Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cape Fair Man Charged With Domestic Assault:

Richard Thames (mug shot SCSO)

A man from Cape Fair has been charged with being a persistent domestic assault offender following his arrest for allegedly beating and threatening to kill his girlfriend.

According to court records, Richard William Thames, 40, was intoxicated when he head-butted and punched the woman in the eye in a fight over "$10.00"  The woman told authorities that after she cooked dinner she was sitting on the couch with her son's when Thames smashed a glass coffee table and told her he was going to "gut" her with one of the shards.

Deputy Kevin Crites writes in the probable cause statement that he has assisted the victim in the past and observed an old scar on the woman's thigh where Thames stabbed her with a fork.

According to court documents, Thames allegedly admitted that he and his girlfriend fought over how she spent her "last ten dollars," but did not admit to assaulting the woman.
In March of this year Thames was charged with second-degree domestic assault. That case is still pending, according to online court records.

In 2011 deputy's were called to Thames' residence at least four times for domestic assault.  And in 2010, Thames pleaded guilty to charges of third degree domestic assault and was placed on probation for one year, which he violated.

He is being held in the Stone County jail on $25,000 bond.

Business Owner Will Stand Trial On Stealing Charges:


Deepamar Kohli (mug shot SCSO)

A man who owns a business in Branson West waived his preliminary hearing last week (09-25-12) and will stand trial for allegedly attempting to defraud his insuarnce company out of $7,500.

Authorities say the scheme unraveled when Deepamar Singh Kohli, 30, of Springfield was arrested on charges of selling a controlled substance to an undercover officer in March of this year.

Kohli allegedly sold the officer some synthetic marijuana in February and when authorities raided The Star Mart in March, he admitted that he lied when he told his insurance company that an employee had stolen the money from his business, according to court records.

Kohli was bound over on the charges of distribution of a controlled substance in August.

White Charged With Molestation:


Marty Lynn White (mug shot SCSO)

A forty six year-old man from Marionville is in the Stone County jail after being charged with child molestation.

Authorities say Marty Lynn White allegedly molested the six year-old daughter of his roommate last month.  The little girl told authorities that White "touches her in places he's not supposed to."

The girl told authorities that White was looking for a girlfriend on the Internet and showed she and her five year-old brother pictures, videos and movies of naked girls.

White is on probation for a domestic assault in 2011 involving his sister and mother and a separate case of endangering the welfare of a child.  In the domestic assault case, White was intoxicated when he fired a gun and was taken to a state mental facility for treatment.

White is being held on $100,000 bond. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Stone County Highway Commission Hears Concerns:


The latest meeting of the Stone County Highway Commission garnered a huge crowd.

Several people voiced opposition to proposed annexation that would allow Kimberling City to obtain a portion of Business 13 that MoDOT is going to turn over to the county at the end of the year if the terms of the contract are fulfilled by MoDOT.

Travis Tucker, the Director of Public Works for Kimberling City said Branson West is willing to enter into an intergovernmental agreement to provide the area of old Business 13 near Stone Ridge Center Road with water and sewer service.

Several people expressed concerns that Kimberling City would not be able to keep up with road repairs on the heavily traveled road.  Under the terms of the contract, MoDOT will black top the road with a 2" cap before turning it over to the county. "The county is not taking on the maintenance of any new road projects due to the budget... a special concession was made made with MoDOT," said Presiding Commissioner Dennis Wood.

Southern Road Commissioner Stan Potter said that with the contract requirement of the 2" cap, the road should not need any major repairs for about five years.

Steve Pocius, the owner of All Season Heating and Cooling said, "I don't think we should be abandoned by the county." 

Wood said the proposed swap of the road would be a cost savings to the county and the public would have additional opportunities to express concerns about the matter at future meetings of the Highway Commission.

Another issue that brought out over 50 people to the meeting was that of the completion of Flat Creek Road.

Most of the road is complete, however, about eight tenths of a mile of the road near Highway 173 remains unfinished.

Several property owners told Commissioners that they had been assured that the road would be completed when they gave the county the right of way to their property. 

Richard Christensen told Commissioners that Road and Bridge employee Dennis Carr told him, "he had permission to complete the road" before he gave the county permission to remove twenty trees and relinquished the right of way of his property to the county.  "I feel like I've been cheated," said Christensen.

Peggy King told Commissioners that she was also told that the county had acquired all of the needed right of way to complete the project.

The lone holdouts for the completion of the project are Ruth Smith and another unnamed property owner.  It appears the issue for Smith is the re-building of a fence line and "woven wire" that would need to be replaced if Smith were to relinquish the right of way of her property to the county.

The county quit rebuilding fences several years ago, but it does provide the materials to do so.  It is now the responsibility of the property owner to see that it is completed. 

Carr said that he last spoke with Smith, who attended the meeting but declined to speak, in 2006.  When this reporter asked him why there had not been any communication with Smith since then, Carr replied, "She said she would die one day and then I could do what I wanted.  She's not gonna change her mind."

Bob Sullivan addresses Commissioners

Bob Sullivan asked that the road be completed so that it is safer.

Presiding Commissioner Dennis Wood said the county has never used eminent domain to acquire property and asked that a representative from those concerned meet with Smith and Carr to see if a compromise could be reached.

Commissioners then moved on to the hot button issue of county maintained roads with one residence on them.  Some commissioners and property owners of the above mentioned roads have taken issue with the contention that The Chronicle has labeled these roads "private driveways."

Claudine Carney lives on Gravel Stone Road, one of the above mentioned roads that is 0.98 miles long (The Chronicle originally stated that this road was .98 miles long.)  She told Commissioners that her road originally had three houses on it, but now only has one and feels like the county should continue to maintain it. 

Another property owner, J. D. Asher, who "owns several of the roads" mentioned in the September 6th investigative report of the roads in The Chronicle approached this reporter to express his displeasure with the story.  He claims to have "a deed to prove it," but left before this issue was taken up by Commissioners.

Road Commissioners told the audience that since the September 6th report several other roads with one residence on them have been found in the county.  One of the roads the county maintains has a communication tower on it and not a residence.

"We're looking at that road and other roads closely," said Southern Road Commissioner Stan Potter.  Potter asked this reporter what they thought the county should do in this situation.  "Since the company owning the tower is obviously making money from entities utilizing their services they should have to pay to maintain the road," was the reply.

Since 1972 when the "Special Road Districts" were dissolved and replaced with the Stone County Highway Commission after the county adopted the Alternative Form Highway Commission over $750,000 has been spent to maintain these roads.

The roads in question that have been maintained by the special road districts were "grandfathered" into the new county maintained system but have no sunset, according to the County Commission's attorney, Bill McCullah.  Commissioners have been asked twice for further documentation that precedes the 1995 estimates that were provided to The Chronicle

Presiding Commissioner Wood stated that he did not know of any further documentation, but added that he would ask the County Clerks office to provide any if available.  He also said that The Chronicle would have to incur the cost of research to find the records, which is allowed under the Sunshine Law.

Some citizens attending the meeting asked that Commissioner provide "minimal maintenance" to the above mentioned roads with one residence on them.  Southern Commissioner Jerry Dodd and Southern Road Commissioner Potter said the issue needs to be examined before a final determination can be made.

We will continue to follow this story and have updates in future editions of The Crane Chronicle.

Another Deputy Fired - Anderson Says County Safe In Hill's Abscence:


Chief Deputy Rich Anderson

Several people have called The Crane Chronicle to inquire who is in charge of the county since Sheriff Richard Hill is on vacation and two captains in the department were recently fired.

As in past instances when Hill has been out of the office, Chief Deputy Rich Anderson assumes leadership of the department.

Two weeks ago Captain Tim Gideon, who was in charge of criminal investigations and Captain Rick Porter, who was in charge of the patrol division, were terminated because of their ties to Sheriff-elect Doug Rader.

Rader has named Gideon as his chief deputy and assured Porter a job in his administration when he takes office on January 1st.

On September 20th, Deputy Lance Long, who was a bailiff, was terminated by Anderson.  Long says the reason given was his transport of a female prisoner.

"When I was brought in to Anderson's office I was asked if I had been sleeping in the courtroom," said Long.  "I said absolutely not."

Long says Anderson then asked him if he stopped at a convenience store during a transport and allowed the prisoner to smoke.  " I told him that was true." 

Long said Anderson told him that was a violation of the procedure manual and that he should have stopped at a police station or Highway Patrol office.

William "Lance" Long

Long says he was never given a procedure manual for the jail or transports in the two years he was with the department, and that a supervisor only accompanied him on one transport of prisoner/s before he was assigned solo transportation duties.

"We made several stops at stores during that transport so I thought that was the procedure since he was a supervising deputy."

Mary Mayse, who lives in Kimberling City and contacted The Chronicle, is concerned about how the Sheriff's office is now being run.  "I'm concerned that equipment is being sold off and we won't have any good deputies left by the time Hill leaves office."

The Chronicle has made a Sunshine Request with the sheriff's office regarding the sale of equipment and will have a follow up article in the next few weeks.

Galena Vision of Hope Submits Entry In State Contest:


Willette Roman, Jo Scott, Connie Johnson, Debbie Bridges, MCB Judge's Bonita Couch and Robert Couch, Paula Stewart, Jeff Barber, Elaine Strope, George Scott
Community leaders in Galena with an eye on the future were recently recognized by the Missouri Community Betterment Association.

The Galena Vision of Hope submitted the following projects to the MCB for consideration of an award that will be handed out next month; The Library Summer Reading Program, The Drury Vision for Galena Plan, Hula Hoop Night at the Park, The Galena Community Garden and the Historical Society 160th Anniversary of Stone County Parade. Veterans were honored at the Anniversary parade.

As part of the summer reading program, children would read to therapy dogs in an effort to maintain reading skills. Hula Hoop night brought dozens of kids to the park and children learned how to maintain a garden and were taught "that food just doesn't come from a grocery store."

Jeff Barber of the University of Missouri Extension headed The Drury Vision for Galena. He told judges Bonita and Robert Couch the "Tri Town" area that includes Reeds Spring, Galena and Crane need to identify and create an are that will attract people to the commuinty. Part of the objectives would be a community cleanup initiative to re-instill pride in the community and to analyze the strengths of the community like the Y-Bridge and old courthouse in Galena.

"This program makes it possible for communities the size of ours to share successful events and projects with other communities and for us to use ideas from their communities, " said Connie Johnson. Johnson also announced that the group was recently awarded a "Paint the Town Grant" that the group will use to beautify the community next year.

The Missouri Community Betterment Association will announce the winners at the 49th annual MCB conference on October 21st.

Teen Sentenced In Vehicle Theft:


Dray Shawn Alford (mug shot SCSO)

A young man who was charged with stealing a vehicle from Lives Under Construction Boys Ranch in Lampe last year has pleaded guilty.

Nineteen year-old Dray Shawn Alford was arrested after he crashed a 2002 Chevy Suburban on I-44 near Joplin on November 8, 2011.  The vehicle was valued at over $6,000, according to court documents.

Alford was placed on five years supervised probation and ordered to make restitution to Jasper County and the Boys Ranch.

Illegal Gambling Case Set For Prelim:


Aman Pasricha has been charged with promoting gambling

The preliminary hearing for a convenience store manager charged with promoting gambling is scheduled for October 30th.

On May 3rd of this year, undercover officers went to the Phillips 66 station in Crane and allegedly placed cash in some slot machines that were inside the business.  According to the probable cause statement, Aman Pasricha paid the officers in cash for their winnings from the store's register. 

Several days later the store was raided and two slot machines were seized.

Pasricha is free on bond while he awaits trial.

Guilty Plea In Child Sex Case:

Mark Dwayne Kingsbury (mug shot SCSO)

A forty five year-old man charged with sex crimes in a case that dates back two years has pleaded guilty.

Prosecutor Matt Selby saysMark Dwayne Kingsbury admitted that he had molested a girl, who is now thirteen, at his home near Branson West in September of 2010.

Kingsbury was placed on five years probation.

Galena Man Sentenced To Prison:


Jerry Lee Goddard (mug shot SCSO)

A Galena man's probation was revoked and he was sent to prison for assaulting his girlfriend's brother last month.

Court documents say Jerry Lee Goddard was arguing with his girlfriend when he pulled out a rife and threatened her with it.  The woman's brother, Todd Frieze, "became concerned for his sister's and her children's safety and confronted Goddard."

Frieze was injured in the altercation, according to the documents.

Goddard's, who is a convicted felon, probation was revoked for having possession of the weapon and he was sentenced to six months in prison.

Reeds Spring Woman Charged:


Tiana Poelzl (mug shot SCSO)

The wife and mother of two men who are facing domestic assault charges is facing charges of her own.

Prosecutor Matt Selby charged Tiana L. Poelzl with stealing for allegedly stealing from her employer.

When authorities went to Poelzl's home at Reuben Lane in Reeds Spring they found a glass pipe used to smoke methamphetamine and say Poelzl was in prescription drugs that were not prescribed to her.

She is being held in the Stone County jail on $25,000 bond.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Another Kanakuk Employee Headed To Prison For Sex Crimes Involving Kids:


Lee Julian Bradberry

A former counselor at an Ozarks based Christian youth camp has pleaded guilty to sex crimes involving children in a negotiated plea agreement that caps the maximum sentence.

Some children, who were between the ages of 9 -12, told authorities that Lee Bradberry, 23, of Auburn, Alabama, inappropriately touched them or attempted to have them perform oral sex while they were enrolled at Kanakuk Kamp in Branson in June of 2011.

This is the third time in three years that charges have been filed against former employees or volunteers connected to Kanakuk.
In 2010, former Kanakuk Kamp employee Peter Newman was sentenced to two life terms in prison plus an additional 30 years in prison for sexually abusing youngsters at the camp.  In March of 2011, Edward L. Ringheim of Windermere, Florida, was charged with seven felony counts of lewd and lascivious molestation for inappropriate activity he had with young boys he transported from Florida to Kanakuk Kamp.

Taney County prosecutor Jeff Merrell says Bradberry, who is free on bond while he awaits sentencing on December 6th, will be sentenced to ten years in prison.

Violent Crime Increasing In Stone County:


Crime is on the uptick in Stone County, according to county officials.

Chief Deputy Rich Anderson says call for service from deputies have increased across the board.  Burglaries account for 10% of the calls; larceny 15% ; dangerous drugs 5% and those lumped in the "other" category account for 18% of the calls so far this year.

"Crimes involving domestic assault and assaults in general are up.  The injuries associated with the assaults is disturbing," said Anderson.  "I believe the economy may play a part in what we're seeing."

At a rotary club meeting last week, Stone County prosecutor Matt Selby said felony drug cases that resulted in convictions has risen every year since 2004.  In 2004 there were 49 conviction for felony drug convictions, in 2006 the number increased to 77 and in 2008 those numbers rose to 100.

In 2010, the prosecutors office saw a decrease of felony drug convictions to 98 successfully prosecuted.  However, with three months left this year the numbers have again risen to 104 convictions.

Next week The Crane Chronicle will have a story on the MOJO program that is being utilized to deter young offenders by the prosecutors office.

Father And Son Jailed For Domestic Violence:


Corey Poelzl (mug shot SCSO)

Two members of the same family were jailed within days of each other for domestic violence.

Court documents say Corey William Poelzl, 17, got into a verbal argument with his father on September 6th and kicked the back door of its hinges.  When the teen returned to the house he allegedly attempted to hit his dad with a medical crutch.

Two days later the teens father, David Keith Poelzl, 46, allegedly hit his wife in the face and shoved her, causing her to fall.  According to the probable cause statement, Poelzl attempted to hit the woman with a baseball bat.  Two minor children in the home told authorities that their father "had grabbed them by the throat" and threw one of them across the room.

David Poelzl (mug shot SCSO)

When authorities were at Poelzl's house at 146 Reuben Lane in Reeds Spring they allegedly found a marijuana plant growing on the back porch and a pipe used to smoke the drug.  The elder Poelzl told authorities he had smoked methamphetamine in front of the kids a few days earlier.

Corey Poelzl is being  held on $2,500 bond.  David Poelzl is being held on $25,000 bond.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Jury Selection Underway In Triple Murder Trial:


Jury selection is underway in Morgan County for a Springfield man facing three counts of first-degree murder.

Jeffry and Glenda Smith (facebook)

Twenty one year-old Steven Thomas Pyykola was charged in October of 2009 for his part in the spree killings of Jeffry, 51 and Glenda Smith, 48, and Zach Porter, 24, in Lebanon.

Zack Porter (family photo)

Joshua Reyes, Benjamin Stidham and Jacky Wong were also charged in the triple homicide.  Authorities say Reyes was seeking revenge against his ex-girlfriend Miranda Smith when he recruited Pyykola, Jacky Wong and Benjamin Stidham to help kill the girls parents and new boyfriends.

Reyes pleaded guilty in 2010 and was sentenced to life without parole. 

Jacky Wong (mug shot LCSO)

Wong pleaded guilty in 2011 and is scheduled to be sentenced in December.

Benjamin Stidham (mug shot LCSO)

Stidham's case is in legal limbo at this point.  He was sixteen years-old at the time of the murders and the Supreme Court recently ruled that offenders under the age of eighteen at the time of the commission of a crime cannot be sentenced to life without parole or the death penalty.

UPDATE 09-21-12:

Pyykola was found guilty about 3 p.m. of three counts of first-degree murder and armed criminal action.  He is scheduled to be sentenced November 15th.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Gideon and Porter Fired Because Of Relationship With Incoming Sheriff:


Tim Gideon

One of the two high ranking deputies that were fired by Sheriff Richard Hill last Tuesday is speaking out.

Captain Tim Gideonwas hired into the sheriff's office exactly one day after Hill took office eighteen years ago.  Gideon says he and Patrol Captain Rick Porter, who served in Hill's office for twelve years, were unjustly fired and that working in the office he loves was becoming "a hostile work environment."

Hill had never really faced opposition before, but all that changed this last election cycle when Branson West Police Chief Doug Rader announced that he was going to run as the top law enforcer in Stone County.

Both Hill and Rader ran on the Republican ticket and since there was no Democrat running in the general election the winner of the August primary would be the county's new sheriff come January 1st.  Rader beat Hill by nearly two to one.

In several interviews with The Crane Chronicle Hill always stood by his deputies, including Brandon Flack, a former deputy whose excessive use of force has garnered several lawsuits for the sheriff's office and the county. But it appears his faith in his deputies died when a fifth term for Hill was denied by voters.

Sheriff Richard Hill

The sheriff's office was named in several civil suits filed in federal court this year.  Robin Miller claims he was beaten up by Flack when he was arrested and another man is making a similar claim. Zack Stewart, who was convicted of a 2006 murder that was overturned by the Missouri Supreme Court, filed a civil lawsuit against Hill, Gideon, and the county for his wrongful conviction.  And Jessica White, an alderwoman from Crane, is claiming that Deputy Taylor Jenkins and Flack used unjust force when they arrested her in May (she has yet to file a civil suit against the department.)

Gideon says when he went to Hill two weeks ago to tell him that he had accepted the opportunity to serve as Rader's Chief Deputy he seemed to take the news well. "He told me to be careful. I told him Sheriff, I've been a cop for eighteen years, I think I know how to be careful."

It was a week later that Gideon and Porter were called into Hill's office and terminated. "He (Hill) said we didn't support him in the election and he couldn't trust us and knew we were in contact with Doug," said Gideon.   "He told me he went through my phone bills for my county issued cell phone to try to prove I was talking to Doug on the county's dime."
Sheriff-elect Doug Rader

Rader says both Gideon and Porter are assured jobs when he takes office.  "I felt sick when I found out Sheriff Hill fired two very good officers that have served this county for over thirty years. They didn't do anything wrong. They supported him and were loyal to him during his campaign, and it just made me sick he would fire two good men that have families."

When Sheriff Hill was reached for comment about the terminations last week he said, "I can't comment on personnel matters. But if it did happen, it is exactly because of this...too much information is getting out."

"I was hoping for a smooth transition into the sheriff's department but with the actions taken this week by Sheriff Hill it doesn't look like it's going to be a smooth transition," said Rader.

It's an ironic twist of fate for the current Chief Deputy, Rich Anderson. "I was chief deputy in Christian County for Joey Matlock. I campaigned hard for him and when he lost, I resigned the day before the new administration took over."

Chief Deputy Rich Anderson

Anderson says he was with Hill and Rader last October when Rader told Hill he wouldn't run against him.  "As a lawman your only as good as your word," said Anderson.

Several businesses and citizens have rallied around Gideon and Porter, who plan to file for unemployment.  "I'm proud of my service to the county," said Gideon.  "People have told us not to worry about any bills or Christmas or anything like that....that they will get us through to the beginning of the year."

Rick Porter

But for those who know Gideon it will come as no surprise that he is more worried about his fellow brother in blue who was terminated and is rasing four children, than himself. "I'm fine - my wife has a great job and I will get to spend a lot of time with her and travel with her...he (Hill) really did me a favor."

When Porter was reached for comment he didn't want to go on the record but did say, "I wish everyone the best."

Hill was unable to be reached for further comment as he is on vacation until the end of October.

Motions Granted In Murder Cases:


Attorney's for two people charged with Carl Anderson's murder appeared in court on behalf of their clients September 12th.

It appears that Teri Dean-Morrison's case will be moved to Jasper County on a change of venue once the Supreme Court assigns a judge to hear the case.  Kristin Jones withdrew her motion for a change of judge in Morrison's case.  Both sides agreed to request Senior Judge Ed Sweeney to hear the case.

Cheryl Crawford is now represented by public defender Paul Duchscherer who asked that his client's trial be moved to another county.  Judge Alan Blankenship sustained (granted) the motion and it looks like that case will now be heard in Laclede County.

Crawford is scheduled to return to court for a status hearing on February 13, 2013.

Carl Glenn Anderson

The hearing for Eugene Crider was postponed until November 14th.  The ruling on his motion for a change of venue will be taken up then, but it is a mere formality.  Any time an attorney requests a change of venue in a county with less than 75,000 residents it is automatically granted.
According to authorities, Anderson was last seen at a home in Highlandville, which was shared by the three defendants.

~UPDATED~Stone County Authorities Need Your Help In Locating Man On The Run:

Mark Reel is wanted by authorities in Stone County

A man from Crane who was on the run from authorities after he attempted to kill another man early Friday (0914-12) near Swinging Bridge Road was apprehended Saturday.
Stone County prosecutor Matt Selby says Marcus "Mark" Brent Reel, 40, of Crane, allegedly pointed a gun at Phillip Campbell and pulled the trigger....only to hear a click.  When the gun failed to fire, Reel produced a hunting knife and nearly severed one of the man's fingers in the attack. He also attempted to slice the mans throat, according to the probable cause statement. 
The 45 year-old Campbell told authorities that he and Reel have been engaged in a long-term feud, and he believes he was assaulted because of it.  Deputies say the victim suffered multiple injuries, including a deep cut to an index finger, split lip, bruising on the top of his head, as well as bruises to his left rib and back.
Reel, who is on felony probation for second-degree assault, has been charged with two counts of first-degree assault and two counts of armed criminal action. His bond is set at one million dollars.
If you see Reel, who is considered armed and dangerous, you're asked to call the Stone County Sheriff’s Office at 417-357-6116 or 9-1-1.
UPDATE 09-15-12:

Reel was taken into custody by deputies about 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Suspect In Porter Homicides Pleads Guilty To Federal Charges:


Tony Friend (mug shot GCSO)

The man who authorities have named as the prime suspect in the double homicide of a Willard couple has pleaded guilty to a federal weapons charge.

Tony Friend appeared in federal court on September 12th and changed his plea to guilty for charges of  unlawful transportation of firearms. Friend and his wife, Windy, were arrested on drug charges in July - however, the drug charges against the Friends were dismissed, and Windy Friend was released from custody.

In bond reduction papers that were unsealed in July, authorities in Greene County said Friend was the "primary target" in the 2011 shooting deaths of Russell and Becky Porter.

Rusty and Becky Porter

Rusty and Becky Porter went missing from their Willard home in April of 2011 and their bodies were found in rural Protem, near where Tony Friend grew up, about three months later.  Becky Ellsworth-Porter was a long time resident of Stone County before her marriage to Porter.

Authorities say cell phone records show Friend was in the area where the couple's bodies were found around the time the Porters went missing.

Friend will be sentenced on the weapon's charges in about six weeks.

So far no one has been charged for the murders of the Porter's.

Galena Woman Charged With Assaulting Pregnant Daughter:

Rhonda Melvin (mug shot SCSO)

A woman from Galena facing charges for allegedly assaulting her pregnant daughter is now facing additional assault charges.
Court documents say forty six year-old Rhonda Melvin, who lives with her daughter and her boyfriend, was intoxicated when she demanded to use her daughter's cell phone on September 2nd.  When the woman refused, Melvin allegedly grabbed her by the hair and kneed her in the stomach.

The couple, who barricaded themselves in their bedroom to keep Melvin away from them, told authorities that Melvin began to "hack" through the door with a claw hammer to get to them and told them she was going to "burn the house down and "they would not leave alive."

Allisha Polimenti was transported to the hospital with abdominal pain following the attack.

After Melvin posted bond in the first case, authorities were again called to the home in McCord Bend following another instance of domestic assault on September 6th involving Melvin. Stone County Sheriff's Captain Tim Gideon says that when a deputy was arresting Melvin she spat blood on the officer.

She is also facing charges of assault of a law enforcement officer connected to that case.  She is being held in the Stone County jail on $30,000 bond.

Former Employee Pleads Guilty To Stealing From Branson Entertainer:


Dawn Cleveringa (mug shot TCSO)

A woman who was a trusted employee of Andy Williams' for fourteen years has pleaded guilty to stealing from the singer and forging his signature.

Authorities say Dawn Cleveringa, of Kirbyville, who was a bookkeeper for Moon River Enterprises, siphoned at least $25,000 from the entertainers accounts and used them to pay her own bills.  The allegation's against Cleveringa who could have stolen as much as a half million dollars, surfaced in 2007, and charges were filed against her in 2009.

The guilty plea comes during a tumultuous time for the singer, who is celebrating his 75th anniversary in show business. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer last year and has been receiving treatment at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas. Earlier this year Williams announced he would take part in the annual Christmas shows at Moon River Theater, however, last week a staffer of Williams said health issues would prevent the beloved entertainer from taking the stage this year.

Cleveringa was ordered to serve 60 days shock time and was placed on five years probation. She must also obtain a job and make restitution, according to court records.

Highway Commission Will Listen To Concerns Over County Maintained Roads:


The public will be able to learn more about county maintained roads that have one residence on them at a meeting of the Highway Commission on September 20th.

At the County Commission meeting on September 5th Commissioners suggested that concerns over the county maintaining the above mentioned roads, which are essentially private driveways, be addressed to the Highway Commission.

Since 1972 when the "Special Road Districts" were dissolved and replaced with the Stone County Highway Commission after the county adopted the Alternative Form Highway Commission over $750,000 has been spent to maintain these roads that are essentially private driveways.

The roads in question that have been maintained by the special road districts were "grandfathered" into the new county maintained system, according to the County Commission's attorney, Bill McCullah.

When asked how long citizens in the county would be expected to maintain the roads that lead to a private residence Presiding Commissioner Dennis Wood responded, "We inherited this when we were elected." 

"Once we took the roads over, it is our responsibility to maintain them," said Wood. 

Like everyone else, the county is financially strapped and a freeze has been enacted for new road projects.  ""Money for roads has diminished," said Wood.  "No money has been taken out of general revenue and given to the Road and Bridge in the last three years."

The meeting will get underway at 10 a.m. on the third floor of the old courthouse in Galena.

Kimberling City Men Charged With Assault:


Two men have been charged with first-degree assault for allegedly beating a man up with a brick on September 2nd.

Thomas Dean Thacker (mug shot SCSO)

Authorities say Thomas Dean Thacker, 48, of Kimberling City and Kevin Leroy Nekvinda, 60, also of  Kimberling City, went to a house on Teepee Land where a fight over keys led to Brandon Hufferd's assault. 

Court documents say Nekvinda pushed Hufferd down and Thomas punched the man and knocked him out.  Nekvinda then allegedly hit Hufferd in the ribs and the back of the head.  When Hufferd begged the me to stop beating him, Nikvinda allegedly stomped on his head before grinding his face in the gravel.

Kevin Leroy Nekvinda (mug shot SCSO)

Nekvinda then allegedly told Hufferd he had "one hour to produce the car keys or he would come find him, and that if he could not find him, he would find" his friend Jason Wenner.

Nekvinda, who is being held in the Stone County jail on $250,000 bond is scheduled to return to court on September 18th.  Thacker, who was released after posting $100,000 bond is due back in court on September 25th.

Area Businessman Want Long To Co-Sponsor Bill That Affects His Industry

Mike Stuart adresses concerns with Congressman Long


The owner of Lakeland Pharmacy, Mike Stuart, says he just wants to be on a level playing field with the bigger pharmaceutical franchises that affect the bottom line of his businesses.

Stuart was concerned enough about H. R. (House Resolution) 1041, a bill that would amend the "Fairness in Medicare Bidding Act," that he invited Congressman Billy Long and the media to his store in Branson West last week.

Stuart says the money he receives for durable medical equipment like oxygen, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies has been drastically cut over the last fifteen years. In 1997, President Bill Clinton passed the "Balanced Budget Act" that decreased oxygen reimbursement by 30% and eliminated fees providers could charge for making house calls, etc. In 2005, President George W. Bush signed the "Medicare Modernization Act" that chopped another 9% for oxygen reimbursement and the next year Mr. Bush signed the "Deficit Reduction Act" that said providers that entered into a five year contract with the federal agency would only be paid for three years because that was the life expectancy of a patient with COPD.

For instance, say your mother receives her oxygen and supplies for the life saving air from Lakeland, if she lived 1 day longer than the expected three years projected by the agency, Lakeland would have to absorb the cost for the remainder of the five years, or until her death. After the Leap Day tornado that ripped through Stone County in February, Lakeland had to replace oxygen used by some patients. The business had to abosorb those costs and was not reimbursed by Medicare because of the way the contract is currently written, according to Stuart.

Last year HR 1041 was introduced by Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and referred to the House subcommittee on health on March 21, 2011. The bill currently has 172 co-sponsors, including Missouri lawmakers, Todd Akin, Jo Ann Emerson, Sam Graves and Blaine Luetkemeyer. Stuart wants Congressman Long to sign this bill that would repeal the "Fairness in Medicare Bidding Act."

Stuart said problems with competitive bidding in the current Medicare Modernization Act is "extremely flawed."   Patients can't pick their own providers, and bids by the larger conglomerates that are able to undercut him provide poor customer service.

“In the larger markets like Kansas City, 40% of those that are part of the competitive bidding market are losing money and 39% of businesses that did not win the competitive bid will probably go out of business." Stuart says there is no transparency in competitive bidding and some companies are putting "suicide bids" out that reduce Medicare reimbursement by 29%.

The business owner asked Long to co-sponsor a bill with Dr. Tom Price (R-GA) that would replace the competitive bidding program that is in place now with a "Market Pricing Program" to ensure a financially sustainable program when Congress returns to Washington this week.

“It’s a dog fight for an independent business to compete in this marketplace,” Stuart said.

Long is scheduled to meet with constituents at a "listening post" from 2 - 4 p.m. at the village hall at the Village of Indian Point on September 17th.

Galena Woman Sentenced To Prison For Burglary:

Robin Collett (mug shot SCSO)

A Galena woman has pleaded guilty to burglary and was sentenced to five years in prison in a negotiated plea.
Authorities say thirty two year-old Robin Collett and her boyfriends 16 year-old son were caught stripping copper pipe from some foreclosed condos' in Indian Point on July 16th.

A police officer in Indian Point was on routine patrol when she noticed a Maroon car parked near the condominiums at 39 Songbird Land. As Carpenter approached the condominiums, Collett and the teen were walking out of the structure.

Collett admitted to bringing burglary tools to break into the condos and when her car was searched, a white powdery substance and a razor that field tested positive for illegal drugs was found in the woman's purse when it was searched.
While Collett is in prison she will take part in an intense drug treatment program, according to prosecutor Matt Selby.

As part of the plea agreement, assault charges that Collett was facing in connection to an unrelated incident over the Memorial Day weekend in which Trevor Schumacher was beaten with rocks and a canoe paddle near Bakers Hole were dismissed. Court documents say Collett's boyfriend, Christopher Gilmore and Billy Jack Taylor also held Schumacher's head underwater while he was being beaten.

Christopher C. Gilmore (mug shot SCSO)

Schumacher told authorities he believed he would have been killed if his sister Amanda Ireland had not intervened.

Billy Jack Taylor (mug shot SCSO)

In the probable cause statement filed against Collett on the assault charges, Ireland told investigators that Collett chased her with a canoe paddle and threatened to kill her and her unborn baby.

The preliminary hearings for Gilmore and Taylor are scheduled for October 9th.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Aurora Man Placed On Probation For Drug Offense:


Sydney Paul Scott (mug shot SCSO)

A man who was charged with two drug offenses in earlier this year has pleaded guilty and sentenced to five years probation.

Authorities say Sydney Paul Scott, 22, of Aurora, was arrested after a confidential informant tipped them about a drug buy that was getting ready to happen on February 6th.  The CI said there would be meth hidden in a pack of cigarettes that Scott was going to pass to him.

When an officer attempted to stop Scott he threw something from the vehicle.  When the item was retrieved, it was a pack of cigarettes with methamphetamine in them.

Judge Carr Woods ordered, Scott, who was charged with distribution of a controlled substance, to serve 15 days shock time, but that order was stayed.  Scott was ordered to obtain treatment while on probation.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

When Does A County Maintained Road Become A Private Driveway?:

The Crane Chronicle launched an investigation into county maintained roads with a single residence on them after being contacted by someone who lives in the northern part of the county who was concerned about a portion of Flat Creek not being completed, and the maintenance of the above mentioned roads by the county.

Following a Sunshine Request by The Crane Chronicle to County Commissioners it was learned that there are at least eighteen such roads within Stone County that have cost the county over $157,000 for the last seven years to maintain.

In 1972, the "Special Road Districts" were dissolved and replaced with the Stone County Highway Commission after the county adopted the Alternative Form Highway Commission.  The roads in question that were maintained by the special road districts were "grandfathered" into the new county maintained system, according to the County Commission's attorney, Bill McCullah.

There are two roads that met the criteria in the southern part of the county.  They are Sagebrush which is .28 mile and costs the county $6,190.80 and Joy Valley which is .33 mile and cost $5,603.22 to maintain for the last 6 years.

In the central part of the county there are four roads that lead to a single family house.  The cost to maintain the following roads for the last fifteen years was: Ash Tree which is 0.839 miles and cost $36,895.74; Asher Camp 1.70 miles at a cost of $45,225.68; Gravel Stone 0.98 at $4,056.08 and Sky King Road which is 0.354 mile and cost $9,431.15 to maintain.

Twelve roads in the northern part of the county met the criteria and for the last seven years cost taxpayers the following.  Grizzly Mountain which is 0.18 mile at a cost of $5,669.03; DeLong Way 0.25 - 419.00; A. C. Farm 0.17 mile -$4,859.53; Grace Lane 0.35 - $5,235.96; Helen Lane 0.35 - $3,987.41; Stillwater -$5,987.41; Helen's House 0.15 - $317.15; Rodeo 1.15 miles at a cost of $6,581.18; Jeanie 0.12 - $1,714.88; Attica which is 0.43 miles - $4,599.89; Sage Lane - 0.11 miles - $9,226.91 and Prairie which is .023 miles - $1,787.58

The problem with the roads being "grandfathered" in is there are no sunset clauses.  When an agreement has a sunset, it means it has a definitive end date.  Which means county funds to maintain these roads could go on for decades, if not longer.

When asked to provide documentation of when the county roads in question, which are essentially private driveways, became part of the new system and how much it has cost the county to maintain them since the new system was adopted - McCullah said, it would be "too time consuming."

If you use the formula provided by the county, it has cost the county almost $750,000 dollars over the last forty years to maintain the roads, which again, are essentially private driveways.

Commissioner's were unavailable for comment prior to going to press this week.  A request to meet with commissioner to discuss the findings will take place on September 4th and we will have a follow up article in the September 13th edition of The Crane Chronicle.

Crane Man Facing Sex Charges After Allegedly Exposing Himself To Kids:


Joe "J.D." Bowman, Jr. (mug shot SCSO)

A forty two year-old man from Crane is facing three counts of sexual misconduct with a child after he allegedly exposed himself to several girls who were attending a baseball game in Crane on August 28th.

Authorities say Joe Dean "J. D." Bowman parked his vehicle near the concession stand of the ball field with his legs sticking out of the cab of the truck.  Three girls told High School Administrator Kent Stumpff that Bowman was exposing himself to people.

Bowman was released from the Stone County jail after posting $10,000 bond. 

Crane Man Facing Assault Charges For Allegedly Punching Firefighter:


A man from Crane is facing misdemeanor assault charges for allegedly punching a firefighter in the throat who was working a blaze on the man's property.

The incident report says that firefighters with the Northern Stone/Northeast Barry County Fire Department were working a grass fire June 26th on the property of John Wegrzyn at 20507 State Highway TT, which is at the Stone/Barry county line.

Firefighter Lex Pearson told authorities that he was refueling a tanker when Wegrzyn ordered them up a hill to fight the blaze. When Pearson tried to explain that the truck was full of water, but needed to be refueled, Wegrzyn allegedly called him a lazy f***er and told him to get off his property.

Pearson allegedly told Wegryzn, ""We are just volunteers" and turned to walk away.  The incident report says he then heard Wegrzyn call him another name and turned to face Wegryzn when the landowner allegedly assaulted him.

Wegrzyn says Pearson told him they didn't have to fight the fire if they didn't want to.  Wegrzyn says he told the firefighter to leave his property if he wasn't going to fight the fire to which he responded, "F you" several times.

Wegryzn said he turned around and knocked Pearson to the ground and told him he had five minutes to get of his property, according to the report.

He is scheduled to be arraigned in Barry County associate circuit court on September 11th.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Friends Say Bergseth Was "Shady":

Adam Bergseth sent the photo on the right to a friend not long before he was shot and killed by a Matrionville police officer; photo on left is a mug shot from the Seminole FL County sheriff's office

Two women who spent a great deal of time with Adam Bergseth before he was shot and killed by a Marionville police officer after he lunged at the officer with a pair of scissors in late June say he was a man with many secrets.

Twenty one year-old Cheynne Nava was in an open relationship with Bergseth.  "I saw other people and he saw other people. It worked for us."

Nava says Bergseth was a swinger who said he was 31 years-old.  "When I found out he was really 37 it grossed me out."

Nava says a group of friends, including Bergseth, went to Dennis' Place on June 12th and Bergseth opened a tab with a credit card.  Nava and another of Bergseth's friends, Ronelle Scott, left the bar and were walking back to Bergseth's rented home at 1231 W. Edgewood when they were contacted by one of Bergseth's roommates, LM

LM told the women that they needed to come back to the bar because Bergseth bolted when the credit card he was using was declined and the police were there.  That credit card belonged to Kelly Frech, whose remains were found in a trashcan in Bergseth's backyard on July 3rd, on what would have been the woman's 28th birthday.

Kelly Frech (courtesy Jeanne Frech)

Nava says officers went to Bergseth's home in the early morning hours of June 13th and found a houseful of people partying.  "They told us they couldn't touch anything because they didn't have a search warrant.  I handed them a lot of mail with different names on it and they said he was into identity theft."

After the cops left Bergseth's home Nava searched his room because some of the things he was telling her "just didn't add up."  Nava says she found a photo ID in the name of Kelly Frech, a $2,000 check made out to Frech, a Missouri EBT (food stamp) card, Wal-Mart credit card and a Suntrust Bank card and checks in Frech's name.

"He told me that it was one of his aliases," said Nava.   "He said his ex-wife was trying to take all his money and this was a way he could hide it from her."  Bergseth, who had grown up in California, was never married to Laurie Weiss, but they had been in a decade old relationship and had three children before she ended the relationship last year in Florida. 

In 2009, Bergseth, who has also lived in Republic, Bolivar and the state of Nevada,  was charged with being a persistent DWI offender and driving while revoked in Greene County.  By 2011, he had violated the conditions of his probation and parole at least 12 times and authorities in Greene County issued a warrant for his arrest on June 15th after he failed to appear for a probation violation hearing.

“Subject has consistently demonstrated throughout the years that he [has] no intention of complying with terms of his probation,” the probation officer wrote in a report to the Greene County Court asking that Bergseth’s probation be revoked.

In July of last year he was arrested by the Sanford, Florida, police department and booked in to the Seminole County jail. Online records do not say what he was being held for or if any charges were filed against him at that time.

In November of 2011, Bergseth was arrested after police in Sanford received a tip that he was wanted on an arrest warrant out of Missouri and was driving on a suspended license. At that time he told police he was homeless,
according to The Sanford Herald.

According to Frech's mother Jeanne, Kelly met Bergseth at a crisis center near Longwood, Florida and followed him to Missouri late last year. Jeanne Frech says she had not heard from her daughter since January and didn't know her whereabouts until she was contacted by police about the discovery of the remains.  "He told her he had three degrees, one of them in English."

A former roommate of Kelly Frech says she met Bergseth in a mental health facility and had been visiting him at the Seminole County jail.  He said one day she informed her roommates that she was going to follow him [Bergseth] back to Missouri when he was extradited.  "We begged her not to go."

Nava and Scott say they both knew that Bergseth was a liar.  "But we just couldn't connect the dots," said Scott.

Nava says she began dating Bergseth on April Fools Day and a few weeks later asked him about a "terrible" smell in the garage.  "He told me that he was messing around with a bartender at the Sky Box and her fiancee found out and put a severed pigs head and dumped pigs blood in his car.  I have never smelled anything like that.....EVER."

Nava said there was blood on the concrete in the garage and driveway and when she asked him about it he said, "it got there when he moved the pigs head from the car."  It was later determined that the card Bergseth claimed as his own was in fact Kelly Frech's Mitsubishi Eclipse.

Nava says the smell from the garage got so bad in May that it started to permeate the inside of the house.  "I told him he needed to move it and he pushed it to the backyard."

Nava said when officers with the SPD were at Bergseth's house on June 13th they commented on the smell and she told them the story about the pigs head in the trash can.  "They said that's weird, but they didn't look in the trashcan and I didn't either."

Cheynne Nava

Scott says she and other friends camped out in Bergseth's backyard sometime in late May and is disturbed that she was so close to Frech's remains and didn't even know it.

According to an incident report, on June 15th the SPD began an investigation into Bergseth for allegedly sending harassing text messages to Nava and Mills.

Nava says Bergseth then contacted her through her facebook page on June 16th or 17th and told her he "was at a cabin by a lake finishing a book he was writing and was going to commit suicide."

Bergseth met Erica Chaffin, at whose house he was fatally shot, through a Craig's List ad around the same time he claimed to be at the cabin.  Chaffin said she had been trying to catch her husband cheating and Bergseth responded to the ad and the two began a physical relationship the weekend of the fatal shooting.

Bergseth told Chaffin and a friend of hers that he was a video game developer and that he traveled extensively for his job.

Chaffin says Bergseth offered to help her make a furniture payment that weekend and when they arrived at the furniture store Bergseth handed her a check. "They didn't accept checks...and thank God they didn't."   It was while she was on her way out of the store that Chaffin noticed the check didn't belong to belonged Kelly Frech.

Chaffin says Bergseth then drove her to Great Southern Bank on Battlefield on the afternoon he was killed and attempted to have her pose as a woman named Jillian or Julianne Phipps in order to cash a state check. "I asked him who Julianne was and he said you are now." Chaffin says the drive thru teller gave the check back to them and said she couldn't cash it if the person did not have an account at the bank.

Nava says Bergseth told her he owned a restaurant in Springfield and sold it before he moved to Florida.  He also claimed to have owned a very successful restaurant in Florida and selling it for a huge profit. "He said he didn't have to work because he was living of royalties" from the sale.

Ronelle Scott

Ronelle Scott says the group of friends knew Bergseth was "shady."  "Everything he told us was a lie.  Everything.."