Region digest 11/23/02

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Vietnam vet to speak at war protest today

Vietnam veteran Frank Ackles will speak at an anti-war gathering today at the Osage Community Centre in Cape Girardeau. Ackles doesn't want the United States to go to war against Iraq.

The 7 p.m. event, hosted by the Southeast Missouri Coalition for Peace and Justice, is open to the public. Admission is free. The community center is at 1625 N. Kingshighway.

A Marine veteran, Ackles is a member of the Veterans for Peace group in St. Louis.

Bob Polack Jr. and Susan Bundy of the Southeast Missouri coalition also are scheduled to speak. A short film on the Iraq issue, titled "The New Patriots," will be shown.

Polack, an assistant professor of social work at Southeast Missouri State University, said the coalition has about 90 members, mostly from the Cape Girardeau area.

"I think there are a lot of people who are really questioning U.S. foreign policy," he said.

NAMI chapter holds Cape Girardeau workshop

Police officers, social workers, counselors and others who interact with the mentally ill gathered at the Osage Community Centre in Cape Girardeau on Friday for a workshop on meeting the challenges of their jobs.

It was organized by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, contracted by the Missouri Department of Mental Health to conduct three such workshops around the state. Cindi Keele, the executive director of NAMI's Missouri chapter, said 42 people attended.

She said the mentally ill and their family members face particularly tough challenges in Southeast Missouri because of a lack of resources that promises to get worse with the state's budget crunch.

Keele also promoted NAMI's help line at (800) 374-2138. Those who call can get information about NAMI or help with a specific problem.

The organization is looking for volunteers for a group in the Cape Girardeau area. The group focuses on public education and trying to dispel misunderstandings the myths about psychiatric issues. NAMI also offers support groups.

Interested persons should call the help line.

Investigation continues in fatal Jackson crash

Five days after an automobile crash killed Jackson dairy farmer Norman L. Leimbach, 74, Jackson police have only released limited details about what happened late Sunday afternoon on Highway 61.

On Friday, Capt. Robert Hull said an investigation is still pending into the exact cause of the crash, which occurred nearly half a mile north of Harmony Lane.

Liembach was driving southbound on Highway 61 in his 1988 Chrysler LeBaron behind another vehicle that was flashing its hazard lights.

Hull said the vehicle with the flashing lights was acting as an escort for a backhoe driving in front of it, partially on the road shoulder. Because it was already dark outside, police think Leimbach may not have immediately seen the backhoe as he was attempting to pass the escort vehicle.

As Leimbach pulled his car around to pass, he remained in the northbound lane for too long and struck a 1984 Toyota Camry head on, injuring the driver, Daniel Harmon, 46, of Chaffee.

Cape Girardeau County Coroner Mike Hurst was called to the scene, where he pronounced Leimbach dead, Hull said. Harmon was taken to a local hospital.

Man faces trial for molestation in March

A convicted Cape Girardeau sex offender will face a jury trial in March for two counts of first-degree child molestation.

William H. Evans, 51, was arrested in late August and remains in custody in lieu of $50,000 bail. Investigators said he subjected a 9-year-old girl to sexual contact on Aug. 23 and Aug. 24.

A trial date of March 13 was set on Friday. Evans is being represented by public defender Bryan Keller.

In 1987, Evans was convicted of sodomy and sexual abuse in Cape Girardeau County.

-- From staff reports

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