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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- Child porn was found on a southwest Missouri school board member's electronic devices while authorities were investigating reports that he exposed himself to students, according to federal court documents filed Friday. The U.S. attorney's office said John Lewis, 67, of Sarcoxie, was arrested before Thursday night's Sarcoxie school board meeting and charged Friday with possessing child pornography. He remains in federal custody, pending a detention hearing. U.S. attorney's spokesman Don Ledford said Lewis doesn't yet have an attorney. An FBI affidavit said Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers contacted Lewis while investigating reports that he exposed himself to a group of high school students who were working for him on his farm outside Sarcoxie. Troopers obtained a search warrant and seized two desktop computers, a laptop computer and electronic storage devices. Investigators who searched the devices found 19 multimedia files of child pornography and 113 images of suspected child pornography showing children as young as five years old. According to the affidavit, the investigation began after a school official overheard a conversation between high school students, one of whom confirmed he was present at the board member's farm when Lewis exposed himself in close proximity to another student. Two students, both 16 at the time of the incident, told investigators that Lewis talked to them about sex and inappropriately touched them while they were working for him at the farm in late spring last year. Investigators who executed a search warrant at Lewis' home said he became adversarial and "was found to have a very large weapons collection." The district said in a written statement that it's cooperating with the investigation. "Nothing is more important to the district than providing a safe and secure learning and working environment for children," the statement said. "We welcome the support of the community during this process."
Saturday, 23 February 2013 08:34
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T. LOUIS (AP) -- U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is urging members of the U.S. House to pass the Violence Against Women Act.

The Missouri Democrat was in St. Louis Friday and spoke alongside Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce. McCaskill says the act will provide resources to help law enforcement save lives of women.

McCaskill says the Senate has twice voted to reauthorize the act and President Obama is waiting to sign it.

The House and Senate have been trying for the past year to renew and expand the 1994 act, credited with reducing domestic violence in the country, but Native American tribal authority over domestic violence cases has been a major point of contention.

McCaskill says the House needs to end delays.
Saturday, 23 February 2013 08:32
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The city of St. Louis and St. Louis County are joining together on economic development.

The city and county on Friday announced formation of a regional partnership to be known as St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. The organization will guide efforts to support new businesses and help existing firms grow.

Officials say the effort will create a unified voice for the region and deliver services more efficiently.
Saturday, 23 February 2013 08:29
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Police need the public's help to find a 21-year-old woman who is developmentally disabled.

Cara Ascencio was last seen on January 31 after leaving a family member's home. Her family tells police she does not have a cell phone or access to money. Cara suffered a brain injury and has other mental health issues, leaving her with diminished mental capacity. She is a white woman, five-and-a-half feet tall and weighs 185 pounds. She was last seen wearing a pink parka coat, blue jeans, knee high black boots and was carrying a white purse.

Anyone with information is asked to call the St. Peters Police.
Friday, 22 February 2013 16:44
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A suspect remains at large after robbing two tellers who were working on an ATM machine in Maryville, Illinois and then driving off on an ATV.

The robbery happened at the First Collinsville Bank just after 10 this morning. The man was dressing in camouflage when he drove up to the ATM, stole several canisters filled with cash and sped off. Maryville Police are handling the investigation.
Friday, 22 February 2013 16:19
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EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Illinois farmer Mike Campbell and other drought-plagued growers are happy about a winter storm raking the nation's midsection.

From his acreage near Edwardsville, Campbell welcomed the snow. Like many farms, his soil in southwestern Illinois craves any moisture after a bone-dry growing season last year.

Climatologists say a foot of snow is roughly equal to an inch of water, depending on the snow's density. Campbell's region isn't getting quite that much, but the snow is important to growers of winter wheat. That crop goes dormant over winter before resuming growth in the spring, along the way using snow cover as a protective insulating blanket.

The latest weekly U.S. Drought Monitor update shows more than half of the continental U.S. still in some form of drought.
Friday, 22 February 2013 10:45
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BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A coroner is hoping toxicology tests determine what killed a southwestern Illinois teenager whose body was found on a bed near an infant.

St. Clair County Coroner Rick Stone tells the Belleville News-Democrat that 19-year-old Dyilion Rojas was found dead Thursday in a home after someone anonymously called police to report a possible overdose.

The 6-month-old baby was found beside Rojas and was later turned over to a relative.

The connection between Rojas and the infant isn't clear.

An autopsy is planned, and results of lab screenings of his blood aren't expected to be available for weeks.
Friday, 22 February 2013 10:44
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CHICAGO (AP) - A hearing on how Illinois should carry out a court order to come up with a law to allow people to carry concealed weapons is coming to Chicago - a city that landed in the center of the debate over gun control after a 15-year-old girl was gunned down.

Friday's hearing is before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday in Chicago, and it follows another hearing held by the same committee earlier this week in Springfield.

Chicago has made national headlines in recent months as the number of homicides climbed - especially in January when Hadiya (hy-DEE'-uh) Pendleton was killed about a mile from President Barack Obama's Chicago home.

Representatives from law enforcement, city and county government and the National Rifle Association are scheduled to speak.
Friday, 22 February 2013 10:41
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CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri NAACP is asking the U.S. Department of Justice to take over the investigation of a St. Louis County police supervisor and whether he ordered officers to engage in racial profiling.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Adolphus Pruitt of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People sent a letter last week requesting the federal investigation.

A lieutenant for St. Louis County is accused of ordering officers to target and arrest blacks in and around a south St. Louis County shopping center and a Wal-Mart store. The lieutenant has denied the claim and is on paid administrative leave.

 

Friday, 22 February 2013 07:12
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City, County and State crews continue to work this morning to clear the roads for the morning rush.  While most major school districts in the St. Louis area have already canceled class for today, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says he's confident most major arteries will be clear.  Slay says it's the back roads that may still be dangerous. "The residential streets will be a problem for some time, it will depend on the weather and the temperature in particular."

Much of the reported trouble spots this morning are on the exit and entrance ramps to highways as well as spots on north and southbound I-270 past I-64 where cars remain stranded on the roadway.  For complete road conditions and closings and cancellations visit KTRS.com.

llinois road crews have been working hard overnight to clear the roads as well, and IDOT engineer Joseph Monroe explains why it's been difficult for crews to keep up. Monroe says, "Normally in a snow event without any blowing or drifting you figure the first inch of snow takes two hours to clean up and then each inch takes an additional hour. That's just a rule of thumb. If you see it get way out of line, you go looking for problems." 

Nearly 6 inches of sleet and snow fell around the St. Louis area Thursday. Stranded vehicles made clearing the roads even more difficult. 

THE STORM SYSTEM 

Our major snow storm that shuttered airports here in Missouri, stranded truckers in Illinois and buried parts of Kansas in knee-deep powder is moving northeast with the likelihood of more punishing snow, ice and wind.

Gusts up to 30 mph are expected to churn-up snow that fell overnight in southern Wisconsin, where forecasters were warning Milwaukee-area residents of slick roads and reduced visibility. The same was expected in northeast Iowa.

Friday, 22 February 2013 06:33
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