Morning headlines: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | St. Louis Public Radio

Morning headlines: Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nov 22, 2011

Joplin to mark 6 month anniversary of devastating tornado

The city of Joplin is marking the six-month anniversary of the May 22 tornado with a community memorial service Tuesday. The service begins at 4:30 p.m. at Cunningham Park. The park is located next to St. John's Regional Medical Center, the damaged hospital that for many became a physical symbol of the tornado that killed 161 people.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is scheduled to attend.

A moment of silence will take place at 5:41 p.m., the time the twister first hit. A tree lighting ceremony will commemorate those who died. The city plans to plant 161 trees as individual tributes to the victims. In case of rain, the service will move to the Leggett and Platt Center at Missouri Southern State University.

Obama commutes Alton woman's prison sentence

President Barack Obama has issued five pardons and commuted one woman's prison sentence.

Obama commuted the 2001 prison sentence of Eugenia Marie Jennings of Alton, Illinois. She was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for distribution of cocaine base. Under the terms of her commutation, she will be released from prison next month.

The convictions of those pardoned include intent to distribute marijuana, running an illegal gambling business, and transporting stolen property. The actions mark Obama's third set of pardons. He pardoned eight people earlier this year, and issued nine pardons in December 2010.

Rezko to be sentenced today

A former fundraiser for ousted Ill. Governor Rod Blagojevich will learn today if he'll spend more time behind bars for corruption. Antoin "Tony" Rezko has spent more than three years in prison since his 2008 convictions for fraud, money laundering and other charges. Rezko's sentencing had been delayed following an agreement to cooperate with prosecutors.