St. Louis County

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:

St. Louis County attitude survey results presented

Last night members of the St. Louis County Council heard the results of a survey that measured how the attitudes of residents have changed over the past five years. Many don't think the county is going in the right direction but don't place the blame on their county government.

Five years ago, a little over 60 percent of people thought the county was going in the right direction; today that number is 44 percent.

(Tim Llloyd/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis County executive Charlie Dooley is pledging to open an emergency homeless shelter in the county by the end of the year.

Dooley announced the shift in policy in a series of Tweets on Friday. The county will also be looking for agencies to operate transitional housing - which is a stepping stone between a shelter and a permanent residence - and will host a homeless summit in October.

(via Flickr/Trailnet)

The St. Louis County Parks Department presented its business plan to the County Council last night, and for now, no park closures are being discussed. 

Officials with the parks department said they’re doing their best to cut unnecessary expenses and uncover new revenue streams, but currently the department has a $500,000 budget shortfall for 2013.

The budget outlook could get much worse in 2014, and Parks Department Director Tom Ott said they would need to make drastic cuts without adequate funding.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Quinn to announce plan to address Illinois' drought

Gov. Pat Quinn plans  a visit to a southern Illinois farm today. The Illinois Farm Bureau says that so far, it's the sixth driest year on record. The average precipitation of the first half of the year was 12.6 inches. Much of Illinois' corn and soybean crop is suffering. Farm officials say southern Illinois is experiencing the worst of it.  Quinn is expected to detail whatever government relief may be available to drought-affected growers and ranchers.

(via Flickr/breahn)

The St. Louis County Economic Council is opening the doors to its new biotech incubator on Monday afternoon and the agency says it will serve as a launching pad for biotech businesses.

Officials say The Helix Center Biotech Incubator is a 17,000 square foot facility loaded with lab and office space with a prime location next to the Danforth Plant Center.

Entrepreneurial efforts are nothing new to the council, which runs four other incubators in the region.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Quinn will close two prisons, including Tamms

Rachel Otwell contributed reporting from Springfield, Ill.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn made it official on Tuesday - he will close two state prisons, including the state's supermax facility in Tamms.

Rep. Brandon Phelps, of Harrisburg, says he received a brief memo from Quinn, saying that Tamms and a prison in Dwight will close, as well as juvenile detention centers in Joliet and Murphysboro. That's despite legislators including money in the 2013 budget for the facilities.

(via Flickr/Michael Velardo)

St. Louis County officials believe a strong public awareness campaign about the dangers of heroin use are having an impact.

The county has reported 14 deaths from heroin through April 10, down from 32 over the same period last year - a drop of more than 50 percent.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

US Chamber of Commerce weighs in on Missouri's GOP Senate primary

The US Chamber of Commerce has made an endorsement in the three-way Republican Senate primary in Missouri.

The chamber on Tuesday backed former Vi-Jon chairman John Brunner, saying his private sector experience in cutting spending and balancing budgets provides the best contrast with Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill.

Courtesy Nate Birt

A Muslim civil rights group is urging St. Louis County to revise its policy of requiring female Muslim inmates to remove religious headscarves. But the director of the jail cites a potential security risk.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations says a Ballwin, Mo., woman was jailed in January because of an unpaid traffic ticket.

She was ordered to remove her Islamic headdress, known as a hijab. The Muslim religion forbids women from exposing their head or neck to men outside the immediate family.

(National Cancer Institute)

Spikes and dips in cancer rates are not uncommon in public health statistics, but explaining why they occur and deciding what to do about them can often be as difficult as treating the disease itself. St. Louis Public Radio's Joseph Leahy takes a look at St. Louis County where the prostate cancer rate is unusually high. 

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