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ST. LOUIS (AP) - The former chief of park rangers in St. Louis has been sentenced to three years in prison for an embezzlement scheme that cost the city nearly half a million dollars.
 
Thomas Stritzel was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court. He and deputy parks commissioner Joseph Vacca pleaded guilty in September to mail fraud. The men must pay restitution of $473,000.
 
Vacca also received a three-year sentence in December.
 
Federal prosecutors say the men set up a sham company called Dynamic Management. They submitted false invoices for materials and services supplied to the Parks Division from 2005 through 2012, funneling city funds through Dynamic Management’s bank account.
 
Prosecutors say the men used the funds for personal use.
Monday, 27 January 2014 14:21
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - An unaccredited St. Louis-area school system facing bankruptcy could end up paying $130,000 for lobbying efforts while urging Missouri lawmakers to approve a financial rescue.
 
A document obtained by The Associated Press through an open-records request shows the Normandy School District agreed to pay a $90,000 retainer in monthly installments for representation and could spend up to $40,000 more to hire additional consultants. The costs have prompted concern from some lawmakers.
 
Missouri legislators are considering a $5 million budget infusion for Normandy aimed at preventing the district from running out of money this spring. A state transfer law is requiring the district to pay to send students to other accredited districts.
 
A Normandy spokeswoman says the district is doing what anyone needing legislative assistance would do.
Monday, 27 January 2014 13:49
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In an effort to make this Sunday really super and safe, the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety wants to remind everyone to designate a sober driver for your Super Bowl Party. The Coalition's message this year is Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.  
The Super Bowl is one of America’s most highly anticipated sports and party events of the year. Leanna Depue, with the Missouri Coalition, says that in 2013, there were 198 people killed on Missouri roadways in crashes involving a substance-impaired driver. 
 
The coalition offers the following party plans to make sure you and your guests arrive home safely this Sunday night.
*   If you’re attending a Super Bowl party or watching the game at a sports bar or restaurant: 
*   Designate your sober driver, or plan another way to get home safely before the party begins. 
*   If you don’t have a designated driver, then ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend, or family             member to come and get you; or just stay for the night. 
*   Never let friends drive if they’re had too much to drink. 
*   If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take the keys and help them make safe travel           arrangements.
 
If you’re hosting a Super Bowl party:
*   Make sure all of your guests designate a sober driver in advance, or arrange for alternate transportation to         ensure they get home safely. 
*   Serve food and include non-alcoholic beverages at the party. 
*   Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game and begin serving coffee and dessert. 
*   Keep the numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who has had too         much to drink.
 
Monday, 27 January 2014 11:26
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A proposal to name part of a highway in St. Joseph after late television news icon Walter Cronkite is expected to go before a joint transportation committee in the Missouri Legislature this week.
The effort is being promoted by Missouri Western State University, where a display tracing the journalist's life and career opened in November.  Cronkite was a St. Joseph native.
The St. Joseph News-Press reports that an application will be presented Tuesday at a hearing of the Missouri General Assembly's Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight.
That panel will decide on the issue, rather than a vote of all state lawmakers.
 
Monday, 27 January 2014 10:52
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