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Johnson County resident charged with three counts of child molestation

WARRENSBURG — Larry P. Kinder, 70, Warrensburg, has been charged with three class A felony charges of first-degree child molestation.

The case was filed on Dec. 17.

According to the probable cause statement, on Dec. 12, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sgt. Michael E. Coleman received a report of child molestation alleged to have occurred in rural Johnson County.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Ashley Davis spoke with Coleman and told him that her office received the initial report.

Because the incident was a “hands-on offense,” Davis wanted to turn over the case to the jurisdiction of the alleged incident.

Davis informed Coleman that the three victims, all three ages 13 or younger, reported Kinder had fondled them on multiple occasions, including an incident on or about Nov. 28.

In forensic interviews, the victims reported Kinder had touched them under their clothes on multiple occasions while in Kinder’s chair watching movies in addition to other groping.

According to court documents, one victim said Kinder told them, “I can tell this bothers you. I will stop but it will be hard for me to keep my hands off of you.”

Coleman wrote in the probable cause statement that based on the facts presented, he believes Kinder poses a danger to others.

“Defendant has established patterns of a disregard for the law and sexually assaulted multiple minor children while charged with their care, custody and control,” Coleman wrote. “Defendant has also displayed predatory type behavior and may be a danger to other children given the opportunity.”

Coleman also wrote that he believes Kinder is “likely to fail to appear in court.”

“Due to the gravity and nature of the charges levied against Defendant and his ties to the community as an educator may contribute to embarrassment for Defendant and associated family,” Coleman wrote.

Kinder is a retired educator who had taught in Johnson County.

“Knob Noster Public Schools is aware of the allegations regarding Larry Kinder,” Knob Noster Superintendent Dr. Jerrod Wheeler said. “Mr. Kinder was employed in the district as a teacher from 1980 to 1983 and then was employed in the Warrensburg School District from 1984 to 2001. Mr. Kinder returned to Knob Noster Public Schools for one year as a part-time teacher. Employment records indicate Mr. Kinder separated from the district in good standing following both periods of employment. The district will continue to closely monitor this situation.”

The Warrensburg School District stated it too was aware of the situation.

Kinder was arraigned on his charges in Johnson County Associate Court on Dec. 18.

The case is set for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 19, 2020.


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Part 1 of 4
2019 Year in Review
2019 Year in Review, Part 1: First quarter of year brings business openings, polar vortex, new organization leaders

The past year has been filled with triumphs and tragedies, celebrations and concerns, development and debate across our community. As your community newspaper, the Daily Star-Journal has chronicled these local events and issues as they have unfolded. As 2019 comes to a close and 2020 gets underway, we are going to revisit some of the stories that played out during the past 12 months. This is the first of four installments in our “2019 Year in Review.”

Friday, Dec. 27, 2019: A look back at January to March;

Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019: A look back at April to June;

Friday, Jan. 3, 2020: A look back at July to September;

Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020: A look back at October to December.

Stories included in this year in review are listed by the month in which they appeared in the newspaper. All of the stories listed here, and many more, can be found in the DSJ’s online archive at dailystarjournal.com and through the DSJ NOW app.

January

• Survival Adult Abuse Center opened the new year announcing April Roller as interim executive director and Sonya Jones as interim associate director.

• Dana Phelps began the year as the new executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County. Stormy Taylor left her role as executive director to become the Johnson County recorder of deeds.

• After Scott Holmberg stepped down as the executive director of RISE Community Services, Misty Miller was named the interim executive director.

• It’s a boy! Jon and Tina McKeage welcomed the first baby of 2019 at Western Missouri Medical Center. Theodore McKeage was born at 7:08 p.m. Jan. 1, weighing 7 pounds, 2 ounces and measuring 19.5 inches long.

• The Centerview Board of Aldermen passed an ordinance authorizing placement of a 1-cent sales tax issue on the April ballot. City Clerk Kris Swope said the sales tax, if passed by city voters, was not expected to generate much income immediately, but officials wanted the tax in place in the event future businesses located in Centerview.

• The Warrensburg Police Department resurrected the police reserve program after several years of not having one. Capt. J. Dillon Emmanuel, Warrensburg, was not only the first active-duty airman ever to join the WPD, he was also the first person to join the new WPD Reserve.

• The Daily Star-Journal rolled out an updated design with new features with its the Jan. 15 edition.

• The Warrensburg Public Works Department worked for 24 hours to clear roads of snow and branches in the wake of Winter Storm Gia, which brought up to 11 inches of snow accumulation to the area and caused numerous power outages and slide-off crashes on Jan. 11 and 12.

• Planet Fitness, 723 N. Charles St., celebrated its grand opening Jan. 9.

• Knob Noster High School students were credited with solving a major issue with the B-2 Stealth Bomber in October 2018. Brig. Gen. John Nichols, commander of the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, commissioned the Stealth Panther Robotics of Knob Noster High School for a solution after a B-2 training mission had an in-flight emergency and was diverted.

• The Johnson County Commission voted Jan. 15 to put a half-cent sales tax issue on the April 2 election ballot to fund the Sheriff’s Office and jail operations.

• Shirley Briscoe, with Manna Harvest, and high school senior Kaylee Henry received the 2019 Community Service Awards at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon at Fitt-Kickers restaurant Jan. 16.

• The Warrensburg Rotary Club donated $6,100 to the Warrensburg Police Department to purchase life-saving equipment.

• The Warrensburg Area Economic Coordinating Board reorganized with plans to become a nonprofit organization. The board, which formed in 2004, is composed of representatives of the city of Warrensburg, Johnson County, Chamber of Commerce, Warrensburg Main Street, University of Central Missouri, Johnson County Economic Development Corp. and Warrensburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.

• The Holden Police Department was among 33 area law enforcement agencies from a four-county area that received protective equipment from Fox 4 News and Shield 616. Police Chief Rick Martin said Holden received six Level 4 vests, valued at $1,200 each, that are capable of stopping rifle bullets, making survival more likely during an active shooter situation.

• SPIN! Pizza, 114 S. South St., opened Jan. 16 with a new name and logo and revised menu.

• More than 260 people attended the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 2019 Freedom Scholarship Dinner. Three University of Central Missouri students were awarded the scholarship this year: Arlanda Brown, a senior from St. Louis, majoring in sociology and minoring in Africana studies; K’ron Richardson, a sophomore from St. Louis, majoring in criminal justice; and Mariah Woodson, a freshman from Kansas City, majoring in nursing. The dinner’s master of ceremonies was Dr. Ronnie Rollins, chair of the School of Technology at UCM. The guest speaker for the evening was Dr. Robert Paige Jr., the executive director for Equity and Inclusion at the Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City.

• Forty-eight students, along with faculty, staff and community members, worked together on various projects in Warrensburg during the Day of Service on Jan. 21 as part of the University of Central Missouri’s MLK Celebration.

• Due to a federal government shutdown, the Old Drum bus schedule in Warrensburg reduced to three days a week. The OATS Transit bus is subsidized with federal funds.

• Western Missouri Medical Center ended 2018 with a $1.5 million deficit, which hospital officials said was better than 2017, when the hospital recorded an $11.4 million loss. “The numbers are way better than last year,” board member Greg Hassler said at the WMMC board meeting Jan. 25. The December financial report, presented by Chief Financial Officer Dean Ohmart, showed the hospital recorded a loss for the fourth straight month after more promising results in earlier months.

• The Johnson County Ambulance District made a record number of calls in 2018, Chief Shane Lockard said. In a year-end report to the JCAD board, Lockard reported the district made 7,493 calls during the year, for an average of 624 per month. That compared to 7,155 calls in 2017, with an average of 596 calls per month. Of the 2018 calls, 5,995 were 911 calls, 1,193 were immediate transfers and 224 were non-emergency transfers. Ambulances also made 81 non-emergency standbys during the year.

• The Johnson County Ambulance District’s administrative and billing office was closed from Jan. 28 through Feb. 1. Starting Jan. 28, the district began the process of moving the administrative and billing office to the new headquarters located at 500 E. Young Ave.

• Net patient revenue for the first five months of the fiscal year at Johnson County Community Health Services was up 1.4% compared to the same period in 2018, according to the financial report presented to the board on Jan. 24.

• The Warrensburg Police Department reopened about 8:30 p.m. Jan. 25 after being closed for more than five hours due to the report of a bomb threat. A suspicious package turned out to be a bag of trash.

• Crews from throughout the county responded to the report of a bomb threat at about 12:46 p.m. Jan. 25 at Yoss Bros. Grocery, 1200 E. 10th St., Holden. The Whiteman Air Force Base bomb-sniffing K-9 arrived on scene and cleared both the interior and exterior of the building, declaring the area safe from any threats.

• Effective Jan. 14, Pathways Community Health and Crider Health Center changed their local names to one, unified name — Compass Health Network.

February

• Russell S. Shuey, 39, Warrensburg, was sentenced to eight years in the Missouri Department of Corrections after he pleaded guilty Jan. 28 to first-degree involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Sabrina Shelton, 27, on July 1, 2018.

• Jema Donahue received a 10-year prison sentence Jan. 28 on charges related to the shooting death of her husband, Javon Donahue, on April 4, 2017.

• A polar vortex that caused temperatures to plunge to sub-zero readings and produced wind chills of up to 22 degrees below zero forced the closure of all Johnson County schools and the Warrensburg Senior Center, and the cancellation of other civic activities on Jan. 30. The Johnson County Cares coalition, in partnership with Soul Fire Ministries and Standing in the Gap Ministries scrambled Jan. 29 to open a shelter in the former Destiny House, 208 Emerson St., for homeless individuals needing to escape the bitterly cold temperatures.

• A Jackson County Circuit Court judge granted Powell Gardens’ request for a preliminary injunction effectively halting the expansion of Valley Oaks Steak Co.’s confined animal feeding operation at 1921 W. Highway 50 in far western Johnson County until full resolution of a related civil case.

• The Warrensburg City Council approved amendments to the city ordinances regarding where a medical marijuana dispensary would be allowed during its Jan. 14 meeting. Missouri voters approved the legalization of medical marijuana in November 2018, but there were several steps left in the process of allowing the use of medical marijuana in Missouri, such as where people would be able to buy it.

• A Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 30 celebrated the completion of renovations to the Women’s Health Center at 415-A Burkarth Road, on the Western Missouri Medical Center campus.

• The Western Missouri Medical Center Foundation’s Fire & Ice: Vegas Royale on Jan. 25 raised more than $50,000 for the “Advancing Cancer Care, Closer to Home” project.

• Jasmine Bylander was the first student from the University of Central Missouri to be a finalist for Project Green Challenge. Challenges made participants evaluate the way they live, their environment, their goals, what they eat and what they wear.

• The City Council unanimously approved to amend a city ordinance regarding the definition of smoking during its Jan. 28 meeting. The ordinance now reads, “Smoking means inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any 1) lighted cigar, 2) lighted cigarette, 3) lighted pipe, 4) other tobacco product being actively introduced into the human body by means of combustion or vaporization, or 5) any other plant material or organic compound being actively introduced into the human body by means of combustion or vaporization.”

• Luke Lewis, who started work as the new city administrator in Knob Noster on Jan. 24, said he was pleased with the way members of the Board of Aldermen worked together. He came to Knob Noster from Lee’s Summit, where he worked as a public/private business consultant.

• Courtney E. Goddard’s appointment as the vice president for advancement and external engagement, as well as the executive director of the University of Central Missouri Foundation, was announced.

• Three B-2 Spirit bombers and more than 200 airmen from Whiteman Air Force Base deployed Jan. 10 in support of U.S. Strategic Command’s Bomber Task Force mission.

• A Martin Warren Elementary School fifth-grade teacher, Casey Laws, was named the local Smart/Maher Teacher of the Year by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2513 and received the district’s first-place award from VFW District 6 during a ceremony Feb. 10.

• Knob Noster was among 10 Missouri communities that benefited from a Rural Community Development Initiative grant awarded to Missouri Main Street Connection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

• Johnson County officials began investigating the use of electronic monitoring to release non-violent offenders from jail while they are awaiting trial or presentence assessments in state cases. Officials began looking into jail alternatives in 2018 when the Missouri Department of Corrections and the Missouri Association of Counties teamed up to try to find a way to resolve issues surrounding reimbursement to counties for housing state prisoners.

• A club for kids interested in technology has started in Warrensburg. Girls Who Code is an organization with clubs across the country with a mission to close the gender gap in technology.

• The Johnson County Commission unanimously approved a resolution Feb. 11 authorizing Presiding Commissioner Bill Gabel to sign a grant application for federal funds to complete paving of the Spirit Trail from the Lake Ridge subdivision on Route DD to the entrance to Knob Noster State Park.

• The new all-access membership plan implemented in October 2018 by the Parks and Recreation Department reaped good results, Parks Director Danielle Fesler said. Fesler gave the Parks Board an update on the membership plan at the board meeting Jan. 30 at the Community Center. During the first quarter of the fiscal year, from October through January, service revenue for the department was up more than $20,000 over the same period in 2018, she said, with $156,154 received compared to $134,616 the previous year.

• For the first time ever, the Warrensburg Police Department announced it would have dash cameras installed in all 12 police vehicles.

• Christine Rogers, 56, Warrensburg, prepared to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, at almost 20,000 feet.

• The Johnson County Citizens for Environmental Action undertook a campaign to reduce the number of plastic straws distributed to restaurant customers in the city. In a letter going out to restaurant owners, CEA President Mark Pearce said the organization encouraged restaurants to implement a policy of providing single-use plastic straws to customers only upon request.

• Kara Smith, a member of the Mt. Moriah Hustlers 4-H Club and Johnson County Council president, made a Re-Charge phone/tablet charging station and donated it to the Johnson County Fairgrounds Youth Community Building.

• Response to a call for donations for the temporary homeless shelter were “overwhelming,” and no more donations of clothing and bedding or hygiene items were needed at the time, according to information provided at the Johnson County Cares meeting Feb. 15. However, products such as paper plates, disposable utensils and bowls, paper towels, and breakfast and food items that do not need to be cooked or can be heated in a microwave were still needed.

• State Fair Community College’s The LearningForce received a $12,392 grant from the Air Force Aid Society at Whiteman Air Force Base to provide a 12-week non-credit certified pharmacy technician course for four spouses of active-duty personnel.

• Western Missouri Medical Center earned the Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission for Hospital Accreditation and Certification for Normal Delivery of Newborns by demonstrating continuous compliance with TJC’s performance standards.

• The Sunderland Foundation pledged a $1 million gift to the University of Central Missouri Foundation toward construction of a state-of-the-art terminal and flight education facility at UCM’s Max B. Swisher Skyhaven Airport.

• The Johnson County Emergency Services Board agreed Feb. 19 to develop a request for proposals for a professional recruiting service to assist in the search for a new executive director for the E-911 Center.

• Two new Scouts BSA troops, whose memberships include girls, have started in Warrensburg. The Warrensburg VFW and Elks Lodge sponsor the troops.

• After delays due to weather, Lifetime Animal Center hosted its grand opening on Feb. 9.

• Not even cold temperatures, gusting wind or frozen ground could keep Whiteman Air Force Base from celebrating the groundbreaking of the new Consolidated Operations Building that will house the 509th Operations Group and 131st Operations Group in one centralized location on Feb. 22.

March

• Johnson County Collector Ruthane Small was sworn in on Feb. 27. Her seventh elected term in office officially began March 1.

• Survival Adult Abuse Center’s Executive Board named April Roller as the permanent executive director and Bradley Schulte as the associate director.

• The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and Johnson County Community Health Services reported significantly increased cases of syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease. DHSS issued a health advisory on Feb. 19 about the increase, and officials at JCCHS are echoing the report.

• Victor D. Sanders, 54, Kingsville, was charged in the shooting death of his brother, Michael S. Sanders, 57, Odessa.

• Employees of the Johnson County Ambulance District routinely assist community residents who have medical problems. Early in 2019, they rallied around one of their own. Tiffany Bush, employed in the billing office since 2015, was diagnosed with acute leukemia and was undergoing treatment at the University of Kansas Medical Center while awaiting a bone marrow transplant.

• The Johnson County Economic Coordinating Board authorized hiring a consultant to assist with implementation of two Opportunity Zones in the city at a maximum cost of $4,000.

• Two Warrensburg men were arrested in connection with the report of an assault that took place March 1 in rural Warrensburg. Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies responded at approximately 12:43 a.m. to the 400 block of S.E. 501st Road in regard to a 74-year-old man who reported he was assaulted, robbed and left on the roadside. Devin T. Leavy, 25, Warrensburg, was charged with first-degree assault and first-degree robbery. Robert A. Rehmer, 26, Warrensburg, was charged with first-degree assault and first-degree robbery.

• An inmate was returned to custody after escaping March 6 from the Johnson County Justice Center, Sheriff Scott Munsterman said. At about 1:45 p.m., Johnson County Sheriff’s Office deputies were made aware that inmate Douglas W. Bradler escaped custody. He was returned to custody two minutes later.

• In the midst of a winter full of snow, ice and sub-freezing temperatures, the Johnson County Fair Association caught a break for its annual Hog Roast and Dessert Auction on Feb. 21 at the fairgrounds, 144 N.W. 361st Road. With the sun out and the snow melting, the Fair Association raised about $8,000 and drew about 300 people for the dinner.

• Following the $2.7 million Strengthening Institutions Grant received in the fall of 2018, the University of Central Missouri has appointed Shaunte Montgomery as Title III project manager and director of first year programs. In this role, Montgomery directly oversees student success programs for at-risk students and will direct the coordination of a first-year experience at UCM.

• Warrensburg Middle School officials and law enforcement were informed of the report of a threat made March 8 at the school. Superintendent Scott Patrick stated a WMS student made a verbal threat regarding a school shooting. Later Patrick stated that at no time was there any immediate danger to any student or staff member.

• Gordmans, 721 N. Charles St., hosted its grand opening on March 6. It replaced the former Goody’s as part of a conversion of 37 Bealls, Goody’s, Peebles and Stage stores to Gordmans, which Stage acquired in April 2017.

• Warrensburg Public Works announced that due to a sinkhole developing in the roadway immediately over the bridge/culvert structure on South Main Street, between Clark Street and Southwest Drive, the street was closed.

• After a battle with brain cancer, Warrensburg’s Matthew Harreld died March 8. Community members rallied around the Harreld family in Matthew’s final months as he received more than 4,300 pieces of mail.

• The Missouri Department of Natural Resources issued a Class IB Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation no-discharge Missouri State Operating Permit to Valley Oaks Real Estate LLC on March 15. Powell Gardens, a botanical garden about three miles from the Valley Oaks site, filed suit against Valley Oaks in Jackson County Circuit Court after the DNR approved an operating permit for the CAFO in June 2018. A preliminary injunction issued in January halted expansion until the suit was settled. A trial was set to begin on Feb. 24, 2020.

• The annual Johnson County Christian Academy Auction drew between 250 and 300 people and raised between $20,000 and $24,000 on March 2. The event was hosted at Northside Christian Church.

• The Johnson County Ambulance District hosted a grand opening and ribbon cutting on the new headquarters on March 14.

• The Fuller Center for Housing of Johnson County broke ground on its newest project on March 18.

• The audit for the City of Warrensburg finances for fiscal year 2018 was presented during the March 11 City Council meeting. “It was a good audit, a good clean audit,” Financial Director Matthew Lue said, add that the city budget about broke even.

• Following an incident in New York, where an officer was killed by friendly fire Feb. 12, the Warrensburg Police Department equipped each of its 34 officers with a reflective sash that can be used to identify them as police when not in uniform. Any officer carrying a firearm while off-duty is required to carry the sash.

• Johnson County moved up one place in the 2019 County Health Rankings by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Wisconsin Population Health Institute, now ranking as the 17th healthiest county in Missouri. The nationwide program examines health and well-being of people living in most U.S. counties and shows how long and how well people live based on multiple factors.

• The Johnson County Spirit Trail Coalition awaited official closeout of the project from the Missouri Department of Transportation but received the go-ahead to advertise for paving bids for the trail, Presiding Commissioner Bill Gabel said March 19.

• The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a new payment model that would allow ambulance providers to be paid for treating and releasing patients at the scene and/or transporting them to alternative destinations, such as urgent care centers or a physician’s office. Johnson County Ambulance District Chief Shane Lockard introduced the concept of the ET3 (Emergency Triage, Treat and Transport) to the JCAD board at its meeting March 14. Lockard said CMS proposed to pay only at the basic life support level for patients treated and released. Payment for advanced life support service would be made only if the patient is transported to a hospital emergency room. “It’s very early in the process,” Lockard said. “I think we’ll see this evolve.” CMS proposed a 2020 start date.

• Members of the American Legion Post 131 gathered to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the U.S. war veteran organization on March 16.

• The temporary homeless shelter at 208 E. Emerson St. was scheduled to close on March 31, and concerned groups were again on the lookout for a place to establish a permanent shelter in the community.

• The Crest Ridge School Board voted 4-3 in favor of a four-day school week for the 2019-20 school year.

• Trails Regional Library announced new hours at its branches that would go into effect May 1.

• The Missouri Conservation Commission approved construction of a new target shooting range at the Ralph and Martha Perry Memorial Conservation Area in Johnson County. At a meeting earlier in the year, the commission approved the $532,610 contract for construction of the range with Kat Excavation of Bates City.


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Child Safe hosts first Johnson County fundraiser

WARRENSBURG — Child Safe, a child advocacy group based in Sedalia, hosted its first fundraiser in Johnson County on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at the First Methodist Church, 141 E. Gay St.

A free-will donation dinner and cash-and-carry desserts preceded a Celebrity Dessert Auction with desserts donated by community members and local businesses.

Brothers Jeremy Garber, 20, and Jessie Garber, 15, auctioned off cakes, cookies and desserts.

Child Safe Executive Director Mari Asbury said the event raised about $4,500.

Asbury said this was the first time Child Safe has raised funds in Johnson County and the organization serves as many children in Johnson County as it does in Pettis County.

In total, Child Safe serves 13 counties, including Benton, Carroll, Chariton, Cooper, Henry, Hickory, Johnson, Lafayette, Linn, Montineau, Morgan, Pettis and Saline.

“Our child advocacy center ... provides forensic interviews for children who have been suspected (victims of) child abuse and neglect,” Asbury said. “Most of the kids that we serve are sexual abuse (victims). We also provide advocacy for families, we provide therapy for families and we provide an education program. All of those services are provided at no cost.”

The organization is grant-based and is funded through donations.

Asbury said Child Safe is planning to make the dessert auction an annual event in Johnson County.

The next Child Safe event is scheduled to be an egg hunt in March in Pettis County.

For more information about Child Safe, visit childsafehouse.org.