State digest 01/24/04

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Jackson man gets three years for stabbing wife

A Jackson man pleaded guilty Friday in Cape Girardeau County Circuit Court to stabbing his wife five times. Derrick R. Williams Jr., 22, of Jackson appeared before Circuit Judge John Heisserer to make his plea to second-degree domestic assault. Heisserer sentenced him to three years in prison. Williams dropped off his wife Jan. 9 at Southeast Missouri Hospital after assaulting her in their car, said Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle. Williams drove off but was found later at his home. The woman suffered stab wounds to her right upper forearm, palm, upper shoulder, bicep and calf, Swingle said.

KC Head Start director's salary ruled unreasonable

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has determined that the executive director of a local Head Start agency was overpaid and has ordered the group to pay back $455,992 of his salary and benefits. In a letter to KCMC Child Development Corp., HHS said that the more than $800,000 in salary and bonuses paid to Dwayne Crompton over a three-year period was unreasonable. KCMC filed an appeal with the department on Wednesday, said a spokesman for the agency. KCMC, which provides early childhood education to more than 2,700 low-income preschoolers in Jackson, Clay and Platte counties, receives most of its funding from HHS.

Project seeks to close abandoned mine wells

LEADWOOD, Mo. -- Officials in Missouri Old Lead Belt region are using one grant and seeking another to help close abandoned mine wells. The five-year project is being funded by a $428,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resources' Clean Water Commission. Another $300,000 grant is also being sought through the state. The U.S. Department of Agriculture held an informational meeting on the project earlier this week in Leadwood, about 70 miles southwest of St. Louis. In the middle of the 20th century around the towns of Leadwood, Farmington, Park Hills and others, the old St. Joe Lead Co. drilled a large number of holes to test for high concentrations of lead. Some holes were later capped, but many were not, creating a direct pipeline to the region's water supply.

Bill would remove tax for cars built, sold in state

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Motor vehicles made and sold in Missouri would be exempt from state sales tax under a bill filed in the state House. Rep. Michael Spreng said Friday his bill was a reaction to Ford Motor Co.'s plans to move about 2,600 jobs out of its Hazelwood plant -- a decision which Ford reversed last year after the state offered millions of dollars in incentives. Spreng said he was trying to help keep Ford and other automobile manufacturers, as well as their high-wage jobs, in the state. Missouri is the nation's third-highest producer of motor vehicles. Spreng said he expects that any lost revenue would be made up by Missourians making other purchases with the money they saved on sales taxes.

Man gets rare $1,000 bill back from police

PINE LAWN, Mo. -- Curtis Smith Sr. finally has his treasured $1,000 bill back. Smith counted out 10 $100 bills Friday for a clerk at Pine Lawn City Hall, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Web site reported. In return, the woman handed him a white envelope with the rare currency inside. The bill was taken by police in April when Smith, 71, was arrested for driving while intoxicated. Pine Lawn Mayor Adrian Wright considered the bill a novelty and switched the $1,000 for other cash. He then put the bill in a safe at city hall. St. Louis County police and prosecutors had ruled that Pine Lawn officials broke no laws. But Don Schneider, a spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch, said the city's keeping it "creates the appearance of impropriety." The federal government stopped printing $1,000 bills in 1934 and took them out of circulation in 1969.

-- From staff, wire reports

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