Morning Round-Up
9:28 am
Sun September 23, 2012

Morning headlines: Sunday, September 23, 2012

St. Louis exec pleads to fraud charges

A suburban St. Louis business executive accused of stealing from his former company has pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and mail fraud.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Dunard Morris pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to two counts of mail fraud and one of wire fraud.

Morris was in charge of business and financial operations for Chesterfield-based Metropolitan Urological Specialists, which also has other offices around suburban St. Louis. A spokesman for the practice, James Crowe III, declined to answer questions about the case but thanked prosecutors and the FBI for "bringing Dunard Morris to justice."

Morris was indicted Feb. 29, and is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 14.

Mountain lion confirmed in Shannon County

The Missouri Department of Conservation has confirmed another mountain lion sighting in the state. 

The Springfield News Leader reports that the mountain lion was captured by a trail camera in Shannon County earlier this month. The photograph of a mountain lion walking in the forest at night was taken on public land near Eminence, and the department's Mountain Lion Response Team confirmed the sighting late last week. 

The department has confirmed 32 of the hundreds of mountain lion reports in Missouri since 1994.

Other confirmed mountain lion sightings have been scattered around the state. The department says there's no confirmed evidence of a breeding mountain lion population in Missouri, and it appears the animals are coming from western states.

Missouri Department of Conservation hosts deer management meetings

The archery deer hunting season is already underway in Missouri, and various firearm seasons will begin in the coming weeks.   And in the run up to the larger deer hunting season, The Missouri Department of Conservation has been hosting community meetings around the state.

Yesterday, department officials were at the Powder Creek Conservation area in Kirkwood to speak with landowners about deer conservation strategies.    

Resource Scientist Emily Flinn said this summer’s drought has not had a major impact on the state’s deer population, which numbers 1.4 billion in the state.

“The deer went into the year with a great, mild winter and an early spring green-up, so, they went into the summer in great body condition,” Flinn said.  “The drought, I don’t think, had a very significant impact on the population.”

However, Flinn said the department is managing an outbreak of a hemorrhagic disease, which is spread by the bites of the small midge fly.

Outbreaks of hemorrhagic disease tend to increase during droughts, when deer and flies both congregate near the diminished number of watering spots.