Morning headlines: Friday, November 25, 2011 | St. Louis Public Radio

Morning headlines: Friday, November 25, 2011

Nov 25, 2011

Mo. Gov. says he's committed to rebuilding levees

Governor Jay Nixon says he remains committed to seeing levees along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers rebuilt.  He told reporters during a press event at a Callaway County farm along the Missouri that farmlands damaged by both high water releases and levee demolition must be restored:

"It's feeding the world, the export agreements that we signed, the necessity to feed the world comes from having that bottom land, like this bottom land, that while it has some years where there are risks, ultimately is the most productive farmland in the world," said Nixon.

 Nixon also says that flood control needs to be the top priority for managing the Missouri River basin, not recreation.  The Army Corps of Engineers released record amounts of water from a South Dakota dam this year, flooding farmland and portions of Interstate 29 in Missouri this summer.  Large stretches of farmland in southeastern Missouri was also flooded when the Corps blew up the Birds Point Levee along the Mississippi River in order to spare the town of Cairo, Illinois.

Mother of American student arrested in Cairo "elated" he's being released

The mother of one of three American students arrested in Cairo says news of their pending release is the best Thanksgiving gift. Joy Sweeney told The Associated Press that the consul general confirmed around 6 a.m. Thursday that the young men, including her 19-year-old son Derrik Sweeney, will be released.

Derrik Sweeney, a Georgetown University student, was arrested during protests Sunday near Cairo's Tahrir Square. Also arrested was Luke Gates, a 21-year-old Indiana University student from Bloomington, Ind., and Gregory Porter, a 19-year-old Drexel University student from Glenside, Pa.

Joy Sweeney says she is elated and that she hopes her son will head home to Jefferson City, Mo., on Friday.

Holiday tradition begins today in St. Charles

A holiday tradition that honors the many faces of Christmas past is about to begin in St. Charles. Christmas Traditions is the annual event created by the St. Louis-area town's South Main Preservation Society in the 1970s. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports this year's event begins with the arrival of Santa by horse-drawn carriage at 11 a.m. today. The event runs Wednesdays, Friday, Saturdays and Sundays through Christmas Eve on December 24th. It takes place along the town's historic Main Street area and features Santas of different eras, along with other remnants of Christmas past.