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One week after Bobbie Billups disappeared into the Mississippi River, the St. Louis Fire Department found his body.

Billups was fishing under the Merchants Bridge in downtown when he went to get something out of his car. While he was inside the car, it rolled in the river. Witnesses say Billups got out of the car, but he could not swim to the shore and bystanders could not rescue him.

Billups was 54 years old.

 

Monday, 27 May 2013 14:37
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - Prominent hotel developer and Missouri philanthropist John Q. Hammons has died. He was 94.

His company says Hammons passed away Sunday at the Springfield nursing home where he'd lived after stepping away from the company he led well into his 80s.

After his first business went bust in the 1940s, Hammons built subdivisions in southwest Missouri before purchasing 10 Holiday Inn franchises with a partner in 1958.

He went on to build 200 hotels nationwide, avoiding big cities in favor of college towns and state capitals. His expansive real estate portfolio included golf courses and convention centers.

Hammons also donated millions to hospitals, colleges and public television. His name graces so many buildings and streets in Springfield that comedian Bob Hope once joked the city should be named "Hammonsville."

 
Monday, 27 May 2013 13:47
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On this Memorial Day, we are reminded that St. Louis County is running out of room for grave sites at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. Officials say the nation's fifth largest cemetery will run out of space for veterans and their spouses by 2025. St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley has expressed support for handing over Sylvan Springs Park to the federal government as part of an expansion. The addition would add about 70 acres to the existing cemetery.  

Monday, 27 May 2013 09:55
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Lawmakers criticized Democratic Governor Jay Nixon's administration this year for not keeping them in the loop when it came to buying a new airplane and setting new policies for drivers' licenses. But that didn't stop the Republican-led Legislature from passing measures that would give the other branches of government power that it once held.

 

   One change would allow Missouri judges to redraw the state's trial court boundaries. Another would let a commission whose members are appointed by the governor change fees paid by businesses to discharge wastewater into rivers and streams.

 

   But the Senate's top Republican says nothing is wrong with giving state departments some flexibility because the Legislature only meets for five months every year.

 

Monday, 27 May 2013 06:45
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   Four adults, two of them coaches with a girls basketball team from St. Louis, are in critical condition after an accident involving the team's van.  

   The crash happened Saturday about 20 miles south of Nashville, Tennessee.  The minivan carrying the St. Louis Lady Monarchs was clipped by another vehicle and then crossed the center line and struck a car.  

   Seven 16 year old girls were injured.  Two small children, ages 1 and 2, were also injured.  All off the children were treated and released from a local hospital.  

   The two coaches and two adults in the oncoming car are hospitalized in critical condition.  Police say none of the injured was wearing a seat belt.  

   The team had been in Tennessee for a basketball tournament.

Monday, 27 May 2013 04:45
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Protests against seed giant Monsanto are getting under way across the U.S. and in dozens of other countries.

"March Against Monsanto" organizers say they're calling attention to the dangers posed by genetically modified food and the companies that produce it. Protests were planned in more than 250 cities Saturday.

Genetically modified plants are grown from seeds engineered to resist insecticides and herbicides, add nutritional benefits and improve crop yields.

Some believe they can lead to health problems and harm the environment. Opponents have pushed for mandatory labeling in California and worldwide, and have also accused the company of suing farmers when GMO seeds are blown into non-GMO fields. The federal government and many scientists say the technology is safe.

St. Louis-based Monsanto said Saturday that it respects people's rights to express their opinion, but believes its seeds help farmers produce more food, while conserving water and energy.

Sunday, 26 May 2013 08:08
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OZARK, Mo. (AP) — A southwest Missouri county health department has posted health advisories for three waterways because of high bacteria levels.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that the Christian County Health Department has posted advisories warning swimmers about high levels of E. coli bacteria at the Jim Turner Access at Finley River Park in Ozark, the Shelvin Rock Access southwest of Nixa and the Delaware Access west of Nixa.

The health department tests public waterways for E. coli, a type of bacteria that can cause diarrhea, dehydration and other problems.

Christian County Health Department Administrator Cindy Bilyeu says anyone who plans to swim in the river on Memorial Day weekend should take a shower immediately afterward. The health advisory will be removed after two consecutive samples at acceptable levels.

Sunday, 26 May 2013 08:07
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CHAFFEE, Mo. (AP) — A federal agency has sent investigators to southeast Missouri, where seven people were injured when two cargo trains collided on tracks under a highway overpass, causing the overpass to partially collapse.

Scott County Sheriff's Office Dispatcher Clay Slipis said the collision happened around 2:30 a.m. Saturday near Chaffee when a Union Pacific train hit a Burlington Northern train. Slipis said several cars derailed and hit a pillar of the Highway M overpass, bringing it down. Two cars were on that stretch of road.

Seven people — five in the vehicles and both train conductors — were taken to a hospital. Slipis said all but one was treated and released; the seventh is in good condition.

The National Transportation Safety Board says it's sent a crew to investigate the cause.

Sunday, 26 May 2013 08:05
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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A Las Vegas man is accused in Illinois of a timeshare scam that federal prosecutors say bilked $10 million from more than 3,000 victims across the United States, Canada and other countries.

A grand jury in East St. Louis has indicted 37-year-old Michael Patrick Sullivan on conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud charges. The fraud allegedly took place from December 2006 to January 2012.

The indictment alleges that Sullivan's Vacation Max telemarketing company falsely represented it found corporate buyers interested in acquiring blocks of timeshare units.

The company solicited fees of up to several thousand dollars from each timeshare owner in purported pre-paid closing costs and related expenses, but no sales actually occurred.

Online court records don't show whether he has an attorney.

Saturday, 25 May 2013 08:04
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Two crew members from a tow boat, including one who died, have been honored for their efforts to save a family of five after the family's boat became disabled on the Mississippi River at St. Louis.

The U.S. Coast Guard hosted a ceremony Friday to honor Jarvise Shelton and Kyle Hardman. Coast Guard officials say the pleasure craft was in "imminent peril" last year when Shelton and Hardman launched a small boat to save the family.

The rescue boat capsized, killing Hardman. Shelton and crew members from three other tows were able to save the family.

Shelton was presented the Coast Guard's Gold Lifesaving Medal during a ceremony in Alton, Illinois. Hardman's survivors will receive his medal at a later date.

Saturday, 25 May 2013 08:01
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