourages trout anglers to buy their fishing permits ahead of time from numerous vendors around the state, online at mdc.mo.gov/buypermits, or through MDC’s free mobile apps, MO Hunting and MO Fishing, available for download through Google Play for Android devices or the App Store for Apple devices.

Thousands of anglers from Missouri and beyond flock to Missouri’s four trout parks each year. While many leave with some trout, they all leave more than $100 million in spending along the way, which supports thousands of jobs and helps local economies.  Get more information on Missouri trout parks at mdc.mo.gov/fishing/species/trout/trout-parks

Missouri has a wealth of trout waters outside of the trout parks, including red, white, and blue-ribbon areas that support naturally reproducing trout. For more information, visit MDC online at mdc.mo.gov/fishing/species/trout/trout-areas.

MDC also offers the Missouri Blue Ribbon Trout Slam to honor anglers who catch a trout in at least five of the nine blue-ribbon trout streams. Participants can have their successes listed on the MDC website. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/troutslam.

To prevent the spread of the invasive alga called didymo or "rock snot," the use of shoes, boots or waders with porous soles of felt, matted or woven fibrous material is prohibited at all trout parks, trout streams, Lake Taneycomo, and buffer areas. Get more information at mdc.mo.gov/fishing/protect-missouri-fishing/dont-spread-didymo.




Missouri House Passes HB 1803 to Boost Funding for MOBUCK$ Program
2/21/2024

The Missouri House of Representatives this week has given approval to legislation advocating for increased funding for the invaluable MOBUCK$ program, which assists local lenders in reducing interest rates for eligible borrowers in Missouri.

 

This crucial legislation aims to fortify local lenders and spur economic growth by increasing the aggregate investment amount in linked deposits and introducing new provisions to enhance the MOBUCK$ program. The MOBUCK$ program, overseen by the Treasurer's Office, has emerged as a cornerstone in aiding local lenders to reduce interest rates for eligible buyers in Missouri. The proposed bill advocates for a significant $400 million augmentation to the MOBUCK$ program, responding to the escalating demand for the program and the imperative to counteract inflation.

 

Operating on an annual cycle from October 1 through September 30, the MOBUCK$ program had to temporarily halt new applications in May due to overwhelming demand nearing the statutory cap of $800 million. Collaborating with Missouri State Treasurer Vivek Malek, the bill sponsor, Rep. Terry Thompson, envisions that this legislation will address the challenge by expanding the program's capacity.

 

The bill's passage comes at a critical juncture, coinciding with Treasurer Malek's announcement of the resumption of MOBUCK$ applications on January 2, 2024, with an available funding of approximately $125 million. However, the anticipated demand for applications is expected to surpass this available funding without legislative intervention, as witnessed in 2023.

 

“Under President Biden, loan interest rates are at their highest level in 22 years,” House Speaker Dean Plocher, R-Des Peres, said. "The passage of HB 1803 demonstrates our commitment to fortifying the MOBUCK$ program, which offers a vital financial lifeline to Missouri's farmers, small businesses, and citizens navigating economic challenges in the face of inflation.” 

 

MOBUCK$ operates as a linked deposit program, allowing institutions to obtain funds at reduced interest rates. The Treasurer's Office provides funds to a lender at a discounted market rate, enabling the lender to pass on the savings to the borrower. With this mechanism, lenders participating in MOBUCK$ can decrease interest rates by 2-3 percent, providing significant benefits to qualified borrowers.

 

"This is a prime example of Missourians’ money working for Missourians,” Rep. Terry Thompson, R-Lexington, said. "MOBUCK$ is a proven program that helps farmers and small businesses save on their bottom lines by providing a break on loan interest. As costs continue rising, it’s more important than ever to provide relief to our citizens and ensure that every cent of their hard-earned dollars are given the best possible return on investment in today’s economy."

 

With the passage of HB 1803, Missouri takes a significant step towards securing economic stability and reinforcing support for its citizens. The commitment to enhancing the MOBUCK$ program reflects a proactive approach to fostering financial resilience in the midst of economic uncertainties. For more information on the MOBUCKS Program, Click HERE.

 

Representative Terry Thompson, a Republican, represents Lafayette and parts of Lafayette and Ray Counties (District 53) in the Missouri House of Representatives. He was elected to his first two-year term in November 2020. For more information, please contact Rep. Thompson at 573-751-1462 or by email at Terry.Thompson@House.Mo.Gov.




10-Digit Local Dialing To Begin February 24 For 573 Area Code Customers New 235 Area Code Overlay Begins In March
2/21/2024
The Missouri Public Service Commission, the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) and the telecommunications industry remind customers to continue preparing for 10-digit local dialing and the introduction of the new 235 area code in the current 573 area code in Missouri. The 235 area code will be added as an overlay to the 573 region. An overlay is the addition of another area code (235) to the same geographic region served by an existing area code (573). An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code, but does require customers to dial the area code to complete local calls. The 573 area code serves communities such as, but not limited to, Jefferson City, Columbia, Rolla, Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff, Sikeston, Mexico, Hannibal, Camdenton, Waynesville, Farmington and Caruthersville. “The 573 area code is not going away,” said Missouri Public Service Commission Chair Kayla Hahn. “If you have a telephone number with the 573 area code, you will not lose that number and you will not have to change your telephone number. 

An overlay will alleviate the exhaustion of available telephone numbers in the 573 area code, and it is a more efficient and less disruptive way to accomplish that.” A six-month permissive dialing period started on August 26, 2023, to give consumers adequate time to adjust to the dialing changes. During that time, local calls can be made with either 7 or 10 digits, and all calls that are local will continue to be local even though you dial 10 digits. Beginning February 24, 2024, all local calls made within the 573 area code must be placed using 10 digits (area code + the 7-digit telephone number). On and after February 24, 2024, any calls placed using just 7 digits will not be completed. Starting on March 24, 2024, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers using the new 235 area code. Key facts for consumers to know about the upcoming 573/235 area code overlay are: ? Your current telephone number, including current area code, will not change. ? What is a local call now will remain a local call. ? 

If you seek new phone service on and after March 24, 2024, you may be assigned a phone number with the 235 area code. ? You will need to dial the area code + telephone number for all local calls, including calls within the same area code. (More) Contact: Kevin Kelly Phone: (573) 751-9300 Governor Office Building, Suite 600 FY-24-96 PSC NEWS Missouri Public Service Commission ? 

You will continue to dial 1 + area code + telephone number for all long distance calls. ? The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the overlay. ? You can still dial just three digits to reach 911 and 988. You can also dial three digits to reach 211, 311, 511, 611, 711 and 811 where available. Remember to identify your telephone number as a 10-digit number and include the area code when giving the number to friends, family, business associates and customers. Customers should ensure all services, automatic dialing equipment, applications, software, or other types of equipment are reprogrammed to dial 10 digits if they are programmed to dial just 7 digits and recognize the new 235 area code as a valid area code. 

Examples include life-safety systems, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, gates, ankle monitors, speed dialers, mobile phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, and similar functions. Be sure to check your business stationery, advertising materials, personal checks, and your personal or pet ID tags to ensure the area code is included in your telephone number. Important safety and security equipment, such as medical alert devices, and alarm and security systems must be programmed to use 10-digit dialing. 

Many systems operate on 10-digit dialing by default, but some older equipment may still use 7 digits. Please contact your medical alert or security provider if you are not sure whether your equipment needs to be reprogrammed to accommodate the upcoming change to 10-digit local dialing. Any needed reprogramming of alarm and home security equipment must be completed by February 24, 2024. Remember all local calls must be programmed using 10 digits and add ‘1’ for all long distance calls. For additional information, please visit the Missouri Public Service Commission at https://psc.mo.gov/Telecommunications/Telephone_NumbersLocal_Dialing or contact your local telephone service provider. 



Two Elderly People Identified As Victims In St. Charles Apartment Fire
2/21/2024
St. Charles Fire investigators say they're looking for the cause of a quick-spreading fire that took the life of an elderly man and woman. It happened early Tuesday at a 20-unit apartment building in the 19-hundred block of Sherman Square Drive. The rest of the residents were evacuated safely. St. Charles Police have identified the victims as 78-year-old Mary Martin and Richard Martin, who was 79. About half the units in the building weren't affected because they were protected by a firewall.



Filing Begins Tuesday In Missouri To Run In Primary Elections
2/21/2024
This coming Tuesday will be the first day that candidates can register to run in Missouri's primary elections. Those are set for August 6th. Primaries are state and local-level elections that take place prior to a general election, which is set for November 5th. Missouri utilizes an open primary system, in which residents don't have to be members of a party to vote in that party's primary. One statewide measure has been placed on the ballot so far. The question would amend the state constitution to allow childcare establishments to be exempt from property taxes.



House Hearing Focuses On Natural Hair Issues
2/21/2024
A state House hearing this week is focusing on the Missouri CROWN Act. It's an acronym for "Missouri Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair." The bill makes hair discrimination illegal in schools that receive state funding or provide state scholarships. Natural hair styles are historically associated with race and refer to hair texture, braids, locks, afros, curls, and twists. St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones has expressed support for the measure, House Bill 19-hundred and its companion bills. She signed St. Louis' own CROWN Act into law three years ago.



Road Closure
2/21/2024
East Casco Road (Union area) will be closed on Friday, February 23, 2024, from approximately 8 AM to 3 PM, for cross culvert replacement. The road will be closed between 1447 East Casco Road and 1523 East Casco Road. The road will be closed to all traffic, including emergency vehicles. 

Buchheit Road (New Haven area) will be closed on Thursday, February 22, 2024 from approximately 8 AM to 3 PM, for cross culvert replacement. The road will be closed 2/10 of a mile from Hwy. 100.  The will be closed to all traffic, including emergency vehicles.

Should you have questions, please contact the Franklin County Highway Department at 636-583-6361.






State House Resolution Would Join St. Louis County And City
2/21/2024
A state representative from St. Louis' south side wants to change the governmental structure of St. Louis City and County. Democrat Donna Baringer's resolution, HCR54, asks residents of both areas to petition leaders to bring the areas back together to become one. A constitutional board would be needed to gather input from residents and any potential recommendation to change the cities' structure would require a majority vote of both city and county residents. Baringer says the separation of the two jurisdictions in 1876 is now inefficient and discourages cooperation between local leaders.



College’s CWD Sponsors First IT Apprenticeship
2/20/2024

The first Information Technology-focused apprenticeship was recently completed through a partnership between East Central College’s Center for Workforce Development (CWD) and WEG Transformers USA. Erick Voss, a network and computer systems administrator at WEG, successfully finished a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Registered Apprenticeship program tailored to IT positions, marking the first of its kind at ECC.

Voss acquired proficiency in Microsoft Azure tools and online Azure programs, emphasizing the significance of cloud computing. Additionally, he received training in cybersecurity tools provided by Cisco. Voss highlighted the opportunity to select training that would be most beneficial for his role at WEG USA.

“I learned commands and tools for troubleshooting and networking, and I gained insights into detailed cybersecurity threats and the best ways to combat them,” he stated.

WEG’s human resources department recommended the apprenticeship to Voss and collaborated directly with the CWD. “I highly recommend this to my coworkers in IT because it can be tailored to any skill set,” he added.

Melissa Richards, ECC’s CWD apprenticeship and business training program coordinator, mentioned that CWD partnered with SAFAL Partners, a DOL intermediary offering training resources and apprenticeship expertise for sponsors like ECC. She highlighted that ECC utilized DOL funding to create this customized apprenticeship, with registrations and validations provided by the DOL.

“Industry partners like SAFAL enable ECC to expand into new areas of training and study, as we are primarily involved in manufacturing apprenticeships,” Richards explained. “We are always seeking to broaden our apprenticeship offerings and fields of study for all industries in our service region.

“Programs like this enable us to customize and tailor training to a company, a department, or a specific employee so they receive the training they need in an area of study relevant to their work or career advancement.”

To learn more about registered apprenticeships through ECC’s CWD, visit www.eastcentral.edu/cwd/registered-apprenticeships/ or call 636-649-5800.




Search Resumes For Missing Man
2/20/2024
Authorities in Washington, Missouri continue their search for a 28-year-old man who went missing after reportedly entering the Missouri River at the Washington Riverfront. Family members say the man has some mental health issues and that he entered the water yesterday morning voluntarily. The search has included the Missouri Water Patrol and fire department personnel from Washington, Metro West, Boles and the Monarch Fire Protection District. Some of the man's belongings were found in the water near the Missouri River Bridge.



Dome At America's Center To Get New Turf
2/20/2024
More than a million-dollars has been approved to install new turf at the Dome at America's Center. Leaders with the Dome's operator, Explore St. Louis, say the work will have to wait until mid-August, however. That's because the facility is booked with events until then. Those include the St. Louis Auto Show, Monster Jam and the Archery Trade Associations show. The timeframe means that the UFL St. Louis Battlehawks will play on the 13-year-old surface when their season starts this spring. The team's home opener is set for Saturday, April 6th.



Woman Charged With Stealing From Employer
2/20/2024
A St. Louis County woman has been charged with stealing over 25-thousand-dollars from her employer. Jessica Branham is accused of using a company credit card over a six-month period to charge more than 65-thousand-dollars in personal purchases to the Chesterfield cement company where she worked. Branham claims she mistakenly used the card to buy the merchandise. She is due in court next month.



Proposal Would Ban Car Repair Businesses From Cars With Expired Tags
2/20/2024
A measure is being considered in Missouri that would make it illegal for mechanics to work on vehicles with expired tags. House Bill 1507 would also put the burden on the repair business to check that the car or truck is properly registered. Businesses that fail to do that could get a 100-dollar penalty. The proposal would not apply if the car is being fixed to comply with safety inspection requirements. The bill is sponsored by Florissant [[floor-eh-SANT]] Democrat Gretchen Bangert.



Schnucks Honoring Its Teammates on Fourth Annual Supermarket Employee Day
2/20/2024
On Thursday, Feb. 22, Schnuck Markets, Inc. is joining supermarkets and food manufacturers nationwide in celebrating the annual Supermarket Employee Day. FMI—The Food Industry Association has proclaimed this holiday to recognize employees at every level for the work they do feeding families and enriching lives. With more than 40,000 individual stores that sell food and grocery items in the U.S. alone, many supermarkets serve as the backbones of their communities. Millions of supermarket employees come to work daily to keep shelves stocked and to provide communities with essential services that help them survive and thrive. “The nearly 12,000 Schnucks teammates at our stores, facilities and offices throughout the Midwest make our mission to nourish people’s lives possible.” said Schnucks Chairman and CEO Todd Schnuck. “Because of their commitment to our customers, Schnucks has had the privilege of serving our communities for 85 years.” To thank its essential workers, teammates that have a Schnucks Rewards account will receive 5,000 points ($10) as well as an exclusive, teammate-only digital coupon. In addition, Schnucks teammates will be celebrating with various activities throughout the week at each location. Customers are urged to stop by their local Schnucks store to thank the teammates who serve them each and every day and are also encouraged to honor their favorite teammates in social media posts by using the hashtags #SupermarketEmployeeDay and #SupermarketHeroes. “Through their reliable service in diverse circumstances, supermarket employees have earned our gratitude and respect, which is why we designate February 22 to celebrate them,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI—The Food Industry Association. “Our gratitude goes out to the employees in our industry who personify compassion and courage when communities most need encouragement and assistance.”



State GOP Lawmakers Post False Information About KC Shooting
2/20/2024
A state senator is one of at least three Republicans who reportedly had to retract social media claims posted about the Kansas City shooting. Denny Hoskins, who is running for secretary of state, later deleted his post in which he claimed that the mass shooting at the Chiefs victory parade was tied to illegal immigrants. Similar posts reportedly were made by fellow state Senators Nick Schroer and Rick Brattin as well on as the Missouri Freedom Caucus' X account. Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden admonished his colleagues, who he says used a photo of a Kansas man who was detained for being drunk - who was neither an immigrant nor the shooter. Information about the two suspects hasn't been released because they're minors. Rowden wants the lawmakers to make public apologies.



Bayer Might Trim St. Louis Jobs As Part Of "New Operating Model"
2/20/2024
Leaders at Bayer have reportedly asked their St. Louis employees to take volunteer severance packages. The drug and pesticide manufacturer says the company is getting ready for global layoffs in light of what it calls "a new operating model." The move comes after years of financial turmoil and lawsuits concerning some of its chemical products. The Bayer Corporation has spent more than ten-billion-dollars to settle lawsuits it inherited from Monsanto. The suits claim the popular weed killer Roundup causes cancer. A single verdict in Philadelphia this year has topped two-billion-dollars and court officials say thousands of cases are still to come. It's not clear how many of Bayer's St. Louis jobs could be affected.



St. Francois County Wanted In Child Sex Abuse Case
2/19/2024
Jefferson County officials are looking for a St. Francois County man in connection with a child sex abuse investigation. A probable cause statement for an arrest warrant says the crimes happened over three-years when the victim was between the ages of nine and 12. She told officials a relative, Henry T. Carey, allegedly sexually assaulted her many times over that time period. She claims Carey told her he would kill her dog if she ever told anyone about the abuse, and also claims he molested other young relatives. Carey is now 37 and has been charged with several counts against the victim, who is now a teenager. The sheriff's office said Carey has prior arrests and convictions for several felonies, including burglary, assault, animal abuse and child endangerment.



Accidents
2/19/2024
A Villa Ridge teen was taken to the hospital with minor injuries following a motorcycle accident over the weekend. It happened at 5:15 Saturday evening on Highway 100 at Highway AT. 19-year old Chase Obendorfer was Eastbound when he lost control and overturned. He was taken to Mercy in Washington. 

Owensville woman injured in a three vehicle accident in Franklin County. The state patrol says it happened at 7:20 Sunday evening on Highway 50 at Highway 185. The patrol says 29-year old Bailea Walker of Owensville was making a turn when she was struck by a car driven by 18-year old Karleigh Coffman of Gerald. The impact knocked Walker into a car driven by a Gerald teen. Walker was taken to Mercy in Washington with moderate injuries.

Juvenile teenager from Villa Ridge taken to the hospital following a two vehicle accident in Franklin County.  The patrol says it happened at 10:50 Saturday night on Highway 100 at Old 100.  The patrol says 45-year old John Schottenhaml of St. Clair failed to maintain control of his pick-up truck as he entered the intersection and collided with a car driven by the juvenile.  The teen was taken to Mercy in Washington with minor injuries.

Warrenton teenager injured in a two vehicle accident in Warren County.  The patrol says it happened at nine o'clock Saturday morning on Highway W at Pear Tree Lane.  The patrol says 18-year old Shelby Sommer was Northbound when she failed to maintain her lane, crossed the center line and collided with a Southbound pick-up.  Sommer was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.  



Walmart Employee Accused Of Shooting Man Inside Store
2/19/2024
A man who was in a north St. Louis Walmart is recovering after allegedly being shot by an employee. St. Louis County Police say it happened when Walmart employee, Larry Miller, got into a fight with another man in the middle of the store. They say Miller, who is 23, shot allegedly the person three times in the lower part of his body. The victim, who is 24, is expected to be okay. Officers took Miller into custody and took his handgun. He's being held on a 250-thousand-dollar bond at the St. Louis County Jail.



House Hearing To Focus On Natural Hair Issues
2/19/2024
A scheduled state House hearing Monday will focus on the Missouri CROWN Act. It's an acronym for "Missouri Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair." The bill prohibits discrimination on the basis of wearing protective hairstyles in schools that receive state funding or state student financial aid. It covers styles that are historically associated with race and refer to hair texture and protective hairstyles. The term "protective hairstyles" includes braids, locks, afros, curls, and twists. Supporters say the bill would protection against racism. The issues is being taken up by the Special Committee on Urban issues.



Rollo Republican Working To Protect Pharmacy Services
2/19/2024
State Representative Tara Peters says she's working hard to get her House Bill 2267 passed this year. The measure from the Rollo Republican would create provisions relating to insurance coverage of pharmacy services for rural communities. It would prohibit health carriers and pharmacy benefits managers from imposing any penalty for clinician-administered drugs, regardless of the source of such drugs. It also would prohibit discrimination against providers who are allowed to purchase outpatient drugs at a discount from manufacturers as part of the 340-B drug pricing program, which benefits many uninsured and low-income patients. A companion bill has also been introduced in the state Senate.



Washington Fire Department Searching for a Man in the Missouri River
2/18/2024
On Sunday February 18, 2024, at 10:29 am Washington Communications received a call from someone identifying themselves as a family member stating a family member who has some mental health concerns voluntarily entered the water at the Washington Riverfront. 

The family member identified the individual. 

The Washington Police Department and the Washington Fire Department responded to begin a search for the individual. 

The Washington Police Department located some personal belongings of the individual on a wing dike just West of the Missouri River Bridge, property also belonging to the individual was found in the water East of the Missouri River Bridge by one of the Fire Departments searching the river. 

The area East of the Missouri River Bridge continues to be searched by Washington Fire Department, Metro West Fire Protection District, Boles Fire Protection District, Monarch Fire Protection District and Missouri Water Patrol. 

The area is being searched by boat and drone at this time. The individual is a 28-year-old male formerly of the Franklin County area with a current address in Kansas City, Missouri. 

No further information will be released at this time.



Nineteen Suspected Gang Members Arrested In "Knot my Valentine" Operation
2/17/2024
Nineteen people have been arrested for suspected gang activity following 25 indictments returned by a Scott County jury. Sergeant Devin Wierschem with the Sikeston Department of Public say they rounded up the suspects Thursday morning with the synchronized help of several other law enforcement agencies. They called the response "Operation Knot my Valentine" because the suspects are known members of the "Knotboys" street gang. The suspects are being held in the Scott County Jail.



Mizzou Ag Research Center To Use AI Technology
2/17/2024
The creators of Mizzou's new Digital Agriculture Research Center say one of their main goals will be to connect farmers to emerging digital technologies, that will include using artificial intelligence to analyze crop production data. Methods to accomplish this could also include drones, autonomous machinery and sensors. The center's director says they've partnered with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service to help.



Lake of the Ozarks' Toll Bridge Will Soon Be Free
2/17/2024
The community toll bridge connecting the east and west sides of the Lake of the Ozarks will soon be free of charge. Officials with Community Bridge TDD have announced the bridge will no longer require tolls starting April 30th. They originally thought it would be toll-free by 2026, but now estimate that all debts will be paid off two years earlier than planned. Control of the span will also soon transfer to the State of Missouri. The Community Bridge has operated as a toll bridge since it was built 25 years ago.



Accidents
2/17/2024
A Washington man was injured in a three vehicle accident in Franklin County. The patrol says it happened at 7:15 Friday night on Highway 47 near Clearview Road. 26-year old Russ Bohle was Northbound when he struck the car in front of him touching off a chain reaction. Bohle was taken to Mercy in Washington with moderate injuries.

A Pacific man was injured in a box truck accident in Warren County.  The patrol says it happened at 6:20 Friday morning on Highway 47 South of Charrette Creek.  53-year old Jay Morris of Pacific Southbound when he ran off the road and struck a tree.  Morris suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

A St. Charles woman was injured in a one car accident in Franklin County.  The patrol says 82-year old Barbara Hawkins was Southbound on Highway E Friday morning when she slid off the road and struck a tree.  Hawkins was taken to Mercy in Washington with serious injuries.  The accident happened at 9-15 Friday morning on E South of Highway VV.

Traffic accident on Interstate 44 at Highway 50 sends a Savannah, Georgia woman to the hospital.  The patrol says 25-year old Lia Alexander was behind the wheel when she ran off the highway and struck a rock bluff.  Alexander was taken to Mercy in Washington with minor injuries following the crash after eleven-o'clock Friday morning.



Ameren's New Gas-Fired Plant To Be Built At Site Of Old Coal Plant
2/17/2024
Ameren is aiming to build a natural gas-fired power plant at the site of its former coal facility in south St. Louis County. It would be where the Meramec and Mississippi Rivers meet. The company shared its plan yesterday saying the plant would be used to distribute extra power during peak demand times. The proposal needs approval from state regulators. Opponents say there are better alternatives for the company to take.



Accident
2/16/2024
A St. Clair teenager was injured in a two car accident in Jefferson County.

The patrol says it happened at two-o'clock Thursday afternoon on Highway 30 East of Highway Y.  

The patrol says 71-year old Royal Adams of Robertsville was making a turn and was struck by a car driven by 31-year old Ronald Guenther of Blackwell.  

A passenger in Adams' car, 19-year old Mila Geisler of St. Clair, was taken to Mercy South by Big River Ambulance with minor injuries.  



House Passes Tax Credit Package to Boost Childcare in Missouri
2/16/2024

The Missouri House has swiftly moved to pass House Bill 1488, sponsored by State Representative Brenda Shields. The bill, which received overwhelming support with a vote of 113-39, introduces a comprehensive tax credit package aimed at promoting development of additional childcare resources to serve Missouri families.

 

Missouri is currently facing a shortage of childcare resources, with only one available childcare slot for every three children under the age of five. Recognizing the seriousness of the issue, Representative Shields emphasized that the rising cost of childcare has become a major obstacle for many families and is a significant factor influencing parents' decisions to stay home rather than rejoin the workforce.

 

"Missouri has lost more than $1.3 billion annually due to childcare shortages, including $286 million in potential tax revenue. This plan serves as an innovative solution, fostering collaboration between businesses, parents, and government to ensure quality, affordable childcare is accessible statewide," Representative Shields, R-St. Joseph, stated. “The availability of childcare is an important for the future of state, and passing this legislation brings us one step closer to cultivating a reliable workforce, anchored by a system of childcare that is both dependable and economically feasible.”

 

"Addressing the childcare shortages is pivotal for Missouri's prosperity. With the passage of HB 1488, we're making a strategic investment in our state's families,” House Speaker Dean Plocher, R-St. Louis, said. “These targeted tax credits not only alleviate immediate challenges but also promote the development of additional childcare resources either associated through Missourians’ employment or through an independent provider. By championing affordable childcare, we empower families and bolster our workforce, ensuring a brighter and more resilient Missouri."

 

Some of the key provisions of HB 1488 are as follows:

 

Child Care Contribution Tax Credit Act (Effective: Jan 1, 2025, to Dec 31, 2030):

  • Taxpayers can claim a 75% tax credit against state liability for childcare contributions.
  • Credit range: $100 to $200,000 per year.
  • Eligible donations must directly support childcare for children aged 12 or younger.
  • Non-refundable tax credits capped at $20 million annually, with a 15% increase for contributions in "childcare deserts."

Employer Provided Child Care Assistance Tax Credit Act (Effective: Jan 1, 2025, to Dec 31, 2030):

  • Taxpayers with two or more employees can claim a 30% tax credit for childcare expenditures.
  • Maximum credit: $200,000 per taxpayer per year.
  • Applicable to corporations, certain charitable organizations, and individuals subject to state income tax.
  • Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations would be eligible for a refund of its tax credit
  • Non-refundable tax credits capped at $20 million annually, with a 15% increase for contributions in "childcare deserts."

Child Care Providers Tax Credit Act (Effective: Jan 1, 2025, to Dec 31, 2030):

  • Childcare providers with three or more employees can claim a tax credit for withholding tax and up to 30% of capital expenditures so long as the employees work a minimum of three months for an average of 10 hours each
  • No credit for capital expenditures under $1,000.
  • Maximum tax credit: $200,000 per provider per year.
  • Non-refundable tax credits with excess credits carried back or forward up to five tax years.
  • Capped at $20 million annually, with a 15% increase for contributions in "childcare deserts."

 

The tax credits, estimated to cost up to $70 million, would sunset after six years, allowing lawmakers to assess its impact and make necessary adjustments.

 

Missouri anticipates that this tax credit package will not only address the immediate childcare crisis but also serve as a crucial economic development tool for the state, providing a reliable workforce with access to quality, affordable childcare options.

 

Representative Brenda Kay Shields, a Republican, represents part of Buchanan County (District 11) in the Missouri House of Representatives. She was elected to her first two-year term in November 2018. For more information, please contact Rep. Shields’ office at 573-751- 3643 or by email at Brenda.Shields@House.Mo.Gov.



MoDOT Prepares for Predicted Winter Weather
2/16/2024

MoDOT is continuing to watch the predicted winter weather forecast.  Staff will be available to treat the roads, and if motorist must travel during and immediately after the storm, please slow down and anticipate changing road conditions.

Fighting winter storms to get Missouri roads clear is one of the most critical functions we serve as a Department of Transportation.

When winter storms impact the St. Louis area, MoDOT will communicate advance traveler information. Motorists should know before they go and monitor major road conditions on MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map at http://traveler.modot.org/map/.  Please give our winter operations team room to work and slow down when the weather is inclement.




Man Who Killed De Smet Coach Sentenced To 60 Years
2/16/2024
A 31-year-old St. Louis man is heading to federal prison for 60 years after being sentenced for three carjackings including one that killed a football coach. Kurt Wallace was convicted of three separate carjackings that happened in the fall of 2017. Two of the drivers were shot and injured and Jaz Granderson, a coach at De Smet High School was killed. Wallace's co-defendant Jherrica Dixon admitted to arranging a series of meetings with men so they could be carjacked by Wallace. She was sentenced to 19 years.



Former Potosi Officer Sentenced For Solicitation Of Minors
2/16/2024
A former Potosi Police officer has been sentenced to 25 years for soliciting sexual acts and naked pictures from three minor boys in exchange for cash, vaping cartridges and other items. Matthew Skaggs used his position as an officer to connect with his victims. An investigation in 2022 was initiated when one of the victims confided in his mother. Skaggs pled guilty to sex trafficking, solicitation of child pornography, coercion and enticement of a minor.



3 Locations Added To Underground Railroad Network
2/16/2024
The National Park Service has added three locations in St. Louis to the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Tower Grove House at the Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the new locations cited. The St. Louis Post Dispatch says the house is included on the list because four enslaved people escaped from there. The two other locations new to the Underground Railroad are Archer Alexander's grave at St. Peter's Cemetery in Normandy and Greenwood Cemetery in Hillsdale.



Churches Offer Drive-Through Ash Services
2/15/2024
Several area churches offered help for motorists who are too pressed for time to attend morning services for Ash Wednesday. The churches are offering so-called ash-and-dash services to allow motorists to be blessed from their cars. Local churches that offered these services today included Cornerstone United Methodist Church, Manchester United Methodist, St. Thomas/Holy Spirit Lutheran Church and The Gathering Church.



Broadcaster Joe Buck Featured in MLB Documentary
2/15/2024
A documentary about Joe Buck is set to debut tonight on the MLB TV network. The look at Bucks's baseball broadcasting career will be featured as part of "The Sounds of Baseball" series that airs at 7:00 p.m. Buck, who is now the voice of "Monday Night Football," is said to have called more play-by-play World Series games on network television than anyone else. In the documentary, the lifelong St. Louisan talks at length about his hometown as well as the career of his father Jack Buck, who also was a legendary announcer for the St. Louis Cardinals.



Radio Station Says DJ Died From Injuries In KC Shooting
2/15/2024
The FBI wants anyone who directly witnessed the mass shooting at the Chiefs parade to reach out to them. That goes for victims, too. Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves confirms that one person was killed and more than 20 others, including children, were injured Wednesday afternoon. It happened as the Super Bowl victory parade for the Kansas City Chiefs was finishing up. Officials say more than a million people were gathered for the rally. Chief Graves says three people have been arrested, but no further information about them has been released. Kansas City Radio station KKFI announced Wednesday night, that their disc jockey Lisa Lopez Galvan died from injuries she received in the shooting. It's not immediately clear if Lopez-Galvan was the one confirmed death or an additional one as officials haven't released the victims' names as of Wednesday night.



State Can't Deny Medicaid Funds To Planned Parenthood
2/15/2024
The Missouri Supreme Court has again said that the state cannot deny Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood. The decision issued Wednesday is the second time in four years that the court has ruled state lawmakers cannot defund the organization through the state budget. In 2020, Republican lawmakers also tried to insert language in a budget bill that excluded abortion providers or affiliates from receiving Medicaid reimbursements. Leaders with Planned Parenthood say they haven't gotten any state funds for the nearly two years that the legal fight has continued.



Missouri Supreme Court Upholds State Senate District Map Drawn
2/15/2024
A state Senate district map drawn by a judicial commission does meet state and federal requirements and will not be changed. That's the ruling from the Missouri Supreme Court issued Wednesday. The 5-to-2 decision upheld a trial court opinion that rejected the challenge that split Buchanan County on the western side of the state and Hazelwood in St. Louis County. The decision means the districts' voting boundaries will remain in place for this year's elections and ones in years to come. The map that was challenged was re-drawn by a panel of appeals court judges who were appointed after a citizens' commission could not agree on a plan.



Police: 1 Dead, 22 Hurt After Shooting At Kansas City Chiefs Parade
2/15/2024
One person is dead and 22 people are injured after a shooting at the Chiefs Super Bowl parade Wednesday. Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves says three suspects have been detained. Graves said they are reviewing video of several parade-goers who tackled a suspect to determine if one of the detainees was not a good samaritan. The mayor of Kansas City said the White House called to offer any help.

Officials say more than a million people were gathered for the rally. Chief Graves says three people have been arrested, but no further information about them has been released. Kansas City Radio station KKFI announced Wednesday night, that their disc jockey Lisa Lopez Galvan died from injuries she received in the shooting. 
 
The Chiefs have released a statement regarding the shooting at their championship parade.  The organization said it's truly saddened by the senseless act of violence that occurred outside of Union Station.  Their hearts go out to the victims, their families, and all of Kansas City.  The team also said it's in close communication with the Mayor's office and the Kansas City Police Department.  The Chiefs did confirm that all players, coaches, staff and their families are safe and accounted for.  The statement ends with a thanks to local law enforcement officers and first responders who were on-scene to assist.

President Biden is releasing a statement following the shooting at the Chiefs parade Wednesday.  Biden said that the Super Bowl is the most unifying event in America, and that the joy being turned to tragedy "cuts deep in the American soul."  He added that the events should "move us, shock us, and shame us into acting."  One person is dead and 22 people are injured after the shooting.  Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City said it was treating 12 victims, most of them children.



Contractor Selected for the First Improve I-70 Project Section from Columbia to Kingdom City to start in early summer
2/15/2024

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission (MHTC) has selected Millstone Weber as the apparent best-value proposer and Design-Build contractor of the first project in MoDOT’s Improve I-70 Program. Negotiations to finalize the contract are currently in progress. Improve I-70: Columbia to Kingdom City will build a third lane in each direction and improve the 20-mile stretch of Interstate 70 between U.S. 63 in Columbia and U.S. 54 in Kingdom City beginning in summer 2024. This $405 million project is the first of several projects which will widen and improve the I-70 corridor.

Missouri’s FY2024 budget from the General Assembly signed into law by Governor Parson provides $2.8 billion in General Revenue for the costs to build a third lane of I-70 across the state. The program will plan, design, construct, reconstruct, rehabilitate, and add a third lane in each direction on nearly 200 miles of I-70, from Blue Springs to Wentzville.

“Today’s contractor selection marks the beginning of this generational opportunity to improve I-70, which serves as a critical economic east-west corridor across Missouri,” said MHTC Chairman Terry Ecker. “This is a major challenge to deliver, but our MoDOT team working alongside the private sector partners in engineering and construction will deliver.”

The selected team, including contractor Millstone Weber and designer Jacobs, competed against one other design-build team. The winning proposal showed not only an understanding of the engineering and design endeavors set out before the teams, but it also highlighted an understanding of the local, statewide, and national importance of an improved I-70. The winning proposal includes new concrete pavement on all three lanes of I-70 in each direction for the 20-mile section between Columbia and Kingdom City, wider inside and outside shoulders, and improved interchange designs at the U.S. 63 and U.S. 54 interchanges at I-70. Additionally, throughout construction two lanes of travel will be available for both directions of I-70 during peak hours.

·         The U.S. 63 and I-70 interchange proposal includes:

o   Two new direct connection ramps (northbound U.S. 63 to westbound I-70 and eastbound I-70 to southbound U.S. 63)

o   Four new roundabouts

·         The U.S. 54 and I-70 interchange proposal includes two new bridges and a new and improved interchange.

“We could not be more humbled and excited. This is a huge deal for everyone who drives this stretch of interstate and uses these interchanges. We will do everything in our power – and then some – to reward the confidence being shown in us to deliver this critical project,” said Bob Leingang, vice president, and chief engineer of Millstone Weber.

Design-Build is a project delivery method that combines both the design and construction phases into one contract. The selected contract team completes the design and construction in parallel instead of in succession, which saves time and resources. The goals for the Columbia to Kingdom City project include:

·         Deliver the project by December 31, 2027, within the program budget of $405 million.

·         Provide a third lane of travel for eastbound and westbound Interstate 70 from Columbia to Kingdom City.

·         Improve I-70/US 63 and I-70/US 54 Interchanges providing for better traffic flow and movement of freight.

·         Improve the interstate while modernizing the existing pavement and bridges.

·         Minimize construction impacts through communication and construction staging while maintaining safety and mobility.

·         Provide expanded employment opportunities to a diverse workforce.

MoDOT plans to host additional public information meetings in central Missouri in spring 2024 ahead of construction where project plans and traffic control details for project #1 will be shared. Construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2024 with an anticipated completion in late 2027. For more information on the Improve I-70 Program, visit www.modot.org/improvei70.

For more information, call MoDOT at 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) or visit www.modot.org. To receive the latest statewide news and text alerts, signup for e-updates.



Learn about wildlife diseases at Feb. 20 MDC virtual program
2/15/2024

Avian flu and rabies are examples of diseases that frequently make news, yet many people don’t know the specifics about where these diseases are found and how they circulate throughout wildlife populations.

People can learn more about these and other common wildlife diseases at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) free virtual program “Wildlife: Nature’s Common Diseases.” This online program will be from 3-4 p.m. on Feb. 20 and is being put on by the staff of MDC’s Springfield Conservation Nature Center. This program is open to ages 12 and up and will include photos of dead and diseased animals. People can register for this event at:

https://mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/197642

At this program, MDC Naturalist Sam Grove will discuss common wildlife diseases found in Missouri such as avian flu, rabies, and distemper. She will discuss how they spread, what animals are affected, and what MDC scientists are doing to study and track these diseases.

Though this program is free, registration is required. To participate, use the link above. Registrants must provide an e-mail, so a program link can be sent to them. This program will include a chat-based question-and-answer period where participants can interact with the presenters.

MDC’s Springfield Conservation Nature Center is located in southeast Springfield at 4601 S. Nature Center Way .People can stay informed about upcoming programs at the nature center and other MDC facilities by signing up for text alerts and e-mail bulletins. People who have questions about upcoming events or how to sign up for text alerts from the nature center can call 417-888-4237.

Staff at MDC facilities across the state are holding virtual and in-person programs. A listing of these programs can be found at mdc.mo.gov/events.




Changes for Missouri Initiative Petition Delayed Due to Chiefs' Parade
2/14/2024
State senators have delayed further action on a vote regarding Missouri initiative petitions until next week. They adjourned late Tuesday without taking any action, ahead of the Chiefs parade scheduled for today in Kansas City. Legislative leaders said previously they wouldn't be doing any business Wednesday so that lawmakers could attend the parade if they wanted. In the past few years, Republicans have tried to make initiative petitions more difficult to obtain even though voters continue to approve citizen-led ballot questions.



Anheuser-Busch InBev Gets Ringing Endorsement From Donald Trump
2/14/2024
Anheuser-Busch InBev stock prices are climbing, reportedly in part to a recent endorsement by former President Donald Trump. Market watchers say Trump's praise of the company on social media last Tuesday, helped push A-B stock prices up about three percent that day. In his post, Trump touted the company's support of farmers, veterans and the Folds of Honor organization. The post came hours after lobbyist Jeff Miller, who has done work for the brewing company, announced that he was hosting a fundraiser for the former president in March. Critics say Trump's endorsement is ironic, given that he's long abstained from alcohol of any kind.



St. Louis A "Best City For Flowers"
2/14/2024
It is Valentine's Day and in keeping with one of the biggest floral holidays of the year St. Louis has been named one of the top ten cities for flowers. Lawn Love compared 500 cities based on eleven metrics including the quality of the flowers, access to flower shops, delivery services and customer ratings. St. Louis is ranked the ninth best city for flowers. New York was rated the top city for flowers followed by Miami. Chicago was number six.



Rare, Two-Headed Snake Visits Kirkwood Nature Center
2/14/2024
A rare, two-headed snake is on display for about a month at the Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center in Kirkwood. Officials there say the western rat snake named Tiger-Lily usually lives at the Shepherd of the Hills Conservation Center in Branson. But, she's on "tour" while that facility is being renovated. Naturalists say Tiger-Lily is the result of pair of conjoined identical twin snakes that never completely separated. She was given to the state conservation agency about seven years ago because she likely would not have survived in the wild. You can see Tiger-Lily for a few more weeks at the indoor public building at Powder Valley Tuesdays through Saturdays.



Accident
2/14/2024
Catawissa man injured in a two vehicle accident in Franklin County. 

The state patrol says it happened at 10:30 Tuesday morning on Highway F South of Jefferson Street. 

The patrol says a dump truck driven by 54-year old Jonathon Truitt of Middleton slowed to make a turn and was struck in the rear by a Jeep Wrangler driven by 71-year old James Iden of Catawissa. 

Iden was taken to Mercy in St. Louis by Meramec Ambulance with minor injuries.



Proposal Would Use Part Of Settlement Money For County Roads, Streets
2/14/2024
The St. Louis County Council is deliberating the best way to spend its share of the NFL Rams settlement money. The county received just under 170-million-dollars from the 790-million-dollar settlement over the Rams' 2015 departure for Los Angeles. Republican Councilman Mark Harder has introduced a proposal to use 20-million for fixing streets and major roads, saying some of the projects could receive matching federal funds. County Executive Sam Page has not yet said whether he supports the idea. There are no time restrictions on when the money has to be used; it continues to draw interest in the meantime.

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