Morning headlines: Monday, April 25, 2011 | St. Louis Public Radio

Morning headlines: Monday, April 25, 2011

Opening Statements Begin Today in Christopher Coleman Trial

Area residents started to line-up early this morning outside the Monroe County courthouse to watch the start of the case. The crime took place nearly 2 years ago. Prosecutors allege that Coleman, who once handled security for the Joyce Meyer Ministries, killed his wife Sheri and their sons Garrett and Gavin to be with a mistress. That woman, Tara Lintz, has been ordered to testify and a deposition from Joyce Meyer will also be part of the prosecutor's case.

You have to drive through the community where the crime took place in order to get to the Monroe County Courthouse. For that reason jurors have been brought in from Perry County. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Chris Coleman.

Lambert and Community Continues Tornado Clean-up

As the St. Louis area continues to recover from tornado damage, Lambert Airport is already getting closer to normal. The airport was shut down after it was struck by the tornado that ravaged north St. Louis County on Friday. Lambert reopened to arriving flights Saturday night and to departures Sunday. Officials expect the airport to be running at 85 percent capacity starting today, with at least 200 of the approximate 250 scheduled flights departing as scheduled. Complete recovery could take two months.

Airport leaders credit the hard work of re-construction crews and employees in getting the airport repaired so quickly from a tornado that blew out hundreds of windows and caused damage estimated in the millions of dollars. Officials  in St. Louis County say the Friday night storms damaged 2,700 buildings and up to 100 are uninhabitable.

Mississippi River Towns Prepare for Flooding

The Corps of Engineers is keeping a close eye on levees in Illinois and Missouri as major flooding is forecast for several towns south of St. Louis. Making matters worse: Several inches of rain are expected on Monday. One death has been blamed on flash flooding in Missouri.

Dozens of roads are closed, forcing some southern Missouri districts to cancel classes Monday. The Mississippi is flooding significantly from Iowa down through Missouri and Illinois. The worst of it may be yet to come for points south of where the Missouri and Mississippi rivers converge near St. Louis. Major flooding is forecast for later this week at towns like Chester, Ill., and St. Mary and Cape Girardeau in Missouri. Flooding could approach record levels around the convergence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.