RIVER RADIO NEWS 031815
WANTED NORTHEAST ARKANSAS MAN FOUND IN IOWA JAIL
A Luxora, Arkansas man who was wanted for aggravated robbery has been located in a Souix City, Iowa jail.
Authorities say 23 year old Terrell Harrell was being sought in connection to the alleged abduction and robbery of Robert Birmingham in early March.
Harrell and 66 year old Robert Franklin, of Luxora, are accused of kidnapping and taking Birmingham, who is wheelchair bound, to Little Rock on March 2nd.
Officers received a call that day that led to a search of Birmingham’s home. When they arrived, they found the house had been ransacked and Birmingham and his vehicle were missing. Investigators checked for activity on Birmingham’s ATM card and were able to trace it to an apartment complex in Little Rock. Birmingham was located at the apartment and sent to the VA hospital in Little Rock for treatment.
Two other men, Turod Jacobs and Terence Gordon, both of Little Rock, are being sought in connection to the incident.
JACKSON MAN FACES WEAPONS AND DRUG CHARGES AFTER SHOOTING AT INSURANCE ADJUSTER
A Jackson man is facing weapons and drug charges after he allegedly shot at an insurance adjuster Monday.
Authorities say 38 year old Mathew Thomas Copen has been charged with unlawful use of a weapon, armed criminal action, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The victim told officers that he was in the Bella Vista Subdivision to inspect two homes, when Copen demanded he leave. Copen allegedly chased the man in his truck and fired a gun at him multiple times as he drove away.
PLANE FORCED TO LAND IN FIELD AFTER ENGINE TROUBLE
A crop duster pilot was forced to land in a field after he experienced engine trouble shortly after taking off from Corning, Arkansas.
According to authorities, Gary Cumbee was flying from Corning to Paragould for annual maintenance. Cumbee says while in route, the plane’s engine failed.
The pilot was uninjured and was able to safely make an emergency landing in a field near the Paragould airport.
MISSOURI OFFICIAL ACCUSES JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OF RACISM
(AP) - Missouri's lieutenant governor is accusing Justice Department officials of racism, even as the federal agency is criticizing Ferguson police for alleged racial bias following the Michael Brown shooting.
Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said Tuesday he stands behind statements he made a day earlier to Newsmax TV. Kinder told the station "there is more racism in the Justice Department than ... anywhere I see in the St. Louis area."
Kinder told The Associated Press on Tuesday he believes the Justice Department had been "fanning the flames of racial divisions" even before a white Ferguson officer fatally shot the black 18 year old last August.
The Justice Department cleared the officer of civil rights violations but cited widespread racial bias in Ferguson's policing.
A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.
MISSOURI HOUSE OKS ADDING ADVERTISING TO SEX TRAFFICKING LAW
(AP) - The Missouri House has given initial approval to a bill that supporters say could help reduce sex trafficking.
The measure endorsed Tuesday would add the advertising of sexual acts with a minor to Missouri's law against sexual trafficking.
Republican Rep. Elijah Haahr, of Springfield, says people exploiting minors are advertising children who have been trafficked online. He says giving prosecutors and law enforcement the ability to target websites that advertise sex acts with minors will help stop human trafficking in Missouri.
The bill mirrors an effort supported in the U.S. House by Rep. Ann Wagner to criminalize such advertising at the federal level.
The Missouri measure needs another vote in the House before moving to the Senate.
MISSOURI ADVANCES BILL TO CRACK DOWN ON CHILD SEXUAL ASSAULT
(AP) - A Missouri bill aimed at cracking down on child sex abuse has earned initial Senate approval.
Senators in a voice vote Tuesday supported legislation to increase the reporting and responses to allegations of children who sexually assault other minors.
The measure would require the state Children's Division to report claims of sex abuse between two children to local authorities. Those agencies then must assess the situation and potentially investigate the claims.
The bill is sponsored by Republican Sen. Jeanie Riddle, of Callaway County. She hopes the bill causes officials to intervene and prevent a pattern of lifelong assault among abusers.
Some Democratic opponents raised concerns about labeling children as sexual assailants.
A second Senate vote is needed before the bill can move to the House.
MISSOURI SENATE ADVANCES BILL TO ACCESS $200 MILLION IN BONDS
(AP) - Missouri senators have given initial approval to use $200 million in bonds meant for a new mental health facility at Fulton State Hospital to instead pay for other state building repairs and some new construction.
Senators in a voice vote Monday approved lifting restrictions on those bonds. The measure needs another vote to move to the House.
The Legislature last year authorized $200 million in bonding to pay for the mental health facility, but Missouri later found a different way to finance it.
Republican Sen. Mike Parson's bill would allow the state to use that bonding authority to pay for other building repairs and $75 million in new construction.
Proposals include $75 million to renovate the Capitol and convert the Department of Transportation headquarters into additional office space.
MISSOURI ADVANCES BAN ON AID FOR IMMIGRANTS IN US ILLEGALLY
(AP) - A bill to ban Missouri's A+ Scholarship from going to immigrants living in the U.S. illegally has passed the state Senate.
Senators approved the measure 25-8 on Tuesday. The legislation now moves to the House.
The bill would make the state's A+ Scholarship available only to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The scholarship money pays for two years of free tuition at community colleges.
Republican bill sponsor Sen. Gary Romine says it's unfair to open the scholarship to immigrants in Missouri illegally when money for the program already is stretched thin.
Immigrant advocates and Democratic opponents say it could pose financial barriers for students seeking a college education.
The House last week passed a similar measure that would prevent state money from paying for financial aid for those students.
MISSOURI UNEMPLOYMENT RATE KEEPS STEADY AT 5.5 PERCENT
(AP) - Missouri's unemployment rate held steady at 5.5 percent last month while the economy gained several thousand jobs.
The state Department of Economic Development released data Tuesday showing no change in the seasonally adjusted jobless rate from January to February.
Unemployment fell to 5.4 percent in December - its lowest rate since April 2008. That rate went up slightly the first month of the year.
Data show the state gained about 8,400 nonfarm jobs in February.
The department also scaled back an earlier estimate that nonfarm employment went up 14,300 jobs in January. The new figures put that at closer to 11,200 new jobs, meaning nonfarm employment rose by about 40,400 jobs in the past year.