by Andrew DiMillo, AP
(Little Rock0 (AP) – An Arkansas House panel has advanced a pair of measures aimed at forcing a constitutional convention to take up a federal balanced budget amendment.
The House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee on Friday endorsed two proposals being backed by conservatives, who say the move is needed to rein in the federal government’s spending and debt. One of the proposals would have Arkansas join a compact with other states calling for a constitutional convention.
Under the proposal, the application for a constitutional convention would be submitted once 38 states have joined the compact. Supporters say two states have already joined and the legislation is pending before several others.
The panel also approved a separate resolution calling for a constitutional convention to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government.
(Missouri) – Despite beliefs and party lines, Missouri politicians are pouring their hearts out for Texas County and the community of Tyrone, after seven victims were shot dead before the gunman reportedly killed himself.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says that mental health professionals will be made available for area residents:
“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.”
Senator Claire McCaskill also released the following statement:
“The details coming out of Tyrone are deeply sad and shocking, and I’m in grief for the community there. Even as we learn more about what happened, nothing could ever make sense of such a tragedy. I know the people of Texas County—folks like my Dad—to be strong, and kind. I know they’ll pull together in the face of these tragic events, and I’ll be joining all Missourians in praying for the people of Tyrone tonight.”
Congressman Jason Smith also released a statement:
“I am horrified by news of the shootings in Texas and Shannon Counties and ask you to keep the families of the victims in your prayers. The Missouri State Highway Patrol and local law enforcement have my complete confidence as they work through their investigation into these tragic killings.”
(Houston) – Police say a 36-year-old man from the Texas County community of Tyrone shot and killed seven people, including members of his family, before turning the gun on himself.
Police say around 10:15 PM, a 911 call came in from a young female, who said that she had heard shots in her home, and that she ran to a neighbor’s house to call 911. Police say that on arrival, they found two bodies in the home, and soon found the bodies of six other people. The suspect was found later in a car in Shannon County, dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Some of the victims have been identified in the case:
52-year-old Garold Aldridge, 47-year-old Julie Aldridge, 50-year-old Harold Aldridge, and 48-year-old Janell Aldridge. Three victims’ names are not being released pending notification of next of kin.
An elderly woman who is believed to have died at one of the scenes has been identified as 74-year-old Alice Aldridge. Although her cause of death appears to be of natural causes, the Highway Patrol says an autopsy will be performed on Saturday, February 28.
The shooter has been identified as 36-year-old Joseph Aldridge of Tyrone, who is the son of Alice Aldridge. At this time he is believed to be a cousin of the previously named victims. All of the victims’ residences are within a three-mile radius in Tyrone, according to the Highway Patrol.
A motive for the killings has yet to be determined, however, police have cleared all of the crime scenes.
The investigation continues by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Texas County Sheriff’s Department.
Continue to visit www.ozarkareanetwork.com for the latest on this story.
(West Plains) – The city of West Plains hosted a number of officials with groups including the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the Missouri Community Betterment group, and other state and regional offices to tour the city of West Plains and hear from businesses, community and education leaders, and others about their needs in the city and what hurdles they face.
Ozark Radio News had the chance to speak with the director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Mike Downing, who told us the one thing they heard the most during their visit was the need for reliable, affordable broadband internet:
He also talked about the need for skilled workers in technology-related fields:
Downing also talked about some other hurdles the city faces, and some ways they can overcome those problems:
The group also had praise for the city of West Plains:
West Plains Economic Development Director Bob Case also spoke with Ozark Radio News and said that the meetings were productive:
Case also recognized the issues, and knows that the city has some work ahead:
He also added that the city is more determined than ever to seek out affordable, reliable broadband internet access after today’s meetings. Case says that the informational meeting on broadband internet held earlier this month was a step in the right direction:
Downing said that after hearing complaints about broadband access in other rural communities, the Department of Economic Development will be looking into holding a rural broadband summit in the near future.
(West Plains) – A man accused of assaulting people at a homeless shelter has pleaded not guilty.
58-year-old Ron Schrader of West Plains was charged in January with two counts of 3rd degree assault and two counts of harassment by offensive physical contact. He pleaded not guilty on February 17.
Schrader is accused of unwanted sexual contact with two people at the Martha Vance Samaritan Outreach Center in West Plains. Police say security video recorded one of the incidents.
Schrader will appear in court at 1 PM March 19.
(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri House Speaker John Diehl says the state will strip $4.5 million in funding for membership to a group that makes tests for the national Common Core education standards.
Diehl said Wednesday that cutting the money will ensure Missouri’s partnership with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium ends.
Common Core guidelines for educating children in K-12 schools have attracted critics, who say they were adopted without enough local input.
Supporters say they create consistent, rigorous standards across state lines.
Diehl’s proposal follows a Tuesday ruling by a Cole County circuit judge that Missouri’s partnership with the Common Core testing group is unconstitutional. But the education department says that doesn’t prevent them from buying the tests.
A spokeswoman for the state attorney general’s office, which represents Missouri, says they’re reviewing the ruling.
(Willow Springs) – With the news coming this past November that the retail chain Alco would be closing all of its 198 stores, many were wondering what would become of the location in Willow Springs.
City administrator Bob Pollard told Ozark Radio News that the city is busy trying to find a replacement for the town’s largest department store:
The store, located off of E. Main Street, closed this past Tuesday. The company filed for bankruptcy in October 2014.
(West Plains) – At the West Plains City Council meeting on Monday, the council approved an ordinance that will allow a traffic evaluation study around the West Plains schools on Howell Ave. and Business 63.
City clerk Mallory Hawkins says that the study will look to relieve traffic congestion:
The project will cost $12,000, with the city paying roughly $4000 of that thanks to the transportation funding provided by the Missouri Department of Transportation. A condition of the funding is that the city must finish the study by September 1, which should not be a problem, according to city administrator Tom Stehn.
(West Plains) – The West Plains Community Garden will be taking applications for garden plots in the lobby of the West Plains Civic Center on Saturday, March 7 and Sunday, March 8 during the Southern Missouri Home Builders Association Home and Garden Show.
Special gardens and legs for those who use a wheelchair or otherwise find stooping over difficult are available for a $5 rental fee. Ground level gardens are renting this year for $10. Fees will be collected when you fill out an application.
Hours for taking applications will be 9 AM to 5 PM Saturday, March 7 and 11 AM to 4 PM on Sunday, March 8 in the civic center lobby.
For more information about the West Plains Community Garden, call Dawn Hicks at the Howell County Health Department at 417-256-7078.
(Gassville) – Two Gassville residents have been arrested after law enforcement visited the home of a parolee on Tuesday.
39-year-old Joseph Bermingham, who was on parole for felony drug convictions out of Baxter County, was charged Tuesday with felony possession of drug paraphernalia, felon in possession of a firearm, simultaneous weapon and drug possession, criminal possession of body armor, theft by receiving, and possession of a controlled substance. Also arrested was 22-year-old Pamela Pendergrass, who faces similar charges. Pendergrass was out on probation on drug paraphernalia convictions.
Police say that deputies and investigators with the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office and officers from the Gassville Police Department, the 14th Judicial Drug Task Force and officers from the Arkansas Parole and Probation Office conducted a home visit on Bermingham at his residence in Gassville around 2 PM Tuesday.
While at the residence, officers say they located a loaded pistol, prescription pills, suspected marijuana and a grinding device that appeared to have been used to process marijuana, five used syringes with suspected drug residue and other drug paraphernalia, along with $2200 in cash.
Police say that about $11,400 worth of stolen items were found in a tool shed located on the property, including wheels, tires, tools, axles and scrap metal. Marion County investigators say the items are believed to have been taken from a manufacturing facility in Marion County where Bermingham once worked.
At report time, Bermingham was held in the Baxter County Detention Center on $50,000 bond, plus a ‘no bond’ parole hold. Bermingham is also facing felony theft charges out of Marion County. At report time Pendergrass was held on $35,000 bond, and a ‘no bond’ probation hold.