The vote Wednesday by the House Tax Reform Committee marked the first step toward moving the so-called "Fair Tax" proposal to the 2012 statewide ballot. All the Republicans on the committee voted for the measure and all the Democrats opposed it.
Sleet and freezing rain is causing numerous accidents this morning, including one involving multiple vehicles. The ice storm began just before 5 a.m. and caused accidents throughout the region. The worst was on Interstate 64 near downtown St. Louis, where more than 20 cars and a couple of semis slid on ice. Ambulances and fire trucks responding to the scene were involved in the accident. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Fire Capt. Dan Sutter says 21 people were injured in the accident, one critically. Missouri State Highway Patrol Cpl. Jeff Wilson said troopers responded to up to 60 accidents in St. Charles, Lincoln and St. Louis counties. Officials with the Missouri Department of Transportation says the icy conditions caught them a bit off guard. Assistant district engineer Tom Blair says crews were out patching potholes when they received word that freezing rain could be moving into the area.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is receiving about $216,000 from the federal government to study the condition of old, closed landfills in rural communities. The agency says many older landfills did not have to meet modern environmental standards, and many were not closed properly. The Department of Natural Resources says it will use the findings to train cities on how to maintain the closed dumps or buy and sell properties with landfills on them. The department wants to make sure the landfills don't pollute nearby water resources or otherwise harm the environment.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks Jr. and three others will face off April 5 in the general election after last night's mayoral primary. Parks received 47 percent of the vote. Councilman Delbert Marion was second with 25 percent and former Mayor Carl Edward Officer finished third with 24 percent. The Post-Dispatch reports that voter turnout was about 25 percent. The election comes as layoffs burden the city's police and the murder rate continues to rise.
Sixth-graders taught by Haliday Douglas at City Academy, a private school in north St. Louis, produced a documentary about the civil rights movement in St. Louis.
Credit (City Academy)
St. Louis alderman Freeman Bosley Sr. speaks to 6th graders at City Academy. Bosley, a longtime civil rights activist and the father of the city's first black mayor, was one of the subjects of a documentary shot and edited by the 6th graders.
Credit (City Academy)
City Academy 6th grade teacher Haliday Douglas helps a student prepare to interview Norman Seay, who helped found the St. Louis chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality and spent 90 days in jail for his role in the Jefferson Bank protest
Credit (City Academy)
Sixth graders at City Academy interview Beth Louis, the granddaughter of Branch Rickey. As general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Rickey signed Jackie Robinson to a major league contract, breaking the color barrier in baseball.
Ameren’s 2,400-megawatt plant near Labadie, Missouri, is the state’s largest coal-fired power plant. (Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)
The small town of Labadie is about 35 miles west of St. Louis. (Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)
This diagram is an excerpt of “figure 1” from Ameren’s “Detailed Site Investigation,” showing the location of the company’s proposed coal ash landfill. (Ameren Missouri website)
Shift supervisor Jim Dean stands in front of one of the Labadie power plant’s four turbines. He has worked at the plant since 1976. (Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)
A diagram of Ameren’s proposed landfill site. (Ameren Missouri)
The approximate locations of drinking water wells in Franklin County. (Map created for the Labadie Environmental Organization based on Missouri Department of Natural Resources well location data)
Ameren has already purchased 1,100 acres of agricultural land next to its power plant in Labadie and plans to build a 400 acre coal ash landfill on the site. (Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)
Front Street is Labadie's “Main Street." (Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)
Fourteen dedicated trains make the seven-day trip from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming to bring coal to Ameren’s power plant in Labadie. The plant burns two train loads of coal every day. (Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)