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Hearings are set for this week in the St. Louis firefighters' pension reform battle.

Early last year, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay had proposed replacing the current Firemen's Retirement System with a less-expensive pension system. The Board of Aldermen passed the plan, but the board that oversees the pension system sued to stop the city from implementing it.

The new system would cut costs by trimming disability payments and making pension administrators civil servants, among other things. City officials say that's necessary because the pay and benefits that the four-person administrative staff receives right now are far more than those of other city pension administrators.

The F-R-S needed a 20-million dollar infusion from the city coffers last year in order to cover expenses. Slay says the city can't keep that up for long.
Monday, 18 March 2013 07:34
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The ad man who gave us Spuds Mackenzie, "Weekends were made for Michelob," and "This Bud's for you," has died. Michael Roarty died Saturday after a heart attack. He was 84.

Roarty helped build Anheuser-Busch brands into international powerhouses. He was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 1994.

Visitation for Roarty will be Wednesday with funeral services Thursday at Bopp Chapel in Kirkwood.
Monday, 18 March 2013 06:16
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Missouri voters may be asked to amend the state Constitution to make prosecuting child sex offenders easier.

A 2007 Missouri Supreme Court ruling had banned prosecutors in child sex abuse cases from using "propensity evidence," which is often used to show a suspect has a proclivity to do the alleged crime. The ruling made Missouri the most restrictive state in the nation by banning such evidence as prior convictions.

Representative John McCaherty, a High Ridge Republican, filed a bill that would allow prosecutors to use prior convictions, along with findings by the state Children's Services Division indicating that sexual abuse of a child did occur, even if there were no charges filed.

The measure has already cleared the House and is now in the hands of the Senate.
Monday, 18 March 2013 05:47
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A group of metro-east high school students will vie for the national title in the U.S. FIRST Robotics competition. Team 1208 from O'Fallon Township High School took first place in the weekend competition, along with its alliance partners Teams 3284 and 2408.

More than 40 teams from Missouri and four surrounding states participated in the event at the Chaifetz Arena.

The national championship competition will be held at the Edward Jones Dome in April.

This is the 24th year for the contest which is aimed at encouraging young people to be science and technology leaders.
Monday, 18 March 2013 04:53
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Crews haven't finished building it, but there's already been a crash on the New Mississippi River Bridge.

It happened about 2:00 Monday morning, when a pickup truck struck an car on Rte 3 in Brooklyn, Illinois. The truck pushed the car onto the bridge.

One passenger in the car was partially ejected. Both that passenger and the driver were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Police are now looking for the pickup driver. He reportedly stuck around long enough to flag down another motorist for help, then took off.
Monday, 18 March 2013 04:50
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Page Avenue is open again in Pagedale after an accident that toppled the traffic lights forced police to shut it down for much of the night.

The crash happened at Page and Pennsylvania about 1 o'clock Monday morning. An SUV struck the light pole, knocking it over and into the street.

There's no word on the cause of that crash, or if there were any injuries.
Monday, 18 March 2013 04:46
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- A Springfield woman is suing her former landlord over a fire that killed her three children.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that Violet Watson is asking in excess of $25,000 in damages in the suit filed this month in Green County.

The March 2010 fire killed 7-year-old Alexis Watson, 5-year-old Kelsey Watson and 4-year-old Devin Watson. The children's grandfather was seriously injured.

Initially, Violet Watson's then-fiance was charged with setting the fire. But the charge was dropped after laboratory tests found no trace of an accelerant. The cause of the fire is listed as undetermined.

The lawsuit says the landlords failed to maintain a safe property for the home's residents. The suit says there were smoke alarm issues and that the house had "faulty wiring."
Sunday, 17 March 2013 10:20
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- An evangelical Christian college located near the southwest Missouri resort town of Branson is making it difficult, if not impossible, for students to obtain any loans.

The Springfield News-Leader says the College of the Ozarks has stopped certifying private student loans. It's barred state and federal loans since the 1990s.

Longtime President Jerry C. Davis says "the driving force behind this is that debt is bad."

Of the school's 1,350 students, 250 to 300 of them currently receive a loan, often from a hometown bank. The college is taking steps to help students adjust. They include expanding summer work opportunities and freezing room-and-board costs.

The college itself is debt free. It makes sure it has cash in hand before doing things like building a residence hall.
Sunday, 17 March 2013 10:13
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A St. Louis man faces criminal charges in a crash that killed a 53-year-old man and seriously injured two others.

Forty-one-year-old Robert A. White was charged Friday with first-degree manslaughter, two counts of second-degree assault and three counts of armed criminal action.

Police said White was driving a sport utility vehicle that T-boned another vehicle Thursday. Marcus Dorsey was killed and two passengers were hospitalized.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that White was treated for minor injuries and arrested.

Officials said White had fled the scene of an earlier accident with a St. Louis City License Collector's vehicle. Police said the driver of the city vehicle called 911 and followed the SUV.

The second crash was one or two miles away from the first.
Sunday, 17 March 2013 10:07
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A St. Louis County man has pleaded guilty to sex trafficking for forcing two women into prostitution, including a mentally disabled woman.

Federal prosecutors say 26-year-old Carl Mathews of Breckenridge Hills pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court and faces sentencing June 12. His sister, 27-year-old Carla Mathews, also of Breckenridge Hills, is awaiting trial on similar charges.

Mathews forced the women into sex in the St. Louis area from 2010 through October 2012. Authorities say the mentally disabled woman was forced to sleep and use the bathroom in a closet, and was supplied with little food. The woman was also beaten and set on fire.
Saturday, 16 March 2013 11:03
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