Panama Canal expansion could impact Missouri ports

MODOT officials say the widened canal will open more freight shipment opportunities to Missouri.

Franklin School construction proceeds as planned

The $10 million project is being constructed next to the old school. It will open for the 2012 school year.

Dino's Pizza damaged by fire

The Cape Girardeau Fire Department estimates $250,000 in damages, but the building is not a total loss.

Mississippi River Basin nitrate pollution remains high

Nitrates flowing from the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico contribute to the formation of areas known as dead zones.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sun Security Bank taken over by Great Southern Bank

ELLINGTON, MO (KRCU) - Ellington-based Sun Security Bank is no more.

The bank’s board of directors chose to turn Sun Security over to the Missouri Division of Finance last Friday because the bank was on the brink of insolvency.

Great Southern Bank, which is based in Springfield, then agreed to take over Sun Security.

Missouri Division of Finance spokesperson Travis Ford says the bank’s failure is a common story.

"The demise of this bank is mainly attributed to overly aggressive and risky lending strategies. And that’s usually what brings down a bank. Making loans to folks who cannot repay. In this case, it was commercial and real estate development," Ford said.

The bank had assets valued at 350 million dollars, which Ford says makes it an average-sized Missouri bank. Great Southern has 3 billion dollars in assets.

Sun Security had 27 branches, primarily in southern Missouri, including Fredericktown, Marquand, Arcadia, Pilot Knob, Viburnum, Annapolis, Lesterville and Piedmont.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU

China hub lingers another week

JEFFERSON CITY, MO (MISSOURI DIGITAL NEWS) - The long debated China hub bill will linger for at least another week as the Missouri House and Senate are set to meet on Monday.

Following a Republican caucus Tuesday afternoon, Senate President Pro-Tem Rob Mayer says the special session will end next week with or without a China hub bill.

Mayer says he hopes that the Senate can alter the House's mindset.

"We have the opportunity to go to conference to argue or present our position as to why we're where we're at and at the end of the day we'll see if we change anybody's mind," Mayer said.

There are no termination dates included on any of the tax breaks surrounding the China hub bill.

Mayer says the Senate won't pass the bill if these dates aren't included.

Alex Gordon, Missouri Digital News

Redhawks lose Terrell for season

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KRCU) - When a football team is having a rough season it is hard to imagine things getting any worse.

For the Southeast Missouri State University football team things got worse on Saturday while at Tennessee State University.

After an 18-yard run early in the game, junior running back Levi Terrell was forced to leave the game early, with what turned out to be a broken collar bone.

Coach Tony Samuel said the team doesn’t have time to have a bad attitude about losing its second leading rusher.

"We just had a very good practice. We're going to get ready with whoever steps in, you know, that’s how you handle things," Coach Samuel said. "Everybody that plays this game understands that, there’s no down morale or anything like that. If anything we need to focus on getting ready for a really tough game, and in my mind a game we need to go and win."

Terrell, in his first year at Southeast, entered Saturday’s game with back-to-back 100 yard rushing games, and had 320 yards on 47 carries with 3 touchdowns on the season.

Samuel said there are two or three guys who can step in and fill Terrell’s position, including Lennies McFerren and Renard Celestin.

The Redhawks next game is Saturday October 15 at 2 p.m. at Eastern Kentucky.

Drew Yount, KRCU

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Paducah Convention Center Director charged with stealing $200K

PADUCAH, KY (WKMS) - Former Paducah Convention Center Director John Patrick Kerr is charged with stealing more than 200 thousand dollars in convention center funds. City officials fired Kerr Sunday before his arrest that evening.

Police also arrested his alleged accomplice, Susan Wilson. Convention Center Board Chairman Jim Sigler says Kerr would pay out a fake invoice to Wilson, who would then pay him a kickback from the Convention Center’s money.

Speaking on radio station WKYX, Sigler says Kerr used unauthorized checks to bypass the board’s oversight.

"The fictitious vendor invoices were paid with a series of single signature Convention Center Corporation checks that Mr. Kerr was not authorized to use for payment of usual and customary vendor services. None of the fictitious invoices were presented to me or any other board member for approval," Sigler said.

He says the scheme took place over the course of a year or more, and was discovered by their bank when they noticed a series of suspicious payments.

Sigler says the city will pursue every available option to recover the stolen funds. He says Steve Dolittle will serve as interim Executive Director and says that events at the center will continue as scheduled.

Shelly Baskin, WKMS

Missouri is nearing peak foliage season

MARYVILLE, MO (KXCV) - The Missouri Department of Conservation says the state is nearing the peak of its fall foliage season.

Fall color almost always peaks around October 15th in Missouri, but due to dry weather conditions, the trees will be turning a little bit earlier.

Conservation Department spokesman Jim Low says the lack of rain could also impact the vivid colors we see this year.

"I would just call it maybe a little bit less than the usual amount of fall color, but it’s still going to be pretty and in any part of the state there will always be some trees that are just spectacular," Low said.

The Missouri Department of Conservation says , however, seasonal conditions, such as freezing temperatures, heavy rains, or strong winds, could still cut short the fall-color season by stripping leaves from trees.

Kirk Wayman, KXCV

Ste. Genevieve hosts "The Way We Worked"

STE. GENEVIEVE, MO (KRCU) - Ste. Genevieve is the first city in Missouri to host a Smithsonian exhibit entitled "The Way We Worked."

The multi-media exhibit includes photographs, large graphics, audio and artifacts that examine the role of work in the American consciousness.

Stephanie Bell is Ste. Genevieve’s Director of Tourism.

"It's an overview of how work and work ethic has impacted America over the past one hundred years and how it has changed, and it has gone through some major changes, and you can see that clearly through the exhibit," Bell said.

Each community that hosts the exhibit will add to it by contributing their own scrapbook about work in the local region. Bell says the scrapbook will then go on to become a part of the permanent exhibit.

The exhibit is funded by the Missouri Humanities Council and Smithsonian Institution.

The locations for this exhibit include the Welcome Center and Linden House. "The Way We Worked" runs through November 5th.

Lauren Campbell, KRCU
Photo by James Earl Westcott. Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service

Pujols powers Cards over Brewers

MILWAUKEE, WI - Albert Pujols had a huge night, and the St. Louis Cardinals rode to a 12-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park Monday night.

The Cardinals first baseman collected five RBI’s, a homer, and three doubles. His home run was a two-run first-inning blast off Milwaukee starting pitcher Shaun Marcum, who had a rough night. Marcum allowed five runs over four innings pitched.

By winning Game Two on Milwaukee’s home turf, St. Louis essentially stole home-field advantage for the National League Championship Series.

The series is now tied at 1-1 and moves to St. Louis for Game Three Wednesday night.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Debra Tracy won't run for re-election on City Council

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KRCU) - Cape Girardeau City Councilwoman Debra Tracy, who represents Ward 3, says she will not run for re-election next year.

"My plate is really full. I now have two jobs and one takes me out of town for a couple of days of the week. That was not the case when I started. I was not employed at that time. So it’s a full plate and I’m ready to turn it over to someone else," Tracy said.

Two other city council members are up for re-election next year. Loretta Schneider, who represents Ward 4, and Mark Lanzotti from Ward 5 will both seek another term on the council.

City Council members must be nominated by petition. The petition must be turned in between October 25 and November 22.

The general election will be held on April 3.

Cape Girardeau has a six-person city council. The mayor also holds an at-large seat.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU

University to host Agriculture Research Center Field Day

GORDONVILLE, MO (KRCU) - Southeast Missouri State University’s Department of Agriculture will host an Agriculture Research Center Field Day on Wednesday at the university’s Barton Agriculture Research Center in Gordonville.

Guest speakers will present their applied research findings.

Dr. Julie Weathers is an animal scientist, and she spearheaded the event. She says there’s a lot for non-farmers to see at the research center.

"We are a community center. We want people to come out and learn about what we are doing. We do research here and we do student hands-on learning," Weathers said. "So we want you to see what your students are learning here at Southeast Missouri State University. And we want you to come out and see what research we’re learning. We try to do practical research that will actually help you on your own farm or in your small garden. Whatever interest you have."

The Department of Agriculture has expanded its academic offerings. They added an agribusiness plant and soil science degree at Southeast’s regional campuses and an agriculture education major.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU

New call center could open in Cape Girardeau

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KRCU) - A new call center could bring up to 500 jobs to Cape Girardeau.

That’s the message Cape Giradeau Area MAGNET Director Mitch Robinson brought to last week’s First Friday Coffee.

Robinson did not disclose the name of the call center company, but said its arrival in Cape Girardeau will be similar to the opening of the NARS in 2007.

The Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce will host a career fair on Thursday, October 20. Representatives from the new call center will accept applications, as well as several other local businesses. The career fair will be held at the Osage Center.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cape Central to begin construction of Performing Arts Center

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KRCU) - Construction crews will break ground next week on Cape Central High School’s new Performing Arts Center.

The Cape Girardeau School District awarded the construction contract to Sides Construction from Jackson on September 26. The school system used the same contractor to build the new Tiger Stadium.

Assistant Superintendent of operations Neil Glass says the 1000 seat facility will benefits students who are interested in performance and in technical aspects of the theatre.

"It will be a start-of-the-art auditorium with everything that students need now to be able to go out in the real world and run their own performing arts center if they so choose," Glass said.

The project will cost 6.6 million dollars. One million dollars come from a individual donor, while the rest is from a voter-approved bond issue to renovate, expand and modernize Cape Girardeau Public School facilities.

Glass says he hopes to complete the Performing Arts Center by November or December 2012.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU

Mo. GOP accuse Nixon of not doing homework on Weaver Dickerson

JEFFERSON CITY, MO (MISSOURI DIGITAL NEWS) - After the Stoddard County Prosecuting attorney is published saying the Department of Economic development isn't cooperating, the Missouri Republican party accused Governor Jay Nixon of protecting a felon.

The Southeast Missourian published an article saying after 8 months there has been no progress on the Weaver Dickerson case - involving 2 million dollars to a proposed medical facility.

According to the Stoddard County Prosecuting Attourney Nixon's Department of Economic Development didn't give the material he needed to continue the case.

Dickerson was the proposed CEO of potential Medical Facility in Cape Girardeau.

He was found to have lied about his criminal record a week after Governor Nixon announced the 2 million in funding for the project.

The Missouri Republican Party claims Governor Nixon could have prevented this- and other economic development failures like Mamtek - if he would have just done his homework.

Ashley Massow, Missouri Digital News

Southeast volleyball team continues "Dig for Life"

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KRCU) - The Southeast Missouri State University volleyball team has been participating in the Dig for Life campaign since it was started in 2000 by volleyball coach Cindy Gannon.

When current volleyball coach Julie Folliard was hired, prior to the 2011 season, she was given the opportunity to stop the Dig for Life campaign.

But Folliard said, without hesitation, she wanted to get involved and keep it going.

"The amount that they’ve done, St. Francis has been a huge part of it, and really made it a successful campaign. I’ve known many women that have battled the disease; parents of former players, lots of people in my life that have battled this disease, so I think it’s really something that we need to get the word out," Folliard said.

The personal connection Folliard has to breast cancer is shared by many people in Southeast Missouri.

That is why the campaign has raised over $75,000 since it began in 2000.

All proceeds go directly to St. Francis Medical Center and are used for breast cancer awareness and mammogram screenings for those women who can’t afford them.

Drew Yount, KRCU

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Over 300 students visit Southeast Ag Center

GORDONVILLE, MO (KRCU) - Over 300 high school juniors and seniors from 14 high schools visited Southeast Missouri State University’s agricultural facilities Wednesday for an Educational Field Day.

Many of the students are members of Future Farmers of America.

David Mauk instructs agricultural business and agricultural education at Southeast. He says the field day is different because many high schoolers only see the university’s main campus.

"Not all of the students get to see the ag research center. So it’s an opportunity for them to see something from what they normally see, as well as the greenhouse complex that we have," Mauk said.

Students visited the Barton Agricultural Research Center and the Hutson Horticulture Greenhouse.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU

Cab Calloway Orchestra coming to River Campus

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KRCU) - Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus touring series will kick off with the Cab Calloway Orchestra this Friday.

The orchestra is directed by Calloway Brooks, the grandson of legendary band leader Cab Calloway. He will bring the orchestra’s jazzy, upbeat sounds to the Bedell Performance Hall stage.

Ellen Farrow is the River Campus box office manager.

"We’re about 50% sold, a little over 400 tickets. Normally with this economy, everybody waits until the last minute, so we have plenty available for the public to purchase," Farrow said.

The Bedell Performance Hall’s capacity is 900. Tickets can be purchased at the River Campus box office.

Lauren Campbell and Jacob McCleland, KRCU

Ozark hellbender listed as an endangered species

ST. LOUIS, MO (ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the Ozark hellbender as a federally endangered species that cannot be harmed, killed, or bought and sold as a pet. The new legal protections should improve the chances of survival for this unusual aquatic salamander.

The now officially endangered Ozark hellbender is found only in the streams of the White River system in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas.

Ozark hellbender populations have dropped by 75 percent since the 1980s, with fewer than 600 remaining in the wild.

The main threats facing hellbenders are water pollution, habitat loss from mining, dams, and erosion, and collection for the pet trade.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has also listed both the Ozark and eastern hellbenders as protected under CITES, an international agreement to prevent rare and endangered species from being commercially bought and sold.

At up to two feet in length, the hellbender is one of the largest salamanders in the world.

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mo. lawmakers want prison overhaul

JEFFERSON CITY, MO (MISSOURI DIGITAL NEWS) - Missouri lawmakers want an overhaul of the state's inefficient prison system.

Prison populations have reached an all-time high and prison spending has almost doubled in ten years. A joint commission met to review a report suggesting major changes in the probation process, co-chair Representative Chris Kelly says.

"Are there better ways to deal with technical probation or parole violations rather than to send people back to prison?" Kelly asked

The committee is looking at ways to cut costs and inmate population. Kelly says the committee will draft a bill next month and introduce the new legislation in January.

Matt Evans, Missouri Digital News

Southeast professor's animated film returns to Cape Girardeau

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KRCU) - A Southeast Missouri State University professor’s 3D animated film traveled around the globe. Now it is returning to Cape Girardeau.

Peter Chanthanakone’s 9 minute short entitled "Death to the Different" is an uplifting coming-of-age story about a boy who must complete a difficult task at the urging of this father.

Chanthanakone says the film gives audiences the rare chance to see a drama in 3D animation.

"Typically 3D animation is designed to be more strictly entertainment-based and for children, and just taking out of that context makes it kind of more unique and you can really relate to it in a different way than if it were to be a live action short film," Chanthanakone said.

Nine Southeast students assisted with the film’s animation and voicework.

"Death to the Different" was screened at film festivals in Germany, France, Pakistan, China and New York.

The film will be shown publicly for this first time in Cape Girardeau this Friday at the Black Door Gallery.

"Death to the Different"'s travelling days are not over. It will be shown at a festival in South Korea next month.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cape City Council supports low-income housing development plan

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KRCU) - The Cape Girardeau City Council passed a resolution with a 4-2 vote Monday night in support of a development company’s plan to build low income apartments on Silver Springs Road. MACO Development now has the city’s support, but they may have trouble getting the tax credit they need.

MACO development is not new to Cape Girardeau. They are responsible for three low income senior apartments in the area. They now have their sights set on creating a low income housing off of Silver Springs.

They are trying to get 6 million dollars in state and federal tax credits spread out over a ten year span. Company Vice President, Jason Maddox says that 40 percent of this year’s tax credits are going to developers in the Joplin area, so competition is intense.

Council member Debra Tracy was among those who support the development, saying the city lacks adequate low-income housing.

But council member Mark Lanzotti fears the development would skew the marketplace and dissuade rehabilitation of older apartment complexes. Lanzotti was one of two council members to vote against the measure.

Larry Hartling of West Cape Development Corporation owns the land where the apartments would be built. He supports the proposed developments.

"We think its a good project for the area. I own property adjoining it so I am going to be a neighbor to it. We thinks its a good use for that property," Hartling said.

This is the first year that the council is required to approve residential development before developers can attempt to submit an application to the Missouri Housing Development Commission.

MACO’s next step is to rezone its proposed location from a commercial to residential district.

Hannah Parent, KRCU

Scheible goes for OVC record against Tennessee State

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KRCU) - The Southeast Missouri State University football team finally notched its first win over the weekend.

The Redhawks are now looking for the team’s quarterback to write himself into the record books.

Senior quarterback Matt Scheible has helped lead the Southeast Missouri State University football team to several records over the last 3 seasons.

Last year the team won the first OVC conference championship in school history, while tying the record for most wins in a season with 9 games.

Coach Tony Samuel says Scheible has been a key part of the offense in his years at Southeast.

Aside from being the play caller, Samuel says Scheible is a hard worker who studies film and does what it takes to get the job done.

"He’s got a pretty good idea of what’s going on out there. He’s got the ability to change plays at the line of scrimmage, Samuel said. "We’ve given him the freedom, now for almost 3 years, to do some of those type of things. He’s just a great student of the game and he’s got the athletic ability to back it up."

Scheible is going for a personal record this season. He is trying to become the first quarterback in OVC history to rush for 2,000 yards and pass for 4,000 yards.

Scheible and the Redhawks travel to Tennessee State University Saturday at 6 pm.

Drew Yount, KRCU

John Brunner enters Senate race

ST. LOUIS, MO (ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO) - The Republican race to challenge Senator Claire McCaskill in 2012 is officially a three-way contest.

John Brunner chairs the board of Vi-Jon, a St. Louis-based company that makes the hand sanitizer Germ-X.

He has a long track record of donating to Republican and conservative causes. But he’s never run for public office – which he says makes him the most qualified person to serve.

"Career politicians with political experience alone are just unable to restore the American dream. They have no because they have no real world experience to guide them," Brunner said.

A spokesman for Congressman Todd Akin welcomed Brunner into the race but said he remained confident Akin would win. The campaign of former state treasurer Sarah Steelman did not return a phone call for comment in time.

Brunner’s entry into the race affects Akin more, says University of Missouri St. Louis political science professor Dave Robertson.

"Brunner, as someone who has supported Akin in the past, who comes from the general area that Todd Akin comes from, really has a chance to split the vote that Akin would have gotten and so probably weakens Akin a little bit more," Robertson said.

Campaign finance records show Brunner and his wife donating five thousand dollars to Akin’s campaign as recently as March.

Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio

Monday, October 3, 2011

MDC fries up Asian carp at Mississippi River Day

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KRCU) - The Missouri Department of Conservation hosted a Mississippi River Day on Saturday that was part of the family weekend festivities at Southeast Missouri State University.

Little kids competed at casting rods, boats cut through the Mississippi River water, and everybody had a chance to sample different kinds of fish.

Dr. Quinton Phelps, systems ecologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, said the taste test was designed to see which type of fish ... Tilapia, Catfish, or Asian Carp ... was preferred by most people.

"The survey that we did was fairly broad based. It incorporated a range of ages from small children all the way up to grandparents, so we had a very good demographic and it didn’t really seem to matter what age you were, it seemed like Asian Carp were the preferred fish to consume," Phelps said.

The Asian Carp is an invasive species that is endangering the local ecosystem of the Mississippi River.

The carp eat food that native fish depend upon. Local fish population are suffering due to the carp’s incursion.

Phelps says the taste test should help determine if there is a market within the local fish industry for Asian Carp.

The results of the taste test will be posted at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center later this week.

Drew Yount, KRCU

Southeast hires director for Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KRCU) Southeast Missouri State University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has hired David Mosby as its director.

Mosby will be responsible for working with the Small Business Technology and Development Center.

He is also working on a portability grant for Dexter, where the local economy has been hurt by layoffs at the Faurecia manufacturing plant.

"What we’ll try to do is train the businesses to be more efficient so that they’ll be able to survive through this economic downturn. And besides being more efficient, maybe getting them to look outside of their community to see how they can sell their goods outside of Dexter to bring more hard money into the community," Mosby said.

Mosby will work under James Stapleton, who now serves as the Center’s executive director.

David Mosby started on September 12.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU