Morning round-up
9:20 am
Thu May 12, 2011

Morning headlines: Thursday, May 12, 2011

Another Mountain Lion Roaming Northwest Mo.

The Missouri Department of Conservation says a landowner in Macon County took pictures of large tracks in a muddy creek bed on April 20. The conservation department confirmed that the tracks belonged to a mountain lion.

Rex Martensen, of the department's mountain lion team, says rain washed away the tracks before anyone could visit the site. But he says the pictures closely match the characteristics of mountain lion tracks. Evidence from other confirmed mountain lion sightings suggest that the mountain lions are coming to Missouri from other states where mountain lion populations have been growing.

Information about laws and regulations regarding mountain lion encounters in Missouri may be found on this Missouri Department of Conservation website, along with a guide on what to do if you encounter a mountain lion.

East St. Louis Public Schools District Gives Control to State

Nearly a month after the Illinois State Board of Education took over East St. Louis' public schools, the district board rescinded the contract renewal of the district superintendent for the next school year and placed her on paid administrative leave. In addition to voting yesterday to remove Theresa Saunders as District 189 superintendent, the board gave the State Board of Education control of its finances, personnel and education decisions.

Board members refused to comment on their decision.

Chief Financial Officer Leroy Triefenbach was named interim superintendent. State Board of Education spokesman Matthew Vanover said the East St. Louis board's decision on Saunders, who has held the post since October 2005, was theirs alone. In deciding to take over the city's schools, state board officials said students weren't being properly educated.

Mo. Senate Still Holding Off on Local Control Bill

Missouri Senate leaders are continuing to hold off on passing a bill that would restore local control of the St. Louis Police Department, in order to get the House to accept their proposed tax credit overhaul. 

Despite the standoff, both chambers have appointed negotiators to work on a compromise tax credit bill.  House Speaker Steven Tilley called the Senate's stance on local control, quote, "idiotic," but was also upbeat about the pending negotiations on tax credits:

 "No, I think there's a middle ground to be had," said Tilley. "We've got our conference committee members working on it, so hopefully they can come up with something, and if they do then we will be able to hopefully get it done."

 Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday confirmed Governor Jay Nixon's appointment to the state-run board that oversees the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.  Tom Irwin's appointment is seen as part of the process of transferring the department to local control - but lawmakers have just two days left to get it passed.