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It's not nearly the $15 an hour that fast-food and retail workers have been fighting for, but Missouri's labor department has increased the state minimum wage. As the new work week begins the department announced late Friday that next year's minimum wage will be $7.50 an hour. That is 15 cents more than the current $7.35 an hour. The increase will make Missouri's wage 25 cents higher than the federal minimum.
Former St. Clair County judge Michael Cook, whose colleague died of a cocaine overdose in March, pleaded guilty today in court. The Post-Dispatch reports that Cook was sentenced to 18 months in prison for misdemeanor heroin possession and a felony charge of being a drug user in possession of a firearm. On Wednesday, 46-year-old James Fogarty, a former county probation officer, admitted selling drugs to Cook and Judge Joseph Christ and using drugs with both men. Two men convicted separately of murder in Cook's court have won retrials after raising concerns about the judge's drug connections, and some other criminal defendants have been allowed to withdraw guilty pleas.
For those fans of Star Wars out there, maybe in a land far far away, this weekend could your chance to land a lead role in the next Star Wars movie. A Disney casting director will be holding open auditions in St. Louis on Sunday. They're looking for a 17-18 year old girl and a 19-23 year old young man to play street smart, independent, athletic characters in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode Seven. Those auditions are on Sunday from noon to five at the Sheraton Hotel downtown.