Newscast for October 19, 2011

Oct 19, 2011

Local news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including: legislation that would require the Missouri Bank Association to give confidential document access to the State Auditor, a new Missouri Supreme Court justice, updates to the  Columbia's Parks and Recreation Department plans,  changes in Camden County's ambulance dispatching services and legislation that would give Jewish veterans from World War I a chance to be honored battle awards.

Missouri Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt are backing a bill they say could provide recognition to some Jewish veterans from World War I. The legislation would require a review of the military records of Jews who served in World War I to see if any qualify for the Medal of Honor.

A similar law passed in 2001 required a review of military records to see if any Jewish soldiers deserved the Medal of Honor for their service in World War II.

McCaskill says the new legislation could help correct past injustices if some Jewish soldiers were denied honors because of discrimination. Blunt said he was proud to join other senators in co-sponsoring the legislation.

Columbia’s Parks and Recreation Department unveiled its new ten-year plan yesterday (Tuesday) during a public meeting at the Activity and Recreation Center.

Guests were encouraged to submit comments with additional changes to the planned upgrades, including extra park benches, new baseball and soccer fields and areas for popular non-traditional games like disc golf and pickleball.

Richard Perkins is an engineering aide for the Parks and Rec Department.  He says the plan will be responsive to new recreational gaming trends.

"We are just looking for input from other groups that may be interested in our new facilities."

Officials expect the upgrades will draw visitors to Columbia for sports tournaments and bring business to the city.

State Auditor Tom Schweich wants Missouri lawmakers to file legislation next year he says would clarify that his office, by law, has complete access to bank examination records kept by the state’s Division of Finance. 

Schweich released an audit earlier this year that found the division had not used the proper criteria while examining four failed state chartered banks and had overcharged for the costs of bank exams.  The Missouri Banker’s Association is suing Schweich to block him from accessing bank exam records.  Max Cook is the MBA’s President and CEO.

"Those reports contain a tremendous amount of confidential and proprietary information on customers of those banks, and we have grave concerns about that information being in the hands of an elected official or anybody else for that matter."

Cook also contends that the State Constitution bars the State Auditor from gaining access to confidential bank records.  Schweich disagrees, and says he’s willing to take his case to the Missouri Supreme Court, in addition to pursuing legislation.

St. John’s Ambulance Service will take over dispatching duties for Lake West Ambulance District in Camden County. St. John’s uses a 9-1-1 trunk line that transfers information directly from an emergency call to a computer. This process is quicker than Lake West’s old manual transferring system. Lake West’s office manager Gayle Webb says St. John’s will help the community.

"We toured their facility and the day that we were there, they were monitoring like 40 ambulances and 6 or 7 helicopters. So you know, they have experience and they’re all trained, they’re all qualified."

The change will save Lake West around $100,000  annually.   

Governor Jay Nixon has named Judge George Draper the Third to the Missouri Supreme Court.  As Marshall Griffin reports from Jefferson City, Draper will move to the state’s High Court from the Eastern District Appeals Court.
Draper has served on the Eastern Appeals Court in St. Louis since 2000, and has also taught trial advocacy classes at St. Louis University’s School of Law for the past 15 years.  Draper will also be the first African-American to sit on the state’s highest court since former Judge Ronnie White retired in 2007.  In a statement, the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus says it’s extremely pleased with Draper’s appointment, and that his experience made him the best candidate for the job.  St. Louis attorney Joe Jacobson and Jackson County Circuit Judge Michael Manners were also considered for the job.  Draper will replace Judge Michael Wolff, who retired in August.  In Jefferson City I’m Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio.