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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri Senate committee has blocked one of Gov. Jay Nixon's nominees to serve on the University of Missouri Board of Curators.
 
The motion to endorse Cape Girardeau lawyer Michael Ponder failed Wednesday on a 5-5 vote.
 
Ponder was first tapped by Nixon for the post in January 2013. The Senate did not act on his nomination last year, but Nixon reappointed Ponder in June and he has been serving on the board since then.
 
It was Ponder's previous position in state government, however, that concerned members of the Senate Gubernatorial Appointments Committee. Ponder previously served on the State Board of Education, where senators say he made controversial decisions to implement education standards and a school funding law.
 
Ponder declined to comment on the vote.
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 13:37
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A local prosecutor who inherited the case of a Chillicothe man facing a third murder trial in his neighbor's shooting death wants to be removed because of social media postings suggesting he has a conflict of interest.
 
Livingston County Prosecutor Adam Warren was appointed to the case last week after a northwest Missouri judge barred the state Attorney General from again prosecuting Mark Woodworth in Cathy Robertson's 1990 death.
 
The judge said that a private investigator's "secret investigation" on behalf of the county tainted evidence used to twice convict Woodworth.
 
The Associated Press obtained a written request filed by Warren on Monday in Platte County Circuit Court, citing a "social media position which may cast a prejudgment claim" on his ability to independently review the evidence against Woodworth.
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 12:43
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - It will take longer than expected to complete a $380 million renovation project on the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports a construction schedule released Tuesday says the project is not expected to be completed until the end of December 2016.
Project supporters had hoped to finish the renovation by the Arch's 50th anniversary in October of 2015. A six-month delay was announced last fall.
The National Park Service's new timetable includes a one month delay for the park over Interstate 70, five months for the Arch grounds' north park and seven more months for the south park.
A renovation of the bathrooms in the museum under the Arch will be the last component finished.
 
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 10:33
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Wednesday, 05 February 2014 09:13
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   ST. LOUIS (AP) - A Missouri men's basketball fan who over four seasons regularly traveled with the team to NCAA tournament games has pleaded guilty to a federal drug conspiracy involving cocaine and marijuana distribution.
   Online court records show that Levi McLean Franklin Coolley pleaded guilty Jan. 17 to attempting to sell more than 88 pounds of cocaine and an unspecified amount of marijuana between 2005 and 2011.
   Coolley owns a car stereo shop in Columbia.
   Coolley was arrested by FBI agents in March 2012 while at the Missouri team hotel in Omaha, Neb., hours before the Tigers' NCAA Tournament second-round loss to Norfolk State.
   An internal review by Missouri found no improper influence by Coolley. He was on the team flights as a guest of Columbia real estate developer and prominent Missouri donor Jay Linder.
 
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 03:51
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   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The winter weather spreading across much of Missouri has caused the cancellation of a few afternoon House committee hearings.
   Hearings on budget proposals for education, mental health, public safety and social services were called off Tuesday after snow blanketed Jefferson City.
   The House Chief Clerk also officially closed House operations at 1:30 p.m. because of the weather. A House Insurance Policy Committee dinner scheduled for tonight at Jefferson City Country Club was also called off.
   The afternoon snow didn't halt all legislative activity. Two Senate committees met, and evening House hearings were still scheduled.
   Both the House and Senate are scheduled to resume work Wednesday morning.
 
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 03:41
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   An East St. Louis man is suing the city and a police detective, claiming he was beaten until he falsely confessed to a rape.

   Marlon Miller's federal lawsuit alleges former East St. Louis Detective Orlando Ward struck him several times out of the view of police recording devices. During the alleged beating, Miller confessed to attacking the woman as she left a MetroLink train.

   DNA tests later absolved Miller of the crime and led to the arrest of another suspect.  

   Several cases involving Ward have been under review since the former detective was indicted in a federal cocaine investigation.

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 03:19
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   WASHINGTON, DC (AP) - Illinois' attorney general is planning to testify in Washington on data breaches.
   Lisa Madigan's office notes the Chicago Democrat is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning before a House committee.
   The attorney general plans to speak about a growing number of data breaches that she says have affected consumers nationwide and prompted multiple investigations in her offices about how businesses are protecting consumers. A data breach is the sharing of information that is supposed to be secure and confidential.
   Madigan says she plans to detail the role Illinois and other states have in responding to data breaches and the steps the private sector and government can take to prevent them.
 
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 03:09
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   The extreme cold this winter is bringing some unwanted news to utility customers in the Midwest and Northeast -- higher heating bills.

   As many in Missouri and Illinois have already seen, propane rates have skyrocketed in the past few weeks.  Gas and electric rates aren't changing, but utility company's say customers should still expect to see higher bills starting this month.  

  A jump in demand because of the brutal winter weather is to blame, according to utility providers.  Demand for natural gas reportedly hit an all-time high during the first week in January.  

   The situation isn't expected to improve any time soon, as forecasters are calling for more cold weather over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 02:37
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - An attorney for a Missouri death row inmate is asking the state Supreme Court to overturn his conviction because prosecutors failed to disclose evidence that he was beaten by police before confessing.
   The attorney for Reginald Clemons on Tuesday urged the high court to use the findings of a specially appointed judge to set aside Clemons' conviction for the 1991 deaths of sisters Julie and Robin Kerry.  Prosecutors say the sisters were shoved off the Chain of Rocks Bridge into the Mississippi River in St. Louis after being raped.
   Clemons was one of four people who were convicted or pleaded guilty in the case.
 
   Special Judge Michael Manners concluded last year that prosecutors suppressed evidence that police may have beaten Clemons while questioning him.
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 15:27
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