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A Joplin business has made a donation to benefit senior meals programs in southwest Missouri.  Con-way Truckload donated $3050 to the Area Agency on Aging region ten to support its nutrition program for seniors in Jasper, Newton, Barton and McDonald Counties.  Allison Riddle with Area Agency on Aging tells News Talk KZRG how the money will be used.

"The funds will be used to help pay for food for meals for homebound seniors as well as the meals for the congregate setting for seniors that come to our senior centers."

Last year, Area Agency on Aging delivered almost 184,000 meals to homebound seniors and served another 100,000 at its senior centers in the four counties.
Dozens of kids got free swim lessons Wednesday (4/1) at the Joplin Family YMCA.  It's part of the Y's April Pools Day, aimed at teaching kids ages 4 through 12 about water safety.  Joplin Family Y fitness and aquatics director Dusty Read tells News Talk KZRG about the day.

"We have several different stations set up: getting used to life jackets, what to do in case of an emergency, why you should listen to lifeguards.  We've got all kinds of safety stuff, because drowning is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. (45 people in Missouri drowned last year)". 

Not only that, the kids got to swim with Mermaid Kaitey. If you don't believe us, check out the photo gallery at NewsTalkKZRG.com.
Missouri Southern has hired a new football coach. Denver Johnson had been assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Tulsa the last four seasons.  He's also been a head coach at Murray State and Illinois State and has 30 years experience in coaching.  Johnson tells News Talk KZRG he looks forward to the challenge of coaching in the MIAA.

"You go to the MIAA, you know, you're probably in one of, if not the, premier Division 2 football leagues in the country.  There's some powerhouse programs in this conference.  We acknowledge that, we respect that, but we also have ambitions of being viewed in that very same light."

When asked what style of offense his Lions would run, Johnson replied: "If they're all over here, you run it over there.  If there's a whole bunch of them on both sides, you throw it...and when you throw it, you better throw it to your guy."

Johnson says he'll put together a coaching staff as soon as possible and that when spring practice starts, it may be abbreviated.  Teams are allowed 15 practices, but final exams at Missouri Southern start May 1.

Johnson succeeds Daryl Daye, who resigned in February to become defensive coordinator at Northwestern State.
The attorney for the man suspected of shooting two police officers during a demonstration in Ferguson last month is expressing surprise about audio of jail telephone calls in which the suspect appears to confess to the shooting.

Jeffrey L. Williams is accused of wounding the officers March 12 outside of the Ferguson Police Department.

Prosecutors say Williams told investigators he fired a gun but was aiming at someone else.

KMOV-TV first obtained audio of Williams' jail phone conversations. He says in one call that he wasn't aiming at police but shot back when someone shot at him. He expresses concern about a possible 10-year prison sentence.

Attorney Jerryl Christmas told The Associated Press that he hasn't heard the audio, but says Williams said he didn't fire a weapon.
State universities in Kansas could not increase tuition for two years under a proposal drafted by legislators negotiating over budget issues.

Three senators and three House members reached agreement Wednesday (4/1) on a proposed $15.5 billion spending plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Higher education spending was a major issue for the negotiators.

Their budget agreement largely adopts Governor Sam Brownback's proposals to keep spending on the higher education system relatively flat, despite a projected budget shortfall of nearly $600 million.

Negotiators agreed to avoid cuts in spending for the University of Kansas and Kansas State University but added a provision requiring universities to hold tuition at current levels through June 2017.

GOP negotiators said they're concerned about how tuition increases would affect students and their families.
The Kansas House has narrowly approved a bill authorizing $1 billion in bonds to bolster the short-term financial health of the pension system for teachers and government workers.

The vote Wednesday (4/1) was 63-57 on a compromise drafted by House and Senate negotiators. The Senate expects to vote Thursday on the proposal, and approval then would send the measure to Governor Sam Brownback.

Issuing bonds would give the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System an infusion of cash, immediately narrowing a long-term gap in the funding for retirement benefits. Supporters believe KPERS will earn significantly more from investing the funds raised than it will pay on the bonds.

Brownback proposed $1.5 billion in pension bonds.

Critics see the idea as risky.
Governor Sam Brownback plans to sign a bill allowing Kansas residents to carry concealed firearms without a permit.

The Governor's office scheduled a signing ceremony for Thursday afternoon (4/2) at the Statehouse. Legislators approved the measure last week. 

The new law takes effect July 1.  The National Rifle Association says Kansas will become the fifth state to allow concealed carry without a permit everywhere within its borders.

Kansas still will issue permits for gun owners who want to carry concealed in other states that recognize Kansas permits. A person seeking a Kansas permit must undergo eight hours of firearms training.

Supporters of the bill said gun owners have shown they can be trusted to carry concealed. Critics say the state should require some training first.
Control Technology Solutions will be working with the Jasper County commission to price different heating and cooling systems to update the current boiler system in the Jasper County Courthouse. Officials say it's difficult to control the temperature with the 90-year-old steam heater. Presiding Commissioner John Bartosh tells News Talk KZRG they're still very early in the
A Joplin woman is among 13 defendants in a federal indictment handed down for false tax claims. According to US Attorney Tammy Dickinson, 36-year-old Shauna Hughey was one of a baker's dozen charged in a 30-count indictment by a federal grand jury about more than $340,000 in fraudulent income tax refunds.

Those indicted include:
 
Cherie Christine Dupuis, 42, Claudia
Getting out of debt can be a challenge.  It's a challenge Neosho has met after it was learned in 2010 that Jan Blase, who was then the city manager, had taken money that was reserved for specific purposes and moved it into the City's general fund.  Neosho Mayor Richard Davidson tells News Talk KZRG the City has now repaid those funds.

"Mr. Blase took funds to the tune of about $1.3 million that he was not allowed by state law to take.  From the senior center, from the the water department.  All those funds are restricted, but he did it anyway.  We had no legal obligation to pay that money back, but we made the decision that it was the right thing to do. So five years ago we said we're going to pay it back."

Davidson says the $272,000 annually used to pay back those funds can now be used for other things.

At a town hall meeting Tuesday (3/31), Davidson also said Neosho has $2.3 million in reserves.
Missouri senators have defeated a proposal to expand eligibility for Medicaid.  Tuesday night's (3/31) vote was 25-9 against the measure.  The vote follows rallies in the Capitol and across the state calling on lawmakers to debate expanding the joint federal and state health care program for low-income residents.  Republicans say the measure is too costly, while Democrats say it could save lives.
Webb City Police say they know who stabbed a man at a home Tuesday afternoon (3/31), but the victim won't cooperate with police.  At 4:40pm Tuesday, Police were called to a home on North Walker, where 45-year-old Kevin Nally had a stab wound to his upper chest.  Police learned Nally was stabbed at his home on North Hall.  Webb City Police tell News Talk KZRG Nally is refusing to help police in their investigation.  He's recovering at a Joplin hospital.