Southwestern Illinois College

Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

For the typical college freshman, heading for campus means a welcome chance to leave behind all those pesky rules that had to be followed at home and to enter a new environment of freedom and choice.

For the military veteran trying to re-enter civilian society and signing up for college classes, that lack of structure may be far less attractive and more than a little intimidating.

Ryan Barrett, who is studying for his doctorate at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, went through that tough transition when he left the Air Force after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The second-ranking Democrat in the U.S. House was in Granite City, Ill. on Wednesday to boost his longstanding focus on bolstering manufacturing jobs. 

(Courtesy: Southwestern Illinois College)

During the State of the Union address last week, President Barack Obama called on community colleges to build stronger partnerships with local businesses.  And according to St. Louis-area community college leaders, many of those initiatives are already in place on their campuses.

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Classes have been called off at a southwestern Illinois college after a bomb threat forced the evacuation of the campus.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that officials ordered Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville cleared out Thursday morning after a student found a threatening hand-written note in a men's bathroom of the main building.

Francesca Williams and sculptor Don Wiegand stand before a shrouded mockup of the proposed statue of Tennessee Williams.
Sheila Rhodes

When Francesca Williams put on scuba gear for her first lesson on Saturday, Aug. 14, she was on the 37th day of an attempt to do 50 new things in 50 days to celebrate her 50th birthday on Aug. 28.

50 by 50

Since she kicked off her 50-things marathon on July 10, Francesca Williams had already tried shooting a hand gun, flying in a glider, getting ordained as a minister, writing 50 haikus in a day, attending a strip club, eating a fried Twinkie and spending the day at a nudist resort.