Morning headlines: Friday, May 4, 2012 | St. Louis Public Radio

Morning headlines: Friday, May 4, 2012

May 4, 2012

St. Louis to demolish plywood shacks near Mississippi River

Demolition will begin Friday at a row of plywood shacks near the Mississippi River in St. Louis where 10 homeless people have been evacuated. 

It is the first of three riverfront encampments the city ordered shut down. St. Louis Human Services Director Bill Siedhoff has said that he hopes to have all three encampments cleared out by May 18 after reports of violent crime and rat infestation.

Siedhoff says the homeless who were living in the encampment have been moved to motels, but the goal is to eventually get them to apartments. Federal grant money will help pay their rent.

St. Louis homeless advocate Larry Rice is instead inviting the homeless to live in a new tent community he's planning at an undisclosed location.

Missouri senator kills prescription drug tracking bill

A Missouri senator has successfully killed a bill that would have authorized a government database to track people's prescription drug purchases.

Republican Senator Rob Schaaf and his allies led an eight-hour filibuster Thursday against the legislation before supporters finally caved in. Schaaf, a family physician from St. Joseph, had denounced the bill as an infringement on individual liberties.

Supporters said the database would have helped stop "doctor shopping," in which people get prescriptions from multiple doctors to feed their drug habits.

The legislation died in an odd procedural way. Senators resisted Schaaf's demand to attach a referendum clause to the bill. But then Senate Majority Leader Tom Dempsey declared that the bill would not receive a final vote before the legislative session ends May 18.

Monsanto to donate $1 million to University of Missouri-St. Louis

Monsanto has announced that it will give the University of Missouri-St. Louis one-million-dollars toward the completion of the school’s new three-story facility in Grand Center.

The Monsanto Community Education Center will be located on the first floor of the new building, which will also house the offices and studios of St. Louis Public Radio. UMSL Chancellor Tom George says the Monsanto Center will give the university and the radio station the ability to offer community programming, classes in digital and new media and programs for a wider and diverse audience.

The new facility is expected to be completed next month.