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Parking during Winter storms cause extra issue for those with disabilities

SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — Many people are often critiqued about their parking. But it isn’t necessarily parking in between the lines people should be focused on, it’s where they park.

We met up with a disability advocate and spoke with him on able bodied people parking in handicap spots. What did he have to say about the issue?

Kyle Daniels says unauthorized people parking in designated handicap spots, especially in harsher weather, brings extra challenges to an already difficult issue for the handicapped.

Kyle Daniels – Disability Advocate, said, “I had a gun shot wound to the C-67 level of the spinal cord that put me in a electric wheelchair for a long time, and obviously able to get back up to my feet. I’ve gotten my left side of my body doesn’t, is still paralyzed, so if it’s slick or snowy out, the legs can slide out from underneath me just as soon as I stand up.”

Like everyone, Daniels realizes that people want to get where they need to be as soon as possible. But he says what some people don’t recognize is, the problems a disabled person can endure if people illegally park in handicap parking.

“Most the time if they have a reason to want to park up close, they might have an issue with the way the walk. and their feet aren’t as sure as a person with an able body would be, and they can slip out from underneath themselves just as fast, I actually fell in the parking lot last night.”

Lieutenant Mike Whitehead of the Neosho Police Department says if you park in these spots and aren’t handicap, not only are you putting people like Daniels at risk of injury, but you may come back with a surprise on your windshield.

Mike Whitehead – Neosho Police Department Lieutenant, said, “If you’re parked in a handicap spot without a placard, the penalties can be as high as $135.”

While $135 dollars might not be a lot to everyone, it could come at a higher cost for someone who is handicap.

“We understand that people are just wanting to get inside, but if we can’t use those spots, we can fall down in the parking lot, we can be just one day away from, or one fall away from an accident, or going back to the hospital, or back into a wheelchair again,” said Daniels.

Lieutenant Whitehead says it’s usually a laziness factor when people illegally park in handicap parking and they need to be more considerate. Daniels says they just want to be as safe as they can and not get injured. He adds it would be nice if people are aware of their surroundings and give people who are handicap a chance to park up front.

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Kansas lawmakers pass income tax bill, adopt parts of Gov. Kelly’s proposal after hours of debate

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)— After hours of debate on Tuesday, Kansas senators voted to pass an income tax bill adopting some of Governor Laura Kelly’s prior tax proposal.

This comes after the governor proposed her plan that she claims would give tax cuts to more than 90% of Kansans. 

“I think this bill was well thought out. We’ve debated it many times in committee,” said Sen. Larry Alley, R-Winfield, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Assessment and Taxation, which sponsored the bill. 

Kansas senators voted to pass Senate Bill 22, including amendments made by top state Democrats. 

The bill aims to give $423 million in relief over three years to businesses and individuals paying higher state tax bills because of federal changes to tax laws in 2017.

It would also provide tax cuts for businesses expecting to see a spike in taxes due to a high volume of unemployment fraud. 

The bill would also encourage people to claim itemized deductions. Current laws don’t allow people to itemize on their state returns if they don’t on their federal returns, creating bigger tax bills.  

But the governor and other top state Democrats said the bill is bad tax policy, focusing more on wealthy individuals and businesses, and less on people struggling through the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We should be helping working Kansas families and providing them with the needed tax relief they need without blowing a hole in the budget,” said House Minority Leader, Rep. Tom Sawyer, during the governor’s press conference Tuesday morning. 

The governor released her new proposal hours before the Senate vote. Under her plan, the state would raise the standard income tax deduction by 35% over two years and tax online music, movies and streaming services to pay for its relief. According to the governor, this would provide tax cuts for 94% of Kansans in the state. 

“Kansas has suffered because of bad tax policy in the past. I don’t think Kansans want to go back there,” Gov. Kelly said. 

The governor’s proposal is also aimed at increasing compliance from out of state retailers, which are able to dodge taxes on sales to Kansas customers. Top Democrats said this creates an unfair advantage for local businesses unable to compete.  

“Kansas is one of only three states left in which in-state businesses are required to pay sales tax, and we don’t require the same of out of state businesses,” said Senate Minority Leader Rep. Dinah Sykes. 

Sykes offered the governor’s plan as an amendment during the hearing. 

While Senate Republicans voted in favor of the governor’s tax deduction proposal to help Kansas families facing an economic crisis, parts of the amendment were struck down by some Senate Republicans who don’t agree with how the governor would pay for relief, which would place a 6.5% sales tax on digital products, like online music and streaming services. 

“Bringing it to the floor, the last day we’re working on it, probably doesn’t give it time to be worked on in committee,” Sen. Winfield told Kansas’ Capitol Bureau. 

The bill now moves to the House. The governor says she’s taking it “day-by-day” on what her next steps will be.

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BBB investigating Springfield based timeshare exit company

SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — The Better Business Bureau is investigating a timeshare exit company for not meeting its promises.

The BBB says 102 complaints were lodged against Relief Solutions International LLC over the last three years. The company is based in Springfield — but people in 33 states and one Canadian province have filed complaints. The BBB says RSI LLC has failed to cancel its timeshares within the promised time frame, failed to issue refunds, and gave misleading sales presentations.

Stephanie Garland, Regional Director Of Springfield BBB, said, “Be very carfeul and research any businesses and owners carefully before paying any money. In this case if people checked out its non-accredited F rated profile on bbb.org. Consumers would have seen very clearly the complaints and what other people were saying. Consumers say they lost between $10,000 to $20,000.”

She says if you have a timeshare and want to cancel it contact the resort that originally sold you the time share to see if they have a deed-back program.

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Fort Scott Fire Department joins risk reduction pilot program

FORT SCOTT, Ks. — A Southeast Kansas Fire Department will soon be helping itself – and the United States – become a safer place.

Cheryl Adamson, Fort Scott Resident, said, “It’s just fitting for us and our community and the fire department to take that lead.”

The Fort Scott Fire Department has entered into an important partnership with the National Fire Protection Association.

Dave Bruner, Fort Scott Fire Chief, said, “It’s a community risk reduction pilot program, we were one of 250 departments across the country selected for this program.”

With those fire departments across the country they will help create a new resource for fire safety and risk reductions in communities.

“Basically it’s a dashboard that will provide us with tools and information and we can plug in what we have currently and understand what we can do to better our department for our community.”

While also helping the Fort Scott Fire Department develop their facility and focus their resources where they need to.

“It will be able to give us a tool basically in our tool box that we can use for future reference to applying for grants and anything like that to help our community and our departments.”

There is still a lot of work to be done however to make sure the department is prepared when the dashboard arrives.

“We’ll have training beginning this week and leads up to access to our dashboard and it will keep going on as long as we utilize it.”

Which will help them better serve their home and growing community.

“Technology is there, we’re wanting that, we’re needing that more and more and as more people come in and move to our rural area, we want to be ahead of that game and ready for them,” said Adamson.

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Top 10 consumer complains of 2020

SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — It’s everything from retail scams to phony charities. And it adds up to 116,000 consumer complaints in Missouri last year.

Gary Stubblefield, Carl Junction, said, “I think the age old rule is if it sounds too good to be true – it probably isn’t true.”

Gary Stubblefield of Carl Junction knows when money is on the line to check up on the details ahead of time.

“I personally received an email wanting bitcoin.”

The Missouri Attorney General’s office gets tens of thousands of complaints a year – problems ranging from timeshare resale issues to pandemic price gouging. Worries over the coronavirus could put some residents at risk, according to Charlotte Foust with the Area Agency on Aging.

Charlotte Foust, Area Agency on Aging, said, “When the pandemic started last spring there were a lot of pandemic related scams – people trying to get into someone’s home, to, under the guise of offering in home services due to the pandemic.”

Health related claims come in number 10 on the top complaints of 2020. Issues with travel and timeshares are next, followed by real estate & construction complaints – like worthless home warranties, communications, technology, and online services, and price gouging.

https://ago.mo.gov/civil-division/consumer/top-10-user-complaints

The top five includes automotive complaints, retail and wholesale, like defective products, financial issues, and problems with solicitations, publications and subscriptions, including false promises of covid cures. But the biggest numbers by far to the Missouri Attorney General’s Office at illegal telemarketing and violations of the No Call List – more than 34,000.

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Area organizations team up to help the homeless

SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — Two local companies are working on a project to combat homelessness.

Nate Schlueter, Chief Visionary Officer at Eden Village, said, “We think that homes alone will solve homelessness, and the reality is the root cause of homelessness is the catastrophic loss of family.”

Eden Village in Springfield is building communities for those who have lived on the streets for a year. They are working with Village Home Builders in Neosho and Center Creek Teardrops in Carl Junction to make permanent and temporary housing for the homeless.

“We cannot build communities quick enough to meet the demand of people that could afford our housing and be good neighbors. We have 170 people on our waiting list.”

So they turned to Center Creek Teardrops in Carl Junction for a temporary housing solution for the homeless.

Julie Ware, Co-Owner of Center Creek Teardrops, said, “It was exciting to be able to create a space that would a safe, dry place for someone to stay overnight. This gave a person a place that they could get into they could lock themselves in and go ahead and get a really good night sleep in their own space.”

They are creating 22 trailers which are solar powered and can withstand heat and cold temperatures. Meanwhile Village Home Builder in Neosho is putting the finishing touches on their 24th and final tiny house for Eden Village.

Vickie Boyt, Village Home Builders, said, “One of the great things about these houses and the vision of Eden Village is to put people into houses that feel like real homes. When you walk into one you’ll feel a sense of space with the vaulted ceilings and the way they’re laid out I think help to provide integrity to the people who are living there.”

Village Home Builders hopes to deliver the last home in mid-March.

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Several Northeast Oklahoma newspapers change ownership

NORTHEAST OKLAHOMA — Three Northeast Oklahoma newspapers are under new ownership.

Oklahoma-based Reid Newspapers has purchased the Miami News-Record, The Grove Grand Lake News, and The Delaware County Journal from Gannett.

Reid is a second-generation, family-owned company that already owns seven other sooner-state newspapers and operates printing operations in Vinita and Weatherford.

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Veterinarians say bring animals inside when temperatures dip below 20 degrees

WEBB CITY, Mo. — With temperatures dipping below freezing — veterinarians are reminding everyone to bring their pets inside.

Madison Pet Clinic in Webb City says when temperatures drop below 20 degrees you should bring your animals inside your home or in a garage. Veterinarians say animals can get frostbite especially if they are wet.

Doctor Amanda Brown, Madison Pet Clinic, said, “It can go bad to worse very very quickly. So of course if they are cold and or wet their body temperature is going to drop and at some point if they continue to get colder and colder and unfortunately they can freeze to death.”

She says if you find an animal outside slowly warm it up with a blanket and if they are unresponsive bring them to a vet immediately.

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'I'm so sorry': Man charged with murder in death of 13-year-old girl dragged by car

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A man arrested in the death of a 13-year-old girl who had been dragged by a stolen car appeared before a judge Tuesday afternoon.

Kevin Palmer, 34, is accused in the death of Brianna Ibarra. Prosecutors have charged him with murder in the first degree in the commission of a felony. He is also charged with theft of property or services valued between $1,500 and $25,000.

“I’m so sorry that this happened. I’m so sorry,” Palmer told the judge as he kept putting his head down on the desk during the proceeding.

Kevin Palmer puts his head on the desk while appearing before a judge Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. (KSN photo)

Police said Palmer stole the Ibarra family’s car from a restaurant parking lot. While her family was inside getting food, Brianna stayed in the car and was sitting in the backseat.

Investigators said as Palmer drove the car away, Brianna tried to get out but got caught in the seat belt. As a result, she was dragged for several miles and died from her injuries.

Palmer’s bond is set at $500,000. His next court date is Feb. 18.

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Pittsburg Polar Plunge postponed due to extreme cold

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pittsburg Police Department announced Wednesday morning the Pittsburg Polar Plunge benefiting the Kansas Special Olympics has been postponed. The annual charity event will instead be held on Saturday, Feb. 27.

According to organizers, the extremely cold temperatures this weekend would have made it difficult to keep people socially distant inside the building.

Pre-registration for the new date will begin on Friday, Feb. 26 from 4:00 – 7:30 at the Crimson Villas. On the Plunge day February 27, a costume contest will be at 11:30 a.m. and the plunge begins at noon.

You can register at plungeks.org