ST. LOUIS (AP) - The latest round of flooding on the Mississippi River is starting to wind down.
Persistent rains since late winter have led to three rounds of flooding on the Mississippi since April. The river has crested at many locations in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri in recent days and is on the way down.
A few places south of St. Louis have not yet seen crests, but the river is expected to reach only slightly above flood stage in towns like Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Chester, Ill.
By Friday, the Mississippi was still more than 4 feet above flood stage in Burlington, Iowa, Quincy, Ill., and Hannibal, Mo., but dropping. No significant problems were occurring.
The river should be within its banks by mid-July.
DIXON, Mo. (AP) - One soldier is dead and another was taken to a hospital in serious condition following an ATV accident in south-central Missouri.
The crash happened around 2:30 a.m. Thursday in Pulaski County, a few miles north of the Army's Fort Leonard Wood.
The Missouri Highway Patrol says an all-terrain vehicle driven by 25-year-old Timothy Panzar went airborne, struck a tree, flipped over and landed in the Big Piney River. Panzar and his 33-year-old passenger were thrown into the water.
A spokesman for Fort Leonard Wood told KOLR-TV that both men were currently assigned to the 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.
Panzar was pronounced dead at the scene. The other soldier was flown to a hospital in Springfield.
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation to help veterans and service members get jobs as police officers, emergency medical technicians and commercial vehicle drivers.
Quinn signed the bills Thursday before marching in the July Fourth parade in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights.
One measure allows service members and veterans who have at least two years of experience operating a military vehicle to bypass the state skills test when applying for a commercial driver's license. Another eliminates the college degree requirement for veterans who've earned certain medals and want to become Illinois State Police officers.
Quinn says veterans are "some of the best-trained men and women in the world." He says anyone who performs those jobs in Iraq or Afghanistan should be qualified to do them in Illinois.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois high school juniors will be tested on writing skills for the first time in years during standardized tests next spring.
But lawmakers haven't given the state board of education extra money to pay for the 30-minute essay test. Board officials tell The Associated Press they've been given the same $27 million to spend on assessments next year. That budget includes the same testing requirements as last year, along with an additional writing test estimated to cost $2.5 million. The board may ask lawmakers to approve additional funding.
Proponents of the addition say writing is more important than ever as the state prepares for tougher assessments in 2014-15. Last year, less than one-third of high schools met federal education law benchmarks.
Others criticize lawmakers' spending money the state doesn't have.
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - The University of Missouri's first year as the northernmost outpost of the Southeastern Conference cost the school an extra $1 million in unanticipated travel expenses.
The Columbia Daily Tribune reports Missouri spent $7.1 million on travel in the 2012-13 academic year. That's $1 million more than what athletics officials expected and nearly $2 million more than travel costs during the school's final season in the Big 12 Conference.
Missouri shared the top spot for SEC travel costs with fellow Big 12 exile Texas A&M among the seven SEC public schools that provided data to the Tribune.
Commercial flights from Columbia to most SEC campuses are limited, and the move from the Big 12 eliminated games at three schools within driving distance: Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A new report from a libertarian-leaning think tank rates Missouri's highway system eighth in the nation for overall condition and cost-effectiveness.
The annual survey by the Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation was based on data from 2009, the latest year with full spending statistics available.
With about 34,000 miles of highway under state control, Missouri's is the seventh largest state-administered system in the country.
The report ranked Missouri first in the nation for the condition of rural interstate pavement, but 18th for urban interstate pavement condition. The study also ranks Missouri 16th in urban interstate congestion, 28th in fatality rates and 37th in deficient bridges.
Two O'Fallon, Missouri men face murder charges for their role in a fatal hit-and-run.
Prosecutors say Kevin Labraido Jr and Robert Bathe were involved in a busted drug deal that led to the accident in St. Charles County yesterday. The Police report says the two were trying to buy drugs from someone at the home to Tyler Pinner.
When Bathe and Labraido refused to pay for the drugs, Pinner tried to stop their vehicle. Pinner was dragged a short distance and then run over. Both men are charged with second-degree murder.
Two suspects are awaiting charges after a brief standoff last night.
The incident started just north of highway 70 in Jennings around 7 PM on Wednesday. Police say the suspects drove by a house and fired several shots into the home. Officers tracked the car to a home in Country Club Hills. The SWAT team was called out after the two suspects barricaded themselves in the house.
Those suspects surrendered a short time later and could face charges before the end of the week.
Activities are hitting full swing in downtown at the fair St. Louis. The first of five airshows just started.
There is another show this afternoon at 4PM, then two on Friday, and the final show on Saturday. At 6:30 PM John Henry takes the stage to open for Trace Adkins. Adkins takes the main stage under the Arch at 8 PM. Fireworks follow the show at about 9:20.
The 4th of July in St. Louis means it's time for the VP parade, which kicks off this morning. The parade steps off at 9:30 from 14th and Olive, that's just west of the newly renovated central library. From there, the parade heads north on Tucker, east down Washington Avenue, south on 4th street, then East on Market, where it wraps up at City Garden. Two air shows are also scheduled for today, both at noon and at 4pm. Trace Atkins takes to the stage at 8:00, and once he wraps up, the fireworks are set to begin. 9:20 is the estimated start-time for the fireworks show...