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Morning news round-up
9:22 am
Fri December 17, 2010

Morning headlines: St. Louis County's anti-smoking campaign, new safeguards at Lincoln County prison, Express Scripts new facility

The St. Louis County smoking ban takes effect Jan. 2. The county is launching an anti-smoking ban next week.
(Flickr/Creative Commons user SuperFantastic)
  • St. Louis county will begin it's anti-smoking campaign next week, just as the the countywide smoking ban is about to take effect Jan. 2. The Post-Dispatch says in March the county was awarded a $7.6 million federal stimulus grant to fight smoking. The county's first effort will be a 15 month, $2 million media campaign urging people to stop smoking and to explain the ins and outs of the forthcoming ban. Dr. Delores Gunn, director of the St. Louis County health department says that until now, Missouri has been 48th in the nation on spending for smoking prevention and cessation programs.

"We spend $400 million a year in Medicaid in Missouri to treat illnesses related to smoking and secondhand smoke." -Dr. Delores Gunn in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

  • Express Scripts is planning to announce today that it will build a third office building at its headquarters complex in north St. Louis county. The company says the project will increase its economic impact in the region, which was more than $986 million in 2010. Express Scripts says it will also release an independent academic study on its economic impact in Missouri.
  • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that nearly $190 dollars in safeguards have been installed at the Lincoln County jail. This after two federal prisoners escaped last month. Among the new safeguards is a new camera system. The Sheriff's department hopes the changes will allow them to resume housing federal prisoners. John Wesley Jones, a suspect in the multimillion-dollar ATM Solutions robbery in St. Louis, and Corey Durand Cross escaped through a drop ceiling. They were recaptured within days of the jail break.

Bus vandalism
8:41 am
Fri December 17, 2010

Vandals force cancellation of classes in Collinsville

Students in the Collinsville Community Unit School District 10 got an extended winter break this year after vandals flattened tires on the school buses that transport students.

Maureen Richmond, a spokeswoman with First Student Inc.,  says a maintenance man entered the bus lot around 5am Friday to begin pre-trip maintenance on the fleet. He discovered that at least one tire on all of the nearly 80 buses on the lot had been flattened. It was not clear if the tires were slashed or simply deflated.

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Election 2012
5:51 pm
Thu December 16, 2010

Mo. Governor Nixon confirms he'll run for re-election

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon smiles as he delivers the annual State of the State address in the House of Represenatives chambers in the State Capitol Building in Jefferson City, Missouri on January 20, 2010.
(Bill Greenblatt, UPI)

UPDATED 5:51 p.m. Dec. 16, 2010:

Looks like Governor Nixon is comfortable in the top spot in Jefferson City - he's confirmed that he'll seek re-election in 2012.

Though Nixon confirmed his intentions with a "Yea" to the Associated Press today, his campaign says he's already raised about $1 million since the Nov. 2 elections, and Nixon said he's "committed" to running, he could still follow the precedent of former Republican Gov. Matt Blunt.

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U.S. Congress
5:20 pm
Thu December 16, 2010

New Mo. Congress members Hartzler, Long assigned committees

Congresswoman-elect Republican Vicky Hartzler.
(Vicky Hartzler for Congress)

Fresh off the midterm elections last month, new Missouri Congress members Republicans Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long have been assigned to committees dealing with defense, agriculture and transportation issues.

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from St. Louis on the Air
5:13 pm
Thu December 16, 2010

Patch.com: now reporting from a neighborhood near you

photo by Libby Franklin

In these times of change and uncertainty in the media industry, many doomsday scenarios predicted the end of small-town news coverage.   As small dailies and weeklies all over the country shut their doors, many wondered what , if anything, would fill the void.

Enter Patch.com.

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U.S. Census Data
4:13 pm
Thu December 16, 2010

St. Louis has second-highest home vacancy rate

A vacant and abandoned home in St. Louis. According to U.S. Census data released Tuesday, St. Louis has the second-highest home vacancy rate among major cities in the U.S.
(Flickr Creative Commons User mdaines)

Vacant homes are a common sight in many metropolitan U.S. cities, but, apparently, St. Louis has more than most.

According to U.S. Census data, St. Louis has the second highest rate of home vacancy among major U.S. cities.

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Arlington National Cemetery
2:22 pm
Thu December 16, 2010

McCaskill's Arlington oversight bill goes to President Obama

Arlington National Cemetery
(Flickr Creative Commons user Tony the Misfit)

Nine days ago, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill wrote the Republican and Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives and asked them to add one more bill to an already hectic schedule.

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City of St. Louis
1:14 pm
Thu December 16, 2010

Froebel Literacy Academy student Dailey wins Mayor Slay's holiday card contest

The winning design for St. Louis mayor Francis Slay's holiday card contest, designed by Pearl Dailey of Froebel Literacy Academy.
(City of St. Louis)

For your daily dose of cute, with quite a bit of area pride thrown in, we give you eleven-year-old Pearl Dailey's winning holiday card design.

Images of St. Louis standbys like the Gateway Arch, Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, Gus' Pretzels, the Soulard Farmer's Market and the St. Louis Zoo are featured.

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Morning News Roundup
10:35 am
Thu December 16, 2010

Morning Headlines: Freezing rain, St. Clair Police layoffs, START treaty

Sheriff's deputies in St. Clair county anticipate layoffs as a result of a rejected county proposal to increase wages by 1 percent, a margin not deemed competitive enough to surrounding municipalities.
(Flickr Creative Commons User conner395)
  • If you thought your neighborhood was like a skating rink this morning, you certainly were not alone. Freezing rain coated the St. Louis area with a nasty glaze of ice, causing trouble on the roads. It was worse in rural areas and the Missouri Department of Transportation continues to treat streets with salt, and, believe it or not, beet juice.
  • Sheriff's deputies in St. Clair county got some bad news on Tuesday - 13 of the 46 deputies will be losing their jobs effective Jan. 15. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that this comes after the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police union rejected a proposal by the county to increase their wages by 1 percent, a margin deemed too small by the union compared to similar-sized departments in Illinois, including Madison County the paper reports. Also in St. Clair county,  the East St. Louis city council is scheduled to vote on Friday on a proposal to layoff 26 city employees, including 19 police officers effective Jan. 1.  Laying off 19 police officers means that the police department will be left with 43 police officers -- the department had more than 70 officers just a few years ago. With a reduced force it will be tougher to police an area that, so far, has seen 25 homicides this year.
  • The U.S. Senate is debating President Obama's top foreign policy priority, a U.S.-Russia nuclear arms treaty. Democrats prevailed in a test vote Wednesday after Republicans threatened to delay work on the pact, known as the START treaty. Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill emphasized that the treaty with Russia is vital for the success of American troops fighting in Afghanistan:

"It is a very important treaty for our troops in Afghanistan because the supply lines for our troops in Afghanistan go through Russia and our relationship with Russia is very, very important, especially as you look at our plans on missile defense." - Claire McCaskill

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Club Lure
9:10 am
Thu December 16, 2010

Judge to rule on club Lure petition signatures by January

Club Lure, at 1204 Washington Ave.
Rachel Lippmann St. Louis Public Radio

The future remains unclear for the nightclub formerly known as Lure.

As we reported last week, a group of residents is trying to collect enough signatures to get the club, which is currently operating as Amnesia, shuttered. Judge Margaret Walsh wanted to bring in a witness to clarify some signatures on the petitions.

The result? Still no clarity.

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