The Road Back To Work
3:17 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

The Road Back to Work: Even When Employed, Health Care A Challenge

Casaundra Bronner, of Hazelwood, Mo., worked in marketing before being laid off in March 2010. She found a job again in March 2011 but is still uninsured and having trouble getting the health care she needs.
Whitney Curtis for NPR

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 5:24 pm

Part of an ongoing series

Zumba is a fitness craze; a high-energy dance and exercise program. You can find it in high-end gyms and even the community center in Hazelwood, Mo., where Casaundra Bronner, 40, lives.

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Science / Earthquakes
3:09 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

A second earthquake of the day occurs in southeastern Missouri

A map highlighting the two separate earthquakes that occurred today in southeast Missouri. The two incidences are represented by the two blue squares on the map.
(USGS website)

The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting that, in addition to the 4.0 magnitude earthquake centered near East Prairie, Mo. early this morning, a second, smaller earthquake originated today near the same location in the New Madrid Seismic Zone

The second earthquake happened around 11:05 a.m.

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Red light cameras
1:58 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

Judge again rejects red light cameras in St. Louis city

A judge has thrown out the city of St. Louis' ordinance that allows the use of red light cameras.
(via Flickr/functoruser)

Updated at 9:50 a.m. Wednesday with copy of Judge Neill's order.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. Tuesday  with comments from the city.

Updated at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday with comments from plaintiff's attorney, more information on the ruling.

A St. Louis circuit court judge has ruled that the city's red light camera ordinance is both unconstitutional and violates state law.

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Farm Taxes
12:43 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

Mo. House rejects plan to increase some farm taxes

(via Flickr/Dodo-Bird)

Missouri House members have voted to reject a tax plan that would increase property taxes for the best farms.

Property taxes for farms are based on the land's "productive value." Farms are divided into eight groups based on land quality, with the best in Grade 1 and the worst in Grade 8. The Missouri Tax Commission has recommended increasing productive values for the four highest grades.

The property tax changes for 2013 and 2014 take effect unless the Legislature approves a resolution to reject them. House members voted 117-39 on Tuesday to reject the tax proposal.

Illinois State Budget
12:17 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

Quinn budget plan would close 14 state facilities

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn.
(via Flickr/ChrisEaves.com)

Gov. Pat Quinn's proposed Illinois budget calls for closing 14 state facilities, including eight run by the Corrections Department.

A person who has seen the budget proposal told The Associated Press on Tuesday it would close four facilities run by the Human Services Department and two run by Juvenile Justice, as well as the eight Corrections Department facilities. The targeted Corrections facilities won't all be prisons.

The person was not authorized to discuss the governor's plans publicly and would speak only on the condition of anonymity.

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MOSIRA
11:37 am
Tue February 21, 2012

New science incentives fund declared unconstitutional by judge

(via Flickr/breahn)

A Missouri trial judge has struck down a state fund designed to offer state incentives to science or technology companies.

During a special legislative session last fall, lawmakers approved the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, also often referred to as MOSIRA. The measure contained a clause that the law would not take effect without the passage of a separate measure, which was not approved.

Those challenging the science fund included the Missouri Roundtable for Life and Missouri Right to Life.

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Education
11:27 am
Tue February 21, 2012

Missouri Board of Education OKs No Child Left Behind waiver

(via Flickr/Lauren Manning)

Updated 1:28 p.m. to reflect that eleven states have already been granted waivers.

The Missouri Board of Education has approved the state's request for a waiver from some provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Members voted Tuesday to support the waiver's submission to the U.S. Department of Education with minor edits. Last fall, President Barack Obama said states will be allowed to seek a waiver from the law, which requires all students to show proficiency in math and reading by 2014.

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Food
10:41 am
Tue February 21, 2012

Five St. Louis food names included as James Beard semifinalists

(via Flickr/neil conway)

Four St. Louis chefs and one restaurant have been named as James Beard Award semifinalists.

In case you're not familiar with the awards, they are described as "the highest honor for food and beverage professionals working in North America" on their website - or, as Time magazine put it, "the Oscars of the food world."

So, who are the noted locals? Here's the list, in alphabetical order:

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Sign ordinance
10:10 am
Tue February 21, 2012

High court will not hear St. Louis "eminent domain" sign case

The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a case that allowed this anti-eminent domain sign to remain on the side of a building in south St. Louis.
(via the Institute for Justice)

Updated at 1:25 with statement from the city.

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined a request to review an opinion from a lower federal appeals court that allowed a St. Louis man to keep a mural that protests eminent domain.

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East Prairie, earthquake, Quinn, Missouri lottery
9:31 am
Tue February 21, 2012

Morning headlines: Tuesday, February 21, 2012

An earthquake hit southeast Missouri at 4 a.m. this morning. The U.S. Geological Survey was centered about five miles from East Prairie, Mo.
(USGS website)

Earthquake hits southeast Missouri

Only minor damage is reported after an earthquake centered in southeast Missouri shook at least nine states.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude 4.0 earthquake was centered near the town of East Prairie, Mo. Geological Survey geophysicist Amy Vaughan says several people in Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee reported being awakened by the quake that happened at 3:58 a.m. A few residents of North Carolina, Alabama, Indiana and Georgia also felt it.

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