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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Officials at the Missouri Cattlemen's Association say the state's former agriculture director made threats toward them after he was displeased with a magazine article.

Jon Hagler was replaced earlier this month as head of the Agriculture Department with little explanation from Gov. Jay Nixon. The move came one day after another high-ranking employee, Beth Ewers, resigned while distributing a letter saying Hagler created a work environment of "hostility, disrespect, intimidation and fear."

Now the cattlemen's group says Hagler also acted with hostility toward its CEO, Mike Deering.

Cattlemen's president Chuck Massengill and other group leaders say that Hagler threatened to beat up Deering earlier this year after Deering wrote an article critical of Hagler.

Hagler did not return messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.

 

Thursday, 31 October 2013 13:17
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The mother of Willow Long was arrested this month on drug possession charges.

Police records show that Ciara DeRyke was arrested on October 14, police stopped her for speeding and found marijuana in her car. The arrest came a little over a month after investigators say her daughter, Willow, was killed by Justin DeRyke. Justin has pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder.

Jury selection is supposed to start in December, but the trial is not expected to get underway until 2014.

Thursday, 31 October 2013 13:15
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Score one for the traveling public as the Federal Aviation Administration today announced the expanded use of personal electronic devices on airplanes.

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill calls it "great news for the traveling public and a win for common sense.”  McCaskill is the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection.

The Senator says she applauds the FAA for taking the necessary steps to change "these outdated regulations" and expects the airlines to turn around quick plans for implementation.  

The FAA also announced a plan in which airlines would submit strategies for the expanded use of PEDs.  

The FAA expects those plans to be quickly approved and believes they could be largely completed by the end of the year.

There will continue to be some restrictions. For instance, talking on cell phones during flight will still be prohibited. Since joining the Senate in 2007, McCaskill has served on the Senate Committee on Commerce, which has jurisdiction over aviation and communications policy, and this year was named Chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance.

Thursday, 31 October 2013 10:24
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The rash of smash-and-grab burglaries continues to plague the St. Louis area.  According to Fox2 News, thieves targeted not one, but two St. Louis beauty stores this morning.

The first happened around 4 a.m. at the Forever Young Beauty Supply Store at South Grand and Winnebago.  It was the second time in the last month that the store was targeted.  Police say the suspects got away with thousands of dollars worth of products.

The second smash and grab occurred about an hour later at Nu Fashion Beauty on South Broadway.  Authorities arrived on the scene and found the same vehicle used in the first robbery.  There are no suspects at this time.

Thursday, 31 October 2013 09:21
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 GODFREY, Ill. (AP) - An Alton concrete construction worker who won $4 million on an Illinois Lottery instant ticket says he plans keep his job and use the windfall to pay off a mortgage, fix up the house and live debt-free.

The (Alton) Telegraph reports 50-year-old Douglas Compton was introduced Wednesday as the holder of the winning 50X The Cash ticket he bought October 13 at a Godfrey convenience store.

His long-term partner, Katy McCahill, also attended the ceremony, along with Compton's mother. Compton and McCahill have four sons.

Compton chose to get the money in $200,000 increments over each of the next 20 years.

The couple plans to donate to Autism Speaks, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and an animal shelter.

 
Thursday, 31 October 2013 08:22
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   The Archdiocese of St. Louis is banning alcohol at events aimed at minors, like youth soccer and softball games.  A group of clergy had unanimously approved the new rule last month (September).

   In a letter to parishioners last week, Archbishop Robert Carlson wrote that alcohol at games or other events directed toward minors "is not to be served to anyone or brought in by someone."  The new rule takes effect Friday. 

   Some athletic associations are expected to lose revenue as concession stand beer sales are prohibited.   But one member of the clergy group that approved the change told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that alcohol sales were already discouraged and many parishes already barred it, so the change just makes the parishes consistent. 

Thursday, 31 October 2013 04:09
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   Students at one Arnold school will have to attend classes off campus this morning.  That's because a 160 foot cell tower in the front yard of the Lone Dell Elementary School has become unstable.  It's leaning precariously and US Cellular engineers have said they're concerned that it could topple over.  

   Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies closed Tomahawk Drive and Gary Road in Arnold as a precaution.  

   School officials have said Lone Dell will hold classes this morning at the Rickman Auditorium in the 700 block of Jeffco Boulevard.

 

   The Fox C-6 School District posted the following letter on its website (http://www.fox.k12.mo.us/):

 

   Dear Parents,

 

    Late this afternoon at approximately 2:00 p.m. the district was contacted by US Cellular about the cell tower at Lone Dell Elementary.  It was inspected yesterday and results were issued today. The inspection failed.  As a precautionary measure, Lone Dell Elementary will have NO access tomorrow. The main safety concern is not the actual school building, but cars and busses entering the drive by the entrance where the tower is located.   

   The students will be picked up, as usual, at their respective bus stops and taken to Rickman Auditorium for school.  They will also utilize the Fox C-6 Service Center for their fall parties.  

   The safety of your children and yourselves is our top priority. As a preventative measure, we feel this is the safest solution for everyone involved.  It would be helpful if you could pack a lunch for your child.  However; if that is not possible our food service program will provided a cold sack lunch.  The children will be taken home at the regular dismissal time and dropped at their regular bus stops.  If you pick your child up, you will need to do so at the Fox C-6 Service Center at normal dismissal time.  

   Thank you for your support and understanding.  If you have any other questions related to this, please contact our office at 636-296-8000. 

 

   Thank you in advance for your cooperation, 

 

   Dr. Dianne Critchlow 

   Superintendent of Schools 

Thursday, 31 October 2013 03:42
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   There's more trouble for the much-delayed Loop Trolley project.  A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday aims to derail the $43 million dollar project on the grounds that the transportation development district set up to fund it is unconstitutional.  

   The lawsuit claims that giving nonresident property owners votes based on acreage owned violates the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.  Residents were given a single vote.  

   Construction of the streetcar line between the University City Library and the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park is already more than a year behind schedule and the Federal Transit Administration has warned that the area could lose the $22 million "urban circulator" grant it was awarded in 2010.  Developers say that would doom the project.

   The suit names the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District, the Loop Trolley Company, the Metro Transit Agency, the cities of St. Louis and University City, St. Louis County and the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.

 

Thursday, 31 October 2013 03:33
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A St. Louis man is in custody and facing charges for making a terrorist threat.

The Post-Dispatch reports that Robert Metzinger posted the threats on his Twitter accounts. Police say the tweets implied that Metzinger was going to use a pressure cooker as an explosive device, similar to the devices used in the Boston Marathon bombings, in or around Busch Stadium. Metzinger posted bail and has been released.

His next court appearance is scheduled for late November.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013 17:22
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Thursday's release of "report cards" on school performance will show a drop in the percentage of students passing the Illinois Standards Achievement test last school year.

But that doesn't mean teaching or student performance has actually fallen. Rather, the decline in scores is a result of the state board of education's decision to toughen the grading scale for grade schools so it matches that used by high schools.

This year, only 62 of 863 districts achieved growth benchmarks set under federal No Child Left Behind law, down from 152 last year.

But if the old scoring method were still in use, more students would actually have made gains.

The change is part of the state's preparation to adopt more rigorous learning standards in the 2014-2015 school year.

 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013 16:21
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