Region briefs 4/21/04

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Mounds resident dies of smoke inhalation in Ky.

MOUNDS, Ill. --Preliminary results from the Kentucky Medical Examiner's office show that all three men who were found dead in a fire in Clinton, Ky., Sunday morning died of smoke inhal-ation. Toxicology reports are pen-ding. Levi Bagby, a sophomore at Meridian High School, was visiting the tenant of an apartment at 201 Ezell Lane in Clinton, according to Clinton police chief Terry House. The fire apparently started in the kitchen near the stove.

ISO to inspect Jackson for insurance rate change

The Insurance Services Office Inc., an organization that inspects cities and sets ratings by which insurance companies fix their rates, will return to the city of Jackson soon to grade the town's building codes and inspection department. Fresh off the heals of inspecting Jackson's fire department and water pressure system in November, an ISO representative sent the city a questionnaire recently concerning building codes to be filled out before for the assessment in June. The ISO's Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule has been in place for about seven years and Jackson's rating, which was determined in 1997, is a five on a 10-grade scale for both residential and commercial building codes.

Vacant building law now on books in Poplar Bluff

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- After being approved overwhelmingly by voters, an ordinance that imposes a $200 semi-annual fee on owners of vacant and dilapidated residential structures was approved by the Poplar Bluff City Council Tuesday night. The ordinance establishes the process for designating vacant structures that violate city codes, notifying owners, imposing and collecting the fee and sets a process for appeal. The ordinance was approved by voters in the April 6 municipal election 772 to 244, said City Attorney Wally Duncan. The council's action Tuesday night just puts it on the books officially, he explained.

Rising insurance costs bring park changes

NEW MADRID -- When it comes to insurance costs for the city, it isn't child's play. Mayor Mark Baker said the city was facing an increase in its park insurance rates of $80,000. Rather than pay the higher costs, a new insurance company was sought with the Missouri Intergovernmental Risk Management Association being the sole bidder. Their recent risk control survey prompted recent actions, including removing the monkey bars from the City Park and the composite play structure, the four-way tire swing and the walking bridge and slide unit at the Hunter-Dawson Park. Problems ranged from strangulation hazards to dangers of head entrapment to simply being too tall. Another recommendation from the new insurer is to require organized groups using public facilities to present a certificate of insurance with at least $1 million single event and $3 million aggregate of general liability insurance.

Man in custody after stabbing of taxi driver

SIKESTON, Mo. -- A Sikeston man is in custody, accused of robbing and stabbing a taxi driver early Sunday morning. Braxton Thomas Cray, 22, is currently being held on one count of first degree assault and armed criminal action after he was charged through the Scott County Prosecutor's office. Bond is set at $50,000 and he is currently being held at the Scott County Jail. According to reports, officers with the Sikeston Department of Public Safety responded to Jay's Taxi Service at 111 N. Kingshighway on a call about an assault and robbery at just after 1 a.m. Sunday. The victim Charlie T. Hale, 38, of Sikeston said he was robbed of an undetermined amount of cash and stabbed in the chest by a fare. He drove himself back to Jay's Taxi and called police. Hale is currently at MDMC in guarded condition.

-- From staff, wire reports

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