Morning headlines- Thursday, July 26, 2012 | St. Louis Public Radio

Morning headlines- Thursday, July 26, 2012

Jul 26, 2012

Ill. parents reminded about back-to-school vaccines

Illinois health and education officials are reminding parents to update their children's immunizations before they head back to school.

New Illinois Department of Public Health rules require students entering sixth and ninth grades this year to show proof of receiving the Tdap vaccine. That's a booster shot against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough.

Health department Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck says the requirement coincides with an increase in whooping cough cases in Illinois. Vaccines prevent diseases and protect children who come into contact with unvaccinated people.

Eye exams also are required for students enrolling in kindergarten and for students enrolling for the first time in Illinois schools.

Dental exams are required of students enrolling in kindergarten and in second and sixth grades.

Activists protest for increase in Ill. minimum wage

Rachel Otwell contributed reporting from Springfield.

Activists across Illinois want business leaders to support an increase in the minimum wage. 

They argue the federal minimum wage should be raised to $10 an hour.

Jordan Humphrey is a college student who works in sales and makes minimum wage, plus commission. He says it's barely enough to make ends meet.

"I make about $500 to $600 every two weeks, depending on what my commission is on phone sales. And honestly there are some weeks where I have $5 dollars in my pockets - 3 days to go 'til my next paycheck and I don't know if I'm going to be able to eat or not,” Humphrey said.

Illinois' minimum wage is $8.25, a dollar higher than the federal minimum.

In Missouri there's an effort to raise the state's minimum wage by a dollar to $8.25.

The Missouri Secretary of State's office has until Aug. 7 to determine if the initiative has enough signatures to get on the November ballot.

Mo. Senate candidate loans money to campaign

Republican Sarah Steelman has loaned her U.S. Senate campaign an additional $100,000 for the final couple of weeks before Missouri's primary elections.

Federal campaign finance reports show Steelman made the loan last Friday. It raises the total amount she has loaned her campaign to $500,000.

Steelman campaign spokesman Patrick Tuohey said Tuesday that Steelman wants to make sure she has enough resources to spread her message. He pointed to the nearly $5 million that Republican businessman John Brunner has contributed to his Senate campaign.

The third major candidate in the race, Congressman Todd Akin, has not self-financed his campaign.

The Republicans are competing in the Aug. 7 primary for the right to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Judge hears evidence in Clay Waller murder hearing

Jacob McCleland contributed reporting from Cape Girardeau.

A Cape Girardeau judge listened to over seven hours of testimony yesterday in a preliminary hearing for Clay Waller in a Cape Girardeau county courtroom.

The judge must now decide if there is enough evidence for a trial.

Prosecutors laid out numerous pieces of evidence against Waller, pointing to contradictions in his story and blood splatter consistent with Jacque Waller's DNA in his home. Investigators also found blood stained carpet tucked away in his crawlspace.

Prosecutors brought out 18 witnesses. They included a former mistress, Cassandra Stringer, who testified Clay Waller tried to persuade her into making a false statement to police that would implicate her husband for Jacque Waller's murder.

Jacque Waller's body has not been found. She disappeared last June 1 after visiting her estranged husband's home to pick up one of the couple's young triplets, but her body was never found.

The hearing was interrupted by violence during a noontime recess, when a witness and Clay Waller's adult son got into a fistfight on the courthouse lawn.

Follow St. Louis Public Radio on Twitter: @stlpublicradio