Morning headlines: Thursday, April 28, 2011
Army Corps of Engineers to Decide on Levee Breach this Weekend
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will wait until this weekend to decide whether to punch a massive hole in a Mississippi County, Missouri levee to protect Cairo, Ill.
The mayor of the small city isn't waiting that long to take action.
While Missouri state officials poise to sue the Corps, Cairo Mayor Judson Childs has been on the phone to his congressman and senator, even the attorney general, urging them to support breaching the levee to keep his city from flooding.
"It's been rumored that Cairo is a depressed area," said Childs. "You don't say because you're a depressed area that you don't count. Where are our people at? I want them to be seen, not only seen, but to be heard too."
Mayor Childs has asked the citizens of Cairo to voluntarily evacuate.
FEMA Continues to Assess Tornado Damage
Teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are in the St. Louis area, examining damage to hundreds of homes and buildings that were in the path of the severe storm and tornadoes that ripped through the region. The storm on Friday spawned a tornado that badly damaged Lambert Airport and nine municipalities near the airport in northwest St. Louis County.
FEMA assessment teams will be in the region into next week. Their report will eventually be sent to the state of Missouri. At that point, Gov. Jay Nixon can seek federal financial assistance for stricken communities.
Nixon Signs New Prop B Legislation
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed into law new legislation rewriting a voter-approved law on dog-breeding operations.
Nixon signed the measure Wednesday evening. It capped a flurry of activity that started earlier Wednesday when Nixon signed a previously passed bill repealing key sections of the "Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act" approved by voters last November. As part of a compromise among state-based agriculture and animal welfare groups, lawmakers quickly agreed to supersede their original bill with additional changes to the dog-breeding law. Ultimately, it means a voter-approved limit of 50 breeding dogs per business will be repealed, and many of the original dog-care provisions will be replaced.
The latest version of the bill also gives existing dog breeders more time to comply with expanded housing requirements.
Jurors in Coleman Trial Watch Police Interrogation
On the video shown in court Wednesday, detectives confronted Christopher Coleman about his mistress in Florida. The officers told Coleman they believed he killed his family, while Coleman insisted they were alive when he left his home in Columbia that day. Coleman has pleaded not guilty to the May 2009 killings of Sheri Coleman and their sons, who were 11 and 9.
Prosecutors contend Coleman strangled his family to further an affair with his girlfriend and to avoid losing his job, which had a no-divorce policy for employees.