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Local News

Boy Dies After Falling Through Ice In Vernon County

Vernon County authorities say a boy is dead after falling through the ice at a farm pond. The Vernon County Sheriff's Office says three boys were playing when they fell through the ice around 9am Saturday. One boy made it to land on his own, a second was rescued, but it took rescuers about 90 minutes to reach the third. The name of the boy hasn't been released; authorities are saying he was younger than 10 years old.

KS Revenues Higher In February

Kansas collected $22 million more in taxes than expected this month.

The Department of Revenue reported Friday (2/27) that the state collected almost $310 million in taxes in February, when it anticipated taking in $287 million. The surplus is 7.7 percent.

The numbers are good news for Governor Sam Brownback and legislators, but they don't solve the state's budget problems.

Officials must close a budget shortfall that had been projected at nearly $600 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Tax collections for the current fiscal year, starting in July 2014, still remain behind expectations, after falling short in December and January.

During those eight months, the state collected $3.55 billion in taxes, when it expected $3.6 billion. The difference is $37 million, about 1 percent.

Pittsburg & PSU Exchange Land

Pittsburg State University and the city of Pittsburg have agreed to swap land in a deal designed to help both entities expand. The trade was ratified Tuesday (2/24) by the Pittsburg City Commission but must also be approved by the Kansas Legislature. The university agreed to give 72 acres to the city, which wants to use it for home building. In return, the city will give Pittsburg State one 25-acre site and another 5-acre site.

Mt. Vernon Man Dead In Thursday Accident

A Mount Vernon man is dead and a woman was seriously injured when their pickup went off the road Thursday morning (2/26). The Missouri State Highway Patrol says 51-year-old William Loftis was eastbound on Highway V, two miles west of Mount Vernon around 9:30 Thursday morning when his pickup left the road, hit the ditch and rolled over several times. Loftis was pronounced dead at the scene. Passenger 52-year-old Anna Wielichowski of Mount Vernon was taken to a Springfield hospital with serious injuries.

New Wayfinder Signs Installed In Joplin

You may notice some new signs up around Joplin directing you towards the city's four districts; historic downtown, retail, hotel, and sports. The city of Joplin unveiled their new Wayfinder signs Friday. There's 37 in all. Patrick Tuttle with the Convention and Visitors Bureau tells News Talk KZRG the old signs that were installed in 2008 have been replaced with brighter, retro-reflective

Neosho School District Response to Staff Termination Rumors

Due to several reports from KZRG listeners about Neosho School District employees being terminated and escorted from their buildings, the Neosho School District has released the following statement:

"Central Elementary's principal, Dottie Smith's resignation was approved on Monday, February 23, 2015 during open session at the Neosho school board meeting for personal reasons. South

Investigation into Mass Murder Continues

UPDATE AT 2:32PM, 2/27/15:

Some names have been released in connection with Friday's shooting spree in Texas County. Those named so far are related. The shooter has been identified as 36-year-old Joseph Jesse Aldridge of Tyrone. He was found dead in Shannon County of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A elderly woman found dead of natural causes was his mother, 74-year-old Alice Aldridge. Four of the seven people shot to death have been named: 52-year-old Garold Aldridge, 47-year-old Julie Aldridge, 50-year-old Harold Aldridge and 48-year-old Janell Aldridge. They are believed to be cousins of Joseph Aldridge and all lived in a three mile radius of Tyrone. Three victims' names have not been released. A motive for the killings is still unknown.

UPDATE AT 9:17AM, 2/27/15:

The investigation continues into a mass murder in Texas County, MO. Sgt. Jeff Kinder of the Missouri Highway Patrol says a lone gunman killed seven people, starting with two in one home in Tyrone (on-air audio courtesy of KY3, Springfield, MO):

"Further investigation revealed five additional victims who were deceased, and one additional victim who was wounded, in three additional residences. All three residences were in Tryone."

The 36-year-old suspect was found dead in nearby Shannon County from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. What was initially reported as an eighth murder has now been attributed to natural causes. The names of those involved has not yet been released.

Gov. Jay Nixon released the following statement regarding the situation:

“This is a horrific tragedy, and our hearts go out to the victims of these senseless acts and their families,” Gov. Nixon said. “The Missouri State Highway Patrol has been on site and assisting local law enforcement since the initial call late last night and will continue to assist local law enforcement agencies. Our Department of Mental Health has also contacted the local community mental health center to ensure that crisis intervention services will be provided to students in the area, and that counseling and other services will continue to be available to citizens in need. I ask all Missourians to join us in sending thoughts and prayers to the victims, their families and loved ones.”

Original story is below:

Seven people are dead after a mass shooting by a lone gunman in south-central Missouri. The Missouri Highway Patrol' says the 36-year-old suspect was found dead in Shannon County early Friday from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Initially there were eight reported victims, but it turns out one of them, an elderly woman, had apparently died of "natural causes."

Keep checking this page for updates to the story.

Sarcoxie Man Sought

Jasper County Sheriff's Deputies are looking for a Sarcoxie man. Captain Derek Walrod of the Sheriff's Office tells News Talk KZRG why they're looking for 31-year-old Roscoe Rickman.

"His name has come up on several stolen vehicles and property in Jasper County and also he has a KBS no bond warrant for weapons violations, felony weapons violations, he didn't show up for sentencing on."

Rickman is considered armed and dangerous. If you know where he is, call the Jasper County Sheriff's TIPS line at 417-358-8477.

Bill Moving KS Local Elections Passes Senate

The Kansas Senate has given first-round approval to a bill that would move city and local school board elections from the spring to the fall of odd-numbered years.

Senators advanced the bill on a voice vote and expected to take final action Thursday night (2/26).

Supporters of the measure argue that it will increase turnout in local elections because people are used to voting in November.

City and school board elections currently are held in April, with primaries in late February or early March. Turnout is often low.

But critics of the bill said there's no compelling reason for a change and that it will cause administrative problems for local officials.

Also, city elections must be nonpartisan now, and the bill would allow cities to make them partisan.

New Wrinkle In Schweich Death

Associated Press is reporting a new angle in Thursday's death of Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich.

The shooting occurred just minutes after Schweich had called The Associated Press to invite a reporter to his home for an afternoon interview.

Schweich said he wanted to go public with accusations that the Missouri Republican Party chairman had made anti-Semitic remarks about him. GOP chairman John Hancock denied the accusations Thursday (2/26).


6 More Deaths From Flu In OK; Season Total 90

Oklahoma health officials say six more deaths due to influenza have been reported to bring the record number of deaths in the state to 90. Numbers released by the Oklahoma Department of Health Thursday (2/26) also indicate that about 2,000 people have been hospitalized due to the flu since the season began Sept. 28. Of this season's flu deaths, over two-thirds were people aged 65 or older.

Reaction To MO Auditor Tom Schweich's Death

Reaction from federal and state politicians from Missouri about Thursday's death of Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich, a Republican candidate for governor:

``I join all Missourians in mourning the passing of State Auditor Tom Schweich, a brilliant, devoted and accomplished public servant who dedicated his career to making Missouri and the world a better place. From his courageous work to combat the illegal drug trade abroad in Afghanistan to his tireless efforts to protect the interests of taxpayers here in Missouri, Tom Schweich's exceptional intellect and unwavering dedication to public service left a legacy that will endure for many years to come. The first lady and I send our most heartfelt condolences to Tom's wife, Kathy, and two children, Emilie and Thomas Jr.''

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, Democrat.

``I am very sad, and hurt so much for Tom Schweich's family. He was a good man, and a dedicated public servant, who served our country in so many capacities with distinction and honor. Hug those you love.''

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat.

``Tom was very smart, very capable, outstanding at his job, and a good friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with Kathy, their children, and the rest of Tom's friends and family as they deal with this tragic loss.''

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican.

``I am in utter shock at the news of Tom Schweich's tragic passing. Tom will be remembered as a tenacious, energetic, effective elected official who worked tirelessly on behalf of the citizens of this state and this nation. I ask all Missourians to join me in praying for Tom's family.''

John Hancock, Missouri Republican Party chairman.

``The death of Auditor Tom Schweich is devastating news for his family and all Missourians. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Schweich family during this tragic time.''

Roy Temple, Missouri Democratic Party chairman.

``Today, Missouri lost a man who was a true public servant through and through. Tom Schweich, a fifth-generation Missourian, is someone who would fight day and night to better our great state. Tom will always be remembered as a true conservative and a loving and devoted father and husband. He will be deeply missed by his colleagues, and friends, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time.''

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, Missouri Republican.

``I am shocked and saddened to hear the tragic news about Tom Schweich. Tom was a good man and dedicated public servant. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Schweich family and all those Tom has touched over his decades of service to his state and country. May God bless Tom Schweich and his wife, Kathy, and children, Emilie and Thomas Jr?.''

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, Missouri Republican.

``Tom Schweich was a lifelong public servant for our state and country. I am deeply saddened by his sudden loss, and extend my heartfelt sympathy to his family. I ask all Missourians to keep his family in their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.''

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, Democrat.

``It is with a heavy heart that I send my thoughts and prayers to the Schweich family during this difficult time. Tom served his state and country admirably, and fought strongly for his values. With his passing, Missouri has lost a devoted public servant. He will be missed.''

Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel, Democrat.

“My entire family is shocked and saddened to hear the tragic news of Tom’s passing.  He was a dedicated public servant who worked hard every day to make Missouri a better place to raise a family.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kathy and the entire family during this incredibly difficult time.”

Missouri Congressman Billy Long, Republican.
Aaron Watson's The Underdog Overachieves to Crown Albums Chart
Texas fave Aaron Watson rockets to the summit of Billboard’s country albums chart this week with The Underdog. How’s that for irony? Nielsen SoundScan reports the package gained first-week sales of 26,340 copies. "You lack what we all call commercial appeal, you don't have what it takes to make it here in Nashville";) Phil4:13 Read more »
Glen Campbell's Final Music Triumph
Glen Campbell’s legions of loyal fans were disappointed when his original song, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” failed to win the best song category at the recent Academy Awards. Although the honor went to John Legend and Common for "Glory," featured in the film Selma, the song written by Campbell and producer Julian Raymond is... Read more »
Alan Jackson Celebrates 25 Years in Country
It’s been 25 years since a young Alan Jackson landed on the country scene with the release of his debut album Here in the Real World, and he’s been a star ever since. The following year, the singer would achieve his first notable breakthrough when “I’d Love You All Over Again” reached No. 1. Additionally,... Read more »
Why Lady A Will Never Be Fleetwood Mac
At one of the many panels at this week’s Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, Lady Antebellum had chance to share their secret for getting along. The presentation was titled "How 3 Become 1: Lady Antebellum.” And one of the biggest lessons they’ve learned in their nine years as a successful country band is how not... Read more »
Jason Aldean Talks Touring, Wedding Details and Kenny Chesney
Jason Aldean heats up his Burn It Down tour this weekend (Feb. 28-March 1) on an all-new CMT Hot 20 Countdown. Get the scoop from Aldean on what it’s like performing in front of a hometown crowd, and find out what he and Kenny Chesney are planning for this summer’s stadium concerts. Plus, he reveals... Read more »
Carrie Underwood Shines a Light on Slavery
When a U.S. senator tags you in a tweet, it must be pretty important. Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee posted a Twitter photo Thursday (Feb. 26) to show his support of the End It Movement and the Shine a Light on Slavery Day, which is Friday (Feb. 27). Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher were... Read more »
Maddie & Tae Tearfully Celebrate First No. 1, "Girl in a Country Song"
There were nearly enough tears shed to float the trophies awarded at the No. 1 party held Thursday afternoon (Feb. 26) at the CMA offices in Nashville for Maddie & Tae’s “Girl in a Country Song.” Co-sponsored by ASCAP and BMI, the two major performance rights organizations, the event honored the song’s writers, Maddie Marlow,... Read more »