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Local News

31 People In ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

You've heard of group hugs. This afternoon in Joplin there was a group ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. 31 employees and staff of the Independent Living Center took the Ice Bucket Challenge. Stephanie Brady, the Center's assistant executive director, tells News Talk KZRG why they did the challenge as a group.

"We have a lot of our staff who have been challenged individually and we have had several of our consumers who have been affected by ALS, as well as past board members and we thought it would be a great idea to do this as a joint effort.  What we really like about this challenge is it raises a lot of awareness.  A lot of people don't really know what this disease is.  But it also raises a lot of funds for other people in the community."

The Joplin Independent Living Center is also challenging the other 21 Independent Living Centers in Missouri to take the Ice Bucket Challenge. You can see photos from today's challenge in the photo gallery at News Talk

A New Joplin Festival

About 50 people came to a public meeting in Joplin last night to discuss a community festival. Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Patrick Tuttle tells News Talk KZRG about the ideas that were suggested.

"It ranged from one big signature event down to maybe a weekend full of several smaller activities going on. Some folks that represent existing events in town were there and expressed interest in adding to or partnering to what they're doing.  Some things were normal, I mean the typical things you had at Boomtown like carnivals and entertainment and food.  All the way through some Route 66 ideas to enhancing the Wildcat Glades Water Fest."

Tuttle says the next step will be to take the ideas they collected and hold a brainstorming session on how to proceed.

Long On Obama's "No Strategy" Statement

President Obama's statement Thursday that the US doesn't have a strategy for dealing with the terrorist group ISIS in Syria caught many in Congress by surprise. Including Missouri Congressman Billy Long.

"We don't have a strategy?  Are you serious?  I mean, what you say, 'What's your plan? What's your strategy for ISIS?'  'We have a strategy for ISIS and I can tell you they are not going to like it.' I don't care if you're working on your strategy, if you don't have a strategy or what, but that's what you say.  You don't step up there and say 'We don't have a plan. We don't have a strategy.'"

Long also told the KZRG Morning Newswatch Friday he doesn't think Obama listens to the advice he gets from his foreign policy advisors.  "I don't think we know what his advisors tell him, because I truly honest to goodness do not think he listens to anyone. He won't talk to people.  I talked to some Democrats that endorsed him early on  before Hillary Clinton and they're sorry that they did. They say 'Billy, this guy doesn't even talk to us.'"

KS August Tax Revenue Below Projections

A new report says Kansas collected $4 million less in taxes than expected in August.

The Department of Revenue said Friday the state took in $421 million in taxes, about 1 percent below the official forecast of $425 million.

The department called revenues flat but said there are signs of economic growth in the figures. Corporate income tax collections exceeded expectations for the month.

The state saw a slight surplus in tax collections in July. Since the current fiscal year began July 1, the state has collected about $829 million in revenues, against projections of nearly $832 million. The difference is about $2.4 million, or 0.3 percent.

The numbers are likely to renew a political debate over massive income tax cuts enacted at Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's urging.


Stegall Appointed To KS Supreme Court

Governor Sam Brownback says Caleb Stegall is ``one of the most qualified people'' to ever be named to the Kansas Supreme Court.

Brownback named his former aide to the high court on Friday and called him ``brilliant.''

He put the 42-year-old on the Court of Appeals last year after he spent three years as the governor's chief counsel.

Stegall was one of 13 people who applied for the seat Justice Nancy Moritz gave up to take a seat on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The appointment does not require state Senate confirmation.

An online magazine Stegall edited in 2005 encouraged ``forcible resistance'' to state and federal court orders to save the life of a brain-damaged Florida woman, though he later said it only advocated civil disobedience.

In a 2008 online newspaper chat, he called the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 ruling legalizing abortion ``weak.''


Empire Requesting Rate Increase

Empire District Electric has asked the Missouri Public Service Commission to raise its rates for MIssouri electric customers. Empire spokesperson Julie Maus tells News Talk KZRG they're asking to raise revenues by about $24.3 million.

"So what that would mean for a typical residential customer using 1000 killowatt hours per month is an increase of about $9.87 per month."

Maus went on to explain that Empire is asking for the increase to pay for a project at its Asbury power plant. "And that project involves the construction of a new air quality control system.  And those updates are necessary to meet new air quality standards mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency."

Maus says it will take about eleven months for the Public Service Commission to review Empire's request.

Webb City House Fire

A Webb City home sustained heavy smoke damage after a fire Thursday evening. The Webb City Fire Department tells News Talk KZRG they were called to 737 West Wickersham around 6:30pm. The fire had started in the rear bedroom of the home and was ruled to be electrical in nature. No one was home when the fire started. The entire home had extensive smoke damage, while the south side of the home had fire and heat damage.

JHS & Franklin Tech Open House

The people of Joplin got their first chance to look inside the new Joplin High School and Franklin Technology Center Thursday night. Classes at the new High School will start Tuesday. News Talk KZRG got some comments from people who toured the school.

"I think it's confusing, very confusing."
"I think that it's going to be a very big asset to the community."
"It's different than normal schools and it's brand new, so it's going to take a lot of time to get used to."
"Fantastic.  It'll be great once it's finished."

The building isn't 100 percent finished. The gym, for example, doesn't have any baskets up and there aren't any lines painted for basketball or other sports.

Joplin School Board President Anne Sharp tells News Talk KZRG what feedback she's received.  "I think a lot of people are just in awe. It's just a humongous building and most of the comments I get are: 'It's beautiful.  It's really big.'"

Joplin Police Catch Suspect At Walmart

In TV and the movies, a suspect will end up face to face with police. Thursday it happened in real life to a Joplin Police officer. Joplin Police Lieutenant Matt Stewart tells News Talk KZRG an officer was investigating a stolen wallet case where credit cards from that wallet had been used.

"While the officer was following up on some leads at the 15th and Range Line Walmart, he noticed a suspect on surveillance video at Walmart.  The officer went to contact the which time, the suspect saw the officer and took off running.  The officer was able to deploy his taser and took the suspect into custody." 

25-year-old Adam Powell of Joplin was arrested for felony receiving stolen property, forgery and felony resisting arrest.

Missouri American Water Gives $3000 Environmental Grant

Missouri American Water has presented a $3000 environmental grant to the Alliance of Southwest Missouri. Christie Barnhart with Missouri American Water tells News Talk KZRG about the grant.

"The Alliance received $3000 for their program that has to do with the prescription drof-off boxes. But they're hoping to put more of them in not only in Joplin, but in surrounding areas as well."

While you might wonder how drug collection boxes and the environment are connected, Barnhart says it's better for the water supply if old prescriptions are put in the drug collection boxes, rather than flushed down the toilet.

"Up until even a few years ago, the most popular form of disposing of medications was to flush them down the toilet.  And what happens is, that goes through our waste water collection sytem and eventually gets put back out into our water sources."

Vinita Cop Arrested On Child Sex Charges

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says a Vinita police officer has been arrested on child sex charges. Online court records show 35-year-old Sean Floyd was charged Thursday with several counts of rape, sodomy and lewd acts with a child younger than 16.

Inmate In "Botched" Execution Died From Lethal Drugs

A report on a problematic execution in Oklahoma shows lethal drugs caused the inmate to die, not a heart attack, after the state's prisons chief halted efforts to kill him.

Prisons Director Robert Patton had said inmate Clayton Lockett died from a heart attack several minutes after he ordered the execution stopped. In a report released Thursday, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety said all three execution drugs were found throughout Lockett's system. A medical examiner declared that the cause of death was ``judicial execution by lethal injection.''

Oklahoma put executions on hold after Lockett gasped and writhed against his restraints for several minutes after his April execution began. Lockett was poked several times as medical technicians tried to find a vein before settling in using one at his groin.
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