Morning round-up
9:20 am
Thu March 24, 2011

Morning headlines: Thursday, March 24, 2011

  • St. Louis officials were hoping to find that census figures showing the city lost about 8 percent of its population over the past 10 years were wrong. They now concede it is probably accurate. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that city officials at first thought the census had listed about 5,000 fewer housing units than did city assessor data. That could have meant about 12,000 St. Louisans were not counted. And they suspected other errors. The Post-Dispatch reports that those errors now look like technological glitches that have no real bearing on the population total. Nearly 200 federal programs use census figures to determine how to distribute federal money.

  • The suspect in the January shooting rampage in Tucson, Arizona has been transferred to a specialized facility in Missouri to undergo a court-ordered mental evaluation. Defense lawyers for 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner say in a court filing that he was moved from Tucson to a federal Bureau of Prisons medical facility in Springfield yesterday. Loughner's lawyers want an appeals court to order him returned. Loughner will be given tests to determine if he understands the nature and consequences of the charges he faces and can assist in his defense. He has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the Jan. 8 shooting that killed six people and wounded 13 others, including U.S. Congresswoman. Gabrielle Giffords. She remains at a rehabilitation center in Houston as she recovers from a bullet wound to the brain.

  • Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich is releasing a report Thursday examining the state's use of federal economic stimulus money. The auditor's office compiles a report each year tracking the state's use of federal money. The latest report, covering 2010, will include a sizable amount of stimulus dollars in addition to money Missouri normally receives for such things as Medicaid and welfare payments. Schweich, a Republican, took office as auditor in January. As a candidate, he had pledged to act as a "fiscal hawk" over the state's share of federal stimulus money.

  • U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill could owe a total of nearly $320,000 in overdue property taxes, interest and penalties on an airplane that has caused her political headaches. McCaskill sent about $287,000 to St. Louis County earlier this week after acknowledging that property taxes had not been paid on a plane owned by a company in which she and her husband have an interest. But that may not be enough money. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday the county determined McCaskill's bill to be $319,541. That amount is still pending confirmation by the State Tax Commission.