State digest 05/25/05

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Three Rivers to open center in Sikeston

SIKESTON, Mo. -- Following the dispute between Southeast Missouri State University and Three Rivers Community College over higher education centers, Three Rivers will open a new site in Sikeston. The center will be at 103 E. Kathleen St., a building that previously housed the Sikeston Head Start Center. Although Three Rivers is still in negotiations for a long-term lease, officials expect to sign contracts soon, said Dr. Larry Kimbrow, Three Rivers executive vice president. Since February, when Southeast announced it was severing ties with Three Rivers and planning to take over operations of higher education centers at Kennett, Malden and Sikeston, Three Rivers has been lining up sites for its own centers. Last week, Three Rivers officials announced a new site in Malden. Kimbrow said announcements are expected soon for centers in Bernie, Campbell, Kennett and Portageville.

State public safety chief still on federal payroll

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri's public safety director technically is not working for the state. Mark James, who was appointed to the position in February by Gov. Matt Blunt, said Tuesday that he remains an employee of the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under an arrangement in which the federal government is essentially loaning his services to the state. The ATF continues to pay James the roughly $128,000 salary he received as special agent in charge of the bureau's Kansas City office, and the state reimburses the ATF the $97,500 it would have paid James to direct the Department of Public Safety, James said. The working arrangement appears to be unique in Missouri but is allowed under federal and state laws.

Feds urge governor to veto real estate bill

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Federal officials are urging Gov. Matt Blunt to veto legislation they contend could result in higher costs for people buying and selling homes in Missouri and fewer service options among real estate brokers. Supporters of the legislation said Tuesday that the federal concerns are misguided and the intent of the bill actually is to protect consumers from lazy or unscrupulous real estate agents. The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission sent a letter dated Monday to Blunt urging him to veto the bill, which unanimously passed the House and Senate. Blunt spokesman Spence Jackson said Tuesday the governor has not decided whether he will sign the bill. The most prominent part of the bill prohibits real estate licenses for people convicted of violent felonies or sex crimes. But the legislation also sets minimum service requirements that real estate agents must meet.

Vatican accepts Kansas City bishop's resignation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Vatican accepted the early retirement Tuesday of Bishop Raymond J. Boland, whose ailing health pushed him to leave his post as leader of the region's 140,000 Roman Catholics. Boland, 73, headed the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph for 12 years, but last year asked Pope John Paul II to allow him to step down. He is a colon cancer survivor who has a fatigue-inducing condition called hemochromatosis. Pope Benedict XVI's acceptance of Boland's retirement automatically put Coadjutor Bishop Robert W. Finn, a St. Louis native, at the helm. The Vatican appointed Finn to the diocese last March after Boland asked for an assistant.

Former teacher of year sentenced in drug case

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- A woman who was honored as St. Joseph's teacher of the year in 1994 was sentenced to a weekend in jail for smuggling drugs to an imprisoned former student. Jan P. Reeder, 51, pleaded guilty last month in Buchanan County Circuit Court to conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance into a correctional facility. She was sentenced Monday to spending Memorial Day weekend in the Buchanan County Jail. Reeder admitted that she planned to smuggle marijuana to Tyson Wilson, a former student and inmate at the Western Missouri Correctional Center. Reeder, who taught at Lafayette High School, resigned in 2004. As a convicted felon, she will lose her teaching license.

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