Business/US Fidelis plea
4:30 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Former owner of US Fidelis pleads guilty to state charges

Darain Atkinson.
(St. Charles County Department of Corrections)

Updated at 4:08 with comments from Attorney General Koster and Darain Atkinson's attorney.

Updated 3:58 with statement from the Better Business Bureau:

“US Fidelis left a trail of dissatisfied consumers from across the United States.  Today’s guilty plea by Darain Atkinson in St. Charles County illustrates the risks of unethical business behavior and the importance of the work of groups like the Better Business Bureau in exposing the underhanded practices in our marketplace,” Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO said.

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Teacher tenure
1:35 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Teachers would have to work longer to get tenure under legislation approved by Mo. Senate

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would double the amount of time required for public school teachers to earn tenure.

Currently, a teacher has to work in the same school district for five years to earn tenure.  The bill sponsored by State Senator Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield) would expand that requirement to 10 years.

“As long as the teacher does not own their job, if you will, then they’re going to be really working to prove (themselves) and do a good job," Cunningham said.  "It gives us five more years of encouraging and giving motivation to teachers to really produce.”

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Ancient Art
12:08 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Judge rules 3,200-year-old mummy mask can stay in St. Louis

Mummy Mask of the Lady Ka-nefer-nefer.
(Courtesy Saint Louis Art Museum)

A 3,200-year-old mummy mask at the center of an international dispute will remain in St. Louis following a ruling by a federal judge.

The U.S. government sought to return the funeral mask of Lady Ka-nefer-nefer to Egypt, claiming it had been stolen before the St. Louis Art Museum purchased it from a New York art dealer in 1998. But U.S. District Judge Henry Autry in St. Louis ruled on March 31 that the mask can remain with the art museum.

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Education
11:33 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Mo. House passes school transportation measure

(via Flickr/alextakesphotos)

Missouri House members have approved legislation designed to help students go to the school closest to them - even if it is located in a different district.

Students could attend school in a different district if they live at least 10 miles from their school and a building in another district is at least 5 miles closer. Parents would need to request the transfer, and it could be rejected if classrooms already are full.

House members approved the measure 85-72 on Thursday, which is just barely enough votes to pass the bill to the Senate.

Assault Weapons
10:22 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Illinois Supreme Court rules on assault weapon ban

The Illinois Supreme Court building.
(via Flickr/lilhelen)

Updated to include link to opinion.

Gun rights advocates scored a victory when the Illinois Supreme Court allowed a challenge to a Cook County assault weapons ban to proceed.

The court on Thursday ruled that lower courts were wrong to throw out the challenge. The Supreme Court says it wants the trial court to hear evidence on whether assault weapons get the same Second Amendment protections as handguns.

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Joplin Schools
9:35 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Joplin schools get federal dollars for mental health, academic help

The Joplin schools are getting $50,000 in federal assistance to provide academic and mental health support for students and staff following last year's EF-5 tornado.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Joplin School District will get almost $50,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to provide its students and staff recover from the EF-5 tornado that struck the city on May 22, 2011 destroying three schools.

The Project SERV grant will help the district provide academic and mental health services to 7,700 students and 500 educators.

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Morning Round-up
9:28 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Morning headlines: Thursday, April 5, 2012

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Good morning! Here are a couple of the stories we've followed this morning to get you started:

Relatives of teen killed by police want answers

Relatives of a 15-year-old boy shot and killed by St. Louis County police are disputing police claims that the teen had a gun when he was shot. The shooting happened Tuesday night in the Glasgow Village area of north St. Louis County.

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Local Control
6:25 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Whatever happened to local control?

The logo of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police displayed on a patrol vehicle.
(St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri lawmakers last year came the closest they’d ever come to restoring local control over the St. Louis Police Department, which has been under state control since the Civil War.

A bill that would have given control of the department back to the city passed the House, but Senate leaders refused to pass it unless they got their way on tax credit reform, which didn’t happen. This year, the local control battle never got off the ground in Jefferson City. 

St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin talked with Mo. state Senator Joseph Keaveny (D, St. Louis) to find out why.

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Base closure discussions
12:09 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Mo. Congressmembers discuss possibility of base closings

(l-r) Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R), Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R), and Congressman Todd Akin (R) attend a meeting at the Mo. Capitol to discuss the possibility of another round of military base closings.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Three members of Missouri’s congressional delegation met at the State Capitol Wednesday to voice opposition to another round of base closings.

Although there are no scheduled base closings anywhere in the U.S. right now, the Obama Administration is pushing for another round of discussions that could begin as early as next year.  Congressman Todd Akin (R) from the St. Louis area says now’s not the time to close military facilities, especially in Missouri.

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Oil Subsidies
4:36 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

McCaskill continues fight to end oil subsidies

Missouri Senator Clair McCaskill kicked off a state-wide campaign to change the federal tax code Wednesday at a gas station in downtown St. Louis.
(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill is renewing her call to end tax breaks for major US oil companies. Speaking at a gas station in downtown St. Louis Wednesday, the Democrat said the subsidies have done nothing to reduce gas prices across the country. 

"I do not think that what we give them now has resulted in any break at the pump," McCaskill said. "I think that is evidenced by the prices that we see around St. Louis and around Missouri in terms of gas prices."

A bill to end the subsidies failed in the Senate last week. 

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