A metro-east school district is trying to determine if one of its teachers helped students cheat on state achievement tests last year. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that Highland Community Unit School District 5 has launched an internal investigation this week.
Superintendent Michael Sutton tells the paper they're investigating allegations from some students that point toward "testing irregularity" during administration of the Illinois Standard Achievement Test last school year (2012-13). The teacher under investigation isn't being identified.
The district's findings will be submitted to the state Board of Education which will make a final determination.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A group of historians is warning of the loss of Middle America's contemporary history and calling for a revival of academic study of the Midwest.
The group is launching a new academic journal of Midwest history next month and a new Midwest history association in the fall — the first in decades with that sole focus.
Jon Lauck is the chairman of the Midwest History Working Group and author of "The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History."
He says that with no Midwest-focused academic association or journal, there is "a huge disincentive to write any kind of formal academic research about the Midwest, because there's no place to send it."
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A martial arts instructor from southwestern Illinois has been sentenced to 90 years in prison for sexually abusing three young students.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports 20-year-old Christopher Horton of Highland, Illinois was sentenced on Friday by U.S. District Judge David Herndon.
Horton pleaded guilty in October to five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of attempted sexual exploitation of a child.
Federal prosecutors say Horton recorded video of himself committing sex acts on students ages 6, 8 and 10. Horton taught martial arts to the victims at a Belleville studio.
Police questioned Horton after someone discovered one of the videos and contacted law enforcement. Prosecutors say they recovered 57 video files from Horton's cell phone.
He also was ordered to pay $3,250 restitution.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A recent decline in Missouri's casino revenues is raising questions among lawmakers about the extent to which the state can continue to rely on gambling to fund key programs.
Attendance at Missouri's 13 casinos is down almost 9 percent from last year.
Missouri relies on two sources of casino revenues. A portion of a per-patron fee is used to pay for the operations of the Missouri Veterans Commission, which oversees seven nursing homes. A state tax on casino revenues helps fund public schools.
The House has approved an additional $22 million for public schools because of the funding shortfall and lawmakers are considering a temporary funding boost to help the veterans' homes.
State officials are citing this winter's cold weather among the causes for the revenue decline.
WARRENSBURG, Mo. (AP) — The discovery of an infant's body in a cave has led to arrests and charges against two residents of Warrensburg in west-central Missouri.
Police and the Johnson County prosecutor announced Friday night that 19-year-old Latasha Wilson is charged with abandoning a corpse, and 20-year-old Zakary Carter is charged with tampering with physical evidence.
Neither had a listed phone number. Missouri's online court records were not updated Friday night to show whether they had lawyers.
Two University of Central Missouri biology students found the decomposing body Tuesday in a cave at Pertle Springs, a university-owned public recreation area in Warrensburg.
Authorities are awaiting autopsy results to determine if more charges will be filed. They would not comment further on the case, including a possible relationship between the suspects and the infant.
ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) — A female student says she was sexually assaulted in a library bathroom at Lindenwood University.
The St. Charles school sent email and emergency text message alerts to its students on Friday. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that police and campus security are investigating.
The woman told police she was attacked in a downstairs bathroom in Butler Library between 10 p.m. and midnight Tuesday. The student said her attacker was hiding in a stall and came at her from behind. She ran away after a brief struggle.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Wal-Mart is seeking to intervene in a dispute about electric rates between Ameren Missouri and its largest electric customer.
Noranda Aluminum Holding Corporation has sought about a 25 percent reduction in the rate Ameren charges at its aluminum smelter in the southeastern Missouri town of New Madrid.
Wal-Mart filed a motion Friday with the Missouri Public Service Commission asking to intervene in the case.
In its filing, Wal-Mart says a lower rate for Noranda could significantly affect its own electric bills. Wal-Mart operates 73 stores in Missouri that consume a combined 190 million kilowatts per hour in electricity.
Noranda says Ameren is overearning and that lowering its rate would only increase other customers' bills by 1.8 percent or less. Ameren disagrees and says it will fight the rate reduction.
UPDATE: The 3-year-old boy reported missing earlier this afternoon has been found safe in Springfield, Missouri. Police say Jamil Hanson took Jaden Hansen from the boy's mother earlier today. An Amber Alert was issued. Jaden seems to be in good condition.
Bolivar, MO (KTRS) - An Amber Alert has been issued after police say a three-year-old boy was taken from his mother in Bolivar, Missouri.
Jaden Hanson was last seen with Jamil Hanson. Jamil is described as a 29-year-old black male, 5' 9" tall, and 212 pounds. Jaden was wearing a white jumper when he was taken. Jamil was seen driving from the scene in a white Hyundai with Missouri plates C-J-7-D-0-K. If anyone has information or sees the pair, they can dial 911.
Bolivar, 30 miles north of Springfield