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Bob Watson

Stories by Bob

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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.

Labor groups join fight over right-to-work

When it comes to a discussion about right-to-work, and whether Missouri should adopt that idea as its labor policy, you can expect organized labor and the group Americans for Prosperity to be on clearly opposite sides of the debate.

Missouri to offer limited state tax amnesty program

A law that became official Friday allows many Missourians who owe back taxes to pay those taxes without additional penalties, under a three-month state amnesty program that begins Tuesday.

Lawyers still debating how to argue the ‘Senate protests’ case

It’s been more than 15 months since a group of protesters disrupted the state Senate’s debate during the last weeks of the 2014 legislative session — but none of the 23 pastors charged in that case has gone to trial.

'Americans for Prosperity' sponsoring major ad campaign

Urging legislators to override governor's veto of right-to-work bill

The group Americans for Prosperity said Tuesday it will be running new advertisements statewide starting Thursday, focusing “on the urgency of overriding Gov. Nixon’s veto of right-to-work.”

LU to honor former professor with bust

Former Lincoln University Professor Willis E. Byrd — fired by LU’s Board of Curators in 1988 for “failure to teach assigned classes” — will be honored with a bust to be placed in the Page Library, the current curators decided Friday during a closed session.

Kraus complains about appointment failure

Gary Dusenberg served three terms in the Missouri House from Jackson County, from 2003-09.

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Walking for a better heart

When Janice Markway was five months pregnant with her fourth child, doctors said the baby had only three chambers in her heart — when there are supposed to be four.

Henry argues ‘whistleblower’ status in Lake drowning case

Highway Patrol Sgt. Randy Henry’s lawyer told a hearing officer Friday that the Missouri attorney general’s office has a conflict of interest in the case, the hearing officer should remove himself from the case because of another conflict, and misconduct charges leveled against Henry should be dropped because he’s protected by the state’s “whistleblower” law.

LU curators approve new book fees, ID replacement charges

Lincoln University students will have to pay more each time they ask for a replacement ID card, the board of curators voted Friday.

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JC’s first day of school largely uneventful

Some of the buses ran late, especially in the afternoon. At least one building had a plumbing problem. And some students had to be seen by school nurses. But, all in all, Jefferson City’s Public Schools resumed classes Thursday without many problems.

Late buses draw some complaints

Bob Weber oversees the Jefferson City School District’s facilities operations. “We were running a little late on some of the buses,” he said Thursday evening, “with new kids, new stops and — sometimes — a new driver who has to get acclimated to the routes.

Druzenko last person to plead guilty in marriage frauds case

Druzenko will be sentenced later this year, along with three others who pleaded guilty this month.

Blair Oaks starts school today with eyes on future

Surging into a new year

Students arriving this morning for the first day of school at Blair Oaks may notice a new mobile classroom outside the middle school in Wardsville.

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Lincoln University still studying ‘outsourcing’ plans

Lincoln University administrators believe outsourcing the school’s buildings and grounds operations will provide “several advantages” in the future.

Appeals court upholds Plunkett conviction

Missouri’s court of appeals in Kansas City upheld Sandra Plunkett’s first-degree murder and armed criminal action convictions Tuesday.

No dress code change for House interns

Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson says there won’t be any changes to the existing House dress code. Several news stories said a committee looking into the policy on internships had recommended a dress code change — and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill blasted the idea.

Appeals court upholds Plunkett conviction

Three-judge panel rejects Plunkett's arguments that Callaway County Circuit Judge Gary Oxenhandler wrongly admitted financial records into the 2014 jury trial.

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JC Schools faculty, staff launch new school year

The morning program began with a performance by the Jay Band drum line.

MAP scores don't add up for JC schools

State average bested in only 4 of 22 areas

Jefferson City Public Schools students continued a trend last spring with the 2015 version of the Missouri Assessment Program tests — more of the district’s scores fell below that state average than in previous years.

Ukrainian woman pleads guilty in marriage fraud

A Ukrainian woman who came to the United States on a student visa, then married a U.S. citizen to stay in the country, pleaded guilty Monday to participating in a marriage fraud conspiracy.

LU considers outsourcing buildings, grounds work

Lincoln University administrators want to outsource the school’s buildings and grounds operations.

Science Center first in Helias expansion

Fr. Jones discusses future plans, fundraising efforts

If all goes well, Father Stephen Jones said Friday, by this time next year Helias Catholic High School will be opening its new Science Center classrooms and a new football field.

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Rome, others 'excited' about LU school year

Borrowing heavily from the Pointer Sisters’ hit “I’m So Excited,” Lincoln University President Kevin D. Rome launched the 2015-16 school year for faculty and staff by saying:

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JC Schools refute website’s poor salary report

State figures show site’s data too low by nearly $9,000

Jefferson City Public School officials dispute a national report that lists the city as having the second worst high school teacher salaries in the nation.

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Auditor: LAGERS needs gift and travel policy

A state auditor’s report of the Missouri Local Government Employees’ Retirement System (LAGERS) had only one finding — that the board “has not established a system for reporting and monitoring gifts and paid travel expenses accepted by Board members and employees.”

Common Core still generates debate

Missouri is one of the first states to release results from last spring’s testing based, for the first time, on the controversial Common Core standards.

DESE releases statewide MAP scores

Missouri students did well on last spring's math and English language arts MAP (Missouri Assessment Program) tests.

Mizanskey wins parole

After two decades in prison, Jeff Mizanskey appears headed for freedom before Labor Day.

School board decides to keep tax levy where it is another year

For the second year in a row, Jefferson City School District taxpayers will pay $3.6928 cents for each $100 in assessed property value on their 2015 tax bills.

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Administering those who administer justice

At one time in her life, Kathy Lloyd considered going to law school.

Even in 'modern technology' era, State Fair's focus still agriculture

Since the Missouri State Fair began 113 years ago, “It was the centerpiece of training, information and education for farmers,” State Fair Commission Chairman Lowell Mohler, Jefferson City, said last month. “That really hasn’t changed a lot.”

Linthacum: No rush to decide facilities questions

'We want to give kids opportunities'

Jefferson City School District's new superintendent notes having two high schools offers more students a chance to participate in activities and sports. And classes likely would be smaller. But two complexes have greater costs, with more utilities and personnel costs.

Maries County sheriff accused of mishandling evidence

Maries County Sheriff Chris Heitman is withholding evidence in a criminal case, attorney James L. Thomas, of Waynesville, alleged in court papers this week.

Second person pleads guilty in 'marriage fraud'

Former Jefferson City resident Patricia Anne Ewalt pleaded guilty this week to her role in one of two marriage fraud conspiracies charged by the U.S. attorney in Kansas City.

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Missouri State Fair has 'a little bit for everybody'

Missouri’s State Fair continues each year with its main mission “to promote agriculture,” Fair Director Mark Wolfe said in a recent interview. But it also exists to entertain, with a variety of contests, competitions, exhibits and carnival rides.