Missouri Disaster Recovery
3:45 pm
Thu July 7, 2011

Mo. gets $13.9M more for disaster cleanup program

Tree limbs piled up near Saint John's Hospital in Joplin, Mo. on May 22, 2011 after a tornado swept through the area.
(UPI/Rick Meyer)

Missouri is getting more money to put people who have lost their jobs to natural disasters back to work helping with the cleanup.

The Disaster Recovery Jobs Program was created last month with funding from the federal Workforce Investment Act. The state used an initial allocation of nearly $6 million to hire 400 people for recovery work from the May 22 tornado in Joplin.

Gov. Jay Nixon said Thursday that Missouri now has an additional $13.9 million for the program.

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Illinois State Workers
2:37 pm
Thu July 7, 2011

Union asks arbitrator to decide on canceled raises for Ill. state workers

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A major state employee union has asked an arbitrator to decide whether Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn can cancel scheduled raises for thousands of workers.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees sought the ruling Thursday. Quinn announced last week he was canceling the $75 million in raises to help deal with the state's budget crisis.

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Crime
2:20 pm
Thu July 7, 2011

Former political operative Ohlsen indicted for 2008 Clayton parking garage bombing

Milton "Skip" Ohlsen III in a 2008 police photo.
(Police Photo)

A former St. Louis Democratic political operative has been indicted in connection with a 2008 Clayton bombing that injured a lawyer.

After nearly a three-year investigation federal attorneys are accusing Milton “Skip” Ohlsen III of trying to kill his ex-wife’s divorce attorney.  

Ohlsen is already serving time on unrelated charges for mortgage fraud and illegal possession of a firearm.

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Mo. Voter ID
11:05 am
Thu July 7, 2011

Suit challenges Mo. voter photo ID

An interior view of the dome of the Missouri State Capitol building in Jefferson City, Mo.
(via Flickr/jimbowen0306)

A lawsuit is seeking to strike down a proposed constitutional amendment allowing a photo identification mandate for Missouri voters.

The measure passed the Missouri General Assembly this session and is scheduled to go before voters in November 2012.

It would ask voters to amend the state Constitution and allow lawmakers to enact early voting laws and photo ID requirements.

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Morning round-up
9:22 am
Thu July 7, 2011

Morning headlines: Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ameren’s 2,400-megawatt plant near Labadie, Mo. is the state’s largest coal-fired power plant.
(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

Ameren's plan to dump coal waste moves forward

Ameren’s plan for a coal waste dump in an eastern Missouri floodway  has moved a step forward.

Ameren operates a power plant along the Missouri River in the Franklin County town of Labadie and dumps coal ash into two ponds. Those ponds are near capacity and Ameren wants to fill the river bottom with coal waste and surround it with a 20-foot-tall levee.  

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Stray Rescue
6:35 am
Thu July 7, 2011

Stray Rescue reflects on a year as St. Louis' official dog shelter

The city’s pound on Gasconade once held most of the stray dogs the city would pick up in a day. Now, it houses just dangerous or bite dogs, and those that are part of the court system.
(Photo by Warren Nichols/St. Louis Department of Health)

Last year, 90 dogs left the St. Louis city pound for what Mayor Francis Slay hoped would be a better life. The move marked the end of an attempt by the city to replace its aging pound with a state-of-the-art shelter funded by donations.

From that day on, Stray Rescue - a non-profit with 24 employees and an army of volunteers - cared for all but a handful of dogs and answered the city's animal control calls: all without taking a dime of city money.

If you believe the city’s health department, there are fewer strays on the street, and more dogs are being adopted. But there are questions about how long the success will last.

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Sprinkler bill vetoed
6:39 pm
Wed July 6, 2011

Nixon vetoes bill that would have delayed sprinkler system rule

Gov. Jay Nixon
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has vetoed legislation that would have given residential care centers two more years to install sprinkler systems.

In 2006, 10 residents were killed in a fire at a group home in Anderson that did not have a sprinkler system.

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Amtrak
5:54 pm
Wed July 6, 2011

Flooding extends Amtrak disruption in Mo.

An Amtrak traincar.
(St. Louis Public Radio)

Amtrak is extending the suspension of one its two daily round trips between St. Louis and Kansas City because of continued flooding along the Missouri River.

The suspension took effect July 2 and had been scheduled to expire at midweek. But the passenger train service said Wednesday the change remains in effect at least through Saturday.

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Chimpanzee death
3:14 pm
Wed July 6, 2011

"Father figure" chimpanzee euthanized

Zookeepers at the St. Louis Zoo on Wednesday announced they had euthanized the chimpanzee Smoke, pictured here with his foster daughter Tammy, on June 22. Smoke was 43.
(photo by Carol Weerts/St. Louis Zoo)

Updated to reflect the fact that chimp was euthanized last month.

A chimpanzee who helped foster six young apes at the St. Louis Zoo while raising his own youngster has died.

The Zoo announced today that Smoke was euthanized June 22 after veterinary staff found that an infection and inflammation in his abdomen had spread.

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Missouri River Floods
12:19 pm
Wed July 6, 2011

McCaskill and Blunt to meet with Senators to discuss flood control

Water flows from the Missouri River over levee L-550, located north of Highway 136 in Atchison County, Mo., June 19, 2011. The local sponsor reported overtopping of the levee to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the morning of June 19.
flickr/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Carlos J. Lazo

The Missouri River Working Group will hold its first meeting next week to discuss issues related to flood control.

Missouri Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt, along with senators from states along the Missouri River, launched the group to examine the best ways to protect people and property. They’ll also discuss ways to avoid floods, like this summer’s, from happening in the future.

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