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Monday marks an historic change for St. Louis City.
 
For the first time in over five decades, the police department will implement new police districts. Chief Sam Dotson announced that the city will consolidate the nine current districts to six. Dotson says the move is necessary because the city has changed since the 60's. 50 years ago the city's population was around 750,000 and there were over 2,200 police officers. Today the population sits closer to 318,000 and there are 1,250 officers. The resdistricting will allow Dotson to put more officers on the streets.
 
Dotson says the goal of redistricting is three-fold, "We have to reduce crime, this redistricting is a crime-reducing strategy. We have to help people feel safer. This will help people feel safer because we are putting more officers in neighborhoods that are challenged."
 
"And three, better communication," Dotson said, "we're talking about this. We've tweeted about it, I've blogged about, we've gone to neighborhood meetings--we're trying to be as open and transparent as we can
 
The changes go in to effect Monday morning at 4. Residents are invited to leave feedback at slmpd.org.
Friday, 24 January 2014 16:47
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It’s the last chapter for a Florissant book store.

 

The Post Dispatch reporting that Barnes and Noble is closing its Florissant location in Cross Keys Center. Some customers have been told the store will close at the end of February. Barnes and Noble plans to close between 15 and 20 stores a year for the next decade.

Friday, 24 January 2014 16:44
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St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - One local television station's undercover report on school safety, is the inspiration for a new piece of legislation.

 

Missouri State Representative Stacey Newman wrote on her blog, that she has filed House Bill 1522. The bill would make it a felony to "intentionally make a threat to the security of a public school or building” in order to expose security issues. Newman says the bill could stop situations like the one when a KSDK employee took a hidden camera in five schools, including Kirkwood High School.

 

The employee was not stopped at Kirkwood and the school was forced to go into lockdown when officials could not find the employee or verify that they were at the school as part of a story.

 

KSDK has apologized for the incident and the Kirkwood Superintendent accepted the apology.

Friday, 24 January 2014 15:54
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BENLD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Supreme Court says a southern Illinois school district can't sue an architectural firm for building a school over an underground coal mine that later collapsed, causing the school to be torn down.
 
   In a unanimous decision, justices ruled Friday that Gillespie Community School District's "fraudulent representation" claims against Wight & Company came after a statute of limitations passed.
 
   The elementary school in Benld (ben-ELD') was built in 2002. It closed in 2009 after being damaged and declared unsafe because of mine subsidence, which occurs when land moves or sinks because of a collapsed underground mine.
 
   Justices say the district's 2010 suit was filed too late. That upholds decisions by lower courts.
   A reconstructed elementary school opened this fall.
 
   Benld is about 40 miles northeast of St. Louis.
Friday, 24 January 2014 13:47
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BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois judge is taking up an activist's lawsuit that seeks the ouster of East St. Louis' mayor and four council members for alleged misconduct.
 
The Belleville News-Democrat reports the lawsuit by Matt Hawkins of Civic Alliance of East St. Louis was to be the subject of a St. Clair County Circuit Court hearing Friday afternoon.
 
Hawkins wants the judge to fine the city $435,000. City officials have requested that the lawsuit be dismissed, claiming it was improperly filed.
 
Hawkins alleges that city officials violated state law related to the Freedom of Information Act and related to the administration of tax increment financing districts.
Friday, 24 January 2014 13:46
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CHICAGO (AP) - The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the state's unemployment rate dropped in November for a fourth straight month. But the 8.6 percent rate is still one of the highest in the country.
 
The department said Friday that the state lost a net 3,200 jobs in December. Officials blamed brutal cold for decreases in, among other areas, construction jobs.
 
But Department Director Jay Rowell says Illinois' economy remains on track for moderate expansion.
 
The unemployment rate fell from 8.7 percent in November. The national unemployment rate for December was 6.7 percent. That's the lowest figure since late 2008.
 
Construction jobs were reduced by 4,500 in December. Government, labor and hospitality and educational and health services employers also all cut jobs.
 
Trade, transportation and utilities firms added a net 4,500 jobs.
Friday, 24 January 2014 13:30
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - As the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks prep for their showdown in the Super Bowl, a legal fight is playing out over the turf installed last summer at the NFL title game's venue.
Missouri-based Taylor Turf Installation Inc. is suing the MetLife Stadium's operators over $292,000 the St. Louis-area company says it is still owed for installing the stadium's playing surface.
Taylor Turf's suit in New Jersey names New Meadowlands Stadium Co. LLC and Georgia-based Turf Industry Inc., the company that hired Taylor for the job.
Taylor's president, Kelly Taylor, says his crew took special pride in hustling to complete what he said was a $417,000 job, only to be paid $125,000 so far.
   
 
Friday, 24 January 2014 11:31
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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) - A man and woman will serve time in federal prison after a racially motivated arson attempt on a black family's home in Independence.  

The Independence Examiner reports that a federal judge on Thursday sentenced 34-year-old Victoria A. Cheek-Herrera to more than six years in prison. And 25-year-old old Logan J. Smith was sentenced to more than five years in prison for violating the family's civil rights in June 2008.  

During their plea hearing in August, Smith and Cheek-Herrera admitted discussing their desire to set fire to the couple's home. They also drew a swastika and wrote "White Power" on the driveway, and threw a Molotov cocktail at the couple's home, causing minor damage. No one was injured.

Friday, 24 January 2014 11:23
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Ongoing repairs of damage caused by a burst water pipe will postpone the opening of the old Historic Courthouse in downtown St. Charles until the end of March.
County officials announced Thursday that a planned reopening by the end of this month has been delayed.
The water pipe burst on September 8, affecting three floors.
Employees returned to work two days later but the public has not been allowed back into the building, which is now called the Executive Office Building.
A damage estimate has not been released. The building house offices for the county council, executive, legal staff and others.
Friday, 24 January 2014 11:15
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - A Columbia man has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for setting fires at two college campuses.
The U.S. attorney's office says 28-year-old Christopher Curtis Kelley also was ordered Thursday to pay over $590-thousand in restitution. Kelly was found guilty of two counts of arson last year for setting fires in 2011 at the University of Missouri-Columbia and Stephens College.
Federal prosecutors accused Kelley of starting fires at 10 locations at the university's Ellis Library. That disrupted library services for a couple of days. Water damage also forced the temporary closure of the Missouri State Historical Society, which is located at the library.
Damage was less extensive from the fire that Kelly was convicted of setting at the Audrey Webb Child Study Center at Stephens College.
Friday, 24 January 2014 11:12
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