Jefferson City, MO – Biologists in Missouri took samples from about six thousand deer this week to test for the fatal chronic wasting disease, but officials won't get the test results until March or April.
The brain-wasting disease is similar to elk and deer what mad cow disease is to cattle. It has never been identified in Missouri, but the state's Department of Conservation have been collecting deer heads from hunters for samples.
Metro-East, Illinois – Madison and St. Clair counties in Illinois are offering free bus rides during the holiday season.
In St. Clair County, there will be a free Holiday MetroBus painted on the outside with candles, bows and garlands. It will make surprise appearances on regular bus routes for part of every day from today through Christmas.
In Madison County, the transit district is offering free bus rides to Christmas light displays for people with disabilities or groups of senior citizens.
Kansas City, MO – Missouri officials say at the current rate, the account from which unemployment checks are written will dry up early next year.
The Kansas City Star reports that checks written to unemployed Missouri residents have dwarfed funds received from a tax on employers.
Heightened unemployment rates and an extended economic downturn have combined to drain the fund, and the head of the state's Division of Employment Security says that fund will likely spend its last $200 million by the first quarter next year.
Bloomington, Illinois – Blood bank workers are hoping to build up their supplies before the busy holiday travel season.
Red Cross officials say December often packs a double punch for blood banks. That's because donations go down as people's schedules become more hectic, and traffic accidents increase because more travelers are on the roads.
Don Webb is chief executive officer of the Red Cross Heart of America region. It includes parts of Illinois, Iowa and Missouri. He says blood supplies are adequate for now.
Edwardsville, IL – Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville announced yesterday it would end its wrestling program after this season because of budget shortfalls.
"This was not an easy decision," said SIUE Director of Athletics Brad Hewitt in a statement. "But it is the most prudent financial decision. In keeping with the University's Vision Statement, Intercollegiate Athletics' prime ambition is to be recognized nationally for the excellence in its programs."
St. Louis, MO – One group is asking St. Louis area consumers not to purchase holiday gifts Friday. the group Adbusters Media Foundation is promoting "Buy Nothing Day," which it says is a symbolic protest of unnecessary consumption. Spokesman Paul MacFarlane of St. Louis says they want people to consider the consequences of unchecked spending.
MacFarlane says activists will hand out flyers and drag giant credit cards shackled to their ankles at shopping malls in the St. Louis area tomorrow to make their point.
St. Louis, MO – Indianapolis-based Hunt Construction Group will build the Cardinals' new stadium.
The team made the announcement yesterday, citing the company's experience with building eight of the last eleven big-league ballparks.
None of the other contractors under consideration was St. Louis-based, but Cardinals President Mark Lamping says sub-contractors will do much of the work, which will let St. Louis companies participate.
Other ballparks Hunt Construction has been involved with include: