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Bob Watson

Stories by Bob

Schools keep working as St. Elizabeth has boil order

The St. Elizabeth R-4 School District is keeping its schedule this week, even though the town has a boil order at least through today.

Fire investigations crucial, yet complicated in determining causes

Jefferson City fires were in the news at least twice last week — within about 24 hours of each other. Both served to renew attention on two of the firefighters’ jobs — fighting and extinguishing fires, then figuring out what caused them.

Beetem orders new hearings in Sheriff Dixon case

‘Procedural irregularities’ by commission cited

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem ruled officials didn't follow the required procedures to discipline Dixon's peace officer's license.

Former JC school bus driver indicted for child porn

A former school bus driver has been indicted by a federal grand jury for receiving and possessing child pornography.

House leaders urge Nixon to support state employees’ pay raise

Gov. Jay Nixon should work with lawmakers next year to find the money needed to give state employees a pay raise, House Speaker Todd Richardson and Budget Chairman Tom Flanigan said Wednesday.

Magazine lists LU in lower half of ranked HBCUs

Lincoln University is ranked 48th among the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), according to U.S. News & World Report.

Steidley guilty of setting warehouse fire

Jury in second trial takes just over 3 1/2 hours to reach guilty verdict in Everhart's arson trial.

Steidley trial to go to jury today

After hearing six days of testimony, a Cole County jury should begin deliberating Kurt Steidley’s fate today.

Appeals court rejects Bustamante claim of ineffective trial lawyers

Three-judge appeals court panel in Kansas City upholds last year's ruling by Cole County Circuit Judge Pat Joyce.

Cell phone mapping shows Steidley in JC near time of fire

In his initial interviews after a New Year’s Day 2011 fire damaged his closed business, investigators said Kurt Steidley told them he last was in Jefferson City on Dec. 30.

Disciplinary hearing for patrolman delayed

Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Randy Henry’s disciplinary hearing won’t happen next week as scheduled and no new hearing dates have been set.

Steidley testified at own trial through 2013 video

For about half the day Friday, Kurt Steidley testified in his own trial — as a prosecution witness.

'Citizen lobbyist' asks Hearing Commission to block Ethics Commission fine

Ron Calzone, who describes himself as a “citizen lobbyist,” has challenged the Sept. 3 Missouri Ethics Commission decision fining him $1,000 for failing to register as a lobbyist.

Man accused by Steidley testifies

Mid-Missouri resdient Drew Buersmeyer took the stand Thursday in the trial against Kurt Steidley, who is accused of setting a fire that heavily damaged his business, Everhart’s Sporting Goods.

Some LU faculty question search for 2 new deans

A number of Lincoln University faculty members told Academic Affairs Vice President Said Sewell Thursday they’re not happy with the way LU administrators are handling the jobs of two longtime LU leaders.

Jurors see photos of Everhart's fire aftermath

On the second day of Kurt Steidley’s second trial for setting fire to his business, a Cole County jury saw a lot of pictures showing the damage caused by a New Year’s Day 2011 fire at Everhart’s Sporting Goods.

Local right-to-farm pot case goes to Supreme Court

After being told twice Missouri’s 2014 right-to-farm amendment doesn’t include her right to grow marijuana in her basement, Lisa Loesch has taken her case to the state Supreme Court.

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Everhart’s arson retrial begins

Kurt Steidley faces up to seven years in New Year’s Day fire

Kurt Steidley’s second trial over the New Year’s Day 2011 fire at Everhart’s Sporting Goods began Tuesday morning.

'Right to farm pot' withers

Appeals court panel refuses to block trial on marijuana cultivation charge

Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green can keep working toward holding a trial early next year for a Jefferson City woman charged with growing marijuana in her basement.

Tuition freeze for hike in funds

Higher education leaders put faith in Nixon budget

Their boards still have to agree, but Missouri college and university presidents promised Gov. Jay Nixon Monday they would freeze tuition for the 2016-17 school year — their fourth tuition freeze in seven years.

Richard, Kehoe begin new Senate leadership era

Tom Dempsey, the Missouri Senate’s now-former president pro tem, still will have some influence over state Senate operations next year.

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7 win money as 14 small businesses pitch their ideas at Chamber event

14 business ideas were highlighted during Saturday’s fourth-annual Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce “Pitch It and Win It” program.

GOP pleased, Nixon philosophical on veto session voting

With only four exceptions, Mid-Missouri’s 12 lawmakers — three senators and nine representatives — voted for successful veto overrides during Wednesday’s legislative veto session.

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2 local lawmakers defend school transfers bill

Sponsor pulls override attempt, suggests revisiting issue next year

Two Mid-Missouri lawmakers took an active part in Wednesday’s House debates on seven vetoed bills suggested for override votes.

Veto of jobless benefits bill overridden

Legislators acknowledge court challenge is likely

With one vote to spare, the Senate overrode Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of House Bill 150, outlining regulations to unemployment benefits.

Lawmakers tackle veto session in one day

At one point early Wednesday evening, it appeared the 2015 veto session would go late into the night — or need to resume today.

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House fails to override right to work veto

Hundreds of labor union members cheered when the vote was announced — the Missouri House fell 13 votes short of overriding Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a controversial right to work proposal.

Senate to vote on new leadership at start of veto session

Sen. Ron Richard is poised to make state history today.

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Missouri lawmakers preparing override attempts

As veto session looms in Jefferson City

Missouri lawmakers this year have only 16 veto overrides to consider when the veto session begins at mid-day Wednesday.

Veto session success an individual judgment

If you’re a lawmaker coming to Jefferson City for Wednesday’s veto session, what would you consider to be a successful veto session? State Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, believes it's a hard question to answer, because, “I think you’ve got to look at each bill individually.

Lawyer: Drop charge based on Grellner complaint

Just two weeks before he’s scheduled to defend Highway Patrol Sgt. Randy Henry in a disciplinary hearing, St. Louis lawyer C. John “Chet” Pleban still hasn’t taken Osage County Prosecutor Amanda Grellner’s deposition.

MoDOT diversity class prompts questions

The Missouri Transportation department’s Central District has a diversity education program scheduled Oct. 1 as part of its ongoing series.

LU seeks growth in student population, achievement

Lincoln University wants to keep growing, both in the number of students who come to Jefferson City and in their academic achievements, President Kevin Rome told students, faculty and staff during Thursday’s Opening Convocation.

Lincoln curators OK renovation of Martin Hall

Lincoln University had about 650 new students when classes began nearly three weeks ago, and still has 65 students living in hotel rooms rather than residence halls.

Depositions blocked in Patrol discipline case

Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Randy Henry’s request to take two depositions will be argued in a Cole County court on Sept. 22 — just six days before his Patrol disciplinary hearing.

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Area bridges on 'critical' list

MoDOT updates its ‘critical condition’ bridges report

Fifty bridges in 10 Mid-Missouri counties are on the state Transportation department’s latest list of state-owned bridges considered to be in “critical” condition.

Parks, Lincoln to keep pact closed until approved

Neither entity agrees to release document ahead of vote

An agreement between the Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Commission and Lincoln University on how to operate the planned multipurpose facility is being kept closed even as both entities are expected to vote on it this week.

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Giving wheels to those in need

Four Jefferson City area women can show off their “new” vehicles this holiday weekend, thanks to Nichols Career Center automotive technology students and the group “Working Wheels for Working Families.”

Leporin gets 30 years for 2013 fatal accident

Dennis Leporin won a minor victory in court this week, 54 weeks after he was sentenced to 30 years in prison for killing Chelsea D. Fredrickson, 19, in a wrong-way, head-on accident two years ago.

Capitol’s south side entrances closed

The Missouri Capitol’s just-beginning renovation project has caused the south doors to be closed until further notice.

Clohessy, JC Diocese settle priest abuse case

David Clohessy didn’t get anywhere near what he asked for, but he has settled his long-running abuse complaint with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City.

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Implementing municipal court reform not major effort locally

The law changing Missouri municipal court operations went into effect last Friday, and some courts — especially in the St. Louis area — already are seeing changes.

Senator seeks update into Iowa man's Lake of the Ozarks drowning

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley says he wants an update on the investigation into a 2014 drowning of a handcuffed Iowa man who fell from a patrol boat in the Lake of the Ozarks.

Appeals court rejects attempt to get court documents

The legal battle began when K. Patrick Douglas, Bolivar, wanted to get some records from the Office of State Courts Administrator in 2012 — but OSCA told him the information he wanted wasn’t available on any existing document.

Driver cited in Monday's Eldon bus crash

The Missouri Highway Patrol cited the driver of a Ford truck that ran into a school bus in Eldon Monday afternoon for “careless and imprudent driving involving a crash,” Cpl. Scott White said Tuesday.

Judge: Right-to-farm doesn’t protect marijuana growers

Missouri’s now year-old right-to-farm amendment won’t help a Cole County woman avoid a drug charge, Circuit Judge Dan Green ruled Tuesday.

Investigation continues into trooper’s death last week

Funeral planned for Friday in O’Fallon

Highway Patrol Trooper James Bava, 25, of Mexico, was killed Friday as he was trying to stop a motorcycle he had observed violating traffic laws, Cpl. Scott White said Monday.

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Blair Oaks reviews new high school planning numbers

There’s no commitment, yet — not even a formal proposal.

State Tech moves closer to choosing presidential search firm

By the time the board of regents meets again in late January, their search for a new State Technical College of Missouri president could be underway.

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Patrol seeking people wanting to learn more about operations

Friday is the deadline to apply for this year’s Missouri Highway Patrol “Community Alliance Program.” Every two years, the Patrol’s Troop F offers a six-week class for Mid-Missourians to learn about the patrol’s operations.