Morning headlines: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 | St. Louis Public Radio

Morning headlines: Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Jul 31, 2012

Good morning. Here are your headlines to start your Tuesday:

Illinois prison workers union: workers subject to coordinated shakedowns

A spokesman for the union representing Illinois prison workers now says staff at nearly all state facilities have been subject to coordinated shakedowns. A July 19 email obtained by the Associated Press seems to confirm those comments, saying a Department of Corrections administrator ordered wardens to at 10 prisons to conduct 'mass shakedowns' of staff as they left work last week. 

The prison employees contend the pat downs are in retaliation for complaints about overcrowding and understaffing in the corrections system.

AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall says in his 10 years with the union he's never seen a coordinated search of prison staffers as they're leaving work:

"If you're trying to prevent contraband getting into the prison, you do that on the way in," Lindall said. "A child could tell you that. To search employees on the way out does not prevent anything from getting into the facility. Instead, it really constitutes harassment."

In a statement, Corrections spokeswoman Stacey Solano calls staff searches a routine security measure in efforts to keep contraband out of the facilities. She says the searches are in no way a retaliation against staff.

Spence contributes additional funds to further own Mo. Gov. campaign

Republican businessman Dave Spence has kicked in more money in his quest to become Missouri governor.

Finance reports show Spence supplied an additional $500,000 to his campaign Monday, raising his total amount of self-financing to nearly $3.3 million. A couple of other Republicans seeking to challenge Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon also have been spending their own money for the Aug. 7 primary.

Finance records show:

  • Businessman Fred Sauer has given his campaign an additional $205,000 this month, bringing his total self-financing to about $423,000.
  • Attorney Bill¬†Randles loaned his campaign an additional $7,700 during the first few weeks of July, raising his amount of self-financing to nearly $56,000.

Nixon faces no significant opposition in the Democratic primary. He has more than $7 million in his campaign account.

Mother, two children dead in suspected murder-suicide in Glendale

Police say a man was reading in his suburban St. Louis home when he heard a gunshot, then found his wife and two children dead in another room in what authorities suspect was a murder-suicide. Officers were called Monday to a large, two-story home in Glendale after the man found the bodies of his wife, 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter.

Police Sgt. Bob Catlett says investigators believe the woman shot the children, then herself. Her husband is being questioned but isn't being called a suspect. Their names haven't been released.

Police at the scene in the affluent neighborhood aren't commenting.