Johanna Mayer

Ameren's coal-fired plant in Labadie.
Veronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

Labadie, Mo. is a town about 35 miles from St. Louis that might be described as “quaint” and “quiet.” But for the past two years, a controversy between some town residents and Ameren Missouri, an electric company that has a power plant situated in the Missouri River bottoms near Labadie, has sparked a lively local discourse. It concerns the ash that’s leftover from burning coal at the plant. Johanna Mayer has this report.

(via Flickr/jimbowen0306)

Commission struggles to reach agreement on Senate districts boundaries

A panel of five Democrats and five Republicans met Monday and adjourned without reaching a deal on a new Missouri state Senate district map for the 34-member Senate. Commission leaders said the St. Louis area seems to be the biggest sticking point in adjusting the outlines of the state and Senate districts.

(via Flickr/bradleypjohnson)

For St. Louisans, there is one nugget of good news amidst the plunging Dow and struggling economy: gas prices are falling steeply in the St. Louis area.

Experts say the price of a barrel of oil dropped after Standard & Poor's lowered the nation's credit rating by one notch last week.

The price of gas fell below $3.20 per gallon at many stations in the St. Louis area on Monday. Just a little over a week ago, drivers shelled out more than $3.60 for a gallon of regular unleaded at some stores.



(via Flickr/Kansas City District)

Updated 7:50 a.m. Wednesday:

Searchers located the body of Fred Guthrie's patrol dog Reed on Tuesday afternoon near Mo. Highway 118 in Holt County, about 100 yards from the location where Trooper Guthrie's truck and boat were found on Monday. The search for the trooper's body continues.

(via Flickr/jetsandzeppelins)

Sixth heat-related death reported in St. Louis City this year

Earline Walker is the sixth person in St. Louis to die of heat-related causes this year.

90-year-old Walker was found last week by her family at her residence in the 3000 block of Semple. She had window air conditioner units, but they were blowing hot air.

(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

The city of Joplin is off the hook for paying for the first couple of months of debris removal following a devastating tornado in May.

The federal government is paying 90 percent of the cost in the hard-hit area designated for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's enhanced cleanup payments, instead of the usual 75 percent. The state will be picking up the 10 percent not covered by FEMA under the expedited debris removal program that runs through next Sunday. Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon said two-thirds of the properties have been cleared so far.

(via Flickr/KOMUnews)

A second Missouri Republican state lawmaker will be running for Mo. secretary of state.

Republican Sen. Scott Rupp announced his candidacy Monday, joining Republican Sen. Bill Stouffer in the race.

In a news release, Rupp cites his experiences on issues such as illegal immigration and Internet predators as qualifications for the position.

He also says he’s created the only oversight committee to root out fraud and abuse of taxpayer funds in the stimulus package.

(St. Louis Public Radio/UPI)

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri says Republicans need to offer more compromise regarding a plan on how to handle raising the debt ceiling.

McCaskill says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's proposal includes spending cuts larger than the rise in the debt ceiling and no increased taxes.

She says those were the requirements Speaker of the House John Boehner put forward at the start of the debate. But he has come up with his own plan that McCaskill says is similar, but with a catch.

(Elena Schneider/Medill News Service)

Durbin opposes short-term extension of debt-ceiling

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Ill. has announced that he wants to extend the debt ceiling until after the 2012 election. He says Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to raise the ceiling as budget cuts are made would do nothing to help the economy, and won’t keep credit agencies from downgrading the nation’s debt. Rather, he says it would lead to higher interest rates.

 New conservative ad campaign targets Mo. Sen. McCaskill, among others

(via Flickr/ellie)

Residents in St. Charles County will soon need a prescription to purchase cold and allergy pills containing pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient in methamphetamine. 

(via Flickr/USACEpublicaffairs)

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon is asking President Barack Obama to issue a major disaster declaration for 23 northern counties hit by severe storms and flooding along the Missouri River. He announced the request Monday.

The disaster request would cover events since June 1. If approved, it would allow government aid to flow to families and public agencies that have suffered losses. The counties included in the request are:

(Screen capture via YouTube/ildalasershows/FAA/U.S. Air Force)

The FBI is warning that aiming laser pointers at flying aircraft is a serious offense punishable by years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines.

At a press conference Monday, St. Louis officials said that pilots typically report several laser strikes per day.

Doug Reinholz is a helicopter pilot with the St. Louis Police Department.  He says the light from laser pointers can be blinding to pilots, particularly at night.

"It's equivalent to like a flash of a camera if you were in a pitch black car at night," Reinholz said.

(via Flickr/dbking)

Lambert -St. Louis International Airport is seeing an increase in passengers for the third straight month.

In June, the airport experienced a 4.4 percent increase in the number of departing passengers, which matches the numbers from a year ago.

Airport spokesman Jeff Lea says the airport is recovering from tough economic times in 2009 and 2010.

(via Flickr/Zahlm)

Several construction projects will impact traffic on metro area interstates this weekend, mainly around downtown St. Louis and I-270 near I-44.

(via flickr/slprnews)

Joplin tornado contributes to unemployment

Missouri officials say the May 22 tornado in Joplin contributed to the net loss of 13,000 jobs in the state. Joplin alone lost 9,400 jobs in June. The State Department of Economic Development says Missouri’s jobless rate fell from 8.9 percent in May to 8.8 percent in June. In recovery efforts, Gov. Jay Nixon will make a speech Tuesday in Joplin to announce what he calls a “major initiative to address both the near-term and long-term housing needs.”  

(St. Louis Science Center)

Staff cuts possible at St. Louis Science Center

Staff cuts are possible at one of St. Louis' most popular attractions. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a 10-member commission that oversees the St. Louis Science Center could vote as early as August on a restructuring plan. That is according to Ted Hellman, chairman of the commission.

Show-Me Cannabis hopes to collect enough signatures to put a measure to legalize marijuana on the 2016 Missouri statewide ballot.
peter.a photography | Flickr

An organization called Show-Me Cannabis wants to ask Missourians to vote on the legalization and medical regulation of marijuana.

Under the proposal, pot use, possession and small-scale growing would be decriminalized for Missourians who are 21 or older. The state would also be required to issue retail licenses to sell the drug and oversee a medical marijuana program.

Campaign Director Amber Langston said it’s important to at least have a discussion about the benefits of marijuana.

(via Flickr/

Reporting by Illinois Public Radio’s Amanda Vinicky used in this report.

The cuts Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn made to hospitals probably won’t be the final deal. The administration is using the move in an effort to further its agenda.

Illinois reimburses hospitals when they take on low-income patients who are on Medicaid, and state law sets the rate hospitals are to be paid.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Reporting by WBEZ’s Robert Wildeboer used in this report.

Within the next few weeks, attorneys for ousted Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will be asking Judge James Zagel for a mistrial. That’s unlikely to succeed, which means they’ll move on to a higher court. Still, Blagojevich’s testimony could cause problems for an appeal.

(via Flickr/myoldpostcards)

Reporting by Illinois Public Radio’s Sean Crawford used in this report.

Illinois has a reputation not only as a hotbed for public corruption, but also as a place where high ranking officials are prosecuted for misdeeds. Former U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald, who is known for his clashes with the GOP’s old guard, is partly to thank for that.