The Springfield News-Leader from Springfield, Missouri on May 27, 1988 · Page 17
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The Springfield News-Leader from Springfield, Missouri · Page 17

Springfield, Missouri
Issue Date:
Friday, May 27, 1988
Page 17
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OZARKS FRIDAY. MAY 27, 1988 Across the Ozarks 3 Missouri 4-5 Marketplace 6-8 The News-Leader To report local news, call 836-1126 SECTION Jury asks FBI to probe train deaths in Newton By Jane Fullerton The News-Leader A Benton, Ark., grand jury has called for an FBI investigation into the 1985 deaths of two Newton County teen-agers who were run over by a train. The grand jury that made the recommendation also is investigating the deaths of two Arkansas teenagers who were run over by a train last August in a similar incident. Although the Arkansas deaths were earlier ruled accidental, the grand jury concluded in a prelimi Helping out Dan Goodwin of Springfield donates blood Thursday afternoon on was set up at Battlefield Mall Thursday for donations. Nurse Jean the new American Red Cross bloodmobile. The traveling facility Burney, right, was among the people assisting. , , Woman places fate in jury's hands Judge: 2-year term not enough for driver with past DWI convictions By Barbara Clauser The News-Leader A two-year state prison term was not a long enough sentence for a Springfield woman who has had nine or 10 , drunken driving convictions in a 10-year period, Greene County Circuit Judge Don Bon-acker ruled Thursday. Bonacker refused to follow a plea-bargain agreement that recommended a two-year sentence for Debra Lynn Clark, 36, of Springfield. Clark pleaded guilty earlier to a felony third-offense drunken driving charge. Under the terms of the agreement, the prosecution did not oppose probation. Bonacker told Clark he would assess a four-year state prison sentence unless she withdrew her 2-year-old Ru (iira Simriorman J The News-Leader Today marks the second anni versary of Springfield's sign ordinance, and things appear to be going well, a city official says. . About 97 percent of the signs are in compliance with the ordinance, and the city is issuing few court citations, Sign Enforcement Officer Queeta Schumpert said. Most businesses are correcting violations after they receive their first notice, she said. Many businesses, in fact, are calling City Hall before they acquire a sign, Schumpert said. They are aware the city has a new ordinance, and they want to know what they can and cannot do, she said. It 3-6-8 nary report released Wednesday night that the deaths probably were homicides . but not necessarily murder. The grand jury then called for an FBI investigation into the Arkansas deaths, the 1984 deaths of two Oklahoma men run over by a train, and the Aug. 20, 1985, deaths of David E. Taylor, 13, and Sean Donald Fickle Reineke, 15, both of Saginaw in Newton County. Newton County authorities ruled the deaths of Taylor and Reineke accidental, Sheriff Mark Bridges guilty plea. The law requires that a person be given an opportunity to withdraw a guilty plea if the judge declines to follow a plea-bargain agreement. ' . Clark decided to change her plea after conferring with Assistant Public Defender Ron Conway. The case tentatively is scheduled for, jury trial June 7. ; In asking the judge to accept the agreement, Special Assistant Prosecutor Richard Monroe told the judge Clark has a substantial prior record. However, a two-year term would be appropriate under the circumstances of the case, Monroe said. ' : - ' Asked by the judge if there was a problem of proof, Monroe said the prosecution always has a problem sign ordinance going well Two years after enactment of a major sign ordinance in Springfield, about 97 percent of the city's signs are in compliance, Sign Enforcement Officer Queeta Schumpert said. Few citations are issued and most businesses correct violations after the first notice, Schumpert said. "We're getting a lot more calls before the signs go up," Schumpert said. , The City Council enacted the new ordinance on May 27, 1986, and has approved several amendments. In enacting the ordinance, the Brochure teaches tree care The National Arbor Day Foundation has published a Conservation Trees brochure to help people plant and care for trees. Tips include how to use shade trees and windbreaks to save energy in your home and how to attract songbirds. Send your name and address to: Conservation Trees, , The National Arbor Day Foundation, Nebraska City, Neb. 68410. said Thursday. The call for reopening the case came as a surprise to him. "We can't see any connection right now," Bridges said. "Of course, if they can substantiate information that would tie any of these together, we'd be very interested in looking into it. "But from the information we received, it doesn't look too likely." Taylor and Reineke were struck and killed about 5 a.m. by a southbound Kansas City Southern freight train, Bridges said. with proof when an accident is involved. Clark's blood-alcohol reading based on a blood test was .20 percent, twice the legal intoxica- tion level in Missouri, Monroe said. "I do have a very strong argument for probation," Conway told the judge. Bonacker had mentioned that the ; presentence investigation report contained seven pages listing prior offenses. Conway said many of those cases had been dismissed or that Clark had been found innocent. Some cases did not show what , happened. However,, Conway agreed a substantial number of cases on the list involved convictions. ' -: : ' Most of the charges involved the use of alcohol or resulted from the council directed the Building Regulations Department to survey all signs in the city. Staff members recently completed the survey, and they found the city has 15,461 signs in 10,300 locations. Some places have both wall and pole signs, and that aver Officers who investigated the deaths said the boys were either asleep or lying on the tracks on a railroad trestle in the Saginaw area when they were hit by the train, Bridges said. Tests showed neither boy had used drugs or alcohol prior to the incident. Bridges said that authorities had speculated the two boys may have thought they could lie between the tracks, and the train would pass over them without hitting them. After the deaths, he said, authori- Mike WingoThe News-Leader use of alcohol, Conway said. Clark told the judge she is attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings once a week. " Clark has only one felony conviction. She received a two-year state prison term in 1984 on a felony third-offense drunken driving charge. Clark has three prior county DWI convictions and at least five prior Springfield municipal court convictions for DWI. The presentence investigation report did not recommend proba- tion. . Clark was charged with the new felony DWI offense after being involved in a two-car accident Dec. 14, 1987, in the 1 100 block of North National Avenue. It was snowing and sleeting heavily, reports said. ages out to about 1.5 signs per location, Schumpert said. In doing the survey, inspectors found 4,555 violations of the sign ordinance. Many of the violators had failed to obtain a permit when they put up a sign, and most acquired a permit as soon as they received the violation notice, Schumpert said. Having too many signs at one location was another common violation, she said. Inspectors started the survey in August 1986 and looked at signs on every street in the city, including residential streets. There were a few violations in Please seeSIGNSPage2B Tour of wildflowers Take a look for wildflowers such as Watercress, Solomon's Seal, Yarrow and Blue-eyed grass during a tour at George Washington Carver Park Saturday. Anyone interested should meet at the park's visitors center at 10 a.m. For more information, call (417) 325-4151 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily. ties placed objects on the tracks to determine what effect the train would have on them. "Tests showed that the force of the train, the suction from the train running over them would have pulled their heads and bodies up enough for them to get killed," he explained. The case was ruled an accident and was closed. Bridges said he was surprised to learn of the grand jury's recommendation. He added that he didn't know how the jury made the con m&imft Governor says program is investment in Missouri By Terrl Gleich Our Capital Bureau JEFFERSON CITY Democratic State Chairwoman Karen Schafer Thursday criticized Gov. John Ashcroft's weeklong promotional tour for the AgriMissouri program as "too political and too expensive." Ashcroft and other state officials are spending four and a half days and about $8,000 this week to travel to 18 cities and towns throughout the state on behalf of the agricultural marketing program. He was scheduled to appear in Springfield Tuesday, but canceled because of illness. According to Randy Sissel, the governor's spokesman, that's money well spent as an investment in the state's economy. 1 "It's appalling that Ms. Schafer doesn't take the time to research what AgriMissouri is all about before making such ludicrous charges," he said. "It's interesting that she would criticize him (Ashcroft) for trying to promote jobs around the state. It seems like her idea of the governor's job is to sit in an ivory tower and do nothing. His idea is to promote Missouri. He views it as his K WTO-AM signs off controversial signs By Mark Marymont The News-Leader The signs for KWTO-AM morning announcer Watson Jelks should soon disappear from front yards all over the city. KWTO manager Mike Crowder announced Thursday that the station would remove all signs within the city limits and the city would drop charges of violating a sign ordinance that prohibits non-political yard signs. . KWTO pleaded not guilty to eight counts of violating that ordinance on May 6. Trial had been set for June 21 in municipal court. "There will be no fine; all charges were dropped," Crowder said. "The signs will be removed. It was mutually agreed to. The signs will stay up in Greene County and at other sites outside of the city." Crowder said KWTO attorneys began discussing the possibility of settling the charges about a week ago. "The problem we ran into is that listeners who supported the radio station and had the signs up were facing being taken to municipal court over the signs." Under Springfield municipal ordinances, each sign violation could have resulted in a fine of up to $500. Crowder said KWTO officials didn't want listeners fined because of the signs. County nection between the three train-pedestrian incidents. But Bridges said if evidence connected the Newton County case to the Arkansas and Oklahoma cases, he would reopen it. "If we can prove there's anything to this, we'll reopen the case in a minute," he said. The Saline County, Ark., grand jury is investigating the deaths of Kevin Ives, 17, and Don Henry, 16, both of Bryant, Ark. Please see TRAINPage 2B tout?. duty and responsibility to be a salesman for Missouri." Sissell said Ashcroft has been promoting the AgriMissouri program since 1986 and that he would not officially begin campaigning for re-election until after the primary, when his Democratic challenger is chosen. Schafer questioned the expense of the tour and asked what state taxpayers are getting for their money. "I have serious concerns that Mr. Ashcroft is promoting his candidacy rather than Dromotiner a program which 'sncron could be very important to our state's economy," Schafer said. "Rather than thoroughly educating the public in the interest of Missouri's people and products, he has chosen to surround himself with fellow administration officials and the press. The tour is on the taxpayers' tab, and the taxpayers Please see TOURPage 2B : KWTO has given out about 3,000 of the 5,000 signs they had printed earlier this spring. They encourage listeners to "vote" for Jelks on June 7 as a write-in candidate. The ballot that day will include a countywide library-tax issue, but no offices will be filled. Crowder said Jelks began asking local listeners to remove their yard signs during his Thursday morning show. "We've also been taking signs down. Some of them were damaged in the weekend rain and we collected those, too." KWTO announcers also will be asking listeners who want to "vote" for Jelks on June 7 to do so at the KWTO studios, and refrain from writing Jelks' name on any ballots. "We don't want to run the possibility of any of those ballots not being counted for any reason. We'll have our own ballots here for our listeners." Crowder said he still questioned the ordinance that allows only political signs, as well as the city's claim that the KWTO signs weren't political. He acknowledged that KWTO had received promotional benefits from the controversy and the resulting media coverage during the annual radio ratings period, which continues through June 29. Aid for energy projects The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is accepting applications from cities, counties, local governments, and non-profit agencies for financial assistance for energy conservation projects. For more information, contact Ron Wyse, DNR Division of Energy, P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, Mo. 65102.

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