Region digest 08/21/02

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Poplar Bluff hopes to get help for transit system

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- Poplar Bluff city manager Tom Lawson said he plans to go with Greg Batson of Ozark Foothills Regional Planning Commission to Jefferson City today to see if there is any kind of financial help available for city's ailing transit system.

Bluff City Cab Co. has gone out of business for the second time in the past few months, citing high insurance costs. The Southeast Missouri Transit Service (SMTS), which runs the city fixed-route and reserve ride buses, announced at the last council meeting that it would have to either close or cut back its routes because of a $28,000 deficit.

Lawson said he expects to have a solution to the problem before Sept. 1 "even if it comes down to the fact that we will have to look at our budget."

Courthouse in Stoddard County to get new roof

BLOOMFIELD, Mo. -- Associate Stoddard County Commissioners Frank Sifford opened up bids for a new roof on the courthouse at the commissioners' regular meeting Monday morning.

Although Presiding Commissioner Jerry Elder was absent from the meeting, Sifford opened bids from Kennedy and Kennedy roofing, Joe Kennedy of Dexter, Mo., and the Malden Roofing Company.

Kennedy has the low bid, Sifford said, but because Elder wasn't present the bids will have to evaluated later.

Sifford said he couldn't remember the last time a new roof had been put on the courthouse.

"It's been patched here and there quite a bit because there's been quite a few leaks," he said. "We've made several attempts to have it fixed."

Wayne County residents attend hearing on new jail

GREENVILLE, Mo. -- More than 50 viewed an architectural drawing of the proposed Wayne County Jail Monday night, as well as heard about why it is needed and how it would be paid for.

The public hearing was also an opportunity for Wayne County Sheriff Larry Plunkett Sr. and the county commissioners to hear what the residents think about the issue.

The decision whether a half-cent sales tax issue for law enforcement is put on the November ballot was expected to be made by the Wayne County Commission on Tuesday.

What Plunkett has proposed is a 64-bed facility which would cost between $1.5 million to $2 million and would be financed through bonds.

Plunkett said the jail would be paid off in 12 years, which is why he is asking for a sunset clause on the tax at 12 years.

"The only way to cut the cost is the cut the size of the jail," said Plunkett, who averages about 25 to 35 prisoners a day. "I think we would be remiss to build a 40-bed jail.

Second suspect in killing of ex-alderman surrenders

WENTZVILLE, Mo. -- A second suspect wanted in the murder of former Wentzville Alderman Joseph "Ed" Walsh Sr. has surrendered to police.

Jon D. Conderman, 18, was taken into custody at the Wentzville police station late Monday morning. He arrived at the station with his lawyer, said Lt. Kevin Pyatt.

Conderman and Walsh's stepgrandson Jonathan Riggs, 21, both of Wentzville in eastern Missouri, were charged Friday with second-degree murder, first-degree burglary and second-degree robbery. Both were jailed on $500,000 cash-only bond.

Police said the two forced open the front door of Walsh's home on Aug. 11 and tied his legs, arms and face with duct tape. An autopsy revealed that Walsh died of suffocation.

-- From wire reports

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