Region digest 1/10

Thursday, January 10, 2002

Poplar Bluff man joins U.S. attorney's office

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- After years in private practice, a Poplar Bluff attorney was sworn in this week as one of the state's newest assistant U.S. attorneys.

Keith D. Sorrell was one of three attorneys joining the U.S. attorney's office to focus on violent crime, said U.S. Attorney Raymond Gruender.

Sorrell will be a firearms assistant and was hired under Project Safe Neighborhoods, a federal initiative to reduce gun violence, Gruender said.

"These new attorneys will significantly increase our ability to prosecute violent, firearms crimes and methamphetamine offenses, which have plagued our communities, both in St. Louis and Cape Girardeau," Gruender said.

Sorrell will work out of the Cape Girardeau office.

Man gets prison term on sodomy charge

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- A Poplar Bluff man was sentenced to prison Tuesday for sodomizing a young girl last summer.

Judge Paul McGhee ordered Edward Lee McGehee, 40, to serve a 14-year term in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

This came after McGehee had earlier pleaded guilty to first-degree statutory sodomy, according to Butler County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Barbour.

Since the victim was less than 12 years old, Barbour said, the sodomy charge carries a penalty range of 10 years to life in prison.

While in prison, McGehee will have to go through the state's sexual offenders program.

Barbour said McGehee, who doesn't have a criminal history is also subject to the sexual predator law.

Vo-tech enrollment down at Kennett

KENNETT, Mo. -- The Kennett Board of Education was told this week that enrollment in the vocational-technical school was down this year.

Doug Irvin, director of the Kennett Area Vocational Technical School, told the board that vocational school enrollment is dropping across the state and that the Kennett school is no different.

More than 60 high school students had shown interest in taking one of the eight class offerings at the vo-tech school but were not enrolled in vo-tech classes.

He told the board that students were not getting enough information from counselors and from the vo-tech school about classes and were not getting support from parents.

The school will send letters to parents inviting them to visit the center to see what takes place and to get more information to the students about what the school offers.

Irvin also cited scheduling problems for the decrease in enrollment.

-- Southeast Missouri News Service

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