The Jefferson County R-VII School District was lauded for its academic achievement today as Governor Jay Nixon visited Jefferson High School to congratulate the students and staff on the results of the Missouri School Improvement Program. The district scored a 90.4 percent rating on the 2013 Annual Performance Report. This is the tenth straight year Jefferson R-VII has been acknowledged for its academic performance. In praising the district, Governor Nixon said, "When teachers, staff, parents and the community work together to ensure a quality education for their children, we are making a real investment in the future of our economy and state.” The Governor also applauded Jefferson High School for being a Missouri A+ designated school, which allows qualified students to apply for scholarships for two years of tuition and fees at any of Missouri’s community colleges. To be eligible for the program, students must meet academic achievement standards, conduct and attendance requirements, and perform 50 hours of tutoring or mentoring service. Missouri’s high school graduation rate now ranks eighth highest in the nation.
After hours of public interviews, deliberations and voting, the Appellate Judicial Commission of Missouri has endorsed three nominees for a vacant position on the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that two St. Louis-area attorneys and one St. Louis judge are the nominees. St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael P. David and attorneys James Dowd of Webster Groves and Philip Hess of Sunset Hills are vying to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Kathianne Knaup Crane. Crane stepped away in August after serving for 23 years on the Court of Appeals. Governor Nixon has 60 days to select one member of the panel to fill the vacancy. Should he fail to do so, the Missouri Constitution directs the Appellate Judicial Commission to make the appointment.
Make a change or the dollars won't be there. That is the message from a financial review of the Wentzville Fire Protection District. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the district could be out of money by the end of 2014 if changes are not made. The Post-Dispatch obtained the audit through a Sunshine Law request. The audit made 12 recommendations including that all capital spending be placed on hold until the district’s finances improve. At the end of 2012, the report says reserves totaled $1 million, which would cover only seven weeks of district operations. The internal review, prepared by Rognan & Associates, said the district has been spending more than it has been taking in since 2010, but “no mention of these deficits can be found in any district budget.” The reports adds that a category referred to as “‘Money carried from prior year" appears to be disguising each year’s budget deficit from the board to the detriment of the district. The analysis advised that several spending procedures be reviewed, including the number of people who have access to district credit cards. It also suggested creating a policy regarding acceptable purchases made with the cards, and an accounting of voided checks, missing checks and checks used out of numerical sequence. The Post-Dispatch says the district’s attorney and spokesman, Dan McLaughlin, could not be reached for comment. It is unclear if any changes have been made to spending and accounting practices because of the review. According to the newspaper, the audit preceded the departure of four senior officers which included the resignation of Chief Randy Bornhop, the layoff of Fire Inspector Chris Newbold, the termination of Assistant Chief Robb Watkins and the placement of Fire Marshal Joseph Heitkamp on indefinite paid leave.
CHICAGO (AP) - An Illinois judge promises to rule on the future of a lawsuit seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in the state.
The lawsuit was filed last year by 25 gay couples who want the right to marry.
Cook County Judge Sophia Hall is expected to rule Friday on a motion to dismiss the case.
Lawyers for five downstate county clerks who are defending the ban want the case tossed. Plaintiffs' attorneys want the judge to let the lawsuit stand - then rule immediately that they won the lawsuit and that the ban is illegal.
The clerks won permission to defend the ban after Cook County's top prosecutor and the Illinois attorney general refused to do so, saying the 17 year old ban violates the state constitution.
Illinois legalized civil unions two years ago.
St. Louis Community College Trustees are honoring the instructor who stopped an attack on a student in a Meramec campus bathroom last April, by creating a scholarship in her name.
Adjunct Professor Aurora Hill had heard Blythe Grupe's screams and rushed to her aid, confronting her attacker and restraining him until police arrived. Eighteen yr. old Jevon Mallory has been charged in the attack.
Hill, who teaches English part time at the school, was honored with a resolution and standing ovation at last night's board meeting. The $5,000 scholarship in her name will be aimed at helping students who struggled in high school make the transition to college.
The victim was also at last night's ceremony. Blythe Grupe told Fox 2 News that Hill's actions made the difference that day and she glad the college is honoring her teacher. "It's just been such a relief knowing that good things can come out of this," Grupe said.
The school's mishandling of the attack aftermath led to resignations by several high level college officials.
Both Hill and Grupe say its time to move forward.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he hasn't seen a report released Thursday that details inadequate conditions at juvenile detention centers, but Illinois has made "important strides" with fewer juveniles incarcerated.
Quinn told reporters Thursday that Illinois has to have a system where young people who make mistakes pay their debt and face consequences. He says if the report raises issues, they'll be looked at.
Watchdog group the John Howard Association released a review Thursday on conditions at a Kewanee facility specializing in treatment for juveniles with mental health issues.
Another report was submitted in federal court as part of the settlement. It describes incarcerated teens mowing lawns during the school day and being routinely subjected to more solitary confinement than necessary.
Juvenile detention centers house more than 800 juvenile inmates.
The passengers of a St. Louis-bound American Airlines flight finally arrived at Lambert International Airport after a small fire on their plane forced it to return to O'Hare International Airport.
Officials with the airline say smoke was discovered in the cabin of the MD-80 shortly after takeoff Thursday evening. The flight crew put out the fire and the plane landed safely back at O'Hare.
The 120 passengers were placed on a later flight and arrived in St. Louis about 11 p.m.
There were no injuries reported
St. Louis Police have identified the man found stabbed to death inside a vacant North St. Louis building.
40-year-old Kevin Davis was found with multiple stab wounds to the back inside a building in the 3700 block of Cote Brilliante. Anyone with information should contact the St. Louis City police.
The Illinois trooper who hit and killed a pair of Illinois sisters while driving a police cruiser, is not getting his driver's license back.
Matt Mitchell was driving 126 miles an hour, using his cell phone, and using his computer to send emails, when he hit the car carrying 13-year-old Kelli and 18-year-old Jessica Uhl. In 2010, Mitchell pled guilty to all charges. He served probation and lost his license.
This summer, Mitchell appeared in court to ask for his license to be reinstated, saying he needed it to find a job. Thursday, his appeal was denied.
Mitchell now lives in Texas.
Charges are filed against a teen connected to Wednesday's shooting of a Vashon High School senior.
17-year-old Lamarco Love is accused in the shooting. Police say that a group of teenagers were walking to school, when they were approached by Love and two others. An argument followed and when the first group of kids started to walk away, Love allegedly shot at them. A 17-year-old was hit in the back, and he is now in stable condition.
Police do not believe incident was gang related, but the result of a feud between the two groups.