Drought
12:21 pm
Sat August 4, 2012

Hot summer means early, sweeter apple crop in Illinois

ollesvensson Flickr

With hotter-than-usual temperatures, orchards in southern Illinois are reporting their apple crops are weeks ahead of schedule.

Tom Range of Braeutigam Orchards in Belleville says they picked Gala apples last week. Normally they pick them in the middle of August.

Another surprise this year - the sugar content of the fruit is very high, making for sweeter fruit.

Sherry Chase of Mills Apple Farm in Marine explains that the apples "tend to be sweeter because the sugars are more concentrated."

Read more
Human Trafficking
12:12 pm
Sat August 4, 2012

Illinois getting tougher on human trafficking

If a vote on the latest proposal for temporary pay cuts passes at a East St. Louis Fraternal Order of Police meeting on Thursday, 16 police officers laid off Jan. 1 could be reinstated (via Flickr/davidsonscott15).

Illinois is getting tougher on those involved in human trafficking and forcing the vulnerable into prostitution.
 
 Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law Saturday that strengthens the ability of prosecutors to target those behind what he called "a tragic trade."
 
The measure also offers greater protection to the victims, who are often from vulnerable groups like runaways, abused children and immigrants.

Read more
Glendale Shooting
5:04 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Police: Glendale mom killed herself, her two children

Glendale Police stand outside the house where police say a mother killed her two children then herself in Glendale, Mo. on July 29, 2012.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 5:36 p.m. with additional details from press conference.

Investigators say they've determined that a suburban St. Louis woman killed her two young children and herself in the family's Glendale home.

Friday's announcement followed autopsies and several days of investigation by the St. Louis Area Major Case Squad.

Lt. Tim Fagan said at a news conference that 42-year-old Catherine Murch had a history of mental health issues.

Read more
Mo. voter turnout
4:36 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

25 percent voter turnout expected for Mo. primaries

A voter leaving a voting booth in Georgia in 2010. Missouri will hold party primaries Aug. 7th.
(via Flickr/Congress of local and regional authorities)

Voter turnout in Missouri is expected to be around 25 percent for next Tuesday’s party primaries, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

A turnout of 25 percent would be slightly higher than the 23 percent of Missouri voters who cast ballots in the 2010 primaries.  Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) says voter turnout is notoriously hard to predict.

“In fact, our office doesn’t even do it," Carnahan said.  "We ask the local election officials, the 116 of them around the state, to give us their predictions, based on what is on those local ballots.”

Read more
Surplus
4:10 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

City posts small surplus for last fiscal year

The top three elected officials at St. Louis' City Hall have finished their work on the FY12 budget. Now, it's up to the aldermen.

The extra sales tax generated by a long postseason of baseball helped St. Louis city end the fiscal year with a $4.3 million surplus, but officials say that sigh of relief is only temporary.

Revenue was up just about $4 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30, driven by higher hotel and sales taxes from the World Series. Lower-than-expected spending made up the rest of the surplus.

It's always better to have more money than expected, says city budget director Paul Payne, but the growth may not be sustainable.

Read more
Fake Bomb
3:43 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Trick or Treat? Halloween 'bomb' prompts St. Louis evacuations

(via Flickr/Tony Webster)

Police in St. Louis say a suspicious device that prompted the evacuations of several homes turned out to be a Halloween prop.

KMOV-TV reports that a real estate agent found the item Friday morning in a box in the basement of a vacant home. The woman called police, who described the item as looking remarkably like a real bomb.

The city's bomb squad removed the box while police contacted a former tenant and learned the box had apparently been used as a part of a Halloween costume.

Elk deaths
11:04 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Heat, stress of move likely led to deaths of reintroduced elk

Some of the elk before their reintroduction in 2011.

Kurt Schilligo contributed reporting for this story.

The record summer heat has probably contributed to the death of some of the elk herd recently reintroduced in the Missouri Ozarks.

The Missouri Department of Conservation says six female adults and four calves died in mid-to-late July. The mothers of two of the calves were among the dead females.

Read more
Morning round-up
9:37 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Morning headlines: Friday, August 3, 2012

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Sales tax holiday this weekend in Missouri - except for a few municipalities

It will be a big weekend for back-to-school shopping in Missouri as the state's annual sales tax holiday runs Friday through Sunday. School supplies, clothing items under $100, and personal computers under $3,500 are among the goods that will be exempt from the state's 4.2 percent tax.

Cities and counties can choose to opt out and charge local taxes, but as Missouri Department of Revenue spokesman Ted Farnen says many are taking part.

Read more
Politics
6:36 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Russ Carnahan and Lacy Clay square off in city primary

Russ Carnahan (at left) and William Lacy Clay have vowed to work together for the good of the Democratic Party in Missouri even after a bruising primary fight.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

One of the biggest match-ups in next Tuesday’s primary will pit Congressman Russ Carnahan against fellow Democrat William ‘Lacy’ Clay to represent the party in the 1st Congressional District.

The two incumbents are have waged heated, and at times spiteful campaigns. The upshot is one less Democrat in Washington for Missouri, and city voters will choose between two well-established political dynasties.

Read more
Drought
4:30 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Stuck in the middle: total drought area shrinks as Missouri gets worse

(via National Drought Mitigation Center)

Extreme drought conditions in Missouri have worsened even though nationwide the total area affected by this year’s severe dry weather has decreased slightly. That’s according to this week’s report from the US Drought Monitor.

The portion of the country facing any level of drought decreased a point to about 63 percent. Meanwhile, about 93 percent of Missouri is in an extreme to exceptional drought.

Read more

Pages