St. Louis is about to turn 250, and several events are planned for the big anniversary. Organizers of a group called stl250 announced their plans today at the Missouri History Museum. The festivities start on New Year's Eve at a First Night event in Grand Center. Other highlights include a birthday celebration weekend starting Friday, February 14th with an appearance by Pokey LaFarge on Art Hill, and a historical reenactment of the city's founding on February 15th at Laclede's Landing. More information can be found at stl250.org
A metro-east sheriff already accused of harassing a former female employee is now facing a second lawsuit. The new suit names Madison County and Sheriff Robert Hertz. In Wednesday's court filing, Madison County Sheriff's Captain Eric Decker claims Hertz violated his rights by searching his phone records and personal records. The day before, Hertz's former secretary, Jaimie Linton, had filed a lawsuit alleging the sheriff had created a hostile work environment. Hertz denies the all of allegations.
Police are searching for the boyfriend of a young mother who was murdered in East St. Louis. Police say 25-year-old Montrell Cooper is wanted for questioning in the stabbing death of 25-year-old Michelle Rowling. Rowling was found dead Saturday night inside her apartment at the Gomper's Housing Complex. Cooper has been arrested for assaulting Rowling in the past, including a 2012 conviction for stabbing her. Friends say Rowling had recently expressed concern for her safety, posting a message on Facebook saying if anything should happen to her, she wanted friends to tell her children and her mother that she loved them.
CHICAGO (AP) — Candidates running for Illinois governor in 2014 have started shaping up their positions on a new pension proposal that lawmakers are expected to consider this week.
Republican venture capitalist Bruce Rauner said in an email yesterday to supporters that it's the wrong deal for Illinois. He says the savings are insufficient and he doesn't agree with how lawmakers reached the agreement.
Meanwhile Republican state Sen. Bill Brady says he's in favor. In a statement, he says that it's package of "meaningful reforms" that would strengthen Illinois' fiscal stability. Brady sat on a bipartisan pension panel for months.
Last week, the state's four legislative leaders announced some details of the deal aimed at solving the state's nearly $100 billion pension crisis. It's estimated to save about $160 billion over three decades.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A recent Missouri Department of Transportation study estimates that the annual economic output of the state's airport system is $11.1 billion.
The study examined the nine commercial and 99 public-use airports that the agency supports. Combined, the airports contribute more than 100,000 jobs with a payroll of $3.1 billion.
Using Federal Aviation Administration guidelines, the study examined direct and indirect impacts. It found that the economic contribution of Missouri airports grew 17.1 percent in the past decade despite the economic recession. The growth was fueled largely by an increase in business activity.
In 2012, an estimated 6.2 million travelers arrived in Missouri via commercial airports and more than 260,000 arrived on general aviation aircraft.
More information about the Missouri Statewide Airports Economic Impact Study can be found online: http://www.modot.org/othertransportation/aviation/aviationgeneralinformation.htm
STE. GENEVIEVE, Mo. (AP) — The family of a southeast Missouri mother killed by her estranged husband is trying to move forward after a June plea deal that landed the killer in prison while allowing police to recover her body.
Thirty-nine-year-old Jacque Waller, a mother of 5-year-old triplets, was missing for almost two years before her body was found on a Mississippi River island near Cape Girardeau. Forty-two-year-old James Clay Waller the Second pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and received a 20-year prison sentence. The couple was going through an acrimonious divorce at the time of Jacque Waller's disappearance.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Waller's sister and brother-in-law now care for the 8-year-old siblings, who are second-graders. Bob and Cheryl Brenneke recently adopted the Waller children after serving as their legal guardians.
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a fleeing motorist has suffered serious injuries from crashing into a suburban St. Louis home.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the 30-year-old St. Charles County woman was leading state troopers on a chase when she slammed into a Ferguson home around 5:45 p.m. Friday.
Police said no one at the home was injured. But the woman's vehicle caught fire, and she was taken to a St. Louis hospital.
Court records show the woman was driving on a suspended license after failing to pay court fees.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — It soon will look a lot more like the holidays at the governor's mansion.
The Christmas trees for the inside and outside of the mansion are arriving Monday.
The outside tree is a 30-foot blue spruce that was donated from the yard of Jose and Floetta Carrera of St. Peters.
Inside, the grand staircase will feature a gold- and burgundy-clad eastern white pine from Tannenbaum Tree Farm in Armstrong. Pea Ridge Nursery, near Hermann, is supplying trees for the parlor and library. The two parlor trees will feature a Victorian theme, and two in the library will have a musical theme.
A tree-lighting ceremony is planned for next Friday. Visitors also will have the opportunity to see the indoor Christmas trees during tours given that Friday and the following day.
ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) — A former Lindenwood University student faces additional charges accusing him of exposing four more people to the HIV virus that causes AIDS without the victims' knowledge.
St. Charles County prosecutors charged 22-year-old Michael L. Johnson in October with potentially exposing a 19-year-old Lindenwood student to the virus. Police said Johnson and the victim had unprotected sex in the wrestler's Lindenwood dorm after Johnson was diagnosed as HIV-positive.
Police asked anyone else who had an intimate relationship with Johnson to contact investigators.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports prosecutors last week added four felony charges to the initial charge. The St. Charles County prosecutor's office says the additional counts of recklessly risking infection of another with HIV were developed in the investigation.
Johnson's lawyer didn't immediately return a call for comment.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Hundreds of pending child welfare investigations are at risk of being thrown out because they weren't completed fast enough.
The Kansas City Star reports that Missouri law requires child welfare workers to complete abuse and neglect investigations within 30 days after the initial hotline call unless there's "good cause" for a delay. The law also requires that those accused be notified of the conclusion within 90 days of the hotline call.
Two accused women, one from West Plains and another from the Kansas City area, sued to clear their names. Lower courts sided with the women, finding the 90-day deadline wasn't met. Now, the Missouri Supreme Court is preparing to hear arguments in the cases.
Child welfare advocates say the litigation has created uncertainty.