Missouri’s newest commission, the nine-member Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission to Preserve Defense Missions in Missouri, has held its first meeting in Jefferson City. Missouri stands to lose 3,600 military and civilian jobs if the latest Pentagon proposal of base closings goes through unchanged. David Pearce is a State Representative from Warrensburg and serves on the Commission. He says while they are looking to stop the cuts now, they also want to head off any future cuts. Pearce is suggesting changes such as zoning laws more friendly to military operations, and making into law, in-state tuition for dependents of military members serving in Missouri.
Archives for May 2005
It appears the tourist season is off to a good start. State Tourism Director John Robinson is quick to point out the numbers haven’t come in yet, but what he saw this weekend in trips to family gatherings in Hannibal and at the Lake of the Ozarks indicates the crowds were big and the business brisk. He says it doesn’t appear high gas prices have hurt. Robinson says tourism has changed drastically since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, with people staying closer to home and shortening the time-frame by which they decide where to go. And, even as the state keeps advertising for tourists this summer, it has begun trying to lure people to the state this fall. Robinson likes to quote Mark Twain who said if you want to see Missouri at its most beautiful, visit it in the fall.
A secret that has been kept for more than three decades has now been revealed. W. Mark Felt has identified himself at “Deep Throat” from the Watergate era. He was an FBI official who provided Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein with the information needed to expose what had happened. Felt has a Kansas City connection, having headed the FBI office in that city in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Bill Quinn, a retired FBI agent served directly under Felt between 1958 and 1962. He says Felt is a stand up guy. Quinn stayed in touch with Felt from time to time and said they never discussed Watergate.
The fifth annual report on Missouri traffic stops has been sent to the Governor. And, a racial disparity in stops and searches is still evident. A 2000 law on racial profiling requires law enforcement agencies to provide the State with information on traffic stops. Attorney General Jay Nixon says 603 agencies submitted information, detailing more than 1.3-Million stops. The data show Blacks were stopped at a rate 34 percent higher than expected based solely on their proportion of the driving-age population. Nixon says the information opens the door to discussion on allegations of racial profiling. Discrepancies aside, Nixon says indications are law enforcement agencies are doing good work. 70 agencies have not provided the data. Governor Matt Blunt will have the option of withholding funding from those agencies.
Related web sites:
2004 Report on Traffic Stops
The Blunt Administration claims its policy of cracking down on wasteful spending is starting to pay dividends. Mike Keathly, Commisioner of the Office of Administration, says the savings for the current fiscal year have already reached more than $1-Million. Some of that comes from the fact there are fewer government workers than there were previously. Another is consolidation of work space brought about by reorganization of government agencies. It’s been discovered that while space is being leased on non-government buildings, there are vacancies in government buildings. Keathley says it makes no sense to waste these taxpayer dollars.
The search is over for the Kansas City Royals. Buddy Bell was hired and introduced as their new manager at a press conference Kauffman Stadium Tuesday afternoon. Bell comes to Kansas City after entering his third season as the Indians bench coach. Bell, who played against the Royals in the 1970’s and 1980’s remembers the team as a proud franchise.
“The tradition of the Royals is a great thing,” Bell said, “and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Bell, who General Manager Allard Baird said was his first choice to replace Tony Pena, takes over a team with the worst record in baseball. The Royals are 13-37 and are already 20 ½ games out of first in the American League Central, but Bell’s coming into the job with positive thoughts.
“I’m impressed with the guys on the field. They’ve got some good young players and I want to be a part of turning this thing around,” said Bell. Despite the financial limitations the team is faced with, Bell indicated that the future in Kansas City can be bright, saying, “I would not be here today if I didn’t believe that we could be patient with this process.”
Tony Pena, who was named the Royals manager in 2002, suddenly resigned after a 3-1 loss in Toronto on May 10.
Bell beat out a list of candidates that included Jerry Manuel, Art Howe, Terry Collins and Royals bench coach Bob Schaeffer.
This marks his third stint as a major league manager. In 1996, he was hired as by the Detroit Tigers and fired after 137 games in the 1998 season. The Tigers were 161-185 under Bell. After sitting out the 1999 season, Bell was hired by the Rockies in 2000 and led Colorado to an 82-80 record—his only winning campaign. After going 73-89 in 2001, Bell was fired after leading the Rockies to a 6-16 start in 2002. He’s now ready to start the process of being a manager all over again.
“I’m looking forward to each and every day,” said Bell
His contract with the team will run through 2007. In 18 major league seasons with the Indians, Rangers, Reds and Astros Bell was a four time All-Star and won six Gold Gloves.
The State Highway Patrol reports eight people lost their lives in traffic wrecks during the three-day Memorial holiday weekend. The Patrol’s Lieutenant Tim Hull says a common thread weaving through the wrecks was drivers allowing something to turn their attention away from their driving. A one-vehicle wreck south of St. Louis on Sunday killed one and seriously injured five. Another single vehicle accident Monday afternoon claimed the life of one person and seriously injured six. Two wrecks on Sunday killed five. Last year, 15 people died in traffic wrecks during the Memorial Day weekend. It was also a busy weekend on Missouri’s waterways. The State Water Patrol reports three deaths on the waters: two drownings and one in a boating accident on Table Rock Lake. But the overall number of accidents was down from a year ago – 18 this year compared to 29 a year ago. Patrol officials credit a new boater safety requirement for the lower accident total.
Executives with the American Civil Liberties Union in St. Louis say the FBI has crossed the line in its investigations of Muslims, anarchists and peace activists. The ACLU accuses the FBI of unwarranted investigations of certain groups for religious or political reasons. An ACLU spokesman calls it “eerily reminiscent of the days of J. Edgar Hoover.” The St. Louis branch has filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act, seeking any investigative files the FBI might have on certain groups. A spokesman for the FBI denies the accusations, stating the Bureau doesn’t have the resources nor the time to monitor activities of people just for the sake of monitoring their activities.
One of Missouri’s two freshmen members of the US House has had a key role in last week’s passage of the bill expanding federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Congressman Russ Carnahan of St. Louis was a co-sponsor of the bill. He says people from Washington University, which is in his district, have told him the bill is critical to research. Carnahan says the bill is narrowly focused to avoid abuse and he says critics who claim the research will lead to cloning are wrong. The bill is now in the US Senate.
Business and government leaders will spend some time at the Lake of the Ozarks this week as they take part in the Annual Governor’s Business Development Conference. Economic Development Director Greg Steinhoff says part of the agenda will see Missouri officials making the pitch to out-of-state companies to move here. And, he says the Legislature’s approval of such things as litigation reform and workers’ compensation reform are helping to sell the state. Steinhoff says his office will also be talking up the Quality Jobs Act, which provides incentives to businesses that move to Missouri – if those business come here with high paying jobs and health care benefits for workers taking those jobs.