Morning round-up
9:23 am
Tue December 6, 2011

Morning headlines: Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Two day sentencing hearing for Blagojevich begins today

Former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich's sentencing hearing is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Much of today's hearing will be a repeat of what attorneys have already argued in written motions filed with the court.

The one unknown variable is the governor himself. He'll get a chance to address the court.

Former federal prosecutor Dave Weisman says Blagojevich should read a prepared statement and keep it short.

"If you haven't thought through and kind of critically analyze what you're going to say, you tend to start to say things that hurt you like, 'I'm really not guilty'," said Weisman.  "Which acceptance of responsibility is one of the things the judge should factor in, and if he starts to go down that road that's going to hurt him."

Last week Blagojevich's defense attorney, Sheldon Sorosky, said the governor would not be reading from a prepared statement.

Army Corps: more flooding in southeast Mo. likely

The Army Corps of Engineers says it's likely there will be more flooding along a Mississippi River floodway in southeast Missouri that was inundated earlier this year. The corps says that based on forecasts of unseasonably high river levels there is a "significant risk" of more flooding along the Birds Point Floodway in the near future.

In May, the corps blew three holes in the levee to relieve pressure at the height of the Mississippi River flooding that was threatening nearby Cairo, Ill. About 130,000 acres of farmland were damaged, along with dozens of homes. The corps says weather patterns that include heavy rains in the region are expected through the middle of December. Higher than usual levels of precipitation are also forecast through spring.

Year long search for new University of Mo. president winding down

A 20-member advisory panel will meet Tuesday morning for the first time since the search began in January. The group of professors, students, campus workers and alumni is expected to offer university curators advice on the choices for presidential finalists. 

The Board of Curators, which has met several times behind closed doors in recent weeks, has final approval of the hiring.

The curators are seeking a replacement for Gary Forsee, who stepped down as president in January to care for his wife as she battles cancer. Interim president Steve Owens has said he is not a candidate for the permanent job and expects to resume his duties as general counsel.