Thursday, January 19, 2017

McCaskill questions Treasury nominee about Trump's foreign debt

Minority caucus responds to Greitens State of the State Address

Impacting Poverty Commission issues one-year report for Springfield/Greene County

(From the City of Springfield)

When the Impacting Poverty Commission (IPC) issued a challenge to the community to help decrease the poverty trend in Greene County in October 2015, Mayor Bob Stephens proclaimed that the “consequences of doing nothing are just too great.”

Many issues weighed heavily on the minds of elected officials, business owners and citizens as the 2016 Presidential election loomed and a few key indicators of community health were headed in the wrong direction.

Citing poverty as a “red flag” issue for seven years in a row, experts compiling the annual Community Focus Report pointed to the fact that poverty “creates immense societal problems that our community must address, including rates of crime, domestic violence, substance abuse and educational attainment.”

So, our community zoned in.

As is characteristic of the people of Springfield and southwest Missouri – Rotarians, Sertoma Club members, churchgoers, government officials, health care providers, residents, educators and business owners – people from almost all sectors of the community collectively said “enough.” And then, they mobilized.

“More than 225 organizations have connected in some way with Zone Blitz activities, or taken steps in their own ways, to help lift up those in need,” said City Manager Greg Burris. “The momentum in our community to move the needle on poverty is incredible. Everyone is figuring out a way they can help make a difference. And we’re all working together to avoid duplication and fill in the service gaps.”

The City of Springfield’s Zone Blitz initiative dove deep into Springfield’s historic, yet troubled, northwest neighborhoods. The Community Foundation of the Ozarks raised $1.3 million in private money to launch The Northwest Project. The faith-based community rallied together with the City and the community’s extensive network of non-profit organizations to discuss, plan and collaborate. And we took action.

The IPC’s one-year update provides a high-level overview of some of the activities and initial results, following the 2015 IPC Report and Call to Action. It is not exhaustive, but does provide highlights of significant progress in addressing poverty and tracks prosperity indicators for which we have baselines.

“Perhaps the most exciting news reported in the IPC update is the fact that Greene County’s poverty rate has actually decreased from 20.6% in 2014 to 17.7% in 2015,” said Janet Dankert, Community Partnership of the Ozarks Executive Director and chair of the IPC Steering Committee.

The U.S. Census Bureau released the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE), indicating the first drop in the percentage of Greene County residents living in poverty since 2009. According to sociologist Mike Stout who served on the IPC, the SAIPE is the most accurate indicator of poverty at the county level that the government calculates, which means it's also the most reliable.

Burris said this doesn’t necessarily mean recent anti-poverty efforts have already made a difference, but it does provide encouragement and support for continued efforts to zero in on the root causes of poverty, including barriers to educational attainment and well-paying jobs. Many believe increased educational attainment and workforce development as the keys to linking people to higher-paying jobs and to attracting those higher-paying jobs to the community in the first place.

The average unemployment rate for the entire year of 2015 was lower than the average rate for the entire year of 2016 according to Bureau of Labor Statistics for the Springfield region.

“Also, the Labor Force Participation rate has increased .4 percentage points, so there were more people in the labor force in 2015 than there were in 2014,” explained Mary Ann Rojas, director of Workforce Development for the City of Springfield.

This unemployment information came from the Census ACS 1-Year estimate and backed up by an employment number comparison between the two years.

Based on these factors, one could conclude that more people in Greene County are working, both in raw number and as a percentage of the working age population.

“Also, you can see that those who are working collectively earned more in 2015 than they did in 2014. When you combine this with more people working, it makes sense that the poverty rate would decrease,” Rojas said.

A significant need identified in the October 2015 IPC Report and Call to Action is the need for coordinated case management of populations of people living in poverty. It is a need that requires a coordinated entry system, which teams immediately began to work on. Progress on this front is noted in the IPC one-year update.

“Overall, we are moving in the right direction,” noted Debi Meeds, president/CEO of United Way of the Ozarks and co-chair of the IPC Steering Committee. Meeds and Dankert are now working together on a collective impact model initiative that creates a system for addressing poverty that best addresses the causes of poverty.

Non-hazardous dye found in Flashpoint Creek

(From the City of Springfield)

City Officials report that a green substance found in Fassnight Creek Thursday afternoon is most likely a non-hazardous substance such as fluorescein dye.

At 2 p.m. the Springfield Fire Department received a call reporting a green substance flowing through Fassnight Creek where it emerges from underground near the Springfield Art Museum at National Avenue and Bennett Street. The Fire Department’s hazmat team responded to the scene. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources Emergency Response was also contacted and responded.

The water was tested at the scene. Based on test results and the appearance of the substance, water quality experts are 99% sure the substance is a dye commonly used in testing of plumbing or groundwater dye tracing.

The dye is not hazardous or harmful to the environment or people. Environmental Services Department is actively looking in the stormwater system upstream but have not yet identified the source.

“This is a great reminder that anything you put in a storm drain ends up in the nearest creek,” said Water Quality Coordinator Carrie Lamb. “Not dumping or disposing of any substances in the stormwater system is important for protecting our water quality and our community. Although this substance is not harmful, it caused a visual impact to the creek and caused alarm.”

Highway Patrol DWI Arrests January 17-19

The Missouri Highway Patrol arrested the following people for driving while intoxicated:

Michael W. Frazier, 55, Cassville
Michae D. Miller, 56, Republic

Federal grand jury indicts man for attempting to lure Springfield teen into having sex

(From the U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri)

A man previously charged with attempting to entice a missing Springfield, Mo., teenager to engage in illicit sexual activity has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Dominic Keith Pearson, 25, no known address, was charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo., on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. The federal indictment replaces a criminal complaint that was filed against Pearson on Jan. 11, 2017.

The indictment contains the same charge as the original criminal complaint, alleging that Pearson attempted to entice a minor to engage in illicit sex.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the complaint, the 13-year-old child victim – identified in court documents as “Jane Doe” – was reported missing from her home in Springfield on Jan. 8, 2017. Investigators found a series of messages between Pearson and Jane Doe on a cell phone, the affidavit says, indicating that Pearson was traveling to meet Jane Doe.

On Jan. 10, 2017, Pearson and Jane Doe were located in a truckers lounge at Petro Truck Stop off Interstate 70 near Oak Grove, Mo. Both Pearson and Jane Doe had luggage with them in the lounge.

Dickinson cautioned that the charge contained in this indictment is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ami Harshad Miller. It was investigated by the Springfield, Mo., Police Department, the FBI, the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force and the Oak Grove, Mo., Police Department.

Nixa woman sentenced for role in $90 million counterfeit cell phone component scheme

(From the U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri)

A Nixa, Mo., woman was sentenced in federal court today for selling more than $90 million worth of counterfeit cell phone components to hundreds of thousands of consumers over the Internet and at a Springfield, Mo., store.

Sherrie Householder, 59, of Nixa, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to two years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Householder to pay $8,866,069 in restitution.

On May 26, 2016, Householder pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of money laundering.

Householder managed and operated Flash Technology, LLC, also known as Flash Tech, a business that sold cell phone components (such as replacement screens, lithium batteries, weight scales, phone cases and internal circuitry) through numerous Internet retail sites and at a Springfield store. Flash Tech sold hundreds of thousands, and potentially millions of different cell phone parts shipped to consumers throughout the United States. According to court documents, more than $90 million in sales were made to hundreds of thousands of consumers from December 2012 to January 2016.

Householder represented that the cell phone components were manufactured by legitimate companies – including Apple, Samsung, LG, Microsoft, Android, Dell, Blackberry, ASUS, Acer, Kindle, HTC, Motorola, Nokia, Sony, ZTE and others. Although each part contained trademarks and markings that made it appear the legitimate holder of the trademark had manufactured the parts, and although Householder used the trademarks and logos of these companies on her Web sites, the components were actually counterfeit.

Wang “Frank” Luo, a Chinese citizen, owned Flash Tech, while Householder managed the company’s activities in the United States. Lou shipped the cell phone component parts to Householder. Nearly 5,000 international shipments were sent to Flash Tech from China.

According to court documents, Householder’s knowledge that a fraud was being perpetrated occurred during the last six months before law enforcement shut the operation down, when she began receiving seizure letters from Customs and Border Protection. Between August and December 2015, over a dozen shipments from Luo’s factory in China to Householder in Springfield were intercepted and inspected by CBP agents. After seizing each shipment, CBP issued a letter of notification informing Householder of the seizure due to confiscated counterfeit items. Even though she was informed that the items she received from Luo were counterfeit, she continued selling these counterfeit products. Between August 2015 and the execution of federal search warrants on Feb. 2, 2016, Householder sold approximately $8,860,000, in counterfeit cell phones and component parts.

When federal agents executed search warrants at Householder’s residence and Flash Tech’s business address, they seized over 100,000 cell phone and component parts. The counterfeit items seized by agents had a retail value of approximately $5.5 million and filled two large moving trucks.

Householder must forfeit to the government $556,938 seized from various PayPal, Amazon and bank accounts; numerous desktop and laptop computers, iPads, hard drives, computer and cell phone components; and a money judgment of $8,866,069.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney. It was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and IRS-Criminal Investigation.

Section of High Street to be closed beginning Friday

(From the City of Springfield)

Springfield Public Works will be closing a section of High Street between Lyon Avenue and Concord Avenue beginning 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 19 for street repairs. 

The street will reopen to traffic by 12 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20 (weather permitting). Motorists are advised to use an alternate route.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Agenda posted for Springfield/Greene County Park Board meeting

The Springfield-Greene County Park Board will meet in regular session on Friday, January 20, 2017, 8:30 a.m., Park Board Administrative Offices, 1923 N. Weller, Springfield, Missouri.

1. Roll Call

2. Approval of Minutes
 a. December 9, 2016 Park Board Meeting

3. Turkey Trot Event Recap and Check Presentation

4. Timmons Temple Project Update

5. Committee Reports

6. Director’s Report

7. Chair’s Report

8. Unfinished Business

 9. New Business

10. Calendar:
a. Park Board Fees & Charges and Budget Workshop: Meeting to be scheduled.
b. Park Board Meeting: Friday, February 10, 2017, at 8:30 a.m., Park Board Administrative Offices, 1923 N. Weller, Springfield, Missouri.

11. Adjournment

Springfield City Council to hear bill repealing banning of pit bulls

Upcoming Springfield Council Meeting Agenda
January 23, 2017 - 6:30 p.m.

1.
ROLL CALL.
2.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES. January 9, 2017
3.
FINALIZATION AND APPROVAL OF CONSENT AGENDAS. CITIZENS WISHING TO SPEAK TO OR REMOVE ITEMS FROM THE CONSENT AGENDAS MUST DO SO AT THIS TIME.
4.
CEREMONIAL MATTERS.
5.
Council Bill 2017-016. (Stephens)
A resolution recognizing Bill Weaver for forty years of dedicated service as an employee of the City of Springfield.
Documents:
  1. 2017-016.PDF
6.
Council Bill 2017-017. (Stephens)
A resolution recognizing David Hall for his dedicated years of service as an employee of the City of Springfield on the occasion of his retirement.
7.
CITY MANAGER REPORT AND RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS RAISED AT THE PREVIOUS CITY COUNCIL MEETING.
8.
SECOND READING AND FINAL PASSAGE. Citizens Have Spoken. May Be Voted On.
9.
Substitute Council Bill 2016-294 Substitute No. 1. (McClure)
A special ordinance approving a Petition to Establish the Brentwood N/S Community Improvement District; authorizing the City Manager to execute a Cooperative Agreement between the City, the Brentwood N/S Community Improvement District, and Jared Development; and directing the City Clerk to notify the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Greene County Clerk of the creation of the District. (Staff recommends approval).
Documents:
  1. 2016-294S1.PDF
10.
Council Bill 2016-294. (McClure) (Tabled At The January 9, 2017 Meeting In Order To Consider The Substitute Council Bill. If The Substitute Passes This Bill Will Automatically Fail.)
A special ordinance approving a Petition to Establish the Brentwood N/S Community Improvement District; declaring that a portion of the district is a blighted area and that its redevelopment is necessary for the preservation of the public peace, prosperity, health, safety, morals, and welfare; authorizing the City Manager to execute a Cooperative Agreement between the City, the Brentwood N/S Community Improvement District, and Jared Development; and directing the City Clerk to notify the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Greene County Clerk of the creation of the District.
Documents:
  1. 2016-294.PDF
11.
Council Bill 2017-004. (Fishel)
A general ordinance amending the Springfield Land Development Code, Section 36-306, ‘Zoning Maps,’ by rezoning approximately 1.65 acres of property, generally located at 3242 South Stewart Avenue and the west side of the 3200 block of South Stewart Avenue from Planned Development No. 252 to a GR, General Retail District; and adopting an updated Official Zoning Map.  (Staff and Planning and Zoning Commission recommend approval). (By: KJ Texas Properties, LLC; 3225 & 3242 South Stewart Avenue; Z-23-2016.)
Documents:
  1. 2017-004.PDF
12.
Council Bill 2017-005. (McClure)
A general ordinance amending the Springfield Land Development Code, Section 36-306, ‘Zoning Maps,’ by rezoning approximately 0.97 acres of property, generally located at 1408 South National Avenue from a LB, Limited Business District to a GR, General Retail District and establishing Conditional Overlay District No. 116; and adopting an updated Official Zoning Map. (Staff and Planning and Zoning Commission recommend approval). (By: Mexican Villa; 1408 South National Avenue; Z-21-2016 w/COD #116.)
Documents:
  1. 2017-005.PDF
13.
Council Bill 2017-006. (Prater)
A general ordinance amending the Springfield Land Development Code, Section 36-306, ‘Zoning Maps,’ by rezoning approximately 0.57 acres of property, generally located at 2873 East Chestnut Expressway from a GM, General Manufacturing District to an IC, Industrial Commercial District; and adopting an updated Official Zoning Map. (Staff and Planning and Zoning Commission recommend approval). (By: R Carlson Properties, LLC; 2873 East Chestnut Expressway; Z-20-2016.)
Documents:
  1. 2017-006.PDF
14.
Council Bill 2017-007. (Ferguson)
A general ordinance amending the Springfield Land Development Code, Section 36-306, Zoning Maps, by rezoning approximately 1.45 acres of property, generally located at 1040 and 1110 North Sherman Avenue from a R-SF, Single Family Residential District and Mid-Town Urban Conservation District No. 3 Area E to a Planned Development District No. 353 and Mid-Town Urban Conservation District No. 3 Area E; and adopting an updated Official Zoning Map. (Staff and Planning and Zoning Commission recommend denial.) (By: Greenway Studios, LLC; 1040 & 1110 North Sherman Avenue; Final Development Plan 353.)
Documents:
  1. 2017-007.PDF
15.
Council Bill 2017-008. (Prater)
A general ordinance amending the Springfield Land Development Code, Section 36-306, ‘Official Zoning Map and rules for interpretation,’ by rezoning approximately 5.42 acres of property, generally located between 833 and 903 South Oak Grove Avenue from a R-SF, Single-Family Residential District to a Planned Development District No. 354; and adopting an updated Official Zoning Map. (Staff and Planning and Zoning Commission recommend approval). (By: The Touchstone Group, LLC & James and Susan Shaeffer; 833-903 South Oak Grove Avenue; Final Development Plan 354.)
Documents:
  1. 2017-008.PDF
16.
Council Bill 2017-009. (Ferguson)
A general ordinance amending Chapter 36 of the Springfield, Missouri, City Code, titled ‘Land Development Code of the City of Springfield,’ Article III, ‘Zoning Regulations,’ Division 1, ‘Intent, Purpose, and General Provisions,’ Section 36-303, ‘General Provisions,’ Subsection 36-303(33)(b)(1), for the purpose of adding the COM district to the list of prohibited districts for the transfer of development rights for any overnight shelter, soup kitchen, or transitional service shelter. (Planning and Zoning Commission and staff recommend approval). (By: City of Springfield; Citywide; Transfer of Development Rights Amendments.)
Documents:
  1. 2017-009.PDF
17.
Council Bill 2017-010. (Fisk)
A special ordinance approving a plan for an industrial development project for 3M Company, a Delaware corporation, consisting of the acquisition and installation of new equipment and machinery at the existing plant; and authorizing the City of Springfield, Missouri, to issue its Taxable Industrial Development Revenue Bonds (3M Company “Project”), Series 2017, in a principal amount not to exceed $17,000,000 to finance the costs of such project; authorizing and approving certain documents; and authorizing certain other actions in connection with the issuance of the Bonds.
Documents:
  1. 2017-010.PDF
18.
Council Bill 2017-011. (Fulnecky)
A general ordinance amending the Springfield City Code, Chapter 18, Animals, Article II, Dogs, Cats and Ferrets, by repealing Division 3, Prohibition of Pit Bull Dogs, in its entirety.
Documents:
  1. 2017-011.PDF
19.
RESOLUTIONS.
20.
EMERGENCY BILLS.
21.
PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS.
22.
GRANTS.
23.
AMENDED BILLS.
24.
COUNCIL BILLS FOR PUBLIC HEARING.
25.
FIRST READING BILLS. Citizens May Speak. Not Anticipated To Be Voted On.
26.
Council Bill 2017-018. (Hosmer)
A special ordinance approving a mutual aid agreement between the Ebenezer Fire Protection District and the Springfield Fire Department.
Documents:
  1. 2017-018.PDF
27.
PETITIONS, REMONSTRANCES, AND COMMUNICATIONS.
28.
NEW BUSINESS.
The Committee of the Whole recommends the following appointment to the Board of Public Utilities: Cynthia Hyde with term to expire December 1, 2019. 
Refer to the Plans and Policies Committee the issue of a potential pet waste removal ordinance.
As per RSMo. 109.230 (4), City records that are on file in the City Clerk’s office and have met the retention schedule will be destroyed in compliance with the guidelines established by the Secretary of State’s office.
29.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS.
30.
MISCELLANEOUS.
31.
CONSENT AGENDA – FIRST READING BILLS. See Item #3.
32.
Council Bill 2017-019. (McClure)
A special ordinance authorizing the City Manager, or his designee, to enter into contracts with LexisNexis for the purpose of providing law enforcement software and database services.
Documents:
  1. 2017-019.PDF
33.
Council Bill 2017-020. (Schilling)
A special ordinance authorizing the City Manager, or his designee, to enter into a cost share agreement with SoMac Lofts, LLC, for the purpose of constructing a public sewer main in the vicinity of South Avenue and East McDaniel Street. The submitted bid for the sewer relocation under plan number 2015PW0092 is $63,035, of which 50 percent or $31,517.50 have been budgeted from funds in the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 budget of the Clean Water Services Fund. (Environmental Services staff recommends approval).
Documents:
  1. 2017-020.PDF
34.
Council Bill 2017-021. (Fisk)
A general ordinance amending Chapter 2, Section 2-92 of the Springfield City Code, known as ‘Salary Ordinances,’ relating to the salary rate and pay grade for one job title within the Law Department, as contained in the Professional, Administrative and Technical (PAT) salary schedules, by adding one new job title, Senior Paralegal (PAT 7).
Documents:
  1. 2017-021.PDF
35.
CONSENT AGENDA – ONE READING BILLS.
36.
CONSENT AGENDA – SECOND READING BILLS. Citizens Have Spoken. May Be Voted On.
37.
Council Bill 2017-012. (Prater)
A special ordinance authorizing the Director of Planning and Development to accept the dedication of the public streets and easements to the City of Springfield, Missouri, as shown on the Preliminary Plat of Oak Grove Commons, generally located between 833 and 903 South Oak Grove Avenue, upon the applicant filing and recording a final plat that substantially conforms to the preliminary plat; and authorizing the City Clerk to sign the final plat upon compliance with the terms of this Ordinance. (Staff recommends that City Council accept the public streets and easements).
Documents:
  1. 2017-012.PDF
38.
Council Bill 2017-013. (Fishel)
A special ordinance authorizing the Director of Planning and Development to accept the dedication of the public streets and easements to the City of Springfield, Missouri, as shown on the Preliminary Plat of Washita Subdivision, generally located at the 2100 block of East Sunshine Street, upon the applicant filing and recording a final plat that substantially conforms to the preliminary plat; and authorizing the City Clerk to sign the final plat upon compliance with the terms of this Ordinance.
Documents:
  1. 2017-013.PDF
39.
BOARD CONFIRMATIONS.
Confirm the following appointments to the Building Trades Examination and Certification Board: Chad Drake with term to expire December 1, 2017, Richard Glenn with term to expire October 1, 2019 and Rory Krueger with term to expire December 1, 2017.
40.
END OF CONSENT AGENDA.
41.
ADJOURN.