VIRGIN MOBILE-KANSAS CITY
Virgin Mobile looking to hire up 100 people
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Virgin Mobile says it plans to open its permanent U.S. headquarters in downtown Kansas City and hire up to 100 people.
The communications company currently is in a temporary office in the same downtown building and has been renovating a new floor for its headquarters. It expects to move to the new offices at the end of the summer.
The state of Missouri granted Virgin Mobile up to $1.87 million in incentives if the company creates 84 jobs during the next five years.
Virgin Mobile is affiliated with Sprint Corp., which is based in Overland Park, Kansas. The company’s decision to expand into Missouri is part of a plan to relaunch the brand under Sprint.
ST LOUIS CRIMES
St. Louis County, city sees drop in overall crime
(Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com)
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Law enforcement officials say the overall crime total in St. Louis County and in the city of St. Louis decreased in 2016.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports crime in the county is down 2 percent.
St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson says reported overall crime in the city has dropped 4.1 percent. Dotson says that violent crimes, like homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault were up 4.4 percent compared to 2015. Property crimes dropped by about 6.6 percent.
Mayor Francis Slay said Tuesday that he would look for ways to hire more police officers and noted a proposed sales tax increase could help to do so.
St. Louis County police chief Jon Belmar has called for the hiring of more officers.
SQUAW CREEK-NAME CHANGE
Feds change name of Squaw Creek refuge despite objections
MOUND CITY, Mo. (AP) — The director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is changing the name of the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge in northwest Missouri because the term “squaw” is considered offensive.
The move announced Wednesday changes the name to Loess Bluff National Wildlife Refuge. It comes despite strong opposition from U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, who represents the district, and many residents of the region.
Agency director Dan Ashe says in a news release the term “squaw” is not acceptable for use in the national wildlife refuge system. The refuge has had the same name since it was established in 1935.
Graves told The St. Joseph News-Press Wednesday that the name change was “ridiculous” overreach by the federal government and he is prepared to do what he can to stop it.
Missouri Gov. Greitens picks chief operating officer
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s new Republican governor has named a partner at a global management consulting firm as the state’s chief operating officer.
Gov. Eric Greitens announced at a Jefferson City steel manufacturing business Wednesday that he picked Drew Erdmann from McKinsey and Company for the job.
Greitens created the COO position through executive order. He didn’t take questions from reporters.
Erdmann previously worked as the National Security Council’s director for Iran, Iraq and strategic planning in 2005 under former Republican President George W. Bush.
He worked as a member of the policy planning staff of the State Department from 2001-2003.
The executive order calls for the official to work with state agencies to cut redundant programs and improve efficiency.
Erdmann declined to comment to The Associated Press on his salary.
Family of boy killed on Kansas waterslide settles with park
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The family of a Kansas lawmaker’s 10-year-old son killed last summer on what was billed as the world’s tallest water slide has reached a settlement with the park’s owner.
Terms of the deal filed Wednesday in Kansas’ Johnson County District Court involving Caleb Schwab’s family were not immediately released.
A spokeswoman for Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts, Winter Prosapio, confirmed the settlement, which was first reported by The Kansas City Star. She declined to elaborate, other than to say the park’s owners plan to follow through on demolishing the slide as announced in November.
An attorney for two women injured with Schwab during the ill-fated ride last Aug. 7 says Wednesday’s action does not resolve any potential liabilities against the park by his clients.
No charges have been filed.
Missouri lawmakers seek to convert Medicaid to block grant
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Some Republican lawmakers in Missouri are proposing to overhaul the state’s Medicaid system without waiting for President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress to act first.
A Senate committee heard testimony Wednesday on a bill that would direct the state Department of Social Services to seek a “global waiver” from federal Medicaid requirements to remake the state’s program.
Sponsoring Sen. David Sater says the intent is to ask the federal government to provide Missouri’s Medicaid money as a block grant, giving the state greater flexibility over how to spend it. Federal Medicaid dollars currently are provided on a matching basis for each state dollar that’s spent on health care services.
Sater said he plans to bring the bill up for a committee vote next week.
Patrol: Moberly police officer shot, wounded man with knife
MOBERLY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say an officer has shot and wounded a Missouri man who was wielding a knife.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said in a news release Wednesday that 37-year-old Joseph Ritter, of Moberly, is listed in serious but stable condition at a Columbia hospital. The release said Ritter, who is white, was shot Tuesday after a Moberly police officer responded to a “keep the peace” call from a home. The release provided no details about what led up to the call.
The patrol says Ritter began “acting erratically” before approaching the officer with a knife in a “threatening manner.” The Moberly officer who shot Ritter wasn’t injured.
No charges were immediately filed against Ritter, but the patrol is investigating.
Man pleads guilty in death of Missouri man found in river
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) — A 32-year-old man has admitted to fatally shooting a southeast Missouri man whose body was found two years ago in a river.
The Southeast Missourian reports that Russell Mayberry, of Zalma, pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder in the death of 53-year-old Kenneth Willard, of Bismark.
As part of the plea, Mayberry’s sentence will be capped at 12 years. Also, other charges, including abandonment of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence, will be dismissed against Mayberry and his father. Unrelated drug charges against his wife also were dismissed.
Authorities found Willard’s body in January 2015 in the Black River in Wayne County. Court records say debit-card records show that Willard had been missing since October 2014. In admitting to the shooting, Mayberry didn’t say when it happened.