Morning headlines: Monday, October 31, 2011 | St. Louis Public Radio

Morning headlines: Monday, October 31, 2011

Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines (other than yesterday's World Series rally):

Cold pill sales jump after new law in St. Charles County

Now that St. Charles County requires a prescription to purchase cold pills containing a key ingredient to methamphetamine, sales of the over-the-counter medications are soaring in three nearby St. Louis County towns.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch cites a statewide database showing that sales of products containing pseudoephedrine jumped by 81 percent last month in Bridgeton, 59 percent in Maryland Heights and 51 percent in Chesterfield.

The spikes came after St. Charles County began its prescription law on Aug. 30.

Franklin County narcotics detective Jason Grellner, a proponent of prescription laws, attributes the spike to meth-makers crossing the county line. But A spokesman for the Walgreens chain attributes the sales increase to law-abiding St. Charles County residents who don't want the hassle of getting a prescription.

 E. coli investigation in St. Louis continues

An investigation continues into an outbreak of E. coli in the St. Louis region.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services says 24 of 34 specimens examined so far have tested positive for shiga toxin, which is a byproduct of E. coli, and testing of the other specimens is still ongoing.

Definitive testing for E. coli is expected to take several more days.

Officials still don't know the cause of the outbreak that has sickened people ranging in age from 4 to 94 in St. Louis city and four surrounding counties.

E. coli is typically spread through consumption of contaminated food. Symptoms include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea or nausea. In rare cases it can be fatal.

Ill. law on convicted sex offenders in effect for Halloween

Illinois has a host of laws that restrict where convicted sex offenders can live and work.

But this is a law that takes relevance only around holidays, including Halloween. It restricts sex offenders and convicted kidnappers from participating in any holiday frivolity.

There's a specific restriction on handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.

Legislators say the intent is to protect children and ease parents' minds.

The same law also forbids convicted sex offenders from wearing a Santa Claus costume around Christmas, and from working as department store Santa or Easter bunny on and before those holidays.