letterhead scam
6:21 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Scammers using govt. letterheads to steal money, Mo. AG Koster says

Mo. Attorney General Chris Koster (D).
Mo. Atty. Gen. office

The latest scam designed to separate Missouri residents from their money involves phony letters from the State Attorney General’s office, the IRS and other government agencies.

The letters include a fake government letterhead, and state that the recipient has won a million dollars or more in prize money.  Attorney General Chris Koster (D) says the intended victims are then informed that they owe thousands of dollars in taxes and fees on the winnings and are instructed to pay them via Western Union.

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Homeless
6:03 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

St. Louis officials urge homeless to stay hydrated, seek shelter

The heat wave is to blame in three more St. Louis-area deaths.
(flickr/Jack W. Reid)

As this year’s heat wave wears on, St. Louis city officials are stepping up their efforts to keep the death toll among the area’s homeless population from rising.

Department of Human Services Director Bill Siedhoff  says people living on the streets can be at greater risk for heat-related illness and death. 

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Taubman Prestige Outlets
4:23 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Second outlet mall begins construction in Chesterfield Valley

The groundbreaking ceremony for Taubman Prestige Outlets in Chesterfield, Mo. on July 25, 2012. Another outlet mall broke ground less than a mile from this site two weeks earlier.
(Sydney Miller/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Chesterfield Valley could see two new outlet malls by next fall. Taubman Prestige Outlets began construction today, just two weeks after St. Louis Premium Outlets broke ground on its project less than a mile away. Prestige Outlet Malls broke ground across highway 40 from the Chesterfield Commons and construction on St. Louis Premium Outlets is occurring near the Daniel Boone Bridge.

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Drought / Food
4:02 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Pray For Rain: Food Prices Heading Higher

A "historically low inventory" of cattle and hogs is driving up meat prices, a trend that's expected to continue next year, USDA economist Richard Volpe says.
Justin Lane EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 3:30 pm

A fierce drought has been scorching crops this summer, but it's still too soon to know exactly how much of a hole it will burn in your wallet.

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Marilyn Geewax is a senior editor, assigning and editing business radio stories. She also serves as the national economics correspondent for the NPR web site, and regularly discusses economic issues on Tell Me More and Here & Now.

Her work contributed to NPR's 2011 Edward R. Murrow Award for hard news for "The Foreclosure Nightmare." Geewax also worked on the foreclosure-crisis coverage that was recognized with a 2009 Heywood Broun Award.

Campaign Finance
3:35 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Lawsuit seeks to remove campaign donation limits in Illinois

(via Flickr/c_ambler)

Reporting in this story from Brian Mackey.

A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday challenges Illinois' campaign finance laws. It seeks to remove limits on how much individuals and groups can donate to candidates.

The case argues there are two sets of rules under Illinois campaign law.

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I-64 construction
2:48 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Dates change again for I-64 lane closures

The schedule for lane closures on I-64 through downtown has changed again.
(via Flickr/lordsutch)

The schedule for the complete shutdown of Interstate 64 westbound this week has been revised once again.

The Missouri Department of Transportation was set to close the westbound lanes of the highway from Broadway to 21st St. Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. and re-open the two right lanes on Friday morning; then shut down the entire highway again from Friday morning at 10 to 5 a.m. Monday.

Here are the changes:

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Wood River
12:52 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Ex-Wood River finance official gets 3 years in prison for embezzlement

A view of Wood River, Ill. A former assistant finance director for the city has been sentenced to prison time for embezzling funds while on the job.
(via Flickr/Daniel Leininger)

A southwestern Illinois city's former assistant finance director has been sentenced to three years in prison after she admitted stealing nearly $143,000 on the job.

A Madison County judge on Wednesday also ordered 42-year-old Leslie Dona to repay the money she stole from Wood River, a city of 11,000 northeast of St. Louis. She had worked for the city for 17 years.

Dona pleaded guilty to a felony count of theft by deception.

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Election 2012
12:09 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

First-ever gubernatorial endorsement from Mo. Corn Growers backs Nixon

(via Flickr/Muffet)

The Missouri Corn Growers Association has endorsed Gov. Jay Nixon's re-election campaign.

The group says this is the first time it has made a gubernatorial endorsement.

Association President Billy Thiel says the group decided to endorse Nixon because he has promoted Missouri agriculture by helping to expand its markets globally. The group also cited Nixon's support for ethanol cooperatives, among other things.

Nixon, a Democrat, faces no serious opposition in the Aug. 7 primary. Four Republicans are competing to challenge him.

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Morning round-up
9:32 am
Wed July 25, 2012

Morning headlines: Wednesday, July 25, 2012

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Nixon announces emergency assistance for farmers

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon was in Springfield Tuesday to announce emergency assistance to farmers who need access to water. At the Springfield Livestock Market, Nixon outlined a plan to make more state dollars available faster to farmers. An existing cost-share program is expanding. The state will pay 90 percent of the cost of deepening or drilling wells; previously, the state had covered 75 percent of the cost.

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