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The Associated Press recently surveyed a group of Missouri print and broadcast news editors and named the top news story of 2010: The November defeat of longtime 4 th District Congressman, Ike Skelton. But since the end of December is nothing if not a time for thoughtful chin stroking and list-making, we decided to gather a panel of experts and come up with a list of the year’s biggest news— St. Louis on the Air style.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Early in 2007, Mayor Mike Swoboda delivered a candid warning to the Kirkwood Ministerial Alliance: Meacham Park, the mostly African-American neighborhood on the edge of town, was on the verge of exploding, he said, and the white ministers needed to reach out to defuse the situation.

Outgoing auditor Susan Montee has released two new reports that find problems in a couple of the executive branch offices in Missouri. One report , on the office of Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder , found some problems in manual timesheets and leave slithat Kinder's staff filled out. For example: One employee added 32 hours of compensatory time, rather than subtracting it. Time off that was used to calculate ending balances didn't always match the manual sheets. Time off requested didn't always match...

Missouri has its missing moon rock back. Yes, its missing moon rock. This week, former Missouri Gov. and current U.S. senator Kit Bond 's staff found the rock while sorting through memorabilia as he prepares to retire.

Governor Jay Nixon and the chairmen of the state House and Senate appropriations committee have come to an agreement on the amount of money available for the budget year that starts in June 2011 (FY 2012). The projected revenue estimate is made every December, and is the figure the governor and lawmakers use to craft budget proposals. The state expects to collect about $7.3 billion in revenue for fiscal year 2012. While that’s up from the current budget year , it’s still about $700 million...

A special Missouri Senate committee is recommending that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education be merged with the Department of Higher Education . The proposal was one of several announced today that Senate leaders say will improve education in Missouri. Republican David Pearce of Warrensburg says combining the two will have benefits beyond cost savings. "It brings all the educational leaders together under one umbrella, and I think it gives an opportunity for us to address...

(Bill Greenblatt, UPI)

UPDATED 5:51 p.m. Dec. 16, 2010: Looks like Governor Nixon is comfortable in the top spot in Jefferson City - he's confirmed that he'll seek re-election in 2012. Though Nixon confirmed his intentions with a "Yea" to the Associated Press today, his campaign says he's already raised about $1 million since the Nov. 2 elections, and Nixon said he's "committed" to running, he could still follow the precedent of former Republican Gov. Matt Blunt .

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

The incoming Speaker of the Missouri House is again voicing doubts about a report that recommends eliminating nearly half of the state’s tax credit programs.
The report, issued by a special commission created by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon , says eliminating 28 tax credit programs and capping the remaining 33 could save the state around $220 million.
House Speaker-Elect Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) says the report does not take into consideration the financial impact from tax...

St. Louis Public Radio

By Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio St. Louis – "There's nothing like being eulogized while you're still breathing," Sen. Kit Bond said Tuesday as he stepped to a podium in the U.S. Senate to say farewell to the chamber where he has served for 24 years. On the best way to solve the nation's problems: "As I look back, the successes we have achieved in my time here have come because people of goodwill were willing to work across the aisle for the common good of our nation. ... So now, if...

(Bill Greenblatt/UPI)

By Julie Bierach / Kelsey Proud, St. Louis Public Radio ST. LOUIS – Often programs called "important" and "a blessing" by lawmakers on both sides of the isle aren't in much danger of elimination, but this time might be different. 207,000 low-income seniors and disabled people in Missouri participate in the Missouri Rx prescription drug assistance program. Well, at least until it expires in August 2011. Unless the Missouri General Assembly reauthorizes it. Missouri Rx was established five...

Bill Greenblatt / UPI

Often programs called "important" and "a blessing" by lawmakers on both sides of the isle aren't in much danger of elimination, but this time might be different. 207,000 low-income seniors and disabled people in Missouri participate in the Missouri Rx prescription drug assistance program. Well, at least until it expires in August 2011. Unless the Missouri General Assembly reauthorizes it.

By AP/St. Louis Public Radio ST. LOUIS – Gov. Jay Nixon is urging Missouri's General Assembly to reauthorize Missouri Rx, a program providing prescription drug assistance to needy senior citizens and those with disabilities. Nixon was in St. Louis on Tuesday, where he called on lawmakers to approve the program for another five years. The program expires on Aug. 28 unless lawmakers reauthorize it. Missouri Rx began in 2006 and pays 50 percent of out-of-pocket costs for medications that are...

(Flickr Creative Commons User The National Guard)

By AP / Kelsey Proud, St. Louis Public Radio ST. LOUIS – Asking "what if?" is usually pretty benign, but when a new report asks the same question, the answers are about preparedness for disasters, diseases and bioterrorism. Illinois scores a 6 out of 10 on the Ready or Not? Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism report. The score is unchanged from last year's study . But what's behind those numbers? Some highlights: - States got points for increasing or maintaining...

(Flickr Creative Commons User aflcio)

Republicans in Missouri are praising Monday's ruling by a federal judge in Virginia that declared portions of the new federal health care law unconstitutional.
The Missouri Republican Party released a statement criticizing Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill for supporting the bill.
"Claire McCaskill thumbed her nose at the clear will of Missourians and the American people as one of the most ardent supporters of Barack Obama's health care plan," the statement read in part.
The...

(Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio)

Governor Jay Nixon has picked a new Director for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources .
Sarah Parker Pauley, 45, will succeed former Director Mark Templeton, who left the DNR to run a trust fund for victims of the BP oil spill . She told reporters her priorities include promoting clean energy use.
"Environmental stewardship and economic growth are not mutually exclusive," Pauley told reporters at a press conference in Columbia. "My experience in the private sector as well as...

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio Jefferson City, Mo. – Governor Jay Nixon has picked a new Director for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Sarah Parker Pauley, 45, will succeed former Director Mark Templeton, who left the DNR to run a trust fund for victims of the BP oil spill. She told reporters her priorities include promoting clean energy use. "Environmental stewardship and economic growth are not mutually exclusive," Pauley told reporters at a press conference in...

(Flickr Creative Commons User meddygarnet)

By AP/St. Louis Public Radio ST. LOUIS – We're sure you know it's pretty cold outside . But just how cold is what's surprising. And dangerous. But hey, we're not the only ones feeling the freeze. And it could be worse.

(https://ecf.ilsd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/ShowIndex.pl)

By Rachel Lippmann, St .Louis Public Radio St. Louis – The first federal salvo in the legal battle over the sales of extended auto service warranties will be fired by Stephen R. Wigginton , the federal prosecutor for the southern district of Illinois. Wigginton's office will not say who the charges are against, but the "law enforcement action" targets robo-calls the unnamed company made, not the extended auto service contracts themselves. Speculation is that U.S. Fidelis, the now-bankrupt...

(St. Louis Public Radio photo)

By Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio ST. LOUIS – Have you ever dealt with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department? The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies wants to hear from you. The department got its first CALEA accreditation three years ago; it's trying to get re-accredited for another three years. As the department explains : "The assessors will review written material,
interview individuals and visit offices and other locations where compliance can...

(UPI)

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio Jefferson City, Mo. – Republicans in Missouri are praising Monday's ruling by a federal judge in Virginia that declared portions of the new federal health care law unconstitutional. The Missouri Republican Party released a statement criticizing Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill for supporting the bill. "Claire McCaskill thumbed her nose at the clear will of Missourians and the American people as one of the most ardent supporters of Barack Obama's...

The CityArchRiver Foundation

By Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio ST. LOUIS – The U.S. Secretary of the Interior and the Transportation Secretary were in East St. Louis today to talk about improvements to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, a.k.a. the grounds of the Gateway Arch. In September Michael Van Valkenburgh and his team were named the winner of an international design competition to better connect the Arch grounds to St. Louis and East St. Louis. Early estimated costs put the project at more than 300...

Mo. Dept. of Corrections

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Supreme Court has set an execution date of January 12th for Richard Clay, who was sentenced to death for the 1994 murder of Randy Martindale of New Madrid. The prosecution argued that Clay was hired to kill Martindale by the victim's wife, Stacey. She was later convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Clay's attorney, Jennifer Herndon, says there is no physical evidence connecting her...

Mo. Dept. of Corrections

The Missouri Supreme Court has set an execution date of January 12th for Richard Clay, who was sentenced to death for the 1994 murder of Randy Martindale of New Madrid.

The prosecution argued that Clay was hired to kill Martindale by the victim's wife, Stacey. She was later convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Clay's attorney, Jennifer Herndon, says there is no physical evidence connecting her client to the crime, and that he fled from...

(Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio)

By Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio ST. LOUIS – Updated after hearing: - Lure petitioners collected 133 signatures. 83 were ruled invalid by liquor control, leaving the 50 total. - Lure owners have been claiming some signatures were coerced. - Hearing was adjourned and rescheduled for Dec. 15 at 9:30 a.m. There is concern with the validity of a particular signature and judge wants the witness there live. If anyone following the proceedings is interested, the ordinance governing protest...

(Flickr Creative Commons User JD Hancock)

Gov. Jay Nixon is opposing efforts to end a Missouri tax break for some low-income seniors and disabled residents.

Governor Jay Nixon has finally spoken to reporters about last week's cancellation of a trip to Taiwan and South Korea.

Catherine Morrison, MoDOT

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio Jefferson City, Mo. – Missourians killed or injured by drunk drivers were remembered today in a ceremony at the State Capitol. Officials say 281 people were killed in crashes involving impaired drivers last year. More than 1,100 suffered serious injuries and more than 3,700 received minor injuries. Colonel Ronald Replogle is Superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. He recalled the first fatal crash he worked early in his career, in which...

(Photo courtesy of the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney)

By AP / Rachel Lippmann, Kelsey Proud, St. Louis Public Radio ST. LOUIS – Updated at 3:45 with comments from Indian community. Updated as of 2:15 p.m. after 1:30 p.m. court appearance: -Miller pled guilty to all five counts against her - 4 for involuntary manslaughter, 1 for assault. -Prosecutor Al Key said that Miller had a receipt for 5 Cosmopolitan drinks in her purse the night of the accident. -Miller's blood alcohol level remained over the legal limit for 4 hours after the crash. -Miller...

Catherine Morrison, MoDOT

Missourians killed or injured by drunk drivers were remembered today in a ceremony at the State Capitol.

Officials say 281 people were killed in crashes involving impaired drivers last year. More than 1,100 suffered serious injuries and more than 3,700 received minor injuries.

Colonel Ronald Replogle is Superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. He recalled the first fatal crash he worked early in his career, in which a young man wrecked his pickup while driving...

(St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department)

By AP / Kelsey Proud, St. Louis Public Radio ST. LOUIS – Authorities say 19-year-old William Mack Sapp of south St. Louis County is charged with second-degree assault and leaving the scene of an accident. He is jailed on $500,000 bond following his arrest on Wednesday. It wasn't immediately clear if Sapp had an attorney. The other alleged racer, 19-year-old Trenton Pinckard of Glen Carbon, Ill., was charged earlier this week with leaving the scene of an accident. Police say the victim was...

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