Morning round-up
9:24 am
Mon November 28, 2011

Morning headlines: Monday, November 28, 2011

Insurers have spent more than $1 billion in Joplin tornado claims

After spending about $1.13 billion in claims tied to the Joplin tornado, insurers expect payouts to continue to grow. 

The head of the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration says total insured losses could be $1.8 billion to $1.9 billion. John Huff called the tornado the "largest insurance event in Missouri history."

 The Joplin Globe reported that the numbers don't reflect uninsured losses or properties that are underinsured. Officials have estimated that up to 40 percent of the residential dwellings in some neighborhoods in the tornado-damage zone lacked insurance or were underinsured. The Joplin tornado damaged 7,500 residential dwellings.

New Metro shuttle route starts today

Metro is implementing a van shuttle for mass transit users who live along four block of Russell between Grand and Gravois. It will take passengers to the Civic Center MetroLink station.

Metro's planning chief, Jessica Mefford-Miller, says the shuttle will be in place until January 2012, when another bus line will pick up the service. And she says riders in the Shaw neighborhood will also have more options starting in January.

"We will take that 80 Park-Shaw to both Civic Center and Central West End MetroLink stations so you can ride it eastbound if you want to downtown and westbound if you want to go to the Central West End or destinations further west than that," said Mefford-Miller.

Mefford-Miller says most of the other changes that take effect Monday are designed to better sync bus and MetroLink connections throughout the agency's service area.

Jefferson City teen beaten in Cairo

A Jefferson City, Mo., teenager who was arrested during protests in Cairo says he feared for his life after he was taken into custody by four or five people in plain clothes. In an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, Derrik Sweeney said he and two other American students who were arrested in Egypt were wandering through the streets when gunshots were fired. He says a group of people offered to lead them to safety, but that's when they were taken into custody, beaten and threatened with guns.

Police in Belleville have new tool to fight crime

The Belleville Police Department is using a license plate-reading camera that's on an unmarked police car. The Belleville News-Democrat reported Sunday that the department got the $17,000 camera earlier this year. It's been used in a number of areas and most recently got the city's Safe Street Operation. 

Police say they'll target spots in Belleville to pick up plates associated with arrest warrants and then pursue those vehicles. Authorities say the first trial was on one day last month when it read 926 plates. The reader picked up seven St. Clair County warrants and eight from outside Illinois.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois has expressed concerns about authorities running plate numbers randomly.